By Dawn’s Early…

First, some homework. While I would love for you to read everything I’ve written on Russia/Ukraine and Vladimir, reality says you are probably just going to skim this post. For those who truly want to understand what I’m going to write today, please take the time to read this update, this post, and this post. It’s not complete, but it does give you enough background for a foundation to today’s post.

Second, I’m going to do something no author or pundit is ever supposed to admit: I hope I’m wrong. Not a little bit, not a lot, but run away and hide in shame wrong. Mercilessly mocked wrong.

Now, let’s get started. The planned victory celebrations on May 9 for Czar Vladimir I aren’t going to happen. As noted before, the Ukrainians dared fight back, and won great victories. Vladimir shifted to take the East and South, but even there things are not going to plan. Not only are the Ukrainians taking a certain delight in offing Russian generals, they have apparently hit targets in Russia. I say apparently because I suspect the R&D fire was typical ineptitude (there’s a bit of history of such, particularly when R&D and production are combined); if the chemical plant was the Ukraine, my hats off to them; and, finally, some of the events are possibly false flag with both sides denying responsibility.

Why the false flag ops? Simple, Vladimir has to show that Russia has been attacked. He has been being extremely legalistic (by Russian standards) throughout, starting with declaring that there was a Nazi menace in the Ukraine. He has continued that even into the nuclear threats, and as he builds the case for a war. I had wondered a bit at why special weapons had not already been used as the Russian military has hit situations that called for such use per doctrine. However, since it’s officially not a war…

Vladimir very much needs to make this a war. With a formal war declared, he can keep his conscript and contract troops for the duration. With a formal war declared he can mobilize reserves and more. With a formal war declared, he can take the gloves off.

The question is, will the Ukraine be the sole target of his war? There are very interesting rumors that it will not be limited to the Ukraine. As I noted a while back, we are seeing an increasing emphasis on being at war with NATO and certain non-NATO countries that are providing assistance to the Ukraine have also felt Vladimir’s verbal ire. If those rumors and reports are true, at the very least, the declaration of war will directly or indirectly include NATO and other countries.

No, that’s not weasle-wording. Despite being a despot, Vladimir does not operate in a complete vacuum. There are arguments, let’s say, for and against naming one and all. A strong argument can be made (cough) for not listing but rather using a phrase like ‘and countries supporting the Ukraine or the attacking of Russian targets on Russian soil’ as it gives you a lot more flexibility. Keep in mind how legalistic he is being, and keep in mind his audience for this is not primarily the West (with caveat to come) but rather the internal Russian audience.

Vladimir is a true believer in the Russkiy Mir plan and a staunch Russian nationalist. Vladimir is of the school that sees communism as having been a poison for Russia because it was a non-Slavic philosophy forced onto Slavs. He also believes in the idea of ‘Escalate to De-Escalate’ as I’ve noted multiple times.

Right now, two options have caught my attention. In the first option, after a declaration of war gives him the troops and legal use of the full might of the Russian military, he can then use conventional weapons against targets outside of the Ukraine per the declaration of war. If he hits targets in the UK, Europe, or in route to the Ukraine, he then has a legal defense that he can present to Russia and the world for such, even as he threatens to use his nuclear arsenal if there is any retaliation. And, trust me, anything and everything will be a retaliation. Option two is much the same, but chemical, biological, or nuclear (tactical/small strategic) are used.

Vladimir is already well aware that Biden is terrified of a nuclear exchange or starting WWIII. For all that the dementia-ridden meat puppet told him that in talks a while back, there is the matter of Biden’s well-known anger issues. If anyone can name a single thing the so-called Biden administration has gotten right, please do let me know. Every effort to find or even build an off-ramp that might have worked (not sure Vladimir will take one even if offered) has been blasted out of existence by the Biden administration. It’s almost as if some of them want WWIII. The administration has proven Obama right when he said ‘Never underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.’ Yeah, single quote as I’m not sure it’s an exact quote.

So, I suspect any diplomatic effort out the current administration will simply strengthen Vladimir’s resolve. The contempt Vladimir feels towards most ministers and other government officials has been massively on display with Macron. He’s also very pissed off with the British right now (Russia/British relations are a large topic for another day, as a lot of it dates back hundreds of years). That leaves Xi, who has seen his alliance with Russia go sideways on multiple levels. Outside of those leaders, I’m not sure who could step up, have Vladimir actually listen to them, and find a good diplomatic solution. There are, of course, many bad diplomatic solutions most of which revolve around the world abandoning the Ukraine to its fate.

Now, let’s complicate things just a bit further. A while back, I noted that I had seen a change in Vladimir’s thinking that indicated a rather strong personal shock. The kind of thing where you realize your mortality, your country’s mortality, or otherwise had some type of Road to Damascus moment. While I noticed it a couple of years ago, whatever happened could have taken place as far back as five years ago. I’m not sure if the reported upcoming cancer surgery is related to it, but since I believe this report to be true you have to also accept that it is a factor in his thinking and planning. When I used the word Gotterdammerung the other day, I wasn’t joking.

If Vladimir and his clique have an ounce of sense, they will keep any and all attacks conventional. I’m not confident enough to place a bet they will. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on tactical use of special weapons. Under normal circumstances (whatever they may be), I would not see things escalating to a strategic exchange. With the situation as it exists now, I won’t bet against it.

If it were up to me, I would be looking hard for someone or several someones to try to find a diplomatic solution. I would be reaching out to Vladimir, I would be reaching out to Abramovich, I would be reaching out to the dog lounging at the Kremlin gates. It would be quiet, but it would be done along with trying to say the right things in public (something our administration has yet to do).

At the same time, I would be making sure a number of scheduled, “scheduled,” and unscheduled drills take place. I would be dispersing our nuclear forces and weapons. The Air Force would be testing plans to disperse fighters, bombers, tankers, and other aircraft to auxiliary fields. The Army would be doing much the same, so that one bomb doesn’t really take out a whole base. Every sub that can sail, would sail. The troops taking part in NATO drills or to bolster the defense of NATO allies? They need to practice dispersion and/or digging in, so do it. I would have as many in the line of succession off on business trips, junkets, etc. as possible. You better believe I would be making sure the E4Bs and E6Bs were flying. This can be done without officially raising our alert level, and I would be starting to do it NOW. Yes the Russians would see much of this. They are supposed to. It’s called deterrence. Right now, Vladimir believes Western leadership is too weak to respond. This at least helps diminish the strategic threat.

Edited to add: Patriot, Iron Dome, and any other ABM defense systems we have or can get is put out with the troops. Anything that can be activated CONUS should be activated, even if it’s been in orbit for a decade or two. Bring it all online.

What little influence I may have ever had in DC went away about the time Reagan left office. So, all I can do is look at stepping up my personal preparedness levels a bit more, and really really wish enough would come in to the fundraiser so that I could move now, now, now. I would suggest to you, my reader, that you up your preparedness levels a bit too. Given inflation and the growing amount of problems with the food chain, it can’t hurt to have food you normally use laid in.

I also will suggest prayer. The prayers offered up for me since I was hit by lightning last year have made a difference. Right now, I think our best hope is with the Devine.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

Going Nuclear

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Uncertainty And Preparation

Not much to say about the Ukraine situation today. The Russians are building up forces and supplies, but exactly when, where, and how they kick off remains to be seen. Trying to run down some information, but it’s not exactly like you can call someone up and say ‘Joeski, were those chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons you were loading?’ It’s not something where you could go into the deep/dark web for the modern equivalent of a dead letter drop. There does appear to be some validity to the charge that the Moskva was carrying at least two nuclear weapons, but it is not absolutely positively beyond-all-doubt confirmed. Just mostly confirmed.

If the pointers continue to point in a particular direction, I’m going to be amending my 60/40 odds. In fact, I’m likely to move it substantially higher.

I am laughing a bit at Vladimir getting called out about putting nukes into the Baltic. At least one government has pointed out that he already has them there, and asks if he’s going to send more? The loss of prestige and fear of the Russian bear is being clearly demonstrated.

In response to the question of what I would recommend stocking up on right now, I would say this. I think you should already have some stocks of food and other supplies in place. Given what we are seeing on U.S. winter wheat as well as problems world-wide, I’ve picked up some pasta and flour even though I do keto. I would also look at things like baking chocolate, tea, coffee — the things that come from areas that are likely to be hit hard by shortages and famine, and have to be transported by ship to get here. If you use a supplement(s) that depends on overseas production or raw ingredients, stock up. Same on spices. There’s no need to panic, but if you can flesh out your grocery list so that you are set at need.

Meantime, I’m going to continue to see what I can find out, what turns up, and hope that nothing blows up this weekend.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

*****

If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Preparedness Pays: Proof Edition

This morning provided a chance to test some of my preparedness plans when the power went out in the middle of cooking breakfast. What could have been a disaster to my schedule instead turned into a minor annoyance.

First, I used my Streamlight tac light I carry in my pocket to go downstairs and get two camp lanterns, my portable chef’s stove, and a hook. Once back upstairs, I put the LE camp lantern up on an existing planter hook in the kitchen ceiling and used the hook I brought up to put up the Vont camp lantern up on a cabinet door on the opposite side of the kitchen. Then, I broke out the chef’s stove and finished cooking breakfast.

camp lanterns
Camp lanterns

The LE camp lantern is heavier than I would like for true backpacking, but provided an amazing amount of light on it’s regular setting. I could have set it higher, but really didn’t need to. The Vont was okay, but not nearly as bright though it would be my choice for backpacking. The Vont actually comes in a pack of four, which means I could have put one up in my room, the bathroom, and the common area of the basement and had plenty of light to get around.

The one thing I need to do is to get some brass cup hooks and put them up in those rooms so that I am ready to hang them if needed again. Plan to see if the landlord will mind if I put one up in the kitchen as well. Also, may look into trying to put some sort of diffuser on the Vont. May also try to sell the landlord into a UPS for the hot water heater, as while it is gas it is dependent on electricity for lighting.

I wish the LE wasn’t made in China, as I would consider buying more given how well it worked today.

Short version. Plans need to be tweaked (hooks in place), but the two-plus hour outage was simply an inconvenience instead of a morning wrecker. It ended up costing me about 15 minutes out of my schedule, which beats the heck out of a two-plus hour impact. Preparedness always pays.

Preparedness Pays And More

Sorry for the long silence, but I’ve changed day jobs and it has been intense. Good, but intense. It will also help with some of the information in Preparedness Pays as well as my preparations.

Along those lines, I suggest you read this post from Sarah A. Hoyt. Like her, I am concerned at what I see coming. Like her, I’m expanding my preparedness as fast as I can within my budget.

A suggestion for those who are just now getting into practical preparedness: buy a water bath canner and a pressure canner now. When covidmania hit, you could not find either, and had a hard time finding jars. The jar shortage continues, so stock up when you can.

More soon.

Preparedness Pays: Food Ennui

Day life and job have been interesting, so am running behind. This is actually something I had planned to address later, but for a number of reasons I wanted to touch on it now.

When planning food and drink supplies, keep in mind that even within a week you or your family can fall victim to food ennui. That is, you have food but not anything you want to eat. That is particularly true if you have only a limited range of food tucked away.

An easy and usually inexpensive way to fight it is to visit your local ethnic or interntational grocery stores. By picking up canned vegetables, dishes, etc. you can get a range of flavors and increase your options. Along with sauces and hot sauces, you have the means to take regular food and take it very different directions. You also tend to find very good prices on those items.

Just a quick thought to share this morning.

Preparedness Pays: The Quiet Team

One good thing about making practical preparedness a part of your lifestyle is that you are prepared for quite a few of life’s routine emergencies. But, one thing you need to consider is the fact that you should not advertise it, but accepting that preparedness and survival for larger emergencies requires a certain degree of teamwork.

How much and what you are prepared for is something you should keep close to the vest. First, in a major emergency, those who are not prepared will see you as a target for getting quickly what they hadn’t bothered with before. They will demand you share with them, take them in, etc. Second, there are those who will not make demands and expect you to take care of them, as they are simply going to try to take by force what you have. Third, in a major emergency you are likely to have your reserves appropriated for the good of the people by various levels of government. It has happened before and will happen again. If they don’t know what you have and how much you have, it works to your advantage all around.

That said, surviving major emergencies requires teamwork. The simple fact is that groups do better as each brings strengths (and a variety of supplies/preparations) to the table. They can and should also provide safe places for bug-out at need. Sound people out, and choose wisely. Expect them to be judging you as well.

Years back, a friend was looking at just this situation. Through a mutual friend, he learned of a group that was into preparedness and looked into joining. He was quickly informed that he did not have enough weapons or the proper type of ammunition. In looking over their requirments and preparations, it was clear they were light on what I would call fundamentals. He thought a moment, and then informed them that no, he didn’t have all the ammo they required, but that he did have in addition to food a year’s worth (more actually) of toilet paper and they were going to have a hard time wiping their asses with all those bullets. And, by the way, he had more than enough ammo on hand to deal with anyone who tried to take it. They thought that over for a few days, contacted him to say that he had a point, and asked him to join them. He declined.

So, keep quiet but keep an eye out for good people to team up with at need. Make sure that they can be a safe haven if you have to bug out because of anything from a chemical spill to those pythonoids from Antares (who are just as big an group of assholes as the CCP) doing something nasty. Keep in mind that your location can be used if they need to bug out. Groups improve chances, but choosing the right group (or creating it) is essential.

Preparedness Pays: Pets

Today’s post will be short and sweet, and is courtesy of a reminder from a friend. When conducting your thought experiment, be sure to include your pets in your planning. Not only food and water, plus a means to take them with you if you have to bug out, but also common medical conditions. If they take medicines or supplements, you need to include those items in your needed supplies. If you know they have other conditions ‘every now and then’ be sure to include supplies for that in your planning.

We’re almost done with the thought experiment(s), but one more to come courtesy of those darned pythonoids from Antares….

Preparedness Pays: Tools I

Today, let’s take the thought experiment a bit further. In the first post, I talked a little bit about looking around the house for things you already have that can be useful; and, I also talked about doing some advanced planning. Today, let’s dip a toe into that pool.

Whether it’s storms, earthquakes, or an invasion of pythonoids from Antares, you should have one room or area of your home (or apartment, etc.) as a designated shelter. It generally should be an interior space that is structurally sound, and best suited for use as a shelter in a variety of conditions. In a house I owned years back, mine was technically an exterior room in the basement. However, it was the old coal room and was extremely sturdy with very little above ground. It also had shelving which made it the ideal place to also store many of my preparedness supplies.

Again, you have to find what works for you and your situation. You simply need a very sound space that works for more than one emergency. For example, if flooding had been an issue I could not have used the old coal room as my designated shelter. It should also have a stock of food, water, and other supplies.

For today’s expansion of our thought experiment, something (darn those pythonoids from Antares!) has forced you to take shelter. Not only that, but your home has been damaged. So much so, you are having trouble getting out. Whatever has happened is such that you can’t count on local services to find you and get you out. So, what do you need to get out?

For me, I had a standard pry bar (one large and one small), a long straight pry bar, a sledge hammer, an axe, and some other tools including hand saws that I stored there. These were all items that I used on other projects, but stored there just in case. In fact, I have a sledge hammer in my bedroom at my current lair as since it is a basement apartment, in the event of emergency the best exit might be through one of the windows — which my landlord and I have discovered to be rusted shut. One sledgehammer, no window and out I go…

Much depends on how much damage your home took, but think about what you might need to get out in an emergency. Also, think about what it would take to get out of any room in an emergency. Do you have bedrooms upstairs? Emergency fire ladders ready to go are a good investment.

Now, back to our main focus, what would it take to get out. In the coal room I not only stored an axe or two, but the go-devil I used to split wood, a hand axe, and other implements of destruction (and construction). I also had rope, chain, and other means of pulling, lifting, and such including a come-along. Again, these were all things I used in other parts of life and simply stored there. If you have battery-powered saws and such, might not be a bad idea to store them in your shelter if possible. If not, have them where they can be grabbed in an emergency to go in with you.

Also, again, think safety. Have a fire extinguisher in that room, along with an extra first aid kit or kits. I’ll talk more about those later. For now, think about your shelter area/room as the keep to your castle. Not only have it ready for use, but have what you need to force your way out if necessary.

Preparedness is all about having the right mental and physical tools ready to go. So, for today, think about what physical tools might be good to have ready to go.

Preparedness Pays: Fixing Up Your Home

While I can already hear some ranting about bugout/bailout bags and such, the idea is not to overwhelm someone new. Those that get overwhelmed find it easy to not get prepared, even when such preparations can increase the value of their home and otherwise save them money. Again, each situation is unique and you need to plan for what works for you. Even if you rent and apartment or something else, you can take steps that will help you be prepared and far more comfortable in day-to-day life. While this is focused on someone in a stand-alone home, there are aspects that can be applied elsewhere.

Your home is your castle and your keep, even if it’s not in the middle of the street. It is the place you live, and the place you are most likely to stay in the event of an emergency. What are some of the things you can do, and may already want to do, to improve it so that you enjoy benefits even while preparing?

Let’s start with weather preparedness. Is it weather tight? No matter where you live, insulation is a good thing for keeping out the heat or cold. Caulking, door seals, and other items can reduce energy bills. In an emergency, it can help keep out smoke, pathogens, or even radiation in the worst case. The nice thing is, depending on where you live, there may be grants, tax credits, or even programs to help you take these steps.

Security is also a factor. Are your outer doors insulated and security rated? Again, the grants and other programs may can help with that, as well as taking other steps to make sure it is secure. Double- and triple-pane windows not only add to energy savings, but can also be a security feature. What other steps can you take?

How energy efficient is it? If you HVAC system is old, or even older, a newer system can provide savings. Again, there may be programs to help with such an upgrade, along with tax credits and such. This applies to all major appliances too — the more energy efficient the better. A minor thing you can do is buy outlet insulation systems that help stop drafts that come in that way. At an apartment I rented years back, putting them in actually provided a measurable drop in my electric bill. It also reduced what could come in from outside, from pollen to insects and other delights. Going all LED on lighting saves money, and can make it easier to maintain light and critical appliances via a generator or other power source if needed.

Landscaping can help improve security by eliminating places people can hide, gain entry without being seen, or even approach without being seen. In an area where flooding could be an issue? Berms and walls can help reduce the threat. A non-flammable patio can not only increase the value of the house, but it provides a secure place to put a grill or other outdoor cooking items that can be used in an emergency.

Take a few minutes to think about what you can do to your home to improve it, and at the same time make it better prepared to be your castle and keep in an emergency. Then, look to see what grants, programs, tax credits, etc. may be available to help with that effort. You might be surprised, and all you do will add to the value of the property. If you don’t own but rent, do the legwork to find these opportunities, and it is rare that a landlord won’t jump at the chance to improve their property with little- to no-cost to them.

Be creative, and look outside the box for solutions that work for you.

Preparedness Pays: Some Food For Thought To Go With Yesterday’s Post

As you go through the thought experiments, here are a few things you may want to keep in mind.

First, keep in mind that what you are planning for is not a normal situation. You will use less of some things, and more of some others. For example, just before the joys of 2020 hit, I caught a sale and had bought what should have been a year’s supply of hand soap. With the lockdown and all else, it turned into a 6-8 month supply since I was home far more than normal. I also used more facial tissues, paper towels, and even some cleaners as I was home more.

Second, since it is not a normal situation, you might want to plan both on rationing food a bit (cut back on portions/amounts) as real emergencies don’t come with a time limit. Also, you are not doing as much if you are trapped at home and should cut back on things anyway. This way, you have food for an extra day or three if needed. On top of that, plan on having what is needed for a day or three of extra “normal” food above and beyond that three-day or week’s supply. This way, if you are doing work (cleaning up, repairing, digging out, etc.) you have the food for that as well as if the situation goes longer than a week.

Third, when making your list on equipment/things, look to see if what you already have on hand can do double duty. Also, the things you buy should also be useful every day and do more than just be there for emergencies. Alton Brown talks about kitchen utensils doing multiple things, and the same goes for the tools and equipment in our lives. The only items that should do just one thing are fire extinguishers. First aid kits should be useful for “everyday” disasters such as cuts, scrapes, stings, etc. Make the items you buy work for your situation in as many ways as possible.

Just some quick food for thought. Hopefully tomorrow we will embark on another thought experiment.