After a battles, anciently arrows were gathered by the winners so that they could be used again. By the age of the longbow, arrows were designed in such a way to make retrieval easier.
Arrows were expensive. The most expensive part of the arrow was not the arrowhead, but the shaft. Arrow shafts were not turned-down from larger pieces of wood, but were derived from coppice.
The coppice trees here are overgrown and have not been managed in some time.
Coppicing is a woodland management practice that goes back until at least the Iron Age. Young trees are cut down to the stump, and the fresh growth trained and managed until they reached the correct diameter for their intended purpose. Coppice was used for, notably, wattle and stave construction, production of charcoal and of course arrow shafts.
It could take 5–7 years for a coppice to produce serviceable arrow dowels, and more could not be easily procured.
Arrowheads, conversely, may have been one of the earliest products to be mass-produced. Forensic analysis of arrowheads recovered from Agincourt in France suggested they had been made in two halves using a form and then soldered together. The level of simplicity needed to do this, as opposed to a fully forged arrowhead, is such that it could be accomplished by blacksmiths using portable forges in the army’s baggage train.
The arrowheads were attached to the shafts using pitch. This, you may think, is a terrible idea – pitch isn’t going to hold the arrowhead on very securely. You are quite right, nor was it intended to. The use of pitch meant that the arrow could be retrieved from where it struck (the ground, a body) by simply pulling sharply. The head would break away but the shaft (the expensive part) wouldn’t bend or break.
These recovered shafts could then be fitted with cheap new heads and fired again. Sometime the goose feathers (fletching/flights) needed to be replaced as well, and trained archers knew how to do that.
They were Crap – But they worked.
Designed by Georgi Shpagin in the USSR c.1941 and manufactured in large quantities well into the 1960′s. 7,62x25mm Tokarev 71-round drum magazine or 35-round stick magazine, blowback select fire with selector switch located in front of the trigger. With 6 million guns rolling out during WW2, the PPSh-41 smg was one of the work horses of the Soviet Union infantry.
It’s easy to criticize these weapons, but they were able to put ordnance on target (ok, spray and pray – but sometimes prayers are answered).
Cuirassiers and lancers of the line, chasseurs a pied of the imperial guard. Note the emphasis put on the waistline in these uniforms. Vivandière or cantinières were women given special permits to act within the French army as kitchen workers but also wine and liquor sellers attached to a specific regiment, of which they would share the uniform.
This practice died out progressively as their numbers were reduced (pregnancy took a heavy toll), and their uniforms replaced by civilian clothes with an armband. It was completely phased out in 1905, when the cantinières were replaced by male equivalents recruited from old veterans.
In the space of the 35 years between the introduction of the new system and its disbanding in 1940, the general appreciation of the cantinière by the troops changed from selfless, motherly or sisterly to cowardly and selfish. I feel like, facts aside, that says a lot about French psyche.
Cuirassiers of Napoleon III’s Imperial Guard
The steel blue, madder red and white colors of the cuirassiers remained relatively unchanged from Napoleon the Great to the Great War. Their steel cuirass was impervious to handgun fire, cuts or thrusts from melee weapons of the day. The use of a war horse went far beyond mere transportation. Their ability to use their weight, hooves and teeth against an enemy can’t be emphasized enough.
Russian Air Force Mil Mi-24
According to Russian sources, 74 helicopters were lost in Afghanistan, including 27 shot down by Stinger and two by Redeye. In many cases, however, the helicopters, thanks to their armor and the durability of construction, withstood significant damage and were able to return to base.
The skim…AOC is pushing a US$10 trillion deficit spending plan on top of the trillions blown on the COVID-19 boondoggle. Since the Green New Deal is said to cost $100 trillion, it would be a modest down payment. Of course, inflation would savage the numbers, so they’d need to raise $1.2 quadrillion to make the dream a reality.
Today, there is approximately US $37 trillion in circulation worldwide, including all the physical money and the money deposited in savings and checking accounts. Money in the form of investments, derivatives, and cryptocurrencies exceeds $1.2 quadrillion. So if AOC can raise all the money and value on the planet, she might be content. She needs a few more Easter Eggs…
Easter Island is an island and special territory of Chile in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeastern most point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania.
Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called Moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people.
It is said to be Easter every day there… not really though.
Some also say that the stone statues were inspired by space aliens (Ancient Aliens TV show). It’s difficult to know what the creators were trying to express, but they ended up eating each other when the island population exceeded its capacity to produce food (with the exception of human cattle). By so doing, they were being progressive before progressive was cool.
ZR. MS. Buffel (Naval Historical Corner)
The Dutch Navy began to modernize itself in the late 1860s, and the Buffel ( Buffalo) was one of a pair of ships that adopted the latest design features: armored sides from the Gloire and Warrior, twin guns in a turret as in the Monitor, and a ram bow based on the Italian experience at the Battle of Lissa.
The Buffel was built by Napier’s in Glasgow 1868, and her sister Guinea was completed in Amsterdam two years later. The Buffel was designed as a coast-defense ship and only left Dutch waters for a trip to Antwerp in 1871 , but she helped the Dutch Navy train and exercise in the new naval warfare techniques. Her armament was first of all the ram on her bow, mainly against wooden ships, and originally two 300-pound (140 kg), 23 cm (9 in) Armstrong guns, with a total weight of 25 metric tons, in one turret.
These were later replaced by a single 28 cm (11 in) gun, and the armament was enhanced by a couple of smaller guns; two 7.5 cm (3 in), four 3.7 cm (1.5 in), and two Hotchkiss revolving cannons. Her crew consisted of 150 men, officers, petty-officers, and sailors. She was reduced to a barracks ship in 1896 and restored to her original state between 1974 and 1979. Where she became a museum ship.
The prominent black hull is adorned with gilded decorations at the bow and stern. At a coastal steamship she carries very little rigging. The two light masts were used mainly for signaling. On the main deck, the wheel is placed near the stern in traditional fashion, although it is some way from the bridge.
The aft- deck is comparatively clear, except for the hatches and companion ways down its center and the area around the funnel, which is surrounded by ventilators to take air to the pair of 1,000- horsepower engines. Forward of that is the light bridge, the the circular turret, with its twin guns normally kept inboard and the ports closed. The deck is also quite clear forward, with the anchors and capstans in the bow.
I could launch off with a long polemic on the subject of Easter, but I’m not going to. We live in perilous times where a humble and contrite heart is called for if we are to petition Heaven for help. We can only survive as people when we do not have the hearts of beasts – and there are a lot of savage beasts who would be our masters. The progressive and woke have as a common thread, their hatred of Jesus Christ and what he taught.
Live abundantly, love your brother as yourself, love God with all your might, promote goodness and charity. By this alone can we defeat evil.
Easter is also a time for families. I hope that you can spend time with yours today. If not, over the phone with the gift of FaceTime.
I wish all of you a very happy Easter.
What about a few maps?
Isolated Populations in Canada
Note that it says no “year round access to roads”. In the summer, many of these locations are accessible by primitive roads.
Where precipitation drops below 20 inches yearly defines the start of western US.
Largest Ethnic Group by Census Tract in the Detroit Metro (2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates).
The Tallest Rollercoaster in Each UN Recognized Country.
Sources: The Rollercoaster Database (rcdb.com), Coasterpedia, Wikipedia
Tools: Excel for Sorting, QGIS for Mapping
Notes: This is a map of the tallest rollercoasters (coasters) in each UN recognized country. Only operating coasters were considered for this map meaning that unbuilt/defunct coasters were not considered. Mountain coasters were not represented on this map because most of them are accurately measured for height.
Invasive Species – Proportion of plants that are invasive in each county.
Yes, just when you thought that the outrageous behavior of the political left reached its zenith — you realize that human sacrifice and cannibalism as an acceptable practice seems to be coming back, at least in public education in California.
Tomorrow is Easter and I’m somewhat reluctant to share this on the eve of the recollection and celebration of a sacred event, but the daily outrages continue. And lest you think that this is so outrageous that it couldn’t ever happen, I will remind you that there is a wall around the US Capitol, defended by 5,000 troops to protect a walking corpse and a whore who some feel were not lawfully elected. You may not have seen that coming either.
My only surprise is that it took this long for some wackos to propose it. But, hey it’s for the students to “pave the way for the “regeneration of indigenous epistemic and cultural futurity.” So some folks think it’s a good idea to venerate “gods” who demand human sacrifices by the thousands?
(National Review) The Board of Education in California recently voted unanimously to approve an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for use in all of the state’s public schools. This curriculum is “probably the most radical, polemical, and ideologically loaded educational document ever offered up for public consideration in the free world. Although including California in the “free world” is becoming more problematic, but that’s another topic.
The curriculum presents the pagan gods of the Aztec empire as worthier objects of study and veneration than Jesus of Nazareth. This presentation does not rest at the level of theory or academic inquiry. As Christopher F. Rufo has observed, teachers are encouraged by the authors of the curriculum to lead their students in an “ethnic studies community chant,” which takes the form of worship offered up to these deities:
Students first clap and chant to the god Tezkatlipoka — whom the Aztecs traditionally worshipped with human sacrifice and cannibalism — asking him for the power to be “warriors” for “social justice.” Next, the students chant to the gods Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli, and Xipe Totek, seeking “healing epistemologies” and “a revolutionary spirit.” Huitzilopochtli, in particular, is the Aztec deity of war and inspired hundreds of thousands of human sacrifices during Aztec rule. Finally, the chant comes to a climax with a request for “liberation, transformation, [and] decolonization,” after which students shout “Panche beh! Panche beh!” in pursuit of ultimate “critical consciousness.”
City of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (who is very woke), has been branded a racist for giving families of color $500 a month if they earn under $59,000 with no rules on how they spend it – but offering poor white families nothing.
I’m not in favor of hand-outs for their own sake but what she is doing is racist and is in direct contravention of law. Never fear. Progs exempt themselves from the law.
One Too Many Picnic Baskets
A cautionary note about over-eating at your Easter Feast.
In its Navy Vision 2045 plan, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) announced that it would develop a light aircraft carrier (CVX) capable of fielding a wing of F-35B style short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft. The CVX, a twin island flat-top (see the UK carriers) that can carry roughly 20 fixed-wing aircraft, will be at the heart of the ROKN’s plans for a strategic mobile fleet for blue water operations, improving its ability to project air power far from South Korean shores.
There are detractors, primarily the Communist Party of China and the DPRK, who feel that the ROK does not need its own aircraft carrier. Some feel that aircraft carriers are obsolete. 2045 is not right around the corner. Who knows what tech will be in place by then?
Appeasement of aggression always leads to continuing and escalating aggressive behavior on the part of the aggressor. Obama’s failure to hold China in any way accountable for its illegal seizure of islands in the South China Sea only emboldened Chinese Imperialism.
Whitsun is where the United States and the region should confront an increasingly expansionist China. The failure of the Obama administration to defend the Philippines in early 2012, in a confrontation similar to today’s, emboldened China’s regime to adopt an even more aggressive posture in its peripheral waters.
Whitsun Reef is inside China’s infamous nine-dash line. The line on official maps defines an area informally known as the “cow’s tongue,” which includes about 85 percent of the South China Sea. Beijing maintains it has sovereignty over every feature there, including Whitsun, which Beijing has named Niue Jiao.
Joe Biden, bought by the Communist Chinese cheap, was a good op by China. He is unlikely to confront his paymasters.
What about the F-35?
First let me comment on the F-22 Raptor. I was present at an event where the F-22 was to be demonstrated several years ago. Two F-22’s were being flown. The USAF sent three, then a fourth — to get two into the air. I spoke to crew who said, yes, there were some reliability problems. But when everything worked they were like magic. Cool for a peacetime demonstration – at $60,000 per flight hour per aircraft… But what about a wartime tempo?
Fast Forward to the F-35, a bargain at $44,000 per flight hour. (The A-10 costs $11,500 per flight hour by comparison)
The Air Force has announced a new study into the tactical aviation requirements of future aircraft, dubbed TacAir. In the process of doing so, Air Force chief of staff General Charles Q. Brown finally admitted what’s been obvious for years: The F-35 program has failed to achieve its goals. There is, at this point, little reason to believe it will ever succeed and meet its expectations.
According to Brown, the USAF doesn’t just need the NGAD (Next Generation Air Dominance) fighter, a sixth-generation aircraft — it also needs a new, “5th-generation minus / 4.5th-generation aircraft.” Brown acknowledged some recent issues with the F-35 and suggested one potential solution was to fly the plane less often.
“I want to moderate how much we’re using those aircraft,” the general said. “You don’t drive your Ferrari to work every day, you only drive it on Sundays. This is our high end, we want to make sure we don’t use it all for the low-end fight… We don’t want to burn up capability now and wish we had it later.”
The DoD and Lockheed-Martin have spent years painting the F-35 as a flexible, multi-role aircraft capable of outperforming a range of older planes. The rhetoric worked. The F-22 Raptor, F/A-18 Hornet, and several jets in the Harrier family were retired because the F-35 was supposed to replace them. The Air Force fought to replace the beloved A-10 Warthog with the F-35 on the grounds that the latter was, somehow, a superior replacement. Many of us were exceptionally skeptical of the utility of a stealth close support aircraft that lacked the robust capabilities of the Warthog. It turns out that we were correct. Big shock there.
The F-16 was supposed to be replaced by the F-35. Back in 2010, Lockheed expected the F-35 to replace the F-15C/D variants as well as the F-15E Strike Eagle. That’s six different aircraft covering all three roles (air-to-air, strike, and ground). The F-35 was explicitly developed and designed to be a flexible, effective, and relatively affordable aircraft with sophisticated logistics management systems that would reduce downtime and boost reliability.
This aircraft wasn’t supposed to be a Ferrari. It was billed, explicitly, loudly, and repeatedly, as the single platform that could fill any mission requirement and satisfy virtually any mission profile outside of something a B-52 might handle. Instead, the Air Force, Marines, and Navy have all adjusted plans at various times to keep older aircraft in service due to delays and problems with the F-35.
To say the F-35 has failed to deliver on its goals would be an understatement. Its mission capable rate is 69 percent, below the 80 percent benchmark set by the military. 36 percent of the F-35 fleet is available for any required mission, well below the required 50 percent standard. Current and ongoing problems include faster than expected engine wear, transparency delamination of the cockpit, and unspecified problems with the F-35’s power module. The General Accountability Office (GAO) has blamed some of this on spare parts shortages, writing:
[T]he F-35 supply chain does not have enough spare parts available to keep aircraft flying enough of the time necessary to meet warfighter requirements. “Several factors contributed to these parts shortages, including F-35 parts breaking more often than expected, and DOD’s limited capability to repair parts when they break.
There have been so many problems with the F-35, it’s difficult even to summarize them. Pilot blackouts, premature part failures, software development disasters, and more have all figured in various documents over the years. Firing the main gun can crack the plane. The Air Force has already moved to buy new F-15EX aircraft. Multiple partner nations that once promised F-35 buys have shifted orders to other planes. The USAF continues to insist it will purchase 1,763 aircraft, but the odds of it doing so are increasingly dubious. The F-15EX costs an estimated $20,000 per hour to fly. The F-35 runs $44,000.
Brown indicated he’s not interested in buying more F-16s, because not even the most advanced variants have the full scope of features the USAF hopes to acquire. This would presumably also disqualify the “F-21” Lockheed-Martin recently announced for the Indian market. Instead, Brown wants to develop a new fighter with fresh ideas on implementing proven technologies.
(Reuters) WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. efforts to battle powerful drug cartels from inside Mexico have ground to a halt since January as strained relations between the two countries have frozen attempts to corral drug kingpins, according to current and former senior officials in both nations. (The article continues. You should read it all.)
At the heart of the problem is what is widely viewed as a corrupt, illegitimate government in Washington DC, hiding behind fences and troops like some tin pot dictator in an African s-hole. I know what you’ll hear on CNN: Nobody respected President Trump. However as with most things you might hear on CNN, the opposite is true. Even the Chinese gave him grudging respect. Jo/Ho? Yeah.
The Enemy of my Enemy
TOKYO — Japan and Indonesia signed a pact on Tuesday allowing the transfer of Japanese defense equipment and technology to Jakarta as the two countries strengthen their military ties in the face of China’s increasingly assertive activity in the region.
The agreement came during “two plus two” security talks among the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries, which share concerns about China’s growing influence and territorial claims in the East and South China seas.
“It has become difficult to take for granted the premises that have supported the peace and prosperity of the international community,” Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in opening remarks at the talks… more here
There was a sense in the world that the US would stand against China. That’s much less the case since the elections in November and old rivals are putting aside their differences to arm themselves against an imperialistic China, bent on absolute domination of the Pacific. American weakness, signaled by “race and gender issues” being the core of the new American military worries everyone else. The propaganda machine in the US is a lie machine and everyone knows it. But nations outside of the US who don’t have a nuclear shield against China can’t afford to let the US stand aside while China does what it has signaled that it intends to do.
You will have noted that the US is ardent in its efforts to find “the next war” for the Military Industrial Complex to pump men and money into. CDR SALAMANDER offers insight into his entry for the next one. And he may well be correct.
(US Naval Institute) “US special operations forces… will support Mozambique’s efforts to prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism,” the US embassy in Mozambique said on 15 March.
“Clearly, the US is trying to extend its influence,” says Jasmine Opperman, an analyst with the monitoring group Acled. But she adds that it is a complex local conflict, and that “the US is framing the insurgency in a very over-simplified manner by referring to [the militants] as an extension of the Islamic State”.
On March 10, the US government designated al-Shabab in Mozambique as a “foreign terrorist organization”, describing it as an IS-affiliate.
Do You Recall?
Kurt Blome, the chief Nazi scientist in charge of human experimentation as it pertained to biological and chemical warfare loved his job. His scope of work included spraying concentration camp prisoners with sarin gas as well as deliberately infecting them with malaria, bubonic plague, typhus and other diseases to try and find various ways to weaponize diseases. He also gave cancer to prisoners. When he was captured at the end of the war and stood trial at Nuremberg the US government meddled in his trial to get him acquitted so he could be recruited for Operation Paperclip and conduct biological warfare studies for the US. His official US military file omitted mention of him having been prosecuted at Nuremberg.
Editorial: Silver or lead…it’s a common question posited by narocos. You either take the silver and play ball or you get the lead. It’s not unlike the pressure brought to bear on anyone who says that President Trump was a brilliant president, or that they are not gay/trans, or whatever woke BS is circulated at the time. Today it’s a test of character.
It’s clear that few people view the test for what it is. I’ve seen a lot of people fold like a piece of paper. It doesn’t mean that you have to be nasty and use the tactics of the left. The question simply put is whether the thirty pieces of silver that swamp will pay buys your obedience, or not.
OPEN FORUM TODAY
Grind your axe, express yourself, today it’s an open book here on Virtual Mirage. One question for possible discussion is whether you think of yourself more as a person of science or as a person of faith.
As a general rule, in the comments here, each person of good will may use both literal and figurative speech, or define their terms for the sake of clarification, each person as they see fit, provided only that political correctness and other forms of deception are not practiced.
It’s April 1, April Fool’s Day, but this open forum is not an April Fool’s joke.
The British are very worried about knives. I’ve carried a knife all my life. Same with a firearm, but that’s beside the point. They have campaigns to show you that not carrying a knife is somehow virtuous.
There was a situation in Reno circa 2014 when I was there with a British guy (who doesn’t follow this blog), and he brought his dad. His father started an anti-handgun rant at a buffet where we were eating. I’m not a buffet guy but my friend liked them. (beside the point) I told “dad” that he simply needed to get some trigger time to get used to firearms in America, and suggested that at least 10 people in the buffet must be armed. He was in denial. So I unholstered a 1911, jacked the round from the chamber, removed the magazine and handed it to him. I thought that he’d have a cardiac incident right there. His face turned red, his eyes bugged out. I put the mag back in, loaded one in the pipe, put one back in the mag and then slammed it back and holstered it.
I have some wicked knives. I don’t think that he would have liked those any better.
England went from “we will fight in the air, we will fight on the sea, we will fight on the land. We will never never surrender” to whatever this garbage is.
If you go to Scotland, take a moment to visit Jedburgh. It’s a small, picturesque town but it has an interesting past. It was the pirate town for the Border Reivers who thieved cattle
Operation Jedburgh was a clandestine operation during World War II, in which three-man teams of soldiers of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Free French Bureau Central de Renseignements et d’Action (“Central Bureau of Intelligence and Operations”) and the Dutch and Belgian armies in exile were dropped by parachute into occupied France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The objective of the Jedburgh teams was to assist allied forces who invaded France on 6 June 1944 with sabotage and guerrilla warfare, and leading local resistance forces in actions against the Germans.
The name of the operation was chosen at random from a Ministry of Defense code book – but it still made a lot of sense.
The Taiwan Flap
Palau John Hennessey-Niland is the ambassador to the tiny country of Palau, an archipelago of over 500 islands in the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. The country is among 15 nations that formally recognize Taiwan over China. Amb. Hennessey-Niland accompanied a delegation led by Palaun President Surangel Whipps Jr. to Taipei early this week. …more from ZeroHedge
It begs the question of who is running the USA. I frankly don’t know, not since the old boss (Trump) left office. I don’t know whether China knows. Is it a multi-polar administration with power sharing between Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, CNN, and Black Lives Matter? Nobody thinks that it’s Jo/Ho. All of those Chinese bribes must be going SOMEWHERE. But the Pentagon’s position regarding China is “forward deployment.” And the State Department (see above) is reacting to China pulling its pants down in public in Alaska.
Deciphering the truth has become a difficult task in the United States, not least because the misinformation apparatus is both enormous and tied directly to the imperatives of imperial state itself. Whatever separation that existed between the military industrial complex, the U.S. corporate media, and the tech and corporate oligarchs is a thing of the past.
The thesis of this blog post is to what extent is the US engaged in a (new) Cold War with China, and what does it mean to the US, China and the world at large.
A new Gallup poll revealed that 80 percent of the U.S. public possess a negative opinion of China. Only Iran and the DPRK, are viewed with more disdain among Americans. As an American, I can identify with this sentiment.
China pushes back against this negative view by revealing itself as the xenophobic, imperialist creature that it has become, reinforcing the notions that gave it the reputation in the first place.
Taking a brief step back, looking at Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, it can be useful to delve into the granularity. There are a lot of non-government organizations (NGO’s) who work to tear down China as part of their God-given mission. A lot of them have spent a lot of money on the ground in Hong Kong. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been blamed by the Red Chinese as a front for the CIA because a significant number of former spooks work there, and they agitate against the People’s Republic of China. NED isn’t a CIA front, but at times, it acts like one.
In the propaganda war that exists between NED and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and the Communist Party of China, there is a lot of money floating around to win hearts and minds to one side of the argument or the other. Is China a dangerous, xenophobic, imperialist state (PRC’s One Road Initiative) bent on world dominance? Sure it is. Is the twisted US administration a threat to its own people and to the world? It appears to be.
How do we tell the players apart? How do we ascertain their agendas? The Newsline Institute is a dubious source of information. Managing Editor Robin Blackburn is a former editor for Stratfor, a private intelligence firm known as the “Shadow CIA.” Stratfor’s “intelligence” regarding many things worldwide showed the same flawed thinking as the CIA did, and they vacuumed up former Agency analysts to do their thinking for them.
Joe Biden and the Biden Family has been on the Chinese payroll for years. The proof is overwhelming. Can the US administration be in any way objective in this blooming New Cold War? Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) was hoisted back into the House Intelligence Committee after his scandal with a Chinese spy. In what world would that happen?
The US Marine Corps has been re-crafted to defend key islands that tend to hem in China’s access to the Pacific. Earlier this month, 27.4 billion USD was requested by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command for an “anti-China missile network” that would run along key islands on China’s border such as Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The Chinese are unhappy about this. I guess if I wanted to rule the world, I might be too. How does that square with the Chinese-owned Biden? Or is Biden’s brain so far gone that he forgot who bought him? Maybe we need to remove the Biden piece from the game table. Send him back into the basement with his stewed prunes. When you do that, you are left wondering who is running the New Cold War from the American side. Harris-the-former-Ho? Yeah, right, Sherlock, think again.
Who is running the Chinese side of the Cold War? People rarely ask that question with an open mind. Sure, there are the communist cadre in the propaganda ministry, which reminds one of the cadre in the US mainstream media. Who is pulling the levers in the communist state, and why? I don’t suggest a conspiracy, but since we’re not sure who is doing it in the US, why not do a deep dive on China as well to try and figure out who the core shot callers are in the worker’s paradise.
There is a systemic decay in the USA. That much is obvious. Some think that the Chinese are experiencing the same thing – in a Chinese way. East is east and west is west and they each operate differently. President Xi was the reaction to the Chinese decay. In the US, it was President Trump. The swamp pulled down President Trump, but the Chinese swamp is different and it is expansionist in its nature. Solve the problem by swallowing seems to be the Chinese mantra of the day.
Will the cold war turn hot? I think that it’s inevitable. Will it escalate into a general nuclear exchange? Now that’s the question. They took the nuclear launch codes away from the brain dead Biden – but who has them? Harris? As the US transforms itself from a republic to an oligarchy, much becomes obscure.
Transportation Secretary Buttigieg on Friday said taxing drivers by the mile “shows a lot of promise” and could be a way to fund a big infrastructure overhaul.
“If we believe in that so-called ‘user-pays principle,’ the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive. The gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it. It’s not anymore,” Buttigieg said during an appearance on CNBC.
When Handguns were Less Reliable
POP QUIZ: GREEK AND EARLY ROMAN COMMANDERS
Everyone loves a quiz, a chance to test our knowledge. All of these commanders were either Classical Greek or Hellenistic; or Romans of the Republic.
(1) Son of the conqueror of Perseus, he is most famous destroying Rome’s greatest rival and salting the earth.
(2) His oblique, weighted-wing attack shattered the previously unbeaten Spartans and ended their hegemony.
(3) When defeated by the Phocians and driven out of Thessaly during the Sacred War, this commander told his men he was not retreating; but, like a ram, was backing up to butt the harder the next time!
(4) This commander first came to distinction as the man who “brought in” Jurgurtha; then later won distinction against the Pontians in Greece.
(5) Before his reforms, Rome’s lowest classes could not serve in the legions. After him, they formed the bulk of all forces during the Republic.
(6) The last great king of his warrior people, he reformed the army and adopted a sarissa-armed phalanx in the Macedonian style. He later died in exile in Egypt.
(7) This commander once said, “Sex and sleep alone make me conscious that I am mortal.”
(8) Fighting against southern Italian hill tribes, this king and general once said of Alexander’s war against the Persians: “My nephew fights against women, I battle against men!”
(9) He came, he saw, he conquered!
(10) This Athenian general was famous for his use of light infantry, of reforming hoplite equipment, and had a style of military boots named after him.
In the Olden Days
US Marine Randall Sprenger painting nose art on ‘Little Gem’, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress at Isley Field, Saipan, Marianas Islands. February 1945
In some parts of the world it can take up to 24 hours to drive to the nearest health center. In populated areas, the time usually ranges from 10 minutes to an hour, but there are many contrasts. Where I live, it’s about an hour and twenty minutes, driving like a bat out of hell, but we usually CASEVAC by helicopter if it’s serious, here in the Arizona highlands.
Tobacco Household Expenditure by US regions.
All cities/towns in the US that end in -burg or -burgh.
Irish Ancestry in the US by county.
Map of colonies of the Order of St. John, 1651-1665.
Historical and present distribution of the Sumatran Rhinoceros
Skin pigmentation in modern African population. It may be racist to point this out. I’m not sure how that works anymore, since race is simply a construct and how you personally identify.
32 out of 40 most polluted cities in the world are in India, 2020. This might be construed as racist too since the American VP (Ho) is Indian. However the finding shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been to India.
Italian unification in the 1860s.
The Asian American and immigrant community in the Atlanta area has quickly grown over the past two decades. The democrats fear them because they usually don’t buy into the bullshit. They displace Afro-Americans in many areas.
Best performing Republican candidate by county, 1976-2020.
Reagan and Trump dominate most of the country, with Romney strong in Utah and Bush II in the northwest and parts of Texas. Ford is #1 in Grand Rapids and some other random counties. Note how well Trump 2020 scored, and yet he lost to a walking corpse and a whore…strange doings.
Best performing Democrat by margin of victory in each county from 1976-2020.
Carter and Bill Clinton dominate this map, Obama in the Midwest and Black Belt, and Dukakis in Iowa. Arizona is recounting the Biden vote from the machines and is taking a forensic view. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
There is no break out for ice tea…
Death from liver cirrhosis in the world. According to WHO data, the region most affected by liver cirrhosis is Africa, with Egypt and Nigeria in the lead (161 and 87 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants over 15 years of age).
…Thousands of acres of mountainous land in Kentucky alone have been disturbed by strip mining allowed by the permits that were before the judge. Both the state and the companies that issued bonds guaranteeing clean-up and reclamation of the dynamite-blasted landscapes had warned in court proceedings that there might not be enough money to do all the required work.
With other U.S. coal-mining companies in similar financial straits and demand for coal plummeting, Blackjewel’s situation is a harbinger of the trouble ahead in coal country.
“Unfortunately, this is likely the start of a trend where bankrupt coal companies dump their coal mine cleanup obligations onto communities and taxpayers who simply don’t have the money to pick up the tab,” said Peter Morgan, a senior attorney at the Sierra Club, who was participating in the case. “This should be a wake-up call to state regulators across the country to immediately hold coal mining companies accountable and to put miners to work cleaning up coal mines before all the burden falls on taxpayers and underfunded surety bonds.”
Turkey – Not a Good Neighbor
Define your Terms
I like Marbles
I just do. But I like the bullseye flint and the aggie style marbles made out of rock better than glassies. Ballbearings are cheaters.
for those housing unaccompanied minors. What could be more woke than that? …more here
The Democrats have repeatedly argued that “universal background checks” are a way of ensuring only law-abiding Americans can purchase firearms. While spewing that (very false) rhetoric out of their mouth, the Biden administration is rolling back requirements for caregivers taking in unaccompanied minors.
The Biden administration is utilizing tent camps, convention centers, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Border Patrol facilities, as well as other large facilities to house the record number of unaccompanied minors that are flocking across the border. In order to quickly staff these facilities, the FBI is no longer requiring fingerprint background checks for those being employed at these facilities, the Associated Press reported. These types of background checks are used to determine whether or not a person has had allegations of child abuse or neglect lobbed against them.
“Staff and volunteers directly caring for children at new emergency sites don’t have to undergo FBI fingerprint checks, which use criminal databases not accessible to the public and can overcome someone changing their name or using a false identity,” the Associated Press reported.
Baltimore – what a city!
Woke Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby declared the “war on drug users” is over and her office will no longer prosecute low-level crimes like drug possession and prostitution.
The program has been in place for the last year and was designed to reduce the population in city jails during the pandemic. Yesterday, Mosby made the policy permanent.
“Today, America’s war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore. We leave behind the era of tough-on-crime prosecution and zero tolerance policing and no longer default to the status quo to criminalize mostly people of color for addiction,” said Mosby in an official press release.
Mosby said her office will no longer prosecute drug and drug paraphernalia possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offense, open container violations, and urinating and defecating in public.
This is how you turn a sewer into a more profound sewer as Baltimore hopes to one day be as woke as Detroit is.
Exhausted U.S. Army nurse Amy Stuart, 5th MASH unit in Saudi Arabia naps on a cot while hugging a teddy bear sent by her family during Operation Desert Storm. (Feb. 22, 1991)
A Gurkha of 1st Btn 7th Gurkha Rifle on anti air defense… June 1982, Falklands War
Sometimes Photos Pop Up
This photo was taken in Chicago, 19 years ago and my hair was white then (I’m second from the left). The ever dapper Mike W. who comments on this blog sometimes made the photo too. A friend posted it on facebook, and I said, “hey, I’m in the photo.”
British Army Update
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has announced the British Army will be reduced by 4,000 from the current size of 76,500 regular troops to 72,500 but will “not require redundancies”. There will be 148 upgraded Challenger 3 tanks. This blog reported (based on reliable sources) that the British would keep between 170 and 150 tanks. They dropped that number.
In 1930 the Indiana Bell building was rotated 90°.
Over 34 days, the 22-million-pound structure was moved 15 inch/hr… all while 600 employees still worked there. There was no interruption to gas, heat, electricity, water, sewage, or the telephone service they provided. No one inside felt it move.
It’s technically not racism, because the only people who are discriminated against are white.
Last week, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. The bill, comprised of $1.9 trillion in the name of “COVID relief.”
What most don’t know about this bill, however, is the small provision known as “Section 1005” that authorizes the secretary of agriculture to make payments of 100 to 120 percent of the “outstanding indebtedness of socially disadvantaged farmers.” Under this provision, those included in the socially disadvantaged category are American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics.
Putting aside all of the Washington jargon that makes little sense outside of a committee hearing room, this provision—specifically written into the American Rescue Plan by Democrats—pushes a blurred vision of so-called “social equity” by providing relief for farmers based on the color of their skin. Rather than offering much needed relief to all farmers, Sec. 1005 prioritizes race, just as it would ethnicity, sex, or any other factor.
How Toxic can it Get?
A Discussion of your Betters
(The Bell) It’s in interesting article, worth a read. The Republic was replaced by an oligarchy and I find it odd that Americans still discuss, “our democracy”. That ship sailed.
You have no meaningful choice. As George Carlin, patron saint of calling out neoliberal bullshit, RIP, put it:
“Americans are led to feel free through the exercise of meaningless choices. There are only two political parties. There is a reduction of the number of media companies. Banking has been reduced to only a handful of banks. Oil companies. These are important, and you’re given very little choice…. You know what your freedom of choice in America is? Paper or plastic.”
Final Thought: Intelligence guided by experience tells us the establishment and deep state will never change on its own. If the first nine eggs have proved to be rotten, don’t be thinking you’re going to be making an omelet out of the tenth.
The 8000 BC ‘Tower’ of Jericho at the site of Tell es-Sultan
It’s an 8.5-meter-tall (28 ft) stone structure, that wasn’t apparently intended to serve as part of the defenses of Jericho.
Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (9000 BCE), almost to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch of the Earth’s history. Copious springs in and around the city have attracted human habitation for thousands of years.
Epipaleolithic construction at the site appears to predate the invention of agriculture, with the construction of Natufian culture structures beginning earlier than 9000 BCE, the beginning of the Holocene epoch in geologic history.
Jericho has evidence of settlement dating back to 10,000 BCE. During the Younger Dryas period of cold and drought, permanent habitation of any one location was impossible. However, the Ein es-Sultan spring at what would become Jericho was a popular camping ground for Natufian hunter-gatherer groups, who left a scattering of crescent-shaped microlith tools behind them. Around 9600 BCE, the droughts and cold of the Younger Dryas stadial had come to an end, making it possible for Natufian groups to extend the duration of their stay, eventually leading to year-round habitation and permanent settlement.
There isn’t any evidence that the walls were ever breached (tumbled down) as in the Biblical accounts. Then again that could realistically have been to a different town called Jericho.
The world’s largest ocean sunfish compared to their size at birth.
There’s a backlog of more than 200 ships left waiting to cross the Suez Canal, after a container ship hit the side and got wedged in Egypt’s Suez Canal. Tug boats have been working to pull the stuck ship free, but the process could drag on for days.
Was the “wreck of the Ever Given” an exercise in how to do it, or an accident? Now that’s the question.
Number of deaths – caused by 1999 NATO bombings in Serbia
In Georgia, African-Americans comprise over 30% of the population. It should disturb you that there is a category in this map annotated as “American”. I won’t comment further because it would be considered to be ‘racist’.
There was no demonstration of any kind, nobody said a word, everybody just slumped away. […] It was one of the flattest moments of our lives, we just couldn’t comprehend it. We had that sort of feeling as though we’d been kicked out of a job. To some of us it was practically the only life we’d known. […] There was no cheering, no singing – we were drained of all emotion. We were too far gone, too exhausted to enjoy it. All things come to an end, and even a drama can go on too long. It didn’t end with a whimper, but something very much like one.
– British WW1 veterans being interviewd about the end of the war, They Shall Not Grow Old
The ONLY Hybrid
(mood music) You need to listen to a shanty while reading about nautical topics.
US. Navy “Elgin Cutlass” combination knife pistol, designed by George Elgin c.1837 at the height of the Bowie knife’s popularity, manufactured by C.B. Allen of Springfield, Massachusetts for use in the 1838 United States Exploring Expedition of the South Pacific.
.54 caliber single shot percussion pistol, 10″ long steel blade forged in one piece with the trigger guard/knuckle bow.
The US Ex. Ex., or ‘Wilkes Expedition” after commanding officer US Navy lieutenant Charles Wilkes, was a scientific expedition to explore the islands of the South Pacific with a host of naturalists and other scientists. Because it was profoundly American in spirit its crew was also equipped with this hybrid pistol/bowie knife, which saw some use as fights commonly broke out with the natives they interacted with. The so called Elgin cutlass is to this day the only hybrid weapon officially issued by the US armed forces.
When I refer to Jo/Ho as hammerheads, this is not what I mean.
Nobody Could have Predicted…
It’s all about cause and effect in Portland…more here.
Police had removed a fence erected around the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse because it became a “symbol of divide” between law enforcement and the community, according to the Portland Police Bureau.
Rioters then descended on the federal courthouse and vandalized it.
It’s a shame that I wasn’t in command of the Police in Portland. It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to pick new recruits three years ago in preparation for this. Portland wouldn’t have had any problems. Then again, they wouldn’t like to have a man like me in Portland. I’m not woke.
(NY Post) “The woke think of themselves — and want everyone else to think of them — as deeply moral. If they have a flaw, it’s that they just care too much. They’re too idealistic, too empathetic, too eager to make the world a better place.”
Doesn’t Fit the Narrative
There will be more on this blog later on this topic.
For now, this is the situation in the Suez Canal.
A skip loader arrived to free the ship.
The ship is roughly the size of the Empire State Building. And it’s weight, when fully loaded is pretty similar to a skyscraper. Imagine a massive building lying on it’s side, and you’re given the task of moving it. What are you going to do?
Major equipment, needs to be brought into place, sited, set up, and a plan needs to be developed and executed, and if it doesn’t work, then they need to try something else, which might be even more complicated.
If you got lucky, tugboats and the ship’s own engines might be able to do it. But if you’re not lucky (and it looks like they’re not), then you have to build a plan to do something from the ground up.
Hawke’s fleet at Spithead in ‘The Year of Victories’, 1759, by Mark R. Myers (born 1945-)
Annus Mirabilis, 1759, during the Seven Years’ War, was possibly the most significant year in British history since 1066. It was immortalized by the playwright David Garrick in “ Heart of Oak”.
In August Admiral Boscawen engaged the French fleet at Lagos, off the southern coast of Portugal. After his flagship was disabled he shifted his command to another ship. When the boat taking him there was hit by a round shot and a strake was stove in, Boscawen calmly plugged the whole with his wig. He continued the chase all night and captured three French ships and destroyed two, returning to Spithead with his prizes and 2,000 prisoners. The victory prevented France from sending an invasion force from Brest.
The Battle of Lagos, 18 August 1759, by Thomas Luny 1770–1779
On the other side of the globe, Quebec, the key to conquest of upper Canada, was captured by General Wolfe and Admiral Saunders in the autumn. The superb charts of the area produced by James Cook enabled the fleet to bring formidably sized ships up the St. Lawrence River. Seamen landed guns ashore and hauled them up to an area overlooking the city. While Wolfe took Quebec, the fleet lay off the city, denying supplies and reinforcements to the defenders.
This 1797 engraving is based on a sketch made by Hervey Smyth, General Wolfe’s aide-de-camp during the siege of Quebec. A view of the taking of Quebec, 13th September 1759
In November Admiral Edward Hawke caught up with French Admiral Conflan’s fleet at Quiberon Bay, where they planned to embark an army of 20,000 men and invade England. Hawke hoisted the signal for “ general chase”. His crowed on sail to pursue the enemy into the bay as darkness was falling, using the French ships as markers to try to keep clear of the treacherous rocks in the shallow waters of the bay. Hawke’s master urgently warned him of the peril ahead, to which Hawke replied, “ You have done your duty in pointing out me the danger. Now lay me alongside the enemy flagship.” The French did not believe the British would follow them on to a lee shore, but they did. In a fierce action, the French lost seven ships of the line with 2,500 dead. Two British ships ran aground and were wrecked, but it was a decisive strategic victory which one again averted the threat of invasion.
This glorious year, which became known as “ the year of victories”, also saw a keel laid in Chatham Dockyard for a new warship called Victory– and the first birthday of the man who would lead her at Trafalgar.
An Early WW2 View (Italian African Campaign)
Mussolini wanted a colonial Empire for Italy. The conquest of Ethiopia in 1936 revealed the true face of Italian colonialism: bombing civilian targets, use of poison gas, etc.
Last Tuesday, Israel held its fourth election in two years. PM “Bibi” Netanyahu’s coalition of his own party, Likud, and 3 ultra-orthodox parties lost the popular vote by 5.78% to the broad anti-Bibi coalition, and Bibi underperformed in central and northern Israel.
The Homicide Rate of US States and Canadian Provinces compared with the world
2020 Social Mobility Index.
How much equality and economic opportunity do people have around the world?
One Last Historical Note
An A‐20 from the 3rd Bombardment Group comes off the mast of a Japanese freighter after a low‐level skip bomb attack. This photo was taken during an attack on Japanese ships in the harbor at Rabaul.
I’ve posted teasers before and this is me, re-posting part of the prologue, yet again. This novel is a collaborative work between Juliette Smith and myself. We each lend our sense of authenticity to the novel and it’s working as we push to conclude writing and move on to editing and proof reading.
Besides shameless self-promotion, the Easter holidays begin with Palm Sunday this weekend, Passover if you’re Jewish, and the Feast of Ishtar if you’re a pagan. (shouldn’t you be out sacrificing a cat or a goat or something if you’re pagan?)
How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange
roof, thinking of home. – William Faulkner
In spartan room with bare bunk-beds, Alan Frazier, 28, brown crew cut, blue eyes, cut muscles, sits on a lower bunk, shirtless. Rain pounds on a window that looks out into a stormy sky over the godforsaken ruins of what must have been a very nice town. He can’t recall how he got where he is or precisely who he is. A worn OD green duffle bag rests on the deck, next to his bare feet. There is a name, FRAZIER, A; SSG; XXX-45-5277; ODA5116; US Army, and it is hand stenciled, maybe by using a template and a sharpie. He knows what ODA5116 means. He understands that it means that he’s assigned to the First Battalion, Fifth Special Forces Group, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. When in town, he lives off base in a small, poorly furnished bungalow and has a mongrel dog named Rex that his buddy’s girlfriend is taking care of while he is deployed.
Looking away from the rain on the window that has hypnotized him, a mirror hangs from a wall and he stares at an unshaved man that he doesn’t recognize, all the time suspecting that he’s looking at himself. Scars and bruises of varying age crisscross his torso. Fresh, unstitched cuts stretch from his hairline all the way down to the bottom of his ear. They are not deep, but they bled a lot are still weeping, dripping down onto his shoulders and chest. There is another cut, lower on his face, crudely stitched. He recalls taking a few tucks at it with a surgical needle and thread from his aid kit. It distorts his lip slightly. Other wounds form an inkless tattoo carved crudely onto the flesh his upper chest, ‘de oppresso liber’. It could use stitches too. He knows what it means and in probing his memory he realizes that he does not speak Latin. He suspects that he may have carved it into his own chest. He looks down at the knife resting in a puddle of blood on the mattress next to him. Yeah. He turns in the mirror to see an ink tattoo on his shoulder. Crossed arrows. He knows what that represents as well. The details of how, who, where and when he was inked remain fuzzy.
You can’t survive certain experiences. But sometimes despite the odds, you do and afterward you don’t fully exist precisely because you failed to die. The failure gives him a pang of guilt.
Death brings with it a sense of authenticity that Alan Frazier does not feel. He is disturbed because in a strange way he is inauthentic. That lack of sense of self embraces him coldly.
He’s not the only man in the room. There are others, wearing t-shirts, BDU’s, and there are plate carriers spread here and there. Some of the armor appears to have been hit more than once and is in a state of disrepair. Their firearms are on the bunks, very close at hand. Many have green tape here or there on them to perform some personalized function. A man sits on a bunk across from Frazier and methodically field strips his rifle, and then reassembles, the component parts, oiling, wiping off oil, stripping oil, swabbing the bore. A small mountain of cleaning rags surrounds him and he smells of solvent and oil.
“Patrick, knock that shit off.” Patrick ignores him and begins to tear down his rifle for the eighth or twentieth time. Frazier doesn’t know how many times.
He realizes that he knows that the man’s name is Patrick.
The rain plays in sheets across the glass of the only window in the room that serves as a temporary barracks. The others either stare into space or they watch the rain beating on the windowpane. Patrick is the exception and it has become unclear to Alan whether he is a robot or SFC Patrick O’Donnell, 18B, Special Forces Weapons Sergeant. Doc Coulter, MSG Malcolm Douglas Coulter Jr., 18D, Special Forces Medical Sergeant should help if it’s a human problem, not a robotic issue, but he is watching the rain on the goddamned window along with everyone else. Coulter is not completely motionless. He’s dragging a plastic safety razor over his bald scalp – again. That inattention to Patrick O., further underscores his concern that Patrick is a robot and not an authentic human being. If he was human, he’d be loading those empty magazines instead of stripping and reassembling his M-4.
What were the magazines emptied into? And if it was a firefight, who picked them up and brought them here after they were emptied. Such are his thoughts.
He hears thunder in the distance and flashes of light play across the window. Frazier, Alan R., can’t tell for sure whether it is artillery or thunder, but as he resolves what he just heard against his memory, it is definitely thunder and lightning. It lacks the high order crack of military explosives or demolitions such as C-4. The flash of lightning is different too with its flickering intensity.
Nobody flinches when a door opens and sunlight streams in. Her shadow precedes Olga, a woman of thirty-five who is attractive, but not in a glamorous way. Hers is a natural beauty, worn with intelligence and dignity.
Blank eyes turn toward her.
“We need you all to gear up and go back into the cauldron.”
Rain slashes Alan’s face as he runs, his eyes staring vacantly ahead as his legs pump evenly, his feet chopping through mud, jumping over rocks, solid footing despite the landscape. His uniform looks as though he climbed through razor wire. His armor has taken hits and we can see through the camouflage fabric into the ballistic plate below. He carries his rifle with a practiced ease and slides one magazine out, replacing it by rote. He runs toward the threat without fear or rancor, slinging the rifle, sliding a hand grenade out of its pouch. He straightens out the pin and then pulls it as he runs, allows the spoon to release, counts one-two, throws and drops. BANG!
None of the men move except for SFC Patrick O’Donnell, who stands and looks for more cleaning rags, ignoring Olga completely. Doc Coulter has moved his razor from his scalp to his cleanly shaved face.
Olga now faces WO2 Jason Miles, skin black as anthracite, the old man of the outfit at age thirty-five, 180A, Assistant Detachment Commander. Something in Frazier’s memory triggers. Captain Carlos Sanchez, 18A, Operational Detachment Commander, had his head blown from his shoulders. Frazier’s brain recorded the event from behind Carlos. There was a loud pop and the captain’s head burst like a balloon. It happened in the caldera, that Olga is calling the cauldron. That means that Jason is now the boss.
But Jason’s attention turned from Olga back to the rain on the window.
“Warrant Officer Miles, I’m addressing you directly. Your men need to gear up and recon that target site again. We need to know what’s going on and you are the only ones who can do it.” Olga isn’t in Jason Miles’ chain of command. She’s a spook, CIA case officer. Even if she was the Army Chief of Staff, it wouldn’t have had much impact on Jason.
The warrant officer’s hand moved from his knee to the zipper of his trousers and he reached in, pulling out his meat and began to pound it softly, in an absent, almost asexual way — watching the rain.
Pat O’Donnell has found more cleaning rags and he’s back on his bottom bunk hard at work.
Staff Sergeant Frazier, Alan R., has returned his gaze to the window and the rhythmic sheeting rain.
Olga has left the building, and walked out to her white Land Rover with USA diplomatic license plates and Icelandic national license plates, parked out front. She takes a satellite phone from a bag on the front seat and speaks into it.
“They say that it’s raining, Mr. Lawson.” Olga Shearer tells the man in charge as he steps out of the haze gray OV-22 Osprey with no markings, that had just landed vertically, and very loudly. “They’re combat ineffective. They won’t re-engage.”
Lawson folds the briefing papers that Olga cabled to him earlier in the day. He puts them in his pocket and looks up at the clear, blue sky through dark aviator sunglasses, absently running his fingers through his thinning white hair. “Raining?”
“That’s what they say.”
“All of ’em?”
Olga shrugged a ‘yes’. Bryce Lawson has been around The Company for a long, long time. Rumors abounded that it was Lawson himself who’d deflowered the Virgin Mary. Others suggested that he’d held the cloaks of the Romans while they pounded the nails into Jesus-on-the-cross. Some said that he pounded the nails himself giving the Roman executioners tips while doing so. A lot of people fear Bryce Lawson but Olga doesn’t know anyone who understands him beyond the legend that grew up around him. He looks so normal, just an old guy — but still possibly the same guy who gave advice to Eve in the Garden.
Olga has never met him before and the man she walks next to doesn’t impress her with any of those allegedly well-deserved reputations, but there is something about him that she can’t quite put her finger on. Maybe it is confidence? In a world of uncertain people, Lawson screams certainty. Breathes confidence. And while surrounded with insanity, radiates quiet competence.
He knows what’s going on and he may have a plan.
Olga worked with his ex-wife, also a Virginia Farm Girl, when she was state-side assigned to Global Targets Division. Sylvia Lawson, the ex, never said a single word about him. Not even when she was drunk on grappa and raving. Olga asked whether or not Sylvia’s refusal to comment was due to fear. Sylvia, a Rhodes Scholar and former Miss Florida said, “no, it’s respect.” Now he was married to the deputy director of a different alphabet agency, and they were a solid DC power couple
Olga follows in Lawson’s wake as he speaks to a few of the Agency’s contractors, who also disembarked from the Osprey and who now provide security. The egg heads who created the pig-fuck by sending in the Army departed as soon as Olga arrived, hours before. She fervently hopes that she will not be held accountable for a bad NASA decision.
There is the natural worry that Lawson will simply make a phone call and have her relieved short of tour and sent back to headquarters, where there would be a desk, and the trite, meaningless tasks as a cog in the great machine. That’s how it happens when things go horribly wrong. Thank God the press hasn’t caught wind of this. There would be the inevitable whispers and gossip within the bureaucracy, but her career would be finished. Lawson has the power to do that to her with nothing more than a grunt and a sideways glance. Her recourse, given the nature of what happened, consists of resignation, suicide or both. She’s seen that end in others and it holds no appeal for her.
It has been one of those incredibly strange things and Olga doesn’t know quite how the sequence of events had landed her there. She reasons that the Iceland government called NASA, and the NASA people who showed up were mostly ex-Air Force. One of their people encountered ‘something’ in the steaming, burning caldera and they panicked, grabbing the Special Forces A-Team who was training on the other side of the nation-island. It had nothing to do with her, nothing to do with the Agency. Just the sort of bad luck that ruins careers.
And as with so many things which had happen in the course of screw-ups, it defaults to the Central Intelligence Agency to try and determine what-in-the-heck was going on. As the ‘nation’s first line of defense’, it had that role, even in Iceland if the Icelanders, and Denmark, had handed it off to the US to deal with. The director send his favorite fireman, the ancient of days, Bryce Lawson.
Olga reasons that Lawson checked his options, maybe called his ex-wife, and picked her over the other two options at the tiny CIA presence at the well-worn US Embassy at Reykjavik.
He demands a run-down on what the NASA people told her before they fled.
He takes off his sun glasses and looks at Olga, “Ms. Shearer, shall we go in?” Bryce Lawson tries to be polite. She trails Lawson as he saunters slowly into the NASA Containerized Housing Unit (CHU) and looked at what remained of ODA5116. “Frazier. Staff Sergeant Frazier.”
Frazier turns his gaze from the window to Lawson. Lawson turns to Olga. “He’s the one who carried the decapitated captain out? Fireman’s carry?” Olga nods. “That’s why he’s drenched in blood?” Olga nods again. “Walk him into the shower, strip off his clothes, then take yours off and wash him down. He needs a woman’s naked body next to him under hot water.”
Olga’s eyes bug out and she wants to say something, but she doesn’t. She does precisely what Lawson asked because he is Bryce-fucking-Lawson, and his will is too great for her to resist. That and he speaks with such great compassion that she wants to do what he directed her to do.
The shower was meant for one person. The scalding water cascades over them in the shower and Alan Frazer senses that he is being washed. All of him. The fog lifts ever so slowly, as her nipples touch his back and she gently scrubs his hair and massages his scalp. He becomes aroused and she strokes and pulls until he releases. More hot water, more soap and he opens his eyes as she lead him from the shower and hands him a towel.
Seeing Olga as if for the first time, toweling off next to him, Alan covers himself and blushes. “Where the fuck am I?”
There are a lot of people who underestimate Donald J. Trump. I am not one of those people. So it is with interest that I await the unveiling of the new Trump Social Media website.
Donald Trump will return to social media in the next few months with a platform of his own, longtime advisor Jason Miller revealed Sunday.
‘I do think that we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here with his own platform – and this is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media,’ Miller said during an interview with Fox News ‘MediaBuzz’ host Howard Kurtz on Sunday morning.
He added that the new platform will ‘completely redefine the game’ of social media.
(Babylon Bee) WASHINGTON, D.C.—Biden has been removed from the White House for evaluation by a team of physicians after biting one of the aides.
“We are so shocked,” said Chief of Staff Ron Klain of the incident. “He has always been so docile and well behaved– always limiting his interactions to sniffing and friendly licks. He’s never bitten anyone like this.”
Experts have suggested that the new environment and activity has been traumatizing to the President, and are suggesting adjusting his diet and perhaps a few weeks at obedience school to remedy the situation.
“Worst case scenario, we may have to put him down,” said Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician. “Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but sometimes these things happen.”
Vice President Kamala Harris has assured the American people that Biden will be sent to a nice farm upstate where he can run free.
This is Arizona, not a Disney Ride
Statehood for DC?
It is time to admit that the District of Columbia should be reincorporated into the State of Maryland. It was never intended to be a major political body with a large population. Territorially and geographically making it a state makes about as much sense as making San Francisco or any other large metropolitan area a state. The federal buildings, the Mall, and monuments, and other federal property can remain in federal hands. There is no compelling reason to allow the other areas to have a special status.
In the Central and Eastern United States, earthquakes are felt over a broader area than comparable-size quakes in the Western United States because of differences in geology. Although only of magnitude 6, the earthquake that occurred near Saint Louis in 1895 affected a larger area than the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge, California, quake, which caused $40 billion in damage and economic losses and killed 67 people. A repeat of the 1895 earthquake could prove disastrous for the Midwest, where structures are not as earthquake resistant as those in California.
Chart showing which countries support or oppose a proposal to suspend patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines during the pandemic. Nobody should be shocked at the results.
Camperfixer cited this article yesterday in his comments. (Forbes) The article is worth a read. Under the Administration’s push, the new ruling would allow warrantless entry into any home at any time “for the safety” of the inhabitants, to seize firearms.
It would lead to civil war and nobody would win, but the democrats don’t really care.
Twenty Years Later – Where do we stand?
The New SSGN
SSGN is a designation given to submarines whose mission it is to launch a lot of cruise missiles. From 2002 to 2008, the U.S. Navy modified the four oldest Ohio-class submarines: Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Georgia into SSGNs. The conversion was achieved by installing vertical launching systems (VLS) in a multiple all-up-round canister (MAC) configuration in 22 of the 24 missile tubes, replacing one Trident missile with 7 smaller Tomahawk cruise missiles. The 2 remaining tubes were converted to lockout chambers for use by special forces personnel. This gave each converted submarine the capability to carry up to 154 Tomahawks. The large diameter tubes can also be modified to carry and launch other payloads, such as UAVs or UUVs although these capabilities have not yet been fully implemented. These submarines are due to head down the path to decommissioning soon as their service life is ending.
I hadn’t heard what the Navy planned to do to replace them – until now. The 10th Block V Virginia-class submarine will include the Virginia Payload Module, an 84-foot section of the boat that will serve as an undersea vertical launcher for missiles.
The modern Virginia-class subs coming off the lines can hold 12 Tomahawk missiles in a launcher on the bow. With the payload module section added amidships, each of the Virginia Payload Modules on the Block Vs will have the capacity for 40 cruise missiles. In total, eight of the 10 boats in Block V will have the module.
With advancements in hypersonic missile technology, Virginia’s larger launcher will be well suited to host them once they are deployable. The Virginia subs will also host the new version of the anti-ship Maritime Strike Tomahawk, part of the Block V upgrade that will begin being delivered to the service next week.