Col. Lang sends his greetings as he recovers from an illness and is regaining strength. In the interim he has asked TTG and Harper to moderate the site.

Commenting on the recent incident involving the Chinese surveillance balloon that traversed North America for eight days, Col. Lang mentioned his own decades of experience training divers. The fact that the balloon was shot down in shallow waters (average 50 feet deep) makes it likely that much of the surveillance equipment will be salvaged and can be analyzed, giving the US an intelligence windfall. In his view, the Biden Administration “did not do too bad” in managing the incident. Unless some self-destruct systems were built into the surveillance devices, the USIC will learn in some detail what the Chinese were attempting to learn about US military infrastructure.

Another equally senior retired military official I spoke with viewed the incident as serious but overblown. He was skeptical that the spy balloon was approved at the Xi Jinping level and noted this raises questions about China’s command and control. Who allowed this risky operation to be launched on the eve of an important US-China diplomatic meeting? Whether it was a serious lack of coordination or an effort by hardliners in the PLA to sabotage the planned Blinken visit (shades of the U-2 incident?) it suggests a poor degree of command and control at the top of the Chinese party/state.

This man’s view is that Xi Jinping’s biggest problem today is getting the Chinese economy back on track after the disastrous Zero COVID policy and the resulting public protests. China’s economy is still export-driven and with Europe in a recession, trade with the US is critical to Xi’s domestic standing and his ability to restore Chinese economic growth.

The Pentagon’s worst-case standards clearly overestimated the caliber of the Russian military, and perhaps the same is true for the Chinese, who have not fought a war since 1979, when they did poorly in their brief invasion of Vietnam. Exercises are always impressive, but actual combat is a different thing altogether. Defense spending is built on a credible threat and an enemy image that guarantees Congressional budget support. The Soviet Union, he noted, fit that requirement for half a century, but even with the Russian nuclear arsenal, it no longer carries sufficient weight as an enemy. China fits the bill perfectly, and bipartisan consensus on the China threat is driving defense spending.

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  1. Michael D'Angelo says:

    Good morning Harper, TTG and Col. Lang.

    I appreciate your analysis on the many issues facing our country.
    If I may ask a somewhat naive question – if Xi and China depend on U.S. trade to keep their economy on track, what is the upside to them of a potential conflict with the U.S.? Certainly if the U.S. and China fight, say over Taiwan, trade will cease. Politically, after all these years, is Taiwan, or Western Pacific dominance, worth it to China?

    • Harper says:

      You raise an important question. Leaving aside the hardline anti-China rhetoric in the MSM, it remains an open question whether China’s objective of emerging as a dominant global power under an altered global system is powerful enough for them to jeopardize their fundamental interests in maintaining levels of economic growth that remain the driver of the global economy. During the long period of Deng Xiaoping’s focus on economic expansion under the banner of “China’s peaceful rise,” there was expectation that as the Chinese middle class grew, the country, while remaining under CPC domination, would “democratize.” That naive presumption was abandoned starting just before Xi Jinping came to power. But despite the “wolf warrior” hardline rhetoric from China in the run up to the 20th Party Congress last year and Xi’s consolidation of a third term in power, US-China trade remained higher than ever before. In fact, US-China bilateral trade expanded every one of the four years Trump was President and continued under the first two years of President Biden. There is, in effect, an economic version of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) between the US and China if there was a serious decoupling. Even the crackdown on the IT sector and Chinese social media intrusions (Tik Tok and Huawei) is but a tiny fraction of bilateral trade. So China might like to try to have it both ways, but that is not going to likely happen under the changed mood in Washington. And Xi Jinping’s continuing embrace of Putin and growing evidence of Chinese covert support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine is going to further push the anti-China mood in Congress. On Taiwan, 2024 is election year in Taiwan, and there is a growing chance that the KMT will win the next election, dampening momentum towards declaration of independence. That likely means the Chinese will wait to see that outcome before deciding on what course of action to take on Taiwan. For now, economics still appears to trump imperial ambitions.

      • Leith says:

        Harper –

        I’ve long suspected and wondered about Chinese covert support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

        Can you give us some sources on the “growing evidence” you mention? What does that support consist of?

  2. Babeltuap says:

    Salute to Col. Lang on a strong recovery. End of the day CCP has balloons. We have an X-37B space plane that does its thing for a couple years or more that nobody has retrieved. Way overblown is an understatement.

    • TTG says:


      Damned good point about our space plane. This Chinese balloon is just something that literally flew under our radar for years. Now that we know this is a thing, we’ll develop a countermeasure. We may not even have to develop the countermeasure, just apply one we already have. These balloons pale in comparison to the Titan Rain cyber attacks of the early 2000s and the astoundingly massive GAO data breach that came later.

  3. Whitewall says:

    Glad to here the Colonel is improving. In his absence, TTG has been doing yeoman like duty….I swear he must have four hands and two brains working together to have managed the amount of content he has handled. Many thanks!

    • Bill Roche says:

      Yup, I second that. Here’s a cheer to Pat Lang’s recovery and a thanks (again) for the Twisted Genius handling the site while the Col. has been sitting out. TTG, you do a good job moderating while still getting your two cents in. Well done.

  4. Sam says:


    While exports and domestic infrastructure investment are the engines of China’s economy, the US is completely dependent on the Chinese for huge swathes of goods. I believe some 90% of pharmaceutical APIs that the US consumes is manufactured in China for example. I’m certain even in military equipment components we are dependent on Chinese manufacturing. There appears to be no concerted effort to decouple and reshore manufacturing.

    Trump raised tariffs on Chinese goods, however the trade deficit with China grew in each year of his presidency and that continues even today. Wall St and corporate America are totally in on backing CCP. The CCP have bought pretty much all elite institutions including academia, think-tanks, Wall St, corporate America and politicians from both parties. Their domestic intelligence gathering is on steroids.

    The CCP have also been ramping up defense spending and the quantities of materiel they are producing far outstrips us even with a much smaller defense spend. The value we get from our $800 billion annual defense budget is rather small as our cost structures with all the siphoning for various constituencies is rather large.

    It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that the CCP is the elephant in the room on a collision course with us. What will change in the short term to amp up our preparedness?

  5. EZSmirkzz says:

    The first thing that came to mind for me was an article by Bruce Schneier ; https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/02/ais-as-computer-hackers.html

    The AIs were given 10 hours to find vulnerabilities to exploit against the other AIs in the competition and to patch themselves against exploitation. A system called Mayhem, created by a team of Carnegie-Mellon computer security researchers, won. The researchers have since commercialized the technology, which is now busily defending networks for customers like the U.S. Department of Defense.

    There was a traditional human–team capture-the-flag event at DEFCON that same year. Mayhem was invited to participate. It came in last overall, but it didn’t come in last in every category all of the time.

    I figured it was only a matter of time. It would be the same story we’ve seen in so many other areas of AI: the games of chess and go, X-ray and disease diagnostics, writing fake news. AIs would improve every year because all of the core technologies are continually improving. Humans would largely stay the same because we remain humans even as our tools improve. Eventually, the AIs would routinely beat the humans. I guessed that it would take about a decade.

    But now, five years later, I have no idea if that prediction is still on track. Inexplicably, DARPA never repeated the event. Research on the individual components of the software vulnerability lifecycle does continue. There’s an enormous amount of work being done on automatic vulnerability finding. Going through software code line by line is exactly the sort of tedious problem at which machine learning systems excel, if they can only be taught how to recognize a vulnerability. There is also work on automatic vulnerability exploitation and lots on automatic update and patching. Still, there is something uniquely powerful about a competition that puts all of the components together and tests them against others.

    To see that in action, you have to go to China. Since 2017, China has held at least seven of these competitions—called Robot Hacking Games—many with multiple qualifying rounds. The first included one team each from the United States, Russia, and Ukraine. The rest have been Chinese only: teams from Chinese universities, teams from companies like Baidu and Tencent, teams from the military. Rules seem to vary. Sometimes human–AI hybrid teams compete.

    Details of these events are few. They’re Chinese language only, which naturally limits what the West knows about them. I didn’t even know they existed until Dakota Cary, a research analyst at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology and a Chinese speaker, wrote a report about them a few months ago. And they’re increasingly hosted by the People’s Liberation Army, which presumably controls how much detail becomes public.

    Not my wheelhouse, but Mr. Schneier is probably worth keeping tabs on for the IC. He’s a sharp cookie.


    The penetration of government and corporate networks worldwide is the result of inadequate cyberdefenses across the board. The lessons are many, but I want to focus on one important one we’ve learned: the software that’s managing our critical networks isn’t secure, and that’s because the market doesn’t reward that security.

    SolarWinds is a perfect example. The company was the initial infection vector for much of the operation. Its trusted position inside so many critical networks made it a perfect target for a supply-chain attack, and its shoddy security practices made it an easy target.

    As to the Colonel’s latest book I hope that Turtle Island and Eustace were spared.

    Get feeling better Colonel.

  6. Sam says:

    State Department says airship was capable of monitoring and pinpointing ‘communications’ – as new photos show FBI recovering debris from deep in the Atlantic


    Curious why State Dept is making findings know to the public?

    • TTG says:


      The State Department briefed 40 countries that are affected by this Chinese intel program. They probably have prepared unclassified briefings that are easier to share publicly than anything the FBI or IC have.

  7. Do adversaries drive defense spending, or does it go deeper?
    The Federal debt has been growing since the New Deal, so not only was Roosevelt putting unemployed labor back to work, but unemployed capital, as well. Then WW2 came along as the greatest public works project in American history.
    While we might think of money as a commodity to mine from the economy, it functions as a contract and to store the asset side of the ledger, you need a debt.
    I remember the election of 92, after four years of Bush Sr. going on about deficit spending, talking about the line item veto, etc, than Ross Perot comments that while everyone plays the markets, the really rich have their real money in bonds. To which my head went Whaaa? It seems the secret sauce of capitalism is public debt backing private wealth.
    Michael Hudson wrote a book some years ago, called; Forgive Them Their Debts; The Fall of Antiquity. About the conflict between political systems trying to hold countries together, versus the wealthy using the feedback loop of compound interest, among with other forms of leverage, to suck them dry. One of the circuit breakers being debt jubilees.
    It seems we are currently stuck in the same rut. Which would mean it is not so much the MIC driving defense spending, so much as it is one way to burn off this debt, so more could be borrowed.
    Government, as executive and regulatory function, is the central nervous system of society, while money and banking are the blood and circulation system. When you have public government and private banking, the banks rule, if only because they control the finances of anyone attempting to run for office. So it would seem the only job the flunkies allowed in office really have, is running up the debt the banks need to function.
    The problem this creates, is government is the decision making function, so neutering it and leaving the banks in charge, whose only real goal is to monetize everything, is to leave the appetite in control, so the dynamic has all the strategic aptitude of bacteria racing across a petri dish.
    It seems any real statesmanship faded out by a generation ago and now the stage actors have been replaced by psychopaths, who seem to have no problem driving the world toward nuclear war, because it serves their egos. They have enormous power, but no real judgement or moral authority. It’s like leaving delinquent children with matches and gasoline to entertain themselves.
    So where do we go from here? If the dollar implodes and the bottom drops out, before WW3 starts, then the states will have to start issuing their own currencies and foreign policy goes to be between Texas and California, etc, not the US and the rest.
    If we do have WW3, personally I’m hoping the wind is blowing due East, on the day it occurs, given I live about 65 miles north of DC.
    On a more abstract note, either we move onto public banking, given that if the medium enabling markets is privately held, we are all tenant farmers to the banks, or we will have to go back to some form of private government, as Russia and China have done, to control the oligarchs, with Putin and Xi, as respective CEO’s.

    • TTG says:

      John Merryman,

      Perceptions of adversaries are used to drive defense spending. Reagan had DIA publish the glossy annual “Soviet Military Power” books to push the need for more defense spending. Now DIA publishes the annual “Russian Military Power.”

      • TTG,
        There has to be some narrative. Cause requiring effect.
        Though as someone with extensive knowledge of military history, do you know if there has there ever been a time in history when the amount of misadventures this country have been subjected to, at least for the last 20 years, wouldn’t have had those responsible being punished? Likely terminally.
        We beat the crap out of Iraq, after supporting them in the Iran, Iraq wars, then essentially handed the country off to the Iranians. Where were the strategists in that?
        We spent billions blowing up villagers in Afghanistan, then handed the country over to a movement that grew out of their system of village councils. Who dreamed that up?
        Was the actual purpose to win anything, or was it just to spend money?
        Now we are betting the farm that Russia will turn round and bend over. Given it’s being planned out by the same clowns that dreamed up the last two, I don’t know I’m that confident it will succeed.

        • TTG says:

          John Merryman,

          The first Gulf War started with Iraq invading Kuwait. Our war in Afghanistan began as a pure act of vengeance. So invasions and unprovoked surprise attacks do lead to unforeseen consequences for the perpetrators of such invasions and attacks. Putin should have taken notes.

          Then the DC brain trust at the time got enamored with the idea of remaking the entire Mideast in their image. The second Gulf War was all about that. So was the futile 20 years of farcical nation building in Afghanistan. There’s lessons to be learned by all there.

          I don’t think any of that had much to do with the idea of making or spending money.

          • The first gulf war was because Saddam was broke after the Iran Iraq wars, so he asked Washington if he could take Kuwait to pay some bills and whatever woman it was in charge of that department said, whatever.
            Then the Saudis freaked out, so Bush Sr. had to do something and with all those war toys, it was a blast. Then it wasn’t much trouble for Cheney to talk Bush Jr. into following in his father’s footsteps.
            Personally I’m waiting for Seymour Hersh’s story on 9/11. Way too many loose threads on that one. Like how did Building 7 fall at free fall rate, because of a fire in the basement?
            Stories will come out, over time.

          • blue peacock says:


            In retrospect, wouldn’t it have been better if the secular Saddam took over Kuwait and then have a shot at taking Saudi Arabia next?

            We wouldn’t have had the jihadi problem and the Iranian theocracy would have been held in check. Iraq became a rather modern Arab society under his tyrannical rule which swept away old religious and other tribalisms.

          • TTG says:

            blue Peacock,

            Could be. I think we were still too butthurt about the Iran hostage crisis and addicted to Saudi oil to think straight about Iraq.

          • How much of the jihadi problem is our intelligence agencies using them as shock troops, starting with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 70’s?
            As I recall, the term “blowback” was originally born of similar situations.
            The problem with the tough guys is their brains don’t work at the strategic level.

          • TTG says:

            John Merryman,

            Bin Laden did not found al Qaeda until 1988, after the Soviets left Afghanistan and we stopped supporting mujahideen fighters. Some of those mujahideen fighters probably did end up in al Qaeda. The bigger problem was our materiel and training support to “good” jihadis in Syria. There’s no way to put a good face on that one.

          • True. I fudged that. He set up his own company, after being laid off.
            You are being quite realistic about the issues we have created in the Middle East, how about Ukraine? I realize you are invested on one side of that, but objectively, what if the other side prevails?
            What will be the blowback from that? How many really pissed off, very well armed Ukrainians will be scattered around a cold, broke Europe? Not to mention all the other refugees, who have little hope in Europe and less going back home.
            Won’t that create the same sorts of issues, as in the Middle East?
            Then what about the US, if all those dollars mediating world trade start to find themselves homeless in much of Eurasia? If they start flowing home and bread goes to 20 a loaf, the problems will get real, even for the deep state.
            This might seem far fetched to anyone inside the current bubble, but as those weather balloons show, bubbles do pop easily.
            What if China, Russia and North Korea start trolling us with more balloons? Do we spend half a million shooting each one down, or admit it was the SOTU publicity?
            I think the blowback will go parabolic.

          • TTG says:

            John Merryman,

            If Russia wins, there will be plenty of blowback. Russia will face a generation, at least, of armed resistance. That resistance could spread into Belarus and perhaps into Russia itself. The Lithuanians actively resisted several NKVD divisions and Red Army formations until 1952. This was without any Western assistance. The Ukrainians will have Western assistance in their extended guerrilla war. The Ukrainian resistance will be far broader and bloodier than the Lithuanian resistance. The region will be in shambles, but so will Russia as it slowly bleeds to death. I wrote a paper on the Lithuanian resistance when I was in the SF course at Bragg. I posted it to the old SST site.


          • ” First, the resistance realized they misinterpreted international developments and the intentions of the West. They wrongly counted on support from Great Britain and the United States. It was impossible for an armed struggle to continue without outside support. Second, the Kremlin’s efforts to liquidate the resistance had taken its toll on the LFA. The resistance suffered well over 30,000 casualties including 90 percent of the LFA cadres. The once plentiful supply of arms and equipment was becoming depleted. Most importantly, the forced collectivization of farms removed most of the supply and intelligence base of the resistance.”

        • TTG,
          Big picture is, Russia has the energy resources and Europe doesn’t. That has significant political influence over time.
          Yes, there will be resistance movements, but where will they get support? The US basically shipped its industrial base to Asia and has been living the credit card for 40 years. Debt doesn’t matter, until it does.
          The most fanatic western movement are the Greens. Are they going to beat the Russians with windmills?
          I don’t take sides, I play odds. Show me some argument, beyond Zelensky=Churchill, Putin=Hitler.

          • TTG says:

            John Merryman,

            Sure Europe doesn’t have the energy resources, but Russia is not the world’s sole source of those energy resources. Europe adjusted remarkably quickly and by next winter, Europe will be in even better shape. Wind and solar is a small, but increasing part of that recovery. I was surprised to see these renewables rise far quicker than coal. I thought coal would have been the emergency fall back.

            European and American defense industries remain in the US and Europe and are doing fairly well. It is Russia and China who are dependent on the West for critical components for their arms industries. Keeping a large Ukrainian resistance effort going is logistical child’s play compared to the what the West is providing now. The limiting factor would be Western will.

          • We shall see. My focus tends to be on the US and the degrees to which financialization is proving cancerous. All the political corruption flowing from that will result in a serious changing of the guard and I suspect our focus will turn more inward, after decades of overseas misadventures.

          • Think through the implications of what you are saying.
            “Keeping a large Ukrainian resistance effort going is logistical child’s play compared to the what the West is providing now.”
            That this is not existential for Nato, or they would be putting in much more resources, including troops, but that it has always been about bleeding Russia. “A war to the last Ukrainian.”
            So what happens, if Russia takes most of Eastern Ukraine, many of whom will just go back to work and avoid politics like the plague, starts fixing up the country as a way to win the psychological battle, while Western Ukraine has to deal with the same corruption and disaster capitalism sucking it dry, like they have had for the last 30 years. Meanwhile Poland, Hungary, Romania bite off some chunks. What if the resistance is not just against the Russians, given the border between Western and Eastern Ukraine will be a brick wall, but against the West, who basically used them as a tethered goat, to bait the Russians?
            If someone egged you into a fight and just sat there and watched, would you be pissed?

          • Remember the jihadis. Just because we organize and fund them, doesn’t mean they don’t have a mind of their own, especially when we cut them loose.

      • As for Reagan, the story is that Volcker cured inflation by raising interest rates. Yet that squeezed money to those actually willing to go into debt to grow the economy, building houses, starting businesses, etc. While pouring extra interest into the hands of those with more money than they needed and could afford to just lend out. So how would that cure inflation? Logically it would have the opposite effect, of more money and less business.
        One main way the Fed does raise interest rates is to sell the debt it bought to issue the money in the first place and retire the money it gets. So what is the difference, if the Treasury just issues more debt? Not only does it suck excess money out of the economy, but it gets spent in ways the private sector never would, like welfare and warfare. Neither of which have any investment potential, but both of which create more business opportunities.
        It should be noted that when Reagan tried cutting welfare in 86, one of the most influential lobbyists against it was Archer, Daniels, Midland, the food conglomerate. Given the money eventually ended up in their pockets.
        So considering inflation only started to come under control by 82, by which time the deficit hit 200 billion, which was real money in those days, it would seem logical curing inflation was more a consequence of deficit spending and that was the real driver of increased defense spending.

        • Harper says:


          One of the consequences of the Volker interest rate response to the inflation of the Carter/Reagan period was that American corporations no longer able to invest in productive activities in the US began to take their business to China. Remember that the US and China normalized diplomatic relations in January 1979 when Deng Xiaoping came to Washington making it clear China was prepared to open the doors to American business offering cheap labor, tariff and tax benefits in the new Special Economic Zones, etc. Volcker high interest rates made this an offer too good to refuse, and so the outsourcing of American manufacturing accelerated well beyond what was already happening.

          The other big event in early 1979 was the Iranian Revolution, which resulted in the US losing all monitoring stations in northern Iran on Soviet military operations. As part of the US-China “normalization,” China gave permission for the US to place those monitoring stations in China along the then-lengthy China-Soviet border.

          The consequences of the Volcker interest rate spike damaged the US productive economy greatly. Farmers went bankrupt and the big agricultural cartels expanded their consolidation, eliminating family farms in favor of their brand of collectivization.

          The Fed today, I believe, is making an even bigger mistake. The current inflation is the consequence of the pandemic disruption of global supply chains, a problem that will not be solved by higher interest rates. The repatriation/reshoring/friendshoring of production out of China will be more costly with the higher rates, developing sector countries with currencies and debt pegged to the US Dollar will be facing defaults this year, as well as economic slowdown or worse. The energy price spike is also not your typical inflation, but a consequence of energy geopolitics (Russia and China courting Saudi Arabia while making longterm deals with Iran) and the attempt by the OPEC+ countries to make up for the revenue losses at the start of the pandemic when global consumption fell by over 20 percent and oil prices fell to below $20 a barrel for a period of time.

          If you are going to try to solve “inflation,” a good starting point would be to honestly assess the causes and go from there. This is not some cyclical inflation issue which the old central bank tricks can solve.

          • Fred says:


            How on earth do Russia and China control US regulations on domestic oil exploration, drilling, and refining? You also left out US and EU sanctions on Russia.

          • Sam says:


            The Fed has been a prime factor in the growing wealth inequality also. They have favored Wall St financial interests over the real productive economy. This has led to the financialization of the US economy with the concomitant primacy of financial engineering by corporate management rather than capital investment. Consequently we have seen the largest concentration in market power in the history of America in practically every market segment. And the use of most corporate capital, primarily leverage for stock buybacks and M&A. The results have been to enrich corporate management and Wall St institutions like PE firms, hedge funds and investment banks.

            Financial speculation has also been rewarded as speculative gains are privatized while speculative losses are socialized. From LTCM to the GFC the Fed has stepped in to bailout the speculative losses of Wall St by printing money. This inflation in financial assets always benefited those closest to the liquidity gusher. Take a look at the Assets Under Management of Blackrock, et al. Does anyone in America know that Blackrock is the single largest owner of residential housing stock?

            What we have going for us is the unprecedented innovation in technology from AI to biotechnology.

            Until and unless we change our financial priorities where capital investment in productivity and capacity domestically from infrastructure to manufacturing is rewarded and financial speculation is not, we will continue to harvest the consequences of the past several decades.

            Politically the American people need to wake up that the 99% are being sacrificed at the altar of unprecedented greed and power of the 0.1%. Only then will the dysfunction of the duopoly where rhetoric trumps the collusion by both parties and the media, governmental and corporate financial elites to sustain the current framework that has brought them unprecedented wealth and power change. The onus is on us – the bottom 99%!

          • Fully agree.
            I think the problem goes much deeper into the culture, than just the economic effect.
            People see money as a signal, a commodity, to mine from the economy, while markets need it to circulate. So Econ 101 says money is both medium of exchange and store of value, but consider that in the body, blood is the medium, while fat, as well as bone and muscle are stores.
            As a medium it functions as a public utility, like roads. It’s not your picture on it, you don’t hold the copyrights and are not responsible for its value, like a personal check. Basically we own money like we own the section of road we are using, or the air and water flowing through our bodies.
            Yet the belief system of capitalism views the bottom line as sacrosanct. Everything gets monetized and the banks rule. It’s like the heart telling the hands and feet they don’t need so much blood and should work harder for what they do get. Safe to say, the whole system dies.
            Yet the only alternative is presumably socialism, but that doesn’t work, because it still assumes there is some bottomline value, just that some authority should regulate its distribution.
            The fact is that reality is more binary, than monolithic. There are always two poles to every spectrum and the healthy balance is fluctuating somewhere in the middle.
            I could go on, but I find most people are not that interested in the conceptual and prefer sticking to their tribal and partisan roles.
            Though if you are, I posted a link to a recent medium article as my website.

        • blue peacock says:


          You’re spot on. We have incentivized financial speculation at the expense of making things, building out modern infrastructure and delivering services more cost-effectively driving productivity. The financialization of our economy can be seen in the stagnation of productivity growth these past decades.

          Of course it is a very narrow class with first access to the Fed’s liquidity that have benefited disproportionately. Trickle down did not work, in fact, the opposite happened as the middle class jobs were offshored to China and elsewhere and our industrial base was dismantled.

          It is high time that we reversed these policies, starting with the break-up of the oligopolies in each market segment to create a much more competitive market. And ending the Fed’s role in financial market manipulation. The Fed’s role should be greatly simplified to just one role – maintaining a sound currency, measured against a basket of goods & services that are a necessity for the average American. None of these hedonic and other adjustments. Of course that would have massive opposition from the entrenched financial interests, but they need to be tamed just as Congress did in the 30s to reverse market concentration & manipulation.

      • Fred says:


        What do they put out regarding China?

  8. Sam says:

    One of the biggest mistakes the US has made under Trump and Biden is focus the China fight in Berlin rather than Ho Chi Minh City. East and South East Asia is the battleground and filled with states that want us to be more involved in the region and we are just ignoring them


    I have read so many articles expressing deep concern about CCP intelligence and military activity by Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, S.Korea, Philippines, India, etc. in the past couple years. With Xi’s return to Maoism, it appears the probability of military action in Asia is rising. Are the US elites prepared? They’ve been on CCP payroll for a good long time.

  9. blue peacock says:

    Amazing that the media was so caught up with the CCP balloon over the US. Yeah, it is “much ado about something”.

    The extent of CCP espionage and influence operations is staggering. Heck, they downloaded the entire Office of Personnel Management database. They have infiltrated practically everywhere and their influence operations spans US corporations, academia and both political parties. And it doesn’t seem we are doing much about all this. At least we haven’t for many years, maybe even decades.

    • TTG says:

      blue peacock,

      The balloon was a simple, telegenic story that played well to those who now live in a state of high dudgeon about anything or nothing. You’re right about the extent of CCP espionage and influence operations, but that story requires too much attention to detail and thinking to truly excite the easily excitable.

    • Fred says:


      Trump at least tried, but then there was all that “Russia Collusion” we heard about from the usual suspects.

  10. Mike C says:

    Best wishes to our host for a speedy recovery! TTG and Harper, thank you for keeping things rolling.

    Since the Chinese seem to want open skies, maybe we should take them up on their implicit offer. Why not? They can fly around looking at what they like, and we’ll reciprocate. There is some possibility it could lower tensions.

    I believe the chance of that actually happening is quite low, in which case I’d like to see us start taking their spy toys intact. That could be a hell of a technical hill to climb but it’s the sort of thing that gets engineers fired up, and we could use some of that.

  11. Personanongrata says:


    The SOMETHING you refer to is best labeled:

    Hyperbolic horse cocky!

    Why on Earth would China use an unguided balloon that is completely at the mercy of prevailing jet stream patterns which are constantly changing and difficult to forecast to conduct surveillance?

    Italicized/bold text was excerpted from the website scijinks.gov:

    What Is the Jet Stream?

    Monitoring jet streams can help meteorologists determine where weather systems will move next. But jet streams are also a bit unpredictable. Their paths can change, taking storms in unexpected directions.


    Why would China use a wayward balloon to conduct surveillance when the Chinese Ministry of National Defense has hundreds of LEO (low Earth orbit), HEO (higly elliptic orbit) & geostationary satellites conducting surveillance right now?


    The emotionally overwrought US response to this “surveillance” nothing-burger (one of many psychological warfare operations conducted against unsuspecting/ignorant Americans) reflects very poorly upon Americans as a whole.

    It is quite ironic that a nation (ie US) that conducts daily global SIGINT operations via ground based stations, ship, submarine, airborne and satellite would work itself into such a lather (turnabout is fair play).

    It is also quite illuminating as to how far we as a nation have fallen.

    When knee-jerk push button emotional response replaces sober fact based analysis avoidable disaster of epic proportion is nigh.

    • Fred says:


      For a paltry sum the Chinese government has been able to drive the narrative from before Biden’s SOTU to now. They’ve also managed to expose the professional capabilities, or lack thereof, of a number of our federal agencies.

      • Whitewall says:

        “You also left out US and EU sanctions on Russia”. Have those sanctions even worked as hoped or have they just chipped around the edges? I can’t tell for sure. Maybe their effect is gradual.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Your right! So we should have shot it down as soon as it hit our air space and been done w/it. If the Chinese did it again, we shoot it down again. As you say no knee-jerk emotional response, just shoot the fcker down.

      • Whitewall says:

        Speaking of just ‘shoot the mf-er down’, that would have been in Aluetian waters if I understand and they are rough especially in winter. I wonder if the remnants of that infernal balloon would be so easy to capture, if at all, there as opposed to the place it did land?

        • Bill Roche says:

          No doubt the Beiring Strait is no place to be in February. But think about the direct, clear, message it sends to our Chinese friends. You send ship into our airspace, we blow it out of the sky. Every time. Simple to understand. And what if we catch a Chinese sub under the Golden Gate Bridge? Any questions.

          • TTG says:

            Bill Roche,

            Or we can send the message that if you send a balloon in our airspace, we’ll feed you bullshit signals and then take your balloon. Now that know we can spot and track them, their value as an intel collection platform drops to near zero.

          • Fred says:


            So the administration had everyone stop their normal communications and then broadcast dummy comms at the not spying balloon, which couldn’t be shot down because first it was nothing, then dangerous to do over land, now dear leaders DOD is really brilliant and well coordinated. At least we aren’t short of this kind of fertilizer.

          • TTG says:


            This shouldn’t be that hard a concept to grasp. It’s called deception operations. We’ve used dummy radio traffic and more to deceive our enemies since at least WWII. In this case, there was no need to do anything that elaborate. All that was needed was to cease sensitive communications and activities at sensitive sites while the balloon was overhead. We do that for our missile tests and certain other activities when enemy surveillance satellites and ships are in the area. We know air traffic was temporarily shut down at three airports as the balloon passed by.

          • Fred says:


            I do understand the concept, I’m just not believing that the US government has plans in place domesticly to immediately put into place a switch in comms because of a balloon, which had four or five excuses as to why it was allowed the fly over the continental US before being shot down before you put out this idea. Of course is was all a brilliant move by the DOD in conjuction with the FAA shutting down the airports.

            This being the same government whose employees were a part of the fraudulent Russia Collusion op started by the Clinton campaign. But tell me more.

          • TTG says:


            I’ve read several stories that mentioned measures were taken to protect sensitive sites. All it would take is a message from the Pentagon or NORAD to those sensitive sites telling them that a a potential surveillance craft will be overhead at such and such a time. Cease use of specific systems or transmissions over specified systems until further notice. The message would list the systems and transmissions to be stopped. This could be all accomplished in a matter of hours if not minutes. It’s common sense. We had days of warning and were tracking the balloon… this time. If you’re truly set on getting your panties in a wad, you should consider the times we were clueless about these balloon overflights.

          • Leith says:

            Fred –

            It was SOP back in my day whenever a Soviet collection system was overhead or in a “trawler” offshore of a sensitive base or ship.

          • Fred says:


            This is the same DOD that created the Afghan armed forces and performed the withdrawl from Kabul with consumate skill. The same ones who said the Russians weren’t going to invade Ukraine, and if they did would kick Ukraine’s ass in a few weeks. But by all means when Hamilton68 puts out his memo saying “change your communications, the Chinese communists are going to do a nationwide flyover and we are going to let them.” everyone just pulls out the “PSYOP” manual to see what they should be telling those who will be listening. I won’t bother asking why they aren’t doing that for the latest one (it got shoot down) or why our great Canadian allies couldn’t follow suit rathing than shooting something down instead of letting it complete a nationwide float-over.


            ‘back in my day’….. the USSR collapsed long ago and if you have paid any attention lately the quality of the USN is nothing like it was in the 1980s or prior.

        • TTG says:

          Bill and Whitewall,

          In intelligence operations, we don’t always dismantle an opposition’s operation as soon as it is discovered. We let it run and gather intel on that operation while being able to mitigate any potential damage. We can even feed deceptive material into the opposition’s operation. That’s what happened with this balloon. We knew where it was and what it was doing. As an intel op, it had little to no value to the Chinese at that point. The only difference was that the Chinese knew that we knew, so we couldn’t really feed deceptive signals to the balloon.

          • Bill Roche says:

            Young man that you are, you probably missed the Mad Magazine issue on that very subject. The question is did the Chinese know that we knew that they knew? OK, a little joke. I suspect most on this site agree w/your take. You’d have to think members of both parties knew this also. But what did they do? Grand stand everyone; camera time, Sunday talk shows. Was a time when this sort of stuff was, by agreement, off limits to both parties. But I wonder if the Chinese learned that we moved our missiles from Montana to Newport News?

  12. drifter says:

    C’mon man! The balloon payload has the “dimensions” of a “regional jet airliner” flying at 60k feet. Our military overlooked several dozen flights in the past decade including 5 that brushed against US territories.

    I trust that the US Govt. has significant capabilities. Abilities is another matter.

    • Bill Roche says:

      drifter: I don’t know but I don’t think this is a question of capabilities. It is a question of nerve. I d/n believe “we missed it”. I believe we d/n have the nerve to protect our own air space.

  13. TV says:

    Either the massive/bloated “woke” military has a big gap in “domain awareness” or the VERY important brass is asleep at the switch.
    In any case, the military that hasn’t won a war since 1945 continues to stumble and bumble.

  14. jim ticehurst.. says:

    It Seems to me That the Military/Industrial/Intelligence Complex Began Manipulating The Political COMPLEXES in Many Nations Before During and After WW2..
    Wars Over George Patton…And Douglas McArthur..Were “RETIRED”

    Especially for Europe and the United States With Covert/Overt Co Operation With The Soviet Socialist Republic Getting Everything They Wanted..OSS ..English T..
    Isnt That Right…Mr. Bond…Revolving Doors..Back Doors..Dead Drops..& Agents..
    When You Needed To Infiltrate Your Up..Up and Down The Chain..
    THEY Won the War..And They…Like China NOW…Infiltrated All Levels of American and European Governments.. They Have Still Done Vast Damage to CIA/FBI..Opoerations..
    Aldric Ames…Robert Hanssen…And Cuban Operators..

    Old German Soldiers have a Saying….”The Americans Butchered the Wrong Pig”

    The Chinese were Smart…They Began Pushing The USSR Back to thier Turf only in Europe…Middle East ..Limited…But The Deal Making Began…With…
    “Bucks…Bricks…Bribes…And Control..of World Resources..Globally..
    The Whole World…Including the USA ..BUY…BRIBE..OWN..OPERATE..SPY

    Thank You Richard Nixon..and Henry…K. The Careless One..With A Taste
    For The Orient Opium and Spices..Diamonds and Gold (Fingers) Then They
    Took HIM Down. The DOGS of WAR…and Principalitys..Powers..and Dark
    Places…The ONES on the INSIDE….. Not on the Outside..Wondering if they
    are “guessing” Right…..I suspect I Heard Right Once..”The Truth would scare the Shit out of You…”

    • Fred says:


      H.W. Bush watched Tianamen Square and certainly saw the aftermath photos of the dead. He then punished the Chinese how? What did Clinton do in his first term? But by all means Nixon deserves to be ….

      • jim ticehurst.. says:


        My Point was…Ironic that President Nixon..The Hater of
        Russian Communism…Would Go to China…With a “DREAM”
        of Turning China Into a Developed Capitalist state .and
        Making Russia…Which had just helped China Develop Nuclear Bombs (1964-1974) a Weaker Nation…In Reality..Russia already Got Nervous..

        Its Sad For Nixon..In Reality…Because of His Efforts..We went off the Gold Standard…We Now are 32 Trillion Dollars in Debt..
        Nixon Created a Communist Super Power And Funded It..
        And Fully Developed all its R AND D..And Grew its Military Industrial.. Complex…

        All Presidents after Nixon..(Who was taken Down by Those He
        Opposed the Most) Continued To Play into the CCP Hands..Yes..Bush..Saw Tianamen Events..and The Purging by The CCP of Moderate Leadership ..And Revealed The CCP
        And Not Moderate Policys would Always Control China…

        It Went on and On..Through Regan..Russia..germany..Clinton..
        Obamas own “Open Doors” Policys..Giving China Free Access
        to All They Wanted..Diversions..Smirks..Smiles..All OPEN..
        And We sold Them America..Its Youth..Its People.Its
        Constitution…Its Freedom..Its Protection..

        Tell me All the Good Things that Came out of Nixons Foreign Policys. And many Other State Department…CFR..NSA..
        Three Letter .Directed / Manipulated Events.. Swamps

        • jim ticehurst.. says:

          That was Meant to Be the NSC…and
          State Dept Those with European Roots…Not NSA..

        • Bill Roche says:

          JT, Nixon/Kissinger idea of opening up China was a flop. In Hindsight! Hey, in hindsight, I’m not very good looking after all! But Nixon and Breshnev should both get credit for Salt Talks. It was a genuine effort and needs to be done again.

  15. Al says:

    4th unidentified object shot down over Lake Huron this afternoon.

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