Open Thread – 15 September 2023

There’s so much going on here and abroad that I can’t keep up. Have at it. BTW, I have one of those speedy stitchers. They work well, but I prefer two threaded heavy needles criss-crossing from opposite sides.

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51 Responses to Open Thread – 15 September 2023

  1. Laura Wilson says:

    Government shutdown…does anyone know how this will affect us on a defense and national security level? I get how it affects civilians but have no clear idea of how such a situation affects our national security. I am hoping that some of you will know.

    • Fred says:


      LOL it will ensure a ‘deal’, i.e. raw deal for actual US citizens just like all the other times a ‘shutdown’ emergency was manufactured.

  2. Leith says:

    The great Russian author Leo Tolstoy, Pyotr’s great great grandfather, was sickened by the war he saw firsthand in the Crimean War. At the Battle of the Chornaya River where he served as an artillery officer and witnessed the wholesale slaughter of Russian Soldiers due to the incompetence of Russian commanders and their staff. He wrote his only poetry during or shortly after that battle:
    ”The top brass
    sat down to meet
    and pondered long;
    lined paper black
    but all forgot
    the deep ravine
    they had to cross!”

    Leo must be spinning in his grave after hearing of the foul words of genocide by his great great grandson.

    • Mark Logan says:


      I thought the news there is the Russian strategic objective is no longer the elimination of Ukraine. That cigar exploded, probably, a couple months in when it became undeniable the assumption of Ukrainian pacivity had been dead-nuts wrong. Now it seems to be something akin to Nixon’s “peace with honor” which was the BS cover for the fear that, if the US had just up and run from Vietnam, it would’ve been taken as a display of weakness, spawning wars elsewhere.

      Of course I be guessin’, but Leo’s grand kid is in a position to know Putin’s mind. If true this war is now about convincing others, like Tajikistan, Belarus, Georgia, et al that the Bear can not be safely ignored.

      • leith says:

        Mark Logan –

        Perhaps Pyotr knows what is inside Putin’s head? Or perhaps he is merely a tad histrionic because the three-day-SMO is now in its 569th day and is not going well for his tribe. So he bloviating his fantasy potions of a solution. Like many other politicians regardless of country. He should leave Moscow, put on a uniform, and go to the front like his great great grandfather.

        • Mark Logan says:


          I thought it likely because of his high rank and having always said the right things, so I suspect he’s trusted. His comment, at least the recent one I’m talking about, indicates Putin is open to a broad range of end-states, just about anything short of abject defeat.

  3. Keith Harbaugh says:

    I think Col. Lang would have appreciated this:

    VMI board votes to accept Confederate Memorial from Arlington National Cemetery
    The state military college’s board of visitors voted unanimously to accept Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s request to house the statue at its Civil War museum at New Market.

    Obviously, this is “divisive”.
    As are many other things.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      I heard talk of the removing that monument, but I thought it was just talk. I didn’t know it was already decided it was to be removed. Going to VMI is the best solution if that’s the case. It beats being dismantled and stored in some nondescript lot.

    • Fred says:


      I take solice in the fact that future generations will not be traumatized by the statue of Robert E. Lee’s horse.

  4. Fred says:

    No threading the needle here. Drywall work due to some cheap b@#@*** Under funding the HOA and patching problems with bandaids for years. On a bright note I get a new bathroom out of it.

    • TTG says:


      My first major remodeling project was redoing the master bath because the shower was failing. Whoever built it did not know how to build a waterproof shower. They used blue board rather than cement board. I also used a lot of Schluter Kerdi waterproofing membrane products and have had no problems for years now.

      • Fred says:


        This was a 35 y.o. cast iron pipe with a crack 3 foot long and what looked like an explosive breach in it. The guy one floor below took the brunt of the water damage. To add insult to injury the drain line in from his unit to the bottom floor had been replaced 7 years ago but the BOD decided to save money by not replacing all the entire section of piping.

        • TTG says:


          Damn. I was told a few years ago that cast iron pipes have a 30 year lifespan. Pretty much explains all the water pipe bursts all over DC. Don’t know what’s the lifespan of the plastic pipes used in our neighborhood.

  5. LeaNder says:

    I have a link for you, English Outsider. Actually two.

    In Germany, they are confiscating the cars of Russian travelers. Seems true. (Ok, maybe only those worth more than €50,000?) You have, of course, been aware for much longer now it’s almost 1933 again in Germany. Rechts, Links, Achtung! The woman below had to learn the hard way, thrown out of her car with her dogs in the middle of nowhere in a wood.

    Yes, they indeed seem to be doing this over here. Confiscating cars that is. One man from St. Petersburg managed to get his car back. The Berliner Zeitung reported linking to a Russian article. The Spiegel heard about it, possibly from the Russian embassy in Hamburg. The Finns are somewhat hesitant to enforce the regulations, the Berliner Zeitung has learned. Finland has not yet converted the EU regulations into Finnish law.

    In Russia, report after report seems to surface about travelers being robbed of all types of innocent things. Must be on the 2014 sanctions regulations list, covering close to everything, including bales of worn clothes. Crazy.

    Long introduction to an article by relentless yalensis on his awful avalanche. A heartbreaking story about a Russian lady’s extensive travels to avoid EU sanctions with her car on war day 568 and 569: A woman, the World Dog Show in Geneva, and four dogs award winning dogs. Or maybe only one of them. …

    Ukraine War Day #568: The Lady With The Dogs, Part I
    I flew out of St. Petersburg to Istanbul, then to Madrid, then to Munich, then to Helsinki. I had to do this torturous around-about way because Finland has blocked Russians from entering with tourist visas. Meanwhile, my 4 dogs were shipped separately, from St. Petersburg to Helsinki on a ferry boat, with assistance from a citizen of Czech Republic, who had filled out the paperwork to take my car over. I own a Mercedes V-Class with a trailer; I need all of that to cart my dogs, with all their accessories and equipment, around.”

    Once they were all together in Helsinki, Irina got behind the wheel of her “Dogmobile” as she calls it. The next part of their trip involved several ferryboats: Helsinki to Tallin; Tallin to Stockholm; Stockholm to Rostock. From there they used the German Autobahn to cover the 1500-kilometer distance across Eastern Germany and Austria, all the way to Geneva, Switzerland.

    Ukraine War Day #569: The Lady With The Dogs, Part II

    • English Outsider says:

      Hadn’t seen it, though I’m aware of other such cases of pettiness or worse both in England and in Germany. Poor Irina.

      As you know, LeaNder, I believe we in the West are in the wrong in this war. Particularly we in Europe. But even were we in the right, I’d have wished we hadn’t descended to this level. Glad she got home OK, and the dogs.

  6. Leith says:

    Chechen tyrant and Putin accomplice Ramzan Kadyrov in coma?

    There was on-line speculation several days ago that he had his personal physician buried alive due to suspicions he had been poisoned.

  7. drifter says:

    I always thought of MOA as a bunch of disgruntled fogies saying how things should be or should have been. SST is in the same category now.

  8. rick says:

    Is anyone still watching Tucker Carlson? I don’t lie, I could not stand the little prick when he was on PBS before he was popular. He was less of a simple troll back then, but his “condescending prick” character was well developed.
    I know he was popular among the Trumpist wing of the committee back in the day, and I am wondering if anyone still follows him. This is not an ambush, good for you if you do, I am just curious.

    • Laura Wilson says:

      No, never have watched him or anything on FOX. Oddly enough, not because of the politics…I don’t like FOX production values and find it all hard to watch. I don’t like the production values on soap operas either…the way they are filmed bothers me and I just can’t watch them.

      It’s the presentation not the message that gets to me!

    • KjHeart says:

      Rick – I only caught a few (a very few) of Tucker Carlson’s shows BEFORE he broke ties with the Murdoch’s.

      Since his move to X (formerly known and Twitter) I have actually seen more of Tucker, and that is a surprise to me.

      It does not matter to me ‘who’ is doing the reporting or interviews, It matters if that person (in this case Tucker) is asking questions that I would like to know the answers to, and/or covering events or people that I want to know more about.


  9. Gordon Reed says:

    In other news Barack Obama has made a heartfelt plea for aid for Libya after the flooding, after his and Hillarys regime change operation destroyed the country.

  10. leith says:

    Putin’s building up his stock of air launched cruise missiles. Perhaps to make another attempt to destroy the Ukrainian power grid?

    Will they apply lessons learned and start launching those cruise missiles in mass swarms? The West should have been sending more Patriots, Iris and other air defense systems instead of all those tanks they provided.

    • drifter says:

      leith –

      Russia can’t win this war by a clever tactic or stratagem. Their grand plan is to not lose. More likely than not, their plan will fail because it is a fundamentally passive strategy. I appreciate that your contributions in this forum are limited to what’s available in open sources.

      • TTG says:


        The grand plan, as it stands now, is to attrit Russian forces and their logistic capabilities while preserving their own forces as much as possible. You’re right about a purely passive strategy will never force the Russian out and the Russian defense is strong and competent enough to thwart any clever tactics.

      • leith says:

        Drifter –

        You’re right. There are no magic bullets. The only way this war can be won by either side is by the will of their people and the moxie of their troops.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Production realities cannot be overlooked in any sober (non-Kool Aid based) analysis. Russia is cranking out tanks, arty shells, etc faster than ever and far faster than NATO. NATO (including US) production base has been attrited by idiots within those respective governments.

          Then there is energy (gas, etc) and food, which Russia (+ Saudis and other BRICS curious nations) can weaponize against NATO. I’d call that a “magic bullet”, especially when combined with other building western economic woes.

          Russia also has a larger manpower base (i.e.demographics), something that used to weigh heavily is such analyses, but apparently has been dropped as a key factor since the SMO started and the lopsided discrepancy in favor of Russia became obvious. Always nice to be able erase old fashioned fundamentals when they become inconvenient to one’s fantasies, albeit at one’s own peril.

  11. F&L says:

    The US political class is so atrocious that a new vocabulary is needed to describe them.
    Let’s try:
    “In answer to your question, your honor – no, I wouldn’t exactly say that the defendant is bankrupt, he’s a bit farther gone than that.”

    You mean he stole everything in the Treasury, Federal Reserve and Fort Knox in addition to pauperizing his corporation, his relatives and ninety six percent of the human race?

    “Yes, something like that, Sir.”

    This excerpt reminds me of 911, particularly reading about how so many in the FBI and US intelligence were not only sure that something terrible was about to happen – they even knew who the people were and were tracking their every move. We’re living inside the mind of a Hollywood scriptwriter who is a lifelong cocaine and methamphetamines addict who in his final years is having a series of gender modification injections and surgeries.

    Retiring Senator Romney confirms Pentagon, Congress knew Trump planned violent coup days before January 6.
    Speaking with Romney, King relayed that an unnamed “high-ranking Pentagon official” confirmed to him that police agencies had been tracking, online, Trump paramilitaries who were planning on attacking Congress on January 6. Coppins wrote that King told Romney: “There’s talk of gun smuggling, of bombs and arson, of targeting the traitors in Congress who are responsible for this travesty,” by which King was referring to Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

    King told Romney his high-level Pentagon source had informed him that Romney’s name was circulating in right-wing circles on the internet and that he was not sure if “Romney will be safe.”

    Coppins wrote that after the call with King, Romney immediately sent a text to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    “In case you have not heard this,” Romney wrote to McConnell, “I just got a call from Angus King, who said that he had spoken with a senior official at the Pentagon who reports that they are seeing very disturbing social media traffic regarding the protests planned on the 6th. There are calls to burn down your home, Mitch; to smuggle guns into DC, and to storm the Capitol. I hope that sufficient security plans are in place, but I am concerned that the instigator—the President—is the one who commands the reinforcements the DC and Capitol police might require.”

    According to Romney, McConnell never replied to his text.

    None of the official investigations into the January 6 coup, including the multiple hearings held by the now defunct House January 6 Select Committee, made any mention of the fact that some 96 hours before the siege, leading members of the Senate, high-ranking Pentagon officials and police agents knew that Trump and his allies in the Pentagon would be blocking the dispatch of military reinforcements to defend Congress in the face of a fascist attack.

    Instead, both Democrats and Republicans have claimed that so-called “intelligence failures” led to the Capitol being overrun. In its final report, the bipartisan Select Committee sought to exonerate the Pentagon for refusing to authorize the deployment of the D.C. National Guard by ludicrously claiming “miscommunication” issues prevented D.C. troops from arriving at the Capitol for 199 minutes. The House committee was led by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and then-Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican daughter of Dick Cheney, vice president under George W. Bush and leading war criminal in the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

  12. d74 says:

    Armenia, it’s moving in and around.
    Enough to make a few thousand people unhappy.

    Against Azebaijan, it’s a losing game. The Azeris have 4 aces (Turkey, USA, Brussels and Israel) and Armenia, almost nothing.

    Nagorno-Karabakh is lost, what’s left of it. Nakhchivan will be linked to Azerbaijan, either by an extraterritorial corridor, or by seizing the Armenian territory between the two, some 30 km in length.
    This is the goal. It will take a few years. Sleeping democracies or those guided by suicidal real-politik should not get too excited…

    Iran has declared its opposition to any border changes in the Caucasus. But operations against the Azeris are unthinkable. It will take the fait accompli.

    All in all, Democracy will be taking a step backwards in the face of hyena-like countries.

  13. Fred says:

    “Returning to my muttons”. I’ll have to remember to use this line one day.

  14. Keith Harbaugh says:

    This is certainly thought-provoking:
    What happens after the kinetic forces seize military control of a country.
    What comes next?
    Who decides?

    As to Afghanistan, I think the problem was quite clear.
    Frminist forces in the U.S. had their ideas on what Afghanistan should be.
    Obviously, a lot of Afghan men disagreed.
    I memorably remember a photograph of then JCS Chairman Admiral William Crowe handing out textbooks in an Afghan school to Afghan girls.
    I thought: “Holy crow, is this what JCS chairman do?”

  15. Stefan says:

    NY Times is reporting that a recent attack on a market in Ukraine was actually a Ukrainian missile. Ukrainian leadership blamed it on “Russian terrorists” but as we all know things go wrong in war. It is important that the media works independent investigators on these events.

    We all saw the nonsense that was reported in the western media on Syria. They were not independent journalists, they were cheerleaders, supporting one side in the conflict. The same thing seems to be happening in Ukraine.

    We cannot count on the governments involved to be honest, we should at least be able to hope that media will try.

  16. Keith Harbaugh says:

    It seems to me this was a very significant address:

    “UN secretary-general warns of ‘Great Fracture’ as world leaders begin debate”

    United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of a looming “Great Fracture” in the world, describing existing global governance structures as failing to serve a changing world.

    Speaking before world leaders in the United Nations Assembly Hall on Tuesday, Guterres called for sweeping changes to multilateral institutions, including reforming the powerful Security Council at the heart of the United Nations, and redesigning global financial systems.

    The United Nations Security Council and Bretton Woods agreement still reflect the unequal power relations of 1945, Guterres said, “when many countries in this Assembly Hall were still under colonial domination.”

    Guterres’ speech hit on long list of smoldering global issues, including bloody violence in Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Haiti; oppression in Myanmar and Afghanistan; and the potential threats of unfettered new technologies, including artificial intelligence.

    Ukraine gets one, almost incidental, mention in his speech.
    OTOH, it was central to Biden’s address.

    • Fred says:


      “global governance structures”

      There is none. There is international law, which are between nations, and a ‘rules based order’, which is what globalists like the Guterres want. BTW Haiti can’t possibly be a ‘long smoldering’ issue as the UN, IMF, WB, Clinton Foundation and a bunch of others fixed over the course of a decade. Haitians had little to do with it, other than to do what they were told.

      • Stefan says:

        International Laws which do not seem to apply to some countries, great and small. Israel has been in violation of international law since its inception, but because of the US, international law has not been applied equally to Israel. When it is not applied equally across the board, despite the wealth or prestige of nations, it is a farce.

        • Fred says:


          International law doesn’t seem to apply to and becaue of the US…..

          That’s an oldy but goodie. Sure beats nations, or peoples, having responsibility for their own conduct.

          • Stefan says:

            A justice system, whether local, on the country or international level exists to make sure that if people cannot or will not take responsibility for their actions that there is a mechanism to enforce responsibility. As long as some, like the Israelis and Saudis feel they are above the law, it means nothing.

            It isnt just the US. The Russians and the Chinese have regularly blocked the international system from working. It needs to equally apply to all.

          • Fred says:


            “international system” selected by “who, whom”?

    • Keith Harbaugh says:

      I spoke in error in the above.
      Ukraine only gets one mention in the CNN article.
      In Guterres’ address itself
      however, Ukraine gets several mentions.

  17. leith says:

    There is a report on BBC Russian that Nagorno-Karabakh authorities “accept Russian peacekeepers’ offer” to surrender to the Azeri forces. Makes you wonder what Erdogan threatened Putin with last week?

  18. KjHeart says:

    This recent podcast on the arrest of the Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky .

    This seems to (logically) follow the passage of the Anti Corruption Act in Ukraine.

    One of the interesting comments discussing Kolomoisky’s assets being mostly in the South and West of Ukraine (at minute 17 to about minute 21). The entire podcast is worth the time.


  19. Keith Harbaugh says:

    This interested me:
    A surprisingly detailed story on the $700G upgrading of the U.S. nuclear triad:

    • leith says:

      KH – Good catch.

      The 17-year-olds working on nuke warheads scare the hell out of me. Ditto for the mice in the missile silos.

      On the other hand I’m glad to see the Air Force troops sporting high and tight haircuts in that second photo in the article. Frivolous on my part perhaps considering the bigger issue of nukes. But it does allude to a tight discipline within the ranks of those that ensure that those nukes remain safe, stable and secure.

      • TTG says:


        I was always leery of the high and tight types outside of the Jarheads and during training courses. That style seemed extreme to me, reminded me of the gay bath house crowd. I told Colonel Potter, the 10th SFG(A) commander as much. He gave me an odd look, but never did or said anything about it.

        I went to the farm with a former missile silo officer. He was different, but a great guy. His taste in cars tended towards 70s Cadillacs and Lincolns, the bigger the better. He shared some wild, but reassuring, silo stories. He did well as a case officer, but eventually took his place as an heir to the Mrs T’s Pierogi empire.

        • leith says:

          Good for Colonel Potter, I’d have given you an odd look also.

          Can’t get any pierogis where I’m at. Have to travel two hours to Pelmeni’s food cart in Portland that serves a Ukrainian/Russian version. Only get to go there on my way to and from the airport, so not often unfortunately. I’ll pass on the supermarket version.

      • KjHeart says:

        the 17 year old’s can be understood a little better when a person considers that a person’s manual dexterity peaks at at early age…

        unfortunate that wisdom and sense seem to follow some years later

        Not surprised by the mice though, having traveled and worked a lot in these regions


  20. KjHeart says:

    TTG sorry about the double use of the word person – trying to avoid use of pronouns is wrecking the language..

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