Open Thread – 2 October 2023

I’m a little busy lately. Enjoy the free space.

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50 Responses to Open Thread – 2 October 2023

  1. James says:

    So some guy dies at BUDS and now the Navy is going to start testing SEALs for steroid use? I thought juicing it was standard operation procedure for those guys.

    I have long wondered why. I have been assuming that while a chest plate will stop a 7.62×54mm round the guy still has to absorb the kinetic energy, and that is easier if he is carrying a lot of muscle.

    It just seems silly to me to be telling tier 1 or tier 2 operators “don’t be using any performance enhancing drugs now”.

    • F&L says:

      Right. But they can show them the line for hormone replacement therapy. In fact they must if asked – required by law.

      • LeaNder says:

        The American spokeswomen of and for the Ukrainan army, I understand, was recently called by the infamous duo Vovan and Lexus. They told her she was called by the former president Petr Poroshenko whose sons were both eager to transition and serve in the Ukrainian army. I link to passage were Sarah Ashton-Cirillo is asked if she feels the Russians are Mongolians:

        If her expertise of where best to serve you have to go back to the start.

  2. Fred says:

    Woodford Reserve. For that fine autumn day in Kentucky.

  3. leith says:

    Foreign Ministers from all 27 member states of the European Union are in Kyiv. Perhaps it’s a cue (or a warning to Putin) that they are going to greenlight Ukraine accession to the EU soon?

    German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, is there; and is quoted as saying: “The future of Ukraine is in the European Union, in our community of freedom, and soon it will expand from Lisbon to Luhansk.” That reference to Luhansk is not going to go over well in the Kremlin. Putin’s propaganda wurlitzer is going to go after her hard. She will need to watch her back politically.

    • James says:


      Allowing Ukraine into the EU will cause some problems for EU agricultural subsidies programs – there is a whole lot of good farmland in Ukraine. I think the EU leadership fears French farmers more than they fear Putin.

      • leith says:

        James –

        And yet French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna who is the daughter of a farmer, was also in Kyiv talking up how great the EU would be for Ukraine.

    • wiz says:


      fast tracking Ukraine into the EU would prompt Putin to open up his best champagne. Why would you wish such good fortune to him. I thought you didn’t like the guy.

      • leith says:

        I’m drawing a blank Wiz. I thought Putin put all 27 countries of the EU on his ‘unfriendly countries list alongside the US and UK. Are you messing with my 80-year old cabeza?

        • wiz says:


          you remember the Aliens series of films, where nasty creatures with sharp teeth burst out of people’s chests ?

          Fast tracking Ukraine into the EU (or NATO) would be like implanting yourself with these creatures.

          An asteriod hit into Brussels would be less disruptive to the functioning of the EU than Ukraine’s membership in its current state.

          • James says:


            I respectfully disagree. I think the EU’s massive and expensive agricultural boondoggle is an issue … but outside of that, what is so hard?

            Corruption? I lived in Warsaw during 1997-1998 and my friends and I all regularly bribed the ticket inspectors on the public transit.

            (Then I went to Moscow in February 1998 and watched a guy bribe a ticket inspector on a bus by glowering and holding up the bribe while not even looking at the inspector. At least we would get off the tram in Warsaw and negotiate the bribe out of the public eye. Friggin Russians.)

            So my view in short is – Ukraine has problems, but no greater problems than Romania had when Romania joined the EU.

          • leith says:

            Wiz –

            The darn creature killed em all except for Warrant Officer Ridley.

            But you have a mix-up in your analogy. That parasitoidal chestbuster would definitely be the Kremlin Ripper.

          • wiz says:


            After it gained its independence, Ukraine had so many things going for it.
            It was the second largest country in Europe, had close to 52 million people, great industrial capacities, huge military, educated population, plenty of natural resources, some of the most fertile soil on the planet, access to cheap energy from Russia, pipeline deals and much more.

            Romania’s and Poland’s starting positions were much worse, yet they have done much better.
            Yes, the EU membership helped, but they would have prospered regardless, it would just take more time.

            Ukraine, on the other hand, managed to thoroughly muck it all up and is in the process of being destroyed.
            But hey, they get to worship Stepan Bandera. At least for now.

            Trump almost got impeached over Ukraine, the whole Biden/Hunter/Burisma situation has yet to play itself out, Canada’s House of Commons has a new speaker because of Ukraine.
            A few days ago, Vlad Zelenski insinuated/threatened that millions of Ukrainian refugees in Europe would feel betrayed if the West reduced its help.
            He claims they could even act unpredictably if that was to happen ??!

            The country is like a poison pill. Poland or Romania it is not.

          • drifter says:

            Leith (collective): It’s Ripley.

          • leith says:

            Thanks Drifter. My apologies to Sigourney and the screenwriter. Although I have to wonder if the film’s Ripley was a bit pf waggish wordplay considering ‘Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not’ books.

          • James says:


            My story about bribing ticket inspectors in Warsaw was a shorthand for “I think joining the EU dramatically increased the quality of governance in Poland”. That was (and arguably is) Ukraine’s problem – huge corruption and poor governance. This is where I see a distinction between signing a free trade agreement and joining the EU – signing NAFTA did nothing to reduce corruption in Mexico but joining the EU (from what I have seen – and I still have friends who live there) has dramatically reduced corruption in countries like Poland.

            A Russian film which provides a bit of a view on how Putin reduced corruption in Russia is ‘Bimmer’. Yes Putin and his cronies run things but before that Russia was a free-for-all. Before the Maidan Insurrection Ukraine was a free-for-all. Bimmer is viewable for free on Youtube:

          • wiz says:


            I live in one of the post communist, EU countries, and becoming a member did not magically resolve corruption.
            There is less of it since living standards have risen so people are not as desperate as before, but it is still there on all levels.

            Corruption is far from being the only problem with Ukraine. It is a country with deep, unresolved internal problems.
            EU membership will not automatically fix them, but those problems will become EU’s problems if Ukraine is admitted prematurely.

          • James says:


            Here I was trying to explain the region to you and you actually live there. Boy do I feel foolish.

            If I lived in the EU I would not be eager for Ukraine to join the EU. But if I were Ukrainian then I would be eager for Ukraine to join the EU. What is best for you and what is best for Ukrainians are two different things. I guess I was being overly optimistic about the prospects for Ukraine if Ukraine joins the EU because it is no skin off of my nose if it doesn’t work out.

          • drifter says:

            leith: it’s drifter

          • leith says:

            Xin loi drifter.

    • English Outsider says:

      ““The future of Ukraine is in the European Union,…”

      If the sentence were to stop there that could be the plain truth. On current trends the greater part of the population of what will be remnant Ukraine will have moved there. If they have any sense not to the northern parts of the Union. The way Net Zero’s going they’d do better to winter in Italy.

      Not so sure about ” … our community of freedom”. Berlin/Brussels rules its satrapies with a rod of iron. Only one country to my knowledge has ever managed to scramble over the wire. They don’t call the EU “The prison of nations” for nothing. Don’t be taken in by Annalena Baerbock, Leith. She’s not just a pretty face, our Annalena. She’s one of the wardresses.

    • Fred says:

      Hooray! That’ll force America into war with Russia. It’s not like the EU has an army to win a war with.


      The Poles are already upset with Ukraine dumping grain on the market and damaging their agricultural sector. They aren’t the only EU members upset at that either. Sanctions strike again.

  4. gordon reed says:

    Thoughts on Jimmy Dore addressing the UN Security Council on Nordstream sabotage.

    • F&L says:

      Why not? The president of Ukraine is a former comedian.

      • Gordon reed says:

        Did you click on the link? No joke he actually addressed the security council remotely.

        • F&L says:

          I saw it earlier, so I didn’t click. I haven’t nothing against Jimmy Dore, liked what he was doing for awhile, but his success seems to have gone to his head a bit. My personal opinion is that Seymour Hersh got the story on Nordstream right, it really seems rather obvious. I’m perplexed that Dore makes a presentation rather than Hersh.

    • LeaN... says:

      The German TV-magazine Zapp produced by the Hamburg based NDR, one of the local channels of our first public channel, looked into matters one year later too: Source, site of Zapp Magazine,

      Headline: Secret Matter, Nord Stream: Is the investigation being blocked?

      The more patient among you but unfamiliar with German can switch on the English machine translation on the YouTube version:

      The journalists claim to have never encountered similar walls of silence protecting information.

      • English Outsider says:

        A most interesting video. Very professional and eye-catching. I liked the Tom Clancy section, with the best captain in Sweden, maybe the only man with the skill and the guts to perform such a mission, playing a cameo role.

        I couldn’t work out why there weren’t patrol boats knocking around to keep casual sightseers, or inquisitive investigators, away from the scene of the crime. Given that the German government is keen to prevent enquiry you’d think that’d be the first thing they’d arrange.

        General Vad’s observation as reported by Helmer may be relevant here. The General’s not talking about North Stream but about the war generally:-

        “Military experts [and those] who know what is going on among the secret services, what it looks like on the ground and what war really means – are largely excluded from the [German public] debate. They do not fit in with the formation of media opinion.

        “We are largely experiencing a coordination of the media, the likes of which I have never experienced before in the Federal Republic.”

        General Vad’s been around. A lot. But he’s really only telling us what we already know. That when it comes to the information war, to which the West devotes vast amounts of money and resources, the media isn’t always that much help to us because it’s an essential component of that war.

        Where the newspapers and TV are useful to us, however, is in that they tell us what the politicians, or this or that faction among the politicians, want us to believe at any given time. But this case is odd. It’s odd because neither the German nor the US government want us to believe the Russians did it. Why not? If they did want us to believe that it’d be easy enough to lead us in that direction.

        Been wondering about that for nearly a year now. This is your world, not mine, LeaNder. Any ideas on why we’re not being led to believe the Russians did it?

        • LeaNder says:

          Somethings seems to have changed here. Why do I wind up don’t here ….???? Not below your comment above?

          English Outsider: A most interesting video. Very professional and eye-catching. I liked the Tom Clancy section, with the best captain in Sweden,

          Yes, I wasn’t impressed either. Eye catching? Comes with the topic? But I think the part about Sweden’s “best” (&?) captain was a joke. Wasn’t he also “the bravest”? That retired Swedish citizen investigator was the most interesting part for me. … Remember: later, he tells us that he invited the journalists early, but no one was interested. The captain obviously was interested an not afraid; thus, brave?

          Basically, it sensationalized for public consumption the obvious answers from the government. My friends in the police don’t tell me anything about ongoing investigations, either. Although they know I am pretty curious. 😉

          Besides, I don’t hold my breath, we will ever know or be told. I am close to TTG in this context.

          I love the way Helmer ties up our collective knowledge too. Vad caught his attention rather late. But yes, “Emma” Schwarzer, Wagenknecht, Vad may well have conspired to execute Wolf’s Lair plot II together. 😉 Who knows?

          English Outsider: But this case is odd. It’s odd because neither the German nor the US government want us to believe the Russians did it. Why not? If they did want us to believe that it’d be easy enough to lead us in that direction.

          That’s a bit too convoluted for me. Could you clarify? Since they cannot confirm it is Russia, they want us to think it really is?

          • English Outsider says:

            LeaNder – by “your world” was meant the world of German politics.

            Berlin/Brussels was the key player in Ukraine and that well before Mrs Nuland got to handing her cookies around. It remained a key player right up to February 2022.

            It’s no longer a key player in an active sense. I believe Putin no longer bothers to take Scholz’s calls. But when it comes to getting the blowback from this ill-conceived venture it’s going to be the major recipient of that blowback.

            We’re waiting on events at the moment. Ukraine is on the verge of collapse but we don’t know when. We don’t know how much of the old Party of Regions area will return to Russia or how Russia will neutralise remnant Ukraine.

            When all that’s happened we don’t know if the Russians will insist on their 2021 European Security demands. If they do, we don’t know how they’ll set about getting those demands met.

            That’s a lot of don’t knows. But if the Russian do insist on their 2021 European Security Demands Berlin/Brussels will be in the hot seat. That’s when the German politicians will be players again. It’s then that your world, not mine, is going to matter.


            North Stream? Two stories explaining it have been set out already. Given that neither have been proved there’s room to do what is normally done. Blame the Russians. That, neither the Americans nor the Germans seem to be doing. I was wondering why not.

  5. F&L says:

    You’ve maybe heard of Amal and the Night Visitors.

    Haha. “Jamaal” is a whole new level of visiting. Don’t throw anything at the TV until you catch “AOC” sticking up for him.

    When you forgot your keys and need to get in, do you;
    A) Call your wife or kids
    B) Go round to the back entrance
    C). Call 1-800-LOCKSMITH
    D1) Throw rocks through the windows of neighbors houses hoping they’ll know someone who knows where you left your keys
    D2) Set off the fire alarms (while other buildings are actually burning most likely)!

    Hey “Jamaaaaaaal” – why didn’t you just:

    D3) Set off a few sticks of dynamite and say you were held hostage by terrorists but luckily had remembered to bring your dynamite?

    I know the answer. You forgot, once again, to bring your dynamite sticks. OK. That’s understandable. But pulling the fire alarm?

    “Jamaal Bowman” PULLS FIRE ALARM!

  6. F&L says:

    One really must view the 20 second film of the fireball at the link. Spectacular.
    For a second I thought Vlad finally said “enough is enough” and dropped the big one.

    Alas .. No such luck – biogas + lightning. Oh well.

    Massive Explosion Oxfordshire.

  7. Poppa Rollo says:

    We do have some examples of Trump officials in jail for financial crimes
    Early this year Allen Weisselberg, former President Donald Trump’s long-time chief financial officer, was sentenced by a New York judge to five months in jail for his role in a decade-long tax fraud scheme after testifying as the state’s witness against the Trump Organization.

    Following the court hearing, Weisselberg, 75, is expected to report to Rikers Island, the notorious New York City jail, to begin serving his sentence immediately. He will be placed in an infirmary unit and not be part of the general population, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.
    Rikers, not some country club detention center.

  8. babelthuap says:

    Weisselburg is no longer in jail but the initial charge went back approx 15 years over a little over 300K in fraud for a multi-billion dollar operation…meh. It was a political witch hunt. It also dug into some other tax fraud. Think he paid 2M, again still not even pocket change when dealing with billions.

    I personally don’t care, I want nothing to do with the Contras or the Sadinistas or the Republicans or Democrats. Start cheering for one side to0 much and eventually when the other side gets power you just made the persecution list.

  9. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Left/right warfare within the Catholic Church:

    ‘Two Trains Charging at Each Other’:
    A Texas Bishop Takes On the Pope

    Bishop Joseph Strickland,
    a hero to the emboldened traditionalist wing of American Catholicism,
    is in open warfare with the Vatican
    as it hosts a landmark gathering.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      That NYT article is behind a paywall. Can you gift the article?

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        If I knew how to do that, I would.

        I have the same problem with their paywall,
        but this article turned up on my Google newsfeed, and clicking on that yielded the article.
        Also, googling “Joseph Strickland” yielded an accessible link to the article, at least for me.
        Here is the beginning of the article:

        By Ruth Graham
        Ruth Graham writes about religion and is based in Dallas

        Published Oct. 2, 2023
        Updated Oct. 3, 2023, 6:03 p.m. ET
        This year alone, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, has accused the pope of undermining the Catholic faith, has suggested that other Vatican officials have veered so far from church teaching that they are no longer Catholic, and has warned that a landmark global gathering that opens this week at the Vatican could threaten “basic truths” of Catholic doctrine.

        With a savvy instinct for inserting himself into theological disputes and culture-war dust-ups across the country, Bishop Strickland has become a leading voice in the emboldened traditionalist wing of American Catholicism.

        Now, he is at the center of what is shaping up to be an unusually personal clash in an escalating conflict between Pope Francis and American conservatives: The Vatican, in a relatively rare move, has investigated the bishop’s leadership and is reported to be privately considering asking for his resignation. The bishop, in a rarer one, has publicly refused.

        • TTG says:

          Keith Harbaugh,

          No sweat. I think you have to be a paid subscriber to gift articles. I’m aware of Bishop Strickland’s ongoing feud with the Vatican. He’s especially riled up about the synod that’s starting this week.

  10. ked says:

    anyone play’n Speaker’s Odds House?
    – who’s next in-line to slaughter?
    – how many rounds of voting?
    – how long (days / weeks / months / yrs)?
    – how long will he last (days / weeks)?
    – how many times will Donald be nominate?
    – & Melania?

    no payoff… just laughs.

    • F&L says:

      Couldn’t have said it better. Was it Caligula or Nero who appointed his horse to the Roman Senate? One of them married his horse I think, or was that Alexander the Great?

      Six questions. No answers. And we await November 2024 for round II of …

      The Teflon Don versus The Bran Don.

      In honor of those poor guys fighting in Ukraine: This day in history.

      General Eisenhower Warns of the Risk of Shell Shock:
      On October 4, 1944, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower distributes to his combat units a report by the U.S. Surgeon General that reveals the hazards of prolonged exposure to combat. “[T]he danger of being killed or maimed imposes a strain so great that it causes men to break down. One look at the shrunken, apathetic faces of psychiatric patients…sobbing, trembling, referring shudderingly to ‘them shells’ and to buddies mutilated or dead, is enough to convince most observers of this fact.”
      On the basis of this evaluation, as well as firsthand experience, American commanders judged that the average soldier could last about 200 days in combat before suffering serious psychiatric damage. British commanders used a rotation method, pulling soldiers out of combat every 12 days for a four-day rest period. This enabled British soldiers to put in 400 days of combat before being deleteriously affected. The Surgeon General’s report went on to lament the fact that a “wound or injury is regarded, not as a misfortune, but a blessing.” The war was clearly taking a toll on more than just men’s bodies.
      I read a lot about the topic years ago and personally knew one of the MD psychiatrists who pioneered some of the early post Vietnam War PTSD treatment programs at the Brooklyn veterans hospital. I no longer have my books on the subject, but 200 days is not the number that the experts eventually arrived at, the real number is on the order of two weeks (14 days) for most people exposed to uninterrupted combat of the modern variety. Researchers found a subset of people who were immune to it though. They described them as being for the most part psychopaths such as Monk Eastman who was a gangster from the lower Eastside of Manhattan who served in the US Army during WW1 and was considered an almost supernaturally effective soldier. The reason was elementary – he loved to kill people.

      Your description of Congress just reminded me. The circus has become prolonged to the point that if you try to keep up with it you are going to lose your mind (or already have). Those who carry on nonetheless – our elected officials – well, you might be tempted to say by analogy with PTSD (Combat fatigue or Shell shock in WW1 and WW2 terminology) that many of them are psychopaths, or sufferers from “psychopathic personality disorder.” That would indeed be a proper and accurate conclusion. No profession on earth counts among its members as high a percentage of psychopaths as does the profession of politician.

    • Fred says:


      Gaetz, AOC, Trump, Jeffries (Hakkim) and if they really want to gum up the works – me. I’ld love the job, even if for only a day.

      • ked says:

        Fred, IF?! works gumming is a core competency to succeed in any American legislature over recent decades.
        & IF you really tap into one’s own narcissistic dictator failure mode, you might last a coupla days – even a week! especially if you can read & game sociopaths well… & find that a pleasurable pastime.

        F&L, that was Caligula. recently, some historians have revived & revisioned Caligula’s (or his favorite horse’s?) reign. makes sense, given the behavior of leaders in our post-Enlightened civilization. after his (Caligula) assassination, the palace guard found Claudius & presto! newly revised version of the Living God… saved Rome from a risky return to a kinda democratic republic.

        {longshot, but I’m going w/ Melania. tfg ain’t lookin’ so rich down the road, she’d easily keep those nasty old men in line (& even the horny youth too) … & there’s always that bonus pkg from Moscow in the offing.}

        • Fred says:


          I would at least get the ex-principal and principal fire alarm puller arrested (by the Capital Hill Police) for obstructing an official proceeding; then get AOC and others to appolize on the floor for the same conduct (which they did before) or get arrested (what’s a statuate of limitations mean to the legislative branch anyway. Let her whine.). It’s a matter of principle. Then I would cancel everyone’s vaca since unlike them I would make sure we voted for a new speaker every day. I would have fun with committee asignments, too. Good times.

  11. F&L says:

    This Day in History.

    October 4.

    Plane crashes into apartment building.
    A cargo plane crashes into an apartment building near an airport in Amsterdam, Holland, on October 4, 1992. Four people aboard the plane and approximately 100 more in the apartment building lost their lives in the disaster.

    An El-Al Boeing 747 cargo jet was scheduled to bring 114 tons of computers, machinery, textiles and various other materials from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 4. At 6:30 that Sunday evening, Captain Isaac Fuchs piloted the jet, carrying two other pilots and one passenger, out of Schipol Airport in good weather. However, only minutes after takeoff, fires broke out in the plane’s third and fourth engines and they fell right off the wing.

    Fuchs decided to dump the plane’s fuel in a lake and head back to the airport, but the plane did not have enough power to make the return trip. Six miles short of the airport, Fuchs radioed, “Going down,” and the plane plunged straight into an apartment building in the Bijimermeer section of Amsterdam. A massive fireball exploded through the building. Firefighters rushed to the scene, but by the time the fire was under control, about 100 people were dead. An exact number was impossible to determine, as the explosion made body identification extremely difficult and the building housed mainly undocumented immigrants from Suriname and Aruba.

    The accident was very similar to one that had taken place in Taiwan less than a year earlier, in which a China Airlines jet had crashed after losing its two right engines. An investigation into that crash had revealed the problem to be related to a fuse pin, part of the mechanism that binds the engines to the wings. Both crashes probably resulted from the fatigue and failure of this part.

    But retired US Army Special Forces Officer TTG and yours truly are aware of one little detail not mentioned in the article, which I can now reveal:

    The date – October Fourth.

    “Ten Four.”


  12. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Jim Jordan has entered the race to be Speaker of the House,
    and has staked out a position on Ukraine:

    [Jordan]’s not hiding from his conservative bona fides,
    telling reporters he’s against bringing Ukraine aid to the House floor.

    Wonder if that will cause reporters to portray him negatively.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      I think his silence in the face of sexual abuse of students under his care is what will cause reporters to portray him negatively.

    • ked says:

      seems about as amp’d up as a snake wrangler on steroids (or adderall / coke / meth / whatever keeps gears grinding for over-stressed pols these days). I hope the good ol’ party offers as many Speaker wannabes as they have prez wannabes.

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