Open Thread – 30 March 2023

I’m sure there are things many here are dying to get off their chests. Have at it.


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37 Responses to Open Thread – 30 March 2023

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    1- Trump arrest is a distraction from other more vital issues, and I wouldn’t blame the conspiracy theorists for thinking he, as a dues paying member of the reptilian overlords from planet Dubious-X, is in on it.
    2- ChatGPT would be better named chatGChQ because though I jest a wee bit as to provenance, that’s obviously what it is in some very large part. Not only will everything you consider writing go up into the Cloud for preview, they will gladly write it for you so your thinking and proposals and even birthday greetings to Mom or Dad conforms. When employers make it Mandatory, then make sure your tickets are valid and your parachute is folded properly.
    3- The Russians and others are listing the victims of the 28 yr old transexual shooter who used male pronouns as being aged 9, 9 and 9 along with the adults aged 60, 61 and 61. For ten thousand free horoscope readings and a free diagnosis of whether your carackpot numerology is crackpot or an ongoing series of hallucinations, why do I mention it?
    Hint: The Book of _______ (10 letters).
    3a- Did the journalists in 3 above alter the ages for nefarious porpoises?
    4- Why is it that a serious, IMHO, issue regarding health problems involving Chinese takeout food which uses MSG, never mentioned by “Congress” while the nonsense about boons goes frontpage and they pretend to care about TikTok because of “America’schildren,” who they are not disturbed to see shot to bits everyday, and it’s alleged ownership by a bunch of businesspeople who employ a CEO who is from Singapore, not China? Answer: Because they obviously couldn’t care one whit about the children who live in the USA, but their US Tech Titan campaign contributors whose apps are not as clever and entertaining as TikTok and therefore make less money if it continues than otherwise, do want TikTok deep-sixed. And the US authorities spy on Americans more thoroughly than even Edward Snowden thought and have done so for years. Also, TikTok has wonderful language translation features built into it and the US authorities want their serfs not to learn languages because it might cause them to understand that foreigners are perfectly decent people who it is immoral to bomb to death.

    • Leith says:

      F&L –

      Nothing wrong with ‘boons’. My old table-sized Webster says they should be considered as good things; blessings or benefits; things to be thankful for. Such as in modern terms AI Chatbots are a boon in the diagnosis of medical conditions at home without having to pay the doctor fees. Oh, wait, are you saying my pre-existing conditions would be laid bare up in the Cloud? No sweat. The insurance hackers got into my medical records years ago when the VA and Medicare went digital.

    • Fred says:

      It certainly distracts from the transgender terrorist who shot 3 kids and 3 adults in a Christian school.

  2. Fourth and Long says:

    Balloons, not boons as in 1-4 above. Typo. My type is AB I think. Sorry.

  3. Fourth and Long says:

    Wow. The imbeciles have finally decided to do the one single thing that will cause me to sign up for active duty at this advanced age and turn all my hallucinating numerological and awesome verbal humor and insight toward the destruction and utter obliteration of those vile thought police. Eliminate access to my beloved Russian pop stars on YouTube? All those decades of performance by geniuses? Good luck with that. I will make Bill Roche, TTG, Leith and others here look like lisping, swishing draft-card and flag burning hippie drug addict losers if this goes forward.

    From a Russian antiwar Telegram channel this AM.

    YouTube “everything”?

    Sources close to the pro-Kremlin claim that YouTube will be closed at the end of this year. For this purpose, about 40 “cyber threat experts” from China arrived in the Russian Federation. Indeed, over the past few months, RuTube, VK and OK have been actively developing. Propagandons are also mastering them with might and main, opening their channels and accounts there.

    Talk about the inevitability of eliminating access to YouTube from Russia has been going on for a very long time. Until recently, the establishment had several good reasons not to. Firstly, there is a lot of non-political content on YouTube: culinary, sports channels and beauty bloggers. Why turn their audience against you?

    Secondly, state propagandists had their own channels on YouTube and broadcast to an audience of millions. Thirdly, in the understanding of the authorities, it was an outlet for the opposition – it would be better to put likes and comments than to protest on the street.

    But everything has changed. The authorities clearly don’t care about the frustration of a huge number of “non-politicized” people, propagandists were driven out of YouTube with a filthy broom, deleting their channels. Any protests in Russia are prohibited by law, while opposition bloggers have a “pernicious influence” and excite the minds of those who remain in the Russian Federation. There is information that after blocking YouTube, access to all types of VPN services will also be closed.

    Wait and see? Or will we take it as a trial stuffing and oppose it now?

    • Whitewall says:

      Poor you….no more Russian pop stars? What will you do without tunes from Pussy Riot and others? Plan for withdrawal symptoms.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Zounds, you connect me w/Leith and TTG, thanks. But haven’t you noticed TTG and I are political opposites. We disagree politely so most don’t recognize it. That’s the way its supposed to be. Quaint, no. Lisping, swishing, draft card burning, drug addict losers … that’s a mouthful. Funny, in ’69 I was showing up for duty w/V Corps while my pals were cavorting in the mud at Woodstock! I got a bunch of “wish you were here” post cards. I think they were sticking it up my ssa. Yup, they were all draft card burning drug addicts etc. Still we remained friends. Ah tolerance, it even lets you accept swishers and lispers!

  4. Leith says:

    F&L –

    No need for you to turn me into a lisping, #$@&%*!, loser. I’ve already been tagged as a wuss and all that by the good old boys at the local gun club when I showed up to zero in a single shot, bolt action elk rifle.

  5. JamesT says:

    Moscow wanting to block Youtube sounds to my ears very much like Washington wanting to block Tiktok. I think they will both fail. The Russians are not going to give up Youtube.

    And if there is a tech war between US teens and the US government I am betting on the teens. The primary way to ban Tiktok is to get apple and google to ban it from their app stores – in which case all the teens have to do is jailbreak their phones and install it that way. So then the US is going to block ip addresses? Good luck with that, Tiktok can just hop around to various ip addresses or even re-engineer their app with a peer-to-peer architecture. Teens are way more tech savvy than governments.

  6. As for the Trump indictment, the thought passed through my brain cells, these people must think they invented stupid, but they are just making it an art form.
    Donald Trump. The gift that keeps on giving.
    I figure the Hunter hearings are not going to start, until Joe has the nomination firmly tied up. So the Orange Pied Piper is the show this year.
    Also, why doesn’t Assange just go for a trial? What does he have to loose? Can you imagine them trying to sanitize that for public airing.
    Cheerleaders should not be in charge of strategy.
    The wheels are coming off the train.
    Someone mentioned a friend making 100 k, clean debt history, working for the Canadian government, couldn’t get a mortgage approved. The banks are a lot further out over thin ice than anyone cares to discuss.
    Lots of stuff on my chest.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Yes. And where is Bankman-Fried out on $250 million bail who (allegedly) defrauded a million people or more?
      They are overplaying the uniqueness of the Trump prosecution too. Sure in the literal sense it’s a first, but the prosecution of Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky was at least as ridiculous. Given Christopher Hitchens’ volcanic hatred of the Clintons previous to the year 2000, and that Hitchens was hardly a simple “journalist” I strongly suspect that was a British op similar to the anti-Trump Steele dossier – they wanted the Dems destroyed that go ’round because their preference was for the unhinged Bush-Cheney approach, a team whose future election was no secret to them. That is utterly illogical of course unless they had foreknowledge of the Afghanistan-Iraq wars. Well, they did. Col Lang says nothing about them in his Drinking the Koolaid essay but he does tell that another Iraq war was in the planning whether or not 911 occurred. This war in Ukraine is another one of their hatchlings. Piers Morgan was over here interviewing (managing) Ron DeSantis within a few days of his utterances about how the fracas was not in the American interest, and DeSantis modified his statement on camera (ate his words). They hear everything just like the nsa does.

  7. jim ticehurst.. says:

    This Sunday is Palm Sunday…Next week Will Be Passover on Wednesday…and The Arrest and Illegal Trial and Passion of Jesus Christ…The Son of God..On Easter Sunday…

    Jesus is Called The Prince of Peace..King of Kings. Lord of Lords..Be Humble in Spirit..Friends..Kind..Forgiving…Grateful …Satan was the Mocker..But Jesus was Near…Happy And Blessed Easter to All..

  8. Whitewall says:

    I’ve just read another article about the alarming depletion of US weaponry going to Ukraine when we may need this hardware for a confrontation with China over Taiwan. I personally don’t buy the notion of an all out Chinese invasion, but, and this ? has nagged me for months: does the US military stock pile more of these weapons among our Asian allies, specifically Japan and S. Korea or anywhere else?

    • TTG says:


      I have no idea what we have stockpiled in Asia and the Pacific, but I’ll bet the Pentagon has now realized it’s not enough. Everyone is recalculating their ammunition expenditure tables based on what’s happening in Ukraine. Another point is that ammo in any confrontation with China will be fired primarily from ships and aircraft rather than ground systems. Those stockpiles are not in use in Ukraine. I’m more concerned about the state of our ships in the Asia-Pacific theater. On another note, South Korea is becoming a world leader in the production of weapons and munitions.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Some notable people and institutions are thinking about it.

      Elbridge Colby: China is the threat, not Russia. Unherd.
      Mearsheimer on China’s power, Russian weakness:

      • Mark Logan says:


        I am the only person I know who thinks this “China is about to attack” stuff is paranoia. It’s as if we are still stuck in a cold war mentality. The Russians act up so the Chinese must be plotting SOMETHING, as if they were still ideologically driven to expand communism.

        I see no reason to see the Chinese as unhappy with the way things were going prior to Ukraine, and a lot of reasons why they should feel very uneasy with anything that upsets the world as it was prior to the Russian attempting to take Ukraine. They seem to be trying to play the disinterested third party, not taking sides so they can act as mediators.

        Are they a rising power? Yes. Do rising powers try to shake a big stick? All the ones I’ve read about have. Should we prepare to check them if they get too militant? Yes. But we should not be aggressively button-holing them every chance we get. The key to situation over Taiwan has been both sides not pushing the issue.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          I think it’s paranoia too, to a large degree. So we observe paranoia. US foreign policy since I can remember anything has been superficially paranoid because the predatory corporations which need and needed American troops to aquire the resources and labor of overseas places and people’s know they have to instill fear amomg the American servant and labor elements to motivate them to fight and contribute tax toward their endeavors of conquest and occupation, or when that doesn’t pan out, destruction which renders them impotent and disorganized.

  9. Leith says:

    Below is a briefing by John Spencer, the chair of urban warfare studies at West Point, on the Battle of Kyiv. He goes into some interesting detail not previously seen online or in the press. They are based on his several trips to Kyiv interviewing participants in that battle. 55 minutes but well worth it IMHO. First link below is to the youtube video of the presentation:

    Second link gives Spencer’s qualifications:

    He also did a podcast with Michael Kofman of ‘War on the Rocks’ on the Battle of Bakhmut. It is two weeks old. It is the third link below:

  10. Mark Logan says:

    Leith, that was most informative. Thanks.

    Apropos to nothing, a skiing/climbing acquaintance of mine, Frank Zuber, doing his usual weekend snow-patrol gig to get a free lift ticket, decided to make a GoPro vid of the epic power Mt. Baker has this year and stumbled on what was perhaps the luckiest snowboarder ever to be caught in the dreaded inverted tree-well scenario last week.

    No doubt they will both remember this for the rest of their lives.

    • TTG says:

      Mark Logan,

      I think part of this rescue was shown on broadcast national news a night or two ago. It was either this one or a similarly inverted snowboarder. A good reason for never going backcountry skiing alone.

      That snow reminded me of a jump into Fort Drum one year. We jumped in with skis and snowshoes using the snowshoes just to get off the DZ. It was like a water landing that one time, actually worse. Normally the DZ was more wind packed or wind blown.

  11. Fourth and Long says:

    Time to enlist? (Approximately 1 minute into this taped video below).

    “Drag queens are the Marines of the LGBTQ community.”

    1- How did the letters in the acronym for a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich get rearranged?
    2- What in the world is the food denoted by G? Grapes, Green Vegetables, Grease, Green Peppers, Guava?
    3- Same as 3 for Q? What are they referring to — Quinoa, Quail, Quince, Quesadillas, Quiche?

    This continuing chapter which is incorrectly called a “Culture War” is purely synthetic and manufactured from thin air. Utter nonsense as usual so that Americans can be entertainingly distracted during so called election season (which means over 50% of the time). No one goes around thinking about this stuff unless the media martinets roll it out on cue.

    My money is on the issue being even more insubstantial than that. Who’s to say that political moles working for the far right didn’t cleverly insert it all into the mix back when gay marriage was legalized during the Obama administration. A poison pill. I owe thanks to here it to whoever it was who corrected me awhile ago about LBGTQ getting it’s lift-off into orbit under Obama, by pointing out that it was the Supreme Court, not Obama, who deserves credit for that ridiculous ruling. They are historically well known to be the most conservative (which these days equates increasingly with far right) of the three branches of the US federal government. Proving my point. It ain’t even the left that got the ball rolling on the trans gay gender bender irrelevancies (which they certainly are compared to economics, geopolitics and environmental issues) – it was the right, who knew that as the years went by there would be less and less reason for the large numbers of the American electorate to vote for their side. If Obama was complicit, I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised.

    4- Aren’t 3 types of food enough for a decent sandwich? Grapes and Quail with Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato on 11 organically grown grain bread? No thank you.

    Tennessee LGBTQ community braces for public drag ban:

  12. Sam says:

    As long as China has capital controls, it will be impossible for the Yuan to become the global reserve currency.

    If China decided to lift capital controls, its currency would fall (fast) as a big chunk of the M2 ($40 trillion) stuck in China would most likely run for the exit. $3.1 trillion in FX reserves would not be able to prevent the currency from falling.

    M2 / FX Reserves (blue) at 8%
    USD – CNY FX cross inverted (red) at 7.20

    Capital controls have prevented capital from leaving. Thus M2 has remained in China, hyper-inflating the (balloon) GDP.

    How long are we gonna hear petroyuan tales from all those suddenly experts in balance of payments accounting and global trade finance and forex markets? Financially, IMO, CCP is a lot shakier than most believe.

    • walrus says:

      Sam is correct. Foreigners will always find it hard to get their money out, in fact so do the chinese themselves. That last item is responsible for some of the house price inflation we have seen here – Chinese buying up real estate.

      The Chinese have a sort of racial/ethical issue with repatriating profits. They believe that only Chinese should be allowed to make money (or cheat) other Chinese people. When Western companies make money selling into China, they feel “dirty”. It probably goes back to the 1800’s.

      As a corporation you need to plan accordingly. We have one acquaintance who was CFO of a Chinese joint venture who just missed getting arrested when the Chinese Government decided they had put up with their transfer pricing long enough. He was visiting us to see his sick Dad when the Chinese police started affecting his colleagues.

      • Sam says:


        Mark Mobius has said he cannot take his money out of China due to the country’s capital controls, cautioning investors to be “very, very careful” about investing in an economy under a tight government grip.

        If as big an investor as Mark Mobius of Templeton Funds fame can’t get his money out, how does a much smaller company repatriate its profits and capital from CCP hold?

        I’ve known several American companies who complied with the JV rules to sell into the Chinese market only to have the JV partner say “go yourself “ after they’ve learned the technology and manufacturing and these American companies had no shot with the CCP judiciary who also tell them the same thing.

        The question is that why the US doesn’t treat the CCP businesses the same way? Why is it TikTok is allowed to operate when the US intel agencies claim they are a CCP front and facebook & Twitter are not allowed in China? Trump made a lot of noises but didn’t do anything, like pretty much on everything. We can understand why Biden’s not done anything since he’s been on the CCP payroll.

        CCP doesn’t play on the up & up. It is the fault of the west to allow them to get away with it.

        • walrus says:

          I agree with you Sam, you need to go into China with eyes wide open; most business people don’t.

          The standard Chinese come on is “access to the 1.5 billion Chinese domestic market”. You send your technology, your best people and finance the lot and then your JV partner screws you once everything is up and going. I can’t even be bothered to listen to the sob stories any more. Everyone has been told to beware time after time and still they go.

          For the record my Dad traded with China from 1935 and they were doing exactly the same trick then….

          If you want to do business successfully you have to:

          1) invest at least four years in developing a personal family relationship with your potential partner. Start very small. Set strict, really strict, rules about how you do business and the pair of you develop some mutual respect.

          2) Treat your investment as lost money and be prepared to walk away. Keep building a relationship based onmutual respect.

          It is possible to do business, but you have to be tough. The Chinese have their weaknesses – try offering a few percent equity to an competitor employee and watch what happens – there is no loyalty outside family.

    • Sam says:

      I should add that China’s residential real estate value, all supported by large mortgages issued by essentially CCP banks, is $60 trillion – 50% of world GDP! If these largely cashflow-less property values deflate, as they threaten to right now, it will blow a hole in the balance sheets of the banks. CCP will have to recapitalize, sooner rather than later.

  13. Fred says:

    When it is all over I wonder what the monuments to the vanquished will be?

  14. Robin Carrington says:

    After several months of illness, Colonel Lang passed away earlier this morning.

    Please give his widow a few days, perhaps this weekend, before reaching out to her.

    Thank you to the gentlemen who have stepped in to continue his blog during his absence.

  15. Fred says:

    Some interesting Space weather news and an expensive lesson in risk management.

    • TTG says:


      I remember reading a single story about this last year. Nothing more. Although it must have been a big deal in SpaceX.

      • Fred says:

        Losing a few $million in just launched satlelites because they didn’t wait till spring seems a no brainer, though I wonder how often such solar flares happen? It might just be the cost of business.

        • TTG says:


          Maybe the extent of the effects of the warming of the thermosphere wasn’t fully understood by NASA or SpaceX. Or it could have been SpaceX hubris. I guess they know better now and will schedule launches accordingly.

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