This and That – 2 August 2022

  • Thorium reactors- I listened to a member of Congress expound on this subject the other day. I think it was Senator Tuberville. According to him thorium is the answer to the question of cheap, safe nuclear power until fusion power finally shows up. Thorium-based nuclear power – Wikipedia
  • Colonel (ret) Douglas MacGregor , the guru who leads Tucker Carlson through the mysteries of the Ukraine War has had an interesting career and life. Douglas Macgregor – Wikipedia His military educational record is a little obscure past the undergraduate level. No war college selection? An update to the record may be needed. Wrote a couple of books on the need for military “reform.” There were a number of fellows who had written books on counterinsurgency, “stages of warfare,” etc. at the beginning of the GWOT. These all turned out to be pablum for generals who did not understand guerrilla war. Same kind of thing? Macgregor announced back in April that the Ukrainian Army was largely surrounded in the Donbas, would surrender soon and that all that was left was for the Russian Army to “mop up” the remnants. That was April. This is August. Hmmm.
  • Zawahiri. My SWAG is that the Taliban government “dimed him out” to get rid of a rival fanatic who represented a different version of Islam and who was a latent menace to them.
  • Manchin. Another WAG, he is thinking of primarying Biden and made this deal with Schumer to firm up his political left. The deal is destructive of WV interests and must signal that he wants to “go national.”
  • Nancy. She is second in line for succession to the presidency and really does head an independent branch of government. Joe B. has no control over her at all. I suppose he could deny her transportation … That would be fun. Can she start a war with China? Sure she can. The Chinese appear to be nutty enough for that. If that happens the DC area is certain to be a target for the Chinese. Hmm. pl

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32 Responses to This and That – 2 August 2022

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    Few pundits seem to have contemplated that we fast approach the daze in which a Camilla Kamala Camarilla dawns scarcely noticed or appreciated. You’d think it about as likely as a Fog Gust in August but it is a possibility. For now it’s Leezzie the Queenie and the Meanie Weenie Old Joe Bideenie. But things could change.

  2. Babeltuap says:

    Chinese have done this countless times where it is time to make very bold moves but they can’t do it for some reason. The leader gets paranoid to the point he starts persecuting his own people. It’s a running joke among Chinese historians. At some point you have to get “nutty” to become what you always wanted but they pick the wrong brand of nutty like zero covid forever.

    • JamesT says:

      Babeltuap,

      I agree that they have gone nutty on “zero covid forever” but in their defense, that approach worked better early on and its hard to give up something that worked for you before. Covid has evolved into a uniquely difficult virus to extinguish. It will be interesting to see if the Chinese leadership can evolve out of this particular brand of nuttiness.

      • Babeltuap says:

        JT,

        That’s the thing; they can’t. They live on this hill just like killing all the sparrows to save the crops. This is what tyranny mind think does. It will not consider someone “maybe” made a mistake. FYI the US is doing the SAME thing. We are becoming the CCP.

        Listen to Dr. Flemming. It’s long but he nails it. We have learned to love what we once hated and learned to hate what we one loved. The vaccines DO NOT WORK. NEITHER DID THE MASKS OR LOCKDOWNS. Covid is still here. President got it twice.

        https://www.bitchute.com/video/sx1I11MZOwdx/

  3. Nathan W Stroupe says:

    I was at our guesthouse in Shirpur, two blocks away when the strike against Zawahiri occurred. Word on the street – he was a guest of a senior aid of Sirajuddin Haqqani and Pakistani Taliban were across the street to assist with targeting. Curious if there is any movement on the USD 6 billion in the coming days.

  4. KjHeart says:

    I was curious to see what this group would have to say about Zawahiri – wondered (after the fact) what the Biden Admin (might have) offered in trade for that ‘win’.. right before another big primary day in the US. Connecting the dots on this one makes the timing highly ‘suspect’

  5. TV says:

    “If that happens the DC area is certain to be a target for the Chinese.”
    That would be awful…..or something.

  6. Fred says:

    Manchin? Does he really believe he’ll get Shumer to actually pass something before the coming Democratic landslide this fall makes cutting a deal unnecessary? Run as the sacrificial Democratic candidate in 2024? Why? My take is he’s got Sinema to serve as a backstop so this betrayal of WV goes no where, unless a good RINO like Romney changes tune, which wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    As to reactors, Bill Gates managed – surprise – to get a piece of $3.2 billion for his start up power company, TerrPower. America’s first ‘woke’ nuclear plant. (Just read their hr policy about unconcious bias training etc for all the staff).
    https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/us-department-energy-announces-160-million-first-awards-under-advanced-reactor

  7. Whitewall says:

    “If that happens the DC area is certain to be a target for the Chinese.”
    If that happens, Congress adjourns early, women and minorities hardest hit?

  8. Al says:

    Here’s the side deal that Joe Manchin got:

    … newly reported details of a side deal between the Democratic leadership and Sen. Joe Manchin that would reform the permitting process for energy projects and clear the way for final approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry fracked gas through West Virginia.

    The agreement was reached as part of an effort to secure Manchin’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act, a proposed budget reconciliation bill that includes renewable energy investments, drug price reforms, and a number of giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. Because its provisions fall outside the bounds of reconciliation, the side deal must be passed as separate legislation.

    According to a one-page summary obtained by the Washington Post, the agreement in its current form “would set new two-year limits, or maximum timelines, for environmental reviews for ‘major’ projects,” a potentially massive victory for the fossil fuel industry that could also entail benefits for renewable energy production.

    “It would also aim to streamline the government processes for deciding approvals for energy projects by centralizing decision-making with one lead agency,” the Post notes. “The bill would also attempt to clear the way for the approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would transport Appalachian shale gas about 300 miles from West Virginia to Virginia. This pipeline is a key priority of Manchin’s.”

    Specifically, the summary states the bill would require “relevant agencies” to “take all necessary actions to permit the construction and operation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and give the D.C. Circuit jurisdiction over any further litigation.”

    As the New York Times notes, that move would take cases involving the pipeline away “from the Fourth District, where environmentalists had found success.”

    The emissions impact of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which has been mired in legal and regulatory issues for years, would be substantial at a time when scientists say failure to swiftly rein in carbon pollution would have devastating consequences for life on Earth. One analysis estimates the completed pipeline would generate 89,526,651 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equal to 26 new coal-fired power plants or 19 million passenger vehicles.

    The pipeline has drawn forceful opposition from local and Indigenous communities that fear the project will expose water and land to dangerous leakage and pollution. The pipeline’s current route would carry gas across around 1,000 streams and wetlands on its path from West Virginia to Virginia.

  9. Al says:

    From Congressional Republicans: Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL and 25 other Republican senators released a joint statement of support for Pelosi’s trip: “For decades, members of the United States Congress, including previous Speakers of the House, have traveled to Taiwan. This travel is consistent with the United States’ One China policy, to which we are committed.”

  10. scott s. says:

    I find it kind of hard not to believe that the Pelosi thing is being carefully orchestrated.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Me too.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      scott s.

      I wouldn’t underestimate the sheer level of crass stupid that could lie behind the surprise Taiwan visit. Joined up & subtle diplomacy is hardly a hallmark of contemporary US FP. But if it is orchestrated, orchestrated to what ends? A thought:

      China was explicitly named as a threat to the “rules-based international order” in NATO’s recent Strategic Concept document and Australia, Japan, and South Korea attended the 2022 NATO summit. NATO is clearly being groomed for a global role to contain America’s adversaries (i.e. the emerging Sino-Russian alliance). Is this an attempt to provoke China into aggressive action towards Taiwan so as to expand NATO into the Pacific? A certain neocon/PNAC logic would see how well trampling on Russia’s red lines & the subsequent invasion of Ukraine worked in scaring Sweden & Finland into the fold, why not repeat the formula?

      • blue peacock says:

        Barbara Ann,

        While there’s no doubt US provocations with Vickie Nuland and her Maidan putsch played a role. Putin too was interfering in Ukrainian internal affairs. He never recognized Ukrainian sovereignty. He kept saying the Donbass should be an independent entity. The perspective that the Ukrainian invasion was not to protect his border but to shore up his domestic power has serious credence.

        The bottom line is every large military power are pushing & shoving to see what the real red lines are and what they can get away with. In any case the Russian decapitation strike didn’t pan out and the weaknesses of the Russian military has no doubt been picked up by those whose job is to figure these out. NATO has a new lease of life with Sweden & Finland joining.

        In Eastern Europe, the former Soviet/Russian “colonies” want a new path forward and most prefer the western orbit.

        Similarly, Taiwan has chartered an independent course for decades. After what happened in Hong Kong, they sure as hell don’t want Xi ruling over them.

        It is not always about us. Although we have thoroughly conflicted and incompetent folks who populate the top echelons of our government – both political and staff leadership. And who believe they are playing chess but in fact are bulls in a china shop through sheer hubris.

  11. Al says:

    Any info as to “previous Speakers of the House” traveling to Taiwan?

    • TTG says:

      Al,

      Gingrich visited as House Speaker in 1997.

      • Deap says:

        In, 1997, China was still a third world nation, and no threat to much of anyone. I know because I traveled all the way across China in 1998 – From Tashkurgan to Beijing.

        • Peter Hug says:

          OTOH, they were in fact a nuclear power possessed of ICBMs.

        • Al says:

          Deep, you musta missed the big dust up over there in 1996.

        • JamesT says:

          Deap,

          I wish I could buy you a beer and hear that story.

          • Al says:

            Wikipedia states it well:
            The crisis began when President Lee Teng-hui accepted an invitation from his alma mater, Cornell University to deliver a speech on “Taiwan’s Democratization Experience”. Seeking to diplomatically isolate the Republic of China, the PRC opposed such visits by ROC (Taiwanese) leaders. A year earlier, in 1994, when President Lee’s plane had stopped in Honolulu to refuel after a trip to South America, the U.S. government under President Bill Clinton refused Lee’s request for a visa. Lee had been confined to the military airfield where he landed, forcing him to spend a night on his plane. A U.S. State Department official called the situation “embarrassing” and Lee complained that he was being treated as a second-class leader.

            After Lee had decided to visit Cornell, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher assured PRC Foreign Minister Qian Qichen that a visa for Lee would be “inconsistent with [the U.S.’s] unofficial relationship [with Taiwan].” However, the humiliation from Lee’s last visit caught the attention of many pro-Taiwan figures in the U.S. and this time, the United States Congress acted on Lee’s behalf. In May 1995, a concurrent resolution asking the State Department to allow Lee to visit the U.S. passed the House 396 to 0 with 38 not voting, and the Senate 97 to 1 with 2 not voting.[1] The State Department relented on 22 May 1995. Lee spent June 9–10, 1995, in the U.S. at a Cornell alumni reunion as the PRC state press branded him a “traitor” attempting to “split China”.[2][3]

            PRC military response
            The Chinese government was furious over the U.S.’s policy reversal. On 7 July 1995, PRC responded, the Xinhua News Agency announced missile tests would be conducted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and argued that this attitude would endanger the peace and safety of the region (Mainlander refers to it as the fourth Taiwan strait crisis[4]). At the same time, the PRC mobilized forces in Fujian. In the later part of July and early August, numerous commentaries were published by Xinhua and the People’s Daily condemning Lee and his cross-strait policies.

            Another set of missile firings, accompanied by live ammunition exercises, occurred from August 15 to 25, 1995. Naval exercises in August were followed by highly publicized amphibious assault exercises in November.

            U.S. military response
            The U.S. government responded by staging the biggest display of American military might in Asia since the Vietnam War.[5] In July 1995, USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) transited the Taiwan Strait, followed by the USS O’Brien (DD-975) and USS McClusky FFG-41 on December 11-12, 1995. Finally on December 19, 1995, the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and her Battlegroup passed through the straits.[6]

            President Clinton ordered additional ships into the region in March 1996.[7] Two aircraft carrier battle groups, Carrier Group Five centered on USS Independence (CV-62) and Carrier Group Seven centered on Nimitz, were present in the region[8] as well as the amphibious assault ship Belleau Wood.[9] The Nimitz and her battle group and the Belleau Wood sailed through the Taiwan Strait, while the Independence did not.[10] The crisis forced the Chinese leadership in 1996 to acknowledge its inability to stop U.S. forces from coming to Taiwan’s assistance.[11]

            Run-up to the 1996 election
            Beijing intended to send a message to the Taiwanese electorate that voting for Lee Teng-hui in the 1996 presidential election on March 23 meant war. A third set of PLA tests from March 8 to March 15 (just before the election), sent missiles within 46 to 65 km (25 to 35 nmi) (just inside the ROC’s territorial waters) off the ports of Keelung and Kaohsiung. Over 70 percent of commercial shipping passed through the targeted ports, which were disrupted by the proximity of the tests.[12] Flights to Japan and trans-Pacific flights were prolonged by ten minutes because airplanes needed to detour away from the flight path. Ships traveling between Kaohsiung and Hong Kong had to take a two-hour detour.

            On 8 March 1996, also a presidential election year in the U.S., the U.S. government under President Clinton announced that it was deploying the USS Independence carrier battle group (CVBG), already stationed in the western Pacific, to international waters near Taiwan. On the following day, the PRC announced live-fire exercises to be conducted near Penghu from March 12–20. On March 11, the U.S. dispatched Carrier Group Seven, centered on USS Nimitz, which steamed at high speed from the Persian Gulf.[citation needed] Tensions rose further on March 15 when Beijing announced a simulated amphibious assault planned for March 18–25.

            Sending two carrier battle groups showed not only a symbolic gesture towards the ROC, but a readiness to fight on the part of the U.S. The ROC government and Democratic Progressive Party welcomed America’s support, but staunch unificationist presidential candidate Lin Yang-kang and the PRC decried “foreign intervention.”

            Aware of U.S. Navy carrier battle groups’ credible threat to the PLA Navy, the PRC decided to accelerate its military buildup. Soon the People’s Republic ordered Sovremenny-class destroyers from Russia, a Cold War-era class designed to counter U.S. Navy carrier battle groups, allegedly in mid-December 1996 during the visit to Moscow by Chinese Premier Li Peng. The PRC subsequently ordered modern attack submarines (Kilo class) and warplanes (76 Su-30MKK and 24 Su-30MK2) to counter the U.S. Navy’s carrier groups.

            The PRC’s attempts at intimidation were counterproductive. Arousing more anger than fear, it boosted Lee by 5% in the polls, earning him a majority as opposed to a mere plurality.[13] The military tests and exercises also strengthened the argument for further U.S. arms sales to the ROC and led to the strengthening of military ties between the U.S. and Japan, increasing the role Japan would play in defending Taiwan.

            During the military exercises in March, there were preoccupations in Taiwan that the PRC would occupy some small islands controlled by Taiwan, causing panic among many citizens. Therefore, many flights from Taiwan to the United States and Canada were full.[14] The most likely target was Wuqiu (Wuchiu), then garrisoned by 500 soldiers. The outlying islands were placed on high alert.[15] The then secretary general of the National Security Council of Taiwan, Ting Mao-shih, flew to New York to meet Samuel Berger, Deputy National Security Advisor of the United States.[16]

            Subsequent prosecutions
            In 1999, Major General Liu Liankun, a top Chinese military logistics officer, and his subordinate Senior Colonel Shao Zhengzhong were arrested, court-martialed and executed for disclosing to Taiwan that the missiles had unarmed warheads despite the Chinese government’s claims.[31]

            Unofficial forewarning
            According to Sankei Shimbun series “Secret Records on Lee Teng-hui” dated April 1, 2019, Tseng Yong-hsien, Lee’s National Policy Adviser, received a direct message from China official in early July 1995; “Our ballistic missiles will be launched toward Taiwan a couple of weeks later, but you guys don’t have to worry.” This was communicated to Lee soon after, to prevent escalation. Tseng, as an envoy of Lee, had met President Yang Shangkun in 1992 and had a secret connection with Ye Xuanning, Head of the Liaison Department of the PLA.[32]

  12. Deap says:

    Never a good idea to concentrate all government power in one place. Trump was right (again) when he wanted to decentralize cabinet agencies out into the hinterlands and away from the Beltway Bubble.

    Will this hypothetical Chinese threat to send one well-placed shot across the bow into the heart of the DC swamp now move this necessary project along?

  13. Bill Roche says:

    Remember John “The Maverick” McCain? No foolin widdat dude. He be doin his own thing man etc etc. I’ve been watching Manchin the past two years. He’s trying on the maverick suit. Oh yeah, he’s going to the nationals, screw W.Va. and “dopey Joey”. He’ll sell himself as the great moderator. Two fingers Joey meant well but he was too old and senile, but Mtn. Joe can bring us together etc etc. The socialist party has a shallow bench. Manchin, combined with a black female socialist is good to go. Speaking of going, IMHO this country has no where to go together. It must divide and find a way to do it peacefully. Maybe it can be done in segments. For “round one” I’ll take the Dakotas , Wyoming, and Utah and you get Hawaii, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. No no no! NY, Mass, Ct. N.J., and R.I. must go as a unit. Well ok, but then I’ll take Fl., Al., Miss, Ark., Tenn, and to keep population close I also want Tx. Think this is funny. You figure a way out w/o another civil war.

    • cobo says:

      Been there, not going there. That is why I advocate Universal Conscription. We need to blow off the years of global communist deconstruction and rebuild our social fabric. It won’t look like the previous tapestry, but USA has a long way yet to go. And we have the best talent from all over the world to get there.

      • Deap says:

        One often overlooks the extremely valuable role the military played providing adult education and technical training that has now gone missing. They were excellent at this task, taking many a virtual illiterate young recruit and polishing highly serviceable skills along with a solid work ethic – even if it meant teaching by cartoon books.

        Many a young career got a jump start – from blue collar skills and professional technical skills from their military experiences. I suspect the airline industry particularly misses these downstream offshoots from universal conscription.

        No system of post high school higher ed has stepped in to take up this slack – community colleges got lost in too much frou frou, and too much pressure to push everyone into transferring to a four year college degree when they should have picked up this slack in into this technical/vocational training the military did such a good job providing.

        (Flight deck scene from TopGun:Maverick brings chills when you think of the zero tolerance training each crew member had to exhibit, even when they were not the more glamorous pilots. Everyone was critical to the team -where do young people get that same experience today? )

        Too bad FLOTUS did not rise to this occasion, but then she was an liberal arts English major and not a champion for sound vocational training that would provide for America’s actual workforce needs, instead of some futuristic waste of tax dollars “progressive” social agenda.

        • cobo says:

          Deap,

          This is an important overview. I spent the last seven years working for a university. I focused my work with the community colleges. The university brought in a completely fake “Workforce Education Solutions” team, which really was only oriented toward getting enrollments and did no more for the students than the typical “Career Services.” The community colleges, however, are heading the right direction with their Workforce Development efforts.

          The community colleges are developing career pathways that include things like Advanced Manufacturing, Instrumentation Technology and working with automotive tech and public safety. Las Positas College, here in Livermore, even put together a program with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to train techs for the National Ignition Facility. Many of these programs include paid internships/apprenticeships.

          One important aspect that the schools are missing is capturing the knowledge that is leaving/retiring from the workforce. The schools have experts in curriculum; the trades of all sorts have experts with knowledge that cannot be learned doing basic coursework. The schools need to bridge that and get the older career experts to pass on their knowledge. The military, I think, gets that kind of real world training/teaching. We need fewer social engineers and more Tool & Dye manufacturers.

  14. Leith says:

    Why would the Taliban dime out their own Haqqanis to get rid of Zawahiri? Unless possibly somebody of Mullah Baradar’s faction or the Yaqoob faction who both have had major clashes and disagreements with the Haqqani Network. Or could it have been an asset inside Pakistan’s ISI? Or some have suggested third party security services in Kabul from possibly friends that have embassies there such as Turkey or Tajikistan or …? Or most likely IMHO perhaps CIA assets left in place after last August?

    As for Grandma Nancy, she wasn’t alone. Five other Congress critters were with her visiting delegation. If you think Xi was mad about the visit, wait until they get to Seoul South Korea.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Leith Islamic consensus groups are continuously dividing and combining. It is their way. AND they want economic support from us.

    • Leith says:

      Interesting that Zawahiri’s hidey-hole was only about 1000 feet from the UK Embassy in Kabul. And the Brits have now suspended in-country diplomatic ops in Afghanistan.

      Also interesting that Zawahiri was hiding in a house built by opium profits – one of the many so-called Poppy Palaces in Kabul. Perhaps the previous owner or someone close by wanted the $25 million bounty on Zawahiri posted by the DoS Rewards for Justice Program?

  15. JamesT says:

    The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Russia has built a satellite for Iran and is about to launch it for Iran:
    https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-713804

    This strikes me as a pretty big deal.

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