The First Cracks Appear in the Washington/Ukraine Alliance

When a Democrat organ like Politico announces problems between Washington and Kiev I think you can assume the honeymoon is over and finger-pointing is about to commence.


“Multiple administration officials have begun worrying that Ukraine is expending so much manpower and ammunition in Bakhmut that it could sap their ability to mount a major counteroffensive in the spring.”

The Ukrainians have allowed themselves to be encircled in the ruins of Bakhmut and now it’s believed that at the very least they will have to abandon their heavy weaponry there.  And there are real concerns that several thousand men are also trapped there too.


“Meanwhile, an assessment by U.S. intelligence suggested that a “pro-Ukraine group” was responsible for the destruction of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last fall, shedding light on a great mystery. The new intelligence, first reported by The New York Times, was short on details but appeared to knock down a theory that Moscow was responsible for sabotaging the pipelines that delivered Russian gas to Europe.”

This assertion seems very odd because it’s assumed that the US military blew up these pipelines.  Perhaps this is a fairy tale they’re telling to give the German Chancellor cover over his support of Washington.  The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines was a crippling blow to the German economy.


“There has also been, at times, frustration about Washington’s delivery of weapons to Ukraine. The United States has, by far, sent the most weapons and equipment to the front, but Kyiv has always looked ahead for the next set of supplies. Though most in the administration have been understanding about Kyiv’s desperation to defend itself, there have been grumblings about the constant requests and, at times, Zelenskyy not showing appropriate gratitude, according to two White House officials not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.”

Regardless of Washington’s intent, the unavailability of artillery rounds in the quantity that would offset the Russians seemingly inexhaustible supply is the sticking point.  Russia is grinding down what’s left of the Ukrainian army and even Abrams tanks and Patriot missiles isn’t going to help with this problem.  Existential panic is starting to set in.  Soon Zelenskyyyyyyyy may begin practicing his impression of Hitler in the bunker.  Being a comedian maybe he can make it more entertaining than the version from the movie “Downfall,

Guest Contributor – ArthurinCali – 14FEB2023 – Ukraine War Redux

Thank you for the polite words on my analysis of this story out of Ukraine. I didn’t notice until this morning that you had reposted it here, which I always appreciate.

A few more thoughts on this as I have had some time to ruminate on this subject:

While I dislike the overused phrase, “As a (fill-in-the-blank with race/religion/career/etc.)” it does have merit for expertise and review of situations when applied correctly. So, as a veteran of OEF/OIF with 20+ years of military and DOD experience, as well as a student of history, the circumstances and scenarios that occur during wartime are of great interest to me. I feel that I can bring unique perspectives to the table in these areas.

The application of labels to the Ukraine-Russia situation as if it is a stark good/evil dichotomy ignores the reality that conflicts between countries are never that simplistic. People who could not find Ukraine on a globe last year are now pontificating as ‘experts’ on foreign policy and geopolitical affairs. While most act as if history began around the time Myspace came online, the historical details around that region are complex and full of nuance to how we find ourselves where we are today. These are VERY tense times that require Realpolitik and deft hands skilled in diplomacy. The current administration has not shown evidence so far that they have these skills.

As I am certain you already know, one caveat to that is to be wary of the number of retired generals and such that are employed by the news networks. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox are notorious for trotting out these empty suits to give what is alleged to be insights that are at an Oracle level. Amazing how more often than not, their opinions aligned with either Administration goals, or the boards they sat on as paid advisers for defense companies.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – 03FEB2023 – Bioweapons Security

Actually, all US bioweapon defense research is supposed to happen in US secure labs, and the really hairy stuff is supposed to be contained on an island (there are more than gets in the press) with very strictly limited access (use of deadly force authorized level security). Think S4 or Area 51, except these guys are faster on the trigger. Imagine trying to walk up on the loading of nuclear weapons on a B-52 holding a protest sign and waving a hammer. Hope you have your life insurance paid up.

Of course, allied nations do such research as well and discuss it over VERY highly secured means of communications. Sort of like a one-off cipher but digital. Think the US president and the UK prime minister discussing nuclear weapons policy in an emergency. If they have to actually share pathogens you can imagine the security involved. Supposedly (and this is rumor) there is Andromeda Strain contingency to destroy the lab and all pathogens in case of a major leak. Nukes? Possibly but more likely large incendiary charges to reduce all to ashes using temperatures in the thousands of degrees Fahrenheit.

When I retired, I had to swear a blood oath not to reveal operational details, even to medical personnel or clergy, for 80 years. So, I will be 114 before I can talk about them in detail. It took me almost 30 years to get the Department of Energy and the DoD to allow me to tell doctors that I was irradiated and how much, but all other details are classified such as where, when, one or multiple doses, specific kinds of radiation, etc. Drives the Dr’s crazy but that is tango sierra.



Guest Contributor – TomD – 26JAN2023 – Life on the Florida Panhandle – Part 1

Tom | Flickr



I live on the Florida Panhandle. I think the area is ideologically closer to being a part of Alabama than the peninsula. Add to that the heavy military, ex-military presence and relatively sparse Southern indigenous population and we’re essentially our own little time capsule.

There are damn few weirdos here to self expel, though, if they ask, we’d be happy to help.

My nearest neighbor, who lived a few hundred yards away, died a few weeks ago. He was, like me, an ex-Marine, A Sergeant Major (E-9) but he had 24 years in compared to my pitiful 4.You can’t imagine how impressive a real USMC Sergeant Major is. They are disciplined, dedicated, controlled, focused, steady and composed. Marines call it squared away. Everything we should aspire to be but almost all of us fail in some or several aspects. He had a flagpole in front of his house and played reveille and taps at appropriate times and ran the Colors up and down with appropriate ceremony EVERY day. You don’t see that in Manhattan.



Comment from Ed Brault

Reminds me of this great short:Reveille.


“Lasers” Are No Longer Just for Bond Villains

It turns out that cheap drone weapons are re-energizing research and development of laser weapons.  Apparently, the differential cost of offensive and defensive missiles is forcing countries to reconsider building defensive laser weapons.  Israel’s successful Iron Dome anti-missile system is demonstrating that if an enemy is willing to flood the field with cheap missiles, they can bankrupt the defender using effective but expensive anti-missile missiles.

Lasers on the other hand after the initial purchase cost of the system uses about ten dollars in electricity per kill.  Of course, lasers are limited by weather conditions.  The quote from the article says, ““With lasers, if you can see it, you can kill it; typically rain and snow are not big deterrents,” says Robert Afzal, an expert on lasers at Lockheed Martin. “But a thundercloud—that’s hard.””

And the range of targets is impressive but not unlimited:

““A laser of that class (100 kW) can be effective against a wide variety of targets, including cruise missiles, mortars, UAVs, and aircraft,” says Perry. “But not reentry vehicles [launched by ballistic missiles].” Those are the warheads, and to ward them off, he says, you’d probably have to hit the rocket when it’s still in the boost phase, which would mean placing your laser in orbit. Laser tech is still far from performing such a feat.”

The Russians, Israelis and Americans all have active fiber laser weapons programs in the 100 – 300 kW range which is the current state of the art.  But now that the economic necessity for these systems has been demonstrated I imagine more powerful and multi-weapon platforms can’t be far behind.

Well all I can say is it’s about time.  We were promised lasers back in the sixties.  Even Dr. Evil had sharks with frikkin’ laser beams back thirty years ago.  Slackers.

The League of Gentlemen (1960) – A Movie Review

This is an English bank heist film.  And it’s a good one.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

The movie opens up with a man emerging from a London manhole cover dressed in proper evening attire and driving away in a Rolls Royce.  That should set the tone for the movie.  This same man, retired Lieutenant-Colonel Norman Hyde, is next seen cutting some five-pound banknotes in half and mailing the halves along with a paperback book about a bank heist called the “Golden Fleece” to seven different men.  Next, we meet each of these men as they receive their packages.  Each is a retired military officer.

Major Peter Race is now living as a down on his luck gambler.

Captain “Padre” Mycroft is a confidence man pretending to be a vicar.

Lieutenant Edward Lexy, played by a much younger Richard Attenborough, is an electronics technician who does side jobs “fixing slot machines for racketeers to shortchange the winners.

Captain Martin Porthill is a gigolo living off the largesse from middle-aged women

Captain Stevens is a homosexual masseuse.

Major Rupert Rutland-Smith is a piano player barely getting by.

Captain Frank Weaver is an unhappily married man.

Hyde is contacting each of them because they were dishonorably discharged from the military and therefore unable to make a good living in the civilian world.  He wants to offer them a share in a bank heist that he is planning.  Each of them has an expertise that will contribute to the success of his military style mission to rob a bank of a million pounds from which each will get an equal share.  One is an expert in explosives, another in communications, another a procurement expert who can forge car and truck license plates.  Two of them are combat veterans who are well trained in crowd control and unafraid to kill.  One is adept at hotwiring and stealing cars.  All have a desire to escape their present lives and live happily ever off of one enormous payday.

They all sign on with Major Race as Hyde’s second in command.  Their first objective is to steal enough weapons and explosives from a British military base to outfit the heist.  The men follow an ingenious plan of Hyde’s to decoy the personnel of the base with a phony inspection by top brass while the rest of the crew pillage the arsenal.

After this success the team moves forward on the plan.  They steal the vehicles they’ll need for the robbery.  They assemble the explosives and the jamming devices.  And they work out the schedule down to the minute.  And as soon as the armored car leaves the bank and turns the corner, the team springs the trap.  The utility shafts that house the alarm and phone lines are blown, the air outside the bank is filled with dense smoke and the team raids the bank brandishing machine guns.  They quickly wheel away the cart from the armored car delivery with the twenty boxes each containing fifty thousand pounds and escape with the money.

But completely coincidentally a little boy had copied down the license plate number of the getaway truck.  Later that day we see Hyde distributing the money to the team at his hideout.  The mood is celebratory.  One by one the team members take their cut of the loot and leave.  When only Hyde and Race are left, a call comes in on the telephone.  It’s Scotland Yard and they order them to come out and give themselves up.  Hyde demands to know which of the team turned them in.  Instead, they find out about the little boy and the license plates.

When they are escorted into the police-wagon we see the rest of the team already captured and manacled together.

I found this old bank heist movie a hidden gem.  I’d never heard of it and despite its “ancient” origin it was very well done, both in terms of the acting and the heist details.  The camaraderie of these total strangers is somewhat reminiscent of such military movies as “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Great Escape.”  But in this case the battle is a crime.  I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes a good heist movie and to the general viewer of quality cinema.

The Terminal List (2022) – A TV Review

“The Terminal List is Amazon Prime’s action thriller tv series based on Jack Carr’s 2018 novel of the same name.  It stars Chris Pratt as Navy Seal Lieutenant Commander James Reece and centers around Reece’s revenge mission to avenge the deaths of his family and comrades in arms.

I won’t put in my usual spoiler alert because I’d rather not go through the whole plot piece by piece.  I’ll just give you my reaction to the series and recommendations.

So, first off, the author Jack Carr was a Navy Seal so I guess that lends some credibility to the technical details of the show.  As far as the plot, it’s a highly charged story of wrongdoing by the rich and powerful that a few years ago I would have said was too outlandish to be true.  But now that real life government malfeasance (FBI targeting of political opponents, COVID related tyrannical actions) is standard operating procedure who is to say what’s outlandish.

The acting for the most part is very good.  There were maybe one or two scenes that didn’t seem to correspond to how I thought the characters emotional states would make them act.  But since the author probably corresponds more closely than I do to the psychological profile of the characters in the story maybe it’s my ignorance of their mindsets.

One of the plot elements involves the brain trauma that Reece is suffering from.  This leads him sometimes to slip back into old scenes in his life, sometimes at very inconvenient points in the plot.  Occasionally during the story, I thought the memory problems were a little distracting but by the end of the series I was satisfied that the plot device was justified.  It also gives us a chance to see his personal life with his murdered wife and daughter.  Now this is a difficult layer to add to a story like this.  I would say they pulled it off mostly well.  By the end of the story the character seems to have come to closure with his loss.

As far as action, there is plenty of it.  Reece and his allies do an amazing amount of damage to the people on his “terminal list.”  And there is quite a bit of brutality to his campaign.  Some of it is up close and personal.  But I would say the violence isn’t merely gratuitous but follows the plot of avenging the terrible crimes that have been committed against Reece.

I watched the show with Camera Girl.  Now she’s an action novel junkie.  She’s a big fan of Reacher and Bosch so a little violence isn’t a big deal to her.  There was one scene that she thought was a little too vicious but by the end of the series she was a big fan of the story.  So, I would recommend this series to anyone who likes the action thriller genre.  It also lacked any woke nonsense of any kind.  In that sense it was very refreshing.  I give this series a highly recommended rating.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – War, Up Close & Personal

A lot of real action with elite units is up close and personal. You have to be able to look them in the eye and kill them. You can smell and almosr taste their adrenaline, their fear, their natural body odor. You have to become almost animalistic in your fury. Killing up close is killing well when done correctly. They gift you with their lives and you can almost see the other side in their eyes but they glaze over too soon. One thing, if you ever kill up close as with a knife, you, yourself will never fear death again and that is the greatest gift.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Memorial Day

My Memorial Day weekend will be spent visiting various cemeteries. I have veteran relatives to honor, such as mom, dad and several uncles and cousins. I will also remember conrades who died in action or later after retirement. My Vietnam generation is fast aging. Most of us who were privates then are in our 70s now, and those who were officers and NCOs are even older. Many of us served well into the War on Terror and against Iraq and even Afghanistan, as well as many places that never made it in the news.

For me and many others Memorial Day is bittersweet and rather melancholy. Families with a strong military tradition likely feel the same. Since the Civil War there have been men and women in our family who have served and fought in each war and “police action”. So I will stand and salute as the Anthem or Taps is played or the colors pass at various cemeteries and Memorial services, and I will shed the odd tear in memory of those braver than I who went before.