Gone Fishing

Perhaps that title isn’t as reassuring as it should be, because, well…. we all know I use fish for ballistic missiles. (I’d say I mean well, but I know you all have a finely trained bullshit detector, so I won’t.)

I should write a post, I should. I started yesterday, but couldn’t explain why my gut says all this with Russia and China is just something that their execrable leaders and whoever has his hand up Biden’s butt cooked up, before the stolen election. After all, all of them, including those who are — very nominally — our countrymen want to see America destroyed. It’s an absolute conviction, and yea, I could find the bunny trail, but I’m not in the mood to write a ten thousand word post just now, sorry.

Of course there is no reason to expect any of this to turn out better than the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, because there might be honor among thieves, but there isn’t even a thought of honor among authoritarian shitweasels (in the case of no longer our countrymen those shitweasels are, to boot, idiot Marxists, who think that if you destroy America paradise ensues. And actually, Putin is an idiot Marxist his own self variety “if everything collapses, Russia will be glorious, glorious” and by Russia he means himself. I wonder if he knows there are penis enlargement surgeries available? Would save the world so much trouble.)

All of which means…. well…. I DID tell you that the thrashing, dying spasms of international socialism (communism is just the extreme of socialism) which has gripped our world for almost a hundred years and our “educated elites” for longer than that was going to be hell to go through. I remain hopeful — but not certain — that they won’t manage to kill civilization with their stupid, insane hatred of everyone who is happier than they (which is actually everyone. Including some people with terminal illnesses. It’s not just that evil is tedious, but it makes its adherents so uniformly miserable.)

So — who asked for interesting times? Because I certainly didn’t. And honestly, if I find who did, the chinelo is going to do a number on their behind.

In the middle of all this, writing my books seems like the most futile pursuit in the world, except for two things: The last time I lived through interesting times, sometimes the only thing that held me (just barely) this side of sanity was the knowledge that that month a new (to me) Heinlein, or Simak or Bradbury would be released in Portuguese, which meant, between reading and rereading twice (which started as soon as I hit the end) that would give me 10 hours of not waiting for the hammer to fall. (And honestly, right now? No pressure on anyone, but Pratchett is dead, I could kill for a new Dave Freer, a new Ringo, a new Weber (or even better, please, mo’e prince Roger?), a new Correia. I crave this like an addict craves a cigarette, which means when I’m stressed, I need it more.)

The second thing is that once at 33 I faced the certainty (well, everyone who should know said it was inevitable) I would die in hours or at most days. And I hadn’t written the books I’d been dragging around inside my head since I was fourteen. (Yes, No Man’s Land is getting done. This year. There are things I have to do to continue series before I start that one, okay?) I don’t want to face that again, and the weather for the next several years is scary, with a heavy chance of individual death. So I’d best be making with the writing yes?

And then I was looking for something to hide a hole in the wall of my office. (Look, it’s a big round hole, and there’s a bunch of cables in it. I have no clue what the cables are, and left to my own devices, I’d cut them, slap a dry wall patch on it, and call it a day. But I suspect Dan would make that sound he makes when I say “Oh, that weird gizmo? I didn’t know what it was so I put it somewhere in the basement.” It’s like a combination sigh and cry of despair. It’s sad. So, I’m not doing that. ) BUT it bothers me, to have that huge hole right there. So I considered buying one of those “doorbell chime covers” to hide it, except the pretty ones cost the Earth, and I got this thing offering a canvas print for $9 with free shipping. Only what the heck do I put on the canvas? I mean, I could steal someone’s art, but I don’t do that.

So I did a quick render and looked for a Heinlein quote. (The chick, btw, is the woman from Space Magic, which yeah yeah I need to finish. It’s in the queue. Which is why “gone fishing” is actually “gone writing.” But that sounds weird, since this is writing too.)

I’d never seen this one, but you know what? The man was right. And suddenly writing stories in the middle of apocalyptic (hopefully not literal) chaos makes a lot more sense. After all, who knows what will survive? Stories have as good a chance as anything. Maybe a better one, considering we still talk of the tales spun by the blind seer, Homer.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, dragons, pterodactyls and reticulated giraffes, possess your souls in patience, while the writer lays down some words (and maybe finally finishes typesetting and putting up some stuff that’s finished.)

I’ll see you on the flip side.*

*Yes, that IS dating myself, which is illegal in 32 states and iffy in Utah.

479 thoughts on “Gone Fishing

  1. There is always the danger of acedia, sloth, the Noonday Demon.

    Dreaming of greater things one could be doing, giving up, and ill founded attempts to do what one is not called to do are all forms.

      1. Obviously I’m not Mary, but I took her comment along the lines of “Good, you are working on your stories, instead of falling to the temptation to neglect your calling as futile for not being something else.”

  2. Story.

    I heard of a man who went to the bank of a river/lake and cast a line out into the water but the line did not have a hook.

    Somebody asked him about it and he replied “I really don’t want to catch anything but just want to relax. Looking like I’m fishing allows me to say I’m fishing not being lazy.” 😀

    Take Care Sarah.

    1. “Fishing, huh? What are you using for bait?”
      “No bait. I don’t want any fish bothering me while I’m fishing.”

      From an old Rick O’Shay comic, I think.

      1. Hipshot Percussion was a hero to young RCPete. I loved how he’d go out to the mountains and talk with God. (Haven’t seen that strip since, oh dear, 1974?)

        1. Yeah, Hipshot was that.

          Stan Lynde had a dispute with the syndicator and Stan didn’t own it, so the strip as-we-knew-it ended in 1977. As the characters would say, “Black-dang, corn-swozzlin’, raggedy-raunch, SCHMIRD!”

          He wrote a few western novels; the one I read was pretty good.

          He passed away in 2013. For a while the wife was running the site but not sure about now.

          1. I purely loved the Rick O’Shay series! The names of regular characters were a riot, too – for those who don’t recall it, the town doctor was Doc Basil Metabolism, and his office nurse was Ophelia Pulse. The sheriff’s schoolteacher girlfriend was Gaye Abandon.

            Me, I’m as busy with paying clients, so that I have barely had time for my own books… (sniff!)

            1. I had a plan for an urban fantasy RPG campaign where all the NPCs would have names like that, starting with Agnes Day and Bella Wood. I have a list somewhere on this computer with twenty-some names.

        2. Yep. The one I remember is where Hipshot rode up into the mountains on Sunday after the preacher told him he should have faith, and the first thing he said when he got there was “Sorry I’m late, boss; I didn’t want to bother you when you was busy with them folks at the church”. My kind of believer. 🙂

    2. I used to do that as a kid. Ride my bike to the reservoir with a bamboo pole, a length of line and a bobber. No hook no bait. I could sit under a tree for hours reading with a line in the water and no one would bother me.

      On a hot summer day before air conditioning it was great escape.

      Did it once without a pole and all kinds of interruptions “what are you doing here?” “What are you reading?” “where’s your home?”…

    3. Maybe that’s where Lois Bujold got the idea for the character of Iroki, saint of the Bastard and the laziest man in Pef.

      “Sometimes, to save interruption, I wouldn’t bait the hook. When fish took it anyways, I tried weighting my line with a pebble. When they started swallowing it down pebble, line, and all, I tried no line. When the fish started jumping out onto the bank at my feet, it got a little disturbin’. But I never went hungry.”

    4. The Chinese have an ancient story about a man fishing without a hook.

      Supposedly during the reign of the last king of the Shang Dynasty, a former government official and sage who had fled the utterly corrupt and evil king (and he’s considered corrupt and evil even by the usual Chinese standards, with his favored concubine basically being the cultural ur-example of depraved seductress) sat down by a river and fished with a straight hook, no bait, and the “hook” hanging three feet above the water. When asked what he was doing by passersby, he told them that he was waiting for the fish that would hook itself – i.e. a wise ruler who would hire the sage for his advice.

  3. Later, gator.

    (And I was thinking while reading this of Jeremiah being instructed to buy the plot of land from his relative and bury the deed in jar.)

  4. There are lots of people that I know who are surprised at the situation in Ukraine. I’m not. I mean, my gut check knows that Putin is an authoritarian power-hungry asshole, and we know that he’s had people assassinated who were in his way. This is right in line with his entire modus operandi.

    Oh, and blood pressure warning: I just saw a meme that states “Russia isn’t communist. It’s been a capitalist oligarchy for forty years.” (Yes, they said forty. I might have taken “thirty” as typical “completely unclear on definitions” idiocy, but “forty” is definitely in redefinition territory.)

    1. The main difference between Russia 1982 and Russia 2022 is that the oligarchs don’t need to spout Communist rhetoric, and that so long as they keep Fearless Leader happy, they’re actually allowed to be wealthy.

      1. the biggest issue Russia has had is the only ones who know any sort of way to run things is the Mob and the KGB.
        Might not be the right way, but they had the ways to power.

        1. Most of the Mob are ex-KGB and know if they’re the wrong kind of pain in Putin’s butt and aren’t useful enough to lining his pockets they have 9mm brain hemorrhages waiting.

          1. Yeah, the KGB downsized and the Mob got bigger. Also as with the CCCP the Federation needs the Mob to do certain things, so they can’t go away, and Putin made certain to keep a few cards in hand to keep them in check too (as in prevent them from deciding he needed a heart attack or headache of the 9x18mm variety)

                1. Arkancide, or suicide by three bullets to the back of the head, could be described as a cerebral hemorrhage too.

          2. Saw a second-hand rumor that part of why Russia is angry with the Ukraine is that their gangs are bringing in drugs to Russia.
            One was “ex-KGB”, the other two I can’t remember.
            Was one of those “I can’t tell if that is brilliant psy-ops, or bang-your-head-on-a-wall projection.”

            1. Putin appears to be claiming that, but I’m not sure if he really did.
              And of course, this is definitely, “Embrace the power of and,” territory.

            2. Yeah, I’m seeing a ton of rumors in both directions. I’m keeping the two week rule in mind for all of them. Some of the stuff being pushed that I knew was false even before the invasion has served as a reminder.

              1. A *lot* of the stuff I’m seeing is … well, on par with calling a Jewish guy a Nazi.

                Not just false, but a rub-the-lie-in-your-face level insanity.

                That’s *besides* the ones that start with assuming that Russia is just like the US.

                1. From Instapundit to Epoch Times to various Substacks, the Russian trolls are out in force the last couple of days, throwing up a huge cloud of disinformation. That, combined with general lack of trust in “our” governments, and it’s hard to tell what’s even two states away from “true”. Like, supposedly Ukraine was committing genocide on Russian-speakers, and has been daily shelling civilian areas in the Donbas since 2014, plus the current Ukrainian government is literally Nazis installed by a US coup. Seriously?

                  1. Yeah, it got to the point (when I was actively avoiding this nonsense, just out looking for funny memes) that I phoned my mom to ask if she remembered Crimea or if it had REALLY been that obscure.

                    An easy way to check is to see if the story changes between niche stories from a year or more ago to now; the “poor Russia is being assaulted by the Ukraine, who won’t follow the cease-fire” is new, “Russia says they had nothing to do with annexing Crimea and are ignoring the cease-fire” is constant.

                    1. >> “just out looking for funny memes”

                      That reminds me; don’t you have a page of Founding-Father-era themed memes somewhere on your blog? “Fucketh around and discover thy fate,” and so on?

                      I could swear I’ve seen it on your blog before, but when I went looking a couple of days ago I couldn’t find it again.

                  2. Oh, if folks want to check up on the “Genocide against Russian-speakers” nonsense, go check out the saved stuff from the Simon Conway show on WHO1040; Iowa radio station, the guy is great at networking through the agricultural community, and there’s a farmer that’s been in the Ukraine for a while because they’re big on corn, too.
                    The Russian community in his area had been told they were being attacked by Americans when it was Russian flagged planes hitting them.

                  3. The previous Ukrainian government (Poroshenko’s) might not have been literally Nazis, but they were installed by the Clintons/0bamas/Bidens in 2014. They hate Zelenskyy for booting out their puppet. As for the ‘Russian Separatists’ in Ukraine’s eastern provinces, one way or another they’re working for Putin. Ukraine’s equivalent of Antefa?

                  4. Yeah, the “US overthrew the Ukraine government” one dates back to the popular demonstrations in Ukraine back during Obama’s administration. The rumor is that the demonstrations were manipulated by the US using a method called “color revolutions” developed (at least in part) by Brennan. The result of that was that the pro-Russian president was forced to step down, and was replaced by a pro-Western president, Poroshenko. Such rumors also frequently claim that TPTB are planning to use (or are using) the same basic playbook to bring the US under their tighter control.

                    Make of that what you will. I don’t know enough to comment on it.

                    Of course, the people bringing them up now almost always state that Zelensky (and they even frequently identify him by name) was the president that was installed by the demonstrations. But that’s utterly and completely false, since Zelensky was elected in a populist wave that threw out Poroshenko in 2019. I’ve seen the false claim repeated a *lot* over in the comments at Ace’s blog, much to my annoyance. Even worse is that some of the people claiming it are names that have been posting there for a long time. It’s not just people who only first showed up a few weeks ago.

                    As for Poroshenko, he’s currently facing corruption charges. But one of the commenters over on ILOH’s Facebook page mentioned reports that the ex-president joined up with his militia unit following the invasion.

                    1. Just because he’s corrupt doesn’t mean he’s not a patriot.

                      Unlike our homegrown versions.

                    2. On the one hand, someone stepping up to defend their country is always good. On the other hand, he’s a crooked politician, and almost certainly realizes that being seen as willing to risk his life to defend Ukraine will help with his fight against the corruption charges.

                      But, eh, the former still outweighs the latter.

                    3. iirc the Pro Russians got in with mahoosive fraud and other questionable tactics. The protests started almost immediately and got bigger and bigger until they got them to step down. Then Poroshenko showed his crookedness (iirc that prosecutor Biden got fired was one of the many reasons) and got ousted.

                    4. Cue Rocketeer – “I may not make an honest buck, but I’m 100% American.”

                      (and he says this *before* the cavalry arrives in the form of the FBI)

            3. From what I have heard the main issue is that Ukraine is still not a separate enough entity from historical Russia for the two to be separate.

              Basically the Ukraine is culturally and ethnically as separate from Russia as the US south is from the rest of the US. Different enough to have its own identity, but similar enough, with enough shared history for the other parts to still think of it as the same.

              The fundamental difference, as you print out below, is the Ukraine got hammered by the holodomor, while the US south never had anything even remotely comparable happen to it.

              Thinking about it, probably the better way to solve that from the Russian perspective would have been to consistently argue that the Holodomor was part of Stalin’s mad war on everyone against everyone and not part of any true Russian thing. That’s likely not possible now.

              Honestly. I’d expected him to vacuum up the breakaway provinces and settle in to wait for the next part. I’m still surprised he decided to go all in for all of it right now. I’d heard rumors that Putin was starting to show sign of mental deterioration himself, and I’m almost wondering if he’s over reaching now because he can’t tell the difference anymore.

              1. i seem to recall the southern us having a few cities burned in the wear that shall not be named. Not as bad, but don’t act like nuttin ever happened

              2. Sadly, I think it’s more likely that the Ukraine is too useful to be allowed to not be in Russia– going off of the massive jump in all measurements of health, from how long it takes folks to die to how many babies they have, they were doing fine.

                But Russia lost a lot of fertile farmland (to the tune of Iowa going “oh, fudge, this is going to REALLY screw up corn markets”) and, the last round of “but Russia wants it,” a warm water port.

                1. We will definitely see. Some of the reports In seeing indicate the Ukrainians are doing much better than expected. It is quite possible Put in may actually have screwed up by the numbers.

                  Really hard to say right now.

                    1. I’m hearing they may have taken down a plane load of para troopers headed for another go at taking the airport.

                      I’m also hearing there may be something seriously wrong with Putin at the moment. Not sure at all what’s really going on here.

                1. Telling the Fearless Leader the truth that he doesn’t want to hear is a good way to wind up dead in Russia. It’s a very different mindset. He doesn’t operate in a vacuum, but look at Russian history. Advisors will advise in ways that does not get them a 9mm brain hemorage (or radioactive tea, or that dang vodka that puts holes in people, or mysteriously fatal saddle sores, it’s a long list.) or sent to Gulag in Siberia.

                  1. In related news, Xi evidently didn’t find out about the rolling blackouts in China for “weeks”. The solution was blindingly obvious but only he had the authority to make it and no one would tell him. Evil will oft don’t evil mar.

                  2. And yet the Tsar-wannabes never seem to recall just how amazingly well that work out for the Tsar. Why, it worked SO VERY WELL that they are still in power, yes? };o)

                    [Anesthesia/Anastasia joke goes here.]

    2. The Ukro-nazis have been attacking the Russian provinces for 8 years, in violation of the 2014 Minsk agreement, with thousands killed including women and children, since they were shelling schools and hospitals…Unlike our politicians, Putin wants and needs to protect his countrymen from these animals, and when NATO refused to reign in their puppet, Putin gave up on negotiations and took action…Our scum are letting in millions of 3d worlders on the southern border to rob, rape and dispossess Americans, and nary a peep from anyone in Congress or the media…We could really use a Putin…

        1. Look up “Ukrainian mafia”. They regarded Russia as their private bank account, and a lot of the recent tension has been due to Putin putting an end to that. If you backtrack “Russiagate” far enough (and this is documented tho I don’t have it ready to hand; Diana West did some of it and I can’t think of the other guys’ name) you come to Ukrainian mobsters who were trying to paint Putin as Trump’s lapdog, hoping to eject him from power, because said mobsters didn’t like Putin cutting off their profits. Trump was initially just collateral damage, before the DNC grabbed it and ran with it.

          And try this one: Not about that specifically but the whyfore of the current situation.


          How would we react if it were Russia putting missiles, pointed at us, on the Mexican border?? Oh wait, we already know that one; it’s called the Cuban Missile Crisis.

          From someone in the business sphere:
          I also had the opportunity to talk with someone from one of those “…stan” countries when I was in Vancouver at a conference few years ago. It was right after the last Ukraine thing.
          His perspective was totally different than what was in the media….that the bulk of people in the area are ethnic Russian, and until everything got weird with that corrupt “president”, didn’t see any issue with being a friendly sibling to the mother land. That everyone needed to just butt out.

          The West made this situation. We backed the Bear into a corner, and expected Russia to just meekly knuckle under like the West has under the globalist push. Surprise!! not everyone says “Please, sir, may I have another?”

          1. How would we react if it were Russia putting missiles, pointed at us, on the Mexican border?? Oh wait, we already know that one; it’s called the Cuban Missile Crisis.

            If the US had a history of genocide against Mexico, that might, possibly, be somewhat rational.

                    1. No, actually I just wanted to compare “marshalling hostiles on someone else’s border” which is never a friendly act no matter what your history may be.

                    2. Russia has been sending in military guys without uniforms for roughly a decade.

                      They freaking BLEW UP TWITTER with their “hey, ma, I’m in the Ukraine!” chatter.

                      I am not going to pretend to take seriously ANYTHING that is copying the format of “Israel violated the peace treaty by shooting back.”

                      It’s nonsense, and it’s evil.

                    3. The Moscow patriarchate has currently excommunicated Kyiv, Constantinople for supporting Kyiv, and Alexandria for supporting Constantinople, and is attempting to grab a bunch of African parishes and dioceses.

                      Yeah, I’m sure Moscow is the oppressed one. So very very oppressed.

                  1. The Moscow patriarchate have to live with Putin and his thugs looking over the shoulder, so I suspect they are oppressed, but yeah. Assuming they aren’t just completely willing minions, of course.

                    1. Well, the reason I said “patriarchate” and not “patriarch” is that there’s some weird “we’re a synod and we decide everything about what to do by voting!” thing going on. And the Moscow patriarch himself… well, he didn’t vote for these shenanigans with other patriarchates, but a lot of the bishops did.

                      So… yeah… there do seem to be minions of the state running around, or extremely crazy people.

          2. The Ukraine is noted for massively cutting off the mob activity in their area since their independence in 1991, most of that smuggling was going from Russia into the EU.

            This isn’t exactly secret stuff, as the top result for “Ukraine Russia Mafia” kinda hints:

            A year and change ago this Ukrainian-Russian mafia leader was removed from the FBI’s most wanted list… because he was living openly in Moscow.

            1. It looks like he mostly operated on the Russian side of things… I’m sure there was the usual “friendly competition” over turf.

              1. How, exactly, do you square that circle with Russia being the poor widdle victims of the Ukrainian mafia?

                Because their openly wandering mob boss wasn’t able to operate so freely in the Ukraine?

                1. Exaggerate much?? You don’t have to be poor widdle victims to not want foreign mob bosses operating on your turf. On either side.

                  1. You claimed:
                    Look up “Ukrainian mafia”. They regarded Russia as their private bank account, and a lot of the recent tension has been due to Putin putting an end to that.

                    I then gave you the guy who had been running organized crime in the Ukraine, and the fact that he’s living openly in Russia, along with the information that as soon as the Ukraine got free they got to work removing organized crime.

                    Which works a lot better with “Russia is angry at the Ukraine for interfering with their looting” than the other way around.

                    Kind of like how the guys who already annexed a chunk of the country are not innocent victims of aggression for people noticing when they start up the same trick again.

      1. The 2014 Minsk agreement was a cease fire. Didn’t work.
        The 2015 agreement is probably what you’re thinking of.

        That’s the one that Russia has, from the start, refused to be bound by, because THEY SAY THEY WERE NOT INVOLVED.

        Anyone who actually believes all those Russian military guys, including the ones that shot down a civilian plane, were totally there on their own…. well, it’s not worth seriously engaging.


        1. We won’t even bother to discuss calling a country with a Jewish President “Ukro-Nazis”.

          Sarah may have missed a Russian bot.

          1. Maybe Putin’s getting back to his roots– the Nazi being right-wing did come from when they were in Russia’s way, thus everybody in the way of the wanna-be Stalin II must be a right-wing Nazi, right?

                  1. The “not being an idiot” would line up with lying like a dog, since Putin is well known for not being shy about murdering those who get in his way.

                    1. (and yeah, the Phantom Soap Box seems to have nabbed me in this set of threads.) At least it didn’t lead to, essentially, a research paper I’m still buidling like the civ vs. tribal one did.

                  2. V pravda ne izvesti, v izvesti ne pravda.

                    In other words, you can’t trust Russian sources. He’s not an idiot and he’s also not dead or in gulag. Quit buying the damn Russian propaganda hook line and sinker or go bloody well move there if you love them so much.

              1. Putin is just following the Democratic Party’s lead in calling everyone who disagrees with him or opposes him a Nazi.

            1. There’s also some really weird stuff going on with the churches in the area. Part of the Orthodox church in Ukraine wanted to separate from the Russian church, so they went to the Greek church instead, who didn’t have the right to do that, but they went ahead and appointed a defrocked priest who was wildly scandalous as the patriarch of a new Ukrainian church. And its possible he may actually be tangled up with them, but everybody has dogs in that fight,and completely separate from the European politics there’s been a building conflict between the Greek and Russian churches, so who knows?

              A few years ago my aunt summed the whole mess up with, it’s as if California and New York weren’t happy with the results of the 2016 election, so they went to the Queen of England to have her appoint a new president, and she appointed Harvey Weinstein.

              That’s about the level of ‘I can’t even’ were at right now…

              1. Putin has been subverting the Russian Orthodox church for quite some time– and been making attempts at the various Catholic rite churches in the region, as well. That first came out when they did that first big push to have more kids. As long as they do what Putin wants….

                I’ve heard there’s highly suspicious behavior in other eastern churches, though not so obviously Russian aligned, it could be organized crime or an oddly timed surge in Humans Are B*tards.

                1. Probably a combination of a lot of things. Thing is the Russian church is currently made up of the factions that were trapped in Russia when the Soviets took over, the parts that headed to the hills when they took over, and the parts that escaped to the west when the Soviets took over. So the Russian church is playing a risky game getting entangled with the Russian government again, but they’ve still got the synod of bishops set up as a way to break away if things go sideways. There’s an old joke, someone asked the Metropolitan, “Do you broken in organized religion?” The Metropolitan replied, “No.” The Orthodox church is a very decentralized system.

                  And the Greek patriarch has been arguing that he’s the head of the Orthodox church as a whole in media, which isn’t really the way it works. I’ll have to check, but I also seem to recall that there’s some really weird requirement on who has to sign off on who ends up as the Greek patriarch. I want to say it’s something like the Turkish government has to approve of them, or something equally wtf, but I’ll need to dig that back up.

                  There’s a lot of weird going on right now.

                  1. If anyone, I’d expect the guy in Constantinople to be claiming that one, just from history. I know that Turkey and their predecessors kept a tight grip there…..

                    1. You’re right, I’m thinking the Patriarch of Constantinople, which is the one that runs more of the Greek Orthodox churches in the US but not the ones within the territorial boundaries of modern Greece.

                      And he was the one that the Ukrainian churches went to to have grant them autocephaloucy, despite them not being part of that branch of the church.

                      Remember what I said about the Orthodox and organized religion? Yeah…

                    2. Kyiv evangelized Moscow and not the other way around, which would uuuuusually make Kyiv the patriarchate. Kyiv used to be a patriarchate. For historical reasons it’s not (ie, Kyiv getting temporarily flattened by the Tartars and other steppe/Muslim invaders, whereas Moscow was far enough away for people to flee there upriver).

                      A lot of Ukrainians hate having their bishops appointed by Moscow, and hence signed off on by Putin, and they still remember not getting a lot of help during Soviet times. So Constantinople said, eh, maybe you could move on over to somebody else’s patriarchate if you like, especially since Kyiv was evangelized out of Constantinople. Obviously this didn’t go over well.

                      Since Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople have all been under the Muslim heel for centuries, and are still patriarchates, obviously Moscow saying that patriarchates in Muslim lands don’t count did not go over.

                      (This is all part of the Russian “Third Rome” theory, by which the bishop of Rome allegedly gave up its spiritual power to Constantinople at the Fall of the Western Empire, and Constantinople allegedly did the same at the fall of Constantinople. And since some Constantinople refugees went to Moscow, Moscow is the Third Rome, Putin is Emperor, the Moscow patriarch is Pope, and Moscow rightfully should rule the world and all Christian churches. And there won’t be any other Romes, because the world will end with Moscow still on top. This is not official dogma or government teaching, but it’s the background for a lot of stuff that the tsars did, that the Soviets did, and that Putin is doing.)

                    3. This is all part of the Russian “Third Rome” theory, by which the bishop of Rome allegedly gave up its spiritual power to Constantinople at the Fall of the Western Empire, and Constantinople allegedly did the same at the fall of Constantinople. And since some Constantinople refugees went to Moscow, Moscow is the Third Rome, Putin is Emperor, the Moscow patriarch is Pope, and Moscow rightfully should rule the world and all Christian churches.

                      And I thought mad lil’ Kim’s “discovery” of the kirin lair was reaching…..

                    4. Just to clarify, it is not that the Patriarch of Constantinople is not an orthodox bishop, it is that he is not their orthodox bishop, and doesn’t have the authority to just tell another bishop’s priests what they can and cannot do, especially if the first bishop has already told them no.

                      Structurally, the bishops are supposed to be the successors of the apostles across the whole of orthodoxy, and they then ordain priests to go serve. And because the bishops are all supposed to be the successors to the apostles, they’re all supposed to be in basic overall agreement, This also means what the first bishop you ask says sticks until they change their mind, or a larger conclave of bishops determines it was in error.

                      That’s not what they did. Here they got an answer they didn’t like from their direct bishop, so they went to a different bishop to get an answer they liked. That’s not supposed to work that way. The most intervention is, the bishops are supposed to talk it over until everyone is in agreement, and the first bishop authorizes or rejects it based on that agreement.

                      Overall, the Orthodox Church in communion is supposed to mean that everybody who is in communion agrees on the same tenants of the faith. I know it’s never as clean as that (humans are messy and uncertain things) but that’s the overall goal.

                      Now, having two different bishops given the same people different instructions that are at cross purposes undermines all of that, and when it starts happening, it becomes extremely easy for churches to start fragmenting rapidly. It’s remarkably easy to go HAM on stupid things.

                      This has a high potential of fracturing the orthodox into two separate groups. It’s a right proper mess.

                    5. I’m also not sure where the Third Rome thing comes from. Orthodox doctrine is that the Roman church was the one that broke away from the rest of the greater orthodox faith, so they could add the filioque to the creed. I know that isn’t the way the Roman Catholic Church sees it, but that’s the way the Orthodox churches see it,

                      I don’t think that is a real thing in the church, because to want to be another Rome, one first needs to see Rome as an origin point, but the perception of the orthodox is that the Roman Church is a lost child of the original church, not the original church itself. Constantinople can make a reasonable argument that it is the mother church, but it was the mother church of the roman and Slavic churches, not the other way around.

                      The only way I could see someone making a 3rd Rome argument would be from a purely secular perspective, and trying to make Russia the heirs to the might of the Roman empire, but I can’t see that argument even being considered from an orthodox perspective. It just doesn’t make sense given the history of the orthodox church.

                    6. For accuracy– “Roman Catholic Church” isn’t the name of the larger organization headed by the Pope, though as the bishop of Rome he’s also the head of the Latin rite; Roman Catholic is a single rite, though the most common in the US.
                      One of those things that can help you figure out the source and target of an information piece, or get you the right jargon to gloss over if you’re writing a story, this article has more details:

                    7. Ok. I’ll have to go dig into that at some point.

                      I come out of the Orthodox tradition so pretty much anything that reports to the Pope is “Roman Catholic” and we also tend to add the Roman qualifier because Catholic is supposed to cover the whole of the Christian church, which kind of isn’t the case after the Great Schism…

                    8. Yup, the “third Rome” thing is basically something some Russian guy came up with. Not a mystic, not a historian, just some guy saying something that REALLY appeals to a lot of Russians. So it caught on, and a lot of Russians believe it. And once you know about it, it explains soooo much about Things Russians Do.

                      To be fair, the Fall of Constantinople was scary and weird, so people needed hope.

                2. Subversion started way before Putin. Subversion to the communist state started with Lenin, but a good chunk of the Russian Orthodox church was thick as thieves with the Tsars going back at least to Ivan the Terrible (finding records further back than that reliably has been.. spotty.) There were always honest ones, but the organization of the church usually supported the Tsar. (Things got snarly and interesting at quite a few points of history so please don’t take this as more than a very, very broad summary.)

                  1. Religion is power; attempted subversion is pretty much to be expected. (It’s part of why I don’t like state churches!)
                    The main reason I pointed to it in modern times is that it was getting re-established, rather than a constant state.

                    …silver lining to the whole “officially atheistic” thing?

                    1. Well, even that becomes it’s own religion. And without any safeguards against the temptations of power, it can become quite zealous indeed. Remember the guy who declared himself “The Science”?

                      I suspect the real need is for religions to develop mechanisms to prevent being corrupted by an association with state power.

                      American Protestantism did very well in the early US history, I think, because the factions were in such constant competition with each other that they formed a natural balance. They all had core doctrines that pretty much everyone agreed on that could serve as the foundation of public morality, but there were enough different ones in competition that none of them were able to impose everything. They had to keep to broad, very universal strokes.

                      But with their overall decline, the vacuum has been filled by either systems that don’t believe truth exists at all, or monolithic systems that believe they have the full truth and should impose it on everyone. Not good.

                      I think free societies need faiths with the certainty that there is universal truth, but also the humility to know that we probably don’t fully know it. Not an easy problem.

                    2. I meant that the Soviets officially oppressing the church had a silver lining. VERY familiar with the “purging or claiming all things religious” behavior. 😀

                    3. Ah, I see. True that, though at a terrible cost.

                      Honestly, it will be very interesting to see what comes out of the Russian church over the next 20-40 years. By reunifying with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and the Orthodox Church of America, they’ve brought in a big number of western converts.

                      So they’ve now got this cadre of people who are well trained and well versed in western enlightenment, and for whatever reason, were not satisfied with it.

                      So you’ve got all these people who believe there is a universal truth, are willing to give up everything to find it, and know that they have been wrong at least once before, and they’re being incorporated into an institution who’s basic doctrines include finding and translating everything into a language everyone can read.

                      I think they’ve got the right combination of resources, zeal, and institutional guardrails to produce some really incredible things. And because it’s going to be happening at the parish priest and local monk level, its going to be something that’s just going to come out of nowhere.

                    4. Doesn’t matter much when you’ve already established that it’s Not Acceptable to leave an Orthodox bishop as a congregation, even when he is controlled by a malevolent government.

                      Runs into the same trouble that the Anglicans in the colonies had when we broke away from England.

                    5. Not acceptable without permission. The Synod of Bishops still has permission, and still has that charter to preserve the faith in case of hostile takeover.

                      And it would not be the first time the metropolitan shotgunned out letters of autocephalcy either 🙂

            2. Just a thought offered with trepidation. in calling the Ukrainians Nazi’s, Putin is actually recalling memories of the initial German advance when the Ukrainians sorta welcomed them. After the Holodomor, the Russians weren’t very popular. Hitler, being an idiot, made no distinction and didn’t offer anything constructive. he did raise regiments among the Ukrainians and Cossacks, which British communists have back to Stalin after the war, with predictable results. There were also Ukrainian concentration camp guards. Hunger is a great recruiter and many Ukrainians blamed the Jews for the Holodomor.

              Another note with even more trepidation.western Ukraine isn’t orthodox, it’s Uniate and in communion with Rome. I go to Uniate Mass every once in a while when I really want bells and smells.

              I’m going to duck now since I don’t want the ladies mad at me 😀

                1. Just so, Were Hitler to have concentrated on the Russians and treated the Poles and Western Ukrainians better he might well have won the war, but then he wouldn’t have been Hitler, Still, some Ukrainians did collaborate and some did fight for the Nazis, and some were concentration camp guards. These are simple facts and well documented.

                  Russians collaborated too and a larger number of Russians fought for the Nazis than did Ukrainians but that the Ukrainians were collaborators is firmly established in the Russian right’s folklore. Propaganda doesn’t have to be accurate, it just has to touch the right emotion. Putin is waving a bloody shirt, that it’s not real blood is immaterial there just has to be enough red to make people believe.

                  I’m not trying to justify what Putin is doing, quite the contrary he has no business going into other people’s countries, but we should be accurate.

                  1. Accuracy would be pointing out the Russian mythology, not telling it as if it were something that can’t be rephrased as “Russia treated the Ukrainians so badly that even after seeing what happened in Poland people thought Nazi Germany might not as bad.”

                    Kind of like the “Ukrainian mafia” conversation earlier, when it turns out there is a Ukrainian born mob boss involved… and he belongs to Putin.

              1. The Nazis found no shortage of volunteers throughout Eastern Europe ready to help them exterminate the Jews. And for all that Poland, the Ukraine, Lithuania, and the rest say this was coerced, the reception my grandparents and the other Holocaust survivors got from their former neighbors upon trying to return home gives that excuse the lie. The Ukrainians were vicious enough to make the SS consider them excessive, and the Lithuanians were even worse.

                When my grandparents and my uncle visited Europe decades later, attitudes had changed in some places, but not in the Ukraine—they still felt unsafe dressing conspicuously Jewishly there. Not much had changed in the previous 60 years, or in the 600 years before that.

                I’m told there have been changes in the last twenty years, and election of a Jewish president points to that. Still, Ukrainians being willing collaborators with Nazism is still (if only barely) a matter of living memory. (Of course, there was about equal collaboration in the parts of Russia proper when under German occupation, so Putin has no right to throw stones—but historical truth matters little to an old communist.)

                1. The SS cited viciousness as proof that the inferior Slavs were inferior. Only the magnanimous German found it difficult.

                  Which is not to say that they could not have been worse, but that the SS said so is not that strong evidence.

          2. I don’t know where pyrrhus is from but he’s a legit poster. Posts on Jim’s Blog and elsewhere.

            1. There are no good guys. Certainly the Ukrainian government and assorted mafias are not innocent. Neither is the Russian government and mafia as well as the Russian mafias running around in eastern Ukraine after Obama let Putin take the Crimea and establish these mafias there who have been trading shells with Ukraine, whether regular forces or assorted mafias, who knows.

              It’s a shame they can’t all lose, but the only losers are the genuinely innocent commons who are paying for this with their lives.

              1. No innocents, no, but over the long haul I think the losers are likely to be the West, for laying the fuse to the present kinetics, and for what will strengthen China just when it was about to collapse of its own weight.

                More the losers if our Seniles In Charge decide they need to jump into it with both feet.

                1. Don’t be surprised to find the biggest losers, other than the directly involved parties, being the Germans. About time too. This could be the most interesting outcome politically if what I’m reading out of Europe is at all representative.

                  Don’t be surprised if the Russians lose or if they win can’t hold it.

                  China doesn’t need our help to fall, though we coulda pushed a bit.

                  This is starting to feel like a blunder, by Putin.

                  1. My daughter (the two-hitch Marine and Second Gulf war invasion vet) was looking closely at all the pictures that she could find of the Ukrainian and Russian soldiers and their gear … and remarked to me that many of the Russians really didn’t look very … military. To her eyes, they didn’t look healthy, fit, well-fed. She said they looked like homeless. Their gear and equipment looked worn-out, dirty, in bad repair. Whereas the Ukrainian soldiers looked more like our own – very fit, well-nourished, well-kitted out, and their vehicles and gear looked in top shape.
                    She thought at first that it would all be over for the Ukrainians by the weekend … but now she has doubts. Putin might have bitten off more than he can chew.

                    1. It’s possible that she’s seeing pictures of the Donetsk separatists, who are a motley crew and seem to have led the initial assaults. I suspect the regulars are better. That said, I don’t think Russia has enough regulars, nor the logistics, to maintain the attack. They had to do crash, bang, gotcha. If the Ukrainians can rally they could make the Russians grind to a halt. I still don’t see the Ukrainians prevailing but wouldn’t be surprised if they did. I think the likely outcome is partition and disarmament but should they hold then Putin is in trouble and then, who knows?

                    2. From what I’ve read on Strategy Page, the Russian advances via highway have bogged down, the airport near Kiev was retaken by Ukrainian forces, and an amphibious assault on Odessa repulsed. Nitay Arbel’s blog has a link to an article in The Telegraph about a successful Ukrainian raid on a Russian military airfield that destroyed several aircraft. Also, I’ve read that a lot of the “Russian” infantry are ethnic Russians from the Eastern Ukraine who were “voluntold” to join the invasion, and are neither enthusiastic nor well trained.

                    3. If I recall correctly, the career Russian soldiers and their special forces can be dang good. The “Please may my required service before I get sent somewhere” troops . . . leave something to be desired in terms of both how they are treated by their NCOs and officers, and in the quality of soldier that treatment produces.

                    4. Number two,son wrote a,paper about soccer during the Soviet times when it was the only path for political expression. Before they were conscripted all the young men rooted for central army, after they got out they all rooted for Dynamo, the peoples actual club

                    5. More recent news I’ve read: Russians are making progress towards Kiev, made a successful amphibious landing on a less prominent target, and have yet to commit 2/3 of their troops. Not totally encouraging.

                    6. If its true that Putin hasn’t committed all his forces yet, a bright spot is that it gives more time for the Ukrainian reserves to activate and for the firearm distributions to the Ukrainian public to reach as many as can be. And it is so hard to form a coherent, up to date picture, even looking at sources I’d normally trust – sometimes they’re just a few hours behind, sometimes they’re reporting what turns out to be incorrect rumors. I hope the Ukrainians beat back Putin’s forces – or turns them. Failing that, I hope they inflict enough pain that Putin has to pull in his horns for a bit.

                    7. The majority of Russian troops are conscripts who serve for just a single year. For obvious reasons, this means that the bulk of Russian troops are not very good quality (their term is up just as they really start to finish what the US military would consider proper training). Further, high levels of brutality directed toward the enlisted is a fact of life in the Russian military.

                      Finally, there were some interesting stories coming out of the aftermath of the invasion of Georgia – things like stories about Russian soldiers stealing toilets, and the like.

                  2. I’ve got a stepson, a step-daughter-in-law and two step grandkids in Germany right now. She insisted on going home a year or so ago. I hope they’re OK.

                    1. I hope so. I don’t think there’s any physical risk to Germany, but the German government, industry, and banking are what’s preventing effective sanctions, and not for the first time. Germany hasn’t been a reliable ally since Merkel entered office. They’ve managed to get all the benefit and none of the cost of the EU too and there’s a great deal of anger among the other European governments now.

                  3. That Putin has blundered is becoming more likely now that Kiev survived another night. I think the gamble was that Ukraine would just fold and it hasn’t. Bit of paranoia on my part, but was the offer of sanctuary by US a quid pro quo? Zelensky is a brave man, and may even be an honest one. He was a comedian who told d-ck jokes, not an oligarch.

                    Starting to see cracks in EU. Poland has called the Germans out, and quite right too. Yeah, everyone thought it would be over quickly and realpolitik and all, but the Germans have been exposed, again.

                    Still think it’s unlikely, but what if Ukraine wins?

            2. No, he is a wide ranging poster. That doesn’t make him legit. I am currently not willing to speculate on his source of Russophilia without further evidence. If he’s in Russia, he’s saying what he has to to survive. Most of the ‘stans are in similar states and hoping Russia doesn’t look to hard at THEM. Because a chunk of their populations are Russian as well. Thanks to the Soviet Union.

              1. There’s a commenter at Instapundit, “Tempo Nick, Troll Elect”, who has been a huge QAnon cultist, who is suddenly coming out with the pro-Putin propaganda line. Makes me wonder if Q was a foreign psyop after all.

              2. Khazakstan has been asked by Russia to provide troops. They not only told Putin no, but also publicly announced that they’re not recognizing the two breakaway republics.

                Keep in mind that less than two months ago, Russia sent army units into Khazakstan to help put down a popular uprising.

                1. Excellent! I wouldn’t expect similar out of most of the stans (they’re too tribal). (Khazakhstan is an interesting creature. I would have more expected quiet support than something this bold, honestly, but good for them!)

                  1. Yes, I’m rather shocked. Given that Putin sent troops to help put down what was basically an uprising just weeks ago, this is a rather surprising move. While I’m not familiar with the political situation there, I suspect that the leadership views Putin’s move as a direct threat to Khazakstan’s sovereignty (i.e. Khazakstan’s turn is coming next), and calculates that he can bring the dissidents over to his side by standing up to Russia.

                    1. They’ve known they’re on the hit list for a long time. The Russians have piplines through Khazakhstan and there are some highly productive oil fields there. It’s also one of the more laid back of the Stans.

                      First the salt: It’s been a while and my knowledge of more recent events is rather patchy. And my understanding of the Stans is weaker than my understanding of Russia.

                      Khazakhstan is a bit of a hodge podge and they’ve handled it better than most of the stans. Most of the Stans are still very tribal mentalities. Khazakhstan has Russians, Koreans, westerners, Khazakhs, and a pile of other people. Religiously you get everything from tribal shamanism through several flavors of Christianity to a pretty large muslim population.

                      Historically they’re a hodge podge because they’re the smack middle of the steppes which means sooner or later they got invaded by EVERYONE. This may actually, in the current situation, a good thing because they seem to have come out with a similar attitude to what the Koreans have. “whoever happens to think we belong to them doesn’t have a clue. We’re US whoever we have to pay taxes to.”

                      They know they’re next or if not next somewhere close to it. They were under Russia pre USSR. Since about the time of our Civil War. (Used as a time marker not a debate start.) They know this song and dance.

                    2. Khazakstan also suffered a mass famine in the 30’s from collectivization, similar to the Holodomor, Millions died, fewer in absolute numbers than in the Ukraine, but higher as a percentage of population. The leader of Khazakstan may have need some Russian troops a few weeks back, but with Russian troops now unavailable, how much trouble would he be in sending Khazaks to fight for Putin against another country that had suffered under Soviet oppression?

      2. Oh bullshit. This has been going on since approximately 1015 AD when St. Vladimir of Kiev died and every single country that called itself ‘Rus’ wanted to be on top. There’s a reason Ivan IV whom we call ‘The Terrible’ and they call ‘Grosniy’ or “the thunderous” is the ‘first tsar of ALL THE RUSSIAS” there were at least 100. He burned out Novgorod because they wouldn’t play footsie with him after he lost his ever loving mind in 1560 when his wife died. Russia has been invading everyone around them (and been getting invaded because you know, HUMANS DO THAT) for most of its history. WWII was NOT the first time they invaded Poland. Alexandr Nevskey made a peace treaty with the Mongols because he was fighting a three front with his own brothers and them (and that was insanely common in all the Russias.)

        Putin is a tyrannical thug who puts bullets in the heads of his enemy at a whim. IF you think he’s better than our current Junta go move to Russia already and leave the rest of us alone. Yes, he’s dangerous, but ‘dangerous’ and ‘good’. You think we could say what we have been here under a Putin and NOT provoke a response? They tried it. Bloggers disappeared. ‘Independent news’ was firebombed by ‘chechniyan sepratists’ who just happened to take out lots of folk opposing Putin. You think Arkansicide is bad, Putinicide would be worse.

        1. To add on the Poland topic – it didn’t even exist in the Twentieth Century until the end of World War 1, when the victors took traditional Polish territory from Russia and Germany to put Poland back together. Poland flat out didn’t exist during the entirety of the Nineteenth Century. The closest that it came was as a puppet state under Napoleon (which is why the Poles supported him).

        2. When we settled on the translation, ” terrible” still bore some relation to TERROR.

          It’s as bad as Athelred the Unready.

  5. “a new Correia”

    March 1. ‘Servants of War’

    Less than a week.

    As for the international scene – I don’t know how much longer Putin will be a concern. There are reports circulating that his health is starting to slowly degrade. Sure, it probably won’t fail in the next couple of years. But Russia can’t exactly pivot on a dime, and it will likely take him some time to plan and launch his next evil scheme. I don’t think he has that. So the next great Russia crisis might very well be the thorny issue of succession…

    Taiwan is a point of concern. I still don’t think Beijing can perform an opposed landing on the island without dropping nukes. But it would be a mistake to ignore that Beijing has suddenly gotten a lot more belligerent in its conduct toward the Republic of China.

      1. No, it’s cold comfort to them. And as I noted, his leaving office (whether under his own power, or not) will likely cause a vicious scramble.

            1. Perhaps without Poland invading and putting someone on the throne this time. Maybe. Maybe. Hopefully without the three terrible weather years, too.

              1. I’m not willing to lay odds against it at this juncture… Or Putin suffering mischief in this conflict and some how the Tsar moves back to Kiev. Wierder things have happened in this timeline.

                  1. >> “This is the most bizarre timeline.”

                    You’d think bizarre people like us would enjoy it more.

    1. bumped mouse
      And the CCP is always this belligerent about Taiwan. They just need to work up the froth so they can be certain no one will come to Taiwan’s aid. The stirring gets harder whenever a Dem, or someone perceived as weak is in office (BIRM)

    2. I’m also looking forward to the anthology ‘No Game For Knights: The Dark Side Of SF And Fantasy Heroes’ edited by the ILOH and Kacy Ezell in September. ‘Noir Fatale’ was great.

      As well as ‘Harbinger’ by Wen Spencer in April. I really want to see what the elves, and the humans in Pittsburgh trapped on Elfhome, are going to do about the oni invasion and rooting out the Skin Clan.

      I await with anticipation and terror the shenanigans Louise and Jillian will get up to after they get together with Tinker. She has already made the world tremble, and the 9-year-old twins have collapsed a multibillion-dollar evil financial empire and escaped to another world. They had a factory in Taiwan build them 10,000 robotic mice with Tasers as a minor part of their plans.
      Edna Mode: “No capes!!”

      1. “I could kill for a new Dave Freer, a new Ringo, a new Weber (or even better, please, mo’e prince Roger?), a new Correia” I’d probably maim at least.

        From your lips to their ears! Or emails or whatever.

        “MHI Girl” you say that like you wrote a book in the series… oh wait. (enjoyed that much btw 🙂 )

        Occasionally still go back and re listen/read Prince Roger series and the stuff on Jiltanith site as well. Julian as the Heir Secundus for a while still has me laughing all these years later. Same with “wild uncontrolled bursts of fire, etc.”

        I do love the Tinker series as well! But by golly Wen takes a long time between books.

        /Roll eyes. Like I’ve written any books. Ever…

        1. I’m writing counterfeit Prince Roger. I SWEAR. NO, it’s not even close, but it has same feel.
          It’s one way to deal with the shakes from withdrawal.

          1. If you guys are going to keep throwing this “eat toes” stuff around, someone needs to add it to the FAQ.

        1. EAT TOES! Indeed. The only shame is that without careful watching Mr Trashbags might think the felines are a snack.

    3. How’s this for a scenario; Putin invades Poland at the same time Xi attacks Taiwan. US is committed to defend both, yet our military and political leadership couldn’t even withdraw from Afghanistan without it being a fiasco.

      My question is what biological weapon was brought back to their home countries by all the Olympic athletes courtesy of the CCP.

      1. >> “Putin invades Poland”

        If Ukraine is going as badly for him as it sounds – and we can but hope – Putin might not be in a position to invade much of anything by the time the dust settles.

  6. An upright piano works for for covering holes in the wall.

    One time hubby and I came home from errands after we had left our oldest son, who was 15 at the time, in charge of the rest of our horde, and the living room had been completely rearranged. Piano on opposite side of the room. All other furniture moved. Looked great and was a better and more useful arrangement than it had been in before. Our son was a bit of a neat freak and so bullying the rest into cleaning the house was not out of character for him. We congratulated him on his initiative. 3 years later we moved furniture out to refinish the hardwood floors and there was a MASSIVE hole in the plaster wall behind the piano.

    After grilling the one kid we knew would crack under the pressure (this was not our first interrogation of members of our personal horde) we found out our dear oldest had thrown a baseball at a younger brother’s head. Brother ducked and the baseball went through the wall. Everyone then decided that the best thing to do was cover up the crime and pretend like nothing had happened. Amazing how relief at not getting caught can look exactly like pride in a job well done.

    Good thing younger brother ducked is all I can say. And I’m surprised based on various goings on at our home that any of them lived. But I’m the oldest of 6 kids and my husband is in the middle of 11 so we kind of knew what we were in for having a half dozen ourselves.

      1. cousins managed to hide a rather large repair behind a chair until years later. patched, primed and painted almost to match. “Hmm, never noticed that part of the wall was slightly different colored. . . must be because the recliner was always shoved up against it and the sun never got there.”

      2. I was told of a motel in Paulden, AZ near the access to Gunsite Ranch. Pictures were hung in various strange places in the rooms. Investigation revealed bullet holes (don’t know if repaired or not–I stayed in Prescott) behind the pictures. This was in the ’80s or so.

        30 years ago, they *really* emphasized making sure the damned pistol was unloaded *before* starting dry fire practice. (A friend did much the same in his own house. With a revolver. Apparently, counting to 6 wasn’t in his wheelhouse that night. No injuries, and the neighbor’s fence already had knotholes in it. The door was functional until it could be replaced…)

      1. Tall book shelf. It hides the hole and serves a useful purpose. Trust me we had that in our front sitting room for 10+ years doing just that. It had been behind some stuff and so we didn’t notice it until the final walk through because until the furniture was gone there had been a large entertainment unit in the way. Those were the scummiest sellers on our house. All sorts of oddball issues that we spent the next 10 years fixing…

    1. So, both my brother and I, around 10 years apart, are functionally “onlys” but my best friend, at whose house I lived as much as at mine was 11 of 13 (14 counting the one who didn’t survive infancy.)
      And the things we did. And got away with. So, her dad had planted this lovely apple tree in the back yard. It was his pride and joy, to the point he took visitors to see it.
      OF COURSE Isabel and I felt a desperate need to tie a hammock to it — look, we were six — and of course the branch snapped. Staring at it, and faced with death, we went to the shed, tied the branch back on with rope, and painted it with our acrylics to match the trunk. OF COURSE, it worked to “heal” the tree, and the branch was fine, since it had been detached only a few minutes. We weren’t caught and being kids, promptly forgot about it.
      Twelve years later, I go by to say goodbye before coming to the US as an exchange student, and her dad was very upset. The tree had an indentation at that level, and he’d found the rope, and he asked me with tears in his eyes who would do such an evil and gratuitous thing to his lovely little tree.
      Well, he’s in the bright land now, so I’m sure he knows. I’m so sorry, bonus dad. I was a stupid kid.

  7. What I find funny (NOT funny ha-ha, more like ‘This smells funny’) is how Zelenskyy is a monstrous eevul tyrant because he threw his political opponent, the former president, in jail.

    While for the last 5 years the Democrats have been trying to throw Biden’s political opponent, the former president, in jail. Are they just jealous because Zelenskyy succeeded, and they didn’t?

    But wait! He’s also Eevul because he’s interfering with freedom of the press, preventing some news outlets from spreading certain stories!

    The irony on that one is thick enough to cut with a chainsaw.

    The Democrats are just pissed because Zelenskyy booted out their puppet Poroshenko and is starting to clean up the corruption they were profiting from. Burisma, anybody?
    ‘Progressives’ believe everybody else is even stupider than they are. This explains a lot.

      1. I don’t think the invasion was coordinated with our corrupt pols. Ace has a post up that the Biden administration tried to get China to talk the Russians out of invading. That doesn’t sound like a coordinated thing.

        Ace also noted that the Chinese response was to hand the Intel we’d given them (i.e evidence that Russia was positioning to invade) to the Russians. AMERICA IS BACK, BABY!

  8. I like the cover. But then I’m partial to various shades of blue. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m depressed. 😉

    The real question I see is, “What is the purpose of butterfly wings on the kitty?” Are they really wings on a bio-engineered cat? Or are they a pretty-fied anti-gravity device for said kitty? Or is this in zero g and the red head pasted a Halloween decoration on her feline?

        1. I presume Dear hostess that is your creation. Although an excellent writer you may have missed your calling. Illustrations like that belong on ’70s/80s Scifi Novels (or pulps from the 50’s but that predates either of us). Hell as a teen/early 20 something I’d have bought it for the cover alone even if the contents were Babel 17 or something equally execrable. Other comments
          1) The young lady’s trigger discipline is awful, she’s going to blow a foot off or a hole in the deckplate with that blaster
          2) Although the dusting of freckles across the bridge of her nose is somehow endearing AND sexy all at once it hints our heroine should stay out of the local sun’s rays lest she be mistaken for a nice leather purse by 40 (Please ignore if her society has abundant biosculpt to fix such things
          3) Dear Author please oh please oh please let abundant biosculpt and skinsuit vacsuits be the way of the future. THIS is a timeline I could get behind (so to speak…though it better happen soon or my heart wouldn’t take it…). With no biosculpt PLEASE don’t let vacsuits be sold at walmart, that would be a punishment suitable for the King of Lies (and perhaps too harsh even for him if eternal)
          4) Somehow butterfly wings on the cat work, although it does have a bit of a bumblebee/ where do you hide the pectoral muscles vibe. Apparently magic is involved so it gets a pass
          As usual with your sci fi in process I have 3 words “Take My Money!”

          1. At work today I saw an absolutely adorable little girl (3-4ish) prancing around proudly in a set of sparkly butterfly wings strapped to her back and I remembered one of L. Neil Smith’s musings after watching his daughter preform at some ice skating show/competition on how little girls should have been born with naturally occurring butterfly wings as they were so naturally perfect and charming on them.
            Then I got a little sad reminiscing his writings.

            1. There was a saying that my maternal grandmother had that there are no ugly kittens, butterflys, or little girls. Adding butterfly wings to little girls may be a case of gilding the lily 🙂 .

      1. I think it’d make for a good cover.

        Definitely a heroine I can get behind.

        Yes, most certainly getting to the bottom of this…

      2. The young lady looks like a close relation of the young lady in “Witch’s Daughter.” But cuter.

        1. Redhead, check
          freckles, check
          Lumps and bumps in all the right places, check

          That’s the trifecta for me. 😇

    1. I like the cover. But then I’m partial to various shades of blue. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m depressed

      :looks at pretty lady:
      She doesn’t have a lot of depression, either…. :snicker:

        1. I think a truly advanced space suit would look a lot more like that than the clunky monstrosities NASA uses. Remember, those were designed by a government committee and built by the lowest bidder. A space suit doesn’t necessarily have to be inflated with air. Our own hides are air-tight; all they need over 95% of our surface area is some additional support which could be provided by tight elastic.

          Remember, those old diving suits looked nothing like a modern wetsuit.
          Cast Away: Only Tom Hanks could make two hours of talking to a volleyball great.

            1. Iirc Cr1892 details one skinsuit from the ’70s. They gave up due to problems with the helmet and the gloves.

        2. One of Jerry Pourbnell’s novels (Exiles to Glory I think), the lead characters were heading to the asteroid belt, and the suits were form-fitting as such.

          1. And even more, though I forget whether it was in A Step Farther Out or just introductory material for one of his story collections, he describes actually working with/on the team (or one of them) working to develop such suits. You have to get the material to fit very closely to support the pressurized skin of the wearer, it cannot stretch and wrinkles are bad and oversize areas are really bad (as in no support); but it solves so many problems / drawbacks with “more conventional” suit design.

            Including cooling… if the suit transpires sweat, your natural temperature regulating system actually still works in vacuum, no huge refrigerator packs or clumsy cooling tubes needed! (Though losing water to vacuum by the quart each spacewalk might be a follow-on resource problem…)

            And yes, Exiles to Glory did feature this technology rather prominently.

            Also more recently see, though I’m not nearly as confident that he gets all the hardcore details as “right” as the remarkable Dr. Pournelle, “Exo” by Steven Gould, latest in his “Jumper” series.

            1. You have to get the material to fit very closely to support the pressurized skin of the wearer, it cannot stretch and wrinkles are bad and oversize areas are really bad

              There’s a scene in Exiles to Glory where they’re training in the suits and doing the hypoxia training and while they’re all loopy the girl points to where she had to stuff her chest because the suit was a little too big right there.

              It’s crazy that I remember that book so well even though I don’t think I’ve read it since it was serialized in Galaxy.

              1. And there’s a scene in Forever War where skintight suits and some serious engineering is used to help deal with High G maneuvers. A suit gets a crimp and the results are, umm BAD. of course that comes from playing with things at 25-50 atmospheres pressure

                1. Similar concern in Heinlein’s ‘Sky Lift’, iirc – a mention of getting the cover on the acceleration ‘couch’ perfectly smooth, as a wrinkle would hurt under continuous high-g of the torch ship.

            2. Suits that worked by compression vs pressure were also used in the latest Wearing the Cape, although there wasn’t al lot of detail.

  9. The people Americans call Communists called themselves socialists. And for a long time Americans agreed with them, until the pile of bodies became too big to ignore. Then it became fashionable to say that socialism was to be found somewhere else. Always “beyond this horizon,” where its reality couldn’t be seen.

    1. Yep. Socialism kills. Soft socialism, such as Europe, kills softly. Hard socialism, like the USSR kills HARD.
      But the stench of corpses is always there, in the collectivist philosophy.

  10. It’s gets pathetic when American conservatives look to Putin to save us: “He’s getting all the dirt on Biden and Hillary from the Ukraine and when he publicizes it they will all go jail!”

    I don’t know who to root for, except that I see no need to be a cheerleader for Putin.

      1. I wish they both could lose. We’ve got one set of Oligarchs trying to suppress another set. Putin wants another group to loot and dictate to. His own people are protesting the war and the Oman (the Russian Police thug agency) has been acting as badly as the RCMP and the Ottawa Police. You’d think he thinks he’s as powerful as Trudeau.

      2. Ahh The Kissinger option, “A shame they cant both lose” when asked about the Iran Iraq war.

    1. Seriously, where did this talking point emerge? Because I’m seeing it spouted by lefties all over the place in such coordinated unison that I’m more than a little suspicious.

      1. It’s a lefty talking point. The only Russian fanboys here are either agents d’infuence (who are banned on this blog by the one easy trick of banning Russian IPs) or the soft heads who buy into their lies about “great leader Putin.”
        I’ll point out there’s a lot of French influence in Russian, and in French Putin means WHORE. He is in fact a whore of totalitarian evil.

        1. I get the awful feeling that it will be used as the impetus for the next wave of social media bannings. Any criticism of Biden will be labelled as pro-Russian propaganda and taken down. Meanwhile, the Russian government’s social media accounts will be left untouched.

            1. I have been warning that Team HarrisBiden wants a war with Russia to use as a weapon against domestic political opponents, and to use it to impose their agenda as “an emergency response to conditions caused by the war”.

                1. Oh heavens this. How did we get a ruling class that is so (expletives for a page and a half) stupid and so divorced from ANY sense of reality. As noted previously Short Victorious wars tend to be neither. This is a genie once let out of the bottle you have absofrickinglutely NO control over. Better to kick a metric ton of dry Nitrogen Tri Iodide than start a war like that, at least in the former case youll be the only one to dissapear in a buf of smelly purple smoke.

                  1. I subscribe to no conspiracy theory, I just have the sense that something, somewhere is deeply wrong.

                    1. Well, the alternative hypothesis is that almost everything is working more or less correctly, or something to that effect.

                      We can almost disprove the alternative hypothesis.

        2. I can kinda understand, a little, sorta, under a microscope, some of the (real not Russian shill) admiration Putin sometimes gets here the West. He talks tough, he acts tough, he goes out and does manly things (or gets himself photographed doing manly things) he talks a lot about the welfare of Russia and it’s people (whether it’s anything more than talk is another debate). You get the impression he at the very least lives more in the real world then our self-appointed elect does. I can see people dealing with absolutely every choice except Trump being a woke zombie who thinks guns are icky, white christian people are like smallpox and deserve the same fate, and gleefully does everything they can to destroy Western civilization in the name of some big gooey, vaguely- defined-but horrible-sounding, globalist bug-eating bullshit, then yeah, someone like Putin starts to look pretty good. Kinda, if you squint a little.

          1. It’s nothing more than talk and posing, and he’s as out of touch as our woke.
            Some of the tanks going into the Ukraine flew the old USSR flag. Putin is dreaming of his glory days.

          2. Intelligence officers, as a hazard of the occupation, can wind up paranoid.

            Russians, by our standards, are a bit funny.

            Tyrants, especially would be totalitarian dictators, might drive themselves crazy by twisting their own information inputs, if they were somehow not originally crazy.

            Foreign means that the little signs that indicate insanity may be different. Politicians are good a delivering statements prepared and researched by their staffs. Intelligence officers can also have a deception skillset, but very strongly directed at to them foreign populations. It would actually be more surprising than not if Putin’s prepared statements in English, that are calculated to sound reasonable, wound up showing his real state of mind.

            1. I have an edition of a work written in 1835 by the .Marquise de Custine with an introduction by someone from the American embassy in the USSR describing it as the best work to understand the USSR.

      2. I suspect it emerged as a Leftard response to the obvious point lots of people besides me made about how many inconvenient witnesses and pieces of evidence regarding Hunter’s dirty dealings could get destroyed in the “minor incursion” Biden gave the green light for.

        1. And just to amplify the same point… not only Hunter, not just the Biden Crime Family (as some call them). Not even the Dee-p Ones Party exclusively.

          At least that’s the quickie summary of lots and lots of analytical and obscure-report stuff that was tossed around, back when “Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine” replaced “Russia Russia Russia” and all the Right Committes were Holding Solemn (crooked) Hearings and such. If I weren’t lazy enough not to dig back to all that, it would probably run to dozens of links if I did. (Back in those lost nostalgic days, when fake impeachment coups-lite were about the worst thing we had to worry about…)

          Zelensky and the Anti-Corruption Commission just… going out of business, or even having to flee the country would be, let’s again simply say, very convenient and ressuring for many Foggy Bottomlanders.

          1. Part of the blame for the current Ukrainian war lies with our own political class – particularly the Clintons and Obama – who exploited Ukraine for not only personal enrichment but underhanded political manuevering aimed at Putin and, domestically, President Trump. They rolled the dice, but it was Ukraine that crapped out.


            An excerpt:

            “Russian President Vladimir Putin chose this war, Joe Biden said in his Thursday afternoon speech to America regarding the conflict in Ukraine. That is true, but U.S. elites also had something to do with Putin’s ugly and destructive choice—a role that Democrats and Republicans are eager to paper over with noble-sounding rhetoric about the bravery of Ukraine’s badly outgunned military. Yes, the Ukrainian soldiers standing up to Putin are very brave, but it was Americans that put them in harm’s way by using their country as a weapon, first against Russia and then against each other, with little consideration for the Ukrainian people who are now paying the price for America’s folly.


            That Ukraine has allowed itself to be used as a pawn against a powerful neighbor is in part the fault of Kyiv’s reckless and corrupt political class. But Ukraine is not a superpower that owes allies and client-states judicious leadership—that’s the role of the United States. And in that role, the United States has failed Ukraine. More broadly, the use of Ukraine as a goad against enemies domestic and foreign has recklessly damaged the failing yet necessary European security architecture that America spent 75 years building and maintaining.

            Why can’t the American security establishment shoulder responsibility for its role in the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine? Because to discuss American responsibility openly would mean exposing the national security establishment’s role in two separate, destructive coups: the first, in 2014, targeting the government of Ukraine, and the second, starting two years later, the government of the United States.”

            This is not to excuse Putin, but at the same time we and Ukraine probably wouldn’t be in this position today if it weren’t for the political gamesmanship, arrogance and sheer greed of the Clintons and the Obama crowd. I also suspect the current mal-Administration beat the war drums over Ukraine to detract from all of its other domestic and foreign-policy failures, but didn’t really think Putin would call their bluff. Either way, we’re going to be paying for their mistakes and corruption for decades; it’s just that the Ukrainians got handed the bill for the first installment.

        2. The left is apparently also responding to a comment from Trump that Putin’s overall plan in the invasion is smart. Obviously, that means that Trump is a Russian agent!!1!

      3. I believe it was Trump that originally said it, something about how if Putin had really been spying on the U.S. government, did he happen to have copies of those emails that Hilary deleted about “Chelsea’s wedding”? It sounded like a joke to me, but for some reason, every leftist and nutty anti-Trumper took it seriously and started crying, “OMG! Trump just ordered an evil foreign dictator to spy on his political enemies! Treason!”

        1. I think Jay Leno actually said it first, and a lot of people repeated the same joke, which Trump also related, and when he did so, it immediately was added to the whole Russia Collusion Hoax nonsense that the Democrats manufactured in the dirtiest political trick in US history, with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Obama White House, including Biden, who was an active part of the meetings and suggested ways to go after the Trump campaign.

        2. It was obviously a joke, but the Democrats and the media (BIRM) have no sense of humor. What was that crack about Trump? “His supporters take him seriously but not literally, his enemies take him literally but not seriously.”

      4. Wishcasting?

        As though a proper dictator would just give up blackmail material in a way that would strengthen his rival.

    2. I haven’t seen anything like that on Twitter (yeah, it’s a small field, but if it was common someone on my timeline would be getting dragged for that, by other conservatives).

  11. Me, I’m tired of saving the world, even if I only do so grousing in front of this keyboard.

    Over a million, probably two million, criminal alien invaders entering the U.S., bused and flown by our own government throughout the country since Biden was appointed president concerns me far more than the Ukraine.

    Let Europe deal with borders therein.

    I want America great and our woke, left, foolish, insane, liberals (but I repeat myself) grated.

      1. Basically it seems that they all boil down to, “But enough about the Ukrainians! Let’s talk about MY pet issue! How dare a war in Ukraine take attention away from ME!”

  12. “The people Americans call Communists called themselves socialists.” Um, yes and no, it seems to me. “A spectre is haunting Europe […]” The great mass of the people Americans call Communists did choose “SSR” for satrapic acronyms, but as far as I know the main line of their dogma honored Marx, not some more generic ideal of socialism or some other specific variant of socialism, right through to the end.

    As far as stupidly pointedly dishonest use of terminology in American political thought goes, everything I know of related to socialism/Marxism/communism distinctions pales to the faintest gray compared to, e.g., stealing “liberal”, or compared to labeling the righter-wing states “red”, or compared to narrowing the definitions of “imperialism” and “slavery” and “racism” so that their friends (definitely including SSRs in all three cases) got a pass.

    1. Yeah, I’ve long thought that the trick ‘they’ used to paint Republicans Red was a clever, evil, but clever dodge since the socialist/communist/left have been waving the Red banner for a century.

      1. I don’t know if it’s that complicated a thing.

        IIRC (which I mat not), when they first started color coding election results, the challenger was red and the incumbent was blue regardless of party. (And this may have varied between networks.)

        My guess is that at some point someone noticed that in war game color-coding, allies are blue and hostiles are red, and since the media corporations are all Democrat, and all intertwined, they decided that it would be terribly clever to color-code Democrat politicians as friendlies, and Republican politicians as hostiles.

  13. Maybe… just maybe… Biden is playing 3D Chess and lured the Rooskies and Chinese into destroying themselves and each other in Afghanistan and Ukraine?

    Nah. Biden can’t lure himself to the toilet in time; but one hates to see America with empty shelves, so I put my Democrat “thinking” hat on and now my head hurts…

    1. That makes you sexist. The only remaining question: are you racist and anti-gay like the Democrats?

        1. And Steatopygous too!!! Where’d I learn language like that? From The masters RAH and E.E. “Doc” Smith. I think they sisters refer to each other with that adjective and I had to look it up in 8th Grade. Didn’t find it till high school that had a couple immense dictionaries including a multivolume Oxford English. There’s a book you can dive into and never return from with all the word origins and first use references…

  14. Re: “It’s all connected”

    There is a shorter argument.

    We can pretty strongly infer that a lot of the American communist shitweasels are in on something together, and using some form of central coordination and/or ‘leadership’.

    I say leadership in quotes, because there is a combination of insane ambition, /preference/ for ‘controlling things from behind the scenes’, and inability to infight well enough to hold power under one’s own name and reputation. ‘Gu jar of vicious morons’ is not what it currently feels most like, but as hyperbole, it does not feel /that/ extreme.

    These folks have some things in common.

    a) They are aging and desperate. b) They live, 24/7, in theoretical models, and have trained themselves to perceive symbols, and to see only the symbols, and understand their manipulations through the symbols. They are in love with the ‘power’ their theory gives them to ‘predict’ and manipulate. They cannot actually predict events that are outside of their theory. c) They are not looking for failings in their theoretical models. They are /not/ making a serious effort, by my standards, to adjust theory to match reality. d) They believe in central control, so many angry people can over time crowd source ways to screw with the opposition, that the opposition does not predict. e) They are not psychologically prepared for anything they don’t predict.

    f) They collaborate with their coreligionists behind the scenes. g) Many of them may be narcissist, and/or pedophile, with the issues those people have wrt to people escaping control, or with only being used to abusing people who they physically over power, or who have had significant psychological grooming for abuse. h) They think they are perfect at public theater, and think that the strategies are reciprocal. i) Core leadership figures appear to have been in or adjacent to the federal legislature so long that they also /only/ see the world through the lens of funding for federal programs. A person who only sees the world through Marxist symbols as manipulated by ‘perfect’ bureaucracies is extraordinarily blind.

    The question is the inference that they are collaborating with the PRC, Russia, Iran, Germany, Canada, etc.

    The Globalist ideology within Marxism is a reason to think that they are collaborating.

    There are two reasons to think that they might not be collaborating internationally. Plus a weaker third. Reason the first? They are arrogant asshats. Reason the second? If you can’t /prove/ that they are collaborating, emotionally committing to that position makes it a little bit harder to predict what actions other Americans will accept as sane. Weakest reason is their fear of being implicated in treason, because even the American effers are insanely reckless.

    The American group is still plausible as having motivations that are purely domestic in origin.

    But, the international collaboration model is becoming more plausible. We know about some of the interesting coincidences wrt Canada and USA.

    Putin and Pooh might fit the nine items of description that I listed for the American Domestic Communist ‘supreme genius mastermind’.

    If you throw in “see’s country and population as an extension of self” and “supremely confident that they cannot screw up so badly as to meaningfully hurt the prospects of the country”, that may also fit all groups of ‘leaders’.

    If you assume that these folks are all senile, overconfident, and insane, they may well try to deal with each other. Despite the cultural differences, and the prior feuding which makes any potential deal fraught.

    Country A’s head of conspiracy (HoC) thinks that he can work with B and C’s HoC, but will be able to win the betrayal fall out because A is fundamentally a better country than B or C, and he is that much smarter a leader.

    1. There doesn’t need to be direct collusion for them to all be acting in parallel. They share the same objectives, up to a point, and all of them are psychopaths, which helps.

      I have to admit I’m torn. Should Ukraine manage to hold out, the Russians may well lose since they really don’t have the ability to maintain this pace for long; but holding out will cost an awful lot of lives and property damage and Ukraine government has been pretty awful, about as awful as Russia not as bad as Belorussia. Mercutio then: a plague on all their houses.

      The more I think on this, the more I’m reminded of Hillary Clinton and Trump. Hillary and the media desperately wanted Trump as the nominee, certainly one heard nothing but TRump, Trump, Trump from the media in the run up to the primaries. Hillary and her cohorts despised him and thought they would take 75% of the vote and all 50 states. We would all do well to remember this. Of course, the only one of the candidates who could beat Hillary was Trump since the other repubs were just a faction of the uniparty.

      Biden and Obama before him despise Putin and thought they could use him to further their own ends. Putin snookered both of them.

      Perhaps we should be glad the Davos/WEF regime despises us too.

      1. “the other repubs were just a faction of the uniparty.”

        Bob Dole didn’t seem to think Ted Cruz was.


        Bob Dole said Wednesday that Ted Cruz at the top of the GOP ticket would mean “wholesale losses” for the party in Washington and across the country.

        “I don’t know how he’s going to deal with Congress,” Dole said in an interview with The New York Times. “Nobody likes him.”

        Dole, a former Kansas senator, was the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 1996.

        Donald Trump would “probably work with Congress,” though, Dole mused, because he’s “kind of a deal maker.”

        Dole characterized Cruz as an “extremist” unwilling to work with his own party. The Times’ Maggie Haberman notes that Dole’s comments reflect a larger tension that establishment Republicans feel with Cruz, who portrays himself on the campaign trail as their antithesis.

        1. I actually rather like Cruz. My wife doesn’t, not for his politics but she thinks he gives off a bad vibe. I’ve learned one ignores a woman’s instinct about such thinks at one’s peril. That said, she seems to be warming to him. She enjoys his wit.

          Still, I don’t think that Cruz could have beat Hillary.

              1. Only because you are an evil, evil, EVIL person, to want to see so many heads explode and behold the sheer meltdown that would result……

                (K, maybe taht’s me.)

                1. >> “(K, maybe taht’s me.)”

                  Well, not JUST you. Don’t think you get to hog all the evil for yourself, young lady.

                1. IIRC, the (short) negotiations between soon-to-be-ex-primary-candiate Cruz and the Trump campaign went something like this (according to, ah, retrospectives)…

                  T.C.: Make a list of your Supreme Court candidates, promise to pick from this (public and open) list, do that right now before you even get the nomination. And, make sure Mike Lee is on it. Annnd… I’ll drop out and endorse you.

                  Trump: Let me think about that… Okay, deal.

              2. Justice Cruz? NAHHH I want Justice Kratman. Although I suspect his answer would be that of General Sherman to presidential nominations. Still this time line is so effing weird a little more odd couldn’t hurt…

            1. I like Cruz as a person, but he has convinced me that he can’t do the job as president. Which is worrying, because I feel that many of the other Republicans putting their names up are evil as well as incompetent.

              He might be okay as a judge/justice. But I don’t trust him a lot.

              1. The final question on Jeopardy tonight was about the Hugo’s. And I missed it.But I’m still used to being an ignored minority. ( They had a question about Clarke yesterday and a recent one on Heinlein).

              2. And regularly on his podcast too — occasionally even very obscure ones. Unquestionably a geek (is there such a thing as a “law geek”..? If so, that one may fit him best) — maybe even spectrum-ish, that’s one’s a bit less clear for me. But the Geek Cred is undeniable.

              3. Yes, but what I mean is he’s not far into the spectrum. I know some people with Asperger’s and moderate autism, and it is fairly obvious within a few minutes. I think Senator Cruz is just enough on the spectrum that he subconsciously reads as slightly off to normies, without being far enough into the spectrum that it is blatantly, consciously obvious. I think Cruz has done a decent job as a senator, with some exceptions, but I just don’t see him as presidential material.

        2. Dole versus Cruz might have been a fight between Bush faction Republicans.

          I am not a Texan, so I don’t have to seriously reflect on possible good in Cruz, versus other other alternatives.

          Cruz did Sesta, and may have given the IC/deep state a tool used to ensure compliance by big tech in censorship. Okay, Big Tech is probably compromised by PRC, and might have done it voluntarily anyway.

          1. Big tech is run by leftists, they are seriously compromised by the CCP, and they believe that THEY should be ruling the USA, and are willing to work hand in hand with Democratic Party officials to essentially be ruling from behind the scenes.

            They share the CCP’s vision of totalitarian rule over society monitored by mandating that everything be accessed through tech, and that only those who are in “good standing” with the regime be able to participate in society. There is a reason why so many tech companies are so eager to help the CCP advance their social credit system.

        3. The quip during the 2016 primary was something along the lines of, “The establishment fears Trump, but they *hate* Cruz.”

      2. The current Ukrainian president *might* be better than previous fellows. He’s a former comedian, and not a career politician. And he was elected in a populist wave that threw out the incumbent. Plus, he was cooperating with Trump to get to the bottom of Burisma.

        That doesn’t mean that he isn’t also quite corrupt. But there’s a possibility that he isn’t.

        1. Possibly he is not stupid corrupt and my standards are very low. I grew up in NYC where the words honest graft ruled. Teddy Roosevelt was a police commissioner here and when the cops asked for more money said something to the effect that if they couldn’t make the job pay they shouldn’t be on the job. Credit to him, he tried to stop having to pay for promotion, failed of course but he did try, a bit. The modern crowd know graft, but honest. nah.

          1. I’ll take an honestly crooked criminal (“here are the local rates, hard currency please”) who stays bought to a lot of the political crooks. Even Lincoln Steffans admitted that Chicago and NYC (and Boston) functioned and people got the services they needed. Just at a very high mark-up in cost.

            1. We used to joke, what’s the difference between corruption in Chicago and Philadelphia? Chicago is efficient corruption and Philadelphia is inefficient corruption.

    2. RE point b (models symbol manipulation and the SJW/TRanzis):
      The problem is although they THINK they use logic they have absolutely NO fricking clue how it works nor of its limitations. Spouting things that are essentially the logical statement A = NOT A is what they consider the peak of intellectual achievement. Nor do they understand that ALL logical systems have innate limitations (C.F. Goedels theorem too lazy to use an o with an umlaut). And if you try to point this out to them they either get angry or do the equivalent of covering their ears and shouting LA LA LALALA.

  15. I’ve heard a performer use a line after making a 70’s / early 80’s reference, “And now I’m dating myself. Which is is illegal. Except in Wisconsin.. actually everything is legal in Wisconsin… as long as a dairy product is involved.” Now if I could recall how he modified it the one time I saw him in Wisconsin.

    1. http://acecomments.mu.nu/?post=397988

      “Over three months, senior Biden administration officials held half a dozen urgent meetings with top Chinese officials in which the Americans presented intelligence showing Russia’s troop buildup around Ukraine and beseeched the Chinese to tell Russia not to invade, according to U.S. officials.

      Each time, the Chinese officials, including the foreign minister and the ambassador to the United States, rebuffed the Americans, saying they did not think an invasion was in the works. After one diplomatic exchange in December, U.S. officials got intelligence showing Beijing had shared the information with Moscow, telling the Russians that the United States was trying to sow discord — and that China would not try to impede Russian plans and actions, the officials said.”

      Coincidences my hairy butt. Biden’s been corrupt for as long as I can remember. And a plagiarist. And a liar, and I say that even knowing he’s a career politician, which means “liar” in IQ over room temperature language. The dude’s just as willing to whore out as Clinton was. He’s just a bit more incompetent.

      I keep having to revise down my estimates for their stupidity, which are already low.

      1. Biden’s also more incoherent. Harris is no better, and doesn’t have the excuse of dementia. Have you heard any of the word salad coming out of those two lately?

        1. Harris rose to her level of incompetence long ago. Dog catcher is likely too difficult for her. She had only one skill and honestly Willie Brown might even say that was mediocre. VP even in the modern era is a nothing butter job, ‘Not worth a bucket of warm spit” as one of the VPs (Gardener?) said

          1. John Nance Garner. From Uvalde Texas, down in the Brush Country, and served under FDR. FDR, who believed that the more ignorant a VP was, the better.

            1. Wasn’t sure if it was garner (who’s name I misremembered) or LBJ. Certainly has a Texian feel to it 🙂

                1. Except when privately speaking of his Hispanic and poor white constituents, and the need to keep them under control. Then Garner could be pungent. Started out as one of FDR’s big supporters and ended his second term trying to derail FDR’s agenda in the Senate whenever opportunity presented itself. Garner may have been an election-cheating bigot, but he truly detested portions of the later New Deal, and the court packing scheme in particular.

    2. I’m slightly ticked off at streiff, for not voicing the previously obvious possibility that the Biden regime is deeply in bed with the PRC.

      A possibility, no question, but we also shouldn’t discount the reason they gave, that they’re doing this because they’re worried about being called racists? Yes, they really are that stupid.

  16. Various items.
    If the folks on my Twitter feed are correct, the Administration has people in Vienna TODAY working with the Russians on finalizing the restart of the Iran deal. (Pounds virtual head on virtual desk).
    Otoh, Democrats are tweeting admiration for the Ukrainian government (belatedly) distributing guns so citizens can help defend their homes. The mind boggles.
    And one story of the sort that becomes legend is that 13 Ukrainian troops on an island got a visit by a Russian naval vessel and were told to surrender. They told the Russians to engage in self-abuse (they were much blunter about it). Yes, they all died, but…hopefully they had an honor guard.

    1. And the guy who volunteered to manually blow a bridge from the Crimea to the mainland. It’s literally propaganda, but Ukraine is doing a very good job of it.

  17. I swear I didn’t ask for interesting times. I wanted boring! Boring as I could get!

    …The universe mocks me.

    But thanks for this. RL is in upheaval ATM, I may just try scribbling one of the ideas that doesn’t take as much concentration ’til it calms down more…

  18. Tell putin if he needs a bigger dick all he needs is high-heeled shoes. And yes. I ought to be writing, instead of watching the trainwreck. You’re right. It’s the one thing I can do for my side.

    1. Hey Mr’ Freer I’d be careful using a marsupial as an Icon. The local wallaby can be quite testy…

  19. Speaking of “going fishing”, Senile Joe is once again off to Delaware while Russia marches on Ukraine’s capital and issues threats against Finland and Sweden, just like he was isolated in Delaware during the Afghanistan withdrawal fiasco. If you are Putin or Xi, and see that the person who must give the okay to launch nukes is so clearly mentally incompetent and so clearly kept out of touch of live events, it must be real tempting to think that there is a once in a lifetime to launch a full strike on the USA without fear of retaliation, especially given the cadre of USA hating leftists that actually run things in the HarrisBiden administration.

    1. There is no launching a full strike on the USA without fear of retaliation, not under any circumstances. There are enough nuclear warheads at sea to retaliate quite nicely, and after the genocidal effects that a first strike would have, nobody would be inclined to hold them back.

      1. I think the current cabal hates the USA so much and is so feckless they would blame the USA for being nuked and would NOT order a retaliatory strike. Also, someone has to give the order to retaliate-Senile Joe? Really? And how old are all those missiles? How many of them actually would work if launched?

        A deterrent is only one if you think the people at the controls will use it. No-one launched invasions while Trump was POTUS because they KNEW he would strike back,….twice as hard. The current cabal, which has people who advocate genocide of part of our own population because “member of oppressor group”?

        1. “A deterrent is only one if you think the people at the controls will use it. ”

          See also Second Amendment.

        2. We’d probably be screwed. The Turnip in chief has either lost the “biscuit” or drooled it in to illegibility. Any serving officer with brains didn’t give Harris a biscuit, and if they did she’s probably got it as a bookmark somewhere. By the time they got someone with command authority and the intellectual capacity (and intestinal fortitude) to use it the warheads would be raining down. Or maybe not. Not like Russia has actually spent any time maintaining either their boomers or the land based leg. Launching from the boomers might be a case of Dos Vidanya Rodina we are coming to you…

          1. Thing is, after the first strike landed, the current incompetent cabal would be giving orders to absolutely no one. It’s anybody’s guess what kind of command structure would arise, but the idiots who allowed the disaster to happen would form no part of it.

            1. Also, if Putin thinks that the invasion is going bad enough he could be deposed, does he launch, either at Ukraine, Europe, us, or all of the above. Recall that there were some supported rumors that he has Parkinson’s Disease. Delusions are a common symptom of that disease.

              1. Or hey, maybe he launches at China, and the day goes down in world history as positively glowing. Let’s hope saner heads prevail, even if coups are required to make it happen.

              2. First, Putin launching in frustration with what’s going on in Ukraine is both so out of left field and such a massive escalation that there’s not much point in considering it unless you have to work on your nation’s foreign policy as a hypothetical case plan.

                Second, Putin launching upsets the global understanding about the use of nukes that’s been in place since the ’50s. And it does so not to speed something along that’s already a foregone conclusion, as happened in 1945 in Japan. Nor does it do so to go after a direct threat to the country, which was the accepted reason for a launch during the Cold War. Instead, it happens because the leader of Russia is throwing a temper tantrum. And the entire world will know it. I think even the PRC would feel compelled to call out Russia for its destabilizing actions, and take actual steps against their northern neighbor.

                Three, pretty much all of Europe is part of NATO. So if he launches at Europe instead of just Ukraine, the NATO mutual defense treaty will be activated. Further, two European nations – France and Great Britain – both have the ability to shoot back.

                Four, his own people will recognize that it was done in a fit of pique, and it will be perceived as weakness. If he were to launch I think his own people will have overthrown him by the end of the year if a foreign power doesn’t do so first.

                Fifth, it’d be such a game changer that he’d almost certainly threaten it before he actually did it.

                Could he launch? As the leader of a nuclear power, sure. But no real point in worrying about it until and unless he starts threatening to do so.

                1. Putin’s already started talking about using nukes if the West intervenes in the Ukraine, and some French official in response made the statement that NATO has nukes, too.

                  1. He specifically cited imposition of sanctions as reason for doing so as well. People need to consider that Putin may just simply decide to go the Cersai Lannister route as far as if he can’t win, everything gets destroyed.

                2. Assuming the old rules still apply can be a fatal mistake. Again, our nukes are only a deterrent if our adversaries believe we will use them. There is good reason for adversaries to believe our current feckless leadership would not.

                  All I have to say is that my track record on predicting aggression by adversaries has been quite good. In comments here I predicted the Ukraine invasion before the 20202 election stating that if Trump wasn’t re-elected (i.e. the Dems were able to successfully steal the election) that the Democratic Party cabal was so weak and anti-USA that Putin would view it as a green light to invade. He did.

                  Remember Putin has met with Biden. He KNOWS how mentally incapacitated Biden is, and he KNOWS how feckless and USA-hating those around Biden are. Xi knows this also.

                  I believe the only thing deterring Xi from a similar move on Taiwan as of now is that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has not gone so well. Of course, Xi also has the advantage of having western leaders and corporations kowtowing to him constantly, and helping cover up his use of biological warfare. I suspect the next round bioweapon was already released, via the Olympics, and will be made manifest within the next couple of months as cases outpace the ability to cover them up.

                  1. 1.) The old rules apply until they don’t. And then they don’t apply for *everyone*. That’s the point I was trying to make up above upsetting the global understanding. If Putin uses nukes in a non-self-defense fashion, then that tells *everyone* that they need to start using them in that fashion.
                    2.) What’s the other option? Should Ukraine roll over and surrender on the off-chance that Putin might decide to use his nukes on Kyiv? It’s not going to happen.
                    3.) The SARS-2 mess (which I’m still convinced was an accidental release due to sloppiness) has not particularly helped China. Quite the contrary, entire cities have been blockaded, and the regime in Beijing has suffered multiple embarassments due to both its inability to keep the virus under control, and because basic things such as informational websites keep getting crashed due to the number of Chinese citizens trying to access them.
                    4.) Both Japan and South Korea have publicly stated that they will support Taiwan if China launches an attack on the island. Japan just recently reiterated that promise. I’ve heard third-hand that India has made similar statements of support for Taiwan. Even if the US inexplicably decides to sit on the sidelines, Taiwan will not be standing alone. And there are practical reasons to support Taiwan’s independence that don’t exist in Ukraine. Most notably, a good chunk of the world’s computer chips come from the island.

                    1. >> “If Putin uses nukes in a non-self-defense fashion, then that tells *everyone* that they need to start using them in that fashion.”

                      OR it tells them that they all need to come down on Russia like a sledgehammer and make it clear that the same will befall anyone else who uses nukes non-defensively.

                    2. Whether or not the initial SARS CoV2 release was accidental, the PRC immediately stopping domestic flights from Wuhan while keeping international flights from Wuhan going around the world indicates the quick spreading of the virus was intentional.

                    3. DGM – Why not both?

                      TEH – Yes, I’m aware of that. But the claim being made is that the initial release was intentional, and that Beijing likely used the Olympics as a way to spread a new virus.

                    4. >> “DGM – Why not both?”

                      Well, the point of MY suggestion is to AVOID nations thinking they can use nukes non-defensively and get away with it. No point in punishing Russia for using theirs if you’re just going to let everyone else start doing it.

                    5. I keep thinking, if the Russian nukes are not the best….Putin gets a launch. Missile goes up. And up, and down and down…..within Russia. Yeah, I used a single missile for the example.

  20. One of the things that weirds me out about the invasion of Ukraine –

    Biden made a big deal out of it beforehand, seemingly trying to drum up support for a US defense of Ukraine, without actually doing anything substantive. We got the leaked story of him yelling at President Zelensky in a phone call about how the Russians would be in Kiev overnight. And there were all sorts of other stories floating around during the lead-up.

    Now that Russia’s invaded?

    If you go looking for stories about the invasion, you’ll find them. But if I open my web browser and the default “news and links” homepage that my browser has pre-selected comes up, there’s nothing there about Ukraine. Now that the war has actually started, there’s seemingly less news about it than there was before it started.

  21. Oh yea– I think that when Biden became President, the “go” light was rung in all the authoritarian offices which probably included a few around the White House. As for writing. Writing isn’t going well right now. So I’ve been doing videos. I do a Daily I Ching practice and even read a story. Also I’ve been so exhausted again that I had a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day. I’m still creating though.

  22. On the probably remote chance that anyone finds this of use –

    Poland is accepting refugees from Ukraine. Visa requirements have been waived.

  23. I’d like some time to relax right now.

    Because of the simple fact that I have the only set of functional legs in my family (Dad broke his metatarsal, Mom has hip issues, sister has a leg that is shorter due to club foot and several other health issues), guess who has to do a lot of the errands and grunt labor around here?

    Guess who has a part-time job that is making his brain work hard as hell?

    Guess who has school-with a four hour commute two days a week for three hours of classes? And, I’m growing more convinced that my teachers are like Ray Charles on the loo (i.e. they don’t have a f(YAY!)king clue)? I have two different group projects in two different classes, and I’m not sure what’s going on with either of them. I’m just along for the ride as much as I can.

    (Doesn’t help that my teacher for one of the classes uttered the dreaded words-“I’m just running off a previous teacher’s lesson plan” and she doesn’t seem to quite understand what she’s doing…)

    And…there’s no joy in Mudville for entertainment.

    Next Weber book? A Treecat book. No signs of a new Safehold novel or something else (I’d love to see a “In Fury Born” sequel or another Dahak book). And, I know that we’ve hit a semi-logical point to retire Harrington and have the next generation take over, but still…
    I admit, seeing that Ringo did write something new, even if it’s a collaboration is nice-but I miss the days when Baen was telling him “we can’t publish all these books! We can’t get the printers for them in enough time!” It’d be nice to see some of his series get…well, resolved…need to get the really good refrigerant for his muse.
    I know, I know, Correa has new books coming out, there’s a new series with a Russian/Jewish mysticism vibe that I’m enjoying, he’s also got a mini game coming out, and we’ll hopefully get some more MHI and Black Sword books soon, but I’m greedy and I want to spend money now.
    Stross has been fully infected by the Martian Brain Fungus for years and I swore off reading any new things from him after I realized that he was dead serious about his “lie back and enjoy it versus fighting back and dying” rape metaphor for some of his stories. Damn the man.
    Spencer…I wanted to read more Tinker stories, but I got the “Harbringer” eARC and it’s just…sloppy. There’s a sudden run on gay-friendly bisexuality with a lot of the characters, there’s too many “and a wizard did it” plot points, and it just feels…jarring.
    I’ve been trying to do some followup on some of my other favorite indie authors and at least three have completely dropped off the face of the Earth. Scary dropped off the face of the Earth.

    Let’s not talk about TV (if I have it on and it’s not playing a DVD, the temptation to put an axe through it is awful) or streaming services (I’ve canceled everything. And made it clear that the crap they were showing was the reason why).
    Or movies.
    Or comic books.
    Anime and manga is starting to get iffy, because I’m seeing more and more reports of “sensitivity” edits and reports that Japan is going to start cracking down on pirate sites for copyright violations.
    Tabletop gaming has hit this point where it’s one of three game systems (D&D 5th, Pathfinder 2nd/Starfinder, FATE), a fantasy heartbreaker, or you won’t see it ever. And, the game studios have a serious run of Martian Brain Fungus as well.
    Mini gaming? Never was into that, but I can see Games Workshop taking apart it’s own fanbase because they seem to think that human sacrifice will make the Karens like them. And, they’re feeling like the last buggy whip manufacturer because their business model is probably going to die in the next 5-10 years (sell the rules as a lost leader item, make your money on the minis and models, when 3D printing is getting cheaper and faster every six months…)
    And, I swear that while porn was never going to win awards for the quality of the stories and the plot, the new stuff is getting worse.

    I’m not wanting to sound like a grumpy old man yelling at kids to get off my lawn, but I’m just tired of the last two to four years of crap and we’re looking at a terrible four to six years of crap coming up. I want to do cons again. I want to hang out with people that I like. I want stuff I can enjoy.

    It’s been far, far too much crap that I can’t do anything with.

    Except maybe leech out the saltpeter and start making gunpowder…

    1. Massive amount of karma. In a sane universe, Words would be had with Trudeau and his people, by people that would make it very clear that you don’t piss on people’s heads that are making people real money. And, a banking run is the first thing that causes important people to lose real money.

      1. Words probably were had. Politicians have power. But even the most ignorant among them tend to take notice when bankers say things like, “Keep this up, and the money will be gone by Friday.”

  24. Two Three Four things:

    1. Half of the commentariat is pushing the notion that “we” caused this problem by expanding NATO into the Russian sphere of influence. “Poking the bear” is the common phrase. But this typically denies agency to anyone except WEIRD* countries, just like the American left denies agency to their black- and brown-skinned mascots. Estonia, for instance, has been subsumed in the Russian Empire for centuries (latterly called “the USSR”) with a brief break in the interwar years. When the Russian Empire broke up in a moment of weakness and they were suddenly free again, and then said Empire spent the next thirty years issuing bloodcurdling threats against them, in what universe would they NOT seek to ally with the biggest anti-Russian power in the world? Likewise the other Baltics and the former Warsaw Pact countries. So maybe it’s not our fault for poking the bear, maybe it’s the bear’s fault for insisting on showing its teeth and claws all the time.

    2. The Russian assault does not seem to be advancing as fast as everyone expected, and — I think to Putin’s surprise — the Ukrainians are more defiant and determined than expected. Everyone seems to have thought Zelensky would immediately flee Kyiv, but instead he’s walking around in public and shoring up morale. An article or substack I read pointed out that the assault thrusts were widely separated and incapable of supporting one another, and there’s been a lot of commentary from milbloggers about how the Russians don’t have enough tail to tooth to support a sustained campaign. If the Ukrainian defense isn’t a brittle crust and doesn’t crack and fall apart soon, this may turn out to be a fiasco for Putin. And a fiasco for a strongman isn’t good for anyone’s health, his included.

    3. Ukraine is astonishingly corrupt. So is Russia. So, I expect, are Romania and Hungary and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and maybe Poland. So what? Also, I long ago lost the plot of who the Ukraine President was through all the coups and resignations and trials and whatnot, but I don’t think it really matters all that much except to the degree that they would resist Russian aggression. And yeah, various American politicians have used Ukraine as a money laundry. I expect they’d use literally any similar country in the same way, and I don’t think it’s a Democrat but not Republican thing. I support Ukraine in this war not because they’re morally pure but because Putin is dangerous and needs to be taken down a notch (even a whole head-sized notch, if you know what I mean and I think you do), and because I’m an American and Americans instinctively support the underdog (at least where the parties are morally equal).

    4. For all that I support Ukraine in this war, we the US should absolutely stay the f*** out, and even if Ukraine wins we should not offer them NATO membership. Yeah, I know what I wrote above, but we unofficially supported officially-neutral Sweden throughout the entire Cold War and didn’t push NATO membership on them. Our support for Ukraine should be in the form of metric f***tons of small arms and ammunition and antitank missiles and that’s about it. An independent, indigestible, and non-Finlandized Ukraine should be our goal.

    (* Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Developed)

    1. I agree with everything you say here and would add that the United States is astonishingly corrupt too. I think the biggest revelation to me has been just how corrupt they all are.

      1. I was born in Illinois, though I haven’t really lived there in awhile. I think I remember someone sarcastically suggesting “Will the defendant please rise…” as a state motto.

        1. I live in NJ and we’re grateful to Illinois and maybe Louisiana for keeping us out of the top spot on the most corrupt state list.

    2. Looks like SWIFT is on the table. This is a BFD. As sanctions go, SWIFT is the big one. Being out of SWIFT takes you out of the dollar payments system and moves you back to barter and cash and carry. The ruble is not a hard currency so that comes down to gold.

      From what I’m seeing, Zelensky deciding to fight has been the difference.

        1. If they do SWIFT that’s a big deal. — If — There is no bigger economic sanction and actually implements all the others one might desire. The Germans are the weak point, as usual, but that seems to be breaking down, We’ll see.

          1. The Germans seem to have been pressured to let weapons from the Netherlands through to Ukraine. They weren’t allowing it because it could lead to violence, don’t y’know.

            1. Oh for crying out loud (head desk faceplant). It’s not like the Russians are using Nerf guns and water balloons…

              1. We weren’t much better under Obama. Remember that it was Trump that finally authorized the US to start sending arms to Ukraine to fight against the “separatists”, as Obama had only allowed non-military aid.

          2. F-cking, bloody Germans. The SWIFT ban isn’t. It sounds like it is, but it isn’t and only a full SWIFT ban matters, everything else is BS. Looks as though balzacq’s source was right. Can’t interrupt the flow of gas west now that the Germans have closed all their other source of power or interrupt the flow of Mercedes east.

            Let’s see what tomorrow brings. There seems to be a populist wildfire underway in Germany.

            1. I was wondering about that, because all the coverage I saw was mentioning “partial ban” and even with my very limited understanding of SWIFT and international banking I was thinking of loopholes and workarounds.

              1. It’s a thing and, actually, a big thing. The central bank exclusion is a really big one, if they actually make it stick. Still, it’s not clear who’s in and who’s out. They’re saying the sanctioned banks, but which ones. the banks listed in the most recent sanctions are actually quite small. The biggest private Russian bank is Sberbank which has about 1/3 of all assets followed by VTB that has about 1/5. They weren’t listed in the recent sanctions, but all the Russian banks were under other sanctions though Biden had lifted some of those. It’s all very confusing.

                The simple fact is that Sberbank has the scale and expertise to do everything and that would make the SWIFT sanction meaningless.

                I’d love to have a list of Deutschebank’s exposures to Russia. Much would be made clear. Allianz said their exposure was “low” whatever that means but Deutsche has a history of being wrong in size. Most of Russian stuff is booked in Austria through Raiffsisen, but we don’t know how much was passed though to the others.

        2. Of course Team HarrisBiden and the Democrats would do that; it is to be expected of a group of people who mourn the fall of the Soviet Union as much as Putin does.

    3. First off, let me say that I despise Putin and that I really hope the Ukrainians win this war. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine has no moral or legal justification. That said, the West has spent a quarter century “poking the bear” without any plan for what to do if the bear got angry and lashed out. They’ve spent all that time doing Russia small injuries, in prestige if nothing else, but not dealing it a moral blow.

      The “color revolution” the West orchestrated in Ukraine was both in Russia’s backyard, and offered a potential threat to access to Russia’s warm water ports, something no Russian regime could tolerate. The West needed to either have a coordinated plan to counter Russia. Instead they funded Putin by buying lots of Russian oil and gas! Now, the Ukrainians are paying a very painful price for our leaders’ fecklessness. I hope that price proves less costly than it has the potential to.

      1. Part of the problem is that Russia has been essentially trying to run its neighbors as puppets. One of the reasons why the “color revolution” succeeded was because the Ukrainians were sick and tired of Russian meddling in their country. That made it easier to get the necessary public support for the demonstrations that forced the then-president out of office. If Russia had wanted to be friends, they should have acted like it. Instead, they wanted a Ukraine that was completely subservient.

        1. Agreed. There was nothing illegitimate about the “color revolution” in the Ukraine. However, having the US mucking about so brazenly in one of Russia’s neighbors is definitely “poking the bear.” I doubt many here in the US would be happy about Russians or Chinese assisting in a revolution in Mexico or Canada that put an anti-American leader into power. (We may have an anti-American leader in power here in the US now, but that may have just been the work of domestic enemies, rather than foreign ones.)

          I’m not saying Putin’s behavior is justified, but rather that the realpolitik of it and the nature of Putin’s ego made something like this highly probable unless adequately deterred. We (USA and Western Europe) neither refrained from provoking Putin, nor prepared well for what he was likely to do in response if he saw an opportunity. Then we gave him the opportunity: a weak Biden* Regime, high oil & gas prices to fund the invasion, lack of any real deterrent, etc.

      2. Please define “poking the bear” in a literal manner, such that we can judge whether other nations have been poked, or even if Russia has been poking other nations.

        1. I would define “poking the bear” as allying with or intervening against Russian neighbors or allies. I’m not saying that US and the West were wrong to do so, but after each such “poke” Putin has poked back, sometimes harder, and we’ve often been unable to counter it.

          1. The 90’s attacks on Serbia, a country with long-standing ties to Russia, and recognition of Kosovo as autonomous. Putin attacked Georgia and recognized “autonomous” regions.
          2. American and Western involved in “color revolution” against Russian lackey in Ukraine. Putin responded by seizing the Eastern Ukraine.
          3. The intervention in Syria, a long-standing Russian ally with a Russian naval base, which Putin responded to by sending Russian “mercenaries” to assist Bashir. This was partially countered later on by President Trump’s willingness to bomb said “mercenaries.”

          I’m not saying US and the west were necessarily wrong, but I am saying that we’ve done a bad job of anticipating and countering Putin’s responses. Putin’s been getting increasingly belligerent and we’ve just been insulting him and doing him small injuries.

          1. If Russia takes offense at sovereign nations engaging in diplomacy, that’s its problem. It justifies nothing.

            1. I don’t think anything Putin’s done has been justified. However, we do have a twenty-plus year track record on which to predict what sort of “poke” will cause Putin to lash out, and that we’ve done a lackluster job being prepared for it when he does. Not poking, or being prepared for the counter-poke, or just putting the darn bear down, would be viable strategies; poking the bear and then responding with strongly-worded letters when the bear pokes back is not.

              1. Quite a bit longer than twenty years– anybody who has spent a few weeks listening to someone who got out of a toxic relationship will be able to predict what kind of “provocation” will cause Putin to attack.

                1. Yeah, Russia’s been behaving badly almost since the Soviet Union broke, but Putin’s only been in charge since 1999.

                  1. The track record is of the specific flavor of toxic thug– twenty years of it being internationally shown that he’s one of those sorts, but the pattern is pretty dang recognizable from way before that.

    4. I don’t think Ukraine should get NATO membership. On the other hand, if Ukraine were to join a local defensive pact involving certain Eastern European nations (note that Poland and Romania are the only two neighbors that spend the 2%+ GDP on military expenditures that NATO requires) that happen to be NATO members, I would likely applaud. No, the US shouldn’t have a presence right on Russia’s borders. But I’m also not happy about the idea of leaving Ukraine alone against Russia. And I do support a US military presence in the Eastern European nations where we are currently present (though if the Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians don’t start meeting their NATO GDP commitments…).

      Point #1 is a common problem when a powerful nation is involved. “How dare you react negatively to our attempting to screw you over!?” Even the US has done it from time to time.

      Point #2 is good news. I suspect that the Russian army thought this would be like the invasion of Georgia, where Georgia was forced to promptly roll over. But Ukraine’s bigger, hates Russia more, and has had several years to get used to the idea that the Russians are probably going to come crashing through the border one of these days. Plus, iirc, the attack on Georgia caught everyone off-guard. The attack on Ukraine has been broadcast for weeks now, even if some (including myself, I admit) were skeptical that it was going to amount to anything more than sending Russian troops into the “autonomous” regions. The other thing to note is that ultimately Ukraine doesn’t need to smash the Russians. It just needs to outlast them. Logistics is a real pain, which is one reason why the US excellence in it is so note-worthy. Russia probably can’t maintain an offensive tempo for long. And if they lose that, they’re screwed. Zelensky is almost certainly very much aware of that.

      Point #3 – we also instinctively support a country attempting to defend their independence. Combine that with underdog, and yeah.

      1. Reuters reported late last year that Biden* effectively offered Ukraine NATO membership late last year. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukrainian-president-zelenskiy-holding-talks-with-biden-adviser-says-2021-12-09/

        Then the Biden* Regime did nothing to deter the predictable Putin response. Even now, Biden* is claiming economic sanctions can’t be imposed quickly, and that America’s only possible quick response is a violent one. Is the Biden* Regime and its allies trying to get America into a war against a foreign tyrant to distract from Biden’s domestic tyranny? And how are they planning to profit from any aid sent to Ukraine or NATO countries?

    5. “So maybe it’s not our fault for poking the bear, maybe it’s the bear’s fault for insisting on showing its teeth and claws all the time.”


  25. Apropos of the cover: Athena T. Cat saw it and wants a set of working wings. Please ignore any calls from her, ESPECIALLY if she has a credit card. We just got the orders from 1-800-Catnip cancelled!

    1. >> “Athena T. Cat saw it and wants a set of working wings.”

      “Accursed birds; now I shall take the war to THEM!”

    1. Aaaawwwww. How long until there’s support groups and lawyers with class-action claims. “Do you or any members of your family hear honking? If you or loved-one suffer from phantom honking, the law firm of Dewy, Cheatham, and Howe is ready to help.”

    2. Given the “you break it you buy it” rule, does that mean the truckers are taking ownership of Ottawa?

  26. Ed Morrisey at Hot Air is passing along an interesting item (h/t Instapundit, but via Glen Reynolds, and not Ed himself). https://tinyurl.com/429h8kez

    Khazakstan, which just had assistance from Putin in putting down an anti-government uprising, was reportedly asked to send troops to Ukraine. Not only did the Khazakstan government refuse, but it also announced that it would not recognize the breakaway republics that Putin has set up in eastern Ukraine.

    If you wanted evidence that Putin has screwed up…

    Other stuff at the link –

    The bit I mentioned above about Romania and Moldova removing the red tape for Ukrainian refugees who want entry into those countries (Poland has taken similar action, according to a first-hand account from a Ukrainian FFXIV streamer who has escaped to that country; note that this disproves other rumors apparently circulating that the Poles have closed the border).

    The Czech Republic and Hungary have been warming to Russia over the last few years. That appears to have been reversed following public statements by the leaders of both countries condemning the invasion.

    Morrisey also has reports of low morale at RT and Sputnik, though it’s too early to say whether that will amount to anything.

  27. If I was writing the movie script:

    As the Russian invasion bogs down, at a key moment Poland launches Operation Winged Hussars, and smashes into the Russian flank, routing them, linking up with and rallying the Ukrainian, and drives them back home.

    Real world? Poland has a surprisingly big, and surprisingly good, military. And they saved Europe before. Bigly.

    Payback time for 1939?

      1. Pretty much, except from the South, and even then there are passes. There were the Pripyat Marshes to the East, but Stalin’s postwar changes to Polish borders place most of the marshes in Belarus and Ukraine.

  28. This comment is late and completely off topic, but you said you were in need of entertainment to take your mind off current events and I am in a similar state and this definitely distracted me. For the animal lovers…

    The Difference Between Dogs and Cats

    Last Thursday was take the cats to the vet day for annual wellness checks, shots, and weighing for flea prevention. This required the usual amount of planning and cunning. In our case, this means bringing out the carriers in the appropriate order so as not to alert sharp ears, and hopefully being able to shut cats in bedrooms until their turn to be incarcerated arrives. If this is not done correctly, Scraps vanishes into her basement hidey hole I still haven’t located, so I’m going to the vet one cat less, and Boots races around the house until caught resulting in being late.

    Fortunately, the carrying out these plans went well. The bedroom door was shut with Boots still inside, and the soft sided and noiseless carrier was brought out. Scraps was woken from her nap and stuffed inside, resulting in a vibrating carrier as she tried to dig her way out, while protesting as loud as a cat whose volume is permanently set on low can. Of course, by now Boots was well aware of what was going on, so bringing out the hard sided rattly carrier couldn’t make things any worse. The bedroom door was opened, the cat grabbed as he attempted to eel past, and he too was stuffed in the carrier despite growing approximately eight extra legs in order to avoid his fate. He immediately started protesting his fate at the top of his lungs. Since his volume control is not broken, this sounded as if he was about to be murdered at any moment.

    Both carriers were placed by the hall entrance waiting to go to the car, one vibrating from Scraps attempts at digging her way to freedom, the other emitting ear piercing shrieks. It was at this point Sunshine the dog, who when younger went to the vets with the cats, arrived in hallway, planted herself in the middle of the floor, and demanded to go to. Putting on outdoor gear was accomplished while stepping over one disappointed dog who refused to move unless she was going to the car too. The still protesting carriers were lifted over her head in order to leave. After closing the door, I looked back to see a hopeful dog still staring out the window at me, while the cats continued protesting.

    Yes, the dog loves the vet. She does not like needles, but as they give her treats for every stick, she is happy. The cats do not love the vet, they will not accept bribes, and are very happy they do not have to go back for another year.

    1. One can’t help but note that their was a strike on the oil depot near Kiev. One wonders whose oil it was. Not saying there’s a direct connection, really, but interesting coincidence.

      1. Being finance director of Gazprom seems hazardous. This one seems to have been found hanged, though the reports conflict. Couple of years ago, his predecessor shot himself.

        I wonder if they had information that might lead to the indictment and conviction of Hillary Clinton,

      2. The Secret Service has “lost” records of three years worth of Hunter Biden’s movements during the Obama administration. Do you think they’re record keeping is any better regarding the Clintons?

        1. In any case, do you really think Queen Hillary would personally execute somebody who “knows something she wants to remain secret”?

          That’s what Minions are for. 😈

          1. And I’m sure the Secret Service is keeping good track of Hillary meeting her Minions, just like they kept track of Hunter.

        2. Clearly EVERYONE involved in the handling and keeping of such should be fired for incompetence.

          I *AM* being nice. I said ‘fired” instead of ‘shot’.

          But some rope… and no sudden stop… make them THINK how they earned it.

          What, me evil?

          What gave it away? The hooves? The horns? The tail? The whiff of brimstone?

  29. ….and Malignancy has just days into Putin’s invasion declared that political opponents are just like Putin.

    As predicted, Democrats interest in Ukraine is based on their ability to use it to go after political opposition. There is no logical distinction between her assertions and the types of actions Trudeau just took. I expect a full fledged war on Democratic Party political opponents with full Stasi methods used.

    1. Is it me, or does that picture make her look less healthy than previous pictures of her?

      There is no ‘our’ with regard to Democracy in the United States.

      If America had been a Democracy, it would be licit for a large enough mob to hang Congress.

      1. She’s starting to look a bit like Palpatine at the end of Star Wars Episode 3, after he was scarred from his confrontation with the Jedi.

        1. Oh good. I’m not the only one thinking that. Between Trudeau sounding as if he’s quoting Palpatine, and her looking like the guy, I’m really starting to wonder if someone’s been messing with the multiverse access panels.

        2. Has someone been messing around with an access panel to the multiverse? She’s looking like Palpatine, and Trudeau is quoting him . . .

      2. Yeah, she’s suddenly looking a lot worse than she has in previous pictures. And I don’t think it’s just a bad camera angle.

      3. A lot of media/pundit/politicians of the progressive stripe have been talking about “defending Our Democracy.” I figure they mean, “the cozy little system we have now, with all the nice bennies.”

        1. I can’t still get over how graceless and juvenile mean girl she looked, tearing up her copy of Trump’s State of the Union.
          Yeah, now lecture us about the dignity due to the office, and civility and all that.

        2. When Democrats say “our democracy” what they are actually referring to is perpetual Democratic Party CCP style single party totalitarian rule”.

  30. So, I think someone here – can’t remember who, not re-reading 400+ comments to find it again – was wondering how long Putin could maintain supply lines to the invasion force?

    It looks like the invasion was already fizzling out as of yesterday. Via Instapundit late last night, it seems an entire line of tanks ran out of fuel in the middle of the road:

    1. I know I saw speculation in places that Russia, historically, hasn’t been together enough to supply so many moving so far so fast, and would run out of fuel Sunday.

      1. What I had heard was ten days worth of supplies, and only enough rockets for 3-4 days. I would be surprised if they’re out already. They should have had enough to at least reach Kyiv.

        1. Moving the supplies is tricky.

          Basically, there are some military capabilities, that aren’t sexy, that a despot is going to consider a lower priority than the readily visible capabilities.

          Russians may overestimate their competitive class, and sacrifice the less visible stuff, so that the visible stuff at least appears to match their ‘weight class’.

          If Putin went to war in desperation, or based on faulty intelligence, he might not have the actual ground logistics capability, or the actual suppression of enemy air defenses capability, that he needed for this plan.

          We shall see.

          1. Doesn’t Russia have problems with gear growing legs?

            I mean, beyond normal levels. Even the US military has a ton of “creative” stuff that goes on in Supply, and we’re insanely strict.

            1. Yes, this is a constant problem in Russia. However, I would expect the generals to know about this. And to take extra care to make sure that the numbers in the warehouses match the numbers on the books for this specific operation.

              On the other hand, the leadership might not have checked carefully enough during the lead-up.

              1. Would partly depend on how serious they’re taking the Kung Flu, and for that matter they may have focused all their attention on supplying the elite forces…..

              1. Of course, Strieff seemingly /never/ says anything public himself, except when he has an agenda to push.

                Retired US Army infantry officers may often feel a vested interest in asserting a lack of need for help from other services in countering threats like, say, the Russian army.

                Today he is saying that Putin may have invaded on a miscalculation, and that the discussion of nuclear weapons represents Putin’s level of concern.

              2. :pinching bridge of nose:

                Well, it’s not as bad as some of the options I was thinking they’d ask for?

                Still requires at best a belief that you’re buying time, but….

  31. >> “And honestly, if I find who did, the chinelo is going to do a number on their behind.”

    Still going around hitting people with costumed Mexican dancers, Sarah?

      1. >> “a chinelo is a slipper”

        AND a type of costumed dancer. I told you before, Sarah, you’re not getting the image of you chasing people around and whacking them with costumed Mexican dancers out of my head. 😛

Comments are closed.