A reminder that the Pentagon has a secret army:
The largest undercover force the world has ever known is the one created by the Pentagon over the past decade. Some 60,000 people now belong to this secret army, many working under masked identities and in low profile, all part of a broad program called “signature reduction.” The force, more than ten times the size of the clandestine elements of the CIA, carries out domestic and foreign assignments, both in military uniforms and under civilian cover, in real life and online, sometimes hiding in private businesses and consultancies, some of them household name companies.
Thank you for revealing the true nature of your own country: its evil, its heartlessness and the inability (or refusal?) of its people to distinguish between right and wrong. As astonishing as it is – an absolute majority, somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of your countrymen, according to the pollsters, appear to support your actions.
No doubt, when all this is over and you occupy your well-deserved seat before the International Criminal Court, your countrymen will tell anyone willing to listen that they did not know anything! They will say that this is all your fault and that they were simply following orders. They will say that, deep in their collective soul, they hated your guts and were all members of the resistance. I think we’ve heard that line, not all that long ago, in Nuremberg.
The Safronov case further reinforced my personal knowledge that the Russian military is undermined by massive corruption. I have therefore not been in the least surprised that Russia has had a much harder time subjugating Ukraine than many expected. Some commentators have particularly amused me by claiming that you cannot compare defence spending levels because Russian defence expenditure is more efficient than American. They cited all the corruption in US defence expenditure, such as the famous US$800 toilet seats; as though Russia were not itself spectacularly corrupt.
At just the time of Safronov’s death, Russia brought in as Minister of Defence Anatoly Serdiukov, who made genuine attempts at radical reform and eliminating corruption. This brought him so many enemies he had to be replaced by current defence minister Shoygu, now in power for ten years. Shoygu has adopted a policy of showcasing new weapons systems while not rocking the boat on corruption.
Do not confuse the apparently dazzling achievements at the shiny end of the vast sums of money Russia has pumped in to weapons development, with the day to day business of defence procurement and military supply. Russian hypersonic ballistic missiles may or may not perform as advertised, but more relevant to Ukraine are the creaking vehicles which have not been maintained, the inoperable tyres, the lack of rations, the old fashioned tank armour.
The world economic war:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an attack on the U.S.-dominated NATO alliance. Its aim is to keep Ukraine out of NATO, to bar nuclear missile systems from Poland and Rumania and to roll back western NATO troops to their 1997 positions.
The U.S. aim is to get Russia bogged down in a long quagmire war, while meanwhile trying to wreck the Russian economy through economic sanctions—that is, seizing Russian financial assets held in the U.S. allied countries, cutting Russia off from the dollar-based world financial system and blocking Russian imports and exports as much as possible.
With the aid of China, Russia is finding ways to engage in world trade using the ruble and other non-dollar currencies, thus helping to undermine U.S. financial power.
Apparently Australia had a secret interrogation centre in East Timor where it tortured suspected pro-Indonesian militants. True to the standards set by all Australian government bodies, they got the wrong guys
The shortest national government term in the democratic world has expired again. Despite it being only about ten minutes ago when Australians were forced (yes, forced; there’s a fine for not voting) to choose between the Candidate for Corporate Welfare or the Candidate for Union Welfare to be this month’s Prime Minister . . .
If you can find a difference between what they are likely to do if elected, I’ll be impressed. They’re both planning to be profligate with our taxes, they’re both going to do nothing to wind back the authoritarianism of the State premiers, they’re both going to speak in a mealy mouthed way about China while desperately hoping it doesn’t impact trade.
It is pretty dire. There are dissident microparties but they have their own brainless policies and may be preference-harvesting operations by the major parties.
Funny, the number of Australians who deliberately vote informal is extremely small. Much more common are the donkey voters who simply number the boxes from 1-4 down the ballot, which is why they stopped listing candidate names in alphabetical order. Politicians were changing their names to Aaron Aardvark to get to the top of the ballot. And yet, of my Australian readers and those I read, a very large number either do or think seriously about voting informal. Birds of a feather, hey.
I do not advocate this (there are odd laws about such things). Learn how to make your vote count! 🙂
In Japan, police arrest a 57-year-old man for dropping a bowling ball from his apartment.
Meanwhile in Singapore, a drunken Australian got worked up about terrorist attacks and threw an empty wine bottle from his apartment at a random Malay, killing him. He got five and a half years in jail. Odd in a country that has the death penalty for drug smugglers and caning for vandals.
China opens first clinic for transgender children. This is in the official CCP mouthpiece, the Global Times:
In a case shared by the hospital, an adolescent girl named Xiao Lin (pseudonym) suffered repeated anxiety and depression after she entered puberty and her female physiological characteristics became more obvious.
Through searching on the internet, she learned that she is a transgender person.
Some political background to the lockdowns in Shanghai.
Visiting a Deformed Jewish temple:
Every single one of the donors was a single older woman. Not one man was to be found, and not one young person – but there were plenty of dogs. I asked one lady if their congregation did bar-mitzvahs for dogs (“bark-mitzvahs”), and she replied that they do not. They do have events where the rabbi blesses pets.
The congregation is dying. The men have all left, and the congregants either did not produce any children to carry on, or their children have no interest in carrying on. Why should they? There are plenty of other, more attractive, venues to practice Leftism. Perhaps the dogs, if trained properly, can breath new life into Deformed Judaism. It would be ironic; they are, after all, Canine-ites.
When I started studying Japanese, I read a lot of picture books. There’s a very famous story about a girl of about four who gets sent on her first errand to the shops and the adventures she has on her way. Kids start being independent early because they are expected to get to elementary school together in small groups from first grade, even on the subway.
In this vein, there’s a Japanese TV show about sending very young kids on errands to see if they can pull it off which is causing debate around the world. Inside tip: This is much safer in Japan than in other places.
While Jonas acknowledged the lack of official data made it difficult to determine the extent of teeth-grinding during the pandemic, dentists who spoke to The Age and the Herald universally agreed it was a manifestation of acute stress caused by the pandemic.
Stress and anxiety can cause people to grind their teeth in their sleep. Smoking, heavy alcohol intake and recreational drug use can exacerbate it further. Daytime grinding generally happens when people are busy or stressed.
The idea of crowd-investing in physical artworks is starting to take off. I was going to write an article about it but I found one that sums it up very well so I now see no need:
If you can get beyond the shady business practices, marketing, founder’s past business activities, fee grab where they act as an art hedge fund, and unique art risks, then Masterworks investing offers that opportunity to buy a fractional ownership in “blue chip” fine art.
Is investing in Masterworks worth it though?
That’s it from me. Hope you’re have a lovely Easter.