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19 May 2016


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The Twisted Genius


I haven't missed your comment about remote viewing and dream interpretation. I found it quite interesting albeit close to a novella in scope. I'm on the road and have only limited internet and phone connectivity... it's wonderful. I might post more on the subject in the future.


This article discussing an unprecedented level of oil storage around Singapore in large tankers and the fact that this would be unprofitable unless there were an expected spike in prices.


I wonder if this could be in anticipation of a south china sea confrontation, a currency devaluation anticipation in China. Just speculation on my part, but it seems odd that so many people would be making seemingly unprofitable trades that could only be remedied by an oil price or currency event.

David Habakkuk


I came across in this morning’s ‘Telegraph’ an obituary for Commander Michael MccGwire, who apparently died in March.

He was one of the ‘last of the Mohicans’, having gone to sea in May 1942, as a 17-year-old, after being presented with the ‘King’s Dirk’, awarded for the top cadet at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth, by King George VI – whose future son-in-law had won the award two years earlier.

Unfortunately, neither the obituary, nor the ‘Wikipedia’ entry on which it is partly based, are entirely accurate.

The typescript of a paper dated 1987, entitled ‘The Genesis of Soviet Threat Perceptions’, surfaced some time ago on the net.

The paper looked both forward and back. At its end, MccGwire correctly anticipated the Soviet move to a defensive posture in Central Europe – at a time when the massive intelligence bureaucracies in the United States and Europe were, almost universally, either insisting that Gorbachev’s talk of ‘new thinking’ was a cunning deception ploy, or simply scratching their heads in bafflement.

A key purpose of MccGwire’s paper, however, was to argue that to understand what was happening in the ‘Eighties, it was necessary to go back to the arguments of the ‘Forties. If one misunderstands the past, time and again, one finds that an inevitable result is that one cannot understand the present.

In particular, MccGwire argued, it was necessary to grasp that in crucial respects the key NSC 68 paper of April 1950, whose fundamental ideas were strongly revived under Reagan, had turned out to be wrong.

But one of the things that make MccGwire’s intellectual evolution so interesting was that his starting point had been very much the pattern of attitudes set out in NSC 68. Another is that his eventual total repudiation of these was actually rooted in his military experience and the habits of mind that derived from it.

Having joined the battleship HMS Rodney as a midshipman, MccGwire had been present at the Allied amphibious landings in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy. Subsequently, he had been First Lieutenant on a Motor Torpedo Boat attacking German vessels off the coasts of France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

After the war, he was sent for Russian language training by the Navy at Cambridge. Apparently, he spent most of his time there playing rugby and drinking – but as a result ended up in the early ‘Fifties seconded to GCHQ.

There, he had correctly interpreted the evidence as indicating that the Soviets had embarked on a massive submarine construction programme, and – like everybody else – jumped to the conclusion that its purpose was to refight the Battle of the Atlantic.

Sometimes the combination of practical experience, and an independent habit of mind, really does help avoid the errors into which academics whose background is the ‘axiomatic sciences’ can easily fall.

What MccGwire realised by 1959 was that the preponderant part of the submarine force that the Soviets had constructed was a coastal defence force. One would not say much for the chances of survival of a battleship like HMS Rodney, or indeed any other naval vessel, supporting NATO amphibious landings in the Baltics and Black Sea, if they had to counter a combination of shore-based air and submarines coming out at night.

After using their torpedoes, these could surface and in the confusion cause havoc with the 100mm gun. They wouldn’t need air defenses.

So, suddenly, you come to realise that very much of what has seemed to obvious to oneself may not in seem obvious to your adversary. And you begin the complex process of trying to reconstruct how familiar events and information might appear, if seen by different people from a different perspective.

It was the process of questioning which arose from this initial discovery which led, almost thirty years later, to the analysis of the July 1987 paper.

In the event, MccGwire and people like him – notably his then Brookings Institution colleague Ambassador Raymond Garthoff – won the intellectual argument comprehensively, but lost the political one even more comprehensively.

Figures like Richard Perle, who had totally failed to predict the changes introduced following Gorbachev’s coming to power, were able to persuade people that these were simply the result of the demonstration of ‘strength’ and ‘will’ embodied in the Reagan-era military build-up.

And this is a central reason we are in the mess in which we find ourselves today.

The ‘Telegraph’ obituary, and the MccGwire’s ‘Wikipedia’ entry, are at

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2016/05/19/commander-michael-mccgwire--obituary/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_MccGwire .

The ‘Genesis of Soviet Threat Perceptions’ paper is at https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/nceeer/1987-800-05-McGwire.pdf .

The ‘Telegraph’ obituary contains one paragraph I found hilarious:

‘While known for his strong opinions, love of argument and great hospitality – fuelled by his “mermaid’s kiss”, a cocktail of scrumpy, brandy, sherry and ginger ale – MccGwire exhibited natural authority. Despite a series of heart bypasses, over the course of 30 years, he was a bon vivant with a Falstaffian love of food and beer.’

I only met him a couple of times, and never tasted the ‘mermaid’s kiss’. But I know him to have been a wonderful man, and his writings have been a source of inspiration and enlightenment to me, ever since I first came across them, almost exactly thirty years ago.

different clue


With the very greatest of all due respect . . . might I suggest that when Senator SecState Clinton said a few days ago that under her Administration, Mr. Bill would be the policy leader/doer on economic policy and management, that she was running him for Shadow Office. Given his economic policy against America all through his Administration (NAFTA/WTO membership/MFN for China/ etc.), his re-assumption of power would be a deadly danger to what is left of America's economy. While that is not directly relevant to "treatment of women", if "treatment of women" becomes the issue that can deny Senator SecState Clinton the nomination, then it is worth bringing up.

If she gets nominated, then I will find myself voting against the "greater danger", whichever candidate that turns out to be. If they are both too horrible to vote for, then I will just have to write Sanders in.



A gay friend says money or gift cards. I think nothing strengthens a bond like matching Hawaiian shirts.


Condolences with a truly great guy passing to his eternal patrol. As per Soviet Naval Doctrine--capability in USSR (and Russia) never was a substitution for the posture. Soviet Naval Doctrine was explicitly defensive and deterrent-oriented. Post WW II Soviet Navy from the get go was built as a Sea Denial force, until reaching its global Sea Denial status by 1970s. Even Soviet aircraft carrier program was built around carriers as primarily air-defense and ASW platform for the naval force designed to fight NATO CBGs away from Gorshkov's Blue Line, including by means of supporting operations of Soviet/Russian SSNs and SSGNs which were and still remain the main striking force of Russian Navy. Very little attention was given to Power Projection, especially in its current form. But very few people in the West did communicate this truth to policy makers.


We've talked in the past about how propaganda is planted in social media by US, British, Israeli and Russian players. Here is an article that came out from CNN with regard to China that is worth a read. Each has their own personality. http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/20/technology/china-social-media-fake-posts-strategy/index.html



Money seems so tacky. Topical shirts would be pretty funny on these two. They are great cooks and one's a French teacher, thus the thought from above.


Harvard prof urges liberals to treat evangelical Christians like Nazis -
Breitbart News



Fred, You may want to check if the couple is registered anywhere;
that way you give them what they want. It's not impolite to inquire
if a couple (straight or gay) is registered @ major stores &/or sites.
It's really a rather standard question. Most registration sites will
display which items on their wish list are still available for purchase.
Gift wrapping is usually available for a small charge.

Babak Makkinejad


WSJ on the popular sentiment in Europe:


Babak Makkinejad

There is no such thing called "gay wedding" - regardless of what the Congress of Gomorrah, or the Soviet of Sodom ordain.



I understand that sentiment entirely. However this being Ann Arbor (Republic of) this would be more accurately described as a "victory celebration" for the political left. This will be the first and last that I attend but solely due to obligation to one individual involved.


The Beaver,

I guess we still have one fast reaction force that works in a timely manner.



Welcome to the 1850's. If only a president would come along to free the noble savages from thier chains of privilege and deliver the salvation of secularism.

Babak Makkinejad


Then give them money; that would be most useful since they can spend that money the way they wish.

So much make-believe....

Chris Chuba

Iran's ballistic missile testing does not violate any U.N. sanctions.

I got clued in when the Russians torpedoed U.S. complaints on the basis that the latest resolution supersedes all previous ones and only calls for them to restrain from testing ballistic missiles. I double checked this and they are quite right.

Here is resolution 2231, see page 3, terminations, 7. section (a) where it terminates 1929 (the one that prohibited Iranian missile testing). Then look at page 99, Annex B: . "Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles..."

This goes back to what Ben Rhodes talked about, the Administration spoon feeds a statement to a compliant media and it gets repeated for months on end, unchallenged and even today their testing is called, illicit, or possibly illegal.
The MSM is incapable of reading existing agreements and is not willing to question it even after another source goes through the trouble of doing it for them.

The Administration side steps their role and is able to stir up the mob without any consequences. Iran isn't doing anything wrong. They are just taking advantage of the new agreement yet are being portrayed as undermining it in some manner.

Allen Thomson

Theodicy and the general election:


"[F]or millions of cultural and moral religious conservatives this election is evolving into a truly moral or theological problem...

"Would a truly good and merciful God allow voters to end up choosing between Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton?"


would truffles travel better?


What tragicomedy.

They're more concerned with "matrimony" for queers as well as lavatories for "cross-gender" freaks than to provide jobs or housing for those disadvantaged.

As we speak, I've an associate (a half-Jew) in Oregon suffering some rare strain of muscular dystrophy & living in a trailer park (with his folks).

Unable to get decent employment & relying on food stamps...

I suck at numbers & statistics (can official figures be relied upon?), so I've no honest picture how many US citizens are equally suffering or going thru worse.



The human mind evolved to trek through savannas with mates guided by instincts and training. Our perceptions and beliefs are the framework that makes order out of the randomness of life. A world view can be changed with the flick of a switch. Seeing a picture of our blue orb in the vastness of space.

This is another mind altering time. Western news is untrustworthy. PBS’s NewsHour recently had a segment on Russian aggression and invasion of Crimea. Patently false since Russia has had a naval base there since 1783 and fought wars with Turkey, Great Britain and Germany and their allies over the centuries to keep it.

An unmentionable Civil War has commenced in the West that is, at present, limited to electoral politics. On one side are the plutocrats and their handmaidens who are for free movement of capital and people, perpetual war plus eliminating democratic sovereignty and taxes. On the other side is the western populace who are losing their livelihood and privileges. Identity politics is being used to spin people into manageable wedges. The fault lines are sex, age, religion and ethnicity that play on the human emotions that tie one to family and tribe.

This is visible in the comments above. We get to watch how this plays out in real time.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, it is an indulgence of the affluent; while cities like Flint are poisoned; as Fred can tell you all about it.

UK guys are flying In-your-face air patrols close to Russian border while the city of Liverpool is reverting to back what it was 300 years ago - and Cardiff is now akin to a genteel but shabby old maid whose best days are forever gone; just ask David Habakkuk.

Istanbul is in great need of major rebuilding - land is very inefficiently used there while Turkish government indulges in her un-necessary crises with Russia, Syria, EU, Iran, Armenia, Iraq. Kunari can tell you that.


The Canadians are working on a solution to this sad, sad problem --



YT, Have you tried getting help for your associate from the muscular
dystrophy assoc? Here's their web page



I'm sure he did, Elaine.

That's probably where he gets his [medical] marijuana.

But methinks the weed is affecting his worldview.



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