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16 January 2018

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Patrick D

Colonel,

Good luck with that flu. Mine is entering week 4.

Just want to take the open thread opportunity to thank Colonel Lang for the 2012 How to Cook a Country Ham post and all those who contributed to the comments thread. Those on my 2016 Christmas list who got a country ham were very happy.

ambrit

Sir;
Major flu presence here in the American Deep South as well. Local medicos downplaying the 'state of play' vis a vis the winter infection intensity. Anecdotal evidence, (I know, it does not equal data,) shows more intensive rate of infection than public 'pronouncements' aver. Didn't the CDC admit that this years' flu vaccine was only ten percent effective?
Anyway, here are the CDCs' own figures: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/effectiveness-studies.htm
Good health to you and SWMBO.
ambrit

robt willmann

Turkey is threatening to invade northwestern Syria in the area of Afrin, which is northwest of Aleppo, to try to remove the Kurds from that area--

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/syria-kurdish-civilians-fear-threat-turkey-offensive-180116131306142.html

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/huge-turkish-army-convoy-enters-syria-combat-kurdish-forces-afrin/

https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/syria_rel-2007.pdf

https://time.is/map/Afrin

This will create talk today (16 January) and tomorrow in NATO--

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkeys-military-chief-to-attend-nato-meeting-2982656

Turkish General Hulusi Akar, the military defense chief, graduated from the U.S. Armed Forces Staff College in 1987--

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/who_is_who_122165.htm?selectedLocale=en

Larry M.

Col. Lang,

I hope you will get well soon.

catherine

I think here are several different types of vaccine ..different ones for different strains, or so I was told...didn't ask which one I got but I also got a pneumonia vaccine.

Stay out of stores and away from children and carry a hand sanitizer...my doc also said putting some sanitizer around your nose also is a good idea.

Another tip...those mask you often see people wearing are only for not breathing out any of your own germs, they don't protect you from others germs...you need a different one for that and can usually find them at a drugstore.

good luck, stay healthy.

blowback

Strange article by Michelle Goldberg over at the NY Times from last Friday about the Fusion GPS dossier:

Because Republicans don’t have to prove their alternative theory, you rarely see it fully elaborated. But it goes something like this: Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired Fusion GPS to gather anti-Trump misinformation from Russia. Fusion GPS, working with the retired British spy Christopher Steele, then delivered the Russian smears to the F.B.I., which was determined to thwart Trump. So if anyone was guilty of collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, it was Clinton and her allies.

It leaves out who originally hired Fusion GPS and suggest that Clinton's collusion was with the Russians when the sources for the dossier's claims seem to have been western expats living in Moscow so the collusion was with MI6 which is equally as foreign as the FSB/SVR/GRU.
It then continues:
On Tuesday, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, gave a speech on the Senate floor about all the rabbit holes into which Republicans have tried to divert the Russia investigation. His Republican colleagues, he said, “have been repeating, in chorus with the White House and conservative media, the disproven claim that the Russians somehow commissioned the Steele dossier, or that Steele somehow got suckered by the Russians, or that some deep-state F.B.I. set up the whole thing to pressure Trump.”

Has anyone heard claims prior to this that the Russians commissioned the Steele dossier, as I haven't?
Has anyone heard claims prior to this that the Russians suckered Steele, as I haven't?
Has anyone heard claims prior to this that the FBI set up the whole Steele dossier plan to discredit as I haven't?
What I have heard is that Steele approached someone he knew in the FBI with the Steele dossier and that it seems to have triggered actions by the FBI.
So this looks like typical black propaganda, three fake claims to discredit the any further claims on this subject. Unless Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has worked on black propaganda before, his statement seems rather too sophisticated for an amateur. So was this statement scripted by some one more accomplished in the black art?

confusedponderer

Flu sucks, and it can be dangerous. Flu weakens and it takes time and energy to get over it.

I had Influenza A last January, and since I was in hospital then I had the privilege to experience power medicine at work.

I drank black tea the day before and wanted to go to movies later. Oddly it gave me goose bumps. It was odd, since usually I love black tea (especially 1-st flush Darjeeling). Anyway, I felt sick, decided not to go to cinema.

So I went to bed early, slept rather long and reported sick on the next day. They measured my temperature and sent me to an isolation room (so I wouldn't spread it) where they took what subjectively felt like 15 litres of blood samples, gave me medication and advised me NOT to leave my room, sleep as lot as possible as soon as possible.

Alas. Well, it sucked, but, remarkably, they got me from 40°C fever on sunday to fever free on wendesday afternoon. Hell knows how they did it, and what substance they gave me, but it worked and I was grateful. That's to write that doctors can greatly help with flu.

So, for anybody who has flu - good luck and good health.

Apenultimate

Colonel,

Best of luck to you. I just came down with it 2 days ago here on the left coast. Seems more like a bad cold with a fever than the flu, though. Came on slow. No body aches. No stomach problems. Just fever, coughing, and runny nose.

I hope it doesn't last 4 weeks. I'm flying to Europe on business in only 2 weeks!

Haralambos

Best wishes on weathering this, Colonel. Here is a recipe we swear by to help from my SIL.
Garlic soup
In the States we can get great big elephant garlic or some way smaller, more pungent garlic that comes in a box. Be sure to use the small heads because elephant garlic won’t make garlic soup. This is a sure-fire cure for a cold.

4 bulbs (not cloves!) garlic ⅓ cup of Bulgar or ½ cup croutons
2 tbsp butter ⅛ cup Tamari sauce
2 ½ quarts of water


Chop garlic, sauté in butter (boxed better than elephant). DO NOT OVERCOOK. In
soup pot, add water. Bring to boil. Add bulgur or croutons and Tamari sauce (or to taste). Simmer for 20 minutes.

AK

Col.

With your permission, I'd like to request some travel advice from members of the committee. I am planning a trip to Vietnam in August and intend to devote a portion of it to visiting some sites of historic military significance. Due to a compromise with my better, gentler half, I will only have two to three days for these activities.

I would be deeply appreciative if anyone on the committee with any experience/knowledge of the country could send along one or two "don't-miss" recommendations, aside from the obvious (Dien Bien Phu, etc). I think we will be focusing our trip on the Central Highlands and working our way from there up to the far north around Ha Giang. Thanks to all in advance for any advice and insight.

BillWade

Hope you are better soon Colonel Lang. I've had something, not sure cold or flu really, for two weeks now. Each day I've become ever so slightly better. The first two days were the worst.

adamski

Hi,
I've been living in Bien Hoa, Dong Nai province for over a year. It still has a functioning air base and Sukhoi Su30s are a regular sight and sound over the city.
If you visit HCMC then the War remnants museum is a must and a trip to CU Chi tunnels is worth taking a day out for.
There isn't much to see in the Central Highlands, just old place names really. Pleiku is interesting as it was apparently completely rebuilt after ARVN razed it in 1975.
Khe Sanh and Hue are worth a visit.
Khe Sanh is very peaceful now and has the usual collection of hulks and a small museum.
Hue is worth a trip just for the citadel. Plenty of old aircraft and vehicles on display. Walking around the citadel is poignant as there is still battle damage visible here and there. I actually found a spent M16 cartridge on the ground.
Hanoi is the place to go. Army Museum, Air force, Hanoi Hilton are all good to visit. And Huu Tiep lake of course with it's dead B52 sticking out.
I haven't got as far as Dien Bien Phu yet.
I hope you have a great trip!

GeneO

AK -

If you are not flying up to the north, then consider Hue City and the Citadel. Right off of Route 1, it would not be out of your way.

And get a tour guide to take you down 'La Rue Sans Joie' which is close by to Hue. Again this is on the critical route 1, the main north/south route in Vietnam. It took 10,000 French and Viet troops including armor, airborne and an amphibious landing to clear the Viet Minh out of the local salt marshes and sand dunes.

There are a couple of good hotels in Hue. Or if you can afford it leave your wife in Danang at the 5-star Sun Peninsula Resort where Trump, Xi and Putin stayed during the APEC summit while you are touring Hue and route 1. Pricey but one of the better beaches in Nam. It is just down the hill from Monkey Mountain where there was a major SIGINT facility way back then.

confusedponderer

robt willmann,
I recall I read that there was one thing about NATO and Turkey after the coup that was somehow lost generally. That was that the Turks fired a lot of officers and soldiers after the coup (some 100.000+ or so), and many of the folks who served with NATO in Bruxelles.

They were replaced with new young officers, who were more 'purely Turkish', perhaps could pray splendidly, but, well, didn't speak english.

Apparently having served in NATO, and NATO schools, or the U.S. Armed Forces Staff College, and being able to speak english, made these folks ... suspicious. The new kids with their lack of communication capabilities didn't help NATO cooperation.

I read that a lot of the fired officers were ordered, 'usually late on Fridays', to come back to Turkey within three days, which was unusual enough that many apparently preferred to seek asylum in Europe instead of 'gambling' with Turkish justice (which iirc can hold you up to five years in arrest before any charges are made).

Some about 700 folks of the Turkish army and Turkish diplomats seeked asylum in Germany alone.

Quotes:

Dozens of high-ranking Turkish military officers formerly posted at NATO headquarters in Brussels and SHAPE military headquarters in Mons are among more than 125,000 people President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alleges helped launch a failed coup against him in July. Erdogan calls them "terrorist soldiers."

Several of these officers agreed to speak with Deutsche Welle under cover of anonymity.

They want to know if any visiting dignitary is going to ask Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu for details on what's happening to them, how he'll reassure them the alliance that it can get along just fine without some of its best-trained specialists.

They are mostly Western-educated, some with PhDs and multiple master's degrees from American universities and institutions, with many NATO exercises under their belts. All say they had nothing to do with the attempted overthrow of the Erdogan government, that they denounced it immediately and continued working as loyal military representatives of the Turkish government. Yet one by one, their names showed up on one of almost 20 lists of suspects that have been circulated by Ankara to Turkey's missions abroad, usually late on Fridays.

In cover letters attached to those lists, the officers say, they were given instructions to turn in their NATO passes and diplomatic passports, told they are eligible now only for an identity document that goes one way -- back to Ankara. And most were ordered to do that within three days of being notified; some even sooner. No charges were given, simply lists of names, ranks and services and the information that they had been suspended or fired ...

http://www.dw.com/en/nato-officers-from-turkey-have-turned-into-stateless-asylum-seekers/a-36655693

"A total of 262 asylum requests from Turkish citizens who have worked as diplomats or soldiers are currently being reviewed by Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), "Der Spiegel" reported on Saturday ...


Based on an assessment from the German foreign ministry, the BAMF is currently reworking its guidelines for Turkey, "Der Spiegel" reported. Because of this, the ratio of granted asylum requests from Turkey in Germany could soon rise ...

'Excessive' use of terrorism accusations

The foreign ministry found that there are "clear indicators that there is a systematic persecution of alleged members of the Gulen movement" and that Ankara has made "excessive" terrorism accusations.

Following a military coup in July 2016, the administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken increasingly harsh measure against critics and alleged members of the so-called Gulen movement ...

Turkey has officially been in a"state of emergency" since the coup, which allows officials more leeway in detaining and prosecuting alleged coup supporters and people allegedly linked to terrorist activities. Thousands of government employees have been fired, including many teachers and professors critical of Erdogan's conservative-nationalist agenda.

When German media reported on Turkish military officers who had sought asylum in Germany earlier this year, one of the soldiers accused Erdogan of attempting to eliminate pro-western soldiers from the armed forces."

http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-diplomats-military-request-asylum-in-germany/a-38250145

"BRUSSELS (AP) — In the days after rogue soldiers tried to take over Turkey last year, the fax machine in the Turkish delegation’s offices at NATO headquarters started spitting out lists of names.

The lists from armed forces headquarters in Ankara often arrived on Friday evenings as personnel were packing up for the weekend, which seemed odd. Each carried 20 or 30 names at first.

But the one that came through more than two months after the July coup attempt stunned even seasoned Turkish officers in Belgium.

It gave 221 colonels, majors and other mid-ranking officers at NATO facilities around the world three days to get back to Turkey.

“Normally you would be told where you are going on your next assignment, get an allowance to move your family, have some time for your children to leave school,” one major who appeared on the Sept. 27 list told The Associated Press. “It didn’t make any sense.”

Now considered coup suspects, dozens of Turkish officers assigned to NATO are refusing orders from the country they spent their adult lives serving and no longer trust. Instead, they are seeking asylum abroad or have gone into hiding, fearing arrest and imprisonment as terrorists if they return.

More than 150,000 people have been taken into custody, fired or forced to retire from Turkey’s armed forces, judiciary, education system and other institutions since the thwarted July 15 coup. Few first-person accounts have emerged, in part because the crackdown has hit news outlets in Turkey.

Three officers, each with more than 20 years’ experience in the armed forces and at least a year at NATO, shared their experiences — as well as lists, documents and photographs — with AP. Assigned to posts in Belgium while the failed power grab played out, they believe they have water-tight alibis.

When the big list came in, men gathered to ponder the order’s meaning. They compared notes in offices, at the cafeteria, and later in the homes of some 150 Turkish officers whose careers were about to end.

“Was it legal? How would it affect our lives? What was next?” the major said. He spoke on condition of confidentiality during a cautiously arranged interview, expressing fear for his safety and the welfare of his family.

Three days later, another fax arrived. It contained 19 more names and a new order: Return immediately. No explanation. No instructions about the city or military base to report to.

“It gave us only a few hours to return,” the major recalled. “We couldn’t work out what was going on, what it meant. But from that letter, we could understand that we had already been purged.”

The army was long the guarantor of secularism in predominantly Muslim Turkey. Past coups removed leaders considered too Islamist, but the military’s influence has waned.

The excised officers assigned to NATO are well-educated men, including West Point graduates."

https://apnews.com/2d638d4d23714c67b51b4fc9c06d3ccc/purged-turkish-officers-tell-kafkaesque-tales-exile

Balint Somkuti, PhD

Get well soon sir.

As of news from the east. Romania announced last year a massive rearmament programme (10 billion USD incl. 7! Patriot batteries hundreds of IFVs etc., purchase of F-16s), clearly tipping the local balance of power. Official reaction from the neighbours until recently: 0.

As a country with determining US influence, I might even say as a banana republic with its ninth minister president in 8 years, you can guess the where all this money will be flowing. Odd as it is Romania is in almost as bad shape financially as Greece, and was held until recently on short leash by the IMF. High corruption, general poverty, almost zero level of public services and a series of incompetent govts have pushed their currency to an all time low generating further tensions in an already impoverished, import oriented country.

To this add the romanian historical habit of betraying their allies from the Hungarian Kingdom, to the Ottoman Empire, and the nazi Germany, and you have a next Ukraine boiling.

On this very site someone was ringing the bell for the next Anabasis a couple of years ago in Iraq. Well the next possible scenario is not far away.

Tel

Take Zinc and Vitamin-C.

Garlic is also good, I used to blend raw garlic with brandy, strain it to remove the lumps, add more brandy and sip until you fall asleep. Clears your throat, and your nose and clears most of the house as well. Start the procedure while in a comfortable lounge if possible. Take very small sips it is always stronger than you expect.

Back on topic... does anyone have a clue what is going on in Kurdistan? I hear the Turks are set to invade any minute, while the Americans absolutely don't have any bases there at all (what thoooose bases???) The Russians seem to think this is land belonging to Syria though. I have not idea what's about to happen.

ex-PFC Chuck

https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/podcast/8770/new-cold-war-2018-discussion-professor-stephen-f-cohen

The above link is to a podcast and extensive, partial transcript of an interview with Stephen Cohen, one of the foremost Russia scholars in the USA. As you read the following excerpt keep in mind that Cohen is what a friend of mine calls a "legacy Democrat," that is someone whose policy views are similar to those of main-stream Democrats prior to the time, say 1985ish, the party began selling its soul to the banksters, a transaction that is now complete.

I'm not a Trump supporter and I didn't vote for him. However, we can actually support Donald Trump's campaign promise which I think he's tried to act on since he's been president that it's necessary to cooperate with Russia. This is what was called detente in the 20th century I don't know why Trump doesn't make this point. I don't think he has very good advisors in regard to Russia either in terms of what's going on in Russia or in terms of his own policy making but Trump might say in his own defense because they're indicting him for simply saying I want to cooperate with Russia and with Putin in particular. He could say look, every Republican president of consequence in the 20th century pursued detente with Russia. First Eisenhower, the first detente the spirit of Camp David with Khrushchev, then the Nixon Kissinger attempt at a grand detente with Brezhnev and finally above all Ronald Reagan a detente with Gorbachev the last Soviet leader Soviet Russian leader so great that Reagan and Gorbachev ended the cold war. Trump could put himself in that tradition and say "I'm the traditional Republican. This is what Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan did. They did it wisely. They avoided nuclear war with Russia. We're in a new Cold War. The dangers are grave. It's not only my duty as the American president to pursue cooperation to ward off a catastrophe but I commend the honorable tradition of the Republican Party". He doesn't say that.

The link to the podcast is within the link at the top of this comment.

shepherd

In an interesting aside, on the grounds of the old Hanoi Hilton is (or at least was a few years ago) a Western supermarket and coffee shop, much frequented by Americans and others in the process of adopting Vietnamese orphans. Most of the prison has been dismantled, and what you visit is merely the old gatehouse.

The Twisted Genius

pl,

Mind the flu well this year. It seems to be an especially virulent strand this year and is taking out its share of victims. I'm taking a day off today after spending the last four days replacing the bathtub in my oldest son's 5th floor condo in Alexandria near the old Landmark Mall. Learning new stuff all the time.

A few days ago your SWMBO "expressed concerns" about my comment about Quebecois getting "pissy in a most French way." These invaders from the North came down to the Albany area specifically to shop for bargains. A tactic used was to try to intimidate shop clerks into accepting Canadian money in a one to one exchange basis. In that area Canadian and US coins were used interchangeably, but not dollars. These Quebecois would become irate and make a scene in order to intimidate the clerks into accepting their dollars. These encounters sometimes drifted into tirades in French. It was quite a contrast from the typical image of the always polite and apologetic Canadian. I guess it was a Northway thing.

It was very different in Connecticut. I worked in a machine shop whenever I came home from school for a week or more. The night shift was almost exclusively French-Canadian women, a thoroughly enjoyable group. They seemed to take great delight in trying to transform me into somebody's sweet babboo.

I apologize to your SWMBO if my description of the antics of an obvious minority of Quebecois offended her and humbly seek her forgiveness.

turcopolier

TTG

Had to look up "babboo," as in Peanuts? You'll never know what you missed. pl

turcopolier

TTG

"... quite a contrast from the typical image of the always polite and apologetic Canadian." Ah, you are talking about Anglo-Canadians, a bloodless lot. /s/ pl

The Twisted Genius

pl,

Yes, Sally first called Linus her sweet babboo in a Peanuts comic in 1977. These ladies in the machine shop were calling me that several years prior to that. I remember when I first read that Peanuts strip, I fondly recalled the machine shop flirting.

Croesus

Non est illegitiflu carborundum, Col.

This piece, by Phil Giraldi, on CIA use of established media to disseminate propaganda, was published in American Herald Tribune https://ahtribune.com/us/fake-news/2097-cia-disinformation.html

J

Colonel.

Raw garlic as in cloves and lots of them, wholemeal bread spread with slightly stewed but still crunchy raw chilli, honey, onion and ginger, and I don't mean taste it, I mean empty the shop. Plenty of water, oranges and lemons - fruit not bottled juice, half a dozen per day.

Fish oil - the stuff you corrosion proof your car with, not the stuff you swallow. Get the strongest smelling stuff you can find as long as it's not mixed with kerosene :) Breath the fumes and I mean .. Breathhhhh, get the fumes into your sinuses.

And that will make a difference.

outthere


Fascinating old article by Daniel Ellsberg
quote
When the war ended, Dad accepted an offer to oversee the buildup of the plutonium production facilities at Hanford, Wash. That project was being run by General Electric under contract with the Atomic Energy Commission. To take the job of chief structural engineer on the project, Dad moved from the engineering firm of Albert Kahn, where he had worked for years, to what became Giffels & Rossetti. Later he told me that engineering firm had the largest volume of construction contracts in the world at that time, and his project was the world’s largest. I grew up hearing these superlatives.

The Hanford project gave my father his first really good salary. But while I was away as a sophomore at Harvard, he left his job with Giffels & Rossetti, for reasons I never learned at the time. He was out of work for almost a year. Then he went back as chief structural engineer for the whole firm. Almost 30 years later, in 1978, when my father was 89, I happened to ask him why he had left Giffels & Rossetti. His answer startled me.

He said, “Because they wanted me to help build the H-bomb.”
endquote

http://apjjf.org/-Daniel-Ellsberg/3201/article.html

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