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New Threat From Iran

Iran is reportedly on track to disrupt the equilibrium in Asia by acquiring another new technology.

[Hey, it is as credible as other claims about what Iran is up. ;)]


1 Kryten42 { 11.28.11 at 1:28 am }

🙄 Aha… so what? 😕

If the report last weekend by 60 Minutes is even half accurate, I’d say the USA has much bigger problems to worry about.

60 Minutes: Frozen Fortunes – Transcript

Of course, Russia is dead, so nobody will care (except the wealthy Yanks, Aussies & Brit’s going to Russia to get some of that non-existent wealth). 😉

A friend of mine went from WA to Russia to work on a survey for the huge mining company he works for in Siberia for 8 months. He said that they are already making about US$8mill/wk in high-grade gold bars, and the operation has only begun! The US should also remember that Siberia hols 20% of the entire Wolds fresh water supply. I can see a time when that will be worth more than Gold. Not to mention that it has more assessable oil than Saudi Arabia, Gas, Iron ore, etc. If Putin & co finally decide to stop playing silly buggers and get serious… well, good luck with that. 😉

2 Bryan { 11.28.11 at 5:05 pm }

Oh, Russia has a lot of mineral wealth, be it doesn’t have the infrastructure to get it out. The Trans-Siberian railroad is pretty much the only East-West route, and it is single-track and a different gauge than the rest of the world. The harbors in the Far East suck; roads only exist when the freeze comes; rivers are the only routes for much of the area. Without infrastructure, you can’t move it from here to there, so you may as well leave it in the ground.

3 Rook { 11.28.11 at 6:00 pm }

Oh. My. Gosh! I can’t believe Iran would be low enough to ruin Israel’s view! That’s disgusting. I say the hell with diplomacy, launch the bombs in 5 minutes.

4 Kryten42 { 11.28.11 at 7:02 pm }

Yeah, Bryan… But that is the point. 🙂 Putin has finally decided to make it attractive to outside investors, and there are now several who are putting up hundred’s of millions partnering with Russia to build the infrastructure as well as extract the wealth from the ground. Part of the interview was with a Brit who has been there over a decade trying to get the commissar’s to see reason, and has (apparently) finally done so. A Texas oil tycoon has decided it’s now a good time to open rig’s in Siberia, and is building there. Several Aussie mining experts have now gone there (thanks in part to our Git-in-charge making things difficult for them here), etc. Roads have been and are being built throughout Siberia, and the rail is going to be updated and expanded (part of the reason for the Brit’s, Jap’s & French being there). They just bought a hundred of those huge CAT earth movers (at about $1mill a piece), and are about to buy a couple of those gigantic walking dredge line monsters, building a new airport, etc. Of course, whilst it looks pretty good now, with Russia’s recent history, nothing is at all a sure thing! *shrug* 😉 But they do seem serious finally, and if they truly are… all bet’s are off! 😆

5 Steve Bates { 11.28.11 at 8:32 pm }

Bryan, OT, but there’s some bad stuff been inserted in the Defense Act, and the Senate vote is tonight or tomorrow. See the post at the top of my blog, derived from the ACLU, or about one post down on karmanot’s (mandt’s) blog, derived from truthout. This has apparently been done in secret, with the collusion of both parties, and IMHO it is a threat to fundamental constitutional liberties. And news of it is not widely distributed. Let me know what you think.

6 Bryan { 11.28.11 at 9:47 pm }

Well, Rook, it makes as much sense as bombing them over a non-existent nuclear weapons program 😉

Kryten, a fool and his money … they should look at the history of relations between BP and the Russians about developing anything in the country, if they think there is going to be any money made. They will spend money on infrastructure and find out that they have violated Russians laws which will cause their share of the joint company to be confiscated, just like Gazprom did to BP. The oligarchs are too greedy to see the real bonus in the long term from an honest deal.

Steve, that whole bill is a civil rights disaster, and I have already contacted my Senators, who are both worthless. Zero has threatened to veto it over one of the few not terrible provisions which limit Presidential power. The provision you are writing about will run slam damn into the Posse Comitatus Act. It is stupid and no Southern Senator should ever consider voting for it on the sesquicentennial of the ‘War of Northern Aggression’.

7 Badtux { 11.29.11 at 1:05 am }

Bryan, our Western oligarchs are not very bright, are they? I suppose that is what happens when you got your position via inbreeding and school connections rather than via being the most vicious venal shark in the pool like the Russian oligarchs.

Regarding Posse Comitatus, I think that the Southern senators are thinking that since the majority of the U.S. Army is now made up of Southerners, that if the Army is ever used for law enforcement inside the USA it’ll be against those Damnyankees in the Northeast and those weirdos on the Left Coast, not against good god-fearin’ Southern folk. Sort of the same delusional thinking that led to the War of Southern Secession, when the thinking was that since the majority of Army officers were Southerners, the South would prevail because they had more and better generals. And nice hats. Can’t forget Jeff Davis’s hats.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

8 Bryan { 11.29.11 at 12:13 pm }

Ah, yes, the hat with the large badge to use as an aiming point.

The problem of having the military based primarily in the South is that the soldiers react with the good old boys on a daily basis and have had to put up with them. They may want to think about payback time for the antics of local law enforcement.

Yep, the South had a lot of generals, but it needed people and weapons, and it didn’t have enough of either. It would have also helped if they were food independent, but they weren’t as the best land was used for cash crops. Food and ordnance are important for an army.

Russia is its own worst enemy, with a shrinking population, reduced life span, and rampant corruption. They have gone back to the old nobility/serf system and don’t understand the need for a middle class. They want to recreate something that never existed – the golden age of the Tsars. The foreigners will learn, but it will be an expensive lesson.

I suspect that at some point the Chinese will decide to solve a lot of their problems by moving North.

9 Badtux { 11.29.11 at 3:02 pm }

The South actually had plenty of weapons, and sufficient manpower if said manpower had been utilized efficiently. Between Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond (the whole reason the capitol was put in Richmond — to protect what was the only foundry in the South) and the Augusta Powderworks, the South never lacked in guns and powder to equip its armies with. But Jefferson Davis completely ignored other logistical issues — food, clothing, shoes — and allowed the transportation network that had allowed interior lines of communications to shift troops around rapidly during the early years of the war to disintegrate as the locomotive maintenance yards at Tredegar were put to work making cannon rather than locomotive parts. Jeffy reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld, actually — a supposedly brilliant warrior who ignored critical things necessary to win a war.

Regarding Russia, I think the majority of the Russian oligarchs don’t see any future for the country or for their own position within the country as Putin slowly tightens his control, so they’re just looting whatever they can loot and trying to get it outside of Putin’s reach as fast as possible. Putin’s own cronies aren’t much better, Putin allows their corruption because it gives him a handle to hold over them — all of them are corrupt, so if any of them step out of line and decide to go freelance, Putin can quickly make sure they get a nice long stay in the graybar hotel. Putin is allegedly now the richest man in Europe but my guess is that this is more a case of money and power being synonymous in today’s world and Putin being very, very interested in power. Sort of a kinder gentler Stalin. For definitions of “kinder gentler” that anywhere but in Russia would be synonymous with “brutal tyrant” ;).

– Badtux the Geopolitics Penguin

10 Bryan { 11.29.11 at 11:08 pm }

I’m looking at the 1860 Census figures from the University of Virgina library and they indicate a shortage of manufacturing capacity. They had the weapons provided by the Federal government for the state militias at the start of the war, but the entire state of Florida was only able to equip and field a single regiment the entire war, and the Federal blockade was effective.

Logistics was not considered anything ‘a gentleman’ would be interested in, but it was the key to every campaign that Sherman fought.

Yep, Russia is immensely wealthy, but it is rotting from the inside. Everyone who can, leaves, including some of their very best people.

11 Badtux { 11.30.11 at 1:28 am }

One thing you overlook is that it simply did not take much in the way of manufacturing capacity to build a ball-and-cap rifle or muzzle-loading cannon. Sand casting is fairly easy if you have a model to use, and the South had plenty of models in the form of cannon and rifles seized from the federal arsenals. Even New Orleans managed to cast a few cannon between the time the war started and when it was captured in early 1862, starting from ground zero at the declaration of war.

The logistics situation was far more dire. As you say, gentlemen didn’t do logistics.

Note that Florida was largely wilderness at the start of the Civil War, with a total free white population of 80,000 at the outbreak of war. It’s not surprising that Florida had trouble raising military units.

Yes, many of Russia’s best are leaving. I know, because I work with them (and get the news from their homeland) here in the Silly Cone Valley :).

– Badtux the Observant Penguin

12 Kryten42 { 11.30.11 at 2:31 am }

Yep! We have many Russian Engineers and other professionals here, and have had for a long time. I helped a Russian Geologist/Mining Engineer get work at a diamond mine in WA a decade ago (he was driving a taxi, and we chatted, and I said I might be able to help him, and I did). He moved his entire family (from Grandparents down) from Russia (easy to do when you are making very decent money and can pay the appropriate people). Last I heard, he was General Manager there. 🙂 I’ve helped a few taxi drivers like that, back when I could afford to use cab’s. 😉 🙂

Anyway, as I said, we’ll see what happens. I know a couple of the Aussies who went to Siberia, and they are far from fools or stupid. But I wouldn’t hold my breath either. *shrug* I’ve dealt with Russians (and Soviets, and especially *officials*) a lot in the past. I have no illusions.

13 Bryan { 12.01.11 at 12:49 am }

It doesn’t matter much what you can build if you can’t get it to where it is needed, a lesson that is being highlighted by the situation on the Afghan-Pak border.

When the South lost control of its main rivers and Gulf ports, it was only a matter of time. When we came down to Florida in the 1950s, there still wasn’t a reasonable road system in place.

Russia is really nice to foreign investors until things get to point where they are profitable, then on of the ‘chosen’ takes the Russian side of the business, and then the foreign side a bit later. The initial people you deal with really are entrepreneurs who will act in good faith, but they will robbed just like the foreigners. They may not have the pomp of the Russian Empire, but the Russian government has the corruption down pat.

I ran into them in San Diego, and now they are down here.

14 Badtux { 12.01.11 at 1:50 am }

I will just point out that the South never lost a battle due to lack of guns or powder. Lack of food and soldiers, on the other hand, was a different issue. And the South’s transportation issues were not a major problem in getting guns and powder to the soldiers at the front because the main munitions foundries were located along the interior railroads or with easy access via river to those railroads. As the war progressed lack of maintenance of those railroads caused issues with moving guns and powder, but it wasn’t until Sherman’s March to the Sea that this critical supply line was cut, Sherman really ended the war, it just took a while for the Confederacy to notice it.

So in any event, yes, the South was completely outmatched industrially by the North, but that actually wasn’t as critically important as your grade school history books in New York actually implied. Misuse of the South’s limited manpower, failure to use the South’s fertile soil to grow food crops to feed the South’s soldiers and general populace, and failure to understand the importance of the interior railroads and the importance of keeping them maintained (most of Tredegar’s trained machinists got drafted! Talk about a misallocation of manpower!). Combined with mediocre generalship and a delusional President who was convinced that the North would give up swiftly and thus it wasn’t necessary to think about things like, say, maintaining the rail network, because those could be repaired after the North gave up… well. Today’s Republicans sure remind me a lot of the Confederate political leadership — delusional, living in their own bubble, supremely convinced of their own superiority, but in actuality being a collection of bumbling incompetents and lunatics. (This doesn’t describe *all* Confederate leaders — I think Joe Johnston was probably a fairly good general, he understood maneuver warfare and Sherman was quite relieved when Johnston was removed in favor of Hood — but you’ll notice that Johnston got *fired* for being sane). But in any event. you put insane leaders in charge of a run-down infrastructure and what you get is disaster.

Hmm…. say, does anybody notice some similarities between that situation, and a *current* nation with run-down infrastructure and insane leaders?

Back to Russia… oh wait. Now that I think about it, your description of how things work in Russia is starting to become increasingly descriptive of how things work *here*. Funny how that works, hmm??

– Badtux the Not-crazy-incompetent-or-corrupt Penguin

15 Bryan { 12.01.11 at 4:42 pm }

I actually did elementary school in various schools in Okaloosa County, middle school primarily in Europe, and high school all over, finishing up in upstate New York, my parents ‘home town’ after my Dad retired. 18 schools in 12 years, not especially remarkable for a ‘brat’.

The industrial production are from the Census figures, college level courses.

Joe Johnston and Uncle Billy Sherman were the best generals in the conflict, and they respected each other. Neither was perfect, but they were better than anyone else on either side. They understood from the beginning that it was going to be a long war, and didn’t waste people.

The food problem was really unbelievable. The plantation owners continued to grow cash crops that they couldn’t ship, and the small farmers who were the major food producers were in the army, instead of on the farm.

If you want to read really nasty editorials, look up what was printed about Jeff Davis in Southern newspapers during the war. He definitely was not beloved in the South during his lifetime. He didn’t become ‘popular’ until the history was edited in the 20th century.

Yes, we are having another go at the stupidity, but it is hard to make the point with so many people rewriting history.

You have a point, that we are following Russia to oblivion. They are getting there quicker because they had less infrastructure to begin with.

16 Badtux { 12.01.11 at 7:36 pm }

When I was in college I took a history course under a guy who literally wrote the book on Louisiana during the American Civil War (as in, the only book specializing on the subject, he wrote it). We got to see some of his copies of actual source material — letters and newspapers — from the period. Yes, Jeff Davis was almost universally hated, the draft despised because it resulted in families starving, and draft resistance was rampant. Half of Louisiana spent the war in the swamps evading the draft gangs, coming out only when the coast was clear to bring food to their families and help with growing corn (corn was their major crop, it was supplemented by fish and game from the swamps). Union troops who marched through rural Louisiana almost universally commented upon just how poor the people were, how ramshackle their homes and how little of their crops they actually had managed to put in due to so much of the manpower being away either in the army or evading the draft.

Another amusing thing to see was just how poorly educated the “gentleman planters” really were. There was significant churn in plantation ownership. The primary cause? Innumeracy on the part of the planter class. They simply couldn’t add and subtract, they lost track of how much money they had coming in and going out and ended up getting everything repo’ed and sold off by the factors! And the illiteracy of their letters was astounding. Compared to the letters we read from the Union soldiers back to their families in Indiana or Illinois, it was like we were reading the letters of second or third grade schoolkids, the general low level of grammar, spelling, and sentence construction were astounding. Yet these were the same people holding themselves up as superior to the “plebian industrialists” of the North!

Especially amusing was comparing this actual source data to the mythology propagated by the fine doyennes of the Daughters of the Confederacy. Talk about getting a fine lesson in how propagandists can re-write history! It’s clear where the Republican Party of today gets the balls to say things like, say, “Obama is evil because his TARP program bailed out the banks” (uhm, TARP was Gee Dubya’s bailout). The Party of the Confederacy has so many decades of re-writing history for their own propaganda purposes under their belt that they do it reflexively, in much the same way you and I breathe.

Regarding infrastructure, I’ve watched this country going down for the past thirty years. I’m baffled as to how other people don’t notice that their country is slowly sliding backwards into being a third world hellhole. I guess because the slide is slow, and the Chinese trinkets were a good thing, but now it’s getting to the point where 3rd world serfdom is the fate of significant numbers of Americans and… are people going to notice, *now*? And if they do, will they blame the Republican policies that did this to our nation, or will the Party of the Confederacy once again successfully re-write history to make it libruls, soshalists, and commies that dunnit? Not feeling optimistic there… :(.

– Badtux the 3rd World Penguin

17 Bryan { 12.01.11 at 11:36 pm }

The only good way to find out what happened was to look at the original sources. I have more confidence in the letters and journals preserved within my extended family about conditions in upstate New York in the late 18th and early 19th century, than any of the books written on the period. Even the gossip is interesting, and people tended to tell the truth because they know that others who know the truth will be reading what they write. If you want a tough editorial board gather a group of great aunts, because they are unmerciful.

The problem in Florida seems to have been that the people pushed for secession were the planters from what is now the citrus/cattle region, but the ‘volunteers’ were from the Panhandle, mostly loggers. The planters couldn’t ‘spare’ anybody to fight, only to start the fight, and they were exempt from the draft. The Pensacola Navy Yard was taken, but Fort Pickens remained in Federal hands, so Pensacola Bay was blockaded by the cannon at the fort. The Florida regiment spent the war as part of the Army of Tennessee, but that one under-strength regiment was made up of men with dozens of kids, based on the number of people who claim to be descendents. 😉

I remember the country as I drove it when I was in the Air Force, and things were solid and well maintained. When Reagan came in and started cutting out preventive maintenance to hide his deficits I knew things were going to fall apart, and they obviously are. Hurricanes keep my patch in better order than most, because of the repairs and reconstruction after the storms, but things are still going down hill.

This wasn’t necessary, and it certainly isn’t good for the country.