Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Case of the Missing Cliché

The name is Rick O’Shea. I’m a Private Investigator, a professional snoop, no cushy job by any stretch. I got 8 slugs in me, two lead and 6 cheap Scotch. Things have been a bit slow since 2020 so I can’t afford 18-year-old Glenmorangie anymore. People stayed home, nobody was slipping around, looking for love in all the wrong places, so no business.

I used to be just another Mick in a city detective squad but the cops were too busy committing crimes to ever solve any, so I quit and went into business on my own. Now I get paid to do stuff that skirts the law. Skirts being the operative word. Nothing but trouble.

Anyhow, I was sitting in my office minding my own business since there was no other business to mind. Suddenly, this tall blonde walks past my window. I knew she was tall because my office is on the second floor. Five minutes later the door burst open, and she waltzed in, (must have been playing Strauss on her iPhone). Good looking woman, well built, could have played fullback for the Rams. She wore a thirty-eight. She had a gun, too.

She flashed some green at me, (spinach in her teeth from lunch), and laid out her problem. Actually, if she had laid her problem out cold, she probably wouldn’t have needed a Private Investigator. Her husband had a lazy eye, and she was worried he was seeing someone on the side. If I would check it out, she would make it worth my while. I told her I was more interested in money.

Her husband had phoned and said he’d be working late at the office that night so this was the opportunity she’d been waiting for. She told me where he worked and the car he drove. I hung around the office parking lot and sure enough at 7:00 a guy walked out of the building and drove off in the car. I followed. He was not headed for home.

You can never be too careful. A pair of headlights flashed in my rearview mirror. I was being tailed. Pardon the pun. There was more to this than met the eye. The dame didn’t give me the whole story. Hard to shake my tail and keep my quarry in sight too. He pulled up at a three-story Brownstone in a seedy part of town and I drove on past. Took me 5 minutes to lose the other car and I doubled back.

Parked a block away and slipped back, staying in the shadows. Saw movement in the upstairs window so I climbed a conveniently located tree so I could see better. And I had never seen anything better since the clubs in Germany in 73. Had to get a firm grip on myself to keep from falling out of the tree.

Suddenly the branch broke and I came off my perch and hit the ground like a wool sack full of gravel. The mugs in the other car hadn’t stayed lost and had followed me. They started beating me like a rented mule. Finally, they got tired and left me lying there, more dead than alive. A full brass band was playing 76 Trombones inside my head. I thought this kind of stuff only happened to Jim Rockford.

Crawled to the car, found the magnum of whiskey under the seat, and the .45 Magnum under the hood. Tucked one into my pocket and the other under my left arm pit. I needed to find that dame. She had set me up. Then it hit me. She was the woman in the Brownstone house. The guy I’d followed was not her husband. Who was he? Did she even have a husband? What was the point of all this? I needed clues and I needed them fast. If clues were shoes, I was barefoot.

The dame’s goons were coming back; I could see them about half a block away. The tire irons they carried didn’t look very friendly. Reached under my arm for my trusty Magnum, drained it in two long gulps, threw it away and unlimbered my revolver. This time I was ready for them.

Tune in next week, when you’ll hear Dr. Bob say, “Please add hackneyed detective clichés in the comments section and maybe he can figure out how to end our misery.”

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Source of Covid 19 is NOT the Wuhan Virology Lab


Covid 19 virus CDC library
Since Covid 19 (SARS-CoV-2) was first identified, the question has been asked, "Where did it begin?" With the exception of the sceptics, the general conclusion based on available information was a bat to human transfer at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China. Of course the Chinese managed to destroy/block/obfuscate as much evidence and information as possible, as is their usual approach to anything. 

This led to a great deal of speculation among Sinophobes that the virus was accidentally or deliberately leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the only lab in that city known to have an active research program on coronaviruses. They did research on bat viruses, including what is known as Gain of Function where viruses are deliberately made more infections to study spread and mitigation. Some of that research was apparently funded by USA and in some way involved Dr. Fauci, currently a favourite Republican villain. 

The source of Covid 19 is back in the news because The DoE reversed an earlier conclusion to say now that they believe the virus could have come from the laboratory, giving it the same "Low Confidence" that they had given their earlier conclusion. Of course the Republicans jumped all over this, ignoring the "Low Confidence" the same way they ignore 'a well regulated militia'.

I've been a sceptic myself because of one thing. The Wet Market Source people say that the DNA analysis of the virus indicates no connection to the lab, while the Lab Source people claim that a cleavage point in the virus is at exactly the same spot that a research proposal from the lab wanted to put one. Neither side gave any sources to back up their claims. I did question an article which touted research proposal and cleavage points only to have the messenger shot rather than the issue dealt with.

So I turned to my Blogger friend Cheryl Rofer who writes The Nuclear Diner. Cheryl is a 'retired' nuclear scientist who has been and done so many different things in her career. She knows all stuff scientific so I run all my favourite conspiracy theories past her because I trust her. This time I got the goods I was looking for. I sent her the following article from WaPo.  I suggest reading it for background information. Also because one of the authors is from Veterinary and Infectious Diseases Organization (VIDO) locate on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan.

An earlier article argued that focusing on the lab leak rather than natural spillover from animals to humans was the wrong way to look at it.

Consider one implication you might draw from a lab leak: We need less science, especially of the sort that fiddles with dangerous viruses. And from a natural spillover: We need more science, especially of the sort that studies dangerous viruses lurking in wild animals.

Cheryl came back with the following information: She referred me to an article she had just written for Scientific American explaining to difference between an intelligence agency report and a scientific report.

An intelligence assessment isn’t a scientific conclusion. They are different beasts. The summary itself observes that different agencies weigh intelligence reporting and scientific publications differently. The important factor for intelligence assessments is the veracity of sources, whereas scientific conclusions depend on data and the coherence of the argument the data support. However, data from a scientist who has proved unreliable in the past will weigh less heavily in scientific conclusions, and intelligence analysts will regard fanciful stories from an otherwise reliable informant skeptically. The scientific data are available to the public, unlike the reporting that underlies the intelligence assessments.

Then she referred me to a Twitter thread in which she explained that the research proposal touted by the Lab Leak people did in fact NOT say what the Lab Leak people claimed it said. Finally, an answer. I read the thread which begins here. I did not understand three quarters of it as it is a long way from cows to SARS-CoV-2 research proposals but I understood enough to know that the Lab Leak people were out to lunch in their interpretation. "I do not think that word means what you think it means,"

So now I am quite happy with my understanding of the source of Covid 19, given that because of Chinese recalcitrance we will never know the whole truth. And I do hope that the world is better prepared for the next one because as long as people and animals are in close contact with each other, viruses will mutate and jump species. 

Isn't it fun?

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Some thoughts on day 377 of Russia's War on Ukraine

 People ask me how and when do I think this will end. I do not know. As Michael McFaul, former US ambassador in Moscow said, “I don’t know what Putin will do if he starts to lose in Donbas or Crimea. And so don’t you. But we all should recognize that he is not suicidal, he is not crazy, and that he has options.” Based on that premise, I do not think he will use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. 

The war continues, day after day with no let up. Maps show little or no change in territory as the war resembles in many ways WWI trench warfare.

The daily tally of Russian losses

Location of active fighting

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 6, 2023 | Institute for the Study of War (

After 220 days of continuous fighting, Russia is making small incremental gains in the Bakhmut area but at the cost of 10s of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of pieces of hardware.  

They attack day after day hurling  hundreds of soldier into determined Ukrainian fire, while Russian artillery takes its toll of Ukrainian military. Fall back defensive positions on higher ground are ready if or when Ukrainians make an orderly withdrawal. However at the moment there is no intent to retreat  President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — Official website of the President of Ukraine

In the south east, Russia continues to attack Vuhledar, using much the same tactics as at Bakhmut, sending waves of soldiers and large numbers of tanks etc. up the same road time after time and having them destroyed.  

The following is lifted from the Tweets of NOEL (@NOELreports) who reports on daily on conflict zones, especially #Ukraine. These were posted a few minutes ago on Twitter.

Complain, complain, complain. How on earth after one year of lying are there still video's popping up of Russians that are genuinely surprised about what is happening to them. How surprising. Mobiks from Belgorod complain that they are treated like cattle, were lied to regarding their duties (instead of public order tasks they are thrown in battle as meat), got taken away all their documents and didn't even meet their commanders.

General James Hecker, Commander of the US Air Force in Europe, confirmed that the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is already using JDAM-ER guided bombs. Ukraine's stockpile of these bombs, which can hit targets up to 45 miles away thanks to their pop-out wing kits, is currently relatively small. However, they could already present real problems for Russia's military.

Poland will deliver the remaining 10 Leopard 2A4 battle tanks to Ukraine this week after handing over its first four units on Feb. 24, according to the Polish Minister of National Defense Marius Blaszczak. Poland is setting up a maintenance hub for Leopard tanks

Ukraine needs aircraft capable of becoming an element of air defense. That is why the F-16 fighter is a priority compared to the outdated A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov said in an interview with Liga.

130 Ukrainian military men returned from Russian captivity under the exchange procedure. Among them are 87 defenders of Mariupol, as well as those captured during the defense of Bakhmut and Soledar. Among those released were four female servicemen.

#Bakhmut city - No attacks by Russian troops were observed on the (north) east side. This makes sense as the AFU has now entrenched itself behind the natural barrier of the river. To the west, the AFU counterattacked at Khromove and pushed Russians back at least 1 km.

Front lines around Bakhmut

Serhii Haidai reported on Luhansk which ties in with our report from yesterday. The fighting on the Russian side has slowed down and there are reports that Russian troops are being repositioned to Bakhmut. Around Chervonopopivka, the AFU regained ground.

End of today's report. NOELreports is your source for daily, fast and reliable news on conflict zones (

Putin retreats deeper into his labyrinth This article from WaPo is worth reading. It also quotes a good article from the Financial Times which is heavily paywalled if you have used your limit of freebies.

Yesterday, a Ukrainian prisoner knew he was going to be killed. His last words were Слава Україні (Glory to Ukraine) and he was gunned down. There is a 23 second video of the murder and I watched it. I will not post a link. If you want to find it, it is up to you.

There will be a Ukrainian spring counter offensive. Where and when are subjects of conjecture but of course remain secret and plans may change several times in response to shifts in Russian tactics.

So how will it end? If Russia is simply driven back to 1991 borders, sanctions continued and Russian assets used to rebuild Ukraine, there will be no peace. Russia's friends, China, India, Iran, will help Russia get round the sanctions. Their economy will adapt even to a full wartime basis. Russia will harass Ukraine from within the shelters of its border and threaten nuclear response if anyone dares to cross it. Everything within 25 km of the border will be subject to incessant shelling and large centres to rockets and missiles launched from the Black Sea or Russia itself. Russia will rearm and the war will start again in less than 10 years.

Russia must be destroyed in such a way that it can never threaten the peace of Ukraine and Europe again. Ukraine must be allowed to join NATO, along with Finland and Sweden.