Interesting article on drones and balloons

Adversary Drones Are Spying On The U.S. And The Pentagon Acts Like They’re UFOs

The U.S. military seems aloof to the fact that it’s being toyed with by a terrestrial adversary and key capabilities may be compromised as a result.


I saw this article posted on Twitter and read through it once. Please note this article is from Apr. 2021. It’s a very long article and has a lot of links that I haven’t checked into yet. Of course, a lot of the technological information is beyond my abilities to understand, but I could understand most of the points the author was making.

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Short blog note

I decided to remove my short blog post from earlier today that was pure speculation on my part, because as I thought about it, there’s enough speculation floating about concerning the Chinese spy balloon and “flying objects.”

I just listened to tonight’s Pentagon briefing that was broadcast during the Super Bowl apparently and learned next to nothing new, other than the phrases “kinetic threat” and “out of an abundance of caution” make me grit my teeth and feel like I’m being misled. The Assistant Sec, of Defense who took part in this briefing with the NORAD commander is the same one who spouted WH talking points during the Congressional hearings last week.

Here’s where I listened to the briefing:

It’s not a good thing to hold a briefing, provide no real information and people walk away with even more questions than before the briefing started.

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More on the Chinese spy balloon

This is going to be a Chines spy balloon blog post. I like stating the topic in the beginning, as sort of a warning.

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the Chinese spy balloon incident. There was a public portion and then later they held a closed hearing in a classified setting. I watched the public hearing and came away with more questions than answers.

Following the hearing Senator Chris Murphy (D) took to Twitter to post this:

Well, as I mentioned many times I like to read through news articles, because often further through the article I learn important bits of information that weren’t in the flashy headlines. The idea that we learned so much information from tracking what the balloon was doing took a hit, when I read this CNN update, US officials disclosed new details about the balloon’s capabilities. Here’s what we know, which was updated at 11:13 pm Feb. 9, 2023, when I pulled this information from it:

“The officials told lawmakers that the US has assessed that little new intelligence was gleaned by the Chinese balloon operation because the Chinese appeared to stop transmitting information once the US learned of the balloon, in addition to US measures to protect sensitive intelligence from China’s spying operations, according to the sources.”

So, we couldn’t track what they were transmitting.

Then there was this information:

“Only evidence that was on the surface of the ocean has been delivered to FBI analysts so far, one official said, which includes the “canopy itself, the wiring, and then a very small amount of electronics.” The official said analysts have not yet seen the “payload,” which is where you would expect to see the “lion’s share” of electronics.”

So, how on earth we know for sure what kind of threat this balloon posed without the payload recovered yet and only a “very small amount of electronics,” I have no earthly idea. The Pentagon officials also gave some explanation about the conditions in Alaska for recovery influencing the decisions not to shoot the balloon down and also fears of provoking an escalation of tensions with China, according to this article. I heard the one Pentagon official offer a rationale on the Alaskan recovery difficulties rationale in the open hearing.

This CNN update also included this information about the classified briefing and I think this is the real reason the Biden administration didn’t act sooner:

“In the classified congressional briefings, the administration officials argued that the US didn’t move earlier to shoot down the balloon in part over fears it could provoke an escalation of military tensions with China or even a military conflict. Biden gave the order to shoot down the balloon whenever the Pentagon felt it was safe to do so, the sources said, so the Pentagon ultimately made the call on when to shoot it down.”

Our Pentagon was paralyzed for days over fears of how China might react to shooting down an unmanned balloon…


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Figuring out where we are

This post is going to be about how people view situations and where they get their information. In my blog post yesterday, which was about an American national security issue, I mentioned that I just recently moved from cable to streaming TV. My sister, who convinced me to try streaming, told me I would find news and other things to watch streaming that I don’t with my cable. I was thoroughly sick of the American news media and that includes liberal news media and FOX and right-wing news media. Along with the various big streaming services, she mentioned some free apps with news and other programming.

Last night I watched a Euro News broadcast. I found the coverage of the earthquake aftermath in Turkey and Syria very informative. I also watched an interview with the prime minister of Moldova, who explained the Russian efforts to destabilize her country. I hear a lot of Americans, who hold right-wing views, say things that sound like Russian propaganda and that worries me. I’ve heard this line about how “we shouldn’t poke the bear,” so many times that I automatically grit my teeth every time someone says that. While it’s true the West has expanded NATO and alliances close to Russia, at the same time Russia has been aggressively targeting its neighbors for years now, while America and our European allies paid mostly lip service to that aggression. Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I feel we’re already on a path to a wider war, even though I still hope leaders can find ways to avoid that. I have believed for a few years now that China and Russia intend to challenge America’s global economic position and try to bump us to third place. I also, due to years of news reports on China and Russia, believe Russia wants to regain some of its territory from the Soviet era and that China is preparing for war. The news has reported on China’s activities in the South China Sea and toward Taiwan for years. What I wonder is how many Americans will just keep ranting about “don’t poke the bear” or “don’t mess with the dragon” and blame America for our adversaries aggression?

In WWII there were plenty of Americans who held this same attitude – until America was directly attacked. One thing I will say about aggression is appeasement and shows of weakness are actions. Every school yard bully knows how to read displays of weakness too and it does not deter a bully. In fact, usually it emboldens them.

I assume most Americans have no idea where Moldova is, but I won’t be surprised if Moldova is in the news more in the near future. Here’s a quote from that EuroNews interview with the prime minister of Moldova (the video is at the link):

“Russia is trying to destabilise Moldova by sponsoring protests and conducting cyber attacks, the country’s prime minister told Euronews on Tuesday.

“We are seeing elements of hybrid war. We are seeing, for example, pro-Russian forces trying to destabilise the country politically through paid protests which quickly subsided when the oligarchs that fled Moldova were put on the sanctions lists and their money flows were restricted,” Natalia Gavrilița said.

“We are seeing cyber attacks. We’ve had the biggest cyber attacks in 2022 in the history of our country, and we are seeing bomb threats.”

Somewhere down the road, in years, I expect historians might look back at this time and instead of wondering about “poking the bear” or “messing with the dragon,” they might be wondering how devastatingly weak the US looked with that Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and an incident like failing to take down an unmanned Chinese spy balloon, as it floated over the American heartland and our most sensitive military sites for a week. They might ponder again, how provocative weakness really is to countries with territorial aspirations on their minds

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Pie in the sky thoughts

I started a blog post on the Chinese spy balloon situation, delving into some other issues that might be involved with that Chinese provocation, but I got bogged down in reading old news articles today and want to take a bit more time to think about this. I like putting information into a timeline format and then trying to see if there’s a bigger picture the timeline reveals. When we’re bombarded with so much information and glaring headlines to grab our attention, it’s easy to get lost in the tides of media sensationalism and all the attendant social media drama that now flows from the daily media spin circus in America.

Like with the “Great Reset,” I realized that I didn’t really understand the timeline and what it was all about. The right-wing media ecosystem, where I used to turn for information when I lost trust in the liberal media, just churned up mass hysteria, so I ordered Klaus Schwab’s two books and read them. Then I started researching the timeline for when all this ESG and Agenda 2030 started. From that I learned that although I do follow the news, I had missed a whole lot of details over the years with the green agenda and the various tentacles of other issues that are attached to that.

I’m finding the same thing with just doing a small bit of research into articles from over the past few years about Huawei and Chinese espionage. I’m done with writing about the partisan angles related to the Biden spin effort with this Chinese spy balloon situation and want to do more information-gathering about the big picture – American national security.

I like maps too and I found an article with a map of the Chinese spy balloon flight path across the US, then I found a map of the military sites that balloon flew over/or near to. What’s missing for me is I want to find a map of all the American rural cell phone carriers still using Huawei equipment on their cell phone towers.

It might be nothing or it might be something and I’m probably the most technology-challenged person to even ponder any of this stuff, but hey, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Truly, I just recently switched to streaming TV, after one of my sisters talked me through the process of getting either a Roku or fire stick for my older TV and she explained how these streaming services work. I finally ditched cable, but I am still clinging to my landline phone. I asked one of my sons to hook up this stick thing and set it up for me – that’s how clueless I truly am about technology.

That said, I do like gathering information, looking at maps and trying to understand systems. People always establish patterns in everything they do – it’s human nature – so timelines help me understand events and see patterns better.

One thing I did find out was that in 2019 Trump banned Huawei, but the FCC still has no timeframe for enforcing that ban and for rural cell-phone carriers to ditch their Huawei equipment. That kind of caught my attention in my reading old news articles (from July 2022):

“In 2020, Congress approved $1.9 billion to remove Chinese-made Huawei and ZTE cellular technology across wide swaths of rural America.       

But two years later, none of that equipment has been removed and rural telecom companies are still waiting for federal reimbursement money. The FCC received applications to remove some 24,000 pieces of Chinese-made communications equipment—but according to a July 15 update from the commission, it is more than $3 billion short of the money it needs to reimburse all eligible companies.

Absent more money from Congress, the FCC says it plans to begin reimbursing approved companies for about 40 percent of the costs of removing Huawei equipment. The FCC did not specify a timeframe on when the money will be disbursed.”

CNN Exclusive: FBI investigation determined Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt US nuclear arsenal communications

I’ll write more, as I sort out more information.

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Biden WH spin balloon deflates

This post is going to be some news that shows a Biden spin narrative has gone down faster than the Chinese spy balloon:

Here’s another one:

Here are the responses from the head of NORAD:

And so it goes.

My belief is this effort to blame Trump for not responding to previous spy balloon incidents and deflect from Biden’s dithering response was totally fabricated.

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Winners and losers

On Saturday, a US fighter plane shot down the Chinese spy balloon, after the balloon had been allowed to traverse the continental US for a week. The liberal media and Dems are in full narrative rewrite mode and polluting common sense thinking about national security. I’ve heard statements from Dems and liberal media that this was strategic brilliance to let that Chinese balloon float across the US for a week and statements about how much intel the US gathered by doing that. I also saw assertions that the US military had blocked the Chinese balloon from being able to transmit information. The narrative emerged that Biden had approved the shootdown last Wednesday, the day before this story became widely reported due to concerned citizens in Montana reporting it and taking photos of the balloon.

All of these revised narratives are likely complete fabrications to cover-up the glaring fact that the Biden administration failed to defend American airspace from an unmanned Chinese spy balloon for a week – that’s the truth.

Of course, the Dems and liberal media are spinning up a story that these sort of incursions are nothing new and that there were 3 incidents of Chinese balloon incursions during the Trump years. All of those stories thus far are attributed to unnamed defense officials. Using Trump as the piñata, incited the liberal media and Dems, plus it deflects attention away from Biden’s failure to act swiftly to defend American airspace. Trump officials say there was no event like what happened in the past week during their tenure. Here’s an example of the Dem narrative rewrite effort:

Somehow “briefly transited” does not sound like the 8 day Chinese spy balloon spectacle last week. The fall-out comes when clueless and incompetent government officials buy into their own false narratives rather than face mistakes and learn from them. It was not strategically sound to let a hostile country fly a spy balloon over the entire continental US and especially over some of our most sensitive military sites. It’s also dangerous to buy into the belief that eliminating all risk is required before acting. The Biden excuse about it was too risky to shoot the balloon down due to concerns about the debris field in sparsely populated Montana makes no sense at all. What would this administration do if it was a hostile manned aircraft entering US airspace over a populated metropolitan area? Would the president decide not to act?
This entire new backstory narrative the Biden WH has created sounds like complete fabrication and a face-saving effort to me.

The important takeaway isn’t whose narrative will win in the American spin information war waged in American media, it’s that the Chinese and America’s other enemies don’t care one iota about Democrat or Republican spin wins – they care about humiliating and defeating America. They witnessed an American administration stating the risk to take down an unmanned spy balloon was too great and a new fabricated backstory where President Biden said he ordered the balloon to be shot down “as soon as possible” on Wednesday and it took until Saturday for our military to accomplish that…

Beyond the optics and the obvious display of weakness by this WH and our Pentagon leaders, there’s a whole host of other serious concerns that come with even high-altitude balloons. Balloons can serve as a platform for other unconventional nefarious activities. That’s why swift actions should have been taken to take down this enemy spy balloon before it floated across the entire continental US.

I’ve said for years the only winners in our domestic spin information war are America’s enemies – they scored another win this past week, regardless how much hot air politicians and the media put into narratives. It wasn’t just the Biden WH and the Pentagon who looked weak – it was America.

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Up, up and away

I have more questions than answers on the reports of a suspected high-altitude Chines spy balloon floating over the continental US that’s been big news since yesterday..

First, I suspect the Biden administration and Pentagon wanted to get ahead of this story, because concerned citizens in Montana saw the balloon and there was no way to put a lid on this story. I am presuming that’s the only reason why they’ve made public statements.

My first thought was wondering if this was the first time Chinese spy balloons have floated over the US there would probably be more concern. So, today ABC reported this:

“The high-altitude reconnaissance balloon was not the first such craft to pass over the U.S. in this way, a senior defense official said in a briefing.

A separate senior official told ABC News the balloon is the size of three buses and complete with a technology bay, which the defense official said they “wouldn’t characterize” as “revolutionary.”

The defense official said they “are confident” the balloon was sent by China.

“Instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years, including prior to this administration,” the official said, noting that “it’s happened a handful of other times over the past few years … It is appearing to hang out for a longer period of time this time around.””

Note the effort to deflect responsibility from the Biden administration by adding the phrase “including prior to this administration.” So, today, if this report is true, I learned Chinese spy balloons have flown over the continental US before “a handful of times” and our national defense people just observed that happening and didn’t inform the American people about it. With a lot of concerned citizens spotting this balloon and even photographing, it seems to me what the Biden administration is doing is trying to downplay the seriousness, telling Americans, there’s nothing to worry about and at the same time they’re making public statements about how tough they’re being with China… It feels to me they want to get past this story as quickly as possible.

Did the US raise concerns with China the “handful of other times over the past few years” this happened or did our government just sit back and observe?

So, I guess we’re just supposed to accept that Chinese spy balloons floating across America are no big deal, according to the Biden administration and the Pentagon and at the same time believe the Biden administration takes this matter very seriously, is carefully monitoring the balloon and is letting Beijing know this is unacceptable. Somehow, the two messaging tracts seems a bit discordant to me.

This Pentagon messaging game seems about as honest and transparent as their Afghanistan Withdrawal Debacle messaging.

We live in a surreal time.


Okey dokey, here’s an update 10:16 pm, 2/3/2023: So, I just listened to this video of a CNN report from this morning – interviewing former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. The CNN reporter mentions this assertion that Chinese spy balloons flying over the US happened in the previous administration and Esper says he has no recollection of any such incident. At 6:37 in this video the question begins:

Here’s a 9:15 pm report from CBS:

“By Friday morning, the balloon was no longer over Montana but had moved over the Midwest and is now over “the middle of the country,” according to a U.S. official. A Chinese balloon has never been over the middle of the country before. The only other time a Chinese balloon has flown over the continental U.S. was during a brief overflight of Florida. There have been overflights of Hawaii and Guam. In previous instances, the Chinese have been able to recover the balloon. Although it can maneuver, it will still travel in the direction it is carried by the jet stream.”

As you can see the Biden administration narrative keeps shifting And as it shifts it reminds me of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle where they kept trying to blame Trump for everything going wrong, while insisting there would be no evacuations from rooftops like the US evacuation from the US embassy in Saigon in 1975… until there was just such an evacuation from the US embassy in Kabul.

I am prepared for the Biden administration to keep saying there’s nothing to worry about with this Chinese provocation and then spending more time to figure out a new narrative for when they realize there was something to worry about. The Austin Pentagon willingly carried every single one of the Biden administration lies about the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle. The Chinese were in Kabul working with the Taliban to aid in creating chaos for the US withdrawal too. They already know the Biden administration will exhaust every opportunity to appease America’s enemies rather than take decisive action.

Biden and his advisers were part of the Obama administration who thanked Iran for taking such good care of the US sailors Iran captured during the Obama presidency and following that return of US sailors, Iran unleashed propaganda videos of US sailors on their knees, to humiliate America’s military. It’s important to remember exactly who these people are in the Biden administration:

All this focus on debris fields for why they can’t risk taking down this Chinese spy balloon are just excuses for not being willing to take action, I think. And each bit of information the Biden administration and the Pentagon release will likely shift the narrative, as their spin crumbles.

I expect more shows of weakness from the Biden administration and more narratives that crumble under scrutiny.

Appeasement always exacts a higher cost down the road.

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Spring is right around the corner

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When I wrote about my approach to herbal remedies last week, I mentioned that often the way I first try a new herbal remedy is by using it as a tea. The above tag came from my moringa tea bag, which I ordered on amazon a while back to try. I also ordered some moringa seeds and plan to start some soon. With moringa, the information I found states moringa trees grow best in a warm climate, zone 8-10, so I am going to try growing my own moringa tree.

I found this quote on my tea tag even more uplifting than the moringa tea. As of yet, I’m not sure I’ve noticed any change in my arthritis pain since I started drinking moringa tea. Even if moringa doesn’t help my arthritis, its leaves are packed with nutrients. So if I can grow my own moringa tree, I hope to find ways to use the leaves in some dishes. I read it can be added to soups, stews, smoothies, stir fry dishes and it sounds like it can be treated like another green. I could also dry my own moringa leaves for tea.

Since Spring is right around the corner, another healthy green is dandelion. When I was a kid, my mother handed me a paring knife and sent me to gather dandelion greens in early Spring, when she made dandelion with hot bacon dressing. It’s one of my favorite PA Dutch-style meals. I also love PA Dutch scrapple fried nice and crisp for breakfast with eggs and I spread apple butter on my scrapple, because that’s how I grew up eating it.

It’s important to pick dandelion from areas where you’re sure a lot of chemicals haven’t been used. With gathering dandelion greens – first, we only ate them when the dandelions first appeared in the early springtime. My mother told us not to pick dandelion that had already bloomed, but dandelions with closed buds were still acceptable. She said after dandelion blooms, the leaves become bitter tasting.

Here’s a video with a recipe for PA Dutch dandelion and hot bacon dressing from one of my favorite YouTube cooking channels, Helga’s Pennsylvania Cooking. Some people add the dandelion into the hot bacon dressing to wilt it down a bit before spooning it over a boiled potato, but some people arrange it just like in this video:

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About those gas stoves…

Here’s a WSJ piece with some background into the groups behind that Biden administration alarm about gas stoves:

The Campaign to Ban Gas Stoves:

Biden and the media deny it exists, but the effort is calculated and well-funded.

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