Army Ranger School has a groundbreaking new graduate: Lisa Jaster, 37, engineer and mother

Off topic, but I want to share:

I call BS. Something changed about Ranger School, and it’s a huge loss.

In my Ranger Class (4-01/5-01), only one of the ten MEN over 30 years old completed the course. Older bodies just don’t recover as quickly. They just don’t. It has nothing to do with fitness. The one guy over thirty who made it was a 31 year old special forces staff sergeant — a soft spoken black guy. He looked like a zombie by the end of Florida phase. His immune system was going and his skin was covered in lesions. Huge heart. He toughed it out.

I remember him and his battle buddy, another SF sergeant, a short compact guy . . . McFee or something . . . were never more than arms length apart, looking out for each other. Great guys, both of them.

(Tragically, when I returned to duty in 2008, I bumped into McFee(?) at Bragg. I learned that his battle buddy, the only dude over 30 from my ranger class who made it, had the horrible distinction of being one of the first soldiers killed in an MRAP.)

“At graduation, Jaster will have spent 180 days in the course — far longer than the minimum 61 it takes, but within the realm of the possible for male or female students.” <—- this

RAF pilots cleared to shoot down Moscow warplanes / US vs Russia military showdown is INEVITABLE top MI6 chief warns

I would not take this at face value. Between this an the authorization for British fighters to shoot down Russian jets, I think the Brits finally realize that Moscow only understands violence and confrontation.

Let’s remember, Russia’s economy is smaller than Italy’s.


Outraged Russian officials asked UK ministers “to provide an official explanation” of reports that RAF Tornados operating over Iraq have been fitted with heat-seeking missiles designed for arial combat.

The Russian ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko, said he had “urgently requested explanations” of the reports from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

He said: “These reports are worrying, as they refer to senior cabinet members. We have urgently requested explanations from the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

“The very premise of a potential conflict of UK and Russian combat aircraft over Iraq is incomprehensible.”

Former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers said there is a “real risk of a clash” as tensions boil between both superpowers amid Russia’s bombing crusade in Syria.

His warning comes as Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced Britain is to station a “small number” of troops in the Baltic states in a further move to deter Russian aggression.

Mr Sawer said: “It is going to be quite hard to continue this campaign unless there is a degree of military co-ordination between the Russians and the West.

“You can’t really have two air forces fighting different campaigns aimed at different objectives over the same territory without the real risk of a clash.”

A great history of Russia in the Middle East

Excerpted from:

IN June 1772, Russian forces bombarded, stormed and captured Beirut, a fortress on the coast of Ottoman Syria. The Russians were backing their ally, a ruthless Arab despot. When they returned the next year, they occupied Beirut for almost six months. Then as now, they found Syrian politics a boiling cauldron of factional-ethnic strife, which they tried to simplify with cannonades and gunpowder.

Russia’s first major intervention began in 1768, when Catherine the Great went to war with the Ottomans, and Count Alexei Orlov, the brother of her lover Grigory, sailed the Baltic fleet through the Strait of Gibraltar to rally rebellions in the Mediterranean. Recruiting Scottish admirals, Orlov annihilated the Ottoman fleet at Chesme, after which Russians temporarily dominated the eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, in Egypt and Syria (which spanned present-day Lebanon and Israel as well), the respective Arab strongmen, Ali Pasha and Dahir al-Umar, had collaborated to seize Damascus from the Ottomans, but then lost it. Desperate, they approached Orlov and Catherine, who agreed to back them in return for possession of Jerusalem. Orlov’s ships bombarded Syrian cities, eventually occupying Beirut.

They left in 1774, when Russia dropped its Syrian allies in return for Ottoman concessions over Ukraine and Crimea. Yet a Russian Mediterranean base was now a strategic aim: Catherine and her partner Prince Potemkin annexed Crimea, where they founded a Black Sea fleet, then tried to negotiate a base on Minorca.

Catherine’s successors saw themselves as crusaders, with Russia destined to rule Constantinople and Jerusalem. Ultimately it was this aspiration — and a brawl over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, between Russian-backed Orthodox and French-backed Catholic priests — that led to the Crimean War.

Russian defeat in 1856 persuaded Alexander II and the last czars to back off on using military force to dominate Jerusalem, preferring diplomacy and soft power. But during World War I Russian forces occupied northern Persia and invaded Ottoman Iraq, nearly taking Baghdad.

Grapes of wrath: fury in Crimea as Putin and Berlusconi drink 240-year-old wine

During a visit to what is claimed to be the biggest wine collection in the world at the Massandra winery, Putin and his longtime friend tried a 1775 Jeres de la Frontera that was brought to Crimea by Count Mikhail Vorontsov, during the reign of Catherine the Great.

But the prosecutor general of the former Crimean government, which has been operating in exile since Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014, didn’t find the VIP degustation amusing.

He opened a criminal case for large scale theft over the incident, estimating the loss at two million hryvnia, or about £60,000, the Centre of Journalistic Investigations reported.

Centuries of invasion and genocide from Russia

Almost without exception, everywhere along Russia’s border, people have suffered centuries of invasion and genocide.

1861: 1 Million Circassians reduced to 80k.
1920-1933: up to 25% of Ukrainians exterminated
1940: 22,000 Polish prisons executed.
1990s: 2-5% of Chechnya’s population slaughtered.
2009: Georgia invaded after anti-corruption reforms.

And somehow, I have idiot friends convinced that any resentment of Russia is a CIA funded conspiracy.

City Council honors Ethel Rosenberg for ‘great bravery’

Trigger warning for people who suffered under communism.

Ethel Rosenberg, who was executed with her husband for treason in 1953, was honored Monday by the City Council on what would have been her 100th birthday. . .

The proclamations also said she was “wrongfully” executed for helping her husband, Julius, pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.

“A lot of hysteria was created around anti-communism and how we had to defend our country, and these two people were traitors and we rushed to judgment and they were executed,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens).

Mobile Crematoriums

Since last winter, Ukrainians have accused Russians of using mobile crematoriums to hide their casualties, but in May, it became apparent that the American authorities also believed the accusation.

Russia is so desperate to hide its military involvement in Ukraine that it has brought in mobile crematoriums to destroy the bodies of its war dead, say U.S. lawmakers who traveled to the war-torn country this spring.

The U.S. and NATO have long maintained that thousands of Russian troops are fighting alongside separatists inside eastern Ukraine, and that the Russian government is obscuring not only the presence but also the deaths of its soldiers there. In March, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow told a conference, “Russian leaders are less and less able to conceal the fact that Russian soldiers are fighting — and dying — in large numbers in eastern Ukraine.”

Hence the extreme measures to get rid of the evidence. “The Russians are trying to hide their casualties by taking mobile crematoriums with them,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry told me. “They are trying to hide not only from the world but from the Russian people their involvement.”