Putin still thinks it’s World War 2 and he’s going to liberate Stalingrad!

Otto von Bismarck once said that only a fool learns from his own mistakes. “I learn from other people’s,” the 19th-century German chancellor said. Astonishingly, the Russian army is repeating the past mistakes of its Soviet predecessor. In April 1945, Marshal Georgy Zhukov, under intense pressure from Stalin, sent his tank armies into Berlin without infantry support. Vladimir Putin’s forces not only made the same error; they even copied the way their forebears had attached odd bits of iron—including bed frames—to their tanks’ turrets in the hopes that the added metal would detonate anti-tank weapons prematurely. This did not save the Russian tanks…

The Russian president’s distorted obsession with history, especially with the “Great Patriotic War” against Germany, has skewed his political rhetoric with bizarre self-contradictions. It has clearly affected his military approach. Tanks were a great symbol of strength during the Second World War. That Putin can still see them that way defies belief. The vehicles have proved to be profoundly vulnerable to drones and anti-tank weapons in recent conflicts…

Yet Putin seems to have learned as little as he has forgotten…Putin’s control of domestic media can hide the truth from most of the Russian population, but his conscripts, forced now to sign new contracts to turn them into volunteers, are all too aware of the reality…

Against all prewar expectations, though, a Russian military collapse also looks possible. A complete disintegration of morale could lead to a humiliating withdrawal, a potentially devastating result of Putin’s inability to part with the Soviet past.

The Sunday TIMES carried an amazing GROUNDHOG DAY Tale of repetitive blunders, repeated not once or twice; but, ten times in a row. Chornobayivka, is now the most famous village in Ukraine because it has become a byword for breathtaking Russian military incompetence.

No gloating as young conscripts die by the hundreds. But, mediocre maneuvers, out-of-date by decades, illustrate how Putin’s reliance on WW2 tactics writes a new chapter of death and despair for his army as thoroughly as it does for some of the Ukrainians standing in his way.

ATT & Verizon rip-off DSL customers


Aurich Lawson/Thinkstock

❝ Tens of millions of people in the AT&T and Verizon service territories can only buy slow DSL Internet from the companies, yet they often have to pay the same price as fiber customers who get some of the fastest broadband speeds in the US.

That’s the conclusion of a new white paper written by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), a broadband advocacy group.

❝ “[I]n recent years, the nation’s two largest telco ISPs, AT&T and Verizon, have eliminated their cheaper rate tiers for low and mid-speed Internet access, except at the very slowest levels,” the NDIA wrote. “Each company now charges essentially identical monthly prices—$63-$65 a month after first-year discounts have ended—for home wireline broadband connections at almost any speed up to 100/100 Mbps fiber service.”

RTFA. Consider hollering at your elected representatives in Congress to support you and your peers fight for better treatment, affordable access to the Web. It’s overdue and criminally corrupt.

Trump’s “model American manufacturer” – Harley-Davidson – closing Kansas City plant


Chicago Tribune

❝ A deepening slump in U.S. motorcycle demand is spurring more job cuts and a plant closure at Harley-Davidson Inc., a company President Donald Trump has cast as a model American manufacturer.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker will close its factory in Kansas City, Missouri, and consolidate production in York, Pennsylvania…The restructuring will eliminate about 260 U.S. jobs, Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich said on a conference call. Trump praised the company last year as a “great example” of a business creating jobs and building factories in the country.

In closing the Kansas City plant, Harley will eliminate about 800 jobs; it will add 450 in York, a mix of full-time, part-time and contract positions.

❝ “They didn’t even give us a call ahead of time,” Joe Capra, directing business agent for Local 778 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers…“It is real devastation for these people who work here and work hard in the Kansas City area.”

Dunno if their problems are intrinsic to quality control or not. Since one of their biggest competitors in the Hog market – Polaris’ Victory – is shutting down, too, I expect their design team is simply as out of date as Trump.

Fake President costing the United States the position of Global Trade Leader


Click to enlarge

The world will not wait while the United States figures out what it’s doing with trade.

The beginnings of new bilateral trade agreements are springing up left and right between countries that may never have otherwise given each other a second look. And as a result, the United States’ role as a framer of global trade rules may be slipping from its grasp as Europe and China look to step in…

❝ Between last January and now, 27 agreements have been signed—China and Australia, Turkey and Malaysia, EU with Colombia and Peru, the EU and Ghana, India and Thailand—and none of them are with the U.S.

Seems to me I recall the Republican Party claiming they advance the interests of American business. They said that always trickled down to American families. That last clause is mostly bullcrap; but, since they can’t even achieve the first part nowadays – the claim is moot.

Future economics: This is how Big Oil will die

❝ It’s 2025, and 800,000 tons of used high strength steel is coming up for auction.

❝ The steel made up the Keystone XL pipeline, finally completed in 2019, two years after the project launched with great fanfare after approval by the Trump administration. The pipeline was built at a cost of about $7 billion, bringing oil from the Canadian tar sands to the US, with a pit stop in the town of Baker, Montana, to pick up US crude from the Bakken formation. At its peak, it carried over 500,000 barrels a day for processing at refineries in Texas and Louisiana.

But in 2025, no one wants the oil.

Thanks, @Smartalix

Either Microsoft is on their toes – or the stuff hackers steal from the NSA really is past its sell by-date

❝ Just as the Shadow Brokers hacker group started crowing about a dump of never-seen-before flaws in Windows, Microsoft announced it already had fixed most of the exploits.

“Today, Microsoft triaged a large release of exploits made publicly available by Shadow Brokers,” Microsoft Principal Security Group Manager Phillip Misner wrote in a Friday post.

“Our engineers have investigated the disclosed exploits, and most of the exploits are already patched,” he added.

Three of the dozen zero day vulnerabilities aired by the hackers, which they claimed were part of a large cache of data leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency, did not work at all on Windows 7 and above…

❝ As of the most recent patch cycle, no supported versions of Windows were vulnerable to the Shadow Brokers exploits, said Bobby Kuzma, a system engineer at Core Security.

“In other words,” he told TechNewsWorld, “for the love of God get XP, Vista and 2003 Server off of your networks.”

Har.

I know Microsoft users aren’t the most diligent of users of contemporary computing software and hardware. It was true through the 22 years I functioned within that milieu. I left over a decade ago and from what I read and hear – ain’t anything improved.

Basic security procedures still require regular backups and keeping your patches up-to-date. There’s more; but, too many folks don’t make it to the minimum.