sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, May 2, 2016

Random Thoughts

This story is one that I suspect is being played out across America. 

You know that all the famous people who are threatening to leave the USA if Trump is elected will flake out in the end and disappoint us all. Cher and Hanoi Jane were supposed to leave and never return when George W. Bush was elected -- yeah, another big disappointment.

I have no problem with this tranny being in the men's room, but they need to move it to one side as it's blocking the urinal.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Sermonette (God and Guns)

U.K. Population (LIVE) The current population of the United Kingdom is 65,041,915 as of Thursday, April 28, 2016. I have had a bit of conversation with a person from England.
(No, it's not Jules, a blogger from Nottingham -home of Robin Hood- who follows this blog and is a firearms enthusiast). 
The conversation followed the familiar, tired rant that Americans are in love with firearms.

We are. It's true. We have over 300 million of them in private hands. That means that Americans own 4.6 firearms for every citizen of the United Kingdom. Despite that fact, only two hundredths of one percent of firearms are ever used in a crime. That number is so small as to be statically insignificant. 

There are trillions of rounds of ammunition in private hands in the United States. That number grows daily. Yet outside of the inner cities, populated by gangs and thugs and states that have tough firearms laws, crimes involving the use of a firearm are rare as a percentage of all crime.  It's an odd statistic, but the more laws restricting firearms ownership, proportionally, the criminal use of firearms is higher. 

The reason should be clear, but I'll spell it out. Criminals are loathe to attack somebody who will shoot back. They are far more disposed to attack a harmless target. 

I don't suggest that the British adopt our firearms tradition. But shouldn't free people have the option of adequately protecting themselves as well as the sovereign does?

It's not about hunting or target shooting. It's about an American RIGHT (not privilege) that preceded the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, the Articles of Confederation,  the Monroe Doctrine, Jay Treaties, the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Slaves do not have the right to arm themselves, but free people do. It all comes down to that.

Crimes against women plummet when open carry laws are enacted. There is a reason why. "Nobody ever raped a .38)

President Obama harps continually about people in "fly over country" who cling to their God and Guns. Well, we do.


Oh, and Happy International Worker's Day (May 1st). Celebrate with Bernie if you must. I won't be singing the Internationale. 

Comrade Bernie went to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon. Who does that? Even Russians (who can afford to) leave Russia to celebrate big events...nobody but Bernie goes there. Even Bill and Hillary found a better love nest than the "worker's paradise".  I'm sure that if elected he can travel there as a hero of the Motherland.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tire Drama Update

You may or may not recall a recent rant featured here on this very blog, "Has the Automobile Tire World gone Mad".  You will recall that a number of tire dealers gave me trouble for wanting them to install 5 new tires on bead-lock wheels.

On the phone, it was easy for these people to be dismissive of me. Having been dismissed, I pulled the locking ring from the tire and the tire deflated. As I suspected, a dry rot situation. These things happen. The tire is shot and needs to be replaced. It's not rocket science.

There is something else to be considered. The rear two tires (older) are showing signs of the same problem and if I pull the locking rings and they deflate, it's going to be a P.I.T.A. for me to get everything to the tire store. It's do-able but it's also easier for me to drive the FJ there and have them pull the tires.

Realizing that it's much easier to be kissed off the phone instead of in person, I drove to Big O Tires (not the place that gave me crap earlier - however they did tell me on the phone that they wouldn't do bead-lock wheels) and spoke to the manager this morning. The tires are going on the bead-lock wheels, no extra charge, we love to have your money and your business Mr. LL.

So the Nitto Terra Grappler 305/70/R17's will be replaced by Nitto Terra Grappler G2 295/70/R17's. The G2 is a different version of the TG and I'm dropping one size to reduce some of the rubbing issues that oversize tires give me in tight turns. (Still a 33" tire, not quite so wide)

That means that the time I budgeted for pulling locking rings without an air-wrench, can be devoted to more frivolous things like having lunch!

Numbers and Chalk Talk

Fresh from the Trump Campaign Rally at Costa Mesa, CA, I checked the polling for Donald Trump in the key state of Indiana. Real Clear Politics (average of recent polls) have him at +6 over Cruz.   The most recent poll has Trump up by 9% over Cruz and he appears to be gaining strength going into the Tuesday Primary.  Gov. Pence endorsed Cruz, but praised Trump...strange.

I learned not to trust polls implicitly. The last time that I did that, I ended up owning Mr. & Mrs. Adrienne a dinner (that I still have yet to make good on).

The latest polling for the June 7th Republican Primary shows Trump +27 in New Jersey and the Fox News Poll has Trump +27 in California. Which means that those states, rich in delegates - likely to swing even more heavily toward Trump in the coming month, should put him over the 1237 mark, destroying the GOP elite's dream of a contested convention where they can nominate Mitt Romney or Carl Rove as a "white knight" to save the Party from the likes of Trump and Cruz. 

Kasich has Ohio to offer, but at this point, I doubt that Trump cares.

Here are a few politicians that I really like and who would make excellent people to be elevated in a Trump Administration. Are you listening Donald? (crickets)

Col Martha McSally
Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-AZ) USAF Academy Graduate, Retired USAF Colonel, Fighter pilot and squadron commander. She's a woman who is very tough on the border, understands defense issues and is very smart.

She has limited political experience but is trustworthy and takes no prisoners. Secretary of Homeland Security?

Capt. Tom Cotton
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) US Army, Captain,  combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Harvard graduate, very smart, a very fast study and shares conservative values. He was a congressman and now he's a junior senator but he is one to watch. Tom Cotton will likely be president some day. You heard it here first. He's be an excellent vice president to Donald Trump.

Major Duncan Hunter
Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) (the younger) is a major in the Marine Corps Reserve with two or three combat tours under his belt. He succeeded his father in representing the 50th Congressional District. He was the first member of congress to endorse Donald Trump. He is beloved of the West Coast SEAL Teams, and is a true patriot. 

While I think that he's doing an excellent job in congress, I think that it's time for him to move into a senior slot into the Defense or State Department. We need more combat veterans in leadership roles in the executive branch of government.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Trump Rally Report (part two)

Continued from part one

The demographics of the crowd were split between men and women about 50/50, with a median age of about 35. There were many older and many younger. As is true of Orange County, about 90% of the people attending were white or of Hispanic origin with the remainder either black or Asian persuasion. I didn't see any Muslims wearing traditional clothing.

In line on the way in, about 75% of the people standing near me were women. I asked them why women didn't like Trump. It was the only time that I "felt threatened" as they - to a one - went off on how that is a pack of mainstream media lies. "How can you swallow those lies?" One lady asked sincerely. So much for the answer to that question.

A lot of men came from work and wore suits and ties, one lady standing next to me, in the photo from 'part one', must have had $100K in diamond rings and things. She was there with her son. Her husband (a plastic surgeon) dropped them off and would pick them up afterward. A lady standing in front of me wore a single strand of pearls. This is Orange County, and it's definitely not the Rust Belt. The people around me all appeared to be college educated. The men that I spoke with were stock brokers, doctors, an architect, a civil engineer, an off-duty police officer and a man who owns a factory. The women mostly worked or were trophy wives...The OC, right? There was a high percentage of attractive women in attendance. Not the toads and crones that you generally associate with a Sanders crowd.

A group of people whose family members had been murdered by illegal aliens in California staged a mini-demonstration by parading their banners through the crowd. The Stolen Lives Quilt received a standing ovation and later ended up on stage with Mr. Trump.

The Stolen Lives Quilt Protest
Meanwhile, about five miles away at another, much smaller pre-rally gathering about five miles away in Anaheim, a young Mexican male sprays mace in the face of 72 year-old Mr. Rodriguez, who expresses his political support for Donald Trump.

The crowd
In response to Fredd's question: Inside the venue the crowd was respectful and there was no trash on the ground. The same was true of the entryway into the arena on my way in.  On the way out I didn't see any trash on the ground either, but the police kept the protestors away from the area where the thousands of Trump supporters stood waiting in line to get into the event.

I heard that a protestor threw a rock through the window of an Orange County Sheriff's Department car at sometime during the event, but we didn't see any of that inside the venue. As with the Tea Party rallies of seven years ago, people were respectful of others, were generally friendly and used restroom facilities. There were porte-potties available to the protestors (and those in line to attend the rally) outside. I didn't see scat on the ground on my way out, but there were a lot of people.

The stage is set
Near the venue I only saw about a dozen protestors, all Mexicans, carrying Mexican flags. Apparently they were representing the open border and free cheese crowd. They were surrounded by the news media, who were in turn surrounded by Sheriff's deputies, including about 8 mounted on horseback. There were another two dozen protestors on Fair Drive as I left the event, a couple of the signs compared Trump to Hitler.

I didn't see anyone smoking anything at the event. The Trump supporters (as one would expect) looked to be the 'backbone of America' type of people.

Donald Trump
The people sitting next to me went for sodas and snacks and bought me both. I tried to pay them but they refused to take money. Such was the mood of the crowd. They were happy, they felt comfortable together and they all felt that America's greatness was in jeopardy.

There was some sort of protestor activity outside that delayed Mr. Trump's speech for a few minutes and then he took the stage. Euripides, he owned the crowd. It wasn't one of those religious tent style charismatic ownership things. These were people who wanted to see jobs brought home to America, who wanted some hope for a brighter future and felt that Donald Trump could help solve the Washington problem. They weren't a crowd of unsophisticated and under-educated people by in large. 

Trump's speech was what I heard elsewhere on television or read in the media with the exception of his discussion of General John J. (Black Jack) Pershing's actions during the Moro Rebellion. Since the Moros were Islamic, he related it to Pershing's response to Radical Islamic Terrorism.
(Wikipedia) Pershing is the only American to be promoted in his own lifetime to General of the Armies, the highest possible rank in the army; a law passed in 1976 retroactively promoted George Washington to the same rank but with higher seniority, ensuring that he would always be considered the senior ranking officer in the Army. Allowed to select his own insignia, Pershing chose to use four gold stars to distinguish himself from those officers who held the rank of General. After the creation of the five-star General of the Army rank during World War II, his rank of General of the Armies could unofficially be considered that of a six-star general, but he died before the proposed insignia could be considered and acted on by Congress.
Mr. Trump said that General Pershing lined up 50 Islamic terrorists. Then he had two pigs brought forward and slaughtered in front of them. 50 soldiers, opposite the terrorists all dipped their bullets in the pig entrails and loaded the cartridges. They then executed 49 of them with the pork-infused rounds and gave the 50th man a cartridge covered in pig blood and excrement and told him to take it back and explain what he'd seen. Trump said that while we find it difficult to do that today, it ended the violence in the Philippines for 42 years.

He brought up water boarding, which I consider to be moot. Every US Military member who goes through Search Evasion Resistance Education (SERE School), is water boarded and treated in the same way that the US prisoners in the "black sites" were. You can call it torture if you must, but people like fellow blogger Old NFO and I have been through it as have many tens of thousands of other Americans.

The rally was fun, the people there were fun and very much of one mind. The event was peaceful and collegial. I realize that there were 'wet backs' protesting outside of the venue and various and sundry paid agitators, bussed in, given a sign, $40 in cash and a box lunch - wrappers left on the ground, but it didn't reach inside to the event.

Trump Rally Report (part one)

Waiting in line...sort of a line, more of a get in
Trump's NY style of approaching (almost everything) problems puts me off too, but there are a lot of people who have known him for 40 years who like him a lot. He has made billions by making good financial decisions and people who work for him like working for him. He expects results, but every CEO who wants to remain CEO feels the same way.

That was my mindset when I set off to attend a Trump Rally at Costa Mesa, CA and report on it to you blog readers. First, my general thoughts.

Kasich doesn't hold rallies because people don't show up. He holds "town hall meetings" of fifty or sixty people because he can attract that sort of attention. That's not true with Trump.

There are assumptions that political scientists make. One such assumption, that voters follow the signals sent by party elites and officeholders. It is the basis of the famous “party decides” thesis in political science, which was invoked early and often to explain why Trump couldn’t possibly end up as the Republican nominee.

Except that's not how it's working out.

Trump supporter standing next to me in line
The GOP elites are working behind the scenes to run the nomination process to a contested convention where they can deny Trump (and Cruz and Kasich) the nomination.  Once Jeb! imploded, the party elite never managed to coalesce around an alternative (as of right now, only four United States senators have explicitly endorsed Ted Cruz) though they did take a stab at making Rubio their favored son until Trump destroyed him in his home state of Florida.

Before Trump, there were thresholds of ideological reliability and electability, and you had to clear both to be the  GOP nominee. That's how things worked. But with a Congressional approval rating of 8% favoring them, the old guard's credibility cracked.

Every ideological faction in the party regards Trump with mistrust, disgust, suspicion, fear. Pro-lifers, foreign-policy hawks, the Club for Growth, libertarians — nobody thinks Trump is really on their side. And yet he’s winning anyway. Or at least he’s winning a plurality. So perhaps Trumpism can be understood as a coup by the G.O.P.’s ideologically flexible minority against the conservative movement’s litmus tests; indeed to some extent that’s clearly what’s been happening. The elites maintain that he’s untrustworthy and unelectable — a combination that you’d normally expect engaged partisans to consider and reject. And yet he’s winning anyway.

Rubio is silent. I think that he's waiting in the weeds in the hope that he can join Team Trump with his 127 delegates... I didn't see any pro-Rubio people at the rally.

Waiting for Candidate Trump
Obama should take a victory lap because more than anyone else, he created Trump. Eight failed years, the military weaker than it's been since the Second World War began, 60 million people on food stamps, racial matters as tense as they were in the 1960's, and a Congress that people find difficult to trust.
Ok, on with the rally. I arrived an hour before the gates opened and there were several thousand people lined up ahead of me. It took another hour (total of two) to make it through security once the gates opened and the best seats were taken but my seat was fine. The Pacific Amphitheater holds about 10,000 people with the overflow filled.  All of the seats were taken and there was standing room, but all of the seats were filled.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department handled outer security and we heard (but I didn't see) that people jumped a fence. They were promptly taken into custody.  There was another protester in a "Hillary 2016 t-shirt" who began to blaggard Trump (who hadn't taken the stage). Security removed him.

(continued on part two)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Accounting for Time

Wednesday I went out into the Mojave Desert and dropped by a Buddhist temple where the high panjandrum is a friend of WoFat (blogger) and me. 

There are plans to build two much larger stupas (monuments), both 36 feet high in this area. Since I'm not a Buddhist the significance of this is generally lost on me. However, it's an excuse to going off-roading as well as visiting. 

Being in the middle of nowhere is the best place on Earth (paraphrasing a quote from Steve McQueen - and if you don't know who that is, you're a child)

The Toyota FJ performed well as I am accustomed to having it operate. It's a 9.5 year old rig but it runs like new.

Thursday, I'm going to attend a Trump Rally. I've seen them on television but I want to be there as your correspondent. I wonder if they'll give me a Press Pass for the Virtual Mirage Blog? In the event that they don't, I ordered a ticket on For those of you who have not attended a Trump function and may want to, the schedule of upcoming events is on that website.

Event Time: Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 7:00 PM
OC Fair & Event Center - The Pacific Amphitheater100 Fair Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
General Information: No posters, banners, or signs may be brought into the event. There is no dress code. No professional cameras with a detachable lens are permitted. No tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, or GoPros. ID is not required for entry. For further questions, please email
The venue will seat about 18,000 people so it's not a particularly large event by Trump standards. 


To answer those of you who want to know if I am only a man of leisure - I try and maximize the time I take for me. Example: The worst day fishing is better than the best day working.  It's all about time management.