sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Greece - In the News


As some of this blog's readers know, I have spent time in Greece, working, and maintain an interest in Greek Politics. Some of the key players in Greece are friends of mine. It's a small country and don't take it that I'm important. I just moved in some of those circles because of work. For those of you (if any) actually care about what is going on in Greece and the full back story, I recommend this series of articles in the Globalist (Part I) Part II: The Political Culture of a ProtectoratePart III: Missed Opportunities: The Political Culture of Greece Since 1974 
In 1943, the head of the British Military Mission to the Greek partisans, Brigadier C. E. Myers, groaned in exasperation about Greek politics: “The Greeks are Asiatic. One cannot judge them by European standards.”

Despite the fact that this statement is factually wrong, it points to a difference between the political cultures of Greece and those of Western Europe.
After the Greek financial crisis broke out in late spring 2010, European leaders of today demonstrated that they did not have the slightest idea how the Greek political system functions.
This is what's going on there now:

Context and Precedence


Last Friday Greece asked its creditors, the European Union (EU) members, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an extension of the 30 June deadline for defaulting on its debt payment. The big three creditors rejected the request.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras then proposed that the Greek electorate vote on the settlement terms offered by the EU, ECB and IMF. The European creditors reacted negatively to this proposal because it would shift to the electorate the government’s responsibility for reaching an agreement with the creditors. 
News of these interactions apparently was responsible for starting a run on ATMs on Friday and Saturday. This was the first serious sign of panic.
Last Saturday the European creditors rejected a second request to extend the current bailout to cover the period leading to the referendum. 

Last Sunday, the Greek parliament authorized a bailout referendum on 5 July. Some of the key issues are concern about raising the VAT and taxes on the rich, increasing the age for retirement and reducing pensions and other entitlements. These are highly charged issues because Tsipras’ Syriza Party was elected in January on the strength of its promise to end Greece’s austerity programs.

Prime Minister Tsipras filed a renewed request for an extension of a few days for bailout. The Europeans creditors again rejected his request. 
Late on Sunday, banking officials said banks would be closed all week. ATM's are open and Greek Citizens can withdraw 60 Euros per day.
The Hellenic Republic of Greece is running out of other people's money to spend.
ATHENS, Greece - The bailout expires Today, the same day that Greece has to make a payment of 1.5-billion euros to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It risks defaulting on that payment if agreement is not reached, which will impact global markets significantly.
Rather than take responsibility, the Greek government decided to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate, rather than agree to European terms. The European creditors have had enough of pledges of austerity and reform that Greece has not kept. The refusal to extend liquidity to the banks means the banks cannot cover their liabilities to their lenders.

A run on the banks seems almost unavoidable, barring compromise, but the Tsipras government has linked its fate to the 5 July referendum.

The first flash point is this week. The main threat is that people will attack the banks to get money. Crimes against persons also are likely to increase. Confrontations with police and security personnel can escalate without warning.

The second flash point will be after the referendum results become known. They might incite some parts of the population to agitate no matter the outcome. If Greeks vote to stay in the EU, they must accept austerity and cuts that they voted against when they elected Tsipras and his Socialist party. The left will feel betrayed and may be expected to act out.

If voters reject the new austerity program, the European creditors appear ready to let the Greek economy drift until the Greeks come to their senses. The government will have succeeded in blaming the creditors and the voters, but the economy, or additional parts of it, could devolve to barter for a time.

Based on discussions with friends on site, a lot of the older people who remember Greece before the Euro, are willing to accept a return to the Drachma (national currency). There have been many times in Greek history when a literal chest of million drachma notes were needed to buy groceries. The present crisis, isn't new in Greek history.
(Globalist) If there is a broader lesson to be learned, it is this: Formally, Greece is a democratic state with separation of powers, elections, free press, etc. That makes it look like many other European countries. 
However, the country’s underlying political culture is totally different from that of Western and Central Europe. The state is, in effect, an object of exploitation for all those who can tap into the money tools it can provide access to. 
In elections, a Greek voter does not vote for a party, but against that party which did not do him the expected favor during the previous term.

The two longtime ruling parties, the left PASOK and the conservative Nea Dimokratia, are clientelistic pyramids. Syriza is now demonstrating that, rather than representing a rupture from the past, it very much follows in its predecessors’ footsteps.
Socialism doesn't work, and in Greece, we are seeing a vast internal, national system of patronage and greed that operated on borrowed money come to an end as the patience of European bankers wears out.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Fallout

Most homosexuals, surprisingly, were at least vocally opposed to people who wished to practice polygamy (multiple marriage partners). Now that Pandora's box has been opened, I'm sitting on the sidelines (eating from a box of popcorn), waiting for the fireworks.

The US Supreme Court has made the United States a little more Sharia-compliant with their decision in Obergefell v Hodges, and many believe that it will allow Muslims to exercise their rights under Sharia. Sharia and Islamic marital jurisprudence. In Islam, a man may take up to four wives and beyond that may take an unlimited number of concubines. At present, Muslims may move to the US with their wives from other nations, but may not officially marry more in the US. Many scholars believe that this is about to change.

Life is always full of unintended consequences, but this one was telegraphed from the start. Politico does a good job of outlining the issues.
(Politico) Welcome to the exciting new world of the slippery slope. With the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling this Friday legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states, social liberalism has achieved one of its central goals. A right seemingly unthinkable two decades ago has now been broadly applied to a whole new class of citizens. Following on the rejection of interracial marriage bans in the 20th Century, the Supreme Court decision clearly shows that marriage should be a broadly applicable right—one that forces the government to recognize, as Friday’s decision said, a private couple’s “love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.” 
The question presents itself: Where does the next advance come? The answer is going to make nearly everyone uncomfortable: Now that we’ve defined that love and devotion and family isn’t driven by gender alone, why should it be limited to just two individuals? The most natural advance next for marriage lies in legalized polygamy—yet many of the same people who pressed for marriage equality for gay couples oppose it. 
This is not an abstract issue. In Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissenting opinion, he remarks, “It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.” As is often the case with critics of polygamy, he neglects to mention why this is a fate to be feared. Polygamy today stands as a taboo just as strong as same-sex marriage was several decades ago—it’s effectively only discussed as outdated jokes about Utah and Mormons, who banned the practice over 120 years ago.
...Conventional arguments against polygamy fall apart with even a little examination. Appeals to traditional marriage, and the notion that child rearing is the only legitimate justification of legal marriage, have now, I hope, been exposed and discarded by all progressive people. What’s left is a series of jerry-rigged arguments that reflect no coherent moral vision of what marriage is for, and which frequently function as criticisms of traditional marriage as well.

It's not only a matter of Islamic law, but has long been a contention of religious faith within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), as laid out in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. (8 Otto.) 145 (1878). 

The 1862 law forbidding polygamy and which is still on the books, stipulates a five year sentence in federal prison for practicing plural marriage. While the LDS Church stopped practicing polygamy in 1890, splinter groups still do. Given that it is legal for homosexuals to marry, is it right to imprison heterosexual multiples who wish to marry?

Some are famous such as the Brown Family, who are not Mormons, but were essentially forced out of Utah for practicing plural marriage and now live in Las Vegas, NV (where nobody cares) - and are featured on TLC's television reality show, Sister Wives. In the case of the Brown family, Cody Brown is married to one wife and has three other women to whom he is not lawfully married, never the less they live together as man and wives.

Will Obergefell v Hodges extend itself de facto to polygamous and polyamorous relationships? The SCOTUS decision clearly suggests that it will. Will the White House decorate itself when the right to marry multiple partners is reaffirmed? Who knows with the Obama Regime?


Sunday, June 28, 2015

What's in a Flag?



The progressive left, feeling that there are few causes remaining to champion, have come out in opposition to the State of South Carolina flying the Confederate Battle Flag. Now we hear that both political parties are opposed to the Confederate Battle Flag, and ask for your vote... There are a lot of old Hillary and Bill campaign buttons out there with their face next to a Confederate Battle Flag. The War of Northern Aggression never really ended for the South.



Will the "Bonnie Blue Flag" of the Confederate States of America also be banned? (pictured left) Truth be told, the CSA had a number of flags and the famous 'stars and bars' was one of the least used when you consider the war as a whole.

When Robert E. Lee invaded the North the first time, resulting in the battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam, instructed all units to fly the Bonnie Blue Flag and for the bands to play, "Maryland, My Maryland" (Maryland State Song), the lyrics of which, discusses the need to deal harshly with tyrants. Which makes me think that the people in Maryland, who vote for the Democratic monarchs need to sing their song more often...

Coincidentally US Navy Admirals, with so-called "flag rank" are given the right to fly their flag, denoting rank at bases and from yardarms of ships that they command. The flag for a rear admiral (lower half) is...you guessed it, the Bonnie Blue Flag.


One possible solution is to simply promote all rear admirals (lower half) to rear admiral (upper half), they get a pay bump and a second star and nobody is offended. If I was a rear admiral (lower half), that would be my suggested solution.

The popular song of the day, "The Bonnie Blue Flag" was a more often used Confederate Song during the War of Northern Aggression than "Dixie" was. It's demonstrated in art below in the 1959 feature film, "The Horse Soldiers".


I don't think that anyone would be offended if people who wish to express their interest in State's Rights began to fly this flag, would they? Since we don't teach history in any comprehensive way anymore, how many people would even recognize the Bonnie Blue Flag? Most would simply think that there are lot of navy admirals running around...if that.



Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Conspiracy

Is the Supreme Court in league with the Republican Party? 

Some call the recent rulings a conspiracy against the Democratic Party candidate, whoever she may be, because they have taken a lot of the grievance society's arguments off of the table for the run-up to the next election.

Gay Marriage is legal. No more argument. It doesn't matter where you stand on the issue. It's a lot like abortion. The matter has been settled by the court. Gays can marry and mothers may kill their unborn children without consequences. Polygamy will also be legal as soon as a case makes its way through the court system to the Supreme Court based on this precedence. 

Obamacare, a ruinously expensive vote-buying scheme is not on the table. It's the law and though the Republicans can claim that they want to repeal and replace, they won't have to come up with anything specific and can give a vague (but lofty) set of expectations to prospective voters. 


What are the remaining issues?

The war in Afghanistan is over and the Taliban are slowly but surely reclaiming the country as foreign fighters from the Iraq side of things flood in. The only significant US presence is at Bagram Air Force Base outside of Kabul and though I don't think it will fall this fighting season, I expect it to be in Taliban hands sometime in 2016. The politicians will cluck their tongues but neither Republican or Democrat want to get back into that briar patch. We spent a trillion in treasure and there are a lot of broken men on both sides. In the end it will have been every bit as productive as the Iraq war and Vietnam were. (never fight a land war in Asia)

Hillary Clinton has declared war on the rich, which is sort of like declaring war on herself, except that she likely has deals cut to spare Wall Street and her cronies. I don't think that will last much longer than the Democratic primary, after which she needs to pivot to the center to try and reassure the voting public that she hasn't targeted THEM. The grievance groups are more than happy to take free cheese, obamaphones, free healthcare and to have the wealth of others flow to them. They are not happy to give up one thin dime.

Surging China and Russia are issues, but they won't get much traction in the presidential election rhetoric since both sides will declare them 'bad' even though Hillary wandered around for a year holding a reset button. The same is true of Iran, which nobody likes, and even progressive gays are not fond of the place since going there, means beheading for them. The book of who's transgender in the Islamic World is a one-blank-page tome.

A Bush-Clinton race would insure low voter turn out since nobody is sure what the difference is between Jeb and Hillary besides the plumbing. 

Would Donald Trump get a badly needed haircut if he became president? Unlikely. I'm not stumping for Trump, but would America vote for a Trump-Oprah ticket? Will Anthony Weiner surprise everyone by staging a political come-back as the vice president to replace Biden on the Clinton-Weiner ticket?

For the present, SCOTUS has taken away all of my snarky blogging material, because who wants to read about the Jenner children having two moms? All we have left is the president running around saying "nigger" because life is so unfair and people were racist enough to elect him to two consecutive terms in office.






Friday, June 26, 2015

Building a Better Potemkin Village



The Democratic People's Republic of Korea recently completed a new air terminal at the Sunan airport outside Pyongyang (above). Since there are not many people flying to or from it, there aren't cars in the parking lots or on the road, but that is a detail that one may not mention.


This is the old air terminal, with the necessary picture of Dear Leader on the top of the building. (above) Below is a photo of the Peoples Airliner, which also sports a picture of Dear Leader on it.


If you ask yourself where North Korea finds the money to build shopping malls such as the new Sunan airport terminal, you need only look to Iran, which buys ballistic missiles from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and some say, that they also have purchased a couple nuclear weapons (destined for the Big and Little Satans). Oil money goes a long way.

Dear Leader takes credit for airport design
The current Dear Leader, Kim Jong Un, his wife and acolytes visited the newly opened, rebuilt terminal at Sunan International Airport. The terminal is engineered for tourism. The images and North Korean news reports spotlighted the amenities, shops and modern appearance. The published images are impressive.  As usual, Kim and his sycophants were dazzled by the spectacle, but missed the key feature of a modern air terminal. There are no international communications. You can't make a phone call to or from the airport.

A friend visited Sunan, North Korea, in an earlier time. This is his account:
The terminal building looked modern, but contained almost no amenities -- not even working telephones. It had telephone stations; they just did not work. Neither did the two luggage carousels. Our luggage was manhandled.  
Our delegation’s luggage and that of another 100 passengers was left behind in Beijing to allow the TU-134 aircraft to carry 130 more passengers and fill the aircraft seats. English was the second language of the aircrew, after Korean. The luggage posed a dilemma because our delegation was set to depart North Korea on the return flight of the aircraft from Beijing that was supposed to be bringing our luggage from Beijing to Pyongyang. 
It was Christmas time in1992. The probability of ever seeing our luggage again was diminishingly small. The obvious solution -- even in 1992 --was to call the US Embassy in Beijing and ask it to get control of our luggage and keep it safe. The obvious solution was part of the problem because Sunan International Airport had no non-military telephone connectivity to anywhere.  
International phone calls could only be made from the office of the Post and Telecommunications Ministry in Pyongyang, some 40 miles away.  
Our delegation’s concern was not with boutiques and tourist attractions, but with communications to the outside world by telephone and the internet. None of that was available in 1992. 
None of that appears available at Sunan in 2015.

Overhead photo of North and South Korea at night
The North’s leaders and engineers mimicked the work of modern states in air terminal construction. They even improved on the designs, but they failed to grasp – or were not permitted to incorporate -- the substance of modern airports. They are transportation nodes and communications hubs, not shopping centers. None of the descriptions of the new Sunan airport terminal mentions its connectivity to global communications networks. Naturally, all of the power is turned off at night.




Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ramadan in China

In China:

Xinjiang has been the site of murdered Chinese police officers off and on for the last two decades as the Religion of Peace tried to take control of the region from the national government. The Chinese reaction was predictably harsh because "harmony" with the Party is important in China. And if you're not harmonious they will always find a way for you to see the light. Political correctness is defined in that way in the worker's paradise.

Uighurs burn a Chinese flag in protest---in Turkey. This sort of thing is
classified as a "hate crime" against the state in China and those participating
would pay a heavy price. Much easier to pull off in Turkey.
This year, Chinese authorities again banned Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang in western China from observing Ramadan. Workers and students may not fast at work or school or engage in other displays of Islamic devotion. In one town, authorities held a beer-tasting competition.
A school website in Ruoqiang County in Xinjiang puts it this way: “No teacher may participate in religious activities, instill religious thoughts in students or coerce students into religious activities,” read a statement on the website of the No. 3 Grade School in 

“Students shall not participate in religious activities; they shall not study scripts or read poems at script and choir classes; they shall not wear any religious emblems; and no parent or others can force students to have religious beliefs or partake in religious activities.”
Restaurants have been ordered to stay open in Xinjiang province, including those owned and operated by Muslims. Shops have been threatened with closure if they do not continue selling cigarettes and alcohol throughout the month of Ramadan. The ban on burqas and other female expressions of devotion that was imposed last year remains in effect.

The restrictions this year are similar to those ordered in Ramadan in past years. China tolerates religious and other forms of diversity only to the extent that they serve the interests of the communist party or the peoples’ republic. 

The population of Xinjiang autonomous region is predominantly Muslim Uighurs (an ethnic minority), rather than Han Chinese. A low-level Uighur secessionist movement has survived multiple Chinese security campaigns to eradicate it. Nevertheless, tightened security measures and the crackdown on Islamic practices in the past two years have helped stabilize the region, which is China’s top priority.



The Politics of Race

No, it's not all about being African American. These days you can become African with spray-on tan and a Sideshow Bob hairdo and the progressive left embraces it as being "diversity". (check the link for more on that) and it's NAACP certified. That's not what I want to discuss with you all today.

The issues of race run a lot deeper than that, though, because in some cases, it bears on your right to own a casino on "homeland" soil. The Umatilla tribe of American Indians are still angry about the discovery of Kennewick Man on their land (under the suzerainty of the Army Corps of Engineers) and the disclosure that he was not of their race. Yes it's true that after several DNA tests, researchers have found common links with Indians (Kennewick man had five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot - and the Native Americans tend to have the same number).
The Umatilla argue that their oral history goes back 10,000 years and say that their people have been present on their historical territory since the dawn of time. Kennewick Man was found to have lived at their dawn of time and, inconveniently, he's not from their band of Indians.
Clay bust of Kennewick Man - yes, he looks
disturbingly like the actor Patrick Stewart
The political battles over Kennewick Man were/are framed in a large part by people who want to know to what "race" he belongs. Yet, the evidence reflected in the Kennewick materials is further proof that race is not what we think it is. The Kennewick man, and most of the Paleo-Indian and archaic human skeletal materials that researchers found to date are not "Indian," nor are they "European." They don't fit into ANY category that we currently define as a "race." Those terms are meaningless in prehistory as long ago as 9,000 years--and in fact, if you want to know the truth, there are NO clearcut scientific definitions of "race."

But the Kennewick man problem isn't that simple; he represents a part of a problem which archaeologists have yet to solve. For the past thirty years or so, we've believed that the peopling of the American continent took place around 12,000 years ago, in three separate waves, from three separate parts of the world. But recent evidence has begun to indicate a vastly more complicated settlement pattern, a steady influx of small groups from different parts of the world, and probably somewhat earlier than we had assumed. Some of these groups lived, some may have died out. We just don't know.

Apart from the Kennewick Man debate is archeological evidence of temples and grave mounds in South America that date back to over 20,000 BC. Archeologists are forced back to the drawing table, trying to decide when people first came to South America and where they came from, because you create theories to explain facts and not the other way around.

Even the Africans are Upset

There is an interesting series on PBS about early man that is now airing. I don't think that it's the end of the discussion about early man because as was discussed on this blog last week (OUT OF ISRAEL?) Tel Aviv University archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Homo sapiens roamed the land now called Israel as early as 400,000 years ago. According to researchers, the discoveries made in the Qesem Cave may overturn the theory that modern humans originated on the continent of Africa. In recent years, archaeological evidence and human skeletons found in Spain and China also undermined this proposition, but the Qesem Cave findings because of their early age is an unprecedented discovery.

Add to that the genetic fact that is your ancestors come from Europe or Asia, between 1% and 3% of your DNA comes from Neanderthals. Human and Neanderthal were sexually compatible and they made the most of that arrangement. It falls to us do decide what all of that means, if it means anything. The only people without Neanderthal DNA come from Africa.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Feeling his Pain?

What will the Barack Obama Presidential Legacy be?

It's time that we allow the greatest firearms and ammunition salesman in the history of the nation to take a bow. I don't think that Barack Obama feels that is his legacy. Still, it's the only thing that he was good at. Will he have a wing in his presidential library and monument dedicated to arming the general public to the teeth? I doubt it.
Edmund Burke wrote: "People crushed by law have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws."
It's not surprising then that people have armed themselves, not so much for fear of their neighbors as from fear of tyranny.
(Washington Examiner) He has 18 months left to fulfill his "Yes we can" agenda, but President Obama is frustratingly finding that his supporters have already forgotten what he's done and even think he's an "idiot" for not making good on his promise to fix Washington. 
In a candid fundraising speech at actor Tyler Perry's Santa Monica, Calif., home Thursday night, the president expressed his own frustration at not scoring more wins in his two terms, but also aired distress at how quickly some of have forgotten his achievements...
Polarizing America
Many Americans point to the current race struggles in America as having been exacerbated by President Obama. The troubles serve to benefit community organizers with an influx of money from factions within the black community, but tear apart the cities where they organize. Obama swept into office, a man of mixed race, with the promise to unite black and white. All he managed to do is create much greater problems, resentment and strife with correspondingly greater poverty and unemployment in "Black America".

Government programs such as food stamps, welfare and ObamaPhones do not solve problems best handled by private enterprise creating genuine jobs and opportunity. There is not one business executive in America who is planning to expand his business into lawless, inner city Baltimore -- a city run by and populated by African-Americans.

President Obama promised that his would be the most transparent administration in history. Instead, it exceeded the Nixon Administration in xenophobia, corruption and bungling. To cover up, the administration became opaque...but that opacity allowed for them to usher in the disastrous national healthcare system.

I suspect that Obama will cite Obamacare as part of his legacy to America. I wonder if he will have this video playing in a loop at his Obamacare exhibit in his monument?


There are a number of videos of Jonathan Gruber saying the same thing. When all of those videos of Jonathan Gruber talking about Obamacare and what suckers the American people were, the White House was quick to throw him under the bus, claiming he wasn't very involved with the creation of the president's signature bill. New emails discovered by the Wall Street Journal show that the White House claim was just another Obama lie, Gruber worked with them very closely. There is even one letter from a senior Obama adviser thanking Gruber, "Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,”

And then there have been endless scandals at the VA, the Benghazi Massacre, Russia Reset Fiasco, The Arab Spring debacle, Operation Fast and Furious, etc. Surprisingly, candidate Hillary Clinton has not owned any of them. Either has Barack. And the mainstream media has amnesia because it all happened so long ago during the Obama Administration. Eight trillion dollars added to the national debt? Blame Bush.

The nations of the world do not trust us. And I don't know that I blame them completely.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Are you Syriaous?

Do we need to throw arms and treasure at opposition groups (opposed to Assad in Damascus; opposed to ISIL; opposed to Turkey, etc.)? There are clearly a lot of factions in Syria and the US is looking for somebody to love. Conventional wisdom in the West presently holds that the enemy of my enemy is my ally. In Syria the conventional wisdom of the West does not necessarily apply. The enemy of my enemy often proves to be my enemy as well, over time. 

Syrian Civil War - Factions and Territorial Holdings

A lot of players have picked proxy groups to support in the hopes that the people on the ground in Syria will reward that support (arms, treasure, 15,000 Iranian troops, etc.) will mean something after they win something.

Some suggest that supporting the Syrian Kurds is a good move, but they are clearly not a standard-bearer of liberal Western democracy. The Syrian Kurds have now raised a yellow flag with a red star. Most of those who read this blog and all Syrians will recognize the significance of the red star as an emblem of socialism/communism. The Syrian Kurds evidently wanted to send the message that non-Kurds and Muslims of a different persuasion are not welcome.

Devout Sunni Arabs, Turkmens, other minorities and secular Arabs would find no reason to support openly pro-communist Syrian Kurds, but the US is trying to justify it. The Russians funnel a little aid here and there but are not committing to this sort of support openly because they are Assad's ally and the Kurds want Assad out of Syria.

Does the US have a card to play in Syria that won't get us into deeper trouble or that won't end up causing more trouble in a deeply troubled region of the planet?

Not now. Maybe not ever. Clearly in the short term there are pre-modern tribal groups (such as the Syrian Kurds - as opposed to Iraqi Kurds) which are each trying to stake a claim. Some identify with a communist movement, such as the Syrian Kurds, others, such as ISIL are claiming Sunni Islamic orientation, and in ISIL's case, are fighting the Syrian faction of Al Qaeda (backed by the Saudis) - also claiming Sunni Islamic Orientation. There are the Alwites, backing Assad's secular government, the ever present Shiites who are proxies for Iran, etc.

US Senators (Graham and McCain) contend that anyone is preferable to ISIL. I don't know that it's true ultimately, but containing ISIL is good. However, America needs to remember that anyone in that part of the world that we support (with the exception of Israel) likely has the destruction of America as one of its long term goals.

Until or unless we can find somebody in that country who doesn't want to see us all killed, maybe se need to stand on the sidelines? At the moment we can drop a bomb anywhere in Syria, confident that whoever we kill hates us.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Boko Haram in Action

Chad's military said it had carried out air strikes against Boko Haram bases in Nigeria in retaliation for twin suicide bombings in Chad this week that killed at least 34 people. Nigeria (embarrassed by Chad's need to attack terrorist enclaves in its territory) denied that an attack took place.

The air raids caused heavy human and material damage to six of the Islamist militants' bases, Chad's military said late on Wednesday.

The obvious mendacity of the Nigerians for the purpose of saving face raises serious questions about their fitness to lead a multi-national force. The Nigerians act as if command is their entitlement, rather than a reward for competent leadership that achieves effective results.

On 18 June, Chad announced tighter security measures, including a ban on head-to-toe burqas and turbans in the capital. A news correspondent in N'Djamena said he had not seen any women wearing burqas on the streets since Wednesday's announcement.

A few hours after Chad's announcement, Boko Haram militants attacked two villages in neighboring Niger's southern region of Diffa, security sources said. The attackers drove into the villages in the Gueskerou area, along the banks of the Komadugu River which separates Niger and Nigeria, in cars and on motorbikes and shot residents before setting fire to the thatched houses where others were hiding.
"In all, at least 30 were killed. Some of them died when the houses were set alight," said one of the security officials. He said he expected the death toll to rise as a number of survivors had suffered serious burns.
The French continue to take a keen interest in Boko Haram activities in Niger (France's source for uranium - 80% of the electric power in France comes from nuclear power plants). They also back the government of Chad and have deployed the Foreign Legion in both areas when necessary to bolster local resolve to fight back against the terrorists.

The Foreign Legion is still popular in France, where the citizens would rather send foreigners to Africa to spend their blood than to send French conscripts. 

There have been feint moves within the US Government to establish a foreign legion of its own, but rules on racial balance, gender equality and politically correct rules of engagement are generally thought to neuter the concept.

Utopian Socialism

The art of magical thinking is alive and well with the progressive left. I had a discussion with a person the other day. Said person self-identified as a Marxist. The only way that you can be a Marxist is to suspend logic and reality and embrace "magical thinking". This is what Barack Obama (a utopian socialist) did, and it's why he and the country have nothing to show for his term in office. The only exception to that would be that the private citizens in America are substantially better armed than when he took office. While that IS an achievement, I doubt that he'll dedicate a wing of his presidential library and monument to that.

Marx proposed a 'magical' economic system where goods and services would be produced without reference to prices, to supply and demand, and to the scarcity of resources. He proposed economics without economics, and there are a number of people around the world who bought off on it. If someone who proposed a geometric system without points and lines, without definitions and without common notions, it would be akin to Marxism in its lunacy. In order to answer his critics, Marx told them that to minds conditioned by bourgeoisie means of production, the results of the material dialectic once the dictatorship of the proletarian had ended the exploitation of private property forever was unimaginable to them. For those of you who don’t speak Leftist, Marx merely proposed that oldest and most favorite of Leftist counter-arguments: he told them to shut up.

Marx was not an economist, he was a 'magical thinker' who considered himself a genius. He wished to destroy economics because economics teaches us all that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Leftism includes as its core the psychopathology of phobia toward the free market, and a faith in the institutions of government to correct for alleged errors in a functioning free market system based on rule of law and the sacredness of private property.

Leftists define themselves as those who seek to overturn the rule of law and have law based on persons: one rule for the rich (to be taxed) and one for the poor (to receive the tax money). In recent years, the naked evil of this lawlessness has become too plain, and instead race relations rather than rich and poor are often substituted, so that Black lives Matter, but saying White lives Matter is racist and condemned. The effort again is to substitute rule of law with rule by Mandarins, intellectuals, and self-anointed enlightened ones, law based on persons.

When Hillary Clinton re-launched her presidential campaign, last week, she explained all of the "free things" that she would institute when she took charge of the nation. That is the sum total of what she said. The government is a spender, not an earner. Barack Obama has spent $8 trillion dollars more than the government took in. In order to give free things to people (presumably in exchange for a vote), Ms. Clinton would either borrow the money or engage in income redistribution by scheming to take money from a block of people who don't support her politically. The art of giving breaks to your friends is precisely why the tax code is so massive.

Leftists don't hate making money. They love it. Nobody loves making money more than the Clintons do. They hate that YOU make money, unless you give it to them, then you're fine. They'll protect you. The progressive left have a lot of grievances against everyone else and fueling that hatred gives them a constituency for whom they provide somebody else's money.

The game, in much the way that Marxism does, requires magical thinking - you can continue to borrow and the system will never implode. If it does, it won't be on "your watch". Expect no rational counter-arguments to be tolerated as Ms. Clinton implements Alinsky's Rules.




Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Weather in North Korea

I don't want to file this Sunday Sermonette under the heading of "global warming, climate change, climate disruption or weather." As with all things, change is part of life. The weather is one of those things, and while man clearly has introduced cause and effect with pollution, the planetary weather patterns are something that has been ebbing and flowing (ice ages, etc) since the planet started spinning and developed an atmosphere. Even the Sun has weather (and it's the Sun and the stars are not impacted by my decision to BBQ in the back yard). 

Sometimes the weather explains human folly. California doesn't build dams to capture run-off for fear of disturbing the habitat of a few thousand three-inch long fish, or some other rodent that lives in the area that would be flooded. And then they howl when the population and demand placed by agriculture exceeds the water supply. 


It's not the weather, but our reaction to the weather points out stresses in the system. Nowhere is that more true and more evident than in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), the worker's paradise. 

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published details of what it described as the worst drought in North Korea in a century. Some unidentified “correspondents” wrote that this famine will not be as bad as that in 1994 to 1996 because of the so-called agricultural reforms that Kim Jong Un has allowed. Many news outlets have repeated this canard. Somehow allowing farmers and farming teams to keep more of the crop apparently is supposed to produce rain. North Korea grows wet crop rice and relies on monsoon rains. The provinces identified as the worst affected by the lack of rain are the primary rice producing provinces.

Context

The first time that communist North Korea ever requested outside food aid from the non-communist world was during the 1995/1996 famine and floods. The drought of that time was only the first setback. It was the prelude for sustained, torrential rains. The flooding washed away the topsoil in the rice producing provinces plus extensive grain stores.. North Korean media described that as the worst disaster in a century. The ensuing years were called the March of Hardship.

News reports today stated that hundreds of thousands of people died during the mid-1990s famine. Actually the population of North Korea did not increase for at least four years, and possibly 10 years, because of the numbers who died during the famine and flood. The government resorted to broadcasting recipes for making soup from edible tree bark and grass. North Korea executed hundreds of people for cannibalism. Credible sources estimate that more than three million people died from starvation.

Fat, incompetent little dictator, Kim Jong Un advises his
people: "let them eat cake"
North Korea can build missiles and nuclear weapons, but cannot find a way to feed its people in a global economy. The decades of agricultural mismanagement of North Korea by the Kim family could be considered a crime against humanity.

Leadership

Typically, the North will display exceptional sensitivity to real or perceived slights during a period of vulnerability in which it first invites and then requests food aid. Its leaders will tolerate starvation rather than allow themselves to be seen as weak and as incompetent. 

_____________________     ____________________

Today is Father's Day in the USA and my 4 daughters, and 7 grandchildren will celebrating with me poolside in Southern California, in a land of prosperity and safety where the common people are armed to the teeth. They secure the Republic (if we still really have one) in a way that the North Korean people will never be able to do. 

I feel compassion for the poor, hungry, deluded people in North Korea with their bloody minded, fat little dictator, gorging himself while they starve. 

But I'm still going to BBQ aged porterhouse steaks and corn and eat a banquet while splashing in cool, clear, clean water with my grandchildren. I'm aware that the progressive left is virulently opposed to BBQ food...let them eat cake.

God bless America.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saudi - Russia Axis

The Saudi government is searching for new allies and military relationships to re-balance the former close relationship that they had with the US. US Middle East policy is confusing at best, even to your humble correspondent, who follows these matters as an avocation.  The Saudis have a State-client relationship with some Al Qaeda factions simply because the enemy of my enemy is my friend - and Al Qaeda in Syria is taking hits from both the Iranians and ISIS. This creates friction with the US.

It's much easier for the Saudis to maneuver diplomatically because there is a king and the buck stops there. The Americans, valuable allies when they keep their word, have rotating administrations and Congressional orientations that make them "flakey". Russia is what Putin says that it is. He's a king in his own right.

The Saudis also have a tripartite treaty of sorts between themselves, Egypt and Israel  as they find allies of convenience to try and keep the Iranians from moving further against them. Enter the Russians, in search of new friends and hard cash for weapons systems and nuclear technology.

Putin gets the same gold chain that Obama got, but he doesn't bend over
to receive, as Barack has been inclined to do.
On 18 June, the Saudi press reported that Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed six agreements with Russia including one on the peaceful use of nuclear technology.  I expect that they're going to be buying centrifuges and yellow cake so that they can match Iran in the production of 'peaceful' nuclear material for the power plant that they 'so desperately need'. I don't know that the nuclear development laboratory has already been constructed hundreds of feet below the sand, but I expect that if it hasn't, they're excavating to throw it in now. 
America, no longer the honest broker of peace and the ultimate defense by promise of nuclear destruction, has told everyone on the planet that they need their own nuclear arsenal if they can afford to buy or build one. Thanks Barack and Hillary for your Arab Spring.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Russian President Putin at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg on Thursday after arriving in Moscow late Wednesday on an official visit. 

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also is the Minister of Defense. The Russians showed him displays of military equipment on the sidelines of an international economic forum in St. Petersburg.

Saudi Arabia is the second Sunni Muslim country that Russia has hosted in the past two weeks. Putin also met Turkish President Erdogan in Baku last week. These Russian moves hint at a change in Russian policy by which Russia ensures it has relations with Iran and Syria as well as the Sunni states and movements that oppose the Syrian government, should they prevail. 

Russia seems less committed to the government in Damascus than before. I think they've admitted that Syria will be a battleground for years to come and while it's nice to be able to park your Mediterranean fleet there, nobody knows when they may have to pack up and leave.

Where is America in all this? Where indeed. Secretary of State Kerry is still courting Iran, trying to hammer out a treaty for the sake of Barack's legacy, that the US Senate will never approve.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Rule 5 Rachael


This ENDS this blog's comments on the Dolezal B. S. but some of this stuff has been simply too snarky to pass up. Since a white NAACP lady can be a black lady and a half black man can be voted in as president of the US twice, what is the value of affirmative action? How does one determine race? Maybe we just move on?

The Daily Mail published the comprehensive and definitive, and one would hope, the last word on Rachael Dolezal and you can read it all here with more salacious photos. One can only wonder whether she is using these glamor shots to attract would be suitors on dating sites. That's too much to process because I can imagine the black-only response of photos with their 'courting tackle'.

Spray-on Race
(Daily Mail) Born with freckled ivory skin, Dolezal's black image today is the product of regular spray tans - 'medium' Mystic Spray from Palm Beach Tan in Spokane, Washington, it is claimed. 
The treatment, which costs $60 a month for unlimited top-ups, ensures a 'long-lasting tan' all over the body. Customers stand naked in a booth before being sprayed from every angle.
NAACP leader identifies with Bruce Jenner

Jenner looks a bit like Dolezal if you discount that Jenner is a 65 year old man and Dolezal is a 37 year old woman.

Some men may say, "Take it off". I say, "Put it back on - please".





Fishwrap Friday

Distilling the news from this past week:


Black Like Me (h/t Daily Timewaster)
Al Jolson (a jew) - finally appreciated by
the progressive left, and vindicated

It used to be politically incorrect for a white person to walk around in "black face", but Rachael Dolezal broke through that glass ceiling for the rest of us. If the power elite aren't taking you seriously and you have grievances, what better way to deal with them than to buying and using the new diversity products advertised below. Who knows, maybe you too can quit your day job and be president of your local chapter of the NAACP?


I know that this story has dominated the news and eclipsed the "real news". We'll pay attention to that next week, bringing you up to speed on all of the crap in North Korea and the Middle East that the news ignores anyway.


Defining America's "progressive" movement


The phrase "fake it 'till you make it" has been given real legs this past month, with Hillary Clinton condemning Wall Street for being rich (unlike poor Hillary - will somebody please send her an actual crust of bread that she can gnaw on); and the NAACP spokesperson (white girl from Montana) who was only a wanna-be African American after all; and Al (Crazed Poodle) Gore, who invented the Internet and Global Weather.  It's Halloween every day in the progressive movement.

Would I qualify for an ObamaPhone, free cheese and other perks if I simply came out of the closet and say that I'm bi-cultural since my ancestors came from Europe but I live in America now? Or do I also have to affirm allegiance to Obama-Clinton?


Team Clinton not feeling it from NBC


At the moment, the presidential election is Hillary Clinton's to loose, and she's unhappy with any negative comments from the fawners and the leg tinglers at NBC. You could end up on the phone all day with them if you don't love the old reptile...


Fighting over Trump

The Donald threw his cracker into the soup this week and declared that he'd rule this nation through executive action and if Congress didn't like it, he'd brow beat them. Trump raised hackles on Fox News' The Five.




Thursday, June 18, 2015

Out of Israel?

It has been very politically correct to presume that modern humans emerged from the continent of Africa 200,000 years ago. Now Tel Aviv University archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Homo sapiens roamed the land now called Israel as early as 400,000 years ago -- the earliest evidence for the existence of modern humans anywhere in the world.
Israel Hershkovitz, Patricia Smith, Rachel Sarig, Rolf Quam, Laura Rodríguez, Rebeca García, Juan Luis Arsuaga, Ran Barkai, Avi Gopher. Middle pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2010; DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.21446
According to researchers, the discoveries made in the Qesem Cave may overturn the theory that modern humans originated on the continent of Africa. In recent years, archaeological evidence and human skeletons found in Spain and China also undermined this proposition, but the Qesem Cave findings because of their early age is an unprecedented discovery.

The findings were discovered in the Qesem Cave, a pre-historic site located near Rosh Ha'ayin that was first excavated in 2000. Prof. Avi Gopher and Dr. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology, who run the excavations, and Prof. Israel Hershkowitz of the university's Department of Anatomy and Anthropology and Sackler School of Medicine, together with an international team of scientists, performed a morphological analysis on eight human teeth found in the Qesem Cave.

This analysis, which included CT scans and X-rays, indicates that the size and shape of the teeth are very similar to those of modern humans. The teeth found in the Qesem Cave are very similar to other evidence of modern humans from Israel, dated to around 100,000 years ago, discovered in the Skhul Cave in the Carmel and Qafzeh Cave in the Lower Galilee near Nazareth. The results of the researchers' findings are being published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Qesem Cave is dated to a period between 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, and archaeologists working there believe that the findings indicate significant evolution in the behavior of ancient humans. This period of time was crucial in the history of humankind from cultural and biological perspectives. The teeth that are being studied indicate that these changes are apparently related to evolutionary changes taking place at that time.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "400,000-year-old dental tartar provides earliest evidence of humanmade pollution: Early prehistoric 'balanced' diet and presence of respiratory irritants revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2015. .
Prof. Gopher and Dr. Barkai noted that the findings related to the culture of those who dwelled in the Qesem Cave -- including the systematic production of flint blades; the regular use of fire; evidence of hunting, cutting and sharing of animal meat; mining raw materials to produce flint tools from subsurface sources -- reinforce the hypothesis that this was, in fact, innovative and pioneering behavior that may correspond with the appearance of modern humans.

Brushing after every meal? (apparently not)

"Human teeth of this age have never been studied before for dental calculus, and we had very low expectations because of the age of the plaque," said Prof. Gopher. "However, our international collaborators, using a combination of methods, found many materials entrapped within the calculus. Because the cave was sealed for 200,000 years, everything, including the teeth and its calculus, were preserved exceedingly well."

In what Prof. Barkai describes as a "time capsule," the analysed calculus revealed three major findings: charcoal from indoor fires; evidence for the ingestion of essential plant-based dietary components; and fibers that might have been used to clean teeth or were remnants of raw materials.

"Prof. Karen Hardy published outstanding research on the dental calculus of Neanderthals from El Sidron cave in Spain, but these dated back just 40,000-50,000 years -- we are talking far earlier than this," said Prof. Barkai.

"This is the first evidence that the world's first indoor BBQs had health-related consequences," said Prof. Barkai. "The people who lived in Qesem not only enjoyed the benefits of fire -- roasting their meat indoors -- but they also had to find a way of controlling the fire -- of living with it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Going Full Cowboy

It's tough to find the right pair of boots these days. First I turned to Texas for the latest in cowboy boot fashion. And what is more Texan than Austin?

Austin, TX Cowboy Boots

They are for people who want to be hippies but can't shed their redneck roots. And as appealing as they are, I decided that they were not for me.

Then I looked at the Silicon Valley specials, for people who don't ride horses, but they still want to call themselves "buckaroos". They are also very popular with the Cal Tech crowd who are rebelling.

Silicon Valley, CA Cowboy Boots

Will people in Hillsboro and Denton like me better if I'm wearing these? They would seem to be far more popular in California than they are in Texas.

Moving on...there is a new fashion craze.


El Paso Guaracheros

They’ve only been around for about a year, but these ridiculously long Mexican Guarachero Boots have already become a major fashion trend at dance clubs and rodeo dance floors around northern Mexico, just across the border from Texas.  They say, "I'm a cowboy, but I'm here to party". I hear that they're all the rage in Redding and Red Bluff, California. With the rumors that Brig is headed to Nevada to party, I can't help wonder if she'll be bringing a pair or two along.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Texas Drought

As you know, Texas has been subject to the effects of global warming and the state is dry as Hillary's nasty.

I'm dragging the sack for donations to help them. My "send a water bottle to Texas Campaign" is a way for you to help them avoid the impact of global warming and the resulting drought.

I hate to admit it, but Al Gore and Barack might be right. Even sending one water bottle will help and will be appreciate it as crops dry up, the rivers stagnate and the Lone Star State suffers.

Micro-Aggression (PC Police)

I feel that it's my duty to keep you all abreast of the latest politically correct requirements so that you can live your life by them.

Micro-Aggression sounds to me like a term suggesting that the person accused is too much of a wimp to be properly aggressive. Never frigging call me MICRO-Aggressive. You can call me "aggressive" or you can call me other appropriate terms, but Micro-Aggressive sounds like the maid that Al Gore tried to rape in Portland, the "crazed sex poodle" thing.
Professors at the University of California at Berkeley have been officially warned against saying such things as "America is the land of opportunity." Why? Because this is considered to be an act of "micro-aggression" against minorities and women. 
Supposedly it shows you don't take their grievances seriously and are therefore guilty of being aggressive toward them, even if only on a micro scale. 
(I don't take their grievances seriously - nor do I take the grievances of angry Muslims seriously who want to impose Sharia on me - nor do I take the grievances of the North Koreans seriously. I don't take Rachael Dolezal, Hillary (The Bitch of Benghazi) Clinton, Al Sharpton or Bruce Jenner seriously. I don't take NBC seriously. There's a lot that I don't take seriously.) 
You might think that this is just another crazy idea from Berkeley. But the same concept appears in a report from the flagship campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana. 
If you just sit in a room where all the people are white, you are considered to be guilty of "micro-aggression" against people who are not white, who will supposedly feel uncomfortable when they enter such a room.
To date, I have never been uncomfortable sitting in a room full of white people. My military unit was almost always white. The SAS guys that I worked with were all white. My family is all white. When my kids and in-laws get together everyone is white. When I visit friends in Arizona, they're all white. Why would I feel bad about sitting together with my kids, their husbands and their husband's families or any other white people? I don't care if non-white people show up in tow, but I am quite comfortable among whites, and that may not be politically correct.
Current attempts by the Obama administration to force low-income housing to be built in middle-class and upscale communities are on a par with forcing people to buy the kind of health insurance the government wants them to buy — ObamaCare — rather than leaving them free to buy whatever suits their own situation and preferences.
Is that Micro-Totalitarianism?