sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, October 31, 2016

Cultural Appropriation

The British are claiming Halloween for themselves.  Are Americans guilty of cultural appropriation?


There will be a lot of micro aggression tonight as hoards of goblins descend on neighborhoods to harvest candy. I will be there, as you may have guessed - accompanying my terrifying granddaughters, and then retreating to the castle to appease the spirits with (non-British) sweets.


Trick-or-Treat

The Likely Lad

The witches holiday, which everyone expected to favor Hillary, has become a bad day for Team Clinton with Danny Williams, reputed half-black son of Bill (Slick Willy) Clinton scheduled to speak at the National Press Club tomorrow.
Bill Clinton reportedly had an affair with a prostitute in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her name is Bobbie Ann Williams, and she – along with her family – have passed multiple lie-dictator tests when asked if Clinton is the father of her illegitimate son Danny. 
Buddy Young, a former Arkansas State Trooper, has admitted that in 1983, he drove Clinton and Bobbie to her mother’s home near Hot Springs for an extended, intimate visit while the mother was out-of-town. Both were paid $400 each, plus a $50 tip.
Clinton News Network Dumps Brazil
(Gateway Pundit) CNN says it is “completely uncomfortable” with hacked emails showing former contributor and interim DNC chair Donna Brazile sharing questions with the Clinton campaign before a debate and a town hall during the Democratic primary, and has accepted her resignation. 
Hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks show Brazile, whose CNN contract was suspended when she became interim DNC chair over the summer, sharing with the Clinton campaign a question that would be posed to Hillary Clinton before the March CNN Democratic debate in Flint, and sharing with the campaign a possible question prior to a CNN town hall also in March.
My sense is that the Democrat National Committee needs a(nother) new chair person. It's become a revolving door with the dower and corrupt Debbie Wasserman Schultz exposure and now Donna Brazile is shown to have given debate questions to Hillary. Thank you WikiLeaks. 

The corruption in the Democrat Party is pervasive and apparently eternal. They just can't help themselves.

Witch Hunt


Happy Halloween! It's a great day for a witch hunt. The only question remaining is whether FBI Director Comey gored the ox sufficiently. However when I think of the Clinton campaign now, I can't help but connect it to Anthony Weiner in my mind. 

The Clintons suggested that the FBI couldn't read Huma's e-mail because they didn't have a warrant - then it surfaced that Weiner gave permission to the FBI to examine the computer that he shared with Huma Weiner. Oooops. 

I suspect that Hillary ought to be careful what she's requesting. If Huma has a few classified e-mails on the Weiner computer, the FBI may take the unprecedented step of making them public (with redactions of specifics that made them classified). Or not. At this point, what difference does it make?

Even before this, the Clintons moved $1.8 billion to Qatar (about a week ago now) for their bolt hole should Trump win and the investigation be put into high gear. Between Obama's conduct and that of Hillary Clinton/The Clinton Foundation, there's enough to keep ten justice departments working around the clock for a decade. 

The Flying Monkeys made the Sunday news programs and were decidedly unconvincing as they dodged and weaved around the questions put to them. Theirs is a difficult case to defend. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Journalistic Topics


The Law

USC 18. Section 2071

Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. 

Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.” 

NOTE: It explicitly states "shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States."


We all know that Hillary and our betters set themselves above the law, so this may not matter.

WienerGate 

To say that the 2016 election is unprecedented is to understate the obvious. To suggest that the Democrat Party is regretting fixing their nomination for Hillary Clinton is also an understatement. Bernie Sanders might have pulled it off even though he was an old communist. He wasn't corrupt and he was sincere.

I don't think that Huma will take Anthony Weiner with her when she joins Hillary Clinton in exile - nor do I think that there is a seat for Anthony on Bill and Hillary's Gulfstream.


The funniest thing about all scandal is that all that Barack said about Hillary in 2008 when he ran against her was so absolutely correct. It may be one of the few times that he was proven to be accurate in his political career.
Trump called it: (Fox News) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump saw this coming from a mile away, fingering Weiner as a potential national security threat all the way back in August of 2015. “It came out that Huma Abedin knows all about Hillary’s private illegal emails,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Huma’s PR husband, Anthony Weiner, will tell the world.”
Fox News cited a law enforcement source: "The electronic device shared by Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and husband Anthony Weiner on which the FBI found more Clinton emails was a laptop and it contained tens-of-thousands of emails, a senior law enforcement official told Fox News on Saturday."

Maybe those include some of the 30,000 e-mails that Hillary Clinton "destroyed"... Will history show that disgraced former US Congressman and New York City mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner saved the republic (in a round-about way)?

We will have to wait and see.

If you look at the headline pages over at any of the Ministry of Truth outlets (NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN), there is scant coverage of the scandal. Then again, why would there be since they've avoided covering any of the Clinton scandals from the beginning.

WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks is getting ready to release yet more damning e-mails. Assange contends that the next round will land Hillary Clinton in custody - but such assertions have been made before and Clinton made good her escape on her broom. 

The WikiLeaks team has done more to pull back the curtain on the depth of corruption among the American political elites (and in their own words) than anything else possibly could. Even though the e-mail was hacked, we owe them a debt of gratitude. Whether or not we as a nation are able to do anything about removing the cancer is another issue entirely.

Investigative Journalism

The Virtual Mirage staff called the Clinton Campaign Headquarters in Los Angeles for a reaction to the current Weinergate scandal and spoke with Megan M., an official (or maybe just somebody who answered the phone). Megan said that they were very busy because of many calls from the press (and you know that VM is at the cutting edge of journalism). I said that I needed a quote.

Megan M.: I really don't know what to tell you. We think that the FBI is prejudiced against Mrs. Clinton.

VM: Did you think that in July when the FBI gave Mrs. Clinton a pass on her many security breaches and her sloppy handling of classified information?

Megan M.: No, back then we thought that they were being fair.

VM: What changed at the FBI?

Megan M.: Maybe the Republicans got to them? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Mrs. Clinton is a woman.

VM: Are you suggesting that the vast right wing conspiracy has something to do with this?

Megan M.: I guess I am. I think that Trump and maybe George Bush are behind it.

There you have it.  Proof that Donald Trump and George Bush are to blame.

US Immigration - A Matter of Numbers



Alaskan Sermonette

Native Alaskan art that goes
with the chanting and drum.
You can be serious about things and you can be light hearted. (Here is some Alaskan music for those of you who arrived seeking a different sort of spiritual inspiration that is in keeping with a shamanistic sermonette.) Since I'm not an animistic sort, this music is not for me.

When it comes to firearms, rocket launchers or explosives, my military training comes into play and I get serious as a heart attack. Thus the sermonette for a pleasant Sunday in autumn. Weapons are tools. Most tools can also be weapons with varying degrees of lethality. It's important to match the tool to the job.

For a daily carry firearm either up on the rim at the White Wolf Mine or on the street, this one is not a bad choice. Because it's not a semi-auto, it's not a quick reload. But with six rounds, I should be able to eliminate the threat from six zombies (the others can decide how motivated they are) or one bear. This weapon is completely legal in the State of California and is considered insignificant by the legislature because it's a revolver and the name "magnum" is not applied to the cartridge.



I'm holding the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan. You'll see in the photo ( above right) that it does fit in my meaty hand just fine. The thick karate fingers lend themselves to handling the weapon. The weapon has significant recoil that is roughly comparable to my .460 V S&W revolver.

The holster (pictured below) comes from Simply Rugged Holsters (Prescott, AZ) and can be worn inside trousers with the keeper straps attached to the belt to hold it in place, or on the outside of the belt, with the belt threaded through the slots in the holster. I'm not big on paddle holsters (favored by law enforcement). This is more of a pancake style.


The weapon chambers either/both .45 Colt or .454 Casull as you prefer. 

The video (HERE) shows a .45 ACP fired from a Glock Model 21 (which I favor) being fired into ballistic jel. The jel shows the wound channel that would occur in flesh if it was fired into a living being. The 2" wound channel is serious.

Then it shows a .454 Casull round being fired into the jel and the wound channel is about 8+ inches across. Everything in that cavity that is created by the bullet passing through it would be completely pulverized if it had been fired into living tissue.

The depth of penetration is roughly the same but the effect on the target is different.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Weekend Update

Wrapping up the past week.





The democrats are confident that their minions voted early and several times each so the e-mail scandal won't touch Hillary (as she suggested in her press conference).


Republicans are making some hay out of the fact that the FBI re-opened the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton, but Hillary is hopeful all the same.


The look you give you wife when you find out that she's
been screwing her boss.


Hillary and her favorite Weiners





Headline: FBI reopens Clinton criminal investigation after new emails found in Anthony Weiner case 

It's 10 days before the election and Director James Comey may be showing that he has a spine...or maybe not. Could he be trolling for an even bigger bribe?

Time will tell.

Meanwhile some cynics suggest that Hillary Clinton may have offered disgraced US Congressman, Anthony Weiner the job of Attorney General in a Clinton Administration. If true, how will that play with the promise that we know has been made to Loretta Lynch, long time Clinton friend (and co-conspirator)? 

To find answers, Virtual Mirage's investigative staff called the Clinton Campaign Headquarters in Orange County, California and spoke to 'Erasimo', who would not give his last name. Erasimo claimed not to have details about the potential appointment of Huma Weiner's husband (who isn't a lawyer) to that auspicious post, held by the perjured Eric Holder.

Our probative questioning went to the press conference that candidate Clinton had yesterday, where she was heard to "cackle" after she left the podium. Erasimo said, "(ha ha) She definitely did cackle, you're right there, but it was because she know she gonna win and when she do, dey be a lot more cackling."

There you have it. A confident Hillary Clinton and a staff confident of a Clinton/Weiner victory.


I don't know what Hillary is saying about the leaking weiner problem tonight. I'm guessing that she chased a couple capsules with a stiff drink and is snoring, curled up next to Huma Weiner. However I'm not so naive as to think that they can hide the weiner at this point. In any normal election cycle, Anthony Weiner would shoot himself in the back seven times with his revolver and the FBI investigation would rule it a suicide. After which the FBI Special Agents would have their wives run for office and would each receive half a million dollars in cash. That's just how it's done these days.
Ok, I know that the FBI doesn't investigate suicides of that sort. But at the highest levels there's some very weird stuff going on. It's not a great time to be part of the FBI, an institution that has become a national symbol for political crony corruption under Director Comey. The FBI needs a shake up that cleans out the viper's nest at the top and includes a new definition of who they hire that is not based on "diversity quotas".

Maybe just hire on qualifications and character - with an eye toward ETHICS.

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Discussion


The discussion today begins by taking the form of a question that the average fifth grader might have asked.

Harambe would surely have asked the question if he hadn't been shot in the prime of life - but he's with Elvis - in a better place. Even though this is a sermonette, I am not going to take this any further than that.

Even though a fifth grader would have asked the question - "If Hillary is innocent, then why did her staff need immunity deals" - NOBODY in the mainstream media did, which confirms to me the long-held belief that they are NOT smarter than the average fifth grader. Mainstream media people are progs by definition, which means that believe only what they are told to believe by their betters/masters.

Now that it's too late to indict Hillary before the election, the corrupt FBI is back into the Hillary Clinton case. It's re-opened. How convenient is that? I'm sure that Hillary will clear this up if she wins the election. 

There are also the elite pundits - who didn't ask that question either - and are paid millions of dollars a year to formulate questions. Some of them (George Will comes to mind and so does Carl Rove) are so beat up that Trump is the Republican nominee, that they are pickling their brains with gin to avoid having to ask any questions. You only need say, "Trump" and they reach for the hip flask in an effort to dull the pain.

It will be interesting to see Barack at the Trump inauguration when Trump has promised to undo every-single-screwup that Obama made. Then again, I don't know what Barack has to hide. He may be fleeing to Kenya to avoid prosecution along with the Clintons and may miss the big show. One can only guess how much he will steal from the White House the way that the Clintons did when they left office. 

And what of Michelle Obama's 112 staff people? Where will they go for work? Listing the previous boss as a "wookie" clearly won't get them government work in a Trump Administration. Maybe they can go to Chicago and claim 'legacy status' and get lucrative city jobs? Most city workers in Chicago are said to have dead relatives who are also on the payroll working for them. Naturally, they accept the checks each month on behalf of family members. Thus those 112 staff people could translate to 500-600 more pay checks going out to new "city workers" in the windy city, all of whom will vote "Democrat", the party whose totem is an ass.

International Thoughts for Friday

Cousin Joe Does Well

Joseph W. Lambert is a career CIA employee and works in an overt capacity as Director of Information Management Services. Overt means that he can acknowledge and attribute his employment status. He has been DIMS since December 7, 2007. There are people (and I'm not saying which people) who chided him that his date of appointment to his present post augered poorly, portending disaster, but he's actually done a pretty good job. 

This week, Joe announced that the CIA's declassified database will be posted online, making it accessible to all interested parties. The database, known as CREST (for CIA Records Search Tool), contains more than 11 million pages of historical Agency records that have already been declassified and approved for public release.
Currently, CREST can only be accessed through computer terminals at the National Archives in College Park, MD. This geographic restriction on availability has been a source of frustration and bafflement to researchers ever since the digital collection was established in 2000. 
DNI James Clapper has been the heavy hitter who championed transparency where possible with archived records and those of you who know or who have met with Clapper know that he's serious about this project. Much as it pains me (I like Clapper personally), I have to agree with this project. There are a number of historical documents that need to be more accessible to clarify the historical record. The declassification of the pretext for America's full involvement in the Vietnam War (Gulf of Tonkin Incident) as a sham was one of those. There will be more as time marches and the spotlight is shined into the corners. We need to accept that there were situations where we were not lily white. Only by so doing can we learn from the past.

An Airplane Crash

A light aircraft carrying three French intelligence officers crashed shortly after taking off from Malta International Airport last Monday, killing all three and two other French nationals on board, according to French and Maltese officials.

The crash happened around 0530 GMT, the Maltese government said.

The flight was part of a French surveillance operation, launched five months ago, aimed at tracking the illicit trafficking of humans and drugs, the government said. It added the flight was registered with the authorities as a local flight and was due to return to Malta within hours, without landing in third countries.

The crash casts light on a major surveillance and covert military operation France has been running in the region to counter the threat posed by unrest in Libya, a few hundred miles south of Malta. Islamic State has taken control of territory on Libya’s coast, raising fears in Paris that the group could use these bases to mount an attack in Europe. Meanwhile, migrant smuggling rings are still active throughout the country, despite efforts by European governments to crack down on them.

The American-Led Coalition against ISIS

In the US Media, that's what it's called. In the Middle East, there is another view and that is that the US isn't heavily engaged in Syria and the fight against ISIS. 

Saudi Arabia announced that it is prepared to join the US-led coalition preparing an operation against the Islamic State (ISIS) capital of Raqqa. 
Keep in mind that the Saudis support Al Qaeda's efforts in Syria, which are at cross purposes with ISIS in terms of "who should rule". In that they are allied with Iran, who agrees that ISIS shouldn't be in charge. The only difference is that Iran wants to fill that vacuum. If it sounds confusing, it can be.
Saudi defense spokesman Major General Ahmed Al-Assiri told Alarabiya.net, “The kingdom is committed to the fight against ISIS/ISIL in Syria as part of an international coalition, including air sorties delegated to it, whether from within the kingdom or via its warplanes stationed at the Turkish Incirlik base.” 

With regard to ground operations, Assiri said that the international coalition agreed in a meeting in Washington to rely on local Syrian forces and would provide air coverage for them. ("Local Syrian Forces" euphemistically mean an amalgam of Al Qaeda and the mercenaries that the US has on the ground in Syria.)

General Assiri has been promoted to major general since the formation of the Saudi-led coalition that attacked Yemen in 2015. Saudi Arabia’s position of leadership among Sunni Arab states requires publicity for its participation in the destruction of the Islamic State.

Saudi Arabia deployed four F-15 fighters to Incirlik air base in February 2016 to join the US-led air operations. Saudi pilots have flown just over 200 sorties against the Islamic State since 2014, according to Alarabiya.

Here are the players and their agendas for those of you who may have lost your programs.

Syria - The Assad Govt. wants to maintain sovereignty over all of Syria. To do that, it has made common cause with Russia and Iran. The US Government is dedicated to toppling the Assad Govt. and has laid out a number of red lines which everyone ignores.

Turkey - The Turks are dedicated to eradicating the Kurds in Syria (and everywhere else). They helped create ISIS through their support. They are the major US ally in the region and a key partner in the US fight against ISIS.
In a speech in Ankara on 27 October, Turkish President Erdogan said he informed the US President about Turkey’s military plans for northern Syria. Turkey intends to defeat Islamic State fighters controlling al Bab. Then its forces will attack Manbij to drive out the Syrian Kurds. After that, they will participate in the fight to capture Raqqa, the Islamic State capital. 
Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said that Turkey had asked the US not to allow the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to enter Raqqa because it is not a Kurdish town. He said Turkey was ready to provide the necessary military support to take over the town.
USA - America is allied with the Kurds and has providing them with arms, ammunition and on-again/off-again support for the past thirty years. We are also allied with the Turks, who want to destroy the Kurds, and with the Saudis who created and support Al Qaeda, which is dedicated to the destruction of the USA.
If you wonder who in the US Government helped create this goat rodeo, you need look no further than Hillary Clinton, she of the seizures, the weak health and addled (but power hungry) mind. Clinton was the architect of Barack's foreign policy in the Middle East.  (pictured right, before her handlers had her skin stretched and her hair washed so that she would look less like an unwashed old hag)
Russia - It's a place where the Russians can actually come off looking like the good guys, human rights issues notwithstanding.  So they tossed their cracker in the soup.

This week, Putin announced that it is necessary to restore of firm statehood, the economy and the social sphere in countries of the Middle East.
"The colossal scale of destruction requires the drawing up of a long-term and comprehensive program, if you like a Marshall plan of sorts, to revive this region torn by wars and conflicts. And Russia is, of course, ready to take an active part in such joint work," Putin said.
Iran - They're Shiia Muslims and hate Suni Muslims. ISIL is a Suni operation and operates against their considerable interests in Iraq (and Syria). Even though they are generally opposed to Assad's government in Syria, they hate ISIS more - and America more.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Other Option


As I'm working on "going Galt" far from the human stain, it's interesting to watch the progression of events nationally as they lead up to the historic national election of 2016. Congress enjoys an 8% approval rating.  Both presidential candidates suffer from massive disapproval nationally.

The mainstream media panics as the polls are too close to call but their panders still assure America that the Electoral College will save Hillary in her hour of need and she will triumph. The "Ministry of Truth" believes that they will be able to gloss over the massive corruption that has been revealed by this election. It's true that blogs such as this one may end as censorship takes root. But the institutions of government will never enjoy the trust that they once enjoyed without a massive overhaul. I don't know that the capacity for that overhaul presently exists even with a Trump presidency.
It's clear that Hillary may more fairly represent the "will of the nation" when you consider what Mitt Romney said in the last go-round. 47% of America pays no federal taxes and gets free stuff - how do you run against that?
I was out in an area east of the White Wolf Mine yesterday where the forrest turns from Ponderosas to pinions and then gives way to plains. Antelope were herded up on the plains, under a clear blue sky, and I could see Winslow, AZ far to the north, almost on the horizon. It had to be thirty-five miles away or maybe more. I took time out to scout an area to do some varmint calling. I don't like to do that in the heavy pines in autumn because you can call bears in without seeing them until they're on you and I didn't want to do that. The place is a long way from the hysteria at the seat of American power. No cell phone signal, no mosque down the street, no traffic, no need to rush anywhere, and you know that if you hosted a "Draw Mohammed Contest" that nobody would care enough to show up. But the ladies do make quilts and sell them in front of the church to help support the local wilderness fire department. 

People who spend too much time in cities with their greedy masses lining up for the latest Obamaphone forget that there is another option

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tracking US Debt


Both foreign central banks, sovereign wealth funds, reserve managers, and virtually every other official institution in possession of US paper, is liquidating their holdings at a rapid pace.
"Bond"=Debt
"US Paper"=Debt
China is doing it to offset the pressure to devaluate currency. Saudi Arabia is selling to offset the declining revenue from the sale of oil.

There is still private demand for US debt. pension funds, other institutional investors, hedge funds, and others are buying treasuries.

If private investors should fail to buy these bonds, it is likely that the Federal Reserve would monetize US debt (print more currency). The Federal Reserve has been hinting at an increase in interest rates. Doing that without changing the job killing rules that bind businesses and taxes such as Obamacare, would lead to an official recession that no gaffed statistics could hide. (figures lie and liars figure)

If the US Government was able to reduce its size and if it was able to renegotiate entitlements with the entitled (reducing what is paid out), the ship might right itself...maybe. Add massive oil drilling and exportation along with the exploitation of coal gasification technology to create domestic electricity cleanly -- and we might actually pull out of it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere...

Where are Slick Willy and Hillary in all this? European Union Times

Take a moment read the whole article and make your own call. It's clear that the EU Times believes that Hillary is completely corrupt. The EU Times is often guilty of 'yellow journalism' so you have to read it and then source their information yourself - in much the same way you'd do with the NY Times, Washington Post or Izvestia...or even Fox News.
...the Bank For International Settlements (BIS) registered a $1.8 billion transfer from the Clinton Foundation (CF) to the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) through the “facilitation/abetment” of JP Morgan Chase & Company (JPM). 
Might the Clintons be preparing for an exit to Qatar if the election falls to Trump? I'm not predicting, just positing the question for the blogosphere to ruminate over.

Minerals

Emilie
I'm out at the White Wolf Mine this week, in the high country, trying to select a builder to construct the hovel and make improvements to the compound.

My daughter, Emilie, back from Florida, is traveling with me. She hasn't seen the mine property before - though she is generally familiar with Northern Arizona. Even though Emilie can be a princess at times, she also likes driving the 4x4. Her first driving experience was in the bad lands between Camp Caddy and Needles. I think it was somewhere off the Kel-Baker Road. Anyway, she signed on for this trip in the hopes of some low-range driving.

Emilie, working a rock face, looking for fossils
I have my geo-pick and some sample bags with me because there are some outcroppings that I want to sample for silver content. There is gold but it's present in trace amounts here and there, usually as an amalgam with silver.

I'd like to do is to get enough silver to refine and turn into belt buckles or even conchos for fancy vests and such (made from elk that I killed).  These sorts of projects take time and you can't rush exploration. There is nothing new under the sun. The best places to look are often the paths that others have tread, without paying attention - or game trails. Riverbeds are always good and the washes near the mine are seldom trod by human boots.

Emilie's claim to fame, such as it is, comes with fossil hunting.

In the photos (above and left), we are at the Latham Shale not far from Chambless, looking for Cambrian era fossils. The Latham Shale in the Marble Mountains is one of the most ancient formations in California and is a place to go if you're looking for trilobites and the remnants of the ancient sea floor. It's also quite remote.

There are Jurassic Era fossils in the area of the White Wolf Mine. (in the Clear Creek Canyon) I plan to work the area for fossils as well as looking for silver.

Fossil Creek Canyon is about 18 (+/-) miles from the mine (and more than 1,800 ft lower in elevation) (cliff jumping at Fossil Creek) in the Fossil Creek Wilderness - so named because there are fossils to be found there.
As an aside: Last week, two red-dot Indians named Patel - men in their 30's - from San Jose, CA drowned in Fossil Creek near the basin pictured in the video above. Neither could swim. One went into deep water and the other jumped in to 'save him'. I'll reserve comments except to say that you shouldn't go into unfamiliar water if you can't swim. It inevitably leads to a "Darwin Award" - now back to the commentary -
Rocks in the canyon vary in age from the Precambrian through the Cenozoic (from shells and mollusks to mammals) so the range in fossils takes you through the age of the dinosaur into the realm of mammoths and sabertooth tigers. It's a fun place to just hang even if you're not hunting for fossils and silver. I have the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan, just in case. I can swim so will not bring my water wings.

I spoke to a friend today who told me that there was nothing to do up on the Mogollon Rim. Keep in mind that he's a city person and doesn't understand the appeal of this sort of place.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mischief in Syria

I'm on the road this week, but it shouldn't keep me from keeping you all up on geopolitical events.

Vladimir's Gambit

Following a three-day ceasefire, the Russians and Syrians resumed air and ground attacks in Aleppo. A UN official said no evacuations occurred because the security guarantees were insufficient.  Russia said it is not considering a new ceasefire. Putin wants to make his point, accomplish his goals and leave Syria "victorious". I'm not quite sure what that will look like. I'm not quite sure that Putin does either.

The Syrian government is acting with new energy on multiple fronts in addition to the Aleppo offensive. The fighting suggests Syrian government forces recently have received more resources (from Iran and Russia). 

Syrian opposition sources in Aleppo judge that the final Syrian offensive push has not yet begun, but will soon. The death toll among non-combatants will be horrific. It's a fact of life in those places, and in part, explains the exodus of a million military age males into Germany.

The Turkish Game

In a statement published on 24 October, the Turkish army said that Turkish forces attacked 27 Islamic State (ISIL) targets and 19 Syrian Kurdish militia (YPG) targets in the prior 24 hours. The Syrian military command once again warned the Turks against operating in Syria.

French and US news services reported that YPG units moving from Afrin are engaged in heavy fighting with Turkish-backed proxy forces just west for al Bab. The Turkish air attacks are heaviest against this group and appear intended to impede if not block the Kurds from reaching al Bab.

The French report indicates the Syrian Kurds also have pushed west from Manbij, rather than returning east of the Euphrates River. The Kurdish forces are each 18 kilometers (11 miles) on opposite sides of al Bab.

The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) apparently have bypassed the Turkish enclave by skirting it to the south. The Kurds are within 36 kilometers (22 miles) of establishing a continuous Syrian Kurdish territory along the border with Turkey from Afrin to Iraq.

Turkish President Erdogan said on multiple occasions that Turkey would not allow the Kurds to unify the three Syrian Kurdish cantons. Erdogan is threatening to convert the Syrian civil war into a Turco-Syrian war.

The American Hand

The situation reports are the first to mention that the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are clashing with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, most of whom are Syrian Kurds. It's a small effort in a very bad place. The CIA's proxy war here has had a lot of false starts and relies on large payments to mercenary Kurds. Mr. Obama's small war makes very little difference in the big scheme with Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran holding the cards.


Challenging the Chinese 'Excessive Claim'



USS Decatur - DDG 73
On 21 October, the USS Decatur sailed near Triton and Woody Islands to challenge excessive sea claims. The ship did not cruise within the 12-nm territorial sea.
Note: The USS Decatur did not perform a Freedom of Navigation operation, which would have involved sailing through China’s territorial waters. Instead the US Navy described this mission as a challenge to an excessive claim.
People's Liberation Army's Navy Ship, Guangzhou
On that same day, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense issued a statement that called the patrol by the USS Decatur “illegal and provocative.” The Chinese navy ships Guangzhou and Luoyang warned the US ship to leave. “This is serious illegal behavior and is intentionally provocative behavior. China’s National Defense Ministry is resolutely opposed to this and has lodged serious representations with the US side.”


Today the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said it lodged an official complaint with the US, after a US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Decatur, sailed through Chinese territorial waters near the Xisha islands (Paracel Islands) without China's permission. 

The Chinese naval behavior and official protest mean that neither side has changed its position, but both decline a confrontation at sea at this time.

Background: On 20 October, the Chinese acknowledged that it stationed air force personnel on Woody Island. Some news services made much of this admission, but China has been open about its military developments on the island, including the deployment of fighter jets. It deployed combat aircraft to Woody Island in 2015 and in April 2016. All aircraft require ground crews and military aircraft usually require military ground crews. 

The Chinese have militarized the Paracels since the 1970s. That is not news because China gained control of the Paracels by defeating the South Vietnamese Navy in 1974. Vietnam has never acknowledged Chinese sovereignty and China has maintained defenses on the islands ever since. The airport on Woody Island is a military airport. In March, imagery detected the presence of anti-ship missile launchers. In July, anti-aircraft missile installations were detected.

The Chinese promised to not militarize the artificial islands they have created in the Spratly Islands. However, they have built three airstrips and installed defensive equipment on all seven of their reclaimed islets.

It's clear that China is intent to claim all of the South China Sea as its own, and for its exclusive use. 

Their recent agreement with the Philippines will embolden them further even though the Philippines has not officially given up their claim, they made it clear that it is "for sale". When you understand the Philippines, this makes sense. And to be fair to Filipinos, Hillary Clinton put the US State Department up for sale to the highest bidder and profited personally from her time in office. It's easy to look at the Philippines and blaggard them, but Sec. Clinton did the same thing - only worse.




Monday, October 24, 2016

Rigging the Election

Veritas #3 Campaign rigging

CNN Reacts


The Clinton Campaign, a racketeer influenced and corrupt organization, is caught again inciting violence against Donald Trump and his supporters during the election. I'm surprised that CNN is covering it because it confirms damning corruption. Note that the Democratic talking head's reaction to this is interesting. The lady that speaks before Van Jones (a Black Panther) is characterizing "one a criminal, always a criminal" is amusing.

More FBI Corruption

A top Clinton family political ally authorized more than $600,000 in campaign contributions to the wife of an FBI official who helped investigate Hillary Clinton’s secret email account. (link)
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee contributed $467,500 to Dr. Jill McCabe, and the state Democratic Party gave another $207,788 to her state Senate bid, hoping to defeat an incumbent GOP senator and win control of one of the chambers in Virginia’s legislature. 
Dr. McCabe’s husband, Andrew McCabe, oversaw the FBI’s field office in Washington, D.C., which was providing the manpower to investigate Mrs. Clinton’s secret email server at the time of the donations. Mr. McCabe would later be promoted to be deputy FBI director, serving under Director James Comey, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“The fact that this was allowed to occur shows either outright negligent behavior by the FBI or a level of corruption that is beyond belief,” said Jason Miller, a spokesman for  Donald Trump.
Keep in mind that following the campaign, the candidate can keep all of the campaign contributions remaining in their war chest and use it for any purpose. Was it a bribe to a senior FBI official? You decide. Maybe FBI people who follow this blog would like to comment - or not. I understand if you don't.

I imagine that a field agent would be fired if a spouse took $600K and then they took a lead role in a criminal investigation of the person who "laundered" the money into their pocket. Or maybe not? I can't say one way or the other these days. The FBI's problem is that the public doesn't know whether or not they are corrupt completely or if it only rests at the highest levels of the agency. If Assistant Director Andrew McCabe received $600,000, one can only wonder what Loretta Lynch (AG) and FBI Director James Comey received.


Making fun of Hillary

Why not make fun of Hillary Clinton?

This is why.

Monday

With all of the big publishers' editorial staffs endorsing candidates in the upcoming presidential election, it's time that the editorial staff here at Virtual Mirage (your one stop viewing spot for all the news that's fit to print) endorse Donald J. Trump for President. That should take nobody by surprise, but it's important to make it official.



Most Trump supporters are common sense people. They have little in common with media progs. Many are veterans or members of veteran's families.



Progs come in all shapes, sizes and ages. There are the leaders (Morlocks of the modern era): Podesta, George Soros, the Clintons, Sharpton and so forth. They are the cunning, deliberate Alinsky devotees. 

Then there are the Kardashians, the Housewives of wherever, and Hollywood parasites like Michael Moore. To them being part of the nonconformal group think is everything. There are also the empty headed useful idiots who follow in the liberal wake  who are motivated by rage and hatred, thinly disguised as condescension. A form of Orwellian double-think allows them to hold two (or more) contradictory opinions at the same time without experiencing any intellectual distress. The presence of doublethink means that there is a prog...they go together like peanut butter and jelly in a sandwich.
Doublethink - from 1984: In the case of workers at the Records Department in the  Ministry of Truth (think of MSNBC and you're there), doublethink means being able to falsify public records, and then believe in the new history that they themselves have just rewritten. The Ministry's name is itself an example of doublethink: the Ministry of Truth is really concerned with lies. The other ministries are similarly named: the Ministry of Peace is concerned with war, the Ministry of Love is concerned with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty is concerned with starvation. The three slogans of the Party – War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength – are also examples.
Doublethink is alive and well on university campuses across the nation and is conspicuous in the mainstream media.

Oh, and by the way:


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wrap Up


It's been quite a week. 

+1

(left) My oldest daughter, Amanda, holds her sister Kelly's little girl, Olivia.  Having four girls means that I never get asked questions about baby care or postpartum issues. They handle it in-house without bothering grandpa.

Olivia Rose brings to three the number of granddaughters that I have living under my roof. I also have two daughters. 

They are all on notice that I need to sell the place in order to make the big move to Arizona, but none of them are making preparations to get underway. It's a big house with six large bedrooms and four bathrooms, so they're comfortable...too comfortable.

Trump on the Move

The polls are showing momentum for Donald Trump even as the Dems try to find strippers who will perjure themselves saying that Donald Trump said something to them or pinched their ass two decades ago or longer. The WikiLeaks keep coming and the Clintons look just as filthy as ever. I don't think that they could be MORE filthy than ever. That would take a real leap. Slick Willy's current mistress, the Energizer Bunny, is in the news again and --- well, who can blame him? Hillary...really, who'd touch her?

Nobody cares about Trump's tax returns. He's a rich guy who didn't pay any more than he had to. WikiLeaks is something else and despite the blockade of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, they're still getting out and Hillary is being blaggarded by her own words and those of her closest advisors. 

Will this surge be enough to put Donald over the top? I hope so.

Fact Checking:

There is a lot of liberal bias in fact checking this election season. This has been checked and it's valid:


Sunday Sermonette - Hurt

The song, "Hurt", originally preformed by Nine Inch Nails, was also preformed by Johnny Cash. I prefer Johnny's rendition. You can make of the song and of the lyrics what you may. It's a depressing song, and one that makes more sense when you're older than when you are younger. Age brings perspective and at times, regret for things that we have done, or possibly should have done. 

I share it with you few who read this blog - simply because. I'm not having a bad day - in fact today portends to be a very good day. But we all still live with hurt and it comes in different forms.

Sometimes forgiveness requires that we first forgive ourselves.


I hurt myself today 
To see if I still feel 
I focus on the pain 
The only thing that's real 
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting 
Try to kill it all away 
But I remember everything 

[Chorus:]
What have I become 
My sweetest friend 
Everyone I know goes away 
In the end 
And you could have it all 
My empire of dirt 
I will let you down 
I will make you hurt 

I wear this crown of thorns 
Upon my liar's chair 
Full of broken thoughts 
I cannot repair 
Beneath the stains of time 
The feelings disappear 
You are someone else 
I am still right here 

[Chorus:]
What have I become 
My sweetest friend 
Everyone I know goes away 
In the end 
And you could have it all 
My empire of dirt 
I will let you down 
I will make you hurt 

If I could start again 
A million miles away 
I would keep myself 
I would find a way

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Daily Outrage

Save the Mosques!


The US Government spends money on a lot of things. I was surprised to hear that we're spending $770 million to renovate mosques. Just when I thought that I'd heard every possible outrage - Barack digs another one up. Maybe they think of $770 million as Monopoly money since it's borrowed from China?
The United States government – U.S. taxpayers – have $770 million to spend on mosque renovation but the United States Marine Corps has about two-thirds of their fighter jets grounded because the Marine Corps doesn’t have money for parts. 
The program that funds rebuilding mosques funnels money through the U.S. State Department’s USAID program. You’ve probably never heard about it because if flies under the radar. After all, it’s only $1 billion. It’s $1 billion in play money for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry to practice their “Smart Diplomacy.”
Reenlistment Bonuses for Vets --- Not so fast!

Frankly, this one makes me more angry than the $770 million to rebuild mosques in the Middle East. There is one word for all of this and it's "Obamanation".  We've wasted a lot of good men and women in worthless wars, fought for ego and hubris or whatever on the part of leadership. 

Now the Army wants to take back reenlistment and retention bonuses from a decade ago, paid to keep people in uniform when they needed them. The money is long spent, but the government doesn't care -- it needs money for mosques.
(Fox News) The Pentagon is seeking to recover decade-old reenlistment bonuses paid to thousands of California Army National Guard soldiers to go fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. 
The paper reported that nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom risked their lives during multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay the cash bonuses after audits revealed widespread overpayments by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets at the height of the wars 10 years ago. 
But soldiers say the military is reneging on old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on those whose only mistake was to accept the bonuses, which amounted to $15,000 or more. 
The Army asked wounded Iraq veteran and former Army captain Christopher Van Meter, 42, to repay a $25,000 reenlistment bonus it said he was ineligible to receive.

The City of Brass



I often make reference to Rudyard Kipling's poem, "The City of Brass" (written in 1909), when referring to the corrupt, morally bankrupt nation that we have become. I post it here for your reference and comment.

America not the first Empire that is being crushed by its own corruption. Maybe we should be happy that it has lasted as long as it has and that we have reaped the rewards of a Republic. But it's fading in the same way that all man's empires fade. The City of Brass.


Rudyard Kipling

The City of Brass

“Here was a people whom after their works
thou shalt see wept over for their lost dominion:
and in this palace is the last information
respecting lords collected in the dust.” – The Arabian Nights.

In a land that the sand overlays – the ways to her gates are untrod –
A multitude ended their days whose gates were made splendid by God,
Till they grew drunk and were smitten with madness and went to their fall,
And of these is a story written: but Allah Alone knoweth all!

When the wine stirred in their heart their bosoms dilated.
They rose to suppose themselves kings over all things created –
To decree a new earth at a birth without labour or sorrow –
To declare: “We prepare it to-day and inherit to-morrow.”

They chose themselves prophets and priests of minute understanding,
Men swift to see done, and outrun, their extremest commanding –
Of the tribe which describe with a jibe the perversions of Justice –
Panders avowed to the crowd whatsoever its lust is.

 Swiftly these pulled down the walls that their fathers had made them –
The impregnable ramparts of old, they razed and relaid them
As playgrounds of pleasure and leisure, with limitless entries,
 And havens of rest for the wastrels where once walked the sentries;

And because there was need of more pay for the shouters and marchers,
They disbanded in face of their foemen their yeomen and archers.
They replied to their well-wishers’ fears – to their enemies laughter,
Saying: “Peace! We have fashioned a God Which shall save us hereafter.

We ascribe all dominion to man in his factions conferring,
And have given to numbers the Name of the Wisdom unerring.”
 They said: “Who has hate in his soul? Who has envied his neighbour?
Let him arise and control both that man and his labour.”

They said: “Who is eaten by sloth? Whose unthrift has destroyed him?
He shall levy a tribute from all because none have employed him.”
They said: “Who hath toiled, who hath striven, and gathered possession?
Let him be spoiled. He hath given full proof of transgression.”

They said: “Who is irked by the Law? Though we may not remove it.
If he lend us his aid in this raid, we will set him above it!
So the robber did judgment again upon such as displeased him,
The slayer, too, boasted his slain, and the judges released him.

 As for their kinsmen far off, on the skirts of the nation,
They harried all earth to make sure none escaped reprobation.
They awakened unrest for a jest in their newly-won borders,
And jeered at the blood of their brethren betrayed by their orders.

They instructed the ruled to rebel, their rulers to aid them;
And, since such as obeyed them not fell, their Viceroys obeyed them.
When the riotous set them at naught they said: “Praise the upheaval!
For the show and the world and the thought of Dominion is evil!”

They unwound and flung from them with rage, as a rag that defied them,
The imperial gains of the age which their forefathers piled them.
They ran panting in haste to lay waste and embitter for ever
 The wellsprings of Wisdom and Strengths which are Faith and Endeavour.

They nosed out and digged up and dragged forth and exposed to derision
All doctrine of purpose and worth and restraint and prevision:
 And it ceased, and God granted them all things for which they had striven,
And the heart of a beast in the place of a man’s heart was given.

When they were fullest of wine and most flagrant in error,
Out of the sea rose a sign – out of Heaven a terror.
Then they saw, then they heard, then they knew – for none troubled to hide it,
A host had prepared their destruction, but still they denied it.

They denied what they dared not abide if it came to the trail;
But the Sward that was forged while they lied did not heed their denial.
It drove home, and no time was allowed to the crowd that was driven.
The preposterous-minded were cowed – they thought time would be given.

There was no need of a steed nor a lance to pursue them;
It was decreed their own deed, and not a chance, should undo them.
 The tares they had laughingly sown were ripe to the reaping.
The trust they had leagued to disown was removed from their keeping.

The eaters of other men’s bread, the exempted from hardship,
The excusers of impotence fled, abdicating their wardship,
For the hate they had taught through the State brought the State no defender,
And it passed from the roll of the Nations in headlong surrender!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Granddaughter


My daughter, Kelly, delivered her third daughter, Olivia Rose, today. I'm a grandfather for the eighth time.

Healthy mother and healthy baby girl. All the best you can hope for!

8.2 lbs/20 inches









International News

While the left lauds the achievements of the eight years of Obama/Clinton, things are unraveling at an unprecedented pace overseas. Since you won't hear much about them on the news, I'll share here for the forty or so of you who read this blog from time to time. I usually try and keep these things short and to the point but there's a lot going on and I'll hit the highlights - but it will be somewhat longer than usual.

I'll start off with the Norks, because they've got a problem on their hands.  The missile unit at Kusong appears to have reliability problems in its inventory of missiles. On 20 October, North Korea experienced yet another ballistic missile failure. 

The missile is believed to have been a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile. It was launched from a site near Kusong and exploded immediately after launch. 

I mention this only because they are desperately trying to build a missile that's reliable enough to launch a nuclear weapon OUT of their own nation, to land in South Korea or Japan. From a Kim Jong Un (the fat little dictator) perspective, hitting the US mainland with a nuclear weapon would be a dream come true, but he may have to accept a less ambitious target locally.

I doubt that they will put a nuclear warhead on top of the rocket and try to launch it given their reliability problems, but with the Norks, you never know.

Philippines/China

Philippine President Duterte arrived in China on 18 October for a state visit. Duterte pressed his message that he wished to improve cooperation with China, saying the roots of the two countries’ bonds could not be easily severed and that it was a “springtime” in relations.

At his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on 20 October, Duterte said, “Your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States … both in military, but also economics.’’ 

Duterte’s statement sparked thunderous applause inside the Great Hall of the People.” Without the United States,” he said addressing the Chinese audience, “I will be dependent on you.” He also said that "America has lost now” and suggested that he was also eager to cozy up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia,’’ he said. And as an added slap, Duterte mimicked an American accent and said: “Americans are loud, sometimes rowdy. Their larynx is not adjusted to civility.’’

Xinhua published the official statement on the visit. “On 20 October President Xi Jinping held talks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in the Great Hall of the People. The two sides unanimously agreed to proceed from the two countries' basic and common interests, follow the aspirations of the two peoples, push for the realization of comprehensive improvement and better development of the relations between China and the Philippines, and bring benefits to the two peoples.”

The highlight of the statement is Xi’s four-point suggestion for developing relations.
“First, the two sides should enhance political mutual trust. The Chinese people love peace passionately and they are benevolent and friendly toward their neighbors. China adheres to peaceful development path, adheres to the good-neighborly and friendly policy of being a good neighbor and good partner. While China firmly safeguards national sovereignty it also adheres to peaceful resolution of disputes. The two sides should enhance high-level exchanges and give play to the guiding role of high-level strategic communication in the development of the two countries' relations. It is necessary to make the visit as an opportunity to bring about comprehensive exchanges and cooperation between governments, parties, parliaments and regions of the two countries.”

“Second, the two sides should carry out pragmatic cooperation. There is the need to comprehensively align the two countries' development strategies. The Chinese side is willing to enhance cooperation with the Philippine side within the Belt and Road framework and discuss ways to realize mutual benefits and win-win results. China is willing to actively take part in the building of the Philippine railways, city rail transport, highways, ports and other infrastructure to bring benefits to the local people. The two sides should strengthen law enforcement and defense cooperation. The Chinese side supports efforts made by the new Philippine government in drug-banning, counter-terrorism, and combating crimes and is willing to carry out relevant cooperation with the Philippine side. The two sides need to expand economy and trade and investment cooperation. The Chinese side stands ready to promote companies to increase investment in the Philippines and help it develop the economy faster and better. The two sides should deepen cooperation on agriculture and poverty alleviation. The Chinese side is willing to help the Philippines boost its capacity of agricultural production and rural development and support the two countries' fishing companies to carry out cooperation.”

“Third, the two sides should promote people-to-people exchanges. The Chinese side will positively encourage Chinese tourists to travel to the Philippines, enhance bilateral exchanges in education, culture and media, and promote regional cooperation. The Chinese side suggests that the two countries carry out a series of commemorative activities next year on the 600th anniversary of the King of Sulu of the Philippines, who travelled to China for the first time.”

“Fourth, the two sides should enhance cooperation in regional and multilateral affairs. Both China and the Philippines are developing countries. They should jointly promote democratization of international relations and promote the development of international order in the direction of fair and reasonable direction. The Chinese side is willing to enhance coordination with the Philippines within multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations and APEC, safeguard the interests of developing countries, stands ready to jointly promote achieving even greater development in China-ASEAN relations and in East Asian cooperation.”
Xi and Duterte witnessed the signing of 13 bilateral cooperation documents covering economy and trade, investment, production capacity, agriculture, media, quality inspection, tourism, drug-banning, finance, coast guard, and infrastructure.

President Duterte arrived in Beijing with at least 200 top Philippine business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance. The two countries signed trade agreements valued at more than $13 billion and China promised $9 billion in development investments. 

Most important for Duterte, Chinese leaders will not meddle in Philippine domestic affairs by criticizing Duterte’s war against drug lords or the Philippine human rights record. President Xi expressed support for the anti-drug campaign.

Nevertheless, Chinese leaders are wary of Duterte because they know from Philippine polls that his anti-American sentiment is not representative of the Philippine people’s attitude. One poll in 2015 indicated more than 90 per cent of the Philippine population had a favorable opinion of the US.

He also has refused to acknowledge Chinese sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Evidently the two nations will work out an accommodation that will allow Philippine boats to fish in the area.

Analysis- The Philippines will be a liability for China. Duterte is looking for a patron who dispenses rewards. He says that the US is that it has not done enough for the Philippines. However, denial of US military access to Philippine bases for use against China in the South China Sea might make the cost of carrying the Philippines for a while worth the bargain. Chinese national goals require a stable environment in Asia. That requires cooperation with the US. The Chinese also are not impressed by Duterte’s coarse, vulgar choices of words. (i.e. referring to Barack as the son of a whore - which while true, is crass)

The Philippines from a political perspective has often looked like a revolving door. A new administration might do to Duterte what he did to his predecessor—reverse the policy. The Duterte tilt might not last past Duterte’s time in office.

For now, in the politics of the South China Sea claimants, Duterte has delivered to China a strategic windfall. That includes an unprecedented partnership with China, a communist country considered a threat in the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty. It also includes the prospect that Duterte will deny US access to and use of Philippine bases in resisting China’s claim to sovereignty in the South China Sea. 

Yemen

There's not much that I can say positive about the place. There have been a number of cease fires in the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that's going on in Yemen. Another one went into effect, and was promptly violated by the Iranian/Houthi army.

Despite the stalemate and war weariness, this ceasefire will not last unless massive outside pressure is exerted on the Houthis and the Iranians who continue to supply them.

Iran is asking for a billion dollars a head for US hostages that they're holding. After the $150,000,000 windfall including a $1.4 billion cash for hostages deal with the US, they are using the ante on the release of additional hostages. My sense is that if you are stupid enough to go to Iran - and the savages take you hostage, you're on your own. But that's just me. Barack and Hillary have a different take on it.

Turkey - in - Syria

The Turkish government reported that on 18 October its combat aircraft executed 26 air strikes against Syrian Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) targets in northern Syria. The Turks claimed they killed between 160 to 200 YPG fighters. 

A Turkish deputy prime minister said that Turkey was displeased with the support the US provides to the Syrian Kurds.

A YPG spokesman said the air strikes killed 15 people. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine Kurdish fighters are confirmed dead. 

In response to the Turkish air strikes, the Syrian army general command issued a statement. “Any attempt to once again breach Syrian airspace by Turkish war planes will be dealt with and they will be brought down by all means available.”

The status of Syria’s air defense system is unclear. The Russians are believed to have helped restore it. Regardless of its condition, we judge the Syrians are serious about shooting at the Turkish aircraft.

The status of Russia’s air defense system in Syria is robust and capable of downing the Turkish fighter bombers. The Syrians are not known to have asked for Russian help yet, but they almost certainly share air surveillance information and probably jointly man air defense centers. 

Turkish involvement complicates the destruction of the Islamic State because Turkey will use the grand campaign against Mosul as a justification and cover for pursuing its own military objectives. The air attacks are an example of Turkey attacking a US-backed proxy force in Syria, while the US is focused primarily on the Mosul operation.

Al Monitor published an article that reported Turkish President Erdogan intends to launch Operation Tigris Shield in Iraq as a complement to Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria. Both have the objective of fighting terrorists, namely the Kurds (US allies), in both countries.

The US relies on aircraft based in Turkey to prosecute its bombing campaign (such as it is) against ISIS in Syria and Northern Iraq and also to provide top cover for US troops in the field. The Turks are OK with that so long as the US allows them to kill our Kurdish allies. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn't to me, but Barack and friends don't have a coherent policy - and that's what you get.