sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Starting a War with Russia?

John McCain and Lindsay Graham are beating the drum for a cold war with Russia in the US Senate. It's as good of a reason to build more and better war machines as any other, but before we start the war, we need to take a long look in the mirror.

The USA has been engaged in a cyber war with Russia for a long time. In fact, we're engaged in cyber espionage every single day of the year not only in Russia but elsewhere in an effort to *covertly engage our 'enemies' and reduce their economic capacity. 
*A covert operation differs from a clandestine operation in that emphasis is placed on concealment of identity of sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation.
TAMPERING WITH CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

This example, cited by Curt at the Daily Time Waster: A CIA operation to sabotage Soviet industry by duping Moscow into stealing booby-trapped software was spectacularly successful when it triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian gas pipeline. 

There is an article today that suggests that the Russians have been intruding into a Vermont power company's computer system and we see OUTRAGE. However we allegedly blew up their gas pipeline in 2004

TAMPERING WITH ELECTIONS

Barack and others are howling about how Russia collected information from e-mail and made it public through Wikileaks. Assuming that's correct and it was Russian national actors rather than a false flag operation conducted from Ft. Meade by people who don't like Clinton, how is it so different from Secretary Clinton's gambit to delegitimize Vladimir Putin's election in 2011?
(NY Times) MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin accused Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday of inciting unrest in Russia, as he grappled with the prospect of large-scale political protest for the first time in his more than decade-long rule. 
In a rare personal accusation, Mr. Putin said Mrs. Clinton had sent “a signal” to “some actors in our country” after Sunday’s parliamentary elections, which were condemned as fraudulent by both international and Russian observers. Anger over the elections prompted a demonstration in which thousands chanted “Putin is a thief” and “Russia without Putin,” a development that has deeply unnerved the Kremlin. 
Speaking to political allies as he announced the formation of his presidential campaign, Mr. Putin said that hundreds of millions of dollars in “foreign money” was being used to influence Russian politics, and that Mrs. Clinton had personally spurred protesters to action. The comments indicate a breakdown in the Obama administration’s sputtering effort to “reset” the relationship between the United States and Russia. 
“I looked at the first reaction of our U.S. partners,” Mr. Putin said. “The first thing that the secretary of state did was say that they were not honest and not fair, but she had not even yet received the material from the observers.” 
“She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal,” Mr. Putin continued. “They heard the signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began active work.”
SPIES AND TRADECRAFT

Barack closed 2 Russian facilities, now denounced as nests for spies, that the US has known about and condoned since the 1970's - or maybe before that, and publicly PNG'd 35 Russian diplomats suspecting of being part of their clandestine service, here in the US under diplomatic cover.

Under most circumstances, the Russians would close the USGOV dacha outside Moscow and would expel 35 American diplomats, suspected of being part of our clandestine service, in Russia under diplomatic cover.

THOUGHTS

I understand clandestine activity and the need for an aggressive HUMINT service. However, before we stand on a podium and wrap ourselves in the flag, we need to acknowledge that we do the same things to the Russians that we are accusing them of

Senator John McCain's outrage may be real, but come on, John. One way to avoid this is to agree with the Russians to scale it back. We don't screw with them and they don't screw with us. We'll still conduct espionage and steal secrets as will they but we don't blow up their gas pipelines and they don't take down our electric grid. We leave their elections alone and they do likewise. This can be managed. The Russians are as reasonable as we are. We agreed many decades ago not to kill their clandestine officers and they don't kill ours. 

Russia has signaled a willingness to do this and I think that we need to try and take them at their word. Despite what popular media would have you believe, we've been able to do this with the Russians in the past. Why start a war that we don't need to start? Unless you want to use it to justify building more and better war machines...



Draining the Swamp?

Will it be possible for President Trump's Administration to drain the swamp during a four-year term in office? The answer to the question is that he may be able to chip away at it, but the business of America is government. The monster is just that big.

How big? (I hear you ask)

Federal government spending accounts for about 22% of the total economy. The states add another 11% of direct spending. To get a clearer picture, we must include the government-driven health industry (12%), the government-driven defense industry (3%) or the government-driven banking and insurance industries (4%). That's 52% of the total US economy. If you include the time/cost that businesses must endure to comply with federal regulations, the cost of government is far higher than 52%. Some experts put the spending and expense of government at about two thirds of the total economy. 

It takes a lot of employees to regulate 2/3 of the national economy.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) accounted for the 22,213,000 government employees in August 2016 in this way:  2,790,000 federal employees, 5,120,000 state government employees, and 14,303,000 local government employees.

BLS shows that manufacturing jobs peaked in June 1979 at 19,553,000. From August 2015 to August 2016 seasonally-adjusted manufacturing employment declined by 37,000--dropping from 12,318,000 last August to 12,281,000 this August.

Government employees in the United States outnumber manufacturing employees by 9,932,000, according to data released in September 2016 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The first step in making America great again is reversing that hugely lopsided number. But they are horribly out of balance.

Entitlements alone stagger the imagination with 65,000,000 Americans receiving food stamps (EBT). As others have suggested on this blog, standing in the line at the grocery store and watching people pay for fancy steaks and lobster tails with their EBT card is frustrating beyond belief. Scandal after scandal shows that if it wasn't for people paying for lap dances at the local strip club with EBT cards, some of those institutions would go out of business.

Since the business of America is government, there is little incentive for the government to reduce the number of people receiving benefits --- since the very employment of the social justice warriors requires that there be armies of people taking benefits. And EBT is only the very tip top of the iceberg.

It's a very very deep swamp.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Putin Takes the High Road

In the war of words between the American progressives, still aching from their loss to President Trump in November - Barack, who has known about Russian hacking for six months or so, now decided to expel 35 Russian diplomats suspected of being spies.

President Vladimir Putin took a different approach and said that he would not respond in kind. Putin said he was already looking ahead to the incoming Trump administration -- but he vowed that Moscow would stand firm. 
"Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible 'kitchen' diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-U.S. relations based on the policies of the Trump administration," 
The Russian president described the White House actions as "unfriendly," but suggested he would take the high road. "We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year's holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of U.S. diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children's parties in the Kremlin."

In doing so, President Putin made Barack look small and weak.

Context and Precedence: Barack Hussein Obama was raised in a family of communists. Uncle Frank Marshall ran the Communist Party in Hawaii. His mother, his father and his grandparents were devoted communists. Growing up the communist party heroes were his heroes. The USSR fought the good fight against forces of imperialism and against the petty bourgeois in America. Thus he tried to have a "reset with Russia". 


Some people look at George Paton as a hero and others look to Joseph Stalin as heroic. (the difference between President Trump and Barack)

But the Russians saw Barack as a small, ignorant, puffed-up, mack-daddy with a narcissistic streak that runs wider than a stripe down a skunk's back. They also saw him as a traitor to American values and the Russians know that you can't ever trust a traitor - not ever. So they didn't trust Barack. That lack of trust and that knowledge that Barack is incompetent has seen Putin and the Russians, who are in an economic bind, outmaneuvering the witless Barack at every turn.

Such is the case with the expulsion of Russian diplomats. 

President Trump said that on January 20, the US would "move on". 

Politics and Intrigue (a rant)

What Good is a Budget?
  • F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (48 percent over budget on a program already planned to cost hundreds of billions of dollars)
  • DDG-51 guided missile destroyer (619 percent over on a hundred-billion-dollar-plus program) The ships will not have the capacity to carry the envisioned and yet to be developed follow-on to the Harpoon anti-shipping missile. It will cost still more to add that into the equation.
  • V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft (44 percent over on a roughly sixty-billion-dollar program)
  • VC-25 (Air Force One) program - two billion per airplane, and over budget
F-35A Lightning II
Before you jump me from behind and wrap a piano wire around my neck and pull it tight against the zip-tie style ratchet, yes, I know how procurement works. And yes, I know it's also a jobs program with components of the F-35, for example, built in all fifty states - welfare for the middle class. 

And yes, I know the dirty little secret about the F-22 Raptor (@$339 million each), which is not much of a secret. If you need to have two that work, you should have four on hand because they are a maintenance nightmare. Will the F-35 be better? Really? At least we haven't scrapped the A-10, much as the Air Force would love to. I suggested that the USAF give the program to the Marines, but they don't want to do THAT. They just want it scrapped and replaced by stealth F-35's. What good is a "stealth" close ground support aircraft?

Rosie Deported?

There is an ugly rumor floating around that Rosie O'Donnell has been deported by angry Canadians, demanding that the US take her back. There is word spread of a burgeoning food shortage in cities that Rosie has visited.

This rumor needs to be put to rest. I tried to fact check it, but SNOPES is now owned by the corrupt, elite, mainstream media. So that won't work.

I tried Facebook, but that's being managed by the progs, who eliminate any news that they're not comfortable with by tagging it, "fake". The only solution is to let the photo speak for itself.

Is Israel a Threat to the Arab World?

A map is useful in this analysis. The Israelis are accused of colonizing Arab land. Why does New Zealand care so much about that?

More to the point, why are we still pumping money into the UN? Maybe it's time to leave and do something useful with the building? President Trump could re-purpose it.

And while I'm on a UN rant, NOBODY who reads this blog has made a case for why we should pump billions of dollars into that rat hole. I expected somebody - or maybe a passing prog - would stand up for those worthless programs. Yes, I realize that we dump money into the third world that way to make liberals feel good about their fancy homes and exotic coffee blends, but what does AMERICA get out of it?

The number of credentialed foreign spies that are accredited to the UN literally boggles the mind. And no, I'm not being Xenophobic. We need to move the UN to Beijing.

Hillary Reset?

There is talk in liberal circles about a Hillary Clinton (a fan of the United Nations) run for the presidency again in 2020, with a whole new approach (defined by the latest focus groups) and a whole new persona.  While it's mostly just a bunch of coastal elite media types who are hurting from their bruising at the hands of President Trump exorcising their wet dreams, the Clintons are responding. They'd be better off running Chelsea for school board or something and might find a more likely victory in that. Bill Clinton feels that angry white men are responsible for Hillary's defeat. Maybe run Chelsea for school board in Harlem? 

Amid all of this noise about Hillary, I am not hearing much about Anthony Weiner and his future political aspirations. Whenever I think about Hillary, my thoughts immediately turn to Anthony and Huma Weiner, her closest confidants.

Hillary Clinton must have had half a dozen resets during her most recent presidential campaign, where in each case her aspirations morphed to fit the conclusions of polling and focus groups. I can only wonder what the most recent liberal focus groups are suggesting to her for her future in politics.

Then there is the contemptible Obama...and he's still around causing mischief with thirty days to go before he's out for good. Ok, BUT not for good because he's planning a run in 2020 as well. Not to support him then would be -----wait for it. Racist.

A Parting shot:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Imperialist China

Historically, China has been an expansionist power, an imperialist power. "Imperialist" was a dirty word during Mao's long march in the 1950's where hundreds of thousands were executed. The Great Leap Forward caused starvation of millions and the Cultural Revolution insured a backward and xenophobic China. But all that is changing as China builds a blue water navy and works to become Asia's hegemon. Imperialism is the word of the day in China.

As 2016 ends and as we embark on a new year, it's not a bad time to take a look at China's ambitions, which area always backed by the People's Liberation Army (and the People's Liberation Army's Navy). Because this is a blog I keep it short, so forgive me in that. Brevity means that I will leave a few things out.

The engine that drives Chinese imperial dreams is economic growth and part of that is the parasitic relationship that it has with the US. The election of Donald Trump throws some of that into question but it all spins on how much short term misery the US is willing to endure (historically very little) to achieve longer term goals of more self-sufficient nationalism.

Asian Infrastructure Project: One Belt, One Road

The Chinese intitiave promises improvements to rail and road networks and port and airports in all of Asia and will open new corridors for trade and investment to the landlocked countries of Central Asia. This program extends the reach of the new China farther and richer than all the Chinese empires of the past.

Lost in the boldness of the program is that it directly benefits Chinese national security as well as its insatiable demand for resources to satisfy the needs and wants of more than a billion people. It gives China a powerful voice in the national security of its partners. 

The most salient example of the new strategic relationship is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which became operational in 2016. From now on, Pakistan must consult with China before undertaking any confrontation with India that could threaten the CPEC.

In accepting Chinese aid and investment, Pakistan has compromised its sovereign decision-making about threat management. It must provide security for the road and rail links under the terms of the CPEC agreement. That means that a substantial portion of the Pakistan Army must be devoted to internal security operations, along with the normal paramilitary forces. The Army has a tradition of hating that duty, but it now has no choice.

Thailand is heading in a similar direction, asking for and getting Chinese agreement to build a weapons manufacturing hub in Thailand as well as a high-speed railroad to Kunming via Vientiane, Laos. Both are unprecedented.

Control of the Ocean

China has claimed all of the East China Sea and most of the South China Sea as it's private lake. It exercises sovereignty through regular air and coast guard/naval patrols in the East China Sea and continuing construction of and improvements to reclaimed islets in the South China Sea. Chinese forces garrison seven reclaimed and improved reefs. In December, Chinese authorities admitted they have militarized all seven. Satellite imagery confirms that airstrips on Fiery Cross Reef, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef can handle Chinese jet fighters and bombers as well as passenger and cargo aircraft.

No state has effectively challenged China’s claim to sovereignty of the South China Sea. The Chinese navy has ridiculed the US Navy’s freedom of navigation operations. The US Navy said it would begin South China Sea patrols, but the Chinese have noticed that there has been no follow up.

Unintended Consequences

One of the main ripple effects of China’s emergence is the remilitarization of Japan. The process has just begun, but Japan has adopted the doctrine of collective self-defense to cover its re-emergence as a military power to defend itself from China. Japan and India announced in November that Japan’s first arms customer is India. That is an unprecedented development.

India

China and India have been skirmishing for decades on the roof top of the world, where both claim territory in the Himalayas. As in the South China Sea, the Chinese have sent troops into Indian-held parts of the Aksai Chin area of eastern Kashmir to plant the Chinese flag. 

The risk of a larger confrontation remained contained by the will of the national leaders and the difficulty of the terrain. Nevertheless, India expects to have to fight China over these remote mountain regions one day. China expects to recover areas that India “occupies.” For India to survive China's moves on all sides, it has to make reliable friends. The US is not reliable and over time our track record is tepid at best, but Japan may work out as a good ally to India out of a sense of necessity.

Economic Alliance Partners

The Chinese prepare for the year of the chicken with a large
Donald Trump rooster. They're a booster of the rooster.
BREXIT, the rise of American nationalism and a shift of the axis of power in terms of potential trade could lead to trade deals with the US/UK and Canada. They would be branded as racist, but whether or not they are, I see that as a likelihood. If France continues its shift to a nationalist posture, it might join in that arrangement.

While not a threat to China, per se, it would represent a tectonic shift in how things are arranged. The British and French each have "regional navies", but if combined with the US, Canada and possibly Australia, India and Japan, they could create a more challenging navigation problem for the Chinese as they expand. China succeeds by absorbing its neighbors slowly and coopting them as it's trying to do with the Philippines, but this will only happen as they are able to do what they do while selling abroad and trading.

Chinese Goods

Chinese goods, once competitive, are finding it difficult to keep up with the more impoverished third world. Chinese wages rise, the cost of living rises, the standard of living rises, and they are in the same boat as other developed nations.
I was on the telephone today (yesterday by the time this blog goes live) with a glass curtain wall manufacturer from China. They build the glass walls for high rise buildings. I've known the president of the company for years and she told me that China is no longer cooperative. It's put them in a completely different place in the market. They can still dump steel and other products to keep other nations (such as the USA) out of the steel business, but the curtain walls are constructed of aluminum and that's not being dumped. If the USA puts up trade restrictions, China will catch the flu. So will the US because everything in Home Depot, Walmart, Target, etc. comes from China... But the US can adapt more easily than China can. A sharp dip in the economy in China could result in ...regime change.
Taiwan

Since her inauguration, President Tsai has refused to acknowledge the principle that there is one China, which has been the foundation of China-Taiwan relations since 1992. Chinese authorities have warned explicitly that they will use force to prevent Taiwan from declaring its independence. The Chinese Anti-Secession Act requires the use of force, if necessary, to prevent the alienation of any territory over which China claims sovereignty. This has been discussed at greater length on a previous posting here on Virtual Mirage. If Taiwan can jump ship, so can Shanghai. China can't let that happen.



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Things that Would Improve the American Nation

A new year is coming and I hope that 2017 brings you joy.

2016 turned out to be a good year for me, and Donald Trump's election portends positive change in our declining nation. It will be a year of change for me, and while that always brings some trepidation, I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation. A friend asked what I thought of life in general today and I replied as I always do:
Every meal's a banquet, every paycheck a fortune, every formation is a parade -- and every day above ground is better than a mouth full of dirt!!
Here is my PARTIAL prescription for the nation.

JANUARY 20

Congress needs to repeal all of the regulatory executive orders that Barack signed over the last 60 days of his presidency.
In 1994, Republicans gained control of the U.S. House for the first time in 40 years, largely on the strength of the “Contract with America,” written by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey. The document outlined a GOP agenda that included reforms intended to make Congress more accountable and transparent, while preaching fiscal discipline and regulatory restraint. 
One of those reforms was the Congressional Review Act, which created a 60-day period during which the House and Senate could overturn Executive Branch rules so long as the president did not veto such resolutions. The tool has been used successfully only once, because it’s highly unlikely that a president who imposed an administrative rule would sign a bill to kill it.   But there is a new sheriff in town.
If Congress uses the act to strike down a rule, the issuing agency is barred from reviving the regulation in the future.

Senate Republicans should use the Congressional Review Act to have something on President Trump's desk within hours after the inauguration.

THE TRUMP AGENDA - I agree with the program so I'm not going to go into detail on that. The legislature is onboard, the Supreme Court will be fixed and we might just be able to see improvements in the country with the badly needed exit of Barack from the national stage.

COMMUNICATION - Cell phones and the Internet are fine but living abroad or studying abroad are keys to understanding different cultures and different customs. Visiting on an organized tour may be good entertainment but it's completely worthless in terms of "communication". If you want to understand the world, you have to live in the world and not in the town where you were born. Fellow blogger Euripides, and I,  had this discussion over a delicious "pig-dip sandwich" this past year. Understanding the world and its people requires effort and exposure.
Example: Having said that, you'll never understand the Chinese and they will never understand you, but you can learn to get along and to appreciate the culture. The Chinese are predictable. Westerners are not, which is what terrifies them about us. We can switch from Barack-the-Magic-Muslim to Donald J. Trump with a single plebiscite. 
Many things that Americans do and say when it applies to the world at large is done and said out of ignorance. Go somewhere unfamiliar, stay there for sixty days, eat where the locals eat, do what the locals do, go to their churches, attend sports events and then go somewhere else. The educational value exceeds what you will ever manage to achieve in a classroom. I'm not suggesting a life of aimless wandering, but communicating in a real way out of your comfort zone, builds skills, understanding and compassion. It's easier if you can start while you're young.

CITIZENSHIP - I'm at odds with the Founding Fathers here. They made a grievous error in the one-person-one-vote system of democracy. You can be born a "citizen" (small c) but for voting rights, you should have to serve. Whether it is in the military, or in a civilian capacity emptying bedpans at an old folks home or planting trees, you need to earn it in an environment of discipline. The term of service should take four years of your life. There are people who read this very blog whose lives were profoundly changed for the better through military service. However the key is service at a low wage and learning discipline. Once you've completed that, you have the right to vote. No service, no vote. The process brings rich and poor, black and white, city people and country people together where they can better understand the value of teamwork, mutual hardship, and brotherhood. No entitled may vote without service.

EDUCATION - It's the great ladder that allows the poor to ascend in any society. The access to education needs to be universal. However only the valuable courses of study should be rewarded with a student loan. Unless you are studying hard science or business, no loan. No encouragement for grievance studies (womyn's studies; racial studies; basket weaving; social justice, etc.). I don't care if you want to study in a grievance major, the government should not encourage it with loans.


COMMENTS?

I'm sure that you who follow this blog have ideas as well, please feel free to add them to the list by commenting below:


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Elections Have Consequences

UN Resolution on Israel

The incoming US Administration has serious reservations about the utility of the United Nations. I expect that there will be far less money flowing into those anti-American coffers during President Donald Trump's term in office.
Secretary of State John (Wooden head) Kerry is defending the Obama administration’s decision to effectively allow the United Nations to condemn Israeli for attempting to build more settlements in the disputed West Bank, saying the “unprecedented” effort has spawned terrorism and violence that jeopardizes lasting peace in the region. 
The United States on Friday abstained from a U.N. Security Council vote to adopt a resolution condemning the Israel’s settlement expansion, which allowed for the measure’s passage and disapproval from incoming Republican President Donald Trump. 
“Things will be different after Jan. 20,” Trump tweeted minutes after the vote.
Even though American Jews overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom never had a problem tossing Israel under the bus, the incoming Trump Administration has stalwartly backed the State of Israel and pledged to build the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. As to the UN and governments that hate the US - elections have consequences.

It might be useful for Egypt to revisit the resolution and re-think their position. The same would be true for New Zealand, which supported it. I realize that NZ is a liberal enclave, but it never hurts to make friends with people who would normally be inclined to save your bacon. Right now, they're not making friends with the Trump Administration.

But back to the United Nations - there is a belief that the US wouldn't pull out and tell them all to take a flying leap. While that may not be the initial position of the Trump Administration - things could end up like that. What good is the UN really?

Progs Misunderstand
(CNN) They [meaning all of you unwashed scum in fly-over country, bitterly clinging to God and guns] are doing much better in terms of employment and income than they were a few years ago, but the kinds of jobs they enjoy seem less stable than in the heyday of unions, with fewer benefits and worse prospects for upward mobility. With rising education and health care costs, they worry about how their kids will do. 
This issue animated the supporters of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. The economic anxiety drove millions of voters to choose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, believing that a fundamental change to the status quo is now essential if their communities are ever going to be rebuilt.
Let's take this a point at a time.
  1. The Obama Labor Department changed the way that "unemployed" people were counted so only those actively receiving unemployment insurance are counted. There are 96,000,000 people out of the labor force, which means that they've figured a way to work under the table/off the grid or they're no longer even trying. Thus the employment statistics that Barack and friends brag about are completely gaffed to make them look good. That has not even begun to sink in inside of the Beltway but fly-over country understands it all too well.
  2. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (who has never been a Democrat) would have beat Hillary Clinton had she not been "coronated" by the Dems. The system was far more completely rigged against the old communist than it was against Donald Trump. That should have sent up warning rockets among the elitists who made up the Clinton staff, but the smug sense of entitlement to higher officer pervaded. The progs still don't get it, but there is far more that they don't understand than things that they do.
There is a wishful sense among the corrupt elite media moguls that President Trump will self-destruct and the angry white men who tilted the election for Trump will swing to support Elizabeth (Fake Indian) Warren or some other progressive icon. Magical thinking goeth before the fall, but the progs will drink their mocha-chino-espresso-lattes at $16+tip a pop inside the Washington Beltway as they prop up each other, making wild predictions that have nothing to do with facts.

Donald Trump's Qualifications

The academicians and the corrupt elite media continually rant on how unqualified Donald Trump is to be president without ever once considering that Barack (former drug dealer, community organizer) took political office without ever doing anything but be a scab on the ass of society.

Nobody who attended schools at the same time that he did recalls him present in class. The records or sealed or we'd see that he attended as a citizen of Indonesia. When Barack became a politician he didn't ever supervise anyone, never ran a business, never had to budget anything, never made a payroll, never built anything, and golfed a mediocre game.

Those same academicians and media acolytes point to Barack's election as "transformative" because he was 1/2 black, raised by a white mother (his absentee father was little more than a sperm donor) and white grandparents. How do you possibly square Barack's absence of qualifications in light of President Donald Trump who took a million dollars and turned it into a ten billion dollar empire?


Monday, December 26, 2016

Rumor of the White Wolf


It started with an anonymous gift that arrived in the mail -- a white wolf mask -- that was eerily transformative. (cue the background music)

Small, heroic, children held off the White Wolf as long as they were able, bravely defending hearth and home. They aggressively defended the gifts that Santa left under the tree.

The police investigation is still ongoing and the identity of the evil White Wolf is still undetermined. Law enforcement ascertained that the wolf also likes warm home made chocolate chip cookies.


.



Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Holiday Moves Forward


Seasonal Snapshots:

The LL Tree with presents this morning


My youngest daughter, Emilie on Christmas morning, wearing a very progressive unicorn onesie (right). It's the perfect gift for a rabid Trump supporter...

Thoughts on Christmas

Merry Christmas

There are so many voices out there that are arguing against today and I ask myself why anyone no matter who they are, could deny the need for hope, salvation, redemption, charity and joy. It's a time of expression of love, giving and a yearning for peace and good will. It's a celebration of that spark of divinity that exists in all of us and of our innate desire to make that spark grow.

I read an article written by a Christian who expressed concern at cultural appropriation of Christmas. I have no idea which rock that person crawled out from under, but it's just plain weird. The celebration of a debt of gratitude and of love, giving and sharing can not be culturally appropriated. It's there for all to participate in, choosing whatever method they wish to do so.

As a traditional man, I chose to celebrate with a decorated tree, with a creche, with presents, good food in very ample quantities, a fire in the hearth and surrounded by my children and grandchildren. Christmas is a celebration of life and charity that is best enjoyed by sharing. The scent of pine, of wassel warming on the stove, cinnamon rolls, and the brightly colored lights only serve to enhance that wish that love would abound in the same way on every single day of the year - in every home and in every life. Christmas is love as Christ was and is love. For God so loved the world...

I'm going to see Star Wars: Rogue One, tomorrow (12/26 - Boxing Day). I've tried to wrangle one of my daughters to go with me but they all have other plans. Such is the nature of the day-after-Christmas. However, once Star Wars is over, there is the Christmas clean-up from having everyone over. I will also go to store and buy flats of canned food to take to the homeless shelter since the shelves are always laid bare at Christmas, but the need continues. What better way to celebrate the Season?

Ok, you could sing, I guess.
I am hoping that Fredd (our fellow blogger) survives his Christmas visit to Aunt Sally and her famous bill of fare. Spirits of Ipecac with a charcoal chaser and Tums might be all that saves him. Good luck, Fredd. If you don't make it out of Houston, I'm sure that LSP would say a few words over your coffin. Maybe a reading of the Charge of the Light Brigade and some scripture. We could round up the Dallas Light Cavalry (Irregular) for a 21 gun salute to send you on your way to Valhalla. If Mrs. Fredd doesn't object, we could steal a rowboat and launch it down the Brazos on fire to give you a fitting ending. I can only hope that the obit is premature.
Meanwhile at the White House, the celebration continues:



















And because I have a heart (after a fashion anyway), I offer a prescription for the progs who are still smarting from a devastating loss in the elections:












Saturday, December 24, 2016

Joy to the World

Entertainers in Hollywood and elsewhere have refused to perform for the inauguration of the forty-fifth President of the United States of America. The Trump committee reached out to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and they agreed to participate. Thus they are featured here on this day of days.

Forward deployment on a military ship means that the 24/7 cycle that is the life of a ship at sea is one of those things that can not change. Not even for a day. The section may gather for a turkey dinner when it's their turn to eat, and somebody may offer a blessing on the food and a prayer for the occasion, but that's it. The comfort of family, hearth and home is a missing ingredient.

As a retired Lieutenant Commander (1130) in the US Navy, my heart goes out to shipmates.

So it is to those men and women who are on the line that my thoughts and prayers turn on this most propitious of days as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. My thanks go out along with my prayers for their continued safety as they travel in harm's way.


"I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)" is a traditional and popular Christmas carol from England. The earliest printed version of "I Saw Three Ships" is from the 17th century, possibly Derbyshire, and was also published by William Sandys in 1833. I selected this song to launch the Christmas Eve blog posting of Peace of Earth and Good Will to All, because of my Navy heritage and service.

Wenceslaus II
The lyrics mention the ships sailing into Bethlehem, but the nearest body of water is the Dead Sea,  about 20 miles away. The reference to three ships is thought to originate in the three ships that bore the purported relics of the magi to the Cologne Cathedral  in the 12th century. Another possible reference is to Wenceslaus II, King of Bohemia, who bore a coat of arms "Azure three galleys argent". Another suggestion is that the ships are actually the camels used by the Magi, as camels are frequently referred to as "ships of the desert".


Please remember our men and women in uniform who are manning our defenses as the rest of us take the day to celebrate the birth of the savior, Jesus Christ. The US Air Force Band does flash mobs at the Air and Space Museum every Christmas time and they're all searchable on YouTube. This one from 2013 (their first) is my favorite.




I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

There was a Christmas miracle in Walmart:




Friday, December 23, 2016

Postmortem (8 year retrospective)

Now knows what "no hope" feels like.
Wakes up every morning in a house
built by slaves. -- well not for long.
Various news outlets and the Child of Hope/Son of Promise himself have said that the last eight years in the Obama Whitehouse have been scandal free. Progs, never known for being all that bright, have very convenient memories.

  • The ACORN Scandal
  • Appointing "czars" to go around Congressionally approved cabinet secretaries.
  • Operation Fast and Furious Scandal
  • Mass executive orders instead of going through the process of having Congress make appropriate laws.
  • The Benghazi Scandal
  • The IRS Scandal 
  • DOJ Targeting the News Media to root out 'disloyalty' within the corrupt, elite, media
  • Barack and Michelle were outed as the first gay and transgender couple to occupy the White House, and Joan Rivers died a couple of weeks later (conspiracy theorists point to murder).
  • NSA Mass Surveillance Scandal
  • Iran Ransom for Hostages Scandal
  • The Iran Nuclear Deal - a Scandal all its own where a treaty was concluded with a pen and a phone outside of the US Senate's approval.
  • EPA Scandal (poisoned the Animus River in Colorado)
  • The Obama Sissy Boy work-out Scandal
  • Secret Service Prostitute Scandal (in Colombia)
  • GSA Scandal - busted for spending $823K on a lavish conference in Las Vegas.
  • Hillary Clinton E-Mail Scandal, where Russia hacked her server and read America's secrets.
  • Fake Russian Scandal/Trump Election Landslide
  • Climate Hoax Scandal (still unfolding)
There will be more of these when the skulduggery of the past eight years comes out under the Trump Administration's scrutiny.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Comfort and Joy

The NORKS...Again

The North Koreans are reportedly preparing to put the People's submarine out to sea for a Christmas missile launch. Commercial satellite imagery showed ambiguous signs that North Korea’s GORAE-class, experimental, ballistic missile submarine is preparing to depart Sinpo. According to the imagery analysts at 38 North, the netting that usually covers the submarine and a submersible test barge has been removed. 

There are many reasons the netting would be removed, but it is always removed before leaving port. Last week, open sources reported that North Korean engineers conducted land-based testing of the KN-11 submarine launched ballistic missile. In that context, a departure for an at-sea test should be expected.

The Norks don't celebrate Christmas so in their typical Grinch-like behavior, they want to ruin it for a lot of other people by causing them to have to work on Christmas. 

Snow in Syria

Fourteen Turkish soldiers were killed and 33 wounded in clashes with the Islamic State (ISIL) fighters at al Bab in northern Syria. Turkey claimed its forces killed 138 ISIL fighters.
“Once this area has been seized, Daesh’s (ISIL) dominance of al-Bab will, to a large extent, be broken,” it said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for the group. ISIL was using suicide bombers and vehicle-borne explosives intensively, it added.
Syrian news services report that the evacuation of Aleppo continued on 21 December despite a snowstorm. Government forces have halted movements to enter the last rebel neighborhoods until the evacuees are gone. After that President Asad is expected to declare the liberation of Aleppo complete.

This is the highest number of casualties the Turks sustained since President Erdogan sent Turkish Army units into northern Syria on 24 August. The ISIL fighters at al Bab have put up stiffer resistance than the Turks expected. Thus far, the Turk’s so-called anti-terror campaign, Operation Euphrates Shield, has faltered as clashes occurred beyond the immediate border. Al Bab is about 18 miles from the Turkish border.

Contemporary Observations for Thor's Day


Doubling Down on Progressive Voting

As the holidays approach, things become more desperate. Los Angeles County Supervisors, in a bid to retain their voting base (illegal aliens vote in LA),  the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to waste $3 million from the PEOPLE's TREASURY on lawyers for illegal immigrants/wetbacks/undocumented persons.

I have been cautioned that some people find that my observations make others feel uncomfortable. 

Illegal aliens/wetbacks/undocumented persons who aren't in the US legally and pay no taxes, receive full benefits and are allowed to vote in a system that requires no certified identification. Meanwhile taxpayers/earners drive on crumbling roads filled with potholes, eat crappy casseroles to make ends meet and buy cheap Christmas presents made in China for their children. (Maybe that's why so many of them voted for Trump?)

Melt-Down

The corrupt elite media is still in melt-down mode that Donald J. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States and that his cabinet picks signal a reversal of the Obama Years. 

We hear the word "impeachment" thrown around a lot by the progs even though President Trump has not taken office yet. That's clearly the next axis of attack. Social justice warriors say that President Trump will be acting in conflict of interest even though US law indicates that a president has immunity from those laws - and always has had. But never fear. When do you know a prog who actually followed the law? They prefer to guide the nation with 'feelings'. And not just any feelings - their feelings - only theirs. Nobody else's. That's what passes for inclusion the prog world and if you disagree with them, you're a racist homophobe.

The progs insist that they're just getting ready to throw him out - and replace him with Vice President Pence, who is more hard-line in almost all respects than President Trump. I bought a twelve-pack of microwave popcorn the other day.

The Friendly Skies

No, I don't fly on United Airlines unless there is absolutely no other option. But to the point, I've been jet-setting around this holiday season because that's how I make money. I have been vetted by everyone, I have a TSA Pre-Check certification, a US Customs and Border Enforcement SENTRI card, I am certified by Global Entry, I carry other retired credentials from when I worked for a living, I carry a passport book and a passport card with an RFID chip in it, etc.

TSA bounced me off pre-check into the herd and I found myself standing in long lines to take off my belt and get wanded and then patted down anyway.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (over)?

I asked a TSA official why my status wasn't recognized. She said it was because of heightened concern of a terrorist attack. She said that because they can't profile passengers, they essentially are screwing with everyone despite credentials that can be verified 100%. And this is the problem. The only effective way to screen passengers is to profile them. The Israelis figured this out many decades ago. When is the last time an El Al jet was blown up or hijacked, and they are target one? Even the Germans profile. They profiled me to death the last time that I flew through Frankfurt. I'm fine with that. But the reality is that Muslims and more particularly military age Muslim males account for somewhere on the order of 100% of the security problems that airlines have.
A few years ago I traveled to Athens with a Middle Eastern Muslim male who is the very poster child of a terrorist. The Dutch stripped him to his birthday suit just for shits and giggles and harassed me because I had been seen speaking with him. I don't blame them. That's precisely what they should be doing, but TSA is uncomfortable with that.
When is the last time that a sixty year old white male who has been vetted, screened and probed his entire life and can prove it caused a problem in the air from his seat in first class? I didn't even complain when the shrimp salad on American Airlines was wilted and a bit nasty. The pasta on the shrimp salad was maggot sized and I looked hard to make sure that they didn't move before trying to eat it. And even THEN, I didn't complain, but I asked for two hot chocolate chip cookies by way of compensation -- but that's it.

I get up from my aisle seat to let the person who has the window seat piddle and never complain. I just want to get the flight over so I can do what I need to do and return home.

But TSA, which misses 95% of guns, knives and bombs in testing, insists on screwing with the very people who would work to thwart a hijacking if one were to take place.

Ok, I got that off my chest. Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Lave sus Manos and all that fancy stuff.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

International Update

Returning the US Navy's Drone
Two Viewpoints
On Tuesday, 20 December, China returned the US Navy the underwater drone that it captured on 15 December in the South China Sea off the coast of Luzon.
China's Perspective
According to a statement by the Ministry of National Defense, the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) was returned in a smooth hand-off at noon, following amicable discussions on the matter. The handover occurred in international waters some 90 kilometers northwest of the Philippines' Subic Bay, near the area in the South China Sea where the drone was captured last Thursday. 

A Chinese military commentator on TV said that, although China returned the drone, “the Chinese side had made clear that any close-in reconnaissance or military surveys in waters that China claimed would again be stopped.”

The quick return of the drone signifies that the Chinese leadership judges that they have conveyed the proper message to the US and that they consider the incident closed. 
US Perspective
The US version of the transfer was less upbeat than the Chinese Ministry's statement. 

The most destabilizing aspect of this incident is that the Chinese seized the drone outside their own sea claims and only 50 nautical miles off the coast of the Philippines. Technically, the drone was in international waters within the Philippine exclusive economic zone. 

The Chinese justified their seizure of the drone by claiming they removed a threat to navigational safety. Arguably, they committed an act of piracy. The real message is they will seize US assets if they are used to spy on sensitive Chinese facilities. China has injected a new dimensional of unpredictability in routine peacetime military activities in the South China Sea.

Those facts reinforce our judgment that the seizure was a deliberate act to make a statement about Chinese operating areas and capabilities. Open sources have not reported the level of government or who in the Chinese navy chain of command authorized the seizure.

The US does not consider the incident closed and there will be repercussions at a time of America's choosing. The US will use methods and sources to assert not only freedom of navigation but to one-up the Chinese. This may not happen soon, but it will surely happen - likely after January 20, during the Trump Administration. China will be outraged but it only has itself to blame.

Singapore 

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) published an analytical comparison of China’s handling of the drone incident with the US and its handling of a somewhat similar maritime dispute with Singapore. (see CNN report)

Chinese authorities have held nine Singaporean Army Terrex wheeled armored personnel carriers in custody in Hong Kong since late November. The vehicles were being returned to Singapore after completion of training on Taiwan under a military cooperation agreement between Singapore and Taiwan. Chinese authorities said they seized the vehicles because of irregularities with their papers.

The SCMP reported that the Chinese seized the vehicles and have held them because Singapore has not provided assurances that it respects the “One China” principle. The paper reported no progress in securing the release of the troop carriers.

Singapore has had training arrangements with Taiwan, Brunei, the US, Australia and other British Commonwealth countries. It regularly ships Singaporean military equipment to the training sites because of Singapore’s lack of large training ranges and facilities. 

A standoff such as this occurred in 2010, but involved a South Korean armored vehicle. It lasted 51 days, according to SCMP. The Chinese are serious about preventing actions that imply that Taiwan is not part of China.

Syrian Civil War

Iran-Turkey-Russia: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said at a joint news conference in Moscow on 20 December that Russia, Iran and Turkey will help reach a peace agreement between Syrian president Bashar Asad and the opposition. The three foreign ministers professed support for relevant UN Security Council resolutions and promised to work with the US-led coalition to secure the peace.

For now, the next steps in settling the Syrian civil war are in the hands of three unlikely partners. Their national interests are divergent, bordering on antithetical. Nevertheless, they possess in common a strong interest in defeating the Islamic State and in ending the Syrian civil war. 

They might not succeed any more than the Western powers, who led the crisis diplomacy just two years ago, before the arrival of the Russians. The rebel groups remain as fractious as ever, as exemplified by their lack of agreement on leaving Aleppo. In addition, Syrian President Asad is as sensitive as ever to real or perceived slights to Syrian sovereignty. The obstacles do not detract from the deft Russian political and diplomatic maneuvering, which has sidelined the US-led alliance and the Arab states for now. There are few recent precedents for such a near complete reversal of political leadership in the middle of a hot crisis. 

ISIS

Following the loss of Aleppo, Syria, ISIS struck in Germany, Turkey and Jordan, demonstrating that they are retaliatory attacks to show that the Islamic State remains an international threat that does not require territory to advance its cause.

The corrupt elite news media did not recover the incident in Jordan. On 20 December gunmen killed four Jordanian policemen in a shootout in Karak. This is the second deadly clash with terrorists in Karak in three days. On Sunday, 18 December, 10 people were killed in an attack, including seven policemen. Authorities said 34 people were wounded. 

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on the 18th, saying it was carried out by four "soldiers of the caliphate" who used machine-guns and hand grenades. The statement said the jihadist assault targeted Jordanian "apostate" security forces and citizens of the US-led coalition battling the jihadists in Syria and Iraq. It also pledged to carry out further assaults on ountries within the US-led coalition. 

Germany

The national policy of accepting military age male refugees and putting them on state welfare and accepting their (traditional Muslim) bad behavior will become the dominant theme in German politics in 2017. The truck attack on the Christmas market has outraged national sentiment even further. Prime Minister Merkle is likely to remain in power in Berlin, but national outrage will strain her position.

I don't intend to suggest a course of action for Germany. They should be smart enough to know that allowing savages to settle in their nation is a bad idea. Charles Martel dealt with it at the Battle of Tours in 782, and the German people would do well to review history in terms of CAUSE and EFFECT.

The Future of American Involvement in the UN

Editorial Note: Before I go forward on the issue of the future of American involvement in the United Nations, I would like to welcome our readers from France. Google stats show that on any given day we receive roughly equal viewing from Russia and the US and only slightly less from France. Please feel free to comment and join the discussion. In the coming year, there will be more international discussions of issues in Africa that are of special interest to French foreign policy.

Now, What about the U. N.?

Reading tea leaves is not my speciality and neither is casting runes. The future has a way of surprising us all. From the caption (above) you will be able to divine that I am only presenting a view of one possible scenario. 

The UN is many things to many people. It provides justification when the public needs a sop and it's something to be ignored (as with China and it's domination of the South China Sea) when you want to. When we're discussing Ukraine or Crimea, Russia too ignores what is inconvenient to face in the way of UN resolutions. That is because the United Nations is a paper tiger that the US has been feeding with no significant results, for a very long time. President Trump has signaled on several occasions that dumping money into that institution has been a waste of effort by the US, and that our commitment needs to be revisited.
“The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It’s not a friend to freedom,”Donald Trump said at the AIPAC conference in Washington. “It’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where as all know, it has its home. And it surely isn’t a friend to Israel.” 
Donald Trump repeatedly received resounding rounds of applause during his AIPAC speech – a feat many Repubican establishment types said would not happen. The front runner said any United Nations deal to force an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians should be blocked because it further de-legitimatizes Israel, the Hill reports. 
“The Palestinians want a state, but they have to give peace in return. What they’re trying to do in the United Nations is to get a state without giving Israel peace,” Trump concluded.
The U.N. General Assembly has a regular operating budget of $5.4 billion for the 2016-17 period. (That budget is calculated biannually.) Of the $2.7 billion earmarked for 2016, the U.S. will account for 22 percent, or $594 million.

Of the separate peacekeeping budget – $8.27 billion for the year ending June 30 – the U.S. is liable for 28.5783 percent, or $2.363 billion. Combined, the two U.S. contributions amount to just under $3 billion.

In actual fact the full extent of U.S. funding for the U.N. system will be considerably more than that: The $2.957 billion figure comprises the U.S. “assessed contributions” to the two main budgets, but the U.S. in addition provides much more in “voluntary contributions” to a range of U.N. agencies.
The last time the administration was obliged by law to provide Congress with a full breakdown, the total for fiscal year 2010 was $7.69 billion. The reporting requirement fell away in 2011.
Expect that the Trump Administration will want the full breakdown by line-item and will likely reduce the total amount of our contribution to be pared back to the basic $594 million in dues, a savings to the US taxpayer of $7 billion per year that presently goes down a rat hole.

From a Trump point of view, $7 billion applied to any one of a number of challenging issues on the domestic agenda would make life at home in the US better.

I agree with this (anticipated) move by the Trump Administration. I'd also suggest that we move the entire UN to Brussels and turn the New York Rockefeller building to private use. I don't know if the Trump Administration would do that in a first term -- but maybe in a second?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Changing It

I can't think of anything that Barack did that I wouldn't want President Trump to un-do. Since he used his pen and his phone to do most of it (except for ObamaCare that collapsed under it own weight), we're fortunate.


Hollywood Actors for Trump

A group of Hollywood actors who once opposed the Trump Presidency now support it.

Being a Wolf


Berlin truck jihadi who smashed through a Christmas market, killing 9 and wounding 50, was found to be a Pakistani Muslim who entered Germany as refugee. And while you register shock that somebody who was part of the religion of peace would do that, let me suggest that German friends of mine who called me from there soon after the attack, are getting very tired of the refugees. It's not safe for women to go out -- anywhere because of aggressive (unemployed - on the govt. dole) military age Muslim males who attack them.

I'm not suggesting that Germany will follow Britain, Austria, Italy and the US in selecting a new leader who will put an end to the BS, but they're tired of the human lice who have infested their nation.

There is a way to deal with jihadis, and it's either to restrict them to the hell holes they call home or to kill them if they leave. And if that sounds a bit on the harsh side, too bad. Barack says that if we kill all jihadis, we will create more jihadis. My answer: Good, more targets. Eventually they will run out - likely before we run out of bullets. Strip their nations of oil to pay for war reparations. 

Barack and his progs have been reluctant to do much of anything because of a soft spot in their hearts for Muslim jihadis. I don't think that the Russians see things the same way that the jihadis do. After the assassination of their ambassador in Turkey yesterday, the game just becomes more earnest to them. 

The Trump Doctrine will be to eradicate them with extreme prejudice no matter where they hide. That will likely be criticized by the NY Times, the Washington Post and the rest of the corrupt, elite media. Barack, as a talking head on MSNBC will be critical too. 
I had a very different military experience from that which most people are familiar with. It's not a bad thing, just a different thing. In the navy I was supercargo instead of crew and on the battlefield, almost everything I did was with a handful of brothers - or fewer. It offers a different perspective and the experience lends itself to confidence without having a large logistics train in tow. Therefore my frame of reference is not to Big Navy or Big Army or the Green Marine Machine. Marines, even force recon Marines, are still Marines and while that's a good thing, it often stifles experimentation and instant exploitation of opportunities. I believe that we need to foster that way of thinking in the future and let slip the dogs of war with few restrictions on the rules of engagement. It's the only way that I know of to eliminate the threat wherever it exists on the planet. And if a few eggs are broken making the omelet, so be it. Too bad/so sad. However the rules need to be changed regarding "human rights abuses" where terrorists are involved. People will die hard and that offends so many tender feelings in the press and elsewhere.
More on the Trump Doctrine: "Our hearts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims of today’s horrifying terror attack in Berlin. Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. Isis and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad."

"These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners." "The civilized world must change their thinking."