sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Good Time Charlie

He's Admiral of the Fleet, a Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. Lest anyone doubt him, he's also a genius. Just ask him. Don't take my word for it.

However, without the benefit of the circumstances of his birth, would he be able to hold the position of bar steward in a knocking shop? I have my doubts that he has the stamina to pull pints all night. One knows that to be a proper barman, he'd have to come up with a joke or a wry saying from time to time. I doubt that he could do that either - and since he spends from the Queen's pot, could he ever learn to make change? Still the close set eyes, the weak chin and the dim bulb of personality mean that maybe he could sweep up at the knocking shop?

HMS Bronington
During his two-year active service period with the Royal Navy, the Prince of Wales commanded HMS Bronington, a Ton Class Minsweeper launched in 1953. It's not much of a command as naval vessels go, but you'd expect that the experience of command would have endeared the Prince to his old ship, whose fate he was master of in 1976.

After being decommissioned from service, the ship was purchased in January 1989 by the Bronington Trust, owned by the Prince. On 17 March 2016, she sank at her moorings, and was subsequently scrapped. The Admiral of the Fleet was not known to shed much of a tear about the ship -- anymore than he cared about Diana Spencer, his wife and his better in every possible measurable way.
Did the Royals have Diana killed? I don't think that they did a Hillary, but you never really know. They certainly had motive and opportunity.
The British public doesn't think much of Charlie. There'd been talk that his son, William, would take the crown when mom died. However, hubris being what it is, he now really wants to be king because he wants to 'shake things up a bit'.  The retarded cousin becomes king -- it's too much like the Obama Presidency for comfort. 

It's tough to take it all seriously when the Field Marshall has never made his own bed, or managed to whip up beans-on-toast for his supper.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Queen Lizzie

Our British cousins are inordinately proud of their new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales (under construction). 

It's been a big cost to them and a big risk, because a lot of the brain trust that operated aircraft carriers at sea - is gone and retired. Aircraft carriers require a significant number of trained people to make them work. If the crew is not ready for prime time,  the ships don't work. If you don't believe me, ask the Russians or the Chinese. To the credit of the Brits, they get it and the ship won't be operational until 2021 or 2022 even though it's essentially complete now.

Prince of Wales should be operational two or three years later.

The UK linked its 65,000 ton carriers to the US-made F-35B (STOL) fighter, which will make up the fixed-wing portion of its air wing. 
The UK will buy a grand total of 17 F-35B fighter jets between 2020 and 2022 – and acquiring the A model of the supersonic stealth fighter hasn’t been ruled out. 
The American government announced on Wednesday the awarding of F-35 production lots 12, 13 and 14 to Lockheed Martin.  
Between January and December 2020 the Royal Navy will receive three F-35Bs, with this number rising to six more being handed over in 2021 and eight in 2022. The approval doc added that these could be “other such quantities or variants as may be authorised by the Ministry of Defence.”
There has been some discussion as to whether the Queen Elizabeth will carry 14 or 16 F-35's, but pessimists suggest that the number will be closer to 12. They will be flown by a MIXTURE of RAF and Royal Navy aviators because the Royal Navy is short of qualified jet pilots.

I received a personal tour of the Queen Elizabeth last week but had to sign my life away to the Official Secrets Act, so won't be commenting beyond what's in print. Basic fitting out will take place in home waters and more advanced sea trials will take place off the US Coast in order to better take advantage of US skill sets to work with their British counterparts. 

All indications are that the two new aircraft carriers will be capable even with their small air wings. I can't comment on future intentions the British may have to use advanced unmanned aircraft.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Sermonette (a commentary)

Taking a cruise on the Thames on bank 
holiday - because that's what you do when
you're a on vacation. Or so it was explained.
A Better Mousetrap

I passed by Lambeth Palace while driving around downtown London on Sunday bank holiday today. I would have gone in, but they charge you if you want to go into the church. I must say that's more efficient than the way that the parsonage does it in Texas.

It's something like ten quid to walk  The Archbishop is said to be a pillar of piety and occasionally hands out pennies to the poor when the cameras are rolling. It made me wonder if the archbishop and his apparatchiks ever actually read of the life of Christ in the Bible. I'm not taking a shot at Anglicans, but it did strike me as strange.


There is a certain logic to British-favored sports. Rugby was designed to be played in a mud-wallow and even though it hasn't rained on me since I've been in Old Blighty, it does rain (just not on me). I'm surprised that basketball isn't more popular here. Basketball was designed to be played by tall Africans -- indoors. The Brits have a LOT of Africans and a lot of indoors.

Fleecing the Cousins

I made a bit of money (all of it had pictures of the Queen on it but it spends) through personal bets on the recent fight between McGregor and Mayweather. At the officer's club at HMNB Devonport, there were lots of men watching and it only took a few veiled, snide comments directed toward the general "manhood" of the homeland. The Brits had to bet on the hometown boy at his first professional match and I bet on the boxer. No, I didn't offer odds. This was about national pride. Commodore Shipperley's Chief Warrant held the betting markers to insure that everyone paid up, as is expected of gentlemen.

There you have it.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Exploring Clifton Moore

Back Story: While on walk-about an interesting part-time consulting job popped up. It’s a collaborative effort between USGOV and HMGOV that is being played out at Aberdeen Proving Ground (just up HWY 95 from Baltimore, MD) in the US and at RAF Spadedam, a base just east of Carlisle, England. Would I be interested in participating? Maybe. Depends. Convince me.

This led to a “house hunting” trip within striking distance of RAF Spadedam. “What sort of area do you fancy?” Naturally I like historic towns, small medieval places that provide an opportunity for some research and exploration. “There is new residential construction going on in Clifton, just south of Penrith and you could commute on the train to Carlisle or just drive (it’s not that far). The new homes are spacious and have two-car garages.” 

The Rebel Tree, surrounded by a tract of new homes.
We arrived at the homes, at Clifton, which were quite nice. Some were complete, some still under construction. Next to the homes was a large tree, fenced off. “That’s the Rebel Tree, where the last battle between the Scots and English took place on English soil (the Battle of Culloden took place four months later in the Highlands).” 

“Fly fishing on the Eden is popular for young salmon and sea trout (steelhead).”

“The women of Penrith are known for their beauty and their sensual nature.” Don't press it. "Too much?" Yes, a bit. 

“The chippy in downtown Penrith won the award for the best fish and chips in Great Britain in 2014.”

Is this an offer of an extended vacation in the English Lake District (Keswick is a few miles farther inland on the Eden) or will there be work involved?

So I'm at this tree that is having homes built up around it. The English don't think that the 600 year old oak with the Jacobites buried under it is all that important, but the builder was compelled to put up a sign (left).

Historical Context: The Romans expanded throughout Britain by building roads. Where the road met a river it needed to be bridged. If there was a bridge, which caused a choke point in their lines of supply, communication and reinforcement, there needed to be a fortification to hold the bridge. The River Eden provided one of those situations and the Roman Road, fort and bridge led to the creation of Penrith. Clifton Moor is just south of Penrith astride the Roman Road. 

Vikings settled the Penrith area during their time of occupation in the 600-900 AD timeframe but not much is left of their time in charge except the genetic material that they contributed to the population. In 1412 (+/-) The English build a castle tower at Penrith.

fast forward

In December of 1745, the Scots under Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles I) were retreating from Derby and his Jacobite Army was crossing the Eden by the old Roman Bridge. Sensing an opportunity, on December 18 The Duke of Cumberland, commanding the English forces, moved up to cut the Scots off. The Battle of Clifton Moor was a skirmish between his advance forces and the Scottish rear guard, commanded by the Chief of the MacDonald of Glengarry Clan. The Scots were defeated at the Battle of Culloden, four months later on April 16, 1746 in Scotland and that ended the Jacobite rising.

The skirmish between advance and rear guards proved inconclusive. About a dozen men on each side were killed by musketry. The English Army retained control of the ground and buried the Scots near the Rebel Tree in a mass grave. They buried their own soldiers in ‘hallowed ground’ at the church in Penrith.

Present Day: The photo is of me finding an old plaque to the fallen Jacobites, just laying face down under the tree. (depressing really)

What am I going to do about the opportunity? I'll mull it over. I have a lot going on with the White Wolf Mine project in Arizona and a number of other different work gigs. I may become involved at a much less engaged way than friends of mine suggested would be optimal to them.

It might get me back to the Rebel Tree to see how it all looks once the houses are built around it. Will it be a children's playground? I can't say.

The site of the skirmish, across the Roman Road from where
the rebels were tossed in a mass grave. It's a cow pasture today.
This marker remains at the battle site.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Time Capsule

Excavation began at the White Wolf Mine (Coconino National Forrest, AZ) last week while I'm out of the country. Sometime next spring the work will be complete. It's definitely a journey. I'm thinking about sinking a small time capsule on the property on the day the compound is complete, to be opened in fifty years or more. 

I doubt that the property will still be in family hands by then, but you never know. I could theoretically still be alive but the odds are firmly against it. 

The house will be built to last for at least 100 years and absent some cataclysm, it will still be standing.

The question for you all is what would YOU drop into a time capsule - to be opened in 50 or 100 years? And is 50 years enough, or should it be a longer period of time?

What sort of capstone should be placed over the capsule? I have one potential (above right), but even I'm not THAT much of a cynic. I'm willing to spend money on the project, so it's not a budget time capsule.

What is significant now that may be of interest then?

We looked back 100 years on this blog last week and at the profound changes that have taken place. In 100 years we'll be reaching for the stars or we'll be back to sticks and stones. Cast the chicken bones if you will, but the future is always a foggy place. 

Please contribute your ideas and suggestions. 

I'm thinking that a President Donald J. Trump commemorative coin will be the first thing that I'll dump in the capsule.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Laying-Up in Edinburgh

The Digs
I'm laying up in Edinburgh, getting adjusted to the time change from US Pacific Time Zone to GMT, before the party starts. So far, so good. 9:42 am GMT at this point. Shave, shower and so forth accomplished and I'm ready to head out and be the miserable SOB you all know that I am.

Last night the Edinburgh Military Tattoo was held under a CLOUDLESS SKY. Thus the command presence is revealed. As an editorial note, the Tattoo would have gone off even in the rain, and because it rains every day when I'm not here, I guess that it's par for the course. When I lived in this part of the world it rained on me constantly, but I was younger then. Now, I have the weather cooperating (for the moment). 

The flat where I'm acclimating is toward the Firth from the Caledonian Hotel (west) end of Princess St, off Queen's Ferry (for you old Scotland hands). I can't see the castle from the flat, but I can if I walk out the door, down the street and turn a corner. You'll note that there were clouds over the castle when I took the photo. 'nobody's perfect'...

Edinburgh Castle
The Tattoo (stock footage - too dark to take a photo with my cell phone)
So I'm sitting here, drinking my Irn Bru, and checking in with all of you. (I think that I'm becoming a poet)

And speaking of poetry and art philosophy, I did stop into a local pub and say that drinks were on the house thanks to Jules Smith (prominent art philosopher). That and a hundred quid (pub was almost empty) did the trick! It works. Whenever you're in the UK, give it a go yourself.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

On Walk-About

While the world is going to hell in a hand basket...

I'm headed to the UK for a couple of weeks and will be hanging with some of the buddies I made when I lived there (mumbles) years ago. There will be visits to bases at Plymouth and Credenhill in Herefordshire as part of a 40th Anniversary for a motley crew of seconded American officers. I may post the odd blog or I may not. I have no plans either way. 

The weather report calls for rain and I'm hoping that my command presence will cause the clouds to roll back and the sun to shine. However, being less prone to hubris (having had my butt kicked by it too many times), I am bringing an umbrella, a rain coat, Wellington boots...and warm clothes. I have no plans to wear the kilt, though I'm sure that I'd look 'fabulous' wearing one.

Speaking of kilts...

One must-do during the visit is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I see that they're practicing for my arrival. That's decent of them. There are pipe bands that parade on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh City Festival. This is the Black Watch, and the last time that I was there I recall the Gordons. By this point you should be thinking to yourself - LL likes bagpipes. That is the case. I also like Edinburgh. The Scots often look down their noses at Edinburgh because tourists congregate there. I get it. It's still fun. And while nobody ruins good food like the British, the Islands are still the only place to get proper fish and chips and a few other personal LL favorites.

Getting there is said to be half the fun, so I'm flying "upper class" on Virgin Atlantic to get in the mood. 

In a telephone call to the widow of a good friend this morning I was informed that a pie shop that I liked in Carlisle was replace by  --  A SANDWICH BAR. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot? Have they gone mad in my absence? I may need to go to Keswick to get a steak pie in the Lake District.

After all of these years, it must be possible to get a proper root beer float in the UK? I asked around and the 'answer is still no'. It's the litmus test for culture. I recall making sloppy joes and serving them to my British friends and forcing them to eat them with their hands (not with a knife and fork). The comment ran that "they're so sloppy". Yes, that's the genius isn't it?

LL, training with the DLC
Cuisine aside and culture notwithstanding, I'm sure that it will be fun.

LSP - And I will explain that the Dallas Light Cavalry (DLC) unit is a mixed Anglo-American outfit. So I'm still not completely divorced from the 'old country'. No it's not the SAS or 62 Commando, but it's still comprised of a worthy bunch of cut-throats who know precisely where to fish for striped bass.

The barracks in Hillsboro, TX is run with an iron fist, and as with The Irish Guards, it has its own blue mascot that accompanies troops on parade.

Meanwhile, Back at Work
Note to John D. - Randy said we should be up and running in Texas by the time I get back. If true, we're going to have to strong-arm LSP into showing us where that fishing hole is.

I leave you all with this: (Jacobites vs Redcoats)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Follies

OPLAN 5027

(Wikipedia) It began about two months ago with the US quietly moving pieces around the chessboard to be prepared for a North Korean attack on South Korea, Japan, or US Territories (Saipan, Guam, etc.) The OPLAN is in its essence, a logistics activity in its initial phase(s) The military calls it the "Time-Phased Force and Deployment List," or TPFDL.

It includes moving anti-ballistic missile assets to places where they will be needed and to pre-position US aircraft to strike North Korea. I don't know how close to complete the US is and wouldn't write it down if I knew, but we all have seen this coming and the Pentagon started the ball rolling some time ago.

The Trump Chicken

The liberal move to try to embarrass President Trump failed again, as the president accepted the logo.

h/t daily time waster 
Have a great Friday and a glorious weekend.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Warnings and Intentions

North Korea offered a clarification of its statement on August 8th, wherein they explained that Guam was a current target being considered. The clarification is that they plan to launch four Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missiles at Guam later in August as a warning to the United States of America. 
“As already clarified, the Strategic Force of the KPA is seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the US.” 
“On Tuesday, the KPA Strategic Force through a statement of its spokesman fully warned the US against its all-round sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and moves of maximizing military threats to it.”

“But the US president at a gold (should be “golf”) links again let out a load of nonsense about ‘fire and fury,’ failing to grasp the on-going grave situation.”

“This is extremely getting on the nerves of the infuriated Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA. It seems that he has not yet understood the statement.”

“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him. This is the judgment made by the service personnel of the KPA Strategic Force.”

“The military action the KPA is about to take will be an effective remedy for restraining the frantic moves of the US in the southern part of the Korean peninsula and its vicinity.”

“The Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA Strategic Force are replete with a strong determination to fully demonstrate once again the invincible might of the force, which has developed into a reliable nuclear force of the Workers' Party of Korea and the world's strongest strike service, through the planned enveloping strike targeting the U.S. imperialist bases of aggression.”

“The Strategic Force is also considering the plan for opening to public the historic enveloping fire at Guam, a practical action targeting the U.S. bases of aggression.”

“This unprecedented step is to give stronger confidence in certain victory and courage to the Korean people and help them witness the wretched plight of the U.S. imperialists.”

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan. They will fly 3 356.7 km for 1 065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam.”

“The KPA Strategic Force will finally complete the plan until mid-August and report it to the commander-in-chief of the DPRK nuclear force and wait for his order.”

“We keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the US.”
Hwasong-12 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile
The format and content of the statement above, the description of the Hwasong rocket salvo, etc., follows the pattern of pre-launch rhetoric that we saw on their ballistic missile launches of  4 and 28 July. 

It is a pre-launch warning notices to mariners, aircraft and to Japan that North Korea intends to launch missiles over Japan into the Pacific so as to bracket Guam sometime after mid-August. That is a normal requirement of international law. It means that Guam is in a North Korean closure area.

Under Kim Jong Un, one characteristic of the ballistic missile and nuclear programs is that the North Koreans have done what they said they would do, except for the nuclear detonation in April 2017. 

Kim’s reflexive reaction to US actions, such as military exercises or the UN Security Council's recent sanctions (which they blame on the US) has been to escalate with sharp rhetoric and to take physical action – launch missiles -- without going to war.

Kim probably judges that he can launch a salvo of missiles without warheads which bracket Guam and that the US will not retaliate by striking North Korea. The North Korean diplomatic corps has hinted at "setting the mood" for talks and this may be one way that Kim Jong Un plans to prepare for talks where it makes demands of the US, which will cower in fear after the launch of 4 IRBM's at Guam.

In the mind of the corpulent boy king, Kim Jong Un (the only fat man in North Korea), firing missiles over Japan at Guam, if given fair warning, is an acceptable demonstration of capacity and is not a declaration of war. The North Koreans have not made moves to mobilize the civilian work force, which will disrupt agricultural production. Their war plans call for protecting the work force in fall out shelters before war. That sort of disruption is very expensive and will risk starvation during the winter (unless China bails them out).

US Reaction

I'm just looking at dove entrails here. I could be wrong. But...

A shoot-down of the missiles would be a fair way of USGov to explain through actions how it feels and may not trigger a war, but this sort of behavior by China's client state is exceptionally dangerous. If the missiles should hit Guam or go off course and hit Japan, there would likely be a US retaliatory strike. If the missiles are about to hit Guam and are shot down, there would likely be a US retaliatory strike. The North Koreans have stated that any retaliation for their behavior would mean war on the Korean Peninsula. For the North Koreans, that means their first use of nuclear weapons or gas weapons, which means the same thing to the US. The US would likely respond in kind and there we go.

Japanese Reaction

Japan stated that it would shoot down missiles flying over its territory aimed at Guam. There are reports of Japanese construction of bomb shelters. Japan has also expressed an interest in doubling its navy (capacity to shoot down ballistic missiles). None of this will be pleasing to China, which would like to be Japan's big brother.


Based on historical context and precedence, the North Koreans could be deterred from this conduct by China. The Chinese did this and stopped the sixth nuclear weapons test that the Norks were planning to light off.  The Chinese did sign off on the most recent UN Security Council resolution that increased sanctions on North Korea for their missile testing (in violation of an earlier resolution).

It's an incredibly touchy situation and people are going to be throwing advice back and forth to President Trump. Ultimately the US military response to North Korea will be the prevue of the Commander-in-Chief. 

This will not be the last North Korean provocation (unless it leads to war, then it likely will be), and I stand by my prediction that there will be a war, likely a nuclear war, on the Korean Peninsula within the next 6 months.

Mainstream Media Reaction

The sly, corrupt, smug, elite, lying mainstream media blames President Trump - and his relationship with Russia. They may also blame global warming, but I don't tune in enough to know if that's the case.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

North Korean Threat to Guam (analysis)

The Norks

The fat little dictator, Kim Jong Un, playing his 'mouse that roared' scenario is over-playing his hand, but there's nobody close to him who can explain it in a way that he will understand. 

On 9 August, North Korean media published a statement by the Strategic Forces of the Korean People's Army (KPA). The key paragraph follows.
“The KPA Strategic Forces is now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam...The plan is to be reported to the Supreme Command soon after going through full examination and completion and will be put into practice in a multi-concurrent and consecutive way any moment once Kim Jong Un...makes a decision.” 
This statement does not contain an explicit threat to Guam. It confirms that Guam is a North Korean ballistic missile target. It describes the higher-level approval process, which apparently has not been accomplished. It states a fact that execution of the plan requires a decision by Kim Jong Un. 

The Strategic Force is North Korea’s missile command. A statement by the Supreme Command would be more ominous.

Multiple ballistic missile launches in 2016 and the two launches last month establish that North Korean missiles have the range to reach Guam. They might lack the accuracy to hit the island, but a near miss (or even not so near of a miss) would be an act of war.

The Norks are full of bluster as always, but they're trying to make a point to the world, while they ramp up their plan to fight the US. I'll distill some of the key elements of a long rant for the sake of brevity on this blog.
“Under the prevailing grave situation, the General Staff of the KPA clarifies at home and abroad its resolute stand as follows to mercilessly smash all sorts of military provocation, being planned by the U.S. imperialist warmongers, with the inexhaustible military might of the powerful revolutionary Paektusan army which has so far been built.”
"The provocative ‘preventive war’ the U.S. has devised and plans to execute will be countered with a just all-out war of wiping out all the strongholds of the enemies including the US mainland."
“The US should remember, however, that once there is observed a sign of action for ‘preventive war’ from the US, the army of the DPRK will turn the US mainland into the theatre of a nuclear war before the inviolable land of the DPRK turns into the one.”
North Korea will preemptively attack before the US preemptively attacks.
"The attempt at ‘preemptive attack’ oft-repeated by the US military warmongers will be mercilessly foiled by the Korean style preemptive attack which will be mounted earlier.”
“The Korean-style earlier preemptive attack will burn up all the objects in the areas under the control of the first and third field armies of the puppet forces including Seoul the moment the U.S. reckless attempt at preemptive attack is spotted, and will lead to the all-out attack for neutralizing the launch bases of the U.S. imperialist aggression forces in the Pacific operational theatre together with the simultaneous strike at the depth of the whole of the southern half.”
North Korea is prepared to resist any secret operation that the US may mount.
“The anti-U.S. resistance of all the people including three million Children's Union members and five million youths will smash to pieces the "secret operation" which the U.S. dreams to conduct in the DPRK.” 
“The US has gone hysteric, being quite unaware of the army and people of the DPRK.” 
“The DPRK is an invincible ideological power in which all the service personnel and people are united around their leader in single mind and a country of an impregnable fortress in which all the people are armed and the whole country has been fortified.”
The statement by the General Staff spokesman asserts that North Korea will defeat all US war plans that have been mentioned in open sources. A decapitation attack will fail because North Korea will retaliate at the first sign of such an attack. Preventive attacks will fail because North Korea will escalate to all-out general war and attack the US mainland.

A preemptive attack will fail because North Korean will strike first, executing its pre-emptive attack before the US can. This means that North Korea will strike probably when its intelligence agencies conclude that the US has made the decision to attack North Korea. 

That judgment will be based on North Korea’s detection and interpretation of US military actions. The difficulty with that is that the US has lots of recent experience with different kinds of warfare. North Korean leaders have prepared for only one kind of warfare and have no experience fighting it. There is a grave danger that North Korea will misperceive or misinterpret US and Allied intentions.

Chinese Reaction

The quasi-official newspaper, Global Times, published another Op-ed piece on the North Korea situation, but this one is a tutorial for the US. It is entitled, “US needs correct logic in dealing with North Korea.”
“The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously passed a resolution to impose ever tougher sanctions on North Korea. Many of these measures need to be paid by China, as China has been North Korea's biggest trading partner due to geographic reasons….”
“The US is the sole superpower, but its media and elites are the most narrow-minded. They unreasonably require the whole world to serve US interests, which they view as universal values.”
The paragraphs that follow provide insights into Chinese thinking about the crisis.
“North Korea sees the US-South Korea alliance as a threat. Given various reasons, it embarked on the wrong path of developing nuclear and missile technology. Washington and Seoul take security as their core interests, but so does Pyongyang which is vulnerable to the US-South Korea alliance. If the enmity between the US and North Korea cannot be resolved, the motives of North Korea to own nuclear weapons and develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach US soil will not cease.” 
“External sanctions will only delay North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missiles, but cannot crush the determination of Pyongyang to stick to this path. Why does US society keep silent about such a simple and tested fact?” 
“The US wants China to play a leading role in sanctioning Pyongyang so it can reap the benefits. Meanwhile, the US and South Korea could just be bystanders as China and North Korea confront each other...”  
“Many Americans view the world through a superior lens. They believe only the US and the West are right in everything and the politics of non-Western countries are immature.”  
“US society may have to reshape a broader vision and a rational way of thinking. Only when mainstream opinion is clear-headed, can the US cope with all kinds of challenges more effectively.”
This article makes it explicit that the Chinese are aware of the price they must pay to enforce the UN sanctions. They have decided to pay that price, but resent that the US and South Korea might benefit from Chinese sacrifices.

The Chinese leaders are sensitive to North Korea’s sense of vulnerability to the US-led alliance. They judge that North Korea has not chosen a wise path for handling it, but they also judge that North Korea will not take a different path until North Korea no longer feels threatened.

China considers sanctions a delaying tactic. The Chinese purpose is to achieve a suspension, not to coerce North Korea into stopping its programs. The message is that no one should expect that they will.

China is acutely aware that US policy would have the effect of substituting China for the US and South Korea in a confrontation with North Korea. China refuses to cooperate with that scheme. 

Chinese leaders have fundamental differences with the US about the nature of the crisis, who must take the lead in a confrontation with North Korea and about the aims of sanctions. In short, the Chinese leaders do not trust the US leaders to behave in a way consistent with Chinese best interests.

US Policy

The Trump Administration is not the Obama Administration and SECDEF Mattis is not some jumped-up political appointee. I still anticipate a kinetic war that will likely go nuclear on the Korean Peninsula within the next 5-6 months. The Norks are increasing hysterical and emotional and as stated above, their naive world view would likely cause them to react to something that is not intended as 'preemptive action'. When missiles are flying back and forth, China, on the border with North Korea has far more to lose than they do by sanctioning North Korea and starving them into backing down -- but they're still very slow to do that.

My own personal judgment is that the Norks themselves are past the point of no-return.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Morning Run

Cross-Posted to the Diavel Made Me Do It blog:

Log Item: Santa Rosa Plateau

Tenaja Falls
My daughter, Emilie, reminded me that I promised to take her on a motorcycle ride up through the Santa Rosa Plateau (back side of Camp Pendleton, CA), and to breakfast. The Santa Rosa Plateau is a really nice area full of orchards, vineyards, estates and some ecological preserves with hiking trails. We weren't hiking today, we were biking on the Diavel.

It's a delightful ride and we spent three hours riding down roads covered over with canopies of trees (tree tunnels), and through winding valleys. 

2017 has been a wet year and there are some seasonal lakes that remain filled despite the summer dry season. It's the climate change that Al Gore warned us all about.

We drove south to Fallbrook and I told Emilie to yelp someplace to eat and she came up with the Main Street Cafe. 

Emilie ordered the biscuits and gravy. Not me.

LL on Diavel
And then it was east from Fallbrook toward I-15 completing the loop.

The Ducati ran like a clock and its nimble handling makes it a joy to drive on narrow back roads such as those encountered today.

There are a few routine maintenance issues that I need to see to, but tools and supplies are still packed in the endless boxes in the garage. I don't want to unpack here because we're moving again.

A Brief Rant

David Leonhardt of the NY Times explains income inequality HERE, and blames President Trump for the 2014 spike. Hey, New York Times, President Trump wasn't the US President in 2014. In the classic communist party model that we've seen played out in Russia, North Korea, China, Cuba, and now in Venezuela, there are two classes. The very rich and the poor. This is how 'social justice' looks.

The capacity to maintain a robust middle class is the hallmark of a Republic and that middle class has been under assault for decades. Things were set right under President Reagan, but that did not last. The Reagan dividend continued under Bill Clinton because the momentum was strong and the Contract with America helped keep it going. 

A bigger government killed the middle class. More government spending and more government debt sucked all of the air out of the room. The article explains that the ideal would be to return to the 1950's and 1960's. I agree. No healthcare entitlements, and smaller government spending with more of the business of governing devolved to the cities, counties and states. 

This is the choice that the Deep State wanted to
offer you.
The NY Times got it backwards. Their prescription for wealth building is a bigger federal government with more money being pushed down from Washington DC to schools and into government healthcare. The answer is just the opposite, and that's what President Trump is doing. The corrupt, lying, smug, nasty, sly mainstream media doesn't want to explain that while the stock market being stronger than it has EVER been tends to benefit everyone. A rising tide floats all boats. Allowing the states to deal with education and healthcare tends to focus the money where it's needed for the very poor without mountains of federal regulations. Fewer government jobs means that there is more money in the hands of the (non-government apparatchik) middle class.

We are choked to death on entitlements. You can pour a billion dollars into "fixing Detroit" and billion will vanish almost instantly. Barack dumped $800 billion into "shovel ready jobs" and it vanished into the bureaucracy, never to be seen. The economy didn't get better. It got steadily worse under his watch for every-day men and women. Cronies became billionaires. Pay to play enriched the power elite.

President Trump is doing the right thing by opening up federal land for mineral exploration and extraction. It will create well paid jobs. He is doing the right thing by reducing regulations and in trying to fix the tax problem that everyone agrees is a problem. Everyone except the "Deep State", that group of power elite who benefited so handsomely from the Obama Administration. It's the same Deep State that wished to offer America the choice between Jeb! and Hillary. It consists of Republicans and Democrats, and their masters (your betters), mostly globalists with a stake in a weak America, who were shocked by the rise of Donald Trump. They control the filthy, corrupt mainstream media -- and the NY Times. 

The election of President Trump was an upset of Biblical proportions to the Deep State and we can see their war on him play out every day in the corrupt media. However, the panic of Trump is also playing out in the panic over the Democrat Party's incompetence. 

The "Better Deal" - that the Dems are running on is the Trump Platform with a 'much bigger government' twist on things. Will they manage to wrest back the halls of power from the Republican Party? Maybe...but the election of President Trump and the repudiation of Hillary and Jeb! showed a deep dissatisfaction with the effect of the Deep State and a mistrust of the people that "They", the Deep State chose for us.

There is Washington DC, New York City, Hollywood and crime ridden inner cities pledged to vote for whoever gives them free things in their new world. Then there is everywhere else.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Random Thoughts

For Sale

(Telegraph UK) I don't know that I want to live in Sweden, but if I did, this would be a property that would end up high on my list based on the ads. It's located in Boden (Northern Sweden) and the asking price is about $250K. Reasonable.

I admit that I'd need a decorator to go through and spruce the place up, but it wouldn't cost me more than a couple hundred K to do that...maybe a garage on the outside to park the toys and it's even better than the White Wolf Mine.

What are the Brits Thinking?

The photo speaks for itself, but who in their right mind would surrender weapons in the face of Muslims who want you dead? 

"Only cowards carry?" Really? So they really think that it's smart to bring hands and feet to a gun fight or a knife fight? If I had a gun shop, the sign would say "only idiots disarm themselves in the face of those who would do them harm".  The knife bin (left) should be a bin where you can pick up a good knife to keep handy. I realize that I approach this situation the way an American does.

There are remedies to the rules because there always are:

Axes are legal to carry in England, likewise tomahawks. They're also legal in Russia. You can't carry a truncheon (stick) lawfully, but put a  razor sharp steel blade on it and you're golden. 

A bar of soap in a sock is also legal in England. You'd think that they'd have tried to ban them but no. It may be fall out from having been trained by HM GOV to use a bar of soap and a sock to kill people back in my callow youth? They're keeping the option open just for me and people like me. 

Likewise computer circuitboard is not illegal to carry, but there are things that you can do with that which would make even Prince Phillip blush. There are also automobile parts that one can carry, which avoid the tools (such as screw drivers) mentioned by statues. And you never know when you need to fix a car.

Piano wire? Yes, legal in the UK. Likewise syringes (push-to-use) are only illegal if used to dispense illegal narcotics. Drain cleaner is not a narcotic. Which leads me back to the whole premise of the law. Firstly, no criminal will disarm. It's not what they do. Secondly, no trained person need "disarm" because you can pack a whole arsenal around with you in the UK lawfully - if you think out-of-the-box. 

They need to re-think things. Allow the citizens parity with the Muslims and thugs - and Muslim thugs. Change the knife bin to a knife dispensary.

Kalifornia Republik

File this one under: Nobody is shocked
In June California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told the Trump administration the state will not cooperate with the election integrity commission because it would “only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud.”
Friends from outside of the US continually comment on the problem of US voter fraud. They state correctly that it's easily fixed by government issued voting cards - the way that they do it in Mexico. It's government and voting integrity, designed to root out corruption.

I usually just laugh and explain that our present system is rooted in the faith that corruption will carry the day. It's how one party maintains power, and the other party is too weak and stupid to call them on it every day. 

The corrupt, elite, sly, smug, nasty, lying mainstream media keeps the myth of government integrity going, because it serves their wicked purpose.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Sermonette

Salt Water

I ran into a Navy Master Chief, who I worked with when he was a third class hull tech (before the Special Operator Rate was created) the other day in Ace Hardware. It lasted about five hours as we brought each other up to speed. It's as if the years roll away and you palaver on. It also made me feel a bit old. Master Chief retired, and the second x took his dog, his truck, a piece of his pension, and what equity there was in the house. Sounds grim but since the only easy day was yesterday, he didn't ring the bell and he pushed through it. About a year and a half ago, he met a widow with a zillion dollars in the bank, they married and he's driving a new Dodge 350 with a turbo diesel. She'd been looking for love in all the wrong places and when she found him he had to knock some heads to fix things. Now he's doing well with his new dog and his manse, living in a vineyard in La Cresta (nice area, inland from Camp Pendleton) that the ball and chain (a former Miss something about 40 years old) owns and he is happy as a hog in a wallow. 

the t-shirt
One thing led to another and I followed him over to his place, which is not that far from my temporary housing in CA while the WWM is completed. We have a range day planned for next week before I haul off to Great Britain.

His last command was Naval Special Warfare Unit Three (NSWU-3) in Bahrain (core of the Naval Special Warfare Task Unit in the Persian Gulf). NSWU-3 employed the largest number of SEALs and SWCC in history during OP: Iraqi Freedom. We're both XXL size guys and he threw me a new t-shirt from a stack three or four. He also threw me one from a recent BUDS class.

His chef (wife doesn't cook - doesn't need to) threw some ribeyes on the grill and the caulking-off continued. We talked about different people, some of whom are on the map, some of whom are off the grid, some are dead. He's about eight years younger than I am, and had wondered if I'd shuffled off that mortal coil. When I left the Navy, I vanished into the black ether. 

There was some sort of reunion back East at Little Creek a few weeks ago. Neither of us do that sort of thing. It's mostly retired guys living in Virginia or people networking for a retirement job who attend.

His trophy wife showed up before the steaks were finished and she was far more humble and beautiful than I'd counted on. He has a keeper. 

I share this story because I like to see a happy ending. It may not mean much to y'all, but sometimes, when times get nasty, you just have to push through the trouble to the other side because the pendulum swings in two directions. And that's the sermonette.

Sermonette Thought of the Day

This one comes from Ted Nugget:
"Liberals keep talking about a civil war. One side has 8 trillion bullets. The other doesn't know which bathroom to use."
Enough said about that.

The Problem with Detroit is Identified (by way of sermon)

David Manning a pastor in Harlem, describes why things won't work no matter how much money you throw at the city. Manning shares his opinion of Barack Obama. And this ends your sermonette.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Atomic Blonde (Movie Review)

I went to the movies for general amusement and to pass the time and the only thing that I hadn't seen that was in the general realm of LL films was Atomic Blonde.  Here's another trailer.  

Think of John Wick's ex-wife...or something along that line. Which is to say that the film was made from a graphic novel and it's far more film noir than it is anything close to a documentary. Sort of a female James Bond on steroids.

And if you expect me to be hyper critical, I'm not. I didn't look at my watch once during the movie, which is a positive rating all on its own. It was entertaining and I didn't go for realism here anymore than I was looking for realism in The Matrix.

I still maintain that Charlize Theron is the most beautiful woman in Hollywood today. I'm sure that she is a liberal and that I wouldn't like her in person, but she has a screen presence.

I give Atomic Blonde 8 out of a possible 10. I was entertained.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review of the Week's Events

This Turd "Lived" Down the Street

The grant deed was issued, there's cash in my bank account and I'm gone, but this is what was going on in my neighborhood.
(LA Times) Another California imam has drawn criticism after delivering a sermon laced with inflammatory remarks about Jews, calling them “unjust tyrants” and praying to Allah to “destroy them.” 
Imam Mahmoud Harmoush’s comments came during a July 21 sermon delivered at the Islamic Center of Riverside.
I don't know Imam Mahmoud Harmoush personally, but he attends the mosque-down-the-street and lives a block away from where I lived up to last week. My house was in a very nice part of a nice community but the neighborhood was going full-beard, and I sold out (to another beard), leaving those non-muslims even more outnumbered. 

And for those sanguine readers who are consoling themselves that "LL, there will be muzzies wherever you go." You're wrong. There are still places in America that will remain muslim free for the remainder of my life. What the nation does after that is its own problem. 

Tightening Things Up

There is a sense of hubris that descends on people who work at the White House - every White House. This administration is about par for the course.

I'm sure that having General Kelly as the chief-of-staff will instill a sense of discipline and order to an operation that Reince Priebus was not able to manage well. Gravitas is something that a chief-of-staff needs to possess before they sit in the big chair. General Kelly brings that too. The corrupt, sly, lying, smug, elite, mainstream media is unhappy about the addition of General Kelly, but they're unhappy about everything so nobody outside of the beltway or Manhattan cares.

I don't think that the White House was as "chaotic" as the corrupt, lying media choses to portray it. However as is the case with every administration, there were a lot of voices that needed to be edited.


Things are running their course in the new worker's paradise where people are starving and the regime is turning brutal in order to remain in power. Welcome to the joy of a socialist government. 

South America is known for banana republics, but Venezuela was once known for its educated and polite society. As the Animal Farm scenario plays out, we see the replay of Cuba, Nicaragua and Argentina. 

Part of my consulting work used to involve Venezuela, which is why I rarely comment on conditions there here on this blog. It's really a pity to see the place go to the dogs, but is completely predictable. No chicken bones must be cast to predict that things will continue to decline and the place will be ravaged. It's like turning a pack of wolves loose in a mansion.

I wonder if avant-garde students will start wearing Maduro t-shirts?

Russian Sanctions

It's such an odd turn of events. When the Soviet Union was in charge, the liberals loved the place. Bernie Sanders vacationed there like the good communist that he is. You know the story. 

Now that the communists are gone, Russia is a capitalist-Christian nation. Those same liberals now hate the Russians. I had lunch with an old friend/Russia hand the other day and we mulled all of this over, because the world has gone mad, pushed into insanity by the Deep State and their pawns in the corrupt, elite, sly, smug mainstream media.

Russia has its own interests and a lot of them were formed by the Great Patriotic War (WW2). Anyone who has studied history or Russia understands this and grasps that the Russians are behaving the way that Russians do. And I can't blame Russians for thinking in Russian terms.

In terms of GDP globally, Russia sits below South Korea and above Australia - and the nation is NINE TIME ZONES LONG, spanning half of Europe and all of Asia. It is a unique place with unique problems and a culture that has been carved and shaped by suffering. Russia isn't an economic threat to the US. Neither are they a nuclear threat.

Morons like Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and others in his social group would like to see us engage in a war with Russia. I'm not sure why, but it's what they want. Cooperation with Russia in real terms does nothing but benefit the USA. At the same time we need to be concerned for the welfare of our allies in Poland and elsewhere...but we need to lay-off the Russians.

I understand that Mitt Romney considered Russia a threat, but I know the weak minds who advised him on these matters personally. They were people who spent much of their lives in school or inside the Washington Beltway. None of them were 'operators'. None had a reputation for common sense. They too thought in terms of the cold war, and they drank the Kool Aid. Russia is rational, reasonable and has an agenda. The US is rational, reasonable and has an agenda. At some point those agendas follow the same path. It makes much more sense to work with the Russians on those areas of consensus than it does to fight them.

Those Amusing Democrats

The Democrat Party announced that they had a "Better Deal for America" as part of their rebuilding program to get back on top. It doesn't matter that they just came off 8 miserable years of Obamanation. They're hoping that the American political memory is incredibly short. This week came the announcement that Rep. Nancy (Nasty) Pelosi (D-CA), the old senile crone who presided over their demise would remain House Minority Leader. Good move Dems! The filthy, corrupt mainstream media didn't react with the enthusiasm that I thought they would. Maybe it's true that if you hit a donkey between the eyes with a ball pein hammer hard enough that you get its attention? (I thought of that as an old wive's tale but maybe its true!) What do you think that the sly, smug, nasty lying mainstream media sees in Pelosi's continued leadership?

The only thing that saves us is that as f-ed up as the Republicans are, the Democrat Party is worse off.

Keep Pelosi, Dems. You deserve her.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

China Update

The standoff near Bhutan continues, but several new things happened that are worth discussing. On 3 August, the Chinese Foreign Ministry published a 15-page statement with maps, photographs and documents. It said the "illegal action" by "trespassing" Indian soldiers "not only violated China's territorial sovereignty, but also challenged Bhutan's sovereignty and independence".

The Chinese later stated that India reduced its military presence to just over 40 soldiers by 31 July, down from 400 earlier in the 45-day standoff.

On the 3rd, India denied that it withdrew any of its troops and claimed the Chinese contingent likewise was stable, at about 400 soldiers.

India’s official response to the Chinese document was, “India considers that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas are important prerequisites for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China.” 

The timing of the Chinese document contributed to the perception that the crisis had eased. On 27 July, India’s national security advisor Ajit Doval discussed the standoff with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in Beijing. 

This created a cause-and-effect appearance which was a deliberately managed perception that India concurred in the Chinese document. In fact, Indian news services reported the talks achieved no breakthrough. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry reported that Yang held a bilateral meeting with Doval “at his request and in accordance with the practice.” It said China conveyed its firm stand to India that it must take “concrete actions” by immediately pulling back troops from the Doklam plateau with “no strings attached” to resolve the standoff.

One of the parties is dissembling, but the standoff seems stable. No soldiers from either country has fired a shot at the others for 45 days. The Chinese might be trying to use propaganda to ease the tension without making any changes on the ground. 

It is almost absurd that the relations between these two Asian giants could be frozen by a road improvement project. The Chinese will not back down, but they seem prepared to move on, if a formula or appropriate ruse may be found.

On China’s sovereignty. Concerning the issue of sovereignty, on 30 July at the military parade honoring the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, President Xi Jinping spoke strong language.
"The Chinese people treasure peace and we absolutely do not engage in invasion and expansion. However, we have the confidence to conquer all forms of invasion," Xi said. "We absolutely will not permit any person, any organization, any political party — at any time, in any form — to separate any piece of Chinese territory from China…No one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit of damage to our sovereignty, security and development interests."
These remarks are the most authoritative, succinct and emphatic statement of Chinese law and policy about alienation of Chinese territory. This language applies to the Indian standoff area as well as to the South and East China Seas. It is directed at India as well as to the US. 

Powerful interests in China’s leadership favor using force to defend Chinese sovereignty. President Xi might be one of them. In any case, he cannot afford to appear weak on issues of sovereignty. The message is that once China declares that it is sovereign over a territory, China will be prepared to use force to defend it. 

On 2 August, China officially opened its new logistics base at Djibouti. This is China’s first and only base outside Chinese territory.

As for never engaging in invasion, the Vietnamese who survived the Chinese invasion of northern Vietnam in 1979 might disagree with Xi, as might the Indians who remember the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The Chinese apparently differentiate between an invasion and teaching a lesson to a neighbor. And then there's the invasion of Tibet (still occupied).