sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Few Thoughts

Epitaph for a bad Hot Dog


I wonder what Weiner's cell mate will think - being paired/coupled with Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger), in prison? Will they steal his chow in the mess hall? Will they take selfies with him? Is there an arrow in cupid's bow? Will Weiner end up shaving himself completely and start walking like a duck to please the other inmates? He did run for Mayor of New York City. Maybe they'll respect him for that?

The conviction means that he will not run for the presidency with former Attorney General Eric Holder, a perjurer. Team WEINER-HOLDER will never grace the American political landscape as the darlings of the progressive left. 

And what of Huma Weiner? She'd been Hillary's lesbian lover for a long time. Her divorce from Anthony and her separation from Hillary leaves her available and 'on the market'. Nobody seems to know which way she'll swing now that she's out and about. And at this point, nobody cares. Maybe her family in the Muslim Brotherhood will take her back to her homeland and stick her under a black tent/burka?

Heroes and Scoundrels


Dastardly politicians have strived to weaken the nation for their own benefit. It was true in Washington's time too, so things have changed but not as much as we'd like to think. Nowhere is this more evident than in the struggle of Democrats to get illegal aliens (who tend to vote for them) into the country at all costs.

Tearing everything down and replacing the "Old Constitution" with a new one of their devising is the aim of the progressive movement. And it's all about power - and wealth - and votes, because the best way for a politician to get votes is to take your wealth and give it to somebody else. It was the aim of President Johnson's "Great Society", which crashed and burned on the pages of history. Crashing and burning isn't a tragedy to progressives no how many people are hurt, because in the ashes of crisis arise 'opportunity'. Such is the case of Obamacare, as another example.

Voting other people your money is how the program works these days - a program that Jefferson, Madison and Washington never envisioned.

And the Democrat Party is outraged and deeply wounded that despite their control of the corrupt, wicked, elite, smug, lying mainstream media, the Republicans control both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch of government. How can this happen?

The GOP is only slightly less corrupt than the Democrats - but they are certainly no angels.

Meanwhile, In California

Bloomberg reports that Governor Jerry Brown is working on legislation that would ban fossil fuel powered vehicles in California. You can read the article for yourself.
Mary Nichols, head of California's Air Resources Board, said "I've gotten messages from the governor asking, 'Why haven't we done something already?'" she said, adding that Brown is particularly worried that his planet-saving efforts might be outshined by those of other countries.
The United Kingdom and France have both said they will ban the sale of gas and diesel by 2040. Norway's transportation plan calls for all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2025. India wants to make the switch to electric by 2030.


But it's the People's Republic of China, currently drafting its own ill-defined ban on the production and sale of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, that is giving Brown the most grief.
Says Nichols, "The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California."
Apart from envying the autocratic powers of a communist dictatorship, Brown has not said what a ban on gas and diesel vehicles might look like. Nichols herself offers scant detail, other than saying that a complete ban on the sale of new combustion-powered vehicles could arrive as early as 2030 and that all combustion would have to be phased out by as early as 2040.

The popularity of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) is part of Governor Brown's problem. Despite generous subsidies, purchases of ZEVs still hover below 3 percent of new vehicles sales. Only 13,804 were sold in California in the first quarter of 2017, out of 506,745 in total new vehicle sales.

Only 300,000 "clean vehicles," of which roughly half are partially gas-powered hybrids, have been sold in California. Purely electric vehicles are about .4 percent of the nearly 35 million registered vehicles on the state's roads.

To achieve Brown's goals, he will have to compel 99.6 percent of California drivers to trade in their gas guzzlers for electric vehicles that they currently find too expensive or too impractical. And that doesn't even touch on the issue of providing enough charging stations for these vehicles, or of generating enough electricity to power those stations.

Nor does it cover the issue of affordability. Right now, electric cars are the domain of the well-to-do. A 2016 Berkeley study found that 83 percent of those making use of California's electric vehicle subsidy program made over $100,000.

California has a the highest poverty rate in the US. There is a vast disparity between rich and poor as the middle class have been squeezed to pay for everything. I expect that there will be some sort of program for the middle class to pay for "electric cars for illegal aliens" or something along that line. Don't laugh. I'm not kidding.



Friday, September 29, 2017

South and North

This is posted by way of an update since things are changing all of the time. The North Korean actions have had ripple effects in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

South Korea

On 28 September in his speech in honor of Armed Forces Day, President Moon Jae-in called for stronger military capabilities to deter North Korean provocations. 

He said his government was accelerating three military programs. A program called Kill Chain targets North Korean missile sites for pre-emptive attacks. The second program is an improved air and missile defense system. The third is a program to decapitate North Korea’s military and political leadership.

His most important topic was wartime operational control of South Korean forces. He said South Korea should become strong enough to retake this responsibility from the US. South Korea transferred it to the US in 1950. It was supposed to have been returned in 2012m but was delayed to 2015 and again delayed to the mid-2020s.

President Moon’s call for stronger military capabilities represents a substantive change in policy, prompted by North Korean behavior. Moon replaced a strongly pro-military conservative President, Mrs. Park. He campaigned for improved relations with North Korea and less confrontation. North Korea rejected all of his overtures. It missile launches, nuclear detonation and threats persuaded Moon to modify his positions

His government remains open to talks with North Korea. However, as a result of the increased tension with North Korea, President Moon has approved more defense spending than former President Park. 
In focusing its energy against the US, North Korea’s leaders 
made a strategic blunder in ignoring the effect of their decisions on South Korea
South Korea has accelerated the long-standing South Korean preparations to command their own forces in a war with North Korea. Every increase in South Korea military power further reduces the prospect that North Korea could reunify Korea by force.

This self-reliant direction of South Korean military development has been emerging and evolving since at least the late 1980s. Some dimensions of it have not been shared with the US. No state with more than a half million capable military service personnel would surrender command and control to a foreign power in wartime, except as a last resort or as a figurehead leadership.

The North Korean actions could accelerate changes in command and control and other military improvements in South Korea by up to 10 years. The South Korean armed forces embody one of the greatest successes of US defense policy in Asia since the end of the Korean War. They know it. If war occurs, South Korean generals will command South Korean army forces.

North Korea

The Mouse-that-Roared may feel compelled to strike South Korea before their military is completely modernized, though it's very modern and effective today. Increased spending and the possibility that the South can develop a nuclear weapons capacity of their own might keep the only fat man in North Korea awake at night.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce formally notified Chinese-North Korean and North Korean businesses in China of the Beijing government’s intention to close them. The new order stipulates that foreign joint ventures with North Korea have 120 days in which to close. This is the latest Chinese action to enforce the UN Security Council Resolutions that impose sanctions on North Korea.

The government in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) announced on 28 September that its citizens were barred from traveling to North Korea.

South Korean national security advisor Chung Eui-yong told President Moon on the 28th that he expected more North Korean provocations in October. One flashpoint is the founding of the North Korean communist party – the Korean Workers’ Party. Party Foundation Day is 10 October.

Chung also said he expected North Korea to stage some kind of demonstration on or after 18 October to embarrass the Chinese leaders during the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

Each provocation raises the risk that it will go horribly wrong and will ignite a war. Missile guidance problems could drop a North Korean ICBM in China, Russia, Japan or South Korea. Any one of those could ignite a war. Deliberate launches against the US in Guam will result in North Korea being flattened. In past decades, the Norks could always rely on China backing their play. That is no longer the case. China doesn't want 20 million North Korean refugees fleeing into their country but they are preparing for that potential eventuality.

China is no longer the rogue nation that it once was. They have a plan to show the world "how cool they are" and the North Koreans are fouling that up. It's a bad decision on Kim's part, but he's a man known for making unsound decisions.




Thursday, September 28, 2017

Another Mouse Roars

Taking a page from the North Korean playbook:

On 26 September, Venezuelan President Maduro called on his military leaders to prepare for war against the US. 
Wearing a military tunic and hat while reviewing an exercise, he said, “We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace. We need to have rifles, missiles and well-oiled tanks at the ready....to defend every inch of the territory if needs be." 
Maduro turns nearly every outside criticism into a threat of a US attack. In that respect, he seems to mimic North Korean practice. That threat narrative reinforces the crackdown on the opposition and his continued mismanagement of Venezuela.

sub rosa: During the past year, multiple news services reported that Maduro is looking for a way out of Venezuela, literally. Secret negotiations supposedly involve Vatican diplomats. He wants asylum in a country, such as Cuba, where he can keep his wealth and have guarantees against extradition to Venezuela and prosecution. Thus far, no agreement has been reached.

Training Program at the Syrian Proofing Ground

Yesterday, Russian bombers. Russian Tu-95MS heavy bombers attacked Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front targets in Syria with Kh-101 cruise missiles, according to Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov. They didn't need to use cruise missiles. They could have used gravity bombs. Their enemy had no air defense capability, but since this was a wartime test of hardware, they opted for the missile test.

The targets were located in Deir ez-Zor and Idlib provinces in Syria, Konashenkov said. The bombers took off from Engels airbase in Russia and flew over Iran and Iraq.
"I would like to highlight that all the annihilated targets were located outside the residential areas at a safe distance from the strongholds of US special units and Syrian Democratic Forces militants in the Islamic State-controlled areas," Konashenkov said at a ministry briefing today.
TU-95MS
Konashenkov used the briefing as the occasion to reiterate his question about whom the US special forces are fighting? He said Russia has received no clarification on this issue. I think that a response from President Trump that we're fighting whoever pisses us off would cause liberal heads to re-explode. Which might be a good reason for him to say it...

Russian TV channels broadcast footage of the bombers as they were being armed with missiles, taking off, in-flight refueling and launching their attacks. The attacks supported Syrian army’s advance against the last strongholds of the Islamic State, they reported.

The Russians continue to use the Syrian conflict to provide combat experience for its crews using its most modern weapons. The first combat use of the Kh-101 was in Syria on 17 November 2015. The bombers and the cruise missiles were last used in Syria on 5 July.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Daily Mish-Mash

OSCAR-MIKE-GOLF

The process of building a new home is a far larger pain-in-the-ass than I ever expected that it would be. The general contractor called me with a change that needs to be made (the basement ceilings need to be raised from 9' to 10' because of terrain features and the excavation). So back to the County we go with the plans for a modification. Naturally it will cost me more. But it will be a nice hovel when it's complete.

It's elk season so all work has crawled to a stop until everyone gets his elk. While I understand that completely at one level - because elk season is REALLY important - it would be nice if they'd hurry up and shoot their elk so they can get back to work.  IF I HAD KNOWN , I would have stayed up there and would have shot elk for them while they worked... True there's no fun in that for them, but they'd have elk. Elk season is followed by deer season. Then there's duck season.

There were elk up on the property last weekend. I could have bagged two or three for the cause. 

And back to the matter at hand, there are more things that I've thought of that I wish to do with the property and they all cost more than I'd prefer to pay. My original budget for this was $X and I'm past double that for the project now with my new stuff including a 10,000 water tank for the well to fill, the greenhouse, the conservatory (separate build), etc. It's my own fault. It's like being a kid with a new toy. 

The contractor is happy.

The bank's appraisal came in low but considering that I'm putting 75% down, who cares? I asked them if they factored in the kitchen (Sub Zero/Wolf) that the kitchen consultant is planning, etc. etc. They didn't. Doesn't matter. 

I haven't even started on the 'mine ride' for the grandkids - essentially ore carts that run on a track around the property, pulled by a small locomotive. The engineering for that will have to wait until all this is done. I have a source for narrow gauge rail in Victorville, CA that I'd need to haul.

The picture (left) is a similar contraption (Calico and Odessa Railway) in use at the Calico Ghost Town in the California desert. It's an amusement park of sorts that is affiliated with Knotts Berry Farm.

The ride will cross a small gorge like the one pictured (right) two times in the circuit, so I need two of those bridges that look rickety but are actually strong. 

I don't know that the ride will ever be built, but it's in my head. And nothing good comes from things that are "in my head".

My hopes of retirement have been put on hold and I will remain at the salt mine. I think that I need to up my fees. I'll call my accountant at Gringotts this afternoon. They say that Goblins make the best CPA's. 

A Pause for the Cause?

No


There will be no pause!


Friends have damned me by faint praise for blogging (nearly) every day. However, I set it as a goal and being the obsessive guy that I am, if I tell myself that I'm going to do it, I do it - come hell or high water. It's like making my bed in the morning. I just do it. So here is yet another stream of drivel coming at you from Virtual Mirage. I do it because it's like eating potato chips - or the way my daughter, Kelly, eats flaming hot Cheetos.

Thought of the Day

"The Roman Republic fell, not because of the ambition of Caesar or Augustus, but because it had already long ceased to be in any real sense a republic at all. When the sturdy Roman plebeian, who lived by his own labor, who voted without reward according to his own convictions, and who with his fellows formed in war the terrible Roman legion, had been changed into an idle creature who craved nothing in life save the gratification of a thirst for vapid excitement, who was fed by the state, and directly or indirectly sold his vote to the highest bidder, then the end of the republic was at hand, and nothing could save it. The laws were the same as they had been, but the people behind the laws had changed, and so the laws counted for nothing." —President Theodore Roosevelt

Advice Sought

I'm looking to buy a new chainsaw. I'm partial to Husqvarna, but they want $450 for their 455 Rancher (they're mighty proud of that saw). It seems like too much. Do you in the blogosphere have any favored alternatives?

Even though... I really like salads of all sorts, I also like the photo/meme (right) because things like drive liberals nuts.

Most of the people who I work around are more conservative than I am, however I do encounter progs from time to time. Ticking off the progs becomes a sport that for me is better than watching an NFL game (these days) - Boycott the NFL's Sponsors.

I leave you with the challenge to irritate a prog today.

Joseph Robinette Biden -- Candidate?



From Politico- "But consider the following. He has opened two policy institutes, one at Penn focused on foreign policy, and the other at the University of Delaware with a domestic focus. He has a book coming out in November, and will accompany it with 19-city “American Promise” book tour. He has an “American Possibilities” political action committee. And to borrow the teasing headline from a July profile in the Washington Post, “Joe Biden Still Wants to be President.” If you want the presidency—and if you could enter the field as a front-runner for your party’s presidential nomination—you usually run for it."

Joe Biden felt that he could have beat Donald J. Trump like an unwanted stepchild in the last election, but because he didn't run, we will never know. He will be pushing 80 years of age - hard - during the next campaign. He's known for his misstatements (which were worse than Trump's but the press covered them up to the extent they could). But the corrupt, smug, elite mainstream media will be in his corner, championing him as the next LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD. Look how it worked for Hillary.

Run Joe, RUN!
It would be an interesting Democrat primary with Joe Biden running against Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders - battle of the octogenarians.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Opinion: NFL Protest



I've had some disagreements with friends over the NFL players disrespecting the National Anthem and the flag. 

There are remedies to the grievances that the black players have. One of the first would be for the NFL to mandate 100 hours of off-season police ride-alongs for each multimillionaire football player. If you don't like the police, walk in their shoes.

I can suggest other remedies, but the ride-along thing would vex those fabulously wealthy guys who know how to catch a football or throw a tackle. Many of them would rather be doing something else in their off-season lives (like hanging with hood rats, using illegal narcotics or banging a sweet ho). But their protest has consequences and riding shotgun in a police car is appropriate. After that 100 hours (a mere token), they might approach the problem that vexes them so thoroughly differently.

P.S. The Cowboys are no longer "America's Team".


Commentary

North Korea

On 25 September, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said a Twitter message by the US President on 23 September, in which the president warned that the minister and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” if they acted on their threats, amounted to a declaration of war.

The war of words has become strange because the latest threats signify nothing. The North Koreans know the US has not declared war. However, in their leadership bubble, insults against Kim are treated as if they were sacrilegious, physical attacks.

The propagandists backed up Ri’s language by releasing new photo-shopped videos of North Korean attacks against US aircraft carriers and bombers. 

It is a fake news campaign. North Korea has no such capabilities. Nevertheless, some folks in the US believed that North Korea sank a US aircraft carrier on the 25th because the video was on the internet.

In this confrontation, the North Korean propagandists seem to have run out of ideas for conveying their outrage and their sense of the gravity of the confrontation. This is at least the second time they proclaimed the US declared war on North Korea since March. Most Americans were unaware that we declared war on North Korea, according to the North Koreans, in spring when Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian took place and practiced preemptive, preventive and decapitation scenarios.

Minister Ri’s rant was safe because it restated conditions that already exist. He knows that the US and North Korea have never ended the state of war. Under the Armistice, the North Koreans have the right to shoot down aircraft that they consider threatening. Ri threatened what North Korea already did in 1969 when it shot down a US reconnaissance aircraft, the EC-121.

Since then, the US always accepted that it would do so again, if it got the chance. On several occasions in the past decade or so it positioned fighter-interceptor aircraft at east coast airfields to attempt another shoot down, but failed. 

The North Koreans also should know that the US avoids flying near hostile or contested air space and uses precision, long-range standoff weapons instead, fired from land and sea. After the First Gulf War, the North Koreans sent a study team to Iraq to learn how the US fights and why the Iraqis lost. They also should know about standoff weapons from watching Russian and Iranian cruise missiles attacks in Syria.

Minister Ri’s threat added nothing to the basic confrontation formula. Regardless of which side fires the first shot, North Korea will be destroyed. That has not changed.

My prediction that there will be a war between the US and its allies and North Korea this winter still stands. I don't know what in specific will precipitate the war, but I view it as all but inevitable.

Kurdish Independence Referendum

The Kurdish independence referendum took place without significant incidents in the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq. Some Arabs and Turkmens boycotted it, but the Kurds appear to have voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence.

Kurdish Regional Government President Barzani said the referendum would not draw borders, and that afterwards there could be talks with Baghdad for a year or two. But he stressed that the "failed partnership" with the "theocratic, sectarian state" of Iraq was over.

Barzani also said, "I have two options now: my people’s quest or other country’s satisfaction. I choose my people's quest, even if it costs my life." He emphasized that since Baghdad would never accept the independence referendum, neither now nor in the future, "We will not accept being part of Iraq, neither now, nor in the future." 

Baghad’s reaction. The Abadi administration declared the referendum not legally binding. It has refused to discuss the referendum with Barzani. Barzani’s remarks seem to rule out any basis for compromise. He is wily, so it is not clear that this is his position. If so, then his statements about using the referendum for leverage in political negotiations were deceptions or serious errors of judgment. 
Literally, the entire world, except Israel, seems to oppose Kurdish independence. That means that it cannot occur.
China’s reaction. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during the daily news briefing on the 25th, "The Chinese government supports Iraq's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity."

Iran’s reaction. An Iranian official denied a report that they closed the border with Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the independence referendum. The Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying the border was closed.

In a telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi, Iranian President Rouhani "stressed his country's full support for the Iraqi government and all its steps that have been taken to preserve Iraq's unity and territorial integrity." 

Syria’s reaction. Syrian Foreign Minister al-Moualem said, "We in Syria only recognize a united Iraq and reject any procedure that leads to the fragmentation of Iraq.” 

UN Security Council’s reaction. The Security Council unanimously expressed its regret that the Kurds held the referendum.

Turkey's reaction. President Erdogan threatened to cut off the oil pipeline to Iraqi Kurdistan. 
Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said, “The Turkish army will intervene immediately if our Turkmen brothers are physically targeted." He also said, "Turkey considers the referendum as null and void. As the Foreign Ministry, we have already released a statement as soon as the voting began for the referendum."
Wild Card. Will the US throw our Kurdish allies under the bus? We have a tradition of doing just that. Cast the runes if you're so inclined, but it's too soon to tell how all of this will work out. My money is on the Kurds.

Syria

There is a divergence of mission (creep) in Syria. Members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Russian jets attacked them in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor on 25 September. No casualties were reported.

This was the second attack in two weeks. Last week, the US Defense Department accused the Russians of bombing SDF positions on the eastern side of the river.

The Russians contend they attacked targets in Islamic State-controlled territory, which they consider a free fire zone. 

Russian officials and media commentators are blaming the US for the death of Lieutenant General Asapov on 24 September. 
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov told the press on the 25th “The death of the Russian commander is the price paid with blood for the hypocrisy of American policy in Syria. The American side declares that it is interested in the elimination of Daesh (the Islamic State) ... but some of its actions show it is doing the opposite and that some political and geopolitical goals are more important for Washington.”
The Russians relate Asapov’s death to what they see as US double-dealing in the fight against the Islamic State. Konashenkov’s accusation is that imagery shows that the Islamic State is providing free passage to US special forces and to SDF elements in order to enable them to beat Syrian forces to the Syrian border with Iraq.

The geopolitical goals, to which Ryabkov referred, presumably are control of oil fields and blocking the Iranians in Syria. This means the SDF need to seize and hold key terrain.

A confrontation with the Russians and the Syrians became almost inevitable when US artillery and personnel joined in the fighting in Syria but refused to coordinate with the Russians. The forces shared the objective of destroying the Islamic State, but nothing else thereafter.

The Russians have been guided by the objective of restoring Syria to its pre-civil war status. The publicly stated US goal has been to defeat the Islamic State, but blocking Iran has emerged as a task that is more urgent than finishing off the Islamic State

The Russian narrative is that blocking Iran requires the US to cooperate with some Islamic State elements. That complicates the Russian mission. They seem to have concluded that they now need to block the US and the SDF in order to accomplish their goal or restoring Syria to its pre-civil war borders.

In the past two days, this narrative has been prominent in Russian press reports about the fighting in Syria. The Russians will attack the SDF again and US casualties are increasingly likely. 

This and Turkish threats against the Syrian Kurds in northern Syria are two elements in the next phase of the Syrian civil war.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Observations

Doctrinal Differences

The corrupt, evil, nasty, smug, elite, wicked, lying mainstream media are still trying to cope with the Trump Administration, and the fact that Present Trump was elected by the nation...in the same way that Barack was.

North Korea

The Norks sent out two letters, which I'm not going to reprint here. In one they called on all of the repressed workers in the world to rally to their standard, presumably so that they could oppress them. Sort of the way a beaten spouse leaves home and finds another beater? Even so, I don't expect that there are many people who are dumb enough to flee to North Korea for sanctuary - with the exception of Dennis Rodman.

Fat Un gets strategic advice from Dennis Rodman
With the two letters, North Korea is attempting to counter the international backlash against its nuclear program. That detonation has generated widespread criticism and prompted at least seven countries to downgrade their relations. The North Korean leadership is trying to prevent a snowball effect.

The North Korean assertion that its nuclear weapons are “the nuclear treasured sword of justice” is discordant, considering North Korea’s richly deserved reputation for smuggling, methamphetamine production and distribution, counterfeiting and general disregard for international law and the United Nations. This letter campaign is unlikely to recruit new allies.

Kurdistan - September 25 Referendum

Last week Iraqi Kurdistan President Barzani appeared to waffle on whether he would proceed with the referendum today or suspend it. He postponed a press conference on the 23d apparently to give the government time to respond to his invitation for the Baghdad government to make him and the Kurds an offer that would guarantee Kurdish rights without holding a referendum.

In his press conference on Sunday, the 24th, he confirmed the referendum would proceed. He continues to insist that the referendum is intended to enhance his leverage in negotiations with the Iraqi government. That is not what the Kurdish voting population believes. 

In Iraq

On 24 September, the Iraqi government asked the Kurdish region to transfer control of international border posts and its international airports. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office also asked foreign countries to stop oil trading with the region and to deal with the central government as to airports and borders.

In Iran

On 24 September, Iran halted flights to and from Kurdish regions in northern Iraq. Iran also performed a military exercise in northwestern Iran near the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraq and Iran appear to have colluded in a scheme to cut Kurdistan from international travel and commerce. A next step would be to try to cut off international communications.

In Turkey

On 23 September, the Turkish parliament renewed a bill allowing the military to intervene in Iraq and Syria if faced with national security threats. Since August 2016, the Turkish parliament consistently has provided a blank check to Erdogan for handling ‘terrorists” who include the Syrian Kurds. 

On the 24th, President Erdogan consulted with Iranian President Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Abassi about the Kurdish referendum. Turkey executed and publicized its air strikes against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in southeastern Turkey near the Iraqi border, as a show of force for the Iraqi Kurds. 

In Syria

Syria's Kurds are taking the first of three steps that are needed to formalize a governing structure for Syrian Kurdistan. On 22 September, Kurds in northern Syria voted for communal representatives in 3,700 communes. 

The leaders elected will then be included in another vote in November to create local councils and one in January to create the Rojava Federal Council whose jurisdiction would include the Syrian Kurdish cantons of Afrin, Jazira, and Kobane and Shaba.

Rojava is the name the Syrian Kurds apply to their de facto semi-autonomous region in northern Syria. The cantons are based on the cantons of Switzerland, which is a federal state. 

The Syrian Kurdish leadership is moving quickly to establish a functioning government system while they still enjoy US military protection. They have started at the bottom by establishing local elected administrations. This is the reverse of the process used in most fragmentation/secession movements. 

The organizers have taken the time to obtain local buy-in before proceeding to add cantonal and regional government structures. As a result, they can expect overwhelming support, should a referendum on the status of Rojava take place.

In Russia

During a news conference in New York on 22 September, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov warned that Syria must not be allowed to disintegrate.
"We must first conclude the fight against terrorism, but also start thinking of how to restore Syria's unity. No partition should be allowed as this will create a chain reaction across the Middle East. This is something that some would want to achieve -- those who have an interest in maintaining permanent chaos here,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov also said that coordination between the Russian and US military was essential in fighting terrorism in Syria.
"We have the so-called de-conflicting but I guess that this is probably not enough when it comes to fighting terrorism. When we eliminate terrorist centers in Raqqa and Deir al-Zour, then we are practically talking about a division of labor. In fact, to finish off the terrorists we need not just de-conflicting, we need coordination. However, the American military is not allowed to coordinate," Lavrov said.
Lavrov’s remarks restate the long-standing Russian policy of opposing a partitioning of Syria. Russia has protected the Kurds in Afrin Canton from Turkish encroachment and has been their advocate for a greater role in a Syrian political settlement. However, they have never supported an independent Syrian Kurdistan. The Russians are less clear about a semi-autonomous Syrian Kurdistan in a federated Syria. 

Lavrov’s comment on the need for coordination with the US has been stated repeatedly. We suspect that one reason is that Russia wants to share the costs of fighting terrorists, especially in Syria, where the burden has been significant.

NOTE: The Russian Defense Ministry announced, "The senior member of a group of Russian military advisers, Lieutenant-General V. Asapov was at a command post of the Syrian army, providing help to Syrian commanders in directing the operation for the liberation of the city of Deir al-Zour. As a result of a sudden mortar round from ISIS (Islamic State) fighters, Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov received fatal wounds from the explosion of a mortar shell." (Or somebody fragged him. We may never know the truth.)

General Asapov is the highest ranking Russian officer to be killed since September 2015, when the Russian expeditionary force arrived. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Cruising

Winslow, Arizona
Standing on the Corner

You've got to take it easy in Winslow. Tourists arrive in Winslow, get their picture taken standing on the corner and then they jump back up on I-40 and move on. The major employer in the city is the state prison.

There's not much to the place beyond the memorial to the 1972 song "Take it Easy" (Eagles/Jackson Browne).

You can get there from the White Wolf Mine. I ended up there following some unsuccessful scouting of antelope and buffalo hunting in the planes to the south. 

There were a few drunk Indigenous People/Natives there begging hand-outs from belching tourists. Things haven't changed much over the past hundred and fifty years. 

Winslow was established in 1880 and grew as a railroad city. It has seen happier days.

Barringer Crater is 18 miles west of Winslow and you can access it from I-40. It's 3,900 ft in diameter, and 560 ft deep. It's one of the things to see when you're visiting Winslow, but they charge $18.00 to see the big hole in the ground caused by the impact of a nickel-iron meteorite about 150 feet across (50,000 years ago). The Grand Canyon isn't all that far away and it's a lot wider and deeper if you're looking for a big hole in the ground. Some say that the impact at Barringer Crater is the result of an alien spacecraft that lost control on entry through the atmosphere. It never did for Winslow what the aliens did for Roswell, NM. But if you really want to see space aliens you can go to Area 51, or you can watch Hillary Clinton, signing books covered in detail by CNN (Clinton News Network) coverage.

Doom and Gloom (Sunday Sermonette)

The World Should Have Ended

Religious scholars predicted the end of the world yesterday. Since you're reading this blog, they were wrong. However, 'your' world can end at ANY TIME. Repent now. (how's that for a sermonette?) 

Even under the Sword of Damocles it's difficult to get through life

Hep A

There are two epidemics of hepatitis A in Southern California that I'm aware of. One exists in the hobo jungle on the borders of the Cities of Orange and Anaheim, near Angel Stadium. This is a place where the city fathers handed out tents to vagrants and suggested that they set up a permanent homestead with the whole sanctuary city thing in mind. Over a thousand people live there. The reports vary, but somewhere close to 50 people have come down with the illness. 

The second epidemic is in San Diego (Sandy Eggo) and it's much worse. San Diego has declared itself a sanctuary city and is building massive tent structures in the parks to house and feed thousands of vagrants at taxpayer expense. The low-lifes crap everywhere despite the presence of portable toilets and that's led to hundreds of cases of Hep A according to the public health people. San Diego declared a health emergency last week.

Both Anaheim and San Diego have begun hosing down the area with bleach and other chemicals designed to kill the Hep A that resides on the ground  (where vagrants sleep) as a result of careless scat deposits. Progressive? You bet!!

Poverty in America

We talk of a 'safety net', and that progresses to ObamaCare, which progresses to a collectivist society and then we're some place like North Korea where everyone starves and somewhere around 1% live lives of vast luxury. Finding balance in the larger picture in any nation seems illusive.

I've been able to live a generally prosperous life, but I still help out the younger two of four children and within my extended family there are people in genuine need. There are a number of people I know outside of that family circle who are in need - some in desperate need. I help where I can but "I" clearly can not shoulder everyone's financial burden. Yet you want to, don't you? It's that desire to reach out and lift people up - that utopian dream - that drives so much of the misguided efforts in America.

People of conscience want to help.

Governments twist so much of that into a vote-buying activity and it is destructive to the noble effort to lift people up. Helping who we can with what we can, where we can and realizing our capacities and limitations is about all we can do. The more government taxes us, and wastes the money, the less capacity we have as individuals to do anything. 

In California, they tax everything, from turning on a light to taking out the trash in the hopes of redistributing wealth - and building tent cities where the murder rate is off the charts. Will they start turning the murdered into Soylent Green? Don't put it past them.

Pensions in America

I received that annual Social Security Administration statement last week. The machine personalized tabulation said that I would be eligible to receive a monthly stipend of $XX at age 62, a larger amount at age 65, etc. You all get these. There is a small caveat now in place that advises that if you receive a government pension, you're not eligible to receive cash, but you can still enroll in Medicare.  I said to myself, "well isn't that special?" I paid in to SSA just like the rest of you, but they made a decision for me. No, I wasn't relying on Social Security and whether I receive it or not, will not make me or break me -- but I paid in. Now it won't pay out.  It's a portent of things to come because that ponzie scheme will not last. Clearly when we're now over $20 trillion in debt as a nation and some socialist paradises like California, New Jersey and Illinois are so far upside down that they are likely never to recover. The bubble will pop for everyone. It's just a matter of time. I'm not a doom and gloom guy, but I can read the tea leaves. Do we have a decade left? Maybe. Maybe more? I can't drill down and say.

"California just passed a law to force 7.5 million private sector workers to pay into the state retirement system. In this, the Golden State joins Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Maryland." (read more here on Bayou Renaissance Man's blog) "Illinois’ pension debt estimated at $77,822 per household according to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Pension Tracker website."

We the people can crash the robust American economy, but it takes a lot of work and concentration to pull it off.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Various Topics

Nork Missiles

The question was raised by S. E., who reads but rarely comments on this blog: "Why hasn't the US shot down Nork missiles?" 

General Mattis responds here (LINK). If you don't want to click the link, in a nut shell, the tests have fallen short of threatening the US to date. The North Koreans have carefully avoided doing that so far. Japan has had two overflights and may decide to shoot down one of the North Korean missiles in the future. It's building the capacity to do so now, working closely with USGOV and contractors to make that happen. The North Koreans would likely take a missile shoot-down as an act of war and would flatten Seoul and kill twenty million civilians. OR NOT, but the US is not rolling the dice. If you give the only fat man in North Korea enough rope, he'll hang himself. Maybe the Chinese will kill him off by peaceful means? It would be a gift to the people of Korea of great price. Avert a war, feed 23 million starving Norks, and make the world a better place for all but the North Korean elites, who would likely find themselves hanging from a jibbet once the people realized how badly they have been used and how wickedly they were deceived.

A Note to I-40 Travelers

The Northern Pines restaurant puts out one of the best breakfasts in Flagstaff, AZ - north of the White Wolf Mine. It's attached to a Day's Inn, which, under normal circumstances would mean that I'd never eat there (I'm a bit of a hotel snob). HOWEVER, I've eaten there many times and it's simply a great place. Everything on the menu is recommended. Yesterday I had the Meatloaf, smothered in green chili sauce, eggs over medium, etc. They even have a chili verde enchilada breakfast that's superb. Not everything has chili on it. The cinnamon roll french toast will make your arteries crackle (in a happy way).

Mining

The White Wolf Mine is close to being established as the White Wolf Mineral Exploration and Transportation Company. Don't hold your breath for a website. It will start as a sole proprietorship and will be incorporated as I incur the potential of liability. If any of you out there are ambitious and want to help a fledgling business, I'm open to print-quality logo ideas.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Follies and CALEXIT

I'm hanging out in Arizona today, meeting with the kitchen consultant in the Valley, eating a steak for lunch and then getting on the road up to the White Wolf Mine for the rest of the weekend. So it's shallow posting. 

I did hear this from another Zonie (Arizona person):

Itsa Yoke, Gringo

Yes, it's worthy of Fredd, who will be moving to his estate in Texas by and by. 

Will Brig move to Texas? I can't hazard a guess, but there are a lot of cows and horses in Texas. There's also a lot of empty land between Amarillo and everywhere else in Texas (Old NFO). 

I don't know if the floods will divert the CALEXIT to Arizona or not. The California exiles are stacking up at the borders of AZ and they're being encouraged by the locals to continue on to Texas.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Socialism is a Bad Idea

Single Payer Healthcare

Four Questions:

(1) This is being proposed by the same idiots who couldn't create a website to sell health insurance, given two years and an unlimited budget. Are they the ones who should control your healthcare?

(2) California is in debt to the tune of $1.3 trillion dollars, not including all unfunded pension liabilities, etc. Much of it is due to MediCal. How does the federal government plan to pay for single payer healthcare? We know that ObamaCare went bankrupt.
We all know that they'll promise big and deliver small. It's what they do. Maybe if we had a sustained balanced budget for ten years, they'd have a point. But we can't manage to do that.
(3) Will single-payer prioritize care the way that it's managed at the VA - or in the British National Healthcare System? If you need an expensive operation or you'll die in three months, do they put the operation off six months to solve the money issue? We know that's how the US Veteran's Administration rolls. 

(4) When did healthcare become a right?
Note: I pay for my own healthcare out-of-pocket as a small business owner. I'm not subsidized by USGOV.
Californication


California is hard to kill. The economy has been strong for a long time, but as usual, tax and spend liberalism combined with a sincere effort to impose a form of socialism is trashing it.

My electric bill for last month for my rental home (smaller than my last place and no pool, which uses electricity) was $706.00. California electricity rates are 50% higher than the national average. Auto registration is about 25% more expensive in CA than AZ and fuel is a dollar more per gallon in CA. Sales tax and property tax are high. State Income Tax is 11% in my bracket. There are a lot of other excise taxes - including the tax on trash that's hauled away curbside and the add-ons to telecommunication tax.

The state has the highest poverty rate in the nation.

It's a very progressive state. Socialism unmasked.
Yes, I tried to find a rental in Phoenix when I sold the last house but couldn't find one for love nor money, even offering to pay a year of rent up front. Reason: Other California people, fleeing the People's Republic were standing in line twenty deep for every home that came on the rental market. So I stayed near my kids in a California rental while the AZ home is built.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Job Opportunity


I had not heard the term, "magical life coach" until just the other day, but apparently it's an occupation. I'm nearly certain that there is a major course of study available at Cal Berkeley, preparing students for this by giving them the skill sets necessary.

You don't need a PhD in magical life coach studies to hang your shingle, though the degree that your parents shelled out $100K for must be some help. 

I don't think that the occupation would get many takers in areas where people actually work for a living, but it's a thriving business in Hollywood where almost everyone is living on their trust fund, waiting for their big break in films.

Usually magical life coaches are also witches and if you cast about, you'll find that they are all big supporters of, and contributors to Hillary Clinton, who is relying on her magical life coach to help her stay on the path to the presidency in 2020.

Freud
The really big life coaches in Hollywood charge upwards of $500/hr, which is about what the in-demand therapists charge. Keeping all that in mind, you can send me a retainer on PayPal and then you can call me and tell me all your woes on the phone. It will be on mute on my end so don't be dismayed if I don't respond with affirming grunts or hums while you pour your heart out. Besides, I probably have somebody else on the other line(s).

I'm sure that if you send me enough money that something magical will happen in your life, because it certainly will in mine.





Meanwhile, the staff at Virtual Mirage will continue to slap this blog together on a shoestring budget.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Aftershock

I had packed for a flight to Mexico City tomorrow. The earthquake there today nixed that plan. (more on Fox News here) Between the Houston flood and the earthquake(s) in Mexico, mother nature is slamming my work. Everyone is in a panic there because of anticipated after-shocks.

If the Big One doesn't get you, the aftershocks, which can be just as powerful, can end your journey suddenly.

There's a lot of sand in the concrete in Mexico and the re-bar...well there may or may not be re-bar. And from what I'm hearing, there is a run on tequila as tender nerves are being soothed.

Do you know what all this means?

I'm going to be a bum tomorrow.

A Review of the News

Zonies - man bites snake/snake bites man

So there you are in Arizona, a party is underway, and somebody discovers a rattlesnake in your back yard. What should you do? (LINK) Picking it up and trying to grill it live, to amaze and delight your guests may not be the best choice. However, with enough beer and the endless encouragement of your family and friends, who are photographing you - maybe you should go for it?

And it's all going so well until you lose your grip on the snake and it sinks a dose of venom into your neck and chest.

The guy survived thanks to the marvels of modern medicine and prompt treatment so a Darwin Award will not be handed out. As to Darwin Awards, one must be the cause of one's own demise. In other words: "Killing a friend with a home-made hand grenade would not be eligible, but killing oneself while manufacturing a homemade chimney-cleaning device from a hand grenade would be eligible. To earn a Darwin Award, one must have killed oneself, or rendered oneself sterile (taken out of the gene pool); merely causing death to a third party is insufficient." So if he would have died, he could have received the coveted award.

The Bitter Old Crone

Hillary Clinton's book tour continues as she blames everyone but herself for being thrashed by President Trump in the 2016 presidential race.

I find it amazing that she is putting it out there that she's thinking of a run in 2020. Drilling down, it seems that as a woman, she felt it was her turn (because of plumbing). The formula seemed so simple: unbridled ambition combined with Satanic worship and complete corruption should have delivered the win.

She's planning to mount a legal challenge because of some sort of "trumped" up charges that she intends to level. Maybe in that way she can become president? Meanwhile, I'm certain that Slick Willy is enjoying her absence while she's on her tour.

Any Excuse

International talk-like-a-pirate day provides an excuse for people not like me to dress up in a silly costume, go to a party and drink. (pirate name generator) My feeling on the matter is that I'm enough of a pirate every day that if people want to dress like a pirate, they should dress like I do. But that's not good enough for them because my daily dress would not be considered 'festive'.

There is an old Navy rule that if the sun is over the yard arm, you can drink. Unless it's a morning cure drink, and then you can do it whenever you stop barfing (worshiping) at the porcelain god and you get yourself together enough to pour one.

If you do put on silly clothes and to to the bar to celebrate the day, I hope it's enough.

Enjoy the day.


Update

It's all about the Euphrates

Control of both banks of the Euphrates River is an important territorial goal for the Syrian government and its allies because Syrian President Assad firmly opposes fragmentation of the Syrian state. He doesn't want to see any of it fitting into the dreams of the Kurdish Independence movement.

Over the weekend, I received reports that Syrian forces crossed the Euphrates River, but were forced back. The US and Russia agreed that the Euphrates River is the boundary between the operating area of the SDF and the Syrian government and allied forces. The Russians did not deny that their aircraft were over the east bank of the Euphrates River.

This proved to be a minor incident, militarily, but it portends a struggle for larger stakes politically. The Syrian government intends to assert sovereignty over all territories liberated from the Islamic State. The Russians back this Syrian position. This is the next phase – the post-Islamic State phase – of the civil war.

No, it's not being reported by the corrupt, lying, smug, nasty mainstream media as a victory for the Trump Administration, the Russians and our allies.

Fat Un's Long March

Kim’s strategic goal is to use the threat of missile attacks to neutralize the US in future crises. One way or another, by threat of attack or negotiations, Kim wants the US out of South Korea.

In recent published comments, the fat kid with the bad haircut suggested that North Korea has a second-strike doctrine. The difference with great power usage of that term is that North Korea intends a nuclear counterattack for the slightest, conventional US or South Korean violation of North Korean sovereignty. Any military confrontation, however serendipitous or slight, can lead to a North Korean nuclear counterattack in Kim’s usage. Put another way, the next Korean War will be a nuclear war.

The US will naturally factor that into its strategy as will South Korea and Japan. China sits on the sidelines with it's thumb (metaphorically) in a dark, nasty cave. More on that later.

North Korea apparently is producing these missiles in a sufficient quantity to use live launches to train the Hwasong missile unit. There will be lots more missile launches. 

According to a report carried by the website of China Central Television (CCTV), on 15 September, Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, was interviewed by Chinese and foreign news media on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Cui Tiankai said that “China's position on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is clear and consistent. China has always been committed to pushing forward the realization of non-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, has always made the maximum efforts to comprehensively and fully implement the relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council, and has been committed to pushing forward peaceful negotiations to resolve the problem. “ 
Some American mandarins believe that China is trying to formulate a policy with regard to North Korea, but it's illusive.



Monday, September 18, 2017

Random Musings


Speed is Fine
Accuracy is Final

An interview of Wyatt Earp.


Wyatt Earp in his later years.
John Henry (Doc) Holliday - died of 
consumption/TB at the age of 36.

The New i-phone 

It will only cost you $1,000 to make a phone call and surf the net. I don't get it. The phone incorporates new 'smart' face recognition technology so your mug will be on file and attached in a cyber sense to your phone. I'm an Apple person, but doubt that I'll spend $1K on a phone anytime soon unless it can also mow the lawn, take out the trash, cook chicken and dumplings and install new brakes on the truck.


Then again, I'm a dinosaur and I very very rarely use a debit card or e-money. I keep a stack of hundreds in my pocket next to the handgun. There are times when society forces me to use a credit card and I do and pay it off monthly, but you take my point. 

A Familiar Theme


Muslims in general feel like an infection. At least that's what I mentioned to my friend J. D. who reads this blog from time to time. It was like that in the neighborhood where I just sold my home, down the street from where they built the mosque.

People of that faith seem to lack the capacity to live-and-let-live. 

DRJIM recently made his CALEXIT and I wish him well in Colorado. In California, it's not only the Muslims, it's the whole thing, and people are leaving rather than tolerating the insanity. Me too. Those who can leave are. The house of cards will eventually fall and it's not going to be pretty.

In Sweden, there are plans afoot for a man-free music festival. They're worried about rapes. It would be politically incorrect in Sweden to have a MUSLIM FREE event. But we all know what's going on in that country and that the problem isn't "men" so much as it is military age Muslim men. When you invite an infection into your country, you shouldn't hide the poison under a bandage.

When I was a Kid

I mowed lawns for money. No, there was no Occupational Safety and Health Administration wonk there on site inspecting the mower, the work site, and guarding me against child labor exploitation. I charged what I thought that the market would pay. It was raw capitalism. That and a paper route were the most common ways for boys to earn spending money. Girls babysat and made more. In the summer I also hauled hay when I lived in the country. In the city that wasn't  an option.

When I read the piece about the boy mowing the lawn at the White House, I felt encouraged. Then some two-bit, jumped-up, progressive (possibly a tranny) member of the corrupt, lying, smug, nasty, lying mainstream media, employed by the NY Times attacked both President Trump and the boy.

In California, illegal aliens (also called wetbacks) have captured the lawn maintenance market, edging out boys. Not many people take the newspapers anymore and when they do, it's not delivered by a kid on a bicycle.

The New York Times and the Section 8 aliens who took jobs from kids are part of what is wrong with America. #Build That Wall

When I was young doctors made house calls, the guy who delivered the milk was an adult male and he earned a living wage doing that, etc. Yes I know. that age has passed.