sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, January 20, 2017

What All This Means

What if, as the progs assert, the US election should be decided by popular vote alone? California and New York would be the only states that matter, with Texas a close third, and the rest of the nation be damned. True, there would be a lot more concern about who goes into which restroom, and whether there should be 31 genders as New York asserts, or 16 that California recognizes... But what would it really mean to disenfranchise the rest of the nation from the political process? Revolution.

The President and First Lady of the United States
Being a Constitutionalist, I understand why things were set up the way that they were and there is deep wisdom behind it. Barack came into office with the slogan, 'change and rearrange' with his heartfelt wish to fundamentally transform America. He tried to break the nation. What happened? He lost hegemony in the legislature two years later so tried to rule with his pen and his telephone. Eight years later, America elects the precise opposite of Barack with President Trump. The system is restored, his legacy will be wiped from the nation and balance will be established. Whether President Trump will go down in history as a hero or a villain will depend on what he does, not what he says.

Elsewhere...China isn't happy because they planned on a Sino-Centric world and that may no longer be as easy to pull off as it would have if America continued to shrink from the world stage. Russia is looking with interest at how it will all turn out with a resurgent USA. The US-UK relationship will be rebuilt, stronger than ever. Mexico will pay for a wall on its northern border.

The Progressive Melt-Downs. This is a series of YouTube compilations that demonstrates that the  smug, corrupt, elite, mainstream media and their reading of We The People couldn't be more wrong. It's particularly entertaining today -- and it's my gift to you.





AND -- Barack didn't pardon Hillary.....

A New US Relationship with China

The people who pull the levers and push the buttons on politics and policy in the People's Republic of China have been satisfied with the relationship that they had with the Obama Administration. Essentially Barack walked away from the store, left the door unlocked and allowed the looters to do as they would.

January 20, 2017 marks a new starting point and a test of wills and strength between an emerging Sino-centric world order and a re-energized US-centric world order.

Things in Washington DC have changed. President Trump invited Taiwan to send a delegation to his inauguration. The delegation, led by a former premier, arrived in the US on January 17th.
On 19 January, the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said, “We are opposed to the Taiwan authorities for sending personnel to the United States in whatever excuses to conduct activities that will undermine China-US relations. We again urge the relevant US side not to allow the Taiwan authorities to send the so-called delegation to attend the inauguration ceremony of the US President, and not to engage in any forms of official contacts with Taiwan.”
PRC Schooling President Trump

PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ms. Hua Chunying answered a question about China’s relations with the new US administration. Her reply is China official position regarding the US on the eve of inauguration. 
“A healthy and stable development of China-US relations is in line with the common interests of the people in the two countries. In fact, the development of China-US relations over the last few years has fully proved that China and the United States have far more common interests than differences, and cooperation between China and the United States can accomplish many things in a big way for the benefits of the two countries and the world.”
“We look forward to work hard with the new US administration, continue to uphold the principles of non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation, and continue to expand cooperation on bilateral, regional and global issues, and other fields to strive to push China-US relations toward greater development at a new starting point.”
Hua remarks essentially are a tutorial for the benefit of the US President-elect, laying out China’s expectations of American behavior. Hua was careful to avoid provocative statements, but Chinese behavior in the past eight years belies her reassurances about stability and “non-confrontation”. The Chinese have their own definitions of the principles for managing state relations “in a healthy and stable way.” The “correct direction” always favors China.

Reality

China is in confrontation with both Koreas; Japan; all the countries in southeast Asia except the Philippines; Burma, and India. Stability means that other states affected by Chinese initiatives should not react aggressively to protect their interests. 

Non-confrontation applies to the US Navy and Japan’s self-defense forces, but not to Chinese ships intruding in the Senkakus or to China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. In 2012, Chinese forces simply seized the Philippine territory of Scarborough Shoal by force. 

Chinese and North Korean missiles that can target South Korea and Japan are not provocative, but the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile systems in South Korea and Japan is destabilizing. US bases are destabilizing, but the Chinese base in Djibouti is not.

Improvements to Vietnam’s islands are provocative, but China’s militarization of its man-made islets is not. President Xi’s Silk Road and Belt projects offer significant economic benefits to cooperating countries at the price of compromising their security and redirecting world trade. China’s reach is now farther than ever in Chinese history.

China’s focus on common interests ignores the much weightier issues on which national interests diverge, including North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. Plus, there is a pattern. Chinese initiatives invariably are stabilizing and benign, so the Chinese assert. Resistance, disagreement or counter-initiatives, perforce, must be destabilizing and malign.

The statement of principles is beguiling. No one could object the principles, but the Chinese do not practice them. Nor do the Russians. They are for others – the victims and targets -- to practice. Additionally, they appear to support the existing international order, as suggested by President Xi in Davos. However, they also help the China Dream in which China is building a new Sino-centric world order.

President Trump

The old relationship with China ends today. A new relationship begins, and there will be new rules that come out of it. The negotiation has begun and all of the chips are on the table. Commander Seventh Fleet will have his hands full with China and East Asia.

The cozy relationship building between China and Russia may also be coming to an end with a US policy that tends to favor rapprochement with Russia. This will be vexing to China as it finds itself isolated once again. The US has more to gain by working with Russia than it does with China and that relationship will tend to starve China of energy. 

Watch the Russian response to this very carefully. They want to know how far to push things. If they cooperate with the US against ISIS and pull back in areas where they are currently expanding, the US will reward Russia with trade and favored status. The question for Russia is whether guns or butter are in its interests. Expect to be surprised - possibly in a good way. China has an 800 million man army (including People's militia) on the Russian southern border. America forgets that and the Russians never do. China would not invade Russia, but they ultimately pose a larger threat to Russia in the next twenty years than the US does -- if the US does not push NATO forward even more aggressively to the Russian border areas. Status quo may be good enough for Russia.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Brief Look Back in Time










American Rennissaince


I'm optimistic about America's future both at home and abroad. The inauguration of President Trump will change the malaise that hung over the nation for a long time. 

Despite what Barack would have you believe, the American economy has been stagnant and depressing during his watch. It worked out well for those living in the beltway or who were the recipients of $10 trillion in deficit spending during his term in office, but most of America has felt deflated. That was reflected in the election of President Trump. Things have gone wrong and they need to be changed in so many ways. 

America's relationships with other countries will be redefined. There is a pending trade deal with the UK that will pick up any remaining hardship from BREXIT. I see that carved out in the first 60 days of the Trump presidency. Britain and the US have a traditional special relationship that Barack shat on. That's about to be repaired. It's emblematic of the massive repair job that America needs.

You don't hear much from the Islamic states bashing the USA these days. Iran doesn't want us to participate in the Syrian peace talks, but the rhetoric is dialed way back. I expect that the chatter will resume, but possibly in a far more circumspect way. Barack, the apologist has been replaced by a man who is less likely to use military force than his predecessor -- but if pushed to it, will let slip Mad Dog Mattis and his team of professionals. This is not lost on the Middle Eastern kingdoms.

The Obama Years, or the ObamaNation, exemplified mediocrity. I've heard Afro-American commentators on Fox News who are concerned by "mediocre negroes". I think that they were concerned about the wrong one - except that the one they should have been worried about is half white. Be that as it may,

Times are changing, the progs are in full melt down and we will see America become great again.

I don't think that you will see President Trump go on an "American apology tour" and I think that it will be a cold day in hell before he bows to petty potentates and dictators around the world.  Progs bemoan that, but I think that it's a very good thing.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Emerging Situation with China

China, and by that, I mean the mandarins in the politburo who pull the levers in the government, almost always reacts with an underpinning emotion that is difficult to see unless you have met some of these folks in person. They are not Americans. Not even close. They have a difficult time understanding Americans. To his credit, President Trump nominated Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China, choosing a longstanding friend of Beijing. His choice of Rex Tillarson as Secretary of State is a choice of a reasonable, intelligent, tough but fair man who has a keen understanding of international affairs. Those are not the choices of a mad man, but of a negotiator who wants the best team in play. It's a stark departure from the Obama Years when political functionaries and buffoons represented Barack. China gets all of this, but still, they are confused and worried in an emotional way.

Two days ago, the government-run newspaper China Daily published a terse and threatening restatement of China’s official reaction to President-elect Trump’s comments about “one China.” The article begins with a summary of the action-reaction cycle.

This is important for those of you who are China watchers.

The map includes Taiwan as being part of China...
China’s first reaction was to blame Taiwan for maneuvering an inexperienced president-elect into taking a phone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The Chinese called this a "trick".

After the President-elect’s second comment that “one China’ is negotiable, Chinese officials played down the remark as a misunderstanding or bluster. China reacted to this with a carefully phrased clarification of China’s position that acceptance of “one China’ is the bedrock of China’s relationships with the US.

On 13 January, the President-elect restated that “one China’ is negotiable. Since that remark, the Chinese leadership has concluded that the President-elect means what he said. The 13 January article carries the message that China also means what it said. The final five paragraphs follow.
“,,,It seems wishful thinking to assume Trump and his team's remarks on Taiwan have been based on bluster or miscalculation. On the contrary, it appears the next administration is intending to use the one-China policy as its trump card.”

“Taiwan has been off limits in China-US diplomacy thanks to the understanding that it is a Pandora's box of lethal potential, and that opening it may upend the hard-earned, firmly held fundamentals governing the relationship.”

“If Trump is determined to use this gambit on taking office, a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves.”

“It would be good if, after his inauguration, Trump can demonstrate more statesmanship. But Beijing should not count on his raising the stakes being a pre-inauguration bluff, and instead be prepared for him to continue backing this bet.”

“It may be costly. But it will prove a worthy price to pay to make the next US president aware of the special sensitivity, and serious consequences of his Taiwan game.”
The threat statement was spun by the corrupt, elite mainstream media and intermixed facts with opinions. They all but obliterated the meaning, so it is for you to make sense of it as best you are able without their "take" on the message.

The message conveys that the Chinese already have prepared their retaliation campaign. Early preparation for the worst outcome is a distinctive feature of Chinese crisis management style. They prepare the most damaging actions for the worst possible outcomes and then wait and see whether events dictate that they must apply them all or only some of them. 

The Chinese work backward from the worst outcome to the most benign outcome. They also always warn their target multiple times to afford opportunities for the target to mend its ways or manners.

The China Daily article indicates that only contingency decisions have been made. The implementation of the campaign depends on “use of this gambit,” in other words, on what the new administration does, not what it says.

The article contains the most direct language of threat by the Chinese leadership that I have read. Even before the Chinese invasion of northern Vietnam in 1979, the Chinese did not warn the Vietnamese in language as blunt as that above. 

The Chinese are not certain what the President-elect means by the assertion that “one China” is negotiable. That sentence is ambiguous. For example, it could mean that the US accepts the principle of “one China,” but the new administration wants more cooperation on the terms of trade and investment in China. 

However, the Chinese are concerned that the language means that the principle itself is up for negotiation and might be abandoned. They are prepared for either eventuality. On the principle of “one China”, China is prepared to use military force and sustain whatever costs it takes to preserve “one China.” 

They are prepared to hold Taiwan and its population hostage to the principle of “one China” and pay severe costs to prevent a declaration of independence by Taiwan.  That is a propaganda indicator of military action.

The emerging crisis has not reached that point yet.

Thoughts from the Road


Blogging from the road, things come to mind and I'll try to put a few out there for your comments. Meanwhile, life is slower outside of the Los Angeles basin and there is a sense of sanity that pervades the nation in fly-over country.

Opportunity?

There may be hope for conservative bloggers to apply for White House press credentials to cover press conferences as the corrupt, elite media unwillingly gives up their treasured 49 seats. 
(Reuters)  President Donald Trump's team could move the White House press briefing room from the West Wing to another location that accommodates more media from around the country and the world, senior officials in the incoming administration said on Sunday. 
Esquire magazine reported on Saturday that the Trump administration planned to relocate White House reporters from the press room to the White House Conference Center or the Old Executive Office Building next door.
"...The interest of the team is to make sure that we accommodate the broadest number of people who are interested and media from around the country and around the world," Pence said.

Some months ago, I suggested to fellow blogger, LSP that the time would come when even bloggers might be given the opportunity to shout for the President's attention in a White House briefing. That time may be fast approaching as the Trump White House expands the number of people who can attend press briefings. Possibly as many as two hundred fifty press officials, bloggers and other journalists will be invited to the White House Conference Center.

The only question that I have is, "If LSP has White House press credentials, will he attend the press conferences?" I think that the opportunity is out there if you know people.

Anglican Trauma Triggers

Some Anglican priests refuse to pray for President Donald Trump because they say that the mention of his name causes trauma in the people who attend services. LSP has assured me that Texans are made of sterner stuff and are not sent scurrying to a safe space when he invokes God's blessing on President Trump. 

What would the greater Anglican communion and "Forward in Christ" magazine think of one of their own standing shoulder to shoulder with the satanic influenced corrupt, elite mainstream media asking pertinent questions of interest to people in the US and around the world? Would Anglicans (outside of Texas) be outraged?

(left - LSP - the force is strong with this one)




You know that you have a really interesting question 
when nobody wants to answer it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Clinton Global Initiative is Defunct

It's interesting to see what is "news" and what isn't. Bill Clinton in a hotel room with a dead Russian hooker is not news. Readers might say, "oh, another one?" That's all the traction that you'd get. Progs are contemptible and nothing that they do surprises anyone.

Speaking of news.

If any of you wanted to give money to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), you'd better hurry. I've heard that Bill and Hillary will be dead broke unless you do.
(The Blaze) The Clinton Global Initiative will shutter operations at their main office in New York City for good on Tax Day, April 15, 2017. 
A WARN filing with the Department of Labor indicates that the 22 remaining employees employed there will be terminated on that date and that the official reason given for the layoffs is a “discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initative.”
A report from the New York Observer notes, that criticisms began to reemerge in the wake of Clinton’s electoral loss to now President-elect Donald Trump due to the nearly immediate decision by those same wealthy and foreign donors to distance themselves from the foundation — or fundraising — arm of the initiative:
[A]s soon as Clinton lost the election, many of the criticisms directed toward the Clinton Foundation were reaffirmed. Foreign governments began pulling out of annual donations, signaling the organization’s clout was predicated on donor access to the Clintons, rather than its philanthropic work. In November, the Australian government confirmed it “has not renewed any of its partnerships with the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, effectively ending 10 years of taxpayer-funded contributions worth more than $88 million.” The government of Norway also drastically reduced their annual donations, which reached $20 million a year in 2015.
It was a pay-to-play scheme predicated upon the inevitability of Hillary Clinton becoming the 45th President of the United States. Foreign government donors and wealthy benefactors threw money at the Clintons with the expectation of influence during a Clinton presidency. While Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State, she criss-crossed the globe preaching the value of contributing to her "charity".

Clinton was dogged during the waning days of the 2016 election by allegations stemming from an email exchange detailing a memo made public by WikiLeaks in October that the Clinton Foundation was running a scheme to amass a fortune using the Clintons’ political influence:

From the Post:
The memo from [top Clinton aide and Clinton Foundation employee] Douglas Band, made public Wednesday by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, lays out the aggressive strategy behind lining up the consulting contracts and paid speaking engagements for Bill Clinton that added tens of millions of dollars to the family’s fortune, including during the years that Hillary Clinton led the State Department. It describes how Band helped run what he called “Bill Clinton Inc.,” obtaining “in-kind services for the President and his family — for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.”
For those of you who have harsh thoughts about Wikileaks, consider that without that organization, the public's understanding of the unbridled corruption of the Clintons would never have had a light shined on it.

What will happen to those billions of dollars raised for 'charity' after CGI is shut down? I don't hear the news media asking those questions. Where's CNN's incisive reporting?


Trump Exposed!


Context and Precedence


China is beating the war drums. Russia is angry that a US armored brigade is training in Poland. Muslims don't want America great again. Mexicans don't want to pay for the wall, though they know they will. Afro-American legislators who want to shake down their constituents for more money are scaring them with Trump. The inauguration is at the end of the week.

and

I'm headed for the mine, even though the place is covered by snow. The one nice thing about being self employed is that you can ask for time off whenever you want to - even though the boss is a jerk.

I have a meeting with the kitchen consultants, because I need to get the kitchen locked in before the architect (who fellow blogger Fredd wants me to fire) can finish the basic floor plan. In addition to the kitchen, there is a general pantry and a butler's pantry because nobody ever said, "I have enough storage space". Big Sub Zero fridge, under counter Sub Z freezer for ready items and a chest freezer in the utility room for long term storage and half a steer type stuff. The shack needs to be comfortable for myself and guests. It may be a hovel, but it will be a comfortable hovel.  A guy questioned me on the size of the garage. Two garages. 5 car capacity. Why would I want less garage/workshop space than that.  I'm working on a design for an out-building greenhouse for fresh herbs, peppers, tomatoes, squash, etc.

The grandkids have suggested that I include an institutional quality soft serve ice cream machine to insure their visits are regular. I'm looking for some antique slot machines and pinball machines to go into the rec. room. I think that I can pick those up in Phoenix. I may draw the line at a pool table and go big on quads and dirt bikes instead. Yes, there will be a tournament quality dart board.

I may ask my oldest daughter, Amanda (left) to help pack, but maybe not quite yet. She has her hands full with three young boys. The advantage of having daughters is that they like to take over and take charge for things like packing and cleaning up.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Is AFRICOM a Boondoggle?

US Special Forces Deployment in Africa in 2016
Under the Obama Administration (thankfully passing into history) the African Theater of US Military Operations has been formed and has expanded its role. You can look at articles and press releases over the past year (if you're interested) to get a sense of the breadth of US military involvement in Africa these days. 

US Special Operations Command - Africa is a subset of AFRICOM, and is also a subset of US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). A large number of US forces engaged in Africa come from that command. They deployed to thirty-three African nations last year (in 2016) - see map. There are 54 countries on the African continent.
In 2016, 17.26% of all U.S. Special Operations forces — Navy SEALs and Green Berets among them — deployed abroad were sent to Africa, according to data supplied to The Intercept by U.S. Special Operations Command. That total ranks second only to the Greater Middle East where the U.S. is waging war against enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
I will be interested to see how that changes under a Trump Administration. Barack Hussein Obama's personal interest in Africa had an influence on what the US Military did there and also why we did it. The larger question is what vital national interests are served.
(photo left) The utility of US Navy BDU's is called into question when they are worn in the field in Africa.
It's useful to conduct training activities with other nations and it's useful to have a brain trust within the US Military and particularly within JSOC that is familiar with issues peculiar to Africa. Nothing beats experience on the ground. But outside of that, does the US have any vital interests in Africa south of the Mediterranean shoreline?

People (important people) made decisions to expand the US footprint in Africa, but I remain unconvinced that there is much value in it other than showing that the US has not turned its back on Africa...and that we're not racist...and embrace diversity (yada-yada-yada). 

The majority of African governments that hosted deployments of U.S. commandos in 2016 have seen their own security forces cited for human rights abuses by the U.S. State Department, including Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Tanzania. We also deployed to Sudan (as an ally), which has been labeled a 'state sponsor of terrorism' by the US State Department. You could argue that we're trying to persuade them not to be a state sponsor of terrorism - but good luck with that.

Who would want a Theater Command Headquarters in Africa?

Most of Africa is an unpleasant place full of unpleasant people and there must be a better place to put the theater command, with it's four-star general and other associated joint command generals and admirals (something like a dozen general officers).

Why not -- BAVARIA?

Bavaria has Oktoberfest, tasty beer, delicious wienerschnitzle, attractive women, it's peaceful (or it was until Germany imported a million military aged Muslim males), and it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

To me, a marginally informed US Citizen, and retired trigger puller, most of this smacks of a boondoggle and a lot of money spent for very little in return. AFRICOM is headquartered at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany (a very nice city). In 2010, AFRICOM funded vacations for all fifty state National Guard generals (and their aids) to visit Kelley Barracks and discuss theoretical state National Guard disaster relief to Africa. Generals fly business class or better...

Do we need to maintain a hefty US Navy staff at Stuttgart to brief Army generals, living in the beautiful Bavarian countryside?

How many genuine African experts do we have at Kelley Barracks who actually speak a native African language? Maybe three or four? (though you can usually get by in Africa if you speak English and French with a smattering of Portugese)

Most of the staff living in Bavaria are soldiers on a normal three year rotation and officers who are punching a "joint tour" ticket on their way to higher rank. As a former something-something with an SOC billet, I would clearly not have objected to an accompanied tour in Bavaria. It's a very nice place. You can spend weekends and holidays touring Europe with the family. I have relatives who live in Bavaria (and further south in Switzerland) and it's every bit as cool as it looks.

But if the Trump Administration is looking for a place to cut, this is a place to start. You can relocate all relevant command personnel to Naval Support Activity Naples, a United States Navy base, located at Naples Airport in Capodichino, Naples, Italy. It is home to U.S. Naval Forces Europe and the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Close Kelley Barracks and move on. It's a complete waste of money unless you're looking for a really nice vacation.


Having AFRICOM justifies generals, staff officers, staff personnel and a bloated budget, but it seems somewhat pointless to me. The US Central Command is located in Tampa, Florida and it's responsible for the Middle East. If we MUST have AFRICOM, why not locate it in some depressed rust-belt portion of the US where the tax money trickle down into the local economy would be better appreciated? Oh, right, Gary, Indiana isn't Bavaria.

Sunday Sermonette


Wandering through Walmart, and to a lesser extent through life, I see hideous women with children and wonder to myself, "Who mated with her? Has he no shame?"

Thus begins my Sunday Sermonette and my confession here on the blog that I have uncharitable thoughts toward people sometimes. 

My granddaughters liked the happy meals at McDonalds and I used to buy those (rip-off) fast food meals for them. The people who work at McDonalds --- and I'm not speaking for all McDonalds --- are so dumb that it's a wonder that they are able to dress themselves and make it in to work. They Peter Principled themselves to their limits by taking drive-through orders, advancing as far in life as they are likely to go. The fact that I am buying food there shames me and makes me feel just as stupid - and a little dirty.

Hollywood progs receive a lot of uncharitable thoughts from me. In some cases they are talented artists who lack the common sense that God gave a snail. I should be more compassionate toward them -- but I'm not. If I was an Islamic, lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, asexual, gender neutral, questioning, non-binary, gender fluid person of color, I might see things differently. But since I'm not - I don't.

Driving in Southern California is a challenge because of traffic, and while I avoid Little Saigon usually, there are times when I end up transiting through the Garden Grove/Westminster corridor. All of the stereotypes that paint Vietnamese as bad drivers are accurate. "Hey mister Ling Wong - why can't you drive like you play ping-pong?" I've heard that old people in Florida (mostly from New York originally) drive worse. I can't say that its not possible.

I don't like George Soros. Every time I see his picture appear on the news or somewhere else, I think of this iconic clip of his acting debut. I'm not fond of Nazis - no matter how progressive that they tell everyone that they are. Thus the same uncharitable thoughts that I have for Barack, I share for Soros. (and yes, Soros, spelled backwards, is still Soros)

The Federal bureaucracy hires people, who for want of a more appropriate term, fill diversity quotas. My favorite example comes from a situation where I needed photo copies. There were other public copy machines in the building - all had been sabotaged. The employees were happy to make me a copy on their machine at $5 per page. I flashed credentials and made a complaint with more senior people who explained to me, candidly, that both of the diverse people who worked there were managers who could not be fired because of their diverse nature. They had been transferred to the records area in order to limit the amount of damage they were capable of doing.


Feel free to share/add your uncharitable thoughts below -  and unburden your soul because it is Sunday.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thoughts - The Mexican Drug Trade

When I report on the murder rate in Tijuana exceeding 700 (reported) in 2016, and the murder rate in Juarez at 528, you need to balance that against 768 murders in Chicago during the same period From January-December 2016. America (land of the free, home of the brave) needs to keep all this in perspective.

There are differences between the Mexican Border and the City of Chicago, but it's mostly in semantics. 

Huge profits and little value placed on human life leads to trouble no matter where you are.

Let's outline how the drug business works. Each significant city along the US-Mexican Border has a "Plaza". The Plaza is an interactive hub where narcotics move north and currency moves south.  Each cartel wants dominance in each city because control of the Plaza  means control of the action.

One possible scenario

Let's say that you were interested in going into the drug business and that you lived in Guadalajara, Jalisco. You run a non-narco business but it's just not turning the sort of profit that you would like to see and you have a couple million dollars (in pesos) in the local bank. Maybe you inherited? There is nothing stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur and becoming a trafficker. The cartels won't stop you (because they will demand a tax - part of your profit).

For the sake of brevity on this blog, you have a friend who lives in Colombia with access to cocaine and you have another friend who works for a Mexican television network. You know through your friend that TV semi-tractor trailers (usually 5 or 6) are driving from Mexico to Colombia with equipment to film an important football/soccer match. After the big game, they will return. You pay all concerned: The contact in Colombia and the friend who works at the TV station. You know that TV trucks are not stopped by customs between Colombia and Mexico so you're comfortable that the dope won't go missing. 

You pay your Colombian for the narcotics product - let's say that it's 1,000 kg (one metric ton). The friend from the network pays drivers and grips to look the other way and in due time, 1,000 kg of cocaine arrives in Guadalajara where you stash it. 

Word leaks out that you have 1,000 kg of cocaine hidden locally and want to sell it in the USA. The Guadalajara Plaza staff from C├írtel de Jalisco Nueva Generaci├│n (CJNG) meets with you and says that's fine but you need to pay the tax since drugs are flowing through their turf.  In exchange for the payment, they will keep the police (who are on their payroll) off your back and will allow the shipment to go through. 
CJNG has considerable overhead to protect the drug trade in Guadalajara and you, the trafficker, need to pay for that. There is also the issue of who the boss is. In this case, El Mencho loses face if people run drugs through his area without paying for the privilege.
At this point, you have several options. You have made a sizable investment in cocaine ($1,500 per kilo for a total investment of $1.5 million) and another couple hundred thousand dollars to secure shipment to Guadalajara. However, now your cocaine is worth $13,000 per kilo, and so long as it's not stolen by other narcos (or the police, which is sort of the same thing), you are sitting on $13 million in value. 

Comparative value by location:
1 kilogram of cocaine
  • Australia - $230K per kg.
  • Austria - $100K per kg.
  • France - $80K per kg.
  • USA - $60K per kg.
  • Netherlands - $50 per kg.
By moving your kilogram of cocaine across the US/Mexican border, you move its value from $13K per kilogram to $60K. You're now faced with a problem, having paid the tax to the Guadalajara Plaza/CJNG. Your investment needs to be smuggled into the US. You're not a cartel member, you're an independent - and it's allowed in Mexico so long as you pay the tax. Naturally it would be safer for you if you were affiliated with a "roof" to keep the rain off, but we're offering a different scenario, one that's not often considered.

If you want to make sure that your ton of cocaine arrives at the Port of Long Beach, San Antonio, or Bayonne, New Jersey, you can get a hold of one of a few cartel members and they will sell you load insurance. Normally it's 10% by weight, so you're going to give up 100 kg of cocaine with a US street value of $600,000 to get it through US Border security. They take the product (10% of total) not cash, and deliver your 900 kg of cocaine across the border.

Congratulations. You've turned a roughly $2.5 million investment (including transportation charges) into $54 million in value. All you need to do is to distribute it (which has overhead involved) and bring the money back across the border to Mexico (which has overhead involved) and you're home free!

However, without a distribution network and the capacity to move money back home, you're likely to sell the load short, for say, $50 million, payable in Guadalajara.

I've seen this happen, and it's not uncommon. There are pitfalls between the point of sale in Colombia and the arrival of a ton of cocaine in New Jersey, and you could lose that $2.5 million you invested. THAT is why heroin is so much better for narcos than cocaine. There are no precursor chemicals to worry about, no lab to blow up (as with meth) and you haven't invested $2.5 million that you could lose. Your overhead consists of subsistence level farmers who grow and tap the poppies for sap, a few chemicals and transportation. Instead of risking $2.5 million to make $50 million, you can risk less than $20K to make $140K per kg (US street price). A ton of heroin is the same weight as a ton of cocaine and it's worth 4x as much on the street.

That's the situation.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Science/Sci-Fi Fodder

There are a few who follow this blog who write Science Fiction and still more who read it. For those writers among you who are looking for the factual basis for a "strange and interesting planet", you need look no further afield.

Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the super-massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it's not. New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic 'spitball.'
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "Our galaxy's black hole is spewing out planet-size 'spitballs'." ScienceDaily. 11 January 2017. 
"A single shredded star can form hundreds of these planet-mass objects. We wondered: Where do they end up? How close do they come to us? We developed a computer code to answer those questions," says lead author Eden Girma, an undergraduate student at Harvard University and a member of the Banneker/Aztlan Institute.

Girma presented her findings at a Wednesday poster session and Friday press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Girma's calculations show that the closest of these planet-mass objects might be within a few hundred light-years of Earth. It would have a weight somewhere between Neptune and several Jupiters. It would also glow from the heat of its formation, although not brightly enough to have been detected by previous surveys. Future instruments like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope might spot these far-flung oddities.

She also finds that the vast majority of the planet-mass objects -- 95 percent -- will leave the galaxy entirely due to their speeds of about 20 million miles per hour (10,000 km/s). Since most other galaxies also have giant black holes at their cores, it's likely that the same process is at work in them.

"Other galaxies like Andromeda are shooting these 'spitballs' at us all the time," says co-author James Guillochon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Although they might be planet-size, these objects would be very different from a typical planet. They are literally made of star-stuff, and since different ones would develop from different pieces of the former star, their compositions could vary.

They also form much more rapidly than a normal planet. It takes only a day for the black hole to shred the star (in a process known as tidal disruption), and only about a year for the resulting fragments to pull themselves back together. This is in contrast to the millions of years required to create a planet like Jupiter from scratch.

Once launched, it would take about a million years for one of these objects to reach Earth's neighborhood. The challenge will be to tell it apart from free-floating planets that are created during the more mundane process of star and planet formation.

"Only about one out of a thousand free-floating planets will be one of these second-generation oddballs," adds Girma.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dilemma in Mexico

Mexican Business Update

Since the election of President Trump, my business with Mexican clients has been off the charts. There is a lot of concern south of the border that their economy will continue to tank. It's not just the Mexicans themselves who are concerned, but the global investors are abandoning them as a bad bet. 80% of Mexican exports end up in the United States, and with President Trump's promise to repudiate NAFTA and renegotiate trade (tariffs will help pay for the wall).
(Wall Street Journal) Global investors are fleeing Mexico’s financial markets, sending the peso to record lows on mounting concerns that Donald Trump’s trade policy could end the country’s privileged status among developing countries. 
The peso on Wednesday tumbled to another all-time low against the dollar as Mr. Trump pledged to change U.S. trade policy with Mexico. “Mexico has taken advantage of the United States,” he said during his press conference. “It’s not going to happen anymore.” 
The Mexican currency weakened 0.3%—at 21.8609 from 21.8009 late Tuesday—again frustrating Mexican central-bank efforts to slow the currency’s decline. Bank officials said Tuesday that they spent $2 billion last week to prop up the peso, which has weakened 16% against the dollar since the U.S. election.
Fiat-Chrysler and Ford are early departures from Mexico to the US but there will be many more as US companies find it disadvantageous to manufacture there and ship the finished products to the US.

The Narcotics Business

The narcos have a mixed take on the situation. They hoard US currency, so their dollars will be worth more in a down-turning Mexican economy and as people begin to look for work, they can reduce the cost of their domestic overhead. The move from marijuana cultivation to opium poppies has been wildly successful and the US narcotics market has embraced heroin. 

Mexican drug cartels feel that while a border wall may slow their business enterprise, it will not stop it. The shift to heroin from the bulkier Mexican weed (because of American legalization) has worked. Cartels have also gone into the medical marijuana market where it is legal in the US putting straw men up front as the face of the store. So they see a way forward no matter what the US does. 

At present, American law enforcement efforts manage to interdict about 5% of the drugs that come across the border. Cocaine was more expensive than home brewed methamphetemine or marijuana because the manufacture overhead went back to Colombia. With heroin, the cost of growing and refining domestically is next to nothing, so seizures of even 25% of the traffic crossing the border would still assure the cartels of a healthy profit.

Framing the Situation

The narcotics business and money sent south to family by illegal aliens (3 million people send money south every week) who are selling drugs or working legitimately in the US accounts for a huge amount of Mexico's wealth. The one-two punch of reducing the money coming south and adding tariffs would cause the economy to rely even more on illegal narcotics, the third leg of the Mexican economic tripod.

Almost 30% of Mexico's gross domestic product comes from legal trade with the U.S. When you add in illegal narcotics income and money sent from the US to relatives in Mexico, you're up in the 50% range.
Fitch Ratings in early December cut its rating outlook on Mexico’s long-term debt to negative from stable, a sign that currency depreciation resulting from Mr. Trump’s victory had increased uncertainty to the point that it could hurt Mexico’s public finances. 

“No one is willing to stick their neck out and take a shot on Mexican assets right now,” said Win Thin, an emerging-markets strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. 
Large companies are holding off making investment decisions when it comes to Mexico primary because of the election of President Trump.

Illegal Immigration

The Mexican government has warned President Trump that a weaker peso would spur more illegal immigration as the economy falters. President Trump replied, "That's why we're building that big, beautiful wall."

For at least a century, both legal and more importantly, illegal immigration, provided a safety valve for Mexico. The angry malcontents left Mexico and worked (illegally) in the US, rather than fight the corrupt government at home. The options left to the Mexican government are not appealing. 


China & THAAD, Yemen, Russia is Staying

TRUMP!

Most of you either saw President Trumps news conference in real time or a recorded version -- or you heard it summarized on blogs or on the news. I enjoyed it. I particularly enjoyed CNN’s Jim Acosta howling because the President would not take his question by saying, “You are fake news.”

Well of course CNN broadcasts fake news. Anything to discredit the president. It was CNN that leaked the debate questions to Hillary Clinton. They are an advocacy agent of influence for the Democrat Party and the corrupt progressive elitist establishment.

The media was incensed that President Trump has not released his tax returns -- sort of like Barack didn't release his birth certificate. The President said, “The only ones who care about my tax returns are the reporters.” He continued, “I mean, I won! I became president!”

My sense is that's true. I don't care about his tax returns. If the progs do, good for them. They can continue to pester him - and maybe he won't call on them during the next press conference. That's ok with me too. I'm tired of the corrupt, elite, mainstream media writing garbage.

China is Unhappy

There has been a cause and effect to China's mischief and their lack of constraint toward their North Korean client state. China really hates THAAD.


Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said on 10 January that she will visit Andersen Air Force Base on Guam to inspect the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system based there. Minister Inada told a press conference that "The Defense Ministry has no concrete plan to introduce THAAD at this stage, but the installation of this kind of new asset can be one of the measures to reinforce our missile defense capabilities." 

Inada said North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose "a new level of threat" and that the Defense Ministry is considering ways to strengthen Japan's own ballistic missile defense system.

Inada will arrive in Guam tomorrow for a two-day visit. Japan already possesses Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) systems, but THAAD offers the possibility of earlier detection and destruction of ballistic missiles from North Korea (or China).

The Chinese are vigorously opposed to THAAD deployments in Asia that reduce the threat effects of Chinese ballistic missiles. South Korea’s decision to build a THAAD installation to guard against North Korean missiles is now an obstacle to security cooperation between China and South Korea. A THAAD base in Japan would have the same effect. One in Taiwan probably would be considered an act of war by the communist leaders in Beijing.

China continues to urge the “relevant parties” to refrain from taking provocative or destabilizing acts. However, North Korea is the agent of instability and revels in the attention it commands. North Korean saber rattling about missiles and nuclear weapons is the proximate cause of decisions by South Korea and Japan to search for improved missile defense. 

The Chinese have had the capability to prevent this weapons spiral and have not seen fit to do anything about it.

War in Yemen

Operation Golden Arrow III began on 7 January when Emirati and Yemeni troops began moving to capture Dhubab. The Saudi-led coalition said it has committed five brigades of soldiers to the operation. The objective is to secure Yemen’s western coast along the Red Sea to block arms deliveries to the Houthis and their allies. 

Situation reports indicate that Coalition soldiers have sustained significant losses, including the destruction of 15 armored vehicles.

In Yemen, the name “Golden Arrow” signifies an Emirati operation with support from Emirati-trained Yemen soldiers. Extensive air attacks in December preceded the ground offensive, but they seem to have done little to weaken Houthi resistance or resolve. Minefields are causing significant losses to the advancing Emirati and allied fighters.

The Coalition’s ultimate objective should be the port city of Hudaydah, which is the gateway to the Houthi-controlled area in the north, including Sana’a. The Coalition ground forces will do well to capture Dhubab. Hudaydah is 143 miles farther north and has stronger defenses. 

For the Emirati’s, capture of Dhubab would simplify their deployments and logistics operations from their base in Assab. Emirati troops would control both banks of the Bab el Mandeb which would improve prospects for halting arms shipments from Iran to the Houthi-held ports. 

Emirati support from Assab enabled Yemeni forces to capture Aden in August 2015 in an earlier version of Operation Golden Arrow. 

Russia in Syria

Open source outlets have reported that satellite imagery on 28 December 2016 detected the presence of support vehicles for the Iskandar short-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile system at the Hmeimim air base south of Latakia.

The latest imagery tends to confirm earlier reports about an Iskandar ballistic missile deployment to Syria. The first report that Russia deployed the Iskandar system to Syria was based on a Russian TV video released in March 2016, which showed ground-based imagery of a transporter-erector-launcher for the Iskandar missile. 

This missile has a range of just over 300 miles, which puts US forces at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Force Base in range. The straight-line distance between the two points is just over 100 miles. 

When Russian General Gerasimov announced a drawdown of forces, he said nothing about a reduction in capabilities or support. He also said nothing about Russian forces leaving Syria.

Looking forward to 2017 and Beyond!

Business is booming, Barack is (still) making his farewell tour, but there's a lot of light in the tunnel and President Trump has already begun to make America great again. The big repeal of Barack's executive orders and the repudiation of the Obama 'legacy', such as it is, provides a cause for America to celebrate.

I was invited out to a bow hunt (deer) this past week up in the White Mountains near Alpine, AZ, but I had to decline to to scheduling issues. However, that will soon change.

Based on reliable if informal information, there are about half a dozen jaguars in the Mogollon region. It's now my job to document them with my GoPro camera.

Soon, I can occupy myself in that way. I won't have to spend much effort on keeping (myself or y'all) up to date with what's happening around the world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Mysterious Case of Seth Rich

John Podesta, satanist and Hillary
Clinton campaign manager.
Was Seth Rich, former DNC staffer the source of information to Wikileaks? Somebody should ask Hillary Clinton or John Podesta. I'm sure that they know the answer. I don't know how long Podesta would last on a water board but my hunch is 'not that long'. He never served in the military and never went to SERE and hasn't been trained to resist 'enhanced interrogation'. 

If it was Rich who tipped off Wikileaks and sent them John Podesta's incriminating e-mail that illuminated some of the corruption within the Clinton Campaign, it would let the Russians off the hook -- at least to some degree. The Russian government is denying that they leaked John Podesta's e-mail to Wikileaks. 

If Hillary Clinton was behind Seth Rich's murder, it wouldn't exactly be the first time there were whispers that she had one of her disloyal staffers eliminated. In fact, to many cynics, it would hardly be news at all. The typical response might be, "another one?"

Read more here.
(Fox News) One reason for the speculation that Rich may have leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks is that Assange offered a $20,000 reward leading to the arrest of the killers. That sum, added to Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman's $100,000 reward and the D.C. police's $25,000, tally more than any other reward offered in such a case in the nation’s capital. 
During an Aug. 9 interview on Dutch television and in subsequent media interviews, Assange implied that Rich was killed because he was the WikiLeaks source of emails from top DNC officials showing they conspired to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont from becoming the party’s presidential nominee. That controversy resulted in Debbie Wasserman Schultz having to resign as DNC chairperson. 
“We're interested in anything that might be a threat to alleged WikiLeaks sources, Assange later told Fox News Channel. 
On the morning of his death, Rich had left his favorite watering hole, Lou’s City Bar, about 1 a.m. to walk home, something that normally took 20 or 30 minutes. He tried twice to call his father, who had gone to sleep. He then called a fraternity brother and after that had two separate conversations with his girlfriend, Kelsey Mulka. Around 4:17 a.m., when Rich was about a block and a half from his home, his girlfriend heard other voices over the phone but was reassured by Rich that he was nearly home. Two minutes later, Rich was shot multiple times. Rich died at a nearby hospital. 
Security footage from a nearby market showed two men following Rich through a crosswalk by his home moments before he was shot, FoxNews.com has learned. The camera only captured the assailants’ legs and Rich after he was shot and fell onto the street. 
Police said Rich, who was shot twice in the back, was likely the victim of a robbery, though nothing of value, including his wallet, phone, keys, watch and gold necklace, were stolen. 
“The Metropolitan Police Department is committed to bringing the person or persons responsible for Seth Rich’s death to justice, D.C. police told FoxNews.com in a statement. "As we mark the six-month anniversary of his death, we urge anyone with information to come forward and help bring his family the answers they deserve.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cause and Effect (a sincere solicitation)


Brother, can you Spare a Dime? 

It may mean moving back to Mom's basement for many of the Obama staffers and Democratic Party parasites. They'll all go on unemployment but they may be reaching out to you for a crust of bread to keep them going.

Many will find teaching jobs in academia where their liberal credentials will be welcomed, but unfortunately few of them are suited for careers that require them to do an honest day's work, thus they won't find much of a welcome from American business. Their access as lobbyists is zero.

In other times they might find a career as a functionary at the Clinton Global Initiative, but that ox may be gored at the hands of a special prosecutor. UN jobs are popular but with the potential for the US ramping down on UN funding, the bread line looms large. What do they do, and what can you do to help them?
crocodile tears
(The Blaze) As outgoing President Barack Obama plans to head off on vacation when he vacates the White House next week, his staffers and appointees are struggling to find work in Washington, D.C. 
Following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory and Republicans’ major electoral gains in November, outgoing Obama employees and loyalists to failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have found their job prospects in the District foundering, according to Politico
“It feels like there are just thousands of us trying to find a job, and there are no jobs,” longtime Clinton aide Mira Patel, who worked for Clinton in her Senate, State Department and 2016 campaign offices, told the outlet. 
Following Trump’s surprise victory Nov. 8, Democratic operatives no longer have some 4,000 presidentially appointed jobs for which to apply when the billionaire businessman takes the oath of office Jan. 20.
Any contributions that you might wish to be handed off to the former Obama staffers should be made payable to me personally on behalf of my (yet to be formed) charity, "Save Obama's Buddies". I'll make sure that they get the money - after my administrative fee is taken out. Put a nickel on the drum, save another drunken bum. Because it's more blessed to give than to receive.