sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Monuments

It is said in the People's Republic of China you must do three things in your life in order to be successful: (1) Have a male heir; (2) Make lots of money; (3) Build a monument to yourself.

There are MANY monuments in China. They're the most interesting thing that I find about traveling in Big China.

Tibet HAD monuments before the Chinese blew them up...because there is only room for Chinese monuments.

China built a monument to islet-building in the Spratly Islands. 

On 23 April, Chinese authorities held an unveiling ceremony on Fiery Cross Reef for a monument to islet building in the Spratly Islands, according to a report in the People’s Liberation Army Daily.

During the daily press session on 24 April, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang was asked about the new monument. 
“It is reported that yesterday the Chinese side held a monument unveiling ceremony to celebrate the building of islets and reefs in the South China Sea. Could you brief us on the relevant situation? What are the purposes of holding such an activity?” 
Lu said, “Xinhua News Agency released relevant information yesterday.” 
“The main purposes of the Chinese side's building islets and reefs of the Nansha Islands are to perfect relevant functions on the islets and reefs, improve the working and living conditions for personnel stationed there, fulfill the Chinese side's assumption of international responsibilities and obligations in an even better way, provide more public goods for the international community, which is helpful to ensure the safety of navigation passage in the South China Sea which is vitally important for the development of China and regional countries.”
Lu dodged the question, which was about the purpose of the monument. Lu explained the purpose of the islets. 

Lu’s remarks are curious. The seven reefs and shoals that are now man-made islets were under water before China started dredging. They had no functions and were uninhabitable. They are located so far from any shipping lanes that they posed no hazard to navigation except to unwary fishermen.

There was no functional or safety reasons for China to build islets, but there were resource and sovereignty issues. All the inhabitable islands were occupied by other claimants, so China made its own islets, which no other nation could claim. Then it asserted Chinese sovereignty of the South China Sea and to all its sea and seabed resources.

Satellite imagery shows the Chinese have done an impressive job of terraforming and building on all seven islets. Three have runways for commercial and military jets. All possess defenses and have military garrisons. Some have green spaces and a park that grows grass and trees. Everything had to be transported from mainland China. Next hotels will pop up and it will be a tourist destination. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sheep

There are a lot of different animals on the White Wolf Mine property on Arizona's Mogollon Rim. Since they're wild, they come and go as if they own the place - which in a real sense they do. I received reports from some of the guys who are pounding nails and working on the hovel that a herd of big horn sheep are in the area and have been recent arrivals to take advantage of a salt lick. I put out a large block of rock salt for the elk, deer, and apparently for the sheep now.

Carnivores get salt from the animals they kill but herbivores find it more difficult to fill their salt needs. Thus the lick.

One of the guys (no doubt he was 'on the clock' - possibly on overtime) got close enough to snap a few photos, but this one is the best. 


The way the property lays, the shack is just down from the summit and there is a valley, that I own below that. There's an occasional stream in the bottom, and it empties into Clear Creek about a quarter mile away (the larger creek in the area). Clear Creek flows through a gorge cut through millions of years. 

In the lower property, meaning lower in the small valley, there is a lot of rimrock and  the sheep have been bedding down there.

Photos of Clear Creek:




Monday, April 23, 2018

Word on the Street


US Missile Strikes in Syria

There is a reason why the Russians reacted by threatening US ships and air bases when we told them that we were likely to strike Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Russian reactions to anything is to suspect a plot, if only because they are inveterate plotters and schemers.  

They are peddling their S-400 (surface to air) system far and wide around the world as the only integrated, multi-level, long/intermediate/short range system that can interdict US aircraft and missiles in flight. It's a major source of hard cash and both Turk/Iranian are taking delivery so that they too can shoot down the Americans. Having the US fire missiles at Syrians, armed with the S-300 system (a subset component of the S-400 system) and have them impact their targets invalidates the ineffectiveness of the system.

The Syrians also followed another 40 missiles into the air the following day even though there was no US launch.

The Russians tracked the US/UK/French strike packages but did not fire on them for good reason. (1) they didn't want a war and (2) how humiliating would it have been if they'd missed? International embarrassment and innate Russian paranoia of being laughed at as manure-speckled kulaks and relegated into second-world status drives Vladimir Putin into a rage, fueled by concern because that's how leaders in Russia are toppled. 



Russia isn't even close to keeping up with the Texas GDP... and there aren't many products that they make which can be sold for hard cash abroad. S-400 was (and may still be) a great financial hope.


Is the Waffle House Shooting an Outrage?

Our friend and fellow blogger John Coffey has been to his local Waffle House more than once. I think that there has to be something seriously wrong with somebody for them to desecrate a waffle house when there are so many delicious waffles to eat there. It's a place of happiness and love. What's more love than a piece of buttery waffle smothered in syrup on your fork and a slab of delicious bacon to chase it?

Clearly, condolences go to the dead and to their families. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Sermonette

Front of the place
The White Wolf Mine is pushing forward toward completion, and we're moving toward the time when the place will be completely 'weathered in'. Once that happens, the finishing work can begin in earnest. 

And when the hovel is complete, I'll burrow in like an Arizona tick on an elk's back and that will be that. 

It seems like I've been on this project forever and because I have never built a custom shack before, every detail is somewhat new to me. That's not a bad thing, but it's still a thing.

Rear garage door and side of the house.
People have asked me if I've downsized because I'm ancient and heading toward my dotage. The answer is that, fortunately or not, I've up-sized just a little, while reducing the number of bedrooms and doubling the size of the garage in the house-near-the-mosque, which I sold to a Mohammedan, when I moved.

I went by the old neighborhood the other day and there were a lot of aloha snackbar types hanging out in what once was a really nice neighborhood.

The only sermonette value that I can suggest here is that patience is a virtue (that I lack). It is a LONG GRIND to build a place from the ground up.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Back Roads

There is a lot to recommend about Death Valley. One of the great myths of the place is that there is no water. 

There is a LOT of water in Death Valley. Some of it is to be found in hidden oasis locations. Such a place is Darwin Falls. This isn't all that far from where I saw a couple of B-52's flying nap of the earth a week or so ago. If you're going to visit the Panamint Range in Death Valley, a stop at Darwin Falls is a must. 

36.32776, -117.51466

There is an established trail to the falls and it's not a difficult hike. If you arrive early in the morning you will likely see deer, and/or big horn sheep. 

If I'm in the area, I like to plan a picnic lunch in the area. Remember, if you pack it in, please pack it out. Bring a heavy blanket for ground cover, lay back after a leisurely lunch and take a nap with the falls splashing playfully in the background. Of the times that I've visited, I'm almost always the only person there. (or my party is the only people there)

On a hot day, there is the relief of shade and you can soak your feet in the water and cool off if you're of a mind.

There will be more blogging about my recent trip to Death Valley...until I need to head out again and have more adventures to share. Should Darwin Falls be on your bucket list? 

It all depends what you enjoy.

The hike in doesn't prepare you for the fall
Darwin Falls is actually a series of waterfalls. The runs pictured below and the pools empty into a third pool that just stays there as the water sinks into the sand.



Randomness




Starbucks...


Starbucks is a national and international success story. The recent 'scandal', if you can call it that, simply underscores the "progressive" mindset.

I don't go to Starbucks, primarily because they are the lode stones that lure progressives in. The coffee they sell in California causes cancer. Don't believe me, look at the signs.

Should negros boycott Starbucks? Sure, why not? Ok, unless they plan to rob the place. That would tend to clarify things for Starbucks employees, and other progressives who frequent the place.

Robo-Calls

I don't like to receive robot calls, or calls from people from India, peddling this or that. The calls from India are annoying and persistent. I receive at least five nuisance calls a day from India, and the originating numbers vary, so they can't be blocked. One thing I can assure you of is if the calls originated from a closer number, I'd travel there and open a serious can of whoop-ass.

However since it's India - not worth the trip and once there? Why bother.

I'd change my number, but I don't think that would help.

I also hate to receive calls from political organizations dragging the sack for cash. The same thing goes for "charities". How do I know they're charitable organizations and not just some self-serving jerk on the other end trying to rip me off.

This sort of thing is very high on my pet-peeve-o-meter.

Hate Speech

We can certainly be judgmental about what people do, or say, or think, and we as private citizens may respond to those sentiments we find abhorrant or with which we disagree. But we should always be mindful of the fact that one of the founding principles of this nation was the right to freedom of expression, which essentially is the right to voice contrary opinions and views. 

There is no exception for “hate speech” in our Constitution, nor should there be. To allow such a concept into our legal system would endanger the fundamental freedoms of this nation and would be used as a cudgel to suppress opposing views deemed offensive by whoever. We live in a “free society”, however you wish to define it. Embrace that ideal, champion the rights of all citizens, even the ones you despise, or find another place to call home. You don’t have to take my word for it. The United States Supreme Court agrees. 

There is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment: LINK


Friday, April 20, 2018

TESS


NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched on the first-of-its-kind mission to find worlds beyond our solar system, including some that could support life. 

Researchers will use spectroscopy to determine a planet's mass, density and atmospheric composition. Water, and other key molecules, in its atmosphere can give us hints about a planets' capacity to harbor life.

The satellite successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on April 18, 2018.



NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched on the first-of-its-kind mission to find worlds beyond our solar system, including some that could support life.

TESS, which is expected to find thousands of new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, lifted off at 6:51 p.m. EDT Wednesday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. At 7:53 p.m., the twin solar arrays that will power the spacecraft successfully deployed.
"We are thrilled TESS is on its way to help us discover worlds we have yet to imagine, worlds that could possibly be habitable, or harbor life," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "With missions like the James Webb Space Telescope to help us study the details of these planets, we are ever the closer to discovering whether we are alone in the universe."
Over the course of several weeks, TESS will use six thruster burns to travel in a series of progressively elongated orbits to reach the Moon, which will provide a gravitational assist so that TESS can transfer into its 13.7-day final science orbit around Earth. After approximately 60 days of check-out and instrument testing, the spacecraft will begin its work.
"One critical piece for the science return of TESS is the high data rate associated with its orbit," said George Ricker, TESS principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research in Cambridge. "Each time the spacecraft passes close to Earth, it will transmit full-frame images taken with the cameras. That's one of the unique things TESS brings that was not possible before."
For this two-year survey mission, scientists divided the sky into 26 sectors. TESS will use four unique wide-field cameras to map 13 sectors encompassing the southern sky during its first year of observations and 13 sectors of the northern sky during the second year, altogether covering 85 percent of the sky.

TESS will be watching for phenomena called transits. A transit occurs when a planet passes in front of its star from the observer's perspective, causing a periodic and regular dip in the star's brightness. More than 78 percent of the approximately 3,700 confirmed exoplanets have been found using transits.

NASA's Kepler spacecraft found more than 2,600 exoplanets, most orbiting faint stars between 300 and 3,000 light-years from Earth, using this same method of watching for transits. TESS will focus on stars between 30 and 300 light-years away and 30 to 100 times brighter than Kepler's targets.

The brightness of these target stars will allow researchers to use spectroscopy, the study of the absorption and emission of light, to determine a planet's mass, density and atmospheric composition. Water, and other key molecules, in its atmosphere can give us hints about a planets' capacity to harbor life.

Or are we alone in this part of the galaxy? Ancient Astronaut theorists have weighted in on their TV show on the History Channel.

The Russian Character

I ran onto this quote by George Kennan and it echoed a discussion that I had at lunch with a friend the other day. Read it, carve it in stone, whatever. Keenan nails the Russian national character perfectly: 
"The jealous and intolerant eye of the Kremlin can distinguish, in the end, only vassals and enemies, and the neighbors of Russia, if they do not wish to be one, must reconcile themselves to being the other.  
No matter how big and powerful, Russia always feels threatened. Even when they are feeling weak, they bluster and bully to hide their vulnerability. In this sense, Putin's policies and beliefs are largely consistent with Russian history and the legacy of the Russian Tzars."
As some of you who know me understand, I am not the least bit anti-Russian. I simply feel that knowing one's rival (or principal adversary as the USSR called the USA) allows you to predict behavior. Good or bad - you, blog readers, are the judge. However, apply Keenan's observations when you judge.

Great Russia and the ethnic Russian people are predictable. Russians brood endlessly and it's why they lead the world in chess masters and axe murders. 

I also enjoy the tv show on FX -  The Amerikans - a show about KGB Directorate S operatives in the United States during the Late 1970's up through the 1980's. I find the vibe accurate, and the shows entertaining. (also on Netflix) It's in its final season on TV now.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

It's All-Theater Thursday

Comey Book Tour

Was/is James Comey just incompetent or is the whining weasel that we see flogging his book (sort of a preparatory move to the Stormy Daniels book tour) a sly, smug, self righteous calculator who was bent on destruction of President Trump? That's a loaded question because the Democrats feel that he betrayed Crooked Hillary Clinton.

I don't believe that I will buy his book, not even to use as a doorstop, or as kindling for the fireplace, what a whining, miserable punk, James Comey has proved himself to be. What a self-promoting (kiss and tell) goofball. First we have Comey on tour and then the whore, but whether Comey or Stormy is the bigger whore remains to be seen.

Two Koreas

Live broadcasts agreed for 27 April. The two Koreas on Wednesday agreed to broadcast live key events of the upcoming inter-Korean summit, South Korea’s presidential office said. 

Comment: According to Kwun Hyuk-ki, a member of South Korea’s delegation in Wednesday’s working level talks, the two sides are largely in agreement over issues concerning media coverage and protection for the two leaders.

North Korea will hold a plenary meeting of its ruling party's central committee on Friday (April 20), state media announced on 19 April.

The meeting has been convened to discuss and decide "policy issues of new stage" to meet the demands of the current "important historic period.” This is the meeting where Kim finally will inform the Party elite about his diplomacy.

     China Monitors

Xi’s forthcoming visit reciprocates Kim Jong Un’s visit to Beijing in late March, during which Xi accepted Kim’s invitation. The visit is timed so that he can get a first-hand report from Kim about the summit meeting with the US President.

Xi was serious when he made four proposals for improving ties with North Korea. Chinese leaders are allowing North Korean no opportunity to backslide from Kim’s acceptance of Xi’s proposals. The diligence of China’s follow-up with North Korea attests to the determination of Chinese leaders to not allow a callow North Korean youth to set the terms of security conditions in Northeast Asia.

     Meanwhile in the US

Democrats are condemning CIA Director Pompeo for meeting with Kim Jong Un and working out the details of the meeting. Which is weird because the meeting was about de-escelating the situation in Korea and the Norks dismantling their nuclear weapons with China as the broker for that portion of the deal and joint inspections to verify de-nuclearization with the US and China. Would the Democrats prefer a war? No, not really, they just hate President Trump.

     Back to China

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said:

First, we should stay committed to the general direction of denuclearization. The denuclearization of the Peninsula is the master key to resolving all the issues related to the Peninsula as well as the pathway that leads to the long-lasting peace and stability of the Peninsula. All relevant parties should unwaveringly stick to this general direction.

Second, we should stay committed to the "dual-track" approach, namely, striving to denuclearize the Peninsula and establish the peace regime in parallel. The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is closely related to the security threats facing all relevant parties, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), in particular, for a long time. When advancing denuclearization, addressing the legitimate security concerns of the DPRK is a reasonable requirement and a necessary step to achieve denuclearization.

Third, we should stay committed to seeking a package solution in stages and in a synchronized way. The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue has been there for long time and there is a lack of basic trust between relevant parties, especially between the DPRK and the US.”

As for North Korea, thus far we only know for certain that Kim is committed to discussing denuclearization. The US acceptance of talks about denuclearization implies US recognition of North Korea as a nuclear armed power, which is one of his major goals. Why else talk about denuclearization.

More importantly, we still do not know what denuclearization means as it applies to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its existing strategic deterrent. With just over a week before the first summit, some more concrete notions of North Korean denuclearization should have emerged.

This whole situation has a long way to go to play out but so far, it looks promising.

China-Taiwan

There was a big drum beat over a PRC live fire exercise as a prelude to an invasion of Taiwan (ROC)

The exercise turned out to be underwhelming. Taiwan's Defense Ministry said the PRC drills involved only land-based artillery conducting "routine" gunnery practice. 
"China deliberately released fake information to exaggerate it, to make it sound huge when in fact it's small," Taiwan's Defense Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi told the press.
The Chinese exercise failed to live up to its press buildup as a warning to Taiwan and as an intimidation exercise. It involved no naval or air phases. Taiwan held a counter-exercise that was larger than that of the Chinese.

Meanwhile in the South China Sea, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning conducted a full range of exercises related to carrier warfare.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Walk Down Memory Lane


Driving Around

Pink Hats

I avoid downtown Los Angeles like the plague, but must occasionally go there for this and that - and while I'm there, why not stop for BBQ prawns at the downtown Los Angeles Fisherman's Outlet (worth the detour) at 529 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA. Yes, it's a shameless plug but the BBQ prawns there are really excellent, and there's the seedy downtown LA vibe with the security guards out in force guarding the diners seated on the outdoor patio...dystopian society at lunch.

While navigating streets under construction and other traffic, I happened on a small womyn's march.  

Hillary remains popular!
The signs were interesting, "This Pussy Grabs Back", "Support Dreamers", "Gays (heart) Vaginas"(there were two homosexual male partners), "Pink Lives Matter", "Save the Whales", and so forth. Naturally, traffic backed up to look at the freak show on the sidewalks. There were the usual suspects - chubby blue-haired slatterns and new age hippies joined 'as one', wearing pink hats mimicking private parts. 

They chanted and screamed helplessly at the sky -- and I thought to myself, Conan was right. It's good to hear the lamentation of their women as your enemies are driven before you. The Progs are unhinged and their hoped for salvation: Russia-Russia-Russia, Stormy Daniels, and so forth have all flopped like a dying tuna on the deck of a garbage scow. Their message is - confused by identity politics. I spoke to a police officer while stopped in traffic and he said that there was a black womyn's march permit for the next day. They're apparently in a struggle with the 'color pink'. 

Even as the Democrat Party backstrokes to put as much distance between themselves and "Crooked" Hillary Clinton,  the womyn's movement seems to want her to make another run at the White House. I thought to myself, "that's a splendid idea."

Monday, April 16, 2018

Inconvenient Truth

It's Only Money

The federal government reported a budget deficit of $666 billion for its 2017 fiscal year, but a new comprehensive accounting published by the U.S. Treasury shows that federal finances deteriorated by $1,157 billion in 2017—a figure 74% worse than the deficit. This thorough accounting is mandated by a federal law that requires the Treasury and White House to produce an annual report on the “overall financial position” of the federal government.

Data from this report also shows that the federal government has amassed $89.9 trillion in debts, liabilities, and unfunded obligations. This amounts to more than $700,000 for every household in the U.S., or 92% of the nation’s private wealth. This includes the combined value of every American’s assets in real estate, corporate stocks, small businesses, bonds, savings accounts, cash, and personal goods like automobiles and furniture. 

The Treasury report reveals that the federal government currently owes $7.7 trillion in pensions and other benefits to federal employees and veterans. To pay the present value of these benefits would require an average of $61,000 from every household in the United States. Yet, the vast majority of these liabilities are not reflected in the national debt.

A similar situation exists with Social Security and Medicare. Contrary to popular belief, these programs don’t save worker’s contributions for their retirement. Instead, they are social programs that provide benefits to the aged and disabled mainly by taxing people who are currently working. Hence, Social Security and Medicare are sometimes called “pay-as-you-go” programs.

Social Security’s unfunded obligations amount to $180,000 from every person who currently pays Social Security payroll taxes. Medicare’s unfunded obligations amount to an additional $133,000 from every U.S. resident aged 15 or older.

Build That Wall

On 15 April, two Pakistani Frontier Corps paramilitary soldiers were killed and five were wounded in cross-border exchanges of fire from Afghanistan while they were working on the border fence. The border fence project is intended to cover nearly all 2,500 kms (1,553 miles) of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

The border is a sensitive issue, made worse by Pakistan’s fencing project. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations office (ISPR) said the Frontier Corps troops were fired on from Afghanistan while they were busy in "routine surveillance along Pak-Afghan border for plugging of gaps and making necessary preparations for starting fencing in that area."

The Pakistani fence favors Pakistani smugglers. It interferes with Afghan smugglers by cutting their easy access to markets and suppliers in Pakistan’s border regions.

China is contributing to the building of the wall to protect their belt road project in Pakistan. China has another "great wall" that enjoyed considerable success in the past.

Walls work. The Democrats in the US Congress only oppose the US/Mexico Border Wall because it would deny them the votes by illegal aliens voting illegally that is a vital component of their plan for remaining in power in places such as California. (Build the wall; MAGA; lock Her up)


Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Wave (Sunday Sermonette)

The Wave is a sandstone rock formation located in Arizona, near its northern border with Utah.

The formation is situated on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness of the Colorado Plateau. 

It's not all that far from the Pink Coral Sands State Park in Utah, which is also worth a visit. You can take your quad there and run the dunes - bright pink sand.

The White Wolf Mine and the Mogollon Rim mark the very southern extension of the Colorado plateau. The Wave is farther north on the plateau, north of Grand Canyon. I've spent a lot of time in the general area exploring. "Technically", you can't drive in to The Wave. There is a walking trail and you need to hike it. That's the official word from the Federal folks.

Lat/Long 36.995468, -112.007804

LL, keeping the guys headed in the right direction on the back way to
The Wave. Somebody has to be in charge, otherwise we'd devolve from
a mob into a herd.
There is a back way in (lawfully), where you can get closer and make it a much shorter walk if you know the shortcuts. The shortcut brings you up from the south through Black Valley, and much of it has no recognizable 'road'. 4x4 and high clearance rigs only, bring spare parts for when you break your ride. This country must have been hard on horses, because there is a lot of rock, and you'd wear out horse shoes on the surface (hot in the summer). If you're running solo, bring a sat phone.


The vista can not fail to inspire painters and photographers.


LSP, you need to take Juliette to The Wave 
because it's a mecca for art philosophers and
I would think for parsons as well.


There are different components to The Wave and you
can walk them all in the course of a day if you bring
water with you. No lemonade stands here in this place.


The walk into The Wave is a sermonette
all it's own. At least it is to me. Your experience may differ.


The area was sacred to the Piutes and to the Apache. It's the
far northern range for Apache, far southern range for Shoshone
and the Utes. It was a place for medicine men to receive visions
in the years before whiskey dulled their senses.

Settlers came and tried to raise crops along the Pariah River
a day's ride northwest from here - equally sacred ground. And
the Indians kept killing them off and burning them out. In time
they stopped settling in sacred ground.


It's a maze in its own right. That is
certainly part of the charm of the visit.


A long time ago, these were sand dunes. Then
they became rock. 


Your visit to The Wave can't last 
forever. The goal is to leave no trace.

The journey has a beginning and an end, 
and if that's a sermonette, so be it.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

AGM-158 Series

On 13 April 2018, the U.S. Air Force deployed the AGM-158B against Syria in response to the Syrian Governments alleged Chemical Weapon attack on its own people. The JASSM-ER was carried and fired by a U.S. Air Force B-1 Lancer bomber.

The Syrians reportedly volley fired around 40 unguided SAM's after the cruise missiles struck. The insh-allah move is used as a face saving measure to show that nobody in Damascus or Homs was asleep at the switch. Reportedly the Russians watched the missiles come in and did not fire at them (not their fight?)

B-1B Lancer
The US Navy has ordered the new AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Shipping Missile to replace its Harpoon missiles, which is interesting to me because I wasn't sure what they had in mind. I'm still not sure that the AGM-158C is the Navy answer to the need because it's an air-launched weapon, but it will do until they find something else. The nice thing about the AGM-158 is the 2000 lbs warhead. It packs a decent punch as the Syrians may attest to.

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Few Observations

People's Republic of China  

Chairman/General Secretary/President Xi is fond of saying dialogue and communication are China’s preferred methods of problem solving. They are not China’s only methods. That message has been demonstrated for the Republic of China on Taiwan. On 11 April, the Chinese navy began a three-day drill near its main submarine base on Hainan Island. More than 10,000 naval personnel, 76 fighter jets and a task group of 48 ships and submarines took part in the drill. The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning is in the task group.

Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping viewed the naval display from the bridge of a destroyer. Speaking from an undisclosed location, Xi said the need for a strong navy had "never been more pressing."

While the timing of the Chinese naval power demonstration suggests to some observers that the Chinese were responding to the show-of-force transit of the South China Sea by the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) carrier strike group. The USS Roosevelt made a port call in Manila on 11 April.

The naval demonstration was more likely staged for the benefit of the Asian leaders who attended the Boao Forum for Asia on Hainan this week. Clearly, the naval exercises were part of the People’s Liberation Army's Navy's annual schedule worked up last year, but the timing for the assembly of ships off Boao during the Forum looks deliberate and planned long in advance.

The message for the Asian leaders is that cooperation with the PRC is better than conflict with the PRC. China’s navy is one of the strongest in Asia and is always present… in Asia. China can defend its maritime claims and its islands in the South China Sea. 

Turkey in Syria

Turkey intends to remain in and govern their conquered territory in Syria’s Afrin district. On 12 April, Hasan Sindi, a spokesman for the Turkish-backed Afrin Liberation Congress (ALC), told the German DW TV that the Turkish Hatay Province will be responsible for coordinating the administration in Syria’s Afrin area. Turkey is planning to appoint a Turkish governor and district governor to directly run Afrin, according to Sindi.
“A governor will be appointed to Afrin. Yet, we don’t know who this person will be. It is still uncertain. But it will be someone from Turkey and will be appointed by the government. There will also be a district governor, again from Turkey."
Turkey is establishing the administrative mechanisms for controlling a major piece of Syrian territory. It is establishing administrative institutions like those created by the Syrian Democratic Forces. The major differences are that Hatay Province will oversee Afrin and Turkey will appoint the Afrin government executives.

There is this old concept that you can keep what you killed seems to be in play here. If the plan is followed, the Turks will "punish terrorists" by invading all along the Syrian northern border - and then stay there to insure that there is no more terrorism. Nobody knows how much more they'll swallow, but I haven't heard anything from the corrupt, lying, smug, sly, elite media nor have I heard any outrage over territorial annexation. CNN Turk announced that it was a great day for Turkey.

Chemical Warfare Investigation in Syria

On 12 April, a first group of inspectors of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Syria. French press reported that the OPCW inspectors will begin their investigation in Douma on 14 April.

Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari welcomed the OPCW investigation and said that Syria is expecting a second group of inspectors to arrive on 13 April.
“These two groups will arrive separately in Syria on Thursday as well as tomorrow, on Friday … We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was use of chemical substances,” Jaafari told reporters during a press conference.
The site of the incident has almost certainly been contaminated by one or other of the parties, as with past incidents. The Russians denied that any thing occurred. A US official claimed the US had blood samples. The French claim they have proof of a Syrian attack. The inspectors ought to be able to at least clarify some of these claims.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent said it is unaware of any statement on the Douma incident by any officials of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. However, Lieutenant General Poznikhir of the Russian General Staff told reporters that Russian military officials contacted Syrian Red Crescent officials on site and the local office of the UN coordinator for Syria. Poznikhir said those officials could not confirm a World Health Organization allegation about 500 people treated for symptoms of exposure to chemicals.

It's comforting to know that different independent groups will investigate rather than allowing for a knee-jerk reaction that leads to a needless war and needless killing on the part of the US. Even if the incident is confirmed, it's very difficult in a place like Syria to know who initiated the attack. Both the Syrian government and the Syrian rebels have weaponized chlorine gas and nobody should doubt that gassing their own people for political gain is well within the capacity of the rebels.

Ukraine - Taking a Cue from the USA

On 12 April, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for global action to counter the alleged threat of Russian interference in next year’s elections.

Poroshenko has pre-emptively set up an explanation for an electoral defeat – the Russians did it. Thus, any candidate that beats him must have had Russian backing. Ukrainian elections are likely to be a magnet for outside meddling from multiple nations and organizations, including from Russia, the US and Germany.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Making Sense of It All? (no not really)

The End is Near

(link) Prepare, by doing whatever you'd do to prepare for THE END. I hate to mock these folks, but there's always somebody with a new idea based on some weird abstraction. The Jesus-face on a tortilla that the Mexicans worship EVERY SINGLE EASTER is far more compelling on the compelling scale - mainly because you can fold some queso and fresh, hot, crispy, carnitas into the tortilla along with some chopped onion and cilantro and have a burrito. 
(Or you can go to Karen's at Itasca, TX where you'll get a delicious burrito without the Jesus face burned onto it).
And since Pope Francis has assured the world that there is no Satan and no Hell, will that make you feel better about seeing all this go up in smoke?  

WWIII

The only thing that the Democrats want now that Russia is no longer a communist state and is a Christian nation, is that it be destroyed. What a reversal from my youth when they loved the place back in the old USSR days.

Premise 1: NOTHING in Syria is worth a pile of dog crap.

Premise 2: We should let the Russians have Syria, who cares? Sure, Iran will move in and throw the al Qaeda people out but we have no friends in Syria (see #1 above).

Let's run this down:

On 11 April, First Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department Lieutenant General Viktor Poznikhir said that the supposed 7 April chemical attack in the Douma district had been staged and filmed by the Western-backed White Helmets organization.
“On April 7, probably the last attempt to stage a chemical weapons attack in Eastern Ghouta was made. The notorious White Helmets, who operate as part of the terrorist groups, staged and filmed a chemical weapons attack on civilians in the town of Duma.” 
General Poznikhir added that the White Helmets had made several failed attempts to stage chemical attacks during the recent battle in the Eastern Ghouta region. 

A World Health Organization official repeated the allegation that 500 Syrians in Douma had been treated for symptoms of exposure to chemicals. Russian General Poznikhir told reporters Russian military officials had contacted Syrian Red Crescent officials and the staff of the local office of the UN coordinator in Syria, who are part of the humanitarian operation in Eastern Ghouta on site, to identify the location of those reportedly affected by the gas attack. "None of them has any confirmation of what the World Health Organization official said."

He also disclosed that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had discovered toxic agents in an underground workshop of the militants during its operations in Eastern Ghouta. “On 3 March, the militants’ workshop was found in an underground tunnel in Hazrama. Makeshift ammunition pieces were charged with poisonous agents there.”

Anticipating a US, French and UK attack. Russian naval forces have departed Tartus for a live fire exercise off Cyprus. The live fire training was scheduled for 11 and 12 April. A notice to airman has been issued.

In Syria, the Syrian air force also has dispersed its aircraft. 

The Russian ambassador to Lebanon issued the threat that the Russians would intercept US missiles and target their launchers. Other than the ambassador’s statement, Russian officials have stopped talking to the media about the Russian response to an attack. Ambassador Zasypkin in Beirut said a clash should be ruled out.

Western media commentary is nearly hysterical about the prospects for a clash between US and Russian forces. Some pundits are warning of a Third World War when they're not talking about Stormy Daniels. 

I judge the Russians will understand the US President’s tweets as warnings to the Russians to protect their people and assets in order to avoid casualties and damage from a US attack.

Should the US attack Syria? It's a waste of money and there's no definitive proof of a gas attack assuming that Assad would be dumb enough to do that on the eve of a US departure from the area.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

China Denies Ambitions?

There has been speculation that China would build a naval facility in Vanuatu. They have port rights now but do not have something with a Chinese naval ensign floating over it in the tropical breeze in that country.
The PRC Explains: "China does not need a base in Vanuatu because it already has the access it needs. It constructed a large wharf at the deep-water port of Espiritu Santo. Chinese navy ships and a hospital ship make regular visits to Port Vila, the capital." 
Today, Vanuatu’s foreign minister denied an Australian news report that China and Vanuatu discussed construction of a naval base at Port Vila..

Until 1980, when it became independent, Vanuatu was known as the New Hebrides, an Anglo-French colony. It contains more than 280,000 people, according to the CIA World Factbook. The main economic activity is tourism. Per capita GDP is about $2,800. 

If Vanuatu should default on its debt to China, a Chinese company might offer to take ownership of the port.

China made a co-ownership deal with Sri Lanka to pay for the port of Hambantota, which China built for the Colombo government. A Chinese company owns 70% of the port and manages it.

New Zealand and Australia are the dominant military powers in the South Pacific, but Chinese naval and research ships have become more assertive during the past 20 years. The Chinese have concentrated their investments in eight island nations, primarily in a limited number of large infrastructure projects, such as ports and airports.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles (news you may have missed)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/10/los-angeles-painting-city-streets-white-in-bid-to-combat-climate-change.html

Deep State Antics, etc.

Washington DC 

Mueller's Bunker

The "Deep State" exists to perpetuate its existence and in no place is that more evident than in the investigation currently being undertaken by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is a cat's paw for powerful people whose agenda was disrupted by the election of President Donald Trump. The move to have a search warrant executed by the FBI for information that relates to the prostitute, Stormy Daniels, who must be a Russian spy to keep Mueller's mandate valid, is one of those stretches that sets precedent nobody - not even the Deep State - should want.

The get/impeach President Trump at all costs movement is likely to set off a backlash (law of unintended consequences) that would cascade into something both unforeseen and unpleasant. It's not unlike funding hog to try and take firearms away from the American people or prompting retired Justice Stevens to suggest that the Second Amendment (and why not the whole Bill of Rights) be repealed. What could go wrong?

It's like whistling past the graveyard or shoving a stick through the lion's cage to provoke the big cat without first insuring that the door is soundly locked. Never a good idea.

It's like the FBI failing to turn over documents that might make them look bad (worse). They told Judicial Watch that it would take them at least three more years to process and turn over the  Peter Strzok-Lisa Page communications https://twitter.com/joshdcaplan/status/983415036524879872

Dangerous precedents.

US Senate

I noticed that the Facebook hearings were discussing AI's that detected "hate speech". What exactly is that? When you look at how that term has been warped to fit in with political correctness, it's just weird. If you say anything unflattering about a protected class, that's usually defined as hate speech. For example, making fun of snowflake freaks who run to their 'safe space' and grab hold of a stuffed animal and suck their thumbs because they saw President Trump's name written on a sidewalk -- would be hate speech.

Feminizing males (a trend with unforeseen consequences) in Western culture is politically correct. Men taking back their balls would not be correct.

There are a lot of concepts that make the left uneasy (take the statement - right - as an example.) Would that be considered to be "hate speech" among members of the New World Order? My sense is that it would.

Ulfhednar - a type of P. S.

Before a battle, a viking would throw a spear as far as he could deep into the no-man's land, as was tradition for men who fought in shield walls. It represented the first battle in all of history, that was thrown by Odin during the creation of the world. Would that be "hate speech" or simply a statement of faith?

It's important to die with a weapon in your hand. The progressives will never understand that, will they? How else will the Valkyries know who to take to the Corpse Hall in Valhalla? The way the world is today, the heaven I would go to would be different than the one where cupids are playing harps. No snowflakes are allowed into the Corpse Hall.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

International Update

North Korea

On 10 April, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and other North Korean media published a summary of the Korean Workers’ Party (WPK) Politburo guidance meeting that Kim Jong Un chaired. Kim briefed the members about his meeting with South Korean President Moon on 27 April and the status of US relations. KCNA published images of the meeting. 

I'll spare you the details except to suggest that the description of the attendees indicates the meeting was a joint session of the most senior party and government leaders. They all probably knew what to expect at the meeting, but this looks like the official all-of-government kick-off meeting for Kim’s high-risk personal diplomacy. The summary captures an important event in the history of northeast Asia.

It is the first public information that KCNA has published that Kim has scheduled a meeting with South Korean President Moon and that it will be held in South Korea. Kim will be the first North Korean supreme leader to walk in South Korea since the Korean War. It also is the first KCNA document to mention prospects for a North Korean dialogue with the US.

According to the KCNA summary, Kim did not mention denuclearization or the possibility of a summit with the US President. 

North Korean media continue to remain silent about allied Foal Eagle exercise currently underway in South Korea.

Some of you who have read this blog over the long haul will note that I predicted a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula in the Winter 2017-18 year. It was forestalled by the strategy of President Trump and American allies - for the good of the world. Based on what I'm seeing, the North Koreans may be changing the metrics and may even de-nuclearize. It's too early to know for sure, but the news - and the actions of the Norks follow that concept.

Kim Jong Un is sufficiently westernized that he understands public imagery and apparently something about western attitudes. Old Korea hands appreciated that North Korea could achieve more of its goals by being cooperative than by being pugnacious. 

The US and its allies have prepared for another Korean War for the last 70 years. The US and its Allies are not prepared for a North Korean peace offensive. 

China-Afghanistan-Pakistan

The Chinese have offered to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPC) into Afghanistan.

The Economic Times reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the offer to his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts at China’s Boao Forum for Asia, which convened on Hainan Island over the weekend. 
"China and Pakistan are willing to look at Afghanistan on the basis of win-win, mutually beneficial principles, using an appropriate means to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan." 
The Chinese offer is not altruistic. It reflects a practical appreciation of fundamental security conditions. The Chinese realized that Pakistan is unable to provide adequate security for the right of way of the western branch of the Corridor. That is mostly because the militants and terrorists use Afghanistan as a safe haven. Thus, Afghan assistance with security in the border region is essential for the security and success of the Corridor because it runs close to the Afghan border.

China has experience with development projects in Afghanistan that were still-born because they were not safe. The Chinese proposal is risky, but the risks cut in two directions. Lack of security jeopardizes the CPEC route to Gwardar port, if China does nothing.

Syria-Israel

Attack on T-4 airbase update.

A Syrian military source confirmed that Israeli F-15 fighter-bomber aircraft conducted the dawn attack on 9 April by firing eight missiles at T-4 Airbase from Lebanese airspace. Syrian (Russian) air defenses confronted these missiles and shot down five of them.

Fourteen people died in the attack, including four Iranian military advisers. One of the Iranians was a colonel who commanded the Iranian drone program.

The Israelis attacked the Iranian facilities at T-4 in February and in the large air raid that retaliated for the downing of an Israeli F-16 during the earlier attack.

The Israelis, as is their practice, did not comment on the attack. The timing of the attack indicates Israeli leaders perceived an opportunity to attack Iran under the cover of US threats to punish Syria over the alleged gas attack in Douma. The Syrians were on alert for an American attack but got an Israeli attack instead.

Russia-Syria

The Russians continue to defend Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on 9 April that the Russian military in Syria have repeatedly warned of provocations aimed at blaming Damascus for the use of chemical weapons. 

The Russian Centre for Reconciliation in Syria said Russian specialists inspected the site of the alleged chemical attack on the 9th and said there was no trace of chemical agents.

The Syrian Red Crescent also issued a statement on 9 April that its medical personnel in Douma had found no evidence that a chemical attack had taken place. The Red Crescent runs a hospital in Douma. It received no patients that were exposed to chemical agents over the weekend, despite claims by the White Helmets that hundreds were wounded from exposure to chemicals.

This is the first report that Russian specialists already visited the site. The Russian visit will change no minds. Many will doubt anything the Russians claim. But unlike the western powers, the Russians at least said they tried get evidence.

Western states have not even done that much.

If the site is accessible to the Russian specialists and to the Red Crescent, it ought to be accessible to western specialists. The Syrians intend to declare Douma a terror-free zone.

The Russians are serious about the threat of “grave consequences” if the US attacks Syrian forces. The Israeli attack has deprived the US of the benefit of whatever reluctance the Russians might have had. 

The Israelis have again embarrassed the Syrians and the Russians. They have provided Russia with a strong incentive to retaliate for additional attacks this week. A US attack against the Syrians that went unanswered would devalue the promise of Russian protection and diminish the stature of Russian arms.

More of the Same

Charlize Theron, actress
Normalizing Language

If you're either born in Africa or if your parents are from Africa, you're an African-American (or an American-African, a term not in use but makes more sense if  you're a US Citizen).

If a Mexican Citizen visits America, it's considered rude to refer to them as "a Mexican". If you meet the same businessman in Mexico, it's appropriate to refer to the person as "a Mexican".

It's sort of the leftists putting "assault" in front of the name of a weapon to define it in ways they feel are inappropriate, or "sniper" in front of the name of a scoped, bolt action, rifle. 

None of it makes the least bit of sense, but the progressives and their champions in the lying, filthy, sadistic, corrupt, sly, smug, elite media really love this stuff.

Progressives

There may some of you who feel that education in America is adequate. Some of you may believe that our science teachers are doing a good job, knocking it out of the park. I think that this - among many factors should lead to each student spending at least two more hours a day on math/science and history. It would be time well spent, that would otherwise be spent gossiping on social media and on video games.
CBS News — A new survey has found that a third of young millennials in the U.S. aren’t convinced the Earth is actually round. The national poll reveals that 18 to 24-year-olds are the largest group in the country who refuse to accept the scientific facts of the world’s shape. 
YouGov, a British market research firm, polled 8,215 adults in the United States to find out if they ever believed in the “flat Earth” movement. Only 66 percent of young millennials answered that they “always believe the world is round.” Science teachers across the U.S. will be shaking their heads after learning that nine percent of young adults answered that they have “always believed” the planet was flat. 
Another nine percent said of young adults said they thought the planet was spherical but had doubts about it. In a disturbing display of indecision, 16 percent of millennials said they weren’t sure what the shape of the planet was.
National Guard

When you see how things are going, and the HYSTERIA from the leftists over President Trump doing what ALL of his predecessors have done, don't you just scratch your head? I mean, how stupid is it to presume that the National Guard (state troops) should not be able to augment federal law enforcement engaged in lawful activity when overwhelmed by a threatened 'invasion' of people coming up from Central America?

The C Word

The news feeds have picked up that the State of California is now putting warning labels on all coffee products to the effect that they cause cancer. The speculation is running that coffee only causes cancer in California; that the toxic policies of a racist legislature is causing cancer and they are simply blaming the life blood of the US Navy for the results.

I'm not sure what to recommend to you, but while you're in California, settle for the non-fat soy latte macchiato with kale and garnished by a goat cheese wedge ($12.95/small cup) instead of your usual cuppa joe. If you want to have a snack, the tofu-and avocado on organically grown wheat toast is highly recommended. For the most part, tap water is undrinkable but there are at least fifty brands of bottled water that run from as little as $1.00 for the Costco brand (re-labled) to as much as 8.95 for the good water imported from a Pacific Island (actually it comes from the San Pedro settling ponds, and it's strained).