sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Now and Then


There are a lot of little "living ghost towns" in Arizona. They were mining communities at one time that drew people. Sometimes they survived long enough to have a post office and a school. All of them had saloons, honky tonk girls and served pop-skull, tanglefoot, red-eye, and oh-be-joyful. Jimjams (delirium tremens) were said to be a problem.
“Rattlesnake Valley, over yonder, ain't never been good for much exceptin' the finest breed of serpents an' horn-toads a man ever see outside a circus or the jimjams.”- Jackson Gregory.
One of them is in the spotlight on Virtual Mirage today -- Chloride, AZ. The place is far removed from the rush and crush of humanity, being but a fifteen mile or so drive north of Kingman.

Your sermonette for this Sunday is that you need to stop and take in some of the local color when you're rushing down the Interstate, because every place has its story, and it's likely more interesting than the Gulp-and-Guzzle, snooze and stop where you bolt down carbs and stretch your legs.

Chloride Today

Chloride about 80 years ago

Best guess, there are about 250 people living in Chloride today.


It was a more lively place 80 years ago. Yes there were gun fights (usually an ambush), claim jumping, run aways (soiled doves) working their way west to San Francisco, etc. But most of those took place more than 80 years ago.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Passing Observations

Arizona


Indian petroglyph, circa 1000 AD - a giant bird holding a man in its beak. Puerco Village, Petrified National Forrest National Park, Arizona.


It's officially hot in Arizona when a snake steals your beer.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Dark Horse?

An interesting rumor has been quietly circulated through the Washington DC Beltway by Democrats.

"Forgive Jim (Big Jim) Comey"

Yeah, I didn't believe it either when I heard it the first or second time, but there is a strategy afoot to rehabilitate him among Democrats and to run him against President Trump in 2020. Unlimited self-righteousness, professional bullying, preening self-importance, and entitled arrogance are all elements of today's FBI, and nowhere is it more apparent than in disgraced former Director Jim (Big Jim) Comey. They could round out the ticket with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who checks two boxes by being both partly African and a woman. 

Jim Comey's dedication to the deep state and to the power mongers has been proved in the octagon in the Senate and the House as they questioned him about unethical practices while in power. Will he rise to win the nomination of his Party? That remains to be seen. It would help his chances if he came out of the closet as a tranny or something, shaved his legs, wore a mini-skirt and walked like a duck. But even without that, there are some serious people who believe that he has a chance to be President. 

Would he put Robert Mueller back in as FBI Director? It would be very progressive. Would FBI absorb ICE and all other federal law enforcement to be the uber agency in America. I'm sure that John Podesta is offering blood sacrifices to Moloch (his chosen deity according to insider accounts) to make it happen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Some Updates

North Korean Update

     Repatriation of Remains

After two days of talks, North Korea agreed to return 50 to 55 sets of remains believed to be those of US soldiers missing from the 1950-53 Korean War -- possibly within two weeks, according to media reports.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) but the reports. However, a US official in Seoul said the remains would be flown out of North Korea on 27 July in what would be the first repatriations since 2007.

     Secret Facilities

On 16 July, North Korean media denounced US reports that North Korea built and has been operating a covert uranium enrichment facility for over ten years just outside Pyongyang. 

On 13 July, The Diplomat published a detailed analysis, including satellite images, of open source information about a facility known as Kangson.

The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on 16 July that during the 6-7 July visit to Pyongyang, the US Secretary of State accused North Korea of operating one or more secret uranium enrichment facilities and of continuing to make ballistic missiles. He made the accusation directly to Kim Yong-chol, who is Chairman Kim Jong Un’s most trusted advisor. 

Kim Yong-chol insisted that North Korea has never built or operated a covert uranium enrichment plant or other secret facilities. Yeah...about that.

Accusations of covert facilities by the US Secretary of State would explain the strong denunciation of the Secretary in the statement the North Korean Foreign Ministry issued after his departure. 

Construction and operation of secret facilities is a normal business practice for North Korea. The existence of additional secret and/or underground nuclear and missile facilities has been rumored for years. At least one core from the Yongbyon reactor was removed and has never been found in over 30 years. Secret nuclear facilities do exist.

Analysts have known about the Kangson facility for at least ten years, but its function was a mystery. Its function is still not confirmed. Analysts reportedly suspect a third uranium enrichment facility exists but is unlocated.

At this point in negotiations, North Korea has made no commitment to stop producing warheads or missiles. According to The Diplomat, the Defense Intelligence Agency estimated in 2017 that North Korean possesses enough fissile material for at least 60 nuclear weapons, and it can produce fissile material for up to 12 weapons a year. 

Kim Jong Un insists he is committed to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but he has said nothing about disarmament. His definition of denuclearization of the Peninsula is elaborate and complex.

The 3rd plenary session of the 7th Central Committee on 20 April declared the “realization” of the strategic deterrent is the condition that enabled Kim Jong Un to announce the switch in strategic direction to socialist economic construction. In this strategy, economic development is a function of and is enabled by the strategic deterrent.

The continuing operation of covert facilities suggests that Kim is being duplicitous, and that North Korea is cheating. Those judgments are premature because no agreements have been reached about production of fissile materials or nuclear weapons. Additionally, North Korea has no reason to change its normal security practices or production schedules.

It is reasonably clear that Kim now is pushing socialist economic construction, as directed by the Central Committee in April. In the terms of the 20 April Central Committee plenum resolutions, that pursuit requires that the strategic weapons programs remain active and healthy. 

The revelations of secret facilities confirm that denuclearization of the Peninsula will take a long time and will be extremely complex. The planning cycle for socialist economic construction is five years. That seems to be a measuring time for denuclearization talks.

Problems in Gaza

On 15 July, Israel announced that it was closing the Gaza Strip's Kerem Shalom border crossing to all fuel and gasoline imports. Food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies would continue to be permitted through the crossing on a case-by-case basis.
"Due to continuing attempts by Hamas to carry out terrorist attacks, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, after consultation with the Israel Defense Force (IDF) chief of staff, decided to halt the transfer of gasoline via Kerem Shalom until next Sunday," read a statement released by the Defense Ministry.
Israel also decided to reduce the Gaza fishing zone from six to just three nautical miles.

Israel tightened restrictions on the Gaza Strip because Palestinians continue to send balloons and kites with incendiaries into southern Israel. 

Gazans already experience a shortage of electricity because of technical and financial problems. Residents, businesses and medical facilities rely on diesel fuel to run generators for electricity. The local UN officials estimate that emergency fuel supplies will run out in a week.

The Israeli government has given Hamas until Friday, 20 July, to stop the flaming kite and balloon attacks on Israeli territory. 

The Israeli leadership has reportedly instructed the country's military forces to prepare to invade the Gaza Strip if the flaming kite attacks don't cease by this week, according to a report cited by The Times of Israel.

Israel sent the message directly to Hamas via Egyptian intelligence services. The report also says Hamas responded by saying its forces will work to stop the rogue attacks by Friday.

On Sunday, the 15th, the Israeli 162nd Armored Division launched a military exercise simulating an attack on the Gaza Strip and the capture of Gaza City. The IDF claimed the exercise had been planned in advance and was not related to current events.

Another Gaza war campaign does not seem imminent, but a show of force is clearly in preparation. Israel has many options short of a full-scale invasion. 

The cut off of fuel might stop the incendiary attacks because Egypt also closed the Rafah border crossing into Egypt. The Egyptians closed the crossing for technical reasons, they said. Egypt brokered the three-day ceasefire last weekend and is working with all parties to avoid further escalation.

Excellent Advice


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Updates

Some of you have asked, "LL do you have a life?" The answer is that no, I do not. While I'm waiting for things to happen as I am at the moment, I sometimes chop these things out because I have a few readers who are interested. I was on the phone from 5:00 am this morning (8 on the East Coast) trying to get some people to move. As of this moment, I've been assured that things are happening, but I have yet to get a detailed report. Unfortunately I can't clone myself 1000 times and be everywhere at once.

Now for the updates

North Korea Update

Kim visited the northeast on an inspection trip. On 16 July, North Korea media published accounts of Chairman Kim Jong Un’s inspection visit to eight facilities in North Hamgyong Province, whose capital is Chongjin.

The facilities included the Chongjin shipyard, a large greenhouse project for growing vegetables, a machine tool factory, a salmon fish farm, a hotel, a power plant and hydroelectric dam and a holiday camp. Most of the visits were morale boosters, with lots of encouragement to work harder for the people. He boarded a patrol boat built at the shipyard and went for a brief cruise. At four locations he was critical of provincial or facility management.

At the Orangchon Power Station, Kim said that it has been under construction for 17 years but is still only 70% complete. He reprimanded the leading officials of the Cabinet for leaving the project to the province only and not paying attention. He also inspected the dam that will serve the hydroelectric power station.

At the Yonmunjin Hotel, he noted that the hotel has been under construction since 2011 and was associated with his father, Kim Chong-il. Kim Jong Un described the location as ideal for use by the people with clean sea waters and a good white sandy shore.

The exterior of the structure is finished, but the interior is not. “The Supreme Leader referred to the fact that the plastering of the inside of the hotel has not yet been finished though six years passed since the completion of its frame project.”

There is no motivation to complete anything because there is no profit. Capitalism works. Communism doesn't and this is emblematic of a system that has no future.

Kim directed that more central supplies and help be provided to the hotel project. Its incomplete status embarrassed his father’s memory. It's a world where executions bring short term motivation.

At the Chongjin bag factory, Kim found the factory working poorly. He criticized the provincial party committee.
“The Supreme Leader pointed out that the Provincial Party Committee is working in a perfunctory manner, disregarding an important policy to be prioritized by it and that its attitude toward the acceptance and implementation of the Party policy is very wrong and the committee has no revolutionary spirit and responsible attitude of working hard to implement the Party policy.”

“He charged that there is a problem in the work of the Provincial Party Committee as it has not yet built a design room, paying no attention to a poor products show room.”
Kim inspected the Onpho Holiday Camp late at night, which apparently caught the mangers by surprise.
“Looking round the bathroom of the camp, he pointed out its very bad condition, saying bathtubs for hot spring therapy are dirty, gloomy and unsanitary for their poor management.” 
He had other criticisms and ordered the camp to be completed in 2019 by the Korean People’s Army.

All the locations were civilian. The Chongjin shipyard was the only military-related visit. The late Kim Chong-il almost always visited military facilities as part of his songun – military first – policy. Kim Jong Un visited military bases during the first years of his leadership tenure, in and after 2012. North Koreans pay attention to the Supreme Leader’s visits as a signal of his priorities.

Kim fired no one nor punished anyone but ordered everyone to work harder. He apparently is reshaping his image and reputation for summary, harsh punishments. The Daily NK reported that the security apparatus has lifted the tight security measures in effect prior to the summit with the US President.

Kim is doing internally the economic tasks he promised to do in his three visits with Chinese President Xi Jinping and in the summit with the US President. At some locations, Kim sounded more like Chinese President Xi than a Kim scion.

Turkey-Syria-Russia Update

Turkish President Erdogan concerned about Idlib. According to Reuters, Turkish President Erdogan told Russian President Putin that the de-escalation agreement covering Idlib could be jeopardized by a potential Syrian army offensive in Idlib.

Erdogan said that if the Syrian government targeted Idlib in the same way they did in Dara’a, the essence of the Astana agreement would be destroyed.

President Erdogan apparently now senses that Syrian President Assad is serious about liberating all of Syria and about the withdrawal of foreign forces. What might have worried the Turks is the Russian advice to the rebels in Dara’a to not evacuate to Idlib because the Syrians are heading there in September.

After the summit between Presidents Putin and Trump, Turkey should be concerned because Putin reaffirmed Russian support for the Syrian government.

The Russians in Syria do not trust the Turks. President Erdogan remains determined to overthrow the Assad government and has converted Turkish-occupied Syria, including the Idlib de-escalation zone, into a base to support future operations against Assad. Come September, Turkey could be on a potential collision course with the Syrians and the Russians, if it insists on protecting the Islamists in Idlib.

Israel-Syria Update

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Israeli attack near an airport on the outskirts of Aleppo on 15 July killed nine Syrian soldiers. 

Six of those killed in the attack held Syrian citizenship. There is no information regarding the other three soldiers killed. According to the report, the attack targeted a site near the Al-Nayrab airfield. The Syrian state news agency (SANA) quoted a Syrian military source as saying that the attack caused only material damage. 

Other sources said the attack targeted arms depots belonging to the Syrian army and Iranian militias were kept, claiming that 22 soldiers were killed, including nine Iranians.

This is the only report to assert that Iranians were killed in the Israeli attack.

US-Russia Update

The hysterical Western press reaction to the US-Russian summit contrasts sharply with the measured statements by President Putin at the joint press conference. 

Putin’s adjectives to describe the meetings were “frank”, “businesslike” and “very fruitful.” He did not describe President Trump as his new best friend. He said nothing about a personal relationship but said he hoped trust could be built. 

Putin mentioned the main issues between the US and Russia. They are strategic nuclear weapons; anti-terrorism’ regional crises including Syria, Iran, North Korea and Ukraine; economic business relations; interference in US elections and cyber-security and humanitarian and cultural exchanges.

The two presidents agreed that the Cold War is ended and the two countries should cooperate more. Putin’s denials of meddling in US elections were disingenuous plays on words about the meaning of “state” action. The US meddles, Russia meddles, China meddles, everyone meddles in everyone else's business. Even the British service worked to try and get Hillary Clinton elected...

Putin summed up the summit, “In general, we are glad with the outcome of our first full-scale meeting, because previously we only had a chance to talk briefly on international fora. We had a good conversation with President Trump, and I hope that we start to understand each other better…. Clearly there are some challenges left when we were not able to clear all the backlog, but I think that we made the first important step in this direction.”

Nothing Putin said suggests he was exuberant about a diplomatic breakthrough with the US, regardless of anything the US President said or tweeted. 

This summit was similar to the Singapore summit in that the heads of state took the measure of each other. Putin and Kim Jong Un both described their summits as first steps. The major concession for the parties was to meet, which is always the first step in making deals.

The Israelis were delighted with Putin’s support for restoring the 1974 separation of forces agreement along the Golan Heights. Syrian President Assad also said he was committed to that, in a statement on the 16th. Western media did not bother to mention that Russia, thereby, reaffirmed that it will not defend Syria against Israeli attacks. The Israelis understood the message.

Russian support for Syria as it was before the civil war will not please Turkish President Erdogan. 

Concerning Iran, Putin’s support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iranian nuclear deal, was a point of disagreement. Iran will be pleased by Russian support. Putin did not mention Iranian personnel in Syria, though the US President pressed him that the Iranians must withdraw.

They also disagreed about Ukraine but supported the need for peace there.

Chinese media have not commented on the summit. The Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping will support any action that promotes international stability. This summit does that by opening communications between the US and Russian leaders.

The summit also would seem to afford Putin greater flexibility in international affairs. That means he can be less reliant on the Chinese relationship in achieving strategic goals. To the extent that a relationship with the US President weakens Russia’s relationship with China, the summit is good for US interests.

A careful reading of the press statements shows that both Presidents were straightforward in stating their positions and in acknowledging disagreements. Neither yielded to the other. On most issues, they agreed to disagree, except for counter-terror and on restoring the Golan Heights separation of forces agreement. Putin’s language in the press statement suggests he remains wary of the US President.

They said all the right words about cooperation, but, in the end, they agreed to support peace between Israel and Syria, to keep communications open and to maintain existing counter-terror cooperation.

Union Jack

Passing Comment (Rule Britainia)

A leftie at a Dodgers/Angels baseball game took issue with my TRUMP 2020 baseball cap and told me smugly that the British Royals don't like President Trump. I told her that they didn't like George Washington either.

At the same time, it seems that the UK is interested in a trade deal with the US (most favored status) that will bring money to their island(s). I would think that the Royal Family should stand on principle because President Trump was elected by those meddlesome colonists and is likely to be re-elected.


Then again Prince Charles (a dim bulb by anyone's reckoning) is not a man to be taken seriously. The British elite have repudiated everything that made Britain great, and they're making themselves irrelevant. They REALLY don't want to make Britain great again. Sad.


PS (on another note) - Dear Democrats, Let’s clear this all up today. Just turn over the DNC server and let the FBI forensically analyze it. Why are you hiding it?— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) July 16, 2018 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Points and Counterpoints

The Trump Doctrine

President Trump characterizes modern great nation-states as rivals more than enemies. Ford, Toyota, Mercedes and Chevrolet are rivals. Chevron, Exxon, Shell and British Petroleum are rivals. That bothers some in the US who would rather attach other labels. I tend to support President Trump's view of things, particularly as it applies to China, Russia, Japan, the EU, etc. Companies can form alliances and so can nations.

For far too long, America has not looked after its own affairs in a responsible way. That is changing and America will by default become more prosperous. MAGA

US-Russia Interests

I have a few points that I'd like to throw out.

Point One - I have no problem with the US indicting Russian intelligence officers for meddling in our election. That's what intelligence officers do the world over. That's what Russia does. Best also acknowledge that we do the same thing to Russia to frame the issue appropriately. The KGB officers are home in Russia and won't be extradited. Barack Obama ordered the CIA to do the very same thing to Israel in an attempt to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu, who called Barack an empty suit.

Democrats urged President Trump to cancel the summit, which is why Mueller held the indictment until right before the summit.

Point Two - Crimea wanted to return from Ukraine to Russia. The polls showed 99% wanted to be part of Russia and not Ukraine. Based on that and the need for a warm water Black Sea port, the Russians took it back. It's a tar baby in the US, but it was popular in Russia.

The president claimed ahead of his summit with Putin that the Russian president would not have invaded Crimea had he been in office, calling the globally condemned annexation an “Obama disaster.” Possibly true, but the Russians want Russia to be great again and there you have it.

Point Three - Russia is NOT a communist country. They haven't claimed to be for decades, and Americans still call it that. President Putin is popular and he wins elections. He rules in the same way that EVERY SINGLE RUSSIAN OLIGARCH has back to the beginning of recorded time. Russia is Russia. It's nine time zones long, with huge social and financial problems. The GNP of Russia is smaller than that of Texas, with a similar population. The Russians have NOT used nuclear weapons and run things in their country the way that 'Russians do'. About 33% of all educated Russians in their 30's would like to relocate abroad to the US and Europe. I don't blame them. But it's a problem for Russia.

     Sanctions

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets. 

I'm not opposed to those sanctions, but they could be more clearly targeted. There was a blanket approach when Russians were lumped into the sanction regimen.

North Korea

The slick, wicked, corrupt, lying elite media has mischaracterized almost everything when it comes to the situation in North Korea. Are they stupid, ignorant, malicious, or a bit of each of those things? You be the judge.

     Repatriation of Remains

On 15 July at Panmunjom, a US two-star general held talks with a North Korean two-star general about the program to recover the remains of US soldiers missing during the Korean War.

The US Secretary of State said the two sides agreed to resume field activities. “Today’s talks were productive and cooperative and resulted in firm commitments,” he said.

Working level meetings will begin on Monday, 16 July, to coordinate the next steps for the repatriation of remains, including the transfer of those already collected in North Korea, the Secretary said.

The US-North Korean dialogue continues. Judgments that the talks had collapsed were inaccurate. The remains recovery program was formerly a military-to-military program. The two sides have agreed to resume the program in that channel.

Renewal of this program was a personal commitment by Chairman Kim to the US President at the 12 June summit. It will only be cancelled by a communication between the two heads of state.

     Denuclearization

There are a number of issues that the North Koreans are working on, and if you follow this blog, I've laid a lot of them out. I don't intend to go back and regurgitate a lot of it because there aren't that many people who read this and it's a waste of time. A number of small moves are underway and they will lead to large moves. The Norks are under immense pressure from a number of angles and as with all governments, they want to remain in power and don't want to be hung from light poles in front of the Politburo. They will de-nuke and there will be inspections and verifications. This can't be done in a day, but they're working through it.

Pakistan

On 13 July, a bomb blast killed at least four people at a political rally in Bannu. Pakistani press reports said 39 people were injured. 

The target was Akram Kahn Durrani. Durrani is the candidate of Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA) from National Assembly Constituency NA-35. He is running against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan.

This was apparently a roadside bombing. Durrani was not hurt. Imran Khan denounced the attack.

The Islamic State claimed the suicide bombing in Baluchistan. On 13 July, the Islamic State posted to the web its claim of responsibility for the Baluchistan attack that killed more than 149 people.
"After relying on God Almighty, the martyr-brother Abu-Bakr al-Pakistani, may God accept him, dispatched himself toward a polytheist election rally in the area of Dringarh in the city of Mastung in Balochistan wearing his explosive vest, which he detonated in their midst, resulting in the killing of more than 80 polytheists and the injury of dozens. Among the dead was the apostate called Mir Siraj Khan, the apostate Pakistani Intelligence head in Balochistan and a candidate in the polytheist elections. Praise be to God, first and last!"
On 16 July, Pakistani news outlets reported that the death toll from the suicide bombing attack in Mastung, near Quetta, stood at 149 with more than 186 people injured.

The explosion killed Siraj Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat with the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), provincial home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told the press.

The was the third attack against a political rally in a week. In all three, a leading Pakistani politician was the target. In two of the attacks, the politician was killed. The three attacks killed more than 175 people and injured more than 290 people.

     Chinese Reaction

China has invested heavily in Pakistan. The graphic (above) shows the Chinese belt road in red. Success in trade requires a stable political environment in Pakistan that is free of disruption to commerce. China also wants to push their belt road through Afghanistan to Iran. There are security concerns with that leg of the road as well.

Afghanistan

A suicide bomb attack killed at least 10 in Kabul. On 15 July, a suicide bombing attack targeted the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) in Kabul City.

Media sources reported that at least 10 people were killed and 15 were injured. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Comment: News services reported this was the second attack at the Ministry in just over a month. On 11 June, 17 people were killed and 40 injured in a suicide attack. 

Attacks in Farah and Helmand Provinces. On 13/14 July, a Taliban force attempted to overrun Bala Buluk District center in Farah Province for at least the third time this month. In the gun battle, 11 soldiers and policemen were killed. Afghan authorities said nine Taliban were killed and 13 wounded.

In Helmand, a suicide car bomber attacked a joint army and police checkpoint. One policeman was killed, and 11 soldiers were wounded. Taliban groups continue to try to seize and hold district centers as part of this year’s offensive. They also are attacking checkpoints to kill soldiers and policemen as part of the strategy of discrediting the government and of deterring recruitment into the army and police.

Turkey

President Erdogan intends to lift the state of emergency. A spokesman for President Erdogan said that Turkey will lift the state of emergency this coming week. Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told the press in Ankara, "The current state of emergency is coming to an end on the night of July 18. Mr. President has the will... not to extend it." The emergency was declared after the June 2016 coup attempt. Now that Turkey has a presidential system, Erdogan no longer needs the extra authority of the emergency declaration. 

Under the previous parliamentary system of government, the president was primarily a figurehead. Erdogan enhanced his presidential authority by using the emergency declaration. Those powers are included in the normal authority of the Turkish president in the presidential system of government now in effect. What previously were emergency powers are now the new normal.

Syria-Israel

Another Israeli attack. Israel’s military said it had fired a missile at a drone that approached from Syria on 12 July. This was the second drone downed by the Israelis in a week. If a toy flies from Syria into Israeli territory, the Israelis will shoot it down.

Israel did not retaliate for this intrusion. South Front reported that the drone was a Russian version of an Israeli drone manufactured under license. The downing reportedly resulted from a failure of the Israeli-Russian hotline, setup in 2015.

Israeli rockets attacked Iranian positions at Aleppo. Syrian state media said on 15 July that Israeli rockets hit a Syrian military position near Nairab airport on the outskirts of the city of Aleppo.
“The Zionist enemy ... targets one of our military sites north of Nairab airport, causing only material damage,” said Syrian state news agency SANA, quoting a military source.
This is the first time Israeli forces have attacked an Iranian target in the Aleppo area during the Syrian civil war. According to South Front, Israel has adopted a policy of destroying any Iranian equipment anywhere in Syria. This attack gave a demonstration of Israel’s intelligence and tactical reach, which essentially extend to any Syrian military facility west of the Euphrates River valley.

Israel-Gaza Strip

On 14 July, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip launched rocket and mortar attacks against southern Israel through the day and into the night. The Israel Defense Force spokesman said Israel identified about 60 launches of rockets and mortars from Gaza toward Israeli territory, of which about 10 were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.

Other Israeli open sources reported 200 projectiles were launched at southern Israel.

As a precaution, the military shut down a popular beach in southern Israel and placed limitations on gatherings of large crowds. Israeli police said four of the Palestinian projectiles caused damage.

Israeli forces responded with the largest air operation since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. A military spokesman said the latest Israeli sortie, the third of the day, struck some 40 Hamas targets including tunnels, logistical centers and a Hamas battalion headquarters.

He said the escalation was the result of the sustained Hamas rocket attacks, its inciting of violence along the border and its campaign of launching incendiary kites and balloons that have burned Israeli farmlands and nature reserves.

Palestinian health officials said that two Palestinian teenagers were killed, and 12 others wounded in the attacks. A father and son reportedly died on the morning of 15 July in a brief surge in the fighting. Three Israeli civilians also reportedly were wounded when a rocket hit a residence. 

The flare-up appears to be in response to an incident at the border fence on the night of 13 July. A Palestinian youth was injured at the fence, but an Israeli deputy battalion commander was moderately wounded by a grenade thrown at him by a Palestinian. 

The overwhelming Israeli air operation began on the morning of the 14th as retaliation and it escalated as the Palestinians returned fire. According to Israeli reporting, Hamas, which is in charge in the Gaza Strip, usually disavows the occasional mortar and rocket attack. This time it admitted responsibility and paid the price. Apparently, Arab states were not paying sufficient attention to the Palestinian problem.

Several points are noteworthy. First is the low number of casualties that resulted from a substantial amount of ordnance being launched. The Israelis targeted carefully, degraded infrastructure and avoided civilian casualties. The Palestinians fired blindly.

The second and most important point is that this flare-up is not a precursor to a major ground war in the Gaza Strip. A quick ceasefire that went into place on July 15, supports that judgment.

A final point is that the Israelis recognize the danger of having to fight on two or three fronts simultaneously—Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights. They showed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad that a flare-up in the Gaza Strip will be dealt with summarily and harshly to eliminate the threat in the south in the event of a crisis in the north and northeast.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Random Thoughts

The NFL


How dare the NFL build stadium walls to keep fans that haven't paid for a ticket from entering the game. TEAR DOWN THAT WALL...

Strzok

About half of the FBI special agents who I worked with and around reminded me of Strzok. Now he is the face of America's FBI. Justice or karma (or both)?

I'm not saying that they're all arrogant, corrupt, liars who work hard to take down an American president. But the pattern that has emerged of the FBI covering up in front of Congress has one of those disturbing vibes. Doesn't it?

Strzok and his mistress engaging in pillow talk about how they will stop one candidate in favor of another. And the FBI's institutional practice of NOT recording interviews so that they can write down what they THOUGHT that you might have said should give the nation pause.

Sunday Sermonette

An Observation

Frequent flier miles are important, I guess. However even when you're sleeping in a pod, it's not all that restful. So people get up and wander around first class and talk. They wait for you to bring it up first, but they like President Trump. Yes, even the traditional monied EuroTrash class who are slumming without an executive jet to haul them from here to there. Even the Europeans are feeling the benefit of an improving American economy.

Gulfstream G650ER Cockpit layout.
YES. The economy is doing better and one of my business partners (a rich one) just bought a new Gulfstream 650 ER. Gulfstream made it for a customer who wasn't able to take delivery so my buddy did. The guy is a former Naval Aviator who retired as a CAG (Commander, Air Group) before getting involved in the rackets. He makes fun of me in a polite way because all I can do is pull a trigger. There is a retired master chief who works with us at times and he gave the guy some grief. I told him, "If you mess with the master chief, I'll choke you out and put you to sleep. You can consider your attitude when you wake up." He calmed down. You can't be a prick even if you were a CAG and now own a G650.

Does this mean that I'll be hopping back and forth across the pond on his jet? Don't hold your breath. 

He made most of his money buying and selling commercial aircraft. He wants to break into some markets where he does not have enough traction, which is why he's working with me. I'll get a few of the crumbs that fall off the table - sweepings, and such.

In America

Unemployment is lower than it's been in a very long time. In some demographics, it's lower than it's been since we started paying attention to the numbers. This is intolerable to the Democrats and its precisely why President Trump must be stopped at all costs. Imagine American inner cities where people weren't dependent on government welfare. Why, people might start thinking and voting for themselves. 

And with a border wall keeping out illegal immigrant voters, voting illegally, the Democrat's power base will shrink to a few hundred homeless hippy felons who are too loaded to vote.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thoughts on Thursday

Kavanaugh

The corrupt, progressive, sly, lying elite media is pushing its minions on every single issue put forward by President Trump. There is no picking battles. Though the supreme court nomination will cost them a lot of political capital that they're bound do lose. It doesn't matter. The Trump Presidency has every possibility of destroying the progressive movement (at the moment, headed by Hillary Clinton). Trump successes, and there are lots of them, sends the message that you don't have to be a politician to achieve big in politics. That's toxic to professional parasites.

Rome


White Wolf Mine

One day, this will be a BBQ out on the deck. It's supported by a large concrete structure that is the tool shed (below)


The siding arrived on Tuesday and it's going up now. The insulation people should begin their job insulating interior and exterior walls later this week preparatory to the drywallers coming in when they're finished and making the house look a little closer to complete.

I managed to squeeze two days out of my travel schedule to spend in AZ, working on details of the concrete countertops, and other misc. items. Monsoon is underway in the high country and it keeps things cool, and more humid than usual.



Work has been hectic and I'm on the run, but at the risk of sounding smug, I never tire of enjoying my time at the house I designed at the location I wanted in specific. The great room windows accordion back allowing the outdoor living area (enclosed deck) to join with the room for parties and events.

I'm not a party person but the family should enjoy it - as will I. Anyway, that's as much of an update as I have.



Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday Morning

I thought that it was a Hoax


Apparently it isn't and Hillary Clinton is emerging as the great Democrat Party hope for a run against President Trump in 2020. (more at Legal Insurrection). I have heard from friends inside the Beltway who have told me that she's dragging the sack for contributions for her campaign to unseat the president and take the chair that was 'stolen from her'. 

Of all the gifts that the Democrats could hand the Republicans, this one would be the very greatest. Slipping Hillary on the trail once again, wiping out all of the little fish (like Bernie) in a replay action. Who would be her running mate? There's always Maxine (Dirty) Waters. They could run a 'year of the Woman' platform again and the slogan would be "I'm With Them".

I'm sure that the "anyone but Trump" Republicans would rally around her. People like disgraced AZ Senator, Jeff Flake (R-AZ) would find in her a candidate he could get behind as he did in the last election.

The twelfth or thirteenth Hillary reset will be very interesting as she seeks to re-make herself yet again for her adoring public.

Being a Grandpa

Now that I have grandchildren, I offer this sort of advice. I offered the same advice to their mothers when they were young. I felt that I had to toughen them up. Enter Sandman -- sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight -- off to Never Never Land.


Hush little baby don't say a word, and never mind that noise you heard. It's just the beast under your bed -- in your closet -- in your head. It sort of the same thing as watching Hillary on TV and then trying to forget the witch and just go to sleep. Repeating the MAGA mantra might be the solution.





Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Sermonette

Seize the High Ground

Some of you haters have questioned the need for a US Space Command.  Others have been more supportive of the new sixth branch of the US Armed Services. (seventh branch if you count CIA as a non-uniformed service branch)

KC-10 refuels a new Space Force F-38 X-Wing over Truckee, CA. (h/t Odie)
Fredd's Aunt Sally may be going into the business of making rations for the new Space Force that can survive and remain as edible in the vacuum of space as they were down on Earth. There is some logic to that, I guess.

I'm sure that we'll see more cool toys coming out for the Space Force to use in President Trump's second term.

And what about that second term?

I hope that President Trump gets another SCOTU appointment in the second term. It is already bring balance to the force, isn't it? One more would secure the court for the balance of my life.

Uber liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could have retired during the years that Democrats controlled the Senate, but despite the fact that the House and the Senate went to the Republicans during the years of Obamanation, Barack never really thought that the Democrats would lose the presidency. He famously predicted, "One thing I can tell you is that Donald Trump will not be the next President of the United States." As with so many things, Brarack was wrong. Ginsburg is 85. She will surely leave the bench in the next few years, or maybe God will take her home? Bless her heart...


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Used Car

A friend of mine bought this Power Wagon somewhere a bit over a year ago and his health has failed. It doesn't have power steering and he lacks the upper body strength to handle the rig. I've generally been in the market for a Power Wagon for some time, and this one does NOT have the winch bumper or the crew cab, both of which are attractive options to me. I can buy (like being a bumper made of gold) a winch bumper for a PW and install it. The crew cab is not do-able with this purchase.

I'm familiar with the rig and negotiated the purchase for him when he bought it, so I know what he paid for it. He's been a friend of mine for about thirty years. 
WSF... I can see you there, sharpening your knives at the thought of a truck purchase and hammering the price down/up.
The rig is clean and I'm not sure how stock I want to keep it. (Leave me alone Fredd) I am not fond of the pizza cutter bias ply tires and while that's OEM, I can get a tire that performs better on rims that I like better. 
For those of you who know, Fredd, he is not fond of "improving" classic automobiles unless the improvement returns them to OEM. He has a valid argument.
I don't own vehicles that I don't use and enjoy. The same is true of firearms. I don't buy them for show. I buy them to enjoy them. This PW is so squeaky clean that I don't know if I'd have the heart to scratch the bed up by installing stake racks so that I can haul firewood, etc. You may not think that's a problem, but it sort of is.

Yes, I could keep it as a show truck for parades and car shows and it could be a garage queen and take up space...but would that make me happy? I doubt it. I'd want to take it on trails because that's what the rig does well. It's not very highway friendly, not geared to be a highway warrior. Dodge designed this one in 1949 to be a species of farm vehicle, for rough use. And they are rugged.

It's the sort of rig that you'd take somebody slightly fancy like Vladimir Putin (the only world leader I know of who likes to hunt) in to go elk hunting. Donald Trump Jr. likes to hunt. He could hang out at the White Wolf Mine only if he brought his new girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle with him.

It's Yellow, so California hunters don't mistake it for an elk. (You laugh - don't) 

I can put a winch up on the bed so I can lift the bull elk onto the rig. I'd do that anyway. I like winches (and wenches too, as it goes) because they're useful (so are wenches, but in a different way).  It's too fancy for Texas hunters, but I have two other 4x4's so I'm not saying that I wouldn't take the Texas crew out to kill big game. LSP likes my Raptor anyway, but he has his own white PopeMobile  truck that he drives around Texas Hill Country, equipped for war or fishing, or both.


To buy or not to buy. THAT is the question. The White Wolf mine is about 60 days from move-in and I'm starting to get the itch for toys. I also want a power boat for skiing and fishing ($55K problem).  The PW is about half that price. What's better? A boat (hole in the water that you throw money into) or a yellow Dodge Power Wagon? Yes, I know, you will counsel me to buy both, but that's just crazy talk.


Friday, July 6, 2018

You Want Proof?

Some say that ancient space aliens settled in many parts of the world many thousands of years ago. Others counter that there is no proof.

Here's your proof:

h/t Odie

Fishwrap Friday

Tired of Winning Yet?

The Supreme Court recently issued a decision called Janus v. AFSCME. In this decision, SCOTUS said that unions could not force non-union employees to pay union dues. 

Unions argued these dues were required to cover the cost of collective bargaining, from which these people would benefit. They specifically stated they would not go to political lobbying. The court disagreed and stopped the unions. Now the same unions who claimed these funds did not go to leftist political groups are whining that they have had to drop their lobbying donations by as much as 30% -- tens of millions of dollars no longer going to leftist advocacy groups.

Unhappy Palestinians

On 3 July, Palestinian leaders strongly condemned a new Israeli law that will freeze money transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to punish the PA's payments to families of those jailed for attacks. 

The move threatens the existence of the cash-strapped PA and amounts to "theft," said Saeb Erekat, PLO Secretary General. Both he and a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a "dangerous decision." Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the Palestinian leadership was planning a response to the move, which he said would cross "one of the red lines" if implemented. 

No sane justice system in the world rewards the families of the perpetrators of the crime while supporting the criminal in jail. That is moral hazard because it incentivizes attacks—criminal behavior. The statements by the Palestinian leaders are extortion threats, which are criminal acts in any sane legal system.

The Democrats 

So far nothing has worked for them. Now they have a new winning strategy that will win people to their cause. Hollywood and the Music Industry is joining in, just like they did with Hillary.

President Trump has branded himself as pro-flag, pro-America, pro-business, pro-worker, and lowered taxes. The Democrats have been forced through horrible strategy into being anti-flag, anti-America, anti-business, anti-worker, and in favor of higher taxes.

A left wing commie that I know said that he thought that President Trump would win by a landslide in 2020. I agreed with him.

President Trump has done the one thing every Republican politico in my lifetime has talked about, and none have taken any effective steps to do: convincing blacks to free themselves from the clinging darkness of the Democrat plantation of dependency and welfare-addiction and into the light of self-reliance and manhood.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Does America want Socialism?

There are only a few socialist success stories out there. The Soviet Union collapsed and was replaced by a smaller, leaner, less ambitious capitalist Russia. China went full capitalist with a one-party (called "communist") government. 

Venezuela

Cuba

North Korea

Oh, and in the USA, people who want free government cheese are turning to socialism as an alternative to working and earning a living. I get it. Money for nothing and chicks for free. The Bernie supporters were legion and he caught it in the neck from Hillary. Now is their moment to reassert themselves, I guess. Their cry is to raise taxes, and while that resonates with roughly 50% of people who pay no federal income tax, it doesn't play on Main Street.

People who love the way that socialism works need to live in one of the worker's paradises for a while. The 40,000% inflation that Venezuela has suffered has been blamed on President Trump (of course). Venezuela can't feed it's people, neither can North Korea. Cuba -- is Cuba. 


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4 News

While the corrupt, lying, smug, sly, elite media is criticizing President Trump, I thought that you might like some actual news today. You're welcome.


Pulling in the Horns in the Koreas

South Korea and North Korea are taking small steps to reduce tension. 

Marine radio communications. On 1 July, the South Korean National Defense Ministry announced that the two states have resumed direct marine radio communications at sea.

Yonhap wrote that during the 9 o'clock test communication earlier in the day, a South Korean Navy ship off Yeonpyeong Island contacted a North Korean patrol boat, which responded immediately to the call, the ministry said.

Ship-to-ship radio communications had been suspended for 10 years. 

The announcement said the resumption of radio contact at sea will help prevent incidents between the two navies. It also will facilitate coordination of search and rescue operations and policing of sea borders. For example, they can now work together to keep Chinese fishing ships out of Korean waters or to arrest them and hold them for ransom for trespassing.

Halt in some military construction. The South Korean National Defense Ministry said that it has postponed construction of new military facilities between 5 and 10 kms from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Artillery withdrawal. News accounts contained no information about a reciprocal action by North Korea. In the past two weeks, however, South Korean sources claimed that South and North Korea have discussed North Korea pulling long range artillery back from the DMZ, which would reciprocate the South Korean action.

Basketball. North Korea hosted a welcoming dinner for 100 South Korean basketball players, coaches and journalists. They will participate in friendly inter-Korean basketball matches.

The leaders of South and North Korea agreed to more cultural and sports exchanges on 27 April. The games, on 4 and 5 July, will be the first inter-Korean basketball games in 15 years.

Forestry. On 4 July, the two Koreas are holding working-level talks to discuss cooperation in the forestry sector expected to focus on addressing deforestation-related problems in the North.

North Korea’s shortage of cooking and heating fuels is chronic. In rural areas and even around Pyongyang, North Korean hillsides have been deforested for fuel, sometimes to support one or another misguided development scheme. Over the years the effects of mismanagement have resulted in increased flooding and landslides without relieving the shortage of fuel.

In the long list of natural resources that the Kim family has mismanaged, none comes close to forestry for repeated blunders by all three Kims.

Back to Kaesong. A group of 26 South Korean officials and workers will visit Kaesong this week to repair an office that is to be used as a liaison office between the two Koreas. The South Koreans will commute between the two Koreas until their living quarters are set up in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, a unification ministry official said.

This will be the first liaison office ever set up between the two Koreas. It also will be the first South Korean use of facilities at the Kaesong Joint Industrial Complex since 2016. South Korea withdrew from the Complex to punish North Korea for its missile and nuclear tests.

Korean unification is the principle that links these separate actions. My sense of the South Korean descriptions is that the interactions do not involve contact with the general population of North Korea. The two governments are testing each other in limited interactions.

India

The Strategic Forces Command is preparing to induct Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). The first batch of Agni-V ICBMs is undergoing a series of user trials before transfer to the Strategic Forces Command (SFC).

The Agni-V is a road mobile, solid fuel, nuclear-warhead capable system developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization. It can deliver a 1.5-ton nuclear warhead to targets within 5,000 kms (3,100 miles). It is India’s first true ICBM that can range any target in China from launch sites in central and southern India.

It is not designed or intended for use against Pakistani targets. India has Prithvi and other Agni-series ballistic missiles for those missions.

It has been under development since about 2011. The first test of Agni-V was conducted from Dr. Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) on 19 April 2012; the second on 15 September 2013; the third on 31January 2015 and the fourth on 26 December 2016. 

The fifth test on 18 January 2018 was the first test of the system’s fully road mobile, operational configuration, according to the Times of India. The sixth test was a precision strike test on 3 June 2018. 

All tests have been successful. These two tests were described as pre-induction tests. More are expected during the summer.

The SFC already has raised the Agni-V regiment. The SFC also has regiments of the Prithvi-II (350-km), Agni-I (700-km), Agni-II (2,000-km) & Agni-III (3,000-km) ballistic missiles, which are mainly meant to deter Pakistan. 

The Agni-IV (4,000-km) and Agni-V (over 5,000-km) have been developed to deter China.

China’s ability to strike India with near impunity since the 1962 war has been a driving consideration in India’s development and acquisition of strategic weapons and capabilities. Amid the smiles and warm words of the diplomats, China’s nuclear capability to attack India remained unchallenged in the backdrop of Sino-Indian diplomacy. That condition has changed.

India has lagged China in fielding strategic weapons, but the gap is closing. Agni-V’s contribution to the Asian strategic equation is that it represents a new nuclear threat to China. The Indian leaders are open about targeting China.

China is surrounded by former and would-be enemies. That fact often gets lost in discussions of security in Asia. Thus, a friendly nuclear-armed North Korea with ICBM delivery systems is a potentially valuable ally on China’s Northeast Asian flank. Pakistan performs a similar function on China’s southern flank.

Syria

The Turks control Manbij. The Turkish military completed its eighth round of patrols on 2 July as part of a deal with the United States. The Turks announced this week that they were withdrawing troops from Manbij and leaving management to the people who belonged there.

Western journalists reported that evidence of Turkish control is everywhere. Turkish goods are for sale in shops, and Turkish soldiers are visible. 

Several US Senators will visit Manbij this week.

The Syrian government reached out to the Syrian Kurds. A military source in northern Syria said that the government offered the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection/Defense Units (YPG) the same deal they gave their allies in al-Hasakah Governorate. 

The offer consisted of the following: joint checkpoints around Raqqa Governorate; Syrian military police to take over security duties in Raqqa city; time served by YPG/SDF personnel counted as time served in the Syrian Arab Army; Syrian Arab Army would reopen recruitment offices in Raqqa Governorate; Syrian Arab Army and SDF/YPG troops would join forces.

As reported, this offer is a good deal for the US and its proxy forces. It would facilitate US disengagement while leaving proxy forces intact and in good standing. It also would annoy the Turks endlessly and undermine their justification for seizing and occupying Syrian towns.

The US no longer supports the overthrow of the Assad government, and the proxies must make the best deals they can. That is the significance of the surrender of Manbij to the Turks and the US refusal to provide air support to the Free Syrian Army proxy forces in southwestern Syria.

An air ceasefire is in effect in southwestern Syria. Syrian government and Russian airstrikes on southwestern Syria near the border with Jordan ceased 48 hours ago. Sources on the ground report a "tense calm" has taken hold after two weeks of intense airstrikes. The sources said that after the first phase of Syrian government ground advances, with air and artillery cover, forces stopped a few kilometers from the border with Jordan.