sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Different Thoughts

Amazon-dot-com

I find it interesting that some of the books I've looked at on-line with the intent-to-buy are now less expensive in hard copy than they are on Kindle (buying electrons). How long before the pulp medium is dead completely?

Chinese Ambitions

This is a follow on to my comments about Chinese Kool-Aid from last Monday. China has a plan and it's a big plan. To suck the wealth through trade from Asia, Europe and Africa back to China. This vision of the Belt Road, backed by military expansion to protect their interests is viewed by the communist leadership in Beijing as the only way to "Make China Great Again".

Make the world China...
They've gambled with the family silverware, so China cannot stop. Chinese Party leaders seem surprised by the negative reaction and blowback to the proposed amendment to the state constitution that eliminates term limits on the president and vice president. The quasi-official Global Times has featured op-ed pieces on consecutive days that defended the proposal. The Chinese sense the need to explain the proposal, but will otherwise ignore the international reaction

The main argument is that the proposal is right for the era. It will unify the government and provide consistent long-term leadership. The fight against corruption, the challenge of long-term social reform and the development of China as a world power require strong, steady and consistent leadership.

Global Times wrote on 26 February, China’s “goal is the great rejuvenation 
of the Chinese nation and a better life for the Chinese people.”
“China cannot stop and take a break. Our people believe that every year is crucial. The CPC has made development goals to be achieved in 2035 and 2050. The country must seize the day, seize the hour. Our country must be united, energetic and be able to continue with opening-up. Our country must not be disturbed by the outside world or lose our confidence as the West grows increasingly vigilant toward China.”
President Xi could become one of the elder statesmen in the world at the same time China plans to emerge as the world’s leader, after 2035. 

The constitutional proposals are powerful reminders that China remains a communist, one-party state. China is not on a path towards plural democracy and never has been. Xi has rededicated the Party, with overwhelming collective support, to pristine Maoist principles of discipline, accountability and personal integrity. Xi and his leadership team are gambling China’s future to 2050 on the success of their programs and problem-solving skills. Xi said last October that China is offering its approach to development as a model for the world, more successful and equitable than free-market, pluralistic democracy. 

Will "make the world China" work out?  I'll be 94 years old in 2050, living up at the White Wolf Mine, sitting on the porch with my 45-70 lever action, surrounded by a pride of feral wolves, un-phased by Chinese ambitions - God willing. (Or I'll be pushing up daisies.)

Imperial America

Despite all, I tend to be a libertarian at heart. No, not a supporter of the dope-smoking dupes that represent the Libertarian Party. The Swiss model of greatness tends to appeal more than trying to be the world's policeman. I like the idea of a wall and of merit-based immigration where we suck the world's brain trust dry by offering people who have EARNED it a better place to live. However, in order to do that we must be a better place to live and that flies in the face of the Democrat Party's liberal agenda that is "power at any price". 

Letting China take Afghanistan makes sense to me. It's their turn. What does the US want with Afghanistan anyway? The Greeks, Brits and Russians couldn't do much with it. We could nuke it on our way out, but that wouldn't change things either. Allowing Europe to rot and fall to the caliphate would be poetic justice.

The only way America or any other country can succeed is through greatness and greatness only comes with morality and the moral authority that brings. Since that doesn't seem to be the path we're following, I don't think that it will work long term, and that's the only way to really Make America Great Again.

The US has enough oil and gas to be thriving when the rest of the planet has run out. The Middle East is not a vital interest anymore. Neither is it a fun place to go on vacation (the antidote for civilization). Nobody vacations in Acapulco anymore either because it's emblematic of the narco-run nation state - built on US addiction. We've flooded Mexico with cash for drugs and now they're toying seriously with being communists. How ironic is that?

Even with a floundering Mexico, the US still enjoys stability brought by large oceans and neighbors who don't plan to invade and capture. I think that we can survive quite nicely by forging trade deals that are in our interest and telling the rest of the planet to do whatever they want to do while we build newer and better nuclear weapons and develop fusion energy that the the Chinese will steal through industrial espionage and then sell to the world. 


Monday, February 26, 2018

Chinese Kool-Aid

The official Chinese News Agency, Xinhua published the text of a series of amendments proposed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. The most controversial is that which eliminates term limits on the presidency.

Xi Jinping is no Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.

President-for-life?
“Article 14 Paragraph 3 of Article 79 of the Constitution "The president and vice president of the People's Republic of China shall hold the same term as each term of the National People's Congress and shall not hold office for more than two consecutive terms." Amend to read as follows: "The term of office of president of the People's Republic of China and the term of office of vice president shall be the same as the term of office of the National People's Congress.” 

The National People’s Congress will convene on 5 March to discuss revision of the constitution among other issues. 

The term of the National People’s Congress is five years. The two-term limit meant that President Xi could only serve for ten years, ending in 2023. Under the new proposal, Xi coulf serve as President indefinitely. His position as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party has no term limit.

Xinhua also published the proposal to incorporate Xi Jinping thought into the Chinese constitution. It is already incorporated into the Chinese Communist Party’s constitution.

While Westerners have great mistrust for leaders, the Chinese by in large do not. It goes to mindset. 

Building the Wall

Provisional plans for President Donald Trump to host his Mexican counterpart in Washington have been put on hold. Truth be told, President Trump is not popular in Mexico. The postponement of plans to meet this month or in March followed a testy telephone call between the two leaders last week, the Washington Post reported, citing information from U.S. and Mexican officials.

It's a simple thing to have Mexico pay for the WALL. Mexicans sent home $26.1 billion from January to November 2017, according to figures released last year by the central bank of Mexico. That's the most ever recorded and better than the $24.1 billion sent in 2016 over the same period. President Trump has been holding off on tinkering with that - for reasons that I agree with.
1. Stopping or heavily taxing remittances would cause millions of agricultural workers in the US to self-deport. Before you cheer that on, it would cause an interruption in our capacity to bring those agricultural products to market in the short term. In a nutshell, it would hurt us too. 
2. Establishing a guest worker program is important to continuity but Congress is unable to agree on or to do anything. Guest workers could be exempt from a remittance tax.
Back to the issue of taxing or stopping - Levying a tax on those remittances would be a simple thing for the US to do if it decided to move on it. Or absent that, it would be just as easy to stop them all together, which would mean canceling the issuance of postal money orders/refusing to accept negotiated orders in Mexico.

Those measures may be undertaken anyway because the narco kingpins (who call the shots in Mexico) are heavily backing Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano, a communist from the communist Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PDR Party).  Candidate Cárdenas has promised to stop extraditions of important narcos to the USA for narcotics violations and to oppose all US interests in Mexico. It's not a declaration of war, but it plays well in the Mexican political spotlight. Cárdenas' policy is essentially to make Mexico into Venezuela. While I don't think that it will go that far, it will sink the peso even deeper as foreign investment is gobbled up by state annexation of certain private businesses (orgastic fervor for communists).

A more lawless and more violent Mexico under communist rule may help move at least a few Democrats to want a WALL if for nothing but their own self-interest. (note: Mexico has far more strict firearms laws than the US - how's it working for them?)

Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG, Mexico's most powerful drug cartel, has been bringing sufficient firearms and ammunition into the country to cause severe civil discord during the election cycle if it appears that the currently ruling PRI is going to win the election, scheduled for July 1, 2018.

Last week, President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke for 50 minutes. President Trump stressed the importance of Mexico paying for the WALL. Acknowledging that Mexico will contribute to a WALL would bring political ruin for President Enrique Pena Nieto and the PRI - facing a tough political season as outlined above.

NAFTA is on the ropes and it's essentially gone. Mexico will have the fallout from that to deal with as well. It was a cash cow for them while it lasted.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Good Move California


Thoughts on Effective Range Training

For those of you who are serious about training with firearms, I suggest that you take a hard look at Simunition. The advantage is that you use YOUR firearm to fire at live targets, who can return fire. Standing in front of a paper target and blazing away is better than nothing. But it in no way does it simulate the fire-and-movement that is part of any real world encounter. 

I've used Simunition for at least 20 years. In order to do it right, you MUST have a range master who has the requisite training. If you're not doing it right, people can be hurt. Paintball teaches you to keep your head down, but Simunition allows you to operate your own handgun, shotgun and rifle.

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HAS ARRIVED IN THE U.S.A.  (link to website)
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Sunday Sermonette

At Last!

Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence announced that she's going to take a year off acting to fix the democracy - to fix all of the little people who have made her wealthy. Think of it as a thank you tour. She's giving back to the low-life riffraff who gave her so much.

I hate to say it, but it would be more progressive of her to transition to become a black man during the year-long sabbatical to save the planet. I'm sure that she's cool enough to do both at the same time. 

A Purge


I bought a special piece of software to identify Russian bots that may have infected my computer. It spit out a photo (right) of an NRA member who may also be one of the infamous Russian bots.

Or are they relentless minions of CNN, cleverly disguised as Russian bots? Who can say for sure, however beware the bots because they are out to dominate the world.

And while we're on the subject of purges (which brings to mind the student's march to slaughter NRA members  - by peaceful means, I wonder if they've read history or if they simply rely on CNN talking points?

I wonder if any of the six million Jews, slaughtered by the Nazis ever said, "wow, it's good that we have no firearms to defend ourselves with. Somebody might have been hurt."

Imagine, going to your death like a cow headed down the chute to the knacker's shed. It's not a pretty thought. Imagine once again, double tapping those people who would drive you into the abattoir. Pick which you'd prefer. Take as long as you'd like, it's not a trick question...I have all day.

Free men are armed, slaves are not. It always comes back to that.


Gun Control in Mexico

It didn't work for this narco in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico just after noon on February 8, 2017 when he engaged armed Americans - hoping that they were not armed. 

Deciding to shoot up former SEALs resulted in a very quick double tap to his chest, just left of center followed by a failure drill to the forehead. Call it a Darwin Award well earned as he removed himself from the gene pool.

Sometimes criminals don't really know who the predator is and who the prey is - and THAT is your thought of the day. Call it a sermonette if you wish.



Saturday, February 24, 2018

Gaining Context


Good Saturday Morning from LL's house, where breakfast is on the table. Why stop at bacon, eggs, pancakes and juice when you can also have biscuits and gravy? Not me, that's for sure. The context that we enjoy with others is comforting in the same way as a good breakfast is.

There is comfort in having others understand who we were when and why we are who we are now. Friends, relatives and people we meet in the journey of life (like the guys below - Kuwait 1991 just off the King Fahad bin Abdul Aziz Road, about 40 kilometers north of the Saudi border).

I encourage you to reach out to somebody you haven't spoken with for some time who knows you for who you were as well as who you are...and you with them. It's Saturday - what better do you have to do?








That's it, carry on. Nothing more to see here. I've been asked to judge a chili cook-off later today. I wonder how all that will sit on top of pancakes?


The Siren's Song

Are there really Seal People in the Faroe Islands?

Over the years, strong men from the small village of Mikladalur slowly disappeared. Killed at sea amongst the swirling waves of the North Atlantic, they tragically fell from fog-shrouded cliffs, drowned whilst fishing, or simply found themselves overpowered by the powerful storms that so often batter this region.

Kópakonan
Their deaths are no accident. Instead, they are the result of a curse cast by Kópakonan: the notorious ‘seal woman’ of the Faroe Islands. 

The story goes that after years of being held captive on land, Kópakonan escaped and returned to sea, reunited with her husband and children. Years later, when the villagers murdered her family, she returned to land – angry and distraught. Here, in front of the village, she declared that the men of Mikladalur would meet unexpected, watery deaths, until so many had died that they could link hands around the shores of the island of Kalsoy.

With a thunderous clap, she vanished without a trace.

It's Lake Leitisvatn, not a photoshop job.
Today, all that stands in her place is a statue: the bereft Kópakonan, clutching her seal clothing. Windswept and alone, she is a reminder to the men of the village of the dangers of the ocean and the mythical magic of the Faroe Islands.

There is something wild and wonderful that happens when you go to distant lands if you are able to take the time and explore. Exploration requires patience that takes time to develop in some people. It's best to mute the cell phone and to walk, look, listen and try to connect with the place - and occasionally with the ghosts of the place.

There are lots of Ghosts in the Faroe Islands: Vikings, ice giants, witches, Scottish sailors, Irish monks and even a few remnants of the Cold War. 

The islands, located between Scotland and Iceland have strategic value when tracking Russian ships and submarines that are headed West from Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula. 

The water is cold but the hospitality of the place is warm and inviting.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thirty Years War vs Syrian Civil War

OSCAR-MIKE-GOLF, there is a lot of chatter around among the historically inclined about how the Syrian Civil War is remarkably like the Thirty Years War. I have been asked by bloggers to throw my cracker in the soup twice, so I will.

The Thirty Years' War was fought in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. It was a deadly religious war that resulted in eight million deaths in a time when being a casualty of war and dying in war was essentially the same thing. (No medivac/casevac)

It began as war between Protestants and Catholics and then expanded as many of the great powers of the day entered the conflict. Some nations grew in influence because of the war and others were devastated. I invite you to read more about the gritty details if you're interested.

As with all significant civil wars (the War of Northern Aggression in the US 1860-65 comes to mind),  emotions scar the societies involved that reverberate to this day. The only winners of the Thirty Years War were England who stayed out, France who waited til the end to get in and Sweden who temporarily became a great power due to its  intervention.
P. S. Flushed with success, the Swedes then went to war with Russia and were handed their hats. Then they became a less than great power once again.
In the Syrian Civil War, Syria's enemies, Israel and the US (the little and big satan, respectively) are winning because they're staying out of the fighting.  The US is present in the area because it showed up to defeat ISIS under President Trump's leadership, but that doesn't extend to the Civil War in any significant extent.

The US clearly projects power by its presence East of the Euphrates and we've read on several blogs how the Russians and their proxies wanted to take the Americans down to Chinatown (kick their butts to Pizza Hut) and it turned out very badly for them. The problem that the Russians and their friends have is that they feel if they can beat Arab militias and the Syrian Army, the Americans should be a push-over. (too bad/so sad)

Click to enlarge the map and reveal
territorial exchanges in the 30 years
war.
Syria is the biggest looser and Turkey is close behind as the world finds that the might of Turkish armor and combined arms can't dislodge a thousand or so Kurds. Russia looks like a Potemkin Village since their military is severely taxed by merely keeping it in the field in the face of a logistics train less than 900 sea miles in length over unopposed (sea or air) access. The Russia issue reflects the Spanish in the Thirty Years war. That effort effectively started the slide to the end of the Spanish empire by exhausting what strength they had left. I don't see that happening to Russia, but it confirms their modern status as a regional power and no more.

Iran would be a big loser but for the Obama nuke deal which gave them the cash to keep going. The great power playing the English role is China. They stuck their nose under the tent, then backed off because the only winners never showed up to the game.

Then there are the Saudis and the fringe players who have tried to keep a chip in the game to thwart Iranian imperialistic fervor -- are they Holland?

Bottom line, the intervening 400 years between 1618 and 2018 means that as much as it's fun to draw general parallels, they don't work very well in this case, IMHO.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Parking Lot Sighting

Darmont Morgan or Morgan?





Turkish Invasion of Syria (update)

A blend of pro-government Syrian forces entered Afrin yesterday. The convoy of pick-up trucks with armed fighters in them that was shown on TV on 19 February leaving Aleppo arrived in Afrin on the morning of the 20th. Lebanese Hizballah posted the images of the arriving fighters, suggesting Hizballah, or at least Shiite, militiamen were sent to Afrin. 

Turkish regulars executed an artillery barrage as the pro-government forces arrived, according to Syrian state media. "Turkish regime forces targeted the locations of popular forces with artillery fire as they arrived in the Afrin region." 

Turkey said it fired "warning shots" at Syrian pro-regime forces in Afrin. "Pro-regime terrorist groups that are trying to advance towards Afrin retreated to about 10 kilometers (six miles) from the town because of the warning shots," the Turkish state news agency Anadolu said.

CNN-TURK and two other mainstream Turkish news outlets reported that the pro-government Syrian forces were driven back, leaving the impression that the Turks prevented their arrival in Afrin. That is disinformation, aka false news. Coming from CNN, it can't surprise any of this blog's readers.
Kurds confirmed the reinforcements. In a statement on the 20th, the People’s Defense/Protection Units (YPG) spokesman Nuri Mahmud said in a statement, "The Syrian government responded to the invitation, answered the call of duty and sent military units today, 20 February, to take up positions on the borders, and participate in defending the territorial unity of Syria and its borders." 
A large Hizballah deployment would be significant. Hizballah fighters have proven to be the equal of Islamic State and pro-al-Qaida al Nusra Front fighters, similar to the People’s Defense/Protection Units (YPG). They are tougher fighters than the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army and probably many Turkish army units.

President Erdogan’s minimized the significance of the Syrian deployment. Turkish President Erdogan said the convoy was made up of Shia militiamen acting independently, adding that he had earlier persuaded the Syrian government's main allies, Russia and Iran, to stop any Syrian troops from being deployed.
"Afrin city center will be besieged in the coming days," he said. "So that the external aid coming to the city and the region gets cut." Erdogan said that Turkey would make its red lines clear to everyone.
The Turkish and Turkish-backed forces are in no position to besiege Afrin, mainly, because they do not have it surrounded. The BBC and South Front published situation maps that show the limits of Turkish advances and that the eastern border of Afrin Canton abuts Syrian government-controlled territory. 

The Syrian reinforcement of Afrin is a setback for Turkey. It forces Turkish President Erdogan to risk widening a conflict in which his soldiers have performed poorly for over a year. Afrin was supposed to be the first of multiple objectives in Syrian Kurdistan. Afrin might prove to be the undoing of the entire Operation, if Turkish forces cannot capture it.

Erdogan has never explained the significance of calling the operation Olive Branch, but the words appear intended as a message to Syria. The message is that Turkey is doing a security favor for both countries by invading Syrian Kurdistan and cleansing it of Kurds and that Turkey is not starting a general war. 

The Russian deputy foreign minister Bogdanov said that Russia is willing to mediate between Turkey and Syria. 

The Russian news outlet Kommersant reported on 21 February that the situation is so serious around Afrin that Russia might return the recently promoted commander of the expeditionary force and hinted it might restore forces. 
“Russia might replace the commander of its contingent in Syria. The argument between the government of Bashar al-Assad and the Turkish administration over the Afrin situation is increasingly heated, and the Russian center for reconciliation of opposition sides headquartered in Damascus has come under attack.” 


Three Sips


Because I saw this book advertised on several of your blogs, I decided to buy Three Sips of Gin by Major Tim Bax, Rhodesian Selous Scouts. I read the book and I enjoyed it. So I'm passing it on by making my own recommendation. It can be yours on Kindle for just over $4 - and I think that it's entertainment worth the price.

I personally identified with some of what Tim Bax went through, though I'm not African, and never lived there. You don't have to chew the SAME dirt to appreciate what another lived through.

I'm lucky to have lived in largely the same era as Tim Bax. He's a bit older than I am, but coming of age in a military environment prior to and during the Age of Reagan and Bush-the-Elder was a far simpler, far more interesting, and far more challenging age. It was a time of adventure, so often lacking in the controlled times we live in now. 

The story revolves around Bax's own journey and the colorful and often eccentric people he met along the way.

Living a life well, in my opinion, requires that one take risks and leap from the aircraft into the dark (hopefully with a functioning parachute). If you're not a risk taker and don't take a measure of thrill from pushing the envelope, you'll never  understand why I recommended the book.

I know people who peaked in high school, and while that may be enough for them, I didn't really like high school and only came into my own later - facing tough training and a far tougher real world. It is from that perspective that I appreciated Three Sips of Gin.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Topics



Riddle me This: If President Trump hates all immigrants, why does he prefer to marry immigrants?


Moving on to events in Northwestern Syria and the Afrin Region.

The Turkish armored divisions poised to eliminate Kurds from the gene pool have been dealt another in a series of setbacks that make them appear essentially helpless.

The Syrian state-run SANA news agency earlier in the day that said Syrian government forces and their allies would enter Afrin "within a few hours to support its people's (Kurdish) stand against Turkish regime's attack". The report by SANA raised fears of a potential clash between Turkish troops and Syrian forces, which are backed by Russia and Iran.

The Kurds are saying that they have no deal with Damascus and have the situation well in hand. The Syrians are using the Turkish invasion to move in from behind, take up positions and in a sense, 're-take' the Afrin Canton from the position of total Kurdish control that it now enjoys. In essence, to repatriate the region to Syria rather than Kurdistan.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, speaking at a news conference in Amman, Jordan, said his country would hit back if Assad's forces intervened in Afrin to help the YPG.

"If the regime is entering to protect the YPG, then no one can stop us, stop Turkey or the Turkish soldiers," he said.

Turkey is full of bluster because the Russians are sending anti-aircraft rocket artillery in with the Syrian Army, which will prohibit the Turks from enjoying air supremacy in the Afrin City area.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Thoughts for a Monday


In Syria, Operation Olive Branch has stalled as a few Kurds, fighting for their homes are standing up to the Turkish Army. The Turks are claiming to have killed 1,500 Kurdish men, women and children in their effort to ethnically cleanse Northern Syria of Kurds. Independent sources put the number at about 300. 

CNN-TURK is trying to be optimistic and paint a picture of Turkish valor against difficult odds. Imagine that. Turkish armored and armored infantry divisions against far fewer Kurds defending their homes -- where is the valor in that for Turks? The Kurds have been successful and fought the Turkish armored fist to a standstill. When the Turks send armor and helicopters forward, they're destroyed. 

Turks using the "law of probability" in 
assessing casualties smacks of weakness.

Some of the Turkish success has been had from sending sniper teams forward. It's low intensity and the loss of a couple of snipers here and there doesn't impact the Turkish loss in terms of absolute numbers. A couple dozen snipers won't take Afrin or hold ground for the Turks. The Turks planned to have snipers keep the anti-tank missile teams heads down wile the armor moved forward. Their problem with that metric is that the missiles range is triple or more the range of the best case sniper shot. It's a very weak move for the Turks.

There best chance for success would be to move a division of dismounted infantry forward and overwhelm the Kurds with bodies, but that would cost a lot of meat and would end up being unpopular at home. Likewise the Turks could keep sending armor in until the Kurds ran out of missiles to destroy them...

President's Day Plans

I do have plans for the day, but they revolve around hanging out in the US and letting people who work for me do the heavy lifting elsewhere. (the loyal workers would ask, "what's new with that?") I'm available on the phone if there's a foul up. And I'm around if the White House calls for advice. They are working today, holiday notwithstanding.

A friend of mine named "H" expressed surprise that I'm still working at age 62. I pointed out that it's difficult to call it "work". It's not like genuine "work" that I once did.  

I haven't watched the Winter Olympics on TV yet. I doubt that I'll do that today.

I'm eating breakfast while I type this blog. Left-over fried chicken and rolls (home made) from last night. I'm not a big left-over eater guy, but fried boneless, skinless breast filets and rolls never go to waste (they go to waist).

Have a splendid day.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Sermonette

Life, Death and Politics

On January 29, a bill came to the floor of the US Senate, which if passed, would ban late-term partial birth abortion. In this procedure, the baby is dismembered in utero and pulled piece by piece from the mother. One key lobby that opposed the bill banning the practice was the so-called Catholic lobby - members of the Senate who publicly identify as Catholics and receive political contributions on that basis.

The Catholic senators who vote to allow partial birth abortion to continue in America are (in alphabetical order for your convenience):

Maria Cantwell – Washington
Susan Collins -Maine
Dick Durbin – Illinois
Kirsten Gillibrand – New York
Heidi Heitkamp – North Dakota
Tim Kaine – Virginia
Patrick Leahy – Vermont
Ed Markey – Massachussetts
Catherine Cortez Masto – Nevada
Claire McCaskill – Missouri
Bob Menendez – New Jersey
Lisa Murkowski – Alaska
Patty Murray – Washington
Jack Reed – Rhode Island

Far more children are slain by Planned Parenthood in one day than are slain by all firearm violence in one year. While all slaying for fun and/or profit is a tragedy, the one most easily put on hold is the one supported by your tax dollars.

By way of disclaimer, I am not Catholic, but I found that lobby in the Senate voting this way seemed ironic in the extreme. I found the lack of condemnation from the Catholic Church against these US Senators to be shocking. Nothing in the press (besides the usual hatred toward President Trump), nothing in print, nothing from the Pope - no hint of excommunication of these most Catholic senators. I've waited two weeks to hear the response of the Catholic Church before posting this. At best a whimper - business as usual. 

The 'Vicar of Christ on Earth/Lion of Christ' is very vocal on the subject of ILLEGAL immigration, and on the need to embrace Muslim savages. Not so vocal on the subject of carving up a baby in utero like a Thanksgiving turkey. The man is a whited sepulcher -- that's just how I look at him. Are no lines drawn anywhere? Sure, they're elected, sitting senators and can vote as they wish, but should they do so and remain Catholic?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Stupid Progressive Rants

Start Here.

I've mentioned this topic before on my blog. In Mexico, military style weapons are illegal.

The best source of high grade military weaponry to US citizens is Mexico. They are smuggled across the border the same as drugs are and are sold for top dollar. They are sourced in the Middle East, and from military stores in Central America (sold out the back door for cash by underpaid soldiers in banana republics with no 'end user certificate').

Democrats complain about too many guns. You'd think that they would want the border wall to be constructed to keep them out -- from the country where they are more illegal than they are in the USA... if you take my point. But the Dem's could not possibly care less.

The progressive firearms arguments make no sense unless you're a chowderhead. The murderous little scrote who killed the kids in the school shooting would have obtained a firearm illegally if he hadn't bought it legally, and he might have purchased a better grade of weapon.

Build the Wall (and lock Her up).

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Year's Follies

Happy Lunar New Year 

Celebrate as you see fit.  Rock on and then there is this classic: Terrier Style


Some of you lack faith in what you don't understand. That might (or might not) go double Asian astrology and it's impact on your life. Because you're predestined to live a life based on the position of stars when you were born... and some of you were well and truly screwed. Blame Buddha, or Vishnu or whoever. You can also blame Donald Trump as many in the sly, corrupt, wicked, lying mainstream media do. Irrespective of your system of belief, the Earth Dog Year is upon us.

Next Year (2019) will be the year of the pig, which does not bode well for Jews and Mohammedans. But you may be required to eat more rashers of bacon than you usually would.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Afghanistan

First, a Pause for the Cause - 

I have a number of friends who are dead and were killed on various battlefields named and unnamed. I have a number of wrecked agents (recruited assets) who were left on the field as well. I learned recently that David W., who I worked with in the Navy is in an assisted living facility. The guy is 60, but he has the body of an 80 year old, teeth fell out, withering. There are a lot of tragedies associated with him, but my recollection of the guy is a fit guy, 6-3, very smart, very clever. Now, I'm told that he plays checkers with the Oreos.

Others survived and are doing fine. What causes one person to break and another to survive? Maybe it has something to do with will to survive. Sometime it has to do with shame. Sociopaths (Barack comes to mind) don't live with shame because they can't tell the difference between what's right and wrong. If it's good for them, it's 'good'.

Sometimes you just reach your breaking point and that's it. And with that, I'm going to drift to a rant about Afghanistan.

USA

Pardon me if I disagree with the war hawks who want the US to continue its War in Afghanistan. The early war, run by CIA and supported by US Special Forces and US Air Force (providing on-demand overhead precision bombing) worked. I think that it was a good idea. Things started to unravel and costs moved from millions to trillions when Big Army took over 

America lost 2,300 soldiers listed as killed in action in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. About 400 of those were killed in accidents (non-action events). Another 1,600 contractors were killed. About 21,000 combat wounds were sustained by soldiers and the number of contractors wounded is not readily available. The Department of Defense tends to parse those numbers.

Finding veteran suicide numbers specifically for the Afghanistan War, which we've been fighting for 17 years now is difficult. 
In 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes. Some sources suggest that this rate may be undercounting suicides.
The military made a concerted effort to correct that horrendous problem. Treatment and proper care can serve to slow those numbers. It did in the case of my son-in-law, a Navy veteran, judged 50% disabled from his tour in Afghanistan.

A trillion + dollars into this seventeen year long war, how are we doing?
Our generosity is destructive in itself: By pouring what are enormous sums by local standards into underdeveloped economies and societies, we corrupt those we seek to help. 
This isn’t a brand-new phenomenon. Our wealth created thriving black markets in 1940s Europe, but it really got underway in South Vietnam, where our largesse was economic napalm applied to our allies. We corrupted not only the Saigon government, but also undercut its military. We turned bureaucrats and officers into war profiteers, great and small. One of the reasons the North Vietnamese won was that they were too poor to be corrupt on a crippling scale: They may have been mass murderers, but they weren’t crooks (that came with time and progress). 
By the time we reached Iraq, we had turned nation-building efforts into a shameless looting orgy for American and third-party contractors. In Afghanistan, we turned a nation of pickpockets into grand felons.
T.E. Lawrence was a grand exaggerator and, at times, an outright liar, but he did have insights that remain useful today. Of special relevance, Lawrence noted that it’s better for the locals to do something imperfectly for themselves than for us to do it perfectly for them. Paying a warlord or politician’s entrepreneurial cousin to do the work isn’t the same thing as having the locals do it themselves—not least, because as much as nine-tenths of the money never gets applied to the road-construction or water project but vanishes like a djinn done granting wishes.

The Trump Administration seems to have come up with a "new plan", but I'm concerned that it will end up the way the old plans did. Alexander couldn't hold the place, the British fought two Afghan Wars in the 1800's and gained nothing, the Russians left and eventually the Americans will too. The question is how much more blood and treasure we plan to dump in that worthless S--hole.

What is our clear strategy? Are we there to oppose China or are we there to nation build.

"Now it is not good for the Christian's health to hustle the Aryan brown, 
For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down; 
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, 
And the epitaph drear: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East." 
            - Rudyard Kipling

China

On 2 February, the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping appointed a new ambassador to Afghanistan in a sign of the Chinese decision to become more involved in Afghanistan. According to the paper, the new ambassador, Liu Jinsong, was raised in Xinjiang, western China, and was a director of the Silk Road Fund to promote investment in the Belt and Road Initiative, among other postings in South Asia. 

Comment: Liu’s appointment indicates that the Chinese leaders have decided that the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is so tied to security conditions in Afghanistan that China needs to intervene and be more assertive. The Chinese strategy relies on economic and infrastructure cooperation – essentially, greater prosperity -- to help improve security conditions.

The strategy works, but it takes a generation or two, as in Malaysia, to persuade zealots to change their life-style.

In Afghanistan, it also relies on and takes advantage of the US-led coalition to provide security. The big difference with US assistance is that the Chinese live in the neighborhood.

A Chinese-built fort in the Wakhan Corridor. On 1 and 2 February, several press outlets reported that China is in talks with Afghanistan about building and supplying a new military base in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in Badakhshan Province, which forms the Afghanistan-China border.

An Afghan defense ministry spokesman assured the press that Afghanistan would build the base. China would assist by providing funding, training and equipment. 

An Afghan defense ministry statement in January said that China would cover “all material and technical expenses for this base — weaponry, uniforms for soldiers, military equipment and everything else necessary for its functioning.”

The latest announcement provides context to reports since February 2017 about Chinese border soldiers and vehicles operating on the Afghan side of the border in the Wakhan Corridor. Some reports suggested the Chinese also would help staff the new base.

The Wakhan Corridor is a segment of the original Silk Road. In more recent times, Muslim ethnic Uighur militants and separatists from Xinjiang in western China use the Corridor for communications and supply between Uighur supporters in Central and Western Asia. Your beloved blogger took a hit and left a blood trail in the Wakhan Corridor circa 1980's, and that's all that I'm going to say about that.

Afghan border forces have proven unable to secure the border. Last May, Reuters reported that the Syrian government estimated that 4,000 to 5,000 Uighurs joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The Uighurs produced and distributed an anti-Chinese video in which they vowed to “shed blood like rivers” in China. 

A primary purpose of Chinese involvement with this base is to stop Uighur movements through the Corridor, especially fighters returning from Syria.

The base also embodies the new policy of involvement in the internal affairs of neighbors when it suits China’s interests. China wants to include Afghanistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


>>> ADDITIONAL  NEWS<<<

International news organizations reported that the US B-52 bomber attack on terrorist targets in northern Afghanistan two weeks ago set a record for the number of precision-guided munitions launched at one time by a single bomber. 

In terms of threat analysis, the important part of the mission was the targets. They were terrorist camps in Badakhshan Province that support Taliban operations in Afghanistan and operations of the anti-Chinese East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Xinjiang, China. The ETIM is an ethnic Uighur militant group that seeks to convert Xinjiang, China, into an Islamic state governed by ethnic Uighurs. Reportedly ETIM’s headquarters is in North Waziristan, Pakistan.

The B-52 attack appears to have been partly intended to assist Chinese efforts because the ETIM poses no threat to the Afghan government. However, it is affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban and al Qaida. 

The 4 February air raid proves that Uighur terrorists are receiving training and refuge with the Afghan Taliban in Badakhshan. That further explains the recent Chinese agreement to help build and equip a new Afghan military base in the Wakhan Corridor of Badakhshan Province. The Chinese also agreed to supply Chinese trainers for the base. 

The B-52 raid probably was not the first time that US air attacks have targeted anti-Chinese terrorists, but US-Chinese military cooperation is uncommon. The raid is the first time we have seen in open sources US forces attack an anti-Chinese terrorist camp. It also occurred on the same day that China and Afghanistan announced the new base agreement. 

The US commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan said that the US will fight all terrorists wherever it finds them. It looks like mission creep relative to the mission of defeating the Taliban.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Few Thoughts on Syria

A Russian View of the Syrian Power Structure

Kirill Semenov, Director of the Centre of Islamic Research at the Institute of Innovative Development, Russia International Affairs Department (quite a title), wrote an interesting article about the change in the internal power structure in Syria. The abstract is presented for your review below:
Ever since Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1971, the three pillars of the Syrian regime have been the Ba’ath Party, the Alawite minority and the army. The current Syrian elites were formed around these three forces. The tip of the pyramid is represented by the so-called inner circle: a small group of people most trusted by the head of state. Their influence on the decision-making process stems not so much from the posts they hold, as from their being members of – or otherwise close to – the al-Assad family. The inner circle has always included separate groups, which can compete against one another. 
The military conflict in Syria has affected the structure of the inner circle. In particular, the decision-making process is now influenced by figures who have made their way to the top during the course of the civil war. At the same time, some of Bashar al-Assad’s former confidantes have been forced to flee the country and effectively defect to the opposition.
Full Article HERE.

Operation Olive Branch Update

CNN-TURK, the propaganda arm of the Turkish government claims that the Turkish military has killed 1,439 Kurdish resistance fighters since they invaded Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports more modest gains. It reported the Turks have taken control of one town, Bulbul in northern Afrin (on the Turkish border) and 23 villages and hamlets on the Turkish border.. 

During the Operation, the Observatory has documented the deaths of 163 members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) forces and 211 within the Turkish Olive Branch forces, including 32 Turkish soldiers and two pilots.

One of the curious features of the recent surge in fighting in Syria is that little of it poses a threat to the survival of the government in Damascus. The worst clashes have occurred on the periphery. A consequence of that development is that a more confident Syrian government remains even less cooperative and willing to compromise in the interest of peace, except on its terms. 


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Love is in the Air!

It's Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) today and then comes the obligations to demonstrate your love - or not - at your peril the next day. There will be a lot of love and STD sharing at Mardi Gras (I'm not calling it an orgy) and I doubt that they'll store it up for St. Valentine's Day on Love Wednesday

Maybe it would be more efficient to simply take the week off work, ignore the Winter Olympics, and celebrate Mardi Gras, St. Valentine's Day, the Lunar New Year and the President's Day bank holiday in one long extravaganza. I'm sure that you take my point. Business can extend their President's Day sales. I don't shop on those holidays personally, but we can make it a win-win for those who do. Greeting cards can say, "Happy Love Festival Week". 


I have never understood St. Valentine's Day. Maybe this graphic (above) will shed some light on it for you. Maybe not. Candy is dandy but liquor works quicker. That's all the advice that I have for you.

And then we have the Year of the Dog, being ushered in two days later. Coincidence? I doubt it, but for you dog lovers, it's yet one more reason for a parade.

Are we going to do parades in America anymore or have they been proclaimed (by whomever) to be politically incorrect? Has anyone broken the news to the people in New Orleans?

Irrespective of America's new found hatred of parades, there will be celebrations in China and throughout Asia to usher in the Year of the Dog. They will have parades, burn "hell money" in the whole day-of-the-dead meets the dog year thing.

Those of you who who want to combine St. Valentine's Day and the Year of the Dog can do it doggy-style, in honor of both. What better way to combine the two? Maybe light off some fireworks while you're at it - if you don't have fireworks, create your own.

What will I be doing to celebrate? Nothing - just working, trying to earn another crust of bread to stave off the cold, the coyotes, the buzzards, the tax collectors (but I repeat myself), etc. With all the love and parties, nobody will have the strength remaining to enjoy President's Day.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Madness

Entertainment

I find the Democrat Party to be the highlight of my day. I'll come out and say it. I am entertained. It's important to look for the comic relief in life and while Barack never delivered the goods, Rep. Nancy (Nasty) Pelosi D-CA brings it.  

It's not just the face stretched to the splitting point and the weird facial ticks that likely come from that. Add in the mumbled talking points which are the precise opposite of her talking points only a year or two ago. She's funny. She fits in with the freaks and misfits who populate her district in California. In a perverse way, I'd say that she does represent them.

Congress people take her seriously because she's been able to steal a LOT of money and that is a talent that they don't want to see go to waste. The crumbs from the Pelosi table are nothing to turn your cheek at.  

She needs to run on the Democrat ticket. She really does. She could self-fund in the same way that Oprah could. All she'd need to do is liquidate a few mansions.

Meanwhile in Syrian Kurdistan

CNN-Turk  reported that the Turkish invasion managed to “neutralize” 1,068 elements of PYD/PKK (Syrian and Iraqi Kurds) and ISIL (Islamic State) in its Afrin operation. The military announced it liberated at last three villages around Afrin City. They need to report something positive.

The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units denied the Turkish claims.

Turkish airstrikes have resumed following the shooting down of a Russian warplane in Idlib last weekend. A Turkish armed forces statement claimed that the air strikes destroyed 19 targets including ammunition depots, shelters and gun positions

On 10 February, Kurdish fighters near the northern Syrian town of Afrin shot down a Turkish army helicopter, Turkey's president Erdogan announced the loss. The Turkish military said two soldiers on board the helicopter died. 

The Turks are moving still more armor into the Afrin area based on knowledgable sources and they're preparing to mount "the mother of all offensives" to seize the empty Syrian/Kurdish city once and for all. This is the third "mother of all offensives" that they've launched since Operation Olive Branch began. As some of this blog's readers have noted, it's embarrassing to the Turks that the entire Turkish combined arms military doesn't seem to have the capacity to mop up one empty city.

Reuters reported that the Syrian Kurds in Afrin are receiving some indirect help from the Syrian government. The Syrian army is allowing Syrian Kurds from outside Afrin to reinforce the canton to fight the Turks. A Turkish victory in Afrin is not certain and casualties are increasing. 

Arab media sources reported that the al-Qaida faction in Idlib, formerly the al Nusra Front, and the Islamic State continue to fight for control of Idlib.

Israel's Chip in the Game

On 10 February, Israel launched heavy air strikes against multiple Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria. The wave of airstrikes came after Israel intercepted an Iranian drone that had entered Israeli airspace.

The Israelis identified some of the targets of the retaliatory airstrikes. With a map distributed late Saturday night, 10 February, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) specifically identified long-range SA-5 and medium-range SA-17 anti-aircraft missile batteries as targets of its strikes, along with a long-range SA-2 missile defense system, all of which had been deployed around Damascus. Syria also fired SA-3 and SA-6 systems at the IDF aircraft.

The IDF said it destroyed the drone's Iranian launching site along with four additional Iranian positions and eight Syrian sites, including the Syrian military's main command and control bunker.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the war in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, posted on the 11th that at least six Syrian troops and non-Syrian allied militiamen were killed in the airstrikes. 

The Syrians downed an Israeli F-16 as it was returning from its attack mission on Saturday. The aircraft crashed in Israel near Harduf. The IDF reported that both pilots aboard the F-16 were safe, though one was seriously wounded.

Intelligence Minister Katz warned the Syrians and Iranians. Israel’s intelligence minister said on Army Radio, "They, and we, know what we hit and it will take them some time for them to digest, understand and ask how Israel knew how to hit those sites…These were concealed sites and we have intelligence agencies and the ability to know everything that is going on there and yesterday we proved that." 

The attacks demonstrated several significant points to the Syrians and Iranians. Most obvious is that the IDF can defeat five Syrian air defense systems. Syria apparently did not use the S-300 system. 

Syrian air and air defense forces will take pride in downing one IDF aircraft, but they have been a disappointment to the Soviets since the era of Marshal Ogarkov, Chief of the General Staff during the Lebanon War of 1982. In June 1982, the IDF destroyed about 80% of all Syrian fighter aircraft and all modern (at the time) Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missile sites in an afternoon. Ogarkov flew to Syria to conduct the post-mortem. 

The Syrians must be a disappointment to the present Chief of the General Staff, Russian General Gerasimov as well

The IDF gave the Syrians and Iranians a glimpse at the depth and scope of Israeli intelligence about their activities. The IDF also backed up Prime Minister Netanyahu’s warning that Israel will not permit the Iranians to consolidate their position in Syria. 

Almost not mentioned is that last year the Israelis destroyed that Iranian base which imagery showed to be under construction south of Damascus. If the Iranians rely on the Syrians for air defense protection, they will be unable to build an infrastructure in Syria.

However, if Syrian air defenses improve and the IDF loses dominance in the air, the Iranians will stay in Syria and the threat to Israel will increase significantly. The Israelis cannot survive a war of attrition.

Israeli attacks have become more frequent, larger and more deadly since last summer. As the Syrian fighting declined last year, the Iranians appear to have picked up the pace of their expansion into Syria and the pace of attempted deliveries to Lebanese Hizballah. 

The Israelis are a pre-war stage of activity with the Iranians and Lebanese Hizballah. They are testing weapons, reaction times and effectiveness. The action-reaction cycle is heading towards larger clashes

Egypt

On 9 February, Egyptian forces launched Operation Sinai 2018, a major joint operation that targets Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula and in parts of the Delta and Western Desert.

Egypt's air force struck 66 militant targets in northern and central Sinai on Feb. 10, Reuters reported. On the ground, special forces, working with police, conducted raids inside cities in Sinai to seize militants, the Egyptian military said. They claimed to have killed 16 militants. 

Naval units from a Mistral helicopter carrier have continued to comb the coast of Arish, the capital of North Sinai governorate, while police and coast guards intensified security measures and patrols.

Security forces also uncovered and destroyed a media center with computers, wireless communication equipment, books and documents related to jihadi ideology. In addition, six farms used to grow illegal narcotics were found and destroyed.

Anwar Al Sadat, Egyptian Mistral Class Amphibious
Assault Ship
This is one of the few times the Egyptian Mistral helicopter carriers have been mentioned in open sources as engaged in supporting counter-terrorism operations.

President Al Sisi gave the armed forces 90 days to eliminate the terrorists responsible for the attack last November that killed 300 civilians in a North Sinai mosque. 

Al Sisi wants the terrorist threat reduced before Presidential elections, which are to be held between 26 and 28 March.

Author's Note: I find it interesting that Egypt operates two French made Mistral Class helicopter carriers while Britain is decommissioning its only two amphibious warfare ships and is eliminating 2,000 Royal Marine Commandos from the force of 25,000. Who would have ever thought that the Royal Navy would be coming in second to the Egyptian Navy? Maybe they're are hoping that the Egyptians will pitch in and help them if times get hard in the British Isles?

I haven't heard whether the British outreach to sexual deviates and Muslims within its population to join the military have been successful. If that doesn't work, they may have to resort to 'press gangs' to fill the ranks.