sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, March 23, 2018

Federal Pork

A billion here - a billion there, who's counting?

News reports a threatened veto by President Trump - but I doubt he'll do it. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Oh, the Insanity

Mount Holyoke College - Massachusetts

The all women school is opening its doors to men, but only if they say that they're not. That's the conclusion of the gender inclusion task force. 
While Mount Holyoke maintains it is committed to its historic mission as a women’s college, it says it recognizes that what it means to be a woman is always changing. “Traditional binaries around who counts as a man or woman are being challenged by those whose gender identity does not conform to their biology,” the policy states. 
The college formed a gender inclusion task force to assist with the changes. 
Any “biologically born female” can apply for admission, but only a “biologically born male” who “identifies as other/they/ze and when ‘other/they’ identity includes woman” and one who “identifies as a woman.”
But what if a normal guy lied to get in to go to school and get laid a lot? How would Mount Holyoke handle that? I find this whole progressive cant ludicrous and -- if I'm being honest -- it's also entertaining. Who doesn't find a freak show interesting when the freaks keep trying to be freakier?

He's Back

This story received some traction on Fox News, where they've been ridiculing Indiana University. Apparently the publicity had some impact
Lake Ingle, a (male) religious studies major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was kicked out of Christianity class earlier this month for saying there are only two genders. He is now allowed back in. 
IUP President Michael Driscoll announced at a press conference Monday his decision to go against Professor Alison Downie’s controversial request to ban Ingle from class for “disruptive behavior.” 
Ingle told Fox News he was booted out of Downie’s classroom for challenging the feminist theology professor on the biology of males and females and the gender wage gap during a Feb. 28 lecture in which she allegedly asked only women to speak following a TED Talk by transgender ex-pastor Paula Stone Williams. Williams discussed the “reality” of “mansplaining,” “sexism from men,” and “male privilege.”

Downie kicked him out of class and asked him not to come back, which would have postponed his graduation if not for the college president’s decision.
Therapy Pets

I am not anti-pet. I do think that hauling your pet on the airplane with you in the passenger compartment is too much of a good thing, because others don't necessarily want to deal with your duck, rat, squirrel, snake, turtle, dog, hedgehog, cat, etc...and we know that the pets don't do well in the overhead compartments where they suffocate.

And before you jump my frame about seeing-eye dogs, seeing-eye cats, veteran's PTSD pets, I suggest that if airlines want to haul pets that they put them in a compartment separate from passengers where they can bark, quack, howl, meow, hiss, etc. Charge full fare to stack the cages, etc.  And before you ask me about squalling babies, I have no problem with a 'family seating area'. Put it in the back, board them first like they do now. Have the seats face forward and backward.

United (not my favorite airline), famous for "Chinese take-out" has killed somebody's hound and that will cost them another million. All this could be fixed with a pet compartment. If you love your frog or your parakeet enough, pay the full fare ticket for them. If not, put them in a pet hotel, leave them with a friend, drive your car, or don't travel.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

White Wolf Mine Knife

A friend of mine who served with Third Special Forces (ODA3110) lives in the general region where the White Wolf Mine is located. He inspects the building site for me from time to time and keeps the trades honest. He asked me about a month ago whether or not I had a White Wolf Mine Knife. I told him that I own more than one knife but didn't have a dedicated knife to the place.

Today I received a knife that IS the official White Wolf Mine Knife, a one-off pattern welded blade that started off with nine layers of 1095 and 15N20 steel, folded to 288 layers. Hardened to Rockwell 60. It has a scrimshaw wolf on the grip. While it's significantly fancier than most of my blades, which were strictly designed for combat, it screams WHITE WOLF.

It's one of those blades that I'll bring out for ceremonial purposes like the thoracic cut on the first elk that is killed and cleaned on the property. Otherwise, it will enjoy a position of honor in my trophy/I love me area in the den.

CW Swanson (Daily Timewaster) suggested that I give it a name. What about Ulvens Tann (Wolf's Tooth - in Norwegian)?


Here and There

North Korea

North Korea published an official comment about relations with South Korea and with the US. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published an English-language commentary on 21 Wednesday that read a “dramatic atmosphere for reconciliation has been created in relations between the North and the South of Korea and there has been a sign of change in the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea --North Korea) -U.S. relations.”

I don't know whether the rapprochement is sincere or not. I don't think that anyone knows at the moment. However the US is going ahead with scheduled military exercises beginning April 1, and sanctions are still in place. I don't think that China will blink and lift them and that may have the attention of the Norks even more than what the US and its allies have done.

The commentary on improving relations coming out of North Korea is without precedent and important as an acknowledgment of a change in North Korean tactics, if not policy. North Korean media have published nothing else like it, according to an analysis posted by the Daily NK on 20 March.

Putting their Snouts Under the Tent

The Russian Far East Development Ministry announced on 20 March that a delegation led by its minister, Alexander Galushka, is now visiting Pyongyang.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with North Korean External Economic Affairs Minister Kim Yong Jae on 21 and 22 March to exchange views on cooperation in the fields of energy, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transportation and science technology.

This is vintage Russian behavior whenever North Korea reaches out to South Korea and the US. The timing is perfect.

The Russians tried to shoehorn themselves into the Agreed Framework arrangements during the Clinton administration and were one of the parties in the Six Party Talks. The distinguishing features of Russian involvement were that they never committed resources or finances, but always had much to say.

Russian meddling has important implications. It means that the Russians see opportunities for increased influence at no cost to them by pretending to be friends with Kim Jong Un’s regime. 

They also see opportunities for possible financial gain, for example, from a relaxation of sanctions as a reward for improved relations and eased tension. The Russians also appear to be trying to position themselves to capture a larger share of the North Korean energy market, at China’s expense. Russian fuel smugglers are competing with Chinese smugglers for North Korean customers.

Russian intrusion, such as this, is a positive indicator. It implies that the leaders in Moscow have concluded that the North Korean outreach is at least superficially genuine and will last for a while. 


News services reported that Turkey intends to create its own local government authorities in Afrin District, replacing the councils created by the Kurds. One of their tasks will be managing humanitarian assistance.
The images of Turkish-backed forces looting Afrin suggest healthy skepticism about Turkey’s good intentions is justified.
Syrian Kurdish sources reported that the Turkish proxy forces, the Free Syrian Army, is capturing the remaining parts of Afrin District. They also are preparing to attack the Syrian Kurds at Tel Rifaat, which is the only sizeable town left in the region.

The People’s Defense/Protection Units (YPG) withdrew from Afrin to Tell Rifaat and to Manbij. Tell Rifaat is reported to be no longer a Kurdish-controlled town. In late February, the YPG supposedly surrendered control of the town to Syrian government forces. The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army has had limited contact with Syrian-backed forces. When incidents occurred, the Syrians retaliated forcefully.

Bitterness among the Kurds. 

The Syrian Kurds said they feel that they have been stabbed in the back by the US and the international community. "The silence of the international community is complicit in the macabre plan of Erdogan. Silence means acceptance," a group of Kurds originally from Afrin and now living in Europe told the French daily Le Monde on 20 March.

"Don't abandon your allies!" they said. "The same fighters who fought courageously against Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State) are today left to the mercy of the Turkish army," said Khaled Issa, the official representative in France of Syria's Kurdistan. "What is happening in Afrin is ethnic cleansing and the great powers are spectators," he said.

The Usual Searing Analysis

The Kurds in Afrin chose defeat by the Turks over compromise with the Sunni Arabs and the Alawite Arabs. Syrians and Russians tried, but failed to persuade the Kurds to accept Syrian authority with the prospect of armed assistance. The rest of the Kurds talked about coming to the aid of Afrin, but did not, most likely on outside advice (from the US). They stopped at Manbij.

The Syrian Kurds did not learn from the experience of the Iraqi Kurds in the independence referendum in September. Somehow, they believed that their version of autonomy within the Syrian state would be acceptable to the Damascus government and to the Russians. It was not. 

No country with a large Kurdish population will permit the emergence of an independent Kurdish state. That Kurdish dream of statehood is dead for another generation.

President Trump did the right thing by keeping the US out of the fighting. The US forces in the general area are mopping up ISIS and have advised the Kurds to make friends from the national forces in Syria and Iraq, respectively or to accept that they are fighting a war they can't win. The US is not interested in fighting a proxy war against Turkey or anywhere else in the Middle East. That is a change in approach from the Bush and Obama years.


Israel officially confirmed on 21 March that Israeli air forces destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. The announcement said the air strikes removed a major threat to Israel and the region and was a “message” to others.

The Israelis released declassified materials related to the attack. They included photographs and cockpit video of the moment that an air strike destroyed the Al-Kubar facility in the desert near Deir ez-Zur. The facility was located more than 480 km (300 miles) inside Syria. “This was our message in 2007, this remains our message today and will continue to be our message in the near and distant future.” 

The message is a warning for Iran. Israeli air strikes have destroyed at least two suspected Iranian facilities in Syria. All parties are on notice that the attacks on suspected Iranian facilities will continue. 

North Koreans were building the nuclear reactor complex at Deir ez-Zur when it was attacked in 2007. The main buildings were copies of those at the North Korean complex at Yongbyon.

Altered Carbon (a review)

The Journey

There I was, casting about on Netflix and I ran onto a new series: Altered Carbon. So I watched it and it was ok, but there were parts that I found a bit over the top. Still, I'm always in the market for a good novel and I found the the series was based on a book. The book, written in 2003 by Richard K. Morgan won the coveted Phillip K. Dick award for Science Fiction. Awards don't blow my skirt up but it had 650 reviews (+/-) and most of them were positive, so I got closer to pulling the trigger on the Kindle version on 

The Book - Altered Carbon

Then I bought the book even though I did not and have not moved past episode 1 on Netflix. And I really liked it. There was something in the story that resonated for me and I found myself laughing, which I seldom do while I read. Don't get me wrong, this is NOT a comedy. It's a murder mystery set in the 25th Century, and it's very well written. Here's the plot: Netflix Tag Line: In the distant future, human consciousness can be digitized and downloaded into different bodies. Brought back to life after 250 years by Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) the richest man on Earth, ex-Envoy soldier Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman / Will Yun Lee) must solve Bancroft's attempted murder for the chance to live again in a world he doesn't recognize. (trailer)

The Sequel - Broken Angels

The main character is the same, but the story is different. It's a war story and the same brittle edge that I found appealing with Altered Carbon was there in Broken Angels. Some reviewers didn't like the change in plot from detective novel to futuristic war novel, but it's a unique view of "the future" while being an interesting commentary on warfare without being preachy.

The Current Read - Woken Furies

I just downloaded this story which is third in the series and I'm possibly a quarter of the way into it. You will either get totally sucked in and miss days of your life, OR you will run screaming. I can't say what your reaction will be, but these books on Kindle are $12 each and I usually don't spend that much on a digital book. But the previous two were worth it. And this one is very good so far.

Will you like the series? I can't venture a guess, but think on it - you might like it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Those Lovable Turks

Turkish President Erdogan said the war against the Kurdish People would continue to the Iraqi border.
"Now we will continue this process until we entirely eliminate this corridor, including in Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tel Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and Qamishli," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday in Ankara. 

(Press comment: Ayn al-Arab is known to Kurds as Kobane; Tel Abyad’s Kurdish name is Gire Spi and Ras al-Ayn is Sari Kani in Kurdish. All of the towns are located along the Syria-Turkey border within Rojava, the self-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Syria.)
Erdogan said that capturing Afrin was a “comma” and “God willing, a full stop will come next,” but he insisted that Turkey is not invading Syria. “Our intention is not to invade, but to carry out operations to cleanse (Kurds) terrorists and eliminate terrorist threats to our country,” he said. 

Erdogan also threatened to fight anti-Turkish Kurdish fighters in Iraq. 
“We told the Iraqi government that they were trying to form another Qandil in Sinjar (Shingal). If you do not solve it, we can enter Sinjar and clean it up there,” he said, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
The reference to Qandil is to the base of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) which is a terrorist organization. Qandil is located in northeastern Iraq, whereas Sinjar is located in northwestern Iraq. 

Buoyed by the capture of Afrin in Syria, Erdogan is talking boldly about solving Turkey’s Kurdish terrorism problems, despite the humiliation of Turkey’s immediate neighbors and their allies.

He also is challenging Iran. The Turkish border campaign is an embarrassment for Iran because Iran is an ally of Syria and Iraq. Iranian volunteers were the only fighters who came to the assistance of the Kurds in Afrin. 

The Turkish and Turkish-backed forces are operating with impunity in Syria. Turkish air power, armor and artillery make them unstoppable by the Syrian Kurdish militias, unless they receive US air support.

In threatening Sinjar, Iraq, Erdogan would commit Turkish troops and proxies to operate more deeply in Iraq than they did during the tenure of Saddam Hussein. Once again, they would operate with impunity because Iraqi forces and Iraqi Kurdish forces could not repel the Turkish army.


Darwin never said the strongest of the species survives. He said the “most adaptable” to change survives. And the fastest to adapt not only survive, they thrive. That was certainly true in the age of British America when the staid and established British lost the New World. 

Note how the so-called "deep state" that actually runs America does the same thing by refusing to adapt to change. "How can a non-political real estate mogul become President? Why that's un-American," poor old Jeb! laments to his friends in the club from an alcoholic haze. Hillary (Jeb! without a dick) blames white women who are browbeaten by their husbands for her loss. How could anyone not recognize her political superiority over an outsider - somebody who doesn't belong to the club? Let's get Mueller in there to discredit the President and try to get him ousted.

Deep state manifestations peak out of the ooze and some of them (mostly in the FBI these days) are netted out and examined like some species of Neanderthal discovered living in a cave. The only problem is that the deep state was bruised (not killed) by the Trump election and they yearn for the good old days of Bubba and George W.

The socialists on the left took a drubbing and plan to double down on their loss rather than looking out across the nation. Those in the know within the deep state are bothered by the fact that "the deplorables" who elected President Trump are armed to the teeth and if counted as a militia army (which they are not but hang with me for a minute) due to numbers, arms and ammunition, outnumber the standing military by at least 50 to 1. (Active US Military in 2017 was 1,281,900)

Deep state efforts to disarm those deplorable Constitutionalists who cling to God and guns during the years of ObamaNation were anemic. Barack is often held to be the best firearms salesman that the world has ever known. Is it any wonder that the progressive left funding mechanisms were ready to pounce on a tragedy to try and do something about the deplorables and their firearms?

The NRA has not been able to handle all of the membership applications that they received from the latest anti-firearms craze. The deep state folks should recognize cause and effect by now, but they don't. 

Many who read this blog are disorganized minutemen - simply by default and training. It's not a militia, but it could be. This keeps members of the deep state up at night.

The current thoughts of many in California to break away and form a new state (read more here) reflects the discontent with the progressive movement which draws its strength from inner city people and coastal liberals. Enough of this discontent has to do with California's increasingly restrictive policies toward private ownership of firearms. Maybe this move would stop a CALEXIT? Maybe it will hasten it? Likely it's only noise, but California legislators have a tin ear when it comes to Constitutionalists. History shows that hasn't worked well in American history.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Vote Called For!

Death Wish
It's time to take stock:

Whiskey in the Jar -- Thin Lizzy   or   Metalica  ???

Ok, I think that Metalica kills it, but that's just me.

Some of you may recall the War Tunes post from St. Patrick's Day. There was come contention. What do you haters think of Thin Lizzy playing The Emerald?

And for this historical record, the first time I heard "The Emerald" was at Plymouth, England in the barracks of 62 Commando circa 1976 and they LOVED IT. See, the War Tunes among people who were killing Irish for a living (or throwing them in prison hulks - which was the same thing), were popular. They were more popular when the lads were tipping the bottle a bit. And everyone loved Thin Lizzy (a pro-IRA band). Who doesn't love The Boys are Back? Disco was big and when anyone returned from leave, we had that played before we busted the club up - and the Bobbies were called - and we left out the back with the young birds and groupies who wanted to do it all night long.

LL Circa 1976
I realize that some of you may see it differently, but you may not have been at the point of the spear at that time.  

In those days Ford was president and you could DO SHIT under the rubric of counterterrorism and everyone back home thought that was cool including Democrats. The USGOV decided to second some officers and a few senior enlisted to go to the UK and watch what was going on first hand and report.

That evolved into other jobs with the Brits, and more exotic jobs ending America's enemies -- until they almost ended me. And I decided to become civilized rather than kill people for Uncle Sam.  If you're going to ask how all that worked out, the jury is still out. Civilization is over rated. Whatever you do, don't fear the reaper.

Go ahead and vote. Thin Lizzy or Metalica?

Sunday Sermonette

It's difficult to live life without picking up 'baggage' - and I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. It depends on what the baggage is and on what we do about it. The worst is the baggage that we don't know about, because that's almost always problematic.

Our ethics, what we value (and by extension our metaphysics and epistemology) are revealed by our aesthetics. Think about what movies, TV shows, books, stories, blogs, or news articles you like to consume. The kinds of entertainment we like, or the fictional characters we identify with, act as a litmus test for our ethics.

What art is hanging on your wall? Is it realistic, like photographs, or hyper realistic paintings? Or is it abstract? What is the subject matter? All these things can reveal how you fundamentally view the world, and how you think about knowing the universe.

Just as asking about how one views consciousness will reveal their metaphysics, what one surrounds themselves with, or their aesthetics, reveals their ethics, and ethics is codependent on their metaphysics and epistemology.

We surround ourselves with what we find comfortable, reassuring, and by being invited into the home of a stranger and looking at those things, we can come closer to being brought up to speed than in any other way.

I visited a friend the other day who is in early stage alzheimer's. He knows what will kill him unless he wanders under a moving bus first. The walls were bare, the furniture minimalist. Nothing remained of what had been since he and his wife sold everything and moved into a small, but clean and neat apartment. The stark walls and the capacity to pick up and move everything within half an hour or less made me uncomfortable. They have six children (three natural, three adopted) who are now adults. No photos of the grandchildren, no hint of --- anything. The walls reflected his current state of mind. No baggage.

I don't want to end up without SOME baggage. Then again, there are no hearses with luggage racks.

End of sermonette.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Because of March 17th

It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without some war tunes.

The Old Black Brimmer

The Boys of the Old Brigade

Come out Ye Black and Tans

The Wild Rover (not a war tune)

Ok, and a bit of Metalica - Whiskey in the Jar

A Little Political Chatter

We dodged a very big bullet when we elected President Trump rather than the vile old crone. I realize that the progs and a number of RINO's were unhappy and the deep state was shaken to its core. But can you imagine President Hillary without a shiver of anxiety that reaches to your very core?

The rampant corruption that the Clintons brought with them would have ruined the nation. Even though progressives reveled in the corruption and filth that the Hillary and crew represented, you have to think that even they must breathe a sigh of relief in retrospect of what might have been.

At the same time, I'm thankful that Hillary is still around showing people what a cupid stunt thing that she is.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Moving on (and still speaking of cupid stunts), there is Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who enjoys an 11% approval rating in his own state -- who is stepping aside and is not running for re-elecion to the US Senate. But WAIT! Flake is making noise about running for the presidency in 2020 against an incumbent President Trump. 

You may recall that Jeff Flake jumped party ranks to support Hillary Clinton against President Trump. He is a disgrace to Arizona and one can only wonder if his hubris has any bounds at all. I spoke to a fellow Arizonan about Flake and the guy said that the senator couldn't be elected dog catcher in his home town of Snowflake. I countered that I was certain that he could stand for election as dog catcher and win because half of the town is related to him...but that's about all the political future that the guy has.

Times have changed. I recall when the picture (right) of Navy Chief Petty Officers was the norm. I've been gone for a while and I understand that characterization is no longer true. Sad. But a lot of things have changed - times are always changing. The Navy became very politically correct and I think that a career in that service would be exceptionally difficult today for a trigger puller.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Shall We Discuss Saudi Nukes?

No, that wasn't click bait (above) but it's been very quiet in North Korea - crickets only - since the announcement that there would be talks between President Trump, President Moon and the dear, respected, fat kid with the bad haircut. Not a peep out of North Korea, which might mean almost anything from "the generals killed the Kim", to an internal struggle, to 'spring break'.

North Korean Foreign Minister arrived in Sweden. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho arrived in Sweden on 15 March for a two-day visit. The government of Sweden said that talks with Swedish Foreign Minister Wallstrom will focus on Sweden’s consular responsibilities as the protecting power for the US, Canada and Australia. 

North Korea has made no comment on the visit or on the proposed meeting with the US President. North Korea also has not commented on a meeting with South Korean President Moon next month.

Foreign Minister Ri’s visit to Sweden is the first significant diplomatic action anywhere since 6 March. Sweden’s role as the protecting power for US interests is the basis for speculative news commentary that Ri’s visit is connected to Kim Jong Un’s invitation for talks with the US.

Ok, NOW we can talk about the Saudis

This past week Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman provided the public with two Saudi senses of nuclear power. On 14 March, he approved a nuclear policy for Saudi Arabia to reduce the Kingdom’s reliance on oil for power generation. The policy limits nuclear activity to peaceful purposes.

On 15 March, Prince Mohammed revealed the other Saudi sense of nuclear power. He told a press interviewer, "Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible." 

The nuclear power generation policy is a long-term energy policy. The warning about developing nuclear weapons has a more immediate, albeit contingent, context. 

CSS-5 Missiles and mobile launchers
Saudi Arabia already has a strategic missile force with ballistic missiles that can deliver nuclear warheads to regional targets. The Kingdom obtained CSS-5 medium range ballistic missiles (same as the DF-21) from China starting in 2007.

Those replaced older and less capable CSS-2 ballistic missiles which Saudi Arabia possessed during the first Gulf War in 1990 and 1991 and operated with Chinese assistance. The missiles reportedly were aimed at Iraqi targets at that time, but probably have since been reoriented to targets in Iran. 

In the past, Saudi leaders have insisted that their missiles would only carry conventional warheads. Prime Mohammed’s warning indicates that the Saudis would change that policy if the Iranians changed theirs.

My sense is that the Saudis have already acquired nuclear warhead technology from Pakistan or China. Whether that has resulted in the delivery of a nuclear warhead that could be fitted to their Chinese ballistic missiles is something that I will leave to the imagination of the reader.  Iran would relied/relies on assistance from North Korea. 

In the past, several other Arab states indicated they would follow the Saudi lead.

Prince Mohammed is likely to receive significant criticism of his warning from the non-proliferation activists and the European signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Mohammed’s statement may be interpreted as encouraging those entities who seek to renegotiate the JCPOA for a better deal. 

If Iran opted for nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia would have no choice but to do the same or accept regional domination by Shiite Iran. It’s a rough neighborhood and promises to get rougher. 

The Saudi Crown Prince’s warning also is a manifestation of the trend toward military self-sufficiency in defending the Kingdom. Crown Prince Mohammed does not trust the Kingdom’s security to a US or NATO nuclear umbrella.

The Obama Years convinced the Saudis that the US could not be trusted. CNN/MSNBC's consistent call to impeach President Trump doesn't give them a warm feeling about US reliability. So they will have their own nuclear package to deter Iran. It makes sense.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

It's About Space

Sudden Impact

China’s Tiangong-1 spacecraft has been flying above Earth, completely out of control, since September 2016. Since then, agencies around the world have been monitoring the vehicle, trying to project where it will crash -- on or about April 3. Many experts have predicted that it might hit Detroit. 

Of all the places the 8 ton space hulk, filled with toxic chemicals, could hit, a Detroit impact would cause the least damage, and might even help restore the place if it wiped out the city's leadership and their minions.

Sifting out debris from the toxic Chinese space station from the local landscape in the post-Apocalyptic-looking City of Detroit might take some time. There are a lot of Iraqi immigrants living in that area. The toxic strike could make the place feel even more like home for them.

That Pesky Sun

New research from the University of New Hampshire's Space Science Center cautions that the exposure to radiation is much higher than previously thought and could have serious implications on both astronauts and satellite technology.
"The radiation dose rates from measurements obtained over the last four years exceeded trends from previous solar cycles by at least 30 percent, showing that the radiation environment is getting far more intense," said Nathan Schwadron, professor of physics and lead author of the study. "These particle radiation conditions present important environmental factors for space travel and space weather, and must be carefully studied and accounted for in the planning and design of future missions to the moon, Mars, asteroids and beyond."
In their study, recently published in the journal Space Weather, the researchers found that large fluxes in Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) are rising faster and are on path to exceed any other recorded time in the space age. They also point out that one of the most significant Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) events happened in September 2017 releasing large doses of radiation that could pose significant risk to both humans and satellites. Unshielded astronauts could experience acute effects like radiation sickness or more serious long-term health issues like cancer and organ damage, including to the heart, brain, and central nervous system.
Journal Reference:
N. A. Schwadron, F. Rahmanifard, J. Wilson, A. P. Jordan, H. E. Spence, C. J. Joyce, J. B. Blake, A. W. Case, W. de Wet, W. M. Farrell, J. C. Kasper, M. D. Looper, N. Lugaz, L. Mays, J. E. Mazur, J. Niehof, N. Petro, C. W. Smith, L. W. Townsend, R. Winslow, C. Zeitlin. Update on the worsening particle radiation environment observed by CRaTER and implications for future human deep-space exploration. Space Weather, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/2017SW001803
For most of the space age, the sun's activity ebbed and flowed like clockwork in 11-year cycles, with six- to eight-year lulls in activity, called solar minimum, followed by two- to three-year periods when the sun is more active. However, starting around 2006, scientists observed the longest solar minimum and weakest solar activity observed during the space age.

Despite this overall reduction, the September 2017 solar eruptions produced episodes of significant Solar Particle Events and associated radiation caused by particle acceleration by successive, magnetically well-connected coronal mass ejections. The researchers conclude that the radiation environment continues to pose significant hazards associated both with historically large galactic cosmic ray fluxes and large but isolated SEP events, which still challenge space weather prediction capabilities.

Despite the differences in heat coming off the Sun and striking the Earth, progressives cling to the notion that only man causes changes in the climate -- ignore historical science. 10,000 years ago Detroit was under 4,000 feet of ice...

Tabby's Star

A team of more than 200 researchers, including Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Assistant Professor Jason Wright and led by Louisiana State University's Tabetha Boyajian, is one step closer to solving the mystery behind the "most mysterious star in the universe." KIC 8462852, or "Tabby's Star," nicknamed after Boyajian, is otherwise an ordinary star, about 50 percent bigger and 1,000 degrees hotter than the Sun, and about than 1,000 light years away. However, it has been inexplicably dimming and brightening sporadically like no other. Several theories abound to explain the star's unusual light patterns, including that an alien megastructure is orbiting the star.

The mystery of Tabby's Star is so compelling that more than 1,700 people donated over $100,000 through a Kickstarter campaign in support of dedicated ground-based telescope time to observe and gather more data on the star through a network of telescopes around the world. As a result, a body of data collected by Boyajian and colleagues in partnership with the Las Cumbres Observatory is now available in a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
"We were hoping that once we finally caught a dip happening in real time we could see if the dips were the same depth at all wavelengths. If they were nearly the same, this would suggest that the cause was something opaque, like an orbiting disk, planet, or star, or even large structures in space" said Wright, who is a co-author of the paper, titled "The First Post-Kepler Brightness Dips of KIC 8462852." Instead, the team found that the star got much dimmer at some wavelengths than at others. 
"Dust is most likely the reason why the star's light appears to dim and brighten. The new data shows that different colors of light are being blocked at different intensities. Therefore, whatever is passing between us and the star is not opaque, as would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure," Boyajian said.
Now there are more answers to be found. "This latest research rules out alien megastructures, but it raises the plausibility of other phenomena being behind the dimming," Wright said. "There are models involving circumstellar material -- like exocomets, which were Boyajian's team's original hypothesis -- which seem to be consistent with the data we have." Wright also points out that "some astronomers favor the idea that nothing is blocking the star -- that it just gets dimmer on its own -- and this also is consistent with this summer's data."
Penn State. "Tabby's Star: Alien megastructure not the cause of dimming of the 'most mysterious star in the universe'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2018. 

Personality Disorders

Elizabeth "Fake Indian" Warren is now fighting the political battle of her life against those accusing her of faking her ancestry to advance her career. 

In the latest incident, someone suggested she take a DNA test to prove her heritage. She's so sure about her heritage that she's "not going to let someone take it away" with a DNA test. 

She announced that if nominated she would not run and if elected she would not serve as President of the United States -- but what could be more progressive than to have a fake Indian female as president? Actually, I think it would be as fun to watch Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) run as it would to watch Rep. Nancy (Nasty) Pelosi (D-CA) run. 

About IQ

Rep Maxine Waters (D-CA) is outraged that President Trump suggested that her IQ was somewhere close to the temperature of 'tap waters'. She said that it was, "outrageous for the president to ask an aging woman of color to pee into a cup to prove her IQ."

Then there is that other old negro woman in the House of Representatives who wears that repellant ratty old wig with a cowboy hat perched on top - Frederica Wilson (D-FL). Somebody professional needs to take a close look at that personality disorder.

I realize that she's somebody's daughter and may even be somebody's mother so poking fun at her would be wrong if she didn't poke so much fun at herself.

How can anyone take that seriously?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

You Can't Please Everyone

Liberals Should be Happy...

But, they're not. I'll tell you that they're a tough bunch to please. They'd kick if they were hung with a new rope.

DCI Mike Pompeo is packing his office and will move to the State Department as SECSTATE (Taking T-Rex's old job) and President Trump has nominated a WOMAN (first woman ever so nominated) to replace DCI Pompeo. Gina Haspel will very likely be the first woman to run the CIA, and she is an outstanding selection. She's experienced, she's very tough and she has a lot of hands-on experience doing challenging things in nasty parts of the world.

The pink hat liberals should be marching in a parade, exposing their genitalia and doing what they do because a woman broke the glass ceiling at CIA, but they're not because (1) Gina is not a lesbian; (2) Gina is a hard core operator, and exceptionally competent. Neither of those things stand her in good stead with the pink hat crew. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Solving America's Homeless Crisis

I was over at Bayou Renaissance Man's blog, reading about New York City dumping their detritus on other towns in up-state New York. They offer one year 'free' rent to bums if they leave town and live somewhere else.

Let's face it, the police move the homeless from place to place more informally. They do things like suggest that the food is better or the town is more welcoming on the other side of the tracks.

Many years ago, the Los Angeles Police Department used to offer a one way bus ticket to Austin, Texas or Detroit, Michigan. The drunken bum would be ushered into the back of the Greyhound and would sleep his way to Albuquerque, where he might get off - or take the ride all the way. Illegal? No. And at the time, nobody complained.

Times have changed.

It is time to change the national dialog and to round up all homeless and ship them (may be cheaper by ship) to California, land of opportunity, the Golden State, where are they are wanted, where they will get single payer healthcare, where they will get MORE welfare benefits than in any other state.

I'm not suggesting that we should turn California into a penal colony - but a homeless colony? Yes. The difference is that California wants them (the shiftless, the insane, the chronically stupid) to vote Democrat and will use their station in life to force the matter as they do now by only offering them Democrat Party voter registration. In fact, I'm sure that they'd register them before the ship barfed up its human cargo on the San Francisco shore where the climate is really good. They only have to fog a mirror to vote in California (unlike Chicago).

What could be more progressive than THAT?

Tuesday Update

US/Nork Meeting Planning

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is scheduled to arrive in Sweden soon. Ri is expected to meet his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström.

Last week, Swedish Prime Minister Lofven met President Trump in Washington. He offered Sweden’s good offices and assistance if needed. The meeting might take place in Sweden. I'm not predicting, just throwing the spaghetti against the wall.

Sweden represents US, Canadian and Australian interests in Pyongyang. Ri’s arrival will signify that talks about the talks have begun, including where the leaders will meet.

The North Korean propaganda machine is blasting that respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong Un has brought the US to its knees with its splendid and modern nuclear weapons and that "Little Rocket Man" will essentially bend President Trump over and give him the rogering that he so thoroughly deserves. blah-blah-blah


On 11 March, the National People's Congress voted almost unanimously to abolish the two-term limit for the president. The constitutional amendment drew 2,958 votes in favor, only two against, and three abstentions.

With this vote, the Communist Party and the Chinese government constitutions are again congruent. The vote ends the system of regular transfers of power that Deng Xiaoping established in 1982. Deng saw the dangers of and was determined to prevent lifelong leaders, as was Mao Zedong. Xi’s policies require long term, consistent management… by him.

Sri Lanka

On 8 March, the Sri Lankan government called on the Army to provide assistance to civil authority in stopping the Buddhist attacks on Muslims in Kandy.

On 10 March, law enforcement authorities said no major incidents occurred after the soldiers deployed on 9 March. There were no reported disruptions to Muslim prayers on Friday, the 9th.

The situation was sufficiently calm for President Sirisena to travel to India on the 11th for a conference. He arrived in Japan on 12 March for a six-day visit.

Though this blog hasn't mentioned the Buddhist/Muslim violence in Sri Lanka before, it's been something worth monitoring. The government put the lid on the pot but it will boil again.

Happy Nawroz to all of you!

Have you booked your flights to Saudi Arabia yet?

This year the Kurdish New Year falls on 21 March. It's typically a time for pilgrimages and assorted activities that require travel. On 6 March, Prime Minister Abadi said the central government would lift the international flight ban before Nawroz.

The Iraqi government will allow direct flights to Saudi Arabia for pilgrims making the lesser pilgrimage, known as Umrah. Otherwise the ban remains in effect until May. It was imposed in October as punishment for the independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region. 

The defense of Afrin has collapsed in Syrian Kurdistan/NW Syria and the "mopping up" will commence as has been suggested on this blog. The Turks will soon begin their attack on Kurds in Iraq now that they have declared victory in Syria. A suspicious type may augur the portents to predict that the Turks will attack the Kurds in Iraq during their New Year celebration when many leaders are on pilgrimage. It's one of those Muslim v Muslim things. The Iraqi government has already green-lighted the Turkish invasion. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Chewing over US Navy Programs

I have a personal interest in the US Navy because I was once a serving officer and could be considered a Naval hobbiest today. That's not an insulting term to me. It's accurate, though many former active duty types feel that the term is somehow demeaning. The "I've pissed more salt than you've sailed over" philosophy holds - sometimes.

USS Independence, LCS 2
Because I care, I hate to see the service mismanaged the way it was during the years of ObamaNation. It can be put back on a better and firmer foundation but sometimes that vision needs to be a bit 'wider'.


The US developed the generally useless (but said to be very 'progressive') Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). It can't defend itself; it's very accoustically 'loud' and is dangerous to use for special warfare/SEAL operations for that reason; it has a very short operational range; there are manning issues because the crew it carries are not adequate for sustained high intensity operations; many of the modular suites of sensors and weapons haven't become available ten years later and may never be because of massive cost overruns, etc. Construction of a large number of follow on units for both variants needs to be canceled and the US needs to find a useful alternative that can fill the "fast frigate" mission. The French/Italian designed FREMM would seem to be the most capable and least expensive (already designed with R&D complete) platform on which to base future purchases.

What would we do with the LCS? I honestly don't know. Paint them white and sell them to the US Coast Guard? We can't forward deploy them to hotspots without supporting them extensively to protect them - which brings me back to the point of "what use are they"? They could patrol the US Coast and fill a Coast Guard Cutter role, but the USCG won't want them, even with white paint. I wonder if North Korea is in the market for brand new second hand US Navy ships?


I am not a fan of the F-35 primarily because like it's sister, the F-22, it has a 50% (at best) readiness rate, and it's MASSIVE COST. The F-18 readiness rate has been plagued by a lack of spare parts, so the problems with that aircraft is not so much a fault of the platform as it was a fault of the budgeting capacity. The AV-8B had a 90% mission readiness during Operation Desert Shield/Storm and it costs $100 million LESS per aircraft (at $20 million) than the F-35 does. 

F-35B Joint Strike Fighter
Though it may be said to be 'taking a step backward' in technology, I feel that the US Marine Corps would be well served buying A-10 Thunderbolt 2 (Warthog) ground attack aircraft to fill its ground-attack missions. The Warthog is not designed to be flown from aircraft carriers or in a VSTOL mode, but it's mission flexibility in ground support missions makes up for its limitations in traditional "Naval Service" scenarios.  The F-35B has issues operating from 'battlefield airstrips' in its VSTOL mode. you can read more about that and other related problems here

The Navy and Marine Corps envision F-35B/C aircraft in a ground attack role and while magical thinking works in the Pentagon, it rarely translates to operational realities. The F-35 burns twice the fuel of the A-10 or the AV-8B; is less reliable and is massively more expensive. I agree that there are high threat environments where the F-35 shines in comparison to its less sophisticated brethren, but the Navy is pushing for an all-F-35B force for the Marines and that's --- stupid and expensive.

Development of the F-35 or it's replacement needs to move forward IMHO, but the service needs to provide more realistically operational aircraft to the Marine Corps in the VSTOL and ground attack missions. 

Or do y'all think that I'm completely full of it? I mean, more than usual.

Friday, March 9, 2018

International Perspectives

I've been busy with this and that work project and this blog post is a bit of an overview of situations dealing with Turkey vs Kurds and general concepts being worked hard by Imperial China. Along with many others, I continue to have an interest in the situation in North Korea, that seems to be rapidly changing for the better. Maybe they don't want to commit national suicide? Time will tell. I hope you find this report interesting. 

Turkish Campaign against the Kurds in Iraq

The Turks and non-Kurdish Iraqis have come to an agreement to conduct a joint operation in northern Iraq in May according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Both the Iraqis and the Turks would like to see the Kurds wiped from the face of the Earth. It's a common theme.

Turkey's military operation in Syria’s Afrin region is ongoing, but Cavusoglu said that it will be completed by May and that Turkish troops could move to northern Iraq after that. He also said that Turkey has the ability to support two operations simultaneously.

Cavusoglu seems to have quietly revealed a change in the priority of Turkey’s Kurdish targets in neighboring countries. Since Operation Olive Branch began on 20 January, President Erdogan repeatedly has insisted that Manbij would be the next target for cleansing, after Turkish and Turkish-backed forces rid Afrin Canton of the People’s Defense/Protection Units (YPG). 

The Syrian Kurds and some Syrian Arab militias have reinforced Manbij and some US forces are present. A Turkish offensive against Manbij raised the prospect of a confrontation with the US. 

By leapfrogging military operations to Iraq, Erdogan postpones or, most likely, avoids such a confrontation. Still, Syrian Kurds at Manbij are on the west bank of the Euphrates River, which Erdogan said is a Turkish red line.

Eventually, given enough time and a large enough Turkish army, the Turks will encircle Afrin and kill everyone in the pocket. That's how they roll. Can the Kurds retreat before that happens? Time will tell. Then the Turks will declare victory, will withdraw eventually and the Kurds will return. But the Sultan will have a victory for the folks back home who have a history of enjoying a good genocide.


The Jerusalem Post reported that Hizballah declared the alert in reaction to intelligence that the Israeli army is conducting military maneuvers jointly with the United States, which are currently taking place in the country and in the Mediterranean.

US forces are conducting an exercise with the Israelis at this time. Israel might decide to launch an air attack against Hizballah targets in Syria or Lebanon while US forces are in the country, but it would not start a war with Lebanon, per se. Hizballah and Israel are jittery about each other’s intentions. Both expect a war is coming, but neither knows when.

Chinese Programs in Angola

As you know if you read the news or the occasional post in this blog, one key piece of Chinese planning involves acquisition of minerals outside China and bringing those minerals back to Big China. It's not a new program or plan, but one that has been pursued aggressively for the past twenty years.

A Chinese-rebuilt railroad in Angola will change trade patterns in southern Africa.

On 5 March, the first train to operate on the Benguela line in 34 years left Dilolo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and reached Luau station in eastern Angola. From there it will travel to the deep-water port of Lobito, on the Atlantic Ocean.

The 25-car train carried 1,000 tonnes of manganese for export to China and India, according to the International Railway Journal. 

Ikos Rukal, spokesperson for the provincial government of Lualaba, where Dilolo is located, said the 1 300km Dilolo-Lobito route was "the most cost-effective form of transport" for exporting copper and cobalt from DRC's southern mining belt. It is a narrow-gauge railroad.

The line between Lobito and Luau was rebuilt by the China Railway Construction Corporation, and was formally inaugurated in February 2015. China Railway 20 Bureau Group Co (CR20) designed the project and performed the physical reconstruction of the line and the 67 stations, in addition to supplying rolling stock, for an investment valued at US$1.83 billion.

Without a link to the Atlantic Ocean coast, DRC's mineral ore was exported by truck via Zambia - a 900km trek on poor roads that greatly increased shipping costs and time. Other southern African ports also were used for mineral exports.

This infrastructure project at least rivals the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

In the original contracts, Angola received Chinese loans which were to be repaid in oil profits…when the per barrel price was $100. With the collapse of oil prices Angola has struggled to make payments and the Chinese cut corners on the project. For example, the single-track line lacks the capacity to handle passenger trains because the Chinese did not build as many sidings as planned to enable two-way traffic. Meanwhile, Angola has become the second largest supplier of oil to China, after Russia.

The project is typical of Chinese Belt and Road Initiative practices. China provided the loans by which Angola could buy all the construction materials, rolling stocks and engines from China and pay Chinese designers, engineers and construction workers. 

China is the primary customer for the resources that will transit the line and the beneficiary of the fall in oil prices. Angola is deeply in debt to China.

The immediate benefit to Angola is that the railroad has opened up the interior to new and previously impossible business opportunities for Angolans at every railroad stop on the line.

And in the USA

The Russia collusion story now has legs according to CNN. "Proof at last," as one CNN anchor crowed. "This will be the end of the Trump presidency. Impeachment proceedings are likely."