sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, April 19, 2019

Admiral Gorshkov (Book Review)

The Naval Institute Press published a book this year (2019), Admiral Gorshkov: The Man who Challenged the US Navy, by Norman Polmar, Thomas A Brokkis and George Fedoroff. 

Sergey Gorshkov joined the navy at the age of seventeen, in defiance of his family and rose to be a junior surface warfare officer, commanding, ships, squadrons and then fleets.

He was clever (or lucky) enough to survive Stalin's purges and possibly their thinning of the ranks gave him the ladder that he needed to ascend to a position where he made critical decisions for the Soviet Navy.  He's fairly considered to be the father of the Soviet Navy, and one can only opine how he would feel were he alive to see the surface fleet rot. 

No reading and understanding of the Cold War can be truly complete without a perception of the man who developed the Soviet Navy from 1956-1983. How many Russian Admirals were on the cover of Time magazine (back when the publication amounted to something)? Right, just Gorshkov. Such is the shadow that this man cast.

Finding a book that would do him justice is not easy, but Polmar, Brooks and Fedoroff pulled it off.

The Americans who faced Gorshkov's fleet during the Cold War understood that they were up against a visionary man, and a master strategist. 

The book takes advantage of hindsight offered by history, declassified US intelligence analysis and various publications to weave a tapestry of Admiral Gorshkov's life, and contributions. Sure, he was the enemy, but you can always respect a worthy adversary.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

On Tour, etc.

On Tour

The Bangles will be playing in Huntington Beach, CA, on Saturday, May 11. I'm sure that they will be walking like Egyptians. As with Buffet the show,  the parking lot before the concert is the party. Some suggest the Bangles may be a little long in the tooth. Maybe. I'll talk to my kids and see if they want to take in the concert. Worst case, a day at the beach.

The Mueller Report

It cleared the President of wrongdoing, but the donkeys want another investigation, hoping for a different result. Rep Adam Shifty (D-CA) would walk like an Egyptian (see above) for a different result.

Tonto Natural Bridge

Pine Creek has been flowing through a hole in the travertine for a very long time. It's a state park about a 35 minute drive from the mine. I had some time on my hands, so I drove over. I have not been there since I was seven. Long time to be away.

There are a couple of trails down to the big hole in the ground. (right) This is the Pine Creek Trail.

When I was a young man, I swam in the lake/ponds under the natural bridge, but regulations prohibit that sort of fun. Whatever. I hadn't planned on getting too wet.

Yes, I may be getting long in the tooth too. But you can't beat the clock, so I have this arrangement with Father Time and the Grim Reaper. Only the good die young. 

Easter week means that things are going slow with work as people travel here or there to be with family or friends for the holiday. I'm spending Easter Sunday with my daughter and three granddaughters who live in Arizona. Not much of a trip as trips go. Naturally I will bring plastic eggs full of quarters. The kids like that more than candy. Smart kids.

On the way to the Bridge, I saw 11 elk (crossing the road), one coyote (also crossing the road in front of me), a bald eagle, and once I arrived at the bridge and parked, there was a Javalina.

Peccaries are odd creatures (right). Something of a blend of a pot belly pig and a wild boar. They are tuskers but tend to keep to themselves. We also have them at the White Wolf Mine, but I don't see them that often.

You'll note leaves on the trees. The Natural Bridge is about 3,000 feet lower than the White Wolf Mine, where it is still winter.

Ice age notwithstanding, summer is coming (eventually).

Photo (below) of the bridge from the west, looking east.

Photo of the bridge from the east, looking west. Note that there is a waterfall that splashes down from the rim.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

In the News, Your Humpday Blues

North Korea

Chairman Kim is going to Russia … to meet President Putin. Russian officials told a South Korean diplomatic delegation visiting Moscow this week that plans were being made for a summit but offered no details on a time or place.

One South Korean news service reported that the Kim-Putin summit will likely take place on 24 April in Vladivostok, before President Putin's 26-27 April visit to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov met Kim Jong Un for the first time in May 2018 in Pyongyang. Lavrov conveyed President Putin’s invitation to meet in Moscow and Kim accepted. Putin’s scheduled trip to Beijing makes it convenient to double up on his summitry, by meeting Kim en route.

Some analysts have warned about a North Korean strategy of triangulation that plays the Russia, China and the US against each other for North Korea’s advantage in negotiations. China is the key driver in North Korean foreign relations. 

That warning is exaggerated because Russia has so few assets to offer North Korea without compensation and North Korea lacks the means to pay. California has a larger GDP than Russia and more to offer for socialist construction. 

Russia is a spoiler. Its meddling is mostly to annoy the US and to profit from potential US investment and economic aid to North Korea. That's about the only card left for them to play and they wish to remain valid in a world that tends to ignore them (certainly not the Congressional Democrats, though).

Kim is acting out his vision of himself as a world stateman. Russians have cooperated in violating the UN sanctions and earned Kim’s gratitude and probably invitations to participate in future joint ventures. 

Russia will exert no pressure on Kim to agree to denuclearize with the US. Putin is more likely to encourage Kim to drive a harder bargain with the US.

American Political Dimwits

Crazy Bernie Sanders, the old communist, wants to be President, Commander-in-Chief, and leader of the free world.

He's quite the curmudgeon and I'm sure that while he'd interject a lot of humor over however long he's in the White House before he seizes up and dies and leaves Vice President Spartacus or Pok-a-haunt-us to run the place, he may not be the best choice. But if not Bernie, which one of the now three dozen contenders? Look what happened to Hillary.

Will Crazy Bernie survive the campaign trail to ascend and make a few more million $$?

Will you Wear the Rag?

Trending --

A difference of opinion or a clash of culture or both? You be the judge.

Imagine how the press would have reacted if somebody had said that Americans need to "raise hell and make Muslims uncomfortable?" 

In rural Arizona, where many people open-carry, it would likely be a mistake for Muslims to go into a steakhouse wearing their traditional clothing and scream "Aloha Snackbar" or whatever. Raising hell could all too easily turn into "sending them to hell". (You don't see a lot of Muslims here, stirring up shit)

This trend to pit one group against another is that it has been a tactic of Muslims traditionally and it has worked in much of Western Europe (Eastern Europe has a different take). Whether or not it will work in the US remains to be seen, but my sense is that Omar and her Muslim followers may have played their hand too early. They need another hundred million or so of their kind if they expect to succeed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Random Rants

The Coming Ice Age

All of those climate deniers who felt that Earth was going to turn into a cinder are having to revise their plans.
(h/t CW at the Daily Timewaster) Chicago's O'Hare Airport was whitened by 5.3 inches of snow on Sunday. That made April 14 one of the top-two snowiest days this late in the season. The snowiest day in the city's history from April 14 to early May is 5.4 inches of snow on April 16, 1961. 
It was enough to bring Chicago O'Hare and Chicago Midway airports to a ground stop for arriving flights, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). O'Hare canceled 436 flights on Sunday amid snow and ice, according to Flight Aware. 
The latest trace of snow recorded in Chicago occured on June 2, 1910.
The weather service is predicting snow here in Arizona tonight, sort of a blizzard because it's coming with wind. I shall react by burning cedar and putting some greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to try and stop the coming ice age. You're welcome.

Holy Week
I had plans to go shooting today in the hopes of improving my range scores - and having those rounds guided to the target (since it is Holy Week and LSP threw down the gauntlet). But shooting at 800 meters in the wind is an exercise in frustration. 800 meters is about as far as you can send .308 rounds and hope to keep them in a two or three minute of angle group, but you can't do it with a crosswind. I've set up a small range about three miles from the White Wolf Mine on BLM land, in country that is a bit more open than the heavily timbered area where I live, but there are crosswind issues at times.

The Afghan Quagmire

It's a lot easier to get into small regional wars than it is to get out of them. You'd think that the US would have learned by not, but apparently not.

After announcing Operation Victory on 12 April, Taliban fighters staged attacks in 15 of the 34 provinces on the 13th. Most of the attacks were small group operations that were beaten back with few casualties. They literally were staged and caused little damage. It was an exercise in Taliban command, control and communications.

The most serious attacks targeted Kunduz City and continued through the 15th. The Taliban captured the town three times for brief periods since 2015 and are trying again.

In the city of Kunduz, Naeem Mangal, head of the regional hospital, told the press that at least eight people were killed and 62 wounded in fighting on the city’s limits.

If you ask why we're there, I don't know except that we are. And we still take casualties. I wouldn't like to be the officer trying to explain to the grieving widow with three small children how her late husband's life was laid down in a worthy cause.

Chinese Economic News

In February, exports dropped 16.6% - their steepest fall in three years - while imports fell by only 0.3%, due to its trade war with the US. 

The Chinese economy is expected to slow by 6.2% in 2019, according to a Reuters poll, due to slowing demand for goods both abroad and domestically.

So far, the US has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese goods, totaling more than $250 billion . 

The duties range from 10% to 25% and cover a wide range of industrial and consumer items - from handbags to railway equipment.   

The political situation in China makes a decline in the economy more serious than it might be elsewhere. The Chinese public has been led to expect good economic news all of the time, and the military and domestic spending has reflected that. President Trump threw a wrench into the works.

Make up your Mind, Charlize

I'd have to give a lot of thought before I picked up Sean Penn's cast-off, but Charlize did say that she was looking for love. What the heck? Then this comes along.
Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron recently spoke about being “shockingly available” and was waiting for someone to “step up” and date her — but she seems to have rescinded on those claims. 
Theron is now saying that she is not currently looking for love. She told Extra in a new interview: “I’m gonna finish this press tour then I’m gonna shoot a movie in London, and I’m figuring like around September we’ll talk about this.”
So now I have to wait until September? 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Engines of Entropy? (Sunday Sermonette)

It's not a photograph, because the astronomers who captured the image of the star becoming a black hole/singularity didn't use cameras. It's not an image of a black hole, because that's not possible. It's a composite image of the energy escaping the accretion disc that surrounds that black hole, rendered from the data collected by the coordinated efforts of the staff at several radio telescopes scattered around the globe to image this object. 

I'm sure when they manage to increase the resolution available via those radio telescopes, or improve the algorithms that render that data into visual imagery, we may well learn two or three years from now that the lopsided orange blur that amazes us today has many features and facets we can't see now. It might not even be orange. Science being science, the science is never settled. Science journalism being what it is, they might have oversimplified immensely.
From these images, theorists and modelers on the (observation) team have determined that the black hole is about 6.5 billion times as massive as our sun. Slight differences between each of the four images suggest that material is zipping around the black hole at lightning speed. 
"This black hole is much bigger than the orbit of Neptune, and Neptune takes 200 years to go around the sun," says Geoffrey Crew, a research scientist at Haystack Observatory. "With the M87 black hole being so massive, an orbiting planet would go around it within a week and be traveling at close to the speed of light."
Black holes provide the gravitational glue that holds galaxies together. Evidence indicates that super massive black holes at the center of galaxies which spin, tend to create spiral galaxies. Those which don't spin, create star cluster galaxies. That may be horsefeathers because we really don't know, but the speculation has some science behind it.

We are all subject to entropy. We are born, we die (repeat). I leave it to each of you to work out the eternal plan if indeed there is one. One of the benefits of the age that we live in is that we know much more about the universe around us than people could conceive of 100 years ago. I'm not just talking about the Higgs Boson, quantum foam, gravitational string theory, and Hawking radiation (a theory that explains that black holes shrink over time through release of specific radiation) that put Stephen Hawking's pin in the map. 

When a star goes through its life cycle it will return a significant amount of mass back into the interstellar medium in the form of stellar winds. For a large star with an initial mass of 10-20 times the mass of the sun, the star may return 80-90% of its mass to the interstellar medium in the form of stellar winds, or a nova or even a supernova. So while a star may start out as almost entirely hydrogen and helium when it forms, the gas that returns to the interstellar medium will be slightly enriched with metals, that is, the metallicity will go up. 

This enriched gas that has been returned to the interstellar medium will go on to form a second generation of stars, which will still be almost entirely hydrogen and helium, but now with a tiny fraction more of metals. The process will repeat, and each time it does the gas will become more enriched with metals. In order to have enough metals that rocky planets such as the earth can form the gas must go through at least 20 star formation and enrichment cycles. To date, the highest metallicity ever observed in a star is about three times the metallicity of the sun.

The elegant universe where we live is a massive clock, a time machine, and we can enjoy it every cloudless night if we are in an area without light pollution. On of the best places in the US is the Arizona highlands, where I live, home to a few observatories. Anyone who looks up and is not humbled, is insufficiently educated. And that is your Sunday Sermonette. I will also make a plug for the Sky Guide App, available on phones, or mobile devices. If you aren't in the dry air without light pollution of the Arizona highlands, you can still enjoy exploring the sky with your I-Pad.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


I'm not sure what constitutes "journalism" in 2019. I don't consider that my blog is "journalism", but you'll find more truth here than in the greatest bastions of American journalism: The New York Times and the Washington Post

In truth, and by most definitions of output, what is the difference between the New York Times and Wikileaks? Is Facebook an expression of Journalism? What about Google? What about state-run-news outlets such as Pravda?

Views of a dystopian future as found in Orwell's 1984 or in Rand's Atlas Shrugged portray a media that has been totally co-opted by the state and operates as an extension of the state. Today, we question whether the Deep State (which controls the media) runs the nation or are we a Constitutional Republic? It's a an uncomfortable question. The corrupt, lying, filthy, sly, smug, elite media reacted with shock that the Attorney General would say that the Obama Administration spied on the Trump Campaign, but it's been an open secret. Only in the hallowed halls of journalism has it been something that was not discussed.

Journalists tell bloggers that they (the journalists) have professional ethics, but to be frank, I haven't seen much if any of that over the past decade. Quite to the contrary, I find that the media is increasingly shedding its mantle of respectability and we can all see the rot that has been concealed beneath that cloak.

Practical Answer to a Reasonable Question

Welcome to the Weekend!

Tender Feelings?

The Daily Outrage

During the years of Obamanation, there was the daily outrage that came from the White House. Now, it's a lot more pervasive as progs double down on the insanity. In California, you won't be able to get those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner anymore because they use plastic bottles and are "destroying the planet".  That was today. But it's always something.

Candace Owens has been speaking for Turning Point USA and on her own behalf and naturally, she's being branded as a 'race traitor'. 

The Democrats have been begging for more illegal aliens, and now, when President Trump has offered to send hundreds of thousands of (often diseased) illegal aliens to places like San Francisco, there is a significant backlash as they assert "Not In My Back Yard". NIMBY is the oft heard response to instituting what liberals want in their own homes. The elites don't want hoards of criminal illegal aliens causing problems where they live... somewhere, anywhere, in fly-over country is preferable.

There is a divide between the coastal elites and everyone else in the nation. They understand that they are our betters and are bewildered when those of us who live in fly-over country don't acknowledge their superiority.

What Happened to the UK?

In 1066, William, called The Conqueror, crossed the Channel to land and subsequently defeat the Saxons who ruled England. Along with him were Le Paraits, Le Carres and Lamberts (all ancestors of mine who were given land in England in exchange for support. 

They were tough men, conquerors. Their ancestors defeated the French on the continent at Agincourt and Poitiers. They conquered Asia and the sun never set on the British Empire. They made mistakes in North America but they were defeated by other British subjects, so that sort of doesn't count. They defeated Napoleon at the Nile, at Trafalgar and at Waterloo. They tried to relieve Gordon at Khartoum, they defeated the Zulus, they went over the top in World War One. They stood against Hitler in World War Two. 

And today the entire British Army is a collection of small brigaded units. Their Navy is not capable of protecting the home islands and the society is becoming Islamofied in larger cities. The police are becoming soft - and the population is becoming softer still.

Carrying kitchen knives outside of a house is a crime, you go to jail for having a pocket knife and crime is running rampant in the cities. Complaining about it is considered to be Islamophobic.

The Old Communist

It's a familiar rant with the progs. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Art of the Smear

Whatever the truth about Julian Assange’s innocence or guilt on a number of accusations, we know one thing for sure: he, WikiLeaks and their associates were targeted by a powerful smear campaign. We've seen a lot of smear campaigns over the past few years. Possibly the most aggressive (recently) came at Judge Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court nomination hearings.

Most people, including this blogger, know little about what was behind the rape allegations against Assange. According to reports, two women separately claimed that they were having consensual sex with Assange but changed their mind midway through. They claim that Assange would not refrain once they changed their minds, so the consensual sex became rape.

The sexual assault charges against Assange were dropped in 2017.

However, some U.S. officials, and people in Congress raised them as proof of Assange’s poor character after his arrest today.

Assange isn’t the only one in the WikiLeaks circle who was publicly accused of rape or other sexual crimes that were never prosecuted.

In 2016, WikiLeaks published embarrassing insider emails of Hillary Clinton officials and the Democratic National Committee, and WikiLeaks was accused of working with Russia and being pro-Trump. Since the Trump - Russia smear fell flat with the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, the allegations against WikiLeaks could be just as baseless. We don't really know, though. I don't know. And that's how smear campaigns work.

The Fruits of Obamanation

Thursday, April 11, 2019


Thoughts on Crime and Punishment

We can all agree on malum in se crimes: murder, arson, mayhem, robbery, burglary, theft, assault and battery, and so forth. They are crimes where the conduct, if proved, is wrong in and of itself. Malum prohibitum crimes (prohibited conduct) becomes far touchier, far more subjective: public intoxication, prostitution, failure to obtain the proper business license and exceeding the published speed.

The question of whether felons should vote becomes an interesting one should a future congress declare that mere membership in the National Rifle Association, for example, constitutes a felony. No, they may not wish to imprison all of us because it's impractical, but felony status, can prohibit positions of honor, trust or profit in government, can prohibit the ownership of firearms or the right to vote. Does this situation change your opinion on who should have voting rights? Convicted by mere membership as a result of Congressional fiat, you have the equivalent of a yellow Star of David on your lapel (under Nazi Germany). Mere membership could lead to civil forfeiture of your property.

Am I being extreme? Maybe. Would that sort of law lead to revolution? Very likely. There aren't enough inner city people in the US to collect firearms, but the progs could hire foreign mercenaries. Would any of you put it past them?

The Constitution hangs by a slender thread. Thank God for President Donald J. Trump because the prog agenda was forestalled by 'deplorable voters in fly-over country'. Now the move is to eliminate the Electoral College so that California, New York and Illinois (for example) can set the national agenda all on their own, along with a few additional Quizlings. 

I agree that the criminal justice system is flawed, crime and punishment can be debated endlessly. But where is this nation headed and do its citizens have the moral courage to stand for a Constitutional Republic? We shall see.

The China/Venezuela Nexus

China’s Permanent Representative to the UN defended Venezuela and promised continuing cooperation. "China will continue its cooperation with Venezuela based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit for the greater well-being of the two peoples," Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu told a UN Security Council meeting.
“To help its people overcome temporary difficulties, China has decided to provide emergency supplies for livelihood to Venezuela,” said Ma. 
“The relevant supplies are on their way to Venezuela in batches. On March 29, the first batch of medicines and medical supplies were delivered to the Venezuelan government.” 
“China's assistance to Venezuela is in keeping with its long-held principles for foreign aid. It is intended to help Venezuelan people overcome negative impacts caused by external interferences and sanctions with no political conditions attached,” said the Chinese ambassador. 
China had no longstanding interest in Venezuela until the Chavez administration. Since 2009, China has become Venezuela’s second-largest trading partner and is an important investor. 

China wants to protect its investment and trade but also is exploiting the instability to expand its footprint in the western hemisphere. Ambassador Ma’s statements reveal the Chinese government’s judgment that the Maduro political order will survive.

Venezuela’s closest allies have been Cuba and Russia. China has joined them in encouraging the Maduro administration to resist US and international pressure to step down.

The Obamanation

From the Daily Caller:

The newest batch of John Podesta’s hacked emails released by Wikileaks shows Obama’s transition team kept lists of Muslim and Asian candidates for jobs in the administration. According to an email chain from 2008, John Podesta received lists of exclusively Muslims and Asians to be considered for jobs in the Obama administration. 

The email chain revealed that in this process, Middle Eastern Christians were purposefully excluded, or set aside in a separate list, with an aide writing, "In the candidates for top jobs, I excluded those with some Arab American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell). 

Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian. In the last list (of outside boards/commissions), most who are listed appear to be Muslim American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian). 

Also notable, there was concern that some of the Muslims suggested would not survive media scrutiny, with one aide writing, “High-profile Muslim Americans tend to be the subject of a fair amount of blogger criticism, and so the individuals on this list would need to be ESPECIALLY carefully vetted.” 

She continues, “I suspect some of the people I list would not survive such a vet — but I do personally know, at least in part, virtually all of the candidates in the 1st two categories (but I know very few of those listed for outside boards/commissions).” 

Within the lists themselves, candidates were further broken down, with every candidate labeled by their nationality and sometimes race. This follows a pattern of the Obama Administration using race and religion to determine hiring, with other leaked emails showing potential political appointees being labeled with an F for female, B for black, H for Hispanic, and M for Muslim.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Should Felons Vote?

The question is whether or not all felons are Democrats. The Democrat party (also known as the Donkey Party) is pushing hard to allow convicted prisoners (irrespective of citizenship) to vote in US elections. It begs the question.

You have to admit that the assumption that underpins this push by the Democrats is that all convicts doing time -- are Democrats. 

It's nod difficult for me to take that leap, and agree that they probably are - for the most part. 

There's not much the Donkeys wouldn't do to grab a vote - from a tombstone, or a convicted felon, or an illegal alien. The "illegal" part seems to appeal firmly to the Party of Obama.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Twofer Tuesday

The Coal War

A significant part of fly-over-country in the US relies on coal. Modern coal gasification as used in energy production is clean and safe. And yet the federal government continues to push for closures of coal mining and energy production. The coastal elites don't get it.
In 2018, the Navajo Nation received approximately $31 million from coal royalties and lease payments from the NGS power plant, together contribute approximately 20 percent of the Navajo Nation’s overall general revenues. 
“From public safety to elderly and childcare, school bus routes, roads, and scholarships, each of the Navajo Nation’s programs will receive a cut in their operating budgets as a result of the decrease in general fund revenues,” - Delegate Paul Begay.
It would be gratifying to see emphasis put on nuclear power. When you look at the safety record of the US Navy, which operates MANY reactors and countries such as France, which relies on nuclear power for 80% of national needs, a lot of the concerns expressed over the years fall flat. Until that time, the only possible solution to the nation's energy needs falls to cheap coal and other fossil fuels, which the US has in abundance.

Comparative Presiidencies

The miserable years of Obamanation are over - but it's interesting to see how many donkeys want them to return, isn't it? While many progs blame Bush (and a lot of that crap is fairly ladled over George W. Bush), Barack just doubled down and made things worse. The only thing that the donkeys are useful for is in providing entertainment. You must admit that the run up to 2020 will force you to consume far more popcorn than you'd otherwise eat.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Which Planet Loves You?

Those of you who follow this blog will recall that Virtual Mirage broke the story of the century with a genuine alien skull, found in the deep forest on Arizona's Mogollon Rim. You're welcome.

While I'm waiting for my Nobel Prize in Science for the discovery (patiently), I thought that we should delve deeper into the mysteries of the Solar System. Let's us unlock some of the mysteries!

Mars, Olympus Mons Base. Some believe that this is a huge, extinct volcano. Others contend (including ancient alien theorists) that it is an active space hub for the Martian Armada. The "caldera" opens and they fly out to various destinations, including Earth. Martians are known to have engaged in unwholesome probing in the past, abducting cows and making crop circles. So, now you know.

The Jovian "moon", Europa is actually a huge galactic egg that is cracking. Nobody knows what will emerge, but I expect that it won't be good for mankind. Maybe we can get the huge space creature to eat China once it's finished with Tokyo and New York cities.

No planet in the Solar System has been as unfairly maligned as Pluto, yet the planet still has a heart on it to let Earthlings know that while the other planets are orbited by huge galactic eggs or have armadas waiting to burst forth and overwhelm our puny defenses, Pluto has our back.


Wickedness in High Places

The Obama Administration has been characterized as a 'typical Chicago Administration'. When you look at Chicago recently, you have to admit that the people who blithely suggest the comparison may have something to their assertions.

The Attkisson Hack (Deep State Ops)

( Multiple forensics exams concluded that numerous devices used by Attkisson were remotely compromised including, but not limited to (1) CBS Toshiba Laptop; (2) Apple iMac Desktop; (3) MacBook Air; (4) Mobile devices, including Blackberry. The website contains details of the hack of Sharyl Attkisson's computers at home, now in summary form at the website. It was a routine part of what the Obama Administration did. Odious, yes, but it defined the nature of the people involved.
In early 2011, Attkisson began investigating the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking story involving federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) improperly permitting weapons to pass into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels.

On February 22, 2011, Attkisson’s first Fast and Furious report aired on CBS. The report quoted and relied upon numerous government confidential sources who criticized the Fast and Furious gun-walking strategy deployed by ATF and DOJ. ATF falsely told other reporters who queried that the CBS report was untrue. 
On March 3, 2011, Attkisson reported a landmark follow-up to her original story. This report, which appeared on the CBS Evening News, featured an interview with a then-lead ATF special agent on Operation Fast and Furious. He admitted that the allegations against ATF were true, and alleged that government officials were lying about them.
In 2011, I was working in Mexico and had direct contact with the principal end-buyer of many of the firearms that ATF was delivering them too. They ended up in a warehouse in Guadalajara. The USGOV knew where they were but didn't want anything to do with them. They were the toxic property of Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG). However to listen to Obama Administration officials including the lying Attorney General, Eric Holder, it was a mystery. And to keep it a mystery, they hacked Sharyl Attkisson's computers. Attkisson's husband is a retired FBI agent... (no honor among thieves, I guess).

It's no wonder that they faked FISA application affidavits in order to try and frame candidate Trump, then created an "insurance policy" in the event that he beat Clinton. It really has been the nation at its very very worst.

I was going to lash out at the 'green energy scandals' but you know what they are, what they represented and the rampant bribery, kick backs and corruption that characterized the behavior. You'd expect it in Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Bolivia, Yemen, Iran or Myanmar, but we all hope that DC is above that sort of thing. I'm sure that Seth Rich and the others who were murdered because they blew whistles hoped it as well.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sunday Compendium

In search of Real Money

It might be worth your time to wander over to the Silicon Graybeard before you read my rant. We haven't used 'real money' since the silver certificates were replaced by Federal Reserve banknotes, and I doubt that we'll see it within the foreseeable future. Fiat currency, which we (and everyone else) use, allows the Federal Reserve, in the case of the USA, (Federal Reserve is not an agency of the US government but it controls monetary policy) to manipulate value, set interest rates and so forth. You could argue that Congress is incompetent - thus the Federal Reserve. When you look at somebody like Maxine Waters as Chairman of the House Finance Committee, I have a tough time arguing that one. 

And President Trump, a populist, is pushing for quantitative easing of interest rates to help push his economic recovery agenda and speed his re-election. Make of that what you will. Unemployment is at 3.8% and holding. Will the Federal Reserve help him out?

Russians are Bad Neighbors

Lithuania and the US signed a defense cooperation agreement. Lithuania is the first Baltic member of NATO to do so.

The “road map” describes five broad policy objectives for the two countries between 2019 and 2024: strengthening cooperation in training, exercises and exchanges; deterrence in the Baltic Sea region, including improved maritime domain awareness; intelligence sharing; cooperation in multinational operations; and cyber defense.

Lithuania’s defense assets are limited, but the ethnic Lietuva (Lithuanians are the Lietuva in Lithuanian) people are hostile to and wary of the Russians. 

Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland all have stories to tell about Russian bad manners. Thus the US defense cooperation agreement makes sense. 

The Balts are a tripwire for Russian aggression. Lithuania is particularly vulnerable because it contains a substantial Russian speaking region which the Russians periodically threaten to liberate during tense times. Russian aircraft violate Lithuanian airspace and Russian and Belorus tanks tend to extend their training exercises across Lithuania’s borders.

Russia doesn't have to be toxic to many of its neighbors, but it is because it feels (in this case) that Latvia and Lithuania are extensions of Great Russia as former Soviet Republics. That's not how most Lithuanians look at it. It could gain a lot more with honey than it can with brutish behavior and bullying, but that is Russian stock-in-trade.

More Snow?

Yes, as the glaciation moves south into Arizona, the National Weather Service predicts that we'll have 6" of snow next Friday/Saturday on the Mogollon Rim. Will the coming ice age kill us all off in 12 years, or can we burn enough wood to forestall it? Should you have children with the coming of ice and flooding? I don't know, that's up to you - but you should continue to PRACTICE to have children. Practice makes perfect.

The good news is that I finally have the living room furniture and garage shelving here at the mine, rather than in storage in SoCal. The furniture that was in the living room is downstairs in the guest area. The pictures haven't been hung and my office is still woefully incomplete, but progress is measured in incremental victories as I travel here and there, scratching out time for the mine project.

Bonneville International Raceway

As part of global cooling and so forth, the Bonneville salt flats are now under quite a bit of (salty) water. So much for taking your motorcycle or hot rod out there and running the timed track. 

Sure, it's reverting to its prehistoric profile, but that doesn't bode well for motor heads. Hint: Trade in your high powered wheels for tracks to deal with snow. Mount a turret with a heavy weapon to take out sabertooth tigers, etc.  Business as usual during an ice age.

Will the Russians invade over the coming land-ice bridge between Asia and Alaska? Ice ages cause uncertainty.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Book Review: China's Maritime Gray Zone Operations

China's Maritime Gray Zone Operations 

It's a book, edited by Andrew S. Erickson and Ryan D. Martinson, and a joint publication by the China Maritime Studies Institute and the Naval Institute Press. It takes a close look at the Chinese navy, coastguard and the maritime militia.  The Gray Zone, referred to by its authors and editors is that place somewhere between peace and war where the Chinese Navy operates.

Whenever I review a book or reference a book, the reaction of many readers who don't share a keen interest in maritime topics or in China's naval adventures is "should I read this book"? My sense is that if you have an interest in the future of geopolitical affairs, particularly in Asia, the book provides a cornerstone of what is happening now in addition to where things are likely headed.
Gray zone competition presents a series of paradoxes. While clearly a challenge to US-led international security architecture, gray zone activities are also indicative of a broader and arguably more positive trend in the history of human conflict... (p.26)
Michael B. Petersen argues that the use of ALL Chinese shipping as an instrument of military activity to greater and lesser degrees creates a danger of engagement. However, historically, there has been remarkably little loss of life during the execution of their naval strategy (largely because neighbor nations have been unwilling to take on China). 

China's Naval Ambitions (a current example - not in the book)

A close up of a map

Description automatically generatedThe People's Republic of China's People's Liberation Army's Navy exercises muscle in a number of ways on its neighbors. Recently the maritime militia made its presence known (again) in the Philippines.

On 4 April, the Philippine foreign affairs department accused China of violating its sovereignty and jurisdiction by allowing hundreds of vessels to sail close to Thitu Island in the Spratly Islands.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said the Philippines “has consistently manifested its position on Pag-asa … and its objections or concerns over illegal, tension-raising or coercive activities, through diplomatic actions … and in meetings with the Chinese side”.

The statement came just three days after Philippine Defense Secretary Lorenzana described China’s growing presence in the disputed waters as “very concerning”, saying on a trip to Washington that it was encroaching on the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The Philippine complains that over 200 fishing boats are operating near Thitu. They are escorted by Chinese coast guard and navy ships in a demonstration of Chinese ownership of the fisheries.
Philippine statements seem to swing between conciliation toward China and stern defense of Philippine rights, depending on the closeness of US relations and the presence of US naval ships. The USS Wasp Amphibious Ready Group with 10 F-35’s arrived at Subic Bay on 30 March for the 35th annual edition of joint Exercise Balikatan with Philippine and other regional forces.
Chinese behavior is duplicitous, depending on whether diplomats are engaged or whether maritime law enforcement and naval authorities are engaged. 

Chinese actions in the South China Sea tend to belie the diplomatic assurances. The Chinese have harassed Philippine islands and supply operations. They have militarized the seven islands they built and occupy. 

The use of fishing boats is not benign, and their concentration is a deliberate intimidation tactic. For one thing, the Chinese boats deny Philippine boats access to fishing grounds. In addition, the Chinese fishing fleet comprises most of the maritime militia and is placed under navy control in crisis or war, or when the Chinese leadership orders it. 

Back to the Book

Conor M. Kennedy, a contributing author argues in "Gray Forces in Blue Territory: The Grammar of Chinese Maritime Militia Gray Zone Operations", (p. 168, etc.) that, "(in a presence mission) It involves sending militia forces to disputed waters in the guise of civilian mariners, generally fishermen, to show the flag and uphold a narrative of Chinese ownership."

Naturally these "innocent fishermen" are backed by the Chinese Coast Guard, as illustrated in the incident in the Philippines.

Should you read the book? Up to you. It depends on how knowledgable you want to be on the subject, but China's Maritime Gray Zone Operations is certain to enlighten you.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Monday Madness

Border Closure (US/Mexico)

I'm standing by to see if that applies to the foot bridge between US/Mexico that leads from San Ysidro directly to the Tijuana Airport... The question is whether the pending directive from President Trump is a total closure or a partial closure. I usually fly out of Tijuana to destinations south of the Border rather than the US. Less hassle...usually.

Mexico isn't doing much to stem the flow of illegal aliens from Central America, and the New Mexican Administration (communists) have offered Mexico as a sanctuary country in a recent move. Some of the Guatemalans, Hondurans, El Salvidorans stay in Mexico, but for many, it's a step closer to the USA (land of the Big PX). Shutting the border creates havoc with Mexico. 80% of all Mexican exports (mostly agricultural) end up in the US. So if the food can't cross, it rots, and Mexicans are out the money.

Mexicans are not happy with President Trump, but he is concerned with Making America Great, not with Mexico's situation, or with the mess in Central America. The Mexicans blame America's policies in the 1980's and before on the situation in Central America, BUT, hold on sunshine. That's not the whole story. They are (mainly) just communist talking points.

Build the wall; lock Her up; MAGA! America first. Accept only qualified immigrants who will improve America.


The donkeys are rallying around Slow Joe, whose inappropriate  and unwanted behavior toward many women while he served in the White House is legendary. Will the #me too movement support Biden no matter what? What will the pink cat hat women say if Biden (an old perv) is the party's choice?

Some like the old communist, Bernie Sanders, say that Biden should be forgiven. Really? When was that progressive? Is forgiveness the new standard of #me too? If so, maybe Harvey Weinstein should be tapped to serve as Biden's Vice President! Their conduct should be labeled as the "new normal" by the hypocrites on the left.

Meanwhile, the progressives, seeking 'mature and responsible' candidates are pivoting to Robert Francis (Beto) O'Rorque, the fake Mexican - and some would assert also a fake Texan. Beto can stand on a table in a bar and gesture his way through a campaign speech, and Biden would get dizzy and fall so there you go. Bob's your uncle...

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Mail Call (and gripes)

The Mail

A fellow blogger e-mailed and asked whether or not I was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I am not. I am a member of the American Legion, China Post 1 (Soldiers of Fortune), operating in exile. 

Today, China Post 1 falls under the American Legion's Department of France and a member of FODPAL (Foreign Departments and Posts of The American Legion), but it has no permanent home since the Communist Chinese won't let it exist in Shanghai. Technically wherever two members are gathered (usually at a seedy bar run by an ex-pat who brings out the good stuff when China Post 1 types show up...then starts serving from the bottom shelf when they're well lubed...), they can have an official meeting.

China Post 1 has some interesting members, including many of the Ravens and the Air America types from the Vietnam War. As best I can recall, I joined in Laos as well, but it may have been when I was running with the Southern Air Transport types. The haze of age obscures those details.

Today there are actual approved hang outs for China Post 1 at various locations around the country. I don't know of any in Arizona, but I'm sure some exist. There is one in Las Vegas. I don't hang out there (obviously).

Now for the Gripes

The Second Amendment is still in place (and Constitutional Carry is alive and well in Arizona) and I expect that there will be a large body count if it is ever repealed and somebody is brave enough to come and take.

Have you ever noticed how this one works?

Whenever a Muslim kills people, the media works diligently to downplay it. When a deranged lunatic (irrespective of the grudge or grievance) does the same thing, they immediately brand them as "Christian", irrespective of anything.

Sunday Sermonette Sleep Over

My daughter, Heather, and her family (2 boys) left to return to SoCal, and my Arizona granddaughters (live in Prescott) arrived for a sleep-over. They wanted to sleep on the deck, but it's too cold, so I inflated an air mattress in the living room for them. The giant windows look out onto the deck and the forrest beyond.

So it's bacon and eggs and toast with milk for breakfast to fortify them for the day (church then play). Their mother, my third daughter, Kelly (below) is coming up today to hang out with us and to fetch her darling daughters home. Monday is a school day and Spring Break has ended.

It's been a busy week at the White Wolf Mine but I've had a lot of help - all the help that 8 young grandchildren can give. Grandchild #9, a boy, is still in the hanger waiting for an early September roll-out. 

The sermonette is that no success in life can compensate for failure as a parent. That also applies to grandparents, doesn't it? Well, however you want to slice it, family comes first. Working hard is important, but children and grandchildren need time.

My daughters are all pretty. Naturally, they favor their dad.... we'll run with that. Anyway, the older kids are talking about building cabins here at the White Wolf Mine. There is room for that, but there is also the downstairs at the hovel in the meantime, for family and guests.

Next week, I'll be in SoCal, working, staying with the kids, and trying to stretch the time that I can spend with all of them. 

Meanwhile, all of the children and grandchildren are anxiously awaiting the arrival of fishing season and wetting some bait as we float on mountain lakes in the canoe!

Friday, March 29, 2019

'48 Willys

The mine utility vehicle arrived.  No, it's not pretty, but it has to make it down to the mine and back, and along various trails.

My second oldest daughter, Heather, delivered it to the mine in person along with her husband and my two grandsons.

The 1948 Willys is nowhere near stock. It's not a faithful restoration. It has a 283 small block V-8 with the low gearing you would expect from the rig.

The carburetor is set for sea level, so there has to be some tinkering to get it ready to go to work at the high altitude mine.

There is loose talk about pulling the 283 (from a Chevelle) and replacing it with a tuned 350 for more optimal performance.

The Old Man of the Mine

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Finally, PROOF!

Ancient Alien theorists ask - 

Ancient Alien theorists ask whether this skull, found in a remote location on Arizona's Mogollon Rim, could be the remains of a visitor from outer space. Could it be the first reliable evidence of intelligent life from beyond the Solar System?

Resting atop a pile of rocks at the White Wolf Mine, the decapitated remains serve as a trophy to the intrepid hunter who found the possible landing site of the spacecraft, and the grizzly skull.

It's not a blurred photo of Bigfoot. It's not a smeared photo of a flying saucer taken by a drunk hippie on a rural road. It's a skull with other than human DNA.

Was this individual offered as a form of ritual sacrifice to the White Wolf? If so, yes, it is accepted in the spirit in which it was given?

Commentary Sniglets

Juicy Smolett

It's not white privilege, it's privilege. The poor have been being pushed around by the rich since there was that distinction between poor and rich. Rich nations with vast resources and an intelligent population have prospered and have exploited the poorer neighbors. To expect that it is not so is to deny reality and history. Ambitious, talented people who are born into circumstances of poverty can rise above that in America. Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Ben Carson are examples of that. It doesn't mean that you need to like Oprah or Dr. Carson. They did it. That's what is great about America.

Lindsay Graham

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is promoting his anti-firearms legislation. He was the late Sen. McCain's bestest buddy, so who can be surprised that this would be his hue and cry? He's now conducting hearings on Senate Bill 7, the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2019—otherwise known as a national “red flag” gun confiscation bill. 

Why do we need federal legislation to confiscate firearms? If there is a local problem with a local person who creates a situation involving firearms, allow that local problem to be dealt with appropriately at that local level. What Graham, RINO's and donkeys suggest is that a rumor mill that this or that person is 'unsound' should be sufficient probable cause to have their firearms seized by the federal government. 

Statues of Trump

I assert that for every statue of a Confederate General that is pulled down that we erect a statue of Donald J. Trump, in recognition of making America great again. And of course, those statues should be gold.

The Green New Deal

Isn't it funny that none of the donkeys want to own the Green New Deal now? They must have looked at the polling and found that if they pounce on that one, even the donkey faithful would savage them. Apparently none of them think that we're really all gonna die in twelve years if we don't spend 100 trillion dollars (more money than there is on the planet) to go full socialist/communist and eliminate cars and cows.

Nobody wants to follow AOC down that rabbit hole. (hahaha)

Slow Joe for President

Joe Biden, who is not yet a candidate, though he picked a person who identifies as black-female as a VP running mate, hit the campaign tour regimen by apologizing for being white and male and Catholic. Obama made a big tour after election worldwide by apologizing for being American. Since Biden was Obama's VP, I guess it makes sense that he'd begin by apologizing as he courts people who have a grievance. 

Slow Joe doesn't say what he'd replace western culture with. Africa, where slavery and oppression of women is still practiced, is not a good model and neither is Islam. Joe hasn't become a Muslim yet, but I'm sure that he would in exchange for a vote. He hasn't exactly said, "make America into Africa or Saudi Arabia" yet...but for a vote, why not? The reality is that the grievance culture is a culture of MANY grievances, many confused people who don't know what they want and are flummoxed by the concept of cause and effect. They want socialism but they don't really want Venezuela. They want total control, but they really don't want North Korea. 

Besides being white, male, rich and elite, Biden has a lot of skeletons in his political closet. This tour may be his chance to air the filthy laundry. Is he going to run on the Obama legacy (completely wiped out by Donald Trump)? Run Joe, run.

The Corrupt Lying Media

There has been a large sucking sound emanating from the glittering headquarters offices of the corrupt, lying, sly, smug, foolish elite media. What will they report on now that the Russia hoax has been exposed...and the corrupt FISA warrants will be made public... and everyone knows that the totality of their broadcast content over the past two and a half years has been BS?

Their ratings continue in a death spiral and I can't help but wonder what the stockholders are thinking.

Sure, there is the global warming hoax, now called "climate change" - an ill defined 'cause' for grievance people to cling to. There is black anger stoked by the Smolett matter, also turned out to be a hoax. Or maybe there's another hoax out there that they can find and play 24/7 like the anti-Trump (hoax) broadcasting that they've done?  I'd suggest actual reporting of facts rather than trying to make the news, but that doesn't seem to appeal to them, does it?