sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Snow Day

A friend living in Tyumen, Siberia, Russian Federation, commented that we have more snow at the White Wolf Mine than they currently have in Siberia. 

It can't be a mine thing because you know that there are a lot of salt mines in Siberia. Maybe it's global Cooling? We have only ten years to live before the planet becomes a cinder if you listen to our Congressional brain trust (AOC).

We were snowed in (state highways closed, and I-17 and I-40 closed for w while) so everyone hunkered down over turkey and fixings and then left overs. Half of my compliment of grandchildren were here and two daughters, so there was enough excitement and mischief.

Our propane powered electric generator is a key ingredient to the place in the mountains. Without the self-sufficiency to live off-the-grid, life here is much more of a challenge. 

There is a lot more digging to do in order to clear away snow and get the vehicles up and moving. 

Family is everything.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Balkan Chessboard (a case study)

There is a battle for energy dominance underway in Southeastern Europe and the Balkan peninsula. The key players are the USA, Russia, Greece and the Greek Orthodox Church. It extends to Ukraine and energy companies there as well.

The battle being waged extends beyond offshore drilling blocks around the Island of Cyprus. The discovery of accessible natural gas on the sea floor in 2010 near Cyprus will clearly help the EU and the Balkans in their efforts to become energy dependent from Russia. Russia, of course, continues to use the EU's energy needs as a geopolitical lever, in order to craft a privileged relationship of diplomatic tolerance from the EU states. The Russian strategy under Vladimir Putin, caused the nationalization of many private power companies. The privately held power companies and public companies fill the same national energy policy role since Russian foreign policy and energy policy are one in the same. Petrochemical exports account for one of Russia's only sources of hard currency from abroad.

Russian energy giant, Gazprom (Gazovaya Promyshlennost), leverages its position politically in the EU very effectively. Only a few months have passed since the EU ended its seven-year standoff with Gazprom without imposing a fine their monopolistic practices, as it did to Google and Intel. The threat, even if only implied, gives the Russians a significant bargaining position and they use it.

In 2015, the European Commission charged Gazprom with acting as a monopoly and in 2018, it settled. As part of that settlement, Gazprom was required to enable the flow of the fuel to the Baltic States, whose gas markets remain isolated from the rest of Europe. Those concessions included lower prices to nations within the EU which have disadvantaged infrastructure.

Political alliances in the Balkans have chosen sides based largely on self interest and the Greek Orthodox Church has become involved in the matter more directly of late. In our exploration of the topic, let's consider the case of Kavala fertilizer.

Lavrentis Lavrentiadis
Countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans have paid 30 to 40% more than the average European price for gas. The largest fertilizer company in Greece is Hellenic Fertilizers – ELFE. The company is vital to the Greek agricultural economy. The company paid substantially more expensive raw material costs than the rest of Europe, and its management decided to defend itself with a multiannual lawsuit. It brought legal action against DEPA, the Greek Public Gas Corporation, which remains heavily reliant on Gazprom. Hellenic Fertilizers - ELFE operates in and from Kavala, a port in the Balkans that remains a strategic point of interest for both American and Russian interests. It is owned by Greek Cypriot businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, a controversial figure who positions himself at the center of American interests in the Balkans. He's been arrested, charged with fraud, released, and for forth in a number of scandals. (Do an internet search of that name if you have further interest)

Lavrentiadis has confronted Gazprom by purchasing natural gas outside of the monopoly, and that sparked a controversy with DEPA. The two other big players in the Balkan energy market, Dimitrios Copelouzos and Evangelos Mytilineos, oligarchs who could buy and sell their competition many times over, have aligned themselves with Russia and Gazprom. It's difficult to blame them. Russia is closer than the USA and its monopoly on natural gas in the Balkans make it a more likely ally.

The Greek Orthodox Church entered the political flaps that follow Russian gas policy. In Ukraine, the local Orthodox Church has become the latest battleground over 'the soul of the nation' and natural gas. The fight extends to the appointment of a new Archbishop. Both the Russians and the Americans want one who is closer to their own interests. Re-enter Greek businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, a friend of the Americans who maintains a personal relationship with the current head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos, as he did with his predecessor. On the other side of the field there are great monasteries of Mount Athos and some Metropolises of the Greek Orthodox Church which are sponsored by Russian oligarchs.

I can't suggest which side will come out on top. It remains to be seen. With Ukraine and its gas production in the news in the US every day, there is greater focus on the granularity of these wars for the hearts and minds of the Balkans.  And it is linked to energy policies of the major powers.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Terrorist Designation for Narcos - In the Works

In the run-up to the Thanksgiving holiday, President Trump announced that he had been working on the designation of certain Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations for the past ninety days. 
President Trump told former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in a radio interview broadcast Tuesday that Mexican cartels “will be designated” as terror groups because “we are losing 100,000 people a year to what is happening and what is coming through Mexico”.
The Mexican government is not amused and stated (contrary to what Mexican President Lopez Obrador has continually asserted) that they will work hard to stop drug cartels. The current Mexican administration has REPEATEDLY stated that they have a hands-off approach to drug cartels. Once bought, will they remain bought?  And who really runs Mexico? The narcos or the constituted government. I think that we all know the answer to that question. So is it any wonder that Mexico is pushing back against the designation?
“I’ve actually offered him to let us go in and clean it out and he so far has rejected the offer. But at some point, [something] has to be done,” President Trump said, citing the damage done by drugs to American addicts and their families.
Under US law, a violent foreign group or individual who threatens American security can be designated as terrorist in nature and be subject to special sanctions. 
Any institution dealing with a designated terrorist – such as a bank or government official – comes under heavy scrutiny and potential punishment. 
There are currently no designated terrorist groups in Mexico and only one in Latin America, the National Liberation Army insurgent group in Colombia.
Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to Washington, said that the US government could go so far as limiting cooperation with a country that is home to designated terrorist groups. He said in a telephone interview that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had considered designating Mexican drug lords or cartels as terrorists.
“When they realzed the economic and trade implications it would have on US-Mexican ties, they backed down.”
But GW Bush and Barack Hussein Obama are not President Trump. Bush was busy fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and Obama was a wimp. President Trump is a different style of leader with a strong AMERICAN agenda underpinning everything that he's done. The three women and six children of dual US-Mexican nationality who were killed in an ambush in northern Mexico has helped to push the terrorist designation. It was an action with shocked the conscience of the Mexicans as well, truth be told.

The news is sure to revive Mexicans’ concerns about possible US military involvement in combating drug trafficking on their soil – a highly sensitive subject in Mexico. Branding Mexican drug cartels with the terrorist label brings with it the possibility of US military action and frees up US intelligence agencies to engage in direct action style missions under the approval of US National Command Authority.

Giving Thanks

There is a lot to be thankful for. Family, dear friends, bounty, health, and a well spread table. Sharing that love is part of why Thanksgiving is such an enduring holiday. It's not about gifts, or politics, but it is about gluttony. 

The memories of Thanksgivings past are also part of the way we cherish holidays.

This is the First Thanksgiving at the White Wolf Mine in Arizona, so it's historic in its own small way. The snowplow crews will be taking their lunch break here, eating like the gluttons that they are. The firemen at the Blue Ridge Fire Department were invited but they are having their own lunch there at the firehouse. 

We used to have a resident Deputy Sheriff, but he quit to go to work at the AZ Dept of Public Safety so he will be missing out on a feast. 

Lastly, I thank all of you who drift by this blog from time to time for being there, reading my drivel and contributing your wit and wisdom. 

I don't know if we'll ever hear from our fellow blogger, Fredd again, since he may be eating Thanksgiving dinner with Aunt Sally. She defrosts - so maybe it will just taste bad without being life threatening. 

And to Jules in England, I hope you are having a feast there in Nottingham in sympathy with all of us across the pond in the colonies. And to John Derva in Norway who is not feasting, but is meeting with government people and is carrying on the good fight.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Pet Lover Wednesday

Your cat loves you.

Cats have a lot of love in their small hearts.

Your dog will love you even if you don't have snacks, but he will love you more if you do.

Yes, it's general advice, but ignore it at your peril.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Is there a Pattern of Corruption?

There seems to be a lot of hash and trash flying around in the corrupt, lying mainstream media. CNN claims that Hunter Biden, far from being part of a corruption scheme is a victim. I didn't know that you could be white AND a victim, but maybe if you're in the political class it can happen.

We could go back further, but we're talking about a corruption scheme with Vice President Joe Biden at its heart. During the summer of 2006,  Hunter Biden and his borther, James Biden, purchased the Paradigm Global Advisors a hedge fund of sorts. According to an unnamed executive quoted in Politico in August, James Biden declared to employees on his first day, “Don’t worry about investors. We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.” At this time, Joe Biden is months away from becoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and launching his second bid for president.

The unnamed executive who spoke to Politico charged that the purchase of the fund was designed to work around campaign-finance laws:
According to the executive, James Biden made it clear that he viewed the fund as a way to take money from rich foreigners who could not legally give money to his older brother or his campaign account. “We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” the executive remembers James Biden saying.
Both James and Hunter Biden have denied that James had ever made these comments. But the fund was still a great way to work around campaign finance laws because Slow Joe wasn't an officer in the corporation.
Hunter Biden had been employed as a consultant to the Delaware bank MBNA, with a $100,000-a-year retainer, according to the New York Times. The bank hired him fresh out of law school and in less than two years promoted him to senior vice president. Biden also separately worked as a lobbyist until 2008, founding the firm Oldaker Biden & Belair, where he represented mostly universities and hospitals but also drug companies such as Achaogen Inc. and Pulmatrix Inc., and the music-sharing company Napster and online gambling sites.
Hunter says he has never lobbied his father on any client matter. But the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest allegedly troubled the senator at one point. According to court records in a lawsuit filed by former business partner Joseph Lotito, Joe Biden wanted Hunter Biden to find a different line of work because his presidential campaign would be greatly complicated if he remained the father of a Washington lobbyist.

On January 5, 2007, Joseph Lotito sued James and Hunter Biden, contending that they cut him out of the purchase of Paradigm Global Advisors. Lotito’s suit claims that the firm was paying Hunter Biden an annual salary of $1.2 million. While Biden has worked for MBNA, he had never worked for a hedge fund or investment firm before.

LINK - 'Consulting Firm Hired by Burisma Leveraged Biden’s Name to Secure Meeting with State Dept.'

January 7, 2007: Joe Biden announced his second bid for the presidency.

January 18, 2007: Hunter Biden stepped down as interim chief executive of Paradigm Global Advisors, but the company announced he would remain in his position as chairman of Paradigm’s advisory board.

February 21, 2007: James and Hunter Biden countersue Lotito, arguing that he lied about his professional credentials and finances. Biden’s chief of staff toldthe Washington Post, “It is apparent that Mr. Lotito is only invoking Senator Biden’s name to garner media attention.”

July 2007: Biden’s presidential campaign paid Hunter Biden’s firm. Oldaker Biden & Belair LLP, $20,256 for legal work for his campaign. By the end of Biden’s bid, his campaign paid Hunter’s law firm $143,000 for “legal services.”

January 3, 2008: After winning less than 1 percent in the Iowa caucus, Joe Biden announced that he would be ending his second bid for the presidency.

July 25, 2008: An outside audit of Paradigm by the firm of Briggs, Bunting & Dougherty found a “failure to reconcile Investment Advisors reimbursement of fund expenses, failure to reconcile and review cash account on a timely basis, and failure to reconcile and review various other accounts on a timely basis.”

August 23, 2008: Barack Obama announced that Joe Biden would be his running mate. The following day, Obama campaign officials “acknowledged that the connection between the Bidens and MBNA, the enormous financial services company then based in their home state of Delaware, was one of the most sensitive issues they examined while vetting the senator for a spot on the ticket.”

August 27, 2008: The Washington Post reported on an unusual loophole in Hunter Biden’s refusal to lobby his father: “Sen. Barack Obama sought more than $3.4 million in congressional earmarks for clients of the lobbyist son of his Democratic running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, records show. Obama succeeded in getting $192,000 for one of the clients, St. Xavier University in suburban Chicago.” The Post reports that other lobbyists at Biden’s firm lobbied his father.

September 6, 2008: In an interview with Tom Brokaw, Joe Biden argued there was nothing inappropriate about the biggest bank in his state hiring his son: “My son graduated from Yale Law School. The starting salary in Wall Street is $140,000 a year if you want to lawyer. Options he had. He came home to work for a bank.”

September 12, 2008: Hunter Biden files paperwork to end his lobbying work for all clients.

September 2008: Hunter Biden founds Seneca Global Advisors, “a boutique consulting firm” that “helps small and mid-sized companies expand into markets in the U.S. and other countries.”

December 2008: James and Hunter Biden and Anthony Lotito reach a settlement and drop their suits.

January 20, 2009: Joe Biden is sworn in as vice president of the United States.

February 2009: Paradigm gets another headache when one of its partners, Texas financier Allen Stanford, is charged by regulators with an $8 billion fraud. However, Paradigm and James and Hunter Biden are not accused of wrongdoing, and Paradigm’s attorney, Marc LoPresti, says they never met or communicated with Stanford.

June 2009: Hunter Biden co-founds his second company in less than a year, Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz (the stepson of John Kerry and heir to the Heinz fortune) and Devon Archer, who had been friends with Heinz at Yale.

November 12, 2009: Paradigm’s run of bad luck continues when the U.S. Department of Justice determines that the Manhattan skyscraper housing the offices of Paradigm is partially owned by individuals helping the Iranian government evade sanctions. By 2017, federal prosecutors would contend that the building “served as a front for the Iranian government and as a gateway for millions of dollars to be funneled to Iran in clear violation of U.S. sanctions laws.” There is no evidence that the Bidens or Paradigm knew of their landlord’s ties.

2010: After two years of difficulties and the economic recession, James and Hunter Biden begin “unwinding” the Paradigm Fund, filing for voluntary liquidation. The man who sold them the firm, James Park, never collected on an $8 million note, according to The New Republic.

2010–11: Rosemont Seneca takes off like a rocket in its ability to secure meetings with wealthy Chinese investors. From Peter Schweitzer’s Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends:

Less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca’s doors, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were in China having secured access at the highest levels. Thornton Group’s account of the meeting on their Chinese-language website is telling: Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its U.S. partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden).” The purpose of the meetings was to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity.” Curiously, details about the meeting did not appear on their English-language website.

Also, according to the Thornton Group, the three Americans met with the largest and most powerful government-fund leaders in China — even though Rosemont was both new and small. To put these meetings in perspective, it was as if the son of the Chinese premier held a single meeting with the heads of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and Blackstone. Except, in this case, these were government entities with trillions of dollars of capital to invest. The delegate spent two days meeting with the top executives of China’s sovereign wealth fund, social-security fund, and largest banks. Hunter posed with them for a series of pictures.

Sometime in 2012: Devon Archer and Hunter Biden begin meetings with “Jonathan Li, who ran a Chinese private-equity fund, Bohai Capital, about becoming partners in a new company that would invest Chinese capital,” according to The New Yorker.

June 2013: Li, Archer, and other business partners signed a memorandum of understanding to create the fund, which they named BHR Partners, and, in November, they signed contracts related to the deal. Hunter Biden becomes an unpaid member of BHR’s board but will not take an equity stake in BHR Partners until after his father left the White House.

August 19, 2013: New York Times business columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote in his column, “In Washington, the line between lobbying and bribery is not clear-cut. Until 2008, R. Hunter Biden, son of then-Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., lobbied Congress regularly.”

December 4, 2013: Hunter Biden joined his father on Air Force Two on a trip to China, where his father was meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Hunter arranged for Li to shake hands with his father in the lobby of the American delegation’s hotel. Afterward, Hunter and Li have what both parties describe as a social meeting.

According to The New Yorker, at this time other Obama-administration officials weren’t comfortable with Hunter Biden’s business ties in China, but they did not confront the vice president about the matter:
Hunter’s meeting with Li and his relationship with BHR attracted little attention at the time, but some of Biden’s advisers were worried that Hunter, by meeting with a business associate during his father’s visit, would expose the Vice-President to criticism. The former senior White House aide told me that Hunter’s behavior invited questions about whether he “was leveraging access for his benefit, which just wasn’t done in that White House. Optics really mattered, and that seemed to be cutting it pretty close, even if nothing nefarious was going on.” When I asked members of Biden’s staff whether they discussed their concerns with the Vice-President, several of them said that they had been too intimidated to do so. “Everyone who works for him has been screamed at,” a former adviser told me.
December 2013: “Less than two weeks later, Hunter Biden’s firm inked a $1 billion private equity deal with a subsidiary of the Chinese government’s Bank of China,” author and investigator Peter Schweizer says. “The deal was later expanded to $1.5 billion. In short, the Chinese government funded a business that it co-owned along with the son of a sitting vice president.” But The New Yorker quotes a BHR representative who says the deal was signed before the vice president’s trip to China, a business license came through shortly after, and Hunter was not a signatory.

April 2014: Hunter Biden joins the board of Burisma Holdings. Alan Apter, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker who was chairman of Burisma, said at the time, “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals.” Biden’s primary duty is to attend board meetings and energy forums in Europe once or twice a year, and he was paid $50,000 per month.

Apter added, “This is totally based on merit.”

May 13, 2014: At the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney responds to a question about Hunter Biden’s joining the board and the appearance of a potential conflict of interest:
I would refer you to the vice president’s office. I saw those reports. You know, Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president. But I would refer you to the vice president’s office.
The same day, at a State Department press briefing, AP reporter Matt Lee asks, “Does this building diplomatically have any concerns about potential perceptions of conflict or/cronyism — which is what you’ve often accused the Russians of doing?”

“No, he’s a private citizen,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki replied.

May 14, 2014: The U.K.-based Guardian newspaper blasted Biden’s new position, snarking, “Somebody needs to get involved in Ukraine’s corporate governance, and it might as well be a clutch of rich, well-connected American dudes with weird first names.” Washington Post columnist Adam Taylor wrote:
The appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst. No matter how qualified Biden is, it ties into the idea that U.S. foreign policy is self-interested, and that’s a narrative Vladimir Putin has pushed during Ukraine’s crisis with references to Iraq and Libya.
Sometime in 2015: Chris Heinz ends his relationship with Rosemont Seneca.

December 8, 2015: Writing in the New York Times, James Risen says of the vice president’s trip to Ukraine:
The credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile.
December 11, 2015: A New York Times editorial praises Biden’s message to the Ukrainian government notes:
The credibility of Mr. Biden’s message may be undermined by the association of his son with a Ukrainian natural-gas company, Burisma Holdings, which is owned by a former government official suspected of corrupt practices. A spokesman for the son, Hunter Biden, argues that he joined the board of Burisma to strengthen its corporate governance. That may be so. But Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, has been under investigation in Britain and in Ukraine. It should be plain to Hunter Biden that any connection with a Ukrainian oligarch damages his father’s efforts to help Ukraine. This is not a board he should be sitting on.
December 2016: Hunter Biden and his wife, Kathleen, file for divorce. The divorce becomes official April 14, 2017. Sometime when Biden is “in the middle of the divorce,” he meets the Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming. As CNN described, “at its height, Ye’s company, CEFC China Energy, aligned itself so closely with the Chinese government that it was often hard to distinguish between the two.”

January 20, 2017: Joe Biden’s second term as vice president ends.

May 2017: Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming and Hunter Biden meet privately at a hotel in Miami. Biden says he offered to use his contacts to help “identify investment opportunities for Ye’s company CEFC China Energy, in liquified natural gas projects in the United States.” After the dinner, Ye sends a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter’s hotel room with a card thanking him for the meeting. During the divorce proceedings, Hunter Biden and his ex-wife Kathleen dispute the value of the diamond; he says it is worth $10,000, she contends it is worth $80,000.
Biden denied that the diamond could be considered a bribe. “What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn’t in office.” Hunter Biden told The New Yorker he gave the diamond to his associates and doesn’t know what happened to it
Also during the divorce proceedings, Kathleen “requested that Hunter’s access to their joint assets be limited because the couple had a double mortgage and owed more than $300,000 in back taxes.”

Summer 2017: Hunter Biden begins negotiating a deal for Ye’s company CEFC to invest in a liquefied-natural-gas project in Louisiana. Ye tells Biden that he’s worried about federal authorities’ looking into one of his business associates, Patrick Ho. Hunter agrees to represent Ho as his lawyer.

October 2017: After having an unpaid role on the company’s board since 2013, Hunter Biden acquired a financial stake in BHR, a 10 percent equity interest that was worth $430,000 as of July 2019, according to Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires. At least half of the firm’s stake is owned by Chinese entities, according to business records.

November 18, 2017: Patrick Ho is arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on bribery and money-laundering charges. He makes a phone call to James Biden, Joe Biden’s younger brother, and asked Biden for a lawyer. (Hunter Biden has not practiced criminal law.)

March 2018: Ye Jianming, the former boss of CEFC China Energy who gave Biden the diamond, vanishes from public sight. The Chinese government detained him for questioning, but “no Chinese authority has released any information about him, and he has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing.”

June 28, 2018: Devon Archer, who co-founded Rosemont Seneca Partners with Hunter Biden back in 2009, is convicted of “conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud for allegedly defrauding investors in sham Native American tribal bonds. A few months later, the conviction is overturned and a new trial is ordered.

November 2018: U.S. prosecutors allege that a nonprofit funded by Ye Jianming — the man who gave Hunter Biden that large diamond, who is still missing and believed detained by the Chinese government — had used its United Nations status to offer millions in bribes to African leaders.
Hunter would later tell The New Yorker that he doesn’t see Ye as a “shady character at all,” and he characterized the outcome as “bad luck.”
March 25, 2019: Patrick Ho, Biden’s former legal client, was sentenced to three years in prison for international bribery and money-laundering offenses. He was convicted of a multi-year, multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe top officials of Chad and Uganda in exchange for business advantages for CEFC China Energy Company Limited.

April 1, 2019: Writing in The Hill, John Solomon quotes Ukrainian former prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, telling him that, before he was dismissed, he was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, and that his plans included “interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

May 3, 2019: The Intercept reported that Hunter Biden’s investment company in China, known as Bohai Harvest RST, invested in a company called Face++, which develops facial-recognition software. That facial-recognition software is used in an app that “provides [Chinese] law enforcement with easy, daily access to data detailing the religious activity, blood type, and even the amount of electricity used by ethnic minority Muslims living in the western province of Xinjiang.”

May 16, 2019: Yuriy Lutsenko, the current Ukrainian prosecutor general, told Bloomberg News that neither Hunter Biden nor Burisma was now the focus of an investigation. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing. A company can pay however much it wants to its board.”

May 20, 2019: The New York Times reports, “A lawyer for Hunter Biden said he did not conduct any business related to the China investment fund on that trip” in December 2013.
July 1, 2019: Hunter Biden told The New Yorker in an interview, “I’ve pretty much always lived paycheck to paycheck. I never considered it struggling, but it has always been a high-wire act.”
July 22, 2019: Hunter Biden issued a new statement to the Washington Post about his time on the Burisma Holdings board: “At no time have I discussed with my father the company’s business or my board service.”

But yeah, by all means, paint President Trump as the one to blame.

Monday, November 25, 2019

File it under: Helpful Hints

Hiding Christmas Presents

When the kids were young, I stashed most of them in ice chests in the garage. We didn't take the ice chests anywhere between Halloween and Christmas and I loaded them up. There are other options out there now. 

(link)  I'll share my favorite fake boxes, but there are more at the link. I'm clearly too cheap to buy fake boxes, but these are clever.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Checking In


Sometimes funds are tight, times are hard, but you still want to get into the Christmas spirit.

Thoughts on 2020

The Donkeys are scrambling for a champion. Devil Patrick, newly minted entrant into the circus hosted an event and then canceled it when only two people showed up. He is said by his party to be the "New Obama," possibly because he's black. Obama was only half black and his dad was essentially a sperm donor, but it may be racist to mention that.

Bloomberg wasn't invited to the Democrat debate, and neither was Devil. What's going on? They invited Spartacus, polling at >1%. I think that they need to be the "big tent" that they tell everyone that they are and get them all up there on the stage. Meanwhile the Buttguy seems to be surging in Iowa. I have no idea what his appeal is. Maybe it's because he's white, but mentioning that may be racist. Harris is polling at #5 in California but she still made it to the debate. Maybe that's because she's an Indian and female, but it may be racist to discuss that. I liked Marianne Williamson not because she's a witch, but because she's entertaining. But the Donkey's shut her down, which is sexist.

Bernie and Liz, the two communists, seem to lack a certain luster to the rich East Coast elites, who are waking up to the fact that the commies are proposing to tax them at 115%. Thus, Bloomberg, the "new Trump" and his appeal to people who are not living in fly-over country.

Help Me Out

Is this a STG III (PzKw MK3 with a Sturmgeschutz mod) with a 75mm short rifle or is it a STG IV?

No matter what it is, I wouldn't want to be an infantryman hunkering down in front of it with nothing to shoot that would make a difference.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

It's Charming

I'm opening the Charms wrapper. 

When I was in the military, the unofficial doctrine required that you needed to throw away the Charms from the K Ration or the Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). You couldn't eat them. It was bad luck to do that. You brought down the fickle finger of fate on everyone if you dared to suck on a Charm candy (12.5 calories each).

Lifesavers were ok. You could chew all the tobacco that you could stuff into your cheek. You could chomp on Bazooka bubble gum. You could chew on the butt of an old, rancid cigar - but no Charms. Not one, not ever.

The other day I bought a pack of Charms to tempt fate. "Live dangerously," I told myself. 

I haven't eaten one since high school because of the taboo. And I just ate one (lime). If this blog should go off the air and if you should never hear from or of me again, you'll know why that is. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Freaky Friday


Lunden Robert, Biden baby mama
A paternity test established Hunter Biden's Paternity with his child in Arkansas. Lunden Alexis Roberts posted online by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Biden denied having sex with his baby mama, but won't contest the results. Roberts’ child was born in August 2018, while Hunter was in a relationship with Hallie Biden, the widow of his late older brother, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.

Roberts filed her paternity suit in May, about two weeks after Hunter, 49, married Melissa Cohen, 33, following a whirlwind, six-day romance. In 2015, following the release of information hacked from the Ashley Madison website — which caters to people seeking to have extramarital affairs — he claimed an account with his email address was “set up by someone else without my knowledge.”

Members of the Biden family (to include Roberts, now) are entitled to Secret Service protection at taxpayer expense.  

I wonder whether or not this will spur more likely lads and lasses to come out of the woodwork. Biden is still living on the interest from that $1.5 billion that he received from China (to make investments), so there is a deep pocket for them to tap into reaching back to Beijing. If Slow Joe wins the presidential election in 2020 (unlikely), I'm sure that the Chinese government will be thrilled to kick in another few billion by way of a BRIBE to the Biden family, and the mainstream media will ignore it. The donkeys will celebrate it not as a 'bribe' but as 'tribute', which they will interpret as 'Constitutional'.

11 Nations?

Is North America really comprised of eleven separate nations? (more here) According to the article, I live in the "Far West", which is a code word for deep fly-over country. The article says that we are an ungrateful lot, developed by East Coast investment, yet suspicious of those carpetbaggers.

Meanwhile in Chicago

Federal Law Enforcement in the USA

BW Bandy, a Canadian, posited a question yesterday. It's a good question: "Why are there so many federal law enforcement agencies?"

The question could be expanded to include, "Why are there so many federal intelligence agencies?"

And taking it a step farther, "why do we have so many military services?" Does the US need a navy and a coast guard? Does the navy need a land warfare service (the US Marine corps) or couldn't that mission be handled by the army? And most recently the Space Force.

I will let this blog's readers answer these questions if they are inclined. 

A lot of the law enforcement agencies are artifacts of the past. That doesn't mean that they are not valid today. But often the core mission has changed over time. The US Treasury enforced the Volstead Act (prohibition of alcohol). ATF and IRS enforcement had that mission. The US Coast Guard started out as the Revenue Cutter Service and they basically enforced customs regulation, and maritime safety came much later. The Postal Inspection Service handled thefts of mail and money that traveled as a subset of the mail (train robberies, etc). The Secret Service evolved from the Pinkertons who protected POTUS during the American Civil War (War of Northern Aggression). Inspectorate Generals popped up to count beans on the construction of the Intercontinental Railroads. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation coverage of banks (and bank robberies) gave the FBI a reason to be. J. Edgar Hoover morphed that mission by blackmailing US politicians and becoming the most feared man (by politicians) in America.

Most massive federal agencies want people that THEY can control handling their own law enforcement needs. State has DSS, CIA has a police and security service dealing with CIA only, US Dept of the Interior have forest rangers and park rangers who recapture picnic baskets that Yogi the Bear steals.

The RCMP as a national police force also has a type of military mission, that does not exist in the USA. It evolved differently.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Scum and Rot

The Take-Away

Your take-away from the impeachment hearings should be an understanding of the methodology used by politicians to launder taxpayer dollars that they've earmarked as "foreign aid" and "military aid" back to themselves through family, friends and corporate donations. 

Ukraine is the tip of the iceberg. Imagine the rot that would be uncovered if we could shed ourselves of the FBI, which is part of that corruption, and have genuine investigations, unfettered. We know that the corrupt, lying, filthy, sly mainstream media wouldn't investigate this sort of thing honestly. Yes, stories do surface occasionally and some make it to print - but then they're spiked.
"The further society drifts from the truth, the more they will hate those who speak it." - Orwell
Deport Savage People

Norway reports that since they've been deporting Muslims back to their point of origin that the crime rate in Oslo has dropped 31%. I'll ask my good friend, John D. (comments here as Valuism) for his reaction in the comments below because he lives in the Oslo suburbs and has his finger on the pulse.

I don't see how deporting savages wouldn't lead to a drop in crime.  (article snip below)
Oslo, Norway: “The world’s largest gang of thugs, murderers, and rapists is masquerading as a religion of peace,” says Adrian Stavig, a resident of Oslo. Beginning this past January, the new Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg began a program which targets and deports Muslims who have ties to radical groups. 
Something stunning occurred: the country’s violent crimes are down more than 31% in less than a year since Muslim deportations began.
When I criticize Mohammed or the followers of that savage faith, I am occasionally called 'a racist'. I remind critics that Islam is not a race. It's a faith. You're not "born a Mohammedan". It's a system of beliefs that you can embrace or not.  And by their fruits ye shall know them. Some of us used to kill them for a living. Ordnance on target - and then Barack opened the gates of the nation to them. How progressive. 

OLD NFO's book, CALEXIT Predicted it

(link) SACRAMENTO, CA—California's state government has announced it will agree to build a wall as President Trump has been pushing for, except this wall will keep people in, not out.

People trying to flee the socialist state in U-Hauls in search of a better life will be greeted with a large concrete structure running across all exits from the state. Modeled after the Berlin Wall, the structure will provide comfort and security to state legislators fearful of citizens fleeing for basic necessities like electricity, taxes less than 100%, and plastic straws and bags.

The rest of the country all pitched in for the wall, too, so Governor Newsom only needed to raise income taxes by a few percentage points to fund it.

Thank you Babylon Bee...

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Midweek Thoughts


This is for fellow blogger, KLE (From Rhode Island). The Great State of Rhode Island covers 1,212 square miles. Coconino County, Arizona, home to the White Wolf Mine covers 18,661 square miles.
Kle Posted: Yeah, Rhode Island is a flaming garbage dump. We have a $10 billion budget, one million people, the worst roads in America, and 300,000 people on public assistance.
Coconino County has a population of 142,000. Essentially just over one square mile per person if it was evenly distributed. But it isn't. Just about everyone in the county lives in Flagstaff. Metropolitan Flagstaff (in and near the city) where there are about 139,000 people. That leaves 3,000 people for the rest of the county. Within 80 miles of the White Wolf Mine in any direction there are about 50 permanent residents and there is no city. Far more horses than people.
Note: I don't own a horse, but I'm working on convincing a friend to allow LSP to ride his mustang when the parson comes to visit next summer...
Photo Project

My second oldest daughter, Heather, was doing a photo project and she enlisted me in "lights, darks, contrasts and a theme". She explained that it was my big chance to be a model. And since I'm essentially putty in my children's hands, I went along with it. She grabbed the French Foreign Legion kepi blanc that I picked up in Corsica about (mumbles) years ago, one of my Colt Pythons, a WW2 commando/raider knife that my father brought home with him from from the war, lighted the candle and set the stage. I just provided the body.

Feel free to caption it if you're of a mind. If you do so, be kind to a nearly helpless old man.


Without an effective weather tax, it's snowing at the White Wolf Mine in Arizona. I'm not sure what politicians would promise in exchange for the tax - more moisture or less, or maybe they will make it rain lightly only at night?

There is no such thing as 'government money'. It's all taxpayer money --- held in trust. That's how I view tax money, but I'm sure that I wouldn't be welcome in Washington.

Impeachment Hearings

I haven't watched them. It's a show, staged by the donkeys to try and prop up political support for the 2020 elections when they hope that one of their favored sons or daughters will sweep the field to become President. I've read summaries of the testimony offered and it's just one of those spectacles with no substance like the Mueller Investigation. One thing is certain, if the Republicans hold the House and a Democrat becomes president, they will be justified in immediately initiating impeachment proceedings based on the BASELESS hearings that are being held by the donkeys.

It's a disgrace to the nation and just confirms my previously held view of the Democrats in Congress.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Taxing Sin

Background     Here in the Arizona highlands, the resident sheriff's deputy quit and went to work for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Which means that if we call for help, it's about 2 hours in coming. Most of the people in the area where I live are comfortable handling their own problems when it comes to ex-officio solutions. It's unlikely that his position will be filled anytime soon because there are not many deputies who want to work in the mountains with a 2 hour response time to a frantic call for back-up. Our taxes should be applied to fund that single deputy, but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Context and Precedence     The discussion turned to taxation and to excise taxes (An excise tax is a legislated tax on specific goods or services at purchase such as fuel, tobacco, and alcohol.) on the lottery, tobacco and narcotics, in places such as Colorado, where they justified legalizing what was criminal behavior because marijuana would be taxed. Those taxes would be used to support programs for crippled children, etc.

My take on sin taxes     If you are going to have them, the revenue should go to the problems that the 'sins' produce. For example, a cigarette tax should go nowhere but an earmarked fund to help treat cancer patients. An alcohol tax should be earmarked for alcohol rehab and to help the victims of drunk driving. A marijuana tax should only go to medical treatment programs for drug addiction. The Lottery or gaming tax proceeds could go to support programs that treat people with gambling addiction issues. In other words, the tax directly applies to the costs to the state for managing the fall out of the behavior or 'sin'.

Police departments, fire departments, public schools, etc. should be paid for with a combination of sales tax or property tax in the way that they usually are (depending on where you live). As a member of a fire district board, we just raised taxes on the people who live within the district and benefit from fire and paramedic services. If you want trained, professional, full time fire paramedics available to help you when you call 911, you need to shoulder the burden of those services if you live in the district. Or you can vote the district board out of office, and find new board members who will reduce the tax. That's how it works.
There are no commercial properties to tax here, and the fractional benefit to the fire district from state sales tax is quite small. Sin taxes are moot because no sins are sold here.
When special excise taxes are levied on 'sinful' products, there is always an expectation that the sin will continue and the taxes will roll in predictably, and that it can then fund schools and the money that had been used to fund schools can go to some politicians other pet project (almost always using your tax dollars to buy votes for the politician or to raise salaries for our hard working politicians). In Colorado, I've read of a degree of panic that set in when other states legalized marijuana and other narcotics and the anticipated revenue didn't land in Colorado. Does that mean that they need to raise the tax on narcotics in Colorado (and would that drive the business to another state)?

In Nevada, where gaming taxes funded the entire state budget, a change in behavior by tourists where they are spending money on food/beverage, entertainment and hospitality rather than throwing their money away at the blackjack table created a species of crisis as lawmakers are being forced to raise taxes on state residents. I admit that the Nevada situation is more unique than it is elsewhere, but the pattern remains.

Your thoughts on the matter?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Leave when it Arrives

If you are a bad guy and you don't have air superiority, the overhead artillery will get you.

AC 130 W (howitzer action)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

plata o plomo (Your Sunday Sermonette) and "The Brothers"

Definition of Terms

Plata o plomo is a Colombian Spanish slang phrase that translates to “silver or lead.” A person saying the phrase is telling the listener to either accept a bribe (plata, meaning “silver,” a common slang term for money in Colombia) or lose their life (plomo, a metonym for “lead bullet”).

un billetico If you’ve ever spent some time in a Spanish speaking country, there’s a good chance you’ll know the word billete, or ticket. In Colombia, and more specifically in the world of the narcos, un billete is a large amount of money, and un billetico is a really large amount of money.

In context:

— “Se ganó un billetico con esa vuelta.”

Corruption, and the Deep State in the Age of Trump

The reality is that there are levels of corruption in every large business and in every level of government to some degree. There are things that even the most honest organs of the state live with because they seem to be necessary. And leaders don't want people working for them who are 'cleaner' than they are because that's dangerous. So they buffer themselves with like-minded people and keep the 'cleaner' people at lower levels, beyond a certain level of decision making. I've been there, friends. I know the ups and downs. And there comes a point in time when the filth won't come out from under your fingernails. You can tell a lot of Washington insiders by that dirt.

And while you may have read that I'm not overly proud of the FBI and that's true. There was a guy who I worked with every day for five years, FBI guy, and we did some sensitive stuff. We also had fun. I remember once at the Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas when a snowflake came in with a SEAL Team Two patch on his shabby jacket and I had a few under my belt, so I took out my clasp knife, tossed him on the floor and cut the patch off before my buddy could pull me off of the terrified Hard Rock customer. No flesh came away with the patch. I showed remarkable restraint. Vegas Metro showed up, we buzzed them, they left, nothing to see here. Anyway, he rose to be Deputy Director over the Narcotics and Enterprise Crime (Organized Crime) Division. Then he tossed it away, transferred out and ended up as Special Agent-in-Charge of the Sacramento RA until he had enough time in and enough money in the thrift fund to retire. Sometimes, you need to walk away from the swamp. Nietzsche said that when you look into the abyss too long, the abyss also looks back into you. The same could be said of the swamp.

But I digress. The war stories could go on for weeks.

CIA was born in 1947 as a child of the Cold War to fight the Soviet enemy. That's really all there was that mattered. The Russians moved slowly and the Americans moved slowly as the respective bureaucracies churned. For the US, the academics from old school tie/ivy league ran a gentleman's business primarily under State Department/diplomatic cover. Sure, there are knuckle draggers in the Special Activities Division and paramilitary ops but you're not going to rise in the corporation from those beginnings.

The Deep State that we see today truly had its genesis and its bloom under Allen Welsh Dulles, an American diplomat and lawyer who became the first civilian Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. His older brother, John Foster Dulles, was the Secretary of State during the Eisenhower Administration and is the namesake of Dulles Airport.

The FBI was a child of J. Edgar Hoover, a corrupt, closet homosexual whose stock in trade was political extortion inside the Washington DC Beltway.

It doesn't matter how your consciences lets you slice it, those facts are not in dispute. And the children of those fathers now pull the strings of power. We've all seen it play out first hand when Hillary Clinton, infinitely corrupt and wicked, didn't win. And President Trump only wanted to Make America Great Again. They couldn't corrupt Trump with money or women or power and he wasn't willing to read what had been written for him by his handlers from a teleprompter.

When 'plato o plomo' was offered to President Trump, he laughed. Speaker Paul Ryan (running mate to Mitt [Pierre Delicto] Romney) tried to explain how things worked several times and the president ignored him. So the machine ground against President Trump, who had been surrounded by the machine the moment he took office.  The corrupt, lying, filthy, sly mainstream media, the core Democrats and the core Republicans all lined up to remove him from office. The selected vehicle was "Russia" - the boogeyman of the Cold War. And it still is. Just turn on the news. Except that there is no more Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation, a fraction if its former size and strength is a regional power with nuclear weapons and a GDP that is smaller than that of Texas. However, none of that matters to the Deep State because China pays to play, so that just leaves Russia.

And America had been brainwashed to fear Russia. The Military Industrial Complex saw to it that we were, because it justified massive budgets and enormous profits... and constant proxy wars. Because as General S. D. Butler, USMC reminds us, "War is a racket".

If you offered corrupt old Slow Joe Biden plato o plomo, he'd take the silver - from China, from Ukraine, from anywhere, just the way that Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative did.  Just the way that the Bush Dynasty did and the way that Barack Obama went from being broke when he entered the White House to a billionaire in eight years. Because that's what America has become under the rule of this filthy machine. un billetico

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Serene Saturday

Tomorrow's blogging (your Sunday Sermonette) is about corruption.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against a spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
But today it's about walking in the Autumn in the Arizona highlands.

Because almost any path is bathed in color as trees shed their leaves in preparation to receive snow, forecast for next Thursday. Soon the male deer and elk will be shedding their antlers and some of them will migrate to lower elevations - however many remain above the 7,000 ft. mark through winter.

Some visitors to Arizona are taken back that the place is not a bleak and forbidding landscape of cactus and scorpions. But that's not how it is everywhere. There are pools in streams that hold German Brown trout who are fattening themselves up for winter. And almost all of the people who live here strive to find an almost holy communion with the land and its bounty.

I had visitors from Greece yesterday and they brought the fixings for a feast, knowing of my genuine love for authentic Greek food. They'd never been to the White Wolf Mine, though they had heard the legends. Who hasn't? Working up an appetite meant walking, listening and trying to become part of the silence, because that's what country life in this place is all about.

Because if you didn't turn on the TV or the computer, you'd never hear of school shootings, the policies that allow the slaughter of born and unborn infants for fun and profit, and the efforts to impeach a good man whose only wish is that America be Great Again. Traffic, the crush of humanity, the incivility of the city, and commercialism seems to be part of another planet.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Fun


The Donkeys have been nipping at each other for supremacy for the better part of a year now. Some have dropped out of the race, but not many. Many of the twenty-five or so have been clinging to the race for nomination by their very teeth. 

Three months from the Iowa Caucus and the beginning of the nominating primary season and in jumps Zillionaire Bloomberg and Devil Patrick, an Obama acolyte who feels that he can eclipse, corrupt old Slow Joe Biden, and will get the Obama endorsement. It's kabuki theater of a very high order. Bloomberg doesn't need to raise money. He can buy everything and still have billions to burn and leave his fellow donkeys floundering. Devil already has money pledged by the Obama faithful or he wouldn't have jumped into the race. Now there is Hillary, awaiting her moment to leap into the fray, entertaining us by falling on her ample rear at critical moments and watching her staff commit suicide if they screw up.

Tell me that we're not having fun. The memes alone are epic.


The Buttguy is running for the Vice Presidential slot for whoever will pick him up. So also may be Tulsi. 

Kamala is a sea anchor because she can't even poll well in California. She may make a great mistress, and those skills made her a Senator from CA, but that's about it. Spartacus would take a VP nod, but really? Spartacus Booker? Yang doesn't have the stroke or the constituency to do much for the Donkeys as a VP. Castro - is Castro and needs a bigger beard to get into character.

Half Time Show

In a desperate bid to garner interest from the lethargic American public, officials involved in the Trump impeachment proceedings have announced that Beyoncé Knowles will perform at today’s Superbowl-styled impeachment halftime show.

Citing poor concentration skills and general apathy among American voters, it was decided entertainment during an interval was needed to increase interest in the country’s latest impeachment proceedings, which was initially billed as “the most entertaining impeachment of them all”.

Prog Disappointment

The first day of impeachment hearings only brought in 13.1 million viewers over all news outlets, which is a decline from the halcyon numbers achieved during Big Jim Comey's hearings, where the smug AH laid out how wounded he was.
The 13,098,000 who tuned in on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN and PBS marks a 32 percent drop from the number of people who watched James Comey’s testimony to Senate Intelligence Committee in May 2017, which delivered more than 19 million viewers.
In February, former Trump personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen’s testimony delivered 15.8 million viewers, while 13 million tuned in to see former special counsel Robert Mueller testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.
Maybe a Beyonce half-time show will boost the ratings? Rep. Adam Schiff, ringmaster in the circus and chief clown in the kangaroo court certainly must hope so. Because the show is about all the Democrats have besides the twenty-five or twenty-six (or more, who knows? Maybe Shifty Schiff will end up running too?) candidates who are trying to convince America that a communist future is a lot more interesting than the Golden Age of Capitalism that the nation now enjoys under President Trump. 

The scam, glorified by the corrupt, lying, filthy, sly mainstream media, is a disgraceful stain on the nation's honor.