sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Laying-Up in Edinburgh

The Digs
I'm laying up in Edinburgh, getting adjusted to the time change from US Pacific Time Zone to GMT, before the party starts. So far, so good. 9:42 am GMT at this point. Shave, shower and so forth accomplished and I'm ready to head out and be the miserable SOB you all know that I am.

Last night the Edinburgh Military Tattoo was held under a CLOUDLESS SKY. Thus the command presence is revealed. As an editorial note, the Tattoo would have gone off even in the rain, and because it rains every day when I'm not here, I guess that it's par for the course. When I lived in this part of the world it rained on me constantly, but I was younger then. Now, I have the weather cooperating (for the moment). 

The flat where I'm acclimating is toward the Firth from the Caledonian Hotel (west) end of Princess St, off Queen's Ferry (for you old Scotland hands). I can't see the castle from the flat, but I can if I walk out the door, down the street and turn a corner. You'll note that there were clouds over the castle when I took the photo. 'nobody's perfect'...

Edinburgh Castle
The Tattoo (stock footage - too dark to take a photo with my cell phone)
So I'm sitting here, drinking my Irn Bru, and checking in with all of you. (I think that I'm becoming a poet)

And speaking of poetry and art philosophy, I did stop into a local pub and say that drinks were on the house thanks to Jules Smith (prominent art philosopher). That and a hundred quid (pub was almost empty) did the trick! It works. Whenever you're in the UK, give it a go yourself.



Saturday, August 12, 2017

On Walk-About

While the world is going to hell in a hand basket...

I'm headed to the UK for a couple of weeks and will be hanging with some of the buddies I made when I lived there (mumbles) years ago. There will be visits to bases at Plymouth and Credenhill in Herefordshire as part of a 40th Anniversary for a motley crew of seconded American officers. I may post the odd blog or I may not. I have no plans either way. 

The weather report calls for rain and I'm hoping that my command presence will cause the clouds to roll back and the sun to shine. However, being less prone to hubris (having had my butt kicked by it too many times), I am bringing an umbrella, a rain coat, Wellington boots...and warm clothes. I have no plans to wear the kilt, though I'm sure that I'd look 'fabulous' wearing one.

Speaking of kilts...

One must-do during the visit is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I see that they're practicing for my arrival. That's decent of them. There are pipe bands that parade on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh City Festival. This is the Black Watch, and the last time that I was there I recall the Gordons. By this point you should be thinking to yourself - LL likes bagpipes. That is the case. I also like Edinburgh. The Scots often look down their noses at Edinburgh because tourists congregate there. I get it. It's still fun. And while nobody ruins good food like the British, the Islands are still the only place to get proper fish and chips and a few other personal LL favorites.

Getting there is said to be half the fun, so I'm flying "upper class" on Virgin Atlantic to get in the mood. 

In a telephone call to the widow of a good friend this morning I was informed that a pie shop that I liked in Carlisle was replace by  --  A SANDWICH BAR. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot? Have they gone mad in my absence? I may need to go to Keswick to get a steak pie in the Lake District.

After all of these years, it must be possible to get a proper root beer float in the UK? I asked around and the 'answer is still no'. It's the litmus test for culture. I recall making sloppy joes and serving them to my British friends and forcing them to eat them with their hands (not with a knife and fork). The comment ran that "they're so sloppy". Yes, that's the genius isn't it?

LL, training with the DLC
Cuisine aside and culture notwithstanding, I'm sure that it will be fun.

LSP - And I will explain that the Dallas Light Cavalry (DLC) unit is a mixed Anglo-American outfit. So I'm still not completely divorced from the 'old country'. No it's not the SAS or 62 Commando, but it's still comprised of a worthy bunch of cut-throats who know precisely where to fish for striped bass.

The barracks in Hillsboro, TX is run with an iron fist, and as with The Irish Guards, it has its own blue mascot that accompanies troops on parade.

Meanwhile, Back at Work
Note to John D. - Randy said we should be up and running in Texas by the time I get back. If true, we're going to have to strong-arm LSP into showing us where that fishing hole is.


I leave you all with this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYgnXePZb2o (Jacobites vs Redcoats)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Follies

OPLAN 5027

(Wikipedia) It began about two months ago with the US quietly moving pieces around the chessboard to be prepared for a North Korean attack on South Korea, Japan, or US Territories (Saipan, Guam, etc.) The OPLAN is in its essence, a logistics activity in its initial phase(s) The military calls it the "Time-Phased Force and Deployment List," or TPFDL.

It includes moving anti-ballistic missile assets to places where they will be needed and to pre-position US aircraft to strike North Korea. I don't know how close to complete the US is and wouldn't write it down if I knew, but we all have seen this coming and the Pentagon started the ball rolling some time ago.

The Trump Chicken

The liberal move to try to embarrass President Trump failed again, as the president accepted the logo.

h/t daily time waster 
Have a great Friday and a glorious weekend.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Warnings and Intentions

North Korea offered a clarification of its statement on August 8th, wherein they explained that Guam was a current target being considered. The clarification is that they plan to launch four Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missiles at Guam later in August as a warning to the United States of America. 
“As already clarified, the Strategic Force of the KPA is seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the US.” 
“On Tuesday, the KPA Strategic Force through a statement of its spokesman fully warned the US against its all-round sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and moves of maximizing military threats to it.”

“But the US president at a gold (should be “golf”) links again let out a load of nonsense about ‘fire and fury,’ failing to grasp the on-going grave situation.”

“This is extremely getting on the nerves of the infuriated Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA. It seems that he has not yet understood the statement.”

“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him. This is the judgment made by the service personnel of the KPA Strategic Force.”

“The military action the KPA is about to take will be an effective remedy for restraining the frantic moves of the US in the southern part of the Korean peninsula and its vicinity.”

“The Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA Strategic Force are replete with a strong determination to fully demonstrate once again the invincible might of the force, which has developed into a reliable nuclear force of the Workers' Party of Korea and the world's strongest strike service, through the planned enveloping strike targeting the U.S. imperialist bases of aggression.”

“The Strategic Force is also considering the plan for opening to public the historic enveloping fire at Guam, a practical action targeting the U.S. bases of aggression.”

“This unprecedented step is to give stronger confidence in certain victory and courage to the Korean people and help them witness the wretched plight of the U.S. imperialists.”

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan. They will fly 3 356.7 km for 1 065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam.”

“The KPA Strategic Force will finally complete the plan until mid-August and report it to the commander-in-chief of the DPRK nuclear force and wait for his order.”

“We keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the US.”
Hwasong-12 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile
The format and content of the statement above, the description of the Hwasong rocket salvo, etc., follows the pattern of pre-launch rhetoric that we saw on their ballistic missile launches of  4 and 28 July. 

It is a pre-launch warning notices to mariners, aircraft and to Japan that North Korea intends to launch missiles over Japan into the Pacific so as to bracket Guam sometime after mid-August. That is a normal requirement of international law. It means that Guam is in a North Korean closure area.

Under Kim Jong Un, one characteristic of the ballistic missile and nuclear programs is that the North Koreans have done what they said they would do, except for the nuclear detonation in April 2017. 

Kim’s reflexive reaction to US actions, such as military exercises or the UN Security Council's recent sanctions (which they blame on the US) has been to escalate with sharp rhetoric and to take physical action – launch missiles -- without going to war.

Kim probably judges that he can launch a salvo of missiles without warheads which bracket Guam and that the US will not retaliate by striking North Korea. The North Korean diplomatic corps has hinted at "setting the mood" for talks and this may be one way that Kim Jong Un plans to prepare for talks where it makes demands of the US, which will cower in fear after the launch of 4 IRBM's at Guam.

In the mind of the corpulent boy king, Kim Jong Un (the only fat man in North Korea), firing missiles over Japan at Guam, if given fair warning, is an acceptable demonstration of capacity and is not a declaration of war. The North Koreans have not made moves to mobilize the civilian work force, which will disrupt agricultural production. Their war plans call for protecting the work force in fall out shelters before war. That sort of disruption is very expensive and will risk starvation during the winter (unless China bails them out).

US Reaction

I'm just looking at dove entrails here. I could be wrong. But...

A shoot-down of the missiles would be a fair way of USGov to explain through actions how it feels and may not trigger a war, but this sort of behavior by China's client state is exceptionally dangerous. If the missiles should hit Guam or go off course and hit Japan, there would likely be a US retaliatory strike. If the missiles are about to hit Guam and are shot down, there would likely be a US retaliatory strike. The North Koreans have stated that any retaliation for their behavior would mean war on the Korean Peninsula. For the North Koreans, that means their first use of nuclear weapons or gas weapons, which means the same thing to the US. The US would likely respond in kind and there we go.

Japanese Reaction

Japan stated that it would shoot down missiles flying over its territory aimed at Guam. There are reports of Japanese construction of bomb shelters. Japan has also expressed an interest in doubling its navy (capacity to shoot down ballistic missiles). None of this will be pleasing to China, which would like to be Japan's big brother.

Commentary

Based on historical context and precedence, the North Koreans could be deterred from this conduct by China. The Chinese did this and stopped the sixth nuclear weapons test that the Norks were planning to light off.  The Chinese did sign off on the most recent UN Security Council resolution that increased sanctions on North Korea for their missile testing (in violation of an earlier resolution).

It's an incredibly touchy situation and people are going to be throwing advice back and forth to President Trump. Ultimately the US military response to North Korea will be the prevue of the Commander-in-Chief. 

This will not be the last North Korean provocation (unless it leads to war, then it likely will be), and I stand by my prediction that there will be a war, likely a nuclear war, on the Korean Peninsula within the next 6 months.

Mainstream Media Reaction

The sly, corrupt, smug, elite, lying mainstream media blames President Trump - and his relationship with Russia. They may also blame global warming, but I don't tune in enough to know if that's the case.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

North Korean Threat to Guam (analysis)

The Norks

The fat little dictator, Kim Jong Un, playing his 'mouse that roared' scenario is over-playing his hand, but there's nobody close to him who can explain it in a way that he will understand. 

On 9 August, North Korean media published a statement by the Strategic Forces of the Korean People's Army (KPA). The key paragraph follows.
“The KPA Strategic Forces is now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam...The plan is to be reported to the Supreme Command soon after going through full examination and completion and will be put into practice in a multi-concurrent and consecutive way any moment once Kim Jong Un...makes a decision.” 
This statement does not contain an explicit threat to Guam. It confirms that Guam is a North Korean ballistic missile target. It describes the higher-level approval process, which apparently has not been accomplished. It states a fact that execution of the plan requires a decision by Kim Jong Un. 

The Strategic Force is North Korea’s missile command. A statement by the Supreme Command would be more ominous.

Multiple ballistic missile launches in 2016 and the two launches last month establish that North Korean missiles have the range to reach Guam. They might lack the accuracy to hit the island, but a near miss (or even not so near of a miss) would be an act of war.

The Norks are full of bluster as always, but they're trying to make a point to the world, while they ramp up their plan to fight the US. I'll distill some of the key elements of a long rant for the sake of brevity on this blog.
“Under the prevailing grave situation, the General Staff of the KPA clarifies at home and abroad its resolute stand as follows to mercilessly smash all sorts of military provocation, being planned by the U.S. imperialist warmongers, with the inexhaustible military might of the powerful revolutionary Paektusan army which has so far been built.”
"The provocative ‘preventive war’ the U.S. has devised and plans to execute will be countered with a just all-out war of wiping out all the strongholds of the enemies including the US mainland."
“The US should remember, however, that once there is observed a sign of action for ‘preventive war’ from the US, the army of the DPRK will turn the US mainland into the theatre of a nuclear war before the inviolable land of the DPRK turns into the one.”
North Korea will preemptively attack before the US preemptively attacks.
"The attempt at ‘preemptive attack’ oft-repeated by the US military warmongers will be mercilessly foiled by the Korean style preemptive attack which will be mounted earlier.”
“The Korean-style earlier preemptive attack will burn up all the objects in the areas under the control of the first and third field armies of the puppet forces including Seoul the moment the U.S. reckless attempt at preemptive attack is spotted, and will lead to the all-out attack for neutralizing the launch bases of the U.S. imperialist aggression forces in the Pacific operational theatre together with the simultaneous strike at the depth of the whole of the southern half.”
North Korea is prepared to resist any secret operation that the US may mount.
“The anti-U.S. resistance of all the people including three million Children's Union members and five million youths will smash to pieces the "secret operation" which the U.S. dreams to conduct in the DPRK.” 
“The US has gone hysteric, being quite unaware of the army and people of the DPRK.” 
“The DPRK is an invincible ideological power in which all the service personnel and people are united around their leader in single mind and a country of an impregnable fortress in which all the people are armed and the whole country has been fortified.”
The statement by the General Staff spokesman asserts that North Korea will defeat all US war plans that have been mentioned in open sources. A decapitation attack will fail because North Korea will retaliate at the first sign of such an attack. Preventive attacks will fail because North Korea will escalate to all-out general war and attack the US mainland.

A preemptive attack will fail because North Korean will strike first, executing its pre-emptive attack before the US can. This means that North Korea will strike probably when its intelligence agencies conclude that the US has made the decision to attack North Korea. 

That judgment will be based on North Korea’s detection and interpretation of US military actions. The difficulty with that is that the US has lots of recent experience with different kinds of warfare. North Korean leaders have prepared for only one kind of warfare and have no experience fighting it. There is a grave danger that North Korea will misperceive or misinterpret US and Allied intentions.

Chinese Reaction

The quasi-official newspaper, Global Times, published another Op-ed piece on the North Korea situation, but this one is a tutorial for the US. It is entitled, “US needs correct logic in dealing with North Korea.”
“The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously passed a resolution to impose ever tougher sanctions on North Korea. Many of these measures need to be paid by China, as China has been North Korea's biggest trading partner due to geographic reasons….”
“The US is the sole superpower, but its media and elites are the most narrow-minded. They unreasonably require the whole world to serve US interests, which they view as universal values.”
The paragraphs that follow provide insights into Chinese thinking about the crisis.
“North Korea sees the US-South Korea alliance as a threat. Given various reasons, it embarked on the wrong path of developing nuclear and missile technology. Washington and Seoul take security as their core interests, but so does Pyongyang which is vulnerable to the US-South Korea alliance. If the enmity between the US and North Korea cannot be resolved, the motives of North Korea to own nuclear weapons and develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach US soil will not cease.” 
“External sanctions will only delay North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missiles, but cannot crush the determination of Pyongyang to stick to this path. Why does US society keep silent about such a simple and tested fact?” 
“The US wants China to play a leading role in sanctioning Pyongyang so it can reap the benefits. Meanwhile, the US and South Korea could just be bystanders as China and North Korea confront each other...”  
“Many Americans view the world through a superior lens. They believe only the US and the West are right in everything and the politics of non-Western countries are immature.”  
“US society may have to reshape a broader vision and a rational way of thinking. Only when mainstream opinion is clear-headed, can the US cope with all kinds of challenges more effectively.”
This article makes it explicit that the Chinese are aware of the price they must pay to enforce the UN sanctions. They have decided to pay that price, but resent that the US and South Korea might benefit from Chinese sacrifices.

The Chinese leaders are sensitive to North Korea’s sense of vulnerability to the US-led alliance. They judge that North Korea has not chosen a wise path for handling it, but they also judge that North Korea will not take a different path until North Korea no longer feels threatened.

China considers sanctions a delaying tactic. The Chinese purpose is to achieve a suspension, not to coerce North Korea into stopping its programs. The message is that no one should expect that they will.

China is acutely aware that US policy would have the effect of substituting China for the US and South Korea in a confrontation with North Korea. China refuses to cooperate with that scheme. 

Chinese leaders have fundamental differences with the US about the nature of the crisis, who must take the lead in a confrontation with North Korea and about the aims of sanctions. In short, the Chinese leaders do not trust the US leaders to behave in a way consistent with Chinese best interests.

US Policy

The Trump Administration is not the Obama Administration and SECDEF Mattis is not some jumped-up political appointee. I still anticipate a kinetic war that will likely go nuclear on the Korean Peninsula within the next 5-6 months. The Norks are increasing hysterical and emotional and as stated above, their naive world view would likely cause them to react to something that is not intended as 'preemptive action'. When missiles are flying back and forth, China, on the border with North Korea has far more to lose than they do by sanctioning North Korea and starving them into backing down -- but they're still very slow to do that.

My own personal judgment is that the Norks themselves are past the point of no-return.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Morning Run

Cross-Posted to the Diavel Made Me Do It blog:

Log Item: Santa Rosa Plateau

Tenaja Falls
My daughter, Emilie, reminded me that I promised to take her on a motorcycle ride up through the Santa Rosa Plateau (back side of Camp Pendleton, CA), and to breakfast. The Santa Rosa Plateau is a really nice area full of orchards, vineyards, estates and some ecological preserves with hiking trails. We weren't hiking today, we were biking on the Diavel.

Emilie
It's a delightful ride and we spent three hours riding down roads covered over with canopies of trees (tree tunnels), and through winding valleys. 

2017 has been a wet year and there are some seasonal lakes that remain filled despite the summer dry season. It's the climate change that Al Gore warned us all about.

We drove south to Fallbrook and I told Emilie to yelp someplace to eat and she came up with the Main Street Cafe. 

LL
Emilie ordered the biscuits and gravy. Not me.

LL on Diavel
And then it was east from Fallbrook toward I-15 completing the loop.

The Ducati ran like a clock and its nimble handling makes it a joy to drive on narrow back roads such as those encountered today.

There are a few routine maintenance issues that I need to see to, but tools and supplies are still packed in the endless boxes in the garage. I don't want to unpack here because we're moving again.

A Brief Rant


David Leonhardt of the NY Times explains income inequality HERE, and blames President Trump for the 2014 spike. Hey, New York Times, President Trump wasn't the US President in 2014. In the classic communist party model that we've seen played out in Russia, North Korea, China, Cuba, and now in Venezuela, there are two classes. The very rich and the poor. This is how 'social justice' looks.

The capacity to maintain a robust middle class is the hallmark of a Republic and that middle class has been under assault for decades. Things were set right under President Reagan, but that did not last. The Reagan dividend continued under Bill Clinton because the momentum was strong and the Contract with America helped keep it going. 

A bigger government killed the middle class. More government spending and more government debt sucked all of the air out of the room. The article explains that the ideal would be to return to the 1950's and 1960's. I agree. No healthcare entitlements, and smaller government spending with more of the business of governing devolved to the cities, counties and states. 

This is the choice that the Deep State wanted to
offer you.
The NY Times got it backwards. Their prescription for wealth building is a bigger federal government with more money being pushed down from Washington DC to schools and into government healthcare. The answer is just the opposite, and that's what President Trump is doing. The corrupt, lying, smug, nasty, sly mainstream media doesn't want to explain that while the stock market being stronger than it has EVER been tends to benefit everyone. A rising tide floats all boats. Allowing the states to deal with education and healthcare tends to focus the money where it's needed for the very poor without mountains of federal regulations. Fewer government jobs means that there is more money in the hands of the (non-government apparatchik) middle class.

We are choked to death on entitlements. You can pour a billion dollars into "fixing Detroit" and billion will vanish almost instantly. Barack dumped $800 billion into "shovel ready jobs" and it vanished into the bureaucracy, never to be seen. The economy didn't get better. It got steadily worse under his watch for every-day men and women. Cronies became billionaires. Pay to play enriched the power elite.

President Trump is doing the right thing by opening up federal land for mineral exploration and extraction. It will create well paid jobs. He is doing the right thing by reducing regulations and in trying to fix the tax problem that everyone agrees is a problem. Everyone except the "Deep State", that group of power elite who benefited so handsomely from the Obama Administration. It's the same Deep State that wished to offer America the choice between Jeb! and Hillary. It consists of Republicans and Democrats, and their masters (your betters), mostly globalists with a stake in a weak America, who were shocked by the rise of Donald Trump. They control the filthy, corrupt mainstream media -- and the NY Times. 

The election of President Trump was an upset of Biblical proportions to the Deep State and we can see their war on him play out every day in the corrupt media. However, the panic of Trump is also playing out in the panic over the Democrat Party's incompetence. 

The "Better Deal" - that the Dems are running on is the Trump Platform with a 'much bigger government' twist on things. Will they manage to wrest back the halls of power from the Republican Party? Maybe...but the election of President Trump and the repudiation of Hillary and Jeb! showed a deep dissatisfaction with the effect of the Deep State and a mistrust of the people that "They", the Deep State chose for us.

There is Washington DC, New York City, Hollywood and crime ridden inner cities pledged to vote for whoever gives them free things in their new world. Then there is everywhere else.