sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, June 18, 2018

Climbing the Rigging like Daddy Used to Do

Searching for the Muse

I'm still working on a pirate book that I started (working title: Quidley's Secret) and while it's somewhere shy of half way to completion, work has kept me sufficiently distracted so I'm not pounding away on it. The Research provided some vexing situations since I sincerely try to do a first rate job of portraying people and situations with a high degree of accuracy. 

Even though Charles Barry's ship, Dolphin, is not one of King James II's own, I am relying on the table of British Navy Food Rations (see right) as a guide to what men at sea would eat in the late 1600's. The fare was generally standardized as the century prepared to turn for vessels undertaking long voyages, if for no other reason than the health of the crew (and the likelihood that the voyage would be successful and profitable). A sick or lackluster crew could spell disaster at sea where there was no possibility of help if problems arose.

There is also the issue of ships convoying to the New World (from England to Jamaica). Dolphin, a fast schooner rig when schooners were relatively new, was chosen to get critical cargo to market quickly and those who commissioned the commercial venture wouldn't want it slowed down by other vessels. That was the reason that they chose Dolphin. So they are alone at sea, canvas stretched, trusting to the weather gods that they will be delivered safely to the dangerous and complex Spanish Main.

The line between a merchant ship, a privateer (with a letter of marque) and a royal ship blurred significantly in this time period.

Naval Tradition

There is a family tradition to join the US Navy. My father served in the Navy in the Second World War. My daughter, Heather, married a navy man who was disabled in the line of duty in Afghanistan after they married. His father was navy as well, black shoe, destroyers.  Heather wants to pursue a commission in the US Naval Reserve in the Supply Corps. It's a reserve billet, and I don't think that she is planning on more than inactive reserve duty. For now at any rate. She has the education and corporate experience that would support this sort of a move, and she's still young enough to pull it off.

Her husband separated from the Navy for medical reasons and is now a senior person at a US Navy Research facility. So there's a lot of salt water coursing through that  branch of my family.

Will she earn a stack of gongs, like the old man did (left)? Maybe. Maybe not. But she feels the need to do this and I told her that I'd write letters and if necessary pull strings that I still have leading back to the Pentagon, etc.

I do understand that some this blogs readers served in the Army (America's senior service) or in the Air Force. Some of you served in the Naval Service (Navy and Marine Corps) as well. There are experiences that one obtains in this sort of service - even in a reserve capacity - that can not be measured with a ruler or counted on a calculator.

And if it's a war and if she goes in harm's way - then that's the way it goes and I'm sure that she will make us all proud. For now, she's applied. Let's see where she takes it?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Family

It's Father's Day and I have four girls, who have given me (and are still giving me) wonderful grandchildren. Eight grandkids on the runway and one in the hangar. Will they manage an even 10? It remains to be seen.




Friday, June 15, 2018

International Update

The US of A

    FBI

If you read the recent DOJ Inspector General's report, the corrupt, evil, smug, sly, lying, filthy, elite media "gifted" members of the FBI  in exchange for "leaked information". In other days those would have been called BRIBES. When you pay a government official for restricted information or when you pay them to perform an official act, it's called a BRIBE. Changing the names of what is what doesn't change what it is. Apparently that became the standard way of dealing with the FBI during the years of ObamaNation. Pay to play.  Will it change now?

    Hillary's Scandal(s) 

Barack Obama's filthy fingerprints are all over the spying scandal on the Trump Campaign, primarily in the so-called unmasking of members of the campaign by Susan Rice, he national security advisor. It needs to get to the top, to the man who called the shots - with all of the scandals. I don't think that it will. Certainly not with Operation Fast and Furious and other operations that were blessed by the Oval Office. Maybe it's enough that all that he did during those eight miserable years have been repudiated by President Trump. There really aren't any achievements for him to boast of in his presidential library and monument to himself...that Chicago is holding up because sufficient juice hasn't been paid to the people who control the permitting process.

Bang the Gongs and Bark at the Moon

Saudi religious authorities declared they saw the crescent moon, making 15 June Eid al-Fitr 2018. Ramadan is over.

North Korea

There are a lot of mixed reactions to the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. There are a LOT of rice bowls that can end up being broken because of it. Keep that in mind when you hear the reactions. The situation that has held sway for seven decades is being overturned. 

Virtual Mirage (your only reliable source for international news) reported (albeit briefly) on the internal security precautions taken during Kim Jong Un’s absence from North Korea. A report published by The Daily NK provided a limited insight into the source of the regime’s concern. Its sample included North Koreans working in China and people in Pyongyang.

In the limited sample, several North Koreans said they had no idea about the outside world. Two wondered why the people were forced to sacrifice so much to build a nuclear force that was to be bargained away. One said he felt deceived. Another person worried that North Korea would be vulnerable to a US attack, if it gave up its nuclear weapons.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Chairman Kim, is a vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Central Committee, which instructs party cadre nationwide on public indoctrination. She acted as Chairman Kim’s executive assistant at the Singapore summit.

Her department issued instructions that North Korean officials and party cadre may not make individual statements about denuclearization. Lecturers were ordered to only speak as instructed by the Party. 

Press control and public opinion control is said to be stricter than ever to guard against negative reactions.

   Japanese Reaction

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and US Defense Secretary James Mattis discussed the Singapore summit in a telephone conversation on 14 June. Onodera said Japan and the US need to cooperate closely to continue calling for the thorough implementation of UN Security Council resolutions dealing with North Korea.

He said the goal is to have Pyongyang give up all its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of any range.

Japanese leaders conveyed concerned about a possible draw down on US soldiers in South Korea. The Japanese leadership favors they remain. While most nations do not pay for the presence of US troops who provide security, Japan does and has.

The Japanese profoundly distrust the North Koreans and prefer a US buffer between themselves and the South Koreans. 

Syria and Iran in Syria

In an interview with Iran's Al-Alam TV on 13 June, Syrian President Assad said he needed the assistance of Iranian and Hizballah forces in Syria. He said they would stay for as long as they are necessary. 

Assad acknowledged having received critical support from Iranian advisers and fighters as well as Iraqi Shiite militias and Lebanese Hizballah. He said those fighters were still needed for the government to regain control an estimated 40 percent of the country that is still controlled by rebel forces. 

This is tantamount to sending Israel a challenge.

Turkey vs Italy

Italy refuted Turkey’s fake news. A spokesperson for the Italian Ministry of Defense told the press that Italian troops were not in Syria. Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu claimed on 13 June that Italy had sent troops to Deir ez-Zor province to “support the YPG/PKK terrorist group.” 

The Italian government refuses to take any more illegal immigrants from Islamic countries. Turkey concocted a lie to make Italy a target for Muslim outrage. Turkey manages the flow of illegals to European Union countries to support President Erdogan’s Islamist and authoritarian administration.

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The Coming Weekend

Friday begins my Father's Day Weekend. No more travel, no more stress. 'Home is sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter, home from the hill.' Today, I'm taking one set of grandsons to see the new Star Wars film, Solo. I am ambivalent on the matter, but the boys are excited. Sunday many of the daughters and grandchildren will gather for a hamburger/hot dog BBQ. 

There has been push back. One person called with a lot of needs that I should attend to this weekend -   which were met by a "poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" style response. 

Construction of the shack at the White Wolf Mine continues endlessly, and the bills roll in, endlessly. I'm pleased to be such a big part of the economy in the Arizona highlands... The general contractor has never dealt with the installation of Sub Zero/Wolf appliances. They send their own team in to do it. I guess there has been some friction. It's a learning experience. The fire pushed the completion date into September.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Statecraft (the Greatest Game)

War as an Option (understanding historical contexts)

Hillary Clinton wanted a war. She wanted to be a 'war president' because you can gather more power to yourself during a war. 
Example: FISA was approved following the attack on 9/1/2001 and it's still in place. We all know that it was the source of FBI/government abuse with fraudulent affidavits submitted to spy on the Trump campaign.
President Trump took the opposite approach during his campaign and has approached peace as the ideal during his presidency - while maintaining vigilance (the price of freedom).  Obama (demigod of the progs) chose appeasement as a solution but we know that is only a path to war.
Example: British Prime Minister Neville (Peace-in-our-Time) Chamberlain chose to appease Hitler as he gobbled up Europe and was to blame in part for Britains inability to contain Hitler before that tanks swarmed the Sudetenland, Austria, Poland and were taking France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Progressive people take the wrong lessons from history (i.e. Marxism works) and forget the practical course for long term peace and prosperity. President Trump is on the right side of things. He reads history and understands what has and what has not worked in the past. Only by understanding what was done wrong and what did and did not work, can we craft a path for the future. 

Spying

I approve of spying (war by other means) and whether or not I approved of it, nation states will engage in it.

Anyone who has dabbled in the dark arts will enjoy the rich hypocrisy that the corrupt, evil, sly, lying, smug, elite mainstream media and the "progressive empire" as best typified by Rep. Maxine Waters and Sen. (Crying) Chuck Schumer. We meddle in the Russian's elections, and the Russians meddle in ours. Barack Obama (oracle of the progressive movement) signed a classified finding that directed the CIA to meddle in Israeli elections with the goal of removing PM Benjamin Netanyahu from office.

Of course, the Russians try to meddle. Did President Trump collude? Of course not. But the FBI took out an "insurance policy" to remove him from office so that he could be disposed of in the (then) unlikely chance that he won.

The Propaganda Machine

In the US, the propaganda machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Deep State, which means that the presence of President Trump in the White House is something that must be opposed by any and all measures possible.

The Deep State profits from unfair tariffs, so they wish them to continue, irrespective of the trillions of dollars that the US hemorrhages. Thus the situation at the G-7 Summit deeply disturbed them. There is a rule of thumb. A litmus test if you will. Whatever CNN/MSNBC opposes or mocks is likely a good thing.

Winning back Congress is something that the Deep State must do if they plan to stop President Trump's agenda. The Donkey Party (or Ass Party if you will - brings to mind an orgy on somebody else's dime.) suggests that the key to the future is raising taxes and opening the US borders to any and all to come on in. How dumb are the American people? It remains to be seen.

Alec Baldwin thinks that he can be the next president. Madonna should run as VP to keep things in the Screen Actor's Guild family. It's the next big Donkey strategy...


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Passion for Fashion (thing for bling)


“Why do Russian and Ukrainian soldiers always wear balaclavas?” 

The balaclava, commonly known as the ski mask, originated in the Ukrainian town of that name during the Crimean War battle there in 1854. British troops wore the headgear to keep warm.

Later, in the Soviet Union, the balaclava was a standard issue uniform item for many units across the Red Army. Today, its use has spread beyond eastern Europe to police, SWAT, special forces and terrorist organizations around the world.

During the Irish War for Independence and “the Troubles”, members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) wore balaclava masks to conceal their identities in the same way that 'progressive' protesters do on college campuses today. The easy way to deal with the situation comes from my roots. You kill anything with a mask. Later, when the area is clear,  you pull of the mask and photograph the carcass. It may not be strictly "fair", but what is fair about war? Or war by other means?

Medieval Solution
By the time I began to phase out of pulling a trigger for a living, US Military people took to wearing Arab Arafat Shemagh Kafiyah Desert Style Scarfs. It was a gucci-style accessory and some Americans and Brits bought them on-line to be cool. It didn't always work and at times they ended up dead and being photographed when the area was clear. Friendly fire can be a bitch, but when you think that it's cool to look like the enemy - oops. Darwin award time.

French police do it now because up until recently, many had to turn in their firearms at the end of shift. If they were identified, the Muslims would terrorize their families. There is a solution to that sort of problem but the French opted for masks. Whatever, I guess that Charles Martel wore a helmet with an avontail with his helmet, though that was used for a different reason.   

Back to Ukraine. The importance of wearing balaclava masks is tied to a fighting tactic the Russians have used for more than 100 years. This Russian military doctrine is called “maskirovka” and covers a broad range of military deception measures. Police in the US who work in undercover roles started doing it in the 90's, then it caught on and became fashionable.

At its core, maskirovka is designed to sow confusion. A 1988 Pentagon study of the technique says “Maskirovka may be conducted in any environment to deny information to sensors.”
Writing for the Moscow Times, Michele A. Berdy states, “маскировка [Something masked] has a broader military meaning: strategic, operational, physical and tactical deception. Apparently in U.S. military terminology, this is called either CC&D (camouflage, concealment and deception) or more recently D&D (denial and deception). It is the whole shebang — from guys in ski masks or uniforms with no insignia, to undercover activities, to hidden weapons transfers, to starting a civil war but pretending that you’ve done nothing of the sort.”
Denial is one of the core tactics of maskirovka. Whether you're a protester on a college campus or a terrorist running around somewhere you shouldn't be, killing unarmed people for fun and profit. After the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, it was clear that Russian special forces (Spetznaz) had seized government buildings. But Putin gave a news conference the following day denying that Russian soldiers were in the country.

When journalists asked Vladimir Putin where the troops in Crimea came from, the Russian president answered, “There are many military uniforms. Go into any shop and you can find one.” With a straight face, Putin assured journalists that the “little green men,” as they have come to be called, were “local self-defense units.”


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Right Skills

Our fellow blogger Mike MD might not see it this way, but I consider myself a 'trail surgeon'. Let me paint the picture for you. We'll call you LSP, for sake of convenience here on this blog, are out in the back of beyond, far from conventional transportation and the reach of cell phones. You were careless enough to venture out there without a sat phone and suddenly, you find yourself in medical distress. You have few options: (a) Crawl under a bush and wait for the valkyries to take you as you clutch your hunting knife to prove your worth to them; (b) You try and walk out, during which time you drop your knife and the valkyries will pass you by and you'll end up in Hellheim (shudder); (c) You invite a amateur trail surgeon (that would be me) who packs a rusty knife, some parachute cord and a flask of Oh Be Joyful to assuage your pain, making use of his skills for your benefit. Now the plan takes shape for you. I can 'practice' medicine with the best frontier types, and may beat out these guys.
"For thousands of years, trepanation -- the act of scraping, cutting, or drilling an opening into the cranium -- was practiced around the world, primarily to treat head trauma, but possibly to quell headaches, seizures and mental illnesses, or even to expel perceived demons."
Some of you may ask whether I could do a better job patching a wound than the French Foreign Legion barbers at Sidi Bel Abbes (North Africa) in the late 1800's. Or whether I could keep up with the French Foreign Legion engineers (photo right).  The answer is, you bet your bippy I can. I also have an axe.

Sure, some of you wimps would opt for a tourniquet or quick clot and a wash down with beta dyne to keep the would clean. Some of you might even object to me taking a drink to steady my hand before I cut with the (razor sharp, but rusty) camp knife. But I also bring a copy of the Good Book in the event that I need to say a few words over the carcass before rolling it into a hole...that's the kind of surgeon I am. RIP, and carry on.