sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Modern Life

We're all Indians Now

Some of you will recall that I had a family legend that circulated my entire life, suggesting that I had relatives who were part Creek. In fact, if you believed the legend, I was 1/8 Creek. I swallowed the lie because it was convincingly delivered. 

I found genetic comfort in the fact that I like both knives AND tomahawks.

With modern family search/ancestry/DNA resources available, I found that the story was a complete fabrication. Those ancestors who were said to be Indian were white as were their ancestors and there were documents (original images on-line) to prove it, going back to the 1600's. In those days, a declaration of race accompanied birth and christening documents because right-to-inherit, own land, vote, etc. was tied to that issue in whole or in part. 

My mother had framed photos of my Indian ancestors on her walls. Total bilge water. Her brother, my uncle, had his whole self image wrapped around his ancestry, and now, into his early 80's, it's been stripped away by modern technology.

BUT WAIT, there's hope. Senator Elizabeth Warren is claiming that .9% Native American DNA makes her an Indian. It could have been Aztec or some sort of South American rather than Cherokee, but she proclaimed herself a squaw. Maybe my mother and uncle are Indians when you apply that standard!

The next question is where I need to go to get a piece of the profit from the casinos and oil wells. And don't I qualify for some sort of allotment due to my minority status? The government owes me hundreds of pounds of free cheese that I never claimed.

Hungary Takes a Stand

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, signed a decree, which went into effect last Saturday, removing gender studies from a list of approved master’s programs.
“The Hungarian government is of the clear view that people are born either men or women,” Orban’s chief of staff said in August. “They lead their lives the way they think best, but beyond this, the Hungarian state does not wish to spend public funds on education in this area.”
Apparently he did not take into account that there are 32 possible gender identification options (the rules for determining what "you" are remain fungible on a daily basis), many of which are recognized through Europe and the US. Imagine the thought that people are born as men or women? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Intrigue in Belgrade, Yemen, etc.

The nature of warfare is changing, and some of this has to do with a lot of highly trained US Servicemen who are selling their skills to unscrupulous potentates. The scenario isn't new. During the middle ages, English longbowmen, Genoese crossbowmen, Swiss pikemen, etc. did much the same thing - and the nature of warfare changed then too. 

A number of middle aged men with skills have approached me over time, asking whether or not they should get into the trade, and my advice is always, "no".  So this cautionary note is sort of a letter in a bottle to all of those people as well as something to blog about.

Daniel Corbett, second from right, with Abraham
Golan, second from left, and Isaac Gilmore, far right.

Buzzfeed News
A friend of mine (L. C.) shared the story of a US Navy SEAL reservist Daniel Corbett, who has been held in prison in Serbia for eight months while under investigation for possession of an illegal handgun. The story made news from the outset because local outlets and various boutique US News sources found it to be 'sexy and salacious'. (The corrupt, elite, mainstream media would have reported it if Stormy Daniels had been involved, but she wasn't.)

In July, his criminal lawyer was gunned down in Belgrade in a gangland-style hit that remains unsolved. It is not known if the lawyer’s killing is related to Corbett’s case.

Corbett, who goes by the nickname “Dirty,” had combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to three sources familiar with his military record. He first served with SEAL Team 5 from 2004–2007, and with Naval Special Warfare Development Group or DEVGRU from 2008-2011. From then until 2016, he was assigned to Naval Reserve SEAL Team 17 (drilling reservist) while he pursued his civilian career in search of whore's gold.

In 2016, Corbett also worked in Yemen for several months for Spear Operations Group. Spear Operations Group (a US based company) was funded by the United Arab Emirates to assassinate Islamist political leaders and activist clerics. (more HERE)

Abraham Golan, who runs Spear, had traveled to Serbia with Corbett in early 2018, according to Serbian news reports. 

Corbett’s first lawyer, Dragoslav “Misa” Ognjanovic, insisted in April 2018 that the firearm Corbett was accused of possessing did not function at the time. BUT its serial numbers had been removed and that's a separate crime. In June, Serbian prosecutors announced they had indicted Corbett and three Serbian citizens on weapons charges that carried up to 12 years in prison. But on July 24, a court in Belgrade ruled that the indictment could not go forward unless it was rewritten to include more forensic information about the firearm.

Four days later, Ognjanovic, the lawyer, was shot down in front of his apartment building. (sic transit gloria mundi) The lawyer was essentially a mob lawyer, so there were other motives to kill him beyond his representation of Dirty Corbett.

As of this date, Corbett languishes in the Belgrade Central Prison, and I'm not suggesting that he doesn't belong there.

And who knows how long Dirty Corbett will be there? He is said to be cursing his bad luck - but "the fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves".

Dirty Corbett picked a bad group to attach his future to. Spear Operations Group, incorporated in Delaware and founded by Abraham Golan, (Hungarian Israeli security contractor living near Pittsburgh) is a loud mouth. Which means that when he sang to various news outlets about the assassinations that he and friends committed, it doomed Dirty. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Update and Perspectives

One Perspective

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." I think of this quote often these days when the media attacks the President for doing the right thing. There's a lot of blindness inside the beltway, in the hallowed halls of the mainstream media, at Satan's Vatican and the rest of America's elite universities. And I'm not saying that wisdom is reposed in fly-over country exclusively, but even one eye is better than being totally blind - in a metaphorical sense.

The nation elected Donald Trump as president. It elected legislators where Republicans are in the majority. It did these things to restore balance to the dismal years of Obamanation that we experienced. And Obama re-entered the political spotlight (as if to say, NO, I'm Spartacus), stumping for candidates, and then mysteriously withdrew. Has he stopped sending a tingle up the legs of homosexual males? I can't say. You'd have to ask them.

It may be wishful thinking, but my sense is that the Republicans will keep control of the legislature in the mid-term.

Meanwhile, the work at the White Wolf Mine continues, and with the lease on the interim house expired and me moved out, I'm staying with children in the mean time. It's nice to spend time with the grandkids, and consulting work continues, so I'm not underfoot all that much. But the situation is far from ideal.

Now a few other observations:

North/South Korea

On 16 October, North Korea, South Korea and the United Nations Command convened their first three-way meeting to discuss demilitarizing the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom.

Other topics up for discussion are an evaluation of progress in removing landmines and guard posts, adjustments to border surveillance equipment, and ways to mutually verify demilitarization efforts. The US was displeased by the military annex to the Pyongyang Declaration because it was not consulted. A military agreement between the two Koreas, who are technically still at war, is not a bilateral issue, and the senior Alliance partner was not involved. The Commander of the UN Command in Korea is a US Army General who is also the Commander of US Forces Korea. The US is now involved, and the US Commander said he supports tension reduction measures, including the removal of land mines and some guard posts along the Demilitarized Zone.

However, the agenda was set by military leaders from the two Koreas. They are the parties who agreed to disarm the guards in the Joint Security Area, remove land mines, establish a no-exercise zone and to reduce the number of guard posts. Ironically, the guards on the South Korean side represent the UN Command, which was not a party to the Pyongyang military agreement. 

On 15 October, the two Koreas agreed to begin reconnecting rail and road links. The agreement on transport links was reached during talks at Panmunjom, as agreed at the third summit between South Korean President Moon and North Korean Chairman Kim last month.

The two sides agreed to hold ceremonies in late November or early December to inaugurate work on reconnecting railways and roads that have been cut since the 1950-53 Korean War.

This agreement, per se, probably does not violate the letter of the UN Security Council sanctions, but it is inconsistent with the purpose of the sanctions to maintain pressure on North Korea. The timing of the ceremonies implies that the two parties expect sanctions will be eased by then.

Security of South Korea, or increased South Korean vulnerability to an attack, is one of the key concerns of Korean experts. Several of the non-military, high-cost/high-value indicators of North Korean war preparations for 70 years are preparations of the infrastructure north of the DMZ to support high volume transit by tanks, other military vehicles and troops and high-volume communications. 

South Korea has agreed to take actions as confidence-building measures, to reward Kim for his sincerity, that would relieve the North from having to take them in the ramp-up to war. In addition, South Korea also has removed some of its own mines whose wartime purpose is to slow up any attacking North Korean ground forces.

Some might argue that North Korea has made itself vulnerable too. The difference is that the North Korean armed forces have a primary mission of unifying Korea by force. Kim has not renounced that mission. Conversely, South Korean forces have the primary mission of preventing unification by force. That mission is being made more challenging.

The greatest threat to North Korea is that its population (and military) will see how the leaders have screwed them for so many decades and will take matters into their own hands. It's worth watching to see how all of this unfolds.

Israel-Palestinian Authority

On 14 October, the Israeli army issued an order for the school to be closed, but students tried to enter on Monday morning alongside some officials. Israeli soldiers and border police fired tear gas at protesters, including into the school premises. Four people were hit by rubber bullets, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, with a number of others affected by tear gas. An AFP photographer also was injured in the clashes.

Concerning the Gaza Strip, at least 24 Palestinians were injured, and dozens of others suffered from shots and tear gas fired by the Israeli navy toward Palestinians who demonstrated near the maritime border with Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli jets also were active attacking launching sites for arson balloons, at groups throwing firebombs at Israeli soldiers and at a pair of men who tried to blow a hole in the border fence.

The Palestinians appear determined to test Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s threat to launch a “different” response if the violence continues. 

This is news/not news. You could pick up an Israeli newspaper from ten years ago and nearly identical stories would grace its pages. However it is indicative of insipid discontent - some legitimate, some ginned up. The Palestinians could have peace and a good way of life if the leadership wanted it - but they never want a good crisis to go to waste because without a war, they would lose power.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Story

I first heard the Frozen Bird story when I was in the Navy, undergoing arduous training. The saga runs like this:

A little bird was flying south for the Winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While he lay there, near death there, a cow came by and dropped a large pile of dung on him, warming him and saving his life.

As life coursed back into his little feathered body, he realized that he was covered by dung, repellant and odorous. He started chirping and complaining.

A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

There are lessons that can be drawn from this:

(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
(3) When you are in deep dung, best to keep your mouth shut.

~~~~~~~

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday Follies

I watched a movie on Amazon Prime last night and it said that there were "adult situations". Funny, there wasn't anyone working to make a living, struggling to pay bills, being disrespected, trying to clean up after their children, etc. Things have been busy for me, so it's been slower blogging. There hasn't been much time to do anything but try and please clients who pay the bills and deal with the final phases of this, the White Wolf Mine Project.

China is struggling with the US intention to not let them screw us in trade anymore. It all seems so unfair to the celestials in the Middle Kingdom. One big issue for them is that workers have expectations of continually rising wages and standards of living and it's unrealistic. The Chinese are planning for a post-Trump USA where they can take advantage of America again. I hear this time and time again and my message to them is that the genie is out of the bottle, and no matter how many bribes they pay, it's unlikely to be stuffed back in - even if Slow Joe Biden or Poke-a-haunt-us take the presidency in 2020 - which is unlikely.

China's Belt Road Initiative is the cornerstone of their plans for an economically abundant future. However, things are not particularly hopeful there either. Sierra Leone has joined Malaysia and Pakistan in scaling back some projects. Sierra Leone has canceled plans to build a $318 million airport outside the capital of Freetown with a Chinese company and funded by Chinese loans. The Minister of Transport and Aviation Kabineh Kallon said that the project wasn't necessary and the country's current international airport would be renovated instead.

Sierra Leone is the first African government to cancel an already announced Belt and Road Initiative project. Essentially, the Chinese wanted them to build a new airport in a place where there is very little need for it.

This week, the Malaysian government freed 11 ethnic ChineseUighur Muslims from prison who fled to Malaysia after breaking out of a jail in Thailand last year. The Chinese requested their extradition, but the Kuala Lumpur government sent them to Turkey. Prosecutors in Malaysia dropped charges against the Uighurs on humanitarian grounds and they arrived in Turkey after departing Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

Background: In 2014 Thailand captured some 200 Uighurs after a cell of Uighurs attacked passengers at Kunming Railroad Station in south China. 
The men escaped the Thai jail in November 2017 and fled to Malaysia, whose state religion is Islam. They were captured in Malaysia. Prior to the general elections in May, the Malaysian government routinely extradited Uighur Muslims to China on request. Relations with China have become less cordial since the upset election victory of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad’s party, Alliance of Hope (PH). 
This is the second recent action by the PH government to cross China. Shortly after taking office, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad canceled more than $20 billion worth of projects awarded to Chinese companies. He said they were too expensive and not practical.  
Malaysia also opposes China’s assertion of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. Malaysia claims to seabed rights off Borneo overlap China’s claims. Malaysia also claims 12 reefs, shoals and islands in the Spratly Islands.
These are not large setbacks to the Belt and Road Initiative, but they are setbacks. The Sierra Leone airport, the huge port and recreation complex in Malaysia and the railroad project in Pakistan are impractical or too expensive. 

As for the Uighurs, Malaysia’s change in practice risks significant strain in relations with China. As an Islamic state, Malaysia is sympathetic to the Uighurs, who are Sunni Muslims. China is systematically suppressing all Islamic observances in western China. 

US Policy Shifts in Syria are not reported by the mainstream media in the US, but things are moving subtly. I report these things here just to keep the dozen or so interested blog readers who drift by up to date.

The Syrian Kurds remain in Manbij. Turkish President Erdogan said that the agreement between Turkey and the US regarding Manbij had been delayed but is “not completely dead.” He added that “US Secretary of State Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mattis say they will take concrete steps.”

Commentary: President Erdogan said at least six times this year that the Syrian Kurds had departed Manbij and returned east of the Euphrates River. With extensive US assistance, the Syrian Kurds liberated Manbij from the Islamic State and attempted to linkup with Syrian Kurds in Afrin Canton, until Turkish forces and proxies intervened. The Syrian Kurds were the only group willing and able to defeat the Islamic State forces. Under pressure from Turkey, the US appeared to be abandoning them.

The US supposedly had agreed to their relocation last spring to placate Erdogan’s obsession that the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, was anti-Turkey and communist. Joint US and Turkish military patrols supposedly began in late spring in Manbij. The Turks posted images of the joint patrols.

This week, however, Turkey announced that US military personnel had just now begun training in Turkey for starting the joint patrols. The earlier reporting was perception management.

As recently as July, US policy backed the Turks and the US was seen as preparing the Kurdish militia to return east of the Euphrates because the US was drawing down its support. In July, the US also appeared reconciled to the continuing tenure of Syrian President Assad. That changed during the summer. The justification for the US presence had been to defeat of the Islamic State terrorists. US forces would remain until that defeat was permanent, according to the US Secretary of Defense, then they would leave.

US forces are not leaving. Field reports of new camp or base construction and of new convoys of equipment and weapons deliveries for US and US-proxy forces east of the Euphrates leaked. Then came the public statements of new reasons US forces were not leaving Syria. The new justification was that US forces would not leave until Iran withdrew all its soldiers and advisors and all Iranian-supported militias, such as Hizballah. 

On 11 October, US Secretary of State Pompeo, said that the US supported a political settlement in Syria but US forces would remain until all Iranian and Iranian-supported left Syria. The US policy concerning a political settlement has returned to the position of the prior US administration that President Assad cannot be part of a political settlement. The Secretary said that circumstances change. The most immediate beneficiaries of the change in policy are two: the Israelis and the Syrian Kurds. The Syrian Kurds are likely to remain in Manbij, although the deal is not “completely dead.”


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Notes



Sunday morning in the Arizona Highlands, above


Sunday night in SoCal, below, at my daughter's home (Raptor visible below). Watching an Argentine SAOCOM-1A satellite reach orbit, propelled by a Falcon 9 that returned to Vandenberg and made a powered landing. The launch was spectacular as those evening launches almost always are.  Then again, maybe it's the government covering an alien event - a close encounter (Falcon 9 in a powered landing situation).

Friday, October 5, 2018

Before Dawn



If you plan to catch big fish, you must leave well before dawn (unless you're LSP and the fish line up in the lake, drawing. lots for the opportunity to take your hook). The Savage River canoe is loaded up, ready for its journey to the White Wolf Mine area, and trying to get in on the fishing season before it ends.

In 2008, my modified 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser was pictured prominently on the wikipedia page for that vehicle but no more, alas. Time has passed, but the rig is still as effective as it was then. When a part shows wear, I replace it, and there are a lot of weld-er-up style custom parts and aftermarket goodies to replace the weak spots in the OEM vehicle. 

 
The 18' canoe weighs in at 33 lbs. Carbon fiber with a kevlar bottom to deflect rocks and such. Thus, even a weakling such as myself can toss it up on the FJ. The yellow microfiber buffer pads are of my own design and help prevent chafing from the cinch straps on long trips.

Toys are important. But in fishing, luck is more important. Combining the two can be even more fun!