sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 2012 - #1

Memorial Day 
The End of the Secret War 

Loose Ends

The Communists were closing in. People were packing up, hoping for a government evacuation before the end came. Those who couldn’t get a flight out of Watay Airport packed their things and were crossing the Mekong River into Thailand. The scene was chaotic. The Royal Laotian Army was gone. All that were left were kids, armed with government rifles, riding Coca Cola trucks out to the front, now closer than ten miles away, to get killed.

I found Ming sitting in the bar at the Settha Palace Hotel. The staff hovered around him like attentive bees around their queen, knowing the hive would be smashed very soon. He was dipping a rice ball into papaya pok pok, a Thai sauce made up of a variety of ground up chili and papaya. Moving the rice ball expertly to his mouth with chopsticks, he chewed like a man eating a spam sandwich. There was no joy in the meal. A waiter delivered raw minced toad and spring onions as I gestured a greeting to the morose Mr. Ming, and sat across the table from him.

“I need a new girlfriend to take my mind off my wife.” Ming lamented.

I was in a hurry that night but Ming was in the depths of financial despair. Even though he was worth a few million US dollars.

A waitress arrived over my left shoulder to take my order but Ming beat me to it. “A Jamison’s whiskey for my friend and a double for me.”

The silence hung heavy in the humid monsoon air, no breeze, only a languid fan overhead, rotating slowly to dissipate the heat.

Water beaded on the barrel of my Karl Gustav submachine gun, laid across my thighs. I looked down at the oiled metal, hypnotized by the slow accumulation of moisture. Ming finally spoke and it made me look up.

“Living with a woman from Chouzhou is like living with a dragon that requires tributes of gold to keep her satiated.” Ming nipped at his drink, finishing it. Glancing furtively for the next one, the drink he ordered. “Love and suicide are just different sides of the same gold coin, which makes me think of an old school Japanese woman. They’re the most twisted creatures on the planet but one of those ladies would take my mind off my problems.” He popped a few fried grasshoppers into his mouth from a bowl that sat on the table between us.

“Until Mrs. Ming found out.” I offered.

“She’d slice my fragrant stem from my body while I slept. She’s a Chouzhou woman and she has a reputation to maintain.”

“I’m in a bind at the moment and I hate to impose.” Ming looked at me with pathetic blood shot eyes that gained some sense of purpose.

I smiled. “It would be no imposition to help. If I can.”

The Pathet Lao and their Vietnamese keepers pose no problem for me here in this place, but you need to leave and take your girlfriend with you tonight. She’s been spying on you. She’s my wife’s sister’s daughter. The problem is that she loves you and wants to get out of the trade and be your wife and bear your children.

It took a moment for me to connect the dots. “That’s complicated.”

“And in a sense it isn’t. The world is a small place and karma holds sway upon the whole of it.” Ming said sanguinely.

“So I have my hand upon an elephant’s tail and think I am holding a snake.” I said, reciting a proverb.

“Precisely.” Ming said, happy that I, though an American, could grasp the situation so completely.

Reading my mind, Ming said, “A masterpiece is rarely recognized in the day it is painted.”

She gave me a gold cormorant earlier in the week, fishing bird with a ring around its neck. I wore it from a thick, gold rope around my neck. I touched the gold cormorant; “And this? What does it mean?”

“It is a statement on the condition of a man who is not free. Understanding your karma is a gift. And once understood, you can live harmoniously with it. Choice is an illusion in the ultimate sense. Nothing in the universe stands outside karma’s domain. Even the concept of the independent, autonomous "I" we so dearly cherish is nothing but the product of karmic forces.”

I translated it to US Military English. “So you’re saying that my head is so far up my ass that I need a glass belly button to see out.”

Ming thought about that for a moment and then winked a ‘yes’.

I ate a few dried grasshoppers without the use of chopsticks.

“There are two types of karma. The first is the karma of effect. This addresses the age-old question of why our life is this way and not some other; it shows us that every aspect of our lives is the result of actions we have performed in past lives. It’s,” Ming struggled for the English word, “comprehensive. Think of your body, your parents and all other elements of your history, your relatives, your life situation and general state of mind. All of these come about because of specific actions that you have carried out in the past. They represent what is given in our lives and, as the fruition of past actions, stand beyond our ability to make them more or less than what they are.

“The second type is the karma of cause. This addresses the question of you or even whether you influence the future. It says that every action in the present is going to produce results of some kind further down the road.

“Everything you do affects the future in ever-widening ripples of cause and effect. If you are virtuous, then the karmic results will be positive, whereas if you are not virtuous, the results will be negative. Positive results include fortunate life circumstances, experiences and opportunities, while negative results include various forms of suffering, including poverty, sickness, oppressed circumstances, calamities and so forth.”

“You said our astrology was not compatible.” I grasped at elusive threads to justify what she had done to me and to understand why she wanted to stay with me.

Months earlier, Ming said that the woman I knew as Mai, born in the year of the Iron Dragon, and I, who was born in the year of the Earth Tiger, were both dynamic in astrological terms. He advised caution in such a relationship. But things had gone too far between us by that time. I didn’t like what I heard him say, which meant that I intended to disregard his warning. I asked if there wasn’t some sort of Buddhist magic available to modify my karma where Mai was concerned.

Ming said, “You may be quite attracted to one another. Both signs possess magnetic personalities but attraction will give way to irritation. The Dragon likes to be in charge of everything and the Tiger insists on autonomy. It’s like pouring kerosene from two cans into a jar and adding a match. The result is inevitable, its resulting karma unappealing.”

I ignored Ming back then.

“Just like a Tiger,” Ming told me.

However things were different then. Vientiane wasn’t in artillery range of the big NVA guns back then. I was in love, Ming urged caution but I wasn’t fighting Communists in Laos because I was a cautious man.

A waitress refreshed my drink and I was brought back to the present suddenly.

“I have decided to move to Bhutan.” Ming said abruptly.

“I thought you planned to stay on. The trade is profitable, you’re juiced in.”

“The King of Bhutan is my personal friend. In that country I will be treated like a living divinity and will want for nothing. When I go on a drunk, they will sit with ten scribes to take down every slurred word as if it were golden. When I get sick, they will send in doctors who don't need an x-ray to see inside, and give me medicines that won’t make me sick. If my rivals or my wife’s relatives come to visit the entire Bhutanese Secret Service Special Unit will swing into action: 12 black magicians and 1 skilled marksman who would rather throw their own children down deep wells than permit my tranquility to be disturbed will deal with the source of my discontent.”

“Did your wife’s family come to visit again?” 

Ming frowned and said, “Yes and her shiftless Teochau aunts as well. They eat as much as four water buffalo. The only thing they do all day is eat, dung, and complain about me. They are having a private party now to welcome in the new Communist regime.”

I brimmed with sanguinity. “You should stay in Vientiane and throw your wife’s family out into the river in weighted sacks.”

Ming drifted back to Bhutan, ignoring his fervent desire to follow my advice. “If I decide to embrace woodworking in Bhutan, a Royal Woodworking Shop will be established, and thereafter, as I walk through the town, dozens of men and women will shyly let it be known that they like woodworking too. If I later say, ‘fuck woodworking,’ there will be bonfires wherein tools are destroyed.”

I thought it was a joke. “Really?”

Ming was serious. “In a previous incarnation, I am credited with single-handedly saving Bhutan as a nation. That act cursed me for centuries, and is why Tibetan Buddhists understand my strange ways and curious lifestyle. Of course, relocation to Bhutan does have a downside. If there is a big storm, I will be expected to subdue it, or if one is required, I will be expected to produce it and I can’t do that in this incarnation.”

I drank my Jamison’s in one gulp. “Time for me to go. Mai’s fate is to remain in Laos.”

“You knew?” Ming wasn’t surprised. It was a statement as much as a question.

“The cormorant. It was a dead give-away.”

“If you understood that, you’ve been in Asia too long.”

I kicked the chair back and stood. As I did, I brought the muzzle of the Karl Gustav low and left and squeezed the trigger. Nine-millimeter slugs tore Ming from low and left to high and right, across his chest.

The Communists were coming and there were loose ends that needed to be cleaned up.

This is a fictional story.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Romney or Obama?

The decision would seem to be clear, however the official Obama Administration approach is not to run on their dismal record over the last four years but on the promise of that they're going to do in the next four years (rainbows and unicorns). The tag line would seem to be, $5 trillion in additional debt, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Hollywood loves the Obama White House and the concept of limousine socialism where Wall Street moguls, rich actors and movie magnates fund lavish parties to raise money for the Democratic President are the hallmark of this election cycle. It's almost funny to see Obama as the choice of the privileged elite - and it's that way because everything in the White House if for sale to the highest bidder (the Chicago Way).

Unless you happen to be one of the select recipients of the largess of the trillion dollar stimulus (such as Solyndra), are on welfare now and plan on remaining a ward of the nanny state,  are one of the spoiled 'occupy Wall Street' crowd, or feel that your union job might be in jeopardy if your company didn't continue to exist based on the largess of the taxpayer - I can't understand why you'd consider voting for Obama.

President Obama can't run on his record because the only thing he can point to by way of a victory is the Nobel Peace Prize that he won not for bringing peace, but for being a mixed race politician with a gift for gab.

No, he can't run on his record. 

And if he's running out of support and contributions, he will make any empty gesture that he can to rack up a vote and make a quick buck.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dysfunctional Intelligence - FBI

FBI vs CIA (helping to explain why the FBI makes a horrible intelligence agency)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been in the process of a transition from a law enforcement agency to an intelligence agency. When I first heard of this about five years ago, I thought that it was a joke. But despite my misgivings, they've been marching forward. An article by Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton inspired me to do this little piece on my blog. So with a Hat-Tip to Henry, I have included some of his sound and timely observations. Since I'm doing that, it's only fair that I plug his new book, "The Art of Intelligence".

The FBI, while an intelligence agency, is also a law enforcement agency, and that means that the results of its investigations that result in arrests are discoverable to the defense and become public record. Therefore there is very little that it can keep secret. Thus, the FBI has a cultural bias toward verbal communications because they are not included into it's data management system. Writing at FBI is tied to rank and status. Clerks and analysts write, Agents don't write much by comparison for the reasons set forth above.

At CIA, operations officers write copiously. Having the President or senior policy makers benefit from written reports is the holy grail. CIA officers prize clear, high-impact written content. CIA has very advanced information systems. The FBI has one, but it doesn't work well and the information in it is limited by the input (GI-GO).

Compared to the CIA, FBI is enormous. When FBI personnel deployed to investigate East Africa bombings, they deployed more agents than the CIA had operations officers worldwide. FBI has regulations about sending two agents to do almost any task. CIA officers usually operate alone - and almost always alone in the development and management of human sources.

While both CIA and FBI put a premium on a good source, the FBI rarely pursues them beyond the context of an investigation. Agents follow leads and seek cooperating witnesses or informers who are often compelled to cooperate or face legal consequences.

FBI (and DEA) often prefer to arrest a suspect rather than 'turning them' to take down a network of criminals. And even when they're turned, if they're percipient witnesses, they must be disclosed in court proceedings do they don't remain in place and productive for long. The FBI wants evidence and testimony from witnesses that leads to convictions and (sometimes more importantly), press conferences.

In short almost everything that the FBI does is precisely counter to the requirements of an intelligence agency - from the endless courting of the press, the parade of agents into the Halls of Congress and the simple process of 'justice'. An intelligence agency is not about being just, it's about being accurate and there is a distinct Constitutional difference between the two.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Power of Information

Usually I don't post LONG YouTube videos, but this one is well worth watching if you want to understand the emerging world of current technology around you. This is a presentation by Michael Jones, Chief Technology Advocate at Google Ventures.

Watch where GOOGLE is and where it's headed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bloody Mexico: Recent Mass Body Dumps

Suspected drug traffickers drove two trucks to a main highway in Veracruz and dumped 35 dead bodies during rush hour while gunmen stood guard and pointed their weapons at frightened motorists.

_ May 13: Mutilated bodies of 49 people dumped on highway in northern Mexico.

_ May 9: Dismembered bodies of 18 victims left near Mexico's second-largest city, Guadalajara.

_ May 5: Bodies of 23 people found hanging from bridge or decapitated and dumped near city hall in border city of Nuevo Laredo.

_ April 17: Mutilated bodies of 14 men left in minivan in downtown Nuevo Laredo, along with message from undisclosed drug gang.

_ April 12: Tortured and bound bodies of seven men dumped in Pacific port city of Lazaro Cardenas along with messages signed by allies of Sinaloa drug cartel.

_ March 18: Gunmen kill 12 police officers sent to Guerrero state to search for bodies of 10 people whose severed heads were found earlier.

_ March 15: State lawmaker's body identified as one of 330 corpses found since April in mass graves in northern state of Durango.

_ March 7: Sixteen bodies removed from three clandestine graves on outskirts of northern industrial city of Monterrey.

Sometimes the mass body dumps don't register in the press in the USA. This is not to say it's all of the mass killings or body dumpings in public. These are merely the only incidents to (a) make the press in Mexico and (b) be dumped in a relatively public place.

There are many other onsies and twosies left by the roadside as well as the yet undiscovered mass graves where the narcos have the decency to bury the bodies of their victims.

A Mexico Vacation: The antidote for civilization...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Socialism - Revisited

The socialistic rhetoric of the ObamaNation is nothing new. In fact, it's as old as time itself. The problem with it is that it doesn't work now and it never has worked.

The real question is what you're going to do about it.

Obama-Biden 2012?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Debt and Liability (Obama Style)

Consider the empty campaign promises of the Obama Campaign as they move "forward" to another four years. Obama reminds me of a sideshow barker - who directs your attention away from the principal issue so as to sell you a bill of goods.
The National Debt represents borrowing and the numbers move up so fast because of interest that it's difficult to write the number down because by the time you have, it's higher. It's almost $16 trillion: $15,705,865,000,000.00
The Total US debt which would include unfunded liabilities is much higher at $57,451,700,000,000.00. This means that we have promised to pay this amount to people in the future and it would include Medicare and Social Security. Unfunded liabilities are debts for which we have not set aside funds or assets and have left it to future generations to worry about. 
Thus, keeping Social Security solvent is impossible with the current method of operation. There is no mention by the current administration, who wish to extend their regime for another four years of an Obama plan to reconstruct Social Security. There is no mention that the Social Security liability is currently $15,658,907,239,000.00.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The difference between 'want' and 'need'

The Marauder is manufactured by the Paramount Group in the Republic of South Africa. The vehicle is an MRAP (mine-protected vehicle) and was featured in the first episode of Top Gear, Season 17. (LINK) It's considered to be the most powerful civilian vehicle in the world and I don't think that the claim is spurious. 

Air Burst

155mm High Explosive at 60m Azimeth 360 deg Elevation 0-30 deg

Ballistic Protection

7.62x54mm RB 32 API & .50cal API (Equivalent to STANAG 4569 level III)

Mine ProtectionMine Protection  

Double anti-tank mine (14kg TNT) under any wheel. Single anti-mine (7kg) under the hull. (Higher than STANAG 4569 level 4a and 4b)#

If you're driving the mean streets of Sinaloa State, Republic of Mexico, there really isn't anything else to compare. It will stop a .50 BMG AP round fired anywhere on the vehicle and will defend against a Russian/Chicom rocket propelled anti-tank grenade (RPG-7). So I not only want one, I think that I need one...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gentlemen Reading my Mail

NIPRNet - Unclassified Internet Protocol Router Network (UNCLASS and FOUO)
SIPRNet - Classified up to Secret - Internet Protocol Router Network (CONFIDENTIAL - SECRET)
RIPRNet - Classified up to Secret - Internet Protocol Router Network where the information may be shared with the Republic of Korea
NMIS - National Reconnaissance Office - Internet Protocol Router Network (up to TOP SECRET SCI)
JWICS - Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication Network System (up to TOP SECRET SCI)

How we communicate.


How we watch others communicate.

NarusInsight (see clearly/act swiftly)- Replaced the FBI's Carnivore software (in 2005) used to monitor e-mail and electronic communications (including Skype) originating from the USA. (LINK) Narus became a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing in 2010. A single machine can monitor the combined traffic of several million users at the same time.

ECHELON - (generic name for SIGINT) can be used to control the download and dissemination of commercial satellite trunk communications (worldwide) principally through the VORTEX satellite system, though a number of ground stations are involved in the network. This would include the not so secret anymore 'Room 641A' in San Francisco. 

I didn't post any of this unclassified data for any reason besides taking the opportunity to express my love for BIG BROTHER and to suggest that I know that everything I (ever) put on line will be saved forever and that it may be analyzed during my lifetime or thereafter to better the understanding of what a genuinely wonderful person I am. Since posting these names on my blog will mean that the government will visit to see what I wrote, I want it noted that I only said positive things about the vast ability of others to keep an eye on me. 

As a US Military Officer, I was given the following advice, "Enlisted men are back-stabbing bastards and are just setting themselves up to scuttle your career." -and- "Enlisted men are stupid, but they are sly, cunning and bear considerable watching." It would seem that the USGOV considers its citizens and potentially all non-citizens as being in the same category as US Enlisted service personnel and that Congress declaring me to be a gentleman (legally) has somehow been ignored. "Because gentlemen don't read other gentlemen's mail." - US Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson (1929)

(h/t Opus #6)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wards of the State

The history of the welfare state in America is best explained not by metaphor but by actual examples. Yes, I could point to President Lyndon Johnson's failed 'Great Society' - a bid to buy black votes with taxpayer's dollars and to keep those same voters on welfare generation after generation. But I won't. 

The American Indians provide a better example. Even though hunter/gatherers are in no way capitalists, they could be said to be 'early libertarians' of a sort. 

To the left, we see Sitting Bull's mother, the great man, himself, his daughter and grandson - in captivity. The rifle he holds is a prop. By this stage of his life, Sitting Bull and his family were on welfare, enjoying the largess of a federal government who put a people on food stamps forever. Allowing the Red Man to hunt game and roam at will would simply not do. Better that they stay on reservations and receive government hand-outs.

I don't know how many of you readers have spent time on Indian Reservations, but they're generally not examples of a prosperous people. They are a proud people made wards of the State.

Indian Gaming changed a lot of that and through the gift of capitalism, many of the reservations are blossoming as a rose exposed to nourishment and sunlight. When you give people opportunity in an  unregulated environment, it's amazing to see what can be done. 

This is your life in the welfare state:
Indian Home (pre-capitalism)
This is your life when you have the freedom to be a capitalist:

Pala Indian hotel/casino - Southern California