sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ARA San Juan Disaster

The Argentine Navy played their cards close to the chest when it came to playing to the public. The original information releases were that the ARA San Juan, an Argentine submarine of German manufacture simply went missing 'somewhere in the South Atlantic'. 

Since the boat is equipped with an emergency rescue buoy and in as much as it had not been deployed, the outcome was not good from the outset.

Today we've learned that the Argentine submarine that vanished 12 days ago sent a final, desperate message reporting a short-circuiting battery and fire onboard.
The vessel’s captain said water had entered through the snorkel when the sub was charging batteries. He said the water entered through the ventilation system to a battery connection tray in the prow and “caused a short circuit and the beginning of a fire, or smoke without flame.”
The seas were rough and they headed for port while submerged using another battery system. There was an explosion that had been detected (likely detected by a US SOSUS array, but detection attributed to a NASA P-3 conducting arctic-related studies in the area).

Families of the 44 member crew, based at Mar del Plata, have told the media that their sailors complained that the boat was essentially a death trap and a piece of junk. That squares with my own personal opinion, (so I report it here). The Argentine Navy is proud of the vessel, commissioned in 1985, and refit (in part) in 2014. The refit was a 'short refit' because of funding deficits, so much of what should have been done was not. 

The lesson for readers to take away is that there are no acceptable half measures where naval maintenance or training are involved. If the boat and crew are not 100%, the submarine should not leave the dock. Surface ships can be more forgiving because there are usually means available to abandon ship. Submarines have escape trunks. I've locked out of an escape trunk both in training and operationally and it works if you're in relatively shallow water. Unfortunately the ocean is mostly deep. (trying to keep it simple here)

The years of Obamanation saw a situation where roughly 70% of the Marine Corps' F-18's were grounded for lack of spare parts to keep them flying. We've seen situations develop with the F-35 that make it's debut worrisome (both because it's ruinously expensive and because some of what is being built doesn't work). Ship maintenance was delayed and deferred because the nation needed them at see to serve the nation's urgent defense needs. Crew training and rotation was neglected. America is not Argentina. The US Navy is not the Argentine Navy. President Trump is not Barack Hussein Obama.  HOWEVER there is a lesson with the loss of the ARA San Juan that needs to be internalized by the American public.

My condolences go to the families of the 44 brave men who set out on a ship that was likely unfit to sail.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Important Things

Amanda
It's nice to have children. It's especially nice to have grandchildren. When you have both in one package, it's a world beater. My daughter, Amanda, gave up her police career to be a mother which turned into being a mother of three boys. These days she's also a professional photographer, which she can pull off while being a mom since she's able to wrap the photography gig around the needs of boys 8 to 2. 

She's the oldest of my four girls and has always set a good example for the rest of them. Being siblings there are the odd conflicts over matters trivial. 

We had a discussion the other day about my somewhat twisted career path, non-traditional by anyone's reckoning. Looking back on life, I could have pursued many things more completely but no success in life can compensate for failure in the home.  You have to decide what is important and what is transient. I am happy that I treasured my family above all else, and the default always fell in favor of them, and their wellbeing.

Because there are no dress rehearsals, being a parent is one of those moment-to-moment things where we hope that we did our best. I look back at this or that and wonder if I should have handled it differently. No matter, I did what I did and the chips fell were they may. Looking back is an exercise in frustration. I shared this with Amanda the other day. She knows how I feel now that she's the mom.

When I first discussed the White Wolf Mine project in Arizona, both Amanda and her husband, my son-in-law, thought I was crazy. Amanda explained to him that I'm known for thinking up stuff and doing it. As the project moves forward, their attitude has changed and they see a modicum of wisdom in the old man's 'method to my madness'. At Thanksgiving dinner, they spoke of how they plan to spend a week at the mine for Thanksgiving next year, and asked if I thought it would snow. (who can tell?)

The only real treasure that I have is my family, and in the end, almost all that do has them in mind in the calculus, because they are truly important.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Unleashing the T-Rex (Sunday Sermonette)

Thanksgiving wasn't enough for LSP. He's doing another feast day today...but today's sermonette is not about that.

ASK NOT what your T-Rex can do for you but what you can do for your T-Rex!

I'm working out of a US Embassy at the moment and there is a lot of teeth gnashing over the work that Rex (T-Rex) Tillerson is doing to reduce the size and wastefulness of government and to drain the swamp. 

He could only do what he's doing with the full and complete support of President Trump.

The  Foreign Service and condescending DC elites cannot fathom why they are unable to stop Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from streamlining the mission of State. They keep reporting that President Trump is going to fire the T-Rex and the Washington Post duly relates their predictions to the (gullible) American public. It's trumpeted by the corrupt, lying, sly, smug, filthy mainstream media on every channel. But it still doesn't happen...what can be done?

The minions of the T-Rex start with two questions that are put to State Department drones:  “What is your specific and quantifiable value to the core mission of the United States Department of State; and how do we measure your effectiveness therein? Go ahead and write down your answer. Here's a piece of paper and a cheap pen. I'll wait."

"HOW DARE YOU ASK (you cretin)!!!????" The question is offered in reply with a quivering lower lip. 

The truth is that we spend billions/trillions on absolutely nothing, but it's been a place for protected pets for a very long time, many with degrees from Harvard and the Ivy League. Some are Skull-and-Bones Yale people who had an implicit guarantee that they'd be set for life, would be paid a princely fee and wouldn't have to do anything but sit on a committee that deals with interruptions in bird migration patterns or some such. T-Rex doesn't care any more than a Jurassic tyrannosaurus rex would.
(The Conservative Tree House) No-one, repeat NO-ONE, could have pulled off what T-Rex is accomplishing except T-Rex himself; with the full support of President Trump, of course. The former leader of the worlds largest private business, Exxon-Mobil, is now systematically bringing efficiency and effectiveness to the worlds largest public institution, the State Dept.
The lack of reasonable answers within the bureaucratic ranks is leading to massive downsizing.
Making America Great Again means Making Interventionism Irrelevant AgainThe New York Times outlines why the diplomatic retention of irrelevant snobbery is vital to those within the State Department’s cocktail circuit influence network. At the rate Tillerson is going he might even eliminate the entire staff for the Assistant Cultural Ambassador to the U.N. Center for Biodiversity and Southern Hemispheric Aquatic Species Rights. That’s the threshold where things are really going to get ugly: 
New York Times […] For those who have not been dismissed, retirement has become a preferred alternative when, like Mr. Miller, they find no demand for their expertise. A retirement class that concludes this month has 26 senior employees, including two acting assistant secretaries in their early 50s who would normally wait years before leaving. 
The number of those with the department’s top two ranks of career ambassador and career minister — equivalent to four- and three-star generals — will have been cut in half by Dec. 1, from 39 to 19. And of the 431 minister-counselors, who have two-star-equivalent ranks, 369 remain and another 14 have indicated that they will leave soon — an 18 percent drop — according to an accounting provided by the American Foreign Service Association. 
The political appointees who normally join the department after a change in administration have not made up for those departures. So far, just 10 of the top 44 political positions in the department have been filled, and for most of the vacancies, Mr. Tillerson has not nominated anyone.
"But--but--but," the global elite sputter at the club, sloshing down their third Singapore Sling and chomping down a sweet-and-sour shrimp, "what about the new One World Government that we've been working to forge?" 

"Sorry. If it doesn't make America great again, there is no job. Maybe you can find work bad mouthing the President at Cal Berkeley?"

Ted Kennedy's boy, Patrick Kennedy
Illuminati shill or just lazy?
Are the Kennedy Family 
Appointees Safe?

Please, don't tell me that even the Kennedy family is on the chopping block! This is a sermonette, not a horror show.
Even before Mr. Tillerson was confirmed, his staff fired six of the State Department’s top career diplomats, including Patrick Kennedy, who had been appointed to his position by President George W. Bush. Kristie Kenney, the department’s counselor and one of just five career ambassadors, was summarily fired a few weeks later.
The liberal panic at the deconstruction and realignment of their most cherished institution (run by Hillary herself) has been the topic of discussions in elite clubs from New York to DC (which is where everyone whose anyone is - unless they're vacationing in the Hamptons or at Martha's Vineyard) -- or meeting with George Soros at La Costa (San Diego, California) as happened this past week.
“There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new order of things. … Whenever his enemies have occasion to attack the innovator they do so with the passion of partisans, while the others defend him sluggishly so that the innovator and his party alike are vulnerable.”- Nicolo Machiavelli
SECSTATE Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump want to make America great again. Greater than ever before. Gutting Hillary's State Department is a good first step. It's a cool place to put the enema pipe.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Passing Time on Black Friday

Apology Center

If you are a celebrity or a politician (the same thing in many cases) and you're a pervert, you may need to come up with an apology quick. This link my help.
This is one of many possible apologies: As a male feminist, I feel tremendously guilty now that the things I did have been made public. I imagined that any woman would have been thrilled to see a tiny penis peeking out from below my pasty, middle-aged paunch like the head of a geriatric albino turtle moments from death, and of course now I realize my behavior was wrong. In conclusion, I will wait 2-3 years before reappearing in film and TV and just sort of hope you all forget about this.
I found Bill Clinton's denial (lie) to Congress to be more to the point and more fun, truth be told, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." --- She didn't clean the (crusty) blue dress, Bill --- "Oh $%&#!"

Capitalism Works

(LINK) On or around this day in 1621, the Pilgrims enjoy a three-day feast! They are grateful for their harvest after a long, hard first year in the New World.

You already know that the Pilgrims fled England because they feared religious persecution. Their voyage on the Mayflower began in September 1620—and it was a rough one!

“In many of these storms the winds were so fierce, and the seas so high, as they could not bear a knot of sail, but were forced to heave to for many days together,” the future Governor of the colony later wrote. “And in one [mighty storm] . . . a strapping young man (called John Howland) was, with a lurch of the ship thrown into the sea; but it pleased God that he caught hold of the ropes which hung overboard.” 

Howland was pulled back into the boat and survived! 

Can you imagine how grateful the Pilgrims must have been when they finally arrived in America? Almost all of them had made it—including a baby born during the journey! Unfortunately, the Pilgrims would not be as fortunate in the year that followed.

They had arrived in the midst of winter: For months, they would face problems on several fronts. How to build shelters? How to get food? How to nurse the many people who were falling ill during the harsh winter months? How to make peace with local Indian tribes? Some of these tasks they accomplished on their own, but they also owed much to an Indian named Squanto. Fortunately for the Pilgrims, Squanto spoke English. (The skill had not come easily for Squanto, who learned the language because he’d spent time in captivity in England.)

By September 1621, only half of the original 102 Pilgrims had survived, but they’d also learned much about how to live in the New World. They owed a debt of gratitude to Squanto, who taught them how to raise crops in the New England soil and climate. They’d also worked out treaties and were living in peace with many of the local Indian tribes.

As the first harvest came in, the Pilgrims were surely happy to enjoy a feast with their new Indian friends. They shared deer, ducks, and turkey. A recently harvested barley crop meant that it would have been possible to (finally) brew beer at about this time! 

For many reasons, the feast was welcome after the long, difficult year. But, despite the good meal and happy times, the overall harvest was not as plentiful as you might imagine. Nor was it plentiful the next year. In fact, the Pilgrims were still really struggling until 1623 when their governor, William Bradford, made an interesting decision. 

He changed from a communal system of growing crops to a more private one. Each household was given its own private plot of land. In essence, he changed from a socialist-type system to a more capitalist one. 
“[T]hey began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could,” Bradford later explained, “and obtain a better crop than they had done. . . . And so assigned to every family a parcel of land . . . . This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been . . . . The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability . . . .” 


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Wishes

Happy Thanksgiving from Virtual Mirage

A word to the wise: You will not be allowed entry into Valhalla for eating too much Turkey and fixin's on Thanksgiving. Therefore I offer this hint. Wear a firearm or a knife and with your last gasp, draw the weapon and hold it in your hand to let the Valkyries know that even though you didn't go out in a desperate battle against impossible odds, your heart was in the right place. Will that get you into the corpse hall? I don't know/can't say, but it's worth a shot. It will also freak out the paramedics when they arrive.




Useful hint: Never eat more than you can lift.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Just a Crust of Bread?

I'm sure that you all recall Kathy Griffin holding the severed head of a mannequin that looked like President Trump. Well it's now November 2017, roughly a year later and she is...


Nobody will hire her to do her hate rant, disguised as comedy, and she's running out of money to pay for her mansion, her staff, her limo, etc.

She has a YouTube appeal to remove her from the black list so that she can begin to make millions of dollars a year. 

Griffin wearing one of her signature red wigs.
Will America listen at this time of thanksgiving and holiday bon ami? Will Hollywood reach out a wretched claw to her and will Harvey Weinstein grant her a place on his casting couch? 

Weinstein's ship has sailed as has the career of the 57 year old former comedian.

There's a future for Kathy Griffin in the fast food industry, she could get a job in the yard maintenance industry as well (but she'd have to leave California because the illegal aliens have that market sewed up tighter than Kathy, herself).

Assembling a burrito, turning a burger or supersizing an order should help her stop the financial bleed that she's experiencing. Anything you could send would be appreciated. Her $20 million net worth is shrinking but she could afford a small home in the suburbs and live on the interest. However, if any of you have food or old clothes that you'd like to donate to her, you can send it to her home. It's for sale and it's listed. She's just dropped the price to $4.75 million.

Poor little rich woman.

A Thanksgiving Letter


I haven't received any e-mail from you guys, but guess who sent me a personalized form e-mail Thanksgiving letter of thanks (even though I only hinted that I may contribute to his campaign one day) -- That's right, Good old Slow Joe Biden, former US Vice President and aspirant for president in 2020. Joe would pork a pile of rocks if somebody hinted that there was a snake in there. It's how he rolls.
Larry -- (see, it's personalized)
I'm writing you today simply to say thank you.
(blah-blah-blah) I cut some of the letter out to spare you.
(back in 1890), My dad used to say to me, "Joey, we get knocked down, and then we get right back up."
Folks, in 2017, we got right back up. We helped each other up. (I don't know how Joe figured that but he's always been a bit delusional) 
And here's what you showed me:
Those with the courage to oppose hate still far outnumber those who promote it. (which is why President Trump won a landslide victory) It's by the power of our example, not the example of our power, that America leads the world. And this country will always belong to those who love it enough to change it for the better.
I wish you all a relaxing Thanksgiving with those you love. Hold them close. (Joe does a lot of that close holding)
Then, let's get back out there. Because we're going to take back the House in 2018.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
-Joe


It doesn't matter how many women you've groped, because if the corrupt, smug, lying, hypocritical, filthy, perverted, mainstream media doesn't report it, you're golden. RUN JOE, RUN.

Biden 2020!

Barack kept Uncle Joe on ice for the last two years of his presidency. He showed up to cut ribbons to open a bridge and he attended every tranny conference in America (because they like to be groped). No, I'm not kidding. Check it out yourself. Biden 2020 would "allow Joe to be Joe". I can't wait. I predict a head-to-head match up between Old Uncle Joe and Nancy Pelosi for the prize of Democrat for President - and the right to take on The Donald.

It will be a big day for America.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

'Progression'

Anchor Babies - A Twist

Do US Government funded abortion 'rights' apply to illegal alien children? 
(Washington Times) At least 420 pregnant Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) have been caught and put into government care over the last year, and 43 pregnant illegal immigrant girls were still in custody of the Health and Human Services Department as of Oct. 17, Jonathan White, the department’s director for children’s programs, said in court documents. 
Of the 420 girls seen in fiscal year 2017, 18 requested abortions and 11 had them. Another five rescinded their request for an abortion, and two were turned over to sponsors in the U.S. before a final decision was made, aid, meaning they were outside of government custody. 
The numbers come as the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a class action lawsuit demanding the government provide illegal immigrant girls the same rights to access abortion that Americans have. 
The ACLU already won the first skirmish last month over a 17-year-old girl identified only as “J.D.” or “Jane Doe,” whose case went all the way to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where a deeply divided panel of judges ruled the government had to facilitate her abortion, even if it meant spending taxpayer money.
The March of Progressiveness

After only six months in the position, Apple's vice president of diversity and inclusion is stepping down from her post. Denise Young Smith's decision comes on the heels of her apology for innocuously questioning progressive dogma on the concept honored in her job title, which she was the first in the company to hold. 

“There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation,” she said during a panel in October. The comment reportedly came after Smith explained, 
"I focus on everyone," when asked about where she dedicated her efforts. "Diversity is the human experience," Smith contended. "I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT." 
Days later, the tech executive apologized, saying the remarks "were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it." More than a month after that, news of her departure broke.
At year's end, Smith, a black woman, is reportedly being replaced by Christie Smith, who is white.

Make of all this what you will. It would seem that to Apple, diversity of ideas and backgrounds is not as important as racial balance with the odd queer, cripple and tranny thrown in to insure a complete balance. Don't expect Eskimos or ethnicities without a power base to be included in their racial balance.

International Update

South Korean Concerns

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service briefed the intelligence committee of the National Assembly to expect more North Korean ballistic missile launches and missile tests by year’s end. The Service told the committee that it has not detected indicators of launch or test preparations, but it warned that both are possible.

The Service repeated its judgment that North Korea could detonate a nuclear explosion any time that leader Kim Jong Un makes the decision.

North Korean artillery massed on the beach last summer in a live fire
exercise, to demonstrate its power to destroy the Americans...
The message to the lawmakers is that the National Intelligence Service cannot be confident of providing additional warning about missile launches or nuclear tests. This general warning has not changed in months, but the Service is conveying that it is not complacent about the North Korean threat.

This condition is the result of North Korean deception practices, the mobility of its newest ballistic missiles and the lull since September that has allowed preparations to occur at a measured pace. 

As for the warning, the development of the North Korean strategic force remains incomplete and in need of additional and new tests. It has not conducted a full range intercontinental ballistic missile flight. It also has not conducted an atmospheric test of its nuclear warhead. It has not tested the warhead and the missile as a weapon system.

China hasn't followed-through on it's promise to thwart North Korean ambitions to the extent that the US (and the rest of the world) hoped that they would. This means that the Norks will move forward and risks a general war and possibly a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula this winter. You've heard the warning on this blog previously and nothing has happened which would change that assessment.

North Korea-China

The North Korean Workers’ Party daily, Rodong Sinmun, reported that Chinese Special Envoy Song Tao laid a floral basket at the Friendship Tower on 20 November. North Korean press said Song paid respects at the mausoleum of Kim Il-sung and Kim Chong-il. He departed Pyongyang later in the day.
The People’s Republic of China built the Friendship Tower in Pyongyang as a monument to the 22,000 Chinese Peoples Volunteers who died in the Korean War. Mao Zedong’s eldest son died in the War and is buried in the Tower.

Korean and Chinese leaders say that the Tower also is a tribute to the enduring friendship between the Communist Party of China and the Korean Workers’ Party. Thus, this act of reverence is consistent with Song’s mission of ensuring that party-to-party communications remain open.
Global Times said that Song consolidated ties. In the 20 November edition of the quasi-official Chinese daily Global Times, an editorial read, “Pyongyang highly praised the achievements of the 19th National Congress of the CPC. The two sides agreed to enhance party-to-party exchanges and bring the relations of the two countries forward.”

After reviewing the issues in the North Korean nuclear confrontation, the editorial concluded,
“The escalating confrontation between Washington and Pyongyang has consumed both sides. The US stressed that all options are on the table, but it faces impossible choices if it resorts to force. Some even believe Washington does not have the option of launching a preemptive military strike against North Korea. Therefore, seeking a diplomatic breakthrough is an urgent task for Washington.”  
“As for Pyongyang, dragging the nuclear crisis indefinitely does no good. Making moves to end international sanctions is far more rational than continuing its nuclear and missile program.” 
“If we view Song's North Korea visit against this background, its strategic significance will prove to be multidimensional. The visit has consolidated China-North Korea ties and guided all sides to think about the peninsula situation.”
Global Times regularly provides useful insights about the thinking or views of the Party leadership or key members of the leadership that they do not approve for official publication. The sub rosa message is that Song achieved no breakthrough, but stabilized China’s relations with North Korea

Song measured the state of party-to-party ties and state-to-state ties. They are not as good as some think, nor as bad as other think, according to the editorial. Nonetheless, state-to-state ties were described as at low ebb.

Song determined that communications are open between the Communist Party of China and the Korean Workers’ Party, even though the two parties disagree about the nuclear issue. That implies General Secretary Xi could speak with Chairman Kim as a fellow party leader.

Song determined that Kim Jong Un will not compromise on the nuclear issue under the sanctions imposed by the United Nations. 

The editorial’s concluding paragraph states only that Song consolidated ties and caused observers to think about the Korea problem. That is faint praise, but important achievements for China.

Song’s visit signals that the Chinese leadership decided to prevent the total isolation of North Korea. The Chinese leaders appear to have concluded that North Korean isolation would not be conducive to reducing tension or creating conditions for talks. They disagree with the US position on this issue. The party-to-party convention enables the Chinese leaders to reach out to North Korea without reneging on China’s commitments as a member of the UN.

Xi’s dual suspension proposal, supported by the Russians, is that North Korea should suspend its nuclear and missile activities in return for a suspension of large-scale US and Allied exercises. The dual track is to pursue in parallel negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons from the Peninsula and negotiations to create a peace mechanism.

The editorial said that “seeking a diplomatic breakthrough is an urgent task for Washington.” Unspoken was the comment that it is not so for China. 

With this visit, China has put more distance between it and the US in handling North Korea. It also has weakened the cumulative effects of the sanctions regime and shown that it will not abandon North Korea. 

Kurdistan

On 20 November, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government called on the international community to intervene and help lift sanctions imposed by the central government in Baghdad in retaliation for the 25 September referendum on Kurdish independence. 
“The restrictive policies adopted by Baghdad against Erbil are in violation of Iraq’s obligations and responsibilities under international and humanitarian law,” the KRG statement said. “We call on the international community to intercede in urging Baghdad authorities to lift the embargo, without condition, on international flights.”
The statement said the federal government is implementing collective punishment against the Kurdish Region, including reducing its share of the 2018 draft budget and continuing the international flight embargo. 

The Baghdad government is implementing a course of action that essentially will negate the autonomy of the Kurdistan Region. Foreign investments in Kurdistan that are not approved by Baghdad are threatened.

For the record. Iraq's Supreme Federal Court ruled on 20 November that the 25 September Kurdish independence referendum was unconstitutional and the results are void. There is no appeal from this ruling. Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani accepted the annulment of the referendum. 

The Kurds don't have much choice but to go along since the US backs the Baghdad government.

Syria

On 20 November, Turkish army soldiers and Syrian Kurdish militiamen exchanged fire in Syria. Kurdish militia fighters fired five mortar rounds at an observation post at Darat Izza in Aleppo Province, staffed by Turkish troops, the Anadolu news agency said. No casualties were reported and the mortars did not hit their target, Anadolu reported.

In response, the Turkish army fired artillery rounds towards Kurdish militia-held positions around the town of Afrin. The Turks are committed to "liberating" Afrin (from the Kurds).
All Turkish activities in Syria have a central focus and that is the elimination/death of Kurds. It's been a national pastime in Turkey for many decades. Nothing new here except that they're doing it in Syria.
This appears to be the first exchange of fire reported in open sources at the Turkish post at Darat Izza since the Turks deployed soldiers to activate the Idlib de-escalation zone in mid-October. Idlib is the fourth and last zone to be activated. Prior to the Turkish deployment into Syria, exchanges of fire between the Syrian Kurds and Turkish army elements occurred regularly across the border from Afrin, Syria, into Turkey. 

From the observation post at Dara Izza, the Turks can harass and attack the Syrian Kurds from a new direction, inside Syria. The Turks intend to exploit every opportunity their presence in Syria provides to fight the Kurds. President Erdogan has stated openly and repeatedly that Turkey intends to liberate Afrin Canton from the Syrian Kurds after the Idlib de-escalation zone is stable.

The Turks consider the terror threat from the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds to be far greater than the terror threat from al-Qaida associated groups, including the al-Nusra Front (to whom they are and have been allied), which leads the jihadist groups that control Idlib city. Turkish forces in the Idlib zone appear to be cooperating with the jihadists who hold Idlib.

While most interested states have begun looking past the civil war towards Syrian reconstruction, the Turks are determined to keep on fighting in northern Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported “large” convoys of Turkish troops entered Syria on 18 November to create “observation posts” that essentially surround Afrin Canton.

The level of fighting in Syria has begun to rise again. Islamic State fighters have shown that they remain a threat to security in the east. A suicide bombing attack killed 20 people near al Bukamal on the 20th. 

Near Damascus, two opposition groups, Ahrar al Sham and elements of the Free Syrian Army, launched an offensive on Friday, the 17th. After some initial gains, the Syrian army counter-attacked with “overwhelming force” and smashed the offensive, killing or wounding 100 opposition fighters, according to the independent news outlet Al Masdar.

The activation of the de-escalation zones reduced the fighting for the hundreds of opposition groups that signed ceasefire agreements with the Russians or the Turks, who staff a joint monitoring center. 

However, many jihadist groups refused to sign. They include the al Nusra front and its allies in Idlib and groups that fought for the Islamic State. They and the Syrian army benefitted from the decline in violence and now appear to be rejoining the fight. The civil war continues in some pockets

More on Turkey vs Syrian Kurds

Turkey remains opposed to Syrian Kurdish participation in the Syrian National Congress. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov who said that the principals agreed on all the key issues. Lavrov was being optimistic. On 20 November, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said that Turkey considers the issue of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to be a “primary sensitivity” for Turkey. He also said Turkey rejects the participation of the YPG in any meeting that seeks a solution in Syria and that the Russians and Iranians are aware of this.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said in relation to the Syrian conflict, “No one has the right to expect from us to consent to a terror organization’s presence at the table. Turkey’s stance on this issue is clear.”

On 22 November at Sochi, Russian President Putin will host President Erdogan and Iranian President Rouhani at a conference on Syria. The Russians are looking for support for their proposal for a Syrian National Dialogue Congress to jumpstart the political settlement process that the UN special envoy has fumbled. Turkey is playing the spoiler by raising obstacles to the process.

The Russians are going to considerable lengths to achieve progress in ending the fighting. They need to stop the costs of military operations and to create conditions that will attract international commitments to Syria’s reconstruction. Putin’s mention of the UN undermines a key complaint of the Syrian opposition groups that the UN is not a party to the Congress.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Employers and Employees

Employers: Walmart, Healthcare, Schools and Boeing

click to enlarge
Only Washington State (Boeing) has an industry that actually manufactures things leading the pack. Walmart generally sells things NOT made in America. But I could be wrong. I avoid Walmart whenever possible.

It would be nice to see a situation where more states had manufacturing that surpassed Walmart, and those minimum wage jobs. There's nothing wrong with Walmart. They're part of the free enterprise system and they do fill a niche, as they employ a lot of hard-core unemployables.

Both the state education university systems and the healthcare systems are a product of government taxation. I'm not throwing rocks at them either, but to make America great again, we need to make things again, IMHO.

Employees

And THAT, dear readers, is why I only hire males who work as independent contractors to work with me.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Sermonette

First, the fine print.

Disclaimer: "Sunday Sermonette" is a polemic on faith-based issues. It's occasionally commented on by the Lonestar Parson, unofficial chaplain of Virtual Mirage. If you disagree with anything presented here, nobody cares. Nobody.

Islamic Progressiveness

The new Sharia Barbie comes in two varieties. Un-mutilated genitalia for you to mutilate whenever you're ready or mutilated  genitalia for those who are two lazy to do it themselves. 

Keeping your women wearing 7th Century attire is impossibly progressive. Covering their faces hides the bruises and scars that are derived from Qur'anically correct discipline.

You can buy the new hijab Barbie on-line. There are a line of new Barbie doll styles including fat Barbie and flat-chest Barbie - with politically correct diverse ethnicities.  There is no Kardashian Barbie with a massive butt, but I'm sure that's in the works.

I haven't heard much of the new bald, black, beer-belly, gay/metro/gender flexible Ken doll making its appearance to accompany trailer trash Barbie and her menagerie of nine children, each fathered by a male of different ethnicity.

Can you buy your Sharia Barbie with your food stamps/EBT card? If not, why not? Call your Democrat representative in Congress and complain.

The Witches Continue the Witch Hunt

Marriage?

I'm suggesting that Mr Colon Kaepernick marry Ms Bruce Jenner. What could possibly be more progressive than that? The man of the year married to the woman of the year both are celebrated athletes -- it is written in the stars. 

Ok, there are a couple of things that would make it more progressive: They both need to become Muslims, which would mean Bruce would have to wear a burka. The blended marriage would be a big hit reality show on Bravo. Both would become even richer.

Electoral College

All the states in blue have a smaller population than Los Angeles County. Remember this next time someone says we don't need the electoral college.




Friday, November 17, 2017

Checking In

'Going Galt' is more difficult than the fictional character in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. I guess that I could have packed up and moved to Ouray, CO like the character in the book. I like summers in that area and am up in Ouray County almost every summer - but the winters are exceptionally brutal.

On the White Wolf Mine property:

Progress is being made - slowly. One person asked me why I was relocating so far from the human stain. I replied with one word, "peace". I am WAY too young to rest in peace, but there is a clear benefit to live in a peace far from the progressive world -- far from unicorns.

3 NOV 07


To frame the photo, you're looking up toward the ridge line at the dig where the garage is being cut out of the mountain. You can see the power line snaking its way along the ridge to the mine property. I originally wanted the build farther off the ridge, but simple design realities caused me to reconsider.

This is the garage, viewed from an angle parallel to the ridge line.  Placement of the garage portion of the hovel in this place makes cutting the road far easier on this side. The drive-through garage has a road going out the other side as well (to the rear of the photographer). That road has to branch down to the Phase 2 area as well as looping back to the main road in.

It's winter in the high country and with the exception of the pines, the place looks dead. In summer there are ferns and wild flowers everywhere.

16 NOV 07

The footers are being completed and they presage re-bar and concrete foundation footings being poured. Everything up on the Mogollon Rim seems to take longer than you hope that it will, but things are inching along. The weather has been exceptionally mild with highs in the 60's and lows in the 40's. Could it be that the long promised global warming is delivering (at long last)?

Thanks Al Gore.

17 NOV 07

The county will inspect the footings and the steel today and they're planning on pouring concrete for the foundation tomorrow (Saturday).

Normally, you'd think that, Thanksgiving Week is an excuse not to work on par with Elk Season. However as soon as the concrete has set up, the masonry will be laid. It makes for a better graphic for the Internet than trenches and rocks.


Because the hovel at the White Wolf Mine is being built on a slope, there is incremental masonry to support the floor. Thus the need for additional footings.

The White Wolf Mine is a hard rock mine, and because of that, nobody should be surprised that there have been a number of rocks (left) unearthed to dig the footings and get the ground prepared for the shack to go in. Some of them had to be blasted into smaller rocks to get them out.

This excavation does not include the extensive excavation for the alternative septic system ($35K price tag) that will be going in a quarter mile away. That has not begun yet and is less critical at this point because we need to have the concrete poured and the masonry in so that framing can begin before weather sets in. (no, I don't trust Al Gore)

The plumbers and electricians still need to do their magic before the initial slabs can be poured. And it needs to be inspected and signed off by the county. 


Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Review of the News

What's Next?


In Norkland

Whenever I need a laugh, I read North Korea propaganda, because it's just funny. I know that they don't mean to be - but they are entertainers.

(Fox News) President Trump should be “sentenced to death” for calling North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “short and fat,” the regime’s state media declared Wednesday in an unhinged diatribe blasting Trump as an “old lunatic, mean trickster and human reject.”

Kim Jong Un, who took exception to be called short and fat
rides around in a "people's tractor", built in Norkland
The editorial published in Rodong Sinmun, the state’s ruling party newspaper, called Trump a “hideous criminal” for attempting to unite world leaders against Kim Jong Un and for later insulting the despot in a message he tweeted during Trump's five-country Asia tour, according to a translation published by the state’s Korean Central News Agency

"The worst crime for which [Trump] can never be pardoned is that he dared [to] malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership," the editorial stated. “Trump, who is no more than an old slave of money, dared point an accusing finger at the sun.”

It added: "[Trump] should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people."

My Entries to the Black and White Photo Challenge




Race for the Cure?

When progressive freaks have more credibility with the corrupt, nasty, lying, elite, smug, mainstream media than honest, hard working Americans do, you have to wonder if there is some sort of inoculation we could give them to fix them. There are physicians who drift by this blog. What say you?

Maybe they weren't breast fed as children? Maybe they were dropped on their heads by parents or siblings? Don't rule out organic brain damage.

Maybe they smoked some weed that had Agent Orange (a defoliant called Spike when used in this hemisphere) dusted on it? Maybe they injected heroin without enough rat poison in it and it turned them into a species of walking dead?



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Red Units, and other Geopolitical Stuff

I would like somebody to explain to me why the US remains in Afghanistan in such a way that it makes one lick of sense. Yes, I know that it will fall to radical Muslims as soon as we stop spending billions to prop up a corrupt (puppet) government and withdraw our army. I have a history with this place as do many other Americans. And I know that  inside every Afghan there is NOT an American screaming to get out.

What is our end-game? 
Why is Afghanistan worth one more American life?
Why is Afghanistan worth one more American dollar?

In addition to my history with Afghanistan, I have a son-in-law who pulls a 100% military disability pension from his service to our nation in that country. He's doing fine now, for the record. He's making it. But for him and for so many others who have left pieces of themselves behind in foreign lands, there is that enduring question of whether or not it was worth such a costly sacrifice.
Can somebody give me an updated count on post-military service service suicides? I've lost frigging count. The number is staggering.
The News: Afghan Taliban special operations forces, known as Sara Khitta or Red Unit/Group, conducted “rolling attacks” on 15 police checkpoints in Kandahar during the night of 13/14 November. The attack in Farah Province on the night of the 13th also was a Red Unit operation that killed nine, vice eight, policemen. 

The official death toll in Kandahar was 23 policemen killed and 16 wounded. However, local officials said that 70 policemen were killed in 36 hours.

Afghan sources said the Red Groups wear helmets with Russian night vision goggles attached. They have telescopic sights with laser target pointers and use US automatic rifles. Afghan sources said the equipment mix indicates outside sources of supply including Russian, Iran and Pakistan.

Context: The Taliban have created a force capable of much more effective night operations. The attacks this week appear to be the first of their type, although Red Units have been mentioned in reports since 2015.

Since mid-2015, various sources reported that the Taliban were forming and training new units modeled on their understanding of US special forces. They also were experimenting with new tactics.

In August 2016, Red Units participated in attacks in repeated attempts to capture Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province. They were used mainly as extra muscle in the attacks. 

Open sources said those Red Units were equipped with US automatic rifles with night-vision scopes and laser pointers. At that time, they supposedly numbered 300 members. They wore no distinguishing clothing or identifiers.

Dedicated Taliban fighters with better rifles and scopes are not major innovations. However, night vision goggles and different tactics are significant. These two features combine to represent an escalation of the terror threat to local security personnel.

All the sources state that the night vision goggles and helmets are Russian. No open sources identified the source of supply. Night vision goggles increase the vulnerability of Afghan police posts, which usually close during the night. The only Afghan units that have night vision equipment are the Afghan special operations forces. No Afghan police personnel have them, which means they can be killed in their sleep. That is what happened in Kandahar and in Farah.

The second new feature is the rolling attack tactic, hitting multiple checkpoints in succession to kill as many policemen as possible. The attackers overran police posts, but did not stay. 

A third point is not new, but is relevant. They coordinated attacks in separate provinces in cities more than 200 miles apart. If the police become afraid for their personal safety at night, the government presence at the district level will gradually collapse, which is why they're doing it.

Kurdistan Update

Iraqi Kurdish authorities said on 14 November that they would accept a court decision prohibiting the region from seceding.

On 5 November, the Federal Supreme Court ruled, “The Republic of Iraq is a federal, independent and fully sovereign state in which the system of government is parliamentary and democratic republic, and this Constitution is a guarantor of the unity of Iraq.” 
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) statement said, “We believe that this Decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes through implementation of all constitutional articles and in a way that guarantees all rights, authorities and status mentioned in the Constitution, since this is the only way to secure the unity of Iraq, as Article 1 stated.”
The Iraqi government has not replied.

The KRG’s statement is the KRG’s third overture to the authorities in Baghdad to open talks. They are trying to ensure the survival of a semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region. The al-Abadi government is likely to reject the latest offer because the KRG has no right to reject the ruling without starting a civil war. Its statement of acceptance could be considered an insult to the federal authorities.

Syria

As the war against ISIS draws to a close, the US is agreeing to disagree about who goes and who stays. Concerning US military deployments in Syria, the US Secretary of Defense said on 14 November, “We're not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has cracked. That doesn't mean everyone stays there. That doesn't mean for certain — certain troops are leaving. I'm just saying that we're going to condition — and I've honestly not made those decisions. We're going to make sure we set the conditions for a diplomatic solution […] Not just, you know, fight the cop part of it and then say good luck on the rest of it. We did it for that — to support the diplomatic solution."

Commenting on the statement of the US Defense Secretary, the Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said on the 14th that the presence of the US forces in Syria without the approval of the Syrian government is considered an aggression. 

The Syrian opposition to the presence of Turkish and American soldiers in Syria is unchanged. It considers those forces to be aggressors and their presence a violation of international law. Although Russia and Iran agreed to Turkish military monitoring of the Idlib de-escalation zone, Syria did not.

I do not interpret Syria’s comment as requiring an immediate withdrawal of forces. Instead, it is a statement for the legal record that the only forces with a legal basis for their presence in Syria are those Syria invited. They are, primarily, the Russians, the Iranians and Iranian-backed militias and Lebanese Hizballah. 

This is the kind of issue that can strongly influence a political settlement because there are parties who were important to the outcome of the fighting who have no standing to participate in settlement talks… except they have guns and hold territory. 

The issue is the integrity of the Syrian state. Turkish and US forces are the de facto protectors of separate fragments of Syria and sectarian populations. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov clarified that a recently announced agreement on the terms of a ceasefire in Syria did not include a Russian commitment to ensure Iran-linked militias would be pulled out of the country. Lavrov said Iran maintained a “legitimate” presence in Syria.

Lavrov’s comment may be understood in several ways, which is typical for Lavrov. In one sense, it is a clarification that the new ceasefire arrangement among Jordan, Russia and the US does not require the withdrawal of Iranian-backed forces from Syria. Russia is in no position to make such a commitment and such a commitment serves no long term Russian interests.

A second sense is that Russia might not be able to enforce the distance terms in the new ceasefire arrangement that purport to define how close Iranian-backed militias can deploy to the Golan Heights. In this sense, Lavrov seems to admit that Russia promised more than it was authorized or more than it is prepared to do. 

Israel's Concerns

Prime Minister Netanyahu told members of his Likud party, “We are controlling our borders, we are protecting our country and we will continue to do so.” 
“I have also informed our friends, firstly in Washington and also our friends in Moscow, that Israel will act in Syria, including in southern Syria, according to our understanding and according to our security needs.”
According to Israeli press, Netanyahu’s remarks echoed those on Sunday, 12 November, by Israel’s regional cooperation minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, told reporters that it “does not meet Israel’s unequivocal demand that there will not be developments that bring the forces of Hezbollah or Iran to the Israel-Syria border in the north. There’s reflection here of the understanding that Israel has set red lines, and will stand firm on this.”

_______________

Zimbabwe

(The Army took over, but denies it’s a coup.) Zimbabwe sources stated that a “bloodless transition” is taking place to a new era in which ousted Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa will help.

On 14 November, Zimbabwe’s army took control of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the main newspaper. Major General S. B. Moyo broadcast a statement.
“Fellow Zimbabweans. Following the address we made on 13 November 2017, which we believe our main broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporationand the Herald were directed not to publicize, the situation in our country has moved to another level.” 
“Firstly, we wish to assure our nation, His Excellency, the president of the republic of Zimbabwe and commander in chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, comrade R. G. Mugabe and his family, are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.” 
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.”
The remainder of the statement directed people and businesses to go about their business normally. It ordered party and youth groups to not engage in acts of violence. 

The issue is the succession to President Mugabe.

The reference to a speech on 13 November is to a statement by Zimbabwe’s army chief, General Chiwenga, in which he demanded that President Mugabe halt the purge in the ruling Zanu-PF party, which began after Mugabe sacked Vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa for casue. Mnangagwa is out of the country, a fugitive from justice.

General Chiwenga told a media conference attended by at least 90 senior army officers at the army headquarters in Harare that "the current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith." He said the Army was prepared to step in.

Mugabe fired Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa last week. The veteran of the country’s 1970s liberation war was popular with the military and had been seen as a likely successor to Mugabe. Most observers believe that Mugabe is preparing his wife Grace Mugabe, a much younger person, to succeed him.

On the 14th, Zimbabwe's ruling party accused General Chiwenga of treasonable conduct. The army moved armored personnel carriers to Harare and took over the capital.

Mugabe chaired a weekly cabinet meeting in the capital on Tuesday. Afterwards, the ruling party, ZANU-PF, said it stood by the “primacy of politics over the gun.” After that the army made its broadcast.

Mugabe is 93 and has been in power since independence from the UK in 1980. The struggle over his successor is longstanding. This operation will not settle it. 

Despite the army’s denial, it’s a coup. There are no good guys in this setting, including the army whose leaders have gotten rich under Mugabe. 

Building a Better Home


Château de Peyrelade dates back to at least the 12th-century. Objects discovered in this area date back to prehistoric times. (YouTube Tour

There are some who dispute the value of a compound. 

However, history shows that it's better to be hard than soft. And it's better that people don't know precisely where you are or what your defensive measures are -- until it's too late.

I do not argue that entropy takes everything that we are and everything that we build. That's obvious.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Upset Palestinians

I share with whoever reads this blog a certain war weariness when it comes to the Middle East. In fact, I'm reluctant to blog about the place because it's like a broken record -- has been before I was born and will be after I die. The Israel vs Arab conflict was well underway long before David slew Goliath with a rock launched from a sling (the earliest example of Iron Dome...

Israel acts based on its own interests alone. I don't consider them an ally by choice, but they are an ally by need. Which is better? You can decide.

The Palestinians are upset because they're Palestinians. Nobody can fix that accident of birth.

On 13 November, the Israeli military raised the alert level across the country. The move was a response to threats by the Gaza-based militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). PIJ vowed to avenge the deaths of 12 members who were killed when the Israeli army last month blew up a tunnel under the Gaza-Israel border. Demo-ing a tunnel makes perfect sense. The US needs to demo more drug tunnels under the US/Mexico border because that's how the bulk of hard narcotics and high value people (Middle Easterners and Asians) are smuggled into the USA...but back to Israel.

Commercial Channel 2 TV reported that the Israel Air Force has finished deploying Iron Dome batteries throughout Israel, including in the north and center of the country.

Additional troops have been deployed to the south to reinforce the Gaza Division, which is on alert both to defend the southern communities and for the possibility of an attack.

Israeli official sources declined to state whether Israel had specific information about a PIJ attack. They never do comment, but their behavior in raising vigilance involved high cost physical precautions. Those usually imply a serious and reasonably credible, specific threat.

PIJ is more extreme than Hamas and usually makes good on its threats of revenge, using rocket and/or mortar attacks. PIJ has not been a party to the reconciliation talks between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority over control of the Gaza Strip. PIJ represents a wildcard that neither Hamas or Fatah control. PIJ’s top leaders are based in Damascus, Syria. The Sunni Arab terrorist group receives support from Iran and has close ties to Lebanese Hizballah.

Israel warned PIJ against attacking. On 11 November, the Israeli army warned PIJ that Israel would retaliate for any attacks and that the targets would include Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
On 12 November, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “There are those who still amuse themselves these days by trying to renew attacks against Israel. We will take a very firm stance against anyone who tries to attack us or attacks us from any area.”
PIJ replied that the Israeli threats amounted to a declaration of war.

Arab and Israeli experts state that PIJ is under pressure from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to take no action that disrupts the reconciliation between the main Palestinian factions. 

They also judge that PIJ leaders will feel that they must avenge the deaths. If so, there will be attacks. The Israelis will not limit their targets to the Gaza Strip.