sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, June 28, 2018

North Korea Update

The eyes of the world, including the ongoing eyes of US Satellites remain on North Korea. There are a few updates, most of which have been mentioned in the commonly consumed news outlets. I'll ruminate over some of them for your review.

Nuclear Weapons Material Production

Improvements continue at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor complex. The imagery analysts at 38 North reported on 26 June that commercial satellite imagery from 21 June indicates that improvements to the infrastructure at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center have continued since imagery of March. 

The lack of steam plumes and a generally low level of activity at the facility suggest that the reactor and the plutonium reprocessing laboratory are not active. Increased discoloration of the roof of the uranium cascade building indicates the cooling fans have been active.

According to 38 North, “Modifications to the 5 MWe graphite-moderated reactor’s cooling system appear complete, but a less-than-normal cooling water discharge from the outfall pipe makes a determination of the reactor’s operational status difficult.”

Several new small buildings have been constructed and a new engineering office building appears complete.

The Yongbyon complex is named a research center, but this blog's loyal readers should know it is the location where the fissile material for all North Korean nuclear weapons has been produced. It is a large complex.

North Korea continues to maintain the complex. It appears to be functional and its main production facilities could be operating at a low level. 

The North Koreans are aware of imaging satellite orbits. Thus, anything that is visible could not be hidden, is not considered sensitive or is intended to be imaged. The published images do not show evidence of special sensitivity at the facilities in the complex, such as the presence of tarps or camouflage netting. 

The complex also does not show a high level of human activity or increased energy use, which imagery satellites have detected during past production periods. However, the level of activity can be manipulated to create the appearance idleness or of a complex undergoing some upgrades and routine maintenance.

The significance is that the complex shows no obvious signs that it is operating, and no signs that it is being prepared to be shut down or dismantled. Prior to the dismantling of the nuclear test site, such signs were obvious and obviously intended to be imaged.

Handing out Kim's Food?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (the only fat man in North Korea) reportedly ordered a high ranking army officer to be executed after he was accused of giving extra food and fuel rations to troops and their families. Daily NK reported that Hyon Ju Song, the lieutenant general of the Korean People’s Army in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, was executed by a firing squad for “charges of abusing authority and engaging in anti-Party acts.”

Nork Soldiers
Hyon was reportedly a rising star in the army before his his screw up that led him to a pockmarked will with a last cigarette and a blindfold. He served as a member of the Workers' Party of Korea's Central Committee and battalion commander under the Supreme Guard Command.

“While checking the oil supplies for the Sohae Satellite Launching Station during the comprehensive inspections of wartime supplies on April 10, Hyon stated, ‘We no longer have to suffer and tighten our belts to make rockets or nuclear weapons.’  In North Korea that constitutes "famous last words". This was seen as an abuse of authority and a treasonous statement that opposed the Party’s military-first policy,” a source told Daily NK.

The source said Hyon ordered “2,000 pounds of fuel, 1,300 pounds of rice, and 1,600 pounds of corn to military officers at the Launching Station and their families.”
“This was considered an anti-Party act violating the Ten Principles for the Establishment of the Party’s One-Ideology System,” the source said. 
The officer was also accused of “failing to maintain secrecy regarding the affairs of the Party, military, and government institutions, displaying generosity by distributing unauthorized handouts, and misrepresenting the ideology of the Party,” the source said.
“The ideological poisoning that is personal idolization is corrupting the chief personnel in the People’s Army. We must nip the bud of ideological poisoning,” the source quoted Kim as saying.

If there is a moral to this story, it is, 'don't get between Dear Leader and food'. Just don't. 

To be fair to the Nork High Command, if people started eating 'wartime food rations', they'd just starve that much faster and would get accustomed to eating square meals instead of a bowl of rice and what ever rats (protein) you can catch. North Korea teeters on the brink of starvation and it's expected to have a lower than expected harvest (again).


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Do the Chinese Want the Moon?

The caption posits a question and the answer is that being celestials, the People's Republic of China (the worker's paradise) feels that they are ENTITLED to the Moon.

Americans know that they Moon is ours because our flags are the only ones that are flying there. However I have disturbing information for you that will be confirmed when we return as tourists to the landing sites. The sun will bleach those flags WHITE over time...yes, surrender flags. Thus it's critical that the space marines (a component of Space Command) return and replace the old flags with new ones that can't be bleached out.

And where are those intrepid Space Fleet leaders today? What are they doing? How are they spending their summer vacations? Are they in weightless chambers of the Vomit Comet, at high altitude? Are they in water tanks wearing space suits, practicing for construction work in orbit?

No, they're at the beach.

With mom and dad (my oldest daughter, Amanda and her husband, Braden).

They are holding themselves in readiness for that day when they will be called upon to go where no man has gone before.

Left, half buried in sand, is the intrepid starship captain, supported by the space fleet construction admiral who is known as "Wreck-It". To the right is the ninja leader of the Space Marines Commandos. Together, they make Ming-the-Merciless (was he really Chinese?) look impotent.





Life's a beach.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Observations

North Korea

Yes, it's could all be a ruse to lure us into a false sense of security before the Godless hoards march south. Still, it's worth reporting that North Korea will not hold an annual anti-US rally. 25 June, is the 68th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Usually on this date, North Korea is preparing a large demonstration in Pyongyang to protest US imperialism. 

Large-scale rehearsals usually can be detected in satellite imagery at military airfields or staging grounds near Pyongyang. No sources have reported demonstration preparations. 

North Korean media also have published no anti-US rants, which set the tone and provide the themes for the anti-US demonstration.

Open sources reported no North Korean statement about the anniversary. Chairman Kim (Little Rocket Man) Jong Un is keeping his pledge to create a new era in relations with the US, at least in terms of the atmosphere. 

North Korean media have published no anti-US commentaries in a month, since 24 May when the US President sent his letter canceling the summit. The cancellation of the annual rally is a significant symbolic, cost-savings decision. It is related to atmospherics, however, not denuclearization. 

As for large celebrations, Kim Jong Un plans a huge celebration in September in honor of the regime’s 70th anniversary. 

Ramadan has Ended

The Afghan Defense Ministry reported that the Taliban have surged attacks in 10 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces in the past four days. The Taliban announced that they have launched new attacks in 15 provinces. 

Remind me why were there propping up a puppet dictator.

Iran

Marchers in Tehran protested economic conditions. Thousands of Iranians marched in Tehran and other cities to protest economic developments. Businesses in the Grand Bazaar in Tehran joined the protests and closed the bazaar. Others protested in front of parliament.

Most urgent is the fall in the value of the rial. In the unofficial market one US dollar is exchanged for 90,000 rials. The official rate is 42,000 rials to the dollar. 
The second issue is the rise in prices. The collapse of the rial drove up the price of everything. This has generated capital flight as well as increased pressure to convert rials into dollars or durable goods.
Businesses dealing in imports suffered a second major setback. In anticipation of unilateral US sanctions in August, the Iranian government banned the import of more than 1,300 goods that could be produced in Iran. The banned items include household appliances, some textiles, footwear and leather products, as well as furniture, healthcare products and some machinery. 

The head of the Chamber of Guilds assured the press that business had returned to normal at the Grand Bazaar by day’s end.

These were not anti-government protests in the sense of calls for systemic change. The protestors were merchants who sought economic relief, which has been promised by successive Iranian governments.

The involvement of the merchants is particularly challenging to the government because they are the conservative pillars of the consumer economy. Businessmen and professionals have a large stake in stability, and they do not put it at risk by political activism. Their decision to protest in public implies that economic conditions are serious.

Iranian press reported that no protestors were arrested, though police dispersed the crowds. A key development will be whether the government begins to treat economic protests as challenges to its political authority. If, or perhaps when, that takes place, that would be the turning point when the protests convert into anti-government protests.

Syria

The rebels surrendered in one of the southwestern operations areas. Several Syrian news services reported that most rebel groups in the Lajat area, northeast of Dara’a surrendered to government forces on 25 June. Major elements of an armored division were in position to dissect the territory held by the rebels, applying the siege and squeeze tactics used in the eastern Ghouta operations.

Pro-government sources said that 900 former opposition fighters joined the Syrian offensive to fight the HTS and the Islamic State remnants. 

The HTS, formerly the al-Nusra Front and affiliated with al Qaida, tried to prevent the surrender by attacking government troops. Russian and Syrian air attacks helped defeat the HTS counter-push.

The surrenders partly avert a humanitarian crisis. The Russians said they would escort three relief convoys into the area. 

The liberation of Lajat shrinks by about one-third the area under the control of anti-government fighting groups in the southwest. The pro-government web site South Front posted a map that shows the Islamic State fighters control one of the remaining pockets. That pocket is located in the tri-border region of Syria, Jordan and the Golan Heights. 

Jordan

Jordan announced it will accept no more Syrian refugees. On 25 June, a government spokesperson announced that Jordan will not accept refugees fleeing the current Syrian army offensive in the southwest. In the statement, the spokesperson said Jordan had accepted many refugees but could take no more.

The statement about refugees is intended as a warning to Syria to minimize the civilian ripple effects of its latest offensive. 

Jordan hosts 660,000 registered Syrian refugees, which is almost 7 per cent of the population. However, experts judge up to 1.4 million displaced Syrians are in Jordan. A major concern is the extra strain on Jordan’s water supply and on the economy in general, according to reliefweb.

Without major outside support, Jordan could not support the burdens of the large refugee population. Historically, refugee burdens have prompted border closures and have contributed to clashes and general war. 

If Jordan is serious about not accepting more refugees, it might be required to back up its statement with a show of force.

Monday, June 25, 2018

FBI Strzok Three

In the FBI pecking order, Assistant Director Peter Strzok was the second highest FBI agent in the Counter Intelligence Division. CNN and MSNBC are painting him as just another office flunky as he faces off with Congress this coming week.

It's important to frame the 'slow coup' that Strzok and his cronies dreamed up and executed. Special Counsel and former FBI Director Mueller is still running his part of the show. It's important to grasp the hubris of the FBI leadership as they sought to craft the outcome of an election by creating a false narrative against President Trump through their "investigation". It's not unlike the sort of thing that the KGB under Baria would have plotting, but lacked the skill of consumate schemers in banana republics.
Reporter, Sharyl Attkisson (herself married to a former FBI agent) wrote, "Strzok is the subject of what I see as one of the most damaging conclusions in the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general report: As the nation’s top FBI counterespionage official, he indicated “a willingness to take official action to impact [Donald Trump’s] electoral prospects.

"Specifically, while working on the Hillary Clinton classified email investigation in August 2016, Strzok wrote that he and unnamed others would “stop” Trump from getting elected. He shared his intentions with at least one other FBI official, attorney Lisa Page.

"Strzok isn’t just any rank-and-file guy spouting off in one ill-advised email. His fingerprints were on every FBI investigation that stood to impact Clinton’s presidential candidacy or to hurt Trump before and after the 2016 election.  
"He was chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section and number two in the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. He led the team of investigators in the Clinton classified email probe and led the FBI investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election. He was involved in the controversial anti-Trump “Steele dossier” used, in part, to obtain multiple secret wiretaps. He was the one who interviewed Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI only to later learn that agents reportedly didn’t think he’d lied. And Strzok was the “top” FBI agent appointed to work on the team of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged Trump-Russia collusion. " 
"The earth-shattering finding on Strzok by the inspector general (IG) confirms a citizenry’s worst fears: A high-ranking government intel official allegedly conspired to affect the outcome of a U.S. presidential election." 
There are multiple allegations of FBI misbehavior in that inquiry, including conspiracies to frame Trump, and improper spying on Trump associates. Investigating those allegations takes on an added sense of urgency with news that the FBI’s top counterespionage official expressed willingness to use his official position against a political enemy.

This blog's readers should consider reading the entire DOJ Inspector General's report (HERE).

Aug. 8, 2016:

FBI Attorney Lisa Page, who also worked on Special Counsel Mueller’s team: ”[Trump is] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok: ”No. No he won't. We'll stop it.”

Aug. 15, 2016:

Strzok: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk … It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Late August 2016:

Reportedly working for the FBI, Professor Stefan Halper, a reputed one-time CIA operative, meets with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis, offering his services as a foreign-policy adviser, according to the Washington Post. Halper would later offer to hire Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

Somewhere around this time, the FBI initiates a new wiretap against ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to CNN, which extends at least through early 2017.

September 2016:

Former British spy Christopher Steele, hired by private research firm Fusion GPS to investigate the Trump campaign, becomes an FBI source and uses Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr as a point of contact. Steele tells Ohr that he’s "desperate” that Trump not get elected.

President Obama warns Russia not to interfere in the U.S. election.

Sept. 2, 2016:

FBI attorney Lisa Page texts Strzok that “[President Obama] wants to know everything we’re doing.”

Nov. 3, 2016:

Page texts Strzok: “The [New York Times] probability numbers are dropping every day. I’m scared for our organization.”

March 14, 2017:

Page texts Strzok: “Finally two pages away from finishing ["All the President’s Men"]. Did you know the president resigns in the end?!” 

Strzok:“What?!?! God, that we should be so lucky.”

May 22, 2017:

Strzok texts about "unfinished business" that he "unleashed" with the Clinton classified email probe and states: "Now I need to fix it and finish it.” He also refers to the special counsel probe, which hadn't yet begun in earnest, as an "investigation leading to impeachment" but also states he had a "gut sense and concern there's no big 'there' there.”

Strzok is still collecting a salary, courtesy of taxpayers, at the FBI Human Resources Department. If it weren’t for the IG's investigation, requested by Congress, he’d likely still be helping lead special counsel Mueller’s investigation of Trump today.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

It's Time to Speculate

US Service Precedence:

US Army (senior service - service of the Revolution from Great Britain) (13 OCT 1775)
US Navy (13 OCT 1775)
 - - US Marine Corps (10 NOV 1775)
US Coast Guard (28 JAN 1915)
US Air Force (18 SEP 1947)

US Central Intelligence Agency (18 SEP 1947) Non-Uniformed Military Service (During wartime, CIA ranks revert to US Army ranking as a matter of protocol. It's a technical fact, but true none the less)
US Space Force (18 JUN 2018)

It's time for speculation. Will the newly minted Space Force adopt US Naval ranking or will it follow the US Air Force (which separated from the US Army)? Will it have its own Space Marines? The nature of Space SHIPS suggests that a nautical format will be adopted, but art doesn't necessarily follow national will as represented by the the thoughts of Generals and Admirals in the Pentagon.

I expect all of you arm-chair Trekkies to weigh in.


Friday, June 22, 2018

You can Call it Progress


At long last, the steel roof is going up on the hovel at the White Wolf Mine.


If you click to enlarge the photo above, you'll see the steel cladding on part of the roof. That should be finished on Monday. Soon after, the siding will arrive and it will begin to look more complete. More like a shack than a hovel. In due time, the concrete floor on the lower/guest level will receive its epoxy finish and will be sealed and harder than rock.

Update on North Korea

Some of this blog's readers have e-mailed me and asked why my obsession with Norkland. It's not an obsession, but you'll recall that I predicted nuclear war. Now peace is breaking out, painting me as completely wrong (in a good way).

Let's hit a few points, and it's generally very good news:

Red Cross 

Delegates from South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are engaged in Red-Cross talks at the Mount Kumgang resort on 22 June. Talks began at 22:00 EDT 21 June.

A key item for discussion was the reunion of families separated during the Korean War. The delegations are expected to discuss the examination of whether all the lost family members are alive, exchange of letters, and visits by the families to their hometowns across the border.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un agreed to hold a reunion around 15 August. That is the 73rd anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945).

This is the first discussion of separated families since late 2015. North Korea previously refused to engage in these talks until South Korea repatriated 12 North Korean restaurant workers. Supposedly their defection to South Korea in 2016 was coerced. The issue is likely to be raised, but it was not an impediment to the first session of talks.

Kim agreed to these talks at the 27 April Panmunjom summit with President Moon. He is delivering on this commitment.

Remains of US soldiers

News services reported that North Korea plans to transfer the remains of 200 US soldiers to the US in the next few days. That is a commitment Kim made to the US President at the Singapore summit. The US Defense Department carries 7,702 US military personnel as unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown

Sources of The Daily NK, the defector daily published in Seoul, continue to report on the extensive security measures that the regime put into effect during the 70 hours Kim was in Singapore. They suggest that Kim’s worries ranged from public protests of his policies to plotting against him.

The latest reports indicate the security measures during the special security period were more extensive than first reported. Even North Koreans considered them excessive. 

According to one source, Kim took the Minister of the Peoples Armed Forces and some of the senior Central Committee members to ensure they could not plot against him. He deliberately had them shown in televised imagery.

The measures included restrictions on movements by selected individuals and vigilance against whispering campaigns.

A separate source said Kim ordered the temporary confiscation of cell phones of senior officials and returned them the day he returned from Singapore. This measure supposedly was to prevent them from conspiring against him.

The armed forces were confined to barracks, but units were assigned officers from the Ministry of State Security to supervise them. Normally, the armed forces security units enforce special period restrictions on the armed forces.

Finally, Kim appointed no one in charge of North Korea in his absence. 

As usual the sample is limited. Some of the restrictions are normal when the Supreme Leader leaves the country. The explanation for some of the measures – that Kim is worried about plotting –cannot be confirmed but is plausible. Kim’s uncle Jang Song Taek was executed in 2013 for plotting against Kim Jong Un, with Chinese support. 

Kim Jong Un had his half-brother Kim Jong Nam assassinated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February 2017, allegedly for plotting with Chinese government elements to replace Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean image managers present Kim Jong Un as a self-confident and competent leader who can deliver on his commitments. That probably is not entirely accurate. Despots always need to worry about plotting. Kim might be paranoid, but the plots have been real.

In the near term, the best measures of Kim’s confidence and his sincerity will be his willingness to discuss details of his nuclear program. I remain skeptical that he has the stature and authority to give away state secrets in return for peace, even with unification, without generating significant internal opposition. This interlude of relative peace is risky for Kim.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Don't Let Them go to Waste

These Crisis Points come and go....

Am I the only one who recalls the Zika virus 'crisis' last year? We pumped $1.6 billion in taxpayer dollars to solve the problem.

Projections were dire. 

In July of last year, CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden called Puerto Rico’s Zika epidemic “horrifying.” He warned it could sicken 10,000 pregnant Puerto Rican women in 2016 alone, causing catastrophic birth defects in hundreds of babies.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. How could CDC have gotten it so wrong? And what happened to the monty that we threw into that rat-hole in Puerto Rico? Once they gorged on American pork, there was no more need for money for Zika.

The progressive left needs something to wring its hands about. The 24 hour news cycle must report on some sort of crisis - breaking news. Either its illegal aliens who cross the US Border illegally and end up being detained with minors segregated, or it's anger at President Trump threatening North Korea, or it's President Trump making peace with North Korea. The daily crisis points come and go. Who can forget Harambe, the gorilla? Don't tell me that you forgot Harambe. 

Germany agreed to drop all tariffs on imports of our autos into the Fatherland if we would our much smaller import tariffs on their cars. Isn't that amazing? Where are the corrupt, smug, sly, lying, elite media reports on that? Maybe they're getting tired of winning?

Volcano coverage in Hawaii has stopped. Did the volcano stop erupting? 

Passing Observations

Washington DC - The nation seems to be unable to focus on more than one thing at a time collectively. Today it's the long standing, court-ordered practice of separating minors (under 18 years) from adult family members facing prosecution. The corrupt, sly, smug, lying, elite media wants to focus all blame on President Trump even though the legislature makes laws.

If we had a border wall, the problem would be moot. People profit from illegal immigration. If you want to know who has blood on their hands, watch for the people who vote against a border wall.

There's also the continuing bleed going on at the FBI, where their tarnished credibility is being thrashed again for rampant misconduct and outright corruption (referred to as "gifting in exchange for information - can't call it BRIBERY)

Yawn, more of the same. Nothing surprising in any of this. Gifting the FBI in exchange for information (bribery) was rampant during the Obama Years, and it's somehow shocking to me that it's news now. 

Summer - Meanwhile, the rest of the world drags on and today, it's officially summer.

The Solstice brings out the witches, pagans, and what some would refer to as 'Earth cults', dancing naked under the stars to celebrate the solstice. Some of the Earth cults are vegans. Yesterday I went to a vegan restaurant for lunch (not because I love animals but because I hate plants) and had hummus with pita bread and cucumbers to dip it. The plate came with kalamata olives, etc. It's a dish that I like at times. There was a big bru-ha-ha going on in the other corner where various Earth Children were debating whether it was appropriate to sacrifice an animal on solstice or whether you could just eat plants.  I stayed longer than I normally would have at the restaurant because they entertained me with their chatter back and forth (not unlike a freak show/circus), which ended with one side (I'm not sure which one) stomping out of the joint.

Nork Hysteria - Your take on the peace process now underway between almost everyone and North Korea will depend on where you stand. The US is moving forward to produce a framework for denuclearizing North Korea that includes impromptu international inspections. The Norks are going along with this. It breaks a lot of rice bowls but it will make the world safer once North Korea takes concrete, verifiable steps to do that. Kim Jong Un bet the farm on this. If it fails, they'll tie him to a post and shoot him to pieces with an anti-aircraft gun.

Turkey vs Kurds - Prime Minister Yıldırım said on Monday, 18 June, Turkey would target the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed branch, the People's Protection Units (YPG), in Kobani, Haseke and Qamishli after operations were completed in Manbij. He said Turkey's goal was to make northern Syria a safe zone, after the US provided weapons to this terror group.

The green dots signify towns that the YPG liberated with US support. Turkish senior leaders have mentioned all of them as future targets for Turkish “counter-terror” operations.

The Turkish policy line remains unchanged. The political leaders continue to insist that they will cleanse northern Syria of “terrorists,” meaning the Syrian Kurdish soldiers who defeated the Islamic State after the Turkish-backed proxy failed.

Seven years ago, Turkey armed and supported the Islamic State as an ally in Turkey’s policy of overthrowing the Assad government and installing a Sunni Islamist replacement. Turkish leaders still intend to overthrow Assad. The anti-Kurd campaign is related to that Turkish goal.

The recent threats to defeat the Kurds partly are political grandstanding by President Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party to boost its prospects in general elections on 24 June.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Climbing the Rigging like Daddy Used to Do

Searching for the Muse

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

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

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

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

Naval Tradition

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Family

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




Friday, June 15, 2018

International Update

The US of A

    FBI

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

    Hillary's Scandal(s) 

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

Bang the Gongs and Bark at the Moon

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

North Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

   Japanese Reaction

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

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

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

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

Syria and Iran in Syria

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

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

This is tantamount to sending Israel a challenge.

Turkey vs Italy

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

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

______________
______________

The Coming Weekend

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

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

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


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Statecraft (the Greatest Game)

War as an Option (understanding historical contexts)

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

Spying

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

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

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

The Propaganda Machine

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Passion for Fashion (thing for bling)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Right Skills

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

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

Observations and Implications

The Summit Meeting (in Singapore)

At their first handshake, Kim told President Trump, “It was not easy to get here. For us, the past has been holding us back and old practices and prejudices have been covering our eyes and ears, but we have been able to overcome everything to arrive here today."

At the end of about four hours of meetings, President Trump and the North Korean Chairman signed a document on broad principles of agreement. It opened with an affirmation that President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un “held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.” 
“President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and pf the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:

1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.”
“Having acknowledged that the U.S.-DPRK summit – the first in history – was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK officials, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK summit.”
The primary significance of the summit is that it occurred. Both leaders wanted to be the first. In meeting the US President, Kim has surpassed the achievements of Kim Il-sung and Kim Chong-il. Both men have established a place in history.

The emergence of the document above implies preparations and exchanges about appropriate for a half-day summit. Some of the language is lifted from public statements by Kim or from President Trump. Other language is from the Panmunjom Declaration, which is cited. 

Style

Many commentators from the corrupt, smug, sly, lying elite media in the US have criticized the summit style. There are at least two summit styles. 

Since World War II, the dominant style has been for the summit meeting to be the climax of weeks of work. This opens the negotiations to input from all sort of experts.

The Singapore summit conforms to an older style, that of strong rulers – kings/kaisers/emperors/despots -- of the past. Great kings had the option to establish the principles or the framework for an agreement and then set their bureaucracies in motion to execute the details. 

In the older style, the experts have only limited contributions to make to the summit preparations. They still have important contributions, but to the implementation phase of the agreement. Both styles work.

Security and pressure. One of the advantages of the great king style is there are no premature leaks. Plus, there is no time pressure to achieve results before the leaders meet. 

Severability. Another advantage is that differences over the details do not necessarily rupture the overall agreement.

Flexibility. Another advantage is that the great kings have the flexibility to intervene to break deadlocks. The important point is that there is no single path to a useful agreement. 

Iran-North Korea

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi urged North Korea to enter the planned talks with the United States with "full vigilance", ISNA news agency reported on 11 June.
"Given the history and the history of the behavior we know from the United States, especially those of Mr. Trump, who during his term of office has committed obstructions, withdrawal from agreements, and violations of obligations, especially with regards to the JCPOA (the Iranian nuclear deal), we do not hold an optimistic view on this issue, and we believe that the Korean government should deal with this with full vigilance, since one cannot judge the nature of the American leadership with optimism," Qassemi said during his weekly press briefing in Tehran on 11 June.
"Iran's position is clear..., we are interested in peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, as well as in other parts of the world, and we will welcome every step in this process, as well as the economic development and prosperity of that region," Qassemi said when asked about Iran's stance on the upcoming US-North Korean talks in Singapore.
The Iranian statement contains no surprises. However, Iran is watching closely, because THEY are interested in an agreement themselves. As Iran ramps up it's capacity to build nuclear weapons, Israel acquires US F-35 stealth strike aircraft, and the Saudis have committed to buy/build their own nuclear weapons in an effort to remain parity with their hereditary enemies. With the North Koreans crafting a deal that may be enduring with President Trump, there is a light with Iran that was not there with the bumbling, craven ObamaNation. Maybe there is a way for them that doesn't end with the Persian Empire turned into a sea of radioactive glass.

I know that there are blog readers who won't agree with me that Iran sees an opportunity for a genuine deal, but (with respect) you're wrong. How to craft such a deal on the repudiation on the horrible situation with Barack Obama's 'sell out' that the whole world now sees clearly, is a task for them.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Here and There

The Summit in Singapore

Singapore time is 12 hours ahead of EDT. The US President and Chairman Kim are scheduled to meet at 9:00 a.m. on 12 June, Singapore time. That will be 9:00 p.m./21:00 EDT on the night of 11 June.

Korean Central News Agency = KCNA (Nork News - which is not as bad as CNN because they manage to eek some truth into their barrage of propaganda)

Let's take a moment to examine what the Norks are saying to the masses back home.

KCNA did not list Kim’s entourage. Other reporting indicates that Kim’s team includes Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho; Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong; Party Vice-Chairmen Kim Yong Chol and Ri Su Yong and Minister of the People’s Armed Forces No Kwang Chol.

News services posted an image of Kim and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee shaking hands at the Presidential Palace. KCNA published a the report that follows.
“Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, visited the Republic of Singapore on June 10 and met its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Presidential Palace.”
“Kim Jong Un, the respected Supreme Leader of the party, the state and the army of the DPRK, exchanged warm greetings with the prime minister, made an entry in the visitors' book and had a friendly talk with him. 
“Telling that he was very pleased to visit the magnificent and beautiful Republic of Singapore, Kim Jong Un extended his heartfelt greetings and best wishes to the government and people of Singapore on behalf of the government of the DPRK and the Korean people.” 
‘He expressed deep thanks to the Singaporean government for its sincere cooperation of providing all conditions and best conveniences for the historic DPRK-U.S. summit meeting and talks.” 
“Thanking the DPRK for selecting his country as the venue for the DPRK-U.S. summit talks, the prime minister of Singapore expressed expectation that the historic summit talks would offer an important occasion in achieving peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.” 
“Mentioned at the talk were the issues of developing the bilateral relations in an all-round way by invigorating wide-ranging exchange and cooperation while maintaining the excellent relations and deepening the friendly relations between the two countries.”
“The talk proceeded in an amicable and friendly atmosphere.”
The extent of North Korean news coverage is appropriate to the occasion in that it is unprecedented in timeliness. North Korean security usually delays coverage of Chairman Kim at an event and at an identifiable location, but not this time. Prior to the publications on 10 June, however, North Korean media conveyed only that the summit would occur, but not when or where.

On the 10th, The North Korean Party daily, Rodong Sinmun, published an editorial that read, “Even if a country had a hostile relationship with us in the past, our attitude is that if this nation respects our autonomy... we shall seek normalization through dialogue.” 

KCNA published a statement that said the two leaders would discuss a "permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism" for the Korean Peninsula; the "denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula and would exchange wide-ranging and profound views on establishing a new relationship.

The composition of Kim’s teams supports the importance of Kim Yong Chol as an advisor. Ri Su Yong is the man who oversaw the Singapore arrangements. General No Kwang Chol is the recently appointed Minister of the People’s Armed Forces. His presence mostly shows that Kim’s team is an all-of-North Korea team: family, Party, civilian government and armed forces.

As has been discussed (endlessly) elsewhere, there seems to be some sincerity on the part of the Norks that we have NEVER seen in the past. This doesn't mean that there won't be cheating on their part. It does mean that there is a paradigm shift underway and there is cause for some cautious optimism.

I expect that President Trump will leave Singapore with a peace treaty with North Korea that the US Senate, South Korea, the UN and China will need to ratify. In exchange for peace, there will be a roadmap to denuclearization and a draw-down in military presence on the DMZ. Whether that translates into an enduring peace is another matter. As we've discussed on this blog, North Korea is not capable of shifting from a war economy to a peace economy over night. This won't be an end, but it might be the beginning of the end to war. I expect that Kim Jong Un will ask for a species of Marshall Plan for North Korea which USA and China will fund. Handing over nuclear weapons and demolishing the capability to make more will be the price.

Iraq

A total vote recount is now impossible. On 10 June, a fire in Baghdad burned a warehouse that was one of the sties that stored the ballots from the general election on 12 May. A number of the ballots were destroyed.

The speaker of parliament said the fire was arson and proved that the election was marred by fraud. He called for new elections. Prime Minister Abadi called the fire a plot to harm Iraqi democracy.
These sorts of antics are the mark of "banana republics" - and it's the sort of game one would have never thought possible in the US. But when you look at the way the corrupt, sly, elite, lying, mainstream media works in the US in support of the Deep State - who knows but what it won't happen to us. We have evidence of a slow coup supported by the FBI including fraudulent FISA warrants, spies/informants sent to infiltrate the Trump campaign, and phony Russia collusion allegations designed to undermine a legitimately elected president.
Spain

The first acts of the Socialist government. Spain's new Socialist government said Friday, 8 June, it would lift financial controls on Catalonia as a "gesture of normalization," but insisted an independence referendum was still "out of the question." 

The financial controls had been put in place by the previous conservative government in September 2017 to prevent the separatist regional government of Catalonia from financing a banned independence referendum. From now on, the Catalan government will simply have to provide a monthly spending report to Madrid.

The Socialists are indebted politically to the Catalans for supporting the no confidence vote against the Rajoy government. This is an important concession, but it probably will encourage the secessionists to demand more.