sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Sermonette

Articulation Matters

Timely and timeless...see right

Which reminds me, we're getting ready for the arrival of the '48 Willys in two weeks here in the Arizona highlands.

You don't have to go fast in the Willy's, and you don't have to carry a lot of people because it's a ranch rig.

The Pinz-or-Mog-or-Power Wagon is on hold until I get the Willy's worked out and can decide whether or not I need one more vehicle.

And I think that the Willy's will be painted green eventually, which is my segue to St. Patrick's Day.

St. Paddy's Day

No Irishman needs an excuse to drink. Not ever.


Neither do pirates (we don't wait until the sun is over the yard arm as is Naval tradition). The day allows cultural appropriators to PRETEND to be Irish. Do the Irish care that everyone wants to be them? No. They could give a rat's ass. Beer (green and otherwise) is served to everyone regardless to race, gender, national origin, or political affiliation. The Irish are inclusive in their pubs - more inclusive if you buy a few rounds for the house and just leave your credit card running.

Have a happy day and celebrate with whom you please, be as crazy as you please, and may you get to  heaven a half hour before the devil knows you're dead. (There's Whiskey in the Jar)

St. Patrick was a saint...thus the sermonette.

He drove the snakes out of Ireland. I wonder if he could return to the living and preform the same miracle in Washington DC?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

An American Experiment in Socialism

If you want to see how socialism works under the American Government, the best place to begin is an Indian reservation. Start with one that doesn't have a massive casino or oil wells. The medical care is on par with what you could expect in almost any clinic in Africa and the lifestyle as people wait for their 'free' government allotment is legendary.

Bob O'Rorque, AOC and the rest of the fringe players who are demanding socialism should go there, live among the people, and see for themselves how things really work in an American Socialist system.

Yes, I know that Indians can leave the rez. But it's not an easy thing when you're a product of Indian schools and a culture that doesn't want to release you. 

Here at my new home in the Arizona Highlands, I live on the curtilage of reservation land. I'm not part Indian, like the illustrious presidential candidate Elizabeth (Poke) Warren, who brags about her 1/100,000th heritage. But I've seen graphically how things work under the government-sponsored socialism of Indian affairs. On reservations there are a few elite Indians who manage to siphon off as much as they are able as they lap at the government trough. They live quite well on a blend of low level graft and influence peddling. Cinderblock house, enough heat, 2 4x4's in the driveway. And then there are the politically forgotten folk. 

(LINK)
Living conditions on many Indian reservations are so poor that they are comparable to conditions in Third World countries. Many families don’t have adequate food, clothing, or access to modern health care. Many homes lack indoor plumbing, heating systems, and electricity.

For the best part of the last two decades Shannon County, South Dakota, which lies entirely inside the Pine Ridge reservation, was the poorest county in the United States. When it finally moved down on the poverty list, it was only because conditions worsened on another Indian reservation.

The new poorest county in the United States is Buffalo County, northeast of Pine Ridge in central South Dakota and home to the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.
Sure, we can point to the VA as being the penultimate in government healthcare (good in some places, horrid in others), but the real experiment in socialism is found on the rez. Only there is the real face of socialism and government failure evident.

Saturday Compendium

Finding Priorities


California experienced unprecedented snow and rain as a result of global cooling. What happened to all of that water ...in a state where they are CONTINUALLY howling about a lack of water? Why almost all of it washed into the Pacific ocean, because they are not building reservoirs? (The bullet train to nowhere had a lot more kick backs associated with it than a dam.) Because there is always a snail, or a chub fish, or a rodent, or an insect in the construction zone that might not be able to get out of the way of the bulldozers. It's fine if you are ok with being thirsty, but please don't whine, California. Nobody takes the state seriously anyway.

Coping with Global Cooling

Sure, there's a good possibility that we're entering an ice age. When it ends, and the ice melts and all those wind turbines are revealed, what will people in 2219 think? (h/t Woodsterman)



Then there is the inevitable problem of getting your 4x4 trapped in the ice during the ice age. We will be looking back fondly to the years of global warming... those years when you didn't have to dig down 12' to find your ride after the snow storm. 

20,000 years ago, what is now Boston was under 1,250 meters of ice. Could it happen again? Sure, why not?

Stay warm, my friends.

Should you be burning wood to help offset the onset of the ice age? It would seem to be a prudent move. In fact cutting down ALL trees would reduce CO2 according to key Democrats because trees give off CO2 at night. They only make O2 during the daytime. Trees are treacherous and put out more CO2 than cows. Save the cows/steaks/milk/butter, eliminate trees.


Thoughts on President Trump's First Veto

The Republicans (RINOs) who voted against President Trump did so because they thought that Congress should decide how money is spent, and not the president, by taking executive action. Oh, how sweet the anti-Trump Republicans are. Congress hasn't dealt with immigration, or the border wall or much of anything lately. President Trump felt forced to act to secure the border even if it took an emergency declaration, which freed up money. 
The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, with 12 Republicans joining all the Democrats to deliver a rare bipartisan rebuke of the president. 
The disapproval resolution passed the House last month, so the 59-to-41 Senate vote will send the measure to the president’s desk. Trump intends to use the first veto of his presidency to strike it down, and Congress does not have the votes to override the veto.
Bless their little black hearts. Congress can't seem to figure out how to pour pee out of a boot, and they rebuke the President? 

What is Kale good for?


Friday, March 15, 2019

Afghanistan Notes

I pulled a book out of box (because I'm still unpacking) and flipped through the pages. I do this all too often and it slows the process of unpacking. In this case the book is, "The Fragmentation of Afghanistan", by Barnett (Barney) Rubin. It's an older book, but valid today. It caused me to reflect that even the most basic aspects of government in Afghanistan are still not settled after 18 years of US involvement. I will spare you the walk down memory lane, but let's talk about what's gong on right now... if you care. I assure you that the US troops in country care. But it's become of of those uncomfortable wars that don't end well. 

Truth be told, they never end well. There are too many casualties with no definable result (including my son-in-law, now judged 100% disabled due to the war). And what was the Navy doing there anyway. It's a land locked nation. Oh, I know the answer, but really?

Today we witness a classic Afghan struggle between two powerful personalities, President Ghani and former Governor and warlord Noor. They do not like each other. Ghani ordered Noor replaced as Balkh governor in December 2017. Both are absolutely corrupt - which is a standard for Afghan politicians. (And politicians in that part of the world. They differ little from politicians everywhere except that they make no pretense about bribery.)

Afghanistan Locator
After 18 years, the Tajiks and the Uzbeks (which became the Northern Alliance) still judge the US gave their victory back to the Pashtuns who were the enemy. A major Tajik complaint is that the Pashtuns always get the choice appointments for making money. The tribal tension runs deep under the veneer of political cooperation in the open. That will not last after the US withdraws. Afghanistan will fragment along tribal lines. Everyone who understands the situation, expects that including the Afghans.

There is also a power struggle underway between the provinces and the center, Kabul. The relationship between the center and the provinces is not settled. The constitution specifies the terms of the relationship, but that is marginally relevant to who governs and how in the 34 provincial capitals. It is seldom the man (crook) appointed by President Ghani.

In historic Afghan tradition, the latest episode is being decided by guns, as it always has. But nothing is settled, least of all the commitment to western-style democracy. Things work for now because the US pays all the sides. Ghani has power because the US pays the bills. Noor has power because he is a Tajik war hero.

The Afghan Taliban posted an audio interview in which talks leader Mullah Baradar attempted to reassure Afghans about the peace process. He said, “I ask all our countrymen to be sure there is no need to worry. Everyone will be treated very well." He advised the fighters to stay calm and not become arrogant over recent victories.
Baradar’s interview used language that a conquering emperor uses to his new subjects – they will be treated well. That sort of language is always a lie. His language shows he thinks the talks mean that the Taliban have won the war and will be the next government. Afghan government leaders would be justified in investigating how the Taliban got that impression and it was not refuted. 
He did not say the Taliban would share power fairly, respect the rights of men and women or the constitution or property rights. He did not promise peace or to abide by the law. He also did not say the Taliban would implement Sharia, as it did before, but that is a bedrock item in the Taliban agenda. His language is unsettling and patronizing.
The highest levels of the Afghan government have no confidence in the US Special Envoy. The talks will not achieve their stated goals for a unified, national government. The place is a mess and is not worth one more US dollar or US life. We've squandered both for an end that while predictable, is lamentable. 

The CIA/SPECOPS war against the Taliban early in the conflict (post 911) wherein the Northern Alliance, backed by US overhead air assets and precision bombing (overhead artillery) was very successful. We could have quit while we were ahead, but USGOV doesn't work like that and we sent in Big Army, which insured the conflict would go on as they spent billions a week. 18 years later we have killed a lot of Afghans and other Muslim radical fighters, who were drawn to the conflict - but what did it REALLY matter?

It's a lesson we're unlikely to learn from.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Rations

I asked for advice on in-auto rations, and received some excellent advice. You can read it in comments (here).

I wanted to expand the situation without going on endlessly in comments.

There are two things going on. One is personal long term food storage and I have that problem in hand, with a cool, dry, cellar location. The other was the issue of a food ration in the rig at all times beyond the basic power bar or Pay Day candy bars. 

LL
In normal times, when I left the house with the intent of putting 'civilization' in the rear view mirror, I packed food for the trip. Now I live in a place where civilization is ALWAYS in the distance. And I need some sort of ration that includes enough for four people for four days stashed in my passenger car, my Ford Raptor and my Toyota FJ. Two is one and one is none - and there needs to be enough to also feed unfortunates I may come across. These need to be separate from my go-bag.

And for reference, I have full first-aid, recovery gear, tools, and tools to defend myself in my 4x4's separate from the go-bag, etc. There is some emergency food there but it isn't sufficient to deal with the present situation. (4 people for 4 days)

This winter in the Arizona highlands set all records for snow and moisture (we've also had significant rain when it's too warm to snow), and I've been snowed out (being out of town) and snowed in - once each since December. Power bars in the go-bag really aren't enough if I'm marooned in the rig somewhere where 4x4 and chains are insufficient. That is RARELY the case in Arizona, but this year taught me a lesson. As I mentioned twice above, there also has to be enough food to help others. No man is an island.

The MRE solution was raised and while I don't dislike the current MRE's, they don't last that long in packaging and I need food I can toss in a bag and more less forget about. If I was a better prepper, I'd be rotating food through my rigs, etc. but I'm an inadequate prepper and tend to go with store-and-forget until needed. (The long term storage in the house is 20+ year food that I could rotate but likely will not) I will likely die before the use-by date expires.

Those who suggested that you store what you like to eat are 100% correct and where the storage at the house is concerned, I have it covered. In the rigs, the problems are different. 

I now live  in a place of extremes. AZ in the summer gets up in the 120+ degree range and in the winter, it drops below zero. Stored food in the rigs MUST be able to handle that 130 degree swing without blowing up or freezing in the can/bottle/bag. Which means no pop-top cans. I'm going to experiment with canned peaches, pears and fruit cocktail and see how they weather the weather. Spam isn't a bad choice either, but it's salty and you need to drink water to compensate. I'll throw a couple cans in and we'll see. Granola bars are always a good idea, as is jerky. There is a brand of Jerky that I like above the others and it's packed for long term storage. I plan to pick some up for the kits the next time I drive through Quartzsite, AZ.

And we'll see. Hopefully I'm not marooned in snow too deep to get out of in Arizona... (that darned ice age). Unlike others on this blog, I'm unlikely to travel into Colorado or Wyoming during winter. I'm not a winter sports guy. I moved to the White Wolf Mine because it's close to warm. I can be in the Phoenix valley in an hour and a half. But with this last storm, Scottsdale received 9" of snow. (yeah, ice age, global cooling, we're all gonna die) And at the same time, I can be home in the summer and it doesn't usually get over 90 and that's rare. And the house has A/C.

I read all of your comments with great interest and appreciate the fact that you care enough to comment more than you know.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

There's Only One Choice in 2020

For thirty years, Donald Trump was a darling of Hollywood, a toastmaster at the finest parties, attended by the finest people (your betters). He donated to everybody's political campaign: Treacherous Mitt Romney, Crying Chuck Schumer, Crooked Hillary Clinton, to name but a few. He and the uber elegant Melania Trump attended Chelsea Clinton's wedding (President Obama was not invited) and the tycoon image attracted people from far and wide. The media loved Donald J. Trump every bit as much as their Democrat masters. If it was a movie shot in New York City, The Donald stood in for a cameo appearance. He hosted The Apprentice, one of the most highly rated and watched reality television shows on any network. NBC thought that the sun rose and set on Donald Trump. 

Then he ran for President, and quickly dispatched Republican party favorites like Jeb!, the mentally challenged, yet anointed son, Bitter Gov. John Kasich, and Lying Ted Cruise. And the Democrats cheered (somewhat chastened) as he took on the unbeatable, likewise anointed, her-turn-to-lead (the Deep State) Crooked Hillary Clinton. The campaign was reset something like two dozen times from "I'm with HER" to "If you give me a broom, I'll ride it," as she sought a message that would resound the same way as Make America Great Again, Build the Wall, and Lock HER up!

One Politico columnist compared the 2016 presidential election to Pearl Harbor, and countless others would warn of the coming Fourth Reich — because, as everyone knows, that the goose-stepping Nazis of the Schutzstaffel were huge fans of religious freedom and capital gains tax cuts. 

The blue wave turned out to be simply the ripples in a small bucket and the smirking confidence dissipated into dread as Democrats grappled with the reality of Trump demolishing eight years of Democratic Party gains that had been built on executive fiat and little more. The Obama legacy turned into vapor before their very eyes, and who would not cry RACISM?
From Day One of his administration, whether or not Trump was acting particularly Trumpy or merely advocating for conventional conservative policies such as tax cuts and border security, every response would be marked by hypermoralistic, hysterical, and apocalyptic rhetoric. Democrats would start conflating their anti-Trump policy preferences with the rule of law, with “democracy,” with decency, and with patriotism. Even more consequentially, they would usher in an unprecedented radicalizing of the Left. 
The first order of business, and liberals weren’t exactly tilling new ground here, was trying to delegitimize the president. Now, Democrats never really lose elections, do they? If it’s not gerrymandering, it’s “voter suppression”; if it’s not the faulty ballots, it’s the weather. This time, they went full scorched-earth. 
Many once-serious people convinced themselves that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s second-rate, flailing former superpower could hijack American democracy through hacked Democratic National Committee emails and a few hundred thousand dollars of social media ads. Despite the perpetual stream of pieces about troll farms, master spies, and Twitter bots, there was exactly zero evidence a single voter changed their mind because of a social media interaction, much less had their vote changed for them by a foreign power. 

The Electoral College worked beautifully, precisely the way the Founders intended, by impelling presidential candidates to consider all Americans in their campaigns. Liberals foamed at the mouth, declaring that California and New York should be running the country without regard to the great unwashed who lived in fly-over country. After all, aren't California and New York the beacons on the hill for all of America. Doesn't everyone want to live there? Doesn't every yokel yearn to live in the Big Apple or in the shadow of Hollywood?

“Small states,” a CNN piece pointed out, “are getting a much bigger say in who gets on Supreme Court.” Of course, this was plainly untrue. Small states got the same exact say as large states. That was the point. 

To Democrats, the Constitution, which Trump had more or less followed as well as his predecessors, had become an irritation. A flood of new, aggressive anti-Trumpers would march with resistance straight into Washington. And with them came a raft of half-baked, collegiate Marxist notions and crazed women wearing pink vagina hats in protest of -- something. Nobody is quite sure what. 

The Reaction to President Trump

They would find something for every aggrieved victim. Democrats would support nationalizing everything from universal paid family leave to the job-killing $15 minimum wage, which the National Federation of Independent Business warns would cost 119,000 jobs and $89 billion in lost economic output. They would promise “free” college tuition and college debt forgiveness for around 44 million borrowers. Some, such as Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, would support reparations to the descendants of slaves. 

Democrats promised “free” healthcare through Medicare For All. A party that not long ago assured voters that their insurance plans were safe now openly campaigned on the promise of ending private insurance and throwing everyone into a centralized government bureaucracy. “Let’s eliminate all of that,” Harris told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “Let’s move on.” 

Rep AOC (D-NY), Democrat Party Spokesperson
Democrats bristle at the notion that they wanted the government to control all means of production in a socialist/communist state. At this point they’ve only proposed that the state run the healthcare, energy, and education sectors. The Green New Deal, a brainchild of #Resistance favorite Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, would not only be the biggest effective tax hike ever instituted in the history of the world, but ridding America of 90 percent of its affordable, efficient, and predominant energy sources would necessitate a giant, coercive government project that would bring unprecedented intrusions into everyday life. Nearly every Democratic Party presidential hopeful supported the aims of that plan. 

Kill all the cows, eliminate air travel (except for elites in private jets), eliminate the military, eliminate privately owned cars and put everyone afoot, became their policy. When you live in a socialist fantasyland where “moral truths” trump facts, as Ocasio-Cortez argues, money was never an object. A low-ball estimate for “free” healthcare would cost taxpayers around $32 trillion over the first 10 years. “Free” college was estimated to come in around $75 billion per year, without taking into account the accelerating cost of tuition. As it stands, college loan forgiveness would cost around $1.5 trillion. The price tag on universal family leave would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Slavery reparation would cost Americans, even those whose ancestors never owned slaves or fought and died freeing them, around $10 trillion. The Green New Deal is estimated to cost in the vicinity of infinity. 

A back-of-the-napkin cost estimate of the Democratic Party’s agenda equals Venezuela. 

Democrats used their anti-Trumpism as a cover to adopt an array of once-unfathomable positions including the legalization of third-trimester abortions for virtually any reason until the moment of birth (and, if New York, Virginia, Vermont, Rhode Island, etc. get their way, even after birth). 


But there is a problem. Not all Democrats are cretins, not all are baby killers, not all are complete collectivists, not all wish to give up their cars, or air travel, or a nice steak dinner. The map shows where President Trump won. Do the rest of these people really buy what the Democrat Party is selling? If not, they may either stay home, or vote for The Donald, because there are two choices and the Democrats offer one that is odious. 


Military Intervention

Will the President of Venezuela (Juan Guaidó) reach out to the international community for help in removing the OTHER Venezuelan President, and Dictator-for-Life Nicholas Maduro? And if that were to happen, would Brazil and Columbia ask for aid from the USA in doing that?

And if they asked, would America answer, now that the State Department has left the US Embassy in Caracas and burned all of the classified documents?
Note: Before any military action, nations close the embassy and burn files. The file destruction has not been mentioned, but no country vacates its embassy without removing or destroying sensitive files, such as any record of contacts with the opposition. 

This is always a pre-war action. It does not mean that military action is likely, but it clears away one of the inhibitors for military action.
President Trump did not run as a "nation builder" or as a military interventionist, but if Brazil and Columbia begged the US for help? If the face of the "restoration of order" was Latin American troops, possibly flown in by US aircraft?

The US can wipe out the Venezuelan air force in something like four minutes, but would the goal be to break equipment that the new democratic government will need? I think that a no-fly zone, with US aircraft enforcing the rules is a more likely scenario - while the other Latin American countries restore order, remove the pretender to the throne (Maduro) because he's a tyrant, etc. 

Naturally, the Democrats in Congress would be wounded at the thought of a tyrant removed, but if Brazil did it...and President Trump is only helping the Latin American coalition to return all the refugees to their homes?

Sit back with your popcorn and watch. Maybe that's the plan. Maybe it's not

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Various Topics

Disarmament

There is always a drum-banging noise from the progressive left in America demanding that the population be disarmed by the government in direct contravention of the Bill of Rights - and the Constitution.

This blog has discussed Venezuela and the abominable position that the people voted themselves into by preferring a communist/socialist tyrant to freedom. Now they are reaping the same reward that all nations who follow that path eventually receive. 

Consider if you will how Venezuela, which allowed privately owned firearms, banned and confiscated those arms (BBC report). Free people are armed, slaves are not. Free people can resist a tyrant, and slaves find it much more difficult. Consider the American experience with English tyranny in the New World.

US States with Constitutional firearms carry laws:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho (residents only), Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota (residents only), Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming (residents only. 

Where is Texas?

Global Cooling

It's real. It's settled science, and all of you climate deniers out there who don't believe in the coming ice age, just settle back and wait. Meanwhile, there is a roaring (wood) fire at the White Wolf Mine in Arizona where we're expecting somewhere on the order of a foot of snow tonight.

Military Intervention?

USGOV pulled all personnel out of the US Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. Some see this move as a prelude to military intervention to relieve the suffering of 23 million Venezuelans. Others consider it to be merely precautionary since embassy personnel and their dependents are coming under increasing jeopardy as Venezuela disintegrates.

Should we send in Marines? Is this our fight? Or should we simply hand out firearms and ammo to the Venezuelan people and let them decide to handle it?

Snowbound

A friend of mine who is a retired USAF Col., fighter pilot, Distinguished Flying Cross, shot down in Vietnam flying A-1 Skyraiders (Sandys), lives near me in the Arizona high country. He was snowbound on his way home a week or so ago, couldn't go anywhere and took a hotel room for he and his wife in Payson, AZ. There he sat. The restaurants and stores were closed. No food on the shelves, and nobody could get to him, really. There was between 3' and 4' of snow on the level. They subsisted on candy bars sold at the hotel front desk. 

My question to you is what sort of food do you carry with you as emergency fare in your cars/trucks? I have a lot of 'stuff' but I think that I need to pack rations in case that happens to me. I figure that between all of you, there are a few good ideas.

Thinking of Venezuela

Socialism has not worked out for the people in Venezuela. I realize that those of you who follow this blog will understand the situation there. The Venezuelan government, naturally, blames the United States for all of misery going on. A quick read of Animal Farm or 1984 will confirm that totalitarian governments must always have an outside influence to blame for their failures. 

The nationwide electricity black continues and looks indefinite. On the fifth day of the blackout, on 11 March, the government declared a national holiday, closing government offices and schools. It also has placed the electrical power system under military protection.
Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said that the armed forces had begun a "system of aerial reconnaissance" to protect the country's electrical system from "future aggressions", according to a post by Venezuelan state Venezolana de Television (VTV) on 10 March.

The Defense Minister said, "We have received instructions from the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, to continue the deployment of the whole of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), which has occupied all the electricity stations and sub-stations to advance and guarantee the supply and to protect the system from any other attack which might be being attempted to undermine the spirit of the people."

The defense minister added that the Venezuelan military were helping the Maduro government to "protect the people in all its needs", such as in deploying water tanker trucks and other support to logistics and communications.
Venezuela has suffered a major nationwide power outage crisis since 7 March, when a serious failure was reported at the country's main hydroelectric generating center at Guri, in southeast Bolivar state.

From outer space it looks like North Korea, a dark spot on the globe. It's funny how this never seems to happen in capitalist countries. The dark is emblematic of the state of affairs under the dictatorship.

The Venezuelan government has blamed the outage on "sabotage" by its domestic and foreign "imperialist" opponents, meaning the US. The Venezuelan opposition has blamed the power crisis on corruption, neglect and mismanagement by the Maduro administration.

One of the immediate effects of the outage has been a spike in crimes against property –theft and looting – at night in all the major cities. 

Power engineering experts say that the prospects for restoring the system are not positive. For one thing, inspectors have to work through the army. For another, spare and repair parts are lacking. Most importantly, the Guri power plant supplies more than 60% of Venezuela’s electricity, including Caracas. There is no national back-up system.

A prolonged electrical outage is particularly prone to incite civil disorder because no amount of self- help or neighborhood cooperation can satisfy needs and wants. The Maduro government’s practice of blaming is not only irrelevant, it is annoying. People want the government to fix the problem and restore the power.  

Sunday, March 10, 2019

All's Quiet on the Western Front



It's a windy 44 degrees at the White Wolf Mine on Arizona's Mogollon Rim at 7,493' above sea level.  I'm expecting about 6" of new snow and construction continues but the fireplace wall in the great room is finally complete and the wall around it is painted. 

It's a 72" TV. Not the biggest. Donated by my loving daughter to the hovel when she upgraded to an 86" TV. Yes, it's a bit higher than is ideal for viewing, but I don't watch that much TV.

I'm using the opportunity to place a few books on the shelves on this quiet Sunday. This set up should hold about 1/3 of my books. There is another book case in the den, but it still isn't enough space. I'm culling, sifting and deciding on which books make the grade and which books remain boxed in the garage. I may donate some books to the library in Payson (about an hour's drive south of me). Payson characterizes itself as a 'mountain community', but they're 3,000 feet lower than I am, up on the Rim.

The fare for dinner is bowtie pasta with pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes, and panko chicken, with a green salad. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Socialist Slam

They're Finnished

(BBC) Finland's government resigns over healthcare reform. They experimented with giving the chronically unemployed a generous guaranteed income in the hopes of motivating them to work...but ... wait for it -- it had the opposite effect. Color me shocked.
As with developed nations, Finland has an ageing population that is putting financial pressure on its social welfare systems.

As an increasing number of people live longer in retirement, the cost of providing pension and healthcare benefits can rise. Those increased costs are paid for by taxes collected from of the working-age population – who make up a smaller percentage of the population than in decades past. 
In 2018, those aged 65 or over made up 21.4% of Finland's population, the fourth highest after Germany, Portugal, Greece, and Italy, according to Eurostat. 
Finland's welfare system is also generous in its provisions, making it relatively expensive. Attempts at reform have plagued Finnish governments for years.
It's called a Ponzie Scheme. And it works so long as more people pay into the system than use it. The problem that Finland and everyone else has is that eventually you run out of other people's money.

In America, the political party which advocates killing babies, including those that survived botched abortions wants to be in charge of the nation's healthcare. Even the Finns don't take it that far.

"Make the US into Venezuela"

(LINK) It's an interesting article.
Tonight there are no lights. Like the New York City of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, the eyes of the country were plucked out to feed the starving beggars in abandoned occupied buildings which were once luxury apartments. They blame the weather – the government does – like the tribal shamans of old who made sacrifices to the gods in the hopes of an intervention. 
There is no food either; they tell the people to hold on, to raise chickens on the terraces of their once-glamorous apartments. There is no water – and they give lessons on state TV of how to wash with a cup of water. The money is worthless; people now pay with potatoes, if they can find them. Doctors operate using the light of their smart phones; when there is power enough to charge them. Without anesthesia, of course – or antibiotics, like the days before the advent of modern medicine. The phone service has been cut – soon the internet will go and an all-pervading darkness will fall over a feral land.
Venezuela is one of those places where when you throw seeds on the ground, melons will grow...and yet people starve and a bushel of money won't buy a roll of toilet paper. And American politicians want the same failed socialist policies for us.

EXCEPT that in the US there are hundreds of millions of firearms and trillions of rounds of ammunition in private hands. And it terrifies the Democrats.

And we train with them...

Friday, March 8, 2019

An Analysis

Analysis of the New Rules

The liberals have always been a bunch of bullies, who preached a spirit of open-mindedness and respect toward others regardless of their personal characteristics. 

The reality is far more sinister. “Diversity and inclusion” is code for identity politics—by which we are all slotted into factions defined by appearance, ethnicity, national origin and gender (or gender self-identification). It is an altogether imaginary and endless zero-sum game of dominance and oppression.

And while we're on that topic, I'm very offended by the "talk like a pirate day" where people talk like pirates and sometimes wear fetish pirate costumes. As a descendent of genuine pirates, I find that cultural appropriation to be completely unacceptable. The idea that people would mock my ancestors, and drink rum - when they are not actual pirates or the descendants of pirates is insulting. If you're not a pirate, you shouldn't drink rum (ever). No rum and coke, not ever. Now if you're a wench and want to dress like a wench for a pirate, I think that allowances can be made.


Bernie!


The Old Communist has a slug of old ideas from the old USSR that he thinks will work here - chief among them is to make everything free and to tax everyone at 100%.  

It worked in the Union of Socialist Republics and it worked in North Korea and Venezuela. It's bound to work in the USA.

The formula is simple, appeal to greed and the appeal of spending other people's money on yourself. 

Hugo Chavez used the plan to great effect in Venezuela where a bushel of currency won't buy you a roll of toilet paper.

Student loans and mortgages - no problem. PAID with the government's money. Problem: The government only acquires money from you.   DO NOT read the fine print.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Thursday's Muse

Putting Things in Perspective

Victor Davis Hanson, hated by the left, brings some clarity to resilient America HERE.
"Fifty years ago, the United States was facing crises and unrest on multiple fronts. Some predicted that internal chaos and revolution would unravel the nation..."
Today we read about the typhus and hepatitis outbreaks in Los Angeles because the downtown area has become a vast hobo jungle. Many college students don't have the wits to decide which restroom to use, and many in Congress are calling for the execution of all cows worldwide so that we don't all die in twelve years because of global warming (in the face of global cooling). 

Russia slowly dwindles in importance as its navy rusts and it settles in as a regional power with a lot of nuclear weapons. China resurges in an effort to gain the world's respect, and indeed, they are no longer a nation of peasant farmers. North Korea is trying to decide to be prosperous in the way of its Southeast Asian neighbors, or to build more nuclear warheads to sell to rogue nations.

We have a president in Donald Trump who is not a warmonger. War is expensive and bad for business. At the same time he is a patriot, honors our nation's veterans, and works to build American's military -- because being strong is good for business. The deep state puppet masters remain and continue to work at a coup to unseat the president because the potential to steal from the American public was sorely damaged.

Poland

Symbol of Poland's
Navy
I love Poland. And Poland loves America. Legal Insurrection posted an interesting article that deals with Poland snubbing the EU, embracing new USAF basing, bruising the green Euro activists with their Poland First philosophy, etc. As much as the Poles love America, they hate Russia and mistrust Germany. There's a lot of history in that.

Poland hosted one of the more active 'black sites' post 9/11 for the interrogation of al Qaeda prisoners of war. The Poles understand war. They understand intelligence, and they don't want to be overrun again - ever. They are not fond of Muslims and join with Hungary in rejecting would be jihadis settling in their lands. We could all learn a lot by visiting Poland (in the summer...it's cold there now). I worked in a setting where a Polish special forces officer was seconded with us, and found that he and the rest of the Poles that we worked with shared our national sense of humor, and our absolute love of freedom. 

A couple years or so I was asked about the possibility of a foreign posting. I'd just begun the White Wolf Mine project and didn't want to dump it, so I passed, but I said that I'd consider Poland ahead of the Court of St. James (England) or France, where I served in years past. Such is my respect for the Poles, and the absolute fun that I've had working with the Służba Wywiadu Wojskowego (Polish Intelligence Service) and Służba Kontrwywiadu Wojskowego (Polish version of the American FBI - without the rampant corruption our service has displayed).

More Snow?

Yes indeed, it's snowing (again) at the White Wolf Mine and there are three snow days predicted next week. But I am living in Arizona, which means that even though we're experiencing global cooling and the possible beginning of an Ice Age, I will be buried in solid ice AFTER many of you.

As a historical aside 1816, was referred to as the Year Without a Summer (also the Poverty Year and Eighteen Hundred and Froze To Death - in England) because of severe climate abnormalities that caused average global temperatures to decrease. There were food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere.

Evidence suggests that the anomaly was predominantly a volcanic winter event caused by the massive 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Could such an event happen again. Sure. Would it be attributed by the progressives as evidence of global warming? Most assuredly. Would they still want to kill all the cows in the world? Oh Yeah. But if that was true, 2019 would not be called "The Year Without Beefsteaks".

The Secret of Bungang

The Summit between the USA and North Korea in Hanoi ended more abruptly than most observers expected it to and as usual, the media blamed the Americans. But it's a bit more complicated than that.

The American team brought up the secret North Korean facility for enriching uranium that is located at Bungang, and it caught the North Koreans by surprise because they thought the US was unaware of the facility and it's ongoing activity.
On 6 March, the South Korean newspaper Korea JoongAng Daily, published a detailed report about the secret facility. It is an underground facility located at Bungang, a few kilometers from the Yongbyon graphite-moderated nuclear reactor and plutonium reprocessing campus. 
The North Koreans consider it separate from Yongbyon. When Kim offered to dismantle the Yongybyon facility, this facility was not included in his offer. The US team asked for it to be included.

"The Bungang complex is situated just northeast of the existing Yongbyon complex," one source, cited by JoongAng Daily said. "The North Koreans built an underground highly enriched uranium factory there to prevent detection from abroad." 

This town is where the Yongyon workers reside. It is a nuclear town, with a high school and higher learning facilities geared to nuclear physics. US and South Korean intelligence agencies reportedly have suspected this site since 2008. 

Yongbyon overhead view
The North Koreans remain under no obligation to stop weapons production or to reduce the threat to South Korea and Japan in any way. The continuation of arms business as usual during negotiations is a strategy that does not support Kim’s profession of good will and bonhomie.

Their national investment in weapons is so great and the portion of the working population tied to arms production is so large that no North Korean leader could agree to denuclearize. And therein is their dilemma. They can feed their people or they can make weapons of mass destruction, but they find it difficult to do both. So they'll continue to enrich uranium.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Mid-Week Observations

Political Kabuki Theater

Crooked Hillary made headlines Monday when she told a local New York news channel that she would not run for president in 2020.  
"I'm not running, but I'm going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe," the former presidential nominee told News 12 Westchester. She insisted that she would remain relevant and has no plans of "going anywhere."
Then President Trump goaded her into changing her position (her first reset of the 2020 campaign season) by mocking her.

Now the aging, former candidate, may be running again, creating more havoc with the vast pool of political wanna-be's who are lining up to compete for the Democrat Party's nomination. She has told her team she is waiting  to see the Mueller report. I don't know why she doesn't just call Mueller. The Deep State owns him don't they?

It's clearly in President Trump's best interest in keeping Hillary in the mix. She failed to win election twice (losing the nomination to Barack and then an election to President Trump). If she ran again, health continuing to decline, we'd see a lot more incidents when they had to rush her to a private hospital room to pump her full of drugs (Weekend at Bernie's scenario). And YOU KNOW the other Democrat wanna-be's would savage her during the nomination process. I'd need to lay in a whole case of popcorn and one of those four-packs of butter from Costco.

The Schumer - Pelosi Diet

The idea came to me when I cracked open a box of Honey Nut Cherrios this morning only to realize that I bought a box with Ellen's face (from the talk show) on the exterior. I was in a hurry, filling loading the cart from the list for the officer's mess at the White Wolf Mine and I just grabbed the box off the store shelf without realizing. So I threw the box away and kept the cereal in that bag they come in. Who could digest breakfast with the progressive comedian looking back at you?

Then I thought, "I need refrigerator magnets with Nasty Pelosi and Cryin' Chuck Schumer's faces on them!" Everyone needs to keep fit and avoiding the refrigerator is the first step. Having those two ugly mugs staring back at me would divert me from wanting to eat. You don't have to limit it to Nasty and Cryin' Chuck. Hillary's face (see above) would make a train take a dirt road.  As the political season gets going in 2000 I could add Poke-a-haunt-us Warren, Spartacus Booker, Slattern Harris and the whole crowd of misfits. I'd end up gaunt, and starving, and I think that's the goal of a diet.


Little Crappy Ships


Those of you who know me, or who have followed this blog, will understand that I've been frustrated as an armchair sailor these days to see the US Navy build worthless Littoral Combat Ships.  Both the USS Independence and USS Freedom (pictured below) are different hull designs of the same class of ship.

USS Independence

USS Freedom

The original order called for 52 hulls, but now (mercifully) it seems that the number will be capped at 38.

Q - Can they defend themselves against an air or naval threat? - No, not really. They're sitting ducks. 

Q - What is their operational range unrefueled? - They are essentially tied to tankers or shore bases because they drink navy distillate as if there is no tomorrow in any sea state. 

Q - The Navy says that they are multi-mission ships. - Yes, that's what the navy says. They're next to worthless as SPECOPS platforms because they are acoustically very loud. 

Q - The Navy says they will save money because they have small crews. A small crew is great if you are not worried about working them 24/7. In combat, it is proven that saving a damaged ship is largely a function of manpower, not computers.

My solution - ship all of them to the Mediterranean where they can form NATO support flotillas in Rota, Spain and Naples, Italy. Both bases are nice duty and they can swarm here or there on various exercises until their service lives end. In the event of real hostilities, they can be used as cannon fodder (targets) or bullet sponges, depending on how you want to put it. Mount a radar reflector on each them so that the enemy things that they're engaging much more valuable ships with their missiles. The valuable ships can track the point of origin of sub launched missiles and engage the sub or other enemy vessel.

Maybe they can be sent out to engage Somali Pirates in open boats? They'd need a tanker with them to keep them fueled, because they drink copious amounts, but they'd work against that sort of low tech opponent.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Few Items

Lock Her Up...

(Fox News) Ocasio-Cortez, chief of staff illegally moved $885K in campaign contributions 'off the books...and may face jail time. Is there a way out for the crooked AOC and her cronies? The full article is worth a read. I don't think that anyone would be surprised to learn that AOC is corrupt. She doesn't have the Clinton files with dirt on everyone so may not survive, intact.

Palestinians Unhappy

The United States consulate in Jerusalem, which served as a de facto embassy for Palestinians, officially closed its doors in Jerusalem on Monday. The new US Embassy in Jerusalem will now service Palestinians from a broom closet next to the cafeteria. Of course, Palestinians are always unhappy, but this latest move made me laugh. 

Kim's Gambit

The Hermit Kingdom's dictator returned home. Kim's train rolled into the station at 3:00 am, and there was a crowd of Norks, rousted from their beds, to enthusiastically cheer the return. 

The composition and size of Kim’s delegation indicate he expected to do business with the US. Kim brought his “A” team and apparently expected to make a small deal, as another step in his step-by-step strategy. 

The US offered a big deal and Kim was not prepared for that. As enticing and generous as a US-backed big deal sounds in the West, the North Korean leader heard the US President speak the language of North Korean systemic change. Kim probably could not sell that to the Workers’ Party leadership and the armed forces even if he wanted to, which was not the case.

Russia's Tar Baby

Since the US withdrew from Syria, Russia has been left to deal with Turkey, which is like picking up a genuine wild turkey as it beats you with its wings and pecks you with its beak. It's not pretty. And the Russians are cursing the Trump Administration for leaving them with the mess (haha).

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group (one of the names of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) is carrying out provocative raids against civilians, Russian and Syrian military."

The jihadists in Idlib have been playing Turkey against Russia and Syria in justifying their aggressive operations. The Turks have a devil's arrangement with the terrorists. As long as Turkish soldiers are not receiving attacks, the Turks do not interfere with the jihadist operations.

And the USA is out of that particular game, sitting on the sidelines now, eating popcorn, and watching the situation from afar.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Mish-Mash (British Theme)


A Question of Staffing

A person recently e-mailed me and asked me whether or not there were any white wolves at the White Wolf Mine. You be the judge. He's not covered in gore from his latest kill, more's the pity. The wolf is fastidious by nature. Maybe he doesn't want his camouflage scheme messed up?

LSP, he's not holding a Chinese menu in his paw - not a British wolf. Even so, if you run into him, don't fear the reaper. 

Dark Side of the Moon (the album)

I've been listening to Pink Floyd since the above captioned album came out. I was in Scotland (a serving American officer) when I first heard it. There was a lot of music in that era like Thin Lizzy that I listened to and I still like it. Yes, it dates me. I mentioned Metalica to a friend the other day and -- uh, I guess that dates me too. 

BREXIT

The British elites are calling for another vote. And if they don't get the results they want, they will call for still another vote. Elites are like that everywhere. They wanted another referendum on President Trump vs Crooked Hillary in the hopes that the results would change (maybe change the way that votes were counted - it's working very well for Democrats).  They are your betters and feel that they deserve to rule. Will Britain stay in the EU so that millions more military age Muslim men can pour across the border to make the nation more Sharia compliant? I guess that it's up to the Brits.

Picking on the Tommys

(LINK) The knife crime epidemic spreads farther across the island and the national response has been to ban knives rather than to deal harshly with the people who sink them into their fellow Brits for fun and profit.

The US has a gang problem too. The solution is to cage them for the rest of their lives. And it works, but it's expensive. Texas executes murderers (God bless Texas) to send a message.

And to my point...the parts of the country where citizens can carry what sort of firearm they want, as they are moved to has shown a severe downturn of violence and little or no knife violence. 

Though the map doesn't show it, the increase of knife crimes is directly proportional to the rise of Muslim gangs. It's literally illegal to say that or publish figures in the UK. Crime will increase. Good luck Old Blighty.

(h/t John D)

MiG's and Missiles

Pakistan vs India

Context and Precedent

Pakistani F-16 Fighting Falcon
It's tough to tell the players without a program. So a little background. The Pakistan Air Force has 45 American made F-16's in inventory. It also has 100 PAC JF-17 Thunder, or CAC FC-1 Xiaolong, is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China.

China helped Pakistan develop its nuclear energy and weapons program and has had a long relationship with them. Russia has been a military equipment supplier to India and has helped the Indians keep their sixty year-old MiGs in the air.

Pakistani/Chinese JF-17
On 27 February, Pakistan announced that it downed two Indian Air Force fighter jets. India claimed it downed a Pakistani F-16 fighter and said eyewitnesses watched it crash in Pakistani Kashmir. Pakistan denied that any of its F-16s participated in the air attack on the 27th.

On 28 February, Pakistani Prime Minister Khan confirmed that only one aircraft, an Indian MiG 21 was downed, and its pilot taken into custody. Pakistani air crews celebrated the first air-to-air kill by a Chinese-designed, Pakistani-assembled JF-17 Thunder fighter jet. The unit, based at Kamra air force base, posted images of their celebration to the web. 

Indian MiG 21
The Fly in the Ointment

On 28 February, Indian authorities recovered in Indian Kashmir and displayed for the media the identification plate of a US-made AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-Air Missile (AMRAAM). Only Pakistani F-16s supposedly are fitted for those missiles.

On 1 March, the Indians presented the missile information to the US Embassy and asked for an investigation.

On 3 March, the US requested Pakistan to explain the AIM-120 AMRAAM found in India. The US sold F-16s and their weapons to Pakistan with the understanding they would not be transferred and would be used only to defend Pakistan. The action on the 27th was a Pakistani air attack.

The Pakistanis continue to deny that an F-16 was involved. They claim a Chinese JF-17 made its first kill. They have not said what weapon downed the Indian MiG-21 Bison.

If the Pakistani claims are accurate, then Pakistan has outfitted a JF-17 with the US AIM-120 AMRAAM. That means that Pakistan has transferred to China the technology for the US AMRAAM in violation of its end use certificate.

A Few More Details

China has developed its own version of a medium range, beyond-visual-range missile which is reputed to be comparable to the AIM-120. With the US technology, it also has the means to improve its missile and to develop countermeasures to US missiles. This can alter any air encounter between Chinese and US and Allied aircraft, such as in defense of Taiwan. It also alters Indian air force calculations.

The Indian government and army still claim that the AIM-120 fragment means that Pakistani F-16s participated in the fight. Such use would violate the terms of sale because this was an offensive Pakistani air operation.

On 4 March, Indian press also still makes sensational claims that India downed an F-16. Expert analysis of the imagery posted by Indian press confirms that the aircraft the Indian eyewitnesses saw crash was their own MiG-21 Bison. The Indian press concocted a completely fraudulent biography of a Pakistani pilot who was supposedly mistaken for an Indian and beaten to death by Pakistanis. The name and the entire narrative are fake.

Prime Minister Modi lamented the poor performance by the Indian Air Force, both in the airstrike against Pakistan and in defending Indian air space.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mountain Beasts

The elk were not moved by the recent storms that turned the White Wolf Mine into a 'winter wonderland. This is a select set of photos (telephoto) that reflect the general elk activity. Which isn't much. They hang out, they paw the snow, they eat, mate (later in the year) and prepare to have calves in springtime. Yearlings are still running with the herd, staying close to their mothers, but it's evident that they're being weaned.


sentinel
cow and calf

troublemaker