sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, December 13, 2019


The donkeys and their goat rodeo seem to be having some second thoughts about impeachment. The articles of impeachment are literally articles that could apply to ANY president, at any time in history. It's not a good precedent to trot those out, given that there's not one shred of evidence of ANY crime. And the threat of endless impeachment hearings is likewise something that may not be in the nations (or the Donkey Party's) best interests.

I'm not convinced that the democrats will be able to pull together enough votes to impeach on a full floor vote of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi is counting votes and support for impeachment is weakening. Joe Biden said that he won't appear before the Senate if subpoena'd in the matter, which would be the same 'contempt of Congress' that the donkeys want to impeach the president for. Bad form Slow Joe. 

Better for the donkeys to try and marshal support for Slow Joe or Crooked Hillary in 2020 at this point than to shoot their bolt over the impeachment witch hunt. But they're not the brightest people in the room.

2016 REDUX?

What is best in life: Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women! The mere prospect of a replay is worth the price of admission. And should Hillary be the anointed one (yet again, screwing Bernie and the Bernie Bro's) it would be more entertainment than I think that I can stand. There is nothing sweeter than liberal tears, and nothing more savory than unicorn steaks.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Midway (movie review)

41 Devastator (torpedo/bombing aircraft) launched during the battle produced no torpedo hits and only six survived to return to their carriers. The torpedo bombers were great decoys, for the dive bombers. The movie gets a lot of things right, a few things were omitted, such as F4F Wildcat fighters. The sacrifice and bravery of the aviators (Navy and Army Air Force) that led to the demise of four front line Japanese aircraft carriers can't be overstated and the film does a good job laying that out. 

The workmen at the docks that repaired the damaged Yorktown in 72 hours, and set sail with the aircraft carrier, which would lend weight to decide the matter were likewise brave. It was a total war, and before Midway (at the Coral Sea, in the Philippines, etc) that Japanese gave a lot more than they got. They were dark days.

The movie was worth viewing, even though I've read just about every book written about the Battle of Midway.

America paid a very high price by not being ready for War. It's a lesson for the current generation. The "miracle at Midway" changed the momentum of the war. But best not to have to rely on miracles.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Twofer Tuesday


People don't want to raise the subject because it's 'racist' to bring it up. However in my present travels, things pop up  as I sit in the bar eating oysters on the half shell, and those things are grist for blogging. CDR Salamander touched on it in his blog, "France's Long War". But he didn't take it as far as he might have.

There have been various scenarios that were war gamed over the past few decades. The first, back in the 70's, was that rampant sickle sell anemia would curb population growth in Africa. That may still be a problem in Africa but it is eclipsed by so many others.

The second was that AIDS would depopulate Africa. The third was that maybe an Ebola wildfire would do what AIDS did not. I realize that these are not politically correct thinking, but they were circulated and not by me. I'm just bringing up the touchy subject. Now I think that decision makers and shot callers are confident that the whole "plague will solve the population problem" scenario isn't going to be effective in the near term. And it's increasingly unlikely that Africa will be able to do anything to solve the African situation, which is complex, and self-perpetuating.

As things stand, irresponsible government, human population expansion beyond that which resources are capable of supporting, and genocidal inter-tribal disputes will continue to force illiterate and unskilled people north, across the Mediterranean into North Africa and into Europe. 

I haven't seen much will on the part of Europe to address the situation.


Sanna Marin will be sworn in as Prime Minister of Finland today. Depending on when you're reading this, she may already be seated.  As with many Europeans, she's strongly left of center, but she is easy on the eyes. Damn me with faint praise as being a heterosexual male if you must.

I've worked cooperatively with Supo (Finnish Intelligence Service) in the past. I was always impressed with their professionalism. But none of them looked at all like Sanna Marin. And that's a shame.

Monday, December 9, 2019


Everyone tends to split hairs when it comes to matters of interest to them. Is 'somebody' a freedom fighter or a terrorist? Does killing people for fun and profit for political gain somehow end up with a different result than if they're doing it as part of their business plan (profit motive)?

Last Friday, President Trump announced that he will hold off on officially designating Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations while he works with the Mexican president "to deal decisively" with the issue.
"All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations," Trump tweeted Friday. "Statutorily we are ready to do so. However, at the request of a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us, President Andres Manuel @lopezobrador_ we will temporarily hold off this designation and step up our joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations! All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations. Statutorily we are ready to do so. However, at the request of a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us, President Andres Manuel @LopezObrador_ we will temporarily hold off this designation and step up our joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations!
Some call them Reapers - some call them rapers. It all depends on where the
missile enters.
President López Obrador walks a tightrope. He was elected on the platform of hands-off drug cartels, and now if he sticks to that promise, he faces a potential invasion (if only by armed drones) of sovereign Mexico. Designating cartels as foreign terrorist organizations means that the US is expressing the intent to kill them wherever they are.  That would include removing some of Pres. Lopez-Obrador's most ardent donors from the gene pool. Call it retroactive birth control if it makes you feel better.

Obrador praised Trump's decision at an event Friday in his home state of Tabasco.
“I celebrate that he has taken our opinion into account,” the Mexican president said, according to The New York Times. “There has to be cooperation with respect for our sovereignties, cooperation without interventionism. And I think it was a very good decision that he took today."
The sad reality is that the cartel structures include the WHOLE of Mexico. A terrorist designation would label all of Mexico as a terrorist state, much as Iran is today, with very tough financial sanctions. And they're our largest trading partner. Sticky wicket. Technically, and maybe practically, it would bar financial institutions of doing ANY business with Mexico. And who would want to invade the place? (if you broke it, you bought it) Particularly where the dope that they move is in such high demand in the US?

Mexico will stage pageants (see Wag the Dog) in coming weeks and months to show that they are cracking down on cartels. The cartels who don't pay MEXGOV enough will be targeted by Mexican light armor and troops. They will serve to assure the USA that they're serious about curbing cartel behavior. In reality it will be business as usual.

President Trump will show the American public these pageants and will use it to assure the voting public that our largest trading partner is trying...while we keep building the wall. Politics remains what it is.
Mexico today is a financial mess. It's not getting any better no matter what the US does or doesn't do, but designating it as a Terror State would lead to a complete collapse. I know that there are a few readers who might applaud that. But you need to be careful in what you wish for. What would rise from the ashes in Mexico? What about the humanitarian result of twenty million (or more) trying to cross the US Border every WEEK. The cause and effect could be horrible.

The US has a tiger by the tail. We don't want to hold on, we don't want to let go, and shooting the tiger in the head, while satisfying, may not get us where we want to go.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Turkish Expansion

Balkan Chessboard (Part 2) On November 29, we took a look at the situation in Greece and the Balkans (link). Since that time, the situation has become more complicated largely because of the Turkish position is changing. Let's take a look at how this is happening and at the strategic implications.

Greece ordered the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador Friday in the latest escalation of a dispute over a controversial deal signed between Libya’s U.N.-supported government and Turkey on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean. Turkey and Libya objected but there's not much that the Libyan ambassador can do except leave by Monday.

The Greeks have no diplomatic presence in Libya.

An agreement recently inked between Libya and Turkey will give Turkey access to an economic zone across the Mediterranean, over the objections of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which lie between Turkey and Libya geographically. The deal has added tension to Turkey’s ongoing dispute with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

The matter will end up on court, but Turkey has a history of ignoring court decisions unless it's a decision handed down by Islamic court, in Istanbul, controlled by Turkish strongman, President-for-life Erdogan. (in other words, a rubber stamp by the Turks)

The Libyan-Turkish security cooperation agreement is complicated because Libya has been divided between two competing governments since 2015, one based in Benghazi in the east and the other based in Tripoli. The Turkish deal was signed with the Tripoli-based government of Fayez Sarraj, and will allow Turkey complete access to Libyan territory including the right to construct military bases. It's not a bad move for the Tripoli-based Libyans because they gain Turkish troops to help support their claim against the "pretenders to the throne" in Benghazi.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sought the support of fellow NATO members on the issue during an alliance meeting in London earlier this week, but because both Turkey and Greece are members of NATO, it's sticky.

For Turkey, it's a pattern that they are deliberately pursuing in an attempt to spread their military and political influence through the Mediterranean. They're trying to forge the same relationships with other weak and divided nations with the promise of military and financial aid. 

Then there is the issue with Cyprus. Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded the country and seized the northern part of the island, where it currently has 35,000 troops. And then gas was discovered on the ocean floor and the Turks started drilling not only adjacent to their claimed territory but in the maritime zone claimed by Greece.

Military Action?

Will Athens support the Greek Cypriot maritime territorial claim with naval action against ongoing drilling? Reliable sources tell me that it's being considered. However, the Greek military operates on a budget half the size of the Turkish military, it has a much smaller army and navy and is at a significant disadvantage without allies to back its play. Both the Greeks and Turks run similar submarine fleets (built in Germany or under license). Their naval forces are roughly comparable. The disproportionate numbers are largely to be found with the land armies. The Greeks traditionally rely on tank-busting helicopters to sway the odds in their favor.

The Christian Greeks are attempting to base their appeal to their long time British and American allies along religious lines. The Turkish (Islamic) caliphate is working hard to keep that from happening. 

Sunday Sermonette

I hadn't planned to blog, but the whole situation with NATO and the recent summit irked me. There's a lot that irks me these days. But I'm very grateful for President Trump and for his leadership and I'm looking to four more years with President Trump in the White House.

Foreign Policy in the age of Donald Trump

During the impeachment hearings, you saw and heard the mandarins from the US State Department crow repeatedly about how they know so much more than President Trump does about diplomacy. They have PhD's from the Georgetown University's Center for Strategic Studies. If you ask them, they will assure you that they're all geniuses. The culture that spawned them was one of unlimited and nearly unaccountable spending. They are the bulwark that stands between the Godless communist Russian hoards and hometown America. Just ask any one of them. 

If you should point out that Russia is a Greek Orthodox (Christian) country and it is not a one party system, the mandarins will scoff at you. If you were to ask about China, they'd just smile. China is not a Christian country and it is a communist country, but at State, Russia is the big threat to our freedom. North Korea is a close second. 

Meanwhile at the recent NATO Summit, President Trump spoke about how the American Middle Class is donating to support European (NATO) countries. He said, "It’s our middle class. We’re funding high-speed railways in Germany. We’re rebuilding airports all across France and central Europe. Our middle class is descending into poverty." The media went crazy, [saying], ‘You’re destroying the greatest alliance in history. It’s our strongest defense.’ And the Pentagon came in, the generals met with [Donald Trump], [saying], ‘Sir, these are our friends, sir,’ and Trump is saying, "Well, if they’re our friends, why do they lie to us? Why do they sign a document promising this percentage they’ll give, and they don’t give it. Why does our middle class have to pay for their defense and to clean up their environment?"

President Trump's approach will work as well or better than any other approach if NATO is to arm itself against its only enemy, Russia. The State Department should be thrilled, but predictably, they are not. It's not how things have been done. Whether it works or not is irrelevant. The bureaucrats are process people, they make entreaties, they take their counterparts to lunch (I'll have the cherries jubilee) on their expense accounts, they cajole (pass the sweet and sour shrimp).  Most of them have forgotten that diplomacy is saying "nice doggy" while you're looking for a rock.

And PM Boris Johnson, yucking it up with Blacky Trudeau and Froggy Macron... oh, that was not the best move. President Trump was willing to do a lot for the UK in their Brexit efforts. Now it will still happen, but it will be more difficult. 

Of the 29 NATO countries,  only five pay their treaty obligation - 2% of GDP to defense of their own nation (and thus to strengthen NATO) they are USA - 3.6%; Greece - 2.4%; UK - 2.1%; Estonia - 2.1% and Poland - 2%. Essentially the US taxpayer subsidizes the rest of the NATO member countries. To add insult to injury, President Trump suggested that the NATO member countries should account for their delinquency by paying the difference between what they paid and what they should have paid for past years. Globalists such as Presidents GW Bush and Obama would never have suggested such a thing, but President Trump is a Nationalist. He concerns himself with America first (how dare he!)

Robert Levinson

He disappeared on March 9, 2007 on Kish Island, Iran. Levinson, a former DEA and FBI special agent went to Iran as a private investigator on a cigarette smuggling matter. The Iranians have held him since then. He's the longest held American hostage in history. Will he be released in 2020? Maybe. Your Sunday Sermonette is that you need to have faith. It precedes the miracle.

WSF - business opportunity.

bleach and fumigate, and sell to somebody else, but yeah, WSF.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Friday Follies

How Clean Were They?

Mail Call
'Easy Company' took umbrage with my comment yesterday to the extent that people didn't bathe (much) in the Middle Ages. In medieval Japan, they bathed at least once a day. In Scotland in the 1200's, not so much and clearly not during the winter. (maybe a sponge bath intermittently) The Romans did have sophisticated bath houses but they were largely not used in Britain unless the aristocracy/landed gentry used them.  Some cultures did take steam baths and then jump into the ocean. I expect that cleanliness, particularly during winter was a function of class, location and overall culture. 
From my travels in the Middle East, in many places hygiene hasn't improved since the days of Mohammed...and dental care may not exist beyond extractions.

It might help the donkeys if they put a 'collar-of-shame' on Slow Joe to keep him from biting himself.  Feel his hairy legs if you dare.

The circus continues as Elizabeth Warren announced that she will be the only 'woman of color' on the donkey's debate stage. You can't make this stuff up.

Their only hope is that President Trump will be removed from office before the end of his term and that is very unlikely to happen.

Meanwhile -

I'm traveling, trying to earn a few Zlotys to rub together, making the world safe for democracy and all that jazz before the holiday season shuts me down for the remainder of the year.  So forgive the spotty blogging.

Unique Shopping Strategies

There are some holiday/Christmas parties with white elephant gift exchanges (stealing allowed) coming up and I'm trying to find unique, strange and desirable gifts to add to the mix.

What is the most unique and desirable (should be both) gift that you've managed to grab at a gift exchange? 

There will also be a party for charity up here in the high country that will include a slave auction. I realize that is politically incorrect in many parts of America, but not here. There are no black people living here to object. It's sort of a highlight of the year, along with a prime rib dinner. People volunteer their skills at cooking a custom pie, housecleaning, doing woodwork, chopping wood, custom ammo loading, etc., and they are bid on by others in attendance. No, it's not a "swinger party", Woodsterman...

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

News and Traditions

Harris is Gone -  Back to the US Senate

The donkeys she loves so dearly failed to give her lots of money and they failed to support her in the polls. That means that they threw the baby out with the dirty bathwater* (see below). She could be a contender for vice president depending on who the democrat nominee turns out to be.  And we know that Harris has skills (wink). But if Mayor Pete, the ButtGuy, is their anointed one, will those skills work any magic on him? I think that Spartacus would have a better shot for Pete's #2.

This frees up a slot for another white male billionaire, heterosexual, preferably a smug, disconnected octogenarian. Michael Epstein could have been a contender if he hadn't met a mysterious end. We know that Prince Andrew would have endorsed him.

Maybe Kamala can go have a drink with Swalwell? If she hung with Willie Brown, I'm sure that flatulence doesn't bother her.

One key thing to remember about Harris (unlike Tulsi Gabbard, who was polling ahead of Harris at the end of Kamala's run) is that she's notoriously lazy. I like lazy donkeys better than I like activist donkeys. In the curious case of Bernie Sanders he's a lazy activist who has managed to convince a lot of Bernie Bro's that he will give them free stuff, paid by millionaires other than himself, if they give him money. It's a sweet hustle. I'm not knocking it. But Kamala couldn't close the deal. Too lazy.

Trip Downtown

I was speaking to a friend in a parking lot in Phoenix and a couple of inner city people, obviously loaded, approached us. I pulled my mouth guard from my pocket and shoved it in my mouth. He said, "You keep a mouthguard in your pocket?" I said, "Yes and I have my own teeth. No dentures or implants." He stressed, "Why do you keep a mouthguard in your pocket?" I replied, "for fights like this one."

The two inner city people just stood there while we spoke. Me with my vampire teeth mouthguard in, mumbling and my friend.

They asked, "You have a mouthguard?"

"Isn't it obvious?"

"You get in that many fights old man?"

"Not as many as I used to but I can whip your (deleted) asses."
~I had a bowie in my back, under my belt and a derringer concealed in my left hand.
They felt that I might be crazy, said so, and retreated.

I took the mouthguard out and put it back into my pocket.

Origins of Common Phrases

During the Middle Ages, urine was used to tan animal skins. Families used to urinate  in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery for a farthing. If you had to do this to survive you were "piss poor." Some people were poorer than that. They "didn't have a pot to piss in."

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June, but maybe not good enough. The bridal tradition of carrying a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor was born. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women, and finally the children. Last of all the babies.* By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it . . . hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high. The family animals were herded into a space below the floor (the undercroft). Once there they were less likely to be stolen or to freeze to death. There was nothing to stop things from falling from the thatching, down into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed, therefore, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

Some people weren't wealthy enough to afford a home with an undercroft. They lived in dwellings with dirt floors. They were "dirt poor". The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way, subsequently creating a "thresh hold."

In those old days, they cooked in the great room with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while, and thus the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust."

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up, creating the custom of holding a wake. I always wanted to fake my own death and lay there in my open coffin while people stood around, lying about how much they liked me, then I'd jump out of the coffin, woke as a progressive.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive, so they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Twofer Tuesday

Do I Care?

Not as much as my offspring think that I should. I don't have Disney-on-demand and I doubt that I ever will. The whole television addiction thing and the additional pay-per-view channels doesn't penetrate my wallet the way that it might be doing if I was younger. 

The Newest Disney show,
"The Mandalorian"
Part of it has to do with me being cheap. Full disclosure here. Part of it has to do with whole progressive Disney thing, where the corporation supports late term abortion. Their corporate policies do impact what I buy and don't buy. I do boycott movies that feature actors such as Liam Nielsen or Tom Hanks. (They dilute their viewing appeal with their political rhetoric)

As a result, when the children visit, they will have to make-do with the basic satellite feed for the few days that they're in town. 

The same is true of decisions to go into town and throw down cash to watch a movie on the big screen. 

It has to be something that I actually want to watch, and not a time-waster.  I received a telephone call from my oldest grandson asking whether or not I'd see the new movie, "Midway". I recommended that he read, Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway, by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully. Or failing that, Miracle at Midway, by Gordon Prange. I told him that I'd go see the movie with him at Christmas time, but he should read the book(s) first. He's eleven and does read, but he's also a victim of the television and movie generation where getting the information though entertainment seems to be the preferred method of consuming facts. And that almost always falls short.

Too often, facts take second chair to drama, when it comes to making a movie. I understand. As often as not, Hollywood will sell a revisionist version of history to please itself.

One of my daughters teaches fifth grade at a charter school in SoCal. She discusses her syllabus with me before she does her lesson plan. Naturally, there is a bias in California school against teaching history, but she squeezes it in. We live in interesting times.

The Viking Age

(link) An interesting view of "Vikings for Dummies", or Vikings in a nutshell, debunking myths about who the Vikings were and who they were not.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Random Points of Interest


(link) Vanadium dioxide has been found to conduct electricity without generating heat. The article at the link is a fascinating read. Additionally, when the researchers mixed the vanadium dioxide with other materials, they found that they could could 'tune' the amount of both electricity and heat that it could conduct - which could be incredibly useful for future applications. For example, when the researchers added the metal tungsten to vanadium dioxide, they lowered the temperature at which the material became metallic, and also made it a better heat conductor.
Abstract: In electrically conductive solids, the Wiedemann-Franz law requires the electronic contribution to thermal conductivity to be proportional to electrical conductivity. Violations of the Wiedemann-Franz law are typically an indication of unconventional quasiparticle dynamics, such as inelastic scattering, or hydrodynamic collective motion of charge carriers, typically pronounced only at cryogenic temperatures. We report an order-of-magnitude breakdown of the Wiedemann-Franz law at high temperatures ranging from 240 to 340 kelvin in metallic vanadium dioxide in the vicinity of its metal-insulator transition. Different from previously established mechanisms, the unusually low electronic thermal conductivity is a signature of the absence of quasiparticles in a strongly correlated electron fluid where heat and charge diffuse independently.
Solar Activity

(link)  There is a great deal that we don't know about the Sun, even though it's there, with its nuclear furnace giving us light and life (and impacting the climate while it does what it does.
Some 2,700 years ago, a massive solar storm bombarded Earth. High-energy particles pinged into the atmosphere, sending a cascade of unstable atoms raining down onto the planet’s surface. 
Today, only faint chemical echoes of this ancient collision remain. But according to a study published yesterday in the journal PNAS, scientists have now uncovered these radioactive remnants of the tempest in ice cores from Greenland. 
Though this particular storm, which battered Earth sometime around 660 BCE, is one of many recorded, it’s thought to be at least 10 times more powerful than any detected in the past 70 years—suggesting that we might still have incomplete picture of “what the Sun can do.”
Riddle me That

The meme does not include the ButtGuy (also white), who is gaining in popularity as he campaigns with his husband.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Thoughts about War, President Trump and the Gallagher Case


There are a lot of people within the Military Industrial Complex who have a deep and abiding love in various conflicts in the Middle East because they're just good business. And naturally, they are willing to throw down cash for honorariums. They walk into a Congressman's office with a suitcase full of money, the politician will give a speech (talk for five minutes), and the beltway bandit will leave without the suitcase.  

I've seen it happen. Your elected officials who could give a rat's ass about whatever brewing conflict, suddenly find moral outrage! Their votes follow that newly discovered passion.

The longer the war, the more satisfying it is to the defense contractors and to the retired military icons that they hire to be the missionaries of LIBERTY, JUSTICE and the American way. Because inside every hajji, there is an American screaming to get out. Right?

Historical Precedent

I recall sleezing around Palestine back in the mid '80's. COL William F. Buckley had been kidnapped and the US was intent on getting him back. Things didn't work out and he was murdered. Even though you could criticize USGOV for being a little heavy handed in those days (I don't but you might), the Russians took a different approach. Buckley was kidnapped by Hizballah, and a Russian case officer was kidnapped by Fatah. The Russians found out who had done the kidnapping and they went to the homes of immediate family members and beheaded them all in Palestine. Then they asked Arafat if he was ready for round two where they began to lop off the heads of more distant family members. The Russian case officer/diplomat/spy was released. There is a lesson in that. Kipling discussed it in his poem Grave of the Hundred Head. The Mongols took similar interest in people who disrupted the Khan's peace and dealt harshly with those who created problems. Peace reigned along the Silk Road for 300 years.

Finding Warriors and the Trump Presidency

And my point in this is that wars can be managed effectively if you're willing to fight the war. Barack claimed that ISIS would be a problem forever, and President Trump ended that nonsense. The "Caliphate" no longer holds one square inch of territory. President Trump also sends messages. Consider the case of Chief Eddie Gallagher, USN. Gallagher took a 'selfie' next to the carcass of a jihadi and the moral outrage began. It ended when President Trump reminded everyone who the Commander-in-Chief is and the US is looking for a new SECNAV.
On November 21 President Trump tweeted, "The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher's Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"
Chief Gallagher retired from the US Navy yesterday.

President Trump is the first US President, possibly since President Eisenhower, who gets it. If you punish warriors for being warriors, they all leave and what you are left with is a poor excuse for a military. President Trump loves the military. He cherishes the sacrifices that must be made to keep the nation safe. And he avoids war wherever possible. But nobody doubts his resolve.

I'm looking forward to the next four years of the Trump presidency, but fear for the nation once his second term is complete. Who will fill his shoes?

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Snow Day

A friend living in Tyumen, Siberia, Russian Federation, commented that we have more snow at the White Wolf Mine than they currently have in Siberia. 

It can't be a mine thing because you know that there are a lot of salt mines in Siberia. Maybe it's global Cooling? We have only ten years to live before the planet becomes a cinder if you listen to our Congressional brain trust (AOC).

We were snowed in (state highways closed, and I-17 and I-40 closed for w while) so everyone hunkered down over turkey and fixings and then left overs. Half of my compliment of grandchildren were here and two daughters, so there was enough excitement and mischief.

Our propane powered electric generator is a key ingredient to the place in the mountains. Without the self-sufficiency to live off-the-grid, life here is much more of a challenge. 

There is a lot more digging to do in order to clear away snow and get the vehicles up and moving. 

Family is everything.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Balkan Chessboard (a case study)

There is a battle for energy dominance underway in Southeastern Europe and the Balkan peninsula. The key players are the USA, Russia, Greece and the Greek Orthodox Church. It extends to Ukraine and energy companies there as well.

The battle being waged extends beyond offshore drilling blocks around the Island of Cyprus. The discovery of accessible natural gas on the sea floor in 2010 near Cyprus will clearly help the EU and the Balkans in their efforts to become energy dependent from Russia. Russia, of course, continues to use the EU's energy needs as a geopolitical lever, in order to craft a privileged relationship of diplomatic tolerance from the EU states. The Russian strategy under Vladimir Putin, caused the nationalization of many private power companies. The privately held power companies and public companies fill the same national energy policy role since Russian foreign policy and energy policy are one in the same. Petrochemical exports account for one of Russia's only sources of hard currency from abroad.

Russian energy giant, Gazprom (Gazovaya Promyshlennost), leverages its position politically in the EU very effectively. Only a few months have passed since the EU ended its seven-year standoff with Gazprom without imposing a fine their monopolistic practices, as it did to Google and Intel. The threat, even if only implied, gives the Russians a significant bargaining position and they use it.

In 2015, the European Commission charged Gazprom with acting as a monopoly and in 2018, it settled. As part of that settlement, Gazprom was required to enable the flow of the fuel to the Baltic States, whose gas markets remain isolated from the rest of Europe. Those concessions included lower prices to nations within the EU which have disadvantaged infrastructure.

Political alliances in the Balkans have chosen sides based largely on self interest and the Greek Orthodox Church has become involved in the matter more directly of late. In our exploration of the topic, let's consider the case of Kavala fertilizer.

Lavrentis Lavrentiadis
Countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans have paid 30 to 40% more than the average European price for gas. The largest fertilizer company in Greece is Hellenic Fertilizers – ELFE. The company is vital to the Greek agricultural economy. The company paid substantially more expensive raw material costs than the rest of Europe, and its management decided to defend itself with a multiannual lawsuit. It brought legal action against DEPA, the Greek Public Gas Corporation, which remains heavily reliant on Gazprom. Hellenic Fertilizers - ELFE operates in and from Kavala, a port in the Balkans that remains a strategic point of interest for both American and Russian interests. It is owned by Greek Cypriot businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, a controversial figure who positions himself at the center of American interests in the Balkans. He's been arrested, charged with fraud, released, and for forth in a number of scandals. (Do an internet search of that name if you have further interest)

Lavrentiadis has confronted Gazprom by purchasing natural gas outside of the monopoly, and that sparked a controversy with DEPA. The two other big players in the Balkan energy market, Dimitrios Copelouzos and Evangelos Mytilineos, oligarchs who could buy and sell their competition many times over, have aligned themselves with Russia and Gazprom. It's difficult to blame them. Russia is closer than the USA and its monopoly on natural gas in the Balkans make it a more likely ally.

The Greek Orthodox Church entered the political flaps that follow Russian gas policy. In Ukraine, the local Orthodox Church has become the latest battleground over 'the soul of the nation' and natural gas. The fight extends to the appointment of a new Archbishop. Both the Russians and the Americans want one who is closer to their own interests. Re-enter Greek businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, a friend of the Americans who maintains a personal relationship with the current head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos, as he did with his predecessor. On the other side of the field there are great monasteries of Mount Athos and some Metropolises of the Greek Orthodox Church which are sponsored by Russian oligarchs.

I can't suggest which side will come out on top. It remains to be seen. With Ukraine and its gas production in the news in the US every day, there is greater focus on the granularity of these wars for the hearts and minds of the Balkans.  And it is linked to energy policies of the major powers.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Terrorist Designation for Narcos - In the Works

In the run-up to the Thanksgiving holiday, President Trump announced that he had been working on the designation of certain Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations for the past ninety days. 
President Trump told former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in a radio interview broadcast Tuesday that Mexican cartels “will be designated” as terror groups because “we are losing 100,000 people a year to what is happening and what is coming through Mexico”.
The Mexican government is not amused and stated (contrary to what Mexican President Lopez Obrador has continually asserted) that they will work hard to stop drug cartels. The current Mexican administration has REPEATEDLY stated that they have a hands-off approach to drug cartels. Once bought, will they remain bought?  And who really runs Mexico? The narcos or the constituted government. I think that we all know the answer to that question. So is it any wonder that Mexico is pushing back against the designation?
“I’ve actually offered him to let us go in and clean it out and he so far has rejected the offer. But at some point, [something] has to be done,” President Trump said, citing the damage done by drugs to American addicts and their families.
Under US law, a violent foreign group or individual who threatens American security can be designated as terrorist in nature and be subject to special sanctions. 
Any institution dealing with a designated terrorist – such as a bank or government official – comes under heavy scrutiny and potential punishment. 
There are currently no designated terrorist groups in Mexico and only one in Latin America, the National Liberation Army insurgent group in Colombia.
Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to Washington, said that the US government could go so far as limiting cooperation with a country that is home to designated terrorist groups. He said in a telephone interview that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had considered designating Mexican drug lords or cartels as terrorists.
“When they realzed the economic and trade implications it would have on US-Mexican ties, they backed down.”
But GW Bush and Barack Hussein Obama are not President Trump. Bush was busy fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and Obama was a wimp. President Trump is a different style of leader with a strong AMERICAN agenda underpinning everything that he's done. The three women and six children of dual US-Mexican nationality who were killed in an ambush in northern Mexico has helped to push the terrorist designation. It was an action with shocked the conscience of the Mexicans as well, truth be told.

The news is sure to revive Mexicans’ concerns about possible US military involvement in combating drug trafficking on their soil – a highly sensitive subject in Mexico. Branding Mexican drug cartels with the terrorist label brings with it the possibility of US military action and frees up US intelligence agencies to engage in direct action style missions under the approval of US National Command Authority.

Giving Thanks

There is a lot to be thankful for. Family, dear friends, bounty, health, and a well spread table. Sharing that love is part of why Thanksgiving is such an enduring holiday. It's not about gifts, or politics, but it is about gluttony. 

The memories of Thanksgivings past are also part of the way we cherish holidays.

This is the First Thanksgiving at the White Wolf Mine in Arizona, so it's historic in its own small way. The snowplow crews will be taking their lunch break here, eating like the gluttons that they are. The firemen at the Blue Ridge Fire Department were invited but they are having their own lunch there at the firehouse. 

We used to have a resident Deputy Sheriff, but he quit to go to work at the AZ Dept of Public Safety so he will be missing out on a feast. 

Lastly, I thank all of you who drift by this blog from time to time for being there, reading my drivel and contributing your wit and wisdom. 

I don't know if we'll ever hear from our fellow blogger, Fredd again, since he may be eating Thanksgiving dinner with Aunt Sally. She defrosts - so maybe it will just taste bad without being life threatening. 

And to Jules in England, I hope you are having a feast there in Nottingham in sympathy with all of us across the pond in the colonies. And to John Derva in Norway who is not feasting, but is meeting with government people and is carrying on the good fight.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Pet Lover Wednesday

Your cat loves you.

Cats have a lot of love in their small hearts.

Your dog will love you even if you don't have snacks, but he will love you more if you do.

Yes, it's general advice, but ignore it at your peril.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Is there a Pattern of Corruption?

There seems to be a lot of hash and trash flying around in the corrupt, lying mainstream media. CNN claims that Hunter Biden, far from being part of a corruption scheme is a victim. I didn't know that you could be white AND a victim, but maybe if you're in the political class it can happen.

We could go back further, but we're talking about a corruption scheme with Vice President Joe Biden at its heart. During the summer of 2006,  Hunter Biden and his borther, James Biden, purchased the Paradigm Global Advisors a hedge fund of sorts. According to an unnamed executive quoted in Politico in August, James Biden declared to employees on his first day, “Don’t worry about investors. We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.” At this time, Joe Biden is months away from becoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and launching his second bid for president.

The unnamed executive who spoke to Politico charged that the purchase of the fund was designed to work around campaign-finance laws:
According to the executive, James Biden made it clear that he viewed the fund as a way to take money from rich foreigners who could not legally give money to his older brother or his campaign account. “We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” the executive remembers James Biden saying.
Both James and Hunter Biden have denied that James had ever made these comments. But the fund was still a great way to work around campaign finance laws because Slow Joe wasn't an officer in the corporation.
Hunter Biden had been employed as a consultant to the Delaware bank MBNA, with a $100,000-a-year retainer, according to the New York Times. The bank hired him fresh out of law school and in less than two years promoted him to senior vice president. Biden also separately worked as a lobbyist until 2008, founding the firm Oldaker Biden & Belair, where he represented mostly universities and hospitals but also drug companies such as Achaogen Inc. and Pulmatrix Inc., and the music-sharing company Napster and online gambling sites.
Hunter says he has never lobbied his father on any client matter. But the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest allegedly troubled the senator at one point. According to court records in a lawsuit filed by former business partner Joseph Lotito, Joe Biden wanted Hunter Biden to find a different line of work because his presidential campaign would be greatly complicated if he remained the father of a Washington lobbyist.

On January 5, 2007, Joseph Lotito sued James and Hunter Biden, contending that they cut him out of the purchase of Paradigm Global Advisors. Lotito’s suit claims that the firm was paying Hunter Biden an annual salary of $1.2 million. While Biden has worked for MBNA, he had never worked for a hedge fund or investment firm before.

LINK - 'Consulting Firm Hired by Burisma Leveraged Biden’s Name to Secure Meeting with State Dept.'

January 7, 2007: Joe Biden announced his second bid for the presidency.

January 18, 2007: Hunter Biden stepped down as interim chief executive of Paradigm Global Advisors, but the company announced he would remain in his position as chairman of Paradigm’s advisory board.

February 21, 2007: James and Hunter Biden countersue Lotito, arguing that he lied about his professional credentials and finances. Biden’s chief of staff toldthe Washington Post, “It is apparent that Mr. Lotito is only invoking Senator Biden’s name to garner media attention.”

July 2007: Biden’s presidential campaign paid Hunter Biden’s firm. Oldaker Biden & Belair LLP, $20,256 for legal work for his campaign. By the end of Biden’s bid, his campaign paid Hunter’s law firm $143,000 for “legal services.”

January 3, 2008: After winning less than 1 percent in the Iowa caucus, Joe Biden announced that he would be ending his second bid for the presidency.

July 25, 2008: An outside audit of Paradigm by the firm of Briggs, Bunting & Dougherty found a “failure to reconcile Investment Advisors reimbursement of fund expenses, failure to reconcile and review cash account on a timely basis, and failure to reconcile and review various other accounts on a timely basis.”

August 23, 2008: Barack Obama announced that Joe Biden would be his running mate. The following day, Obama campaign officials “acknowledged that the connection between the Bidens and MBNA, the enormous financial services company then based in their home state of Delaware, was one of the most sensitive issues they examined while vetting the senator for a spot on the ticket.”

August 27, 2008: The Washington Post reported on an unusual loophole in Hunter Biden’s refusal to lobby his father: “Sen. Barack Obama sought more than $3.4 million in congressional earmarks for clients of the lobbyist son of his Democratic running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, records show. Obama succeeded in getting $192,000 for one of the clients, St. Xavier University in suburban Chicago.” The Post reports that other lobbyists at Biden’s firm lobbied his father.

September 6, 2008: In an interview with Tom Brokaw, Joe Biden argued there was nothing inappropriate about the biggest bank in his state hiring his son: “My son graduated from Yale Law School. The starting salary in Wall Street is $140,000 a year if you want to lawyer. Options he had. He came home to work for a bank.”

September 12, 2008: Hunter Biden files paperwork to end his lobbying work for all clients.

September 2008: Hunter Biden founds Seneca Global Advisors, “a boutique consulting firm” that “helps small and mid-sized companies expand into markets in the U.S. and other countries.”

December 2008: James and Hunter Biden and Anthony Lotito reach a settlement and drop their suits.

January 20, 2009: Joe Biden is sworn in as vice president of the United States.

February 2009: Paradigm gets another headache when one of its partners, Texas financier Allen Stanford, is charged by regulators with an $8 billion fraud. However, Paradigm and James and Hunter Biden are not accused of wrongdoing, and Paradigm’s attorney, Marc LoPresti, says they never met or communicated with Stanford.

June 2009: Hunter Biden co-founds his second company in less than a year, Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz (the stepson of John Kerry and heir to the Heinz fortune) and Devon Archer, who had been friends with Heinz at Yale.

November 12, 2009: Paradigm’s run of bad luck continues when the U.S. Department of Justice determines that the Manhattan skyscraper housing the offices of Paradigm is partially owned by individuals helping the Iranian government evade sanctions. By 2017, federal prosecutors would contend that the building “served as a front for the Iranian government and as a gateway for millions of dollars to be funneled to Iran in clear violation of U.S. sanctions laws.” There is no evidence that the Bidens or Paradigm knew of their landlord’s ties.

2010: After two years of difficulties and the economic recession, James and Hunter Biden begin “unwinding” the Paradigm Fund, filing for voluntary liquidation. The man who sold them the firm, James Park, never collected on an $8 million note, according to The New Republic.

2010–11: Rosemont Seneca takes off like a rocket in its ability to secure meetings with wealthy Chinese investors. From Peter Schweitzer’s Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends:

Less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca’s doors, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were in China having secured access at the highest levels. Thornton Group’s account of the meeting on their Chinese-language website is telling: Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its U.S. partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden).” The purpose of the meetings was to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity.” Curiously, details about the meeting did not appear on their English-language website.

Also, according to the Thornton Group, the three Americans met with the largest and most powerful government-fund leaders in China — even though Rosemont was both new and small. To put these meetings in perspective, it was as if the son of the Chinese premier held a single meeting with the heads of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and Blackstone. Except, in this case, these were government entities with trillions of dollars of capital to invest. The delegate spent two days meeting with the top executives of China’s sovereign wealth fund, social-security fund, and largest banks. Hunter posed with them for a series of pictures.

Sometime in 2012: Devon Archer and Hunter Biden begin meetings with “Jonathan Li, who ran a Chinese private-equity fund, Bohai Capital, about becoming partners in a new company that would invest Chinese capital,” according to The New Yorker.

June 2013: Li, Archer, and other business partners signed a memorandum of understanding to create the fund, which they named BHR Partners, and, in November, they signed contracts related to the deal. Hunter Biden becomes an unpaid member of BHR’s board but will not take an equity stake in BHR Partners until after his father left the White House.

August 19, 2013: New York Times business columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote in his column, “In Washington, the line between lobbying and bribery is not clear-cut. Until 2008, R. Hunter Biden, son of then-Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., lobbied Congress regularly.”

December 4, 2013: Hunter Biden joined his father on Air Force Two on a trip to China, where his father was meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Hunter arranged for Li to shake hands with his father in the lobby of the American delegation’s hotel. Afterward, Hunter and Li have what both parties describe as a social meeting.

According to The New Yorker, at this time other Obama-administration officials weren’t comfortable with Hunter Biden’s business ties in China, but they did not confront the vice president about the matter:
Hunter’s meeting with Li and his relationship with BHR attracted little attention at the time, but some of Biden’s advisers were worried that Hunter, by meeting with a business associate during his father’s visit, would expose the Vice-President to criticism. The former senior White House aide told me that Hunter’s behavior invited questions about whether he “was leveraging access for his benefit, which just wasn’t done in that White House. Optics really mattered, and that seemed to be cutting it pretty close, even if nothing nefarious was going on.” When I asked members of Biden’s staff whether they discussed their concerns with the Vice-President, several of them said that they had been too intimidated to do so. “Everyone who works for him has been screamed at,” a former adviser told me.
December 2013: “Less than two weeks later, Hunter Biden’s firm inked a $1 billion private equity deal with a subsidiary of the Chinese government’s Bank of China,” author and investigator Peter Schweizer says. “The deal was later expanded to $1.5 billion. In short, the Chinese government funded a business that it co-owned along with the son of a sitting vice president.” But The New Yorker quotes a BHR representative who says the deal was signed before the vice president’s trip to China, a business license came through shortly after, and Hunter was not a signatory.

April 2014: Hunter Biden joins the board of Burisma Holdings. Alan Apter, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker who was chairman of Burisma, said at the time, “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals.” Biden’s primary duty is to attend board meetings and energy forums in Europe once or twice a year, and he was paid $50,000 per month.

Apter added, “This is totally based on merit.”

May 13, 2014: At the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney responds to a question about Hunter Biden’s joining the board and the appearance of a potential conflict of interest:
I would refer you to the vice president’s office. I saw those reports. You know, Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president. But I would refer you to the vice president’s office.
The same day, at a State Department press briefing, AP reporter Matt Lee asks, “Does this building diplomatically have any concerns about potential perceptions of conflict or/cronyism — which is what you’ve often accused the Russians of doing?”

“No, he’s a private citizen,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki replied.

May 14, 2014: The U.K.-based Guardian newspaper blasted Biden’s new position, snarking, “Somebody needs to get involved in Ukraine’s corporate governance, and it might as well be a clutch of rich, well-connected American dudes with weird first names.” Washington Post columnist Adam Taylor wrote:
The appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst. No matter how qualified Biden is, it ties into the idea that U.S. foreign policy is self-interested, and that’s a narrative Vladimir Putin has pushed during Ukraine’s crisis with references to Iraq and Libya.
Sometime in 2015: Chris Heinz ends his relationship with Rosemont Seneca.

December 8, 2015: Writing in the New York Times, James Risen says of the vice president’s trip to Ukraine:
The credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile.
December 11, 2015: A New York Times editorial praises Biden’s message to the Ukrainian government notes:
The credibility of Mr. Biden’s message may be undermined by the association of his son with a Ukrainian natural-gas company, Burisma Holdings, which is owned by a former government official suspected of corrupt practices. A spokesman for the son, Hunter Biden, argues that he joined the board of Burisma to strengthen its corporate governance. That may be so. But Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, has been under investigation in Britain and in Ukraine. It should be plain to Hunter Biden that any connection with a Ukrainian oligarch damages his father’s efforts to help Ukraine. This is not a board he should be sitting on.
December 2016: Hunter Biden and his wife, Kathleen, file for divorce. The divorce becomes official April 14, 2017. Sometime when Biden is “in the middle of the divorce,” he meets the Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming. As CNN described, “at its height, Ye’s company, CEFC China Energy, aligned itself so closely with the Chinese government that it was often hard to distinguish between the two.”

January 20, 2017: Joe Biden’s second term as vice president ends.

May 2017: Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming and Hunter Biden meet privately at a hotel in Miami. Biden says he offered to use his contacts to help “identify investment opportunities for Ye’s company CEFC China Energy, in liquified natural gas projects in the United States.” After the dinner, Ye sends a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter’s hotel room with a card thanking him for the meeting. During the divorce proceedings, Hunter Biden and his ex-wife Kathleen dispute the value of the diamond; he says it is worth $10,000, she contends it is worth $80,000.
Biden denied that the diamond could be considered a bribe. “What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn’t in office.” Hunter Biden told The New Yorker he gave the diamond to his associates and doesn’t know what happened to it
Also during the divorce proceedings, Kathleen “requested that Hunter’s access to their joint assets be limited because the couple had a double mortgage and owed more than $300,000 in back taxes.”

Summer 2017: Hunter Biden begins negotiating a deal for Ye’s company CEFC to invest in a liquefied-natural-gas project in Louisiana. Ye tells Biden that he’s worried about federal authorities’ looking into one of his business associates, Patrick Ho. Hunter agrees to represent Ho as his lawyer.

October 2017: After having an unpaid role on the company’s board since 2013, Hunter Biden acquired a financial stake in BHR, a 10 percent equity interest that was worth $430,000 as of July 2019, according to Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires. At least half of the firm’s stake is owned by Chinese entities, according to business records.

November 18, 2017: Patrick Ho is arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on bribery and money-laundering charges. He makes a phone call to James Biden, Joe Biden’s younger brother, and asked Biden for a lawyer. (Hunter Biden has not practiced criminal law.)

March 2018: Ye Jianming, the former boss of CEFC China Energy who gave Biden the diamond, vanishes from public sight. The Chinese government detained him for questioning, but “no Chinese authority has released any information about him, and he has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing.”

June 28, 2018: Devon Archer, who co-founded Rosemont Seneca Partners with Hunter Biden back in 2009, is convicted of “conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud for allegedly defrauding investors in sham Native American tribal bonds. A few months later, the conviction is overturned and a new trial is ordered.

November 2018: U.S. prosecutors allege that a nonprofit funded by Ye Jianming — the man who gave Hunter Biden that large diamond, who is still missing and believed detained by the Chinese government — had used its United Nations status to offer millions in bribes to African leaders.
Hunter would later tell The New Yorker that he doesn’t see Ye as a “shady character at all,” and he characterized the outcome as “bad luck.”
March 25, 2019: Patrick Ho, Biden’s former legal client, was sentenced to three years in prison for international bribery and money-laundering offenses. He was convicted of a multi-year, multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe top officials of Chad and Uganda in exchange for business advantages for CEFC China Energy Company Limited.

April 1, 2019: Writing in The Hill, John Solomon quotes Ukrainian former prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, telling him that, before he was dismissed, he was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, and that his plans included “interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

May 3, 2019: The Intercept reported that Hunter Biden’s investment company in China, known as Bohai Harvest RST, invested in a company called Face++, which develops facial-recognition software. That facial-recognition software is used in an app that “provides [Chinese] law enforcement with easy, daily access to data detailing the religious activity, blood type, and even the amount of electricity used by ethnic minority Muslims living in the western province of Xinjiang.”

May 16, 2019: Yuriy Lutsenko, the current Ukrainian prosecutor general, told Bloomberg News that neither Hunter Biden nor Burisma was now the focus of an investigation. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing. A company can pay however much it wants to its board.”

May 20, 2019: The New York Times reports, “A lawyer for Hunter Biden said he did not conduct any business related to the China investment fund on that trip” in December 2013.
July 1, 2019: Hunter Biden told The New Yorker in an interview, “I’ve pretty much always lived paycheck to paycheck. I never considered it struggling, but it has always been a high-wire act.”
July 22, 2019: Hunter Biden issued a new statement to the Washington Post about his time on the Burisma Holdings board: “At no time have I discussed with my father the company’s business or my board service.”

But yeah, by all means, paint President Trump as the one to blame.