sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, April 29, 2019

Manic Monday


Dirty Little Secrets

None of this is really news. Those of us who followed the story of the Obama White House un-masking names from wiretaps in the hopes of dirtying up the Trump Administration, were saying. Sure, Barack was helping out Crooked Hillary (lock Her up). 

Political spying (see Watergate) has been forbidden in Washington DC for a long time. It's one of those toxic things that always seem to come out. 

In the old days (see Watergate) the elite media followed the breadcrumbs to the source (Nixon, Dean, Libby, etc.) and people were held to account. Today, the elite media is the "lying, smug, sly, filthy, corrupt," elite media, which gets its daily talking points from the even more corrupt and filthy Democrat National Committee.

The deep state was allowed to flourish, multiply, and the feeding trough was very deep, allowing a lot of people to lap from it. The Globalists (Bush Dynasty, the Clintons, Obama was a puppet who went along for the ride, Rockefeller money, etc.) thought that the American people would keep up their charade, but it didn't happen like that. Barack's administration - and his legacy - was primarily based on his executive orders. They were rescinded in a few weeks, and now America is rolling back horrible trade deals, scams and schemes thanks to President Trump. The GNP is booming, and China's is withering. All of those bribes, all of those kickbacks to the Clinton Foundation were a waste of time and money.

And with President Trump poised to declassify the rot and corruption, the roaches are scuttling for cover. You know that Sleepy Joe will be wrapped up in it.

Global Warming

Now there is proof?


The graphic does have some merit to it.

Pigs in the Neighborhood

This photo of a family of javalina was sent to me by a neighbor a mile or so distant. I commented that I hadn't seen any around this spring. I guess that they are birthing like crazy.

Yes, they're destructive. They're sort of a cross between a genuine tusker and a pet pot bellied pig. But they're not good eating unless you marinate them in wine for a week and then pit BBQ them. The tough pork eventually loosens up and the flavor isn't too bad if you add BBQ sauce.

I don't think that there is a javelina season out here, but I haven't checked. There should be no bag limit, open season for the destructive little beasts.

There are usually bears as well, but I haven't seen any in the neighborhood, and there have not been any reported in the vicinity. Bears are sort of like giant javelina except that they have claws and can tear stuff apart. These are black bears, not griz.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Men at Sea (Book Review)

Comic books and graphic novels are making their return. In many quarters they are replacing novels because they are showing a story, not only telling it. I tend to prefer the printed word (don't judge me), there is still a place for talented art blended with a good yarn. 

Riff Rebs (born in Algeria, raised in Le Havre, France) has made a name for himself by taking classic works and blending them with graphic representations. Such is the book, Men at Sea, an opus of eight spectacularly drawn dark, poetic stories, freely adapted.

From galley slaves being inspected by a young lady of royal blood to Homer's Odyssey, with Ulysses standing on deck navigating between Scilla and Charybdis, the journeys are graphically represented.

My sense is that it might make an interesting gift to the millennial or Gen X'er in your life.

From Men at Sea:


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Arizona's Back Roads

Somewhere between Walk and Don't Walk is Cleator, Arizona
Cleator is a ghost town in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. It lies along the road that has replaced Murphy's Impossible Railroad between Cordes and Crown King. Cleator was established in 1864 as a placer gold mining site under the name Turkey Creek Mining District .Wikipedia
The only thing remaining in the town of Cleator, which boasts people and ghosts is the bar. People from the Phoenix Valley drive down Murphy's Impossible Railroad to get there on the weekend. Women expose their bare breasts and men hoist beer mugs in respect. 

I'm not encouraging you to drive to Cleator. The bar is crowded, and the bar food is in desperate need of a chef instead of whoever is turning out the finger food. I'm just pointing out to the blogging world that such a place exists right in the middle of nowhere, not far from Bumble Bee, AZ, where there are more horses than people.

Mark Twain

On travel:




Cat News

The Great Culling

Feral Aussie Cat, photo courtesy Wikipedia
(Independent UK) The Australian government is airdropping poisonous sausages across thousands of hectares of land in an effort to kill millions of feral cats, according to reports.

It is just one of the tactics used by the government as part its plan to kill two million feral cats by 2020 in order to protect native species.

Cats are also trapped and shot by government officials. To date, 87% of the cats killed were shot by government hunters. The poisoning effort is expected to be more cost effective. The sausages are said by Australian experts to be irresistible to cats.

The cats die within 15 minutes after eating the sausages made with kangaroo meat, chicken fat, herbs, spices, catnip and the poison, 1080, the New York Times reported.

Planes distributing the poisoned treats drop 50 sausages every kilometre in areas where the cats roam free.

Friday, April 26, 2019

TGIF

Is it Racist?

If you're a disabled veteran in line for public housing assistance, you could be standing behind 1000 illegal aliens the way things are today. But not tomorrow. (MAGA)

Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, issued an order, resulting in a new rule that will stop illegal immigrants from scamming regulations currently in place, to stop them from accessing housing subsidies. 
(Washington Examiner) “We need to make certain our scarce public resources help those who are legally entitled to it,” department Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Given the overwhelming demand for our programs, fairness requires that we devote ourselves to legal residents who have been waiting, some for many years, for access to affordable housing.” 
The new rule will disallow illegal immigrants from living in houses that receive subsidies from the department regardless of whether they were the direct recipient or not. Previously, rules allowed illegal immigrants to benefit from subsides by living with relatives who were citizens. 

I expect that a liberal judge -- likely from San Francisco or Hawaii -- will enjoin that decision and it will have to be pushed up to an appellate court or even SCOTUS. The concept of "America for Americans" bothers the progressive among us. 

Which do You Like Best?
This is an unscientific poll, but you can vote for your favorite Delaware Joe campaign slogan in his run against President Trump. 

Friday Follies

Political Rambling



Run Joe, Run


Anyone who has to deal with government needs to deal with both sides of the aisle. The defense contractors (Beltway Bandits) have it down to an art. Here's a photo of one of my business partners with Sleepy Joe Biden.

Our fellow blogger, Fredd, predicts that Slow Joe will end up being the Democrat nominee because he's the least radical of the bunch. Fredd may be right because the hysteria among progs has become deafening. Every single day they double down on stupid with another bout of insane crap, trying to demonstrate HOW left they can go.

Common Sense and Student Loans

The message should be, "don't take out a loan that you can't afford." I knew a guy in grad school who lived on student loans for seven or eight years, limping along, taking the minimum number of classes. It was his 'income'. Today he lives in China and hasn't attempted to pay a dime back. The thought that we should all band together (including people who paid off their student loans) to cover people who foolishly took out more student debt than their liberal arts degree would ever be able earn them (makin' bacon at the Waffle House)  makes sense only to people who want a free ride...and political parasites who want a vote.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Breaking the Ice

The Premise of the Green New Deal...


...is that the polar caps are melting as the Earth warms. Yet Congress authorized three new heavy ice breakers for the US Coast Guard (more here).


It seems to me that those are ships without a mission unless we stop driving cars and kill all of the cows now.

Congress needs to decide what it believes in.  Conventional progressive wisdom holds that by 2024 (when the first of the ships will be launched), there won't be any polar ice remaining...even though the polar ice cap has been growing in size and thickness over the past few years. Maybe they know more about the coming ice age than they're letting on?

Russia built and launched14 icebreakers for various arms of the country's government just since 2013. China has also been building additional icebreakers and is now in the process of building a 30,000-ton displacement nuclear-powered design. It seems that they don't believe in the spew from the Paris Climate Accords either.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Question of Adequate Narcissism

Should We run for Congress?

I was commenting on Old NFO's Blog and the thought struck me...

I was recently appointed to legislative public office in Arizona. True story. I know that I haven't been here long, but long enough and I'm a registered voter. For those of you who know me, I vowed never to be a politician (better to own one than to be one has been my mantra). But with AOC, Ali and the rest of those freaks sitting in Congress, I think that I might be the perfect fit, because I would have NO INTEREST in a second term

If not me, possibly WSF, LSP, SiGraybeard, Ed, Mike_C, Jim, Raven, The Bayou Renaissance Man or even Old NFO (the great one), himself. Any one of us would speak of the Mohammedan scourge against Christians. (Juliette (born troublemaker), you're a British Citizen - you have to stand for Parliament, not the US House of Representatives). John Derva, you could depose the present King of Norway. (Job opening for me as Chief of Assassins guild?)

Put any one of us on Fox New Sunday with that Trump hater, Chris Wallace, and let US speak for the President and for the bullshit that pervades. The Deep State thinks that they hate President Trump. They'd really hate any one of US

https://oldnfo.org/2019/04/23/words-they-mean-things/#comment-96662 
Hey, OLD NFO, what if we nuked (tactical nuke) the black meteorite that the Muslims worship in Mecca (not during hajj, so you don’t kill a million of them)? Would that be “somebody somewhere did something to someone?” 
I also found it interesting the Somali-American congresswoman said that we killed 1,000 Somalis during the “Blackhawk Down” action. My reaction was, “That was all we killed, how embarrassing. There must have been more than that.” Sometimes those Army guys can be weak when figuring the body count. It swings with political wind, but in a place like that, you always invoke the law of averages. 
Had I been king (and lucky for the skinnies that I wasn’t), I’d have dispatched every AC-130H in inventory and would have ordered a ship full of 20 MM in to refill the guns, and replacement barrels, and would have placed a round every six inches in Mogadishu. I lost a friend there and another took 3 rounds from an AK-47 in his back and barely survived 
I need to run for Congress in Arizona so that I can sit on the floor of Congress and call those people to account. Sure, I’d be a one-term hero, but who cares? 
LL for Congress. Send cash only to my exploratory committee
I'm only kidding about Congress, but you can still send cash if you really want to. It will go to my favorite charity. I'd like to buy a backhoe & trailer, but the price point currently frightens me.

And no, I will not release my tax returns.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Different Thoughts


Oil

Heap Big Chief Elizabeth Warren has vowed that if she is elected president, she will stop any oil pumping on government land. Presumably she also would include natural gas. The war on coal will be expanded to become a war on oil, says Senator Warren, who is a dim bulb by anyone's accounting. Now that the US oil reserves exceed those of the Saudis, it makes sense that Warren and the donkeys would make war on it. We surely wouldn't want to reap the economic and strategic benefit of being an oil exporting country. Senator Warren would rather that we import oil. She really is dumber than a bag of hammers, but that can be said for a lot of politicians. 

Under the Trump Administration, the US will no longer exempt any countries from sanctions for importing Iranian oil. The message is clear. You can do business with the US or you can do business with Iran, as you please -- but not both. Iran is finding the new American president less of an easy mark than his predecessor, the feckless and foolish Obama (architect of the Obamanation).

Between Walk-About and April Showers

Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in
.454 Casull. And no, my finger is not
exerting pressure on the trigger.
As I prepare to head out and earn my daily bread, toiling at the salt mine, I decided that I needed to make a run to look for Buffalo. I heard that there were a few big shaggies that stomped off to the west, as they are prone to do - well away from the managed Raymond Ranch Herd. Long Lake and Soldier Lake sometimes host the bison as they move west. I had no intention of poaching one, but when in the remote reaches of Central Arizona, it's good to have the means of self defense. (see right)

Coming up from the south on County Road 211, I encountered this sign (see below). 

Being thus encouraged by previous situations that prompted the Wildlife management people to post the sign, I increased my vigilance. The plot thickens.

County Road 211 is not that bad. It's a rutted, dirt road that allows for travel up to about 20 mph without discomfort. 

I knew that I'd have to beat the afternoon showers that we get in the high mountain areas, so did not doddle.










Not everyone found the road easy going.























Arriving at Soldier Lake, the road deteriorated a bit. It's the road less traveled, and I didn't have to shift from 2X4 to 4 high. Just a little rocky and untraveled.

Soldier Lake is full of water, and yes, LSP, I should have brought fishing tackle, but I was looking for bigger game than a blue gill.

I made my way around much of the lake and there was no sign of the elusive bison. There was a fish-and-game helicopter circling the area, so I felt that at least my intelligence source was potentially sound.
The Rig - 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser at Soldier Lake, AZ
Visiting the cowboy shack and cattle pens at Soldier Lake, AZ
Traveling north from there I found out that County Road 82 between Soldier Lake and Mud Lake (which was also filled with water) was 'unimproved'. I didn't have to gear down but it was a 5 mph road. Between Cow Lake and Mud Lake, I spotted three pronghorn antelope. They were more curious than suspicious and lingered out at about 100 yards. The camera in the I-Phone made them look like brown and white spots. So no video log of that activity. I ate my lunch and watched the antelope look at me, Then continued on to Mormon Lake and Mary's Lake Road, and headed back to the shack.


One Nation Under Drones (Book Review)

One Nation Under Drones: Legality, Morality and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems

CAPT John E. Jackson, USN (RET) Editor

Published by the Naval Institute Press.

It's a very large topic with breadth across and under the waves as well as over them.

Since this is a review, I'm going to pick out a few items that stood out. DASH (pages 15-17 and 55-56) Is an early example of a development process for an early drone - from manned aircraft, to an unmanned aircraft, to an improved and still further improved unmanned aircraft, with more and more bugs worked out along the way.

The US Navy has had unmanned systems since the late 1950's and the DASH. (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter). Essentially it was a small helicopter that flew off the deck of a Destroyer (usually Fletcher and Sumner classes) and dropped a torpedo on a submarine contact.

The photo (left) is of a QH-50 about to land on the deck of the USS Hazelwood - DD 531, my father's old destroyer.

(1) The manned Gyrodyne Rotorcycle program of the mid-1950s provided prototype work for the DASH. (2) The Rotorcycle was modified to produce the initial drone version, the DSN-1/QH-50A The DSN-1 was powered by a Porsche YO-95-6 72 hp piston engine and carried one Mark 43 homing torpedo. (3) The next developmental version was the DSN-2/QH-50B that was powered by two Porsche YO-95-6 engines and also carried a single Mk 43. (4) Serial production of the DASH began with the third version, the DSN-3/QH-50C, in which a 255 hp (190 kW) Boeing T-50-4 turboshaft engine replaced the piston engine and the payload was increased to two Mark 44 torpedoes. A total of 378 QH-50Cs were produced before production ended in January 1966.

RQ-4 Global Hawk - large, long range drone aircraft.
The development of communication systems with reliable spread spectrum hard cryptography and fast enough processing power to enable them to handle a large hash has been the key to the widespread expansion of larger drone systems and to their use in a combat environment.  Naturally, they wouldn't be flying everywhere on the planet without satellites, and for that (among other reasons), the US has created the US Space Command as a separate branch of military service. Protecting satellites and space-based assets assures us of the capacity to operate drones, upon which we are becoming increasingly dependent. 

The book takes the topic from drones the size of a Boeing 737 to drones that will fit on the palm of your hand. It's not just about military hardware. And the ethics are not just about national security. Personal privacy are increasingly of concern.

One Nation Under Drones does not overthink the topic, nor does it trivialize any portion of the ethical and expanding use of drones. It's a good book for the casual reader and the industry professional who is interested in the drone revolution.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter


I wish all of you a very happy Easter. And no matter how you celebrate, please remember Him, and his sacrifice for us all.

Study of the subject of some of the people contemporary to the time wrote books about Jesus the Christ beyond what it written in the Bible. 

Authenticating some of these accounts such as The Gospel of Nicodemus, can be challenging. But it is still interesting reading. The Nag Hammadi Library can be instructive, should you wish to delve.

More books have been written on the subject of Jesus Christ than any other living person, yet, he had no Earthly kingdom, no standing army, no support system beyond living on the charity of others. His ministry only lasted three years. He didn't write a book, he didn't travel outside of Israel, and most of his teachings were given near his home in Galilee. 2000 years after his death, many revere his teachings and his example and strive to be like him. He overcame death so that we all may live again.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Admiral Gorshkov (Book Review)


The Naval Institute Press published a book this year (2019), Admiral Gorshkov: The Man who Challenged the US Navy, by Norman Polmar, Thomas A Brokkis and George Fedoroff. 

Sergey Gorshkov joined the navy at the age of seventeen, in defiance of his family and rose to be a junior surface warfare officer, commanding, ships, squadrons and then fleets.

He was clever (or lucky) enough to survive Stalin's purges and possibly their thinning of the ranks gave him the ladder that he needed to ascend to a position where he made critical decisions for the Soviet Navy.  He's fairly considered to be the father of the Soviet Navy, and one can only opine how he would feel were he alive to see the surface fleet rot. 

No reading and understanding of the Cold War can be truly complete without a perception of the man who developed the Soviet Navy from 1956-1983. How many Russian Admirals were on the cover of Time magazine (back when the publication amounted to something)? Right, just Gorshkov. Such is the shadow that this man cast.

Finding a book that would do him justice is not easy, but Polmar, Brooks and Fedoroff pulled it off.

The Americans who faced Gorshkov's fleet during the Cold War understood that they were up against a visionary man, and a master strategist. 

The book takes advantage of hindsight offered by history, declassified US intelligence analysis and various publications to weave a tapestry of Admiral Gorshkov's life, and contributions. Sure, he was the enemy, but you can always respect a worthy adversary.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

On Tour, etc.

On Tour

The Bangles will be playing in Huntington Beach, CA, on Saturday, May 11. I'm sure that they will be walking like Egyptians. As with Buffet the show,  the parking lot before the concert is the party. Some suggest the Bangles may be a little long in the tooth. Maybe. I'll talk to my kids and see if they want to take in the concert. Worst case, a day at the beach.

The Mueller Report

It cleared the President of wrongdoing, but the donkeys want another investigation, hoping for a different result. Rep Adam Shifty (D-CA) would walk like an Egyptian (see above) for a different result.

Tonto Natural Bridge

Pine Creek has been flowing through a hole in the travertine for a very long time. It's a state park about a 35 minute drive from the mine. I had some time on my hands, so I drove over. I have not been there since I was seven. Long time to be away.

There are a couple of trails down to the big hole in the ground. (right) This is the Pine Creek Trail.

When I was a young man, I swam in the lake/ponds under the natural bridge, but regulations prohibit that sort of fun. Whatever. I hadn't planned on getting too wet.

Yes, I may be getting long in the tooth too. But you can't beat the clock, so I have this arrangement with Father Time and the Grim Reaper. Only the good die young. 

Easter week means that things are going slow with work as people travel here or there to be with family or friends for the holiday. I'm spending Easter Sunday with my daughter and three granddaughters who live in Arizona. Not much of a trip as trips go. Naturally I will bring plastic eggs full of quarters. The kids like that more than candy. Smart kids.

On the way to the Bridge, I saw 11 elk (crossing the road), one coyote (also crossing the road in front of me), a bald eagle, and once I arrived at the bridge and parked, there was a Javalina.

Peccaries are odd creatures (right). Something of a blend of a pot belly pig and a wild boar. They are tuskers but tend to keep to themselves. We also have them at the White Wolf Mine, but I don't see them that often.

You'll note leaves on the trees. The Natural Bridge is about 3,000 feet lower than the White Wolf Mine, where it is still winter.

Ice age notwithstanding, summer is coming (eventually).

Photo (below) of the bridge from the west, looking east.



Photo of the bridge from the east, looking west. Note that there is a waterfall that splashes down from the rim.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

In the News, Your Humpday Blues

North Korea

Chairman Kim is going to Russia … to meet President Putin. Russian officials told a South Korean diplomatic delegation visiting Moscow this week that plans were being made for a summit but offered no details on a time or place.

One South Korean news service reported that the Kim-Putin summit will likely take place on 24 April in Vladivostok, before President Putin's 26-27 April visit to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov met Kim Jong Un for the first time in May 2018 in Pyongyang. Lavrov conveyed President Putin’s invitation to meet in Moscow and Kim accepted. Putin’s scheduled trip to Beijing makes it convenient to double up on his summitry, by meeting Kim en route.

Some analysts have warned about a North Korean strategy of triangulation that plays the Russia, China and the US against each other for North Korea’s advantage in negotiations. China is the key driver in North Korean foreign relations. 

That warning is exaggerated because Russia has so few assets to offer North Korea without compensation and North Korea lacks the means to pay. California has a larger GDP than Russia and more to offer for socialist construction. 

Russia is a spoiler. Its meddling is mostly to annoy the US and to profit from potential US investment and economic aid to North Korea. That's about the only card left for them to play and they wish to remain valid in a world that tends to ignore them (certainly not the Congressional Democrats, though).

Kim is acting out his vision of himself as a world stateman. Russians have cooperated in violating the UN sanctions and earned Kim’s gratitude and probably invitations to participate in future joint ventures. 

Russia will exert no pressure on Kim to agree to denuclearize with the US. Putin is more likely to encourage Kim to drive a harder bargain with the US.


American Political Dimwits

Crazy Bernie Sanders, the old communist, wants to be President, Commander-in-Chief, and leader of the free world.

He's quite the curmudgeon and I'm sure that while he'd interject a lot of humor over however long he's in the White House before he seizes up and dies and leaves Vice President Spartacus or Pok-a-haunt-us to run the place, he may not be the best choice. But if not Bernie, which one of the now three dozen contenders? Look what happened to Hillary.

Will Crazy Bernie survive the campaign trail to ascend and make a few more million $$?


Will you Wear the Rag?

Trending --

A difference of opinion or a clash of culture or both? You be the judge.


Imagine how the press would have reacted if somebody had said that Americans need to "raise hell and make Muslims uncomfortable?" 

In rural Arizona, where many people open-carry, it would likely be a mistake for Muslims to go into a steakhouse wearing their traditional clothing and scream "Aloha Snackbar" or whatever. Raising hell could all too easily turn into "sending them to hell". (You don't see a lot of Muslims here, stirring up shit)


This trend to pit one group against another is that it has been a tactic of Muslims traditionally and it has worked in much of Western Europe (Eastern Europe has a different take). Whether or not it will work in the US remains to be seen, but my sense is that Omar and her Muslim followers may have played their hand too early. They need another hundred million or so of their kind if they expect to succeed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Random Rants

The Coming Ice Age

All of those climate deniers who felt that Earth was going to turn into a cinder are having to revise their plans.
(h/t CW at the Daily Timewaster) Chicago's O'Hare Airport was whitened by 5.3 inches of snow on Sunday. That made April 14 one of the top-two snowiest days this late in the season. The snowiest day in the city's history from April 14 to early May is 5.4 inches of snow on April 16, 1961. 
It was enough to bring Chicago O'Hare and Chicago Midway airports to a ground stop for arriving flights, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). O'Hare canceled 436 flights on Sunday amid snow and ice, according to Flight Aware. 
The latest trace of snow recorded in Chicago occured on June 2, 1910.
The weather service is predicting snow here in Arizona tonight, sort of a blizzard because it's coming with wind. I shall react by burning cedar and putting some greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to try and stop the coming ice age. You're welcome.

Holy Week
I had plans to go shooting today in the hopes of improving my range scores - and having those rounds guided to the target (since it is Holy Week and LSP threw down the gauntlet). But shooting at 800 meters in the wind is an exercise in frustration. 800 meters is about as far as you can send .308 rounds and hope to keep them in a two or three minute of angle group, but you can't do it with a crosswind. I've set up a small range about three miles from the White Wolf Mine on BLM land, in country that is a bit more open than the heavily timbered area where I live, but there are crosswind issues at times.

The Afghan Quagmire

It's a lot easier to get into small regional wars than it is to get out of them. You'd think that the US would have learned by not, but apparently not.

After announcing Operation Victory on 12 April, Taliban fighters staged attacks in 15 of the 34 provinces on the 13th. Most of the attacks were small group operations that were beaten back with few casualties. They literally were staged and caused little damage. It was an exercise in Taliban command, control and communications.

The most serious attacks targeted Kunduz City and continued through the 15th. The Taliban captured the town three times for brief periods since 2015 and are trying again.

In the city of Kunduz, Naeem Mangal, head of the regional hospital, told the press that at least eight people were killed and 62 wounded in fighting on the city’s limits.

If you ask why we're there, I don't know except that we are. And we still take casualties. I wouldn't like to be the officer trying to explain to the grieving widow with three small children how her late husband's life was laid down in a worthy cause.

Chinese Economic News

In February, exports dropped 16.6% - their steepest fall in three years - while imports fell by only 0.3%, due to its trade war with the US. 

The Chinese economy is expected to slow by 6.2% in 2019, according to a Reuters poll, due to slowing demand for goods both abroad and domestically.

So far, the US has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese goods, totaling more than $250 billion . 

The duties range from 10% to 25% and cover a wide range of industrial and consumer items - from handbags to railway equipment.   

The political situation in China makes a decline in the economy more serious than it might be elsewhere. The Chinese public has been led to expect good economic news all of the time, and the military and domestic spending has reflected that. President Trump threw a wrench into the works.

Make up your Mind, Charlize

I'd have to give a lot of thought before I picked up Sean Penn's cast-off, but Charlize did say that she was looking for love. What the heck? Then this comes along.
Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron recently spoke about being “shockingly available” and was waiting for someone to “step up” and date her — but she seems to have rescinded on those claims. 
Theron is now saying that she is not currently looking for love. She told Extra in a new interview: “I’m gonna finish this press tour then I’m gonna shoot a movie in London, and I’m figuring like around September we’ll talk about this.”
So now I have to wait until September? 



Sunday, April 14, 2019

Engines of Entropy? (Sunday Sermonette)

It's not a photograph, because the astronomers who captured the image of the star becoming a black hole/singularity didn't use cameras. It's not an image of a black hole, because that's not possible. It's a composite image of the energy escaping the accretion disc that surrounds that black hole, rendered from the data collected by the coordinated efforts of the staff at several radio telescopes scattered around the globe to image this object. 

I'm sure when they manage to increase the resolution available via those radio telescopes, or improve the algorithms that render that data into visual imagery, we may well learn two or three years from now that the lopsided orange blur that amazes us today has many features and facets we can't see now. It might not even be orange. Science being science, the science is never settled. Science journalism being what it is, they might have oversimplified immensely.
From these images, theorists and modelers on the (observation) team have determined that the black hole is about 6.5 billion times as massive as our sun. Slight differences between each of the four images suggest that material is zipping around the black hole at lightning speed. 
"This black hole is much bigger than the orbit of Neptune, and Neptune takes 200 years to go around the sun," says Geoffrey Crew, a research scientist at Haystack Observatory. "With the M87 black hole being so massive, an orbiting planet would go around it within a week and be traveling at close to the speed of light."
Black holes provide the gravitational glue that holds galaxies together. Evidence indicates that super massive black holes at the center of galaxies which spin, tend to create spiral galaxies. Those which don't spin, create star cluster galaxies. That may be horsefeathers because we really don't know, but the speculation has some science behind it.

We are all subject to entropy. We are born, we die (repeat). I leave it to each of you to work out the eternal plan if indeed there is one. One of the benefits of the age that we live in is that we know much more about the universe around us than people could conceive of 100 years ago. I'm not just talking about the Higgs Boson, quantum foam, gravitational string theory, and Hawking radiation (a theory that explains that black holes shrink over time through release of specific radiation) that put Stephen Hawking's pin in the map. 

When a star goes through its life cycle it will return a significant amount of mass back into the interstellar medium in the form of stellar winds. For a large star with an initial mass of 10-20 times the mass of the sun, the star may return 80-90% of its mass to the interstellar medium in the form of stellar winds, or a nova or even a supernova. So while a star may start out as almost entirely hydrogen and helium when it forms, the gas that returns to the interstellar medium will be slightly enriched with metals, that is, the metallicity will go up. 

This enriched gas that has been returned to the interstellar medium will go on to form a second generation of stars, which will still be almost entirely hydrogen and helium, but now with a tiny fraction more of metals. The process will repeat, and each time it does the gas will become more enriched with metals. In order to have enough metals that rocky planets such as the earth can form the gas must go through at least 20 star formation and enrichment cycles. To date, the highest metallicity ever observed in a star is about three times the metallicity of the sun.

The elegant universe where we live is a massive clock, a time machine, and we can enjoy it every cloudless night if we are in an area without light pollution. On of the best places in the US is the Arizona highlands, where I live, home to a few observatories. Anyone who looks up and is not humbled, is insufficiently educated. And that is your Sunday Sermonette. I will also make a plug for the Sky Guide App, available on phones, or mobile devices. If you aren't in the dry air without light pollution of the Arizona highlands, you can still enjoy exploring the sky with your I-Pad.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Journalism?

I'm not sure what constitutes "journalism" in 2019. I don't consider that my blog is "journalism", but you'll find more truth here than in the greatest bastions of American journalism: The New York Times and the Washington Post

In truth, and by most definitions of output, what is the difference between the New York Times and Wikileaks? Is Facebook an expression of Journalism? What about Google? What about state-run-news outlets such as Pravda?

Views of a dystopian future as found in Orwell's 1984 or in Rand's Atlas Shrugged portray a media that has been totally co-opted by the state and operates as an extension of the state. Today, we question whether the Deep State (which controls the media) runs the nation or are we a Constitutional Republic? It's a an uncomfortable question. The corrupt, lying, filthy, sly, smug, elite media reacted with shock that the Attorney General would say that the Obama Administration spied on the Trump Campaign, but it's been an open secret. Only in the hallowed halls of journalism has it been something that was not discussed.

Journalists tell bloggers that they (the journalists) have professional ethics, but to be frank, I haven't seen much if any of that over the past decade. Quite to the contrary, I find that the media is increasingly shedding its mantle of respectability and we can all see the rot that has been concealed beneath that cloak.


Practical Answer to a Reasonable Question


Welcome to the Weekend!

Tender Feelings?

The Daily Outrage

During the years of Obamanation, there was the daily outrage that came from the White House. Now, it's a lot more pervasive as progs double down on the insanity. In California, you won't be able to get those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner anymore because they use plastic bottles and are "destroying the planet".  That was today. But it's always something.

Candace Owens has been speaking for Turning Point USA and on her own behalf and naturally, she's being branded as a 'race traitor'. 

The Democrats have been begging for more illegal aliens, and now, when President Trump has offered to send hundreds of thousands of (often diseased) illegal aliens to places like San Francisco, there is a significant backlash as they assert "Not In My Back Yard". NIMBY is the oft heard response to instituting what liberals want in their own homes. The elites don't want hoards of criminal illegal aliens causing problems where they live... somewhere, anywhere, in fly-over country is preferable.

There is a divide between the coastal elites and everyone else in the nation. They understand that they are our betters and are bewildered when those of us who live in fly-over country don't acknowledge their superiority.

What Happened to the UK?

In 1066, William, called The Conqueror, crossed the Channel to land and subsequently defeat the Saxons who ruled England. Along with him were Le Paraits, Le Carres and Lamberts (all ancestors of mine who were given land in England in exchange for support. 

They were tough men, conquerors. Their ancestors defeated the French on the continent at Agincourt and Poitiers. They conquered Asia and the sun never set on the British Empire. They made mistakes in North America but they were defeated by other British subjects, so that sort of doesn't count. They defeated Napoleon at the Nile, at Trafalgar and at Waterloo. They tried to relieve Gordon at Khartoum, they defeated the Zulus, they went over the top in World War One. They stood against Hitler in World War Two. 

And today the entire British Army is a collection of small brigaded units. Their Navy is not capable of protecting the home islands and the society is becoming Islamofied in larger cities. The police are becoming soft - and the population is becoming softer still.

Carrying kitchen knives outside of a house is a crime, you go to jail for having a pocket knife and crime is running rampant in the cities. Complaining about it is considered to be Islamophobic.

The Old Communist

It's a familiar rant with the progs. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Art of the Smear

Whatever the truth about Julian Assange’s innocence or guilt on a number of accusations, we know one thing for sure: he, WikiLeaks and their associates were targeted by a powerful smear campaign. We've seen a lot of smear campaigns over the past few years. Possibly the most aggressive (recently) came at Judge Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court nomination hearings.

Most people, including this blogger, know little about what was behind the rape allegations against Assange. According to reports, two women separately claimed that they were having consensual sex with Assange but changed their mind midway through. They claim that Assange would not refrain once they changed their minds, so the consensual sex became rape.

The sexual assault charges against Assange were dropped in 2017.

However, some U.S. officials, and people in Congress raised them as proof of Assange’s poor character after his arrest today.

Assange isn’t the only one in the WikiLeaks circle who was publicly accused of rape or other sexual crimes that were never prosecuted.

In 2016, WikiLeaks published embarrassing insider emails of Hillary Clinton officials and the Democratic National Committee, and WikiLeaks was accused of working with Russia and being pro-Trump. Since the Trump - Russia smear fell flat with the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, the allegations against WikiLeaks could be just as baseless. We don't really know, though. I don't know. And that's how smear campaigns work.

The Fruits of Obamanation


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Intrigue

Thoughts on Crime and Punishment

We can all agree on malum in se crimes: murder, arson, mayhem, robbery, burglary, theft, assault and battery, and so forth. They are crimes where the conduct, if proved, is wrong in and of itself. Malum prohibitum crimes (prohibited conduct) becomes far touchier, far more subjective: public intoxication, prostitution, failure to obtain the proper business license and exceeding the published speed.

The question of whether felons should vote becomes an interesting one should a future congress declare that mere membership in the National Rifle Association, for example, constitutes a felony. No, they may not wish to imprison all of us because it's impractical, but felony status, can prohibit positions of honor, trust or profit in government, can prohibit the ownership of firearms or the right to vote. Does this situation change your opinion on who should have voting rights? Convicted by mere membership as a result of Congressional fiat, you have the equivalent of a yellow Star of David on your lapel (under Nazi Germany). Mere membership could lead to civil forfeiture of your property.

Am I being extreme? Maybe. Would that sort of law lead to revolution? Very likely. There aren't enough inner city people in the US to collect firearms, but the progs could hire foreign mercenaries. Would any of you put it past them?

The Constitution hangs by a slender thread. Thank God for President Donald J. Trump because the prog agenda was forestalled by 'deplorable voters in fly-over country'. Now the move is to eliminate the Electoral College so that California, New York and Illinois (for example) can set the national agenda all on their own, along with a few additional Quizlings. 

I agree that the criminal justice system is flawed, crime and punishment can be debated endlessly. But where is this nation headed and do its citizens have the moral courage to stand for a Constitutional Republic? We shall see.

The China/Venezuela Nexus

China’s Permanent Representative to the UN defended Venezuela and promised continuing cooperation. "China will continue its cooperation with Venezuela based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit for the greater well-being of the two peoples," Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu told a UN Security Council meeting.
“To help its people overcome temporary difficulties, China has decided to provide emergency supplies for livelihood to Venezuela,” said Ma. 
“The relevant supplies are on their way to Venezuela in batches. On March 29, the first batch of medicines and medical supplies were delivered to the Venezuelan government.” 
“China's assistance to Venezuela is in keeping with its long-held principles for foreign aid. It is intended to help Venezuelan people overcome negative impacts caused by external interferences and sanctions with no political conditions attached,” said the Chinese ambassador. 
China had no longstanding interest in Venezuela until the Chavez administration. Since 2009, China has become Venezuela’s second-largest trading partner and is an important investor. 

China wants to protect its investment and trade but also is exploiting the instability to expand its footprint in the western hemisphere. Ambassador Ma’s statements reveal the Chinese government’s judgment that the Maduro political order will survive.

Venezuela’s closest allies have been Cuba and Russia. China has joined them in encouraging the Maduro administration to resist US and international pressure to step down.

The Obamanation

From the Daily Caller:

The newest batch of John Podesta’s hacked emails released by Wikileaks shows Obama’s transition team kept lists of Muslim and Asian candidates for jobs in the administration. According to an email chain from 2008, John Podesta received lists of exclusively Muslims and Asians to be considered for jobs in the Obama administration. 

The email chain revealed that in this process, Middle Eastern Christians were purposefully excluded, or set aside in a separate list, with an aide writing, "In the candidates for top jobs, I excluded those with some Arab American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell). 

Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian. In the last list (of outside boards/commissions), most who are listed appear to be Muslim American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian). 

Also notable, there was concern that some of the Muslims suggested would not survive media scrutiny, with one aide writing, “High-profile Muslim Americans tend to be the subject of a fair amount of blogger criticism, and so the individuals on this list would need to be ESPECIALLY carefully vetted.” 

She continues, “I suspect some of the people I list would not survive such a vet — but I do personally know, at least in part, virtually all of the candidates in the 1st two categories (but I know very few of those listed for outside boards/commissions).” 

Within the lists themselves, candidates were further broken down, with every candidate labeled by their nationality and sometimes race. This follows a pattern of the Obama Administration using race and religion to determine hiring, with other leaked emails showing potential political appointees being labeled with an F for female, B for black, H for Hispanic, and M for Muslim.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Should Felons Vote?

The question is whether or not all felons are Democrats. The Democrat party (also known as the Donkey Party) is pushing hard to allow convicted prisoners (irrespective of citizenship) to vote in US elections. It begs the question.


You have to admit that the assumption that underpins this push by the Democrats is that all convicts doing time -- are Democrats. 

It's nod difficult for me to take that leap, and agree that they probably are - for the most part. 

There's not much the Donkeys wouldn't do to grab a vote - from a tombstone, or a convicted felon, or an illegal alien. The "illegal" part seems to appeal firmly to the Party of Obama.