sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, May 31, 2019

Considerations for the Coming Weekend

What Will Mexico Do?

We all know that they are able to stop the flow of illegal aliens (pushing through Mexico to the US) if they want to. The question has always been one of will.
"On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed." - President Trump 
The Communist Party's victory in the presidential elections in Mexico means that many of my friends who were in power there are not anymore, but the victory of the communists didn't mean that Mexico's problems are solved. Four years ago the exchange rate was 12 pesos to the dollar. Today it's twenty pesos to the dollar, and some forecasters predict that it could be one hundred pesos to the dollar by the end of President Lopez-Obrador's term in about five years. At that rate, the US can afford to tariff/tax Mexican goods at a 25% rate without seeing much in the way of price increases here, as they continue their economic death spiral. In fact, as Mexico declines, there could be a reduction in cost of Mexican goods despite a 25% tax. If the tax continues long enough, we'd see the emergence of other markets to supply US demands, or Mexican producers (largely agricultural) would need to accept the 25% hit. Or they stop the flow of Central Americans and others into the US.


Sure, Congress could fix the problem tomorrow, but they are too busy trying to impeach President Trump to do anything.

The Circle of Diversity and Safe Spaces

Your Cowboy Thought of the Day



Thoughts on European Union Politics

European Parliament Elections

They took place last Sunday and there are a few things that we can draw from them in terms of trending, and the way forward for the Euro-Elites that are pushing for a one-world government is...rocky.

First, the US showed a disturbing trend with the election of Donald Trump, which flew in the face of the developed deep state. It showed deep dissatisfaction within the borders of the United States, prompting a hard right turn. (In this context "right" indicates more personal freedom with greater emphasis on nationalism, and "left" indicates less personal freedom with a surrender of national identity, which is replaced by a "global identity") This emboldened movements such as BREXIT and other similar European initiatives.

Second, the Islamification of Europe has not been as popular with many Europeans as the globalists might have hoped that it would be. Since the core Tennant of Islam is 'convert or die', one might have expected a push back before now. (Charles Martel was right) They can stay in their savage lands and be savages, but it doesn't work so well when they move into civilized lands.

Third, is the undeniable fact that Germany is the key nation in the EU. There was a time when I would have thought that might work, but Germany is rotten and has been rotting from the inside out for a long time (see 'second' above). Without Germany, France and the exiting British, there is no EU and the wet dream of the globalists collapses.

National Populism Continues to Rise
National populists (which is the approved non-hostile term for describing them) advanced moderately and consolidated their previous gains substantially in the elections. Victor Orban’s Fidesz won 52 percent of the votes in Hungary. Poland’s Law and Justice party held off a multi-party attack from an organized left-wing coalition and won a majority that suggests it will win the forthcoming national elections. France’s National Rally — the latest name for the populist Right party led by Marine Le Pen — narrowly defeated the populist-centrist party of President Macron in France. (Populist-centrism may be a novel concept, and it may prove to be an unsuccessful one, but it’s the best description yet coined of Macron’s ambiguous politics.) ...In the United Kingdom, the populist Euroskeptic party, titled with stunning simplicity the Brexit party, went from its foundation five weeks ago to become the largest U.K. party in the European Parliament, with 32 percent of the national vote and 29 MEPs. But it hopes to be leaving Parliament soon.
Nationalism didn't experience a defeat anywhere in Europe with the possible exception of Denmark, where the People’s Party share of the vote was halved because the more respectable social democrats adopted their tough migration policy. But Nationalists fell well short of taking control of the European Parliament.

None of the Nationalists outside the U.K. want to leave the EU, merely to restrain it, because they are attached to the financial system as it exists and fear going it alone without France and Germany to feed (and ultimately rule) them.


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Thursday's Window

The Mouse that Roared

The North Korea Foreign Ministry accused the US of seeking to conquer North Korea. On 29 May, the Korean Central News Agency published a statement by an institute of the North Korean Foreign Ministry. The statement said, “The US has thus showcased its ulterior intention that it seeks a strength-based solution of the issues, though outwardly it advocates for dialogue.” 
The statement accused the US National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State of having “insulted the dignity of our supreme leadership and spitted out abusive language” by calling North Korea a “rogue regime.”
Why on Earth would the US want to conquer North Korea. Bringing the Hermit Kingdom forward to 2019 standards that the rest of the planet accepts, and just to feed the starving nation would cost a trillion dollars. You broke it, you bought it... no, the Norks have it wrong. The place would survive on charity from the South Koreans for generations until it could get up and running. Don't get me wrong, the Koreans are hard working people, but North Korea is where Venezuela is heading. The place is a dump, run by a weird little dictator. 

The international community will pitch in to help them. There have been many offers, providing they stop shooting off missiles and building nuclear weapons. But the leadership there knows that once the people know the truth of North Korea, how they've been used, tortured and starved by their elites, they'd likely be hung by their devoted people.

The statement indicates North Korea is building the public justification for breaking off talks. In North Korean political mythology, every weapon the US tests is intended for use against North Korea. The US President’s failure to remove two senior officials that North Korea finds offensive is another sign of bad faith.

The lack of criticism of the US President strongly suggests that the Korean peninsula would be in a nuclear crisis but for his rapport with Kim Jong Un.

China Trade

Chinese leaders planning to restrict exports of rare earth elements in the trade war. During the Foreign Ministry press session on 29 May, spokesman Lu Kang answered an obviously planted question about rare earth elements.
A reporter asked, “Yesterday an official of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that the Chinese people will not be happy if someone wants to use products made by rare earths exported from China to suppress China's development. The statement was also carried by Xinhua News Agency. Does it mean that the Chinese side has new considerations on using rare earths as a countermeasure against the US side?”

Lu Kang replied tersely, “Since the NDRC is one of the departments of the Chinese government, the remarks made by the NDRC official certainly are a voice of authority.”
Fine Print, for your reference: China is currently our largest goods trading partner with $659.8 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018. Goods exports totaled $120.3 billion; goods imports totaled $539.5 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with China was $419.2 billion in 2018.

Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $77.3 billion in 2018. Services exports were $58.9 billion; services imports were $18.4 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with China was $40.5 billion in 2018.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of Goods and Services to China supported an estimated 911,000 jobs in 2015 (latest data available) (601,000 supported by goods exports and 309,000 supported by services exports). 

In Chinese crisis management practice, the hard decisions are discussed and made early, but their execution is stayed for a specific time period or set of conditions to see whether the final decision might be avoided. The statement that the Chinese leaders are considering a ban means they have already made the decision that an export ban is an appropriate countermeasure and made preparations to implement it but have not yet ordered its execution. 

The US would respond by finding other sources for rare earths, and would exploit those, making the Chinese threat moot in the long run. There are always unintended consequences and the Chinese want to get back to business as usual, looting the US.

Venezuela

Talks in Oslo ended without agreement. 

Speaking on national television, Maduro said the government had prepared for the Norway talks with months of secret negotiations. "The only way forward is dialogue," he said. "We want a peace deal."

Opposition leader Guaido said, "There was no immediate agreement, so the chance that we have today is to remain in the streets…We want to reach a solution to the conflict."

Norwegian Foreign Minister Soreide said, "The parties have demonstrated their willingness to move forward in the search for an agreed-upon and constitutional solution for the country, which includes political, economic and electoral matters."

Additional talks are not scheduled. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Mueller Report (revisited)

Though it's really not news, you all know that Robert Mueller made his statement and won't testify before Congress. It's all in the report. No collusion, no obstruction. It's difficult for a Washington insider like Mueller walk the tightrope between his Democrat benefactors and President Trump, who they hate above all others. 


And for those of you who voted for President Trump, make no mistake, they REALLY hate you with unrestrained passion. And that represents a vast swath of America, referred to as fly-over country. They'll eliminate the electoral college so that all decisions about your welfare will be made by your betters... the same people who delight in killing babies and who want to eliminate automobiles (except for the elites), airplanes, other-than-engine-powered ships, and cows.

Now, presumably, Mueller will retire once again into private life, a martyr to political machinations. The Democrats don't love him any more than the Republicans do.

And Pelosi won't be able to stop some sort of impeachment show, which is no departure from what they've been doing. It will fail and will push President Trump into a victory in 2020 as the law of unintended consequences kicks into high gear. Maybe the donkeys will lose the House in 2020... and that would be fun.



Different Kinds of Chaotic Evil

Isis 2.0?

The Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram has allied itself with the caliphate in Central Africa. Isis is trying to re-imagine itself in black face. You will recall that Boko Haram kidnaps Christian school girls, rapes them and turns them into slaves. Well why not if you're an African jihadi group?

Their activities continue to destabilize northeastern Nigeria. On 26 May, Boko Haram terrorists ambushed a convoy transporting civilians to camps for displaced persons in Damboa. They killed at least 20 people and others are missing. Those missing are likely slaves now. Welcome to Islam in Africa. A member of the local militia told the press, “They ambushed and surrounded the vehicles of both the soldiers and the civilians and opened fire on them.” Soldiers exchanged fire with the Boko Haram militants, but they eventually overpowered the soldiers.

Attacks by one or the other Boko Haram faction occur almost daily. In addition inter-tribal clashes and banditry have increased. 

Some people who pass by this blog have a soft place for Africa in their hearts, but I'm afraid that I do not. It's not a racist thing with me. It's that these problems are endemic, and are not solvable without neutron warheads. Disagree if you will. 

How Chaotic and Evil are You?

For the sake of full disclosure, I vacillate between lawful neutral and neutral evil. The yin and yang of bread storage.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Geopolitical Commentary

On the Border

The latest caravan group has swelled to around 12,000. 

From Military Times:
Thousands of troops will be headed to the U.S.-Mexico border to meet President Donald Trump’s request to enhance security there, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday. 
They will be tasked with adding more concertina wire to the U.S.-Mexico border and supporting surveillance, DoD said. 
“As the Acting Secretary said, we are supporting our federal partners on the border and that mission has been extended until September.”
Build the wall, lock Her up, MAGA.

European Elites

You have to wonder what the globalist elite overlords in Europe thing about BREXIT, and dissatisfaction in France, Belgium and Germany. People aren't buying what they're selling. 

French media reported the yellow vests demonstrated for the 28th consecutive weekend. 

Police in Amiens, hometown of President Emmanuel Macron, fired teargas at about 1,200 demonstrators after a group threw stones at police, attacked local bank branches and set fire to trash cans and dumpsters.       

A few hundred protesters also clashed with police in downtown Paris, in and around the Place de la Republique. The Ministry of Interior reported that around the country only 12,500 demonstrators participated, marking the lowest turnout since the movement started.

And while enthusiasm for civil disorder is diminishing if turn-out numbers are an accurate judge, the pot is simmering and another outrage by the government would start it all up again.

Yellow vests in Brussels clashed with police. The Brussels protestors are a copy-cat group. They timed their demonstrations to protest social injustice and the European Union parliamentary elections. The socialists in Belgium are a mixed bag of dissatisfaction that doesn't extend to the nationalist call in France. And if you haven't been to Brussels lately, it's looking a lot like Paris and San Francisco, which is a real shame.

In Syria

The Israelis are 'syriaous', and yet another case of dramatic over-reaction, which is my personal style when threatened as well.

Israeli aircraft attacked a Syrian air defense position. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), an anti-aircraft shell was fired "at an Israeli fighter jet that was in the midst of a routine flight in the north of the country." 

According to the IDF, the shell landed inside Syrian territory and did not damage the Israeli plane. "Its mission was completed as planned."

Shortly after 9 p.m., on the 27th, the IDF retaliated for the anti-aircraft attack, bombing the battery that fired it, the military said. "The IDF takes seriously any threat to its planes and will act to defend them," said an army statement.

The Syrian state news service, SANA, said the Israeli strike targeted a military post on the Tel al-Sha'ar hilltop, east of Khan Arnabeh, just east of the border

Syrian state media reported that one of its soldiers was killed in the Israeli strike and a second was injured. A military vehicle also was reported damaged in the attack.

The incident occurred within the UN patrolled area of separation on the Golan Heights. As is its practice, the IDF responded asymmetrically by destroying the Syrian unit. The incident did not escalate.

The Norks

President Trump should be more circumspect in his dealings with North Korea. He laughed at their small missiles (which worried the Japanese - within range of those puny rockets) and at their characterization of Slow Joe Biden as a low IQ individual.  Now they're after John Bolton, calling him stupid. While I am no fan of John Bolton (send him back to Fox News), encouraging the Norks to be assholes is not helpful. They can manage their crap all on their own, without President Trump laughing and egging them on.

WE can laugh at Nancy Pelosi's belligerence, at her dementia or at the onset of Parkinson's or whatever is actually wrong with her, because she's such a snake. In fact, she gives snakes a bad name. But the Norks need to keep out of the name calling business, and the President needs to keep above that. It's the style of Trump, the NY developer, given to behavior that annoys a lot of people who are not from NY, that is his Achilles heel.


Monday, May 27, 2019

Special Goggles



The goggles are available on Kickstarter. The promotional video claims that the goggles are able to actively identify threats to political correctness and alert you when you're about to be dangerously oppressed.

"Are you tired of having to search for something to be oppressed by?" a voiceover says in the ad. "With our patented microaggression-tracking technology, you won't have to search any longer. Now, you can instantly identify up to 100 things to be offended by in any conversation."

The product will detect a wide range of microaggressions, including the following:
White privilege
MAGA hats
Smiling at you without your consent
Manspreading
Mansplaining
Manbreathing
Manexisting
Lack of avocado toast
Cultural appropriation
Cultural exclusion
Being hateful toward women
Being too friendly toward women
Not liking The Last Jedi

You can back the goggles for $99 at a base level or spend $4,999 on a deluxe edition that includes a white guy who will follow you around so you can claim to be even more oppressed. The Kickstarter creator believes they will ship within the next decade.  (h/t Babylon Bee)

A Compendium

Harry Said It

Harry Truman is quoted as saying, "My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And, to tell you the truth, there's hardly any difference."

The First Bear of the Season

There are bears in the high country and this is my first bear sighting of the season (right), taken with my cell phone camera. The bear was ambling away from me and put a bit of distance between us as I grasped for the cell phone and selected the photo icon. I haven't seen any wolves this spring, but it's said that they're running north of me. 

That passes for news at the White Wolf Mine.

Campers in the Coconino National Forrest seem to attract the bears with cooking and with trash. There are no campers within a mile of me, but they showed up for the Memorial Day weekend, snow and all.

Housekeeping Thoughts

Virtual Mirage turned ten years old a month ago. After that long, I'm loathe to change horses, but may make the jump from Blogger (Google) to Wordpress. Blogger has been a real pain in the neck as of late and I suspect that it has to do with Google's socialist bent and my feelings in the other direction. I consistently get about 50,000 hits per month (thank you all for hanging in there). So if you see a change in the coming weeks, it should be cosmetic only, as the content will shift to Wordpress along with the blog. Virtual Mirage will remain free of advertising and lame attempts by me to drag the sack and beg you to part with your hard earned money. 

On Writing

I usually don't read books which find their topics on vaginas or on sodomy. It's not that I'm anti-vagina. I just have interest in reading other material. Our fellow blogger, John D. pointed out an incident recently when Naomi Wolf, author of "Vagina" and "Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love" found that the thesis of her upcoming book was based on her misunderstanding of the law and court records in the past. (More Here) Research is key when you're writing of cultural things in the past. Apparently nobody was executed in merry old England for sodomy, though her book was based on those executions. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Dangerous Things

There are a lot of things that are dangerous. Kitchen chemicals can make great improvised explosive devices, fertilizer can take down large buildings, the gas supply that cooks your food can demo your house, cars are dangerous, and firearms are no different. However in a world where harsh language is conflated with murder, and the murder of babies is politically correct, the seeming worst possible thing to do is to own a firearm. 

Since only .02% of all firearms are ever used in a crime, firearms as instrumentalities of violent crime can said to be 0. And 0 is a politically incorrect number.

From Ammoland:
For the left gun control is a means to an end, a way to gain power. Not to save lives. This is one of the reasons their programs fail. They don’t want to stop shootings but use them to retain power. 
The U.S. ranks 11th in mass shootings for industrialized nations. 50% of the counties in the US will not have a murder within their boundary. 2% of the counties had 53% of all the murders in the U.S. 
Both Japan and Korea have much higher suicide rates than the US. Both nations virtually ban private gun ownership. 75% of all gun deaths are attributed to suicide. Guns are not the cause, just the means.
Removing firearms from the hands of law abiding Americans is a far more dangerous move than the violence that we see in cities and regions almost ALL controlled by the Democrat Party.

The progressive left is trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. They rely on subjective emotions rather than objective truth. And that's why things are such a mess in places they control.

Finding "Truth" (Sunday Sermonette)

Wikipedia, a Source of Fact?

“Wikipedia is…broken,” controlled by special interests and bad actors, says co-founder

The Dark Side of Wikipedia

CIA challenge coin
Is Wikipedia the "encyclopedia that anyone can edit"? What sort of agenda editing goes on inside Wikipedia? Is it an engine for Media Matters, the media giant controlled by George Soros and interests that oppose YOU? 

The bottom line is that Wikipedia is a partisan blog, as is Virtual Mirage, but that's not how they paint it to the internet-using public. I don't contend that all of Wikipedia is fake news, but you have to vet what you read there - just like you should be vetting EVERYTHING that you read on the Internet.

Powerful interests that “watch” and control the Wikipedia agenda.  They will revert or change any edits that attempt to correct the record. This, in a nutshell, exemplifies Wikipedia’s problems across the platform as described by its cofounder Larry Sanger.

Sanger recently spoke to 150Sec. The following is an excerpt:
Reading a Wikipedia entry about Wikipedia itself seems strange. But where else on the web would an average internet user go for digestible, encyclopedia-style content?

With its entries almost always topping Google search results, Wikipedia receives around 33 billion page views per month, according to studies carried out by thinktank Pew Research in 2016. In line with statistics from the website itself, it also changes at a rate of 1.8 edits per second and the number of new articles per day averages 578.
The multilingual free online encyclopedia was established in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, originally under the name of Nupedia. It is now the fifth most popular website in the world.

As an open source, Wikipedia can be added to or edited by anyone in the world through knowledge base websites called wikis, which allow users to collaboratively modify content. However, Sanger claims that this has become one of Wikipedia’s biggest downfalls.
In its early days, “Wikipedia itself had special challenges,” he explained. “One was simply to teach everyone who arrived at the wiki, which was basically a blank bulletin board that could have become whatever we wanted it to become, that we intended to build an encyclopedia. A lot of people didn’t seem to know what that meant, or maybe they just didn’t care,” he said. 
“Wikipedia itself had special challenges,” Larry Sanger, Wikipedia co-founder. Another hurdle was to figure out how to rein in the bad actors so that they did not ruin the project for everyone else. Unfortunately, we never did come up with a good solution for that one,” Sanger added.

“Wikipedia is a broken system as a result,” he said.
The Donkey Tribe

I was part of a team prosecuting La Cost Nostra mobster, Joey Grosso, in Orange County, CA some years ago. After listening to a string of lies that the jury wasn't buying, the prosecutor questioning Joey asked him under oath, "Joey, how do you define the truth?" Joey replied, "If I tell you something and you believe it, that's the truth." Joey was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison for the attempt murder of Bill Carroll, a strip club owner. 

Joey's definition of truth didn't get him very far. And in the 1990's, an Orange County jury rejected his definition. In 2019,  Joey's definition of truth is the one that the mainstream media runs with, in the hopes that people will swallow fake news, whole. 

Truth and Justice

Sometimes people conflate truth and justice, thinking that they are one in the same. Justice as we refer to it today is defined by codified law, written by lawyers (for the most part) that you elect to Congress.

You could argue that Truth is also malleable and as we've noted above, the presentation of truth by Wikipedia and other sources, including this blog...can be subjective. We can turn to God for ultimate truth, but whose God and through which mouthpiece?

Faulty Mouthpieces

In Iran, the Supreme Leader is the mouthpiece for Allah. Many including your humble blogger, feel that the Imam is a liar, a fraud and a generally evil man. Is that opinion true or is it based on subjective reasoning?

It's for you, the reader to choose. And whether you rely on human frailty or you seek a higher source for truth, the important thing is that you try to do the right thing. And that is usually, but not always the compassionate thing.

Have a nice Sunday and a great Memorial Day Weekend.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Declassification

Sometimes you think that you want something and you work to get it, and then you get it, and it's not quite what you'd hoped for. 

That quite simply, is the situation that the Democrat Party finds itself in. It's favorite sions behaved reprehensibly during the last presidential campaign and the chickens are coming home to roost. They've treated President Trump badly and though he's a populist, not a conservative, the Democrats still have wanted a pound of flesh. 

AND that for which they've pushed shall come to pass as all documents and information pertaining to illegal spying on the Trump Campaign and transition period will be declassified. Oh, there will be a spin, but there's also the grand jury problem. If you testify and lie, it's perjury and then you could end up in prison, hoping that a Democrat president will be elected so that you can be pardoned.

Pushing President Trump until he declassified all the skullduggery that has gone on was a horrible tactical move in the political world of the Beltway. The Donkeys didn't think that President Trump had the balls to do it. Oops. 

Declassification is a doughnut that even the mainstream media will eat because of the sprinkles on it. They worst thing to a newsie is to be scooped. And this is the scoop of the decade. So they might even resort to eating their own. They can keep quiet about the inditement of the Creepy Porn Lawyer who they loved so deeply, but oh, the things they can publish about Crooked Hillary, Barack, Biden, Susan Rice, John Brennan, Big Jim Comey, and the rest of the conspirators. The FBI will be laid naked in their collusion and conspiracy. As an institution it's the child of Hoover. It's their nature to do these things. Keeping it private has always been important and hiding behind classification works -- unless your target is the one person who can DECLASSIFY anything that he wants to.

TS/NF/WNINTEL/LIMDIS/ORCON, etc. doesn't intimidate a president, because he's the commander -in-chief and President Trump just pulled the conspirator's pants down. Even CNN might weaken and look at the bared rump and report on it. Who actually colluded, who actually conspired, who actually was a traitor, who actually created and tried to foist a coup on America? You can't hide behind that classification anymore...

Senile old Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to keep pushing the button. Well done, Nancy.

Time to pour a little caramel onto that popcorn that you're eating. Things are about to get interesting.




“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities....— Donald J. Trump

Pictoral Friday

The difference between the UK and US-




It's Bob's lucky day!



Evolution in Liberal America?



Our Fellow Blogger Cube (Cat Friday)



Remember Benghazi



Thursday, May 23, 2019

Thursday Challenge


May 23


Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot, over... It's May 23 and it's still snowing in Arizona. Photo from the dining room window this morning.

I joke about the 'coming ice age' but it will be interesting to see how things look NEXT year. It's been a cold, wet winter and spring this year. If we are to get another wet year on the heels of this one -- the trend would be interesting.

More on China (continuation from yesterday)

A number of you had great thoughts and I appreciate your comments. China sold its populace the premise that they could loot the US three ways from Sunday perpetually. Wages have risen in China precipitously and it's not an inexpensive place to manufacture anymore. The great rush of Western companies to China is over and they are beginning to leave China for other locations. The Belt Road Initiative, upon which so much is based, is finding resistance in some countries and it's more expensive than projected, largely do to corruption in China (everyone expects Pakistan and its like to be corrupt).

China is on a military build up, and their navy will soon be the largest in the world. They have to pay for that. The "America First" philosophy put forth by President Trump has thrown a monkey wrench into the gears. As Jim pointed out in his comments, they are indeed beginning to sound desperate. 

Finding Emotional Support in the Friendly Skies

Would the airlines allow me to bring an emotional support wolf onto an airplane? Sometimes I need to travel and having people meet me at the arrival airport with a handgun works, but is there a better way? Nothing says emotional support like a wolf, which is a loving animal that protects members of its pack (namely 'me') to the death and views all other animal and human life as protein.

How much emotional support could I get from a chihuahua? And does hauling a chihuahua around constitute cultural appropriation since the breed originated in Mexico? Ever since taco Tuesday was canceled in Southern California, denounced as racist, I've tried to be careful and bend to the will of the progs who want to run my life.

Is a wolf progressive? If it is, I'm sure that there is a grievance group out there advocating for using wolves for emotional support, but I haven't found any of them on the Internet.

And would the airlines require me to buy a second seat for the wolf, or would they allow me to put it on my lap? One thing is sure, they'd think twice before throwing me off the airplane.

Don't Cry for me Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro proposed holding early parliamentary elections, judging that he will win. At the end of a march commemorating the anniversary of his re-election on 20 May 2018, he said, “Let’s see who gets the most votes! Let’s find a political, constitutional and democratic path forward.” The next National Assembly elections are supposed to be held in 2020. 

Maduro’s public statements indicate that he senses the worst of the threat to his tenure has passed. His willingness to hold talks with some opposition leaders in Oslo is a sign of his increased confidence, not a sign of any willingness to compromise, reform or make concessions. He is showing that he is magnanimous by listening to the political opposition.

Juan Guaido has never run for president. He is president of the National Assembly. The president of the national assembly can succeed as interim president of Venezuela in the event of the incapacitation of the elected president or if he is found unfit for office. The Venezuelan supreme court has declared the national assembly in contempt and all its actions are “null and void,” including declarations against Maduro’s fitness for office.

Venezuelans reacted negatively to Juan Guaido’s references to US military support and international pressure. One analysis indicates enthusiasm for the opposition alternative declined precipitously between February and April as threats of outside intervention increased. Patriotism appears to be stronger than support for political reform.

There may not be food, and money may only be useful as toilet paper and bookmarks, but the Venezuelan people are clinging to their socialist overlords with a vengeance. Good for them. Let them eat cake!

I've never known any people so willing to celebrate terminal cancer as the Venezuelans.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

China's Do-Over, etc.

The Situation in China: If you visited China, you wouldn't see "Communism" at work, you'd see rampant capitalism underway in a one-party state. Somewhere around 10% of industry is state owned. China is an oligarchy with (currently) eleven men calling the shots for the nation including the Politburo. President Xi Jinping is only one of those oligarchs but he's their voice, face, and he represents their financial interests. The oligarchs mission is to retain power and ownership of China. It's not a new story on the planet. And it's a familiar form of totalitarianism.

China knows that if it was not for the People's Liberation Army, the nation would balkanize the day-after-tomorrow. Military control is the tool of the oligarchs who pass themselves off as 'communists'. Secession is a very real fear among the Chinese oligarchs and it would weaken China, while strengthening places like Shanghai and Guangzhou, which do not need Beijing.

President Xi Jinping called for a new Long March: On 20 May, during a trip to Jiangxi Province, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the nation to embark on a new Long March and “start all over again”.
“We are here at the starting point of the Long March to remember the time when the Red Army began its journey,” Xi told cheering crowds on the 20th, in footage posted on state broadcaster CCTV’s website on the 21st. “We are now embarking on a new Long March, and we must start all over again.”

Press comments: Global Times reported that Xi is in Jiangxi Province for his first domestic trip since the escalation of the trade war two weeks ago. China’s top economic negotiator and advisor to Xi, Vice Premier Liu He, accompanied him.
Context and Precedence: Jiangxi is where China’s defeated Red Army started its fabled Long March in 1934, and Xi’s choice of destination is being viewed as an effort to invoke a spirit of endurance and to rally public spirit amid rising tensions with Washington.

Multiple western news services have reported a change in tone in Chinese media in favor of fighting. Movies, press imagery and opinion pieces recall China’s successes under communist leadership in struggling against long odds to emerge triumphant after a prolonged period of warfare and hardship.

The internal messaging systems are preparing the population to expect hardship. The imagery of the Jiangxi visit -- including the presence of Vice Premier Liu with President Xi; the published images of President Xi inspecting the revolutionary base in Jiangxi; and the broad dissemination of his remarks – link the call to prepare for a long march to the trade war with the US.

The allegorical references all invoke images of China fighting military battles in actual wars. The Long March occurred during the civil war. The Japanese invasion of China was the key factor in the communists’ survival. It forced the Nationalist government, under enormous domestic pressure, to turn its armies to fight the Japanese invaders on the coasts rather than continue the destruction of the communist Red Army deep inland. Jiang Kai-shek still wanted to destroy the communists first. 

Policy Shifts: Xi’s comment about starting again signifies that Xi and his supporters perceive that China has reached a deflection point in communist development. The nationwide scope of the nationalist and self-reliance themes indicates the new language describes major policy shifts beyond the trade war. 

Xi and the propaganda mills have evoked wartime imagery. They have revived the national memory that iron discipline, steadfast endurance in the face of hardship and strict adherence to communist orthodoxy enabled the communists to survive and ultimately thrive. “Starting again” sounds like an update of Mao’s doctrine of “continuous revolution.”

The imagery is incongruent with the present conditions in China. The allegories are not good fits for a reasonably well-off population in a trade war. That means the leadership is making decisions based on a distorted interpretation of present challenges. 

In this setting, some future decisions will be almost incomprehensible.to outsiders. For example, the US leadership considers the trade war an economic policy initiative to correct past imbalances, unfairness and inequities. Xi’s statement indicates the Chinese leadership has elevated the trade war to an existential threat to Chinese communism. Xi made present conditions analogous to the wartime threat that led to the desperate breakout through Nationalist lines and the Long March.

One implication is that the Chinese leadership has concluded that the US poses a threat to the survival of the communist regime. Xi displayed a survival mentality, which means there can be no compromise whatever the cost. The lessons of their history are that the communists will survive. However, the Chinese today are not the peasants that made the Long March. Survival might not be enough for them.

Comment on rare earth minerals: Jiangxi is the center of China’s rare earth minerals industry. China produces about 90% of the world’s rare earth minerals. Xi’s visit to the center of the rare earth minerals industry generated press speculation that China is considering cutting off rare earth mineral exports to the US.
The major users of Chinese rare earth minerals are Japan (21%); China (16%); Vietnam (10%); and the US (9.4%), according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity. These are the countries whose companies would be immediately affected by a decision to manipulate this market. 
A cutoff of Chinese exports of these minerals to the US would damage specific companies. However, a large portion of commercial high-tech devices are not produced in the US, but rather in China, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia. Their companies would derive a competitive advantage over US companies. 
Global economic integration is designed to mitigate the worst effects of a cutoff of almost any goods for any reason, deliberate or accidental. There are other undeveloped deposits and other suppliers of rare earth minerals, which have been constrained by Chinese domination of the market. Changes in the market will generate more competition. A short-term Chinese move could backfire by having long term consequences on the market.

Bob's your Uncle

The truth is that he may or may not be.

Here for your entertainment and amusement is a window into mountain life in the Arizona central highlands. I don't think that Mr. Robert and Foxy Loxy are related, so no, it's unlikely that Bob's her uncle.


We had snow up at the White Wolf Mine on the 20th and after I returned from picking up supplies, I went out hunting with a camera. A bobcat, and he's Robert, not Roberta, who lives in the area, was out hunting. He's a scrawny old cat.


Bobcat hunting
His camouflage scheme really works in the area, and he feasts on rodents, which pleases me no end. When I see the squirrels vanish, I know that Bob is in the area, thinning their ranks. I wanted to get photos of him climbing, but this time he did not oblige. 

Visitors from Raymond, Alberta, Canada showed up last week and commented, "so this is where people go who don't want to be found." I reminded them that they found the place. They replied, "but you wouldn't ever find it if you didn't know where specifically to go." True.

Mr. Robert, one subject of this study, likes to hunt without interruption but he and I are both old men and we have an understanding. Sometimes I leave a saucer of milk out with a raw egg floating in it, and sometimes he leaves me a mauled mouse at the doorstep. It works. 

City life does not allow for this sort of interaction usually. At least it didn't for me.

Today I was on the phone with Mexico City, San Diego and London. You can do that these days while living remote. You don't have to be sitting in Los Angeles traffic with your phone glued to your ear. If I was sitting on a freeway overpass in bumper-to-bumper traffic, who'd be there to feed Mr. Robert and to accept his mouse or partially eaten squirrel?

You couldn't, and that's the point. The snow melted quickly and I headed out to Jack's Canyon to see if I could photograph some of the big horn sheep that live there. They're more illusive than Mr. Robert (who is likely some cool cat's uncle).

Bob's your Uncle
He needs to put some meat on his bones.
Earlier in the year, when the snow was deeper, I caught Bob making a transit (below). Long lens required.


Foxy Loxy is not like Mr. Robert. No, not in the least. She comes for a drink at a makeshift cistern that is going to be replaced by a more permanent trough when I get around to it. Mr. Robert apparently has other water sources.

Loxy shares the territory with Mr. Robert and they both eat squirrels and mice. Sometimes Loxy drinks Mr. Robert's milk and eats the raw egg that I break in it. I don't mind and the skinny bobcat may not either. Loxy tends to be more clever, more adroit and far more shy.

Loxy is younger than Mr. Robert, more photogenic and well, she's foxy.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Jack's Canyon, Arizona

Directions:

Highway 87, between Winslow and Payson, between Mile Marker 313 and 314, Forest Road 9736F runs north. The gate is adorned with various stickers and it's the only one in the area so decorated. There are signs, north of the gate that advise you to prevent forest fires. Those hint at a campground, but no campground is mentioned on those signs. Other gates leading from Highway 87 into the national forest don't have those sorts of signs by the road.

You will immediately notice that once-upon-a-time, maybe forty years ago, the road was paved. That pavement still exists in places, but it's essentially a graded dirt road. A passenger car can transit the road to Jack's canyon so long as you're not running any races.

After turning onto the road and running north, the road splits into a "Y". You'll want to take the left fork (9736V). Stay on that for a quarter mile or so until you arrive at an unimproved campground with a one-hole privy. Jack's Canyon is just beyond this location to the north. You literally can't miss it. There is a game trail down from the campground area that has been used by sport climbers in the past. There are other paths down but that is the easiest. This will lead you to the area detailed on this map.

Jack's Canyon (Casino Cliff) Today, May 21, 2019, photographed from the south. There was about two inches of snowfall here yesterday but as you can see, it melted.


The photo below shows the Lower Moenkopi cliffs, a different climb but with the same level of difficulty.


At least some of the big horn sheep relocated to the Clear Creek Gorge area on January 6, 2019 (more here) made their way into Jack's Canyon, instead.
There is always an opportunity for photography in this interesting little canyon, abounding with wildlife when you tire of mountain climbing.



The Red China Blues

Vanuatu

In the late 1980's, Vanuatu was cozying up to the Russians. Now it's the Chinese. They like anyone who brings money.

Fine Print: I received a medal/gong for actions taken to thwart the Russians in Vanuatu in 1988. It wasn't a significant medal, but added to the fruit salad.

Last November President Xi Jinping held a successful meeting with Prime Minister Salwai. They unanimously agreed to upgrade the two countries' relationship to that of comprehensive strategic partnership marked by mutual respect and common development. That means that the Chinese are buying. 

Fine Print: The Chinese don't respect anything that they don't own...including former Vice President Joe Biden, who is apparently staying bought. It may prove somewhat of an embarrassment as the presidential 2020 campaign rolls forward...but I don't think that there's much that embarrasses Slow Joe.
“This opened a new chapter in China-Vanuatu relations. The Chinese side stands ready to work with Vanuatu to increase political mutual trust with Prime Minister Salwai's official visit to China as an opportunity, expand practical cooperation, and promote greater development of comprehensive partnership between China and Vanuatu and deliver more benefits to the two peoples.

Vanuatu’s entire population of 276,000 people could fit into a suburb of Shanghai. Nevertheless, China has established a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with the island Republic.

China has become one of Vanuatu’s most important development partners. It is helping build a modern port on one of the 80 islands in the Republic. It also is the largest holder of Vanuatu’s debt and a major source of imports.

Western media have reported that China is building or intends to build a naval base in Vanuatu. Periodic Chinese navy ship visits to the islands reinforced the speculation, but Vanuatu and China deny the reports. A variation on the rumor is that China is building a space tracking facility. 

In Oceania, the People’s Republic of China has had success in its diplomatic competition against the Republic of China. Eight of the 14 states have diplomatic relations with the Beijing government. It has cultivated relations so that Chinese navy ships are welcome in Oceania. 

The treatment that Chinese leaders extend to Vanuatu is the best measure of the strategic importance of Vanuatu in China’s plans to dominate the western Pacific Ocean. The Chinese relationship poaches on Australian and French interests because Vanuatu was once a British-French condominium. Its closest neighbor is the French territory of New Caledonia.

Scarborough Shoal

The guided missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG-46) conducted a freedom of navigation operation near Scarborough Shoal. A US Seventh Fleet spokesman said, "USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef (Shoal) in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law."


This was the second freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea this month. On 6 May, the USS Preble and the guided missile destroyer Chung Hoon (DDG-93) operated near Chinese-occupied islands in the Spratly Islands. The most recent US ship visit near the Shoal was by the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) during Exercise Balikatan with the Philippines. 

The People’s Republic of China, the Philippines and the Republic of China claim the shoal. Its largest feature above water is South Rock, (literally, a rock) whose highest point is just 5 feet 11 inches above sea level at high tide. It is unoccupied and unimproved.

This is the shoal about which the Philippines took its ownership claim to the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2013. In July 2016, the arbiters found in favor of the Philippine claim and found no legal basis for China to claim historic rights.

China rejected the findings but has taken no action to improve and occupy the shoal as it has done to the seven islets it occupies in the Spratly Islands.

China’s reaction. At the 20 May press session, Lu Kang accepted a question about the USS Preble’s operations.

A reporter asked, “According to US side's information, a US warship operated near Huangyan Island. Did the Chinese side dispatch warships to identify and chase away the US ship?”
“In disregard of regional countries 'shared aspiration for peace and stability in the South China Sea, the US side has been disrupting regional peace and stability time and again under the pretext of freedom of navigation and over-flight. These practices are unpopular.”

Monday, May 20, 2019

Manic Monday

Pronounce the Name "Boot-Jeg-Jeg"

You can read more about the Town Hall meeting here:
Chris Wallace Sat There Like Potted Plant as Buttigieg Ripped Into Fox News Primetime Hosts (click above to go to the article in Legal Insurrection)
This isn't about the only out-of-the-closet homosexual who is pushing for people to make him king. (Spartacus Booker is likely still in the closet). It's about Chris Wallace, the virulently anti-Trump - and often anti-Fox network employee of Fox News. I won't watch anything with Wallace on it, and if the Mayor of South Bend is elected president, we have far more problems as a nation as we would if say, Hillary, ascended. I'm sure that Wallace is a sacred cow at Fox or he'd be hosting some kind of anti-Trump programming on CNN.

Alyssa Milano's Call for Chastity

I'm sure that she didn't mean it the way that I've taken it, but abstention outside of marriage and unless a child is wanted is possibly the most conservative of positions when discussing human reproduction. Sometimes you go so far left that you end up right? It's an interesting hypothesis.

A Girl's Best Friend

My youngest daughter, Emilie, got engaged this past weekend. She lives in Southern California where the weather is a bit more stable.








As the World Turns

It's May 20, and the snow continues to fall at the White Wolf Mine. The glaciers creep south and if we don't start burning fossil fuels in earnest, we'll all be encased in ice within 12 years. It's settled science.

I drove down the mountain to Pine, AZ for supplies and the snow started.

On the way back up the hill, a car was driving slowly in front of me. Obviously watching the snow on the road instead of the elk that stepped out in front of him onto the pavement. Elk don't care if it's snowing. They're hanging out, being cool, and doing what elk do. And they don't care much that you think you have right-of-way on the highway.

The photos aren't the best because I'm holding my cell phone while it snows and the snow drops onto the screen and lens.



I'm still waiting for the nights to get warm enough to throw paint onto the homestead. It's been a cold wet winter and I anticipate the arrival of White Walkers, Ice Giants, Yetis (not the plastic cooler) and so forth.

It was nice to get home. Now I'm going to make some hot chocolate and will start a fire in the fireplace.

The insanity of the world will go on without me. It's nice to go Galt.

Friday, May 17, 2019

23 and You?


It's Friday and there is another week in the bucket.

There are now 23 candidates running for the Democrat nomination. I'm not sure why, but there is a lot of hubris in the Party of the Donkeys - not unlike the Republicans the last time around. 

The debates should be really interesting as these moral relativists try and convince the public that THEY are the most progressive and the most radical. 

The media is working hard to give Butt-guy a better chance at things but he has few credentials beyond being a sodomite. He rose to mayor in a Midwestern town of 100,000 people, and now feels ready to lead the rest of the nation. Better than Beto who has said that the nation deserves him...and maybe we do?

The Biden Campaign Motto?
How much did Slow Joe Biden know about the Obama White House's initiative to spy on President Trump and falsify FISA applications? Maybe that will be answered in forthcoming revelations. And if he's taken out by the Justice Department, who will rise to fill those size 13 wingtips? Might Spartacus get white hair plugs in an effort to get more than 2% of the Democrat Party polling numbers?

It's fun to handicap the race and is great for the microwave popcorn industry.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Blame Game

It's time to sharpen your knives. Take them to a leather strop when you're finished with your stone work and bring them to a molecule thickness...sharper than a razor.

She wasn't wrong.
A reckoning is what we've been asking for and it's coming. It always works the same way with conspirators. The key is the grand jury. It's a secret proceeding with only the prosector, the witness and the jury. There is no Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination and there is no right to have your attorney present. In fact, if you're a conspirator -- can you trust your attorney? Who does your attorney know, who will THEY tell?

So there you sit with the prosecutor and the grand jury. You don't know what the other co-conspirators have said, so perjury is on the table if you lie. And with the conspiracy to create a coup to remove a lawfully elected president, comes overt acts that are crimes upon which the conspiracy swings.

Subpoenas will go out very soon if they have not been sent out already.
Adulterers Supervisory Special Agent Peter Strzok, FBI and FBI Counsel Lisa Page are blaming Loretta Lynch for the rigging of the Hillary investigation and her server and obstruction of justice.
Loretta Lynch was leaned on by former President Bill Clinton on behalf of Candidate Hillary Clinton to obstruct justice in the e-mail scandal then plaguing his wife. She'll blame Bill. 
Bill Clinton, can not take the Fifth and must testify against his wife. Bill Clinton knows a lot about perjury...once bitten, twice shy?
Hillary Clinton --- may not be called to testify, but she may get a target letter, which is common practice. (lock-her-up --- see above)
Bruce Ohr now blames DOJ and FBI officials for ignoring his warning about Christopher Steele and the dossier. Will he throw his wife, an employee of Fusion GPS, under the bus?
Fired FBI chief James Comey is bashing Strzok, Page and Rod Rosenstein on national TV.
Rod Rosenstein is firing back at Comey.
Brennan and Clapper are buddies, but in a grand jury, Clapper will flip like a pancake on his old friend. Then where will Brennan be? Is there a target letter in the mailbox?
Andrew McCabe is attacking all of them. 
Susan Rice isn't saying too much but she unmasked Trump campaign officials to implicate them in the phone Russian spy hoax. Will she roll on Barack?
Will Barack Hussein Obama get a target letter or will they throw him into the grand jury?
You know, I wish that I was a DC lawyer. I'd make enough to buy the airplane that I want. Drat, another missed opportunity.