sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Ghandi Moment

Mahatma Ghandi laid out seven points - seven blunders, as he called them, that led to (avoidable) suffering. They are worth repeating here:

1. Wealth without work/labor.
2. Pleasure without conscience.
3. Knowledge without character.
4. Commerce without morality.
5. Science without humanity.
6. Worship without sacrifice.
7. Politics without principle.

The Butt Guy

Mr. & Mr. Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg (pronounced boot-jeg-jeg), candidate for the presidency, has taken started quoting the Bible (random quotes, that leads me to suspect that he never actually read the book) to make campaign statements. I thought to myself, 'that's rich, a self-proclaimed sodomite quoting from the Bible in an effort to shame Christians, most of whom wouldn't vote for him if he was the only candidate on the ballot. 

I don't know which one of the happy couple (left) identifies as female, but then again, maybe neither? He's out there running around with Beto (Irish Bob) O'Rorque, who is also running for President. They're neck-in-neck last I heard, but I don't follow this foolishness that closely.

The Butt Guy favors a $15/hr minimum wage. We saw that work on the Sanders campaign. Bernie was shamed into paying his people more, so he cut their hours. And that, my friends, is how that story ends. Butt Guy says that God wants a $15 minimum wage and quotes some obscure passage in the Bible to demonstrate the All Mighty's intent. 

Butt Guy could stand some education in the teachings of Ghandi. He comes from a wealthy family, silver spoon in his mouth (or somewhere) and I'm not saying that he's stupid. He isn't. But wealth without labor and pleasure without conscience, politics without principle, etc. applies to this mountebank.

Mid-Week Considerations

The Summer Doldrums

It's officially almost August and while we have a lot of summer left, we can see the end. When I lived in Southern California, the summer extended year round, but up in the Arizona Highlands, there are four definite seasons. And August reminds me that I need to get things going in preparation for winter. Lots more wood needs to be cut, split and put on the racks to dry. Sometimes work gets in the way. And the stork should be delivering my new grandson sometime this month. Maybe that means that we'll just burn more propane than wood? 

I have cedar and oak in addition to Ponderosa and Douglas fir here on the property and enough of that has been felled to see me though this coming winter. I may have to go farther afield in 2020, or just buy cut and split wood. 

Age brings wisdom (?) and it teaches me that things I felt were urgent, are not necessarily so urgent. I have also learned that poor planning on the part of others does not constitute an emergency for me. Those lessons were hard learned.

Old NFO inspires me to begin another book. So I'm chipping away on it. 

I just finished Stephen Hunter's new novel, Game of Snipers. It was good, but not his very best. I also finished Peter Hamilton's sci-fi novel, Salvation. Hamilton and Hunter are both gifted writers, and I recommend their work to you.

Iranian Piracy

Piracy is not the oldest profession but it's right up there. A maritime security coalition is forming slowly. The US has formally asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to secure the Strait of Hormuz and to combat Iranian aggression.

This week, the UK announced the arrival of the destroyer HMS Duncan (D37) in the Persian Gulf. HMS Duncan joins the frigate HMS Montrose (F236). The UK government said HMS Montrose has escorted 34 UK ships in the past week.

South Korea announced it is shifting its anti-piracy destroyer to the Gulf to escort South Korean shipping in cooperation with US Navy assets.

TASS reported on the 29th that Russia circulated at the UN a concept paper on collective security in the Gulf. Iran said that Russia and Iran have agreed to conduct joint naval drills in the northern Indian Ocean but did not specify a date.

The Iranian actions to harass and disrupt shipping in the Strait of Hormuz risk becoming a strategic blunder. Eventually, the maritime and naval powers always react strongly to shipping threats, usually for economic reasons. For example, the insurance rates for shipping in the Gulf have increased ten-fold since Iranian harassment began. 

Iran has no standing in admiralty law or the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to declare that maritime security is Iran’s responsibility. Russia’s is playing the role of spoiler and has no naval assets that it can commit to a maritime security coalition.

The major naval powers do not yet agree on the need for an anti-Iranian piracy task force or a Strait of Hormuz maritime security task force. China, other European states and India have been major actors in the Somali anti-piracy task force. Thus far, they consider the incidents a US, UK and European problem, though the Indian Navy usually stations one frigate in the Persian Gulf. 

One more serious ship attack or seizure in the Strait involving Iran will likely cause the components of a coordinated security effort to coalesce. The maritime powers will not allow Iran to control shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. 

Breaking News from Area 51

Historical Documents

When Joe Biden was Vice President under Barack, he visited Area 51 to see the space aliens for himself. This is what the meeting look liked.