sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Korean Unification (under Un)

The only fat man in North Korea has changed his approach but not his goal. The shrill, nasty, elite, smug, sly mainstream media is not picking up on it because they'd have to give President Trump credit for suggesting to Kim Jong Un that he'd be melted early in a war between the US and North Korea.

On 15 January, in the second session of working-level talks, North Korea agreed to send a 140-member orchestra to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The North's Samjiyon Orchestra will hold concerts in Seoul and Gangneung, 240 kilometers east of the capital, Seoul's unification ministry said after the talks. Gangneung will host ice sports during the Winter Games.

"The two sides plan to discuss details including the venue, stage conditions and other matters through consultations," a joint statement said. "In this regard, the North will send an advanced team at an early date."

The two sides agreed that the Koreans would march as one team in the opening ceremonies and that the Korean unification flag would be carried. 
The Winter Olympics are scheduled for 9 to 25 February. The next round of working-level talks will take place on Wednesday, 17 January.
The wording of the press announcement about the visit by the orchestra suggests North Korea agreed to a South Korean request. Other reporting indicates that South Korea had prepared an agenda concerning the Winter Olympics. North Korea took over the agenda.

The working-level talks have not yet discussed the North’s requirement that it send an art troupe and, possibly, the all-female Moranbong Band, which was created as a communist modern pop group by Kim Jong Un in 2012.

The orchestra, band and art troupe have no connection with the Winter Olympics, but strongly support Kim Jong Un’s reunification theme. The messages are:

- North Korea is not hostile and poses no threat to South Koreans; 
- North Korea has refined taste and achievements in music, dance, art and sports; and,
-The South Korean government has misinformed its people about North Korea. 

Last week, North Korean media blasted South Korean President Moon for crediting the US President for North Korea’s opening to the South.

An opposition member of the South Korean National Assembly warned that North Korea is manipulating the Olympics to build popular support for reunification among South Koreans and weaken support for the South Korean government. 

Thus far, Kim Jong Un’s Winter Olympics scheme is emerging as the most effective North Korean perception management campaign to appeal to the South Korean populace in more than a generation.

Different Topics

Body Cams

The Black Community (whatever that is) is now upset that police are using body cameras. They don't show police officers gunning down negroes, but they do show inner city people acting like a bunch of savages, aiding the police in convincing juries to convict.

Many black leaders are now calling for the elimination of body cams because - wait for it - they're racist.

Isn't that just precious?

My personal feeling about body cams is that they are generally a negative thing that causes officers to be less diligent. However, the police have found that cameras in the cars that cover traffic stops and body cams have kept them from being sued and they work out well in court. So there's that. They also film drunk drivers taking a field sobriety test and later when the drunk claims to have passed, or that the police were racist, they just bring out the film and let the jury decide. 

Alexa

My daughter bought me an Echo for Christmas from Google. She and my son-in-law use theirs at home and they have a particular love for tech. 

I do to, but have concerns that it may be used for unholy purposes. So I'll wait until I'm at the White Wolf Mine permanently to switch it on. No bandwidth, no problem with Alexa telling tales out of school. But Alexa may not take direction in those circumstances and I may just need to operate my phone's music play list manually. There are benefits to no bandwidth.
(Fox News) White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders took to Twitter to call out Amazon after her young son inadvertently ordered an $80 toy using the the company's Echo device.

"Alexa, we have a problem if my 2 year old can order a Batman toy by yelling "Batman!" over and over again into the Echo," Sanders tweeted on Sunday. 
Amazon has not commented on her tweet.
Naturally, the venal, filthy, sly, smug, elite media is outraged that Sanders used her twitter account to express outrage. They would never approve of something like that would they - unless NBC was pimping "Our Candidate (Oprah) for President"? Then it would be cool.

Consulting

Disgraced former FBI Director James Comey reportedly received US$ 6 million for security consulting work from Lockheed Martin after he was removed from office.

Comey is said to have been made wealthy during his time at the FBI. I don't have any details on this and can't say whether the rumors circulating are true. Make of it what you will.

The question in my mind is not whether this is hush money or not. We easily surmise that it is.

Did disgraced former Director Comey know that Clinton Foundation money was funneled (laundered) through the law firm of Perkins Cole to retain Fusion GPS before they created the phony Trump dossier?

Did Director Comey sign off on it? We don't know those answers yet, but the ball of yarn is beginning to unravel. Did former President Barack Obama know about it/sign off on it? Whose finger prints are on the dossier and when did they know? This is significantly worse than Watergate, yet much of the press is suspiciously uninterested in it.

h/t Brig
Bandwidth Discussions

First off, thank you to Jeff and others for making some really cool suggestions for keeping the compound connected to the world. By way of update, I'm edging toward setting up a relay that would simply act as a tower clone to boost the signal with a directional beam rather than an omni directional boost so that I can get the gain I need (in line of sight) from the repeater. Will it require two repeater/relay towers? I don't think so... Other solutions may present themselves going forward but I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible.

The masonry is within a few days of completion and we'll be pouring concrete slabs within a week. The first snow of the year will hit the area this week but I don't think that it will stick. That may delay the pour for a few days. But warm weather is predicted after the snow.

I'm very close to finalizing cabinet design. And there will surely be other things that will need attention moving forward. The windows were ordered to avoid a 10% price increase. Lumber is more expensive as well with the demand for reconstruction in Texas and Puerto driving the price higher (thanks Houston). The steel came in on budget and the steel roof should be in on budget as well. Things like the bandwidth issue mean that I'm sweating some other aspects of the build past the basic hovel. With luck, new work will come in and I'll remain on target.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Goals of DACA


Barack Obama created DACA, which for a time had been presented as a holy grail for Democrats in the hopes that the 800,000 DACA grantees could bring in many millions of (often shiftless) relatives from third world (call them what you will) nations...all of whom would vote Democrat.

Ending chain migration and anchor babies at the same time as you grant limited residential status for those who filed under DACA is clearly insufficient, as most of us have predicted.

And while liberal heads explode on CNN, the stock market soars and companies are doling out bonuses and raises to their employees, threatening to derail Democratic Party dreams of an electorate dependent on them.

With DACA, the Democrats have a tiger by the tail. The only way they'll get what they want is to give up the underlying agenda.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Here and There

Cause and Effect

Much of what I do these days deals with the cause and effect of various people and events outside of the USA and that can't happen in a vacuum. Just about everything impacts the USA to a greater or lesser degree because in this hemisphere particularly, the US calls many of the shots. The price of oil in Venezuela and the price of export coffee in Honduras are small things to the US but are big things in those countries. Chinese militarization of the South China Sea, while disturbing to the US, is of major interest to Vietnam, The Philippines, and Japan. From time to time I post a few updates just because there is very little in the news media beside incessant criticism of President Trump.

However, the US Stock Market is up across the board, creating another $500 billion in wealth since Christmas. The ripple of that is driving investment across the globe, and creating questions of how long that can last. Foreign investment in the US creates stability for us because anyone who has your money is also your friend. And anyone we owe a couple trillion to is an ally whether they like it or not because crashing the US crashes themselves. President Trump understands this, but the corrupt, venal, sly, elite media doesn't seem to get it.

Venezuela

Two sets of stories showcase the contrasts in Venezuela. In the Dominican Republic on 11 January, Venezuelan government negotiators met representatives of the opposition Democratic Unity Committee for talks about ending the political and economic crisis.

Today, international observers will join the talks. They include Dominican Republic President Medina and officials from Bolivia, Chile, Mexico and Nicaragua.

The political issues have not budged in over a year. President Maduro insists that the National Constituent Assembly, which is composed of Maduro supporters, is the law of the land. He also says that the troubles are not the result of his socialist policies, but are caused by the US which is waging economic warfare against Venezuela.

The opposition Democratic Unity Committee insists that the National Assembly, which the opposition controls, shares power with the presidency, under the constitution, and that Maduro should step down.

Economics have become internal security. On 11 January, mobs ransacked a food collection center and a supermarket in Merida. They also reportedly slaughtered cattle. An opposition legislator said four people died and 10 were injured in food riots in Merida in the past two days.

On the 9th, looters emptied five stores in Ciudad Guayana. In Guanare on the 10th, a teenager was shot dead when hundreds of people looted trucks carrying flour and chicken.

The political discussions and the issues are surreal against the backdrop of cattle rustling and slaughter, frequent looting, increased food smuggling from Colombia, the rise in public health diseases, unemployment, runaway inflation and shooting deaths over food.

Honduras

On 7 January, the political opposition, led by Salvador Nasralla, rallied thousands of demonstrators in San Pedro Sula, who demanded new presidential elections. This has been a festering wound in Honduras and has occupied the nation for the past month or so.

On 10 January, Honduras experienced the effects of an offshore earthquake that registered a magnitude of 7.6. No property damage or loss of life have been reported, but no additional political demonstrations took place.

The price of coffee is expected to decline because Honduras reported a surprise bumper crop of coffee beans, according to the Financial Times. The US Department of Agriculture expects Honduran coffee exports in 2018 will set a new record.

Seismic events, public health conditions and weather tend to disrupt political activity and sap political ardor with little warning. 

Philippines-China

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Manila will lodge a diplomatic complaint with China if it is confirmed that the facilities on Fiery Cross Reef have been militarized. 

Imagery aired by China Central Television (CCTV) on 30 December showed details of the air base on Fiery Cross Reef. 
China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, answered a question on 9 January about the Reef. “Of course, China also needs to construct necessary defense equipment for its territory. The relevant equipment is not directed at any particular country.”
The reef now covers 677 acres and has a hospital with more than 50 doctors, high-speed mobile connections and an airport with a runway of 3,160 meters (10,367 feet) to serve what Beijing calls a “weather station” equipped with radar. It has hardened shelters for air defense missiles, hangars for 24 combat aircraft and accommodation for four larger aircraft.

This is a pro forma protest because the Philippine government knows China built military facilities and air bases in the Spratly Islands, including on islands claimed by the Philippines. CCTV has aired imagery of construction on Fiery Cross Reef regularly in the past two years, including after dredging began in 2015 and construction work when it began in 2016. 

Last May, commercial imagery showed that construction of the air base on Fiery Cross Reef was completed. The Chinese have converted the island into a stationary aircraft carrier that can handle Chinese H-6 bomber aircraft.

What prompted the Philippines to protest is the recent program aired by China Central Television. The diplomatic protest is a face-saving gesture because the TV program suggested China was violating assurances it made to the Philippines to not militarize the island. 

China still insists that the construction of military facilities does not constitute militarization. Civilian airliners landed on Fiery Cross Reef at least twice in 2016. However, Fiery Cross Reef is the southern military hub for supporting China’s claims in the South China Sea.

President Duterte has made contradictory statements about Philippine claims and relations with China. Chinese leaders have cherry-picked those that are congenial to Chinese interests and have proceeded with their own plans. 

Relations will not deteriorate. China will reassure the Philippines that the facilities are defensive and not militarized. The Philippine Foreign Secretary already issued a public assurance that China is not performing additional dredging activities in the Spratlys, as promised.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Few Thoughts

Job Interview


CHECK THIS OUTIt's the new normal. I interviewed a couple of people to do some work for me, and this is generally how it went. (I found this other one on YouTube - more 'new normal')

Bannon's Demise

Sloppy Steve Bannon steps from the national stage, a darling of the radical left (who still hate him). I wonder if that's the legacy that he wanted to leave?

He's also been fired from Breitbart News, but never fear. He's worth millions to cushion his fall from grace and his ride into his dotage, unheralded.

Nobody will miss Steve and neither will they miss Gov. Chris Christy, despite his assertion that he could have been a contender if not for President Trump.

Dow Jones Industrials

I have no idea where the theoretical limit is for the Stock Market, which closed (again) for a record high. Clearly it can't go on forever, but it represents jobs, confidence, a repatriation of trillions from overseas thanks to the Tax Bill. A rising tide floats all boats.

Oprah or Bernie?

The Democrats are a Party without a plan. Oprah is a billionaire fat cat populist cast in the Obama orbit as somebody who would restore Barack's legacy, which has been completely destroyed by President Trump. She's the political opposite of the Sanders' Democrats. Oprah would have the distinction of being the first completely authentic black person to be president and she's a woman.  Would she want to stop running around being fabulous and work 18 hour days, and instead of being loved, be despised? I somehow doubt it.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thar be Pirates

I posted a bit about my family history on this blog last month after discovering that I had pirates numbered among others in my historical family's past. Finding it interesting, I decided to embark on a historical novel set in the time and place with various and sundry rogues featured in it. After all, the research necessary to ferret out details of family history can be grist for a rousing good story.

Every story has a beginning and this one starts in early 1685 with a sharing of loot. And in 1685, Patrick Quidley, a young, adventurous man backed by family money has set out to be a privateer and pirate. Bouncing ahead, he will meet his demise at the hands of the British Admiralty as recorded in the book, "The Admiralty Sessions, 1536-1834: Maritime Crime and the Silver Oar".
"Dr. Fisher Littleton presided over the Admiralty court and took the view that those who adhered to James II were “not enemies, but rogues”. The prosecution proceeded at the Admiralty Sessions held at the Marshalsea in February 1694, even though the nine accused men asserted that they fought under a lawful commission issued by James II. At these hearings, Captain John Golden and Thomas Jones were convicted for treason and Patrick Quidley and Darby Collins for piracy. On March 5, 1694, they were hanged."
However, there will be a lot happening in the story between 1685 and 1694. For one, Quidley will transport members of his family to Hatteras Island, where a colony already exists primarily dedicated to providing support to pirates who raid the Carolina coast and into the Caribbean. Blackbeard prowled those waters and he will have a part to play later in the story. In 1685, Edward Teach (Blackbeard-the-Pirate) is a mere five years old...another year or two and he can be mustered as a ship's boy and serve with a crew, learning the ropes (literally)... and what better place to learn than on the Gull

Historically, Blackbeard fights his last battle on Ocracoke Island, near Hatteras, on the curtilage of Quidley's land.

Preview of the Pirate Story (working title)


The date is January 10, 1685 and the Quidley families of Orwaldstone, then still referred to as Old Rye, and Margate Limb of Dover, have gathered together in council at St. James Church, near Dover Castle. The steady decline in revenues and the increasing pressure of more taxation from King Charles II had been a vexing matter. As was explained at the time, “If you have a tormenting boil, you lance it as best you can.”

Lancing the boil has brought the sorts of issues that one inevitably faces in matters of cause-and-effect. For now, the downside to a tacit approbation of piracy on the high seas has been set aside in favor of its tangible rewards.

The private meeting is presided over by John Beaumont, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle. The forty-nine year old Beaumont will stand for election to Parliament later in the year and he will be raised to a lieutenant colonelcy in Our Holland Regiment (the 4th Regiment). Both of these achievements will require more money that he has on hand as of January 10th, which is why he agreed to meet with young, aggressive, impatient Captain Patrick Quidley and his uncle, Squire David Quidley, late in the season the preceding year of Our Lord, 1684 and in so doing, he became the third member of the conspiracy. Both Quidleys are high commoners and prominent men within the family that has prospered in building, drydockage and repairs to shipping in the ports that the Lord Warden oversees.

John Beaumont is the royal tax collector who sees to the franchises, liberties, customs and usages of the ports and gathers such as is owed to the crown, taking a salary for himself. Unfortunately, Beaumont’s taste for the gaming table and wooing other men’s wives has been his undoing and he took liberties with the Royal Exchequer. At the beginning of the new year, after the Feast of the Epiphany, he will be required to settle financial matters with the Charles II’s factotums. 

Though he does not know it today, Beaumont will be favored after the King dies in twenty-seven days by his successor James II, who will need all the friends he can get. But that is still a month in the future.

Outfitting the privateer Gull, a brigantine of ten guns and two swivels, required a significant investment. The funds have been raised by offering shares to interested members of the family with ten percent ownership gifted to the Lord Warden in exchange for a letter of marque of dubious legal standing.

Today the shareholders have gathered to count the return on the first voyage of the Gull.

The hum of conversation between two dozen Quidleys diminishes as the Lord Warden, flanked by four Hollanders in uniform, carrying snaphaunce muskets takes the dias.

“His honor, Constable John Beaumont.” The sergeant of the guard announces, quieting the meeting without threat of malice.

John Beaumont is a tall man with sly, dark, eyes who has grown soft in the middle. He’s chosen to wear his honorary Admiral’s uniform today, but still looks every bit the profiteer. He smiles broadly with his brown, rotting teeth and dismisses the guard, who follow Captain Patrick Quidley from St. James through a side door that leads to the graveyard.

“Captain Quidley and Squire David have called us all here, yes even me, to announce the success of our joint venture in commerce, which we shall all toast with rum!” As soon as he makes the announcement, servants begin to distribute mugs and then the toast is offered by the Lord Warden, himself, “King Charles, God save the King!”

No sooner is the toast downed by the thirsty Quidleys than Captain Patrick Quidley returns into the church, flanked by the musketeers and by seamen, also armed with muskets. A stout cart is wheeled in with a chest on it. The cart is pushed to the front of the church and is opened. It’s filled with gold and silver plate, gold dubloons, pieces of eight and religious articles of gold and precious stones.

The Quidley family are all aware of the haul from the Portuguese galleon, San Jose de Padre of twenty brass guns, which their most esteemed cousin, Patrick, took at sea in the Brigantine Gull.

San Jose de Padre enroute Lisbon, carrying His Eminence, Antonio Brandao, Archbishop of Goa on his way home following his term in office, blundered into the path of the Gull. God had clearly taken a holiday where the fate of the Archbishop was concerned.

Quidley lay in wait in the passage between the Canary Islands and the coast of Morocco, which was hardly an original place to ambush a slow, heavy ship beating up the coast against the wind. The lumbering Portuguese galleon, badly in need of careening, managed one broadside against the Gull only to have four of its brass guns explode due possibly to wear and poor handling. Looking at twenty dead and bleeding gunners took the fight out of the others, now concerned for themselves.  The Gull, with fresh canvas and a new, smooth hull, danced around her and swept her decks with grapeshot, killing the captain and the Archbishop. The first lieutenant raised the flag of the Holy See. Gull raised the black flag and the lieutenant struck his colors.

It would have been less of a problem if England and Portugal had been at war. As fate would have it, 1684 was one of the few years that England was not at war with anyone and neither was Portugal. In fact, they had been allied through the marriage of Catherine of Braganza and Charles II, and that made Quidley’s choice of a Portuguese galleon a dangerous one. In his defense, Captain Quidley said that he hadn’t known of a certainty that the ship was Portuguese until they boarded her, found the body of the Archbishop and confronted the terrified crew. 

Under other circumstances, the San Jose de Padre might have been taken as a prize of war. As it was, there wasn’t much to do but salvage what they could, maroon surviving members of the crew and half a dozen priests on La Gomera Island in the Canary Chain and scuttle the San Jose de Padre.

In addition to the Archbishop’s personal fortune, the ship’s cargo consisted of 230 bolts of silk fabric, 84 casks of saltpeter, 30 casks of opium, 45 casks of indigo, and 70 hogsheads of wine and 100 of brandy. 12 puncheons of a better grade of brandy bore the archbishop's seal.

The gold and silver delivered at the meeting in the church account for over half of the value of the take, estimated at £35,000.  Subtracting the £9,800 cost of the sturdy Gull, it left £24,800 to be distributed of which £3,000 went directly into the pocket of John Beaumont, the King’s Warden and associated bribes amounting to an additional £400.

The Quidleys were thrilled with their investment and Patrick was toasted until he couldn't not stand.

LL - back to writing
A lesser man, with command of a regiment of foot at his fingertips might have thought to seize the treasure in the Church of St. James that very day but the plain truth is that the pirate crew were better armed, more numerous, and there would have been a lot of explaining for the Warden to do.

Following the division of treasure including shares given to the crew of the Gull, there present to oversee the transaction, the Quidley family disburses back to their homes, the Warden takes his gold down a narrow, cobbled road, then across the courtyard to Dover Castle and the matter rests for the moment. Everyone is rich and content. What could go wrong?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Twofer Tuesday

Narrow Bandwidth

There is not much if any bandwidth at the White Wolf Mine. Dish network will pull data down from the sky in the form of TV shows, but there's not much on television that I watch. I'm sure that I'll get a satellite dish but the rest of the equation is still in doubt. 

Does this mean that the blog will vanish? Maybe. It's too soon to tell. I've been playing with some options but they are few and far between. Most of what I'm planning will require some doing and high tech razzle-dazzle and it might work. Then again, maybe not. President Trump signed a broadband development bill that will apparently encourage fiber optics and bandwidth in even the most rural parts of the USA. From what I've read, it's intended to become part of the trillion dollar infrastructure bill if that ever passes Congress. Will that bring 'civilization' and bandwidth to the White Wolf Mine? You can read it here. The President is trying to encourage the use of federal land to host towers and to string fiber optics as a matter of policy.

Big Guy/Little Guy

President Obama characterized rural Americans as people who bitterly clung to their God and guns. He clearly didn't want to provide them with access to additional opportunities in commerce and a better way of life. He went out of his way to explain to America that "you didn't build that". Democrats are none too fond of America's heartland. President Clinton said that people in America's rural countryside were part of a "vast right wing conspiracy".

We now know that USGOV knew no limits in their efforts to spy on and discredit President Trump while he was a candidate. The "Russia Probe" is revealed as a red herring at best. The FBI corruption runs deep at headquarters - and elsewhere.

The Cliven Bundy Case was tossed (news here) after the judge learned that the US Attorney had lied and was concealing information (additional government misconduct) that would exonerate the Bundy family. I'm not saying that the Bundys were angels, but big government set out to crush a rancher with snipers, agents and lawyers. Under the Trump Administration, the US Attorneys and government officials are themselves under investigation.

Will eight years of President Trump make America great again? One can but hope.