sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


It's all about the Euphrates

Control of both banks of the Euphrates River is an important territorial goal for the Syrian government and its allies because Syrian President Assad firmly opposes fragmentation of the Syrian state. He doesn't want to see any of it fitting into the dreams of the Kurdish Independence movement.

Over the weekend, I received reports that Syrian forces crossed the Euphrates River, but were forced back. The US and Russia agreed that the Euphrates River is the boundary between the operating area of the SDF and the Syrian government and allied forces. The Russians did not deny that their aircraft were over the east bank of the Euphrates River.

This proved to be a minor incident, militarily, but it portends a struggle for larger stakes politically. The Syrian government intends to assert sovereignty over all territories liberated from the Islamic State. The Russians back this Syrian position. This is the next phase – the post-Islamic State phase – of the civil war.

No, it's not being reported by the corrupt, lying, smug, nasty mainstream media as a victory for the Trump Administration, the Russians and our allies.

Fat Un's Long March

Kim’s strategic goal is to use the threat of missile attacks to neutralize the US in future crises. One way or another, by threat of attack or negotiations, Kim wants the US out of South Korea.

In recent published comments, the fat kid with the bad haircut suggested that North Korea has a second-strike doctrine. The difference with great power usage of that term is that North Korea intends a nuclear counterattack for the slightest, conventional US or South Korean violation of North Korean sovereignty. Any military confrontation, however serendipitous or slight, can lead to a North Korean nuclear counterattack in Kim’s usage. Put another way, the next Korean War will be a nuclear war.

The US will naturally factor that into its strategy as will South Korea and Japan. China sits on the sidelines with it's thumb (metaphorically) in a dark, nasty cave. More on that later.

North Korea apparently is producing these missiles in a sufficient quantity to use live launches to train the Hwasong missile unit. There will be lots more missile launches. 

According to a report carried by the website of China Central Television (CCTV), on 15 September, Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, was interviewed by Chinese and foreign news media on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Cui Tiankai said that “China's position on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is clear and consistent. China has always been committed to pushing forward the realization of non-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, has always made the maximum efforts to comprehensively and fully implement the relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council, and has been committed to pushing forward peaceful negotiations to resolve the problem. “ 
Some American mandarins believe that China is trying to formulate a policy with regard to North Korea, but it's illusive.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Random Musings

Speed is Fine
Accuracy is Final

An interview of Wyatt Earp.

Wyatt Earp in his later years.
John Henry (Doc) Holliday - died of 
consumption/TB at the age of 36.

The New i-phone 

It will only cost you $1,000 to make a phone call and surf the net. I don't get it. The phone incorporates new 'smart' face recognition technology so your mug will be on file and attached in a cyber sense to your phone. I'm an Apple person, but doubt that I'll spend $1K on a phone anytime soon unless it can also mow the lawn, take out the trash, cook chicken and dumplings and install new brakes on the truck.

Then again, I'm a dinosaur and I very very rarely use a debit card or e-money. I keep a stack of hundreds in my pocket next to the handgun. There are times when society forces me to use a credit card and I do and pay it off monthly, but you take my point. 

A Familiar Theme

Muslims in general feel like an infection. At least that's what I mentioned to my friend J. D. who reads this blog from time to time. It was like that in the neighborhood where I just sold my home, down the street from where they built the mosque.

People of that faith seem to lack the capacity to live-and-let-live. 

DRJIM recently made his CALEXIT and I wish him well in Colorado. In California, it's not only the Muslims, it's the whole thing, and people are leaving rather than tolerating the insanity. Me too. Those who can leave are. The house of cards will eventually fall and it's not going to be pretty.

In Sweden, there are plans afoot for a man-free music festival. They're worried about rapes. It would be politically incorrect in Sweden to have a MUSLIM FREE event. But we all know what's going on in that country and that the problem isn't "men" so much as it is military age Muslim men. When you invite an infection into your country, you shouldn't hide the poison under a bandage.

When I was a Kid

I mowed lawns for money. No, there was no Occupational Safety and Health Administration wonk there on site inspecting the mower, the work site, and guarding me against child labor exploitation. I charged what I thought that the market would pay. It was raw capitalism. That and a paper route were the most common ways for boys to earn spending money. Girls babysat and made more. In the summer I also hauled hay when I lived in the country. In the city that wasn't  an option.

When I read the piece about the boy mowing the lawn at the White House, I felt encouraged. Then some two-bit, jumped-up, progressive (possibly a tranny) member of the corrupt, lying, smug, nasty, lying mainstream media, employed by the NY Times attacked both President Trump and the boy.

In California, illegal aliens (also called wetbacks) have captured the lawn maintenance market, edging out boys. Not many people take the newspapers anymore and when they do, it's not delivered by a kid on a bicycle.

The New York Times and the Section 8 aliens who took jobs from kids are part of what is wrong with America. #Build That Wall

When I was young doctors made house calls, the guy who delivered the milk was an adult male and he earned a living wage doing that, etc. Yes I know. that age has passed.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Sermonette (Part 2)

The End is Near

Blowing the Shofar (ram's horn) to usher in judgment on
(Fox News) Some religious folks are predicting the end of the world on September 23. This coincides with the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah, which will begin in the evening of Wednesday, September 20 and ends in the evening of Friday, September 22. Rosh Hashanah is the warning of judgment (Yom Kippur) ten days following and the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord when people are judged. Ominous stuff. 

Maybe North Korea will launch a nuclear missile at somebody and the retaliation (end of the world for them) will sound like the blowing of many ram's horns as the American missiles augur in along ballistic trajectories? Who can say?

If you predict that the end of the world is coming every day, sooner or later, you'll be accurate. Of course it could end for any of us at any given moment (ask not for whom the bell tolls).

Where will you be on September 23? I'll be in AZ up on the White Wolf Mine property, not because I think that the world will be burned to a cinder on Sept 23, but because I planned to be up there hanging out and talking to people about the progress (and lack of progress) that I'm seeing. And because of the whole International Date Line thing, Sept 23 for me is Sept 24 for people on the other side of the rock, which means while I'm hanging out, being cool, all of them could be dead. 

sic transit gloria mundi 

Is Cotton Evil? 

Some university students think so. My preferred shirts are all made of rip-stop cotton. What does that say about me? Separate from the referenced article, there have been suggestions made that Tylenol sold in California is racist because you 'pick cotton' (packing material) out of the bottle to get to the pills - thus it's demeaning to inner city people.

What about Q-tips? Are they next? I wouldn't be surprised. They're like the banana peel in the tree. If an inner city college student sees a Q-tip, they need to run to their safe space. Who can blame them?

I can see Middle Eastern people rejecting wool as clothing material because some terrorist's love interest had to be sheared so that you could have a nice wool suit. It provides impetus to Islam to wipe out more people...

This just in...

Sunday Sermonette

Placer mining is frequently used for precious metal deposits (particularly gold) which are often found in alluvial deposits—deposits of sand and gravel in modern or ancient stream beds. 

I'm gearing up to do a little prospecting up in White Wolf Mine territory, because I don't think that there are areas that have been adequately explored for gold. The climate (warming/cooling/whatever) changes and it brings more or less water into play in gullies and arroyos, that I can search. No, I don't have a burro, and more's the pity, but I've been researching the application process for filing a claim on government land.

Inside the Saloon (stock photo)
Historically there have been parts of Arizona like the Crown King Mine area, which has been worked very hard. There is still a ghost town at Crown King and you can still buy a steak dinner there at the Saloon. There's also a volunteer fire department.

Mining towns grew up around proven gold strikes and populate the old West, Colorado and Arizona have very colorful pasts as does parts of California and Nevada (I'm thinking Comstock here). 

Crown King

Some people believe that all the gold to be found has been discovered. Others, feel that prospecting is a a great excuse for a hike into wild and wonderful country.

And this is my point - there are still places where there are deposits of gold that have not been exploited. 

Will I find gold? The odds are long against it, but the important part is this: Will I have fun looking for it? Therein lies the Sunday Sermonette. All is not gold that glitters and sometimes the journey is the important thing, not the end of the road (boot hill in some cases).

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Other Side of the Third Rock

Since it's dark there when it's light here, should we care? Unfortunately we have to.


On 14 September, Russia and Belarus started the Zapad military exercises, close to Europe's eastern borders. The word "Zapad" means "west" in Russian. Moscow and Minsk claim that 12,700 troops and 250 tanks will participate in the joint military exercise at training ranges in Belarus and western Russia. The exercise will end on 20 September. Zapad 17 probably will showcase new Russian capabilities that are intended to intimidate enemies and thrill friends. Its more lasting impacts are likely to be a stiffening of NATO’s determination to not be bullied and a reminder of the requirement for constant vigilance.

Russian Zapad exercises occur every four years, and the size of this one dwarfs Zapad 13.

NATO has already deployed additional troops and equipment to the area, while the United States is patrolling the Baltic countries' airspace.

This exercise is an opportunity for NATO to observe Russian progress in rebuilding the armed forces, especially after two years of operations in the Syrian civil war. 

Proof of Concept

The North Koreans launched yet another ballistic missile over Hokkaido, Japan on September 15. The launch location was near Sunan, which is the location of the international airport that serves the capital area of Pyongyang. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile flew for 19 minutes, reached an altitude of 770 kms/478 miles and splashed into the western Pacific Ocean about 3,700 kms/ 2,300 miles east of Hokkaido.

This launch proved that a North Korean ballistic missile can reach Guam. The distance from Pyongyang to Guam is 3,400 kms/2,110 miles. The missile followed a similar trajectory to that launched on the 28th. This was the 15th launch of the year.

If they launch on Guam, they start a war.

North Korea and the United States held a "secret" meeting in Switzerland this week, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported Thursday, 14 September. The meeting took place on the sidelines of an international security forum there from Monday to Wednesday.

These are not official talks, but no North Korean diplomat can talk with an American without official approval and surveillance. This contact serves as a reminder that many channels for communication are available to the US and North Korea.

On 14 September, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a rant by the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (KAPPC), which is a mouthpiece for the North Korean regime. In the statement, the agency called on North Korea to wipe out the South Koreans, sink Japan with nuclear attacks and to reduce the US to ashes and darkness. I won't bore you with the rhetoric (which is a form of misdirection while talks are being held). 


News services reported several developments which point towards steady improvement in the security situation for the Syrian government.

There are a number of reasons for this and I'm not underscoring what the Russians have done, but President Trump's strategy to crush ISIS has worked. You'll never hear that on the corrupt, lying, smug, shrill, mainstream media.

In Idlib Governate, the extremist Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) alliance, built around the former al-Nusra Front, is fracturing. This is the group that was affiliated with al-Qaida and a rival of the Islamic State (ISIL). Several important members of the HTS alliance have withdrawn over religious errors. 

In Raqqa, the US-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) claimed they control 70% of the town, after having liberated a district in the city center. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the fighting has been heavy, leaving only a few hundred fighters in Raqqa. SDF losses are said to be high.

The SDF also announced that its fighting groups near Deir ez-Zor will not enter the city. This decision reduces the risk that US-backed fighters would clash with Syrian government and allied forces which are attempting to surround the city.

The Russian Navy fired seven cruise missiles at ISIL targets in the suburbs of Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on the 14th. It said the missiles were fired from two submarines in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and traveled from 500 to 670 kilometers. The Russians are using nearly every opportunity the Syrian civil war provides to engage in live fire of modern weapons under real conditions.

The Kurds

As has been the case - nearly forever - nations which include significant Kurdish populations oppose a Kurdish-run homeland in areas that they control. Turkey claims the right to continue its 'ethnic cleansing' of Kurds.

Northern Iraq is very close to becoming independent of Iraq and run by the native Kurds. Portions of Syria will likely end up in the same situation, which isn't acceptable to the Damascus government, but will likely still happen.

Will Turkey invade Kurdistan? I wouldn't run it out. The US has no 'official' position but since we're arming the Kurds, the de-facto situation is obvious.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekday Wrap

We're headed toward the weekend and I have a few thoughts. My daughter Emilie sent me this (see right).

Pollsters running focus groups are shocked that President Trump has not lost support despite relentless attacks by the corrupt, wicked, smug, thoughtless, lying, mainstream media. I find no surprise there because they were attacking him non-stop during the campaign leading up to the election while extolling the virtue of Hillary Clinton (possibly a witch) and her philosophy, which went through seven re-sets during the campaign as her position changed based on poll results. And the public ignored them and voted for Donald J. Trump in the hope that the'd work to make America great again.

I don't know whether or not President Trump will be a two-term president, but I would not rule it out.

If President Trump won re-election would all of the Hollywood people who threatened to leave the country leave (once and for all)? Don't hold your breath. Clooney moved back from Italy. Maybe he should move to Afghanistan, where his in-laws are from if he wants to be politically correct? That would be very progressive of him and he could dodge mortar rounds for real like he pretends to do in his films.

Meanwhile Bernie is stumping to make all healthcare in the US the same as you find at the Veteran's Administration (VA). Impossibly expensive and far less than perfect with 'death panels' scheduling procedures at a point after which you're expected to die. Naturally, that system wouldn't be for the elite, but the common man would be stuck with it. And once the progressive, socialist healthcare system is in place and it destroys what we now have, benefits would have to be cut back because they're unaffordable. You don't have to read tea leaves to see that one coming. California is $1.3 trillion in debt and a lot of that comes from healthcare benefits to the indigent and illegal aliens.

Mitt Romney has supporters who are advising Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to step down so that Romney can either run for his seat in the upcoming senate election, or be appointed an interim senator so that Romney can run as an incumbent. This represents a small faction that feels that Romney can successfully run against President Trump in 2020. 

Internet photo of Hodad's
I have no problem with an engineered retirement of Hatch and his replacement by Romney. That's politics and if the voters are cool with it, who am I to argue? But the greater aspiration to defeat Trump is a wet dream that will not have a happy ending. 

I was in San Diego on Wednesday and stopped at Hodad's for a hamburger (in Ocean Beach). Hodad's makes my favorite hamburger and is high on Old NFO's list as well. I'm surprised that there wasn't a line out the door, but mid-week after school started, the whole Ocean Beach/OB area seemed a bit deserted. 

If you're offended by license plates on the wall, they will pack
your burger to go and you can eat your lunch on the beach.
I realize that you all have your own favorite places to eat hamburgers (yes, I've been to Whataburger in TX and it's good, just not as good). This one is mine.

Plans to fly to Mexico City on Monday for work have vaporized and need to be rescheduled, so the weekend is mine. I don't have to spend those days in prep and can focus on grandson's baseball and flag football games. Such is the nature of being a grandpa.

Friday (today), I will wrap the work at noon with business lunch with friends from Europe who are both partners and occasionally paying clients. Its important to knock off work early and end the week. I've cautioned people that the upcoming inspection trip to the White Wolf Mine 'trumps' anything else that they may have planned for me to participate in. There have been discussions of an out-and-back trip to Greece. I reminded those entertaining that delusion that I don't do out-and-back to Greece for work, even flying first class. I'm getting older and if I go, I will stay somewhere in the Athens Placa for a few days --- if I'm going. The Greek Orthodox Church has some really nice accommodations there for visiting guests and they'll put me up. I'm not Greek Orthodox, but I have friends. The trip will eat up a week of time - if I go. (that's a week that will pass quickly and the goal is to eat up time until I can move into the hovel at the mine)

I'll find out more about the potential Greece trip at the meeting in a few hours. It may be better to send somebody else. I've been to Greece a lot and it's not one of those "OH - COOL!" things for me these days. And it's work. But I do like the food in the Old City (Placa). If there was enough time in the schedule (two weeks), and I could go to Mount Athos (Holy Mountain) and visit the monasteries for a week, I could be talked into the trip. I may need to bring that up.

The weekend awaits!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

China - Iran Trade Nexus

As part of its Belt and Road Initiative, China is boosting its economic and transport cooperation with Iran, which will be used as a transport and logistics hub for China’s trade with Turkey and Europe. This creates new opportunities for Central Asia countries, which would increase the transit of Chinese goods by rail to Iran. 

According to Eurasianet, Iran intends to expand its railway network and align it with other Belt and Road Initiative rail projects in Central Asia.

China is providing $1.5 billion in financing to electrify the Tehran-Mashhad trunk line, and another $1.8 billion to establish a high-speed rail connection linking Tehran, Qom and Isfahan. In return, Iranian authorities are slashing transit tariffs for Chinese goods, according to railway chief Saeed Mohammedzadeh. 

In May, Iran joined Chinese President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative in order to upgrade its rail infrastructure. China sees Iran as its switching point for shipping goods west to Europe through Turkey and south to Iranian ports on the Persian Gulf.

The terms of Iranian participation will be important because the Iran initiatives could become a more secure alternative to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. China’s determination to reach the Mediterranean and west Asia means that any Western attempts to reimpose sanctions on Iran will be frustrated. 

The communist mandarins in Beijing are not interested in sectarian conflicts, but in making profits and extracting resources, both of which require stability. Thus, they'll pressure Iran to do things that will promote stability. Whether or not they are successful is something else all together.