sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, December 31, 2017

As 2017 Ends

I wish you all a Happy 2018 - which will be Year of the Dog on February 16th. It's an auspicious day because there are no dogs in North Korea. It's the only country with no dogs. They were eaten by the Norks long ago. 

The AIDS Advisory Council - was disbanded on December 31, 2017. It was one of MANY generally useless commissions and councils that abound in Washington DC and are largely used by members to puff their CV's. The gender confused are howling that President Trump is a monster, but the commission was just another paper tiger that needed to go into the shredder. Let the advisors on AIDS and other health issues report to the Secretary of Health and Human services. The Secretary can report to the president if matters rise to that level. Reducing the size of government and eliminating unnecessary councils, fraud, waste and abuse are just one part of draining the swamp. Thank you President Trump, we're not tired of winning.

Ship to Ship Transfers - of oil bound for North Korea was prohibited under the set of UN sanctions adopted on Sept 11, 2017. North Korea has been violating these sanctions (too) and on Nov. 24, the ROK navy seized a second ship, the 5,100 to Koti. Koti, a Panamanian flagged vessel crewed primarily by Chinese nationals, was sailed to Pyeongtaek-Dangjin. 

South Korean Aegis Destroyer
This incident came a couple of months after a similar seizure of the Lighthouse Whitmore.

We have an armistice with the Norks, not a peace treaty. My personal sense is that the Republic of Korea (South Korea) should take both ships as prizes, sell them at auction and split the take among the ROK Navy's crew.  Maybe the Republic of Korea could issue letters of marque to non ROK ships?

You don't need a naval blockade and you don't have to sew the sea with captor mines if the South Koreans (and their friends) are seizing even some illegal shipping bound for a North Korean port. Economics and insurance rates will deal with that.

Precedent, you ask? Remember the Pueblo!

Did US surveillance help the South Koreans with photographic proof of transfer. Nobody commented on that. However there needs to be more tightening of the noose around the neck of the Hermit Kingdom.

The only fat man in North Korea (right), him with the bad haircut, will be melted and he will be the last of the Kim Dynasty to rule over the Hermit Kingdom.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 - Valediction

2017 is running out and you can beat a lot of things but you can't beat the clock. Father Time is master of us all. Let's turn the clock back two years and see what the anti-Trump Republicans and their colleagues in the Democrat Party have claimed - often by using mouthpieces at MSNBC and CNN (among others in the corrupt, sly, lying, elite media).
I apologize in advance for using terms common to toxic masculinity and cisgenderism.
Trump will never win the GOP nomination. 

Trump will never win the presidency. 

Stocks will drop if Trump is elected. 

President Trump will deport ten million illegal immigrants. 

Trump will be gone (impeached, jailed, or quit) by end of 2017. 

Trump’s immigration ban on several Muslim countries will be found unconstitutional. 

Trump colluded with Russia, and that’s a crime. 

Trump obstructed justice (a crime) by firing Comey. 

Trump’s skills as a “con man” might get him elected but it won’t transfer into doing the job of president. 

Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will cause huge problems. 

Trump’s tweeting will cause huge problems. 

GOP will never embrace Trump. 

Trump will get nothing important done. 

Trump will not work effectively with leaders of other countries. 

GOP senators will vote against GOP priorities because of President Trump’s mean tweets. 

Trump will not nominate qualified judges to the Supreme Court. 

Trump is incompetent. 

Presidential approval polls are a good predictor of how a president will perform. 

The military won’t follow Trump’s orders. 

GDP will never stay above 3%. 

The Trump Presidency will never reform the tax code and give tax breaks to the Middle Class.

Global Warming is 'settled science' and it's the priority of the US military and intelligence agencies. Even President Trump can't change the facts...

A stopped clock is right twice a day, but the pundits and talking heads aren't even close. Barack himself said that if people voted for President Trump that it would erase his legacy. It's the one thing that I can recall that he got right. One thing in eight years isn't what one would expect, but it's something to hang his cowboy hat on.

President Trump brings ratings to the corrupt, elite, smug, filthy, lying mainstream media in much the same way as Barack sold firearms and ammunition. They should love him. Or maybe they just love to hate him. After all, he's a white, heterosexual male, what's not to hate?

Friday, December 29, 2017

What About Ukraine?

The Ukraine situation is oddly stable. There has been no change in the line of contact between Ukrainian and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. There was destruction of property, but few casualties and no changes in the trace of the line of contact.

The latest significant event was the prisoner exchange on 27 December in which 74 Ukrainians were swapped for some 235 eastern Ukrainian rebels. Ukraine was supposed to have transferred 306 prisoners, but the rest reportedly decided to remain in Ukraine. The exchange occurred without incident.

About 19 December, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission reported a 35% surge in ceasefire violations in a week. The observer group reported 16,000 violations in the week ending 17 December. They described the violations as the worst since last February. 

The map below is the daily situation map produced for Ukraine’s national defense and security council and posted to the web. It shows three exchanges of fire on 28 December. During the Christmas weekend, a truce was in effect. The daily situation maps showed no exchanges of fire.

Fighting surges whenever a new diplomatic initiative emerges, sanctions against Russia are up for renewal or when Russia, the US or Ukraine take some action. 

The last surge in fighting began the day after the departure on 19 December of Russian military officers from the Joint Coordination and Control Center that monitors the ceasefire. Russian officers were ordered to leave because of the supposedly "tense moral and psychological situation" and "disrespectful attitude of Ukrainian servicemen."

The next surge is due at any time because the US announced on 22 December that it would provide Ukraine with enhanced defensive capabilities. This will spark another surge in ceasefire violations and a surge in Russian support to the separatists in order to main the balance of forces. The sale of defensive US made anti-tank weapons shouldn't destabilize much, but they provide a boost in morale to the Ukrainians.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko remains committed to recovering the separatist region, known as the Donbass, and Crimea. Russian President Putin is equally determined to maintain the status quo. More shelling is certain, but the line of contact is not likely to change.

The people of Donbass and Crimea overwhelmingly want to be part of Russia, not Ukraine. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Wolves and Such

Rock work circa 1980
White wolves at the White Wolf Mine? 

Don't count it out too soon. The pack of wolves that the Arizona Department of Game and Fish introduced into the wild in the area have been sighted about eight miles from the hovel currently under construction.

With highs in the 60's during Christmas week (not winter weather in the least), the construction is moving forward at an acceptable rate. More on that below. Wolves have not been harrying the tradesmen at the White Wolf Mine, but one would expect them to show enough respect  to let the men keep on with their important work. Nether have bears appeared to steal the worker's picnic baskets. However there are elk up there almost every morning. Elk are curious beasts and they like to walk right up to the construction and inspect changes.

There are also Coues Deer (Western White Tail Deer) and Mule Deer on the property most mornings, but they're not nearly as nervy as the elk are.

People have asked me what one can do in the area besides hunting, fishing, watching eagles, buffalo and so forth. Jack's Canyon offers some interesting climbing experiences for those who are somewhere between climbing up onto a bar stool and climbing Everest in their skill sets. I haven't done any technical climbing since I was in the Navy, which is weird because age wise, I just missed the age of wooden sailing ships.

I realize that fast-roping out of a CH-43 (left) doesn't count as "climbing" in the least, but allow an old man to reflect on the years of razzle-dazzle.

In any event, the Jack's Canyon climbing environment offers some technical challenges that can be exploited from time to time without having to drive nearly as far as the swells who train there do.

The progress of the project is evident from photos.

The lower floor/basement is left of the block wall. The main floor sits atop
that and begins far to the right of the block wall that crosses the photo.
Wolf Leadership

(h/t Ivan Ginsberg) A little food for thought... A group of wolves: The three in front are old and sick, they walk in front to set the pace of the running group lest they get left behind. The next five are the strongest and best, they are tasked to protect the front side if there is an attack. The pack in the middle are always protected from any attack. The five behind them are also among the strongest and best; they are tasked to protect the back side if there is an attack. The last one is the LEADER. He ensures that no one is left behind. He keeps the pack unified and on the same path. He is always ready to run in any direction to protect and serves as the 'bodyguard' to the entire group. Just in case anyone wanted to know what it really means to be a leader. It's not about being out front. It means taking care of the team.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

War Drums?

North Korea

It's time to bring some clarity to recent events in regard sanctions against North Korea (the Norks) and their response.

The North Korean statement called the latest UN sanctions an act of war. On 24 December, the day after the UN Security Council approved more sanctions, a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement called them an act of war.

In the statement, published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea accused the US of being terrified of its nuclear force. It said that the US was becoming “more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country.”

The statement also said, “We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the US nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the US.” 

“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our republic and as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region.” The North also described the sanctions as amounting to an economic blockade.

The new sanctions include capping North Korean imports of refined oil products at 500,000 barrels per year, which elminates about 90 per cent of imports of refined oil products, and the repatriation of all North Korean workers from foreign countries within two years. 

The Security Council vote was 15 to 0, including China and Russia.

The oil sanctions sound worse than they are. North Korea only imports refined products that it cannot produce at its two refineries. They include specialty fuels, such as fuel for some of its fighter aircraft. The sanctions do not apply to imports of crude.

For most of its needs, North Korea has two refineries – one on each coast. For the west coast refinery, North Korea buys crude from China. The Ponghwa refinery was built by China and is connected by a pipeline to Dandong, China. The pipeline can supply up to one million tons of crude per year. 

China regularly has manipulated the flow of crude through the pipeline for a variety of reasons, including to show its displeasure with North Korean actions, but usually for non-payment of bills. 

No source has reported that China halted exports of crude via the pipeline during the current crisis. China is unlikely to cut off all crude supplies because that action would destabilize North Korea.

The Sungri refinery on the northeast coast is near the Russian border and is Russian-built, but is reported to be idle. It refines lighter varieties of crude that are supplied by ship. In the 1980s, Iran was the major source of crude for this refinery.

In the recent past, North Korea has relied on Russia as a source of crude for the Sungri refinery. The Russian arrangement often involved refining Russian crude for Russian use in the far east, but the Russians paid North Korea in kind for the refining operation. 

On both coasts. the North Koreans rely on smuggling in coastal tankers to obtain specialty refined products. 

The purpose of the sanctions on overseas workers is to cut off remittances of hard currency. However, the time period for workers to return is long enough to allow projects to be completed or for the workers to arrange a change in their status in their host countries in order to comply with the sanctions.

North Korean propagandists are overusing the act of war language. Allied exercises, US presidential tweets, sanctions, destroying a North Korean missile in flight and insults to the dignity of Kim Jong Un have all been called acts of war. 

The statement about further consolidating the nuclear deterrent is a contrived and phony threat. That is what North Korea planned on doing in any event and has said so on multiple other occasions. It is not a response to UN action.


There are reports of crisis preparations on the North Korean border. A Japanese news service reported on 24 December that China has been building refugee camps to accommodate up to 500,000 refugees on the North Korean border.

The news service reported that last summer the government in Beijing instructed the northeastern provinces, including Jilin and Liaoning, to start preparing camps that could absorb an influx of displaced North Koreans, according to Chinese Communist Party officials. The sources said multiple planned facilities would have an estimated capacity of up to 500,000 people. Stockpiling of food and tents also has been reported. 

According to the Japanese report, a Chinese telecommunications company checked the status of communications to five locations in Changbai Korean Autonomous County, Jilin Province on 2 December, where authorities plan to build refugee camps. The Chinese also reportedly are building more military barracks to house an increase in forces on the border.

Officially, the construction is intended to counter a growing number of thefts by North Koreans who slip across the frozen border river during the winter. 

I have been watching carefully for additional signs of precautionary preparations for war in northeast China since 6 December when officials in Jilin published public guidance on nuclear war.

This is the third set of reports about Chinese preparations for a major crisis, or war, in North Korea. They remain unconfirmed, but they are consistent in thrust and detail and the stream of reporting has continued. To echo the judgment of one of the press reporters, the Chinese continue to advocate negotiations to reduce tension, but are preparing for the worst.


Regional Update


The Chinese, Afghan and Pakistani foreign ministers who met in Beijing released a joint statement. I will spare you the rhetoric for the most part and cut to the chase.

The three parties reaffirmed their commitment to improving their relations, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation, advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative, and fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestation without any distinction. The three Foreign Ministers agreed to jointly work together on political mutual trust and reconciliation, development cooperation and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism as three topics of the trilateral cooperation.

The most important outcomes are China has offered to bring Afghanistan into the Belt and Road Initiative and the three neighbors have agreed to develop a memo of understanding on counter-terrorism cooperation.

Looking beyond the diplomatic language, membership in the Belt and Road Initiative and the agreement to conduct trilateral economic cooperation impose significant burdens on host governments to improve security for any projects that China is willing to finance and build. The price of Chinese infrastructure investment is a major commitment by the host government to dedicate competent security forces so that the projects stay on budget and on time. 

China has suspended three major road projects in Pakistan for security shortcomings. Chinese “carrot and stick” management practices stand a reasonable chance of coercing the Afghan and Pakistani governments to improve the security situation along the common border, for economic, vice political, reasons.

The memorandum of understanding is potentially important because it implies a possibility that the three might reach agreement on who are the terrorists. At the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit meeting in Xiamen in September, the five heads of government criticized Pakistan for supporting jihadist groups. 

Pakistan rejected the criticism because the groups it supports are “freedom fighters” or receive no direct support from the Pakistani government. Afghanistan also supports anti-Pakistani terrorist groups. The policies of both countries are obstacles to the success of the Belt and Road projects in their countries. 

The Chinese approach is innovative and has not been tried. It might not work. Nevertheless, China has inserted itself into Afghan-Pakistani security matters in an unprecedented fashion. Under President Xi, the longstanding Chinese policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of states has been reinterpreted in order to facilitate the Belt and Road Initiative

For Afghanistan and Pakistan, Chinese leaders appear to have decided that it is time for them to clean up security conditions so China can stick to its long term development plans.


Another attack against the National Directorate of Security. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Monday, 25 December, on a compound of the national intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security in Kabul. At least 10 people died and two were wounded in the attack.

This is the second Islamic State attack in 10 days that targeted the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in Kabul. On 16 December, the Islamic State also attacked an NDS training facility in Kabul.

The Taliban also were active during the weekend, executing attacks in Kandahar, Ghazni and Nangarhar Provinces. 

Both groups seem determined to close out the year with demonstrations of their strength. In the past several months, the Islamic State has been responsible for most attacks in Kabul. An increase in the frequency of attacks would indicate a significant improvement in Islamic State access, support and capabilities in the capital. 


Russia says that Assad stays. On 23 December, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it is preparing the list of participants to attend the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in late January. 

The Syrian opposition rejected the invitation. At least 40 Syrian opposition groups refused to participate in the Congress in Sochi. They accused Moscow of seeking to circumvent the United Nations peace process in Geneva and of committing war crimes in Syria.

The opposition statement accused Moscow of not putting enough pressure on the Syrian government to reach a political solution and of not making “a single step” towards alleviating the suffering of Syrians. The statement said the lack of humanitarian support is a guarantee that the Russians are not moving in any real path to finding a solution.

The statement described Russia as an enemy state that supports and defends the policies of a military regime and prevented the United Nations from condemning Assad’s government for seven years.

Hundreds of opposition groups are being invited to the Congress. The Russians seem to have a “take it or leave it” approach to participation in the Congress by the 40 opposition groups who declined to attend. Groups that refuse to participate automatically identify themselves as targets for future operations by the Syrians, their allies and the Russians. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

This Day in History

With the Continental Army threatening to dissolve around him, General George Washington led the remnants of his army across the icy Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 and routed a Hessian garrison at Trenton. The subsequent victories at the Battles of Second Trenton and Princeton secured Washington's place as one of the greatest generals in history.

George Washington’s plan of attack included three different crossings of the Delaware River on Christmas night. Col. Cadwalader was to lead his force of 1,200 Philadelphia militia and 600 Continentals across the river near Burlington, New Jersey. His role was to harass and prevent the British and Hessian units near the town from racing north to support the Hessians at Trenton. Gen. James Ewing’s force of 800 Pennsylvania militia was to cross the river at Trenton and take up defensive positions along the Assunpink River and bridge. Ewing’s soldiers would work to prevent the Hessians from retreating from Trenton. And Washington and his 2,400 soldiers would cross at McConkey’s and Johnson’s ferries, roughly 10 miles north of Trenton and would then march down to Trenton to surprise the garrison at dawn. This was an ambitious plan, one that even well rested and experienced troops would have had difficulty in executing. Both Cadwalader and Ewing’s forces were unable to cross the ice-choked river. And Washington’s main force managed a crossing, but was more than three hours delayed.
One would think that crossing an icy river at night was hard enough without also bringing a great contingent of heavy artillery pieces with them. Despite the trouble Washington and the Continental army wanted the extra firepower that the artillery could produce. Under the overall command of Col. Henry Knox, the Continentals brought 18 cannons over the river – 3-Pounders, 4-Pounders, some 6-Pounders, horses to pull the carriages, and enough ammunition for the coming battle. The 6-Pounders, weighing as much as 1,750 pounds were the most difficult to transport to the far side of the river. But in the end all the trouble of moving this large artillery train to Trenton proved its worth. Knox would place the bulk of his artillery at the top of the town where its fire commanded the center of Trenton.
Shortly after eight o'clock on the morning of December 26, 1776, the Continental Army started its charge on the city. Three columns marched through thick snow with Washington personally leading the middle charge. As the soldiers pushed forward, artillery began to fire. At the same time, German drums urgently called the Hessians to arms. To his astonishment, Washington had maintained the element of surprise.

Immediately after the firing began, three Hessian regiments ran from their quarters ready to fight, quickly forming ranks. As the Hessians grouped, the Continental Army entered the city at two points: John Stark marched into the city on River Road from the west, while Nathanael Green and Washington arrived from the north.

Andreas von Wiederholdt, a Hessian lieutenant, incorrectly reported to Colonel Johann Rall that the Continental Army had surrounded Trenton and there was no available route for retreat. As a result, Rall decided to counterattack Washington within the city and not retreat across Assunpink Creek. This proved to be costly, as Washington's forces occupied the highest ground in the city and had clear views of all of Rall's movements. 

Time after time, Washington countered Rall's efforts to outflank the Continentals. Eventually, Washington's forces overpowered the Hessians. Rall was mortally wounded and many of his soldiers broke ranks, fleeing from the fighting. Normally very disciplined, Rall's regiment was confused and disoriented without their commander. They retreated to an orchard east of Trenton where they were forced to surrender.

General/President Washington was trying to drain the British swamp and Make America Great. We are trying to Make it Great Again. Different swamp, different challenges, same love of country.

Monday, December 25, 2017

What a Nice Gift for America!

Yesterday, on Christmas Eve - (Gateway Pundit) President Trump reduced US funding to the United Nations.
"Today, the United Nations agreed on a budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. ‎Among a host of other successes, the United States negotiated a reduction of over $285 million off the 2016-2017 final budget. In addition to these significant cost savings, we reduced the UN’s bloated management and support functions, bolstered support for key U.S. priorities throughout the world, and instilled more discipline and accountability throughout the UN system."

Reuters reported:
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft United Nations resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump told reporters at the White House. […]

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, in a letter to dozens of U.N. states on Tuesday seen by Reuters, warned that Trump had asked her to “report back on those countries who voted against us.”She bluntly echoed that call in a Twitter post: “The U.S. will be taking names.”
Commentary: Earlier in the week the Deep State and the corrupt, smug, sly, elite media that is its cheerleader reported that President Trump would not dare to respond to nations who abused our generosity and took advantage of us time and time again. They were wrong. And no, I'm not tired of winning. (MAGA). 

By way of reference, the United States is the largest provider of financial contributions to the United Nations, providing 22 percent of the entire UN budget in 2017 (in comparison the next biggest contributor is Japan with almost 10 percent, while EU countries pay a total of above 30 percent). That 22% number must come down to something manageable. It's a nest of spies and political parasites on US soil. 
Each year the United States gives approximately $8 billion in mandatory payments and voluntary contributions to the United Nations and its affiliated organizations. The biggest portion of this money – about $3 billion this year – goes to the U.N.'s regular and peacekeeping budget.  
There are small benefits that we derive from membership, but nothing like our contribution to the budget suggests.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Tracking Santa

There was a segment on Fox News where the aviators who took gun camera footage of the UFO's shared their opinions that we were not alone... According to what they said, the Nimitz had been tracking unusual aircraft and their encounter was the only time that the ship had aircraft (2 in this case) aloft to confront the alien craft, reportedly looking like a 'big tic tac'. 

Then there was the Space X launch of a Falcon rocket that caused a lot of hubbub on the run up to Christmas that wasn't actually a Space X launch (see photo). Santa was working on his new and improved sleigh and needed to test it before tonight (the big night). Thank you Space X for providing cover for that.

Is Santa an alien? Does he warehouse the sleigh at Area 51 during the off season? We don't really know the answer do we? ("we" do, of course, but "we" don't share it)

elf or space alien?
So are they little green "elves" or are they space aliens? NORAD isn't confirming or denying, but President Trump was taking calls from the NORAD tracking system this afternoon. 

The naval aviators who took the gun camera footage of aliens that you've seen on the news affirm their own personal beliefs that 'we are not alone'. But Santa really answers that question for us.

Merry Christmas 2017 (and a Sunday Sermonette)

It's Christmas Eve and I hope that all of you are surrounded by those you love, because that is the Spirit of Christmas. It's the gift that surpasses all others.

As the Christ gave selflessly to us all, so do we give to others. That giving and good will are part of this Season makes the institution of Christmas even more profound.

Those who disparage Christmas, and we hear it every single year, can live their lives selfish and alone. There is no joy in that. But there it is.

While we sit safe and warm at home, there are others on the line, looking out for us in hospitals, in police cars, on fire trucks, and in the military where war could break out (in North Korea) at any moment. Every year I pick out a ship in the US Navy that I know to be deployed and send goodies that they enjoy including books and other gee-dunk that sailors appreciate. I'm a Navy guy, so that's how I roll. The Navy is forward deploying ships with reckless abandon these days and keeping crews on board without rotating them. It burns out the crews and their ships - for the sake of our continued wellbeing. It's easy to find a forward deployed ship and sailors who will find value in Grey Man novels by Old NFO, etc.

There's also the food bank. It's Christmas Eve. You can fight the crowds at Sam's Club or Costco to get a few flats of chili or corn and drop them off.  Up to you.

Then again, the food banks and settlement houses and other charitable organizations usually have empty shelves after Christmas. Nobody should be hungry in America. Not ever. I'm disturbed by the notion that it is the case...and sadly it is.

I know that some of you are on the naughty list. Fredd is and will pay for it by getting a chipped tooth from eating Aunt Sally's banana pudding. LSP is on the good list and won't get coal in his stocking. Juliette (in England) who follows this blog, has pneumonia and is down for the count over the holiday season...clearly a victim of the naughty list.  Adrienne, living in the cold of North Idaho will receive goodies from Costco...Santa can predict these things...she's clearly on the good list.

Naughty or nice, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Notes on Taxes

Everything happens along Party lines these days. That's just how it is. 

Background - This is the first significant reform of the U.S. tax code since 1986. President Reagan signed major legislation for corporations and individuals in 1986. Since then, serious tax reform has eluded Republicans, though they repeatedly called for it as the tax code became longer and more arcane.

The Tax Reform and Jobs Act may result in you paying more or less tax. It will clearly help generate jobs and will help the economy along broad lines.

The wicked, lying, corrupt, smug, sly mainstream media have been working overtime to repudiate the benefits to the nation, characterizing the tax cut as a give-away to the rich. Clearly, the big winners are businesses who are being taxed at 21% rather than the 35% they were paying. The Democrats seem to want to return to the years of Obamanation when the DJI was 5,000 points lower. Whatever.

Three Years Ago - the following taxes were implemented as part of the so-called Affordable Care Act:
  • Medicare tax went from 1.45% to 2.35%
  • The top income tax bracket was raised from 35% to 39.6%
  • The top income payroll tax went from 37.4% to 52.2%
  • Capital gains tax went from 15% to 28%
  • Dividend tax went from 15% to 39.6%
  • A 3.5% real estate transaction tax was imposed.
There was also the individual mandate tax for those who chose not to buy government sanctioned healthcare insurance.

I read a piece on CNN that stated that Obama tax reform was larger than the present tax bill. It's a blatant lie, but it's what we've come to expect from CNN and other news outlets.

2018 Predictions and Prognostications

It's time to cast the runes and make predictions for 2018 (and beyond). I wanted to get a jump on people who were predicting closer to the New Year.

2018 Superbowl: Patriots vs Eagles. I like the Steelers, but I'm predicting and trying to keep my personal favoritism out of the prognosticating.

Soccer World Cup: I know for sure that it will be played out in Moscow. I favor Uruguay, but it's still too far off to read the tea leaves effectively.

President Trump: A large infrastructure spending bill will pas through Congress as will an overhaul of the failed ObamaCare disaster. The construction of a big, beautiful, border wall with Mexico will be begin as the president works hard to make America great again. The US military will be rebuilt with an emphasis on sustainability rather than showmanship. Priorities shifted away from the weather as the principal enemy in 2017. Diversity and transgenderism will no longer be a priority though EEO will continue as it has since the 1960's.

President Trump will appoint two new Supreme Court justices in 2018, swinging the high court in a conservative direction for a generation to Make America Great Again.

Congress: The Republicans will continue to control both houses of the legislature.

Hillary Clinton will be indicted and convicted of selected felonies and she'll be remanded to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Dead Pool: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will agree to a tell-all of Hillary Clinton and before he can testify, he will commit suicide with a chainsaw. Rep. Nancy Pelosi will publish her memoirs (damaging to the Clintons) and will commit suicide with Chuck's chainsaw. Joe Biden will be appointed to the US Senate (for NY) and will be asked to step down the next day due to sexual harassment allegations. He will subsequently commit suicide with Chuck's chainsaw.


2009: Disney buys Marvel 
2012: Disney buys Lucasfilms
2017: Disney buys 21st Century Fox


2019: Disney buys Paramount Pictures
2022: Disney buys Universal Studios
2026: Disney attempts to buy Warner Bros, Warner Bros tells them to eat #%@& and die.
2027: Disney buys the City of Los Angeles and LAPD begins to wear Disneyland Security uniforms.
2028: Disney, still irritated at the Warner Bros rebuff, uses their newly acquired LAPD shock troops to attack the headquarters of Warner Bros, killing many, and taking the company by force. 
2029: Disney buys nukes from black market terrorists
2030: Disney acquires Microsoft as an act of nuclear extortion.
2031: Disney declares war against the entertainment industry
2032: Skirmishes between private militaries occur in Hollywood and other places around the country

2034: Disney nukes Hollywood and moves the movie industry south to Orange County (site of the Original Disneyland)
2044: Disney buys the United States of America
2045: Disney reorganizes the American government into a totalitarian dictatorship, deemed "The People's Republic of Disney" 
2047: People's Republic of Disney moves to annex Mexico and Canada with the military might of Mickey Mouse.
2050: Mecca Disney opens in Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

China and North Korea

Over the Fence

On 21 December, another North Korean soldier successfully crossed the Demilitarized Zone and defected to South Korea. The location of the defection has not been given but it was not at the joint security area of Panmunjom.

The defector had been manning a North Korean guard post from which he escaped under cover of a thick fog. Both sides fired warning shots, but no one was injured. The North Koreans did not fire at the defector… they evidently could not detect him in the fog.

Chinese Face

Avoiding loss of face has become as important as other national interests in the Korean missile and nuclear crisis. This item is a commentary on remarks to the South China Morning Post by retired Chinese foreign ministry official Yang Xiyu,
Yang Xiyu is a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies. Previously, he was in charge of Korean peninsula affairs at China’s foreign ministry from 2004-05 and also was involved in the six-party nuclear talks. He is one of China’s top experts in Korean and US affairs.  
Yang told the South China Morning Post that China would never accept North Korea as a nuclear power and that Pyongyang’s recent diplomatic slur had been humiliating for China.
The diplomatic slur is Kim Jong Un’s refusal to meet Chinese senior party official Song Tao, who traveled to Pyongyang as the Special Envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping. This was the most recent in a series of actions by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that caused China to lose face.
Yang continues, "The deterioration of bilateral ties is rooted in the widening divergence on the nuclear issue. It is because North Korea changed, not China. The problem is that the once shared goal of China and North Korea to denuclearize the Korean peninsula had been shattered because Kim Jong Un reneged on the commitments made by his father Kim Chong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung,."
The agreement to denuclearize the Peninsula was aimed at the US. The purpose was to induce the US to remove nuclear warheads that had been stored in South Korea for use in another Korean War. The Chinese argument was that the US cannot use nuclear weapons because North Korea had none. 

Kim Il-sung often bragged, as a result, that North Korea would never acquire nuclear weapons. Again, that boast was aimed at the US. The US withdrew its nuclear weapons from Korea by November 1991. Chinese patient pressure worked to make the Peninsula safer, as the Chinese see it. It took 33 years and worked because a second war did not occur.

Kim Jong Un’s betrayal of that agreement with impunity is another humiliation for China. North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons undermined a Chinese policy position that worked for more than 60 years. 
Yang continues, “Now, China and North Korea do not have a shared position on the nuclear issue, because North Korea’s current leaders have completely abandoned Kim Il-sung’s initiative,” he said

Yang said that while China needed to be prepared for different outcomes, its “dual suspension” approach – which calls for the US and South Korea to suspend their joint military drills in exchange for North Korea suspending its weapons program – was still the right way to go.

“If we step back from the goal of denuclearization now, it would be a failure of the will of our nation.” 

“If the international community allows North Korea to develop nuclear weapons it is a collective failure … More importantly, it is a huge threat to China’s national security. Therefore, on this issue, China has no room for compromise.”

“Developing nuclear weapons won’t guarantee North Korea’s security, and will only make things worse,” Yang said. He also judged that if Kim wanted to maintain his regime, he would eventually have to move money away from developing weapons and channel it into the economy.
A third loss of face to China is that its client, North Korea, has refused to accept the Chinese proposal for stabilizing the situation – the suspension-for-suspension proposal. Even worse, the former client – North Korea-- now poses a threat to China’s national security. 

Chinese leaders cannot compromise on denuclearization because it would signify a failure of will at a time when China is asserting its global leadership role. That would be the ultimate loss of face and prestige. 

The Chinese leaders would be disinclined to change their proposal in any case because of the successful precedent in which patience and steadiness achieved the removal of US nuclear weapons after 33 years. They know that patience will succeed again, given enough time and if war can be avoided.

Yang’s comment about the need to develop the North Korean economy contains the judgment that the Kim Jong Un regime must change its policies if it wants to survive. Chinese commentators seldom hint at regime survival in this fashion.

The idea of loss of face applies to the US-led alliance, but especially to North Korea. Kim’s dignity will not countenance a backdown. The vice marshals and the generals would likely find a Kim family member to replace him, should he try.

Finally, this is the third important comment on the complexity of the Korean nuclear and missile crisis that provides the public with background information on the issues.  Yang’s comments are part of the psychological preparation for a possible escalation of the Korean crisis.

The Political Spectrum

I've found that while many on this blog may label me a conservative, in White Wolf Mine country, I'm somewhat 'left of center'. 

h/t daily timewaster blog
I characterize myself as a moderate Constitutionalist, with emphasis on the Constitution and the rules established by that document and the Bill of Rights, which further defined the role of government and limited it. 

Being an outsider who used to have California license plates on his vehicles (all are Arizona plates now) puts me at 2.99 strikes against me from the get-go. 

However I do openly carry a handgun everywhere and that may reduce the strikes to 2.5. There was an accuracy challenge and I beat the two locals in a fair test of skills, which may have upped the strike count to 2.75. 

I know one of the local ringleaders who moved in the same circles I did in doing clandestine work for a living (now a has-been like me) and that may have dropped the strike count back to 2.5. I didn't know that he was up in the area until it was pointed out about a month ago by one of my old navy peers and I reconnected. He introduced me around and kept me from getting an unfair three strike mark.

Things I have said that strike a discordant note:
  • Locals want all national legislators restricted to one term which can never be repeated. I pointed out that just finding out where the restrooms are and how to order office supplies takes up the first six months in office of a two year term and suggested that Congressmen be limited to 10 years. Senators to (two terms or 12 years). "Are you a communist LL?" No, a realist, but hatred of government runs deep up on the Rim.
  • I have said that some taxation is necessary. That struck a sour note.
  • While 'vigilance committees' may have their place, my sense that persons suspected of committing crimes should be turned over to law enforcement and the court system for adjudication marked me as, 'a bit more liberal than is desirable'. I mentioned that there is no law enforcement presence in that area. (Closest is one hour away Code 3) The locals handle things themselves, referring matters to regulators when they decide that the situation merits it.

There aren't that many people around, but those who are are keeping an eye on me. Having a newly discovered, built-in old guy peer group, that is established as being on the horrible side of dangerous (way beyond despicable) may be my one redeeming chip in the game. That the peers also have multiple aircraft is another plus.

To be fair, the area has that sort of reputation. The Hashknife Cattle Outfit still exists. 

I went to high school with an Arizona State Highway Patrol officer who told me that they had a standing order to tread softly in "Moqui" country (the Mogollon Rim area).

Quoting from the link above:
The night after the shooting, Hashknife cowboys were drinking in the Wigwam Saloon and remembered that the robbers had paid for two shots of whiskey which they left behind in the robbery. Intent on rectifying the “injustice” 15 drunken Winslowites took the train to Canyon Diablo. They borrowed a shovel from trader Volz and he also gave them a Kodak box camera to take a photo of the dead outlaw in hopes that someone would identify him (and pay a reward).

Pulling him out of his casket, the cowboys leaned him against a grave barrier and poured a drink between his clenched teeth. After posing for pictures, the cowboys reburied the outlaw with the unfinished bottle of whiskey. Although the photos were widely distributed, no one ever came forward to identify the robber.
Winslow is about 60 miles northeast of the White Wolf Mine.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Slow Season

As the Christmas Season fast approaches, there is something for everyone, except the atheists, the chronically bitter and the Jehovah's Witnesses who feel that celebrating anything is a sin (their loss).
Chanukah (and 8 crazy nights) is in the past, the winter solstice tomorrow offers you pagans a reason to go outside and dance naked, and Kwanzaa is ahead for negroes who are angry at the other holidays. (I left out Muslims because I don't care and NASA's mission is no longer to get them to feel good about themselves)
The Trump Administration has done remarkably well this year, which doesn't sit well with progressives. The "largest tax cut in history" will be signed into law before Christmas. Those Democrats who don't like it can donate their tax returns back to Uncle Sam. Nobody is stopping them. Or they can be more dramatic and just burn those tax return checks in a 'day of rage'... 

There are reports out of North Korea that Kim Jong Un has executed some of his minions. There's no way to verify the reports, but it is the Hermit Kingdom and that's what they do there. I don't think that it has much to do with Christmas. Norks don't celebrate Christmas, but Christmas is celebrated South Korea...and South Koreans aren't infested with worms and parasites. Coincidence? You be the judge.

I'm always annoyed when the water bill and the electric bill, etc. arrive in late December. Public utilities must not believe in Christmas. And the December credit card charges should be forgiven and the the accounts zeroed out in January (for the sake of Auld Lang Syne).

This week is generally dedicated to going to lunch with friends that I don't see that often. This year is no exception. Slow week. Yesterday a colleague dropped some stuff on me at lunch, so I'm going to Angola early in 2018. Something to look forward to?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Few Thoughts

Range Training

Sometimes training doesn't take (VIDEO HERE), even at the Fort Worth, TX Police Dept.

Typical Muslim Activity

(Sweden) Muslim migrants gang-raped a 17-year-old girl, then poured lighter fluid in her vagina and set it on fire. The answer of the Swedish government is to caution women not to go out at night. It's Sweden, they can do what they want. In another place you might have people making head shots of military age Muslim males who are accosting women. Of course, I would NEVER encourage that. And in a land of law abiding people where firearms are illegal, it would never happen. They're rely on the police to protect honest, law abiding people from the savages that their government let into the country.

Chinese Patroling

On 18 December, the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD) Joint Staff issued a press release on the flights of six Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft near southern Japan. 

The map graphic was released by the Japanese Ministry of
Defense on 18 December. The flight paths
are as plotted by the Air Self-Defense Force.
The press release said this was the first time that Japan confirmed the flight of Chinese fighter aircraft over the Sea of Japan.

According to the press release, five PLA aircraft – two H-6 bomber aircraft, two SU-30 fighter aircraft, and one TU-154 information gathering aircraft -- flew back and forth from over the East China Sea west of Nagasaki Prefecture to over the Sea of Japan north of Oki Shoto (Oki Islands), Shimane Prefecture, passing over the Eastern Channel (Tsushima Kaikyo) both ways. 

The press release also said that one Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft of the PLA flew from the Pacific Ocean south of Ishigaki Jima, Okinawa Prefecture, to over the East China Sea north of the Senkaku Islands, passing over waters between Okinawa Prefecture's main island and Miyako-jima.

The press release said the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) scrambled fighter aircraft to respond to the PLA aircraft. The Japanese MOD released photo images of the Chinese aircraft in flight on the 18th.

The Chinese flight formation did not violate Japanese or Korean airspace and the Japanese made no such claim. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday Madness

The Rubber Chicken Circuit
I've seen brief snippets of Barack Hussein Obama traveling here and there, bad-mouthing the country for not seating Hillary Clinton (lock-her-up) and for repudiating his agenda and his presidency on Fox News. I don't watch the corrupt, smug, sly, lying mainstream media, but I'm sure that they feature Barack regularly. 

He could have been everyone's president, but he chose not to be. He ended up being the best gun and ammo salesman in the history of the nation. (way to go Barack!)

Now we know that there is no depth that the Obama Administration wouldn't sink to in order to retain power and attack those who disagreed with them. It makes the Watergate scandal seem pitifully small and distant in the rear view mirror of history.

Progressives justify the Obama years. I can only wonder what they would have said if President Trump had mirrored his predecessor? The FBI's credibility is shot. Obama and Clinton used them like kleenex (I'm being kind here). Many of us are not surprised that Barack behaved like a third rate banana republic potentate while in office. What surprised me is that the nation returned the whoreson to office a second time.

And after all the howling from the progressive left that the nation would be destroyed by President Trump, the stock market is soaring, tax reform is a reality, business confidence is higher than its been in a generation, unemployment is down and economic growth is not teetering on a recession every quarter. 

As corrupt as Obama was, Hillary would have been much, much worse. We dodged a bullet with that one.

Climate Change - The War is Over

For those of you who follow global warming, climate change is off the "national threat list" and that means that the Defense Department and Intelligence Community don't have to dedicate resources to fighting the weather. A lot of progressive rice bowls were hoping for those trillions in funding that never happened. Barack (see above) is bitter.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meanwhile, in The Koreas

Christmas Dinner in the land of the Norks

Here is  your dinner, Dear Leader
It's winter in North Korea and the peasants are showing how tree bark can make a really tasty soup - because Dear Leader (the only fat man in North Korea) told them that it tastes great. And while the North Koreans starve to death, the US imposes more sanctions the Hermit Kingdom. The Norks don't want to be blockaded. There is no indication that the US plans that, but the Norks still fear it.
Advanced naval mines could be used to solve that problem. Essentially, they're torpedoes, tethered to the bottom, that fire up when a ship is in range. The Norks feel that the US would physically surround their miserable land with ships. That would be a waste of assets.
North Korea warned the US against imposing a naval blockade. On 14 December, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman replied to a question asked by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) about the US and a naval blockade. KCNA published the response, which was in English.
The spokesman said, "The gang of Trump, being terrified by our accomplishment of the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, is driving the situation on the Korean peninsula more and more close to the brink of war, acting recklessly without any sense of reason."

“The naval blockade the gang of Trump is trying to pursue is something that was already tried and ended in vain during the collective sanctions campaign against us undertaken by the Bush administration under the signboard of "Proliferation Security Initiative" in the early 2000s.”

“A naval blockade is an act of wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of an independent state and an act of war of aggression which cannot be tolerated.”

“The gang of Trump is taking extremely dangerous and big step towards the nuclear war by recklessly seeking the naval blockade against our country, neglecting the strategic prestige of our country that has achieved the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.”

“Should the United States and its followers try to enforce the naval blockade against our country, we will see it as an act of war and respond with merciless self-defensive counter-measures as we have warned repeatedly.”
The reply above confuses the Proliferation Security Initiative with a real blockade. 

The Proliferation Security Initiative is a US-driven, multi-national effort to stop proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. US President G.W. Bush announced the initiative in 2003. It has the endorsement of 105 nations around the world, but not China, India or North Korea.

North Korea considered the global dimensions of the initiative as camouflage for a US program to stop North Korean weapons proliferation. The initiative was proposed after 15 Scud short range ballistic missiles and other weapons were found aboard a North Korean freighter bound for Yemen in December 2002. 

A blockade of North Korea is unenforceable without Chinese participation, which will not happen. The difficulty with a blockade is that North Korea has a land border with China. China already has communicated that it will not allow North Korean civilians to suffer from sanctions.

The North Korean histrionics at the prospect of a blockade are just a bit more foolish than usual. Meanwhile, Dear Leader washes down his Happy Meal with a Coke (above).


Chinese navy ships are training in the Bohai Gulf. Chinese naval ships conducted a live-fire exercise off the North Korean peninsula on 14 December as part of a series of exercises in response to the security situation on the peninsula.

The Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration announced a closure area for the exercises in the waters west of Lushun in Liaoning province. 

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning participated for the first time since being declared combat ready. Xinhua reported, “In formation with several destroyers and frigates, the Liaoning carried out training in reconnaissance and early warning systems, air interception, sea assault, air-defense and anti-missile exercises.” J-15 fighters from the Liaoning conducted air strikes.

This is the second substantial exercise this week and the third this month. On Monday, 11 December, China and Russia conducted a simulated anti-missile exercise in Beijing. In the first week of December, the air force conducted exercises in the same area.

China’s National Defense Ministry said the Sino-Russian drills were aimed at boosting cooperation against threats from ballistic and cruise missiles in the region. “China and Russia oppose the development of a global anti-missile system and the cooperation on the anti-missile field would help protect both countries’ security as well as the regional strategic balance,” the ministry said.

The Sino-Russian anti-missile exercise coincided with a two-day ballistic missile defense exercise by the US, South Korea and Japan. The timing and nature of the Chinese exercises indicate they are demonstrations aimed at the US. 

The Chinese are demonstrating that North Korea is in their sphere of influence. They also are backing up President Xi Jinping’s statement that China will not allow another war on the Korean Peninsula. This is at least the third time that China has conveyed that message since the Party Congress in October.

South Korean President Moon made his first visit as president to China. President Xi is poaching in the US sphere of influence. He hosted South Korean President Moon in Beijing this week. This was Moon’s first visit since becoming President in May.

President Xi said that wars on the Korean peninsula are never acceptable and that China would continue to support dialogue as the solution to the Korean confrontation.

Xi also warned that South Korea should “appropriately handle” its deployment of a US-backed anti-missile system, which Beijing saw as a strategic threat and triggered its worst diplomatic crisis with Seoul in recent times.

The South Korean daily Yonhap reported that the two President agreed on four principles for dealing with North Korea. 
“During their summit in Beijing, the leaders reached an agreement on four basic principles in dealing with North Korea's nuclear threat, Moon's top press secretary Yoon Young-chan told a press briefing.”

"The four principles agreed by the two leaders are that first, a war on the Korean Peninsula can never be tolerated. Second, they will firmly maintain their principle on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

“They also reaffirmed their commitment to peacefully resolving all issues, including denuclearizing North Korea, through dialogue and negotiations, and agreed that an improvement in inter-Korean relations will help resolve such issues on the Korean Peninsula.”
President Moon called for a new start in South Korea-China relations. Moon invited President Xi to the winter Olympics and both presidents urged North Korea to participate in the games.

The meeting was cordial and the two leaders agreed to further develop their ties. President Moon was accompanied by one of the largest entourages of South Korean businessmen to travel to China. 

The statement that a war on the Korean Peninsula can never be tolerated is a translation of a direct quote. China is having success in reinforcing President Moon’s disinclination for an escalating crisis that can lead to war. We judge that recent Chinese and Russian military activity is intended to show that China is determined to back up the two presidents’ statement with military intervention. 

On a lighter note, South Korean President Moon formally met Chinese President Xi, after only seven months in office. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has not met Chinese President Xi after 5 years in office.