Interesting Items 10/29

Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information.  Enjoy –

In this issue:

  1. Caravan
  2. Khashoggi
  3. Medicare
  4. Abuse
  5. Bree
  6. Chip
  7. Oberlin
  8. Stormy
  9. Soyuz

  1. Caravan. As the unpopularity of the migrant invasion continued to reverberate around the political world, media coverage started looking elsewhere for stories that would harm President Trump rather than democrat congressional candidates.  There were a few bits of news out of the ongoing festivities.  Over 100 ISIS terrorists were arrested by Guatemala last week trying to join the caravan.  The Guatemalan president announced the arrests in news reports.  He also announced that Guatemala arrested 100 MS-13 gang bangers.  The President of Honduras told VP Pence that Venezuela was behind organizing and funding the caravan.  The former Chavista Honduran President removed from office in 2009 has been in the middle of organizing and egging on leaders of the caravan.  And if Venezuela is involved, so too are Cuba, Iran and the ChiComs.  This is not going unnoticed by the Trump administration I expect.  Final bit of news is that Mexico’s response to this is much more robust than in past years, finally deploying a law enforcement and military presence.  They even offered refugee status.  As of this writing, the negative pressure is starting to work, at least a little bit.  At a high of 14,000 reported participants, the caravan is starting to lose participants.


  1. Khashoggi. Churchill described the Soviet Union as “…a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…” with the key to understanding them as their national interest.  Compared to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the greater Islamic Middle East, the Soviet Union in the late 1930s is an open book.  We know several things about Khashoggi:  He was friends with Osama bin Laden; he has been a sworn member of the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1970s; He disappeared some weeks ago after visiting the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul; He was an opinion columnist for the Washington Post.  We know that Turkish President Erdogan is no friend of the Saudis, doing his level best to recreate the Caliphate in his own image with Turkey at the center.  We know that current Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is dragging the Kingdom kicking and screaming into the modern world.  We know that MBS is sufficiently crafty to pull off an internal intel operation that locked up hundreds of Wahhabi Imams overnight.  Finally, we know MBS has been working closely with both the Israelis and the US to reposition the Kingdom to better deal with Iran.  Finally, we have Iran doing its level best expand its influence from Iran to Lebanon including all nations in between.  So, this guy disappears.  Erdogan gets himself involved, claiming he was murdered, the body dismembered, and carried away by 15 Saudis who visited the Embassy the same day.  Better yet, Erdogan claims to have a recording of the festivities complete with screams of the live dismemberment.  US media gets itself involved, using the excuse that one of their “reporters” was murdered, demanding Trump instantly censure MBS and halt all arms sales to the Kingdom.  Trump sends SECSTATE Pompeo to both Riyadh and Istanbul to talk with those governments.  He also sends his CIA Chief to Istanbul.  At this point, we simply don’t know enough to do anything other than speculate what happened.  The operation that took down Khashoggi was very clumsy and obvious, something not in line with the expertise MBS has showed in recent internal intel operations.  And Erdogan’s involvement at any level worries me a lot.  Leave this one in the data gathering stage for a while, as I think there will be a lot more before we get to a conclusion.


  1. Medicare. The most recent manifestation of democrat universal health care is Medicare for All.  Bernie Sanders’ Vermont pushed it and found it was too expensive.  A ballot initiative to pass it in California failed for the same reason.  Alexandria Occasional Cortex is blithely waving off its proposed $38 trillion cost over 10 years as an easily achievable and affordable goal.  Democrat candidate for Alaska Governor Mark Begich makes similar mistakes with his support for additional Medicaid expansion here in Alaska should he be elected.  Finally, you simply can’t have universal health care and open borders much to consternation of democrats and the Republican Chamber of Commerce crowd.


  1. Abuse. When you give over the streets of a major US city to the democrat mob, ugly things happen.  Last week video of a Portland Antifa protester going after a 9-11 widow from a week earlier went viral.  The exchange took place at the Patriot Prayer – Proud Boys protest in Portland on Oct. 13.  The groups were demanding that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler resign for turning the streets of Portland over to Antifa and ordering the police to stand down.  Antifa responded and chaos ensued.  The Antifa guy started after the woman and doubled down on ugly when she identified herself as a 9-11 NYPD widow.  He was a data specialist at Self Enhancement, Inc., a youth development organization.  Self Enhancement fired him by Saturday.  The only bad news from this is that the guy was initially misidentified as a Portland professional skateboarded who received no small amount of online abuse before the misidentification was corrected.  When you give into the democrat mob, awful things happen.  At least nobody got physically hurt this time around, although it appears that Antifa members are most certainly looking for it.  I would expect them to be prepared for it too.


  1. Bree. Former US Senator from Alaska Mark Begich was responsible for one of the ugliest ads in the 2014 election cycle.  This ad blamed his opponent, Dan Sullivan (who beat him) for releasing a nasty on parole who then went on to murder a pair of grandparents and sexually abuse their 2-year-old.  The blowback on the ad forced them to pull it.  Begich is running for Alaska Governor this time around and the cheap shot ad hit the fan a week or so ago.  It was commissioned by a third-party group that formerly supported Bill Walker.  They very quickly changed their allegiance to Begich after Walker suspended his campaign.  This ad blames Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy for opposing legislation that would have mandated yet another class in the public schools to educate students on the evils of date abuse.  A 20-year old woman was abused and eventually murdered by her boyfriend in 2014.  Her parents demanded legislation.  Dunleavy is a former teacher and administrator, well experienced in state mandates on the public schools.  While generally supportive, he made very sure there was a funding tail behind the mandate.  This held up passage for a while.  The Unite Alaska ad goes the Full Monty and accuses Dunleavy of not being concerned about violence against women.  Note that under state election laws, a candidate like Begich cannot coordinate with or even demand an ad be pulled.  But it is sure interesting that this is the default action of his supporters.  Once may be a mistake.  Twice is a coincidence.  Three times is enemy action.


  1. Chip. Some pushback on Bloomberg’s story a couple weeks ago describing how the ChiComs infiltrated the Supermicro supply and manufacturing chain.  A technical web site called Serve the Home posted an extensive and very technical piece making the case that Bloomberg’s description of the hardware hack was at best implausible and at worst wrong.  The biggest reason the server management industry doubts the Bloomberg report is that it is not possible for the chips to function on the networks of their intended targets.  Second reason is that it is not possible to access code on machines that are not powered on.  Finally, the installed microchips did not have either the pin count or the processing power to intercept bios instruction loads across thousands of pins on targeted motherboards.  Additional questions are who actually manufactured the chip?  China does not have that capability or did not at the time this hack was targeted in 2014.  Everyone else is offshore from China.  Apple and AWS both describe the Bloomberg story as wrong, that the reporters were pushing an agenda and were not interested in their answers to the reporter’s questions.  There will be more as this all sorts out.


  1. Oberlin. This one has been percolating for at least two years.  Oberlin College is a small, liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio.  An off-campus bakery arrested three students (all black) for shoplifting.  The students accused the bakery of racism and held protests outside it for days.  The student senate egged on by members of the college administration voted to cease all support (business) with the bakery.  The bakery filed a lawsuit that is currently in deposition.  The shoplifting perps all took a guilty plea.  Normally, when this happens, the college will settle with the business.  They haven’t.  As it turns out, the events took place the Wednesday after Trump’s election in 2016.  The students (administration?) were “upset” with the outcome of the election, and the college administration did everything humanly possible to play along with and pander to their angst.  Essentially, the college is going after a long-lived local business, claiming the media is against them, currently trying to get the venue changed.  They are trying to defend the SJW actions of their students, which is odd.  Sooner or later, it is generally a Good Thing to stop believing your own propaganda.


  1. Stormy. A federal judge last week tossed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Trump on First Amendment grounds and ordered her to pay his legal fees.  Daniels’ lawyer was putative 202 democrat presidential candidate Michael Avenatti.  The lawsuit was intended to bankrupt Trump, destroy him financially.  Daniels had $250k in a GoFundMe account by last March to pay her legal fees.  The judge’s order for her to pay Trump’s legal fees means that all those lefties who gleefully donated to her lawsuit are now paying Trump.  Schadenfreude runs deep here.  Trump celebrated the victory with a tweet calling her Horseface, something that shocked, simply shocked the media.  Trump rarely takes the first shot, but he is a great, great counterpuncher.


  1. Soyuz. A Soyuz rocket carrying a crew of two the International Space Station (ISS) failed after launch a couple weeks ago.  Looked like the failure was the around the point where the first stage separated.  The abort system allowed the crew to survive a relatively rough ride with a safe landing following the failure.  Russians intend to be back in operational flight by Christmas.  For NASA’s part, this should accelerate the man-rating process for SpaceX Dragon 2 manned capsule.  Sadly, I expect it won’t, as there is no bureaucratic incentive to sign off on the capability early.  I do not think the accident investigation is complete and do not at this time have any additional information about what failed and why.  Early indications are that one of the four liquid strap-on boosters did not separate cleanly and collided with the first stage core.  The collision damaged the lower section of the second stage.  Engineers are looking at the separation mechanism or booster mount.  Computer failure is considered the least likely cause at this time.  The Soyuz booster is an updated version of the same basic rocket that launched Sputnik 1 over 60 years ago.

More later –

– AG


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