Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
- Syria. The most recent chapter of the ongoing anti-Trump Passion Play is the reaction to his decision to pull 1,000 US troops out of Syria. Given the reaction on both sides of the political fence, you would have just thought he had capitulated to the Islamists like Neville Chamberlain did to the Nazis in 1938 purchasing peace for our time. With few exceptions, he has been universally blasted. The most effective persuasion has been accusing Trump of abandoning out allies, the Kurds in northern Syria. This is weapons grade persuasion, dreamed up by someone who will be working on the democrat presidential campaign next year. So, what is really happening? For starters, both sides, the Turks and the Kurds are our allies. We even have a treaty with the Turks that allowed them to join NATO. We were paying and working closely with the Kurds to defeat ISIS. OTOH, the Turks and Kurds don’t particularly like one another and have been fighting for a long time. As I understand it, US troops were helping provide security for some unknown number of ISIS prisoners in the middle of their area of northern Syria. The first charge of Trump abandoning our allies is demonstrably false. The Turks have long wanted a security zone between them and Syria. They also want to protect a pipeline from northern Syria into Turkey. Turkish President and wannabee Sultan of the newly reestablished Ottoman Empire Erdogan was going to send Turkish forces into Syria, so Trump withdrew 50 US troops from northern Syria after a couple warnings. Not unexpectedly, Erdogan took a lot more than he promised, prompting a Trump threat to destroy his national economy. Trump sent a blunt letter to Erdogan closely followed by SECSTATE Pompeo and VP Pence. Erdogan publicly told them not to come and ended up meeting with them and agreeing to a cease fire. The meeting led to a 5-day cease fire celebrated by Trump and blasted by everyone else in Washington and the media. Now, Erdogan doesn’t agree to squat unless Trump has him by the short hairs. It is important to remind everyone that nobody knows what is going on in northern Syria. There has been no reportage and what little we get has all been oriented toward Trump’s huge strategic mistake. Some are referring to this little incursion at Erdogan’s Vietnam, and it might well be, as we spent years training the Kurds, not that they needed it. We also left significant weapons for them to use. I expect they are currently making the Turkish military’s lives miserable.
- Political. The political fallout of this has been fascinating, with the entirety of the DC swamp in universal condemnation of the pullout. And the irony of the newfound love for armed combat by American troops in all sorts of nasty locales around the globe by the political left and media stunning. For example, the very people who abandoned our allies in South Vietnam in 1975, the democrats, are now caterwauling about abandoning the Kurds to the Turks. Congressional leadership, particularly on both sides in the Senate are prattling on about the awful pullout. Over the weekend, our local fish wrapper ran a piece by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell entitled Withdrawing from Syria is a grave mistake. If this is such a big deal, congress does have a tool that will force the President to deploy and use troops. This is called a War Resolution, last used to approve the second war in Iraq in 2002. So far, nobody in the swamp has the cojones to float one of these. Too easy to prattle on to a compliant media. As to the Kurds, they and the Turks have been fighting one another for hundreds of years, at least two centuries against the Ottoman Empire. The Turks have been fighting a Marxist group of Kurds called the PKK in Turkey itself since 1974. For their part, the Kurdish homeland is spread out in at least four countries – Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. Each nation has its own problem with indigenous Kurds. The ones who are dealing with it best are the ones who have given their Kurds a semi-autonomous homeland within their borders so as to minimize armed combat with them. All the nations are in their own way both very careful and wary of their internal Kurds. Are the newly discovered Kurdish supporters in the DC swamp now supporting a re-partition of the Middle East to solve the Kurdish problem? Crickets. I think this is going to end up being yet another brilliant Trump move, for it not only shakes the box on yet another intractable Middle Eastern problem, but it doesn’t expend any American lives to get from where we are to where we ought to be, yet another nice fallout from energy independence, something 2020 democrat presidential candidates all promise to end.
- Coup. Scott Adams is describing the ongoing democrat – media effort to remove Trump from office as a hypnosis coup. He has done nothing wrong, yet every single media (including many at Fox News) are trumpeting every single claim as the reason he will be gone. This hypnosis coup started within the hour that Trump was inaugurated in 2010, when the Washington Post ran its first story using the word “impeachment” a mere 19 minutes after Trump took the Oath of Office. The latest round of whistleblower claims come from someone who not only worked for Biden in the WH while he was VP, but also worked for James Clapper when he was O’Bama’s DNI. As a result, democrat House members don’t want him or her to say anything in public. The use of Rudy Giuliani as a Special Envoy investigating in the Ukraine is also being turned into something illegal. Problem with this is that presidents use special envoys all the time, especially in a time when that president can trust neither the intel community nor the FIB. If you can’t trust agencies who are tasked with doing this sort of stuff, you go outside their channels. If the intel community is successful in taking down Trump, we will not be rid of them for a very long time.
- G-7. Presidential Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney stirred up the DC swamp nicely late last week with the announcement that the 2020 G-7 meeting would be held at Trump’s National Doral Miami golf resort in Florida. This was both ultimate trolling and weapons grade persuasion in his expected negotiations with national leaders. It was trolling in that it instantly sent the DC swamp and their media enablers into high dudgeon screaming to high heaven about Trump enriching himself at the expense of the nation, violating the Emoluments Clause, High Crimes, Misdemeanors, yada, yada, yada . By Sunday, he changed the venue, which was a mistake. And here’s why. Trump is a master of negotiation. He looks at the entire world as an ongoing negotiation. Scheduling the meeting at Doral, in a facility that Trump built and ran, puts Trump at the top of negotiation game. It sets the stage. It puts him in charge. And he gets to show off what he built with his hands and business acumen to a bunch of people who are career politicians, whose only claim to fame is building a winning majority in an election, something Trump did too. By forcing the change, the media and the swamp put their own anti-Trump partisan viewpoints above the overall good of the nation. Congratulations.
- NBA. The NBA continued to deal with the blowback of their kowtowing to the ChiComs over the course of the last week, and it isn’t going well for them. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged a demand by the ChiCom government to fire Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Ejection of Hong Kong supporting protesters at NBA games did slow down a bit, though the protests did get a little more widespread, particularly at Brooklyn Nets games (the Nets owner is a Chinese billionaire who owns AliBaba, the Chinese Amazon). NBA player LeBron James made yet another ill-advised foray into the political world with comments stating his belief that Morey was “… either misinformed or not really educated in the situation” with China and the NBA. Among other NBA players, James lost endorsement and appearance fees as part of the fallout. This prompted yet more blowback including a South Park episode aimed at him. To me, it is a reminder of the failure of his education (he only completed high school and was a star athlete), and his post-formal education hasn’t been much better. But he does know who is paying him. This isn’t going away any time soon, not unlike the NFL protests, though this time around, I don’t expect Trump to save them from themselves.
- Nukes. All is not bad news out there, as there is some good news on the nuclear energy front. First comes out of the Navy, which filed a patent last month that claims to have developed a compact nuclear fusion reactor. The patent was filed in March and just published last month. The technology looks to be a variation on the Bussard Polywell design he and the Navy worked on for a decade. The last version was the WB-6 (Whiffle Ball). The Navy halted work on this design in the mid ‘00s. Bussard sadly passed away in 2007, but it appears what he had in motion is still moving. The Navy needs this sort of massive power generation in a small package to power new technology weapons (lasers, particle beams, rail guns) on their ships and aircraft. The second falls out of a Netflix 3-program series entitled The Mind of Bill Gates. The last episode talked about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation work on a Generation IV reactor called a traveling wave reactor. This reactor uses depleted uranium as a fuel. The design is essentially hands-free and reload time can be measured in decades. The Gen IV machines do not melt down or require any special care and feeding when power goes out. The company TerraPower was in licensing negotiations with China at the time the current trade festivities began. The piece ended sadly, attempting to blame the entire mess on President Trump. I am of two minds about this. On one hand, I am happy they never finalized transfer of this technology to China, as China will simply steal the technology and copy it. On the other hand, we do need construction and distribution of Gen IV reactors here in the US. Scott Adams has been making the case for at least a year that Gen IV reactors are the solution to the emissions problem of the religious greens. Theoretically, they should be wildly supportive. At worst, it will take away yet another anti-technology excuse. At best, it might create a wrap-around political coalition – hard left and hard right – in support of Gen IV reactors. The more self-sufficient we are in primary energy, the better this nation will be. And the Trump Department of Energy has been supportive of streamlining licensing of new designs. Even Alaska’s leftist US Senator Lisa Murkowski is supportive of Gen IV nuclear. There is a real opportunity here if we can solve the licensing problem. Over the years, the NRC managed to get themselves into a world that they think they can keep themselves employed by dragging out licensing a new design for decades rather than licensing 50 new designs over the same time period.
- Ham. The State of California has done so many idiotic things regarding fire prevention in recent years, that everyone is a bit gun shy, not unlike firearms owners, with daily attacks on the right to use, possess, and train with firearms. Ran across a story last week that national association of amateur radio members in California were concerned about the state dismantling a Ham Radio network used for warnings about wildfires in the state. Ham Radio is used as an emergency communications network. The concern was triggered by a letter from CAL FIRE warning to a repeater owner / group informing them that the amateur radio equipment would have to be removed from state owned sites unless they paid up. Attempts to contact the letter writer have not been successful. There is all manner of speculation about what is going on ranging from yet another simple money grab from a bankrupt state, to simple bureaucratic punishment of those who do not comply or are insufficiently deferential to state authorities. How will this work out? Unknown, that is until someone starts talking.
More later –