Some Good News

The good news is that two of our best friends, Japan and South Korea have kissed and made up!
The subject was the kidnapping and raping of tens of thousands of Korean, and other nationalities including Indonesians, and even Dutch, but mostly Koreans. These women were then turned into forced prostitutes to service the Japanese Army. 

For years these sex slaves had to service a dozen or more Japanese soldiers a day.

The Japanese have always denied their complicity, while quietly admitting the “Comfort Women” existed, but claiming they were prostitutes. South Korea erected a Comfort Woman statue facing the Japanese Embassy, and others were erected in the US over Japanese American objections.

The Japanese nationalists, of whom the current Prime Minister Abe is a member, were under pressure from the US to solve the problem by the end of the year, and they did so. 

The Japanese caved, they agreed to millions to the remaining Comfort Women, Prime Minister Abe apologized and expressed remorse, and in return South Korea agreed to remove the statue in front of the Japanese Embassy. Both sides agreed to put this behind them.

But it should not be forgotten, even though it may officially no longer be brought up in diplomatic circles, it is a part of history. A very bad part.

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This is a BIG Story!

The SpaceX landing of their huge rocket is HUGE news, and more than the press is giving it!

This is a monster 1.5 million lbs of thrust, weighing 1.1 million lbs, taking 11 satellites into low orbit successfully, then having the first stage of the rocket return to earth and a soft landing!

This is BIG, and incredibly difficult. The nine engine Falcon 9 v 1.1 is the launch vehicle that will permit us to take back the personnel delivery to the Space Station from Russia, and eventually will be the basis of our Mars Mission. I would love to be alive for that, but alas…

Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s SpaceX program just cut its costs on future flights by returning the first stage softly, and at some future dats will return the second stage also.

This was the first ever flight also with super cooled cryogenic fuel, cooled to minus 340 degrees for greater density. 

It’s a BIG DEAL! American ingenuity at work!

Next year, SpaceX will hopefully launch Falcon Heavy, with separate cores of Merlin engines three times the power of the latest launch. Only the enormous Saturn V of 1973 had more thrust. 

Space X, is leading us back!

Monday Morning Musings

What I have discovered in reading Trump supporters on-line, and entering dialog with them is that you can’t ignore Trump, fact-check Trump, or criticize Trump even lightly. If you do not absolutely worship Trump, you must be a Muslim-loving, America-hating, Hillary–supporting “Libtard,” who probably killed his mother, drools and suffocated his children.
I am an Annapolis graduate with 26 years service, Enlisted and Officer, and I’ll match my patriotism against ANY Trump supporter on any Blog, but I am not sufficiently patriotic for the keyboard warriors who have never racked a cartridge in anger!

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I watched the purposely hidden Democratic Debate, and there were few surprises. Control guns, raise taxes, give away free stuff. College should be free, apparently, in the thoughts of all Democrats, without even a thought that if college students have no cost to themselves or their families, they will have little incentive (even less than today!) to study or take challenging courses.

If Democrats could, they would have free food and housing…yes, free love and Vodka also!

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The Blogs and Facebook feature a Rogues Gallery of students disrespecting teachers in America’s classrooms.
I have no sympathy for teachers who complain about little discipline.. When was the last time you heard of a teacher’s union demanding civility in the classroom, and threatening a strike if they didn’t get it? No, no one has, but 300,000 (plus) teachers — teachers who are THE major donors to politicians in Sacramento, and if they want something, they WILL get it!

Teachers have demanded, and received, salaries that rank in the top five among states — it’s too bad they have not used their clout to raise California academic standings or the quality of civility in the classroom.

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I am torn on the subject of encryption — yes, Apple and others should provide a “back door” to their encryption but it is meaningless because ISIL is writing their own encryption software, so what Apple does is really immaterial. The game has passed them by!

It’s Called WAR!

As I watched the “debates” last night, it occurred to me that darn few candidates — and no people asking questions (including off the Internet) would have dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Further, none would have fire bombed Tokyo, or destroyed Berlin or Dresden.
Which means the British would have had to accept the destruction of Coventry and London without retaliating.

You see…none of the cities named had much military (or any) significance. All were civilian centers.

So, this is the question, paraphrased, for Mr. Truman, and in his absence, you:

“Mr. President, we can drop the bomb on Hiroshima and kill perhaps 100,000 civilians, or we can invade the main islands of Japan at the cost of a million American casualties…200,000 dead, 800,000 wounded”

You need to answer that, and so do the candidates.

And, if your answer is “No,” to paraphrase Trump, “So, they can kill our families, and we can’t kill theirs?”

Yes, killing families are against the Geneva Convention, but that document is as one-sided as the bombing question is — Al-Queda didn’t sign the Geneva Convention, and neither did Daesh.

So, as usual we are asked to behave by the Marquis of Queensberry Rules, and they get to use the Marque de Sade’s Rules?

NO! NO! NO!

Now we do have limits, or should. We shouldn’t behead or execute innocents…or burn them to death in cages.

Should we “water board?”

Judicially, yes!

But “Sanctuaries?”

 No! Not in San Francisco or Raqqa!

There are only so many advantages we can cede to an enemy.

Your Move, Mr. Putin!

Putin has publicly admitted that the sanctions against Russia, imposed by the West in response to Russia seizing the Crimea and threatening the Ukraine, are really hurting his nation.
How much? Well new car sales are down more than 50% in this November compared to the same month in 2014.

Think of that for a second!  (One brand dropped 71%, month to month)

Now, to be honest, it was not only the sanctions — Russia is a major exporter of oil, and the prices of oil have dropped from $100+ a barrel to $35. The double hit of sanctions and a world awash in an oil surplus has crippled Russia.

Putin wants the sanctions lifted because that is something someone has control over, while the oil surplus is something no one nation or combination of nations is likely to control. In fact, the United States, is a sleeping elephant in the fuel room…and the Congress is about to permit the exportation of oil!

Gas is selling in the Mid-West for $1.94 a gallon — we are awash in oil! If we export, we further weaken the Russian economy. Putin is crazy, but he is not stupid! As much as he wants to spend on his military, he has no money and no clear field to get any. In short, he cannot make any further moves unless he can solve his economy.

The US doesn’t want to squeeze too hard, but it needs to be enough. Russia has been here before, seeing its economy collapse. It would help if he simply brings his troops home from the Ukraine, but he doesn’t want to show any weakness.

Watching his economy collapse is a worse option! Russia has always been a Third World country with nukes, tried to become a rising nation but along came sanctions and a massive drop in oil prices. 

Your move, Mr. Putin. 

A Mess! 

Something is smelling bad.
The Washington Post is predicting that Cruz is the likely Republican nominee.

John Podesta, Democratic Party guru of the left, agrees.

There are several possible explanations: (In no particular order)

1)this an anti-Trump play by the Democrats, finding someone almost as outrageous as Trump but with better speaking skills.

2) it is an actual analysis, rationally made, and correct considering the ground game of each candidate

3) the Democrats have more on Cruz that is embarrassing, than Trump

There must be five more scenarios which I can’t imagine because I am not on the inside of any ground game, but politics is a dirty business. A really dirty business. 

So, I have no clue. But I thought I would at least explore the candidates, and it is obvious that the only candidate that has as high a dissatisfaction index as Trump, is Hillary. 

That means that Republicans want to ease Trump out, because of his ultra-high negative numbers. That makes tactical and strategic sense.

Cruz is, as Alan Dershowitz said, “scary smart” — and in Iowa, Cruz has the Evangelicals in Iowa. Destroying Trumps invincibility is necessary, because Trump touts how far he is ahead, constantly. Cruz is the proper one to do that, and Iowa is the place. Rubio might be the one somewhere else, but Cruz is the man of the hour in hour.

If Trump can do no better than winning half of the first four competitions, then Rubio and even Jeb could move into contention.

It is a long, long campaign, with many twists and turns. This is one of the first, and, in my opinion, it is driven by Trump’s negatives — which are much higher in every poll than his positives.

And, if you think the Republicans have problems, just look at the Democrats. They have Hillary with massive negatives, an FBI investigation that the administration cannot control, and, unlike the Republicans, no Plan B.

None!

The later that the FBI releases their results (if those results are negative to Hillary, and I expect them to be), no time will be left to develop a Plan B. 

I suppose Joe Biden is a Democrat possible, but that is chancy once he has said “No.”

No, the Republicans have the better looking road to the White House.

But nothing is a lock. In the end, negatives have the power on both sides because the power brokers do not want a candidate who can’t win the final.

And, In Other News….

Trump dominates the news so much, I thought you might want some good news!
So what was Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter doing in Venezuela? She was there to support fellow -Socialist/Communist Presidente Maduro get his legislative and political head handed to him by the opposition for the first time in 17 years.

The opposition gained a two – thirds plus legislative victory, meaning that the fractured opposition can overrule Maduro if they stick together after January when the election results take effect. The new legislature can even unseat the Venezuelan Supreme Court.

Maduro, for his part, bounces between accepting the voter’s will, and threatening to take his socialist rabble to the streets.

Stay tuned. Maduro can stay in office until 2017, or he may stage a coup. Socialists/Communists are not known for their adherence to voting. Maduro has announced his intention to keep opposition leaders in jail, and to stop the legislature from replacing the corruption — filled and nepotism riven bureaucracy from being replaced.

Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter didn’t help get their candidate any help at all. Come to think of it, a massive defeat like the Socialists took last Sunday, is not something that the Socialists have a Democratic methodology with which to respond.