Millennials Should Rent

From Zero Hedge:

A breakdown of the data by age group reveals that the primary driver for this latest decline was once again the youngest age cohort. While older Americans, especially those 65 and older, have predictably seen only modest declines in their homeownership in recent decades, it was the youngest age group, those 35 and younger, i.e. the Millennials, who once again decided against owning and chose to rent instead.

I spent yesterday afternoon trimming the Wife’s forsythia.  Several years ago, a recent graduate of one of our fine diploma mills got a good job downtown and bought the house next door.  Based on their nocturnal activities, we could tell she and her friends were local barflies.  Except for smoking cigs on the patio, they never ventured outside.  She hired a local landscaper and the lawn was mowed.

This year is different.  Last fall’s leaves still lay in the backyard and grass is knee high out front.  Evidently, this has something to do with her loser boyfriend moving out.  Whatever.

Some people weren’t meant to own property.  I enjoy getting up leaves, mowing, pruning, pulling weeds and mulching.  Hell, this year I even found time to build and stain 8 flower boxes out of old deck boards.  Yes, it’s grueling work, but excellent exercise and nothing pisses off the neighbors more than a pretty yard.

I’d like to say our neighbor is unique in her neglect, but a couple more young people on our short street fail to keep their yards up.  I have no idea what they do with all their times, except of course for smoking cigs.  Hell, I work a job, keep up two yards and still have loads of free time to hang out on the internet.

My small bit of anecdotal evidence indicates a lot of millennials are lazy.  It’s a good thing  owning a home is no longer a no-brainer investment.  They appear to never have heard the term ‘curb appeal’ and will surely take a beating should they ever decide to sell.

It is probably better that these slothful children, rather than becoming adults, continue holding down bar stools somewhere and puffing on cigs.  To them, my efforts to have a nice yard seem like the actions of a Marvel superhero.  They are apparently unaware of Lowe’s and Home Depot.  Maybe if they sold beer and cigs.

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Mattis Punching Down

From DNI, Dan Coats:

Past efforts have failed to halt North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs and nuclear and ballistic missile tests. With each provocation, North Korea jeopardizes stability in Northeast Asia and poses a growing threat to our allies and the U.S. homeland.

North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority. Upon assuming office, President Trump ordered a thorough review of U.S. policy pertaining to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Today, along with Chainnan of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, we briefed members of Congress on the review. The president’s approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic anctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners.

We are engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on he DPRK in order to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue. We will maintain our close coordination and cooperation with our allies, especially the Republic of Korea and Japan, as we work together to preserve stability and prosperity in the region.

The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies.

Having been bested in every theater of war imaginable, the US military produced a wet fart yesterday in the form of a Minuteman III launch.

Meanwhile:

The Russian SS-27 Topol, like all their ICBMs, is mobile and hidden from Five Eyes satellites, denying such pathetic things as Tomahawk cruise missiles a target, and approaching its target at Mach 21, making it entirely indefensible, and certainly not by such ridiculous toys as an Aegis battery.

Should those 8 inch floppies in US silos actually fire ICBMs before being taken out in anything but a pre-emptive first strike, the Russian S-400 ABM warheads will intercept them in the stratosphere, before their nuclear warheads have a chance to trigger.

In Kaliningrad, KRET Richag-AV and Khibiny ECM devices will render the battlefield useless to NATO, just as they have done in Ukraine and Syria.  NATO knows this and yet they mass for war.

Three generations of nuclear threat has produced the world’s greatest ABM defenses and offensive nuclear weapons.  Russia is the preeminent producer of rocket engines and this translates to amazing tactical weapons such as the short range Iskander.  All of these weapons have multiple guided warheads and secondary rockets which approach target at supersonic speed.

We are marching to war under the most ludicrous circumstances and we will lose.

The Zionist neocon warmongers, led in the US by the traitorous SecDef, have scoured the earth for a suitable victim of war not yet robbed of nukes and scattered to the wind.  The DPRK is all that remains, so there you go.

The absence of rational actors invites a nuclear first strike.  But long before that, we may see all the Russian tricks put to use, humiliating Mattis and his presidential puppet.

China is in too precarious a position, economically, financially and politically to unleash its military mysteries, which are advanced primarily by the Russians.

Vladivostok sits in the path of prevailing winds, should nukes be used and is a terrifically convenient port for Russia to exert its influence.

This may look like another dust up with the Norks, but it is prelude to WWIII with the Russians, and we will lose.

It just occurred to me: this isn’t about Pyongyang at all, but Vladivostok. With NATO surrounding Kahliningrad in the West, this is the neocon’s idiotic pincer movement, forcing Russia to fight on two fronts, 10,000 kms apart.

Actually, if you count the nonsense going on in the Black Sea, it’s three fronts. The Ukies were supposed to make it four, but that hasn’t worked out.

ECM used by Russia in Ukraine and Syria scared the shit out of NATO.

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The Late David Powell

From the N&R:

David M. Powell, the former Triad economic development executive and Wilmington businessman who was accused of embezzling more than $240,000 from the Piedmont Triad Partnership, took his own life Saturday…

Powell was charged in January 2016 with two counts each of embezzling and obtaining more than $240,000 by false pretense from the partnership, which is the Triad’s main economic development agency.

Locke Clifford, the Greensboro attorney who had represented Powell, said in a statement Sunday night that his client killed himself. Clifford declined to say how Powell died but said he suffered from depression.

Depression, my ass. This was a psychopath who got caught and couldn’t do the time.

This is not a cautionary tale, but merely the cost of doing business.

Powell was not an anomaly. He was the best of the best.

I regret not coming down harder on this POS, while he was alive. But I do find solace in the notion that maybe he thought about me at the end.

Powell has also robbed the community he was paid to serve of contrition and penance.

Even in death, you will not escape me.

Those were my thoughts this morning, after I drove to the store in the rain, vacuumed and took out the trash.  But properly drunk this evening, I am much more prepared to comment upon this rotting piece of shit.

David Powell, much like Jeff Varner of CBS’ Survivor, isn’t reviled for being an asshole, but for having been caught.  Whether at the country clubs he preyed upon here or in Wilmington, the ultimate sin was existing as a reminder of what might easily become them all. Thus, he was granted absolution like Pentangeli in The Godfather or the Roman before him.

And so this piece of shit is dead, by his own hand and at great and cruel expense to his family.  That is his real legacy.

Everybody steals.  I’d like to tell you that some able local journalist is gonna chronicle the sad descent into Kure Beach oblivion, but that ain’t gonna happen, so here I am.

For every crazed and lonely blogger, David Powell is the prize and proof of  unsubstantiated suspicion regarding elected officials.  The public/private partnership is a particularly insidious target environment.

The obvious conclusion is that Powell had a tin ear for politics.

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Obama the Persian

From Politico:

When President Barack Obama announced the “one-time gesture” of releasing Iranian-born prisoners who “were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses” last year, his administration presented the move as a modest trade-off for the greater good of the Iran nuclear agreement and Tehran’s pledge to free five Americans…

In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware. As part of the deal, U.S. officials even dropped their demand for $10 million that a jury said the aerospace engineer illegally received from Tehran…

The biggest fish, though, was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with being part of a conspiracy that from 2005 to 2012 procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran via China. That included hundreds of U.S.-made sensors for the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran whose progress had prompted the nuclear deal talks in the first place.

If, like me, you despise Zionism, its demonization of Shia Islam and co-option of Sunni Islam to its evil ends, then Obama remained loyal in his opposition to the Zionist global threat of war and destruction.

from Wikipedia:

Sufism continued to remain a crucial part of daily Islamic life until the twentieth century, when its historical influence upon Islamic civilization began to be undermined by modernism[71] as well as be combated by the rise of Salafism and Wahhabism.

The rise of Zionism is directly responsible for the radicalization of Sunni Islam.  Sure, the Ayatollahs are no fun, but neither are they reason to be permanent enemies of the hysterically paranoid Zionists.

And they are certainly no reason for a nation of ignorant and fearful Christofascists to be useful idiots in the traitorous policy of a foreign government over their own.

Rather than demonize Islam for its radicals, as the Zionists want, we should instead try and understand the terrible things Zionists have done and continue to do to Islamists, with our help and more often than not on their behalf.

With Trump’s recent betrayal of campaign pledges to be a peace-loving Nationalist, Obama’s compassion toward Iranians appears even more defiant.  While Obama does not leave a peaceful legacy, his treatment of Netanyahu and the Iranians give a resounding middle finger to the Zionists,  the enemy of those who love peace and freedom.

Trump’s Zionism will be problematic in his relations with China.  In a world recoiling from deflation caused by neoliberal globalism, Trump finds himself on the wrong side of history.  His legacy as a one term president, if that, is assured.

Obama will exit stage left with his dignity,  may proudly return to services of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and proclaim, “God damn, America,” with righteous conviction.

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Mad Dog Mattis is POTUS

It was the GOP plan all along, among the #NeverTrumpers and now it is reality.

Mattis pawned Trump last week with bad intel regarding our carrier groups.

From The Daily Beast, recently:

President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants his defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, to have a freer hand to launch time-sensitive missions quickly, ending what U.S. officials say could be a long approval process under President Barack Obama that critics claimed stalled some missions by hours or days.

That right there is what we call a military soft coup d’etat.  Not that it matters.

Trump’s concession to the Zionists will utterly destroy the Left, by capturing the oligarchs who fund them.

Trump may understand that the US military, lacking a victory in generations, is incapable of prosecuting its demented ambitions.

Whereas Russia is relatively stable, China’s problems are enormous and our involvement is intractable.

While the neocon warmongers bully North Korea once again, Trump understands illicit hot Chinese cash has been propping up the US housing market for years. Indeed, we hope to sell out to the Chinese someday, and you should, too.

Dealing with Trump is like dealing with a woman: at first, you’re gobsmacked by the things he says and does. But once you think about, they seem to make sense.

Nikki Haley is literally a fucking clown.  Her Imperial protestations  from day one at the UN signaled that Bannon, Trump et al were prepared to let the Zionists run the military as recklessly as they chose and had demonstrated in the past.  If so, the alt-right, with new eyes, saw that the US military is and has been a fraud since WWII and would lose WWIII.

Trump isn’t battling Deep State; he caved to the thoroughly corrupt agencies from the outset, as his cabinet appointments have hilariously displayed.

Hanging with Xi at Mar-a-Lago was a big deal, as the Syrian fireworks and subsequent Nork baiting exhibited.  They also delighted the Left and the Zionists, effectively ending the dead end Russian false narrative.

If we are to grow manufacturing, we must rely on the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Germans to do it.  It appears as though Trump is giving the Zionists rope to hang themselves, while making the right moves with China.

I’d love to think this subterfuge is admitted on background to all parties, which would mean what we are seeing is fantastic theater.

 

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The Walking Dead

God knows I hate the AMC show as much as  I loved Breaking bad and Better Call Saul.  Maybe it’s because I’m from Liberty.   For the last twenty years I’ve been married and living up the road in Greensboro.  We work together everyday and I spend half the week in the rental in Liberty.  I’d love to dish dirt, but it really comes down to the fact that she is consumed with running a successful business, caring for three cats and I am not.

I run the website, show up early, ship, shoot and leave when I can.

It’s a good life.  On weekends, I’m literally mobbed with feral cats whom I adore and the Wife, with whom I am not only able to work, but also have a really good time.

We hit Atlanta two weeks ago, where she bought Fall and I stayed out of trouble.  We should probably get into this.  As an adult male, capable of being held responsible by a female, sometimes doing nothing at all for hours is the absolute correct course of action.  Trust me, if you power down for thirty seconds, a female in your midst will give you direction.

But I digress.  (Fuck it, I hit MARTA to Dillard’s and scored some killer shirts).  The Wife and I used to be popular, prior to opening The Store.  During the early nineties, we were  fixtures at our fave restaurant and among friends.  But the Wife was selling ads to people, among others, who owned clothing stores and set around all day reading mags.

Combined with the fact she couldn’t find nice clothes to wear, came a decision to open a plus size store.  That was in 2000 and we’ve moved thrice.  Of course, the last people I need to talk to at the show in Atlanta about the website are her direct competitors, so I am verboten.

It’s just as well, similar to bringing a four year-old:  I’m constantly in trouble for saying the wrong thing (anything.)  I hang out in the hotel rooms and wander around back stage.  (Sorry, that’s Jackson Browne. Our lives are so similar, I tend to get confused.)

Standing in line at Food Lion this evening was a beautiful woman sporting grey curly tresses and Doc Martin’s with little birds.  I was gobsmacked.  In the old days, I might have chatted her up, but now, I was much too risk averse.  What if she was hooked on heroin, or worse, a Christian.  The shoes said no, but I refrained.

At Oscar’s lab on main street, we’ve all struck off inviolate boundaries of conversation and contact, lest one of us contaminate the rest with unforeseen addiction to opioids.  Relationships like mine become tenuous to remain possible and the specter of fucking up looms large.

As ever, we desire the company of those denied us and revile those who would.  In my case, that includes some unsavory neighbors, whom I enjoy hanging out with, but must keep my distance, lest I become infected.

Unmedicated mental illness grows rampant like Kudzu, ruining every conversation with mania, depression and delusion.  Of course, these creatures constantly run afoul of the law, who prey upon them like buzzards.  I can’t imagine what it must be like for black people.  In Greensboro, you have 750 cops for 350K people.  In Liberty it’s a dozen for 3500 people, a small subset of whom dare to frequent the handful of bars.  The numbers are decidedly against them, and yet they persist.

What makes it so bad is that in the late ’70s, Liberty Drive-In was a Mecca for young adults to hang out.  Back then, we knew how to be cool and rap with one another.  Now, you get strange looks going to pick up a pizza.

So, I keep my shit very tight.  I don’t chat up women in the grocery store and I don’t hit the bars.  What I have is precious to me and I, like the few people I know, ain’t prepared to risk it by opening up to strangers.

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The Pentagon Highlands Forum

Now that Trump has pragmatically acquiesced to the dark side of foreign policy and abandoned the nationalistic promises made during his quixotic campaign, we should become familiar with our new neocon masters.

From Nafeez Ahmed in 2015:

The post-Cold War period saw the Pentagon’s creation of the Highlands Forum in 1994 under the wing of former defense secretary William Perry — a former CIA director and early advocate of neocon ideas like preventive war…

O’Neill reveals that the Pentagon Highlands Forum was, fundamentally, about exploring not just the goals of government, but the interests of participating industry leaders like Enron…

Through the late 1990s, Enron was working with California-based US energy company Unocal to develop an oil and gas pipeline that would tap Caspian basin reserves, and carry oil and gas across Afghanistan, supplying Pakistan, India and potentially other markets. The endeavor had the official blessing of the Clinton administration, and later the Bush administration, which held several meetings with Taliban representatives to negotiate terms for the pipeline deal throughout 2001. The Taliban, whose conquest of Afghanistan had received covert assistance under Clinton, was to receive formal recognition as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in return for permitting the installation of the pipeline.

Enron paid $400 million for a feasibility study for the pipeline, a large portion of which was siphoned off as bribes to Taliban leaders, and even hired CIA agents to help facilitate.

Then in summer 2001, while Enron officials were liaising with senior Pentagon officials at the Highlands Forum, the White House’s National Security Council was running a cross-departmental ‘working group’ led by Rumsfeld and Cheney to help complete an ongoing Enron project in India, a $3 billion power plant in Dabhol. The plant was slated to receive its energy from the Trans-Afghan pipeline

Then in June 2001, the same month that Enron’s executive vice president Steve Kean attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum, the company’s hopes for the Dabhol project were dashed when the Trans-Afghan pipeline failed to materialize, and as a consequence, construction on the Dabhol power plant was shut down. The failure of the $3 billion project contributed to Enron’s bankruptcy in December…

By August, desperate to pull off the deal, US officials threatened Taliban representatives with war if they refused to accept American terms: namely, to cease fighting and join in a federal alliance with the opposition Northern Alliance; and to give up demands for local consumption of the gas…

Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda, including an “imminent” invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron’s Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.

 

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