Never Disrespect Your Team

It was 77F today in the ATX, lovely temperature for this time of year, bit cloudy, so no sunscreen. I hate putting sunscreen on in the winter, but I will.

Warmish where you were? Haha, no it was cold as Hell. Global warming much?

So, I am the biggest Carolina Tarheels basketball fan in the world. This year has been tough with the Heels in tenth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. [Duke is #1, adding insult to injury.]

The Heels are 1-3 in league play and 8-7 overall. The Heels suck.

The coach of the Heels, future Hall-of-Famer Roy Williams, had this to say after being beaten like a rented mule by Georgia Tech at Carolina in that holiest of all holies, the Dean Smith Dome, 96-83.

“We stunk OK. We were not very good. The crazy thing about it is, our team, and we’ve had some very gifted teams, this is not a very gifted team. It’s just not.”


Whoa, whoa, whoa, Coach Williams. What did you just say?

Pinstriped Roy Williams crouches low exhorting his Carolina Tar Heels to overcome their natural mediocrity and lack of gifts. Look at his White Supremacy hand sign and his pocket square. Needs a tie pin.

Did you say the team you recruited and trained is ” . . . not a very gifted team . . . ?”

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Restraint — President Trump

When President Trump was sworn in one of the knocks on him was his lack of presidential bearing and gravitas. I thought at the time it was a fair concern though I also thought he would grow into the job.

I don’t hear these complaints today, but I have heard in its place a lament about his lack of restraint. In my mind, it is a balancing act — American restraint being the garden party voiceover for procrastination or the inability to actually accomplish things.

The American Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel — as teaching point

An example I find worthy of discussion is the intransigence about the movement of the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This move was ordered by the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 with the Senate approving it at the time by a vote of 95-5 and the House approving it with a 374-37 vote. The law demanded the Embassy be relocated by 31 may 1999.

The law provided for a series of six month waivers for “national security” justifications. Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump waived it for 22 years.

Then, on 6 December 2017 — first year of the Trump presidency — President Trump publicly announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and ordered that the planning for moving the Embassy should begin.

Two big things:

 1. From 1995 until 2017, American Presidents failed to implement the almost unanimous intentions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 — a period of 22 years.

 2. In the first year of his presidency, President Donald J Trump said, “Let’s get on with it. We’ve been clutching our pearls for too long. Now.”

On 14 May 2018 — on the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence — the US Embassy opened in Jerusalem in what had once been the Arnona consular building. The relocation turned out to be a renovation rather than a new build to suit. [President Trump is a builder and knew value when he saw it, saving us billions of dollars.]

That is the kind of lack of restraint that I applaud. President Trump gets things done that other presidents have kicked down the road for decades (NATO funding, trade, China, North Korea, Iran, immigration) — 22 years, three presidencies for the Jerusalem US Embassy. President Trump got it started in his first year, completed in his second year.

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The Trump Doctrine

Every President in modern times has created a National Security Strategy which encapsulates the foreign policy views of an administration and alerts the world to understand the attitude of an administration to them and their relationship with the United States.

This codification is often created by the press of real world issues at the time. It is often communicated during a State of the Union speech and it provides a guiding light for the White House, State Department, the Department of Defense, and the Congress.

The Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine is the granddaddy of all “doctrines” which was spoken for the first time in President James Monroe’s seventh State of the Union Address to Congress in December 1823.

It held the following guidance:

 1. The New World and the Old World were to be considered as two very different spheres of influence.

 2. Any European nation that attempted to quash the independence movements of its Latin American or South American colonies (talking to you, Portugal and Spain) would be viewed as having taken an “. . . unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”

 3. It further stated that European nations that adhered to the Monroe Doctrine could rest assured that the United States would not interfere in their internal affairs in Europe.

 4. The Monroe Doctrine was not called the Monroe Doctrine until 1850, but it was embraced as the policy of the United States for more than a century and influenced the administrations of Ulysses S Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.

Not every administration from Monroe to the present had challenges in Latin or South America related to European colonial expansion, so the Monroe Doctrine was more important or less important to different administrations based on their current foreign affairs challenges. Today, it is not particularly relevant as there is no real European colonial kerfuffle in Latin America or South America though it is often invoked when talking about Russian or Chinese influence in places like Nicaragua or Venezuela.

I give you this background as I want to set the table to discuss what is an emerging Trump Doctrine applying to the Middle East and terrorism.

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Poking The Iranian Bear

Good friend of mine sends me an email, says, “Hey, amigo, you know all that military crap. Are we going to get slapped around by Iran? Poke the sleeping bear meme real? Are all the baristas at Starbucks going to get drafted?”

I laughed, called him, and said, “Where do you get this crap? Let me lay some facts on you.”

If the Iranians decide to retaliate for the US’s hit on Soleimani, the confrontation will likely degenerate into an air campaign from the American side.

Why? We don’t want to put ground troops into Iran. Make sense?

The Iranian Air Force

The Iranian Air Force has the following mixed bag of combat aircraft:

Russian MiG 29 multirole (fighter/bomber) aircraft — 20

Russian Su-17/20/22 attack aircraft — 10

Russian Su-24 attack aircraft — 23

US F-4 Phantom II fighter bomber aircraft — 63 (16 unarmed, recon only)

US F-5E fighter aircraft — 20 (includes some reverse engineered derivatives)

US F-14A/AM Tomcat fighter interceptor aircraft — 26

French Mirage F1 fighter aircraft — 9 (from Iraq when fleeing Desert Storm)

Iranian HESA Kowsar fighter aircraft — 7 (good avionics based on F-5 airframe)

Chinese F-7 fighter aircraft — 17 (built by Iran under license from China based on MiG-21)

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Truth In a Hard Package

I have been reading year end prediction performance blog posts and new 2020 predictions.

There are some people who made 2019 predictions who should never be allowed to make another prediction. Ever.

The Soothsayers Recompense by De Chirico

I will post my own report card and my own 2020 predictions in a blog post next week. I did very well on the accuracy of my predictions.

But, what I learned is that everybody uses a lens that is colored by their own bias, by their own desire to see something turn out the way they want it to turn out.

What this motivates me to do is to share some difficult, universal truths. Here they are:

 1. You (meaning me also)  are not the smartest person in the world. To be really smart, requires study, research, and thought. Even then, you will never be the smartest person in the world.

 2. Even when you have “good” information, you often misinterpret it, miss something critical, and get it wrong. All by yourself.

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Authorization For The Use Of Military Force

I agree with the decision to kill Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, the commanding general of Iran’s Quds and the overseer of their proxy terror network. He was a ruthless, vicious murderer who ran the Iranian operations — in particular bomb making — for more than 40 years. He was bathed in blood and responsible for the death of thousands, including thousands of Americans.

It is regrettable that this action occurred on the sovereign territory of Iraq, but that is like arguing the merits of a drone rocket v an airplane bomb. We must go where the targets go. [BTW, nice intel get by whoever fingered Suleimani’s whereabouts and travel plans. This is good battlefield intel. Bravo.]

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Agreeing With Socialists

I found myself agreeing with a socialist the other day. It is an example of my fact-based, data-driven, logical approach to finding the truth, my objective truth.

The facts are this:

 1. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is a socialist, a pizza loving socialist who once said his favorite pizza shop should re-open even though they owed more than $167,000 in back taxes.

 2. On New Years Eve, awaiting the dropping of the ball in Times Square, Domino’s Pizza began to charge $30 for a walk up pizza — an approximately 50% price increase. Domino’s disagrees, but I think they are full of cheese.

 3. Mayor de Blasio condemned this behavior as being “price gouging.” [He also called out Domino’s for a boycott re-directing pizza eaters to local pizzerias rather than Domino’s. Not a boycott guy myself. Huge supporter of local pizza. Talking to you Little Deli and that Jersey Shore pizza.]

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio making case for Domino’s price gouging. Guy loves pizza, but likes local pizzerias more than “corporate pizza.”

 4. Others defended the Domino’s pricing decision as being simple demand v supply driven pricing theory, much the same as Uber’s surge demand pricing is explained.

I side with Mayor de Blasio — it was old fashioned price gouging. It was wrong. Domino’s Pizza belongs on the “naughty” side of the ledger.

And, there, you have it, dear reader — me and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio agreeing on something — pizza price gouging — based on facts, data, and sound logic. Me, agreeing with socialists. Wow!

BTW, when he was running for President Mayor de Blasio championed the cause of “free pizza for all.”

Wait, I have to run now — a squadron of pigs just flew over in a V-formation, and it seems to be getting very cold in the ‘hood.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Facts. Data. Sound logic. Can bring us together in 2020.



Finding Inspiration With Thomas Jefferson

This Christmas was great with the family — and, of course, My Perfect Granddaughter who will be two years old in ten days — assembled at The Homestead in Virginia.

I had last been to The Homestead in 1969 when I went there to ski while a cadet at Virginia Military Institute. Not much has changed in 50 years. It is a Southern shrine.

Santa and Mrs. Claus holding court in the Great Hall at The Homestead.

They have incredible accommodations, grand spaces, great food served with graciousness in soaring dining facilities, golf, falconry (who doesn’t love falconry), archery,  horses, skiing, hay rides, swimming, hiking, a spa, and soaking in hot springs.

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