Booming Utah: Welcome to the “Silicone Slopes”

When I was a college student at Brigham Young University in the early 1980’s, Thanksgiving Point was full of cows and wheat fields. Driving home last night from a family outing I was in awe of the number of buildings going up where those pastures used to be. Adobe’s large headquarters dominates the hill next to Cabelas. Utah’s economy is booming, and getting better. The German high tech giant SAP bought the Provo- based software company Qualtrics, co-founded by CEO Ryan Smith, over the weekend for $8 billion. Salt Lake City and Utah is becoming a new gold standard for business. Reasons given are “entrepreneurial spirit,” quality of life, and the right policies to grow.

My wife shared this article with me this morning containing some interesting statistics. Like Qualtrics, there has been a boom in startups in the Beehive State. University of Utah student-created startups have gone form 1 in 2002 to 329 in 2017. The price tag for a startup has decreased from $10 million in the mid-1990s to $50,000 to $100,000 today.

Wage growth helped Utah become the nation’s hotspot for immigrants from other states. Utah’s wages increased 20.9% since 2012, the fastest growth in all fifty states. I complained last night of the continued construction on I-15 through the state, but the infrastructure growth has been a top priority of the Utah government. They need it to handle the influx of people coming to Utah.

Utah’s economic fortune increased the need for qualified workforce. According to the Census Bureau, Utah is the fastest growing state. People are leaving California in droves because of high cost of living and taxes, and now the numerous wildfires destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

The fastest growing business in Utah is in the tech world.  Utah has become the new home for the technology world, given the nickname “Silicon Slopes.”  Utah’s startups are attracting other companies to look at moving here. The cost of living and lower corporate tax flat tax of only 5%  makes moving to Utah lucrative. Best of all , there is a staggering amount of venture capitol coming to Utah.

And there is lots to do in Utah. I personally like the food variety, from Oreganos Italian Kitchen to Sensuous Sandwich… buy a custom sandwich by the inch! Arguably, Utah has the best snow in the US and Robert Redford owns one of the best ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains.

If you are starting a new company, particularly in the tech industry, come on out to Utah and joins us. There are plenty of reasons to begin your new life along the Silicone Slopes.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

What has the 2018 US midterm election wrought?

I watched the midterm returns until 2 am this morning. Getting up at 7 am made for a short night, but Travis needed a ride to school. I feel there are some interesting lessons learned from the US midterm elections…

The divide between urban and rural voters widened. The Democrats had a strong showing in the urban areas which gained them the house advantage by 26 additional seats, and the number may still rise. Republicans broke records for the number of voters in rural areas who went to the polls. The map remains a sea of red with islands of blue.

There was a strong showing for former veterans who are Democrats. I’m glad we have more vets in Congress. We may need their input soon

Some new firsts… the highest number of women winning their bids for election… a Somali-American woman, a Muslim woman, a lesbian Native American, and the youngest woman ever to be in Congress won in their House districts.

Six more congressmen and congresswomen with scientific backgrounds are going to Washington DC; three Engineers, a Pediatrician and a Registered Nurse, a Biochemist, and a Software Engineer.

The Blue Wave appears to be more of a Purple Puddle so it will be interesting to see how each side tries to govern. Forty-five Republicans in the House retired this year, an unprecedented number.  President Trump’s House losses were far less than Clinton’s loss of 54 seats in 1994 and President Obama’s loss of  63 seats in 2010 midterms. This bodes well for President Trump. Despite these major setbacks, both Clinton and Obama went on to win second terms.

The real wave wore camouflage. There was a camo wave yesterday as 77 former members of the military became Senators, Congressmen or Congresswomen, and governors around the nation. In all, 92 vets will be part of the 116th Congress. Of the 92, 25 are Democrats and 67 are Republicans.

The conventional wisdom of Washington DC remains narrow and unfocused. Poll numbers showed a Blue Wave. Florida has a new Republican Governor and Senator. Four incumbent Democratic senators lost who were 5 point or higher in the polls than their opponents. Beto will not replace Senator Ted Cruz no matter how much money he spent campaigning. We still have to wait and see what will happen with Jeff Flake’s Senate seat in Arizona. Republican Martha McSally maintains a slight lead and her opponent Kyrsten Sinema was 3 points ahead going into Tuesday.

Speaking of money, the amount spent in this midterm campaign may top $9 billion! Think about that the next time someone says money isn’t corrupting our political system.

The Attorney General has been asked to resign and he did so. What will his resignation bode for the Mueller investigations? My pick for AG… please President Trump bring on Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

The Republicans own the Senate, all Presidential appointments will go through. This is a big win for the President and the Republicans. The Senate has not had such a robust pro-GOP bias since 1913.

Nine of the eleven Senatorial candidates President Trump campaigned for won. Nine of eleven is an astounding number and shows what power he has from the Bully Pulpit. 

The Democrats now run the House Committees. Stand by for subpoenas and potential gridlock… which the Stock Market loves, rising 545.29 points today.

Every Democratic senator who voted against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the nation’s highest court lost in their reelection bids: Donnelly of Indiana, McCaskill of Missouri, Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Nelson of Florida. Lindsey Graham called it “Kavanaugh’s Revenge.”

One online newsgroup states the US is now in a Cold Civil War. It seems there is little room for compromise right now. Both sides say they will work together. Past statements leave compromise in doubt in my mind. I feel this Cold Civil War will worsen during the pull for power by each side.

Young voters turned out in historic numbers and helped drive the Democrats to victory. My son waited in line for three hours forty-five minutes to vote yesterday. He wasn’t happy about that but he did it. The polls in Provo stayed open another three and a half hours because there were that many people in line.

A real shock… medical marijuana passed in Utah! Prop 2 passed even after the LDS church leadership came out publicly against it. No one saw that coming.

Now… the “So What” of this election. The electoral college becomes even more critical now that the divide between less populated rural areas and more densely populated urban areas continues to divide. There will be a push by the Democrats to do away with the electoral college after the sting of 2016. There was a good reason the Framers put the electoral college in the voting system. One look at the Presidential Election map of 2016 shows a sea of red with islands of blue. If the House Democrats investigate vs. legislate, it will be their doom in 2020. The economy is growing, more people are working, there are more jobs than people to fill them… President Trump has a lot to be proud of. 

I feel the Cold Civil War will intensify though. The push and pull for power will make the rhetoric and probably the violence more likely. The rhetoric of the mainstream media in President Trump’s press conference is a good indication of how bad it’s going to get. Seems the Democrats taking control of the House is emboldening many in the mainstream media. And that same mainstream media will be the bullhorn for the Democrats no matter what President Trump does. He could cure cancer tomorrow and they will say he took to long doing it. 

We may be standing on a precipice looking over a big valley right now. And our enemies are taking notice. Go read how they view what happened yesterday.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

Ista quidem vis est!

Plutarch describes the event in his book The Life of Brutus. Caesar arrived at the Senate to conduct business. Tillius Cimber presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother, but the Emperor waved him off. That wave set events in motion. The other conspirators crowded round Cimber to offer their support. Their support was in the form of knives and daggers. Cimber grabbed Caesar’s shoulders pulling down his tunic. Caesar screamed to Cimber, Ista quidem vis est! The English translation is “Why, this is violence!”

Senator Ted Cruz and his wife were forced to leave a Washington DC eating establishment when anti-Kavanaugh and anti-Trump protestors began screaming at them. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao had their dinner interrupted by four protestors screaming they both should leave the country. Threats of violence against conservatives continues to increase. Just wear a “Make America Great Again” ball cap and see what happens.

Today Democrats became members of the same violence club. Suspicious packages were intercepted by the Secret Service destined for the Clinton’s home in New York, the Obama’s home in Washington DC and CNN’s Headquarters in Atlanta. There will probably be more. 

Are these acts of political violence caused because desperate individuals see no other recourse but political interaction by violent means? Read ANTIFA’s literature for some excellent clues. 

President Trump continues to be successfully fulfilling his agenda. A quote from the Chinese General Sun Tzu over 2500 years ago came to mind this morning while reading the news and polling numbers. It doesn’t matter if you are conservative or liberal. It applies to all conflicts. Sun Tzu said in his book The Art of War “If your opponent is of a choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.” Irritating and arrogant is the only way to describe these people perpetrating this violence on American citizens.

Piers Morgan, certainly no fan of President Trump, wrote a piece in the UK’s Daily Mail stating Trump is winning. Morgan observes “Even better for Trump, he’s officially more popular than his predecessor Barack Obama was at the exact same stage of his first tenure as President.” The hardest message for the Democrats he says is “Trump is kicking your a$$!” If you really want to stir the soul of someone who violently hates Trump, tell them the Democrats and mainstream media prophesied big blue wave is unsupported by observations and polling data but is actually a big red wave handing the Republicans an increased majority in the House and Senate.

There’s my “what.” Violence is increasing against both sides as Trump’s approval rating climbs, the big red wave is coming, and there’s nothing these extreme left  groups can do about it. 

Now for the “so what” and “now what.”

My “so what” gut instincts and fears are these. The growing Honduran migrant caravan is approaching the US -Mexican border and there will be violence. Two thirds to three quarters of the migrant wave appear to be military aged males. The mainstream media continues to hype the evaporating blue wave which in reality is a big red wave. These choleric anti-US/Trump/Conservative organizations will become even more violent as they watch the US military stop the migrant caravan at the border, or Republicans extend their majority in the House and Senate. The liberals and progressives could not stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation with violent interruptions in the hearings. President Trump’s approval rating climbs closing in on the midterm elections. Look at the side-by-side pictures of Obama’s rally for Democrats in Las Vegas compared to Trump’s rally for Ted Cruz in Houston. The economy is creating record GDP growth and the lowest unemployment numbers in fifty years. These extreme groups feel backed into corners. They feel hopeless and violence against both Democrats and Republicans will increase dramatically.

The “now what” is the Civil War has begun in the United States and I see three groups forming: the conservative right, the progressive left, and the anti US, communist, socialist, ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter organizations forming a third violent group. It remains to be seen how extreme the violence really becomes. I know where the money’s coming from… George Soros. That is where the investigation into these activities needs to start. 

How do you defend your rights, property, and most importantly your family from an angry mob bent on your total destruction? I know where I’d start and who I’d ask… an Israeli family in Sderot near the Gaza Border.

Stopping the Migrant Caravan at the US-Mexico Border

The Honduran migrant caravan continues marching north. President Trump’s threat of cutting off foreign aid and placing troops along the border have not stopped the approximately 14,000 member migrant caravan from moving through Mexico toward the US border. Even a Category Three hurricane did not prevent the caravan from growing and moving north.

The President has called up 2100 National Guard troops for possible deployment to the US-Mexican border. The reason for using National Guard troops is the Posse Comitatus rules which do and don’t apply to the Guard. The number may swell to 4000 with active duty 82nd Airborne troops. In a curious note, 2100 are currently unarmed. They will be given all the tools required to stop an angry mob bent on crossing the border when the time comes.

The “so what” of a group this large moving toward the US poses many potential planning factors which on the whole make this a little scary for a military planner.

First, remember this term because the military plans for it. This planning factor always remains in the back of our minds during operations like we are about to enter. The term is “CNN Effect.” Anything the military does will be on CNN within a twenty-four-hour news cycle. I can testify to you in many cases it was five minutes from personal experience. If I were the commander of the 82nd Airborne along the US-Mexico border for this operation, I would shorten that timeline down to three. Every military planner knows this migrant group is moving with the maximum cable news coverage it could possibly have. Newscasters may even be supporting their caravan. Ask any Israeli soldier what it’s like facing off against the Palestinians at their borders with newscasters around them. International news agencies even stage events to make their story and agenda. Beware, troops, the media is NOT your friend in this operation to halt the caravan and will do anything for a great CNN moment along the US border to make the military look foolish. Plan for the CNN Effect. Fortunately, President Trump and SecDef Mattis are results oriented and understand the fake news.

Second, the military will struggle with creating rules of engagement and a matrix for involvement with the migrant caravan. As I stated above, every eye in the world will be watching President Trump’s response. Closing off the border is the easy part. Keeping it closed is a lot tougher as migrants become bolder at the fence. There will be a decision matrix developed to deal with unfolding events, and as a military planner, we know there is no way to envision every event. Designing and establishing rules of engagement are going on right now as we speak because the Trump Administration knows the mainstream media is looking for and may even invent ways to make Trump and the military look like bullies to the poor Hondurans. 

Third, and more importantly, how will a Joint Interagency Task Force or JIATF of the military, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, and medical staff screen and vet those they come in contact with? Mexican news agencies are already reporting Middle Eastern males in the caravan. Who are they, where are they coming from, and more importantly, who do those Middle Easterners belong to? Also, there are a number of communicable diseases like tuberculosis prevalent in Central American countries. Troops may be exposed to some nasty diseases while providing medical aid. There may be human rights violations and “trafficking” happening in the caravan also. Vetting a population of 14,000+ is extremely difficult from the air and on the ground. 

Fourth, there is a beautiful tool the Army and Marines have which will instantly change the behavior of any migrant trying to cross the border. It is called the Active Denial System or ADS. Think of it as a microwave for people. While stationed at the US Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center in Albuquerque New Mexico, we began testing the ADS in 2007. Ernie, one of our test folks, allowed himself to be shot by ADS while floating one mile offshore of Eglin Air Force Base Florida. He said the ray was “instant behavioral modification” and he jumped over the side of the boat into the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a link to see for yourselves what this system does. It is a handy non-lethal tool for crowd control which causes no damage to the people exposed to it. The military can use this “Pain Ray” to stop anyone.

President Trump has many flexible deterrent options available to him, which he has used with brilliance in other parts of the world like North Korea. To keep this event from escalating, the most powerful and useful tool is economic. Cutting off all aid to Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico if he feels they are not responding correctly is very possible. Closing the entire US – Mexican border can be done but is very problematic to enforce. This event will produce plenty of video on the need for a wall like the Israelis have along the West Bank. From a diplomatic standpoint, the UN will be no help. They feel this is a human rights issue, and the Americans are already the bully. From an informational perspective, President Trump and military commanders need to be sure the US does not hand CNN or Univision the news event they are hoping this creates. It is a time to be powerful and show power though. We cannot allow this caravan to pass or more will come in more significant numbers.  

As a former planner and instructor at the US premier Joint Combined Warfighter School, these are the factors I feel will affect a US response to the migrant invasion.

The escalating proxy war in Syria

The proxy war between Israel and Iran, Russia and the US escalated this past week after Putin delivered their fourth generation S300 Surface-to-Air-Missile (SAM) system to Syria. This move is in response to Israeli Air Force F-16I Sufas attacking Iran’s ballistic missile infrastructure in the city of Latakia, right under the nose of the Russian S400 SAM system defending their huge base at Khmeimim. The Russia air base is defended by two S400 systems. The IAF F-16I strike package attacked a storage facility the Iranians store their ballistic missiles threatening Israel. The facility was completely destroyed. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu says he will continue to attack Iranian targets in Syria and Lebanon.

Iran's missile facility east of Latakia Syria. Photo courtesy ISI

The issue with giving Syria next generation SAMs comes from the same Israeli air attack. During the actual strike, the Syrian SA-5 site in the mountains above Baniyas Syria fired at the F-16 Sufas, only to hit and destroy a Russian IL-20 COOT reconnaissance plane orbiting just off shore over the Mediterranean Ocean. All 16 crewmembers were killed by the Gammon’s 478 pound warhead, blowing the airplane to pieces.

IL-20 COOT reconnaissance plane similar to the one shot down by the Syrian SA-5 Gammon missile.

But the IL-20 COOT wasn’t the only aircraft destroyed during the air attacks. ImageSat International published pictures on their twitter page of an Iranian cargo plane destroyed at Damascus International Airport on the same night the storage facility east of Latakia was attacked. Iran created an air cargo company to move men and material to Syria and arm their terror organization Hezbollah. What was the 747 carrying the Israeli leadership felt the cargo needed to be destroyed? 

Iranian Fars Air Qeshm 747 debris strewn about the cargo ramp. Photo courtesy ISI

President Trump Administration has approved the sale of more Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Israel after the delivery of the S300 SAM system to Syria. When those aircraft will be delivered remains to be seen. The Israeli Lightening II’s receive some sort of “upgrade” when they arrive to their units, making them unique from the US version. Bet on the Israeli Air Force using those Fifth Generation stealth fighters against the S300s and more targets in Syria and Lebanon soon.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

Offensive Due Process: Thursday’s Kavanaugh hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee

In Rodney Smith 9 September op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, he states, “Over the past half century, we have tragically witnessed the death of due process in the Supreme Court confirmation process, in direct contravention of the oath senators have taken to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” From a Due Process point of view, the Judge Kavanaugh hearings on Thursday will be a farce. I blame both sides of the Senate, Democrats and Republicans. Senator Grassley accommodated Dr Ford and her lawyer’s request, which infuriated conservatives. Senator Grassley stated many were non-starters. Again, Due Process took another massive hit in the very building which should be defending it. I feel this gave progressive protestors hope they can stop Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation

I find it ironic Brett Kavanaugh stated Monday  night on Fox News he was innocent and Bill Cosby, “America’s Father,” is on his way to state prison for 3-10 years today.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee

What I’d like to see on Thursday:

The conservatives on the committee go offensive. There is no basis for any of the accusations. Make no mistake about these hearings, the Democrats know and understand another conservative constitutionalist on the Supreme Court potentially will be the death toll for their agenda.

Ask the tough questions of any witness brought before the committee. Some of these questions may not be politically correct, such as which organizations are you affiliated with, or better yet, are you misrepresenting yourself before this committee! Leave no doubt to everyone watching what the truth is and who’s telling it.

Women assaulted in by President Bill Clinton, Senator Cory Booker, and Representative Keith Ellison should have front-row seats during testimony. Unlike Dr. Ford, these women have concrete evidence of rape and sexual assault. Every time a Senator looks at Dr. Ford, her lawyer, or Ms. Ramirez if she testifies, these women appear as the backdrop. Any attempt to remove them should be resisted by the Chairman.

There are plenty of pictures of Senators Gillibrand and Schumer with Harvey Weinstein. WalMart has gobs of poster board too. Make the cable news networks broadcast those in the background.

There is no doubt in my mind the Code Pink, #MeToo and a host of other progressive protestors will be out in force. Conservatives should fill the room as a counter-protest so there is no room for the progressives. Step up conservatives.

Speaking of stepping up, Senator Hirono said “Men should just shut up and step up.” The Duke Lacrosse Team accused and exonerated of sexual misconduct should share the front row with women raped and assaulted by the Democrats. All of these young men can testify “No, you don’t always believe a woman’s story.” Since the dawn of time, men and women are lie, destroying people’s lives. No amount of money will repair a life broken by a false sexual assault trial. Ask those young men from Duke how their trial affected them.

Judge Kavanaugh has legal grounds to sue any of these women for defamation if the allegations are proven false. In a case this week, an Army Colonel was awarded $8.4 million dollars after a jury found the woman’s allegations of rape 30 years ago were false. Colonel Wil Riggins was on the Brigadier General list until blogger Susan Shannon accused him of raping her while attending West Point as Cadets in a 2014 blog post. A Virginia jury sided with Colonel Riggins.

Bottom line, there is a coup happening in America, a Civil War right in front of us. The campaign to impeach President Trump and silence conservatives is real. President Trump has gone on the offensive against his accusers and is why many support him. Decorum has left the building and now it is time for the Republicans and conservatives to fight for what they believe in and defend the truth.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.