Sunday, December 11, 2016

Weekend Data Dump

Japan's defense budget will reach record levels. Given China, North Korea, and even Russia these days, Japan could use it. While Japan's defense spending is not the most efficient, Japan also gets more bang for the buck because they don't have nukes or assets to deploy their military long distances.

The Germans caught a spy inside their intelligence apparatus feeding information to jihadis who was once a gay porn actor and who is now an Islamist?  I'd suspect this was one of those "fake" news sites if I didn't know better. Or The Onion. I shudder to think how many straight, Christian agents the Russians have in place if this case indicates the rigor of German screening.

I certainly don't think police should shoot people if they don't need to protect themselves or the lives of others. But if you wonder why I have zero respect for the actual Black Lives Matter organization, read on. These are deplorable people who have latched on to the perfectly reasonable notion that no African American should be shot by police for no good reason.

Well good: "British fighter planes visiting Japan will fly over the South China Sea and Britain will sail aircraft carriers in the Pacific once they are operational in 2020, given concerns about freedom of navigation there, Britain's ambassador to the United States said on Thursday." The British Typhoon fighter aircraft are in Japan now.

The reelection of Representative Pelosi to lead House Democrats does not refute the notion that it is getting easier for outsiders to take over the political parties (Trump did it and Sanders almost did it). Remember that Pelosi's voters were all politically like her from safe left-wing districts and that those who might be considered outsiders either voted against her or weren't in Congress to begin with, having those districts represented by Republicans. When only the insiders can vote, this is what you get. I called the rebellion against Pelosi as a failure well before the vote.

Iraq War 2.0 should be about more than defeating ISIL. The original Iraq War turned Iraq from an enemy to an ally. Leaving in 2011 allowed foes to gain influence in Iraq at our hard-won expense. Iran is the most obvious foe. Russia, too, has made gains. And now China will sell anti-aircraft missiles and possibly tanks and other weapons to Iraq. Ah, Smart Diplomacy.

This isn't science, it's a purge of heretics.

I'm not sure why enemies would bother to hack our infrastructure when our own governments wage war against us by deliberately wrecking infrastructure. And speaking of our government's efforts to fight the real enemy.

I think the very obnoxious woman in this video of her harassment of a man wearing a "build the wall" shirt should actually debate the issue of a border wall with her obnoxious male friend, who clearly thinks his apartment building's figurative "wall" should keep out undesirables ("Papers, please Do you live here?") and who clearly thinks that his assumed longer history living in the building gives him more rights than a new resident. Fascinating, eh? Tip to David Thompson via Instapundit, who is amazed by the target's patience. If this is her apology, I'm inclined to accept it. Sometimes people do stupid things. And funny how the harassers' idea of "meaningful discussion" is swearing and insults. Perhaps we can end this "children's crusade" against heretics, eh?

The Japanese are building a marine force to fight for small islands in the western Pacific. Good idea.

While it is no secret that I was not a Trump fan, I never wavered from my conviction that he is far superior to the corrupt Clinton. And I comforted myself with the idea that Trump would staff his administration with Republicans--the same Republicans that a traditional Republican would appoint and who the Democrats would still call "Nazis" and other bad names. Conservatives are taking heart from that simple fact. (Well, there are some exceptions, it is true.) Which will help constrain some of the impulses Trump--as a former Democrat--will have that will bother me.

I wondered (in a previous Weekend Data Dump) if Venezuela could be a crisis for President Trump. Will Venezuela's collapse wait that long? "Some shopkeepers have reportedly taken to weighing rather than counting the wads of cash customers hand them, and standard-size wallets have become all but useless in the socialist South American state. Instead, many people stuff huge volumes of cash into handbags, money belts, or backpacks, in scenes analysts have said are suggestive of "runaway" inflation." (Yeah, they're gonna need a bigger boat) The Dutch really should reinforce and raise the alert status of their Western Hemisphere possessions too close to Venezuela for comfort. Ominously, Venezuela suffers from "the Dutch disease," the article says. The idiot ruler of Venezuela, Maduro, might take that too literally.

This is a lengthy but excellent defense of freedom of speech that Canadian and American colleges are doing so much to undermine. Tip to Instapundit.

Okay, the video with this story made me cry. It did. I'm so grateful that my children are healthy. I cannot imagine what parents must go through to take care of children who are not healthy. But there are worse things.

I'm not keen on a Trump stimulus bill. Not with our deficit and debt levels. But I comfort myself a bit that a Trump stimulus will likely be an actual construction stimulus that will leave us with useful assets rather than the 2009 Obama stimulus that was really just a grab bag of existing liberal spending proposals on non-infrastructure programs that were gathered under one bill and called a "stimulus" for no good reason other than their magical "multiplier effect" of any government spending, and which had no effect on our economic recovery, as a glance at the claims of the Obama administration at the time with the actual course of our economy:

[continued] Note that the Obama administration only claimed that the stimulus would make unemployment in the short run lower until natural forces led to recovery. They admitted that whether we had a stimulus or not that the unemployment rate would eventually go down to the same level.

I've heard that a Trump nominee for his cabinet doesn't believe in evolution (this is RUMORINT and not based on any particular article). To which I respond, so what? The nominee could believe in ghosts and it wouldn't affect their job position which will have nothing to do with evolution. And even if the nominee goes to the Department of Education, he or she shouldn't have an effect. In my view the federal government should stay out of this on policy issues and simply dispense grants (if that). But that's me. I'm more concerned about people being appointed to run our government who believe in socialism or the idea that America is a negative force in world affairs.

China's top autocrat Xi wants to modernize the Chinese military by reducing the People's Liberation Army (which covers all services) by 300,000, dropping the active force to 2 million. But don't worry about the troops. In past reductions the change was made by painting "Police" over the "PLA" vehicle markings and making the army troops members of the People's Armed Police. So the troops remain but the budget line item goes to another agency.

Oh Holy Hell: "A prestigious military school is providing coloring books for cadets to deal with stress." You know what the military gave me when I was stressed? The opportunity to do my friggin' job. Training is supposed to be stressful to give a soldier a chance at surviving the far more stressful environment of war. Any graduates of the Virginia Military Institute who go on to serve in the military will no doubt suffer more cases of PTSD than other service members, with this kind of nonsense at the school.

Some people here are having a fit that Trump spoke to the Taiwan president, setting off their "horror meter." You know what didn't horrify these people? A prior Chinese implicit nuclear threat against that democratic state: "China encircled the self-ruled island of Taiwan with nuclear-capable bombers as part of its first long-range surveillance mission, Taiwanese officials said Tuesday."

An interesting take on the "fake news" issue.

I blame the election of Donald Trump.

Seriously, the snowflakes need to man the ef up. That goes for the women, too, of course. Not to go all Monty Python on you.

Bravery, training, and dedication to duty.

I apparently missed the amazing transformation of the Philippines defense capabilities that allow them to resist creeping Chinese annexation of Filipino territory and seas without American help: "The Philippine defense secretary said Thursday it is highly unlikely his country will allow the U.S. military to use it as a springboard for freedom of navigation patrols in the disputed South China Sea to avoid antagonizing China." The Philippines government apparently values being the last victim of Chinese territorial ambitions.

Vietnam, in contrast to the Philippines, has decided to risk China's "ire" by building up their military and their land features (Ladd Reef, in this case) to defend them against Chinese claims. Good. What does "risking China's ire" even mean? Doing nothing in the face of China's subliminal annexation of the South China Sea surely minimizes "ire" but does nothing to stop China. Passivity just paves the way for the day when China will take your land and lay claim to all the waters you thought were reserved for your economic use.

Wow, there was literally the lamentation of their women over the Clinton loss. I'd feel worse for them if they didn't want to inflict the corrupt Clinton on America for the honor of being the first woman president. And in a Clinton statement sure to confuse historians of the future: "... after a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be a good idea to come out."[emphasis added]

Should I worry that I got a hit from Russia a couple days ago, in the Russian language, about this post speculating about a Russian invasion of Ukraine?