Saturday, February 11, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

Three kills at 1,800 meters with one shot? Which saved some Iraqi women and children from ISIL scum? Bravo SAS.

China's new carrier was declared to be making great progress in learning to operate. Liaoning's political commissar declared the ship "combat ready." Which is good news for China's foes. I mean the fact that a ship has a political commissar is good news. Whatever technical problems the Chinese are overcoming can be nullified by having a commissar more interested in Chinese Communist Party loyalty than proficiency.

Yeah, I don't use Twitter or Facebook. I live in Ann Arbor and the last thing I need is to get a daily dose of political opinions by friends and acquaintances indicating that they really believe I'm deplorable.

NATO is aware of Russian activities in the Balkans. I have noted that Putin is seeking to extend Russian influence into the Balkans. Their efforts grow. Putin will surely expand his excuse to intervene on behalf of ethnic Russians to the traditional--when Russia was stronger--excuse to intervene on behalf of any Slavic people.

I'm a reasonable man, I like to think. If eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts would harm smaller communities away from the big cities--which will do just fine without the NEA--I say let's try restricting arts grants to cities with fewer than 25,000 people.

I'm sorry, but just who is the party of gullible rubes voting against their interests while serving as useful voter fodder for a wealthy elite?

I discovered The Kills and really like their CD "Midnight Boom."

The science says fracking is relatively safe. Certainly there is no cause to order a blanket ban on the practice that is lowering prices for all of us. And sure, as the author comments, states are free to refuse to frack contrary to the science--as long as they don't insist other states follow their beliefs. My question is whether states that refuse to frack will also refuse to use fracked oil and gas produced in other states? Or are these faithful anti-frackers fine with other people sinning for them? I'll bet on the latter. After all, the burden of higher energy prices will be on the less wealthy. Let them heat cake!

Yes, the Army needs ground-based air defenses to shoot down drones. The Army has long relied on the Air Force to provide air superiority over American troops. But the proliferation of ever smaller and numerous drones represents a threat to our ground troops below the ability of air power to stop. F-35s are not going to go drone hunting over the battlefield. Long abandoned, air defense has to be in the Army's skill set again. Norway has certainly figured this out. UPDATE: This appears to be a priority for the Army.

Despite multiple terror attacks in America by Islamists, our former president likes to claim that no terror attacks plotted from abroad took place here. That's not actually an accurate way to look at this terrorism. Deploy your shocked face now.

It is interesting that St. Petersburg is considered a center of resistance in Russia. Not revolt, but dissent anyway. In my college Russian language class I learned a joke about the city. Two men meet and one asks the other, "Where were you born?" In St. Petersburg, the man replies. "Oh," says the first man, "where did you go to elementary school?" In Petrograd, the man says. "Interesting. And where do you live now?" In Leningrad, he says. "Very nice. So where would you like to retire one day?" "In St. Petersburg," the man answers. Heh.

The British Royal Navy can hardly rule the waves--or even the English Channel--with ships and subs with these kinds of problems. Ponder the condition of lesser European military powers that don't even try to have a decent military.

In the last data dump, I said that because of a German magazine using an illustration of Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty, I wouldn't feel guilty about Nazi allusions when criticizing the Germans. About that, the magazine doubles down: "The United States president is becoming a danger to the world. It is time for Germany and Europe to prepare their political and economic defenses." America will defend our constitutional democracy just fine, thank you. Given that America had to prepare our military defenses the last time the Germans didn't defeat the danger to the world by taking care of their own leader, I'd appreciate it if they'd focus on keeping their own house in order. And yes, I realize that my frustration is with the German Left and not all Germans. For them I feel a little guilty. But Hitler rose from the Left (national socialists), so there's that.

Iran is increasing their stockpile of Uranium 60% under the nuclear deal. While Iran could use this to make weapons-grade Uranium by evading the weak inspections regime, I suspect it is intended to compensate North Korea for using North Korean Uranium to make nuclear warheads for Iran.

French politician Marine Le Pen is called a "right wing" politician only because the left defines that term as anybody they don't like. She is really a leftist. Which is why communist and socialist strongholds in France are important to Le Pen's chances.

Is Italy poised to decide on leaving the European Union?

I'm not fully on board the idea that having our government say explicitly that we are fighting "Islamist terrorists" is necessary to fighting the jihadis and their ideology. Bush 43 called Islam the "religion of peace" to make sure that non-jihadis wouldn't think we were at war with Islam as a whole. There is value in that. Can anybody doubt that Bush fought jihadis during his tenure? But failing to define our enemy more accurately can give someone who does not believe we are fighting jihadi terror the excuse to downgrade that reason for our enemies' existence. That's the value of using the term "Islamist terrorists" rather than some vague "violent extremists" term. And remember, Moslems will benefit the most from the defeat of jihadis and their definition of Islam.

As I suspected, President Trump is not about to dismantle NATO as many people who until 5 minutes ago couldn't care less about the defense alliance claimed.

Japan is beginning work on a new off-shore U. S. Marine Corps air field on Okinawa. That's good. The existing Futenma field is a war crime waiting to happen. While not the fault of the Marines, civilian structures have pushed up to the perimeter making it hard for an enemy to shoot at legitimate military targets without risking civilians. I honestly don't think we could blame China (for example) for any civilian casualties that are inflicted on an attack on the Futenma facility.

America and South Korea will practice attacking North Korean nuclear weapons behind the shield of thin missile defenses. This will require a lot of little booms. South Korea will add capabilities. Since it is a "full-scale war scenario" I assume it will also include ground drives to carve a no-launch zone north of Seoul, to seize important nuclear infrastructure, and to kill and disrupt North Korean leadership.

The Germans are stepping up in NATO by leading the core of a mechanized battalion in Estonia. But I honestly wonder if the Germans had to strip their army of usable parts to deploy that force.

Senate Democrats went all-in to fight the DeVos nomination not because she lacks experience to be Secretary of Education but because the teacher unions bought and paid for the senators, who only asked how high they should jump.

Romania, which anchors the southeastern part of the eastern front, continues to experience unrest in a struggle to combat or defend corruption. We need a less corrupt Romania to be a true partner to resist Russian aggression. Romania needs that too, as well as to prosper as a nation rather than seeing corrupt leaders loot the country via corruption.

I'd like to point out that contrary to liberals who mocked drilling for oil as a solution to reducing oil prices, we did in fact drill our way to lower oil prices. Now they have sad faces because they didn't get to staff the (ideally) global bureaucracy to dole out our allotted rations.

Contrary to the fake news being put out that nobody from the 7 targeted nations in the temporary travel ban executive order have been arrested for terror crimes, at least 60 have been convicted. And yet the court panel treats the fake news as Gospel in the arguments. Similarly, the idea that this ban harms Moslems when it is meant to protect all people here makes no sense even on their terms when you consider that those countries represent 12% of the global Moslem population. Do read it all. Tip to Instapundit. Oh, and if you want to see real "Islamophobia" in action, look overseas--to Burma (Myanmar) for example.

Why I don't like an Internet of things. Big Brother is watching. Tip to Instapundit.

That three-time insurrectionist and walking piece of garbage Moqtada al-Sadr is exploiting Iraqi corruption to try to gain influence in upcoming elections. Iran's arm is so far up his posterior that the mullahs can brush Sadr's teeth from the inside. Sadr's backers protested in Iraq's Green Zone and were dispersed with tear gas. Long before we defeated the terrorists and insurgents during Iraq War 1.0, I was urging America to stay after victory to promote rule of law in Iraq to defend our gains. Sadr and his Iranian puppeteers are why that was and is important. I also wrote that we'd regret that the man wasn't put six feet under. We shall see.

Sweden has a tiny post-Cold War military that can no longer face a resurgent Russia and is busy importing Middle Eastern unassimilated ghettos into their tiny country, and Swedes are elevating worries about Trump to the top tier? That's just world-class stupid.

Even Eisenhower forgot the rule that you support friends and oppose foes. It took us decades to flip Egypt back. And we are still coping with the expansion of Nasser-like autocracy in the Arab world that inspired jihadis to rise up against their rule. On the bright side, American-Egyptian relations should improve under Trump and Sisi, whose country is also under attack by jihadis spreading out from the Sinai Peninsula. And don't forget that American troops are deployed in the Sinai to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel.

There are anti-Moslem crimes. This is a big country. But when the left highlights every fake hate crime it is easy to forget that there are hateful people out there. Even if there aren't nearly as many as the left imagines. While many on the left like to excuse jihadi murder by claiming America did something to cause the hate, please note that I do not accept that man's reason for hatred of Moslems, contrary to the "why do they hate us?" crowd's reasoning.

I think the Republicans should personify the Democratic Party with Senator Elizabeth Warren, as Instapundit suggests. She is a whackjob that few people out of far left enclaves will admire. Second, it would anger Nancy Pelosi who is used to being the Queen Bee of the Democrats. Third, it would anger Bernie Sanders who thought he had the lock on being the Great Pale Old Hope of college Democrats. Fourth, she finally drives a stake through the heart of Hillary's presidential ambitions that will not die. But does she who wrongly claimed Native American ancestry need a new nickname to replace "Fauxcahontas?" I have nothing on that, but I do have a song:

Lizzy Warren woke Left PACs
She gave Jeff Sessions forty whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her party forty-one.

Canada's prime minister will meet with the president on Monday. Canadians with their one-man boy band Justin Trudeau have little reason to look down on Americans for electing Trump. UPDATE: Canadians may despise Trump but they prefer him to Trudeau on the economy and security.

Holy cow, leaving the EU is a legal nightmare. As I mentioned before, the Soviets would have been better off relying on lawyers building one cheese regulation on top of others than to count on tanks to keep their empire intact. How is it possible that the Soviet empire fell apart with fewer legal complications? Well, it the EU itself implodes, everyone will be in Britain's position. Is that Britain's best bet to cut the ties that bind to Brussels?

So the Washington Post just assumes (incorrectly) that former President Obama is a great athlete across a wide variety of sports. Because he is an African-American man? If they weren't such panting fanboys (and girls) you might say that was racist, eh? You might still say that.

Thailand's new king disturbingly wants to be a real autocrat rather than a constitutional monarch. This is bad.

I was never worried that President Trump would blow up our foreign policy, believing our interests would shape his decisions. This has proven to be correct so far.  Honestly, it cracked me up that people who never before gave a damn about NATO were suddenly worried Trump would abandon it. Sleep easily, nervous ones. NATO will be fine.

Sovereignty, the Internet, and the law.  I think the divergence of nations and the nation-spanning Internet raises the possibility of Internet-based freebooters (cyberbooters, as I called them) that could even affect the physical world. In looking at that old cyber-booter post I see I worried that nations might strike back directly at a country's citizens carrying out private warfare (and only 99 cents!). Which makes that OPM personnel data hack more significant, eh?

Huh, so students and not just outside thugs participated in the riot phase of the protest-riot two-step at Berkeley? More people than I imagine are majoring in dumbassery science.

Truly, I am sick of the Left trying to portray opposition to mass illegal immigration as being anti-immigrant. Since when is being in favor of legal immigration only considered evil? Because it sure wasn't in 1995 when President Clinton argued for controlling our borders and Democratic members of Congress rose in applause when he proposed that.

Recent stories about the Fukushima radiation levels wrongly gave the impression of a disaster rolling out. The stories were misleading. Normally I try to read news with a skeptical eye, But the technology is beyond my usual experience so I fell into the trap of the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect (which I quote in Sources and Methods).

Neither liberals nor the Trump administration are covering themselves in glory in their politically motivated arguments over the Yemen raid. Casualties happen in successful missions. And lessons can be learned from successes or failures.

The idea that the Trump executive order pausing certain alien travel to America will recruit terrorists is nonsense. If you really believe that, you have to admit that legalizing gay marriage will also recruit jihadi terrorists. More broadly, jihadi recruitment thrived under President Obama despite being the anti-Bush. What doesn't recruit jihadis? Really, their hatred and murderous rage are not our fault. Stop asking "why do they hate us?" and then answering your own question by pointing to America.

Of leftists arrested in Germany in violent protest theater,  92% live with their mothers. That's the problem. The parents should kick them out and then these punks would have to spend their precious free time working to pay the rent. Original link in German plus the awkward Google translation of the summary. Ah, Muttisheviks in action!

After President Obama was elected, I wondered if a problem in Mexico would be his first foreign policy crisis. I still wonder that as Trump begins his term.

Will American judges suspend this Chinese border action? Because it could very well be racist. I was fingerprinted leaving America and nobody held protests for me.

Sure, review relations with Pakistan. But as long as we have troops in Afghanistan (and our general there wants several thousand more NATO troops), we have to supply them. Pray tell if not through Pakistan, will our line of supply to landlocked Afghanistan go through Russia or Iran? Because a tenuous link through a link that spans Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Black Sea (at least) is not my idea of the most secure. As much as Pakistan is a problem child of an ally, we'd consider it a great foreign policy success if Iran acted as good as Pakistan. UPDATE: The case for getting tough with Pakistan. Again, the sentiment is fine. Pakistan is a major problem in coping in Afghanistan. But explain how we supply our forces in Afghanistan if we take Pakistan off the table? Will Russia pick up the slack? Really, the best hope to resolve this problem is that Iran becomes a friendly and safe line of supply. Then we can get tough with Pakistan.

Supporters of three-time insurrectionist, Iranian fanboy, and all-around Scumbag Moqtada al-Sadr  killed an Iraqi police officer in their protests. I was assured by our Left that any outside support to factions (like pro-democracy people) just "discredits" them and leads everyone in that country to rally around the flag to resist foreign interference. With ISIL still holding Iraqi territory, why is Sadr rallying around the Iranian flag so enthusiastically? There is corruption in Iraq. Which we should be helping to combat. But that's just Sadr's excuse and not his reason to oppose the government.

Well, yeah: "'NATO has been dealing with a significant increase in Russian propaganda and disinformation since Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014,' [NATO] spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in an email." Since Russia invaded Ukraine in the Crimea and the Donbas regions, Russia has more to hide and lie about. Hence the significant increase. Which is why our Baltic NATO allies are worried about the Autumn Zapad 2017 military exercises near them. We don't need to go along with the Russian lies, remember.