Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

If California's secessionists manage--contrary to all expectations--put a measure on the ballot to leave the United States because they don't like the current American government, will the secessionists allow their counties the same privilege to refuse to join their secessionist brethren?

This author is right on the mark in his discussion of the problems and usefulness of big aircraft carriers, touching on just about every point I've made over the years. Kudos, Mr. Forsling. Here's just one of my posts with a number of useful links to other relevant posts. My hope is that we have a sea power debate rather than a carrier debate where each side argues past the other. I admit I will have to re-think my views if the seas become transparent for submarine detection.

You know, I never tire of reminding readers that my time in uniform was as a reservist signal soldier and that I never served overseas. At best, my unit was almost sent overseas in 1991. One publication wrongly stated that I had served in West Germany and I immediately sent an email that they printed in the next issue to clarify that. They had wrongly interpreted my statement that my Guard unit was earmarked to support VII Corps. I deleted that source of confusion in my short bio (that until then had never been misinterpreted, but I didn't want to risk that again). I won't pretend that my honorable REMF service was anything special. So this sort of lying about military service is pretty outrageous to me. It's also probably why it annoys me to no end that liberals infected with Trump Hysteria Condition try to pretend that their delusional beliefs about fascism descending on America make them the "Resistance" when nobody is trying to hunt them down in their secret meetings at the local organic market. Tip to Instapundit.

Background on US-Mexican relations. We've had ups and downs. Yes, we fought a war with Mexico. But we fought a war with Japan and Italy--and two with Germany--yet we have good relations with those three countries and hyphenated Americans assimilated here, too. In the end, we will work things out with our neighbor and friend that has provided many of our citizens. Our immigration policies for Mexico's northern border will never be as harsh as Mexico's are for their Central American neighbors, recall.

I will say that the 9th Circuit's upholding of a state's standing to sue the federal government over the Trump foreigner executive order (which itself says nothing about the actual policy's constitutionality) could in the future cause some collateral damage to the Left which sees an all-powerful federal government as their primary means of getting what they want. We shall see.

Feminism today is really upper class white liberal women. If not, Conway would be celebrated as the first female campaign manager to win an election for her candidate. And they'd focus on the impact of mass illegal immigration on poor and working African-Americans (including women) rather than emphasizing the impact on illegal female immigrants. But like I've always said, Feminism as a movement (as opposed to feminism as accepting equality for women) is just the women's auxiliary of Liberalism.

Turkey is working on long-range ballistic missiles. Although range is not specified. I have to feel that Turkey sucking up to Russia and Iran is just to buy time to get these missiles and perhaps some nuclear warheads to go with them.

Ukrainians are doing a good job--with Polish help, too--of rebuilding tanks to take on the Russians. Early in that war I wrote that we didn't need to send heavy armor because Ukraine had a large stock to build on, and that our eastern NATO allies could help with updates. We can help fill gaps to make what Ukraine has more effective. This need for military power applies even if Ukraine is giving up on retaking the east (let alone Crimea). If Russia gets away with their conquests, they'll come after Ukraine later for more.

I'm more than happy to have a debate on immigration and at what level and under what conditions does it benefit America--as opposed to the obvious benefit to immigrants (which the Democrats oddly assume to be true despite coming to the Trump dystopia). But the Democrats don't want that debate.  They just want to muddy the waters by denying that we have illegal immigrants. (They're just undocumented! Try that in any other field where you need government approval.) So they pretend to be morally superior by denying that we should have any debate at all over the basic sovereign right and responsibility to control our borders. Just how does unlimited immigration help the working poor and unemployed here who want jobs without that massive flow of competition at the bottom rung of the ladder?

At least elements of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (part of 10th Mountain Division) deployed to Germany to support NATO forces on the eastern front. It is not being stationed there, just rotated in.

FYI, 72 persons convicted in America of terrorism charges were from the countries included in the executive order temporarily preventing persons from 7 countries from entering America.

I have no particular feelings about National Security Advisor Flynn, who resigned this week. He lied about his contacts with the Russians to his own boss, so he deserved to go for that alone. But this is key, not because talking to Russians was illegal, so we should all worry about how he was shot down. If our people ever think that voting doesn't change government because the permanent bureaucracies won't let mere elections change what they do, what's the next rational decision of the people? This news shows the great thing about not being a Trump fan. He was the last person I wanted to win the Republican nomination, having only the single all-important advantage of not being Hillary Clinton. So I can be pleasantly surprised when President Trump carries out conservative goals. And of course I can be supportive of the people who count on Trump to address their needs who have been ignored for so long. But if the president does something I don't like, I don't feel like I can't or shouldn't criticize him. If the president is too accommodating to Russia or discounts the importance of intelligence, I will oppose that as I opposed President Obama's Iran opening,  his failure to take presidential daily briefings, and Hillary Clinton's lax security procedures with her private email server while Secretary of State (which makes Democratic demands that Flynn lose his security clearance--even if they are right--rather tough to take). Although note to the Left that has dialed up the opposition to 11 over every damn little thing, your too-often violent reactions dull my urge to oppose. FYI. And no, when you shout down discussions, that is not in fact "what democracy looks like." That's what thug storm trooper tactics look like. Again, FYI.

Can we stop this loose talk of impeachment, coups, and civil war (and dictatorship)? This is politics we're talking about, nothing more. If it becomes more, I swear I'll blog about it.

The United States Navy is establishing a ship, aircraft, and Marine presence in the Red Sea. This helps our Arab allies oppose Iranian influence in the region.

Possible "pranksters" released pepper spray at a Hamburg, Germany airport that spread through the ventilation system. While that is not a lethal agent, could it have been a test run to see if more lethal agents can be dispersed that way? Mind you, even lethal agents might not have a concentration to make it lethal, but it would injure and sow panic. So there you go.

I sincerely hoped that race relations would be improved by the election of our first African-American president. It was a big deal. Didn't happen. But at least we don't have African-American racist haters, right? Wait. What? All white people are really handicapped and thus a protected class under federal law? Well, perhaps the young lady didn't fully think through her theory. Tip to Instapundit.

As I've said, return power to the states (and to local governments) to defuse the partisan divide growing at the national level. And it checks federal power. I've long advocated that. With a federal government in the hands of the Republicans, now--other than the "civil servants"--perhaps this conservative view will get a strange new respect from Democrats. As unhappy liberal Californians unseriously consider secession, which would make the remaining American 49 states more conservative absent California's Democratic voters, legislators, and money. Wouldn't it be better--and more compassionate to fellow liberals--to allow all states to have more autonomy under a federal system that reverses the flow of so much power to Washington, D.C.? Tip to Instapundit.

When it comes to Kuznetsov, great minds think alike.

Just as diligently as O. J. Simpson is looking for the "real killer." Tip to Instapundit.

A quick review of the Philippines from Strategypage. It's all fun and games when cops are killing drug dealers. Rule of law is easier to lose than to regain.

Nanny staters say that people must be protected from check cashing stores that function as an alternative to banks (say, who foreclosed on their homes?). But an academic found out they can make sense for a lot of people, But they're icky. And when reality clashes with elite theory, reality must give way. Tip to Instapundit.

A Russian spy ship is sailing off our coast in international waters. I wouldn't even bother to yawn about it except that some people seem to be making a big deal about it. While annoying, it is perfectly legal. And less significant than even I thought it is. I'm not losing sleep at night. As long as our similar operations are taking place at a higher rate. Although we might want to be prepared in case the ship breaks down and needs a tow.

I expected that my relief that Hillary lost the election would be replaced by worry about Trump being president. You know my history of not liking him one bit. But I haven't hit that transition point. Why? Because liberals have thrown a constant "dialed to 11" tantrum and made it easy to support him rather than them. It's like with police shootings. I don't want people shot by police. Courts must decide guilt and punishment. And I worry about the over-militarization of our police. Combined with my view that police-backed government regulation of our lives is too deep (really, selling "loosies" is something police should crack down on?), there was room for discussion. But when the communist-backed Black Live Matters showed up with lies about "hands up, don't shoot" and framed the issue as either for them and their anti-law enforcement attitudes or the police, the choice of who to side with became easy. So congratulations to the left for valuing polarization over rational discussion. Enjoy.

Leftists who maintain a "mass shootings" database altered the definition of a mass shooting that law enforcement uses. The result is to show such shootings as more common by an order of magnitude. Ah, science. Tip to Instapundit.

I'm not pleased with Turkish cooperation with Russia and Iran over Syria, but Turkey's win against Syrian government forces in the race for control of al-Bab in northern Syria (which had been conrolled by ISIL) is the least bad thing to happen. Although the Turkish-backed forces aren't fully in control yet as of the news date, so don't celebrate quite yet.

America complains that Russia violated a Cold War treaty on theater nuclear weapons. The  SSC-8 cruise missile is the violation charged. Russia denies everything. If Russia didn't inherit the USSR's legal responsibility to uphold that treaty, perhaps we should revisit that Russia inheriting the Soviet Union's UN Security Council permanent seat, eh?

For all those Democrats suddenly worried about the health of NATO, Secretary of Defense Mattis reassured our NATO allies that the alliance is a "fundamental bedrock"  of our foreign defense policy. I'm almost giddy that the Left is now pro-NATO.

The youngest don't get the attention to develop the way a first-born does.  As I joke with my daughter, Lamb (we are both the youngest), the first get all the attention but by the time we came along, the parental attitude is "Sure, you can play in traffic--just look both ways."

At this point, clamping down on US trade relations with Cuba would put China more at risk with their new investments.

I wonder if these 82nd Airborne pathfinders returning from their quiet mission based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti participated in the Yemen raid?

We should stop going along with the fiction that Putin promotes that the Donbas is controlled by local pro-Russian elements. Russia invaded the Donbas and is at war with Ukraine.

I am officially in mourning as I hear that BrainDead has been cancelled. Curse you, CBS.

Funny, but I think in terms of fairness--which makes me conservative contrary to the article's divisions. For example, how is it fair to working Americans or the poor to have open borders that just create more competition for jobs by immigrants and depresses wages for entry level jobs? How is it fair to have so many welfare programs when so many people work hard to afford the same things? Really, the government subsidizes phones? But I clearly see fairness in a different manner than liberals, I guess.

Funny, this is similar to how Assad drives rebellious civilians from their homes by blockading supplies. Tip to Instapundit. If the group involved in this California school initiative was called Friends of the Children the policy would be very different.

I mentioned Sweden's reactivation of coastal defense missile units. Strategypage discusses that.

In the debate over replacing the A-10, one company wants to replace the ground support aircraft by building a new plane around the A-10's 30mm gatling gun. That's recycling I can fully endorse. Tip to Instapundit.

The science is scuttled. Why do the people who claim to have science on their side behave in such an unscientific manner so often?

Late in the week President Trump decided to whine about the situation he inherited. I'll repeat what I said when Obama complained about inheriting problems from Bush 43--man the ef up. Every president inherits problems from their predecessor. The world does not follow an arc of problem and resolution neatly within a presidential term. So just stop it.

Raging Islamophobia in action: "Turkey has increased scrutiny of Russian-speaking Muslim communities in the past few months following a series of attacks blamed on Islamic State, a concrete example of the renewed relationship between the two countries."

To my liberal readers, I can understand why you will grind your teeth in frustration during presidential news conferences the next 4-8 years. If it makes you feel better, that's how I felt for the previous 8 years. As I occasionally wrote, my sympathy for the tough job Obama had increased in direct proportion to the time since I last heard him talk about policy matters. I guiltily admit it has been enjoyable to see the "leg tingle" crowd in the press corps take to their fainting couches over the recent Trump press conference where he showed his hostility to the press. While the sight of a press corps willing to challenge a president is a refreshing change after the last 8 years of fawning worship, in their eagerness to pounce they shouldn't drop all standards, eh? Perhaps we should give them a break because they're rusty. Surely they'll get better. But I also hope that future presidential press conferences aren't so Thunder Domey. That will get old real fast. Although media hostility to Republicans predates this spectacle.

A Strategypage overview of Nigeria. As I wrote about while the original Iraq War raged, corruption is a problem masked by the greater problem of jihadis. Now that Boko Haram is dwindling, the corruption is the problem to face. And when ISIL is defeated as an organized force (terror will remain), corruption must be fought in Iraq.

Just a political commissars assigned to communist military units reduce effectiveness by making sure ideology is elevated over military judgment, a vast array of politically correct commissars assigned (by themselves) to colleges no doubt reduces their educational effectiveness. Tip to Instapundit.

The Trump administration is talking tough about Russia. Good. But I was never worried about that issue. And this is surely a great relief to Democrats who are Born Again Russkie Slayers since the election campaign. But somebody please inform Representative Waters, eh? Use short words. She's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. 

News in countering the awful crimes that mass illegal migration fuels, from Paraguay and Pakistan sends back refugees, which is obviously Islamophobic. Paraguay is guilty of something awful, too, I'm sure. I'm sorry, I interrupted you while you were telling me how controlling America's borders is so uniquely awful.

As I've mentioned, a wall (or any obstacle) is worthless without people defending it--even nuanced compassionate Europeans know this. 

Much as there were French collaborators who weren't thrilled that France was liberated from Nazi control, you have to expect that some Crimeans eagerly working with their Russian conquerors would oppose the return of Crimea to Ukraine

Let's remember that President Obama sent the National Guard to the Mexican border. As did Bush before him.

China halted coal imports from North Korea for the rest of this year to punish the North Koreans for their solid-fuel rocket test. Luckily, Trump lifted impediments on American coal mining, which presumably could fill the gap in Chinese imports.