Sunday, March 19, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

Iran has set up a "Golan liberation" Iraqi militia unit. Iran's jihadists are nothing if not consistent. During the bloody Iran-Iraq War the Iranians would claim they were trying to get at Israel by plowing through Saddam's Iraq. Now, of course, Iran prefers to fight Israel to the last Arab.

Really, the Yemen raid was not a debacle as the legion of Clausewitzes in Democratic ranks has been charging. Yes, we suffered losses in the raid. But the enemy fights when they can, oddly enough. And sometimes bad stuff just happens.

I've mentioned that I worry about the Chinese figuring out how to get devices aboard our carriers that could function as homing beacons for anti-ship missiles. Yes, there are no cell phone towers at sea so a simple phone with PLAN malware won't do the job. But this does seem like an option given this pre-installed malware news. Devices like that have come from China in the past.

Life is funny. America leads a coalition to save poor South Korea in 1950, a country the Left attacked for decades. Now, 67 years later, South Korea is a free and advanced democracy that impeached their president under rule of law and which has sold needed advanced weapons to European countries concerned about defending their own freedom from Russia.

This study has immense personal satisfaction for me. Organic farming is not as environmentally friendly as advertised; doesn't seem to have nutritional advantages; and the pesticide advantage isn't as big a deal in the West that regulates pesticide use. But it does cost much more and does allow you to pretend you are morally superior. So well worth the price.

I haven't been a big fan of the Littoral Combat Ship. I am fine with the basic concept of modularity, which inspired my concept for a modularized auxiliary cruiser ("The AFRICOM Queen"), but the poor survivability of the ship combined with a bizarre notion that the ship could sail, fight, and survive in the littorals--close to shore--made me skeptical. The LCS is fading as problems and costs proliferate. But a Navy frigate is still needed.

This article says that Ukraine will blockade rebel-held areas of the Donbas. One, those so-called rebels are Russian hand puppets when not actual Russian soldiers. And two, how on Earth is that move a threat to a "ceasefire" that exists solely as a means to solidify and expand Russia's conquest of the region? Those "rebels" from the region, as their leaders oddly get assassinated, will find themselves absorbed as their "separatist" South Ossetia armed brethren in Georgia just lost their nominal independence.

Assad played a poor hand well. Outnumbered as a minority regime with a military of uncertain loyalty that has suffered huge casualties, Assad reacted to peaceful protesters by shooting and eventually bombing and gassing them; ignoring jihadis flowing in to focus on killing the opposition; leveraging the growth of the ignored jihadis to flip America from a foe on the cusp of attacking Assad to a de facto ally under President Obama; pulled in Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia to fight for him; and now portrays himself as a stalwart warrior against jihadi "extremists" (where was that man when he was feeding jihadis into Iraq to kill our troops and far more Iraqis?). Bravo. That, my friends, is smart diplomacy. He could still lose. But he played his hand well.

"Feelings" are now a legal arguing point in our judiciary. So much for rule of law. This is seriously effed up. Tip to Instapundit. Seriously, the court logic is that because Trump on the campaign trail said he wanted to ban all Moslem immigration, that when he temporarily suspends immigrants from a small number of mostly Moslem countries already identified as problems by the prior administration that he is following through (illegally) on that promise? And that his order would be legal if he hadn't said those things on the campaign trail? How is this logic remotely based on rule of law?

Strategypage posts seem to go back and forth between discussing a slow Saudi-led victory in Yemen or a slow defeat. They seem more optimistic on this post that discusses the war. I've been in the "slow but gathering victory" camp. But slow also means vulnerable to something happening to derail the gathering victory and provide defeat instead.

Yes, there is a "deep state" in America. But while it is real it is not a shadow state ignoring President Trump. The permanent bureaucracy bends administrations to the forces of inertia--for good and bad. As it was intended, truth be told. Indeed, I wrote early that opponents of Trump should stop their panic in realization that the bureaucracy would shape Trump and narrow his options. I was not worried about a Trump presidency--even if I find him personally clown-like--even as liberals sincerely but farcically worried about future death camps in Colorado. I figured a combination of the bureaucracies and appointees drawn from Republican ranks would shape Trump policies in a good way. Democrats instead have gone quite mad in their fear-mongering (yet oddly they haven't fled to Canada as they promised). Mind you, the permanent bureaucracy is far more openly hostile to Trump than I expected and must be tamed by the appointees. But it is not a coup threat. Nor is it unique to America. I heartily endorse the British series on the subject that is mentioned in the article. Here's a taste.

Strategypage looks at Thailand. A long-time ally, Thailand is also flirting with autocratic rule rather than constitutional democracy. Their history of democracy is tentative at best. I worry that a Thailand that goes full autocrat will be more comfortable with China as a friend.

Via Instapundit, Trump Hysteria Condition is driving the Left quite mad. They're half an eye tick away from going on about their precious bodily fluids. Total commitment, indeed.

I've always been a proponent of the "Oxford comma." But I've never insisted others use it. The value of the Oxford comma has been settled with a court ruling. Tip to Instapundit.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. Couldn't have happened to a nicer ... whatever.

If piracy is rearing its ugly head again from land bases in Somalia, will the world response be to again carry out naval patrols to launch a years-long long struggle to choke the piracy into submission, with hostages languishing in captivity? Or will someone go in on land in force with punitive missions to kill pirates and destroy their buildings and boats to really discourage them?

Syria fired at Israeli aircraft attacking Hezbollah targets in Syria. Assad must be feeling pretty good about his chances of surviving the civil war to risk adding an enemy. Perhaps Israel should consider the timing of that Hezbollah project I've mentioned. UPDATE: In case of war with Hezbollah (and/or Hamas) and their massive stockpile of rockets and missiles (150,000), Israel plans a mass evacuation of civilians from the north.

Milk is racist? Wake up sheeple! It's worse than that! I've been on this issue for a long time.

Someone is hacking cell phones in Washington, D.C. (Tip to Instapundit). There is a reason the Russian embassy is located where it is. Funny that the Russians don't think the Trump administration will just send them this kind of information straight from the NSA. Go figure. Well, no evidence that the Russians are doing this, of course. But I assume they've been doing something like it all along without headlines.

Well, I broke the pattern, anyway. Tip to Instapundit.

Sure, even if you accept that Republicans are wrong on this tax issue concept, you have to admit that everyone is wrong. Slashing taxes doesn't push leaders to cut spending to make up for the cuts nor do tax cuts unleash enough economic growth to expand tax revenue enough to overcome the tax rate cuts. But you must admit that raising taxes to cover budget deficits doesn't work either, because leaders always find four ways to spend every single new dollar of tax revenue that comes in. That's how we got here, after all. So neither side seems capable. You wonder why Bernie Sanders almost--but failed because of a far more real Hillary "hack" of the Democratic Party nominating system--won the Democratic primary and why Trump did win the Republican primary? Tip to Instapundit.

Fake news. Conservatives have long experience with this form of it.

Trump's America did not stop an international investigation into the mass oppression, rapes, and killing of Moslems in Myanmar (Burma)--Russia and China did that.

For what it is worth, to avoid making the pursuit of the perfect the enemy of the good, I back the Ryan plan to roll back Obamacare as much as possible. It seems good enough to be a start. A sense of urgency is needed to start that process. Remember how the Democrats lost control of the Senate which forced them to use reconciliation (well, "forced" because Democrats didn't want to accommodate any Republican input) to pass a highly flawed bill? How will the debate look if just a couple of Republican senators are similarly unexpectedly replaced by the other party?

I'd make sure the lease specifically bans urinating in the compost pile. Let's put homeless people into shoe boxes in the backyards of upper middle class people and see whether resentment builds faster than fear, respectively. Remember, the host family's dog lives in the house while the formerly homeless person lives in the backyard box. Will the hosts really enjoy their outdoor barbecue with sets of eyes peering hungrily out of the tiny home windows? I sure hope that nobody becoming a 5-year landlord wants to sell their home during that time. Explain that to the potential buyer. And how will neighbors of those hosts feel about this program? What could possibly go wrong?

The Army reopened its jungle warfare school at Hawaii's 25th Infantry division.

If a single old global warming paper is truly so good at predicting the future rather than being random good luck plucked from the pack after the fact, shouldn't we scrap the line of inquiry represented by every other failed predictive model to focus on that one "accurate" one? Today's modeling reminds me nothing more than fitting epicycles into circular planetary orbit models to explain observed trajectories in the absence of elliptical orbit explanations.

I always worry when our allies "reorganize" their military out of fear that they just spelled "reduce" wrong. Britain has launched a revised reorganization for their army.

While I can appreciate that the European established parties have driven the rise of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands (and others like him elsewhere) by their refusal to debate--or even accept that there is a problem with--mass immigration that does not include assimilation, Geert Wilders himself is increasingly repulsive to me. But it is hard to blame many of his supporters for looking to him in desperation for someone to even admit there is a problem. I have written that I thought the immigration issue rather than leading to the defeat of Europe by Moslem "invaders" would provoke an extreme reaction if the established parties didn't address the blowback. Here we are getting closer to that solution. Sadly, Europe becomes less "Western" whether the continent is Islamicized or radicalized (to extreme right or left) to combat that assimilation problem. And all because European elites have for decades ruled out discussing the problem when it could be resolved by polite policies.

So in an era when Hillary's "reset" with Russia for better relations via American "flexibility" was official Obama policy, Trump is supposed to be impeached because he did (legal) business with Russians?  If American policy appeases and accommodates Russia more than it did under Obama, you let me know, okay?

Let's be clear, China is punishing South Korea because South Korea is deploying weapons (THAAD) to prevent North Korea from nuking South Korea--and China fears those defensive missiles could interfere with China's ability to nuke South Korea. Nice guys, eh? UPDATE: South Korea is trying to use the WTO to stop China.

Recall that our very low-key effort with Uganda to hunt down the nutball Joseph Kony (Koni) continues. Murderous nutballs of the non-jihadi version also exist, despite the current primary Islamist threat. Personally, I'd help Uganda as we have directly since 2011 just to keep their help in Somalia against jihadis. With Uganda making noises about leaving Somalia and Trump making noises about ending our Kony mission, perhaps both missions continue in a deal that stops the noise. Funny enough, stomach ulcers might fell Kony before military operations can do it. Perhaps the stress of being hunted so long gave Kony the ulcers, of course. Dead is dead.