Sunday, April 16, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

In case you missed it, size matters.

The driver in Sweden who used his truck for a terror attack was a "known wolf," naturally.

This article essentially claims that Marine Le Pen is insincere in defending gay rights and so the French LGBT community is wrong to back her in order to defend themselves against Islamist bigotry and attack. But you have to admit that Le Pen wouldn't have this opportunity if the conventional parties had shown any interest in stopping anti-gay violence by Islamists. And let's not speak of the history of America's Democratic Party (from founding by slave owners, to secession in defense of slavery, to segregation in response to the end of slavery) if you want to taint a current politician by pointing to the sins of past politicians in the same party. You have to admit, when many heterosexual couples don't bother to marry, gay marriage is a lower priority than gay survival. Not that I'm a fan of Le Pen--or any other French politician. I'm just saying that the failings of the conventional parties make room for someone like Le Pen.

Of course they do: "North Korea said on Saturday U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian airfield on Friday were 'an unforgivable act of aggression' that showed its decision to develop nuclear weapons was 'the right choice a million times over'." I've long said that North Korea will never give up their nukes and that any deal will be broken almost immediately.

Good Lord, return the drill sergeants! I didn't realize that drill sergeants aren't in Army AIT. They were newly returned when I was in AIT in 1989. Fort Gordon was known as "Fort Resort" without the drill sergeants.

I thought it was done orally, with Doritos. Who knew? Tip to Instapundit.

And in Yemen, more intense air strikes on jihadis continue.

Maduro's supporters plan to rule Venezuela "forever." Socialism kills freedom and ruins countries--even oil-rich states like Venezuela.

If we had governing elites who acted like they cared about doing what voters want, Russian propaganda designed to undermine American faith in democracy would fall on deaf ears. Rather than trying to block Russian propaganda in ways that would just undermine freedom of speech, our leaders should try to govern better.

I just want to remind you that the Russians were so afraid of Hillary Clinton becoming president (that's what Clinton and her fans say) that the Russians bet it all on having Trump stop her in the general election despite every poll showing him losing badly, rather than help Comrade Bernie Sanders beat Hillary in the primary when Clinton looked vulnerable to him.

"Will Mexico Get Half of Its Territory Back [from America]?" Mexico's territory? If the southwest isn't American, why does Mexico get it? When did Mexico get anointed as an indigenous nation rather than just another colony planted by a European state (Spain in Mexico's case)? Tip to Instapundit.

Apparently we won't be driving our way to a glorious solar-paved Green future. That was totally worth $4.3 million. Tip to Instapundit.

The jihadi assault on Christians in Egypt continues: "At least 43 people were killed in bomb attacks on two Egyptian Coptic churches on Palm Sunday that included the seat of the Coptic Pope, the latest assault on a religious minority increasingly targeted by Islamist militants." I'd call it Christianaphobia but the jihadis don't fear Christians--the jihadis just want the Christians dead.

Good enough for military work. Seventy percent now is better than 100% at some point in the future beyond when you need it. If you ever get it.

Russia denies there is proof Syria used chemical weapons this month. But Russia denies they have invaded Ukraine and denies their sock puppets shot down a Malaysian airliner over the Donbas. Whether or not Assad launched this particular Sarin strike--and he has motive--he has launched others that did not draw punishing responses. So you can hardly say America's strike on the suspected airbase from which the chemical strike was launched is wrong.

If New York state wants to spend the money and devalue the worth of their state's 4-year-degree graduates by making it easy for young people with no skin in the game to spend four years partying with "free" college instead of making them work for tuition or enter the world of work, who am I to oppose them? Enjoy.

Silly East Portlanders! The compassionate left doesn't care about you!

Wow! Just weeks ago China was punishing South Korea for agreeing to deploy THAAD to shoot down North Korean missiles. Now China and South Korea have agreed on more sanctions against North Korea if North Korea tests nukes or long-range missiles again.

Yeah, my daughter got nailed by one of these third-party Amazon hackers, in retrospect. She used her allowance to buy a really cheap t-shirt (I even joked about not expecting a very good shirt at that price) that never showed up. Amazon quickly refunded her money with just an online report of the problem.

Trump has caused a rise in alcoholism in EPA employees? Actually, one staffer speculated that would happen. We'll see if the EPA alcoholism model is any better than the climate models. Tip to Instapundit.

Justice Ginsburg effed up. She trusted Hillary. And now the horse is unlikely to sing.

Trump is a pawn of Russia? Yeah, you let me know when Trump gets as flexible as Obama was for the Russians.

Nice week. Roof leak, my daughter's pet died, and I wrecked a tire in a pothole. But at least I wasn't dragged off a United flight!

I don't understand why press secretary Spicer is taking heat for his comments on Assad, noting that even someone as bad as Hitler didn't use chemical weapons. The statement is accurate notwithstanding Hitler's use of poison gas in an attempted genocide against Jews sent to death camps. You don't have to deny that Hitler never ordered the use of chemical weapons by his military to recognize that Hitler was a monster who used poison gas in an industrial-scale murder campaign. This strikes me as a fake controversy intended to claim a scalp from the Trump administration regardless of the reason. Or have we really gotten to the point where the most ignorant and sensitive people get to decide what is offensive?

For those "false flag" fans who think Assad surely had to know chemical weapons use would prompt an American retaliation, remember that Assad has gotten away with this for many years now. And two, remember that Assad may not share the Western revulsion we feel about chemical weapons as opposed to any other method to slaughter enemies.

I worry that Russia and Turkey could come to some sort of agreement that pries Turkey from NATO despite the long history of warfare between Russia and Turkey. Perhaps the post-Soviet geography that ended the friction of common land borders (via Russia itself or Bulgaria) makes such a shift possible. And maybe the common personalities of Erdogan and Putin make such a dramatic move more possible. To be sure, the issue of Syria and Iran divide them, but will those factors be constant?

This is an interesting article on the difficult position South Korea is in between their ally America and the local power China. I would add that South Korea has long been under threat from North Korean conventional and chemical weapons that could inflict tremendous damage on Seoul and kill many of its people. As Japan and America fall under the threat of North Korean missiles armed with nuclear warheads, South Korea has little incentive to risk Seoul by agreeing to a disarming campaign against North Korean nuclear facilities and weapons to prevent Japan and America from facing a similar threat.

Young leftist millennials aren't ignorant, they just think the delicious omelet is totally worth the broken eggs. Sometimes dissenters are just on the other side.

Ah, the sainted international community.

As long as they don't also use barbed wire with armed guards permitted to shoot to kill. Tip to Instapundit.

For what it's worth, I deleted my Facebook account. I don't like it and rarely use it, so why bother staying?

To stop terrorism, a Swedish newspaper advocates banning an entire category of threats in their cities without noting that the vast majority cause no harm and in fact do much good--cars. Tip to Instapundit. Just wait until those fine minds see what a fanatic can do on a crowded bus.

After Trump was elected, someone I know who never gave one thought about NATO asked in horror why I wasn't worried about the coming demise of the alliance. NATO will be fine, I replied. Trump openly backed NATO last week.

This author pushes back on the idea of partitioning Libya. He has a point. Times change. And in a world where borders matter, people adapt to even an "artificial" border to make them more real. But perhaps this question and the experience of South Sudan will end the blame-game on the West for drawing the borders of Africa that are a convenient scapegoat for problems.

How nice. A children's book promoting communism. Well, kids already believe a jolly man in a red suit and beard can just pass out free stuff. Although what's the excuse for adults who peddle this junk? I wonder how the death, oppression, and poverty part of the system is addressed in a child-friendly manner? Tip to Instapundit. If you want to explain what can go wrong with a system based on taking things from people who own them and giving them to others (in this case the people of the organization with the power to enforce), look at the United Airlines passenger assault. Also tip to Instapundit.

I'm not fully on board saying Trump is more willing to use force than Obama based on the Syria cruise missile strike. Obama attacked Libya; called Yemen his model war zone; launched Iraq War 2.0; sent troops after Kony in the Uganda region; escalated the war in Afghanistan; struck terrorists in Libya with a B-2 strike, and in Somalia and Pakistan; and otherwise set a record by being the first president to be at war for an entire two terms of office. Could we wait more than 2-1/2 months to judge Trump on this issue?

The liberal notion that all problems have to take a back seat to solving the Palestinian issue, after which everything else will fall into place because the Palestinian issue is so important to Arabs, took a major hit during the Obama administration. Arabs across the Middle East have shown that other issues really are a priority. And no issue highlights this more than Syria, whose ruler Bashar Assad in January 2011 claimed he was immune to Arab Spring unrest because the people backed his unswerving hostility to Israel. That was about half a million dead ago.

Russia needs to do what it takes to keep Belarus friendly. Belarus is perhaps the most important territory in Europe today, I think.

That MOAB strike in Afghanistan killed a bunch of ISIL members (estimated at nearly 100 now) also destroyed a lot of weapons. I recall that in the Persian Gulf War we dropped a daisy cutter bomb much smaller and some British special forces inside Iraq saw the mushroom cloud and sent out a message to the effect that America had dropped a nuke. It's gonna leave a mark. Perhaps this will discourage ISIL from trying to rebuild in Afghanistan as their provinces of Libya, Iraq, and Syria go down in flames.

It is an odd sports story about the first female football player accepted by a Division II or higher college that doesn't even mention the position of the player. Good for her and all that. Perhaps the reporter could have respected her enough as an athlete to say what position she plays, eh?

If this story is true, a lot of foreign countries were roped into spying on Trump for the Obama administration. Which should be problematic for civil libertarians when you consider that this is outsourcing jobs that American's can't do. Also consider that if you really believe that the Russians were trying to get Trump elected with their very public propaganda effort on his behalf that the Russian intelligence services were apparently the only foreign intelligence services that believed Trump had a shot at winning the election (why risk being discovered by the new president doing this if they didn't think Trump would lose). Tip to Instapundit.

I don't remember seeing this back then, but it does fit in with my long-held complaint that it is a crime against language that "liberal minded" is viewed as a synonym for "open minded."

You know, one of the reasons that the American cruise missile strike on Assad in retaliation for Assad's use of chemical weapons on civilians is actually significant is that it cuts through the enemy strategy of committing aggression, denying they are committing aggression, and counting on the West doing nothing without a CSI: Tyrant investigation that makes it obvious to the most dense that the enemy is guilty.

The idea that those on the left are putting out that the Trump strike on Assad's air base was illegal because Congress did not approve the plan first is farcical. And pointing out that Obama asked Congress for permission after Assad crossed the red line on chemical weapons use in 2013 is even more farcical. Obama asked Congress for permission as a means of avoiding enforcing that red line. The subsequent chemical weapons deal brokered by Russia that hasn't stopped Assad from using chemical weapons was just the logical conclusion of that White House scramble. And if Obama truly valued Congressional approval, do you want to explain that whole 2011 Libya War thing?

Hamid Karzai is Exhibit A in why we should focus on the electoral process and rule of law rather than counting on a supposedly friendly strongman. Other Afghans don't seem to have a problem with the MOAB (although note the conspiracy theory junk that complicates our war--yeah, America really wants to be in Afghanistan. Dudes, get over yourselves).

This is shocking: "The explosives used in the attack on the bus of soccer team Borussia Dortmund may have come from supplies belonging to the German armed forces[.]" I'm shocked that the German armed forces have any explosives, frankly.

No, really, India, take your time. China will wait.

The idea that we won't know if Trump broke tax laws unless he releases his tax forms to the public, as a lot of whackjobs on the left are demanding, is really weird. Seriously, the IRS staff doesn't know this already and can only figure it out if the forms are crowd-sourced to the wisdom of liberal activists?

The silent ethnic cleansing. Well, it's probably the fault of those Christians leaving because of Islamophobia, or something. COEXIST!

Is the current North Korea crisis just a bunch of posturing when nobody will really do anything to solve the problem? If so, Japan is doing their part to make it seem like American-led pressure is a very real threat to North Korea: "Japan's National Security Council discussed how to evacuate its nearly 60,000 citizens from South Korea in the event of a crisis[.]"

Melania Trump is $3 million richer after a newspaper pays up over "fake news" about her. I know someone irate about "fake news" who totally believed that costly report.

And in Iraq, the offensive in Mosul has resumed. ISIL may have used chemical weapons on Iraqi troops a couple times in the last couple days.