Sunday, July 09, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

President with no experience insults and degrades press corps. Yeah, who's nuanced now? Tip to Instapundit.

This post argues for a space navy rather than having an Air Force-affiliated service in space. I disagree. Away from the Earth-Moon system that will always be focused on controlling the Earth, arguments about the Navy being a better model because of long cruises in small spaces make more sense (and with robotics, will that even be true when we have inter-planetary vessels?). I'd rather have a unified Aerospace Force with close air support carved out and returned to the Army.

Wow, even Californians had to face the reality that just really, really caring isn't enough if the money isn't there for your planned monument to your superior virtue.

SMOD may make a run for office in 2029. That's not far off. Let's nail down that threat assessment, eh? And this would be helpful.

After 8 years of hope and change, America's fertility rate has hit a historic low? Mind you, a decline in teen unplanned births is a good thing; but choosing to have babies is about confidence in the future and there was apparently too little of that in the Obama era.

America and Ukraine will cooperate in defense technology, opening options for Ukraine to buy US equipment. We're not talking major weapons systems sales, but that's okay. I still think that upgrading what Ukraine produces is a better route and this agreement seems to have room for that. That's apparently the "bad cop" to the "good cop" new US envoy to apply diplomacy to resolve the Ukraine crisis. I hope the objective of our policy is to help Ukraine eject the Russians from the Donbas and Crimea.

This article says that Syria is more prone to reunification than division. One could say it makes more sense for Lebanon to be unified, but that's not happening. I think the Syrian army is effectively gone, more akin to feudal advise and assist backbones to support militias of various stripes, foreign and domestic. We shall see if Syria can be knit together again or whether some of the Syrian divisional commanders like being a big fish in a small pond. With foreign backing, unnatural divisions can go on quite a while. I think plenty of actors would be willing to provide that kind of backing.

I'm not saying this is bad advice for future success, but at what point was society telling young people they should drop out of high school, refuse to get a job, and become a single parent just as soon as you can? And yeah, not having children when young and single may be the result of other good traits rather than the reason for future success; but you have to admit that avoiding children when young and single isn't going to get in the way of success.

I'm fine with stopping Russian interference in our elections. I welcome the new-found Democratic zeal for hunting the Russkies. But in their zealotry the Democrats seem to forget that Obama was president when this happened. Happy hunting.

The liberal Resistance that opposes anything Trump does with an intensity that just makes the resistors look nuts is helping me out in backing Trump. Consider the expression "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." The rabid liberal opposition had declared itself Trump's enemy. So Trump, who was never much of a Republican, has to see conservatives who are also enemies of the Left as his friends. This is good for me. I was overjoyed that Trump beat Clinton. But he did that on election day. Is it really hard to imagine me--absent the deranged Resistance that celebrates violence--moving on from that joy if this is what I saw? I always figured that appointing conservatives to government positions would tilt Trump's administration right regardless of his New York City heritage. So my distaste for the president personally would be something to endure for the greater good. But the bitter Trump Hysteria Condition that The Resistance displays is also going to push Trump personally further to the right as a natural reaction to irrational resistance. Which is funny. Democrats could easily have reached out and forged alliances with a rather liberal Trump on specific legislation, given that so many establishment Republicans were unhappy that Trump was the party nominee. But no, The Resistance has gone scorched earth. That won't end well for them.

Some people are just idiots. You'd think critics of the movie Dunkirk would be thrilled to see a bunch of boring white men being bombed, shot, and drowned.

In related news, Wonder Woman is really good. She both frightens and arouses me, as one character comments. I know, I know. I need professional help. Although I must say that Amazonian tactics are appalling and demonstrate why conscripts using rifles are superior to warriors with decades of training to use bows and arrows. Another such "victory" will wreck the Amazons.

Just a reminder that Islam does not mean "peace" and liberalism does not mean "tolerance." A phobia is obvious.

Strategypage has their semi-annual wars summary out.

As for Iraq in that summary? Yes, ISIL is being crushed. "Yet radical Sunnis, separatist Kurds and meddling Iranians will remain a problem, along with corruption and unstable neighbors." We need a surge of civilian advisors to inculcate rule of law in Iraq to at least tamp down the urge to use bullets and bombs to resolve political disputes.

So violence against journalists abroad was preceded by tyrant tweets telegraphing tyrant intent to kill, injure, and imprison? No? Then reporters need to get over themselves. They are not the scribes of a brave Resistance. Yes, the Trump tweet was juvenile. But the media and leftist outrage is just as juvenile. Bad luck the plight of America-based reporters missed the deadline for this publication. I'm sure next year the Great CNN Body Slam Video will feature prominently. Faux bravery is embarrassing.

Yes, mass immigration can transform the demographics of a region.

It's good to be the king! Tip to Instapundit.

I'm not a fan of Tom Friedman. I no longer link to him. When I did, I'd write, "I'm not saying you can't drown in a pool of his wisdom. But you would have to be drunk and face down to do so." I stand corrected. An SBS soldier could hold your head down.

You know, whether you are talking about Wonder Woman or Captain America, I don't know why people who find that they can't shoot through their shields don't fire at their feet.

Talking to North Korea won't stop their drive to get nukes. The notion that America needs to demonstrate good faith by talking despite many decades of not attacking North Korea in the face of repeated showings of Dead South Koreans Theater by the North is insulting. Talking has failed in the past. Talking was only valuable to buy time while North Korea's military deteriorated and in the hope that North Korea would collapse before they got nukes. Clearly, that hope has virtually vanished and we should not count on it. It is unfortunate that Trump was left standing as the American president when the music stopped. I truly believe Obama would have gotten a second Nobel Peace Prize if he'd attacked North Korea to end its nuclear program. But we have who we have.

President Trump in Poland on Thursday explicitly endorsed NATO's Article V provision on mutual defense commitments. I never understood why this was so important to do given that it is a treaty commitment of America not dependent on the whim of the president. And given our continued deployment of troops to eastern NATO states, this nervousness was really puzzling. Maybe now the suddenly Russia-hating Democrats can sleep well at night. Although I would like to point out that Article V doesn't require you to fight, just officially react to an attack on a member. Article V was invoked after the 9/11 attacks that originated in Afghanistan where the Taliban sheltered al Qaeda. How many of our NATO allies have fought and died in Afghanistan?

The Gulf Arab states continue their more aggressive efforts to pry Qatar away from friendly ties with Iran. Resolution is not yet in sight. I assume the bargaining will result in some settlement that moves Qatar somewhat away from Iran.

The Yemen multi-war (which is probably what Syria should be called rather than a civil war) continues with Saudi-backed forces slowly making progress against Iran-backed forces and against Sunni jihadis (with increased direct American help).

Strategypage discusses (MP3 link) missile defenses. Bay and Dunnigan pronounce "Aegis" differently. Since I rely on print, I'm often uncertain about how to pronounce different acronyms or terms. So this didn't help me. Well, I suppose it did.

I've often said that feminism is basically the women's auxiliary of the Left, given that conservative women are unwelcome in the ranks. It could be worse than that, however. Why doesn't that woman taint the entire movement the way the media uses some lone whackjob to discredit any conservative movement?

Seriously, repealing Obamacare won't lead to a huge body count. Let me add, why don't you point to the statistics that show massive numbers of people saved because of the law? You can't do that. Especially since 2015 was the first year in a long time that showed a decline in American life expectancy. You'd think that Obamacare--if it is so good--would not have allowed that to happen. Anyway, just stop it (if you'd rather not digest the arguments).

President Trump gave a good speech in Warsaw. Naturally, the Left is outraged. Which says more about them than it says about the speech. Trump defended the West. If you bizarrely hear "white supremacist dog whistles," you might want to consider why only the Left hears the whistle. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have joined the West, to name three non-Christian, non-white nations that have embraced modernity and liberty. White Russia rejects the West. So just stop this nonsense that is purely fueled by Trump Hysteria Condition. Why do "they" (whether Shia mullahs, Sunni jihadis, Russians, or Chinese) hate us? They despise freedom. Why wouldn't they hate us? The real question is why do we hate us? Optimist that I am, I have hope our Left will regain their pride in America given that I believe anyone can become an American. Trump isn't my first choice to be Defender of the West, but any port in a storm, these days. Any port in a storm.

Journalism isn't shifting away from objectivity. That ship sailed a long time ago. What is happening is that journalism has been increasingly shifting away from pretending to be objective.

If a Democratic member of Congress had been shot by a right-wing whackjob, the media would be camped out 24/7 outside the hospital with constant updates and analysis as the Representative struggles for life.  But no, celebrate Le Resistance, eh?

Sometimes the "reality-based" community just takes a little longer to recognize reality. The scribes of the Left are catching up with the Democrats' inner General Ripper coming out. Tip to Instapundit.

When Iranian oil tankers deliberately go dark and drop off the tracking system, I worry about more than the oil smuggling angle. I assume Iranian tankers could offload useful amounts of people and equipment carried on the ships in addition to oil to foment unrest and terror wherever they are sailing.

The modern Left is more tolerant of jihadi killers than they are of global warming skeptics. Me? I'm more worried about car bomb footprints than I am about carbon footprints.

Seriously, we need updated nuclear weapons. Although I worry that updating them with warhead designs that can only be tested in simulations rather than actual explosions risks building nukes that don't actually work in the real world. I know that the simulations and computers are really good. But still, I'd feel better if some portion of our deterrent remains the older stuff we know explodes kept updated and in service.

A Congressman wants to block F-35 sales to Turkey. I have some sympathy for the notion that selling F-35s to Turkey is risky. Could Turkey share information with Russia or China? Turkey is considering their air defense systems for purchase. Turkey hasn't been the best ally under their "tame" Islamist government under Erdogan. On the other hand, selling the F-35 locks in Turkey to America and NATO unless Turkey wishes to risk their expensive planes becoming hangar queens when the support is cut. And I assume we export a less capable version to allies not as trusted to secure the planes and their technology, to lessen risks. So my sympathy doesn't reach support.

I don't know if Republicans will manage to somehow gut Obamacare despite internal divisions and lockstep Democratic support for the status quo. I suspect something will be done in the spirit of not letting pursuit of the perfect you can't achieve be the enemy of the good you can achieve. But if it falls apart, it does not signal political failure, if the pattern of Hillarycare's lengthy secret formulation and ultimate crash and burn is followed. Bill Clinton recovered from that debacle.

Doctor Strangeleft learns to stop worrying and love the jihad.

I never understood how taking cars with valuable life left in them out of service made economic sense. "Cash for clunkers" made no sense as it turns out. And caused harm, too. That program made no more sense than paying one person to dig a hole and another to fill it. To be fair, green science is hard.