Saturday, September 30, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

I don't understand the protest by players at NFL games and why the left is cheering them on. Why protest the American flag when it is a symbol of all Americans and a symbol of our ideals of freedom and equality under the law? Is protesting racial inequality justified? Sure. But when that protest is directed against the symbol of our nation, the protesters make it about more than racial injustice. Why don't the players protest during the coin toss? Or on the sideline between plays? Or before the anthem? Certainly, there is room to improve. And the ideals our flag represents enable America to do better. Perhaps uniquely in the world. Just look at how the pursuit of equality through socialism has destroyed Venezuela. It is hard to argue that America hasn't made a lot of progress in living up to the ideals we cherish. So take your protests elsewhere, I say. Protesting the flag and our anthem is just ignorant, in my opinion. It's funny, really. In every presidential election liberals loudly protest that Republicans don't "own" the American flag. I'd believe them more if they didn't recoil from the flag outside of election years like a vampire reacting to Holy Water or sunlight. Lord, must everything be politicized? I was going to watch the London NFL game last weekend. But hearing about the protest made me skip it. I can watch MSNBC if I want that kind of "entertainment."

McCarthyism in the 1950s had the government investigating Hollywood looking for Russian communists. Today, Hollywood communists investigate the government looking for Russians. The article reminds us of my complaint about this new-found anger.

Perhaps Congress should pass a law making kneeling or raising your fist acceptable alternative methods of showing respect during the national anthem. Keep doing this and eventually protesters will have to dance like chickens as the only alternative to properly showing respect.

A man was arrested near the White House for wanting to get advice from the NSA and DOD on removing the chip from his head. That's odd. Everyone knows you go to HHS for that kind of information. Just Google it, for Pete's sake. Tip to The Morning Brief.

Obviously protest is patriotic again after that mysterious 8 year "pause" when it was only motivated by racism. Of course, this is a win for Trump and sanity (for the Left, how often would those two things be in one thought?) because it represents several steps down from the level of "resistance" to a dictator that the electoral college deniers have been engaged in since the last election. I yawn at mere protest. And bonus points for the Left embracing the NFL when only last week they thought it promoted violence against women. Perhaps we will be spared the annual Super Bowl myth of skyrocketing domestic abuse cases.

Sorry about the NFL focus, so far. I think I've said what I want to say. Over and out.

Excuse me if I suspect that this report of White House use of private emails was engineered by the administration to get the media to attack the practice; letting Trump offer complete cooperation as part of a general review of private email use by government officials over the last 9 years. [Days after writing this, I see CNN has taken the bait and is enthusiastically damning Trump for failing to avoid even the image of failing to comply with the law and slamming him for failing White House 101 in not realizing this requirement! Oh my Lord, this could be fun.]

Chancellor Merkel won a fourth term in office, albeit with a smaller majority coalition. Merkel is fine--especially in contrast to her more left-wing opposition. Yes, she screwed up with the migrant issue. But I'm perfectly happy she was re-elected.

America has a new travel ban in effect. On CNN, I listened to the analysts say that if Trump was serious, he'd put Saudi Arabia on the list. Amazingly, that would be the racist thing to do. The analysts believe it is religiously based, but as this article notes, "The inclusion of Chad is hinged on the failure of Ndjamena to share terrorism-related and other crucial information the U.S. required, the White House confirmed." The point of the order is to keep potential terrorists out and to do that we need good information about travelers coming from foreign countries. Saudi Arabia provides that information. Chad does not. Those CNN analysts seem to think the list is some sort of disapproval list rather than a security list.

American drones killed 17 ISIL terrorists in Libya's interior. Good. Kill them wherever we find them.

Russia is violating human rights in Crimea. Well, this is hardly a shock. Once Russia violated the UN charter and the Budapest Memorandum to invade Ukraine in the first place and annex Crimea, the human rights abuses naturally follow.

I'd buy Democratic complaints that America hasn't spent enough on Puerto Rico hurricane relief if Dems didn't think we spent too little on everyone who hasn't been hit by a hurricane.

"If we care about the poor, then we need to tell them the best way to improve their lives with middle class values." I'm not sure why that isn't blindingly obvious to the liberal intelligentsia in this country.

I find it amusing that kneeling is becoming a general symbol of resistance to Trump. So bending the knee--the symbol of submitting to lawful authority and superior power--is their symbol? I guess it was either that gesture or kissing the president's ass. So good choice, I suppose.

This author wants a specially built drone carrier--a CVQ. I've long argued that we shouldn't assume that traditional super carriers are the only way to have sea-based air power, if that is a needed capability. So this idea has merit, I think. Although I worry the author is over-complicating the launch process. I imagine the Navy could experiment with some elements of this type of carrier with a modularized auxiliary cruiser adapted as a drone carrier.

In related news, the Air Force has a pilot shortage. This is a serious problem for supporting the Army, Marines, and Navy. Planes can't fly without pilots, obviously.

To Hell with apologists for communism. Stopping that scourge is why I enlisted. The New York Times should be ashamed of their centennial coverage of the first communist revolution. Or will we be treated to essays about why "true Nazism" or "true Confederacy" haven't really been tried yet?

In related loser news, I see Second Lieutenant Dumbass has arrived. Tip to Instapundit. I hope he gets more experience with the UCMJ than he ever expected. I can't believe his statements about his chain of command are lawful. And this is fun: his goal was to "infiltrate" the Army. That word doesn't mean what Rapone thinks it means. Posting your communism and insubordination online is neither cover nor concealment. Honestly, the communists can have him. He'll fit in nicely at some college faculty lounge somewhere, I'm sure. Make him a visiting fellow in Dumbass Studies. Oh, and I see the young man was a weak-minded ninny led astray by a faculty member. How nice.

I didn't complain about President Obama's "strategic patience" approach to North Korea. I thought it was better than trying to come to a fake deal (and the Iran deal shows I was right to worry about that approach). And I thought that waiting for North Korea to collapse was reasonable. What I didn't know is that the Obama administration may have let North Korea win the race between getting nukes and collapsing. For all that President Obama loudly complained about the problems he inherited from Bush, between Iran and North Korea Obama sure left a doozy of a nuclear problem for Trump, eh?

Strategypage takes a survey of Libya. Apparently the international community is taking a less stupid path, at least.

Democrats are desperate to paint the federal response to hurricanes in Puerto Rico as a failure based on racism despite the views of locals who see the federal government doing a lot to help. Could we just help the people there without making them props in Democrats' ongoing denial of the election results? Tip to Instapundit. And I remain unclear about the mechanism that led the media to talk far more about the NFL kneeling issue than about Puerto Rico. I'm sure it was Trump's Jedi mind tricks ("These aren't the stories you are looking for."). Or maybe the media just don't like brown people. Or maybe the media thinks that yet another hurricane tragedy story is not worth the effort. I heard from a friend that there are massive fires in Montana going unreported. Indeed there are. That was news to me.

I remain uncertain about whether North Korea has nuclear weapons as opposed to nuclear devices that they can explode in controlled circumstances surrounded by hundreds of scientists and technicians. So when I read or hear that North Korea has 20-60 weapons, I wonder what that means? Does it mean North Korea has enough nuclear material to build that many or that there are actual weapons that could be used? If the latter, what the Hell happened to the "imminent" standard that we are supposed to use prior to taking out a regime that seeks WMD? Did we miss that golden moment of North Korea being on the cusp of nukes that even Democrats claimed would justify American preemptive strikes? I don't know if we have a realistic preemptive military option if North Korea has nukes. And given my worries that North Korea will sell nukes to Iran, the only real response to North Korea going nuclear is destroying the mullah regime in Iran to get rid of the potential nutball customer.

Speaking of military options. If North Korea has nukes, I don't see how we have a real preemptive military option, even if we use nukes. We just don't know what we'd overlook hitting. Maybe our missile defenses would hold off that weakened nuclear threat. But that's a big risk. If North Korea begins hostilities, that's another question altogether and yes, we have military options--including nukes to target North Korean nuclear weapons. Oddly, the military options discussion in that link don't even mention the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). I assume deliberately. Oh, and related SDB II update news. And related contracts for more anti-radiation missiles designed to go after radars. That's useful for suppressing air defenses, of course.

Seriously, what are Democrats trying to hide in the House Awan/server scandal? Tip to Instapundit.

Personally, I think transgendered military personnel shouldn't be discharged. If they wish to defend our country, that's good. Although I don't think the military should be paying for the surgery. Let activists on the left put their money where their mouth is in GoFundMe campaigns.

Some details about Russian ads on Facebook. I still think that Putin was trying to undermine faith in our election process and weaken Clinton, who he expected to win, rather than being a long-shot attempt to elect Trump. I hardly used Facebook, let alone for news (and have quit it since), so I never saw any of that fake news stuff. BTW, the Green Party candidate Stein was a regular on RT, Putin's propaganda outlet. Why no collusion investigation there? And if Russia's goal of their tiny media buys was to sow conflict, Democrats sure are giving Putin his money's worth, eh?

Sometimes it seems like the playing field in Congress where a pack of Democrats led by alpha wolves battle a herd of cats on the Republican side is tilted to the left. Republicans can't pass repeal of Obamacare in any form, it seems. Democrats enforced party discipline with a narrower margin to pass their awful Obamacare in the first place.

The North Koreans apparently don't think that Democratic analysts can provide a realistic explanation of President Trump. Which indicates the North Koreans are a lot more rational than many people give them credit for.

The data doesn't support the issue of whose lives matter as activists would have us believe. And if there is a problem, why aren't protests directed at the Democratic-controlled cities and police forces that are responsible for the vast majority of shootings by police? Nobody should die for no good reason at the hands of the police. But let's not lump everyone shot by police into the innocent victim category, shall we?

It increasingly seems as if women have the right to choose in only one very narrow area of life. Fall in line ladies, or Hillary (or Michelle) will take away your woman card, I guess.

The Navy's hospital ship will be sent to Puerto Rico. I'm a bit surprised. I didn't get the impression that a hospital ship was really needed. Wouldn't land hospitals have some priority on getting power to restore those services? I assume my impression was wrong and it is needed. NOTE: After I wrote this Thursday, I heard on TV that most hospitals (about 2/3) are running, unless I heard wrong. Is the ship being sent purely because of complaints that it wasn't sent?

Yes, what happened to the right to be wrong? I even mentioned this to my daughter the other day. Sadly, people seem more confident that they are correct and those who disagree are wrong and must be compelled to recant their wrongness and join the side of correctness. I used to think that I am more tolerant or perhaps open minded than many on the Left. But it might be that I simply accept they can be wrong without being bad people. And I assume the reverse consideration should be extended to me. No good can come of this trend.

I'm listening to a man (a mayor of someplace on Puerto Rico, it seems) on CNN complain that we should just act in Puerto Rico just like we did for the Normandy invasion in World War II "when we just did it." The man is an idiot. The amount of planning that went into attacking that day and sustaining the effort ashore took years to work out. Just the Mulberry artificial harbors were a massive undertaking to design and build, and then tow to the coast to emplace. Just do it, indeed. That said, given the now apparent bottleneck inland from the ports, we need to accelerate efforts to repair the road network and the ability to move the supplies stacking up at the ports to the people inland.

A huge Ukrainian arms depot suffered explosions. Sabotage is suspected. The Russians wouldn't be stupid enough not to sabotage a large arms depot. As I asked early in the war about a massive weapons depot near the Russian border in the east, how can this be left that way? Disperse that stuff so it isn't such a big irresistible target, or just to contain the extent of accidents. If the stuff is old, it certainly could have gone off on its own. But good Lord, Ukraine is at war, right? Take precautions! This late in the game there is no reason for there to be the option of enduring this "biggest blow" to their military capabilities.

A CRS report on America's role in the world. I had always wanted to work for CRS, which was the federal version of the LSB I worked for. But life has turned out well, so I don't want to give the impression of regrets!

From the "Well, Duh" files. Tip to the Instapundit Borg.

The Pentagon has asked permission to reprogram money for a number of missile defense programs.

Sweden is fairly weak although it has good technology for such a small country. And while it is not a NATO member, its recent Aurora 17 military exercises included a number of NATO countries and Finland, including a tank company from the United States Army National Guard in our 1,000-troop contingent. That's interesting alone. This telegraphs Swedish cooperation with NATO in case Russia threatens NATO Baltic states.

Oh, and I am no longer angry with CBS and Netflix making Star Trek Discovery generally unavailable here. They can keep it. The cast and writers have decided to turn the Klingons from stand-ins for the Soviets to Trump voters. So that show can boldly go where no sun has shown before, for all I care.

So feminists are going to erect a giant statue of a naked woman gazing at the existing giant penis on the Washington Mall and maintain a vigil around the statue for four months? That sounds about right for this day and age. Tip to Instapundit.

Are there no depths of depravity that a communist regime can plumb that won't get the "aww, isn't it adorable?" treatment from a liberal writer? The people who gave us "funemployment" when a Democrat was president give us "funcentration" camps!

The Left doesn't seem to like free speech when it conflicts with their agenda. Apparently, the Left thinks of the First Amendment as a train--you get off when you reach your destination.

The Russians finished their Zapad 2017 exercise centered on Belarus without using it as a cover to invade anyone. Which doesn't mean it wasn't a practice for a future invasion, of course. The Russians say all their troops returned home.

Oh for Pete's sake, it is literally impossible to lower the taxes of someone who doesn't pay any of those taxes. If you want to help those people, lower a tax they do pay. Maybe liberals will cut sales tax rates at the state level. Tip to Instapundit.

There are reasons that have nothing to do with not caring that we have problems rescuing Puerto Rico from the effects of the last hurricane. And part of it may be the failure of local officials to tell the federal government that the standard practice of shipping in supplies to ports and counting on locals to distribute it can't work because of lack of infrastructure, equipment, and personnel. But now is not the time for President Trump to criticize a major desperate for help (even if she is wrong to phrase her complaint the way she did). We need to take over roles that the locals are failing to handle (and yes, some of the failure is institutional unrelated to the storm) right now to save people and save the blame game for later. Not that Trump's statement interferes with ongoing efforts to make up for that early mistake in assumptions by FEMA and Puerto Rican officials. But the statement was a mistake.