Saturday, November 25, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

Ascribing the collapse of civilizations in the past to ecological disaster is wrong--as is describing what they went through as a civilizational "collapse" (rather than as a continuity of decline and evolution). The funny thing is that the embrace of such thinking by global warmers is part of a long history of societal destruction myths that religion embraces as a sign of cleansing society from a sinful past. But today's global warming religious fanatics think that instead of surviving the flood by building an ark, they believe they can achieve god-like powers to prevent the flood instead. Now go and emit no more.

Denmark, with threats from Russia to their east in the Baltic Sea and to the north in the Arctic where their territory Greenland lies, plans to increase defense spending over the next 5 years to emphasize air and naval combat capabilities. Good. Back in Cold War days, holding the western end of the Baltic Sea was key to preventing the Soviets from breaking out into the North Sea and Atlantic. Now the Baltic Sea needs to be held at the eastern end to protect Baltic region democracies both inside and outside of NATO.

If Russia thinks the Cold War-era INF treaty allows them to build and deploy new nuclear-capable intermediate range missiles, America will let the Russians enjoy being on the same receiving end of such missiles. Or perhaps they'd prefer to talk about destroying their problematic missiles? We should just bring back the Pershing II, whose existence scared the Soviets into the INF in the first place (and don't forget that the Soviets supported Western protesters in a pre-Facebook version of influencing Western policy against the missiles).

If the Philippines wants to sell its South China Sea territory to China, that's their business. I think they are short-sighted, but it is their business. The problem is that China leaps from controlling those islands and the nearby waters to claiming that control of the islands means China controls all of the South China Sea as territorial waters rather than being international waters (and the air space above the waters) free for commercial and military travel.

So Rome has added climate science to faith and morals as the areas the pope may claim infallibility: "Pope Francis denounced those who deny global warming and urged negotiators at climate talks in Germany to avoid falling prey to such 'perverse attitudes, and instead accelerate efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions." Pope Francis is pissing me off. Christians under attack in the Middle East, ISIL making threats for Christmas, and the Church struggling around the world to retain believers, and he has decided he'll be the spiritual leader of climate change believers rather than the leader of mere Catholics. About that render unto God what is God's and unto Caesar what is Caesar's? Never mind. To Hell with him. I'm done. I know I'm hardly the model Catholic, but good grief. He has no more moral authority over me. I already wrote the new Nicene Creed for his new flock of sheep. How has my Church descended to such a level?

A bunch of Germans protested North Korea and America as if being a brutal and hostile dictatorship seeking nukes is equivalent to being an allied democratic nation with nukes trying to stop the brutal and hostile dictatorship from getting (and selling) nukes. What the Hell is wrong with these people?

I see people are worried that President Trump would "push the button" and launch a nuclear war out of nowhere for some odd reason. As a new soldier, I will add, I was trained that I was only to obey lawful orders. But I honestly think that those worried people imagine there is literally a "button" (like that Hillary Clinton "reset" button) that Trump could deliberately or accidentally press. The system is more complicated than that. Indeed, during the Cold War I recall one high ranking officer noting that all the worries about a Soviet decapitation strike that would prevent the commander in chief from ordering a nuclear counter-strike were ill founded because local American commanders would obviously launch their nukes even in the absence of explicit orders if we were obviously nuked. The advantage back then was that if we were nuked on a large scale we knew exactly who did it. Only the Soviets had that power. In a world of nuclear proliferation that clarity will be lacking.

In the annals of fake news, the idea that Trump weakened the Republican Party platform on Russian aggression against Ukraine is a major part of their charge of collusion , is a big chapter. Trump did not do that. What Trump did was ask that a proposed amendment calling for the United States to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons added to the existing strong language not be adopted--which made the plank more in line with Obama policies that provided only non-lethal support to Ukraine. That platform request to not explicitly call for arming Ukraine was done. And the new language adopted called for additional sanctions. That is the so-called evidence proving that Russia got what they wanted. Only now are we looking to fill gaps in Ukraine's arsenal with shooty things rather than training and other equipment.

Has the media degenerated to the point that it can't report on anything that the president doesn't Tweet? Really, this isn't big economic news for West Virginia? Even if the reporters find the news isn't as big as it seems, it is still news, no?

Hillary Clinton boasted that Bill Clinton didn't Tweet while he was president and instead "just got it done." To be fair, if Twitter had actually existed then, I bet Bill would have gone the Anthony Weiner route with social media.

Romania will buy American Patriot air defense missiles. Which will help defend Romania as a NATO power projection platform into the Black Sea and target Russia's Sevastopol power projection platform.

Oh those sophisticated Europeans: "President Trump’s approval ratings, often mocked by Democrats and the media, top those of Europe’s biggest three leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain’s Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron." The nuance, it burns!

Merkel can't form a government despite "winning" the election. We don't have that problem with our Electoral College system, that liberals are suddenly angry about (but they're good with their "super delegates" in the primary).

I'm sorry, but what part of "Museum of the (Christian) Bible" is unclear?

Well whaddayaknow? I could never understand why she was a sex symbol of some sort. Now we find she may be ugly on the inside.

As I understand it, the US Senate couldn't refuse to seat Roy Moore if elected and has never ejected someone for pre-Senate activity. But could they forge new roads on the latter issue? Although if voters send him to Senate despite the allegations that remain unproven no matter how credible they seem, it is troublesome not to seat him, I think. It is a difficult situation.

With that bastion of liberalism in Hollywood (and their brethren in "ugly Hollywood" media) exposed as a sexual predator machine, just who is in that basket of deplorables now?

Sarah Silverman has discovered that Trump supporters aren't evil. Good. That's all I really ask of liberals. Recall that during the election I reacted very badly to the growing Democratic chorus that Trump's supporters were evil. That--rather than even the over-the-top opposition to him--really angered me. Trump actually heard the long-ignored who took a chance on him. And I've always thought Silverman is cute, so her previous position was rather disappointing.

I didn't understand why Ukraine would agree to work with Russia on building transport planes given that Russia invaded Ukraine and occupies their territory. Strategypage discusses it. Is it really a step toward a peace agreement? But does that mean Ukraine has given up trying to liberate their territory?

Algeria doesn't have a big jihadi problem--the 1990s Islamist insurgency was bloody enough to make people unhappy with the government wary (for now) of that "solution." But Algeria is Islamist-friendly in many ways, I assume to preempt jihadi recruiting. Strategypage reviews the country.

The Russians should have avoided that new-fangled social media campaign to sway our elections and used the tried and true Democratic Party method--just buy the win.

Global warming isn't a crisis and the so-called solutions are terrible.

Karma is a bitch.  Of course, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea she was some sort of sex symbol.

The resistance to the war on women sure was stamped out quickly.

Yes, we had much to be thankful for on our first Trump ThanksgivingMore here. I'm thankful for all that and for the fact that President Trump has evolved more than I expected on a number of foreign policy issues more in line with my preferences. But I worry that if Republicans in Congress don't send Trump bills to sign that Trump will pivot to working with Democrats to get victories without losing a night's sleep over the return to his more liberal (if populist) roots.

Will Republicans in Alabama stand by Roy Moore for the Senate? Republicans for years--since Bill Clinton--said character matters and had their asses handed to them by Democrats who stood by their men and mocked and scolded Republicans for caring about "bedroom matters" and also accused the same Republicans of "waging a war on women." It  appears that many Republicans have reacted to the series of sexual predator accusations (erupting--so far--mainly in the leftist bastions of Hollywood and the media) by saying "you first" to Democrats when Democrats ask Republicans if they will dump Moore. This is depressing. But the Democrats built the standards, no? It would be nice if we could all agree that we don't want our sisters, mothers, daughters, girl friends, and wives to be treated this way. And men can be victims, too, of course, in the focus on women.

I've asked this before, but if Republicans remove the mandate to buy Obamacare policies, why will that "take away" health insurance from people? If they don't have it in the future won't it be because they choose not to buy a product that has not in fact lowered premiums as Democrats promised and which have just left policy holders with massive deductibles to pay for the privilege of having those policies?

Wait. So science can be settled by a conspiracy of self interest? Huh. Tip to Instapundit.

Blaming Saudi Arabia for instability in the Middle East on an equal level as Iran for Saudi resistance to Iranian actions is nonsense. Yes, if the Saudis didn't try to counter Iran and just let Iran win, there would be more "stability" in the sense that Iran would lock down more friendly regions on their side. Is resisting Iran really a cause of instability? I think not. I thought the major point would be Saudi support if Islamist ideology, which is quite true (although I have hope that since 9/11 and the Iraq War, that Saudi Arabia is having second thoughts about that survival strategy in the long run).

Is China allowing a broader debate about what to do about North Korea to telegraph intentions or to float balloons about what the public finds acceptable? Or is it all just a sign that China doesn't know what to do.

Yes, South Korea has a sizable marine corps, but except for small operations in the islands off the west coast of the Korean peninsula or small, short-range tactical envelopment, lack of significant amphibious lift makes it virtually impossible for that force to impact the course of a war with an Inchon-style operation. The South Korean marines will remain a good land-bound force held in reserve, for the most part. And that is where they will make their mark if it comes to war.

Friendly nations are also searching, but I'm not sure how the missing Argentinian submarine story can have a happy ending. Crap.