Saturday, May 05, 2018

Weekend Data Dump

I didn't realize that median family income of students at the University of Michigan is so high! Good Lord. While the guide to being a low-income or first generation student there is fine in theory, some of the document has an air of victimization and self-exiling. I was not from a wealthy family, and first generation at Michigan. Mind you, I don't think the wealth on campus was as prevalent back then. If you had money you certainly didn't flaunt it, for the most part. Heck, one week when I had $5, no food, and a week to go for my next paycheck, I bought a bag of potatoes and a bottle of catsup, and ate fried potatoes for dinner for a week! But the idea of feeling inferior to those with money is ridiculous. I first got a good sense of self-worth realizing that I was good at analysis even with the competition that was accepted at Michigan. Don't act like a victim! Act like someone who has a chance to go to one of the best damn universities in the country alongside people who apparently needed a lot of advantages provided by family wealth to get in!

Too many people unjustifiably invest the pronouncements of scientists as Gospel as if they are priests passing on the word of God, but in lab coats instead of robes. It is not "anti-science" to be skeptical of scientific claims. Indeed, a little more skepticism would improve the science.

Belarus continues its balancing act of being an autocracy holding off the Russians and Western democracy. I can live with autocracy as long as Russia is kept out. Given that Russian control of Belarus would allow Russian troops to outflank NATO in the Baltic ex-Soviet states and outflank independent Ukraine, I think Belarus is arguably the most important territory in Europe today.

Russia is having problems with designing new ICBMs and keeping old missiles in service much longer. Sometimes I wonder if Russia is so worried about America's thin missile defenses because they don't really have that many working ICMBs or SLBMs that can reach us. Perhaps a Potemkin strategic missile force explains their very serious effort to build more easily designed shorter-ranged missiles.

I can't speak for everyone, but I'm pretty happy. It didn't require hitting 50 to happen, thank God.

California may not be a model for America as its preening upper class citizens think, but it is still a prosperous state notwithstanding the high poverty and hollowing middle class.

This article is just silly or wishful thinking on somebody's part. America's "special relationship" with Britain is backed by history notwithstanding some recent handshakes with France's president. Brexit will enhance that relationship rather than being the cause of the rise of France as America's reliable ally. What can hurt the special relationship is the erosion of Britain's military.

Oh good grief, this article notes as an aside that the NATO goal of 2% on defense spending includes military pensions as "defense spending." Not that this makes the goal meaningless. Without it, perhaps the goal would have been 1.9%. But it does make it even more shameful that Germany is trying to add other categories of spending not defense related to the list. If such spending definitions are changed, the percentage goal should be increased to nullify the effects. Although for clarity's sake I'd rather lower the percentage goal by eliminating non-defense spending deemed defense spending in the formal goal.

"Train the way you fight, because you will fight the way you train" is an old saying. Too much of what the military trains to do has nothing to do with fighting. Unless we are training our people to be HR staffs for a fully woke civilian company, that must change.

America's media will never ask in a self-critical outlook why so many Americans hate them the way the media asked why Moslem jihadis hated us enough to attack America on 9/11.

This article gives excellent reasons of unexpected production restraint plus added demand from economic growth for why gasoline prices are higher this year. But I can't help but wonder if production is really being diverted to storage to be released to calm markets if Israel launches a multi-division raid into Lebanon for the purpose of wrecking Hezbollah.

Useful idiots on a scale that Putin could hardly have imagined two years ago. Tip to Instapundit.

Remember, it is easy to determine the difference between Americans who like foreign food, dress, words, or activities; and foreigners who like American food, dress, words, or activities. The former is terrible American "cultural appropriation" while the latter is terrible American "cultural imperialism." Tip to Instapundit.

The Resistance doesn't want Trump "normalized." What those people are willing to normalize is revolting. Grabbing a p**sy and mutilating it is culturally sensitive. Tip to Instapundit.

"Expeditionary economics" in warfare. I was never too upset when I read about high costs of economic programs in Iraq or Afghanistan when we were hip deep in insurgents and terrorists because I thought of it as ammunition to win a war and not as "waste" in civilian peacetime projects that needed to be done efficiently.

Funny enough, when I saw Avengers: Infinity War with my daughter last weekend, I too thought Thanos seemed like an anti-human eco-fanatic who would be happy to kill off half of humanity to "save the planet" for the survivors.

The Pakistanis don't have as much room to maneuver with reduced American support due to Pakistan's continued support for or tolerance of jihadis who cause problems in Afghanistan. Strategypage reports that China has recently publicly proclaimed it is not a "military ally" of Pakistan. I hadn't heard that. That may have more impact on Pakistan's terror campaign against India in Kashmir, but any reduction in jihadi support would be welcome, and might make Pakistan more willing to cut back the terrorists we are directly fighting in order to have diplomatic support against India. Which should be easy for us because India has no interest in conquering Pakistan. Or Pakistan may try to get Russia involved. But can Russia really afford to alienate India even as a reduced customer for Russian weapons and given that Russia might find that they need India to counter Chinese ambitions aimed at Russia?

The Chinese "CopyHawk."

So is this collusion with the Russians okay with Democrats?

It annoys me when local or state officials who can't seem to do their actual jobs instead seek to affect national or international issues from their local position. Just do your jobs! If other issues are more important, seek a job in those other areas!

The largest military exercises in Estonia since post-Cold War independence are taking place. At 13,000 strong, it is apparent why a Russian offensive would capture the capital within a couple days.

Even if there is a nuclear deal, South Korea wants American troops to remain. Because it is a dangerous neighborhood even if North Korea lacks nukes.

Iran screws even with distant Morocco by backing the Polisario rebels.

Good God, this is horrifying.

BraveDrunkheart. They can't take away their cheap whiskey, apparently.

What the Hell is Trudeau's problem? Does he think those people come from a sh*thole country, or something? Trudeau should be thanking America for the blessing. Actually, if that Central America so-called refugee "caravan" could go through Mexico to reach the American border, why can't we escort the caravan to the Canadian border? Tip to Instapundit.

Ah, Hell.

This is either a real puzzle or the result of bad interpretation of faint marks that someone really wants to believe reveals a real puzzle. Tip to Instapundit.

Fortunately, the public on average is less unhinged and fragile than these pathetic excuses for educated people.

President Obama didn't deserve to win a Nobel Peace Prize for his potential in nuclear disarmament. He sure didn't deserve it in retrospect for the Iran nuclear deal. And President Trump doesn't deserve to get a Nobel Peace Prize for anything that has happened thus far with North Korean nuclear diplomacy. And no, just because standards were trashed for Obama doesn't mean they should continue to be trashed for Trump.

Based on getting a proven hull that will also broaden the shipbuilding base in America to support a larger fleet, I think the companies proposing the Italian- or Spanish-designed ships would be a good fit for a new frigate design to replace the full-run of the inadequate LCS. Although the latter issue as a factor might not be the factor I think it is. I confess that is more outside my usual lanes. But the factor should be considered when selecting a builder.

American pilots are being lased by Chinese lasers near Djibouti where both have bases. If this is accidental as the Chinese claim, it will stop.

China's anti-corruption drive seems to have two aims--be visible enough in areas people care about to keep people content that something is being done; and to nail people who haven't supported emperor Xi, in both the civilian and military realms. So corruption itself isn't seen as the problem.

The Philippines is getting limited anti-ship capabilities. The Philippines can't defeat China in a full war without allied help. But what the Philippines can do is be strong enough to win a  tiny war over some small objective in a short period of time, and compel China to decide whether to escalate to a full war with the Philippines it would win--but which would risk a wider war that draws in allies of the Philippines that China might then lose.

I'm not sure why it is disturbing that a small number of American special forces are helping our ally Saudi Arabia protect their border by providing advice in the face of Iran-backed rebels who actually fire missiles at Saudi cities.

This is good news on the unemployment rate. But just as I worried that discouraged workers during the Obama era made the official unemployment rate a less than relevant measure (because it only counts people actively seeking work), I'd like to see articles like this include the labor participation rate and the figures for discouraged workers. If formerly discouraged workers are entering the labor market, that's just as good news.

Remember the 2015 Jade Helm conspiracy hysteria? Yeah, the Russians were involved in stoking the nonsense.

This does not shock me. Not one bit. My carbon footprint--as if I really cared about it--would shame most of the people who purport to believe global warming threatens the planet.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The difference between an Iranian "moderate" and an Iranian "hardliner" is that the former are willing to pretend to not want nuclear weapons when speaking to Westerners, while the latter have so much contempt for America that they are unwilling to even pretend.

Could Egypt send troops to eastern Syria to replace some American forces bolstering the SDF resist Assad's attempts to reabsorb the east?  Remember that Iran, which dominates in Syria, also bolsters Hamas in Gaza which is a haven for jihadis running loose in Egypt's Sinai.

Could Armenia's unrest loosen Russia's grip on that country? I kind of doubt it because ultimately Armenia needs somebody to shield them from Turkey and Azerbaijan. The velvet revolution still needs a mailed fist to survive.

Iran says they won't give in to American "bullying" to alter the nuclear deal. All that I can say is that this isn't the most ridiculous claim for victimhood status in the last month. Then there is this Iranian complaint: "Who, then, guarantees that if something is done with you, the next president won't come and refuse to accept it?" Who would guarantee it? Our Constitution guarantees it if it is treated like a treaty and ratified by our Senate, making it a commitment by America rather than by President Obama. One hopes that anything Trump agrees to with North Korea is a treaty.

The far-left France Unbowed (Unless the Soviets Return) movement rallied to protest economic reality and Macron's decision to accept much of it.