Sunday, December 22, 2019

Weekend Data Dump

Prime Minister Johnson has ruled out extending the transition period of leaving beyond the end of 2020. Good. More delays are simply an effort to see if the Remain horse will sing.

It isn't quite Arab Spring 2.0 given that Iranians are involved. But it is a broader revolt against the corrupt classes. With a good dose of resentment of the Iranian mullahs who rule Iran and undermine the sovereignty of Iraq and Lebanon (see here for news of Iran's proxy force Hezbollah attacking protesters). We should hope these movements succeed. The region needs alternatives to being run by corrupt autocrats or corrupt or fanatical mullahs/jihadis. Iraq at least as elected politicians, but the corruption is so widespread that musical chairs at the top don't change the corruption. And we'll see if Sudan and Algeria have a place in this renewed impulse for change.

Republicans pounce. Yeah, that's the way to frame this. Pounding my head into the wall is counter-productive.  Pounding my head into the wall is counter-productive. Pounding my head into the wall is counter-productive. ...

I can understand conservatives not liking Trump. What I can't understand is fighting his reelection given the alternative will be one of the left-wing nutballs that runs against him. A conservative Resistance is just as nutty as the Democratic variety we've experienced for over three years now.

China has a lot of plates spinning:

Two years ago we all died and assorted other disastrous things happened when the so-called net neutrality policy was ended. After the hysteria it's a whole lot of never mind now. Actually, I wish it was never mind time. Instead the effort is that we really all did die but didn't notice. Honestly, when we have just a decade to save the planet I don't know why those science deniers are wasting time on "saving" the Internet. Tip to Instapundit.

Getting what they wanted--good and hard. Perhaps they'll learn a lesson. But I doubt it.

We have told Iraq that they need to protect our forces in Iraq from Iran-backed attacks.

Peak Stupid gets ever higher.

Their contempt breeds our defiance. I've said it before and I'll say it again before November 2020: I don't like Trump. But the Democrats make him look like a sober statesman by comparison.

China is reportedly working on a new stealth fighter beyond the J-20. Perhaps that is because the J-20 is not a fully stealth fighter and has other problems.

Apparently China can get away with buying Christian women in Pakistan. Although it might be safer for those women in China, I suppose.

Well, Schiff's lips were moving. So ... you know. I still remember him telling the country about all the collusion evidence he'd personally seen that would be devastating when revealed. [sound of crickets] I think Schiff doesn't deserve to be in Congress because of his dishonesty that has ripped the fabric of our country's political life. You'd think liberals would be equally disgusted by Schiff getting their hopes up that he'd finally get the Great Orange Whale for them.

I have no problem with a show like this. But the implication is that non-Moslem Americans are in need of such education. I dare the man to play it in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, to toss off a couple problematic venues off the top of my head, and see how that portrayal of Moslems goes over there. If Aslan thinks the rubes are an issue, wait until the defenders of the faith check it out. Remember, as I note in this post, it is a lacuna in Islamic doctrine that Moslems live in non-Moslem countries. In theory, if you are Islamic you live in the Islamic world and only live among Infidels when Islam conquers them--or retreat from non-Moslem lands until Islam can conquer it. That model hasn't been around for a while but the theory has not adapted to coexistence.

Okay Bernadette Fife, whatever. Tip to Instapundit.

We don't have a government "budget" process. We have a government "spending" process. On the bright side, it is bipartisan.

Just a reminder that after two wars in the post-Soviet era, only the lack of media coverage allows us to think that Russia really won the war in Chechnya--that is if you adopt the standards Westerners demand before any war we fight can be called a victory.

How do you solve a problem like the Mig-29?

Just wait, when the media finally accepts this FBI and Department of Justice outrage as a true scandal and assault on rule of law it will be counted as a Trump-era scandal rather than counting as one started under Obama and aimed at Trump. If the country's law enforcement agencies can do that to a president, who isn't vulnerable?

The Air Force will get its first F-15EX to replace aging F-15C air superiority fighters that are wearing out before F-35s could replace them. I think it is a good option.

Thunberg says she didn't mean executions when she said opponents should be "put up against a wall." Not a firing squad thing at all. I'm so old I remember when people on the left believed "eliminationist" rhetoric was directly linked to violence. Still, poor Greta simply learned this from her elders (with apologies for the RT version of the British video, which shows you that the Russians think the issue is great for weakening the West):

Big--if true.

The Russians will get their first 12 T-14 Armata tanks by the end of the year. There won't be many more.

I'll turn this impeachment car around right now if you don't settle down! Seriously, Speaker Pelosi set our country on a dangerous path. All because she could not resist the crazies in her caucus.  The only hope is that the stunt backfires on the Democrats big in 2020. That way the Republicans will learn the lesson of not playing with fire and can act like statesmen when they have the chance to stick it to a Democratic president. One can hope.

Congress is asserting its powers by moving to block Pentagon efforts to build ground-based intermediate range missiles. Which is a proper exercise of civilian oversight. I think we need them. Ideally in order to get foes to limit their own. Although our previously exempt sea-based weapons of that class come in to the mix in any negotiations. But as I think I've mentioned, these I'd rather that launch cells at sea go to anti-ship missiles. If we can use land-based ground attack missiles, that frees up our ships to control the seas. But a debate of some sort will be needed now before a big effort to field such weapons.

Let me show you one way fake news in manufactured. How many people only read the headline "Mexican children shiver in tents at U.S. border as temperature freezes" and assume that those poor refugee children are suffering at the hands of American border security? Only reading the article tells you the shivering children are in Mexico.

The F-16 lives on and on ... (note that I have a small amount of Lockheed Martin stock).

North American fracking is power on the international stage.

Well, that's another way to get out of the European Union, I suppose. Although I'm not terribly confident that the actual law is good for rule of law in Poland, despite it being portrayed as a reaction to EU intrusion. A lot of Poles seem to agree that it is a bad law. The Polish government should find another way to block the EU overreach.

Egad, Space Force should be escorting colony ship to other parts of the solar system, ASAP. Or to be more precise, the Space Navy.

There is some serious dissent going on over a new citizenship law in India. While non-Moslems certainly face danger living in Islamic countries, the law as written seems unwise. But my knowledge of this issue is paper thin, I admit.

Well, the president was impeached, with two (I think) Democrats voting against and one voting present. No Republicans joined the Democratic majority. Democrats have wanted this from the start of the Trump presidency and after a series of increasingly smaller criminal allegations failed, they settled on a vague charge with a bonus "crime" of defending yourself. Yes, the Democrats have established the precedent that any president can be impeached. Tip to Instapundit. Really, this "shush" to her members is harsher than what she did to Trump:

This is real destruction of our norms and institutions. I'm not even impressed by the "history" or "solemnity" of this farce given how Pelosi has trivialized this Congressional weapon of last resort. Of course, one way to reduce the risk of being impeached for doing your job would be to reduce the scope and reach of executive branch powers. Man, I am an optimist, aren't I?

Parliament has backed Brexit by January 31, 2020, and bans a transition period beyond 2020. It has been a too-long battle since the actual Brexit vote on June 23, 2016, but rule of law may yet triumph in Britain.

Egypt rejects the agreements the rump-but-legally recognized Libyan government signed with Turkey. Those agreements could be moot if the official government loses the capital. Hiftar has been trying to take it for some time now, holding back for fear of casualties to his forces. Can he take Tripoli? Would Turkey really send troops to its former colonial province to restore that government?

At this point Putin is just throwing chum in Democratic waters and enjoying the show, right?

Democrats had a debate. This article says the word of the night for the debaters was "corruption." I haven't really seen the corruption alleged in the Trump administration. Was this really a subtle dig at Biden, given the unwillingness of anyone to directly take on the frontrunner?

You can never be pure enough for the left-wing Red Guards.

Taiwan is a democracy that sets an example in Asia. (coughChinacough). A democracy-promoting League of Democracies should be set up in Taiwan.

The Super Hornet brings the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile to the fleetI've been waiting for this for a while. The Air Force has this capability with the B-1 already, as I noted in this data dump. And the missile has been containerized. And again, I have a small amount of Lockheed Martin stock.

The Navy's latest term for moving away from platform-centric carrier warfare to spreading the firepower out among a dispersed fleet is now "distributed maritime operations concept" apparently. The article is about the LCS but the terminology caught my attention. I wrote about it long ago when it was "network-centric warfare" and the term of art has changed a bunch between these two.

Haters. Or at best, deniers.

Germany isn't happy with America's unhappiness with German-Russian energy collusion that hurts Ukraine (and eastern NATO states). German intelligence is apparently getting tired of Merkel's figurative love affair with Putin's Russia. Well, as long as no pact is signed by Russia and Germany, we're all okay, right? The German-Russian Chamber of Commerce mentioned in the initial article is just a mere agreement, right? I'm so old I remember when American liberals said Merkel was the new "leader of the West" because Orange Man Bad, or something.  I know I was (bitterly) joking in this post, but maybe I have a point ... Tip to Instapundit.

Yes, Russia should pay a price for conquering Ukrainian territory. I'm on record as saying Russian body bags going back to Russia is the best way to do that. I imagine that retaking Crimea is too hard for Ukraine to pull off. But, as I note in this post about improving Ukrainian military options, increasing Ukraine's ability to harm Russia's prize Sevastopol base complex in Crimea is useful; and is one way to counter Russian escalation options in a fight for the Donbas.

The Boeing Starliner failed to reach the International Space Station. I'll be happier when that orbiting RV on cinder blocks isn't the focus of our planet's space efforts.

I always get annoyed that the failures of communism (and socialism) are attributed to no state actually trying "true communism." Of course, until they fail they are defended as true communist/socialist governments. It is only the act of failure that makes them less than true communism. I've always said that nobody would argue that nobody has tried "true Nazism." I guess I stand corrected.

Jane Fonda wants to prosecute climate "deniers." She of a massive carbon-spewing lifestyle won't be put up against the wall, of course. She has "carbon offsets." So no harm, no foul. Which is like murdering someone and then giving birth to a child so you can claim net-zero lives lost and escape punishment. She thinks she can escape the Climate Inquisition when it comes, but she won't deflect their anger at her lifestyle by spouting their beliefs. Tip to Instapundit.

And another loud accusation of evil intent quietly collapses. I never paid attention to it because I figured it was another moment of dog whistle insanity. Meanwhile nobody on the left draws the logical conclusion of their own school discipline research that teachers are apparently a bunch of racists. Although I imagine it is quite possible that culture and not race/ethnicity are the cause, with "white" being the proxy for the dominant culture against which behavior is judged. But based on the left's own ideology, I say cancel those damned hate-filled teachers.

More on the so-called AGM-114R9X "Ninja" Hellfire that I mentioned in the last data dump. Plus a lot on inert and low yield warhead use.

I've read about Winston Churchill. I respect Winston Churchill. Sir, you are no Winston Churchill (or even younger than him when he was prime minister). It's a Quayle moment. Tip to Instapundit.

It's not that nobody cares about the so-called Afghanistan Papers, it's that it isn't a scandal. Or if it is, it is the Obama-worshiping media for failing to be a watchdog during the war--especially during the years of maximum effort (and casualties) during the Obama administration. That's different. Still, now that Trump seems to want to draw down our effort in Afghanistan, the real reason even the left hasn't jumped on the Washington Post "revelations" is that the Afghanistan War is about to become the left's "good war" again--just to be against whatever Trump is for.

Well, Space Force is official.  What with the debate about whether it is more like a navy or air force (I vote air force--for now) I'm just glad the service isn't called the Spacey. I swear to God, in some printed thing I read, in Europe the name for an independent air service was once suggested to be "airy" (or aery or maybe aerie) to follow the "navy" terminology. But I can't quite remember the term spelling or find anything online. Here's a press briefing and the "welcome to your new service" message.

It is good that France is "mowing the jihadi grass" in Mali, but body counts aren't a metric of winning. It is a holding action--necessary but not sufficient--until the normal people win the Islamic Civil War about who defines Islam. This "war on terror" wasn't once dubbed "the Long War" for nothing.

Notwithstanding what your Twitter feed is selling you, we've had the best decade in history (and so yeah, this is a bipartisan judgment). And yes, the Green movement gets in the way of the obvious fact that "Technology has put us on a path to a cleaner, greener planet."

The "straw that breaks the camel's back" is supposed to be the Nth one, as in the final extra tiny incremental load that exceeds capacity--not the first one.

Turkey is making a play for dominance in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. America is replying--which Cyprus, Greece, and Israel no doubt appreciate. And let's hope Turkey doesn't try to team up with Russia's otherwise doomed effort.

If the Pillsbury Nuke Boy has something in mind more lethal than a stunt, our military is ready to hit him with JDAMs wherever he hides. Yeah, if Kim sends us a "Christmas gift" he'll find we have JDAM Prime delivery.

If they want to pay for it, have a ball. I truly wish them good luck. I think I know how it turns out.

Remember those early years when people thought they could Twitter a tyrant into the dust bin of history? Yeah, the empire strikes back with the same tools. And they have guns and secret police.

Wait. You can punish a former ruler for misdeeds?  For him the saying is true: you can't go home again.

I don't get the Elf on a Shelf craze. At my age, during this holiday season, I'd prefer a MILF on a Shelf. But perhaps I've shared too much. [Egad, on the assumption that this surely wasn't my original idea I thought I'd search for some humorous picture of such a thing and I turned up hits definitely NSFW. I was not expecting that. I really am naive sometimes.]

Kenyans were warned about the threat of terrorism during the Christmas and New Year season. They have a jihadi problem. But who can blame jihadis for targeting Kenyans, what with Kenya's invasion of Iraq and general meddling in the Middle East by rescuing victims of dictators. I hear that is what causes jihadi terrorism.

Trump has a point. Democrats (both party and media operatives) went from demonizing Trump to demonizing some unspecified portion of Trump voters to demonizing all Trump supporters as racist fiends. Which was a really stupid Democratic strategy. Tip to Instapundit.

As the proto-imperial European Union sheds that prefix a little more, does Spain have a reason to leave the EU now? As I've long said, the EU has an incentive to support separatists in Europe.

Chad reports more than a dozen dead in another Boko Haram terror attack. Damn Chad for invading Iraq and freeing Moslems from tyranny! Again, I've been told that invading Iraq and general meddling in the Middle East by rescuing victims of dictators is what causes jihadi terrorism. It's like they're begging to be killed by jihadis!

Was impeachment a desperate effort by House Democrats to get leverage to hold off whatever consequences roll down on Democrats once the Durham investigation is completed? We'll see. Neither side has rolled out a smoking gun as evidence yet. And if Durham does, the impeachment will be obviously a sham and so no leverage. So I'm still mystified over Pelosi's intent on holding off naming managers and sending articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Conservatives have plenty of reasons to mistrust the news media. That's been a reality for my adult life. But shouldn't liberals be upset considering the media has been telling them for three years now that slam dunk evidence is about to be released any day now that will conclusively show this or that crime? Or that some other means could be used to remove Trump? Yet nothing happened. Liberals should be upset for being led along by the nose for nothing.

I hope we are watching this Russian spy ship closely--and whatever Russian spy submarines the wagging red flag is trying to distract us from watching.

Honestly, we've apparently been deficient in electronic warfare since the Cold War. Although since it was not put to the test, maybe we were just quiet about our capabilities. I can't say what is true now.

Britain will embark on another exercise in cutting force structure to prevent a hollow force from developing. I've long worried that two sizable carriers are too much for Britain to support. And the army is already pretty small. Plus, can Britain afford their nuclear deterrent if they don't cut conventional forces? Will Britain be effectively down to nukes or special forces? That's similar to Russia although Russia can throw in hundreds of thousands of less-than-ready troops. Britain doesn't have that option.