Sunday, November 20, 2016

Weekend Data Dump

I'm hoping to limit my complaints about the media and domestic politics to the Weekend Data Dump after an uptick in Landfill posts sparked by the election campaign and the post-election tantrum.

Good Lord: "At least 83 Nigerian soldiers are missing in action since Boko Haram Islamic extremists attacked a remote military base in the northeast, Nigeria's Premium Times newspaper reported, quoting senior army officers." Corruption was the problem, with troops getting one meal per day and their commander stole their "allowances." (Their pay?) Keep this up and Boko Haram will be back to controlling territory and kidnapping girls at will.

Lena Dunham, who says--without any complaints against her from the Left--that she would welcome the extinction of white men, attacked white women Trump voters for being “inoculated with hate for themselves” and “unable to look past their violent privilege” may be projecting a bit. After all, she demonstrated violent privilege with her openly expressed eliminationist rhetoric about white men. Perhaps she has hate for herself, too. Which would be understandable on so many levels. Trump may prove that anyone in America can grow up to be president; but Dunham proves anyone can become famous. Not since Carrot Top has anyone with so few redeeming qualities risen so high in the entertainment world.

The Colombians have a new deal with the rebels after the people justifiably rejected in a referendum the past deal that, among other things, guaranteed the communists a number of seats in parliament and paid for radio stations to get out their views away from the battlefield, which seemed too much for me. The former problem was ended, among other changes. What about the latter?

The new F-35B-capable amphibious warfare ship USS Wasp will be stationed in Japan next year.

The American Navy was tasked to help New Zealand respond to their earthquake. Which is standard operating procedure for our military.

It is silly to claim that Hillary Clinton really won the election because she had more votes than Trump. We do not elect based on popular vote so you can't say that a non-measurement of victory should count as the measure of victory. If the election had been based on the popular vote the campaign would have been carried out very differently and people would have voted differently. With 4% voting for the Libertarians and 1% voting for the Greens, in a popular vote scenario they would likely have voted for Trump or Clinton, respectively, rather than waste a protest vote. As I noted in this blog, my vote--whether protest for Johnson or for Trump rested on my view on whether my vote would be wasted in an effort to deny Clinton the win. Certainly we can debate the victory criteria issue. I think electoral voting is superior (and here's an article defending it), but it is certainly legitimate to debate how we vote for president. I just don't understand why the Democrats were happy with super delegates violating the one person/one vote rule in their primaries while getting all angry about the Electoral College.

Will Turkey replace China as Pakistan's top supplier of advanced weapons? (And we're not the top supplier?) Commercial and political advantages for Turkey if they have regional dominance ambitions would follow.

I assume all the liberals upset about money in politics are thrilled that Trump won despite spending half of what Clinton spent; and are happy that far more of Trump's donations were under $200.00.

Moldova elected a pro-Russian president. That won't help.

The NATO secretary general says that the European Union defense ambitions will complement NATO efforts rather than duplicate or take away from NATO. Hogwash. In what alternate Europe where Europeans spend too little on defense will money spent on non-NATO capabilities not harm NATO capabilities? Absent--God forbid--political integration, military integration is pointlessly wasteful.

If the mass crying fits of Hillary supporters was just about processing an unexpected loss, I'd be more inclined to just let it pass. But the ridiculous wailing and gnashing of teeth at its heart is about delegitimizing Trump voters. So I'll let Conan reply to this embarrassing spectacle:

Yes, the Russians are fighting in Ukraine.

Early in the primaries when it looked like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would be the candidates, I lamented the notion that these two families are dynasties.  In a nation of 320 million people, we can find no others? Sure, Jeb seemed fine and I liked the other Bush presidents, but enough is enough! So we've got that going for us. Funny enough, Trump took down both families by defeating Bush in the primaries and Clinton in the election. I think that is healthy for our country.

Oh goodie, another region threatens to blow up in renewed war.

Self-driving cars will brake for jerks? Duh. And it is worse than that. You don't need an engineering degree to see that one coming.

The Maldives Islands are sending a lot of jihadis to Syria and Iraq--per capita-wise. Which shows why letting ISIL live for so long is a problem. With jihadi feelings awakened, when ISIL's caliphate is finally destroyed will these jihadi recruits head to India to kill for their vision of Islam?

Speaker Ryan should crush for good any rumblings of bringing back appropriations earmarks that allow spending without specific Congressional votes on that spending to benefit the district of the earmark's author. This is why I say that the real cure is making the federal government smaller rather than battling over who controls the federal government.

France has declared the end of their military mission in the Central African Republic. France successfully tamped down threats of large-scale killings, but the UN mission there seems unlikely to be able to continue that interruption of violence.

As the Trump presidency goes forward, I don't think I will face the problem of reflexively defending him because he is unfairly attacked by the Left. I know I will oppose many of his foreign and domestic issues, while backing some--hopefully ones I value the most. I really don't believe I've reflexively opposed President Obama because I generally disagree with him. I was not in that position with the Bush 43 administration because during his era, I worked in the state legislature and so did not comment on domestic policies where I was more likely to oppose his spending problem. But we'll see and you'll judge, I suppose.

Here's another defense of the electoral college system, with the added value of noting that to truly have a national election by popular vote, every state needs to have the same voting conditions--in standards and process--and even weather, really. I hadn't thought of those factors.

With combat experience against a Malaysian civilian airliner under their belt, the Russians have a new and improved Buk M3 surface-to-air missile system!

Canadian troops are engaged in direct combat in Iraq. I will say that Bush 43 never managed to get Canada to do that (although Canada did a lot of fighting in Afghanistan, with my gratitude). So Kudos to the Obama administration's new coalition of the willing for that.

So what's with the F-35 program? (I have a small amount of Lockheed Martind stock, for full disclosure.)

I'm reasonably sure that when the heavily left-leaning media analyzes how fair they were to Donald Trump, they will calculate that they were biased for him during the Republican primaries (when that served to help Democrats) and that they were biased against him during the election (when that served to help Democrats), and so on average they were really balanced in their coverage!

Does Pluto have a subsurface ocean?

Advice for the next president (tip to Mad Minerva). Supporting friends and opposing foes is as good a summation as anything.

This whole Republican "voter suppression" explanation for Hillary's loss confuses me. What model explains how suppression of Democratic voters failed in 2006 and 2008, worked in 2010, failed in 2012, worked in 2014 and then worked again in 2016.

A tour of some Iranian activities from Strategypage. Of note are some numbers: over 400 Iranian troops have died fighting for Assad in Syria, Iran controls a 12,000-strong Shia "foreign legion" in Syria, and Iran controls 13,000 local Syrian militiamen. UPDATE: It seems that Iran admits that over 1,000 of their people have died fighting in Syria.

Oh goodie, China is forging closer military ties with Iran.

Did Russia have a little green men plot in Montenegro?

The Saudis are trying to have a short humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen. Saudi intervention prevented a Shia victory in the civil war and pushed the Iran-backed Shia back. The Saudi side has not won yet, but it is in the stronger position. We may not be able to halt large-scale slaughter in Syria, but we sure can try to limit casualties inflicted on a far lower rate and with less evil intent by pressuring our allies. With a bonus compassion-theater factor reality that by prolonging the war we only increase the final body count.

I'm not going to say that there weren't those on the fringe right who claimed President Obama was a secret Moslem out to do ... something secretly and horribly bad. I don't know the details. But the over-the-top fear mongering of those on the left over Trump's win is far more broadly entrenched. Trump is a clown and crude, with little experience (although recall that President Obama's experience was so slim that he included his running of his election campaign as executive experience). But he is not a fascist or whatever other trait from your basket you want to pull out. In time, assuming the left's overheated rhetoric (I remember when that was bad!) doesn't lead to (another) assassination attempt, you will likely be embarrassed about and regret your hateful panic (enjoy the absurdity) that led you to wrongly paint Trump as a Nazi and therefore condemn all of Trump's supporters (and not just half as Hillary Clinton did) as irredeemable deplorables. Remember, in a time long, long ago, a lot of liberals had a lot of good things to say about Trump.

In Kenya, army recruits with fake enlistment letters have been arrested. While this appears to be a job-related scam for people who want to get in the military, this seems like a potential way for jihadis to get military training, no? I guess it depends on how quickly such scams are discovered.

I don't understand why Democrats are outraged at the possibility of Jeff Sessions being the Attorney General when he once said a bad word relative to race. Haven't Democrats spent the last 3 months saying that Trump himself is a Nazi? Isn't being a mere racist a step up from Nazism? Is that statement non-operative, now? Oh, and one more thing: Robert Byrd, the long-serving Democratic Senator from West Virginia who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and who seems to have every other bridge and road in that state named after him. If Democrats forgave that baggage ... But oh yeah, about Sessions.

China has a new light-weight tank, the VT5. While highlighted as an export tank, against a real main battle tank it would have a hard time with its 105mm gun and lighter protection. It would be more useful for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan because of its weight.

I seriously doubt that a UN effort to unify Cyprus is "closer than ever" is anything of the sort unless you really dim the lights and squint to take into account Turkey's interests there.

This deployment of our sea-based X-band radar off of South Korea is surely over by now, but it is interesting that to use it we really depend on naval and air superiority to use it, eh? (Yes, my email inbox is dangerously filled up)

Hong Kong keeps running up against Chinese efforts to weaken democracy even during the 50-year period that the locals are supposed to be able to run their own affairs before China's autocratic rule crushes all sparks of democracy.

The American government is concerned that a husband-wife team won an election to run the executive branch--in Nicaragua, not America, of course.

Fighting in eastern Mosul with the Iraqi Counter-Terrosim Service in the lead seems odd to me. The CTS was a good force back in June 2014. While it is true that our 2-year training effort in Iraq has resulted in a CTS that is triple the size it was in 2014, if memory serves me, where are the other trained brigades? I continue to think that the CTS is the red flag being waved at ISIL as it commits to holding off the eastern thrust, and that trained regular Iraqi army brigades coming up from the south will swing in to hammer ISIL from the south and west against the CTS anvil. That's what I'd want to do, anyway, as I've said before.