Saturday, December 17, 2016

Weekend Data Dump

Listening to repeated Democrats complain that this or that Trump appointee is horrible because he or she should really be doing this or advocating that seems to boil down to annoyance that Trump is appointing Republicans to those positions.

I know we had our recent naval surrender incident with Iran, too, so I'm not going to talk trash to the British, but given that outrage is Britain really likely to cave to Iran's outrage theater? "Iran summoned the British ambassador Saturday to protest against 'interference' by Prime Minister Theresa May after she told Gulf leaders she would help counter the country's influence in the region." Not bloody likely, I'd say.

That's a lot of hate. I mean, a lot of hate that surpasses just "wearing it on your sleeve." What there is very little of is "art." Tip to Instapundit.

The Russians are building up their missile forces in their  Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad. While this step is dangerous for the West, I never see a discussion of the ground force garrison there. I once read that the Russians have three combat brigades there. That and whatever security force are there would have to hold the region to be a threat. If there is a war, there is no reason that a NATO offensive shouldn't first pound and then take the bases there early in the war.

Venezuela's government has seized nearly 4 million toys to give out this Christmas. This guarantees that there will be no toys in Venezuela for Christmas 2017 (who would be foolish enough to think they could sell them). But honestly, the government isn't looking much past surviving this year given how far that socialist state has fallen. And confronting Santa it is easier than taking on the Netherlands.

In his latest outrage, President-elect Trump has demanded to know what some of his future employees are actually doing on the taxpayers' dime. The horror. Like he has the right to expect federal employees to do anything but cash their paychecks and do what they want! Days later, a review of the questions that horrified the right people. The permanent bureaucracy wants to do what it wants regardless of an election. That needs to stop. If followed through, it could trim the excess growth of this part of the bureaucracy. I hope other departments get similar queries.

Whatever we do in training our Army, “You want to do your very best not to force people to lie.”

Oh good, our NATO ally Romania has elected a leftist government that hasn't rejected the corruption that got it kicked out but which promised to spend more money. More money plus corruption. That will work out just swell.

Hillary backers pretend (to themselves and others) to believe that Trump's election is the beginning of the Fourth Reich. So it will take time for reality to override their fiction. Trump may or may not be a good president, but he is not Hitler reborn.

I'm starting to wonder why I vote to support taxes on my property to support libraries.

This is interesting. Niall Ferguson writes that he wrongly sided with Remain out of a hope of helping his friends rather than from his conviction on the issue. Kudos to him for owning up to such an error, but it does rather damage his credibility going forward. I just write what I think. Which makes things easier. I have no powerful friends to bolster, so there's that, of course. But I do take pride that I sometimes write about an issue and discover that I've written largely the same post months or years--and sometimes weeks--earlier, but forgot about it.

The French want to extend the state of emergency enacted after the November 2015 jihadi terror attacks for the fifth time--to summer 2017 to protect the election. This certainly illustrates my longstanding desire to fight and win this war on Islamist terror before the ratcheting up of homeland defenses becomes a more-or-less permanent reduction of our civil liberties.

I get the impression that the media is working itself up over Russian interference in our election because swaying an election is the media's job, by God! If Russia altered our election, where is the declaration of war on Russia in Congress sponsored by every sitting Democrat? Will Krugman demand war to defend our electoral honor?

Thank goodness only Russian election fraud is our problem with voting security: "Voting machines in more than one-third of all Detroit precincts registered more votes than they should have during last month’s presidential election, according to Wayne County records prepared at the request of The Detroit News."

Russian special forces Delta Force-like troops are involved in combat in Syria, it seems.

American heavy forces are on the move to eastern NATO bases. Mind you, these are just a "trip-wire" force and not one capable of actually stopping Russia.

Local officials on the Swedish island of Gotland pondered renting space to the Russians. This is dumb, as the Swedish government understands. If Russia plans anything hostile, expect that the company employees will suddenly be young very fit men with short haircuts--including the receptionist. Luckily, they said no in the end.

The answer is "Yes, they are truly incapable of shame." Said our ambassador to the UN to the Syrian, Russian, and Iranian governments about the siege and capture of rebel-held Aleppo: "Three member states of the UN contributing to a noose around civilians. It should shame you. Instead, by all appearances, it is emboldening you. You are plotting your next assault. Are you truly incapable of shame?" It's almost cute that after eight years in office, Obama administration officials think these guys feel shame for anything but losing.

Given that I've read that the military is trending to using "combat fatigue" instead of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to more accurately describe that condition as a very real type of wound rather than a weakness, the acronym PTSD will become available. I suggest it be made available to these chuckle-heads still curled in a fetal position over the victory of Trump in our recent election. Call it President Trump Stress Disorder.

Let me summarize my view of the most recent election "hack" kerfuffle: Russia leaked information to harm Hillary Clinton; Russia expected the leaks to harm Clinton and expected the source of the leaks (Russia) to discredit Trump; the Russians knew well that polling showed Clinton would win and they wanted that result; the Russians likely had far more damaging emails from Hillary Clinton's off-the-books email system to blackmail her once in office; the Russian effort had no impact on how Americans voted; at a bigger level, the Russians also hoped to discredit America's democracy both to shake America and weaken our example of democracy to the rest of the world--including the former Soviet Union's lands; the effort backfired as Trump won despite the opposition and bullying of the press and elites (bad news for autocracy maintenance in Russia); and now Democrats are flitting from excuse to excuse (The FBI! The electoral college! Nazi "dog whistles!" Fake news! Russian hacking of voting systems! Russian email leaks!) in a vain effort to reverse the election results somehow, which in practice revives the Russian effort to shake us and weaken our example of democracy. That's it. Funny, in an otherwise interesting piece on the issue, Stratfor's Friedman doesn't mention my theory that the effort was ultimately aimed at getting a damaged Clinton elected. Perhaps I'm just wrong, but perhaps it just didn't occur to them.

Iran announced that in retaliation for moves by America that Iran says violate the nuclear deal, that Iran will work on nuclear-powered ship technology. While such a program would push forward Iran's ability to make bomb-grade enriched Uranium, we say that this is within the boundaries of the nuclear deal. Retaliation? Totally legal? Whatever. Which tells you how bad the nuclear deal really is, you must admit.

Stratfor writes about Russian gains in shifting the outlook of Transdniestria and Moldova proper. If successful, Russia gets a base that puts Romania on the frontline of Russian aggression and a secure enclave in Ukraine's rear.

With all the Democratic talk of Russian intervention in our election campaign to change the result, I remain most upset that Russia leaked our military plans and troop dispositions to Saddam before the invasion.  The Russians want to be our enemies. We should at least recognize that Russia is acting like an enemy. So when do Democratic legislators introduce an authorization to use military force to strike back at Russia?

Mexico's Cartel Wars continue. When President Obama came into office, I wondered if that would be his first foreign crisis. It was not, but it still rages across our border. Anything that close could spill over the border.

President Obama returns to his roots in the Illinois state legislature and votes "present" on major legislation: "In a reversal, Obama declines to sign renewal of Iran sanctions, but lets it become law without his signature." Good on the sanctions. But grant me that the method of approval is funny.

This is a refreshing defense of the electoral college result as the final step in the process both sides accepted and which the voters knew would determine the victory. Mind you, I defend the purpose of the electoral college but it is good to see an admission that changing the system to direct vote would have consequences.

A Strategypage overview of Nigeria.

The Russians were in a state of delusion if they thought that parading the Kuznetsov was going to make Russia look powerful. I did say it could be ugly. So who didn't tell Putin that this would be embarrassing?

I was in favor of moving on from Clinton and pardoning her for her email crimes. But the way the Clinton family and their allies are fighting tooth and nail to avoid the loss she so richly deserved, I'm starting to think that the investigations should just go on and see what happens. So I join the majority that doesn't want a Clinton pardon. If they won't move on from the election, we should not. Screw 'em. UPDATE: About that electoral college ploy, fancy that. Tip to Instapundit.

FYI, a partial list of recipients of the Russian Order of Friendship.