Saturday, February 25, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

The media is all upset that Russian fake news to sway the sheeple is rampant in America. Say, remember when the New York Times welcomed Putin to their opinion page?

The Dutch (who actually fought at our side in Afghanistan) are bringing back retired Cold War-era soldiers to train their army to fight conventional wars. Because of Russia. I guess the 1980s answered that call President Obama said the decade made.

News from the 19th century. Anarchists? Really? Seriously, these are some of the street thugs of the Left.

The Finns are beefing up their military in response to Russia's increased aggressiveness, reversing a pre-Crimean invasion reduction. Best to be safe, since Finland was once part of the pre-Soviet Russian Empire. And the Soviets made one big and bloody effort over the winter of 1939-1940 to reconquer the country.

Trump is pushing Australia toward China? Who are these people with their fantasies of doom? America and Australia remain close allies and will continue to be close allies. Funny enough, the author says that the barely noticeable pivot to the Pacific under Obama started the process, but he then complains that a Trump phone call is finishing off the relationship--despite the fact that the migrant deal in question will be upheld by America. Get a grip, people. Some academics truly need a good whack with a clue bat to knock some sense into them.

British politicians are getting used to the once shocking notion of leaving the European Union.

"Mother" Nature is no nurturer and is in fact trying to kill all of us.

I just don't buy ideas that dress up Russian military efforts in Ukraine as representing some deep new form of operating, whether it is "reasonable sufficiency" or "hybrid war," or whatever. If Russia could have pounded Ukraine with 300,000 troops using heavy armor and firepower, Russia would have done that. Russia hit a chaos-wracked and unprepared Ukraine to quickly seize Crimea but faltered in their effort to seize Donbas. If Russia could have quickly conquered the entire Donbas, and perhaps more, they'd have done that. Russia did what they could with the forces available. And if Russia manages to update and modernize more of their military, they will use more of it in acts of aggression to get a conquest over fast rather than endure financial and economic hardships from an incomplete conquest.

Stratfor discusses North Korea's pursuit of the "ultimate deterrence" of nuclear weapons. If North Korea is worried that America will invade them, North Korea already has the ultimate deterrent. And South Korea's dear friend China punishes South Korea for not wanting to be nuked.

Does the assassination of Kim Jong-Un's brother signal that the dictator might spark a coup as a self-defense move by those who might follow that man to the grave or gulag? Strategypage has more on North Korea, purges, and other issues.

Yes, Russia's aggression is spurring the West to react to Russian threats. But the Russians still have the land they grabbed in violation of the UN system in general and agreements with the West over Ukraine in particular. And Russia will retain the edge in power over their close neighbors for a long time despite the relatively small NATO reaction.

Given that Trump's actual policies aren't out of bounds of recent mainstream debate parameters, is the intense liberal opposition to Trump based on class? Are the upper class liberals (and some conservatives, too, it is true) "just" upset that Trump broke the "crass ceiling" by elevating people the left considers suitable for fixing their appliances and collecting their garbage, but who otherwise should be unseen and unheard? Funny, liberals weren't unhappy with their version of Trump when he was president. Apparently, Republicans then were bigger people than Democrats of today, able to work across the aisle with such a man. But we're early yet. Surely the Left can't keep the outrage dialed up to "11" forever.

As it turns out, communist Cuba was more valued by the Left as a symbol of their leftist credentials than it is valued as a tourist destination. Americans just aren't going there. Well, best not to have the reality of Cuban poverty and oppression crush your sacred symbol by visiting before Starbucks, Hilton, and Cheesecake Factory can open up enough locations to let you pretend that all Cubans live that way.

Trump spoke poorly in regard to Sweden, but when he said he was concerned about what is "happening" last night in Sweden rather than what "happened" he was clearly not implying a terrorist attack. That interpretation is motivated purely by Trump Hysteria Condition. Those people interpreted poorly. Swedes on their high horse might want to reflect that Trump was talking about trends he saw on a story the night before. Funny enough, as if on cue, within days there was a riot with traditional car burnings one night by unnamed "immigrants." Might have been the damn Finns. Shoot, I've long figured that Malmo, Sweden, would be the first Sharia-compliant municipality in Europe. People excusing the immigrant violence in Sweden say that it is no worse than what America experiences (are they thinking of Chicago, perhaps? Or Detroit for that matter.). Perhaps. I really don't know. But the point is that until recently Sweden did not have that problem. That is what is significant. If the Swedes think Trump is their biggest concern, they're delusional. And consider with renewed Russian threats, Sweden spends more on migrants than on national defense. #WhatCanHappenAnyNight

Afghan troops need better training to take advantage of our support in order to gain the upper hand over the Taliban. That's good, because relying on the Afghan commandos to make up for the line troops' inadequacy will destroy the special forces.

I'm sure I'll get ample opportunities to repeat my oft-repeated complaint that it is an assault on our language that "liberal minded" is considered a synonym for "open minded." Yeah, that expression doesn't mean what you think it means.

This is odd, isn't it? But maybe it seems odd to me because it was framed as odd. Tip to Instapundit.

Japan has decided to build more but less capable warships to handle Chinese threats to Japanese territory.

Another reminder that Venezuela destroyed itself with socialism and corruption that negated the world's largest oil reserves asset. Although the elites managed to enrich themselves as the rest of the country sinks into despair and poverty. On the bright side, those newly poor will be swimsuit season ready in no time!

Iran's organized nutballs threatened America while Iran seizes another hostage (a US resident in this case) under color of law. It is true that Iranians in general have a pretty good opinion of America. But the organized nutballs and government are very clearly in the minority that wishes death to America.

In response to the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack, America has forces around the periphery of northern Africa to react to such attacks in the future. But the radius of action is limited. So there is a search for alternative means of sea-basing these forces to extend their reach given the shortage of American amphibious platforms. One means might be a Modularized Auxiliary Cruiser. And of course, I still want to know why we couldn't scrape up a company or even a platoon of something from our military presence in Europe to send quickly when the crisis erupted.

Ezekiel Emanuel always strikes me as a weasel-like creature when he discusses health care. I recently heard him defend Obamacare by claiming that the rate of health care costs rose much more slowly under Obama than under Bush. But that does not defend Obamacare as a cost-control measure. Emmanuel surely knows that Obamacare didn't begin to cover people until calendar year 2014. So if health care costs rose more slowly during the Obama years, it was not because of Obamacare which existed in only 3 of Obama's 8 years. Something else lowered overall health spending (if Emmanuel's cited statistics can be trusted, which I do not assume). Perhaps the poor economy in general that depressed the ability to raise prices. I've read that lower rates of price increases was a global thing, after all.

I not infrequently introduce an article by saying it is "interesting." I find it ridiculous to have an entire article arguing that the subject in question is interesting to the person who calls it "interesting." Duh.

The Battle for Aleppo continues around the suburbs. Syrian forces pushed out some rebels southwest of the city. I don't assume that rebels won't infiltrate the city to continue the fight inside the city, or even hit and hold a portion of the city itself at some point.

Yeah, I was never really tempted to enable comments. One Turkish emailer (or at least someone in Turkey) once accused me of failing to uphold American freedom of speech by not having comments on The Dignified Rant. He clearly didn't understand freedom of speech as freedom from government restrictions on speech and not me providing a platform for others on this site. Tip to Instapundit.

This young lass just reeked of "communist" when I saw her:

And I was right on the money about her politics. It took all of 10 seconds of Googling. I despise communists. I have contempt for the liberal bias that communists aren't as equally bad as Nazis. And I mistrust the press corps for their failure to identify communists and ask every Democratic leader at every chance they get whether the Democratic politicians renounce such evil supporters. Sunsara Taylor doesn't refuse fascism. She just wants her flavor of fascist socialism (the international rather than the national type) to be the ones ordering people about. She is an adequately pretty young thing in thrall to an ugly and murderous ideology. Shame on her. As for the communist "black bloc" cannon fodder getting deserved punishment, you'd think that they'd have expected to be "disappeared" if they were truly fighting a fascist government. Those cul-de-sac communists who grew up in affluent suburbs crack me up. Orange is the new black, comrades. Tip to Instapundit on the last link.

Do you want to see a country where real anti-immigrant violence take place? Gaze at South Africa. Sorry, I can barely hear the cries of global outrage over the sound of crickets.

If there are people in Australia worrying about America's commitment to Australia under Trump, they are people who have been hostile to America all along, I think. Good Lord, a comparison to the Singapore debacle to make that point? Seriously? America is with Australia. Period.

One thing that will be different in the battle for western Mosul is the narrow streets. That will limit the use of Iraqi heavy armor to support their advance. But those narrow streets will also prevent the ISIL defenders from using car bombs as much. Suicide drivers on motorcycles could be used of course, but are easier to stop than heavily armored vehicle bombs. And the ISIL forces will likely make more use of bomb houses--buildings rigged as giant IEDs--that we saw in the past when American troops fought the enemy in the original Iraq War.

During base closing rounds, I wrote resolutions to Congress from the state legislature urging them to keep Selfridge Air National Guard Base, outside of Detroit, open. I guess they worked. So I feel an affinity which makes me willing to note a site that the Detroit chapter of the Association of the United States Army sent me which urges the basing of F-35s at Selfridge.

Our influence in Afghanistan is at least making progress on paper, as the Afghan government outlaws child sex slavery. Recall that one of our soldiers got in trouble by stopping a local Afghan commander from committing child rape. I can't find a post that mentioned that. Perhaps I just intended to write about it in pre-data dump days. Note that this is a local cultural thing rather than an Islamic thing. Anyway, we shall see how rigorously this ban is enforced. At least none of our troops will get in trouble for standing in the way of such awful abuses.

Fighting to control cities is one area of combat that translates okay from counter-insurgency to conventional combat. Although obviously fighting against an army with heavy firepower support is a far greater degree of danger than light infantry without such support.

I see the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters are just another version of Occupy Wall Street's outdoor sewer culture. Or perhaps Native Americans aren't as one with nature as their image says.

This is banana republic territory. WTF: "Working from an office suite behind a Burger King in southern Virginia, operatives used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account. They weren’t known smugglers, but rather agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives." An illegal revenue-generating scheme? Good Lord. Heads must roll and people must go to prison, if this is what was going on.

The Left confuses me. According to them, America is a racist, sexist, whateverist country. The Left also accuses conservatives of being those bad things and says conservatives are un-American for being those things. Huh?

Strategypage looks at Libya. I continue to be baffled that the West stiff-arms Hiftar and embraces the Tripoli government.

Iraq ordered their air force to strike ISIL in Syria in retaliation for a Baghdad bombing. Nobody will raise a stink. I admit I'm jealous. Sure, Assad gave permission. But I doubt that is key. During the Iraq War, Iran and Syria helped to kill Iraqis and Americans and coalition troops. But the world would have thrown a fit if we struck back to stop that effort to kill and defeat our effort.

The Left makes a terrible error in attacking people who voted for Trump. Fine, oppose Trump as is your right, but don't condemn decent people as "deplorable" for simply wanting a president who hears their concerns. (Tip to Instapundit) I wrote about that "revolt of the unseen" as the author calls these voters just after the election: "Flyover land isn't a speck. And a person's a person, no matter how small their plight seems to you from your lofty positions on the west and east coasts (and that can be a literal or figurative position)." Sadly, my post-election hope that liberals would hope for the best was way off.

Michael O'Hanlon is the lead author in this article that argues that Trump has been far better on foreign policy than so many feared. I didn't worry. I figured his more worrisome statements would be molded by the reality of and responsibility for our foreign policy. Until 2007, I didn't much care for O'Hanlon. But his intellectually honest assessment that the surge was showing good results when others were yelling "defeat" (remember Hillary's "willing suspension of disbelief" attack on Petraeus reporting on initial successes?) gave me new respect for him. I may not be aligned with him politically, but I do trust him now to give an honest analysis and don't disregard him as I do some left leaning analysts (coughLawrenceKorbcough).

President Trump is the oddest Nazi ever, given that the actions he is taking so far diminish federal power rather than expand it. Speaking of who supports anti-Semitic actions. Never forget that in practice "anti-Zionism" is just a dog whistle for "anti-Jewish."

Expose your male private parts to a young girl in public and you get convicted and put on a sex offender registry for life. Do the same thing in a bathroom and you get to be a Hero of Tolerance with that teachable moment. Portions of the world have gone mad.

The Yemen Houthis used a remote-controlled explosives-laden boat rather than a suicide boat to hit that Saudi frigate in the Red Sea. My question is how is it possible for a warship operating in dangerous waters to let the boat get so close without apparently seeing it to outrun it on the open seas or blow it out of the water? I trust that the lesson is to blow away any approaching vessel if it does not comply with orders to turn away.