Sunday, June 25, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

The X-37B seems pretty awesome. The X-37C will be better. And if the latter could carry 6 passengers, isn't that a small squad? Ah, the options with manned space stations, eh?

I have really enjoyed the exploding heads on the left over Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement signed by Obama and ratified by the Senate. The gift just won't stop giving.  (But liberals have lots of gifts in the faux outrage department--and while I am uncomfortable calling conservatives "normals" in contrast to liberals, given "deplorable" and a hundred other insults by liberals against conservatives, I'm not going to complain too much.) The not-treaty, even if it worked as promised, would have reduced the global temperature by 2100 by almost 0.05 degrees centigrade. That is not a misprint. So even if America's withdrawal from the agreement wrecks the impact of the agreement, the temperature will be 0.05 degrees higher in 2100. Based on models. Which have been horribly wrong and haven't predicted the "pause" in temperature growth the last two decades. This supposed impact is a rounding error. Tell me the reaction is based on science rather than religious fervor. I fully expect many rounds of international conferences so The Concerned can jet off to dine on expensive foods and condemn carbon emissions. Now go and emit no more.

Until you can tell me what the mission for the carrier is, I don't even want to discuss whether America should have super carriers, medium carriers (or small carriers), or some mix of them. Show me the research that demonstrates that medium carriers are cheaper than super carriers by an amount that would allow us to buy with the same amount of money enough medium carriers and escorts to be as effective in whatever mission you are talking about as the smaller number of super carriers. But I'd rather have a sea power debate than have another fruitless carrier debate.

FYI, news fit to print: "The New York Times on Friday published the name of what is believed to be an undercover CIA agent leading U.S. operations related to Iran, and defended the move by saying the agent's name had been published before." Liberals may have belatedly joined the resistance to Russia, but Iran is still peachy keen as far as they are concerned. It's older news. But not much came of this in the outrage arena, did it?

I'm but one man and there are limits to my efforts.

I do find it incredible that people claiming an immigration pause for a small number of Moslem-majority countries representing a small fraction of all Moslems is a "Moslem ban" also argue that Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be included. Huh? So it would be better to expand the list? The list is for countries with an inability to provide America with information about migrants from their country because the country is dysfunctional. Despite Saudi and Qatari issues with extremism, both do have state apparatus sufficient to provide information on people who want to come here. That is the issue.

I know some will use the fact that ISIL blew up the Mosul Great Mosque of al-Nuri to argue ISIL isn't really Islamic, but that misses the point. If ISIL (or other jihadis) wins what is a civil war within Islam, what ISIL does will define Islamic practice.

Of course, in a related aspect, the appeals on the "travel pause" from specific problematic countries has dragged on so long that the point of the original Trump order is gone. The administration should have put a new process in place by now given that the original pause if upheld would be over by now. The lower court decisions are an assault on rule of law and appealing on that basis alone must be done, but the security aspect is obsolete. Or should be by now.

I really can't stand listening to John Kerry give his opinion on anything other than why he is spewing more CO2 into the air with his lavish lifestyle in a week than an African village does in a year while the planet burns. Worst secretary of state ever.

It is amazing that Democrats cling to the fiction that the American voters who flipped three states in the electoral college battle by voting for Trump after having voted for Obama are deplorable racists. Trump earned those votes by listening to them and acting like he gave a damn about their problems. That explanation doesn't stroke Democratic egos and reinforce existing bias, but there you go.

It looks more like a Speak and Spell, but I still would have bet on calling it the iKim.

Like I've said, feminism is the Democratic women's auxiliary.

Yes, as I've noted many times on this blog, our enemies aren't as potent overall as it is often stated in the media. Strategypage notes that fact. I differ in that I don't mind spending more to defeat them with a comfortable margin of error given that they do pose real threats in specific areas, as long as American defense spending isn't a high burden on our economy. Given that our spending as percent of GDP is far lower than Cold War levels, I'm not worried about the burden.

The A-10 isn't going anywhere for now. Thank goodness the Air Force plan to eliminate the plane was thwarted until the Air Force grasped their usefulness.

I guess we can all be grateful that the media isn't blaming Senator Sanders, MSNBC, and Democrats in general 24/7 for the Republican Congressional baseball shooting. Clearly, the media has learned the lesson from the last time when they wrongly but relentlessly blamed Palin and Republicans for the attempted murder of Representative Giffords. This lesson only lasts until a killing can be pinned on Republicans, of course.

It is true that from a power perspective, Russia has incentive to build a buffer zone in the west. But don't forget that this means that Russia has incentive to push their borders west regardless of whether former Soviet vassals are now in NATO. NATO expansion did not create the incentive for Russia to expand influence and control west once their power recovered from the post-Soviet nadir. NATO expansion simply put real power in the way of Russia's march west. From a power and moral perspective, the West has no reason to go along with Russia's goals, of course. Also, yes, I worry about Russia's threat to Estonia, in particular. On the bright side, as time goes on I assume the number of Russian-speakers will fade away in Estonia and reduce Russian leverage inside Estonia.

Any gatekeeping system for elite colleges that diverges from testing with actual scores is nothing but an elite protection racket. With test scores, anybody from any economic status can begin the path to prosperity. Anybody who professes to care about inequality should fight "holistic" evaluations by any means necessary, as those who purport to have more compassion than I have are wont to say. Tip to Instapundit.

I understand that new equipment has teething problems. But an electromagnetic carrier catapult system that knocks out all catapults when one fails is ridiculous.

Conservatives should avoid paranoid "deep state" thinking. Yes, bureaucracies can thwart the elected officials' wishes with their control of the paperwork process if the elected official and appointed loyalists don't continuously push for the policy changes. I noted that when Trump won the election as a reason I wasn't worried about Trump going off the rails--as long as he appointed Republicans. But this obstruction we see is far from a unified anti-democratic (although the permanent professional bureaucracy was viewed by Progressives as a check on democracy, truth be told) conspiracy with a unified plan. (Although this effort shows some would like it to be a unified plan.) And yes, Obama appointees still in government are making trouble. So replace them already! Trump hatred is simply making existing trends more noticeable--and acceptable in the eyes of the media. Trump needs to tame the bureaucracy. Absolutely. But this is not Illuminati territory. So don't act like it is. Work the problem.

Democrats in and out of the media are seriously deranged over Trump. I blogged more on the Obama presidency than either Bush 43 or Trump, given the timing of starting TDR nearly 15 years ago. I never got even remotely close to the Trump Hysteria Condition that afflicts the Democratic Party. My opinions are all on the record. But in the short time Trump has been president, the craziness from the left has been just astounding. At least the Obama "birther" nonsense was restricted to the fringe of the right (and yes, Trump was in that for a while--and I have been clear I was never a fan of Trump). But the entire Democratic Party is seemingly committed to the nonsense idea that the Trump presidency was essentially born in Russia. Democratic refusal to accept the outcome of a fully constitutional election must end for the good of our country. Next time (and yes, there will be a next time in four years, your fantasy dictatorship notions notwithstanding) maybe nominate a candidate who can more fully emulate a human being, okay? And definitely try to nominate a candidate who isn't corrupt and who doesn't mislead just to stay in practice. Remember, for all that Democrats despise Trump, your candidate failed to defeat him!

And again, what happened in Europe with EUCOM and AFRICOM during the 2012 Benghazi attack? I'm not convinced there must have been a "stand down" order to explain why American forces in Europe did not try to reach the Americans under attack in Libya that day. I think that it could easily have flowed from unstated command influence from the president about how he had engineered the "receding tides of war" as his reelection campaign boasted. Could American commanders have dragged their feet rather than undermine the president's election message by promptly putting forces in motion just in case? That's bad enough without a "stand down" affirmative order. Not criminal, of course, just damning. So why didn't American forces rush to the sound of the guns that day?

I'm not even sure what to say. Good Lord some people are just too stupid and fragile to reproduce.

The London high-rise apartment building that flamed up so fast, killing people well into the double digits, was in part enabled by Green regulations that created fire-enhancing conditions based on highly flammable insulation tacked on to the building without regard to the effect on safety. Although to fair, I'm sure the Grenfell Tower Green rating was improved by the assumption that every couple years a couple dozen CO2-emitting human viruses will be expunged from Mother Earth in a nice cleansing fire. Tip to Instapundit.

Why don't feminists celebrate the success of right-wing women? This is a mystery? As I've long noted, modern feminism is just the women's auxiliary of modern leftism. The article argues that feminism isn't about women's success--it's about leftism's success. So there you go.

I wouldn't call our media "treasonous." But it does seem like it collectively doesn't feel it has any particular stake in the success of the West that has driven personal freedom and prosperity to unheard of heights. For a time our security apparatus can defend the West despite this, but ultimately the base of civilian institutions and people have to believe the West is worthy of defending for the defense to last.

The Navy is working on breaking the kill chain for China's anti-ship ballistic missiles. I worry that China might manage to shorten the kill chain by making a carrier self-targeting. News like this feeds my worry (although I realize it is not a direct threat when at sea away from Internet connections, I don't assume there isn't a way around that).

The United States military is rebuilding its war reserve ammunition stocks. That's prudent. Letting the stocks run down was not.

This guy sounded reasonable on Iran until he lost me at the end: "Non-kinetic, economic weapons helped force the regime to negotiate an end to the nuclear program ..." Oh! So close. The nuclear deal did not end Iran's nuclear program. The deal validated Iran's nuclear program and allows it to grow in sophistication. At best the deal suspends nuclear weapons applications. And even if that works out, that suspension ends after a decade. If that is the author's assumption for his ideas, I'm not on board.

Just a reminder that when, in 5-10 years somebody says we go to war with the Army we have and not the Army we wish we had, that today we are making decisions for what Army we will have in 5-10 years. Will that be the Army we wish we had?

If you are still unclear of how the media approaches politically related stories, remember the basic rule. If a Republican does something wrong, the story is about what the Republican (identified in the title and first paragraph as such) did and why it reflects the sins of all Republicans. If a Democrat does something wrong, the story is about how Republicans will unfairly exploit the wrongdoing for political gain (and the offending Democrat is just a government official--could be any party--until late in the story, if mentioned at all).

This crack in the wall of elite Venezuelan solidarity is surely far more significant than street protests by unarmed people in toppling the Maduro regime.

The obsession with national politics that consumed the mid-June Congressional baseball shooter who targeted Republicans should be a warning that our federal government is just too large a force in our daily lives. It just shouldn't matter so much to ordinary people who runs Washington, D.C., at the moment. The contest for control of the federal government has become so bitter because the stakes are so high! Reduce the depth and breadth of the federal government's regulatory and financial reach, and the national derangement and hysteria will decline.

How bad is Illinois' fiscal status? Inter-state lotteries don't trust the state to make payouts to winners. Tip to Instapundit.

Trump has a point.

I was perhaps hasty in celebrating the Air Force commitment to keeping the A-10.

Lawyers must represent terrorists, rapists, and Democrats who commit crimes; but representing the Trump family is out of bounds. Tip to Instapundit.

It is interesting that India is worried that Trump won't value them as Trump seeks China's help for North Korea. Funny, 8 years ago I worried Obama would reject Bush 43's outreach to India.

Ah! Science! (The data said RoundUp doesn't cause cancer; but the scientist didn't care about evidence.) Scientists are people and the idea that we should just salute and march off the cliff whenever one of the offers their view is just odd to me. Just put holy robes on them and burn incense in their presence if that is your attitude. But don't pretend your faith is in actual science. Via Instapundit.