Saturday, July 22, 2017

Weekend Data Dump

Ukraine's trade deal with the European Union begins in September. I think little of the EU, especially its likely evolution into an imperial state if left unchecked. But right now it is part of the West and is far superior to Russia. So this is progress in making Ukraine a Western state. And the EU is right: corruption holds back Ukraine. Both economically and militarily. Which should make rule of law a higher priority given that Russia occupies Ukrainian territory and continues to wage war on Ukraine.

Law enforcement is a core function of government. And government is screwing up forensic science that is the basis of convictions. Maybe if government didn't expand into so many areas to show how much it "cares," it wouldn't screw up basic functions. Also. The government said it was science. But it wasn't. And guilty people went free while innocent people went to jail. Heck of a job!

Collusion with Russia. Tip to Instapundit.

At a time when many conservatives continue to turn against the Iraq War, I shall restate that America was right to fight and win the war.  Victory was an opportunity we squandered. President Obama validated the war by initiating Iraq War 2.0 to defend what Bush achieved. May Trump stay to defend what Bush--and ultimately though belatedly Obama--achieved. We still have a great interest in a prosperous democratic Iraq that provides an alternative to autocracy or Islamism for governance in the Moslem Arab world.

Haiti's government wants an army. Haiti does not need an army. Anyone dumb enough to want to invade is too dumb to succeed in holding Haiti. Seriously, add to the national police if Haiti authorities want to patrol the border and help with natural disasters. Heck, most armies are nothing more than police capable only of defeating poorly armed civilians anyway. Why pretend?

When even Snopes is willing to defend the president against outrageous charges ... (while noting many are true, of course).

Yet another case where the well-meaning cure was worse than the disease. On the bright side, proponents can congratulate themselves for being such wise supporters of "good government."

I am sick of the media's jihad on President Trump based on standards they never enforced on Democrats via their newfound hatred of Russia. Or did I miss the collusionpalooza about Obama's "flexibiliy" in exchange for Russian "space" offer conveyed to Putin through Medvedev? I am also sick of Trump feeding them ammunition. Not that feeding my preexisting disdain for Trump personally will get me to switch support to the Democrats who are the only alternative and who have zero credibility to govern given their decent into left-wing insanity and street violence. I'm not sure what this situation pushes me to, but supporting Democrats isn't going to be it. Perhaps there is hope if the media gets tired of their personal struggle for self improvement. Actually, I might be pushed to just not watching television news. I'm tired of the attacks with little substance and I'm tired of the exasperated defenses. It's exhausting. My life isn't following this circus orchestrated by the media. Although it might not officially be coordinated as it was in the past as much as it is just the herd instinctively running the same way--off a cliff if my exhaustion is not unique. LATER: Since I wrote this, I've cut the cord. I turn on the news in the morning for any overnight breaking news and then news at 6:00. Other than that, silence or music. Rot in ratings Hell for all I care.

If the ability to see problems in anything isn't a super power, I don't know what is. Woke-Man? Wonder Woken? To Hell with those people. Why does anybody pay any attention at all to them? Tip to Instapundit.

This is what it is like to live under a 1984 regime that seeks out and punishes thought crime and bad thoughts. And these idiots voluntarily live in this environment! Worse, they want all of us to live under an actual government (that they run) with those powers. To Hell with them.

Democrats who hate Trump are looking forward to the 2018 and 2020 elections. Why? They loudly and constantly shriek that Trump is a fascist who is imposing a dictatorship on America. Under the circumstances, why do Democrats believe there will be honest elections? Or any elections at all? And I'm the one lacking nuance?

Yes, China's new base in Djibouti changes things, symbolizing a China that wants to extend its influence beyond the range of shore-based aircraft. But you have to be able to hold the base. America had bases in the Philippines and Britain had bases in Hong Kong and Singapore. But neither country could hold them in the face of Japanese power in war time. Don't panic. Work the problem.

I don't care why she went away. I'm just happy she went away. No loss to the university, I say.

I still don't see any issue with all the Russia stuff. But with so many Republican pundits saying there could be something, I remain unsure despite not seeing what the problem is with listening to someone as any campaign would do when given an opportunity for dirt on their opponent. That's a sad but real fact of life in politics. Funny enough, the Republican pundits in their new angle haven't persuaded Republican voters that there might be something to the Russia stuff. Which is kind of funny when you remember that Democrats claim that Russian "fake news" persuaded enough Democrats to vote for Trump in 2016 to swing the election to him.

Me thinks the man has been partaking of the medical marijuana too much.Tip to Instapundit.

Iran is not following the Iran nuclear deal--and this is just what we can see. Why pretend they are following it by certifying them as compliant? Doesn't that just set the standard that sort of following the agreement is fine? Doesn't certifying Iran as compliant when they are not just encourage them to see what other line they can cross? Of course, if we just plan to hit Iran hard then the look of surprise on the mullahs' faces will be all the more special.

About that Constitution-flouting president. That's okay, a pen and phone are much better protection for our liberties.

I think I'd pay good money if navies would establish a surface ship classification largely based on displacement (carriers and amphibs are different, of course) rather than seemingly randomly defining ships. Frigate, indeed.

Actual collusion between Americans and Russians.

And collusion between an American administration and the Chinese. The media yawned.

So does the threat of being called a stooge of Trump's pro-Russian so-called collusion push people to be overly focused on calling Russia our primary enemy? Perhaps. But you won't notice that here. I think I've been pretty balanced in assessing the threats.

What is "feminist geography?" That's easy! It means Florida can use whatever bathroom it wants.

So Democrats are getting the vapors over the thought of Senator Kid Rock? I have sympathy, of course. But the Democrats have former SNL star Senator Al Franken, so they're up by one with clowns in the Senate, you must admit.

The Russia connection hysteria wouldn't even be possible if Hillary Clinton hadn't had a private server outside of government control while Secretary of State and then deleted 30,000 emails she claimed were personal in nature rather than let the State Department make the decision of what was an official document and what was a yoga scheduling email. Who wouldn't have wanted that information if they thought it was out there, "unbleached?" And remember, President Obama knew that Hillary was using an unofficial email server that bypassed government security systems and procedures but did nothing. So President Obama did nothing to stop Russian cyber interference and did nothing to stop our secretary of state from being vulnerable to Russian hacking. That's not collusion, but it is a whole lot of incompetence that is good enough for Russian government work.

It's nice to see Afghan forces with the initiative around Lashkar Gah.

Mercenaries are perfectly valid to supplement our armed forces but not a substitute. 

It annoys and offends me when people say the Republican Congress must prove it can "govern." No! Legislative bodies legislate. They write the legislation that becomes statutes which guides the executive branch in executing the laws as written, or governing--like governors at the state level, for example. Legislative bodies do not govern. We don't want executive branches legislating, after all. Why talk of legislators as the executive branch?

I still don't understand why it was collusion for Trump's people to listen to the Russians who might have evidence of Clinton crimes or collusion. Which actually existed, you must admit, even if we don't have those 30,000 Hillary emails from her time as secretary of state scrubbed from her personal server rather than turned over to the State Department for review.

A nice overview of Russia's enemy-producing foreign policy. Short version: Russia is corrupt and broke, too weak to compel Ukraine to submit, scaring even Finland and Sweden to work with a strengthening NATO to resist Russia, losing ground to China in former Central Asian Soviet republics, and too weak to stand up to China short of nuking them. Oh, and their sub-based nuclear arsenal is having problems, too. If the Russians keep up their brilliant diplomacy, Belarus will petition for NATO membership within a decade.

After a relentless media frontal assault on Trump 24/7, Trump is still more popular than Hillary Clinton. Is there nothing America can do to compel that awful politician to just go away? Tip to Instapundit.

Oh, this isn't "useless." How do you put a value on demonstrating your moral superiority over the rest of us? Tip to Instapundit.

Huzzah! The end of the (relevant) world predicted at the latest for 2018 has been cancelled! Reset your doomsday plans for 2168. Which is smart because by then the scientist making the prediction will be long dead unlike today when he has to face the error of his earlier prediction.

The Trump administration may sanction Venezuela if that moron Maduro goes ahead with dictatorial plans that keep the socialist Hell hole in place. As Colombia emerges from long insurrection to prosper, Venezuela prepares to descend into chaos and violence. I remain concerned that Maduro will target the Netherlands in a desperate attempt to rally his people around his failing regime. The Dutch should check their ammo.

Britain is gathering the crumbs into a full loaf of bread, with the Joint Expeditionary Force of Baltic state nations that now includes Sweden and Finland. I noted this development.

Apparently Iran needs more pallets of cash given that it is essentially kidnapping Americans again.

Senator Schumer calls on Republicans to work with Democrats to pass a health fill that "lowers premiums, provides long-term stability to the markets and improves our health care system." Wait. What? Obamacare didn't do that already? And here I thought they cared. Failure to repeal Obamacare doesn't mean Obamacare continues. It just means it collapses without a replacement.

George Friedman's (of Stratfor) view on Trump six months into his presidency and why he has difficulty pushing his agenda.  For those who think the Trump dictatorship is charging onward and upward, this may be hard to digest.

I'd like to think that draconian executions for minor offenses is a sign that North Korea is unstable enough to implode. Do strong rulers really execute people for watching the wrong TV shows? If the reports are reliable, of course. Are we lucky enough to escape the choice of attacking North Korea or accepting them as a nuclear state (with Iran a customer)?

So many female Western politicians and wives of male politicians cover up when visiting Moslem countries to be "sensitive." But Moslem women are pointing to the First Lady and daughter visiting Saudi Arabia as Western women uncovered to defend Saudi women being picked on by religious police over dress. Discuss.

The Left is nuts and intrinsically pushed to even more nuttery.  I will always cherish a CNN report about an anti-meat protest some years ago. You could see the young woman who claimed "meat is murder" to the camera subsequently struggling to control her inner nut yet finally blurted out "milk is murder!" CNN subsequently edited that out for future airings.

American, NATO, and other European forces are exercising in eastern Europe. Putin will soon have "3,000 Russian troops and 800 tank" in Belarus for Zapad 17 exercises. The figures are confusing. Just crews for 800 Russian tanks would be 2,400 men; and consider that 800 tanks is darned close to our entire inventory of tanks in all of our active Army brigades. If Russia is putting 800 tanks into Belarus, a whole lot more troops than 3,000 will be involved and it is disturbing that Russia is claiming such a small troop number. Something on the order of 70,000 is more likely. It isn't the exercise that is the problem. The problem is that invasion preparations could be made under the cover of exercises done on a large scale. Let me just note that the CBS article goes out of the way to highlight Trump's campaign questioning of NATO without also noting that Trump sold advanced Patriot missiles to Poland while in that country to give a speech in defense of the West. Why imply American commitment is less than solid?

Why does San Francisco hate women so much?

History is hard: Leftists oddly think slavery was uniquely American (and neglect how many Union soldiers died to end it) rather than a widespread crime.

I hope the movie Dunkirk prompts the British to relearn the lesson of getting off the continent to save themselves as Brexit talks bog down.

"Americans are feeling better about their own lives than they have in over a decade." So not since the Bush administration, they're saying? Huh. I'm not sure why this is shocking. Since Trump was elected, half the population is happy to have a government more willing to leave them the eff alone; and the other half can safely pretend they are resisting a dictatorship (safe because the government aims to leave them alone), thus fluffing their egos.

Iran is again mucking around in Kuwait.

I assume colluding with a communist military threat to undermine the American government's policy is okay in this case.

The Charge of the Fright Brigade. Why have Filipino jihadis decided to fight to the death in Marawi?  Have the jihadis experienced Mosul Envy and decided to get the glory of dying for the caliphate?

Senator John McCain has brain cancer. He says he will be back soon. I hope so and wish him well. But this situation highlights my refrain that the Republicans need a sense of urgency about passing legislation given their narrow edge in the Senate that could evaporate at any moment. Does anybody remember the Scott Brown special election that threw Democratic plans into chaos?

Hezbollah, which has lost 2,000 KIA and 6,000 WIA in service to Assad under Iran's orders, is still spearheading Assad's offensives in the core of western Syria.

Here's the Mad Scientist tag at Small Wars Journal, which includes the top 8 entries in the science fiction contest. My entry didn't make the cut. I think it might still be published online but I'm not sure if that will happen, or when it will happen if it does happen.

While I remain ecstatic that Trump continues not to be Hillary Clinton, and though good things continue to be done that wouldn't have been done under Clinton, Trump has yet to make me like or respect him. Extremist attackers and defenders of Trump are really just off-putting. So cutting the cord of the media continues to be refreshing. I don't rule out that Trump could be more than just non-Hillary by the end of this term. I worry the unhinged resistance could be more than slightly violent.