Sunday, April 28, 2019

Weekend Data Dump

A bomb that didn't explode in the Easter attacks focused on a Christian-majority city in Sri Lanka was found. More about the target city of Negombo. A "little-known" Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama'ath carried out the attacks. Did al Qaeda, ISIL, or even Pakistan help them with an attack of this scale? The count of those murdered is north of 300. Pray tell what did Sri Lanka do to deserve this? Have a military presence in Saudi Arabia? Invade Iraq? Anything else that idiots say caused al Qaeda to hate us and kill us in large numbers?  Stop asking why to they hate us? In reality, the question isn't what anger Islamists. The question is what doesn't anger the Easily Excitable? Seriously, it's our fault? Why do leftists always worry about the backlash of Westerners to jihadi murder sprees rather than worry about the actual lash of the jihadi attacks?

I'm not happy about Second Amendment sanctuary municipalities. But I'm not happy about immigration sanctuary cities. So if this teaches those who ignore immigration laws that two can play at that game on something that offends them, let them fly for now. At least the federal government could crack down on both without looking partisan.

Defending Iraq is still necessary with its problems. Iraqis still have minorities who like Shia or Sunni extremists. And ISIL is still a terrorist threat if not an occupying force. Luckily more Iraqis recognize the threats and would like American-led forces and Arab state to help fight ISIL so it doesn't revive and to resist Iranian pressure to dominate Iraq. And the corruption. Always the corruption.

Egypt will get Russian Su-35 ground attack planes that Saudi Arabia is paying for. Which will help the Saudis provide alternative weapons--because Russia doesn't care--when Western countries fall for Iranian propaganda about using Western planes to attack our common enemies and try to stop the Saudis from using the planes.

Predictions--especially about the future--are hard. Tip to Instapundit.

Just as the Army is thinking about reinvigorating the division and echelons above for conventional warfare, should the Air Force restore the air division for the same reason? Note that in the article the authors mention Marine Expeditionary Units as an example, but they clearly mean Marine Expeditionary Forces. The former is a battalion-sized unit and the latter a combination of a Marine division and air wing. No big deal. The intent was clear.

I was certainly aware that North African Arab pirate states captured lots of Europeans for slaves. But I did not know those European slaves outnumbered the African slaves taken to America as a country or as colonies.

Which would be a big "ef you suckers who planned ahead, worked, and otherwise refused to borrow $200,000 for a BA in puppetry." Why are we thinking about rewarding stupidity and failure to prioritize? And why is it a good idea to tax the non-college educated to subsidize the well off who fail to prioritize and borrow too much money? Screw you people. Maybe cap government-backed college loans at twice the average annual salary in the field of major would be a better idea. And if you want to borrow more you have to sign a document admitting you are dumber than a mossy rock.

As America tightens sanctions on Iranian oil exports, Iran makes threats to close the Strait of Hormuz. Take this threat absolutely deadly seriously. Because Iran has taken action before we need to be careful in the Persian Gulf region. Of course, with this sanctions step against Iran, a move to squeeze Iran's proxy Hezbollah finances, and another missile defense drill in Israel, are these dots that point to a post-election Israeli attack into Lebanon to tear up Hezbollah's home base with a large-scale multi-month ground raid?

I thought this intelligence agency bias was a longstanding issue, at least with regard to analysts tilting left as opposed to field agents.

A tale of two tweets: In the former who know who committed an act of terrorism and why, and know who the victims were; in the latter somebody did something to someone.

Apparently conservatives don't care about the Sri Lanka terrorism victims because they aren't white AND the Western far right is uniquely angry about the Sri Lanka terror attack. Wow. It's hard to win that game, eh?

North Korea's Kim went to Russia to talk to Putin. For God's sake don't let the Russians "help" with North Korea.

I know I've mentioned that the Air Force war reserve stocks had declined to dangerously low levels. Although at one time I wrongly assumed that it was inconceivable that we'd dip into our war reserve stocks. The Army had the same problem and is working to rebuild the war reserve stockpiles. Russia has demonstrated an ammo problem. Let's hope China has one, too.

Perhaps Congress could stop pushing for a do-over on the Mueller investigation and stop China from using American-build satellites to make China's military more effective.

If reports are correct, this could be damaging to Iran. Tip to Instapundit. We are Iran's enemy (What is unclear about "Death to America!"?). We should act accordingly.

The murder count in the Sri Lanka bombings that ISIL has claimed responsibility for is up to 359, with over 60 arrested and 40 more expected to be arrested. So I guess the usual suspects are being rounded up. Background.

The rise of China's military. And as the article notes, Xi Jinping has put the military firmly under his control, which at least removes this problem of growing military auronomy I worried about. Of course, now we can worry about what Xi will do with the military he controls in order to make China great again.

I've long been dismissive that Putin is some kind of strategic genius. Strategypage's podcast addresses "Vlad the Imploder." Why Western conservatives (of the strongman variety and not the individual liberty kind) admire Putin is beyond me.

I find it fascinating that Democrats who said half of Trump's voters were "deplorable" (and since the election the percentage has gone up to 100%, it seems) think imprisoned felons should vote. Odd that this demographic is assumed to lean Democratic, no? Look morons, prisoners lose a lot of their rights because they are convicted and imprisoned--not just their voting rights. Hell, when I was a soldier I lost some of my rights. And as an employee of the legislature I lost rights (free association and speech) as a condition of employment. So I have no sympathy for this line of reasoning.

Putin is making it easier for Ukrainians in Russian-occupied Donbas to get Russian passports. Ukraine doesn't like this. I don't know why. Isn't this an easy first pass on who to deport when Ukraine regains control of the Donbas? I mean, can Ukraine count on pro-Russian residents of the Dombas to put "Resist Ukraine" bumper stickers on their cars?

I too am dumbfounded that there is an incorrect perception of American decline in Middle East influence and power. And we do have a lot to do in the Middle East.

Funny how that works. Not that Republicans don't do the same when convenient. But the media (the vast majority of it) has to be considered the arm of the Democratic party for their flexibility to be explained.

The French sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait, which annoyed the Chinese.

The Japanese are still trying to collect all of the pieces of the F-35 that crashed in the sea off of Japan. They'd best find it before the Russians or Chinese scoop up pieces and learn something important. This is going to be a real problem for our main fighter for the next 30 years given that we are exporting it around the world. We are taking this very seriously indeed.

End the reset? I honestly wasn't aware that India truly believed that relations with China could be reset given Chinese claims on Indian territory.

We are developing smaller nuclear warheads to give us more options to retaliate if attacked by nukes. I've long wanted such options because even with missile defenses that work, maintaining nuclear deterrence will require us to retaliate with nukes.  A "no harm, no foul" policy is open season on American cities. So we would have to strike back. But we don't want to slaughter civilians needlessly. And enemies know that. So just big nukes aren't credible to threaten in a small attack that might not even make it through our thin shields. It would be better to to be able to destroy specific military or nuclear targets with nukes that restrict the civilian death count as much as possible. Smaller nukes give us that option and so improve deterrence before we are struck. And a bonus note from the Strategypage post that we overcame the Fogbank problem.

Is it really that odd that America wants the overthrow of hostile and despotic regimes even as we don't target non-hostile regimes that are autocratic or even tending toward despotism? Would it really be better to have a universal policy of regime change against every non-democracy regardless of whether they pose a threat to America?  Wouldn't that just guarantee every non-democracy is a threat to America?

A reminder of actual collusion with Russians to influence an American presidential election. Ted Kennedy wasn't just a murderer (where do you draw the line between murder and letting someone die after you put them in the position of dying without your help?) who got away with it. If true, of course. But it fits well with public behavior back then of a whole lot of Democrats. Honestly though, I don't know why people say that we will all die if we don't immediately combat global warming exactly as those people say we must when people said Reagan was eager to start a nuclear war--and obviously he must have so we are already dead, right? Anyway, I'd be happy if the media investigated this Kennedy charge and refuted it. I for one would be relieved to know he didn't and that there was a limit to his moral shortcomings.

All week Microsoft was seemingly degrading my computer performance sometimes to the point of near uselessness with updates that often seemed centered on security software surges in my computer use. It finally seemed to end. I realize that it is important to prevent malware from hijacking my computer but it often seems like Microsoft hijacking my computer. I just hope a "good guy" hijack worked.

I no longer write much about my children, Lamb and Mister, because they aged into a range where it would be more embarrassing (to them) to write about them. But my goodness, I remain so proud of what good people they are and how they work hard. I love them dearly and remain grateful they are my children. My greatest hope is that they live happy and rewarding lives.

Thanks a freaking lot Candace Marie Claiborne.

Remember that Twitter does not represent America. Really, it is just the most politically obsessed and hateful portion of America.

Oh FFS: One problem in NATO is "the lack of secure interoperability between field radios used by U.S. troops and those of NATO allies." Isn't this one of the points of having an alliance that has lasted seven decades? I don't hope for common equipment but shouldn't we by now have interoperable equipment and procedures to use that equipment?

Nail the bastard. As an Army veteran he should damn well know the rules of engagement don't include attacking innocent civilians.

Federalism pretty much requires this distinction between unity and liberty. Too many people want to impose a unitary national government on our federal system.

The Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy has but two maneuver battalions, according to this article. I did not know that. Is this because it is retaining the Army expansion era two-battalion brigades or is it now a tradition three-battalion brigade but with the third battalion absent? And if the latter, is the brigade to be expanded to a full three battalions in time or is it expected to be reinforced in war by a National Guard unit or another battalion from the active force?

Yellow vest protests, much smaller than their peak, continued in France this weekend. I don't know if anything short of Macron's resignation will satisfy them. But it seems like Macron can wait them out with tear gas and I'll guess growing disapproval by the public whose lives are disrupted by the weekly protests.

When goodlife are no longer useful.

Bottom-up procurement works.

Interesting: Chinese--that is, in China--parents were big spenders in the college admissions scandal.

Sri Lanka continues to round up jihadis and their supporters--some who resist violently and are killed--after the Islamist attack on Christians on Easter that killed 253 people.

The fact that Iran still hasn't abandoned the Iran nuclear deal despite Iranian complaints that America is essentially waging economic warfare on them speaks to how badly tilted the deal is to Iran, no?

Many times during the Iraq War before the Awakening took hold, I was stunned at how the Sunni Arabs of Iraq were working hard to take the mantle of dumbest most self-destructive people in the world from the Palestinians. The Palestinians continue to prove they are the best in that category (tip to Instapundit).  All the Palestinians have achieved is to lose their status of Queen of the Victims Prom. But no worries. Their corrupt rulers will be just fine. So there is no incentive to stop their path of self destruction when only regular people pay the price in blood and poverty.

Hong Kong will be absorbed and resistance is futile. Did anyone really believe Hong Kong would have 50 years of avoiding Peking's communist tyranny? Hong Kong's only hope for retaining their dwindling civil rights is to foment revolution in China that will allow everyone to have freedom--or at least make China's communist rulers too busy to worry about Hong Kong.

Yeah, way too many people are getting PhDs in America: "A professor of anthropology from Dartmouth College claims the mere presence of a gun, especially if one makes physical contact with it, can transform a good person into a bad one." On the bright side, I guess prayers, spells, chicken organs, or talisman can protect you. It is very depressing that universities are turning out Witch Doctors these days. Tip to Instapundit.