Sunday, June 30, 2019

Weekend Data Dump

FFS, if you can't tell the difference between detaining people who enter our country illegally until they can be processed on the one hand and detaining people contrary their constitutional rights despite living here legally or even being citizens on the other hand, I don't even want to talk to you.

China, jihadis, and commies, oh my!

I'm not on board the totality of this piece, but the author is correct that the relentless turn-the-dial-to-11 fantasy-level Resistance to Trump since 2016 has pushed him to the right. Despite some post-election worries, I've been satisfied with his policies since then. As I've said, I've always been suspicious of Trump given his history as a liberal Democrat. While I have no problem with that in personal relations, that isn't something I want in elected officials. And I've been puzzled that the Democrats in Congress didn't exploit that history to work with Trump on big government programs. And really, a number of Trump supporters are too close to Pat Buchanan's post-Cold War version for my tastes. So it's not like I wasn't potentially fertile ground for rejecting Trump. As a so-called RINO cuck I might have sat out the 2020 election even if I could never vote for a Democrat. But instead, the Resistance made it easier for me to support Trump's reelection rather than validate the insane socialist-loving Left that now steers the Democratic Party. Although I will be happy to go to a post-Trump world that allows Republicans to abandon the Trump-era idea that big government is okay if your guy runs the big government. Feh. Tip to Instapundit.

A new bomb worthy of the new plane.

Yeah, I don't really pay attention to polls at this stage of the campaign. It's a case of looking where the light is best and the horse race angle is much easier to emphasize.

This is what I've been saying. For me to reject Trump the Democrats have to give me a sane alternative. They aren't even close. And we've seen this Democratic show before.

Canceling student debt is a massive wealth transfer to the upper middle class; and is a slap in the face to people who--like me--didn't take on significant debt for themselves and who sacrificed to put away money for their children's college. Why should my retirement investments suffer to pay for people whose families made more money than me and who will make more money than me? A tax cut that allows people with debt to repay those debts easier would be more fair because people who avoided debt or didn't go go college would not be screwed by that unfair subsidy for people who borrowed to go to expensive colleges. Seriously, their poor individual choices are not my--or the country's--problem. Good luck with that.

Ah, the deep reverence for the integrity of science!

Is the Arab Moslem world losing interest in religion? It is a small trend but it is real. And it would help to give Arab Moslem countries the option of democracy rather than autocracy or mullah rule, which is the long-term hope of the 2011 Arab Spring thus far thwarted. Of course, the real issue is not rejecting religion but rejecting the monolithic religion-government view of life. Religious Moslems who did not insist on their religion ruling in governance--a division between church and state--is the real issue. But less religious Moslems would have an easier time doing the same thing. Still, as Yemen demonstrates, the trend can go the other way. But maybe the civil war within Islam over whether moderates or jihadis get to define what Islam is--which inflicts collateral damage on the rest of the world (like 9/11, most obviously) as they fight it out--will be made moot if most Moslems lose interest in religion.

Isn't it rather xenophobic to argue that an American can't even talk to a foreigner (oh, sorry, "undocumented conversation partner")?

Sometimes a picture requires a thousand words to understand.

From the "Well, Duh" files.

Iraq still struggles to fully staff its department heads. On the bright side, a dictator would have had the ministries fully staffed on day one. On the other hand, Iraqi corruption is more than just "perceived."

A group of American billionaires called for higher taxes. Trump should send every member of that group letters asking for donations, open an office staffed by a Treasury employee, and live stream the office and employee sitting at the desk for a week seeing if any billionaire will send a check to make good on their demand that they pay more taxes.

Our alliance with Japan is the cornerstone of our security in northeast Asia. So Trump should not publicly raise questions about its existence even if he would like terms of that alliance updated for the current reality.

Hiftar (or Haftar, if you prefer) is winning in Libya. Good. Recall that Turkey under Erdogan supports the jihadi-friendly UN-recognized government in Tripoli. Although winning does not mean his enemies can't mount a counter-attack that screws up his line of supply. And Hiftar blames the Turks for his setback.

So if we've been waging a war on poverty for 60 years now, or so, it is fair to say that the progress occurred in the first decade and it has been a stalemate since then at high cost. I strongly suspect that "poverty" has been defined upward since then, otherwise the spending has been criminally wasted, no? And probably much has been regardless of how poverty is defined.

Crossing our porous southern border isn't just for Latin Americans any more. Wonderful.

Face palm.

President Obama built those "cages" for illegal immigrant children. Not so hopey or changy any more, apparently. Hope and change did amazing things to events that are now Nazi-like. But now the properly woke can weep for cars in cages.

I'm sorry, but how is this different from what al-Righter white supremacists would do if they ran the university? I have no problem with shunning racist conservatives. Why don't liberals shun their people who support such racist policies? Tip to Instapundit.

I signed this petition.

The "military-industrial complex" that Eisenhower warned about is broader and "vastly bigger" now?  That's fine to know. But it does frustrate me that nobody who raises that concern ever mentions that Eisenhower said that we absolutely needed that military-industrial complex despite his warnings about its potential power. And is the "industrial" part of the complex healthy enough?

NATO warns that it will take action if Russia does not dismantle SSC-8 missiles that violate the INF treaty.

So you can ask about citizenship on the census form but only if the stated reason is acceptable? A hint would be nice, at this point.

Are there really Georgians who would essentially turn their country over to Russia just 11 years after Russia invaded Georgia?

Yeah, redistricting didn't become a Democratic thing until they started losing the battles to be able to do the redistricting. That's what really annoys me about all the "fairness" crap that didn't come up when they had the power.

I'm sorry, but Democrats have absolutely no credibility with me on their sudden conversion to opposing Russia. Russia is a real problem we have to oppose, but let's keep it in perspective and look for opportunities against China rather than pushing Russia into China's arms. Rabid and unthinking opposition to all things Russia gets in the way of that.

Trends in international merchant shipping since the Great Recession.

Pakistan's president is covering for the jihadi campaign waged from inside Pakistan, and India is increasingly angry at that. Have a super sparkly day.


American Airbase 201 in Niger was finally completed. It is the second American base in Africa (see Djibouti), although don't expect many people here to call it a base. But African sensitivities to allowing American bases are clearly fading in the face of threats and need. It will have armed drones and will work with Niger and neighboring countries to battle jihadis that threaten the stability of the region. It is not yet in use.

Opponents of Trump often claim he is waging trade wars. I'm not protectionist and believe open trade is the best policy. If I thought Trump was protectionist I would oppose his policies. But attempting to adjust trade terms that are unbalanced against America (as they have been in general since World War II when we chose to do that for political reasons to help restore strength in allies devastated by the war and vulnerable to USSR appeals in the Cold War) is completely different. And China has advanced enough economically and become too hostile to justify favorable terms long granted to Peking--including looking the other way at intellectual property theft and espionage. If these attempts adjust the terms to be less bad for America long after the effects of World War II ravaged economies abroad, that's good. If the attempts lead to trade wars and protectionism, that's bad. So far I don't see evidence of the latter.

Iranian-backed Iraqi militias protested at Bahrain's embassy and said storming the embassy is a "natural right?" Well that figures.

A war on a free press in Portland. That city's leaders increasingly seems like they view Antifa as a friendly communist militia that intimidates badthinkers, while the police are ordered to stand down and not protect citizens from the assaults. Will Trump send in federal assets to protect people when the city administration won't? Can Washington, D.C. federalize the local police or Oregon's state police if the state won't defend the Constitutional and civil rights of people in that city? Tip to Instapundit.

Individuals are free to be as stupid as they want. But when our institutions go along with and cater to that stupidity rather than allow the individuals to face the consequences of stupidity, our society itself is endangered by the habit of lying to ourselves. Tip to Instapundit.

Salute this man.

It is too inconvenient for the Western Left to care--or even acknowledge--the humanitarian disaster in Venezuela after praising its socialist rulers and policies for so long.

This liberal writer recognizes liberal intolerance. As I've often written and said, it is a crime against language to think that "liberal minded" is the same as "open minded." Not that I am arguing that conservatives are uniquely open minded.  But Kristof is wrong to blame Trump for the liberal intolerance. I've long noted it and if I had to put a date on it I'd say 2004 when Democrats went from supporting the war on Saddam and recognizing the justification to claiming we'd all been "lied into war." It has only gotten worse since then. Trump is the result of suffering that intolerance for so long. If Kristof is only noticing it since Trump won the 2016 election, it is only because the Left has gotten so extreme and influential that it no longer tolerates even liberals who stray from the far left orthodoxy. That is, it seems new to Kristof because it is new to him. Still, baby steps people. Welcome the baby steps.