Saturday, April 22, 2017

My response to Scott Adams (The Dilbert Guy).

Scott Adams, creator of the comic "Dilbert" (one of my favorites), is a well known conservative, and has his own blog, of course.

He made some points about the Trump presidency so far and I'm inclined to respond:

The economy? Sure it looks decent to us right now, but our national debt is insurmountable, so let's admit that. The government is still too heavily involved in the criminal enterprise that is our healthcare system, and that is over 20% of our economy. Not a good outlook.

North Korea? Right, China does seem to be involved the way we want them too. I'm glad to see some real action on NK for a change. I consider them to be a legitimate national security threat in the near future.

Syria? It's a mess. It was a mess before and after the cruise missile strike and I'm still not sure what our role is or why we should be there.

Illegal immigration? A 70% reduction on illegal immigration sounds great but I'm still looking for some stats to back that up.

Supreme Court? I like Gorsuch for now and I can't imagine him betraying the Constitutionalists on any major issue.

Healthcare? Already commented a bit on healthcare. I'm not optimistic. The last bill he pushed was 0bamacare lite, and that's not acceptable. Hopefully he will brush that aside as a plan that didn't work and will get behind something that will get the government out of the healthcare industry.

Tax reform? We shall see. Here's hoping for some sort of grossly simplified tax system.

Climate change? I hope he approaches this from a business perspective, because if so, he will quickly realize that political demand for renewable energy is still vastly outpacing the technology. Also, the climate change push is heavily politicized. Anytime a politician tries to tell you something is "settled science", make a mental note: They are not to be trusted.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

RIP WeaponsMan...

I just found out that WeaponsMan has passed away.

His real name was Kevin O'Brien. He was a former Ranger and former Special Forces soldier. He was a member of the freedom movement and had a very informative and valueable blog. I hope that his family leaves the blog up or archives it or something.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) on the Syrian Airfield shows that Russia Lied.

Russia and Syria claimed that only 23 out of 59 US Tomahawk Cruise Missiles actually impacted their targets, and the rest landed somewhere in the desert. No evidence was provided to back up this assertion, but many, I'd say most, people (on the Internet) were more than willing to believe it.

I stated on many Internet forums and blog comment sections that while I didn't necessarily support the action or see a need for it, I was very surprised that our targeting systems would fail at such a rate. I also asked why we would be inclined to believe a BDA from Russia or Syria any more than our own BDA. I suggested they were lying and that our Tomahawks probably had an accuracy rate of more like 99%. The Russian government has a history of lying that trumps our own government's.

Turns out I was correct. Or rather, 98.3% is correct. Wouldn't you know, someone who's job it was to know our own capabilities vs the enemy's capabilities and who's job it was to detect lies, didn't just jump on the "America sucks at everything" bandwagon. And don't think I wasn't ridiculed a bit for not just believing everything Russia said about our strike.

A satellite photo available to the public for your own BDA:

Enough patting myself on the back...

Apparently, we can see from public satelitte technology that at least 58 of the 59 cruise missiles did in fact hit their targets. The relative lack of damage to the airfield wasn't caused by the missiles missing their targets, but by the fact that a Tomahawk cruise missile, being a surgical strike weapon, doesn't have that big of an explosive warhead at all, the warhead weighing less than 250lbs. Yes, that is a SMALL explosive warhead. It's not going to penetrate earth, it's not going to wipe out double hardened aircraft hangars, it's not going to permanently destroy an entire airfield.

They're simply not made to do the things that the public apparently expected them to do.

In this case, I suppose they really were used to send a message, even if I don't necessarily support the action or the location of the action.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Shooting in Fresno.

Four people dead and two wounded in a shooting in Fresno, Kalifornia.

Shooter was yelling "Allahu Akbar".

Shooter answers to "Muhammad".

Shooter isn't white in any way.

Shooting happened in the gun-free utopia of Kalifornia.

Better read the story while it's here. Won't be easy to find for long.

Court rulings on taxes.

"Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes."

Helvering v. Gregory, 69 F.2d 809, 810-11 (2d Cir. 1934).

"Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one's affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant."

Commissioner v. Newman, 159 F2d 848 (1947).

A final warning to the left.

Don't force our hand, you won't like the result.

That is not a threat. It's a plea. Law enforcement has been minimally effective at stopping your violent acts. They will be grossly ineffective at stopping our acts of defense.

Thanks to WRSA and Men of the West for posting the article. Both blogs MUST be on your daily reading.

Insecurity of American Telecommunications.

When I was in the military, we sometimes used a sophisticated piece of equipment called "Stingray" to hunt down Taliban and AQ targets. It's entirely possible at this point that your local law enforcement could be rolling around using one of these to vacuum up info on anyone who comes too close, which could be as far as 5km or more if they're willing to crank up the signal output. Our telecommunications systems in the US (and around the world) are grossly insecure and in need of a major security overhaul.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Aesop on the Syria missile attack.

Aesop at The Raconteurre Report says to settle down and take a breath on the Tomahawk missile attack against Syria. I have already said that I don't support the action but I think I can endorse most of Aesop's message here. My rebuttals:

1.) There were a lot of us Liberty-minded types complaining about having troops in Syria as far back as a few years ago. We've had Special Forces soldiers there since nearly the beginning of hostilities (because our SF is everywhere). During the 0bama years, the republican voting bloc was indignant and the democrats were indifferent. Now it's Trump commanding the forces, so the indignant and indifferent are flipped. But the people who are truly Liberty minded did not support our involvement in the Syrian mess, and still don't.

2.) We already know that the last time there was a big chemical attack, the blame was placed on Assad and it turned out to be ISIS. We were offered no evidence that Assad conducted that attack. This time, we have been told that we've intercepted comms that confirm Assad's regime is at fault. I have no problem believing that Assad would do something like this and I have no problem believing that he has the weapons. I think the problem is that the US government is the one telling us these things, and a lot of people have a problem believing the info due to the source, no matter how easy it is to believe the info itself.

3.) Yes, Middle Eastern dictators are psychotic and unpredictable. I have no problem believing Assad would use chemical weapons against his people, though I'm not sure how many of "his people" are also members of ISIS. Another trait of many Middle Eastern dictators who run secular governments is the ability to keep Islamic extremism in check. Look at Iraq and Libya. What were those countries before we deposed Saddam and Qaddafi? They were secular dictatorships where Islamic extremism was held in check thanks to the heavy tactics used against them if they popped their heads up. What are those countries now after we took out the secular dictators? Hotbeds of Islamic extremism. Training grounds. Jihadi havens. Before the "Arab Spring", Syria was a fairly stable country run by a dictator that we didn't like, but had tolerated, at the least. The Christians in Syria were at least able to live in peace and at the same time worship openly as Christians. What will Syria be if we continue to oppose him. I'm not saying that we need to buddy up with him and help him fight. I'm just saying that those 59 cruise missiles should have been aimed at ISIS or AQ fighters. Not at the guy fighting them, even if we don't like him.

4.) I agree that Putin is not going to go to WWIII over Syria. Not even close.

5.) I agree that the only people less trustworthy than American government officials, are Russian government officials. One beef I have with the American Liberty movement is how eager they are to trust Russian info. You don't have to trust the US government but it would behoove us to also distrust the Russian government.

6.) Despite the fact that the Mid-East has been a crap shoot for a long time, we can easily identify a few countries where some stability was acheived, or at least, where Islamic savages were not able to operate with ease. Jordan is one example. Iraq and Libya were examples, and so was Syria. The region as a whole sucks, but our efforts to improve some of those places have ended up making them worse. Worse for us, that is, by allowing a vacuum where Islamic savages have moved in.

I can get on board with Aesop's summary that a message was sent by Trump when he launched those cruise missiles (and dropped the MOAB on ISIS in Afghanistan). I don't think anyone doubts that he will use military power when he needs to, and that's a good message. The MOAB strike was a great move. But the cruise missiles could have had much, much better targets. I personally wish they'd have identified a dozen or so ISIS target inside Syria and hit them instead. It would have signaled a willingness to hit ISIS inside any borders anywhere.

Now for MY summary, this cruise missile attack on Assad could pass as a small tactical event with a nice message as long as we don't grow our presence in Syria and start sinking more and more money and resources into it. That's how I hope it goes.

Q&A on the situation with North Korea.

Here I will list a series of questions that I have been asked by people I know regarding the situation with North Korea. I spent some time living in South Korea while I was in the Army, including time at the US Army Second Infantry Division HQ and some time at the US Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR). I'll be paraphrasing some of the questions.

Q: Is the NK military capable of striking the US mainland with a nuclear weapon?

A: When I was in Korea, our best intelligence estimates had them about seven years away from possessing the capability to land an ICBM inside the continental US. That's been about five years ago, and keep in mind that 0bama did nothing to advance our interests in the Far East. My estimate at this point is that they're about 18-24 months away from being able to do that, but it's also possible that they could get lucky enough to make it happen now.

It takes more than just having a missile capable of that distance though. You've got to have the targeting system to get it done. It's one thing to launch a missile at a target as big as North America and hitting it. It's another thing entirely to make it land inside the target zone you're looking for. Los Angeles might be a big city, but it's a small target for an ICBM. On top of that, Washington DC or NYC might as well be on the other side of the planet from LA.

Q: Are they capable of arming an ICBM with a nuclear warhead?

A: As it stands right now, the NK military does not have the ability to produced a mountable nuclear weapon. Building a nuclear device for underground testing is what they've done a few times recently, but the science behind the explosive reaction is the only similarity between testing and actually mounting a deliverable nuclear device to an ICBM.

Q: How would the US defend itself against a nuclear attack from NK?

A: The US has the most advanced anti-missile defense systems in the world. Our systems, including THAAD and the Aegis Missile Defense System, are the most capable anti-missile systems in the world. While these systems are not perfect or foolproof, I have confidence that any launch by NK could be defended against. One reason is that if or when NK launches an ICBM, it's not likely to be more than one or two. The odds of our systems being overwhelmed by numbers is nil.

Q: Is the US the most likely nation target of NK?

A: It's hard to say as events continue to develop, but historically, South Korea and Japan have been more of a target than the US. With that said, new developments in range capabilities will begin to negate our advantage of being an ocean away from the Korean Peninsula.

Q: If war on the peninsula broke out, what would that look like?

A: A full scale, conventional war on the Korean Peninsula would be immediately jump to number one in the biggest in the world today. The initial artillery salvos on both sides would inflict massive damage and casualties. The North Koreans have threatened civilian targets for decades, which would be tantamount to an act of desperation right away. NK would attempt to use hordes of small, light aircraft to dump thousands of special operations forces (SOF) all over the South. Many of them would be shot down and many would die or get wounded on the jump. The US Army Second Infantry Division in Korea has a motto of "Fight Tonight", and they are always to do so. The US Air Force would likely begin bombing targets inside NK and the Navy carrier groups enroute as we speak would begin running missions to shoot down NK aircraft and provide air support for ground troops.

Aside from some of those things we know, we don't know exactly what it would look like considering the mindset of NK forces. It's sure to say that there would be numbers of NK military members who would be looking for an opportunity to defect. Should these defections be on a moderate to large scale, that will play a significant role.

What I can say for sure is that we can expect large amounts of casualties and damage from the initial artillery barrages. The amount of artillery ordinance both sides have aimed at each other on any given day is staggering.

Q: Do you consider NK to be a credible threat to US national security?

A: Yes, I do. They have made many serious threats toward the US for years and are actively pursuing the means to carry out exactly what they are threatening. If they do not have the ability to do those things today, they will in the near future.

Law enforcement do not have any place in the gun rights discussion.

If society is so dangerous that police have to have body armor, pistols, rifles, shotguns, armored vehicles, bulletproof windows in cars, dogs, etc., then is it really too much to ask that we be able to carry just a pistol without having to request permission and risk being denied?

Additionally, law enforcement should not be involved in any discussion about citizens having the right to carry a weapon, concealed or openly, with or without a permit. Members of law enforcement have no place in the discussion because their main concern is making their own job easier. Your rights are very far down their list of concerns.