Sunday, January 15, 2017

Why Do We Spend $5.5 Billion Per Year To Defend A Nation With The 3rd Highest GDP In The World?

Breaking news! Japan surrenders!


In 1945.

This is 2017.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. spends $5,500,000,000 per year to maintain our presence in Japan (not to mention South Korea and any number of other nations):
Q: How many troops does the U.S. have in Japan and Korea? 
A: Approximately 54,000 military personnel, 42,000 dependents, and 800 civil-service employees work at 85 facilities in Japan, according to U.S. Forces, Japan spokesman John Severns. In addition, the bases employ 25,500 Japanese nationals who work as clerks, firefighters, doctors and the like. There are about 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea. 
Q: How much does the U.S. presence in Japan cost the U.S. each year? 
A: Including personnel costs, the U.S. is set to spend roughly $5.5 billion on its Japan presence in the year beginning Oct. 1, 2016, according to President Barack Obama’s budget proposal released in February.
You might be wondering why the U.S. has 54,000 military personnel at 85 different facilities in Japan when Japan, as I mentioned in the title, has the third largest gross domestic product in the world, ahead of Germany, the U.K, France, Russia, etc. Only the U.S. and China are bigger in terms of GDP. Well, according to the article, we are required to provide defense for Japan, based on the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. In theory it requires both Japan and the U.S. to defend each other but in practice that means the U.S. gets to use stations in Japan and maintains forces in the Pacific to defend Japan. This treaty is from 1960, 15 years after World War II ended and Japan was nowhere near the economic power it is today.

It is a pretty sweet deal for Japan. We spend billions of our own money to defend them and we employ tends of thousands of Japanese.
Q: What benefit does Japan get from the alliance?
A: The big financial benefit for Japan isn't having to pay the full cost of its own defense. Japan spends about ¥5 trillion ($45 billion) annually on defense, or about 1% of its gross domestic product. U.S. annual defense spending of $580 billion is about 3.5% of gross domestic product. Isao Mutoh and Yasuhiro Takeda, professors at National Defense Academy of Japan, have estimated that Japan would have to spend an additional ¥4.2 trillion to procure vessels, aircraft carriers and other new weapons to maintain the same level of defense without the alliance.
So instead, we in the U.S. spend hundreds of billions per year on the military, money we largely are borrowing to fund said military. Again, great for Japan. Why buy and man and maintain your own aircraft carrier fleet when the U.S. will go into debt to do it for you? I understand the concern of Japan's neighbors given that whole World War II thing but come on, does anyone see Japan as an imperial threat today?

Don't even get me started on South Korea, with the world's 11th largest GDP, having 28,000 U.S. troops stationed there to hold back the commie hordes of half-starved North Korea. Thanks to a standing army of 650,000, millions of reservists and a mandatory conscription law, the U.S. presence is a tiny fraction of their defense forces and besides we have 54,000 troops nearby in Japan, carrier groups and other ships prowling the oceans and enough bombers to decimate North Korea in short order, there really is little threat to South Korea and besides which it isn't our job to provide a costly permanent presence in the Korean peninsula half a century after the shooting stopped.

Then there is Germany and the rest of Europe. The Middle East. South America, Africa. On and on. The U.S. military has a presence everywhere and this week sent 3,000 troops into Poland in what can only be described as a direct provocation out of political petulance from President Narcissus Obama.

The U.S. cannot be expected and certainly cannot afford to maintain a permanent military presence all over the world indefinitely. Japan is a largely peaceful country with a huge GDP and is on friendly footing with America. We don't need 85 facilities and over 50,000 personnel to keep an eye on a once-enemy that we vanquished over 70 years ago.

If we want to defend America and preserve the national security of the United States, we must reduce our foreign military entanglements and commitments. Going into debt to protect nations that can afford to defend themselves is not conservative, it is not patriotic and it is not smart.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Lion Of American History. Really.

So in his mad dash to do as much irritating, meaningless and outright harmful stuff possible before he leaves office, yesterday soon-but-not-soon-enough-to-be-former-President Obama awarded Vice-President "Gropin' Joe" Biden with the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.
President Obama awarded outgoing Vice President Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday afternoon. Calling the former longtime Delaware senator "the best vice president America's ever had" and a "lion of American history," Obama gave his White House partner the surprise award in an emotional ceremony, initially billed as a farewell. After extolling the job that Biden has done, Obama ended it with the unexpected news that he was giving the vice president the nation's highest civilian honor, with distinction — a designation most recently given to President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Gen. Colin Powell.

So what exactly has Vice-President Biden done to deserve this honor and win accolades as the "best vice president America's ever had"?
Obama has frequently said that picking Biden, his former primary rival, as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made. Before accepting the nomination, Biden had spent more than three decades in the Senate, amassing a large portfolio and body of work, including stints as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The president said, laughing, that the people of Delaware sent Biden to the Senate as soon as they could, electing him to the Senate at the age of 29 (he turned the constitutionally required age of 30 before he was sworn in).
So his claim to fame is that he has been a politician his entire life. That is his service. I guess that is something but is he really deserving of the very highest honor we can give to a civilian, given that he has been the Vice-President of the United States? Isn't that honor enough? What exactly did he accomplish as Vice-President besides mugging for the camera and pawing women? His most notable achievement was nodding in agreement. That is fine, it is sort of what a VP is supposed to do but is that and 30 years of bad legislation in the Senate since he was barely old enough to be in the Senate deserving of an award? Obama can give whatever award he wants since he is still President for another week. I guess it makes sense to give Biden the highest honor in the land for a civilian since Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize for just getting elected (and has been bombing the crap out of the rest of the world ever since. "Peace" Prize indeed.)

A lion of history. Seriously. 


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fake News

I watched Trump's press conference yesterday and have to admit it was equal parts disturbing and hilarious. His rambling intro, the lawyer reading prepared remarks from the paper for an eternity, his endless "terrific, great, beautiful" references. All vintage Trump. The next four years are going to be something to behold.

What everyone is talking about though was his rather rancorous exchange with Jim Acosta of CNN. Acosta tried to ask a question right after the organization he represents ran a risible story about Trump knowing full well that the story lacked credence and every other news outlet except the revolting BuzzFeed passed on the story. The story itself might be true, unlikely, might be partly true, less so but still unlikely, completely untrue, pretty likely, or one giant troll, very likely. That isn't the point so much as it is that CNN ran this story without due diligence and proof. It was clearly political rather than journalistic and Trump was right to shut down someone representing a "news" organization that is clearly OK with publishing unverified nonsense. Why should he stand there and take questions from a group that is openly hostile to him, not in a sense of the press holding politician's feet to the fire but rather in a personal and partisan enmity? As a reminder, the First Amendment guarantees a free press. It does not guarantee the right of any particular member of said press to ask and have answered a question by anyone else. If Trump takes steps to curtail the freedom of the press, or of free speech or free association or the right to freedom of religious exercise or the right to keep and bear arms, etc., I will be right there at the front of the line to call him out on it. But CNN doesn't get special treatment just because they have the word "News" in their organizational name.

Which brings me to a broader point. In response to Trump shutting down Acosta and doing so with the clever reversal of the entire fake news narrative which is now about as credible to the average American as "climate change", the recently out of the closet to the surprise of no one Fox News anchor "Shep" Smith threw a fit:
“[C]NN’s exclusive reporting on the Russian matter was separate and distinctly different from the document dump executed by an online news property,” Smith said. “Though we at Fox News cannot confirm CNN’s report, it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards and that neither they nor any other journalists should be subjected to belittling or delegitimizing by the President-elect of the United States.”
I grant you that Trump's tone was kind of ugly and a little nasty but then again he isn't a politician so if you spit in his face you can expect a kick in the crotch in return. In some ways it is kind of a refreshing break from the faux courtesy that so many in Washington put on when you know they hate each other.

What is interesting about Smith's statement is that he doesn't condemn someone being belittled, he specifically objects to journalists being belittled. Smith appears to buy into the notion so common in New York and D.C. that those who claim to be journalists are a special priestly caste who are above reproach by the little people. Nothing irritates "journalists", and that apparently includes people who read news off a teleprompter, quite like not getting the deference they think they deserve. This relatively small cabal of "journalists" get to decide the terms under which the President has to interact with them, what news is worthy of being published (All the news that's fit to print.....according to us), who is or is not a journalist, and more insidiously what news is promoted and which is not based on clearly partisan standards and intent.

Far too many journalists think of themselves as above the rest of the nation, the arbiters of truth. We saw this on display the other night with the ridiculous speech from Meryl Streep declaring Hollywood and the press as the only people who can be trusted to "safeguard the truth". If actors and actresses would go back to just being entertainers and if journalists would go back to reporting actual news and letting people decide what to think for themselves, we would be better off but there doesn't appear to be any danger of that happening anytime soon. For now and the foreseeable future reporters and other journalists will continue to see themselves as a special clerical class in America and at the same time will continue to see their influence and their audience shrink because Americans no longer rely on journalists nor do we trust them. We pretty much laugh at them now and nothing infuriates the self-important elites in New York and D.C. when the peasants stop bowing to them and start laughing at them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Brief Overview Of The Dumb Stuff Meryl Streep Said

Ah Meryl Streep. We all desperately needed to hear you declare yourself and your buddies in Hollywood the high priests of Truth for all America. Here is a brief list of the dumb stuff she said in her Golden Globe award speech.

1. You and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.

Right. She is unimaginably wealthy and powerful and influential, lives in the nicest places and eats the finest food and wears the most fashionable clothing. She is getting some meaningless award at a meaningless award show where people just like her fawn over how awesome they are and pontificate on political issues they are clueless about and millions of people breathlessly watch them do it, talk endlessly about they wore and react to their every word as if these "stars" gave a single moments thought to any of us. Yes, you poor thing Meryl, you are so terribly vilified. What most people wouldn't give to be persecuted like you. Of course she clearly hasn't thought for so much as a second about "why" so many Americans "vilify" the press and entertainment industry because after all we are just the peasants who should keep our mouths shut, vote for who celebrities tell them to vote for and pay exorbitant amounts of money to watch these people pretend to be other people.

2. But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway?.. America
>...So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

This warrants a two part response.

a) Ah, here we have the common deceit that sees every person who is from another country being the same as every other person from another country, often exhibited by dumb statements like "America is a nation of immigrants", which is true but has nothing to do with people sneaking into this country in violation of our laws and working here in violation of our laws, something they know they are doing against our laws and they do anyway. As near as I can tell, for all of his generally dumb statements, I am pretty sure that Trump has yet to threaten to "kick out" people who are in this country legally. I assume that even though she is a celebrity, Streep knows the difference and is intentionally obfuscating here to advance a political agenda. On the other hand she might just be that dumb.

b) The arrogance of someone who works in an industry that puts out trash week after week and yet calls it art sneering at the clearly implied savagery and un-artistic sports of football and MMA (which not coincidentally are male dominated sports) is breathtaking. I don't watch football much anymore and never was interested in MMA but let's look at some of the top grossing movies put out by these "artists" in 2016 (and ignore such intellectual and artistic gems as 'Office Christmas Party')

1. Finding Dory: A money grabbing sequel of an animated film about a fish that gets lost.
2. Rogue One: Another sequel/prequel/sequel/I can't keep it straight. It was supposed to be decent but it still is mostly another money machine piggybacking off of a movie franchise started when I was a little kid.
3. Captain America: Civil War: See above about sequels squeezing money out of franchises, this one based on a comic book.
4. The Secret Life of Pets: Another animated movie, i.e. Sunday morning cartoons on steroids.
5. The Jungle Book: Hey, another remake of a children's book! Starting to see a pattern here?
6. Deadpool: Another comic book based movie although this one scores points for being super funny and a break from other comic book movies by being rated R but at the end of the day it is mostly a couple of hours of vulgar jokes, extreme violence, endless swearing and some random sex scenes. Entertaining as all get out but "art"? Please.

Rounding out the top 10: Zootopia, yet another animated kids film. Batman vs Superman which was so awful I couldn't get through more than half of it. Suicide Squad, yet another comic book movie and it was likewise awful and one of those movies that would have been better off if it had just played the trailers on a loop for two hours. Doctor Strange, another comic book movie. I haven't seen it but it was supposed to be decent.

You get the point. The "arts" apparently means sequels, squeezing money out of movie franchises and making endless animated films and comic book based movies. What would we do without "the arts" indeed? I mean wow, how can you compare Mixed Martial Arts which features stylized violence with artistic films like Deadpool and Suicide Squad which in contrast feature stylized violence?

As I have said a million times, one used to be recognized as an artist because one created art, now something is considered art because someone declares themselves an artist. What a pompous boob Ms. Streep is.

3. Speaking of Trump while not using his name she said "Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back."

As others have pointed out, this is the same Meryl Streep who applauded Roman Polanski, a man at that time in his 40's who drugged and raped a 13 year old girl (and had a sexual relationship around the same time with then teen-aged Natassja Kinski, and it is probably a safe bet he used his power as a director to molest any number of other teens). Also no mention of a disabled white kid tortured and abused by blacks in Chicago. I guess her concern over the powerful and the powerless are restricted by political expediency.

4. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.

Ah, she must be talking about lawyers suing and trying to ruin mom and pop bakeries and florists for taking a principled stand. Wait, she wasn't? Maybe she was talking about Obama threatening school districts by taking away Federal funds that come from these school districts via taxes in the first place if they don't allow boys to use girls locker rooms and bathrooms? Not that either? Well then I am not sure what she is talking about.

5. O.K., this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage.

Once I stop laughing about the "principled press" part I will continue....OK, I am better now. Notice that she specifically calls on the "press" to call "him" on the carpet for every outrage. Did she call on the press to do this before Obama took office? Would she have called on the press to hold "her" accountable if Hillary had won? What about various liberal politicians? Nope. To Meryl the press is principled when it is openly partisan and hostile toward soon to be President Trump because that is what the press is for, to act as an attack dog with what little trust and prestige they have left. Which brings us to....

6. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution.

It is truly amazing to see the Left suddenly falling in love with limited government, checks and balances and the Constitution itself. She even seemed to praise our founders, a uniformly white male group that normally would be reviled. Of course to Ms. Streep and others on the Left, the Constitution consists of the freedom of press and speech and then skips ahead to the right of women and blacks to vote. You never see them praising the freedom of religious expression, except maybe for Muslims, or the freedom of association and certainly not the right to keep and bear arms.

Then the most arrogant statement yet, which is quite an achievement after a litany of pompous rhetoric.

7. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

Yes, when anyone thinks about safeguarding the truth, the first place they think of is Hollywood where people make a living by pretending to be someone else, where movies take "artistic license" to revise historical events to make them more interesting and politically correct and where the truth is more narrowly defined and partisan than you would find among the most staunch fundamentalist, KJV-Only Baptist churches. The hubris of these people is amazing. She and her ilk really think that they have a corner on knowing what truth is and that the "American people", i.e. people in L.A. and New York, want and depend on them to guard it. No, what we want from Hollywood are entertaining movies. That is it. That is all we want. We don't want political nonsense from football players and we don't want it from actors and actresses. You are in the entertainment business so maybe try entertaining people instead of lecturing them. We got enough of that from the soon to be former President over the last 8 years.

You might wonder why I spent the time to peck this rant out on my keyboard if I don't care what Meryl Streep or anyone else in Hollywood thinks. First because it was just a really unintentionally funny speech, so full of misplaced pride, that it amuses me to point it out. Second because far too many people think celebrities somehow know more than the rest of us about topics like politics or economics or faith. People cheer on celebrities (and sports figures and politicians) as if those people care about the little people in this country at all, which by and large they don't. People get all weepy when a famous actor or singer dies as if they lost someone close to them and many people give them an automatic pass into Heaven because they made a movie or sang a song they liked but those same famous people don't care if you die apart from losing a potential ticket buyer. They just don't care. They don't want to be near you, that is why they live in rich, liberal enclaves. They don't care about your opinion or your struggles. They just like to play make-believe for a living and for you to pay them to do it so they can be rich enough to afford to live nowhere near you.

I am heartened to see that a lot of people, even a lot I wouldn't have expected, called Streep out for her nonsense but there are still a lot of people who think she was right on the money and even called her courageous for saying something everyone expected her to say and that no one would argue with. That isn't courageous or bold or edgy. It is preaching to the choir, it is shouting to an echo chamber, it is being exactly what they accuse us of, living in a bubble.


Who could have guessed that the most amusing performance by an actor in 2017 would come from someone who thought she was being serious and noble and thoughtful at an awards show?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

762 murders in one year, Chicago clearly needs more Federal money for summer jobs!

So in what promises to be a common theme for the next four years, President-elect Trump is threatening to insert himself into another local issue. In this case Trump is telling Chicago that if it can't get the murder problem under control, Trump will. As usual there are no specifics about how this would happen. Send in the National Guard? This is one of the problems with a Twitter run Presidency, it often means tiny little bursts of whatever Trump has on his mind at any given moment although that is still preferable to Obama and his endless lectures and finger wagging at the American people in-between tax-payer funded rounds of golf. I have never in my life seen someone dominate the news cycle like this before he is even sworn in as President.

The days of principled Federalism from the GOP are temporarily over and the days of opposition to Federalism from the Democrats is likewise temporarily over.

What was both ironic and infuriating from the Rahm Emanuel administration was their response (emphasis mine):

A spokesman for Emanuel released a statement Sunday, obtained by The Chicago Tribune, that alluded to the December meeting, but did not directly address Trump’s call for possible federal intervention.


“As the president-elect knows from his conversation with the mayor, we agree the federal government has a strong role to play in public safety by funding summer jobs and prevention programming for at-risk youth, by holding the criminals who break our gun laws accountable for their crimes, by passing meaningful gun laws, and by building on the partnerships our police have with federal law enforcement,” the statement from Adam Collins said. “We are heartened he is taking this issue seriously and look forward to working with the new administration on these important efforts.”

Ah, that must be it. People are shooting each other in Chicago year round, especially over Thanksgiving and Christmas, due to a lack of summer jobs. I am quite certain that the thugs in Chicago sit around on weekends and think to themselves "Man, I wish I had a summer job. But I don't so I guess I will shoot that dude over there for disrespecting me.". Only someone who lives in a leftist bubble and also who no doubt lives in a nice, well police patrolled neighborhood where he is in no danger from these shootings could argue that Chicago needs more "meaningful" gun control laws and funds for summer jobs.

What Chicago really needs is some moral leadership, not blame shifting, that tells young men to stop shooting each other over slights and tells young women to stop having kids out of wedlock with these same men and perpetuating the cycle of poverty. I am sure Chicago is like most places with lots of openings for entry level jobs for people who want to show up to work but right now there is little incentive for these young men to take those jobs. What Chicago lacks is not sufficient Federal funds or even more gun control laws, what Chicago lacks is moral leadership. Until that gets fixed we can keep throwing money at a problem and keep getting the same results.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Starting Off Right Where 2016 Left Off!

Gee, I for one was deeply concerned that in new year, the inevitable inauguration of Trump, etc. would give us a few moments of peace from whiny "celebrities". Nope. Behold a veritable who's who of B-list (at best) celebrities and other people I don't even recognize but clearly are important. I think I did recognize "Bishop" Gene Robinson, the twice divorced homosexual who is mostly famous for splitting the already nearly dead Episcopal Church and the guy who plays Bernard on Westworld, plus the guy from Boardwalk Empire and Burt Reynolds' love interest from Smoky and the Bandit.

#StandUpForUS from Art Not War on Vimeo.

As soon as you get to the part about the explosion of hate crimes in Trump's name you get a flavor for where this is going since the spate of hate crimes is a hoax but that doesn't stop liberals from repeating it over and over again sort of like "Hands up, don't shoot" and the gender wage gap, other rallying cries proven false but even lies that are expedient can be useful to the narrative. Actually the whole thing goes wrong from the moment you push the play arrow but I digress.

I love that they end it with a declaration that 20 people that apart from a couple no one knows apart of Sally Field and Steve Buscemi are speaking for THE MAJORITY of Americans (they repeated that a bunch of times very emphatically so it must be true) and they are concerned about our "diverse" American values, which is ironic because I doubt they know and embrace any actual American values and they clearly don't respect the values of people who voted for Trump. But hey they can pretend to be other people so they obviously are authoritative on all manner of issues.

Super ironic is that you can sign their petition at moveon.org, which is hilarious coming from a bunch of people who are incapable of moving on past the election. Anyway, it is good to know that whiny liberal "celebrities" plus an assortment of unattractive people off the street will continue to provide unintentional entertainment well into the new year.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Obama Legacy: Swapping Hope and Change For Irony and Hypocrisy

In just under three weeks Barack Hussein Obama will hand over the proverbial keys to the White House to Donald J. Trump. Have no fear if you are worried about missing Obama and his winsome advice delivered with a scowl and wagging finger to the peasantry of the United States, there is no chance we won't be hearing from him on a regular basis. The unspoken general practice of former Presidents not criticizing the current President is going to get tossed out of the window because what he has to say on every single issue is just that important. After all, we are entering a period of hopelessness and what is a better antidote to that than hearing from President Narcissus on a daily basis?

Anyway, President Obama has managed to add a hefty sum to the national debt in his 8 years, just as his predecessor did but to an even greater extent. Bush added $5.849 trillion to the debt and Obama added another $7.917 trillion to the debt. Let me spell that out for you, just for effect....

$7,917,000,000,000

That is a lot of clams.

According to the U.S. Debt Clock, as of right this second the total national debt (not the annual deficit which is what we always hear about) is at....

$19,949,724,000,000

or about $61,351 per U.S. citizen/$166,760 per U.S. taxpayer. More than a third of that comes from the Obama years so if you are a tax-payer that is around $55,000 of new debt that you are responsible for somehow paying back after just 8 years. The clock went up over a million bucks just while I was typing this, if watching that number race ever upward for a few minutes doesn't make you ill, you aren't paying attention. Between Bush and Obama you can  attribute some $13,766,000,000,000 of new debt to deficit spending in just 16 years. With Trump coming into office right about the same time the debt breaks the $20 trillion mark and apparently not super concerned about deficit spending either, I shudder to think what the debt will be by 2020.

See, the debt used to be down there but now it is up here

What a change a few years makes. As Breitbart points out, in July of 2008 candidate Obama had this to say about President Bush and deficit spending:

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome. So we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

He was right at the time but since then he has added more debt than any other U.S. President in history. That $30,000 we have to pay back for every man, woman and child is now over $60,000. Someone ought to point this out to President Obama but on the other hand I am not sure he understands the concepts of irony and hypocrisy.

If it is irresponsible and unpatriotic to add $4 trillion in debt, what is it when you add over $7 trillion more in debt?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I Ain't Skeered Of No ChiComs: One Versus Ten Is Rarely Reason To Be Scared

Our frenemies the Chinese have announced that their next step to world domination is complete and invite us to witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational aircraft carrier!


I will wait a moment while you recover from the panic that has no doubt gripped you in an unbreakable hold. Take your time.

I think we are supposed to be super concerned that China has their very own aircraft carrier, complete with the "ski jump" at the end of the deck to help planes get airborne. It apparently can carry around 36 aircraft. On the other hand, the U.S. already has at least 10 aircraft carriers active according to the official Navy list and 2 more soon to be commissioned, the Gerald Ford (2017) and the John F. Kennedy (2020). According to Wikipedia the Ford will carry over 75 aircraft and the Kennedy over 80. In fact we have 3 or 4 times as many carriers as the Chinese do in long term inactive storage at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Washington. Granted those are not in immediate combat shape, or I assume they are not, but the fact remains that we have so many aircraft carriers that we essentially mothball several of them because it is too much of a hassle to dismantle them. In total the U.S. Navy has over 323,000 active duty personnel, another 100,000 on "ready reserve", 273 "deployable battle force ships", of which less than a third are out to sea and over 3700 aircraft. In contrast China supposedly has over 490 ships but the list includes mostly a bunch of amphibious landing ships, missile boats, over 100 "submarine chasers".

As I pointed out in 2010, the military is the number one sacred cow of Republicans when it comes to government spending and is pretty high on the list for Democrats too when it impacts their own state or district. Back then I wrote:

We have 11 aircraft carriers that are far superior to anything else on the ocean and which allows the U.S. to project power anywhere in the world. The Russian Navy has all of 1 aircraft carrier and even back in the Soviet days never had more than 5-6. The Chinese don’t have a single carrier. India has 1. The British have 1 active aircraft carrier that is thirty years old and two new ones that are not going to be ready for a long time. The French have 1 carrier. The Germans have none. The Japanese have a couple of helicopter carriers which obviously are not a threat to one of our carriers, same with the Australians. So unless some country I am not thinking of has a carrier, we have 11 aircraft carriers and the rest of the world has 4 and half of those are run by our allies. I am going to go on a limb and say that none of the existing aircraft carriers in the world could take on one of ours. So we have an enormous advantage over the rest of the world in terms of numbers of ships (especially carriers which are the most important) and quality of ships.

I would have to amend that now to point out that the Chinese finally have an aircraft carrier and that the single Russian carrier is prone to breaking down and having half of the toilets on board freeze up.

The point is that when Donald Trump has part of his "First 100 Days" plan stuff like this (emphasis mine):

9. Restoring National Security Act. Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values.

It is clearly nonsense. Rebuild our military? Rebuild it to what? For what? The more reasonable step if we truly care about "national security" would be to reduce our deficit spending on the military, pull most of our foreign based troops home and stop interfering where we have no clue what we are doing and we aren't wanted anyway.

The Chinese with one aircraft carrier that is a joke and a couple of missile batteries on a couple of artificial islands are not a threat to the U.S. and not a threat anytime soon to U.S. dominance of the Pacific. If our allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia are concerned about Chinese military encroachment, maybe they can spend some of their money and build their own navy instead of letting America spend ourselves into bankruptcy to do so. The same goes for our NATO allies who are concerned about the Russian carrier Kuznetsov "Old Smokey" as I call it. Let them spend some of their money to defend their waters. We have enough problems and enough debt of our own already.

Let's hope the celebrity and snowflake generated hysteria abates a little bit once Trump takes office so the actual adults can pay attention to what Trump is actually doing and oppose it where necessary.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ah, He *USED TO BE* Pretentious


Boy, good thing he got over that personality quirk.....

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The End Of The Most Painful Post-Election Period Ever (Hopefully)

No, not THAT kind of college....
Tomorrow will see the "official" meeting of the electors of the electoral college who will confirm the results of the 2016 Presidential election as lawfully provided for in our Constitution and thus Donald J. Trump will take one more critical step toward assuming the Presidency, the latest in our rather impressive string of peaceful transitions of power in America. For a nice summary of the process tomorrow check out How the Electoral College voting will unfold on Monday.

While I expect the Obama self-congratulation/mourning media tour to continue unabated and the "Russkies hacked da election!" nonsense to continue unabated, I am still hopeful that with the Electoral College voting completed the nation can move away from the on-going fight over the election which threatens to never end. It is over, Trump won in the only way that matters and Hillary lost. The question is what to do now.

There are many, many people like me who did not vote for Donald Trump because he seemed, and this seems confirmed since the election, temperamentally not a great fit for the Oval Office but we also were very concerned by some of his policies. His foreign policy is a mess. While I approve of any recognition of the free people of Taiwan a lot of his other policies seem to be a little hard to understand. Having John Bolton as Deputy Secretary of State is an amusing thumb in the eye to the Left but his appointment is also a dream come true for the very worst interventionist elements in the neo-con wing of the Republican party. He is also talking about enormous deficit spending on "infrastructure" but then is going to nominate a budget hawk like Mick Mulvaney as his budget director which seems to send conflicting messages. His judicial picks will need careful scrutiny to ensure he keeps his word on the kind of picks he makes. Lots of stuff needs to be carefully watched but ironically the histrionics from the snowflake Left and the more insidious serious Leftist partisans has meant that instead of thinking about real issues we are arguing about Russian hacking, the Electoral College, a slew of fake "hate crimes", etc. In other words they are providing cover for Trump as he prepares to take office. Ironic but maybe not.

Tomorrow our nation follows the method chosen very specifically and intentionally by men far wiser than most of those in power today to elect a new President. Let's celebrate that the system works and we don't have violent coups that change our government like so many other nations.