Tuesday's HOT MIC

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What's worse than sharks with lasers?  Nuclear bombers with lasers, that's what. "Air Force scientists are working to arm the B-52 with defensive laser weapons able to incinerate attacking air-to-air or air-to-ground missile attack."

In the old days drone launches were covered by using chocolate chip cookies to distract surveillance.  "As a division officer in the ship's Deck Department, I was ostensibly in charge of the Iowa's small boats. On the second evening of gunnery exercises, I was summoned to the bridge of the USS Iowa by the captain to undertake a mission of the utmost urgency: I was to deliver a box of the mess deck's somewhat famous 'battlechip' cookies to a nearby Turkish patrol boat and keep them distracted while a flight crew on Iowa launched an RQ-2 Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicle. Iowa was conducting early testing of the use of the Pioneer, which we referred to at the time as an 'RPV' (Remotely Piloted Vehicle) or gunnery spotting. The Turks gave the US permission to fly, but apparently there was some concern about us actually launching the thing from within their airspace. By keeping the Turkish patrol boat's crew from witnessing the launch, the captain reasoned, I would be helping the ship to complete its mission while avoiding any sort of diplomatic incident."

China plans to wire the South China Sea ocean floor for humanity's own good. "China plans to build a massive underwater observation system that will cover the disputed East and South China seas. The 2 billion yuan (US$290 million) seabed observation systems will provide real-time information about the environmental conditions and seabed activities at a time when China is expanding its presence in both the East and South China seas."

It's all about "Climate Change."

Anarchists suspected in attack on Greek ex-PM.  Left-wing terror has historically been much more extensive than right wing terror.  Before Islamism took center stage the Japanese Red Army, Red Brigades, etc, held the franchise.

Left-wing terrorism has its roots in 19th and early 20th century anarchist terrorism and became pronounced during the Cold War. Modern left-wing terrorism developed in the context of the political unrest of 1968. In Western Europe, notable groups included the West German Red Army Faction (RAF), the Italian Red Brigades, the French Action Directe (AD), and the Belgian Communist Combatant Cells (CCC). Asian groups have included the Japanese Red Army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, although the latter organization later adopted nationalist terrorism. In Latin America, groups that became actively involved in terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s included the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, the Peruvian Shining Path, and the Colombian 19th of April Movement.

Funny how they mostly went quiet after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Seconding what Rick said about Dennis Prager's assertions. I really don't understand the point of trying to paint everyone who criticizes Trump with a such a broad brush, placing their motivations into rigid boxes and impugning their character. People are complex and these reductionist explanations for their decisions and reactions seem to say more about the insecurities of the accusers than the motives of Trump's detractors. Insufficient loyalty to Trump—or even mere disagreement with him—does not make one a Hillary supporter, nor is it in any way indicative of a secret desire to harm the country. Certainly, some—many—people who don't like Trump fall into those categories, but lumping every dissenter in with that group doesn't square with reality.

Jonah Goldberg (who's still refusing to throw his pinch of incense at Trump and is, therefore, worse than Hitler in the eyes of the most ardent Trump supporters) makes a good point at The Corner today:

I’m not going to try to psychoanalyze Dennis’s motivations here. But I will say that this essay reads more like an effort to affirm what a talk-radio audience wants to hear than a good-faith effort to understand and persuade conservatives that he claims to admire. If Dennis is truly interested in persuading the very diverse group of conservative Trump critics on the right, my advice would be to call them on the phone and ask them why they — we — say what they say and do what they do. Insinuating that conservative thinkers and writers are vain elitists who are betraying their cause by not becoming spinners (never mind soldiers) is not, to my mind, the best way to persuade them — or me — of anything.

The cocktail party elitist accusation is tiresome and, moreover, doesn't actually accomplish anything. It's really not much more than the moral preening a lot of these folks claim to hate so much. Maybe it's time for us all to accept that principled folks on the right are just going to disagree about Trump. That, in and of itself, makes no one (on either side of the disagreement) a traitor—or even a bad person.

Didn't the US have a deal with Iran? New Iran Sanctions Expose Illicit Networks. "The US Department of Treasury sanctions Iranian defense officials and a China-based network for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program and Syria’s chemical weapons program."  If you lift then impose then lift sanctions, foreign policy begins to resemble a blinker bulb.

Afghanistan is becoming major news again.  The Taliban spring offensive underscores the crumbling of what was once thought to be a won war.  UN: 100,000 Afghans Displaced By Conflict Since Start Of 2017.

Data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) showed that 103,229 people have been displaced since January. The figure marked a 36 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2016. OCHA analysts cited a number of reasons for the decline. Some of the fighting is continuing in the same areas as last year, meaning many have already fled.

Deja Vu.

Democrats do what Republicans did in 2009 (and 2013) — hesitate to call the president the president. From NTK Network:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that it’s hard for her to call Donald Trump “president” during a discussion with the Commonwealth Club of California on Tuesday.

Scott Shafer, the Senior California Politics Government Desk at KQED asked Pelosi why she doesn’t call President Trump “president.”

“It’s hard,” Pelosi responded before breaking into laughter.

This happened on the other side, when Republicans hesitated to call Obama "president." Naturally, this caused a storm in the media.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in 2013 went on a tirade about what he described as Republican efforts to delegitimize President Barack Obama by referring to him simply as Obama and not President of the United States. That same year MSNBC’s now debunked show The Cycledid a panel in which a heated discussion focused on the same issue.

Now? Crickets...

Read more (and watch the video) here.

Please clap. 

Low-energy Jeb! has changed his mind. He's not going to buy the Miami Marlins now.

To be honest, I really feel sorry for Jeb!. His brother got to be president first, and left on a low note. Jeb! Bush was a good Florida governor, but the fact that there have already been two "President Bush"es, coupled with his ill-timed Paleo diet really doomed his presidential hopes. I still maintain he should not have run, and that his run kept Marco Rubio from winning, but that doesn't mean I can't feel some pity for the guy.

Michael wrote approvingly of a column by Dennis Prager in IBD today about "Why Conservatives Still Attack Trump." Methinks Michael and Dennis misunderstand many of us "NeverTrumpers" -- or at least those of us who sat out the presidential election last November or voted for someone besides Hillary or Trump.

Many of us took the position that no matter who won, America was going to lose. But for myself, I treat Donald Trump as I've treated every president my adult life. I support him when I agree with what he's doing and oppose him when I disagree. To date, I've found it far easier to support some of the things that Trump has proposed or accomplished than just about anything Barack Obama did while he was president. But does that mean that when I oppose President Trump that I support the Democrats? To me, politics is not a binary proposition. If it is, then we're already doomed.

Someday, the Democrats are going to be back in power. It seems to me that Michael and Dennis ignore that reality, in which case, there is nothing permanent that can be saved once the liberals have their hands on the tiller. I don't believe that. In fact, principled opposition to President Trump (or the Democrats) includes the notion that conservatives would do much better, whether in power or out, if they tried to guide the inevitable change that America is constantly undergoing by trying to maintain contact with our fundamental principles and the basic objectives of the Constitution.

For many on the right, it's not a question of resisting change as much as it is supporting a revanchist view of politics. We are never going to have a government as small as it was in the 1950s. We're never going to have a society as homogeneous as it was immediately after World War II. We're never going to see an America bestride the world as an economic Colossus. That America is the America I grew up in and it is no more realistic to believe it can be recaptured as to believe that electing a Democrat would be the end of us.