The VA Fails Again

Now we learn that the Veterans Administration owes our disabled veterans a ton of money for something other than their health: some 53,000 of them have been charged home loan fees that they didn’t have to pay, to the tune of $189 million in aggregate. Those 53,000 are over half of our veterans who were allowed the fee waiver.  VA auditors have discovered that, for 2012 through 2017

[V]eterans were charged the fees under the VA’s Home Loan Guaranty Program and now may be entitled to refunds ranging from $5,000 to $20,000….

Russia Gets Nervous?

That’s the thesis of James Marson and Thomas Grove in their recent Wall Street Journal article.  It seems the US and allies have been running a number of training exercises in the Baltic Sea and in eastern Europe, and we’ve agreed to plus up (trivially) the number of soldiers we station in Poland—at Poland’s request.  This is making Russia nervous.

Mikhail Barabanov, of the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Systems and Technologies:

Russia sees the exercise as a preparation to deploy large NATO forces across the Baltic region[.]

It’s a Start

Germany has shown, with its welching on its commitment to spend 2% of its GDP on bolstering NATO, that it has no interest in Europe’s mutual defense.  That, though, does not alter the threat to European security represented by Russia other than to increase it.

I’m reminded of a remark President Abraham Lincoln made about General George McClellan and the army the latter commanded: If McClellan does not want to use the army, I should like to borrow it a while.  Since Germany isn’t interested in Europe’s defense, isn’t even interested in getting up a serious defense establishment of any sort (McClellan was strongly interested in this much), our forces are better placed elsewhere.

Another Reason

…to not have these things in our homes.

According to internal documents seen Wednesday by local media, German interior ministers are considering a proposal that would allow data from speech assistants to be legally permissible as evidence for the prosecution of crimes.

“Speech assistants”—is that what the kids are calling these things?  The speech assistants to which those German interior ministers refer are “smart” home devices like Alexa, Siri, smart TVs, presumably Cortana, and on and on—any device we allow in our naivete into our homes—that listen to our every word, every sound we sigh, and records the most current of them.

Venezuela is not Grenada

That, there, is a true fact. The University of Georgia’s Emeritus Professor (of Agricultural and Applied Economics) Glenn Ames used that as an argument for why the US ought not invade Venezuela in his Letter to the Editor of The Wall Street Journal.  After all, he wrote,

Venezuela is a large, complex country politically, not a tiny island in the Caribbean.

Also a true fact.  But then he went astray, here and on a couple of other points.  For one, our military is not the disjointed, uncoordinated collection of disparate forces that went into Grenada; it’s much better integrated, and it has demonstrated that improvement many times since.

“Normalize Relations”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif travelled to the People’s Republic of China in an effort to get its help in saving the nuclear weapons deal with Iran that the US walked away from and that Great Britain, Germany, and France, along with Russia and the PRC, remain in.  Zarif insisted that

the world must normalize economic relations with Tehran and take “practical steps” to save the nuclear accord….

No, we don’t.  There’s nothing to save: all the accord did and does is create a brief delay in Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons so it can use them against Israel and, through its proxies and affiliates, others.

It Already Is

European diplomats warned Monday that Iran is preparing to abandon parts of a landmark nuclear deal in response to new US sanctions….

It’s a vapid fear, and only the EU’s foreign affairs diplomats could be so…naïve.

Iran already is violating the nuclear weapons agreement, and it has been all along.

A senior European diplomat said Iranian officials have been considering a partial withdrawal from some parts of the multination accord….

This would only publicly formalize Iran’s behavior.  Consider, for instance:

Iran’s ballistic missile tests and satellite launches explicitly allow testing nuclear warhead carriers, guidance systems, rocket engine capabilities, and a host of other capabilities related to delivery of nuclear warheads.

Satellites, Espionage, and Malware

It seems that the People’s Republic of China is using our geosynchronous satellites for its own ends, both economic and national security.  It seems the NLMSM is only just catching up to that long-standing fact.

That’s not cool (each of those things), but the former also presents some opportunities (the latter only serves for hand-wringing and click-bait).

One is to upload software to block communications from PRC sources—the data packets have the data necessary for the discrimination embedded within them. Of course, it’s a routine hack to alter those packet source data or to alt-route the messaging so as to disguise the data’s origin.  But that slows down the data stream, and that, with the latency inherently involved in a communications pathway that involves such faraway nodes can destroy the usefulness of some time-sensitive data.

Citizen’s Arrests

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has no understanding of duty or of law.  It seems that an armed group of citizen militia caught 200 illegal aliens in the act of illegally entering our nation near Sunland Park, NM, and they detained those illegal aliens until US Border Patrol agents—which those citizens called—could arrive and take charge.

In her response to this, Grisham said,

It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone[.]

An Outcome of Open Borders

Two members of MS-13, having been deported, have been arrested trying to illegally reenter our nation.  These thugs were traveling separately and were caught in widely separated locations.

The fact that they were caught might be an argument that we don’t need walls at key areas of our border.  However, such an argument elides the fact that many others get through without being caught because we don’t have those walls, which would both seal off the particular areas and would funnel penetration attempts to other areas more limited and more easily patrolled.