Well worth reading.
The American left (which, it must be said, wanted the USSR to win) hated Reagan with a passion because of his refusal to accept the country club Republicans' position that the USSR was going to win, that the best the US could hope for was to retain some modicum of self-determination, and that we had to be very parsimonious with every concession to that fate. The idea wasn't to win the Cold War--they thought that was impossible--but to lose with dignity and stave the loss off as long as possible.
The idea of actually having a real hot war was anathema. That'd be a disaster. "Better Red than dead!"
Reagan, on the other hand, recognized communism for what it was, and further earned the ire and disdain of the left by labeling it so.
The experts thought that the USSR was expending from ten to perhaps fifteen percent of its GDP on defense, and they were off by a factor of two or three; the USSR was expending thirty percent of its GDP on defense--because the actual GDP of the USSR was about fifty percent of the figure reported to the rest of the world.
It's also true that the reforms of the Gorbachev years were very badly handled. Glasnost and perestroika were about giving the Soviet subjects a little bit of freedom, because communism destroys the economy it controls and the Soviet variety was no better than any other in that respect. But you can't have "a little bit" of freedom.
Example: given private ownership of fax machines, people in the USSR began using them to share counter-revolutionary ideas. The USSR could not stop this from happening without doing one of three things:
1) Take away the fax machines (bad)Returning to a time before the private ownership of fax machines would probably have been the least disruptive way of stopping the samizdat network, but it would have crippled the very business that Gorbachev wanted to foster.
2) Shut down the phone system (worse)
3) Monitor all fax transmissions (impossible)
Thus is history made.
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Speaking of strangling the economy, we have new news about the latest development in the marvelous world of Obamanomics!
Karl Denninger talks about the crappy retail sales report. The numbers are adjustered and fiddleated, and when he looks at the unadjusted numbers inside the report things just look bad, such as the fact that retail sales of electronics are down 15% (!) year-on-year. "This is a crap report," Denninger concludes.
And over on AoSHQ there is a post talking about the first quarter GDP numbers, and they don't look good, either--estimates range from -0.2% to -0.8%. And guess what?
Last quarter's numbers were also in negative territory, which means we are in another official recession! It's a party!
It gets better as corporations move abroad to avoid confiscatory taxation.
Congress appears poised to move to quell the bleeding, apparently by forcing such corporations into economic slavery.
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Recall please that we rely on Russia for access to space. NASA doesn't have a man-rated booster and we lack the wherewithal to put military payloads into orbit. We have been buying boosters from the Russians to boost military payloads, but in reaction to our efforts in the Ukraine they will no longer help us with that. Also, after 2020, they won't send any more of our people to ISS.
The ISS thing is symbolic--the situation will change long before 2020--but the rocket engine issue is a problem.
Well, I suppose we have SpaceX for payloads to low Earth orbit, including ISS missions--at least once they've been man-rated. Even so, this just goes to show how short-sighted our government is, and has been for at least twenty years. WTF.
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It's cool and cloudy and spitting rain. Not the nicest of days, but that's okay.