Column real soon now. Must you have and show Identity documents whenever demanded by police? Isis Strategy. An SF AI story.

View 843 Monday, September 15, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


I am hard at work on the new Chaos Manor Review column. Friends and advisors say it is coming along nicely, but it does take up time. I intend to have – I will have – it done by the end of the week, and immediately start on the next one.

Meanwhile the world goes on. The Russians continue to outmaneuver the West regarding the Ukraine but in a way that’s to be expected. The Ukraine is a major if not vital interest to Russia, while to the West it’s just part of the old balance of power game, and to the United States it is a territorial dispute in Europe whose outcome is more of interest to oligarchs East and West than to the American people. More on that another time.

I do note that despite the tough talk from the President last week there is still no shock and awe, no massive air attacks – just more warning to the Caliphate to dig in.  I believe the Israelis could tall us that is not a winning strategy.

We have our own idiotic scandal in Studio City.

The partner of Daniele Watts says he suspects the LAPD thought she was a prostitute

Django Unchained actress Danièle Watts says she was detained and handcuffed by police officers near Studio City, Calif., after “showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place,” according to a Thursday Facebook post she wrote the day the incident took place.

Watts, who has also appeared in Showtime’s Weeds and FX sitcom Partners, had been kissing her partner, Brian James Lucas, when two officers approached them and asked for identification. Lucas offered his ID when asked, according to his own Facebook post about the exchange, but Watts, who was on the phone with her father and believed she had done nothing wrong, refused and was consequently handcuffed and detained in the back of a police car.

Apparently Watts and partner were snogging in a Mercedes with an open door in a Studio City parking lot about a quarter mile from my house when a citizen called 911 to report indecent exposure in a public place. It is not known whether the police know the identity of the caller. No other complaint was made, and by the time the police arrived – one suspects they hurried to answer the call— just as the Ontario Regional Police hurried to send a 12 man squad to investigate reports of a wild party when a mundane called to say SF Fans at a convention there were doing obscene things with a pillow called the penisaurus – but they were too late. The couple were out of the car and she was using her cell phone when they arrived. The story doesn’t say if they used red lights and sirens.

Watts wouldn’t identify herself unless they were going to charge her. California law is a bit peculiar on this matter. Had she been Hispanic they certainly would have had no right to demand documentation absent a criminal report, and it’s not entirely clear that police do have a right to demand identification absent a crime or a charge. Many homeless don’t have any. They handcuffed her, roughly according to her husband, and in his words “flung her into the back seat” of a cop car.

An LAPD public information officer said there was no record of the incident as Watts wasn’t arrested or brought into the station for questioning.


Black Actress Daniele Watts Handcuffed, Detained in Studio City for Kissing her Husband in Public [UPDATE: With Links to Audio!]

Brian Doherty


[UPDATE: To vicariously live through and hear exactly why Watts, and other Americans, get so aggravated with police, it's worth listening to some audio of the incident released by celeb gossip website TMZ, in which a Sgt. Parker tells Watts with maddening supercilious arrogance that "I do have more power than you. Yes it's true. I have more power than you" and "I don't work for you" and "When I tell you to do something you have to do it, ma'am. That's the law....We actually have no charges now" when stressing she was not arrested but merely being detained. TMZ also found eyewitnesses who claim that Watts and her husband were having intercourse in the parked car, though nothing in the audio they released corroborates that as the complaint.]

For the "why relations between the American people and their law officers can be strained" department, even in the hallowed halls of Tinseltown (adjacent) and involving stars of the silver screen, such as Daniele Watts of Django Unchained and the TV show Partners fame, cops are still officious asses, as reported by

-American actress Danièle Watts claims she was "handcuffed and detained" by police officers from the Studio City Police Department in Los Angeles on Thursday after allegedly being mistaken for a prostitute.

According to accounts by Watts and her husband Brian James Lucas, two police officers mistook the couple for a prostitute and client when they were seen showing affection in public. Watts refused to show her ID to the cops when questioned and was subsequently handcuffed and placed in the back of their car while police attempted to ascertain her identity. The two officers released Watts shortly afterwards.


It’s also an odd story. This is Studio City, and the incident took place about a block from the CBS Studio. Both Watts and her husband are fairly well known on TV. The car is an expensive Mercedes. There was no victim and no allegation of a victim. What did the police think they were accomplishing? Establishing their status as Masters rather than public servants? Why handcuffs? Watts’ husband showed his identity cards although he didn’t actually have to. Was there any possibility of a good arrest for an actual crime here, so the ‘perp’ had to be restrained lest she walk away?

No arrests were made, no crime was alleged – how could there be when no one seems to have come forward as a witness to any crime – and the police were hoping it would all quietly go away, but of course it won’t. I suspect that this incident will cost the city about a million dollars to settle before it is over. I suspect that a two day rif for the cops involved would save the city a lot of money by making the police aware that they really do work for the public, and most of us are damned grateful that they do, but they have not become our masters.

1500 Monday:



I’m now listening on KFI to Sergeant Jim Parker, the first officer on the scene, who was responding to the dispatcher who had taken a 911 call about people having intercourse in public. He has a recording of the entire incident, which he is apparently going public with.  That should be interesting.

Sergeant Parker is protesting that it was all done in accordance with law and order.  The officer is insisting that they have every right to handcuff anyone who walks away from them.  That’s “totally what we do.” I wonder if that’s not grounds for a lawsuit right there.  If there has been no crime committed, and you are not under arrest, why must you be handcuffed for walking away from the police? 

Ah. She was halfway down the block and was handcuffed by newly arriving police on orders from Sergeant Parker because she was walking away from him, although she was not under arrest.  I thought the very notion of arrest was that you were restrained from leaving the scene: if you’re not under arrest why can’t you leave?  And if you are handcuffed and stuffed into a police car on orders of a sergeant who says he’s too smart to touch a 90 pound female who isn’t under arrest—  I would think that being handcuffed and put into a police car is the essence of being arrested.  Yet that has been no crime other than refusing to join in the police fiction that there is grounds for – well, not arresting but restraining you.  Only how is being physically restrained different from being arrested?

It was 1500 and the temperature was 97 F in Studio City last Thursday when this happened.


The police sergeant is now insisting that all she had to do was show an ID – which it turns out she didn’t have with her, that being in the car – then there would have been nothing else to say.  In which case why did he need her ID?  She was handcuffed after the sergeant ordered the other officers to stop her and bring her back to him.   But what I am hearing is that Sergeant Parker believes that the citizens must defer to the police at all times even though there has been no crime observed. I presume that means any time, anywhere, under any circumstances.  You can be having dinner in a restaurant and a police sergeant can demand your ID.  At that point you cannot leave, even though you are not under arrest.  I am sure his defense would be that he would never do that unless there were serious reasons to do so.  Apparently a report of indecent exposure in Mercedes with a door open is a serious reason to demand the ID of people standing next to the now empty Mercedes. 

And the male chap with her is a boy friend not husband.  Partner. 

It all sounds more and more like Hollywood to me.

And I will still bet money that before this is over the city of LA will pay a million dollars to settle it. 


There remains the question: if you are not under arrest, why is it a crime to walk away from a policeman?  When I was growing up the notion that you would not cooperate with the police never came up: it was assumed that you would.  If it is a crime to walk away from the police, must they arrest you to stop you? That is, if they are going to use physical force to stop you, and place you in handcuffs and put you in a police car under guard, and that is not an arrest, then is it not an assault?  Surely the police don’t have the right to walk up, decide you aren’t cooperating, and pound on you – although the young lad in Fullerton who was crushed to death calling for his father might disagree.  Apparently the police to have the right to shoot you for pointing a garden hose nozzle at a policemen even though the police have not identified themselves nor made you aware of their presence – and the Long Beach Chief of Police who ruled that a righteous shooting is now the leading candidate for elected sheriff in Los Angeles.  And Martha Stewart, who clearly should have refused to talk to the authorities, got sent to prison for denying that she did something that was not a crime whether she did it or not.  It is clear that cooperating with police is not a winning proposition.

Obviously the lesson is to show your identification on demand.  The policeman wants to see if you are wanted for anything else.  He wants you identified then run through their data base. Since there has been no crime, he can’t arrest you, but perhaps you are wanted for not paying parking tickets. In the tape Sergeant Parker is insisting that all Watts had to do was show ID and it would have been five minutes.  Now they’re apparently talking about considering a psych evaluation.

It’s all amusing, but the question remains: can the police stop you and demand that you give them identification and wait for them to see if you are wanted for anything, even though there has been no crime observed by the police or officially reported? Is a 911 call of “obscene acts in public” sufficient to allow the police to insist on you identifying yourself and waiting for them to check their computers for wants and warrants?  And suppose you are an undocumented illegal alien and have no valid ID?  LA police are under orders NOT to do that.  I don’t agree with that police order but it has been held by the courts to be legal.

I think the relations between police and public are deteriorating – if you assume this is a republic.  They’re pretty good if you assume this is a imperial government in the making, and the  police really believe, as Sergeant Parker apparently says to Ms. Watts, “We do not work for you.”  Precisely whom they do work for is not so clear, but it is not for the public; or so this long time LAPD veteran believes.  And that may be the most disturbing thing about this otherwise mostly amusing incident.


1730: I’ve heard the tape.  Sergeant Jim Parker ought to be ashamed of himself.  He seems to have been insulted by Ms. Watts – and certainly was – and decided to get his own back.  He talks down to her, uses sarcasm, and a condescending tone of voice.  He has no doubt that he has all the authority he needs because he was sent there – he says he has “probable cause” – even though he has seen no crime nor any evidence of a crime. All he has is that the dispatcher says they have a report of indecent exposure.  He’s not seen any indecent exposure, nor has he spoken to anyone who has seen any indecent exposure. He tells her he will get her ID, but he says it in a taunting manner.  This is his tape so he believes it exonerates him but I think her lawyers will make much of it when comes the inevitable million dollar lawsuit.

That tape does not make me feel better about the Police/Public relationship. She assumes it’s us vs. them when it comes to the public and the police.  We can hope that’s not a really popular attitude although it’s getting clear that hope may not be justified.  But Sergeant Jim Parker seems to assume it too, and it’s job to get in his own licks. “Someone called and that gives me the right to be here and gives me the right to identify you,” he says.  Which means that if someone called and said she was armed and dangerous, would that justify him acting that way?  She’s hysterical; but he’s acting like a he-man.  “Keep yelling, that really helps.  That really helps.”  And this is his tape.

Larry Elder, a black conservative talk show host in LA, says she ought to be ashamed.  Yes, of course.  But so should Sergeant Parker.

Another police officer calls in.  Of course Parker has probable cause, says the officer calling in. We had a complaint.  So if I call in a complaint – which may be anonymous for all the responding officer knows – that gives the police probable cause.  I note they are not saying what actions they have probable cause to perform.  This gets a bit more frightening as we go on.

Sergeant Parker knew this:  he was in Studio City next to the CBS Studio; the car was a Mercedes; everyone was fully clothed; no one had tried to run away; no one threatened him; no one was coming forward to accuse either of them of anything.  And there was no evidence of any crime having been committed. The girl is upset, and resentful of the police presence. And it’s Studio City.

One would expect a veteran patrol sergeant in the North Hollywood Division to have a better grasp on reality than he showed.  It’s clear he became angry at her, and he was going to give as good as he gets. Had a candidate patrol officer under his command acted like that I suspect he would have known exactly what to do.  When it came to it being him, how dare she?


1500 Tuesday: the talk shows are still talking. It’s Hollywood.


Arrest a publicity stunt?

Call me cynical, but the Daniele Watts "almost" arrest really looks like a publicity stunt to me… parking near an office building and making out, and then "setting up" a situation where she would be detained, just seems to me to be a way to get free publicity (and, as you say, a possible payout by the city to make her stop talking)

They have homes (a shared home?) so why in the world would they drive and park next to an office building to get all kissy in the car?


You would find many to agree with you.



Subject: this is the way the world ends…..


Strong Artificial Intelligence. Will AI be our Last Invention?


Disraeli and democratic suicide

Dear Mr. Pournelle:

I believe Winston Churchill’s remarks are pertinent:

"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

Assume, for the moment, that Disraeli is correct. (Though I wonder if he’d have been any more complimentary about republics?) That’s still only half the question. Democracy has dangers. Of course. We’ve involved humans. We will not find a system of government we can’t mess up. What would need to be proved by evidence is that some other system is less subject to perversion.

As I follow the discussion, I am unpersuaded that a contrast between democracy (which we don’t have anyway) and a representative republic is anywhere near the core of our problems. More to the point, I think, are your observations concerning assimilation and diversity. It would seem that a "res publica" does indeed require a *public* that’s willing to be involved in a common endeavor. Beyond that, I suspect that the Founders’ insistence on checks and balances is a more practical corrective to the dangers of democracy than fiddling with the franchise.


Allan E. Johnson

Diversity has historically always led to Empire, and often to officially declaring the Emperor a god; it gives something for the army to be loyal to. The Hittites had a diverse empire, but over time assimilated; that practice came to Rome (according to legend by refugees from Troy who would have been familiar with empires of diverse people). Roman founding legends included the Rape of the Sabine Women, amalgamating two entirely different people, and Roman patricians acknowledged their descent from outlaws and refugees; but they still insisted on Roman virtues until the Empire found they couldn’t do that any longer.

Leaving matters of diversity to the states, while insisting on a certain degree of assimilation on a Federal level – universal conscription helped. Many Americans learned what other Americans were like in boot camp. But of course some like Robert Heinlein insisted that a republic that had to resort to conscription didn’t deserve to exist.

It is a complex problem. The American experiment of mass immigration worked but it was at a time when assimilation – the Melting Pot – was the goal. Mass immigration while insisting on diversity is a new experiment for republics. Venice, whose example was well known to the Framers in 1787, accepted immigrants, but insisted on assimilation. That worked well: the Venetian Republic lasted longer than any other Republic in history, being ended only when Napoleon brought them Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, mass looting, rapine and pillage and handed the city, stripped of its territories, over to Austria.


Biden, Hell, and AAC

Dr. Pournelle,

You wrote " One does wonder what Vice President Biden would do if put in charge. " I refuse to consider it: IMO the only thing worse than the Veep as CINC would be the SecState in that same position. Narrowly, better the fool you know….

Having written the statement above, it is perhaps bitterly ironic to remember that the Cinc received a Nobel prize for an undemonstrated "reduction in nuclear proliferation" and was elected on a platform of ending middle east involvement. In the last 90 days he has threatened an Eastern European redeployment of nukes (reversing the progress toward non-proliferation by at least three of his predecessors) and upped the ante in Syria and Iraq.

I think we’re agreed on the need for better air support for ground forces, and I’ll accept your proposal on an AAC as a means to that end. However, the last 13 years of GWOT and the more knee-jerk portions of the Patriot act have totally ruined much of what was little remained useful the DOD and intelligence services acquisition systems. We are spending many times more in resources than what is necessary to obtain functional weapon systems and technical intelligence resources, and perhaps for the fifth time in my lifetime are in need of drastic acquisition reform. Any force structure, including the present one, yours, or the one the country thought it was getting in 1948, will fail under the burden of the corrupt and unwieldy system we have now, regardless of who is in charge. My king-for-a-day move would be a pretty drastic cut of many current programs and (dare I say laser-like) reduced, and more focused scope for much of the remainder.


I assure you I was not serious about Biden, who remains an enormous deterrent to any thought of impeaching the President. I agree that the “consolidation” of the intelligence services has been a disaster. And I remind you of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.



For one thought about the implications of 3D printing, see the short-short story by Mary Lowd at


The ISIS Strategy

We now have a clear strategy to deal with ISIS and that involves:

(1) Community organizing — of the international variety

(2) Air strikes to support ineffective, expensive Iraqi forces

(3) Training indigenous forces to take the fight to ISIS

Community organizing remains problematic as nobody can step into the Middle East without bringing baggage. Iran has a complicated history with others in the region. Turkey also has a complicated history.

The Western nations aren’t seen as working and playing well with others either. Other regional players would, largely, act under the shadow of suspicion about their motives as well.

Airstrikes, alone, would — likely — accomplish little without boots on the ground and it does not seem that suitable ground forces will flow from a community organizing campaign or a series of press conferences.

Training indigenous forces may offer a solution. Covert programs involving training of indigenous forces from the region to combat ISIS continue from some time in the past. But, now we have this:


Obama’s non-Iranian options look particularly bleak after yesterday’s shocking assassination of one of Syria’s top anti-ISIS rebel commanders and dozens of his lieutenants. The commander, Hassan Abboud, was killed in an explosion during an underground meeting. So many members of his group, Ahrar al-Sham, were killed in the explosion that it’s now unclear whether it will continue to exist and provide a key counterweight to ISIS. Ahrar al-Sham was one of the best organized Syrian opposition factions aside from ISIS.


◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Is the mission Imperial and do we really want that?




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




A Different view on Russia

View 842 Saturday, September 13, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


I have obligations this weekend, so this much will have to do:

Some different views on the Russian crisis:

The Ukraine, Corrupted Journalism, and the Atlanticist Faith

By Karel van Wolferen

NATO’s Eastward Expansion: Did the West Break Its Promise to Moscow?

By Uwe Klußmann, Matthias Schepp and Klaus Wiegrefe

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has accused the West of breaking promises made after the fall of the Iron Curtain, saying that NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe violated commitments made during the negotiations over German reunification. Newly discovered documents from Western archives support the Russian position.

The discussions following the van Wolferen piece show one reason I don’t have a comments section here. Yes, there are some very worth while comments in there, and some of the discussion threads are useful, but the return on time invested is simply not worth that investment.


The return of Chaos Manor Reviews is under way, and I am rewriting now.





Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




US Army Air Corp; to the gates of Hell.

View 842 Thursday, September 11, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009



And now for an important message:


Dr. Pournelle,

Solar Flare due to hit Friday:

"An updated CME prediction model released by the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center is calling for the plasma cloud generated by the X1.6 solar flare to impact our geomagnetic field by Friday. A moderate to major (G3) geomagnetic storm watch is now in effect. Solar wind speeds are predicted to reach near 800 km/s and could add fuel to another geomagnetic disturbance already in the forecast resulting from an earlier M4.5 flare and CME event. Sky watchers at middle to high latitudes should be alert this weekend for visual aurora displays. "

Batten down the electronic hatches.



The President has said that he will destroy the Caliphate, but that was not accompanied by any shock and awe. The enemy is left to judge what will come by what we have promised and done. We have in total sent 157 sorties against ISIS; a serious effort to destroy that entity would have had that many every day.

Of course one can only send what one has. What is really needed is Delta Force ground units with several squadrons of Warthogs (A-10 Thunderbolt). Actually, P-47 Thunderbolts would do, but we don’t have any of those. Ground units with adequate sir support under an air supremacy umbrella is generally successful in any kind of war, whether the enemy is the Wehrmacht or the North Vietnamese Army of 1972 when it invaded the South. Note that in that campaign, the North Vietnamese lost over 100,000 in killed, disabled, or captured; the US lost under 500 troops total in battles involving more enemy armor than most World War II engagements.

What is really needed is to form a new United States Army Air Corps with a 3-star general in command; its mission would be to design, develop, procure, train, and generally plan operations of air weapons suitable for support of the field army. That structure would provide a career path for those who wish to specialize in air/ground war.   Of course USAF will never allow this, although they don’t understand or want the ground support operations mission, even though that is what is decisive in this kind of war. Air/ground warfare is the new decisive arm, and America has the most experience in using it; but the USAF which will never give up a mission is doing its best to lose all that experience that we paid blood and treasure to acquire.

USAF has one of the world’s best civil engineering capabilities: they build and operate bases. Perhaps the Army could borrow USAF construction units to build bases in Peshmurga controlled Iraq; the Army would have to provide security. Under present USAF/US Army turf treaties, the Army has to use helicopters, which are far more vulnerable to ground based opposition. This gives hot USAF pilots more missions, since air supremacy (which includes elimination of ground based anti-air weapons) is an Air Force specialty and they are very good at it. The problem is that when it comes to any budget crises, it’s the Thunderbolts that go first, leaving the Army stuck with vulnerable helicopters. Helicopters are not the right weapons for air/ground warfare. They are very good for what they are good at, but they cannot fly direct support, recce/strike, interdiction, and other missions to isolate the battle area.  Neither can high speed high tech jet aircraft, vital as those are to secure air supremacy.

An American ground/air expeditionary force with unified command structure sounds like the Marines, but they don’t have optimum ground army support aircraft either.

Four squadrons of Warthogs and a regiment of Green Berets would eliminate the Caliphate in short order, recapturing or destroying the expensive weapons we gave the ineffective Iraqi forces which threw them down in their retreat from ISIS. Of course it would be hard on the areas that must be reconquered, but so is occupation by the Caliphate.

Regarding the President’s speech, in the wake of our operations since Benghazi, I am not sure that the Caliphate has been impressed. Had dawn come up over Iraq to reveal massive air strikes including carpet bombing by B-52’s, along with a maximum effort from Navy and Marine aircraft, the result might be different. But since the speech was not followed by unleashing the dogs of war, the Caliphate will take it as a warning, and prepare.

We have Delta Force, the CIA teams, and the Green Beret forces; we have ground support aircraft, and we have an Air Force that, once it is told unmistakably that the mission is to support our Legionnaires who will guide the Peshmerga, can do this job. Of course that is expensive. Perhaps we can take some of the profits from the oil fields we will liberate. I am sure the Kurds will be glad to share that revenue with us. And the sight of a US-Kurdish cooperative venture resulting in victory over the Caliphate that sent the Iraqi Army running in fear should provide a salutary lesson to the new Iraqi government – as well as give Iran something to think about.

Of course nothing of this sort will happen under President Obama. One does wonder what Vice President Biden would do if put in charge. At least he has said that we will pursue the Caliphate to the gates of Hell.

“[W]hen people harm Americans, we don’t retreat. We don’t forget,” Biden said during a speech in New Hampshire. “We take care of those who are grieving, and when that’s finished, they should know, we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside.”

“The American people are so much stronger, so much more resolved than any enemy can fully understand,” Biden added.

Biden made his remarks during a scheduled appearance at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire.

Read more:



Another example of our Capital showpiece education system:

D.C. Public Schools homework assignment asks 6th graders to compare Bush to Hitler

A D.C. public school gave a sixth grade class a homework assignment that required students to draw comparisons between former President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler.

The assignment was given out this week at McKinley Tech Middle School in Northeast and has angered at least one parent who complained about the homework.

Read more:

I warn you this is an annoying web site that keeps wanting to talk to you rather than just let you read it, but as far as I can see the story is accurate. I have no idea what will be done about it, if anything.


: You’re aboard a sailing vessel, anchored in that part of the world and everyone’s asleep? Really?

(U) MADAGASCAR: On 20 August, one robber armed with a knife boarded the sailing vessel SOLACE while anchored in the port of Diego Suarez. The boarding occurred at 0200 local time and the thief attempted to steal the portable generator, which was on deck, just behind the aft cabin hatch where the owners were sleeping and was secured with two ropes, but no lock. The owners did not hear the intruders approach, or board, but noises on the back deck woke the skipper up. It is likely that the thief didn’t realize the weight of the generator as he dragged it on the deck in order to lift over the side. The yacht’s owner then confronted the robber, who dove into the water and escaped in a waiting dugout canoe. (Noonsite)


Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.