THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 599 November 30 - December 6, 2009
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November 30, 2009
I was on TWiT yesterday. TWiT 223; http://www.twit.tv/twit links to an mp3. The program was broadcast live in video, but I am not sure where to find a video link. Perhaps there isn't one and you had to see it live. Anyway it was a good session.
The mainstream media have half-heartedly noticed ClimateGate, and the White House Press Secretary has shrugged it all off, saying no one seriously doubts the man-made global warming hypothesis. My friend Ed Begley Jr. almost lost his cool in a TV interview as he insisted that man-made global warming is accepted and those who doubt it must cite "peer reviewed" studies. He emphasized peer reviewed.
And rightly so under current academic beliefs; which raises the question of the utility of peer review in allocation of scientific resources including not only funding but publication. ClimateGate demonstrates that "peer review" is not an adequate means for that allocation. It may well be necessary -- one needs mechanisms to weed out most, even the vast majority, of requests for scientific funding and publication; but ClimateGate shows that it is clearly not sufficient. It is not sufficient because when you make "peer review" the mechanism for selection of "peers", you have a circular process that excludes the possibility of falsification of "consensus" science.
Science can't survive that.
I studied Philosophy of Science from Gustav Bergmann at the University of Iowa back in the 1950's. Bergmann was one of the last of the old Weiner Kreitz, the Vienna Circle, and he steered his students toward the ideas of Sir Karl Popper; but he had contributions of his own. The most important thing I remember from Bergmann is that if you can't put an experiment into a letter to a competent person, so that your correspondent can repeat the experiment and get the same results, it isn't science. Science isn't a method of finding proof and discovering truth. It is a method for falsifying hypotheses, ruling out falsehood; what's left is accepted as truth because it's all we have.
As an example, Special Relativity isn't "true"; but its advocates say, and most physicists agree, that there are no repeatable experiments that flatly contradict it, and no competing theory adequately explains all the data. That makes Special Relativity "true" in the only sense that we have scientific truth. Nearly everyone in the scientific community believes this, and apparently so does most of the general public; but that latter wasn't always true. For a very long time after Special Relativity was published and became popular, there were floods of people who denounced it. Some were anti-Semites. Some were pure nuts. A few were eminent scientists who just didn't believe it. Over time, though, the lack of an adequate alternate theory able to explain the Michaelson-Morely experiment weeded out the "deniers" until there are few left.
Few isn't zero.
I note that the late Petr Beckmann disputed the second part of that statement: he contended that you didn't need special relativity to explain all the observed phenomena. His successors wonder if special relativity can explain the results of a very repeatable experiment in which extremely accurate clocks were sent around the world in different directions then brought back together and their times compared. They are no longer in synch; and some of Beckmann's supporters contend that the discrepancy is not explained properly by special relativity while Beckmann's alternate theory does give the proper results. The resolution of this conflict is well above my pay grade, but it's not being entirely ignored. Incidentally, the method of travel for the clocks was to send them by commercial passenger airplanes.
My point here is not that special relativity is or is not true; I don't know. It would be exciting if it were falsified -- that is, that repeatable experiments give results it can't explain -- because that would generate new theories. Relativity theory changed the world; finding it unnecessary would change it again, and that would be exciting. And Beckmann's supporters, although few in number, are not wild-eyed idiots. They're quite respectable people with scientific and technological credentials, as was Beckmann.
There are two points here: one, the overwhelming consensus is that special relativity is "true" in the sense that it is not falsified and no other theory explains everything; and that even so, there are a few who question it, and who can marshal repeatable experimental data they they believe needs explaining. The likelihood that they're right is small, but not zero, and the consequences of their being right is profound.
and I recommend that article to your attention. The charge is that the IPCC report -- the UN report that is the basis for the consensus theory -- was manipulated, and the emails that the whistle blower has made public certainly indicate that it might have been.
And that poisons the entire science process. Scientists, unlike novelists and lawyers, are not supposed to suppress data that contradict their theories, nor are they allowed to hide their data and methods. If you can't put it into a letter and send it to a competent colleague, it isn't science.
I had considerably more to say on this in my essays on The Voodoo Sciences. And if you would like to see what can happen to a science that ignores the evidence and manipulates the peer process, see my paper on Sociology.
For a good bit more on this, I recommend my two essays on The Voodoo Sciences, both Part One and Part Two. I wish those essays were not still relevant in 2009, but alas they remain very much so.
Slowly the story propagates. The White House will eventually have to pay attention. Eventually.
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|This week:||Tuesday, December
There is a good summary of what is known and what is not known about
Climate Change models by MIT Meteorology professor Robert Lindzen in today's
Wall Street Journal.
It's a good introduction to what's serious about ClimateGate.
GATA is the globally averaged temperature anomaly. It is the single figure of merit that governs the concern about climate change and global warming, and the real truth is that it can't be measured to the kind of accuracy demanded by the climate change/global warming hypothesis. Debates about the wisdom of governing multi-billion dollar economic decisions on the basis of a single figure of merit are certainly not inappropriate at the policy level; and debates about the reliability of that figure of merit are certainly appropriate in scientific journals. Note that those who advocate those debates are generally denounced as "deniers", and the Climategate Papers suggest strongly that political tactics, not scientific concern, have been the moving issue in much of the UN IPCC reports. Lindzen clarifies this. If you haven't read his paper, it's worth your time to go read it now.
Lindzen summarizes the science, and in an aside says that perhaps the worst crime of the IPCC conspirators as revealed by the Climategate Papers is "their destruction of raw data". We can all agree to that. Do note that the raw data cannot possibly generate a consensus GATA accurate to fractions of a degree. The data aren't that good.
Much of the raw data have been deleted, but some general observations remain. I've mentioned this before, but it's worth reminding ourselves of some things we all know.
The Earth has been much warmer in historical times. We have some general ideas about climate in ancient and classical times, but we needn't go back that far: we all know about the Medieval Warm period. We all know that the Vikings established dairy farms in Greenland. Some of those farms are emerging from glacial ice, but some remain covered. We all know from Doomsday Book that there were vineyards in northern England in the time of William the Conqueror. It's less well known that there were vineyards in Scandinavia and Scotland, but that's easy to establish. We have records of growing seasons from those times from both Europe and China. Protests that the Greenland Viking farms were due to some strange wandering of the Gulf Stream are merely assertions: neither evidence for those wanderings nor mechanisms for accomplishing them are backed with serous evidence. It was just plain warmer from about 800 AD, and that continued until about 1325 when climate changed rather dramatically with a year of dark and cold rain, and it began to get colder. The exact GATA of the Medieval Warm period isn't agreed -- how could it be? -- but that the Earth was warmer then is simply not in doubt, nor is there anything like a consensus on just why we had that warming. It was a significant fact in both Western and Chinese history -- food was more abundant, populations grew, travel was easier -- and the effects seem to have been positive.
We know that the Earth has been much colder in historical times. My favorite example is that the cannon of Ticonderoga, captured by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys ("by the authority of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!") and dragged across New England by Henry Knox. Rivers froze solid enough to drag cannon across them. We have other indications of temperatures from 1700 to 1800. It was cold. Rivers froze. Growing seasons were shorter than now. We have similar data for Europe and China. Recall Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates and skating contests on the frozen brackish canals of Holland. Again we have no reliable (to a degree, much less to fractions of a degree) estimations of GATA, but we can all agree that it was considerably colder.
We know that temperatures began slowly to rise sometime after 1800 (there was so far as I know no dramatic event) and the trend was obvious after about 1825. Growing seasons grew longer. Rivers that formerly froze solid became unreliable. Spring icebreaks came earlier, and streams froze later. Cuckoos nested earlier. Those trends continued into the Twentieth Century, and may be continuing now.
We know that the major climate alarm in the 1970's and early 1980's was the fear of a coming Ice Age. Gus Spaeth, Carter's environmental quality advisor, was concerned that nuclear waste depositories be able to withstand glaciation. Margaret Meade as President of AAAS had much to say about the coming bad times as the world began cooling. During the 1980's the speculations of Arrhenius made about 1895 about possible "greenhouse" effects of CO2 began pushing forward, and with increasingly powerful (and cheap) computers climate models became affordable to many academic and scientific institutions. The models began predicting warming, although the data collectors weren't really finding it. The rest is history. There emerged a "consensus" about an "inconvenient truth". Whether that consensus was forced by scientific data or by social engineering is open to question.
Finally we know that one phenomenon of the coldest part of the Little Ice Age was the "Maunder Minimum": a long period of minimal solar activities, characterized by long periods of few to zero sunspots. You can monitor rcent solar activity at http://www.solarcycle24.com/ .
Given that the science is not settled, and that the economic effect of national policy to counter "climate change" are enormous, simple Bayesian analysis would indicate that we ought to be spending a lot of money to determine just what the climate trend is: and that means funding contrarian studies, studies designed to refute the "consensus" theory, as well as funding the collection of accurate data. This seems an obvious conclusion. It is of course inconvenient to those whose careers have been financed by grants peer reviewed by peers who don't include "deniers."
We hear a lot about Tora Bora and the attempt to kill Bin Laden. Those who want to know what happened are advised to read the story as told by the commander of the Delta Force troopers ("The Unit") sent to do that job. He wrote under the pseudonym of Dalton Fury but most of us know who "Dalton Fury" is. The book is called Kill Bin Laden and there is a Kindle version as well as a regular paper version. It's readable, it's detailed, and it makes it pretty clear what happened in those days. Learn the facts on the ground before drawing political conclusions.
You can see the videos of the TWiT I was one at
From Peter Glaskowsky:
Man, I totally would never go download an OS patch from some site I've never heard of. Prevx may be totally honorable, and its patch may be completely perfect, but there's really no way to tell from this side of the Internet.
Readers should wait for Microsoft to release its own official fix, especially if their machines aren't exhibiting the problem.
Security expert Rick Hellewell adds:
I'd agree with Peter. If your computer is not broke, wait for Microsoft to issue the patch. If it is broke, you could attempt their (Prevx) fix at your own risk. I'm not sure how widepread this is.
Microsoft said (in PC World article) "Microsoft has investigated reports that its November security updates made changes to permissions in the registry that that are resulting in system issues for some customers," says Christopher Budd, Microsoft's security response communications lead. "The company has found those reports to be inaccurate."
In fact, the problem may be caused by malware. According to PC World, Previx "did not contact Microsoft about the problem directly.". Previx wants you to use their security tool to 'fix' the problem.
This could be just marketing crud. In any event, don't panic -- or add to the hype.
Wait for official word from Microsoft. At least that's what I'd do. In fact what I am doing.
If any reader has the Black Screen of Death I would like to hear from him. This is the first I have heard of it.
December 2, 2009
The obvious truth about Afghanistan is that there are two conditions for an American victory, assuming victory means building a democratic republic in the territory we call Afghanistan. One has to do with the number of troops. The other is the length of the commitment: how long will we stay?
Obama's policy meets neither condition. It will not establish a democratic republic, and it is unlikely to bring about any real consolidation of power centered in Kabul. Afghanistan is not a nation, and sending in 80% of the troops needed for a period of eighteen months is not going to turn it into one. The King of Afghanistan was always no more than the Grand Duke of Kabul, a Khan of Khans but not Great Khan; the local Khans were not his subordinates and did not attend at his court. That has not changed. The President of Afghanistan is the Mayor of Kabul, and he has even less authority over the village and territorial Khans than the King ever did. You may prefer to call the local Khans "tribal leaders" or "Warlords"; the nomenclature isn't important.
The Russians drove much of the local infrastructure into the hills, and the Taliban -- many of them mujahadeen armed and subsidized by US and Pakistani intelligence agents -- were poised to take over when the Russians gave up the effort to establish a soviet republic government centered in Kabul in the territory called Afghanistan. Note that whatever criticisms one might have of the Soviet strategy, squeamishness was not one of them. They were ruthless in meeting terror with counter-terror, going so far as to leave booby trapped teddy bears and other toys where children could find them; there were other tactics consistent with that. If ruthless counter-terrorism would serve, the Soviets would not have abandoned Afghanistan.
The Russians drove the Khans into the hills, and the Taliban took advantage of that. They came as liberators, and they imposed a central government on Afghanistan, the first in well over a century. Their control appeared absolute, but proved to be fragile: with the help of some US Special Forces the Northern Alliance -- Warlords and Khans -- returned to control of the cities, towns, and villages. The Taliban leaders retreated to the hills, and to Pakistan, and another round in the perpetual conflict in Afghanistan began. Today the Taliban has made it dangerous to be seen as a friend of the West. They have also shown that they have long memories.
Counterinsurgency strategy relies on this proposition: friends of the West prosper without having to submit and kowtow. Become a friend of the west and you will have schools and fresh water, and we will help you keep your markets safe. The Taliban strategy is simply to remind the local Khans that the Taliban do not forget. The friends of our enemies are enemies, and our memories are long.
How long? We don't know, but at least a generation. Fifteen years? Certainly no fewer than ten. And absolutely longer than five years, much less eighteen months.
Obama's strategy cannot succeed in building a new order in Afghanistan. However desirable it may be to have a democratic republic in Afghanistan, this strategy cannot achieve it. In order to achieve that goal we must commit more troops now -- and more importantly, commit to stay as long as necessary.
It has always been clear that we never intended to make such a commitment. One need only look at Viet Nam. In Viet Nam the local pacification had already been achieved. The Vietnamization of the war was a success. The only threat to South Viet Nam after 1970 was massive invasion from the north -- and that couldn't succeed so long as the United States was willing to support the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam with materiel and air support. That was proved in 1972 when 150,000 North Vietnamese regulars, twelve (12) Divisions, rolled south with as much armor as Guderian had in the conquest of France. The US provided support, but the war was won by ARVN. US casualties for 1972 were 640, with an additional 168 in 1973. Despite this, the Congress of the United States ended our commitment to Viet Nam, and the next invasion from the North, in 1975, was successful: Congress voted no air support, and materiel support of 20 cartridges and 2 hand grenades per ARVN soldier. The invading army was fully supplied.
Note that the threat to Viet Nam wasn't "insurgency", and the US didn't need to leave much in the way of troops; what troops we had left on the ground were in enclaves (a strategy first proposed by Gen. James Gavin) in 1965. Viet Nam did not fall to insurgents or guerrillas. It fell to an armored army invading from the north. But mostly it fell to a withdrawal of support by the United States, even though that support did not require massive troop deployment or counter insurgency tactics. That commitment did not require much exposure of US troops to danger from infiltrators, and the 1972 war showed that US casualties would be small even in the event of an all-out invasion. If the US wouldn't meet that commitment, then it was extremely unlikely that the US would commit to keep the Legions in Afghanistan, where conditions were worse and we had far less at stake.
Note also that we have no real national interest in Afghanistan. Unlike Iraq there is no oil, there is no warm water port upon the sea, there is nothing made or grown there that we need, there are no trade routes vital to western commerce. The only strategic importance of the area is its ability to harbor our enemies.
A Different Objective?
If the American objective is changed from "establish a democratic republic friendly to the west" to "make sure no US enemies are harbored in Afghanistan," will the new Obama strategy accomplish that?
It seems unlikely, but that needs more analysis. We'll get to that another day. But last night Obama announced, clearly, that the West will not stay in Afghanistan; Afghanistan will not be restructured; the President of Afghanistan will remain the Mayor of Kabul; and the Taliban need only wait. And the local Khans will understand that the Taliban forgets nothing.
116 (number of troops killed in Afghanistan while we considered the new strategy)
It is now time to compile the Christmas gift selection list. I'm open to suggestions.
December 3, 2009
The fallout from Climategate continues, and
the impact spreads. For a good discussion of that, see Climategate:
Science is Dying
I'm not sure that's a bad thing. We've had some of these storms before. Remember the "consensus" about the danger to the US of heterosexual AIDS? The cause was good: get more money into AIDS research. The means were false: create a baseless scare in the public by suppressing evidence to the contrary. There was also the suppression of arguments, evidence, and funding for any view contrary to the "AIDS is HIV is AIDS" hypothesis. That hypothesis turns out to be highly likely -- I don't quite say "true" but the evidence for it piles up -- but that's not the point. The intelligent thing to have done back in those days was to allow Duesberg -- a discoverer of retro-virus, the Chief Virologist of the University of California, and a strong Nobel in Medicine candidate -- to have the paltry sums (twenty million dollars was more than he asked for) as a hedge while continuing to fund research into the consensus view. It may be that we have passed the point at which that hedge is needed; but again I point out that it would be cheap insurance, and hardly frivolous. I had more to say on this several years ago.
In my judgment science has been getting sick for a long time. Incident: Larry Summers, President of Harvard, said in a faculty meeting that one possible explanation for the undoubted fact that there are few women in the top levels of mathematics and physics might include a hereditary factor, his senior faculty got the vapors, and he was soon hounded out of office as President of Harvard, not for losing more than half the Harvard endowment, but for having the temerity to propose that as one possible hypothesis. His hypothesis wasn't met with data or argument, but with scorn and derision, demonstrations, and eventually he was forced out. That was a blow against science; but few seem to have noticed that.
The credibility of Big Science is now much thinner than it was two weeks ago, and the damage to its reputation is only just beginning -- and that's probably a good thing.
And on that score:
The President has just blamed unemployment on the profit motive of small business, who demand profits rather than higher employment. It takes my breath away.
Regarding Afghanistan: what CAN we accomplish in eighteen months? I am preparing an essay on what the Legions ought to do, the first being to adopt new goals. We will not build a western democracy in Afghanistan; what can we accomplish that is in the national interest of the United States of America? Note: one pre-requisite for accomplishing what we have to accomplish is to change our definition of and attitude toward "corruption". One man's corruption is another's political business as usual. The Mayor of Kabul's writ does not run among the Khans.
On the Black Screen of Death and technical journalism, see this story:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=1575 . One of my advisors predicts that Prevx will be operating under a different name by this time next year... More to say on this in the upcoming column.
It is now time to compile the Christmas gift selection list. I'm open to suggestions.
Charles Murray says we are now justified in ignoring everything from the Climate Modelers, since they no longer have any data. http://blog.american.com/?p=7710
December 4, 2009
It is now pretty clear that the mainstream media are trying very hard to ignore the Climategate scandal. Today's papers have two articles on global climate. One has big headlines:
On the same page is a tiny article on East Anglia and fraud. The main thrust of the page, and all the mainstream media, is the dire peril of mankind, and how at Copenhagen they are going to insist on action, immediate action, lest we all die.
This is neither good science nor good science reporting. Hundred of Billions of dollars -- indeed trillions of dollars -- are at stake here, and the credibility of the evidence is very low. The Climategate conspirators hoped to marginalize anyone, from Freeman Dyson down to the least graduate student, who raised questions about the quality and meaning of that evidence, and apparently have managed to do it. The leaders of the UN and the climate change movement act as if nothing has happened. Of course this is because they hope to maintain the illusion of a consensus for a while longer, just long enough to put more bureaucratic funding into place.
Apparently the President no longer listens to anyone on this, and those who program his teleprompter are confident that they can continue as before.
And when the media do mention Climategate it's to worry about whether Gore ought to lose his Oscar (which he didn't get in the first place: it went to the show's producers. Gore accepted it for them). I don't care about his Oscar. I do care that the whole scientific process and the credibility of science is at stake, and few in power or in the news media seem to care.
Global warming may require higher dams, stilts. And a lot of money. Get to it, lest we all die.
Time for my morning walk. I am still contemplating what we must (and can) do in Afghanistan in 18 months. The enemy thinks he need only wait. What can we build in 18 months that will remain when we pull back to enclaves, or out of the country entirely? And what are our real objectives?
Another quote on global warming and the focus in Copenhagen on Doing Something:
It now turns out that Climategate calls into question even the existence of the "2500 scientists" who approved the IPCC report that Copenhagen is basing its call to action on. The more we look, the more we see that the consensus was not only a conspiracy, not a genuine consensus, but fraudulent from the beginning. Does this mean that all of those who are not "global warming deniers" are part of a fraud? Of course not. But many of the trusted data that no longer exist, and which may never have existed; and on models whose details have not been published. Give me enough arbitrary variables and I can make almost any model predict almost anything. One of the advantages of formal systems analysis was to make plain what were data and what were fudge factors.
The world will have to adopt corrective measures, says the IPCC. In desperation, because what jobs could these people get if they weren't on the UN payroll? Yet anyone who is a global warming denier must be on the payroll of an oil company (alas, the oil companies don't know that, and I have to rely on you as subscribers).
Prepare for a spate of articles on doom unless we act. Drowning polar bears will be the least of it. "Remember the polar bears, daddy," cute kids will be saying on television. Your Members of Congress and Senators will be lobbied as never before as the IPCC bureaucracy seeks to continue its existence -- with good pensions and early retirement if necessary, but better to have control of trillions to spend.
It's desperation time. And apparently Obama's teleprompter is unaware of any of it.
I am preparing an essay on Afghanistan. The key questions are, what must we accomplish, and can we do it? Of considerably less importance is what we can do but have no need to do. In that latter category are activities like spending money, getting troops killed, and alienating the clans. We know how to do those, and it's pretty clear that we ought not want those results.
1. What must we accomplish?
2. Can we do it?
I'm still working on it, but my present inclination is that all we must do is deny Afghanistan as a base for operations against the United States. Clearly desirable -- possibly a must -- is to deny Afghanistan as a safe haven for our enemies even if they are only using it for R&R. Sanctuary areas are extremely important in small wars, and even small sanctuaries can be important.
Are there any other must items? How important is control of the poppy crop? These are matters for decision at the highest levels, but I am not certain they are being decided there; they are questions for debate.
What do I mean by "can"? The United States "can" transform Afghanistan into a liberal republic. That would require a multi-generational commitment of about 100,000 reliable troops and several trillion dollars. The effort would cost the people of the United States a significant fraction of their income, and require drastic changes in lifestyle. It would probably require conscription, with the occupation largely confined to conscripts while the Legions trained for the actual defense of the United States. Since we are not going to do that, is there any meaning to the phrase "we can do it?" We can only do it by assuming levels of effort and costs that we will never actually adopt.
Regarding the goals set above, it's clear to me that we "can" accomplish them; the question is the political feasibility of adopting policies that can accomplish this. One of the policies we must adopt is a change in attitude toward "corruption". The only way we can accomplish our goals is to hire the local Khans to do it for us. The means for doing that will be utterly indistinguishable from what the enemies of our policies will call corruption. Have we any politicians with the courage to stand up for corruption? Because that's what it will take.
Anyway, I am working on this. I haven't any final conclusions.
I am still collecting Christmas Gift List suggestions, and nominations for the annual Chaos Manor Orchid and Onion Parade. Be sure to send yours now.
December 5, 2009
I am preparing the column today.
From the Obama Jobs Summit:
I am not sure what progress has been made, but the rest of the statement is true enough. Many businesses have figured out how to squeeze more productivity out of fewer workers. This was once known as productivity increase or increase in efficiency or better competitiveness, and was usually described in more flattering terms than "squeeze more productivity out of fewer workers," but the effect is the same: until that more efficient business decided to expand, it's not going to be hiring more workers. Moreover, if the business is below 50 employees, it's not likely to in this regulatory environment. It's unlikely to expand if it's under 10 employees, for that matter. We have enough Federal regulations now, but they're contemplating more, particularly with regard to health care.
We don't know what the export environment will be (there's a trade war going on out there); we don't know the domestic market but it's pretty clear that people would rather save than spend; we don't know what the dollar will be worth next spring much less two years from now; we don't know what it will cost to provide health care to workers; we don't know what the minimum health care policies will cost or what fines will have to be paid if we aren't providing health care.
Until the uncertainties are removed, who would dare invest in creating a new business, or expanding an efficient one?
Obama must know that, but he acts as if he doesn't. If the profit-driven businesses don't start creating jobs, whose fault is it? It can't possibly be the uncertain regulatory environment...
If Obama wants to create lots of jobs in a hurry, try the Erhardt model: go on the radio and announce that all regulations are suspended for a period of three years. No minimum wages. No health and safety. No employment security. No mandatory pension plans. If you can think of a reason to hire someone, go do it, and forget the regulations. We have an economy to rebuild. Go rebuild it. Of course we won't be doing that.
Another model he might study is the John F. Kennedy model. Cut taxes. Combine that with suspension of as many Federal regulations as politically possible.
In other words, as much as possible, get out of the way, and let the engines of capital development work.
Pretty good. Then there's the old stand by
December 6, 2009
I worked on the column today. It should be posted by Monday night or Tuesday.
The race do DO SOMETHING in Washington has reached desperation pitch, with a Sunday session in the Senate. They seem to be bent on destroying Medicare -- which almost works -- in order to come up with money for new programs. The Pelosi bill sticks it to the states, to the point at which California will be bankrupted by increased Medicaid costs. That doesn't seem to matter any more. Nothing matters but getting a bill passed. Considering the mood of the country, this seems close to a Democrat death wish -- or else a demonstration of total lack of concern for the American public, with reliance on slush funds and political organization to win elections despite the will of the people.
The remedy for that is renewed activism by those opposing all this; but it needs to be directed activism. There have been very few elections that could not have been decided the other way if a substantial part of those who did not approve of the result had in fact turned out to vote. That is: enough people sit on their hands every election to change the results. 'Twas ever thus. Organizing to get out the results -- what professional campaign managers call the ground game -- has always been a major key to winning elections. It will be even more so in times to come. The opposition knows this. Our side once knew it, but seems to be forgetting.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the weekly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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