Clawing back to normal

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham

Rudolph Giuliani: Trump is right about ‘stop and frisk.’ Lester Holt should apologize

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.



Still trying to get back to normal. Good conference and lunch with Larry and Steve today. Considerable work on our new book this afternoon, My typing remains rotten and it’s tough writing – every line needs corrections, sometimes lots – but the ASUS ZenBook keyboard makes it easier.


Newt is calmer about the Vice President debate than I am.

The Vice Presidential Debate was a great example of the power of a good case reinforced by solid preparation. We are at the traditional

Governor Mike Pence had done his homework. He had studied the Clinton-Caine program and their debate style. He understood how Senator Kaine would debate and he was ready for him.

It was said that Abraham Lincoln was the best lawyer in Illinois with a good case and Stephen Douglas was the best lawyer with a bad case.

Last night Pence did well with a good case but Kaine did not do so well with a bad case.

There were two clear indications of how much Kaine was on the defensive.

First, he relied again and again on canned responses that were supposed to be clever but came across as robotic and not in touch with the topic at hand. Pence was prepared for this tactic, and he repeatedly pointed out the canned nature of Kaine’s answers. It stripped Kaine of a lot of authenticity and reduced him to a normal politician who had been well coached.

Second, Kaine was so hyper and eager to disrupt Pence’s presentation that he interrupted an estimated 70 times. His intensity came across as manic and juvenile. Pollster Frank Luntz reported that his focus group believed “Mike Pence is winning because Tim Kaine cannot debate like an adult without interruptions.” [snip]

All of which I suppose is true, but Kaine’s “I know it all” smirk – worse than Hillary’s – set my teeth on edge, and he has the manners of a bully with his constant interruptions; particularly when Pence was about to make a telling point or mentioned anything about Mrs. Clinton’s emails or the Clinton Foundation. I suppose the watching audience was already aware of those points, and Kaine’s frantic bullying, with the help of the “moderator,” may well have had the effect of emphasizing them. There was no “debate” in the sense of a civil exchange of ideas or arguments. I don‘t usually let politicians get my goat, but Kaine achieved that. In Spades, with Big Casino.

National Space Society Congratulates Blue Origin for Its Successful In-flight Escape Test of New Shepard as of course do I.



After watching Mike Pence’s performance in Tuesday’s Vice President Debate any questions or concerns I might have had about Donald Trump have been put to rest.

Selecting Mike Pence as his running mate demonstrates that Trump knows how to find and recruit the absolute best people, one the most important jobs for a President.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has chosen what appears to be an impolite nattering idiot as her running mate. As I watched the debate I thought that Kaine looked like someone. I finally figured it out. He looks like Teller, the silent half of Penn and Teller. After listening to Kaine for 90 minutes I understand why Penn decided to have Teller be silent.

It looks like Hillary’s ability to recruit the best advisors is as lacking as her ability to tell the truth.

Last chance to save the Republic. Vote for Trump.

Bob Holmes


Windows Journal 


I’ve been using Windows Journal for several things since it was first introduced with Windows 7.

With the 9/19 Update, MS elected to uninstall all Windows Journal implementations due to an undisclosed security problem with the tailored .xml used for the Journal’s .jnt file format. The apparently remedy is to install a “updated version” the sole revision of which is a security warning on opening files – and a tendency (well, if you can call a 100% failure rate a tendency) to crash if I attempt to open any existing files, either by double click or from within the open program.

Two hours with the Microsoft help desk (chat) was of no actual help.  (That’s no surprise; the surprise was that both people I spoke with had a good command, at least of written, English).

Do you or the Advisors know of anything?



Peter Glaskowsky says

I used Journal for a while myself; it was a nice lightweight program for taking handwritten notes.

But Journal was superseded by OneNote many years ago, and only stuck around because disk space is relatively cheap and Microsoft tends to hang onto things.

At this point, I think the only sensible thing is to restore a backup of Journal, or go to an older machine, and migrate any remaining Journal notes into OneNote. A tool for this purpose was released in 2007; it might still work:

.             png


Election Data Point

Dear Jerry,

This is one small data point, but it seems significant.

Six months ago I went to Mr. Trumps’ campaign site and left my information, and offered to work as a volunteer.

Today, six months later, and barely more than one month before the

election, they got back to me.

They think I might be of some use telephoning, or perhaps travel to

Nevada, all as part of getting out the vote.

I am a California resident. I know California is about as Blue as a

state can be, but six months later and they want me in a state where I

know no one, and where I have no knowledge of local issues or conditions?

Prepare for four years of scandal and hack appointees, not to mention a

Supreme Court rubber stamping every Progressive Agenda Item.


I suspect that recruiting Californians to work the ground game in Nevada was not approved at a very high level. As you note, building a ground game in California is not likely to be a good investment of resources.


SUBJ: Science Is Sexist Because It’s Not Subjective

We are appalled. But not surprised.





Donald Trump’s plan for ISIS

Dear Mr. Pournelle,
I agree that it would not be prudent to announce, in detail, plans for defeating ISIS. (Which, as far as I can tell, seem to be going rather well at present.) On the other hand, announcing loudly that you HAVE a plan, and it’s better than anybody else’s plan, but of course you can’t say what it is — that’s just shoddy.
Beyond that: it seems that much of Donald Trump’s argument is: I’m brilliant. Elect me, and I’ll fix everything. Day one.
Is he running for President? Or Emperor?
Allan E. Johnson

He would not care for the responsibilities of emperor, and the military is not likely to accept him if he did want the job. I find it interesting that he says the Caliphate must be defeated and quickly; I have heard little from his opponent since they were identified as the junior varsity. I do not recall any revision of that appellation


Introducing myself — Max Hunter’s son

Greetings Dr. Pournelle. I’m Matt Hunter, Max Hunter’s second son (out of three sons and two daughters). I came across a photo of you, my Dad and Dan Quale in the meeting that kick-started SSTO development leading directly to the Delta Clipper program.
My father spoke very highly of you and I thought you might enjoy being updated on recent activity and actions taken on behalf of his legacy. First, we have established the Maxwell W. Hunter Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation whose mission is to inspire a new generation of space enthusiasts and potential aerodynamicists through, among other things, support for secondary-level aeronautical engineering curriculum.
Second, we are completing a complete overhaul of his old website which can be viewed at The website is described as “providing a journey through America’s golden age of space exploration through the eyes of Maxwell W. Hunter II. His unique perspectives on projects and policies in which he had a leadership role are reflected in his extensive library of technical and policy papers, correspondence, speeches, photos, video and family records.”
Finally, in honor of the 50th anniversary of its original publication, ”Thrust Into Space,” his famous textbook on rocket science and propulsion systems for space travel, has been reissued by the Foundation. It’s available on Amazon.
That’s it! I hope to meet you at some point and hope all is well. Feel free to contact me

Matt Hunter

I wish you well. Max was a giant.


It seems that American adults are, on average, more incapable than most humans. “Researchers tested about 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries”. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve hit the iceberg as our governments and bureaucracies re-arrange the deck



It’s long been known that America’s school kids haven’t measured well compared with international peers. Now, there’s a new twist: Adults don’t either.

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.


This dovetails with a Vice News article that points out that most bureaucrats and intellectuals surveyed think that Americans don’t know anything about policy. Vice presents this as a “study”, which I don’t consider it to be since I can’t find any reference to an article in a scholarly journal, but it references a book that seems to include original research:

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

The average public school is awful, and getting the schools to run for the benefit of the pupils rather that preserving the tenure of the teachers is one of the most important tasks ahead. I suspect we are up to it, but it takes someone with a thick skin. I’d say more but my typing is awful tonight. I would not sell America short. Hitler and Tojo made that mistake.


Warthogs & Strategy

I have a crackpot theory about the USAF’s A-10 “strategy”. It has everything to do with the F-35’s modern communications capability and the ‘fact’ that the A-10 is a forty year old airplane wrapped around a big gun. Modifying it seems out of the question. Duplicating its capabilities would probably be cost prohibitive.
Everything I have read about the new generation of aircraft, in particular the F-35 and the F-22, and the new networking capabilities those aircraft (will) have makes the Air Force’s desire to replace the A-10 with a ‘smart’ system more understandable. Wrong, especially from the ground pounders’ point of view, but understandable.
See It takes a little reading between the lines to reach the conclusion I did, but it seems to make an otherwise incomprehensible decision less so.


It’s a pilot’s air force, and subordinating to the ground army kills your career. The A-10’s need protection from missiles and the hot jet jockeys can fight missile bases; but no one wants that mission. You don’t get to zoom your hands in war stories about how you won air supremacy by attacking ground targets. Perhaps I am overly cynical.


HSV-2 Swift destroyed off Yemeni Coast by Anti-Ship Missile

“The futuristic looking HSV-2 Swift, an ex-U.S. Navy experimental high-speed logistics catamaran now being utilized by the UAE government, was struck by a missile on the evening of October 1, according to multiple reports.”

The moral of the story is to stay out of the littorals unless you have proper defenses, and excellent intelligence. 


Some reports say that it has been salvaged. It was no longer a US ship in any event.



for your observations…

David Couvillon
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; 
Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; 
Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; 
Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; 
Chef de Hot Dog Excellence;  Avoider of Yard Work

Here’s the vital U.S. security interest in Syria

James G. Wiles

A major objection to American involvement in Syria appears in the form of a question: “why is this our problem?”

It is indeed our problem, for cold reasons of geopolitics which have nothing to do with humanitarian intervention, R2P or liberal internationalism.

In Caroline Glick’s latest column in the Jerusalem Post, is the stake for U.S. security interests around the world.

Here’s the money quote:

By adopting a strategy of total war, Putin has ensured that far from becoming the quagmire that President Barack Obama warned him Syria would become, the war in Syria has instead become a means to transform Russia into the dominant superpower in the Mediterranean, at the US’s expense.

“In exchange for saving Assad’s neck and enabling Iran and Hezbollah to control Syria, Russia has received the capacity to successfully challenge US power. Last month Putin brought an agreement with Assad before the Duma for ratification. The agreement permits – indeed invites – Russia to set up a permanent air base in Khmeimim, outside the civilian airport in Latakia…

…The Russians have also decided to turn their naval station at Tartus into something approaching a full-scale naval base.

With Russia’s recent rapprochement with Turkish President Recip Erdogan, NATO’s future ability to check Russian power through the Incirlik air base is in question.

Even Israel’s ability to permit the US access to its air bases is no longer assured. Russia has deployed air assets to Syria that have canceled Israel’s regional air superiority.

Under these circumstances, in a hypothetical Russian-US confrontation, Israel may be unwilling to risk Russian retaliation for a decision to permit the US to use its air bases against Russia.

America’s loss of control over the eastern Mediterranean is a self-induced disaster.”

(emphasis added)

It’s an open secret in Jerusalem that Caroline Glick often reflects the thinking of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

What has happened in Syria, as Glick demonstrates, is that Mr. Obama has enabled Putin to reverse one of the three great foreign policy accomplishments of the Nixon Administration: the ejection of the Soviet Union from the Middle East.

This is what this president has done to the U.S. defense posture in Europe and the Middle East. Meanwhile, in the Far East, the Chinese are trying to flip the new Philippine government into the anti-American column.

If they pull that off, Beijing will have successfully broken out of the nine-dash island chain and penetrated the U.S. defense perimeter which contained China since the end of the Korean War.

As Victor Davis Hansen wrote this week, “a hard rain is coming.”




Russia has deployed air assets to Syria that have canceled Israel’s regional air superiority.

Under these circumstances, in a hypothetical Russian-US confrontation, Israel may be unwilling to risk Russian retaliation for a decision to permit the US to use its air bases against Russia.

America’s loss of control over the eastern Mediterranean is a self-induced disaster.”

Russia’s air asset have not CANCELED Israel’s regional air superiority, but certainly have induced a challenge to it. There are 3 levels of air control – Air Supremacy; Air Superiority; and Air Parity.  In Israel’s case they have have enjoyed Air Supremacy for quite some time – this WITHOUT augmentation from the US.  I would suggest that Israel (and certainly with US [other friendly?] reinforcing assets continues to maintain air superiority.  (NOTE: that Russia putting all it’s eggs in one airfield is NOT tactically sound – distance prevents fighter and fighter/bomber support from Russian or Iranian airspace).

I will concur, however, that the Russian re-introduction into the eastern Med is absolutely a disaster.



David Couvillon
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; 
Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; 
Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; 
Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; 
Chef de Hot Dog Excellence;  Avoider of Yard Work

From: Leonard
David makes a good point.  Nevertheless Israel has sought not to rely on US direct military involvement in its wars.  I can’t imagine that policy changing.  I suspect the basing of US planes was for the sake of US force projection given the loss of naval power in the Mediterranean Sea and the frayed ties to the Sunni Arab powers in the Gulf.  But extending the invite to US air power now, given Russian presence in Syria, puts natural gas fields in eastern Med at risk!

The broader issue turns on uncertainty of commitment.  Would any allied government bet on a Democratic Party administration to keep its security agreements when the base of the party is 40% or more supporters of Bernie Sanders?  

Here is the reason to vote for Trump, as despicable a person as he has proven himself to be.  It is not just the possibility of conservative judges on SCOTUS but also a possible rebuilding of military capabilities and commitments.  

Note my use of the word possible.  I have no assurance that Trump will keep his commitments or even remember them.  But there is a chance.

With Clinton and the Dems their track record cannot be ignored.  Who would trust them?   Remember how the democratic congress repudiated the agreement to resupply south Vietnam after the Nixon – Kissinger peace treaty with the North?





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



Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.