Comments Deferred

Chaos Manor View, Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Story conference including Skype with Dr. Jack Cohen in England,followed by a long lunch. Very hot today, and even after a nap I find myself exhausted. This will be brief.


There are two major breaking stories, and we don’t know enough about either to make intelligent comments.

Regarding the constitutional status of the Iran “deal” (a term unknown to the Constitution) I have found no better analysis than this:

Constitutional Issues in the Iran Deal

Is the deal announced yesterday with Iran unconstitutional?

In a word: probably.

Here is my assessment.  To begin, the Constitution’s text provides the way to make major international agreements – through supermajority approval in the Senate, as set forth in Article II, Section 2: “The President … shall have power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”  This is, moreover, the way the framers and ratifiers understood it: every discussion of international agreement-making in the founding era assumed it would take place through the Senate as Article II, Section 2 describes.  Some argued that this was not enough protection against harmful treaties, and wanted a higher bar – three-quarters of the Senators present, or two-thirds of all Senators, not just of those present.  No one contemplated that treaties could be made in an alternate, less demanding way.

But note that the conclusion is “probably”; not “quite probably” or “certainly”. I do not have time – given my slow typing – to do an essay on this.

I urge you to read the entire thoughtful analysis. The President has always had special powers with regard to foreign policy; this is at the very edge of them. It is not an automatic decision, even for original intent constitutionalists.

As for policy, here is the Tory position:

Israel and Saudi Arabia present united front over Iran deal

Iran’s enemies unsettled by its deal with the West, but Bashar al-Assad of Syria says it is ‘a great victory’

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Editor and Robert Tait, Jerusalem

8:53PM BST 14 Jul 2015

The nuclear deal with Iran caused fury in Israel and consternation around the region at the likely increase in influence and resources of a newly enriched Iran.

Most telling was the loudest expression of support. “I am happy that the Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a great victory by reaching an agreement,” President Bashar al-Assad of Syria said in a message to his Iranian opposite number, Hassan Rouhani.

“In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.”

I present it without comment. We simply do not know enough. No one wants a war, nuclear or conventional, in the Middle East; and no one can guarantee that removing Iran’s capability to make nuclear weapons will not require a nuclear strike. That hasn’t always been true, but I think it’s true now. The question is, “if not a deal now, what should we do?’


We simply do not know enough about Planned Parenthood and its use of body parts of late period aborted infants. We probably will not even if Congress investigates but we certainly do not now; I will comment when I know enough to be able to say something meaningful.



TurboTax Drops Cloud Backup Option for Desktop Users      (nyt)


If you used the desktop version of TurboTax during the most recent tax filing season and backed up your return online, you may want to make sure you have a copy of it stored on your computer.

Intuit, the maker of TurboTax tax preparation software, has notified some desktop customers that it is discontinuing a service that allowed them to store a copy of their return on TurboTax’s cloud system. (Desktop customers install the tax software on their own computer, by buying a CD-ROM or a download, rather than preparing their returns on the TurboTax website.)

Users have until July 21 to gain access to their tax returns on the cloud and resave them on their own computer if they need to do so.

In the F-35/F-16 comparison, this was an interesting comment:
“Hi. I have experience engineering controls for these types of systems and I would like to point out that the media has been doing an _incredibly_ poor job interpreting the leaked report.
“The report in question described the results of a very specific test of the F-35 control laws. The result of test indicated that in a particular part of the flight envelope the plane responded sluggishly to pitch inputs from the pilot. This would make it harder for the pilot to exploit the F-35 airframe’s great high-AOA capability because it means that the airplane will take longer than it needs transitioning to the requested AOA and therefore bleed more energy.
“The report also noted that the aircraft itself has sufficient control surfaces to allow for much higher pitch & yaw rates. The test-pilot recommended relaxing the control laws to allow for faster pitch rates in the part of the flight envelope where the test occurred which would give a pilot more ability to exploit the aircraft’s AOA capabilities.
“The test did _NOT_ indicate that the F-16 was a better dogfighter. The F-16 was simply used as a visual reference for the F-35 test pilot to maneuver against.
“Anyone who wants to understand what REALLY happened should read the actual report: … 9a4e66f3eb
“David Axe has a history of blatantly misrepresenting findings and totally misunderstanding how modern wars are prosecuted. Its a shame other journalists are repeating his silliness without much critical analysis.
“edit: Every fighter is developed and tested this way: Start with conservative control laws then relax them as needed according to tests. Same thing happened with the F-16, F-15, and F-14 during development. We just didn’t have the internet then so uninformed dilettantes couldn’t broadcast their opinion. “
I’d further note that the F-35 performance limitations largely result in compromises to the aircraft to accommodate the Marine’s STOVL version–16% of the total buy–so they can deploy/employ from assault ships (a capability that has been needed…nowhere…ever), as well as the cancellation of the higher-thrust engine for which development was nearly complete. I have serious concerns about the F-35 program, but the referenced article provides no real insight or useful analysis.

I should have made it more clear: I am no expert on particulars in the current dispute.  I do assert the general principal: there is no prize for second place in an air superiority contest.  But read The Strategy of Technology for more.  I have not spent much time at particulars.

When it is asserted that a particular airplane would be good at both air supremacy and ground support, I assert that this is highly unlikely.  Air supremacy is not cheap; but if you have it, ground support from the air can be a lot cheaper and more effective.








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




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