Confirmation; Velikovsky; First Dark Age; Health Care and Ethics; Mining the Moon; and other important matters.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Amnesty International Boss Endorses “Jihad in self-defence”

We are a nation of assimilated immigrants.

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.



Schumer in 2007: Don’t confirm any Bush Supreme Court nominee

Sen. Chuck Schumer said in July 2007 that no George W. Bush nominee to the Supreme Court should be approved, except in extraordinary circumstances, 19 months before a new president was set to be inaugurated.

“We should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, except in extraordinary circumstances,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in prepared remarks to the American Constitution Society, a liberal legal organization. [sic]

(For a video of Schumer saying this flat out, see the linked video.)

So much for Schumer’s current theme that the Republicans stole a Supreme Court appointment by not confirming Mr. Obama’s appointment during the election year 2016. Schumer announced the new policy a decade ago. What is sauce for the goose…

Not that it is all that new a policy. It is the usual practice to wait for the results of the election if a USSC vacancy happens during a Presidential election year. If there is a new President, he will be more attuned to the will of the people than the losing President. Mr. Obama got two USSC Justices, the wise Latina Sonia Sotomayor, and Ms. Elena Kagan. It is clear that the nation still hopes for hope and change, but Mr. Obama’s hopes and changes were not the ones the people had been waiting for.


They’re burning the campus at Berkeley. Perhaps we’ll have to borrow more money to pay for that.  It’s all right.  We’ll leave that debt for our grandchildren to pay, so it’s no skin off our noses.  of course the kids may then feel the need to riot against the taxes required of them to service that debt.


When I was young they built state colleges for those who were smart enough for college but couldn’t afford it.  I’m a beneficiary of that system. Now they loan you money to go to a school already paid for by taxpayers.  I say give the damned schools to the professors, and stop paying for them.  Let the professors collect money to pay for their salaries.  They demand to teach what they want to teach and tell me I am a Fascist and worse if I want them to teach what I want taught.  Fine.  Let them.  Just don’t make me pay for that.  They want to be paid to teach, let them go raise the money to pay themselves and all the administrators. Leave me out of it.



If anyone still has any interest in The Velikovsky Affair, or if you do not even know what that means, there is an exhaustive discussion at This was done in my old Front Page format, and is a compilation of dialogues and discussions that took place over several year; it attempts fairly to present the different views on the subject, as well as my own. Those not interested in Velikovsky – his astronomical theories range from implausible to ridiculous – may still find the discussion of the failures of Big Science to deal with him, Velikovsky’s correct hypothesis that there had been catastrophes in both historic and pre-historic times – this at a time when uniformitarianism was the consensus, and any theories of catastrophes were thoroughly rejected by scientific consensus as absurd and also a rejection of the theory of evolution, which was thought then to require very long periods of uniformity.

I said decades ago “It is hard for those who didn’t live through the 40’s and 50’s to realize just how firmly the uniformitarian hypothesis was rooted, and just how much ridicule was heaped on those who rejected it. To postulate catastrophes in history was to reject Darwin, and take sides with the Biblical literalists. Now of course this is not true: my high school science teachers at Christian Brothers believed in catastrophes in history for very good scientific reasons, and neither they nor the Roman church insisted on the literal truth of the Bible, Noah’s Flood as anything other than a local event, or Genesis in 7 literal days. I learned the theory of evolution in a Catholic school in the state of Tennessee (while the Scopes law was still on the books); I also was introduced to the riddle of what happened to produce the First Dark Age in the Bronze Age, to look underneath Exodus to see if there were not historical counterparts to the Biblical history, and the like; and I can guarantee you that people who had been taught that sort of thing were not welcomed as undergraduates in the 1950’s. Believe me. I was thought a troublemaker for asking about such things.”

There is also considerable discussion of the First Dark Age – Homeric times, when the idea of writing was lost ; who were the Philistines and do their descendants exist today; and the nature of Dark Ages which have lost not merely technologies, but the very memory that such technologies ever existed. That memory loss can exist even among people who live among walls they not only could not construct, but do not believe humans could ever have constructed them They must have been built by vanished Cyclopean Giants.

Fair warning: the discussion is long. And sufficiently fascinating that you may find yourself reading more than you attended. Of course for some that’s more interesting than reading about Trump fighting the alligators, or the Washington Establishment defending government by experienced people and instructions.


SUBJ: Breaking news: Donald Trump cures cancer!

The resulting headlines:







Shamelessly stolen from Ace Of Spades HQ website at

They’re having a contest there to see who can concoct the funniest headline. The entries in the comments are priceless.



Looks about right. I see they left off the Weekly Standard.


closer to mining moon for trillions of dollars in riches

Hi Jerry,

Ran across this in the business news yesterday. Had heard nothing about it up until now. Unlike most space ventures with indefinite launch dates this project is slated to get off the ground this year.

Blair S.

Billionaire closer to mining moon for trillions of dollars in riches

Moon Express, the first private company in history to receive government permission to travel beyond Earth’s orbit, announced Tuesday that it raised another $20 million in private equity financing to fund its maiden lunar mission to take place in late 2017. This brings the total amount of private investment to $45 million from investors that include Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Collaborative Fund and Autodesk.

What may have added impetus to investor interest in Moon Express is President Trump’s picks for the NASA transition team — Charles Miller and Chris Shank — and the leading candidate to become the next NASA administrator, GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine. All support commercial space ventures and manned exploration — including lunar missions.

If successful, the new MX-1 lunar lander from Moon Express would not only win the $20 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, it would also help jump-start a new era of space exploration. Up until now, only government-funded missions from the United States, China and Russia have landed on the moon.

Last year the U.S. government made a historic ruling to allow the company to engage in peaceful commercial lunar exploration and discovery following consultations with the FAA, White House, State Department and NASA.

The company’s challenge now is to meet the XPRIZE requirement: Make a soft landing on the moon, travel 500 meters across its surface, and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth. All tasks must be done before the end of this year.

Full article:

Of course when I was at Galaxy, I thought we would have moon mines by 2010.I’ve always said that 90% of the resources easily available to mankind are not on this Earth.


climate change temperature margin of error


You’ve questioned how anyone could report climate temperature changes measured in tenths of a degree. NOAA claims +/- 0.15C margin of error in their temperature data. I got a D in statistics so I’m not the guy to figure out how they got that number or why, in spite of all the variables and smoothing involved, they are so proud of their data.

The quote from Deke Arndt in the “beyond the data” blog: “For the global data, the 95% envelope is roughly +/-0.15C, but varies slightly each month/year based on data coverage. You can see exact values in our reports, for example the tables here:


I didn’t get a D in experimental statistics, but no one has yet explained how we get a tenth of a degree accuracy out of observations made with 1950 equipment. In the late 50’s I was required to get temperatures of human skin to a 1/10 degree accuracy. I used very expensive thermocouple systems, with one of the thermocouples resting in a beaker of melting ice made from distilled water. In those times sea temperatures were got in a variety of ways including dipping up sea water and measuring with a hand held mercury thermometer; how does that give 1/10 degree accuracy? Averaging a bunch of numbers. All obtained in different and unknown way, does not give 1/10 unit accuracy; model makers do not seem to know how their source numbers are obtained. I don’t know what the average temperature of this room is to a tenth of a degree; or of my back yard; nor of Los Angeles. For right now. But by juggling numbers I can know the average for a whole year to a tenth of a degree? Velikovsky made more sense than that.

And in 1900? The sea temperature? Much less the yearly average for the Earth? To a tenth of a degree? Velikovsky was more interesting.


Trump and management

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

I believe you will find this blog entry by Scott Adams most fascinating.

“There are two basic styles of management. One is the cautious style of Fortune 500 companies. The other is the rapid-iteration and A/B testing style of entrepreneurs. Trump is bringing the latter style to the office. The markers for this style of management include:

1. Rapid and decisive hiring and firing.

2. Bias toward action.

3. Rapid A/B testing. Release the early beta version and judge reactions. Adjust accordingly.

4. Emphasis on the psychology of success. Entrepreneurial management includes lots of persuasion and bullshit because entrepreneurs have to fake it until they make it. In other words, they have to create demand via persuasion.

Compare that management style to a large company style. Big companies move slowly in both hiring and firing. They get caught in “analysis paralysis” because no one wants to be seen as making a mistake. And they don’t do rapid testing and iteration with consumers. They try to get it right before any customers see the product.

The world is watching Trump trade some “chaos” to get the benefits of entrepreneurial management. It’s fast and messy, but he’s testing in real time. He’s watching protests. He’s watching news coverage. He’s watching social media. And he’s rapidly adjusting as needed. The net effect of Trump’s bias for action in his first week is that he created a presidential brand of being the most action-oriented president of all time. Your first impression will be sticky. If things work out for Trump, you will forget any temporary “chaos” and remember him as the most effective president in history. Success fixes everything. Every entrepreneur knows that.”

I oppose the President some issues, but I’m rather pleased with his style and the speed with which he does things. Washington could use some shaking up and some of this management style.


Brian P.

Well, Trump is learning that before you drain the swamp you need to fight the alligators, and their press card carrying allies. He even had to fire the Acting Attorney General of the United States for insubordination; I hope we don’t have to pay her a pension. It was after all black letter law that the President has a lot of discretion over who gets into the US; Mr. Obama knew that well, and used the power. A lot. What one President can do, a successor can undo. It’s called a Republic.


The United States Air Force Academy Doesn’t Train Warriors Anymore

Dr. Pournelle 

RE: The United States Air Force Academy Doesn’t Train Warriors Anymore 

For those who would rather not chase through 17 pages of OpsLens to find the story, here is the direct link:

I see it was no accident that Imperial Stars 2: Republic and Empire contained both “Minor Ingredient” and “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.” 

Live long and prosper 

h lynn keith

No, it wasn’t.


‘There is almost as much evidence, it seems, for man being hundreds of millions of years old as there is that modern man is 60,000 years old.’



Roland Dobbins <>

Yes, but that isn’t the consensus. One needs to be careful in saying things like that. And when does it get to be “Man”


health care

You are a little of base with Canadian healthcare. First the US is not the first reserve it is India. We actually outsource it. Australia has a very interesting after many surveys and commissions they have a two tier system and the unions through their insurance schemes always use the most deluxe one. My wife whose occupation and financial position was given the choice of a private and very restricted cure for her carpal-tunnel problem in both wrists. . Public was a wait of 12 months (FREE) or she opted for the next week at $500,00. The Doctor amused me. The biggest opponent of private health care the biggest opponent of the Doctor who operated the private clinic had just phoned and wanted his knee fixed. He was a high union official. The doctor said no thanks.

mike hurcum

I confess that the last time I looked at this was years ago, probably when Hillary was just coming to the White House and planned to mind our health business for us. I do know physicians in Detroit who have a good cross-border list of patients, but again I haven’t discussed it with them recently.

US Big Pharma as I recall gives Canadians a big discount on drug prices, for a complex variety of reasons.

I understand that having a private competitor to public health care seems popular with the patients but is generally resisted by the governments involved, but again I am no expert. Doubtless I will receive a plethora of information; I generally do if I got something wrong.



voting irregularities

Hello Jerry,
I am pleased beyond measure to read of the continued recoveries of Mrs. Pournelle and yourself.
Here in Michigan, before the courts stopped the recount, many ‘interesting’ things were discovered, including one Detroit precinct where the machines recorded 307 votes when only 52 ballots had actually been cast.
The State is graciously proclaiming Operator Error with regards to the optical ballot scanning machine.
I myself am reminded of the old adage: “Once is a coincidence, twice is incompetence, three times is enemy action.” What then is 255 times?
And this is just one single precinct in a once large city which remains a democratic stronghold. It doesn’t take much imagination at all to apply similar numbers to the large cities across the nation and watch Hillary’s alleged popular vote victory disappear.
Link to the story here:
As always, thank you for all you do.
Dave Porter


health care

Dear Mr. Pournelle,
You write: “the subject should be, is this Constitutional (for the Federal Government) and is it a good idea. Subsumed under that second question is an all important one: can we afford it, or is the money more required for other needs? And that discussion I do not recall seeing.”
I agree. Let’s try that.
Regarding legitimacy: at this point, I would start with the argument that health care legislation would stand on constitutional grounds comparable to those which the courts have recognized for Social Security and Medicare; and that the Constitution gives the Congress broad powers to “provide for the general welfare.”
Can we afford it? That question is more difficult. One problem is that our current system provides us with no credible base line on cost and effectiveness. Here’s an interesting article in Consumer Reports:
First, I think it’s necessary to stipulate that with continuing advances in medical technology it is increasingly the case that we are *capable* of providing medical care which no plausible economy can *afford.* That’s a problem. I have no brilliant solutions, but I do think we need to begin by recognizing that limits exist. Currently, those limits are often imposed by insurance companies. I don’t find that an optimal solution; but I won’t pretend that any other visible solution is very good either.
Beyond that: falling back, for the lack of anything better, on anecdotal evidence —
A few years back I read about a few East Coast hospitals who ran an interesting experiment. They found that overall costs of medical care could be significantly reduced by providing unusually strong home health care to a surprisingly small number of vulnerable patients. Readmission rates dropped significantly. The problem which arises is: while such a program can be effective, and reduces costs, it is to the economic disadvantage of any hospital that adopts it. Under free market assumptions, it won’t happen.
It also turns out that a quite disproportionate amount of the cost of medical care is attributable to hospital expenses in the last six months of life. This presents, I think, both ethical and practical quandaries. The notion of limiting medical care for older people (of whom I am now one) seems ethically intolerable. On the other hand, if I were offered the choice between keeping me “alive” but unconscious for three months, while running up extravagant hospital bills, and spending that same amount on young children, I’d have to go with the children.
Beyond that: one datum I’ve run across repeatedly in church work is that people without medical insurance far too often wind up in emergency rooms with problems that could have been more effectively treated, at less expense, earlier on. The bills with which they are then, in theory, presented are higher by several orders of magnitude than any bills which would be paid by insurance. And in fact they are not paid. I cannot imagine that this system is cost-effective.
In consequence, while I am not sure pertinent information is reliably available, I inclined to think that in terms both of effectiveness and of cost-effectiveness we could do a great deal better.
Is the money more required for other needs? That’s a difficult question. I’d need to ask: what might those needs be? And I’d also note that a similar argument has been raised with reference to space exploration; where one pertinent response is “and how many other uses for rocket fuel can you name?” Which is to say: if we do not spend these resources on health care, is it in fact the case that more resources will be available for other needs?
If I may be cynical: as I watch our infrastructure deteriorate while people scream about their taxes and then go buy snowmobiles, I’m not impressed. Some years back, in Minnesota, Governor Ventura thought the state’s “rainy day” fund was too high; so he pushed through a rebate of a few hundred dollars per resident. Which was received, and duly spent, with no apparent benefit. Then the rainy day came…
A further comment on “rights,” while continuing to think this isn’t a useful approach to health care:
Mr. White suggests, citing the French theorist Bastiat, that “since the people can only delegate the authority that they themselves possess, and “the people”, as a collective, cannot be deemed to possess any authority — or right — that a single person lacks, it follows that the state also cannot legitimately act against a person in any manner that would be forbidden to another person.” I think this assertion is highly problematic, and (attempting to use the term analytically rather than pejoratively) hard to distinguish from classical anarchism. As I read Mr. White’s description, on that basis any taxation by the state would be illegitimate, even for the purposes of national defense. Highway patrols would also be problematic: I, as a private citizen, cannot pull another driver over for speeding, and “road rage” incidents suggest it would be a very bad idea. On the whole, any society I would care to live in rightly prohibits private vengeance, the “wild justice” in place of which we have courts, police, and prisons. None of these functions, I think, can be legitimately exercised by private citizens. So I just don’t think this definition is sustainable.
Allan E. Johnson

The Framers operated on the principle that governments were instituted to secure rights, and derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. This gives the government powers not legitimate for individual citizens; it does not take away rights from those citizens, but there must be some agreement on that those rights are, and who shall consent.

I think that survival of a nation is an important need for both government and governed. The governed are usually incapable of defending that right without government.

I believe the ethics of providing government services and paying for them by borrowing money and giving our children and grandchildren the debt ought to be questioned and discussed if we are going to discuss ethics; children have no say, yet they are governed, and do not consent. Yet they are to pay for goodies we give ourselves. We can feel very good about our generosity with other peoples money.

As you point out, advances in science can develop procedures that, if given to all, would consume the national budget. They cannot be given to all; should they be available to those who can pay for them, but not to others? This is certainly inequality.

Now what of those who contract a very expensive life threatening disease; a remedy, not precisely a cure but an effective treatment is found; should it be given to all those – a minority – who need it? Free? Means tested? It is also discovered that there is a rather simple way to make sure you never get that disease; the prevention is well known; yet there are some who continue to get it. Should they have the expensive remedy? Free? Make those who don’t get it pay for those who do?


During his last days in office, former president Barack Obama made over 100 appointments before the new transition took over.

Obama staffers get permanent federal jobs —


Obama staffers get permanent federal jobs —

During his last days in office, former president Barack Obama made over 100 appointments before the new transiti…




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



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