Fools, Drunks, and the United States of America

View 845 Sunday, October 05, 2014

John Quincy Adams on American Policy:

Whenever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

Fourth of July, 1821

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

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


Bismarck is reported to have said, off the record but more than once, that The Lord looks after fools, drunks, and the United States of America. It is an old saying although in its original form children substitute for the USA, but more than once American policy has made sense only if you believe in Bismarck’s version.

In this case we seem to have got past the Ebola threat, at least for now, although given our lax enforcement of even common sense restrictions on people coming here after recent travel in the midst of the African Ebola epidemic, that maxim apparently continues to hold. Or so it appears, and we should know for certain in a week or so how many people, if any, Mr. Duncan managed to infect. Whether we will take advantage of this good fortune and change our policies is another story, but at least we have the opportunity.


Nothing seems to have changed in Syria-Iraq-Kurdistan. We continue to break things and kill people, but without any discernible objective. The Kurds want to take back Mosul, and if we have given our forces in that part of the world any power of choice in what missions they will support, I can imagine both Navy and Air Force agreeing that retaking Mosul for the Kurds is an achievable and desirable objective. Better to choose one’s own strategic objectives, but this one will do. Apparently Bismarck was right…




The Man Worth While

It is easy enough to be pleasant
   While life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is the one who will smile
   When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
   And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth,
   Is the smile that shines through tears.

                    Ella Wheeler Wilcox



Got this from a poster on ‘Free Republic’:

"Just so you appreciate what Ebola really is.. It is a Biosafety Level 4 agent! <>

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 11:27:21 PM EDT by Enlightened1 <>

When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a positive pressure personnel suit, with a segregated air supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a level four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors from opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a biosafety level 4 (or P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.

The reaction of the administration to this disease has been to send three thousand unprotected troops into the center of infection and announce that it would impose no restriction on travel into or out of infected areas.

The ‘stupid incompetence’ of the graduates of our most prestigious universities who are responsible for our Ebola policy (and our energy policy, our medical policy, our foreign policy, our immigration policy, ad infinitum) grows more obvious every day. I’m sure that ‘Porcupine’ would agree.

Bob Ludwick

Ebola Screening failure

Jerry –

A question much on some people’s minds has been the question of why Thomas Eric Duncan was sent home the first time he went to the ER. The answer seems instructive on several levels.

Per the NBC news site, it seems that the nurses and doctors do not, necessarily, talk to each other (or at least their data bases don’t). Patient history when taken by the nurses is handled by software originally intended to allow nurses to decide if they can administer flu shots, or whether a physician needs to be consulted. Apparently the examining nurse did flag Duncan’s travel history, and he was flagged as high risk and popped up a level to physician examination.

But the nurse’s software doesn’t talk to the doctor’s software, so the physician who examined him was unaware of it. Then, when the physician independently asked Duncan if he’d been exposed to any illness recently, he lied.

“When Mr. Duncan was asked if he had been around anyone who had been ill, he said that he had not,”

So, the software did not behave the way people expected it to, and the patient lied to his doctor. A good explanation for a bad situation.


Jim Martin

God looks after fools, drunks, and the United States of America….

Ebola deployment

The main objective of sending the 101st is to test various vaccines and treatment methods on a larger sample size of varying genetic heritage. South and North American native of a much reduced immune genetics than either Northern Europeans an Asiatics, much less Africans.

Just My opinion.


Hi Jerry,

I think I know why they aren’t increasing restrictions on travel from Ebola-infected nations. A disproportionate portion of those impacted by the restrictions would be black. Therefore, it’s racist. At least that’s what the ‘Disparate impact’ folks in the civil rights division of the justice department would say. I thought political correctness was a slow-motion suicide for an integrated society only by hyperbole. Now maybe it’s actually literal.

One other thought – why on earth would they send the 101st instead of USAMRID from Fort Dietrich? That’s the biowarfare unit that would have the knowledge, equipment, and training to handle an outbreak like this.




Here’s a coined word that’s been kicking around for a bit. In view of the way that the government is currently handling the economy, ISIS, and now the Ebola pandemic scare, this word may be quite appropriate: Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) – a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

As you have said, despair is a sin – but how not to sin in these times?





– The Liberian-American who started Nigeria’s spot outbreak (since contained, after seven died) lied about his Liberian exposure and also pulled political strings to get to Nigeria. Dallas Patient Zero also lied about his exposure – he filled out a form affirming that he’d had no Ebola contacts before getting on the airplane in Liberia, but since admitted that he helped carry an Ebola-stricken woman into her house before leaving.

People are going to lie like rugs to get out of the hot zone, and our travel procedures need to account for this.

– There was the Dallas EW staff that ignored Dallas Patient Zero’s answer that he’d just come from Liberia and sent him home for two days.

Now there’s an aerial image on the internet purporting to show apartment complex staff hosing DP0’s vomit off the sidewalk out front, with no protective gear and bystanders walking past.

People in the US are mostly still in the "it can’t happen here therefore it isn’t happening" stage of understanding. We need to get past this and take this seriously before people die, or many will die unnecessarily.

As for what we should do about this White House apparently being foremost among the "therefore it isn’t happening" crowd, the most likely answer seems to be the same one that eventually got them off the dime over the Islamic State crisis: Bi-partisan public and Congressional pressure. I just hope we can light a fire under them on this one before the results are as obviously bloody awful as it took in Iraq.

stay healthy




We have been experimenting with Windows 10; so far I like it a lot better than Windows 8. Note that there will be no Windows 9. All this will be in the column I am preparing now.

I see that parts 1,2, and 3 are up on Chaos Manor Reviews. The editor has decided to post it that way,. I write it all at once, and I am working on the October issue now.

In the old days at BYTE I wrote the April issue in January due to print delay times…


“Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient. It’s meant to completely obviate them.”


Roland Dobbins

As in Humans Need Not Apply. Those who strike for higher minimum wages should take heed. Even if we outlaw robots for simple jobs, our international competitors need not do so. We can price ourselves out of the world markets. Perhaps we can be a self-sufficient North American Technocracy?

Starbucks for Spooks

But of course barista is a job that definitely can be done by a robot. Plugging his leaks might be easier, too.


Iron Law Sighting

In John Lukacs’ book <i>The Future of History</i>, we read:

There are, alas, innumerable other instances when a person’s desire for the status of historianship amounts to more than his very interest in history. There is a difference between two aspirations: one authentic ("I am interested in history, I want to pursue this interest of mine"), the other bureaucratic ("I am interested in historianship, I want to be recognized as a professional historian"). These two aspirations may occur within the same person: but we ought to recognize their differences. …. There is the still prevalent idea of professional history being a kind of science, with its certified professionals taking comfort in the belief that they are practitioners of methods and the possessors of arcane subjects of knowledge that are beyond and unachievable by common men and women. That such a belief is undemocratic is obvious; that it is bureaucratic should be obvious too.

One result of the increased bureaucratization of the profession is the rewarding of mediocrity. This occurs now in many occupations, including the management of corporations and of institutions…

— John Lukacs, The Future of History (2011)

This seems to touch on the subject of credentialism as well.



Talk like a pirate day…

The Nanny state seems to be running amok. Last month we reported the story of a middle school being placed on lockdown for a student wearing a military-style jacket. <> A few weeks before that, an entire campus was shut down and SWAT descended on Cal State San Marcos <> in response to a man carrying an umbrella. After witnessing these reactions to such minuscule and irrelevant matters, is it any surprise that police are so quick to shoot first and ask questions later?

You just can’t make this stuff up!

Charles Brumbelow

You sure can’t!


Subject: Re:New Boeing Defense Weapon…..Awesome

We did concept work on something like that when I was at Boeing a long time ago, but the laser science people said you would never get lasers to be more than 90% efficient, and thus they’d burn themselves up if used for anything important. That was its status when I left Boeing in 1964: not feasible with existing technology, and thus a concept weapon only.

Russians working on space based kinetic weapons platforms?

Hi Jerry,

While reading a Washington Times article "Russia’s Black Sea build-up: 80 new warships expected by 2020" there was an interesting quote from a Russian Admiral about half way through the article:

"Military space exploration continues, the issue of the use of non-nuclear strategic weapons is being studied…"

I immediately recollected what you’ve written about kinetic energy weapons launched from space-based weapons platforms. And here the US is without a usable spacecraft for the foreseeable future…

-Blair S

I did a fairly heavy duty analysis of THOR – kinetic energy weapons from space – when I was at Boeing. It was dependent on the cost of getting 30 tungsten telephone poles into orbit, and still is. Expensive weapons, but then so are Tomahawk Missiles ($1.5 million a round, as I understand it).



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




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