Intelligence Ploy? Stretching and Tibetan Rites;. The Bell Curve revisited; Obama awarded Defense Medal; and other matters

Saturday, January 7, 2017

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



Just when I thought it couldn’t get crazier, Washington, the Democrats, and the media found a way. Either I’m nuts, or they are: We have the spectacle of “the Intelligence Community” becoming the leakers-in-chief, probably with the approval and encouragement of the Commander-in-Chief, releasing a “Declassified” document insisting that we know:

1. Who hacked what servers, Federal, State, and County. The hacking was done by Russia,

2. Not only what country accomplished the hacking, but what organizations in that country did it.

3. The name of the Russian official who approved this operation, namely Mr. Putin.

4. What he intended to accomplish with all this, namely that he wanted to influence the American Presidential election, ensuring the election of Donald Trump, while degrading Hillary Clinton, this with a view to undermining liberal democracy everywhere in the world.

In other words, we have the most spectacularly accomplished and successful Intelligence establishment in the world, ranking right up there with some of the great spies in history; and this Intelligence Community released a report bragging about the accomplishments.

Since the evidence on which they based these conclusions remains classified and is nowhere even hinted at, we must draw our own conclusions without it.

The first conclusion is that there are only a few ways we could have any level of certitude about the intentions of Mr. Putin. One would be his own public statements; but these seem a mixed bag, capable of several interpretations, and do not constitute overwhelming evidence of an intent to work harm against America in order to promote Mr. Trump and downgrade Mrs. Clinton. Indeed, from much of what he has said, he would consider Mr. Trump both a more formidable opponent than Barack Obama or Mrs. Clinton as his successor. He might prefer Mr. Trump as a better candidate for a deal – he has said as much – but where is the evidence that he feels so strongly on this that he would use clandestine methods to harm Clinton and aid Trump? Mr. Putin did not leave incriminating emails on Mrs. Clinton’s server, nor did Russian hackers falsify any voter information. He has made public statements about the form of liberal democracy the US establishment tries to export, and is obviously not impressed with the results in Somalia, Libya, and various other places, but neither is anyone else; no clandestine means needed.

Now it is possible that the hackings were so sloppy as to leave irrefutable evidence of both the country of origin of the hackers; that it was a government act; and the hackers left evidence of their identity. It is possible that we are so skilled as to identify that these indicators of Russian involvement are genuine, and not some clues left by others intent on deceiving us; but it is not obviously true. It is an extraordinary claim, or two claims: that we’re that good, and they’re that sloppy; but again this is not obvious, and indeed most evidence is that they are plenty good.

DNI Chief Clapper Takes Swipe at Trump, Assange as He Defends Russia Hack Intel

The nation’s top intelligence official on Thursday defended his colleagues’ findings that Russian agents interfered in the U.S. election — and dismissed the credibility of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a day after the president-elect appeared to back him over the intelligence community.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also took a swipe at the president-elect for “disparaging” the intelligence community.

Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia had stepped up its cyber espionage operations, but stopped short of declaring the Russian election hacking an “act of war,” saying that would be “a very heavy policy call” more appropriate for others to make. [snip]

A Look at Russian Hacking

While the international space station brings new renown to Russia, the nation is gaining a darker sort of notice from other explorers — hackers who launch into cyberspace.

Russia’s reputation as home to some of the world’s most gifted and devious hackers was underscored last month when Microsoft Corp. disclosed that passwords used to access its coveted source code had been sent from the company network to an e-mail address in St. Petersburg.

It is by no means clear whether a Russian was behind the break-in — that e-mail account could have been managed remotely. But that doesn’t stop Russian hackers — “khakeri,” or “vzlomshchiki (house-breakers)” — from puffing out their chests at such exploits.

Bragging Rights?

In a recent poll on a hacker-oriented Web site, 82 percent said Russia had the world’s best hackers; only 5 percent said Americans were better. [snip]

And none of this is much evidence that the activity was ordered by Mr. Putin; and even less so for ascertaining his motive. Indeed, the only way we could be positive that it was ordered by Mr. Putin specifically to upgrade Mr. Trump and downgrade Mrs. Clinton – positive to the degree General Clapper asserts that we know it – would to be to have a mole in Mr. Putin’s headquarters: a code clerk, or stenographer, or a high official; someone who would be present when such matters were discussed. If we’re that sure, we must have sparked some frantic counter-intelligence activities in the Kremlin. Perhaps I have underestimated the abilities of our Intelligence Community? This whole show was to make the Kremlin go mole hunting?

In any event, it was not designed to increase Mr. Trump’s esteem for the Intelligence Community; but it does make the Democrats feel better about losing elections down to the level of county dog catcher; it was all because of the Russian, and that devil, Putin.

Clapper: Alleged Russian Hacking Efforts ‘Did Not Change the Vote Tallies’

[snip] MCCAIN: I thank you. And so really, what we’re talking about, is if they succeeded in changing the results of an election of which none of us believe they were, that would have to constitute an attack on the United States of America because of the effects, if they had succeeded, would you agree with that?

CLAPPER: First, we cannot say — they did not change any vote tallies or — or anything of that sort.

MCCAIN: Yeah, I’m just talking about…


CLAPPER: And we have no — we have no way of gauging the impact that — certainly the intelligence community can’t gauge the — the impact it had on the choices the electorate made. There’s no way for us to gauge that.

Whether or not that constitutes an act of war I think is a very heavy policy call that I don’t believe the intelligence community should make. But it’s certainly — would carry in my view great gravity. [snip]


The week started reasonably well, but Wednesday night I read late, slept in late Thursday, and everything started downhill. Didn’t get much done Thursday – not really much to write about, what with not going to CES, and the gangs in Washington chasing their tails. Friday morning I woke up to find I had a crippling backache. It was about the same in both location and magnitude as the one I had in the early 1980’s, when Larry and I were working on Footfall. It went on for days, and during that time Larry and I were guests of honor at a science fiction convention in Bellingham, Washington. The backache was so severe that Larry had to deal with my luggage; it was very nearly crippling. The morning after we got there I had so much trouble bending far enough to put my socks on that Larry was moved to ask “Just how close is this collaboration?”

I was young then and managed to endure the weekend, and returned home to find the medical profession wasn’t much use. They could offer me pills and other pain relieving stuff, but not much else. Fortunately, Steve Barnes did know: he gave me a book, Stretching, which told me exercises that in a week got me mobile and in three weeks essentially banished that particular back pain for thirty years. I’ve given copies of that book to any friend who has back problems, and it works. Well, usually works. The exercises for that back pain are very painful; at least they were for me. I do tend to be an overachiever, and that may be part of it. But I stuck to them, and in a week they weren’t particularly painful, and in three weeks my pains were gone. I periodically kept them up over the years, along with the Five Tibetan Rites, but since my stroke I have been neglectful, and since Roberta’s difficulties even more so; and Friday morning I could barely walk.

I knew precisely what I had to do (as well as what I’ll have to do in future): I had to do those stretches. The problem was that the important ones involve being on the floor. It’s not easy for me to get on the floor, but I managed it. Did several stretches and twists. Painful as hell, bad as I remembered from thirty years ago, but I knew I was improving, and next time wouldn’t be as bad. Unfortunately, I was on the floor. My Yoga pad was upstairs, but I was on the floor of my downstairs bedroom. And I couldn’t get off the floor. I couldn’t even get to my knees.

I tried, and managed to pull over a chair trying. A fall of no great distance – I couldn’t even get to my knees – and a resulting huge ugly bruise on my forearm, but it wasn’t painful and it will go way. No further damage except to the remnants of my pride. And there didn’t seem to be a path to standing up in my bedroom. I’d have to get to my knees first, and while normally I have no problems doing that, the back pains were severe enough to prevent it.

I managed to scoot across the floor to the bathroom, where there is a signaling device – placed a bit high for reaching from the floor, but with the aid of a grab bar down low near the toilet I got to it and pushed the button.

Of course nothing happened. Ryan and Kelly had taken Roberta to physical therapy and I was alone in the house.

But the grab bar down low by the toilet was sufficient to let me get to my knees, then to sit on the toilet, and from there it was painful to stand but I could do it. Ryan and Kelly brought Roberta back an hour later. By then I had made coffee, and taken a lot better precautions about getting up again and had a couple more stretches. And this morning the back pain was down by more than half, I could do more stretches, and now, this afternoon, I’ve got this thing licked. If I’d known about Stretching thirty years ago I needn’t have spent several weeks of misery. I advise everyone: get that book, and learn about The Five Tibetan Rites. You’ll be glad you did.

The Tibetan Rites will help you grow old a little more gracefully. I’m not really up to them although I was working my way into them when Roberta had her stroke, and I shouldn’t have stopped. I’ll start again. Incidentally, while Hugh Howey and Amber give a good non-mystical intro to the Tibetan Rites, the best demonstration is by Ellen Rush.



Find the darnedest things in the internet…



The original controversial book, with an afterward by one of the authors, I do believe.

The version with the afterward is 689 pages while the original (also downloadable) is 439 pages. Careful, the main part of the site seems to want people to download stuff they likely don’t want. This link seems clean.

Somewhat of a follow up to the ground breaking study, internationalized.

An overview with various links of possible interest.

Charles Brumbelow

It is one book everyone ought to read; it has been badly reviewed, lambasted, denounced by “scholars” who have never read it; but the data are there, and you can make up your own mind.


“They did not change any vote tallies or anything of that sort.”



Roland Dobbins


Now what do you suppose could be done with all that fresh water?

very, very respectfully,



Congressman and Pilot Jim Bridenstine is the Trump pick for NASA Admin. He is friendly to what you and your readers want. Mitch Daniels is being offered as the alternative. Buzz and the Mars people have gotten behind Daniels. Few sure Daniels really wants the job but it muddies the waters.

This is a good rundown of where everything else stands.


There you go, again

Dr. Pournelle,
National review has caught up to you on F35:
NR is also calling for intelligence reform, but I seem to remember reform being how we got into this mess:
…more iron law examples, I suppose. To my thinking, F35 acquisition is typical, not exceptional, in the way military contracts are run, and the whole system needs to be rebuilt. Combining intelligence agencies ignores the very real problem of political, military, and commercial intelligence becoming a political stage for personal gain — these services _need_ firewalls to maintain credibility and constrain behavior. We’ve failed to learn the lessons from J. Edgar Hoover’s secret policing and Colin Powell’s disgrace.
With best wishes for Roberta,


Obama Awards Himself Defense Dept. Distinguished Public Service Medal

by BREITBART NEWS January 5, 2017



On Wednesday, President Obama added another prestigious medal to his Nobel Prize collection when he had Defense Secretary Ash Carter award him with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

Secretary Carter awarded his boss with the medal on January 4 during the Armed Forces Full Honor Farewell Review for the President held at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.

Carter insisted that the medal was a token of appreciation for Obama’s service as commander in chief, the Associated Press reported.

Read more: Family Security Matters
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution


‘When the only acceptable answer to the natural inequality of man is more democracy, you eventually end up with pure democracy, but the same natural inequality. That leaves enforced equality as the logical next step.’



Roland Dobbins


“There is too much to do” is a terrible excuse for doing nothing.

— Howard Tayler



While digging around in the past I found this, which may be worth reading through the section on how the ARPANET saved GPS.



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



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