Newt Gingrich on Trump; Middle East again; Skeleton in Armor; and more

Chaos Manor View, Saturday, April 2, 2016

“This is the most transparent administration in history.”

Barrack Obama

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.

Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.

Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.


The panic over Trump continues; part of it is genuine misunderstanding. Of course some is genuine panic, caused by real misunderstanding; and some is feigned for self-serving reasons.

For those actually seeking understanding, while I do not often recommend Slate, I do recommend a recent interview given by Newt Gingrich to a Slate contributor who is obviously attempting to be fair, although he is unlikely to agree with Newt on very much.

Newt Gingrich Is Bullish on Donald Trump

A spirited debate with the former speaker on the merits of the mogul.

By Isaac Chotiner

Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and onetime presidential candidate, has always been considered a man of ideas. After leading his party to power in Congress following the release of the Contract With America in 1994, Gingrich became known for his sometimes-quirky policy proposals and unabashed love of wonkery. During the 2012 campaign, he pledged to establish a colony on the moon.

Since I have advocated a Moon Colony since 1970, I don’t see Newt’s proposal in quite the same light as the Slate interviewer, of course. I have known Speaker Gingrich a very long time, having met him when my phone rang decades ago and a voice said, “This is Newt Gingrich. I’ve been elected as a Congressman from Georgia. I’ve read A Step Farther Out, and I’d like to discuss it with you.” In those days my phone number was a bit harder to get than it is now, and there was no Internet – indeed, I showed Newt how to use ARPAnet. I asked him how he got my phone number.

“I called your publisher, and he gave it to me.”

From that time on I was one of Newt’s advisors. When he was Minority Whip I brought Dan Golden, the Administrator of NASA, over to the Capitol to meet him. I have found Newt to be one of the most astute politicians I have ever known, and I find his views on Trump rather close to those I have formed on my own. Note that Newt does not endorse Mr. Trump, but accepts him as a candidate with some interesting policies, and rejects neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Cruz.

Isaac Chotiner: You were at a meeting on Monday with other Washington figures and Trump. What did you make of him?

Newt Gingrich: Well, Callista and I were both very impressed. In that kind of a setting he talks in a relatively low tone. He is very much somebody who has been good at business. And he listens well. He outlined the campaign as he saw it. I think he did a good job listening. He occasionally asked clarifying questions. He was very open to critical advice. I am not going to get into details, but I will say my overall impression was that in that setting he was totally under control as a guy who has done a ton of business and knows exactly how to operate in that kind of room.

You seem more sanguine than other people in Washington about Trump’s rise. Is that fair to say?

Sure. Remember, I came in as a Reaganite, Kempite when I helped lead the effort in 1994. And I have consistently been in favor of a more aggressive, more active Republican Party that reaches out and expands its base and that is very, very idea-oriented. I think Washington is a city with enormous problems. I think we need somebody—and both Cruz and Trump fit this—who is going to break up the old order and insist on real change. It’s not that I am sanguine. This will lead to a period of very real challenges, but I think we need it.

There is a great deal more. I recommend this interview to you.

My thanks to Phil Tharp for calling my attention to it.


Russia, Iran, Turkey. etc. 


I have been thinking about a dilemma in the Middle East which has larger implications. To wit: Russia, Turkey, Iran, and the US.

Russia has historically had very amicable relations with Iran (formerly Persia), and very hostile relations with Turkey. Abdul Abulbul Amir is a cute song that speaks to a centuries-old reality.

The US, since WWII at least, has had rather good relations with Turkey, and with Iran during the Shah’s regime. Of course, since 1979 our relations with Iran have been quite hostile, but Russia evidently regards that as our problem, not theirs (“Ne moya beda” was one of the most common statements heard in the USSR).

Now, neither the US nor Russia is getting along with Turkey, since Erdogan’s apparent enthusiasm for Islamisation.

So we have common ground with Russia on Turkey, but not on Iran, an ironic reversal from the days of the Cold War. But can Putin be entirely disinterested in the prospect of Iran’s becoming a nuclear power? How far can he trust the Islamic regime’s decision-makers? They will have no more love for a Christian Russia than for a Christian America. Putin is no fool and such thoughts will surely have occurred to him.

I haven’t done an exhaustive Internet search on this, and I am not qualified to hold an informed opinion, but it seems to be to be a matter of some importance.

Do you or any of your correspondents have any insight into this?

Richard White

Austin, Texas

I think we have common interests with Russia on Iran. We are both Infidel nations in the view of the Mullahs and Ayatollahs, and Putin knows this better than Obama. Russia wanted Persia for centuries – with its warm water ports upon the sea – but when Stalin tried to claim it, Truman forced him out with the threat of war. It is difficult to predict just where Iran will go.

It is all complicated by tribal/racial factors: neither Turks nor Kurds nor Iranians are Arabs. We like to pretend that such things do not matter, but historically they have.

Our best weapons against Iran are cultural weapons of mass destruction. They have worked on us; they will work there as well.


Office 2021: Why robots won’t end drudgery or steal our jobs

When it comes to robots and automation, there are two core extremes of view. The first does a gleeful happy-dance about how all our beautiful mechanical friends will liberate us from the grinding tedium of repetitive drudgery. The second warns bleakly that machines will enslave humanity and lead to mass unending unemployment. And possibly a slow and painful death.

Yet even this divisive two-part picture is skewed. As Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of European Automation points out: “History has shown that when economic times are good, machines are celebrated as wonders of progress that will improve our lives. But when times are tough, they become objects of fear.”

So, is there any kind of sensible middle way? Well, a new book, Service Automation: Robots and the Future of Work 2016, by two academics – LSE Professor Leslie Willcocks and Dr. Mary C. Lacity of University of Missouri-St. Louis – strives to provide some balance. This contains ne

This is mostly a book review, but it contains interesting arguments. For those who do not know if Freefall, the on-line “comic” or serialized graphic novel, I urge you to read it: it has some novel approaches to Artificial Intelligence. I warn you, it will take a couple of weeks to start at the beginning and read up to the present; there three or four frames per issue, three issues a week, and the while it has been running for years, the time covered is only a few months; there are many concepts and characters, the story is both serious and comical, and things are not always what they seem. I look forward to it every day now, and many of you will also. You may go to the series beginning from the current strip. You should do so.


Now this is just plain weird. Of course I have mostly used the idea of panspermia in my stories; it simplifies building a story world. Sir Fred Hoyle was convinced of its truth.

This Astrobiologist Is Collecting Unrecognizable Beings from the Stratosphere.



Roland Dobbins


“Either it’s … an entirely new culture that looks exactly like the Norse and we don’t know what it is. Or it’s the westernmost Norse site that’s ever been discovered.”



Roland Dobbins

And of course there’s The Skeleton in Armor (see California Sixth Grade Reader ).






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




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