Monday, February 13, 2017
Between 1965 and 2011, the official poverty rate was essentially flat, while the government spending per person on poverty programs rose by more than 900% after inflation.
Amnesty International Boss Endorses “Jihad in self-defence”
Amnesty and the UN vet refugees.
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.
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
Done, at last.
The news has been uniformly depressing, but perhaps there are a few bright spots. One of them is that Mr. Trump – President Trump – has been resolutely unpersuaded to just give up and enjoy the perks of office, be a good guy, “grow in office” and become popular with the media. That is what happened to Arnold Schwarzenegger when, after a very unlikely series of events, he found himself Governor of California. He had been popular; he became governor; he devised a series of reforms, initiatives which would have deposed at least some of the elites who had previously passed offices around and were the Enlightened, True Rulers of California, who knew best for all and were in alliance with the experienced long serving governing class. The Schwarzenegger initiatives were not acceptable to the Enlightened. They were Benighted. They were not acceptable to the long serving experienced governing class. They would have eliminated many of their perks, and interfered with — well, they just weren’t acceptable.
And suddenly Arnold wasn’t popular any more. Uniformed nurses – at least they wore nurses uniforms – turned out wherever he appeared and called him names he’d previously only heard in locker rooms. Other demonstrations threatened terrible reprisals if those reforms passed. The media suddenly discovered that Arnold Schwarzenegger was not a nice man from Austria; he was a monster, worth talking about only in negative terms. He had been a popular movie star. Now he was an unspeakable imbecile, inexperienced, unable to do anything right. The initiatives failed, and after that it didn’t take him long to “grow” and become, if not popular with the media, at least not anathema. The demonstrations stopped, he was Governor, it was good to be Governor, and every day he did not wake up to headlines denouncing him.
That is probably a fanciful train of thought, but it is more or less as I remember it. I met Arnold Schwarzenegger many years ago at a Christmas party by my agent, back before he was anything in politics. It took me a while to realize I was talking to the strongest man in the world; he was just a nice young man, about as tall as I was, deferential even, and pleasant. A few days later by chance he met Roberta in a Beverly Hills department store and he took some time to help her choose a Christmas present for me. He enjoyed being liked and popular. When the media turned on him, many years later, it was devastating. He’s hardly over it yet.
President Trump is now experiencing that: not only is everything he does mistaken and wrong, it is worse: foolish at best, and more likely just plain evil and mean.
And he has no experience, and doesn’t trust the smooth experienced governing class which knows how things are smoothly done. His Acting Attorney General did not rewrite his executive orders: she denounced them and refused to pass on the orders. Now they are to be rephrased to escape the clownish decision of the Circuit Court to make it clear there is no conflict with the establishment clause: as if an executive order governing which non-citizens are to be admitted to within our borders has anything to do with making laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Query: if a religion of ritual cannibalism were to demand entry into the US, would prohibiting its non-citizen adherents be contrary to the establishment clause? There is no question of citizen rights here. There are no citizens involved. Assuming some vestiges of Thugee, which was abolished in India by the British government in a series of bloody incidents (hardly to be called battles) still exists, would its open adherents be compulsorily admitted by the courts? Would Baal worshippers, who want to put up bronze statues (of course on private property) and sacrifice abortable – say 7 months developed — fetuses by tossing them, still living, through the arms of Baal into a charcoal burner below be welcomed? What if they were refugees? Is this a matter for judicial review?
Perhaps we should have demonstrations in favor of allowing Baal worship, on the condition that all the infants sacrificed are certified fetuses and the abortions are performed with consent of both parents? Is this judicial discussion, or do the Congress and President have any say? Would the police – perhaps the Army – be required to protect the Temple of Baal from angry mobs, say on Sacrifice Day? Would officers who refused to give this order be subject to court martial?
So far Mr. Trump has shown remarkable patience with these courts; but it remains a Constitutional Crisis. He has deferred to the courts. Is he growing?
“To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States” (Article One, Section Eight, Constitution of the United States.)
This power is plenary and absolute, and was not relinquished by “home rule” laws granting officials elected in the District of Columbia to act as if they were the actual government. Since one Congress cannot bind the next, this delegated power could be rescinded at any time.
Congress also retains the right to take back any powers of government over the District of Columbia it sees fit to take back. This certainly includes the arts. I have always thought that the best way for the United States to promote almost anything would be to establish exemplars; as it does with art museums and such. In particular, before the Department of Education imposes an education system on the entire United States, perhaps it could be tried in the District school system? Perhaps as a voluntary opportunity? If it really improved education – not terribly difficult as I understand the DC system, where the teachers and government people almost unanimously do not send their own children into the public school system — then it might be more reasonable to tax people to pay for it being imposed on children all over the nation.
One thing is certain: if the Secretary of Education has any schools ultimately under her control – potentially, since for the moment Congress has delegated that authority to the DC teacher unions – it would be the DC schools.
So of course her attempt to get a first hand look at those schools was met with –
Protesters Meet New Education Secretary at First Public School Visit
Feb 11, 2017
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ attempt to mend fences with teachers and parents across the country got off to a rocky start, when she was confronted by angry protesters during her first visit to a public school.
Several dozen activists gathered outside Jefferson Middle School in Washington, D.C., a predominantly African-American school, chanted “stand up, fight back.” Two protesters tried to block her way and one man was arrested.
DeVos, a wealthy Republican operative and promoter of charter and private schools, said she enjoyed touring the school, but warned her critics that they will not prevent her from doing her job.
“I respect peaceful protest, and I will not be deterred in executing the vital mission of the Department of Education,” DeVos said in a statement. “No school door in America will be blocked from those seeking to help our nation’s school children.”
There was also
It turns out that there was a scheduled meeting with the DVC school chancellor that the demonstrators tried to prevent her from attending. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/protesters-rally-at-dc-school-ahead-of-visit-by-education-secretary-betsy-devos/2017/02/10/faad4962-ef06-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html?utm_term=.cb936e88c990) No one was arrested, and Mrs. DeVos was gracious; but it was an act of rebellion the moment they physically blocked her entry into that building. Mrs. DeVos is the confirmed Secretary of Education, and it would only take a few minutes for the Congress to make her the President of all DC schools, with power to delegate control to whom she chooses. If they want to play this way, the rules are against them.
Congress is sovereign in the District; the Constitution says so. Of course at present she has no authority to retaliate; and the President has not chosen to do so.
I admire Mr. Trump’s restraint: that is, so long as it is not a sign of his “growing”, as Arnold Schwarzenegger “grew” as Governor of California.
Re: ‘There is absolutely no precedent for courts looking to a politician’s statements from before he or she took office, let alone campaign promises, to establish any kind of impermissible motive.’
On 10 Feb 2017, at 11:39, Roland Dobbins wrote:
There is no doubt in my mind that they know exactly what they’re doing.
If they’re successful, the resulting precedent that’s set will completely remove any pretense of objectivity from our judicial system.
When that happens, the extrajudicial will inevitably follow, as they’ll have left no other recourse open.
‘What if the real objective is support for restricting the power of the USDC to judicially review certain actions of the executive branch, or certain congressional legislation?’
Congress certainly has the power to establish a special immigration court which hears all admission cases and from which there is o appeal except direct to USSC. It could do this with a majority vote in both houses. Whether it has that majority in each house is not so clear; possibly, particularly if the District and Appeals Courts continue trying to adjudicate clearly executive and legislative matters – what the USSC has usually called “political matters” – and substitute judicial judgment for that of the President or Congress or both. And continues active rebellion like the DC situation. But that is the nature of a Constitutional Crisis.
We Live in Interesting Times
If there was any doubt about the Politicization of the Federal Judicial Branch, the rulings of the last week have laid that to rest.
There are now Federal Judges openly saying the equivalence of “We known more about the threats of terrorism to this Country than the Executive Branch.” The concept of following established rulings has been thrown aside to serve the egos and political preferences of at least four Federal Judges in the current instance.
The only legal way to have a Federal Judge leave the Bench is through retirement or impeachment. I would suggest that it is time for the Congress of the United States to show some backbone and have the House introduce and pass articles of impeachment against the four Justices and the Senate to hold impeachment hearings and then vote.
I doubt that the Senate will generate the votes required to remove any of these Justices. However, it should alert the American People to those Senators willing to defend the Constitution and those who are not.
Re: The So-Called Judge Crisis
I’m more inclined to agree with you, now that the three Ninth judges have spoken. There’s a good summary of the incoherent stretches they commit at http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/444784/why-ninth-circuit-ruled-against-trumps-refugee-order
(ignore the obligatory NRO it’s-really-Trump’s-fault asides.)
I’m still not worried about a Constitutional smashup in this particular instance – there’s a clear path out of it: Confirm Gorsuch, then appeal it to the Supreme Court.
But what this makes clear is that there’s a significant slice of the US court system where the politically incorrect will be reflexively ruled against even if it takes ignoring black-letter law.
I was immediately reminded of the trouble and expense Rand Simberg et al are still having over Michael Mann’s lawsuit. Various DC courts have spent years failing to toss out Mann’s suit, despite Simberg’s snarky line about Mann’s abuse of climate data clearly being a statement of opinion about a public figure, thus doubly protected.
The trend is clear: Rule of law will be set aside for the politically incorrect. Even if eventually overturned, in the protracted meantime the process will be the punishment. This is indeed a problem.
A problem many times over if the standard is to be routinely applied to acts of a politically incorrect President. The chaos and damage will be near-term and ongoing, the remedy of eventual overturn on appeal increasingly delayed as the higher courts clog up with such.
The constitutional answer of course is, impeach a few of the most egregious ignore-the-law judges, pour encourager les autres. But in the current climate, is there anything which might persuade 15 Dem Senators to go along? I’m not sure there is.
So, yes, the Ninth panel’s decision supporting anti-Administration lawfare implies a major Constitutional trainwreck sooner or later.
Cheated and got caught
A landmark scientific paper –the one that caused a sensation by claiming there has been NO slowdown in global warming since 2000 – was critically flawed. And thanks to the bravery of a whistleblower, we now know that for a fact.
The response has been extraordinary, with The Mail on Sunday’s disclosures reverberating around the world. There have been nearly 150,000 Facebook ‘shares’ since last Sunday, an astonishing number for a technically detailed piece, and extensive coverage in media at home and abroad.
Fighting climate change
Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever read such utter bullshit in a scientific grant proposal.
His next try will assert that woolly mammoths cure cancer.
The Surprising Reason This Scientist Wants to Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth
These are not substantiated, but somehow I don’t expect them to be…
A shocking statement was made by a United Nations official Christiana Figueres at a news conference in Brussels. Figueres admitted that the Global Warming
A carbon tax makes more sense than the “carbon credit trading” scheme, particularly since carbon credit trading has the same economic effects as a tax but it’s payable to the carbon credit brokers instead of to the government.
1. If anthropogenic carbon is not a massive hazard to the planet – and I believe there is a lot of room for debate despite the “unanimity of the experts” on the subject, it’s a massive drag on the economy for no reason.
2. If the revenues go into the general fund to be handed out as favors, instead of accruing to productive endeavors or actually fixing the real (not hypothetical or perceived) problems of atmospheric carbon, it’s again a massive drag on the economy for no benefit.
If carbon is a problem, the “invisible hand of the marketplace” will fix that problem in due course and far more effectively than an carbon credit, tax, or government program.
Very likely. If we need to remove carbon from the atmosphere we must do that – algae tanks, iron in the oceans, electro-mechanical systems running off space solar power, whatever it takes – and far more than the USA alone puts in.
Carbon tax is conservative
To the article labeled: _A Conservative Answer to Climate Change_, despite disagreeing with some of their arguments, you responded that an “insurance policy makes sense,” but the proposal is neither an insurance policy, nor an embodiment of conservative principles, as the article claims. This is another case of crypto democrats (what you call country club republicans) undermining the republican party by presenting a false choice against an hysterical threat. Their proposal is an unnecessary tax, not providing insurance against anything — it is the same Al Gore formula for environmental activism without modification to the additional (if not prime) functionality of enriching Al Gore.
Baker or Schultz acting or speaking as fiscal conservatives would be a true turnabout, but they could get a Nobel for it if they’ve kicked in enough cumshaw and done a good PowerPoint.
And the science isn’t all settled yet on the ozone hole or the Montreal protocol either.
I do not argue with that. I do not know what the true state of climate change is, nor do I think anyone else does. I think the best insurance is a good space program, but I have been saying that for so long that I suspect you are all tired of hearing it.
“”A Conservative Answer to Climate Change Enacting a carbon tax would free up private firms to find the most efficient ways to cut emissions.
I do not accept all their arguments, but I agree that I could be wrong; and insurance policy makes sense. This one is worth thinking about.”
I emphatically do not accept their arguments. Today I read about 8 Icelandic volcanoes ready to erupt and throw us into a sulfur dioxide “nuclear winter”. If we are mired deep in a large program to reduce CO2 a the time these volcanoes erupt we may be corpsicles before it is all over.
In my poorly informed engineer’s mind I hold dear a strong opinion that humankind is the best most adaptable species on this planet unless it ties its own hands behind its collective back. Our best insurance policy is agility and adaptability. The best adaptation takes place post stimulus rather than trying to make wild guesses before any needs develop.
Get the government the heck out of the way and, believe it or not, EGBOK.
Scientific consensus wrong about most great advances.
Dr. Henry Bauer, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Dean Emeritus of the College of Arts & Sciences at Virginia Tech, writes about the failures of scientific consensus and the dangers that presents for public policy.
Science: A Danger for Public Policy?!
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2017/02/08
The contemporary scientific consensus has in fact been wrong about many, perhaps even most of the greatest advances in science: Planck and quantums, Wegener and drifting continents, Mendel and quantitative genetic heredity; the scientific consensus and 1976 Nobel Prize for discovering the viral cause of mad-cow diseases was wrong; that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria had been pooh-poohed by the mainstream consensus for some two decades before adherents of the consensus were willing to examine the evidence and then award a Nobel Prize in 2005.
Historical instances of a mistaken scientific consensus being have seemingly not affected major public policies in catastrophic ways, although one possible precedent for such unhappy influence may be the consensus that supported the eugenics movement around the 1920s, resulting in enforced sterilization of tens of thousands of people in the USA as recently as the latter half of the 20th century.
Nowadays, though, the influence of science is so pervasive that the danger has become quite tangible that major public policies might be based on a scientific consensus that is at best doubtfully valid and at worst demonstrably wrong.
The history of science is unequivocal: Contemporary scientific consensuses have been wrong on some of the most significant issues.
In absence of an impartial comparative analysis, public discourse and public actions are determined by ideology and not by evidence. “Liberals” assert that the mainstream consensus on global warming equals “science” and anyone who properly respects the environment is supposed to accept this scientific consensus. On the other side, many “conservatives” beg to differ, as when Senator Inhofe flourishes a snowball. One doubts that most proponents of either side could give an accurate summary of the pertinent evidence. That is not a very good way to discuss or to make public policy.
For a sweeping survey of the failures of science policy in our age of dogmatism, I recommend Professor Bauer’s book “Dogmatism in Science and Medicine”
Scarce Resources and Money
Dear Doctor Pournelle,
Sometimes I just cannot help myself. I occasionally read something from one of your correspondent’s put forth as “Deep Thought” and it is just so “Can’t see the forest for the trees” that I laugh out loud. I suspect you often are well aware of the unintentional irony, but let it stand without comment. Res ipsa loquitur.
The most recent example is Mr. Alan E Johnson statement that he just cannot accept the allocation of scarce resources, in this case health care, by how much money one has.
One of the few things I know about economics is that you don’t need an “economy” in the strictest sense if you have enough of everything for everyone that needs it. “Economics” is the art/science of allocating scarce resources, and let’s face the Ugly Truth: Nearly Everything On Earth IS A Scarce Resource, at least in the sense that there is not enough for everyone to have as much as they would like to have of almost anything. I think “air” is the only exception requiring that “almost”, and once we start living in pressurized habitats in outer space, we must perforce add it into the equation.
“Money”, aside from it’s great utility as a means of exchange, is a rational tool for allocating resources in all but the most strictly controlled economies. Once you throw out money, you open the door to Government Permits as a means of allocating those scarce resources (i.e.
“Everything”). The Left believes that government is Wise, Beneficial and Much Better at doing things for us than we as individuals can ever be at anything,, and most especially at allocating those scarce things. It is the basic concept of Socialism.
It is increasingly common, apparently thanks to our public schools indoctrination of their students, to hear/read of people acting as if “Common Sense Equals Socialist Thought”. It’s important to point this out from time to time, when someone goes on a bit too much about the Emperor’s Fine New Suit of Clothes!
Snowden on a Stick
It looks like Trump might get a gift from Putin; not a superbowl ring but Snowden:
U.S. intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a “gift” to President Donald Trump — who has called the NSA leaker a “spy” and a “traitor” who deserves to be executed.
That’s according to a senior U.S. official who has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and who says a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to “curry favor” with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins – Observer
I find the above very troubling. And consistent with what I know about IC corporate culture.
I have of course seen mainstream press attacks on Flynn, whom I do not know. The problem is that the ,media and press attacks anything Trump does with little regard to importance and not much more to truth. I cannot see the wolf but I hear so many shouts of his coming… I have had little involvement with the company since the 80’s, and know few involved since General Graham died. I do know enough to know things are often not as they seem, and those who say they know are often sincere in their beliefs, but wrong.
The AI Threat Isn’t Skynet. It’s the End of the Middle Class | WIRED
I think they underestimate the danger. I believe it could be the start of the end of the species. As a species we are not wired to survive a life with no goals, no accomplishments, etc.
We need to get to Mars, the Moon and the asteroid belts ASAP.
We need a survivor contingent of the species out there living the hard life and continuing our existence.
We need to learn to live in space. Moon Base First.
If Franklin Delano Roosevelt could oppose public-service unions as “organizing against the People,” I don’t see why Republicans approving an education secretary favoring non-public-school choice is unacceptable to Democrats — other than Democrats being in thrall to their donor base controlled by SEIU, that is
By the way, I’ve been enjoying Chaos Manor. Am I becoming more conservative in my old age or are you becoming more anarchistic in yours?
I am a bad anarchist, though. I voted for Trump.
I’m still waiting to add your endorsement of Alongside Night — the Movie to your 1979 endorsement of Alongside Night — The Novel.
Teachers Unions are a conspiracy to rob the taxpayers of benefits of school taxes and thus preserve real education to those who can afford private education.
That mean, stupid, ignorant, lying, fascist, racist, misogynist, traitorous, Nazi Trump
You noted this:
“President Trump is now experiencing that: not only is everything he does mistaken and wrong, it is worse: foolish at best, and more likely just plain evil and mean.”
as an accurate description of the media wide characterization of Trump.
I think it would be instructive for someone to look up the network that sponsored Trump’s long run TV shows, see how he was described by his employers at the time he was on TV and the commercials they ran urging viewers to watch him, and contrast that with how that same network, its subsidiaries, and its employees have characterized him since he began his run for the presidency and subsequent to his election.
You would think that after paying him for several years to host a popular program on their network they would have noticed, and commented on, his now so obvious (to them) faults, but no, his universally odious traits only manifested themselves when he became a leading Republican candidate for president, finally blooming into an existential threat to humanity at large AFTER his election.
It would seem that as a group they are EXTREMELY poor judges of character OR that they are willing to say or do anything to advance a particular political agenda and/or destroy political opponents. Neither case provides a strong argument that their pronouncements about the character of a political opponent should be viewed as credible.
Turnabout is fair play?
Dear Jerry –
In the case of the suit against the Trump travel ban, an obvious question was, “What standing does Washington state have to allow it to bring suit? How can it claim injury?”
The answer given is that the state economy is damaged by the dislocations which the ban produce, and so the state has been injured and has standing to sue.
I find this a most entertaining argument, since it turns the “interstate commerce” argument right around and aims it at the Feds. Since the Federal government has argued, for instance, that growing pot in one’s back yard for personal use means that the grower does not buy in the (illegal) market, and thus affects the interstate economy in marijuana, it seems perfectly reasonable for the state of Washington to claim that its economy is being damaged by the effects on individuals within its borders. Sauce for the goose, etc.
Granted, I don’t think either argument should be allowed to stand, but if the principle is going to be established it certainly seems that it should do so fairly.
The one thing certain is that the law does not much deal in fair play or easy comprehension. Perhaps it should. Perhaps we need a new Twelve Tables.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.