Chaos Manor View, Wednesday, November 18, 2015
It’s Wednesday, and Niven, Barnes, and I had our book conference. The Avalon novel is progressing nicely, and it is interesting to see how many problems are inherent in populating a slower than light universe. They make for good stories.
immigrants and refugees
“Is there much point in analyzing the folly of admitting migrants, refugees, immigrants at this time? We have no way at all of vetting applicants.”
Actually, I do not think such an analysis would be a waste of time.
Just for the sake of argument, can we draw any analogies or come to any conclusions based on the admittance of refugees from e.g. Germany and Eastern Europe prior to and during WWII? Seems if Franklin Roosevelt’s administration had tightened up immigration quotas and turned people away, we might have been missing some keen minds and willing labor (and some fierce fighters) when we needed them most. (Not to mention that the movie Casablanca wouldn’t have had a good dramatic hook.) Why might such a line of reasoning, applied to the current situation, be invalid?
Looking forward to hearing of your Thanksgiving endeavors with gluten-free gravy,
The refugees from Germany and Italy during the ‘30’s had many things in common, the most important of which was a general familiarity with and adherence to Western Civilization and its values. They did not espouse honor killings, female vaginal mutilation, Sharia Law, and other values quite at odds with the norm in America. They were apt candidates for the melting pot to become Americans; as Bill Buckley once observed, you could study to learn how to become an American in ways you could never study to learn to be a Swiss. They could be assimilated without great stress.
Good government is a blessing; or, if you don’t accept that, you must at least admit that it is rare, difficult to achieve, and even more difficult to keep. “A Republic, if you can keep it,” as Franklin put it. That has not changed since 1787, nor is it likely to. Diversity may be theoretically desirable, but the evidence that it leads to stability is thin. E Pluribus Unum used to be the National Motto; changing it to “In God we trust” may have been a mistake. Of course the goal is not one of forging a nation of identical believers, nor was it ever thought it would be; but seeking “diversity” – that is deliberately adding stress to the national unity – has always been a chancy enterprise. Republics degenerate as do other forms of government; one reason Jefferson thought that government which governs best governs least.
The 30’s refugees included a number of persons who were or became Communists; the result was a great deal of stress on the Republic. Could we tolerate an implacable enemy whose self-proclaimed goal was the destruction of our society in favor of one which, marched instead to the scientific end of history? An end which the Party knew only dimly, but since it was guided by the scientifically true principles of Marxism, it knew best. The dictatorship of the proletariat guided by the Party was inevitable; march with the flywheel of history, not against it. The way will be hard, and many will fall by the wayside, but the end of history is known; do not make yourself an enemy of the people. Join us.
It was decided that we could tolerate them, and we did; but that was government by an elite group, not of the people. The Enlightened knew best; and the Benighted masses had better learn that fast. The victim was self government, but after all, the people didn’t really know how to govern themselves, and had to be led, whether they liked it or not. It is always a temptation for the intelligent to use force to require the uninformed masses to follow where they lead; another reason why big government is dangerous. And so we accepted some immigrants; others like Karl Popper went to England.
But those emigrants were part of Western Civilization, and not all advocated that we join their version of the inevitable end of history; and opposed to them was another implacable enemy, equally dedicated to overthrow of “the rule of the classes” in favor of the masses led by the Enlightened, and which had even less adherence to principles we held dear. The Nazi’s were not, by pour standards, rational.
It happened that we were able to attract Einstein, Fermi, and many other refugees and immigrants who collectively added to our strength among others who added to stress; and of course a resilient Republic needs a certain degree of stress, if only to avoid stasis.
The question is one of transforming the values of the nation, abandoning the principle of E Pluribus Unum for one of perpetual diversity; and to do so under pressure without debate; and to do so against the will of the people: without the consent of the governed. Without debate or discussion.
: Refugee Terrorists in US
Well, they’ve arrested refugees who turned out to be terrorists; it looks like the FBI director was correct and we can’t properly vet these people. That being the case, I see no reason to take anyone that we can’t vet and I see no reason to make exceptions.
34 governors are refusing to take refugees with at least two threatening to use the National Guard.
And while this president used argumentum ad hominem in a pathetic attempt to attack the GOP position on pausing the refugee program by saying they’re afraid of widows and orphans, a female suicide bomber detonated her bombs in Paris:
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
The President clearly is acting against the consent of the governed; his the office, his the power. That is not quite how the American government is supposed to work even in wartime. A better alternative would be for the US to take territory from ISIS and give it to the migrants to settle in.
A Foreign Legion in the Middle East, and Imperium
“We also need what amounts to a Foreign Legion: an armed force that is permanently deployed overseas. Its job is to enforce the terms…”
If you have come to that conclusion, then it seems to me that we are merely discussing what sort of Empire we shall have, and the Republic is no longer an option. A Republic may make war, and destroy its foes and even rebuild them as allies. A Republic does not establish a permanent foreign constabulary.
France had their Foreign Legion from its creation by king Louis Philippe, through the Second Republic, Napoleon III, the Third Republic, Vichy, The Fourth Republic, to this day. It is true that a Foreign Legion is not a normal accoutrement of a Republic, and is more suitable to Empire; but it is possible, and at this point may be necessary for a rational foreign policy in the Near East. We cannot establish a protectorate without troops ready to defend them; such troops must not be citizen soldiers. The cost of that is too high. We cannot send our citizens overseas for most of their lives; yet we need forces ready to act in that foreign land.
Citizen soldiers can conquer territory from ISIS; we can give it to refugees and migrants and local authorities; but we cannot assure their stability without local forces. We cannot provide those local forces using citizen soldiers.
Creation of a Legion to serve US interests is a large topic, and we haven’t room for it here; but history shows that republics can have such military forces and remain a republic subject to consent of the governed.
Anonymous vs. ISIS?
Kevin D. Williamson is one of my favorite writers.
Compare Anonymous’s cocky declaration of war with the efforts of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and CIA Director John Brennan, who after the Paris attacks resumed their sad little campaign to convince Silicon Valley technology firms — sometimes bullying, sometimes wheedling — to simply design software and devices in such a way as to give government intelligence and law-enforcement operatives an easy “back door” into secure communication.
Can Uncle Stupid be trusted with a universal back door? There’s reason to think otherwise.
Anyone remember the late, un-lamented “Clipper Chip”?
The piece also reminded me — although it’s something of a stretch — of Dr. Pournelle’s story “Enforcer” in his book _High Justice_.
And of Vernor Vinge’s story, “True Names”.
Exercise before Paris Attack
If you look into certain terrorist attacks, you’ll see an exercise occurred before the event, simulating the event. According to insurance company actuary tables, the odds of this happening are somewhere around 23 tetragillion to one. That’s a number with 42 zeros after it. Well, it happened again:
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
Parisian Preference Cascade?
Apropos the ISIL regime in western Mesopotamia, Winston Churchill famously said “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
Over the last few days, I’ve seen signs of a building US public consensus that our leadership, and troops, are needed to resolve the matter after all. What some of us have been saying since it happened, that failing to ramrod a status-of-forces deal and pulling all the troops out of Iraq was a disastrous error, seems suddenly to be the common wisdom.
This morning’s C-Span Washington Journal call-ins are one indication.
In recent years when people don’t care that much about an issue, thinly-disguised Dem partisan operatives tend to dominate the phone lines. This morning, they were crowded out on all three lines, Dem, Rep, and Independent, by people saying “leaving was a mistake – we need to go back.” (There were even multiple callers with African-American accents saying this President is in error on the point – something I’ve never heard before.)
Many of the callers (as well as, so far, half the governors in the
country) also said they don’t want refugees from the region brought here, given the obvious danger of ISIL operatives in the mix.
Over the past couple of days we’ve also begun hearing all this from media types who, pre-Paris, were reliably in the President’s pocket.
Mainstream reporters were suddenly aggressively questioning the President on the matter yesterday, forcing the President to spend most of an hour peevishly denying he ever made a mistake and refusing to consider any change of course.
Whether or not he admits error, the pressure on him to do more is suddenly huge. His history says he’ll resist as long as he can, and then do the minimum he thinks he can get away with – badly. I suspect we’re due for a rough next 14 months, with the problem more likely further enlarged by half-measures than solved.
The President who had Churchill’s bust removed from his office will probably continue proving Sir Winston right by trying everything else.
The wildcard in all this is the refugees. One of the points the President dug his heels in on yesterday was his plan to bring in thousands from the region with no realistic possibility of effective screening against ISIL operatives. If he doubles down on this one (he’s hinting at it and I wouldn’t bet against it) rather than backing down, he may finally discover an issue close enough to home for average Americans to generate a 67-Senator coalition against him.
Mind, I wouldn’t count on such a coalition holding together any longer than it takes to force him to back down on that one point. Unless, of course, he refuses to back down. Just how firmly divorced from reality is he on these issues? So far, pretty firmly.
There is no indication that the President has the slightest intention of revising his policy of receiving refugee immigrants; he believes he has a moral obligation to do so, and anyone opposed to that is in error.
Islamic State plans deadly cyber attacks, says Britain – but how real is the threat? (ZD)
The UK today warned of terrorists targeting hospitals, power stations and air-traffic control systems. But for the moment a number of factors may stand in the way of those deadly ambitions.
By Steve Ranger | November 17, 2015 — 12:48 GMT (04:48 PST) |
Terrorists from the so-called Islamic State want to launch deadly cyber attacks against targets such as power stations, hospitals and air-traffic control systems in the UK, Chancellor George Osborne has said.
“The stakes could hardly be higher — if our electricity supply, or our air-traffic control, or our hospitals were successfully attacked online, the impact could be measured not just in terms of economic damage but of lives lost,” the Chancellor said in a speech at the headquarters of surveillance agency GCHQ.
Osborne said IS does not yet have the capability to kill by attacking the UK’s critical infrastructure but added: “We know they want it and are doing their best to build it. So when we talk about tackling ISIL, that means tackling their cyberthreat as well as the threat of their guns, bombs and knives.”
As a result of this danger and other threats, Osborne said the UK is almost doubling its cybersecurity spending to £1.9bn over five years.
But how likely is it that IS — or any terrorist group — could launch a deadly cyber attack?
Breaking into the industrial-control systems of a power station or chemical factory to cause damage is theoretically possible, especially because these systems are now being connected to the internet to help with, for example, remote monitoring.
And because these industrial-control systems were often built decades ago, they lack the security of more modern systems, making them potentially vulnerable to hackers. However, they also tend to be bespoke, so that attacking any system is likely to take significant reconnaissance, research and hard-to-find technical skills.
Those factors help explain why such attacks have until now only been thought of as an option for the largest nation states with significant resources and long-term planning. And so far no digital attack of this kind has lead to loss of life. [snip]
Interesting to note in light of your email about macro virus resurgence that the financial institution I’m on the security staff for has had a steep increase in that type of attack. SANS described exactly the macro virus style we have been receiving. The name of the file was different in each of the received emails of which there have been several dozen.
Please delete my signature information, I’d rather the senders of the virus didn’t decide to hit us harder.
It’s getting dangerous out there…
What should you do in an [terrorist] attack?
This article is very well written and the info is good — speaking as someone who has been a duly certified, sworn reserve police officer.
Of course, it is also written from a European standpoint, and so it does not assume that anyone in the victim group is armed. At least here in the US Southeast, that is an additional action to factor in. An option there is to take substantial cover, wait until gunfire has stopped or until the gunman is facing away from you, then take the shot(s), immediately ducking back under cover once you’ve popped as many as you can. Be aware that if there is more than one gunman, and you do not take all gunmen out, more than likely the others WILL return your fire. Hence the need for SUBSTANTIAL cover. Obviously as a police officer I would not have recommended this, but I’m not one anymore, and it’s what I’d do.
Be patient waiting for the gunman/men to give you an opening. This could take a bit, but wait for a GOOD opportunity. Otherwise you are wasting the chance and most likely your life.
NEVER come fully out from cover if you can avoid it, unless it is to take a high-probability chance to get to safety. Especially do not come fully out to take a shot. You will not have time to resume cover before the other perps fire at you. Expose only enough of yourself to take the shot, and minimize your profile as much as possible. Don’t know how? Go to the range and ask the rangemaster to show you, then practice taking those kinds of shots. Often.
Also be aware that, even for trained personnel like police, adrenaline will be very high, and consequently your hands will not be steady. Don’t try for a fancy shot — you will almost certainly miss. Don’t shoot to disarm; that’s a fancy shot and it’s next to impossible. Besides, if s/he has another gun, you’re toast. Police are often taught to fire in groups of 3, with the first two being center of mass shots, and the third being a groin shot. This targets:
- center of mass — spleen, liver, descending aorta, and to a lesser extent the spinal cord for incapacitation
- groin — junction of descending aorta and femoral arteries
Both target areas are rapid bleed-out sites. Shoot to take out the perp, whatever that ends up meaning. Chances are, it means the perp will be dead. I was taught that, if I had to draw my weapon, I should expect to use it; if I had to use it, I should expect the perp to be dead at the end of the encounter. This may sound cold, especially from me: Don’t worry about it. A terrorist doesn’t intend to leave the site alive anyway. Better you finish him before he can finish you.
Optimally, of course, you want to be so observant and cognizant of activity around you that you see something unusual shaping up and clear the area before it occurs.
I make no claim to being an expert; I am not. I merely offer what knowledge I possess for your consideration.
“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”
One caveat. The terrorists in Paris were wearing suicide vests with TATP. This almost certainly will detonate from a large caliber impact. I don’t think that changes tactics – they still must be stopped to limit further casualties. All you can do is pray that nobody else is nearby and consider the blast protection of your cover point. Conversely, the one center of mass shot should suffice to neutralize the threat, though don’t let that stop your double tap.
Actually, an explosive vest will NOT necessarily detonate, Jim. The concept of a bullet impact detonating all explosives is a Hollywood image, not reality; otherwise mortar fireworks would all detonate on the ground. It very much depends on the type of explosive and the nature of the initiator.
Yes, I know you specified a particular explosive. But TATP (aka triacetone peroxide) is unstable, which is well known, and is also well known for detonating before it’s supposed to do. (It’s the child’s adage, “Fall down, go boom” — literally.) So while it is still used by terrorists, those who have a particular “mission” in mind will tend NOT to use it.
But that is one reason why I specified NOT to come completely out of your cover to take the shot, and to have substantial cover — one option that any other terrorists you don’t kill will have is to detonate their suicide vests. It definitely falls under the heading of enemy fire.
“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”
The Quantum Source of Space-Time.
You will see this again, with comments.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.