The election, Fred, and other matters.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham

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

“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.



More chaos, but some order is appearing at last.

I call your attention to Our long suffering webmaster Rick Hellewell has been struggling to keep up with Chaos Manor Reviews. I hope to revive it shortly, if things will just stop flowing so…

From time to time I call attention to some of the ramblings of my friend Fred Reed, who calls himself a curmudgeon. I got this comment from a friend:

Fred Reed is just another crank who can write well. Information comes only from the unpredictable, but Fred always says the same things. Further, there has always been someone predicting the imminent collapse of the republic since the creation of the republic, so the existence of such an opinion or article conveys no information. Consistently right-wing and left-wing websites are in the business of reinforcing priors and rallying their respective troops, not educating or changing opinions. No light, just heat.

All this reading I’ve done about what was going on in the early 1970s makes it quite clear that essentially everything is better today. Politicians were worse then, American society was more contentious, the external threats were vastly more serious, and most people were poor as dirt by today’s standards.

There’s no lack of structural risks in today’s America, but they are fewer, less severe, and easier to fix should we decide to fix them. Maybe the chaos and incompetence of a Trump administration or the foolishness and corruption of a Clinton administration will be a wake-up call for reform, but I’m confident that neither one will be the death of us.

While I do not agree that Fred is always a crank – some days Fred might even agree that he is – I know that he is a lot more than a crank, and often worth listening to not only in spite of, but because of, his style; but I tend to agree: America is more resilient than many think. We have endured much and yet survived. But the Establishment has assumed powers not dreamed of by Boss Tweed and Tammany and Prendergast, and technology which has empowered individuals has also unraveled a number of the safeguard institutions of the US. I think Fred is wrong: despair remains a sin.

Russell Kirk taught that “conservatism is enjoyment” but he was not naïve about threats. He held that we should approach the deficiencies of the Republic as we would the wounds of a father: and we must keep that in mind as we watch the growing power of the ruling class.


Meanwhile, the bureaucrats in Washington have managed to horrify even the most liberal establishment: they have tried to claw back the reenlistment bonuses paid to induce troops to go to Iraq and Afghanistan again even after it was made pretty clear to the Army that the politicians, beginning with Bush who listened to the “professional” Foreign Service and appointed Bremer to govern Iraq out of the bureaucracy instead of someone he could trust – just as his father sent April Glaspie to be Ambassador to Saddam Hussein, and instead of persuading him that taking Kuwait was a life threatening mistake, she delivered a note that Hussein misinterpreted – as would anyone else in his situation. And thus began the first Iraq war, which was followed inevitably by the second.

Still the bureaucracy prevailed again. Foreign Service Seniority rules tossed up Bremer, and Bremer was appointed to mess things up and get us involved in a land war in Asia when we thought we had won. We sacrificed our treasure and our heroes’ blood for the gratification of arrogant “professional” rules and liberal notions of building democracy where it never was before. We had many alternatives we might have tried, but none fit the narrative we are supposed to swallow whole without question.

And now we are about to betray the only friends we have left over there: certainly Hillary will. Her record as Secretary of State is one of misunderstanding and disaster. In Libya she sent back the bulletin :We came, we saw, he died to describe a man who desperately tried to Finlandize his nation. I doubt the people of the failed state of warring tribes thank her for that.

And now the bureaucrats move against the veterans. They need more money for bonuses they can pay themselves:

“They’ll get their money, but I want those years back.”



Roland Dobbins

I remind you that the great issue in the last days of the Roman Republic involved veterans retirement benefits.


Almost half of Republicans fear election-rigging

Boston Herald

Nearly half of Republicans will have doubts about the outcome of the election if their candidate doesn’t win, according to a new poll — another sign that Donald Trump’s cries of widespread voter fraud and rigged systems could seriously undermine a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Some 45 percent of Republicans said they will not accept the results of the election if Trump loses, compared to 16 percent of Democrats, according to an NBC/Survey Monkey poll released yesterday.

Trump vowed to keep the nation “in suspense” about whether he would accept the Nov. 8 election results during Wednesday’s debate, after weeks of railing against what he considers a corrupt media, a rigged election system and faulty polls.

Another poll, by Reuters/Ipsos, showed Trump gaining on Clinton. The former secretary of state still held a 44-40 percent lead this week, but that was down from the same survey the previous week that had her up by 7 points.

“Make no mistake, by doing that, he is threatening our democracy,” Clinton said at a rally in Cleveland yesterday. “We know in our country the difference between leadership and dictatorship, right?”[snip]

A general loses his clearance and is to be jailed for security breach: he confirmed to reporters what they already knew. Mrs. Clinton retains hers. But surely the law is impartial?


Then we have Dilbert’s view:


Missing voters

Dr. Pournelle,
A follow-up on the ‘missing voter’ issue, at least here in the Eastern People’s Republic. As I promised I went to Town Hall to check on my voter registration status (having as I previously mentioned been excised from the rolls after 34 years in town) and was pleased to find that I was still listed. However my mother, who votes absentee from the nursing home, was now gone. Her legal mailing address is still in town and I have previously had an absentee ballot mailed to her.

When I checked with her I found that someone (supposedly) from the Town Clerk (D) in the town the nursing home is in had come by to get all the seniors living there registered in that town and then a flock of ‘assistants’ swarmed in to assist the seniors with filling out their early voting ballots.

My mother used to be a ‘Poll Watcher’ and worked every town election, so she refused any ‘help’ in filling out her ballot and made sure that it was sealed before she let anyone touch it. As far as she could see, none of the other residents were that particular or resistant to allowing the ‘assistants’ handle their ballots during and afterward. Many of the residents who were to far gone had their ballots filled out for them.
By any estimate, Hillary picked up an easy hundred votes that day.

I can attest that family members were not notified in advance of this little game of ‘assisted voting’. I should have seen this coming. Now multiply this by a few thousand across the country.
John the River

But you are to announce in advance that you will accept the results of the next election.

And then we have

We’re in trouble…..

The election will be rigged. Here’s the proof. The voting machines are provided by

company owned by George Soros, a major Hillary supporter. The machines flipped

the Bernie vote to Hillary. (Ever notice Hillary and Obama don’t wear American Flag pins)

The Clinton Foundation did an internal survey with staunch Hillary and Trump that showed

that Trump voters will vote come hell or high water. The report detailed various plans

to salvage Hillary from staging radiological attack like 9/11, to bringing UN troops over

Canadian border to attack to, get this, a fake alien attack. They have the capability

to project 3d images of alien craft over 2/3 of the country…. Imagine the impact on

the religious people if they see massive alien craft in the sky. It would be devastating.

(They do have counselors though, ready to handle the impact….)

These people will stop at nothing. It’s unbelievable.

The IT nerd Michael Trimm details all of it. He could have edited it down because it’s

over 1 hour and 20 minutes. He’s busy going thru all the emails because he and other

small online guys are the only ones who can. The Mainstream can’t because they’ll lose

their jobs and be replaced like Nazi Germany.  It’s important to watch and share;

These people in control are professional liars;

All or any of which may or may not be true, but we no longer find it fantastic. The senior bureaucrats are so enamored of their right to rule and pay themselves annual bonuses – often amounting to more than the reenlistment bonuses they now want to claw back from the veterans — that they are desperate now that they are threatened. I don’t usually pay attention to “vast conspiracy” notions, but this isn’t that. There is no conspiracy involved.

Newt Gingrich: Gore, Trump and liberal hypocrisy

By Newt Gingrich

The media is beside itself that Wednesday night, in the final presidential debate, Donald Trump said he would wait until the election actually occurs to judge whether or not it was carried out fairly.

Apparently, some people think that when a Republican says he will watch closely to make there’s no corruption of the vote, he is a “threat to democracy” and even a “domestic insurrectionist.” [snip]

There is a vast right wing conspiracy against the Clintons…


What is this?

This is madness:


U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials are warning that hackers with ties to Russia’s intelligence services could try to undermine the credibility of the presidential election by posting documents online purporting to show evidence of voter fraud.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said however, that the U.S. election system is so large, diffuse and antiquated that hackers would not be able to change the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.

But hackers could post documents, some of which might be falsified, that are designed to create public perceptions of widespread voter fraud, the officials said.


Some of which might be falsified? Some of these documents might be authentic? That being the case would we not want to look at those?

Why would they issue a warning that someone might present evidence of a crime but some of the evidence might not be real? I’m confused by this.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo


Interesting development in optical rectenna


I encourage comments. Even if this technology is not useful for industry of even offices, home consumption takes up about – last time I looked – 20% of generated electric power.


Global Agenda

An interesting point:


The United Nations has rejected the media credentials of three journalists from a conservative news outlet in Canada to the upcoming UN climate summit in Morocco in November. Nick Nuttall, a UN official, admitted in an October 18 CBC interview that The Rebel news outlet is being banned from attending the UN summit because of its skeptical reporting of the UN’s climate claims.


The scientific consensus is political? Have we considered the possibility that as our scientists feed a the trough of government grants, science has become institutionalized as a tool of various governments in the same way Rome institutionalized Christianity as a tool of the state?

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Surely you understand that the ruling class needs carbon taxes and the issue is settled?


Response: Trump & War on ISIS, Trump & Bankruptcy

Sir, my apologies for not acknowledging your response to my email on your blog (dated Oct 10). I must have missed that update in my Inbox which, like most, is far too cluttered with far too many interesting newsletters that I never have time to read!
If I may belatedly respond with some thoughts: I agree that a war with ISIS is necessary, but I don’t think anyone can effectively fight a campaign against such a nebulous entity. ISIS has already evolved significantly since its origin. In the beginning it did, indeed, appear to be a cohesive and organized force with a front line, organized lines of supply, and a rear echelon composed of a command structure and a fascinating (and horribly effective) propaganda arm based almost entirely on social media. But since then it has blossomed and waned many times in response to disorganized and haphazard attempts to engage it by actors who were often busy elsewhere; actors like the Syrian Army, which had bigger fish to fry, or the US and other Western powers who, in the beginning, only grudgingly devoted any assets to the fight, and with the increasing involvement of Russia became increasingly afraid of an ‘unfortunate incident’ in the skies.
I strongly agree with your early assertions that a couple of battalions of troops, some ground attack aircraft and the surveillance assets to support them would have done the job, admirably. I further assert that the UK should have been capable of just such an approach with little more than those assets that were used in Libya (a dozen Army Air Corp Apaches with the addition of the Royal Marines, or the Gurkhas, as the ground component). But that was when ISIS was still in its infancy. Now it’s grown up to become an idea in the minds of our own youth; a social media account that is hard to track and moves like mercury under your thumb whenever you try to close it down. Both of these things keep feeding new recruits into the fight, and the fight has now moved to our own streets. How do we declare war on that?
Quote: “Clinton, like Obama, has no idea of what we should do. Mr. Trump might manage to get the Saudis to pay much of the cost,”
I struggle to see why the Saudis would agree to any such thing. They are more heavily engaged in Yemen right now than they have been engaged anywhere in decades, and they still find themselves unwilling to commit to anything more than a Western-style, casualties-averse air campaign. ISIS has already suffered a Western-style causalities-averse air campaign and prospered. The cost of successfully fighting ISIS is not so much in treasure as in blood, and the Saudis will not pay that! As far as they’re concerned, that’s what the US Army is for! After all, isn’t that why they let the US buy all their oil?
Clinton, like Obama, and everyone else in the world missed their chance to nip this in the bud years ago. I don’t see it as a particular failing on their part to come up with a way to do what ruling classes everywhere, whether they be democratic or despotic, have struggled to do for centuries: to kill an idea.
We may be beyond the point at which bullets will solve this problem. But I doubt that building walls will solve it, either. The 20th Century is replete with examples of how they did not.
Quote: “I am not advocating full isolationism; merely that we conduct our affairs with a view to our own interest, and recognize that we are not omnipotent, and with our debts we are no longer so rich.”
In this statement I hear echoes of the decline of Britain as a post-war, post-imperial power. Britain went through just such a phase. It resulted in foreign policy disasters like the Suez Crisis, in which the old powers attempted to reassert their authority, the failure of which led to another foreign policy disaster: the withdrawal from East of Suez which removed an important lever of influence and stabilizing factor from the entire region. A line of causality might be drawn to the present predicament because a pot of water placed over a fire will boil, whether it’s watched or not. And if not watched, it will boil over and extinguish the fire. (A torturous analogy for which I apologize. It’s the best I can do at 1am!)
Thank you again for taking the time to respond. I apologize again for not acknowledging it at the time. I realize this email is already long – I hope the paragraphing survives submission through the Contact Form, this time, as it seems my earlier missive came out in a Wall of Text.
Speaking of which, I only noticed that you had responded to my message when I read, in your update of Oct 20, a response from another subscriber pointing out an egregious error on my part. Specifically, I said Trump has been bankrupt 13 times. And it seems I did, indeed, report an inaccurate number of bankruptcies, according to all the references I can find online. In a state of alarm at this public humiliation, I consulted my email drafts folder, but there was nothing in it because I used the contact form on your website! So I went to my browser history and recalled the following two websites:
Which, as you doubtless know, is the personal bankruptcy code, not to be confused with Chapter 11, the business code. Much is made of Trump’s specific refutation that he ever used Chapter 13 in the context of avoiding paying income tax in the 1990s, so it was worth a look.
The other website was this:
Which states that he filed for bankruptcy four (4) times. Having read a lot of conflicting information in the media, I chose to use this as my basis, and still do because I see that your correspondent, Joe, who diligently sought to set the record straight has done so with reference to that bastion of exactitude, Wikipedia! According to this great experiment in the democratisation of knowledge, and the reduction of peer-reviewed facts to the status of mere opinions, Mr. Trump filed for bankruptcy six (6) times.
Joe then described me as “… misleading because a brief and uncritical reading of [my email] gives the impression that Mr. Trump has, in fact, gone through numerous personal bankruptcies when in fact he hasn’t.”
Brief and uncritical, and ever changing from one minute to the next, like a Wikipedia article? Also, I did not specify which Chapter he had filed under. It seems many think it was Chapter 11, because this allowed him to then avoid paying income tax.
Joe then advised I do the following: “…take a few seconds to check his claims against the public record,”
What public record? Wikipedia? Or Mr. Trump’s published tax returns? Oh, but wait…
I have been bashed over the head with a Wikipedia link many times. I never take it seriously. But if I could I would thank Joe for noticing my stupid mistake. He has guaranteed that I will always proofread my messages more closely in future!

Mike Ranson

I find the topic of bankruptcy counts uninteresting.

Regarding the Caliphate: the necessary and sufficient condition for the Caliphate is that they enforce Sharia Law in territories they rule: this gives then the right and ability to recruit all over the world. Without territory they rule they have no attractiveness, at least no more then any other terrorist gang. So long as they have even one, they may claim to have the assent of Allah and recruit in his name. This is both their strength and their weakness.

Current battles go on for days. It requires overwhelming force to win; the defenders have to understand that they have no chances at all. That takes more American commitment.


parent interview about education

Dr. Pournelle,
You may find some of this author’s opinions on early childhood education interesting, although probably not new.


The Debate

Dear Mr. Pournelle,
At a few days’ distance, what sticks in my craw about the latest debate is Donald Trump’s assertion that, as president, he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton. Well, I say investigate: his later interruption “you’ll be in jail” sounds like “sentence first, verdict afterwards…”
Consider that, in the event Trump is in a position to follow through on this threat, Mrs. Clinton will be a defeated opponent and a private citizen, with no governmental authority. Special prosecutor? Would a Trump presidency, then, treat us to show trials?
Some of your readers may believe Hillary Clinton is legally culpable. Fine. We have a legal system for that. It does not include bills of attainder, or presidential vendettas against defeated opponents.
One might take refuge in the thought that, rather than seriously proposing an assault on constitutional government and the rule of law, Mr. Trump was merely shooting his mouth off. Irresponsibly; but, “It’s just words, folks.” There would actually be evidence to support this assumption: it’s not clear to me that Mr. Trump intends words to be instruments of meaning, rather than contentless tools for getting his way. So assume nothing he says should be taken seriously. Or perhaps it would be fairer to see him in terms of Kipling’s bandar-log:

Dreaming of deeds that we mean to do,
All complete, in a minute or two —
Something noble and grand and good,
Won by merely wishing we could.
Now we’re going to — never mind,
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!

In either case, why vote for him? Is he just a blank screen on which people can project whatever fantasies they wish?
Allan E. Johnson

Well, Fred says that Trump makes him nervous; Hillary makes him want to take poison. I do not like the notion of prosecuting former officials, although Mrs. Clinton’s blatancy is exceptional; but you may be sure that Mr. Obama will issue her a blanket pardon if she loses, so she is in danger of nothing beyond wealthy obloquy.


Re: Education In America

While I agree with the main thrust of Mr. John B. Robb in his comments on American education, he takes a swipe at “unscientific rightist true believers in Creationism,” as “…indicative of the scientific and mathematical illiteracy of the vast majority of Americans.” But then he himself acknowledges that neither “…creationism [nor] evolutionism, whether in its classic Darwinian form, or in any of the other far more sophisticated versions that have emerged over the last 100+ years, can be considered scientific hypotheses in the first place, because none of them are subject to clear definition, let alone falsification.” I’m a little unsure then why it’s believers in Creationism who are such sterling examples of scientific illiteracy and not those who insist that Evolution must be taught as unquestioned fact.
He then refers to Mr. Dawkins and cites the Gallup poll questions on the origin of humans to demonstrate the “sheer scientific illiteracy” of those who answered that they believed “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.” Given the popularity of Mr. Dawkins writing, it’s not surprising to see this attack made frequently. However the attack is misguided.
Dan Kahan has analyzed the data for the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School here:
He opens by saying “The idea that popular “disbelief in evolution” indicates a deficiency in ‘science literacy’ is one of the most oft-repeated but least defensible propositions in popular commentary on the status of science in U.S. society. It’s true only if one makes the analytically vacuous move of defining science literacy to mean ‘belief in evolution.'” And much later he says, “Moreover, if you do define it that way, you’ll be counting as ‘science literate’ many people who harbor genuinely ignorant, embarrassing understandings of how evolution works.”
In a second post ( he summarizes the data presented in the first post, so I’ll repeat the two points most directly relevant to this discussion:
1. Neither the “Evolution” nor the “Big Bang” items in the NSF’s “Science Indicators” battery can plausibly be viewed as reliably measuring “scientific literacy” in subjects who are even modestly religious.
2. When subjects who are highly science literate but highly religious answer “False” to the NSF indicator’s Evolution item, their response furnishes no reason to infer that they lack knowledge of the basic elements of the best scientific understanding of evolution.
Basically belief or denial of modern evolutionary synthesis does not track with understanding of the theory or with science knowledge in general. It DOES track with religiosity, but that’s about it. It’s past time to drop this tired, old canard and accept that reasonable people can sometimes look at the same data and come away with very different interpretations of it.
Kenton Yoder

I really haven’t time for proper comment here. I will remind you that if you find a watch you do not assume that someone shook a bag of parts and out came a watch. You assume a watchmaker. If you see a ballet, you do not assume that a random collection of atoms will eventually dance Swan Lake. You assume a greatly unlikely and complex organization. Mr. Dawkins can explain why people less brilliant than himself assume some kind of designer, but he hasn’t explained it to my satisfaction.

Apologies for leaving the font glitches; there are too many to edit out and it’s dinner time.


And a closing message



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



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