The Political Report

Mail 854 Thursday, December 11, 2014

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


It’s late and I have been working for a couple of days on getting some anthologies up as eBooks.  THERE WILL BE WAR, at least the first two volumes, will be available next spring or earlier, in print and as eBooks.  I am also getting 2020 Vision (Anderson, Spinrad, Ellison, Niven, Bova, and others) up as well.  Meanwhile the CIA is being flogged.  I found this mail essential:




More on the Senate report

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

It appears that former Senator Kerrey [D-Nebraska] is taking his own party to task over the ‘politicized’ torture report.

"I do not need to read the report to know that the Democratic staff alone wrote it. The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.

When Congress created <> the intelligence committees in the 1970’s, the purpose was for people’s representatives to stand above the fray and render balanced judgments about this most sensitive aspect of national security. This committee departed from that high road and slipped into the same partisan mode that marks most of what happens on Capitol Hill these days.

The worse consequence of a partisan report can be seen in this disturbing fact: It contains no recommendations. This is perhaps the most significant missed opportunity, because no one would claim the program was perfect or without its problems. But equally, no one with real experience would claim it was the completely ineffective and superfluous effort this report alleges.

Our intelligence personnel – who are once again on the front lines fighting the Islamic State – need recommended guidance from their board of governors: The U.S. Congress. Remarkably this report contains none. I hope – for the sake of our security and our values – Congress will follow the leadership of Senator McCain and give them this guidance."

In other words, the report exaggerated the problems of the CIA while minimizing any benefit, carefully absolved congress of any misdeeds, yet neither carried any call for indictment nor any recommendations to be followed in the future.

A hit job, then.

So far as I am concerned the report is discredited on this basis; I cannot believe a Democratic senator would so call out his own party if it was not a partisan hack job, a disservice to the country.


Brian P.

Thanks for sending me this. 



Another take on the Senate Intelligence report

Of course, this whole thing will devolve into a he-said/she-said fiasco. However, I think this is a must-read for anyone wanting at least to hear the other side.

Richard White

Austin, Texas

Fascinating.  Very.





After spending more than a week trying to locate and read the putative presidential Executive Order on Immigration I am now sure that no such E.O. exists!

After failing to get responses from my various Congresscritters, the public library, and the New York Times….I finally put in a call to the Cato Institute where I was immediately connected to Mr. Alex Nowrasteh, the senior immigration policy analyst.

He explained that the Obamagration reform was not being implemented or even directed by Executive Order but rather through "Executive Action", with implementation accomplished by memoranda from Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security. Mr. Nowrasteh was kind enough to send me links to the memos implementing President Obama’s extralegal decrees.

My interpretation is that an E.O. is too transparent, to easily reversed though legislation, and too directly associable to President Obama so that an even less transparent means was used.

The links sent to me are quoted from the email sent by Mr. Nowrasteh and are quite terrifying.

"Strengthen border security

Revise removal priorities

Priorities enforcement program

Ice pay reforms

Expand Daca

Expand provisional waiver program

Revising Parole rules




Increased access to citizenship

Supporting high skilled businesses and workers

Alex Nowrasteh

Immigration Policy Analyst, Cato Institute"


Lawrence Cunningham




Russian buyer returns Watson’s Nobel:




I thought this was a satire site at first, but it isn’t…




“We can hope that the country club establishment Republicans have learned their lesson. It is not entirely clear that they have.”

Loved your recent piece on this topic, as usual, but here is another angle. I think that part of the problem with the United States is not just that the elites no longer feel any sense of duty towards the nation as a whole (although that is surely a lethal problem for any nation), but that they have been so isolated from the negative consequences of their mistakes, that they have lost the ability to think critically. Indeed, they have lost the ability to even realize that thinking critically is important!

So you can start a pointless war, mismanage it, and you don’t get fired. You are not treated as an object of scorn, rather, you are feted as an elder statesman, put on the board of directors of major corporations, etc. So of course we keep botching it all over again! You can lose a fortune in the financial markets and all your losses are made whole. You can totally mismanage the healthcare exchanges, and nobody important gets fired, nobody really tries to fix it – besides, your family has real health insurance so why worry?

The elites fail at every endeavor, and they call it experience.

Michelle Obama’s school lunch fiasco is one minor example of this. Perhaps school lunches should be better balanced – in Japan the school lunches are wonderful, you’d pay money to get them in a serious restaurant in this country. Instead the government creates unworkable standards and produces nearly inedible lunches at twice the price – but Michelle’s kids eat catered gourmet food at private schools, liberals treat any criticism of her plan as racist, she is still treated with respect, and so she shows no interest in fixing the system. Why should she?

FDR was once asked by an aid about some policy: ‘but what if it doesn’t work?’ – and FDR replied to the effect, then we shall have to try something else. That sounds obvious, but our current elites don’t think that way. Because why should they? If the whole nation collapses they can just take their money and move overseas – like the cruise ship captain who abandoned his post when it began to sink. And when they do they shall shake their heads in sadness that the American people were not worthy of their brilliant leadership.

The country club establishment Republicans have not learned their lesson because, to them, there is no lesson to learn.





The only issue I have with the term "aristocratic" is that, as used, it shades over into "inherited aristocracy." Which tends to be sheer nonsense: oligarchy, yes, inherited power, yes, but inherited "rule by the best" — that’s been repeatedly disproved by societies which tried it. Even the best of the Roman Emperors couldn’t make it work.

It’s a language problem, I think. Our terms don’t distinguish between a system directed by genuine excellence, and a system directed by people who declare themselves to be excellent. The first, should it occur, could be very good indeed. The second, which occurs repeatedly, is usually both oppressive and pretentious. I have yet to see any system in which inherited power (including the inheritance of great wealth) doesn’t lead to destructive results.


Allan E. Johnson

Aristocracy literally means “rule of the best”: by definition doesn’t everyone want that?  Of course “best” doesn’t describe some of the French aristocrats, particularly M de Marquis in Tale of Two Cities.  Perhaps it does describe Marquis de Lafayette…  

It takes more than one generation to make an aristocrat. And it is not likely that every member of the aristocracy should be a part of it; there need to be means to shuffle off the failures and bring in new.  It is not at all clear that elections do this: look at your local city council.  How many of those would you like to spend any time with?  And would you choose them to rule? Is your city well ruled?  But then who would want to rule a city ?  What we have is a system that rewards people for learning how to get a political job; not for being able to do it well.

Cicero long ago (among many others) thought the best rule was a republic which incorporated aristocracy, monarchy, and democratic role of the commons into a unified system of government.  The old republic had some of that, but Cicero’s Rome did not.  It was said that Caesar wanted to restore something like the old republic: certainly he spared Cicero and most of his enemies.  But Caesar was murdered, and his successors hanged Cicero’s head in the Forum where Marc Anthony’s wife pierced his dead tongue with a hat pin.



At the last meeting of the Daytona Beach City Commission, one of the public comments mentioned that the police force is under represented by blacks. During comments by the city commissioners, it was stated that the reason we’re under representative is because we are outbid whenever a qualified black applicant applies. They end up at other cities. In order to hire more black police officers, we would have to raise the pay for all officers. (Our police officers are unionized.)




Dear Dr. Pournelle,

You may find this short essay enlightening, as the author outlines all the various dodges groups use to make their advocacy ‘settled science’ with very little substantiation of the same.

It does tally well with my own experience.


Brian P.





I’m here, and you’re there, and food, fun, danger, opportunity are over there!

David Couvillon

Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Avoider of Yard Work



Ferguson DA Rightly Avoids Seeking Indictment

Dear Mr. Pournelle,

A recent correspondent mentioned the argument "that liberals are asking — and I think it is a reasonable one — is exactly why the DA was essentially acting as Officer Wilson’s defense attorney…."

This argument in brief says that the Ferguson DA acted improperly, probably with suspect motives if not outright bias in favor of Officer Wilson by not strongly seeking an indictment through such means as withholding evidence favorable to Wilson’s version of events and permitting him to testify and permitting the grand jury to consider self-defense as a motive. In support of this idea they draft no less an authority than Justice Scalia.

First of all, this argument fails from the start IMO by attributing to the DA the low cunning necessary to twist the normal rules of grand jury proceedings to favor his preferred outcome, but then claiming his stupidity to be so boundless that he would release much of the evidence and transcripts of the proceedings to open scrutiny and thereby ensure that all would know of his perfidy and misconduct.

As to the legal merits of the case, I refer any interested to Andrew Branca, an expert in this area of the law and a lawyer himself.

I believe that Branca clearly and convincingly explains the rationale for the procedure followed in this case and resoundingly destroys this straw man.

I quote several paragraphs from his closing (but please read the whole thing):

"Indeed, to deny that the Grand Jury should consider self-defense is to embrace a legal and logical absurdity.

"As noted, in cases of self-defense,the defendant necessarily concedes the underlying criminal acts, but defends them on the grounds that he was legally justified to commit the acts as a matter of lawful self-defense.

"Were the Grand Jury be permitted to consider only the concession of the use of force, but not the claimed justification, then each and every act of self-defense would necessarily result in an indictment and be brought to trial, no matter how strongly the evidence in its totality supported the justification of that use of force.

"A Secret Service Agent cuts down an assassin moments before the killer can take the President’s life, all caught on cameras by news agencies worldwide as the President delivers a major policy speech? Sorry, Agent, here’s your indictment, we’ll see you at the trial. After all, he concedes he committed the killing, and merely claims legal justification for doing so–but the Grand Jury is not permitted to hear the justification.

"A maniac gunning down children in a school is shot and killed by the school resource officer assigned to that duty, all events testified to by scores of surviving teachers and students? Sorry, officer, here’s your indictment, we’ll see you at trial. Again, the Grand Jury is permitted to hear the concession of the use of force, but not the justification.

"A murderously abusive husband invades his wife’s place of work, killing her colleagues with shotgun blasts as he seeks her out, until a security officer takes him out with a well-placed gun shot to the head, all events caught on the company’s CCTV system? Sorry, sir, here’s your indictment, we’ll see you at trial. You get the idea.

"I suggest that no reasonable or moral person could possibly argue for such legal outcomes."

Kenton Yoder




At precisely 11:11 a.m. each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.

anthem veterans memorial Arizona by Renee palmer-jones (1)<>

The Anthem Veterans Memorial <> , located in Anthem, Arizona, is a monument dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces. The pillar provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who want to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to courageously serve the United States.


The memorial was designed by Anthem resident Renee Palmer-Jones. The five marble pillars represent the five branches of the United States military. They are staggered in size (from 17 ft to 6 ft) and ordered in accordance with the Department of Defense prescribed precedence, ranging from the United States Army, the United States Marine Corp, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.

anthem veterans memorial Arizona by Renee palmer-jones (2)<>

anthem veterans memorial Arizona by Renee palmer-jones (3)<>

anthem veterans memorial Arizona by Renee palmer-jones (4)<>

Additionally, the brick pavers within the Circle of Honor are inscribed with the names of over 750 U.S. servicemen and women, symbolizing the ‘support’ for the Armed Forces. The pavers are red, the pillars are white, and the sky is blue to represent America’s flag. The circle represents an unbreakable border. Anthem resident and chief engineer, Jim Martin was responsible for aligning the memorial accurately with the sun.

anthem veterans memorial Arizona by Renee palmer-jones (5)<>


– Arizona Historic Landmark Designation 2012 – Arizona Historical Society

– Arizona Public Works Project of the Year Award 2012 – Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association

– ACEC 2012 Grand Award – Best Engineering and Environmental Consulting Project

anthem veterans memorial Arizona by Renee palmer-jones (6)<>


– Anthem Community Council <>

– Arizona Tourisms: Anthem Veterans Memorial <>

– ABC Arizona: Anthem dedicates memorial to veterans <>

Anthem Veterans Memorial


Mr. Pournelle,

I re-read "Bind your sons to exile" yesterday, the first time I’ve read it since the early 1980s. You are a visionary. If the story were re-issued today, the only change necessary to update it completely would be to replace the Swiss with the Chinese.

I enjoy your work and am glad to have found your blog.

Kindest regards,

Some guy



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




Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.