Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, December 15, 2015
I sent the last of There Will Be War Volume Ten off this evening; they tell me the book, which has mostly been proof-read already, will be up on Amazon perhaps as early as Friday. There are some rewards for ordering it on the first day, so watch for it. I should have more time for this place now. My priorities are, work on the Avalon novel with Niven and Barnes for at least a week, doing a pass—that is, reading everything we have, and adding what I have to to make it a coherent text. Niven then goes in and adds the magic that only he can do; I’ll have taken care of technical stuff and making sure the plot is advancing at the right pace, moving expository lumps into other scenes so that it’s more readable.
That should finish part one, and the clocks will mostly be wound. Some of it stuff I do and Niven and Barnes usually don’t, like big cast scenes; I have already told Barnes to introduce all the characters he needs, so I don’t have to do much to bring them on stage for the big cast scenes. You can’t introduce everyone at once, or you can but it’s a lot of work to keep people reading while you do, and I see I’m getting too technical here so I’ll stop. Anyway, Avalon gets my attention for a while. Before the end of the year I’ll be done; the next job is LisaBetta, a near future novel of asteroid mines and colonies, a well advanced Artificial Intelligence, and the teenage girl the AI must take care of, in an age of bureaucracy on Earth. John DeChancie has about 45,000 words; I’ll take a full pass, add text and notes, and with luck we’ll have a book by spring. And in mid January I ought to be able to get back to Mamelukes; it’s at 160,000 words, and needs a battle, and about three major scenes; I don’t know how long that takes. But I sport of know where all the major characters – there are a lot of them – will be, assuming they survive the coming battle. That may not be easy for some of them. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.
Anyway, I’m done with There Will Be War, Volume Ten, the first new anthology in that series since the early 90’s; over 120,000 words of very readable stories including a masterpiece by Poul Anderson, a Benford, a Niven, and some exciting stories by newer writers, ranging from bio warfare to piracy in the asteroids to interstellar war. There’s poetry, and articles about directed energy weapons by Doug Beeson, former Chief Scientist of Space Command; and a serious analysis of Fleet Structure for the Navy, previously published by the US Naval Institute, by Commander Phillip Pournelle. And as they say, much, much more. I am very sure you’ll like it.
My daughter is still in hospital following her equine accident, but she has been moved from Intensive Care, and most of the tubes have been removed. I hope to SKYPE with her next week. Her Kindle Fire was stolen recently, but she should have a new one by today, tomorrow for sure. Now I have to think of an appropriate Christmas present. Not something having to do with horses…
I saw most of the debates. No one won. But Trump looks better; he has learned self control. One tends to forget that he’s not been in politics and this is his first political debate. Carly Fiorina came across as perhaps the best prepared, and she certainly seems to know what she’s talking about. Trump was pounded for not being specific, but that’s nuts: Presidents shouldn’t be wonks, they should know what they want. We know Trump can get very complex jobs like building resorts, office buildings, and casinos constructed and opened up; one presumes he knows how to listen to advisors, else he’s never have made the money to finance his campaign, And no, this is not an endorsement; merely an observation.
‘For one, most insurance policies have an exclusion that says the insurance company will not pay for claims caused by “acts of terrorism.”’
This post is essentially self-promotion, and I don’t agree with the positive comments in re President Obama, but it contains important information about insurance exclusions for acts of terrorism – and a reminder of the insanity of not classifying the Boston Marathon bombings as terrorism.
So the President calling it “terrorism” (but not Islamic terrorism) is a big deal indeed.
: IC Review Finds TS Emails in Clinton’s Box
Well, the State Department tried to tell the world the Intelligence Community made a mistake in its classification procedures, and most of us scoffed. And, now we scoff again:
EXCLUSIVE: An intelligence community review has re-affirmed that two classified emails were indeed “top secret” when they hit Hillary Clinton’s unsecured personal server despite a challenge to that designation by the State Department, according to two sources familiar with the review.
The sources described the dispute over whether the two emails were classified at the highest level as a “settled matter.”
The agencies that owned and originated that intelligence – the CIA and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency or NGA – reviewed the emails to determine how they should be properly stored, as the State Department took issue with their highly classified nature. The subject matter of the messages is widely reported to be the movement of North Korean missiles and a drone strike. A top secret designation requires the highest level of security, and can include the use of an approved safe.
The sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox News that while the emails were indeed “top secret” when they hit Clinton’s server, one of them remains “top secret” to this day — and must be handled at the highest security level. The second email is still considered classified but at the lower “secret” level because more information is publicly available about the event.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
Trump must be aware of this; he said in the debates “if Hillary is allowed to run”. Others said do you mean the emails but he didn’t answer. I suspect he’s worried that she will go to jail; he’s sure he can beat her.
Democracy, Middle-Class Rule, and the Middle East
I’ve had a massively politically incorrect thought bouncing around in my head for a while. It seem timely. It concerns our progressive political elite’s unthinking fetish for unqualified “democracy”.
Our self-appointed betters have made a complete bloody hash of the Middle East by blindly pursuing their gross ideological misconception of what makes for stable prosperous states. Short version of their error:
A democracy is no better than its electorate.
My take is, what actually makes for the stable prosperous societies many in the West currently take WAY too much for granted is middle-class rule, not democracy per se, with “middle class” defined as those who tend to plan for their next generation, not just for their next week.
Consider the US, where the vote was originally pretty much restricted to settled property owners, and the Founders agreed “there never was a democracy that didn’t commit suicide.” We continued to do OK as the franchise was expanded for so long as this coincided with the expansion of a reasonably informed and forethoughtful middle class. Now that we’ve spent a couple generations simultaneously destroying our educational system and insisting that anyone who draws breath (and many who don’t) should vote, things are getting a bit dicey.
Or consider South Korea, which attained prosperity while ruled by various autocrats, and only became a stable democracy after it had a solid middle-class majority. I submit that what those autocrats had in common was that they largely ruled on behalf of their middle classes, fostering these to the point where they became the majority. Another example, Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore. Or Turkey, up until Erdogan…
But then there’s much of post-colonial Africa, with tiny middle classes overlaid on large tribal majorities, the birthplace of “one man, one vote – once” kleptocracies. There are fortunate competently-ruled exceptions here and there, but democracy sure hasn’t done a lot of good for most of those places.
Which brings us to the Middle East, the “Arab Spring”, and ensuing Western political-class idiocy.
The “Arab Spring” was a middle-class revolt, yes, against various local autocratic strongmen, but largely in places where the middle class was a minority. The place it worked out best was Tunisia where it started, which actually does have something resembling a middle-class majority.
In Libya and Egypt and Syria, not so much. Egypt, as you’ve pointed out, was fortunate enough to have a deeply established Army behind the strong-man we insisted step down for democratic elections, an Army to boot the majority Islamists back out afterwards and resume something with at least elements of pro middle-class rule. Libya and Syria were not so fortunate; Libya’s (unsavory, yes) ruling establishment crumbled entirely under Western pressure, and Syria’s (see Libya) partially, with results the locals – and we too – will be paying for for generations.
My take? Our primary interest in places with a majority of tribal fanatics is that they have stable governments that prevent the fanatics from organizing attacks on us. If we can then over time steer those governments toward fostering local middle-class majorities, great!
Then, and only then, start pressuring them to adopt democratic forms.
Otherwise, we end up with anything from tribal anarchic chaos (Libya) to one-man one-vote once regimes of islamists (Iran, and almost Egypt, and step-by-step Turkey) to the Islamic State’s emergence from Syria’s chaos and Iraq’s disaffected west.
“B-b-but you’re against DEMOCRACY!” they shriek in horror. Well, no, it has its place, once the locals are ready for it. Which is massively culturally judgmental, who do I think I AM, yadda yadda.
Which is, since I have plenty of other work to do without the huge distraction that vilification-fest would involve, why I sign myself
Democracy, Middle-Class Rule, and the Middle East
Did I mention “timely”? Ted Cruz, speaking today at the Heritage Foundation, just went there too regarding our progressive political elite’s disastrous fetish for democracy uber alles. Better organized and in more detail than my letter of yesterday, and with less emphasis on the long-term good of the locals involved, though he does mention that in passing. He focuses more on the immediate vital interests of the US, not unreasonable in a campaign speech for the Presidency.
The speech is up online now, at
I’ll be interested to see in the coming days if the usual suspects attack him over this, or attempt to ignore it away. This is a discussion the country very much needs to have. Listen to the speech.
The Framers were quite explicit: there never was a Democracy that did not commit suicide,
: Islam, the Religion of “Peace?”
In the aftermath of the San Bernardino Islamic Terrorist Attack we are seeing paraphrases of Verse 5.32 of the Koran in an attempt to mislead us into believing that Islam is the Religion of “Peace.”
“Whoever kills a soul kills all humanity” was a paraphrase of 5.32 that appeared in a photo caption in the 12/14/2015 Los Angeles Times.
This paraphrase seems to be far from complete and, of course, conveniently omits the definition of what a soul might be. We should be warned that a soul in this context would be a believer in Islam and that non-believers are fair game!
Islam that follows Sharia and strict interpretation of the Koran has NO Place in the Modern World and is a mortal threat to all who do not accept it.
Any actions that are planned against ISIS need to be based on the above.
Migration with no intent to assimilate is invasion. Muslims cannot assimilate and obey Sharia; that is their dilemma.
: Decline and Fall of the Republic
Barrack Hussein Obama continues to preside over the fall of the Republic:
The American navy’s newest ship, launched with great fanfare less than a month ago, has broken down at sea and had to be towed to land.
The USS Milwaukee, a vast, futuristic-looking beast, suffered an engineering problem while en route from Halifax, Canada, to Mayport in Florida. From Florida it was due to travel on to its home port of San Diego.
But the ship, commissioned on November 21, suffered problems on Friday.
The Navy Times said that initial reports suggest fine metal debris collected in the lube oil filter, causing the system to shut down.
“Reporting of a complete loss of propulsion on USS Milwaukee is deeply alarming, particularly given this ship was commissioned just 20 days ago,” said John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
That is bad management, and you would hope the President can improve it, but can you really blame it on the President? The Senate had to approve his officials…
Today’s little oddity
And an oddity for today:
Product placement gone WAAY too far.
Re: Why are Apple MacBooks more reliable? (ZD)
I detest Apple’s politics, I dislike their walled-garden approach to software, I wouldn’t use their bookstore if someone else was paying for the books…
…but in the years since I switched from Windows systems to the first OSX Mac systems, I have lost my writing ONCE.
And that was when my Mac copy of Word crashed, and the Mac asked me if I would like to save the file—and because I was brand new to the OS, I clicked NO before realizing I should have clicked YES.
Compare that to all my many years on Windows systems (multiple makers, multiple versions, only one constant) where my hands did a nervous, involuntary CTRL-S twitch every couple of minutes because the Blue Screen of Death was my constant companion. And where I routinely lost work. Sometimes whole chapters. Once, a whole short story. Always, the second I let my guard down, something.
I don’t care about souping up my machines, I have no interest in digging into their innards. All I want from my computers is that they get out of my way and let me work—and don’t destroy what I’ve done.
For that, only Apple delivers.
I’ve never lost text with Mac or PC since the S-100 buss, and I write a lot; but I will agree, Macs are reliable. At least until the battery swells up, as happened to my Air. And I loved that Air…
One option for running some version of Windows is to invest in Parallels. They provide a quite functional emulator that you can run on a Mac, so that it will pretend to be a PC, and then you can install Windows on the virtual PC. One of my copy editing clients needs me to run a TeX compiler that’s been customized in a Windows environment, so my Mac Mini (a few years old) has Parallels and a version of Windows€”I think 8, but Parallels claims to be compatible with the newer OSs, and I don’t see any reason to doubt them. It’s given me good service for several years, without any irritations other than those inherent in Windows. And it’s cheaper than having both a PC and a Mac.
William H. Stoddard
I’m all in…
…as soon as they add the fifty cal and Gen Savage is flying.
Elon Musk, tech behemoths invest $1bn in open-source AI research (ZD)
Can open-source artificial intelligence technologies work for the greater good of humanity?
As Karl Popper showed in “The Poverty of Historicism,” you can’t predict what you’re going to know tomorrow–because if you did, you’d know it today.
Russia Flight Tests Anti-Satellite Missile – Washington Free Beacon
SUBJ: Hans-Ulrich Rudel helped design the A-10
Continuing in your recent posts on the A-10. Did you know the A-10 was designed with input from Hans-Ulrich Rudel
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Ulrich_Rudel) the legendary WW2 tank-buster, the “deadliest warrior in history” (according to Jeff
Cooper) and most-decorated pilot in the Luftwaffe?
Jeff Cooper’s short story on Rudel “Kriegoberst” is a _mind-blowing_ read, but I can’t find an on-line copy to link to, dammit. It’s included in Cooper’s book _Fireworks_ for those interested.
In the 1970’s, Pierre Sprey The man who wrote the detailed specifications for the proposed A-X project (which would result in the
A-10) required all those associated with the program to read Rudel’s book _Stuka Pilot_. Later, Fairchild-Republic’s A-10 project manager flew Rudel from Germany to Fairchild-Republic’s headquarters to chair a seminar for the design team. The result speaks for itself.
See: “Luftwaffe Ace Causing Problems” By MICHAEL GETLER, “The Washington Post, BONN, West Germany, 11 Nov 1976
“A World War II German flying ace whose postwar neo-Nazi activities have landed him in the midst of a bitter political controversy here, visited Washington last month to participate with U. S. generals in the assessment of a new American jet fighter. The German officer, former Col. Hans-Ulrich Rudel, said that he went to the United States at the invitation of the U. S. Air Force to help assess the A-10, an antitank aircraft manufactured by Fairchild Industries.”
It is no wonder the “Devil’s Cross” (as the Soviets call it) is such a deadly platform. It contains a bit of the spirit of the greatest tank killer ever.
The zoomies, as other have stated, would be happy to kill the A-10 and anything else stinking of the “A-” prefix. But a schlacht-vogel like the A-10 comes along only once in a great while. I, for one, would love to see the Army and the Marine Corps take over the Warthog. They would give the bird a better home and its drivers a better career path.
“Soldiers hate warriors. Warriors hate soldiers.” from _Once An Eagle_ by Anton Myrer
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.