Chaos Manor View, Sunday, February 21, 2016
“This is the most transparent administration in history.”
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.
Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.
We are down to effectively three viable Republican candidates; we have allowed Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, actually a minority of votes within those not large states, to restrict to three who can be President. If this was supposed to promote Democracy and restrict the power of those in smoke-filled rooms, it may have restricted the cigar smoking flip drinkers, but it hardly promotes Democracy. A better way was when, instead of primaries, party activists such as precinct committee leaders named delegates to a national convention. Yes, that produced Barry Goldwater one year, and this terrified the Rockefeller Republicans; and of course Kennedy used primaries to good advantage. And aren’t primaries democratic? Why consult precinct workers on whom their party will nominate? But that’s a topic for another time.
In effect we have Trump, Cruz, and Marco Rubio, and one of them will win. That probably means Rubio as Cruz will attack Trump, Trump will probably respond quite effectively, and Rubio stays out of the line of fire as the other two kill each other; at least that’s the nightmare I have. And I could be very wrong: one of the most astute politicians alive, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, says that Trump has learned faster than anyone he has ever seen, and continues to do so.
I value Newt’s judgment highly; and while he has not formally endorsed Trump, he has named the populist pragmatist a viable and interesting candidate. And note that Trump was the first to say that Scalia must be succeeded by another original intent constitutionalist – indeed was the first to say so. This is not the move of a candidate for emperor.
I am still working on my essay on education; and I will shortly have a column for Chaos Manor Reviews on Ransomware, backup, and new disk technologies.
My morning objective newspaper headlines. Hillary has a reset with a narrow win in caucuses over a 78 year old Socialist Independent. In Nevada. Down below the fold, we’re told there was an election in South Carolina, which was an election in a state a bit larger than Nevada. When I moved to California in 1964 the Times was a liberal Republican newspaper.
R.I.P. Howard Barry Emerson
Barry died Thursday afternoon, the day after his oncologist told him the Opdivo wasn’t working. Only his will had kept him alive almost eleven months. He had hoped to beat the odds and live two years after the diagnosis but recently recognized that he couldn’t.
He was fully aware until his final moments, and he died with me and a friend holding his hands. He was in his own bed at home, as he wanted.
He donated his body for research.
Barry was the author and inventor of VOPT, the hard disk optimizer that was absolutely essential through most of the life of Windows; it still works, and is still for sale, although is not as necessary as it was in earlier versions of Windows. It is still useful. I have used VOPT for thirty years, on every Windows System I have ever owned, and I have not lost one byte because of it.
I knew Barry only by correspondence and infrequent phone calls, but we were friends. The computer community has lost an important member. RIP indeed.
A physicist observes:
I’ll point out that a condition of low heat flux from the interior of the earth to the surface is equivalent to a statement of near thermal equilibrium.
Whether that implies that the earth’s surface temperature is more nearly regulated by heat from the interior, or that we’re fortunate that insolation approximately balances heat loss from the interior (and it would be interesting if that were an additional constraint on the development of a habitable planetary surface), further deponent sayeth not without considerable analysis.
It seems certain interior heat has a considerable effect on such matters as El Nino, ocean currents, volcanoes and thus cooling (which Ben Franklin thought the cause of ice ages), and other local matters; yet plays no part in the very expensive models on which we bet our future. Solar heating is of course greater, but general; and may not be as constant as the models assume.
South Carolina Last Night
There were some surprises last night in South Carolina. I see several interesting trends in the data. (The final RCP SC polls averages, plus actual SC results, at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/sc/south_carolina_republican_presidential_primary-4151.html
One item worth noting: Trump’s SC RCP average dropped five points in the last, intensively-polled week from the debate to the vote. Apparently he cannot after all say anything and still not lose votes; he hurt himself with last week’s looser-cannon-than-usual performance.
Trump ended up essentially matching his final RCP polls average. The final RCP averages this year have been a pretty good indication of voter intentions a day or so out (they tend to be off where there was a strong late trend) so I take this to mean that Trump’s SC voters generally had their minds made up ahead of time.
Rubio had a good week last week – between a decent debate, strong local endorsements, and not being a primary attack focus he picked up three points to end up tying Cruz in the high teens by Friday. Cruz, meanwhile, stayed essentially level through the week in the face of strong attacks on two fronts.
The chief surprise I see in Saturday’s results is that the voters are apparently beginning to focus on who can and cannot win:
– Rubio and Cruz in the second tier both gained nearly four points from Friday’s final averages to Saturday’s results, closing their respective gaps with Trump from twenty-two and nineteen points at the debate to ten points in the vote.
– Bush and Kasich meanwhile saw significant drops from their final poll averages, into an effective three-way tie for last with Carson at around seven percent each. (Bush has since drawn the appropriate
The obvious strong trend here is toward a top tier of three contenders, plus any remaining no-hopers.
Much pundit chin-pulling has already gone to figuring out how much effect Kasich and Carson may have by hanging on. My guess is, less than expected, because the SC trend of voters not wanting to waste their votes (and donors their money) will only grow.
One interesting question I see is, how does Trump play this next debate?
Aiming for more controlled would seem obvious, given his five-point slide last week. But at the same time, he now has two serious rivals near-evenly matched and closing fast, both now in need of attack.
Watching him try to square that circle could be fun.
Rubio, meanwhile, may hope to continue combining fire with Trump on Cruz while not taking fire himself, but if so I expect he’ll be very disappointed. Trump has every incentive now to oppose either of his two chief rivals pulling ahead of the other.
One side-prediction: Trump will suddenly find that Kasich is the most warm, wonderful, and talented human being since Albert Einstein and Mother Theresa’s secret love-child. It probably won’t actually do Kasich much good, because anyone inclined to buy that act is likely voting for Trump, but it’ll be fun to watch.
As Newt Gingrich said yesterday, Trump has learned the political game faster and with better results than anyone he has ever seen. Trump does not generally attack people who have not attacked him. One assumes that Rubio has noticed this.
Some thoughts on immigration
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I read your comments on immigration in your most recent journal entry with interest.
I would suggest, however, that deportation (or not) is only half the equation.
Item: Disney fired its entire IT staff and replaced them with H1B immigration holders, in a clear violation of the spirit of that law, which is supposed to supplement American labor with skilled professionals, not replace it.
Item: Guatemalan teenagers being held as virtual slave labor on a farm,
Item: Released minors being scooped up by traffickers, and some minors are used as sex slaves.
From this I conclude: Illegal immigration exists because it has powerful corporate sponsors who lobby to prevent new laws, or the enforcement of existing ones, in the name of “compassion”. If corporations could make money from American citizens, there would be no incentive to hire illegal aliens.
So, if I were an activist for immigration reform, here is what I would
do: Focus not on the poor and desperate immigrants, who are figures of pity, and concentrate on the corporations and rich interests who exploit them. Democrat voters especially HATE the “1%”. I don’t
think any Catholic could object to exposing ill treatment of immigrants, legal or illegal , or demanding that they be paid the actual minimum wage.
I would take a camera, and I would go to the farms, go to the factories, go to the sex slaves, and I would put it out on social media, force people to look at what they were doing, make it so we couldn’t look it away. And I would demand that these illegal immigrants receive ‘equality” — i.e, the minimum wage, the 40 hour work week, the paid time off, the benefits, the Obamacare. I would demand punishment of any corporation or “1%” caught underpaying employees.
The more we can make it stick, the less and less attractive illegal immigration would be. Why would a company want illegal immigrants if they can’t underpay and overwork them?
How to enforce it? The honest truth is that I don’t think we can trust the Fed to pursue corporate violations with any vigor; it would have to be done by ordinary citizens, armed with smartphones and cameras, to find these issues and report them, not to the government, but on social media, put it out where it can’t simply be thrown into a file drawer or ignored. To embarrass the government so badly they have to take action. The government actually does have a pretty good track record once you shine a solid light on these kinds of activities.
Immigration reform is never going to be a winner so long as it is perceived to target poor and desperate people. If the perception could be shifted to see that immigration reform is not about targeting poor brown people, but rich white ones who are cheating and exploiting them, I think it would have a much better chance of success.
Until you can control the borders, no interior measure will be very effective; and until you construct a useful education system instead of the train wreck Federal Aid and centralization has made of ours, educated immigrants will be needed. Our schools cannot meet the needs for workers; what do we do?
Subj: This Is the Real Reason Apple Is Fighting the FBI
It’s a shame that 99.9% of the lawyers give the rest a bad name.
Surely you exaggerate—well I think so – well perhaps
“Most transparent administration in history”
I cannot overstate the importance of Nick Cole’s essay:
The speculative fiction genre is being undermined from within. From
this time forward, I will buy every single book Nick Cole ever publishes as an independent, on general principle.
Space Access ’16 Conference Detailed Agenda – April 7-9 in Phoenix
Sunday, 2/21/16 – Updated SA’16 Info with Detailed Agenda is available, along with conference registration and hotel room reservations links,
We have about 80% of our program confirmed for Space Access ’16, April
7-9 2016 in Phoenix Arizona, Space Access Society’s next annual conference on the business, technology, and politics of radically cheaper access to space, this year with a strong sub-focus on Beyond Low
Orbit: The Next Step Out.
SA’16 is less than seven weeks away – start making those travel arrangements soon!
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.