Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, February 02, 2016
“This is the most transparent administration in history.”
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
I had numerous errands today, and although I didn’t drive—I haven’t since the stroke—I did go on numerous errands without the walker; cane only. Quite tiring, surprisingly so, but I did fine. Practice makes perfect, they told me in rehab, and it proves to be true.
Sunday I did 4000+ words on what ended up as the February, 2016 continuation of Computing at Chaos Manor. You will find this at Chaos Manor Reviews, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
The Iowa caucuses produced only one big surprise, Rubio’s close third place. No surprise at all that Cruz, who invested heavily in his ground game—get your own voters out—was able to pull off a bare win by one delegate. Trump spent very little money and did nearly as well; had he not also been concerned with his reputation regarding the media and showed up at the Republican debate, he probably would have won; but second place is certainly good enough to show he is a serious candidate, and Iowa has far too few delegates to justify spending money to get delegates; it’s the reputation you need, and the proof that you can get the voters out, and he showed that in Spades, but without Big Casino.
Most analysts do not understand Trump’s appeal, or they are so afraid of him that they will not admit it: Trump is not a conservative, although he is pro-business, and he has a rather conservative view on social issues much like most people his age. He is not religious, particularly, but he respects piety and approves of it, and he certainly is not anti-religious. Judao-Christian ethics and principles are natural to him, and he respects them as do most Americans. He is certainly no liberal or socialist. He’s a pragmatist, utterly and completely’
He is certainly not a strong party adherent, having been registered as both Independent and Democrat as well as, at present as he was many years ago, Republican.
His appeal is two fold: he despises the existing establishment, and he says he can get things done. Of course enemies and would-be pundits demand that he tell them how he will do them, but he won’t, largely because he can’t, just as if you asked him how to build Trump Towers he could not tell you. He’s neither architect nor engineer: he hires architects and engineers and watches their progress.
In one way he’s like Obama: he tells you to trust him and offers Hope and Change. Believe me, I’ll get the Wall built, and I’ll make America respected again. That’s the sort of thing Obama told us, and enough people believed him to elect him; by 2012 most Americans understood that he wasn’t bringing us Hope and Change, but the Republican establishment promised only more of the same policies that got us into this mess and ran one of the establishment as proof that whatever you would get from them, reform wouldn’t be in the package; and enough people stayed home, and others voted for Republicans in Congress because Obama they were pretty sure they didn’t want what they got after 2008 even if they didn’t trust Republicans with the Presidency.
A lot of Americans hate their government. Perhaps that’s too strong a word, but their experiences with government tend to expose them to arrogant incompetence for which their Civil Masters, oops Servants give themselves bonuses when their performance warrants discipline—look at the VA as a fine example—and they are afraid to stand out in a crowd lest they draw the attention of government. Streets aren’t paved, laws aren’t enforced equally, water pipes burst, drinking water has lead in it in Flint, and generally things don’t work so good; while all around us is the Internet of Things, marvels and miracles, yet somehow government gets bigger, pays itself more, and presents us with arrogant incompetence.
Trump has fewer – not many fewer but fewer – government credentials than Obama had when he started toward the Presidency. He was briefly in the Illinois legislature, hardly long enough to learn that job, before he became a Senator, and he hadn’t been there long before he was the candidate of hope and change, and he didn’t need to tell people how he was going to do it. Trump has less government experience; but he has built buildings and golf courses, and he has done things; he hasn’t been a community organizer or an unpublished law professor whose students don’t remember him; but he had made a lot of money, not from government; and he is not beholden to contributors or anyone else. His appeal is that he say he will do things, and although he is not a great public speaker, he has done things he is proud of. He knows how to choose people to get them done; or so far he has.
This is not an endorsement of Trump; it is analysis. He needed to show that he was a serious candidate, and he did so. He spent little money, he built no organization, he had time to manage his business, and the polls show him winning in New Hampshire; and once again his appeal is that he is not a Bush, he is not Bernie Sanders, he is not a Clinton, he owes no one, and he certainly is not an old line country club Republican. He was gracious to the winner and the close third, he was not contemptuous to the losers. He showed that he has legs, and he is a serious candidate.
The Clinton/Sanders tie was fascinating. The older Democrats went for Hillary; the younger ones, who have never seen real socialism in action, and know of real socialism only from attending Cuba Libre rallies, rejected her; which is to say, they rejected Obama and the Democrat establishment. The Democrat strategists know this. I look forward to seeing what they’ll try next.
And the Soviet Union keeps rolling along… A song we used to sing in the old days. Its theme was the ineptitude of Americans. “John Foster Dulles is all confused, these foreign people aren’t what they used to be, they don’t go for these platitudes, about good Christian attitudes, Why the Spanish people didn’t even say Thank You, when we gave about a hundred million dollars to Franco, and the Soviet Union Keeps rolling along…”
Youthful contempt for the establishment is hardly new. Some of it goes left, some goes right, some goes pragmatic. You could hardly call Cruz or Rubio establishment Republicans, and Bernie Sanders isn’t even a registered Democrat. It promises to be an interesting election year.
I have been asked why have both Mail and View categories, and why so much mail in View? Time: I find myself harassed for time, what with health, age, household crises, etc., and sometimes I simply cannot write the essays I want to write; yet I want this place to remain interesting enough to be read.
I have always had more interesting mail than almost anyone else on the Internet; so I use it to keep View interesting when I don’t have time to do all that myself. Often mail will say something that needs saying even if I do not agree with everything in it. I do not edit mail or alter it. I may in comments show agreement or argument.
Posts categorized as Mail will contain little else; I do one once in a while, less frequently now.
I have several major essays in preparation, but I also owe Niven and Barnes considerable work on our next novel, John DeChancie a pass through our work, and a final push to finish Mamelukes.
You can’t say my life is dull.
Also, I haven’t timed it, but I think it is about time for another pledge drive.
Public Science is Broken
Professor Marc Edwards from Virginia Tech is much in the news for his role in exposing the Flint, MI water scandal. The “Chronicle of Higher Education” interviewed him. Your readers will be interested in what he has to say about the public’s loss of confidence in science and government. Just a couple of quotes:
“We are not skeptical enough about each other’s results. What’s the upside in that? You’re going to make enemies. People might start questioning your results. And that’s going to start slowing down our publication assembly line. Everyone’s invested in just cranking out more crap papers.”
“It’s a symbol of the total failure of our government science
agencies, and also of our academic institutions. I really derive no
personal satisfaction from that. I feel shame. That’s what I feel.”
The complete interview is at
As I’ve said in past e-mails that you’ve posted in which I questioned
the integrity of contemporary science, today when government agencies
and their scientists claim to speak in the name of “science” I first
ask: What are they up to? What’s their agenda? What’s the narrative
they are pushing?
It wasn’t like this when I earned my Ph. D. in physics from Brown
back in the 1960’s. It’s all gone dreadfully wrong as the new
Lysenkoism has taken hold.
Science – Big Science – is certainly broken, particularly the social sciences with their unreplicated experiments, but it extends to some physical science as well. I know of no quick fix, but I do think there ought to be funding for some – not all, but some – antiestablishment science. How those projects should be chosen I do not know, I wish there were a well funded foundation dedicated to replicating experiments and looking for crucial experiments contradicting previously settled questions.
This fellow clearly has too much time on his hands – and makes money from it on his YouTube channel.
How Many Days Does Bill Murray Spend Stuck In Groundhog Day?
Really? Yup, he figures it all out and comes up with a number – a very large
number. Poor Bill, but, in the end, he and Punxsutawney ended up better off for
his incredible number of replays.
Figuring this all out must have required an interesting obsession. Is there a
clinical description for it?
Ground Hog Day. A wonderful film.
Subj: Mike Flynn on the Iowa Caucuses result
What the whole circus has illustrated is the fatal flaw of democracy:
viz., the involvement of people. This is the belief that if a bunch of individuals pool their ignorance they will achieve collective wisdom.
Back when the Parties chose their candidates the old-fashioned way,
they wound up nominating the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Dick Nixon, and so on. Nomination via beauty contests and media buys gave us Carter, Dukakis, Obama, and two Bushes. The basic divide was between competency and the ability to get things done versus media savvy and the mastery of the sound-bite. There were dud the old way, sure, and Reagan managed to slip though the new way. (And heck, even Clinton I knew how to work across the aisle when he had to.) But TOF prefers a competent manager over a flamboyant celebrity any day.
Mike Flynn, our collaborator on Fallen Angels, is always worth attention. If you haven’t read that book you may like it.
A small, self-governing island may hand over its roads to self-driving cars (WP)
By Matt McFarland February 2 at 10:21 AM
Phil Gawne, the transportation minister on the Isle of Man, is working 16-hour days on two projects rooted in radically different eras.
First, he’s trying to salvage the island’s horse-drawn carriages that date to 1876. At the same time, Gawne is leading a project to potentially lure companies that make fully self-driving cars, vehicles without steering wheels or pedals.
Such is the life of a bureaucrat on one of the world’s most unusual islands. The self-governing island — nestled between Ireland and Britain — has a population close to 90,000 and a land mass about the size of Chicago. It claims to have the oldest continuous parliament in the world, dating back more than 1,000 years.
Its reliance on tourism dictates keeping the horse carriage in business. Driverless cars probably would draw visitors, too, and the government’s ability to move quickly given its small size could make it an appealing destination for companies developing such vehicles.
“We like to be innovative on the island,” Gawne said. “We like also to be independent. This helps both those areas in terms of our international image and reputation.”
Gawne said the government has had discussions with multiple companies interested in bringing driverless cars to the island. Any needed adjustments to the island’s laws could be finished by early summer, a speedy timeline compared to the pace of larger countries, which at times have drawn criticism from the companies developing autonomous vehicles.
For some, a small island — far from the lumbering bureaucracies and swarming cities of large nations — would be an obvious launching point for the first large-scale public trials of fully autonomous vehicles.
“Things can be tried on an island that may not be practical in a city,” said David Alexander, an analyst at Navigant Research. “On the mainland there will always be someone who wants to go beyond the range of the trial and will then proclaim how useless autonomous cars are.”
He added that small island nations generally can’t afford new transit systems on their own. A big company willing to invest in the local infrastructure would probably find a willing government, Alexander said.
The Isle of Man’s government has set up a group to weigh the merits of the technology and determine what laws need changed and what incentives would attract companies, be it office space or warehouses. The effort, which Gawne describes as “fairly urgent,” will be finalized within a month. Gawne says any new regulations could then be pushed through in two or three months. He anticipates broad support in the government.
“We’re very keen. We can see a lot of potential advantages for the island,” he said. “It also helps in terms of the image of Isle of Man.”
But others caution that launching self-driving cars on a small island would not convince people around the world that the technology is trustworthy. Thilo Koslowski, an autonomous-vehicle analyst at Gartner, expects that once companies are ready to release fully self-driving cars — a step he says isn’t imminent — they’ll want to unleash them first in a bustling mainland city.
“That will be the proof in the pudding, to show these technologies are reliable in a real-world environment where most people would come to see those cars,” Koslowski said.
Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina, cautions that locations that want to court driverless cars should move carefully.
“One of the public misconceptions about this field is that a state that passed a law on autonomous driving must be ahead. It must be signaling it’s friendly for this kind of development,” Smith said. “That has not been the case.”
In 2015 Google expanded its tests of self-driving cars to Austin, despite Texas not having passed legislation on autonomous cars.
Smith describes new state laws in the United States dealing with autonomous cars as superficial because many of them don’t address key issues. For example, can cars be built to flout laws like human drivers do, such as speeding and crossing double yellow lines in some situations?
There’s also the lingering question of how to determine an appropriate safety standard for driverless cars, Smith said.
So although the cars may eventually be an option for the Isle of Man, it should probably make sure to keep that horse-drawn carriage service running for now.
I have a great interest in the affairs of the Isle of Man although I have never been there. I may have an announcement on that in near future.
The fastest thing ever on earth
You will love this story.
Fraud in Iowa
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
With luck like this, Mrs. Clinton missed her calling ; she shoulda gone to Vegas and been a professional gambler.
6 of the delegates were awarded by a coin toss. Mrs. Clinton won all 6.
MEANWHILE, in Polk County, C-SPAN reports additional regularities and mis-counting by Clinton operatives.
And that, my friends, is how you turn a defeat into a 0.2% victory.
“Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” — Joseph Stalin.
I would not say fraud; but it is an extraordinary streak of good luck. Let the Wookie Win also comes to mind.
“The Fermi paradox might be more accurately called the ‘Hart-Tipler argument against the existence of technological extraterrestrials’, which does not sound quite as authoritative as the old name, but seems fairer to everybody.”
I suppose, but Fermi Paradox is what I learned and what I will continue to use in discussions. It is intriguing, and has a part to play in the new book Steve, Larry, and I are doing.
Noticed this article (among several about this):
“GE just announced that it no longer make or sell compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) lightbulbs in the US. The company will wind down the manufacturing of CFL bulbs by the end of 2016, and it will begin to shift its focus on making the newest and most energy-efficient lightbulbs, LEDs.”
And I note that Chaos Manor Reviews had an entry on LEDs mid-January (http://chaosmanorreviews.com/bright-ideas/ ); it generated a few comments from readers.
I have sufficient mail on Intelligent Design, and the subject is of sufficient importance to deserve more time that I have to give it tonight. It’s coming.
Clinton’s Email Saga Worsens
Why is Clinton still running for president? This question gains new momentum following this:
Highly classified Hillary Clinton emails that the intelligence community and State Department recently deemed too damaging to national security to release contain “operational intelligence” – and their presence on the unsecure, personal email system jeopardized “sources, methods and lives,” a U.S. government official who has reviewed the documents told Fox News.
The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and was limited in discussing the contents because of their highly classified nature, was referring to the 22 “TOP SECRET” emails that the State Department announced Friday it could not release in any form, even with entire sections redacted.
The announcement fueled criticism of Clinton’s handling of highly sensitive information while secretary of state, even as the Clinton campaign continued to downplay the matter as the product of an interagency dispute over classification. But the U.S. government official’s description provides confirmation that the emails contained closely held government secrets. “Operational intelligence” can be real-time information about intelligence collection, sources and the movement of assets.
So, “the Clinton campaign continued to downplay the matter as the product of an interagency dispute over classification” but the agency that won’t release the 22 emails that are too “damaging to national security to release contain ‘operational intelligence’ – and their presence on the unsecure, personal email system jeopardized ‘sources, methods and lives'” is the State Department.
So, is Hillary Clinton now a government agency? I ask because this childish rhetoric might make sense when it was the State Department vs. the entire intelligence community over what was and was not classified. But, when the State Department no longer supports Clinton’s position, what agencies are in dispute here, exactly? It seems to me she is the only one in dispute…
If we add all this up: Obama said that he didn’t know about this until he heard about it in the news, though he emailed Hillary at least 13 times on her private account. Many people in the IC and FBI want to see her indicted. The State Department played defense for her until now when they say they cannot release 22 emails in any form, even with heavy redaction.
If Clinton has any support left, it’s in DOJ and the White House. And if she’s not charged, we’ll now the reason why.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
Subject: Credible Threat
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 Excellence; Avoider of Yard Work
US Pacific Ocean Policy
We have our act together in the Pacific, at least in terms of rhetoric:
While the U.S. government takes no position on the competing sovereignty claims, “the United States does take a strong position on protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all countries, and that all maritime claims must comply with international law,” the spokesman said.
The general public doesn’t seem to realize that we don’t benefit much from the security we provide in the world’s sea and air spaces, at least not economically. We created the gulf of military power that leftists don’t understand and rally against so that we would survive as a nation state. Ensuring freedom of the sea ensures that we can invade other countries and they cannot invade us.
In the future, we might work to use our dominance to better our economic position. I hope we’ll start seeing more of that. But, China will continue in it’s area denial preparations. So long as we can stick to the position that we’ve been involved in the geopolitical consensus of the Pacific since the Russo-Japanese War and we solidified our involvement in WWII, we don’t need to say much more than that. But, going further in stating that we have no land interests but only shipping and travel interests, we present ourselves as protectors of commerce and cultural exchange.
We’re such wonderful people. =)
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.