Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The riot at Middlebury College over Charles Murray.

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Recently, Charles Murray, author of the book, “The Bell Curve,” a study of intelligence in the population, was invited to speak at Middlebury college, a liberal arts college in Vermont. His attempt to speak was interrupted by a riot which injured a professor at the college.

Inside Higher Ed’s story on the event explains that college officials admonished the students prior to the talk that they could protest but not disrupt Murray’s talk, which was to be about the way white America is coming apart—the title of his latest book—along class lines. Unfortunately, that admonition did no good. “As soon as Murray took the stage,” we read, “students stood up, turned their backs to him and started various chants that were loud enough and in unison such that he could not talk over them.

The confrontation continued after he had left the stage and attempted to move to another location.

And then matters turned worse. Fearing that there might be a raucous, disruptive mob instead of an audience of students willing to listen and consider Murray’s arguments, school administrators had set up a contingency plan. Once it became clear that the mob had killed the lecture, they moved to another location where Murray would give his talk, which would be live-streamed to students.

Sadly, that location was soon beset by the mob, with banging on windows and pulling of fire alarms. Murray and Professor Allison Stanger, who was the moderator for the talk, tried their best to continue a rational discussion.

Finally, Murray, Professor Stanger, and a few others tried to leave campus.

Mayhem resulted when Professor Stanger, who had been willing to state her agreement that Murray should not have been invited, was injured.

Why did this happen ? Tribalism ?

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The Deep State will not go easily.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Several years ago, I posted an account of what is called ‘The Deep State.”

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

That article was one of several around that time (2014) about the Deep State.

History suggests that this low-intensity conflict within the ruling Elite is generally a healthy characteristic of leadership in good times. As times grow more troubled, however, the unity of the ruling Elite fractures into irreconcilable political disunity, which becomes a proximate cause of the dissolution of the Empire if it continues.
I recently proposed the idea that Wall Street now poses a strategic threat to national security and thus to the Deep State itself: Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus in the Next Financial Crisis? (March 3, 2014)

That didn’t happen but the Deep State is in the news again as an enemy of Trump.

It stands to reason that “the Swamp” he talked about draining is coterminous with “The Deep State.”

With the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in the face of a howling media mob, the knives are now out not only for other administration officials, but for President Trump himself. Make no mistake about what’s happening here: this is a rolling coup attempt, organized by elements of the intelligence community, particularly CIA and NSA, abetted by Obama-era holdovers in the understaffed Justice Department (Sally Yates, take a bow) and the lickspittles of the leftist media, all of whom have signed on with the “Resistance” in order to overturn the results of the November election.

Mike Flynn, a good man who saw the enemy clearly, and had the courage to name it, saw Russia not as an enemy but a geopolitical adversary with whom we could make common cause against Islam — and who also vowed to shake up a complacent and malfeasant IC — was its first scalp, and an object lesson to new CIA Director Mike Pompeo should he have any reformist notions. As for the media, having previously failed to take down Trump aides Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, Flynn was the next best thing; their joy today is unbounded.

One seeming priority for the bureaucracy and the Deep State is protection of Obama’s Iran Deal.

Why is this so important ? I certainly don’t know.

Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, who bragged about creating an “echo chamber” in the media to help sell the Iran deal to the public, was reportedly among those leading the effort to publicly discredit Flynn.

The purpose of the anti-Flynn campaign, according to the Free Beacon, was “to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.” Flynn was reportedly gearing up to publicize details of the Iran deal that the Obama administration had kept secret from the public.

Why is this so important ? Iran has threatened “consequences” if the deal is revealed.

What are they ?

it would be a clear breach of the nuclear agreement and will cause us to react very harshly and severely.”

What does that mean ? I suspect they don’t know either.

In the meantime, the successful coup against Flynn will not satisfy the left. It will just encourage them to try the next assassination.

And you’re either gonna keep giving them scalps or you’re gonna put your foot down and move on and tell ’em to go pound sand. I mean, this man had worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was a patriot. He’d worked for both administrations, a pro-life Democrat. His only sin was that he was in the Trump administration. And I’ll tell you what this is. You know what this is really all about? I’ll tell you what this is. This is what the Democrats are so irritated, and this is why I know that Obama’s post-presidential sabotage program is here.
What is this about? This is about Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, calling the Russians to talk about sanctions. Well, what sanctions? Well, it just so happens these are the sanctions that Obama slapped on the Russians for their supposed hacking of our election. I’m sorry, folks, but that’s a bogus premise to begin with. The Russians had nothing to do with whoever won our election. That, they could not have done. Did they try? Who knows? Do they always try? Probably.

This is part of the script.

Beneath the script is a serious campaign to overthrow the Trump government. The bureaucracy thinks it can run the government without the political offices. The French bureaucracy ran France for years while governments came and went.

Then the Germans came.

Judith Curry resigns from Georgia Tech

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

The world of Climate research lost a great academic figure as Judith Curry resigns her tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

She has figured largely in the climate debate as a skeptic in global warming.

I have retired from Georgia Tech, and I have no intention of seeking another academic or administrative position in a university or government agency. However, I most certainly am not retiring from professional life.

Why did I resign my tenured faculty position?

I’m ‘cashing out’ with 186 published journal articles and two books. The superficial reason is that I want to do other things, and no longer need my university salary. This opens up an opportunity for Georgia Tech to make a new hire (see advert).

The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.

She has endured considerable abuse from the alarmist side. She is called a “heretic” in the alarmist circles.

over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black¬board. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points

So, she might have a point. However:

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Is Trump going to be a target for hate and hoaxes for four years?

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Donald Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes. Outside of New York and California, he won the popular vote. Hillary got about 2 million fewer total votes than her total in California. Thus, she lost the popular vote in the rest of the country. Gary Johnson allowed her to win New Hampshire and Nevada. CNN made much about her winning the popular vote total, but her margin in California was over 4.8 million votes, but her national total was about 2 million less so she lost the rest of the country.

clinton_archipelago

The fact that she polled more popular votes has led to a rather hysterical reaction by her supporters.

First, leftist newspapers alleged that the Russians aided Trump with the Hillary scandal leaks.

Then the next theory was that the FBI and Director Comey were responsible for her loss.

In her most extensive remarks since she conceded the race to Donald J. Trump early Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton told donors on a 30-minute conference call that Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the inquiry 11 days before Election Day had thrust the controversy back into the news and had prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument.

Do the Clinton’s ever accept responsibility for their troubles ?

The latest excuse for losing is the electoral college is racist.

This is a twisted version of the Connecticut Compromise in the Constitutional Convention.

The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

In fact, the 3/5 compromise was a matter of the representation in the House of Representatives, the more important branch in early US government days, as Senators were chosen by legislatures. The numbers in each state determined the number of Representatives allowed. It had nothing to do with the Electoral College. The Southern, slave, states wanted the number of slaves to add to the total for determining representation in the House. The northern states wanted slave to count as zero since they were not eligible to vote. The compromise allowed the Constitution to be ratified by all.

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Trump and Conflicts of Interest.

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Trump is organizing his administration but he is facing another crisis.

The Wall Street Journal is giving him painful and unwelcome but good advice.

He must liquidate the family business.

One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example. Mr. Trump has so far indicated that he will keep his business empire but turn over management to his children, and therein lies political danger.

Mr. Trump has for decades run the Trump Organization and during the campaign said if he won the Presidency he’d turn over the keys to Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, all of whom are now serving on the Trump transition. A company spokesperson says the family business is “in the process of vetting various structures” and that the ultimate arrangement “will comply with all applicable rules and regulations.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the plan a “blind trust,” which past Presidents have used to protect their assets from the appearance of conflicts-of-interest. But that set-up typically involves liquid assets like bonds and stocks, not buildings or a branding empire. Mr. Trump will know how any given decision will affect, say, the old post office property in Washington, D.C. that he’s leasing from the federal government (another conflict). By law blind trusts are overseen by an independent manager, not family members.

The Journal is correct. I don;t know how Trump is going to do this but he has to.

Dick Cheney divested himself of millions of dollars in assets but was still vilified by the left.

Halliburton’s business with the military has grown substantially since Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney took office. The company rose to seventh-largest military contractor in 2003 from 22nd-largest in 2000.

The contracts did not prove to be as profitable as executives had hoped, however, and accusations of political favoritism led to a public relations nightmare. On Thursday, Halliburton said it was considering selling its subsidiary that holds the contracts in Iraq.

Mr. Cheney’s financial disclosure statements from 2001, 2002 and 2003 show that since becoming vice president-elect, he has received $1,997,525 from the company: $1,451,398 in a bonus deferred from 1999, the rest in deferred salary. He also holds options to buy Halliburton stock.

Mr. Cheney’s critics concede that there is no concrete evidence that he has pulled any strings on Halliburton’s behalf. But he has refused to answer a request from Democrats in Congress that he provide an accounting of any communications he and his staff have had with Halliburton or actions they have taken on Halliburton contracts.

Trump will face this squared.

He needs to face the reality of Democrat dishonesty and do the prudent thing.

I have no idea how he will accomplish this.

Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, is already calling for hearings about all of this. Trump and his party don’t need to worry much about that given how favorable the 2018 map is, but as we just found out last week, anything can happen in politics. If a nasty recession hits next year and Democrats end up winning back the House or Senate, all of these conflicts will be explored at length in congressional inquiries in 2019.

Cummings is despicable but those are the people who will harass Trump and try to destroy his presidency. He must anticipate this.

Mr. Trump’s best option is to liquidate his stake in the company. Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, ethics lawyers for George W. Bush and President Obama, respectively, have laid out a plan, which involves a leveraged buyout or an initial public offering.

Mr. Trump could put the cash proceeds in a true blind trust. The Trump children can keep the assets in their name, and he can transfer more to them as long as he pays a hefty gift tax. Finally, Mr. Trump should stipulate that he and his children will have no communication about family business matters.

He needs to have someone working on this.

President Trump

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

I never thought, except in a few moments of fantasy, that I would be able to say that.

I have been interested in Trump as a phenomenon all year.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Wilson conceded that “Trump is still a very powerful force right now” because he appeals to part of the of the conservative base that Wilson said was activated by his “nativist” message. Wilson insisted that the donor class “can’t just sit back on the sidelines and say, ‘oh well, don’t worry, this will all work itself out.’”
“They’re still going to have to go out and put a bullet in Donald Trump,” Wilson said. “And that’s a fact.”

Wilson is an alleged GOP consultant. Trump may be fatal to many GOP consultants as they were not only mistaken but disloyal to the team they were supposed to belong to.

What happened? Richard Fernandez has a theory.

Hillary’s real enemy was Obama’s real record of failure added to her own. Low-wage growth, a disastrous foreign policy, a catastrophic Obamacare, and numerous scandals to name a few weighed down on her like an anvil heavier than any insult that Donald Trump could lay upon her.

It’s important for progressives to realize this, for they are even now casting about for something to blame. Paul Krugman tweeted: “I truly thought I knew my country better than it turns out I did. I have warned that we could become a failed state, but didn’t realize …” Realize what? That the electorate wouldn’t notice the last administration’s debacles?

A lot of this can be laid on Obama. He has been a disastrous president. I thought he would be all along.

In February 2008, I posted this.

Jones had served in the Illinois Legislature for three decades. He represented a district on the Chicago South Side not far from Obama’s. He became Obama’s ­kingmaker.

Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city’s most popular black call-in radio ­program.

I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

“He said, ‘Cliff, I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator.’”

“Oh, you are? Who might that be?”

“Barack Obama.”

Obama had no record of accomplishment. Jones put his name on bills he had had nothing to do with.

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Game Theory examples.

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Stephen den Beste died this week.

he was an early blogger but has been in poor health recently and stopped blogging the past year.

On Islamist terrorism:

The nations and the peoples within the zone of our enemy’s culture are complete failures. Their economies are disasters. They make no contribution to the advance of science or engineering. They make no contribution to art or culture. They have no important diplomatic power. They are not respected. Most of their people are impoverished and miserable and filled with resentment, and those who are not impoverished are living a lie. They hate us.

They hate us because our culture is everything theirs is not. Our culture is vibrant and fecund; our economies are successful. Our achievements are magnificent. Our engineering and science are advancing at breathtaking speed. Our people are fat and happy (relatively speaking). We are influential, we are powerful, we are wealthy. “We” are the western democracies, but in particular “we” are the United States, which is the most successful of the western democracies by a long margin. America is the most successful nation in the history of the world, economically and technologically and militarily and even culturally.

Sadly, our own culture seems to be under attack from within.

His blog post on Game Theory and The Prisoner’s Dilemma is excellent.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a classic of Game Theory

It has been endlessly analyzed but Den Beste’s is about the best I know.

There’s been a lot of analysis of this, and it turns out that honesty isn’t the best policy. One guy decided to run a computer tournament; people were permitted to create algorithms in a synthetic language which would have the ability to keep track of previous exchanges and make a decision on each new exchange whether to be honest or to cheat. He challenged them to see who could come up with the one which did the best in a long series of matches against various opponents. It turned out that the best anyone could find, and the best anyone has ever found, was known as “Tit-for-tat”.

On the first round, it plays fair. On each successive round, it does to the other guy what he did the last time.

When Tit-for-tat plays against itself, it plays fair for the entire game and maximizes output. When it plays against anyone who tosses in some cheating, it punishes it by cheating back and reduces the other guys unfair winnings.

No-one has ever found a way of defeating it.

Now let’s analyze two different and even more simplistic approaches; we’ll call them “saint” and “sinner”. The saint plays fair every single round, irrespective of what the other guy does. The sinner always cheats.

When a saint plays against another saint, or against tit-for-tat, the result is optimum but more important is that everyone gets the same result. When a sinner plays against another sinner, or against tit-for-tat, everyone cheats and the result is still even, though less than optimal.

But when a sinner plays against a saint, the sinner wins and the saint loses.

Which brings me back to the point of all this: Is there anything I would rule out in war? Nothing I’d care to admit to my enemies, because ruling out anything is a “saint” tactic. The Tit-for-tat tactic is to be prepared to do anything, but not to do so spontaneously. In other words, if the other guy threatens to use poison gas, you make sure you have some of your own and let him know that you’ll retaliate with it. That means that he has nothing to win by using it, and he won’t. (A war is a sequence game and not a single transaction because each day is a new exchange. If you gassed my guys yesterday, I can gas yours today.)

Unfortunately, this logic has been abandoned by the Ruling Class, which thinks it is more important to signal its virtue than to defend the country.

What if Trump loses ?

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

The election news is starting to suggest to me that Trump may well lose the election to Hillary. What would that mean?

Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person to get this close to the presidency since Aaron Burr.

he blamed Hamilton for besmirching him as a candidate, and, eager to defend his honor, challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton accepted, and the face-off took place on the morning of July 11, 1804; it ended when Burr shot Hamilton to death. Though the public cried murder, Burr was let off, and after laying low for a while, he was able to complete his vice-presidential term.

What then?

In 1807, Burr was brought to trial on charges of conspiracy and high misdemeanor, for leading a military charge against Spanish territory and for trying to separate territories from the United States. Chief Justice John Marshall acquitted Burr on the treason charge and eventually revoked his misdemeanor indictment, but the conspiracy scandal left Burr’s political career in ruins.

Final Years

Burr spent the four years following his trial traveling throughout Europe, attempting unsuccessfully to garner support for revolutionizing Mexico and freeing the Spanish colonies.

Burr was a traitor after having his ambitions thwarted.

We all know Hillary’s story. She was a student radical at Wellesley and her senior thesis was on Saul Alinsky.

The thesis was sympathetic to Alinsky’s critiques of government antipoverty programs, but criticized Alinsky’s methods as largely ineffective, all the while describing Alinsky’s personality as appealing.[4] The thesis sought to fit Alinsky into a line of American social activists, including Eugene V. Debs, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Walt Whitman. Written in formal academic language, the thesis concluded that “[Alinsky’s] power/conflict model is rendered inapplicable by existing social conflicts” and that Alinsky’s model had not expanded nationally due to “the anachronistic nature of small autonomous conflict.”

Her sympathies are clear. What will she be like as president if she wins?

We know she is dishonest by most definitions of the term.

She evaded the law on security when she accepted the position of Secretary of State. Her security detail at State, rebelled at her ignoring security rules, and her personal abusive style. The latter was well known from her time in the White House as First Lady.

During her interview, the agent said Clinton treated agents rudely and with contempt, and was so unpleasant that senior agents typically avoided being on her security detail.

“[Redacted] explained that CLINTON’s treatment of DS agents on her protective detail was so contemptuous that many of them sought reassignment or employment elsewhere,” the interview summary says. “Prior to CLINTON’s tenure, being an agent on the Secretary of State’s protective detail was seen as an honor and privilege reserved for senior agents. However, by the end of CLINTON’s tenure, it was staffed largely with new agents because it was difficult to find senior agents willing to work for her.”

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Trump’s new scandal.

Friday, October 7th, 2016

The New York Times and the Democrats have a new Trump story to peddle.

The crude comments are a huge scandal to the new Puritans of the left.

The explosive revelation of his coarse remarks, on the eve of a crucial debate on Sunday against Hillary Clinton, represented a new low for a campaign that had already redefined the standards of political discourse to fit Mr. Trump’s penchant for insults, mocking, threats and demagogic insinuations. A three-minute video clearly capturing Mr. Trump’s voice, and obtained by The Washington Post, ricocheted across social media and cable television and instantly became one of the most powerful weapons yet for Democrats to persuade undecided female voters and others to back Mrs. Clinton.

The Washington Post seems to be the source.

This is the weekend before the second debate and there is obviously a script running here. The recording was made 11 years ago when Trump was unmarried although he married Melania in 2005. I am unaware of any credible allegations of sexual harassment or rape against Trump, although there has been a lawsuit filed and rejected by a 13 year old. alleging rape.

Federal Judge Ronnie Abrams has ordered a December status conference hearing after a woman, who calls herself “Jane Doe,” filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump raped her when she was 13 years old in the 1990s. This is the third attempt the plaintiff has made in filing this particular lawsuit. Last Friday, she filed an amended complaint, with a new “witness” named “Joan Doe.” The plaintiff and witnesses in the case are using pseudonyms, they say, to protect their identities.

Ronnie Abrams was appointed by Barack Obama in 2011.

The plaintiff’s allegation seems to be that she was raped in a setting where Jeffrey Epstein of “Lolita Express” and Bill Clinton fame were present.

I think this is probably a setup by the DNC since the alleged rape occurred in the 1990s and the lawsuit has been previously dismissed.

I think there is a permissive atmosphere where wealthy and popular personalities, like Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton, can be helpful to women in a career. After all, Hillary Clinton owes her career to her husband Bill. She may think she has done it on her own but Bill is a much better politician than she is and that has been obvious since the “Hillarycare” debacle in 1994. I don’t mean to imply that women politicians need men. After all Margaret Thatcher did it on her own with only support from her husband in a personal, non-political way.

We will hear a lot about this story for the next two days and it will be important for Trump to deflate this particular balloon next Sunday. Maybe Hillary will her child actress ask him a question about it.

I assume he anticipated this campaign of vilification but even Trump might be distressed at the levels of hate, especially from Republicans.

Are We Lucky Enough ?

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Another good insight from Richard Fernandez.

Otto von Bismarck said, There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.

Is it true? I think we may find out, especially if Hillary Clinton, in spite of all her crimes and corruption, is elected President.

Shimon Peres said, I said, “America will win no matter what you do.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because they are lucky, and you are not.”

Is that true ? I wonder.

The last eight years have been one unending liberal search for the Great Man of history, the belief that “history can be largely explained by the impact of ‘great men’, or heroes … who, due to either their personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom, or political skill utilized their power in a way that had a decisive historical impact.”

Liberals thought they had it in Obama 2008. They think they have it in the historic First Woman, Hillary in 2016. They may even think they have it in Kerry. Steve Clemons of the Atlantic asked America’s top diplomat in the context of his diplomatic record: what exactly is the “John Kerry secret sauce?” And Kerry patiently explained that it was coming to an agreement with rival negotiators. “You have to figure out whether you can find in the adversaries a meeting of the minds on any of the interests and/or values.”

This, I assume, is why they think negotiation can solve all differences.

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