Thursday, August 16, 2018

What wins in the "style vs substance" debate?

If you listen closely, there's a meme forming: "I really don't like Trump the person, but I like a lot of what he's doing."

The Left loved Obama because he (seemingly) had style.  A smooth operator.  His oral delivery made everything sound like the truth.  Was thin and well-dressed.  Stayed on teleprompter and rarely went off-speech (when he did, he was a bit... lost).  Seemed sooooo sincere because he was sooooo smoooooooooth.  A polished politician, to be sure.

Trump, OTOH, is gruff and unkempt and a somewhat overweight.  He eats McDonalds.  He doesn't have "smooth moves": he jerks around and constantly uses a lot of hand gestures.  He tweets way too often, and his tweets are sometimes quite rude (and insulting).  He almost always wanders off-teleprompter and off-script, and sometimes blurts things out in a speech that would have been better left unsaid.  The least "polished" politician we've had since... well, since I've been alive anyway.

Style.

But as far as substance, Obama managed to do very little in office other than tread water.  I'll skip over the multiple foreign policy faux pas that occurred under his watch (Iraq, Iran, NORK, Russia, Benghazi, et al), the multiple political scandals and missteps (IRS, Fast and Furious, etc), his use of "czars" in an effort to rework the American ideal, and his "phone and pen" pseudo-royalty commands (some of which were denied by the SCOTUS - at least one unanimously).  Here at home, he supported the PPACA and drove millions off their health care plans while forcing them, and the rest of America, to pay for lavish plans for millions of others (many of whom were willingly unemployed).  He attacked the 1st and 2nd Amendments and implemented oppressive and impossibly complicated financial rules that constricted bank and corporation operations.  He supported an increase in taxes while also increasing the food stamp rolls and welfare payouts (aka "wealth redistribution").  Unemployment rose, manufacturers temporarily or permanently shuttered, and economic growth was stagnant.

Then, after steering the country in the wrong direction because he had no effective understanding of economics, he claimed that the economic doldrums he presided over were the "new normal".

Trump has managed, in just under 2 years, to do what Obama said was undoable: improve the economy, decrease unemployment, reduce regulations, and pass a tax cut/reform bill.  Unemployment is dropping, manufacturers are moving money back onshore (something the revered Thomas Friedman said wouldn't happen) and using it to build new facilities and hire American workers, and regulation reform is allowing construction to move forward at speeds not seen in decades.  By opening ANWR and the two pipelines, he has made the US a net exporter of oil - something that the "experts" said could not happen (remember "peak oil"?)  He hasn't been able to repeal the PPACA but he has changed its regulations ("The Secretary shall determine") to permit new plans to be put in place, some of which will allow health insurance purchase across state lines.

This might be because Trump is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, so he has a deep understanding of business economics (“The chief business of the American people is business.” - Coolidge).  And because Trump understands how deal making is done (he wrote the book on it), he's using those same techniques to show other countries that "doing business with the US is better than doing business against the US".

The left believes that Friedman, a columnist for the NYT, is wiser than Trump when it comes to economics.  But it was Friedman who claimed that Trump's election would almost immediately "tank" the market and drive the economy into the dirt.  He still writes that it's "about to happen".  Any. Day. Now.

Yes, the economy will eventually cool off again.  Economies are cyclical.  But it was Friedman who agreed with Obama about the "new normal".  It seems that he was wrong - for now.

The fact that Trump has managed to disprove Obama's "new normal" is at the heart of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Obama was style over substance.

Trump is substance over style (heck, Trump has very little style at all).

And it's making the left crazy.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Proposal for Reduction of Sinusoidal Depleneration

The Turboencabulator

Bernard Salwen

For a number of years now, work has been proceeding to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a machine that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such a machine is the "Turboencabulator."

Basically, the only new principle involved is that instead of power being generated by the relative motion of conductors and fluxes, it is produced by the medial interaction of magneto-reluctance and capacitive directance.

The original machine had a base plate of prefabulated amulite, surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing.

That way the 2 spurving bearings were in direct line with the pentametric fan. The latter consisted simply of 6 hydrocoptic marzel vanes, so fitted to the ambifacient lunar waneshaft that side fumbling was effectively prevented. The main winding was of the normal lotus-0-delta type, placed in panendermic semiboloid slots in the stator, every 7th conductor being connected by a non-reversible tremie pipe to the differential gridle-spring on the "up" end of the grammeters.

41 manestically spaced grouting brushes were arranged to feed into the rotor slipstream a mixture of high S-value phenyl-hydro-benzamine and 5% remanative tetryl-iodo-hexamine.

Both of these liquids have specific pericosities given by P = 2.5Cn6.7, where n is the diathetical evolute of retrograde temperature phase disposition, and C is Cholmondeley's annular grillage coefficient.

Initially, n was measured with the aid of a metapolar refractive pilfrometer, but up to the present, nothing has been found to equal the transcendental hopper dadoscope.

Electrical engineers will appreciate the difficulty of nubing together a regurgitative purwell and a supramitive wennel-sprock. Indeed, this proved to be a stumbling block until it was found that the use of anhydrous nangling pins enabled a kryptonastic boiling shim to be tankered.

The early attempts to construct a sufficiently robust spiral decommutator failed, largely because of a lack of appreciation of the large quasipiestic stresses in the gremlin studs.

The latter were specially designed to hold the roffit bars to the spam-shaft.

When, however, it was discovered that wending could be prevented by a simple addition to the living sockets, almost perfect running was secured.

The operating point is maintained as near as possible to the HF rem peak by constantly fromaging the bitumogenous spandrels.

This is a distinct advance on the standard nivel-sheave.

No dramcock oil is required after the phase detractors have been remissed.

Undoubtedly, the Turboencabulator has now reached a very high level of technical development.

It has been successfully used for operating nofer trunnions. In addition, whenever a barescent skor motion is required, it may be employed in conjunction with a drawn reciprocating dingle arm to reduce sinusoidal depleneration.

Reprinted from:
©The Journal of Irreproducible Results, v9 #2 p20, December 1960

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Simple remedies

We continue to see federal employees past and present act unethically and unprofessionally, and we yawn.  Probably because there isn't much that anyone can do about it.  Congressional impeachment is a toothless punishment: it is meaningless beyond the federal government, and the threat of Congressional impeachment only makes dishonest men laugh.

So, here's a proposition: let's pass a law that provides accountability for the bad acts of federal employees past and present, and give it some teeth.  Give it a punishment worthy of a crime.  A punishment requiring no arrest, no indictment, no trial - no court.  In fact, let's keep it completely out of the courts.

Pass a law something like this:

"Any current or former federal employee who has been impeached by either House of Congress, who has knowingly and/or purposefully lied multiple times under oath in front of either Congress or in Federal Court, or who refuses to testify under oath either in front of Congress or a Federal court, shall be terminated as soon as convenient to the Government, and shall lose all current or back pay, all financial or in-kind pension, and any and all other government-provided benefits as of the date of the violation causing such termination."

Of the above three situations - impeachment, perjury, or "taking the 5th" - only perjury is an actual crime.  The other two are lapses in behavior and more than likely violate existing rules.

The loss of pay, pension, and benefits are each a non-judicial administrative action that are essentially the same as being terminated "for cause".  No jail time, no adjudicated fine, no restriction of liberty.  No charges are required, and no appearance before a judge.  Since these are all actions that can be taken without the need for due process, they can be executed without the involvement of a court.

You're terminated.  Get out.  We'll pack your desk things and send them to you.  Turn in your badge at the front desk on your way out.

Aside from the aforementioned penalties, no other actions should be contemplated or taken as a result of the violation of professional rules.  If a crime is involved, it should be prosecuted separately from these administrative actions.  After termination, if the person wants to take a job in the private sector, so be it.  Goodbye - have a nice life.

This would not be a partisan political action.  It is a sensible action taken by private sector companies every day, and an action that would protect administrations of both parties.

It comes down to this: you made a promise to do your job in an ethical manner.  If you didn't perform ethically, you broke your promise - why should the government be obligated to keep its promise when you didn't keep yours?

Expectations go both ways.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The enemy of my enemy... is... whom?

Perhaps it's time to rip the MSM, Dems, and a lot of Republicans for their comments about Trump's trip and his news conference comments.  Perhaps it's time to rip everyone for their memory loss about past Russia summits and their aftermath, including a past summit between Eisenhower and Khrushchev that almost caused a nuclear war.  Perhaps it's time to rip everyone for their immediate condemnation of Reagan's summit.

Perhaps a bit of revisiting is due here.

And before I get started, don't get the wrong idea: I'm not an apologist for Russia.  I think Putin is dangerous.  But...

Even before Trump corrected his misstatement, pundits were suggesting that Russia's hacking of the DNC emails was actually worse than China's hacking of the OPM.  I would suggest that Russia's hacking is relatively benign when you consider China, NORK, Iran, Pakistan (the Irwan family), and other bad actors around the world - and what they have done, hack-wise.  Short-term memory loss seems rampant among the political class.

I would note that American fear of Russia appears to be pathological, not logical or reasonable.  And that the reaction to Trump's visit and comments is based on Trump's not bowing to the existing orthodoxy of Russia being our worst enemy, regardless of how Romney feels about them.

Even I know that China has been dumping money into the coffers of members of Congress by hiring family members of representatives, investing in their companies, overspending on services provided by "friends", etc.  China has been buying influence - this is provable.  Heck, even the relatives of McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, have done well.  And Chao has been good-speaking China to McConnell forever.

China uses plenty of money to swing opinion.  Russia doesn't.  Therefore, Russia is the "bad guy" and China - our economic enemy, and the scourge of the South China Sea - is the "good guy"?  Seriously??

Neither China nor Russia is our close friend.  But China can destroy the US economically.  Russia can't.

So... why is Russia the "bad guy"?

I think Trump has recognized these concepts.  He has accused China of being a money manipulator, stealing our tech and our intellectual property, "dumping" products on American shores, and maintaining a trade surplus by heavy tariffs on American imports.  He knows that China is at economic war with the US and knows that China has publicly declared that it wants to be the world's biggest economy - even if it means destroying the American economy.

Meanwhile, we do very little trade with Russia.  Russia's biggest export right now is energy, and they're selling it to Europe.  I dare anyone to show me other Russian exports that would make Russia an economic threat to the US.

Russia shouldn't be our enemy.  In fact, Russia doesn't want to be our enemy.  Yes, Russia still has hegemonic ambitions on the European continent, but look at the past invasions.  Both were meant to give Russia access to the world through areas it lost when the USSR broke up.  Since the illegal and warlike invasions of Crimea and Ukraine, Russia has threatened other areas... but it hasn't taken any action.  It may be that, regardless of Putin's "dreams of reconstituting the USSR", Russian expansionism may be over for now.

And anyone with half a brain and knowledge of the current state of governments in the European Continent knows that countries from Estonia to (the rest of) Ukraine have no desire to return to rule by Russia.  Many of them joined NATO specifically to gain protection from the West.  Putin's dreams of Russian expansionism, at least in Eastern Europe, are essentially over - for now.

That's why I think Trump was right, both when he misspoke and when he issued a correction.  Both statements remain correct.  Our intelligence services deserve our full support - but the reports they generated have been fatally flawed and biased.  Trusting Comey, Brennan, and Clapper was a mistake because all three lied, misled the public, and acted against American democracy.  Trump's comments were meant for them: it was they who used baseless and unverified/unverifiable "documents" to begin an investigation into Trump's "collusion" with Russians.

Um... isn't that exactly what they accuse Putin of doing?

If anyone is working to undermine the American democratic process, it is the anti-Trump MSM, Dems, and others who are single-minded in their desire to destroy Trump, seemingly for pushing back against the !!!1!!RUSSIAENEMYRUSSIAENEMYRUSSIA!@@!!! dialogue in an attempt to - yes, yet again - push the reset button.

Only time will tell... but I also think time will show that Trump was correct: our enemy isn't Russia.

Our true enemy is China.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Head-fake?

So, Trump says he "misspoke". I don't believe him for a minute.

BUT...

Either way, the question of "interference" has been answered. Putin admitted it during the interview. His view is different, tho: he doesn't see Russian meddling as interference 'cuz it uncovered a lot of political corruption.

Putin makes a valid point, but only from the way he views the "meddling". Americans are so wrapped up in Russia hate and in Trump hate that they might - might - be missing the big picture. There was corruption and it was uncovered. But it wasn't uncovered by American intelligence services or the MSM.

It was uncovered by their supposed arch-enemy, the Russians.

IMO, that's why the MSM and the Dems hate this so much: corruption in the American political system could no longer be hidden from the public by the MSM and the Dems.

But I think there's something much larger at work here, and I think it has to do with the Middle East. Russia knows that alignment with Syria has put them into a bind, and their support for Assad means that they tacitly support Assad's chemical attacks. They want a way out of this situation, but without giving the US a way back in. Trump wants out too - is it possible that Trump and Putin are working on a mutual withdrawal from the Middle East?

Russia has declared support for Israel, and Israel - Netanyahu - has declared support for Russia. Israel and Syria are practically at war again, and if the war goes live then Israel will win - again. Russia doesn't want to target the only democracy in the Middle East... so is it looking for a way to tell Israel "we won't respond to Israeli attacks" while it slowly backs away from supporting Assad?

The MSM and Dems will go nuts if Trump pulls out of the Middle East... but if Putin pulls out too, what will the MSM and Dems say? Will they demand Trump go back into the Middle East after demanding he pull out of the Middle East?

I think Trump is about to head-fake the MSM and the Dems again.

Plus, there's nothing that can be done about Crimea or the Ukraine at this point. That ship sailed when Obama refused to do anything after the invasions. Asking Trump to invade either Crimea or the Ukraine is pretty stupid.

Trump can't isolate Russia, especially with Germany (and much of Europe) buying Russian energy.  Our "allies" will be pumping money into Russia rather than buying energy from us.  Think on that for a moment: our "allies" are supporting our "sworn enemy".  Is the enemy of our enemy, our friend?  Or yet another enemy?  And being heavily dependent on Russian energy, will Russia be able to push Europe away from the US by threatening that energy supply?  If things go south, will Europe side with the US... or will it side with Russia?

So, unless the MSM and the Dems want Trump to go to war with Russia, the best thing to do is to fully investigate why our intelligence agencies failed to provide Obama with intelligence so he could counter Russia's meddling.  Or, if they provided that information to Obama, let's find out why Obama didn't use that information to protect the upcoming election.

There's a pretty rotten smell coming from DC.

Also: Let's take Putin up on his offer. Let Mueller interview Russians on Russian soil (with supervisors present), and let Putin's representatives interview Americans on American soil (with supervisors present). Make the transcripts public. If there's something there, let the American and Russian people see all of it uncensored. If there's corruption, show it. If there's incompetence, show it. If there's perjury, show it. Let both the American and Russian people see exactly who did what.

No Americans will vanish or commit suicide (a la Rich, e.g. 2 shots to the back of the head). But there may be some Russians who will vanish or commit suicide (a la agents in England who "accidentally" ingested nerve agents).

But at least the public will know.

Let's get real. The majority of Americans either don't pay attention to the news at all, or get their news from late night "comedy" shows. If they can be easily swayed by a comedian and believe hard-core AntiFA / BAMN / BLM activists without "checking their sources", then yes: Russian meddling might have influenced them. But they would have voted Dem anyway...

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The case for party affiliation of "none"

It is time to eliminate laws that require registered voters to declare political party affiliation. A voter should not have to tell the state - or anyone - which political party they prefer.

As someone who ran for office 3 times, I know that those running for office can get copies of voter registration rolls to they can contact possible constituents. That means that the data is publicly available, and it means that data can then be used by unscrupulous political party operatives to intimidate or embarrass those who don't support their candidate.

Don't fool yourself into thinking this intimidation doesn't happen.  It does, and far more often than anyone realizes.

Voting booths are supposed to ensure privacy so individuals can feel free to choose whom to support. It is long past time to remove party affiliation from voter registration cards as well.  This would encourage candidates of all political stripes to address all voters without "cherry picking" only a select few prospects.

Some states allow a voter to remain undeclared on their voter registration. But a significant number of states still require party declaration in order to vote, and some even will invalidate a vote by those who "cross party lines".

States should not be forcing voters to declare who they will vote for before an election. That's plainly un-American and is a probable violation of 1A (right of association).  I look forward to a lawsuit by someone in a forced-affiliation state to sue the state to permit them to choose "none" on their voting registration form.

It's long past time for this to change. It's long past time for states to stop coercing voters into telling the state which political party they support and provide a way for a voter to register to vote without declaring which party they want to vote for.

Yes, this could screw up the primary system... if you believe that political parties should only allow certain voters to support a candidate. I prefer to think that voters want to support a candidate of their choice in secrecy, without coercion, and with a free conscience.

Party loyalists will always exist, as will those who donate to a political party in support of its candidates and its platform.  But states should play no part in coercing voters to indicate which party they support before they cast their vote anonymously and in secret.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Legal, but not ethical

Watching the Strzok hearings, something is becoming very clear: Strzok is using legal technicalities to put up a defense for his actions. Those legal technicalities are meant to generate "reasonable doubt" whether his actions were based on bias or not. He indicates that his texts contained "political speech" and they are hence protected under the First Amendment.

In fact, he's correct. His political speech is protected and he cannot be fired or otherwise discipllined based on his political speech. If this was a situation where pure legalities were being used to make a determination of legal responsibility, he'd be able to make a case for "not guilty".

However, he's not writing a computer program where a mathematical test is either true or false. Nor is he taking a test where his answers will be graded solely on their correctness.

He's testifying in front of Congress, where human beings are assessing the totality of his testimony against the totality of a situation that involves both him, his girlfriend, multiple others in the FBI, non-business texts, extremely powerful political figures, and a record of involvement in multiple investigations.

If this was a stand-alone situation and he was the only one involved, his defense would fly.

But in front of Congress, he's displaying arrogance, "holier-than-thou", and acting as someone who thinks most of the elected Congressional representatives are complete idiots. (Whether they are, or not, isn't the point.) He's forgotten something rather important: you never directly insult those who will be making decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life.

Human beings are involved here. He's pissing off (by pissing on) the members of the committee. His body language and his anger at some questions is proving that he may be incapable of separating his emotional feelings from his job assignment. The transcript won't indicate this anger, but the video does indicate his anger - and the video testimony will permanently damage his reputation for fairness.  He's proving that he may understand the legal issues involved, he doesn't understand or recognize the ethical violations he has committed.

And if he can't demonstrate the ability to act in an ethical manner in front of the Congressional committee, then he's giving strength to the argument that he did not act in an ethical manner in the past.

He's claiming his anger is based on his "passion" to defend the Constitution -- but his anger only rises up when he's being asked about the texts that seemingly reveal significant bias against Trump and toward Clinton, or when he's asked to explain his behavior with regard to the investigations he was involved in, or when he's asked some very direct questions that would require some very embarrassing answers.

Strzok's legal defense holds.  His defense of his conduct as "ethical", fails miserably.

His attempts to build "context" around the texts is a complete failure, demonstrated by his multiple explanations to their meaning and, in one case, saying that he doesn't remember the text but he remembers being angry when he sent it.

The more he talks, the less believable he becomes.

There's a concept in politics: "When you're explaining, you're losing." Strzok's explanations ring false.  There's a simple reason why:

His behavior was legal, but it was not ethical.  The IG said so.  Case closed.

Moreover, Strzok was working on some counter-intelligence operations as part of his job. He was married and had a girl friend (Page). These facts would have made him a target for a foreign intelligence agency: he was already violating his oath to his wife and making himself possibly subject to blackmail and worse, and he had access to information that a foreign intelligence agency could use.

In every security briefing I've ever received, we are told to watch for - and report - behaviors by other employees that could be used to coerce them into actions that could threaten national security. Strzok is exactly the kind of person that we are told to watch for.  The report is made anonymously. The investigating agencies do their work in total secrecy. If there is nothing to it, nothing is done and the report is filed as "no action necessary".

BUT if an action is required, the individual is interviewed by someone higher in the chain than the FSO (facility security officer) - and that interview is also done in complete secrecy.

Then, if an action needs to be taken, the appropriate action is taken.

These investigations happen fairly often.  The reason you never hear about them is that you should never hear about them.  And until there is something to reveal, you don't know about them.

Strzok was married and had a girlfriend. Unless they were a willing threesome - and even if they were - this was a situation that could have been used to put Strzok (and Page) into an embarrassing situation and thus push them toward complying with demands made by a foreign power.

Strzok thinks he's smarter than anyone who he works for. He's arrogant, and believes that he is serving a higher purpose.  We're lucky that he wasn't working directly with the Russians.

Like Robert Hanssen did.