Thursday, October 7, 2021

Winter Driving


I just spent a pleasant few hours watching YouTube videos of horribly inept drivers (not) coping with winter weather.  It caused me to wax nostalgic.

During my years at IBM, I had the good fortune to be paired with a grizzled old-timer named Dave Boyd.  Dave, by then, had over 30 years as an IBM employee, many of those in 'systems' having written the first AutoCoder syllabus and then taught the first AutoCoder class.  He was a true 'Renaissance Man', and it would not surprise me one bit if he actually fit Robert A. Heinlein's definition:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly.  Specialization is for insects.

Among many other things, he was a 'German car nut', owning, at one point, a 2L Porsche 914, a 1.8L Porsche 914, a Porsche 356 that he had lovingly restored to showroom condition, a BMW 2002, and a Volkswagen.  He used the 914s to race gymkana on frozen Lake Winnipesaukee NH each winter, and cherished his nickname, 'Iceman'.

He taught me many valuable lessons, not the least of these being 'how to drive in winter'.  One day he asked me "What steers a car?" and I replied "The steering wheel, of course!"  Dave smiled as he shook his head side to side.  "No, the rolling wheels steer the car.  A wheel that isn't rolling is either stopped or sliding."  I was reminded of that as I watched cars from Michigan to Arkansas zipping down icy hills, all four wheels locked-in-place and careening into other cars, some moving, some not.

Mr. Miyagi advised Daniel-San

Best brock is 'no be dere'

and the best way to avoid crashing into another car because of icy conditions is to stay home that day, but if you must be behind the wheel on a snowy or sleety day, remember this:  when you press down on the brake pedal, you stop the wheels from rolling and you stop them from steering, but you don't overrule Newton's First Law: an object in motion tends to remain in motion.

The same lesson applies when you're going through a tight turn on dry pavement: if you step on the brake pedal, you have just offered to pay whatever penalty the laws of physics charge.

Only the rolling wheels can steer a car.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

An Outline of Post-Western Civilization


I think this is important enough to reproduce and save:

An Outline of Post-Western Civilization

I also think it is important enough for you to invest your time reading.

With thanks to Paul Rosenberg (Freeman's Perspective) for being the OP, and Thomas Knapp (Rational Review News Digest) for highlighting it.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Governmental Upside to Vaccines (sic)


There is a '(sic)' next to the word 'vaccine' because it is a fact that the vaccines we are being cajoled into taking are not actually vaccines in the accepted sense of the word.  For the record:

A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease.  A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins.  The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, destroy it, and to further recognize and destroy any of the microorganisms associated with that agent that it may encounter in the future.
    — Wikipedia, 9-21-21

(Whenever, following, I use the term 'vaccine', I am using it as a convenient shorthand only.)  The Covid-19 vaccine does not fit this description.  It is not synthesized from the C19 virus itself.  It does not provide immunity from C19, neither does it prevent future infection.  It's only claim is that it attenuates the severity of C19 should the vaccinated victim become infected.  Anecdotal evidence, largely from Israel, the most vaccinated country on Earth, suggests that the vaccine may, in fact, be more dangerous than C19 itself.  This is especially true for the so-called Delta variant.  That evidence takes the form that hospitalizations and deaths related to C19 closely parallels vaccination rates.  That is: as vaccinations go up, so do deaths.

Meanwhile, news out of India and Africa is being suppressed because it does not follow 'the narrative'.  That news strongly supports the view that Ivermectin (IVM) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are effective prophylactics when administered early in the disease progression.  In the case of Africa, side-by-side graphs of 'vaccine countries' and 'IVM countries' show that death rates in IVM countries are a puny fraction of that in vaccine countries.  In the case of India, Kerala province went the vaccine-route while much of the rest of the country relied on early widespread HCQ/IVM use and the death rates in Kerala are substantially higher when compared to the rest of the country.

It isn't possible that our government doesn't know this, yet we are urged and coerced into getting vaccinated despite mounting evidence that other options have better outcomes.  Why would our government foist an unproven vaccination regimen on us when there are options that, it now appears likely if not 'certain', are better?

Given that these vaccines are by definition untested — there simply hasn't been enough time to know their long-term effects — could there be an ulterior motive?

Well, there's this:

If a third or more of our population were killed in [a nuclear] attack (a conservative estimate by the standards of the Rand Corporation's "Study of Nonmilitary Defense"), a stronger estate tax would have a tremendous revenue potential.
    — from a 1963 Federal Reserve System planning document

A new mRNA 'vaccine' whose long-term effect was to shorten life spans would likewise provide much-needed relief from Social Security's fast-approaching woes, especially if that vaccine or the disease it purports to treat were highly fatal to an older population.

Alternatively, it has been suggested that our planet is severely over-populated.  A nice little pandemic could fix that — if effective treatments can be suppressed.  It isn't outside the envelope of possibility that the vaccines are simply used as 21st-century snake oil.

In medicine, it has long been recognized that even a quack remedy that is harmless in itself can be fatal when it substitutes for an effective medication or treatment.  The time is overdue for that same recognition to apply to politics.
    — Thomas Sowell


Update:    As of July 8, 2021, IVM is recommended by CDC/NIH for treating C19.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

It was 20 years ago today...


The day after 9-11-2001, I wrote Another Day of Infamy as an analysis of what had transpired the day before.  20 years later, I find that I wouldn't change a word.

That's sad when you think about it.  In 20 years we have learned virtually nothing about dealing with other sovereign nations.  Nothing.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Media and banks as censorship tools


The government is forbidden, via the First amendment, to censor the speech (written or oral) of citizens.  Recently, there was an incident where some government operative suggested that the federal government ask prominent media companies (Google, Twitter, FaceBook, &c.) to put a stop to (that is: censor) 'misinformation'.  Opinion on this issue fell into two rough categories.  One side opined that this should be illegal since government was effectively doing an end run around the First amendment.  The other side asserts that those media companies are non-government corporations and are not bound by the First amendment, and can thus censor or not, as they see fit.

A similar public-private partnership involving banks and other financial operators was used during the Obama years to put the squeeze on gun manufacturers and sellers.

Which side do you come down on?

Back on February 3rd, I pointed out that corporations are 'creatures of the state' and have no more authority to censor anyone than does their creator.  When FaceBook demonetizes one of their users or when Twitter cancels a user's account for 'violations of the terms of service', they are exercising powers the state could never have granted them — because the state never possessed those powers to begin with.

Somebody with spine and bankroll needs to sue one of these companies and let the Supreme Court rule on whether they can or cannot censor — at the behest of government or without it.


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Whose Fault Is It?


It's August 31st, 2021.  The last USAF plane has left Kabul — that is, the last USAF plane that wasn't abandoned in our rush to be gone by Biden's deadline.  There also seems to have been a fair few American civilians left behind.  Whether they chose to remain behind or were simply unable to get to the airport in time is as yet insufficiently clear.  Also left behind, apparently, are a large number of Afghans who served as interpreters during the occupation, even though they are at serious risk of Taliban retaliation.

There are rumors that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unvetted refugees made it onto airplanes to be whisked away to centers of Afghan immigration like Wisconsin.  One YouTube video claims that the U.S. State Department emailed blank visas, presumably to vetted addressees, with instructions to "fill them out and bring them with you to the airport".  A blank form such as that can be replicated easily and filled out by others who (presumably) have not yet been vetted.  Beyond that, the roads leading to the airport were by then under the control of the Taliban, and it is not guaranteed that everyone who ought to have been admitted to the airport actually got close enough for that to happen.  It also appears that something like $83 billion (with a 'b') worth of planes, helicopters, armored vehicles, and other weapons (including over 350,000 M-16s and ammunition) were left behind at Bagram airbase.

Clearly, this pull-out was bungled in a way that has no immediately-comparable example in our experience.  Why?

People of all stripes are asking piercing questions like:  "What level of military expertise is required for a leader to understand that the order of evacuation has to be (a) civilians first, (b) expensive and/or militarily-sensitive equipment next, and (c) military last ?"  And if the leader doesn't have that kind of military expertise, isn't there someone close by who does have it?

FOX News and Republicans in general are blaming this incredible series of fuck-ups (sorry, there's just no pleasant way to say it) on Biden, and Democrats with CNN and MSNBC are pointing their fingers at Donald Trump.

Well, whose fault is it?

The Democrats shrug and say "that's the evacuation plan Trump left us with!" and expect everyone to shrug along with them.  But Biden, on his first half-day in office, signed 40 Executive Orders undoing many acts of the previous President.  Is it possible that in the seven months since, no one at the Pentagon pointed out the error in Trump's horrible plan?  No, it's not possible.  If that were Trump's plan, it would have been changed as easily as those 40 EOs.  Therefore, the plan we witnessed being executed in the last two weeks was not Trump's plan; it was Biden's plan, either because he changed Trump's plan or because he didn't.

This was Biden's fault.  The buck stops there.


Thursday, August 19, 2021

How To Drain A Swamp


There has been considerable blather since... oh, around mid-2016 or so... about when Donald Trump announced he was interested in becoming President of the United States... about how he would 'drain the swamp'.  That didn't happen to anything like the extent most of his supporters expected it would, and it might be instructive to ask why those exalted expectations never seemed to come to pass.


A new President coming into office typically receives the resignations of all political appointees of the prior administration.  Often, this includes the Directors of FBI, NSA, and CIA, but not always.  A newly-elected President who really wants to drain the DC swamp will signal that resolve by immediately accepting those proffered resignations — and summarily dismissing any who do not resign — and then cancelling the security clearances for all those persons.  Given the atrocious condition of the military currently, several high-ranking flag officers should likewise be relieved of command and separated from the service.

All such persons, military and civilian, should be relieved of their passports.  Why their passports?  Because a President, the head of the Executive Branch, also heads the Justice Department that would be potentially prosecuting other heads-of-departments (possibly including the DoJ itself), and it is necessary that those high-ranking (and therefore wealthy) defendants not be able to flee the jurisdiction.  The President also heads the Department of State that owns those passports.  The President is thus entitled to recover State Department property. 

That's insufficient, unfortunately.  The next three (at least) management levels below those Directors need to be furloughed.  They may not be able to be fired outright if they are 'civil service', but they can be placed on administrative leave, minus their security clearances, pending an investigation to determine if they are safe to have in sensitive positions.  The personnel remaining will be charged with operating their functions without the encumbrance of the upper echelons.  It strains credulity to wonder if those organizations cannot function effectively when run by the people who actually run them day-to-day.

Such actions following hot on the heels of Inauguration would send tremors through the halls of Congress.  There are — I have not the slightest doubt — many Congressional staffers who, seeing U.S.Marshals and State Department functionaries stripping the highest ranks of DC Officialdom of their badges of office, would begin to consider 'turning state's evidence' before it was too late.  A President truly set on draining the DC swamp would only need one or two such turncoats, and even the New York Times could not decline to publish the news of the forthcoming indictments.

All that is needed is a President who doesn't care that somebody who hasn't yet been sufficiently neutralized is going to leak pictures 'in bed with a dead girl or a live boy', as one unfortunately forgotten wag once predicted.

Does such a person exist?