Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ron Klain and the political plum

By Donald Sensing

Two days ago, I left this comment at Glenn Reynold's site regarding the appointment of Democrat operative Ron Klain as the ebola czar:

This appointment lays naked what Leftism really is about:

The Totalist mindset always rewards political reliability first and foremost.

This is also the patronage ideology: every such job is seen as a plum first, to be handed out as a reward or incentive.

And finally the "looter" ideology: follow the money and see whose pockets it disappears into - all fellow travelers of the administration and friends.
Headline this morning, I rest my case: Sources: Klain in line to succeed Podesta - POLITICO.com:

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Yes, some women do lie about rape

By Donald Sensing

Glenn Reynolds:

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE! (CONT’D): Woman claims she was sexually assaulted, admits it didn’t happen. “This brings up a difficult question: What would it take for an accuser to be charged with filing a false report?”
I left this as a comment, but here it is:

When I was a US Army company commander at Ft Jackson, DC, in the early 1980s, my training company was about one-third women. The soldiers had all completed basic training and were training to be qualified in their military specialty; therefore they had some privileges that BT recruits didn't have, one of which was to go on weekend evenings to the "1-2-3" Club, so called because it was for the lowest enlisted ranks, E1, E2, E3. None of the troops had cars so they had to walk.

Like every other commander, I had emplaced a very strict "buddy" policy for both males and females. No soldier could go anywhere outside the barracks alone; they had to have a buddy go with them. Didn't have to be pairs only. This included to, at and from the 123 Club.

I also had a very strict curfew on Friday and Saturday evenings of 2300 hours. (That's 11 p.m. for you Air Force types. Big hand on the 11 and little hand on the 12 for you Marines!) Once in awhile I'd drop by at curfew time to check in with the NCO on duty.

So one evening about 2315 a couple of female soldiers come lolly gagging in and the NCO sweeps them up and has them report to me (I was standing near the door anyway.) I demanded to know why they were late. One was white and the other black. Yes, this is relevant.

"We would have been on time," the white one said, "but on the way back a man jumped out of the bushes and dragged me over and raped me." She said this about as emotively as she might have reported walking through a short rain drizzle. Then she added, "He was a big black man." Well, of course!

I said nothing but turned to look at her buddy, who was black, who cried out, "Oh, sir, I was with her the whole time! We didn't break the buddy system!"

True story.

How did this all end? I called the MPs, who came over, took her statement and took her to the post hospital where the rape kit was done. Medium story short, it was all baloney from beginning to end, just a cover for missing curfew. The brigade commander told me he'd handle it, and he did: field-grade article 15 for the liar plus a general discharge. He left her conspirator for me. I article 15'd her but didn't discharge her as apart from that one major slip up, she was actually a pretty good soldier.

This was only one of many false claims of rape that I had reported, always to cover their tracks for some other misconduct. One claim I'll never forget, though. It was a sergeant assigned for retraining into another specialty, which happens more than you might think. A young black woman, she was one of the sharpest, smartest NCOs I ever saw.

She went home on emergency leave and was returned to the post on her due-back day by local police - not in custody but because, they said, in taking a nighttime cab back to the post from the airport the cabbie had raped her. (The Columbia PD did confirm the rape was real and they picked up the cabbie.)

The sergeant never recovered. She almost literally lost her mind and became badly transformed in her personality. We would up having to process her for a medical (psych) discharge. A real tragedy.

That young sergeant brutalized is why I have a deep-seated contempt for women who falsely claim rape. It not only ruins an innocent man, it demeans and dismisses women who really were raped.

How we committed cultural suicide

By Donald Sensing

 From American Digest. The entire essay is here.

What is the context? Among other things, this:
Today, though, sexual intercourse is delinked from procreation. Since the invention of the Pill some 40 years ago, human beings have for the first time been able to control reproduction with a very high degree of assurance. That led to what our grandparents would have called rampant promiscuity. The causal relationships between sex, pregnancy and marriage were severed in a fundamental way. The impulse toward premarital chastity for women was always the fear of bearing a child alone. The Pill removed this fear. Along with it went the need of men to commit themselves exclusively to one woman in order to enjoy sexual relations at all. Over the past four decades, women have trained men that marriage is no longer necessary for sex. But women have also sadly discovered that they can't reliably gain men's sexual and emotional commitment to them by giving them sex before marriage.
That's how we committed (and continue to commit) cultural suicide, but it doesn't say why. As for that question, here is one clue:
In particular, sexual sin seems to be the largest single factor driving disbelief in our culture. Brant Hanson calls sex “The Big But” because he so often hears this from unbelievers: “’I like Jesus, BUT…’ and the ‘but’ is usually followed, one way or the other, with an objection about the Bible and… sex. People think something’s deeply messed-up with a belief system that says two consenting, unmarried adults should refrain from sex.” In other words, people simply do not want to follow the Christian teaching that sexual intercourse should take place only between and man and woman who are married, so they throw the whole religion out.
But I maintain that after 50 years of this "liberation," it is empirically provable that this is the way that leads to death.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

The ideology of resentment

By Donald Sensing

Sultan Knish: The Progressive Missionaries of Unhappiness

Leftists without grievances are like an army without guns. That is why leftist experiments in communes dissolved into denunciations, power grabs and authoritarian rules as soon the drugs ran out. Often even before. The leftist isn’t seeking freedom from capitalism, religion, nationalism, racism, sexism, office dress codes, bar codes and any of the other great evils of the moment. These are just the outrage fuel of the willfully outraged whose resentment has become both culture and religion.

What he wants is to express an egotistical grievance at a world that is not built around him. His resentments came before his ideology. They are in a very real sense his ideology.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Career choices

By Donald Sensing

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Wi-fi, good news and bad news

By Donald Sensing

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley: 'Wi-Fi is a human right'

Gov. Martin O'Malley is making an unusual argument as he ramps up for a likely 2016 presidential campaign: free Wi-Fi.

The Maryland Democrat said that Wi-Fi is a "human right" in an interview with CNN.

“Younger people are choosing to live in cities. They realize that connections to each other are making us better. That Wi-Fi is a human right. That proximity is important to entrepreneurship, access to capital and talent and diversity. There is an opportunity there for us as a nation to embrace that new perspective,” he said.
The obvious question is, of course, who pays?

"The good news is the rich will pay for everything; the bad news is you're rich" -- Joshua Price.

Left Behind gets deservedly left behind

By Donald Sensing

Thankfully, American movie goers seem to have enough sense not to waste their time or money with religious escapism nonsense. Left Behind, the new thriller based on the best-selling books of the same name, and starring Nic Cage, basically bombed at the box office by pulling in less than $7 million its opening weekend, ranking it the sixth in box office gross.

The Rapture is not biblical and was not taught by the apostles or their successors. The whole thing was simply made up whole cloth by members of a small sect called the Plymouth Brethren in the 1820s. (The Plymouth Brethren are still around, btw.)

Here's a short video to get up to speed on how it came to be: Where Did Rapture Theology Come From? by highly-regarded Bible scholar Ben Witherington.

And the long course, 32 minutes, by William Lane Craig:

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Liberal colonization

By Donald Sensing

Are You Being Colonized by Liberalism?

 It’s just never clear to me how liberalism can avoid becoming the totalizing narrative that it purports to critique. 
Inherently, it cannot avoid it. The fundamental thrust of liberalism is totalism. No one gravitates to the Left in order to let others live their lives as they see fit.

Update: But perhaps some kickback is coming from a quarter where it can really count:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Muslims murdering Muslims

By Donald Sensing

I posted earlier of "Muslims killing Muslims - and lots of other people," of how 90 percent of the 11 million Muslims killed in the Middle East since 1948 died at the hands of other Muslims. Now the Daily Beast adds more insights.

ISIS’s Gruesome Muslim Death Toll
The group’s killing of Westerners gets attention. But ISIS has killed far more Muslims, and publicizing that fact would harm it more.
... We are talking beheadings, killing of women for objecting to ISIS’ policies, and executing Sunni Muslim clerics for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS. ...

Here are a few examples from the report to give you an idea of the way ISIS has methodically slaughtered Muslims:

-On September 5, ISIS executed three Sunni women in Mosul. What was their “crime”? They refused to provide medical care to ISIS fighters.
- On September 9, ISIS executed a Sunni Imam in western Mosul for refusing to swear loyalty to ISIS.
- On August 2, a man from the Salah ad Din province was abducted and beheaded for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS.
-On August 19, a female Muslim doctor south of Mosul was killed for organizing a protest to object to ISIS’ mandate that female doctors cover their faces with religious veils when treating patients
-On August 31, 19 Sunni Muslim men were executed in Saadiya for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS.
-On July 22, a Sunni Imam in Eastern Baquba was killed for simply denouncing ISIS.
-On September 9, ISIS executed two Muslim women by shooting them in the back of the head. Their exact “crime” was not known.

And the list goes on from ISIS slaughtering 1,500 Iraqi soldiers in June to blowing up numerous Sunni mosques because apparently the leaders of those mosques refused to swear loyalty to ISIS.
The most potentially lethal company a Muslim can keep is another Muslim.

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Failed movie ideas

By Donald Sensing

Did not make it past the high-concept stage: Conan the Librarian.

Hat tip to Leo Pusateri.

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Muslims killing Muslims - and lots of other people

By Donald Sensing


Here is a "Politically Incorrect List of Murders in America By Muslims Since Obama Took Office"
2/12/2009 Buffalo NY:
4/12/ 2009 Phoenix, Arizona:
2009  Littlerock, Arkansas:
2009 Glendale, Arizona:
11/5/2009 Fort Hood, Texas
12/4/2009 Binghamton, New York:
 4/14/2010 Marquette Park, Illinois:
4/30/2011 Warren, Michigan:
5/4/2011 Chicago, Illinois:
9/11/2011 Walden, Massachusetts:
1/15/2013 Houston, Texas:
2/7/2013 Buena Vista, New Jersey:
3/24/2013 Ashtabula, Ohio:
4/15/2013 Boston, Massachusetts
4/19/2013 Boston, Massachusetts
8/4/2013 Richmond, California:
3/16/2014 Port Bolivar, Texas:
4/27/2014 Skyway, Washington:
6/1/2014 Seattle, Washington:
6/25/2014 West Orange, New Jersey:
9/25/2014 Moore, Oklahoma
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Monday, October 6, 2014

Qatar and Saudi Arabia: the fount of Islamist evil

By Donald Sensing

Qatar and Saudi Arabia 'have ignited time bomb by funding global spread of radical Islam'

General Jonathan Shaw, Britain's former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, says Qatar and Saudi Arabia responsible for spread of radical Islam

Gen Jonathan Shaw is a former commander of British forces in Basra
General Shaw told The Telegraph that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were primarily responsible for the rise of Wahhabi Salafism, the extremist Islam that inspires Isil terrorists Photo: EPA
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have ignited a "time bomb" by funding the global spread of radical Islam, according to a former commander of British forces in Iraq.

General Jonathan Shaw, who retired as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in 2012, told The Telegraph that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires Isil terrorists.

The two Gulf states have spent billions of dollars on promoting a militant and proselytising interpretation of their faith derived from Abdul Wahhab, an eighteenth century scholar, and based on the Salaf, or the original followers of the Prophet.

But the rulers of both countries are now more threatened by their creation than Britain or America, argued Gen Shaw. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has vowed to topple the Qatari and Saudi regimes, viewing both as corrupt outposts of decadence and sin.

So Qatar and Saudi Arabia have every reason to lead an ideological struggle against Isil, said Gen Shaw. On its own, he added, the West's military offensive against the terrorist movement was likely to prove "futile".
Read the whole thing. But this is not really news, we have known this for many, many years.

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Another answer to Fermi's paradox

By Donald Sensing

Fermi's Paradox was first posed by physicist Enrico Fermi in 1950. It goes like this:

The universe is many billions of years old. Fermi calculated that an alien species smart enough to become spacefarers could reach any point in the galaxy in five million years. But we we have no scientific evidence that aliens beings have been here.

So, Fermi asked, where is everybody?

The issue is that the galaxy is simply huge beyond description. One answer to the paradox is that interstellar distances are so vast that such travel is simply impossible no matter the technology involved. Warp drive and the like are simply nothing but science fiction inventions and that's all they ever will be.

Various other answers have been posed in the 64 years since Fermi posed the question. One is that alien species with technical capability simply stayed home.

They just get addicted to computer games. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they’re too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don’t need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today. 
(See "Fatal Fitness Cues.") Another answer is that interstellar travel is simply lethal to life. Or that the technological level required to achieve space flight means that its possessor also has the capability not to need to or even want to.

Then there is the calculation that even a 14 billion year-old universe simply has not been around long enough to result in planets teeming with intelligent life, and that therefore homo sapiens is the first species to have developed the capability of even rudimentary space flight. After all, someone has to be first and there is no scientific reason it wasn't us.

Or, as many scientists believe, the chances of complex life forming anywhere are so incredibly remote that we could be the only intelligent species in the entire universe, to say nothing of the Milky Way galaxy. Harvard biologist Ernst Mayr has pointed out that since life first appeared on Earth, there have been an estimated 50 billion species. And yet only one, us, has developed high intelligence. Mayr says that such intelligence does not obviously offer a species survival advantage and hence may be so rare that homo sapiens may be a "one off" in the universe.

All of this rests on what is called the "theory of mediocrity" because it holds that conditions on earth are simply average and that life-producing conditions are therefore abundant in the universe. So let's stipulate that this is true (although there are substantial numbers of researchers who say it is not true). That means we come to one simple question: How Many People Does It Take to Colonize Another Star System?

And the answer is one heck of a lot. The minimum number is 10,000 setting off from the base planet, and 40,000 is even better. They don't all have to be on one ship.
When 10,000 people are housed in one starship, there's a potential for a giant catastrophe to wipe out almost everyone onboard. But when 10,000 people are spread out over five ships of 2000 apiece, the damage is limited.

To make interstellar travel a reality, scientists and engineers will have to overcome huge obstacles. They'll need to find ways to increase propulsion speed, prevent the negative health effects that arise from living in space, and devise self-sustaining systems that provide food, water, and air. At least the new calculations provide some sort of starting point.

"With 10,000," Smith says, "you can set off with good amount of human genetic diversity, survive even a bad disease sweep, and arrive in numbers, perhaps, and diversity sufficient to make a good go at Humanity 2.0." 
Here is the relationship to Fermi's Paradox. Those 10,000 people or aliens have to know where they are going before they set out. They have to know some details about the destination. Simply aiming for "second star to the right and straight on to morning" won't cut it. Unless they know at departure that their specific destination will host them almost immediately upon arrival, they can't go. The shortest trip will take hundreds of years at the minimum, possibly thousands. If they don't have a debarkation assurance at the other end to begin with, they might have to pass the star system by because there is nothing there to move on to. And that means basically starting all over again, doubling or more the trip time.

Admittedly, by the time dozens or more generations have spent entire lifetimes in space, they may just decide to bag a new planet and remain galactic wanderers. But would their ship be able to sustain life for thousands and thousands of years? Who knows? That question does not matter anyway because if they do not plan on settling a new planet, they won't set off to begin with. So how would they know there was a suitable planet there?

They can't unless a scouting expedition is sent first. Let's assume that it is unmanned. It will still take hundreds of years just to get to a likely target, and dozens of years at least for signals to get back.

All this adds up to a span of time so lengthy that such a project is not sustainable because it is just too hard. Even if there are dozens - heck hundreds - of technically competent species out there, they have simply stayed put within their own solar systems.

And so will we.


Update: Thanks to reader Harold for sending some other notes:
The scouting problem, that of finding potential planets for colonization, perhaps isn't quite so hard, and also allows for much faster overall travel of people, if interstellar conditions allow.  Or at least K. Eric Drexler came up with a conceptual solution, probably as part of what led him to nanotechnology, how to fabricate solar sails, which are ideally only a few atoms thick.

What you can do, from a long note in his book Engines of Creation to a section at the end of the chapter The World Beyond Earth", starting from a proposal by Robert Forward, is to build a solar powered laser and lens system, and use it to boost a, say, one ton lightsail based probe to, say, 90% the speed of light in "a fraction of a year".

Once the propulsion phase is done, some laser light is used to power nanotech assemblers that rebuild the probe into a "long, thin traveling-wave accelerator" (like "1,000 kilometers long, (there's room
enough, in space)"), which, as it flashes through the target system, fires a minuscule probe, a few microns in diameter, backwards, decelerating it.

As I like to put it, after the probe hits the target plant, and as its nanotech assembler cargo gets to work, the rest of the story follows any one of a number of alien contact and/or invasion stories ^_^.

And as he notes, one of the things it could eventually build is another laser system to provide braking for big lightsail propelled passenger systems that follow, if the planet is worth colonizing.
Update: Comment of the day at American Digest, where this post was linked: "What makes us think, believe, that there is intelligent life on Earth?"

Which is really a darn good question, when you think about it.

Update: If you want to spend a little more time on this topic, read, "What makes a planet suitable for supporting complex life?"

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

ISIS and the threat to military families

By Donald Sensing

This was recently published by the Adjutant General of Tennessee, Maj. Gen. Max Haston.

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Because evidently the grant money is drying up

By Donald Sensing

Scientists to ‘fast-track’ evidence linking global warming to wild weather

Government spending is controlled by government bureaucrats. Bureaucrats bend the rules and legislation making the rules so that they get to spend government money on projects and causes that they personally like.

But bureaucrats are not immortal, just their bureaus are. Eventually, the bureaucrats retire and new ones come along. And the new bureaucrats are like the old only in their desire to spend as much government money as they can -- but not necessarily on the same projects or causes.

Government spending does not merely go through cycles. It runs through fads. For many years global warming was a fad. Now it's not. Obama gave a speech in the UN just a few days ago and named climate change (or whatever the fad's name is now) as the gravest threat to all humanity. And the world (along with about half the delegates present) went soundly asleep before he reached the middle, much less the end.

So now climate "scientists" are falling over themselves to link last week's thunderstorm directly to global warming. Why the rush? It can only be because the bureaucrats just ain't cutting those checks any more. Why would that be? Because the fad has run its course and the bureaucrats concerned realize that they will not advance their careers by bloating budgets for causes and projects their own bosses have thrown under the bus.

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de Grasse Tyson v. Isaac Newton

By Donald Sensing

Who ya gonna believe?

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By Donald Sensing

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