Engineering Club Sensible

electoral-smallBy outlook, if not degree, I’m an engineer. My basic question is always, “Will it work, as designed, and can we build and run it on budget (or below)?” As far as I’m concerned, it’s what built the world we live in. It has nothing whatsoever to do with good intentions, it has much indeed to do with elegance. Maybe this is our year because it’s overwhelmingly a real world philosophy. It’s also overtly American, because America epitomizes the practical, yes, Americans are a very idealistic people, but down at bedrock, almost every American asks, “Does it work?”

Catherine Priestley wrote something about this the other day in The Spectator. Here’s some of it.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it is that the times are changing. When news of the Trump victory unfolded across the world, we watched from Sydney University’s Manning Bar. Never had it been so packed. Students piled in to watch history, all-consumed by the bright red map of America flashing on the screen.

My engineering friends bought me a beer and together we observed the room. On one side were slumped shoulders, ashen faces and tears from tragic left-wing students, whose world-view had suffered the rejection of the ballot box. The other side was a sea of red caps and raucous applause with each Trump gain; the unmistakable ecstasy of a formerly ostracised group, finally on the ascent.

The engineers are sensible people and don’t really belong to either extreme. Instead, they drink to democracy and are glad that a blow has at last been struck against political correctness. They talk excitedly of how they’d improve the data analysis of flawed polling and have a purely factual discussion about how the construction of the wall might be done. The upending of the status quo means the engineers, typically outsiders who stick to an isolated building on campus far away from frenzied student politics, are now invigorated to participate.

Leading up to Trump’s victory, one could sense change in the air. Doomsday articles threatening stock market crashes, polls that placed Trump firmly behind; all had a Brexit parallel about them. When Joe Hockey addressed the US Studies Centre the week before Trump’s election, he said that 70 per cent of Americans felt the country was heading in the wrong direction. ‘This is normally a game changer in politics,’ he remarked. […]

Although uncertainty is trending, one thing we can be sure of is that Outsiders everywhere are on the rise. In general, they are a broad alignment of people across all parties and factions who share a love of common sense and find themselves more consequential to politics now than they have been for some time. Perhaps they find themselves on the Left, but feel isolated due to the dogma of political correctness and identity politics. Or they are of the Right and have become angry with the authoritarian Insiders who appear to restrict personal freedoms. Either way, they are all members of what the late Christopher Pearson might have termed ‘Club Sensible’. While major parties appear to fragment and shrink in these changing times, Club Sensible’s membership base steadily grows.

via Engineering Club Sensible | The Spectator

I think she’s on to something here. That map at the top of the page, is about as red as I’ve ever seen, and overwhelmingly, the red parts are where people deal with the real world, you know the one where reality rules and good intentions don’t cut it.

Will Trump fix the world? No. But he may well drain at least some of the swamp, although that might anger some of the alligators that are up to our ass. We all know it out here, “No good deed goes unpunished,” we say. That’s all right, we also say, “What must be done, will be done.”

And so far, from the quality of the people he is picking, well, I’m very encouraged. It looks to me like he is picking some of the best of America, and that is the mark of the first-rate leader. That’s something that every grunt on a job site or enlisted soldier knows, but a whole lot of officers forget when they get stars in their eyes. But not all of them.

There’s a reason why 3d US Army had the fewest casualties while conquering the most ground back there in 1944. It was called “Lucky”. If I was an opponent of America’s, I would be praying very hard, because I think its new name may well be ‘Chaos’.

We’ve also been known to say with Jim Lovell, “There are people who make things happen, there are people who
watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.”

bad-decisions

Kellyanne Conway becomes First Woman to Win Presidency!

downloadEventually, I’ll have something more to say about the election but, I simply didn’t believe Trump had much chance, and so I didn’t have my thoughts ordered. In fact, 2012 rather demoralized me, more than I knew, and nothing since has lifted that gloom. Your mileage may differ, but I bet I’m not alone. Meantime, an old friend of mine has written on it, and I pretty much agree, I think, with her. Enjoy!

Hooray, hallelujah, thank the Good Lord, the Wicked Witch has melted. The improbable Donald Trump slayed her, benefiting from the widespread dislike for Hillary Clinton across party lines. I went to my bed for an evening of crossword puzzles and reading (oblivion) as soon as I got a look at the earliest returns showing her way ahead in key states. I was resigned, and sad, and prepared to shed a tear, no more, when I turned on the computer in the morning to find “Madame President” splashed across the news. And when I did turn to the computer, I first went to email and there I found a message from someone I worked with in Bosnia, hadn’t heard from him for a long, long time — he was gloating at the upset– against all odds! he crowed. My heart leapt, I turned to Fox News to find that the glorious American people have thrown the bums out! And Ms. Conway became the first woman ever to guide a presidential campaign to victory. Wow. I did shed tears, but joyful ones, and I did praise God for the outcome. I had even prayed Tuesday evening with my birds that God would smile on Trump’s venture. My birds are as happy as I am, although less demonstrative.

Here is what we won: our future. Trump will name at least one if not more Supreme Court justices, thus securing the Court for the foreseeable future. And by the way, Ruth Bader Ginsburg publicly declared she would retire from the Court should Trump win. I’m waiting as are we all. That would be two wicked witches downed.

 

via Kellyanne Conway becomes First Woman to Win Presidency! | Ooobie on Everything

“Dickileaks”

hillary-and-weinerSo, while we were off having a life, this blew up. From the Bookworm Room, mostly because I haven’t caught up yet.

I go out to have coffee with a friend and — boom!! — Dickileaks breaks. I honestly don’t think there could be anything more perfect than learning that more of Hillary’s illegal emails showed up, this time on the phone of a serial flasher and possible pedophile. In a weird election season, this is the most appropriate denouement possible.

So the question is: Why now? Why this?

My own theory is that Dickileaks came about because Comey was terrified that those FBI agents with integrity enough to care about the disgraceful investigation and it’s more disgraceful premature closure were threatening his career. The newly revealed emails allowed Comey to reopen the investigation without losing face over his past decisions. It’s also entirely possible that the new emails are so explosive that, even if Comey could tamp down FBI disconnect over the prior investigation, he couldn’t do so with this one.

What I’m also wondering is whether this new batch of emails is sufficiently different — in location and content — as to circumvent the prior immunity deals that Comey earlier handed out like freebie coupons at a mall. If the immunity deals stand, it seems to me that this investigation will go nowhere fast . . . which would, of course, explain why Comey opened it up. That is, it would just be more Kabuki theater from the guy who’s been the beneficiary of Clinton Foundation money. With that most recent revelation about his ties to Clinton, Inc., not to mention boiling discontent in FBI ranks, Comey had to do something, and the best “something” to do is the kind of thing that ultimately turns out to be nothing.

Read it all at: “Dickileaks” – Bookworm Room.

Yeah, those questions are important. It could be enough to put Hillary in prison, it could also amount to nothing. The biggest difference this time, I think, is that various things have come together, in other words, the Weiner and Clinton stories intersected, and that makes it hard to ignore for the media, after all even those fools know that sex sells, and child pornography amongst the famous (or maybe infamous is the right word) sells even better. So we’ll see.

I also note that Assange has said that the next Wikileaks release will put Clinton in jail. We’ll have to see about that as well.

I’ve also noticed that Obamacare is making for a spectacular crash.

My heavens, what an interesting election, no time for coffee breaks, is there?

GOP Environmental Platform, a Nice Dream

Good stuff, here, from the Republican Environmental Platform.

“The most powerful environmental policy is liberty, the central organizing principle of the American Republic and its people.”

The Republican platform on the environment is factual and realistic. It focuses on real environmental issues and not the trumped up one of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant. It looks to science but also political economy. “Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources,” the platform reads.“This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain.”

And better yet: “We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research.” Climate science research, it is time to go honest or go home.

Free-market environmental policy complements and supplements the Republican’s free-market energy policies, discussed yesterday. It puts people first. It reflects a Julian Simon view of the world.

And finally, private ownership, a staple of free market environmentalism. is elevated. After all, “The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.”

The Platform follows.

Protecting Our Environment

The environment is getting cleaner and healthier. The nation’s air and waterways, as a whole, are much healthier than they were just a few decades ago.

Efforts to reduce pollution, encourage recycling, educate the public, and avoid ecological degradation have been a success. To ensure their continued support by the American people, however, we need a dramatic change in the attitude of officials in Washington, a shift from a job-killing punitive mentality to a spirit of cooperation with producers, landowners, and the public.

An important factor is full transparency in development of the data and modeling that drive regulations. Legislation to restore the authority of States in environmental protection is essential. We encourage the use of agricultural best management practices among the States to reduce pollution.

Our Republican Party’s Commitment to Conservation

Conservation is a conservative value. As the pioneer of conservation over a century ago, the Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles.

For example, we believe people are the most valuable resource, and human health and safety are the most important measurements of success. A policy protecting these objectives, however, must balance economic development and private property rights in the short run with conservation goals over the long run. Also, public access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands

via GOP Environmental Platform: Free Market Directions – Master Resource

There’s considerably more at the link, and it’s all good, I think. As always, of course, the question is whether anybody at all sees it as a sketch plan to be implemented, or whether its all flights of fancy merely written to help get elected. I’m cynical enough these days, to suspect strongly the latter. But even so, the mere fact of it being adopted by one of the major parties is good. Except hardly anyone will bother reading it.

That has much to do with the root cause of our malaise, I think. We have, in far too great a measure, become, not a Republic, let alone the Great Republic, but a society who every four years elects our form of a God-king. That has consequences, especially in a world where no man is fit to govern himself, we increasingly give one man (or woman) the power to rule 300 million, nearly unchecked.

And that is the rub. Good intentions are lovely, but we all know the road to hell is paved with them, and so it is here. Many of our problems can be traced to never thinking anything through to the ultimate results. Could it have been seen back in 1964 or so that paying (especially black) women more to raise kids without a father, than if he was present would lead to single parent homes? Of course, we could, but I don’t remember anyone saying so, at the time. It’s been the same in almost every aspect of the growth of government, look for instant gratification, never mind the medium and/or long term results. That is how we got into the mess we are in now.

Some say that is characteristic of democracy. That’s plausible, but we are supposedly a representational democratic republic. We elect people to devote full time to study the best ways to implement our goals. What we get are time servers who never think of anything beyond getting re-elected to the gravy train.

The only solution is to put government back into the box that the founders confined it to. When it again become a duty to serve, usually to one’s own detriment, will we again have a government that truly represents the people’s interest.

The angels of death threaten the sanctity of human life

nilsson_rm_photo_of_20_week_fetusThis is something we see more overtly, in Europe than here, but we have the same forces here. And if we don’t keep guard, they will become even more overt, and to be honest, if we don’t hold the line, who will? By Niall McCrae writing in The Conservative Woman.

A compromise between individual rights and ethical safeguards, said Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau of forthcoming legislation to legalise assisted suicide. From a liberal stance, overturning time-honoured beliefs is inherently progressive, and while no political leader could afford to overlook the latent conservatism of the electorate, the direction of travel seems set.

Maybe that’s why, maybe it’s because I’m an American, where we wrote things down, long ago, that I don’t believe there is any, not any, room to compromise individual rights. We have always believed they came from God, even if European believe they come from the state, we know better than that. But many of our liberal friends don’t see it that way. Often it seems if they believe ‘the collective over all’.

From foetus to centenarian, existence is being determined not by grace but by instrumentalism: Most people are not callous, but the prevailing secular relativism and narcissistic culture have licensed people to put their own needs to the forefront:  the woman whose career may be disrupted by an unwanted child; the son who sees his frail father’s assets disappearing into the coffers of a private care home. The vulnerable are protected by the State and its systems of health and social care, one might think. But attitudes are changing, and influential voices have swayed opinion in the health professions, which have abandoned a clear position on preservation of life.  The long march through the institutions continues apace, and dark forces will surely triumph if good women do nothing.

Think of the fully-formed boy or girl, nestling in the womb. Cathy Warwick, leader of the Royal College of Midwives, has pledged the support of her association to the ‘We trust women’ campaign of Britain’s most prolific abortionist. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service wants decriminalisation of abortion at any stage of pregnancy. In response to the furore, Warwick asserted the purpose of the RCM as ‘advocate for women’. Yet as observed by Ann Widdecombe, this obfuscates the role and responsibility of midwives, whose dual concern is for the pregnant woman and her baby. Midwifery serves humanity, not a feminist campaign. […]

At the other end of life, older people are imperilled by the euthanasia lobby. Although Lord Falconer’s Bill was defeated in Parliament, there is certainly momentum towards legalising medically-assisted suicide, and many among the health professions support this. Such thinking is informed not only by widely reported cases of severe neurological disability, from which a fully cognisant sufferer seeks final relief. Some doctors and nurses are openly doubting the value of patient’s lives, particularly those of older people with terminal conditions (which could include everybody in their later years).

via Niall McCrae: The angels of death threaten the sanctity of human life – The Conservative Woman

Incidentally, one of the many reasons I opposed and still oppose Obamacare is on display here because I suspect it infects the thinking of medical personnel in Britain. It is undoubtedly cheaper to abort babies than to care for them, especially if they are likely to have what we euphemistically call, birth defects. It is also cheaper to quit feeding patients who seem unlikely to us to recover, or even where we cannot see what, if any, quality of life remains. I fail to see how that can possibly be something for us to judge.

The Hippocratic Oath has traditionally enjoined doctors to above all, “do no harm”, indisputably doctors have done harm over the years, but as we have learned, so have they, so they do less inadvertently. It would be a shame if they offset that by doing harm to people intentionally.

Niall mentioned Mathew Arnold’s poem Dover Beach, and its one of my favorites, so let’s end on a beautiful if still sad note.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Fmr. McDonald’s USA CEO: $35K Robots Cheaper Than Hiring at $15 Per Hour

English: A Quarter Pounder w/Cheese from McDonald's, as sold in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Soon to be made by a robot near you!

Well, of course, it is. That’s simple common sense, and government can try, but the market wins every time. Look I wrote about this a bit over two years ago, here, and if anything has changed, it’s not for the better.

Here’s the takeaway quote for you:

“I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries — it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe,” said former McDonald’s (MCD) USA CEO Ed Rensi during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria.

He also said this, which is also true, although in truth we’d be better off if we simply left it to the market.

“I think we ought to have a multi-faceted wage program in this country. If you’re a high school kid, you ought to have a student wage. If you’re an entry level worker you ought to have a separate wage. The states ought to manage this because they know more [about] what’s going on the ground than anybody in Washington D.C.,” he said.

Here’s the link along with the warning that it’s got an autoplay video on it. It’s a good video, though.

via Fmr. McDonald’s USA CEO: $35K Robots Cheaper Than Hiring at $15 Per Hour | Fox Business

Look none of this is rocket science done with a slide rule, it’s simple common sense. I realize that politicians with common sense are an endangered species, but this will harm those who are already hurting the most, especially our minorities. Strange, I’m a conservative white guy, how come I care more about those young black guys than all the liberal Democrats (and Bernie Sanders) put together?

Why, Indeed?

 

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