Tag Archives: Trump

The Battle of the Bulge

16 December marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.  My uncle Irv was in it.  16,000 Americans died fighting Germany.  75 years later it passeth understanding why America is defending a Germany which refuses to pay 2% of its budget in defense.  Defense against what? Against Russia, a third world country with a first world army and educational system, which was unable to maintain its European empire 30 years ago?  Please.

Europe has a GDP of 18 trillion Russia of 3.5 trillion, a population which dwarfs that of Russia, whose own population is declining.  President Trump has supposedly offended our NATO “allies” by asking them to meet their 2% commitment.  Some progress has been made.  When he took office 3/30 were actually doing this, presently it’s up to 8.

Europe is quite a different ensemble of countries.  The two largest economies,  France and Germany have unemployment rates of 9 and 3.1%.

But joint action isn’t impossible.  Consider what the 13 colonies had to face, stitching together Virginia population 538,000 in 1780 with 4 colonies with populations under 10% of that (Delaware, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island).  As Benjamin Franklin said at the time “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Withdrawal of US funding would wonderfully concentrate the European mind.   They would need to make the guns vs. butter decision that we’ve postponed for them for the last 50 years. Perhaps we could use the money for our own social services, rather than theirs.

Back in college in the early stages of the Cold War, I took a wonderful course in Russian history, and even better had Cyril Black as a preceptor (https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/november-1989/in-memoriam-cyril-e-black).  He noted that Russia was the only country in the world surrounded by hostile communist powers, and that the real problem of the cold war was not our security but Russia’s.   Mucking about in the  various Russia/Ukraine conflicts (which have been going on for a millennium) is not in our interest.

We are still scarred by 9/11.  Russian loses in World War II (civilian and military) were 27,000,000.  Their security is paramount to them, and they are operating on the theory that the best defense is a good offense. Ditto China.

Well that was fairly harsh.  I’ll end with how I found out uncle Irv was in the Battle of the Bulge.  I knew he’d been in North Africa at the battle of Kasserine pass, but I didn’t find out about europe until much later.

My father graduated Rutgers in 1928 and lived long enough (to 100) to be one of their oldest living alums.  He and I enjoyed going to Rutgers reunions each year where he would hold court.  Two other uncles went to Rutgers as well.  In 2001 one of them was at his 60th reunion.  Uncle Effie had been in the South Pacific with two other family uncles (one of whom was at Iwo Jima).  He introduced me to his old roommate, a tiny little man.  Eventually it came out that he wasn’t too small to fight and had been in the battle of the bulge as well.  The whole Rutgers class of 1941 served in the war.  I was amazed that this little guy was even in the army and mentioned it to uncle Irv, who said “I was in the Battle of the Bulge”.  That generation just didn’t talk about what they did in the war.



Correctly taken to task by two readers and some breaking news

I should have amended the previous post to say I mistrust unverified models.  Here are two comments

#1 Andyextance

  • “Leaving aside the questions of the reliability of models in different subjects, and whether all of your six reasons truly relate to models, I have one core question: Without models, how can we have any idea about what the future might hold? Models may not always be right – but as long as they have some level of predictive skill they can often at least be a guide.”

    Absolutely correct — it’s all about prediction, not plausibility.

#2 Former Bell Labs denizen

“And yet you board a commercial airliner without hesitation, freely trusting your life to the models of aerodynamics, materials science, control system theory, electronics, etc. that were used in designing the aircraft. Similar comments apply to entering a modern skyscraper, or even pushing the brake pedal on your automobile.
Perhaps what you are really saying is that you don’t trust models until their correctness is demonstrated by experience; after that, you trust them. Hey, nothing to disagree with there.”
Correct again
Breaking news
This just in — too late for yesterday’s post — the climate models have overestimated the amount of warming to be expected this century — the source  is an article  in
Nature Geoscience (2017) doi:10.1038/ngeo2973 — behind a paywall — but here’s the abstract
In the early twenty-first century, satellite-derived tropospheric warming trends were generally smaller than trends estimated from a large multi-model ensemble. Because observations and coupled model simulations do not have the same phasing of natural internal variability, such decadal differences in simulated and observed warming rates invariably occur. Here we analyse global-mean tropospheric temperatures from satellites and climate model simulations to examine whether warming rate differences over the satellite era can be explained by internal climate variability alone. We find that in the last two decades of the twentieth century, differences between modelled and observed tropospheric temperature trends are broadly consistent with internal variability. Over most of the early twenty-first century, however, model tropospheric warming is substantially larger than observed; warming rate differences are generally outside the range of trends arising from internal variability. The probability that multi-decadal internal variability fully explains the asymmetry between the late twentieth and early twenty-first century results is low (between zero and about 9%). It is also unlikely that this asymmetry is due to the combined effects of internal variability and a model error in climate sensitivity. We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.
Unfortunately the abstract doesn’t quantify generally smaller.
Models whose predictions are falsified by data are not to be trusted.
Yet another reason Trump was correct to get the US out of the Paris accords— in addition to the reasons he used — no method of verification, no penalties for failure to reduce CO2 etc. etc.  The US would tie itself in economic knots trying to live up to it, while other countries would emit pious goals for reduction and do very little. 
In addition, \ I find it rather intriguing that the article was not published in Nature Climate Change   –,http://www.nature.com/nclimate/index.html — which would seem to be the appropriate place.  Perhaps it’s just too painful for them.

The Leakathon

My late father-in-law did financial forensics for the SEC and on loan to Treasury. His work involved high-profile cases and he put many people in jail. He never, ever, discussed a case he was working on with his wife, my wife and me. He retired in 1972 just Watergate broke. Sam Dash chief counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee asked him to come out of retirement and trace the Watergate money, saying it would only be a few weeks work, but he wisely refused.

This brings us to “The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House Official as a signifiant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.” as reported in the Washington Post 20 May.

This sort of thing is probably criminal and certainly disgusting. Presumably someone in the FBI is doing the leaking. Hopefully Mueller will put a stop to this.

What do you think the odds are, that collusion between Trump (or is campaign) and the Russians will actually be found? My guess is that they are quite low because, despite 7 months of leaks absolutely nothing substantive has been emitted. If the leakers had anything serious, we’d have heard of it by now.

I’ve never bought the idea that second hand smoke was very dangerous, yet we have breathless reports of second hand hearsay — Someone reading Comey’s notes (presumably not the man himself) about something he interpreted Trump to say. I don’t think hearsay evidence is admissible in a court of law.

I never really believed in the Deep State before, but it seems to be in full cry now — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_state_in_the_United_States

Too funny to pass up

This is 95%+ a scientific blog, but the following is simply too funny to pass up. None of the people receiving it had heard of it, and liberals and conservatives alike think it’s a riot. I don’t know who wrote it, but it isn’t me. Would the real author step forward? I googled the title but came up with nothing similar.

Subject: Canadians on illegal immigrants

The flood of Trump-fearing American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The Republican Presidential primary campaign is prompting an exodus among left leaning citizens who fear they’ll soon be required to hunt, pray, and live according to conservative ideas about the Constitution.

Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, global warming activists, and “green” energy proponents crossing their fields at night. “I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn,” said Southern Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. “The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn’t have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?” In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields, but they just keep coming.

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into electric cars and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves after the battery dies.

“A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions,” an Ontario border patrolman said. “I found one carload without a single bottle of Perrier drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though, and some kale chips.”

When liberals are caught, they’re sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear assassination from Trump high hairers. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and study the Constitution.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half- dozen young vegans in blue-hair wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the ’50s. “If they can’t identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age,” an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage, buying up all the Barbara Streisand c.d.’s, and renting all the Michael Moore movies. “I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can’t support them,” an Ottawa resident said. “How many art-history majors does one country need?”


The narrative rolls on

Let’s play spot the narrative and then, being scientific types, look at the numbers and see what they are telling us. The following is a direct quote of the headline and first few paragraphs of the following ‘news’ article appearing today followed a link to it.

Poll: Majority of American voters blame Donald Trump for violence at rallies

More than two-thirds of American voters hold Donald Trump responsible, in part, for the recent violence that has surrounded his Republican presidential campaign rallies, a new poll has found.

According to the Quinnipiac University national poll released this week, 37 percent of voters surveyed said they believe the GOP front-runner is “very responsible” for violent incidents involving supporters and protesters at his campaign rallies, while 27 percent said he’s “somewhat responsible.”

Less than a quarter said they believe he’s “not responsible.”

More than three-quarters of respondents, meanwhile, also blamed protesters at Trump rallies for being “very responsible” or “somewhat responsible” for such violence, while 70 percent said supporters of the businessman are very or somewhat responsible, the poll found.

Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Tim Malloy contended that the results come somewhat in contrast to claims Trump has made about the origin of such incidents at his campaign events.


A Slanted headline at its best.

It should read

Poll: American voters think protesters at Trump rallies are more responsible for violence at his rallies than Trump.

This fits the facts as stated, if not the narrative. It’s right there in the numbers: 27 + 37 = 64% say it’s Trump’s fault while over 75% (why don’t they say just how far over) say it’s the fault of the protestors.

An omen

An Omen. Since omens are inherently nonscientific, the cognoscenti can stop reading right here. Last night I bought some beer at the package store I always go to. It’s run by a seriously large Polish guy, an immigrant like my late grandmother. I’m always interested in his take on things. He said he thought Trump would be the next president. The store is in a heavily latino neighborhood (mostly Puerto Rican). Given what Trump has said about Mexicans, I pressed him on it, but he wouldn’t budge, and said the people in the neighborhood liked Trump.

Flashback to my late grandmother, running a drygoods store in a little New Jersey town in the 40s and 50s. Family lore has it that she was certain that Truman would win in 1948, despite every poll to the contrary. She said “they’re talking Dewey but they’ll vote Truman”.

People in retail (particularly those running the show) talk to anyone walking in the door. They see a far wider mass of humanity and interact with many more people in the course of a day than you and I.  Think about Pauline Kael’s remark that she didn’t know anyone who’d voted for Nixon.  Probably in upper Manhattan she didn’t.


An omen? Perhaps.


The irony is simply too delicious. Now that what Marx called the lumpenproletariat (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumpenproletariat) has arisen and given voice to its discontents the left hates them. I speak of the Trump supporters, now described by the left as racist, homophobic, jingoistic, biased, violent — you name it. Read Slate, the Nation. They attack Trump of course, but what really disturbs them are his supporters (the Trumpenproletariat or the Proletrumpians). The times they are a’changin’.

Back in the 70s there was a fun movie called “Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came”

Now we have “Suppose They Gave A Proletarian Revolution and No One from the Left Came.

The left has morphed in other ways as well — see — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/from-banned-in-boston-to-banned-in-berkeley-in-55-years/

This just in — New York Times 30 Jan ’16 page 1 “Union Leaders Wary of Trump”  — The elites leading the unions (even the ‘more progressive’ ones such as SEIU)  are worried that “Mr Trump if not effectively encountered, may draw an unusually large numbers of union voters.”  If this isn’t the proletariat who is?

A variety of vignettes is given of various union members in unions all over the country supporting him, with estimates from 1/4 to 1/3.

This is another example of the disconnect between the political leadership (this time the unions) and the populace it claims to be speaking for.  Trump, Bernie, Cruz take your pick.  The discontent is out there.