Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Action == Reaction

     First, thanks to all those who sent “get some rest, you deserve it” notes about yesterday’s “day off.” There was one dissenter, and as I’m married to her, she carried the majority. I wound up laboring on domestic stuff, including a few things I’d been neglecting. So it wasn’t all that restful. But I’m back, nonetheless.

     Physics weenies never completely let go of the mindset. That’s certainly true of me, as the title of this piece implies. As a sometime writer of science fiction with an enduring interest in space travel and the creation of extrasolar habitats for Man, Newton’s Third Law of Mechanics has been one of my betes noires for many years. I’m not alone in that regard; many an SF writer has found it necessary to quietly omit all consideration of the Third Law in telling a tale that includes or implies travel among the stars.

     But the old maxim that “action must equal reaction” has application to more than just the motion of bodies in space. It certainly pops up in political and social currents. Anywhere some group, however motivated, attempts to bring about a departure from the existing order of things, it’s just about guaranteed that a reaction against that divergence will spring up. Whether the “action” or the “reaction” will prevail depends upon whether the “action” group can contrive to dissipate the “reaction’s” force against other items.

     There are several such scenarios before us as we speak.

     Possibly the angriest topic currently in the public eye is this business of public facilities and “transgender rights.” Before I launch the main assault, allow me to say that prefixing any other word to the word rights appears to create an inherent contradiction. It’s a bit like the term “social,” which appears to invert the meaning of any word to which it’s prefixed. (Cf. “social welfare,” “social security,” and “social justice.”) But that’s a subject for a separate screed.

     What’s most remarkable about the “transgender rights” phenomenon is that the Left, which has embraced this as its latest Cause, has provoked a recoil so quick and sharp that for the first time in decades it appears to have seriously wounded itself with its chosen initiative.

     Bill Whittle catches the meat of the thing:

     No one, not even a deaf man, could miss the fury in Whittle’s voice. That fury is well distributed over America. Evidence for a massive backlash against this new Leftist sally is everywhere. Nor is it being expressed in words alone; ask the board of directors of Target.

     Clearly, here we have a reaction that the Left cannot disperse harmlessly. Perhaps it didn’t expect so sharp a recoil. In either case, it’s unwittingly made public restrooms and school locker rooms into an election-year issue – a first for these United States.

     Another, even more interesting case, concerns the Obama Administration’s attempt to “sneak one over the corner” as regards immigration and border control policy:

     On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed misconduct that he called “intentional, serious and material.” In 2015 he issued an injunction—now in front of the Supreme Court—blocking Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.

     When 26 states sued to block the order in December 2014, Justice repeatedly assured Judge Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security would not start processing applications until February 2015 at the earliest. Two weeks after the injunction came down, in March, Justice was forced to admit that DHS had already granted or renewed more than 100,000 permits.

     Justice has also conceded in legal filings that all its lawyers knew all along that the DHS program was underway, despite what they said in briefs and hearings. One DOJ lawyer told Judge Hanen that “I really would not expect anything between now and the date of the hearing.” As the judge notes, “How the government can categorize the granting of over 100,000 applications as not being ‘anything’ is beyond comprehension.”

     Judge Hanen wasn’t about to stop at a mild reproof:

     As a result, Judge Hanen ordered that any Washington-based Justice lawyer who “appears or seeks to appear” in any state or federal court in the 26 states must first attend a remedial ethics seminar on “candor to the court.” He also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prepare a “comprehensive plan” to prevent such falsification.

     This is unprecedented. It gladdens the hearts of many to whom the “Department of Justice” had begun to seem the first explicitly Orwellian department. It also provides hope that the “Operation Fast and Furious” case and the snowballing investigation of the several felonies of Hillary Clinton might receive the treatment they deserve. And it is entirely a reaction to the steady buildup of presumption on the Left that “as long as we’re in power, we can get away with anything.”

     Finally, an incisive observation about doings in the “oil patch:”

     It isn’t often you see the death of a major worldwide industry. Last week I saw the death of the “Big Oil” economic model. It just died at the hands of Texas oil frackers who have developed a new “disruptive technology” that has made obsolete all the pillars of technology underpinning large, vertically integrated oil companies. More importantly, the same is true of all the petro-states that nationalized Big Oil’s assets in the 1960s to make all the state oil companies around the world today.

     I found this out doing my day job last week as a Defense Department quality auditor visiting a mid-sized oil service company diversifying into federal contracts. The meeting was about issues with the contract they won and touched on others they have bid on. As a side bar at lunch the following points about their main business came up:

  1. Oil field spending has died. Rig count in the USA is the lowest it has been since 1940.
  2. One oil rig controller company these folks worked with saw a year over year drop of 72% in its business.
  3. Another company they supplied had their “Cap-X” budget drop from ~$400 million for 2015-2016 to little over $30 million for 2016-2017.
  4. One drilling company they supplied went from 120(+) new wells last year to _12_ this year.
  5. This supplier sold a lot of copper tubing for “frack-log” drilling. That is the drilling of holes in good oil-bearing rock without fracking rock for oil immediately — and here is the new part — to take advantage of a new long-flow fracking technique.

     J.C. Carlton at The Arts Mechanical adds this:

     The conclusion is that at this point the big oil/petrostate business model is dead. The Saudi’s gamble that they could kill the Frackers with low prices has turned out to be a nightmare, for the Saudis. Not only have they lowered the price beyond anything that the oil states can sustain, but it’s likely that prices will never return to levels that big oil and the petrostates need to be viable.

     Add to that that wildcatters with leases are quietly drilling but capping rather fracking wells means that the frackers can bring production back online as oil prices rise. This fracklog is going to be the petro states nightmare for a long time, more than likely decades.

     The long term pattern, of course, will be marginal increases in crude oil extraction in response to marginal increases in world oil prices: a stabilizing reaction, exploiting technological advances made here in America, to the attempts of the OPEC states to preserve their dominance of the oil market.

     If you’re not cheering and clapping wildly over this, your hands must be occupied and your mouth full.

     That Newton guy was one smart cookie, wasn’t he? Whether or not he perceived the action / reaction couplings in society, they’re there for anyone with eyes to see. Indeed, we can count on them, though we cannot count on the forms they’ll take or the secondary couplings they’ll evoke.

     One that could easily escape notice is the “prepper / off-grid” movement that’s quietly gaining adherents. It’s not uniform. On one end, we have the purists who seek total independence from any political or social institution, such that they could live out their lives without ever interacting involuntarily with anyone else. On the other, we have those who merely want to “make sure of a few things:” these stock adequate provisions with which to withstand short-term dislocations in food, water, fuel, and power supplies. There are many stances between those two. What they share is a determination to prepare for some or all of the possible calamities that could befall a complex society dependent on general good will among men. They’re reacting against Leftist pinpricks such as Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and the perennial riots that occur in whatever city the World Economic Forum or the Group of 20 chooses for its next conference. The level of alarm those pinpricks have generated equals the level of overall preparation among us.

     On that note, imagine that the upcoming Democrat and Republican National Conventions are completely disrupted by riots and mass protests. Imagine that Barack Hussein Obama, to whom the requirements and constraints of the Constitution are nuisances to be waved aside, should make use of the chaos to declare martial law and suspend all elections “for the duration of the emergency.” Obama isn’t very bright; his love of power and position could easily blind him to the magnitude of the reaction that would cause. Even if he should sense the possibility, he could rationalize it away: “Our allies in the media will tell the people that it’s all for the best while the army and the police maintain order and disarm the troublemakers.”

     How do you think you’d react to that, Gentle Reader?


CGHill said...

There's always "social disease."

Anonymous said...

I do not think that I could say how I would react ... "wouldn't be prudent", yaknow - though a friend of mine is reading Von Dach Bern again.

John in Indy

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly certain my reaction would mirror the reaction of most others here, and of like mind...
"too close for missles, I'm switching to guns..."
or, napalm. - Grandpa

Backwoods Engineer said...

" How do you think you’d react to that, Gentle Reader?"

Well, I'd post my reaction, but the Feds have been hoovering up all my previous posts, everywhere, and I think they *know* perfectly well how I would react to that pile of horse hockey.

Excuse me, I need to go load some more ammo.

GenEarly said...

Well a possible Newtonian answer to your question would be a "No Reaction" thus making Obamy's initial martial law declaration appear foolish, while preempting any further action by the O majesty and leading to his appointed departure on schedule.

Amy Bowersox said...

Let me pose a question: Exactly how large does a minority have to be before it becomes "worthy" of protection?

Because, while people write their blog posts and make their videos condemning us for making this an issue, my sisters are being assaulted and even murdered. And it's no longer just us; there have even been recent cases of ciswomen being hassled in ladies' rooms because other noseyparkers think they don't look "feminine enough," and accuse them of being transwomen. (Example)

Now, if there ever were some individual who tried to claim being transgender to assault some woman in a restroom, I would be right up front to condemn him along with you. Because he'd not only be hurting his victims, he'd be hurting us, too, by giving the bigots an excuse to point at us and say "SEE? I TOLD YOU SO!" I would have no trouble ordering death by slow torture for such an evildoer...because he'd be giving the bigots ammunition for what amounts to genocide.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Amy, we've had some pleasant exchanges in the past, and I'm not about to assume you've gone completely off the deep end simply because of one somewhat off-topic comment. But I am curious about how you think what you've said here has anything to do with "transgender rights."

So I'll ask in my best low-key tone of pixels: What rights does a "transgender" person have that a "cisperson" does not? Please be specific and provide your justification.

Linda Fox said...

While not a prepper (I'm not that organized), I do try to stock some basic supplies for emergencies. I even got my radio license, to have communications in the event of disaster, natural or otherwise. It may be the thing that allows me to be part of a group, as it gives value to a senior without other survival skills.

I do think there will be some - maybe quite a lot - of disruption over the next few years. The boomers - actually PRE-boomers, as most were born just before or during WWII - are aging fast. They are feeling the need to see revolution in their lifetime. Never underestimate the venom of a snake that is nearly dead.

Once the "revolutionaries" are gone, the rest of us need to make a tactical effort to re-capture education, first at the university level, then k12. We have to encourage sensible research, getting the cr@p out of the syllabus, and restoring the American educational system to - oh, I dunno - actual education.

Linda Fox said...

Amy, the problem isn't - in general - the transgenders. I've known some, and, although I do think their claims of being a woman are B$, as long as they don't bother me, I'll pretend I believe that they are.

The problem is the MEN, some of whom will use the newfound "right" to be in the ladies room as a way of enabling their pervy ways. Yes, those men are a problem, and it's NOT just theoretical.

What's the difference between a transwoman and a man who is using the situation to perv?

Intention. Which cannot be determined objectively.

Because the transwoman is a PWP - person with a penis. Same as men. Very few transwomen go "all the way". Most just use hormones/breast implants, and keep the danglies.

BTW, that woman claiming to have been hassled? I'm gonna call B$ on that one. No evidence of the "abuse", and too many of these type of "incidents" have proven to be manufactured.

Doug said...

Mr. Fran,
You have written a great many things that are insightful and enlightening, but Man, this is one of the finest you have composed, by far.
I can tell you put tremendous thought and heart into it, and your message is understood by this reader loud and clear. Good on you, I really appreciate you and what you said.
Kindest regards.
And keep up the great work.

Unknown said...

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matt. 7:20… Is this a profound statement for our day and age, or what? Who wudda thunk it even works in bathrooms… and presidents… that is besides working for preachers as the scripture addressed the issue. As for my own words, and someone else has said it, I’m sure… “how can you discern the truth without the lie?” So, perhaps we need the lies in our civilization as signposts… i.e., Danger.
Linda, I’m with you all the way on this one…
Francis, you know some folks will hitch a ride on a truth for a while, and try to make it a lie.
As for prep, I do no more, and certainly no less than I always have. I’m much better at targets with my G26 than a year ago,however.

Garry F. Owen, Trooper said...

Add to this the preparation of the battlefield by the Washington Post and the Southern Poverty Law Center (talk about Orwellian) recent articles on the rise of militias, and it promises to be an interesting and exciting summer for all.

Anonymous said...

The single problem with Whittle's argument (he is otherwise spot on) is that he supports the notion of "majority rule" and not simply the rule of equal law applied to all equally. Followed to its logical end, the "majority", thanks to the .gov public indoctrination centers we call schools, will soon embrace that which the left vomits up continually. It is clear that society is far along such a path. The majority will indeed rule and it will not work out according to Whittle's plan as he will find himself soon in the minority.

I also see great potential for obongo to declare openly the martial law which is already in place legally and covertly, should the R and D national conventions become as sporty as they are likely to become. I believe such is the intent all along. Divided, we are conquered.

Anonymous said...

Boycotting Target is easy. When are Americans really going to fight perversion by boycotting government schools?

The two greatest gifts parents can give their children are Jesus Christ, and schooling at home. One is free. The other takes work. Remember 'work'?

Anonymous said...

Amen, Anonymous. Succinct and on point. Knowledge of the Holy Lord and Savior... and then education of truth, and Truth. And being taught actual, useful skills.
- Grandpa