Tuesday, April 14, 2020


     I’ve had a couple of tough days recently that have left me feeling both tired and uninspired. And you know what happens on such days, don’t you, Gentle Reader?

1. Do Not Mistake Credentials For Knowledge.

     “At any given moment, of N scientists in a given field, N-1 are wrong. Therefore, for practical purposes (say, in administrator's terms), all scientists are always wrong.” – Bob Leman, “Conversational Mode”

     Quite a lot of people have credentials. Many of them flaunt those credentials to win deference from others, including the major media. However, as Richard Feynman has told us, science is at its base an insistence on the fallibility of “experts.” Indeed, it sometimes seems that only hydrogen is more common than “experts” who are wildly wrong – and refuse to admit it. Victor Davis Hanson has chimed in on that subject. Here’s the killing stroke:

     Humility is key to learning, but it is found more easily from a wealth of diverse existential experiences on the margins. It is less a dividend of the struggle for great success versus greater success still, but one of survival versus utter failure.

     So far in this crisis, our elite have let us down in a manner the muscularly wise have never done.

     Take any contentious issue—travel bans, the advantages of masks, the Chinese compromising of WHO, the entire industry of grievance politics infecting criticism of China’s despicable behavior, delayed testing by the Centers for Disease Control and FDA, modeling, the efficacy of antimalarial drugs—and our elite seem unable to admit they were wrong, and wrong with a great deal of costly arrogance.

     The dynamic is simple. He who presents himself (or allows himself to be presented) as an “expert” all but inevitably puts a great deal of stock in his public prestige (plus whatever perquisites may go with it). To admit to error is to undermine his “expert” status, and with it the public acclaim he cherishes. Thus the “expert’s” admission of error is powerfully disincentivized, and will be avoided whenever possible.

     Keep it in mind.

2. Palpable, Demonstrable Criminality Does Not Guarantee Indictment.

     It has been said that a competent prosecutor can get whatever result he wants from a grand jury. However, it’s not always that way. Consider the fairly recent case of Tom DeLay of Texas, Viciously partisan Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle pursued DeLay relentlessly through three grand juries, until he finally got an indictment against the former Congressman. Ironically, Earle got DeLay indicted for “offenses” that had been perfectly legal when they occurred — and which proved to still be legal even after the relevant statute was passed. But he persisted long enough to get them.

     Today Diana West reminds us that a grand jury can be immovably unwilling to indict even in the face of demonstrated criminality:

     Consider the grand jury convened in the spring of 1947 to hear sensational charges of subversion inside the federal government by Elizabeth Bentley, a key American defector from Soviet intelligence. Ex-KGB courier Bentley would offer testimony against numerous federal government officials, bureaucrats, and others from those early days of the Swamp in connection with espionage rings run inside the U.S. government by Soviet intelligence….

     As the list demonstrates, this was indeed a Who’s Who of traitors working for Stalin, for the KGB, for communism and globalism inside and around the federal government, including Soviet agents Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White. These two top FDR administration officials were instrumental in the creation of the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, helming them both, respectively, in the globalist institutions’ early days.

     The most stunning thing about the Bentley grand jury witness list, however, is that no one on it, not even the later-notorious Hiss or White, was indicted for anything.

     Whether the failure to indict these provably treasonous officials was due to the inanition of the prosecution or the stubbornness of the grand jury is difficult to determine. Nevertheless, no indictments were returned over the widest and most dramatic set of espionage accusations in history.

     West notes the relevance to our times:

     I don’t expect the anti-Trump conspirators to be indicted and tried for sedition or treason or any other serious crime by Attorney General William Barr’s Department of Justice. Nothing we have seen to date points to it.

     We who have hoped for justice to emerge from the travesties inflicted upon President Trump – both before and after his election – are likely to be disappointed. As Mike Hendrix notes, the Deep State looks after its own – and the Justice Department, conquered long ago by the Deep State, is far more interested in protecting its insiders than in justice.

3. A Stunning Counterstroke

     Even if we set all of President Trump’s accomplishments to the side, his willingness to fight and beat the media at their own game makes him a treasure:

     President Donald Trump on Monday showed reporters at the White House press briefing a video of their own reporting on the coronavirus, pointing out their failures and his success.

     “We have a few clips that we’re just going to put up, we could just turn the lights down lower, I think you’ll find them interesting,” Trump said. “And then we’ll answer some questions, I’ll ask you some questions because you’re so guilty, but forget it.”

     The president played the video on the screens at the White House press briefing room.

     The Gentlemen of the Press were, to put it mildly, not pleased:

     Reporters appeared taken aback by the video, prompting questions about its source. White House reporter Jonathan Karl questioned why the president would use White House staff to complete a “campaign-style” video.

     Twitter, as you might expect, is agog this morning over the video clip. Every “reporter” with any degree of name recognition is denouncing it as “propaganda.” Yet not one has challenged its factual assertions. Draw your own conclusions.

4. The Warm Lands.

     Yes, I am working on a sequel. (Those of you who’ve read it and haven’t yet reviewed it: What are you waiting for?) Alanna, Bekar, Aral the Skeptic and crooked-faced Duisenne will return to confront new challenges. And – dare I say it? Oh, why not – some of them will be baldly political.

     Further deponent sayeth not, except that it’s unlikely to become available before the end of the year.

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. It’s time to turn to other necessities. As the Lord said to Moses, “Come forth!” (But Moses came fifth and the Lord lost a bundle.) Until tomorrow, be well.


Col. B. Bunny said...

The absence of retribution against the anti-Trump scum is an example of the rule of thumb of junior analysts everywhere -- pay attention to what DIDN'T happen. Note that those commies didn't get prosecuted, the borders didn't get closed, mass immigration didn't get stopped, no congressional toad ever came up with that "comprehensive immigration law reform" bill, the factories never came back from China (now Trump wants them to go to India), the fiscal diarrhea never stopped, the monetary madness never stopped, inflation never stopped, the Constitution never came back, the wars didn't stop, the mewling about "capitalism" never stops, the story of the Soviet and Chinese holocausts is never told, the Fed is just never eliminated, and Vince Foster's death is never explained.

cc said...

As for the reviews, others may be having the same problem as me. I read "The Warm Lands", and when I finished, I posted a review, but when I looked at the reviews for the book, it did not show up. I waited a few days, to see if it was hung up in moderation or something, and it never posted. I responded to Amazon's form e-Mail asking if "I Liked this Product", and, still, no review posted, even though I got the Standard "Thanks for Reviewing" Screen. I finally Logged into my account from my laptop, and left a Review, and That one actually Posted. For a bit, I was wondering if I had been "Shadow Banned, or whatever it is being called these days.
There may be something going on with my Account, but if the same this is happening to other Reviewers, that might be part of the Problem of a Low Number of Reviews for your books.
If it is any consolation (I'm sure it is not), it is not just reviews of your books that have been lost, but others as well.

Margaret Ball said...

Aha! I wished for a sequel to The Warm Lands and one is coming! Let me employ my superpowers of wishing again: please let it come out before the end of the year. I need something to read.

Francis W. Porretto said...

(chuckle) I'll try my best, Margaret, but I'm not one of the fastest writers around. Still, knowing that at least one reader is anxious for it might help to push me along.