Cambridge Under Fire For Hiring American Physics Researcher Who Advocated Monogamy On Blog Three Years Ago

300px-University_of_Cambridge_coat_of_arms_official_version.svgStudents at Cambridge are objecting to the hiring of American Aron Wall, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California-Santa Barbara who studies “quantum gravity and black hole thermodynamics.” It is not Wall’s academic credentials or theories that are controversial. Rather, three years ago, Wall wrote a blog post critical of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, the decision protecting the right to same-sex marriage.  Wall’s criticism was of non-monogamous relations in the gay and lesbian communities.  One can easily see the objections to such arguments but critics have gone further to object that Wall’s personal views create a hostile or threatening environment.

In his blog, Wall advocated a relationships for gay couples steeped in faith and monogamy:

Like anyone else, what gay people need is to turn to Christ and learn to live in freedom from the harmful fleshly desires which are indeed part of the human condition for everyone.  But if they cannot accept this, it is far better that they should live in a committed exclusive relationship, than that they should live the notoriously promiscuous, reckless, and obscene lifestyle characteristic of the cultural venues of the gay community.  (Note: I do not identify all gay individuals or couples as being members of this “gay community”; those are different things.)

The reference to “promiscuous, reckless and obscene” was isolated by critics and discussed in an article in The Cambridge News as being “homophobic.”

However, Wall’s posting speaks of the tension felt by many people of faith and his hope that his homosexual friends will still embrace monogamous relations founded in the teachings of Christ:

“To be clear, a conservative Christian like myself cannot actually endorse any relationship which is forbidden by God.  But we can hope and pray that Gay Marriage is at least a step towards a more wholesome life for our friends who are gay, as compared to the likely alternatives.  It is a relationship which requires work, sacrifice, and commitment to another person.  Perhaps some diluted reflection of God’s holiness can shine through a little.”

The hiring of a person with such Christian views has been denounced at the university and critics question whether a gay student could feel comfortable being taught by such an individual.  There is a call for assurances of protection or safety around Wall.

There is no consideration of the inverse implications of whether a professor critical of Christian values should also be deemed a threat for students of opposing faiths or values.  Nevertheless some student activists are reportedly calling for assurances that “there are safe spaces for LGBT+ students, and there were plans in place to deal with any discrimination.”

In a statement to Inside Higher Ed, the university did not strongly defend the right of Wall and others to hold and publish such views, but rather noted that all employees are expected to adhere to university policies.

828 thoughts on “Cambridge Under Fire For Hiring American Physics Researcher Who Advocated Monogamy On Blog Three Years Ago”

  1. Don’t see how a postdoc in physics who has publicly recorded discomfort with the gay lifestyle in a personal blog can threaten a colleague or student who presumably he identifies as gay or bisexual. As the article states, he’s expected to comply with university policy, which means “no dinging a student’s work for their sexuality, no comments about their sexuality”. Abuse of one’s position for any reason seems easy enough to identify. That blog doesn’t rise to that level of misconduct.

    1. Postdocs don’t teach students. They lecture and conduct research. Hence, there is no reason for a student to worry about the effects of prejudice. Therefore, there this doesn’t rise to the level of anything that should be penalized.

      BTW, you’re an ignorant cretin for alleging that all gays have the same lifestyle. I expect a little more from coonasses.

      1. BTW, you’re an ignorant cretin for alleging that all gays have the same lifestyle. I expect a little more from coonasses.

        You’re an attitudinizing jack-wagon for insulting him for not giving a sociological treaties on subcultural dynamics in a blog comment.

      2. ” I expect a little more from coonasses.”

        This is the type of response we expect from those at the bottom of a dung heap. I don’t think intellect is part of Radio Free’s vocabulary.

        1. Dear Ingoramus,..
          “Coonass” is a dialectical slang for resident of Louisiana, especially an Acadian resident of Louisiana. As a Louisiana native, I can assure you that anyone choosing Jean Lafitte as a pseudonym is more than likely from Louisiana or has ancestry there. My comment was a backhanded compliment to Acadians, of which, I believe “Jean Lafitte” (named after heroic french pirate military strategist of the Battle of New Orleans) is one.

          1. Radio Free, outside of the use to one another coonass is a racial slur. You don’t know whether you or Lafitte are Cajun which seems to be the only way the word would be used in a semi-decent manner.

            Also calling him an “ignorant cretin” doesn’t seem to be “a backhanded compliment”. Fortunately, I have been to Louisiana so I know that most of the people there aren’t at the bottom of the dung heap so maybe you can ask a few Cajun’s to help you climb out.

            1. Dear Ignoramus,
              I’m glad you visited Louisiana. It doesn’t make you an authority on the local culture. I was born there and lived there until I was 30, having attended primary school on the battle ground where General Packenham was defeated in the Battle of New Orleans. I expect Acadians as Catholics of a particularly tolerant kind who were resistant to prejudice, particularly racism. “Coonass” is also a term of affection, and as a native, of Acadian and Creole country, I can use it as such.

              Saying all gay people live the same lifestyle is libelous. This assumption denies that gay people can and do avoid sex when they need to as I did because of the AIDS crisis. It forces them to be penalized for behavior they haven’t engaged in. Louisiana provides no legal protection for gays in private or government employment or housing or providing public services. So, Jean Lafitte’s libel does real harm to innocent people. Therefore, my initial insult to Jean Lafitte was warranted.

              Louisiana is a bigot’s paradise, which contested every form of protection proposed by governors and legislatures. As a grad student at Tulane, I had to endure a Provost who destroyed the careers of gay and lesbian faculty as a matter of course and who rejected refused to employ a grad student as an intern stating bluntly “I can’t have that faggot working here.” I endured AIDS jokes from my advisor, who was schtupping his female grad students and giving the best research assignments to his sexual favorites.

              Moreover, the state has appointed hate group leader Tony Perkins as a government official.
              The same Tony Perkins who protested a Congressional denunciation of the Ugandan Kill the Gays law.

              1. Radio Free Rome – it was nice you went celibate during the AIDS crisis, but a lot of gays didn’t, And a lot were infected before they knew there was a crisis The gay community made it worse by fighting it as a public health issue. And then they were the idiots who, because their partner had AIDS, wanted to have AIDS, too. They felt left out. So, they had unprotected sex with their AIDS infected partner hoping to catch AIDS.

                Tell me there isn’t a little psychopathy in the gay community? 😉

              2. “Dear Ignoramus,
                I’m glad you visited Louisiana. It doesn’t make you an authority on the local culture. I was born there and lived there until I was 30,”

                Radio Free, thanks for a partial history of Lousiana and your life. That you don’t recognize the word coonass can be considered an insult and a slur is just a sign of your low upbringing.

          2. @Radio Free Rome: If you correctly identified me as Acadian, hence a “coonass” (a term I don’t find offensive), you were also capable of reading my post correctly, and inferring when I said

            “a postdoc in physics who has publicly recorded discomfort with the gay lifestyle in a personal blog”

            I was referring to his judgment on the matter, not endorsing it.

            It’s politically correct twits like you who ruin intellectual discourse in the English-speaking world by insisting we parse our comments to your satisfaction. You are the ignorant cretin. And you showed it by saying:

            “Postdocs don’t teach students. They lecture and conduct research.”

            Outside Bizarro World, delivering a lecture is teaching.

      3. RadioFree — I suspect that he has been hired as a lecture, not just another postdoc position. Not only will he give lectures but also “tutor” undergraduate students. I gather that “tutor” now means advising the students upon which courses to take.

        But since this will be for physics students the questions being raised won’t actually occur. It will be up to the dons of the colleges to molify the emotions of the few rainbow students somehow upset by this appointment.

        Not directly relevant, but this is a big step up for this young man. His black hole research must be of the foremost quality.

      4. Have someone with a better command of the English language read what I wrote to you. I made no such allegation. The post-doc was uncomfortable with ‘the gay lifestyle”. His word, not mine. And delivering a lecture is teaching. I’m done with you, you’re a supercilious twit. Go to Hell.

  2. dhilli i reject the objectivist liberterian moralizing about freedom a long time ago. i appreciate your kind tone but that ship sailed for me long ago. it seems to me now that we can see from contemporary china that in fact an authoritarian regime can progress technology and material improvement just fine by allowing economic freedoms with limited political participation. pinochet proved that too pretty well.

    i am not saying i want a system like china or pinochet’s chile, I am just saying that the notion that social repression necessarily means a lack of technological or material progress is demonstrably incorrect.

    at some point right wingers will have to dispense with moralizing and meet disorder with order and order means organized force. it can happen by the ballot box or otherwise but it will happen. just look at the the emerging responses to the migration invasion. it will happen.

    1. Kurtz: From a technology standpoint the U.S. is currently being hamstrung by Republicans. Trump actually wants to use emergency powers to keep aging coal-fired power plants online. Even though the electrical power industry has told Trump they don’t need those plants. That’s old technology!

      The U.S. could also use massive infrastructure upgrades. But the Koch Bros have said ‘no’ to that. They feel that tax cuts should take priority over infrastructure; especially tax cuts for their benefit. And since almost every Republican is in the Koch Bros pocket, we won’t get those upgrades unless we have a blue wave in November.

      1. That statement’s almost entirely fact-free. To the extent infrastructure upgrades are funded by taxes, they’re funded by user fees like motor fuel taxes not impacted by tax cuts. And the one case I’m aware of in which the White House may intervene to keep a coal-fired power plant open was in which that plant was built due to an arrangement between a local native American tribe and a federally-funded water management project (in which the project wants to get out of a contract with the tribe to use the coal-fired plant into the 2040s).

      2. It is not the business of govenrment – right or left whether “aging coal plants stay online”.
        There is no need for emergency powers – by either side.

        In fact the likely fate of “aging coal plants” and the story of coal and energy generally is a perfect demonstration that government is not necescary.

        The use of coal to generate electricity is declining entirely on its own. One of the consquences of Fracking and the increased low costs supplies of energy – particularly natural gas is that the economic advantage of coal has diminished sufficiently that we are moving away from it.

        Do you honestly doubt that if both the left and the right stayed entirely out of energy that coal would be a significant source of electricity in a few decades ?

        Nor is this the first time this has occured.

        Humans used to burn dung and peat and wood for energy, We shifted to coal – even though it cost more because coal is superior – primarily it is cleaner.
        In the 1st quarter of the 20th century we switched from coal to oil for heating – even though oil was more expensive – because oil is cleaner.
        In the last 50 years we have been slowly switching from oil to NG and electricity even though they are more expensive – because they are cleaner.

        Almost no one in the US heats their home with wood, dung, or peat, not many use coal, not many more use oil.
        Our rising standard of living has allowed us to choose gas and electricity not because they are cheaper, but because WE have deemed them superior despite cost,
        among other reasons because they are cleaner.

        We are in the midst of the same transition with coal for industrial energy and coal for power generation.
        Regulation is an inconsequential factor. The biggest factor is that coal plants have many issues – they have a long supply tail of coal, that can not be disrupted without negative consequences, A coal plant takes days to fire up and days to shut down, an NG plant can come on like and drop off in minutes. No one wants to live near a coal plant, while you can scale NG generation to any size – put an NG generator in your home, or business or factory, or community. NG plants allow a far more decentralized grid that is more reliable and ….. cleaner.

        I do not care about your rants regarding republicans and coal. Whatever they do, coal will diminish naturally.
        Nor do I care about your penchant to regulate the crap out of everything.
        Regulation is a minor factor in the shift away from coal.

      3. In 2009 the Obama administration with GOP help passed ARRA with massive infrastructe improvements.
        Purportedly shovel ready project werent.

        ARRA actually disrupted the economy rather than helping – there are only so many people with the skills needed to build highways and bridges.
        Increasing demand does not increase supply, at most it results in disruption fo other parts of the economy as they are pilfered for the skilled labor needed for “infrastucture improvement”

        If you have been alive for more than a few decades you have personal experience with infrastucture – you encounter it every day.

        Contra those who want to sick at the govenrment teat, our infrastructure is superior to any time in the past.

        In the unlikely event that either republicans or democrats push infrastructure improvements we will get the same mess we did with ARRA.

        You will not get very much in the way of actual improvement, you will radically increase its cost, you will disrupt other segments of the economy,

        BTW this is typical of ALL top down problem solving. There are damning studies by soviet economists during the USSR that demonstrated that planning and economy is impossible.

        Or you could just read Bastiat – or if you can not read –
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG3AKoL0vEs

        Whenever government does for us what we can do for ourselves, whenever government does what does nor require force to accomplish, we are worse off not better.
        Every dollar of taxes is not just something but many many things that do not happen, because government took money out of the economy,
        No matter what good government accomplishes by spending taxes, we are still NET poorer, At the very least we are significantly less efficient and productive.

        In the event you are unconvinced, you can check out the data on the economic efficiency of government spending that Robert Barro has compiled over decades and throughtout the world.

        For every $1 that government spends we typically get $0.25-.35 in actual value – in otherwords with lose 0.65-.75 for every $1 spent.
        And that does not count the inefficiency of collecting the money.

        If you leave money with people – we will produce what we want and need based on our own individual assessment of our wants and needs.

        If you remove money to govenrment – we will produce what those with power and influence want us to have, not what we chose for ourselves.
        We will always be less well off.

        1. Dhlii, though I agree wholeheartedly with Bastiat and think the broken windows effect is real and of great importance, it is not exactly how things work in our distorted economy.

          In times of high unemployment government expenditures on infrastructure projects that will need attention in the future can reduce the number of unemployed. That means fewer tax dollars going to welfare, unemployment insurance, food stamps etc. That money would be spent in the future so it should be a neutral expenditure except for the savings on benefits. It also helps to preserve the skills of our human capital.

          1. “In times of high unemployment government expenditures on infrastructure projects that will need attention in the future can reduce the number of unemployed. ”

            Check the data – it does not work that way.

            Infrastructure requires very little unskilled labor – the biggest losers when unemployment is high.
            It requires skilled labor that can not be created overnight.

            Bubbles in infrastructure spending result in stealing labor from those other areas where similarly skilled labor exists.
            That is net harmful not helpful.

            Fundimentally government can not stimulate the economy because there are no big targeted actions that will not cause as much harm as good.

            Recovery nearly always starts at the bottom – one of the reasons the Obama recovery was so weak is that it did not.

            It is those at the bottom – small businesses that are best capable of seeing the pool of available labor their skills and the means to profitably engage them.
            Better still this is not done in a single sweeping process, but by myriads of different aproaches.

            Most of the analysis I have read of ARRA is that it damaged the rest of the economy, and protracted the recovery.
            It also increased substantially the cost of infrastructure improvement.

            I would note that FDR and the WPA took a mostly different approach.
            They took the available labor and they put them to work doing things that did not require skills.
            The WPA was also a failure – the projects were for the most part not needed and therefore had multi-decade paybacks,
            the WPA took labor from their families and relocated them. We would not tolerate that today.

            The current process of funding infrastructure through gasoline taxes – though still problematic is actually pretty close to libertarian.
            We should work to purge the politics, and assure that those taxes do not get directed elsewhere.

            In a purist world I would seek private roads and infrastucture,
            but the model of paying for roads through gas taxes is pretty good as govenrment approaches go.

            1. Dhlii, a lot of construction workers were out of work in the last recession. We had a lot of infrastructure that had to be rebuilt or repaired such as bridges that were already approved for construction that occurred within several years. The labor existed at the time and wasn’t utilized for that purpose yet we paid unemployment, welfare etc. for those that could have built these projects a couple of years earlier.

              You say: “Check the data – it does not work that way.” You are absolutely wrong!

              1. Just to be clear Allan – though I MOSTLY work in embedded software, prior to 2003 I was a principle in a 55 person architectural firm.
                I am still a registered architect and I do a small amount of architectural consulting every year, so I am reasonably well informed. in that area.

                That would be alot of people unemployed in home construction.

                Commercial construction did fine.

                To the extent that those involved in building a home are skilled, SOME of those skills translate to commercial construction.
                Almost NONE translate to infrastucture.
                There are three major areas of overlap – civil engineering SOME civil engineering is common to commecial and infrastructure, a bit less is common between home construction and infrastructure – unemployment among engineers never was high.
                Unskilled labor is relatively portable across all forms of construction, but infrastructure is very low in its needs for unskilled labor.
                There is some overlap in concrete forms work particularly between commercial construction and infrastructure,
                There is very little concrete work in residential construction and most of it is not even close to infrastructure work. There is no translatedable skill set.
                Heavy equiment operation is the other area of overlap, again the overlap is small, the top end equipment in residential construction is the bottom end of infrastructure.
                Again there is stronger overlap with commercial construction, but commercial construction had a relatively short recession.

                Finally – residential construction remains fairly labor intensive.
                Infrastructure DOES NOT. Road construction is done using very heavy equipment and very small high skill crews.

                That said there was actual damage done, because there was an shortage of engineers at the time – unemployment in engineering peaked at 2%.
                Those “shovel Ready projects were NOT shovel ready and required an enormous amount of engineering.

                All engineers are do not have the skills and experience to move to infrastructure – but SOME did,
                The result was a shortage of engineers for commerical projects and problems in commercial construction – not because there was not work – but because projects could not get designed due to a shortage of engineers.

                NEXT, People need to live somewhere – if we do not build new homes, we build apartments.
                Fairly quickly after 2009, apartment construction boomed.

                The bursting of the housing bubble also drove rents up.

                Labor can migrate from one area to the other, and there was some migration from residential home construction to commercial and to infrastructure.
                People can learn knew skills.
                But the process is not so simple, and the fluidity not nearly as large as you posit.

                And there is a reason that infrastructure has become highly automated – as it depends on the whims of government, it is a highly on again off again industry.
                Once you have paid off a earth mover you can let it sit in a field until there is more work and lay off all your employees.

                The major infrastructure companies have few permanent employees.
                Those in residential home construction who shifted to infrastructure were left unemployed again quite quickly.

                While I now alot about this particular market – most labor markets are similar.

                It is a bad idea for govenrment to intervene.

                Entrepeneurs – particularly those at the bottom, will look at the available labor pool and will figure out how to take the people available and use them to produce something that people will buy.
                That is what typically happens in recessions – though it requires the cost of that surplus labor to drop.

                This has occurred in nearly every recession.

                When it does NOT occur the recession is protracted.

                The recession/depression of 1921 was severe and rapid – Harding/Coolidge cut taxes, cut govenrment spending and staid out of the economy otherwise and the recovery was rapid and strong. Employement returned to norms in less than 18 months. Wages recovered about a year later.

                In 1929 Hoover lobbied businesses HARD not to reduce wages. the result was unemployment was much WORSE, and recovery was near non-existant.

                We discussed Amity Schlaes “the forgotten man” previously, if covers Hoovers and FDR;s policies and their effects,
                I do nto think it has much of the 1921 depression, but it did start with Coolidge.

                1. Dhlii, we think differently. If we thought in the fashion you describe during WW2 we would have just started to build planes and armaments at the end of the war. Of course, those circumstances were different, but every circumstance is different. There is virtually always slack in the workforce that can be tightened up to increase a bit more production and that is all that was needed to shift construction projects forward. I am not saying that is the only thing that should have been done. That is merely a part that spends X dollars immediately when needed instead of X dollars in the near future.

                  Whatever slack we could have found would have reduced unemployment by that factor without spending more money than originally planned. This is what successful businesses do and that is an argument for a smaller government but not an argument against the government functioning in a more efficient fashion. In this case, this was not the cureall since it was a housing bubble that caused the recession. In the hardest hit areas, well-set and prudent owners lost their homes due to other management difficulties that could also have been addressed preventing their losses.

                  I believe Florida was one of the worst states hit and New Jersey wasn’t as badly affected. Compare the fiscal management of those two states to see a difference. Florida came out without a substantial change in debt or taxes. NJ, not as badly hit, remains in trouble.

                  1. Again, the relationship between public spending and tax cuts on the one hand and production levels in the short term on the other is one that is empirically demonstrated. Econometric studies differ on the dimensions of the multiplier, not the reality of it. (As a rule, studies find fiscal policy has a weak effect on the business cycle). Monetary policy, however, can be tremendously important in influencing the course of the business cycle.

                    1. I would differ only slightly.

                      Good monetary policy does not direct the market. It provides a firm foundation for business to do what they think is best.

                      Bad monetary policiy – as in that preceding the housing bubble is catastrophic.

                      Monetary policy should be strongly rule based and predictable. It should not attempt to direct the market.

                      Fiscal policy is just a bad idea.

                    2. DSS, I don’t think many should disagree that monetary policy is tremendously important. However, short-term stimuli of the type and situation I mentioned IMO should be helpful. Human capital that ceases to be productive can be a big drain.

                  2. I have no idea what your WWII argument is.

                    Nor do I grasp the basis for your claim that prudent owners lost their homes as a result of the housing bubble bursting.
                    I bought a property for way too much in the summer of 2008. It collapsed in value by 30% shortly after I bought it.
                    While I failed to foresee the market changes, I was “prudent” about cashflow and the property has been running in the black since 2008.
                    My only negative impact was that the drop in price precluded my selling
                    I have done imprudent things in my life. They have been costly. No one has bailed me out and I did not expect to be.

                    Unemployment among engineers in 2009 was less than 2%.

                    There was not sufficient “slack” to accomidate ARRA.

                    Greater efficiency in government is an entirely separate debate. One where it is not clear that government should be more efficient.

                    ONE of the many reasons for limited government is that not only is inefficient, but should be inneffecient.

                    Nazi Germany is an example of efficient government.

                    1. “I have no idea what your WWII argument is.”

                      Dhlii, one can bring a horse to water but one can’t make the horse drink. You stated we didn’t have the trained manpower to do what I suggested. During WW2 along with sending men off to war along with a good number of women, we were able to reconfigure manufacturing to create planes and other armaments. If that was impossible as you suggest we couldn’t have done that.

                      “I bought a property for way too much in the summer of 2008. It collapsed in value by 30% shortly after I bought it.”

                      You don’t understand the market for housing. Many retirees in Florida were prudent with their money but as one after another lost their ability to pay the expenses in their condo environment the maintenance fees rose to bring more and more people down. Additionally, the capital markets in the housing industry wait for the bottom but many things in the finance industry delayed the bottom. That helped destroy neighborhoods and brought a lot of prudent people down.

                      “Nazi Germany is an example of efficient government.”

                      I have read that they weren’t as efficient as people presumed.

                    2. Thank you – i was curious what your WWII argument was.

                      War is somewhat different.
                      It is one time when it is relatively easy to get the entire country to come together.
                      It is also one instane in which top down control works less badly.
                      There is one single organizing principle to everything – win the war,
                      and nearly all decisions can be made by referencing how they effect that single objective.

                      That is also why the war metaphor is so attractive for things that are not wars.
                      The war on poverty, the war on drugs.

                      Those pushing them are under the illusion that if they can make their prefered objective have the same importance as the survival of the state,
                      that they can structure everything in the same way as during war.

                    3. Dhlii, thank you. War is different, but my suggestion doesn’t amount to a long-term program and when things like that last recession happen people also have a tendency to stick together. War, however, demonstrated that what is perceived by some to be impossible can be possible.

                    4. The actual evidence is to the contrary.

                      There is pretty solid data that government intervention in economic downturns makes them last longer.

                      Anecdotally the two great instances of intervention in US history are:
                      The great depression
                      The great recession.

                      Myriad’s of instances where govenrment did little were short with rapid and steep recoveries.

                      You are correct regarding war.

                      But the conditions of war are not reproducable without war.

                    5. “There is pretty solid data that government intervention in economic downturns makes them last longer.”

                      Dhlii, your problem is you wish to conflate FDR’s economic policies with the one’s I have mentioned. They are completely different. Therefore, the proof you think you have is wrong.

                    6. Allan, I told you there is data. You have presumed it is all of FDR – some is. Most is not.

                      There are specifically studies regarding ARRA – it failed. It was closer to what you propose.
                      Keynes and Hayek debated the efficacy of Grovernment stimulus. Hayek eventually persuaded Keynes that government would never react quickly enough and that stimulus could actualy cause more harm than good. Even modern Keynessian for the most part oppose stimulus. Ceeding that it is unlikely that stimulus concocted by political bodies will match the needs of the economy.

                      As with many many debates over government managing the economy it is self evident that it is theoretically possible for government to come very close to matching that results that a free market delivers – or in fact any other model. If there is a perfect or best way, it is self evident that government COULD make that choice.

                      The failure of government to deliver in the economy, is inherently the same failure as that of communism. It does not work, because it depends on human perfection. Communism/Socialism could work – with the right leaders. With the right people.

                      Government stimulus, or other management of the economy could work – if those managing the economy made the right choices.

                      Essentially – communism/socialism could work – if power did not corrupt people – ever.

                      Government management of the economy could work – if government could quickly make and communicate all the correct economic decisions and adjust them as needed dynamically.

                      But those things do not happen. Government does not work that way. Politics doesn’t work that way.

                      The winning economic rebuttal to socialism was the ‘economic calculation problem’. Which essentially argues that government does nto and can not have the knowledge necescary to make the decisions to manage the economy.

                      That is one of the significant reasons socialism fails.
                      It is also one of the reasons ALL government efforts to manage even part of the economy fail.

                      In a recent post I noted that the total number of hiway construction workers is about 1/10th the total number of residential carpenters in the US.
                      Doubling hiway construction can not absorb those displaced from residential construction.

                      You have one argument that has some merit – that providing employment rather than unemployment compensation or welfare atleast productively utilizes otherwise unproductive labor. But even that argument presumes that it is possible for government to productively engaged slack labor without disrupting production elsewhere.

                      I have noted that – the ARRA projects were NOT shovel ready – that concept is ludicrous, it presumes that the federal and state governments take myriads of projects up to the point of bidding them and then shelve them for later. The ARRA projects diverted significant engineering resources from productive existing productive uses to ARRA projects.
                      Fiverting the engineers meant somethings did NOT happen because of ARRA. Those things that were delayed or stopped not merely engaged engineers, but ultimately the used other labor eating any gains from ARRA.

                      Some of the data I have is from FDR. But not all, not most. Alot of it is specifically from ARRA.

                      government management of the economy in any form does not work.

                      Government does not and can not have the vast knowledge necescary to do so, nor can it dynamically alter choices reflecting the dynamic changes in information as the economy shifts.

                      I beleive you previously noted familiarity with Bastiat. Government economic management is just a permutation of the Broken Windows fallacy.
                      That which is seen and that which is not seen.

                    7. “Keynes and Hayek debated the efficacy of Grovernment stimulus.”

                      Dhlii, you are talking about discussions that took place 3/4 of a century ago. You are thinking in terms of cash stimuli or something quite similar to it. I am dealing with something completely different. The idea of moving projects up in time where the money will be spent while people are out of work and not spent at a later date. You forget that during the recession a lot of skilled people retired early because of the lack of jobs. You forget that human capital that is specialized loses its skill and its desire to work with time. One of the reasons women that wish to have children don’t find careers in certain areas is because if they stay home with their children they lose knowledge and advancement so they stick to other fields. In part that happened to working men during that recession.

                    8. The arguments made by Hayek and Keyness have ZERO difference today.

                      Government has no more knowledge and the economy is far more complex making it even less top down manageable.

                      And NO I am not thinking of cash stimulus – which BTW is FAR superior to anything else.
                      Cash – directly to the people allows the people to assess individually what their wants and needs are and to use the stimulus accordingly.

                      People will not use it the same – and that is a VERY GOOD THING.

                      ARRA proved that projects can not just magically be moved up in time.

                      Job losses in a recession are incredibly heavily weighted AGAINST skilled jobs.
                      As I noted before unemployment among engineers peaked at something over 2%.
                      Young black males with no high school education and a criminal record we completely unemployable.

                      The effects of recession on skilled workers is quite small and dimmishes with skill level.

                      The greatest damage by the last recession was due to its duration.
                      The problems you note are ALL much more significant the longer the recession goes on and the weaker recovery is.

                      Weak recoveries STRONGLY correlate to stimulus – it does not work.
                      It is more likely to make things WORSE.

                    9. “The arguments made by Hayek and Keyness have ZERO difference today.”

                      Then Dhlii, why in argument did you obscure things by bringing those arguments up?

                    10. With respect to your WWII argument.

                      As our prosperity increases our specialization increases and for many of us our ability to adapt decreases.

                      4 centuries ago, people made their own candles, and most everything else they needed.
                      There was little specialization and labor was labor.

                      Today even unskilled labor is quickly expected to be fairly skilled,

                      We do not live in “little house on the prarie” Few of us build our own homes.
                      Nor do we easily go from residential carpentry to commercial, to that of rads and bridges.

                      The US did do the impossible fairly quickly during WWII.
                      And under similar circumstances could probably do it again.
                      But the housing bubble the financial crisis and the ARRA are not similar circumstances.

                      One of the most fundimental factors in WWII was a rapid major attitude change.

                      The US went from a decade of stagnation and depression, and despondency and complete lack of faith in ourselves,
                      to the unquestioned faith that we could take on both Germany and Japan concurrently in a world war and win quickly.
                      And despite bumps and blips and setbacks we did not lose faith in that.

                      And that transformation is what ended the depression – not the war itself.

                    11. Dhilii, we do specialize more but that doesn’t mean that all projects require specialization and many projects are designed and ready long before their construction is started. I am not suggesting everything be done only that some things are started sooner and that we have the technical manpower to do it rather than having companies that do that type of work retire people early. A lot of projects require a lot of people to do simple tasks. More to the point many of the people laid off and on all sorts of government assistance have the skills required.

                    12. Modern infrastructure projects are highly specialized.

                      If you want to shift back to labor intensive road construction with large amounts of unskilled labor,
                      it will cost you more and will pay crap.

                      The claim that projects were designed and ready in 2009 proved crap.

                      It takes a longer to get a public construction project through design and approvals than to build it.

                      We do not retire people early from infrastucture projects.
                      We pay them well when the project is active.
                      When we do not have work we lay them off.

                      Road construction is highly cyclic.
                      that is one of the reasons it is highly automated.
                      That reduces labor pushback from constant layoffs.

                      In 2017 there were 147,000 highway TOTAL construction workers in the US.

                      There are 1.2M carpenters alone.

                      This is just not going to work.

                    13. “The claim that projects were designed and ready in 2009 proved crap.”

                      The medium sized bridge being replaced right near me was designed and ready to build before the crash. It was only waiting for funding as it had already reached the number of points for replacement. It was built when the recession was already over.

                    14. I have no doubt that there were SOME projects ready for construction – and they likely would have been constructed.

                      I do not know about the bridge near you – and I suspect you do not either.

                      Engineers typically assess infrastructure for repair and replacement. and determine their priorities.
                      They do NOT typically design the repairs and replacement well ahead of construction.

                      From the determination of need AND the committment to go forward residential construction typically takes a few months to get through design and approvals.
                      commercial construction typically takes about 3 times that. Infrastructure typically takes double that of commerical. Further across all of those increasing the scale of the projects significantly increases the time to design and approve. Really major infrastructure projects – totally new highways, new pipelines, new power plants, often take decades.

                      ARRA did not work. Most of the data indicates it made things slightly worse.

                    15. “I do not know about the bridge near you – and I suspect you do not either.”

                      Actually, I know a bit more than you think.

                      The point is you are conflating a lot of things together and letting your ideology get in the way of common sense. That the “ARRA did not work” is what I believe as well but that program conflates a lot of ideas together so that it proves nothing in particular.

                      “They do NOT typically design the repairs and replacement well ahead of construction.”

                      Oh yes they do, maybe not all the time but some of the time and it is the some of the time that I am dealing with. Bridges are rated every year and when they reach a certain numerical rating they start planning for replacement because once the number drops below a certain number the bridge has to be closed. They don’t wait for that final number to draw up plans and get the properties needed after the bridge has to be closed. They do that beforehand and then wait for funding. They then decide upon road closings and sometimes the communities are even given some choices that affect the construction and even the look of the bridge.

                      I’m not going to comment on your statements about residential construction because your statements are mostly wrong.

                    16. Lets get real – you seem to agree that ARRA did not work.
                      Nor did what the Japanese tried.
                      Nor Greece,
                      no country has ever stimulated itself to prosperity.

                      Look there is no debate that if government were able to do – and continue to do exactly the right things stimulus would work.

                      But in the real world IT CANT

                      Absolutely There will be SOME possitive effects of stumulus.

                      But the negatives will greatly out strip the positives.

                      Yes, this is about ideology and theory, but it is also ABSOLUTELY about reality

                      This has never worked. IT has never come close to working.
                      You are betting hugely against the odds to try.
                      And history and the odds say you will make things worse not better.

                    17. “Lets get real – you seem to agree that ARRA did not work.”

                      Yes, but ARRA did many many things and had too many unintended consequences which should have been expected. I am not suggesting anything like ARRA.

                    18. “Yes, but ARRA did many many things and had too many unintended consequences which should have been expected. I am not suggesting anything like ARRA.”

                      and aftr 100 more years of trying we MIGHT get something that does nto make things worse.

                    19. “I’m not going to comment on your statements about residential construction because your statements are mostly wrong.”

                      You can look me up in the PA database of registered architects.
                      For 22 years I was a principle in a 55 person A/E/S firm we did a mix of public/private work running from homes, to 80M schools.
                      While my primary responsibilities were management, not construction – although I was primarily responsible for code and approvals and regulatory facets.
                      More importantly I was the lead troubleshooter. Any project of any kind that developed problems in any area became my problem.

                      I am intimately familiar with the process of taking a project – from the size of an outhouse, through to an 80M HS from a wish on the part of a client through to completion of construction.

                      The larger the project, the longer it takes,
                      Public projects take atleast double the time private ones do.

                      Nothing in creation will speed up government projects. That has been my experience. That was the experience with ARRA.

                    20. “You can look me up in the PA database of registered architects.”

                      I have no doubt that you do what you say you do, but in the present argument you went too far onto the limb and it broke.

                    21. There is not magic wand that makes government processes work faster (except maybe bribery).
                      People have been looking for a long time.

                      Obama’s wish for “shovel ready” projects did not make that happen.

                    22. “People have been looking for a long time.”

                      As I said: “in the present argument you went too far onto the limb and it broke.”

                    23. As I said: “in the present argument you went too far onto the limb and it broke.”

                      Because you say so ?

                      My entire ideology is thoroughly grounded in facts and pragmatism.

                      Your pretense that I am out on a limb unsupported by facts – is just that – pretense.
                      The data exists, the trunk is strong, and the limbs well supported.

                    24. “As I said: “in the present argument you went too far onto the limb and it broke.”

                      Because you say so ?”

                      Yes, logic and fact say so.

                    25. “”Because you say so ?”

                      Yes, logic and fact say so.”

                      Then you can show the logic and fact.
                      So far all you have done is made an assertion.

                    26. Your going to have to do a better job explaining what you claim as the problems in the FL housing market.

                      Absolutely housing speculators and investors got caught and massacred.

                      But look at history, the massacre of speculators and investors does not tank the economy.
                      The dotcom bust was enormous in terms of money, but it was a blip in the overall economy.

                      The housing bust was disasterous for two reasons,

                      The value of a long term durable asset that was used as a security tanked badly.
                      If you want to understand the value of assets as security read Hernado De Soto’s
                      https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Capital-Capitalism-Triumphs-Everywhere/dp/0465016154

                      The book purports to be about why the west is different,
                      but it is an overview of the evolution of western – particularly US capitalism, what was unique and why it worked.

                      And one of the key features was that in the west – particularly the US we could use our land, and our homes to finance
                      investment. That is difficult to impossible in most of the world.

                      But it points out how incredibly important those assets that act as securities are to a functioning free market.

                      Speculators did not create the financial crisis.
                      Retiries did not.

                      The one thing the left gets SORT OF right, is that it was the fact that housing was used as a security – that we mortgage homes, that we took those mortgages and essentially convert them into a form of money.

                      If you think of houses as gold and mortgages – or mortgage backed securities as gold(housing) backed money,
                      If you tank the value of homes, you wipe out 1/3 of the value of all housing secured money.

                      And that is what happened. Abruptly approx. 11T in our buying power vaporized.

                    27. “Your going to have to do a better job explaining what you claim as the problems in the FL housing market.”

                      I’m not sure where you are going with the rest of your comments, but I will provide one example of many that the housing market in Florida faced. I think it was clear the first time and I didn’t blame any specific entity for the crash.

                      A lot of people figure out prudent budgets and buy accordingly. Take a condominium where the individual owner expects his maintenance costs to remain rather stable with expected increases. He loses his full-time job, part-time job or is simply dependent on his social security and some interest from savings that suddenly disappears or is substantially diminished. He might still be able to pay the maintenance fees but what happens when other owners go under. The remaining owners have to pay their fees as well or go under. It can become a type of death spiral and it did in many instances. The same happened to neighborhoods. It happened to massive buildings under construction.

                      The key is to get to the bottom of the market quickly and noticeably so the capital investors invest knowing that the properties are undervalued and hit their lower limits.

                    28. Your death spiral requires near 100% unemployment.

                      It also requires all homes to be constructed in gated communities with maintanence fees.
                      I have never owned a building that required fees to some organization (aside from taxes).

                      The colapse of housing prices NEVER hit the rest of the building stock, nor commerical construction.

                      Thought there were some aprehensions in commerical construction it did not just dry up the way residential home construction did.

                      In fact within a short period of time apartment construction boomed and still is.

                      “The key is to get to the bottom of the market quickly”

                      Absolutely and government efforts mask that.

                    29. “Your death spiral requires near 100% unemployment.”

                      Dhlii, you don’t understand the condo marketplace though you talk about your home and PUD’s that are not necessarily the same as condos.

                      As I said earlier there were many causes. My condo example was only one of them and you started talking about different types of real estate.

                    30. You are correct – I do not understand every single subsegment of the marketplace – no one does.

                      That is my point not yours.

                      Both in terms of stimulus – no one, nor any group knows everything necescary, and in terms of the causes of failure – no single subsegment has sufficient scale to cause systemic failure.

                      I am sure there are anecdotes where precisely what you describe regarding FL Condo’s occurred.

                      But the Housing bust was an 11T collapse in values. None of the offered anecdotes such as yours have 0.1% or the scale needed to result in an 11T collapse in values.

                    31. “You are correct – I do not understand”

                      You don’t. In fact, Dhlii, you talk about an 11T collapse where only a small portion of that was an actual loss of value. Due to a lot of government action and poor investments, a bubble was created so the value of properties exceeded their real value. Of course, that extra value had to disappear. Once it disappeared the market was at an approximate normal value but people lost jobs and capital investments were devalued causing loss of principle and in many cases a total loss of the investment. Where things were hit the worst the homes went upside down devaluing neighborhoods causing more homes to go upside down. Had the fall been contained so people didn’t lose their jobs or ended up having values so distorted that they lost their homes there would never have been an 11T loss.

                    32. Allan,

                      Arguments over whether the 11T was “real” or not are irrelevant.

                      I strongly suggested
                      https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Capital-Capitalism-Triumphs-Everywhere/dp/0465016154

                      Because the importance of asset backed securities in this is absolutely critical.

                      Destroying 11T in home values – real or not, concurrently destroyed 11T in securities.

                      Securities – Mortgages, MBS’s stocks, insurance all forms of financial papers are all a form of non-government MONEY.

                      The destruction of housing values destroyed 11T in the non-government money supply.

                      This is why the sudden seizure of capital markets and loss of liquidity.
                      And why as much as I am offended by that the Fed quickly flooding the market with money likely prevented a depression.

                      This is also the reason why despite sustaining QE we have not had massive inflation.

                      Home prices remain weak. That means that we remain short a substantial portion of that 11T.

                    33. “Arguments over whether the 11T was “real” or not are irrelevant.”

                      Then why make the 11T part of your argument?

                      “Home prices remain weak. That means that we remain short a substantial portion of that 11T.”

                      Dhlii, I don’t know what you consider weak or strong. Since there was a bubble which meant expectations were far greater than reality one has to expect that if everything went back to “normal” the return of inflated prices to normal prices would be short of 11T.

                      When you say home prices are weak can you define the locations where such prices are weak and can you define the price category? I think statements, whether made by you or some super talking head, saying “Home prices remain weak.” is silly.

                    34. You complain that my posts are too long and have too many tangents and then complain when I gloss over some unimportant facets.

                      The destruction of 11T in home values resulted in the destruction of 11T in securities – private money.
                      The impact of the former was weatherable. The later was not.

                      The 11T in housing values destroy was inarguably unreal – except to those people whose homes lost value.
                      The 11T in private money was ABSOLUTELY real.

                    35. “You complain that my posts are too long and have too many tangents and then complain when I gloss over some unimportant facets.”

                      You do all and you gloss over important points and facts.

                    36. It is rare that I “gloss over things” where details matter.

                      11T is home value was destroyed. I have no problem with your counter that it was “mythical value”. It pretty much was.

                      But that 11T in home value secured 11T in securities. Their value too proved “mythical”.
                      But there is one huge difference – those homes, continued to function as homes regardless of the decline in their value.
                      There value – as a home was unchanged. The values as a store of wealth was dramatially impaired.

                      That “wealth value” is reflected in the securities derived from homes.
                      The collapse in one meant the collapse of the other – the rapid destruction of about 11T is what is essentially private money.

                      That is the “cause” of the financial crisis.

                      Those on the left are right to focus on CDO’s and CDS’s and MBS’s those securities lost enormous value and that lost of value removed 11T of liquidity from the market.

                      What the left failed to get is that it is not the CDO’s …. that were the problem – but the homes that secured them.

                      Better ratings agencies, more regulation of the financial industry would have done NOTHING to change things.

                      The only cause that is truly independent is the Fed pushing credit which created the housing boom.

                      All the things I gloss over would not have significantly changed anything had they been different.

                    37. “11T is home value was destroyed. I have no problem with your counter that it was “mythical value”. It pretty much was.”

                      That alone upsets your argument.

                    38. ““11T is home value was destroyed. I have no problem with your counter that it was “mythical value”. It pretty much was.”

                      That alone upsets your argument.”

                      If you beleive that you have not read my argument.

                      If you buy a home for 200K and the price of the home drops 25% you still have the same home. Unless you must sell it your only harm is in the future when you sell it and can not buy as much of other things with the proceeds.

                      If you loan someone 200K for a home, and the price of that home drops 25% – you have lo9st something real – your mortgage is only worth 150K.

                      The real value of a home is as a home. That is uneffected by the change in the price of the home. The fundimental change is to your ability to exchange the home for other wealth.

                      The real value of a mortgage is as a security – a form of money. The loss in the value of the home is a REAL loss in the value of the mortgage, and a REAL loss in its value us money.

                      This is why the housing bubble bursting was followed by a financial crisis.

                      The collapse in the value of Mortgages or MBS’s or CDS’s or CDO’s did not occur immediately – housing prices peaked in 2005 and dropped rapidly thereafter.

                      But the collapse of MBS’s did not occur until mid 2008 – though trouble began in early 2008.

                      Forbes beleives the Mark to Market change in accounting rules that occurred in late 2007 was the trigger, and I think he is correct, without that we would have had a recession but it would have been less abrupt. Forbes also beleives that Paulson reigning in short selling in the summer of 2008 made things worlse – and he is almost certainly correct about that too.

                      But both of those just made a problem more volatile, They did not create the problem.

                      The problem was that 11T of non-government money supply vaporized.
                      And whether you like it or not THAT value was REAL.

                    39. “If you buy a home for 200K and the price of the home drops 25% you still have the same home. Unless you must sell it your only harm is in the future when you sell it and can not buy as much of other things with the proceeds.”

                      Dhlii, you are a generalist and in one post provide a whole list of generalities that cannot be answered in a short response so I will take this one statement alone.

                      Homes are forms of equity. If the home is not being sold or used for loans and is not mortgaged then the value of that home remains the same to the individual even as its price fluctuates. If the upkeep of the home (ie. condo) is shared then the costs of upkeep can greatly increase causing the homeowner to lose the home even though the home is entirely paid off. If there is a loan against the home then the loan can be called and the market price at the time will determine the homeowner’s losses. If the homeowner notes that the mortgage is greater than the value of the home the homeowner is incentivized to walk away. That further decreases the value of homes in that area. These things cause a rapid downward spiral and extend outward to the financial markets especially those involved with homeowner loans and mortgages.

                    40. Aside from the fact that your observations improperly generalize from some scenarious to all, there is little I disagree with in your response.

                      All home’s are not condo’s. Changes in condo fees are a factor completely independent of home value. The primary impetus for walking away is not the ration of the mortgage to home value, it is the owner’s equity. As I noted and you agreed the homes value as a home is unchanged. Its market value is totally irrelevant unless you either wish to sell or must sell.

                      Finally absolutely none of your remark addresses the fact that the owner of the mortgage, MBS, CDO, CDS or other financial paper secured by the home has lost REAL value based on the declining sale price of the home.

                      The security holders PRIMARY value, in the security is its value as a form of money, and that value has declined – in the financial crisis as a consequence of market panic it declined much more than the actual decline in home prices. While that decline was short lived its effect on market liquidity was gargantuan.

                    41. “All home’s are not condo’s.”

                      I provided you with just one of many concrete examples to make things clear.

                      ” MBS, CDO, CDS or other financial paper secured by the home has lost REAL value based on the declining sale price of the home.”

                      Not value, perceived value.

                      ” it declined much more than the actual decline in home prices. While that decline was short lived ”

                      I don’t know that either of these statements is correct. The statement is simplistic and seems to miss the complexity of what was actually happening in the marketplace.

                    42. ““All home’s are not condo’s.”

                      I provided you with just one of many concrete examples to make things clear.”

                      You demonstrated that condo owners MIGHT be slightly more vulnerable than others.
                      You did not demonstrate that all or most of the market has similar vulnerablities.

                      Regardless, Condo Onwers know about fees and the potential for increases going in.

                    43. “You did not demonstrate that all or most of the market has similar vulnerablities.”

                      Loss of jobs makes everyone vulnerable and a market where home values fall way below the mortgage price makes people walk out of their homes.

                    44. While you are again off on a tangent. I will follow.

                      “Loss of jobs makes everyone vulnerable”
                      A huge over generalization that is only true in the very narrowest sense

                      “a market where home values fall way below the mortgage price makes people walk out of their homes.”

                      The market does not make people do anything
                      people make the market do things.

                      I would further note that your claim does not match reality.
                      People did not walk out of their homes.
                      Outside of a few speculators, they staid.
                      The clearly wanted to keep their homes.
                      They valued their homes.
                      They just did not pay their mortgage.

                    45. “Not value, perceived value.”

                      All value is subjective.
                      there is no difference between perceived value and value.

                      The difference with respect to houses and home secured money, is that the subjective value of the home – is as a place to live.
                      That value cares little about changes in price.

                      While the value of a security guarranteed by a home varies with the price of the home. and there is no separate value of a security as a home to mitigate changes in price.

                    46. “I don’t know that either of these statements is correct. The statement is simplistic and seems to miss the complexity of what was actually happening in the marketplace.”
                      Both statements are easy to verify. Rather than speculate.
                      By summer of 2008 MBS’s were trading at .25 or face value.
                      By 2010 banks had recovered and were thriving.

                    47. The government tracks house prices for each region and nationwide – as does case-shiller.

                      They are weak. As a whole the country is back to the 2005/6 peak. That is pretty bad for an asset.
                      Hot markets – seattle and AC, are significantly above 2005/6 but those markets are rare.
                      Many parts of the country remain below 2005/6

                    48. “They are weak. As a whole the country is back to the 2005/6 peak. That is pretty bad for an asset.”

                      One has to look back over a long time period to draw the conclusions I think you are drawing. Obama had a definite drag over the economy and I am not sure that the housing market today is the same as it used to be in terms of buying or renting. We also have to look at the demographics and the particular lifestyle of the various groups. Additionally, we have to look at the incentives involved in purchasing a home and the mindset of the population that would be purchasing those homes. Are they saving more, investing more, spending less?

                      I’m not sure what you are trying to get at.

                    49. You seem constitutionally unable to draw a conclusion.

                      I do not think there is anything in your list that is unworthy of attention.

                      But there is nothing in your list that will significantly effect my conclusion.

                      Absolutely Obama diminished the rate of improvement.

                      But neither you nor I knew that – would the housing market be stronger ?

                      The current housing market remains weak.
                      The conclusion is unchanged by evaluating the various causes of that weakness.

                      If a Tree falls in your driveway – you can conclude the tree fell.

                      It might have fallen because heavy rain weakend its roots,
                      It might have fallen because of winds.
                      It might have fallen because disease weakened it.
                      All of the above might be true.

                      But the tree is still on the ground in your driveway regardless of the cause.

                    50. “You seem constitutionally unable to draw a conclusion.”

                      No, I just don’t draw conclusions when too many facts are missing. I listen to the experts telling me about housing prices in NYC and how they have increased. I have my doubts. Why? Because one has to do an intense study and not just look at a price from 20 years ago to today. In between there are ups and downs so everything depends upon where your point starts and ends when you look at short term, or long term without looking at the intervening years.

                      You jump to absolute conclusions absolutely too fast.

                    51. Allan – I get a report from Zillow each month on each of my houses and the zip code I live in. My home is up to 2005 levels, however, a lot of homes are going on the market because they have topped out again. We do have a housing shortage and our unemployment is at 4.9, It is always a mixed bag.

                    52. Paul, it’s very difficult to assess these things. I am used to investing and find the advisors don’t know that much more than they are told by their superiors. For instance, the stock market is mostly controlled by large investors and they hire the best from Harvard and MIT. Thus very frequently it is an MIT guy selling to a Harvard guy. Which guy is right about the investment? Both, but they are right for themselves as they profit on the sell or the buy, on the win or the loss.

                      All sorts of tricks are used. For instance years ago AOL was a hot name but a lot of mutual funds didn’t hold it. People would ask if they had AOL and pick one that had it. That led to the fund buying AOL before their prospectus was printed up and selling afterward. One could privately profit by buying before they bought and selling before they sold.

                      NYC real estate example. The Chinese were buying and so were some from other countries. That pushed the real estate higher. When the Chinese government started to block those investments the real estate market was pushed lower. There are countless of combinations and permutations that affect prices.

                    53. Investing is much like gambling – except that with most games of chance the odds are against you.
                      With investing the odds are usually in your favor.

                      The average ROI for all investments, is going to be the same as the economic growth over the same time frame.

                      That does not speak to individual investments.

                      Separately from that just like with gambling – knowlege and experince can improve your odds.

                    54. Paul C. Schulte,…
                      As you know, the Phoenix area real estate market has bee n extremely volatile over the decades.
                      The same thing is true for Las Vegas, Florida, and some other areas; a speculative bubble forms, peaks, and then the “bust” cycle can drop prices 40-50% as it plays out for several years.
                      Phoenix, Vegas etc .are exceptionally volatile in price movements, both in up cycles and down cycles.
                      In most of the country, the nationwide up and down cycles are less extreme. But few areas escape price declines in a major downturn, and most benefit to some degree in a major “boom” cycle.
                      I’m not a real estate investor, but those cycles are not that difficult to predict.
                      And to some degree, time. i was “off the mark” in my Phoenix -area estimates in that I was expecting a c.30-35% drop in the last downturn, but the drop was, on average, about 45% peak to trough.
                      You know the backdrop to all of this, and the slow, steady recovery over the past 5 years that has brought prices back,close to, or at, the 2005-2006 peaks.
                      A 20 year review probably shows average prices up, nationwide, c.65%.
                      Without going into the extraordinary factors involved in the last major boom/ bust cycle, it’s been pointed out that (very generally) prices are “only” back to the 2005-2006 peak prices.
                      ( Some areas, of course, peaked and crashed later than 2005-2006).
                      But a recovery to peak prices of 10-12 years ago is a substantial rise, since prices were greatly overinflated at the peaks of the last real estate boom.
                      I saw back-to-back years of 30-35% housing price inflation in the early part of this century.
                      Prices can only “stretch” so far for so long, then the down cycle started.
                      The main thing I take away from the “prices are only back to 2005-2006 levels” situation is that the recovery is substantial and far healthier than the last major up cycle.
                      Keeping in mind that prices were grossly over-inflated at the peak c. 10-12 years ago, and that the price recovery took 5-7 years ( after the trough) to climb back, I think the recovery prices are much less vulnerable to a catatrophic crash, as in the last bust.
                      I know that you weren’t saying this, but I think it’s a mistake for those who downplay the significance, and I would say relative sustainability, of this last recovery cycle.
                      I do think we’re in the later stages of that recovery, but I’m anticipating a longer plateau, a leveling off period, before the next down cycle.
                      And I don’t think that down cycle will be a dramatic “crash”, like the last one.

                    55. Zillow’s numbers are proving more accurate than those of professional appraisers – by a significant degree.

                      Home appraisal’s may be a dying industry.

                    56. I have seen specific Zillow examples that are horrible.

                      But their overall record is an order of magnitude better than professional appraisers.

                    57. “I listen to the experts telling me about housing prices in NYC and how they have increased. I have my doubts. Why? Because one has to do an intense study and not just look at a price from 20 years ago to today. In between there are ups and downs so everything depends upon where your point starts and ends when you look at short term, or long term without looking at the intervening years.”

                      Again: You seem constitutionally unable to draw a conclusion.

                      If I am planning on investing in NYC real estate – then I MIGHT want to do some of the work you want to see – maybe more.

                      But if I am looking for trend data for NYC housing I am pretty sure that you can get weekly rolling averages of the current NYC trends that are very accurate.

                      OFHEO provides data for every MSA in the country.

                      Case-Shiller have an excellent record and they are an alternate source to government.

                      Zillow and most online realestate sites, now track prices accross the country and locally and can estimate with an order of magnitude greater accuracy the price of most homes than trained appraisers can.

                      We live in the google era. The data available to you is incredible.

                    58. “Again: You seem constitutionally unable to draw a conclusion.”

                      Dhlii, apparently you don’t know what a conclusion means. I have to eventually jump to a conclusion when I invest, but I take the best bet. Nothing is certain. You generalize so much that any conclusion you make becomes near worthless.

                      “But if I am looking for trend data for NYC housing I am pretty sure that you can get weekly rolling averages of the current NYC trends that are very accurate.”

                      Absolutely, but with a superficial understanding, you can lose a lot of money in that fashion. I don’t like to lose so I am quite careful and am looking for things that differentiate my investment from the masses of people that follow the trends that so happen to go up and then suddenly fall before anyone notices it.

                      I so happen to have done some planning a year or so before the crash I told my expert I didn’t like his numbers because I thought the values he used were overinflated. After the crash, I noted that my total value was about what I had predicted earlier.

                    59. Your response goes out of its way to miss every single point.

                      You tell me that short term trend information is unavailable and I demonstrate that it is, and your reaction is that it is not long term trend data – that too is available.

                      Your a conservative investor – and have in your own view done well. Congradulations.

                      I made similar investments stupidly misjudged the market and still have ultimately done well.

                      The fact is that with rare exceptions long term investors in almost all markets are going to get a return approximately equal to long term economic growth.

                    60. “Your response goes out of its way to miss every single point.”

                      Dhlii, you always have loads of points and loads of words so I try and limit my responses to a point or two. I did that in the post you are responding to.

                      “You tell me that short term trend information is unavailable and I demonstrate that it is, ”

                      I don’t think that is true. When you said: ““But if I am looking for trend data for NYC housing I am pretty sure that you can get weekly rolling averages of the current NYC trends that are very accurate.”

                      I responded, “absolutely” with a necessary qualifier.

                      I am relatively conservative compared to the “hotshots”, but I have invested in things that would not be considered conservative so you have to be careful about the classification. I am more than happy with my results and blame some of the good results on luck. Many of my best investments were based on simple observations.

                    61. “Missing every single point. means not countering even one.”

                      You need a sharper pencil.

                    62. Allan,

                      I am not trying to tell you how to invest.

                      I have addressed two things – there is not one single right way.

                      The other is that the value of a security follows the value of the asset it is secured by.

                    63. “The other is that the value of a security follows the value of the asset it is secured by.”

                      That doesn’t help when the insurer runs out of funds.

                    64. “That doesn’t help when the insurer runs out of funds.”

                      Think about it, you just made my point.

                    65. “You jump to absolute conclusions absolutely too fast.”

                      Give me any house for sale that is listed on line.

                      I will bet you that 9 times our of 10 I can determine the selling price more accurately than an appraiser can.

                      And I can do so without knowing what I am doing, because the data is readily available.

                      To be clear – I am not tooting my own horn.
                      I am just noting we live in the age of google and the information available is phenomenal.
                      The only skill needed is separating wheat from chaffe.

                    66. “I will bet you that 9 times our of 10 I can determine the selling price more accurately than an appraiser can.”

                      Shortly before the crash, my neighbor’s house was appraised because they were selling. Our homes were approximately equal so I had a good understanding of its value. They refused an offer that they felt was too far below their asking price. Since they had reason to sell they should have considered why their house was valued so high. It was far beyond the expected rate because things were overheating. They ended up not selling it and when they did sometime after the recovery they sold it at a price much lower than what they were offered a few years earlier. If they desired to hold until the next peak they would not have been hurt. They didn’t take that bit of information into account and it cost them dearly. They were looking only at the selling price and not the timing risk.

                    67. Rather than argue with mean about my assement of home prices – just check them out and form your own assessment.

                    68. “Rather than argue with mean about my assement of home prices – just check them out and form your own assessment.”

                      What part of the housing market are you trying to assess? There are too many parts to discuss on such a site and too many rationals for owning.

                      What conclusion are you trying to come up with? We both know from personal experience that our houses fell in value in 2008 but in my own case I can trace a dramatic surge in prices starting a few years before I purchased my home. Some considered it too expensive and overvalued but I thought the value low compared to the surrounding areas within a 40-mile distance. The value continued to skyrocket till 2008 and then fell tremendously. To date, its value hasn’t reached anywhere near its former peak.

                      Dhlii, was the investment good or bad?

                      In your eyes, the investment was bad because as you say earlier: “That is pretty bad for an asset.”

                      It was a good investment that will even get better (certain price ranges sell better at certain times). Not only that, but the investment has a rather firm bottom because some land values are better than others. Can you now see why I view your statement about home values too simplistic?

                    69. “What part of the housing market are you trying to assess? There are too many parts to discuss on such a site and too many rationals for owning.”

                      Again you seem unable to draw an obvious well supported conclusion. without examining lots of details that whether important or not do not alter the facts right now.

                    70. “Again you seem unable to draw an obvious well supported conclusion. without examining lots of details that whether important or not do not alter the facts right now.”

                      I can go into details if you wish, but you are dealing with generalities.

                    71. “I can go into details if you wish, but you are dealing with generalities.”

                      The change in US home prices is a generality. But it is one that we have good reason to rely on. The change in price of the house at the end of the block is not a generality, further knowing that detail does not tell you much about the change in US home prices.

                      “Again you seem unable to draw an obvious well supported conclusion. without examining lots of details that whether important or not do not alter the facts right now.”

                    72. “Dhlii, was the investment good or bad?”

                      If the investment – whatever it was underperformed similar risk/return investments over the same time period – then it was bad.
                      If it over performed it was good.

                      The answer is math.

                    73. “Dhlii, was the investment good or bad?”

                      Again you jump to conclusions. “whatever it was underperformed similar risk/return investments over the same time period – then it was bad. If it over performed it was good.”

                      Since one frequently cannot be sure of what is or is not a good investment one spreads their risk both in what they invest in and the risk involved. Too much risk is dangerous and too little risk is dangerous.

                      That is why people cover their bets. I am always investing, but when the downturn came I had my bets adequately covered, others didn’t and went under. That is what makes a difference.

                      The house was an excellent investment. Likely it will yield highly when sold, but that is not its strong point. It helped to spread the risk, upgraded my lifestyle and had little risk of falling in value. Therefore, if it underperforms other investments it was still a good investment. Don’t be so superficial.

                    74. Allan – I spread the risk in my pension and my AZ retirement does a great job of spreading the risk. I should get a raise in my checks in both next year.

                    75. Paul, the markets have been good so if you don’t get a good return then the investments weren’t well made.

                      You were a teacher. Years ago https://www.tiaa.org/ used to do a good job. I don’t know about today. That company was mostly for teachers.

                    76. “Since one frequently cannot be sure of what is or is not a good investment one spreads their risk both in what they invest in and the risk involved. Too much risk is dangerous and too little risk is dangerous.

                      That is why people cover their bets. I am always investing, but when the downturn came I had my bets adequately covered, others didn’t and went under. That is what makes a difference.”

                      Those are choices – each of us is free to make them as we wish. Reducing your risk means reducing your likely return.
                      I am not trying to tell you what to do.
                      I am telling you there is NOT a right answer.

                      I can not make sense out of your house remarks. Nor do I care. You invested in a house, and seem to be happy.
                      As I told you I invested in an apartment building – at pretty much the wrong time. If I sold today I will have converted a 45K investment into a 90K return, that is about what my IRA did over the same period. But I had to do alot of work on the apartment building. At the same time I collected rents. and got to keep some of that. And I sheltered alot of income from Taxes. Overall, it probably worked out about the same as the IRA.

                    77. ” Reducing your risk means reducing your likely return.”

                      That is the name of the game, but economic trends are cyclical and relatively unpredictable.

                      I cannot guarantee that I will earn the most but I can nearly guarantee I won’t end up broke. All too many end up poorer than need be because they took the gamble on the trend.

                      I assume your $45K was what you put down and the rest was mortgaged. Based on the structure of the mortgage you could have been liable for more than the $45K. If so you had a high risk.

                    78. Allan – the loss of value was 11T.
                      Total value of housing stock in the US was approx 30T at peak in 2006.
                      It declinecd by about 1/3 by 2009 according to case schiller or about 11T.

                      There is no such thing as real value.
                      Value is subjective.

                      Many things influence value – including monetary policy.

                      Bad monetary policy causes bubbles. If it is convenient for you to think of that as an increase in value beyond some “real value”
                      you can go with that fiction. But in 2005 the subjective value of houses – and that IS the real value of anything peaked,
                      in 2006 it started collapsing. It collapsed because peoples perception of the value of houses changed.
                      There were myriads of factors in that changed perception – but nearly all are common to monetary induced bubbles.
                      ONE of the significant issues was a simple supply and demand cycle.
                      when supply and demand move lockstep and smoothly – prices are pretty stable – absent central banks they tend to decline slowly.
                      With a central bank you can have a sustained long term price increase.
                      but if you increase demand – which is the consequence of changes in monetary policy,
                      prices rise which causes supply to rise but at some point the increased demand will either weaken or disappear – because it is driven by changes in monetary policy NOT be actual changes in consumer desire for housing.
                      Regardless when supply finally catches up to (and exceeds) demand – prices are going to collapse.

                      This happens all the time in all kinds of commodities. It usually happens for natural reasons related to supply.demand factors rather than monetary policy.
                      When the price of oil or copper or some other commodity collapses – the entire economy does not collapse.

                      The housing bubble triggered a financial crisis because several things were different.

                      Housing is a long term durable asset.
                      Housing is a major asset for people in the bottom 2/3 of the economy, who can not easily afford to ride out price volatility in what may be their most valuable asset.
                      Housing is an asset that “secures” money – mortgages, MBS’s, CDO’s CDS’s, ….
                      Whatever collapse in the value of housing the same collapse occurs in all “securities” whose values are set by housing.
                      So you get a double whammy.
                      The collapse of value in homes hit alot of people hard, but if that was the extent of things – it would have been endurable.

                      The destruction of 11T in non-government money in a very short period wreaked havoc on the financial markets.

                      That created a severe liquidity crisis and it is oddly why the very same actions that caused the crisis – easy money, also mitigated it.
                      Government money filled in as a substitute for non-government money.

                    79. The “cause” of the housing bubble, was several years of poor monetary policy – “too low for too long”.

                      Anything that systemically effects credit is incredibly dangerous economically. And only government, and only through monetary policy can cause systemic effects to credit.

                      Other govenrment fiscal policies such as CRA determined that the bubble would be in housing rather than somewhere else.

                      Once a bubble of sufficient size formed, the recession was inevitable.

                      All the rest is details.

                      The entire left memes of evil bankers forcing people into mortgages they could not afford, and other claims of malfeasance are mostly wrong and all irrelevant.

                      The economy did not have the capacity to absorb an 11T collapse in values without a recession.

                      Every meme of the left – even if true, was not a CAUSE, nor would its absence have precluded the recession.

                      In fact if the post collapse regulation actually made the financial system stronger – which is near certainly false, all that would do is increase the scale of the next collapse.

                      As I argued in a prior post – top down solutions – even when they “work” are inherently fragile – because they are top down.

                      Using your EMP weapon as an example.

                      The effects of a single fixed EMP blast are going to vary based on:

                      The diversity of systems inside the effected area.

                      A blast that takes out everything electronic/electrical, or everything of a specific type that proves critical
                      will have an order of magnitude greater effect and far longer recovery than something that takes out 90%.

                      The recovery will follow a half sine wave – it will take much longer to complete the first 10% and the last 10%,
                      than to complete the middle 50%.

                      The larger and more diverse the proportion of things that survive – even of things that survive damaged but usable for some a bit,
                      the more rapid recovery.

                      The greater the diversity of things the larger the proportion that is likely to survive.

                    80. “The “cause” of the housing bubble, was several years of poor monetary policy – “too low for too long”.”

                      It was a lot more than that and government was behind a lot of poor policy. That doesn’t mean the government can never have a good policy which is the way you seem to look at things.

                      As far as EMP is concerned diversity may be good, but the system’s structure today leaves the American public in danger tomorrow. You don’t like the politics that created the grid over the decades so you wish to leave America in danger instead of permitting a relatively inexpensive fix to harden the grid the cost of which will end up being paid for by the American public one way or the other. Your way is to increase the risk with time and then spend the money. My way is to spend it now for the common portions of the grid and say to hell with theory, protect national security.

                    81. “It was a lot more than that and government was behind a lot of poor policy. ”

                      Poor monetary policy is the SOLE cause of the bubble and the recession.

                      Other government mistakes determined WHERE the bubble occured and the mechanisms of failure

                      They had nothing to do with the size of the bubble, or the magnitude of the damage. Just the specifics of what was damanged.

                      “That doesn’t mean the government can never have a good policy which is the way you seem to look at things.”

                      I have argued this for more than a decade.

                      I have no doubt you can come up with some government policies that have positive effects.
                      I doubt you can come up with any that have NET positive effects.

                      Again refer to Barro’s data on govenrment spending.

                      No government spending of anykind ever in his data ever reached unity – break even.

                      Can the government in theory have a good policy ? Certainly.
                      In theory unicorns could exist.
                      They don’t.

                      But lets say 5% of all government policies were not positive – in some hypothetical world.
                      Unless we were actually able to predict which would be net positive – 5% is STILL an argument for government to never do anything.

                      In fact if 50% of government policies were not positive – that STILL would be an argument for government to never do anything.

                      For reasons such as the ethical use of force, it is not sufficient that government polices work to justify them.

                      You would need an over 80% success right merely to get to the question of whether the use is moral.

                      The ends do not justify the means.

                      In a decade of dealing with this I have found two examples of “successful” government policies.
                      The one was tiny due to facts.
                      The other was small and failed miserably when scaled larger.

                      Which is an entirely separate argument. Even those few govenrment policies that can be demonstrated to work – do not scale.

                      This BTW is true outside of government. Gates has had many small scale successful charitable programs – in education and in development aide.
                      But he has failed most every time he has tried to scale them up.

                      Even successful small businesses do not automatically scale.

                    82. “Poor monetary policy is the SOLE cause of the bubble and the recession.”

                      I try and stay away from such purity you use with such frequency. In your mind does monetary policy extend outside the central bank and setting the cost of borrowing or is it expansive extending to other goals (employment, exchange rates, etc.)

                      Do derivatives count as monetary policy? Setting reserves for banks? Setting rules for federally insured banks? Rules for mortgages? etc.

                    83. “In your mind does monetary policy extend outside the central bank”
                      What I (and most economists) call monetary policy is limited to government – mostly but not exclusively central banks.

                      Similar activities can occur in a system where money is a market commodity(or in non-government money such as securities) – but they are not centrally planned so they are not policy.

                      “and setting the cost of borrowing or is it expansive extending to other goals (employment, exchange rates, etc.)”
                      The goals are a tangent to the question of whether something is monetary policy.

                      “Do derivatives count as monetary policy?”
                      Are derivatives centrally planned ?

                      “Setting reserves for banks?”
                      Yes.
                      “Setting rules for federally insured banks?”
                      The insurance should be private.
                      Insurance can be a type of security – though I want to be careful, because I do not think all forms of insurance are a security – a type of money.
                      We are aso touching on the distinction between fiat money and non-fiat money.
                      Securties are non- fiat private money – they are paper than can be used in exhange like money, they value based on that of something else.

                      I think there are markets where insurance is used like money – but I think it is closer to fiat money – though that depends on the form of insurance.
                      Whole life insurance is probably non-fiat money, term life is closer to fiat money.

                      I would further note that just because insurance can be used as money does nto mean it frequently is.

                      Most securities are quite litterally used as money. When Apple buys a company – no government money is exchanged.
                      Gargantuan amounts of non-government money are.

                      “Rules for mortgages? etc.”
                      Again – I think you are asking multiple questions – or you are conflating things.

                      Government should not set rules for mortgages. They should be up to the market.
                      And there is plenty of evidence that absent government rules the banks would have had more conservative rules.

                      Regardless, Government rules for mortgages are monetary policy – they are policy – central planning, and they are monetary.

                      I am not sure what you are after trying to delinate what is “monetary policy”.

                      But I will try to define the term.

                      Monetary – having to do with money – that is money in any form – dollars, bitcoin, you can find the attributes of money at places like wikipedia.
                      Medium of exchange, store of value, ….

                      Policy – basically central planning. Central planning – policy is almost always govenrment – but does not have to be.

                    84. My point re germany was not that they were hyper efficient.

                      But that we do not want the use of force to be done efficiently.

                      We deliberately hamstring the use of force.
                      Because the unconstrained use of force is incredibly dangerous.

                    85. Dhlii, regarding Germany, I was not suggesting that many believed that they were super efficient, only efficient, and I believe they may have fallen below that standard.

                    86. I am not looking to split hairs over Nazi Germany.

                      My findimental point is we do not want the efficient use of force.
                      It is a bad thing.

                    87. “I am not looking to split hairs over Nazi Germany.”

                      Dhlii, if that weren’t the case you wouldn’t have promoted more discussion on it by adding superlatives to your argument.

                    88. Come on Allan!

                      Even Goodwin’s law excepts real nazi’s.

                      We can quibble about many other facets – but the “death camps” were highly efficient means of exterminating people.

                      The Nazi’s are a well known, reasonably well understood example of the efficient use of force. Particularly for their time.

                    89. “We can quibble about many other facets – but the “death camps” were highly efficient means of exterminating people.”

                      True, but not an efficient way of engaging in a war when death camp train traffic interfered with troop movements. Not an efficient way of trying to develop a nuclear weapon by forcing the greatest scientists to leave the country because they were Jewish. Some people wish to strip away all the bad things the NAZI’s brought so perhaps a myth is created to find a redeeming characteristic, the myth of super efficiency. Do you think the NAZI bureaucracy was super efficient? Is blind adherence to rules and regulations super efficient?

                    90. It was a very efficient way of killing jews, which made it perfectly clear which was more important to the Nazi government – killing the jews or surviving the war.

                    91. “It was a very efficient way of killing jews, which made it perfectly clear which was more important to the Nazi government – killing the jews or surviving the war.”

                      Yes, but as I stated earlier that doesn’t bolster the myth that the NAZI’s were super efficient.

                    92. “Yes, but as I stated earlier that doesn’t bolster the myth that the NAZI’s were super efficient.”

                      You can debate whether the Nazi’s were super efficient or merely efficient with yourself.
                      I do not care.

                      They Nazi’s are still and effective demonstration of the dangerous of efficiency in government.

                      Government is force. The use of force is dangerous and should be undertaken with great care.
                      The efficient use of force is more dangerous still.

                    93. “They Nazi’s are still and effective demonstration of the dangerous of efficiency in government.”

                      You are not demonstrating that at all. What you are demonstrating is the result of consolidated power which perhaps you assume to believe is the equivalent of efficiency.

                    94. “You are not demonstrating that at all. What you are demonstrating is the result of consolidated power which perhaps you assume to believe is the equivalent of efficiency.”

                      You do not seem to grasp that some things tend to go together.
                      If I said hockey was a demonstration of effective use of hockey sticks to control hockey puck’s
                      you would say NO!! It is a demonstration of ice skating.

                      Yes, the Nazi’s are a demonstration of consolidated power.
                      They are also a demonstration of relatively efficient (for the time) government.

                      Consolidated power is dangerous.
                      Efficient use of power is dangerous
                      Both is very dangerous.

                    95. “Consolidated power is dangerous.
                      Efficient use of power is dangerous
                      Both is very dangerous.”

                      Dhlii, that might be true. But regarding the specific issue under discussion, you did not demonstrate that at all. What you demonstrated is the result of consolidated power which perhaps you assume to believe is the equivalent of efficiency.

                    96. “Dhlii, that might be true. But regarding the specific issue under discussion, you did not demonstrate that at all. ”
                      Nope

                      “What you demonstrated is the result of consolidated power”
                      That is one explanation.
                      It is not the only possible explanation.
                      It is not a sufficient explanation.
                      It does not preclude other explanations.

                      “which perhaps you assume to believe is the equivalent of efficiency.”
                      Nope.

                      They frequently occur together, but they are not intrinsically connected.

                      Further you are confusing attacking the example, with attacking the argument.

                      The efficient use of force is a dangerous thing. That should be self-evident.
                      Myriads of facets of the Nazi’s are examples. They are not the only example.
                      Nor is every evil thing done by the Nazi’s the exclusive effect of efficiency.

                      Your picayune debate over the Nazi’s does not refute the argument.
                      It does not even refute the example.

                    97. “Your picayune debate over the Nazi’s”

                      Yes, Dhlii, your discussion has devolved into a picayune debate. That is the problem with your tangents and generalities.

                    98. “That is the problem with your tangents and generalities.”

                      Nope, it is what happens when you fixate on irrelevant details.

                    99. I am arguing efficient government is a BAD thing, and using the Nazi’s as an example/

                      I am arguing that I do not WANT efficient government.
                      I want limited highly inefficient government.

                      Force should not be used efficiently.

                    100. “I am arguing that I do not WANT efficient government.
                      I want limited highly inefficient government.”

                      I prefer a government that is efficient but restricts what it does. During WW2 you did not “WANT efficient government” to run the war? You don’t want an efficient border control?

                      Our government was set up so that change wasn’t so easy in order to provide time to consider the change. That is not inefficient or efficient. That is prudent.

                    101. “Yes, but as I stated earlier that doesn’t bolster the myth that the NAZI’s were super efficient.”
                      That is prudent.
                      That is also efficient.

                    102. “Yes, but as I stated earlier that doesn’t bolster the myth that the NAZI’s were super efficient.”
                      That is prudent.
                      That is also efficient.
                      —–
                      Would you like to restate what you are saying so I can fully understand it?

                    103. I think I have been bitten by a spell checker.

                      Regardless. Your argument is that every vile action of the Nazi’s that I provide to demonstrate that we do not what efficiency in the use of power, you correctly note is also an example of something else. As an example the consolidation of power.

                      Ignoring the obvious counter that consolidation of power is itself a form of efficiency. I agree that every single example I can ever find that demonstrates some thing A will also demonstrate other things. That does not alter that it demonstrates A.

                      You complain about tangents and irrelevancies – a significant portion of your rebutals are of the form “Oh, But B”.

                      B may well be true. The truth of B has no bearing on the Truth of A.

                    104. “Ignoring the obvious counter that consolidation of power is itself a form of efficiency. ”

                      We can pat ourselves on the back with that semantic argument.

                    105. “You do know what semantic means ?
                      Your response strongly implies you do not.”

                      Don’t play the part of Mark M.

                    106. Do you have an argument ?

                      You have degenerated to Ad Hominem.
                      That is not argument.

                      Your remarks indicated that you do not know what semantics means.

                    107. “Do you have an argument ?”

                      Dhlii, you are playing Mark better than Mark plays Mark.

      4. the odious Kroch brothers don’t like Trump dude. They backed other guys.

        Trump campaigned on infrastructure updates to roads and bridges etc.
        He also campaigned on a less interventionist foreign policy that would save money on defense spending. see the current news about nato, trump delivers.
        he would i believe if allowed by the craven Congressmen, divert savings from de-escalating with Russia into fixing our crumbling roads and bridges.

        The war haws in both parties hate Trump. You can blame them not Trump.

        I remember one good thing that obnoxious black guy Sharpton said that I totally agreed with: if we can build new bridges in Iraq why cant we fix bridges in Brooklyn?

        1. The only thing with need with respect to infrastructure is for congress to stay out of it and quit raiding gas taxes for other purposes.

          Anyone with more than a few decades of life experience knows we have no consequential infrastructure problem.

          Our infrastructure is less than perfect – and it never will be perfect, making it a magnet for politicians.
          But if your eyes and memory work, you know it is nearly all better than ever.

          Trumps rants regarding infrastucture are one to the places his is full of crap.
          And where he can likely get bipartisan support to do something stupid.

          Infrastucture is a crappy jobs program. It did not work for Obama, it will not work better for trump.

          Defense spending has gone up substantially under Trump. We do not need to spend what we do on the military.

          Absolutely I support reducing our committments to NATO, or ending it.
          Absolutely I support reducing our endless role as policemen for the world.
          Fracking has radically reduced our national interest in the mideast.
          It is time to mostly back away. Let them kill each other if them want.

          Russia is neither a friend nor an enemy and frankly we should take GW’s advice and for the most part be neither friends nor enemies with the world.

          1. You must not live anywhere near Chicago or Detroit. The roads suck all over the midwest and railroads are a mess. Airports suck too. Have you been abroad my friend? The Chicoms can’t believe how crappy the roads are when they come, it’s a big joke to a lot of foreigners. Yes we have an infrastructure problem.

            1. “You must not live anywhere near Chicago or Detroit. The roads suck all over the midwest and railroads are a mess. Airports suck too. Have you been abroad my friend? The Chicoms can’t believe how crappy the roads are when they come, it’s a big joke to a lot of foreigners. Yes we have an infrastructure problem.”

              Are they worse than they were a decade ago ? Or three ?

              Pick some place you think the roads are crap. I am certain I can find a several decades old picture of the same location proving things were worse in the past.

              I have not been abroad in a few decades. I was in Ireland in the 80’s.

              I was completely shocked when I found about 7m of 2 lane divided highway leading out of dublin. That was the only limited access highway in the entire country at the time.
              Major roads required driving with one tire in the shoulder if someone came from the other direction.

              Regardless, Americans drive more than twice what Europeans do.
              Yet we have less fatalities per mile than any other nation.
              We must be doing something right.

          2. “Infrastucture”

            Dhilli, infrastructure includes the grid subject to EMP, cyber security, security along the borders etc. I think we require improvement of our infrastructure.

            1. “infrastructure includes the grid subject to EMP, cyber security”
              All not the business of govenrment.

              “security along the borders etc.”
              Atleast in the domain fo government.

              I have no strong oppinion on border security.
              I will happily give Trump and co their wall, which I do not think will be as effective as the right hopes or as ineffective as the left beleives.

              Regardless, build the wall. I am not in your way.

              1. ““infrastructure includes the grid subject to EMP, cyber security”
                All not the business of govenrment.”

                Dhlii, maybe not your government but the rationale for our Republic and the Constitution provides for security concerns. An EMP attack could wipe out the grid or part of the grid and that could devastate our population. Ever try living without any electronics and electricity? There have been natural occurrences from the sun that have caused failure. In 1859 a geomagnetic solar storm hit earth knocking out telegraph systems around the world. The appropriate bomb exploded at the appropriate height can do the same ( we learned this during our atomic testing). A point to note, the North Koreans have two satellites each of which goes over the US several times a day.

                Despite my libertarian leanings (classical liberalism), I recognize that we are a country that needs to secure itself from foreign invasion. Cyberwar can destroy portions of the grid and we saw that years ago when a power failure in one part of the nation caused a major portion of the grid to collapse so we are not independent of other areas of the country. Cyberwarfare can affect the water supply and everything else.

                The same is true for other parts of our infrastructure. The Articles of Confederation didn’t work and couldn’t have protected our security so we have to constrain some of our libertarian beliefs.

                1. A biologial attack could wipe out all life.

                  While national defense is the legitimate domain of government – that does nto make agriculture the domain of government because we can not defend the country if we can not feed ourselves.

                  Using national defense as a justification for things beyond those directly involved in national defense ultimately leads to socialism, by a different route.

                  The “solution” to “hardening our grid” is to get government out of it, nearly every segment of an actual free market is highly diversified, it is made of small and large and everything in the middle, and that is where resilience comes in. I would suggest Nassim Taleeb’s book on anti-fragility.

                  If you want a system that can handle and EMP attack – you can not design it from the top down. all top down schemes are inherently fragile. They must always have exploitable vulnerabilities. Anything that is the product of a single mind or even an orginazed system of priorites. will have expliotable flaws.

                  Put simply government can never create an infrastructure that is secure.

                  I could and would like to argue that we can make the grid less vulnerable by making it more local, more dispursed – like the internet was sort of designed to be.
                  But even that is not true. Any arrangement that is “designed:” and homogenous will be fragile in some way.
                  What you want is a mix of big medium and small, and an organic as opposed to planned mix.

                  Why ? Because while there are vulnerabilities all over there are no universal vulnerabilites.

                  No one ever would have conceived of an EMP weapon but for the top down fragile design we imposed on our “infrastucture”.
                  What good is a weapon that does no harm to humans, that destroys no machinery, no buildings.

                  Regardless, in most instances “national security” is a reason government should NOT be part of the market.
                  Government makes us more vulnertable not less.

                  1. Dhlii, it is true, a biological attack could do tremendous damage and we are preparing for that as well. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for other eventualities such as EMP. Is that what you are suggesting? Let’s stick to one subject, the grid, and EMP. Some say we are due for another electromagnetic solar event since they seem to occur at certain intervals and if it is strong enough it could do a great amount of damage. Our enemies focus on our grid and some of the problems that have been seen might very well be our enemies testing it.

                    Our grid is essentially a common good and is something that should have been hardened years ago. Unfortunately not every problem is readily solved by the market especially those that are common goods. Would you prefer to bet on tens of millions of lives or consider the grid a common good where the federal government spends about $2 Billion? If you wish to deregulate the entire industry fine, but harden the common good portions. One needs to be a bit pragmatic at times.

                    1. The sun is currently extremely inactive. It has been at a very low level of activity for several years, and it is unlikely we have reached the bottom.

                      There is very good reason for this.

                      The 11 year solar cycle is because the center of mass of the sun and the center of mass of the solar are not at exactly the same place.
                      Most of the time the center of mass of the solar system is outside the sun. And the result is the sun has “tides” and these cause sun spots, solar flares. ….

                      The more separated the center of gravity of the solar system and that of the sun the the more active the sun is.

                      Aside from the 11 year cycle there are atleast 6 other solar cycles – driven by the orbits of the planets – particularly the larger ones.

                      Right now we are in the middle of an unusual event that occurs about every 200+ years where the center of mass of the solar system is inside the body of the sun.

                      This event corresponded to the muander and dalton minimum in the past.

                      Anything is possible, but we are likely 20-30 years away from a serious solar event that damages infrastucture.

                      These same cycles also effect seismic and volcanic activity. For reasons I have never looked into, low solar activity corresponds to high seismic and volcanic activity.
                      Obviously it has to do with gravity. but I am not sure why diminishing gravitational cycles would make earthquakes more likely.

                    2. “The sun is currently extremely inactive. It has been at a very low level of activity for several years, and it is unlikely we have reached the bottom.”

                      Despite your discussion of the suns activity in creating geomagnetic phenomenon there is no certainty as to when another episode could occur. Add to that the nuclear threat of EMP to the grid and one has a very good reason to harden the grid.

                      EMP is real, proven and has occurred both from natural phenomenon and man made nuclear weapons. It could take years to repair and that would leave a lot of dead. The worst estimates from a nuclear EMP attack at the exact right spot are 90% of the population dead.

                      Answer the question. Is the grid a common good? Yes or no? Should the grid be hardened now no matter who hardens it? If the grid will not be hardened privately should the states or federal government do the job? Estimated cost $2Billion.

                    3. Certainty – no. Calculable probability – yes.

                      With respect to “hardening the grid” – AGAIN – I would suggest reading Nasim Taleeb’s Anti-Fragile.
                      You do not have to completely agree with him.
                      But he does and excellent job of analyzing how systems that can endure multiple different kinds of body blows and survive and thrive come about.

                      Government solutions DO NOT result in anti-fragility. A top down approach to EMP hardening – even if it works will result in a different fragilty elswhere.

                      anti-fragile systems do not arrise from top down design.

                      Though the primary cause of the recession was poor monetary policy

                    4. “With respect to “hardening the grid” – AGAIN – I would suggest reading Nasim Taleeb’s Anti-Fragile.”

                      Dhlii, Nasim Taleeb probably doesn’t know much about the grid and you don’t know what he would say about this question. You are throwing names into the mix because I don’t think you know much about the grid either. There is no P (for pragmatism) in your libertarian dogma.

                    5. Taleeb probably knows little about “the grid”.

                      But he knows a great deal about the patterns and principles that make things durable, and those that lead to failure.

                      One of the things I “know” about “the grid” that you do not seem to, is that it is just one of myriads of single points of failure in an EMP attack.

                      You could make the grid completely impervious to EMP – and still have the same death and destruction in an EMP attack.

                      This is part of why I am pointing you to Taleeb. BTW he is pretty arrogant, and I do not agree with him on everything.
                      But he is very good on fragility/anti-fragility.

                      One of the things he would likely point out that you miss is that anti-fragile arrangements that evolve organically, solve your problems regarding the grid – without even thinking of EMP attacks. Systems that are organically anti-fragile are not resistent to a specific threat, they are resistant to all threats./

                      As to my knowledge of ‘the grid”.

                      I can tell you how about a dozen people with materials they can get from WalMart can take out the entire north east.

                      It has actually been done on a smaller scale by accident.

                    6. “Taleeb probably knows little about “the grid”.
                      But he knows a great deal about the patterns and principles that make things durable, and those that lead to failure.”

                      Then ask him about the grid. Don’t put words in his mouth.

                      I agree with organic development. However, we have what we have and we have the need to protect ourselves even if it is only partial protection.

                      ” can tell you how about a dozen people with materials they can get from WalMart can take out the entire north east.”

                      That is another reason to harden the grid.

                    7. Get government out of it and fairly quickly and changes will occur – some will make it less susceptible to EMP, some may make it more.
                      Regardless,. it will change in ways that overall make it LESS fragile.

                      All systems face myriads of threats.emp is only one.
                      One of the many problems with top down solutions is that even when they succeed at reducing one risk they create or amplify another.

                      Diverse systems do not have single points of failure.
                      Top down planned systems do.

                      I have made the argument that the great recession was caused by poor monetary policy.

                      There are several aspects of that – one is that artificially inflating credit causes credit to be under priced and the moral hazard that is always associated with credit to rise.

                      Another facet is that monetary policy deviating from what is natural budges the entire market in the same direction.

                      During the early 2000’s most everyone was cheering the housing boom – more houses for more people is a good thing isn’t it ?

                      Getting large portions of the economy moving in the same direction – even a GOOD direction is ultimately bad.

                      I am not really debating EMP protection with you, provide a free market for energy and you can raise your voice to demand EMP protection – and I may join you.
                      I am debating government control of any portion of the market – even control for an allegedly good purpose.

                      Government efforts to increase housing – something we all agree is a good thing, worked out very badly.

                      Everyone moving in the same direction – particularly because of an outside force, tends to ultimately have bad outcomes, even when the purpose is clearly good.

                    8. “Get government out of it and fairly quickly and changes will occur – some will make it less susceptible to EMP, some may make it more.
                      Regardless,. it will change in ways that overall make it LESS fragile.”

                      I don’t disagree with that point of view. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening quickly enough. Therefore protect the nation and spend the money hardening the grid for national security. While securing the nation, I will join you in that quest.

                      Take note, I am trying to protect the grid, not what spins off from the grid.

                    9. It is highly unlikely the NK has an EMP weapon now, or will have one that they can trust works for several years.
                      They have progressed farther and faster than we expected, but they are still short of what is needed for an EMP weapon.

                      At the moment they appear to be able to produce advanced fission bombs – I know they claim to have produced a hydrogen bomb but the evidence suggests otherwise.
                      But they do have high yeild Fission bombs – i.e. they are ahead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and they likely have them to weight low enough for an ICBM.

                      They have ICBM’s that can reach Guam Possibly hawaii. It is questionable at this time whether they can actually hit what they aim for. So guidance is an issue.
                      They also do not yet have the range to reach the continental US – but that is not a large hurdle give where they are at.

                      Developing Hydrogen bombs or EMP weapons without being able to test them is very very hard.
                      They are likely several years away from guidance, range and EMP.

                      The big problem is that if they continue, they will get there with absolute certainty.

                      Conversely we have two ABM systems – THAAD – which is basically advanced versions of Patriot using Aegis Cruisers.
                      THAAD against an ICBM is always a tail chase scenario. That means we have a short time window from launch before we will be unable to intercept.
                      We also have a land based system that works much like Partiot did against Iragi SCUDS – i.e. in a head to head intercept mode, rather than tail chase.
                      Those systems have a short time window too as they much reach the warhead and destroy it midflight. That is a pretty difficult task and our success rate is about 50%.
                      We probably do not want to bet 100,000+ lives on 50:50.

                      What we need is a space based system. That would typically intercept on the ascent or shortly after reaching space. But it has more time to make a decison, uses much smaller rockets, does nto need the same velocities, because the flight is shorter, and is not in a tail chase mode where the time window is small.

                      All three systems together have a near certainty of intercepting small numbers of ICBM’s. This will not defend us against Russia, and probably not china. but it would effectively neutralize NK and Iraq for a long time.

                      That is a far more useful idea than hardening against EMP.

                      I would further note there is no special reason to beleive that NK will use an EMP weapon rather than a conventional nuke.
                      A hiroshima sized weapon to Manhattan would result in atleast 500K lives lost, probably more, and the economic damage could be much higher than an EMP weapon.

                      An EMP weapon will kill few people directly. The overall casualties will depend on how quickly we can recover – at each of several layers.

                      It the US response resembles that of TX to huricanes recovery will be quick and the loss of life small.
                      If it matches that of PR it will be slow with lots of lives lost.

                    10. “It is highly unlikely the NK has an EMP weapon now”

                      Unlikely means you don’t know.

                      “What we need is a space based system. … That is a far more useful idea than hardening against EMP.”

                      We probably need both because the war can begin with the EMP attack and then the space based system goes into action if the failure of our communication system permits it. That is not good military planning. Better to discourage an attack on the grid or have a grid more likely to withstand such an attack and perhaps have the space based system as well.

                    11. “We probably need both because the war can begin with the EMP attack and then the space based system goes into action if the failure of our communication system permits it. ”

                      The purpose of a space based ABM system is to radically decrease the probability that an EMP or any other such attack will be successfull.

                      They are a FIRST line of defense, not a last.

                      “That is not good military planning.”
                      Actually it is excellent “planning” the “message” and the “effect” are clear.
                      If you launch an ICBM at the US – not only will you dace massive retaliation, but there is a near certainty your attack will fail.

                      “Better to discourage an attack on the grid”
                      That is what ABM’s do.

                    12. “The purpose of a space based ABM system is to radically decrease the probability that an EMP or any other such attack will be successfull.”

                      I’m not against ABM systems, but I would like to know how that prevents an attack? Assume a satellite is launched and travels over the US, how do you know it doesn’t contain a nuclear weapon that explodes on demand?

                    13. “Assume a satellite is launched and travels over the US, how do you know it doesn’t contain a nuclear weapon that explodes on demand?”

                      I worked on a project to detect nuclear material far less than a Bomb at US ports of entry in heavily sheilded containers.

                      If someone puts a nuke in space – we will know it.
                      BTW you can not just explode it in space.

                    14. “I worked on a project to detect nuclear material far less than a Bomb at US ports of entry in heavily sheilded containers.”

                      To date, I know of nothing we have that can fully detect a nuclear weapon in a satellite. We might have that ability but if we do it is kept secret.

                      “BTW you can not just explode it in space.”

                      Do you know how far from earth these satellites are? Let’s play your fantasy game. One satellite explodes to knock out the AMB and the next heads to the detonation point.

                    15. “To date, I know of nothing we have that can fully detect a nuclear weapon in a satellite. We might have that ability but if we do it is kept secret.”

                      Based on what I know that we can do, I would be shocked if we can not detect a nuke in space.

                      “Do you know how far from earth these satellites are?”
                      LEO is about 2000Km anything lower will not remain in orbit.

                      “Let’s play your fantasy game. One satellite explodes to knock out the AMB”
                      Presumably you mean ABM.

                      In your fantasy – why do they need to do that ?

                      “and the next heads to the detonation point.”
                      KMS-4 weighs about 200Kg – KMS-3 is 100Kg.

                      Both are configured for earth observation – i.e. they are spy satelites.
                      KMS-4 appears to be under NK control, but despite claims to the contrary it it not communicating.
                      It is unlikely to be fully functional.

                    16. ““Let’s play your fantasy game.”

                      You have not advanced the discussion and are far behind. I’ll wait for your horse and buggy. I hope your ride is not too bumpy.

                    17. The ability to passively detect a nuke is a function of the sheilding, Sheilding EMP weapons is counter productive.

                      Apararnetly the technology exists today to detect weapons grade material at distances of 1000K

                      If the NK satellites have EMP weapons we know.

                    18. “The grid is of little use if what is connected to it is destroyed.”

                      Total destruction of everything is unlikely. Destroy the grid and factories can’t produce the needed replacements. I won’t even deal with our financial system which would be a total mess.

                    19. “Total destruction of everything is unlikely.”
                      Correct – that includes “the grid”

                      “Destroy the grid and factories can’t produce the needed replacements.”
                      As has been repeated endlessly – the destruction is not total, not uniform and declines with the square of the distance.
                      That is true of the Grid, it is true of “factories”

                      “I won’t even deal with our financial system which would be a total mess.”
                      The effect would be less than a Nuke in Manhattan.

                      You are looking to mitigate one threat.
                      You can easier elminate many.

                    20. ““I won’t even deal with our financial system which would be a total mess.”
                      The effect would be less than a Nuke in Manhattan.”

                      In Manhattan denotes a dirty bomb exploded at street level. I think you should look at the studies.

                    21. “In Manhattan denotes a dirty bomb exploded at street level.”
                      Nope. We are mostly talking about NK as a threat.

                      They will be able to hit Manhattan with a Nagasaki capacity weapon before they will have an EMP weapon.

                      And there are studies of the effect of a 10KT Nuke in Manahattan.

                      My recollection is 500K-1M casualties, and 3T of economic damage.
                      Probably much greater than a dirty bomb or a EMP weapon.
                      And easier for most of our enemies to accomplish

                    22. “They will be able to hit Manhattan with a Nagasaki capacity weapon before they will have an EMP weapon.’

                      This is foolishness. A Nagasaki type attack is both a bomb and a delivery system. We know N. Korea has the bomb and we know that they can send up a satellite since two of them go around the US man times every day.

                    23. “A Nagasaki type attack is both a bomb and a delivery system. We know N. Korea has the bomb and we know that they can send up a satellite since two of them go around the US man times every day.”

                      If you can get a bomb into orbit, you can deliver it anywhere in the world.

                      Further the US already has the ability to take out satellites. If we beleive that NK has lofted a Nuke, it will be taken out.

                      Do you honestly beleive that NK can secretly put a nuke in orbit ?

                    24. “Do you honestly beleive that NK can secretly put a nuke in orbit ?”

                      I don’t think so YET, however, I am unwilling to prepare for the last war something that you seem to be doing. We need to prepare for the next war or your airforce will be the equivalent of balloons in the sky.

                    25. ABM’s are the defense against the most likely next war.
                      They are a near absolute deterent to any enemy except Russia and possibly China.

                    26. “ABM’s are the defense against the most likely next war.”

                      That very well may be true, but for the next war trade in your horse and buggy.

                    27. The method of taking out the grid with a dozen people and materials you can find in Walmart is incredibly low tech and nothing you did about EMP hardening would effect it.

                      I do have a friend who works for a major public utility on their computerized monitoring and control systems, who notes that all you need to do is disrupt a few geographically diverse links to trigger a cascade failure that will take out very large sections of the grid. The “grid” portion of the “grid” is quite fragile – not because of EMP issues,
                      but because it operates much like the U2 spy plane – the separation between the top speed – the speed at which the wings get ripped off, and the stall speed – the speed at which there is not sufficient lift to support the plane is incredibly narrow at 50,000ft – modern airliners traveling at 50,000 have similar problems.
                      Regardless the tiny distance between two different forms of failure means that certain disruptions – which are highly unlikely naturally. but can be deliberately caused with primative tools will move the grid quickly into a state it can not recover from.

                      And the fixes for this inherently make the grid LESS efficient. The trigger is insufficient excess capacity – not merely in generation but in transmission at every link.
                      We deliberately operate the grid very near maximum capacity.

                      There is not much concern for this particular failure mode because it can not happen by accident and it can not be caused externally.
                      And because ultimately it is not really preventable. increasing the specific margins that are the problem would only increase the effort needed to trigger the cascade failure.

                    28. “The method of taking out the grid with a dozen people and materials you can find in Walmart is incredibly low tech and nothing you did about EMP hardening would effect it.

                      I do have a friend who works for a major public utility on their computerized monitoring and control systems, who notes that all you need to do is disrupt a few geographically diverse links to trigger a cascade failure that will take out very large sections of the grid.”

                      There is a difference in the damage done and the ability to speedily correct the damage. Part of hardening the grid is also to strengthen I think 8 specific areas and part of that would be cyber-security and physical security of those areas.

                      EMP is different than the homemade Walmart devices you talk about. take note our grid has already been affected without a decent reason being provided. They could actually be tests on the grid for future sabotage.

                    29. My actual profession is an embedded software engineer.
                      For several years I had a TS/SCI, I also was one of a dozen founders to a startup that developed hardware/software to affordable decrypt encryted emails. We provided this capability to every FBI field office in the country.

                      I am not an “expert” in cyber security, but I know alot about it, and I know alot of black hats and white hats.

                      Our government sucks at cyber security. The black hats are way ahead. Private cyber security is ahead of government cyber security and is improving all the time.
                      Russian hackers are taking US companies for about 30B a year, that is a tremendous incentive to get good at cyber security.

                      Despite the nonsense sprayed about the 2016 election – while Russia, China, NK are probably the best Nation states interms of cyber attack capabilities, they are NOt in the league with black hats.
                      Several years ago the FBI had a secret internal conference call discusing the hacking group Anonymous. Anoymous found out about the call, hacked the FBI and their phone system and recorded the conference call and published it.

                      I am highly skeptical of all the Russian hacking claims. For the most part Russia uses Black Hats to do its hacking, and then turns a blind eye to their criminal activities.

                      Anyway the NSA has a massive global data gathering capability – that they do not really know how to use – I have also worked indirectly for the NSA – as well as on AEGIS, JTTRS, on Predator, on some projects I was not allowed to know what they were, for JPL, for LANL, and for IAEC.
                      I had a close friend who did cyber security at the NSA for several decades. He is unfortunately now dead.

                      Anyway, Cyber security is a constant battle, but most private businesses are better at it than most of government.

                    30. dhlii – maybe the federal govt should contract out to CrowdStrike for its cyber-security.

                    31. CrowdStrike is just about the worst.
                      They have had numerous major fails.

                      Their major marketing hook is the claim that they can determine who hacked you.

                      Absent a confession that is not possible today. everyone has everyone else’s hacking tools. Sophistacated hackers work through unsophisticated hackers, or sometime hack unsophiticated hackers to create a false impression.

                      We know as an example that APT28 and APT29 were used on the DNC. Contra Crowdstrike and the US IC that tells us nothing.
                      We do not actually know that the emails were removed using APT28 and APT29. Nor do we know that the hackers using APT28 and APT29 were russians.
                      APT28 and APT29 have been used by many other nations and hackers.

                      Nor can we tell if we are able to “trace” There is no way to tell if what we think is an endpoint is, or if it is just a way point.
                      We can not even tell if we are being deliberately mislead.

                      I need to look at the Mueller indictment. He purportedly has GRU emails – probably from NSA intercepts.
                      If he really and truly has those, he MIGHT have something.

                      Another issue is that Russia in particular does not typically work through its government GRU would not do the actual hacking.
                      Russia turns a blind eye to russian hacking groups engaged in essentially organized global financial crime, in return for the hackers doing work for Russia.

                      Finally, the FBI, CIA, NSA have not gotten a single major thing like this right since …… ?

                      They were blindsided by the fall of the Soviet Union. There assessments of its strength were garbage,
                      They missed Sadam’s attack on Iran, and then on Kuwait. The missed 9/11. They botched Antrax, they botched Richard Jewel, they were wrong about Iraq and nukes.

                      Why are we supposed to beleive them about Russian Hacking ?

                      White Hats and Black Hats outside of government are far better at this than government.
                      And nearly all of those say – it is not possible to forensically be sure who hacked you.

                    32. dhlii – did you see that Putin will let Mueller talk to the GRU guys if his people can talk to Browder to gave Hillary $400 million for her campaign and didn’t pay taxes, either in the US or Russia. Liberal meltdowns are abounding 😉

                    33. I do not beleive anything is a “common good”.

                      I do not beleive that decisions regarding the grid should be made by government or in any organized collective sense – i.e. it is NOT a “common good”.

                      The “grid” will serve us best if government gets out of it entirely and it is allowed to develop organically.

                      In that instance some parts of it will be “hardened” and others will not. Basically different portions will have different attributes as different “owners” seek their own best advantage, The end result will be that the grid will not be systemically vulnerable, because there is no “systemic” to it.

                      No the Government should not spend $2B or even $2 “incentivizing” any part of the economy to any government determined conception of what is best.

                      If you beleive that a “hardened grid” is a value – then communicate that to your power company. If enough people do, they will respond.

                    34. I would suggest reading Nobel Winner Elenor Olstrom’s work on common’s.

                      Data driven research demonstrates “commons” do not work the way we have been told for centuries.

                      The tragedy of the commons is a fallacy.

                      I am not entirely sure I beleive in commons.

                      I would also refer you to the Coases law.

                      Frictionless transactions, Strong property rights, free markets and the rule of law will outperform any other arrangement.
                      Put simply Coase’s law suggests there should be no “commons”

                    35. “I would suggest reading… ”

                      Dhlii, I don’t see how any of your comments were responsive to the questions asked:

                      “Answer the question. Is the grid a common good? Yes or no? Should the grid be hardened now no matter who hardens it? If the grid will not be hardened privately should the states or federal government do the job? Estimated cost $2Billion.”

                    36. Asked and answered.
                      “Answer the question. Is the grid a common good? Yes or no? ”

                      No.

                      “Should the grid be hardened now no matter who hardens it?”
                      Exactly as asked – NO!. “who” is quite relevant.

                      “If the grid will not be hardened privately should the states or federal government do the job?”
                      No.
                      “Estimated cost $2Billion.”
                      Do not care.

                    37. “Asked and answered.
                      “Answer the question. Is the grid a common good? Yes or no? ”

                      No.”

                      This is the first time you directly answered the question. You also answered that you would not spend $2 on the grid which is a national security issue.

                      OK. Now we have a better understanding of how your libertarian thinking works. National security, one of the main reasons for our government to exist, is secondary to libertarian dogma. I can accept that. You can believe what you wish. I, however, somewhat libertarian completely disagree.

                    38. Please do not misrepresent me.

                      My answer was that I would not use force at any price a priori specifically to protect “the grid”.

                      If my power company came to me and said “will you voluntarily pay $2/year to “protect the grid” from EMP” I would likely say yes.

                      The actual question matters,
                      The ends do not justify the means.

                      Lets put your question in a different context,

                      Would you spend $2B to to have the government forcibly remove high demand kidneys to have them available in the even some unlikely event required them ?

                      Alternately
                      Would you give $2 to the red cross to persuade people to give blood to be stocked for emergencies ?

                      The form of each question is nearly the same.

                      The answers are radically different.

                      If your question is structured as
                      Would you use force to accomplish the following good ?

                      My answer will almost always be no.

                    39. “Please do not misrepresent me.”

                      Protection of the grid is a national security issue. It is not being done your way. That doesn’t mean that national security should be sacrificed.

                    40. “Protection of the grid is a national security issue. It is not being done your way. That doesn’t mean that national security should be sacrificed.”

                      Allan, I can make a national security argument for anything.
                      I can make a national security argument for banning abortions.

                      You will note the constitution has no “national security” provisions.

                      In fact our founders feared standing armies. Put simply they understood that as a nation we face external threats – even if EMP was not one of those.
                      but that those threats did not justify a priori infringement on rights.

                      While we are addressing “national security” ANYTHING that most of us would agree is a compelling societal interest, can be used to justify a priori sacrificing all our rights.

                      Further I am not seeking a system “hardened against EMP”. I am seeking a system that is actually anti-fragile. Top down increases fragility.
                      Even solving one problem (from the top) – like EMP, typicaly introdices new vulnerabilities that is an immutable characteristic of top down approaches.

                    41. “You will note the constitution has no “national security” provisions.”

                      Then you must note the history of the US and all the provisions made to protect our security. We even build bases in the US that I don’t think is specifically mentioned in the Constitution and these bases are able to communicate with one another also not mentioned in the Constitution. There is even a hotline to Moscow that is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.

                      The Constitution does state:

                      “The Congress shall have Power … To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

                      And in the Preamble along with section 8 mentions “the common defense” along with various mentions of what can be done. By extension since the Constitution was written, there have been various things that have been approved and various Supreme Court decisions affirming the right of the federal government to protect our national security even though the specific items in question were not specifically written into the Constitution.

                    42. The constitution is not an inventory of US assets.
                      It is an inventory of the powers and authority of the US government.
                      While foreign relations and national defense are in there – national security in the way you imagine it is not.
                      Nor would it be. Your version of national security is the road to socialism through fear of foreign aggressors,
                      rather than class struggle. While You may not personally be willing to give infinite scope to national security you have let the camel’s nose into the tent, the camel will follow.

                    43. “The constitution is not an inventory of US assets.”

                      I have yet to hear anyone say that it is.

                    44. The necessary and proper clause is NOT a black check – neither is the “general welfare clause”.

                      All that the Necessary and Proper clause means is that if the constitution grants the federal govenrment a specific power, then it also grants it those things that are required to give effect to that power.

                      Yes, the supreme court has fairly consistently misinterpreted the constitution as granting the federal govenrment to much and to broad a powers.

                      All law and constitution must be construed narrowly.

                      In the constitution Congress is given specific authority to
                      declare war
                      raise and support armies
                      provide for a navy
                      establish the rules for the operation of American military forces
                      organize and arm the militias of the states
                      and specify the conditions for converting the militias into national service.

                      “United States shall guarantee to every State a republican form of government and shall protect each of them against invasion.”

                      The constitution is very specific about “national defense”.

                      It is the only Mandatory function of the federal govenrment – but it is still defined narrowly.
                      No rational reading of the constitution would permit the federal government to require “hardening the grid”.
                      But it would easily cover ABM’s.

                    45. “The necessary and proper clause is NOT a black check – neither is the “general welfare clause”.”

                      Few if any intelligent people will say otherwise. However, some intelligent people might use those clauses to push for what they want.

                    46. I have no idea what “national security” is. It is a term that can be bent to mean whatever is wanted.

                      I can use “national security” as a justification for socialism.

                      Actual defence against an attack – that we can talk about.

                      As I said, I will give you $2B to build the space based ABM system to take out your hypothetical EMP weapon before it can do damage.

                    47. “As I said, I will give you $2B to build the space based ABM system to take out your hypothetical EMP weapon before it can do damage.”

                      We might need that as well, but the $2Billion will be well spent if we protect the grid. We have to stop fighting the last war and think about what a future war would look like.

                    48. The “your idealistic not pragmatic” argument is incredibly thin.

                      My unwillingness to take action that will not work and will likely make things worse, where there is lots of real world data to underpin that conclusion, does nto make my idealistic and anti-progamatice.

                      Idealistic and pragmatic are not inherently at odds.

                      When they ACTUALLY are – your ideals are wrong.

                      The primary appeal of libertarianism is that principle and practice do not conflict.
                      Demonstrate a real instance where they actually do, and I will change my principles.

                    49. “The “your idealistic not pragmatic” argument is incredibly thin.”

                      Thin, but strong.

                    50. Semantic games are not arguments.

                      You are actually on the wrong side of “pragmatic”. While accusing my arguments as theoretical and not pragmatic, you are ignoring the fact that the real world data strongly supports them – and not yours.

                      That is because classical liberalism as an ideology is the iterative refinement of theory and practice. It has developed in the same way as physics and other hard sciences.
                      Observe, hypothesize, test, repeat.

                      Other “ideolgies” have also been tried – they tend to fail at “observe” and “test”. It is other ideologies that are not pragmatic.

                    51. “Semantic games are not arguments.”

                      That is why I try to limit the scope of discussion. Just look at the relative size of the posts and count the number of tangents.

                    52. ““Semantic games are not arguments.”

                      That is why I try to limit the scope of discussion. Just look at the relative size of the posts and count the number of tangents.”

                      Your response is a Tangent.
                      Scope and semantics are unrelated.

                    53. “Scope and semantics are unrelated.”

                      Actually, they are related in your discussions. By promoting the former you can play with the latter.

                    54. “Scope and semantics are unrelated.”

                      Actually, they are related in your discussions.

                      Nope.

                    55. Have it your way Dhlii and say what you wish. Scope and semantics are related in your discussions to which you could add generalities.

                    56. ” Scope and semantics are related in your discussions to which you could add generalities.”

                      Unless related means no more than are present viewed accross mulitple posts, then NO.

                    57. I do not beleive that any top down approach to “the grid” whatever the cost will prove invulnarable.
                      Worse any “designed” solution will inherently have some single point of failure.

                      Our vulnerability to EMP is the result of top down design.

                      Truly anti-fragile systems are organic, bottom up.
                      government can not and does not do that.

                      Put differently – it is you betting both money and lives – not me.

                      BTW I think the economic devestation of a significant US EMP attack would be enormous. (and short lived)
                      But the loss of life would actually be small.

                      The absolutely devestating EMP attack would be from Russia not NK.

                      Kim can not follow up with a know out blow.

                      Russia can.

                      Very quickly after and EMP attack the entire world would gear up to repair the damage,
                      that is how markets respond to those kinds of problems.

                      The effects would be similar to Pearl Harbor. They would bring people together and
                      atleast temporarily be strongly positive.

                      I would suggest comparing the way Texas recovered from the Recent Huricanes to the way Puerto Rico did.

                      There are fundimental differences between cultures and societes that take centuries to change.

                      Africa has a problem with water.

                      Aide groups have gone through africa drilling wells. That proves temporary.
                      The wells as not maintained and fail.
                      Lower tech well drilling approaches are somewhat more successful, but still fail.
                      The only means that works is getting those in Africa to solve their own problems.

                      Parts of Texas were devasted by Huricanes.
                      But those people living in those areas had a different culture. They basically knew what needed to be done, knew how to go about doing it, and knew what the benefits would be when they did,

                      Put simply most of our science fiction about high tech societies being wiped out by the destruction of technology and the inability of people to cope without it are fallacious.

                      If all technology was wiped out tomorow – we would replace or recreate it quite quickly.
                      Even if the technology of the entire advanced woeld was instantly wiped out and all libraries and information necescary to recreate it disappeared.
                      We would still do so fairly quickly. You can not destroy human knowledge and more importantly you can not destroy the fact that we know what is possible.

                      Texas recovered quickly because they knew what they wanted and knew they could accomplish it.

                    58. “I do not beleive that any top down approach to “the grid” whatever the cost will prove invulnarable.”

                      Hardening the grid doesn’t make anything invulnerable but it permits the grid to function after an attack. You seem to prefer to restart caveman and wait a year or more until the grid can be adequately repaired. Farmers will survive. If you are not one your likelihood of survival will be markedly reduced.

                      “Our vulnerability to EMP is the result of top down design.”

                      A simple statement made to encompass all arguments but is words and doesn’t solve the present problem. That is the problem with too much principle and not enough pragmatism.

                      “BTW I think the economic devestation of a significant US EMP attack would be enormous. (and short lived)
                      But the loss of life would actually be small.”

                      If the grid were totally knocked out which is a possibility, our lives, for the most part, would be unsustainable.

                      “The absolutely devestating EMP attack would be from Russia not NK.”

                      How do you know? They have the satellite technology with two of them each crossing the US multiple times every day. They have the nuclear capability and might even have the size problem down pat. The physics behind the height of an EMP attack along with locations is known.

                    59. If you want my support on something – the government should start (or finish) a reliable space based ABM system to suppliment the two systems we already have.
                      That is the legitimate realm of government.

                      Do we really want a long debate about who will survive a hypothetical attack ?

                      You say farmers will survive. Frankly I think everyone will.
                      The economic damage will be larger than 9/11, but the deaths will likely be less.

                      I would also note this is far more than a “grid” problem, and may cost far more than $2B.

                      An EMP weapon will threaten everything that is electrical.
                      That is the grid, phones, cars, radio, the internet, Refriderators -all appliances.

                      The size of he weapon, the proximity to the release, and the nature of the specific device wil determine the probability of an specific device surviving.

                      The grid surviving will be meaningless if every car, truck, cellphone, refridgerator and appliance is dead.

                      Conversely if 30% of the above survives recovery will be rapid.

                      If as an example every single computer in a factory is oblitarated, that factory will recover 100%, as soon as sufficient transportation is restored and all higher priotrity deliveries above replacing those computers occur.

                      My point is that within moments of the end of the attack, recovery begins.
                      NK gets to do this ONCE – maybe, if our ABM system fails.
                      Russia can do this AND potentially while we are still weak nuke the crap out of us (assuming they can survive MASD)

                      One of your problems is that you presume we will be knocked back to cave men AND STAY THERE.

                      The destruction of trillions of dollars of equipment is just that. Nothing more. Equipment can be replaced.
                      And it will be. The primary harm will be economic.

                    60. “I would also note this is far more than a “grid” problem, and may cost far more than $2B.”

                      You are as usual expanding the question. I am solely talking about the grid-connecting the major power sources to each other. It doesn’t go further than that. Your electronics are your problem.

                      An EMP attack on the grid is a major national security issue.

                    61. Of course I am expanding the problem – again why I keep pointing you at Taleeb.

                      If you wish to mitigate the harm of an EMP attack “hardening” the grid is a tiny part of the problem.

                      As society organically evolves – with reducing fragility being one facet of that bottom up evolution.
                      Changes will occur that will not merely reduce the effects of an EMP attack but make us less fragile in many other ways.

                    62. “If you wish to mitigate the harm of an EMP attack “hardening” the grid is a tiny part of the problem.”

                      It’s a large part of the problem and the least expensive part to harden. Dollar for dollar it provides more benefit than what the individual can do.

                    63. We have already addressed this. “The Grid” is a small port of the damage that an EMP weapon would cause.

                      A project I had several years ago required going to a facility where they tested the axles for farm equipment.
                      They would destructively test each different axle to failure.

                      Most people would thing the goal should be to then strengthen the point of failure, repeat and strengthen the next point of failure.
                      That is wrong. All that does is slowly migrates every axle to be the same as the largest axle for the heaviest peice of equipment.

                      The objective is to assure that all failures occur outside the margin of safety and that no particular par of the axle is significantly stronger than the rest.

                      Hardening the grid against EMP without hardening everything else is just wasteful.

                      If NK EMP’s the US and the grid survives, but nothing connected to it does, that is just waste.

                      The objective is not for one part to survive unharmed. It is to maximize the survival of a portion of everything necescary.

                      If the grid survives unscathed, but 100% of all refridgeration, 100% of all transportation, 100% of all production is destroyed – we are in deep shit.

                      But if 90% of the grid is destroyed and 90% of refridgeration, and 90% of transportation, and 90% of production are destroyed,.
                      we will be able to bootstrap recovery, and the process will be exponential. We will have 20% one day, and 40% the next, and …

                      This is all separately complcated by the fact that whatever damage there is will be proprtionate to the distance from the origen.

                      There is no amount of hardening that you can do that will save anything electrical close enough to the origin.
                      In fact anything that can carry a current – even if it is not intended to, will self destruct close to the origin.

                      Conversely far enough away and your car will survive unscathed, but your car navigation system may be damaged.

                      Transportation as an example is likely to be far more “critical path” than the grid – as the uneven destruction means the outer rings initially bootstrap the inner ones.

                    64. “If NK EMP’s the US and the grid survives, but nothing connected to it does, that is just waste.”

                      There is no such a thing as perfect security but the largest risk is the risk of losing the grid itself which would be the target of a hostile nation. Unless the attack is massive and successful a hardened grid would be more likely to permit the US to function than a soft grid that is wiped out.

                      It is like the human body. First, protect the brain and the heart along with other vital organs. The body can survive without a leg but not without the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.

                    65. “There is no such a thing as perfect security”
                      Correct.
                      ” but the largest risk is the risk of losing the grid itself”
                      Nope
                      ” which would be the target of a hostile nation.”
                      What a hostile nation would “target” and what an EMP weapon would take out are different overlapping sets.

                      “Unless the attack is massive and successful a hardened grid would be more likely to permit the US to function than a soft grid that is wiped out.”
                      If the grid survives and nothing connected to it does – and we do not recover critical functions quickly – we are dead.

                      “It is like the human body. First, protect the brain and the heart along with other vital organs. The body can survive without a leg but not without the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.”

                      The human body does not have a government – it is not top down centrally planned. The brain controls alot of things but not everything.
                      Evern the “central nervous system has substantial amounts of autonomous functionality that is completely independent of the brain.

                      Humans would be better protected against many types of blows, if we had scales like dinosaurs.
                      But we do not. We are not designed to counter a specific set of threats. we are designed to be anti-fragile.

                      You note how important the heart is – yet you can hit someone hard enough to stop their heart – less force than it takes to break their leg.

                      The human body is a poor example for your argument – it does little in the why of “hardening” against very specific threats.
                      To the extent there is “hardening” it is against general threats, and more important it is designed to recover from damage.

                    66. “” but the largest risk is the risk of losing the grid itself”

                      Nope”
                      —–

                      Try having factories replace what is lost if there is no electricity to those areas.

                    67. “Try having factories replace what is lost if there is no electricity to those areas.”
                      A fully functional grid with nothing to use it is equally useless.

                      Shortly after an attack repairs will begin.

                      We will not devote all resources to factories.
                      We will not devote them to the grid.

                      BTW hardening does not make the grid invulnerable, it just decreases the net damage to the grid

                    68. ““Try having factories replace what is lost if there is no electricity to those areas.”

                      A fully functional grid with nothing to use it is equally useless.

                      Shortly after an attack repairs will begin.

                      We will not devote all resources to factories.
                      We will not devote them to the grid.”
                      ————

                      Take note, how quickly you change directions. If the grid were totally knocked out by an EMP attack we are dead. AT other times you talk about a partial breakdown because it is more convenient for you.

                      After such an attack we would be in chaos unable to get food to people while they sit in the dark. Communications will be down, the financial sector destroyed, our military compromised, hospitals unusable, and factories closed. Our electric generators would not function, our bridges would not function, our dams would not function, our water supply would become contaminated.

                      Vital parts for the grid will be unavailable and the workers will be unable to even get to many of the sites.

                    69. “Take note …”

                      We are dealing with a hypothetical.

                      One that is nearly completely calculable given a complete set of facts, which we do not have.
                      One that can be addressed reasonably accurately with a reasonable set of assumptions – which I can not get you to provide.

                      Consequently my arguments have to be relavtively non-specific.

                      All kinds of things are “possible”.
                      But we are dealing with an improbable event and you want to deal with the most improbable permutations of that event, and then presume that all occur concurrently.

                      “After such an attack we would be in chaos”
                      Breifly.

                      “unable to get food to people while they sit in the dark”
                      Briefly, First the entire “effected area” is not going to be effected exactly the same.
                      Your assumptions are only for a small part of the entire effected area.

                      The entire effected area will contain the exact same about of food as it did immediately prior to the attack.
                      That requiring refridgeration will have to be consumed quickly.
                      What does not require refridgeration will be available for some time.
                      Regardless, starvation will not be a problem for most for weeks.

                      “Communications will be down”
                      Briefly.

                      “the financial sector destroyed”

                      Not unless they target Manhattan in which case most of the rest of the country will be unscathed.

                      “our military compromised”
                      Military imparement will be quite small.

                      “hospitals unusable”
                      Every hospital and most medical facilities in the country has generation equipment.
                      If the damage to the hospital is so great that it still unusable – then a functioning grid would change nothing.

                      “and factories closed.”
                      Many of those have generating capabilities.
                      “Our electric generators would not function”
                      Because you say so ?

                      “our bridges would not function”
                      Why ?

                      “our dams would not function”
                      I am not sure what that means – if you mean that some hydro-electric generation might be impaired – SOME.

                      If you means dams would burst – no.

                      “our water supply would become contaminated.”
                      Because ?

                      “Vital parts for the grid will be unavailable and the workers will be unable to even get to many of the sites.”

                      All assumptions. Worse still you seem to think that spending $2B to “harden the grid” will fix any of this.

                      You have posited damage so great that no vehicles work, no generators work, and are at the same time presuming that if only the grid worked
                      factories and hospitals would work and people would be able to get to work.

                      In any scenario as bad as you claim, a 100% functional grid would change NOTHING.

                      In fact the grid would not continue to function very long – because all transportation would be out regardless and no one would be able to replace those operating the grid, no one would be able to feed them. and the entire grid would collapse shortly as a result of hungry exhausted operators.

                      You can expect that saving 100% of a tiny part of a modern world while destroying 100% of everything else will result in a meaningful difference between complete 100% destruction.

                      If the grid survives 100% unless a substaintial portion of the rest of our infrustructure also survives, there is no meaningful benefit to the grid.

                      In fact transportation is far more important than the grid.

                    70. “After such an attack we would be in chaos unable to get food to people while they sit in the dark. Communications will be down, the financial sector destroyed, our military compromised, hospitals unusable, and factories closed. Our electric generators would not function, our bridges would not function, our dams would not function, our water supply would become contaminated.

                      Dhlii responds: “Breifly.”

                      To such a reply there is no reason to answer because reason has ceased to exist unless Dhlii time frame looks at hours as seconds and lifespans that last centuries.

                    71. You asert many things most of which are demonstrably false and you claim challenging those that are likely false is unreasonable ?

                    72. “You asert many things most of which are demonstrably false and you claim challenging those that are likely false is unreasonable ?”

                      No, though I like you sometimes you are full of BS. That bathroom is down the hall just past the Sun People.

                    73. “An EMP attack on the grid is a major national security issue.”
                      So spend your $2B on a space based ABM system.
                      That will have far more benefit. And have far less negative impacts.

                    74. Absent the ability to weather retaliation AND to further retaliate yourself.
                      An EMP attack is an act of suicide.

                      In the event our two existing ABM systems fail, further threats from NK will be over in a few minutes.
                      Russia is more dangerous specifically because that is not true.

                      China has far greater nuclear capability than NK. but it is not sufficiently well developed for a plausible EMP attack absent a desparate situation.

                      an EMP weapon is a specific type of nuclear bomb. It is not a satellite.

                      “If the grid were totally knocked out which is a possibility, our lives, for the most part, would be unsustainable.”

                      The most relevant issue is how quickly can critical systems be restored. Very very little must be restored in minutes.
                      Everything else falls into groups of hours, days, weeks, months – each of exponentially increasing size.

                      One of the most important things is to restore transportation.
                      That can be done quickley – because it can be done from outside the effected area.

                      One of the problems with an EMP attack on the US, is you can not take out the entire country. You probably can not take out an entire coast.
                      The effect will diminish exponentially with the distance from the origen.

                      You will have a giant series of rings, with less and less impact in each successive ring. Trucks and trains from just beyond the fartherst ring to impact planes trucks and trains will be able to come in. Roads and rails will be cleared quickly. Control systems will be replaced – or manual systems implimented and the flow of things necescary to recover will start nearly immediately.

                      Repairing the grid does little good – it the things that require the grid – like refriderators are all also dead.

                    75. “Absent the ability to weather retaliation AND to further retaliate yourself.
                      An EMP attack is an act of suicide.”

                      In 1859 telegraph lines were taken out by an EMP caused by the sun. Telegraphs are much more hardened than most things are today. We have had other occurrences through the years and though none were due to a known attack against us they have occurred because of the explosion of nuclear weapons.

                      You say an EMP event would be “an act of suicide.”. The sun is inanimate so it doesn’t commit acts of suicide. Today, the right EMP could dismantle our military so retribution might be a difficult feat. Can the source of an EMP attack be hidden? Maybe, maybe not.

                      “an EMP weapon is a specific type of nuclear bomb. It is not a satellite.”

                      A satellite can hold the nuclear weapon that can explode at the right time over the right location. NK has two satellites in orbit around the US at this time.

                      “Repairing the grid does little good – it the things that require the grid – like refriderators are all also dead.”

                      It is unlikely an EMP attack will destroy everything. It can destroy the electronics in a car so you can’t drive and if your car is old or withstands the EMP the gas pumps might not work because they too are based on electronics. That goes for the majority of things we use. Without the grid, there is no electricity and it is electricity that will run all the things we use. A strong nation doesn’t need to use its military to defend itself because other countries don’t want to attack strength. A weak grid demonstrates a military vulnerability which could make an attack more likely.

                    76. You keep magnifying this EMP weapon.

                      From my understanding under optimal circumstances, if absolutely everything wnet right – with no ability to test it first,
                      NK could produce and EMP weapon that could MAYBE take out about 1/2 the country.
                      Even that is actually wrong.
                      It could completely take out 10% of the country and 80% take out 25% of the country and …..

                      The effects of an EMP weapon diminish with the square of the distance.

                      If NK successfully targetted BOSWASH, the vast majority of the country and most of our grid would be uneffected.

                      If the tried to take out the entire “grid” that is about all they would get. Electrical generation is primarily in less populated regions.
                      Further if you want to take out the grid you do not need an EMP weapon.

                      Presumably you have heard of the “nuclear Triad”. You know better – attack up and we will retaliate, it is certain and there is nothing that can be done short of anihilating the planet that would stop it.

                      The NK satellites are not EMP weapons. NK does not at this time have the capability to put a nuclear weapon into orbit.
                      The most liberal assessments have them reaching NYC.
                      If you can put a weapon into orbit you can hit ANYWHERE. They can not yet do that. The US can, Russia Can, China can.
                      Thought most nuclear weapons are sub orbital. there are physics based reasons for that. The resources needed for an orbital weapon are greater than 5 suborbital ICBMs.

                      An EMP weapon inside of NK’s capacity would do much more economic damage than a traditional atomic weapon.
                      But in the US it would result in far less loss of life than nuking NYC – with current NK capabilities would likely kill about 500,000 people
                      Taking the entire grid out would likely kill about the same numbers as the WTC. but with far greater economic damage.

                    77. “You keep magnifying this EMP weapon.”

                      No, I don’t. I actually limit it to the grid that interconnects. It is both a weapon and a natural occurrence. Both are good reasons to harden the grid.

                    78. The Solar events you refer to are rare, global is scope and far weaker in strength than an EMP weapon.

                      Further they are sufficiently predictable that it is the business of the private economy to protect against them – as we do fires.

                      The primary damage of solar flares has been to satellites not “the grid” and our satellites are mostly “hardened”.

                      You still keep making this argument that “a good reason” is a justification for the use of force.

                      No it is not.

                      A “good reason” – is a basis to expect that most private actors will do what is needed on their own proportionate to costs and risks.

                      Govenrment must justify the use of force – ALWAYS.
                      A good reason is not enough.

                    79. Dhlii, the solar events we talk about are not that predictable. If they were we are overdue for a solar event that can cause a lot of damage. That is only one reason to protect the grid. The grid IMO is part of our national security. The next attack against the US might very well be an EMP attack. I guess according to you we don’t need an airforce. It isn’t mentioned in the Constitution.

                    80. The solar events you are talking about ARE within constraints predictable.

                      They are unlikely to impossible right now and likely for many more years.

                      The center of gravity of the solar system is as nears as it comes to the center of gravity of the sun in any 200+ year period, the sun is remarkably quiet.

                      The Peak of Solar Cycle 24 was 100 sunspots, the normal peak is over 200, the 20th century peak was 250. Further we are at the leading edge of a minumum,
                      and the trailing edge of SC24. SC25 will likely be weaker than SC24.

                      We do not know yet if we are looking at a relatively normal minimum like the 1800 Dalton Minimum or something more like the Maunder Minimum which precipitated the little ice age.

                      But we do know that for sometime – probably 20-30 years Solar flares are likely to be rare and weak.

                    81. “The solar events you are talking about ARE within constraints predictable.
                      They are unlikely to impossible right now and likely for many more years.”

                      I guess that is why 3-4 months ago a solar hole developed and there was a question as to whether or not we could be hit by a solar electromagnetic event. So much for your “unlikely to impossible” theory. I think you are too sure about your libertarian theories and that rubs off on your science.

                    82. Solar Flares continue to happen even now.
                      They are far smaller than normal and can not effect the Earth.

                      There is always someone speculating that the unlikely or impossible will happen.

                      I am not saying that a massive solar flare is impossible.
                      I am saying the odds are greatly against it.

                      “I think you are too sure about your libertarian theories and that rubs off on your science.”

                      I am not the one converting something I am afraid might happen into fact.

                    83. ““I think you are too sure about your libertarian theories and that rubs off on your science.”

                      I am not the one converting something I am afraid might happen into fact.”

                      Since we have seen the results to a lesser degree we have a good idea of what is possible. Early on you sought of admitted that but were against hardening the grid by the federal government though it seemed that you thought organically hardening the grid was OK. I think everything in this sphere should be hardened if possible and I am not unwilling to spend the $2B to move the process faster. Your libertarian ideas seem to have made your ideas conflict with one another. Why harden the grid organically if it is so unnecessary?

                    84. Please quit telling me what I think.
                      I am not opposed to free people making non-violent choices on their own – regardless of whether I think those are good choices.
                      When I say that “hardening the grid Organically” is OK that is what I mean.

                      You are free to persuade your power company that EMP hardening is important to you.

                      Government has no role in this at all – except stopping an EMP weapon.

                      You can wish to harden everything.
                      You can try to persuade others to do so.
                      But not through government.

                      If you have $2B – then spend it.
                      You may not spend $1 or my or anyone else’s money.

                      The only conflict is in your head.

                      Libertain means being free.
                      Free to want the grid hardened.
                      Free to not want it hardened.
                      Free to harden it myself or seek it harden – so long as I do not use force – AKA government to do so.
                      Free to oppose hardening it – so long as I do not use force to preclude others from doing so.

                      Much of our debate has been utilitarian – i.e. is this even a good idea,
                      and the answer is not likely.

                      If what you want to do can not overcome a utilitarian hurdle then it is never appropriate for government.
                      But that alone is not sufficient.

                      If you are asking what I would like (and expect) to see.
                      Most of what you are calling hardening, is useful for reasons other than an EMP attack.

                      When our value of all uses reaches sufficient level – this will occur, on its own , without government.
                      And that is what should be allowed to happen.

                      Of course – we may never hold it in that high a value – and that is OK too.

                    85. “Please quit telling me what I think.”

                      “I’m telling you what I think.”

                      You are going beyond that.
                      You keep badly explaining my own arguments to me.

                      You constantly expand my assertion that government may not do something,
                      into no one may or that it is a bad idea, and then pretending that there is a conflict with that and something else I have said.
                      That is telling me what I think.

                      Just because something MIGHT be a good idea, does not make government doing it good.

                    86. You are buying into a stupid leftwing nut game.

                      The constitution specifies the powers of government.

                      Changes in technology have no effect on that.

                      But in the event you beleive that the constitution does not empower us to have an airforce – then amend the constituion.

                      The constitution is not some sacred text. Its is not immutable.
                      It is however a requirement that expanding the powers of government requires changing the constitution.

                      The power to defend the nation for foreign attack is in the constitution.

                      The power to restructure the economy out of fear of some mythical future attack is not.

                    87. “You are buying into a stupid leftwing nut game.”\

                      National security is not a stupid left or right wing game. In fact, the one’s calling strongest to repair the grid are from the right.

                      “But in the event you beleive that the constitution does not empower us to have an airforce – then amend the constituion.”

                      I believe the Constitution permits what is needed to protect the security of the US from foreign attack. I suppose that is why we have an air force. I don’t know how you permitted our air force to be built. It wasn’t in the Constitution.

                    88. “National security is not a stupid left or right wing game. ”
                      Yes, it is.

                      “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security.”
                      ― Benjamin Franklin

                      It is always possible to use fear to justify greater govenrment power.

                      “In fact, the one’s calling strongest to repair the grid are from the right”

                      Yes, the right is prone to the national security state form of socialism.

                      “I believe the Constitution permits what is needed to protect the security of the US from foreign attack. I suppose that is why we have an air force. I don’t know how you permitted our air force to be built. It wasn’t in the Constitution.”

                      Again the constitution is not a list of assets, it is a list of powers.

                      The constitution does not prohibit governement from buying light bulbs.

                    89. “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security.”
                      ― Benjamin Franklin

                      Dhlii, I don’t think at Bunker Hill (Breed Hill) Benjamin Franklin would have been against fortifying it against the British to provide a bit more security.

                    90. National defense is not National security.

                      Nor was the purpose of holding Breeds and Bunker Hill security.
                      It was to deny the British the ability to hold Boston Harbor, and it nearly succeeded.

                      Regardless even if it had been purely defensive it was a military defense against a military attack.

                      The colonists were not looking to have the government compell them into growing red coat resistant wheat.

                    91. “National defense is not National security.”

                      Here we go with semantics again. Security can be a form of defense.

                    92. Not semantics. Words have meaning.
                      This is not even a close call.

                      Defence is the use of force in response to force.

                      Security is broad enough to include anything.

                    93. We can play – this will work, that will not for days..

                      Many things will, some will not. It is likely that an EMP attack anywhere will take out almost the entire grid – for perhaps a few hours – due to cascade failures.
                      But quite quickly most of the grid will be back up.

                      Very close to the point of explosion everything vaguely electrical will be totally destroyed and people will die directly from the explosive effects. Even though they are less.

                      A few rings over older electrical devices or newer ones that are better designed will survive.

                      Further and only really fragile things will fail.

                      No matter what many many things all over the country will be left working or partly working and very quickly we will begin the task of rebuilding.

                      Every day more of the grid will be back. Some parts of the grid will take months. But most will recover quickly.

                    94. “But quite quickly most of the grid will be back up.”

                      No. Many pieces of the grid will be destroyed and have to be replaced. We will not have adequate replacements and have to construct new ones where the companies may have had their equipment damaged as well. You are minimizing the potential problem.

                    95. You are magically sure you know exactly what the effects will be.

                      AS I keep noting – and you keep ignoring, fundimental physics tells us that the effects will diminish exponentially with distance.

                      Close enough to the point of origen things that are not ordinarily considered conductors will conduct and self destruct.
                      Far enough away there will be ZERO effect.

                      With increasing distance the effects will diminsh – exponentially. In most of the effected area (do the math) the damage will be small,

                      You keep argument that pretty much everywhere EMP will destroy pretty much everything electrical.

                      If that is true – you will not be able to “harden” the Grid, or anything else.

                      As an example outside of extremely close proximity to the point of origen the phycisal grid – the wires etc will be mostly undamaged,
                      Damage will be primarily to switching gear – which can be replaced. Further away it will be primarily to control systems – which can be replaced.
                      Further still the damage will be close to non existant.

                      This is true not only of the grid but everything else.

                      And finally, AGAIN if after an EMP strike the grid survives undamaged, and nothing else is “hardened” the effect on the rate of recovery will be miniscule.

                      The fundimental issue is NOT the protection of things close to the point of origen – you can not protect anything there.

                      It is to reduce overall damage at distance. It is to increase the proportion of things that survive from X% to X+10%.

                      IF at some distance 40% of the grid survives and 30% of everything else does, you are no better off than if 30% of the grid survived.

                    96. “AS I keep noting – and you keep ignoring, fundimental physics tells us that the effects will diminish exponentially with distance.”

                      A lot of experts agree about the distance but also believe that it is possible for widespread damage to the grid with a singular EMP in the right position.

                      I suggest you read Foster et al., “Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack,” page 14 in particular (by third party). Estimates of 70% grid damage from a moderate EMP.

                    97. “A lot of experts agree about the distance ”
                      I would hope so, it is high school physics.

                      “but also believe that it is possible for widespread damage to the grid with a singular EMP in the right position.”
                      I do not disagree, I suspect 70% of the grid is conservative. I see no problem with an EMP attack taking out nearly 100% of the grid

                      As I told you a dozen men with things you can find in Walmart can take out the entire north east.

                      For a few hours, or maybe a day.

                      The same with an EMP weapon.
                      A damage projection without an assessment of the extent of the damage and the time to recover, repair is a poor projection.

                      That said you can still “do the math” even from that. The math tells us that of that 70% 1/4 will have about 4 times as much damage as 3/4.

                      Put simply of the area damaged the largest portion of the area damaged will have the least damage – and that pattern will repeat as you zero in on the origen.

                      If 70% of the grid was taken out by an EMP weapon – I would expect than 75% of that would recover quickly – hours or a day or so.

                      I do not know what the NK intelligence assessement is, but I doubt NK is working on EMP weapons. A hydrogen bomb is likely as easy for them to acheive
                      does not require accuracy and almost anywhere in the BOSWASH corridor will do as much or more damage.

                      Hardening the grid will not protect against Abomb’s or Hbombs.

                      A space based ABM will protect against all NK threats as well as future threats from any other small rogue nuclear power.

                    98. “If 70% of the grid was taken out by an EMP weapon – I would expect than 75% of that would recover quickly – hours or a day or so.”

                      Nonsense. There are many ways of knocking out at least a portion of the grid but what you fail to see is that EMP can knock out the grid so that many or all of the interconnections and relays become damaged and cannot transmit until replaced. Your experience seems to be with the former and that can involve lightening, Walmart products etc., but the real problem is that an EMP can injure all the little and big interconnecting circuits and equlipment that have to be replaced and replacements are not readily available nor can the factories make those replacements without electricity.

                      You worry about enough engineers to have accelerated shovel-ready projects during the recent financial crisis, but you have no such worry about the recreation of the grid that involves an extraordinary amount of high tech knowledge by extraordinary numbers where replacements have to be built while the country is in turmoil.

                      Your arguments conflict with one another whenever their is a change in circumstances.

                    99. EMP is not magical. It obeys the laws of physics.

                      Do we really need to dig deeply into the laws of physics, and the behavior of circuits and conductors ?

                      Though you have rejected it the lightning strike analogy is near perfect.

                      The difference is that a lightning strike is very localized.
                      But the behavior is the same – just at much larger scale.

                      I had lightning strike about 20′ from my home a couple of months ago.
                      My cable modem died, My router died.
                      Throughout my house I lost 3 ports on ethernet switched.
                      The other 200+ were fine.

                      An EMP ;strike – where my distance from the origen translated to the same field strength would have produced exactly the same damage.
                      Closer would have been more, farther less.

                      Close to the point of origen – wires will melt.

                      Far enough – nothing.

                      Most of the places inbetween – some fuses will blow, damage past the fuses if any at all will only occur close to the point of origen.

                      Yes some relays and interconnects will fry. Most will not. AGAIN damage will decrease exponentially from the point of origen from 100% to zero exponentially.

                      And you can mathematically calculate with relatively high accuraccy the percent of damage in each distance ring.

                      What you can not know ahead of time is the point of origen.

                    100. “EMP is not magical. It obeys the laws of physics.”

                      Absolutely, but a nuclear EMP, solar EMP, and lightning strike have different features. EMP has 3 different waveforms. Lightning generally is E2 though it can create the electronic fields of EMP local and small.

                      I don’t know what you are arguing about. For the most part, the grid is protected from lightning strikes and they are local. The grid is not protected from an EMP attack or a solar event. The EMP attack could be catastrophic.

                    101. So you can read Wikipedia.

                      The E1/E2/E3 distinction is not as significant as you are making it.
                      They are all EMP

                      The primary means of causing damage is by inducing a voltage and current into a conductor.

                      E3 has very limited range, and is almost inconsequential.

                      Anything protected against lighting is protected against E2 – with the caveat that there is no perfect protection from either.

                      The distinguishing feature of E1 is rise time. Anything that can sustain a direct hit by lightning is immune to E1.
                      Modern ESD protection of semiconductors will protect most modern semiconductors from E1.

                      Regardless there are two fundimental flaws in your concern,

                      Anything that damages the grid damages everything else, and a Grid without anything else working is useless.
                      Communications and transportation are far more important to recovery than the grid.

                      Preventing an attack – i.e. an ABM system is far far most effective than surviving one.

                    102. “So you can read Wikipedia.”

                      I prefer the commission report that is based on scientific review.

                      E1 opens the gate for E2 so the comment you made was wrong.

                      “Anything that damages the grid damages ***everything*** else”

                      Wrong.(*** are mine)

                    103. “I prefer the commission report that is based on scientific review.”

                      It is ? There is an actual scientific method. I do not recall “commission” being one of the steps.
                      Experimentation was.

                      “E1 opens the gate for E2 so the comment you made was wrong.”

                      E1 closes more gates than it opens. What is destroyed is destroyed.

                      For E2 to use the effects of E1 to increase damage the conductor would have to have endured the E1 intact.
                      It the conductor is shorted or open, you will actually have more but shorted conductors subject to E2 – most of which are not connected to anything

                      E2 will inarguably cause more damage if it is not preceded by E1.

                      ““Anything that damages the grid damages ***everything*** else”

                      Wrong.(*** are mine)”

                      Wrong – see physics. The probability of a conductor being damaged is proportionate to the current induced in the conductor.

                      To be clear I am using conductor in the broadest sense. Wires, steel beams, anything that is not a complete insulator. That includes components – generators, motors, ….

                    104. ““I prefer the commission report that is based on scientific review.”

                      Dhilli responds: It is ? ”

                      Yes, and if you are still unsure ask the Sun People.

                    105. Your getting childish.

                      You bitch about tangents – to the point you are now blaming me for your own.

                      What is and is not science has meaning.

                      The sole purpose of scientific review is to confirm that results are reproducible.
                      The scientific method is not about feelings or opinion. it is about verifiable facts.

                      I would further note the science of all of this is pretty trivial and old, we have covered much of it,
                      and some keeps tripping you up.
                      Most of the technical portion of this debate is engineering not science.

                    106. Allan; Aside from scale there is no fundimental difference between EMP and lightning.

                      In fact Lightning is EMP.

                      EMP can “injure” anything – so can lightening. The damage is STILL proportionate to the distance from the point of origen.

                      Further you talk about EMP effecting little circuits – at any given distance the damage to small circuits will be many many orders of magnitude less than large.

                      The induced current is proportionate to the volume of the conductor perpendicular to the electromagnetic field.

                      I would further note that outside of near proximity to the point of origen most modern electronics is already EMP protected. Though not exactly the same – most modern electronics has circuitry to absorb ESD. that circuitry will work the same against EMP.

                    107. “Allan; Aside from scale there is no fundimental difference between EMP and lightning.

                      In fact Lightning is EMP.”

                      Lightning is generally E2. The distance stated for an EMP attack is 40 to 400 km and that can cover a lot more area than a simple lightning strike E1,E2 and E3.

                      If the protection of the grid and thus society was the same as the protection for a lightning strike there would be no problem. If the lightning strike hits and creates an EMP in a specific area there is redundancy in the grid to cover the damage. That is not so 400 km out with a nuclear weapon. That is not so when it is a solar EMP.

                    108. You are the one getting caught up in details.

                      If I say there is a burst of light and you start taking about the effects of pure red, green and blue light – how useful is that?

                      The fact is that the conductor is going to respond based on the same physics. If the induced current significantly exceeds the capacity of the conductor for sufficient time the conductor overheats and melts – that is the problem with what you call E3 – it last long enough to destroy the conductor, but it has very limited range.

                      E3 is actually most similar to a direct hit by lightning.

                      E2 is most similar to an indirect hit.

                      The purported problem with E1 is that it has a rise time faster than old gas surge supressors
                      It is not faster than Semiconductor transient supression.

                      After that we still drop back to the same physics as E2 and E3,
                      damage occurs when the current conducted exceeds the capacity of the conductor for sufficient time.

                      Anything sufficient to take out the grid is also taking out the things that use the grid.
                      And many things like vehicle that do not.

                    109. “If I say there is a burst of light and you start taking about the effects of pure red, green and blue light – how useful is that?”

                      No such discussion occurred. What I have pointed to was from the federal commission on EMP and my discussions with a variety of folks, one who may have been one of the scientists on the commission along with information written by the commission.

                    110. “What I have pointed to was from the federal commission on EMP and my discussions with a variety of folks, one who may have been one of the scientists on the commission along with information written by the commission.”

                      The federal commission on cheese usually suggests we product more cheese.

                    111. “The federal commission on cheese usually suggests we product more cheese.”

                      But they generally know what cheese is.

                    112. Allan – after the Warren Report, I do not believe in government commission reports.

                    113. “Allan – after the Warren Report, I do not believe in government commission reports.”

                      Paul, you don’t have to but I would believe the physics the physicists discussed. The ultimate conclusion rests with the individual. In my case, I think the $2Billion is worth it. Dhlii disagrees, but I am not basing my belief on ideology.

                    114. “Paul, you don’t have to but I would believe the physics the physicists discussed.”
                      There is little debate on the physics, nor is the report about physics.
                      It is fundamentally about engineering.

                      “The ultimate conclusion rests with the individual.”
                      Which is why it is not the business of government.

                      “In my case, I think the $2Billion is worth it. Dhlii disagrees”
                      Not true. I have not taken a firm view on whether it is worth it.
                      Value is subjective, it is determined in the market.

                      With respect to my own views:
                      If government stays out of it,
                      “EMP hardening” will near certainly take place on its own.
                      It will near certainly cost much more than $2B,
                      and it will go far beyond “the grid”.
                      Further it is entirely probablistic.
                      There is no absolute protection from EMP.
                      Semi conductors added ESD protection starting in the 80’s.
                      That protection has slowly grown better over time.
                      ESD protection essentially adds TSD’s to all inputs and outputs.
                      Over time devices with poorer protection will be replaced by those with better protection.
                      The process will continue iteratively.
                      Devices that are less susceptable to ESD are less susceptable to EMP.
                      from the perspective of an input on a chip they are indistiguishable.

                      The same processes that are occuring in semiconductors, are occurring elsewhere.
                      Long ago the grid was highly vulnerable to lightning. The problems that lightning has cause have resulted in improvements that allow susbstnatial portions of the grid to cope with a direct hit by lightning.

                      Whether you like it or not Lightning is EMP, Improved resiliance to lightning is improved resistance to EMP weapons.
                      We are likely to never be able to protect devices close to the point of origin.
                      But our protection will improve over time.

                      Contra your commission report – the existing devices that protect against lightning will also protect against EMP weapons.
                      Just not as well as some alternatives. We already replace or supliment the older protection with newer protection.
                      And not specifically because of EMP, but because TSD’s are MOSTLY superior to other forms of lightning protection.
                      Further they have one characteristic that is radically different that is either an asset or a liability depending.
                      They fail SHORT. Most protection fails open – after the protection device is no longer able to protect the circuit continues to work,
                      but it is no longer protected. While TSD’s fail short – when they fail, they short circuit, breakers trip and you con not continue to use the circuit until you repair the protection.
                      We are also tending to combine TSD’s and other devices – TSD;s are faster and they do not “wear out”. But they will die (and fail short) if subject to a surge beyond their limits.
                      Other protection is slower, can most cost effectively handle larger surges, but they degrade over time and fail open.

                      “but I am not basing my belief on ideology.”
                      You are prepared to use force aka government to get your way.
                      What could be more ideological ?

                    115. Presumably you mean the Warren report on the Kennedy assassination ? Not Elizabeth Warren’s study of bankruptcies ?

                    116. You should read Elizabeth Warren’s bankruptcy study – it is not bad.
                      But it says something radically different from media reports and her own hyping.

                    117. “But they generally know what cheese is.”

                      Yup, whatever those who call themselves cheese producers identify as cheese.

                      Regardless, if you are going to engage in a naked appeal to authority – you are obligated to explain why you do not endow two near identical commissions with the same authority.

                    118. Any factory without electricity after a day, is also likely to be a factory sufficiently damaged that it would not work if it had power.

                    119. “Any factory without electricity after a day, is also likely to be a factory sufficiently damaged that it would not work if it had power..”

                      You make a lot of assumptions. But it is true that we need to not only harden the grid but harden all our electronics. The starting point can be anywhere but the grid should be the government’s main issue. I don’t care who pays.I think if we started focusing on hardening the grid the others would follow. Some electrical companies have already done some hardening and some things are hardened but not enough.

                    120. “You make a lot of assumptions.”
                      The only assumption I am making is that the laws of physics are not violated.

                      That if induced currents damage the grid, that they also damage other unprotected things that our similar.

                      “But it is true that we need to not only harden the grid but harden all our electronics. ”
                      For any given EMP all conductors will be effected.

                      “The starting point can be anywhere but the grid should be the government’s main issue.”
                      Why is this a government issue at all – as I said, the government should deal with ABM’s.

                      “I don’t care who pays.I think if we started focusing on hardening the grid the others would follow. Some electrical companies have already done some hardening and some things are hardened but not enough.”

                      No what you want is a top down planned approach. That is why you talk about government.

                      As you are forcing me to get deeper into this I am confirming what I already suspected.

                      Most new electronics are “hardened” – not because of fear of EMP, but to protect against ESD.

                      All interconnects on modern chips have the TSD diodes that Wikipedia talks about.

                      But absolutely no protection is perfect. Nothing will work close enough to the origen.

                      Semi-conductor ESD protection has the flaw that if a single interconnect – because of longer leads is destroyed it is likely the whole chip is,
                      and if one chip in a device is not functional – probably the whole device is.

                      We can go through every device from refridgerator motors to grid relays and estimate the scale of induced current necescary to damage them.

                      But fundimentally that is going to be the scale of the blast diminished by the square of the distance.
                      And it is going to be a probability.

                    121. “The only assumption I am making is that the laws of physics are not violated.”

                      Yes, you might be doing that but what you are really doing is equating dropping a penny on the Statue of Liberty and a large meteor hit at the Statue of Liberty. In essence, both follow the law of gravity but the results are a lot different.

                    122. The difference is more like that between one large meteor every million or so years and a constant hail of tiny meteors all capable of doing damage.

                    123. “The difference is more like that between one large meteor every million or so years and a constant hail of tiny meteors all capable of doing damage.”

                      I guess you wish to go down another tangent.

                    124. I am following YOU down YOUR tangent.
                      Don’t blame me for introducing your tangent.

                    125. There are 20M lightning strikes in the US each year, there is one every 2S.

                      Outside of a small distance very near the origen of an EMP weapon each of these has the same effect on conductors near them as an EMP strike.

                      It has the same effect on electronics, It has the same effect on the grid.

                      The vast majority of the existing Grid is designed to take a direct strike by lighting.
                      Again outside of a small area near the origen the effect will be the same as a nearby lightning strike.

                      There are only a few differences – as noted Lightnening is local. Only those things very nearby are effected.

                      If lightning strikes a transmission line, relay, or interconnect – any effects will be local.

                      An EMP weapon would subject much of the grid to overload, not some of it.
                      The local effects will be the same – but they will be widespread.

                      AGAIN outside of a small area near the origin – this means the entire grid is faulting – that means it is going down.
                      That does nto mean it is damaged. It just means it can not handle the massive surge AND continue to operate.
                      Fuses and breakers will trip all over the place. Some will reset automatically, some will have to be replaced.
                      That will be a massive job, but it is not “new” engineering.

                      In fact – outside side of some jerry rigging, and corner cutting, there is no knew engineering involved in recovery.

                      It is mostly tradesmen that will be short – the people who replace fuses etc.
                      And the shortage merely means some delay in getting some parts of the grid back up.

                      BTW for the most part “hardening” is not going to do much.

                      Near enough to the point of origin, the EMP will destroy the hardening.

                      As noted most of the grid can already take a lightening strike.

                    126. “There are 20M lightning strikes in the US each year, there is one every 2S.”

                      That may be true and you can believe what you wish, but anyone who looks at what an EMP can do with one blast will tell you your comparison to lightning strikes is bizarre at best. EMP is line of sight so place a spot 400km above the earth and see what it can hit if large enough. Most lightning strikes even close to a building will generally not do much damage. Surge protectors add a layer of protection but not from E1 which opens the gateway for E2 and E3. I have a commercial surge protector where my electric comes in supplementing the surge protector in the breaker system and still individual protectors for equipment.

                      I had a lightning strike hit a tree right at the front door and was close to a Nutone system which was fried (and smoking) and while doing so fried the stereo system wired throughout the house and a few of the phones. Other things unconnected to those two systems weren’t affected. It went directly to the wires.

                    127. “There are 20M lightning strikes in the US each year, there is one every 2S.”

                      “That may be true and you can believe what you wish, but anyone who looks at what an EMP can do with one blast will tell you your comparison to lightning strikes is bizarre at best. EMP is line of sight so place a spot 400km above the earth and see what it can hit if large enough.”

                      The electrical Grid is a gigantial lightning rod. It attracts lightning strikes.
                      A near strike is the equivalent of what you are calling E2.

                      OF a tiny fraction of lightning strikes destroyed the grid element they were closest to – the grid would collapse daily.

                      A direct hit by lighting is more like what you are calling E3. The “grid” endures local direct hits many times a day.
                      Again even one or two causing a failure would take out the grid.

                      “Most lightning strikes even close to a building will generally not do much damage.”
                      Again it is physics. From the perpective of what is in the building there is no difference between a close strike and an EMP weapon.

                      I would note that even though a single lightning strike is a low probability event at a specific location, and an EMP blast is a 100% probability at all locations in sight.
                      The probability of an EMP event is much lower over time than the probability of a near lightning strike.

                      “Surge protectors add a layer of protection but not from E1”
                      Bzzt wrong – you are confused by Wkipedia. The “E1” issue is the slow response time of fuses and gas discharge surge supressors.

                      Outside the grid Gas Discharge surge suppressors are almost non-existant. Most local protection is either TSD or MOV. The problem with MOV is that it eventually wheres out and fails open – meaning after a number of lightning strikes it no longer protects.
                      TSD protection can take infinite surges up to its breakdown voltage after that it fails short – which means you will know the protection has failed.
                      All in chip protection is TSD and modern chips have substantial TSD protection.

                      Further outside of devices and plug strips – in the grid, at buildings and in other infrastructure TSD and gas discharge are frequently combined.
                      TSD provided instant response, fail safe, and gas discharge provided significantly greater capacity.

                      “which opens the gateway for E2 and E3.”
                      Just false.

                      “I have a commercial surge protector where my electric comes in supplementing the surge protector in the breaker system and still individual protectors for equipment.

                      I had a lightning strike hit a tree right at the front door and was close to a Nutone system which was fried (and smoking) and while doing so fried the stereo system wired throughout the house and a few of the phones. Other things unconnected to those two systems weren’t affected. It went directly to the wires.”

                      It is highly unlikely that you had a strike “go directly” to anything. While that happens to the grid all the time.

                      As I have said repeatedly EMP – induced currents, are a function of the magnitude of the wave, distance, and the area of the conductor exposed to the wave.

                      There is almost nothing that a house or small commercial facility can do to protect against a direct hit.

                      Even a very close strike will kill something regardless of protection.

                      I was responsible for the electronic infrastruction of a medium commercial operation in a building that was just about the worst possible choice for protection.
                      Before the protection of electronics improved, I had a rule for that the threat of lighting required disconnecting everything with a cable greater than 9ft.

                      Most damage to electronics comes through cables – not power. But most modern electronics is better protected.

                      In the 80’s I actually stocked large supplies of RS232 interface chips. Every RS232 interface in the facility had socketed chips and we just routinely replaced them all after lighting. It is extremely rare that the surge got past the first chip. We basically used RS232 interface chips as fuses.

                    128. ““Surge protectors add a layer of protection but not from E1”
                      Bzzt wrong – you are confused by Wkipedia.”

                      I didn’t read Wikipedia.

                      “The most significant risk is synergistic, because the E2 component follows a small fraction of a second after the first component’s insult, which has the ability to impair or destroy many protective and control features.”

                    129. Yes if you hit your hand with a hammer and leave it busted and bleeding – and then hit it again, it will hurt even more.

                      If you broke something – its broke.

                      BTW the logic is backward. E1 will blow fuses, destroy insulators and short conductors to ground.
                      Open or shorted it does nto matter – a subsequent surge is going to ground or to nowhere.

                    130. Fallacious appeal to authority.

                      Regardless, no authority corrects a logic error.

                    131. “The electrical Grid is a gigantial lightning rod. It attracts lightning strikes.
                      A near strike is the equivalent of what you are calling E2.”

                      This is the one item you have said that I will confirm.

                      “SECOND EMP COMPONENT (E2
                      The middle-time component covers roughly the same geographic area as the first component and is similar to lightning in its time-dependence, but is far more geographically widespread in its character”

                    132. You want to get into way to much detail that is unimportant.

                      I have started – reluctantly using your/Wikipedia’s E1/E2/E3 distinctions mostly as a means of confronting your arguments.
                      But those distinctions are useful fictions. That is all

                    133. “I have started – reluctantly using your/Wikipedia’s E1/E2/E3 distinctions ”

                      Better to skip Wikipedia and listen to the federal commission report.

                    134. No conflict. Not worried about a shortage of engineers.

                      Hardening is an engineering problem, repair and recovery is not.
                      Regardless, a shortage does nto mean something does nto get fixed – it just means it takes longer.

                      Some parts of recovery will take years.
                      Hardening will not change that.

                    135. Lightening takes thing – like the grid, out in much the same way as EMP (in exactly the same way except more localized).

                      Any part of the grid today – or the telegraph system in 1859 that can endure a near hit by lightening can endure an EMP burst from the sun.
                      A solar EMP event will likely effect 1/2 the planet, but it will be orders of magnitude smaller than an EMP weapon.

                      If the sun ever kicks of an EMP burst equivalent to an EMP weapon but effecting half the earth – we are dead.
                      But you are talking many orders of magnitude higher than we have ever seen.

                    136. “Lightening takes thing ”

                      Lightning causes damage, but it is not the same damage as an EMP. EMP has three components each of which acting in a different fashion and extending different distances.

                    137. You do understand that lighting is EMP ?
                      We are just talking about strength and scale. That is it.

                      An EMP is a eletro-magnetic wave. Every current flow in existance creates an electro magnetic field.

                      An EMP – including a lightening strike causes damage by inducing a current in anything even remotely conductive that it passes through.
                      This is basic physics Faraday’s law.

                      The strength of the current will be proprtionate to:
                      The length of the conductor paralell to the wave, the resistance of the conductor, and the magnitude of the wave.

                      Things we do not think of as conductors will have sufficient induced power to self destruct close to the point of origen.

                      Far enough away a 1000 mile conductor parallel to the wave will have a miniscule current induced.

                      In between the effects will be proportionate to the factors above – with the strength of the field declining with the square root of the distance.

                      I actually have a great deal of experience with EMP – protecting early computer systems with long serial lines from lightening strikes 40 years ago

                      Much has changed – meaning that electronics is much more resilient today,
                      but many things are unchangeable. Faraday’s law is immutable.
                      An electromagnetic field moving through a conductor will generate a current.

                      Actual hardening consists of two things:

                      Sheilding from the field – again see faraday.
                      and finding a nondestructive way to ground the induced current.

                      Both methods will fail facing a large enough wave.

                      All electroncs over the past 40 years has become ever more protected.
                      Most parts are speced for the reverse current they can endure.

                      In the vast majority of the effected region (again this is pure math) the induced currents will be small.

                      Again varying with distance – close enough to the point of origen and a steel I-Beam will melt,
                      Far enough away and an IC made in the early 80’s will not be harmed.

                      Your “hardening” mostly applies to electronics because you really can not protect much else.

                      A high tension wire will either survive or it will not. There is not much you can do.
                      Even switching gear – will either survive or not, without much you can do.

                      You can not protect a 10sq inch bar of aluminum from an induced current capable of melting it – certainly not for a few billion.

                      Again – at close enough proximity – no hardening of anything will work.
                      At great enough distance it will not matter.

                      One of the things that should be obvious too you is that inside the area where control electronics is damaged but the physical grid is not – you will be able to operate the grid manually That will severly restrict capacity, and it will be dangerous, but it can and will be done.

                      The recovery process is iterative and itself exponential.

                      In severely effected areas the instant focus will be on critical services.
                      If a hospital has a diesel generator, and its controls have been obliterated, someone is going to jury rig it to operate.
                      Remember there was a world before automatic systems.

                      I would also note – the grid will not be the only system effected and will not be the highest priority for recovery.
                      Nor is the objective to get everything working, it is to get each priorty level working before moving to the next.

                      One of the things I was trying to address regarding “anti-fragility” is that quite often that is not being immune to harm.
                      IT is just being able to rapidly recover.

                      Anti-fragility is not usually a suit of armor, it is much more the ability to heal.

                      Again note the difference between the recovery of Texas and Puerto Rico to the spate of huricanes.

                      Texas was far more developed and far more “fragile” – there was more to damage and more damage done.
                      But it was also far more able to recover – fragility and anti-fragility are not strict opposites.

                      The point is you are fixated on the wrong problem.

                      Minimizing the harm – your hardening, is a small part of anti-fragilty – the ability to quickly recover.
                      Most things that improve our ability to recover have little effect on the extent that some bad thing harms us.
                      As such the ability to recover – benefits regardless of what the harm is. While “hardening” protects against one thing – often at cost to others.

                    138. Actually a different wave form.

                      “We are just talking about strength and scale. That is it.”

                      No.

                    139. “Actually a different wave form.”

                      Really Allan the fundimental difference is strength and scale.
                      I do not think you will find that the electromagnetic waves from Lightning and solar flares are all that different.

                      However that is not what matters. The electromagnetic wave passing through a conductor induces a wave in the conductor.

                      That wave is what does the damage and the characteristics of that wave are based on
                      The physical properties of the conductor – such as how well it conducts, how well sheilded it is and what is the area of the conductor perpendicular to the wave.
                      As well as what is the strength of the wave.

                      “We are just talking about strength and scale. That is it.”

                      “No.”

                      Yes, it is physics.

                    140. “Yes, it is physics.”

                      Yes, it is, but apparently, you don’t understand the physics involved. We have been discussing 3 similar but different events, lightning, solar events, and a nuclear EMP attack. All have similarities and all are different. Lightning affects a very localized area. Solar starts at the sun and spreads, nuclear starts somewhere between 40 and 400 km spreading from there.

                      The nuclear EMP has 3 phases E1, E2, and E3. E1 is too fast for our circuit breakers to react. E2 is not as fast and is most similar to what we see with lightning. E3 is a prolong electromagnetic pulse that can melt transformers.

                      The pulses occurr one after another so E! can already destroy safeguards that would prevent E2.

                      A ligtning strike can cause an EMP phenomenon but is quite localized because in general it hits the ground or not that high up. 40- 400 km creates much greater devastation as one can predict the damage based on line of sight.

                      “We are just talking about strength and scale. That is it.”

                      Your statement is totally wrong.

                    141. You get sicked into unimportant details.

                      EMP = Lightning = Solar flares.
                      PERIOD.

                      The local effects of lightning are the same as the regional effects of a weapon.

                      Yes, near enough the point of origen Transformers are going to melt.

                      No amount of hardening will stop that.

                      SOME hardening will shrink the radius of each concentric ring of damage.

                      But exactly the same things will happen in each ring.

                      Just to be clear I am not saying hardening will do nothing.

                      WE could chose to return to a 19th century life style and EMP will not effect us at all.

                      The question is not whether hardening has an effect.
                      But whether it meets risk/cost justification.

                      An ABM system does.
                      Government meddling in the grid – to do what mostly has either already happened or will anyway, does not.

                      Anywhere that transformers will melt – so will every single motor.

                      All the things that use electricity are MORE vulnerable to EMP than the grid.

                      A working grid with nothing to use it is meaningless.

                    142. “You get sicked into unimportant details.”

                      I think you should read the EMP commision report. I’ll let you argue with the physicists.

                    143. “I think you should read the EMP commision report. I’ll let you argue with the physicists.”

                      Have you ever asked someone to predict and end of the world scenaria who didn’t ?

                      We have debated infrastructure.

                      I beleive every Engineering assessment of the state of US infrastructure in my life has been more and more bleak.
                      Yet, anyone actually alive for 40 years with a brain and the powers of observation knows that is not so if they think about it.

                      Regardless, you and they mis my points.

                      The best way to protect against an EMP attack is to prevent it.

                      The effects of an actual EMP attack will not be 100% devestation everywhere.
                      Nor will there be significant difference between damage to the grid and damage to other things.

                      A fully functional grid with nothing working that is connected to it is useless.

                      The probability of lightning striking near your house in the next 20 years is greater than the probability of an EMP attack.
                      The probability of a direct lightning strike on some part of the grid is greater than the probability of EMP.

                      No An EMP weapon is not the same as a lightning strike – in fact every single EMP scenario is different, and every lightning scenario is different.
                      But there is substantial overlap, in what is already being done to protect against one and what should be done to protect the other.

                      Nothing we can do will provide 100% protection.
                      The objective is not 100% working grid.
                      It is not 100% working ANYTHING.

                      It is enough of many things working to bootstrap the rest.

                      Transportation infrastructure is likely to be far more important in the immediate aftermath than the grid.

                    144. “Regardless, you and they mis my points.”

                      Prevention is good, but how will you prevent the Sun People from attacking the grid. We carry armour on our tanks because we realize that our cannon may destroy the other tank, but not in time.

                      “The effects of an actual EMP attack will not be 100% devestation everywhere.”
                      “A fully functional grid with nothing working that is connected to it is useless.”

                      These two phrases seem to contradict one another. “not be 100%” “with nothing working” when one tries to draw a conclusion.

                      Try arguing with the physicists that had a hand in writing the report.

                    145. “We do not typically armour our homes.”

                      Semantics again. Our homes are like armour to us.

                    146. “Semantics again. Our homes are like armour to us”

                      Sorry, Allan, but the semantics are obviously yours.

                      And your conflating feeling and fact.

                    147. Any contradiction is due to your false premises.

                      The grid and everything else will be damaged in approx. the same ratios in the same regions.

                      Making either radically stronger than the other is waste.

                    148. “Any contradiction is due to your false premises.”

                      Blame it on the Sun People.

                    149. No I am blaming it squarely on you.

                      The premises are yours.

                      The constant confusion of what you (and sometimes I) beleive is good, and what can be imposed on others by force is yours.

                      All the apparent (they are not real) contradictions flow from those.

                    150. If we did everything every expert in every report recommended we would be bankrupt 10 times over.

                    151. “If we did everything every expert in every report recommended we would be bankrupt 10 times over.”

                      True. That is why I only chose the grid.

                    152. “True. That is why I only chose the grid.”

                      And that is my point.

                      On issue after issue – you choose.
                      Quite often I would chose much the same as you.

                      But it remains an individual choice.

                      Neither you nor I are free to impose that choice on others by force.
                      Acting through government is using force.

                      There are justifications for government action – the use of force, sometimes even against the will of the majority.
                      But those justifications are narrow. Even national defense is not alone sufficient,
                      Your fear is not sufficient justification for the use of force.

                      You get to choose what you want, what you value, what you do.
                      You do not get to choose for others but for very narrow circumstances, that must be rigorously justified.

                      That is not only pretty much the foundational libertarian principle,
                      it is the much ignored foundation of the west.

                    153. “On issue after issue – you choose”

                      No, Dhlii, I made it quite clear that this specific choice was for national security and needed by the military for operations in case of attack or catastrophe. I separated the grid from your computer because your computer is your own responsibility. With all your rhetoric you seem to forget what was said before and you lose context.

                      With all your talk of science, you got back to your libertarian argument against the government protecting the grid.

                      “Neither you nor I are free to impose that choice on others by force.
                      Acting through government is using force.”

                      The Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation for security concerns since sometimes governments have to impose force to protect the nation. The founders tried to limit that force as best as they could but they couldn’t predict the need for an air force but we have one. They also couldn’t predict the need to protect the grid, a very minimal interference with individual liberty since virtually all require the grid and use it on a daily basis.

                      I decided not to respond to the other posts all of which have lost context and have sounded silly for a while. If perhaps you wish that those other discussions contact the Sun People. They are generally available during daytime,

                    154. You can argue anything is a national security issue – which is why national security is NOT in the constitution.

                      Actual defense is.

                    155. Dhlii, if you keep using this foolish generalized logic that specifically means nothing then the Sun People are going to come out to get you. Place yourself inside of a Faraday Cage.

                    156. dhlii – ah, thank you. I was beginning to think they were real I was going to have to learn about them. 😉

                    157. Allan and I are debarting EMP weapons and Grid protection.

                      Allan is sharp and knowledgeable, but in this argument he has run out of ammunition.
                      Even smart people end up on the wrong side of an argument some times.

                      I am guessing Allan has little experience with formal debate. That he has never had to argue what he thought was the wrong side of an argument and
                      does not know how to do the best he can and accept the natural flaws.

                    158. dhlii and Allan – I have been following your discussion about EMPs and the grid. I read a book about it and my take was that you could take part of the grid down but not all of it. However, I do enjoy watching the two of you go in circles. 😉 I will pray for the Sun People.

                    159. Paul, pray to the Sun People Paul. They too can control our destiny. You can probably read the federal commission on EMP on the Internet. I think there is an executive summary available as well.

                      The important take away is that we face a risk that can be partially reduced. That is what the entire discussion was about though there were some arguments about the physical nature of the various things discussed. Regarding that physics, I rely on the physicists that helped write the commissions report.

                      With time I found the Sun People far more entertaining than a continuous repetition of disputed facts. I thought that since you were involved in theater and suffered through this debate you might want to tell us what the Sun People are saying. No one expects the Sun People to be experts in physics since more of the time they spend their time reclining and getting a suntan.

                    160. Allan – don’t forget the Egyptians built the pyramids. Their grasp of physics was excellent considering the times.

                    161. “Allan – don’t forget the Egyptians built the pyramids. Their grasp of physics was excellent considering the times.”

                      Paul, of course. The ancient Egyptians. Their most important God was Ra the Sun God. That is probably who is tanning Dhlii right now. Do you think the Sun People might be the ancient Egyptians whose knowledge of physics was strong for the times?

                    162. Levity is not argument either.

                      You are the one who brought solar flares into the discussion.

                      If you are oblivious to the facts about them then you should not have brought them up.

                      You jumped into solar factors without being well informed and without bothering to learn.

                      Now you are poking fun at others for pointing out how uninformed you are.

                      No one expects that you will know everything about everything.

                      But if you raise an issue – you can expect that others either know something about it, or know how to look things up.

                      The probability of a grid threatening solar flare in the rest out our lifetimes is near zero.

                    163. “You are the one who brought solar flares into the discussion.”

                      I’m not sure how it was brought into the discussion but the 1859 event would probably cover whatever I said.

                      Ask the Sun People to help you with your research. Don’t be afraid to ask. They have very sunny personalities.

                    164. The 1959 event disrupted telegraphs all over the world it caused sparks and fires.
                      but it actually damaged very few tellegraphs and telegraph lines – which are far less protected than “the grid”.
                      and most everything worked again in a few days after the storm abated.

                      It is likely the magnitude of this even was LARGER than an EMP weapon.

                    165. “The 1959 event disrupted telegraphs all over the world it caused sparks and fires.
                      but it actually damaged very few tellegraphs and telegraph lines”

                      In the present, we have become more reliant on a grid that services all of us and the equipment was different. Major pieces of equipment are far more fragile today and more interlinked. However, all these comments you make are meaningless because we don’t agree on the basic point. Whatever the physics is and whether there is more or less possibility of damage doesn’t matter.

                    166. “Major pieces of equipment are far more fragile today and more interlinked”

                      That is an assumption – and is mostly false.

                      A modern electric power line is far MORE resiliant than a telegraph line in 1859.

                      You continue to argue the world will end. Well if a solar flare or EMP weapon can do the harm you claim, then $2B or protection will do nothing to stop it.

                      The interconnections are a plus not a minus. It is likely that a very large solar flare or an EMP weapon would – atleast temporarily take out all or nearly all the grid. as soon as the EMP subsided the grid would start recovering. Some parts would take a great deal of time. Some would be back working within a few hours of the end of the EMP.

                      You keep pretending the issue is binary – everything is destroyed or everything survives. It is not.

                    167. ““Major pieces of equipment are far more fragile today and more interlinked”
                      —–
                      That is an assumption – and is mostly false”

                      Dhlii, compare today’s electronically controlled digging machines to a shovel.

                    168. “Dhlii, compare today’s electronically controlled digging machines to a shovel.”

                      Thwack backhoe with shovel.
                      Thwack shovel with digging machine

                      which do you think will survive ?

                      BTW a modern backhoe is hydraulic not electronic. The electronic systems are for safety, and monitoring.

                      This is another issue with your argument – thought it does go to future design.

                      Short the starter solenoid with a battery and the backhoe will start.
                      Most heavy equipment is diesel.

                      Cars for several decades have electronic control systems – damage those and it will be difficult to make the car function.
                      But for now trucks and heavy equipment do not.

                      We should be looking to make more and more of our electronic infrastructure “fail safe”.
                      Both that it will fail as to cause no harm and that we can still make things work even if the electronics fail.

                    169. “We should be looking to make more and more of our electronic infrastructure “fail safe”.”

                      I’m not interested in discussing the physics of EMP because your knowledge is generalized and not specific. Hardening the grid will alert the public to the need of buying products that are likewise hardened to reduce the impact of any EMP event whether natural or planned. We have seen what small failures can do. We should constantly improve the security of the grid and all devices from any type of natural occurrence or attack.

                    170. My knowledged is quite specific.
                      But your arguments fail at the general level there is no reason to get into specifics.

                      Do you know what a Zener Diode is ? A MOV ? A Shotky Diode ? A gas discharge tube ?

                    171. “My knowledged is quite specific.”

                      Your knowledge of specific definitions cannot be extended to specific knowledge of the subject at hand.

                    172. Modern electronics are increasingly “hardened” because manufacturers do not leak eating the cost of returned products damaged by ESD.

                      Electronics have had protection since the 80’s.

                      The capability of that protection has increased over time.

                      Consumers are nearly ignorant about ESD, knowing only that sometimes things fail unexpainably.
                      And yet manufacturers continue to improve protection.

                    173. You continue to avoid the distinction between your own choices and chosing for others.

                      You may do as you please in your own life – with few constraints.

                      When you say “we should” particularly when you mean government you are talking about force.

                      There is very little constraint on your actions as an individual, or your actions as part of a voluntary group..

                      What is done by force must be highly constrained.

                      It is almost outside of your consciousness that there is a difference between your individual choices and what you impose by force.

                      It is sufficient for you to think something is a good idea to do it yourself – in fact you need no justification to do something yourself.

                      But it is not sufficient that you think something is a good idea to compel others to do it.

                      I am not arguing with you over whether it is a good idea to “harden the grid” – I do not disagree on that. Though I might debate specifics.

                      The issue is what can be done by force.

                      One of many reasons for not using government, is that things get done differently, nearly always better, and more flexibly if government does not do them.

                    174. “You continue to avoid the distinction between your own choices and chosing for others.”

                      You forget the purpose behind the Constitution and find it difficult to separate your brand of libertarianism from the Constitution.

                    175. “You forget the purpose behind the Constitution”

                      Our founders said this

                      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,”

                    176. “Our founders said this

                      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,”

                      …And then they wrote and signed the Constitution.

                    177. “…And then they wrote and signed the Constitution.”
                      Which specifies the rules of govenrment not its purpose – and please do not spray the preamble at me.
                      No court has ever considered the preamble to be meaningful.
                      It is an introduction to the constitution, aspirations. It does NOT define the purpose of government.

                      The declaration is the legal justification for independence. It is a formal legal claim that Britian has failed to properly govern the colonies and asserts to the world the purpose of government.

                    178. “please do not spray the preamble at me.”

                      This is the second time I am telling you: “I didn’t copy the Preamble. I copied section 8 of the Constitution.” That is a direct quote from what I told you before. The courts take section 8 into account referring to the enumerated powers. You are getting too emotional and are too willing to place your ideology in front of the Constitution.

                      Let’s get sequence straight. You copied words from the Declaration of Independence to which I answered “…And then they wrote and signed the Constitution.” The Constitution, Dhilli, is the primary document considered by the courts. You may not like that because it doesn’t deal with natural rights but the Constitution was a compromise so I don’t expect you to like everything in it.

                    179. The sequence is irrelevant – both our sequence and that of the declaration and constitution.

                      The declaration speaks of the purpose of government. It does not establish it, it just expresses it.
                      The purpose is established by facts and our rights.

                      The constitution is a framework for a government that attempts to conform to that purpose.

                    180. This is not a legal issue.

                      Not a single thing we are debating is a legal issue.

                      Your sequencing argument is a trivial logic error.

                      Things that are truly independent – are independent. Timing is irrelevant.

                      The constitution and its interpretation are first an issue of logic, and second an issue or morality.

                    181. You botched McCullough Vs. Maryland and you are advising me to get legal advice ?

                      And apparently your idea of law is like your idea of common defence and national security – it includes everything.

                    182. “Whatever the physics is and whether there is more or less possibility of damage doesn’t matter.”

                      It has been obvious you BELEIVE that for some time.

                    183. The discussion has less to do with physics and more to do with what a national security interest is along with your very rigid libertarianism.

                    184. That you may not use force without justification is a core principle to all western (and most eastern) thought.

                      It is so core, that too many such as yourself have forgotten it.

                    185. “That you may not use force without justification is a core principle”

                      The justification exists. You even admit it when you advocated an ABM system. The only question is the degree of justification and that is decided by Congress.

                    186. “The justification exists.”
                      Nope.
                      Justification is something you must lay out.
                      It is also specific.
                      There are few if any blanket justifications.

                      As an example – you can use force in self defence.
                      But an individual may not use a nuclear weapon to defend themselves.

                      “You even admit it when you advocated an ABM system.”
                      Nope. The fact that one use of force is justifiable, does not make all others justifiable.
                      You can demand specific justification of an ABM system. We have no actually addressed that.

                      You are confusing justification with reason or purpose.

                      That something serves a purpose or has a reason for being done is a requirement for justification.
                      IT is not alone sufficient.

                      “The only question is the degree of justification and that is decided by Congress.”
                      Nope.

                      If congress decided to kill all jews – would that be OK ?

                      Congress is not free to do whatever it pleases.

                      We have gotten this lunatic system we have because too many like you beleive that it can.

                      You tend to argue “conservative” positions, but your principles are indistinguishable from progressives, communists, socialists, …..

                      Governments are not free to do whatever they wish.

                      A right is inherently something that the government may not easily infringe on – even when the overwhelmng majority of people feel otherwise.

                    187. Allan,
                      PC Schulte in the Phoenix area will see 115 degree heat next week.
                      Given the hot, blazing sun in his area, does he qualify as one of the “Sun People”?

                    188. I can provide you with myriads of “presidential commission reports”, I am not sure why you think these are credible when they favor your arguments and not when they do not.

                      I recently tripped over a study suggesting that more than 50% of government reports – including scientific research is just complete and total crap.
                      Similar problems exist with private work but the incentives are different and the scale of error is smaller.

                      Regardless, everyone involved in government errors heavily on the side of caution.

                      So your study says we face a risk – flash news at 11!!!.

                      All life is risk.

                      And that we can reduce it. Again what is surprising about this.

                      Regarding physics – particularly relatively normal physics – I rely on the physics itself.
                      While I do not think your commission got anything “wrong” – you are really the one spinning their results to be more than they are.
                      You are pretending that E1, E2 and E3 are very distinct things and that using that reference Lightning is just E2.
                      They are not distinct things They are just convenient labels to apply to a wide variety of different things.
                      You are allowing convenient labels to change your perception of reality. We are dealing with Electro Magnetic radiation.
                      Not digital switches.

                    189. “I can provide you with myriads of “presidential commission reports”,

                      I’m not concerned with all those other government reports just this one. They bring up plenty of science and had physicists involved in the report. If you wish to dispute the physicist’s versions of physics do so, but the issue is whether or not the grid is or should be a national security concern.

                      ***During the production of the federal commission on EMP no Sun People were killed or injured.

                    190. There is no magical reason one random Federal report is more reliable than others.

                    191. I have addressed the physics already.

                      This is not a question of “disputing” theirs. There is only one physics.

                      I have used it. If they have too, there results are substantially the same.

                      The more I get into the physics the less concerned I am about EMP.

                      As I noted before the TOTAL energy of an EMP weapon is about 10^5-6 greater than a lightning strike.
                      But the energy release from an EMP weapon is approx 400,000M from the conductor it is inducing a current in.
                      That means the energy when it arrives will be 400,000^2 weaker than at its point of origen.
                      That makes it weaker than a lightning strike 100M away.

                      That 10^5-6 of energy is distributed over 0.75*9.5×10^7 km^2

                    192. Your use of “sun people” as levity significantly muddies communications.

                      There are people who study the sun – if you are calling them “sun people” – then their work is at odds with your claims.

                      Solar flares occur all the time – even now while the sun is quite.
                      But the magnitude of those flares is directly tied – cause and effect, to the frequency of sunspots, which are just an indicator of the turbulence that is going on inside the sun.

                      We are currently in the midst of a sequence of solar cycles that is going to last for a long time, that is less active than any time in the past 200 years.
                      This is a normal cycle, that is determined by the orbits of the sun and the planets.
                      Again it is all physics. Gravity, the laws of motion.

                      We have large solar flares that significantly impact the earth during periods of high solar activity, and we don’t during period so low activity.

                      This is all fact. The “sun people” not only do not disagree – they are the source.

                      https://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/Zurich_Color_Small.jpg

                    193. Absolutely!.

                      No matter what an EMP weapon will take PART of the grid down but not likely all of it.
                      It will also take part of everything else electrical or electronic out but not all of it.
                      Further even those things that fail will be distributed on a spectrum from obliterated to fuses blown.

                      Immediately after we will go to work rebuilding. We will get the least damaged things back quickly and the most may take a very long time.

                      The most important thing will be transportation – as we can not get to anything to fix it if we can not move about.

                      But the real question is should the government subsidize hardening the grid.

                      To be clear the question is NOT should the grid (or anything else) be hardened.

                      It is should we trust people to do what is overall best for us, or govenrment to impose by force a partial fix for part of the problem.

                      Allan wants to use “national security” to justify government doing this.
                      If national security is that broad, then anything can be justified by national security.
                      We should give up and accept socialism.

                      There is also the secondary question of how much should we put into protection from a bad but highly improbable event that we have the means to significantly decrease the probability of it occuring.

                      Do we stop the EMP weapon ? Or do we try to ride it out ?

                    194. “Allan wants to use “national security” to justify government doing this.”

                      I believe the grid is a national security issue. I don’t ask you to believe the same but in argument, you travel down all sorts of tangents when that alone is the issue and then you multiply one post with many others. That makes it near impossible to discuss the question at hand.

                      Yes, I do so as well but to a very limited extent trying to close down areas that need not be traveled. There were so many long posts I had to ask the Sun People to help me.

                    195. Allan, I do not care what you beleive.

                      You do not get to impose beleifs on others by force.

                      The issue is impossible to discus – because you are not interested in facts, or physics or math or probability or cost
                      It is impossible to discuss because you have placed your beleif about reason.

                      I have wasted too many words on he physics – they are not the most important issue.
                      The fact is that we can better protect the country an entirely different way that IS national defence, serves multiple functions and will have a larger impact.

                      But you are so off on the physics that I keep getting sucked back into it.

                    196. “Allan, I do not care what you beleive.”

                      Dhilli, I believe the federal commission report on EMP as far as the physics goes and the history. The rest comes from Ra and the Sun People who do not ask you to believe what I believe. You are all over the map. The real issue is whether or not one considers the grid a national security issue and one that the government might intervene in to protect. You disagree and add pages and pages of duplicate meaningless stuff some of which disagrees with the physics stated in that report. If one is traveling from a to z and at a (Is the grid a national security issue where one would opt for government intervention?) there is absolute disagreement there is no need to travel down b,c,d,e,f,g…z

                    197. “Physics is not a matter of beleif.”

                      Diplomacy and preventing catastrophe is.

                    198. “Diplomacy and preventing catastrophe is.”

                      Diplomacy – yes.
                      Preventing catasptrophe – no.

                    199. “Diplomacy – yes.
                      Preventing catasptrophe – no.”

                      Your specific item of approval by you “ABM ” is to prevent catastrophe.

                    200. Preventing catastrophe is not a question of opinion. It is a question of fact and probabilities.
                      Diplomacy is.

                    201. “Preventing catastrophe is not a question of opinion”

                      “Preventing catastrophe” is an evaluation and evaluations are questions of opinion.

                    202. “Preventing catastrophe” is an evaluation and evaluations are questions of opinion.

                      Is E=Mc^2 a matter of oppionion ? F = Ma ?

                      If I wish to evaluate the energy of 10g of matter is that a matter of oppinion

                      Just to be clear I am not taking an absolutist position (though you are).

                      Some judgement is involved in most everything. but the presence of a small amount of judgement does not turn everythng into an oppinion.

                      And AGAIN you are making a ludicrously stupid left wing nut argument that is beneath you.

                      Converting everything into an issue of oppion is fundimental to post-modern thought.

                      Is that really what you want to argue ?

                      “Consequently, common targets of postmodern critique include universalist notions of objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, language, and social progress.Postmodern thinkers frequently call attention to the contingent or socially-conditioned nature of knowledge claims and value systems, situating them as products of particular political, historical, or cultural discourses and hierarchies. Accordingly, postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to self-referentiality, epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, subjectivism, and irreverence.”

                    203. “You are all over the map.”
                      No I am discrediting your claims multiple different ways.

                      “The real issue is whether or not one considers the grid a national security issue and one that the government might intervene in to protect.”
                      If that is the issue – this is over.

                      “You disagree”
                      And that is sufficient to preclude your using force without sufficient justification.

                      “and add pages and pages of duplicate meaningless stuff some of which disagrees with the physics stated in that report. ”
                      Physics is physics. There is not “report physics”. There is just physics.
                      YOU claim there is a disagreement. I suspect there is not. There is just the typical use of fear as a tool to get what you want, and the pretence that science actually supports that.
                      How many times do you have to get burned by bad malthusianism masquerading as science before you get a clue ?

                      “Is the grid a national security issue where one would opt for government intervention?”

                      No!, and there is not sufficient justification to do so. Which is the end of it.

                      “If one is traveling from a to z and at a there is absolute disagreement there is no need to travel down b,c,d,e,f,g…z”
                      I have no idea what you think you are saying.

                      You are free to do whatever you wish respecting the equal freedom of others. You are not free to use force without justification – because that violates the freedom of others.
                      It does so when you use for, or when government uses force.

                    204. ““If one is traveling from a to z and at a there is absolute disagreement there is no need to travel down b,c,d,e,f,g…z”

                      “I have no idea what you think you are saying.”

                      If the area of disagreement starts at a (national security) then there is no reason to go all the way to z.

                    205. “If the area of disagreement starts at a (national security) then there is no reason to go all the way to z.”

                      MOSTLY true.

                      The point of the physics debate is that even if I accept your premise – that national security justifies action.
                      that the grid must already protect itself from lightning and lightning protection will also protect against solar flares and EMP weapons.

                      So even in your own beleifs your justification fails.

                      we also could be struck by a giant meteor. Are you going to spend what it would take to thwart a one every 100M year event ?

                    206. “So even in your own beleifs your justification fails”

                      You are wrong. You are presently not arguing in defense of a rigid libertarian position rather arguing as to whether or not what has already been done is sufficient. That is not a political argument and contrasts your arguments against protection due to a rigid libertarian

                    207. Allan,

                      I have made multiple difference arguments, using multiple different basis.
                      All of those have merit.

                      Regardless, to justify the use of force you must overcome all, as well as others I have not made and may not have thought of.

                      You can pretend that some of my arguments reflect some “rigid libertarianism” – though that is actually irrelevant.
                      They do not all.

                      Further whether something is “rigid libertarianism” or not is not a counter argument.

                      As an example communism is not evil by definition. It is evil because it violates peoples rights, and it does not work.
                      It is irrelevant whether something is “”rigid libertarianism” – or socialism, or progressivism or …

                      What matters is whether it justifiable, moral, and effective.

                    208. Paul, Dhlii is very rigid and though smart makes a lot of errors when he associates different thoughts such as lightning is the equivalent of a nuclear EMP and is the equivalent of CME. They have similarities though the physics might be identical. One can’t argue forever and CME (coronal mass ejection …sun) is not the same as lightning so I thought I would let the Sun People take up the argument with him. After awhile between the tangents and multiple responses to one post, it becomes a task something that requires a little levity. Thus the Sun People enter the picture and since invariably I will get several separate postings to this one posting and since you are into theater you can respond to Dhlii using the Sun People as your actors while you write the script. 🙂

                    209. EMP – Elector Magnetic Pulse – Lightning, Electro-magnetic pulse.

                      All forms of EMP are not identical – just as all humans are not identical. But they are all humans, and they all have all the characteristics of humans.
                      Each human has far far far more in common then they are different.

                      I have addressed the physics with you repeatedly, and you want to pretend there are magical differences – when there are not.
                      In fact if you do the math for any given conductor atleast 400Km away from the point of origen of the EMP weapon, the induced energy will be equivalent of the enduced energy of a lightning strike 500m away.

                      Will we survive and EMP weapon unscathed ? Absolutely not. Just as we do not survive 20M lightning strikes a year with no damage.

                      Separately you do not seem to grasp that if everything is destroyed by EMP – then everything is destroyed.
                      If the grid survives 100% and nothing else does. it does not matter that the grid survived.

                      In fact if the grid is unscathed and even 30% of everything else is severely damaged – the grid will not be able to opperate.
                      It will be shorted out.

                    210. “All forms of EMP are not identical ”

                      It took a long time for the Sun People to get that through your head. Let’s give a round of applause to the Sun People. The physics will be the same but the results we see from each form will be different. It is the results, outcomes etc. that we ordinary people look at, discuss and care about. That is why solutions are often different for forms that are different. I walk outside with nothing on my head despite the water in the air. I use a rainhat when the water starts raining and a hard hat when the water becomes hail. All are different forms of the same thing but require a different approach to prevent harm.

                      The Sun People will try and get those last points across to you. They have been successful once so my guess is they can be successful again.

                    211. God! help us.

                      If the physics are the same – the results are the same. That remark was just plain stupid on your part.

                      To the extent the results are different it is because some attribute in the domain of the physics is different

                      Having actually bothered to do the math. It is now clear to me that while EMP is obviously more widespread, that the magnitude of the induced currents is SMALLER than near lightning strikes.

                      BTW the effects are the effects. They are the same regardless of who discusses them or what they say.

                      The measure of the effects is not what people say or how many say it, but what happened.

                      No the FORMs are not different. Further the mechanism for EMP related damage has a level of indirection that erases differences.

                      The damage cause by all EMP is through induced currents. When a 100m tsunami is headed to shore – is the damage different if the Tsunami is caused by an earthquake or asteroid ?-

                    212. “God! help us.”

                      Dhlii, praying to God is good when you have run your ship to the ground. Pray to Ra and maybe the Sun People will come to help you.

                    213. I was imploring god to save us from your illogic.
                      There is no other adequate response to a claim that physics is not reproducible
                      If the physics are the same – the results are the same.

                    214. “I was imploring god to save us from your illogic.”

                      Ra and the Sun People are the right place to start because you missed the only issue that counts in this discussion. Your libertarianism and your absolute certainty despite other credible opinions on the subject. You are too certain of yourself so when you fall it is hard and deep.

                    215. Allan, you have substituted levity for argument. That is not the same as spicing argument with levity.

                      Further as is obvious from the response by others – no one has any idea what you are talking about.

                      The largest CME was the solar storm of 1859 – this occured in a period of very high solar activity.
                      Such an event might well occur again – in 150 years.
                      Less severe events have occured in 1921, 1960, and 1989 – all also in periods of high solar activity.

                      The magnitude of CME directly corresponds to solar activity which is reasonably measured by sun spots.
                      At the moment we are in a period of solar activity that is lower than anytime since the dalton minimum and possibly the maunder minumum.

                      It is unbeleiveably improbable that we will have a serious CME event in the remainder of my life.
                      It is certain that we will have a very very large one – sometime after that.

                    216. “Allan, you have substituted levity for argument. ”

                      Sometimes only levity can get simple points across and it seems to have succeeded on one point. It’s hard to discuss things when you make wild statements like you did in your last post: “Separately you do not seem to grasp that if everything is destroyed by EMP – then everything is destroyed.” I addressed that over and over again. In fact, I even said that if everything was destroyed we were dead since more than the majority of Americans would die. I think you listen better to the Sun People than to me.

                    217. No Allan – you have gotten no points across. You have proclaimed that something I said means what you want it to, and stupidly declared victory.

                      A BMW is not an Audi – both are cars – they are different, they are not fundimentally different.

                      The differences between “forms” of EMP are the same as the differences between cars.

                      You are arguing that lightning and the EMP from a nuclear weapon are different in far larger ways than they are.

                      The math and physics demonstrate that the damage from and EMP weapon will be LESS than 100,000 lightning strikes spread accross the country occurring simultaneously.

                      In otherwords a fraction of the damage done by lightning in a year.

                      The induced energy from an EMP weapon is about the same as the induced energy from a lightning strike a few hundred meters away.

                    218. “No Allan – you have gotten no points across. … A BMW is not an Audi – both are cars”

                      Dhilli, I didn’t propose that I got the points across. The Sun People did and I don’t think the Sun People drive Audi’s or BMW’s. I don’t think they have dealerships on the sun.

                    219. Allan,
                      I am not much interested in what you claim some “sun people” have said.

                      I expect you to speak for yourself and be responsible for what you say.
                      I would expect you to hold me to the same standard.

                    220. Dhlii, despite what you believe I have a bit more knowledge of the grid and the components necessary for the grid to function than you might want to believe. I understand all your protestations about lightning including how lightning actually strikes and how the magnetic fields can travel underground quite far. I believe you made a few errors and too many assumptions. That, however, is not the underlying dispute or even the important issue. The dispute is over what creates a national security interest where the federal government should be involved.

                      What you seem to fail to understand is weakness is dangerous for a superpower and perceived weakness can create war or havoc. That is a political difference of opinion. I believe that strength prevents wars and havoc. You appear to believe something different.

                    221. I assume that what you know is what you say you know.
                      Regardless, I weigh your arguments based on the actual arguments. Not assumptions regarding what you know.

                      If you have not noticed, I rarely make appeals to authority and rarely take them seriously.

                      Recent efforts to validate scientific studies have found that more than 50% are just false. Earlier efforts found 1/3 false and an additional 1/3 with no statistical significance.
                      Only 1/3 had statistically meaningful results. And that is scientific papers. Government commission reports are near certain far worse.

                      We have numerous studies at the moment saying our infrastructure is in the worst shape ever – who beleives these ? Does no one check against their own eyes ?
                      Was no one alive in the 60’s 70’s 80’s …. ?

                    222. “Regardless, I weigh your arguments based on the actual arguments.”

                      Dhlii, there is only one argument. Rigid libertarianism. The rest are all downstream from there and used to prop up a position that doesn’t look or feel right.

                    223. “Dhlii, there is only one argument. Rigid libertarianism.”

                      Nope.

                      Are you saying that it is a matter of opinion as to whether you may use force indiscriminately ?

                      If not, this is NOT about “rigid libertarianism” .

                      It is about that you have not come close to the threshold necessary to justify the use of force.

                      This is about whether govenrment may do whatever it pleases – or whatever you please.
                      Whether the actions of government – the use of force requires justification and what justificatin is sufficient

                    224. The physics argument is not the primary argument – though we have wasted alot of time on it.
                      The fundimental argument is that this is not a justifiable use of force.
                      Your national security counter is wrong, and even if NS was an acceptable justification, it is so broad ANYTHNG can be justified by NS.

                      I do not want to return to the physics, except to note that there is no consequential difference between the effects of an EMP weapon (or a solar flare) and about 100K lightning strikes. In fact Lightning will do MORE damage because the point of origin is much closer. It appears that the energy level of an EMP weapon at ground level is about the same as a lighting strike at greater than 100M. That is a huge deal – that means the scale of protection needed for a near lightning strike is many orders of magnitude larger than an EMP weapon. The artificial distinctions between E1, E2, E3 are relatively meaningless. The most important issue is the ability to ground the amount of energy that is induced.

                      You have one quasi legitimate argument regarding older forms of surge supression.
                      All new electronic components have TSD’s on their inputs to protect from ESD.
                      The use of TSD’s are also increasingly common elsewhere.
                      But I do not want to get into the differences in protection devices as there is not one perfect protector.
                      TSD’s as an example are fast, and they do not wear out, but they will fail if subject to larger than design current.
                      And they fail short. That is very good for protecting downstream equipment from FUTURE damage.
                      But it is not so hot for large systems like the grid. If an EMP strike nailed 500K TSD’s they would each have to be replaced (or removed) to get the grid working.
                      While the older protection fails open – when it fails what it protects continues to function, but now without protection.

                    225. “The fundimental argument is that this is not a justifiable use of force.”

                      The Constitution that was written by those with classical liberal ideas permits the use of force to protect the United States and its citizens. I will quote just one passage.

                      Section 8
                      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;

                      Your opinion might or might not have merit. The right to impose taxes exists. It is a legitimate expenditure. Protecting the grid can be considered a public good.

                      You believe it is not a national security risk. That is not for you to decide. We know it is a risk. The only disagreement is whose tabulation of risk we accept. Hardening the electrical grid for security reasons is decided by our elected officials.

                      You say: “I do not want to return to the physics, except to note that… ” and then you do just that. I will tell you that for protection of certain specialized equipment (having nothing to do with an EMP attack) I use triple protection. The line is protected as it enters the house with a high-end protector. Another is at the circuit breakers and the third is at the site each reducing the maximum peak of a surge.

                    226. Please look into the constitutional history of the general welfare clause.

                      Jees, you are making all the same arguments that left wing nuts do.

                      The General Welfare clause is NOT a blanket grant of power.

                      BTW government has powers – not rights. Only individuals have rights.

                      Government has the power to imposes taxes FOR LEGITMATE PURPOSES.

                      There is no such thing as a “public good” – if you want the economic refutation, read the work of recent Nobel winner Elenor Olstrom.

                      Like “general welfare” and “national security” that is another stupid effort to elide the obligation to JUSTIFY THE USE OF FORCE.

                      Regardless, YOU are playing semantic games. Lets “accept” national security, General Welfare, ….

                      IS anything that is for the “general welfare” or “national security” a justified use of force ?

                      The Mayan’s engaged in ritual human sacrifice for “the general welfare” .

                      The obligation to justify the use of for is not something you get to get arround through semantics.

                      Those classial liberal founders you refered to did not put the “general welfare” clause in the consitution as a “get out of jail” card for nascient statists.

                      Actually justify the use of force.

                      Does this use of force meet utilitarian constraints – i.e. do the benefits exceed the costs ? That is in real concrete terms and must include all losses, unintended consequences, and unseen benefits.

                      Next are individual liberties infringed on ? If so is there an alternate means of accomplishing the same purpose that does not infringe or infringes less ?

                      If and only if there is not a lessor infringing alternative, you must still demonstrate that the loss of individual liberty is still exceeded by the reduced losses of liberty elsewhere.

                      Further the entire analysis must not be based on worst case scenarious – but most be probablistic.

                      You can not justify the real sacrifice of individual liberty for protection against a low probality high loss hypothetical

                    227. “Please look into the constitutional history of the general welfare clause. Jees, you are making all the same arguments that left wing nuts do.”

                      Dhlii, you totally lose it and go off on an open-ended tangent when things contradict what you would like to believe.

                      I didn’t copy the Preamble. I copied section 8 of the Constitution. You should reread it. In particular: “The Congress shall have Power To …make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper ***for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers***, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

                      The statement between *** in this discussion has to do with SPECIFIC powers granted. You are trying to make things up so it suits your ideas of what is appropriate or not while going on another tangent. The Constitution was not limited to you but to the nation and the powers were provided to the three branches of government.

                    228. Necescary and proper, General Welfare, several other purported blanket grants of power – they are ALL the same.
                      Both as a matter of fact and as a matter of supreme court interpretation.

                      I would further note that the constitution is merely a framework for a government that is fairly libertarian.
                      It is not the divine word of god.

                      I will argue that it means certain things – because that is what it says.
                      But I will also do so – because it will not work and would be immoral otherwise.

                      The constitution – particularly not overly broadly interpreted is not a magic wand to waive moral problems away.

                      The requirement to justify the use of force is supra constitutional, it is a fundimental moral issue.

                      We distinguish between murder and self defense. Nearly every society that has ever existed does.
                      That distinction is a fundimental moral distinction that is near universally accepted.

                      The constitution is an effort to frame the fundimental principles that determine when force might be justifiably used and empower a government to protect our rights inside of those constraints.

                    229. “I would further note that the constitution is merely a framework for a government that is fairly libertarian.
                      It is not the divine word of god.”

                      Look who is suddenly willing to use the ideas of the left in subverting the Constitution to their own ideas.

                    230. “Look who is suddenly willing to use the ideas of the left in subverting the Constitution to their own ideas.”

                      Again ludicrous misrepresentation.

                      The rule of law does not require religious fair in the law or constitution. It merely requires enforcing the law without discretion, interpretting it narrowly as written, and changing it when it is wrong.

                      The left seeks to enforce with massive discretion, interpret to suit ideology and effect change by judicial interpretation rather than legislation or amend