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In Defence of Comrade D’Souza

David Frum does not have a favorable view of Dinesh D’Souza and his latest movie, “Death of a Nation.” He argues sthat D’Souza’s alleged history is fiction, and that D’Souza is governed almost entirely by resentment of all of the experts in all of the fields in which he dabbles, who note that he is dishonest, partisan, and unoriginal.

It is alarming that D’Souza has become prominent again and is praised by the President.
However, I do agree with D’Souza and disagree with Frum on one critical point. D’Souza claims to have remained loyal to the movement he had joined by the the time he went to college. Frum argues that D’Souza has changed ( I admit he ends with a question). Frum can’t claim that D’Souza changed because he decided to hitch his wagon to Trump or Trumpism — D’Souza is the guy who wrote that the left is responsible for 9-11 because we provoked Islamic terrorists with our liberalism (see the quote in Frum’s essay). He hasn’t declined since then, there is no place lower to go.

Frum argues that conservatism used to be about something other than D’Souza’s mixture of racism and resentment. He notes that the old debates are forgotten. He gives one (1) example

Many of the disputes of the 1980s that excited me as a young conservative have subsided into forgetfulness. Who recalls now that it was once controversial that telephone services should be competitive rather than a regulated monopoly?

I am old enough to remember the breakup of ATT and I do not remember any such debate. ATT argued against the career prosecutors at the Justice Department, but I never read anyone else who agreed with them. The decision was made by a judge applying the Sherman antitrust act. It was an example of strict regulation, a state intervention n the economy. There were people who argued that the Sherman Antitrust Act should be reinterpreted so that it was toothless. Tney won the argument. They were and are Republicans. Frum’s one example of good policy by Reagan was a decision to not interfere with an ongoing case, but rather to allow career prosecutors (bureacrats) to continue as if there weren’t a new President.

Frum is not ignorant. He knows that the ATT breakup is conflated with deregulation (even though it was regulation not deregulation) because if followed soon after the deregulation of airlines, interstate trucking and beer brewing. He knows he can’t ascribe that actual deregulation to conservatives, Republicans or Reagan because the bills were passed by congresses with huge Democratic majorities and signed into law by Jimmy Carter. Those werenì’t the “disputes of the 80s” because they were resolved by 1980 at the latest.

In contrast Republicans brought us “voluntary” import quotas on Japanese made cars and steel tariffs (not just Trump — Bush imposed them too). Somehow Frum managed not to notice that the pro-market party’s symbol was and is a donkey not an elephant.

Yes the ATT breakup was caused by the political struggle of a Republican politician — named John Sherman. Critiquing D’Souza, Kevin Kruse wrote that if one has to go back to the 1860s to argue that the GOP is the party of civil rights, one has a weak case. Similarly, if one goes back to 1890 to argue that the GOP is the pro-competition party, one has a weak case.

Aside from the fact that the alleged controversy with anti-capitalist supporters of ATT is not just forgotten, but was udetectable at the time, Frum does not mention foreign policy. There the key debate was about the alleged clear and present danger. Conservatives were sure that the CIA under-estimated the power of the USSR and the world communist movement. They (Kissinger, Kilpatrick not minor figures) argued that we had to work with right wing dictators to face the terrrible threat. Then the USSR collapsed. Frum doesn’t discuss the debate over the need to overlook human rights violations in El Salvador, because it was vitally necessary to keep the FMLN out of power (remind me which party nominated the current president of El Salvador ?). It is necessary to Frum that the military and foreign policy debates of the 1980s be forgotten, because he was totally wrong.

He also doesn’t mention voodoo economics.

I’d say D’Souza is at least consistent. He is a racist just as he was in 1981. He is consistent in his single minded hatred of liberals and Democrats. Frum, in constrast, has changed completely since he was fired by the AEI.

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Polling the Left Agenda — Finally

Click this link. Data For Progress decided to ask people about policy proposals which very serious centrists consider way too far left for America. American voters respond differently.

As should already be clear from existing polls (click and search for “fair”), there is strong support for egalitarian populist redistributive public policy. At Data For Progress, they chose to emphasize the positive — four proposals with overwhelming support, but I think it is just as striking that opinion is almost equally split on a top marginal income tax rate of 90% (2% more oppose than support) and universal basic income (2% more oppose than support).

In particular, a (very narrow) plurality of whites without a bachelors degree support a universal basic income. One way to summarize the results is that pundits’ guesses about public opinion match the opinions of college educated whites (surprise surprise). That is the group least enthusiastic about universal basic income (by far) (OK I admit I am white and have university degrees so I should say “we are” but like hell i’m going to be classed with my fellow White American College educated opponents of UBI).

I suppose it is important that an overwhelming majority support a jobs guarantee. The problem of finding useful work for millions of people (and not crowding out unsubsidized private sector employment) doesn’t worry people anything like as much as the risk that one lazy person takes advantage of cash welfare once.

The key question for Democrats (and the USA) is why did most of a group of people more of whom support than oppose UBI vote for Trump ? How can there be such a huge gap between bread and butter big dollar issue polling (where the median US adult is to the left of the mainstream of the Democratic Party) and voting ?

I think the explanation is that the partisan gap is a partisan gap in beliefs about matters of fact (what has happened) not on policy proposals. Do click the link (I can’s summarize all the data) but one of the key patterns is that responses are surprisingly similar for rural and urban voters, the white and non-white working classes, and Trump voters and Clinton voters. It is clear that opinions the polled issues are not key to deciding votes. I’m sure that the authors are sure this is because Democrats are too timid to appeal to the public (at least that’s one of the things I think). But I want to stress another point.

There are some fact polls — people are asked to answer questions which have a correct answer (where was Barack Obama born — what fraction of the US Federal Budget is spent on foreign aid). On those questions, the answers given by Republicans and Democrats are very very different.

I want to see polling data on 2 dimensions — not the usual equaltiy on the x axis, liberty on the y axis, but values (or priorities or policy preferences) on the x axis and questions of fact on the y axis. makes more convinced than I used to be (which is barely possible) that the Republicans are a coalition of the rich and selfish (college educated white Republicans) and the misinformed (patriotic populist voters who support universal basic income and voted for candidate bone spurs next to his golden toilet).

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Let’s Make a Deal

This may be what Mueller is saying to Manafort, but I include those names just to try to trick google and get clicks.

I want to write about the very well known Monte Hall paradox. For the kids, there was this show “Let’s Make a Deal” featuring contestants and host Monte Hall who acted like a sleazy salesman trying to trick them. One constestant was the winner who got the final prize. They chose one of three doors. There as a big prize behind one of the doors. Monte would open another of the three doors showing a small prize, then he would ask the contenstant if he or she wanted to switch and take the prize behind the unchosen unopened door. I admit I watched the show. No one ever switched. Contenstants won the big prize about one third of the time (just as if they had guessed with no door opening or option to switch).

The funny thing is that if they had switched they would have won two thirds of the time. There were two doors left. The chance the big prize is behind the first door guessed by the contestant is 1/3 so the chance it is behind the unchosen unopened door is 2/3.

Bayes explains. Let’s say contestant chooses door 1 and Monte opens door 2. If the prize were behind door 3, he would open 2 with probability 1 (he always opened a door and the big prize was never behind it). so the probability that the prize was behind door 3 and Hall opens door 2 is (1/3)1 = =1/3 If it were behind door 1 he might open 1 or might open 3. *Assume* he chose at random in such cases. then the chance that the prize is behind door 1 and Hall opens door 2 is (1/3)/(1/2) = 1/6. So switching gives winning probability
(1/3)/((1/3)+(1/6))= 2/3.

This is extremely counterintuitive. Extremely. I remember advising my the contestants on my TV to not switch (I was very young). I recently learned Paul Erdos had to write a computer program to simulate the game to be convinced. That’s the Paul Erdos.

Why ?
1) loss aversion. People hate having something than losing it. Guessing right, then switching and losing is more painful than guessing wrong. I’m sure this is a factor, but it can’t beat two to one odds.
2) the cheater dectector (explanation due to John Tooby). During the whole show, if Monte Hall suggested doing something it was wise to say no. At the end, he operated according to simple rules. But it is natural to us to think “this man is trying to cheat me so I should say no). I think this might be it (being an actor Monte Hall managed to project more sleaze than Donald Trump himself). Very generally many paradoxes (or cases in which people don’t act as Bayes advised) make sense if one assumes that the experimenter might be lying. more on this below after the jump*
3) Our brains are hard wired to think about causation. The prize would be behind door 3 because 3 was chosen at random not because the contestent chose 1 and Hall opened 2. p is more likely if q is not the same as p is more likely because q and q caused p. This confuses us. We have trouble with correlation and causation. One fallacy is post hoc ergo propter hoc. Another is not propter hoc ergo no post hoc.
4. Did you see the stress on “assuming” ? Yes of course you did. The examples in which we should use Bayes formula and don’t always include strong assumptions about the data generating process (and Monte Hall US citizen, human being and free and equal agent was part of the data generating process). An older example is “I have 2 cards. one is black on both sides. one black on one side white on the other. I shuffle pick one and plop it down on the table. The upper side is black. The lower side is black with probability 2/3 not 1/2 as it is natural to guess. This works fine, because equal probabilities of one face up or the other make sense. Monte Hall is much more complicated. I can tell a story in which somone would have gained nothing by switching. Montey Hall opens the lowest number door which has not been chosen and doesn’t contain the large prize. If I choose 1 and he opens 2, then the probability that the big prize is behind door 3 is 1/2 (he opens 2 for sure if it is behind 1 or if it is behind 3). If he were to open door 3, then the probability that the prize is behind door 2 is 1. On average if one always swiches one wins 2/3 times but this is from 1/3 chance of winning for sure if one switches + 2/3 of winning half the time no matter what one does.

To calculate the probabilities, I need to know Monte Hall’s rule. I can tell (did tell) from watching let’s make a deal that he always opens a door and it never contains the big prize. But I don’t know he opened a door at random if the big priize is behind the first door the contestant chose. Now switching always gives at least as high probability of winning as staying, and the probabilities are only equal for a subset of measure zero of the manifold of may be Montes. But the sense that one needs to know something which one doesn’t know to do the calculations matters.

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Does The University of Illinois have a Problem

I’m not a lawyer. Also Republicans are worse than I imagine possible even taking into account the fact that they are worse than I imagine possible. However, I think Brett Kavanaugh defender Andrew Leipold of The U of Illinois School of Law is unfit to serve as a law professor.

The issue is that Kavanaugh signed the Starr report which argued that Clinton could be impeached for delaying his interview with special prosecutor Starr. Therefore, either Kavanaugh agrees that Trump should be impeached or he is a complete hypocrite and partisan hack (no prize for guessing which).

Leipold argues that people are not responsible for their signatures “I don’t think it’s a fair conclusion to draw that everyone’s name who appeared on the report agreed with everything written there,” Ah and what if it were an affidavit ?

Also “Our job was to emphasize the grounds for impeachment,” he added. “We’re not the decision maker; Congress is the decision maker.” I had the impression that a prosecutor’s job is to seek the truth and to attempt to make sure that justice is served. His saying that his job was to support a specifici conclusion is a a confession of prosecutorial misconduct.

Yet the University of Illinois pays him to teach students how to practice law.

I’m pretty sure tenure can’t be revoked for misconduct which preceeded the tenure decision. Telling the truth about how one is a hack is not moral turpitude. I don’t think there is anything to be done about the problem. But it is a problem.

On the other hand, judge Kavanaugh can certainly be asked whether he agrees that prosecutors are supposed to be biased against people they investigate, whether he knew of Leipold’s attitude at the time, and whether he tried to do anything to protect justice for Leipold.

I am hope that Kavanaugh can’t handle being under oath. He chose to lie the day his nomination was announced (saying no president nominating a justice had been more thorough than Trump). I think conservatives often have a problem in settings in which conservative and good are not treated as synonyms. Now he has been writing opinions for the DC circuit court and he has a Yale law degree, but I sure can hope.

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Financial Arson Report: This Time It’s Blatant

Don’t say I didn’t warn you (in particular, don’t say I didn’t warn you on September 25 2008). Naked CDS make financial arson profitable. It is also, probably, legal. It seems Blackstone made some money by threatening financial arson (arson meets grenmail).

WSJ (via Drum)

Blackstone offered Hovnanian a low-cost loan and persuaded the builder to miss a small interest payment in exchange, which would trigger payouts on $333 million in Blackstone’s credit-insurance contracts

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Drum honor role. I recently criticized Kevin Drum, so I am pleased to think especially highly of this post which I think you should read (also, as Drum says, always click the link especially if it is a link)

My comment

I am always impressed by your insights, but, that said, I think this post is important. In particular, I think you have coined an important word “government-ish” which belongs in the lexicon next to “truthiness”. As all 3 of you note, the US Federal Government is not prosecuting parents for spanking their children. Nor, indeed are state and local governments. But Oprah says you shouldn’t do that and she is government-ish.

In the interview, Wuthnow said “a government and a culture” . It isn’t that he thinks they are two aspects of the same entity (Oprah and Donald are both carbon based life forms but don’t have much else in common). But I think the people he interviewed do.

So what is this culture which is government-ish ? “Culture” isn’t used as anthropologists use it, nor is it high culture. I think it is (still) mostly television, with lesser roles for pop-music, movies, radio, and prominent web-sites. You brought up Oprah and “authorities,” so called by uh Oprah (not government officials, not people with a lot of cites in the peer reviewed literature, but people on “Oprah” called authorities by Oprah (I assume you don’t use “scare quotes” and your quotation marks had something to do with quoting someone)).

There is something “government-ish,” which is resented. It isn’t in power in Washington. There is something elite, which is resented, even if it doesn’t have the wealth of the Kochs, the power of Trump, the fame of — damn Trump again, or the status Billy Graham had. Not the richest, or most powerful, famous, or esteemed, but an elite in some other way. The “goverment-ish” borg also includes the “media,” which does not include Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or Breitbart.

In any case, the government-ish media elite sure includes Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, and LeBron James

Now what do these people have in common ? I mean aside from brains and money ?

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Anthony Kennedy Retires

Anthony Kennedy will retire July 31. This gives Trump and Republican Senators a chance to nominate and confirm a fifth hard right justice. Already the Court has become extremely ideological and activist. Today it declared that Unions couldn’t require employers to pay the union a a fixed amount per worker, because that allegedly violated the first amendmenr rights of workers in unionized workplaces which disagree with the union leadership. This is Lochner v New York level right wing judicial activism

But it is nothing compared to what a court with Kennedy replaced by another justice similar to Gorsuch, Alito or Thomas. That court would almost certainly overturn Roe v Wade, probably declare affirmative action unconstitutional, and quite possibly reverse the gay marriage decision.

The vast majority of Democratic Senators who have spoken have said they won’t confirm a justice in this congress but will insist on a delay until senators elected November 2018 are seated. They note McConnell’s argument against considering Garland and quote, among other things, a tweet of his.

There are only 49 Democratic Senators. They need two Republicans (or one if McCain misses the vote). They also need Democrats up for re-election in red states to resist. Already Senator Donnelly of Indiana has begun to semi-break with Senate Democratic leadership. I’m sure the vast majority of Democrats will do what they can to block confirmation. It is possible that there will be two or three Republicans will agree. Sen Flake of Arizona already announced he is blocking judicial confirmations over tariffs and Cuba. A supreme court nomination is completely different, but Flake hates Trump and is not running for re-election. Sens Collins and Murkowski are pro-choice. The might block an anti-abortion nominee. Democratic victory is not likely but it is possible.

But this raises another issue. Yesterday it seemed much more likely than not that Republicans will have a majority in the next Senate. There are very few Republican seats up for election (the map is worse for the Democrats than any Senate map has been for any party in living memory). Republicans also always argue (often correctly) that recent events improve their political chances. In particular, they can count on conservatives (who might have sat out the election) voting against Roe V Wade.

This is relevant to strategy, because if Democratic Senators reduce their re-election chances by obstructing the confirmation, and then Republicans have a majority again, they will have paid a political cost for no gain.

On the other hand (I finally get to the point if any of this post) I think there are two important reasons that the crisis might help Democrats win the Senate. First, for decades there have been more single issue pro-life voters than single issue pro-choice voters, because Roe V Wade was there and seemed secure. Solid majorities support Roe v Wade. Now that it is clearly in great danger, it is likely that many pro Roe V Wage voters will vote on that issue alone so long as there is an open seat on the Supreme Court. Abortion is an issue in which a passionate minority has more political impact than a complacent majority. The pro Roe V Wade majority won’t be complacent anymore.

But I think there is another issue which might hurt Republicans even more. There is an absurd case in which red state attorneys general argue that the ACA is now unconstitutional after being modified by the Republican tax cut bill. The Trump Justice Department refuses to defend the ACA and says that protections for people with pre-existing conditions are now unconstitutional. This was already a huge gift to Democrats. Gigantic majorities support the protections. Voters are extremely focused on health care. On health care, they already trusted Democrats much more than Republicans. Lawyers say the plaintiffs’ arguments are nonsense, but it is very easy to argue that, since Trump agrees with the plaintiffs, he will will nominate a justice who will side with them. I would guess that Roberts would then save the ACA again, but I wouldn’t bet on it, and I don’t think voters concerned about pre-existing conditions would either.

It is possible to link the struggle over the Supreme Court to the struggle to protect people with pre-existing conditions. In fact, the Justice Department has undeniably linked the issues. This issue could determine control of the Senate, but it is more likely to be decisive if there is an open seat. Vote for the Democrat to protect people with pre-existing conditions from judges who legislate from the bench is a pretty strong argument (I almost typed “good slogan” but it is too long).

In particular, one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senators, Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is running against the state attorney general who is one of the crazy plaintiffs. She has already stressed this. Arguing that voters better not elect a Senator eager to confirm a justice who will delcare pre-existing condition protections unconstitutional strikes me as about the best campaign strategy I can remember.

So I think obstruction is the best way for Democrats to address both the vital issue of the supreme court and the important issue of the next Senate. It sure seems that the vast majority of Democratic Senators (who know and understand much more than I do) agree.

Update: Senator Schumer was 2 hours ahead of me (it’s his job).

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Banging Drum

I almost always agree with Kevin Drum who is, among other things, a brilliant economist even thoug (or largely because) he didn’t study economics much in college.

But I don’t entirely agree with his one minute explanation of the importance of the yield curve for macroeconomic forecasting.

the ever-fascinating yield curve, which tracks the difference between long-term and short-term treasury bond yields. Normally the long-term yield is higher to compensate investors for the risk of the economy eventually going sour. But what if you think things are about to get sour really soon? Then you’ll bid down the price of short-term bonds, which increases their yield, and pretty soon long-term yield is less than the short-term yield. The yield curve has “inverted,” which suggests that investors are nervous about a recession hitting.

My comment

I think the yield curve story isn’t that simple really. First it always used to be an indicator of monetary policy. The Fed controls short term interest rates. When it chooses contractionary monetary policy (to fight inflation) it sets high short term rates. The long term rates don’t move up as much, because investors are sure the fed will relent after inflation falls. This was always the normal pattern.

Back in the good old days (before 1999) an inverted yield curve occured if and only if the Fed was cracking down to fight inflation. Notice the 90s. The yield curve was very close to flat during the whole late 90s boom. What was happening was the Fed was pressing gently on the brake worried about inflation & the magic of the internet (or foolish dot com mania) kept the economy booming. The alarmingly exuberance caused the fed to raise rates in 2000 (not at all trying to prevent Gore from being elected nooo Greenspan would never do such a thing). And the bubble burst.

Notice also the S&L recession happened without a dramatic yield curve inverstion. There were these two really smart time series econometricians Stock and Watson who had a model which “predicted” recessions really well. In 1990, it never said a recession was coming. Their explanation was that it detected inflation fighting recessions — that from wwII until 1990 recessions occured when the Fed decided to cause a recession to fight inflation (the also very smart Romer and Romer noted that recessions occured after statements like “we have to cause a recession to fight inflation” appeared in the Fed open market committee minutes).

I’d say a steep yield curve shows a fed desperately trying to pump up the economy and, therefore, pushing short term rates far below normal (long term rates being equal to the short term rate investors think is normal plus a small term premium cause they know they don’t know what is normal).

So the graph shows desperate efforts to stimulate when Republicans are in the White House or Bernanke or Yellen is chair (not that Saint Alan Greenspan was partisan or anything). The flattening just shows that the FOMC is no longer stimulating as hard as it can by keeping the short term rate at 0.25%.

Also the long term rate which investors now guess is normal is very low. That is called secular stagnation not incipient recession. Looking at short and long rates separately helps. Both are very low now. In 2000 both were high as the Fed was fighting the boom (a tiny bit too hard but it lead to a tiny miniscule recession). 2008 was a strange strange time when both short and long term interest rates were almost zero and yet demand was low. Then zero was not low enough. Now the FOMC thinks zero interest is a bit too low.

So I don’t agree with your story.
In general economic downturns cause low interest rates both directly and through active monetary policy. The yield curve slopes up because investors fear the Fed might decide to fight inflation, not because they fear a recession will just happen and it will drive up interest rates. The causation is high interest rates cause recessions not the other way.

In 1990 and 2008, I’d say the issue in 1990 and (much more so) in 2008 was people expected long lasting trouble, so persistenly low short term interest rates, so long term rates were low too. In 2000 and all recessions post WWII and pre presidents Bush the yield curve inverted because short term interest rates were high because the Fed was pressing on the brake.

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Time for some not very big data biotech

It appears that the US government has separated mothers and their children and doesn’t know how to get them back together again. In particular, this is extremely difficult if the children are under 2 and don’t know their family name (looking for someone identified only as “mommy” or “mia madre” is challenging.

I think a data company with some need to apologize to the world can make itself useful. It is not too hard to match 3000 children who are too young to speak and their mothers provided the mothers eagerly cooperate.

DNA fingerprinting is possible. Maternity and paternity tests are possible. taking all 6000 or so DNA fingerprints and matching parents and children requires a few person days at most of programming then a millisecond of the processing power available to, say, Facebook.

The problem of getting addresses for matched pairs of parents and children has been solved long ago provided one has permission from the parents.

If it isn’t done, it’s because they don’t care.

uodate: good news from a firm which needs some good publicity and is, for whatever reason, doing the right thing. I applaud MyHeritage . They are offering free DNA tests to get families back together.

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Some thoughts on Nuclear Proliferation

I present myself as an expert here, but may be confused. You should probably stick to Wikipedia.

I’m not sure the centifuges in North Korea are all that important.

North Korea doesn’t use centrifuges to make bombs. Like almost everyone (all except Pakistan and the thin boy made by the US& UK & dropped on Nagasaki) they use a nuclear reactor to make Plutonium then extract it using ordinary chemical processes.

Similarly, the Iranian Arak reactor (once under construction & whose reactor vessel is now full of concrete –thanks Obama) was a much worse threat than their centrifuges.

The idea that enriching Uranium is about as easy as extracting Plutonium is deadly. It is the reason Bush ended the Agreed Framework which stopped N Korean Plutonium extraction (or at least the excuse). They had intelligence showign N Korea bought centfigues from Pakistan (which I am sure is much more reliable than the intelligence showing Iraq had WMD and an active Nuclear program and was assisting al Qaeda). This was, in his own word, the hammer John Bolton needed to smash the agreement.

Since then no-one has heard of those centrifuges (which snark aside I guess are in N Korea). After Bush abbrogated the Agreed Framework, N Korea extracted Uranium from spent fuel and made bombs.

The crucial threat is graphite (or I think heavy water) mediated nuclear reactors. The speed of Neutrons is crucial. If slow they are absorbed only by Uranium 235 (causing fission) if faster by Uranium 238 which becomes Plutonium 239. That is the fissile material in all US nuclear weapons (it is much easier to make than highly enriched Uranium 235 & one needs much less of it). If the neutrons go even faster, some are absorbed by Plutonium 239 making Plutonium 240. This is an odd one unlike any nuclide found in nature. It fissions just on its own (doesn’t need to be hit by another neutron). So the spontaneus fission of Plutonium 240 means that one can’t make a bomb of mixed Plutonium 239 & 240 as the neutrons released by the 240 cause pre-detonation of both the 240 and the 239.

Plutonium 240 is the reason that the Osiraq reactor (bombed by the Israelis) couldn’t be used to make bombs. That was clearly Saddam Hussein’s plan when he bought it from the French, but they tricked him making a reactor which made Plutonium 240. Since he couldn’t admit he was trying to make a bomb, they could pretend he wanted electricity and build a reactor which generated electricity but whose spent fuel could not be used to make bombs. All of this was explained to Begin (also I assume by the Israeli’s who make atomic bombs) who had the reacto bombed anyway (Abu Nidal Abu Smidal a reactor is a reactor).

The conflation of Uranium 235 (not used for bombs except as first used in reactors to make Plutonium 239) and Plutonium 239 (the stuff in all our bombs) has caused great trouble. It is related (as an excuse not the true cause) to Bush’s decision which lead to North Korea having nuclear weapons. It confuses people about the Iran deal (they look at the minor quickly reversible part not the key less reversible part). It means people believe aluminium* tubes are a reason to go to war (not close even if they weren’t rocket casings).

I will now google to check how many centrifuges are believed to be in North Korea (I see quite a few — I didn’t know that when I began typing)

* I will not type “Aluminum” without quotation marks until our tariffs are eliminated.

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