Belmont Club

Dense pack

Back in the early 1980s, designers seeking to protect land-based ICBMs from a Soviet first strike developed the “dense pack” defense system. “This “dense pack” idea involved building super-hardened silos that would withstand more than 10,000 psi (70 MPa) of overpressure and spacing them only 1,800 feet (550 m) apart. The reasoning behind this idea was that a nearby nuclear explosion would damage other incoming warheads in the same wave of attack and would allow a substantial portion of the missiles to survive. This ‘fratricide theory’ was fundamentally flawed due to the relative ease with which the Soviets could modify their warheads and circumvent this design. Congress again rejected the silo-based system.”

Although a “fratricide” may not protect silos against individually targetable and schedulable Soviet MIRVs,  politicians know that if shennanigans can be committed rapidly enough the public soon loses track of all of them.  The voter’s capacity for outrage becomes saturated. Public attention can at most be focused on one or two items at a time.  Make two changes in a document and both will be run through a fine toothed comb.  Make a thousand changes and 998 will slip through. This is the rationale behind attaching “riders” to things like the bailout bill.  The public can be expected to read through legislation written in one or two pages. Give them a bill as thick as the phone book and most of it will go unscrutinized. Barack Obama is so different in so many ways from the centrist Presidential candidate that it is difficult to take in all the changes he portends. Dense pack.

The ceaseless attacks on Barack Obama have created such a tidal wave of information that issue fratricide is now a reality. So much bandwidth is now occupied by people writing on Ayers, Wright, Rezko, and Hawaiian birth certificates that there’s almost no space to even think about other issues. In a sense Obama is protect by the sheer volume of the charges leveled against him. And that would be truth whether they were false or in fact true. Consider the criticsm of Obama’s positions on labor. The BBC devotes about three sentences to the following subjects:

The unions know that an Obama victory will deliver specific rewards. He has pledged his support for the Employee Free Choice Act, which would remove the requirement for a secret ballot before workers establish union representation in their workplace.And Mr Obama seems to share some of the union scepticism about the benefits of extending free trade deals.

These are immensely important issues that are almost lost in smoke and dust of the “dense pack” fratricide surrounding BHO. Any scrutiny of this or almost any other substantive proposed change which will accompany a President Obama such as the cancellation of missile defense, a shift to Pakistan, government health care, income redistribution, fairness doctrines is lost in a vast pileup in the skies above the Serene One. They’re all arriving so thick and fast that no one can keep track of them.

It was somewhat shocking to discover the George McGovern — yes, that George McGovern — cared enough about the secret union ballot issue to make a plea to reject the ironically named Employee Free Choice Act on YouTube. McGovern says “it’s hard to believe that any politician would agree to a law denying millions of employees the right to a private vote.”  I’m not sure whether McGovern is clear thinker on this subject, but the unsecret ballot is likely to simply happen without anybody giving it much thought.  It was once said that the British Empire was acquired in a “fit of absentmindedness”. A lot of things can be lost that way too.