Number 229

The New Terrapin Gazette

Number 229

13 January, 2012


If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?


Squandering An Opportunity

The Republicans seem destined to lose to Obama a second time. The GOP’s candidates are either shaky, unlikable, irrational, untrustworthy or insufficiently appreciated, while segments of the electorate are cranky, grimly anticapitalistic culture warriors. Ignorance and ideology weigh heavily in many regions, and bigots plan to vote along racial lines. It’s a depressing circumstance with dismal prospects.

Some anti-Obama voters are saying that they will never vote for Romney because anyone who is stupid enough to be a Mormon must be utterly unqualified to be president. Accordingly a number of Tea Party activists, ignoring the current leading contender, are working simply to wrest the Senate from the Democrats, thereby effectively nullifying the Obama presidency after Romney is defeated.

The strategy is very risky. It would be much easier for the GOP to take the Senate back and strengthen its position in the House if the party had a unifying leader (which Romney admittedly is not). A Democrat in the White House and a Congress run by the Republicans would produce constant battles rather than much-needed reform and renewal; Holder would still be at Justice, and US foreign policy would continue to meander in the wilderness. Collectivist authoritarianism can not be rejected and discarded until the executive branch is liberated. Those are outrageously high prices to pay for the dubious/Quixotic/fanciful “benefit” of preventing a Mormon from assuming the presidency.

That is not to say that the GOP can do the job, even if it has the entire federal government in its grasp. The Republicans share with the Democrats responsibility for precipitating the nation’s current distress.

Consider, then, Ron Paul, a fellow who is not really a Republican, and who hopes to breathe new life into the party. He’s also a sure loser who is not above handing the election to Obama by staging a Quixotic third-party run for the presidency. Paul is good on a lot of domestic issues, yet expresses a moron’s view of foreign policy and the defense of Western Civilization. He seems not to grasp the nature of the conflict.

Governor Perry was a worthy candidate until he defended the absurd gift to illegal aliens who enroll in Texas state colleges; that made him look like a fool. Gingrich is the only contender who has told the truth about “Palestinians” or mentioned the danger posed by an electromagnetic pulse weapon (probably deployed by North Korea or Iran, as soon as those lunatic nations can produce and deliver the nuclear devices). Being right does not help Newt much, because he’s generally considered an irascible, overbearing jerk, and is reviled for his personal life. The voters do not understand him, do not resonate to his intellect, and disapprove of his history.

This newsletter is a bit puzzled by Bachmann’s failure to attract votes; it’s almost as if a huge anti-female backlash swept Palin to the sidelines and then dispensed with Bachmann, as well. Is it sexist bigotry and catty resentment that has made Sarah the most hated women in the land, and rendered Bachmann irrelevant? That probably explains part of the phenomenon, but one can’t be certain. What does seem clear is that the voters are especially distrustful of a female “wingnut”. That could stand some careful investigation.

Overall, the Republican hopefuls are a lackluster bunch without a single member who can be assured of winning over enough moderates and independents to set Obama aside. The polls are misleading; the composition and mood of the electorate are such that The One cannot make enough gaffes and blunders to lose the election to a mediocre opponent.

Meanwhile, note that a recent federal supreme court verdict delivered a very hard slap to Holder’s egregiously mismanaged department. All nine justices were appalled by the Obamites’ unethical and clearly unconstitutional attempt to dictate to religious organizations. While some say simply that the verdict upheld freedom of worship as guaranteed by the first amendment, that correct view is superficial; the core of the matter was whether the federal apparatus would be permitted to extend its control over the citizenry. “Progressives” like Holder know they know they can never achieve their goals unless all of society is able to make choices only within a narrow, bureaucratically specified range. This was a control issue, and the court told Obama and Holder to back off.

For different and more detailed commentary on political matters, read an essay from Victor Davis Hanson. Highly recommended, as always.

 

Some People Tried To Halt The Madness

The current US economic environment is a hellish mix of high unemployment, a steep decline in the value of homes, a wave of financial failures and foreclosures, high prices, the probability of higher taxes and inflation that will savage the middle class, European inflation and financial ruin threatening the USA, and — most of all — an impossibly heavy burden of debt. Far too many politicians are pandering to powerful unions and selected segments of the electorate. Engineering and delivering economic recovery seems beyond the ability of the national government, and many voters are uninformed, underinformed, and reacting illogically. To an increasing number of citizens, it appears as if standard business practices are fatally flawed, both ethically and practically, and that punitive/confiscatory measures must be imposed on “the rich”. Class warfare is simmering beneath the surface. It’s a disaster.

The Root Cause

As this newsletter has said, the notion that government is economically productive underlies the current insanity. Two media make this false conception powerful: the ability of government to tax, and the practice of corruption.

In an ideal world, free men operating in free markets would determine how goods and services are created and distributed, and all relations between persons would be mutually voluntary. The result would be a maximization of prosperity and a lowered level of poverty. That would not be a Utopia; the best mankind can do would coexist with crime, misfortune, disease and tragedy. Businesses would still fail and mistakes would still hinder the economy.

The discontents of free markets and a society that falls short of an impossible Utopia provoke the fabrication of collectivist and statist fantasies. When people notice that the power to tax and redistribute is ultimate, some of them plot to make taxation work to their unique advantage. Crony capitalism is the result, as is the growth of the public sector as overpaid civil servants proliferate. Union members effectively take ownership of their jobs. Populist policies degenerate ethically, and Peronist sloganeering replaces common sense. The power of government to tax and reward is an intoxicant that can be indulged in only if the populace is under the control of the ruling elite; control is the foundation on which all collectivist, socialist and fascist regimes must stand.

Such political/financial systems are, to put it precisely, corrupt. Every step away from a free market is a step toward unethical, irrational and prejudicial allocation of goods, services, and the currency. The notion driving this degeneration is that government is the tool with which prosperity can be achieved. Then too, the government’s borrowing power and its ability to inflate the currency can make it possible for people to believe that the government is economically productive. An electorate that deludes itself that its legislators could mandate an end to want with a new law is a people at risk. When government is thought of as the fastest and most effective means of creating prosperity, an abandonment of Liberty can be predicted.

As these erroneous Utopian/collectivist notions gain popularity, the ruling stratum’s attitude toward the individual will wax increasingly paternalistic and authoritarian. Power and extended control can become the paramount goals of government (as the current administration demonstrates; see the Links below). Villains — those who are insufficiently taxed, or who enjoy wealth while the poor suffer needlessly — are identified and targeted for exploitation by the avenging Solons.

This angry mood is biased against the innovative attempts of individuals to enrich themselves. The coercive mandates of a bureaucracy proliferate, frustrating new enterprises and the reduction of unemployment. The collective, the common weal, assumes a primary role in the propaganda issued by politicians as they force individuals to bend their knees and open their pocketbooks to the government. This degeneration of principles is perhaps best illustrated by the judicial insanity that gives the commerce clause of the federal constitution its overwhelming authority: those who are not involved in interstate commerce are considered, by virtue of the fact of their lack of involvement, to be involved in interstate commerce. Citizens who are out are really in, because they are out.

Mortgages For Those Who Can Not Afford Them

It was only natural: as government grew in authority, it would be used more frequently to improve the economy. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were quasi-governmental institutions which, along with the Federal Reserve, could do good. They could transform the lives of the poor. They could make virtually every man a homeowner…so they should. As mortgages were offered to people who could not support them, the consequences of this imprudent misbehavior were noted by some, and some of those folks spoke out.

 

The politically correct madness began during the Clinton administration. Told to provide more loans to low income borrowers, Fannie and Freddie tried to comply — and by 2004 realized that they could cater to ideological mandates only by compromising rational underwriting guidelines. Internal e-mails document the onset of collapse. “…we did no-doc lending before,” wrote one Freddie Mac official, “took inordinate losses and generated significant fraud cases. I’m not sure what makes us think we’re so much smarter this time around.” In short: the financial ruin that followed was caused solely by political meddling, which was in turn stimulated by the notion that government can create prosperity.

As borrowers defaulted, worthless mortgages were bundled together, misrepresented as valuable, and used as collateral for new loans or sold to hapless investors as virtually risk-free securities. The executives involved profited handsomely (as this newsletter has repeatedly pointed out), and the politicians who insisted on the reckless policy continue to make excuses and style themselves as the friends of the poor. In truth, they are parasites.

Had the government never become involved except as a jurisprudential authority, the business of lending money and seeing to the soundness of investments could have proceeded properly. Yes, risk is always present, and rascals do try to defraud investors; that’s life. When, however, the government steps beyond its role as the legal authority and begins to manipulate banking, investment and financial policy in accord with Peronist propaganda, the potential for economic disaster rises sharply.

Reform, sanity and tried and true financial probity are still possible, but not as long as the Federal Reserve and the White House are controlled by collectivist charlatans and ideologues. If the voters want to, they can silence Maxine Waters and insure that the like of Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick are prevented from assuming control.

Control. Nothing matters more.

 

Links

In case you had not noticed, Obama is now The Hairy Man With The Huge Club. Of course there is nothing to worry about, right? He may be a quasi-neo-Marxist authoritarian with grand plans for everybody, but he’s harmless. Er…isn’t he? Hold on; it says in the linked commentary that he broke his promise not to sign the new law. Gulp. Maybe you would be wise to ask who he’s mad at! (Some folks might be surprised by The One’s stealthy double cross, but nobody in The Eagle Wing Palace is.)

The would-be mass murderers are at it again…. Will the Thais be up to the challenge? Oh, my.

Climate change or AGW? Whatever you call it, it looks increasingly shaky to some who believe in the hoax.

Related: whether you believe in anthropogenic global warming or not, you should be skeptical of it; that’s the absolute ethic of the scientific method. Some folks consider an objective approach to AGW to be politically incorrect, irrational or heretical. Facts are facts, though….

A good idea: transparency and ethics in the US federal Department of Justice. If only….

The setup: “Who watches CNN these days, anyhow?” Punch line: “Only sleepy people in airports.” And why, pray tell, is that? Because of junk reporting like this fawning, deceitful video. Shades of “Triumph des Willens“.

A “Palestinian” book for children waxes rhapsodic over the wisdom and deeds of Adolf Hitler — and UNESCO, unable to ignore the facts, says it won’t fund the publication of the text.

A tip of the hat to reader GB for just about the last thing one might expect from Russia.

Sophisticated computers in control of modern airplanes can detach the pilot from the realities of flight. The consequences can be catastrophic.

To hell with Hopeandchange. Embrace facts.

Islam cannot tolerate free speech; the “Istanbul Process” is what it calls its plan to impose worldwide restrictions on expression.

When it comes to tattle-tales and investigative reporting, this newsletter usually praises Anonymous and denounces the work of Wikileaks. Here’s a reason why.

Speaking of Wikileaks, the outfit has made at least one valuable contribution to the common weal: it has posted this video clip on the internet. The constitution of Thailand asserts that no one is permitted to prevent the royal family of that nation from doing literally whatever they want. The video linked here casts a little light on the character of the man who may well become Thailand’s next king; unfortunately this fellow is actually far, far worse than the footage demonstrates. Those of you in Thailand will be unable to view the video, as the government there has blocked it. With this item, the publisher/editor of this newsletter extinguishes the possibility of his return, however brief, to the Land of Smiles…which imprisons those who state facts and repeat truths.

The nagging feeling: that the Obama administration is bigoted when it comes to Jews and Israel. Proof? Not available, and that is unlikely to change. Still….

Research into what, exactly, happens when babies begin language-learning shows that TV and radio just can’t compare to mom — and that babies are not undeveloped proto-people devoid of analytic intellect.

Does Obama understand the full implications of the USA’s involvement in a literal religious war? It seems not. His administration prefers to think of the blood enemies of the West as criminals who distort the teachings of Islam. Wrong on both counts, and it really matters.

Related: the administration’s fundamental confusion extends to domestic governmental issues.

The press reports, and it seems to some folks that the report hinders vitally important US policy. The newspaper involved defends its exposure of governmental activity as necessary and proper. Then, when Democrats are caught cheating, the Obamoid media object to exposure of the misconduct.

Here’s a good summation of the overall economic/financial catastrophe. It deals with fundamentals.

Nonsense like this costs money, alienates the public, and should embarrass those who ordered it. It will be justified as somehow rational and useful, though. Remember: virtually anything can be promoted by incompetent, ignorant, greedy and power-hungry bureaucrats. Government needs to be monitored and kept on track; that task is a responsibility that goes with citizenship.

The US border with Latin America is dangerous in more ways than one, and Obama has declared he will do nothing to improve security there. This in spite of the fact that drug cartels are forming alliances with the USA’s most dangerous and fanatical enemies. This summary of reports should convince even hard-core Obamites that their man in the White House is ignoring his oath of office.

 


The masthead includes a quote from the works of Frederic Bastiat.

The staff of The New Terrapin Gazette expresses its sincere gratitude to the many people who have gifted the world with Arch Linux, Emacs, and Firefox.

Publisher: The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee

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