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Month: June 2012

Number 255

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 255 28 June, 2012 The use of all right, or inability to see that there is anything wrong with alright, reveals one’s background, upbringing, education, etc., perhaps as much as any word in the language.   Roberts May Have Gotten The Message (Commentary written before the verdict was announced) The day before the announcement of the verdict, a “wingnut” website said, “…President Obama and his partisans on the left and in the media will effectively declare war on the third co-equal branch of government and seek, in every possible way, to undermine the legitimacy of the Court. … the ferociousness of the attacks will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. …the left is willing to destroy the credibility of the Supreme Court in order to defend their policy failure.” (Source) Well, ferocity would have been a better word than (shudder) ferociousness, according to this newsletter’s Assistant Editor. He also notes that the commentary quoted above seems a bit overwrought. Give the “wingnuts” a pass, though, for it’s a hot topic, and…when the court tweaked FDR’s nose, he reacted with outrage, and the justices realized they were in serious trouble; the result was a distinct change in their decisions that favored the New Deal. Too, many years earlier, there was the disaster of the Indian Removal Act: President Jackson simply told the nation’s highest court...

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Number 254

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 254 19 June, 2012 …conflicts and wars are not at the biological level of survival and struggle for existence; they are a clash between ideologies or symbolic worlds. More precisely, they are an outcome of verbal magic hypostatizing words — nationalism, free enterprise, communism, confessional dogma or whatever else, which at best mirror certain aspects of reality, and at worst are completely unrealistic — into specious realities, by the well-known and pernicious process of reification of concepts.   A Serious Problem Becomes Worse: The Citizenry Versus Law Enforcement Agencies A widespread trend has been firmly established in law enforcement: the police are now significantly militarized. Weapons, tactics, equipment are inspired by infantry urban warfare manuals, and dealings with the citizenry are increasingly conducted as raids. Courts are issuing more “no-knock” search orders. This trend inevitably results in a number of shocked and terrified people who are unaware that the police have forced open a door and literally invaded their residences. As a consequence, there have been tragic results. How do you know that people who are shouting, “Police!” really are law officers? Home invasion robberies could begin that way, and what if you are so startled that you do not understand the shouting, and react defensively, perhaps with a firearm? As a response to a number of situations in which police tactics were improper,...

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Number 253

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 253 10 June, 2012 Psychology in the past fifty years was a fight against what has been called the anthropomorphic fallacy, that is, imputing to animals human sentiments and capabilities. But it was forgotten that there equally is a zoomorphic fallacy, canceling any difference between animal and man. Arthur Koestler has expressed this even more nicely, saying that, “for the anthropomorphic view of the rat, American psychology has traded in a rattomorphic view of man”. Geert Wilders, The Far Right Politician Who Threatens Europe With A New Fascism How is the West to respond to the presence and activities of Muslim immigrants/settlers in Europe? In a superficially naive but ultimately deceitful article, two authors (see Footnote) try to answer that question by justifying opposition to what they call “the far right” in Europe. The tacit assumptions of the article are stunning: a committee or association of well-intended reformers will impose modern, secular and fundamentally Western values on a community that calmly tolerates its violent extremists — and is not at all interested in attempting to quash the Koranic teaching that Muslims live in a state of war with all non-Muslims. A Muslim community that ignores the fell plotting of extremists is hardly likely to rise up against the preachers in the mosques, cleanse Islam of centuries-old bigotry, abolish sharia and impose Liberty on people...

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Number 252

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 252 3 June, 2012 War is good when good survives and evil is crushed. If you don’t crush evil then evil will get you.   The NY Times Is Baffled, But — Thanks To This Newsletter — You Will Understand This Seeming Puzzle Begin with a quote that springs from the confusion of a Times writer: Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve. In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda. They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing. While he was adamant about narrowing the fight and improving relations with the Muslim world, he has followed the metastasizing enemy into new and dangerous lands. When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign against Al Qaeda — even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that...

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