The New Terrapin Gazette
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
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 Mr. Obama told colleagues was “an easy one.”
Obama, the collectivist-authoritarian-
The similarities between Obama and jihadis are striking — and incendiary.
Just as Jehovah’s Witnesses and conservative, Bible-believing Christians recognize each other as irreconcilable enemies, Obama and the lunatics who would impose a universal caliphate know each other well — and hate each other with a steady, instinctive ferocity.
Each sect knows how steadfast and dangerous the other is because each knows itself. Call it the fear/hatred of the twin. That’s very different from the emotions kindled by the presence of an utterly alien enemy. Fear of the unknown is one thing, and fear of the familiar is quite another.
Obama recognizes that his dream of a neo-Marxist state holding its citizens in thrall to “fairness” cannot afford to concede anything to Koranic myth. He understands that to embrace one fantasy is to be vulnerable to the attractiveness of its antagonistic counterpart; when a political or religious movement contends with an architecturally similar rival, there is the (improbable but terrifying) possibility that defections will result. In order to insure against that, the competing parties frequently exaggerate their differences and try to generate a sense of revulsion in their adherents. That defense mechanism causes the individual to see an alien, an “Other”, when confronted by the twin.
Examples abound. Though Christians stopped killing each other over arcane theological issues and gross political power struggles some time ago, bloody religious wars within Islam continue to this day. In fact Sunnis and Shiites often hate each other as bitterly as jihadis hate Jews. Rather than switch to the other sect of Islam, the faithful focus on trivial distinctions and incite higher levels of animosity. This is, of course, not rational — the differences between the sects are not worth a shouting match, let alone mass murder — but it is very human. It’s the unhappy result of fear/hatred of the twin.
Then there is the distressing truth that the fabricated animosity is not dismissed by good behavior. It was said with good reason that in 1930, no one was more German than the German Jews. The Non-Jewish Germans knew how dangerous those Jews were, because they knew themselves.
Indeed, this is the explanation seldom provided. Of course great cultural differences can make for horribly inhumane policies (slavery is an example), but a special revulsion is reserved for the feared/hated twin.
Obama knows that his Utopia could be at serious risk from Islamist pressure; obviously he does not want to lose control to sharia. But beyond mere defense against competition, there is a profound emotional element that provokes the president to strike decisively: while it is partly the frustration of coping with people who are intransigent to the point of suicide, and partly a desire to defeat the fanatics and prove the superiority of the Obamoid dream, at base it is the outrage of one who senses, feels his kinship with the enemy. There is, in other words, an inarticulate motive to violence evoked by awareness that Islamofascism runs parallel to Obama’s collectivism. The president attacks reflexively because he knows his enemy as only a fraternal twin can know his brother.
That urgent need to destroy is utterly unrelated to any desire to defend Western Civilization. When has Obama justified his actions as this newsletter would, beginning the combat with an oath of allegiance to the Liberty Islam cannot tolerate, and to the constitution Islam would discard? When has he portrayed himself as a champion of the West? How many times has he reminded his countrymen that if Islam is not repulsed, it will literally absorb the superior, more ethically enlightened West, and plunge the world into slavery?
Obama will never say anything like that, for those sentiments are immaterial to him. His goal is to alter US society, not preserve it as it is. The US constitution is inadequate, he has told the nation; he wants thorough reform, and a new basis for governance. He seeks power, which will give him control; he wants to impose collectivism, which will create uniformity; finally, he longs for stability.
Islam seeks a changed world that puts an end to history.
Note well: the contrast between Obamite “fairness” and Islamist “justice” is shallow, and the control Obama would exert over the populace is an analogue of the imposition of “submission”, the meaning of the word “Islam”.
All authoritarians and all Utopians share the same primal orientations; that makes their various gangs the most bitter of rivals. Hitler and Stalin, two very similar monsters, could only be enemies to the death. Humans hate the most those who are superficially distorted images of themselves.
Ultimately, like the mullahs, Obama rules by faith, and he knows it. Faith in what? His slogan, “Hope and change”, expresses part of it, but his emphasis on “fairness” (much higher taxes on the rich, more benefits for everybody, “stimulus” packages for more than just his cronies and big campaign contributors, and so on) sums up his program. Gullible people have faith in an attainable Utopia, and Obama’s Fairness Fable exploits that faith.
Then there is his respect for the propagandistic, mythologizing power of claims regarding the supernatural. This is evident in the decades-long link between that nutty pastor and the community organizer. Obama basked in the shtick of the preacher, just as the followers of The Nation of Islam rejoice in the buffoonery of Farrakhan. The rascals preach, and sow the dragon’s teeth.
His fondness for this theatrical chicanery expresses The One’s appreciation of the power of religious faith to enhance the solidarity of groups (social classes, political organizations, labor unions) supporting collectivist goals. It’s expedient cynicism in action.
Mao was wrong: not all power comes from the muzzle of a firearm. A great deal of power proceeds from the willingness of people to enslave themselves out of faith in Utopia — whether they believe a perfect society will be here and soon, or in heaven and after death. This misconception of reality is a basis for tyranny.
Obama’s real enemy is not the US “wingnuts”, the Tea Party, the militias, the underground KKK, the assorted nutcases who would like the notoriety of assassinating him, or even this newsletter. It’s Islamofascism.
Now of course this exposition could go on for many pages, for the psychological implications of fear/hatred of the twin are complex. To make them comprehensible and cogent, most authors would submerge you in gallons of ink (imagine Freud explaining it!). This is, however, a comment in a newsletter, not one of those interminable essays in The New Yorker.
Consider this item, therefore, ideas presented in the style of Eric Hoffer: terse, provocative notions served up with respect for the reader.
Easy Does It
Things are going badly for Obama at the moment — as indicated by this under-reported story of…
…the decision of former Democratic congressman Artur Davis to join the Republican Party. Davis, an African-American with Ivy League credentials surpassing even Obama’s (he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard), was the first non-Illinois congressman to endorse Obama in 2008. His message now is exactly what Axelrod and Co. have most reason to fear: He says Obama has gone too far left. “I thought he was going to be . . . pro-growth. I thought he was going to focus on national unity. . . Instead he went in another direction. . . There is no center/right in the Democratic Party.”
That’s interesting, but not as important as the Romney camp hopes it is. The “wingnuts” are getting way, way too overconfident.
Victor Davis Hanson Waxes Politically Incorrect Again
While this recent message from Hanson seems to have been dashed off in a bit of a hurry, it’s typical of the insights that have made this brilliant author and educator a favorite of the New Terrapin Gazette:
Germans pick up trash; in Athens, Greeks toss it. Germans do not honk; Italians do not not honk. In Libya or Egypt the pedestrian is a target; in Switzerland he is considered perhaps your father or grandmother. A bathroom in Germany is where someone else uses it after you; in Greece or Mexico, it is where you pass on the distaste of using the facility to the sucker who follows you.
I watch fender benders a lot. In northern Europe, addresses and information are exchanged; south of Milan, shouts and empty threats of mayhem follow. When I check out of a German hotel, I know the bill reflects what I bought or used; when I check out of a Greek hotel, I dread all the nonexistent charges to appear, and a “50/50 split the difference” settlement to be offered. Germans like to talk in the abstract and theoretical; with Greeks it is always “egô” in the therapeutic mode. I rent a car in Athens and expect charges for “dents” to appear; in Germany, there are such charges only if there are actual dents. Add all that up — and millions more of such discrepancies repeated millions of times over each hour — and you have one country that creates vast wealth and another that cons to land vast wealth it did not create.
So: the Germans wind up paying the bills of the folks who don’t care about anything but their benefits. Who can blame the deadbeats? After all, as The One has pointed out, the US constitution simply tells the federal government (and the states, by “incorporation” since the Civil War) what government is not permitted to do. What, no benefits? That’s right — no benefits except for Liberty.
Would you wish to be lectured by your poorer brother-in-law on why he should not have to pay your $1,000 loan back, as be critiqued your oh-so-conventional workaholic habits?
Again, it would be as if Californians would lecture Texans about why they must give the Golden State $16 billion to solve our current budget shortfall. And then to add insult to injury, we would offer a critique of exactly what is wrong with the Texan go-get-‘em mentality and what is right with the California laid-back lifestyle that spawned one-third of all the nation’s welfare recipients, with the highest paid teachers in America’s near-bottom-rated schools. How long would Texas take that? The answer is about as long as Germany will take that.
Those excerpts should convince you to read the complete essay.
Elizabeth Warren proudly proclaims herself the inspiration for Occupy Wall Street. Obama defends his proposal to increase the tax on capital gains as “fairness”, in spite of the effect it would have on unemployment and overall business activity. Now if you were to accuse these people of inspiring violence and hatred, they would be offended — but their claims that the system is run by an unprincipled class of parasites are real. Those claims have in fact tacitly endorsed riots. Yet the Obamites and Warren supporters damn the Tea Party for its alleged excesses, none of which have ever been in evidence. This is an ugly time in US history, and while too few voters have managed to put things into perspective, fewer still have tried to end the madness. Here is the story of one exceptional individual who is a genuine hero.
Warren again: reports of her “flipping” homes and making some decent profits thereby imply that she did something wrong. Perhaps by the distorted, irrational standards of many collectivists, she did err ethically — she made a profit by using her available capital to buy low and sell high — so she may have to defend herself against nonsense spouted by her anticapitalist, anti-free market allies. Fact: whenever prices go up or down, there are opportunities for investors, and participating in markets is not ethically wrong. Now in the event that Warren favors legislation to curb free markets, she will reveal herself as a hypocrite (which charge she will refuse to talk about, you bet-chum).
Holder. This guy has to go.
Silly question, no link: whatever happened to the feminists who used to spell “girl” as “grrl”? That was rather clever, wasn’t it? To this newsletter, “grrl” reminded of the devastating Eartha Kitt, whose rendering of Santa Baby made cigar store Indians blush. Eartha could make a trilling sound that…that…oh, my.
The Department of Justice should be given a new name. Readers are invited to propose a fitting title for Holder’s fascist wrecking crew….
Partisan commentary is occasionally brilliant, often a bit misleading, and sometimes deceitful. Seldom does it mimic the ravings of a madman, so when it does, mark it well…and consider the character of the speaker’s constituency.
News for the Linux community: all’s well, for the panic passed without causing harm, and recovery has been effected. You may carry on confidently.
This looks as if it will be a powerful weapon against all kinds of influenza. Great! Now to turn it over to the FDA for approval, and wait fifteen years….
If you are interested in the jihadist movement — mistakenly called “terrorism” by many Westerners — you will find a great deal of information here. It’s audio only.
The scorecard: compare Solyndra with Bain. Yes, really.
While this is a good selection of videos for NTG readers, you can’t rely on The Great Global Warming Swindle as a source of information on the topic. It contains information that is not correct, and some that is still controversial. Its discussion of politics is shaky. Later versions of this film omitted some material and are better sources of information, but overall, it’s not what those interested in the science of the matter can depend on to fuel their arguments. Read The Hockey Stick Illusion instead. — Well, that said, this newsletter wants you to know that there are quite a few winners on the list of videos linked above, so check them out.
The role played by dogs in the Paleolithic has come under study, and the results are fascinating. You may not agree, but then there’s no arguing with cat people.
What in the world is going on here? Has the bureaucratic impulse finally matured into full-fledged insanity? Unbelievable…! This single act is so stunningly stupid, so transparently phony and cynical, that it constitutes sufficient (but unnecessary) reason to deny Obama a second term. When politicians pull stunts like this, they demonstrate a profound contempt for the electorate.
It is not at all clear to this newsletter that Jewish voters have a natural affinity for the politics and ideology of Barack Obama. There are tensions…and PJMedia is (are?) on top of the story, trying to undermine The One’s cause. This newsletter prefers the old name, “Pajamas Media”. Never mind.
This video is titled, “They’ll call this video racist“. Yes, they will. Will you?
A cosmologist explains it all to you (the origin of everything, how big everything is and what everything is doing, and what will happen billions of years from now). It’s pretty hard for him to explain how a literal bunch of nothing is busy doing things and creating stuff — is not, in other words, nothing. Evidently you can’t have nothing. Well, it also turns out that dark energy isn’t dark (because it can be “seen”), and in time, all possibility of figuring out what science can figure out today about the origin of the universe will be impossible. Oh. Nothing about inflation (not the economic variety), though. Maybe next time? While you are waiting, here’s a question you can answer: do you ever wonder whether physics is faith-based?
Sam Harris explains the dangers of religious moderation. This one will make you think.
This frontal attack on the unions is timely, and centrist and independent voters just may consider it on target. Who’s behind the video? ForAmerica, an outfit that claims, “ForAmerica is a non-profit 501 (c) 4 organization and does not advocate for the election or defeat of any specific candidate”. Oh?
GOP True Believers are saying they are wiser this time, and determined not to run anything like the McCain campaign. Time will tell, but this newsletter is not expecting a huge improvement. The Tea Party is not energized for this campaign, and that will matter a lot more than the GOP bigwigs realize. There is no substitute for large turnouts of ordinary people who are voluntarily, enthusiastically showing up to throw the bums out. Romney, in other words, is the wrong candidate; a Jindal-Rubio ticket would have set the GOP faithful on fire, and the independents-undecideds would be watching in fascination. The forthcoming campaign promises to be boring if not downright irritating for the segment of the electorate that will decide the winner — and of course that’s how the news media will portray it: as dull, plodding, repetitious, and uninvolving. That hands victory to Obama. Make a mental note to see whether that turns out to be an accurate prediction.
Do look at this video. It’s highly doubtful that anything this newsletter might have to say about it would matter to you — however it is appropriate, perhaps even necessary, for you to have this information, whatever your views are.
Of course the genuine Cherokees are disgusted. The only aspect of this mess that is surprising is why Warren would think she could get away with her childish stunt. Fine; now back to rubbing salt into the self-inflicted wound….
Once in a while
You get shown the light
In the strangest of places
If you look at it right
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Ted Nugent.
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