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Month: July 2012

Number 261

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 261 31 July, 2012 Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck”. “Stop Killing Us! Leave Us Alone To Kill Each Other”? All the discord and violence in Anaheim, California is being reported in great detail, and the casual news consumer would probably conclude the cops have been criminally out of control. Nasty business; the videos don’t look good, and lately, citizens making them have been given more and more clearance to do so, which really drives the cops crazy (not “uneasy”, crazy). Have a look at this scholarly opinion before you condemn the citizens with video cameras. Sometimes they even win in court. That can make for some improper delays, of course. That said, realize that two questions remain unasked: over the last decade, how many people have been killed by the police, including the ones who deserved it? Then ask how that figure compares with deaths linked to the activities of gangs. Of...

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Number 260

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 260 23 July, 2012 Revealingly, the only three countries with a substantial body of opinion that suspects and hates its own government — Great Britain, the United States, Israel — are precisely the three most targeted by conspiracism. … Prominent figures of the adversary culture such as Alexander Cockburn from Britain, Noam Chomsky in the United States, and Israel Shahak in Israel find that behind almost any evil lies their own government, engaged in a conspiracy.   Journalistic Ethics And Common Sense A TV news presenter set off a firestorm of protest with his report of the horrible tragedy in the US state of Colorado: The Colorado Tea Party website mentioned having a member named Jim Holmes, which happens to be the same name as the man who has been arrested in connection with the crime. But there are lots of people who go by that name in the state and, as Pollack notes, the Tea Party member appears to be someone in their 50s while the gunman has been said to be 24. One would think elementary ethics, let alone the ethics of journalism, would have required Ross to verify the identity of the Tea Party Holmes before telling millions on national TV that this might be the Aurora terrorist. (Source) Well, no. Sure, this appears to be yet another example of media...

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Number 259

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 259 19 July, 2012   Human society…is based upon the achievements of the individual and is doomed if the individual is made a cog in the social machine. This, I believe, is the ultimate precept a theory of organization can give: not a manual for dictators of any denomination more efficiently to subjugate human beings by the scientific application of Iron Laws, but a warning that the Leviathan of organization must not swallow the individual without sealing its own inevitable doom.   Needful Reforms As always, the world needs fixing. Here’s a list of tasks that’s admittedly USA-centric; modify and adapt as required. Remember that Utopia is a fanatic’s fantasy; those who imply they can create Heaven on Earth are the most dangerous rascals of all, for they are enemies of Liberty. Finally, compromise and experiment, never avoiding improvements because they are not perfect solutions. 1. The USA has astronomical (recently-discovered) energy resources. “Green” pressure groups, including the solar- and wind-power nuts, should be pushed aside and an ambitious program of oil and gas production undertaken. “California (is) home to five of the nation’s twelve largest oil fields and (has) energy reserves equal to those of Nigeria, the world’s tenth-largest producer.” (Source.) Greater production of oil and gas is an industrial activity that poses familiar and acceptable risks, and presents no threat to climate....

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Number 258

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 258 10 July, 2012 We don’t know what causes poverty. Poverty isn’t caused by overcrowding. Hong Kong is a moosh pit plus an airport. Poverty isn’t caused by a shortage of resources. Belgium has none at all if you don’t count Brussels sprouts. And poverty isn’t caused by sloth. I speak as an American prone on the sofa with the video remote.   Plain Talk About The Unthinkable It’s called “antisemitism”, though Arabs are Semites and many Jews do not understand a Semitic language. This newsletter rejects “antisemitism” as ignorant usage and employs an accurate expression instead: “Jew-hatred”. Hatred of Jews has a long history, much of it seldom acknowledged today. It obsessed Martin Luther, who spilled gallons of ink cursing those who stubbornly rejected the New Testament. It prevented the United States from taking in many Holocaust survivors after World War II. It fuels absurd arguments that the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews is a fabrication based on the execution of relative handfuls of anti-Nazi elements. It leads conspiracy theorists of all stripes to insist that the catastrophes of September 11, 2001 were accomplished by the Mossad. Jew-hatred is one of the most unifying forces in Islam. In importance, it ranks just after reverence for the Koran and the person of Mohammed. While Islam has been riven by bloody internal conflicts for...

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Number 257

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 257 6 July, 2012 Most of the time television is nothing more than a diversion — proof, as the old quip goes, that we would rather do anything than talk to each other. We’d also rather watch a bad sitcom than read a good book. Bad sitcoms get millions of viewers; good books get thousands.   Pondering Cancer Too many people die of cancer. Of course; even if it were a small number, it would still be too many. Yet it is worth asking whether the nation — in this discussion, the USA — might do better in researching and treating the disease. The following ruminations, though preliminary at best, are intended to provoke debate and the generation of practical proposals. First, the metaphors should be dropped, for they are silly and misleading. There is no “war” to be waged, and “fighting” is the wrong word when it comes to research, detection and treatment of disease. Second, this discussion deals primarily with the allocation of funds, and it ignores where those monies come from. Wikipedia claims that “…the overall death rate from cancer has not decreased appreciably since the 1970s”, and then adds that “Cancer death rates between 1990 and 2006 for all races combined decreased by 21.0% among men and by 12.3% among women”. How those statements can be reconciled is a puzzle,...

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