The New Terrapin Gazette

Number 267
10 September, 2012

…it was an unexpected shock to American psychology when the obvious was discovered, e.g., that the Stimulus-Response, need-gratification “machine” of a hungry rat may prefer exploration of its environs to food, that it explores without being conditioned by a reward, etc. Because upsetting the Stimulus-Response applecart, the detailed studies by Berlyne, the Harlows and others were needed to show what would be obvious from observations of a rat’s natural behavior. … Voices seeing in a rat’s “curiosity and exploratory behavior” not a mystery (which was created only by the prejudicial a priori that the rat should be a Stimulus-Response machine), but something perfectly natural and even trivial, were few and far between.

What Is Going On Here? Is This A Revelation, A Hoax, Or A Fake Hoax?

This video outlines an attack on Obama that appears to be more systematic than any previous “revelations” about his background. As you will see if you click on the link, a DVD (directed by one Joel Gilbert, who appears in the linked video) with all the allegations and presumably including some supporting information is available, and this newsletter has placed an order for it. Comments on the documentary, hereinafter referred to as Real Father, will be published here.

Now of course all the claims made at the above link and on the DVD will be dismissed as lies and nonsense by the media and most Democrats, but if the assertions about Obama’s father and upbringing can withstand research, the political impact could be seismic. A tip of the hat goes to the Dean of NTG readers, JH, for alerting this newsletter to the YouTube video.

For openers, this embarrassing film will certainly be shoved down Gilbert’s throat. That raises the question of whether Real Father is a vulpine propaganda ploy to assure Obama’s second term. It may be a collectivist fake hoax, meaning it is a transparently false story that is promoted as if it comes from the “wingnut” community, when in fact its origin is a cabal of agents provocateurs whose purpose is to discredit the “birthers” and other anti-Obama elements by making them look like congenital liars — and morons.

The danger that lurks in a plot of that sort is that the electorate might buy the Real Father fable as genuine, and disregard the programmed “exposure” of the fake. To estimate that risk, one would look to the timing of events: assuming Real Father is correct in every detail, it certainly comes too late to derail Obama’s second term. It will take time for the claims to be researched, checked, re-checked, and a lot more time will be required for the damning history to gain traction with the electorate (“wingnuts” will gobble it up at once, of course, but they would not count if Real Father is a fake hoax aimed at “swing” voters).

If everything in the film is true, those facts can certainly be used to sweep Obamoid legislation and executive orders from the books in 2016, but…2012 is too late for anything, even the pure truth, to stop the collectivist juggernaut. So the scheduled debunking of Real Father would drive at least some undecided voters away from Romney. Mission accomplished.

But is Real Father factual? For the great majority of the electorate, deciding questions like this is virtually impossible. How can anyone check the allegations made by “birthers”, “truthers”, or Joel Gilbert?

Remember this important fact: conspiracists thrive because it is impossible to prove a negative.

One simply cannot prove that there were no last-minute telephone calls to Jews working in the World Trade Center towers, telling them to get out. Those laughing and celebrating Jews watching the disaster cannot be shown never to have existed, and never to have rejoiced as the Towers fell. There is no possible way to establish that the Mossad did not blow up the buildings. The innocence of G. W. Bush cannot ever be demonstrated. That the Illuminati no longer exist can never be established beyond all doubt. That there absolutely is no Tooth Fairy remains utterly impossible to prove.

Allegations about 9/11 can be researched, and the staff of this newsletter has spent considerable time digging into the architectural and engineering facts. The conclusions reached — that “truther” claims are ignorant and false, and that Rosie O’Donnell is a mush-brained loudmouth — are solid. It is known why and how Building 7 collapsed, and why it took so long to fall. That an airplane crashed into the Pentagon cannot be rationally disputed. All the observed facts surrounding the Islamist act of war exonerate the claimed villains, G. W. Bush and the Jewish/Israeli/Mossad conspirators said to be in league with him. The Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, the Knights Templar, the Freemasons, the Salvation Army and the Girl Scout Brownies did not do it. If the NTG’s investigation of the evidence had uncovered anything even slightly suspicious, you would have learned of it. Many hours spent poring over information and checking claims of all sorts only confirmed the obsessive insanity of the “truthers” and their gullible, ignorant followers. That ends the matter, as far as this newsletter is concerned.

And the “birthers”? So far, Obama seems to have kept their hopes alive, and that may be a masterstroke. If Sheriff Joe has evidence of fakery, he has failed to provide it and convince this newsletter. It has come to the point where the NTG staff must salute (the very cynical and dangerous) Team Obama for giving the conspiracist crazies the rope to hang themselves.

As to Joel Gilbert’s assertions about Obama, time may tell. And it may not. It could be that even Obama does not know the truth. You may have to live with a final verdict of “not proved”.

Footnote: on this web page it is claimed that “Gilbert is a graduate of the University of London (London School of Economics and Political Science, School of Oriental and African Studies, B.A. 1986) and George Washington University (M.B.A. 1991).” Now that could be just a slip, and a meaningless one at that, so don’t get too excited by the fact that the U of London is not LSE; the two universities are distinct.

Economic Ignorance

What’s wrong with the US economy? Lots of stuff, starting at the top with The Fed, but this commentary is about the folks who claim consumers and wage-earners are misbehaving. That’s stupid. Still, many collectivists think it’s an accurate analysis, and that something should be done about it.

Obama is one; he’s an ignoramus, an illiterate, when it comes to economics, as you will see (yet again) in a minute. The same can be said for many people in the news media. Consider the example of Don Lee, who works for the Los Angeles Times. Lee, like many other people who either don’t think things through rationally or who were indoctrinated by ideologically warped educators, believes that some people who earn money are somehow able to absorb their cash, thus making it disappear.

Consider representative quotes from Lee’s “report” in his employer’s propaganda sheet. Lee begins by noting a demographic change in the workforce, with older wage-earners working longer and younger ones finding it hard to get decent jobs. As an example of someone who is, as the song says, Old And In The Way, Lee introduces his luckless readers to a lady who is doggedly carrying on rather than retire. Note her sins against the economy and the body politic, as Lee enumerates them:

…the 66-year-old has no plans to stop working. …”I need the income,” she said.

…(She) has an ordinary cellphone, not a smartphone. She’s had the same television set for 15 years. Her desktop computer, nearing 11 years old, is well past the typical life span. …As frugal (sic) as she lives, (she) is nervous about giving up her full-time job because she doesn’t know whether she’ll have enough to maintain her lifestyle.

Lee goes on to explain that older people spend about half as much “…for things such as eating out and entertainment, and they spend roughly 50% more for housing and transportation.” His complaint, more hinted at than explicitly expressed, is that older citizens somehow soak up money, not passing it along; either that, or they pass it along to the wrong people. He can’t say those things overtly, of course, because they are manifest nonsense. But he can and does say things like this: because older people are not leaving the work force…

Discouraged, many younger workers are staying in school longer or sitting on the sidelines until their prospects improve. That affects business at restaurants, furniture stores and electronics outlets. And it puts a squeeze on many local governments that rely on retail sales taxes for their revenue.

“Reports” like Lee’s begin by making a fundamental error that actually amounts to promoting a falsehood. One might be uncharitable, and say that the entire story is based on a lie — or is a lie. That may be a bit harsh, so consider the truth, and compare it to the story without trying to assign blame.

 

Money has no value except pure potential until you give it to someone else.

When you exchange cash for a good or a service (of whatever kind), you give money to others. That transaction brings you satisfaction, because you want the good or the service more than you want the money. It also satisfies the people you give money to, all of whom would rather have money than the goods or services they give you.

Clearly, this woman who has an elderly TV, a venerable computer and (horrors!) no smartphone (how can she bear the degraded status!) is doing something or other with her income. Lee is careful not to tell us what it is. But the money comes in, and it certainly goes out. Now it may go into rent, or mortgage payments, or perhaps to sustain an expensive addiction, or to hire the services of a prostitute; it may fund the purchase of stocks, or perhaps she puts the money into certificates of deposit. She may send large checks to Soldiers’ Angels. Look, whatever she does with it, she does not turn it into cash and bury it in the back yard, or burn the bills. No, there is no proving that claim, but this newsletter is confident it is true.

What Lee objects to is that he either can’t find what she does with her money (it’s her business, after all), or he disapproves of what she’s doing with it.

That’s an important point, because for collectivists, situations like this are a bone in the throat. They don’t like the very idea of privacy (“Why won’t you tell me what you do with your money? What do you have to hide?”), and they take an authoritarian approach to how you allocate your assets. The attitude amounts to mandatory consumerism: “Get out there and buy a new TV and a smartphone — heck, buy two smartphones, and make ’em top of the line!”

Why? The reluctant consumer is a public enemy, that’s why. It’s not really your money, you see, because like Obama, collectivists are concerned about “fairness”. Obama likes high capital gains taxes (though they reduce revenues to the government and tend strongly to discourage investment and job creation) because they make life more “fair”. The folks who whine, “How many summer houses does a business tycoon need?” are also worried that this working woman is not spending her money in furniture stores and electronics outlets because those stores pay taxes to municipalities, counties and states and taxes are good for government and government is good for everybody.

If you suspect these lunatic sentiments are headed straight toward increased levels of control over how you spend your income, you are exactly correct. “Fairness” and paying the right taxes to the right tax-collectors matter more than your decisions about how to distribute your money to meet your needs as you perceive them.

It’s ultimately all about control.

As demographics and weather patterns and earthquakes and foreign competition and wars and migration change/appear/disappear, people will be affected — and disturbed. Governments and the people who depend on them to enforce “Fairness” will always want to tinker and adjust and control.

Those impulses are evil because they are based on falsehoods, and because they attempt to justify and impose degrees of maladaptive, dysfunctional tyranny.

The best way to deal with change is to remain flexible. Centralized control is by definition stiff, slow and often ignorant or misguided. Planning the economy means mismanaging the economy.

Whether the labor market changes or remains relatively unchanged, the best way to cope is to adopt policies that maximize employment, foster increases in productivity, protect the consumer and the provider from criminal activity — and then, having accomplished those feats, stand back and let the system achieve homeostasis (which does not end and prevent change, but is characterized by what has been called “dynamic teleology”; read this book).

Unfortunately the collectivist impulse to administer, manage, plan and control comes naturally to those who indulge in Utopian fantasies. “If only I had that rich man’s money…if my salary were trebled…why must anyone be poor? The economy is controlled by people who absorb the wealth of the workers and give nothing back…that woman with the old TV and computer and cellphone is hindering prosperity!”

The truth is not as seductive as conspiracist and Utopian fantasies. As boring as the concept may be, the fact is that free markets operated by free individuals are the basis for the lowest possible levels of poverty and the highest possible levels of prosperity. It’s that simple, and for many who can’t resist the urge to impose “Fairness”, that’s way too simple. They fear freedom because it means people are not under control. Imagine the horror of it — they would be able to spend their money as they please!

Authoritarian schemes often begin by angrily denouncing the rich people for their wealth and attributing unemployment to greed and malice. These myths promote “corrective” policies that hinder genuine economic progress. That’s why this newsletter always refers to collectivist ideologues as “progressives”, with quotes; these folks are not genuinely progressive at all.

There is nothing modern about class envy, greed, kleptocracy, restraint of trade, confiscatory and punitive taxation, Marxism, Socialism or other Utopian schemes. They are all paths to poverty and tyranny. If you wish to be genuinely progressive, endorse Liberty.

This Is A Horrible Idea That The Citizenry Should Sabotage

A gut-wrenchingly expensive nationwide system of cameras and computers is being installed in the USA as the FBI launches a “face recognition” campaign. It’s a pervasive attempt by the federal government to bring everyone under surveillance and control.

No decent government needs even a small percentage of the information this face-recognition technology will provide.

What to do? Render the system incompetent and useless. Ears are like fingerprints — unique — so wear a cap in public that covers your ears. On other days, wear a cloth or paper dust mask over your nose and mouth (it’s a common practice in Asia, and for health reasons). Wear sunglasses. Any two of these three choices could make your video image useless. At the very least, you would complicate the task of the surveillance system, confusing its data and imposing a crippling inefficiency on the entire program.

Now imagine the reaction to a government that stops people on the street and tells them to take off caps, dust masks and sunglasses.

Morality, decency, fiscal prudence — those are virtues the citizens of the nation are going to have to impose on their would-be masters.

Yes, this newsletter is aware of some banks that bar entry to people wearing motorcycle helmets and sunglasses that hide their faces. That’s a reasonable imposition. What the FBI proposes is, however, akin to telling the population to affix ID numbers to their chests and backs, so everyone can be tracked in public. Yet law enforcement agencies can’t even use a GPS device to trace the travels of an automobile without getting a search warrant.

The FBI’s projected capabilities will enable an apparatus that…

…is more than just a database of mug shots mixed up with fingerprints — the FBI has admitted that this their (sic) intent with the technology surpasses (sic) just searching for criminals but includes spectacular surveillance capabilities. Together, it’s a system unheard of outside of science fiction.

(Everybody makes mistakes…that should probably read, “…this is their intent, as the technology…”. Oh, well.)

Indeed, the US government is taking on the attitude of the totalitarian monster depicted in Brazil. That’s a good film, by the way, and good because it is a powerful morality tale.

Where is Squaw Elizabeth Warren on this? Where is MSNBC? Where are the scalding editorials in the New York Times, denouncing this fascist enormity? The answer so far seems to be — nowhere. Collectivists know how important control is, so a few token murmurs may be heard from them, and then…nothing.

Still it seems that the FBI has gone too far, and should have offended even the Bicoastal Elite. Is the face recognition equipment to be installed only in Flyover Country, where those low, sloping foreheads can be found?

Of course the reassurances are piling up: “Nothing to see here, folks; move on. Move on.” All will be well, because your beloved FBI will never, ever abuse its power. All for your protection. Only paranoid nutcases object to modern law enforcement and defenses against terrorism.

If you believe that, you have managed to ignore history. The precedents are clear: this technology will be immorally employed, just as every other tool, including medical science, has been abused by people who lust for control and power. (More information and commentary is available here.)

If widespread surveillance of the public and the creation of a huge database allowing the authorities to know who is where when were necessary, this newsletter would endorse the plan. It is absolutely not necessary, not helpful and not useful. Fingerprints and mugshots collected on arrest, yes. Staking out suspects, yes. Search warrants, yes. This crack-brained scheme to scan the public and identify (who knows how many tens or hundreds of thousands of) people is megalomaniac lunacy. These federal cops have taken the bit in their teeth, and they need to be reassigned to posts as crossing guards in Death Valley!

The problem with face recognition surveillance is that it is a frontal assault on the everyday lives of everyone — an assumption on the part of The Powers That Be that you — not the other guy, but you — need watching and tracking, and a record of your everyday behavior needs to become part of a government database.

You know that will be the inevitable result. You know it in spite of all the denials and promises and smarmy reassurances of the Watchers. Trust your instincts, Pilgrims.

If Obama were a decent man, he would tell the FBI to stand down. Obama is not a decent man.

Links

National Empty Chair Day: Eastwood’s spoof strikes a chord, and the audience responds. The actor’s ploy was brilliant because it was simple, ridiculous, and evocative. The Democrats responded by clucking over how old Eastwood is, how he fumbled for words, how he rambled, how pathetic he has become. Their cruelty betrays the contempt that fuels authoritarian misrule (remember Flyover Country, where knuckle-draggers do The Dance of The Low, Sloping Foreheads).

Recently this newsletter denounced the abuse of the English language (“English, Correct And Otherwise” in Nr. 265) by endorsing prescriptivist practice with regard to grammar and vocabulary. This is an extraordinarily unpopular view; most authorities believe the fact of language change excuses ignorance, sloppy thinking, and imprecise expression. In order to gain insight into the subject, do read this brief essay.

Do you suspect Squaw Warren is proud of these Occupy members? She portrayed herself as a philosophical godmother of the anticapitalist group. This is always the way: the charlatans go to Congress or to a sinecure with a foundation, while the footsoldiers risk prison. It does not seem that any of these bombers has the connections that saved Billy Ayers’s worthless carcass from a long spell in the Big House.

What? You say you “suspect the major news media are biased in favor of Obama and the Democrats“? Are you out of your mind?

The electorate is not even close to being ready for reform. Four more years from now, it may have matured, learned its lesson and committed to creating a better future.

Why is it females who are enthusiastic about the correctness of their views tend to wave their arms wildly, as if signaling their presence in the ocean to a passing Coast Guard helicopter? Consider the Muslim featured in Nr. 251 of this newsletter, Squaw Warren in Nr. 247, and now the distaff politician whose speech is linked just below. Do males do that?

All right: hundreds of thousands of jobs saved by Obamoid intervention; do they add up to more than a million? And what about twenty-three million people looking for work? What do those figures tell you about the last three and a half years? Can jobs not lost somehow cancel out the folks who are looking for work?

Rat in a drain ditch
Caught on a limb
You know better but
I know him
Like I told you
What I said
Steal your face
right off your head

The masthead includes a quote from the works of Ludwig von Bertalanffy.

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

Publisher: The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee.