During the Dutch 2006 general elections….emails were sent directly from the Turkish government’s offices in Ankara to Turkish organizations and individuals in the Netherlands, instructing Turkish-born Dutch citizens to vote for Democrats 66 and its Turkish-born candidate Fatma Koser Kaya. As a result of her large number of preferential votes, Koser-Kaya became one of the party’s three representatives in the Tweede Kamer.

Catching Up With The Most Successful Science Hoax In History

Here are some recent posts found on a weblog that debunks the fables of the Gore-Hanson cult:

1. Why isn’t Big Oil participating in the dispute over anthropogenic global warming? Isn’t that silence a tacit admission that AGW is a fact?

2. “Other industries would stand accused of damning conflicts of interest but when it comes to global warming, anything goes.” It’s not science that drives the UK’s Climate Change Committee — it’s greed.

3. Here’s a simple idea that Al Gore and Jim Hansen assume you will be simple enough to accept: as carbon dioxide heats the earth, the arctic region releases methane from the melted permafrost. Because methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, global warming accelerates wildly, the sea level rises, and Denver acquires beachfront property. Well, this newsletter does not underestimate your intelligence, so you are advised to read an explanation of why this permafrost/methane scenario is yet another deceitful attempt by the AGW cult to frighten you.

Then there is this, found among the news items on the internet: “…today, virtually all climate scientists agree that man is responsible for shifts in global temperatures….” That’s from an article explaining why Reddit has banned posts asserting that AGW is not an accurate or valid scientific explanation for claimed (but not demonstrated) global warming. The quote includes a hyperlink to this site, which is to serve as evidence that science has endorsed the idea that mankind controls climate. (Read the article at the link; does it support the sweeping and unequivocal quote at the top of this paragraph? Then recall this information from Number 307 of this newsletter. Finally read the relevant item in Number 301, here.) Since warming has not occurred for over a decade — in spite of rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide — the roles played by faith and fanaticism have increased in the ranks of AGW believers. The fact that a rational, consistent, fact-based refutation of the AGW myth is available must now be censored.

Dispatches From A Tramp Abroad

So you thought Texas is part of the Bible Belt, eh? Here’s some evidence that you could be wrong-o: good grief, what next?

The Obamas and Bushs and Clintons in South Africa.

2033 NBA Champion? And it all started here.

The iconic solar storm that will not be unique.

Health insurance companies scamming the people? Heavens no, that can’t be true!

Leave it to the Germans to create the world’s largest miniature model railroad layout. More than just a railroad, it is a city, a continent and the whole world.

Turkish Secularists are gloating over the the fight between the Gülen Movement and Erdoğan’s ruling AK Party. Only one of the two will remain standing, it seems.

This article is, of necessity, a bit of a simplification, but it makes it easy for non-insiders to understand what is going on in Turkey right now. Then…

…here’s a razor-sharp analysis of the current situation. However, some of my local contacts have commented that it “…is only a well structured English presentation of the superficial an (sic) overstated arguments on both sides. It has some fallacies and wrong references, but still it is an attempt to grasp a glimpse of the cacophony in the country.” Personally, I don’t find the remarks over-stated; in fact, the author obviously has a keen knowledge of Turkish politics (much more than I do) and really grasps the power struggle that is going on between the elements that were once allied, but are now at loggerheads.

Bizarre: first, the former AKP minister calls for resignations of ministers whose sons are allegedly involved in a bribery scandal. He uses the police for his own purposes — and then tosses them as soon as they start doing their jobs.

From a Turkish social media blog (freely translated): “Now police brothers, do you understand who is (your) friend (and) who is (your) enemy! When five young people were killed (by the police during the Gezi Park demonstrations) he was saying I won’t mix up (things in) my police’s matters, while now he says I’ll eat (them)”. — Note for those interested in foreign languages: this is a play on words in Turkish. “Yemek” means to eat. “Yedirmek” to cause (or force) to eat, but also means to mix things up. “Yedirtmek” means to cause someone to eat or to make things get mixed up. “Yedirtmem” means I would (never) cause things to get mixed up (or influence things), while “yerim” means I’d eat (it, him, them).

I missed this during the Gezi Park demonstrations. Here is a catch-up article from the Berliner Tagesspiegel of the past weekend. Then there’s an article that appeared in the NYT back in June during the demonstrations (which gives essentially the same information as in the Tagesspiegel article). Finally, another clip from YouTube.

A little late, but this clip shows the seeds of the protest that is on its way to bringing down RTE. He stepped into some deep, sticky and smelly doggy poop and now a couple of his own ministers are indirectly contributing to his fall from grace. Do you notice anything about the locals who are being interviewed?

Recent development: now the PM himself is implicated. The Turkish construction mogul, Ali Ağaoğlu, somehow arranged some pressure from the “big boss” to be exerted on the Mayor and City Council of Istanbul so that he could expand his original construction plans. Note well: the English-language newspaper, Today’s Zaman, is known to be close to the Gülen Movement.

This message came to us today from one of our Muslim friends, and brightened our day:

Ho HO HO!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS to one and ALL! If you are Muslim, go celebrate with your non-Muslim friends. Christ is a prophet of ours. As Muslims, we respect and love him too…so say a little prayer and enjoy your day!

He always signs off every e-mail with:

We may be Muslims, Jews or Christians
but until our hearts
become the mold for every heart
we will see only our differences.
—Rumi.

Authority Based Solely On A Domineering Attitude

When actual law enforcement measures have no legal basis, peace officers must intimidate the citizenry in order to do their jobs. Call up You Tube and, in the Search line, enter the words “the top us checkpoint refusals”. Select and view any video(s) on the list that appears. Then ponder the fact that, absent probable cause, the immigration police not serving at border crossings have no authority to order or compel people to obey. It’s all a charade.

NTG located some clarification of this issue here. Note as well that the US federal law is explicit:

8 CFR 287.8 (b)(1) – Standards for enforcement activities (b) Interrogation and detention not amounting to arrest. (1) Interrogation is questioning designed to elicit specific information. An immigration officer, like any other person, has the right to ask questions of anyone as long as the immigration officer does not restrain the freedom of an individual, not under arrest, to walk away.

The full text of the policy, Standards for Enforcement Activities, is here.

The real issue: US citizens — including the folks in the uniforms of the Border Patrol — routinely put up with the bullying tactics of immigration enforcement officers. That intimidation of the populace encourages illegal behavior by law officers.

Book Review

The Rise of the Warrior Cop, The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, by Radley Balko, Public Affairs, ISBN 978-1-61039-211-2.

Basics

The author is a journalist who has worked for Reason magazine and the Cato Institute; he currently, and to this newsletter inexplicably, is an investigative reporter for The Huffington Post. He has written a book you should purchase, read, and then loan to someone else. Don’t balk; Balko writes gracefully and concisely, so neither you nor the person who shares your copy of Warrior Cop will be burdened. You will almost certainly be angered and frightened, however, and that’s excellent. That is why this book deserves wide distribution.

Policing the USA is a subject that must be approached from several directions. They include the history of policies and practices, the political motives and implications of policy, the legal aspects of policing, and finally the ethics of law. Balko covers them all, providing the reader with excellent summaries of important court decisions and statements by various police officials.

He begins with Rome and the foundational principles of US law and policing. Then, in five particularly illuminating chapters, he describes the transformations of policing that took place in the period from 1960 to the present.

Valuable insights into the familiar

Balko’s historical approach is wonderfully transparent and comprehensible. This reviewer feels that he now understands much better what happened during the last half century. The insights Balko provides have the distinct ring of truth, such that one’s experience living through those decades takes on new significance and clarity. That’s the gift only a good historian can give.

The tale is a recounting of horror. Balko is convincing: his exhibits include cynical, simple minds conspiring to enhance their power…frightened police officers…law enforcement officials grasping for expensive toys and the bragging rights that go with them…incompetent and bizarrely irrational judges and supreme court justices…yes, the frauds are all betrayed by their words and deeds. As you read Warrior Cop, a disturbing picture will be made clear to you, for you will see a noble legacy diminished and prostituted.

As the account proceeds, you will probably ask Balko to prove his contentions — and then read with fascination when he does exactly that.

The contradictions grow increasingly damning as Balko documents a long list of facts: small cities with moderate crime rates acquire armored personnel carriers and fifty caliber machine guns; SWAT teams serve misdemeanor warrants and raid businesses to make sure barbers are licensed and beer bottles properly labeled; chained dogs are routinely shot; children are violently woken to find rifles and pistols aimed at their faces; home interiors are literally torn apart in insanely destructive “searches”; and search warrants are “en route” as the cops scream obscenities at people lying hogtied on the floor. The conclusion is inescapable: neither common sense nor decency are part of the fell SWAT phenomenon.

And the origin of this obsessive, formulaic brutality? The terrorism is the product of a warrior’s monochromatic mindset, for the police see the populace as a hostile, dangerous enemy. Then…

“To protect and serve”?

…in perhaps the most understated passages in this horrifying volume, Balko tells the reader that when the heavily armed and fanatically determined cops are confronted with real opposition — a lunatic bent on killing as many people as possible, for example — the responses to the immediate threat to the public safety are to pull back, establish a perimeter, and delay engaging the killer. Balko quotes David Kopel (on page 231) on the infamous Columbine slaughter:

While one murder after another was being perpetrated, a dozen police officers were stationed near [the] exit. These officers made no attempt to enter the building, walk 15 steps, and confront the murderers. … Twenty minutes after the rampage began, three SWAT officers were finally sent into the building — one to the first floor, on the side of the building furthest from the library, where killings were in progress. Finding students rushing out of the building, they decided to escort students out, rather than track down the killers.

Yes: unarmed and shocked civilians have on occasion acted with selfless bravery, while cops dithered, trying to “assess the situation”.

The reader may be excused for resorting to the word “cowardice”, though Balko does not so label the cops’ misbehavior. Instead he points out that as the pattern of the deployment of SWAT teams evolved, a stunning contradiction emerged: overwhelming military force is routinely used to serve warrants in misdemeanor cases and when the least dangerous criminals are targeted.

Policing as posture and pretense

The disillusioning fact is that the entire SWAT concept stands revealed as an exaggerated display of male prowess crafted out of the fantasies of immature, overcompensating, insecure show-offs. (As the feminist said to the yahoo in the Corvette, “Sorry about the size of your penis”.) SWAT is, for those who have something to prove, an intoxicating and validating game; unfortunately it’s harmless only to the players.

More than once, Balko’s reader is reminded that the people who most want to be on a SWAT team are the ones who should never be selected for that duty.

Public ignorance carefully maintained

Unfortunately the upside-down behavior of SWAT teams remains beyond the average citizen’s awareness. Further, a complete understanding of law enforcement has, Balko points out, been hindered in the USA. One can discover exactly how many cops have been killed as they did their jobs, but the number of people they have killed is unknowable. Why? Balko: “…the public isn’t permitted to know. These policies have given us an increasingly armed, increasingly isolated, increasingly paranoid, increasingly aggressive police force in America, and a public shielded from knowing the consequences of it all.”

Those words come late in the book, so they might ring hollow to you at this point. That’s all the more reason to read how, exactly, Balko can make those claims and then endow them with the authority of demonstrable truth. In fact, the evidence for each of his contentions is convincing — but little of it has ever been researched, compiled, and cogently articulated until now.

Balko’s compilation is scrupulously fair (not “balanced”, but accurate, which is infinitely better). He shows that the needless, unprincipled violence of the militarized cop (“Open the door! We are the fucking police!!”) draws condemnation or support depending entirely on the politics of the observer. All too often, brutality transforms itself to meting out what is perceived as richly deserved punishment. Justice is always mocked, in other words, when the cops are free to hammer the sleepy, the stunned, the utterly innocent, and the unlucky. No apologies needed or provided; “This is what we do”.

When the cops are militarized, the citizenry, simply everybody, is unlucky.

There is a great deal more in Balko’s book (RICO; BATFE; race relations; BNDD; the Castle Doctrine; Ruby Ridge; Slick Willy, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer; various constitutional amendments and their enemies; DEA; FBI; gun control; INS; LESP; no-knock; ODALE; Waco; Posse Comitatus…well, that and much more). Perhaps the best introduction to the many implications of living in a nation policed by warrior cops is to be found in chapter 9, “Reform”. You might read that first.

To this newsletter, the war on drugs is one of the nastiest and least rational phenomena contributing to the abuse of the citizenry. Balko does not believe it will be possible to put an end to that enormity, but he is cautiously optimistic that some improvements can be made. His many suggestions for the reduction of the great harm done by soldier-cops in the USA make up a wish list that virtually no one except a vote-hungry demagogic politician could reject.

An oversight in an otherwise excellent book: why ever?

Finally, there is a single fact that this reviewer feels Balko should have included, but chose to ignore. That fact is that the current president said, when running for office,

We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve our national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve gotta have a national civilian security force that’s just as strong, just as powerful, just as well-funded.

So you know what that fellow thinks of the militarized cop.

Obviously, you want to live according to your values. It is no less clear that Obama plans to command and control.

Your goal is important. The US federal constitution recognizes that importance, and defends your right to live free of tyranny. Obama’s goals are wrong.

It’s that simple.

The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Vaccination Effort Under The Microscope

Alleged: that a humanitarian effort to eradicate polio has cost eight billion US dollars — and created a disaster.

While India has been polio-free for a year, there has been a huge increase in non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP). In 2011, there were an extra 47,500 new cases of NPAFP. Clinically indistinguishable from polio paralysis but twice as deadly, the incidence of NPAFP was directly proportional to doses of oral polio received. Though this (sic) data was (sic) collected within the polio surveillance system, it was not investigated. The principle of primum-non-nocere (“first, do no harm”) was violated. (Source.)

Meanwhile, there is criticism of Gates’s philanthropy in Africa. While some will detect a whiff of conspiracist paranoia in the charges, others will argue that Gates should have realized that his position was vulnerable to accusations that he was effectively making sure firms in which he has considerable interests benefited hugely from humanitarian work. Assume, therefore, that his thinking was something like, “I’ll make money by reducing human suffering. That’s exactly what every hospital, physician and health insurance company does, and it’s the good side of capitalism.” Is that what he would say, and would he be not only correct, but ethically without blemish? Over to you….

Links

The USA is populated by mean-spirited, selfish people who don’t care about each other. Here’s an example of how ugly Yanks can be. — Unh, wait: what’s this? Over one hundred thousand dollars? Well, er, that is…never mind.

Whoa! “Poverty pimps”? The One is not going to like this!

For almost two decades, the founding staff of this newsletter has had virtually no experience with US television. The present fuss over Duck Dynasty attracted no attention in The Eagle Wing Palace — until this commentary was encountered. Recommended. (Clarification: the post linked here is recommended; television is not.) The rest of it, such as this, will be from now on ignored as silly.

A hat tip goes to reader GB for a video that’s a grabber.

Snowden, NSA and national security are political concerns, when they should be matters of practical safety. Sadly and possibly even tragically, incompetent but powerful people will probably make the crucial decisions. That’s no reason to abandon the constitutional basis of a democratic republic; in fact, it’s a reason to strengthen the fundamentals of good governance.

For history buffs: start here for an introduction to a talk on the roots of the industrial revolution. Then carry on by listening to the talk.

This tip won’t guarantee you absolute safety, but it might save you from problems caused by internet scammers.

Antibiotics are slowly declining in effectiveness, so the search for alternative ways of killing bacteria is on. The most disturbing aspect of this story is the history of bacteriophage therapy; that modality has been around for about eighty years, but it has been sidelined and faces irrational opposition. Recall Sir Alexander Fleming’s bitter words, “Penicillin sat on the shelf for thirteen years while I was called a quack”. Hasn’t science learned its lesson? The pharmaceutical establishment should pursue promising research, beginning with the considerable information on bacteriophages that is available; then reform must be imposed on the FDA!

A weblogger says, “India is in the wrong here. But they’ve been paying attention and realize that there’s no cost to screwing with the United States now, and it plays well with the electorate, which apparently is less concerned that their ambassador was essentially keeping a slave. Well, anti-slavery is just another white, western imperialist value, I guess.” Ouch! That combination sucker punch should make a lot of guilty parties in both nations bleed….

Here’s a look at a defensive weapon system that will probably undergo a great deal of upgrading before it is used in combat.

Media credibility has this college prof upset. He provides few answers, but his questions are legitimate. Next he might consider media credulity.

There is interesting information on epigenetics here and here. The flood is coming….

Related: there is more to DNA than expected.

Also related: Neanderthaler, Denisovans, and the evolution of evolutionary theory. The price of progress in this field is temporary confusion, followed by stable misunderstanding. Scholars have a long, long way to go….

Jerry Brown (California’s former “Governor Moonbeam” and current governor) used to say that cancer was mostly caused by environmental factors, and therefore was a governmental problem. Wrong.

CBS television and journalistic ethics: a too-familiar topic continues to provoke concern, when it should turn millions against the overweening hubris of the media elites.

Evidently the ideal US political candidate would (1) probably not be a Mormon; (2) preferably be heterosexual; (3) not be a Muslim; and, most important of all, (4) would have to claim to believe in a supreme deity. This according to what appears to be a credible survey; it suggests that, if presented with candidates whose deity mandates global war to reduce Christians and Jews to near slavery and literally murder everyone else who refuses conversion to the conquering faith…the voting public just might prefer those fanatics over candidates who simply ignore religious belief as incredible. That’s appalling.

How do you pronounce that word deity? Are you saying it properly? Dictionaries are necessary, of course, and this website is a luxury you should know about. (Turn your speakers on.) You are welcome.

Here’s a cute video advertisement for a beer.

This is a poster that belongs on many walls. Decide where to hang it, and then order. Require the family to (a) study it, (b) pass a quiz on it, and then (c) review it weekly.

In case you are interested in the NSA “situation”, click here for more information, some of which might even be true.

A manifesto for the ages: the foundation of ethics is a grim determination to stand between predator and victim. Recommended.

News that’s not quite ready for release yet: “However incoherent these fixes may seem, they send two messages, loud and clear. The first is that although liberal pundits may think that the (Obamacare) law is a done deal, impossible to repeal, the administration does not believe that”.

Censorship? “Heck, no; we are just US journalists, doing our jobs — one of which is editing“.

Consider Israel, the apartheid state that refuses to give “Palestinians” a state of their own, and thinks God gave Jews land that actually belongs to the “Palestinians”: what retribution does that call for? Boycott! Protest! Condemnation! Or so some say. Perhaps there are some problems with those responses….

She gave a speech to a bunch of ‘wingnuts’, which is an ethics violation! Yes, to many “progressives”, speaking about policy, politics or ethics can be a criminal act, unless the speaker is a “progressive”. Asking an instrumentality of the government to punish someone for speaking to a voluntary assembly is not simply overzealous partisanship. It’s intimidation and attempted censorship.

Oops. — This commercial will offend some folks, but politically incorrect videos don’t endanger lives. “Gun-free zones” do.

Scientists are trying to understand epigenetics — and the progress sometimes springs surprises.

The government of the USA attacks vitamin pills and antibacterial soaps — and this newsletter insists that if you want the latter, you should look at chlorhexadine gluconate, which is sold under a number of brand names. You can get it from Amazon. It’s a genuine antibacterial that also defeats a number of viruses. Meanwhile, the real antibacterial value of ordinary soap is that it breaks up — emulsifies — the fatty acids that make up a sticky goo on your hands. Get rid of the goo, and you get rid of the bacteria in it. That’s why ants, which are actually very clean animals, don’t add as many bacteria to a covered dish of cookies as are added by dust particles falling on an uncovered dish of cookies. Remember, the goal is not NO bacteria, but FEWER bacteria. That’s why hand-washing with ordinary soap is quite effective in reducing illness. (Tip for folks in Bangkok: go to Camillian Hospital, ask a nurse for the equivalent of HibiScrub (and give her a note with the chemical name of the soap on it), and tell her as many times as you have to that it requires no prescription, and hence no visit to a physician is needed. Do not agree to talk to a doctor! Tell the nurse to check with the pharmacist as to whether a prescription is required, and don’t back down. If you see that doctor, the price of the soap will soar. Yes, insisting works, and it’s worth the hassle.)

The masthead includes a quote from the works of Geert Wilders.

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

Publisher: The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee.