Leftist Complaints About Obama’s Vaunted Change Continue, And Why This One Should Be A Partisan Issue Is Hard To Figure. The Omens Are Bad Because The Press Has Been Seduced And Suborned
The Obama Department of Justice wants to dispense with one of the rights of the accused that was imposed by the courts. Not even the hated GOP pushed for this limitation of a prisoner’s right to counsel.
Two things come to mind: first, as this newsletter said emphatically in Number 19, if arrested, do not talk to the police. Say nothing.
Second, this is another warning that Obama may be trying to effect a new balance between law enforcement and the citizenry. Does his administration genuinely uphold Enlightenment values (which have evolved to enhance the dignity of the individual)? Regarding which…
…the PenPo hopes the lap-dog press will stubbornly question The One about that promised domestic military force — the coming federal army we know nothing about, except that Obama, reading carefully prepared remarks from a teleprompter, told us it is part of his security plan.
Is the current proposal of the DOJ intended to articulate with this domestic military? The news media should be demanding to know where, exactly, US law enforcement is headed, and to what end.
This newsletter sees Obama as a lot more authoritarian/fascist than do most observers. The civic weal requires a close, sustained questioning of the president. Who can do that, given the bias of the news media? It’s a cause for concern, and it calls for a quick turnaround by the lickspittle reporters and editors.
That is very unlikely to happen. As the print media convulse and contract, the prospect of jobs saved by government subsidies must inevitably influence how the news is reported.
Obama may soon have the best press money can buy.
It’s Time For Truth And Justice All Around
Pelosi is lying. She says she did not know what was going on, and/or did not approve of the “enhanced techniques” employed by the CIA in interrogating the Bad Guys. That’s simply not true.
It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002. (Source.)
Are we all clear on that now? Fine; now what, exactly, does it imply?
…we have to address the serious national security problem that faces us now. It’s time for a special prosecutor, multi-million dollar investigation and possibly even impeachment and censure proceedings….
Good grief! There is more to this than met the eye! What is this guy talking about?
…this troublesome issue of the involvement of now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other ranking Dems in harsh-interrogation enablement.
Maybe this calls for a thorough read of the post found at the link above…. You think??
The Concepts Of Dark Matter And Dark Energy Are About To Be Junked. The Resort To Rationality Has Long Been Overdue
You probably know that today’s Penguin Post has evolved through three main stages: first there was simply the circulation of raw messages to a few correspondents, messages that were not in a newsletter format. As the practice persisted, it was decided to formalize them, and The Terrapin Gazette was conceived. Over one hundred issues were produced, and then, after a hiatus of some months, The Penguin Post appeared in HTML format. All three efforts were of a piece, all produced by the same staff.
In July of 2004, in a pre-TG message, this staff attacked the idea of dark matter/dark energy:
Could it be — and yes, I know this is an ignorant, or possibly insulting, question — that dark matter and strings are also myths? What will be known in fifty years, and will a more advanced state of physics allow scholars in 2054 to say, “Yes, they believed in dark matter back then, but with good reason. They did not understand the geometry of gravity well enough to appreciate that appearances are deceiving.”
Those sentiments were iterated in the message of October 16, 2004:
My own view is that much of what is taught and believed in the most advanced physics departments of the universities and research organizations is simply false. “Dark matter,” for example, reminds me very much of the concept of the “ether.” It is a fudge, a glitch factor, and so far it not only defies logic, it cannot yet be proved or disproved, which makes it unscientific. I suspect it will be dispensed with when more is learned about gravity, mass, energy and how they interact.
Then there was this restatement in a message dated October 24, 2004:
I continue to question…the entire concept of “dark matter and energy.” While they may yet be proved to exist, I suspect they are like the ether — myths that cover up a profound ignorance. They may be just-so stories that amuse and entertain, but remain beyond proof or disproof. Could it be that if we really understood physics, we’d see that there is no need for the fudge factor of “dark matter and energy” in our explanations? I suspect so. But how are you going to clarify matters when you posit that “dark matter” cannot be seen, felt or otherwise detected? Do you find no fatal contradiction in this hypothesis when you learn that “dark matter” has mass that makes an impact on gravity? I smell a totally unfalsifiable hypothesis and a just-so story in passionate embrace. But then I could be wrong.
On March 25, 2005, The Terrapin Gazette included this:
(I) believe that at some point in the future, people will laugh about the very idea of dark matter, and say simply that it was neither rational nor hinted at by observation. In truth, there is no evidence whatsoever that it exists. It is totally a creation of the imagination; if it does exist, which is possible (it is also possible that fairies exist), physics will have to start over at the beginning and revise itself almost totally.
The following is a quote taken from an internet post dated April 23, 2009:
The only solution is to reject Newton’s theory. If we live in a Universe where a modified law of gravitation applies, then our observations would be explainable without dark matter.
For the explanatory context of these two sentences, see the post at the link given immediately above.
This raises several troubling notions.
First let it be recognized that when faced with evidence that contradicted an old (Newtonian) notion, scientists decided that rather than question that antique, they should invent a fabulous phenomenon and invest that figment of their imaginations with credibility.
This was nothing but a resort to myth-making, followed by a demand that everyone believe the fabrication.
It was an act not of science, but of pure faith. As such, it was inappropriate and epistemologically illegitimate.
Second, recognize that the creation and adoption of a myth in order to sustain prior scientific advances was not just irrational, but ran counter to recent experience. In fact Newtonian physics had already been overturned by modern physics. Yet rather than add to the assault on seventeenth century knowledge — Newton may have been considered a holy and therefore inviolate figure, somehow — modern science reverted to primitive thinking, dreamed up dark matter and dark energy, and pressed on with the aplomb of an aboriginal shaman.
How much better it would have been if science had said simply, “We don’t understand the behavior of galaxies.” A simple admission of ignorance would have been admirably candid. When puzzled or ignorant, why attribute anything — anything at all — to ghosts?? Isn’t that deceitful, not to mention hubristic?
Astrophysicists may be loath to see the obvious parallel between the irrational belief in dark matter and dark energy on the one hand, and on the other hand the arguments creationists use in an attempt to overturn evolutionary biology. The parallel nevertheless exists. In both cases, the unscientific view springs from myths and ignorance.
Scientists are willing to say, “We know next to nothing about dark matter and energy,” — which implies logically that the phenomena exist — but are not willing to put it as “Nothing current can explain the behavior of galaxies.” Why? It seems there is some comfort (ego protection, status/authority preservation?) in irrationally attributing causation to an intrusive phenomenon that can only be named. One is reminded of the operation of curses in witchcraft and Vodoun. A psychic healer will never say, “I don’t know the cause of your problem”; rather the story will be that “An evil spell has been cast upon you by some unknown person.”
The psychological phenomenon may be rooted in the threat perceived by a learned figure who finds he has no answer to a straightforward question. Too, it could be that our minds recoil from the concept of causation instigated absent an agent. In both cases, the urge to fill the hole with a concept (“Dark matter supplies the gravity that holds galaxies together” or “History is the unfolding of the dialectic”) is strong. (See Kauffman on “just so” stories in his At Home In The Universe, ISBN 0-14-017414-1.)
The public admission that myths are not needed in astrophysics is an awkward, embarrassing moment for science, but it may provide a very helpful model for intellectual rigor as superstring theory continues to undergo critical examination. Whether one can believe in something that can be deduced from what we know is always an appropriate question. Do we know what we know well enough to use that knowledge as the sufficient basis for sophisticated deduction? Ah, probably not!
There is this flaw, this quirk, in humans that predisposes to myth and faith. Overcoming it is difficult. It can sneak in and settle down firmly in the most advanced disciplines. It is probably genetic, and it is certainly related to our ability to speak in symbols; for more on this, see Langer’s Philosophy in a New Key. Then, to complete the primary cycle, see Harris’ The End of Faith. Those works will prepare one to begin to see things scientifically.
Why Would Anyone Who Knows Anything About This Topic Be Surprised By Recent Developments?
It was utterly predictable. Al Gore will (as this is written) testify before a Congressional committee, and the Democrats have prevented testimony from a person who disagrees with him.
As this newsletter pointed out in Number 68, the anthropogenic global warming cult avoids debating its opponents. That’s because AGW freaks can’t dispute facts and logic; rather than report objectively, they preach imaginary catastrophe. The dogma of their cult is unscientific. It’s all been spelled out in considerable detail in the PenPo.
So the cult is crumbling. Its fragility is not appreciated yet, but the AGW insiders know that if they are asked hard questions, they will not have credible answers. The hockey stick graph hoax will be shoved down their throats, and numerous other fear-mongering claims given the lie, if the forum is opened to honest discussion. Hence the censorship.
The entire AGW fiasco should be a career-ender for the cult’s leaders, especially Gore and Hansen. Unfortunately the Obama administration does not have the principled judgment to drop its policy regarding climate change. In a few years, this will be a topic no Democrat will agree to discuss. By then it will almost certainly be obvious to everyone that AGW and regulations to reverse it were cynical hoaxes, lies designed to enable the expansion of governmental power. It will become clear that the people behind the campaign to save the planet from carbon dioxide knew all along that Al Gore was a second-rate carney barker whose pitch was pure baloney.
If there were some possible alternative, this would not be so terrifying: “…Obama’s social democratic agenda is breathtaking. And the rollout has thus far been brilliant. It will work for a while, but there is no escaping….” No escaping what?? Click on the link, and learn what Obama won’t tell you about in time for you to avoid it.
Related to the above: we need to solve this problem, or at least find an efficient way of coping. If you want to help, begin with solid fundamentals and work from there.
Hillary Clinton. That is all.
The real party of Lincoln rises from the grave. Yes, the Whigs are back!
All right, ladies, you can just hop right over this link, because you wouldn’t understand it at all, and if you did take a look, the males would have to put up with all that clucking about how men are just little boys in bigger bodies, and lots of other condescending patronizing trivializing crap; so move on, ignore this…and let the men have some peace and quiet while they enjoy things you don’t need to know about. Oh, and before you get out of here, bring some beers for everybody. And don’t get your nose out of joint; you might have had to put up withthis guy instead of considerate and sensitive US types. Count your blessings.
How in the world can our leaders be doing all this stuff to us? Don’t they have any consciences at all?? Here’s one possible answer.
A post script on firearms legislation in the USA.
Media bashing, Part 6,722,513. (Heavy sigh.)
Funny, isn’t it, that at the time, the people who pulled this off did not boast about their achievement? They should have, because they did it without hurting anybody…simply by using a technique that is used on trainees in the US military, never hurt anybody in the slightest, and has been undergone by people who volunteered for it just to see what it is like. That’s pretty darn good. The cost/benefit ratio is astronomically favorable! Or don’t you agree? And if you don’t, why don’t you? Maybe you take Woody Allen’s attitude toward Los Angeles….?? Really, who are the Bad Guys here, and what price sanctimony?
There’s proof that divination by throwing bones while under the effects of psychotropic drugs is still popular…either that, or some folks are wasting their time and spilling lots of ink. Maybe, to steal a snotty remark from Stein and mangle it, there is no there there to figure out.
He’s gotta be crazy! Harry was a great president! Is it too late to call for a recount?
The subject is taxes, and the proposal is for a new amendment to the US federal constitution. The author of the proposal is another of those lawyers, and we know those guys think they can do absolutely everydamnthing. So this is nonsense, right? No, in fact it’s worth your time and trouble to read it and think about it. Lawyers, you see, are like whores: some are bad, some are good, and some are really great. This guy is good, maybe great. That does not mean he should be telling ship captains and brigade commanders how to do their jobs, and it does not mean that he has any business trying to restructure society, or even lead a children’s choir. It just means he is qualified to talk about his specialty, which is constitutional law. It’s up to you to decide whether what he says makes any sense. Go to it.
Common stock, preferred stock…it’s all just stock, right? Wrong. And as to the implications…Katie, bar the door!
So The One got a nice reception at CIA, which made everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Watch out, BO, they can play dirty, and if they turn on you, you’ll pay and pay and pay…. Meanwhile, some folks are heap plenty disgusted with you already.
By now you are probably sick of hearing about Tea Parties. You think they are a waste of time and energy, and you believe the people engaging in them would be better off to mow their lawns or organize their paper clips. Do you decry the Tea Party phenomenon because it is (a) ineffectual, or because it is (b) disloyal? No, never mind — candor is not required here, so the question is withdrawn. Meanwhile, why not spend a very few minutes reading something cogent and informative about Tea Parties? Oh, go ahead, it’s not as if the suggestion were something subversive, such as the idea that there is widespread voter discontent with the corruption and malfeasance of Congress….
Oh, you say you like that female in the video at the link just above? Great! Here’s more about her.
All right, you skipped those two links above, the one leading to posts on tea parties and that other one on Rosa Brooks. Well, Pilgrim, the PenPo understands, and wants to help. Relax, take your shoes off, have a dram of single malt, and clear your mind. That’s it. Now…give rationality a second chance, OK? This link takes you to a very graceful, informative and thoughtful post that you should not ignore. The PenPo thinks it should be titled, “The Map is not the Territory,” as that’s how Korzybski put it, if memory serves, but…let that go. Do read the piece. It will be good for you.
Cripes, talk about politically incorrect! You are already not supposed to remind the delicate lefties that Alger Hiss was in fact a commie spy, and now this.
Remember affirmative action? Or would you rather not?
Speaking of memories, how about Howie Cosell? Bars used to buy second-hand TVs and raffle off bricks, the winner getting to throw a brick into the screen when Cosell appeared and said something particularly revolting. So how about a similar deal for The One? When CNN shows a report on stuff like this disgrace, you get to destroy the TV and thereby make a dual statement: “Choke on this, CNN! Here’s my vote, BO!”
Yikes! Here’s a quote that will shake up some folks — “Fundamental Christians aren’t wrong on abortion or homosexuality because they’re misapplying scripture, they’re wrong because scripture is false. (Here’s a trick: try quoting to religious anti-abortion people Exodus 21:22, then say it’s the reason Orthodox and Conservative Jews don’t believe abortion is categorically murder.)” Watch out for that lightning bolt….
From The Archive
This is a continuation from PenPo 77 of material originally published in The Terrapin Gazette of 2005.
If you love to hate capitalism, you are highly unlikely to be skilled as a seer. At least that’s the track record the US-haters have so far. Consider this:
The implication, stated explicitly in a recent article by Jonathan Steele of the Guardian, is that withdrawal of the multinational forces would dampen if not terminate the insurgency. While the flaws in this argument are obvious, given that the prime target of the insurgency is now the elected government of Iraq and its employees, there is another question we should ask: what is the track record of those who want an immediate pull-out from Iraq in providing accurate analysis and timely advice? What would have happened, let’s say, if the US and its allies had followed their advice in October 2001, at the start of their campaign in Afghanistan?
Jason Burke, a British journalist…wrote an article for the Observer with the unequivocal title “Why this war will not work”. He made the following predictions:
1. The foot soldiers of the Taliban will not be troubled by the forces ranged against them.
2. The people of Afghanistan will rally behind the Taliban.
3. The deployment of British and American special forces would lead to a mass uprising against the invaders, while tarring the Northern Alliance as western stooges.
4. An American invasion force would suffer a similar fate to the Soviet army during its decade-long occupation of Afghanistan.
On November 2nd, 2001, the Guardian published an editorial entitled “How not to win a war”, which confidently asserted that “If ever there was a new, Vietnam-style quagmire in the making, Afghanistan must surely be it.”
In addition to making dire predictions which failed to materialise, the Guardian described the Americans as being “trapped in a B-52 mind-set”, which reflects a common theme among supercilious Europeans resentful of US power. In this model of international relations, the US is a dumb giant which knows how to flex its muscles but lacks understanding of complex political realities and local cultures, resorting to brute force when more subtle methods are required.
In a lecture on October 30th, 2001, Professor Sir Michael Howard, the eminent military historian, said that fighting terrorism by bombing Afghanistan was like “trying to eradicate cancer with a blow torch” and had put Al-Qaeda in a “win-win situation”.
Pepe Escobar (is) a tawdry hack who styles himself as a “roving” international correspondent. In addition to flirting with 9-11 conspiracy stories, Escobar had no doubt whatever that the real objective of the military campaign in Afghanistan was to enable the construction of an oil pipeline from central Asia to the coast of Pakistan, thereby giving the US access to a vital non-OPEC oil source. Three years later the pipeline was triumphantly unveiled: unfortunately for “Pipeline Pepe” its route does not pass anywhere near Afghan territory, as indicated by the map helpfully printed in his article.
In some cases, this anti-Americanism has led to quite open support for the insurgents and terrorists whose activities have perpetuated the suffering of the Iraqi people. On January 12th 2005, the Asia Times published an article about Sadr City (the densely populated Shia suburb of East Baghdad) by Michael Schwarz, a Marxist professor from the State University of New York. Schwartz constructed a virtual parallel universe of disinformation and propaganda based on the following core assertions:
* Sadr City was a “liberated zone” under the control of Muqtada al-Sadr’s “Mehdi Army”
* The Mehdi Army had instituted a form of self-government which had broad support among the local population
* Similar developments had occurred in Sunni Arab towns such as Fallujah, which would co-exist peacefully as “nascent city-states” if left alone by the US military and Iraqi government forces.
In fact, the climate in Sadr City as of January 2005 was one of peaceful campaigning prior to the eagerly awaited national elections due at the end of the month. The Muqtada militia had surrendered its heavy weapons several months before in a deal brokered with the interim government, and its supporters were campaigning for their own party list, the Independent Nationalist Elites and Cadres, which ended up winning only three seats in the 275-member assembly — so much for its broad popular support.
The insurgents are gradually being defeated. Their former strongholds in Samarra, Fallujah and Haifa Street (in Baghdad) are now under the control of Iraqi government and coalition forces. Their only hope is for a premature withdrawal of the multinational force, before the Iraqi army and police are strong enough to defeat them unaided. Their only means of achieving this is by generating media coverage in the US that will undermine public support for the mission being carried out by the troops. The anti-American left is a de facto ally of the terrorists and insurgents now operating in Iraq. It spreads their propaganda, it shares their hatreds and it supports their main aim: the humiliation and defeat of America.
As for Schwarz’s depraved characterisation of insurgent-controlled Fallujah, the reign of terror that had existed in this “liberated zone” was revealed to the world after the insurgents were driven out in November — not local self-government or a “nascent city state”, but a base for fanatical terrorists intent on spreading mayhem throughout Iraq.