A Meditation On Investment

The economy, alas. The outlook is gloomy, the present is a disaster (which is not as bad as a catastrophe), and the recent past provides multiple examples of recklessness, stupidity, corruption and incompetence. How jolly.

It is, therefore, time to consider the basics and try to regain a grip on reality.

First, investing. There are two broad categories of investors: fundamentalists and technicians. Let us begin with the fundies.

These investors want to know all about the history and organization and strategies and plans of the company whose stock they might buy. They look at the good/service the company provides, consider its place in the market, investigate the tax and debt history of the company, try to determine the quality of management and reliability of labor at the company’s location, estimate consumer reaction to the company’s offerings, and so on. They believe that a close study of the company will allow the investor to determine how much the stock will pay in dividends in the future.

The technicians look at how the stock is trading, and when they see rising prices supported by rising volume, they buy. Their motto: buy high, sell higher. When the stock price rises to the technician’s target, he sells and takes his profit.

While fundies look at the basics of the company, techies look at the movements of the stock market. No techie needs to know anything at all about the company he’s investing in; he could not care less what its tax situation is, what product or service the company offers, whether the company is operating legally or not — he depends totally on the psychology of the stock market to give him his profits.

Both approaches to investing are shot full of holes, of course. But in the long run, techies will outperform fundies, as long as they stick to their strategy. Fundies are needed in the stock market, because if they were not there, to whom would techies sell their stock?

That brings us to the “greater fool” aspect of the stock market. A lot of investors are under the impression that return on investment in the form of dividends is unimportant, and they often cite Berkshire Hathaway as an example. The holding company has never declared a dividend, but instead adds to the price of its shares. The only way anyone can ever make any money by investing in BH is to buy the stock and then sell it at a higher price. In effect, this means that he is a fool, for his money is tied up and only making illusory gains until he sells — and in order to sell, he must find a buyer who is even more foolish than he is. That buyer must bet that the stock will go up in price, while knowing that the seller is sure it won’t.

Current income is a much better indicator of stock value than is price. The wise investor knows that even though income can be fiddled temporarily (and thereby mislead), price is a matter of perception and anticipation. Price is, in other words, the stuff of dreams.

Could prudent investors of either the techie or fundie type have foreseen the crash that has devastated the world economy? Yes, and no.

Certainly people have been predicting catastrophic economic collapse for decades, and it has never come to pass. So a lot of the cautionary information available to investors was discounted as alarmist fabrications. That’s reasonable. And in spite of a nationwide decline in housing prices and sharply rising foreclosures, the crash did not happen as soon as the underpinnings of the economy were swept away. We lived with the collapse as it began, continued, and accelerated for many months. The full implications were slow to arrive, leading us to believe they never would. After all, incompetents like Barney Frank and Jamie Gorelick were telling us that things were just fine, wonderful, on solid ground, moving beautifully and need cause no concern because they, the watchdogs loyally guarding the public’s economic welfare, were diligent and competent and wise and alert and all that.

We had, in other words, put our trust in braying asses.

Overall, the GOP was somewhat more ethical and responsible in this pre-crash period, making attempts to reform the rotten system, while the Democrats splashed about in the muck. But the Republicans were rebuffed by a legislative majority led by moronic ideologues like Maxine Waters, who, along with many others, was and still is committed to the idea that people who cannot afford to own houses should have them anyway.

It is probable that a number of investors could see trouble ahead, in spite of the fact that it was approaching slowly. That requires explanation. What does “slowly” have to do with it?

It’s a psychological fact that when a threat is recognized and then fails to attack, it will be discounted to a certain extent. The lion may go away; those thugs outside the house are not making any move to break in; Iran may or may not be making atomic bombs, and won’t be able to for some years yet. The victim fools himself with wishful thinking, grows accustomed to the threat, and rationalizes his inaction. Lots of investors allowed that to happen when they should have been moving frantically into cash.

Those who faced reality divested themselves of all investments that depended on the financial soundness of quasi-governmental institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They knew that as lending stopped, business would be strapped for cash, and the dominoes would topple. They bought gold. And kept quiet about it. At the time, they would have been ridiculed for being so paranoid. (“Gold bugs” are widely considered deranged conspiracy theorists.)

Now the smart investors are probably buying stocks they consider good for the long haul, or they are making money by technical trading — which means taking advantage of brief rises in the market, buying low and selling before typical investors realize that the market is behaving with gullible optimism.

All this distress feeds into the anti-capitalist body of myth that claims that free markets are inimical to the public welfare. What neo-Marxist know-nothings do not understand is that capitalism assumes legal and prudent behavior. That means that people like Frank and Gorelick and Obama and Waters — none of whom are capitalists — should be excluded from participation in all economic behavior more significant than earning a wage and buying consumer goods. They are the flies in the ointment. They are the worst possible choices to make policy and/or regulate any aspect of the economy. Any system will rot from inside when it is managed by stumblebum bunglers and political fanatics who oppose its fundamental principles.

It bears repeating: a law degree does not qualify its holder to do literally anything and everything. Lawyers as such are not guaranteed to be able to govern wisely or assure ethical conduct of complex financial matters. Regulators and policy-makers in a free market economy should be chosen for their commitment to capitalism and their professional expertise. Not one of the unholy quartet named above has anything remotely resembling those qualifications.

At some point, it will be possible for investors to return to the market and encourage growth. As noted in PenPo 83 (“Anticipating Obama….”), the things to do right now are limit your personal income and consider alternates to ordinary purchases of goods and services (barter). As long as the national debt remains as high as it is (thanks to the insane behavior of Congress) and the neo-Marxist orientation of the White House remains in place (a high capital gains tax is Obama’s goal because the inveterate class warrior wants to impose “fairness,” even though it reduces revenues and creates serious iatrogenic problems for business), investing to enable hiring and expansion is not in the individual’s interests. Hunker down, maintain a low profile, and hope for change. No, you can’t believe a word of what Obama claims to believe, because his policies give the lie to his words.

When the current economic policy is displaced by sanity, wise investors will insist that the government put principled regulatory systems into place. The nation cannot be prosperous as long as incompetents and ideologues are in charge of its finances. The lesson this painful period must teach us is that no economic system, however theoretically correct, can withstand the efforts of bad people in positions of power.

If You Skip This, You Simply Won’t Understand The Economic/Political Disaster

There are opinions, there are views, there are ideologies — and then there is wisdom. This newsletter, for all its howling and preaching, cannot claim to dispense wisdom; the best it can do is point to the sagacious and indispensable words of others.

We need wisdom. It sustains as well as informs; without it, we are mere animals at the mercy of our circumstances — our existence is indeed nasty, poor, brutish and short. The remedy for the primitive human condition is not, however, as the author of that familiar quartet of adjectives believed, an autarch. Humanity can be enlightened by philosophy, which begins with the love of wisdom.

By all means do read this interview of a wise man.

A Long-Dead Proto-Primate Goes Hollywood

It’s interesting to see the discovery of a forty-seven million year-old fossil being pitched like the kickoff of an international advertising campaign: there’s a book you can (should?) buy, a film, a website, and there are endorsements/blurbs/hype and gushing quotes galore.

They even trotted out Attenborough to do his Walter Cronkite impersonation.

Packaged slickly and promoted with relentless enthusiasm, a fossilized proto-ape is intended to become a media star. She even has a name: Ida. That seems calculated to make her friendly, almost like a family pet, or maybe a next-door neighbor.

Well, humbug. If she were alive today, she’d be mean as a mink in a pen, and smelly, to boot.

All this fuss is Barnum and Bailey redux. Perhaps this is science’s effort to sell the concept of evolution to a public that is ever more firmly rooted in faith, having rejected science as the successful pursuit of truth. If so, it is certainly not going to work. People will see through the heavy-handed PR effort and scoff. Have a look, but be assured that whether your preconceived convictions are creationist or evolutionist, nothing you will find on this website will change your mind.

Afterthought: how come this fossil was found in Germany, rather than in Africa?

The AGW Terrorists Strike Back

Because the “skeptics” (who are not really skeptics at all) have scored a lot of points lately in their struggle to bring science and sanity to meteorological prediction, the Gore-Hansenist cult has mustered a crew of federally-funded boffins to counter the facts. The result deserves your close attention.

It’s an obscurantist’s report on a series of “runs” of a computer model that simulates the dynamics of climate over prolonged periods of time. Recall that this newsletter has already mentioned many of the problems associated with this sort of research (which in a narrow sense is not so much research as it is fanciful speculation), and then note that there are additional problems to ponder.

First, read the article, which is found here. Give it a chance to scare the daylights out of you.

Next consider these comments on just a few of the points the article makes:

…the past masking of underlying warming by the cooling induced by 20th century volcanoes, ….

Yes, volcanoes can contribute to global cooling in the short run, but they are a major source of unpredictable, huge additions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. That gas is believed by AGW cultists to intensify global warming. The sunlight-shielding ash falls out of the air in a matter of weeks or months, but the CO2 does not. So in the fullness of time, one would say volcanoes make the earth hotter, if one believes CO2 can do that.

That said, realize that there are today simply no continent-spanning clouds of ash blocking the sun. That has not happened for many years. So how can a few small, very local and temporary clouds be so effective in cooling the earth? Answer: they can’t, so they haven’t been.

That leads one to ask whether this article is just another variation on the theme that anything, any evidence at all, is always proof of AGW. Now it appears that the fact (yes, it is a fact) of global cooling over the last decade must be explained, somehow, as due to…well, maybe volcanoes. So even though the earth is cooler these days (all that shade), it really is going to get hotter soon because of all that CO2.

Before you accept this cock and bull story, produce a few news articles reporting that the earth is today and has long been shaded by an umbrella of volcanic ash. We have had some volcanic activity, but none of any decade-long duration or steady, continuous climatic consequence.

…measurements of deep ocean temperature rises, which enable estimates of how fast heat and carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere and transferred to the ocean depths, imply lower transfer rates than previously estimated.

This is really interesting. First note that the sentence above implies but does not explicitly say that temperatures have risen in the ocean’s depths — it just says that measurements have been made of temperature rises (which could be negative, indicating cooling), and some implications deduced from them. We are left to complete the thought, and assume that ocean temperatures have been rising.

Second, recall that the previous issue of the PenPo published an item on the fact that the ARGO buoys have not detected any warming of the oceans.

Now warm water gives up carbon dioxide, while cool water absorbs more of it. (“Cold water can hold more carbon dioxide in solution than warm water.” This from a pro-AGW website.) That’s been confirmed by studies of ice cores: first the atmosphere heats up; that heats the oceans; and finally atmospheric CO2 levels rise. So since the ARGO buoys are all reporting neither warming nor significant cooling, CO2 levels in the oceans must be stable. But according to this recent article, the temperature of the water is causing “lower transfer rates than previously estimated.”

There is the flaw in this report: it takes hundreds of years for the atmosphere to heat the oceans to the point that they give up carbon dioxide to the air. So the “transfer rates” (definition not provided by the article, so we have to assume that refers to heat flowing into the water and CO2 being emitted from the seas) that turn out to be “lower than previously estimated” must, if they exist, translate into slower rather than faster global warming.

This may be somewhat dizzying, but it needs to be understood. Just to make things crystal clear, here is a linear restatement of the AGW process, as fantasized by its proponents:

1. Nature is watching over Gaia, and all is well. There is no climate change, because that would harm mankind.

2. Humans foolishly derive energy from burning carbon compounds, and dump lots of carbon dioxide into the air.

3. Atmospheric levels of CO2 spike, and the CO2 absorbs energy from the sun. The atmosphere warms. (At this point we recall that the total amount of human-caused CO2 in the air is approximately two one-thousands of one percent, after at least a century of enthusiastic carbon-burning by all of us.)

4. As the atmosphere heats up, it heats the oceans (quickly). They start releasing more CO2 into the air. It’s a runaway cycle, lurching out of control and accelerating. The hotter it gets, the faster it gets even hotter!

That’s the claimed mechanism that produces catastrophic AGW.

Well, whatever the temperature of the water (warmer or cooler than expected), and however the “transfer rate” fits into the picture, the implication of this report is that the glaciers will all melt and our coastal settlements will drown.

Is this just another facile fabrication? Are we supposed to accept any and all empirical data of whatever sort as proof that a climate catastrophe is in the offing?

Yes to both questions. Popper would say we have here a hypothesis that admits of no possible falsification.

A moment’s thought reveals why that is true. CO2 that can’t cause temperature change is somehow heating the earth. Water that’s not heating up and can’t therefore dump CO2 rapidly into the air to cause more rapid global warming…is nevertheless doing exactly that. Miniscule amounts of a very weak greenhouse gas are wreaking havoc in the planet’s atmosphere, raising the sea level and threatening to extinguish human civilization as we know it.

Precise lexical taxonomy files this sort of alarmism under “bullshit.”

A closer look explains why. Remember this crucial but ignored fact: the ice cores tell us unequivocally that in past eons, increases and decreases in CO2 levels have never proceeded increases and decreases in temperature levels. CO2 levels always lag temperature. Now effect cannot precede cause; that’s how we know we have proof that CO2 can not drive climate change, so rising CO2 levels today are of literally no concern.

The new projections, published this month in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, indicate a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees.

The important word here is “projections.” Don’t forget that. This is not the discovery of empirical data; it is the use of a computer program to predict. That implies a great deal.

Then there is that hidden assumption. It states that the trend these folks claim to have detected will have sufficient momentum to persist for a century or more. Trends, whether named or simply assumed, do not exist, as this newsletter pointed out recently (see Number 85). One cannot reliably base predicted outcomes on trends. It’s insanity to try. Why? Not simply because the paradigm from which your method of prediction is derived will always be subject to high probabilities of catastrophic error — that’s inherent in all divination — but because one can never control for all the variables. As good as your method may be, you can’t discount your idiot brother-in-law or that bolt of unseasonal lightning.

…the odds indicated by this modeling may actually understate the problem, because the model does not fully incorporate other positive feedbacks that can occur, for example, if increased temperatures caused a large-scale melting of permafrost in arctic regions and subsequent release of large quantities of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Including that feedback “is just going to make it worse,” Prinn says.

Indeed. Note, however, that Prinn begins by stating clearly that his model may be wrong, and that he does not know whether it is, and if it is, he cannot do more than estimate how wrong it is.

Prinn stresses that the computer models are built to match the known conditions, processes and past history of the relevant human and natural systems, and the researchers are therefore dependent on the accuracy of this current knowledge. Beyond this, “we do the research, and let the results fall where they may,” he says. Since there are so many uncertainties, especially with regard to what human beings will choose to do and how large the climate response will be, “we don’t pretend we can do it accurately. Instead, we do these 400 runs and look at the spread of the odds.”

Fair enough, and candid. Now consider that the lack of accuracy may be greater than Prinn realizes. Is there any precedent to suggest that might be the case? Can you think of any mistakes that have been discovered in the data available to climatologists studying long-term changes? Or how about hoaxes, hyperbole and outright lies advanced by those who believe mankind is heating up the earth? Have any data ever been fudged or fabricated?

Recall Jim Hansen’s voluble creativity. Recall just about everything Al Gore ever said on this topic. Recall the lies — created by a respected scientist who is also an AGW fanatic — behind the hockey-stick graph.

Of course you can call to mind a plethora of travesties, for they litter the history of the AGW cult. But if memory does not serve, request a freshly updated copy of the special issue that includes everything the PenPo has ever published on AGW. It’s all there, in documented detail; there are more links than you can follow in an afternoon.

Proponents of the unscientific notion that man is responsible for global warming have made a great many errors, some of them deliberate. One can hardly ignore that fact.

One can also hardly ignore the solid fact that ocean levels are not rising, as this newsletter has reported. The Maldives are indeed safe.

Now for a crucial question that Prinn and his colleagues, along with the author of this post on the internet, totally avoid: what about carbon dioxide?

By now you know that CO2 has always been considered the villain, and was indicted, tried and condemned by the hockey-stick graph. You know that Al Gore showed us that CO2 rises, heats the earth, and the sea levels rise. He proved those claims with the hockey-stick graph.

You also know that the hockey-stick graph is a hoax. Thanks to this newsletter, you know how much of the atmosphere is CO2 that results from all human activity; you know that rises in the level of CO2 in the air follow rises in temperature; you know that the earth’s past includes periods when steeply rising CO2 levels in the air not only failed to sustain high temperatures, but were accompanied by sharp falls in temperature — which demonstrates clearly how weak a greenhouse gas CO2 actually is. Assertions to the contrary are unscientific nonsense. (Water vapor is by far the most powerful greenhouse gas.)

So does CO2 fit into Prinn’s computer model? What is the gas that is causing all the global warming that will, or could be, so much worse than we ever realized?

No comment from Prinn. Why does he not so much as mention CO2?

Absent a discussion of that gas, the credibility of this article is extraordinarily low. Further, the glaring omission of the primary mechanism of claimed AGW suggests Prinn’s work is advocacy, not science.

If he expects us to fill in the gap, and say, “Well, that’s all that CO2 causing the warming; you know, our use of carbon-based fuels is the issue,” then he’s come very, very close to lying. CO2 is known not to be the crucial element (or facilitator, or mechanism — you choose the term) in/of AGW, and it’s dishonest not to admit that.

Letting others assume that CO2 is involved to any degree is blatantly unethical, because everyone knows that up to now — when “global warming” was dropped in favor of “climate change” — CO2 has been at the core of the issue. Suddenly the gas is unmentionable. One can hardly avoid thinking of the “unpersons” in Blair’s (“Orwell”) novel 1984.

Now look at the article again. It is alarmist, and that will be obvious the second time around. It is vague; it is confusing in its explanation of the mechanics of global warming; it omits fundamental facts, such as what gases we must worry about as the causes of warming that might in turn release large quantities of methane.

It’s terribly hard to provide a useful critique of articles like this because their presentations are so slick and elusive. The facts, the fundamentals, are simply missing, so what is there for the rational observer to address? We certainly can’t judge the validity of that computer program, now can we?

Yet we are expected to have faith in the integrity and wisdom of Prinn and his colleagues. Their software must be accepted as sophisticated and fully up to the gargantuan task they have given it.

Well, the article could be summarized in a few short sentences, as follows:

We used a computer to run a program we devised. We put a lot of data in, and then made a few changes here and there to those data, and ran the program over and over. The results we got were pretty much all over the place from bad to worse, which means that if some of them are right, the world is in serious trouble. We better do something PDQ.

Face it: becoming upset by something like that — shades of Paul Ehrlich’s rock-solid proof that worldwide famine was inevitable in the 1970s and 1980s — is not the response of a rational person. It’s the reaction of a naif who is eager to trust a fear-mongering authority figure.

Links

Heart-shattering shock: NY Times accused of censorship.

Life is too grim these days. Washington…taxes…eternal indebtedness…the coming domestic military “security” force…here’s some all-too-brief relief from the prevailing mood.

Was this aimed at Obama, too? “California voters sent one heckuva message Tuesday, as they unceremoniously shot down attempts by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislative leaders of both parties to raise their taxes, again.” Probably.

For years, this newsletter and its predecessors have been pointing out that California is improperly governed. Schwarzenegger was the last hope. Now that’s gone, and disaster looms.

Are those jihadis in The Bronx home-grown nuts, or are they an import?

Firearms legislation has a history of approaching the problem of violence from an insane position. Here’s a counter to the nonsense.

Yes, she’s a caution: “Nancy Pelosi’s blistering public attacks on the CIA will severely damage its ability to recruit ranking sources in enemy countries for years to come.” Read it all here. A caveat: the CIA never said that Saddam had “stockpiles of nuclear weapons.”

Oh…so you still think that Pelosi is a nice lady? Great; now read this, which has to be the most thorough analysis of the facts yet and which is at excruciating pains to be fair fair fair to Pelosi, giving her the benefit of the doubt whenever that trick can be pulled without causing beet-red faces all around.

China cheerfully does its part to frustrate the war on greenhouse gases, or pollution, or whatever the eco-freaks are calling it now. Of course this may not matter very much, given the AGW hoax. But true pollution — now who is in favor of that? Certainly not this newsletter. More here.

A reviewer of Culture and Equality, An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism, by Brian Barry, comments: “‘A liberal,’ Robert Frost wrote, ‘is someone who can’t take his own side in an argument.’ The goal of Culture and Equality is to free liberals of their disabling scruples and in particular those deriving from those currently prevalent ideas that are variously called ‘multiculturalism’.” More here.

Poor Joe. He needs help, and people are just making fun of him.

If this item strikes you as distasteful from the get-go, consider yourself a bit too principled for the modern world: a Romanian girl in Germany sells her virginity to an Italian for (roughly) $13,000, and the taxes on that income reduce her take to under $5,000. Who’s doing the wrong thing here?? Everybody.

If you want to know Obama’s position on something, you have to piece together his sometimes contradictory and ambiguous remarks. Take for example health care. Note especially the way the final speaker in the video deals with the suggestion that The One’s approach is a “Trojan horse.”

There are lots of horrible predictions on what Obama’s version of socialized medicine will be like. Doubtless most people will ignore them, and then blame the AMA for the disaster when it arrives. Tip: prepare now to fund your own health care, especially those life-prolonging or pain-relieving operations that old folks often require. The elderly will be expected to wait and wait and wait…and save the government money by dying while waiting. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that is not the plan!

Chicago politics. That is all.

The recent talks between Netanyahu and Obama did not settle anything, but both men probably now feel capable of getting what they want. If so, both are wrong. A weblogger ponders the ponderables.

Prisons are supposed to be punitive institutions, not recruiting opportunities for the world’s most evil faith. There should be a remedy for this that will pass constitutional muster. Aren’t conspiracy and collusion illegal?

Somebody slipped up — the NY Times and Obama disagree. It’s probably just a bad cell phone that’s behind the disconnect.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Guantanamo is not a rehabilitation facility, and censorship has therefore become an issue. No surprises there. Expect the executive branch to exercise even more control of all sorts of information; this administration is very, very close-mouthed, as a perusal of Obama’s carefully ambiguous speeches will demonstrate.

The United Nations, which is probably the biggest and most troublesome corrupt organization in the world, is the creator of the largest financial scam in human history; an ineffective “peacekeeping” force; a racist conclave, and a general failure. And this disgraceful outfit wants to seize control of the internet. Why does that last sentence matter? Well, here is a report on what the UN does to the noble cause of human rights, which is supposed to include freedom of speech and press. It does not take an IQ above room temperature to connect the internet grab with the UN’s actual human rights stance. Yes, China and Cuba and Libya and Islamic nations and lots of other enemies of Liberty do intend to curtail the flow of information. That will begin once the UN wrests ICANN from the USA. Unfortunately the damning report linked above will absolutely not be read by this newsletter’s “progressive” subscribers.

Cheney’s take on Obama provokes this interpretive sentiment: “…who cares what Europe thinks, American security is at stake here.” Well, plus a few other things. A comparison of the two men’s latest oratorical offerings is found here, but be aware that it leans toward the “wingnut” end of the spectrum. Then here’s a Brit’s view of Cheney’s speech.

“Obama, in a major address at the National Archives, argued that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods ‘did not advance our war and counter-terrorism efforts — they undermined them.'” Tell it to the people of Los Angeles, you jerk.

From The Archive

On the 14th of March, 2006, The Terrapin Gazette had these angry words for the Fourth Estate:

Here’s How The Press Manipulates The Electorate

As we know, the US armed forces are having a terrible time getting young people to enlist. Desertions are up, as well; a recent news story emphasized the high desertion rate in the US Army in particular. Clearly, soldiers are unhappy and are not sticking around to fight and die in a lost war. Bush and the Halliburton cabal are grinding up people and throwing them away, and the young of the USA are beginning to realize they are nothing but cannon fodder in a Blood for Oil struggle that is the last gasp of the American Imperium.

Oh, really?

Yes, that’s what we know if we depend on the major news media for our information.

Not too many months ago, it was the high suicide rate of US soldiers that got the news. Now it’s recruiting troubles and a high desertion rate.

Terrapin Gazette readers learned the truth about that suicide rate, but folks who depend on the mass media never had a chance — the facts were embargoed by the gatekeepers.

Here and here you will find the truth about desertions and recruitment….

So you are not going to click on the URL’s? OK, we’ll summarize the facts: you have been deliberately lied to by the press. Again.

They do it frequently, and most often by innuendo. Sometimes they just lie outright, period. A prime offender is the NY Times, and today we have for you yet another example of the paper’s blatant willingness to fabricate news.

While The Terrapin Gazette has been questioning the very concept of “the moderate Muslim” and asking some hard questions that suggest he does not even exist, the NY Times has invented a moderate Muslim.

We should have predicted this. The media are desperate for “moderate Muslims” to come forward and denounce the irrational misbehavior of “extremist Muslims.”

Here’s the headline and first paragraph of a recent NY Times article:

For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats

By JOHN M. BRODER

Published: March 11, 2006

LOS ANGELES, March 10: Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.

Now consider these words from Wafa Sultan, reported in issue ninety-four of The Terrapin Gazette (and referenced): “I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural…. I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew.”

The interview in which those words were spoken was available to the Times, and so was Wafa Sultan. Did she lie to her interviewer from the NY Times, or did he craft a bogus fact for his own purposes?

NY Times article found here.

In case that URL does not work for you, Google Wafa Sultan and look for the NY Times article. It’s there.

Two Notable Quotes

From The Belmont Club:

The underlying reason why America is doing so poorly in the field of “information warfare” against the Jihad is that its traditional organs of articulation — the academy, media, Hollywood — are largely hostile to the War on Terror itself. It’s conceivable that an Iranian might flee persecution only to be taught at a US university that he ought to embrace it by the many academic departments whose point of view is exactly that. In a fundamental sense, the War on Terror is twinned to the greatest single issue dividing the Left and Right, which is whether the United States, as a nation, is legitimate or whether, as some would maintain, it is Amerika: an abomination whose demise must be hastened by any means necessary.

Tom Wolfe:

I really love this country. I just marvel at how good it is, and obviously it’s the simple principle of freedom. . . . Intellectually this is the system where people tend to experiment more and their experiments are indulged. Whatever we’re doing I think we’ve done it extremely, extremely, extremely well. — Silence. — These are terrible things to be saying if you want to have any standing in the intellectual world.

From Wall Street Journal interview, quoted here.

This Outfit Is An Albatross Around Our Collective Neck

CAIR. If you know what it is, you may not know enough about it. If you don’t know what it is, you are well-advised to find out.

Within Western Civilization, there are groups that work to undermine the values and policies that defend the evolved culture of Europe/America. In the case of CAIR, the attack is invasive (coming from outside) and parasitic (seeking to use the strengths of Western culture against it).

Though we do not advocate censoring or proscribing CAIR, we strongly support those who expose it.

Here are two web pages (one, and two) on the same site that are good introductions to the subject. Inform yourself; turn over a flat rock and take a close look at the slimy thing you find there.