“Bizarre” Is The Word For It
Since most banks are required by the country they are registered in to keep a record of every major transaction that goes in and out of such accounts, money can be traced. (Most banks are also required to report suspicious patterns of activity and to know the identity of their customers.) But Nauru permits its shell banks to operate without such encumbrances.
And thereby hangs a fascinating tale.
Let There Be The Light Of Reason
This newsletter has denounced the concepts of “dark matter” and “dark energy” as irrational. Now it appears some academics agree, though it will be quite a while before things are settled. Consider this quote from the linked article:
The motions of stars and galaxies that astronomers have observed seem to require there to be much more matter in the universe than meets the eye; without it, galaxies and clusters of galaxies should fly apart. But this conclusion arises from equations of motion derived from general relativity. What if these equations are slightly off? Could this explain the observed speeds of the stars and galaxies without dark matter playing a role?
That’s right: there now appears to be good reason to believe the equations of general relativity are indeed slightly off, and off just enough to have misled some people into believing there are “dark” ingredients in the cosmic stew.
It’s about time. –Sorry.
The “Justice” Department Leaves Observers Gasping
You won’t believe this. Begin with a quote from the linked article:
“By all accounts, it is extremely rare for the Justice Department to indict a valuable informant, and immunity has been granted to witnesses implicated in far more serious crimes than Birkenfeld’s (hit men, mobsters and members of the Manson Family, to name a few). Given the massive scope of the UBS fraud, why the (US) government would arrest a whistle blower who came forward voluntarily remains a puzzle, for many observers of the case, even after Downing explained his reasoning in court.”
Just in case you still think Holder’s Department of Justice has anything to do with justice, you should read this extensive account of how a whistle-blower who exposed billions of dollars of tax evasion was recently put in prison. It’s sickening, irrational, and confidence-shattering.
A Modest Approach To The Forensic Reading Of Currently Predominant Journalism
The articles and commentaries linked below exemplify a style that is the hallmark of leftist, collectivist, neo-Marxist, crypto-Marxist or “progressive” journalism (you may select your favorite term for it). That style is a subtle expression of a number of unstated assumptions about life, politics, ethics and history; taken together, these preconceptions define the core of collectivist exceptionalism.
The complexity of this world-view is compounded by self-contradictory themes, competing values, commitments to articles of faith, and the intrusions of human frailties. Any analysis of the collectivist mindset and the journalism it produces will, therefore, be exquisitely vulnerable; one simply cannot explain it all briefly, show how it works, and then point to a few articles in influential publications as proof of the validity of the exposition.
This newsletter is not about to be daunted by the challenge, however. As both readers of TLB know, the mission of this publication is not to inform, but to provoke thought. Flawed and incomplete essays suffice. So press on, Pilgrims, for the journey is the goal.
A Walk On The Wacky Side
The Bicoastal Elite has its stable of news and commentary outlets, and it’s a good idea to visit them from time to time. Their style is refreshingly different from the “wingnut” press and propagandists, and one can see at once why intellectuals and those who wish to be thought of as intellectuals would be at home with these sources of information. The content is another matter, of course. That is not to say that the typical “wingnut” outlet advances a consistently rational agenda. This newsletter finds some fault with just about everyone….
Never mind. You should spend some time with the media outlets included here. They are a rich source of insights, and not all they have to say is nonsense. You decide what the signal-to-noise ratio is, and just how condescendingly elitist the writers are.
The AGW hoax continues to enslave the minds of many, especially those who fancy themselves “movers and shakers.” Consider this smug, ignorant contribution to the continuing train wreck that is the New York Times. The physical properties of carbon dioxide preclude the possibility that this review could be correct in its assumptions, but that is irrelevant where faith is concerned. It all reminds the knowledgeable observer that anthropogenic global warming is actually a crackpot secular cult.
Helping people advance themselves through education: a collectivist fable collapses as facts and values wither.
It’s long, it has a whiff of self-congratulatory condescension about it, it pretends to be inside information for those who need to know — but when all is said and done, this interview of the president of Iran tells us little that matters. The attentive reader can see that the willingness to deal with lunatics as if they were sane is not itself a form of insanity, but a radically unbalanced attempt to be “fair.” Everybody deserves a hearing, we have to talk to our rivals and even our enemies, everything is negotiable…and so on. The search for common ground ends suddenly, however, when the Tea Partiers are the objects of discussion. They are bitterly reviled for imagined sins, while the Iranian government is regarded as if it were somehow legitimate.
Islam and the Muddle East just became more confusing and dangerous — or maybe not. It’s hard to tell. Read this and see what you think.
Here’s yet another example of the “It can’t be done” school of obstructionism, as promoted by the Bicoastal Elite. It’s not pure nonsense, though. The “progressive” sages have some understanding of the problems and some valuable ideas, mixed in with the overall mindset of isolationist multiculturalism. Yes, self-contradictory concepts and antique notions of perfect governance can coexist, absent the fundamentals of reason.
“…the elite press periodically publishes proposals to sell citizenship to foreigners who serve as soldiers in an American Foreign Legion.” Oh, really? Got a reference for that? — No? Well, then, how about offering up some more words of wisdom for the plebs? “Offshoring and immigration, then, are severing the link between the fate of most Americans and the fate of the American rich.” Unh-hunh. That reminds of those bumper stickers that encourage folks to “Eat the rich.” The ability to divide mankind into purely economic groups and then proclaim the homogeneity of each is explicitly Marxist, but few observers point that out. Economic determinism has become a tacit, unarguable tenet of the “progressive” mentality.
Back to the ship that was boarded in (irrelevantly) “international waters:” shall we blame the Israelis for the deaths of a number of “activists” who sought to break the embargo, and if not, why not? Read this seemingly objective analysis and ask yourself how rational and accurate it is. (Hint: there is a lot that’s been left out; start there, and look for “facts” that are not true. Seek, and you shall find.)
Finally, and especially if you skipped some or all of the above links, do read this.
Intimations Of A Subtle But Effective Style
All right; now, what does it all mean?
Note first of all that the articles and commentaries linked above avoid preaching, emphasize the ordinariness of stunningly evil people and ideas, press the case that familiar difficulties amount to insurmountable barriers to success, and imply that those who disagree with the politically correct ethos are morons. Thus is defined the divide between the impulses of the unwashed and the refined principles of the select.
In order to grasp just how wide the cultural gap is, one must step back from the hypnotic prose of The New Yorker and clear one’s head. Begin again, this time trying to see things as the Bicoastal Elite and its hangers-on do. Understand, if you can, that in a world that can be perfected if only everyone had a law degree or an Ivy League education, those who are out of step — proponents of individualism and uncompromising Liberty, along with hayseed knuckle-draggers who have never even been to New York — are to be pitied for their unexamined opinions. Their malice is the natural result of economic deprivation, a hick’s suspicion of outsiders, or a mysteriously perverse nature. While many cling to their guns and religion out of sheer frustration, others are driven by the results of conspiracism or paranoia.
Mankind is, in other words, too often frail and exploited. (“Progressives” are neither.) The economic forces that shape lives and outlooks are fell influences, enslaving millions and depriving many more. The natural result of the triumph of greed is poverty, and poverty is as much a state of mind as a materially deprived condition. This understanding of how the world works is, of course, Marxist, but to the collectivists, that is not a disqualifying trait.
In response to the misery and hopelessness, there have arisen several types of hero-saviors: The Union/Community Organizer, The People’s Revolutionary, and The Progressive Legislator/Head of Government.
Obviously the icons here include Alinsky, Che Guevara, and Obama.
This understanding of how the world works predisposes to a sympathy for the downtrodden that heaps blame and hatred on the privileged. That in turn leads to the creation of the concepts of, first, class struggle, and second, an ethos of reform/revolution. The causes of suffering lie in the differences between people. Eradicate those — achieve full democracy, in other words — and there will be an end to misery. Equality is the goal.
To some, the struggle will be eternal. The government will always be hindering some, limiting their options, and imprisoning them when they cross the lines. It’s somewhat like a race in which some are denied entry and all contestants are handicapped. To others, once true economic democracy is achieved, history will end. Both conceptions are Utopian.
As evidence of class struggle and misrule, the history of the USA is often cited. Scholars like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn tell the world of the many sins committed by the secretive, greedy and fascistic class that devastated the Native Americans, nuked innocent Japanese, made the world bow to Washington, secured corporate interests at the expense of the poor everywhere, and so on. Then there’s Naomi Klein, eh? The theme is virtually monochromatic: the imperialist puppet-masters running the USA have been little better than Stalin.
This aspect of the mindset has resulted in a trendy, imperious hatred of much that the USA represents — or is claimed to represent. It tells the electorate that so many mistakes have been made, so many plots hatched, so many sins committed, that the idea that the USA should try to impose anything on anyone is simply absurd. United Fruit in Central America, you know. And Vietnam, an experience that had no good consequences (tell that to the informed Thais!) and ended in the humiliating defeat that was the Tet Offensive, support for Latin American dictators, the murder of Che Guevara in Bolivia, a revolution in Chile that got its popularly-elected president killed, and so on and on.
The USA is portrayed as a spoiled brat, childishly unsophisticated and ignorantly self-indulgent, ethnically and racially bigoted, prone to conspiracy and filthy tricks as well as waging undeclared war on those who stand in the way of Big Business. Much of this simplistic view focuses on corporate greed, making the USA colonialist because it provides jobs to poor people beyond the nation’s borders (No Logo). Until recently, the “progressive” journalistic establishment seldom dealt forthrightly with Israel; that relative silence is now being increasingly broken (tellingly, the claimed victims of Israeli malice and violence are not the sailors on the USS Liberty, but “Palestinians” and Rachel Corrie). There is a good deal of leftist antipathy toward Israel and its ethnic base, of course, but much of it is still muted. The Jew-hatred of the Bicoastal Elite has long been a dirty secret that is slowly becoming more visible.
All these views of the world and the USA are expressed in what appears to be a bland, objective reporting of events. Look again. Note the repeated suggestions that the USA literally does not know what the hell it is doing. The war in Iraq will fail because…the war in Afghanistan will fail because…the war in Vietnam failed because…. Again and again, the theme of the futility of US policy is repeated. Uncle Sam is a moron, and a bloodthirsty, greedy one, at that.
To be sure, this litany of discontents is not a successful attempt at a rational critique of US foreign policy. It is pure bias, the selective presentation of unhappy facts and the invention of fables that exclude the truth when success, however stunning and historically unprecedented, is achieved.
Unfortunately a rascal like Noam Chomsky can elevate lies and bigotry to a level of rhetorical sophistication that passes muster with many would-be intellectuals. Most hard-core collectivists consider his conspiracist lunacy to be accurate.
These invidious accounts and evaluations can be refuted and should be, but this is not the place for comprehensive rebuttals. The current effort is to characterize the mindset that produces a certain type of journalism — a style that has ideological roots.
And social roots, unfortunately. The emergence of a middle class has meant the inevitable appearance of snobbery; those in the middle of the pyramid too often look down on folks who live in small towns, on farms, or in poor communities. As this newsletter noted some time ago, at one point children used the word “farmer” as an insult. Obama and Company know exactly what was intended, and they are definitely inclined to agree; the strains between media types and the folks who grow the wheat and go to church on Sunday and have a narrow view of ethics are just as great today as ever. And more’s the pity. It is, one should note with some bitterness, the case that the values of Flyover Country (which include financial probity and common sense) are considered very, very “out” by the urban elite. The animosity between the “red” and “blue” states is culturally based, and that should cause a great deal of anger: it’s sheer, rank, outrageous hypocrisy on the part of the Bicoastal Elite. Don’t think the Tea Partiers have not noticed.
Perhaps the overall emphasis of the subtle propagandistic journalism of Utopian collectivism can be seen more clearly if one considers what it does not say. There is no dwelling on the Iraqi experience, which did produce ample evidence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction; there is no appreciation of the highly beneficial effects of the Allied victory in WW II, and especially of the destruction of the Empire of Japan; there is scant trenchant criticism of the wretchedness of US foreign policy under Obama (Honduras, Israel, the fawning “outreach” to Islam, the shameful treatment of the UK, among other grotesque inanities); there is no celebration of the importance of the rise of the middle class in the USA and there is no defense of its “brownshoe” values.
The mindset of “progressive” journalism dominates the mass media. That mindset is rooted in Marxist concepts of “false consciousness” and economic determinism, the political struggle that is the class war, and the belief that it is US policy to repress popular revolution as exemplified by Che Guevara. Where the mutant ethos does not control, it influences. Where it cannot mandate, it smothers with elitist commentary. Where it has lost its Marxist labels, it has rebranded itself as somehow native rather than alien, and humanistic rather than inhumane — the best example being the transmutation of Marxist “false consciousness” into the feminist concept of “consciousness-raising.” Everywhere the revolutionary spirit of economic democracy is mirrored by talk of “empowerment,” as it is understood by community organizers and SEIU union thugs.
It’s old wine in new bottles.
One should ask, “What, exactly, brought this about?”
Consider the elitism of the nation’s Founding Fathers. The original constitution, you should recall, did not allow direct popular election of federal senators, permitted slavery, gave states the right to establish churches, censor the press, make a mockery of British common law, and in multiple ways enslave the citizenry. If you were a female or did not own real property, you could not vote.
The corrective impulses were there, even as a peculiar, unstable fascism prevailed. Fortunately the flaws in the federal government were under immediate assault, the Declaration of Independence being what it is. Unfortunately Liberty is still under assault, as the recent silly debate over the second amendment to the federal constitution indicates: the urge to constrain, control, direct and manage the masses is still alive. It is, of course, bigotry of the worst sort, and the fact that the history of the nation is a history of its rejection should be a point of pride for all US citizens.
But it is not — and that is because the abuses of the past are a powerful tool in the hands of today’s collectivist propagandists. The elitism that permitted slavery and Jim Crow and male-only voting is still alive, but in a different form. Today it expresses the values of a new elite, a disparate conglomerate that has been profoundly but in many cases unwittingly influenced by Utopian thinking and Marxism.
Ask Maxine Waters about home ownership. Ask Barney Frank about the governmental role in overseeing the financial apparatus. Ask the Department of Justice to define “justice.” Ask the New York Times whether the government should subsidize newspapers. Ask Paul Krugman how to create prosperity out of nothing.
Recall the candidate assuring his backers that of course he realizes that the hayseeds in Flyover Country are poor, have failed to compete in the marketplace, and are frustrated and unhappy therefore; that is, he explains to their smug approval, why they cling to religion and firearms. That’s the shibboleth: Marxism without the label.
The journalist looks at the Spanish-American war, and at the use of nuclear weapons against the Empire of Japan, and at the many attempts by the US Marine Corps to stamp out corruption in the customs-houses of Latin America, and at the Trail of Tears, and projects those events into Iraq (the war that succeeded because of G. W. Bush, a man still reviled as an American Hitler) and Afghanistan (the war that the “progressives” hope will be lost), and the result is a new style of propaganda.
It’s rather dry, it’s long (like this commentary!), and it gives every appearance of being a pure report on the facts. It must be credible. Its overall conclusions are that the cause is out-and-out hopeless. You kill the leaders, and they are replaced; you kill twenty suicide bombers with a missile fired from a drone before those suicide bombers can kill a hundred civilians, and the next batch of volunteers for suicide will expand to fifty. You cut a village off from the Taliban, and a roadside bomb will kill two Marines. You are trying to push a rope; Afghanistan, with its universal corruption, will defeat you, but it won’t defeat the Taliban. The Taliban will win.
So as the hapless reader makes his way through the prose of the Bicoastal Elite’s press corps, he can be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that some form of isolationism must be the answer. No! “Fortress America” is not what we want, and the immigration issue must be resolved to the satisfaction of millions of criminals and Islamists who demand the right of entry and residence!
The thoughtful reader will notice that there are no answers. As clever and subtle and utterly convinced of the correctness of its mindset as the “progressive” corps of journalists is, it can provide no answers. It can suggest no way to stimulate economic progress, for its Keynesian concepts are antiquated fantasies. There is no substitute for a free market that plays by fair rules.
Nor does the chic, trendy “progressive” falange have a solution to the problem of Islam. As long as there are people who honestly believe in the inerrancy of the Koran and hadith, the USA must send its best to fight in defense of the evolved democracy that the nation has achieved.
Those are the truths that trump all the sophistry, all the subtle chicanery, all the seemingly objective reporting, and all the ideological nonsense about Utopias.
So as you read, Pilgrims, note the implications of what the authors say. Look for something more than a hand-wringing account of how incompetent an assertive stance against Islamist violence is; look for some genuine appreciation of the solid values espoused by folks who do not live in urban centers or suburbs. Ask yourselves whether more indebtedness and restriction of the public’s options will improve the economic outlook.
Meditation on what you find may lead you to see much of the journalism of the Bicoastal Elite as an expression of cultural/national self-hatred. Some attribute that to guilt, but TLB sees it as a more malicious and mischievous phenomenon, not inspired by an ethical impulse.
If your approach to each report begins with a desire to understand the unrevealed assumptions of the author, you may be able to put the facts he presents into context. To state it rather crudely, you could gain the insight to realize when someone is trying to manipulate you.
Yes, do use your critical skills on this newsletter!
So is this the Brits trying to weasel out of responsibility for the oil spill by saying it was no big deal, or is it a frank appraisal of the facts? TLB is inclined to think that ecological issues are particularly loved by a rather alarmist press — after all, most journalists still subscribe to the scientifically-discredited nonsense of anthropogenic global warming — and that means hyperbole was the order of the day. As this newsletter pointed out, BP was not responsible for the oil spill, and the US federal government has made a colossal fool of itself. Those facts remain facts, and if to them one can add the relatively minor impact of the spill, then…hooray! Read the article at the link and look at the photos.
Your federal government is hard at work, hiding what it’s doing to limit the exercise of your constitutional rights; send Holder a letter, thanking him for being so energetic. Quote from the linked piece: “The gag orders raise the possibility for extensive abuse of NSLs, under the cover of secrecy. Indeed, in 2007, a Justice Department Inspector General audit found that the FBI, which issued almost 200,000 NSLs between 2003 and 2006, had abused its authority and misused NSLs. The Obama administration has been seeking to expand the FBI’s power to demand internet activity records of customers without court approval or suspicion of wrongdoing. If granted, the data sought without a court order could expand to include web browser and search history, and Facebook friend requests.” Oh, good. Grief.
As an observant and diligent reader of The Lynx Bulletin, you realize that Carrington events were covered here some time ago. It’s good to see that the media are catching up to this newsletter, because the sun could cause a catastrophic interruption in human history. Fortunately the effects of a Carrington event can be prevented from reducing civilization to a Neolithic level; the technology exists, and can be applied. Will there be another Carrington? Oh, my, yes, without a doubt, and it could be more powerful than the original. When will it come? Nobody knows. What is known is that as soon as those insane Persians get a nuclear weapon, the USA will have to take very seriously the probability of being hit by a man-made Carrington event. That would leave the continent defenseless to all manner of Islamist attacks — there would be no detecting or stopping a Piper Cub intent on flying into the men’s room of the US Senate. Literally. Final question: given the lethal implications of this threat, can we expect Obama to provide imaginative leadership?
Of course this development was predictable. As long as charges of racism are tossed around like so much confetti, and as long as millions of otherwise intelligent people still believe in AGW, there will be junk like this. And yes, some of the generally off-target accusations are on the mark. When this newsletter claims there is an overwhelming media bias of a certain sort, that does not imply that no media outlets are biased in unusual ways. As the last issue of TLB put it, a whore is a whore.
Charges like these are easy to make about Turkey — but are they true?
Make no mistake about it: Mexico’s lethal problems have arisen because of the USA’s insane drug laws.
The Islamic world struggles to cope with the literal and complete acceptance of the Koran as inerrant. That insanity will exact a terrible toll.
Grist for the mill: what to do about Iran’s nuclear threat?
Do you want the best food, exercise and longevity program ever, the only one that really works? Sure you do. So here it is. You are welcome. Of course you won’t believe that introduction, so you won’t click on the link; if you click on the link, you won’t read all of the article; and even if you read all of the article, you won’t make any changes in the way you live, now will you? Of course you won’t. You still use Microsoft Windows, in spite of what you have read in this newsletter.
If you made a list of the top three problems that prevent decent democracy from functioning in most nations, corruption will be in the first or second place. Some call it capitalism, some come closer to the truth by calling it crony capitalism, but only a few understand it for what it is — and what its inevitable results are. Hillary Clinton could tell you, but she won’t want to talk about her oh-so-successful adventure in “commodity trading”…or where she and Slick got the money for that wedding.
It is sometimes said in jest that God created whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world. So far, that liquid has not prevented them from making a terrible mess of a large portion of their little island, and some of them seem utterly determined to carry on with their uncivilized misbehavior.
BP’s enemies continue to jab and thrust, trying to draw blood. BP strikes back, and the publicity is going to hurt the BRITISH company (which hates it when people remind the world that “BP” once was just an abbreviation). There will be no winners in this fight.
Related: this is the final, best word on the oil spill. Read it.
The general is gone, sacked because he was an idiot who opened up in front of a Rolling Stone reporter. He was also accused of being too big an idiot to run the US military effort in Afghanistan. Now he’s being accused of being an ethical moron, as well.