The New Terrapin Gazette
18 July, 2011
Each truth runs through three steps: it is ridiculous; then it is violently opposed; finally it is self-evident.
The Budget Mess
Is there a more tiresome, complex and confusing subject? Perhaps, but The New Terrapin cannot imagine it. The mere thought of being involved in “negotiations” with a cynical ideologue who spouts untruthful, jargon-laden slogans and makes demands that cannot rationally be met is immensely fatiguing. Just getting a man like Obama to understand the logic of one’s contrary viewpoint must be a Sisyphean task, for all ideologues find it almost impossible to suspend the self-censorship imposed by their partisan faiths. They don’t recognize the world out there, and they can’t deal with it without using force. For The One, it’s a problem that calls for increases in control and threats of punishment, which he sees as proper tools of government.
As this is written (it’s July 15 in Bangkok), the news is full of reports that Obama is daring the GOP to insist on a slashed budget and a short-term elevation of the debt ceiling, in which case he will take the fight “to the people.” He’s threatening a default and government shutdown that he can blame on the Republicans. That’s the bluster of a bully.
Obama’s threats imply that necessarily complex issues can be explained clearly to the voters, who, he further assumes, will agree with him that the train wreck is all the GOP’s fault. Fact: not one voter in a hundred understands or wants to study the details of government budgets. What the electorate wants is hard to measure, but overall, it’s likely that most folks think taxation — which always discourages the activity it taxes — is not a remedy for high prices, poverty, unemployment, and debt. (Increased taxation is often just an escape hatch for imprudent politicians.)
Voters generally agree that better economic times will come if production of goods and services increases. How you achieve that by penalizing success and earnings is a puzzle that only a true collectivist considers soluble.
So the question is straightforward: is Obama’s threat silly, stupid and impotent?
Some people say so; they say he can’t make the Republicans look bad for reining him in. Obama’s popularity is low (42 percent), and the recent election suggests he will face considerable skepticism outside the groups that will support him no matter what he does. He says he can clobber the GOP, because if his spend-borrow-tax scenario is not followed, the inevitable disaster will turn the voters against everyone who’s to the right of Lenin.
To The New Terrapin, the wrangling over taxes and borrowing reveals an inexperienced executive acting as if he were trying to intimidate the local mayor or the board of directors of the Acme Catapult Works. Obama’s community organizer background is showing, and it’s not what you call “sophisticated,” probably.
To many taxpayers, it may appear as if the fellow who made a bad situation worse without getting a decent recovery started is trying to compound his mistakes.
There are other views, of course, most of them mired in soggy Peronist populism. Some genuinely bad attitudes are held by the members of SEIU and a lot of New Deal/Keynesian retreads. Those folks see the government as the provider of benefits and the hope of the future; they believe in control, entitlements, and redistributionist* justice. Uncle Sam is the warrior they are counting on to settle scores and impose a fair society of equals.
That means the next few weeks and months may well decide whether the nation is mature enough to move away from failed collectivism and toward scary fiscal responsibility.
Meanwhile…whatever happened to the idea of scuttling the Department of Education? Ron Paul said he wanted to do it. Well, it seems likely to save the government less than a hundred billion dollars a year, if someone can pull it off, so maybe it’s just too tiny an adjustment to matter. But as ol’ Ev Dirksen used to say, more or less: “A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there; shoot, before long, you are talking about real money.”
It’s a shame the nation is not able to draw on wise executive and legislative leadership. Instead one must contemplate the spectacle of degraded partisan politics. The Democrats are demonstrating the ignorant, theatrical herd behavior of followers who should be animated by fundamental values and common sense. They have swapped both for third-class membership in Obama’s gang.
As for the GOP, well, it’s a lot more fragile than it appears. Deep down, the Republicans are scared of being called names. Things would be very different if Reid and Boxer had lost their bids for re-election due to Tea Party opposition. You see, politicians can’t feel brave and confident if their allies do not terrify the enemy. The Tea Party is neither invincible nor Republican. The pros in the GOP know that, and they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to press on regardless.
That’s why a stronger Tea Party is essential: when the officers falter, the private soldiers must step forward. The battle is far from over.
*”Redistributionist” refers to the ideology that would permanently reduce the circumstances of the wealthy and dole out all assets pretty much as Marx intended — meaning you would get what the ruling cadres think you need. “Redistributive” means simply the transfer of assets from one entity to another. Progressive taxation is mildly redistributionist, while flat taxes are merely redistributive. Redistributionist politics, which is involuntary in application, is advocated by people who have “Eat The Rich” bumper stickers on their brains — they promote “economic democracy” and class struggle to bring about a fair and equal society. They loathe free markets, capitalism, maximized personal Liberty, and the uncontrolled exchange of ideas.
A Complete Disgrace Wrapped In A Failure
Fox News (which this newsletter’s staff does not watch) is the target of White House discrimination. Getting information about this abridgment of freedom of the press proves nearly impossible because of the virtual uselessness of an important law that is supposed to guarantee government transparency.
The claim: the Obamites shut the door on Fox, and only on Fox. The response: the White House denies having specifically excluded the network from events covered by all the other networks and wire services.
So the effort is made to document the bias and abuse, and “…pursuant to an October, 28, 2009, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request….” the White House is accused of impropriety. Team Obama rejects the charge. Then: “…Despite this public position, internal Obama administration emails obtained by Judicial Watch provide evidence that FNC (Fox News Corporation) was specifically singled out for exclusion.”
The smoking gun, or the confession, whatever you call it: “We’ve demonstrated our willingness and ability to exclude Fox News from significant interviews”.
“These documents show there is a pervasive anti-Fox bias in the Obama White House,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The juvenile Mafioso-talk in these emails has no place in any White House. For the Obama administration to purposely exclude a major news organization from access to information has troubling First Amendment implications.”
When they tried to block FNC’s access, the Obamites unwittingly told the world they are both fearful and unprincipled. Any US administration that even considers this misbehavior is ethically impoverished, and that flaw is fundamental. Expect Team Obama to play dirty; it comes naturally to the rascals.
Finally, there is one important detail that is very easy to miss: the date of the original FOI request. That provides insight into the White House’s willingness to comply with the law. But — shoot, everybody else takes the same uncooperative attitude.
The New Terrapin has insisted that FOI laws are toothless. The topic at the time was AGW. Curious? Send The Eagle Wing Palace a request for more information.
This is not the first indication that BATFE has been messing with Honduras: “Recent developments indicate that in addition to Fast and Furious in Arizona, another gunrunning operation was headquartered in ATF’s Tampa Field Operations area. It allowed roughly 1,000 firearms to be smuggled to the ultra-violent MS-13 gang in Honduras.” Morons, scofflaws, out-of-control drugstore cowboys…. Blackwater and its new incarnation, Xe, rate far higher for professionalism and principle.
This has to be fake. She clobbered the robber, tied him up, and then fed him Viagra for how many days while forcing sex on him? Oh, come on! This is the New Terrapin, not the gullible terrapin…. But the report is a clever fantasy with broad appeal (sorry), so here it is.
Speaking of powerful females…. Feminism (remember that?) comes in for a spanking in a weblog post that will amuse, irritate or infuriate almost everybody. The rest will shake their heads and say quietly, “Too, too true.”
Here’s a link that explains the Tea Party. The interesting thing about it is that for some people, the Tea Party phenomenon is a genuine puzzle. But that’s not all, for this is a beautifully-written post, and it’s hilarious in spots. Here’s a sample: the Obamaniacs “…are promoting the narrative of Barack Obama as the great statesman of the hour, willing to go the extra mile for a great bargain. Somewhere and sometime, according to this fantastic account, Obama experienced an 11th-hour conversion to spending restraint. Only no one — no one — has seen or knows what he wants. It is the phantom of the budget, staged with wondrous smoke and mirrors and accompanied by the old refrain, now growing stale by repetition, of Obama worship. We are witnessing the sorry spectacle of high-minded commentators, who only recently were chanting in unison for greater transparency in our politics, and who now bite like a school of perch at the cheap plastic lures and leaks being tossed out by White House flaks. These are men and women without an ounce of pride in either themselves or their craft.” Now that’s great stuff!
You can skip this: media hatred of Sarah Palin, installment 4,863.
Unintended consequences don’t always attract the attention of government bureaucrats. Here’s an example. The best approach is a free market — it would cut losses, reduce property damage, save lives and help prevent taxes from going up. But it would also be a tacit admission that government intervention is counterproductive too much of the time (as it is in the case of “the war on drugs,” as well). Don’t expect any reform of this boondoggle until and unless there is regime change.
Oh, good: here’s a book review that will make you squirm. That could be the best thing to happen to you this month, as you will see if you click and read. Have a cup of tea to inspire you as you peruse the facts.
This might be an overenthusiastic promotion: a process has been developed that produces “magic sand” that is claimed to filter polluted water so it can be safely drunk by humans. Does it remove Giardia, bacteria and viruses? How practical will it be to pump water up through the sand (see the video at the link) without electricity? This newsletter is not convinced “magic sand” is a breakthrough — yet.
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Arthur Schopenhauer. Now you see where Gandhi got it.
The staff of The New Terrapin Gazette expresses its sincere gratitude to the many people who have gifted the world with Arch Linux, Emacs, Screen, and Chromium.
Publisher: The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee