The New Terrapin Gazette

Number 237

1 March, 2012


Those politicians, professors and union bosses who curse big business are fighting for a lower standard of living.


Subscriber JH Offers A Poem

Friday minion formed men in black and blue swarmed close round the altar eddied

turn left turn right bow kidish davan sing own song little boy wide-eyed

mama lit candle every day at home she cries tonight stomps Haman

slowly slowly out no one talks to mom and boy dad dead in Afghan

Star of David shine Esther dares to be the queen so we may davan

 

Who Is And Who Is Not A Journalist, And Why Does It Matter?

For years, this newsletter has been complaining that the major media in the USA are biased, and badly so. There is proof of the bias, for examples abound, but perhaps the most damning facts number less than a half-dozen. At the top of the list must be the Eason Jordan episode, along with the legal status of journalists; neither is an example of distorted reporting, but one illustrates the fundamental assumptions and perspectives of many who are in the top management of the corporate news media, and the other is crucial to an understanding of the special environment in which the major media operate.

Eason Jordan used to be the head of CNN News, and at a meeting (that was being videotaped), he offhandedly remarked that everyone knew that the US military routinely targeted reporters in Iraq for assassination. His words were not a denunciation or accusation delivered with passion. He was simply expressing the mindset with which he and his organization approached their professional responsibilities.

(Long-term readers of this newsletter will recall the explosive reaction to Jordan’s casual statement. The details are available, and if you want all the back issues, the harried staff at The Eagle Wing Palace will do what it can to assemble them and e-mail them to you.)

The second important fact of journalism in the USA today is that there is a legal divide that separates “official” reporters and editors from “citizen journalists” like webloggers. The courts have not settled the issue, so no one can plot the dividing line precisely. All manner of solutions are found to disputes over the rights and privileges of those who claim to be journalists. Sometimes reporters claim journalistic privilege in court, and refuse to reveal the sources of their stories; sometimes that dodge works, and sometimes the reporter waits in jail until the judge relents (either way, the journalist can always remain silent without breaking the law). But whether professional reporters have a distinct set of rights under the US federal constitution is just part of the picture, for the folks who work for the NY Times can depend on some deep pockets to fund their defense if they are called before a judge. Reporters and editors are special.

Which is to say…it would be ridiculously easy for anyone to shut this newsletter down, simply by filing a lawsuit that is utterly devoid of merit, fact, or reason. Yes, getting this newsletter to you is a risky hobby.

Well, never mind that; focus on the basic verities. Clearly, freedom of the press is a variety of freedom of speech. One can not have one without the other, and who does not have both? Nobody, under the US constitution. Yet the legal system today considers the occupational status of the speaker/writer a significant factor to be considered in determining the outcome of a case of libel, as well as when a person does not want to answer all of a judge’s questions. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Not too long ago, the nasty part of the typical response to that criticism was the sophistical snark, “If the local paper riles you, remember that you are legally entitled to respond in kind: go buy a printing press, hire a staff, and publish your own newspaper.” The upshot: everybody knew the press could be a fearsome enemy whose resources and legal status were exceptional.

Today, the cost of publishing has dropped almost to zero, and it is possible for an individual to put his views on the internet for pennies a day. Unfortunately the courts have not kept up with this seismic change. It is not clear at present whether a weblogger is a journalist, and if not, how he might qualify as one. (Using an internet search engine, enter the search phrase, “are webloggers journalists”.)

In this outmoded legal atmosphere, the big boys still fight things out as they always have: they hire lawyers, spend money like drunken sailors, and issue endless hyperbolic statements. Sometimes it is in a good cause. For example, consider this attempt to bring to account some liars who are poster children for the ugly side of professional journalism.

All of the above implies that some reforms are in order. How to effect them without making a mockery of Liberty? Perhaps the best answer is simply that the law should recognize that citizen-journalists are journalists. After all, equality of rights does not square with the existence of an elite professional stratum that is immune to some — or any — of the rules. Reporting and editing should not be licensed like the privilege of driving a car, or the permission to perform surgery.

One can, in other words, hope that a rational legislative effort will be made to provide for a level playing field for professional and avocational journalists alike. If that happens, the bias of the major media will be well and truly endangered, and the unification of freedom of speech with freedom of the press will be firmly established.

Don’t hold your breath, Pilgrims. Big Media would not like that reform one bit. Reporters and editors — the self-appointed gatekeepers who control the flow of information — have always considered themselves exceptional.

 

This Hurts

A French court has just ruled in favor of a first-class media rascal, Charles Enderlin. Years ago, this newsletter reported on the media storm provoked by the faked death of a little boy who was claimed to have been shot by Israeli soldiers. The “murder” was a carefully-staged “Palestinian” hoax. The French courts have been all over this, first deciding one way, then another, then reversing the reversal, and so on. It’s a monumental scandal that seems to be coming to a terrible end.

If you want to know more, start with this webpage and keep looking. The man behind The Augean Stables (Richard Landes) is a scholar with whom this newsletter corresponded briefly; he can be trusted to give you the truth.

There are several lessons to be learned from this series of stunningly vile events. In no particular order, they include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The French jurisprudential system, like the French penal establishment, is deplorable. Slow, very political, mired in bigotry and casuistry, it cannot be predicted.

2. To the French, evidence means little. In spite of clear videos and explanatory diagrams, the truth was ignored. The corpse of the allegedly murdered boy was never produced, and no solid evidence that he was harmed has ever been forthcoming.

3. The “Palestinian” propaganda machine, which Landes called “Pallywood”, made its case not because it was efficient or clever, but because it appealed to rabidly anti-Israeli factions that were uninterested in solid evidence.

4. This scandal is yet another bit of evidence that supports this newsletter’s insistence that the “Palestinians” absolutely do not deserve a sovereign state. The very idea of a two-state solution to the dispute between Israel and Hamas/Hezbollah (no, they are not identical) is absurd.

 

Yet Another Nail In The Zombie’s Coffin

In a sense, this item on anthropogenic global warming is a waste of space in NTG, because you warmers will not read it (or believe it if you do read it), and you folks who understand the AGW hoax for what it is don’t need it. Never mind. Truth matters, so the record deserves to be written. Then too, perhaps you will pass this along to people who don’t yet grasp the facts.

Here is the first part of the current essential documentation. If you plan to move on and ignore it, know that you are bypassing an excellent summary of measured temperatures and CO2 levels. The linked website shows you where things stand now.

Now if you want the full story — that is, a definitive, utter dismantling of the junk science that warmers depend on when they preach — you can resort to an illustrated lecture by Richard Lindzen (who is no stranger to those who have followed the AGW hoax in this newsletter; you may recall his simple statement, “I think Al Gore is crazy”). Click here for a clean and complete version (a file in the .pdf format) of the talk. Some of the resources on the internet have linked to corrupted versions of the file that do not display fully. To avoid them, click on the word “here” in the sentence, “Lindzen’s talk can be seen here.”

If you want a partial text of Lindzen’s talk that is not in .pdf format, you can read some of what he said on this webpage; just don’t call up the .pdf from there, as it’s in bad shape. Note that unless you download and view the .pdf, you won’t see the graphs that so many warmers use to make their point, and that will make Lindzen’s debunking of the misinterpretations of the graphs hard to follow.

Well, game, set, and match. Not that the GoreCult will ever back down to pure, hard science; the warmers loathe Lindzen because he knows what he is talking about, and can back it up with some original research (linked to in earlier issues of this newsletter). This MIT professor is a genuine hero, for he has the courage to face down some of the most unprincipled scoundrels ever to have defiled science and politics — Gore, Hansen, Mann, Briffa, Jones and their influential co-conspirators.

Note that one of the biggest aspects of the hoax was not exposed and thoroughly debunked by Lindzen, but by a fellow named Montford; this newsletter linked to his work when it first appeared on his weblog. Since that day, the concept of AGW has been known to be a demonstrable fraud. (Earlier critics of AGW based their assertions on the sloppy research and alarmist attitude of warmers, as well as the physical properties of carbon dioxide, and periods in geologic history when CO2 levels were much higher than today’s, yet temperatures were much colder. Too, there was the fact that both the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warming Period could not have been caused by technology.)

So why are people who should know better still referring to the “controversy” over AGW? Because facts do not shake faith, and when genuine science exposes the psychological roots of irrational belief, the believers often react with anger born of dismay. Their reactions are part embarrassment and part stubborn refusal to give up what seems to them a holy cause — the salvation of Mother Earth (or “planet Earth”, or “Gaia”). What began as a concern evolves into a full-blown obsession, producing hyperbolic alarmism and the notion that falsehoods in support of the sacred task are not just excusable, but necessary.

It must also be admitted that humans do have a perverse streak. The counterintuitive fact is, imminent dangers are attractive; people focus on them, savor them, and are thrilled by them. This is why horror films are considered entertainment. It is exciting to know (as we were told back in the early 1970s) that all the algae in the oceans are dying, and that when they do — in a decade or two — all the fish and mammals there will perish, and mankind will be threatened as never before; the nightmare was even more titillating because it was claimed to be caused by humans. It would be nice to know what the scaremongers of more than forty years ago have to say today about their gullibility.

For more fun, see Number 144 of this newsletter for a list of predictions made by hyperenthusiastic catastrophe-mongers on “Earth Day” (love that name!) in 1970. The NTG’s opinion of the goofy prognostications: “Like dogs rolling in roadkill, the gullible news media and the power-hungry political establishment obsess over eco-drivel.” If you don’t have Nr. 144, request it from The Eagle Wing Palace.

The bizarre obsession with bad news and the guilty need for self-inflicted pain are (a) what sold so many copies of Paul Ehrlich’s breathless book; (b) why people used to insist that power lines and transformers caused cancer in children; and (c) why the nonsense about vaccines causing autism continues to circulate. Scandal! Horror! Doom! The Mayas said the world will end this year! It’s all fascinating, engrossing, entertaining stuff, and all the more so because it allows people to indulge themselves in a cleansing, retributive ritual of painful self-mortification. The instrumental goal sought by the die-hard core of warmers is to force mankind to don a hair shirt. Those folks ought to seek psychotherapeutic help.

 

Links

If the elected representatives of the people — most of whom are up for approval or disapproval every two years — can’t do the job, then one man must. So say Obama and his fired-up activists, who are out to organize the nation. Is their ethos/tactic an expression of confidence in a representative democracy, or is it a version of the Leader Principle? Do consider the question; the best way to begin is with this brilliant talk in which the concept of “the superstitious reverence toward the president” is discussed. You “wingnuts” will choke on this, even though it will infuriate Obamaniacs and “progressives” in general. Highest recommendation.

Ah, the measured eloquence of the nuanced rhetoric crafted by the sophisticates of the far left. One can only marvel at their impeccable taste and evocative skill with words.

Speaking of nuanced statements…trying to figure out who will do what and why has become a complex, confusing and frustrating obsession that Israel-watchers can no longer justify. Consider the nuances (there’s that word again) and distractions and ambiguities and red herrings and…and…everything bizarre in this commentary. Be rational, Pilgrims, and realize that the best way to approach it is to acknowledge that Israel absolutely cannot tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran; then let the rest take care of itself. It will.

Newt Gingrich. In case you wonder whether he’s still worth considering.

Related: this newsletter has whined repeatedly about the EMP-weapon threat, and Newt agrees that the danger is genuine. Learn why there is something to whine about. (An EMP-weapon simulates locally what a Carrington event does globally. Both are bloody awful, and should scare you spitless.)

Here’s a lot of information on natural gas and fracking. The article is informative, but long and only for those who are seriously interested.

You probably saw this: there’s a Saudi living high on the hog in London who may be linked to 9/11, and it could be the USA has dropped the ball. Time will tell — maybe. For now, it’s pretty much up to the conspiracy crackpots to explain what happened and who needs to be stood against a wall.

This little computer is the realization of a brilliant idea (more information here). It’s about the size of a pack of playing cards, and comes in two models that retail at USD 25 and 35. Free and open source operating systems are ready now for the tiny box, which can run Debian, Fedora, Slack, and Arch!

Boy, this is not the “Native Americans came from Siberia when the Pontian climate kicked in” stuff that was taught in New World archaeology classes a few years ago!

The One is appealing to his solid base, even at the risk of alienating a lot of independents and moderate voters with his genuinely racist tactic. You read about it or saw it on TV already, but now you need to understand it. Start here, and then look at this. Finally, ask yourself what would happen if Santorum formed a “Whites for Santorum” group. Be honest, now….

The problem with political advertisements is that it is so time-consuming and difficult to check out their breathless claims. For example, consider the anti-firearms Brady Campaign: how honest are its statements? Examine the facts. Because the discovery and processing of the statistics have been done for you, learning the full truth will take you all of five minutes. Then consider that virtually no one who is exposed to a Brady ad will (a) do what you have done, and (b) know what you know.

Like, what next? See, this dipsy-doodle female writing for a wacko “wingnut” magazine — some rag called Atlantic Ocean, or like that, right? — has — get this — actually written, “mistakes about Citizens United (a court case) are beginning to look more like propaganda, because even after being alerted to its misstatements, the (New York) Times has continued to repeat them.” I mean, like, the nerve of that chinless freak! She actually implies that The Paper of Record is not strictly middle-of-the-road! She probably like ran right out and totally bought herself a pair of Sarah Palin eyeglasses four years ago….

Things are so much better, now that The Arab Spring has arrived. An era of international amity means hot dogs and Coca-Cola for everybody.

When bad things like this happen, you can’t (rationally) blame capitalism or business; you have to grant the existence of malicious greed, and then deal with the idiocy of government. Yes, this may be another instance of crony capitalism, but that would probably be pretty hard to prove. Given intelligent legislation, it would be possible to go after the rascals for fraud; after all, they are misallocating the resources of a startup enterprise funded by venture capital that was coercively confiscated from the taxpayers. That not only goes against the sensible tradition that new, risky enterprises pay their executives poorly until profits materialize, it cheats the polity and reduces the chances that the company will survive. — Though it’s a stretch, arson for the insurance money comes to mind.

Not quite two years ago, this newsletter published a hyperlink to this video. Look at it again, and consider how much things have changed.

If you have ever wondered how crony capitalism works in the Obamoid era, this report will probably clarify things for you. The problem: these accounts make for boring reading. It’s much more fun to read about Mrs. Joan Whitman, who gave birth while being whirled in a clothes dryer, and subsequently named her unharmed baby May Tag Whitman.

Santorum seems to want to prove that he is an idiot. Read what he has to say in a recent response to a question, and think his answer through. John Kennedy did not say that people of faith must be excluded from public life. That would be an absurd view, and Santorum’s insistence that Kennedy expressed it in the speech in question indicates a deficient intellect.

They’re baaaaaaack!

Of course it’s not all Obama’s fault! When you are supremely unqualified for your job, you have to depend on other people to advise you — and in the District of Columbia, there are lots of such people, some of whom are decent, knowledgeable, and wise. To gain greater insight into how and why things happen, consider reading a book that explains Obama’s failed financial policies in light of the environment in Washington DC.

If the USA feels it must withdraw from Afghanistan and turn the region over to the Taliban, it will not be because the task of fighting the enemy of the West there was impossible, but because of the blunders made in the struggle.

For the cognoscenti: How long will it be before somebody names a new distribution of Linux “Kairuku“?

“Like all Americans, Muslims are entitled to the full protection of the law for the expression of their beliefs. But attempts to enshrine their notion of what is a sacrilege into secular law are a path to the destruction of the Constitution.” Thereby hangs a tale, unfortunately. — Parenthetical observation: if this logic applies to Muslims, as it surely must, why would it not apply to Christians?

 


I won’t slave for beggar’s pay
Likewise gold and jewels
But I would slave to learn the way
To sink your ship of fools


The masthead includes a quote from the works of Ludwig von Mises.

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

Publisher:The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee.