The New Terrapin Gazette

Number 245

26 April, 2012


It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.


 

Media Bias? Against Israel? Impossible!

According to some critics of CBS, this episode of 60 Minutes is grossly unfair, unprofessional journalism. Do view it now.

To this newsletter, the CBS piece seemed fair enough — on the surface. It created the impression that the ugly wall that has successfully reduced the murder of innocents by “Palestinian” Islamofascists is why many Christians have left and are continuing to leave Jerusalem. It did not, however, establish that there were no other reasons why Christians might want to depart, and it did not tell the viewer the range of reasons departing Christians gave as they left. The real information was lacking. That real information would allow a simple list to be created along these lines:

Stated reasons for departing Jerusalem

No Wal Mart  22%

Grim singles scene  14%

Rats  6%

Massage parlors expensive  6%

….and so on. You get the idea.

Instead of being informed, the viewer was expected to take the word of a single interviewee — who perhaps not coincidentally appears to have been a Muslim — that problems between the local Christians and the Muslims were not involved. To state the obvious: the idea that a Muslim might lie about matters such as this is hardly novel, extremist, or incredible.

This CBS television report is at best incomplete journalism. At worst, it is anti-Israel and pro-Hamas/Hezbollah propaganda that masquerades as honest reporting. It is up to you to judge whether it is either, or something between those extremes.

The case against CBS News is made by this weblog.

Getting the parties who live in this disputed part of the world to agree on anything is extraordinarily difficult. Behind the nearly impassible hindrances is a single factor: faith. Faith is the unwarranted belief in things that cannot be proved or disproved. Too often, inadequately based belief, credulity, leads to extremism. Consider, for example, that very few Muslims benefit in any significant way from their faith. The tiny minority who are better off for their faith are only men who enjoy positions of undeserved and abused social authority.

 

Find The Red Unicorn: A Quiz That Peeks Into An Alternate Reality

Here are six fanciful headlines; though it’s obvious that all are incorrect, which one would you rate as most likely to make the newspapers?

A. AIDS cure announced

B. War on terror over

C. Unemployment rate overestimated

D. Airport body scans ended

E. Obama to approve Keystone pipeline

F. Eastern Airlines back

Well, one is real. That is, the claim has been made, believe it or not. Find which one it is here.

Yeah, this is really disgusting. Jerks….

 

Deliberate Isolation From Information Is Just The First Level Of The Nightmare

This book is a convenient (not too big and heavy, not too expensive) source: Fast and Furious, Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and its Shameless Cover-Up, by Katie Pavlich, ISBN 978-1-59698-321-2. List price is $28.00; Amazon has it for $17.00. The text is infuriating. It’s too bad “progressives” won’t read it. Unfortunately the “Scientology mindset” applies: true believers are instructed to avoid heretical or unauthorized information, and they obey.

That’s a huge problem. Most observers tend to refer to the USA’s instance of it as a deep cultural divide, a chasm between the Bicoastal Elite and the Low-Sloping Foreheads — the implication being that each subcultural group resorts only to information sources that bolster preconceived opinions. “Progressives” are careful not to expose themselves to the thoughtful ruminations or reports of “wingnuts”, and the denizens of (metaphorical) Flyover Country avoid CNN and the New York Times just as carefully as collectivists eschew Fox (TV) News. The ends of the political continuum do not share information sources, and everybody tries to deal with reality by tapping into congenial conduits of information.

There are two things wrong here. One is seldom noticed or remarked on, and the other is obvious. Consider the obvious first.

From time to time, this newsletter has tried to reach selected individuals with information that debunks anthropogenic global warming. Two instances come to mind, and here’s the first: the Skeptics Society (link) seemed like fertile ground for the data collected on the topic, so a copy of this newsletter’s brief exposing the hoax was e-mailed to the organization. The response was not that of a skeptic, but of a stunned ambush victim. “Why,” the respondent wanted to know, “do you take this attitude? Don’t you know there is a consensus?”

The answer to that impolite question was, of course, in the file that remained unread on the desk of the Skeptics Society’s spokesman: facts force a rational person to reconsider claims of AGW, and here are the damning facts; check their sources, and study the rhetoric that ties the argument together.

It was not to be. Rejecting the large body of carefully-referenced material was automatic — the data (provided by multiple sources) did not matter, but the psychological pathology of the sender did. “What is the matter with you? Why are you crazy?”

The second instance: a conversation with an engineer included mention that Jim Hansen, a guru for Al Gore, has demanded a reduction totaling approximately nine percent of the carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere (he wanted to cut it back to about 91% of its current level, in other words); it was also noted that the total human contribution of CO2 amounts to five percent of the atmosphere (some sources say humans produce three percent of all CO2 in the air, others say four percent, and one says it is close to five percent, so this newsletter uses the highest estimate). The engineer’s reaction was to say, “Well, I’d have to see those figures.” Accordingly, he was provided with them, including the URLs so he could examine the sources and check the entire account. His response was to avoid reading the material given him, and say, in effect, “We are dumping all sorts of pollutants into the atmosphere, we know that, and it’s growing. That’s what I know. You have delved deeply into the science of it, but I’m not interested in science; I am concerned about the sheer volume of gases and material being added to the atmosphere. We have to do something about it.”

The lesson has been learned. It is: making information available is just the first step. The people you wish to reach must be led to examine that information. If they refuse, there is no conversation, and there can be no modification of views, yours or theirs. Closed minds block out all uncomfortable data, and cults — such as Scientology and the less formal but genuinely religious group composed of believers in AGW — serve as shelters for ignorance.

The second problem with the contention that both “progressives” and “wingnuts” refuse to deal with each other’s viewpoints, facts, and information is that “wingnuts” are disproportionately exposed to information they find disagreeable. That is not to say they permit it to enter their shelters; it is to note that “wingnuts” must daily navigate in a “progressive” sea. The major media are overwhelmingly collectivist, a fact this newsletter has documented over the years. The media bias is nearly universal; one can hardly escape it.

By sharp contrast, “progressives” can easily ignore vitally significant facts and viewpoints with which they disagree, remaining blissfully, effortlessly ignorant. Their shelter is far stronger and more effective than anything “wingnuts” can depend on to filter out unwelcome fact and opinion.

And why is that? For two reasons: first, the sources that favor the collectivist mindset are much more numerous than are information outlets expressing “wingnut” or individualist viewpoints and facts. The left simply outnumbers the right, especially in journalism and education. Second, there is a distinct cultural bigotry that mocks, dehumanizes, degrades and represses the “wingnuts” and others who find fault with statist/collectivist opinions. When Obama explains why people disagree with him, he refers to their firearms and their religion, and he attributes the “wingnuts'” preferences to economic causes. (That is, of course, a quintessential Marxist interpretation of the origin and nature of value systems.) The Dance of the Low-Sloping Foreheads is how the Bicoastal Elite envisions the yokels, knuckle-draggers and throwbacks who marry their first cousins and perpetuate the traditions of the Ku Klux Klan.

In a nutshell: the collectivist media are numerically overwhelming, omnipresent, and almost unavoidable; they are also doctrinaire, authoritarian, haughty, bigoted and libelous.

The USA has always been a complex nation, and it has always known intense bigotry, class snobbery, and rule by elites. Sometimes those elites were very wrong, and sometimes they genuinely improved the political and economic fortunes of the country by ruling according to laudable ethics. There is little in modern politics that is without historical precedents — or roots.

That offers a glimmer of hope, because it reminds that the nation has survived hellish trials. The jihadis have blundered because they confused poor leadership with the weakness of a people. The electorate has a strong reliance on common sense, for it is not intoxicated by prestige and power. Most ordinary people are simply better at making decisions than are many of their representatives in Congress. That explains the genius of the Tea Party Movement.

The full story must be considered, however, and that requires observant candor.

It would be unreasonable to ask entrenched factions to open themselves up to new and disturbing information. The Skeptics Society is not skeptical, but that is a fact its leaders would never understand or try to correct, for they are in thrall to a jealous dogma. The engineer who says he is not interested in science and sees smokestacks as proof of impending disaster cannot be commanded to check the numbers he said he would like to check. That’s the way it is.

Understanding “the way it is” and accepting it are essential. A realistic view includes an awareness that the sloganeering that can replace rational discourse almost always fails to serve the common weal. What people say to each other can degenerate into the madding noise of ten thousand vuvuzelas; nothing could be more frustrating.

This newsletter is read by a fraction of its subscribers, and that fact is burdensome to its staff. Yet the NTG will continue to appear as long as the flesh does not fail.

Ideologically biased journalism distorts the news consumer’s view of the world. Yet pioneers have created metaphorical corrective lenses, providing a clearer picture of reality. As the media’s propagandistic aberrations become visible, the gatekeepers’ power is declining.

Science, the highest-minded endeavor of all, is shot through with known but uncorrected errors, faith rather than reason, and cant rather than scholarship. Yet it can and does make progress.

Press on, Pilgrims. Know that this is Earth, not Heaven, and that Utopia is not a decent goal, but a fabulous concept that will be used to try to enslave you. Understand that there are evil people, and that they want to kill you for what you know and believe. Realize that only if you give up will there be no hope for your children and grandchildren.

Press on regardless.

 

Utopia awaits

 

Links

Holder’s Department of Justice is planning to stick its knife into BP. A report notes a cover-up which, a commenter correctly remarks, is trivial compared to the DOJ’s cover-up of Fast and Furious.

If you are a “progressive”, you might consider this commentary. Caution: even though it is entertaining, it will sting, for it’s remarkably insightful. Libertarians too will find it challenging, because the sheer neutrality of a free market in ideas, goods, services, faiths and behaviors is incompatible with universal authoritarian morality; how thoroughgoing the rejection of ethical codes must be is the eternal question. Does genuine Liberty require a total disregard of standards that uphold the group? After all, man is a social animal. — The video could be sharper, and you will have to try to overlook fact that the video-audio synchronization is not correct.

Political and financial corruption make for just about the least interesting news items imaginable; they are often tedious, boring, complex, depressing and irritating. Consider, for example, the exasperating question of why Jon Corzine is not in prison. He’s a slimy creep who was a federal US Senator. Corzine was also a financial bigwig, and the governor of a state. So…what? None of those roles is a guarantee of rectitude. Well, first, realize that the voters need to pay more attention to the Bicoastal Elite, and keep those people on short leashes. Second, be warned: reading all of what you find at the above link could prompt you to take a hot, very soapy shower….

Blatant election fraud in the last national vote means that “fear of mob violence in our country is no longer a hypothetical in the mind of a presidential candidate.” The racist misbehavior of the Obama administration — Holder’s refusal to prosecute the New Black Panther Party case; Obama’s abuse of his federal office to scold a city cop who arrested a friend of the president; the African-Americans for Obama organization (who would have the nerve to start a “Whites for Romney” group?); the NBC Obama propaganda regarding the murder case against Zimmerman — indicates that serious race problems are likely. The nation should have known, because Obama’s partisans have long been suggesting that voters who do not support him must be racists.

Justice for Trayvon.

The US federal supreme court appears likely to uphold the core of the Arizona law that requires the police to check the immigration status of people who have been arrested. Interestingly enough, “While losing the case at the Supreme Court could cause the Obama administration some embarrassment, it might actually help Obama in November“.

A pro-Obamacare argument has been mounted by a law scholar who manages, throughout his essay, to ignore the existence of the US Public Health service and the quasi-military status of the US Merchant Marine (which has, you are reminded, a uniformed institution of higher learning that ranks with Annapolis, West Point, and the Air Force Academy). The commerce clause had and has nothing to do with the history of the US merchant fleet. That fleet is, to put it simply and precisely, the result of unique federal/commercial cooperation that is intended to serve as a model for exactly nothing. Those who, in the eighteenth century, envisioned and created that idiosyncratic blend of for-profit business and government would have been utterly baffled to hear their work referred to as a rational extension of the authority granted Congress by the commerce clause.

“For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.” The information in the report is interesting and could prove essential…while the item has advice for Microsoft users and Apple users, it ignores the folks who use Linux. Why do you think that is? — Related: a hat tip to reader GB for eye-opening commentary on just how hard it is to use one of the many varieties of Linux.

“Wingnut” professional rumor-mongers spread their lies and deceit, and…and…well, it turns out they are spreading a program promoted by the Obama administration. It’s old wine in new bottles. “Progressives” mocked and reviled the wine when it was originally distributed (during the Cold War). Now the sinister end of the political spectrum is hypocritically silent; collectivists are not even rolling their eyes. It would be interesting to know why this reversal of the sacred ideology has been so quick and thorough, but this newsletter believes that no coherent or credible answer will ever be forthcoming from those who have made the switch. It may be that the truth is simply too embarrassing to be uttered by anyone left of Michelle Bachman. After all, if being intimidated or killed by commie a-bombs was somehow good, why is being intimidated or killed by Islamofascist a-bombs somehow bad? (Afterthought: how can this possibly square with the answer to the “Red Unicorn” game above? Curiouser and curiouser….)

“Stand your ground” laws are discussed in a presentation by the Cato Institute.

At last! Some honest, candid talk from the AGW cult!

A report in The Wall Street Journal of April 21 notes that “Cancer experts…have found that a fifth to a third or more of cancer cell lines tested were mislabeled…. In hundreds of documented cases that undermine a broad swath of research, cancer samples that were supposed to be one type of tumor have turned out to be another….” It’s international, and the worst thing about it is that very little is being done to correct it. “‘No one takes any notice for reasons I don’t understand,’ said John Masters, a professor of experimental pathology at University College London. ‘…all this crap is being produced.'” Well, professor, your field is not unique — what upsets you is a nearly universal problem in science. Consider climatology!

It’s interesting that the public perceives Microsoft’s Windows to be the predominant operating system for computers, while the full truth remains generally unknown.

This newsletter has not been following the John Edwards trial, but if you are interested, here are reports from a good journalist. They are, one hopes, in chronological order: first, second, third, and fourth. Why isn’t NTG interested? Regarding Edwards and his accuser, the author of the four linked articles says, “…there is little reason to believe anything either man says about anything”.


Wishing well with a golden bell
Bucket hanging clear to Hell
Hell halfway ‘twixt now and then
Stephen fill it up and lower down And lower down again


The masthead includes a quote from the works of Thomas Sowell.

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.