The New Terrapin Gazette

Number 246

May, 2012


Frankly, I’d like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry.


Witchcraft And Democracy

Did you know that there are a great many witches in the USA today? It’s true. These adepts are actively pursuing studies and arcane practices in attempts to enhance their magical powers.

According to a source within what is sometimes called The Old Religion, the state of California is “run by witches.” A large number of females who are practitioners of an ancient supernatural craft are said to toil in many state offices.

Now you may not believe in witches, but they believe in you, and that means they know not to advertise their existence. Modern witches are stealthy to the degree they are genuine; the most advanced and sincere practitioners are very secretive. You see, all true witches are aware of what happened to witches and magicians in the past. Today’s occultists know their predecessors were savagely persecuted, and they honor those who died horribly. Modern witches believe it could happen again.

That grim understanding necessarily pits them against Christians, and especially against fundamentalists who assert the inerrancy of the Bible.

Bizarrely, the Christian community has and makes use of the equivalent of witches. Some Christians believe they have been gifted with the ability to detect witches; these shamans are called “witch-smellers.” They do not have to interrogate or torture people in order to identify witches, for the widdershins path supposedly imbues those who set foot on it with a kind of radiance that some Christians insist they can sense.

“Witch-smellers” are considered to possess powers that can be thought of as extensions of — or something akin to — the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Christian theology that deals with the Gifts asserts that, as a consequence of faith, humans can obtain supernatural abilities from Heaven. Witches hold parallel but distinct beliefs. Both camps rely on polytheistic themes, either tacitly or explicitly.

The result is a subculture composed of potential prosecutors and potential victims. The two camps hate each other with an intensity that only faith can create.

It is a lot easier to get a glimpse of this battlefield if one approaches it from the Christian side (genuine witches do not embed members of the press in their covens). You might begin your research with a book called The Kingdom of the Cults.

Well, so what? Just this: as the coming presidential election campaign heats up, it is certain that some Christians will attack Romney because he is a member of what is often said to be a secretive anti-Christ, anti-God cult — the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, called Mormons.

Now of course this fuss is yet another deplorable case of religious disputes intruding into politics. The root cause of the bigotry is scriptural. Those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible know that God has commanded His children to kill witches (Exodus 22:18).

That passage in the Old Testament is not a conditional injunction that allows interpretation or revision: God said it, He meant it, and that settles it. Capital punishment for the crime of witchcraft is the highest sort of law. You either acknowledge the authenticity, authority and applicability of the law, or you dismiss the command as absurd.

Yes, Christian “witch-smellers” can detect Mormons, simply by being near them.

The implications of that claim are staggering. What you find described here is not to be trivialized; it is a hoary monster risen from its grave, a brute that many believed destroyed by reason.

The US constitution forbids three acts: the establishment of a national religion, governmental violation of the individual’s freedom of religion, and a religious test for holders of public office. But that only raises an importunate question:

What would things be like if the Christian fundamentalists were in political control of the nation? Same-sex marriage would be forbidden, of course, but would witch trials be conducted?

The answer appears to be that it would not happen. In fact you are probably wondering why in the world all this ink is being spilled over a non-issue; Christians are not about to start locking up witches, let alone executing them, now are they?

Of course not. While some Christians would indeed like to prosecute witches, most would prevent their coreligionists from behaving badly. That’s what it means to be “moderate,” isn’t it? Moderates tell the hotheads to stand down, and emphasize the need for people to ignore religious differences. Common sense prevails because the moderates speak up.

So there is no threat from religious extremists who have scriptural proof of God’s command that some people must kill others because those others hold false religious beliefs, or are inherently abominable.

Wrong.

And terribly so, for Islam despises Liberty and the rights of the individual. Where the scriptural basis of Judaism and Christianity includes many antiquated injunctions that the polity today rejects out of hand, no such distinctions are made in Islam. All of the Koran is sacred and binding today, and the same is true of the hadith. Islam, submission, is Islamic law (sharia). The two are one and inseparable.

Further, there are no moderate Muslims in the sense that there are moderate Jews and Christians; recall the Muslim opposition to the fatwa against Rushdie — there was none — and the condemnation by moderates of the attacks of September 11, 2001 — again, none appeared, for Muslims either remained silent, expressed conviction that the Mossad had attacked the USA, or rejoiced.

Those grim truths lead to a discomfiting question regarding the nature of a constitutional democracy: must the majority be permitted to make the rules (even if it wants to arrest, try, and execute witches), or can government impose a minority view (“No witch trials, you gullible morons!”) on the body politic?

Those questions lead to others. Where, exactly, does the power of the judiciary end and the power of the electorate trump what the justices mandate? Must the polity bow to the dictates of a justice who styles herself of proper ethnicity and sufficient sagacity to qualify as a variety of Platonic philosopher-Queen? Can Muslims impose their barbaric laws on everyone as soon as they have bred themselves into a large enough voting bloc to control the political process? Do these questions have any implications for immigration policy and law?

Years ago, this newsletter pointed out that the federal constitution does permit the electorate to have the government it wants, even if that meant witch trials. The mechanism is in place. Repeated voting would allow the people to set aside all impediments to a reign of religious terror, torture and murder. In the final analysis, nothing can prevent the majority from having its way, and the nation’s founders realized that. Their preventive response to the abstract threat was to place a number of barriers in the path of lunatics, zealots, fascists and totalitarians. Forcing the ugly elements in society to breach a series of sturdy walls before being able to take power was, the founders felt, the only way to uphold the rights of the individual. Of course they were correct — and wise, in spite of their gender and Anglo-Saxon genetics.

The “Occupy” movement, like the Tea Party before it, realizes that reform will not proceed from the ruling elites. The mass of the voters must be enlisted in the effort to impose sanity (a Tea Party goal) or push toward an impossible Utopia (the Occupy/Obamoid preoccupation with “fairness”). Ultimately, the good sense of the majority is all that prevents activists from making a mockery of the federal constitution.

Perhaps something stronger is needed.

 

Censorship

For decades, historians will be struggling to clarify and understand the Muslim attacks on the USA in 2001. As one might expect, contemporary politicians have an interest in controlling that research and scholarship.

Here are some sources of information you may have missed.

Begin with a recent political advertisement featuring Slick Willy, the man who…but you know that sordid tale. So peruse this text, and realize that there is a great deal more to the obvious political machinations than is easily discerned.

Then move on to an item in, of all places, the Los Angeles Times (you see how disinterested and even-handed NTG is, do you not?) that sets out some of the background of the story. It’s actually not bad journalism, considering the source.

Yes, the political pressure must have been suffocating; imagine NO sponsors for an expensive, lengthy, prize-winning documentary — how the film survived at all is a miracle. (Remember Sandy Berger? That fellow should have been banished to Devil’s Island — what a total rascal!) Well, the next steps taken to sequester information are obvious. Yes, an empty page. Amazing, isn’t it?

Then Andrew Breitbart did his best to tell the tale, but it was too late. Slick and old What’sHerName succeeded; the firestorm of bad publicity was contained and reduced to something more like a backyard barbecue, and today the story is almost forgotten. (Quoting this newsletter yet again: “To be effective, censorship does not have to be complete.”) Certainly a layman’s attempt at comprehensive research of 9/11 is much more difficult now, due to Clintonian damage control.

Censorship. A crime in itself…and no one does it better than a craven, degenerate collectivist politician who has a lot to hide.

 

Re-Elect Him? It Would Be More Appropriate To Impeach Him Now, And Have The Senate Remove Him From Office

Yes, yes…it’s impossible. The Senate refuses even to pass a budget so it can sit down with the House and work things out, so of course it is sheer fantasy to expect those rascals to deal properly with The One. As this newsletter has pointed out before, the current occupant of the White House has flatly refused to defend the nation against an invading mercenary army, and, worse, has said he will faithfully execute his sworn duty if and only if he is provided with a new immigration law that mocks the very concept of citizenship. The man is reprehensible.

Would that were all there is to his malfeasance!

You must look at this video. It is an interview with the author of a new book that details the rotten ethics, conspiracies, lies and sheer incompetence of officials from Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano on down…and makes clear that a good many good people tried and tried again to stop the unconscionable harm being done deliberately by the nation’s most egregious civil servants.

The rascals belong in prison.

You are reminded: Watergate took no lives. Watergate was ferociously pounced on by a profoundly biased press. Watergate was a stupid attempt by some overzealous and intellectually challenged Cubans to prove that the Democrats were breaking the Logan Act by talking to Castro. Watergate was an amateur operation with little basis in anything but simple-minded partisanship, and it provoked a media feeding frenzy that goaded a fragile president into making some stupid mistakes.

Compared to Fast and Furious, Watergate was very small beer indeed.

Perhaps the worst aspect of F&F — aside from the many murders it facilitated, of course — is that the press has given it so little attention. Read the book, because it will tell you all the things you do not know because some unprincipled politicians and propagandists want you to remain ignorant.

Fast and Furious should bring the Obamoid monstrosity, this Peronist quest for Utopia, to an abrupt end. It will not. And that is a shame and a pity.

 

Links

This will give you more sheer information, much of it in the form of graphs, than you need to convince yourself that anthropogenic global warming is a hoax. Click, and select Burt Rutan’s .pdf file (6.7 Megabytes) dated 2011. Download it, and view it in your .pdf file reader. — You have heard of Burt; refresh your memory of his achievements here and then here.

This well-produced video contains some interesting and provocative concepts. Recommended, for it will make you think.

Obama on the campaign trail…delivers speech “filled with class warfare rhetoric.” Wow, that’s a surprise, eh?

Ah, wonderful: a collectivist website goes ballistic over a law that encourages teachers to promote skepticism in science. This means creationists are trying to undermine Darwinian evolution. Well, the Darwinian concepts are not scientific, but evolution is a fact — as this newsletter has reported. Meanwhile, skepticism is an essential in all science, though many scientists overlook that fundamental fact. Take geology, for example: for a long time, the goofy and inexplicable concept of isostasy was taught. It was pure fantasy, and lacking in any explanatory mechanism that could set the claimed process off. Finally plate tectonics came along, thank goodness. The point: skepticism was absent when the geologists hit upon an “explanation” for how mountain chains arise. So: give a cheer for skepticism, and teach it! Get out a copy of Popper, and use it when you write up your syllabus and lecture notes!

This is for you science junkies. The reaction around The Eagle Wing Palace to this information was, “Huh?”

Just how crazy are these politicians? Hah…this crazy, or at least some of them are. That’s the fun agricultural fact about the USA: the nation has a crop of nuts the year round.

Have you had enough reports on the intellectual dishonesty of the New York Times yet? No? Click. Yes? Skip the hyperlink and keep reading.

Oh, my, yes.

Is it all the rage these days to attack feminism? One can hope so….

Team Obama politicizes killing of Osama bin Laden. Whew…this bunch is really, really predictable and boring.

More on Osama, Obama, etc., from a Jewish pro-Israel viewpoint.

Prostate cancer: obviously something more is needed. How about a politically correct campaign much like the one that promoted research and treatment for breast cancer? — Oh. Not appropriate? Well….

Attempts to intimidate Romney donors: Obama has an “enemies list”! Been there, seen that, didn’t like it the first time around…. Don’t these clowns have the ability to come up with something new?

“Woof! GOP mouth-breathers are such total jerks when it comes to animals, aren’t they? Like, they are goofy, you know? And nobody knows that better than the good old NY Times!” Unh, yes…those folks at the Gray Lady just love to kick back, open up a $250 bottle of French wine, and laugh at the Dance of the Low-Sloping foreheads…instead of trying to behave like real journalists.

Related: just so you don’t forget, this is where it comes from. “It” is a perfect example of media bigotry. NY Times-style media bigotry. This elitist knew when he said it that it could not be un-said, and would not be forgotten — and that obviously troubled him. Revealing oneself with total candor can be one of those experiences forever to be regretted, for the secret is out.

This is one truly wretched human being. And he’s determined to carry on.

From the New Terrapin’s Oh, Damn! file, this bad news:”…certain manipulations carried out by chiropractors – particularly those that involve forceful rotation of the neck to one side – may over-stretch an artery that runs along the spine. If that happens this vessel can dissect or disintegrate, resulting in a blockage of blood flow to the brain, ie. a stroke.” Details here. Ouch!

Mark Steyn: “…self-loathing cultural relativism is so deeply ingrained on the left that any revulsion to dog-eating is trumped by revulsion to criticizing any of the rich, vibrant, cultural diversity out there in Indonesia or anywhere else.” Yes.

“This is not a healthy society.” California, the dying state. Not enough witches, most likely.

Obama’s past: in various schools. As a “law professor”, which he was not. Obama today: stunningly brilliant and hard-working.

Meet Elizabeth Warren. Why? Because your day has been just a bit too good, and you need some perspective.

Today’s interesting history lesson: Teddy Roosevelt and the assassin.

Here’s a neat-sounding tactic: why not call your political opponents Communists? Fine, give it a try. Then try to explain yourself. Who knows — maybe you can.

This is hilarious. Not real, but definitely hilarious.

This guy can get a job at the NTG any time he wants.

If you are not conversant with the hand-held gizmos that allow for “texting” (that word is not legitimate, but in this madcap environment, a lot has to be tolerated and forgiven, so do try to ignore the loony lexical license, Pilgrims), you won’t find it easy to make sense of the material to be found at this hyperlink. After a prolonged effort that almost cost a New Terrapin staffer his mostly-digested lunch, this newsletter can tell you that what you will encounter if you click is an embarrassing display of advanced Obamania proceeding from a female who evidently “works” at CNN. When you simply can’t comprehend the implications of the cryptic blurts produced by this pathetic sycophant, scroll down to the comments. They make some sense of the puerile mess. And…what does all this add up to? Well, it’s just another demonstration of the slavish adoration of The One and His Team by someone whose professional ethics is severely compromised. When things are this snuggle-ugly between the Powerful and The Big Media, the folks in Flyover Country can be forgiven for believing themselves mocked and under-served. What you see here helps to explain why the Obamite political strategy of cultural warfare will join the depredations of the Department of Justice in obscurity. The rascals are getting away with it, and it’s groupies like this dipsy-doodle female at CNN that make that possible.

Related: “…several jurisdictions across several states have more names on their voter rolls than there are eligible voting adults in their area.” And: “…the Obama administration’s Department of Justice is working hand in hand with former ACORN lawyers who have pled guilty in voter fraud cases, on this year’s election strategy.” More here.

Related: journalism again. Tiresome, isn’t it?

Team Obama does get a bit bizarre from time to time. What a pity that the major media (that’s a plural, Pilgrims) don’t notice.


Tux

Special: A Bonus Item For Linux And Apple Users

To answer the inevitable questions: first, no, there will not be Bonus Items for Microsoft Users here, ever; second, the reason the following material is being published here is that nobody anywhere else wants anything to do with it. Right, it’s a failure. Well, cripes, no one in The Eagle Wing Palace thinks of this effort as being somehow inferior in quality — in fact, it’s pretty darn good. It’s modest, but solid and interesting, and just may be useful. It was written by the NTG’s most knowledgable Linux specialist, the Second Assistant to the Men’s Room Attendant. Third, no, this special section is not included at the expense of the customary content of the newsletter; all the usual political/cultural/philosophical claptrap has been tossed together with the usual feckless, reckless abandon and in the usual ennui-provoking quantity, so this computer stuff is a genuine add-on.

Note well, please: yes, you Apple users will be able to make this stuff work, because you have the bash shell, too. You just have to know how to get out of ToonTown and into rodent-free territory. From there, follow the directions given here. Have fun (that’s one of the good reasons computers exist, after all!).

A toy for lovers of the Command Line Interface

The task: deleting or re-naming a file that has a problem name, such that it is impossible for you to type that name in a command. Problem names may be found on .pdf files you did not create; they often contain blank spaces that bash misinterprets. Then too, files created on Microsoft boxes sometimes have goofy names that bash can’t be expected to tolerate (some things are just too, too). The usual way of dealing with aliens is to try double quotes, and sometimes that works — but not always, because the name of the file could contain fonts that do not exist on your box. So whenever you can’t simply

$ rm ./file.txt  <—‘

or

$ mv ./file.txt ./newname.txt  <—‘

you need a way to allow bash to get a grip on that file.

Yes, it’s a rare problem. You can go years without needing a way to do this, but it’s sort of like CPR — when you need it, you need it.

This technique employs the file’s inode number, and you’ll do a little bash scripting without writing a fully-fledged shell script.

(Back when I first installed Linux, you had to tell the installer what inode density you wanted; today, that option has been replaced by a default value that’s a compromise that works fine for almost everybody — now that hard drives are enormous. Accordingly, inode numbers are useful only for folks doing specialized tasks. That means you might want to look up what an inode is before you proceed. — Also, you will see “pwd” used here; it’s a command that means “print working directory”, and in this lesson, I use it to refer to the directory you are in.)

 

Step One: Discover what the inode number of the file is

Go to the directory that contains the troublesome file. List all the files in the pwd, giving their inode numbers:

$ ls -Fi | less  <—‘

I never do it this way, as I am an information junkie. I like

$ ls -Filth | less  <—‘

which is easy to remember and gives me a chronological list with the most recent file on top. Another good command is

$ ls -Flit  <—‘

and you can add the | less to that if you have a large number of files in the pwd.

If you want to go into the subdirectories in your pwd, add a as an option.

$ ls -Flait | less  <—‘

 

Step Two: Using the inode number, delete or re-name the file

$ find -inum 2694 -exec rm {} \;  <—‘

This tells bash to execute the command rm on the file, the name of which is symbolized by the curly brackets. I often forget the \; at the end of the command; don’t make my mistake.

If you want to keep the file, re-name it “bozo” this way:

$ find -inum 2694 -exec mv {} ./bozo.txt \;  <—‘

 

Notes

When you move a file from, say, /home/user/Downloads to /home/user, the inode number of the file does not change. That’s because you have actually moved nothing; you just gave it a new address.

I do not do a lot of work as root, so I have not experimented with this technique in directories like /etc, where I expect you won’t ever find it helpful.

A command with options, such as

$ find -inum 1234 -exec rsync -vc {} ./filecopy.txt \;  <—‘

will work. It produces the same display of results that it does when the command (rsync -vc) is issued in the customary fashion. Notice, by the way, that rsync is not a bash command, but an application (and a nice one you might consider installing and using instead of the cp command; check out its -vcr option).

 

OK, I agree you won’t need this technique frequently. However:

You can use inode numbers to improve your housekeeping efficiency in the CLI.

Let’s suppose you have a cluttered ~/ (user directory) and you want to get rid of the junk, as well as some but not all files that end in ~. Working from the CLI, start by wiping the screen clean — you need some room —

$ clear  <—‘

and then list your files (I like to list them in chronological order, as it makes it easier for me to judge the importance of files, or so I tell myself), giving their inode numbers:

$ ls -Fit | less  <—‘

You don’t need the long format here, so the l in the command is dropped. This command keeps the output brief so it’s very easy to read at a glance. Of course you may get a long list of files that you can read only by scrolling up and down. If that’s the case, break into the list wherever you want by hitting q. You can now work on the files that are displayed above your command line.

What’s good about this is that the deletions will require few keystrokes. There’s no need to type file names at all, with or without extensions, and there’s no need to use the SHIFT key, ever. (It’s not contradictory to enjoy using the CLI and find ways to do it efficiently.) You will use bash command memory to call your find command up again, so you can just erase the old inode number and type in the number of the next file you want to delete.

Maybe I missed it, but I was unable to find this technique in The Linux Command Line, by Shotts (ISBN 1-59327 – 389 – 4); nor did I see it in O’Reilly’s Linux in a Nutshell or in that publisher’s Learning the bash Shell.

 

A crude defense against Trojan horses

Did you know that you can set things up to prevent anyone — including yourself, working as root — from changing or removing critical binaries? Here’s how.

Decide which directory or directories you want to protect; customary candidates include /bin, /sbin, and /usr/sbin. Then:

# chattr -R +i /usr/bin /bin /usr/sbin  <—‘

Now your binary files are frozen. They still work, but they can’t be changed. Of course you will have to unlock their directories when you want to upgrade your system. That’s quick and easy:

# chattr -R -i /usr/bin /bin /usr/sbin  <—‘

Is there a theoretical vulnerability in this protective measure? I don’t know. In theory, I suppose a Trojan might be able (first) to assume the power of root without altering any binary files, and (second) issue the chattr command to unlock all the binaries. That would be one impressive chunk of code.

My opinion: this tip is likely to frustrate vandals, most of whom won’t figure out what you have done.

 


If you can abide it
Let the hurdy-gurdy play–
Stranger ones have come by here
Before they flew away


The masthead includes a quote from the works of Joseph Heller.

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.