The New Terrapin Gazette

Number 297
13 March, 2013

Unless predestination alone were to account for everything, making further inquiry into the Book of Nature pointless, it was only logical to assume that man’s condition and fate were determined by the same celestial motions which determine the weather and the seasons, the quality of the harvest, the fertility of animal and plant. In a word, astrological determinism, to a scientific mind like Kepler’s, was the forerunner of biological psychological determinism.

A New Pope

First, here is how the election of the next pontiff will be conducted.

Second, The New Terrapin Gazette’s expert on the Vatican has responded to questions regarding future developments, both probable and hoped-for.

Asked whether there would be any changes in teaching regarding the use of condoms to prevent disease and whether the Vatican might declare militant opposition to Islamic colonialism, he responded to both questions in the negative. “…the church leaders are generally pacifistic to the point of naivete”. While declining to predict where the next pope will be from and whether Mother Teresa will be made a saint, he expressed these hopes: he “… would like to see a tougher stance against defiant clergy, particularly the Jesuits.” He rates this book as required reading, and adds that he “…would like the next Pope to kick some ass in the Vatican. The Curia needs disinfecting. I would like to see the next Pope stand up to catholics who support the modern eugenics of abortion and euthanasia. I would like to see a change in the Church’s current stance against capital punishment. Opposition to capital punishment is not only un-Biblical, it flies in the face of two thousand years of Catholic doctrine and theology. I would like to see the Church reject corrupt oppressive world organizations such as the United Nations and the World Court. They are not the Church’s friends and no good will come of them. I would like to see the Pope order dioceses and Catholic charities in the United State to begin breaking their ties to the government. That is, stop taking money from them.”

Interesting views, all. Meanwhile this newsletter foolishly predicts that the new pope will come from South America, will not canonize Teresa because too many people know she was naughty, will make no big changes in the Church’s teachings, and will try to effect some policies to heal the suffering caused by predatory priests and those who protected them. Success in that last area is not guaranteed, but the pope might be able to do more than he could if he came from North America or Europe.

Holder, His Department of Justice, And The Concept of Genuine Justice

Both of this newsletter’s subscribers will recall how many times “Holder must go” has appeared here. Indeed, if given a choice between removing Obama or Holder, one should consider carefully before handing The One his walking papers. After all, that would put Faux Dipsomaniac Biden in charge, which would be almost as bad as turning things over to Tom Cruise; further, axing Holder would give the Department of Justice a fighting chance at deserving its title. Holder is a liar, a racist, a rascal and a man almost totally devoid of decency and principle.

Well. That felt good.

In the event you doubt those harsh words, consider the report of the Justice Department’s inspector general just made available to the press. Regarding that document: first, the commentary linked here does not come from a “Wingnut” organization (yes, this newsletter does often depend on the authoritarian counterbalance to the “progressive” loons). Politico actually leans somewhat to the left. Yet here the words are:

A scathing new report exposing bitter divisions and racial hostility at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division…resurrects questions about the handling of the controversial New Black Panther Party prosecution…”Steps must be taken to address the professional culture of the Voting Section and the perception that political or ideological considerations have affected important administrative and enforcement decisions there,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote. “The conduct we discovered and document in this reports reflects a disappointing lack of professionalism by some Department employees over an extended period of time, during two administrations.”

So Holder did not introduce bias — he merely went along with it, and refused to do anything about it, even when caught red-handed. Oh, well, that’s all right, then?

While the new report does not find that racial or political considerations tainted the Black Panther case, the probe finds some decisions related to the matter seem to have been inappropriately rushed under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Yes, blame Bush and his people for getting it wrong first; that’s standard operating procedure for leftish media. But….

Perhaps one should ask whether the Bush administration was in office when Justice became aware a fellow had been standing outside a polling place while holding a billy club and making threatening and improper remarks to white voters and a black GOP poll-watcher. What was the timetable for that event? According to Wikipedia, the alleged voter intimidation took place during the presidential election of 2008, and the Justice Department took its first action in January of 2009. That means the Bush administration was not involved, doesn’t it?

Finally, note carefully the true meaning of this paragraph:

The most outrageous incidents in the report date to the Bush administration, involving internet postings and e-mails liberals in the section directed at lawyers and supervisors perceived as conservatives opposed to traditional enforcement of civil rights laws.

One of the essential lessons here is that the next attorney general should investigate what happened, examine all the facts, vet everybody…and clean out the stables.

Holder has been hiding facts, mismanaging his department, defying the law and abusing his office, and the judiciously-worded report on his malfeasance is remarkable because the common practice is to let bureaucrats escape severe scoldings. Given the level of negative comments in the Inspector General’s report, one should be forgiven for believing that things are actually far worse than described. Yes, that’s assuming guilt where explicit proof is not available — but it’s rational to be extraordinarily concerned about Holder and his gang.

If the full truth were known and acted on, Holder and several of his accomplices would be in prison. Remember: Obama tucked the internal Justice Department memos away as somehow qualifying for secret status, though Holder and Co. are in contempt of Congress for not handing them all over. That’s a presidential abuse of power, and no one is willing to pursue the legal steps necessary to expose those memos to public view. Of course the lapdog press has dropped the issue.

The mess at Justice makes Watergate look like a shouting match on a Kindergarten playground.

That’s because Fast & Furious belongs to Holder, as well (even though MSNBC’s Maddow implied it was actually started under Bush, which claim is simply not true). Of course the suppurating wound that is F&F is not addressed at all in the inspector general’s report, for that report quite properly has a narrow focus. In any event, one can be confident that the catastrophic abuse of power involved in F&F will never be properly investigated and resolved.

Misanthropic Faith

Part One: Utopian Fantasies

Western Civilization has a problem: it is reluctant to proclaim its essential genius. An influential segment of its ruling elite is irrationally impressed, even obsessed, with past errors and enormities. This unwarranted sensitivity to historical events renders the West needlessly uncertain. Accordingly, leaders in both the Old and New World are often embarrassed to base their policies on a tacit assumption that the ethical and cultural superiority of Western Civilization is both obvious and unique. History’s most evolved and enlightened political, economic and social system lets its guard down when challenged. The West too often abrogates its proper role and drains its strength by adopting relativism.

The penitential self-abnegation of the West at its most bizarre is found in the myth that portrays humanity as a polluting, despoiling parasite.

This cultural debauchery would be of purely academic interest if there were no enemy at the gates.

For any rational ruling elite, past mistakes are just cautionary tales that can assist the formulation of policy. They must not be allowed to burden the polity with guilt. One acknowledges failure and depravity, understands what they mean, and gets on with the job. Yes, US policy toward Native Americans has been horrible, and many politicians were rascals; yes, racism was once socially acceptable in the Americas, and the poor have been exploited by monopolists. None of that amounts to a secular Curse of Cain.

Unfortunately those simple truths are swamped by the widespread acceptance of what is called multiculturalism, one corollary of which condemns US exceptionalism as morally reprehensible.

It is undeniable: the Western concepts of good governance are ideals of which any society can be proud. There is a long list: free markets and trade; public investment in business (through the purchase of stocks and bonds); the availability of information (free speech, press, and choice of faith); competitive markets for land, labor and capital, and a jurisprudential system that minimizes the unpredictable in the administration of justice (a government of laws, not men). If you want to reduce poverty and promote peace, these are the principles that should inspire you.

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Not everyone agrees. Obama insists that free markets do not work, for example, and many millions of people across the world bitterly oppose virtually all aspects of Liberty.

Why would a Western nation choose control, dependence and inefficiency over their opposites? To put it less abstractly, how is it that, for example, the US electorate prefers to be ruled by “progressive” leaders? There are several answers, and the first has to do with the myth of Utopia.

The very idea that a society can eliminate all problems, difficulties and distress is absurd. Even the most ardent Utopian thinkers must admit that, so the assumptions that underlie “progressive” collectivist schemes are moderated for public consumption. This results in political solutions that, while imperfect, are touted as the best options. Life will be improved if, for example, some types of firearms are declared illegal, and the need for that is demonstrated by one or two tragic incidents. Because some people fall ill and cannot be well served by care givers, a national program must be instituted to secure proper treatment for all. In other instances, benefits will flow from various bureaus to the public, improving the quality of life and easing the electorate’s burden.

The corollaries of benefits and the extension of prohibitions are two: first, an increase in the authorities’ control of the individual, and second, the reduction of the number of choices open to the public.

Wisdom dictates that each proposal to reduce choice and increase dependency be weighed carefully, for hidden costs are often involved. When politicians plan for the voters, a great deal can be glossed over and unintended consequences are common. That is not to say that governments at all levels must be prevented from attempting to meet the needs of the public. It is to insist that a review of governmental solutions, efficiency and consequences is always in order.

Too, whether there is a genuine need may be ignored in the rush to improve society. An example would be the rise in the ownership of rifles of all types in the USA and the concurrent fall in the number of US deaths due to rifle fire. Or one might wonder whether the inadequacies of the US health care system require handing one sixth of the economy over to the government — an agency some would say does not typically do a good job of planning the allocation of resources, or of delivering health care. One might want to know how Native Americans rate their federal health care before extending that network to include simply everybody.

If it be agreed that Utopia is not a practical goal, does that mean substantial expansions of the federal and state governments are automatically to be recommended? Further, what are the implications of faith in the attainment of a quasi-Utopia?

In subsequent commentaries, this newsletter will attempt to link issues of this sort to the larger topic of Western Civilization’s loss of confidence. That will require more than a few paragraphs!

Links

This newsletter has spilled considerable ink trying to inform you about the egregious legislative error called Dodd-Frank; see Numbers 153, 155, 255 — and 251 in particular. While the law is stupefyingly complex, it boils down to a millstone around the financial and economic neck of the nation. For informative commentary, see this excellent contribution to the discussion. If that hyperlink does not work, Google “barron’s march 11, 2013 the ruling class grover”.

This will hurt the anti-constitution forces, and provoke anger in the White House.

The warrior’s code: reader RB suggests a moving account of a remarkable incident. Highly recommended, especially for cynics. (Note: RB is a veteran of prolonged, intense combat. His words: “I was nineteen, and did not expect to be twenty.”)

Japan’s agony: earthquake, tsunami, radiation. Of the three, the radiation is less dangerous than anticipated. That may say something instructive about trendy preconceptions.

And…speaking of trendy preconceptions… have a look at this.

A recent hyperlink in this newsletter led to a report on the greening of the earth. Here is a related video. Highest recommendation.

If you bomb Iran, you must then fight Hezbollah.

Rand Paul, pro and con: folks are trying to understand and deal with the libertarian Republican’s assertions. Then: “wingnut” views of the filibuster.

Obamoid power politics reconsidered (“The American people do not give mandates”).

Were the Pilgrims — the folks who gave the USA its Thanksgiving Holiday — cannibals? This nutcase says they were.

Secrets. Filthy secrets. Well, at least Johnny “Xmas in Cambodia” proves yet again that he will be as much fun to watch as is the average garden slug.

Have you ever heard of the Viking sunstone?

Worries.

Religious freedom mocked. Yep, you guessed it: Islam in action. Again.

There is solid evidence of recent and approaching climate warming that will be catastrophic — unless/until you look at the complete data.

Lott is credible, Morgan is a moron.

Police protection is so good, all you need is a mobile phone. Yeah, and everybody here believes in the Tooth Fairy, too.

Chavez dead:

Venezuela’s oil industry has had major setbacks during the Chavez era. Venezuela has mortgaged its future and, like Mexico, it depends so heavily on oil (revenue) that it will have little choice but to do whatever it can to boost exports.

From here.What’s wrong here? “The key to increasing minority enrollment lies partly in intelligent affirmative action programs; partly in awarding tuition aid on need, not merit.” Find out here, and get a lot more besides. Highly recommended.

Sowell: “… it serves Obama’s interest to maximize the damage and the public alarm because he can direct that alarm against Republicans”. Yes!

“People believe these lies because they have allowed themselves to be persuaded that Israel’s existence is itself an act of oppression though (sic; should be replaced by that) ought to be reversed.” What lies, exactly? Read it all.

Searches at the border: “We’d never seen a court even seem to acknowledge that content on devices is different than contents in a suitcase… until now.” A recent federal court decision comes as a surprise. Big Sis will be hissing, spitting furious….

Budget cuts. Piffle.

“The civil war in Syria is spreading with rebel attacks against U.N. positions in the Golan Heights and against Syrian government troops that had fled to Iraq”. Source.

Hezbollah. Ugh, as Squaw Warren would say.

Southeast Asia: “…family elites involved with running many of these (southeast Asian) countries (such as Cambodia and Thailand) may have glimpsed a rare opportunity to pursue policies that would enrich themselves at the expense of their respective countries”. Business as usual.

The sun is behaving oddly. Should we prepare for a Carrington event? No one knows, but if one arrives in the next five years, nobody will be ready. Imagine a world with no electricity….

The Wall Street Journal says, “If Mr Obama weren’t bluffing, we would be adding to our military strength in the (Persian Gulf) region, and toughening our position at the bargaining table. That we’re doing the opposite tells Iran that the Administration is bluffing after all.” Read it all here.

I went down to the mountain, I was drinking some wine
I looked up into heaven, Lord, I saw a mighty sign
Get prepared, there’s gonna be a party tonight

The masthead includes a quote from the works of Arthur Koestler.

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

Publisher: The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee.