Religion as cosmetic reverence shorn of substantive content is a virtue only the postmodern, post-doctrinal West could love; its self-congratulatory elites having evolved beyond anything so quaint as doctrine and arrived at…nihilism.
Discontent, Anxiety, And Premonitions Of Dystopia
Folks in the USA are being bombarded with predictions of economic catastrophe, famine, and cultural collapse. Survivalists are preparing to defend their homes against marauding gangs and government agents. Self-styled investment advisers are devising strategies that will simply preserve, rather than increase, your assets. These are indeed nervous times. Why?
Some of the reasons for the current pessimism and fear can be discerned. That’s the first step in an attempt to make things better, so make your list — and then consider whether any of your concerns can be translated into soluble problems. To get you started, here are a few things this newsletter has on its list of discontents. They are in no particular order — everything here is bad.
1. The “War On Terrorism”, or “War On Terror”. The West has lost perspective: it has been centuries since Islam challenged decent civilization, and Westerners are accustomed to winning or losing wars. Losers clean up the mess, rebuild, and cope with the circumstances of peace; winners stop fighting, transfer resources to consumer markets, and consider the threat eliminated. Unfortunately that pattern no longer exists. One cannot rationally think of a war with colonial Islam — the paradigm needs to be fundamentally adjusted. Islam is not like Nazi Germany or the Japanese Empire. It is a permanent threat that waxes and wanes, but can never be defeated and therefore ended.
An eternal menace can take a terrible toll on the population that is under attack; a cascade effect produces free-floating anxiety that makes everyday life tense and fatiguing. Addressing the psychological impact of the continuing threat is nearly impossible. Most people realize, for example, that killing bin Laden was mere theater; there was no “Thank goodness, it’s over” to be had. The situation in Iraq has not been resolved satisfactorily, and Afghanistan is even more difficult. Islam has initiated attacks in new areas, and the threat is greater today than it was thirteen years ago. News of wounded and killed warriors adds helplessness and despair to the public mood.
2. Economic reality. Many people in the USA are not only unemployed, but have no reasonable prospect of ever being employed. How many? Probably more than nine million. (Unemployment rates are always wrong, that is, too low, for political reasons.) In spite of the rhetoric of the “progressive” establishment, the intolerable condition persists, with no relief in sight. The best possible counter to high unemployment, the resort to a free market, is unavailable because the ruling Bicoastal Elite considers it politically incorrect. Finally, by now you know that Obama and his familiars have no solutions, and will hide the truth from you and lie to you without suffering the slightest pang of conscience.
3. Even though government continues to demonstrate its disqualifying incompetence, there is no prospect of throwing the ineffectual and repressive politicians out. The words Hope and Change can only be recalled with bitterness.
4. Unable to improve the lot of the nation, the US federal government strengthens its grip on the populace. Demands to disarm the people, improve the effectiveness of the police, watch and eavesdrop on the public, monitor and intimidate the press, and regulate the economy more stringently are in evidence — and are meeting with ineffective opposition. Scapegoating the rich as inherently unfair sustains and intensifies a cynical culture war — and panders to the economically ignorant. The militarization of the police proceeds, and the Department of Homeland Security is quietly maneuvering to assume control of local police departments, effectively creating federal police. The central government is purchasing and hoarding massive amounts of ammunition far beyond quantities needed for its precedented activities.
5. The federal constitution is increasingly ignored, and from the top of the law enforcement establishment down, lies, distortions, abuses and unethical practices are becoming increasingly common. Leading this parade into Hades is the federal Department of Justice. None of this surprises those who recall Obama’s remarks made before he took office. Fascism is gathering strength.
Is there a fix?
That would require a few changes.
1. A return to constitutional governance. Again, Levin’s The Liberty Amendments is the blueprint.
2. An end to election fraud. Voter ID required! Severe penalties for violators, especially for ACORN-style fanatics who are still at it.
3. The scouring of Congress. Imagine most incumbents in both the House and Senate returned to private life.
4. A thoroughgoing, widespread understanding of the importance of free markets.
5. The end of the Federal Reserve.
6. The appreciation of the fact that Islam is attacking an entity it perceives as weak, tired, uncertain, and unwilling to endure. The end of the conflict in Vietnam was noted and its implications were understood. The USA is not at war — it is threatened, and there is a huge difference. Understanding that and using it as the basis of strategy are essential.
Conclusion: one is rational to be pessimistic. Prepare, Pilgrims.
Dispatches From A Tramp Abroad
Crazy Russians climbing to the top of the sky.
Take a look at this, and after you have read it, tell me that you still feel you are really important.
A Hispanic cracking operation? I tend to believe that the Spanish words in the malware are red herrings. If I were savvy enough and inclined to write evil code, I could easily add foreign words to try to throw investigators off the track.
“Why don’t you just make me Prime Minister or President for life?” It looks as if Erdoğan is going down the road of Berlusconi, Assad and Putin.
Follow-up on Afghan ambassador to Spain: Masood Khalili gives an xTED talk, Afghanistan At A Glance, in Alcobendas (Madrid) about the war with the Soviets, and the culture of his country.
There’s a child porno scandal looming over Merkel’s new government. The ink on the Schwarz-Rot (black-red, meaning Right-Left) coalition agreement was hardly dry when the affair erupted, already forcing one minister (Agriculture) in Merkel’s party to resign. More heads are sure to roll…. The alleged purveyor of nubile boys had supposedly been investigating the (other) NSU scandal — a group of ultra-rightists who, from 2000 to 2006, had murdered nine foreign small businessmen (eight Turks and one Greek) with the complicit knowledge of the police, district attorneys and others in the justice apparatus. Once the investigators learned about his predilections, which were apparently not prosecutable, the rumor is that they began planting evidence to take him down. Links: One and Two.
More daredevil photography: someone trying to outdo the Russians.
Are we all Erdoğan? Maybe Erdoğan’s behavior and actions are really understandable, perhaps forgivable, even if we don’t agree with his politics. Or maybe not …
Cleanliness is next to godliness: this little “invention” could be useful in other countries besides India.
Two cultures: Flanders and Swann. They were inspired by C. P. Snow’s Book Two Cultures. I have come across more “men of letters” who know nothing about “science” than “scientists” who know nothing about “literature and arts”.
Be lazy like a fox: here are some creative house designs by everyone, constructable by everyone. It’s IKEA houses for the masses.
Slip slidin’ and away we go…
Neanderthal Man; In Search of Lost Genomes, by Svante Pääbo; Basic Books, ISBN 978-0-465-02083-6.
Pedantic clarification: the Neander is a river in northwest Germany, and the Neander valley is north of Köln and just east of Düsseldorf. The first e in the word Neanderthal is pronounced as the vowel in English nay, and the a is the a in father. The word for valley, Thal, lost its h to spelling simplification in the early twentieth century. It always was and still is pronounced tal, with the a as in English father. The German word Neanderthaler is used for both the singular and plural; a German would refer to a single Neanderthal as ein Neanderthaler, to the Neanderthal as der Neanderthaler and to what English speakers call Neanderthals (horrors!) as Neanderthaler. In the interests of both correctness and parsimony, German usage is employed in this review.
If you want to learn all about the Neanderthaler, this is one book you should read — with the understanding that its narrow focus is on the research that revealed the extinct hunters’ genetic endowment. The volume is actually a memoir by the man who led the breakthrough project. It provides an overview of the complex science involved, and offers glimpses of the author’s private life as well.
The Neanderthaler have long been perhaps the ultimate mystery people; while great strides were being made in physical anthropology, almost exclusively in Africa, Neanderthaler long remained an embarrassing enigma. Whether they were the same species as modern man was just one of the questions that many scholars felt would probably never be answered.
The reader unfamiliar with developments since Watson and Crick might be intimidated by Pääbo’s explanations; the science is highly technical, but one need not understand simply every detail in order to understand the fact that the author and his team worked a minor miracle. The narrative of their effort is, for those who take an interest in human origins, as gripping as any novel.
The research was conducted with devices and procedures at the very forefront of technology. Problems appeared as the team worked, and their solutions were pioneering developments. At every stage, the logic of the protocols had to be flawless, which means Pääbo’s team literally achieved perfection. Anything less would have been failure.
The final two chapters chronicle the appearance of the puzzling, far-flung Denisovans. Clearly, the world has a great deal to look forward to as research into genetics grows more sophisticated.
Pääbo’s account occasionally bristles with tension that swirls out of the political aspects of science. Researchers compete for funding, prestige, and jobs. Personalities are often more important than intelligence or experience, and on occasion the reader is disappointed by less than professional behavior. For example, Pääbo slyly tells the world that a surpassingly important (Denisovan!) bone sent to geneticists at the Berkeley campus of the University of California has decamped from the known universe. Regarding its current location, status, future, or fate, there is only inexplicable silence. Pääbo’s terse words make clear that it would be very bad form — indeed impossible — for him to ask Berkeley, “Did you lose it, or what?”
The scientists that get Pääbo’s highest praise are the jovial, helpful, cooperative types who value progress in their field above their own power and status.
It’s a good book, but…the author’s account deserves more and certainly better photographs (most of the few available are dim, cloudy, and blurry, with the best one being that of a molar). Good graphics are always a plus, and they are missing here. Too, Pääbo’s prose often seems to have been taken apart, adjusted, and reassembled less than adroitly. That vague impression prompted a look at the overlooked preface, and there it was: the author’s expression of thanks to four editors. Oh, my.
Don’t let whining about trivia put you off. The fact is that Pääbo led his team in brilliant work. His results have given science a great deal of raw information that will almost certainly have an exponential effect, producing numerous breakthroughs and insights into the history of mankind. So…where’s his Nobel?
Causes And Their Claimed Effects
As the above graph shows, the claimed cause-effect linkage between carbon dioxide and climate can no longer be defended; in fact, it never was empirically correct to believe that CO2 drove temperature. The graph immediately below makes clear that the two varied independently for millenia.
You know the real causes of climate change because you followed the hyperlinks in Number 336 of this newsletter, and you watched the explanatory videos. Either US Secretary of State John Kerry does not comprehend the facts, is unaware of them, or is willing to lie about them. In any event, ignorance is no excuse. For background on Kerry’s incompetent and disconcerting remarks, see this commentary; if the connection to the text balks, try this link.
Related: Kerry comes under scrutiny. Recommended.
This video is only for those who wish to delve deeply into the details. A quick view will inform you that the IPCC is confused and easily refuted.
Ignorance on display: in a debate with an AGW skeptic, “Bill Nye The Science Guy” blundered when he claimed that The Medieval Warming was not global. Nye was parroting the mythology of the Gore-Hansen cult. The facts are available.
A hat tip goes to reader JY for this reaction to the warmers’ libel and slander.
Charles Krauthammer is wrong: he says AGW is “almost theology“. It is a body of cultic articles of faith, which makes it genuine theology.
(This one is linked in the lead item, as well. It’s that important.) Expect rabid denunciations of a new video from an old enemy of ACORN. It will get very nasty indeed….
Obamites prattle about “income inequality”, demonize the rich, and base their activism on three claims — which James Piereson says are simply false. If the topic interests you, look into it.
Unintended (?) consequences might work to the advantage of The One’s plan for seismic change in US society, politics, and prospects. If the ruling elite continues to make a huge mess of Obamacare, can classical socialized medicine be avoided?
Ah, that’s better: here’s a defense of Senator Ted Cruz.
With Kerry at State, you need common sense and informed commentary more than ever. Recommended.
What’s the essential distinction between a collectivist and an individualist? Here’s part of it.
A dangerous Islamist cell in Texas.
Take this mini-quiz quiz regarding the freedom of the USA’s press. Can you complete the quote correctly? “… the heritage of the 1776 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush’s two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials. There has been…” (A) no change… (B) little improvement… (C) substantial progress… (D) great improvement… “…under Barack Obama.” The answer, along with supporting facts and commentary, is provided by a periodical well within the milieu of the “progressive” Bicoastal Elite.
Quite a few physicians and an advocacy group or two will be embarrassed, for developments now herald the death of a fad in preventive medicine. Until very recently, the procedure was promoted as obviously imperative. Well, in principle, this is a welcome reversal, for it demonstrates the objectivity of science. Yet the now-discredited protocol has been in place for many years; why were the experts so slow to recognize its worthlessness? The evidence suggests reform met with hidebound resistance.
This looks interesting, but nobody here knows how to make it work. Maybe you can figure it out.
Cuba has had panamerican designs for more than a half century.
Is the Tea Party racist?
Fire the witch.
Obama rules by decree, as have other presidents before him, and as future presidents will. That does not mean it’s a good idea, because legislation is up to Congress. The “imperial presidency” was a concern when Nixon was in office. See this.
Here’s a reminder about the IRS, Team Obama, justice, and the abuse of federal power. No, it’s never been put right, and because only Congress can do that — well, the power-brokers running that club have their own agenda, and it does not include protecting the rights of their political opponents. The IRS can be reformed only if the leadership of and the strongest power bloc in Congress are swept away by an electoral tsunami. The prospects for that are slim, though this analysis suggests otherwise.
Iran’s top mullah clarifies the issue. One can only conclude that Obama and Kerry are either not paying attention, or do not believe the villain’s candid remarks.
Jonah Peretti “… co-founded the Huffington Post in 2005 and is now the founder and CEO of BuzzFeed”. He’s interesting, especially to those who know who John Lott, Jr. is.
Are there grounds for impeachment and removal from office? Almost certainly not, because government by executive order is not a high crime or misdemeanor — and it seems only this newsletter takes the oath of office seriously. Congress can not restore proper governance as long as the Senate is in the hands of obedient Obamites; meanwhile the Republicans show no sign of the courage required to demand that the constitutional division of powers be enforced. The fundamental cause of the problem is that the biased news media have not properly reported the facts to the electorate.
Are you a snow skier? Oh, you are? Well, don’t worry — this newsletter is very tolerant of deviant behavior. Perhaps you will understand this. Don’t bother writing to explain it, please.
Since March of 2009, this newsletter has been whining about what is called a Carrington event. Later that commentary expanded to include electromagnetic pulse weapons. (Do look here for reliable explanations.) Flat prediction: it will happen, though one cannot know when. Perhaps the greatest danger is not from the sun, but from Iran; that nation would dearly love to kill most of the people on the North American continent. Yes, the Iranian version of Islam is literally that bloodthirsty.
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Andrew G. Bostom.
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.