…what I meant about the fear of freedom was this: many, many people don’t of course want to live under a hellish starvation regime of gulag type…. But they quite like being told what to do. They don’t want to be told that the world doesn’t owe them a living and that they’re on their own… (they) repeatedly vote for parties and sometimes leaders who promise to provide everything as long as they’ll give up just a little bit of freedom, just a little bit. In the tradeoff, you’ll get more security and more welfare. It’s a temptation.
The Missing Plane
Boeing knew this; who else did? Might it explain the unprecedented instantaneous disappearance of that Malaysian plane? Yes, indeed it could. Think it through.
A skilled cracker might be able to shut down all communications — well, almost all radio traffic — from the plane. He would probably not know whether the engines remained in touch with the world. After communication was cut, the plane was flown, the Wall Street Journal has reported, for some hours. (See also this WSJ article.)
Evidently the plane did not have enough fuel to reach Iran. (See the map on the first WSJ page linked above.)
It could be that someone wanted at least one of the passengers on that plane. If that is true, the other passengers are not being held hostage.
Those making a comprehensive search for the aircraft should rule out Burma.
An Iranian passenger on the missing plane was traveling on a stolen passport. He has been declared by the authorities to have no ties to terrorism, though why he chose to go to the expense and trouble to hide his identity has not been publicly explained.
Further speculation is pointless. Only this is certain: if anyone knows what happened and why it happened, he or they will never provide the world with a truthful complete account of this bizarre event. (Compare to this abomination. There are too many cowards in politics….)
The Actual Climate
Dispatches From A Tramp Abroad
Peter Fox won the Bundesvision (FederalVision) Song Contest on 13 February 2009 with his song Schwarz zu blau (“Black to Blue”), which is a social realistic representation of his home city Berlin and the transition from nightlife to dawn. The contest was held in Potsdam (the state capital of the previous year’s winner, Brandenburg).
So, drones are good for something else besides monitoring and seeking out terrorists….
Sharp Eyes Required: spot the hidden snipers.
Here is proof that Russians are not really a threat to the USA – or maybe they are a real threat….
Neo-Nazi (actually xenophobic) ideology is currently resurrecting itself in Germany, Austria, Hungary and other European countries. I mentioned this in a recent Tramp Abroad dispatch (murder of Turkish and Greek small businessmen). Germans are really having a tough time dealing with this phenomenon, balancing the fine line between freedom of speech in a democratic society and taking the necessary measures to ensure that a brown (Nazi) party does not again come into power. The Germans have come far enough along that it is no longer taboo to allow national socialism or even a Hitlerian figure to play roles in art, music, and the theatre. This video is an example.
Now, this is innovation: I am sure this invention could be further developed to be more efficient and have a higher yield. How about smaller, decentralized systems to generate drinking water for individual houses or apartment complexes?
Intellectual jokes: well, maybe they are eccentric jokes.
Is the USA like a Third World country? No time to check out all of the references and statistics, but the big picture the author is trying to paint is rather bleak. It is unfortunate that the military-industrial establishment reaps so much money from our foreign military (ad)ventures, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Couldn’t the money be better spent on education, repairing and updating the national infrastructure…?
Windows XP: big security problems in store? My best guess is that die-hard XP users will band together to create their own patches to XP — or perhaps the US government will lean on Microsoft to rethink their policy concerning the patching of security flaws in XP.
RT news anchor resigns…on air! Well, luckily for her, she was working in the Washington bureau. If she had been in their main Moscow office, she would probably have chosen a different way to quit.
Did I post this before? (Yes, you did.) Well, even if I did, here it is again. (Good!) What an amazing invention. I was so impressed when I saw this bulb last year at the Hannover Fair that I purchased a “pilot lamp”. Admittedly, it was a bit pricey, since they were not in full production. But the bulb emits about the same amount of light as a 40W bulb, and consumes only about 3.5W…and even the color is very near that of a standard “Edison light bulb”. I see this as being the wave of the future. (So mote it be!)
Obama – Erdoğan Telephone Call: One would think that, prior to a telephone call with the prime minister of any country, the POTUS would be briefed by his staff on the latest news and developments in the relevant nation. Here’s a White House readout of an apparently previous call.
Even though they promote this video clip as coming from Russia, it is very obvious at the beginning that the “trainer” is speaking Spanish! “¡Hola! Me llamo Pavol. Éste es mi oso.” The way the German Shepard is frolicking around with the bear, it does not seem to (have) be(en) mistreated. In any case, the bear can do the hula hoop better than I can.
This is a spoof, but there is a very real underlying truth here. Contrary to what most people believe, kids get more education at home than they do in school. The question is what kind of education do they receive at home?
The top five tech trends at CeBit: Number One comprises the “NSA-proof” gadgets. If everyone starts encrypting their communications (voice, text, data), NSA is going to need a lot of computing horsepower to decrypt it all.
Turkish politician likens protesters to necrophiliacs: I always thought that, whatever party was in power at the time, its leadership would always select pretty sensible persons to be the envoys to the EU and the UN, as well as pick qualified individuals to be ambassadors to the superpowers such as USA, UK, Russia, China, et al. Well, I guess the AK Party has gone off the deep end….
Obama is getting involved in things half-way around the globe — but one doesn’t hear much about his interest in a terrible situation occurring in his own hemisphere.
First the Germans had Donauschifffahrtsgesellschaftskartenverkaufsstelle, but now they have Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher. Yes, really. Here’s a dictionary definition. And here’s where you can buy one. To see how to use it, look here. You are welcome.
The CIA, Torture, Secrecy, And Common Sense
As usual, politicians and spooks continue to give the public good reason to hold both elites in low regard. There’s a pretty good account of the hissing and spitting here. What to make of it?
1. Some politicians wax dramatically indignant about the ethics of warfare, damning the CIA for its medieval interrogations. The preaching is baseless, for torturing Al Qaeda lunatics is a waste of time and energy. The jihadis expect to be mutilated, vivisected; waterboarding, unpleasant as it is, rates as little worse than a college fraternity initiation. See the book review in Number 231 of this newsletter.
2. Feinstein is a career politician whose pronouncements are ideological cant and sloganeering designed to placate her constituency. Her intellect is open to question, as it is seldom in evidence; she depends on seniority to advance her monochromatic opinions. As a constitutional scholar, she makes a passable fry cook.
3. The performers crafting this illusion can not afford to appear disingenuous; all feign candor. The voters can discern only the outlines of the full truth, and that’s exactly what the politicians and spooks want. Everyone in government dreads exposure, as the horrified and outraged reaction to Snowden’s escape indicates.
4. A society that depends upon secrecy and misdirection is at serious risk. Consider the logic of this proposition: if you could know that the fall of the current political order and the opening of all its archives to examination would result in stunning revelations, you would be correct to conclude that at present, you are governed improperly.
Consider, therefore, how many secretive intelligence services the USA has, and how much is known about their expenses alone. Never mind what they are doing; in many cases, it is forbidden to know how much money they consume. Why is that?
Then ask yourself whether the enemy — presumed to be colonial Islam — is aware of its plots that have been foiled by US agencies. Of course the villains know their failures; they study them. So why should you not have that information?
The answer is not hard to conceive: presumably you would be told that to reveal the successes of the CIA and its allies would be to tell the jihadis how critical information was collected. While that might sound plausible, the obvious rejoinder would be this: “Let the US agencies lie, therefore, and claim simply that ‘moles’ exposed the conspiracies. That would not only hide the secrets perfectly — it would also drive the jihadis to paroxysms of paranoia”.
Why, then (one asks again), should you not know of successful intelligence operations? Suppose, for example, that six airplanes were not hijacked because the would-be hijackers were apprehended before they boarded. Why should you be unaware of that triumph, or kept from knowing of another operation that resulted in, say, the fact that eight bridges across the Mississippi stand today because twenty-seven plotters were rounded up and now await trial?
Proceed, then, to the next logical step in the reasoning. Assume, for example, that the Principality of Monaco funds an organization that kidnaps US Girl Scouts and sells them to highly-placed civil servants in The Republic of San Marino. Now of course all the villains know the truth, so why should the world not know it, as well? So assume that the CIA tells the world the facts. Monaco and San Marino deny the story hotly, and the US shrugs off the howling. So…what? Let the chips fall where they may. The secrecy so prized by diplomats and politicians and bureaucrats serves no rational purpose in such cases. As long as there is proof, why not expose the bastards?
Then: either the USA takes measures to halt the kidnapping and slavery, or it does not; the world is watching. The motive to do the Right Thing becomes an imperative.
Excessive secrecy can and often does hide official malfeasance.
Why, then, should the successes and failures of the US intelligence agencies always be hidden?
Yes, there are categories of closely-held information, and every case is unique. Some secrets are not secret; the world knows the Bolivians who killed Che Guevara were Native Americans trained in anti-guerrilla tactics by the CIA; where’s the harm that resulted from releasing that information? Other secrets are hypocritically not acknowledged. Some matter more than others. Of course some must never be revealed.
How to decide? The ruling principles are as follows: no secret is more corrosive and diagnostic than the guilty one which, if revealed, would damage only the people who have the authority to hide it, while information not inimical to the common weal might as well be available to all. Determining what is properly kept secret is the task of a panel of citizens similar to a grand jury. This body would settle disputes regarding the Freedom of Information Act.
No system is perfect; unfortunately, when elected officials are responsible for keeping the secrets of the agencies they control, imperfection is necessarily increased. In order to prevent the abuse of secrecy, the power of oversight should be more widely distributed than it currently is.
The Method Behind The Madness?
Here it is, and it’s big news you never got: the Obama administration has tacitly but unmistakably admitted that Obamacare is broken, won’t work, and can’t do its job. So…the major media dutifully reported absolutely not a single word describing the literal abandonment of the Utopian scheme. Now that’s steadfast journalistic solidarity! Are you surprised, or have you not been reading this newsletter?
Be rational, Pilgrims: Obamacare is so messed up, so frustrating, so hopeless, that the chaos is beginning to look deliberate. Does it overtax your imagination to consider that in a few weeks or months, Obama will announce that the only cure is “single-payer” health care/insurance?
A Funny, Memorable, And Eloquent Comment On Authoritarianism By Christopher Hitchens
I went to Prague once under the old days of the communist regime. I thought whatever happens to me here, I’m not going to mention Franz Kafka in my essay. I’m going to be the first journalist not to do it. I went to a meeting of the opposition underground, somebody betrayed us because the secret police came in and, suddenly, wham like this just broke down the door, dogs, torches, rubber truncheons, the lot. They slammed me against the wall, “You’re under arrest.” “Well, I demand to see the British ambassador.” “Blah, blah, you’re under arrest.” “What’s the charge?” “We don’t have to tell you that.” I thought, fuck, I’ve got to mention Kafka after all. They make you do it. (Source.)
Now this is great fun: a hat tip goes to reader JW, who has found a website that tells you everything about air traffic. You have to see it to believe it. It’s fantastic.
Somehow you just knew instinctively that Piers Morgan’s arrogance translates into plain, ordinary bad manners. Yes.
Two related facts: first, this newsletter has always advised you to donate to the Salvation Army, not to the Red Cross, in the event of a disaster. Second, veteran investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson is leaving CBS, and the reasons for her departure include some interesting insights.
Consider the racist bigotry found on the “progressive” end of the spectrum. Oh, yes, it’s there, and here’s an instance of it. Then ponder the assumptions of Stephanie Miller, who…well, see the video commentary, which ranges beyond Miller and deeply into sinister territory.
This new weblog will be of interest to those investigating marijuana. While not terribly technical, it offers abundant links covering virtually all aspects of the plant, including harm, benefits, medicinal properties, implications, and legal matters. No, it can’t set you up with a connection. Everyone who has an opinion on the plant or a question about it can benefit from this wide-ranging site.
Imagine how the “progressives” would have howled if Fox News had pulled this disgusting stunt on a crippled Democrat.
Before you damn Snowden as a traitor, read (in full, please) this report. Even his most severe critics must know that it raises some daunting barriers to his indictment and/or condemnation.
If memory serves, NTG will notify you when this new magazine advertises for subscribers. After all, you should know something about the people who want to kill you and your children, and then eradicate your civilization.
George Will has just realized that “The most intrusive and potentially most punitive federal agency has been politicized; the IRS has become an appendage of Barack Obama’s party”. What do you suppose delayed his detection of the obvious? Well, George’s credentials as a “wingnut” have been iffy for a long, long time — in fact, even before Reagan passed him over for the position of White House Press Secretary, supporters of constitutional government looked askance at this guy.
Related: the pesky Second Amendment gets some respect.
This essay is politically incorrect, which is to say that you need to read it.
Michelle The O strikes. Hopenchange!
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Christopher Hitchens.
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.