History, n. An account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
Muslim Immigration Into The USA
The Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank/activist organization, has prepared a video interview of Joel Fetzer, the author of a recent book, Open Borders And International Migration Policy (information here). The text deals (in part) with the complaints made by anti-immigrant factions. Historical examples include anti-Chinese bigotry and tension generated by the arrival in the USA of Irish and Latin-American immigrants. Overall, the video is factual, thoughtful, and on target; it demonstrates the inaccuracy of claims made about the impact of the immigrants on the economy and society. One unexpected result, the virtual death of the Republican Party in California, is of particular interest because it implies that anti-immigrant policy can be a lethal threat to the groups that espouse it. Do watch the video.
Note, then, that the video does not mention Islamic immigration into Europe, nor does it point out that Islam is a collection of sects that, in many cases, have tried for centuries to exterminate each other. In fact there is no meaningful similarity to be found between, on the one hand, the antagonisms of native-born US Protestants who reacted angrily to the arrival of large numbers of Roman Catholic Irish, and, on the other hand, the arrival in Britain of Muslims who have prompted books like Londonistan (briefly noted here). The tensions chronicled in that volume clearly spring from the refusal of newcomers to abide British culture, even when those behaviors do not involve the immigrants. The Muslims’ objection is typically that intolerable offense is given by Britons who carry on as usual. A piggy bank, for example, must be removed from a window where it can be seen from the street.
Islamic hostility is not unique to Britain. Parts of Paris are today literally cultural enclaves, forbidden to all non-Muslims. Yes, that includes the police, who silently comply with the ban rather than risk riots.
It was not always so. Remember, please, that Turkish immigrants residing in Germany probably built your Mercedes or BMW; those worthies have fitted relatively well into European society. Their ethic contrasts sharply with current Islamist fervor. In fact it is obvious that the open hostility with which many more recent Islamic arrivals view Western Civilization is a conqueror’s righteous reaction to an obscene and failing culture. Clearly, one should ask why Fetzer did not deal with these contemporary patterns.
Today’s Muslim immigrants in the USA and Europe are not significantly interested in a future anything like the one envisioned by historical waves of Italian, Asian, Irish, Polish, Hispanic, or Haitian new arrivals. When in history did any of those (and many other) migrant groups openly express the desire to destroy the culture of their hosts?
Indeed, Fetzer’s historical examples literally do not apply to today’s patterns; that diminishes the importance of his conclusions. Open borders can be considered negative or positive depending on the nature of the immigrants involved. If the West has admitted Muslim arrivals who hope to extinguish their hosts’ values and beliefs, then current Muslim emigration should be viewed as a means of deliberate conquest.
One can wonder, therefore, why this largely irrelevant book has been written. This newsletter suggests that what started as a historical study fortuitously turned out to be a cautionary tale for some of today’s political activists. The author is, in other words, very happy to put a shot across Donald Trump’s bow. Correct: the fantasy that the USA can build a wall (that Mexico will pay for!) to keep Hispanics out certainly does not appear to be sane. What that has to do with culturally intolerant, violent Muslims is not at all clear.
After all, Hispanics (and some Muslims) are not fanatically determined to conquer the world, now are they?
Finally — this is important — read the first item in Number 83 of this newsletter. Yes, read it all, and ponder its claims carefully. You will find it here.
Apple Hisses And Spits At Uncle Sam
The fundamental issues are probably a bit more unpleasant than either contestant in this dispute is willing to admit. Apple wants to guarantee all its customers — no matter how rotten they might be — that the privacy of an iPhone is absolute. That’s a little like the promise implicit in the sale of pistol ammunition: “This will do the job”, even if the job is the murder of a nun.
Once Apple agrees to breach its rock-solid security, the government will come calling again and again, and certainly will try secretly to develop its own software to crack iPhones.
Facts matter: The Tramp Abroad suggests that you read this highly informative article. He’s right — don’t skip it.
Now consider some opinions. The crusade to render privacy nothing more than a Utopian’s fantasy will probably succeed (though over this newsletter’s refutations). Whenever technology seems to give the advantage to companies like Apple, the government will take fierce punitive action to force compliance. The reasoning: why would any business mount a suicidal defense of the privacy of bloodthirsty villains?
Naturally the expectation of ultimate victory has emboldened the government. In fact the NSA has said it will target all the encrypted e-mail messages it comes across, though in all probability that’s just the federal geeks blowing hard.
Some perspective has been lost. Note that the question the public is asking is not, “Can I keep this message secret?”; it’s actually, “Will this mobile phone protect me from the people I fear?” This newsletter suggests the public should worry about some of what Washington is doing and much of what it hopes to do; fearing Islamofascist violence is actually secondary, though not at all trivial.
The significant truth is that if government has only the ability to violate the rights of the individual, violations will occur.
So the most important question is whether Apple (or some other company) can devise and market a telecommunications device that it cannot crack open.
There are multiple ways to accomplish that ususual end; the best probably involve prolonging the process of exposing the secret contents of mobile phones and computers. If the task takes decades to complete, it will have to be set aside.
Then there is impermanence: the life of each communication could be shortened by default. If no message in a mobile phone exists for more than five minutes, cracking into the device would be useless. Using that protocol would render Apple’s current security not only unnecessary, but transform it into a red herring.
Variations on these “force multipliers” would counter the NSA’s best efforts. Game, set, and match?
No, because the NSA would then enhance its interception of wireless signals, and the struggle would continue on a more catastrophically consequential level. Its cost would inflate insanely, and a huge workforce would be required to maintain the attempt to trap all the signals people send to each other (the seeds of that astounding idea have already been sowed, probably by the British GCHQ, which is rumored to “Hoover up” absolutely everydamnthing).
Imagine how a frustrated and infuriated US government would react to the existence of an iPhone that even Apple could not crack. Never-say-die authoritarians would demand the creation of new laws increasing the clout of law enforcement, on the assumption that anyone owning or manufacturing such utterly secure devices must be an enemy of the people.
Well, for now, the fact is that new ideas and more secure software are a sideshow. The real battle is and will be in the courts. Judges will temporarily decide how much privacy The Powers That Be will permit the individual to have. Give that some serious thought.
Then realize this, please: the US government gives every indication of being more than willing to do to your communications exactly what it is currently trying to do to the mobile phone used by a cabal of homicidal religious fanatics.
Yes, such draconian measures are always pledged to be placed in the best hands. Judicially correct search warrants, purely professional SWAT teams, clever informers, and ethically fastidious interrogations are promised.
Then the abuses begin to accumulate. The process of forcing criminals to submit is not just imperfect — it is inherently error-prone and inevitably incendiary. Perhaps its biggest flaw is that it tends to attract enforcers who are…well, hyper-enthusiastic.
Yes: if the current legal sparring suggests to you that the USA is edging closer to a dystopia in which virtually all communication is monitored and archived as possibly subversive, you just might be correct. (Perhaps this will stir the pot: enter snowden smurf suite into a search engine.)
Neither the revelations of whistle-blowers, nor even the e-mail correspondence of bloodthirsty lunatics, is the real threat. Remember, please, that the CIA knew a great deal about the men who destroyed the World Trade Center; the CIA knew the villains had arrived in the USA, and deliberately did not pass that information on to the FBI (see the book review in this Number of this newsletter). As any sailor who was at Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 could have told you, your own government must always be your first concern. Fact: though US radar detected the Japanese airplanes some distance off Hawaii, no alarm was sounded.
Indeed, how the US government plans and then comports itself is of the greatest concern.
The best deterrence against an alien foe is obvious preparedness. When coping with domestic crime, excellent law enforcement can be both effective and transparently constitutional. Unfortunately, as the enforcers grow in power or hide from public view, there is a heightened risk of the subversion of the constitution. Without that document, the USA would be just turf to be fought over by villains.
Footnote 1: For a different apparoach, have a look at this video. It’s an excellent discussion.
Footnote 2: The role played by the All Writs Act is not noted above because its role is instrumental rather than fundamental. For introductory information on it, see this source.
Links Courtesy Of The Tramp Abroad
Is HRC going to be KO’d at the eleventh hour?
Big changes in Syria: here’s an excellent analysis of the current situation and what could happen. (Ed.: highly recommended.)
Does microwave energy from one of the most ubiquitous kitchen devices negatively affect water, food and you? Well, it will get you if you override the two safety interlocks and stick your hands or head into the cavity…but as for water and food, no.
Ahem, Mr. President, we have a precedent. And the argument was made by your, ah ummm, Vice-President. — Now I am not saying that either side of the argument is the right way to go, but this must be pretty embarrassing for the Prez. Yes, and it’s also true that one can come to an incorrect conclusion when quoting someone out of context.
Here’s everything you wanted to know about vortexes — er, ah, vortices.
This is how the women in Indian villages deal with rapists.
This is the best argument for Donald Trump’s presidency this newsletter has seen.
Who and what is Bernie Sanders? That’s explained here, and “here” is a string of several videos. Go as far into the subject as you like (just let the YouTube videos come up automatically), but do understand first that some folks will find the format a bit off-putting. The author of this explanation of socialism and Sanders has an idiosyncratic way of getting his points across, and you might find it less than engrossing. If you concentrate on the ideas, you will not be bothered. Follow from one video to the next, and be glad that you don’t have to read this commentary.
A tip of the hat to reader JW for this item. Obviously, for the welfare of this newsletter’s subscribers who reside in Thailand, The New Terrapin Gazette can no longer be distributed in that misruled nation.
Hillary can’t be happy with this. The more the public knows about her operations, the greater the danger to her candidacy.
Pakistan looks at anthropogenic global warming and tells its population to prepare for prolonged trouble. Russia has done the same. Of course the USA will not do anything similar, for what matters most to the Obama administration is the political situation, not the true climate outlook. This is an important link, so consider passing it along to your correspondents. (Oh, by the way, note that the word kudosdoes not rhyme with bluenose, so it is not properly pronounced “coo doze”. Resort to this reference for the correct pronunciation. The last but not least significant fact is that the word is not a plural noun.)
The folks advocating Mark Levin’s plan to amend the US constitution are characterizing as supportive some comments made by the late Associate Justice Scalia.
If you have any opinion about Donald Trump — or if you are curious about him or his supporters — you need to read this. A hat tip goes to Reader JY for passing on this insightful, intelligent commentary.
Reader JW directs your attention to a dramatically sudden event that some would call “karmic justice”. This newsletter is impressed….
Whatever her education and experience, Hillary certainly has a genuinely stupid side.
Though this newsletter does not like mobile phones and “wi-fi”, this scientific-looking article seems a bit too alarmist to be completely credible. Unfortunately whether its advice is accurate will be impossible to determine for three or more decades. For now, wise parents will deny their children’s pleas for mobile phones (because the natural temptation to avoid using the earphones will be overwhelming).
Some folks are saying, “Thank Heaven for the US Senate!” Here’s why.
From the “Well, sure” department comes a comment made by the purchaser of a cattle prod: “I love it, dog hates it, cat is terrified, cows are afraid, wife said if i ever touch her with it again, shes gonna kill me”. Under $35 from Amazon.
(For maximum effect, suspend disbelief before reading further.) You don’t have enough to worry about, and this newsletter is here to help. Read this mess, and then feel free to fret as much as your gullible little heart desires!
Humans and marijuana: “The more illegal it is, the more profitable it is”. Drug control, meet economics! Fact: the best solution — which is not Utopian — is an end to the insane War On Drugs. — PS: there is no “sane” War On Drugs.
This decision is welcome, because voting is supremely important — and has a long history of fraud. Requiring adequate identification is neither burdensome nor discriminatory.
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Ambrose Bierce.