Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
September 13, 2004 - September 6, 2004

Friday, September 10, 2004


Our Two Cents

We just watched the Dan Rather defense of the forged TANG memos. The document expert cited was one Marcel Matley. He looked about a hundred years old. Here's his bio:

Marcel Matley

Marcel Matley studied handwriting analysis with Rose Toomey and was certified by the Paul de Ste. Colombe Center. In 1985 he became a full time professional document examiner and has other interests in medical and psychological research, paleography, education, Western formal penmanship and Oriental calligraphy. He is the author of several published monographs and articles, taught private classes and seminars, and presented at conferences. The American Handwriting Analysts Foundation’s library, as well as a collection of more than 4,000 forensics and handwriting articles, is located in his home in San Francisco where it is available for reference by appointment.

Sounds like he knows tons about typewriters and computers. (No wonder he seemed to care about nothing but the signature.) He's also on a website advertising expert witnesses for litigation: we all know how objective professional expert witnesses are.


Innumerate Fool

"I am not a crook."'

MAINSTREAM MEDIA. I'll begin by professing my awe and admiration for the "happening" (that's how us sixties children used to refer to sponaneously meaningful events) which occurred at Little Green Footballs yesterday. It was a demonstration of the near-infinite power of the internet to swarm a topic and accomplish meticulous research while maintaining an air of humor, self-consciousness, and purpose. The mainstream media will never recover from this. In the space of a few hours, more intelligence and research capability than the arrogant mass media have ever been capable of was applied to a subject on which the blogosphere possesses more expertise than an army of Ivy league journalists could ever lay claim to. In real time, LGF attracted expertise in the areas of office systems history, military conventions and usages, and computer software, hardware, and output devices. The combined effort resulted in a humiliation of the mainstream media that forced CBS to put its ass way out on the line, which it did -- very ill-adviisedly.

Now, InstaPunk wishes to make its own contribution. This is in the area of statistical probability. I'll preface my argument by noting that we are standing at the precipice of a glaring generational divide. Even the MSM conservatives who wish to take credit for the miraculous mass research effort of LGF are incapable of doing so, regardless of their intellectual credentials. They simply don't understand modern technology well enough to be sure of the implications that have been handed to them on a silver platter. Stephen Hayes, Fred Barnes, Sean Hannity, and Brit Hume may be approximately certain that a definite rat has been pinned in the spotlight, but they cannot know. They remain tentative and provocative rather than contemptuous. No matter how overwhelming the evidence piled up by the blogosphere, they continue to think in terms of odds and probabilites rather than fact. Why? Because they don't fully understand the technology issues which convert suspicion to prima facie proof. It's the same ignorance which led CBS into the hubris of convenient and foolish self delusion.

The memos CBS advanced as the work of Jerry Killian are forgeries. This is fact, not theory. The only argumentation missing from LGF is statistics, i.e., the mathematics of probability theory. The bloggers intuitively understand that half a dozen technical issues are each sufficient to prove that the CBS memos are forgeries. They are no doubt chafing at the mainstream media approach of singling out one or two or three of these issues and proposing (or disputing) that a technology existed in 1972 to refute the truth that is self evident to bloggers. But there is a way to end the appearance of controversy.

The fact is that the onus is on CBS News to demonstrate that in 1972 any single typewriter existed which could:

1. Produce a superscript "th"


2. Proportionally space letters


3. Employ 'smart' single quotes


4. Print in the Times New Roman font


5. Achieve mathematically precise centering


6. Space lines exactly 13 points apart


7. Duplicate the production of all the above variables using the default settings of Word 2003 without any change in word wrap. line length, and document mirroring (i.e. the happenstance that text typed in default Word mode would precisely duplicate the supposedly typewritten memos forwarded by CBS News as 1972 indictments of George W. Bush) .

In short, fellow bloggers, you have identified what probability theory calls a dependent series. The remoteness of the odds that the first of the enumerated items could be achieved by a 1972 typewriter must be multiplied by the remoteness of the odds that items 2, 3, 4, 5, AND 6 could also be achieved. This adds up pretty quickly. If there is (extremely charitably) a 10 percent chance that each of the requirements listed above could be achieved by the 1972 (or older) typewriter in Lt Col Killian's office, the odds that his typewriter produced all these outcomes can be computed as: .10 x .10 x .10 x.10 x.10 x.10 = 000001. In reality the odds are considerably less than that. Only the IBM Executive typewriter was capable of proportional spacing. No typewriter of the time could produce the Times New Roman font. No typewriter of the time was capable of exact centering. No typewriter of the time used a 13 point space between lines. Most importantly, because of the dependent series circumstance, any requirement corresponding to zero odds eliminates the possibility that the documents are authentic.

In short, it is a mathematical certainty that the documents in question are forgeries. All that is missing from the discussion is the technical competence of the pundits. When they speak of "maybes" and "what ifs," they are wrong. Since they cannot understand the technical issues, and never will, what bloggers have to do is make the statistical argument: Zero odds on any requirement is absolute proof that the documents are forgeries. Get the mathematicians to agree, and then CBS, Dan Rather, and (probably ) John Kerry are toast.

Just to explain the headline: innumeracy is the counterpart of illiteracy. Lefties almost always suffer from innumeracy, which they excuse in themselves by accusing everyone else of illiteracy. What's a Zerone, Dan?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Iraq: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

NEWS OF THE DAY. First up, here's a link to a bit of TV reportage that's not to be missed.

A MOVING VOICE. And now for the sublime. There's an Iraqi blogsite called The Mesopotamian which should probably be required reading for all who care about the plight of Saddam's former subjects. The most recent entry is a cry of anguish for the Russian children butchered by terrorists. There's another congratulating the Americans for their dominating performance in the Olympics. The post I found most astonishing, however, is quoted in full below. It's a response to the situation in Najaf, but it reads like poetry. To my western-educated ears, the lines are reminiscent of ancient Anglo-Saxon works such as The Wanderer and The Battle of Maldon. I mean no ethnic slur; I am merely responding to the power of simple words delivered in a strong, rhythmic cadence. The piece begs to be read aloud. The author's notes suggest that the author writes in Arabic and has a friend translate the text to English. I must therefore imagine that his words are even more eloquent in his native tongue. Still, the English version is good enough for me. See what you think.

Who are the desecrators of the holy shrine and who are the defenders? Who are the aggressors and who are the saviors? Who will hear the real voice of the people of Najaf? - The poor crucified people of Najaf. Does anybody really know what is happening in that ravaged city? Does anybody know that poor families, old men, women and children, are dying in their houses of thirst and hunger in that poor old city, not to mention the bombs and bullets? Does anybody know that the sickening stench of death is filling the air of the narrow side alleys and old antique quarters of that most ancient and venerable town of learning that has always been affluent and flourishing throughout the ages. Yes, friends, the poor people have nowhere to go, they simply die in their houses in the old city. A human tragedy of fearful proportion is taking place now and in these hours that I am writing these lines.

Those occupying and desecrating the holy shrine are almost all completely alien to the city and with faces unseen before by the real locals. Some are not even Iraqi and do not even speak the Arabic language. I tell you this is the truth. Vicious aliens, whether foreigners or criminals and thugs from other provinces, have invaded the great Imams’ resting place. Heinous crimes have been perpetrated against the Najaf people including murder, mutilation, kidnapping and arrest of ordinary people policemen and religious leaders; and please note that this was not done by the Americans, or by the IP or the IDC. That is the truth as God is my witness. Just today, a most venerable religious scholar “Sayed Mahdi Al Hakim” who had been a guest in Saddam Prisons for almost 12 years, has been beaten badly and led to un unknown location by a gang belonging to these occupiers of the shrine. They are surrounding all the venerable religious leaders of Najaf and threatening them. Contrary to the rumor that these leaders have left the old city, none has done so, except Al Sistani, who is receiving treatment in London.

While the politicians are maneuvering and uttering diplomatic niceties, the tragedy goes on. The valiant Marines and the IP and ICDC eager to save their city and evict the desecrators of the shrine, are being held in check, when the human and religious duty call for the immediate settling of this affair and ending of this tragedy. Who are the defenders of the faith? Who are the saviors? You may say what you say, but you must know that this great Imam has great favor with the Lord, and whoever comes to his rescue is blessed by heaven. They say the Americans are desecrating the holy place. No and a thousand times no. The Americans are helping the people of Najaf, they are now truly defending the shrine and attacking a murderous gang, attacking the desecrators and coming to the rescue of the holy shrine. Glory and blessings will descend on these valiant fighters, they may not know it but they are going to be blessed and aided by invisible forces. Now I think that the voices of the politicians and cowards should be completely ignored and the great alliance that has been forged between the people of Najaf and their American friends, which is [more] solid than anywhere else in Iraq, should be the basis of one great effort that will clean the town and liberate the shrine of our great Imam. This will raise them high in the eyes of the Lord and the Iraqi people and send the right message to all the terrorists and criminals.

May the mercy of the Lord and his blessings descend upon the Saviors of the Shrine and may his great invisible hand grant them victory and wisdom.


I intend to visit The Mesopotamian on a regular basis.

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