Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
July 23, 2005 - July 16, 2005

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Hockey!


Hockey -- which is an excellent way . . .
We did it! We now play the hockey in the fall. I can not believe. Off my bike. On to the ices.

My father called me last night. My banker called me this morning. All were very happy at the time for me. Even the guys at InstaPunk seemed really really happy though they don't seem to like the hockey all the times.

Now you have to watch. Comcast is looking to give us T.V. deal and you can get the anyshell Center Ice from DirecTV satellite company. Get it right now that you think of it. I don't know why but they only show 40 games a week but at least you can see some of the hockey with it.

And, no more of the poker on ESPN. You have to know by now that the Lebbannese Australian Chiropractor guy won the World Series of Poker and the $7.5mm prizes. You can read all about it HERE. You can even see all the 231 hands played in the final tables HERE. Sorry, ESPN, now nobody watch they already know the winners. Now they watch the hockey.

Here is his picture with all the monies.


Here I go to the rink. Maybe I write in the season but it is very busy times but I will see.

Puck Punk covers the NHL for --
   here are his previous posts
7/13/2005 -- World Series of Poker
4/14/2005 -- Terry Schiavo and Pope John Paul II
2/23/2005 -- No Mini Season
2/1/2005 -- Money Problems; Looking for more $
1/6/2005 -- Christmas and a trip to the bank
12/13/2004 -- The NHL can learn from NASCAR
12/2/2004 -- President Bush gets involved
11/15/2004 -- The Bender
10/21/2004 -- World Series, big deal
10/12/2004 -- Lockout, not Strike
10/5/2004 -- First Post

Congratulations to the anyshell (we just had to) players, coaches, owners, sponsors, play-by-play announcers, color analysts, and -- oh yeah -- the fans -- from all of us at

A Can of Worms, Briefly Opened

There is a middle ground.

. Dangerous waters here, perhaps the most dangerous in the whole wide world of the intelligentsia. It's called the Evolution Debate, and it's being fought tooth-and-nail by meticulously educated scientists on the one hand and harebrained religious Luddites on the other. Or so the most illustrious reporters of the conflict would have us believe. They are also the primary source for telling us the available sides of the debate -- that one must choose starkly between the Theory of Evolution as propounded by generations of biologists or the fantasy called Creationism defended by zealots who are armed with nothing but a tattered copy of the Bible. This would seem to make it an easy choice, which is why we get regular little reminders from the intellectual elite about the impossibility of challenging the biologists. A current example of this occurs in a column by Frederick Turner at TechCentralStation. I am moved to write on this explosive subject because the column does a beautiful job of explaining what is at stake and what constitutes the real power of the scientific establishment. I am persuaded that it provides a means of demurring on a few points in a format nearly as brief. Let's see if this is also a fantasy. Turner's piece is a followup to a previous essay that upset both sides, and he recapitulates his own beliefs thus:

In the essay I did state flatly that the theory of evolution had been proved. I wanted it to be clear where I stood. Much of the mail I received protested about that statement. I hold to it, and hold to it not as my own opinion, but as a fact, like the existence of Australia, which is not my opinion but a fact. But I do know that there are many who sincerely, and given their range of knowledge, rationally, do not believe in the theory of evolution.

Like the existence of Australia. Mark that. Turner also does what few others do when manning these particular battlements: he offers us a concise definition of what he believes to be fact:

By the theory of evolution I mean the origination of new species from common ancestral forms by an iterated process of genetic mutation, natural selection, and hereditary transmission, whereby the frequencies of newly altered, repeated, and old genes and introns in a given lineage can cross ecological, structural, and behavioral thresholds that radically separate one species from another. In one sense, this can be summed up in a syllogism, which must be true if we make the basic and essential act of faith that logic itself is true: survivors survive.

Further to his credit, Turner is economical but comprehensive in his assessment of the stakes:

For biology is not the only field for which the theory of evolution is an essential foundation. Geology, physical anthropology, agricultural science, environmental science, much of chemistry, some areas of physics (e.g. protein folding) and even disciplines such as climatology and oceanography (which rely on the evolutionary history of the planet in its calculations about the composition of the atmosphere and oceans), are at least partially founded on evolution.

In other words, the Theory of Evolution really does underlie the whole story we are telling ourselves about who we are and where we came from. The Creationists' dog in this hunt is easy to spot. The biologists tend to be cagier about their agenda, but Turner conveys it clearly:

The angry evolutionists were especially interesting, as they often wound up admitting implicitly that their real agenda was atheism -- while denying that there was any social policy message in that agenda.

It's actually rare for a member of the scientific establishment to come so close to admitting that this has become as much a religious war as a scientific debate: devout theists vs devout atheists. It's no surprise that Turner finishes by handicapping the opponents. The measure he uses, though, is more instructive about the contemporary scientific mindset than it is accurate:

 The work of the biological teams is required to be backed up by exhaustive experiment and observation, together with exact statistical analysis of the results. There is a continuous process of search through all these articles by trained reviewers looking for discrepancies among them and demanding new experimental work to resolve them. Since every one of these articles relies on the consistency and truth of the theory of evolution, every one of them adds implicitly to the veracity of the theory. By my calculation, then, opponents of evolution must find a way of matching and disproving, experiment by experiment, observation by observation, and calculation by calculation, at least two million pages of closely reasoned scientific text, representing roughly two million man-years of expert research and perhaps trillions of dollars of training, salaries, equipment, and infrastructure.

This sounds a formidable obstacle, and it would be if the logical error Turner commits earlier in the piece were not an error, but it is. Remember this passage, quoted above, which I have stripped of its obfuscating flourishes: "By the theory of evolution I mean the origination of new species from common ancestral forms by an iterated process of genetic mutation, natural selection, and hereditary transmission... which must be true if we make the basic and essential act of faith that logic itself is true: survivors survive." [emphasis mine].

I would suggest that the fact Turner believes to be as incontrovertible as the existence of Australia is actually "the origination of new species from common ancestral forms," not the precise mechanism by which changes occur. I further suggest that the "genetic mutation, natural selection, and hereditary transmission" part of the evolutionary puzzle is responsible for the religious component of the scientific perspective. Yes, they have a lot invested in their description of the process by which changes occur, but that does not mean that science has actually solved all problems about process. Do not forget that there is still no satisfactory explanation by science about the origin of life on earth in the first place. Nobel prize winner Sir Francis Crick found this riddle so impossible of resolution that he proposed the concept of panspermia -- introduction of life from an extraterrestrial source -- to account for the astonishing complexity and similarity of DNA across species. it would seem there are still some sizable holes on the process side of evolution.

I'll clarify the point I'm making by explaining that I believe the Creationists are dead wrong in their whole approach to the problem, and I believe the evolutionists are substantially wrong about process. And if I'm right, I do not have to disprove each and every experiment performed by biologists since Darwin first stated his theory. What I have to do is discover an additional agency which resolves the logical paradox employed by all evolutionists in their descriptions of adaptive response.

What am I talking about? You can see examples on every nature show broadcast on television. We are shown an example of an attribute some species has developed to better its chances for survival. I saw one last night on the National Geographic Channel in a program titled "Hornets from Hell." The hornets are Japanese, extra large and deadly to humans, smaller hornets, and honey bees. In particular, European honey bees imported to boost honey production are helpless against the super hornets. Thirty hornets can slaughter a hive of 30,000 European honey bees in about three hours. Interestingly, though, the less honey-productive Japanese honey bees have an amazing defense against the hornets, which must send a scout to mark the target hive with a pheromone so that the hornet death squad can find it. The Japanese honey bees detect the scout's arrival and lure it into the hive. When she attempts to leave, the honey bees swarm the invader. Hundreds of bees surround the scout and become a squirming pulsing entity. Are they stinging the invader to death? No. Unlike hornets, honey bees die after they sting. Instead, the honey bees are vibrating their abdomens, increasing the body heat of the mass to precisely 117 degrees. A honey bee can survive temperatures of 118 degrees; a hornet, only 115 degrees. The scout hornet dies, the hive is safe from attack, and no honey bees have perished.

Now when an evolutionist describes this or some other trait or physical characteristic which serves as a defense mechanism, he speaks in terms of purpose. This trait or feature was developed in order to increase the chances of survival against some predator or environmental condition. This makes it easier for us lay people to understand. When we have understood the value of the change, the biologist retraces the steps of his argument and subtracts the purpose from the process altogether, because it must be -- according to current theory -- a blundering series of genetic accidents and a slow cumulative sequence of minor and meaningless changes that eventually add up to a feature which works so well that it has the appearance of design.

This is a bait-and-switch use of logic. Purpose is employed to appeal to native common sense. Then purpose is removed and, along with it, the persuasiveness of the process description.

With respect to our honey bee example, it's important to remember that each bee brain consists of only a few hundred neurons. Actual learning is not a  capability of such primitive brains. The behavioral change acquired by Japanese bees to deal with the super hornet must be hardwired into those few neurons. How did that happen?

Scientists love to haul out Occam's razor -- the simplest idea is probably right. I'll haul it out here. It's far easier to explain the process by which Japanese bees acquired this defense mechanism through the inference that some kind of intelligence exists within the species as a whole which does explicitly recognize the hornet threat and responds appropriately by reprogramming the brains of Japanese honey bees.

This kind of intelligence does not have to be God. But the evolutionists resist it because the appearance of any kind of intelligence within their materialistic system opens the door to the possibility that intelligence, and therefore consciousness, and therefore possibly some supreme consciousness, is an intrinsic attribute of the universe. This is unacceptable not for scientific reasons but for religious reasons. The atheists can't stomach it.

It's important to remember that evolution is one of the earliest examples of systems theory -- that is, how minute changes in input change the output of the entire system. Another simpler example is mechanical systems theory, such as the description of how changes in input to a manufacturing system affect changes in output. In the mechanical world, the relationship is linear: increase input by a unit and output increases by a unit. This is the core of the incrementalism which drives the evolutionists' process description of one genetic mutation, one improved unit of survivability, one more generation of improved survivability, and so on.

But now we live in the age of systems theory as it has been changed by computer technology. Our new models, which probably relate better to organic life, demonstrate that tiny changes in system input can result in huge changes in system output. The power of this theory is that it has led to computer simulations of artificial life and artificial intelligence, in which the system begins to write and rewrite its own rules. This has led to new speculations, including one called complexity theory, which proposes that systems are driven to the "edge of chaos," where some kind of capability to receive new information from outside the system is created. This is not a discipline in which the evolutionary biologists have much interest, though, because no matter how independently an artificial system evolves through time, all such computer systems begin with a programmer who writes the initial set of rules and sets the process in motion. Danger, danger, danger.

Note, too, that the basic Darwinian theory is also much older than the field of quantum physics, which is also flummoxed to the point of despair over the seeming evidence that consciousness directly affects outcomes at the particle level.

I am not proposing an answer here. I am proposing that the Creationist vs Scientist debate has been oversimplified to the point of nonsense for the purpose of preventing any reopening of the antique assumptions underlying "state-of-the-art" evolutionary theory. The chief mechanism of oversimplification is an obviously duplicitous bit of illogic which falsely equates the given that "survivors survive" with the still theoretical working explanation offered by science about how survivors get better at surviving.

I'll close with a quick explanation of the graphics at the top of the page, which represent another realm of trickery by evolutionary biologists. They're fond of explaining speciation and adaptive response by using the example of dog breeds, whose stunningly varied attributes reflect changes made through breeding to improve capabilities in certain specific areas. This kind of example is supposed to help us understand the process by which nature makes changes in species, although biologists are always careful to remind us that the difference between dog breeding and nature is that man breeds dogs deliberately and nature breeds species by accident. As if this were a completely trivial difference.

One thing the biologists never talk about is where the vast realm of potential changes in dogs might come from. Oddly enough, members of individual breeds when released to the wild almost immediately revert to a completely standard dog design -- same size, same conformation the world over. So why and how is it the case that it is possible to develop extraordinary capabilities -- of sight, of smell, of fleetness, of intelligence, of strength, of size, of appearance -- if that potential were not already part of the basic dog gene pool? It really does seem as if that gene pool were in existence for the purpose of being invoked in response to the demands of environment and other factors, as if it were a system equipped with all the latent potentials that might be called upon by a conscious reprogramming effort. Cambrian Explosion anyone?

Of course, in a final bit of irony, all dogs are still part of the same species, theoretically still capable of breeding with one another, size discrepancies notwithstanding. Does this make anyone nervous about the scientific definition of what a species is? Why is it that lions and tigers can mate and produce offspring? Are they not different species? Or are all the big cats somehow merely breeds of the same super-species, like Boston terriers and Borzois? And if this might be the case, can we not glimpse the possibility that what the evolutionists call macro-evolution, which is the weakest and most unproven of their theory's components, is really nothing but a radical version of the micro-evolution science has indeed proven to exist?

If there were some middle ground between the two poles of thought on evolution, wouldn't we all benefit from the process of studying it seriously? We might evolve to a better theory that doesn't require such contortions of logic to explain.

POSTSCRIPT: I'll predict that if any evolutionists read this piece, they'll attack me in one or more of three ways. 1) They'll get personal immediately, calling me an idiot, a moron, a religious nut, etc. 2) They'll deny my right to discuss the subject at all because I don't have a degree in evolutionary biology, as if freedom of speech were now subject in the scientific world to a kind of poll tax. 3) They'll find one or several errors, or anything that might be interpreted as an error, to argue that this makes the whole discussion invalid. But it isn't. They can patronize and condescend to me all they want, but not one of them can persuasively explain the process by which wild plants became useful domestic crops. I'll keep my powder dry on that one till later.

UPDATE. Another briefer response to Turner's column can be found at Rand Simberg's site (HT InstaPundit). There's also a considerable body of comments which are amusingly similar to what you'd expect.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Hugh Hewitt

PSAYINGS.5Q.46. Hubris is a sin. You can get away with a little of it, but there's a line you can't cross without experiencing consequences. Lumpy, author of the Lump on a Blog website posted a heretical challenge to the orthodoxy of the Center Right Blogosphere on July 19 at 3:52 pm. The whole post was dangerously disrespectful, but here's the most serious blasphemy:

Civilization is a thin veneer that separates us from the hardships of raw survival. While Western civilization has provided us with the opportunity to enjoy the more heady pursuits, our love affair with our own minds often precludes us from taking concrete steps to ensure our continued survival, and often blinds us to the obvious.

Nowhere is this thinking more prevalent than in the consciousness of the liberal. But it is also present in the consciousness of those who choose to deny the evident. Whatever its intention, such a mind provides an avenue for our enemies to ensure restraint in our response, transforming the goal of success into certain failure. It is the unsharpened mind of complacency. In times of peace, such a mind may have much to offer, but in a time of war it is a hindrance to victory.

In the struggle for life and death - when civilization itself is at stake - there exists no greater potential for failure than worshipping an idea which aids the enemy in his quest for our destruction. All that I ask of the detractors of Rep. Tom Tancredo is that they take a moment and think on what I have written. Hugh Hewitt’s admonishment of those who disagree with his position is clearly reactionary and does not contribute to a reasonable debate on the issue. I hold Hugh in the highest regard and he is a man who has earned the respect of bloggers everywhere. He is one reason that I started blogging. The few times that I have found his posts to be reactionary are far outnumbered by my own amateurish oversights. From Hugh’s post:

I want to be very clear on this. No responsible American can endorse the idea that the U.S. is in a war with Islam. That is repugnant and wrong, and bloggers and writers and would-be bloggers and writers have to choose sides on this, especially if you are a center-right blogger. The idea that all of Islam is the problem is a fringe opinion. It cannot be welcomed into mainstream thought because it is factually wrong.

Mr. Hewitt, at the risk of ending my blogging career prematurely, I challenge your assertion that my belief is factually wrong. This is not a war on terror to me – it is a war of civilizations. Convince me that I am wrong.

You say my belief is “on the fringe”, but you fail to note that this has no bearing on its truth. Perhaps you are right, but I have yet to see any real data which settles this dispute one way or the other.

You claim a majority opinion, but how informed is this majority opinion? Put this question to a poll but first ask yourself how many of the respondents could claim any knowledge of Islamic history, the current war on terror, contemporary Islamic society, the proclamations of the Koran, and the current strength or weakness of the fascist movement within Islam?

That's going too far, Mr. Lumpy. You were willing to risk ending your blogging career prematurely? Consider it done. At 12 noon, Pacific Daylight Time, Hugh Hewitt formally excommunicated you from the Internet. From this moment forward, you are banned from blogging. You may not sign onto the Internet under any user name whatsoever on any computer. For the rest of your life. In a release issued to the press by the Office of Center-Right Blogosphere Orthodoxy, Mr. Hewitt said:

"It pains us to be compelled to take such an irrevocable decision, but we have made it clear in our encyclicals that we are not to be disputed or questioned on these matters. We have therefore had no alternative to imposing punishment."

Let this be a warning to all who dare to disagree with the pronouncements of the CRB, which was officially organized a few days ago. Its authority is absolute, and it brooks no dissent among the faithful.

Lumpy. Requiescat in pace.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Defending Tancredo

Couldn't happen. Couldn't happen. Sure it could.

CONSUMING DESIRES. I hate to disagree with Hugh Hewitt two days in a row, but that's the way the cards fall sometimes. Congressman Tom Tancredo has apparently suggested that if America experiences a truly major attack, we should respond by bombing Mecca. Hugh Hewitt condemned the remarks immediately and then added the following after several other bloggers had weighed in:

The remarks he made are a positive disservice to the United States, for all the reasons Durbin's were.  He has to retract them. And he ought to apologize to every Muslim soldier, sailor, airman and Marine for suggesting that the way to respond to an attack on America is to attack their faith.

I have been hearing from people who urge that Tancredo is just voicing the updated version of the MAD doctrine which kept the USSR at bay through the long years of the Cold War. That's silly. Destroying Mecca wouldn't destroy Islam.  It would enrage and unify Islam across every country in the world where Muslims lived.

Let me be blunt: There is no strategic value to bombing Mecca even after a devastating attack on the U.S.  In fact, such an action would be a strategic blunder without historical parallel, except perhaps Hitler's attack on Stalin.  Anyone defending Tancredo's remarks has got to make a case for why such a bombing would be effective.

I want to be very clear on this. No responsible American can endorse the idea that the U.S. is in a war with Islam. That is repugnant and wrong, and bloggers and writers and would-be bloggers and writers have to chose sides on this, especially if you are a center-right blogger. The idea that all of Islam is the problem is a fringe opinion.  It cannot be welcomed into mainstream thought because it is factually wrong. If Tancredo's blunder does not offend you, then you do not understand the GWOT.

Fortunately for me, Mr. Hewitt is not alone in his dudgeon. Captain Ed Morrissey -- and I'm sure dozens of others -- have expressed similar views. Here's an excerpt from Captain Ed:

I think the "ultimate response" to Tancredo's apolcalyptic fantasy is that we don't bomb civilians in response to terrorist attacks, no matter how seductive such a response might seem. The idea that the US would retaliate in such a manner should be repulsive to any rational person, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum. The war on terror targets the terrorists and the governments which fund and/or shelter them, not the civilians who happen to live there.

Besides, who is Tom Tancredo to make these threats anyway? He doesn't have anything to do with the military chain of command or the national security systems that would make those kinds of recommendations. He certainly doesn't speak for the President, who has to make the final determination in loosing those weapons on any target. Tancredo does, however, lend a false sense of credibility to such threats in international circles, thanks to his position as an elected Republican official.

In response to some criticism, Captain Ed also elaborated on his first entry:

I have no problem with unleashing the awesome power of the American military, but I don't want to be stupid about it. Destroying Mecca automatically gets us one billion overt enemies, where now we face around 20,000 active and a couple of million covert at best. Even threatening to do that puts us at a disadvantage when arguing that we are not attempting an existential war against Islam. How can any intelligent Muslim believe that while we threaten Mecca, which has no military value whatsoever and sits in the middle of a country with which we are not at war?...

Here's what we should make clear will happen if we suffer another major attack in the US, especially one that uses WMD or causes significant losses:

1. Take out the air forces of the two nations we know to support terrorists -- Syria and Iran.

2. Destroy all nuclear facilities in Iran, to the best of our intelligence.

3. Bomb all known militarily-related manufacturing facilities.

That response not only provides a significant deterrent, but actually addresses the threats arrayed against the West. Without any air defenses and with their production capabilities reduced to rubble, we will leave them in a position where we can easily pick them off at our leisure. It also will give them something to do with their money other than handing it to terrorists for the next decade or so.

I'm going to respond to a few specific statements of both these gentlemen.

HEWITT: Anyone defending Tancredo's remarks has got to make a case for why such a bombing would be effective.

MORRISSEY: Besides, who is Tom Tancredo to make these threats anyway? He doesn't have anything to do with the military chain of command or the national security systems that would make those kinds of recommendations.

Mr. Hewitt is wrong because Mr. Morrissey's question undermines both their arguments. Tancredo is not going to be making military policy, and so one can defend his remarks without having to defend their strategic military value. The question then becomes: what harm is really done by saying what a hell of a lot of people are thinking? I'll get back to this later.

HEWITT: The idea that all of Islam is the problem is a fringe opinion.  It cannot be welcomed into mainstream thought because it is factually wrong. If Tancredo's blunder does not offend you, then you do not understand the GWOT.

MORRISSEY: Destroying Mecca automatically gets us one billion overt enemies, where now we face around 20,000 active and a couple of million covert at best.

Mr. Hewitt does have the occasional difficulty differentiating the facts as he counts them up from reality. Mr. Morrissey is having problems with counting period. Let me correct Mr. Hewitt this way: All of Islam is not the problem, but it is a problem and a mighty big one. That is not a fringe opinion. It is a very widespread and deeply held opinion, simmering under the surface while many angry Americans abide, in the name of reasonableness and prudence, the many statements offered by our president in praise and exculpation of the muslim faith as a whole.

What so many of us fringe idiots perceive -- and cannot overlook -- is the continuing absence from the so-called  mainstream muslim community here and abroad of an unequivocal, untemporized, undiluted denunciation of Islamofascism and the terrorism it spawns. The reality is that Islam, the Koran, and the words and deeds of Mohammed are uniquely, shall we say vulnerable(?), to being used as the justification for barbarous acts against those outside the faith. This vulnerability is unique among the world's religions. (And don't try to peddle thet Evil Christians vs Enlightened Saracens meme about the Crusades here; that's a PC rewriting of history that won't wash and shouldn't be employed by conservatives of any stripe.)

So permit me to correct Mr. Morrissey's figures as well by adding in the hordes of innocent civilians who cheered in the streets on 9/11, the double-dealing Saudi princes and their subjects who smile as they take American petro-dollars and send their tithes to the madrassas, the millions of young muslim men made militant by the fact they will never find wives because the muslim antipathy to women results in a permanent scarcity of female births, the prosperous American muslims who drive their BMWs to the TV studio so they can dodge questions about the terrorist status of Hamas and Hezbollah and utter their giant "BUT" after delivering the standard rote pseudo-condemnation of Wahabi murders, the sullen millions in Egypt and other "friendly" Arab states who watch al jazeera and believe every word of libel about America and every rehashed lie about Jews feasting on blood in accordance with the fraudulent protocols of the elders of Zion, the moderate mainstream peaceful God-fearing muslims throughout the Arab world who dream of the day they can finish what Hitler started and slaughter the very last evil rat of a Jew. By my count, the new number adds up to just shy of a billion. Maybe they're not suicide bombers, and maybe they're not really evil, but how many of them don't have a secret place in their hearts where they cheer for Osama bin Laden as a kind of Arab Robin Hood? And how many wouldn't leap into the streets in joy if somehow American power were annihilated, and the muslim nations survived alone on top of the heaps of rubble that used to be a world civilization?

And Mr. Hewitt, do not tell all the people who count as I do that they do not understand the war on terrorism. It appears they understand it better than you do. What they understand is that it's impolitic to demand that Islam confront its own virulent strain of original sin, that part of their sometimes pacific faith which compels them to seek out infidels and cut their heads off without mercy, guilt, or apology. They DO understand the measured response you gentlemen propose:

HEWITT: I have been hearing from people who urge that Tancredo is just voicing the updated version of the MAD doctrine which kept the USSR at bay through the long years of the Cold War. That's silly. Destroying Mecca wouldn't destroy Islam.  It would enrage and unify Islam across every country in the world where Muslims lived.

MORRISSEY: Here's what we should make clear will happen if we suffer another major attack in the US, especially one that uses WMD or causes significant losses:

1. Take out the air forces of the two nations we know to support terrorists -- Syria and Iran.

2. Destroy all nuclear facilities in Iran, to the best of our intelligence.

3. Bomb all known militarily-related manufacturing facilities.

That response not only provides a significant deterrent, but actually addresses the threats arrayed against the West. Without any air defenses and with their production capabilities reduced to rubble, we will leave them in a position where we can easily pick them off at our leisure.

The problem is that Mr. Morrissey's response would fail for the same reason that defeating Saddam's army in the field didn't end the violence and terrorism in Iraq. Fanatics are not reasonable people by definition. Those who advocate restraint on the basis of retaining the so-called support of so-called moderate muslims lack the imagination to foresee that those who are currently sitting uneasily on the fence may well jump to the other side of the fence if the West can be forced into a massive depression by a sufficiently devastating attack. It's hard for western capitalists to believe that there are others in the world who don't mind an increase in their own suffering if the wealthy can be made to suffer more. What is unthinkable to us is far more thinkable to even the average moderate muslim than you'd like to believe.

That's a serious weakness of approaching every situation from a completely reasonable standpoint. Case in point: the sudden hysteria afoot about even mentioning the word 'Nazi' in the contemporary context. There are still things we can learn from that experience. Does anyone remember the long-ago debate about whether Hitler was an aberration or a natural outgrowth of German culture? Probably not. In our reasonableness, we have excused the Germans for starting two world wars in the space of 25 years, and we have forgotten that Hitler's philosophy was inspired by a long German tradition of anti-semitism and delusions of racial and cultural superiority. Germans who loathed Hitler cheered when he conquered Europe. The number of Islamic enemies of the United States will increase not with every American victory or display of power, but with every American humiliation and defeat. Barbarians do not respond to forebearance but to strength. Fear they understand. Tact they ignore or contemn.

O but they are not barbarians. Let's sing it one, two more times. O but they are not barbarians. O but they are not barbarians. We cannot treat them that way. Why? Surely, the onus is now on all the moderate mainstream peace-loving muslims to stand up, now that they command the world stage, and convince the civilized that they are not barbarians. They could do it in words, loudly and clearly spoken from a thousand minarets, they could do it in deeds, by abstaining from the stoning and imprisonment of their women, by ceasing to hate and condone the murder of Jews, by participating in the relentless hunt for those who cut off heads on TV and butcher children in schools and baby carriages.

These things they haven't done. How might they respond to the decimation of the air forces and bomb factories of their despotic governments? With their usual rage. Would Syrian national military vulnerability stem the flow of young braindead barbarians to the madrassas and terror schools of those who would further humiliate the Great Satan? No.

The measured response would embolden the terrorist mind. If a nuclear attack is successful in America, the measured response you propose would serve only to "enrage and unify" the hundred million or so Americans who have thus far remained patient with moderate responses. It would do absolutely nothing else to defeat terrorism.

Imagine. Imagine not 2200 American dead and the wave of grief and anger that inspired. Imagine 100,000 Americans dead or horribly mangled and stricken by radiation. Islam's militant minority has openly targeted our highest cultural symbols. At what point do we fight fire with fire and seek victory over an implacable enemy? Have you really thought about the question?

Instead, you are icily superior about the words of one minor politician who has spoken what many think. Yet his words are a kind of safety valve for the endlessly patient supporters of the war on terror. It may enable them to go one more month, one more year of watching grinning two-faced mullahs stand on podiums accepting the praise of American politicians while they laugh up their sleeves and go back to another meeting of their cell.

But it will horrify and distance the good muslims? Maybe. It might also frighten them just a little. Is it so very unthinkable that the fence-sitting muslims of the world should begin to appreciate that there is an American volcano after all, one that will erupt in a fury every bit as implacable and much better armed than theirs if they carry their wishful thinking too far?

As Mr. Morrissey points out, Tancredo is not in the military chain of command. He is not making real strategy. But he is mentioning possibilities that could become very real on the day that 100,000 American mothers have to place flowers outside the contaminated square mile where the obliterated bodies of their children swirl in the radioactive breeze.

On that day it WILL be Mecca, and Medina, and every other spot on the globe where terrorists may be lurking or plotting new atrocities. I am not proposing such a strategy, I am predicting its inevitability. And I suggest that it does more good than harm if the muslim world gets a hint of this possibility -- even from a lowly congressman -- before their errors of judgment and faith lead them to a final catastrophe.

Remember that there is legitimate anger. And it will increase.


UPDATE:  Thanks to Michelle Malkin -- welcome to visitors. Feel free to take a look around.

Also, La Shawn Barber's Corner took note -- thanks.

And thanks for the nod from Donald Sensing.


UPDATE:  Continued analysis HERE and HERE.

It's a Boy!

Another judge who hasn't written or said anything determinative about abortion.

THE ABORTION THING. Everybody thought George Bush the Elder was so shrewd for nominating David Souter because he had practiced law for many years without leaving any record of it but a few doodled napkins. He was the "stealth candidate."

Stealth means undetectable. Or is that indecipherable?
Or indefensible. Something. But it really blows things up, don't it?

That didn't prevent the Dems from getting alarmed, but when the dust cleared the Supreme Court had one more liberal weenie mediocrity on the bench. Just like George planned!?

Now it's a bunch of years later, and George The Younger has an absolutely golden -- no, make that platinum -- opportunity to do what his father and even Ronald Reagan couldn't. He has a solid majority in the senate, a half bushel of ancient judges to replace on his watch, and so what does he do? He reaches into the old trick bag and pulls out another name with a barely visible record, the only shock being that the candidate doesn't wear a skirt (He's supposed to replace the nonentity in a skirt nominated by Reagan, the one who turned out to be yet another liberal weenie mediocrity.)

Nominee John Roberts sounds wired in to the DC establishment, though, according to the Post:

In his years as a lawyer, Roberts, 50, proved himself an affable and measured member of the Washington legal establishment. But his short tenure on the bench has meant fewer written opinions that can be parsed for his philosophy.

"He is a Washington lawyer, a conservative, not an ideologue," said Stuart H. Newberger, a lawyer and self-described liberal Democrat who has argued cases against Roberts.

He put in his time advising the Bush legal team in Florida during the battle over the 2000 presidential election and has often argued conservative positions before the court -- but they can be attributed to clients, not necessarily to him.

That includes a brief he wrote for President George H.W. Bush's administration in a 1991 abortion case, in which he observed that "we continue to believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled.

Roberts won the case -- Rust v. Sullivan -- in which the Supreme Court agreed with the administration that the government could require doctors and clinics receiving federal funds to avoid talking to patients about abortion.

When the D.C. Circuit refused to reconsider a three-judge panel's ruling protecting a rare California toad under the Endangered Species Act, Roberts dissented -- gently.

"To be fair," he wrote, the panel "faithfully applied" the circuit court's precedent, but a rehearing would "afford the opportunity to consider alternative grounds for sustaining application of the Act that may be more consistent with Supreme Court precedent."

That's about all we have to go on for now. Few written opinions, an engaging manner, liked by liberals, tactful to excess (if verbiage counts), and no footprints leading to anything as damning as a philosophy. Does the word "stealth" still seem ominously relevant? Oh. And did we mention he went to Harvard and Harvard?

Pardon us for being cynical. We really should have listened to Neal Boortz for once, who told us that Roe v. Wade would never be overturned because the abortion issue is boring, or old hat, or not cool, or doesn't have big tits, or whatever it is that turns Neal on these days besides semiliterate summer interns. How did he put it?

Many "conservatives" are already taking shots at any potential Bush nominees whom they think might not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Well .. here's a hint for you.  You can yell, scream, write, march, protest and threaten all you want to.  You can hold your breath until you turn blue and stomp your feet.  Hunger strikes?  Go for it!  Chose [sic] your favorite form of protest and social activism, and while you're doing all of that you can go to the bank on this:  Abortion is never going to become illegal in this country again...  You can destroy appointees who might vote to stem the ever-widening powers of the federal government ... but you will never succeed in making abortion illegal in this country;  unless, that is, you somehow manage somewhere down the line to get the dictatorial theocracy that so many of you so earnestly desire. 

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but our country faces far more important legal and constitutional issues far more crucial and important than giving government the ultimate power to exercise that kind of control over a woman's ovaries.  Come on, folks.  Don't you think that you can figure out a way to turn your obsession over controlling your women-folk into something a bit more constructive?

Let's read the beginning of that last paragraph again. Our country faces far more important legal and constitutional issues far more crucial and important than giving government the ultimate power to exercise that kind of control over a woman's ovaries. [Ever hear of editing, Neal?]

Important. He says it twice, so he must be thinking of something, well, important. Important? Since abortion was found to be a constitutionally granted right in the United States by a 7-2 Supreme Court decision on January 22, 1973, more than 45,000,000 U.S. citizens have been eliminated. For those of short attention span, that toll is up by 600,000 since January of this year.

It took awhile before Americans began to consider these numbers seriously. After all, it's a very difficult quantity to comprehend, a population of the dead unborn so large as to be almost unimaginable in a country that storms and shrieks and weeps for weeks over the fate of one missing teenager. Lack of imagination is probably the most charitable explanation for Neal's attempt to portray abortion opponents as archaic crackpots -- as loony as the flat earthers and UFO abductees. He can only blink his eyes unseeingly at a number that's too big for his mind to process and proceeds instead to imply that those who purport to care about it are men who like to control women. Which seems a mite disrespectful to all the women in the pro-life movement. Or don't they count, Neal? What with being women and all? No good for anything but skimpy tanktops and summer jobs at the radio station?

Well, here's the reality of abortion rendered in terms that even the math-challenged might appreciate.  Americans killed by cash-only OB/GYNs in 32 years outnumber all the war dead of the United States since 1776 -- by a factor of about 40 (that means 40 times as many, Neal.). More Americans are killed every single day that Roe v. Wade remains in force than were killed in the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001. The total number of aborted babies exceeds the population of California, including however many illegal aliens are wandering around there today. The oldest of them would be over 30 by now, having children of their own, and in the economic terms that seem so key to attracting everyone's interest, they'd be adding to the GDP, reducing the budget deficit, buying stuff, and contributing valuable goods and services. On a more personal note, if we had them all here with us, alive, and some terrorist wiped them out in a catastrophic attack, when would the tears ever end?

But they are silent because they never were, and the only tears that are shed are the secret, shamed ones of the women who discover too late that for them a fetus really is a baby and no clinical or activist vocabulary can erase the fact of what
was done. But they cry into their pillows, not the TV cameras, and so what do we hear instead? We hear the yawping of the hateful hardass feminists who can suck up to Bill Clinton but can't stoop to speak honestly about the fate of unborn children. We hear the cackling of bombastic oafs like Boortz who will launch a vendetta to persecute smokers but can't stomach the expression of anyone else's moral principles. And we hear the sing-song women's rights mantra of the mainstream media, who have apparently hypnotized almost everyone into visualizing the issue of abortion as a half-deflated political football to be kicked around every time a Supreme Court starter goes on the disabled list.

Well, there are still a lot of people out in the wide empty wastes of the America between the coasts who hear the phantom heartbeats that will be silenced tomorrow and the day after, and they worked hard to elect a president who would finally nominate some judges smart enough to recognize the "right to life" articulated in the document that gave this country birth.

We hope, on the occasion of this nomination, that George Bush heard the voices of the people who voted for him -- if not those of the people they're trying to protect. We hope that if it comes to a fight, some hardy volunteer will stick a sock in Neal Boortz's mouth before he begins braying like an ass again. Patricia Ireland and Eleanor Smeal were bad enough. But those who call themselves libertarians should realize that only the rule of law separates libertarianism from anarchy as a philosophy, and a law that cannot remember its primary founding principle cannot preserve any liberty in the long run. And those who call themselves conservatives or Republicans should remember that there's no point in governing if winning the next election is more important than fighting for an unchanging principle that's gone out of style.

Who are you, John Roberts? Tell us how you feel about the number. You know the one. 45 million.

UPDATE. Nealz Nuze is already trying to trivalize the abortion aspect of the Roberts nomination. See here and here. It might not hurt to let him know how you feel by email. Mind you watch your spelling and grammar better than he does, though, because he likes reproducing the letters he can ridicule and pretending that all of his critics are rednecks.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Games of the Left

The negative is finally proven:  Salman Pak never trained al Qaida terrorists.

HARD CASE. I read Hugh Hewitt's weekend blog entry about the left's practice of distorting and misrepresenting evidence in factual matters that pertain to politics. It's an excellent analysis of the difference between propaganda and information, but he seems flabbergasted that otherwise affable liberals are so willing to participate. He sets about dissecting lefty blogger Kevin Drum's rhetorical assault on the case for ties between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaida...

...his blog this morning.. perfectly illustrates the effect of lousy analysis combined with invective combined with the assertion of a conclusion that will harden the left's position that is untenable with the public, as has been proven by two cycles of elections.

...but he can't help also observing that:

Kevin... by the way is a pleasant fellow in person who in my two or three conversations with him has never adopted the tone he routinely embraces on his blog...

From this beginning, Mr. Hewitt goes on to make several points. First, he demonstrates that Kevin Drum is at least being disingenuous in the construction and semantics of his argument that there were no appreciable links between Saddam and al Qaida. Hewitt's conclusion:

I am not trying here to fight this debate, but to note that in the lead pipes of the blogopshere, there is no debate, no room for new information, or even the remote possibility that on any issue related to the al Qaeda-Saddam connection, the left could be wrong.

Kevin just happened to be writing on this topic today, and just happened to perfectly illustrate my point. There's a Gresham's Law of information and analysis as well as currency, and it is at work in the left side of the blogosphere where lousy logic and terrible habits of mind are being nurtured and praised.

After a praiseworthy golf interlude, Hewitt resumes his essay to propose (my words, not his) 1) that the left's style of argumentation is costing it the opportunity to make conversions among moderates, 2) that what he calls center-right bloggers are much more successful in proselytizing independents because they care more about facts and honest analysis, 3) that this success is owed in large part to the predominance of lawyers among the center-right bloggers, and 4) that the center-right blogosphere (CRB) is having a greater impact on the political scene generally because it demonstrates what might be called superior character to the lefty blogosphere; i.e., it is more professional, more serious-minded, more focused on ideas and their underlying logic pro and con, funnier, and -- by inference -- less ruthless in its treatment of the positions and people on the left.

Presumably, Mr. Hewitt's gentlemanly assessment of Kevin Drum is intended to be an example of such center-right superiority.

I agree that Mr. Hewitt is a gentleman, but I disagree at least in part with all the points I've inferred above. It's true that I may be putting words into his mouth, but it's not my intention here to set him up. It's simply that so much of his argument consists of putting forward examples of the good guys in the CRB that some, more succinct inferences seem permissible.

Such as this one: I think Mr. Hewitt is urging us all to be fair, objective, lawyerly, reportorial, and nice. I'll respond to this by presenting a few objections to the items on the list and then offering a platform of disagreement that encompasses them all.

1.  The left's style of argumentation is costing it the opportunity to make conversions among moderates. Here, I believe Mr. Hewitt is specifically suggesting that the rape, pillage, and destroy mentality of the lefty bloggers is also infecting the MSM and reducing its credibility. He's therefore arguing that the Kos's and Atrios's and, perhaps, the Kevin Drums and Josua Micah Marshalls as well are hurting their own cause not just in the blogosphere but in the minds of the general public. He cites recent Democrat election losses as proof. I would cite them as evidence of the opposite proposition.

Overall, the left has never coalesced around so radical an agenda as the one their issue-by-issue flamethrowing tends to obscure. The agenda is to subject the President of the United States to an assault on his abilities, motives, and character so continuous that mere antipathy can be substituted for any meaningful set of policy alternatives. Beyond its anti-Bush sentiment, the Democrat Party can offer no coherent set of policies (beyond the antique trinity of pro-choice, higher taxes, and socialized medicine) that could be construed by voters as a positive and hopeful path to the future.

Despite this vacuum at the center of the liberal mind, the Democrat Party has achieved one tie and one close electoral college outcome in the last two presidential elections, and it has achieved virtually identical outcome in the U.S. Senate. In addition, as a party lacking the presidency and majorities in either the House or the Senate, the Democrats have nevertheless managed -- with the help of the supposedly "poisoned" MSM -- to prevent multiple Republican presidents from establishing a truly conservative supreme court, to promote and advance a secularist anti-Christian cultural change in both government and private institutions despite an overwhelmingly Christian U.S. populace, and to reduce popular support for the war on terror and popular belief that there is a valid connection between the war on terror and the Iraq War. To my mind, this performance is tantamount to a stunning victory for a party that is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

How can this have been accomplished if the American people dislike the bitter rhetoric of the left, doubt the credibility of the mainstream media, and in many ways seem to be trending conservative? The answer is that most people DO distinguish between the message and the messenger, and the Democrats know it. It is the loudest and most uniformly repeated message that is most likely to be believed, and the ferocity of the message's advocates is also a contributing factor, even when that ferocity is ugly, personal, and irrational. The old saying "where there''s smoke there's fire" is an old saying because a lot of people believe it.

Furthermore, most people do not give enough of their attention and analytical ability to public affairs. This is partly due to the nature of mass media -- in your face today too close to back away from, so far distant from view tomorrow that any effort to see it whole kens naught but a tiny speck. All that's left after the usual MSM mauling of an issue is an impression flavored by an emotional stink of some kind. It was ugly... not good for the President... does he know what he's doing...?

2. Center-right bloggers are much more successful in proselytizing independents because they care more about facts and honest analysis. Not really. They can be highly effective at elevating certain stories, certain issues that the MSM wishes to twist or suppress. But they still do not possess anything like a high-speed broadband connection to the mind of the average voter. Given time and enough support among the intellectual elite, Dan Rather's version of Rathergate (mistakes made but not intentionally or negligently) will be accepted by a majority of the body politic. This despite absolute proof provided by the CRB that the documents he used and defended were forgeries. It's possible the CRB played a role in shoring up conservative and moderate support against the tsunami of propaganda spewed by the MSM during the 2004 election, but given the polar nature of the choice between candidates, Bush should have won a 45-state landslide. He didn't come close. And since the election, popular support for the U.S. military and its mission in Iraq has continued to flag at a fairly steady rate. Impossible? The message is getting through -- independents may disapprove of Kos, but a lot of them still like good old Peter Jennings because he hides his "poison" behind avuncular smiles. Against this kind of power, the CRB is still a skinny finger in a dike made of swiss cheese.

3. This success is owed in large part to the predominance of lawyers among the center-right bloggers. I've already disputed the success. Now I'll dispute the effectiveness of a CRB dominated by attorneys. This is, by the way, a key precept of Hugh Hewitt's book Blog, and I have made fun of it in the past. That was probably mean, so I'll spell it out more reasonably here. The entire purpose of a legal education is to train formerly intelligent minds to analyze every question in accordance with the narrowest applicable principle(s). This is supposed to ensure airtight logic and create a debate position that is unassailable even in the face of considerable emotional bias. That's why well trained attorneys are good at winning both debates and court cases. It's also why attorneys tend to make lousy leaders and inspire remarkably low levels of general respect and personal allegiance. (Surprised to hear someone say this? Give me your list of great American presidents who were also lawyers; I'll spot you Lincoln, and you take it from there...) The reason? They have a hard time understanding that you can be right on the facts and the logic and still fail in your cause because your opponent knows he is right in the larger sense of things. There are times when facts don't matter much if they matter at all.

The truth is, lawyers are generally awful at identifying the big picture issues that would make their case easier to argue with the "reasonable man" they pretend the law was written to reflect. The topic Hugh Hewitt used as his prime example of faulty liberal analysis is also an excellent example of my proposition. Every time a leftwing shrike or a Democrat politician asserts that it has been proven there were no ties between Saddam and Osama bin Laden, he is wrong -- absolutely wrong -- by the most elementary principle of logic. You can't prove a negative. Everyone who has ever suffered from a bout of jealousy knows this. It doesn't matter how high a pile of exculpating evidence you amass, none of it can ever prove that he/she isn't cheating on you.

That's the only principle of argument that really matters here. The Bush administration  suspected, in the wake of 9/11, that Saddam was a past and continuing danger in the war on terror because he hated the United States, had shown a predilection for acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and participated in multiple clandestine ways in the murky, treacherous, and violent politics of the middle east. For anyone to appraise the quality of that decision now in presumably factual proof/no proof terms is an act of outrageous if not deliberate intellectual and moral dishonesty. And it doesn't matter if -- like Ambrose Bierce, the meanest journalist in history -- the perpetrator of such an attempt is polite in the assembly hall. He's a blackguard, dishonest from the git-go, and refuting the facts he places in evidence serves to authenticate the validity of a nonsensical position. And that's what they count on. They can argue badly, but if you argue back at all, they win. Kevin Drum is a low-rent Iago.

And, as it happens, those of us who are not lawyers can be certain of this judgment because the same lefties who claim proof of the negative with regard to Saddam and bin Laden use the impossibility of proving a negative in all their pejorative claims about the President, the Republicans in Congress, and conservatives in the country at large.  They  know that in the cut-and-thrust of domestic politics all that's required is to make the heinous charge in the first place. It can never be entirely disproven  How many Republicans still wonder, in their heart of hearts, whether Clarence Thomas really did make dirty jokes about pubic hair with Anita Hill?

This is the basis of the whole left/liberal assault on the Bush foreign policy. Make the charges, keep making the charges, disregard whether or not the charges are mutually exclusive (war for oil? war for familial vengeance? war for crusading fundamentalist Christianity? war for the Zionist conspiracy? war to distract from the failure to get bin Laden? war to disguise complicity in 9/11? All true, by gum), and greet every attempt at reasoned rebuttal with sneering, overweening contempt. Lawyers are powerless to win such an engagement in the same way that those who seek to win the war on terror by treating it as a law enforcement problem are. It's a function of fundamentally misunderstanding the enemy and the nature of the conflict he is waging.

I am NOT saying that the lawyer bloggers in the center right are no good. They have many valuable contributions to make. But I AM saying that the blogosphere is not some debating club or informal court of law under another name. It is an electronic Hyde Park Corner, the sort of venue in which Karl Marx convinced just enough intelligent people to follow him in promoting what would become the most costly experiment in human government the world has yet produced.

4. The center-right blogosphere (CRB) is having (and ostensibly will have) a greater impact on the political scene generally because it demonstrates what might be called superior character to the lefty blogosphere; i.e., it is more professional, more serious-minded, more focused on ideas and their underlying logic pro and con, funnier, and -- by inference -- less ruthless in its treatment of the positions and people on the left. All of these attributes have their role to play, but these criteria are not sufficient to constitute a complete set of Rules for Engagement. The conservative side of this war -- and it is a war -- must include voices who go beyond the Golden Mean into dangerous territory. There must be voices of passion, stirring rhetoric, polemical cunning, savage denunciation, reckless and bloodcurdling scorn, and a daringly disrespectful sense of the absurd.

What does it take to bring down a Kos, an Atrios, a Joshua Micah Marshall? Waves of warriors who are, yes, smarter than they are, but also every bit as adept with the dirk and the flamethrower as they are. World War II is the favorite historical example of the CRB. I'll remind one and all that we didn't win that "just" war without Hiroshima.

The bloggers of InstaPunk use, and will use, all kinds of approaches to defeat our enemies foreign and domestic. None of us went to law school, and none of us is therefore guilty of the delusion that patriotism is universal among the socialists, anarchists, marxists, and totalitarians who find fault with every exercise of American power in the world. When they're being reasonable, we'll be reasonable. When they're being vicious, we'll be vicious in return. When they screw up, we'll be all over them. When they're being absurd, we'll laugh in their idiot faces. 'Nice' as a philosophy is about as ineffective as it is boring and unimaginative. And someday, even a lawyer at the crumbling barricades may turn and feel a moment's gratitude at being reinforced by a band of cutlass-swinging buccaneers.

Or so we hope.

UPDATE:  RattlerGator made an excellent comment here and a previous post at may be helpful. For those who cannot read the essay off the link, it is provided in its entirety by clicking the 'Continue' button.

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