Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
May 28, 2007 - May 21, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

About the Flag

FORGERS 14. Well meaning nincompoops are still nincompoops. The nincompoops on Fox & Friends thought this was a truly fine and transcendant idea (and please note the date):

May 17, 2007

Saying he was frustrated with the public's fascination with low-grade celebrities in a time of war, the city manager of Long Beach ordered Thursday that city flags be flown at half-staff to honor soldiers who died in Iraq.

City Manager Edwin Eaton said he consulted informally with the five-member City Council before issuing the order, which will remain in effect until further notice. "Obviously, not forever," Eaton said.

"While our society and media outlets appear to be consumed by the antics and activities of dysfunctional personalities and the 'glitterati,' we tend to forget that each day Americans are anonymously dying in Iraq," Eaton said in a memo to city department heads.

"I think it only fair that they be remembered and honored. To achieve that end, we hereby direct that American flags throughout the city be flown at half-mast," the memo read.

Eaton, a self-described "draft avoider" in the Vietnam era, said in an interview that he felt he had to do something after watching "Entertainment Tonight" and other media outlets focus on celebrities who have little talent except for getting themselves in the public eye...

Traditionally, the American flag is flown at half-staff for the death of a former president or other prominent figure, and on Memorial Day or other designated days of mourning.

What probably gave Eaton the idea was the ill-conceived decision some weeks ago to fly the flag at half-staff in Virginia after the mass murders there. Another well meaning act of self-flagellation (pun intended).

The problem with Eaton's idea is that it's completely wrong. Out troops do not go into battle carrying the flag at half-staff. The iconic image of the flag that inspires and exemplifies the ideals they are fighting for is never at half-staff. It is a proud and audacious banner that countless men in our armed forces have died trying to raise and keep aloft under the most terrible battlefield onslaughts imaginable. And it is precisely in those moments which most test our resolve and national spirit that the rest of us should be the most determined to fly the flag at the very top of the staff.

On Memorial Day, we specifically remember those who have fallen defending our flag by lowering it for a day. But to honor them truly the remainder of the year, it's our duty to hold the standard high, as they have done and continue to do far more courageously than we ever can.

Supporting the troops also means honoring what the troops are fighting for.

A thought to consider this Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Scott Horn With Concern,
Not Sense

Liberty -- the bell is still cracked
As South Carolina debates how best to protect its college students from Virginia-Tech-type attacks, the Greenville News saw fit to publish the work of a young Clemson student, Scott Horn. Mr. Horn believes mandatory self-defense training would go further toward protecting students than the use of firearms.

Mr. Horn makes his point with a dramatic, worst-case scenario where two would-be hero's stalk each other while the real bad guy sets up his massacre shooting with unarmed junior class men on the far side of campus.

Unfortunately, Mr. Horn concedes his own point in his fifth paragraph:

The shooter, knowing that only upperclassmen are old enough to carry a gun on campus, chooses an early morning period in Brackett Hall . . .

You see, even in a worst-case fantasy, psychotic mass murders have enough sense to avoid armed victims. This seems to argue for the arming of all human beings with a right to life and a right to protect that life with deadly force if needed. We could discuss at another time why it is that a 21-year-old life is worthy of protection, but a 20-year-old life is on its own.

This unintended point is what that the NRA and others have been making for quite some time.

As an aside, there is nothing sinister about the NRA – consulting the U.S. Constitution, citizens cannot be denied the right of free association nor can they be denied the right to address their grievances to the government. The NRA is simply a free association of gun owners, most paying as little as $35 to join, where they can organize to protect one right that is unalienable – their right to life (see the Declaration of Independence).

From one fantasy that seemingly proves Mr. Horn's point he moves on to another fantasy – young college students trained in self-defense – unarmed self-defense. Now, there is a fantasy. We've witnessed black-belt martial artists explain to a gathering of would-be-ninja that they would rather jump out of second story window than face an attacker with a knife. Mr. Horn would have us believe that a 5' 2”, 105 lb. freshman (let's call her, Amy) could defend herself from rape with a little self-defense instruction. Fascinating.

Opinion is the life-blood of a democracy, but it would be better to say informed opinion. Mr. Horn demonstrates his lack of knowledge of the use of deadly force in South Carolina and overstates the value of unarmed self-defense.

Clearly, Amy would be better served by a .357 magnum against a 6' 4” 240 lb. attacker than from an Austin-Powers-type “judo chop.” And, clearly, properly trained, gun carrying students represent a clear and present danger to psychotic mass murders.

As for education and training, we have a few suggestions. Instruct freshman that the world they find themselves in is a dangerous one. Teach them that gun powder and metal projectiles have been with us for over three hundred years and no amount of nannying will eliminate their use in a free society. Teach them that guns are no more to be feared than the automobile – a more recent and more deadly invention. Teach them that life is the most precious thing they possess and that all major moral systems over say, the last five thousand years, have advocated extreme deadly action in the defense of that possession.

Further, all freshman should be required to take the SC Concealed Weapon Permit (“CWP”) training course even if they do not intend to carry a weapon or the government deems their life unworthy of self protection. This would at least avail them of the requirements of the use of deadly force and halt the creation of fantasies that do not have a place among educated people. CLICK HERE for a summary of the rules.

Then, maybe Mr. Horn won't have to worry about the student squinting at the blackboard along with him with a bulge on his side anymore than he worries if the driver approaching him on the opposite side of the road has had enough sleep in the past 24-hours to operate his vehicle; talk on his cellphone; and tune in his favorite radio station as he approaches at 50 mph.



NOTE: If you are not already aware of the work of John R. Lott, Jr., get his book, or at least read this interview.

UPDATE: David Hardy's Of Arms and the Law has added a link along with his unique insight -- Thank you Mr. Hardy (corr., thanks to Tom Gun).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


She thinks the world is full of demons.

NOT THAT WE BELIEVE IT... A commenter (Brizoni) asked us to expatiate about liberal projection. It's very simple. In Freudian terms, projection is imagining that other people suffer from the same obsessions and illnesses you do -- even as you deny those obsessions and illnesses in yourself. In other words, you have a propensity for seeing your own weaknesses as the defiining traits of others. That's pretty much the whole story about liberals of the last century.

They see, and thoroughly condemn, in other people what they recognize yet blindly reject in themselves. Their self-congratulatory proclamations about tolerance (PC, anyone?) arise from their own -- TA DA -- intolerance of opposing views. Their monomania about racism is a function of the fact that they believe devoutly in the inferiority of black and brown peoples and are therefore committed to permanent condescension in the form of affirmative action programs that will NEVER be repealed. Their 'blame America first' mentality is born of their purely personal guilt about how little they have actually done to secure their own prosperity; therefore, all American accomplishment and wealth must be a kind of plunder ripped from the hands of the more deserving by parasites just like them. Their paranoia about fascism and Nazism has to do with their own totalitarian impulses; in their heart of hearts, they want to be the elite who tell everyone else who to be, how to act, and what to think. The historical record is depressingly clear about this. Their continual charge of McCarthyism against all who disagree with them is a signpost of their own unblinking determination to destroy everyone who threatens their self-esteem by holding an opposing view. Whenever they accuse someone else, they are projecting their own flaws and prejudices onto others.

Not a new point. But not an insignificant point, either. Here's an antique excerpt [2003] from this blog (inspired by an Andrew Greeley column no longer available on the internet -- shorthand version: he's a leftwing Catholic priest who compared George W. Bush to Hitler, and I responded):

The History of an Evolving Falsehood

One of the most longstanding fallacies in American political culture is the identification of Nazism as a right wing phenomenon. The term "Nazi" is essentially an acronym for National Socialism, which was a political movement that positioned itself in opposition to what it regarded as weak representative democracy. Hitler's notion of the ideal state was as far away as it could be from the principles of limited government, personal liberty, and individual rights which typify Republican/conservative views in this country. He believed in big government, secular government (else why oppress and silence the churches), intrusive, controlling government embodying all the moral ideals of the nation. Does this not evoke more comparisons with American left/liberal ideology than with American right/conservative ideology?

Historically, it has been a clever trick of American Democrats to sneak Nazism's position on the so-called right wing of the Weimar Republic into a left-right spectrum of American politics defined by entirely different factors. Hitler was right wing in a German context because he was opposed to the brand new 'liberal' experiment with democracy in a country which had been ruled by a monarchy throughout its history. He was reactionary in wanting a government that returned to the strong controls of the past. At the exact moment that he was engineering his rise to power, however, the reactionary thrust in America was in the opposite direction: to return to the weaker, less intrusive central government which had obtained in America prior to the 1932 quasi-revolutionary turn toward big government known as Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

Lots of additional Democrat sleight of hand parlayed this initial misrepresentation into an accepted cliche. Hitler's opposition to Communism helped American liberals to reinforce his position as a rightwinger. But this was also a spurious inference. Hitler opposed the communists not because his totalitarian approach to government differed in any material way from that of Lenin and Stalin, but because communism was internationalist by definition, which was incompatible with the nationalist mission of German empire. Still, with this double layer of falsehoods in place, it became easy for Democrats -- long after the war -- to depict Republican antipathy to communists as fascism, i.e., Nazism, and subsequently to equate Republican resistance to sweeping federal Civil Rights legislation with Nazi racism and genocide.

All such associations were primarily rhetorical devices; Nazism/fascism was a convenient bucket of tar that could be used to smear any Republican or conservative who opposed Democrat positions on social and foreign policy matters. The continuing fringe existence of the Ku Klux Klan enabled canny Democratic politicians to characterize all Republican positions as veiled manifestations of Hitlerian supernationalism and racism. Lost to us now in these days of historical ignorance and amnesia are the original contexts for a variety of post-WWII Republican positions.

The symbolic rite of passage for 20th century American liberals was the period they have succeeded in labeling the "McCarthy Era." If Republicans had been half as rhetorically astute, we would in all likelihood know this time by a different name, as "The Era of Soviet Infiltration." The end of the Cold War has almost universally vindicated the charges by Republicans in the late 1940s and 1950s that Soviet espionage agents occupied critically compromising positions in multiple agencies of the U.S. government and the military. Despite the villainization of Richard Nixon, his target Alger Hiss was, we now know, guilty. The Rosenbergs were guilty. FDR's Chief of Staff Harry Hopkins was, in all probability, guilty. Staggeringly important secrets were passed by American citizens to the Soviets, including plans for both the atom and hydrogen bombs. There is simply no way to deny the truth that the communist conspiracy claimed by the Republicans did, in fact, exist and was consistently denied, dismissed, or provided cover for by the Democratic party.

Nevertheless, the liberal/left elite in this country has succeeded in perpetuating a dramatic myth that is flatly contradicted by the facts. The anti-communist crusade of Joseph McCarthy, by reason of its impoliteness and its incompetence, has become the secular Passion of liberalism, its sanctifying crucifixion, the basis of its arrogant, continuing, and utterly unjustified claims of moral superiority over the conservative opposition. (Lest you regard this as overstatement, please read "The Crucible," Arthur Miller's play about the McCarthyism of the 17th century Salem witchcraft trials -- as we all know, there were no witches/communists . . .) We are supposed to overlook the enormity of the fact that at the very dawn of the nuclear age, American citizens conspired to transfer the deadliest technology ever developed to the mortal enemies of their country. This terrifying event is supposed to pale beside the prospect of a Hollywood screenwriter whose career was damaged by his membership in the 'party' that led the conspiracy. It doesn't -- except in the minds of those who have never quite understood, and probably never will -- the sickening, murderous evil that was the Soviet communist state.

Yet the Democrats won the word war. The term 'McCarthyism' entered the language and has been kept vigorously and determinedly alive. It is, by usage, synonymous with fascism, because it has come to mean the ruthless persecution and demonization of an imaginary enemy for purely political purposes. And ever since the great Democrat Passion of the 1950s, this word has been hurled at every concerted Republican attempt to uncover any kind of wrongdoing in the left/liberal establishment.

Another shoe dropped during the Civil Rights movement. Almost no one now remembers that many Republicans opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act for reasons that had nothing whatever to do with racism. Partly this is occasioned by the fact that almost no one remembers where the core of virulently racist opposition to the Civil Rights Act reposed -- in the Dixiecrat (i.e., southern) wing of the Democratic Party. Republicans who entirely agreed with the ultimate aims of the Civil Rights movement as they were then described -- the G.O.P. was proudly the party of Lincoln, after all -- nonetheless opposed the scope of proposed federal legislation that would dramatically reduce the rights of individual states to write their own laws. Thirty years of virtually uninterrupted transfers of power to the federal government gave Republicans pause; they opposed subsequent Medicare legislation for much the same reason: fear of a central government growing too big, too powerful, too intrusive, too expensive. Of course, to the most enlightened social progressives of the time it was impossible to allow that anyone might hold such a contradictory view; all opponents of the legislation had to be regarded as racists and were branded as such.

Once again, the tarring worked. How many American citizens know today that a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act than did Democrats? From this point forward, the Republicans were racists by definition (and by repetition) and were forever to be associated with a KKK whose most prominent members had been Democratic politicians.

A further subtle transition was accomplished during the antiwar movement of the late 1960s. The baby boomer leftists who opposed the Vietnam War traded the term 'McCarthyism' for the more general purpose 'fascism.' This was the period when it was impossible to walk across an elite university campus in America without being handed a smudged mimeograph denouncing the "fascist imperialist U.S. pigs . . ." Vietnam had started as Lyndon Johnson's war, but it fell to Republican Richard Nixon to find the way to end it. The fascist label was accordingly transferred to him in the blink of an eye, and it was precisely during this phase of the war that the antiwar movement migrated from opposition to treason, meaning open alliance with the North Vietnamese enemy, hysterical accusations of war crimes against U.S. soldiers, and even some cheering of the death and suffering of American troops. This was also the timeframe within which the left/liberal wing of the American political spectrum began to employ the term 'genocide' and proclaim it an instrument of American foreign policy. Not coincidentally, the same people transformed 'patriotism' into a term of opprobrium.

If the McCarthy Era was the left/liberals' crucifixion, Watergate was the resurrection. How serendipitously easy it was to caricature Nixon aides Haldeman and Ehrlichman as storm troopers . . . how remarkably convenient it was to conceal the repudiation of the left represented by the crushing defeat of George McGovern in the 1972 election underneath the mushrooming scandal . . . and how lucky it was that the consequences of the left's 'principled' stand against the war -- i.e., the massacre of 2 million or more Cambodians -- disappeared into the opera of Nixon's downfall. Yes, despite the Cambodian holocaust, American left/liberals now regarded themselves as wholly vindicated, and to this day they cling to the memory of Richard Nixon as if he were their own Shroud of Turin, the incontestable (if fraudulent) artifact of their self-anointing to political divinity. Nixon became the American Hitler they implicitly opposed in all Republican opponents, the one most evident incarnation of the demon they would always see and attack in every strong Republican leader -- corrupt, conspiratorial, racist, and perversely opposed to every ideal treasured by the morally initiated, including the rights of women, children, and minorities.

The Contemporary and Obsessive Uses of Falsehood

This entire history collapses into a single article of faith which can be transmitted to young recruits without much explication of the formative events. The article of faith is that the Republicans, especially conservative Republicans, are fascists at heart, ever slyly in search of ways to rob less privileged people of rights, opportunities, freedoms, and money. Thus, the image of Hitler springs easily to mind for people of so-called liberal persuasion. It is a deeply satisfying image, one they have used to considerable advantage, and (the dirty secret) they have learned much from their long association with it.

What have they learned? Precisely what Andrew Greeley references in the first sentence of his column: the efficacy of the Big Lie. This is a recurring theme in Democrat rhetoric precisely because they have used it so routinely and effectively for their own purposes. A more familiar term for it is the "spin" perfected by the Clinton administration, which consists of "talking points" to be used verbatim by every conceivable spokesman for the party. The mechanism is not truth, but repetition. If Republicans oppose automatic budget increases, they are "seeking drastic cuts in services" for needy men, women, and children. An increase in the school lunch program that is not as large as desired can be compared to "genocide." Concern that affirmative action programs may promote more resentment than genuine opportunity can be branded as "racism." All that's necessary is to repeat the charge ad nauseam, see that it spills out of every mouth that has access to a microphone, and eventually a significant percentage of the population will believe it.

Does this clarify anything for you and yours, Brizoni?

Stepping back.

Sometimes you have to fall back on the important stuff.

WHERE THE SUN COMES UP. Yesterday was a bummer. Every screaming idiot in the universe seemed to be in full cry, and every observable outcome was bad. In the finale last night, Jack Bauer didn't kill every employee of CTU and the government. Laila Ali was doomed to lose Dancing with the Stars by judges who think breasts, hips, and estrogen are abominations against the natural beauty of the human race. The Republican Party upped the ante in its irrational impulse toward suicide by libelling its most faithful adherents for their "bigoted" rejection of an immigration bill designed to swell the ranks of the Democratic Party to an insuperable majority. Leonardo DiCaprio got abundant friendly press for his "Apres moi, le Deluge" pronouncement that Global Warming should compel our children to live like cavemen rather than movie stars. A former vice president of the United States (nicely defended with respect to his opulent lifestyle by Leonardo DiCaprio) hurled hysterical imprecations against the president of the United States. And a former president of the United States slandered both the current president of the United States and the prime minister of the United Kingdom just because he could.

Most of this nonsense can be tolerated. But the two most important news items can't be. It's impossible to accept that Jack Bauer has more family than the Waltons (Does James Bond have a father, a brother, a nephew, a witless sister-in-law, and a Lincoln-esque ex-girlfriend distracting him from battling Smersh?) and more family issues than clips for his Glock. It's horrifying that the dance vote in America rests in the hands of 10 million dotty women who prefer a a diminutive speed skater and a fat boy-band has-been to the electrifying daughter of the greatest athlete in recorded human history. The mind boggles.

Since the mind can only take so much boggling, I've learned to take a step back when the news gets too bad. You should too. If you don't already live there, move to the country. It won't unboggle the mind, but the boggling that does occur is of a much more manageable variety.

For example, the picture at the top of this post is of turkey eggs. The nest is situated at the base of an aged willow tree no more than fifty feet from the house.

The eggs are hidden in the day lilies.

Now here's something worth boggling over. Are turkeys as stupid as they say? Or are they smarter than we think? We have two turkeys living on the property -- a mama and a papa -- and we're nonplussed that they've chosen our little patch of country to be their home.

If your own experience of free-range turkeys consists of seeing them run panic-stricken from every sound and movement they encounter, you'd be hard put to explain this particular domestic arrangement. Our yard is not the most somnolent of habitations. There are two driveways, subject to the usual coming and going of vehicles that seem to unnerve even large flocks of turkeys. Gardening occurs on a regular basis, accompanied by lavish amounts of swearing and tool throwing. At least a couple times a week, a very loud lawn tractor veers hither and yon, flinging stones and weed clippings in all directions. Less than a hundred feet from Mama's nest, there's also a terrifying noisemaker from Milwaukee that erupts into a frightening din on no regular schedule.

The tractor and the noisemaker live in the little house at the far left.

The noisemaker perilously close to the nest.

Granted, there's a tolerably decent view from the nest, both east and west, but don't expectant mothers prize peace over the picturesque?

Mama's view west.

Mama's view east.

One more thing. Did I forget to tell you that this is a mixed marriage? We don't pass judgment about such things down here in the country -- live and let live is our motto -- but color can definitely be a factor. Papa turkey is the standard tweed color of most wild turkeys. Mama, however, is snow white. Which means that if you happen to pass too close to the nest and she decides to vamoose, any humans on the scene are overwhelmed by an explosion of whiteness so blinding that it could precipitate a heart attack. To date, this has happened twice. First, when I was cutting grass (or what passes for grass in our wilderness), which was no big deal, really, because I came to only a few hours later and finished the mowing without the least outward sign that twenty years had been amputated from my lifespan in a nanosecond. Second, when that exceptionally pleasant older man from the junkyard came to haul away the rusted old pickup truck I installed opposite the willow two years ago just to show our new neighbors I knew the kind of lawn ornaments that are de rigeur in South Jersey. I swear the poor old duffer actually clutched his chest and called out to the Lord when Mama took flight from the day lilies two feet to his left. She could fly, too. She cleared all the trees to the northeast at about thirty miles per hour. (I'm thinking she's not a domestic turkey but a kind of wild Jean Harlow specimen, only more athletic.) I had to give him a smoke and a shot of bourbon to stabilize his cardial rhythms before he could proceed with the rest of his day.

I don't know. Maybe the mowing is worth it for the smell of cut grass, which is sweet and fine regardless of your species, and the gardening brings the songbirds in profusion, which must be a wonderful orchestral lullabye for gestating young'uns in their shells. The views east and west, as I've said, are soothing. But there's still the puzzle of why both Mama and Papa put up with what's happening due north. That's where the sighthound run is located. Three or four times a day, two greyhounds and a deerhound charge out of the big white box into the open air, and they see EVERYTHING. The deerhound in particular feels compelled to comment whenever he sees a turkey. He says, "HOO HOO HOO HOO HOO." Then he springs about five feet straight into the air and says, "HOO HOO HOO HOO HOO."


It's true that Mama never puts in an appearance while all this is going on, but Papa does. He strolls in, his head jerking back and forth in a sort of perpendicular Oprah motion, and makes his way to the bird feeders located about twenty feet from the slavering hoo-hooing ones. HE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THEM AT ALL. It's hard not to reach the conclusion that turkeys, supposedly the dimmest of the entire feathered branch of the zoological community, can conceptualize the impenetrability of a fence. Either that, or Papa can somehow envision the import of a scene he never gets to see:

Psmith and Andrew: "We're hunter-killers."

The predatory instinct doesn't go away when the sighthounds come inside. Since the turkeys arrived, a sort of rotating guard has been established in the room that overlooks the garden. The lead sentinel is the greyhound shown above: Andrew. When he arrived in the household, Andrew was timid and made it a practice to embarrass close friends of the family by acting as if they were child molesters or people who made campaign contributions to Global Warming. Now he's the d'Artagnan of turkey terrorism. He stations himself at the window and waits for the tweed interloper to show his face. Which means it's time to BARK. And BARK. And BARK. You get the idea.

You can't let the turkeys invade.

Papa Turkey is particularly fond of the corn the woodpeckers peck out of the feeders. He motors right up to the best spot, about ten feet from the window, and goes to town while the greyhounds BARK. (The pug also barks but she's no sighthound, so it's safe to say she's never laid eyes on the turkey and has no idea whatsoever what he looks like.) Confronted by a nearly constant wall of barking during his trips to the feeder, Papa Turkey -- huge and more dignified than Edward Arnold -- DOESN'T CARE AT ALL.

The mind boggles. But pleasantly. And that's a tremendous relief. Even so, the greatest sigh of relief will be heaved when the eggs hatch. I still can't believe Mama has no concerns about the hullaballoo surrounding her nest. It would be great to be proved wrong. Which I mostly never am. Or why would I be so depressingly right about Jack Bauer and Laila Ali?

Monday, May 21, 2007


The worst president in history keeps getting uglier.

BREEDING. Why is everyone acting as if this is the first time Jimmy Carter has showed off his white trash roots as an ex-president? We've had many opportunities to marvel at his petty vindictiveness, vile character, and stupidity.

Send him home.
The Elder Statesman Pass
Michael Moore takes charge (scroll for reference)
A Raisin in the Sunset (scroll to find it)
Happy Anniversary

The only thing that requires any explanation is the benefit of the doubt so many people used to give this accident of history. You almost always heard it the same way: "Sure, he was a lousy president, but I think he's a good man."

Well, he isn't. He never was. They say that eventually you get the face you deserve, regardless of what you were born with. Look at Jimmy Carter's face. He was never a good looking man, but now he's growing more monstrous every year. He looks as if he's being dissolved from within by his own corrosive spite and envy. I can't think of a more terrible way to grow old. He's become an embarrassment to our nation.

What should be embarrassing to Democrats in particular -- but isn't, of course, because they're never embarrassed by anything -- is that Jimmy Carter is the archetype of the evil fundamentalist they think they see when they look at right-leaning Christians. He's almost a caricature of the bitter, hateful, tight-lipped Baptist prig they wanted Jerry Falwell to be. But Falwell actually acted like a Christian and a gentleman, a kind of behavior Democrats invariably treat with derision and disdain. And when one of their own speaks up to revile their opponents, as Jimmy has just done from his sick-souled time warp, they can't wait to cheer his every misplaced smear.

Just another classic example of liberal projection.

You'd think they'd get tired of themselves at some point. But they don't.

I'm tired enough of them for everybody.

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