Saturday, September 11, 2004

CBS: almost as bad as Atrios

CBS gives an embarrassing defense of the documents here. Some points: they go to Robert Strong for confirmation:
Robert Strong was an administrative officer for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam years. He knew Jerry Killian, the man credited with writing the documents. And paper work, like these documents, was Strong's specialty. He is standing by his judgment that the documents are real.

"They are compatible with the way business was done at that time," Strong said. "They are compatible with the man I remember Jerry Killian being. I don't see anything in the documents that's discordant with what were the times, the situation or the people involved."
Notice anything missing? Like any questions for the man with the documents "specialty" what kind of typewriters they used at the base? They didn't ask him if he knew George Bush or ever discussed Bush with Killian. They quote a vague generalization that the documents were "compatible with the man I remember", but no specific questions as to whether he knows that Killian wrote personal memos, used a typewriter for personal memos, used a proportional-font typewriter for personal memos, or if he complained about higher-ups pressuring him for political favors. It isn't clear from this interview that Killian knew anything at all relevant to the authenticity of the documents. So why are they interviewing him? The only answer that comes to mind is that they are interviewing him because he is the only guy who knew Killian who will give them the answer they want.

They also quote from Matley, the "document expert" who really seems to be only a handwriting expert. They say he looked at the documents (he claims he only saw one document).
he is concerned about exactly what is being examined by some of the people questioning the documents, because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced. And the documents being analyzed outside of CBS News have been photocopied, faxed, scanned and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS News started with.
Perhaps revealingly, he doesn't say how far removed the internet documents are from the ones CBS News started with. Did CBS photocopy, fax, and scan the documents to put them on-line (downloading is irrelevant, it doesn't cause any deterioration), or did they just scan them? How good were the documents that Matley examined? Did Matley find a font match with a typewriter available at the time? Did he verify that these documents match others that were known to be produced from that office at that time? Did he even consider all the features of the memo that would have been odd for that period? How did he verify that the signature was produced at the same time as the memo rather than pasted in later? They say that " Matley finds the signatures to be some of the most compelling evidence." but they don't give any other evidence. Is it the most compelling evidence because it is the only evidence he considered?

And then there's this bit
... there were reports that retired National Guard Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges - who corroborated the CBS News account - now says he believes the documents were not real, in part because of recent statements of Jerry Killian's relatives.

CBS News responded Saturday, saying, "We believed General Hodges the first time we spoke with him.
The snotty last sentence implies that Hodges has changed his story, but Hodges denies that he ever corroborated the documents. CBS doesn't bother to discuss that troubling point.

Then this
Dan Rather noted that many of those raising questions about the documents have focused on something called superscript, a key that automatically types a raised "th."

Critics claim typewriters didn't have that ability in the 1970s. But some models did, Rather reported. In fact, other Bush military records already released by the White House itself show the same superscript – including one from as far back as 1968.
What they don't say is whether those other memos were in a proportional font or whether the "th" was smaller than the rest of the letters or just raised a half-line. They also don't say whether those other memos matched in other stylistic areas such as use of ranks and names, date format, centering of titles, etc.

All in all, this article is a piece of defensive argument. It reports what will help CBS and ignores what will not. It would be a respectable bit of work from a defense lawyer. From a news organization it's disgraceful.

Karl Rove, EG.

Back of the Envelope on the Karl-Rove-as-evil-genius theory:
If this was Rove's doing, I'd expect the White House to respond to initial inquiries with something like, "We've never seen these documents before. Let us look into it and we'll get back up to you." This would put them in the position to expose the hoax themselves if bloggers and the mainstream media failed to do their part.
A very thorough analysis of the theory.

the "move along" strategy

In a memo from CBS to it's affiliates
Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned. We have complete confidence in our reporting and will continue to pursue the story.
Is this supposed to "ease the fears" of CBS affiliates? How does it ease anyone's fears to hear that CBS has no intention of confirming a story? That it completely unwilling to concede a possible mistake and try to correct it?

If their first concern was credibility they would be worried, not nonchalant. As the evidence mounted, they would become angry at the hoaxers. Dan Rather would go on and say, "We are aggressively investigating these allegations and if it turns out that CBS was lied to, there will be hell to pay. We owe it to our readers not to leave these questions hanging."

But they aren't doing that. They're going with the old "move along folks, nothing to see here" line. I don't see how that approach can possibly help CBS. Even if they can stonewall until the story dies, it will be a serious blow to CBS's credibility. Not just for the fact that they were probably scammed, but for the fact that they didn't care that they were probably scammed.

The only people that can be helped by this stonewalling are John Kerry and the Democrats. If the story dies without resolution, CBS still looks bad, but at least it doesn't tar the Kerry campaign.

Talk about falling on your sword...


The New Statesman has an article suggesting that Islam may be undergoing a reformation (credit NRO). If this does happen, I predict that the MSM will credit 9/11, Beslan, education, exposure to international norms, and some other influences but not the War on Terror. Meanwhile, although there may have been various gestures toward change in the past, there was never any impetus behind it until the civilized world decided that radical Islamism would not be allowed to survive. It was the humiliation and evisceration of radical Islamism that made reformation possible.

three years ago today

Rod Dreher posts an email he wrote on that day.


Back of the Envelope is extending the deadline on the Storyblogging carnival. Don't miss your chance to become a famous novelist, folks. Some day it will have been the case that many famous novelists got their start in the Storyblogging carnival. I'm sure of it.

P.S. That second-to-last sentence contains an experimental verb tense. I think it's sort of a future-past-perfect subjunctive. How'd it work?

IBM Selectrics

Shape of Days has tested the CBS memos against an actual IBM Selectric typewriter.

Go here if you don't know what I'm talking about. In breaking stories like this, just keep reading Instapundit and you'll eventually get to all the news that's fit to blog. Just scroll up from that link. For a bit of humor, scroll down two posts. Just before Reynolds starts the Memogate flood he writes

Friday, September 10, 2004

time waster

Emigre has the "worlds easiest quiz". I googled and couldn't find any reference to the Canary Islands in the Pacific (that is, not near Spain). Anyone heard of them?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

where's the outrage?

From My Way News:
In a tough speech to the National Baptist Convention laced with Biblical allusions, the Democratic presidential candidate rejected Bush's claim to be a "compassionate conservative," likening him instead to the two men in the story of the Good Samaritan who passed by when they came upon a robbed and beaten man.
"As scripture reminds us, beware of wolves in sheep's clothing," Kerry said...
Quoting the bible in public, ignoring the wall of separation between church and state, believing that God is on his side. All you people who get outraged whenever Bush uses the G-word, where are you on this?

corrections according to Atrios

Atrios links to and quotes two posts about how the Whitehouse has withheld documents and then released them later. At the end of the 31-line post he gives a 1-line correction
...Kevin Drum says the WH documents were just copies of what CBS had sent them.
There is nothing to distinguish this line from the rest of the article. No "UPDATE" header to warn readers that this is new information that may contradict the rest of the post. A lot of readers are going to scan over that and miss it. You don't think that could Atrios's purpose, do you?

At least this is an improvement over his treatment of the booing story. He quoted this
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) President Bush on Friday wished Bill Clinton ``best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery.''

``He's is in our thoughts and prayers,'' Bush said at a campaign rally.

Bush's audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them.
and never put a correction in the same post --a very popular post that probably a lot of people had linked to. Instead his grudging and half-honest correction is in another post
I'm happy to accept that Clinton wasn't really booed, though I do want to say that video/audio of the event would provide neither affirmation or refutation, depending on where the microphones were. Someone should, you know, call the reporter and ask why the hell it was reported if it didn't happen...
Of course no one following the link to the other post is going to see this. You don't think that might be his intention, do you?

Atrios just loves to use the L-word: "Liar" with respect to Republicans. He goes to outrageous lengths to use that word at the slightest excuse, with the slightest evidence. There is a good reason for this: Atrios is a liar. And one good way to blunt evidence that he is a liar is to devalue the term. If everyone is calling everyone else a liar, people lose interest in following up the accusations. That's why the left is throwing the word around with such abandon these days. They want people to be so tired of hearing it that no one will care any more.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Atrios joins the conspiracy crowd

Atrios reminds us of another evil Bush conspiracy. this article is based on the theories of "retired F.B.I chief Ted L. Gunderson". The story involves high-level Republicans flying fifteen-year-old boys around the country to be sodomized by various bigwigs.

It so happens that I've heard retired F.B.I chief Ted L. Gunderson speak in person at a 9/11 conspiracy convention. It was quite an experience. In the midst of a large number of whacked conspiracy theorists, Mr. Gunderson was a well-known hero. He was only visiting the convention, but was pressed into giving a lengthy adhoc presentation to great excitement and applause.

I'd never heard of him before, but I'm not likely to forget him soon. A distinguished, gentle-looking man, he started out mildly describing his work on a sad murder case. He was actually quite believable until he started talking about the world-wide Satanic conspiracy against which he was fighting. Yowza.

Mr. Gunderson alleges that the world is controlled by a vast Satanic conspiracy of political leaders and financial leaders (read "Jews"). Both major parties are controlled by this conspiracy. Like Anthony J. Hilder, Gunderson believes that just about all the more outrageous murders and child rapes that have happened over the last couple of centuries are tied to this conspiracy either as Satanic rituals or enforcement (or, presumably, both).

Gunderson described two incidents where he saw someone parked outside his house and threatened and bullied them until he frightened them off. Gunderson assumed they were spying on him or trying to intimidate him as part of the global Satanic conspiracy to shut him up.

In this this letter to John Ashcroft, Gunderson alleges that the FBI not only knew about the first World Trade Center bombing, they supplied materials for the bomb, and that the intelligence services knew about 9/11 in advance.

Mr. Gunderson is the Godfather of whacko conspiracy theorists. And Atrios is linking to his theories. Methinks the Democrats are getting desperate.

dreaming dems

John Aravosis at Americablog (those Democrats are always wrapping themselves in the flag, aren't they?) thinks that the Bush administration is freaking out over the AWOL story. His evidence? The Bush campaign sent a letter to the campaign email list that documented a long list of smears that the Kerry campaign has recently tried to pin on Bush, including the AWOL story. He writes:
They felt the need to come clean with EVERY ALLEGATION now - not really admit them, but mention them publicly, to at least get them out in the open, and hopefully, from their perspective, take some of the wind out of them.
Um, John? If you read the letter you will see that every allegation they mention has already been made public by Democrats speaking in front of crowds, reporters, and/or TV audiences and/or is about to be published in a book. The Republicans are hardly going to make them more public by referencing the slanders in an email to campaign groupies.
Hell, they even mentioned Bush's alleged cocaine use, and again, interestingly, imply he didn't use cocaine even though the president REFUSES to answer the question whether he ever has or hasn't used coke.
Um, John? If you read the letter you will see that they only imply that he didn't use coke at Camp David while his father was president. And actually, that implication was pretty loose. All they really did was attack the credibility of the author bringing the charges.
This implicit denial on all of these issues in this campaign-sponsored email NOW PUTS THESE ISSUES INTO PLAY. The campaign has delineated a series of issues it says are scurrilous lies. So the media now has a clear right and obligation to demand that Bush answer a few simple questions regarding this campaign missive...
Um, John? Are you saying that by denying the allegations he makes it legitimate to ask the question again? Does that mean that when someone slanders you, it only gives credibility to the slander when you deny it? Does that imply that it wasn't legitimate to ask the questions before? Then where is your condemnation of the Democrats who asked them to begin with?
Read this email, it's quite desperate, and of course, packed full of lies.
Um, John? Can you point out any lies? Or do you just mean that since all the allegations are obviously true, then every implicit denial is a lie?

No, Brer Democrats, please don't smear Bush like this. Anything but this! Please don't be attacking Bush with unsubstantiated and irrelevant allegations. You know how Americans are too righteous to have a president that used drugs, drank excessively, or even might have <gasp> missed a couple of weekends of National Guard duty, all in the dim past. This will kill the Bush candidacy! Please don't do it, Brer Democrats, you big meanies!

(link from Atrios)

returning home

Blackfive has some depressing stories about Vietnam vets returning home after their service. I don't know what was more shameful about that era, the way people treated the vets or the way they abandoned the Vietnamese to thugocracy and slavery.

What fueled the hatred toward returning vets? Why did they assemble at airports to spit at returning vets? Was it all the slander about war crimes? I doubt it. Even if the spitters actually believed the accusations, they didn't get so worked up about horrors committed by communist governments over the same period. So what was the cause of the hate?

Did the spitters hate the vets for their courage? Many men dodged the draft or found legal deferments because they were afraid to go. While friends and fellow students were doing their duty and risking all to protect their country, other men were shirking. Were they shamed by this?

Not openly, of course. They managed to pick a political position to justify their acts, but surely there was some doubt about their motives, their sincerity. Perhaps, perhaps they even doubted their own courage. They had reason.

So they shouted in anger, staged violent protests, and defied police and other authority figures. Where these acts of pseudo-bravery intended to compensate for the ultimate act of cowardice in refusing to help defend their country?

And when the vets returned home, did the spitters hate them because they were more noble than the spitters? Or was this just their chance to show that they had the courage of a soldier? They would defy and assault the very men who had the courage to go to Vietnam when they didn't. Would that not prove that they were braver than the vets?

Perhaps it was because they were young that they didn't understand the difference between courage and honor. Stalin had courage. So did Mao. So did Genghis Kahn and Bonnie and Clyde and Jeffery Daumer. The men and women who murdered hundreds of children in Russia just last week had as much courage as anyone. They knew they would likely die.

To many people think that courage and honor are the same thing. They aren't. And although it's unusual to have honor without courage, it is common to have courage without honor. Risking your life to become a dictator or to get money or to fulfill some sick sexual fantasy is not honorable. Neither is courage expressed for no other reason than to prove your courage.

And you can't steal the honor of a vet by spitting on him. But back in the sixties, a lot of young men seemed to think they could do that. Sadly, judging by the Democratic party today, a lot of them still think they did.

Wretchard on evil

The Left, having declared itself above the pettiness of all moral belief now finds its emptiness filled by the ugliest and darkest blood-cult on the planet.
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Oops. Forgot the link. That made it more challenging to read the whole thing. Thanks to Donald for pointing it out.

Man Gives Kerry Gun So It Won't be Taken From Him

From Flying SpaceMonkey of course...

reader raiding

Donald Crankshaw at Back of the Envelope noticed how hard I was working to steal his readers last week while he was out moving. No sign that he's suspicious of my motives though.

Keep it quiet, huh?

posting woes

Well, it looks like I can post again (unless you don't see this message, then that would mean I still can't post). Blogger cut me off for about 14 hours. I don't know why.

Don't really care either. I spent yesterday looking into alternatives. I'm going to be moving REAL SOON NOW.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

more hostages

It's like they want to destroy any sympathy anyone has for them.

Hanoi Jane

One of the 100 Women of the Century.

read Tour of Duty

A comment on Roger L Simon:
I agree. Dukakis I had respect for, even if I disagreed strongly with a lot of his positions. My respect for Kerry is eroding in direct proportion to the amount that I learn about him. Reading Tour of Duty is accellerating the process.
It's odd. Clearly the book's intent is to boost him, but it raises as more questions than it provides answers.
I'm not surprised to hear this. That book was written by a leftist to promote a leftist. Unless the author is very good at not only understanding non-leftists, but also disciplined enough to keep that always at the forefront, he isn't going to be able to write a book that will make anyone but leftists like John Kerry.

We ought to start a new meme:
Get John Kerry's side of the Vietnam story! Read his biography!
I really expect that this will cost him more support than it gains him.

good haters

I missed this post by Soxblog when it first came out, but it's worth posting now:
For whatever reason, modern liberalism has attracted an unusual amount of good haters. Think about it: The politically active baby boomers in the late ‘60s developed a virulent hatred not just for their government but for the young men who served in the military. Although it’s an inconvenient fact that 21st century liberalism is desperately trying to lock in the attic, the treatment of the troops returning from Vietnam was a national disgrace. Who was it that called the honorably serving troops “baby killers” and literally spat on them as they returned from their tours of duty? The haters on the left.

The left has managed to hate every political foe that it has faced over the past 35 years. Nixon was despised; so was Reagan. Another fact that the modern left is scrambling to forget: Reagan was the subject of intense opprobrium because the left was convinced he wanted to blow up the world and had a callous indifference to the poor.

scamming scammers

This is funny. Be patient though, you have to get halfway through it before it starts catching on.

Kant's theory of knowledge

As I mentioned earlier, Kant argued that there are two kinds of judgment which he called analytic and synthetic. Analytic judgment is just an analysis of concepts. I can say with supreme confidence that if there's a storm then it's raining. I don't have to know what the weather conditions are; the sentence

1. If there's a storm then it's raining.

is guaranteed to be true. I know that it's true just by analyzing what it means. Part of what I mean by "there's a storm" is that it's raining (please don't tell me about snow storms. There isn't a simple relationship between words and concepts). My judgment on sentence 1 is an analytic judgment.

By contrast, consider

2. If there's a storm then I can't go for a walk.

Sentence 2 requires some knowledge of storms, walking, and physical discomfort. There is nothing about "there's a storm" that means that I can't go for a walk. This is a synthetic judgment because I have to synthesize new knowledge. By contrast, the judgment of 1 is not really knew knowledge, I'm just affirming what was already known.

There is another difference between 1 and 2. Sentence 1 is judged a priori, prior to any experience. I don't have to learn from experience what my concepts entail, it's built into the concepts. The knowledge is timeless. By contrast, sentence 2 involves a posteriori knowledge, knowledge that I learned from experience. I had to have some experience of walking in a storm, or at least of being cold and wet, to know that I don't like the experience.

So there are two kinds of judgment, one kind is simply what we know about our own thoughts. It is analytic and a priori. Since it doesn't rely on experience, it is impossible that any experience could contradict an analytic judgment. Analytic knowledge is certain but trivial.

The other kind of judgment is based on experience. It synthesizes different bits of knowledge to get something entirely new. It is what we know about nature (philosopher-speak for the physical world). This knowledge is synthetic and a posteriori. Because it is a posteriori, it is contingent on our experience. It is uncertain but it is nontrivial.

So, what kind of knowledge is mathematics? It isn't analytic. The concept of being the number 7 doesn't entail the concept of being prime. It isn't as though my understanding of 7 is such that I can't imagine 7 being divisible by any other number. 7 is just one more than 6. To know that it isn't divisible by any other number I have to go over all the candidates in my head and see if they divide it. I have to take multiple facts and join them together to arrive at the conclusion that 7 is prime. This makes the knowledge synthetic.

But mathematics isn't a posteriori. I don't have to take seven pebbles and try to divide them up into equal groups to see if it is possible. I don't have to try it with teacups and stars and other physical objects to see what sort of objects it applies to. I can figure it out in my head, and the knowledge is universal and certain. So mathematic judgments are a priori.

Kant concluded that mathematics is both synthetic and a priori. It is nontrivial knowledge synthesized from other facts and yet it is certain and non-contingent. This bothered a lot of people.

Think what this implies. It seems obvious that all our knowledge of nature must be a posteriori because it is all contingent. I didn't know that sugar was sweet until I tasted it. I didn't know that fire burns until I touched it. And because of this, I don't really know that fire will burn the next time I touch it.

Experience is contingent. It depends on the laws of nature which might just as well have been different. At least, there is nothing logically contradictory with the possibility that fire will no longer burn tomorrow. This is the very definition of the physical world isn't it? It is that part of my experience which can only be known through experience.

But now I take four saucers out of the cupboard and take them over to the table. Then I go back and get four teacups and put them on the saucers, and they match. Every teacup has exactly one saucer and every saucer has exactly one teacup.

How could I have known that? I didn't experiment. I may never have set the table before in my life, yet I can still figure this out. I predicted an experience, not on the basis of prior experience, but on the basis of a priori judgment. It's almost magical, when you think about it. How can I know that four physical objects will always match four other physical objects?

I know of three solutions to this problem. You can argue that mathematics is actually analytic knowledge after all. That was the logicist solution. You can argue that mathematics is actually a posteriori knowledge after all. That's the most popular solution today. Or, you can argue that although mathematics is really synthetic and really a priori it is not really knowledge of the physical world. That was Kant's solution.

OK, I think I'm finally done with the background. In the next philosophy post I may actually make a point.

Monday, September 06, 2004

A Vietnam vet on Kerry.

new Carnival

Back of the Envelope has started the Storyblogging Carnival. I've already sent in my submission, but you'll have to wait for the carnival to come out to see it. Or you could go through all my archives looking for stories, but that would be cheating.

If you've ever posted a story as a blog entry, I encourage you to go to Back of the Envelope and submit your story.
Roscoe has some comments on Austrian historians.

who is Putin mad at?

From Allah a link to this article from Globe and Mail:
Mr. Putin took a defiant tone, acknowledging corruption in Russian law-enforcement agencies but lashing out pointedly at unspecified foreign foes seeking to tear the country apart.

"Some want to cut off a juicy morsel from us; others are helping them. They are helping, believing that Russia, as one of the world's biggest nuclear powers, is still posing a threat to them," Mr. Putin said. "Therefore, this threat must be removed."

Analysts said Mr. Putin had turned a new page in his foreign policy, blaming terrorism on the West. "(W)ho fears our nuclear weapons? Who are they aimed at? It's the West. It's not Osama bin Laden," said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent military analyst.
Now, I'm no "analyst", but my first thought wasn't the US, it was China. Why in the world would Putin, faced with an episode of Islamic terrorism, pick a fight with the country that is most effectively fighting Islamic terrorism?

China is right on the border with Russia and they have ongoing territorial disputes. As one of the commenters on Allah said:
Even if the decrease in competition between Russia and the West is more apparent than real, I can't recall that there has even been a SHOW of decreased competition between Russia and China. Moreover, my understanding is that Chinese have been walking across the porous border into Russia and taking up residence for decades; nor is there much that the declining Russians can do about it. Putin may just be hoping that he's not in charge when China "cuts off a piece" and the empire of Peter and Catherine is reduced to a nubbin.
It isn't a popular theory though, everyone else assumes Putin was talking about the US.

Bush as sinner

The sleaze attack has begun. is reporting that Bush had an illegal abortion thirty five years ago. The depressing thing is that the left thinks anyone will vote against Bush over it. The left doesn't care about an ancient medical procedure of course, but they think Bush's pro-life supporters will.

How little they understand of redemption and forgiveness. It's sad really. Two thousand years ago God came to earth to teach us that we have all sinned and that he wanted to forgive us. He didn't go to the religious leaders; he went to the sinners. After all, what need do the perfect have for redemption?

George Bush was a sinner. He still is. We all are. It isn't our place to judge. thinks this story is significant because Bush is pro-life. Bush regards abortion as murder. Bush has worked for pro-life laws and judges. I suppose think that if a man has ever stolen money he can't be for laws against theft. The pseudo-reasoning boggles the mind.

Someone on Atrios comments on this story
I'll tell you what! 4 million evangelicals are being coveted by Karl. This is the group who believe God is speaking through Bush. He is the chosen one. I really think that they may all have brain hemorrhages when they hear the " young God" may have partaken in an ABORTION!!!!!!!
They just don't get it.

There is a lot of enthusiasm on the leftists groups for Susan Estritch's declaration of all-out war against Bush. From the same Atrios post:
The gloves are off and I hope that this story gets spread and then I want to see another right on this one's heels. And then I want Rummy to resign in disgrace, get mad and decide to get even.

I want to see the Repugs bleeding, profusely.

I would recommend that anybody supporting Kerry email this article to all Kerry supporters that you know and encourage them to further circulate this story. I have received several emails that the Far Right is circulating that slander Kerry. We can't win by the old rules anymore. Everything must be on the table.

The true patriot would be the person who comes forward now to provide evidence Bush still drinks.

President Kerry can later give that man or woman the Congressional Medal of Honor for outstanding service to the nation.

Just googled Jim Bath, the abortion fixer - yup, the SAME Bush bud who got grounded at the SAME time for missing his flight physical - this was what, a couple of months after the USAF started mandatory drug-testing? Hmmmmmmmmm.....

I am all for getting tough in the election, but this is too ugly. Way too ugly.

This is the tip of the iceberg, Ced.

Get used to it. We're playing by their rules now.

Where is Larry Flynt these days? We could use his kind of journalism a bit these days.
Like Estritch, they say that Bush asked for it (for unspecified or speculative wrongs he did against Kerry). But the truth is, these very same people have been making horrendous accusations against Bush for over a year now. The abortion story and drunk-driving story and former-alcoholic story haven't stayed in the closet because the Democrats were too nice. Those stories stayed in the closet because they are a desperate gamble.

The Democrats are going to hit the stories now because they have decided that a desperate gamble is necessary.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Emigre with a Digital Cluebat has a heartfelt suggestion for reducing the acrimony of the elections.

no, Terry, thank YOU

Public Enquiry Project:
This fatal error of Terry McCaullife will usher in an era of GOP political domination unmatched since the decades long domination of the FDR Democrats.
He may be right. Terry McCaullife has had a disastrous reign as head of the DNC. It was arguably his shortened primary season that made the disaster of John Kerry possible.

As the Belmont Club put it
The Democrats could have chosen to become a real anti-war party, in which case it would have nominated Howard Dean or it could have elected to become a genuine war party and chosen Joseph Lieberman. Instead it chose to become the worst of all combinations, an anti-war party masquerading as the war party.
The press was all excited about Howard Dean until someone clued them in that he was unelectable. Maybe it was the National Review*, but I suspect it was Terry McCaullife. Wherever they got the idea, the press swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. They turned on Dean with a vengeance.

Since they decided the country wouldn't go for an anti-war president, the national press went looking for someone who could pretend to be a war president. Enter John F. Kerry, War Hero. Make that John F. Kerry, War Hero (war protester, shhh).

John Kerry was a man with the credentials of a trustworthy defender and a trustworthy internationalist. The rubes would think he was a patriot but the faithful would know he distrusted American strength and hegemony as much as they did. A perfect candidate. Except that because of the shortened primary season they didn't have time to find out how good a candidate he really was. And he sucks.

I don't think there's much doubt that the press picked the Democrat nominee this year. They saw that the peons were about to make a mistake that would keep the Evil Republicans in the Whitehouse for four more years and they set out to fix Howard Dean. That's part of the reason they have been willing to gamble all of their credibility to help get Kerry elected: they have already gambled all of their credibility with the Democratic party by convincing the Democrats to nominate him. If even the Democrats no longer trust them, what will they have left?

So, when the Democrats lose this election as badly as I predict they will, you can thank the press and Terry McCaullife. I know I will.

* National Review had a famous cover with a picture of Howard Dean and the caption "Please elect this man". I spent half an hour searching for a picture of the cover but couldn't find it. NR still doesn't have the Internet thing entirely down.

the left on Alan Keyes

Articles like this and the attached comments are useful to remind us how little the left understands the right. Not all of their hateful and spiteful attacks are deliberate slander. Many of them are just ignorance. Of course that ignorance seems to be the result of deliberate intellectual laziness: they want to give the benefit of the doubt to every culture in the world except the culture of their neighbors, the conservative, religious folks who live next door. Those people, who shop next to them and whose kids go to school with theirs, deserve nothing. It's a waste of time to try to understand them because they are just beneath contempt.

Alan Keyes made a mistake trying to explain his views on homosexuality in the course of an interview. That's really quite impossible and it was foolish of him to try. Too many of the people who hear the interview don't have the background necessary to grasp what he is saying, and don't have the inclination to try to understand before condemning.

The caption of the article says that Keyes called Cheney's daughter a "selfish hedonist sinner". He didn't. He said that homosexuals are selfish hedonists. The word "sinner" occurs nowhere in the transcript. Nor should it have, because Keyes was not making a Christian argument against homosexuality, he was making an essentialist argument against it. It is a mistake to think that the only moral resistance to sexual libertinism is Christianity.

And it wasn't Keyes who brought Cheney's daughter into it, it was the interviewer. Keyes said that homosexuals are selfish hedonists and the interviewer saw a gotcha moment so he brought up Cheney's daughter. Democrats just love it when they discover Republican gays because they think the Republicans are in a war against the gays. They don't distinguish between disapproval and hatred.

This is quite explicit in their rhetoric. Anyone who disapproves of homosexuality in any way is accused of hatred. They assume that people who have friends and relatives that are gay can't disapprove of homosexuality without rejecting their friend or relative.

But this is silly. I disapprove of gluttony, smoking, alcoholism, divorce, and hedonism. I don't hate fat people, smokers, alcoholics, divorced people or hedonists. But some people seem not to understand moral judgment. When we say something is immoral, they have to translate mentally to something they understand --hatred and spite-- because they don't understand morality.

I suppose that overall, it's good that these people don't disapprove of homosexuality or they would be going around hating gays the way they do Republicans. Gay-bashing would be reality instead of rhetoric.

Here are some comments on the thread:
By his definition, a large majority of heterosexual married couples that engage in sex are hedonists. When a oouple uses birth contol before sex, they are not attempting to procreate, so therefore federal legislation should be introduced to outlaw such acts.
It is reasonable to draw from his remarks the conclusion that using birth control is selfish hedonism, but since we only got the barest sketch of his argument from that interview you'd have to ask him for a response before drawing that conclusion. And even if it is true, this thing about federal legislation is just odd. Nowhere in his remarks did Alan Keyes suggest that we need laws against selfish hedonism.

The idea that the law should force people to "do the right thing" is mostly on the Democratic side of the aisle these days: seatbelts, helmets, baby seats, smoking, over-eating, handicap parking spaces, barely-tipsy driving, welfare, Medicaid. The only major exception is the war on drugs, which unfortunately has support on both sides. Republicans are far more often content to say that something is wrong, sinful, harmful --but we aren't going to force you to do the right thing.
So then, if homosexuals can't procreate, how would Mr. Keyes account for the fact that my partner is the father of four children? Mr. Keyes needs to go back to school and learn some facts. And perhaps he should take an IQ test while he's at it. Seems like a moron to me.
Yes, Keys literally said "It is in principle impossible for homosexuals to procreate". However, only a moron would fail to realize that he was referring to the homosexual act, not to the biological equipment of the homosexuals in question.
This creature Keyes is beneath contempt.
Dehumanizing anyone who disagrees with you. It is because the left does this that they wrongly assume the right does it.
What strange logic (marriage only exists as an institution because you CAN procreate). Does that mean someone who is accepted to medical school can legally be called a doctor? Can we extend that to anyone intelligent that they might someday possibly become a doctor and it is just incidental that they haven't yet?
Talk about strange logic. I don't even begin to see the analogy here...
This doesn't look good for France (from the NRO Corner).