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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Ali vs. Riverbend

There is a very simple explanation for why conservtive bloggers are creating a revolution while Democrat-left bloggers have little impact at all. The new medium allows for massive, efficient, redundant documentation of facts. Conservatives follow reason and evidence, so this medium powers their influence. Leftists think backwards, starting with preferred conclusions and looking for how to evade any reason and evidence that is in conflict with their ideological preconceptions. As a result, the advantages of the new medium are actually a liability to leftists. The best they can do is look for comfortable backwaters in which to be irrelevant. They can read Kos, and Talking Points, and the Fever Swamp Underground, and Riverbend, which will cite them in turn, until they form their own big solipsistic NOTHING, while the rational world marches past.

I was prompted to these thoughts by Ali’s wonderful piece on American-Iraqi brotherhood. In this piece, Ali is pained to discover how easily a sincere left-leaning American blogger has been duped by a smooth anti-American Iraqi woman at Riverbend. After reading Ali’s Fisk of Riverbend's "facts," I went to see what the American dupe had written. What struck me was her denial that the reason she reads Riverbend is "because she confirms the negative view of the occupation that I want to have; what is happening in Iraq breaks my heart."

But of course the attraction of Riverbend is precisely that she tells an ideologically comfortable story. It will help her about as much as it helped Dan Rather. Ali has already posted some of his documentation. Can even a leftist doubt that when the facts are all in, Ali's credibility will be unstained and enhanced, while Riverbend will only retain favor within the bubble of people who protect themselves from reason and evidence?

To our lefty-bloggirl I say: “look at yourself!” What is happening in Iraq breaks your heart? It is joyous liberation! Those who were condemned not only have a chance to fight for their lives, they are kicking ass, passing on the intel that blows up their tormentors daily while rapidly growing the bones and muscles that will soon allow their nation to stand like a new-born wildebeest, running free at 10 minutes old.

How can their eyes be so bad? Mudville has a great quote (slightly edited for brevity): "Next time someone tells you that we're losing the war, be sure to ask them which side they're on." The side that the leftist’s are on is obvious. They are anti-conservative bigots. If this were Bill Clinton's war they would absorb the propitious reason and evidence along with the bad and the scales would be lifted from their eyes, but as soon as their partisanship runs against the truth, they abandon truth. It is form of brain damage, freely chosen. The failure is moral.

Hugh Hewitt keeps saying that the mainstream media doesn't realize yet that it has lost its power and is rapidly becoming irrelevant. Lefty bloggers are in the same situation, and they don't realize it yet either.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Chronicle logic: redundant resolve = lack of resolve

After publishing a "news analysis" last week on the theme that Kerry has actually been consistent on Iraq, the San Francisco Chronicle published another analysis today claiming to demonstrate that the real flip flopper is Bush. Marc Sandalow, the Chronicle's Washington Bureau Chief, pushes the year old canard that the war was supposed to be all about WMD, but now with "the failure to discover weapons of mass destruction," the rationale has changed to freeing the Iraqi people.

The problem with this story is that the Bush administration has always advanced a long list of rationales for regime change in Iraq, from enforcing the terms of the 91 cease fire, especially the inspection requirement (the nominal "casus belli" of the war), to the Bush doctrine (going after regimes that harbor terrorists), to WMD threats, to the liberation of the Iraqi people, to the need to bring democracy and liberty to the Muslim world.

A University of Illinois undergraduate, Devon Largio, has recently been in the news for documenting 27 different rationales for the Iraq war, all advanced by the Bush administration between 9/11 and the war-power vote of 10/02. Sandalow actually cites Largio's study as his source, while citing no new Bush administration rationales that have been added post 10/02. How then does he justify the charge of flip-flopping?

Buried deep in the story, Sandalow asserts that: "What changed was the emphasis." In other words, after picking and choosing quotes from different periods to suggest a dramatic change in rationale, Sandalow basically admits he was lying. The "later" rationales were actually there at the beginning, but were just left out of the story for dramatic effect.

Of course there have been changes in emphasis. In particular, the WMD angle was emphasized at the U.N. to try to keep the pitch simple for the foreign folks. When pitching the Iraq war to Americans, however, everything was on the table, which makes Democrat claims that they were misled by the simplified U.N. pitch a couple of months later particularly egregious. Do they see themselves as part of the America that voted for war, or as part of the international community that America then tried to convince to assist us?

Sandalow claims that the multiple rationales for war:
makes it difficult to support Bush campaign chairman Ken Mehlman's description of the upcoming debate as a "square-off between resolve and optimism versus vacillation and defeatism."

Oh really? All of the different Bush rationales for war were forwarded as grounds for resolve. Logically, multiple rationales imply redundant layers of resolve, but Sandalow pretends that it implies lack of resolve. Bush has never wavered in his resolve and optimism and Sandalow does not even try to find a waver because there isn't one to be found. He just asserts the absurd non sequitur that multiple grounds for resolve = lack of resolve.

In this Saldalow is copying a talking point from Kerry's New York University speech (which he also cites):
By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.

Which is more partisan, making up his own non sequiturs, or taking them from the Kerry campaign? Either way, Sandalow is world-class hack.

1. An earlier Sandalow hack job Fisked here.)

2. Largio's research might not be too reliable. His executive summary describes President Bush's U.N. speech as introducing an "imminent threat" rationale, whild noting that Bush never used that exact phrase. In fact, Bush's actual language--that "Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger"--was intended to distinguish between an imminent threat and a threat that may not come to fruition for some time, but must not be allowed to come to fruition. The President made this clear in his State of the Union address where he said:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent.

Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?

If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.

But I'd still give Largio an A. Excellent work for a youngster.

Monday, September 27, 2004

More Bush doctrine, not less

The Volokh Conspiracy wants to know if Iraq war hawks are still hawkish. Of course! Just remember all the reasons for this war.

Last week Kerry tried to depict Bush as a flip-flopper by noting that the Bush administration listed over twenty different reasons to take out Hussein's dictatorship. Good to hear the left admit that, after a year of pretending that the war was only about WMD (which indeed was plenty of reason on its own). The most important reason is the Bush Doctrine: any regime that gives safe harbor to the terrorists must cease to exist. We are cleaning out a terrorist haven. This is not an option. This is necessity.

The Bush doctrine also explains why hawks are not deterred by the continuing violence in Iraq. Current troubles are the result of our reluctance to follow the Bush doctrine WITHIN Iraq. Out of concern for Sunni sentiment, Fallujah was allowed to become a safe harbor for the terrorists. I thought when we pulled out of Fallujah back in April that it was a terrible mistake. The difficulty for us in the war on terrorism is that the enemy is elusive. Anytime he is willing to fight, that is our chance to kill him. We need to make maximum use of that opportunity, not retreat from it. We did, and are paying a heavy price, with Fallujah continuing as a home base for car bombers. Thus the current violence is not a strike against the Bush doctrine but an affirmation of it. If letting Fallujah continue as a home base for car bombers makes things this much harder in Iraq, think of how much harder the war on terror would be if the whole of Iraq remained a terrorist friendly country under Hussein.

The administration had serious reasons for backing off of Fallujah in April. It was worried that by engaging the enemy we might turn ordinary Sunnis into fighters. Personally, I don't find that rationale convincing. Ordinary people are not in general eager to join a group that our military is aggressively destroying. Suicide is fanatic behavior, and the fanatics are exactly who we want to see step up and fight. Still, I recognize that waiting to take on Fallujah until after power was handed over to Allawi's intrim government makes action in Fallujah even more propitious now. We have paid a high price for waiting, as Fallujah's bomb factories have gotten geared up. But so long as we take the terrorists out now, the harm is temporary, and might even be outweighed by the benefits. Who knows, maybe the guys with all the information actually know better than me! Unlike Kerry, I believe I should remain alert to that possibility. Viscious second guessing of the nation's war effort somehow just doesn't seem quite right.

As for what criteria to use over the coming months to judge success, that will be first and foremost a matter of whether W wins re-election. This is no Vietnam, where the enemy has the backing of a billion Chinese. We are fighting a rag tag army backed by a neighboring country, Iran, that is itself ripe for toppling. Iran is desperate, but the more it actually supplies men and material, the more it unite the Iraqis against the anti-democratic side. We have Iran between a rock and a hard place. All we have to do is not quit, which means not elect a Democrat. How about NEVER AGAIN?

If ordinary Iraqis start fighting us in large numbers, that will be a sign of trouble, but so long as the fighters are fanatical Islamo-fascist scum, drawn to Iraq like moths to a flame, it may lengthen the Iraq war, but it will shorten the war on terror. For however long they want to give us lemons, we can just make lemonade, so long as we don't get a chicken-shit cut-and-runner for president.

UPDATE: Kerry's reference to Bush's many rationales for the Iraq war came in his speech at New York University on the 20th, where he said: "By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war."

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Fake but Accurate III

That Liberal Media notes that "fake but accurate" was earlier trotted out by academics when Rigoberta Menchu's tale of family suffering under imperialism was revealed to be a hoax.

The "fake but accurate" redoubt is actually adverted to with great regularity on the left, and particularly in academia. Every time some campus "hate crime" is revealed as a hoax perpetrated by the victim herself, those pushing for reforms and "consciousness raising" in the wake of the faked "attack" always declare that, while the attack was fake, it still highlights a real problem that needs to be countered with all the responses that had been pushed. Just Google "fake hate crimes" to find tens if not hundreds of examples. See, for instance, the one last year at Claremont College,


which ended with the College President saying what a positive experience it all was:

I remain heartened with the outpouring of support we saw last week on our campus and throughout the Claremont Colleges for the values of inclusiveness, tolerance, and diversity. As a university, we are committed to taking concrete steps to make CGU a place where all people feel welcome and included, regardless of their race, gender, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or nationality. I look forward to reporting to you on our progress. As always, I welcome your comments on how we can build a better community.

Some other citations:
"Fake hate crimes not new" (Golden Gate Xpress story in wake of fake hate-crime at SF State.)

Pipes and Malkin note that fake Muslim hate-crimes are being given a pass.

Instapundit thinks fake hate crimes should be punished as hate crimes.

At least the Claremont hoaxer was charged with filing a false police report.

Of course hate-crimes laws themselves are a part of the politically correct response to charges that ours is a racist, sexist, homophobic, etcetera society, and this shows up in what gets classified as a hate-crime. FrontPage Magazine has covered this issue pretty intensively. Check out this money quote from Perazzo:

The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that in 1999, there were about 657,008 blackonwhite crimes of violence, as compared to some 91,051 of the whiteonblack variety. Yet although blackperpetrated interracial crimes outnumbered whiteperpetrated interracial crimes by a ratio of about 7.2 to 1, the official hatecrime statistics showed white offenders outnumbering black offenders by a 4 to 1 margin. Put another way, about 1 out of every 45 whiteonblack attacks is classified as a hate crime, while the corresponding fraction for blackonwhite attacks is an astounding 1 out of 1,254.

Search Frontpage for "hate crimes" to find some horrendous examples, by which time we have arrived at, of course: "True but inaccurate." The true stories of hate crimes that don't fit the story that the left and the MSM want to tell don't get told. For a stunning compilation of examples, see Perazzo's book: The Myths that Divide Us. Also Horowitz's Hating Whitey.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Meet Solomon and Jeffer

I may have invented a new way to Fisk: the blog-toon, with links.

Meet Solomon and Jeffer in: Born Yesterday

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I frighten Cathy Young!

I cuffed Eric Muller upside the head in an e-mail, which he posted. His comment size limit cut off my response, so I am posting my comment here.


Wow. Thanks for the links. And look, Cathy Young is frightened! She thinks my "Vagina Monologue" piece is misogynistic! Let's do a straw poll. Read the piece and vote here. Misogynistic yes or no. I think Cathy must be allergic to reason (small r).

Don't bother with the "Edwards as Nancy" piece though. It is trivial (though fair). Check out some of my more important stuff. Like how come I am the only person in the world who seems to know that Joe Wilson was exposed as a liar, not just in this year's 9/11 Commission report, but a mere 5 days after his slanderous attack in the NYT, when CIA Director Tenet revealed that Wilson had actually CONFIRMED the British intelligence? (My post here.) NYT ran 70 stories and editorials on Wilson in the next year, never noting that he had been exposed as having lied on their op-ed page. They don't care about the truth. They only care about their agenda.

Which brings me to why I thought Eric needed to be cuffed upside the head.

I have been reading Eric's and Michelle's debate and while I don't accuse Eric of being factually dishonest, like the NYT, Dan Rather, etcetera, I see him as what I call a "backwards thinker," starting with his presumptions about what he thinks is right and grasping at any route that allows him to arrive at that conclusion, no matter how much he has to ignore to do it. But I am not saying Muller does this in general. All I have seen is his debate with Michelle. (See for instance, the Muller critique of Malkin posted right under the post about me, and Malkin's reply (in the update at the end of her post.)

Personally, I think that in these cases a little shock therapy is called for. If we are all civil about backwards thinking, it becomes Dan Rather, who now wants us to accept forged documents because, gosh darn it, people just weren't paying enough attention to mere innuendo. It doesn't matter if they are fake, so long as they are accurate. It wouldn't matter if the Swiftvets were to forge documentation for their accusations against Kerry, because the accusations are true! As J.R. Ewing put it:"Once you give up integrity, the rest is easy." It is not just lying that is a problem, but also the backwards thinking that spawns it. The two are not equated, but they are related.

And yes, I do think our law schools are absolutely dominated by brain dead bigots, backwards thinkers to the core, chess playing case-makers who don't follow reason and evidence but try to manipulate it to their agendas, though I am always very pleased to discover lawyers who figure out how to think frontwards (Instapundit, Powerline and Volokh for example).

Anyway, thanks again to Eric for the links. He has proved to be an amusing fellow. Now get on with that straw poll!

UPDATE: My comments on internment here.

My internment cartoon here.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Time interviewer propagates lie in first sentence: Tumultification!

Five days ago, Patterico exposed how AP Dowdified a Cheney quote, perverting its meaning to make it sound as if Cheney was saying that a Kerry victory would invite another terrorist attack. Cheney's actual warning was about how a Kerry administration (not named, but implied) would RESPOND to an attack: that they would respond legalistically rather than militarily (as Kerry himself has proclaimed).

Now today, in Kerry's first major media interview after over a month of ducking hard questions posed by the Swift Boat Vets, his Time Magazne interviewer, Karen Tumulty, starts out, not just with a softball, but by repeating the long since exposed AP disinformation:

This past month has been pretty brutal for you, between the Swift Boat ads, the Republican Convention and the Vice President saying if you get elected, it would invite another terrorist attack. Have you come to any new conclusions about whom you're running against and what you have to do to win?

I was sorry to see Cheney come out two days ago with a clarification that apparently neglected to note that he had been misquoted. Cheney's reward for playing it nice? The CNN story on Cheney's clarification used the clarification as an opportunity to repeat the original misquote without noting that it was a misquote! CNN:

On Tuesday, campaigning in Iowa, Cheney had said: "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."

For those not familiar with the story, the actual quote was:

...it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.

More clarification is good, but couldn't Cheney have pointed out that the excised portion of his original quote did in fact provide the same clarification at the time? Not mentioning the mis-quote just gives his enemies in the press a context in which to repeat their earlier disinformation.

We have a term for chopping up quotes so as to pervert their meaning: the Dowd, after the most famous practitioner of the technique. No term has yet been coined for propagating a Dowd after it has already been exposed. Others might out-compete Tumulty for the dishonor on grounds of precedence, prominence or poisonousness, but for serendipitousness of name, Tumulty has to be the winner: Tumultification!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Kerry's shotgun IS a "pistol-grip"

I tried to post this a couple of days ago but Blogger wasn't working:

Some confusion over at Volokh over whether the gun kerry recieved while campaigning in West Virginia has a "pistol-grip" that would cause it to be banned under the broadened "assault weapons" ban that Kerry tried to pass last year. Uber gun criminologist David Kopel weighs in with the assessment that Kerry's gun is "not a 'pistol grip' in the ordinary meaning of the term, but it is a 'pistol grip' as defined by S. 1431."

Kopel is half right. The shotgun most certainly IS a 'pistol grip' in the ordinary meaning of the term. Do a google search for "straight or pistol grip" and you will find that any stock that has the downward curve you see on Kerry's gun is called a pistol grip stock.

A couple of finds:

Sturm, Ruger and Co. shotguns

Marlin stocks

M1903 Springfield

Friday, September 03, 2004

Kerry finds his Nancy

The unceasing adoring look, beatific in its purity... who would have thought we would ever see its like again? Laura gives George a nice look, but her eyes are innately full of laughter. Yet there it is. Kerry has found his Nancy, not in Theresa, who has no more interest in looking at her husband than at a housecat, but in John Edwards, who pays endless beatific attention to his running mate.

In the Kerry speech immediately after President Bush’s convention speech, the camera angle captured the full duration of Edwards' gaze as he channelled the muse of womanly fulfillment. Edwards was right behind the podium, just behind Kerry's shoulder, where the camera was able to captured his constant Kerry appreciation. (Video available here.)

At first sight, I just thought: “Hey, they’re doing it again, that lovey-dovey thing, where Edwards unintentionally gets stuck with the woman’s role.” It was a little funny, to see Edwards watching the back of Kerry’s head as if he was looking at Kerry’s face, but that is nothing new. They’ve done it a hundred times. Then Kerry started pacing about, back and forth in front of Edwards, and it became hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing, to see Kerry’s pacing bring un-missible attention to Edwards adoring role. Edwards looked like Oliver North’s secretary Fawn Hall, who everyone said looked like a queen, and who admitted later that she was taught in beauty school to move her head, not her eyes. Queen Edwards, adoring his king.

But that was only the beginning of the hilarity, because Kerry was absolutely butchering his speech. “Then there’s this Iraq issue…” says Kerry, as he starts into a viscious slam about how we have been misled into war in Iraq, how the whole thing is a sham, and how the situation there has devolved into “a mess.” Then with absolutely no transition at all, he concludes, as if this logically followed from his denigration of the Iraq war: “I pledge to you: I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president of the United States.” How, by finding excuses not to fight? (See Video part II, starting about a quarter of the way through.)

Kerry then goes into what seems to be his version of defending America. He would get the war “out of the pockets of the American taxpayer” by getting our reluctant allies to pick up the slack! In other words, he wants to cut defense spending and pass the baton!

Edwards is smooth talker. He knows how to put a together a connected stream of expression that is convincing. That is how he got rich. Think of all the opposing attorneys whose fumbling he gloated over. What must he think as he watches Kerry’s self-contradictory rant, in supposed answer to President Bush’s finely crafted speech?

Kerry's speech was outdoors in the street, not just physically, but also metaphorically. While the adults are running the country, Kerry places himself physically and verbally on the outs with the jeering childish rabble that constitute the idiot fringe of the American left, putting together a pastiche of gibes whose lack of sense can only be missed by fellow ideologues. This was not a contribution to a larger debate, but a solipsistic rant amongst a political cult that does not even know what a real conversation is. This was like a Chris Matthews interview, where he rants a question, then rants over the answer. (Matthews via Wizbang, who comments on Kerry's speech here.)

A couple of times questioning shadows did cross Edwards’ face, but quickly he regained his lawyerly/queenly composure. If he were the Presidential candidate, he might be formidable, given his obvious talent and self-control. He doesn’t understand anything, but if someone put a real platform in front of him, he could sell it as good as it could be sold. Ironically, Edwards is the real man in the relationship. Kerry has to take the man role, not just because he is the presidential candidate, but because he is the insecure one. Kerry is a Theresa, an uncontrolled and uncontrollable force of self-centered will.

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