Patterico's Pontifications

5/5/2011

Open Thread: Republican Presidential Debate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:27 pm

That is, if you care. Frankly, I don’t. Wake me when we have all the real candidates on stage.

Hey, I Was Just Wondering . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:22 pm

. . . You know how they said bin Laden had a kidney ailment?

I wonder if he really did.

I guess we’ll have to see what the autopsy shows.

Oh, right. Never mind.

Osama bin Roundup

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:30 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: How can I forget that Patrick made it onto Hot Air again?

This is just another set of random stories related to bin Laden’s death.

First, Obama visits ground zero.

It’s good to know he doesn’t ever want to be seen as “spiking the ball.”  Seriously, if he isn’t there for a victory lap, what is he there for?

Update: Let me add this for clarity. I’m not upset at Obama for taking a victory lap. I am upset at him for the hypocrisy of doing so after his condescending claim that he won’t released photos because we as a people shouldn’t be spiking the football.

Speaking of non-spike-atude of the ball, Ace notices that someone set up a site called  www.gutsycall.com and if you go there, it immediately redirects you to Obama’s reelection site.  Ace is right to say it isn’t necessarily Obama who did it, but possibly one of his worshipers.  I predict that as the sheer boneheadedness of this act becomes more obvious to the left, they will try to claim it’s a false flag thing, probably by Karl Rove in conjunction with the Koch brothers.

Oh God, are we returning to messiah mode with Obama, again? You want to know who made the gutsy call?  The SEAL team, especially because apparently they might be prosecuted by Eric Holder for  what they did.  Not that Holder is fool enough to be threatening that now, but we learn via Ace that they are still considering whether to prosecute CIA interrogators for doing things like waterboarding.  Ace’s original draft said, “Holder’s holding indictments over the heads of CIA interrogators — the same ones who delivered Obama to him.”

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Obama Administration Proposes Taxing You By the Mile—And That’s Not the Worst Part of It…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:49 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

The worst part of it is how they would figure out how far you travelled…  by placing monitors on your cars.

I have called this administration’s philosophy “Democratic Totalitarianism” in the past, but that has to be the scariest example so far.

The good news is that they are already trying to distance themselves from their own proposal.  But this was the subject of a CBO proposal and has been Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)’s proposal for a while.  It’s not safe to assume it is DOA.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

“It’s Enough to Drive a Young Girl Mad;” Walking Right Past Steven Tyler’s Perversion

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:57 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Let me start with something basic.  I have long been a fan of Aerosmith.  I have liked their music since Dude (Looks Like a Lady) first introduced me to the band and later, after reading Kurt Cobain’s endorsement of their 70’s era album Rocks, I took a listen and it almost immediately became one of my favorite albums.  Cobain described it as one great song after another, or as Jerry Lee Lewis would say, all killer and no filler.  And I felt as strongly about their detox classic Pump. Pump was more polished and frankly the band had become better musicians by the time they made that album, while Rocks was less “professional” but appealingly scruffy.  It reminded you of those great punk albums when the band could barely sing and barely play the music, and somehow you loved it anyway.

So I felt  some interest when I came across this article by Kevin Burke, discussing Tyler’s traumatic experience with abortion.  Burke is apparently a man of the cloth and is married with children.  So I thought it might be an interesting article about a little-seen side of the harm abortion does.

But what I read, bluntly, was a moral mess, starting with this paragraph:

Long before he won accolades as an American Idol judge, Steven Tyler was a bona-fide rock star, with all that that implied. In 1975, when he was in his late 20s and the lead singer for the band Aerosmith, Tyler persuaded the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Julia Holcomb, to make him her legal guardian so that they could live together in Boston.

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About the Impossibility of Convincing Conspiracy Theorists… (Update: Jon Stewart Says Release the Photos!”)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:12 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: First, thanks for the link from Legal Insurrection who writes Post Birth Certificate Polling Shows It Wasn’t About Race, But About Evidence.  Indeed he even alludes to the Best Evidence Rule thus showing that great minds think alike.

Meanwhile Jon Stewart makes the case for releasing the photos, here:

And you know what? I agree with almost all of it (except for his implication that the people asking for evidence are denying that bin Laden is dead). But I especially like the part where he argues that we Americans should face the reality of war.  I support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and if Obama got permission from Congress and a clue on how to fight it, I would support the war in Libya.  The cause is certainly just.  But we should be aware of the costs of that decision, to go to war.  We owe it to the good people who have died in those wars–as long as we are not selective in our realism and remember that there was brutality in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya long before we got there.

The original post follows.

——————————

One of the chief arguments arrayed against releasing the photos of a dead bin Laden is the claim that the people who are not convinced already will not be convinced.

Now, I have already attacked that notion here, and I concur with pretty much everything Patrick wrote, here.  But let us point out a more basic fact: even the conspiratorially inclined can be convinced.

For instance, how many people cynically said that when Obama finally released his long form birth certificate, that the birthers wouldn’t be dissuaded.  And of course for some people that is true—but not everyone:

The number of Americans saying President Obama was born in another country has been sliced in half, according to a new Washington Post poll.

In interviews following the public release the president’s “long-form” birth certificate last week, fully 70 percent of Americans say Obama was born in Hawaii, a big bump-up from the 48 percent who said so a year ago. Even more say he was U.S.-born, or call that their best guess, for a total of 86 percent.

Overall, 10 percent of Americans say Obama was likely born abroad, down from 20 percent in an April 2010 Post-ABC poll. Almost all those who now say Obama was born in a foreign country say that it’s only their “suspicion;” just 1 percent claim “solid evidence” that the president was born elsewhere (9 percent said so last year).

The drop-off in the mistaken belief that Obama was not-U.S.-born has come most prominently among his sharpest critics. Today, 14 percent of Republicans say Obama was not born in the U.S., down from 31 percent in April of last year. Among the most conservative Republicans, the number of skeptics fell from 35 to 16 percent.

Read the whole thing. It also supports my belief that the very fact he had been withholding that evidence was feeding the conspiracy theories and even led non-birthers to wonder what was on his BC that he was trying to hide.

Another argument is that this is not going to have any effect on al Qaeda and potential.  The argument goes like this: the terrorists are ready to die for their cause, and therefore bin Laden dying is fully expected and even welcomed.  Now that is undeniably true in some cases, but bluntly, I don’t think everyone in that organization is quite so committed, and indeed there is some evidence of a first defection:

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Release the Bin Laden Photos!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

Release the photos!

There are good arguments on both sides. Allahpundit here makes the case for not releasing the photos. By contrast, Jack Shafer says release them.

I respect Allahpundit’s position but agree with Shafer that the photos should be released.

Let’s take one of Allahpundit’s arguments: that there will always been conspiracy theorists:

I can think of four arguments for releasing the photos. One: It’ll prove that he’s dead. Except, of course, that it won’t. Conspiracy cranks will screech about the pic being doctored or the victim being an impostor (“those aren’t his eyebrows!”) within five minutes of it being posted. There’s no such thing as “proof” anymore; the Internet age is proof-proof. If anything, the more evidence you provide, the more pretexts you create for kooks to pose moronic challenges to it. If the White House wants to reassure people that the photos exist, they can show them to Republican leaders, to members of the press, and maybe to 9/11 families for their satisfaction. (Scott Brown apparently has already seen them.)

This is an example of a fallacious argument I will call the “It would happen anyway” fallacy. Under this argument, taking an action to prevent or minimize a harm is pointless if the harm will happen anyway after the action is taken. Why lock up criminals when crime will always continue? Why should Obama release his birth certificate if there will still be Birther conspiracy theories after its release? Why bother making your argument in the clearest possible fashion if you know people will try to twist your words anyway? Why bother streamlining death penalty appeals in one respect when you know the entire process will still take a long time?

These sorts of arguments are defeatist and illogical. The argument assumes that partially accomplishing a goal is pointless unless the goal is fully accomplished. What about the fact that the goal will be partially accomplished?

It’s important to prove bin Laden was really killed, and obviously the pictures are part of that proof. Allahpundit acknowledges this fact when he agrees that the photos should be shown to congressional leaders or 9/11 victims’ families. Why is that? Because once they have seen the photos, that will provide them with a greater sense of certainty. Well, the same is true of the rest of the world. And calibrating the presentation of your proof based on the likely reaction of a bunch of cranks is not my idea of a sensible policy.

Providing proof becomes more important every day the White House screws up the story further. Osama used his wife as a human shield; no wait, he didn’t. He was armed; no wait, he wasn’t. There was helmet cam video; no wait, there wasn’t. The administration has so badly screwed up the presentation of the basic facts that even sensible people are starting to have doubts about the credibility of the narrative. Releasing the photos will help provide proof, to accomplishing the goal of persuading the persuadable.

Let me use a “it will happen anyway” argument in favor of releasing the pictures. We are told that releasing the photos will inflame the Muslim world against us. Well, guess what? That will happen anyway. So why bother?

See? If you’re in favor of releasing the photos, that argument probably sounds pretty good. When you already agree with the person making the “it will happen anyway” argument (or any other fallacious argument), the fallacy is harder to spot.

In truth, we who argue in favor of releasing the photos believe in their release for other reasons, and use the “it will happen anyway” argument as cover. If we really think about it, we need to confront the fact that releasing the photos may indeed serve as an icon for radical Islam. The reason we don’t care isn’t because “it will happen anyway.” It’s because we have another, better argument for why withholding the pictures will inflame radical Muslims even more.

The reason we believe this is simple: we don’t see radical Islamists as appeasable. We have walked the road of trying to gain their friendship by gestures of appeasement before. Ask the Israelis how that works out. Every time they make a major concession to the radical Islamists, it brings Israel closer to peace, right? Wrong. It emboldens the radicals.

Simply put: you don’t back down with radical Islamists. They see the weakness and try to exploit it.

As for the sensitivities of the non-radical Muslim world, they disowned this cretin bin Laden long ago. If they didn’t, they’re radical by definition. So let’s not worry about their sensitivities either.

Forget “Muslim sensitivities.” We need to prove that we did what we did.

Let me back up a second and explain my perspective. As a prosecutor, proving assertions is my habit. If I say something, it’s second nature to want to provide the evidence. There are limits to this principle, as there are to any principle — but generally, if you make the assertion and you’re holding the proof in your hand, but you won’t release the proof . . . it makes me suspicious about what you might be hiding.

Releasing the photos won’t convince the whole world. But it is part of the proof, and will go a long way towards convincing those who are capable of being convinced.

Or, we can just let Obama control what facts we should know and what facts we shouldn’t, because by gum, he knows best.

Somehow, that doesn’t sound like too great an idea to me.

Since We Are Feeling All Warm and Fuzzy Toward Our SEALS, Let’s Talk About the U.S.S. Michael Murphy

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:38 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: In the comments, Chris writes:

“Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell tells the story. Luttrell was the only surviving SEAL (duh) of that mission. It is a very good book. You can undoubtedly purchase the it through Patterico’s Amazon widget thingy.

Hey, mother’s day is real soon, right? (That’s a half-joke.)

That is a ship that is to be christened this Saturday, named in honor of this guy:

That is posthumous Medal of Honor recipient Michael Murphy.  Here’s a blurb from a very nice article discussing why he is being given this latest honor:

Engaged in a frenzied firefight and outnumbered by the Taliban, Navy Lt. Michael Murphy made a desperate decision as he and three fellow SEALs fought for their lives on a rocky mountainside in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province in 2005.

In a last-ditch effort to save his team, Murphy pulled out his satellite phone, walked into a clearing to get reception and called for reinforcements as a fusillade of bullets ricocheted around him. One of the bullets hit him, but he finished the call and even signed off, “Thank you.”

Then he continued the battle.

Dan Murphy, the sailor’s father, said it didn’t surprise him that his slain son nicknamed “The Protector” put himself in harm’s way. Nor was he surprised that in the heat of combat his son was courteous.

And do I have to say, “read the whole thing?”

And this video on the subject is powerful (even if the animated guns shooting was a bit of a corny touch):

So if you happen to be in the area, you might pop your head in.  It might be particularly raucous in light of recent events, but in a good way.

H/t: The Blaze.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


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