Patterico's Pontifications


See Dubya: The Evil Wheel Gets the Liberal Grease

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 10:43 pm

If Terri Schiavo had been dehydrated to death at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Dick Durbin would be reading her autopsy report from the Senate floor.

So writes George Neumayr in the American Spectator. He’s bringing it around to this:

The Democrats, many of the same ones who lounge about at Special Olympics events until the photographers have left, are calling for larger portion sizes for terrorists while cutting off food and water to humans they all but call blind, deaf, and dumb. The evil always have a better chance of surviving under the ministrations of liberalism than the ill.

In fact, being evil is a good way to enhance your treatment at the hands of liberalism. Terri Schiavo had no recourse to the Geneva Conventions. But terrorists at Guantanamo Bay do. Protections extended to criminals are disappearing rapidly for the disabled as Democrats like Dick Durbin assign to an army that has saved the lives of millions a culture of death that they themselves spread.

The bolded portion is especially important. Liberalism presumes the best about people and creates systems that the evil can easily exploit. Conservatism assumes–in accordance with religious teaching, tradition, and eons of painful experience–that people are self-interested greedy bastards one step away from blood-flecked anarchy, and creates a system to channel those base desires into a world in which good can prosper.

John Cole: Quoting Original Documents is “Unfair and Unbalanced” (UPDATED)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 pm

John Cole, who has spent the past two days busting his buttons over how reasonable he is regarding the Terri Schiavo case, today accuses Michelle Malkin of being “unfair and unbalanced” for the sin of quoting directly from the Terri Schiavo autopsy report. Here is the portion of Malkin’s post that Cole quotes (the bold type is Cole’s emphasis):

In Michael Schiavo’s favor, the autopsy report also casts doubt on the Schindler family’s long-held view that a 1991 bone scan indicated traumatic injury. The report notes that Terri had severe osteoporosis and that the bone scan findings might have also reflected “the aftermath of remote intense CPR, infection, bone turnover, artifact or intense physical therapy. In summary, any rib fractures, leg fractures, skull fractures or spine fractures that occurred concurrent with Mrs. Schiavo’s original collapse would almost certainly ahve been diagnosed in February 1990 especially with the number of phsyical exams, radiographs, and other evaluations she received in the early evolution of her care…”

However, the report notes this caveat: “Without the orginal bone scan and radiographs from that period, no other conclusions can [be] reasonably made.”

Cole concludes: “Unfair and unbalanced.”

“Unfair and unbalanced.” Because she quoted from the actual original source! What unbelievable wingnuttery!

Cole’s commenters jump right in. One dubs Malkin “Ms. Wingnuttia.” Others agree that “the worst part about Malkin is that she actually believes herself.” And one fellow actually suggests starting a fund to help Michael Schiavo take people like Malkin to court for libel:

I’m sure Michael Schiavo could find plenty of us to drop $40 to fund his legal fees to take chumps like Hannity and Malkin to court.

This is Democratic Underground type stuff. I’m dying to see how Cole justifies this. Will he claim that he really meant to be quoting Malkin favorably, and that all his commenters just misread his post as criticism?

I doubt it. More likely, he will encourage us all to “read between the lines.” Sure, it looks like she’s just quoting a report — but why is she quoting those lines? What is she really trying to say???

I suspect that this is the latest installment in the “We know what you really meant” series from those oh-so-reasonable centrists. Here’s how the game is played: a centrist blogger accuses a conservative blogger of saying something that the blogger never actually said, such as “You equated the filibuster deal with lynching!” or “You’ve claimed that Michael Schiavo abused his wife and actually put her in her coma in the first place by beating her!”

When the blogger responds by pointing out that he or she never actually said any such thing, the centrist blogger never backs down, but instead responds by saying: “We know what you really meant.” The centrist blogger then mocks the conservative for lawyerly hair-splitting, and scurries around for evidence that the conservative blogger must have actually meant what the centrist accused him of.

An important feature of these accusations is that they are generally expressed in incredibly harsh language, such as (falsely) accusing the conservatives of dishonesty, a lack of patriotism and being beneath contempt, irrationality, and just general wingnuttery. They are also invariably accompanied by profuse self-congratulation on the part of the centrist blogger for so very reasonable and mainstream.

Today’s installment, in which a “centrist” conservative excoriates a “wingnut” for having the gall to quote from an original source document at the center of a controversy, is the logical and laughable conclusion of this odious trend.

UPDATE: Dammit. I did an update and it got lost somehow. I’ll try to recreate it as best as I can:

Cole responds in the comments that the “Unfair and unbalanced” language was not directed at Malkin, but rather Hannity. His post is composed of three quotes: a favorable quote from Neal Boortz; the quote from Malkin; and finally the quote from Hannity. The “Unfair and unbalanced” bit comes at the end of all three.

I started to do an update that said that I take John at his word. After all, I may fault John and the Commissar on some things, but I don’t think for a second that they’re dishonest.

But it turns out that you can tell John is telling the truth from looking at his post — though it takes some detective work to figure it out. You have to compare the time that he says he heard Hannity to the time of the post; when you do that, you can see that the Hannity bit came later, just like he says. (It’s even clearer now that he has done an update explaining this.)

It doesn’t change my point. John still meant to bag on Malkin for the simple offense of quoting from the autopsy report. And his justification (as shown in his comment below and the update to his post) is exactly what I predicted: What is she really trying to say???

See-Dubya: Fundamentally Flawed

Filed under: General,Media Bias,Political Correctness — See Dubya @ 4:40 pm

This harrowing article from London’s Evening Standard suggests that hundreds of young African boys are being ritually sacrificed in bizarre religious rituals right in London. Having grown up in a small town where many conspiratorially-minded people were convinced Satanic cults were butchering cattle, etc., I remain somewhat skeptical of these sorts of lurid headlines. However, this Jack-Chick-fantasy actually has a Scotland Yard report to back it up. Now here comes the twist, told with a vile bit of media bias thrown in which I will explain in a moment:

Boys from Africa are being murdered as human sacrif ices in London churches.

They are brought into the capital to be offered up in rituals by fundamentalist Christian sects, according to a shocking report by Scotland Yard.

Followers believe that powerful spells require the deaths of “unblemished” male children.

Ah ha! I knew it! Ashcroft and Falwell and those gibbering “Christian fundamentalists” are sacrificing African children! Booga booga!

Let’s review what a Christian fundamentalist is. I learned this in a religious studies class at an Ivy League university, by the way, and it blew my mind: A fundamentalist Christian is someone who believes in the inerrancy, divinely-inspired character, and literal truth of the Bible and hold it as complete and solely authoritative to Christian faith.

Most Christian faiths place a great authority on the Bible, but not all are fundamentalists. Catholics, even very conservative Opus Dei Catholics, aren’t fundamentalists because they believe in an Apostolic Succession of authoritative clergy as well as a host of traditions, saints, etc. outside the Bible. If a church has “priests” who speak for God and can forgive sins, consecrate hosts, etc., instead of “preachers” or “pastors”, who are primarily teachers and interpreters of scripture, then that’s not a fundmentalist church. If a church doesn’t proclaim that the Bible is literally true, likewise, it’s not a fundamentalist church. (Hence most fundamentalists are Creationists.) I could go on, but I think you have an idea of the distinction. Bible=not just big deal, but pretty much the only deal. What the Constitution is to strict constructionists, the Bible is to fundamentalists.

Ever wonder what it would be like to live in a city controlled by a fundamentalist Christian? If you live in Los Angeles, look around. Your outgoing (Democratic) mayor, James Hahn, is a member of the Church of Christ (not the United Church of Christ, which is a very liberal church) a church so fundamentalist that it doesn’t even allow instrumental music to be played within its services since there is no mention of instrumental music being played within New Testament worship services in the Bible. And yet, LA is not Teheran. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both identified as Southern Baptists. So you see that being a fundamentalist does not necessarily equate to political conservatism, though more often than not it does correlate.

I will go on record as categorically denying the Evening Standard’s implication that Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and James Hahn engage in the ritual sacrifice of kidnapped African children. Being myself familiar with what goes on in fundamentalist Christian worship, I think I can say with some authority that that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often and when it does there’s usually a very good reason for it. I understand why these rumors get around, though, because media types and leftists generally tend to use “fundamentalist” when they really mean “person who probably listens to albums by rhinestone-wearing gospel quartets” or “politically conservative” or as a shorthand signal for “we think these guys are wackos”.

It is this third false meaning of fundamentalism on display in the Evening Standard’s story. It’s obviously wrong. In fact the casting of spells is explicitly condemned by the Bible–as is the sacrifice of children. That’s Moloch’s schtick, not Jehovah’s. The African “churches” they describe are closer in practice to Santeria or Voodoo than to any common understanding of Christian Fundamentalism–they blend together shamanic magic, animism, and Christian traditions into something pretty well unrecognizable as Christianity. And if you ever happen to read a terrifying book by Stephen Ellis called The Mask of Anarchy, you can see exactly how that faith plays out in Liberian politics. (I’m not kidding. It’s probably the most frightening book I’ve ever read.)

So it looks like Richard Edwards, the Evening Standard reporter really screwed the pooch here–either through ignorance of the true meaning of fundamentalist Christianity, or through a malicious indifference to the meaning of words. Which is ironic given that he quotes an expert dismissive of Scotland Yard’s reports as racist against Africans:

Dr William Les Henry, a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths College, said aspects of the reports were pigeonholing crimes together and were patronising and racist.

He said: “When we think about these cases we can see the same kind of patterns of behaviour in European cultures [SEE DUBYA: WTF? Ritual sacrifice in Belgium?] but they are interpreted in completely different ways.

“This is one of the crises with social sciences anyway, when they are supposedly interpreting the folk ways or cultural habits of alien cultures.” He said that the models such reports are based on are that “Africans are less civilised, less rational”.

Substitute “fundamentalist Christian” for “african ” in Dr. Henry’s statement and you have a fair critique of what’s wrong with this Evening Standard report–and with much of the media.

Dafydd: Invadis Interruptus

Filed under: Current Events,Morons,Politics,Terrorism,War — Dafydd @ 3:19 pm

Is Congress even capable of governing anymore? Were they ever?

Lawmakers Push Resolution on Iraq Pullout
By Liz Sidoti, Associated Press Writer
16 June, 2005

WASHINGTON – President Bush would have to start bringing home U.S. troops from Iraq by Oct. 1, 2006, under a measure a small bipartisan group of House lawmakers — including a Republican who voted for war — proposed Thursday.

Two Republicans and two Democrats introduced a resolution that would require the president to announce by the end of this year a plan for withdrawing troops and steps for following through on that plan.

The Four Congressmen of the Ridiculous were Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Ron Paul (R-TX) — two lefties and a libertarian, all of whom voted against the war in the first place — and the only surprise, Walter Jones (R-NC), who voted for the war in 2002.

This suggestion is — how can I put this tactfully? — about as asinine and feebleminded as inviting Osama bin Laden to the White House for a fundraising coffee. (Uh oh; I reckon my full measure of tact was insufficient.)


The Earthquakes Keep Coming

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:55 pm

That was a big one.

UPDATE: 5.3 centered near Yucaipa.

UPDATE x2: It’s been downgraded to 4.9. Sure felt like a big one on the 18th floor of the Criminal Courts Building, though.

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