On Clarke and Coulter

TS writes: I must take issue with your comments regarding Ann Coulter’s column on Richard Clarke. I thought that it was, basically, spitballs against a battleship, to use a time-worn phrase. You’ll note that Coulter’s column mentions only two specifics regarding Clarke, his “interpretation” of Condeleeza Rice’s facial expression (taking half the column) and “6 unanswered attacks” (not true, by the way). This is hardly a “demolition of Richard Clarke”.

I think it was a demolition of Richard Clarke, the man, not necessarily his case. I have little respect for someone who, while in power, can’t be bothered to do anything, but now that he’s out of it, is claiming that he was ringing the alarm bell. He certainly didn’t think it was important enough to risk his career over, did he. His points about Rice were not only inaccurate, but downright strange.

I watched all of Clarke’s open-session testimony yesterday on C-SPAN and found it quite believable (not to mention riveting). Attempts by panel members to go after him, especially by Gov. Thompson, were failures. Where do you think Clarke told untruths/lies? Yes, terrorism happened on his watch. He acknowledges this and apologizes for it. But there’s plenty of blame to go around here, and his is the voice of (bitter) experience. Why do you insinuate he is a “left-liberal”?

From what I heard on Hannity’s radio show yesterday, the entire panel is a charade. The Clinton administration did have an opportunity, several, apparently, to get not only bin Laden but also the two financial backers of the attack on the Cole, and turned it down. Both sides are covering this up; we’ll see if the woman who called in and claimed to have the documents – she was an non-governmental intermediary – can back up her story, which puts the lie to both sides. I don’t think Clarke is a left-liberal, I think he’s being used as a hammer by left-liberals. His personal views are irrelevant, as I neither question his motives nor care about them.

As I’m sure you must know, he also was a member of the Reagan and Bush (1) administrations. I’m not Conservative, nor Liberal, but Libertarian. I’m only interested in the truth here. And Ann Coulter’s column made no contribution to this…

It’s true, Ann is sometimes more interested in playing Republican attack dog than delving into the truth. As much as I adore her, and today’s column was a lovely piece of slicing-and-dicing, she does not always appear to be particularly interested in discovering the truth, much less the whole truth. I expect that far from both administrations being innocent, the truth is that both were guilty of extreme incompetence at the very least.

Fun on the Yellow Bus

This is the second time Silver Lake students were discovered to have had sex on a school bus. On Dec. 12, 2002, a 14-year-old junior high school girl was reported to have performed a sex act on a 16-year-old male high school student. Other junior high school students on the bus told their teachers about the incident and the two students were disciplined. Middle school parent Beth Dwyer, when told about the latest incident on Wednesday, said she was extremely disappointed that the same incident took place yet another time at Silver Lake. “But this is why I and a lot of other parents drive our kids to school. It’s because of what happens on the school bus,” said Dwyer.

Because, of course, nothing bad could possibly happen during the other eight hours of the school day. They’ll surely be too busy with all that learning they’re doing. The operative word, of course, is discovered. Heck, I was a zero until 10th grade, and even I managed to score on the bus a few times before I graduated from high school.

Latin bleg

Quick request, Alex or whoever. I need to know how to say “I feel, therefore I am right.” My Italian is going to screw me up here, I just know it. “Sentio ergo rectum” would be just too good to be true. I might just use it anyhow.

How to argue like a liberal

1. Make an untrue statement

2. Express astonishment that the source could possibly be inaccurate

3. Ask what motivation the source would have to lie.

4. Assert that the other party’s inability to explain motivation is tantamount to proof that the source is not lying.

5. Question motivation of contrary source.

6. Argue that all sources are equal.

7. Get very upset and storm off; alternatively, change the subject.

Never forget that an answer to a question you have asked should be regarded as a personal attack if the answer is something you don’t like or don’t approve of. Hmmm… Space Bunny just asked what next week’s column will be. I think I may have an idea….

Oh, there will be emails. Oh yes, there will be. (snicker-snicker-snack is the sound of the knives as they are sharpened.)

An agglomeration of approximation

Paracelt is appalled by the generally blase reaction: what the HELL does all this about men and women chasing each other have to do with the government having to LIE to us to manipulate the economy? Did anybody read that bit about policy-makers SYSTEMATICALLY fooling the public?

Yeah, it’s just that it isn’t news around these parts, Paracelt. It’s not only not news, but if you understood Austrian theory, you’d know that it’s a given. Heck, even if you only bought into Keynesian theory, you’d know that these economic statistics are an agglomeration of approximations. Given the level of error implicit in each, it’s obvious that the end result of these errors stacked on errors is little more than fiction. And given the vast quantities of money and power at stake every quarter, one would have to have a childlike faith in the purity of government indeed to believe that any temptation to monkey with the numbers will be resisted.

A conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. A libertarian is a conservative who’s realized just who it is that does the serious mugging.

There’s no surprise

Ann Coulter’s column today is a demolition of Richard Clarke and whatever shards of credibility he might have despite failing, by his own admission, to defend the nation against terrorism in not one, but two administrations. And the notion that the media would spike coverage of an anti-Clinton book upon request/command while trumpeting an anti-Bush book to the heavens is hardly news. But Ann sounds almost surprised that the left-loving press would enthusiastically embrace something that can’t possibly be true.

The thing that conservatives often have a hard time getting their brains around is that left-liberals are both evil and functionally stupid. It’s not either/or, it’s both. This is the typical liberal argument:

1. Make a statement that is demonstrably untrue, (usually out of ignorance, not deceit).

2. After proof is given that the statement is untrue, argue that the underlying point did not require the statement to be true.

3. After being walked – slowly – through a train of logic demonstrating that the point did, in fact, require the statement to be true, state that there are other facts, which unfortunately cannot be cited, that do support the underlying point.

4. After it is pointed out that there is no reason to accept these unidentified facts given the now-proven unreliability of the source, attack the secret motivations of the person who has been methodically destroying the argument.

5. After it is patiently explained that a) the person has no secret motivations, and b) the liberal started the entire conversation in the first place, say that it’s all irrelevant and attempt to change the subject.

The biggest difference between liberals and conservatives, and I am neither, is that conservatives can be convinced of something that is in opposition to a position they hold by reason and logic. Often they won’t be, but it is at least possible. A liberal cannot be so convinced to change his mind, because the foundation of his opinions is his emotion. Some of the most accomplished escape artists I know are my liberal friends, who will redefine a well-understood word as many as four times in a single conversation in a desperate attempt to evade the logic of their own words.

Bitter truth about the GOP

From the Mises Institute: Anyone who wants cuts in the size and scope of government should be concerned and frustrated with the policies of President George Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress. Government spending has increased enormously and the federal budget has plunged ever more into deficit. Protectionism, regulation and government power are on the rise, and we are at war or in conflict with a record number of countries around the world. The Republican-controlled Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates to below 1% while it frantically tries to flood the economy with money and credit. Even mainstream economist Jeffrey Frankel has recently noted (in the Milken Institute Review) that the “Republicans have become the party of fiscal irresponsibility, trade restriction, big government, and failing-grade microeconomics.”

However, there has not been a sudden sea change in party platforms and the rampant fiscal irresponsibility of the Republicans is not a mystery; they are merely returning to their historical roots. The Republican Party was established as a party of big government and economic intervention. Their reputation as a party of limited government is of more recent vintage and stands on a flimsy foundation.

Well, at least George Delano has a sound historical reason for his embrace of so-called strong government conservatism.

Mailvox: what is education

JohnR writes: I would like to make a suggestion for a posting topic. WHAT IS EDUCATION? I think many times WB, Jamsco, RC et.al. and the rest of us are talking past one another. Maybe if we tried to define our terms the discussion may be more fruitful. If the purpose of education is to get a good job then it is mere training. If it is to live a good and moral life and make the the best possible choices then perhaps it is education.

Education, in the educrat’s view, is the subsumption of the individual. In other words, the socialization of the individual to extinguish his individuality and transfer his identification to the collective. This is why even the most intelligent and fiery personalities who have passed through the system tend to be individuals who readily and unquestioningly accept the word of any authority accepted as such by the masses.

After 12 years of this subsumption they may be okay, on the whole, but they are nevertheless intellectually maimed and it will take them years to recover their ability to think critically, if they ever do. Being classroom-educated myself, I still find it necessary to consciously resist the urge to unthinkingly accept information that I am given by an “authority”. It is far more important for the public school child to learn how to stand in line, refrain from asking questions and do as he is told than for him to learn how to think critically; it should surprise no one that public school children are far better at the former than the latter.

My definition of education, on the other hand, is preparing a child for adulthood by giving them the tools and knowledge that will allow them to develop the fullness of their intellectual ability. Public school can, and does, accomplish the educratic definition. It doesn’t even begin to come anywhere close to accomplishing mine, nor can it ever do so.

Mailvox: truth in macro

JPJ writes: I ran across the following today while studying for my Course 2actuarial exam:”…to keep the unemployment rate below the natural rate requires an increasing expansionary stimulus and a continuously-rising inflation rate….If the public is well-informed about the economic structure, economic conditions, and policy goals, it will be able to forecast the inflation rate. That makes it impossible to set a policy that makes the unemployment rate differ systematically from the natural rate….Only by systematically fooling the public can policy-makers force the unemployment rate to deviate from the natural equilibrium.”_Macroeconomics_ by Paul Wachtel; pp. 91, 93. (1997: the Society of Actuaries)

It was chilling to have my rising suspicions about our current over-the-barrel state confirmed by a seven-year-old monograph in basic macro theory! Yet more justification for the belief that our “leaders” have leveraged their political capital – in the form of artificially low unemployment rates – on the backs of my children.

Sure, you can believe the official inflation and unemployment figures. And while you’re at it, you might as well believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and really hot women who pursue unsuspecting men and initiate sex with them out of the blue. Okay, this is bit of a tangent, but have you ever noticed that women do all the pursuing and initiating in modern literature? This is contrary to classic literature where men actually pursue women, not to mention every real nightclub scene I’ve ever seen.