Why must you harsh my mellow?

From Profootballtalk:

Sean Jensen of the Pioneer Press reports that after watching his team blow out the Giants Sunday, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said that coach Brad Childress will “absolutely” be back for the 2008 season.

“There was never a question,” Wilf said, making his first public comments about Childress in more than a month. “You need time for a team to coalesce and to get together. This is the ultimate team sport, and everyone has to play their part, and it will take some time. And we’re doing it, and everyone is stepping up.”

Lovely. Why do I suddenly get the feeling that Frazier is going to go somewhere at the end of next year and become a very successful head coach?

And on a far grimmer note, it seems that Redskins safety Sean Taylor died of his wounds today:

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor has died, says family friend Richard Sharpstein…. Known as one of the NFL’s hardest hitters, Taylor played in his first Pro Bowl last season. He is tied for the NFC lead this season with five interceptions, despite missing the past two games with a sprained knee. He did not travel with the Redskins to Sunday’s 19-13 loss at Tampa Bay because of the injury.

The Redskins badly missed him against the Cowboys two weeks ago when TO lit them up for four touchdowns. It’s such a shame he wasn’t with them preparing for next week’s game rather than home with an injury at precisely the wrong time.

Mailvox: tactics aren’t enough

Yesterday’s column has GS hot about the collar:

Your column “Unwinnable War” makes it quite amusing to watch you turn and turn 180 degrees now that your gloom and doom predictions for Iraq are not working out. It is NOT the “neo-conservatives” who are in a “muddle at the moment.” It is the “cut and run” Democrats and neo-isolationists such as yourself that find themselves in that position. American success is bad news for you guys.

The rumors of war with Iran you spread are not going too well either, so now you are beginning to debunk those rumors too instead of admitting that you should not have spread them in the first place. Finally, you do not admit that once democracy was imposed on Germany and Japan it WAS successful. Instead you point to minor historical events that took place before Berlin and Tokyo were taken by force and democracy was imposed on them. Your sense of history comes from the footnotes.

Next week, tell us what a mess Bush made of the North Korean situation and how the Middle East talks are irrelevant too. Better yet, tell us how you ARE relevant.

This is amusing. First, I never predicted the failure of “the surge”, in fact, I even wrote before General Petraeus’s report that it would be portrayed and regarded as a success. What I expected, then as now, that the tactical success would prove to be irrelevant. And, indeed, there has been absolutely no improvement on the political scene while the larger strategic picture has absolutely gotten worse.

As for the “successful” imposition of democracy on Germany and Japan, I note that Germany is currently being ruled by an unelected and dictatorial Commission with zero respect for human rights and that both Germany and Japan are still being occupied more than sixty years later.

After I wrote back to GS, he responded again as follows:

Right. . .nothing was accomplished in Iraq. Therefore, Saddam Hussein must still be in power, his sons are waiting to succeed him, Iraq never had free elections, it is still threatening its neighbors, the Kurds are still getting gassed and Iraq oil is still off the market. In your view, these changes are only “tactical successes.”

Worse yet, your positions are not even consistent. If the Iraq government is a “puppet regime” as you say, then why aren’t they passing the laws we want passed? Their inability to get things done is not helping the “neo-conservative” cause.

And if the invasion was is nothing more than “imperialism” as you state, then shouldn’t some Americans benefit from the increased supply as a result of that? Even if you argue that the American consumer will not benefit from more oil because of the evil corporate conspirators who control big oil, the American stockholders who hold shares in oil companies should benefit.

As you see it, everything is a doom and gloom twilight zone where only bad things happen. Fortunately, the percentage of American people who agree with you is about the same as the number who support the absurd and dangerous neo-isolationist foreign policy views of your heroes, Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.

Let’s count the errors here. 1) We’ve exchanged the secular Saddam for a Shiite mullah regime sympathetic to Iran. 2) Iraq didn’t have free elections and we wrote both the rules for it as well as their “constitution”. 3) The Kurds aren’t getting gassed, which is good, but they are attacking our ally Turkey, which has just overwhelmingly voted an Islamic party into power. But yeah, they are pumping oil… wait, I thought this invasion was about democracy and WMD?

4) The Iraqi government is a puppet regime, it’s just not an obedient one. They want to kick us out, but can’t, so they’re simply cooling their heels and refusing to do what we want them to do. That’s why Charles Krauthammer was pleading for everyone to ignore the failed government benchmarks and pay attention to the temporary military lull instead. 5) Some Americans are benefitting, that’s why the oil companies have been registering record profits over the last few years. 6) The Republicans have already lost the House, the Senate and staunch Spanish and Australian allies over the occupation, apparently they’ll have to lose the White House before GS will consider the possibility that perhaps occupying Mesopotamia is not as popular a policy as he clearly believes it to be.

Only a mindless propaganda parrot could possibly examine the evidence and conclude that the views of Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan are dangerous to America. Quite to the contrary, it is idiot America’s failure to heed their clear and substantive warnings that is fast leading it to destruction and irrelevance.

OV3: Pick your poison

TRP has, quite naturally, asked me to provide some verses supporting my aprevistan contention that capability is not action, that God is not omniscient and that He does not have a Divine Plan which He personally micromanages down to the very smallest level of quantum detail. It is easy to comply with his request because there are so many overt and obvious examples from which to draw; unlike the omniderigistes, I have no need of keeping a list of pre-prepared verses on hand in order to avoid trapping myself in a logical corner. Instead, I merely selected one example from each of the first five books of the Bible. I note that there are literally hundreds of verses that are equally relevant and similarly supportive of the Open View position.

For the various atheists and agnostics here, I realize all of this theology will amount to nothing more than an exercise in counting average fairies per toadstool or whatever, but I encourage you to either skip the discussion entirely, or better yet, to look at it as an opportunity to better understand how to engage in theistic disputation and join it on an entirely conjectural basis. If you think it’s all nonsense, that’s fine, but this particular post isn’t about you.

Genesis 3:8
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

There are three possibilities here. Either (1)God was lying to the man about not knowing where he was, (2) He was asking rhetorical questions to which He already knew the answer, or (3) He did not know where the man was and did not know – as opposed to correctly deduced – that the man had eaten from the tree that He had commended him not to eat from. I ask TRP, which he believes to be the correct answer?

Exodus 3:7-10
7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

In verse 9, God’s statement that “now the cry of the Israelites has reached me” clearly implies that it had not reached Him prior to that moment. I ask TRP, did God previously know about their suffering prior to hearing that cry? And at which point did He become concerned about their suffering, prior to hearing that cry or as a result of it?

Leviticus 18 24-28
24 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

I ask TRP, is this prophetic warning an if/then statement or not? Was it possible for the Israelites to not defile the land and therefore not be driven out? If not, then why did God pretend to offer the Israelites a choice when He was actually planning to cause them to defile the land and cause it to vomit them out?

Numbers 3:12-13
12 “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, 13 for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the LORD.”

The significance here requires a reference to Exodus 12:23. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

Now, who struck down the firstborn, the LORD or the destroyer? Are the LORD and the destroyer one and the same? This is an extremely important question, as it cuts to the very heart of the sovereignty issue and has important ramifications for the capacity/action aspect of the debate as well.

Deuteronomy 1:26-43

Rebellion Against the LORD
26 But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. 27 You grumbled in your tents and said, “The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’ “

29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.

34 When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35 “Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.”

37 Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either. 38 But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. 39 And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. 40 But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea. [a] “

41 Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country.

42 But the LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’ “

43 So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the LORD’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. 44 The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah. 45 You came back and wept before the LORD, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you.

Did the people of Israel rebel against the Lord’s command or not? Was it God’s will that they rebel against Him or was it their will? Was it God’s original plan for Moses and the people of Israel to enter Canaan or did He always intend for them to die in the desert? Was God genuinely angry, or was He merely pretending to be angry for the purpose of making the puppet show seem more convincing to the puppets whose strings He was pulling?

UPDATE – TRP requests a clarification:

Do you actually believe that God CAN do this? Do you believe he DOES do this?

Assuming he’s referring to 1 Samuel 2: 6-8, my answer to the first question is yes. My answer to the second question is yes, occasionally.

VPFL Week 12

100 Cranberry Bogs
78 W.C. Silver Spooners

92 Mounds View Meerkats
29 Black Mouth Curs

75 Village Valkyries
57 Greenfield Grizzlies

69 Winston Reverends
54 Masonville Marauders

66 Burns ICU
62 East Mesa WhiteTrash

I’m not out of it yet. The team that no one wants to face has put together three straight wins; despite being in eighth place the Meerkats have the second-most points in the league, 116 more than the fourth-place Valkyries. It’s unlikely I can make it to the playoffs even if I win out, but we’ll do our best to finish at .500 anyhow.

In other news, Burns finally managed to grab its second win over the ex-champions, who are fading fast and have fallen out of playoff position for the first time all season. Cranberry is looking like the team with the hot hand, although Masonville should cruise to the number-one seed with the help of a timely trip to the ICU. Masonville, Cranberry and Winston all look like they’ll make the playoffs, the Valkyries and Grizzlies will be pulling hard for the Meerkats to knock off both the Spooners and White Trash down the stretch.