A Word of Advice to the Non-Insane Paulites (if You Exist)

I’ve been in lots and lots of arguments about Ron Paul over the past several months, in which serious doubts as to the congressman’s credibility have been raised.  In response, I’ve been treated to all sorts of inane lectures of varying literacy on non-interventionism, blowback, history, progressivism, the Constitution, and, of course, those darn Jews.

What I’m almost never treated to are serious attempts to refute the facts backing up my claims (despite the fact that Paulites are pretty adamant that I’m “slandering” their prophet).  For instance, when I argue that Paul presents a biased, misleading view of the Founders’ foreign policy views, they don’t bother to explain why my read of the evidence is incorrect, or put forth new evidence that would change the picture.  When I reveal that Ron and Rand misrepresent the facts surrounding Iran (as well as other facts about the War on Terror), they’re similarly silent on the details.

Here’s a tip: If you guys wanna be taken seriously as anything other than blind cultists, evangelizing with pre-scripted talking points isn’t gonna cut it; you have to honestly consider and respond to what people actually say about your guy.  When you try to change the topic, you’re not making dents in anything but your own credibility.

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Rand Wins, America Loses

I’ve put a lot of effort here and on NewsReal into defending Sarah Palin from various attacks.

Tonight, I regret every word of it.

Thanks in no small part to her endorsement (as well as that of James Dobson, Jim DeMint, & Erick Erickson), the deranged Rand Paul won the Kentucky GOP’s Senate nomination (more on Paul’s hideous record here and here).

Palin’s celebration of Paul’s victory on tonight’s “Hannity” consisted entirely of empty blather straight out of the Paul camp’s press releases: the grassroots are rising up, the establishment better take notice, blah blah blah.  Does she know anything about Paul’s record?  About how he’s diametrically opposed to her own views on national security?

Some of you who don’t share Paul’s affinity for appeasement or his tolerance of bigotry might nevertheless think Paul’s win is no big deal, because he only has one vote and most foreign policy will be set by the executive branch.  But first, consider that Democrats campaign for keeps – we all know the lengths to which Democrats will go to falsely smear conservatives as extremists; just imagine the field day they’ll have with all of the real dirt in Rand’s closet.  I predict a Democrat victory in the general election.

Second, odds are that more than a few mushy Republican pols and would-be candidates will interpret Paul’s win, and his legitimization by other mainstream “true” conservatives, as an indication that it’s okay and/or smart politics to tack left on defense issues.  Do we really want two pro-appeasement political parties?

I hope Jim DeMint is rewarded with the primary challenge of his life.  And Sarah Palin has proven that she does not deserve the presidency.

The Paul File Continued (Updated)

The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.

On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”

In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.”  The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites. Continue reading

Why Do People Pay Andrew Sullivan to Talk, Again?

Andrew Sullivan, leading contender for Most Deranged Blogger in America, has apparently decided conspiracy-mongering over the sex lives of conservative women wasn’t interesting enough, so now he’s taken it upon himself to uncover the truth behind rumors that Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan might be a lesbian, and what the White House’s reaction to the rumors means for the struggle for gay rights:

Apparently unsatisfied with what seemed to be a clear denial from the White House that Kagan was gay, Sullivan asked, “Is Obama actually going to use a Supreme Court nominee to advance the cause of the closet (as well as kill any court imposition of marriage equality)? And can we have a clear, factual statement as to the truth?”

But they did give a clear, factual statement. And Sullivan’s Atlantic colleague Marc Ambinder has reported that close friends of Kagan say she’s straight; Ambinder tells The Daily Beast he has since received a similarly definitive answer from White House officials. Sullivan offers no new evidence to suggest the White House answer is wrong. In his first post on the issue, Sullivan wrote that further questions are fair game because “we have been told by many that she is gay”—without ever disclosing who the “many” might be and whether or not they are credible sources.”

When pressed, Serious Andrew’s line changes to:

Sullivan said that as a blogger, “my job is to think out loud. It is not my job to report stories.” As for information on Kagan’s orientation, “one need have no ‘evidence’ beside the fact that she is single and seems to be lacking in any emotional or relationship history to ask a question not about her private life but about her public identity.”

But Todd Gitlin, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, told The Daily Beast that Sullivan’s failure to provide any clear evidence that Kagan’s sexuality was in question raised major ethical concerns by pushing unsourced rumors into the mainstream press.

“It’s slimy locution here in that he writes ‘We have been told by many that she is gay,'” Gitlin said. “And what would constitute evidence? If someone shows up and says ‘I slept with Elena Kagan when we were in college,’ so what? I see nothing but slime down the slippery slope because accusers are a dime a dozen.”

Sullivan’s response?

“Gitlin’s remarks are so baldly homophobic, I’m a little taken aback.” (Gitlin stressed that rumors surrounding Kagan should not be viewed as a negative if true.)

“Since when is it ‘slime’ to ask someone a simple positive question about his or her orientation?” Sullivan added. “Since when is asking someone about her orientation an ‘accusation’? Is being gay something one is ‘accused’ of? And Gitlin’s blanket assumption that being gay means who you ‘sleep with’ is reductionist bigotry. Being gay is a core part of someone’s emotional identity and personal biography.”

Valiant though Greg Gutfeld’s above attempt may be, it’s no longer possible to truly parody Andrew Sullivan.  The man does it himself.

I don’t much care whether or not Kagan is gay; I care about the fact that, as a leftist, she’d be the antithesis of everything a good justice should be.

How Not to Argue Abortion (Updated)

I initially figured Capper was a shoe-in for the “Most Embarrassingly Self-Defeating Blogger in Wisconsin” Award—misattributing comments to people based on nothing but a first name, then digging in your heels when called on it seems pretty hard to top.  But we have a new contender for the crown: our old pal Scott Feldstein.

Veterans of Wisconsin blog debates know Scott well as a foul-mouthed, hypocritical leftist who would rather conjure up dishonest, unconvincing reasons for ignoring & dismissing opponents’ views rather than actually debating them.  In December, this charade devolved into an even more pitiful form: not only rationalizing why he shouldn’t believe his opponents’ claims, but fabricating reasons to suspect that his opponents don’t even believe their own beliefs!

His “reasoning” was—you’re gonna love this—pro-lifers don’t really see abortion as a human rights issue, because if they did, they’d all oppose abortion in rape/incest/life-of-mother cases, too, and they’d also support the sex-ed and condom distribution policies Scott likes; but because they don’t, it’s really all about controlling people’s sex lives.

Of course, Scott was confronted (by me and others) with credible arguments against all of this (by the way, here’s the latest counter-example to his anti-abstinence studies), but remained “skeptical.”  Mind you, he couldn’t offer any good reasons for his skepticism, but proceeded to flaunt the nonsense anyway, as if he’d done…well, something to prove any of it or refute his opponents’ objections.  As Allahpundit once said of Dingy Harry Reid, “like a two-year-old who’s just crapped on the carpet, he’s curiously proud of it.”

(Oh, and he also demanded to know what Planned Parenthood lied about, then when I told him exactly what Planned Parenthood lied about in painstaking detail, he ignored it for a hundred-something comments.  ‘Cuz he’s such a stickler for the truth.)

But it gets better, my friends.  Oh, does it get better.

This week, abortion came up once more on Boots & Sabers.  Allow me to quote verbatim, so we can all revel in the majesty that is Scott’s madness:

If you believe—as you say you do—that a 3 month fetus is the legal and moral equivalent of a toddler, then you would either a) be storming the abortion clinic like Rambo to kill the murderous individuals who work there, or b) you’re a pathetic coward who wouldn’t risk his life to save roomfuls of innocent children from death. Of course there is a third explanation: You do know that 3 month old fetuses are not the moral and legal equivalent of you and me.

So, lemme get this straight: unless you also believe in abandoning the political process and the rule of law and killing abortion doctors, you don’t really believe in an unborn baby’s right to life.

There’s really only one way to respond to that:

Make no mistake: These aren’t sincere questions that Scott would stop asking if only someone would give him a good answer.  He’s simply displaying a common tactic of left-wing hyper-partisanship: the need to attribute the beliefs of one’s opponents, no matter how sincere or well-argued, to any sort of ulterior motive other than the stated motivation, no matter how specious the evidence.

If Scott truly believes what he’s saying, then his ideology has so fully warped his mind that his capacity for rational, objective thought is completely gone.  But I suspect he does know better.  I think it’s all propaganda: he’s supporting a heinous practice, recognizes somewhat the odiousness of his position, and will throw out whatever he can to deflect moral judgment and make the other side the villains.  Indeed, he deployed this gem of a point as a way of not answering The Family Guy, who noticed he described abortion as “sad and distasteful,” and asked the obvious follow-up: “If it’s nothing more than a lump of tissue, then why is it sad? Are you sad when you have a wart removed? It too was alive.”

Either way…pitiful.

UPDATE: As if we needed another indicator of how messed up the left-wing, pro-abortion mind is, consider the following: Scott says that because humans develop incrementally, meaning that in the period between just-conceived zygote and just-delivered newborn, increasing moral consideration should go along with increasing complexity (he also voted for a guy who had a a problem with those just-delivered newborns, but I digress).  He also says that “a 12 week pregnancy can be terminated for any reason at all.”

Okay, so at 12 weeks, it must not be very developed or person-like, huh?  I mean, it’s not like it would have any of the biggies, like a heartbeat, a fully-formed brain, or the capacity to feel pain.

Oh, wait.  It has all of those things.

Something seems to have failed rather significantly in Scott’s efforts at drawing “reasonable” distinctions.  How do you think he’d respond to that?  If you guessed “dodge & deflect,” give yourself a cookie.

Pitiful.  And monstrous.

A Special Message to My Special Friend Marcus

I made a new friend recently!  He goes by the screen name “Marcus Brutus,” and attended my school, Hillsdale College, some time ago.  Unfortunately, thanks to our disagreements about Ron Paul and the War on Terror, we didn’t exactly hit it off.

“Marcus” wants me to know that he fared much better academically than he supposes I did: “I’ll ask [Hillsdale President] Dr. [Larry P.] Arnn at the next fundraiser if you’ve had a chance to examine that desk of his yetmy name is on plaques at Hillsdale, and yours isn’t.” He doesn’t think I have much “intellectual cultivation,” or that I’d make it “as a secretary for any office in any level of the federalist society in [his] chapter.”  Why, my heart positively shatters! (I don’t presume to be some great scholar, and I confess that I haven’t a single plaque to my name, but in my defense, I’m not exactly dead weight.)

His intellect, by contrast, is highly cultivated, and it’s very, very important for him that his readers know just how much, via seemingly-endless references to Scripture, English history, ancient Athens, and such.  Since graduating, he professes to have had quite the accomplished career—Marine Corps, Iraq, application to the bar, even some time spent in Israel.

Unfortunately, I don’t think “Marcus’s” way of going about things is doing him any favors.  In the spirit of friendship, allow me to humbly offer my fellow Hillsdalian some helpful advice.

Continue reading

Birthers Go Home

This week, it came out that John McCain’s campaign conducted an internal investigation into the rumors that Barack Obama was not really born in Hawaii, and is therefore ineligible for the presidency:

While they ruled out any chance of the ‘birther’ lawsuits holding up in court, lawyers for the McCain campaign did check into the rumors about Obama’s birth and the assertions made by Berg and others. “To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations,” said Potter. “We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence. There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state’s Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance.”

Granted, McCain hardly had the best judgment when it came to attacking Obama, but they were right to skip this foolishness.  As John Hawkins has pointed out, it’s got no legs:

The people at FactCheck.org have seen the certificate of live birth provided from the state of Hawaii to the Obama campaign and it is genuine.

Although Hawaii “state law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record,” the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health [a Republican appointee] has certified that Obama does have a legitimate birth certificate on file in Hawaii.

In a print copy of the 1961 Honolulu Advertiser, there’s a notice that Barack Obama was born. In and of itself, this is a game, set, match conversation-ender on this subject unless people want to argue that this isn’t genuine or that there was a conspiracy going all the way back to the day of Obama’s birth to make him President.

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough for the Birther crowd, spearheaded by WorldNetDaily.  When you point this stuff out to them, they posit all sorts of hypothetical scenarios about how a birth certificate or newspaper clipping could have been issued to a non-resident, and so forth.  But that doesn’t cut it.  We could talk all day about how the moon landing might have been faked, or how World Trade Center Seven could have been destroyed by controlled demolition, but since the magnitude of the allegation is so severe—that the President of the United States is constitutionally illegitimate—it is morally irresponsible to give them serious consideration in the absence of affirmative reasons to believe Obama was born somewhere other than Hawaii.

Birthers claim to have such evidence, in the form of testimony from Obama’s grandmother that he was born in Kenya.  But that claim doesn’t withstand scrutiny either:

During the interview, which was conducted through a translator by a street preacher named Ron McRae, Sarah Obama does in fact say she was present. But it’s clear that there was a mistranslation, because as soon as McRae very excitedly starts to try to get additional details, the people on the other end of the line realize what’s happened and say, over and over again, that Obama was born in the U.S.

For some reason, the transcripts of the interview that have been posted on various right-wing Web sites all seem to cut off right after Sarah Obama says she was there when her grandson was born. So does this YouTube video with the audio of the interview. But as The Economist points out, McRae also released the full audio, in which the key parts of the conversation can be heard. Here’s part of it. (The other person speaking is translator Vitalis Akech Ogombe.)

MCRAE: When I come in December. I would like to come by the place, the hospital, where he was born. Could you tell me where he was born? Was he born in Mombasa?

OGOMBE: No, Obama was not born in Mombasa. He was born in America.

MCRAE: Whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.

OGOMBE: No, he was born in America, not in Mombasa.

MCRAE: Do you know where he was born? I thought he was born in Kenya. I was going to go by and see where he was born.

OGOMBE: Hawaii. Hawaii. Sir, she says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father was also learning, there. The state of Hawaii.

When the house of cards all but collapses, the Birthers play their trump: “All Obama would have to do to satisfy us is release his original birth certificate.  Why doesn’t he?  That proves he’s hiding something!”  Hawkins gives the answer, which should be obvious:

Well, why would he at this point? He has a significant number of conservatives wasting enormous amounts of time on a side issue that can never bear any fruit and, as an added bonus, it makes them look somewhat unhinged to many Americans. When your political enemies are making fools of themselves, why stop them?

Heck, that’s what I’d do in this situation if I were Obama!  The Birthers undermine the Right’s credentials on honesty, intellectual rigor, and moral seriousness, which we need to maintain if we are to stand up to the Left’s real lies.