Saturday, March 03, 2007

As tomorrow will be the sixty-sixth anniversary of the birth of my late father Richard Dunn McElhinney (March 4, 1941), prayers for the eternal repose of his soul would be most appreciated.

Eternal rest grant unto his soul oh Lord and may thy perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace with all the souls of the faithfully departed. Amen.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Points to Ponder:
(On the Real Legacy of Pope Pius XII -Born 131 Years Ago Today)

Jews, whatever their feeling about the Catholic Church, have a duty to reject any attempt to usurp the Holocaust and use it for partisan purposes in such a debate – particularly when the attempt disparages the testimony of Holocaust survivors and spreads to inappropriate figures the condemnation that belongs to Hitler and the Nazis.... "The Talmud teaches that whosoever preserves one life, it is accounted to him by scripture as if he had preserved the whole world." More than any other twentieth century leader, Pius fulfilled the Talmudic dictum when the fate of European Jewry was at stake. No other pope has been so widely praised by Jews – and they were not mistaken. Their gratitude, as well as that of the entire generation of the Holocaust survivors, testifies that Pius XII was genuinely and profoundly a righteous gentile. [Rabbi David Dalin]

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Points to Ponder:

When a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right. [Schenck v. United States (circa 1919)]

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"A Convenient Hypocrite" Dept.

To reiterate something noted on this weblog recently, is asking for people to not engage in double standards simply too much to ask for anymore??? Apparently not as the former "Number 2" of the nation has won Oscar awards for a "documentary"{1} where he encourages everyone to act in a fashion that he himself does not act in. Or as World Net Daily noted when quoting the acceptance speech of the former Vice-President of the United States from Sunday evening:

"My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis," Gore said after taking the stage. "It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it."

The problem with Mr. Gore publicly making such requests of other people is that he does not practice what he preaches. Or as the above WND article noted when it comes to Gore's actions as opposed to his statements on these matters:

Al Gore deserves an Oscar for hypocrisy to go along with the two Academy Awards his movie won last night, contends a think tank from his home state Tennessee.

The former vice president's mansion in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, says the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, citing data from the Nashville Electric Service...

[A]ccording to the Tennessee think tank, while the average American household consumed 10,656 kilowatt-hours last year, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 – more than 20 times the national average.

Oh but there is more since at the very least if there was a decrease in Gore's usage then it would at least give the appearance that he is trying to curb his own usage to follow his own advice to others.{2}

Since the release of Gore's film, the former vice president and presidential candidate's energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kilowatt-hours per month in 2005, to 18,400 per month in 2006.

In other words, do as Mr. Gore says, not as he does. Those who wonder why the present writer does not take him seriously need not consider anything more than that really -and that is the bottom line.


{1} Do not get me started on the problems with the "facts" Gore presented except to say that he was very Michael Mooreish in his manipulation of the data to reach a pre-conceived conclusion.

{2} As habits can take a while to break, evidence of movement in the direction of his advice could be presumed to be an objective manifestation

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Points to Ponder

People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. [Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan]
Miscellaneous Musings:

---I wonder when there will be some consistency from the crowd which was all up in hackles over the supposed "outing" of Valerie Plame's supposed "covert" CIA status by either Karl "Darth" Rove or one of his supporters.{1} Right now Lewis "Scooter" Libby is on trial accused of perjury. Here is what he is facing according to the above link:

Mr Libby is charged with two counts of perjury, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines if found guilty.

Imagine that folks, 30 years in prison and a million quart all for mere perjury!!! I thought perjury was no big deal -indeed that is what certain nattering nabobs of the "anybody but Bush" contingent were saying back in 1999. Do we need to remind readers that back in 1999 President Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice??? And the consensus of those who opposed impeachment at the time{2} was that lying under oath was "no big deal." Now these same people want to approach Lewis Libby as if perjury in his case was somehow "a big deal." The reason that they do this of course should be obvious: perjury is "no big deal" when one of their people does it but when it is not one of their people then it is a problem. How about merely recognizing that perjury is wrong period. Or is asking for people to not engage in double standards simply too much to ask for anymore???

---Those who remember your host's contemplations of possible support for a Lieberman campaign in early 2004 and wondered what would bring that about, the reason is simple folks: he has principles.{3} And on the crucial issue of national security and recognizing the nature of the threat we face, Senator Lieberman has stood firm writing a very good Op-Ed piece for The Wall Street Journal this morning which includes this encapsulation of what we are facing right now in Iraq:

Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here? [Senator Joseph Lieberman: From The Choice on Iraq (circa February 26, 2007)]

In other words, are those who make a cottage industry out of bitching and moaning about the war interested in the real war or the political one??? More could be said by us but Sen. Lieberman sums it up well in the article above. It really is annoying at times that so many people are obtuse to what we are really facing in the world today threat-wise. There is a serious problem with modern people lacking historical perspective when it comes to matters of war.{4} For all of the Keystone Kops problems that have attended this war, it has still been remarkably successful if you gauge it to other wars in American history.

This writer for one does not write much on the war subject and the everyday flotsam and jetsam that the msm puts together because he took a well-reasoned consistent position on this back in 2003 which remains as valid as it was when it was first written.{5} Your host certainly never took his position based on the case made for war publicly made by the Bush Administration. And it would be pointless to note the areas where things could have been done better as that would cover the lions share of the post-war stability element of the equation.

The approach in the post-war stabilization area has changed in the past month as President Bush noted it would after the election of 2006. It seems appropriate therefore in light of a different approach being taken in Iraq in recent weeks -and judging from what we have seen so far, it is working- to at the very least take a "wait and see" approach. That is all your host plans to say on the matter at the present time.

---There is also a recent attempted Taliban assassination of Vice President Dick Cheney which is is now in the news. On that matter, it is summed up so well by Powerline that I will defer to what they have to say on the matter for now.


{1} Briefly on the Karl Rove Situation (circa July 14, 2005)

{2} Your host thought then and thinks today that Kenneth Starr made a serious tactical blunder here when there were two other areas where far stronger cases for impeachment could have been made.

{3} The present writer has some serious issues with not a few of those principles but considering the flim flam nature of the present Administration at times, we were well within our rights to consider other feaasible options if they were presented to us. (Ultimately of course, they were not but that is another subject altogether.)

{4} [O]nly a military blow to the insurgency will allow the necessary window for the government to gain time, trust, and confidence to press ahead with reform and services. And this is as it always has been in wars. [Victor David Hanson: Give Petraeus a Chance (circa February 6, 2007)]

{5} Nothing of a significant nature since that time has happened to warrant a revision of the position as taken at that time -one which it should be noted was arrived at at a fairly slow and deliberative pace.

On the Difference Between Objective Meaning and Subjective Intention:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

As readers for some time are not unaware, the subject of problems that impede a proper understanding in dialogue have been written on before at this weblog at sundry times and in diverse manners.{1} However, there is one factor that while perhaps touched on in spots nonetheless has never been publicly developed before by the present writer in and of itself. What the present writer refers to here is something that has no small degree of confusion by many people is the confusion of their intentions with reality. One group who historically has made these mistakes are marxist revolutionary sorts. To briefly reference something written on this weblog back in 2005 pertaining to the subject at hand for illustrative purposes:

The marxists --and every promoter of socialism is a defacto marxist in some form or another[...]-- have a notorious double standard from which they operate. Essentially, they judge their own policies not by the uniform and undeniable[...] failure of their policies every time they have been tried. No, with the marxists it is on the intentions behind their policies that they focus on. But they then judge their political enemies -and America is probably first on that list- by the results of their policies. And since America --despite its overall success as a bastion of freedom unlike any nation in history-- is imperfect, then there are always points that can be focused on to America's discredit. But the marxist intentions of a "paradise on earth" are far more idyllic than the even the significant results that America has achieved. For that reason, the results of marxist policies are ignored while the intentions of the marxists are their point of focus.

Now granted, the marxists fabricated a lot of stuff to make things appear even worse than they actually were but that point aside, there is enough in the historical record without fabrications to enable America to always look bad next to the ideal that marxists claim to repine for. And that is the secret essentially to why marxists can lie, cheat, steal, murder, and commit any atrocity and still be held up as icons for the marxist cause ala the near-veneration of predators like Castro, Guevera, Ortega, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, Lenin, etc. by not a few who disingenuously claim the mantles of "progressivist" or "peacemakers." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 20, 2005)]

The reason it was noted before that every socialist is a defacto marxist is because socialism is the communist tree in an earlier stage of growth.{2} But that is neither here nor there because the purpose of citing the above material in the present posting is to point out an example of the problems that come from confusing intentions with reality. This is what solipsism is as has been noted before: the self knowing nothing but its own states and their constituent modifications. To such persons, you can reason with them until your hair falls out but they will often not budge. One reason could be because they cannot be reasoned with. Another though can be due to the person confusing reality with their intentions.{3}

If we are dealing with a person's written words, the latter problem can at times make it very difficult to talk with them because while you point out to them what they actually said{4}, they may take issue with this and shift the ground to what they claim to have intended. This is a variation of a fallacy called red herring because it does not pertain to the issue of discussion.{5} In the case of shifting from emperical evidence of what was said to subjective intention of the person saying it is to shift from the non-normative to the normative context. Those terms were defined briefly here and the distinction being made between them is hardly insignificant. Indeed, the difference between what is objectively verifiable and what was subjectively intended is a night and day distinction because one can be verified by empirical evidence objectively and the other cannot.

As time allows for it (and if the mood to discuss them is there), the present writer may cover how certain fallacies of argumentation pertain to the distinction made above and how certain critics of your host involve themselves in these fallacies despite their claims otherwise. But in the meantime, hopefully this brief posting is adequate to point out an important distinction that many who confuse their intentions with reality need to be made aware of.


{1} Among other subject matter pertaining to these matters in some fashion or another. (To note a few of them in brief, there are the subjects of how to dialogue, how to identify and avoid a number of basic fallacies of argumentation both in actuality, outlining many of the flaws in various presumed "methodologies" of argumentation, how to cultivate the skills needed for effective reasoning and logic, the importance of vetting the sources one uses, etc.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 20, 2007)]

{2} [W]hether I am believed or not, I declare that I do not mean to attack the intentions or the morality of anyone. Rather, I am attacking an idea which I believe to be false; a system which appears to me to be unjust; an injustice so independent of personal intentions that each of us profits from it without wishing to do so, and suffers from it without knowing the cause of the suffering.

The sincerity of those who advocate protectionism, socialism, and communism is not here questioned. Any writer who would do that must be influenced by a political spirit or a political fear. It is to be pointed out, however, that protectionism, socialism, and communism are basically the same plant in three different stages of its growth. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa November 13, 2002)]

{3} It is not uncommon for these sorts to accuse those who point out what their statements and actions logically involve of being "liars" or of "lying" and often they do this with a degree of personal indignation. The reader should remember that the reason for this is that the person is confusing objective reality with subjective intention. Since these people would claim that their subjective intention is pure, right, or whatever, they view anything that does not support their subjective intention as a misrepresentation of objective reality rather than consider the alternative.

The alternative, of course is that the objective meaning of their statements does not support their later-stated intentions or subjective intentions. When the latter is properly understood, it is evident that those who point these distinctions out (where they are valid) are not "lying" or "slandering" them but instead are correctly describing the situation objectively and apart from the other person's subjective intention.

{4} Assuming for a moment that they even bothered to quote the words in context of course. (This is unfortunately no small assumption to be making oftentimes.)

{5} To take the definition of red herring from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary for the sake of reader convenience (all emphasis is the present writer's):

Main Entry: red herring
Function: noun
1 : a herring cured by salting and slow smoking to a dark brown color
2 [from the practice of drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs] : something that distracts attention from the real issue. [LINK]