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Month: September 2008

Number 34

Is This, Well, Er, Logical? From a discussion of the Palin candidacy: At the same time the…(opponents of Palin) were declaring themselves affronted beyond all endurance, and declaring that women were far too independent, too diverse, and too clever to move as a herd in any direction; they were also asserting, on behalf of all women, that all women would surely reject this cynical, ham-fisted ploy (McCain’s selection of a VP candidate). So we have here individuals “too clever to move as a herd” who should…do exactly that. The Absence Of Principle Obama has put himself in the same box with McCain: he, too, is an enemy of free speech and freedom of the press. Some basic ethical principles apply, and the first is simple: if you disagree with someone’s legislative proposals, you do not have the right — and should not have the ability — to prevent him from publicizing his viewpoint. The intensity of your disagreement is irrelevant; even if you feel very strongly about the matter, the sheer force of your disapproval does not grant you the right to censor your opponent. Most of the world disagrees. That is why Liberty is so precious: it is rare. And it is fragile. It is the highest accomplishment of Western Civilization, and many in Old Europe do not celebrate its sophistication and importance. Truth (regarding which the staff...

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Number 33

It’s Not Politically Correct To Talk About This. Think For Yourself Anyway History will be the ultimate judge, of course, and one cannot predict its findings. Yet there do seem to be some conclusions it can only validate. They include: 1. The failure of US military strategy and tactics to cope with the aftermath of the fall of Saddam’s army (and the disappearance of his air force). 2. The maladaptive, ideological misconceptions of top Pentagon brass. 3. The brilliant evolution of Marine Corps tactics. 4. The emergence of an ad hoc group of officers that used political connections to reverse the failed policies. The most interesting aspect of this dismal but ultimately optimistic tale is what one might call “the mirror image of Hitler.” Hitler, a politician with limited and marginally dishonorable military experience, fancied himself a grand strategist; his advisors were, in many cases, some of the best generals of the twentieth century. In spite of their genius, Hitler managed to plunge his nation into ruinous defeat. Bush, advised at the highest levels by unimaginative, pedestrian careerists, saw through the ideological miasma, and, like Hitler, took over. At the last minute, Bush revised the number of troops to be used in the now-almost-forgotten surge, insuring its success. Hitler’s failure does not prove that amateurs have no role to play in military strategy — it demonstrates that lunatics are...

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Number 32

Afghanistan: News That Is Nowhere To Be Found In The Legacy Media And it’s news you should have. Begin here, and go on to Part II. From Part I: “The Taliban’s eagerness to embrace ignorance will doom them eventually, but how many of us will they kill first? They are a relic of the beasts in our nature.” An Old Question Is Once Again Current: What, Exactly, Is “Swiftboating”?? That’s easy to answer: “swiftboating” is defined not by what it is, but by the politics of the person using the term. Those who opposed the election of John Kerry say that “swiftboating” is the revelation by a group of private citizens of information that warns the public about the character of a bad man. Those who supported Kerry would say it is the smear tactics of a bunch of liars who libel a man in order to defeat him politically. Both groups would probably agree on this: “swiftboating” is not done by a political party or campaign committee, but by a private group of individuals who manage to get funding to put their message in the media. It’s the work of an ad hoc organization. Democrats generally deplore “swiftboating,” and it is now much, much harder to do as a direct consequence of the McCain-Feingold federal legislation (see PenPo Number 23; if you need a copy, send a message...

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Number 31

That Tears It. That Absolutely Tears It Once And For All All of the damned things should be outlawed, now!! If The Geniuses At CERN Can’t Fend Off A Bunch Of Hobbyists, What Internet-Linked Computer Is Safe? Greeks — no, that’s not a typo; it’s not supposed to be “Geeks” — have partially cracked into a control network of the large hadron collider and mocked the defenses of the system as childish. Report here. They seem to have stopped short of taking full control of their target only because their motive is to prove that CERN’s layered firewalls are permeable. This raises the question of why in the world the computers of CERN are connected to the outside world. The same holds for the control systems of utilities and dozens of other currently vulnerable computer networks. Why are they accessible over the phone lines?? Preliminary Report On What The Crack Investigative Reporters From The New York Times Have Found In Alaska The fearless journalists reveal the whole sordid truth. Read it all. A Strategist For Democratic Candidates Cautions The Media Mark Penn is a former advisor to both Clintons. Sidelined at present, he discussed the current state of the campaign with CBS News. Noteworthy quote: I think here the media is (sic) on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report...

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Number 29

The Penguin Post Issues A Retraction When you get it wrong, say so. And make it the first item on the agenda; don’t bury it on a back page under an ad for high colonics. Don’t, in other words, ape the major media’s way of dealing with their mistakes. The Penguin Post accepts evidence regarding compact fluorescent light bulbs. Their mercury content does not make them unsafe to use. Afghanistan We are fortunate to have an interesting story and some impressive photographs posted by Michael Yon. Don’t pass this one by. McCain Partisans Will Love This Slide Show Here is a set of excellent photographs of a McCain whistle stop. Yes, SHE is in them. And NO, the PenPo does not plan to be “balanced” by providing a link to some Obama-Biden photos. This newsletter includes links to web pages that are often discovered incidentally and tangentially while serious browsing is under way. In truth, what is most impressive about these photos is not the subject matter, but the high quality of the photojournalism. Kudos to the AP’s unfortunately uncredited photographers, and to Gary Porter and Mark Hoffman. Fine work, everybody! The News Media Abuse A Child In Order To Discredit Her Mother, And In The Process Reveal Their Bias And Lack Of Ethics There are probably some subscribers to the PenPo who think Palin, and by extension her...

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