TCS Daily

Not Doing What Comes Naturally

By Alan W. Dowd - June 29, 2009 12:00 AM

Wouldn't we be better off if we just learned to live with the risks and threats posed by terrorism? That's essentially the question Duke University ecologist Raphael Sagarin is asking.

"Organisms do not try to get rid of risk in their environment," Sagarin argues. "They learn to live with it."

During a stint in Washington, D.C., as a Congressional science fellow a year after 9/11, Sagarin concluded that "everything" Washington was doing "was about more guards, more guns and more gates."

In his view, that's the wrong way to approach security. A better form of security would mimic the immune systems forged by nature rather than "a tough-talking Texas sheriff," as Science Daily explained after interviewing Sagarin.

"A study of animal behavior suggests that advertising your security procedures and continually conveying to others that there is a state of elevated threat only helps inform potential terrorists of loopholes in the procedures, while keeping the general population uncertain and nervous," according to Sagarin.

His solution is to focus on the big risks, be selective about whom and what to screen at the airports and, like nature, learn to live with the threats facing us.

In an age of skyrocketing security costs at home and trillion-dollar wars abroad, it's a thought-provoking, compelling idea. But there are a few problems with what Sagarin calls "natural security."

First, the reason the TSA inefficiently screens everyone at the airports is that screening only high-risk elements is known as profiling, which may be OK in nature but presents problems in egalitarian liberal democracies like ours.

Second, Sagarin's argument that the U.S. focused solely on "more guards, more guns and more gates" overlooks the relationship between homeland security and national security.

Recognizing that we cannot defend against everything—it's costly and impossible—Washington did not simply harden its defenses and hunker down after 9/11. Instead, the U.S. did the opposite by taking the fight to the enemy.

As historian John Lewis Gaddis writes in his essential Surprise, Security and the American Experience, which was written long before Sagarin released his book Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World, "Most nations seek safety the way animals do: by withdrawing behind defenses, or making themselves inconspicuous, or otherwise avoiding whatever dangers there may be. Americans, in contrast, have generally responded to threats—and particularly surprise attacks—by taking the offensive, by becoming more conspicuous, by confronting, neutralizing and if possible overwhelming the sources of danger."

For the United States, Gaddis explains, " the path to security." From the Monroe Doctrine and hemispheric hegemony, to America's post-World War II global dominance and post-9/11 campaigns, history underlines Gaddis' point.

Third, even though we cannot defend against every threat, we—the West, the transatlantic community, a coalition of the willing, the U.S. alone—can defend against some threats. We can learn from past mistakes. And we can take actions that prevent or even remove some threats.

  • Pre-9/11, the FBI and CIA did not share information on suspected terrorists; other agencies could not detect or track financial transfers that funded the plot; and the U.S. government in general tried to treat al Qaeda as a latter-day mafia syndicate rather than what it is: a threat to national security. After 9/11, agencies were permitted to share info; communication replaced "stove-piping;" and the U.S. government targeted al Qaeda and its partners on the battlefield rather than in a courtroom.
  • This delayed reaction to the enemy was not new. Before 1947, many in the West, especially in Washington, held out hope that Stalin would be a partner in postwar stabilization. But after he unleashed his agents into Europe and then blockaded Berlin in 1948, Washington woke up, created NATO and began to wage a multi-faceted global struggle against a threat that had the capacity and intent to bury the West and the U.S.
  • And of course, pre-1941, even though the U.S. knew the threat posed by Imperial Japan was real, Washington failed to disrupt or defend against it. Likewise, pre-1939, even though Britain and France knew the threat posed by Nazi Germany was real, they failed to disrupt, defend against or remove it. Only after the Axis threat became existential did the U.S., Britain and others take action effectively ensuring that neither Japan nor Germany would ever threaten them again.

Individuals, by and large, do likewise. After all, we exterminate moles, destroy the wasp nest above the back porch and use vaccines to kill viruses inside us, knowing from past experience that if we don't take these actions bad things could happen.

Of course, we also employ defensive measures. For example, we all know there is a risk that our homes could be burglarized. In response, some of us install alarm systems, others get a big dog, still others buy a gun.

Something not too dissimilar holds true in the animal world: Professor Sagarin's observations notwithstanding, it seems that some animals do "advertise" their security assets and "convey" to others that they are on alert. What else are a porcupine's spikes for, a lion's roar, a skunk's odor?

All of this is to say that nations—and individuals—sometimes do "get rid of risk" in their environment. Short of that, they try to deter or dissuade their enemies, predators or others who might threaten or encroach upon their zone of security. To be sure, they also live with certain threats.

However, nations and individuals don't really want to learn to live under the laws of nature or the law of the jungle, as Sagarin essentially suggests. To do so is to live under constant threat of attack. And to do that—whether you're a field mouse evading owls or a civilian bracing for the next terror attack—is to live in fear. Humans don't function very well in such a state. It's one reason why we form societies, create governments, and build armies to protect us from some threats—and to eliminate others.

Alan W. Dowd is a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute.


The man's onto something
Fortress America, already very badly overdrawn at the bank from the costs attached to enforcing world security, is far more vulnerable to a withdrawal of credit (and thus a failure to maintain operating expenses) than it is from an Al Qaeda take over. In point of fact, Al Q hardly has the manpower to run a place the size of Indianapolis. And they certainly fall well short of the managerial talent required.

Yet they have become our bete noir. I'd be tempted to credit Bin Laden with this wily plot to bamboozle us into destroying ourselves.. but I think it's too clever to be his. It's just something we've done to ourselves.

We're like the elephant, so frightened and enraged by the mouse that he wrenches himself up into a fatal heart attack. I'm thinking that "security overstretch" is a condition we're fatally vulnerable to.

Naturally there is some actual danger of a stealth attack, and normal precautions are necessary. But let's put this into perspective. So far this century Islamists have murdered some 3,000 Americans on our own soil.. or 333 per year. That's about the number of us that die in bathtub falls.

We should continue screening intelligently at airports. We should guard our chemical plants and refineries. We should keep a close eye on our water supply. And we should also remember to put those little rubber daisies on the floors of our bathtubs, and not dance in the shower.

If we desist from trying simultaneously to run the affairs of every nation on earth I think we'll be able to save enough money to keep the USA out of bankruptcy. And we may even make a few friends along the way.

the man has no familiarity with nature
"Organisms do not try to get rid of risk in their environment," Sagarin argues. "They learn to live with it."


How utterly clueless can anyone not named roy, be?

Humans advanced by eliminating threats.
""Organisms do not try to get rid of risk in their environment," Sagarin argues. "They learn to live with it."

We did not choose to live with bacterial infections or what causes them. We learned not drink the water we crap in. Dietary laws improved some people's chances of survival. Humans have learned that to thrive, and not just survive, threats must be eliminated.

Off topic: From BHO- ""not legal" coup"
"President Barack Obama says the weekend ouster of Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya was a "not legal" coup and that he remains the country's president. "

Is there such a thing as a legal coup?

Here's where the problem creeps in
When the threats come from other people, it's other people you need to eliminate. And once you start eliminating them, the more you get rid of, the more the rest are all against you.

Finally, like Mussolini, you get strung up on a lamp post.

If the anti-American resistance was like bacteria, you could use handi-wipes. But it's more like 6,500,000,000 people.. that portion of the world that didn't get to join the American club. And the more we aggress against them, the more pissed off they become.

If we could develop an economic model that didn't impoverish them to provide our wealth, we'd be gaining a lot more friends and fellows.

Yeah, it's called 'grant amnesty to 20 million illegals and then give them voting rights'
...and it will happen no later than mid-2012.

I guess Obama wants to rape our Constitution too.

The "new national reality"
There are plenty of irregularities on both sides. Zelaya fired the general. So a week later, the general fired him. We await the next chapter of this telenovela with great interest. It's one of those summer time news events.

Zelaya has a bit of a voter problem anyway, for moving to change the Honduran constitution so he could extend his term limits. And that's one of eight points in their constitution that can't be changed by anyone.

If you're interested, here's some very good background:

Fight or be serfs.
When other people want to kill you and/or take your liberty and property, the only demonstrated way to persuade them to stop is to kill them until they stop.

An economic model has been developed to provide wealth and prosperity, it is called free market capitalism.

I'm feeling threatened already
"An economic model has been developed to provide wealth and prosperity, it is called free market capitalism."

You know, no one was questioning that. We were discussing the degree of seriousness we should attribute to the jihadist threat.

And I would suggest it's not great. You think our choices are to fight or be serfs? Let's guess there are 100,000 jihadists worldwide now.. back in 2001 there were only an estimated 15,000, but we've created many more of them.

Put them up against 300 million Americans. That would be 20,000 serfs for every master. And these guys don't even speak English!

How are they going to do it? That is, turn us into serfs. What's the plan?

Another excuse for moral relativism?
If there is no right or wrong then anything goes. People who murder for political gain are just practicing another lifestyle choice.
The individual who attacked the Holocaust museum was rightly condemned, but few on the left defended his actions as his lifestyle choice. Why shouldn't he be the recipient of the same sympathies as other 'terrorists'?

Your words
"If we could develop an economic model that didn't impoverish them to provide our wealth, we'd be gaining a lot more friends and fellows."

You asked the question.

A few dozen individuals destroyed millions of dollars of real estate in NYC.

So, no, we shouldn't worry about a few dozen determined individuals who might obtain the technology to destroy our high tech infrastructure with an EMP pulse.

What happens in NC when hurricane knocks out power for a few days. What would your standard of living be if that persisted for months or years and everyone else in the country was in the same situation?

This is why BHO supports Zelaya?
"Zelaya, in office since 2006, was overthrown in a dawn coup on Sunday after he angered the judiciary, Congress and the army by seeking constitutional changes that would allow presidents to seek re-election beyond a four-year term.

The Honduran Congress named an interim president, Roberto Micheletti, and the country's Supreme Court said it had ordered the army to remove Zelaya."

BHO plans the same?

"He said the administration had worked in recent days to try to prevent the coup from happening, and "our goal now is on restoring democratic order in Honduras.""

Order is more important than following the law?

According to roy, fighting is never the answer, unless you are killing jews
So the Allies were wrong to fight against Hitler?
After all, if you kill n@z!s, you just create more n@z!s.

The fact that out there in the real world, roy's beliefs get refuted day after day, doesn't stop him from trying to prosyletize.

I love the way roy pulls numbers out of his nether regions
Ok, who estimated that there were only 10,000 jihadists in 2001?

Who made the estimate that there are 100,000 today?

If there are 10 times as many jihadists, shouldn't there be 10 times as many attacks by them? If so, why have the number of attacks dropped precipitously?

Of course the most likely answer is that you are blowing smoke. The question is, have you so fooled yourself, that you can no longer see it?

economic models
We have already developed an economic model that enriches everyone. It's called free market capitalism.

If you check around the world, you find that those who are poor, are also those who have rejected capitalism.

roy at least gets it partly right
which for him is a huge improvement.

Zelaya wanted to call a referendum to eliminate term limits on the presidency.
The constitution says that only the legislature can call a referendum.
The legislature refused.
Zelaya went ahead and called his own anyway.
He got his buddy Chavez to print the ballot for him.
The courts ordered the military to not provide support for the referendum.
Zelaya ordered the military to provide the support. When the general refused, Zelaya fired him. The courts ordered Zelaya to rehire the general.
Since the military still wasn't helping with the illegal referendum, Zelaya organized a mob to storm the base where the ballots were being stored, in order to distribute them himself. The ballots are also being shipped to Venezuela for counting.
Finally the courts ordered the military to remove Zelaya from office. Which they did.
The legislature then appointed an interim president to preside until Novembers election, which are still on schedule.

I can't help but wonder
if Obama has been taking notes on all of this.

N. Korea fires missiles, and conducts nuclear tests that the UN has ordered it not to make. Obama takes over a week to issue a tepid statement.

Iran conducts a blatantly rigged election. Citizens protest and the govt starts killing the protestors. Obama takes over a week to issue a tepid statement.

In both cases Obama declares that it is imperative that the US not interfere with the internal workings of these countries.

In Honduras, the military, on orders from the countries Supreme Court, removes a president who was violating the countries constitution. Within hours Obama condemns this action and demands that the president be restored.

In two cases Obama is slow to react and declares that non-intervention is the most important principle. In the third case, he is quick to react and is very interventionist.

What's different?

Answer in all cases, Obama backs anti-American dictators at odds with their own population.

roy is quite willing to fight for his beliefs
he just doesn't believe that anyone else has that right

Thats how the worst POTUS in our history gets two terms
"However, nations and individuals don't really want to learn to live under the laws of nature or the law of the jungle, as Sagarin essentially suggests. To do so is to live under constant threat of attack. And to do that—whether you're a field mouse evading owls or a civilian bracing for the next terror attack—is to live in fear. Humans don't function very well in such a state."

This is an interesting article. I think the truth is somewhere in between. Some threats we should attack and eliminate, others we learn to live with.

We were wise in going after terrorists worldwide, for example. And, to use marjon's excellent example, we learned not to drink the water we crap in. Bacteria hasn't gone anywhere, its still a threat, but we've learned behaviors to live with it.

The threat of terrorists lies in both planes to a degree. Going after them is smart to one degree, removing their safeplaces and rooting them out of caves, etc. From there it becomes an intelligence, investigative - police action, to enforce laws and administer punishment to law breakers.

Reacting to provocation
Bin Laden wanted to propel both sides into a War of Civilizations.. and he has succeeded admirably. We bought into it just as planned.

Now we are spending into our second trillion dollars, with the express result of alienating nearly everyone in the world of Islam. Way to go, champions of freedom! And there are now many times more Al Qaeda sympathisers than there were on 9/10.

Of course we are reactive! The only occasion I can think of where the United States actually thought something through and made the best move in advance was the Marshal Plan. And it worked like a charm, starting Europe back up and running and providing a market for our wares. It was a rare intelligent move.

Try reading my comment
"So, no, we shouldn't worry about a few dozen determined individuals who might obtain the technology to destroy our high tech infrastructure with an EMP pulse."

You're not even trying to read me correctly. I did go into some detail about the need to guard against realistic, defensible threats. And a well focused EMP is one, just as a Barrett fifty with explosive, armor-piercing shells would be just outside an airport.

They're all out to get us
"Ok, who estimated that there were only 10,000 jihadists in 2001?"

According to published reports in the wake of 9/11, our military intel sources estimated there were 10-15,000 hard core Al Q members worldwide. The number I mentioned was 15,000. Their main operating centers for strikes in the West were the Hamburg and London cells. Remember?

Who made the estimate that there are 100,000 today?"

I did. What else could I have meant when I said "Let's guess there are 100,000 jihadists worldwide now"?

There's no way of computing such a number. I was comparing them to the number of people back in 2001 actively engaged in planning and executing terrorist acts in the West. And, for the purposes of argument, I was taking the high side.

But okey. Suppose there are only 10,000. That would mean each one would have to control 200,000 Americans if they came here to rule over us.

Naturally there are many, many more radical Islamists on earth who hate their own governments. In Egypt alone there must be millions of them.

Do you think all those Egyptians will be showing up here to rule over us? Try to relate your comments back to the original point being argued, please.

Who doesn't?
Certainly not uninformed boobs like yourself. Its a hot piece, that Constitution. Bush wrecked that shiite. Didn't hear you whining about it then.

The WSJ article you linked to is quite a poor write up. It paints Clinton's comments as siding with the Honduran President, whereas the reality is not so. The WSJ article isn't wrong, per se, but one needs to read coverage from other sources also to get a full understanding. God forbid you get informed beyond which cheer you're doing next.

This comment is just way beyond weird. Has there been anyone, anywhere who has described terrorism as "another lifestyle choice"? Name them and give us a reference.

Also, has there been anyone anywhere who defended the crazy guy, who killed the guard at the Holocaust Museum?

Why do you say these things?

Weren't too reactive after..
bin Ladin attacked the WTC in 93, or the US embassies in Africa or the Cole or the baracks in Saudi Arabia.

Running away in Somalia encouraged more attacks. Those were bin Ladin's words.

These people must be treated like a wild predator. They attack when fear is shown.

But terrorists are being defended by the left.
Even you support Palestinian and Iranian attacks on civilian populations in Israel.

Bush did not wreck the Constitution
The Supreme Court either backed him up or threw his stuff out, but the Constitution prevailed either way.

"...but one needs to read coverage from other sources also to get a full understanding."

You mean like 'understanding' as in the total BS about a 'coup' that the other 'sources' are reporting? The coup that wasn't the case?

Why should he take notes when his buddy Saul Alinsky wrote The Book

Its Simple
Obama HATES our constitution, period. He has all but stated so in past interviews/radio broadcasts when he was a nobody (community rabble-rouser).

And what was the one aspect of Honduras' constitution that precipitated all this? The term limits on their president.

Just watch, kiddies. Obama and his cronies will be going after repealing term limits for him as well. All the more reason why we need to hand Congress over to the Reps in 2010.

Must not follow a Constitution
What is different is Honduras shows that the president is not a dictator and the government has three EQUAL branches.
BHO can't acknowledge that he SHARES power.

drinking the water we crap in
Seems like we did just that last November.

How do we 'live' with bacteria? We KILL them.
We KILL it with antibiotics as well as eliminate places for them to flourish.

von Brunn a 'modern liberal'
"While Mr. von Brunn is currently being made out to be the poster child of the Republican Party, even a cursory look at his professed views shows he is the avowed enemy of the GOP in its current incarnation. Among many others, Mr. von Brunn hates Rupert Murdoch, Fox News (that means you, too, Shep!), George W. Bush and John McCain. And according to the FBI, Mr. von Brunn even had in his vehicle the address of the Weekly Standard, home base of the dreaded "neo-cons." "

"Seems Mr. von Brunn wasn't a big fan of the Iraq War and also believed that 9/11 was an "inside job." Given this political sketch, Mr. von Brunn would feel at home at Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehan's antiwar outpost in Crawford, Texas, and at the Daily Kos convention, rather than partaking in a National Review cruise with pro-Israeli war hawks Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hanson. '

"The inconvenient truth is that David Duke and James von Brunn currently share more in common with Markos Moulitsas and Arianna Huffington than with Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer. But the right wouldn't be so crass or foolish to try to blame the political left for the existence of - or motivation behind - haters like Mr. von Brunn. "

"Change the word "supremacy" to "studies" and you'll understand the separatist mold dominant in humanities departments across the land. Women's Studies, ***** Studies, African-American Studies and Chicano Studies all produce culturally acceptable separatist and supremacy mind-sets and countenance movements that resemble those of white supremacists. '

"La Raza, Mecha and the Black Panthers all have prominent places at the academic table. Professors like Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West make a handsome living baiting people unfortunate enough to be born with white skin. President Obama's "wise Latina" choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter exemplifies how the post-structuralist, racialist lunatics have taken over the asylum. "

Learning to live with Terrorism...or die trying ?
Technology marches on, steadily approaching the day
when a single person, by a single act, can destroy the
Currently, the total damage potential is manageable,
though higher than TPTB can afford to admit;
When the first human produced mega-death occurs,
governments will become much more conservative, and
begin funding a survivable society: Modular, redundant,
distributed, and much less free where scientific
knowledge, let alone research, is concerned.
Not my idea; The CoDominium was suggested back when
the US and the USSR would have been the duo;
Now, it will be the US and China, or maybe a Troika
with Russia.

oh marjon, you are poetry
I've known people like you in real life. Just float through life focused like a laser on these small things, because the world is too big to consider, too frightening to look at in the eyes. Living in a box, or a bubble, you could say. Order derived from limited acceptance of a chaotic existence. Too afraid to look in the mirror.

You raise a good point though. We do kill some bacteria - the ones that make us sick. Even some that don't make us sick, but thats only because we're foolish beings, just babies. Bacteria are all around us, within us, on us, always. You can't kill them all. So, the analogy works with solely bacteria itself, we use both methods in the relationship, we kill some and we live with some.

You recently referred to your own immune strength because you lived on a farm with animals growing up. So it doesn't make sense you wouldn't be aware of this symbiotic relationship we have with bacteria. (Thats the bubble at work)

Bush raped the shiite out of it
The Supreme Court didn't back him up or throw out every time Bush forcibly banged the Constitution. What did the Supreme Court rule on Bush's torture policy? Warrantless wiretapping? Politicization of government?

"You mean like 'understanding' as in the total BS about a 'coup' that the other 'sources' are reporting? The coup that wasn't the case?"

I'm glad you raise this point. Because, no, you're wrong as usual. I mean like understanding the BS from the other sources and from the WSJ and discerning the real truth from whats left of both. The WSJ article is a political hatchet job, but it also provides key information that allows one to identify the bogus reporting from other sources that it was a coup.

Please Z, you can't beat truth with cheerleading.

Kill the bacteria that kill us.
Do you suggest that if we do nothing to stop people who want to kill us it will make us stronger?

Let's reverse an analogy. Someone walking down the beach tosses a stranded starfish back into the sea. Why as there are so many that become stranded. You can't save them all. True, but it does matter to this one.

In many cities Canada geese are a deadly nuisance. If people were allowed to shoot them, they would soon get the hint that it is not healthy to stick around.

Killing a terrorist who is trying to kill you many not stop all terrorists, but it will force the next one to work harder to kill you next time.

You're not getting off the hook that easy
Not so fast, bub. Don't try to change the subject.

You were about to tell us the source of your information, that there are people who think terrorism is "just another lifestyle choice". And unlike you, who just thinks up any damn thing and puts it in quotes as something I said, this is something you've actually said.

So who said that? And where? I want to take a look at it.

BTW any Palestinian attacks on Israel have been minor. They can't even aim their rockets, as I'm sure you know. Meanwhile Israel has Gaza in a stranglehold, and won't even let critically needed medicines into the area. They're fighting for their lives there.

And Iran has not attacked civilian populations in Israel. At all. So get back to me on my question.

That's your source??
Come on now. No one other than this particular right wing nutjob is trying to pin this on the left. And look how flimsy the evidence is. Von Brunn has the address of the Weekly Standard in his car, so he's a leftist?

Find some reference in the liberal press to the effect that he's one of our guys. THAT would be interesting.

He's obviously a classic, old time Na zi racist. You should be ashamed to tell anyone you believe crap like this.

Total awareness, total control
"Technology marches on, steadily approaching the day
when a single person, by a single act, can destroy the

Unlikely, but let's say we have a lot of people who would be willing to try. And our culture is in such retrograde, we're spawning more of them every day.

How likely do you think it will be that we can gather the resources to track every last person on earth, and look over their shoulders to see what they're doing?

There are already around 6,800,000,000 of us, and the number is growing fast. A few years back we tried TIA.. Total Information Awareness.. thinking we could tap every phone call and satellite transmission on earth. And by spending unlimited sums of money, we got to the point where we could come pretty close.. BUT

The spooks don't have but a tiny handful of people who can speak Dari, Pushtu, Urdu or even the commonest languages, like Farsi and Arabic. So they can't even listen to what we're saying, much less do anything about it.

And I don't know whether you've thought about this, but the nation is running out of money. We're facing the prospect of being flat broke, the very moment our creditors decide they don't want to lend us any more money. And Total Control takes a LOT of money. Thousands of dollars per person each year, spent watching each and every person on the planet.

I would favor the other approach. Let's try to get together and make a culture that no one hates. Let's try to harness the resources of the planet, put them at the disposal of the human race, and try to do something about lifting up humanity.

We could start by feeding the malnourished.. a number among us that has just passed the one billion mark.

Elect Democrats and put bin Laden out of work
The nutty professor is on to something. Because America is not perfect, the Democrats are willing to bankrupt her, trash her currency and destroy her industry to give her a complete makeover head-to-toe. There'll be no point terrorizing the comely corpse, so maybe UBL will donate his war chest to the DNC and retire.

All the Democrats' fault
RB-- We tried the Republican experiment. They got to run the country essentially unopposed, for eight years. And what happened? The economy collapsed.

You don't think Bush Two trashed the currency? He entered office with the national debt at $5.7 billion and growing smaller. And left it with the debt up around $11 billion. Is he your hero?

Now, with people calling it more of a depression than a recession as a new president took office this January, we have had to try something else. Anything else.

For the record, I don't like what the Democrats are doing either, bailing out the richest men in the country and hoping some of the money they lavish on them will somehow appear in the pockets of the New Jobless and New Homeless. It's more of that supply-side trickle-down, all over again.

And other than asking that some rules be changed, it's nothing that's going to change anything. They're just enabling Business As Usual to continue.. until the next meltdown.

So under the Rs, the rich got richer and we have to pay. While under the Ds the rich get richer.. and we still have to pay. But cling to your idiotic partisan rancor. It suits you.

You Gotta Be F**king Kidding
"Find some reference in the liberal press to the effect that he's one of our guys. THAT would be interesting."

You're kidding with that kind of horsesh*t argument, right? Yeah, objectivity rests solely in the evaluations of the partisan Left; no one on that side has a vested interest in maintaining their ideological reputation, huh. 'Cause only the "nutjob Right" are racists, huh. Only they can be anti-Semitic, huh. Good f**king grief.

Please provide for me the empiricism via which that stereotype characterization is valid. Oh yeah, that's right -- because the Left with whom you're sympathetic proclaims the Right to be racist, then it must be objectively so. No primary ideological or objective philosophical sources necessary; just a reliance on Leftist cliche.

You're the one who should be ashamed by trying to foist such disingenuous execrement as genuine logical argument. Normally I don't find anything offensive in your unyielding defense of things Socialistically Left, no matter how much I disagree with your conclusions. But by invoking nothing other than pure partisan stereotyping you've engaged in unmitigated bat guano of the most rank and demonstrate why herewith you shouldn't be taken with any degree of seriousness.

Listen up, Mr Stinky
This, I believe is your response:

"You're kidding with that kind of horsesh*t argument, right? Yeah, objectivity rests solely in the evaluations of the partisan Left; no one on that side has a vested interest in maintaining their ideological reputation, huh. 'Cause only the "nutjob Right" are racists, huh. Only they can be anti-Semitic, huh. Good f**king grief. Please provide for me the empiricism via which that stereotype characterization is valid. Oh yeah, that's right -- because the Left with whom you're sympathetic proclaims the Right to be racist, then it must be objectively so. No primary ideological or objective philosophical sources necessary; just a reliance on Leftist cliche."

But what is it a response to? Would you care to characterise what you think my argument is?

Here's what I think it is:

Marjon was saying that Von Brunn is a "modern liberal". And he offers as his source, some article in the Washington Times.

So I'm saying, if he's a liberal, can we find anything by a liberal saying he's one of us?

How else can we find out if he's a liberal?

Your response will be enlightening.

Everything that went to the Supreme Court they ruled on
Please try and live on Planet Reality, like the rest of us do.

"The WSJ article is a political hatchet job"

nice claim...that you don't bother to even remotely back up with supporting information.

It was not a coup any more than Bill Clinton getting impeached was 'coup attempt'. Every country with anything resembling a half-way decent constitutional government has defined means of removing their chief executives.

In order for what happened in Honduras to even be remotely a coup, both their Supreme Court and Congress would have had to state so or at least obvious means by those doing the overthrowing of stopping them from doing so would have to be evident. That is not the case here no matter how you spin it. In presidential systems, tripartite division of power is necessary to prevent tyranny. When one branch steps out of line too much the other two can -- and are indeed expected to -- clamp down. That is all that happened in Honduras.

Tell me: If it ever came out that Obama did not have a valid birth certificate proving he was a natural born US Citizen, would the Supreme Court thus ruling that his presidency was unconstitutional then be deemed a 'coup'?

I guess in your world it would be.

forget the 'cozying' and start worrying about us falling under a totalitarian regime

"engag[ing] in unmitigated bat guano of the most rank"
Is that like 'drinking the water we crap in'? Or (my guess), is it more like 'crapping in the water others drink in'?

Because Bob Jones and Roy Bean have definitely been engaging in the later lately.

It's just that is particular forum is loaded with rich metaphors/idioms and I want to be sure what they reference so I can re-use them accurately in the future.

"...terrorism as a tactic. It's also a lifestyle choice... "
"The al-Qa'ida spokesman who, following the 2004 Madrid train bombings, told the West, "You love life and we love death" articulated a chilling truth. It's clear in Michael Burleigh's weighty book that death has always been the terrorist's trump card. It's not only the targeted assassinations, indiscriminate mass murders and tit-for-tat killings that spread fear; so too does the passion with which certain terrorists embrace their own annihilation. Their mindset seems so bewilderingly alien.

In this bracingly opinionated account, the author argues that all terrorists are "morally insane". From playboys to psychopaths, narcissists to n'er-do-wells, "the milieu of terrorists is invariably morally squalid, when it is not merely criminal." Slaughter costs, and money laundering, peddling drugs, extortion and armed robbery all fall within the job description.

Burleigh defines terrorism as a tactic. It's also a lifestyle choice which is neither glamorous nor admirable, as Burleigh sets out to show. Spanning the last 150 years, Burleigh examines ideologically-inspired movements (Nihilists, revolutionaries, Red Brigadists, the Baader-Meinhof gang) and nationalist/separatist activists: Fenians, ETA, FLN and OAS, the PLO and various Middle East factions, the ANC, Irish Republicans and Loyalists). "

"Burleigh's searing anger isn't just directed at terrorists but the way in which he thinks we deal with them. Britain's tradition of offering sanctuary to foreign radicals is partly answerable for our present status as "Londonistan". If we believe him, it's liberal apologists who started making life easy for terrorists as far back as the l9th century. Around the time the Russian Kadet Party was sympathising with their violent acts, French poet Tailharde was declaring "What do the victims matter, as long as the gesture is beautiful?". Since then, other "useful idiots" have included lawyers who abet their terrorist clients, pundits quick to hog the microphone and terror-groupies such as "that loathsome academic enthusiast for the purifying effects of political violence", Jean-Paul Sartre."

"The refugee camp and the occupied homeland have produced generations of brutalised people with nothing to lose. But Bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal both hailed from the super-rich, and there have been scores of "guilty white kids", the offspring of lawyers, architects and judges who have grabbed guns and joined the fray. The youth who murdered Russia's Prime Minister in 1911 rejected a future of "nothing but an endless number of cutlets". Thirty years earlier, Vera Figner abandoned her privileged position as a "beautiful doll" to help assassinate Tsar Alexander II. The Red Brigades and Baader-Meinhof had "beautiful dolls" too, ruthlessly exploiting their middle-class connections."

I just googled this. It looks like I am not the only one who thought of this.

And you continue to defend Palestinians and Iranians who attack civilians. (Iran supplies the rockets.)

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