Category Archives: wingnuttery

T Blankley Kan’t Reed

Or maybe he just gets paid to write crap. Evidence “here.”:

I commend “this post”: and “this post”: to him.

[Apologies “to Atrios.”: ]

Weekly Standard Wankathon II

Michael Goldfarb, the “_Weekly Standard_ dude” I mentioned “here,”: “commented”: on my “post”: about the US IC’s assessment that Iran and North Korea are not collaborating on nuclear weapons.

According to Goldfarb, the US IC and I believe that

bq. an absence of evidence that the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs are collaborating is, in fact, evidence of absence.

I’ve actually emailed with Goldfarb a bit in the past and he seems like a pretty nice guy. But this is really a bit silly. As I “previously wrote”: about a similar Goldfarb post:

bq. Absence of evidence is absence of evidence. “Some guy wrote it in the paper [or on the internets]” is not evidence.

I find the prevalence of this sort of “we should assume the worst” nonsense in wingnutistan to be an interesting phenomenon. I’d like to find time to write more about it, but I will note two things here.

*First,* Goldfarb’s post contains an example of a weird moral component that is frequently found in his ilk’s evaluations of potential threats from unsavory governments:

bq. I mean, we haven’t actually seen Kim Jong-Il handing plutonium to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, so I’m sure they’ve confined their collaboration to the development of missile systems.

He then implies that I and the US IC are giving “these rogue regimes the benefit of the doubt.”

To me, this sort of sneering rhetoric implies that one is a bad person if one doesn’t believe the worst about bad governments. Remember that Goldfarb doesn’t have an actual argument, just a label for the governments in Tehran and Pyongyang.

*Second,* examining evidence through such a lens conveniently excuses ignorance – why know anything about Iran and North Korea when you think you should believe “even discredited reports”: of nuclear collaboration between the two?


Elevated from the comments…

I should have pointed out “this post”: by the Robot Economist, as well as “this article”: by Jofi Joseph.

Weekly Standard Wankathon

Michael Goldfarb wrote “this post”: about the _Telegraph’s_ “North Korea/Iran nonsense.”: He said nice things about Jeffrey and me, but I think he’s being kind of dishonest. Or he may just fail to understand what we wrote.

The main problem is that he implies that Jeffrey and I were skeptical about the story (true) but have since deemed it more plausible (false). He also claims (falsely) that additional evidence has made the claim more plausible. [Here’s Jeffrey’s “original post”: on the subject.]

Lest there be any ambiguity, allow me to clarify: I still think that the _Telegraph_ piece is bullshit.

Anyway, Goldfarb wrote:

The report was met with some skepticism–the estimable Dr. Jeffrey Lewis went so far as to call Coughlin a “super-hack.” Paul Kerr, another well-respected expert, also mocked the report, pointing out that the Iranian program is designed around the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) as weapons fuel, while the North Koreans used plutonium for the core of their weapon.

Now we have a report from Bill Gertz alleging intense cooperation on ICBM missile development between the two remaining members of the axis of evil. Also, Paul Kerr has changed his tune after consulting with a number of physicists who explained that the Iranians could still learn a great deal from the North Korean test, despite the use of HEU instead of plutonium. Lewis, too, seems less certain that such collaboration is unlikely.

First, the “Gertz piece”: he refers to is about missile, not nuclear, cooperation.

Second, I’m not sure where Goldfarb gets the idea that either Jeffrey or I have changed our minds regarding the _Telegraph_ article. For one thing, Jeffrey only wrote one post on the subject. The post that Goldfarb identifies as Jeffrey’s second is actually a “cross-post”: that I put up at ACW.

Furthermore, he cites “this post”: as evidence that I have “changed my tune.” But that post only indicates that Iran could perhaps benefit more from North Korean test data than I had previously suspected. That doesn’t mean that North Korea is actually providing such data.

Third, this sentence is just inaccurate:

bq. In Kerr’s opinion, the only way to significantly shorten that estimate [the IC’s 5-10 year estimate] was if the North Koreans sold weapons-grade fuel, presumably plutonium, to the Iranians.

I never wrote that, though it is true that supplying fissile material to Iran would shorten that timeline, as could several other forms of assistance. I would also note that the Coughlin piece says nothing about a Pu-transfer to Iran.

Last, Goldfarb failed to mention my other arguments for disregarding Coughlin’s article. You can “read them”: for yourself.


Goldfarb “responded.”: I’m glad he made clear where our opinions end and his begin.

Personally, I find this sentence to be troubling, for obvious reasons:

bq. We must assume the worst about these two regimes, and any evidence that confirms those assumptions ought to be treated as serious, rather than dismissed out of hand.

Whatever. Absence of evidence is absence of evidence. “Some guy wrote it in the paper” is not evidence.

Things to Giggle About

I don’t usually link to stuff like “this”:, but Sadly, No! made me laugh out loud by providing tips for Michelle Malkin et al RE: their Iraq “reporting.”

For those of you with lives, Malkin and other like-minded -idiots- geniuses have been carrying on for quite some time about the MSM’s alleged penchant for ignoring good news in Iraq.

Anyway, this tip is hilarious:

TIP: When you’re building up to your big ‘gotcha’ moment — i.e., the revelation that, like you’d said, either three or two or at least one of the four mosques that Jamil Hussein and the liberal MSM claimed were “burned” were, in fact, undamaged (or in your recent, less precise phrasing, “not destroyed”) — it’s better if you don’t go visit one and then attempt a revelatory camera pan on a firebombed mosque with a giant hole blown in it

So to begin with, there’s that. Plus, Michelle, your most recent, even narrower term apropos the mosques in question, “still standing,” seems to set the bar pretty low. People might suspect a bit of a shell-game when they see Hussein’s original statement — that four (4) mosques (four mosques) were burned (were burned) — countered by an upspiraling succession of flapdoodle claims that, au contraire!, all, or several, or at least one of the mosques were not in fact ‘toppled,’ ‘destroyed,’ ‘obliterated,’ ‘crushed by a 900-foot-tall Frankenstein,’ ‘atomized,’ ‘blown clear into orbit,’ ‘crumbled into a chasm straight down to the earth’s core,’ and/or ‘eaten by interdimensional space wombat-squid,’ as the so-called “Iraqi police captain,” the nonexistent Jamil Hussein, so outrageously claimed via the so-called “Associated Press” — who are therefore and for that reason in league with terrorists.

Making your Monday more tolerable…

[via “Atrios.”: ]