Archive for the ‘Poisoning Justice’ Category

“If People Stop Taking Something Seriously, it Ceases to Exist”

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Ann Althouse is calling out this canard, practiced most recently by Josh Marshall who says:

A year ago, no one took seriously the idea that a federal health care mandate was unconstitutional.

Althouse replies:

We don’t rule out a proposition of constitutional law simply because no one seems to taking it seriously right now. We work through the analysis, and maybe we discover that it should be taken seriously.

Notice she said “maybe.” The point is that the “nobody taking it seriously” litmus test is not a reverse barometer of logical validity; the point is that it is non-correlative.

Also notice that she’s granting Marshall the benefit of the doubt — conceding the point, for the sake of argument, that “no one” was taking the proposition seriously twelve months ago, so she can contest the reasoning of what this would & would not mean.

But there were people taking it seriously one year ago. How did Marshall ignore this? Easy. He made them disappear…by refusing to take them seriously. That’s the trouble with this kind of thinking. You start manufacturing your own reality. And you do it on purpose. Without explicitly knowing that’s what you’re doing. By being a craven gigglepuss.


Your Thomas Sowell reading assignment that deals with this, would be Intellectuals and Society, Chapter 5, “Optional Reality in the Media and Academia.”

Memo For File CXXI

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Irish Cicero says this anecdote from my past is good enough for a blog post of its own. Now that I think on it a few more times, I realize he’s right. Before I start, I’d like you to think about misunderstandings, and how they happen. When one man gives another man an implied message, and the message turns out to be incomplete, who do we hold responsible for that.

When there is danger around, we pool our resources and work together. If there is a misunderstanding, the blame for the misunderstanding is shared between sender and recipient; they both must have done the job half-assed. A good example of this is a gun range. You don’t want to be the guy who understands “this automatic pistol does not have any cartridges in its magazine” — and then finds out there’s one-in-the-pipe. You also do not want to be the guy who gave that message to someone who took your “empty magazine” message as a synonym for “empty gun.” The outcome of this could be tragic. And so people do not place all of the responsibility on one person or the other. They work as a team. Safety first.

This is not the way we do it in other places.

That’s what this story is about.

In just a few months a whole lot of things happened. I became an unattached dude and a bachelor; my job went away; I became a contractor when it was figured out somewhere that my skills were still needed, even though my job was “supposed” to go away; Reagan died; and I served on a jury.

I was pooled as an alternate, and then someone got sick. So in I went. This story is about the opening comments of the defense attorney. His client was accused of stealing stereo equipment out of a jeep at two in the morning, but the charge was not theft. It was “receiving stolen property,” a nod to the insufficiency of the evidence for supporting the stronger charge.

The cop’s testimony was the only evidence available. He had found the jeep, parked curbside in a residential district, with the door hanging open. He was supposed to be looking for anything out of place, and he figured that qualified. Driving onward, he saw the defendant walking and he ordered him to stop. Defendant bent downward, toward his own ankles, for just a moment — he was behind another parked car, so the officer could not see what he was doing — and then he took off running. For anyone who’s watched C.O.P.S., the events immediately following would be easy to envision…

At the conclusion of the foot chase, the defendant was handcuffed and then the officer led him back to his patrol car. As they passed the spot where the suspect bent down, the officer saw the stereo equipment lying on the ground. Where, evidently, the defendant had placed it.

Evidently. Ah…but can you prove it?

There are written instructions on how you’re supposed to do your thinking when you serve on a jury. It’s a packet somewhere in the vicinity of twelve to twenty pages, I forget what. You can find a high-level description of these here, but that is not the packet that was circulated to us. In addition to the written instructions, there are also instructions from the judge, and from both of the counselors.

Now, I said before that the story is all about the opening remarks of the defense attorney; a transcript would be most helpful. I don’t have that, and that may partially explain why I didn’t think this was worth writing up. Besides of which, I’m not a lawyer and it isn’t my job to know how this stuff works. Not anymore. But I can tell you what made the deepest impression on me: The prosecution is required to prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the defendant’s guilt. The defense is required to prove nothing, because the defendant, according to our Constitution, is to enjoy the benefit of any & all doubt. The prosecution has to prove so much, that they have already failed in this case.

The law required us to spring his client. There were no ifs, ands or buts about it. Acquittal was the only hope we had, to maintain our compliance with the law, especially that highest of all laws, the United States Constitution.

The instructions from the judge were different. The jury packet was also different. What the judge said, agreed with what was contained in the jury packet; those two things did not agree with what the defense attorney told us.

The word “shadow” did not appear there. The phrase used was “reasonable doubt,” and there were many pages devoted to what was reasonable and what was not. There are things you know to have taken place, and there are inferences you draw about what must have been going on. Process-of-elimination is a valid technique. By which I mean: The evidence says a gun was empty, nobody handled the gun except Jim and Frank, the gun comes back loaded — if there’s more evidence coming in saying Jim had no bullets, it is fair to infer that Frank put bullets in the gun.

So “shadow of a doubt” does not cut it. There can be shadows, and you can still convict somebody.

And you aren’t breaking the law if you vote to convict. I’m pretty sure this is true, because I’m the juror most responsible for the vote coming out the way it did. When my fellow jurors started to go off on a wild tangent and spin wild tales so they could justify an acquittal, I called bullshit.

I wanted to throttle jurors #9 and #10 by the throat before it was over. They talked over each other in their exuberance as they pointed out you can NOT vote to convict this “boy” just because he ran! And this was true. But we also had to include the running-away in this scenario we were evaluating. We were working from process-of-elimination, so what were we eliminating as we drew the necessary inference to support a conviction? That was the key question.

Juror #10 offered the possibility that the cop had a dog; a mean, vicious, dog that had gotten away and was chasing the boy. Hey, the cop didn’t say he had one, but he didn’t say he didn’t!

I fought back an instinct to lunge across the table. Somehow, my reaction to this was to calmly point out some instruction that began on the bottom of page 3 and concluded on page 4, which strictly proscribed against this brand of thinking. I don’t know how I managed to do that, but because I did, the imaginary canine remained consigned to the oblivion from whence it came.

Later on I recall being under the microscope, or on top of the soapbox depending on your point of view — explaining some train of thought which completely escapes me now. I recall trying to pick the proper nomenclature, or interpreting of semantics, or something…I made some allusion to Bill Clinton debating the meaning of the word “is.” The entire jury room erupted in peels of laughter, but Jurors #9 and #10 sat stone-faced, glowering. Yeah, okay. So I’m pretty sure I know where they were coming from. This gets back to what Stephen Browne was referring to as “making up stories.” It is what it sounds like. You want to arrive at a desired conclusion, and so you start injecting evidence into the mix that isn’t really there.

But in the end, mostly due to my own machinations, we agreed to hang the bastard.

And no, as we filed out of the jury box, there was no deputy waiting to handcuff us all for breaking the law.

This means the defense attorney did what I call lying. A lot of lawyers will say that isn’t accurate at all, he was just doing his job. And he never said anything technically untrue. So really…and by “really,” what I mean to say is “in their world”…I’m the one who is lying by calling him a liar. But that isn’t my world. In my world that motherfucker lied and he should have been disbarred.

This is one of the tragedies of the times in which we live. It has become acceptable to convey pieces of “truth,” leaving out selected bits of it in support of your own interests — to manufacture misunderstandings that benefit you. That, somehow, is thought of as a truthful thing. In fact, nowadays it is thought of as an admirable thing, a testament to your superior skill in “communicating” — leading the poor dumb bastard who’s believing you, to a conclusion he’d never reach on his own, in a million years, if he had all of the picture. Our ethics have gone astray. Because the manufactured misunderstanding, on the part of the person who placed too much faith in you, is all that guy’s fault.

It’s absolutely nuts. It’s like someone butchering your dog, or sexing up your wife and putting the hotel room on your credit card — then blaming you for it.

We’ve got a lot of people running around now, who are thought of as great communicators. But I wouldn’t want to go to a gun range with anyone who communicates that way, and neither would you. Well, maybe you would…but let’s just leave that train of thought alone.

Cross-posted at Washington Rebel.

“The Most Egregious Performance Ever by a Federal Judge”

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

National Review Online, Ed Whelan:

Consider the totality of Judge Walker’s conduct in the anti-Prop 8 case:

Let’s start with Walker’s initial case-management conference when he determined, to the surprise even of plaintiffs’ lawyer Ted Olson, that the case couldn’t be resolved, one way or the other (as other courts have done in similar cases), as a matter of law but would instead require extensive discovery into supposed factual issues.

Let’s continue with Walker’s insane and unworkable inquiry into the subjective motivations of the more than seven million Californians who voted in support of Prop 8.

Whelan has much, much more; but as far as I’m concerned he can stop right there. He has me at this second one.

It’s getting close to the time we might as well shut the whole experiment down. Our votes are being picked apart by our judges, who in turn are charged with scrutinizing the constitutional consistency of the rules we vote in — and are supposed to have zero authority to make policy of their own. They have been doing this, in part, because they are displeased with the motivations we have when we vote in these laws. It’s a given that they have not accomplished, nor have they attempted, the daunting task of polling each one of the millions of Californians who voted for Prop 8. They…and by “they” I mean Judge Walker…are quite satisfied engaging in speculation and generalization.

I don’t care if you’re conservative or liberal and I don’t care what your feelings are about gay marriage. This should frighten, agitate and anger you. Judges have second-guessed voters for awhile now, but since when have they so brazenly done it out of dislike for the voters’ personal feelings about things? If that’s the game plan, why bother to vote on anything at all?

Warning Signs Are Not Enough

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Hat tip to Cassy.

It would be nice if the President were to find something else to defend, with the same level of zeal with which He defends His own mojo.

Like His country’s borders, for example.

You know, directing a warning at the bad guys would be a step up from this. Just to clarify how far down we are on the macho-spectrum, here’s an example from that next-level-up:

It bears repeating:

We are on the next rung down on the ladder from this. Our warning signs are directed at the good guys.

I Made a New Word XXXVII

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Bi•no•pia (intang. n.)

As I’ve pointed out a few times, it’s easy to criticize something and labor toward its demise when it has a name, and it’s much harder to do this when it doesn’t have a name. By and large, when I invent names for things, they are things that have been sticking around for awhile and need to go away.

Folks, here’s something that needs a beat-down.

Binopia is a portmanteau between binary and myopia. I’ve lately become aware of this horrible afflication through the Rand Paul flap; it is a myopia that comes from seeing issues that involve permission and proscription in binary terms. It is an inability to comprehend the simple concept of passively allowing something, and at the same time, withholding your approval.

We’ve got an awful lot of people walking around who can’t comprehend this simple, entirely workable, dichotomy. To them, if you disapprove of something the only way you can show it is to pass a law against it.

It’s like what I’ve been telling my son for a few years now: When a conservative hears something on the radio he doesn’t like, he changes the station. The liberal who hears something he doesn’t like writes to his congressman expressing his support for, and demanding, a ban.

If we are to remain free, the people in that second group cannot have power to prohibit. Because if they do, they’re going to have to outlaw something every single time they want to make a statement about what wonderful people they are…which is all the time. When you have binopia, it is impossible to indicate to the waitress you’d like a stack of pancakes, without passing a law against eggs, sausage, bacon and cold cereal.

I see in that debate between Megyn Kelly and John Stossel, the Blonde One intoned — and this is the one anti-Rand-Paul argument I’ve heard thus far that’s made the most sense — that if we didn’t empower the federal government to lower the boom on these “public accommodations” and left things to the free market to sort out, maybe it would’ve worked eventually but it would have taken, gosh, a hundred years or so. That’s probably true. But I would say if you’re going to noodle on that one and figure out if it’s the right way to go, the first step is to call it what it really is. So let’s call it what it really is: We suspended our Constitution, which our executives, judges and legislators are sworn to uphold, which our public schoolteachers so regularly tell our children is such a wonderful perfect document that must be protected across the centuries. We trashed it to get quick results. We did an end-run around it.

Was that the right way to go? If so, then I want all those signs taken down: “We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To Anyone.” I want ’em down, coast to coast. Trash ’em. Because they’re not true.

Stossel has the right point-of-view in that match-up, because he is using his full range of vision. He doesn’t have binopia. He’s making a reasonable request, which perhaps isn’t possible anymore, but our enduring freedom absolutely relies on it: Those who want to have some say in what is made into an enforceable crime, could they please find some other way to communicate their likes and dislikes about things.

You aren’t a racist and you would never patronize an establishment that discriminates? Hey, that’s just awesome. If you feel a need to prove it repeatedly and compulsively, first of all, you have a problem. More likely than not, a skeleton in your closet that’s bugging you. Get some help. Yes, I’m dead flat-ass serious about that. Secondly: How about you just not go to those places and leave it at that. You don’t have to pass a law every time you disapprove of something.

Third point: As I pointed out here, and I’m re-emphasizing in bold the part that has to do with this point…

I agree with what Rand said [the author, Ayn, not senate nominee Paul] in that paragraph, but absolutely agree with states’ rights. I imagine the two might seem to be mutually exclusive to anyone who hasn’t thought this out all the way, and that might very well include Ayn Rand.

The individual is to enjoy supremacy above the state AND the fed at least with regard to certain things. That is the original intent of the Constitution. These three entities are to share power — and not agreeably, because power is all about doing what you’re going to do when the other guy isn’t going to like it. Not one among the three enjoys complete power.

Fact remains, there is no authorization in the Constitution for what Rand Paul was criticizing. Nor should there be, since there is no mechanism installed anywhere that makes the federal government inherently wise or benevolent about restaurant service policies compared to restaurants, OR the states.

In fact, can a private business really oppress someone like a government can? It’s really hard to come up with examples. If you lay down the entirely reasonable restriction that discrimination is not oppression, since no choice has been actually taken away besides “you can’t eat at our restaurant” (and who’d want to, anyway?)…then it becomes even harder to come up with an example.

I got a feeling if you could revive Ayn Rand and ask her about this senate nominee who was named after her, she’d end up agreeing with what he said. I’ve also got a feeling that when this whole thing plays out and the dust settles on it, his critics will be missing more ass flesh than he will. Most people loathe discrimination, but have had some misgivings for a long time about government telling businesses what they can’t do. It seems like a swell idea until you have a personal experience that allows you to see up close how compassionate our civil servants are…heh…and then you meet some folks who act like Ayn Rand villains, and the flaws in the plan become really hard to ignore.

All a business can really do, in the final analysis, is offer a product or service…and withdraw it. And then they can be like BP and screw things up, I suppose. But discrimination is not that. It isn’t being poisoned, it isn’t being injured, when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it it’s really just stupid business. We don’t need laws against it, what we really need is to have our freedom back.

It’s embarrassing to have to point it out, but since 1964 we’ve lost a hell of a lot more rights than to throw people out of our businesses if we don’t like their skin color. Kids get suspended from school if they get caught with an Advil, we can’t change the oil in our own cars because we can’t dispose of the oil, we can’t cut our own grass because we can’t dispose of the clippings, we can’t toss out light bulbs or batteries. This is the binopia we need to start fighting. This is how all that nonsense starts. Someone somewhere has a preference…and they express it by means of a new law. We lose yet another freedom and our progressives say “Well what of it? It’s the right choice!”

So we might as well require it? Until everyone is forced to do the right thing all the time?

If you can’t see something falling away when that happens, you have a mighty strange definition of freedom.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Designed for Profit, Not for Safety

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

A good discussion on those automated red-light cameras at NPR.

“These are machines,” says substitute teacher Robert Zirgulis. “They don’t care. You go one foot over the line — bam, $500.”
“I’m paranoid,” says Peter Davis, “because I don’t want to get a ticket.”

During his three-mile daily commute to work, Davis has to navigate past three red-light cameras. So he ends up making all these split-second decisions.

“If the light turns yellow, and I’m confident I can get over the crosswalk while it’s still yellow, then I’m going to accelerate to get through the traffic light,” he says. But Davis also worries about rear-end collisions. “There’s always the concern of someone behind me, are they going to ram me from behind,” he says.

They’re all statements about the obvious. But when money is involved, the obvious starts to become not-so-obvious…kind of meanders into what Upton Sinclair was talking about.

It’s always been my viewpoint that safety should come first. Once the safety protocol or mechanism or constraint introduces an element of frustration or confusion that wasn’t there before, and thereby makes the thoroughfare less safe — we should just make a point of at least being honest about it, and admitting the whole point to the damn thing is to generate revenue, since it’s pointless to try to improve safety by making the motorists more agitated, ticked off and distracted.

Back when I was young, and dumb, and stupid, I actually explained this to a cop who pulled me over for speeding. Ah, it was my 10th high school reunion, now that I think on it…I was driving back home taking the scenic route, I believe I was collared right about here. And if I’ve nailed that down right, and you actually go there to find out what I’m talking about, you’ll see this is a boneheaded stupid place for a speed trap. Yes, I should have kept it down to 35 or whatever it was, but even at that speed you just don’t need the distraction. And I don’t believe it was 35. It was one of those things where they ratchet it way down, to something ridiculous, and then the cars with radar detectors slow down 5 or 10 beneath that. Result, a long procession of gleaming metal bodies being piloted along a one lane road with no means of escape…confusion, exasperation, despair, agitation.

I should add this road has a long history of supplying a disproportionate supply of bodies to the medical examiner’s office. I know, because I met the medical examiner when I was a kid, and he made a point of mentioning he really had it in for this road. He lobbied long and hard to get that speed limit nailed down and to make sure it was enforced.

Noble intentions; quixotic, counter-productive achievement. He crossed the point of diminishing returns. Yes I’m biased in saying that, but I’m also experienced — that road would be a whole lot safer if it didn’t take the better part of an hour to navigate the eight miles or so, and if you didn’t have to worry about sparing some shoulder room for the boys-in-blue, whilst worrying your frazzled little head about what might be flying around the corner in the left lane.

No consequences in store for my second act of foolishness, outpouring my exasperation to the cop. I was let off with a warning. And that was the last time I was pulled over for speeding, actually — sixteen years ago. My last speeding ticket was in the summer of ’89…and, knock on wood, I’m still an old virgin when it comes to citations for running red lights. My cherry hasn’t been popped yet. So I’m not completely reckless & stupid. Just have my moments, like most of us.

In my grayer, more pear-shaped years, I just say yes-officer no-officer and keep my feelings to myself. Save it for the courtroom.

Gitmo Detainee Released

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Wall Street Journal:

A suspected al Qaeda organizer once called “the highest value detainee” held at Guantanamo Bay was ordered released by a federal judge Monday.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi was accused in the 9/11 Commission report of helping recruit Mohammed Atta and other members of the al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, who took part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Military prosecutors suspected Mr. Slahi of links to other al Qaeda operations, and considered seeking the death penalty against him while preparing possible charges in 2003 and 2004.

Judge James Robertson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted Mr. Slahi’s petition for habeas corpus, effectively finding that the government lacked legal grounds to hold him. The order was classified, although the court said it planned to release a redacted public version in coming weeks.
Brig. Gen. John Furlow, who helped lead a Pentagon-ordered probe of detainee abuse at Guantánamo Bay, has testified that at one point Mr. Slahi was “the highest value detainee” at the site and “the key orchestrator of the al Qaeda cell in Europe.”

Plans to try him by military commission were derailed after prosecutors learned Mr. Slahi had been subjected to a “special interrogation plan” involving weeks of physical and mental torment, including a death threat and a threat to bring Mr. Slahi’s mother to Guantanamo Bay where she could be gang-raped, officials said.

Although the treatment apparently induced Mr. Slahi’s compliance, the military prosecutor, Marine Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch, determined that it constituted torture and that evidence it produced couldn’t lawfully be used against Mr. Slahi.

The Constitution: Strong enough to stop us from defending ourselves, but far too weak to suggest there may be shenanigans going down when Congress orders us to buy health insurance.

Elections have consequences.

How ObamaCare Hits Industry and Threatens Jobs

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Short answer?

We’re democrats. We make things more widely available by making it unworkable and expensive to provide them.

Longer answer here:

The people at Zoll Medical Corporation saw a ray of hope in January when Scott Brown was elected senator from Massachusetts. Located in Chelmsford, 30 miles outside Boston, Zoll is the nation’s leading manufacturer of heart defibrillators, which save thousands of heart attack victims each year. Back in January, as the Senate race was raging, both House and Senate Democrats wanted to impose a crippling new tax on the makers of medical devices, Zoll included, to help pay for Obamacare.

The total tax on the industry would be about $2 billion a year, or $20 billion over the next decade. Companies watched nervously as lawmakers pushed ahead, first the House and then the Senate. But then Brown was elected on the promise to be the crucial Republican vote to stop health care reform. For Zoll, things were looking up.

Not anymore. The bill passed by the House Sunday night contains a particularly damaging version of the $20 billion hit for the medical device industry, meaning Zoll and other medical device makers could well be headed for hard times.

“We believe that the tax will cost us somewhere between $5 million and $10 million a year,” says Richard Packer, Zoll’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Our profit in 2009 was $9.5 million.”

My letter to my senators, on a different subject which was the S&L bailouts Fannie/Freddie mess, politely inquired if the motto for the 111th Congress was “Our approach to any given problem is to make sure no one can earn any money providing a solution to it.” Now, I think I have my answer.

A somewhat less thoughtful deliberation takes place here:

Should We, The People try to strike the law down? Charles Krauthammer is not optimistic:

Neo-Neocon (hat tip to Gerard once again) provides a much needed sanity check:

I hear this defeatist attitude nearly everywhere. I could understand it if the nay-saying came from Democrats as a taunt, but it comes from Republicans as a lament. I disagree with the idea. One thing’s for sure, though—if most conservatives and Republicans have the same attitude as Krauthammer, it certainly won’t be repealed.

So I think this sort of talk needs to stop. Remember, there is no precedent for this bill and how it was passed against the will of the people, and we should not imagine that any precedent about not repealing entitlements would hold, either. As I’ve said several times, we are in uncharted waters. Let’s try not to lose our compass—and we may need our celestial navigation, as well.

Kruathammer and NN could both be right here. This is the flaw with American constitutional government; it is based on a theory that doesn’t really work. What happens if Congress passes a blatantly unconstitutional bill and then the President signs it? The theory is that it is eventually appealed, all the way up to the Supreme Court and SCOTUS will have the final word. All the stars in the heavens could line up for the unconstitutional law, The People could want it like the dickens, all the politicians who know where the bodies are buried want it…but the Constitution is not compatible with it, so out it goes.

Trouble is, this supposed “power” within our third branch of government to say so, has always been wielded out of political expediency. It was born that way, you know; Marbury vs. Madison. Chief Justice John Marshall found, in 1803, a perfectly wonderful excuse not to act.

So, if a law be in opposition to the Constitution, if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the Court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty.

If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.

Those, then, who controvert the principle that the Constitution is to be considered in court as a paramount law are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only the law.

This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written Constitutions. It would declare that an act which, according to the principles and theory of our government, is entirely void, is yet, in practice, completely obligatory. It would declare that, if the Legislature shall do what is expressly forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the Legislature a practical and real omnipotence with the same breath which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.

My point is that as brilliant and sound as the logic may be, the resulting power has never really been brandished to comfort the afflicted or afflict the comfortable. Perhaps during that string of decisions in the 1930’s, it got as close as it’ll ever come. But in 1937 we had the disaster with “The Switch in Time That Saved Nine,” in which the Supremes fell more properly in line with Roosevelt’s agenda to save their own necks, in deference to the political realities.

It is logically unsustainable, in my view, to declare in 1935 that the AAA lacks compatibility with the Constitution, and in 1937, that the NLRA somehow has it. There never has been any logical basis for this famous Switch-In-Time. It was all politics, and always has been; our judicial branch follows the Constitution, logic, common sense, reason — when it can afford to, and no more often than that. Krauthammer does have a point.

But Neo has a point too. Where politics matter, popularity also matters; and Roosevelt’s alphabet-soup nonsense was much, much more popular than Obama’s new health care framework.

It’s like a lottery ticket: Can’t guarantee you’ll win if ya buy one, but I can guarantee you won’t if you don’t. And besides, in logic, in spirit, the law is unconstitutional. Congress is making us buy something? To simply exist as a living thing, and therefore to be susceptible to illness, is “interstate commerce”?

If repealing it or striking it down is too complicated to even try to do, then I daresay the same must be said of anything that can be done by anyone in this country. What’s the point of any of it?

Update: You who are looking for hope, would be well-served by looking here I think.

Closure…on the Dumbass Move of the Decade

Friday, March 5th, 2010

And what would be the dumbass move of the decade? If we held a vote, of course a popular nominee would be the 2003 invasion of Iraq. And I would not support that, since I consider the move to have been about a decade overdue.

I’m referring to trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed in New York City in a civilian court. Which, in the tournament for Dumbass Move of the Decade, I would hope like the dickens would win. Bush administration officials, after all, were repeatedly called upon to explain themselves for invading Iraq. Their dumbass move was to formulate answers that might possibly make sense to those who were opposed to invading Iraq. Who, in turn, are made up mostly of the peace-at-any-price types who’ve been brought up by aging hippie mommas with hyphenated last names…people who think, bizarrely, that there are no fights between good guys and bad guys, because not-fighting is what makes a good guy good.

People who think every conflict can be negotiated, ever single violent offender can be rehab’d. People who simply cannot wrap their minds around that common and ancient situation in which one guy starts a fight and the other guy finishes it.

The last administration tried to relate to those people, and flubbed up the public relations. The P.R. always was a disaster on this thing, all the way back to Day One.

But bad P.R. doth not a bad idea make.

Eric Holder was called-upon to explain his debacle to Congress…and he did far, far worse. His answer wasn’t even coherent (hat tip to PowerLine).

The final chapter is closing on that dumbass move.

President Obama’s advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.

The president’s advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.

If Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States. The administration has failed to meet a self-imposed one-year deadline to close Guantanamo.

The administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the president’s legal advisers are finalizing their review of the cases of Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators.

Hat tip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, who adds:

Practically speaking, the White House has no other realistic options. New York City refused to hold the trial there, and no other federal jurisdiction would be likely to volunteer itself. In terms of jurisdiction, the only other court choice would be the district which includes Washington DC, which would mean a circus atmosphere in the nation’s capital for the better part of two years at the same time the federal government needs to keep operating. Note well that this option never did get floated out as a serious trial balloon. That leaves the military commissions — and an embarrassing retreat for the Obama administration.

Oh well. Embarrassment is the price to be paid for pinning your name and your reputation on ironic ideas that only capture your attention because they have never before worked.

We grant constitutional protections to everybody who attacks our country and tries to kill the people in it? Everybody? Ever since the disastrous stewardship of the Earl Warren Supreme Court, we’ve been stocking our justice system full of these little games…all of which run the same way…”you didn’t cross this t or dot this i, and so this murdering asshole that you know darn good and well is guilty, and nobody anywhere is contending otherwise, well ya just gotta pretend he never did it.” It’s part of our global human rights campaign that all murdering assholes all over the world enjoy these same advantages? That makes us a decent people?

Wrong. That would make us a suicidal people. And you’ll notice, for all the energy we put into that whole misguided mindset, all over the planet it nets us not one single new friend. That’s supposed to be the entire point of the exercise isn’t it? When we do it some other way, all these “allies” despise us so much. Well hey, AG Holder embarked on this dumbass move amid great fanfare. Did we get any new pals, even temporarily? Did anyone holding a grudge make an announcement that golly, America must not be all that bad? Did that ever happen?


Memo For File CVII

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I’ve decided the time has come to honor the advice of The Bastidge, and follow it. There is certainly a valid point to be made that the world, and therefore the populace that inhabits it, straddles a chasmatic divide separating two unacknowledged communities, and that each of these communities in perfect isolation would enjoy a harmony that must elude us as we co-exist with each other as a monolith. The divide has something to do with order versus chaos, clarity versus obfuscation, substance versus packaging, individual rights versus community obligations, opportunity versus security, pulling your weight versus fitting-in, logic versus emotion.

We’re seeing it right now with the health care debate. And it substantiates the point all the more when we observe that much of the controversy and dissention swirls around this ramshackle, oxymoronic thing called a “public option.”

I called this “Yin and Yang” out of a desire to get to the bottom of what causes people to pursue, throughout their entire lives, one way of thinking over another. The Yin work within boundaries; the Yang do not. The concept is centuries old, and dates back to periods in different world cultures in which femininity itself was a concept synonymous with the stewardship of quiet, contemplative female chores. In societies like this, it naturally follows that men think of things the way women do in ours, and women must think of things the way men do in ours. Here’s a litmus test: Friend of a friend buys a new car. Or, gets carjacked. It’s a great story to tell for sure, but who is to spend time talking about it?

In an agricultural setting, what happens to one has at least the likelihood of impacting everybody else. And so it makes good sense for people to get together somewhere and swap stories. But these are “Shut Your Girl Mouth Men Are Talking” societies. To whatever extent checking-this-out evolves to become a necessary household chore, it is a manly chore. A railroad’s coming to town, maybe (how does this change things?). Farmer Brown’s crops got wiped out by the cold weather (are ours next?). Who goes down to the saloon to find out about this stuff. It’s not the Mama; there are meals to be cooked, a floor to be swept.

Now, we have the automobile. The printing press. The Internet. Womens’ Lib. And when the time comes to swap tidbits of useful news, who does that? Here is what a lot of people are missing: This is a perfect reversal. We do not have mead halls where the men go to drink beer out of steins and compare prices of bushels of corn. It would be awesome if we did, for sure. But it’s not happening, because the gender roles in our society have flipped around in a perfect one-eighty. Men retreat into their own little worlds, not unlike the kitchens that enveloped their great-grandmothers. Their “kitchens” may be just about anything: A computer with a stubborn virus on it; a classic car that’s being rebuilt; a ham radio or a model train set down in the basement; but there is always a project, it always has a border around it, and that’s what men do.

This awesome Art of Manliness article offers a chronicling of what happened to our mead halls. It began, irony of ironies, with us guys being decent and kind enough to give the ladies the right to vote. Prohibition followed that, and…

For centuries, a man could visit a bar and be in the exclusive presence of other men. Because drinking was seen as a corrupting influence on the “purity and innocence” of women, bars were completely off limits to ladies (exceptions were made for prostitutes, of course). Out of the presence of women and children, men could open up more and revel in their masculinity over a mug of cold ale. However, the bar as a men’s only hangout would quickly see its demise during the dry years of Prohibition.

By banning alcohol, Prohibition forced drinking underground. Speakeasy owners, desperate to make a buck, accepted all drinkers into their establishments, regardless of gender. Moreover, the economic and political empowerment women experienced during the 1920s and 30s made drinking by women more acceptable. By the time Prohibition was repealed, the female presence at the local watering hole had become a common appearance.

World War II only further eroded the male exclusivity of bars and pubs. As more women entered the workforce, it became acceptable to socialize with their male co-workers in taverns and lounges after work.

Today, there aren’t many bars around that cater only to men (gay bars being an obvious exception). Instead, bars have become a place where the sexes come together to mingle and look for a special someone.

Note the article’s title: “The Decline of Male Space.” Men used to own the world. Now, we don’t. We have relinquished the privilege and obligation of socializing, turned it over to the gals, and toddled off to the basement to go play with our train sets. The women do what we used to do — they hold court and they compare their notes with each other, try to see if there’s some hidden meaning of everyday events that might affect the family.

This is precisely what their great-great-grandfathers did. The very same thing.

And so I grow weary of having to explain this. Yes, “Yin” is traditionally female, although I use it to describe a personality attribute that predominantly is to be found in our males. Yang, likewise, is traditionally male, although it describes things our women usually do and that our men, typically, don’t. The concept didn’t flip around, the gender roles did. And so, I have to concede that The Bastidge is accurate in his critique:

Your theory’s alright, if a bit vague and rambling. But Yin and Yang have a specific meaning, and you’re using them more or less backwards.

Yin is a concept roughly aligned with the female, but the concepts covered in your theory- group consciousness, socializing, consensus, softness, weakness, emotion, passivity, are all associated with it.

Yang is roughly male, but also strong, factual, direct, resolute, hard, aggresiive, etc.

In their crudest, most basic form, yin and yang refer to the female and male sexual organs.

My use of these names was arbitrary anyway, and that was on purpose. For the last five years I have seen these as placeholders for something more descriptive that would, and should, come later. After I’d given it another think. Well, with this morass of a health care “debate” that has been taking place, and will surely flare up again later this year, I’ve been forced to give it another think. Besides of which, I’ve met lots and lots of manly-male guys who do their thinking in a much “Yangy-er” way than a lot of the females…so the genders don’t fit well in any case.

And I think the terms are these:

Architects and Medicators.

The word “Architect” is chosen with care. Way back in our history, when written language was a novel idea, architects were “master builders” (which is the etymology of the term). These things they labored to construct, with every little piece of it not put in place properly, could very likely collapse and wipe out an entire family in a heartbeat. And so laws were passed condemning failed architects to a death by stoning (Code of Hammurabi, Law 229). That’s a little gruesome, but it had the effect of galvanizing their chosen profession into a noble discipline.

In their own little community, a “Climategate” e-mail scandal would not, could not, have been tolerated even for an instant. Things were the way they were — period. An angle was ninety degrees, or it wasn’t — period. Up was up and down was down — period. There was no room for bastardizing the peer review process into some mutation of what it was intended to be, to ostracize and excoriate colleagues who spoke measurable truth. The architect, hundreds of years before Christ, lived in an object-oriented world and thought about that world in an object-oriented way.

Okay, now let’s look at what I’ve set up as the polar opposite.

“Medicator,” similarly, is chosen with deliberate thought and intent. “Physician” doesn’t work because physicians are supposed to adhere to the Hypocratic Oath and First Do No Harm. The verb “medicate” is applied to addictions, primary among those being mind-altering substances. It speaks to a process of adjusting one’s emotional response to reality as a first priority, with recognizing that reality as a distinctly second-place priority. Medicators do not heal. Nor do they seek to do harm. The long-term welfare of the body is simply outside of their concern. It isn’t that they don’t care, it’s that there is an emotional well-being that they prize more highly.

To recognize reality as it really is, and to adjust one’s emotional profile in response to the reality so that it is unconditionally cheery, are two mutually-exclusive goals. It may not seem to be the case when reality happens to be pleasant. But when reality is unpleasant you can choose to wrestle with it to whatever extent is required to fix a problem, or you can choose to ignore it in order to keep your emotions on a high and even keel. The sacrifice of long-term satisfaction in order to achieve a short-term high is, of course, a defining hallmark of medicating.

One Revolution AwayNow, these people trying to shove this fustercluck of a health care bill down our throats: It’s no mystery at all where they come down. They are medicators. It is not a primary goal of theirs to actually treat illnesses, heal the sick, bring “healthcare” or “access to healthcare” to “the uninsured.” Nor are they trying — architect-style — to solve any kind of a problem, President Obama’s unceasing speechifying notwithstanding. Think on it: When is the last time you heard anyone in Washington use those phrases above? Been awhile, hasn’t it? No, lately it’s about “getting this done.” Beating the opposition. Winning. Make things the way they/we want them to be. But wait just a second…we’re half way through an election cycle, one that began with their decisive victory. They already beat the opposition. Their victory is forgotten, however, just like a druggie’s high, and they find themselves incomplete, hungry, after-buzzed, struck with a raging case of Delerium Tremens if they don’t score another victory. And after they get that done, of course, they’ll need another and another and another. They live out their lives on a hairpin turn, just like a druggie. Time loses all meaning for them. Bliss is constantly one hit away.

It’s not about health care, of course. It’s about how we think about the world around us. The medicator lives in a gilded cage, waiting passively for someone to come along and fix the latest problem. He does not solve real problems, he does not support anyone who would solve real problems, he does not live in reality. He considers reality itself to be an inimical force. This, ironically, provides a liberating effect. Of course it’s all about the way one does one’s thinking to perceive the world around him, and with someone else assuming the burden of actually fixing the problem, the thinker enjoys the luxury of thinking about things as a non-architect. In a non-object-oriented way. With every little thing on God’s creation, melted together into a sloppy mess. And this overly-medicated “thinker” does not think, in turn, about the resulting mess; instead, he picks up an emotional vibe from it, and shares it with other self-medicated thinkers. That’s the model of reality as perceived by the medicator: A great big ball of warm, gooey wax that’s all melted together, and is now giving off vibes. Hopefully good ones, but if they’re bad ones then someone else needs to fix something — or it’s time for another “hit” of something via one-more-revolution.

Disciplining a child provides a similar contrast. To the architect, everything is cause and effect: The child engaged in undesirable behavior, therefore something needs to be modified about what the child perceives as proper or improper. The solution is to teach the child a new taboo. This can be done through direct communication if the child shares the desire that his behavior should be proper, or through punishment if he does not. First of all the transgression has to be properly categorized — bad attitude, or simple misunderstanding? Then we assess what the child understands about etiquette and go from there. In the Architect’s world, that’s what we do.

In the Medicator’s world, the exercise really is one of medication! Concentrating on something is not a task that was, for one reason or another, failed in this case; it is an ability that has gone missing because the child’s “brain isn’t wired quite right.” Of course the solution is to put the child on a prescription for some goop that will alter his emotional state, and make the process “easier for him.” (It’s nearly always a him.)

Another acid test is when a complex system of any kind starts producing the wrong output, because some unit within it starts to go all wonky — with all the other units in good order. To the Architect and Medicator alike, this is a no-brainer, but they come up with polar-opposite solutions. The Medicator wants to chuck the whole thing and start from scratch, whereas the Architect sees a puzzle to be solved in separating what’s good from what’s busted. Think of Blondie and Dagwood getting in one of their matrimonial melees about whether to call the plumber.

I commented last month that I had finally expunged the malware from my HP Mini notebook. My victory announcement was premature, it turned out. The beastie lived on, downloading other crap onto my platform. It shames me to say it, but if I were to act purely on logic and reasonable cost-benefit analyses, I would have taken the “scorched earth” approach much, much earlier than I did, and lost a lot less time. It became an Ahab/whale thing; I lost sight of fixing the problem, and concentrated instead on figuring out entirely useless trivia about it. Where’d I pick up this thing? What exactly does it contaminate? How come these packages over here can detect it and fool themselves into thinking they’re cleaning it, when they’re not? How come that package over there seems to have “wounded” it (toward the end, it locked up the netbook instead of popping up an ad, which is what it was clearly trying to do)…but can’t quite get all of it?

See, neither Architects or Medicators enjoy a monopoly on always having the right idea. Medicators throw things away in bulk — they are much more inclined to announce “this entire thing is bolluxed!” That is often the right approach, and I have to make a confession…my second one, now…that I’ve often missed out on this advantage when it comes up. Medicators seem to think life has no puzzles in it, none whatsoever. And they probably think this because, in the world they construct around themselves by accepting some responsibilities and simply walking away from some other ones, they’re absolutely right. Choices confront them — choices in which the wrong answer results in some kind of personal suffering — and they become petulant, unpleasant, and then someone else swoops in and solves it for them.

In their world, the question of who gets the “rep” as a problem solver, is completely isolated from the record of who did or didn’t actually solve problems. At no time has this been more evident, than this first year of watching our new President struggle with the demands of His new job. He is a dedicated Medicator. He fixes nothing. The only responsibility He takes is to refine the emotional buzz that comes from this thing or that one…and having failed even at that, He has a ready finger-of-blame to point somewhere else so He can give Himself a good report card. Which He did, actually. That one single act speaks volumes not only to how He thinks about the world and the challenges within it; it is a tip-off to how medicators think as well. You’ll notice this about them if you know some really dedicated ones personally. They enter into conflict with others, because they tend to demand the final word about their own work. It was up to par, the other guy just has a mistaken interpretation of “par.” They followed the instructions they were given, it’s the other guy’s fault for not giving them the right ones.

Running a meeting is yet another good litmus test. Some meeting chairs do it right: Agenda item, question, answer, does anyone have any objections, next agenda item — boom, boom, boom. Others engage in this ludicrous and time-consuming practice of using the forum to adjust the emotional tenor of the participants, as if it’s a high school pep rally. Buying a car: Any salesman will tell you, some people turn their thoughts to the TCO with considerations such as gas mileage, service records, availability of parts. Others worry overly much about how they look when they’re tooling around in the car, what strangers will think of them.

Homeowners’ Association bylaws can be written to accommodate one of these halves of humanity, or the other, or both. This is a rather interesting situation, because the bylaws represent an attempt to “architect” a successful neighborhood, through the “medication” of the emotions of the people who observe it. Here and there, though, we see stories in the news surrounding HOA bylaws that are, to turn a rustic phrase, just plain stupid. They don’t do anything to make people feel good and it seems extravagant and far-fetched to suppose they could have anything to do with preserving the value of the property. Banning the American flag is the one example that springs immediately to mind, since those stories have a way of jumping onto the front page.

The last time we linked one of these, the story in question showcased a persistent trait among the Medicators: proxy offense.

[M]anagement told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.

The controlling curmudgeon lays down the curmudgeonly rule, and the curmudgeon is silent on whether he or she personally finds the emblem, the e-mail, the cologne, the pin-up calendar, et al, offensive. It’s much more often proxy: Some third party is offended. Or some third party could be offended. The impossible-to-meet “Could Be Interpreted As” standard of cleanliness. It is conceivably possible, therefore the contraband has to go. The curmudgeon will oversee the removal. But it’s business and not personal, see? Just like something out of The Godfather: “Tell Michael I always liked him, it was business, not personal.” Some nameless faceless anonymous person complained, or could complain.

This dedicated Architect says — Medicators really shouldn’t be running anything. They don’t want to. They don’t want the responsibility. This is why these columns are now coming out, some serious and some satirical, that speculate openly that President Obama is perhaps bored and disenchanted with His own job. I no longer consider it to be commentary outside my sphere of knowledge, to proffer that President Obama had some serious misgivings the first time He made a decision about something that had little-or-nothing to do with winning an election, saw that His decision had a direct bearing upon the outcome, and emotionally recoiled. I have seen this happen too many times, up close. In the months since then, the country has been buried in this “awkward stage” in which He tries to confront each and every single challenge with a vision that, as this-or-that chapter reaches the final page, the emotional buzz of those watching has been fine-tuned and frothed up into a desirable state of bliss. This is, I’m sure, why we’ve seen so many speeches out of Him during His first year, and will doubtless see about that many out of Him during His second.

We live in a society in which our every want and need is met, with resistance or inconvenience that is at best negligible. It may not seem like that to us at the time because we’re spoiled; we tend to mistake a temporary slow-down, or wrong turn, or setback, for a real possibility of failure in acquiring what we’re trying to acquire. Deep down, we all know we’re not really being challenged by much of anything; we will get what we are trying to get, one way or the other, so long as some minimal quantity of our peers are also trying to get the same thing. If all else fails we’ll band together and our populist rage will force someone to give it to us. We’re supposed to be so worried about “the economy” but we have our beer, our coffee, our big teevee screens. The only things that are really in jeopardy are the self-respect and dignity that come from having a job, and the same for our children. All other things are guaranteed, in one way or another. They don’t face any real jeopardy.

This state of hyper-safe hyper-civilization has aggravated the divide between — whate’er you wanna callzem, Yin and Yang, or Architects and Medicators — as I’ve pointed out before. It creates a bigger divide on such fundamental questions as: What is a good speech, anyway? What is a convincing argument? Is it thinky-thinky or feelie-feelie? In other words, do you progress systematically among the first three pillars, basing your opinions/inferences upon available fact and things-to-do upong the opinions/inferences. Or, do you just stir up a whole lot of motivating emotions in your audience, get them all outraged against some straw-man Snidely Whiplash, anti-logical exuberance for your “ideas,” Obama-style?

And the fact is, Architects have a definite idea in mind about the answer to such rudimentary questions.

Another fact is, Medicators have a definite idea about the answer as well. These ideas are not the same. They are opposites.

Another fact is, neither side is willing to budge on such issues. If you have a pulse, and a brain, and you’ve been using your brain to solve problems that confront you here and there…each day you stay alive further enmeshes you in the answer you chose, way back, before you were five years old.

And the least inconvenient fact of all is that if we cannot agree on questions like those, we aren’t going to agree on anything else.

We are engaged in a discourse between people who understand how to make real decisions, and those who do not understand this and do not seek to understand this. They don’t see the need. But since they’ve “won,” for the time being it is their job…even if they continue to find ways to weasel out of it, and blame others when the job goes undone.

Go Put On an Ankle Bracelet

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

The court told him to go to a facility three blocks away to have an ankle bracelet put on, and off he went. And then he didn’t show up and didn’t show up and didn’t show up…now they can’t find him. Huh.

A man accused of theft and burglary, who was captured in an elaborate sting operation by Lancaster police in December, is on the run again.

Jonathan Hurst, 22, has been missing since mid-January and was gone for more than two weeks before anyone realized he was unaccounted for, local authorities confirmed.

A warrant has been issued for Hurst, formerly of Lancaster, and his $25,000 bond has been revoked after he failed to make a Feb. 1 court appearance.

“I’m pretty disappointed in what happened, as I think we all are,” Fairfield County Assistant Prosecutor Erin McLaughlin said. “Hopefully he will turn himself in before long.”

Hurst had posted bond Jan. 14 and was ordered to get a location-tracking ankle bracelet as one of the conditions of his bond and hasn’t been seen since, Chief Fairfield County Adult Probation Officer John Baus said.

After posting bond, Hurst was supposed to go from the courthouse, 224 E. Main St., to Fairfield Information Services & Associates, 133 S. Broad St., about three blocks away.

“After posting bond, he is not in custody. If they are prisoners in custody, we have their ankle bracelets put on in the jail,” Baus said.

Justice Department Drops Plan for 9/11 Manhattan Trial

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

New York Times:

The Obama administration on Friday gave up on its plan to try the Sept. 11 plotters in Lower Manhattan, bowing to almost unanimous pressure from New York officials and business leaders to move the terrorism trial elsewhere.

“I think I can acknowledge the obvious,” an administration official said. “We’re considering other options.”

The reversal on whether to try the alleged 9/11 terrorists blocks from the former World Trade Center site seemed to come suddenly this week, after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg abandoned his strong support for the plan and said the cost and disruption would be too great.

But behind the brave face that many New Yorkers had put on for weeks, resistance had been gathering steam.

After a dinner in New York on Dec. 14, Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, pulled aside David Axelrod, President Obama’s closest adviser, to convey an urgent plea: move the 9/11 trial out of Manhattan.

More recently, in a series of presentations to business leaders, local elected officials and community representatives of Chinatown, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly laid out his plan for securing the trial: blanketing a swath of Lower Manhattan with police checkpoints, vehicle searches, rooftop snipers and canine patrols.

“They were not received well,” said one city official.

It endangered the country, and besides of which it was insensitive.

So we’ll do the sensible thing now: Try them in civilian court somewhere else. Keep up the danger to the country but try to be a bit more sensitive.

At least I think so. Thankfully, the story does go on to cast some doubt on that…

…[I]t is possible that the reversal will call into question the calibrated effort of Mr. Obama and his attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., to bring the handling of suspected terrorists out of the realm of military emergency and into the halls of civilian justice.

Hope for change?

The New York Post goes a bit further:

The trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed won’t be held in lower Manhattan and could take place in a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, sources said last night.

Administration officials said that no final decision had been made but that officials of the Department of Justice and the White House were working feverishly to find a venue that would be less expensive and less of a security risk than New York City.

The back-to-the-future Gitmo option was reported yesterday by Fox News and was not disputed by White House officials.

Such a move would likely bring howls of protest from liberals already frustrated that President Obama has failed to meet his deadline for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

It would also indicate that after years of attacking the Bush administration for its handling of the war on terror, Obama officials are embracing one of the most controversial aspects of it.

The administration is likely considering Gitmo because Congress is moving to cut off funding for holding the expensive trials in civilians courts.

Rep. Peter King (R-LI) has introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of Justice Department funds to try Guantanamo detainees in federal civilian courts, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would introduce a similar bill in the Senate next week.

Okay then. Perhaps we’re pulling out of the cul de sac.

Cul de sac…yes, that’s it. We indulge in silly ideas that don’t really work, when we feel like we can afford it. We vote in liberals when it seems we live in such luxury, that choosing an option that sounds good — turning down a certain road — is a trivial and meaningless decision that never has any actual impact on anything anyway. So why not make the turn that is pleasing to the intellectual lightweights, who live in a pretend-fairyland? After all, they vote just as reliably as the “real” people, and make a hell of a lot more noise.

And then we reach the end of the cul de sac.

Good Lord, what a lot of wasted energy.

Bush Justice Officials Cleared

Saturday, January 30th, 2010


[A]n upcoming Justice Department report from its ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), clears the Bush administration lawyers who authored the “torture” memos of professional-misconduct allegations.

While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

Mmmm…well, we’re taking some encouraging steps toward fulfilling my forty-two definitions of a strong society, particularly the second one:

[N]obody ever has to profess a false belief, or keep their silence about a genuine belief, to keep from losing their property, their business, their kids, their spouse, their house, their job, their stature in the community, or anything else.

And that’s sick. It’s sick that anybody ever had to scribble something like that down, that it was ever called into doubt that this is just the way things should work — anyone should think it should work some other way. “I have this sensitivity about this-or-that, and if you don’t share it you should lose your job and go to jail. Just as if you raped a baby or killed somebody.”

Make that whole thing a forgotten relic of the twentieth century. It’s done nothing helpful for us at all, and nobody is really in favor of it anyway.

Supreme Court Ends Shut-Uppery

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Or some of it, at least.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board is rejoicing.

The New York Times editorial board is crying in their beer. They don’t explain the foundation of their opinion very much, or very well. When they give it a go for a paragraph or two…

The founders of this nation warned about the dangers of corporate influence. The Constitution they wrote mentions many things and assigns them rights and protections — the people, militias, the press, religions. But it does not mention corporations.
This issue should never have been before the court. The justices overreached and seized on a case involving a narrower, technical question involving the broadcast of a movie that attacked Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 campaign. The court elevated that case to a forum for striking down the entire ban on corporate spending and then rushed the process of hearing the case at breakneck speed. It gave lawyers a month to prepare briefs on an issue of enormous complexity, and it scheduled arguments during its vacation.

Those are the two beefiest paragraphs in the entire editorial, with regard to the issue of why corporations should be treated any differently from individuals. The founders were worried about the corporations, but didn’t write down anything to that effect; and the Supreme Court heard the arguments during a vacation.

The editorial betrays an addled mindset that thinks inflammatory rhetoric is a good path to a decent decision, and this somehow justifies throwing lots of red herrings in the space where one would expect to find a coherent, rational argument. This is not the first occasion on which I’ve read a NYT editorial and noticed this. This is rather childish of them; adults know full well that, if it’s possible to make a good decision on a vacation, there is little to be gained from proscription against deciding things on a vacation. Adults also know that corporations are people. Sure, there’s a corrupt corporation here and there; just like there are corrupt people. And hey, NYT editorial board, there are corrupt labor unions too.

The other editorial board has it right. Corporations, mostly due to made-for-teevee and big-screen movies featuring bad guys who wear nice three-piece suits at all hours of the day & night — have soiled reputations, and the public is not terribly sympathetic with them. They have not always conducted themselves admirably. Just like some people.

But the case has not been made, that they should enjoy any fewer rights than an individual. It’s just generational squawking, the same stuff we see with regard to “Net Neutrality,” “Public Option,” “Privatize Social Security.” There are vast multitudes walking around, somehow, laboring under the delusion that you and I are all right until we start working for a corporation and then suddenly we’re terrible creatures, and then everything we want must be anathema to the welfare of “everyone.”

They are overly enamored of various methods and techniques of shut-uppery. They seem to figure, since the public overall isn’t sympathetic toward corporations, that means any protections the Constitution would ordinarily provide to them, should be bulldozed because those protections are getting in the way of something the New York Times calls “democracy.” Said democracy seems to have something to do with benefits extended to whoever the NYT finds to be adorable, cute, sweet, doe-eyed and fluffy.

Well, since when has the Constitution had to provide protection to those who are appealing? Bambi’s Mom already has protection in public sentiment, and the legislators who represent that sentiment; the Constitution is for the hunter.

“Crayola Akbar”

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Allahpundit says blame Bush. I agree. Is Obama the fix for what’s busted? That’s for Him to prove.

This reads like the plot of one of those over-the-top David Zucker attack ads against the left — except it wasn’t the left that presided over this one. The next interview with Dick or Liz Cheney should be pretty interesting, huh?

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi…

“The so-called rehabilitation programs are a joke,” a U.S. diplomat said in describing the Saudi efforts with released Guantanamo detainees.

Saudi officials concede its program has had its “failures” but insist that, overall, the effort has helped return potential terrorists to a meaningful life.

One program gives the former detainees paints and crayons as part of the rehabilitation regimen.

From “Allahu Akbar” to “Crayola Akbar.” On the bright side, at least The One has learned from Bush’s terrible folly here, right? Wrong. Bob Gates has been pushing since May to transfer 97 Yemeni detainees to the Saudi rehab program; as of 10 days ago the plan was to send six Yemenis back to Yemen itself with possibly scores more to follow.

Mmmmm, doesn’t look too promising.

So if Palin chooses not to run, is there a Klingon Warlord somewhere in the line-up? We’ve tried government by compassion now…#42, #43 and now #44 have all made it their trademark.

There’s no protection for this “homeland” in that, and at this point some guy walking around wearing a necklace made from the fingers or genitalia of his enemies would look like a vast improvement. We have a Constitution to keep him from becoming the next Genghis Kahn, we don’t need some phony-baloney veneer of “swell guy” decency for that purpose. It doesn’t work, it makes fools out of all of us. Kersey/Beowulf 2012.

Whoever runs, the logo needs to be an artist’s easel and palette with a red line through ’em.

Memo For File CV

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

One of the very first things covered by President Obama during His inaugural speech was the “fact,” if you call it that, that forty-four Americans have now taken the Presidential oath of office. He got that one wrong, but the fact-checkers didn’t catch it because they were too busy screening Saturday Night Live skits. But His observation does raise an interesting point: We’ve had quite a few Presidents. Some have been good, some have been bad, and with a whole lot of them it depends on who you ask.

When we argue about the people who may or may not become President in the near future, that’s when we really go at it, and this makes sense too. One arrives rather quickly at the realization that we don’t seem to disagree too much about what qualities the candidates do & do not have; our disagreement seems to be about what is important to the office. This part, it seems to me, doesn’t make that much sense. We haven’t had forty-four men take the oath of office quite yet, but we have had something very close to that. Wouldn’t it be wise to look back and see what history has taught us?

When I look back on what history has taught us, I see — once again — the prevailing sentiment has things about 180 degrees off course, more-or-less.

The prevailing sentiment smiles, first and foremost, on boldness, daring, “trying something new.” Creativity, vision, hope, change…perhaps Robert Kennedy, not one of the 44 guys, said it best. “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why; I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Inspiration. New ideas. Thinking outside of that ol’ box!

History is pretty clear about this. It’s led to multi-generational new social entitlement program bullshit, and the feeling of dependency and crushing debt that go along with those. Not much else.

Next up is jut-jawed determination, grit, resolve, integrity. This is not an ability or willingness to make good decisions; this is the quality of sticking to them once they are made. We have good reason to insist on this. If you’re President, and you make a decision I kinda don’t like but it doesn’t completely offend the hell out of me…let’s say there are other options I would have preferred, but there are others I detest much more, so I could learn to live with it. It’s important that as you meet all these other power-players that a President meets, I know you’re going to stick to your guns.

I would have to say in my lifetime, the one President who had more of this than any other was our 43rd, George W. Bush. Well, frankly that didn’t work out too well for him. He left office on a steep downslide in his approval ratings…but with no one willing to step forward and say he was missing even so much of a smidgen of this quality. And I would infer it was this quality that was instrumental in bringing those approval ratings down. His predecessor was much more popular, and I would say that predecessor had less of this than any other President in our lifetime. Bill Clinton would say something on Monday, and by Tuesday…who knows what would happen. So this is something we say we like. But I think it’s a fair assessment to comment the public is demanding this quality in its Presidents, but it isn’t willing to show much of it itself. It sees an annoyingly broad latitude in changing its mind about it.

The next quality is unnamed. Barack Obama has oodles and oodles of this, but nobody is quite sure what it is. You heard this much discussed throughout the 2008 campaign, especially when He was locked in a fierce battle with Hillary Clinton for the nomination. “There’s just something about Him!” Some people call it leadership because when He says something, like “grab a mop” for example, there arises within you this primal instinct to get it done. The marrow of your bones seem to just want to start mopping. Authority, confidence, blah blah blah. He never stutters or stammers…says “uh” quite a lot, but always with dignity and flair.

What’s this done for us over the course of the previous 43 administrations?

Well, it’s helped to sell us a lot of crap. Salesmen learn how to do this; if it is their trade to deal with bad product. Hey let’s face it, if your product is compatible with the interests of the buyer, your “charisma” isn’t going to help the sale a whole lot. An average-Joe can get just as much sold. You need excellent salesmen if you’re trying to move a shitty product. So this “I don’t know why I want to do what he says, it’s just the way I feel!” thing is a distinguishing characteristic of flim-flam men and liars. And indeed, our history is seasoned with quite a few Presidents who were superior in all kinds of ways, whose voices were awkward, squeaky, meandering…interestingly, most of them existed in the days before it was possible to make any kind of audible document. We have to read the written word of their contemporaries, to get a feel for what their voices sounded like. But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hopey-changey charisma-or-whatever back there.

Believing in peace? That’s been an enormous bust, probably the biggest one. If I have to come up with a list to illustrate the point, you’re never going to get the point. The Presidents who believed in war have done a lot more good for our nation. Note that I didn’t say “who loved war”; I said believe in war. I can think, right off the top of my head, of four Presidents who believed in war but properly despised it as any decent human being must. Perhaps the quote attributed to Reagan, supposedly uttered during the PATCO strike, sums up the vision and the sentiment of an effective U.S. President: “If there’s going to be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.” I know of no phrase in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers or any correspondence among they who founded the nation, that contradicts this. Our nation’s Chief Executive is a ripper-offer of band-aids. Get it over with.

Honesty? That goes without saying.

Loyalty? That goes without saying as well. But of course loyalty is a tricky thing. You have to prioritize it. If it was possible to be loyal to everyone all the time, it would be an easy, simple job to be President. And of course it isn’t.

Does wisdom play a role? That, too, goes without saying. The President must be able to look down the road, consider the effects of his decisions over the short term as well as the longer one. How good of a job do we do on insisting on this? The argument that George W. Bush failed to consider the more distant implications of his decisions, seems to hold water at first. But when one thinks back to the events of early 2003 and recalls them with honesty, one sees this is a crock. The matter was deliberated over and over and over again; the pro-peace people were granted one fair hearing after another, after another, and then they took to the streets all over the world to riot just to make sure the point got across. It got across. But the problem was, we were dealing with an asshole who needed to be taken down. France, later revealed to be on-the-take via the Oil For Food program, used their veto power on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and that’s when George Bush went around the process. The debacles that came afterward made this seem unwise. But real wisdom is recognizing all the available options, and when each and every single one of those options suck, maintaining an ability to select the least-sucky out of all of them.

So I would say our prevailing viewpoint is that wisdom is important, and the prevailing viewpoint is correct about this.

Reviewing the events of the past decade, I would further observe the prevailing viewpoint measures wisdom as the ability to “conjure up” a non-sucky option that does not necessarily exist. And I would comment that the prevailing viewpoing is wrong about that.

Once an option is chosen, wisdom stands behind the notion that it was the best one. It does not stand behind the notion that it was a good option. You have to play the cards you’re dealt.

How about a willingness to go out and seek the wisdom? Does a good President have the patience and courage to listen to the wisdom of our children?

Nope. Children don’t have wisdom. They’re too young. Next question.

How about knowing where the bodies are buried, like Lyndon Baines Johnson did? Does that make for an effective President? What does history say about that?

History says this is a useful thing for getting things passed the President wants passed; especially when the President is trying to overcome stiff opposition to get it passed. And can improve his odds in this effort, by sidestepping logical, rational debate. And legitimate criticism. So if the President is trying to sell a crock of bullshit, knowing where the bodies are buried can be very helpful…to him. It tends to be injurious to everybody else. You can’t depend on such men to have a decent internal working understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong. Probably won’t happen. After all, this guy knows where bodies are buried! How does he know?

President Johnson’s legacy is about as tattered as anybody else’s, Nixon included. Johnson was an asshole, perhaps a sociopath, and may not even have been sane. He conducted conferences in the shitter, while he was defecating. All in all, I’m gonna have to go with no. Were it possible to have some kind of Constitutional amendment that says “No citizen shall serve as President if he knows where the bodies are buried,” I’d favor passage of that. History, it seems, would favor passage of this as well. This hasn’t helped our country one bit.

Belief in freedom? That goes on the “Yes” side. Actually, that’s the first thing we’re supposed to be trying to find. Our Presidents haven’t failed us here. We have been failing our country, by failing to support this and vote for it.

Telling us what you’re going to do, before you’re elected to get it done? Again — huge “yes.” It’s the Presidents who keep this a closely-guarded secret who have been the big fails. That includes our current one. He’s making history with the speed of erosion of His approval ratings, and there’s a reason for it: His election was less concerned with policy decisions, compared to any other Presidential election in my lifetime, easily. We didn’t talk about what He’d do, we just talked about how wonderful He is. That’s our fault. But then He saw that as an easy road to victory, and He made the most of it. That’s His fault. Now He’s reaping the whirlwind. Mega-fail.

Looking like you have it all together when you get interviewed? I hope that’s not very important. If it is, that means our teevee reporters are kingmakers, and frankly I don’t trust them. As for how big of a factor it is, it’s up to Sarah Palin to decide if we’re going to conduct an experiment on that…since I don’t think anyone’s flubbed it worse than she has. But on the other hand: The second-place prize goes to President Obama, for his “President Gigglepuss” interview in which Steve Kroft had to ask Him if He was “punch drunk.” That was an enormous bomb, but it didn’t hurt the President’s ability to preside, not in the least. So those who say this hurt Palin, need to find a way to explain why it’s damaging to her and not to Him. Perhaps they’re still correct…public reaction can be a fickle, nonsensical thing. But overall, does it have much to do with presidential qualifications, after I chew on it for awhile I don’t think so.

Knowing who the Minister of (fill in the blank) is for the country of (fill in the blank), and knowing how to pronounce the name. We place a lot of importance on this, and this is an awful mistake. It means debate moderators and interviewers — who I don’t trust — can all-but-eject promising candidates from the running, simply by coming up with challenging questions. And you’ll notice they never ask the same question of all the candidates, or even many of the candidates. It’s targeted. They don’t deserve to wield this kind of power, nor are they worthy of wielding it. And being the President of the United States is not the same thing as playing a game of Trivial Pursuit. This is bone-headed stupid and we have to stop it.

Knowing how to field dress a moose. No.

Knowing how to use a Blackberry. No.

Knowing how to type. No.

Knowing some dance moves. No.

Looking good shirtless. No.

Looking good on the cover of Runner’s World in short shorts. No.

Being a beltway insider. No.

Being a newcomer to the beltway. No.

Having five kids. No.

Planting a vegetable garden. No.

Knowing how to fire a gun. No.

Believing in the right to have a gun: HELL yes!

Having a law degree. I wonder how the country would look after fifty years of Presidents who do NOT have law degrees. A whole lot better, I’ll bet. Inch by inch, as lawyers get more things they want, our nation has become the poorer for it. So no.

Being sensitive, contemplative, mulling over a decision, changing it thoughtfully with the arrival of new evidence: Absolutely not. Overall, people make much better decisions when they say to themselves “In thirty seconds, or ten, or five, I’m going to have this thing decided and there’ll be no looking back.” When they use the latitude to mull it over endlessly, their sense of judgment gets shot to hell, and as a consequence of this, their ultimate decision ends up being not that good. We just saw it with Obama’s decision on Afghanistan; is there anyone, anywhere, who says this was a good show of decision-making? Even among those who somehow agree with it? No, and there’s a lesson there. Besides, when you’re negotiating with an antagonistic force, and you take the Jean-Luc Picard approach of “I’m open to anything and my decision-making process is an endless and timeless Hoover-vac type of activity that sucks in and makes use of all kinds of of information” — this makes new strategies available to your enemy. The other extreme at the opposite end of the spectrum, would be a tornado. Nobody tries to win concessions out of a tornado. You either get the hell out of the way or you’re dead. We don’t elect our President to be a Captain Picard. We elect our President to be a tornado. At least, we should.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Huckabee is Done

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Man, I’m really glad I never came out & supported this guy.

HuckabeeI saw his picture in the dictionary the other day. I think the word I was looking up was “kaput.”

Huck PAC, Mike Huckabee’s political action committee, released a statement Sunday night about the slaying of four police officers in Pierce County. When Huckabee was Arkansas governor he commuted the sentence of the person of interest in the case.

The statement says:

The senseless and savage execution of police officers in Washington State has saddened the nation, and early reports indicate that a person of interest is a repeat offender who once lived in Arkansas and was wanted on outstanding warrants here and in Washington State. The murder of any individual is a profound tragedy, but the murder of a police officer is the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within.

Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State. He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state. This is a horrible and tragic event and if found and convicted the offender should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Our thoughts and prayers are and should be with the families of those honorable, brave, and heroic police officers.

unregistered user (#412148) speaks for me:

What an absurd statement for Huckabee to make. He blames everyone but himself, the person ultimately responsible for releasing this man back into society. The buck stopped with him, and he blew it.

My prayers are with the families who are suffering because of a predator who should never have seen the light of day.

Judicial Footnotes

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Let us not forget about that whole judicial activism thing…so many other things going ’round all screwed up, it’s easy to let this one fall off the radar.

U.S. senators on Thursday will debate and vote on the nomination of Judge David F. Hamilton, President Obama’s first judicial nominee.

Hamilton, who would sit on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago if confirmed, has said his decisions as a federal judge can “amend” the U.S. Constitution by adding “footnotes” to it.

At the 2003 dedication of a U.S. courthouse in Indiana named after former Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), Hamilton quoted someone else’s comment that judges write “footnotes.”

He told the audience: “Let’s start with the Constitution. Judge S. Hugh Dillin of this court has said that part of our job here as judges is to write a series of footnotes to the Constitution. We all do that every year in cases large and small.”

That judicial philosophy led Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Hamilton at a rare second hearing on his nomination, held on April 29.

Hamilton was confirmed. So let the footnotes begin.

Elections have consequences.

Affirmative Action for Men?

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Dr. Helen links to an interesting story about the U.S. Civil Rights Commission:

This week, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced that it will investigate whether colleges discriminate against women by admitting less qualified men. It will strike many as odd to think that American men would need such a leg up. From the men-only basketball games at the White House to the testosterone club on Wall Street, we seem surrounded by male dominance.

And yet, when looking to America’s future—trying to spot the future entrepreneurs and inventors—there’s reason to be troubled by the flagging academic performance among men. Nearly 58% of all those earning bachelor’s degrees are women. Graduate programs are headed in the same direction, and the gender gaps at community colleges—where 62% of those earning two-year degrees are female—are even wider.

Economists at both the Department of Education and the College Board agree that, to ensure high future earnings, men and women have an equal need for college degrees, and yet only women are getting that message. The numbers are startling. This summer the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University published the results of a study tracking the students who graduated from Boston Public Schools in 2007. Their conclusion: For every 167 females in four-year colleges, there were 100 males.

She comments,

Typically, I would not be for any type of affirmative action. I think people who are qualified, regardless of race and gender, should be admitted to these universities, end of story. But in today’s PC world, that is not possible. If we admit people based on their gender and race, then we must do it in an equitable way. Men should be represented at colleges in equal numbers to women since they comprise roughly half (a little less these days) of the population.

What do you think?

I disagree. I do see a silver lining here, but it’s a silly and comical one. All preferences look reasonable, at first, when they benefit you or some group with whom you sympathize.

But in the end, all preferences are the same. The antecedent action that made them appear to be part of some reasonable thing to do, or that “had to be done,” really doesn’t weigh into it that much.

Also, across lines of race, gender and creed — preferences do not heal divisions. Just from a vantage point of looking back on the last few decades, that whole belief was pretty stupid. That was an example of our “leaders” telling us that gasoline was the perfect agent for putting out a house fire.

Colleges shouldn’t be doing it; but once they do, we shouldn’t be having some commission investigating it. Anyone on the commission, or in the college, in favor of such a practice, regardless of what direction, should be treated just like someone trying to recruit for the KKK.

D’JEver Notice? XXXVII

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

If I could identify one thing about liberals that is more alarming than all the rest, this would make the top three or four I’m quite sure:

This uneasy relationship they have to the ancient and simple concept of a crime that demands punishment. It is, forgive the pun, a “tortured” relationship. In the vast pantheon of crimes that one man can commit against another, it would seem there are tiers of crime, and the tier has very little to do with the magnitude of damage caused. All but a few transgressions fall into some more modest “Yeah-But” plateau. As in, yeah this guy broke into that other guy’s house…but the other guy should have just let ‘im get away, at least then nobody would get hurt. Or — yeah, this guy mugged and raped a woman, but he’s a product of his upbringing, he is not to blame.

Yeah, that dictator over there may be a threat to us and he may be oppressing his own people…but if we went after him, we’d only be doing it for the oil, and anyway we would almost certainly become exactly what it is we are trying to defeat. Better to leave well enough alone.

And then there is that superior tier, of crimes against the philosophy of liberalism itself.

There is no “Yeah-But” get-outta-jail-free card here.

This falls into that larger file folder of liberals wanting “all” of society to operate under one set of rules, and the elite crust of that society operating under a different set of rules. Crimes against you, and your family, and your friends, should be let go. You need to heal, to grow, to get past it, and the only way you can get past it is to let the miscreant go. Let the original offense go unavenged. Because when you seek revenge, you’re just poisoning yourself.

All that Mahatma-Ghandi shit goes sailing out the window at breakneck speed, when the victim of a crime is liberal philosophy itself. The Ghandi-nonsense is histoire. Misdeeds, all of a sudden, absolutely, positively must be avenged. Letting it go…moving on…out of the question. It’s the principle of the thing, dammit! The world has to be shown that our way is the right way, and it must be shown this by force.

Liberals act very much like conservatives this way. They act like something somewhat above-and-beyond conservatism, this way.

With this inconsistency, liberalism fails to achieve even the minimal standard of what it most energetically strives to be: Be something for which knowledgeable and conscientious people can cast a vote.

Update: I should say something about Ted’s passing I suppose. The “liberal lion of the Senate” provided the younger generation with a striking vision, an invaluable lesson for young and old alike. That lesson being: A lot of people aren’t at peace with themselves, so they try to soothe their consciences by supporting bad public policies. Don’t be like that.

It’s a good lesson.

Didja ever notice, when hardcore left-wing types start describing someone with something that starts with “the conscience of the”…it always seems to be someone that, generally speaking, regardless of the position the rest of us occupy on the ideological spectrum — none of us would want watching our kids?

Lockerbie Bomber Freed

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

It’s rapidly become an “Everyone Else is Blogging It, I Might As Well Too” thing, but I have to do it anyway because it fits into something we’ve been discussing here of late; specifically, is it always a rationally moderate thing to compromise with people? All people? All the time? No matter what their values are?

The Lockerbie bomber has been freed on “compassionate grounds”:

The only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing returned home Thursday to a cheering crowd after his release from a Scottish prison — an outrage to many relatives of the 270 people who perished when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded.

President Barack Obama said the Scottish decision to free terminally ill Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds was a mistake and said he should be under house arrest. Obama warned Libya not to give him a hero’s welcome.

Despite the warning, thousands of young men were on hand at a Tripoli airport where al-Megrahi’s plane touched down. Some threw flower petals as he stepped from the plane. He wore a a dark suit and a burgundy tie and appeared visibly tired.

He was accompanied by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who was dressed in a traditional white robe and golden embroidered vest. The son pledged last year to bring al-Megrahi home and raised his hand victoriously to the crowd as he exited the plane. They then sped off in a convoy of white sedans.

International photographers and camera crews — along with most Libyan broadcast media — were barred from filming the arrival at the airport, which decades ago had been part of a U.S. air base.

Al-Megrahi’s release disgusted many victims’ relatives.

“You get that lump in your throat and you feel like you’re going to throw up,” said Norma Maslowski, of Haddonfield, New Jersey, whose 30-year-old daughter, Diane, died in the attack.

“This isn’t about compassionate release. This is part of give-Gadhafi-what-he-wants-so-we-can-have-the-oil,” said Susan Cohen, of Cape May Court House, New Jersey. Her 20-year-old daughter, Theodora, was killed.

I am not questioning the humanity of the Lockerbie bomber.

I am challenging the civil nature of those who freed him. They turned justice on its head for no better reason than to prove what swell folks they are. What they really accomplished was the exact opposite.

They’re worse than creeps. They have revealed a code of “ethics” that besmirches whatever contract comes into contact with it. Forget about governing a jurisdiction; people like this can’t be trusted to know right from wrong any better than a dog can be trusted to pay a mortgage on time.

O’Reilly Flips Out

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

We’ve all heard it, or most of us have heard it…over, and over, and over, and over and over again. This is, I believe, an enormous mistake on the part of those who are trying to impress us with the audio. There is so much taken away with discarding the visual.

For one thing, it’s a whole new level of funny. I laughed my ass off. And the other thing, perhaps closely related to the first thing, is…I’m somewhat inclined to see things Bill’s way here. The older I get, the more of a visceral reaction I have to the unclear instruction. You know how “unclear” is an anagram of “nuclear”? That’s because of me. Good instructions, most folks can follow — that’s why they’re good instructions. Shitty instructions take a special skill, and I don’t gots it. The more life challenges me to produce this talent I don’t gots, that I never once in my life implied to a single soul I gots, the more aggravated I gets. Big time. It’s like a one-legged man being challenged to kick butts. The five hundredth time, you’re ready to stand up on something, break something, and yell “I get it I get it I get it I get it, everyone can do it I can’t! Now stop it already!” I can feel the blood getting hotter as it is piped up into my head through my jugular. Maybe there’s more Irish in me than I thought.

Earlier this week I was in traffic court being led down this line and that line like a head of stupid livestock…and yet, even though I was livestock, I was still being called upon to make decisions. Nobody there understood these decisions. Rampant confusion. The impulse was damn near irresistible to jump up on the nearest table and yell at the top of my lungs, “Mutherfuckers, if it came naturally to us to follow shitty instructions we wouldn’t be here in the first place!”

But ya know, maybe that wouldn’t have gone over so well.

Bill O’Reilly shows wisdom (well…limited…this is the age of the YouTubes) in knowing where he can throw a temper tantrum. But he’s no more sanitized than I in his use of the King’s English, so watch your volume level and share the experience with some mature hardy souls who might appreciate it.

Driving While Female

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Woman DriverThey’re gunnin’ fer the gals:

A nationwide crackdown on drunken driving that starts tomorrow will feature sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign.

It also will focus on women, who represent a growing percentage of drunken drivers, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said yesterday.

“Impaired driving is an issue that cuts across all segments of society and, sadly, the number of arrests of women driving under the influence is on the rise. This is clearly a very disturbing trend,” Mr. LaHood said at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

He cited FBI statistics showing that arrests of women driving under the influence increased by nearly 30 percent from 1998 to 2007. Over the same period, DUI arrests of men decreased by 7.5 percent, although men still were arrested four times as often as women.

An analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that the number of impaired women drivers involved in fatal crashes increased in 10 states last year, including Ohio and West Virginia, despite an overall decline of 9 percent in drunken driver crashes. In Pennsylvania, the number of female drunken drivers in fatal crashes declined from 67 in 2007 to 54 last year.

“Women are driving more like men and, unfortunately, have picked up some of their dangerous habits,” said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which is participating in the enforcement blitz.

Hmmm. I think this one, I’ll just leave up there…without comment. Quit while ahead.

“Conclusion First, Back Story Later”

Monday, August 17th, 2009

That’s what I said this morning, but it is not to be. I believed the appear-in-court date on my traffic citation would be my drop-dead date for arguing my case, but that’s not the way it works; your first appearance in court is to be herded around like a head of stupid cattle, being shuffled from window to window, telling His Honor that you plead not guilty, and…that’s it. The date is set for your real trial, and after pissing away an entire morning on nothing, away you go.

SomeBad Sign folks have speculated this has to do with a gun permit. Not quite. It’s a u-turn sign; I haven’t blogged about this, but since the twentieth of June I have been obsessed with u-turn signs. That’s the day I got busted for disregarding one.

I have footage. Footage. Yep, that’s a little obsessed I’ll admit; but can you blame me? This cop…who wasn’t even born when I started driving…hands me this pink slip with a notice to appear on it, and I go back to the scene of the crime to see — a cigarette-carton-sized “sign” I missed, along with thirty people per hour, on average, disregarding it exactly the way I did. Maybe they can see it just fine, and they’re just a bunch of law-breaking assholes. I dunno. I can tell you if I saw the sign, I’d have followed it. But I didn’t see it. And I didn’t see it because it’s not a legal sign.

A “no-parking-sized” sign, which means, I dunno…nine inches by twelve inches? Mounted on a median. A no-parking-sized, regulatory sign on a median. Have you ever seen such a thing? I’ve driven one end of this great nation to the other, and this is a new one on me. Anyway, my “layman’s” reading of the law strongly indicates that it is on my side. The minimum dimensions are right in there, I have the citations and page numbers ready to show the Judge, and there’s no authorization for a no-parking-sized sign on a median anywhere. Not for a “no u-turn” sign.

My poor girlfriend. “Ring Ring.” “Hi!” “Where are you?” “Where do you think?” “Oh my God…you’re videotaping that stupid sign again?” “Yer goddamn right I am. What time are you home?”

I live in a state that is deeply, deeply in the red. And you can see it in the “cattle drive” sessions at traffic court. Everyone has a tale of woe to tell about an evil auto-camera capturing their license plate numbers and mailing them traffic citations for four hundred bucks or more. Freeberg’s traffic citation formula: Penalty imposed, minus enhancement to the public safety, equals loss of freedom. We’re losing just bagfuls and bagfuls of freedom at the traffic court, and we’re probably not pulling our impoverished state out of debt for all the effort…but by God, they’re gonna give it a good try.

They’re not going to succeed with my wallet, I’ll tell you that right now. I’ve got twelve pages of PowerPoint, plus a three-minute video, to make sure of it.

There. I said this morning “irresistible force meeting an immovable object” and now you know exactly what that’s all about. Tune in September 21 to find out what comes of this.

My Day in Court

Monday, August 17th, 2009

How Will It Go?Well, the big day is here. Win or lose, I don’t expect this hearing will last more than a couple minutes; I’m just not that important. But everyone who knows me well enough to be forced to reckon with my day-to-day life-happenings is expressing more than a casual interest in how this thing is going to turn out; truly a case of an irresistible force meeting up with an immovable object.

You’ll get the conclusion first, back-story later.

Leading the Supreme Court Back to the Mainstream

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Somewhere out there is a delicious quote from Sen. Feinstein or Schumer — I think it’s the latter — about the new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It’s yet another one of these liberal daydreams that are given voice as if they are observations about what has taken place in the past…as I noted a day or two ago, it has become a trait of modern liberalism to conflate what has really taken place, with what one wishes to see take place. This fell into that. The quote was something about how Justice Sotomayor will not be just another Justice on equal footing with all the others, but rather, that she will lead the country’s judicial branch back to the “mainstream.” Mainstream as left-wingers define it. You know the drill. You have a right to stay alive if you have deprived others of their right to stay alive, but not if you’re an unborn baby who has yet to deprive anyone of anything, except your mother of her flat stomach and her lifestyle. Yeah, that.

Justice Sotomayor has been held aloft as someone deserving of support because her confirmation has always been inevitable. I have no objections to that. But another point has been that she rolls up her sleeves and digs into the facts of the cases. This one, I must say, causes me a bit of indigestion. Look up her “verdict” on the Ricci case and get back to me on that if you will.

I just don’t see her as a leader of much of anything. If she’s pressed to lead the Supreme Court in a certain direction, she’ll need some instructions, because rightly or wrongly she’s given me the impression she’s one of those who need instructions for things.

This responsible citizen is here to serve.

1. Do not cite law from other nations to justify a verdict. This suggests, and in facts provides some damn solid evidence, that a majority on the Court just voted the way they wanted to vote. Then they went out shopping across the globe for little bits of paper that would make the pre-determined decision look alright. That, obviously, is not a good thing for American justice or for the Court’s reputation.

2. Do not cite statistics about what state legislatures are doing. Do not use “prevailing viewpoint” or “evolving standards” or…or…or. Culture is a matter for the states, or something geographically smaller than them, to decide. This country was founded on that simple concept.

3. Stick your empathy where the sun don’t shine. We saw in the Ricci case you’ve got what it takes to do this, Justice Sotomayor — no empathy at all there, huh? The litmus test should be, when my case comes to the Supreme Court, do I have a shot at winning even though I’m a miserable awful horrible stinker guy who happens to have a sound case? And can I lose my case if my case is weak, even though I’m a pillar of the community, represent all the esteemed historically-oppressed ethnic groups, rich, poor, lovable, smell good, suave, handsome? Our society loves to talk a good game about the law applying equally to everyone. It’s high time we did something to get back to that, for reals.

4. Don’t worry about consequences, except with regard to jurisprudence. That is the only thing you need to worry about molding, shaping, refining. It is improper to decide cases based on the dreaded consequence of: Angry white males getting out of line, buildings getting blown up, race riots, women getting “back alley” abortions, illegal aliens not finding their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, Social Security running out of money…any of that stuff. Handing down verdicts out of concern for positive and/or negative consequences, is the very definition of judicial activism. You’ll notice nobody’s championing that cause anymore. Everyone who’s trying to promote it is disguising their agenda as something else. You could be one of them, Justice Sotomayor, or you could do what’s right. Leaders do what they know is right.

5. Know your damn place. There is no evidence that the judicial branch was intended to reign supreme over the other two branches of government; quite to the contrary, the original articles of the Constitution make it quite clear that Congress is there to regulate it. As the high court has been spending the last five decades spiraling outside of the perimeter defined by my four recommendations above, Congress’ failure to act represents a dereliction of leadership, nothing more, nothing less. Put your house in order before someone else does it for you. And I’d love to see Congress do it for you.

That goes for your eight peers on the Supreme Court as well. That is what I call mainstream, and you’ll notice there’s not a single word about right-wing or left-wing in any of it.

“It’s Insane There’s an Argument”

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Ted Nugent speaks on the Second Amendment.

He should just stop beating around the bush and tell us how he really feels about these things.

Republicans to Confirm Soto…They Don’t Know What Else to Do

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Talk about pathetic. Geez Looweez

Republican Senators continued to weigh whether or not to back Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor Tuesday, with one lawmaker voicing support and most others holding back from announcing how they plan to vote.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to formally endorse Judge Sotomayor Tuesday, citing the top marks the American Bar Association awarded to the judge and her responses to senators’ questioning during last week’s four-day nomination hearing.

“I have concluded that Judge Sotomayor understands the proper role of a judge and is committed to applying the law impartially without bias or favoritism,” Ms. Collins said in a statement.

Four moderate Republicans have said they will support Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation.

Earlier in the day, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy suggested others may follow suit.

“There are a number of Republicans who have announced they plan to vote for her,” he said. “There are a number of others who’ve not made that announcement yet, but plan to vote for her.”

Racist, or No One Else IsAnd the GOP wants to know how to rebound. Hey guys. Here’s a wild, crazy idea: How about becoming the party of evidence? We saw last November how the other folks do it…Obama gives some speeches without saying anything — some fainting, “There’s Just Something About Him!!” and some pants-wetting — done deal. How about distinguishing yourselves from the competition by showing us how grown-ups think? Fact, opinion, thing-to-do, and hell with what everybody else thinks.

People say they don’t like that, but deep down they all know this is how responsible grown-ups think.

The evidence that Sonia Sotomayor is “brilliant,” inspired, intellectual, firing on all cylinders…even that she’s barely competent…has been lacking from Day One on this thing. What’ve you got to show me? I know you can make me feel good if I’m already biased in her favor. What’ve you got to change my mind if I’m not? Anything. Show me one little thing. There’s nothing.

The evidence that she’s a racist bitch on the other hand…

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor delivered multiple speeches between 1994 and 2003 in which she suggested “a wise Latina woman” or “wise woman” judge might “reach a better conclusion” than a male judge. Those speeches, released Thursday as part of Sotomayor’s responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire, … suggest her widely quoted 2001 speech in which she indicated a “wise Latina” judge might make a better decision was far from a single isolated instance.

What is a racist, anyway?

Racism: A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

If Sonia Sotomayor doesn’t fulfill this standard, we need to get rid of it altogether, for then the word has no meaning whatsoever.

Memo For File XC

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

I was over reading in “The House” and I ran across the line “Republicans don’t need to broaden their base…”

and I thought to myself….

No…. they need to deepen it.

Blogger friend Phil.

I just heard Joe Scarborough on the radio, and I guess he has a book out about how Republicans can get back into the swing of things. To his credit, he does not belong to the Meghan McCain camp of “Keep The ‘R’ But Lose Everything Else”; but from his comments, I don’t think he is altogether correct either. I view him as a tent-embiggener, and I think the former Congressman Scarborough would agree with me on this.

This is not to say I think all his points lack merit. Quite to the contrary: Some of what he says really has to be taken seriously. His emphasis seems to be on localizing control as opposed to keeping the decision-making power at the higher levels and then pushing for “morality policing”; on this point, I agree. He pushes for a moderation in tone, a less cantankerous tone of discourse, which I also think is a good idea. On this point though, he’s drinking kool-aid. As I pointed out earlier, it has emerged as a favorite left-wing tactic, both in cloakrooms at capital buildings and in water-cooler chats among ordinary wage slaves, to declare the conversation has become uselessly heated and then falsely blame the conservative for starting it…either the discussion itself, or the inferno of unfriendly remarks that erupts within. (More often than not, the liberal has taken the initiative in both of these.)

So Scarborough’s advice is a mix of the healthy and the not-so-much. What I think he has done, is construct a house with some good architectural ideas and a sturdy foundation, on a site of shifting sand.

Scarborough argues that right-wingers seeking to recapture Ronald Reagan’s box office mojo need to embrace environmentalism (they should be “Going green for God”); acknowledge the permanence of troubled entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare (“Everyone is going to have to give until it hurts”); and pursue a humble foreign policy (except when they don’t: “Most Republicans, including myself, were steadfast in their support for the war” in Iraq).

On contentious social issues like abortion and gay marriage, the heirs to Edmund Burke and William F. Buckley Jr. should push for decisions to be made at the state level — not necessarily because localized decision-making provides better answers but because “that is the only way to protect the advances conservatives have made over the past generations.” Most of all, Scarborough counsels, conservatives need to channel their inner Gipper by “following the advice of Jesus and the example of Reagan, by trying more often to turn the other cheek” during fractious policy debates.

So he’s been duped into a lot of things here. That it has become antithetical to Republican-ness to “turn the other cheek” infers, or at least implies, that we have a lot of Republicans out there seeking revenge against perceived slights, and doing the party harm by being seen seeking this revenge. That may be happening here and there, but if one is embarking on a quest to find vengeful people who never heard of turning the other cheek, one can hardly do better than making a bee-line for the nearest gathering of hardcore left-wing liberals. On the radio, I hear him implore the conservative movement to show better support to the New England intellectual-snob set; we should be asking ourselves how welcome Buckley himself would feel in modern conservative ranks.

Again: He’s drinking kool-aid, without knowing that’s what he’s doing; and in so drinking, he takes the defensive prematurely. Conservatives need to make people feel welcome? Conservatives do? How ya figure? Take a look at what I need to do for liberals to show me contempt, and engage their blizzard of “You’re So Stupid” attacks. Some would say I have an unusually natural way of attracting such an onslaught; and in some ways they could be right. But from all I have managed to observe, it really doesn’t take much. I’m a six-foot-tall straight Protestant white guy who hasn’t served in the military and still possesses all his limbs.

From that starting point I don’t need to do an awful lot to bring on pit bulls. Failing to support fully-taxpayer-funded abortions on demand from sea to shining sea — that is plenty enough to throw the feeding frenzy into high gear. Or, I could fail to get behind an initiative to forever banish intelligent design from all schools public & private. Or…I could support these things, and just be a little bit pokey about it. It’s not that I’m placed under a magnifying glass for being a white male; I can see from the experiences of Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes, Condoleeza Rice and Sarah Palin that my white-male-ness in fact spares me from some of the worst of the viciousness. But my point isn’t the intensity of viciousness, it’s the ease with which one becomes a target of it.

America has a party that is obsessed with properly qualified membership, and once that party’s decided you’re on the outs, you’re on the outs for good. That party is not the Republican party.

Republicans need to confront some phony “truths” that Scarborough, judging from what the former Congressman has seen fit to bring to my attention, is failing to confront.

There is no need to prove that conservatism has something to do with a “big tent.” Conservatism is a big tent by its very nature. The notion that some among us possess a group membership that makes them better than anyone else, is a hallmark among those other guys who want to sieze control of the tax code so they can loot from the undesirables and ply a bunch of phony “government program” benefits onto the desirables. True, conservatives would like to do something similar with businesses — to the extent you think it’s a phony-government-program-benefit to lower taxes, that is true. But what color is a business? Anyone of any color, gender or sexual preference can start a business.

Conservatives need to confront some mistakes in the national thinking that even the Great Ronaldus failed to confront. That the guy who wins, is the guy who can show off a veneer of patience, cheerfulness, good humor and cheer, for example. Reagan won that one by being that guy.

You want some “rising star” to emerge in 2012 and pull that one off against Obama?

Best wishes to ya. You won’t see my weekend-beer-money in the kitty. I’ll be sitting that one out.

No…the thing that has to be challenged, is this notion that a position on the ideological spectrum makes you cheerful and patient. This profound absurdity has been allowed to endure plenty long enough, I’d say. We’ve got to get rid of it. NOW. If we don’t, someone is going to come up with the bright idea that we have to stop the women from voting in elections — they are, without a doubt, the demographic that predominantly finds this appealing — and I don’t want to see things diminish to this point. Women should be allowed to keep voting. And to make sure they don’t lose this right, it has to be shown that they can be allowed to vote, without the country being condemned to repeating some terrible, awful mistakes. And let’s be honest, that has yet to be demonstrated.

Not that a whole lot of men aren’t also falling for it. But it doesn’t matter. It’s just a fact: Your decision to support Cap-n-Trade, or Universal Healthcare, or a Second Stimulus — or to oppose those things — none of this makes you a Good PersonTM. Nor do such declarations of ideological positioning make you a rotten nasty person. These are debates about policy, and they should be treated as such.

The identity politics is also something Scarborough seems to support, or at least, fails to oppose with the level of vigor I’d find encouraging. If you’re from Delaware, a conservative spokesman from Missouri can support your interests just fine and dandy, better than our Vice President Mouthy Joe. If the Delaware guy somehow can’t see that, the problem belongs to the Delaware guy. Any conservative kingmaker who’s got some say in making-or-breaking the spokesman from Missouri, needs to stand up for that principle rather than trying to soothe the agitated feelings by embarking on some journey to find a New Englander saying the same stuff.

Why? Because that’s called prejudice. And conservatives are supposed to be united in opposing it, in all its forms. That means opposing identity politics in all its forms.

Scarborough’s examples do little to highlight this critical distinction. So here’s another one: Voter ballots printed up in Spanish.

That is a pickle. The easiest way to embrace the Scarborough-big-tent-ism is to select a path identical to Meghan-McCain-big-tent-ism: Crank up the presses por favor! Because pushing for a truly conservative point of view would be excluding people. Conservatism has to waver. Perhaps this is why I’m not hearing of Scarborough highlighting this particular issue. There’s a lot of heat there, so who could blame him?

But the kind of conservatism that is really on the line here, has nothing to do with excluding people. It has more to do with an intellectually honest argument about what equality really is. What’s being discussed is a country’s right to have the one thing that has been best proven to make all countries strong, and to weaken them when it is taken away: A culture. France has a culture. Spain has a culture. Lots of countries in Africa have a culture. Great Britain and Canada could have a culture…if they wanted it…

Why can’t the United States have one? That’s the question that should be asked. And even in these racially-sensitive times, it shouldn’t be that tough of a point to argue. I asked, a few paragraphs ago, what color is owning-a-business? Well, what color is English? Other countries get to define, and defend, their culture; the United States should be able to do this too.

Gay marriage, that’s another one. The lazy, predominant, wafting, prevailing theme is that it’s some kind of a civil rights issue. We all have to bless same-sex marriage or else people are being denied their constitutional rights to love each other. Just a little bit of honest, responsible thinking will reveal this is wombat-rabies bollywonkers crazy. The issue is the civil rights of the churches, who would surely be litigated into non-existence in an all-gay-marriage nation for refusing to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies. What if we take the “don’t do it, and say we did” route in legalizing same-sex marriage? Those who want to get married are denied nothing. Marriage is all about elimination of options for the individuals who enter into it; it doesn’t grant anybody any “rights.” What it does is eliminate the rights. Like any other declaration of something in front of a community of witnesses, just like any other signature, it exists for that very thing — to eliminate options that would otherwise be open to one party, for the benefit of other parties. In the case of marriage it is a mutual exchange, but that doesn’t mean someone’s been deprived of civil rights just because the state hasn’t been muscled into re-defining something.

With regard to Phil, I don’t know if he agrees with all my points here — they aren’t my most politically-correct ones, some of them could be quite controversial. But I’ll definitely place my stamp of approval on what he said. In fact, broadening the tent is not only different from what Republicans need to do, it does great harm. These ideas about embiggening, far too often, result in a subtle collapse of some of the principles conservatives are supposed to be defending.

Clearly, from the lesson that was taught last November, the goal should be how to define that line that separates conservatives from liberals. Perhaps that’s why it rankles me so much to hear people talk about letting more people in. If you do that just to make the tent bigger, without safeguarding the principles, that’s when the tent pole snaps. I think the message needs to be “no, conservatives aren’t eager to include more people, but we aren’t eager to exclude people either; it’s those other guys who are passionately engaged in doing both of those.” That really is the point that has to be made. Anyone, regardless of place of birth, color of skin, sex or creed can adopt the right principles and be a conservative. But you must adopt them.

You have to adopt the right principles to be a liberal too. But nobody notices that, even though the challenge is stiffer on the liberal side because it’s enduring. Be a liberal, so that liberals will let you in their “big tent,” say all the right things so that they let you in…and you’ll get in. But thirty seconds later you have to prove your devotion all over again. It’s never enough. Deep down, they know it to be true. Listen to them argue sometime. Even the ones that run things, even Barack Obama Himself, they never have any confidence that their Good-person-ness has been validated with any permanence and the whole thing’s a done deal. The sloppy, obsequious arrangement has always looked to me rather like eating egg drop soup with chopsticks, with your pants on fire. The desperation to keep on proving inner personal decency over and over again, persists, becomes cyclical, then dizzying. It’s beyond distracting. It’s how they manage to stumble upon their very worst ideas.

Do we need an example of that? Look no further than the idea of supporting Sotomayor. There’s nothing to recommend her to the Supreme Court, and contrary to popular belief, she has speechified about the “Wise Latina” not just once, but repeatedly.

It’s not a silly idea to argue that this is racism. It is the very definition of it. What’s a silly idea is to seat her on the Supreme Court. There’s no reason to do it, none whatsoever, except to “prove” that whoever’s making the decision possesses some streak of innate personal goodness, that that person himself doesn’t really believe is there.

Prove it. For thirty seconds.

“Palin/King 2012” Has a Nice Sound To It

Monday, July 6th, 2009

As in, Congressman Peter King. I know a lot of misguided souls are out there saying Republicans need to embiggen the tent, but it seems to me the tent can remain tiny enough to exclude…y’know…moonwalking child molesters who aren’t even capable of looking at their own hideously mutated mugs in the mirror.

Rep. Peter King Unloads on Michael Jackson and the Media Circus Covering his Death

TMZ has the video. A soon to be classic where Rep. King asks why the media isn’t covering the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan with the same enthusiasm as the one-gloved-one. Some excerpts:

“He was pervert. He was a child molester. He was a pedophile.”

“The media has disgraced itself.”

“Would you let your child or grandchild be in the same room as Michael Jackson?”

One thing from Yours Truly regarding this tent-embiggening. The jibber jabber around it has lately crescendo’ed into a thunderous din, with the speculation about whether or not Palin’s career is over. You’ll notice nobody’s wondering about the democrat party embiggening their tent, and if you live on a sane planet or sub-planet as I do, you may have been wondering how-come-that-iz?

Because, of course, the democrat party isn’t under this magnifying glass. Nobody’s wondering about whether their tent is big enough for this-or-that. Is that because they have a universal tent? No. They exclude all kinds of people. They exclude more classes, and noses within the classes, than conservatives have ever thought about excluding. Housewives. Homeschoolers. Boy Scouts. Gun owners. Frank Ricci and people just like him. Meat lovers. People who want to pay extra money for a private health plan. Small business owners. People who don’t want to join a union. Catholics. Protestants. Parents who favor abstinence-education. Real men who want to raise their sons into even better real men. I can add to this list all day and night if I wanna.

It’s the irony. There’s some genetic weakness we all have — you see some leftist weirdo welcoming a pervert like Michael Jackson with open arms. Or some scumbag who’s on death row because he butchered a little girl and left the bloody pieces out in a field somewhere. We have this tendency…to which the weakest minds among us rapidly succumb…to think that leftist weirdo dude is equally accepting of all other bits of humanity. Why are we tempted to think such a thing?

Love your wife and kids, let ’em know it, take them to church, work hard and buy an insurance policy to cover them just in case — and these same leftist kooks won’t give you the time of day. They like perverts, degenerates, and terrorists who’d kill themselves to take a few innocent office workers with ’em. But the leftists aren’t called-upon to make their tent any bigger. Nope. Just the other guys, who are ready to stand up for law and order. They need to learn to flex.

Just freakin’ insane. It reflects poorly on any among us who choose to accept it.

Update: Here’s a link for any of the child-molester-defending, liberal, pro-kiddy-diddlin’, democrat, pro-degenerate, anti-decency, blue-state, liberal, democrat, pro-weirdo, anti-sensible-person, left-wing, liberal, democrat, anti-child, pro-child-exploiter, pro-pervert…did I remember to say liberal democrat? …concerned twisted strange activist/citizen types can donate their loot to punish Congressman King for his comments against a wonderful pop sensation. Who happened to molest little kids.

I stand by my comments. Up-with-decent-people, down-with-perverts — versus — up-with-perverts-down-with-decent-people, really is a left-wing right-wing issue. Even if there are some left-wingers who don’t quite get that.