The Jury Talks Back

4/15/2009

Dragging the Flag Through the Mud

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 7:47 pm

Victor Davis Hanson doesn’t much like Obama’s foreign policy.  To say he thinks it as bad as Jimmy Carter’s would be far too kind.  To say he thinks it a fracking disaster would be generous yet.  He has nothing good to say at all, and in several thousand words.

Obama will apologize for almost anything one can imagine. First comes the generic lamentation about Bush, the need for a reset button, and America’s characteristic “arrogance.” Then there are the “we are at fault” lines on spec, tailor-made mea culpas for the country in question.

China? It gets praise when it ridicules the dollar, but offers no help on North Korea. Nothing new about trade violations. Hope is expressed that they will still buy our growing debt.

Russia? Let us count the ways. No more missile defense for Eastern Europe; no mention of Russia’s human-rights violations or its policy of serial assassination abroad; de facto abandonment of advocacy for former Soviet republics’ autonomy; Russia’s energy blackmail is Russia’s business; no help with de-nuclearizing Iran.

Turkey? Yes, Europe must let you in the EU. The new Danish NATO supreme commander must apologize for defending free speech — and, as relish, hire some of your generals; continued American assurance that we are not a Christian nation.

The Islamic World is not to be inconvenienced by any mention of radical Islam, or 9/11, or of the endemic pathologies that nourished al-Qaedism in the first place — such as gender apartheid, religious intolerance, autocracy, statism, and tribalism. Instead there is plenty of Bush-bashing, courting of Iran and Syria, caricatures of the “war on terror,” and talk of Iraq as a “mistake.”

Then comes the “separation.” Obama makes it clear to any host or foreign leader that both he and his vision of America are strangely exempt from America’s past, from Bush, and from our innately arrogant nature. That is accomplished in a number of adroit ways. There is evocation of his once-taboo middle name “Hussein” to win affection in the Middle East, but also to suggest a more Third Worldish resonance such as “I am one of you too who has grievances against ‘them.’ ”

So what Obama leaves out about America is telling. He touches on slavery, lack of voting rights for blacks in the South (although he conflates this issue and implies to foreigners that African Americans could not vote in the North as well), our past treatment of Native Americans, and the dropping of the bomb against Japan.

We hear nothing about our Gettysburg, or our entry into World War I. Iwo Jima and the Bulge are never alluded to. Drawing the line in Korea and forcing the end of the Soviet monstrosity are taboo subjects. That we pledged the life of New York for Berlin in the Cold War is unknown. Liberating Afghanistan and Iraq from the diabolical Taliban and Saddam Hussein is left unsaid. The Civil Rights movement, the Great Society, affirmative action, and present billion-dollar foreign-aid programs apparently never existed. Millions of Africans have been saved by George Bush’s efforts at extending life-saving medicines to AIDS patients — but again, this is never referenced.

And then he gets angry.  Read the whole thing.

4/14/2009

Presidential Prerogative

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 8:28 pm

Locke’s doctrine of prerogative goes even further.  It is not confined to foreign affairs [i.e., the federative power].  He argues that, because it is impossible to foresee all accidents and because laws, if executed with inflexible rigor, may cause unintended and unnecessary harm, the executive must be permitted to do “many things… which the laws do not prescribe.”  Indeed, prerogative includes the power to act against law.  It covers situations where laws do not yet exist (prelegal), where laws must be ignored (antilegal), and where there can be no law (alegal).  Furthermore, Locke insists that prerogative is “undoubted,” by which he apparently means that no common citizen and no sensible lawyer or theorist questions the authority of princes-indeed, their responsibility-to transcend law, or to proceed in its absence, in order to serve the public good.

-Robinson, Donald L.  “Presidential Prerogative and the Spirit of American Constitutionalism.”  The Constitution and the Conduct of American Foreign Policy.  Ed. David Gray Adler and Larry N. George.  University of Kansas Press, 1996.  114-132.

4/13/2009

Two things…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 10:26 pm

First, I’m glad the UN sent that strongly worded memo to North Korea…

I mean, if they hadn’t, Kimmie might have decided he could restart his nuke-programs…

Oh, wait…

North Korea vowed Tuesday to bolster its nuclear deterrent and boycott six-party talks aimed at its denuclearization in protest of a U.N. Security Council statement condemning the country’s recent rocket launch.

*sigh*  I wish I could say that I was surprised, but I’m not.  President Obama and his entire administration’s utter incompetence is going to get us all killed by some random foreign power that decides it wants to take out the big kid on the block to prove how tough they are (I like to call this the “Fastest gun in the west” syndrome).

Oh, and it looks like the Treasury Dept has finally caught up to the rest of us.

The Times, quoting unidentified sources, said the Treasury Department has directed officials at General Motors (NYSE: GM) to lay the groundwork for a “surgical” bankruptcy filing that could last as short as a few weeks for portions of the company. Those portions would be the “good” parts of the company, and the “less desirable” parts of the company would remain in court for much longer and possibly be liquidated, according to the Times.

Now I don’t think for a second that it will be anything close to surgical, unless you consider hacking off whole limbs with nothing but a bone saw and a bullet to bite on is surgery.  Also, it’s going to be a long process, since the unions are certain to raise all kinds of Holy Hell over the healthcare obligations GM will be divesting itself of.

And boy, I’m glad they decided to have GM just file for bankruptcy, instead of pumping billions and billions of dollars into it, and THEN decided to do what should have been done in the first God Damn place!!!

Oh, wait…

Truly, the country is in the very best of hands…

Final Score

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 5:00 am

Final score: Mariners 13, Pirates 1.  3 hits, no errors, 1 caught stealing, extra-inning relief provided by U.S. Navy,  Phillips named MVP.

4/12/2009

Nick Adenhart, RIP

Filed under: Uncategorized — JRM @ 1:30 pm

The death of Nick Adenhart in a collision three days ago has garnered a lot of attention. The deaths of two others – Courtney Stewart, 20; and Henry Pearson, 25 – have also gotten national attention, because they were in the same car with the Angels’ pitcher when they died. All three deaths are a tragedy.

The driver of the other vehicle, Andrew Gallo, has been charged with three counts of murder. I have no personal knowledge of the facts of the case, and therefore offer no opinion on what ought to be done on this particular case. What I can offer is an outline of California law on the issue.

First off, Gallo’s been charged with murder. Murder requires malice; malice is most easily met with a deliberate intent to kill, which is not present in most vehicular homicides. The murder theory here is “implied malice,” and these murders are, in California, known as Watson murders, after the case that upheld a murder conviction for this.

(more…)

4/11/2009

Where The Wild Things Write

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 3:26 pm

Check out Michael S. Malone’s A Commenter Bestiary.

What sort of commenter are you?

4/9/2009

At the risk of stealing a line from a far better blogger than I

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 12:19 pm

The country is in the very best of hands.

House star quits for Obama role

Hollywood actor Kal Penn has taken a job in the administration of President Barack Obama.

If that alone doesn’t scare the crap out of you, I give you this:

Penn’s role will be to connect the President with Asian, Pacific Island communities and arts groups.

Oh lovely.  Because we need a president to connect to those groups.  At least it might distract the dolt from the economy, and thus save us his incompetent meddling.

Oh, and I love this…  This is exactly the sort of guy we need working on connecting with people…

The actor is best known on the big screen for his role as a marijuana-smoking student in the Harold and Kumar movies.

It’s like they are trying to be complete failures…

4/8/2009

Nationalist pride.

Filed under: Uncategorized — aphrael @ 11:20 am

I have no right to it, as I wasn’t involved in the events at all, but I can’t help but feel a surge of nationalistic pride at the news that the American crew whose container ship was hijacked by pirates yesterday haveretaken the ship and captured one of the pirates.

Good job to all involved.

4/7/2009

How to Pass a Law

Filed under: California Politics — Kevin M @ 8:28 am

Back when I was taking high schools civics, they said that laws got passed when the legislature passed them and the executive signed them or the legislature overrode a veto.  The currently favored method (Courts make up laws and claim they found them in the Constitution) was never mentioned.

I guess this is why when the courts do things like this the new “law” has such trouble being accepted as valid.  Witness the abortion “right” or the sorry history of gay marriage in California.

So, it’s a relief when you see them do it the right way: a straight-up legislative vote, a veto, and an override, like the way Vermont passed gay marriage today.  Whatever one thinks of the issue itself, a 2/3rds vote in the legislature is a pretty clear demonstration of the political will in Vermont, and the only reasonable course for opponents is to change the legislature.

A political decision, taken with an open vote — and open to political consequences — can be accepted, in time.  A bunch of unelected elitist judges deciding what is “good for us” is less likely to accomplish that.  The model should be the Civil Rights Act, not Roe v Wade.  It’s amazing how hard it is for this to sink in.

4/6/2009

The Promise of American Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 9:14 pm

From Chapter 13 of The Promise of American Life, text thanks to Project Guttenberg, called “the classic statement of the progressive movement in America”:

A genuine individual must at least possess some special quality which distinguishes him from other people, which unifies the successive phases and the various aspects of his own life and which results in personal moral freedom. In what way and to what extent does the existing economic system contribute to the creation of such genuine individuals…?

 

Of course, a great deal of very excellent work is accomplished under the existing economic system; and by means of such work many a man becomes more or less of an individual. But in so far as such is the case, it is the work which individualizes and not the unrestricted competitive pursuit of money. In so far as the economic motive prevails, individuality is not developed; it is stifled. The man whose motive is that of money-making will not make the work any more excellent than is demanded by the largest possible returns; and frequently the largest
possible returns are to be obtained by indifferent work or by work which has absolutely no social value. The ordinary mercenary purpose always compels a man to stop at a certain point, and consider something else than the excellence of his achievement. It does not make the individual independent, except in so far as independence is merely a matter of cash in the bank; and for every individual on whom it bestows excessive pecuniary independence, there are many more who are by that very circumstance denied any sort of liberation. Even pecuniary independence is usually purchased at the price of moral and intellectual bondage. Such genuine individuality as can be detected in the existing social system is achieved not because of the prevailing money-making motive, but in spite thereof.

Croly, Herbert. The Promise of American Life (New York: Capricorn Books), 1964.

Some of the argument between progressives and conservatives seems to miss the underlying understanding of what human freedom entails. Essentially, the freedom to truck, or the freedom that capitalism allows, is not necessarily real or fully human freedom.

If any of you need me

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 2:38 pm

I’ll be living in Australia…

4/5/2009

To name or not to name: the media’s victim identity conundrum

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 10:16 am

Nine years ago Midsi Sanchez was walking home from school in Vallejo, Calif. when she was abducted off the street.  Immediately news accounts broadcast her name and face throughout California in an attempt to help locate the girl and her captor.  Two days later, Midsi escaped from the car in which she had been chained and flagged down a passing truck driver.  Nationwide reports announced her daring escape, and continued to include photos of the brave 8 year-old.

Then it came out that her tormentor, one Curtis Dean Anderson, had sexually assaulted her over the course of the 44-hour captivity.  (Investigators also learned that Anderson had kidnapped and murdered another Vallejo girl eight months prior.)  The media quietly removed the name of Midsi Sanchez from all subsequent reports.  At the time I found this attempt to put the genie back in the bottle rather striking, since it ws the media that had made her recognizable to millions of readers and viewers.  (Midsi, now 16, was identified in a San Jose Mercury News article on Saturday.  The teenager met with the Cantu family, whose 8 year-old daughter Sandra has been missing for more than a week.)

I know in some jurisdictions the law prohibits publicizing the identities of sexual assault victims.  But in other cases the media make a concious decision to hide the identity, apparently in order to spare the victim additional shame and humiliation.  I believe this decision is a misguided one.

I agree with Women’s eNews correspondent Sheila Gibbons, who wrote, “[T]o cease referring to a rescued kidnapping survivor by name once this information [about a sexual assault] becomes public merely reinforces the stigma of rape and other crimes in which sex is used as a weapon.  It takes what should be out-loud outrage and reduces it to a whisper.”  Gibbons referenced a similar case in which news organizations flashed the names and photos of two California teenagers who were kidnapped.  Following the rescue their faces were blurred when it was learned that they had been raped.  (During the rescue the kidnapper was shot to death by police.)

In some instances this practice presumes that a crime was committed when it may not be the case.  Take the infamous Duke lacrosse rape case.  Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans suffered irreparable harm to their reputations, though they were found to be completely innocent.  Ironically the Duke students were the victims and their accuser Crystal Mangum was the guilty party, yet the media assumed it was Mangum’s identity that needed to be protected.

I admit that I cannot fully understand the position of sexual assault victims themselves, as I don’t personally know someone who has suffered such an invasive attack.  I would be interested in hearing such perspectives.  I am heartened by the attitude expressed by one victim, Jerri Kennedy, way back in 1992.  As described by America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh in his book No Mercy, Jerri was 15 when she was brutally beaten, raped, and nearly choked to death by career criminal Terry Hart in Oklahoma City.  When her case was to be profiled on AMW, the show’s producers offered to have her tell her story with her face hidden, so that she could be heard, but not recognized.  Jerri, however, wanted to send a message to other victims.  She said that it was important that she not hide in the shadows.  She wasn’t the one who had to hide — Terry Hart was.

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