April 15, 2007
Michael Moore is profiteering off Ground Zero workers. I'm disgusted, but not surprised.
October 6, 2006
Classy, but Also Stupid
Radio host Mike Gallagher gave airtime the the Westboro Baptist Church assholes, in exchange for them not protesting at the funerals of the Amish girls slain earlier in the week at their school. While I appreciate Mike Gallagher's efforts to bring some comfort — or at least, to prevent the addition of insult to injury — to the girls' parents, there is the unfortunate side effect that the Westboro assholes are now confirmed in their faith that being assholes not only generates publicity, it can get them a relatively prominent (and monetarily quite valuable) platform to spew their hatred, bigotry and poison ideology. So they are likely to escalate, rather than de-escalate, their unacceptable behavior in the wake of this act by Mr. Gallagher. It's an old lesson: what you subsidize, you get more of.
On the other hand, how much of an investigation would there be if, say, a couple of hundred people were to show up at the funeral of an Amish girl or a soldier slain in Iraq or what have you, and beat the Westboro assholes to a pulp? (Ideally, leaving them alive: the idea is to teach them a lesson in what is and is not tolerated by a civil community which hopes to remain civil, which they desperately need to learn.) A few such examples might actually convince them to take their bigotry and hatred back into their walled compound, and drink their own kool-aid, rather than spreading their filth in public.
Actually, there's a larger point here, under the banner of "tolerating the intolerant." A civil society can only remain so as long as its norms of civility are maintained. Once those norms are thrown aside, and incivility becomes acceptable, incivility eventually becomes common, and civility uncommon.
September 3, 2006
I am so utterly appalled that some moral infant would a laugh track to the 9/11 attack that I am beyond words. Does the "person" who made this strangle puppies for laughs when he's not jerking off to footage of others' tragedies? Some people just need killin', and superman1969 is one of them.
August 30, 2006
I Can't Believe I'm Defending the ACLU
For once, I'm actually posting about the ACLU in the Unamerican Activities category where the ACLU is fighting the freedom-destroying behavior, rather than promoting it.
Both The Jawa Report and Stop the ACLU (both in my blogroll) have posted in support of the government preventing two American citizens from entering the US. The ACLU is right: the government should not have such power. You, trust me, do not want the government to have such power.
The general principles at stake are freedom of movement, equal protection of the law, and due process. These are not "mere legalities", but very bedrock rights guaranteed to all American citizens.
In Kent v. Dulles, an issue similar to the current case (but in the opposite direction) was argued. Specifically, the government denied a US citizen a passport with which to travel to England, on the grounds that the citizen was possibly a Communist, and refused to sign an affadavit as to whether or not he was a Communist. The court reasoned that the freedom to travel is part of the "liberty" referred to in the 5th Amendment, and thus could not be abridged without due process of law (which generally is held to mean that the government cannot arbitrarily deprive you of rights; to do so requires a charge which you can contest in court, and a finding that the deprivation of rights is necessary to ensure the trial occurs or is an acceptable punishment as a result of a conviction at trial). Even if the Court's argument is not persuasive, consider the ramifications of granting such powers to the government. Without a law explicitly making a particular kind of conduct illegal, with only an allegation of such conduct, with no ability to challenge the allegation or the legality of any determination about the nature of the conduct — in other words, as an arbitrary exercise of naked power — the government could prevent any citizen from travelling freely on any ground they choose. And worse, in the case of a citizen who is being refused reentry into the US, they cannot even gain access to the courts to challenge any aspect of this, because they cannot regain entry into the jurisdiction of the courts. Would you really care to argue that "liberty" means the freedom of any person to do what you personally (or some anonymous government bureaucrat) like and to not do what you (or said bureaucrat) dislike? That is no meaning of "liberty" that I can accept: it is meaningless as a protection or a right, because it can be abridged or denied at any time without the victim having any defense. That, in fact, is the kind of tyranny seeks to prevent.
The right to equal protection of the law, that is, the right of all persons to have the same access to the law and courts, and to be treated equally by the law and courts, both in procedures and in the substance of the law, arises from the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution, and more broadly from the Declaration of Independence's statement that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ...." The idea is to prevent the government from creating laws that discriminate against people who are dispreferred, such as creating different legal penalties for black and white people for the same crime, or subjecting some people to a punitive law while others are exempted. This is the principle that keeps the government from deciding that people in possession of drugs or adhering to a certain ideology are so dangerous that special laws must apply to them, and not to others. It's what keeps the 1930's German racial purity laws from being possible here. It is what guarantees that we are, in fact, a nation governed by law and process, rather than the arbitrary preferences of bureaucrats and policemen.
"Due process" rights guarantee, in the simplest terms (and it's a quite complicated body of law), that a person cannot be deprived of his rights and liberties except by a process laid down by law, which law was passed according to the process laid down by the Constitution, and that such laws have to be just and reasonable. The classic example of the "just and reasonable" problem would be to pass a law assigning the death penalty for jaywalking. The harm caused by the penalty so far exceeds the harm caused by the offense that no just or reasonable person could relate the two. It is this right that prevents the government from simply taking your liberties away any time it wants for any reason it wants. There must be a good cause for the government to deprive you of your liberties; you must be able to challenge the deprivation in court; and that court must be conducted according to pre-determined processes and under pre-determined regulations.
These are such fundamental rights that I cannot conceive of an American challenging the rights themselves. So how might one argue, then, that the government is not violating those rights in this case?
One might argue that because one of the people in question is a naturalized citizen, rather than being born a citizen, and so the government can deprive them of their right to return to the US. There are two fatal weaknesses to this argument: a naturalized citizen cannot be treated differently from a non-naturalized citizen, and one of the men at issue is a citizen by birth.
One might arue that there is no right to return to the US, only a right to leave or to travel freely within the US. The largest problem with this argument is that it renders all other rights purportedly held by the citizen to be meaningless once the citizen leaves the US. If a person cannot return to the US, they cannot assert their rights in court (which is itself a due process right); they cannot enjoy their property rights because they cannot access their property; they cannot exercise any of their rights as citizens. Effectively, granting such an argument gives the government the power to arbitrarily deprive a citizen of everything about citizenship except the label "citizen", without any process of law to back taking such a drastic action.
One might argue that all the two men have to do is talk to the government, and they can get back in. But even ignoring Kent v. Dulles, this ignores the citizens' rights against self-incrimination, codified in the fifth amendment. What, under such a logic, would prevent the government from precluding re-entry to any citizen until they had signed a loyalty oath, discussed their sexual behavior in great detail, or any other arbitrary condition required by government bureaucrats? Again, this is merely a sophisticated way of arguing that the government should have the power to strip citizenship of all meaning for those citizens that some government bureaucrat decides he just doesn't like.
One could argue that the citizens are not being denied entry into the US, just the privilege of flying in US airspace. That would be true, if it were not for the fact that the government has arrangements with Mexico and Canada to honor the US government's no-fly list. Thus, the citizen could not fly to an adjacent country, then drive into the US to assert his rights.
One could, finally, argue that "these guys are terrorists!!!" And that is the "argument" I have seen most often. I am willing to grant that argument: these guys may very well be terrorists, or supporters or enablers of terrorists; there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to that effect and the government's designation of these men for the no-fly list is not without basis from what is currently known of their past and behavior. That does not give the government the power to deny them their rights as citizens. The proper behavior here is to charge them, bring them to the US (or allow them to re-enter), arrest them and try them.
The government's actions in this case are wrong. The ACLU is right. I cannot believe I am defending the ACLU.
August 29, 2006
A Civic Duty
The McCain-Feingold abomination continues unabated. Let me be clear and concise: this law is blatantly unconstitutional. The fact that the Congress passed the law, the President signed it, and the Supreme Court upheld it does not show that the law is constitutionally valid, only that the Congress, President and Supreme Court have violated their oaths of office and their duty as citizens. It is my duty as a citizen to ignore this law, and I will; the law will have no effect on posts here except that I might feel a bit more inclined to name specific candidates I support or oppose and why. Further, if called to sit on a jury to decide a case against someone for violating this law, I will consider it my duty to vote to acquit regardless of other circumstances of the case on the grounds that the law is invalid.
It will have one effect: anyone within reason (ie, not NAMBLA) may run political ads here free of charge between now and election day, on the condition that those ads specifically mention a candidate for public office by name.
August 25, 2006
Shaw's "But" Proves Him an Ass
I hope and pray we don't get hit again, like we did on September 11. Even one life lost to the violence of terrorism is too much.
If I somehow knew an attack was coming, I wouldn't pause for a second to report it in order to prevent it from occuring.
So far, so good.
Oh, no! Here it comes...
on the other hand, I remind myself that without the ultimate sacrifice paid by 400,000 U.S. soldiers in World War II, tyranny could well have an iron grip on the world, and even on this nation.
If the Nazis had prevailed, tens, if not hundreds of millions more would have been killed.
That realization has led my brain to launch a political calculus 180 degrees removed from my pacifist-inclined leanings. An entirely hypothetical yet realpolitik calculus that is ugly, and cold-hearted but must be posited:
This is a type of calculus that Pentagon war games planners and political consultants do all the time- a combination of what-if actions and consequences that are unpleasant to consider but are in the realm of plausibility.
So, basically, as I see it, Shaw has attempted to rhetorically inoculate himself from the further comments of any decent person in two ways. First, Shaw has declared his opposition to deaths from terrorism. Second, Shaw has noted that he's really just playing games in his head, just like "Pentagon war games planners and political consultants do all the time."
What if another terror attack just before this fall's elections could save many thousand-times the lives lost?
I wonder what Shaw would think of this hypothetical: what if a bolt-from-the-blue nuclear strike on every town in Iran and Syria with a population of more than 5000 people could save many thousand times the number of lives lost in the nuclear attack? That is, in fact, not out of the question. Would Shaw then support such an attack? I am guessing not.
I start from the premise that there is already a substantial portion of the electorate that tends to vote GOP because they feel that Bush has "kept us safe," and that the Republicans do a better job combating terrorism.
Actually, as a non-Republican, I tend to vote GOP since 2001 because I believe that President Bush and many (certainly not all) of the Republicans want Americans to be safe, and their hypotheticals, unlike both Shaw and the national Democrats, don't apparently tend to involve theories about how great it would be for their party if only a few thousand more Americans would die.
If an attack occurred just before the elections, I have to think that at least a few of the voters who persist in this "Bush has kept us safe" thinking would realize the fallacy they have been under.
I think Shaw needs to realize that it is his reasoning that is fallacious. No one votes on past performance in the US, so far as I've ever been able to tell. Americans vote on future performance expectations. I suspect most of the voters Shaw is referring to have voted Republican because they've paid attention to the Democrats' alternative, and have decided that the Republicans would keep them safer in the future, not because they feel the Republicans kept them safe since 9/11.
If 5% of the "he's kept us safe" revise their thinking enough to vote Democrat, well, then, the Dems could recapture the House and the Senate and be in a position to:
OK, and now we get into the real meat of Shaw's fever dream. Shaw is uninterested in the Americans who would be killed. Note that the first eight of his nine points are purely about domestic policy. That is, Shaw's concern is with political power, which he wants to be wielded by those of the same mind as himself, rather than about any deaths or suffering that would be required to bring it about. Indeed, Shaw posits those deaths and suffering as a precondition of Democratic rule. And I use the word "rule" instead of "governance" quite deliberately.
Block the next Supreme Court appointment, one which would surely result in the overturning of Roe and the death of hundreds if not thousands of women from abortion-prohibiting states at the hands of back-alley abortionists;
I think that it's rich for a man arguing for the legal murder of millions of children (and even more entities that would become children if not aborted) argues that he's on the side of saving lives.
Be in a position to elevate the party's chances for a regime change in 2008. A regime change that would:
Yes, we've already established both that you want power and that words have no fixed meaning to you. Move along, nothing to see here.
Save hundreds of thousands of American lives by enacting universal health care;
Evidence? Any evidence? My understanding of both the British and Canadian experiences is that the results of "universal" health care are quite the opposite of "[s]av[ing] hundreds of thousands of ... lives". If anything, our health care is too regulated, rather than not regulated enough.
Save untold numbers of lives by pushing for cleaner air standards that would greatly reduce heart and lung diseases;
Evidence? Any evidence? Clean air standards currently are nearly at their maximum in practical terms. Enacting stricter regulation would cause the loss of jobs and prosperity, both of which would in fact imperil more lives than they would save. There may be fiddling at the margins that is possible, but in that case "untold" means "a very few, so we won't tell you how many".
More enthusiastically address the need for mass transit, the greater availability of which would surely cut highway deaths;
Not at all. Mass transit is wonderful where it works, and it likely saves some lives in those places simply by replacing a more dangerous mode of transportation (cars) with a less dangerous mode (trains). Where the meaningful replacement is "buses", however, the difference in accidents is somewhat smaller. In any case, these are not "highway deaths", because inherently mass transit runs in cities, not replacing highways. Something like the TGV would not work in the US, because of the distances involved. Either it only goes city to city where cities are quite close together, in which case in might replace short-haul air and auto transport, or it goes from point to point with no stops in between, forcing those who live in between to not use the trains. Otherwise, there is no way that people would take the trains, because they would be no faster than taking the car, which is generally far more convenient than taking a train. (For example, you don't have to rent a car on the other end of your trip.) Mass transit works in Europe. It works in Chicago, New York, Boston and a few other places in the US. It does not generally work in the US because of the sheer size of the US. But then, we've already established, I think, that Shaw is beyond economic arguments. What is economics to one with TRUTH on his side?
Enact meaningful gun control legislation that would reduce crime and cut fatalities by thousands a year;
From the history of English and Australian gun control efforts, I suspect we'd see the opposite: far more fatalities, and social dissolution as a side effect. Worse still, if the overbearing state Shaw seems to be hoping for comes about, it would leave us defenseless against the government. That may comfort Shaw, but I've read too much history of totalitarian states, and it scares the willies out of me.
Fund stem cell research that could result in cures saving millions of lives;
I don't suppose there's any point in noting that the first administration to provide any federal funding for stem cell research was the Bush administration? I don't suppose there's any point in noting that private stem cell research funding, or state stem cell research funding, are unhindered?
Boost the minimum wage, helping to cut down on poverty which helps spawn violent crime and the deaths that spring from those acts;
Basic law of economics: price is a regulatory mechanism that regulates supply and demand. If you fix the price artificially low and supply remains fixed, demand rises. If you fix the price artificially high and supply remains fixed, demand falls. Raising the minimum wage will encourage more cheating (including more use of illegal immigrant labor), will eliminate many of the entry-level jobs that kids in particular rely on to gain practical work experience, and will in general increase poverty levels, which in turn will increase violent crime and the resulting deaths. Once again Shaw is off on the completely wrong track. Can't let facts get in the way of TRUTH, apparently.
Be less inclined to launch foolish wars, absence of which would save thousands of soldiers' lives- and quite likely moderate the likelihood of further terror acts.
It's ironic that Shaw begins his essay with the notion of fighting the Nazis having prevented further deaths. Had France stood up to Germany in 1936 or 1937, Hitler would have been forced to back down, and WWII may well have been avoided. Yet Shaw seems to miss the point of his own analogy: sometimes wars save more lives than they cost. I suspect Iraq has already passed that threshold, and I am certain Afghanistan has. I suspect that going to war against Iran now would also save many lives later, more than would be lost now. Syria may be the same. North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, likely not. But Shaw also misses a larger point: it was the Clinton administration that turned Somalia into a war mission, instead of an aid mission, and the Clinton administration who launched wars in the Balkans when there was no US interest involved, and little possibility of stopping future violence. It was the Clinton administration that tried to get Israel to "lay back and take it" when under constant terrorist attacks, leading to the recent battles in Lebanon as well as far more terrorism than would have occurred if Israel had not relented on the occupation. It was Carter who let the Soviets invade Afghanistan without a meaningful response, and let the Iranians take American hostages with impunity. Frankly, I don't like our chances in military affairs with the Democrats in charge as a general rule. The party of Scoop Jackson and JFK died a lonely death in the rice paddies of SE Asia, and what's left of their spine is now in the Republican party.
I am not proud of myself for even considering the notion that another terror attack that costs even one American life could ever be considered anything else but evil and hurtful.
Yes you are. Were you not, you would never have published this. It may be a public shame for secret and perverse pleasure, but true shame this is not.
And I know that when I weigh the possibility that such an attack- that might, say, kill 100- would prevent hundreds of thousands of Americans from dying who otherwise would- I am exhibiting a calculating cold heart diametrically opposed to everything I stand for as a human being. A human being, who, just so you know, is opposed to most wars and to capital punishment.
More inoculation against accusations of what Shaw is really saying: he wants Americans to die in order for his preferred political party to gain power. He should be ashamed, but instead he glories in this. As noted by the second "but" of the article:
But in light of the very real potential of the next two American elections to solidify our growing American persona as a warlike, polluter-friendly nation with repressive domestic tendencies and inadequate health care for so many tens of millions, let me ask you this. Even if only from the standpoint of a purely intellectual exercise in alternative future history:
If you knew us getting hit again would launch a chain of transformative, cascading events that would enable a better nation where millions who would have died will live longer, would such a calculus have any moral validity?
Any at all?
First, Shaw sets up a false choice: either you are for Americans dying in large numbers, or you are for making America into "a warlike, polluter-friendly nation with repressive domestic tendencies and inadequate health care for ... tens of millions". Second, Shaw sets out a false premise: "Even if only from the standpoint of a purely intellectual exercise in alternative future history" — when Shaw clearly intends this not to be "a purely intellectual exercise", but rather a blueprint for his hopes, dreams, fantasies. Finally, Shaw dares us all to say that he is, in a moral sense, a monster.
Very well: Mr. Shaw, you are a monster. You are heinous and barbaric and I am ashamed to be from the same country as you. I dearly hope that you are forever frustrated from ever seeing your fantasies for the future of the United States put into practice, and I curse your name and all you stand for.
May 4, 2006
Hitchens v Cole
Frankly, I am amused at the whole Hitchens v. Cole dustup. I hope they both lose: here we find a vile and disgusting attack dog with a brilliant command of the English language and a vast capacity for ridicule (and not much else) fighting with a vile terrorist enabler who has no apparent command of any language, merely a passing acquaintance that seems to be literacy until you pay attention to him. May they both find joy in their downwards spiral, because I certainly will. Actually, I probably won't, because I won't be paying attention.
April 10, 2006
Still Not Gettin' It
No, the supporters of illegal immigration still don't quite get it.
Waiving Mexican flags, raising them above the American flag, and flying Old Glory upside down was not a great way to gain support or show how much you love America.
February 1, 2006
Speaking of Offending People
Some Lefties obviously have no problem offending the right people.
UPDATE: Like I said, it's OK to offend the right people.
January 31, 2006
Yearning for the Mud
Gerard Van der Leun has a must-read essay on why some people simply can't get their head around anything that might be good for America.
November 30, 2005
Staged Hostage Taking?
I could be wrong, but given that the four hostages taken in Iraq were anti-American activists, it is certainly possible that the hostage taking was staged with the cooperation of the hostages, or in that event "hostages". It will be interesting to see how this plays out.Posted by jeff at 5:18 PM | TrackBack
November 4, 2005
Apropos Brian's recent post, there is a serious problem in the black community in this nation. The first problem, of course, is that many blacks see themselves as a separate community in the first place, rather than part of mainstream life. But arising from that are all kinds of subsidiary problems, one of which is the set of differentiators the mandarins of black separatism have used to enhance the feeling of distinctness. For example, many blacks have internalized the idea that achievement is "acting white" and ipso facto bad.
Not only does this tend to make racial demagoguery (a favorite passtime of such luminaries as Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Cornel West and Al Sharpton) easier, it has the pernicious effect of ensuring the future poverty of those blacks who fall into the trap of believing it. You see, "acting white" encompasses such skills as reading for understanding, writing for clarity and succinctness, clear verbal communications, and any kind of skills that might lead to attainment in the sciences, mathematics, or other subjects not based on emotion. This means that by the time these unfortunate kids graduate — assuming that they do — they already have two strikes against them. Not because of institutionalized racism, as the demagogues suggest, but because of their own cultural aversion to success, as Bill Cosby frequently notes.
This also leads to the "beaten monkey" problem, which was described in an interesting scientific experiment some years ago. A banana was suspended above a mound, and monkeys were put into the room with the mound and banana. Any monkey getting to the top of the mound would get an electric shock. Within a very short period of time, any monkey attempting to get onto the mound would get pulled down and beaten by his fellows. Even after the shocks were turned off, this behavior continued, and new monkeys introduced to the room learned the behavior from their fellows, to the point that even after all the original monkeys had been removed from the room, and none of the monkeys in the room had ever been shocked, attempting to climb the mound would result in a savage beating. The "acting white" stigma in the black community has a similar self-sustaining quality to it, and leads easily to the tearing down of any black who succeeds on their merits, rather than being given a handout.
I don't know how this can be overcome, but our options as a society are to overcome it, or to confine about an eighth of our population to the status of permanent underclass.
October 28, 2005
Here is a disgusting view of America, by a French-born photographer living in Rome. Interestingly, a similar gallery featuring the enemy doesn't need to be photographed: the enemy almost always photographs or films the actual beheadings and tortures they undertake (as opposed to the metaphorical ones we've been slandered as doing). But that would hardly fit the
enemyEuro-leftist agenda, now would it?
(hat tip: LGF)
October 11, 2005
What the Fuck????
OK, what country do we live in again? What is the deal about not arresting people for crimes they haven't yet committed, and may therefore not commit? Apparently, the State — my state, Texas — has decided that it's just fine and dandy to arrest people for drinking in bars, for public intoxication, on the premise that it will deter drunk driving! (hat tip: Planet Moron)
Even if they have a designated driver.
Even if they are not actually drunk.
Even though the bars are actually private property and thus, ipso facto, not public.
One simple, quick observation: what the fuck???? I used to think MADD was a worthy organization; lately, not so much. I'd rather take the risk of a drunk driver than take most of the intrusions on individual liberty promoted by MADD in the service of reducing drunk driving: drunk drivers can only kill me; MADD is trying to enfeeble or enslave me.
August 9, 2005
Juan Cole, Rat Bastard
Is it just me, or is Juan Cole not only the most consistently wrong analyst on events in Iraq, but also among the most offensive?
Was American journalist Steve Vincent killed in Basra as part of an honor killing? He was romantically involved with his Iraqi interpreter, who was shot 4 times. If her clan thought she was shaming them by appearing to be having an affair outside wedlock with an American male, they might well have decided to end it. In Mediterranean culture, a man's honor tends to be wrought up with his ability to protect his womenfolk from seduction by strange men. Where a woman of the family sleeps around, it brings enormous shame on her father, brothers and cousins, and it is not unknown for them to kill her. These sentiments and this sort of behavior tend to be rural and to hold among the uneducated, but are not unknown in urban areas. Vincent did not know anything serious about Middle Eastern culture and was aggressive about criticizing what he could see of it on the surface, and if he was behaving in the way the Telegraph article describes, he was acting in an extremely dangerous manner.
(hat tip: Michael Totten at InstaPundit)
UPDATE: Here are Steven Vincent's widow's thoughts.
July 26, 2005
Hanoi Hussein Jane
Let me just say that Jane Fonda is a waste of oxygen and can bite my ass.
UPDATE: Speaking of people who can kiss my ass....
June 20, 2005
Needs a Killin'
There was a case in Texas in, I think, the 1920's, where a jury let a man off for murder, because the murdered man "needed killin'". If that description ever fit anyone, it fit these morons. (hat tip: InstaPundit, who has links to more pictures and commentary)
In fact, were I seated on a jury, hearing the murder trial of, say, a family member who saw these signs, jumped out and started firing at the placard bearers, I'd have a hard time doing anything but letting them walk. Maybe applauding them, too.
June 8, 2005
I Don't Even Know What to Say About This
Just go look. (hat tip: Liberals Against Terrorism) Who came up with the communist propaganda...and then decided it would be a good thing to use it? It looks like North Korea - no, it looks like several people need to be fired.
May 31, 2005
Sick and Disgusted
Just remember that according to the multi-culturalists, all cultures are equally valuable. Sadly, this is not uncommon in the Muslim world, where for example women are often killed (by their own fathers, frequently) for losing the family's honor because they were raped (sometimes by their male relatives).
May 26, 2005
Freedom of Religion? Not in Indiana, Apparently
An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."
The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.
Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple's divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.
Bradford refused to remove the provision after the 9-year-old boy's outraged parents, Thomas E. Jones Jr. and his ex-wife, Tammie U. Bristol, protested last fall.
Here are some words: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Here are some more: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
So, the Constitution in Amendment I prohibits the Congress (and by Supreme Court decision the rest of the Federal government) from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. And in Amendment XIV the Constitution extends those protections (along with other privileges and immunities) such that States cannot abridge them. If you claim that this is not an exercise of religion, but a restriction of speech, then the Constitution (again, Amendment I) still prohibits the regulation of speech. The Supreme Court has found that this is not unlimited: speech can be restricted, so long as the restriction is either content neutral or specifically related to the regulation of business communications (advertising, in particular) under the interstate commerce clause.
In any event, this is clearly unconstitutional. The parents should refuse to obey it, or should leave Indiana for a less tyrannical State. The law enforcement officers should refuse to enforce it (and if they do, the parents should resist that enforcement with armed force). No judge should accept any case on these grounds, except to find summarily in favor of the parents. No jury should convict the parents of any crime they are charged with for violating this order, including any defense of their rights with armed force.
And, yes, the judge should be impeached or recalled.
UPDATE: The Wild Hunt has Jason Pitzl-Waters' own reaction and a comprehensive roundup of other reactions. No, I don't think that this is symptomatic. If it were common, we wouldn't be so outraged, just as we have become numb to income taxes, intrusions on the second amendment, and the Supreme Court's arrogation to itself of the power of final arbitration of the Constitution's meaning.
August 10, 2003
And He is Us
Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.
I stopped reading Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler a few weeks ago, and removed Misha from my blogroll, because while I frequently agree with the underlying sentiments, I could not keep reading the bitter, over-the-top rhetoric any more. As a result, I missed this post. Michael Totten took it on, and that was my trigger for lauding of Michael Totten's site as an example of the richness of the blogosphere.
Michael Totten's comments, and then reading Misha's post, had gotten me thinking about writing a response, about how the extreme right and the extreme left are tending together in many ways, and how this is now dragging in the far edges of the center right and center left, who should be aiming not for the further edges, but for the center. I had not gotten the post fully firmed up in my mind, however, by the time that Joe Katzman wrote this. Thanks, Joe, for your words and your humanity.
UPDATE (8/23): Misha steps up and corrects himself. It takes a big man to admit he was wrong, and Misha qualifies.
Yes, I meant it as a joke, and I was absolutely convinced that that had been made clear. Well... It looks like it hadn't, and I regret that.Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
Yes, I, because I was the one who wrote it, not you, not my upbringing, not the school bully who stole my lunch once (ONCE!) in the 2nd grade, but me.
So this time, I'm going to make it so clear that even the most dimwitted of Idiotarian retards have no excuse for not understanding it. If they choose not to, which I'm willing to bet a small fortune that they will, then so be it, I can't help that, nor do I give a flying rat's fart in an F-5:
What was done at the UN building should, if there's anybody up there listening to my prayers, get the ragheaded motherfucking sons of malformed goats and bitches hunted down like the fucking rabid dogs that they are and killed, preferably extremely slowly, but I'll settle for dead if that's the best that I can get.
I've said that already, you know. Terrorism is wrong and its only reward should be death.
But it's also wrong to say things that sound like an excuse for terrorism, even if you hate the scumsucking bastards that get hit and even if that's not what you mean to say.
And, and this I thought was obvious already, I sure didn't mean to express any support for any of those goat molesting sand lice. I thought it was obvious but, with a little help from my friends, I've come to realize that it could look like it. And you're the natives here, so I'll have to take your word for it.
What this means is that I blew it with that post. Well, I blew it with respect to some of you, but that's bad enough as far as I'm concerned. I'm trying to communicate here and if what I think I say doesn't register the same on the receiving end of my target audience, then I've failed. But that's why I'm the Emperor and not "Pope Misha I", I get to screw the pooch from time to time.
August 1, 2003
Waste of Perfectly Good Oxygen
Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.
Norman Geras points out a question to and answer by Jaques Derrida. To sum up, Derrida believes that merely calling the date "September 11", rather than "le 11 septembre", suggests that "something" happened which "we perhaps have no concept and no meaning available to us to name in any other way" except "international terrorism" which is of course a completely socially constructed concept, and the event is "like an intuition without concept".
To sum up the summary, only an "intellectual" could believe something this stupid.
July 11, 2003
A Future of Prolonged Hardship and Suffering
Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.
Similarly today, with all those who seem so to relish every new difficulty, every set-back for US forces: what they align themselves with is a future of prolonged hardship and suffering for the Iraqi people, whether via an actual rather than imagined quagmire, a ruinous civil war, or the return (out of either) of some new and ghastly political tyranny; rather than a rapid stabilization and democratization of the country, promising its inhabitants an early prospect of national normalization. That is caring more to have been right than for a decent outcome for the people of this long unfortunate country.
Frankly, I'd be less annoyed with the Left if their morality and their positions were more closely aligned. Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
June 10, 2003
The day that a Constitutional Amendment banning flag burning clears both houses of Congress is the day that I book a trip to Washington, DC, so that I can burn copies of the Constitution on the steps of the Capitol.Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
May 23, 2003
Compelling Interest? Uh, No
Noshin Hoque, a two-year old girl in Michigan, will likely be dead within two years. The reason for this is that she has a tumor in a rather inaccessible part of her brain. It turns out that surgery has a 70% to 80% chance of either killing the girl or blinding her or leaving her a vegetable. So far, this is just a tragedy, but the government wants to make it worse, if possible:
But now prosecutors have taken the Hoques to court to force them to go ahead with the surgery in a case that revisits the question of who should decide what is best for the child when it comes to lifesaving medical treatment.
"There's no other outcome but death, without surgery," said David Gorcyca, prosecutor in suburban Detroit's Oakland County. "I think if I'm a parent given a 30 percent fighting chance of survival, I'm taking that shot every time."
I wonder if Mr. Gorcyca would like to reflect on his statement a little longer? If he can "take that shot every time" than why cannot another parent, such as the Hoques, decide not to? More to the point, how would he feel if his child were in such a situation, and the state decided that it was cruel to do surgery that had a 70% to 80% chance of failure, and therefore not to allow his child to have surgery? It's not all that farfetched; once the government gets power over an area, there's no reliable way to control how it uses that power. (Case in point, why does regulation of interstate commerce give the government power to ban guns on school grounds? Hint: it takes more than two years to overturn a bad law - the girl wouldn't have the time to go through that process, even assuming the state didn't force the operation anyway, while the courts were considering the case.) And if the state can determine what medical care you must give your children, what can they be prevented from forcing you to do to/with your child? How is forcing you to get specific medical care for your child different, for instance, from forcing you to feed your child a particular diet, totally against your will?
Even if you believe that the state has a compelling interest to see that every single child is treated according to the advice of doctors, rather than according to the desires of the child's parents, then what is the compelling interest in this case? Given the high odds of the surgery's failure, the decision to have this particular surgery is surely a judgement call. I have a hard time seeing any case where the government should be getting into judgement calls about very risky procedures.
This is a travesty, and should not be allowed to happen.Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
The Path to Victory
This article by James Webb, courtesy of the Braden Files, talks about the end of the Viet Nam war and the part played in it by the hard left and the entertainment industry. The history of that ending is perhaps the most ignominious chapter of American history, but not for the reasons most people think.
This so-called Watergate Congress rode into town with an overriding mission that had become the rallying point of the American Left: to end all American assistance in any form to the besieged government of South Vietnam. Make no mistake—this was not the cry of a few years earlier to stop young Americans from dying. It had been two years since the last American soldiers left Vietnam, and fully four years since the last serious American casualty calls there.
For reasons that escape historical justification, even after America's military withdrawal the Left continued to try to bring down the incipient South Vietnamese democracy. Future White House aide Harold Ickes and others at "Project Pursestrings" ... worked to cut off all congressional funding intended to help the South Vietnamese defend themselves. The Indochina Peace Coalition, run by David Dellinger and headlined by Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, coordinated closely with Hanoi throughout 1973 and 1974, and barnstormed across America's campuses, rallying students to the supposed evils of the South Vietnamese government. Congressional allies repeatedly added amendments to spending bills to end U.S. support of Vietnamese anti-Communists, precluding even air strikes to help South Vietnamese soldiers under attack by North Vietnamese units that were assisted by Soviet-bloc forces.
Then in early 1975 the Watergate Congress dealt non-Communist Indochina the final blow. The new Congress icily resisted President Gerald Ford's January request for additional military aid to South Vietnam and Cambodia. This appropriation would have provided the beleaguered Cambodian and South Vietnamese militaries with ammunition, spare parts, and tactical weapons needed to continue their own defense. Despite the fact that the 1973 Paris Peace Accords called specifically for "unlimited military replacement aid" for South Vietnam, by March the House Democratic Caucus voted overwhelmingly, 189-49, against any additional military assistance to Vietnam or Cambodia.
The campus radicals, then the students and now the professors, aligned with an internationalist media hostile to the very idea of America, were successful in persuading the Democratic Party, along with a few very right-wing Republicans, to stymie South Viet Nam's efforts at self defense. These very same people, and their ideological adherents (in academia, the media and the entertainment industry), were the loudest voices against American intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, and likely will be the loudest voices against any future American moves overseas, either to defend ourselves or to bring freedom to an oppressed people. So were these people right then, and are they right now, and what should we do about it?
I read a biography of Creighton Abrams, the theater commander in Viet Nam from the late '60s into the early '70s. The biography discussed in some detail the ineffectiveness of large-scale maneuver warfare, and how Abrams changed the US methods, and in the process basically won the war. The new way of fighting was so effective that by 1971, Abrams was able to travel alone in a jeep, with only his sidearm, from near the border with North Viet Nam all the way to Saigon. He encountered no troubles along the way. And yet, at the point where we had beaten the VC completely, and held the NVA off so that they were unable to beat the ARVN troops in guerilla warfare, we simply withdrew. Not simply withdrew; we also reneged on all of our agreements to support the South in any way, as the Webb article states. In other words, there is not really a question as to whether or not we could have won the Viet Nam war; we did win it. Then we went home and watched from the sidelines as terror descended. That was our defeat: we simply refused to live up to agreements that would not have put a single American in danger. We gave away South Viet Nam and Cambodia rather than spend small amounts of money. We mooted the blood sacrifice of 59000 Americans and even larger numbers of Viet Namese over what amounts to the irate indignation of college students, reporters and movie stars!
Today, those who architected our defeat in Viet Nam want to repeat the performance. With Communism all but dead as an alternative to capitalist representative democracy, these idiots and fools want us instead to surrender to its pale cousins, transnational progressivism, moral relativism, postmodernism and multiculturalism. The hard left wants America to abandon the moral position that freedom is better than oppression, as they convinced us to abandon such a position in Viet Nam. By cheapening our patriotism, lessening our dedication to freedom, and bathing us in self-loathing, these "intellectuals" hope to make us powerless, as they are powerless. Are we better than the Islamic militants? Are we more authentic? Are we more pure? They want us to surrender, in the end, to them, to allow "our betters" to lead us as only they can, down the path of France into historical irrelevance. As long, that is, as they have tenure, a good story and our unconditional worship of them. If the price of that is dhimmitude, they are willing to have us pay it.
We must not surrender to these whispering (well, shouting, really) voices of defeat and despair. We can refuse, and here is how: we must cut off the indoctrination of future generations. (Reality will, over time, take care of the vast majority of those already indoctrinated, as long as they are unable to gain political power in the meantime.) We can do this by:
- demanding that our media give us unbiased information, by choosing alternatives that do so. In other words, force the media to live more in the real world.
- not allowing Federal or State funding for universities, except in the form of scholarships to students. This has the dual effect of making universities more responsive to students, and removing a layer of automatic support for whatever idiocy professors wish to spout. In other words, force the Universities to live more in the real world.
- not listening to entertainers pronounce on subjects other than entertainment. At least, no more than we would any other random person.
- home schooling our children, forcing districts to abandon the PC educational fads, or implementing school choice. Each of these measures increases the need for public schools to live in the real world.
The combined effect of these actions would be to reduce the influence of radicals, whose voice is magnified by their presence in media, educational establishments, and the entertainment industry. Over a generation, the reduction in that voice of despair would be rather dramatic, and I believe that such a change in our society would allow us to bring real peace to the world, by removing every single dictatorial government anywhere on Earth and replacing it with a representative government and free-market economy based on the ideals of the Enlightenment. No lesser goal is worthy of us, and indeed no lesser goal will remove the threat to freedom posed by unaccountable despots. Only by eliminating the voices of unreasonable doubt can we tackle such an ambitious goal. Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
May 13, 2003
This view of both journalists and audiences as easily-led, ideological dupes of the powerful is not just a fantasy of Chomsky and Herman's own making. It is also a stance that reveals an arrogant and patronising contempt for everyone who does not share their politics. The disdain inherent in this outlook was revealed during an exchange between Chomsky and a questioner at a conference in 1989 (reproduced in Chomsky, Understanding Power, 2002):
Man: The only poll I've seen about journalists is that they are basically narcissistic and left of center. Chomsky: Look, what people call "left of center" doesn't mean anything — it means they're conventional liberals and conventional liberals are very state-oriented, and usually dedicated to private power.
In short, Chomsky believes that only he and those who share his radical perspective have the ability to rise above the illusions that keep everyone else slaves of the system. Only he can see things as they really are.
Noam Chomsky provides, to a very large extent, the ideological underpinnings of the radical leftists. The violent anarchists and extreme neo-Marxists who make up the core of the "anti-war" movement draw much of their rhetoric from Chomsky. As Glenn Reynolds would put it, they're not anti-war, they're just on the other side. Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
May 12, 2003
Tell Me Again
Many soldiers watched huge antiwar protests on the news and weren't sure of the reception they'd get at home. At the end of their shifts, they'd often gather in tents and talk about the stateside mood.Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
"Did we talk about it and did it matter? Yes," says Air Force Capt. Jeff Isgett of Fairbanks, Alaska, an A-10 pilot who flew forward air-control missions over Baghdad. "We fight for our country, we love the people of this country, and we love what it stands for, so the hardest part was [feeling] that people had a lack of trust" in military officials, he says.
May 9, 2003
I'm Feeling Ill, Too
Glenn Reynolds notices this article from the Telegraph. Apparently what most struck Glenn was how diseased anti-Americanism is. Gregory Taylor, whom Glenn quotes, was apparently most struck by Ms. Drabble's lack of historical sense. I was, on the other hand, most struck by how those in love with language get so caught up in turning a beautiful phrase, that they forget how insipid and vapid:
My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness. I now loathe the United States and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world.
or how inaccurate (it was Fat Man, not "Big Boy"):
Others have written eloquently about the euphemistic and affectionate names that the Americans give to their weapons of mass destruction: Big Boy, Little Boy, Daisy Cutter, and so forth.
or how trite:
We are accustomed to these sobriquets; to phrases such as "collateral damage" and "friendly fire" and "pre-emptive strikes". We have almost ceased to notice when suicide bombers are described as "cowards". The abuse of language is part of warfare. Long ago, Voltaire told us that we invent words to conceal truths. More recently, Orwell pointed out to us the dangers of Newspeak.
are the actual thoughts they are expressing.
I do like Glenn's idea of painting smiley faces on our weapons to disconcert the enemy. Maybe we could put a bunny stencil on the side as well.Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
No-knock warrants have always deeply disturbed me. If a handful of heavily-armed people, dressed as police, break down your door in the middle of the night, and rush into your house, what do you do? Are they really police, serving a no-knock warrant? Or are they criminals there to kill or rob you, who dressed as police to put you off guard? If you are Robert Rogers, do you throw away your gun so the police don't shoot you, or do you defend yourself and your wife against the "police?"
We as a free society should never be so desperate to convict that we have to resort to NKVD tactics in order to catch someone with drugs. And make no mistake, that is the purpose of most of these raids. (The Branch Dividian mess in Waco was an exception; that was for banned guns. Which it turned out did not exist, once the FBI sifted through the debris.) Why not just serve a normal warrant. If you cannot serve the warrant because the person to be served won't leave their residence, then wait them out, patiently. We've got all the time in the world, really. And if the concern is that police officers will be fired on, then wait for the suspect to leave the place and detain them, then execute the warrant.
Of course, the British have seen the solution to this dilemma: never defend yourself.Posted by jeff at 12:00 AM | TrackBack
April 24, 2003
You just have to read it to believe it. I linked to the Natalie Solent article because it links to some other interesting ones. If her archives don't work (she's on blogspot, why should they?), the article is titled Want a little anger before you go to sleep tonight? and is from April 24.Posted by jeff at 5:46 PM | TrackBack
The Fruits of Socialism
This article does a good job of taking apart the "International Bill of Rights" propounded by a bunch of Berkeley academics and lawyers. This "Bill of Rights" is, basically, an attempt to impose socialism worldwide. I wish I could say it was a joke. This, in a nutshell, is the ideology that we must defeat if the Enlightenment values are to be preserved in the West.Posted by jeff at 10:29 AM | TrackBack