Monday, November 30, 2009

Justice is Weeping

Austin Hills latest article concerns the trial of some of those held at Guantenamo in New York. As you might expect he is upset at the prospect. And surprisingly enough he makes some good points.
What happens to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, if he is acquitted? “Failure is not an option” Mr. Holder explained in a Senate inquiry. Oh yeah? What about that thing called “due process?” Has the outcome of this trial been pre-determined? Are we to understand that “the fix is in?”Even a lay person like me can see that the outcomes of court trials are often highly unpredictable.

. . . And then there was our President, Barack Obama, who also stated that KSM will be convicted and executed. But what did that mean? Was this the President merely expressing confidence that his vision would become reality, as politicians so often do? Or was this the Executive Branch of our government pr-determining what the judicial branch will and will not do?
Those are some good questions - if you are going to put anybody up for trial you need to at least hold out the possibility that they might be found innocent. If you hold a trial and the outcome is predetermined, well, there's a word for that, and it's show trial.

That said, he doesn't have much of an answer either in my mind.
If, on the other hand, the Guantanamo Bay facility were defined as a “POW camp,” then those being detained there would be “enemy soldiers,” and would be subject to “rules of war” set forth in international law.

. . . By legal definition, a war is not a legal proceeding, and what happens on the battle field is not the same thing as what happens in a criminal investigation.
Fair enough, but prisoners of war are not held forever, nor are they considered guilty of anything other than being on the other side in a war. We didn't execute Germans or Japanese soldiers, except the leaders, who got trials at Nuremburg (those who weren't dead already). Those international laws Hill is referencing do not permit us to wantonly kill prisoners of war (and conservative opinion of those international laws, which include the Geneva convention, has been a bit shaky over the past few years anyway).

All this to say that Obama's plan for dealing with Guantenamo is pretty faulty, and is leaving himself open to these kinds of attacks, mixing some good points with some nonsense.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

American Exceptionalism

Dennis Pragers latest is about how Obama is ruining his Thanksgiving. Poor Mr. Prager. In particularly he is upset about Obama not believing in American Exceptionalism, which he helpfully defines.
It also includes an abiding belief in American exceptionalism, meaning that America has usually known better what is good for the world than any world body, that America's moral compass is generally more accurate than that of other nations, let alone the United Nations. This is not because Americans are born better or any such nonsense, but because American values have produced a particularly uncynical, idealistic nation, more willing to die for others than any nation in recorded history.
Very good statement of the doctrine of American Exceptionalism.

It does sort of mandate an arrogant foreign policy. We basically tell the rest of the world "Our values are better than yours and we know what's best for you." I'm not sure that's guaranteed to get the best results.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gay Rights

Robert Knight's latest article is interesting in how it opposite it seems from reality. He is taking on America's Homosexuals, who he inexplicably paints them as seemingly all powerful bullies intent on doing horrible things like passing ordinances that protect them from discrimination.

Yep - those all powerful gays are fighting really hard against being discriminated against. Robert Knight is standing up for Churches and individuals who want to discriminate against them. It's so backwards to reality.

Knight takes particular issue with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
A shocking example of a religious institution cowering before its opponents and suing for peace at Caesar’s throne is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ outright endorsement last week of a “gay rights” law in Salt Lake City. In essence, the law redefines biblical sexual morality into a form of actionable bigotry, turning ordinary people with traditional values into the legal equivalent of hateful racists. Adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to non-discrimination laws is the gateway to the entire homosexual political agenda, from harassing the Boy Scouts to forcing pro-homosexual programs into the schools and workplace. It is also an indispensable step for the creation of same-sex “marriage.” For a conservative religious institution like the LDS to embrace it is not only immoral but suicidal.
Again, Knight paints this law as an assault on Christianity. If Christians aren't free to oppress Gays than they are being persecuted and attacked. I've commented on this syndrome before. To certain Conservatives, if Conservative Christians don't get everything they want, they are being persecuted.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The War on Terror

Sorry not to be around this week - I have been ill and am still coming out of it.

Anyway credit where credit is do, Jonah Goldberg's latest article is not totally unredeemable.
Ultimately, the disagreement is one of first principles. If we are at war, then the rules of war apply. The fact that this is a war unlike others we've fought should not mean that it isn't a war at all.

Don't tell that to Obama. He's made it clear that he doesn't see the threat as an unconventional war but as a conventional law-enforcement problem. The attorney general insists that 9/11 is a matter for civilian courts.
OK he kind of kills it in the second paragraph, but the first paragraph is essentially accurate. Is the War on Terror a War or isn't it?

Or, to be more precise, are people captured in the war on terror captured on the battlefield or aren't they? See if they are captured on the battlefield than we can hold them in one way and if they are captured as civilians we have to treat them another way. This underlines the essential problem in the phrase "War on Terror" because the battlefield is, well, pretty much everywhere. Which implies that the Government can pick up anybody, anywhere, hold them for as long as they want and then dump them, with no recourse.

You might think I'm exaggerating but this has already happened several times. The Uighars held at Guantanemo for example. Others that we have turned over to countries who have somewhat less stringent rules on torture.

So Goldberg is right, this is about first principles. He wants the Government to be able to arrest anybody they want and hold them for as long as they like, so long as we are in a "War on Terror." Obama somewhat agrees with that (as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, his policy on this seems to guarantee that terrorists will be found guilty, and a venue in which they can be found guilty will be selected for them. Greenwald has also pointed out how this makes it difficult to defend trying some of them in New York.).

I am not insensitive to the difficulties of fighting this particular war, but I don't think we should abandon our principles to do it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bravely pointing out typing Errors since 2002

I assume this is an error. This is from Kevin McCullough's latest article, in which he argues against the rule of law on the grounds that it would be psychologically difficult for New Yorkers.
These trial proceedings will reopen the still mending emotional, psychological, and physical wounds of 9/11. In deciding with such reckless abandon to make a political pay-off to the far left, and the radical Islamic sympathizers they ignorantly embolden, President Obama is ripping the stitches out of the hearts of those that have wondered if closure will ever come. When the Attorney General promises court room cameras and complete transparency of the proceedings, he seems to ignore the possibility of radicals on camera shouting inaudible commands, jibes, and insults at those in the room as well as those sitting in caves across the globe.
I assume he means audible rather than inaudible. It's hard to shout inaudibly.

As for the desire to abandon the rule of law, I disagree with McCullough. I believe that our founders were inspired when they created it, and that many good and great men have toiled in the vineyards of justice to create our modern legal system. Yes it has problems, but it is more than equal to the task of providing justice to these men.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Treason and Intellectual Honesty

Austin Bay's latest article is about how Liberals throw around the term traitor too easily, in contrast to a real traitor like that guy who shot up Fort Hood, killing several people. Let's take a moment and be grateful that this isn't another Muslim Menace article.

Bay refers to an ad by MoveOn.Org which renamed General Petraeus as "General Betray Us," and Joe Klien suggesting that some of Fox News' programming was seditious (both pretty stupid in my opinion). He compares these to instances to the Joe McCarthy witch hunts.

Bay does not, of course, bring up the writings of Ann Coulter, a fellow contributor to Townhall, who has certainly thrown around the phrase and, in fact, wrote a whole book exonerating Joe McCarthy and encouraging new witch hunts against liberals. Kind of intellectually dishonest not to acknowledge that the problem isn't limited to liberals, in my opinion.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Compare and Contrast

I will note at the top that both of these articles come from the Conservative website
Maybe Hasan is just a homicidal lunatic set to work by fevered demons inside his brain. But post-9/11, you can't be a killer who happens to be a Muslim. If you're a killer, it has to be because you're a Muslim.
Steve Chapman, "Muslims and Mass Murder"
According to witnesses, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan entered a medical facility at Fort Hood, prayed briefly, then shouted "Allahu akbar" before he began gunning down American troops. Now I don't know which to be more afraid of: Muslims or government-run health care systems.
Ann Coulter, "Muslim Suffers Bruised Ego in Fort Hood Tragedy"
No one thinks "political correctness" obligates the Army to treat Muslims more leniently than anyone else. But it's just as simple-minded to think they deserve to be treated worse.
Steve Chapman
Despite being well aware of Hasan's disturbing views and conduct, the Army did nothing.

Far less offensive speech has been grounds for discipline or even removal from duties in the military.
Ann Coulter
The al-Qaida leader likes nothing better than to portray the United States as waging a crusade against Muslims. We would be doing ourselves no favor to confirm the accusation.
Steve Chapman
So, now any dyspeptic expression toward a Muslim is grounds for calling in a diversity coordinator. And when the "victim" attacks, as at Fort Hood, the rest of us are supposed to feel guilty because Hasan's car got keyed once.
This isn't perhaps a fair comparison. Anns main point, as it always is, is that Liberals are evil monsters. The Anti-Muslim stuff isn't her main point, but tangential. Still, it is nice to see that Townhall supports a diversity of views.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Ongoing Threat of Islam

As predicted we are seeing an uptick of articles on how we should all be afraid of Muslims. Austin Hill's latest article is particularly problematic. He references the Ft. Hood incident and another incident in which a Muslim Father ran over his daughter because she was living a sinful lifestyle.
Generally speaking, American non-Muslim fathers don’t run over their children with their cars and call it “honorable.” And American non-Muslim military personnel don’t intentionally kill their fellow soldiers. There is a pattern of very dangerous, deadly behavior with Muslims in America and around the world.

Americans must awaken to this reality, whether or not our President does.
Generally speaking, Muslims don't run over their daughters either. I mean Hill cites one incident, but that's not really a pattern, is it? Certainly I can cite some pretty awful things Christian Fathers have done to their children; would Hill then see that as proof the we need to awaken to a reality about Christians? Probably not.

Friday, November 06, 2009

I-Pod Ten - Morrissey

I have 169 Morrissey Songs. Here are 10 of them.
1. Now My Heart is Full (Vauxhill and I)
2. He Cried (Maladjusted)
3. Trouble Loves Me (Maladjusted)
4. On The Streets I Ran (Ringleader of the Tormentors)
5. The National Front Disco (Your Arsenal)
6. Certain People I Know (Your Arsenal)
7. The World is Full Of Crashing Bores (You Are the Quarry)
8. We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (Your Arsenal)
9. How Could Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? (You Are the Quarry)
10. Wide to Recieve (Maladjusted)
A somewhat turgid mix.

The Muslim Menace

Obviously, given the events at Fort Hood, we can expect quite a strong of Muslim Menace articles over the next few days. At this point, let me note that I use the term Muslim Menace ironically, not seriously. It is to refer back to the Red Menace articles of the Red Scare.

At any rate Roger Chapin over at Townhallis a bit ahead of the curve in his latest article, calling for an enormous and unworkable plan to deal with radical Islam. Among other things we should end self rule in Afghanistan as it clearly hasn't worked. We should shut down all Madrasses. We should destroy Iran's Nuclear facilities and remove their leaders. We should threaten Saudi Arabia until they shut down their nuclear facilities. We should also destroy North Korea's nuclear facilities (easier said than done I would think). If we don't do this we are doomed.
If we citizens don’t very soon wake up and demand our incredibly blind, misguided and inept leadership decisively acts to rescue our nation from the abyss, nothing else we do will matter. America, the doomsday clock is ticking.
So there you go. I will only point out that this incredibly expensive and risky plan is unlikely to get the Islamic world on our side. Rather it seems more likely to create more enemies, while stretching our resources far past the breaking point.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I-Pod Ten - Pet Shop Boys

I have 322 Pet Shop Boys tracks. Here are 10 of them.
1. In Private (Stuart Chrichton Club Mix)
2. Bet She's Not Your Girlfriend
3. Jealousy (Extended Version)
4. Left to My Own Devices (Seven Inch Mix)
5. Hey Headmaster
6. So Hard (Single)
7. Psychological (Alter Ego Remix)
8. Yesterday, When I Was Mad (Jam & Spoon Mix)
9. I Made My Excuses and Left
10. We all Feel Better in the Dark (Brothers in Rhythm Mix)
A lot from Fundamental and Fundamentelism (the remix cd attached to Fundamental). And then number 10 was goign to be In Private, the album version, again. So I dropped it, and went to the next track, which was a particularly long and boring remix, so I skipped that as well, and went to We all Feel Better in the Dark which is a nice track.

A Good Article from Townhall

When I saw the title of Steve Chapman's latest article, "America Only Seems Polarized," I had certain expectations. This is, after all, Townhall. I anticipated Chapman explaining that Liberals are only a minor annoyance in reality and truthfully the country is very Conservative. We aren't polarized, we're conservative.

Well I was wrong. He takes a more realistic tack on the subject.
The average American citizen, contrary to myth, is neither very angry, nor very far to the left or the right, nor inclined to treat anyone with different opinions as a mortal enemy. In a cluttered media environment, the most extreme voices tend to attract so much attention that it's easy to forget something important: Most people aren't listening.
Makes sense to me.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

News from the Past October 29, 1929

Two from the Denton Record Chronicle, although both of these stories cover lands far north of Denton Texas.
NOME, Alaska—Coyotes, virtually unknown in Alaska until 1915, have migrated northward in such numbers as to threaten extinction of deer in some sections.
Poor Coyotes must get mighty cold in the winter.
Rocky Mountain
Region Is Covered
By General Snow

DENVER, Colo.. Oct. 29.— Winter paid a real visit to the Rocky Mountain region last night, leaving a general snow from Montana to New Mexico. Parts of Montana, Wyoming,Colorado and New Mexico reported snow up to five inches.
Air mail transportation on the transcontinental line was paralyzed when mountains between Salt Lake City and Cheyenne were blotted out by fog and snow. Air mail was sent by train through the region. Highways were reported open and passable though some in Wyoming were drifted.
Childish I know, but this one made me think of a bad Saturday morning villain named General Snow. That's pretty cold for early in the season, though.

I-Pod Ten - Bob Dylan and Moby

I have 184 Bob Dylan songs. Here are 10 of them.
1. Desolation Row
2. Ballad in Plain D
3. John Wesley Harding
4. A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall
5. Ballad of a Thin Man (Live)
6. Maggie's Farm
7. Barbara Allen
8. All Along the Watchtower
9. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream
10. Like a Rolling Stone (Live)
Both of the live songs are from the "Royal Albert Hall" performance, and in fact contain the famous Judas call. Barbara Allen is from the Gaslight Tapes.

I have 174 Moby Songs, here are 10 of them.
1. Dream About Me
2. The Sky is Broken
3. Lift Me Up
4. I'm In Love (The Shapeshifters Maximal Remix)
5. In My Heart (new mix)
6. The Rafters
7. Natural Blues
8. Alice (General Midi Mix)
9. In This World
10. Afterlife
That's not a bad mix. They Sky is Broken, Natural Blues, Lift Me Up, and Alice are pretty tight songs. But Moby has never really equaled Play, and at this point I don't really expect him too.

Who Want's Yesterday's Papers?

Reading around Townhall today, on the election. Some of these articles were written yesterday. Larry Kudlow seemed to think that Hoffman was a shoe-in to win New Yorks 23rd District (he in fact lost to the Democrat). Michael Medved on the other hand has written an article urging conservatives to vote for Republicans.

It is very much a plea to the base not to go looking at third parties or at staying home.
GOP victories, in off year elections like those on Tuesday, and especially in the fateful Congressional elections of 2010, can save the country from Obama’s most radical and destructive schemes.
Well nice to see. I think, though, that both Republicans and Democrats are fidgety going into 2010. Conservatives are feeling strong and are not going to want to compromise on a less than conservative candidate. Liberals are feeling let down by Obama and are going to want to see real progress on issues they care about before 2010. Still a lot can happen between then and now.

I-Pod Ten - the Cure

I have 393 Cure songs on my I-Pod. Here are 10 of them.
1. Lulluby
2. World in my Eyes
3. Adonis (B-Side to the 13th)
4. Purple Haze (Virgin Radio Version)
5. Sinking (Live)
6. Freakshow
7. Never Enough (Live)
8. The Only One
9. The Perfect Girl (Studio Demo)(Instrumental)
10. Numb
That's a pretty good list. I like the other version of Purple Haze a lot more (this one sounds like a straight cover, and isn't as good). Freakshow and The Only One are the first two singles from the latest album. Both are pretty good.

Personal Responsibility

Conservatoids like to pretend that liberals are opposed to personal responsibility. Take Ben Shapiro's latest article.
Here is how the free market works: open competition among sellers, informed bidding among buyers. Sellers are responsible for competing; buyers are responsible for informing themselves. When the government pledges to increase competition or keep buyers informed, the market is no longer free.
He argues that Wall Street types were happy taking bad investment vehicles because they assumed that the government would take care of them. You know like how people don't bother preventing fires because we have Fireman. "Why shouldn't I smoke in bed? If my bedsheets catch on fire, Dennis O'Leary will be in here like a flash to put me out."

At any rate, I personally am keen on personal responsibility, but am not keen on letting the crooks and frauds off the hook by blaming their victims.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Interesting but Badly Formatted Article by Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas attempts to declare health care unconstitutional in his latest article, using the 10th amendment to suggest that the states and the people have the power in this case, not the Congress. Kind of a slippery argument.

Roe vs. Wade, a decision he presumably disagrees with, stated that the privacy between a doctor and his/her patient should be kept safe from Federal manipulation. If a woman wanted to have an abortion that is between her and her doctor and no one else. Healthcare reform, of almost any stripe, will be more intrusive than anti-abortion laws. Or at least that is the theory. So if the Court said the state can't get between a patient and a doctor in regards to abortion, maybe the state can't get between a patient and his or her medical bill.

Like I say a slippery article, and it kind of depends on Thomas and other conservatives accepting the logic behind Roe v. Wade, which presumably they don't accept.
Americans who believe their government should not be a giant ATM, dispensing money and benefits to people who have not earned them, and who want their country returned to its founding principles, must now exercise that power before it is taken from them. The Tenth Amendment is one place to begin. The streets are another. It worked for the Left.
It worked for the left in regards to civil rights; hard to see where else it worked.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Does President think Americans are Good People?

Well, not according to Austin Hill's latest article.
. . . can anyone – even Barack Obama’s most ardent supporters – honestly say that our current President believes that Americans are, in a general sense, “good people,” and worthy of defense? Both his words and actions would suggest that America might someday become good, but only if he can first bring us to justice.
And he goes on in this vein. Obama speaking respectfully to the Muslim World, his desire to regulate American Industry, all show that he doesn't love America, doesn't much want to protect her, and is, in fact, inclined to judge and punish her. And us.

This isn't a rare view on the right. I find myself wondering what the implications of a large group of Americans who believe the President doesn't like America and wants to ruin it is. Particularly if they believe that he isn't a legitimate President.

A Generation of Sociopaths

Gosh that doesn't sound good does it? Fortunately it's the name to a lazy half-assed article by Mike S. Adams. In it he references Glenn Beck to agree with him (and to tie into a conservative commentator who is somewhat more famous than Adams himself). Apparently the current generation is pretty bad.
When we replace belief in objective truth with moral relativism we are telling people they are the one true source of morality. And that leads them to believe they are all, in a sense, little gods and goddesses who should not be told what to do. Pretty soon we are spending all of our time dealing with little sociopaths who believe they are the center of the universe.
Yep. And if that's not bad enough for you, here's further proof of our moral decline. Some students use cellphones in class. Horrors. And to make matters even worse, some of them have rap ring tones.

I'm not joking, Mike S. Adams holds these up as examples of our intense moral decay. As well as students using laptops and showing up late for class. And it's all liberalisms fault.
Liberal professors complain constantly about student conduct. And it seems funny that very few of them understand that they are simply experiencing the real-world consequences of their own liberal ideas.
Yep - because before liberalism college age kids weren't self centered.

I find myself fascinated by the concept that without a believe in objective truth, we automatically get sassmouth and sociopaths. So what is the objective truth that Beck and Adams wish us to believe in? I've noticed that Muslim students are generally well behaved; is that a good "objective truth?" Or what is the "objective truth" that we should all believe in?

Of course saying so long as you believe in an objective truth, whether that be the Koran, the Bible, the Talmud, or the Book of Mormon, that's good enough, is kind of like saying that objective truth is subjective.