Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page

anti-PUMA activities?

Simon Owens at Bloggasm is reporting that a number of anti-Obama blogs were shut down after complaints:

After some digging it became apparent that several Blogspot accounts had been shut down because of similar spam issues, and nearly all of them had three things in common: Most were pro-Hillary Clinton blogs, all were anti-Barack Obama, and several were listed on justsaynodeal.com, an anti-Obama website.

I haven’t verified it, but since PUMA blogging seems to have become my thing recently, I thought I’d note it.

h/t Protein Wisdom

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Update (2008 July 1): An article in the NYT gives more information.  Google (which owns Blogspot) claims it was a problem with their spam filters.  The PUMAs don’t buy it.

Related: PUMA: more wild and wacky election fun, Obambi: hatin’ on Obama

Obambi: hatin’ on Obama

Obambi is an eye-opening site that shows there is some serious Obama hatred around. I ran across it looking through PUMA sites I mentioned previously.

Posts include things like Barack Hussein Obama: 10 Things to Fear and Unity My Ass: Say It Ain’t So Hillary, Barack Obama is a Vile Socialist. But what grabbed my attention most were the graphics. Juxtaposing words like “racist,” “nope,” and “idiot” with images of Obama, and clearly photoshopped images of Obama with Iranian leader Ahmadinajad, really make an impression, of some kind.

Then there’s The Kilzone, which is worse.  Images there mix swastikas, sickle and hammer themes, and other objectionable symbols with Obama images.  Whatever one thinks of Obama, or any of the candidates, none of them are comparable to Nazis or communists, and this kind of imagery is sickening.

Dems briefed on interrogation methods

back in 2002, from the Washington Post:

. . . long before “waterboarding” entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

There were Democrats who knew all along what Bush was doing. They had the same intel he had about Iraq and supported Saddam’s overthrow. They knew about the interrogation techniques and, except for one, approved. The Democrats were a full party to the War on Terror, until it became politically expedient to claim they had been fooled.

PUMA: more wild and wacky election fun

Just got introduced to PUMA – Party Unity My Ass. Apparently, these are the “dead-ender” Clintonistas (insurgency implications included). Here’s some quotes from two PUMA sites:

PUMA Power:

Now is not the time to put a love object in office, a weakling who will be entirely dependent on his power elite enablers. Or worse, he may be a dissembler who has barely disguised his contempt for the voters.

There will be a lot of calls for “Unity!”. But let us acknowledge what this really is. “Unity” is a weapon that the party is going to use against us. It is the emotional blackmail of the teenager. “If you don’t let me have my way, it will be all YOUR fault if something bad happens!” “If you don’t get in line, it will be YOUR fault if we lose.

Cannonfire (toward the end of the post):

The Obot journals have published a few pieces on how to talk to the PUMA partisans. All of these pieces show them to be just as clue-free as Garrett and Dan were in that old skit. None of these pieces suggests that the progs might make some headway if they showed some humility. Here’s a suggested start:

“We spread lies against Clinton. We acted like Freepers. We’re sorry.”

Pure ego forbids them from making this admission. Indeed, the Lightbringer himself has said that he had to “bite his tongue” in dealing with Hillary — as though he were the offended party, as though he were on the receiving end of a smear campaign!

There’s no humility in Obotland. As these reponses to Traister’s piece exemplify, they remain mired in their revolting Messianic adulation of the Lightbringer (even though they no longer even try to defend him against charges of serial prevarication) and in their hatred of all things Clintonian . . .

What a really interesting campaign this continues to be.

Update (2008 June 28 ): US News mentioned this phenomenon, noting that more than 100 anti-Obama blogs have been created in the last 20 days.

Update (2008 June 29): The Confluence has a photo essay on a PUMA protest at a Unity event with both Obama and Hillary. Very interesting. Here’s Just Say No Deal, Party Unity My Ass, Democrats 4 McCain, DNC Monopoly, PUMA Party, and there’s a lot more out there.

Also, I have a new post up about Obambi.com and other hate sites.

Update (2008 June 30): Anti-PUMA activities?

the danger of the UN, part 2

Sudan is free to commit genocide because it supplies China with oil.  As a permanent UNSC member, China has veto power over all UNSC resolutions, so actually doing anything to stop the genocide in Sudan would be impossible to do legally.

In a similar way, the UN system is responsible for supporting tyrants and oppression around the world.

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part 1

the danger of the UN

In the comments to a post at abu muqawama (a good COIN blog), there is a discussion of the role of the UN in world security. I take the position that it has recently made the world a more dangerous place. Here is my argument, which is also posted in abu muqawama’s comments. (The whole post is worth a read as well.)

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a direct result of the UN’s corruption during the sanctions period. If the UN had authorized the removal of Saddam in 1998 when the inspectors decided he was making their job impossible, they could have given him one last chance and he would have made good on it, or not. Whether Saddam complied or not, and been removed or not, the UN would have been both effective and seen as effective, and it would have kept the proper relationship between US military force and the UN. This would have probably been the best resolution.

Instead, when Butler and his inspectors left Iraq, the UN did nothing, and effectively the Coalition did nothing. Of course, by that time three of the permanent members of the UNSC had been bought by offers to allow their oil companies to develop Iraqi oil fields once sanctions were lifted. Since the US had made a big show of following the UNSC, Saddam considered himself safe to do as he pleased.

What pleased him was causing pretty big numbers of Iraqis to die due to malnutrition and lack of proper medical care after he had corrupted the Oil for Food program. The UN officials he bought looked the other way, and he and his cronies got wealthier while his propaganda machine exploited the deaths he caused to build hatred against the US. AQ cited Iraqi deaths under sanctions as one reason they attacked the US, I believe, and I am fairly certain Saddam’s propaganda on the sanctions helped recruit anti-US terrorists in the late 90s and early 2000s.

At the same time, Saddam was funding and supporting terrorist groups, particularly ones that targeted Israel. Since the Isreali-Palestinian issue is seen as key to peace in the ME, Saddam’s influence was for more war and less peace.

The UN was Saddam’s main protector, regardless of what he did, what laws he broke, or how many deaths he caused, because he bribed the relevant components of it. This contributed far more to violence and instability than to peace, law and order. Clearly the UN increased the threat of violence in the ME and the world during that decade, and it has not apparently improved in the meantime.

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part 2

appreciating our veteran squirrels

or squirrely veterans, whichever.

Law: See Also

Some related links to my post on the American justice system (more to be added as we go):

Dumb Laws Blog

FBI breaks law

US Supreme Court gives rights in excess of Geneva Convention to illegal combatants

An ex-FBI agent outlines the mistakes the agency made in a key investigation

Rachel Lucas on a no-knock entry that shouldn’t have been

Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America

Misuse of science and the bias of expert witnesses in the courtroom

Pathetically unqualified medical examiner loved by prosecutors

Orange County prosecutors want convictions, not trut

American (In)Justice System

My main contention is that the American justice system has become a form of tyranny.

This post could easily become a long, long essay, so I will simply outline my argument. Future posts will deal with some specifics, including a few ideas for how to repair the system. I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, so I fully recognize some of my arguments may be naive; I post this as a challenge, as an example of the frustrations of an American citizen, and welcome anyone more knowledgeable to correct me if I am wrong.

1. The system exacts a toll from every citizen, not for their good, but for the good of legal professionals (lawyers, judges, police of various kinds, etc.). No matter who else wins or loses, the legal professions always win, always gain power, always gain wealth. The fear of the legal system itself works in favor of the legal professions and hurts everyone else. This seems to me a form of extortion. Legal professionals themselves are often immune from prosecution, either by law or by practice.

2. The system is essentially impossible to change from within. Within the federal government there is a separation of powers between the judicial, legislative, and executive. However, the legal profession has subverted this separation. Two of the three branches are controlled by members of one social group: lawyers. These individuals cannot be counted on to change a system they’ve been indoctrinated in, that has provided them with prestige and wealth, and that continues to affirm their career decisions. We recognize this in other cases: We would not let any other group police itself, but rather the legal professions police all other groups, and themselves. There are times, e.g. during the Clinton administration, when lawyers control all three branches of government. Repeatedly we see that legal judgments never go against the legal profession. In order to make changes, it would be necessary to appeal to legal professionals to change their own profitable, prestigious system. I consider it essentially impossible.

3. The law itself is often contradictory and therefore essentially arbitrary. There is no difference between a tyrant who rules by whim and a massive system of contradictory laws that are impossible to wholly understand. For that matter, there is no difference between an arbitrary tyrant and a single law that the person it applies to cannot understand. Legalese is the enemy of the average citizen in a very real, and sometimes lethal, way. The power of judges is likewise arbitrary; every judge is a tyrant in his or her own courtroom, some benign, some not. In the case of truly tyrannical judges, the press and lawyers are well-advised not to publicize this fact if they may end up in that judge’s courtroom in any capacity whatsoever.

Example 1: I know of a case in which an elderly woman was ordered to appear before a judge at a certain time. She arrived in plenty of time, but mistook the courtroom and went to the wrong one. Realizing her mistake, she found the right courtroom and entered a few minutes late. The judge ruled her in contempt of court and she spent the night in jail. After her release, she contacted the press and a small story appeared. The judge then called her attorney demanding to know why he had advised her to go to the press. The elderly woman had no other recourse, the attorney needed to keep good relations with the judge, and nothing came of this.

Example 2: I know of another case in which a judge ordered a Department of Human Services caseworker to find a foster home for a child by midnight on a certain day. The caseworker failed and was jailed for contempt for several days. Upon being released, the caseworker quit DHS, leaving the section assigned responsibility for finding foster homes for abused children short one worker until a new one could be hired and trained.

There is a great deal more to write, but this will suffice as an introduction to the topic. In summary, the American legal system is essentially arbitrary, impossible to change, and extorts resources from the citizenry for the benefit of a small, powerful elite. It is a form of tyranny.

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Postscript: This post has been a long time coming. It is coincidentally on the same theme as Grim’s recent post, The Trust Issue, which references this article about Americans prosecuted by the US for violating Honduran laws that had been repealed before the Americans “broke” them. (Grim h/ts Southern Appeal, a blogging lawyer.)

The inspiration for this post came from Grim’s blog as well. In a post I can no longer find because I can’t find a link to his archives, if he has them, there was a discussion of Crito, which relates Socrates decision to die as sentenced by law instead of run off to a safe city. I had invited someone at Grim’s to write an opposing piece, which I would be happy to post here if I could remember the gentleman’s name and contact him.

Finally, there is probably someone who has done this better, but this will do for me. I’d be happy to get links to any posts on similar or contrary themes.

Update, 2008 June 21: Grim links an excellent post from his archives that should be read as background philosophy for this post. The comments are excellent and should be read as well.

Also, I will be collecting other related links here.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

in short, it was grad school.  One more year down.

I’ve been thinking about the US justice system, and my next post will cover my thoughts.

It’s good to be back.