Tag Archives: justice

Why he’s the invisible man

If there were any point in putting your hard-earned money down on the long odds Justice Antonin Scalia would rule in favor of gay marriage, you can forget about it now:

With a potentially ground-breaking decision on gay marriage expected next week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Friday morning that he and other judges should stop setting moral standards concerning homosexuality and other issues.


We aren’t qualified, Scalia said.

For those of you unfamiliar with Nino’s schtick, this is him being humble. Imagine Billy Idol putting down his bong, his beer, and his portable looking glass.

. . the outspoken and conservative jurist told the N.C. Bar Association that constitutional law is threatened by a growing belief in the “judge moralist.” In that role, judges are bestowed with special expertise to determine right and wrong in such matters as abortion, doctor-assisted suicide, the death penalty and same-sex marriage.

Scalia said that approach presents two problems: Judges are not moral experts, and many of the moral issues now coming before the courts have no “scientifically demonstrable right answer.”

Not exactly David Copperfield, is he? Won’t even flatter us with a misdirection. It’s because the legal case for gay marriage is such a no-brainer that Scalia’s deigned to mix among the slack gobs and remind us how complicated the matter is. Homosexuals marrying each other is like quantum mechanical Parcheesi. Other judges think they can understand it. How arrogant!

His earlier statements about the legal rights of gay couples are even more outspoken. During an October speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Scalia described the death penalty, abortion and “homosexual sodomy” as “easy” constitutional issues. “Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years it was criminal in every state.”

You roll the clock back a few years, and then he swears the law is a piece of cake. Whatever the states were doing before the War of 1812, that’s what you call “constitutional.”


I can talk Trayvon Martin as long as you can

But what about justice for Zimmerman?
By Lloyd Marcus

I keep thinking of an episode of the 1973 TV show, “Kojak: The Marcus-Nelson Murders.” Homicide detective Kojak suspects that the black teenager . .

. . and with that, the latest volley of Zimmerman lifelines is launched by America’s right-wing. If liberals hate him, he must be pretty terrific. Hell, he was carrying a gun. That’s all you need to know.

We used to hear how everybody should just shut up about this case. Not any more. Back when we were unhinged, when we cared nothing about justice, we were supposed to leave the investigating and such to the authorities. The minute George got arrested, every upstanding citizen turned right into Columbo. Now they can’t leave it alone.

Incidentally, the whole thing ties in nicely with healthcare:

If Obama successfully forces U.S. Supreme Court justices to succumb to his politically correct interpretation of the law and rule Obamacare constitutional, setting such a precedence could mean so-called “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman is toast. It would mean facts, truth and the law are no longer relevant — only what the people/mob want rules the day.

Other than the badly knotted logic, I’d like to point something out. It’s possible that Zimmerman is guilty. Lloyd? Right? Then, if he’s convicted, it’s justice. Isn’t it? Why can’t that be? I mean, good lord. The fact it never occurs to this Marcus guy . .

Racism and George Zimmerman
Has the media learned nothing from the days of the Jim Crow South?
By Thomas Sowell

Whatever the ultimate outcome of the case against George Zimmerman for his shooting of Trayvon Martin, what has happened already is enough to turn the stomach of anyone who believes in either truth or justice . .

My god! Sowell is actually gonna try this. That George is a lot like Emmett Till, isn’t he? Stomachs are turning.

One of the first things presented in the media was a transcript of a conversation between George Zimmerman and a police dispatcher. The last line in most of the transcripts shown on TV was that of the police dispatcher telling Zimmerman not to continue following Trayvon Martin . .

Only later did I see a transcript of that conversation on the Sean Hannity program that included Zimmerman’s reply to the police dispatcher: “Okay.”

That reply removed the only basis for assuming that Zimmerman did in fact continue to follow Trayvon Martin. At this point, neither I nor the people who assumed that he continued to follow the teenager have any basis in fact for believing that he did or didn’t.

Wrong. This is frankly so disgusting a post, I don’t even want to go on. But, sigh. How about Trayvon’s body being found far from Zimmerman’s car, Thomas? And Trayvon’s girlfriend? She was on her cell with him. She heard him ask “What are you following me for?” She heard Zimmerman’s response: “What are you doing here?” I shouldn’t be gobsmacked by a National Review writer being a bald-faced liar or a goddamned moron, but here I am.

Why was that reply edited out by so many in the media? Because too many people in the media see their role as filtering and slanting the news to fit their own vision of the world.

The nerve of this guy. The nerve of all these people who pretend to be so much smarter than us. They’re going to astronomical lengths to pretend reality is a Stalinist hallucination. For your viewing pleasure, I include pix of these two geniuses, friends. And I do this not because they’re more guilty than any of the other nuts. I do it because it reminds me how messed up conservatism is.

I am of the opinion that politics is mostly driven by the way our brains are organized. A right-wing brain is a sad thing. It struggles to generate empathy. This turns people into rotten assholes and assholes into political operatives.

In reading the words and then seeing the faces of Lloyd and Thomas, we get hit with something like shock. Given the numbers of black men this authoritarian country hunted, enslaved and killed in the past, you would think it would strike them the way Zimmerman went after an unarmed black teen walking all alone. Trayvon hadn’t just ducked out of someone’s window, didn’t have a TV in his arms, wasn’t waving a pistol or kicking over mailboxes or even talking to himself. He was just walking. That’s all. And then he was running to get away from some strange guy with a gun. And then he was shot point blank, dead.

You would think aspects of this story would resonate with one of them, but they don’t. These people are that screwed up.


Clarence Thomas will run for president. Also, the buttmonkeys are here.

Just how stoned do you have to be to write for the Daily Beast? Or is this merely a Sunday problem? Everybody’s too hung over to be sane, apparently.

Clarence Thomas Is a Long Shot for President, But His Candidacy Makes a Lot of Sense
by Adam Winkler | The Daily Beast | Feb 26, 2012

. . While Christie and Bush might be fine candidates, perhaps the Republicans should consider a more inspired and game-changing pick: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Who thinks this is a good idea? Other than Adam Winkler and a couple of poo-flinging bloggers? If you’ve seen interviews with Thomas, you know what a hump of clay the man is. Phlegmatic, intellectually incurious and self-regarding, Clarence is more donkey than dude.

Thomas as a politician would be a hilarious flop. The guy’s currently got a gig where the opinions of others hold absolutely no sway over his well-being. No matter what anyone else thinks, he can’t be fired. It’s the easiest gig in the world for anyone with a point of view. And he hasn’t said a syllable in six years.

I would love to see Thomas try to convince anyone of anything, ever.

. . Thomas is outgoing and charming off the bench. When he was on tour promoting his autobiography, he easily engaged audiences with his wit, insight, and willingness to talk straight about his upbringing and the Court. About his refusal to ask questions, he’s drawn laughs by joking that his “colleagues should shut up!”

That’s funny? The other justices carrying their weight? No, that’s Thomas. He’s an ass. He’s a hack far out of his depth who’s been leveraging his mind-boggling good luck for gifts and glory. He’d be beyond stupid to resign his position just to become the latest and greatest 2012 Republican embarrassment. And while we’re talking dumb:

Mitt Romney Is a Canny Politician Doing What’s Necessary to Survive the Primaries
by Lee Siegel | The Daily Beast | Feb 26, 2012

Here’s an outrageous proposition. The Republican primary race is not chaos, or a clown show, or a travesty of the political process. It is going exactly as it was meant to go.

Here’s another one. Mitt Romney is not a stumbler, or a bumbler, or a fool. He is a shrewd man painstakingly making his successful way through a complicated situation.

It’s going so predictably well, isn’t it? What gainsaying bullshit.


On Mike Malloy imploring Liz Cheney to ‘go plan your father’s funeral’

Heavens — wake the nursing staff and tell them to bring up some smelling salts. Have the au pairs escort little Jodie and Vance out the side door, to the guest house — we wouldn’t want them to countenance Mummy and Daddy in such a state, no.

A psychic jolt just struck a few of the safe and well-to-do. A comprehensive and righteous agitation seized them, and they’re no longer happy, for a minute.

A big-mouthed liberal said something which wasn’t complimentary of former Vice President Richard Cheney. Or his callous daughter. Mike Malloy responded to Liz Cheney’s accusation that President Obama intentionally leaves Americans vulnerable to terrorism this way:

I don’t know why I give this psychopathic misdirected woman — you ought to be there planning your father’s funeral, Liz, because I’m sure all the nation’s bigwigs, especially the Republicans are going to fall all over themselves to worship in front of his coffin. That’s what you ought to be doing instead of making your filthy, insane, gratuitous statements about what the American people expects their president or an administration to do to protect us from terrorist attack. Shame on you, Liz Cheney. Go plan your father’s funeral. Just do that. Do at least one thing in your useless life that will have some meaning. Go plan his funeral.

Well. Why was it, do you think, that Mike got so mad? This?

He died. And this:

I imagine the boy died, too. They weren’t the only ones.

Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people died. Why? Because Dick Cheney had enough post-9/11 political power to drive America into invading the boogeyman nation of Iraq.

Mike’s actually talking about that: Dick’s Exercise of Conservative Philosophy that eviscerated Iraq, Iraqis and his fellow Americans. A seven year nightmare that will give thousands of good Americans nightmares for decades to come. An unspeakable horror for which Dick remains proud and free. Someone deserves to be severely punished for the blood-gushing and dismemberment of 4,200 Americans, now deceased, for 30,000 Americans wounded, and for the cadavers of at least 100,000 Iraqis, many of them once women and children.

Any American who slaughters that many people, he deserves justice. And he deserves it more surely than any routine criminal. Otherwise, can you imagine prosecuting people for, say, vehicular manslaughter while letting Charles Manson go free? Because we were scared of him, or because he was popular? Manson did have his fans. But Manson will die in jail, and that’s appropriate. Dick Cheney deserves to be hanged from the neck until he’s dead. I don’t believe an execution is a civilized response, but, in Dick’s case, it’s warranted.

Mike Malloy, by contrast, deserves . . what? After all, he just talks. And all Mike said to Liz was “Do at least one thing in your useless life that will have some meaning. Go plan his funeral.” Goodness.

But this was Conservative ‘News Buster’ Noel Sheppard’s reaction:

What the hell is happening to this nation?

Oh me. Thousands of Americans must have heard Mike’s comment.

. . I’m speechless and need desperately to go take a shower hoping with all my heart I can scrub this filth from my memory.

You go do that. And forget Cheney’s Policy Assault Force who daily washed the Iraqis’, or their own, or their buddies’ blood, bone and brain matter from their skin. My, aren’t those words of Mike’s dirty? Don’t they stain?

Dear me, Noel — what has the radio liberal done to America? It’s unclear. What has Dick Cheney done to America? That’s obvious, with all the funerals and all the good people trying to walk around without the legs they were born with.

So, Liz? Some advice to you: forget Mike’s telling you to do something useful for yourself, you can do better. Do something useful for America. I guarantee you that the prosecution of your dad for his pet-project war will make us a better nation. No American with that much political power will ever look at invading a country the same again. There will be real and personal consequences for the unjustified use of violence, and that’s exactly how it should be.

Hand him over to a war crimes tribunal in The Hague, and then go plan your father’s funeral.


Michael Medved favors reparations for neither apples nor oranges

Why No Push For Gay Reparations
by Michael Medved

Leftwing activists love to make the case for gay rights by associating the struggles of today’s homosexuals with the long, heroic battle for racial justice in the Civil Rights movement. Most of these same politically correct advocates also look with favor on demands for reparations for slavery and Jim Crow, so their insistence on the black-gay comparison raises an uncomfortable question: why don’t they push for similar reparations for homosexuals?

An answer to that riddle not only exposes the ridiculous nature of equating African Americans with homosexuals as similarly suffering victim groups, but also reveals the dubious nature of any reparations drive for long-ago crimes . .

From 1787 until 1920, women didn’t have the right to vote. Why not reparations for that?

Because they didn’t labor for centuries in the hot sun and pouring rain without compensation, thus denying generations to follow any of their economic birthright? Estates of astronomical worth stolen by their slavemasters?

Well, if women don’t deserve it, neither do black people.


And the most sober, stodgy Republicans react to the speech . . by the millisecond


Justice Alito mouths ‘not true’

“. . Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said. “Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

The shot of the black-robed Supreme Court justices, stone-faced, was priceless . .

Took me a couple of viewings, but it’s true, he doesn’t like it. I’ve never seen a Supreme Court Justice react to a SOTU speech, that’s bizarre.

McCain also didn’t like Obama talking about handling the towering deficits:

McCain seen mouthing ‘blame it on Bush’ when Obama outlines the problems he inherited.

UPDATE: McCain went on Fox News and talked to Sean Hannity after the speech, saying, “What we’re hearing tonight is ‘BIOB’ — let’s call it that from now on. Blame it on Bush. Whatever has gone wrong, let’s blame it on Bush. I think the people of Massachusetts last Tuesday pretty well rejected that line of conversation.”


The decision to try the terrorists in New York: Conservatives are appalled, but they can’t tell you why

As usual, Obama (along with his Attorney General, Eric Holder) has failed utterly and spectacularly. How could he be so stupid?

By trying the terrorists in our civilian courts, it mocks the system. By guaranteeing that they will be convicted, legal processes have been tainted. By allowing them traditional access, they may escape with a not guilty verdict, like O.J. Simpson.

They seem to trying on every complaint on the rack in reaction to Holder’s decision. Frankly, it sounds like they just don’t know what to say: Obama can’t both be subverting the system by locking in a conviction and be letting the terrorists off the hook. It sounds like they’re just angry with the President regardless of what he does.

Of course, you’d be angry with him, too, if he’d made the right decision, justice-wise, when justice was the last thing you were interested in.

Obama in Wonderland
by Ken Blackwell

“…Queen of Hearts: Now then, are you ready for your sentence?

Alice: But there has to be a verdict first.

Queen of Hearts: Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.”

…Now, this is the model of criminal justice that the President wants to showcase for the entire world. The U.S. is going to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a federal court in Manhattan. That’s the city where nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered by the 9/11 terrorists.

…We say we are going to give a fair trial to this man. He is going to be found guilty, the President tells us. And, Mr. Obama continues, he is going to get the death penalty.

…Obama is the man who “hovers above us all like a sort of God,” said Newsweek editor Evan Thomas. When such a pronouncement of guilt and such assurance of execution comes down from such an Olympian character, how precisely, is Holder going to find an impartial jury?

New Yorkers voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Are New York jurors going to say they have not heard what Obama said about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Will they say their view of the “defendant” was not prejudiced by the man who has access to far more national security information than any of them do? Can any of them really say they would pay Obama’s views of this “suspect” no special attention?…

This is a travesty, this guarantee by the President. He’s corrupted our whole system, even though he obviously hasn’t. The execrable Ohio voting fraudster Ken Blackwell surely would prefer a military trial. Where all the jurors, though taking orders from this biased corrupter, the Commander in Chief, would somehow rise above the corruption. Or, at least, do better than New Yorkers. Perhaps because Ken is betting they didn’t vote for the President? Brilliant legal reasoning.

Verdict First, Trial Afterward
by Paul Greenberg

Worried about trying the ringleader of the 9/11 terrorists and four of his close associates in a civilian courtroom?

Don’t be, says our president. He knows just how the trial will turn out — Khalid Sheik Mohammed will be convicted and executed. We have his word on it.

He makes the trial sound like just a formality. And here some of us thought trials didn’t have a predetermined outcome, not in America. Naive us.

…Pick your favorite downside of this change of venue. There are lots to choose from. And others will become evident only as this show trial gets on the road. It promises to have a longer run than any Broadway hit.

…Yet the president insists on a civilian trial in order to demonstrate the fairness and superiority of civilian courts in such cases — even as he proclaims the trial’s outcome.

First it was Obamacare. Now the country is about to get Obamalaw, which promises to be a treasure trove of such ironies.

Greenberg also believes a military tribunal would have been better, but it’s not entirely clear why. Perhaps tribunals are older and better(?). He also seems to think that the President should have said “Hell, I have no idea if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s going to get convicted.” I’m sure that would have brought the Conservatives immediately to their feet, cheering like the rabid fans of blind justice they so clearly are.



Right-wingers and hate crimes: You and your ilk can shut the fuck up about Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard,Hey Pam, the man is dead. So stop using his life and death as a convenient jumping off point for your idiotic arguments about hate crimes legislation. Ditto for your obnoxious presumption to know what really was going on that night when he was beaten, tortured and tied to a fence.

You should be ashamed for doing just exactly what you pretend to be too good to do: exploiting him and damning him. And while you’re at it, go ahead and apologize for the seriously pathetic attempt to marginalize hate crimes legislation in this ‘post’ . .

Pop Culture Exploits Matthew Shepard Tragedy to Create ‘Thought Crimes’
by Pam Meister

Quick: when I say “Matthew Shepard,” what do you think? A man killed because he was gay? Or just some poor sap in the wrong place at the wrong time? More on that in a minute.

Hate crime legislation aimed at making it a federal crime to assault someone for being a homosexual passed the House last week, and could be on its way to becoming law. It sounds great, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t be against a law that would prosecute someone for targeting another person based on bigotry and bias? What could be wrong with this scenario?

What? ..’against a law that would prosecute’..? You can’t even manage the obligatory fake compassion you’re supposed to paste on the front end of your post? You are what’s already wrong, and you’ll get plenty wrong-er in ‘this scenario’. Watch:

A crime is a crime. It shouldn’t matter that the victim was a target because he was black, because he was gay, or because she reminded the perpetrator of the mother who abandoned him when he was in kindergarten. Perhaps these things should matter to profilers because it helps them to narrow down the possibilities when hunting down suspects, and to psychiatrists who are studying the damaged human psyche.

But as for the crime, it should be enough that the crime was committed.

The tragic poster boy for this movement is Matthew Shepard, a young gay man in Wyoming who in 1998 was found brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead. He later died of his injuries. The story gained national prominence when it was reported as a “hate crime” and Shepard’s cruel fate became the basis for a national, pop culture movement.

The torture and murder ‘became the basis for a national, pop culture movement’? Like the Macarena? Screw You. It became a reminder that hate crimes are real, horrific, that they will continue to occur and need to be addressed.

When we begin to prosecute for the thoughts behind the crime, we open a very wiggly can of worms that can’t be shut again. Who’s to say this won’t become a weapon in and of itself?

Your arguments about the ‘thoughts’ being irrelevant to the crime, Pam, are the stupidest thing I’ve read all week. I’d prefer to give you credit for perhaps living on another planet, but I’m afraid you’re merely arguing like a complete moron.

If you tackle someone standing out in a field, what’s the crime? If it’s a football game, there’s none. Mostly otherwise, it’s assault. What’s the difference, Pam? The mindset makes the difference. In the first, everyone has agreed to play a game, but, in the second, it’s an act of malice.

For virtually every major crime, the thoughts of the suspect are the key to knowing how to prosecute and punish someone. That’s why there are degrees for crime–I’m shocked that you couldn’t even recall that first degree murder usually involves pre-meditation. What did you think the ‘meditation’ part meant?

You may hate somebody and may even kill them, but, if it’s accidental, society has rightly deemed that as less serious than other murders. If you planned to kill them, society rightly says it’s worse and punishes you much more severely. But you, you’re saying this: “the person is dead either way–why should we care?” Your childish arguments tear the probative value of intention to discern the nature of a crime right down to the ground. Divining which thoughts a suspect had at the time of the crime has always been a huge part of the legal system, and it always should be.

Now that your attempt to argue that oblivious line is dead, let’s move on: why should we have hate crimes legislation? We all agree that it’s a ‘new’ quality of thought and act to prosecute, but why should it be prosecuted?

Here’s why: when someone attacks another only because of what they perceive that person to be, identity is the sole motivation. As a member of that group, you’ve got to be aware that it now could happen to you at any time. You could be attacked completely randomly as well. Not because you had a wallet, or a Rolex, not because you were in a bad part of town, not because you were in a bar full of drunks. In all of those other situations, you have some clue as to what’s going on in the environment, and you can be wary.

Not with a hate crime. As a result, literally thousands of people can become instantly fearful for nothing other than being anywhere, at any time, and going about their lives. It’s a crime that’s particularly wide-ranging in the damage and stress it burdens society. It’s local terrorism, the well-known purpose of our more familiar hate crime perpetrators, like the KKK. We refuse to tolerate the alarming broadside on civilized life, so we recognize it for the bigger crime that it is, and we punish it more severely than we do other crimes. There, Pam–not so hard to understand, is it?

Then there’s the problem with double standards. If one can be prosecuted for the thoughts that go with a crime perpetrated on a minority, what about the opposite scenario? Will a white man beaten by one or more black men just because he’s a white guy in the wrong neighborhood get the same kind of justice?

If a white guy gets beaten up because he’s white, it’s a hate crime. Doesn’t matter what neighborhood it is. (more…)


If Megan McArdle can make six figures writing crap like this, I should burp rubies

Gawd knows why Megan McArdle thought we wanted to hear any of her thoughts on the Tiller assassination, which isn’t controversial in the least–unless you think terrorism is terrific. But some people will talk to the cracks in the sidewalk.

The War on The War on Abortion
01 Jun 2009 01:46 pm

Let me start off, in the obligatory way, by announcing that I am pro-choice. I don’t think abortions before, say, eight months weeks are even arguably murder.

Forget the arguing, are they actually murder? Chuck the pretenses, just gimme the truth. And charming chickenshit use of the ‘strike’ function, Megan.

Moreover, I don’t think many other people believe it’s murder, either, for all that they profess to. They mostly don’t, for example, want fourteen year old girls who have abortions hauled off to lengthy juvie terms, which is what we’d do if they’d committed infanticide. They wouldn’t turn their own daughters, sisters, or friends in if they found out they’d had an abortion, as I hope they would if said dear ones had murdered their own baby.

WOW, let me think about this one……hmmm, okay. You can count on me. I, too, would turn in any ‘dear one’ who ‘murdered their own baby’. PHEW. Wait, how the hell did we get here, incidentally? Last I remember, some poor doctor got shot dead in church. Confusing.

I don’t think that this is an obviously crazy belief–I can see the argument for life beginning at conception. But ultimately I don’t think it works, even for most people who profess it.

So. Now I can move onto the observation that if you actually think late-term abortion is murder, then the murder of Dr. Tiller makes total sense.

Toohhhhdddaaaalllllllyyy. *juicy fruit gum snap*

Putting up touching anecdotes about people he’s helped find adoptions, etc, doesn’t change the fact that if you think late-term abortions are murder, the man was systematically butchering hundreds of human beings a year–indeed, not merely butchering them, but vivisecting them without anaesthetic. I’m sure many mass murderers have done any number of kind things over the course of their lives, to which the correct response, if you’re trying to stop the murders, is “so?”

For The ‘murder stop’ Win: “……So?” *raises eyebrow* and *crosses leg* and *slowly slugs tongue in cheek* It’s Over!

Imagine a future in which the moral consensus has changed, and our grandchildren regard abortion the way we regard slavery. Who will the hero of history be: Tiller, or his murderer? At the very least, they’ll be conflicted, the way we are about John Brown.

I do not say such an outcome is particularly likely, although the more we know about fetal development, the more support for abortion seems to drop. But I don’t think that it’s particularly novel to note that our “instinctive” reaction to these things is partly, even largely, socially conditioned, not the product of deep rational thought.

Eerie. It’s like watching one of those You Tube clips with the audio slightly out of sync.

We accept that when the law is powerless, people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders–had Tiller whipped out a gun at an elementary school, we would now be applauding his murderer’s actions. In this case, the law was powerless because the law supported late-term abortions.

Holy shit–she’s right. The law is utterly powerless to stop what the law allows! We need laws to address the law, and laws to address those addressinalia, and then we must all be buried in penal code spaghetti smothered in estoppel marinara. Maybe then terrorists will leave church goers alone, or harmlessly slurp their shoelaces.

Moreover, that law had been ruled outside the normal political process by the Supreme Court…

The Supreme Court is alien to the ‘normal’ ‘process’? Politics is what’s ‘normal’ for the law? I want this woman’s gig, I promise you, I can be this dumb. It’s easy, watch: “The world’s tallest female econoblogger delivers her opinions on economics, business, and other moral hazards.” Boing!

..As I say, I think their moral intuition is incorrect. The fact that conception and birth are the easiest bright lines to draw does not make either of them the correct one. Tiller’s killer is a murderer, and whether or not he deserves the lengthy jail sentence he will get, society needs him in jail for its own protection.

Still, I am shocked to see so many liberals today saying that the correct response is, essentially, doubling down. Make the law more friendly to abortion! Show the fundies who’s boss! You know what fixes terrorism? Bitch slap those bastards until they understand that we’ll never compromise!

Well, it sure worked in Iraq. I think Afghanistan’s going pretty well, too, right?

Good point there. We should give in to the terrorists everywhere, and then all the petty troubles will go away. Incidentally, Megan, I want your iPod. Now, schnell.

Using the political system to stomp on radicalized fringes does not seem to be very effective in getting them to eschew violence. In fact, it seems to be a very good way of getting more violence. Possibly because those fringes have often turned to violence precisely because they feel that the political process has been closed off to them.

In America, who would this be? Poor people. But you’re not remotely talking about them, Megan, you’re talking about the ‘outlaw all abortions’ minority. Who occasionally become ‘shoot the usher while his wife is singing in the choir’ activists. Do you really believe that anyone’s beliefs, deeply and violently enough held, should be accommodated? Should we have taken a meeting with the KKK after the lynchings began?

We do not punish murderers by changing large sections of American law. We certainly don’t punish them by, in essence, shouting “nya, nya, nya, we’re killing more babies!!!!”* We punish murderers by sending them to jail, where they belong. If any of these changes to current law are justified, they’re justified on their own merits, not because they’ll piss off Tiller’s nemesis.

* I understand that those advocating such changes do not perceive themselves to be saying this. But if you’re trying to punish the gunman, and deter others, it’s their perception that matters. And what bothers them is that they think you’re killing more babies.

That was totally a good blog. Thanks, Megan!


More LBS Six: extra-legal americanism

De-Legalized Zone.

There are a number of bigger stories implicated in that awful, awful tale of carcinogens, carelessness and betrayal.

Here’s a critically important one (and pressing, god knows) that no one seems to want to talk about: what happens to the law and to ‘justice’ when non-military personnel substitute for the real thing.

The history of warring and war institutions is so old that there’s no shortage of understanding on their part of the critical necessity for a portable code of laws and behavior that accompany warriors wherever they go. Otherwise, chaos overtakes the chaos and there’s no way for the aims of a ‘decent’ warring party to survive. If anyone can ignore an order, if lesser soldiers can order around or kill superior officers, if civilians can be considered target practice, the warring system breaks down (yes, universally, wouldn’t that be nice?  Yeah, but we’re nowhere near that evolved yet.)

An iron-clad chain of command is absolutely necessary, and life-and-death responsibilities are assigned up and down that chain. The penalties for ignoring or flat out breaking the military codes can result in the penalty of death. It’s the only way that utter madness can be avoided in theaters of war.  

And the proof of that is seen when the chain is broken, and madness is what we’ve been seeing in Iraq. It’s broken by inserting tens of thousands of business people, contractors, with responsibilities only to the home office, into the theater, side-by-side with soldiers. In the case of the facility overrun with hexavalent chromium, a commanding officer could easily be submitted for court-martial or worse–sentenced to prison–if he knowingly put the lives of his men in jeopardy. This appears clearly to be a case of those Indiana soldiers being put in that position.

I’m sure there are plenty of Bushies who’d say that no one was more likely to know carcinogenic chromium was present than KBR’s people. My point is that there’s no need, by way of their own consciences, professionality or the law, for them to protect soldiers or civilians. There are no obvious priorities built in anywhere. And from a day-to-day psychological perspective, it potentially gets worse: contractors may have absolutely nothing in common even with their own soldiers. They and their motivations and behavior may be as foreign as the attendant Iraqi civilians themselves, and everybody knows how well they’ve been treated.

There are something like100,000 contractors or more in Iraq, 10 times what there were in Gulf War I. Most of those are actually Iraqis hired by foreign firms, and most of those are probably American. Plenty of those contractors have died. They’ve also famously committed unspeakable acts over and over again, but no immediate law applies. It takes a hell of a lot of controversy and publicity, congressional hearings, and then, perhaps, some DOJ professionals scouring federal codes before anyone can or will bother with ‘justice.’

The lowliest of contractors has the right to do what only the worst of Generals could even dream of. The soldier gets locked up or even potentially hanged, the contractor gets returned to the states. It may not sound liberal at first, but it matters a hell of a lot whether we are a ‘decent’ warring party.