Monday, June 30, 2008
This Day in the History of the Importance of Judicial Precedent
Thought of the Day
Labels: George Orwell quote
Sunday, June 29, 2008
E.J. Dionne--Writing From Ignorance
But these pragmatic judgments underestimate how radical this decision is in light of the operating precedents of the past 69 years. The United States and its gun owners have done perfectly well since 1939, when an earlier Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment as implying a collective right to bear arms, but not an individual right. (Emphasis added).
It is not radical to see what the Second Amendment clearly states. It's radical to see in the Constitution rights that clearly don't exist, like to abortion and to gay marriage.
I have to admit that I don't actually know what Mr. Dionne means by "operating precedent." I'm going to assume it's the same as just plain old precedent. I note, however, that the 58 year old actual precedent from Eisentrager, which Justice Kennedy threw over, based on his mere whim, in Boumedienne, engendered no such outrage by E.J. The 69 year old case he is referring to is the Miller case, which did not hold in any way that the 2nd Amendment was not an individual right but a collective right (whatever that is--some sort of unique right not repeated anywhere else in the document). Mr. Dionne appears not to have read the decision but is dimly aware of the lack of such a holding when he says the Miller case implied such a non existent collective right. Precedent is never implied; it is rather clearly stated and it resolves the main issue before the court. That is, it is not obiter dicta.
So in the 'logic' of Mr. Dionne, that an editor of the Washington Post signs off on, the majority of the Supreme Court was "radical" for reading the Constitution as written, seeing a right plainly in there and not overturning a non precedential ruling in a case which did not address the same issue. No wonder he's outraged.
As to the statement that gun owners have done well since Miller was decided (the issue decided in that case was that the Supreme Court could not take judicial notice that a very short shotgun was a weapon useful to a member of the unorganized Militia), I have to point out that citizens of DC, Chicago, and parts of San Francisco have been deprived of their right to keep and bear arms for decades. Not doing so well in my book. But perhaps Mr. Dionne meant everyone else but those several million people. There's more.
In his intemperate dissent in the court's recent Guantanamo decision, Scalia said the defense of constitutional rights embodied in that ruling meant it "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed." That consideration apparently does not apply to a law whose precise purpose was to reduce the number of murders in the District of Columbia.
The defense of constitutional rights to which Mr. Dionne refers is to non citizens outside America. I can guarantee you the framers did not intend to Constitution to apply outside the United States to foreigners. So in EJWorld, applying constitutional rights to foreigners, our actual enemies, in foreign land--good, recognizing that citizens back here at home have an important right--bad. It may have been the "precise purpose" of the gun ban in D.C. but the actual effect was just the opposite.
The ban went into effect in early 1977, but since it started there is only one year (1985) when D.C.'s murder rate fell below what it was in 1976. But the murder rate also rose dramatically relative to other cities. In the 29 years we have data after the ban, D.C.'s murder rate ranked first or second among the largest 50 cities for 15 years. In another four years, it ranked fourth.
For instance, D.C.'s murder rate fell from 3.5 to 3 times more than Maryland and Virginia's during the five years before the handgun ban went into effect in 1977, but rose to 3.8 times more in the five years after it.
However, as Rush Limbaugh often points out, those on the left don't care about actual results of their actions, they are only to be judged on their benevolent intent, no matter what Hell results. Here was a precise example of that. The gun ban never prevented a single death in DC and only caused the law abiding to be the defenseless victims of the law defying armed criminals, as gun bans always do.
Republican Heaven...With Guns
Fred Barnes gave a semi-extemporaneous speech which was full of good common sense and possible future scenarios. A businessman whose name I promptly forgot also had a good rousing speech about the enormous power to do things the private sector has. Indeed, he said, only the private sector gets things done. Sounds right at least recently.
Also want to mention my old friend Leslie Hanson, Assistant District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District (Arapahoe County et al.) who took over Kaplis' seat against mutual friend Craig Silverman on Friday on the radio and did great, although she had the unenviable task of supporting our laws against mere marijuana possession. Did I say old there? Opps. Lelsie looks superficially like Jane Fonda wishes she still looked but Les actually has a functioning brain. Anyway, I hope someone looks into Leslie taking on the job permanently as I don't listen to the show much because I just don't like one note conservative samba, holier than thou, Kaplis smarming his way through the show. Craig's no day at the beach either but at least he tries to be sincere.
Les and I once tried a man whom the judge ordered bound and gagged in front of the jury. I'm not kidding. We 'bitched' him, or at least Leslie did; I had to get to a second trial and she did the habitual part on her own.
Labels: Personal History; sporting clays
Friday, June 27, 2008
Richard Thompson - Sunset Song
Went with Kit to the first (our first this Summer) concert in the lovely Botanic Gardens. It was Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson. I'm done with Wainwright. Not clever enough in my book. I'm beginning to like his son Rufus (dog's name) better anyway. Thompson blew him off the stage as well. I think Thompson has forgotten how to play more than loud mouth Loudon ever knew. His songs are better too. There is one, Sunset Song, that is just lovely--words, tune, guitar work. Nearly a perfect song. Highlight of the 2 and a half hour concert. See for youself.
This Day in the History of Americans Fighting for the Freedom of Others
Labels: Korean War
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Colorado Springs Girl Saves Herself with Sports Bra
The Ring is Delivered to Mount Doom
Private right. Reasonable restrictions OK: a city wide ban is not reasonable.
Whew! There's a relief.
Labels: Second Amendment; Heller Case
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Obama Throws Scarlett Johansson Under the Bus
The man's just a fool.
Labels: Barack Obama; Scarlett Johansson
This Day in the History of Letting War Be Waged Against Us Unfought
Labels: Jihadi War
Thought of the Day
Often the greatest talents lie hidden out of sight.
Labels: Plautus quote
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Al Qaeda is the Weak Horse in Iraq
The impact of the Iraq mission on world security is also dramatic and counter to what is commonly heard in the media and academic elites. The Iraq conflict has drawn fanatical Islamists to fight nearer to home, and as a just-released Canadian institute’s study details, overall international terrorism fatalities — outside of the Iraq war — have plunged by 40 percent since 2001. The Simon Fraser University Human Security Brief records that, due to “the humiliating recent defeats experienced by Al Qaeda in Iraq,” popular support in the Islamic world for the perpetrators of 9/11 has fallen off precipitously. For example, in Pakistan (where al-Qaeda is arguably most deeply entrenched): “support for Osama bin Laden has dropped from 70 percent in August 2007 to 4 percent in January 2008.”
After going from success to success over the past three decades, from destroying a super power (the Soviet Union) in Afghanistan, to blowing up American embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole off Yemen, onto 9/11, and nearly pushing Iraq into civil war in 2006, the Islamic extremists have now failed dramatically. Their jihad to dominate the Islamic world and beyond has smashed against the twin rocks of a steadfast American will and the Iraqi people’s natural desire to live free of tyranny, whether from Saddam, al-Qaeda, or Iran. Nothing dissuades recruiting like catastrophic failure.
And the catastrophic failure of al Qaeda is nearly wholly the result of our forces' skill and sacrifice. This catastrophic failure of al Qaeda is also the reason President Bush's assessment by future historians will follow the rising curve of President Truman.
Labels: Jihadi War
This Day in the History of War Accelerating Technical Progress
Labels: Oswald Boelcke; WWI history
Thought of the Day
Labels: Patricia Moyes quote
Monday, June 23, 2008
Why We Really Hate the New York Times
Compare that, any of the 3 million words falsely calling our President a traitor and worse, to the self righteous treacle the NYT is putting out for revealing the name of the person who interrogated, successfully, some of the bad Jihadis out there.
The Central Intelligence Agency asked The New York Times not to publish the name of Deuce Martinez, an interrogator who questioned Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other high-level Al Qaeda prisoners, saying that to identify Mr. Martinez would invade his privacy and put him at risk of retaliation from terrorists or harassment from critics of the agency.
After discussion with agency officials and a lawyer for Mr. Martinez, the newspaper declined the request, noting that Mr. Martinez had never worked under cover and that others involved in the campaign against Al Qaeda have been named in news stories and books. The editors judged that the name was necessary for the credibility and completeness of the article.
The Times’s policy is to withhold the name of a news subject only very rarely, most often in the case of victims of sexual assault or intelligence officers operating under cover.
Mr. Martinez, a career analyst at the agency until his retirement a few years ago, did not directly participate in waterboarding or other harsh interrogation methods that critics describe as torture and, in fact, turned down an offer to be trained in such tactics.
The newspaper seriously considered the requests from Mr. Martinez and the agency. But in view of the experience of other government employees who have been named publicly in books and published articles or who have themselves chosen to go public, the newspaper made the decision to print the name.
It is enough to make you spew.
The only bright side is that we actually don't have to do a thing to ensure the demise of so vile an organization. They are doing fine wrecking the old (and somewhat senile) Grey Lady on their own. That Karma can be a black hearted one, man.
Labels: New York Times Decline; Treason
A Big Barred Spiral Galaxy
Labels: NGC 1300
This Day in the History of TV Show Cancellation
Yippi Ki Yi, indeed.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Labels: Roy Rogers; television
Thought of the Day
W. Somerset Maugham
Labels: W. Somerset Maugham quote
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday Movie Review (Late)
Dumb Dumb Dumb ----Dumb
Dumb Dumb Dumb ----Dumb
Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb
Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb
And not near funny enough. 6-7 funny things and that was it. They made effective fun of our president (James Caan) and in a second of fair and balanced ribbing, went after Hollywood types but the joke against them fell flat as a pancake.
The director is young Peter Segal who has directed about 10 unfunny comedies before this one. I don't think he was out of diapers when the TV show with the late Don Adams was first run and popular.
This one's failure is not Steve Carell's fault. Denver Bronco's fans will recognize the air marshall who tackles Carell on the plane. At least he didn't spit in anyone's face.
There was a hint of nostalgia here but the cone of silence fell flat and no Craw. Enough said. Puddy from Sienfeld played Hymie 2.0 and could have been better used.
Labels: Get Smart
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Joni Mitchell - Coyote
Joni with Pat Matheny and Jaco Pastorius. Almost heaven.
This Day in the History of Bleak Days for the British
Thought of the Day
Labels: Obama Great Seal
The Tragedy of Nick Drake
One of the things that makes me an eclectic conservative, as opposed to a conventional Republican, is that I believe the government has no right to protect us from ourselves. The War on Drugs, for example, is a waste and a pathetic failure and we would be well served to combat people's problems with drugs not with courts and prison sentences but with medical treatment and NA. Indeed, the government should sell us cheap, high quality "hard" drugs which we could only use in certain areas of each county. Marijuana should just be legal, as legal as alcohol.
As firmly as I believe that, Drake's history makes me doubt the wisdom of such a policy. It is clear that he absolutely ruined his life with just marijuana and LSD. And I do mean ruined. Since I liked his songs a lot before I knew about his drug use, I can't say that his figurative self immolation makes the songs better, but to a person trained in irony detection, everything he sang has an added layer of emotion now that I know what was really going on with him. It's not, however, an added layer of happiness.
Happy belated birthday, Nick. I've liked your work for over 35 years, but I have to say that you blew it.
Labels: Nick Drake
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Our Miss Brooks Fails History
Taking the contrary point, here is some of the wisdom, such as it is, from the professor on the subject:
Obama's point boiled down to common sense: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Our federal courts have been in business for more than 200 years. They've tried brutal Mafia bosses who controlled entire American cities, violent drug lords, Nazis, spies and the Oklahoma City bombers. U.S. courts have procedures for handling sensitive national security evidence, and they have already successfully tried Al Qaeda terrorists, including "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid and 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui. These men had their day in court, made idiots of themselves, and now they're locked away in a U.S. supermax prison.
There were no federal trials of Nazi spies. The Nazi spies in Ex Re Quirin were tried by military tribunals, convicted and executed or imprisoned. One of them was born in America. Because they were in America, they got habeas corpus relief (for what it was worth). The Nazis tried in China in Johnson v. Eisentrager got no such habeas relief. Professor Brooks' ignorance here is really astounding.
Ms. Brooks puts her well manicured finger on the problem. In the prosecutions she mentions, Reid and Moussaoui helped us out by constantly admitting guilt and more importantly, by not demanding we provide through discovery sensitive national security information, that is, that we burn our sources and reveal our methods, because doing that would be really bad and really dumb. We don't want to allow the enemy to learn from us how he got caught. That information would help our enemies. Reid and Moussaoui were damn fools, indeed. Had they let their attorneys run the show, Moussaoui, at least, might well have walked. But only a fool would rely on the illegal combatants held in Guantanamo Bay continuing to be so foolish. They could well demand through discovery sources and methods, the guys who captured them to be in the court, Miranda rights...the sky is the limit now that Justice Kennedy has gone free form and created a right that has never existed for legal combatants, much less for the illegal combatant, wholly forsaken by the Geneva Convention.
Here's another gem from Ms. Brooks:
Prosecutions in federal courts make sense when we're talking about suspects far removed from battlefields; military force makes sense when U.S. troops are confronting fighters in Afghanistan or Iraq.
What nonsense. As if proximity to the battlefield means anything in this sort of war. And where does she think most of the detainees came from? Here's a hint, Rosa, from the battlefield in Afghanistan.
Finally, she quotes the gentle, torture victim, John McCain, saying the Guantanamo detainees have rights under various human rights declarations. And one of them is the right not to be detained indefinitely.
Listen, one accused of a crime cannot be held indefinitely. Prove the crime or let him go. Punishment can follow the establishment of guilt of a crime but not the other way around. But we're not holding the illegal combatants pending an accusation of a crime nor for punishment for a crime--we're holding them so they don't return to the field of battle and kill our guys. We're doing what every nation, that took prisoners, has done since before history. All prisoners of war are held for the duration, and no one knows how long that will be especially early in the war. Most of our recent wars have lasted just a few years, but the American Revolution lasted eight and earlier in European history there were much longer wars--the Thirty Years War and the Hundred Years war. The Cold War lasted just over 40 years. So stop already with the 'detained indefinitely' whine. That's the essential nature of prisoners of war, except the ones who have committed war crimes (which is actually all of them here) who will be prosecuted (one day) and, we hope, executed.
All this confusion arises from the refusal of some to recognize that we are at war. It's not a matter of declaring it, although we have against al Qaeda, because al Qaeda has certainly declared it, and waged it against us.
You may not be interested in war, but I can assure you that war certainly is interested in you, said Leon Trotsky.
You can listen to lefty law professor Ms. Brooks who certainly speaks from some ignorance here, or you can listen to an actual prosecutor of terrorists, Andrew McCarthy, who speaks from experience. Your choice.
Labels: Rosa Brooks; Jihadi War; Lawfare
This Day in the History of Duplicitous Name Changes
Thought of the Day
Their numbers and their compact array protect them.
Labels: Juvenal quote
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Quibbling with the Hitchens
Hitchens is generally critical too and fair in it, but here's one sentence that caught my attention:
However, in point of fact Germany was governed by an ultra-rightist, homicidal, paranoid maniac who had begun by demolishing democracy in Germany itself, who believed that his fellow countrymen were a superior race and who attributed all the evils in the world to a Jewish conspiracy. (Emphasis added).
Now most people who think the Nazis, the National Socialist and German Workers Party, were on the right, I just write off as ill informed, who do not apparently know that socialism is a lefty thing. I can't do that with Christopher Hitchens; he's too smart and knowledgeable. So he has to think either that the name of the party (and most of its economic actions) were some sort of grand joke, or that something was essentially conservative, that is, on the right, about the Nazis, and apparently in a big way, otherwise why say 'ultra?' As Jonah Goldberg pointed out well, there was nothing conservative about the Fascists and fascism; at least the German and Italian varieties were far lefty socialism (national socialism to be sure, as opposed to the international socialism we call the Communists). The Internationale will be the human race... Sorry, that song popped into my head just them.
Or it's just possible that it's Hitchen's desire to have a counterpoint to the homicidal tendencies in Communist nations in the 20th Century somewhat balanced by attributing the homicidal tendencies of the Nazis to ultra-rightist political philosophy. I know that desire blinded me for a while.
I'll report back if I get any satisfactory answers.
I'm not sure I could recommend the long series/documentary Carrier (about the USS Nimitz, CVN 68), it's about 4 episodes too long for me, but if you get a chance, give Another Day in Paradise a look. It's about three fathers on the ship, a distillation of the perhaps too long series, as the Nimitz sails from San Diego to the Persian Gulf and then back over 6 months. It's wonderful and a lot is packed into 90 minutes, not the least of which is some powerful emotional connection (or so I imagined).
It's on PBS and it gives our military a fair shot. Wow! It premiered tonight but they'll play it again.
Labels: PBS; Another Day in Paradise
Reports of His Capture Were Somewhat Exagerated
Labels: Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri
The Democratic Plan for New Energy Production
After being pummeled by Republicans for opposing efforts to open more areas to offshore drilling, Democrats have shifted gears and are blaming energy companies for not fully exploiting the domestic oil and gas reserves they already control.
House and Senate Democrats are complaining that U.S. oil companies are not drilling on 68 million acres of leased federal land and waters.
“At a time when our constituents are paying $4 per gallon at the pump, the answer is to make sure that oil companies are producing on the land they currently own,” four leading House Democrats wrote in a letter to colleagues. “They need to either use it or lose it.”
Expect to hear 'use it or lose it' for a time until people realize how shallow and stupid it is. And as a lawyer I have to point out that 'own' and 'lease' are mutually exclusive legal concepts. There's more.
The vast majority of oil and natural gas resources on federal lands are already open for drilling, and they are not being tapped,” [Senator] Dodd said June 12 on the Senate floor. “I hear complaints about the 1.5 million acres closed off in ANWR, and yet we are sitting on roughly 68 million acres under lease but not in production — why don’t they talk about that?
OK, I think I get it--The official Democratic plan is that we should only drill where the Oil Companies have already determined that it is not commercially viable to do so.
Yeah, that should work.
Labels: Democrat Energy Plan
More Thoughts on Boumediene
Part 2 is coming, I promise. It will be pretty long. Sorry.
Brevity is the soul of wit.
Ta-been There, Ta-done That
Labels: Afghanistan; Taliban Ass Kicking
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Taking the Rough With the Smooth
So, under any circumstances it's a good thing that the President of France, Nicholas Sarkozy wants to rejoin NATO and ramp up his country's pathetic little military budget by a pitiful woefully inadequate amount, because of the recognition of the threat Muslim extremism holds for the West. A real good thing. Vive le France!
And Then There Was One
If Wuterich is acquitted or the charges dismissed before hearing, honorable men would apologize for defaming the Marines. Because they are blame America first Democrats, the odds are long that we'll hear a single word on the matter.
This Day in the History of Bleak Days
Labels: Cold War History; Nuclear tests
Thought of the Day
Just as yellow gold is proved in the fire, so too is the faith [of friendship] known only through hard times.
Labels: Ovid quote
Monday, June 16, 2008
If there is a President Obama come next Jan. 20, normal folks better brace for what the right-wing crazies have in mind. Because it’s becoming clear that they are winding themselves up now for a fresh spate of violence if Obama wins.
A fresh spate of violence?
What was the old one from 'right-wing crazies'?
All I can think of is the abortion clinic bomber and shooters and perhaps Timothy McVeigh, although I'm not sure of his politics.
Is there anything else? Consider that an invitation for comment.
Now let's go back just 50 years and consider the left wing crazies and the violence they brought down or at least attempted to perpetrate:
November 22, 1963--President John F. Kennedy shot in the neck and head by Communist defector, returned to the United States, Lee Harvey Oswald.
June 5, 1968--Probably unsuccessful presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was shot in the head by Christian Palestinian socialist Sirhan Sirhan.
1969--Fascist organization Weatherman/Weather Underground, through Barack Obama's friend Bernardine Dohrn, adopts the policy and then actually declares war on America, runs a bombing campaign against government buildings and business targets until 1980, which bombings resulted in several deaths.
November 6, 1973--Fascist organization Symbionese Liberation Army shoots and kills Marcus Foster, kidnaps Patty Hearst, robs banks (killing several) and fights a big looser battle with LA Police where most are shot and/or burned to death. The active violence ends in 1975 but the last of the survivors are not brought top justice until 2004.
September 5, 1974--Lefty hippy, Manson follower Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme tries but fails to shoot President Ford
Sept. 22, 1975--Lefty hippy, Sarah Jane Moore tries but fails to shoot President Ford.
March 9, 1977--about a dozen socialist Muslims take over buildings in DC, killing one reporter and wounding then councilman Marion Barry.
1978 through 1995--Socialist/Luddite Unabomber mails bombs to two dozen people and businesses, three people killed.
November 7, 1983-- militant leftists Armed Resistance Unit bombs the US Senate.
January 25, 1993--lefty Muslim Mir Aimal Kasi kills 2, wounds 3 as he sprays the CIA parking lot with gunfire.
February 26, 1993--first bombing of World Trade Tower by lefty Muslim Ramzi Yousef kills 6 and injures nearly a thousand.
February 24, 1997--Danish leftist, possibly in league with Palestinians, kills one, wounds several on observation deck of Empire State Building.
Beginning on November 30, 1999, lefty anarchist riot and break things at random in Seattle while WTO meets there.
September 11, 2001--19 socialist Jihadists attack World Trade Center and Pentagon and another unknown building in DC, nearly 3,000 killed.
July 4, 2001--raving socialist Egyptian Hashan Mohamed Hadayet shoots up El Al desk at LAX, killing 2.
October, 2002--socialist American Muslims John Mohamed and Lee Malvo shoot many and kill ten around DC area.
June, 2006--Animal Liberation Front, socialist/anarchist group tries but fails to bomb UCLA lab of Professor Lynn Fairbanks.
Beginning 12/31/99 through the present, socialist/anarchist group Earth Liberation Front starts campaign of burning buildings and cars. No one killed yet, millions of dollars in property damage done.
I have to ask again, what old spate of right wing violence?
Lefties, beam in your eye causes you to see only tiny mote on the right. I left out all the Democratic rioting of the 60s and 70s.
I've often thought that the right would be better at armed insurrection. We have more guns and are better shots than almost any group on the left. But the first side that uses violence to achieve political ends has lost the debate and any claim to moral persuasion. This is why there is so much more political violence in America, and in the World, on the left, where the incidence of political murder and violence has a ratio between 10 to one (in America) and 100 to one (rest of World)left versus right.
How to Mitigate the Disgraceful Disaster that is the Boumediene Case
Now the Court has decided that the combatants have constitutional habeas rights. If you can follow this, the bloc of liberal justices reasons that the framers designed our fundamental law to empower enemies of the American people to use the American people’s courts as a weapon to compel the American people’s commander-in-chief to justify his actions during a war overwhelmingly authorized by the American people’s elected representatives . . . even as those enemies continue killing Americans.
Disgraceful. The military can use tribunals for our citizens facing court martial, but for our enemies, who disobey nearly all of the rules of war and deserve only two to the back of the head, such tribunals are not good enough. Enough belly-aching, what is to be done?
Thus, Congress could quickly enact a statute requiring the district courts in combatant habeas cases to afford the commander-in-chief a presumption mandating detention. That is, if the government established a rational basis for believing the detainee was an enemy combatant, he would be ordered detained unless the detainee proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not an enemy combatant.
Congress could provide for the presentation of evidence by hearsay, proffer, and affidavit — with a directive that the court may not compel the government (particularly, the military and intelligence community) to produce witnesses for testimony in court. It could provide for classified intelligence to be presented to the judge ex parte, with only a non-classified summary provided to the combatant. It could require the court to give deference during wartime to the conclusion of combatant status review tribunals already conducted by the military (allowing judges to disregard those conclusions only upon a showing that the conclusion was irrational — the same standard that compels federal appeals courts, in every single civilian criminal case, to refrain from disturbing a trial court’s findings of fact).
To promote efficiency, since the issues in these cases are likely to be repetitive, Congress could also direct that all petitions be filed in the District of Columbia, with all appeals to the D.C. Circuit and, ultimately, the Supreme Court. Though I would prefer to see the cases directed to a specialized court, it is not practical to expect one could be designed in the short-term. We need a solution that can be implemented tomorrow.
As a solution to the Supreme Court's horrible mistake, this is about as good as it gets. I might skip the DC Circuit Appellate Court and make the Supreme Court hear every appeal from the District Court of every Jihadi asserting his innocence, but that's just because I'm probably more vindictive than Mr. McCarthy.
This Day in the History of France Being France
Labels: WWII history; European theater
Thought of the Day
Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.
Labels: Adlai E. Stevenson Jr. quote
Friday, June 13, 2008
This Day in the History of Too Early Passings
Labels: Alexander the Great
Friday Movie Review
Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb
Dumb Dumb Dumb
Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb
Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb
Thought of the Day
Deeds not words.
Labels: Latin Aphorism
Well, This Just Sucks
Labels: Tim Russert
Boumediene (Part One)
We'll start with Johnson v. Eisentrager, where the Court wrote about the German soldiers who fought us (more specifically spied on us for the Japanese) in China after the Nazi surrender, were captured, tried by an American Military Tribunal, convicted and held by Americans, as punishment for their war crime, in a German prison:
The Court didn't grant the German soldiers the right to habeas corpus relief and noted this pertinent point regarding the balancing of 'rights' of foreigners versus the security of American citizens:
We are here confronted with a decision whose basic premise is that these prisoners are entitled, as a constitutional right, to sue in some court of the United States for a writ of habeas corpus. To support that assumption we must hold that a prisoner of our military authorities is constitutionally entitled to the writ, even though he (a) is an enemy alien; (b) has never been or resided in the United States; (c) was captured outside of our territory and there held in military custody as a prisoner of war; (d) was tried and convicted by a Military Commission sitting outside the United States; (e) for offenses against laws of war committed outside the United States; (f) and is at all times imprisoned outside the United States.
Then visit briefly Hamdi v. Rumsfled, where the Court (Justice O'Connor writing) held that an American citizen, held out of the country as an enemy combatant, had a right to "be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker." After a nearly interminable discussion, of no interest now, Justice O'Connor had this big finish: "There remains the possibility that the standards we have articulated could be met by an appropriately authorized and properly constituted military tribunal." Justice Kennedy was silent on the subject.
Moreover, we could expect no reciprocity for placing the litigation weapon in unrestrained enemy hands. The right of judicial refuge from military action,which it is proposed to bestow on the enemy, can purchase no equivalent for benefit of our citizen soldiers.
The next case is Hamden v. Rumsfeld, where the Court (Justice Stevens writing) held that the military tribunals the executive branch set up to determine the status of the foreign enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay were not good enough, " ...military commission convened to try Hamdan lacks power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate both the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions." Critics pointed out that illegal combatants like Hamden did not get any protection from the Geneva Conventions and the critics are right. Justice Kennedy wrote what now seems an ironic thing: "The Constitution is best preserved by reliance on standards tested over time and insulated from the pressures of the moment." He also spent most of his concurrence/dissent whatever talking about the statutory things wrong with the Military Tribunals set up by executive order. He said nothing about the Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Then we'll seek out the important portions of the law that Congress wrote at the invitation of the Court in Hamdi and Hamden, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005:
1) IN GENERAL- Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
'(e) Except as provided in section 1005 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider--
'(1) an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba;
And then I'm too frustrated actually to talk about the Boumediene case, because the Supreme Court, and all of them, ignored that proper Constitutional exception to their abiility to hear and decide this case.
But there will be a part 2.
Labels: Lawfare; Boumediene
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Worse Than We Think
Labels: Boumediene v. Bush
This Day in the History of Solved Crimes Unpunished
Thought of the Day
The most severe slavery is being a slave to oneself.
Labels: Seneca quote
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
This Day in the History of Sad Ends
His attorney, Nate Chambers, a good friend of this modest blog, was in attendance, at the request of his client.
I get mad at the government too from time to time, but I would never think to blow up a federal building with a truck full of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane.
Labels: Timothy McVeigh
Thought of the Day
What will this promiser produce worthy of such a pompous piehole?
Labels: Horace quote
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Thought of the Day
Labels: Ashle Dupre; Bad Latin Tattoo
Why I Love Summer
Labels: Ice Cream; Cleavage
This Day in the History of Democrats Standing Athwart History
The bill passed 9 days later.
Child-poverty jump in Colo. leads nation
What the heck is 'child-poverty'? When I was child, a near ice age ago, I earned next to nothing and never had much more than a quarter in my pocket, when I was lucky. I guess I was a victim of child-poverty too then, right? What? Oh, it's not the income or wealth of the child that determines whether he or she is a victim of 'child-poverty' or not, it's the income and wealth of the parent. Oh! So the statistic is for plain old poverty or adult poverty of people with families. Gee, I wonder why they call it 'child-poverty' then? It couldn't be to tug at the heart strings of those weak minded sob sisters et al. who might become more emotionally involved if you mention 'the children'?
Of the 76,000 new families who don't make a lot of money, how many of them are illegal immigrants who theoretically can earn no money whatsoever in this country? I look for that statistic in vain. The article mentions immigrant families, but doesn't tell us the pertinent facts beyond that.
Here is the speculation in the article for the increase:
Experts say there are several reasons why Colorado could be faring worse than other parts of the country.
Among them: The state's discretionary expenditures on services — from highways to higher education to health care — ranks 44th nationwide. The state spends a little more than $4,000 a person, according to the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute.
New Mexico and Wyoming spend far more, $6,541 and $7,860 respectively, the report shows. Wyoming ranks second in the country, and New Mexico ranks seventh in overall per-capita spending. Both states have fewer children, as a percentage, living in poverty, and both states have improved their percentages since 2000.
Other factors could include Colorado's low graduation rate: Roughly 72 percent of the state's high school students finish. The situation often is referred to as the "Colorado paradox" because of the higher-than-average number of people in the state with advanced degrees.
In Jefferson County, for example, the number of people with less than a high school degree has pushed up since 2002 to 10 percent of the population. In Denver, only 51 percent of those in high school finish with a diploma.
Experts also point to the shifting nature of the state's demographics. The number of children living in single-parent families has increased 13 percent.
As a whole, however, it is difficult to truly pinpoint what makes Colorado different from other states, especially those also toiling with tough problems: rapid growth, an influx of new immigrants, high foreclosure rates and chronically poor education options for the urban core.
Let me see if I can agree with the article about what makes some families poor.
- Colorado's low graduation rate
- number of children living in single-parent families
- an influx of new immigrants
- chronically poor education options for the urban core.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Global Warming Takes a Break
This Day in the History of American Violance in Reaction to Stupid British Acts
Labels: American Revolution pre-history
Thought of the Day
Douglas Adams (from the Guide)
Labels: Douglas Adams quote
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Good News and Bad News
Unlike a lot of attorneys with over 20 years of courtroom lawyering, I still have a lot of faith in juries. I believe they are usually serious about the task and smart enough to do the job. There have been a few exceptions, on the West Coast particularly, which make you despair about our collective ability to have the wool pulled over our eyes, but generally they do good work.
The good news is that the retrial after a hung jury generally goes in the prosecution's favor. It is usually an issue overlooked by the prosecution which hangs up a jury and the prosecutors learn from the mistakes made and do a better job the second time. The defense, having pulled the wool, or the rabbit out of the hat, the first trial, rarely is able to invest another issue with the same appeal to the jury's lenient side and goes down the second time. Retrial in 6 months. We'll see how the second trial goes.
Labels: Invisible Jihad
Friday, June 06, 2008
Trusting Barack Obama, NOT
Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided
Here's the staff walk back more recently:
Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties [as part of] an agreement that they both can live with.
So maybe not completely undivided after all.
This is an important election, especially for American supporters of a country which should now have real concerns for the quality of the Democratic commitment of support for our best (and only) ally in the Mid East.
(h/t little green footballs)
UPDATE: Here are words from Obama himself on CNN as reported by the Washington Post. I see a backtrack but perhaps that's a result of my dislike for the man's policies and judgment.
The Washington Post writer certainly saw it: "Obama quickly backtracked yesterday in an interview with CNN."
Here's what he said: When asked about an undivided Jerusalem, (Palestinians have no future claim on the city?) Obama said:
Well, obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations. As a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute [a division of the city] and I think that it is smart for us to -- to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city.
Sorry, I find "Israel has a legitimate claim on the city" a far cry from "Jerusalem...must remain undivided."
Thursday, June 05, 2008
More on Afghanistan
Money quote from Mr. (Captain?) Smith:
The Captain’s Journal loves the truth, and presents critical analysis for the purpose of examination of strategy, tactics and logistics. We do not engage in political ‘hackery’, and we don’t shill for politicians or political parties. The campaign in Afghanistan is suffering from lack of force projection. The campaign in Afghanistan must be won. The Marines are showing us how to win it. These are not contradictory points, and our articles on this have made perfect sense. (Emphasis added).
Thought of the Day
Who, speaking of such things, can keep from tears.
Labels: Virgil quote
Let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is nonnegotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them
OK, the former part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, the West Bank, is on the eastern side of Israel and the former Egyptian conquest, called the Gaza Strip or just Gaza, from which Israel unilaterally withdrew recently, is on the west side of Israel. How do you make these two 'Palestinian' areas contiguous without making Israel two parts? Riddle me that, Batman.
Local Jewish person/spokesman Craig Silverman announced on the radio yesterday that he was fully satisfied with Obama's speech at the AIPAC. I guess he's OK with a bifurcated Israel then.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Obama Versus Canute the Great
Compare that to this little piece from Senator Obama's speech last night:
...I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war...
Yeah, if Obama tells the seas not to rise, they should tremble and obey.
Oh, and there are two ways for us to end the war being waged against us, beat the Jihadists or surrender to them. Any bets which way Obama leans? Anyone? Anyone?
Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out
Labels: Media; Cindy Sheehan
Here is the most recent UAH satellite record of the global mean temperature anomaly from the 'normal' average 1979 to 2000. May was indeed colder in most of the World than usual. Wonder what the RSS results will be and what the Summer will be like?
Up in the Arctic Basin, the sea ice is at 3.90 million square kilometers, just a bit below the 1979-2000 'normal'. It will be interesting to see how low that goes as well. Last year was somewhat alarming as it dipped to 2.75. If it stays well above 3 million, recovery from last Summer will be pretty much complete.
Labels: Global Warming
This Day in the Long Modern History of the French Being French
Labels: First Viet Nam War history
Thought of the Day
He gives empty words, he gives sound without meaning.
Labels: Virgil quote
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The Science Behind Sunspot Prediction
Some scientists, and a growing number of them, are a little concerned that the sunspot Cycle 23 is lasting way too long, much longer than the average just over 11 years (usually a sign of lower numbers to come). The magnetic emanations from the sun have, according to the vaunted Canadian Space Agency remained low (in the upper 60s when 64 is as low as the number ever gets) and that means a 'quiet' sun, usually, as well. I guess we're officially still in Cycle 23. There was a Cycle 24 sunspot near the first of the year but since then there have only been a few late Cycle 23 ones and a few very tiny and short lasting ones which could have been Cycle 24, but it's hard to tell. The sun is clear today.
Now there is this paper. I can't pretend credibly to understand each and every word, but I can read what Anthony Watt says is the bottom line prediction. It's not good. And I say that not as a lover of warm weather, I'm not, but because the suffering and cost from even a 'mini' ice age is much worse than from the opposite amount of warming.
The Wild Wild West
Labels: personal history
Two Sides of the Same Coin
My favorite part:
Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit have been clearing Taliban and foreign fighters from the district of Garmser, in southern Helmand Province, an important infiltration and drug trafficking route used by the Taliban to supply insurgents farther north.
“The insurgents, after experiencing these several weeks of pressure below Garmser, are trying to flee to the south, perhaps to go back to the sanctuaries in another country,” said the NATO commander, Gen. Dan K. McNeill.
Herschel Smith has a nearly irrefutable point, however--we don't send in the Marines when the job is done, we send them in when the job is hard and yet to be accomplished.
This Day in the History of Evil
Labels: WWII pre history
Thought of the Day
Who will ask of an enemy whether [he won] by strategy or by virtue?
Labels: Virgil quote
Monday, June 02, 2008
Good News From Afghanistan
Here is another view, and I think, having followed some of the campaign there, the much, much more accurate one. Money quote:
Here is a telling paragraph:
The new "precise, surgical" tactics have killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to prosecute the campaign, according to Brig Mark Carleton-Smith.
In the past two years an estimated 7,000 Taliban have been killed, the majority in southern and eastern Afghanistan. But it is the "very effective targeted decapitation operations" that have removed "several echelons of commanders".
This in turn has left the insurgents on the brink of defeat, the head of Task Force Helmand said.
However, with the shortage of helicopters still a problem, most movement is by road and Brig Carleton-Smith warned that British forces must prepare for an increasingly Iraq-style insurgency as the Taliban modified its tactics from pitched battles to ambushes and roadside bombs.
As the Taliban loses stand up fight after stand up fight, it will indeed resort to the IED ambush tactic which has been the preferred tactic in Iraq for years. Thus, as the Taliban's tactics change, there will be more IED casualties, but that won't mean that the Taliban is really fighting or actually, uh, winning.
Labels: Jihadi War; Afghanistan Front
Maybe Diomedes Was On to Something
Labels: Barak Obama; Nimbus
Still Alive at 55
As I reach my advanced age, the pain of growing old is somewhat alleviated by what could well be a faux wisdom, but hard won through experience and, mainly, mistakes. So I've decided to impart some of the wisdom over the remaining half life of this blog. Today's subject, unfortunately, is farts.
- Never admit you've passed gas, even if there are only two of you.
- If a woman farts, (which is actually exceedingly rare) don't acknowledge it, not even a raised eyebrow. Keep a poker face as you pretend nothing happened. Trust me, this is the best course for the long run.
Labels: Wisdom of the Ages
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Report on the American War Dead in Iraq and Afghanistan
In Iraq, 8 died from IEDs, three from small arms and one from an automobile accident. Four Marines died in al Anbar in what was, as usual, only described as combat operations and two soldiers died of non combat causes, under investigation.
In Afghanistan, 6 died from IEDs (that's up, as I have long predicted), four from small arms, two from non combat causes , one from combat operations (a Marine) and one from natural causes, in Dijbouti. With that last reported death, it is clear that it is difficult to criticize the DOD for underinclusion of deaths in the theater of operations.
Two commissioned officers died, Lt. Col. Joseph Moore, 54, (the guy in Dijbouti) and 1st Lt. Jeffery Deprino, 35 (from an IED). Two women died, Mary Jaenichen, 20 (NCC) and Jessica Ellis, 24 (IED).
Our hopes and prayers go out for all our brave warriors and their families.
UPDATE: In June, the Department of Defense released the name of another soldier killed in Iraq in May so the total killed there was 19, with three of non combat causes under investigation (generally this means suicide).
The Washington Post Wakes Up to History
Odd? ODD? The bad news from Iraq is over-covered, the success in Iraq is not covered at all. This is the way it's been since about June, 2003. It's not odd at all. Wait, there's more.
THERE'S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war.
While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."
Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained "special groups" that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans.
Careful, the next thing you'll be saying is that we're winning in Iraq. That would contradict all of the Democrat leadership over the last several months, including Barack Obama.
Gen. Petraeus pointed out that attacks in Iraq hit a four-year low in mid-May and that Iraqi forces were finally taking the lead in combat and on multiple fronts at once -- something that was inconceivable a year ago. As a result the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki now has "unparalleled" public support, as Gen.Petraeus put it, and U.S. casualties are dropping sharply. Eighteen American soldiers died in May, the lowest total of the war and an 86 percent drop from the 126 who died in May 2007.
Lovely to hear, and oh yeah, they get to Obama.
If the positive trends continue, proponents of withdrawing most U.S. troops, such as Mr. Obama, might be able to responsibly carry out further pullouts next year. Still, the likely Democratic nominee needs a plan for Iraq based on sustaining an improving situation, rather than abandoning a failed enterprise. That will mean tying withdrawals to the evolution of the Iraqi army and government, rather than an arbitrary timetable; Iraq's 2009 elections will be crucial. It also should mean providing enough troops and air power to continue backing up Iraqi army operations such as those in Basra and Sadr City. When Mr. Obama floated his strategy for Iraq last year, the United States appeared doomed to defeat. Now he needs a plan for success.
Doomed to defeat? That'll be the day, with the quality of most of our armed forces. And yes, an Obama plan for continuing our success in Iraq would be quite refreshing. I'm not actually holding my breath in anticipation.
On the contrarian front, see what those stuck in the Democratic alternative reality still think, like theater critic Frank Rich, peter principled up to political opinion pieces at the sinking Grey Lady. His succinct take on the what he sees of the "national tragedy," the current situation in Iraq:
Mr. McCain and his party are in denial about this. “Elections are about the future” is their mantra. On “Hardball” in April, Mr. McCain pooh-poohed debate about “whether we should have invaded or not” as merely “a good academic argument.” We should focus on the “victory” he magically foresees instead.
But the large American majority that judges the war a mistake remains constant (more than 60 percent). For all the talk of the surge’s “success,” the number of Americans who think the country is making progress in Iraq is down nine percentage points since February (to 37 percent) in the latest Pew survey. The number favoring a “quick withdrawal” is up by seven percentage points (to 56 percent).
It’s extremely telling that when Gen. David Petraeus gave his latest progress report before the Senate 10 days ago, his testimony aroused so little coverage and public interest that few even noticed his admission that those much-hyped October provincial elections in Iraq would probably not happen before November (after our Election Day, wanna bet?). Contrast the minimal attention General Petraeus received for his current news from Iraq with the rapt attention Mr. McClellan is receiving for his rehash of the war’s genesis circa 2002-3, and you can see what has traction this election year.
Notice that Rich uses popular opinion rather than actual metrics of success to continue his defeatists ideas, and he uses the press' self imposed embargo on good news from Iraq (and the near complete lack of coverage of General Petraeus's latest report) as proof that the present just doesn't matter, that the failure to find WMD 5 years ago is much more important than current success and a relatively secure, Iraqi republic. Not that compelling an argument in my book. It seems more like clinging to the straws of the tiny bit of bad news from Iraq in the cascading torrent of good news.
Labels: Iraq Successes
This Day in the History of Making Lemonade From Lemons
Still, the United States Navy gained a slogan and thereupon a very, very proud tradition after that.
Labels: War of 1812 naval battle