Nov 07


A look at Google’s Motivation for the Week
Liars Principle
Evil Good
Profit Gain Filter Chinese Google Resist U.S. Subpoena

NOTE THAT the only shred of defense Google can muster is its argument that it is protecting user’s privacy by refusing to comply with the subpoena from the U.S. Government. When we take into account the fact that this is total horseshit, then this item slides left, over into the Gain Profit, Evil Principle square. SO much for their corporate motto. Perhaps we heard it wrong when they in fact said “Do no weevils”, a courageous stand for them to take on the pressing subject of bug buggery.

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Nov 07

Get Congress off its ass, and on the Supreme Court’s!

Here’s a great link!

Items in bold are not my own words and require replacement. They formed the core of an article I was expanding at, but it grew until I decided to walk off the original text and craft my own from start to finish. It was a good jumping-off point.

Alos, HAWK, look at the sheet of paper you wrote on about the DEAD HAND OF GINSBURG.

Our government was established with three branches of government to function as an interlocking system of checks and balances. The Constitution is the primary source of instruction under which our government operates, and spells out what the three branches are to do. Further, all laws not embodied in the Constitution must be compatible with that document, or they are not laws. Therefore, the Legislative branch may not pass and the Executive may not enforce or otherwise act upon laws which are unconstitutional. Unconstitutionality may be determined by a ruling of the Judicial branch. Likewise, the Judicial may not rule counter to the Constitution, and the Constitution specifies that such a determination is to be made by Congress, with no avenue of appeal to the Judicial.

The three branches are equal, but only the Congress has the power to change the Constitution, and is therefore rightfully its natural guardian. As directed by the Constitution, Congress may form a Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution, and Congress may block judgements of the Supreme Court to defend the Constitution.

Since the Warren Court arrogated to itself the novel privilege of “judicial supremacy,” the Supreme Court has become a permanent constitutional convention in which the whims of five appointed lawyers have rewritten the meaning of the Constitution.

This is what conservatives mean by “legislating from the bench”, a term which liberals have ridiculed to mean “doing anything”, implying that conservatives desire a do-nothing Supreme Court. Nothing could be further from the truth. Conservatives desire a Judicial branch which jealously guards the Constitution from short-sighted and politically-motivated actions of the Congress, and from expedience at the expense of lawfulness and due process on the part of the Executive. These are the very reasons we have a Supreme Court.

The court, however, has been lost for decades because it now follows itself. It no longer refers to the Constitution as its ultimate authority but admits, as criteria in rendering judgements, the desires of Justices as well as cherry-picked foreign laws and attitudes. There is a new and growing pattern among the Left-liberal establishment to view foreign opinion and international organizations as more reliable and more legitimate than American institutions. In such a confusing, directionless swirl of opinions and prejudices, a Justice has no guide other than personal preference to determine which of the myriad statements is true, or worse, aim for the middle, reaching a compromise in matters which should be one way or the other.

As a person can be only either guilty or not guilty, and a law can be only either constitutional or not constitutional, so may a judcial opinion be only in accordance with the direction of the Constitution or not in such accord. This renders clear decisions impossible, and is reflected in the increasingly murky-sounding decisions emanating, aureating, penumbrifying from the Court. Decisions on philosophical matters should sound like statements of fact, not further questions. This dereliction of duty has made the Court a natural candidate for abuse by the societal forces which insist upon change without reference to tradition or requirements.

This arrogation of power by the Court is a dramatic break from previous American history, and has made it a tool of the ideological left. Conservatives have been concerned and frustrated, by turns,

Liberals should be concerned as well. While they have been complicit in this mugging of the Constitution, because it has suited their agendas, they should carefully consider what will happen if a strong majority of avenging conservatives unwinds the damage done. And yet this possibility should alarm conservatives as much as liberals, because no matter how well-intended these actions would be, they would ultimately be ham-fisted and wrong, because the Supreme Court is the wrong instrument with which to correct the Supreme Court. It is in noone’s interest to have one branch of the Federal Government out of control, reporting only to itself, no matter who is in charge. Forty years of a democrat-controlled Congress ensured that no protest was raised from those whose primary responsibility is to defend the Constitution. What will the Republican Ascendancy yield?

There is significant precedent in American history for believing that the legislative and executive branches can force the judicial branch into changing its views when they are out of touch with the values of the vast majority of Americans.

The American people have the power to send a message to the courts. They can instruct their legislative and executive branches to retaliate against activist Left judges who consistently ignore the Constitution, invoking the “good behavior” clause of the Constitution.

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Nov 07

Thoughts on Quality: Obstacles in America

Obstacles to Quality:

Quality requires a never-ending commitment to improvement, and a seemingly permanent admission that we are just beginning. It sound like religion to most Americans. We really only have oneplace for such deep-seated ideals, and its label is religion. Perhaps becasue Americans are more religious than Europeans and Asians

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Nov 07

Death Penalty Post II (DRAFT)

A Defense of the Death Penalty

Criticism: The death penalty is a result of an eye-for-an-eye mentality, an attempt to “balance out” the scales of justice. Criminals have families, too, and it is futile to attempt to “fill a void” created in our society by creating another void through killing another person.

The eye-for-an-eye argument misplaces the responsibility for the deed and the motivation for execution. Every person has, or at least had, a family. If we truly believe that every family has the same rights, then every family must have the same responsibilities. We do not assign responsibility for murder to the family of the murderer, but they certainly have no claim upon the family of the victim, nor upon society in general, for consideration of their fate should they be deprived of the company of their murderous offspring. It is therefore a misplacement of responsibility for the murder to worry about the effect of an execution on the family of the murderer.
Regarding the void in society, the criticism is technically correct, but that premise is not a motivator for execution. The void in society left by death cannot be filled. That is why the greatest effort must be made to prevent the initial act. There can be no atonement for murder.
No, the murderer alone is responsible for his actions, and when the time comes for him to face the consequences of his actions, those consequences should not be mitigated by a concern for those close to the killer. The time for consideration of this type was when the killer weighed, or failed to weigh, the consequences of his actions as they affect not only him, but his victim, his victim’s family, the society in which he runs amok, and yes, his own family. So the decision to spare his family a harsh ordeal, to have mercy on their own sensibilities, and to shield them from the loss of their murderous loved one was made by the killer at the time of the deed. Neither society nor the state itself owe an appeal of this decision to the killer’s family, as the victim’s family has no appeal, and the rights and responsibilities of both families are held to be equal.

The state may revoke numerous individual liberties via imprisonment, but chief among the rights of humankind must be the right to life. Without life, no other rights exist. A society which values life, indeed which names it as the first right “conferred by the Creator”, must preserve the value of life.

In this, I agree completely. We institute governments to protect our own rights. My right to life is protected in part by the knowledge that if I am deprived of my life through the wanton act of another, every effort will be made to apprehend that person and exact a severe penalty. Serious deliberation has already been undertaken in the course of legislating the sentence of execution for the most heinous crimes. Serious deliberation will be also undertaken by a jury of the killer’s peers. Their decision is binding. This is all done to preserve the value of life, not to cheapen it.

Some phrase the question in terms of relative value:

Is a guilty person’s life of less value than an innocent person’s life? By what process could a person’s life possibly lose value or become worthless?

We could simply dispense with this argument by stating the obvious–that life is of the utmost value. Yet this criticism is concerned with relative value, and for that we may not rely solely on our deeply held beliefs, or cherished notions. For any discussion of a shifting value, there must be a market, so let us play at philosophical economics for a moment.

Nothing has an objective value. That is more properly referred to as a price, and is completely arbitrary, but in a fair market, the price is typically set close to the value, as determined by the market. Value exists only to a decision maker, either a producer or a consumer, that is, a giver or a taker. In this exchange of metaphysical goods, the value is set by the willingness of one person to give a life, and the willingness of another to take it. Let us assume that all persons are extremely reluctant to give a life, although some will for a sufficiently lofty ideal, but none can be convinced to do so without a very good reason. In the case of simple murder, the selling point of the victim has not been determined, but presumably it is set quite high, so the only variable remaining is the willingness of the killer.

Again, in order to preserve the value of life, through our government we enact laws which tend to damp that willingness to take a life. The most effective of these methods would be to attach that which is most dear, one’s own life, to the life of a prospective victim. The killer is presumably not willing to die without a very good reason. If the family and society from which a person comes have somehow failed to instill in that person a basic respect for the sanctity of life, let the law act as a final attempt to stay his hand.

So once again, the value of a life has been set by the killer. Through the deterrent mechanism of a possible death penalty, the upper limit on the value of a killer’s life to society is determined to be the value of the victim’s life to the killer.

He also bats down the notion that execution is the harshest consequence offered. I agree. It is hardly the harshest punishment possible. But he offers this canard:

Proper and strict life imprisonment (without parole), where the criminal is stripped of everything but the bare necessities, satisfies the criteria as the harshest consequence.

Not at all. The harshest consequences are routinely meted out to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, year in and year out, for actions not even criminal in this or any other civilized society. The harshest consequences are also a simple, brutal fact of a short, hard life for millions of human beings who have done nothing wrong, offended no person or society, and who perhaps have never had so much as an impure thought, simply because they live in Hellish parts of the Earth, or have fallen to natural disasters. Starving children, drowned cities, slave labor–all “satisfy the criteria” of a consequence far more harsh than those offered by the American system of justice.

Mr. Khurram has the good fortune to live in a society which abhors violence and cruelty. This has conditioned him to think that our civilized system of making unpleasant decisions, in the wake of unconscionable acts, equates the worst which the world has to offer. In this he is mistaken.

He then engages in some rhetorical baiting of the religious through the appeal to an example set by the almighty, and further through a brief dunk in the abortion debate. I am inclined to agree with part of his argument–let us all follow the example of the almighty (as you perceive that power) and be done with this talk of murder. But in his appeal, he seems less than genuine, and it sounds more like a device than a conviction. He is casting about for support, trying to shame the anti-abortion and pro-death-penalty crowd into seeing murderers and hapless innocents as equal. Remember, however, that the murderer has already determined the value of his own life to society, whereas an unborn child has done no such thing. I reproduce his closing paragraph in full, without interrupting to point out the three grammatical errors:

I would like to encourage all those who fight abortion in the pro-life movement to consider that being pro-life also means fighting capital punishment. If we were to spend even half the energy to combat the death penalty as we do abortion, it could be permanently abolished, at least in the United States. We as individuals should learn to embrace mercy as a tremendous and liberating virtue. Of course, the government as an institution has the authority to punish crimes. But let us as individuals learn to forgive, especially when it is hardest. Why is it that God doesn’t strike the criminal dead, immediately after his heinous act? Despite our faults and shortcomings, why does he allow us to maintain the most precious gift of life that he has given to us? The answer is mercy.

Here, Mr. Khurram has mixed some gentle advice with a few non sequiturs. Embrace mercy, indeed, and do it when contemplating murder. Learn to forgive, and definitely forgive before taking the life of one who has done you, your family, and your society no such injury. Well said.

And if he wishes to question the actions of the almighty, he might wish to ask why He does not strike the criminal dead, immediately before his heinous act. I, however, would not presume to ask such a question.

Mr. Khurram demonstrates his misunderstanding of the problem by shading the death penalty as punishment, which has at its core the goal of behavior modification, as if it were something from which we expect the murderer to learn. We do not expect him to learn–we expect him to die, and his sole remaining earthly redemption, the last he may offer society, is if he may serve posthumously as a warning to others not to repeat his crime.

And his statement that “being pro-life also means fighting capital punishment” is patently mistaken. Being pro-life means assigning the highest value possible on life, and part of that is deterring, with every instrument at our disposal, the taking of life.

A man’s family, culture, and society attempt (or should attempt) to instill in him the utmost regard for the awesome gift of life. Imperfect creatures that we are, however, we institute governments and imbue them with tremendous powers to stand against the vicious impulses of some in our midst. That power must be credible to be effective. The death penalty is society’s last-ditch effort, when all else fails, to preserve the value of life.

Haakon B. Dahl (your humble correspondent) is a former Naval Officer who lives in Japan, and may be reached through comments at The RevWatch blog. I welcome all comments, but particularly comments from those in economics who may wish to poke holes in my analogy. I reserve the right to delete comments as I see fit.

NOTES FOR UPDATE: DNA technology is ostensibly good enough to prove innocence. But not really, as absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence. SO you can say that the prosecutor has not proven the case, but DNA is much better at nailing criminals than freeing the innocent. So if the “wrong man” argument dominates the anti-death-penalty crowd, this is fairly easy to counter–if DNA puts the man at the scene at the time, fry him. DEVELOP this argument and work it in.. And get Khurram out of this, to make it a regular essay, rather than a response piece–too long anyway.

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Nov 07

Boy Scouts, No; Muslim "Youth Camp", Yes!

The Iowa City Press-Citizen (hat tip:LGF:zee) carries this story about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leasing land to the “Muslim Youth Camps of America”.

Under the lease, the more than 114 acres of federal land can be used intermittently by non-profit groups during the non-camping season with a total of about 1,500 people a year.
Lynne Kinney, who lives across from the camp site, said the scaled-back plan will make the Muslim youth camp much more like the Girl Scouts’ Camp Daybreak used to be. The Girl Scouts used the area until a 1990 fire destroyed their Camp Daybreak lodge.

This is the same Federal Government that can’t have anything to do with the Boy Scouts of America because somewhere, somehow, they might be a little religious.

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Nov 07

The Problem with Korea

That’s right, Korea, not South Korea, not North Korea. We need to start thinking in terms of a unified but struggling state. South Korean politics, never really democratic, seem increasingly to hinge upon nationalism through abuse of some other country. Sometimes it’s China, or Russia, and now it’s Japan. I could be tempted to see the Takeshima/Dokdo and Yasukuni issues as natural and simmering, were it not for the gruesome pictures which Korean children are posting about town, depicting…

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Nov 07

COMPLAIN HERE if you have trouble with the new look…

Not if you just “don’t like it”, that’s tough, but if your browser, for some reason, is making this all look garbled, or hard to follow, with things in all the wrong place (you’ll know if it’s happening), please comment here. I have changed a few things, mostly size settings, which will cause this blog to display poorly on small screens. You people still at 640 x 480 will be the first to complain. If you’re there, SPEAK UP. If not, well…


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Nov 07

Why Mommy and Daddy are Republicans [Part I]

This is Chip. [picture of happy little beaver youth]

Chip is a beaver, and like most beavers, he knows the value of hard work. Chip’s Mommmy and Daddy are Republicans, and they worked very hard to build the place where Chip’s family lives. Chip of course, being a child, has no political affiliation. But he knows what makes sense. Before Chip was even born, his Mommy and Daddy went to the woods on the banks of the river, and felled trees by working very hard, for days on end, until the trees could be brought to the right place. [pic: Mommy beaver gnawing on tree, Daddy maneuvering one into place across a narrow spot in the river. Woodpecker looks on approvingly]

Over a long, long time, Chip’s Mommy and Daddy got enough wood to build this house, where the whole beaver family lives, and they maintain the dam which keeps up the pond. Many fish live in the pond, so they are happy the dam is there. Other animals eat the fish, and they are also happy that the dam is there. This is the way nature works, and sometimes, one kind of animal will eat another in order to survive. Usually, there are no hard feelings. [picture of a fish grinning, in the mouth of a bear, which is lumbering past the dam with the lodge in the background. Chip looks on from the safety of the lodge].

When dangerous animals come to the pond, the Republican beavers warn the other animals by slapping the surface of the pond with their big flat tails. SMACK! Republicans are simply better equipped to deal with issues of security. [picture of unsavory-looking badger skulking away from Daddy as Daddy sounds the alarm. As Daddy sounds the alarm, his big flat tail and surprisingly large testicles are featured. Other animals spot the badger]

Beavers, being Republicans, know that there is no room in any pond for those who will not work, or who try to live by stealing the work of others. Weasels, rats, cockroaches and bushy-tailed squirrel Democrats are like this. [picture of familiar-looking (from that other book) squirrel family sneaking into a woodpecker hole, throwing the woodpecker eggs onto the ground below]

One day, Daddy got a letter in the mail from the town council. The letter said that some residents of the pond felt threatened by the tail-slapping. There was more too, but it was written in a style which is not used in this pond, and was hard to read. Daddy was pretty puzzled by this, and went to ask his friend Mister Bear what it could mean. [picture of Daddy scratching head while bear puts on spectacles, gripping letter in great big paw. fishbones in background, homeless woodpecker picking over for scraps]

“Well, Chuck, it says here that the town council got some complaints about your tail-slapping. Said it scared somebody. Says you can’t do it anymore. Also says you never got an environmental impact statement completed before you started chopping down trees, and that the fish around here are–hey, that’s not right! [pic: bear getting red in the face, starting to holler as he reads this to Daddy, who looks gut-punched]

“How can they say that?” asked Daddy. “This pond is what sustains all of us alive here. It protects us from predators. You know what I mean, Isaac. It also gives the fish a place to live, it gives you fish to eat, it keeps the water level high enough to sustain a great crop of berries every year… I don’t get it. And smacking my tail on the pond is the only thing that keeps that badger family from killing us all! Well, maybe not you, bear, but most of us.” [pic of Daddy getting cross, and starting to holler himself]

“Hey, looky here,” said the bear, “The original complaint came from that squirrel family in Woody’s old house. Ah, now I recognize this strange style of writing–it’s liberal double-talk!”

“What? Those idiots? All they have done is throw the woodpecker out of his house and use it to stash their stolen nuts so they won’t have to work over the winter!”

“Well, that’s not all they do up there, Chuck. I get by there about twice a day, and there’s always some kind of odd-smelling smoke wafting out of the woodpecker hole. I think there’s about thirty of them living in there. I have seen more than twenty go in, one right after the other, with none coming out. Woody and his family are staying at my place until they can get a new place.”

Republicans, you see, believe that communities of individuals will take care of each other

“Well, Isaac,” said Daddy Beaver, “Why don’t we go put this to rights. This so-called town council ought to keep its business in its own town, and I’m certainly not taking directions from these ‘pecker tossers!”

So Mister Bear and Daddy Beaver went to the squirrels’ house in what used to be the woodpecker’s tree. They had to pick their way past piles of garbage and the sad spattered remains of woodpecker eggs sacrificed for the convenience of Democrats. [picture of dead chicks among eggshells, and a sign in bright pink letters that says A.N.S.C.H.L.U.S.S.–ACT NOW to SUPPORT COMMUNISTS and HELP LESBIANS UNDERMINE SOCIAL STANDARDS.

Daddy shouted up at the useless liberal squirrels. “Hey, you, come out where we can talk to you! What’s the idea firing off letters to some far away council about what goes on in our pond? Why couldn’t you talk to me about my dam and the pond we all share?”

But there was no answer from the hippie commune in the sky. Mister Bear reached back and withdrew a long black steel and wood thing which he proudly announced was called a shotgun. “It’s a Mossberg,” said Mister Bear with a wide grin, “and it’s one sure way to get their attention.” [pic: bear with shotgun and wide grin, Daddy looks on, startled]

Before Daddy could say anything, Mister Bear swung the huge gun right up to his shoulder and cheek, and the calm of the woods was shattered by a resounding CLICK! “Shit!”, said the bear, in the woods. The gun had not fired for some reason.

But no sooner had the sound of the hammerclick died away than the whole squirrel “family”, all forty-seven of them, came streaming out of the woodpecker hole, and ran wild-eyed along the branches and up and down the trunk of the tree while chattering excitedly and crapping themselves.

“H-h-hey m-m-man!” exclaimed a particularly hairy squirrel with a bad stutter, as he shook the crap from a hind claw. “Are you trying to k-k-kill us all, man? What’s the deal? I mean, are you like, tr-tr-trying to kill everybody? Th-th-that’s not c-c-cool, man.”

One of the female squirrels called to him, “Hey, Neil, don’t bother talking to those thugs. See that shotgun? Those claws, those teeth, the frightening flat tail on the little one? They’re not Democrats, they don’t have any brains, they oppress and murder the fish, they rape the land of the berries, and they even have the homeless families picking through their garbage to support their lifestyles!”

Neil a decent but dim character. Harriet not really a squirrel, but a shrew, and a commie! Gloria, her counterpart. “This is feminism? You’re not even female anymore!” SOpirWhorf. Lnguage controls ideas, and we will control the language. 1984. cute but deep debate which is unresolved–but what makes sense?

[bear produces a shotgun, but wonders about the legality of firing it] “If a bear shoots in the woods, would anybody hear it?”

Also something about peckers and beavers. And keeping bear arms. The right of a bear to keep arms? Republicans appreciate the value of, and know how to treat a beaver.

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