Nov 07

AXIS Snapshot

This post is a “wedge”. You are now viewing the pointy end; more and more will be driven in as I have the opportunity. Please do check back from time to time.

IRAQ–Taken down by US military action. Taking longer than hoped for to stabilize.
IRAN–To be taken down by Iranian Middle Class. Ahmadinejad is helping this cause. Next “Big Thing” from Iran (after the Islamic Bomb) will be Persian Racial-Nationalism. Just because they are an Islamic Republic, they do not have to like Arabs. And they don’t…. more to come–work calls.

UPDATE: Toothless Europe may recommend referring IRAN to the UNSC. Sorry, but the time for that was years ago.

SYRIA–Soon to be taken down by the UN! This is amazing. Perhaps the longest-lasting effect of the Bush Doctrine will be a credible UN which can take down junior thugs like Assad.
However:”I know Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein is an enemy of mine, and you, sir, are no Saddam Hussein.” shows a large tank farm with a good port at what turns out to be BANIAS. This is connected to Iraqi (and kuwaiti?) oil by pipeline.
NORTH KOREA–To be taken down by multinational pressure. Of course, this is only possible with multinational backbone, which until recently was damned hard to find. Go, Bush Doctrine!

UPDATE: Kim Jong-Il travels to China, “Disappears among money woes”. What is going on? No doubt, shady people in Washington (and Crystal City) are working late to answer my question–thanks, guys!.

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Nov 07

New Strain of AIDS Blamed on Risky Behavior (Graphic)

This is a re-post from my old blog based on a newspaper article from mid-2005.

Of course the real news behind this is not a new strain of AIDS, but the fact that somewhere, someone in the mainstream media actually let a story about promiscuity, homosexuality, drug abuse, and AIDS get past the filters of Political Correctness. I presume one more newspaper editor has been added to the pool of available talent–unemployed.
In the Washington Times article, the two patients are referred to as CTO1 and CTO2. CTO1 has been determined to be “Patient Zero” for the new strain of AIDS.

United Press International – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper
“Mystery AIDS strain ‘patient zero’ found
By Ed Susman
Jul. 26, 2005 at 7:33AM
… The original source of the infection is a patient in Connecticut who infected the New York man during anonymous rectal intercourse at a sex club in the city on Oct. 22, 2004. [emphasis added]

At the club, CT01 had insertive anal intercourse with ejaculation into the New York man. CT02, a 41-year-old man who has lived with CT01 for 12 years, had insertive anal intercourse without ejaculation with the same man.
[Doctor] Blick [who is treating CTO1] said, however, the New York man’s use of crystal methamphetamine and highly promiscuous lifestyle may be more of a factor in his low CD4 count than the strain of virus.

He also agreed the New York man probably developed a rapidly progressing form of the disease due to his frequent use of crystal meth, along with his promiscuity. “Who knows what damage that drug does to a person’s immune system,” he said.
The New York man had sex with at least 10 other partners before he discovered he was infected. Blick said it is possible other infections with that strain may show up later when those men are tested — if they became infected.

The next time you hear that AIDS is about to explode in the straight community, the appropriate response is a yawn. For twenty years, the global pandemic has been “just around the corner”. Only if “global” is interpreted as “promiscuous homosexual drug users”.

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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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