Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wallowing - let's humiliate those prisoners all over again

Fox News yesterday reported about Petraeus' desire to release all interrogation-related photos.


We have "international" interests in Europe demanding war crimes trials against former President George W. Bush, and Obama says, "Why not! Makes sense to me!" Kick 'em when they're down (song Dirty Laundry).

We have the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) holding the US Government to a higher standard - the Constitution - to avoid, prevent, and redress erosions of liberty delimited in the Constitution. The ACLU wants to assure that humane treatment of all prisoners is the only treatment anyone with prisoners employ. Because "enemies" and "necessary to get information" are incredibly slippery moral slopes. Once used, they can be used when they are "almost" as "necessary".

We have various members of Congress and the Media looking for "hooks" to advance their career. And interrogation is often gaudy enough to make news that sells lots of soap. Remember - reporting the "news" is not about public service - it is presented to make a profit, and advance careers.

While those people that have been incarcerated have suffered - many of the Islamic prisoners have additional cause for grievance. The security measures needed to deal with hardened warriors, fanatically dedicated to a cause or hatred of the US (or both!) are far removed from what Andy Griffith encountered on Mayberry, RFD.

Showing pictures of those detained for terrorist or other attacks on America and Americans, or conspiring in attacks on the US - revives their subjugation to their hated enemies, and exposes their failures and defeats to their family and honored figures of authority.

We repeat our acts against them by showing their pictures. We no longer dig up graves of Native Americans for the "quaint" weapons and pottery. We need to be careful about resurrecting what necessary security measures did to detainees.

Releasing such photos as came out of Abu Ghraib and have been released about Guantanamo Bay verge on titillation, feed division and prejudice on all sides of any question. And they perpetrate an unwarranted, public attack on the offended detainees.

Some few of those targeted as enemies of the US are hardened, experience, and very capable warriors. Their strength of body and dedication to harming the US and Americans are the result of years of dedication, toil, and belief. Keeping such people incarcerated, in a fashion that minimizes the chance they will harm or kill themselves or others, is a Herculean task. The measures taken are often hateful to the prisoners. I can see nothing good coming from making photos and descriptions of treatment taken out of context, and exploited will-he, nil-he in public.

Most of the people detained warrant, by their actions and credible evidence before, during, and since their capture, treatment using extraordinary "high security" tactics and procedures. Let us not compound the effect on those people by using them to flog others for political gain or mere ratings ambition.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Republican Party vs marriage

Hat/tip to Ryan to 2L at Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest, who points out another young spokesperson for change in the Republican party.

Meghan McCain, daughter of past Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, spoke to a group of Log Cabin Republicans.

Unsurprisingly, Meghan spoke out against the old-school leaders of the Republican Party, and their fears of change.
"Most of the old school Republicans are scared s***less of that future," she told a gathering of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay and lesbian party members.

On Monday, McCain wrote an opinion piece urging the Republican Party to use more gay-friendly language. "Of all the causes I believe in and speak publicly about, this is one of the ones closest to my heart," she wrote in a blog post on the Daily Beast titled 'Memo to the GOP: Go Gay.' " If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric."

I have two issues here. One is religious tolerance - which the US Constitution protects. The other is institutionalizing religious practices.

Marriage is a religious practice.

Ask the Catholic Church and most Protestant Christian churches - one of the sacred rites of the church is that of marriage. Look at Islamic countries, where various practices from buying (and keeping captive) wives, to multiple wives, and other forms of marriage exist - similar to the Biblical Old Testament description of marriage (read about bringing home war brides).

Ask the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, about their history of belief in forms of marriage - and the blood shed over polygamy.

The same religious teachings defile same-sex sexual contact.

Government in Marriage

Marriage licenses are issued and recorded by the individual state. The Constitution clearly and explicitly bars the federal government - the President and Congress - from interfering with powers reserved to the states. On the face of it, Congress violates the Constitution by discussing marriage in any way but proposing a Constitutional Amendment granting Congress authority over marriages of citizens.

Instead, the Republican Party has taken religious precepts - anti-abortion, abhorrence of same-gender sexual contact, and Christian one-man, one-woman marriage - and held their religious views are also "facts" of various provenance.

The argument goes, that even though these are religious teachings, they are valid points of view to hold, and are reasonable long-term goals of the Republican Party on that basis.

Lies and damn lies.

Except this argument is disingenuous. It is deceptive. If elected, a Republican Party member must be ready and able to represent - serve - all the citizens that elect her or him, not just those that voted for her or him. Medical and social consensus seems to prove, at least as solidly as global warming has been "proven", that some of us Americans are naturally left handed. My sister is, and hasn't seemed to be morally or physically handicapped by the condition. Her four kids seem to have grown well, are well adjusted and happy and productive. Her husband of 36 years seems quite happy. Others of us are oriented differently for selecting and living with an intimate companion or mate. Or several mates.

My remedy.

I grew up thinking "the gay nineties" were the economically prosperous times of the 1890's. And the name "gay marriage" for an arrangement or institution just bugs me. All marriages should be happy (happy is a historical synonym for the word "gay").

So. I think the IRS rules that define "marriage" should be recoded to mean "household" - and mean whatever arrangement of taxpayers and dependents are reported.

Employers and insurers today - benefits providers - rely on IRS information to identify recipients (Social Security Number, claimed dependents, etc.). Let this practice continue. Just drop the assumption about how many providers and dependents form a person's close family.

Halfway there.

For all the empty rhetoric, speechifying and Bible thumping politicians do to get votes from religious voters, no one seems to have noticed or cared that most of the laws about the sanctify of marriage have already been devalued.

Christian churches teach that adultery is a sin, that a man can divorce a wife but she isn't allowed to remarry. Coveting a man's wife is a sin. Etc. Yet laws against polygamy, adultery, fornication outside marriage - none of these are regularly enforced. We lament an explosion of teenage births to unwed mothers - and seldom charge either the girl or whoever got her pregnant with statutory rape, let alone fornication. I can remember when a couple had to be married to rent or buy a residence together - but laws were passed prohibiting that simple defense of marriage and the family as "prejudicial".

Hollow posturing.

The Republican Party must restore it's image - limited government, with an emphasis on national security and economic growth. Fiscal responsibility, constraining the budget to collected tax revenues, should be a foregone conclusion. Regulations should be thoughtfully considered for impact and effectiveness - and minimal to achieve the desired objective. Budgets should only be adequate to the needs.

One practice of the Republican National Party has got to stop. Regardless of ability to swing votes and contributions, the party has to first assess the value of the candidate to the office. Bob Dole would never have been the leader America needed. President George W. Bush was merely adequate - and a poor representative of conservative values. John McCain is a nice guy - and has a truly flaky grasp of morality and ethics. This practice of "candidate by reason of seniority" has got to cease. If the party is to have a value, it *must* be to select candidates likely to enhance the office they campaign for. I want a worthy candidate. Each and every time.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Mexican Canard

It seems strange, after all the names Obama and company called President George W. Bush over Iraq. When the intelligence community reported Iraq likely had, or was getting, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and would likely use them on the US or our allies (duh!), the main stream media (MSM) and the government jumped on it. I doubt the President knew, or cared, whether Iraq had WMD. But I think the most likely scenario is that just before or after the fall of Iraq - international organized crime made off with much of the infrastructure of Iraq, including lots of weapons - and likely any WMDs. That is just my opinion. Today the consensus seems to be that, when we got close enough to check - finally! - there weren't any, so we call Bush a liar and claim we now know that there never (?) were any WMD in Iraq. And we know he made it up.

And we feel smug, as we ignore the year delay that the weapons could have been moved or destroyed, and we ignore the problem of being certain, at the time, whether or not there were WMD in Iraq - or whether other factors justified our actions. Smug. Smug and guilt free. Isn't it good to have Democrats to wave their hands and solve our problems?

Except we have this little problem. Americans are using drugs. Mexicans are supplying a lot of the drugs. And the Mexicans are armed. Heavily armed. With US-made automatic weapons, heavy battlefield type weapons and grenades.

And we now have, demonstrably, two presidents, our secretary of state (Hilary sure learned a lot about lying from her husband Bill! - or did she teach him?), and others in the government. The Brady Group is all over this story - American guns are being used by Mexicans to kill each other and Americans! Horrors!

Which brings me to the Mexican Canard. Hat/tip to the Armed School Teacher for coigning the phrase Mexican Gun Canard. A canard is a false rumor.

And that is what is going on. Hilary and the Brady Group want to renew the assault weapon ban (it didn't affect shootings or murders, only infringed rights of citizens and increased the cost of government) and House Speaker Pelosi wants to register all guns. As if the government hasn't managed to misuse every database they every had, and breached every confidential piece of data. Remember our Secretary of State with the felony mishandling of FBI files - that she let the statute of limitations run out before turning the files back in, with her fingerprints on them and no explanation? So we have to take this posturing seriously.

Even when the stand Obama and others take is based on a lie.

The American arms that the Mexican drug cartels are uniformly heavy, battlefield weapons - none of which are available to gun-owning civilians in the US.

These are Department of Defense weapons, retired, and provided to Mexico to arm their army and police. When said army and police people desert, as many do, they manage to take the automatic weapons, grenades, etc. with them. And sell them to the drug cartels.

Obama is deliberately floating this canard, this false rumor, for his own purposes. And the main stream media keeps pretending Obama is a young President, not the product of Chicago inner city and corrupt politics.

Besides, all Obama would have to do to stop arming the drug cartels - would be to end drug abuse in the US - no market, no sellers, no one buying Mexico's deserter-market weapons. Change, indeed. Instead we have to watch for truckloads of guns sold to drug cartels at gun shows. Hint: Gun shows are well regulated, and don't have access to the type of weapons the drug cartels want and use. Nor do licensed gun dealers.

I ask myself - why does the President of the United States want to take away guns that the Constitution protects, and not the drugs that violate the law? I haven't figured that out, yet, but I imagine it has to do with campaign contributions (few gun owners contribute to Obama, I don't know about drug dealers) and other money streams.

Monday, April 13, 2009

And Obama cried, "It is not a conspiracy - it is my plan!"

Vincent Gioia's Blog focuses on the threats to America from President Barack Hussein Obama. A retired lawyer, he defends the constitution and identifies specific acts of Congress and the President that clearly violate the Constitution.

But I think Vincent overlooked how all of the most egregious abuses of office and the American people tie together to form a single, horrible whole.

  1. During the campaign,
    when he said in his Colorado Springs speech he wanted to create a “civilian national security force which, candidate Obama said "would be just as powerful and well-funded as the U.S. military.”

    This would be
    HR 1388: The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, otherwise known as the "GIVE Act,"

    Contact Congressman Alan Grayson’s office, 202-225-2176 to express concern. Hat/tip to TSLRF.

  2. Legislation to regulate all compensations - pay, bonuses, etc. - of everyone employed by companies that received government funds. Ever. The expectation is that includes all companies and employers and employees - as President Barack Hussein Obama agreed to, as part of the recent formation of the G20 group FSB. The FSB is established to internationally regulate all significant funds, banks, and financial institutions - and salaries and wages and compensations.

My thought? Obama intends, with HR1388, to draft every public school, from middle school through college, into uniformed service - posted at corps facilities for living quarters and base of operations, with 4-year training academies for "social officers".

And he wants to destroy commerce and industry's ability to distract people from serving - with allegiance pledged to the President.

This is getting scary.

Congress is collaborating with the President with legislation that violates the Constitution. Possibly the Supreme Court will rake the muck back into the gutter, but it remains to be seen whether President Barack Hussein Obama will honor his oath there, either.

Look at Vincent's blog. He makes a cogent argument that the Constitution makes provision for one huge question remaining about the Obama Presidency - whether or not Barack Hussein Obama was born a natural American citizen. The Constitution of the United States clearly states that if Obama was not a "natural born citizen", he is not President - and cannot be made President, unless and until the Constitution is amended. Yes, the Obamanites have pooh-poohed the story, yet the question of his father's non-American citizenship makes his mother's age critical in meeting the full definition of being a natural born citizen. The Constitution provides a remedy - the VP (Joe Biden) assumes the duties of the President until the President can remedy his ineligibility. Since this would invalidate all the President's actions, law signings, and appointments, the sooner this question is resolved, the less debris to clean up.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

About Hollywood and the recording industry, and piracy.

OK. points to an article showing Hollywood scare campaigns. "Hollywood: Piracy Fosters Child Porn, Slavery"

What I want to know is - where is Hollywood doing it's part in the Patent/Copyright cycle? The US Government registers and enforces patents and copyrights for the benefit of the public. The intent is to protect a publication or an idea for the author/inventor for a fixed period of time. This is intended to encourage the creation of more ideas and more written works.

So - where are the recordings and documents that have aged out of copyright - and into the public domain?

Who is the slippery slime-type person that wants to prevent the works from benefiting the people and government that established that initial protection time?

I say, if patent holders and copyright holders don't begin, right now, to formally release any and all materials, and stop trying to re-copyright previously copyrighted materials - stop protecting them in the first place.

Take a band. Say, the Beatles. Record a music session, edit into a merchandisable recording form. Duplicate that form.

You could say that each duplicated record, tape, CD, or MP3 or other format track, is a copy of that initial editing of that initial music session. So.. The Beatles recorded their music before 1969. 40 years ago. Who in their right mind thinks that a 34 year copyright didn't expire 6 or more years ago (it was 17 years at the time). Why is any of that material considered copyrighted today?

I would be more concerned about piracy against movies and music companies - if they were honest in turning their older products over to the public as the law intended.

Gun-free zones - an invitation to a shooting?

Ann Coulter points out that all the recent shootings have guns in common - along with crack cocaine, and dysfunctional people, broken dreams and misfits.

.. I guess Mixon also raped that 12-year-old girl in "self-defense." Clearly, the pimping industry has lost a good man. I wish I'd known him. I tip my green velvet fedora with the dollar signs all over it to him. Why do the good ones always die young? Pimps, I mean.

Liberals tolerate rallies on behalf of cop-killers, but they prohibit law-abiding citizens working at community centers in Binghamton, N.Y., from being armed to defend themselves from disturbed, crack-addicted America-haters like Jiverly Wong.

What public, mass shootings have in common, is they usually continue until someone brings another gun into use. There is a *reason* shooters pick shopping malls, college campuses, and private, non-gun-owner residences for their shootings. They want an easy target, and no interruptions.

-- Richard Poplawski, 23, product of a broken family, expelled from high school and dishonorably discharged from the Marines, who killed three policemen in Pittsburgh.

Poplawski was doing something other dysfunctional, distraught people have done - commit "suicide by police guns". He told an acquaintance on the phone, as the police arrived, that he was about to die. Why he actually shot at police, wore a bullet-proof vest - maybe it was hubris, maybe he was trying for the Guinness Book of World Records. Who knows. I don't care.

Three things are needed to end these shooting sprees.
  1. Stop publishing them. They are local interest stories, of import to those injured, killed, and relatives and friends of those involved. Spreading the story any further - invites copycat slayings.
  2. Enforce the laws on the books. Accept that you cannot legislate morality (Barry Goldwater). Rallying, using an incident to further your own political or news-team goals violates the first step, and invites copycat slayings.
  3. Accept that making training and shooting opportunities once again a common and public facet of American public life results in less crime. Communities that have required every head of household to possess a firearm - have lower crime rates.
When a person uses a gun to commit a crime, from suicide to robbery to rape to murder, blame the person. Crimes are against the law - the weapons or technique are mere details. Making guns more difficult for law-abiding citizens to obtain *arms* and *invites* the criminal that doesn't use legal means to obtain their weapon anyway.

Look at the Mexican Canardtm. Mexico complained about the automatic weapons from the US that their drug cartels use. Right. Those automatic weapons were provided by the US Department of Defense to arm their police and army. Deserters from the Mexican army and police take those weapons, and sell them to the drug cartels. These are not weapons available in gun shops to law abiding US Citizens.