Friday, June 24, 2005

Will American liberals be far behind?

U. S. News and World Report reports that some European liberals are fundraising for the Iraqi resistance. Of course, American liberals might soon be doing the same, since they've been giving them rhetorical support since we overthrew Saddam. It's treason, of course, but would be justified the same way Jane Fonda's public support for the Communists in North Vietnam was.

After this week's barrages from the Senate Democrats, it wouldn't surprise me at all. And that's really sad.

If I were Karl Rove

I'd like to see a new round of criticism of Justice Kennedy and outraged liberals attacking the critics, all based, of course, on the Kelo decision. I think that the more people hear about what the case means, the stronger the support for ending the filibuster on presidential nominees. They're going to want a majority who will overturn it.

He has a great position as the bĂȘte noir of the left. It gives him as bully a pulpit as the president's own. The Democrats can't help putting it on front pages everywhere with their over-the-top outrages. He's a gift from the left that keeps on giving.

Kelo may change the Filibuster debate

As Glenn Reynolds notes, the reaction to the the Kelo decision is negative and bipartisan. I hope that people hear about it and sound off to their legislators. One thing I'm sure of, no Bush appointee would support this conclusion, but the ones the Democrats would accept are more likely to.

The Democrats' continue to torch the ice floe they're on.

Hugh Hewitt":
2006 will tell quite a story, because though I thought it impossible to have a starker choice than that offered in 2004, the Democrats have indeed upped the ante. While Democrats pat ritual homage to the memory of 9/11, they seem to have lost the concrete knowledge of American vulnerability to more terrorist attacks and the resolution to take the steps necessary to prevent them.

Mr. Kennedy, don't you think it's time for you to resign?

I would love to have heard Don Rumsfeld ask Teddy that question. Of course, the answer is that Teddy is chosen by the people of Massachusetts, and they are the ones to decide it. Donald Rumsfeld was chosen by the President and serves at his pleasure, not that of some hot air balloon from one state. .

Tom Cruise

I'm listening to Tom Cruise in an interview with Matt Lauer which has turned into an arrogant diatribe based on your bogus "church." Yeah, that's the answer.

Tom, you're starting to exhibit symptoms of brainwashing. It's getting a little spooky.

If this is the real you, you need to stop giving interviews.

The Democrat Tet

For some reason, probably polls showing falling support for the war, the Democrats have launched an assault on the administration, with no regard for the morale of troops who are now fearful that the government will abandon their mission. I just saw Senator Biden in a speech to the Brookings Institution on Tuesday trying to straddle both sides. His main proposal was that the administration report monthly to the Congress on why the war isn't going better.

Of course all this is orchestrated. The same phrases occur again and again. The effrontery of these people, especially their hypocritical outrage over Karl Rove's remarks yesterday and Ted Kennedy's rude attack on Donald Rumsfeld, certainly indicates a desire to pull the rug out from under our troops and sow more doubt among the public. The MSM is complicit in this, as always. The rising viciousness of rhetoric from the left really sounds as if they are so focused on appeasing groups like that they no longer care about America or anything else. America has traditionally spoken with a single voice in our foreign policy, but, as in Vietnam, we're being forced to fight on two fronts, one against American politicians determined to undermine our efforts. I can't help but believe that these people put their own political ambition ahead of the good of this country to the point of disloyalty to those who are defending us. They have abandoned civility, dignity and honesty in their zeal to capitalize on every negative allegation. They have smeared our own people and given more credence to the claims of terrorists that to our own military. They have also provided propaganda to those who hate us in Muslim countries. Yes, they have the right to shoot off their mouths, but they don't have the right to be excused for their irresponsible, anti-American rhetoric. And if they ask, yes I am casting doubt on their patriotism, because they have put political opportunism ahead of their oath to support and defend the Constitution.

What worries me is what they're doing to our troops with their continuing slanders, and maybe more seriously, what they're doing to the confidence of the American people in the nation itself. They might as well send money to Al Qaeda. Karl Rove was spot on about the left's reaction to 9/11 and everything since then.

The News of the Day

First, Ted Kennedy made an ass of himself lecturing the Secretary of Defense about how the war is going, as if Teddy knew more about it than Rumsfeld did. But maybe this isn't really news. Kennedy is such a gasbag, I was hoping he'd spring a leak and go zipping around the room making noises like flatulence. I'd like to send Rumsfeld a big old hat pin to take with him next time to test this theory.

The Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to allow cities to prostitute themselves to businees by placing the power of eminent domain at their service. This stinks on ice.

Karl Rove stuck a stick in a hornets' nest and stirred it around by telling the truth about the groups who have captured the Democrat Party, Lots of buzzing and angry calling for his resignation. Co, Karl, go! The best evidence of what he said is that Senator Durbin still has his leadership post. It would be beyond good luck for Republicans in the 2006 elections. The Dems are calling our troops Nazis and then becoming wildly indignant over claims that such statements are hurting morale among our troops.

The Anti-flag-burning amendment is being given another try. I can't say I'd really care one way or the other. Just as with burning a cross in the yard of a black family, there is really no need for every possible way of offending others to be protected. There are still plenty of ways to speak and criticize without giving demonstrators carte blanche. The Supreme Court has ignored the Free Speech clause by allowing direct regulation of campaign funding. Maybe if we framed the issue in terms saying that flagburning gives some people too much influence and power in government, they'd swallow that one too.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Insider reference

I love this letter. I guess it's a Mormon thing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Bar Bet

A guy just called Hugh Hewitt and recounted a bar bet about Durbin's statement. He and a conservative buddy were in a pub and took the quoted report from the FBI Agent to a couple of the staff who didn't know about the story. They told each about the treatment described and asked each whether the treatment described was done by the Nazis, the Commies or USA intelligence agents. Both guys said they thought is was the Commies.

Americans are very pampered people and there are a lot of people running around who don't know anything that's going on in the world. Just watch a segment of Jay Leno's Jaywalking segment. We tend to use words like "torture" without the slightest thought of what it means. But we know from psychological research that people can be easily pressured into inflicting pain on others.

I guess what this shows is that Durbin's equating leaving a guy naked on the floor, denying him access to a toilet, exposing him to cold or heat within the ranges of most HVAC systems, with "torture" might be the kind of things some totalitarians would do. I'm sure that most people would think this was rough treatment, but if you stopped them and gave them some more facts, they would realize pretty quickly how stupid his statement was. But it also shows how naive average Americans are with respect to 1) the kinds of atrocities such regimes were capable of; and 2) what real torture is like. Maybe a better test would have been to cite some real examples of things these regimes have done with the worst things that have been charged against American troops, and ask them to choose which were done by Pol Pot, Hitler, Saddam, Mao, North Vietnam or US MPs and CIA interrogators.

Fascism - Communism - take your pick

I've never really known what people meant when they call others fascists. Apparently, a lot of lefties think it means that business and government have merged. That doesn't sound like fascist regimes I've heard about. They were political movements that dominated everything else, including businesses, and turned them to the service of the state, but it explains a lot of the current charges of Bush as a fascist.

I always thought that the technical difference was that Communism was international, trying to export its revolution to other nations, while fascism was modeled on the Roman model, where a single country would rule every other in the world, in other words, a distinction with only academic difference. Both tend toward tyranny and totalitarianism.

But, go to the linked post and read the whole thing. It'll be good for your education and help win arguments.

Happy Birthday to the prophet!

President Gordon B. Hinckley the president and prophet of the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints turns 95 this week. He may not look like what people imagine a prophet to be, but when did that ever matter to the Lord?

What is a prophet?

First, he's a servant to God and to God's people. He's not a "holy father," for no one is holy but God, he is not the father of the church. He would dislike such titles. However, he is sustained by the membership of the church as a "prophet, seer and revelator." As to that, I can state that he's truly guided by the spirit of God. I've felt this witness many times hearing him speak, as I felt the truth of his teachings impressed on my soul. I've felt my spirit well up with love for him, for his unassuming manner, his love for the Lord and the members of the church, and his steady support for previous prophets and his steady, positive and optimistic leadership of the Lord's church.

Second, he's an ordinary mortal, but he exemplifies the teachings of Christ and is an enduring example to everyone that becoming Christ-like is not an unattainable goal.

Third, he guides the Lord's people without pomp or compulsion, couching his teachings in scripture, and addressing contemporary issues, patiently, kindly and with reason and promises for a happier life.

For example, a few years ago, he counseled young people not to get tattoos and piercings. There's not much about that in the scriptures, but he was right. If you give yourself a mohawk it will grow back out, but other disfigurement of the body God gave you is harder to grow out of, and it represents a desire to be identified by and with the world than to revere the creator. His talk sent shudders through the youth of the church, but it gave them a challenge to reexamine their values and see whether the fads of the world were more important to them than pleasing their Heavenly Father.

In April, President Hinckley noted a rise in the requests for the church's beliefs about gambling. Simply put, it's bad. It's addictive, wasteful and is based on a desire to get wealth without working for it. The Lord told Adam that he would earn his food by the sweat of his brow, and that has never changed. It is possible to leverage work with wisdom, skills, frugality and investment, but gambling is nearly always a wasre. I can't think of a more Satanic come-on than the promise of all the money you could ever want or need. "Don't bother with the hard stuff, like work, self-discipline, and education! Trust your good luck!" The casinos may talk about luck, but they know better than to make their businesses depend on it.

Such occasions are what prophets are for. Sometimes they must be bold and predict dire consequences for those who ignore the Lord's counsel, but when they do so, it is because the wicked have gotten too close to destruction and need to be brought up short. Mostly they show God's love for his children by their own love and devotion and an example of a truly happy life.
When President Hinckley's wife passed away last year, a photo in the news showed him weeping at her grave side. A lot of people thought that was an invasion of his privacy, but I thought it was great. It illustrated that being righteous is not a guarantee that you'll never have sorrow. It also made a million hearts and souls reach out in love to this great man, who shows us that our God and Savior are more like us that we normally suspect. Christ is God, because he came down among us, as a simple, humble man and saved us all.

A frustrated non-caller, long-time listener.

Hugh Hewitt is devoting another show on Dick Durbin's remarks and the charges about Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

I typed some random thoughts about the FBI Agent's "report," and Durbin's apology and this whole issue in general:

First email sent to HH:

Durbin's "apology" sounds like Bill Clinton biting his lip and feeling our pain. It's the gift of politicians, apparently, to be bold and indignant, then insulted and resolute, then heartbroken and emotional, as the situation requires.

His reference to Abraham Lincoln is really slimey considering his tasteless joke about Lincoln's assassination. He says "I apologize," but he never really retracts his original statement.

I've never understood this idea that apologizing shifts the burden of indignation. "I apologized. Now you have to forgive me!"

The real problem here is his zeal for finding fault with the military and the administration, and the Democrats' reflexive turning of everything into an occasion for more loathing and bitterness not just for their political opponents, but for the military, the independents who voted for the opposition and ultimately for America. If Durbin really loves America as deeply has he says, why was his first impulse to compare our military police to the most unimaginably cruel and murderous crimes against humanity in history? One has to wonder if he's really sorry for what he thought and said, or just sorry he got caught. I tend to think that his real beliefs are what he said in his first response to this--that it was manufactured by the vast right wing conspiracy, whereas real people understood what he meant. The objections were not just to his words, but to his meaning as well. He clearly thinks that there is no atrocity Bush, Rumsfeld, et al. wouldn't sink to.

"My words were badly chosen," is a cop out. What he should be saying is that he forgot that politics stops at the country's borders, and that he has resolved to not allow his political impulses to rule his love for his country and his respect for its people.

The Democrats are in a deep, dark place. Unable to accept the fact that they no longer appeal to the majority of the people, they are full of denial, resentment, paranoia and hatred. Hate is like acid. It attacks the vessel that carries it. Somebody in their party needs to play the grown up and bring them back to the realization that just because they're not in power, the country hasn't turned evil. Too many of them were baptized in that pool of anger and hate during the Vietnam era. They need to realize that we did learn from that experience, that there is such a thing as a just war and that America is not the imperialistic threat to the world they were taught by their Marxist professors in college.

I think that the party has come loose from its progressive moorings, in which it was able to appeal to working men and women, immigrants and the poor and middle class. The new majority of the party consider themselves intellectual elites, who are entitled to rule and dictate to the rest of us. They don't really believe that the people are smart enough to govern themselves, as their characterizations of Red State voters illustrates.

Second email:

Why do they assume that a detainee pulling out his hair is solely the result of mistreatment by guards? I would imagine that a prisoner who's been indoctrinated and trained by Al Qaeda, and has a fixed set of ideas about what Americans and Christians are like, goes through some cognitive dissonance when he finds that he's being treated better in a U.S. prison than he was before he was captured. He may also be under great mental stress from a feeling of having failed in his mission or in having doubts about his faith. A lot of these men are little more than boys, and they've all been brain-washed.

That doesn't explain why he was chained up on the floor of an interview room, which suggests that he was being punished for some reason. However, the agent's report cries out for cross examination.

Was he trained in dealing with captured illegal combatants or just with criminal suspects who are citizens? Does he know what legal rights illegal combatants have under international or military law?

He obviously didn't observe all of the details he reports since he reports that some detainees had been left in interview rooms for 18 to 24 hours. How much of his report was hearsay? Did he rely on written reports or files? Who prepared them? Where are they?

Did he ask his informant why the detainee was treated like this. Does he know how the detainee had behaved himself while in custody?

If he had only seen this shackling on "a couple of occasions" how could he say what happened "most times?"

How did he know the detainee was "almost unconsious?" Did it occur to him that he might have been sleepy?

Is this report dealing with a single detainee or multiple detainees? And how does he know that all detainees were treated like this?

Has he ever been in Iraq in summer or Afghanistan in winter?

Before I'd read this statement into the Congressional Record, I'd want a lot of questions answered. But Durbin can't be bothered with the questions that would have to occur to someone who really supports our troops, or is even fair minded. This is nothing more than the Democrats' talking points run amuck.

It doesn't take much imagination to guess what his response would have been had the political shoes been on other feet.

Third email:

We don't know anything about the FBI agent who made this report. Why was he there? What was he investigating? Was it an official investigation or something else? What were his sources? How much of the material did he personally witness?

FBI agents are trained to afford criminal suspects the rights they have before civilian courts. A detention facility for illegal combatants is a different animal. Did this agent understand the distinctions?

He also seems to have combined a number of different instances to paint a picture that implies that this treatment was routine and widespread, and doesn't offer any background to understand when this treatment was applied.

Personally, I find his report unprofessional and confusing. It is not a good investigation report even for a civil court for the reasons stated above.

These questions don't even reach the question of whether this treatment constitutes inhumane treatment. Since these detainees could have just been shot as illegal combatants, I have to wonder where they acquired additional rights by being detained instead. To me the issue is whether these measures created a danger that the subjects would make up false information merely to avoid them. In a civilian court the test might be what a ordinary, reasonable person could endure without being permanently injured or confirming suggestions that weren't fact. The interrogations are not made for the purpose of obtaining a confession, after all, as many tortures in totalitarian regimes are for. They are made to obtain reliable intelligence. Therefore, the measures taken should be calibrated to the individual with that goal in mind.

Nakedness, lack of access to toilets, cold and heat, loud noise, lack of sleep and personal humiliation are all ways to weaken a person's resolve, but they are not remotely in the league of breaking bones, burning, mayhem, or infliction of real pain.

I think that treatment that induces symptoms of shock would be counterproductive for an interrogator, because the person's body would become less able to feel pain.

Did the FBI agent consider any of these issues? Did Durbin?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Impolite Attorneys?! Here?!

The Deseret Morning News, published in Salt Lake City, reports that lawyers and judges are concerned about the loss of civility among the state's lawyers:
Reflecting an aggressive drive to be "Rambo litigators," court officials say attorney behavior is at a point that it is souring both professional and personal relationships in the legal field.

Bottom line, according to one seasoned Utah attorney, is that some are becoming real jerks.

But there is debate as to how to solve this sinking civility.

In a report of the Utah Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Professionalism in 2003, then
Chief Supreme Court Justice Richard Howe asked for a survey of practicing lawyers to find if they felt there was a problem with professionalism in Utah. Nearly all attorneys surveyed came back saying they felt there was a "significant problem."
I don't do much courtroom practice anymore, so I'm not in touch, but this reminds me of the kind of thing that I first saw demonstrated at a seminar by Gerry Spence. He showed us how to wrest control of the courtroom from the judge and take over the jury with eye contact, facial expressions and flouting the court's ruling.

I spent 13 years as a public defender in a small rural county, and I was always troubled by the emphasis at defense attorney seminars on winning at any cost. The speakers always paid lip service to the rules of ethics, but their main focus was explaining that, while prosecutors were supposed to pursue the truth, defense attorneys were free to confuse the jury, make arguments not supported by the evidence, and basically assume that their job was to get the defendant off.

I always used every defense available to me and pointed out weaknesses in the state's case, but I was never able to make arguments that didn't make sense to me. I just couldn't be persuasive when I knew what I was saying didn't add up. Maybe that's why I'm not a rich lawyer today. I'm hardly even middle class, as far as that goes.

I don't know what creates an atmosphere of incivility, unless it is the example of other successful attorneys. We regularly see attorneys soliciting clients. A judicial nominee was just approved by the Senate who had practiced for years in Utah without being a member of the bar and hadn't paid dues in the jurisdiction where he was licensed. Television lawyers regularly ask questions they know are inadmissable because they know that the jury isn't able to put such evidence out of their minds as instructed by the court.

The other element I think may be behind this trend is the expectation of clients. They always want the meanest, "baddest," aggressive attorney available, so attorneys try to cultivate that image, especially when their clients are present. They butt in, interrupt, shout, even risk contempt to make the point. It used to be that attorneys had to be careful what they said to the press, but unless there's a tough gag rule in effect they get more and more loose about their pronouncements. I think also that competition for clients has made lawyers more willing to act tough and go beyond the bounds of propriety.

Disturbin' Durbin

Hugh Hewitt is all over Dick Durbin's comparison of Gitmo to the Gulag, the Holocaust and Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia. Then he uses Josh Marshall's words about Trent Lott and wonders if they will be as prophetic as to Durbin.

I don't think Durbin is in any trouble. The Democrats, unlike Republicans, are not very bipartisan, bilateral or inclined toward concessions. The Republicans seem to get bogged down in the rhetoric of cooperation and compromise, because, well, more of them believe it. The trouble is that many Democrats see stuff like control of the Supreme Court, abortion, gay rights, etc. as matters of political life and death and that's all that matters.

Demonstrations are stupid,

as the photos here show. There certainly have been useful ones, such as those instigated by Ghandi and Reverend King. But if all you're demonstrating is that you can create disgusting, hate filled signs, what have you accomplished?

Most demonstrations since the 1970s have been of the latter kind. They're a public nuisance. They waste resources of police departments. And they have nothing useful to say.

The demonstrations outside a funeral of Idaho National Guard Cpl. Carrie French, who was killed in Iraq, are supposed to be in opposition to the war. That would be fine, if that's all they said. Instead, they attempt to get attention by expressing sentiments of support for the terrorists, "Thank G_d for IEDs, " designed to offend as many people as possible and express hate toward the dead corporal.
And this is supposed to be what Christians are supposed to be doing?

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23)

I wonder what he'll have to say to these folks, who in his name indulge in hideous indecencies.

BTW, Instapundit's use of the term "asshat" to describe these people. I'd never heard it before seeing it on Glenn's blog. I couldn't quite figure it out until I remembered the joke about charging a guy with automobile sodomy, defined as "driving with your head up your ass." These people don't just do it while driving. They're always in this contortionate state, which might also be called a DIY colonoscopy.