Category: law and order
According to recent polls, a growing number of Americans believe that the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights in order to guarantee that our government will not impose any kind of tyranny upon us. That an armed populace is a bulwark against government oppression. [More . . . ]
Glen Greenwald reports that when the Chinese government sought out the murderer of 13 Chinese citizens, the use of drones was not an option:
What kind of weak, soft, overly legalistic government worries about trivial concerns like international law and “sovereignty issues” when it comes to drone-killing heinous murderers for whom capture is difficult? Why not just shoot Hellfire missiles wherever you think he might be hiding in weaker countries and kill him and anyone who happens to be near him? Or if you are able to find him, at least just riddle his skull with bullets, dump his corpse into the ocean, and then chant nationalistic slogans in the street and at your political conventions. Who would ever want to give a trial to such a heinous and savage foreign killer of your citizens, particularly if it means risking the lives of your soldiers to apprehend him? What China did instead was conduct what the NYT this morning calls a “methodical and unyielding” law enforcement investigation over the course of six months.
Glenn Greenwald spells out the real problem with Guantanamo:
What made Guantanamo controversial was not its physical location: that it was located in the Caribbean Sea rather than on American soil (that’s especially true since the Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that U.S. courts have jurisdiction over the camp). What made Guantanamo such a travesty — and what still makes it such — is that it is a system of indefinite detention whereby human beings are put in cages for years and years without ever being charged with a crime. President Obama’s so-called “plan to close Guantanamo” — even if it had been approved in full by Congress — did not seek to end that core injustice. It sought to do the opposite: Obama’s plan would have continued the system of indefinite detention, but simply re-located it from Guantanamo Bay onto American soil. Long before, and fully independent of, anything Congress did, President Obama made clear that he was going to preserve the indefinite detention system at Guantanamo even once he closed the camp.
Here is an infographic with some surprising numbers.
The SCOTUS is supposed to be ruling on the health care insurance mandate next week. I’m still scratching my head over that (I think the real “solution” is to abolish for-profit insurance, but that’s a different argument…) Don’t we already mandate car insurance? And try getting a home mortgage without insurance. Oh yeah, those are only for people who may drive or have mortgages. Maybe health insurance can be required only for those who may need health care?
On a more critical note, today’s Morning Edition on NPR had a piece about Why It’s Illegal To Braid Hair Without A License. Apparently, in Utah, braiding is such a danger to the public that it needs licensure and regulation. Clearly, we want our buildings and roads designed and constructed safely, and most people want health care from an certified provider (homeopathy excepted…), but braiding?
It seems the professions want the regulations – fewer licensees means less competition and freedom to charge more.
So…. I’m hearing government regulation is bad.
Unless it’s not.
I remember taking a course at Saint Louis University in International Law with Professor Jean-Robert Leguey-Feilleux Ph.D. in my college days in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The course included a discussion of terrorism. Dr. Leguey-Feilleux told us one of the issues before the United Nations and the international community was a definition of “terrorism.” The best definition of “terrorism” I remember, and the one my instructor endorsed, was “the taking of innocents for political purposes.”
Terrorism is not necessarily killing, but may cause death and certainly fear. Terrorism is political. In another college class, political science professor and author David Easton defined “politics” as “the authoritative allocation of values.” So “terrorism” is the taking of innocents in an attempt to influence how people or peoples allocate their “values.” The primary motivator in any terrorist effort is fear. The absence of fear negates the intent of the terrorist. But fear may motivate others to seek gain from the tactical terrorist efforts for strategic purposes. I believe such was the goal of the Bush administration and still remains that of the Republican Party in the United States. I now fear we may have to add President Obama to the fold of those which have sacrificed basic American values and democratic freedoms to short term political expediency.
During the 40 or so years of the Cold War, the Republican right could be counted upon to rant about Democrats being “soft on Communism” and take electoral victories in the White House which was only interrupted by Kennedy’s “missile gap,” Johnson’s “Great Society” (following JFK’s assassination) and the blip of Jimmy Carter after Watergate. After the rise in expectations after the growth and success of the Solidarity movement in Poland, due in large part to Pope John Paul II, and similarly after Democrats like Sen. Scoop Jackson (D-WA) forced increased emigration from the old USSR (which wanted “most favored nation” trade status) and Jimmy Carter’s “human rights” focus upon US foreign policy, the Cold War ended.
Now there was a conundrum for the right. No more “soft on Communism” to run national elections strategies upon anymore. There ensued two terms of President Bill Clinton.
President Bill Clinton infuriated the right into heretofore unseen levels of spastic fits of yobbo yapping and a renewed commitment by the right and its corporatist supporters to an electoral victory in 2000. After nearly a billion dollars of campaign spending to support a candidate which the corporations invented and called “George Bush,” Bush v. Gore ensued. “W” was then anointed president thanks to the one vote of Sandra Day O’Connor, along with the rest of the Republicans on the US Supreme Court. But “W” was an unproven commodity and he foundered in his early days in the Presidency, until 9/11.
George Bush liked to repeat the mantra “9/11 changed everything” and he’s right. 9/11 gave the political Right an opportunity to claim Democrats are “soft” on terrorism just as they had in the past claimed Democrats were “soft” on Communism. George B. Shaw said; “Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but no one has a right to be wrong on the facts.” Let’s look at the former Soviet Union and its satellites as a threat and compare them to our latter day foes in the “Global War on Terror (GWOT)”.
At a minimum, the Soviet Union had hundreds of thousands, maybe a million or so, of soldiers, sailors and airmen in arms. The Soviet Union had hundreds of thousands of tanks, planes, ships and submarines. The Soviets had some 15,000 nuclear warheads, most targeted on the US. Their nukes actually worked. We may not now know where they all are, but there were some 15,000.
The Soviets had numerous substantiated chemical, nerve and biological weapons. In short, real weapons of mass destruction (WMD) existed.
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