You should read the whole thing, and the comments.
Obviously, Hezbollah hardliners are just as bad or worse than Iranian fanatics. Even Shia Lebanese are frightened of these guys, which is why they are not the face Hezbollah shows to the outside world. Hezbollah recruits young, attractive, intelligent, professional, moderate candidates to run for office. These people are the public face who publicize all of Hezbollah's humanitarian projects. Sadly, the Shia population of Lebanon has few other choices in Lebanon's sectarian framework. As can be seen in the archives on this blog, I cannot stand Hezbollah. I marched on 14 March and started this blog to counter the message Hezbollah, Syria, and pro-Syrian Lebanese parties send to the rest of the world. I hate religious politics. I don't want to be led by men with beards (although, David Obey is okay). I believe in coming to peace with Israel. I write this to show the complexity of the situation in Lebanon. There are those in Lebanon whose sectarian racism comes out often. Readers of this blog who are disgusted with me for associating with people who support Hezbollah will be happy to know that there are people in Lebanon willing to kill Shia on sight. But that's exactly what I'm fighting against. There are tens of thousands of good, innocent people who support Hezbollah for internal sectarian reasons who deserve another option. This is the tragedy of moderation. For all that I have said above, I will be hated by everyone. It will be said that: "I support terrorists. I'm an anti-semite. I'm a traitor. I'm a limp wristed idealist." All of this is far from the truth. Anyone who knows me or has read this blog long enough knows that I believe strongly in imposing myself on others and pushing for what I believe in. Most of the time, to accomplish one's goals and to further what is good, just, and honorable, one must begin with knowledge. One must know the Lebanese system. It's impossible to negotiate with al Qaeda. I take aggressive action any time I encounter anything that comes close to support for that evil organization. It's impossible to befriend a supporter of al Qaeda. I've encountered them before. They no longer walk on the streets.
For Israelis and Westerners, the situation with Hezbollah is different. For Lebanese and Arabs, the situation with Israelis is different. Erecting barriers of ignorance only escalates the conflict. Yasmine, Muhammad, Rida, and Zeina are good people confronting a whole slew of issues thrown at them. I'm doing my best to navigate and find a solution.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?" The deputy became alarmed as Gibson's tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?"
A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"
Friday, July 28, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
An important example of collective punishment in law is the rule that all members of a conspiracy are criminally liable for the crimes committed by any member within the scope of the conspiracy, provided it was forseseeable. So if one member of a drug gang beats up a defaulting customer, the other members are apt to be guilty of assault and battery as well even though they had nothing to do with the beating. A related rule, the felony-murder rule, makes a criminal guilty of first-degree murder if a killing occurs in the course of his crime, even if the killing is by someone else and he did not authorize or even expect it--as in the case where a policeman in the course of trying to thwart the crime accidentally kills a bystander. The theory behind these rules--the theory behind collective punishment in general--is that someone other than the actual perpetrator of a wrongful act may have more information that he could, if motivated, use to prevent the act than the government has. The employer may have been faultless in the particular case, but knowing that it is liable anyway will give it a strong incentive to exert control over its employees to prevent accidents--even by such indirect measures as reducing its work force by substituting robots or other mechanical devices for fallible human workers. Similarly, conspirators have an incentive to police their members to avoid getting themselves into unnecessary trouble; and the perpetrators of a bank robbery, for example, have an incentive to avoid being armed or provoking bank guards or police.Gary Becker:
Parents should often be held responsible for harms to others caused by their younger children. Parents can discourage crimes and other anti-social acts of these children by the upbringing they provide, and also by the punishments they administer to children who engage in such acts. Since after a certain age, perhaps sixteen or eighteen, parents have much less control over children, parental responsibility for children's acts should diminish, and children's responsibility should increase as the children age. At one time, children were responsible after the death of parents for any debts their parents left. Children were also punished for other anti-social behavior of their parents. This type of collective punishment has been eliminated by developed nations, presumably because children do not have the power typically to deter their parents from contracting debts or committing crimes. The only justification for such collective punishment of children in these cases would be that parents care about the children, and that caring parents would be less likely to enter into debts they cannot pay, or engage in anti-social acts, if children were held responsible for parental behavior. But such collective punishment to children would have little effect on selfish parents, and it would increase the suffering of their children who already are harmed by having selfish parents. To take a different political example than the Lebanese one that Posner uses, should the German people have been held collectively responsible for the atrocities committed by Hitler and other Nazis? It was inevitable that many German people suffered from World War II, although bombing of Dresden and some other cities by the Allies was probably unnecessary. Collective punishment of leading Nazis was appropriate, as was the requirement that Germany pay reparations for property taken, for some of the damages caused by German occupations of various countries, and for the murder of millions of Jews, Poles, Russians, and other groups.I would be interested in what you all think of this! I think I agree with both perspectives - but I don't want it to be misconstrued to think that I don't have sympathies for Christian/Druze/Sunni Lebanese. I do. Becker and Posner don't take into account the fact that it may have caused a civil war for the secular Lebanese to go after Hezbollah. But that said, sometimes I do wonder about the innocence of the non-Shia Lebanese, when I read of the Lebanese politicians saying they would team up with Hezbollah... Anyway, I welcome comments and thoughts from both sides of the political spectrum on this!
I actually sang that song in a singing Irish pub in Ireland. Little known fact about me: I have sometimes taken to kissing the airplane when I get back to NYC after a trip. It seems that the further the go, the more I miss home. No joke. New York, my love, my life. As Carrie from Sex and the City said: "I'm dating the city. I think it's pretty serious, I think I'm in love!" When blogger works, I will upload some images I have taken of the greatest city on earth.
Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhoodHop a flight to miami beach or hollywood.
Im taking a greyhound on the hudson river line-Im in a new york state of mind.
I seen all the movie stars in their fancy cars and their limousines, Been high in the rockies under the evergreens, But I know what Im needing and I dont want to waste more time-Im in a new york state of mind.
It was so easy living day by dayOut of touch with the rhythm and the blues, But now I need a little give and take,The new york times, the daily news...
It comes down to reality-and its fine with me cause Ive let it slide...Dont care if its chinatown or riverside, I dont have any reasons, Ive left them all behind-Im in a new york state of mind.
Repeat 3rd verseIm just taking a greyhound on the hudson river line-cause Im in a new york state of mind.
Monday, July 24, 2006
So here we are again. The Middle East on the brink of a regional war that is more dangerous than the other wars that have taken place. Why ? Because the world is much more connected than it was even 20 years ago. What happens in one region has a knock on effect in other places. The most obvious knock on effect in this case would be the price of oil hitting $78+.
The cause of this crisis ? Hezbollah and it's continued rocket attacks on Israel which climaxed with the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. Has Israel's response been a bit heavy handed ? Yes it has, but you must understand that Israel is a nation under siege in the middle east. You cannot expect it to react in any other way than to crush what it deems to be a direct threat to the state of Israel.
But that does not excuse the deaths of innocent civilians killed by Israeli forces or Israeli citizens killed by militants from Hamas or Hezbollah. It is a cycle of violence that has to stop. I don't believe a ceasefire would work unless the underlaying causes are tackled.
Some of those being (there are so many it would take up several pages to state them all):
Palestinian militant groups with the sole goal of destroying the state of Israel.
Arab nations with a similar goal.
Israel's desire to secure it's future and to live in peace with it's neighbours – it sometimes over reacts and hits back with too much force.
The issues of land ownership between the Israeli's and Palestinians.
The issue of prisoners.
But while tensions remain high and mutual hatred of Jewish people exists between the Arab nations then the problems will continue to grow and a war of unimaginable terror will take place eventually.
The only nation in the Middle East that seems to have gained some benefit from this crisis is Iran. It was extremely odd that the violence broke out just as Iran had to give it's answer to the deal it was offered by the US and co over it's Nuclear desires. Iran is a slightly worrying factor in this, as the Iranian president has already stated his desire to wipe Israel off the map. The religious leaders of Iran are the problem. But that is a subject for another time.
What i want to see is all the Israeli soldiers released (including the one Hamas took) and for Israel to pull back from the brink of starting a war it probably does not want.
I may have some idealistic desires for the middle east, however in reality they are unlikely to happen unless some miracle takes place. Though one must remain hopeful for the future otherwise one becomes nihilistic. Which in itself can feed into situation and make it worse.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
“Our security problems are not about to go away with the withdrawal; they will only begin.” The prophecies of Israel’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have come to fruition, and proponents of the Gaza Strip pullout have a lot to answer for.
Written off as a reactionary right-winger by those who think that militant Palestinian minds can be swayed from the goal of the destruction of Israel, one can take note today of why Netanyahu so fervently opposed Israel’s Gaza pullout — and why he was right to do so.
“Gaza will be transformed into a base for Islamic terrorism adjacent to the coast of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post days before the withdrawal.
The Post reported last October that al Qaeda may have moved in as soon as Israel moved out. “Our efforts are now focused on establishing a strong and unified Muslim nation where love prevails among all its members,” read a leaflet distributed in Khan Younis. The al Qaeda group also claimed in a video that it had fired rockets into Israeli settlements on the eve of disengagement. In March, two West Bank Palestinians allegedly plotting a large-scale attack were charged with membership in al Qaeda.
In addition to physical presence, al Qaeda has stepped up propaganda in the region. Their online “Voice of the Caliphate” news show has accused Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas of collaborating with Israel against Hamas, and in June al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri called on Palestinians to reject a two-state referendum proposed by Abbas. A pamphlet circulated in Gaza by the Army of Jihad in February and obtained by World Net Daily claimed that al Qaeda had a leader in the region, to appear “very soon.”
Gaza, post-pullout, has provided a safe haven in a pitifully weak security situation, with a government sympathetic to jihad.
This has also inspired terrorist groups to get more ambitious. Hamas’s military wing scored distance records with its upgraded Qassam rockets, striking deeper than previous Palestinian rockets have ever reached into Israeli territory. Hezbollah has also achieved its deepest strikes into northern Israel.
Friday, July 21, 2006
3) Doctors without borders. They are all over the world, doing great work - not just in Lebanon. In fact, you should donate to them because they are out there helping the Indonesians after their recent tsunami. Again, I am very familiar with their work and know the money is going to a good place if you donate here.
4) Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces. This is donating funds to help the IDF. Now, I realize some readers may not be comfortable doing this, but most readers are pro-Israeli, so I figured a link to this might be appreciated. This is the link for making donations.
I am not aware of any specific funding for the Israeli-Lebanese crisis on the main Red Cross site, but I do have to note that the Red Cross has been rather spotty in the way it has distributed funds in the past, so I am not sure I trust them. I mean, look at how they mishandled Hurricane Katrina - and also how long it has taken to recognize Magen David Adom.
Please donate if you have any money. I know blogging is a great way to win the war on ideas, but there is also physical suffering that needs ammelioration in the present.Steven Update: PizzaIDF and BurgerIDF is a service which sends hot food to IDF soldiers and families who were evicted from Gush Katif. Donate a Pizza and give a IDF soldier a happy warm belly. :) Israeli Bonds are an excelent way of supporting Israel through investment. Last but not atall least, One Family Fund: Supporting the victims of terrorism in Israel. Update 02: Another way of supporting Israel every day (and my favorite method) is by visiting boycott websites and specifically purchasing goods which they want people not to buy. ;) I find it very satisfying - it's sort of using their own weapons against them. Mawhahahaha! ;-) ***** Support Israel Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Nasrallah Speech on Al-Manar TV: The Zionist Entity's Weakness is "Their Strong Adherence to This World". They are described by Allah as "the people who guard their lives most". Comment: Nasrallah misunderstands our love for life and interprets it as a fear of death. The two are not the same. Nasrallah continues his speech: "Our Strength is the Willingness to Sacrifice Our Blood & Children" Support Life
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Oh how I love Uncle Bill! I cannot wait for Real Time to come back on the air! Alan Dershowitz also was busy on HuffPost, issuing a challenge!
I have to say, watching George Bush talk about Israel the last week has reminded me of a feeling that I hadn't felt in so long I forgot what it felt like: the feeling of pride when your president says what you want your president to say, especially in a matter that chokes you up a bit. I surrender my credentials as Bush exposer - from the very beginning - to no man, but on Israel, I love it that a U.S. president doesn't pretend Arab-Israeli conflict is an even-steven proposition. Lots of ethnic peoples, probably most, have at one time or another lost some territory; nobody's ever completely happy with their borders; people move and get moved, which is why the 20th century saw the movement of tens if not hundreds of millions of refugees in countries around the world. There was no entity of Arabs called "Palestine" before Israel made the desert bloom. If those 600,000 original Palestinian refugees had been handled with maturity by their Arab brethren, who had nothing but space to put them, they could have moved on -- the way Germans, Czechs, Poles, Chinese and everybody else has, including, of course, the Jews.
I issue that challenge to Culture for All readers. Can you think of a solution to this quagmire, different from the path Israel is taking?
In today's Wall Street Journal I have an article demonstrating that Hezbollah and Hamas actually want Israel to kill Lebanese and Palestinian civilians (see 'Arithmetic of Pain') . I challenge the readers of this post to come up with a better alternative for Israel than to try to destroy Hezbollah's rockets, even at the cost of some civilian casualties.
My argument is that by hiding behind their own civilians, the Islamic radicals issue a challenge to democracies: either violate your own morality by coming after us and inevitably killing some innocent civilians, or maintain your morality and leave us with a free hand to target your innocent civilians. This challenge presents democracies such as Israel with a lose-lose option and the terrorists with a win-win option. I challenge the readers of this post to recommend to Israel better ways of responding to this challenge. What would you do? What would America do? What should a democracy do?
1) Arabs never make mistakes, and they rarely lose wars. 2) The Zionists and the Americans are always to blame for everything that is wrong in the APU. 3) If there is any credit at all that can be contributed to Arabs in any way, they will take it. 4) Good leadership is inversely related to how US-friendly a leader is! 5) Any media that is not the official state-owned media is filled with Zionist, Jewish, American, Christian, imperialist, anti-arab influences and they LIE ALL THE TIME! 6) There is really no need for elections in the APU, because Presidents and rulers are presidents and rulers for life. 7) The only viable alternative candidate to the current leader or president is this current leader or president’s son.Go see a full explanation of what this means at the one and only Egyptian Sand Monkey!
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sunday, July 9, 2006
Saturday, July 8, 2006
MYTH NO. 8: "[T]he Court, without any grounding in either American law or the Geneva Conventions, has effectively signed a treaty with al Qaeda for the protection of its terrorists." So says the National Review. This meme has been front and center of many reactions to Hamdan -- that it is preposterous to construe a treaty to provide protections to persons who are not party to the treaty and refuse to abide by its terms.
As Carleton Wu pointedly remarks in the comments section below, saying that we've now "effectively signed a treaty with Al Qaeda for protection of terrorists" is like saying that because we've signed the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, we've now entered into a treaty with the whales. There are many modern treaties, promoted by the United States and universally accepted -- think of the Convention Against Torture, for example -- that require signatory states to refrain from acting in certain ways universally, even with respect to persons, entities and states that have not signed, and do comply with, such treaties. Simply put, reciprocity is not a necessary prerequisite of many modern human-rights treaties. And that's largely a U.S. innovation: As noted above, from the Civil War until Febrauary 2002 it was the view of the United States that we are legally and morally obligated to treat our enemies according to a baseline of civilized conduct, whether or not our enemies (e.g., the Confederacy; the Germans and Japanese in World War II; the Viet Cong) do likewise. Contrary to Sen. Graham's assertion that to give Al Qaeda detainees this baseline protection is "breathtaking," there's nothing at all unusual about it: The Court's decision simply returns us to the standards we applied to our enemies -- including barbarous and lawless enemies -- for many decades prior to February 2002.
Indeed, the whole point of Common Article 3 -- its only application -- is to provide Geneva protections to parties who have not themselves agreed to be bound by the Conventions. As OLC explained, "Article 3 is a unique provision that governs the conduct of signatories to the Conventions in a parlicular kind of conflict that is not one between High Contracting Parlies to the Conventions. Thus, common article 3 may require the United States, as a High Contracting Party, to follow certain rules even if other parties to the conflict are not parties to the Convention."That is to say, the now-oft-heard complaint that those who have not signed the treaty should not be protected by it would mean the rejection of Common Article 3 altogther.
MYTH NO. 9: The Court's holding affords Al Qaeda terrorists the same treaty protections as U.S. soldiers.
A "senior administration official," to whom the Washington Post accorded anonymity for no good reason ("because the issue is still being debated internally"!), previewed the Administration's spin on the question: "Members of both parties will have to decide whether terrorists who cherish the killing of innocents deserve the same protections as our men and women who wear the uniform."
FACT: At least insofar as this argument refers to Common Article 3, it's wrong.
The Court did not hold -- not even close -- that all of the protections of the Geneva Conventions apply to suspected Al Qaeda detainees, or that they are entitled to all of the protections afforded U.S. POWs. (POWs, for instance, may not be coerced at all in interrogations, and may not be "threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind" for refusing to answer questions beyond name, rank, serial number and date of birth.) The Court held "merely" that the minimum baseline protections of Common Article 3 are binding on the U.S. in the conflict with Al Qaeda. The Court did not suggest that Al Qaeda detainees are entitled to POW status, and did not opine on the procedures that may be required to deprive a detainee of POW status. As OLC explained, "article 3 requires State parties to follow only certain minimum standards of treatment toward prisoners, civilians, or the sick and wounded -- standards that are much less onerous and less detailed than those spelled out in the Conventions as a whole."
The Yale Daily News wonderfully lays out how the conservative justices have judicially activated the crap out of this amendment.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
2) Marbury v. Madison set the groundwork such that the judiciary is the third branch of government via judicial review. In other words, a function of the judiciary is to overturn unconstitutional laws that the legislature enacts, or unconstitutional actions of the executive. To disrespect this disrespects the very constitutional republic we live in. 3) No arguments from me that Roe v. Wade was poorly written. However, the notion of a "penumbra of rights" is not out of left field. The framers of the constitution enacted the 9th amendment for a reason. The 9th amendment states:
The Eleventh Amendment is meant to give states immunity to suits arising under state law (this is perfectly consistent with the traditional story that the Eleventh Amendment was passed in order to overturn the 1793 case of Chisholm v. Georgia, which arose under state law, but between a state and a citizen of another state), but not to suits arising under federal law.
But that's not how the Supreme Court has seen it. Since 1996, the Court has extended absolute sovereign immunity to states, both in state and federal courts. This immunity has protected the states against suits by both their own citizens and those of other states.
What does this mean? Basically, that the states can get away with an awful lot. In the Seminole Tribe case, the state of Florida was allowed to get away with refusing to comply with a federal law that required it to negotiate in good faith with native tribes for the purpose of allowing the tribes to operate gambling activities in the state. In the 1999 case of Alden v. Maine, the state of Maine was allowed to get away with a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act in the treatment of state employees. In the two 1999 Florida Prepaid cases, Florida violated the patent rights of a private company. And in the Kimel case, Florida violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in its dealings with its employees.
But the principle involved is much broader; it cuts to the very notion of what American government is. The Constitution opens with an assertion of popular sovereignty: "We the People" are sovereign here. Unlike monarchical England, whence we imported the concept of sovereign immunity, the state here is sovereign only insofar as it is our servant.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly appealed to the "dignity" of the states in its sovereign immunity decisions, but that kind of talk flows from what Blackstone referred to as the "imperial dignity" and "great and transcendent nature" of the King. It certainly has no place in a free American polity! Ours is a government "of the people, by the people, for the people," and when it violates the rights of the people -- whether those rights are constitutional or statutory in origin -- it ceases to be sovereign. As Akhil Reed Amar, the Southmayd Professor of Law at the Yale Law School, points out, "when government violates the express limits on its powers imposed by We the sovereign People in our Constitution, government, properly speaking, is neither 'sovereign' nor 'immune' and cannot in justice or logic invoke 'sovereign immunity.'"
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."This means that rights that existed when the constitution was drafted were meant to be protected, even if not laid out by the constitution. These rights include the right to procreation, right to marry, and the right to privacy. I know you all get up in arms over the right to privacy, but how would you feel if the judiciary decided "You know what? There is no right to marry, because it's not in the constitution." If you do not believe in a "penumbra" of rights, technically that is a possibility. 4) Lawrence v. Texas and the death penalty case from last year were not decided on international law grounds. Indeed, it would be illegitimate of the judiciary to decide a case on international law grounds, because they are meant to ground their rulings in the constitution. However, that is NOT what was done in those cases. Rather, they were decided on constitutional grounds, and international law was cited in "dicta." (flowery language that is not the basis of the holding) In fact, there has not been a single case decided in the history of the Supreme Court on international law grounds. International law has been used in DICTA, but it has never been used as the basis of a holding. 5) The Supreme Court in fact is made up of 7/9 justices chosen by Republicans. Stevens was chosen by Nixon, and Souter was chosen by Bush Sr. Kennedy, as is well known, is a Reagan appointee. As it stands, the Supreme Court is actually QUITE CONSERVATIVE. 4/9 justices are outright conservatives. Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito really are outright conservatives. Kennedy is a "swing" justice. The four "liberals" are not even particularly liberal compared to the Warren court. 6) There is a very real mission of conservatives nowadays to discredit the judiciary. It is sickening and sad. Here is a statement by John Cornyn on the SENATE FLOOR.
I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.This was said after an outbreak of violence against the judiciary and seems to excuse violence against the judiciary. It is dangerous language, and such thought is the thought of those who wish to elliminate a check of power on the president/legislature. Very dangerous indeed. 7) The Kelo decision was a bad outcome, but it was actually in line with the precedant that came before it. I am not happy with the decision, but if you don't like it - then pass laws against it! Easily solved. 8) Overall, the disrespect of the judiciary is dangerous and also stems from a total lack of knowledge of the constitution and the concept of "balance of powers." If you disagree with a judicial opinion, that's one thing. I disagree with MANY judicial opinions. However, this total demogoguery re: the judiciary is disgusting and dispicable.