Friday, March 21, 2003

A fellow named Fred Nicholson seems awfully upset at my blogging the photos of the relatively moribund anti-war rally yesterday in Knoxville. Let's see what he has to say, kids:
Am I right? Do you feel that by bludgeoning anyone who opposes the war -- attacking their patriotism and accusing them of lack of support for the troops -- you are doing this country a service? Do you take satisfaction in silencing the opposition?

This is very similar in many ways to the Republican position vis a vis the Florida recount in 2000 -- if a crime has been committed and the criminal has been successful -- GET OVER IT!!! Here we have it again -- the domestic criminals in Washington have turned this country into an international criminal -- WELL, IT'S OVER NOW!!! GET OVER IT!!! AND SUPPORT THE TROOPS, ALREADY!!!

Anybody who believes in free speech is unAmerican! Anyone who believes in international law is unAmerican! Anyone who opposes a war of aggression is unAmerican!

Did you ever have to study the constitution? That is, as a document based on certain underlying principles (not just as something that you will learn -- as a lawyer -- to try to get around and subvert). Do you have no feeling for the American system of government? I don't think you can plead ignorance (like the president -- he, at least, has a good case). Or are you actively opposed to the American system of government? Do you hope by supporting this administration to change America into something that
you're more comfortable with -- eliminating a lot of that freedom and democracy bullshit?

I guess I have to admit, I just don't understand you. But I will say that you frighten me. (Does that please you? I'm guessing it does.)

Whooo! I was just having fun with my digital camera.

Perhaps Fred hasn't read previous posts from this blog, where I hope I spelled out a reasonably thoughtful rationale for why I support military action. As I have said, I have no love lost for this Administration, and I do wonder if they are actually smart enough to have set up over the last 8 months the scenario where war was the only viable alternative. Because that's where we were when the decision was made to go.

As to that business about understanding the Constitution, I have done my share, but I sure don't understand why you should impugn my belief in the principles of the document. I don't believe I've said anything here that would be construed as a refutation of it. And that snipe about lawyers trying to get around and subvert it is just plain mean. Oh, and untrue. So there.

For the record, I have always considered myself a Democrat. That doesn't mean that I will slavishly support any activity identified with Democrats. I think the anti-war movement has taken the wrong position, has taken it stupidly, and has not taken it with any kind of analytical consistency. I think, just as the Republicans were incensed with Clinton winning in 1992 [remember the "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bush" bumper stickers], the Democrats refuse to get over the fact that this Bush, according to the Constitution, won in 1992. I don't like that fact, but it's done. Get over it.

So much of the anti-war protest is not about the war, it's about hating Bush. That's fine, but it confuses your message. Allying with anti-semitic/anti-Israel groups like ANSWER doesn't do much for your credibility, either, as far as I'm concerned.

Learn from history: those same post-1992 Republicans, rabidly motivated to oust Clinton in 1996, ended up with a candidate that lost by a landslide. Recriminating about the 2000 election result will not lead to a change in the White House, in my opinion.

Finally, it seems to me that I was doing the rally-goers a favor by publicizing their get-together. They're exercising their First Amendment rights; so am I. As I said, whatever makes 'em happy....

Thursday, March 20, 2003

I use my digital camera so seldom....

Here's another picture from the rally in Knoxville:

So, I'm sitting in my office looking at Anne...Straight From the Hip [Hi, hon -- and that's 4503; ed. note: check her blog journal out to see what he means], when I hear chanting and singing from outside my 8th floor window. I grabbed my trusty Minolta digital and this was the result. A somewhat desultory anti-war rally being held in front of the John H. Duncan Federal Building. A little silly to hold the "rally" here, especially as the building closed about 2 hours ago....Oh, well, whatever makes 'em happy.

Thanks to Instapundit for online storage space [and instructions on how to post a pic; boy I feel like a real techie guy now!].

Either you're with us or you're not. And here's the rogue's gallery of some of those who are NOT: Palestinians [about 700 Palestinians, most of them schoolchildren, waved Iraqi flags and posters of Saddam Hussein and burned two U.S. flags after the attack in Iraq. Among the slogans they shouted were "Death to America, death to Bush," and "We will sacrifice our soul and our blood for Saddam."], Egyptians ["God, you are almighty, you are capable of turning this [war] against" the
Americans, said Egyptian Bashir el-Afesh as he finished his prayers in Cairo.], Syrians, er, Lebanese, er, ah, what's the difference these days [In the Lebanese capital, papers pushed back deadlines to include war news and appeared on newsstands.] Of interest is Iran, who while deploring the military action ["American military operations on Iraq are unjustifiable and illegitimate"] nevertheless is remaining neutral: "The Islamic Republic of Iran will not enter into action to the benefit of either side."
Pax Americana? In the case of Scott Speicher, the American aviator shot down in 1991 over Iraq, declared KIA, and now believed to be alive and held by the Iraqis, I think it's worth going to war to save even one American held captive by these bastards. Sgt. Stryker posts about it, and links to another article about this brave and somewhat overlooked American, which then links to the web site set up in part by Speicher's wife. There are plans for a rescue in the early phases of the war. If anything will make this a popular conflict, getting Scott Speicher out of Iraq and back with his family ought to do the trick!

Now here's the thorny dilemma. Scott's wife, believing him dead for years, married another man and has had children with him. If Speicher returns to the land of the living, so to speak, what then? Does she stay with the new husband, go back to Scott, or move to Utah and practice polygamy?

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Is/Are Mel Gibson and/or his family anti-semites? This story suggests that to be the case, at least as regards his father, who is 85 years old. Check this out:
The actor's father, Hutton Gibson, told The New York Times he flatly rejected that the terrorist group led by Usama bin Laden had any role in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Sept. 11.

"Anybody can put out a passenger list," the elder Gibson told The Times.

"So what happened? They were crashed by remote control."

He and the actor's mother, Joye Gibson, also told The Times that the Holocaust was a fabrication manufactured to hide an arrangement between Adolf Hitler and "financiers" to move Jews out of Germany to the Middle East to fight Arabs.

"Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body," Hutton Gibson told The Times. "It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now six million?"

Said Joye Gibson: "That weren't even that many Jews in all of Europe."

This Bill O'Reilly interview of Mel [scroll down about half way to get to the interview] suggests that journalists were hounding Gibson's father to "dig up dirt." Maybe this counts, although I don't place much stock in the musings of an 85 year old private citizen.

Mel is "implicated" because he is making a movie about the last 12 hours of Christ, and there is some hint that the approach of the picture is to repudiate Vatican II, in which the Catholic Church, after 20 centuries, rejected the notion that the Jews were collectively responsible for the death of Christ. Here's another article that alleges the inflammatory statements came from a family friend:

The friend, Gary Giuffre, a traditionalist Catholic, also said that the film will lay the blame for the death of Christ where it belongs -- a reference that some traditionalists believe means the Jewish authorities who presided over his trial, the article said.

* * * *

Discussing his film in a recent TV interview, Gibson was asked whether his account might particularly upset Jews. He said, "It may. It's not meant to. I think it's meant to just tell the truth."

Whose truth? The fact that there is no denial from the Gibson camp as to the approach of the film may suggest that, in fact, the Jews are going to get blamed yet again. If so, I will certainly be disappointed. Question: has he become a zealot?

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Maybe I'm greedy. But Glenn R.'s MSNBC blogumn [I just made that up] says, interestingly, "And with large numbers of troops in Iraq, and de facto control of Iraqi oil production, the United States will have the power to make that sort of thing [punitively disfavoring French influence in the region] stick." So I got to thinking: if we control Iraqi oil when this thing is all said and done, can we just hold on to it long enough to get gas prices down to a sane level? Or, on the dark side of things, would Bush hand over control of the Iraqi oil facilities to his Big Oil buddies? Just musing at the end of the day....
NEXT DAY UPDATE: Maybe prices will come down after all, like I mused.
The French Ambassador to the U.S. says that if Iraq goes chemical/biological, then that "would a create a completely new situation for the whole world." Saddam has already used chemical/biological weapons in military action [see the interactive sidebar: "Chemical and biological weapons Iraq says it has manufactured in the past"]. To summarize, he used mustard gas in the Iran war, he used Tabun, a nerve agent, during the Iran war, he used Sarin, a nerve agent, during the Iran war, he used Cyclosarin, a nerve agent, during the Iran war, and he used CS, a tear gas, during the Iran war. What's changed?
Of great concern in these days leading to war is how to deal with an "enemy" who doesn't fight conventionally, i.e., army to army, on recognizable fronts or in defined theatres of action. Here is an analysis of the "Arab way of war", with some suggestions as to responses. Interesting reading. From Jerry Pournelle's web site.
Call it evolution in action:
It seems that many, if not most, of the hundreds of journalists assigned to combat units can't be bothered with carrying around their chemical warfare equipment. So many reporters plan to use the journalists (at least the ones who refuse to take their chemical protection gear with them) as chicken replacements.

And they say that birds are not very bright....

Fox News Watch thinks that the wait from hell has allowed the public to be well informed about the different sides of the war issue. Maybe. But it makes no reference at all to the incredible information dissemination in the blogosphere. Shame, shame.
While I don't particularly agree with the theme of this editorial, there is a nicely depressing -- and unfortunately apt -- quote from the late Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, at the Nuremburg trials:
Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Jackson, who was this country’s representative to the International Conference on Military Trials in August 1945 and the chief prosecutor at the Nuremburg war crimes trials, told his colleagues then that "we must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy."

One wonders how Jackson would have responded to the Iraq situation, or for that matter, any of these screwy post-cold war scenarios. If someone could suggest a way out of the Iraq situation that did not involve the use of force, and which would also keep our economy and national prestige from suffering profound damage, I'd like to hear about it.

From our prolific Atlanta Bureau Chief, RJGator, comes this quasi-legal analysis:
InstaPundit wrote last evening, "The big question: if Saddam makes clear that he won't step down, will we start before the 48 hours has expired?"

Looking at this from the perspective of a contract attorney, there is no legal reason why we should not. We made an offer: leave within 48 hours, and there will not be a war. According to the Atlanta news this morning, Saddam's sons rejected the offer. It is a fundamental rule of contract law that rejection of an offer kills the offer. Once the
offer is dead, it can't be revived: Saddam can't change his mind and accept.

As our colleague David Epstein colorfully put it, "If it is dead, we can't mess with it any more. It would be unnatural to mess with it. That would be necrophilia."

Thus, there is no longer any offer or other impediment on the table. The table being clear, we can run it.

It would be nice if the world in general ran according to basic principles of contract law. Hell, it'd be great if contract law ran according to basic principles of contract law. Heh.

One does wonder whether the Hussein rejection of the invitation to run [and did anyone actually think Saddam & Sons would really leave?] will lead to action before Wednesday night. I doubt it, because Bush seems to have guaranteed time for the UN folks and other neutrals to get out of Iraq. However, given that surprise still remains the most important tactical advantage in war, it's maybe not a bad idea to go sooner rather than later. I mean, between the Administration and the media, Saddam has basically our entire disposition of forces. The only thing left to surprise him with is when we go, and exactly how we go.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Instapundit links to John Scalzi, who believes, as I do, that we must fight, but that the Administration has incredibly bollixed up the situation:
If Bush and his people had the slightest bit of competence in dealing with the rest of the world -- competence that should have begun on January 20, 2001, not just in the last six months or so -- this war would already be over. There would have been no real dissent in the Security Council, no ability for Saddam to play other countries against us, less time for the "no war ever under any circumstances, ever" crowd to build up its head of steam, and we'd have had international support for a war that would be both useful and had the potential to eventually be a humane action. Saddam would probably already be dead (or rotting in a dinky little cell, which I would prefer) and the UN instead of the US would be stuck with keeping the various hate-filled factions within Iraq from gleefully murdering each other. We would have gotten what we wanted, and we would have made it look like a team effort. Then everybody could have had their Coke and gone home.

Glenn gives Bush & Co. credit for bending over backwards to make the UN process work. I don't think there was that goal in mind. I think there has been no coherent long term strategy in preparing for war, or whatever. Like the Energizer Bunny, the situation just kept going, and going, and going.

Well, the waiting's about over. There will be no vote on a second UN resolution. Bush is set to address the nation tonight. Hopefully, it will coincide with an attack in progress; some tactical surprise would be nice. Even the possibility that the excruciating wait is ending has caused the markets to jump up.

To the anti-war types, what are you all so afraid of; if Saddam is telling the truth, there won't be any bio-terror or nuclear disasters. What I [and probably the Administration] am afraid of is that Saddam has been lying. Example [from the first link]:

Meanwhile, unnamed U.S. officials in Washington told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr on Monday there was "more chatter in the system" pointing to the possibility that Iraq may be preparing to use chemical weapons in a possible U.S.-led war. Chatter is usually defined as monitored, yet unspecified, intelligence messages.

I'd certainly prefer that Iraq not use WMD. Iraq's use of those weapons would, however, validate everything we have been saying.

UPDATE: at 2:27, the markets are now up 242 points. Boy, we need to win big and win fast.

I stumbled across this alleged debunking of the Erin Brockovich story, apparently by some guy named Michael Fumento, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in D.C. Here's Erin's reply. It strikes me that this guy's got an axe to grind. Not surprising, since he has a pedigree that includes the American Enterprise Institute [conservative think tank] and the Washington Times [Moonie paper somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun]. Like most arch conservative types, he thinks it insignificant that the defendant in the Hinkley case voluntarily negotiated and paid -- as a settlement -- about $333 million. Apparently that's peanuts for PG&E and people like Fumento. I wish I knew defendants that would pay up that kind of dough on my undeserving cases.

For perhaps a more realistic viewpoint, Michael Asimow, a UCLA law professor, enjoyed the movie, and apparently didn't agree with Fumento's smarmy attack on the case or the movie. Just as an example of what Fumento failed to consider:

The killer document implicated the top management of PG&E in the Hinkley cover-up. Under Calif. Civil Code §3294, in order to support a claim for punitive damages against a corporation, it is necessary to show that an officer, director or managing agent of the corporation ratified the wrongful conduct. The document was clearly the key to the arbitrators' huge punitive damage awards. In the film, the document is turned over to Brockovich in a bar by a rather sinister looking fellow who Brockovich thought was trying to pick her up. He was a PG&E employee who had been told to shred documents but had saved the critical ones. He was out for revenge since his brother (also a PG&E employee) had just died from chromium poisoning. In fact, there were two sources for this material, including a bartender; PG&E hired them to transport all the historical records about the chromium from the "boneyard" where they were stored to the dump. This episode illustrates what all trial lawyers know--the difficulty of covering up evil conduct and the likelihood that somebody will spill the beans. [emphasis added]

If PG&E didn't do anything wrong, how come they tried to destroy the "smoking gun" evidence? Also important is to comprehend Ed Masry's gamble and the expenses necessary to get to that settlement. Masry ran a two lawyer shop; it was the gamble of a lifetime to go after corporate giant PG&E. Also, as Asimow notes, the plaintiffs in that case had expenses of over $12 million. Now that's a gamble.

A buddy of mine emailed the following to me:
To: French Embassy in Washington French Consulate in Los Angeles

Dear French Nation! Shalom!

As a Jew, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would like to thank your President Jacques Chirac for saying that Israel needs to be convinced that peace is better than war.

Never mind that peace (shalom in Hebrew) is the most common word in Jewish
prayers. That it is endlessly repeated in synagogues, when greeting or taking leave, when getting up or going to bed.

Never mind that shalom (peace) is mentioned 77 times in the Torah, and 275 times in the Jewish Bible (The Old Testament of Christians). Never mind that of all the world's literature the United Nations chose to inscribe the words of Israeli Prophet Isaiah on the wall across from its building in New York. Here are these words, "and they shall beat their words into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Never mind that these words are said in every synagogue at nearly every assembly, and that peace is called "God's greatest gift, " Therefore, the President of the Nation that still venerates general Napoleon would do better teaching cows how to make milk, or teaching grass how to grow quietly than teaching Jews (Israelis) that peace is better than war. Thank you, Jacques Chirac, for informing me about the encyclopedic extent of your ignorance.

I would like also to thank the unnamed cinema near the Paris Opera for canceling a screening of the "Harry Potter" film for Jewish kids. But I am even more grateful to the police of Paris, which has failed to provide protection for these kids. Apparently Jews of any age are no longer guaranteed complete equality with the rest of the population. France was the first country in Europe to offer Jews this guarantee, and now it is
apparently also the first to revoke it.

I congratulate your great Nation for keeping up at the foreskin of progress, no matter in which direction progress turns. And how can I not mention the doctorate degree in history, which was offered to Mustafa Talas (who just happens to be Syria's Foreign Minister) by the Sorbonne. The Honorable Doctor Talas has written a book on the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840, in which he claims that Jews kill Christians to obtain their blood for Passover. A true genius of historical science is Mustafa Talas, and certainly worthy of Sorbonne. I am infinitely glad that good old blood libels (perhaps the most imaginative product of European civilization), nearly forgotten in the last 50 years, are being revived in French academic circles.

You French are just wonderful: not only do you keep at the foreskin of progress, but also revive ancient traditions. (The Damascus Blood Libel started with disappearance of Father Thomas, a Franciscan superior. The French consul accused a group of rabbis and other Jews of ritual murder and extracted a "confession" by torture in which one of the victims Pogroms followed throughout the Middle East. The consul then requested permission from Mahemet Ali to kill the rest of his suspects. Others, including sixty children, were arrested and starved to convince their parents to confess. The charges were dropped when Sir Moses Montefiore, Adolphe Cremieux and Salomon Munk intervened on behalf of the Jews.)

I also cannot forget the events of October 2000, with synagogues firebombed and burned, Jewish worshipers attacked and stoned. I know that President Chiraq spoke out against all this, saying that this is not what he meant when he criticized Israel. Well, as English playwright Shakespeare said, "Methinks the Lady doth protest too much." The President's criticisms of Israel had been (and remain) so extensive, so
common and so unforgiving, that I cannot possibly believe him. The events of October 2000 is exactly what he meant. And if there is any doubt about it, your ambassador to the United Kingdom Daniel Bernard has cleared it up. Not only did he call Israel "that shitty little country," (quite a polite and diplomatic fellow is Daniel Bernard, is he not?) but he also ante-factum (before the fact) blamed the Jewish people for starting World War Three. My greatest gift of gratitude, therefore, goes to him. He has discovered in me (after all, I belong to "those people") a horrifying quality of causing world wars, a terrible character flaw about which I hitherto had been completely unaware. He has also forewarned us of our pre-assigned guilt.

I would like to inform you that I have decided to join the campaign against France. I will not visit or fly through France and its colonies of Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Pierre. That I will also boycott all products made in France, including perfume and cosmetics industry, designer fashion labels, French wines, chocolates, etc. That I will use my money to buy Israeli products, and travel to Israel and other countries who still think that Jews are human and should not live at the mercy of Palestinian

I gues the theme of the day on this blog is the rising tide of anti-semitism, which we in the U.S. have not paid enough attention to.

And while we're at it, let's do this war already! The economy is worsening day by day.
Is this new mystery pneumonia a bio-terror attack? No one's reported on that aspect yet, but it shows you where my mind is these days.
Jim Moran is in trouble. And he ought to be. Nice quote from the Anti-Defamation League:
"This is one voice in the chorus spreading a new lie, the age-old anti-Semitic canard that when our country faces danger, Jews are responsible," it said.

"As we move closer to an invasion with Iraq, the drumbeat of 'blame the Jews' -- meaning Jews in the administration, the 'Jewish lobby' and the Jewish community -- is intensifying and multiplying.

"Congressman Moran's remarks are symptomatic of a more serious problem -- that in times of crisis and anxiety, Jews continue to be a convenient and tempting option for scapegoating."

This post dovetails with the previous one about that anti-war rally in D.C. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see the anti-semitism when these anti-war types are talking about Israel and "Palestine" in the same breath as the Iraq situation. It's all the Jews' fault.

You know, if Jews had half as much influence as these idiots think, there would have been, by this time, a Greater Israel that had taken over all the middle east.

Anybody see that ANSWER rally in DC over the weekend? Here's the C-Span link that will show you some of that video. What got me during my 20 seconds of viewing over the weekend [not on the video at the link] was the guy who equated "Israel's invasion of Palestine" with Bush's soon-to-be war on Iraq. True colors shown by this group. If ANSWER represents the liberal or democratic mainstream, I guess I'm not a liberal or a democrat any more.
The democrats [of which I have always been one] are in serious danger of losing their base [I figure I'm typical of the centrist democrat] over the war question. But, just when I thought it was over for the dems, here comes John Edwards, who has the guts to speak his mind in a very hostile environment. He was roundly booed by the crowd at the California Democratic Party convention for supporting the use of force, if necessary, to oust ole Saddam. I love his quote:
'It is also a test of presidential leadership to have the backbone to say to those who strongly disagree with you, even your friends, what you believe,'' he said before expressing support for using force.

It's at least a threshold consideration, i.e., whether the candidate has the guts to say [and impliedly do] what he believes is right, in the face of concerted opposition. I'd say that Edwards passed the test with flying colors.

Meanwhile, here's Howard Dean, who shows he can pander with the best of them: 'What I want to know is what in the world some of these Democrats are doing supporting the president's unilateral intervention in Iraq,'' he said to sustained applause. Dean and the other candidates flunked, big time.

Interestingly, California Republican Party spokeswoman Karen Hanretty said the conventiongoers did not represent the average California voter -- or the average Democrat for that matter.

"Obviously, Dean is telling the liberal activists in the Democratic Party what they want to hear, but it doesn't sound like he's offering a message that mainstream voters are going to relate to," she said.

Significantly, Edwards' position over the the weekend is not new, and he's had trouble with protesters in his home state long before the weekend convention.

It doesn't hurt that Edwards is a trial lawyer, so I know he'll do the right thing when it comes to protecting the rights of negligence victims. I'm for Edwards!