Spammer king is K.O.’d by the FBI. Nice work, boys.
Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.
Well, seems to be a nazi theme running in the air this weekend. As many of my readers know, I’m in Virginia just outside Washington, DC. Virginia, along with New Jersey, holds its elections for Governor 1 year out of phase with the rest of America. (I have no idea why.) So our state is one of only 2 that will hold an election with a candidate for the state’s highest office. That makes the stakes for the elections just a little higher than most and, accordingly, the eyes of the media are upon us.
I have a special place in my heart (right next door to my seething hatred for child pornographers) for politicians who can’t come up with a better set of analogies than to accuse their opponents of being like Hitler. Or nazis in general. It’s ludicrous. It’s juvenile. It should be enough to have that person drummed right off the ballot at least, if not out of their party. MoveOn.org’s got the Professor Emeritus title for this particular behavior but they’re certainly not unique. Dick Durbin comes to mind.
So I read up on CNN’s web site the link titled, “Governor’s race ads invoke Hitler” and I start getting that sinking feeling. There’s only 2 races for Governor, us and Jersey, so it’s a 50-50 shot right then and there that this appalling behavior is happening right here in the Old Dominion. Bring up the link and sure enough, it’s an AP story filed in Richmond, VA.
Great. Just great. So, who was it? Democrat Tim Kaine or Republican Jerry Kilgore?
|::::::::||RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) — The Republican candidate for Virginia governor is drawing fire for campaign ads that suggest his Democratic opponent…||::::::::|
Aw, crap. What the hell is that idiot thinking? All of the polls show he’s out in front! What the blue peepin’ hell does he need to go pull such a brainless, stupid, idio –
Wait a minute. Keep reading.
|::::::::||RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) — The Republican candidate for Virginia governor is drawing fire for campaign ads that suggest his Democratic opponent is so averse to the death penalty he would have spared Adolph Hitler from execution.||::::::::|
OK, so it’s not incorrect to say that the ad “invokes” Hitler, but that’s not the impression the headline grants. When people see that kind of headline, they’re thinking someone just called someone else “Hitler.” The comment by Jerry Kilgore might be a bit coarse, but it’s equally on target. Kaine has a personal, deep conviction that the death penalty is never called for. In interviews he says he’ll apply it as directed by the law. However, as Governor, he’s got the power to stay an execution simply by saying so. He doesn’t have to get approval and he doesn’t really have to explain himself. It’s very much a pertinent concern that a man looking to be Governor would be unable to allow the state to proceed with an execution when the case warranted it as decided by a jury. John Muhammad, the DC sniper, got the death penalty here in Virginia. Tim Kaine has as much said that he’d let the little bastard off on it.
To the point, however, Kilgore’s ad states the fact. If Kaine couldn’t bring himself to allow the execution of Hitler – or Stalin or Idi Amin, as the ads continue – then he’s not likely to allow it in any other case, either. He claims he would but then makes statements that don’t square with that claim. It’s information the electorate needs to have in their decision process and, like the ad or not, it’s justified.
Let me be succinct: Nazis suck. Neo-Nazis neo-suck. Their ideology is a pitiful last-gasp attempt to resurrect a bankrupt worldview based on nothing but hate and an attempt to manipulate others through baseless fear. That they claim to be advocating for the race I happen to be a member of changes nothing in the least. The vile crap that flows from their mouths as they seek to spread their message is less than useless to me: it’s a waste of good oxygen and a boil on the butt of society’s discourse.
That they be allowed to speak their minds should go without saying.
So long as they advocate their opinions without recourse to slander or libel – and I mean those in the actual sense, not the PC-speak definitions – and they break no other laws, such as incitement to riot, they are still to be accorded the same freedom of speech allowed to every other citizen of this country. So long as they hold themselves to the behavior expected of any other citizen, their rights must be protected and respected the same as anyone else. It is in this crucial task – the understanding that free speech means free speech for everyone, including those who say things you disagree with – that the citizens-turned-rioters of Toledo, Ohio failed miserably.
The National Socialist Movement (no, I’m not going to link to them) a.k.a. a bunch of neo-nazi “white supremacists” decided they were going to have a march in Toledo. Is there any doubt that they were hoping for just the reaction they got? None. So what? They were engaging in a legal exercise of their free speech rights, complete with notification to the local police force and a march permit. They appeared at the appointed time and place and began to form up. That’s when the local gangs began to show up and confront them. The police, doing what they’re supposed to do, attempted to keep the gangs away from the legally formed marchers, all 2 dozen of them. So the local gangs showed their local pride by attacking the police. When the riots started, the neo-nazis called off their march. No kidding. It had done the job they wanted and the locals played right into their hands.
The police were pelted with rocks and the rioters, in an act I can only call criminally idiotic, set fire to a local pub with the 86-year-old proprietor and his nephew inside. That business and those 2 men had nothing whatsoever to do with the day’s events but the local populace attacked them anyway. In short, they acted exactly like the lawless, savage bunch the neo-nazis were saying they were. Nice move. Real smooth.
But here’s the part that just boils my blood. No one’s angry at the people who lept to the fore to violate the civil rights of another citizen. There are no soundbites or reported comments denouncing the people who threw rocks at police officers or torched the business and residence of a fellow Toledo man. Here’s what they’re saying:
|::::::::||“This never should have happened,” 80-year-old Ed Kusina, who has lived in the neighborhood nearly all his life, said Sunday. “They should have never let them march here.”
Keith White criticized city officials for allowing the march: “They let them come here and expect this not to happen?” said White, 29.
Oh, really, Mr. Kusina? They should have never let “them” march here? So you’re OK with the government censoring people based on their policital positions? You’re OK with the government denying access to certain groups to public spaces and denying them the right to assemble peacably and speak their minds? I can just imagine the howls of anger had the government applied that action to the “Million Man Redux” event we just had here this very weekend.
And you, Mr. White. What exactly was the police supposed to be expecting when this disliked but perfectly legal group arrived to exercise their civil rights? You say, “They let them come here and expect this not to happen?” Yes. Damn right they expected this not to happen. They expected people to abide by the law. They expected people to offer the same respect for another’s rights that those people have demanded from everyone else. The only thing you’ve proven here today, Mr. White, is that you can’t handle it. When it’s your rights that are being slighted you want heads on platters but when it’s someone else’s rights, someone you happen to disapprove of, well that’s a whole different ballgame. The government should simply toss them out or everyone should just expect you and yours to get violent.
Well, it doesn’t work like that in America, sir, and you should be damned thankful it doesn’t. If you can’t comport yourself with the same respect for the law that you demand in others when dealing with you, then perhaps you should reconsider your citizenship in a country where every citizen’s rights are equally important.
Looking to add a little fun to their repetoire, the Hylton High School marching band in Woodbridge, VA decided to pick up the Charlie Daniels tune, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” They are scheduled to perform at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta this year, a big deal for a high school band, and it seemed an appropriate tribute. It worked wonders for Dominque Moceanu at the Atlanta Olympics, after all.
One parent wrote a letter of complaint to a local newspaper claiming that a song about the devil shouldn’t be played at school events due to the separation of church and state. Yes, you read that right – the fiddle-playing devil in Charlie Daniels’ whimsical song represents an advocacy of specific religion in this person’s eyes and the fact that a marching band will play the tune sans words appears to this person to be an example of the State pushing that religion on people. The band director has responded by dropping the tune.
One letter, regarding a piece of music that will be performed without lyrics, manages to effectively ban a song written with absolutely no intent to do anything it’s alleged to do. And the band director caved the second someone brought it to him. Way to show those kids how to grow a spine, chief.
I was asked just last night about the Iraqi constitutional referendum and whether or not it would be a victory for democracy. I asked for the clarification, since I was genuinely confused about the question. (Why that was the case will soon be obvious.) Would it still be a victory for democracy, it was asked, if the Iraqis rejected the constitution as submitted?
The question makes no sense – unless you’re starting with the concept that it’s only a victory if the vote goes a particular way. That concept misses the point of democracy. The issue isn’t whether a vote goes one way or the other. It’s whether the vote occurs at all under conditions where you have any real confidence that the results of the vote – one way or the other – will be respected by the government and the citizenry. So, in answer the question, it was a victory for democracy the second the polls opened. It was another when they closed. Violence there was, yes, but the vaunted “insurgent uprising” was very sporadic and completely ineffectual.
It was another victory that the security was being handled in the largest measure, by the Iraqi forces themselves. Omar over at Iraq the Model writes:
|::::::::||Probably the worst thing today is the intense heat which was a little over 100f but that didn’t stop the crowds from walking in the sun to the voting stations, I personally had to walk nearly 4 miles in total but it’s definitely worth the effort.
The presence of Iraqi army and police units is heavier than it was in January elections and I also noticed that no multinational forces were on the streets and the only sign for their presence was the helicopters that patrolled the skies.
Emphasis mine. The turnout is also judged as being fairly high. Initial estimates are that the percentage turnout was about 61%, respectable in any regard. The AP story is trying to spin that as negatively as they can by saying the reason for the high turnout was due to the Sunnis trying to defeat the measure. And this is bad for democracy, how? The Sunnis, you’ll note, aren’t trying to defeat the measure by calling for jihad or engaging in armed insurrection. Their weapon is a ballot and their battlefield is the polling place. This is democracy, ladies & gentlemen, regardless of the outcome of the vote. And that makes this a victory for democracy, hands down. This is something to celebrate all on its own.
So, where are the pictures of the purple-fingered Iraqi voters? Where are the reporters talking about this grand day in glowing terms about a brighter future for Iraq? These people are now participating in their second national vote and turnout is supposed to be higher in real numbers than the first time. They’re getting this democracy thing, folks, and that was the point. Democracies can breed terrorists, too, but it’s far more rare than dictatorships. So why is this event getting the “ho-hum” treatment? Or, even worse, the “impending doom” treatment? I’m not the only one who’d like to know.
Yes, it’s a victory. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether certain parts of our society will recognize it as such. For my part: Congrats, Iraq! Well done, indeed.
The title of this blog is a line out of the movie “Clear and Present Danger” based off the novel by Tom Clancy. In it, the CIA’s Deputy Director of Operations, Ritter, has been confronted by the story’s main character, Jack Ryan, over a clandestine military operation that was currently in progress. When Ritter reveals that Ryan’s own testimony before Congress had procured the funding for the op, he suggests that Ryan start practicing that line in preparation for the Senate hearings that will assuredly come. It’s the ultimate example of our vision of the corrupt government – they’re caught and they know it so they lie like rugs under oath. The fact that it sounds to even the untrained ear like it’s a dodge is of no concern to the Washington insiders. In the story, Ryan doesn’t stick to the script Ritter’s laid out for him and manages to retain his honor, defuse the situation and put the supposedly “safe” politicans back on the coals where they belong.
I’ve kind of adopted that line as a joke in my family. When an “uncomfortable” question comes up, I give them the shifty-eyed look, set my face in that Senate-hearing-stone expression, and deliver the line. It’s synonymous with “yeah, you caught me but I ain’t admittin’ nothin’!”
So, along comes Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who went to jail for 3 months rather than comply with a grand jury order to name the source that told her about supposedly-covert Valerie Wilson nee Plame. She was adamant that she would not reveal her source. So after all the smoke screen about Scooter Libby and all the implications of Cheney and Rove and God knows who else, she’s got a new answer for who “leaked” the info to her. She “can’t recall.”
|::::::::||In a first-person account released Saturday on The Times’ Web site, Miller recounted her recent grand jury testimony, which focused on her conversations in 2003 with Cheney’s closest aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Miller said she “didn’t think” she heard covert CIA officer Valerie Plame’s name from Libby. “I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.”||::::::::|
Do I get this right? She refuses to reveal the identity of a person she “can’t recall” to the point of going to jail?
Right. Translation: “yeah, you caught me but I ain’t admittin’ nothin’!”
Just a quick aside, with the return of Sgt. Hook to the blogosphere, I’m re-adding him to my blogroll. Go have a look. He’s still got his content from his deployment to Afghanistan there.
Sgt. Major Hook was one of my daily gotta-read-it blogs last year. He was deployed to Afghanistan and gave us all some real feedback about what’s going on over there. Last December, he decided to call it quits on blogging. I wrote then that I hoped he’d return.
I’m looking forward to catching up with what Hook’s been doing. The only part that I’m already very, very sad about is the fact that they’ve had to move away from Hawaii. Having been there 3 times, I can honestly say that it is a place that will haunt your soul all your days. I think about the place almost daily. That Hook & crew had to leave brings a tear to my eye.
Welcome back, Hook. Damn glad to see ya.