Sunday, December 17, 2006

Apocalypto - A Movie Review

I went to Mel Gibson’s movie Apocalypto, on Saturday, and I am very glad I did. It took the long lonely ride home from Logan to sort it out, but I now declare it the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long time. Five stars – that’s on a scale of one to four! There was great violence, as there was in the world Gibson sought to portray, but none of it was gratuitous. Like the beauty of the jungle, man’s inhumanity to man, could only reveal its full potency if portrayed realistically.

What make’s Gibson’s movie a success?

First - he made us care about the characters. The first scenes of the film immerse us in a pre-Columbian world where family and friends bring happiness to each other and so to us; where success is measure by the care one gives one’s family. The ways are different but the goal is eternally the same. When the monster of religious insanity crashes down on Jaguar Paw and his beautiful family, it is as if they had come for our own. Though I have never been in a Central American Jungle, never experienced the life here depicted, and although I had to read all their words in the subtitles, I felt I knew, even was one of, the people in the story. Gibson did this within minutes; what a master.

Secondly - beauty; Gibson’s baroque masterpiece brings the struggles and terrors of a village of people in custom and dress so beyond our taste and experience that it is at first shocking, to the level of high art. Art that is moving as it crashes into one’s senses, art that is inspired by the power of its truth. As we get to know them, we are inspired by the physical appearance of the actors, the characters that people Gibson’s creation. And as we see their beauty the wonder of their humanity is overpowering. Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) is beautiful, as are his wife and son. The beautiful children shown throughout the movie give visual testimony of the link between the good, the beautiful and the true. Gibson understands the magic of the physically beautiful and is not afraid to conjure with it.

Thirdly, Gibson allows, or rather the history he portrays allows, a clear line to be drawn between good and evil. There is no justification of the irrational murder of tens of thousands of innocents to appease the mindless sun. In the Mayan/Aztec monster cultures Gibson reveals there is nothing redemptive. Gibson has finally found Hitler’s equal in the Jungles of Mezzo America. On the other hand, the primal drive of family love, to care for wife and child and honor parents are simply and powerfully presented and stand in redemptive contrast to the hollow and murderous ceremonies of false and unreasoning religion.

Finally, Gibson’s movie speaks to universal truth. The sacrifice of the sacred king abused to its most egregious and profane extent by the misled mindlessness of the murder cult of the Mayan religion. The sacrifice of the sacred king shown at its most true and beautiful as a father struggles for his family, as friend sacrifices all for friend, as love motivates the miracle. Gibson ties masterfully into great literature and portrays scenes from great books in ways movie makers attempting to present the entire stories have failed. When the little girl pronounces the doom of the Mayan corruption, one expects her description of “he who brings the jaguar” to end with her intoning, “Because he is the Kwisatz Haderach!” When Jaguar Paw runs out onto the beach, the savages with their sharpened sticks in hot pursuit; it is perfectly natural to find Golding’s “adults” at hand. The struggle of right against wrong, the even deeper story of the struggle between truth and falsehood drive this movie, this piece of art, set in an ancient culture, into the struggles of the 21st century, into the epoch struggle of all men.

As we left the theater I discussed the film with my son and a best friend. My son’s family is exactly like Jaguar Paw’s. He has a tiny son and a second about to be born. He was quiet and reflective, the parallel to his beloved family and lives the movie had portrayed too close for words. It was my other young friend, who also defends and cares for his family with all the love, devotion, and courage of Jaguar Paw, whose wise words brought out three powerful and universal truths. His first words were, “How wonderful to live in a land of law, a land where law protects us from the evil of others.”

He them went on to point out how the movie had instructed us that evil must be faced. We cannot run from it, it will always flood to the limits that it is allowed to flow. The folly of those who would distance themselves from the false religion driven mass murderers of today, who would run into the woods and hope that evil will pass them by, will in due time be forced to face it. It will come for their families.

Finally, my friend had seen most clearly a moment in the film that had not yet coalesced for me. He related the moment where Jaguar Paw realizes that he must fight, although the odds are terrible and he is weary and wounded; the words of his father come to him, and he resolves not to be afraid. He takes the war for the survival of his family and for his way of life to his enemy; he becomes the hero, a brown, tattooed, and bare chested Achilles in the Jungles of the Yucatan.

142 comments:

Anonymous said...

MM
Just a residual comment here.

MM speaks of the ultimate justification for Capital punishment being that no executed "murderer" has ever returned to murder again.

Nor has an innocent man unjustly executed.

Social justice has a GREATER responsibility, under its authority, to PREVENT the execution of even ONE innocent by eliminating Capital punishment, than it has, under its authority, to "GUARANTEE" that a "murderer" shall never murder again.

I have read that "Apocolypto is a surprising formulaic tale brought into new focus in the context of the Mayan Culture."

I wonder how much Mel Gibson can REALLY know of Mayan culture.

Enough to make a sizeable profit --and THAT is all that REALLY matters!!!!

truth to power said...

Yes, how can Mel Gibson possibly know anything of Mayan culture? He's white!

The "Yucatec Maya" in the film must be either pig latin or Klingon.

Lysis said...

Anonymous;

I think your comment on capital punishment most appropriate for this discussion. The same universal truth – that justice demands the prevention of the execution of innocents – is also manifest in the justice of Jaguar Paw’s violent response to the attack on his family.

In my first period today, we discussed my movie review. I actually had a student that defended the Mayan murder ceremonies on the basis that, “it was what they believed was right!” This stirred a most spirited discussion of the existence of natural law and absolute truth and tied in most excellently with the purposes of the Supreme Court that we are discussion. The message of *Apocalypto* is that defending one’s family is a just, a right reason for employing violence; that collecting young men to offer as human sacrifices to the sun is wrong, an unjust reason for violence. I am pleased to see you (Flaccid) take a stand for right and justice based on a natural law – that justice must PREVENT the execution of even ONE innocent.”

As for your criticism of Gibson’s film as “formulaic”; is that a complement or a slam? The Sistine Ceiling was produce according to a formula, so was the Parthenon and most of the truly great poetry know to man – from the Homer’s*Iliad* to Shakespeare’s

*Hamlet*, to Dante’s *Inferno*, to Melton’s *Paradise Lost*. I don’t think Mel Gibson should feel slighted to know that characterization of his work places him in such company. As for his knowledge of Mayan culture – I am confident, as the use of language referred to by Truth to Power alludes to, that Gibson relied heavily on historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists to provide the raw materials for his master work. What is truly powerful is that the formula works in the jungles of Central America as well as it did in Homer’s Ileum, Dante’s Hell, Shakespeare’s Denmark, and Melton’s Eden.

To me Gibson’s profit means nothing. I have had my life enriched by a piece of art; I have come to care about a people I had hitherto barely considered, and I have a new and beautiful tool to get my students to think about the nature of love, truth, justice, and the American Way, the need for a nation under law and people willing to defend that law.

Last night I spoke on the phone with a friend. He was far from his family, training Coast Guardsmen in the finer points of defending America. I thought of the earlier discussion on the blessing of living in a land of law, and was reminded that those laws can be violated. If we are to live in peace with our families there must always be those willing to risk all to fight for right. We have true heroes who stand and fight against evil in our world. Jaguar Paw is a fittingly noble and beautiful type of them all.

Anonymous said...

I have not, as yet, seen Apocalypto.

I WAS interested in a review that claimed Apocalypto was a reflection of Mayan CULTURE -- I agree that a "formulaic tale" can be no indictment; Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and MacBeth are also formulaic.

However, is non-fiction more edifying than fiction? Is *Apocalypto* fiction or non-fiction?

Does it make any difference if Gibson "relied heavily on historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists"? -- does it make the story more edifying if the audience BELIEVES that the culture is being represented authentically and is not JUST a neocultural prototypical Gibson concoction? (which it well might be)

Just wondering about ART, HISTORY, CULTURE, LITERATURE and REALITY!!!!

a quiet listener said...

well, i didn't have much desire to see this movie, but maybe i'll give it a try. i watched an interview of mel gibson explaining his rationale in making this movie. it was two fold as i remember. the first in his own words was a referendum against bush and his war. he claimed that we're in a similar plight as the mayans due to the "mass amounts of people that were being killed in the name of some stupid war." i thought that ridiculous to compare the very real hundreds of thousands who died in the mayan culture to those few thousand who have died in iraq. he outright claimed that out culture would "run out" of good strong men if i'm not mistaken.

secondly he said that the purpose of making the film was all about one of the oldest trials he knew of. addiction. the lady interviewing him asked about the alcohol rant and his treatment and i can't quite remember what he said or how he tied it back to the bloodbath in apocalypto. but i must say i'm interested to see now.

so, can a man make something true and beautiful even when not meaning to do so? that in itself is a pretty good question. did i just not understand him on the interview? i guess we'll see. i look forward to seeing it.

Anonymous said...

Anon...

RE the death penalty and the execution of innocents...I agree...I think there ought to be an incredibly high bar established and I would have no problem if they did away with the sentence in its entirety. I still would also be in favor of some form of supermax setup where there is virtually no way those criminals can ever reach society ever again.

Maybe implants or other forms of tracking devices that could be triggered...I know...futuristic and wierd...but something.

I will say this about that though...one of the nice things about the death penalty is that it brings about such intense scrutiny. How many 'innocent' people would just be ignored if they were simply sentenced to life imprisonment. The old adage out of sight, out of mind, comes into play here...

I also think the side opposed to capital punishment always does itself a disservice by attaching itself to the wrong causes. A few years back Florida was using the electric chair and it malfunctioned. the resulting execution was pretty gruesome to hear it described.

The problem is that the individual that was being executed had raped and murdered 5 women and children, 3 of them a family and he did it in front of each other. Kind a hard to get a lot of sympathy when that is your test case.

Anonymous said...

"Apocolypto is a surprising formulaic tale brought into new focus in the context of the Mayan Culture."

Maybe we now have an excellent opportunity to learn a bit about the Mayan culture...is that a bad thing?

I have heard mixed reviews...I dont know if I will go see it or not. Mel Gibson will not have any bearing on my choice.

Anonymous said...

AQL...

I take just about every interview from Mel Gibson about this movie with a grain of salt. Ever since the DUI and ranting he has tried to tie everything about himself into the concept of redemption, and every public statement has been designed to kiss up to the liberal left. I dont believe anything he is saying, to be blunt.

I also take his rant with a grain of salt. People have said alcohol simply maginifes peoples true feelings. Sure...sometimes...but not always or even often.

Most of the time alcohol just numbs the brain and causes people to speak as idiots. Or not. I suppose all those guys hanging out in the bar with their "I love you, man" ramblings really COULD be latent homosexuals or deep thinking humanists that repress their true feelings in the quest for sober control or manhood. I suppose deep in the heart of every town lush there lives a true poet that really is sensitive and caring about women and NOT just rambling trying to get into womens pants.

Nah...I think it more likely it is just the tequilla talking.

Lysis said...

Anonymous;

I don’t know if non-fiction is more edifying than fiction. Truth can be told in a Parable. I sight Jesus as an example. The truths taught by great art are some times beyond those taught by the accidents of the everyday. Having admitted to this I will further express my feeling that knowing the atrocities perpetrated by the Mayans actually happened makes the fear of the Monster within man even greater, more telling. And believing that some poor and near defenseless father, no doubt many of them, fought to preserve their loved ones from such atrocity is heartening. I am encouraged by Jaguar Paw and strengthened in my resolve to be such a father myself. I hope my nation will be encouraged to be such a people. The gift of these feelings is worthy of praise in any piece of art.

I often wonder about ART, HISTORY, CULTURE, LITERATUER and REALITY!!!!

A Quiet Listener;

Yesterday I heard Mel Gibson interviewed by Michael Medved. To Medved’s questions on weather he intended the movie to be a critique on American foreign policy, Gibson flatly said no. It may well be that Gibson is, as Mindmechanic has suggested, playing to his audience. Michelangelo was a man of great faith and charity who spent his life in service to his country and his God. Raphael was a womanizer who drank himself to death. I am deeply moved by the works of both.

Mindmechanic;

I also believe that those guilty of heinous crimes should never be given the opportunity to commit any crime again, but I do not want to be guilty of their blood. I hope we will seek the truth for all who face punishment for crime. My students reminded me of the man who died in prison for the kidnapped of that Salt Lake City girl. It was later proved he had nothing to do with it. We did irrevocable injustice to him. Only the truth can defend us from such error.

I have long felt that criminals should work throughout their lives and any income they accrue should be given to those who suffered from their crimes. Let them live out their lives in redemptive service – whether they want to our not.

I would bet that the Mayan, the ancient Central American culture, is portrayed as accurately as possible in the film *Apocalypto*. I surely have a much keener interest in it than I have ever had before. I am now much more interested in the peoples upon which the Mayans and Aztecs prayed than I am in the monsters themselves. If the culture of the people of “Jaguar Paw” can become part of my heritage I am sure to be enriched.

I recommend the movie, and agree with you that Mel Gibson is not the issue here; it is the quality of the film. You have my opinion; I would love to hear yours.

Anonymous said...

December 16

The Faculty, Administrators, & Staff of the Perkins School of Theology urge R. Gerald Turner, president of the Board of Trustees, reconsider and to rescind SMU's pursuit of the presidential library.

We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious: degradation of habeas corpus, outright denial of global warming, flagrant disregard for international treaties, alienation of long-term U.S. allies, environmental predation, shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights, a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises, and a host of other erosions of respect for the global human community and for this good Earth on which our flourishing depends.

These violations are antithetical to the teaching, scholarship, and ethical thinking that best represents Southern Methodist University.

Another matter that warrants our attention is that whether it aims to or not SMU will, in the long run, financially profit on the backs of hard-working Americans who feel squashed by policies they've now rejected at the polls. Surely it's not the case that SMU will allow itself to benefit financially from a name and legacy that globally is associated with suffering, death, and political 'bad faith.' Taken together, all these issues set decision-making about the Library in a framework of inescapable ethical questions, and remind us of a key imperative adopted by many leading universities around the globe: 'to be critic and conscience of society.'

This cannot be accomplished by embracing a library whose proported mission is "to spread the gospel of a presidency that for now gets poor marks from many scholars and a majority of Americans." There are two fundamentally different visions of the Library: a neutral space for unbiased academic research conducted by scholars, or a conservative think tank and policy institute that engages in legacy polishing. Only one is in keeping with the tradition of critical research that every college under the board endorses. This college endorses opposition to the library.

Anonymous said...

"My students reminded me of the man who died in prison for the kidnapped of that Salt Lake City girl. It was later proved he had nothing to do with it."

Lysis,

This guy did die in jail...and no, he wasnt responsible for E Smart...but the problem was he did the same thing Saddam did...he was in possesion of a vehicle not his own, tools (a tarp and shovels) that could easily be used to dispose of a bady, and gave false statements followed by a refusal to give an accounting for his whereabouts (add to that the fact he was a previous offender and you can see why the police were holding him for questioning). But he wasnt tried, convicted...I dont believe he was even officially charged.

Which is NOT to say innocent people do not get charged. And again...I wouldnt mind seeing the sentence eliminated.

Anonymous said...

1-We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious

Agreed...Clintons behavior was INCREDIBLY shameful

2-degradation of habeas corpus

Absolutely. Clinton authorized military strikes against 'terrorist' targets with no proof of their existence or even involvement

3-outright denial of global warming,

Or even WORSE...convinced of the effect of Global Warming, Clinton AND Gore both refused to submit the Kyoto Accord to congress for ratification. In fact, the Clinton/Gore presidency did nothing to counter the effects of Gloabl Warming, a continuing shame to their legacy.

4-flagrant disregard for international treaties,

Only if you count illegal deals to China and the selling of our national security program.

5-alienation of long-term U.S. allies

On this one Clinton is gutless (I mean guitless). In fact he was so unwilling to upset the apple cart that he refused to challenge the UN or any of its member states for failure to act on the UN resolutions in Iraq or the tragedies in Rwanda

6-environmental predation

See the Kyoto Accord shame

7-shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights

Indeed. Clinton presided over and signed the defense of marriage act defining marriage as ONLY between 1 man and 1 woman and Clinton also signed the "Dont Ask Dont tell Policy regarding gays in the military.

8-a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises,

Clinton, Gore, Madeline Albright, Defense Secretary Cohented Kennedy, and a host of other democrats cited Iraqs WMD program and their ties to global terrorism as their reason and justification for preemptive military attacks on Iraq.

Oh...wait...we WERE talking about Clinton...werent we???

hypocrites all.

Anonymous said...

Decidedly, their ARE those who insist a work of art be VALIDATED by a "wholesome" personal bigraphy for the artist.

However, I think to do so is to make ethical expediency out of a work of art, remaking it into propaganda and sermonette.
------------
INTERVIEWER. Mr. Hemingway, would you admit to there being symbolism in your novels?

HEMINGWAY. I suppose there are symbols since critics keep finding them. If you do not mind I dislike talking about them and being questioned about them. It is hard enough to write books and stories without being asked to explain them as well. Also it deprives the explainers of work. If five or six or more good explainers can keep going why should I interfere with them?

Read anything I write for the pleasure of reading it. Whatever else you find will be the measure of WHAT YOU BROUGHT TO THE READING.

!!!!

Can I recommend to the Agora one of MY favorite films, *High Noon*,
with Gary Cooper: 1952.

Without doing background reading beforehand, I would be very intersted in Lysis' and others' interpretations and reactions to this parable.

Can usually be found in Public Library DVD collections.

Anonymous said...

And is the subject of one of the best songs ever written for a movie.

Lysis said...

I remember watching High Noon years ago – and again just last year with one of my camp guys who was taking a “Movie Class” at Weber State. I see all kinds of symbolism in this art. Cooper’s character is of course George W. Bush. The evil outlaws determined to kill him and take over the city are the terrorists. The eventual triumph of right is the proof that sticking to ones guns in the face of evil is the noble role of the hero.

I have read, long ago and again last year, about the critics linking *High Noon* to the cold war. There were those, in 1954, that thought the movie degraded Americans as cowards, unwilling to face down Communism. This made the move unpopular in conservative circles. But the image was a correct one. American had left the job undone in Korea, much to our chagrin now. When Congress deserted the people of South Vietnam to Communist murders and slavery in 1974, America proved that when the wrong people run the town, the U.S. could be spineless in the face of danger.

In Truth the film is really a symbol of those who would stand and fight when all others cower, but the college lesson plans were written in the 50’s. Ever since then the movie has been presented as some sort of pro-socialist, pacifist statement, but it is not. The professors have their agendas, and most students have never been taught how to think. But those who do can stand up to the misinterpretation of this film if they have the guts for it.

Its is a good thing for the world that we had Ronald Reagan to face down the bad guys in the Cold War. Reagan’s heroic stance against the USSR, when Carter and others were willing to throw in the hat, and the support Reagan won from the American people showed that America can stand up to evil. It is this hope that those who see the true danger of fanatic Islam are hoping for.

George Bush has “held his ground” in the high noon of the War on Terror. All Americans, those who stand with him and those who cut and run, benefit from his courage. We can always hope that the “Quaker women” among us will rise up in the end and put the life of the nation they love above their pacifist fantasies. The cowards can grumble about his library.

I also recommend High Noon as an inspirational bit of art, but, to be honest, I prefer Apocalypto.

Anonymous said...

Mel Gibson criticizes Iraq war during `Apocalypto' screening

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Actor-director Mel Gibson criticized the war in Iraq while promoting his new film "Apocalypto" at a Texas film festival.

Gibson, 50, drew parallels between the collapsing Mayan civilization depicted in the movie and the current situation in the United States, the Hollywood Reporter said Monday.

"The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again," Gibson said after the work-in-progress screening in Texas.

"What's human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?" he said. "What is the deliberate torture of foreigners if not the immorality of Abu Grahib?"


Ok. So that was the eternal truth he was communicating in the movie. That is what those symbols meant. Lysis' drive home needed to be a little longer for him to figure that out because - as usual - he got it wrong!

Lysis said...

Child;

Nice to have you back! Again, the wonderful thing about art is that it often transcends the maker. That is why the Greeks were wise enough to attribute its creation to the Gods.

I no where reported on Gibson’s intentions, I simply told you why his movie worked and what it meant to me.

As for Gibson’s comments; or some reporter’s interpretation of them – remember this was a man who last summer shamed himself with what came out of his mouth. Neither that nor the comments above diminish his movie.

Anonymous said...

Anon...

The English Patient recieved critical acclaim...it one awards...there are university professors that teach it as their source of inspiration. the symbolism...the background...the meaning.

In an interview with the author Michael Ondaatje, the interviewer suggested some of these deep meaning plots. His response...

I guess...sure...I mean...I was just writing a story.

Dan Simpson said...

"My students reminded me of the man who died in prison for the kidnapped of that Salt Lake City girl. It was later proved he had nothing to do with it. We did irrevocable injustice to him. Only the truth can defend us from such error."

I would prefer to defend us from such eroneous arguments.

This is one of the problems I have with many arguments about the justice system (including death penalty arguments) so much emotion, so much 'sympathy', very little in the way of fact, or knowledge on the subject.

Richard Ricci was being held on other charges. Paroled after serving time for murder, he was in jail on felony burglary charges, and refused to tell police anything about where he had been during the kidnapping. Yes, an irrevocable justice, we should all be duly shamed for such horrible treatment this man recieved.

How dare we allow him to die of natural causes while being jailed for crimes he committed (or being held pending prosecution for alleged crimes).

How dare we execute Stanley "Tookie" Williams as well, I mean yes, he founded the crips and brutally murdered at least three people, but he did write a childrens book. And Jesse Jackson gave him the thumbs up.

Lysis said...

Dan;

I appreciate the truth in this case. However, it doesn’t change the fact that our justice system does, on many occasions, punish innocent people for the crimes of others. Let’s remember the 13 inocent men found on Illinois’ death row a few years ago when the governor ordered a DNA evidence check.

If Richard Ricci was being held on other charges, then there is not reason for the people of Utah to feel any shame at his death. Even if he were being held on legitimate suspicion for crimes he did not commit, he would have had his day in court – his death was surely not the intent of the authorities. I will agree he was a bad example to use to support what remains a good argument.

truth to power said...

"...our justice system does, on many occasions, punish innocent people for the crimes of others."

I would amend this. Our justice system does, on some occasions, punish some criminals for the crimes of others. You see, Richard Ricci was typical; he may not have been guilty of the particular sensational crime under investigation, but he was a crook.
The people who have ended up being exonerated of one particular capital crime or another have always been career criminals. I challenge you to find a recent case where an innocent man was executed.

I'm not claiming this destroys your argument, but I think it's important to recognize the distinction.

Anonymous said...

Dan...

We should also remember that at last count, Tookie Williams book had actually sold less than 100 copies. And obviosuly...it hasnt had much impact on gang violence.

Lysis...

If my memory serves...the DNA evidence didnt exhonerate the individuals...it only proved non-conclusive.

Which ISNT to say there arent innocent people incarcerated. I just dont think it is as often as people claim. Heck...the jails and prisons are FULL of innocent people...just ask them.

I think for a death sentence case to be carried out there should be absolute and undeniable proof. The Dahmer case comes to mind...

Anonymous said...

Anon...

"Read anything I write for the pleasure of reading it. Whatever else you find will be the measure of WHAT YOU BROUGHT TO THE READING"

Hemingway speaks the truth of the ages. How often do two people view the same incident and then see it completely opposite? It is often built on previosu bias.

Using the original commentary...Lysis attends Apocolypto and see's this glorius work of art that describes a noble and honorable message, applicable in todays warold. Timeless.

Meanwhile, if we are to believe Mel is serious and not trying to play to the left for the sake of forgiveness, then his purpose for making the movie is exactly the opposite of Lysis' interpretation.

Another quick example...

Last week a citizen in Salt Lake used a firearm legally (he was a concealed weapons permit holder) to prevent a carjacking. This type of thing happens 2.5 million times a year nationwide according to FBI estimates. Now...the different viewpoints:

A proponent of Gun Owners of Utah see's this as vindication and proof that legal firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens prevents crime. An opponent of firearm ownership stated this proves just how risky and dangerous private firearm ownership can be. What if he had shot and killed this individual? a person would have died over a possesion...a thing...a car. Tragic.

Eye of the beholder...

Anonymous said...

Dear, old, befuddled Lysis. Never one to let facts get in the way of his version of reality...

Here's another thing Lysis got dramatically wrong: Armed Shiite militiamen pose the gravest danger to the security and stability of Iraq, surpassing even Sunni Arab insurgents AND far above Al-Qaeda terrorists, a new Defense Department report to Congress says.

That is the conclusion of a report issued by the Pentagon this week. The report also notes that the last three months have seen the greatest amount of violence in Iraq since the U.S. invasion. What was it Lysis muttered just weeks ago? "The plan in Iraq is working!"

We need a better a plan. Lysis needs a new pair of glasses. His vision is impaired.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Truth to Power;

It cannot be justified to execute people for crimes they did not commit just because they have committed other crimes. Let men be accountable for their own sins and not for anyone else’s transgressions. Clarence Gideon was a four times convicted felon but he did not rob the Bay Harbor Pool Room. And when he was put in prison for that crime, a crime he did not commit, just because he didn’t have a competent lawyer to defend him; the Supreme Court justly ruled he deserved a new trial. He was found innocent. His past or other crimes were not relevant.

Mindmechanic;

I admit that guilt is difficult to prove, and guilty people often get away with “murder” but as Anonymous has said, one execution of innocence would be too many, as there is no way to revoke such a mistake. Having said this, I want to stress that the accidental execution of innocents in not my first reason for apposing the death penalty. I do not want to ever kill defenseless people even if they are guilty ones. It is just to kill in self defense, there is no defense needed against a prisoner held totally under one’s power. If there are flaws in the penal system, the remedy is not to befoul the hands of America’s citizens with blood but to come up with better prisons.

Child;

I have never made a distinction between the evil factions in Iraq. We are and must fight all the nasty folk you mention. One of the great flaws with the neo-lib position on anything difficult is the need for instant gratification. Just because a difficult war is not always going “swimmingly” does not mean the plan for the war is not working. I would appeal to your knowledge of history, but I understand there is nothing there; so let me instruct you. Think of all the violence, ever escalating between Lexington and York Town. Consider all the battles the Union forces lost on the way to victory in the Civil War. There were many set backs from Pearl Harbor to Edo Bay, many disastrous failures between Tunis and Berlin, but the Allied plan did work, the Japanese and Germans were defeated in time. There were many set backs in the seventy year struggle against the Evil Soviet Empire, but that did not mean containment and the Truman Doctrine were not working. What if Martin King had quite the first time he went to jail? Your “the war is hard, so let’s quit” attitude is what is befuddled.

My new hero, Jaguar Paw, faced many terrible set backs along the tortured trail from his home, to the slaughter house temple of the Mayans, to the jungle, and back home again. It was his determination to fight on despite the difficulties he faced that set’s him apart from you, Child, and from the others who are willing to accept defeat because victory is difficult. Fighting the hard fight, even against the odds is what makes heroes.


What is even more disturbing to me than the misinformed stupidity exemplified by Child, is the sad fact that many such “cut and run proponents” are really more interested in pretensions to political power than they are in the victory over evil; like Hippias in Athens, ready to sell out his city for bit of power. They will paly their game until the hunters are at their huts, and who will save them then?

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea: Let's send more U.S. troops to Iraq. The generals say it's way too late to even think about resurrecting Colin Powell's "overwhelming force" doctrine, so let's send over a modest "surge" in troop strength that has almost no chance of making any difference -- except in the casualty count. Oh, and let's not give these soldiers and Marines any sort of well-defined mission. Let's just send them out into the bloody chaos of Baghdad and the deadly badlands of Anbar province with orders not to come back until they "get the job done."

That strikes me as a terrible idea, arguably the worst imaginable "way forward" in Iraq. So of course this seems to be where George W. Bush is headed.

Don't assign any real significance to the fact that the president has decided to wait until the new year before announcing his next step in Iraq, because if history is any guide, all of this photo-op "consultation" he's doing is just for show -- to convince us, or maybe to convince himself, that he has an open mind. The Decider doesn't have the capacity for indecision.

Through Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he has ruled out direct talks with Iran and Syria to try to enlist their cooperation in quelling Iraq's sectarian civil war. Through his own remarks, he has ruled out a firm timetable for a U.S. withdrawal. He has declared himself open to any and all advice, but he rules out any course of action that in his estimation will "lead to defeat."

So much for the Iraq Study Group. Tony cannot confirm that the President has so much as read it, Cheney said he has not, and Rumsfeld said he only "skimmed parts." That is what counts for open mindedness in that Whitehouse. So much for the will of the voters. As Dick Cheney helpfully spelled out just before the election, "full speed ahead."

At least the Decider is consistent in incompetence. From the start his administration's approach to this botched war has been to sort through all the tactical alternatives and pick the most counterproductive -- send too few troops, disband the Iraqi army, stand by while looters destroy critical infrastructure and the social order, allow sectarian militias to fill the power vacuum, make reconstruction an afterthought, and put know-nothings in charge of it.

There are more than 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and it's unclear what they are supposed to be accomplishing. It should be obvious that to establish security in all of Iraq and disarm the sectarian militias -- to conduct a proper occupation, in other words -- would require a massive infusion of boots on the ground. The Pentagon says that finding even an additional 20,000 to 30,000 troops to send would be a stretch, and officials warn (perhaps a little melodramatically) of the danger that the demands of Bush's war "will break" the U.S. Army.

But who will they fight? Would they ally themselves with those elusive "mainstream" Sunnis, or maybe those publicity-shy "moderate" Shiites? Would they capture and hold territory, or would they continue the practice of staying for a while, turning the job over to Iraqi forces and then watching as the militias move back in? If an extra 20,000 troops were sent to Baghdad tomorrow, could they realistically be expected to establish order in a sprawling megacity where some two dozen armed militias control the streets and government? Since we would be providing 20,000 new targets for snipers and roadside bombs, how many do we calculate will die while accomplishing...?

It is unconscionable to think about dispatching more young men and women to Iraq without the realistic expectation that their presence will make a difference in a war that is no longer in our control. Proponents of a troop "surge" speak of giving the whole Iraq adventure one last try. But they sound as if they're more concerned about projecting an image of American resolve than anything else. Does anyone think a symbolic troop increase is going to have the likes of Moqtada al-Sadr tossing and turning through sleepless nights?

Doubling the number of American troops in Iraq would be wrong -- we need to get out, now, before we set the whole Middle East on fire -- but at least a surge of that scale would have a purpose. The modest increase now on the table would be purposeless and wrong. What could be more immoral than sacrificing American blood and treasure to save face in a lost war?

Anonymous said...

IT IS just like the movie.

Thousands upon thousands of meaningless sacrifices for the Son. A self fullfilling prophet, Bush is creating his own Apocalypse in Iraq.

Anonymous, also consider this:


"The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.

The Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military.

The Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends. The service chiefs have warned that a short-term mission could give an enormous edge to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq -- including al-Qaeda's foreign fighters -- without giving an enduring boost to the U.S military mission or to the Iraqi army, the officials said.

The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops."


If Lysis wants a tough fight he has one here. And the Whitehouse is doing everything they possibly can to make sure we lose it. I never thought Lysis would be celebrating that. (It is truly amazing how much bad news both Bush and Lysis can completely ignore to keep their own version of a story constantly in mind.)

Let's hope the Joint Chiefs are the types of heros Lysis so often pleads for now. Let's hope they have the courage this time to step down before implenting any of Bush's PROVEN lunatic fringe policies.

Lysis said...

Child;

I have not read the report of the Iraq Study Group, nor have you. I have heard many things, pro and con on it. I am not inclined to believe that America is not doing the best that can be done in the War Against Terror. I also believe that the findings of the Study Group are being used as political weapons by the enemies of America. I do know that President Bush has listened though out this conflict to the commanders on the ground in Iraq and given them what they have asked for.

As for Colin Powell’s “overwhelming force” doctrine; didn’t work in Iraq the first time because we left before we finished the joy, and it hasn’t worked in Iraq this time yet. The George Bush, “fight till we win” course sounds much better to me.

As for the President’s taking his time to act rather then changing course immediately in an attempt to instantly gratify the neo-libs by following some vague talking points put forward by a patrician and politically influenced committee. I say, “Way to go George, this is why you are the great leader that you are!”

The middle East is on fire, has been for many many years. Now that fire threatens the world. Sending the firefighters home before the blaze is contained just because fighting fires is hard and dirty work is the height of stupidity. The point is not to save face in a lost war, but to win a war that we must not lose!

My hero Jaguar Paw faced seemingly unconquerable odds. Many good people had already lost their lives, but he did not quit. He knew the only chance for those he loved was to destroy those that hunted him and would kill them. To have tried to run away would have brought death to himself and to his family. He had to fight. He was in terrible and terrifying danger, he was badly hurt and deeply wounded, he was tired, hungry, and heartbroken, but he turned to fight. May he, not the sniveling and childish, be our inspiration in the difficult battle that will define our nation’s existence, that will save our families from "the hunters".

Lysis said...

To the even more childish anonymous;

In a way it really does come down to this. Who is evil and who is not? Are American Soldiers fighting for the freedom of 50 million people the Mayan murderers or are the various religious fanatics slaughtering innocents and seeking to destroy the west the villains here? We seem both to have taken sides here. You see the sacrifice of those fighting for the right as the slaughter of innocence; I see the murders done by terrorists as they grab for power as the evil that must be stopped.

Jaguar Paw’s father and many of his friends die in the fight against the Mayan monsters. You would call them evil for dying in defense of their homes. I would call them heroes whose sacrifice made ultimate victory possible.

It is the neo-lib’s inability to distinguish between right and wrong, between good and evil that is most on display in your cut and paste posts

Anonymous said...

That's a strange way to put a burning building out: spraying gasoline all over the floors and the surrounding buildings too. It seems like that is just what the Pentagon is trying to say, "Hey! This isn't just a strange idea George. It the creation of an inferno."

Maybe you're thinking of another work of fiction that is applicable to this intelectual-disparaging administration Lysis: the fire-fighters from Bradbury's "Farenheit 451."

Anonymous said...

"It is just to kill in self defense, there is no defense needed against a prisoner held totally under one’s power"

I would argue that the 800 or so people a year killed by convicted murderers (both in prison and by escaped prisoners) would probably see the execution as an act of self defense.

Quote-(sorry...its a long one)
And if you dont want to rread the quote...I'll just siffuce it to say that i think in one sense we agree...if they would revamp the prison system to resemble Colorado's Supermax system I would agree it would never be necessary.


"I wouldn't concern myself about the escapes...but what you don't know and what will appall you if you find out as I did…[is that] it is utterly amazing how many assaults and murders and rapes they have of people in lock down conditions." According to the Department of Justice, in 1997 there were 3,335 prisoners under a sentence of death. Of these, 76 were incarcerated and an additional 38 were escapees at the time of their capital offense.

Hard data concerning murders committed by previously convicted murderers are hard to come by. However, according to the Justice Department, 1-in-12 death row inmates have prior murder convictions. On the other hand, Amnesty International reports that of the paroled murderers in the United States, less than one third of one percent were subsequently convicted of homicide. If both of these figures are correct, the majority of those 1-in-12 prior murder convictions were for murders committed either after a completed sentence, during an escape, or while inside prison. The 1-in-12 figure does not include non-death row inmates serving time for murder who also have prior murder convictions. Even if all of these murders were perpetrated only on other prisoners, and no innocent citizens or correctional officers had ever been harmed, the state is still remiss in protecting persons. This is especially so in a system predicated on the idea that no prisoner should be executed. In that case society is saying that while prisoners have justly lost their right to liberty, their right to bear arms, etc., they explicitly have not lost their right to life. As it is now the state is responsible for protecting inmates from violence and death short of an execution resulting from due process of law. Various authorities in this country simply are not meeting this responsibility. District Attorney Holmes tells of a prisoner who made a bomb out of a cola can, match heads, an electrical appliance cord, and packing materials. After packing the can with the match heads and the exposed end of the electrical cord, the inmate then wrapped this crude explosive device as a package while leaving the electrical cord and its plug exposed. The inmate, while retaining the end of the electrical cord, passed the package down the cell block to his intended victim, who evidently expected some sort of gift. The assailant instructed his victim to indicate when he had this "gift" in hand. When the package was on target the cord was plugged into an electrical socket. The consequent explosion reduced the victim's hands to two bloody stumps. Holmes adds, "Now this is in absolute solitary lock down in a prison system. You would be shocked at how much of that occurs. I was and I've been doing this a long time."

Anonymous said...

Anon...

"The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate."

Ummmm...maybe you have missed it. It is democrats like Harry Reid who are floating the idea of surging troop numbers.

War is hell. Fighting an evil force is tough. Maybe we should have just avoided all those casualties and not fought Hitler.

I wonder...do you (the anon collective) EVER stop to consider who the real enemy is? Have you considered what happens if we leave Iraq and fanatical extremist Islam takes over? Do you have the capacity to study history and the past efforts of Muslim world conquest?

Do you ever wonder how much more effective things might have been if the dems werent in this game for power and were instead committed to the good of the country?

Do you ever question how you and other libs can call Bush a liar for citing Iraqs WMD programs while at the same time ignoring EVERY POSITION stated by the democrats during the 8 years of the Clinton administration ALSO cited Iraqs WMD program?

Anonymous said...

"Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose party campaigned in the November congressional elections on changing course in Iraq, said he would be open only to a short-term increase.

"If the commanders on the ground said this is just for a short period of time, we’ll go along with that," said Reid, D-Nev., citing a time frame such as two months to three months. But a period of 18 months to 24 months would be too long, he said.

"The American people will not allow this war to go on as it has. It simply is a war that will not be won militarily. It can only be won politically," Reid said.

At least three other Democrats did not support Reid’s position on the additional troops.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said that if it were a short-term increase, "won’t our adversaries simply adjust their tactics, wait us out and wait until we reduce again? So I think you’d have to ask very serious questions about the utility of this."

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said, "I respect Harry Reid on it, but that’s not where I am."

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

I did read your quote – and I agree with your position that murderers should never be let out of prison, nor should they be allowed to escape. But these are flaws of a system that must be fixed. The solution is not to make killers of the American people. There is a “bright line” between killing in self defense, or in the defense of others as our heroes in the military do, and killing a captured and controlled person. We should not cross that line just so we can avoid the difficulty of justly and properly dealing with evil.

Cameron said...

"The American people will not allow this war to go on as it has. It simply is a war that will not be won militarily. It can only be won politically," Reid said.

That's interesting.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said that if it were a short-term increase, "won’t our adversaries simply adjust their tactics, wait us out and wait until we reduce again? So I think you’d have to ask very serious questions about the utility of this."


I concure. Isn't that what they've been doing this entire time?

Lysis said...

This is exactly what “they” have been doing. The 21st century religious murder monsters are confident that the US will weary of fighting for its existence. Osama has prophesied it. They are counting one the political divisions and opportunism Mindmechanic has mentioned. I refer you to this quote from the original post above:

He [my friend] them went on to point out how the movie had instructed us that evil must be faced. We cannot run from it, it will always flood to the limits that it is allowed to flow. The folly of those who would distance themselves from the false religion driven mass murderers of today, who would run into the woods and hope that evil will pass them by, will in due time be forced to face it. It will come for their families.

The modern “man hunters” are confident that if they chase us long enough they will catch and skin us alive and force us to watch them wear our skin. It does not occur to them that we will fight back.

Anonymous said...

Lysis...

You know how much love the overdramatic. Besides...if the Anon has to put up with my graphics...you should too...

Regarding capital punishment or the abolishment thereof...see...here is evidence to the point "out of sight out of mind." We 'care' about our humanity and our dignity so we say "Dont execute them in the name of humanity." OK...but are we really humane? Do we follow that up? Do we care about what they do to their fellom man in prison?


"Capital murderers do not wear special clothing or
exhibit identifiers warning guards, teachers, clerks, or others
that they are a “capital murderer serving life.”

Capital murderers such as Dallas mass murderer Abdelkrim Belachheb and Houston mass murderer Elmer Wayne Henley were able to go
to prison and live virtually anonymously among the guards and
other inmates. Belachheb lived in general population until he took a homemade knife and stabbed and slashed another convict.

Henley, living in general population at the Telford Unit,
suffered no loss of privileges, ostracizing, restrictions of his
movements, or “special treatment” by prison officials — he
came to prison with at least 30 murder victims under his belt.

Capital murderers can and do commit acts of violence in
the penitentiary. There have been two condemned capital murderers, Jermarr Arnold and David Gibbs, who committed murder after arriving on death row.

Of the eight prison murders in
1999, three were committed by capital murderers doing life
sentences. Killings have occurred in every part of the prison
system — administrative segregation, high security, general
population, trusty dorms, chow halls, chapels, rec yards, day-
rooms, cellblocks, and restrooms.

The most recent Texas prison
killing (June 30, 2006) involves a convicted capital murderer
stabbing his cellmate, a Travis County burglar doing 10 years,
to death. Capital murderer Noe Beltran (released from death
row because the appellate court determined he was not a future
danger) joined the Texas Syndicate and killed another inmate on a prison rec yard. Capital murderer James Porter used a rockin a pillowcase to beat another inmate to death in a Telford Unit dayroom.

Capital murderer William Speer strangled inmate Gary Dickerson to death at the Telford Unit. Capital
murderer Carey Money killed inmate William Smith in a Beto Unit chow hall, nearly severing Smith’s head with a homemade knife. These are only a portion of many more such cases.

Capital murderers commit other crimes as well: Corey Lewis, a cap-
ital murderer from Harris County, beat and stomped a correctional officer so severely that he has been in no less than three institutions for brain-injured patients and his doctors say
that he will probably never go home.

Condemned capital murderer Charles Thompson escaped from the Harris County jail after being released from death row on a bench warrant. Correctional officers Jacque Dwyer, Carsdonia Lapaglia, and
Bradley Davison have all been stabbed by condemned capital
murderers on death row. Capital murderers have been prosecuted for possession of controlled substances, escape, assaults
on guards and other inmates, possession of cell phones, bribery,
and other crimes.

And where capital killers have been able to continue criminal conduct after arriving at prison, there are numerous other less-than-capital offenders perpetrating the
same types of crimes throughout the prison system. There have
been more than 140 murders committed inside the Texas prison system since 1984."

http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:2_8JkC1MY40J:www.texasbar.com/Template.cfm%3FSection%3DCurrent_Issue%26Template%3D/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm%26ContentID%3D15650+murders+committed+by+escapees&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=27

Are the 140 inmate in this one state less deserving of our care? Our humanity? And this is just the murdered inamtes. It doesnt address those merely violently physically and sexually assaulted.

And of course there is more. The police officer shot 13 times by the seven inmates (included murderers serving life sentences) from Texas, the couple brutally assulted and then executed by the inmates that escaped from Tennessee just a few years ago...and on...and on...

It is not about vengeance to me. Vengeance is the worst possible answer. It IS about ensuring those with a propensity to murder do not do it again and again. Find that solution...and I am right there with you.

Anonymous said...

Kofi Anon...(not ironic...eh?)

"You mentioned Iran, which implies that there is concern that there may be another military operation there," Annan told a reporter. "First of all, I don't think we are there yet, or we should go in that direction."

"I think it would be rather unwise and disastrous," he said.

"I believe that the council, which is discussing the issue, will proceed cautiously and try and do whatever it can to get a negotiated settlement for the sake of the region and for the sake of the world," he said."

Yes. Lets leave world security and stability to the UN. 3 years ago the UN vowed it would take action in regard to North Korea and Irans nuclear weapons program.

We shouldnt be surprised...the UN is still debating on if it is appropriate to take action in Rwanda...

Anonymous said...

It is going to get MUCH worse before it gets any better -- for George Bush that is.

It is what Bush and the Davis County School Board do best -- ostensibly listen to "in-put" then deceptively continue to "stay the course."

The country CLEARLY is NOT with the President on this miserable and brutish "stay 'till victory" nonsense.

Democrats and Republicans will wrench control from those few remaining maniacally destructive neocons left as 'elected' officials of government.

The meeting of the NEW and expurgated congress of the NEW year will put an end to all the OLD lies and neocon spin.

Neocon? It is clear it's the SAME OLD CON of the last six years!!!!

Anonymous said...

The Bush admin, as blood-thirsty and immoral as they are, are not even concerned with murdering the right people. They are lying to you and you swallow it whole. A new documentary premiering in 2008 details operations in which French special forces had Osama bin Laden in their sights twice about three years ago but were prevented by their U.S. superiors from taking him out.

The events are detailed in such authentic portrayals relying on official military information that it has even sparked a response from the French Military.

The documentary, which was seen by Reuters this week, says the troops could have killed the al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan but the order to shoot never came, possibly because it took too long to request it through micromanaged channels that led eventually to Rumsfeld's standing desk at the Pentagon.

"In 2003 and 2004 we had bin Laden in our sights. The French special forces sniper said 'I have bin Laden'," an anonymous French soldier is quoted as saying in classified battleground documents.

The documentary 'Bin Laden, the failings of a manhunt' is by journalists Emmanuel Razavi and Eric de Lavarene, who have worked for several major media outlets in Afghanistan.

Razavi said the soldier told them it took roughly two hours for the request to reach the U.S. officers who could authorize it but the soldier is also quoted in the documentary as saying: "There was a hesitation in command."

Razavi told Reuters several sources told them the sightings were six months apart and they declined to be more specific.

French armed forces spokesman Christophe Prazuck said "that it did not exactly happen as depicted" when asked about the bin Laden sightings.

France has roughly 200 elite troops operating under U.S. command near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. Paris announced on Sunday it was withdrawing them at the start of 2007 due mostly to unorganized and poorly supplied mission objectives there. Officials speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of upsetting what they believe is a mission that still must succeed blamed the lack of a cohesive NATO strategy in Afghanistan on the distraction of Iraq. The U.S. continues to press for more support on the front it created itself in 2003. Other NATO members continue to believe that despite Washington's claims it is Afghanistan and not Iraq that is the frontline in the war on militant extremists.

France is part of the 32,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which took over command of a war against the Taliban from U.S.-led forces in October and has launched a series of military offensives.

Afghan officials questioned in the documentary said they also believed the United States was not interested in finding bin Laden, despite the $25 million price Washington has placed on his head.

The documentary stopps short of that conclusion but raises questions about the U.S. hunt for bin Laden, such as whether Washington is more concerned about preserving stability in Pakistan, where many support bin Laden, than in finding him.

Of course, people like Lysis are lining up to kiss George's backside no matter how much wind blows in Lysis' face. Surely, he must notice the stink that all of this incompetence and ignorance these failing White House bunglers have caused though.

Lysis said...

Anonytachi; [Tachi is the Japanese plural for human beings]

It is interesting to me whose problems delight you. You do not report the problems besetting the terrorists or Saddam; you are not concerned nor interested in the murderers captured nor the killers killed; your pleasure comes from the talking point proclamations of the pretended problems ostensibly facing the President of the United States. This speaks more eloquently than I ever could of your twisted and deceiving nature

Surely someone is lying here, but it is neither George Bush nor the American Military and Intelligence community. It is you. The French haven’t had anyone in their sights since Leipzig. Your references to unknown “French Soldiers” are laughable. The French are leaving because they are the cowards that Osama believes the rest of the West to be. They will, of course blame George Bush for their retreat; surprise surprise!

One of the greatest frustration one feels while watching Apocalypto, one of the deep emotions stirred by the art, is that emoted by the fact that the victims are so helpless. Bound about the neck, they cannot resist, and they have no real understanding of the horrible end that waits. They cannot even imagine the horror until it is before them until they are brought, painted blue, to the summit of the temple. They watch in shock as their friends are stretched across the alter stone. Even Jaguar Paw is helpless at this point, his beautiful body stretched across the hideous stone; the murdering priest is no more conscious of his humanity than a butcher in a slaughter house considers the pig under his knife. I watch now with similar frustration as the Anonytachi, bound by their own stupidity are allowing them selves to be led to the knife. Who will save them?

Anonymous said...

Lysis, I love it. "The whole world is lying except the one man that has been a proven a liar and even admitted it one month ago." You might as well subtitle this blog "My ears are closed - BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH I CAN'T HEAR YOOOOOOUUUUU." I would say your playing with your grandchild is the best thing for you do whenever the adults are talking since you only seem to be at their mental level but I think that would be an insult to your grandchild.

Of couse, Bush doesn't want to catch Osama. It's the ONLY thing he can claim popular support for right now: the hunt for bin-Laden. Without it he has no backing for any of his hair brained plans. But don't take my word for it. He invaded Iraq after September 11th, which makes about as much sense as attacking Mexico for Antonio Banderas' making Zoro II.

It's also striking how stupifyingly ignorant you can be, in light of Mel Gibson's own statements about his film you claim to worship, when you type, "One of the greatest frustrations one feels while watching [Abu-Grahib], one of the deep emotions stirred by the art, is that emoted by the fact that the victims are so helpless. Bound about the neck, they cannot resist, and they have no real understanding of the horrible end that waits. They cannot even imagine the horror until it is before them until they are brought, [naked, bound, gagged, blindfolded], to the [dungeon] of the temple [of U.S. law and order in Baghdad]. They watch in shock as their friends are stretched across the [Palestinian Cross]." Note that I have tried to open your eyes with the correct, Mel-approved, parentheticals.

There are very few "problems besetting" the terrorists to "delight" in currently Lysis. I know you haven't paying attention to the Pentagon's own statements recently (if you can call four years recently), but there release over the summerspelled out that the U.S. occupation in Iraq is benefitting their cause rather than hampering it. Just judge Bushco's efforts by that simple maxim alone. Has he helped or hurt America's enemies over the last three years by his policies in Iraq? According to the Pentagon he has helped them.

But I know you don't believe it. Everyone is lying. Only Goerge W. Bush doesn't lie. "BLAH BLAH BLAH - I CAN'T HEAR YOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUU!!"

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

Sorry to get you so worked up, (That’s sarcasm.) but it is very nice of you to provide such obvious lies in the midst of your rebuttal as to enable me to use you as an example of the neo-lib deception machine.

First, I, and President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and the American military, deplore the misbehavior of Americans at Abu Grahib. You neglect to mention that it was Secretary Rumsfeld’s investigation into Abu Grahib that broke the story, and you also neglect to mention that it was the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary and thus the President, that arrested, prosecuted, and are punishing the evil doers there. There is no greater lie than the pretence that the atrocities at Abu Grahib were perpetrated by the American military.

There may well have been some non-Mayan Indians in the jungles of Guatemala who did nasty things. That, of course, does not justify the evil done against so many innocents by the Mayan murder religion, nor does it diminish the heroic actions either of those who fought and failed or of Jaguar Paw who fought and won.

Secondly, to compare the sexual humiliation of terrorists by perverts acting on their own demented agenda, to the mass murders perpetrated by either the Mayan or the Islamic religious monsters, at the express order and “god” given direction of their leadership, is a stretch of truth that pushes your argument past the absurd.

I appreciate your effort to tie your post to the week’s topic; let me continue on that line. I have often thought it curious that the neo-libs gin up mock anger at Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic remarks while attacking Israel as the villains in the conflict in Palestine. They chide Gibson for some undisclosed “racial” slurs while denying the holocaust and blaming terrorism on the victims. You’re in the worst of company here Flaccid. Neck bound to the brace, you march up the steps to the alter stone. Your lies will not save you, but your President and the heroes he leads might; if they are not betrayed.

Again, I thank you for providing such stunning empirical evidence of your dishonesty and your agenda.

Rumpole said...

Dan,

Does the truth ever differ from the “facts?”

You post: This is one of the problems I have with many arguments about the justice system (including death penalty arguments) so much emotion, so much 'sympathy', very little in the way of fact, or knowledge on the subject.

Richard Ricci was being held on other charges. Paroled after serving time for murder, he was in jail on felony burglary charges, and refused to tell police anything about where he had been during the kidnapping. Yes, an irrevocable justice, we should all be duly shamed for such horrible treatment this man received.”

It is factual the Ricci was being held based on other alleged crimes. But is it the truth? Ricci was the prime “suspect” in the Smart kidnapping. Those other charges were a convenient method of detention. Ricci may well have been guilty of the charges that were filed against him, but it seems naïve to think the time and effort used to apprehend him were based on those charges. The Police Chief had nothing on the Smart case. He needed to produce something by way of a suspect. He found him in Ricci.

I do not suggest that Ricci was clean. But he does, unfortunately, represent an all too common occurrence that we see in our justice system today, and in the laws that govern our land in general.

Both the law and the Constitution have become tools for manipulation, rather than standards for determination.

Even in Utah, the supposed safe haven for conservatism, we are not immune to such tactics.

Consider the Anonymy’s post: “It is what Bush and the Davis County School Board do best -- ostensibly listen to "in-put" then deceptively continue to "stay the course."

Was the recent lawsuit that was filed against the Davis County School Board filed in the name of honoring the law, or promoting a personal agenda ?

Are the current liberal attacks really about the war on terror, or are they a thinly veiled attempt to promote another agenda?

Has the prosecutor in the Duke Lacrosse Team rape trial moved forward with his “case” to uphold the law, or was he currying favor with a voting constituency?

It seems that the actual “erroneous” arguments currently put forth in the judicial system are the arguments that try to manipulate the law in the name of agenda rather than allowing the law to make the determination.

Anonymous said...

By Francois Murphy

PARIS (Reuters) - A documentary says French special forces had Osama bin Laden in their sights twice about three years ago but their U.S. superiors never ordered them to fire.

The French military, however, said that the incidents never happened and the report was "erroneous information".


So...who is dishonest here exactly? You have two UBER liberal reporters citing 'anonymous' French soldiers, on a mission their own military says didnt exist.

Why bother...you have already made up your mind.

Dan Simpson said...

Rumpole: Yes it is true.

Without those other charges, Ricci could not have been held. At least not without being charged with something else.

You make it seem as if it is nefarious to charge a man with something he has done as a means to hold him pending further investigation, I disagree completely.

Ricci fit so many aspects of the crime, he refused to cooperate and answer questions about the time of the crime. There were many reasons for the police to suspect him.

My point is to say he was being held unjustly for the crime of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart is based on a lack of understanding of the justice system.

It was completely just to hold him, it is just to hold the innocent, when they are suspected and charged with crimes. If we waited to hold people until they were proven guilty, the system would not work.

Your argument is similar to dozens perhaps hundreds put forth in the classrooms of law school where some students (and the people who write commentary in law books) scoff at the notion that a cop pull over a car for having a broken tail light, or driving too slow, or crossing a line. 'We all know' they say, that the cop pulled them over because they were (insert oppressed title here) and he thought they had drugs.

Nevermind the fact they did have dozens of pounds of drugs, or that they were drunk, or were guilty of countless other crimes.

I have no problem with the justice system using the small crime to find the big criminal. This can only hurt the guilty.

Dan Simpson said...

"Was the recent lawsuit that was filed against the Davis County School Board filed in the name of honoring the law, or promoting a personal agenda ?"

This and Lysis' comments about the Davis County scuffle make me scratch my head.

We have our system set up so that the minority have a chance to have their voices heard, and when they feel they haven't they can take it to the courts, who then decide if those in power followed the rules.

Much like the Legacy highway I disagree completely with those holding the process up by lawsuit, but much like the LH, it could have been avoided if those in authority had been more careful about following the rules.

I don't think there were any nefarious schemes going on in the halls of the Davis County board. I don't think there were back room deals, or sly schemeing. However, we cannot denegrate the system because we disagree with the users.

If it had been a point of view we agreed with, then we would probably not have a problem with taking it to the courts.

Lysis has cast aspersions on not only the plaintiff, but also on Judge Allphin (who I know and highly respect, both personally and professionally). He assumes that there was an agenda in the decision, instead of admitting that, while probably completely innocent, the Davis board should have done things differently.

It is also important to understand what an injunction means, (of course I assume there are at least a few that understand the legal terms at least as well as I do, some obviously do not). It is not a judgement on the merits that decides who is right and wrong. It just forces everyone to step back, and hold off on actions that will likely be irrevocable, until another impartial body can rule on that action.

Even when we disagree with the reason for fighting for one, everyone should see the incredibly helpful thing that an injunction can be, and the reason for having it in the justice system.

Anonymous said...

Dan:
If DETAINING suspects, employing the investigative strategy you endorse, is a valid police practice; then, in your estimation, would PROFILING a group of individuals, THEN detaining the "profile hits" on OTHER charges made "available" by investigators, also be a valid police practice?.

I think BOTH scenarios are similar and BOTH run very close to a POLICE STATE mentality!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Would you then say we SHOULDNT profile child molesters, serial killers, serial arsonists, etc?

Using the detroit case...a police officer viewed a car pull to a curb at 2 in the morning. Two black men exited the car looking around suspiciously. They walked to the back of the car, opened the trunk, and removed two duffel bags. The officer used his experience and the circumstances and then approached the two individuals. Both duffel bags were filled with drugs. The men were released because the officer didnt have "probable cause." That it was 2 AM, that there were two individuals in a well known drug area, that they acted and behaved suspiciously and the policmans years of experience didnt count. That he was correct was also deemed immaterial.

I have to admit...I cant find the source on the above case...I have read it before. BUT...interestingly enough...during a google search for the case using a few key words (duffel bag, illegal search, probable cause) I found tons of similar cases. And interestingly enough...all involving a duffel bag. So maybe the bad guys ought to switch to those eco-friendly canvas grocery bags or something...

Thi first case nearly parallels the above example.

http://www.lectlaw.com/files/case27.htm
http://www.kscourts.org/CA10/cases/2005/05/04-3291.htm
http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/2001a/20010207/ar00-279.html
http://vls.law.villanova.edu/locator/3d/May2005/041428np.pdf
http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/getopn.pl?OPINION=98-2302.01A

Anonymous said...

Gilbert and Sullivan found themselves in some political trouble with THIS piece of criticism and sarcastic wit from *HMS Pinafore*.

I am glad that there are NOT politicians in government service who could be likened to Sir Joseph anymore!!!!
____________________________

Sir Joseph:
When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Atorney's firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.

Chorus.
He poolished up the handle of the big front door.

Sir Joseph.
I polished up that handle so carefullee
That now I am RULER of the Queen's Navee.

Chorus.
He polished up that handle so carefullee,
That now he is the ruler of the Queen's Navee!

Sir Joseph.
As office boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk.
I served the writs with a SMILE so bland,
And I copied all the letters in a
big round hand.

Chorus.
He copied all the letters in a big round hand.

Sir Joseph.
I copied all the letters in a hand so free,
That now I am the RULER of the
Queen's Navee!

Chorus:
He copied all the letters in a hand
so free,
That now he is the RULER of the Queen's Navee!

Sir Joseph:
In serving writs I made such a
name
That an articled clerk I soon became;
I wore clean collars and a
brand new suit
For the pass examination at
the Institute.

Chorus.
For the pass examination at the Institute.

Sir Joseph.
That pass examination did so
well for me,
That now I am the RULER of the Queen's Navee!

Chorus.
That pass examination did so
well for he,
that now he is the RULER of the
Queen's Navee!

Sir Joseph:
Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip \That they took me into the
PARTNERSHIP
And that junior partnerSHIP, I
ween
Was the ONLY SHIP that I ever had seen!!!!

Chorus: . . . the ONLY S"HIP he had ever seen!

Sir Joseph:
But that kind of ship so suited
me,
That now I am the RULER of the Queen's Navee!

Chorus
But that kind of ship so suited
he,
That now he is the RULER of the Queen's Navee!

Sir Joseph:
I grew so RICH that I was sent
By a pocket borough into
PARLIAMENT.

I ALWAYS voted at my party's
call,
And I never thought of thinking
FOR MYSELF AT ALL,

Chorus:
He never thought of thinking
for himself at all.

Sir Joseph:
I thought SO LITTLE, they
rewarded me
By making me the RULER of the
Queen's Navee!

Chorus . . . By making him the RULER of the Queen's Navee!!

Sir Joseph:
Now landsmen all, whoever
you may be,
IF YOU WANT TO RISE TO THE TOP OF
THE TREE
If your soul isn't fettered to an
office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this
golden rule.

Chorus . . . be guided by this golden rule.

Sir Joseph:
Stick close to your desks and
NEVER GO TO SEA,
And you ALL may be RULERS of the QUEEN's NAVEE!!!!
______________________

With a little practice I think EVERYONE could do well enough to make their OWN political analogies from music and film without Lysis' heavy handed partisan guidance!!!!

Lysis said...

Or yours Flaccid, or yours.

So just a question:

Wasn’t this the system that produced Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair?

Anonymous said...

Answer: No. HMS Pinafore was written in 1878. The social system described in the play changed drastically with the ending of the Edwardian period in England. Winston was only three years old when the events described in the Opera had passed. Social class and advancement changed yet again at the end of World War II and the end of colonialism and again in the early sixties. The class advancement that produced Britain's modern leaders was vastly different than that described repeatedly by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Do they still let you call yourself a history teacher? Astounding what passes for qualifications THESE days.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Flaccid;

You have failed, as usual, to sight any evidence the either the changes you claim concerning the evolution of the British Government or the reality of the Gilbert and Sullivan farce you sight as your historical documentation on the Government in the Edwardian period. Can you at least admit that the Government the musical mocks constructed the greatest empire the world had know since Rome, the greatest to exist until the U.S. took its place, or does that bit of history stick in your farcical craw?

Anonymous said...

Answer: No. The greatest Empire after the fall of Rome and before the rise of Britain was the Umyad Caliphate, which was followed by the greatest empire in the history of the world, that of the Mongul Khans. These may be new names to you. I suggest opening a history book to read about them. Perhaps one of your beleagured students will help. Surely THEY know where and for what a library is.

I'm really thinking of checking on your credentials myself. No one who claims to be teacher of history can be THIS ignorant! It must be another case of your mouth galloping ahead of your thinking. (Is THINKING a new word for you also?)

Anonymous said...

The Spanish and Portugese Empires were both equal in dominance to the later British Empire - they were established some two hundred years before Britain even began its conquest of India. They also lasted longer than Britain's.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Obviously, to our two anonymous children, dirt possessed or map cornered equate to greatness. By that measure Japan’s was the world’s greatest empire, of course most of the territory it “controlled” was Pacific Ocean. I will give the Mongols greatness in terms of size and order, but not longevity or power. With in two generations the Mongol empire had broken into warring factions and for the most part been assimilated by the very people they had once sought to rule. Check out the fate of the Yuan dynasty in China for example. As for the Arabs and Turks; so much sand and so much sorrow. As for Spain and Portugal; to compare a spattering of costal trading ports and mission stations to the British Empire or that of Roman shows most clearly the shallowness of your knowledge of history and reality. The Portuguese empire was gobbled up by Spain under Charles V – who claimed to rule the world, but really only plundered the weak and whipped the Turks in the Mediterranean; no great accomplishment. His empire was ripped in two at his retirement and his son Phillip had his clock cleaned by whom? Oh yah, that would be the English Navy. What was left of the Spain Empire, after the Dutch got through with them, was gobbled up by Napoleon, who in turn fell to the very British Navy mocked in the *Pinafor*. They also beat the Dutch, check out New York.

Again, to recap; the great empires you put forward as eclipsing Rome never did. Rome’s greatness included hundreds of years of existence as well as dirt controlled and Eternal impacts on the world. The Islamic Caliphate and the Mongol horde that smashed it were impressive but not on a par with Rome and surely never reached the power or lasting influence of the British Empire. As for Spain and Portugal; they may have been first off the mark in the exploitation of Asian, African, and American resources, they were soon defeated, devoured, and surpassed by the British.

I see you have not attempted to compare Osama’s Caliphate to American; yet.

Your claims are based on P. C. revisionist attempts at ginning up multicultural greatness. I do not disagree that the empires you sight were impressive, but for reasons sighted above I reject those you champion as comparing in greatness to the three who have obtained hegemony; Rome, Britain, and America. We can debate; of course, it is a learning tool of the historian. I will refrain from name calling that is the tactic of a position driven by an agenda but not supported by reason.

Anonymous said...

Define empire and what makes an empire 'great.' I am NOT a history wizard...but it seems to me that immediately after the conquest of Ghengis, the Mongols immediately set out to do everything they could to tear their 'empire' apart.

The portugees 'empire' consisted of island and coastal outposts...aside from their contribution to the European slave trade (how come its the US...the youngest of all theses countries we are talking about that always takes the heat for the slavery issue?), what makes their empire great?

Just curious...what is it that defines an empire. Brutality? Skill? Dominance? World contributions? longevity?

Anonymous said...

We COULD debate it - that would give the APPEARANCE that you were not wrong. But in fact, and as you have as much as admitted -- "I will give the Mongols greatness" -- you were WRONG. It is nice to see you were capable, for once, of a moment of BRIEF reflection before going on to 'explainify' why you were just kind of wrong, not all wrong. More intellectual honesty would be appreciated.

Also, pointing out your gross ignorance is not name calling and pertinent when talking about anyone who holds themselves out to be a public educator. In that vein you continue to make an issue of your ignorance with words like, "as for the Arabs and Turks; so much sand and so much sorrow." (This is how you explain some 1000 years of history. "What do your test questions for this period look like? How do you spell the word 'Turk"?") Not to overstress your new found capacity for reflection but also try to consider that the caliphate provided so much science, so much literature, so much agriculture, so much philosophy, so much art, so infrastructure, SO MUCH that you are SO IGNORANT of. (This during a time you may that Europe was involved in something so popularly referred to that even you may know about it, the Dark Ages.) Alas, at your age, it is beyond hope that you will ever be aware of any of those accomplishments. It will all be so much sand for you and so sad for anyone that relies on you to teach them about it.

Anonymous said...

Lysis: "As for Spain and Portugal; to compare a spattering of costal trading ports and mission stations to the British Empire." What do you think the "British" Empire was? You must confusing the later Commonwealth for the British Empire that essentially ended in the mid nineteenth century. It would be an easy mistake for an amateur historian and is likely the root of your previous invalid claim.

Lysis said...

As for the “science” of the Arab Caliphate, like that of the early Scientific Revolution in Renaissance Europe, barrowed from the Greeks and Romans, along with some ideas from India; very little original there. You know what they studied at those Islamic universities, the ones they had before the fundamentalist fanatics destroyed them all? Aristotle and the other Greeks, and Roman Law and government. The dark ages were, after all, the absence of Roman. Europe got over it Dark Ages with a rebirth of Rome, while the Caliphs dragged their “empire” into darkness, as surely as the Taliban did Afghanistan, as surely as Osama and his terrorist religious fanatics would the world, but for America.

Once more you demonstrate that you have lost the argument by deserting it. (We were discussion the FACT that Britain was rather successful in spite of aspersions cast by comedians. You demonstrate that the main source of your history as well as your news is comedians, thank you for pointing that out again.) and personal attacks. When you can’t refute the facts you attack the fact giver. We’ve watched you at this game for years, pity you never get any better at it.

I see your back to word games again. I am confident I can leave spelling to you; you leave the thinking to me.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, Lysis is saying that Spain and Portugal's empires did not leave any lasting impact on the world? I mean, except for Mexico, and Central America, and the entire continent of South America. (Those are places where they still speak Spanish and Portuguese after five-hundred years, not to mention still practice their legal stystem, religion, trace their literary tradition, still live in the cities they created, and in many instances actually call themselves 'hispanics.') So besides that, nothing.

Now that is goofy!

Lysis said...

Child;

Glad to see you admit the limited extent of the Portuguese and Spanish Empires. Glad you’re willing to learn.

As for the depth, vast human resources, loyalty, and economic power of the British Empire, you miss underestimate them in the same way Napoleon did, the same way the Germans did in WW I. Oh yah, and the British Navy too.

Anonymous said...

Answer: No. The thing we were talking about was the FACT that Mel Gibson made his movie to depict the "torturing and murderous Mayans" as the Americans sacrificing and torturing thousands in Iraq. You were wrong about that also Lysis.

Anonymous said...

"I will refrain from name-calling; that is the tactic of a position driven by an agenda, but not supported by reason." -Lysis

That is an OUTSTANDING New Year's Resolution, Lysis!!!!

Regrettably, this "inspiration" did NOT occur for your 2006 postings!!!!

Lysis said...

Oh, and Child:

As for Portuguese and Spanish languages, religions, and legal systems – check out Rome

Lysis said...

Child;

You are right in the over all; we are talking about Gibson’s wonderful movie. The point I was hoping to see you address was on the effectiveness of British Government. You and your crew have dodge and weave, but you never give any follow up – you MO for defeat.

You have claimed that, like the Mayan, Americans sacrifice and torture thousands in Iraq. You have not yet provided one example. Saying something that is not true is lying. I wait your examples, your facts, your evidence.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!
Tomorrow I am going to post the Libretto of the "Modern Major General" from *Pirates of Penzance*!!!

What affronting analogies might Lysis find in THAT piece?

I know a few!!!!

Anonymous said...

. . . and for Rome, check out GREECE!!!!

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

In all the excitement I didn’t fully answer your attack on my desire to debate as some kind of capitulation. What you have done is pull a line out of context and misrepresented it. I should be flattered; you and your ilk do this all the time to the President. However, for your own sakes I will set you straight.

Here is the quote from your post:

“We COULD debate it - that would give the APPEARANCE that you were not wrong. But in fact, and as you have as much as admitted -- "I will give the Mongols greatness" -- you were WRONG. It is nice to see you were capable, for once, of a moment of BRIEF reflection before going on to 'explainify' why you were just kind of wrong, not all wrong. More intellectual honesty would be appreciated.”

What you leave out follows:

“I will give the Mongols greatness in terms of size and order, but not longevity or power. Within two generations the Mongol empire had broken into warring factions and for the most part been assimilated by the very people they had once sought to rule. Check out the fate of the Yuan dynasty in China for example.

Again, to recap; the great empires you put forward as eclipsing Rome never did. Rome’s greatness included hundreds of years of existence as well as dirt controlled and Eternal impacts on the world. The Islamic Caliphate and the Mongol horde that smashed it were impressive but not on a par with Rome and surely never reached the power or lasting influence of the British Empire.”

I never said I was wrong in any way. You can only claim that by misquoting and misrepresenting. If you ever show me as wrong, I will not hesitate to admit it. Debate is indeed an important way in which Historians learn, but what you practice is not debate it is dishonesty.

Notice that unlike the flaccid children posting in this string, I actually provide evidence for my claims. Come on you guys, it’s never too late to learn.

Lysis said...

Anonymous said...
. . . and for Rome, check out GREECE!!!!
4:54 PM
Point well made. Rome barrowed much from Greece and both the Athenian and Alexander’s Empires were impressive, if short lived. However, I would point out, that they were pre-Roman Empire. It is also interesting to note that Brazil has in many ways surpassed Portugal in “greatness”.

None of this diminishes the preeminence of Rome or Britain over any empire which came between. Arguably, Britain can also trace much of what made it great to the Greeks and Romans; as did the Caliphate and does America.

Lysis said...

Flaccid and team:

Let me give you another example of the neo-lib dishonesty process, the same one that day in day out attacks our President, our military, and our nation.

Above, in the midst of the “Greatest Empires” digression

"Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, Lysis is saying that Spain and Portugal's empires did not leave any lasting impact on the world? I mean, except for Mexico, and Central America, and the entire continent of South America. (Those are places where they still speak Spanish and Portuguese after five-hundred years, not to mention still practice their legal stystem, religion, trace their literary tradition, still live in the cities they created, and in many instances actually call themselves 'hispanics.') So besides that, nothing.

Now that is goofy!

4:19 PM"

What is goofy is that I never said any of this. Let’s focus on the claim that says: “Lysis is saying that Spain and Portugal's empires did not leave any lasting impact on the world?”

What I did say was: “As for Spain and Portugal; to compare a spattering of costal trading ports and mission stations to the British Empire or that of Roman shows most clearly the shallowness of your knowledge of history and reality. The Portuguese empire was gobbled up by Spain under Charles V – who claimed to rule the world, but really only plundered the weak and whipped the Turks in the Mediterranean; no great accomplishment. His empire was ripped in two at his retirement and his son Phillip had his clock cleaned by whom? Oh yah, that would be the English Navy. What was left of the Spain Empire, after the Dutch got through with them, was gobbled up by Napoleon, who in turn fell to the very British Navy mocked in the *Pinafor*. They also beat the Dutch, check out New York.”

The neo-lib tactic, which they are using against Bush and Mel Gibson, is to claim that their opponent says something ridicules and then shoot it down.

Now that’s goofy, and that’s dishonest.

By the way Anonymous, how do you spell "system", as in legal system?

Dan Simpson said...

Well anonymous, I will continue to be grateful that you don't make the decisions at the highest level for our judicial system.

To you holding a man for breaking his parole may be a police state. Or pulling someone over for a traffic violation may be tantamount to 1984, but I like the system the way it is, sure there are things that could be better, but as far as the ability of the police to hold, interrogate, investigate, and arrest individuals for crimes, or alleged crimes, I think we are pretty good.

With one glaring exception, a fourth ammendment violation should not mean dropping of charges. It should not disqualify evidence from being presented in trial. It should lead to disciplinary action against the offending officer, with termination if the violation is egregious enough, but not exclusion of evidence.

The exclusionary rule never made sense.

Rumpole said...

Dan,

Where do I begin?

You post: “Ricci fit so many aspects of the crime, he refused to cooperate and answer questions about the time of the crime. There were many reasons for the police to suspect him.”

Does suspicion mean that the police have a right to hold a suspect? Of course you know that it doesn’t. Does that same police suspicion implicate guilt? Of course you know that it doesn’t. Does silence implicate guilt? Of course you know that it doesn’t.

Further, you imply that it’s okay for the law to be used as a weapon rather than a protection. Do you really believe that the ends justify the means?

You post: “I have no problem with the justice system using the small crime to find the big criminal. This can only hurt the guilty.”

Do you really believe that? The Ricci case is great example of how wrong you are. The police had no inkling of where Smart was, let alone who her kidnappers really were. Had she not resurfaced (no thanks to the police), Ricci would have been known forever as the kidnapper, and perhaps even her murderer. But he was innocent! No harm was done to him? His family bore no injustice? C’mon, Dan, think it through!

I have great fear of any prosecutor who believes similarly to what you suggest. Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is a great example. Consider the following:

“DURHAM, N.C. — The case against three Duke lacrosse players charged with raping a stripper at a team party in March "will be on trial just as much" as the defendants, university president Richard Brodhead said Monday.
In a statement released by the university, Brodhead said the defendants should be presumed innocent as the case pushes toward a possible spring trial date.
The statement came days after a lab director said in a pretrial hearing that, following an agreement with Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, he violated his own procedures and withheld results showing none of the charged players' DNA was found on or in the accuser's body.”
Google “Duke Lacrosse Team” if you want to read the entire article. If this article is accurate there appears to be clear evidence the defendant’s innocence, and evidence of a prosecutor willing to ignore that evidence to promote his own agenda.

But hey, the guy went to law school! He must know more than a hack salesman like me, so I ought to just take him at his word that those Duke boys are guilty. Heck, I bet no one ever had to explain to him what indictment meant, let alone its value to the legal system!

By no means do I intend to personally attack you. But I absolutely intend to ridicule your position. We travel a road that ought not be traveled if we turn our legal system over to anyone with a law school diploma because, by your litmus test, we have avoided putting someone in place who uses “so much emotion, so much 'sympathy', very little in the way of fact, or knowledge on the subject.”

John Marshall (of Marbury vs. Madison), who you consider to be a brilliant justice of the Court, had a crash course total of six weeks legal training at William and Mary. Were he nominated today, would he pass your litmus test?

What we need are prosecutors and judges who do not see the law as a weapon to be wielded with unchecked authority, but rather use the law as it was intended, to protect both victims and the accused.

The law and the Constitution ought to be viewed as standards for determination, rather than tools for manipulation.

truth to power said...

Could we please stop referring to career criminals as "innocent"? Ricci was not guilty of the particular high-profile crime he was under investigation for, but he was most definitely not innocent. Innocent people don't lie to the police.

I am grateful that "proof beyond reasonable doubt" is the standard in the courtroom, but not on the police officer's beat. There's a tremendous difference between that and "probable cause". For a balance between liberty and safety, I think the constitutional standard is pretty good.

I agree that "using the small crime to find the big criminal...can only hurt the guilty." Obviously "hurt" here refers to conviction and punishment for crime.

Yes, Ricci got some bad publicity. Perhaps that could have been handled better. But he had indeed violated his parole. Ex-cons are held to a stricter standard than innocent people, and that's a good thing.

Is the Duke case really relevant here? I thought the issue was charging someone with the small crime you can prove while investigating the big one you can't yet.

Dan Simpson said...

Were my position as you state it, then it would deserve to be ridiculed.

You have misconstrued my points almost across the board. This may be due to my inability to clearly state them, but I think it is at least in part to a reaction to tone, rather than content.

To be a little more organized, because I know that I can wander in my typing here early in the morning.

1. Ricci.

If the only thing about Ricci was that he was suspected of the kidnapping, of course he should not have been held. He was in violation of his parole. That was why he was being held. The ability of the system to do almost anything to a felon out on parole (who violates that parole) may be criticized, but it is there. And I have no problem reincarcerating a man who breaks parole.

As far as my attitude about it, I never had a firm conviction, or even a light conviction as to Ricci's guilt or innocence.

2. Guilt and innocence.

You express fear at 'someone like me' being a prosecutor. Well, I think that you misunderstand the law, and the Constitution if you believe that the system is in place to 'protect the innocent and the guilty.' I believe the constitution is there to protect rights. You may see that as splitting hairs, but I think it is an important distinction whose misapplication is at the heart of almost all of my problems with the current justice system.

The constitution protects certain enumerated rights, and when we go beyond that in defendent protection we are not doing some wonderful, laudable thing when we 'protect the guilty' we are injecting stupidity into a criminal justice system well thought out by the founders.

3. Duke Lacrosse Team

When I say I don't mind using the small crime, there is still an initial offense. Someone who is pulled over for a traffic violation, then it is discovered he is drunk is charged with a possible felony because of an initial infraction. I have no problem with this.

When a policeman pulls over a car for broken tail lights, or minor traffic violations, then through reasonably articulable suspicion is lead to search the vehicle resulting in the discovery of felony level crime (usually drug), I am not bothered.

The Duke case, as you should well know, is a huge straw man that has nothing in common with any example I gave.

The prosecutor in that case has, seemingly, overstepped his prosecutorial discretion a number of times. His numerous news conferences proclaiming the guilt of the accused, stating what the evidence already proved (before the DNA tests were even performed).

He has made this case a media circus, and probably for political reasons. He has ignored, if not specific rules, the reason for the rules of professional conduct for prosecutors.

The men of which you speak in this trial did not commit an initial offense, if there had been some complaint that brought the police to their home that night, and through the police coming to their home there had been evidence found of a rape or other crime, then that would be pertinant to my arguments.

Use of the Duke case in this instance is again using 'too much emotion' to prove your point without relying on arguing the actual thing that I say.

4. I think people have to have gone to law school.

First, I know that I am not the only graduate of law school here.

Second, I don't like Marshall particularly, I think he authored one of the most cowardly decisions in U.S. history. But I completely agree with his decision in Marbury v. Madison (which incidently most people who have not read it completely misconstrue because it is taught incorrectly historically).

Third, and most importantly, I have never made the claim you attribute to me. My argument is for less emotion not based on fact. You don't have to be a law school graduate to know that Ricci was in jail for a parole violation, not suspicion of kidnapping, when he died. But to overlook that makes a great garnish for a high school discussion on the subject of shameful justice system mistakes.

It makes great media for Mike Farrell to get on CNN and wring his hands at the atrocious conduct of our country in executing a reformed man like Stanley 'tookie' Williams. A man who has fought hard to teach about the dangers of gang violence. But when one actually removes the 'sympathy and too much emotion' and learns about the case (not requiring a law degree by the way, just a desire to be informed) then the whole argument changes.

You say that I exhibit this superior to thou attitude about law knowledge, I don't know where I have presented it. I have shared things I learned (every instance I can recall has been accompanied with a caveat that some may already know this).

This argument, however, is a wonderful ploy to ignore my points. You and Lysis attack the process going on in Davis County, Judge Allphin has been attacked for rendering a decision. It may be easy to misunderstand if one listens to Lysis' demonization of the process.

I thought to interject some facts. People can still disagree with what the people in Davis Co. are doing to hold up the process, I do. They now, at least, have some information that can help them realize that Judge Allphin did not twist the process to fit his agenda.

The Constitution is both a standard and a tool. It is both a shield and a sword. To proclaim it is only the one is to limit it. It may sound nice in a peaceful speech, but it ignores half of its role.

That is my opinion. If that renders me inadequate in your estimation to be a good prosecutor, more power to you, we can both be glad that I have no desire to hold an elected prosecutorial position.

That way I can use my knowledge (even if you think that makes me arrogant) that I spent years in class, and hours in the court room accumulating, to plot my prosecutorial focus, and not the uneducated overly emotional minds of the masses to push my decisions.

Because no matter how much it may offend, merely stating an opinion on an issue does not put one's opinion on the same level as another who has bothered to take the time to learn about the subject.

Be that in school, or through independent study.

Dan Simpson said...

"Yes, Ricci got some bad publicity. Perhaps that could have been handled better."

To expand on this.

One does not have a constitutionally protected right to not be suspected of a crime, even publicly.

Anonymous said...

If you are looking at Ricci as the case to hang your hat on, you are making a mistake.

The man was a career criminal. He was on parole when Ed (not very)Smart did this decent thing and hired him as a handy man. Things began to go missing. The police investigated and found the missing items in Riccis home. he was re-arrested and denied bail because of a parole violation.

While in jail he was questioned about the Smart kidnapping. He had access to a white jeep during the time of the kidnapping. A white jeep was reportedly seen in the Smart neighborhood. His whereabouts for three days were unknown and he refused to give an accounting for them. In the jeep he had been driving the authorities found a tarp and some shovels.

He wasnt being held under false pretenses. he was being held because he had been found with stolen property in his home that ONLY he could have obtained and because he had violated his parole.

He died while in custody. It was not a wrongful prosecution case such as the one in the Duke Alleged rape case.

Which isnt to say there arent routine cases of prosecutorial misconduct.

But heck...a jury convicted Scott Peterson on less evidence than what Ricci was caught with.

Lysis said...

Dan;

What have I done to deserve such angst? I present below the only things I have said about Judge Allphin in the Discussion above - “Frankenstein’s Lawyer”.

#1
“On a technical extrapolation of the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, Edwards shopped judge Allphin to slap an injunction on the presentation of the boundary recommendations to the School Board. It is ironic that now the “technical” observance of the law allows a single consultant to make submissions to the School Board. Thus Randy Edwards and judge Allphin have created the very monster in fact they sought to slay in fiction.”

#2
“I too have some knowledge of Judge Alphin. I had his brilliant and charming children in my classes over the years. However, I cannot agree with you that he has some justifiable reason for supporting this outrage. I do not know if he is an elected judge of not, but unless he can provide some reason for his obstructionisms, I am forced to judge him by his actions.”

1. I admit up front that Allphin probably had a technicality to rule on.

2. I merely pointed out one of those facts you’re always on about; that Edwards and Allphin, by blocking the recommendations of the committee had punted the ball to one man; thus circumvented in fact what Edwards was only pretending to want to circumvent in the real world, community input into the recommendations.

3. Though I really didn’t expect Judge Allphin to provide his reasons for obstructionism, perhaps one of his many legally trained supporters could have done so. None did.

Dan, if the law is both the sword and the shield you claim it to be, then those weapons can be used and misused accordingly. In the high school boundaries fiasco, it was the children that needed protection. Sword and shield, employed in the hands of a bigoted lawyer, have done them great harm. It seems to me that pointing that out is not “deionization of the process” but a call for justice.

My statements on this topic are as much an appeal to your years in class, and hours in the court room, as a condemnation of a judge. Judges are often wrong; I think Allphin was in this case. Whether he twisted the law or was used to twist it, his action has harmed the students of Davis County and the citizens who need those students to receive the best possible education. My claim is that the law was twisted to fit an agenda. You have interjected NO facts to counter that claim. “I know Judge Allphin and he is a good guy”, is not a pertinent fact.

While you may not be able to distinguish between Rumpole’s arguments and my own, please do not confuse our attitudes toward you.

Anonymous said...

Did you catch the press conference? For all the simpletons that continue to insist mission accomplished:

Thousands More Dead In Continuing Iraq Victory

America marks three and a half years of winning in Iraq, and nearly 3,000 victory deaths
December 21, 2006

Statistics released by the Department Of Defense estimated that 2,937 U.S. troops and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the ongoing American military victory in Iraq.

"Victory deaths are at a higher level than we had anticipated, yes," Bush said at a press conference shortly after the figures were released. "But one of the crucial lessons of our Vietnam experience is that a victory, in order to remain victorious, can't be abandoned halfway through, or in the case of Iraq, one-eighth of the way through."

"And significantly more troops may be required if we are to continue to enjoy that victory, especially if this turns into an all-out civil war," Bush added, stressing that it was still too early to deem the victory a "quagmire."

Debate continues over whether U.S. troops should be withdrawn from the Iraqi theater of victory. While some in Congress argue that a withdrawal would force Iraqi leadership to enforce the victory on their own, many military experts say that Iraqi troops remain insufficiently trained and unprepared to handle the daily perils of victory.

President Bush has consistently warned that if we hand over victory to local forces right away, there's a risk that victory may worsen, as Iraqis won't be able to contend with the guerrilla attacks and improvised explosive devices that claim the lives of dozens of the victorious every day.

"We're paying dearly in the form of American lives," Bush said, "but, plainly speaking, that's just victory for you."

Bush's remarks came two weeks after some 200 Iraqi Shi'ites died in a series of car bombs in Baghdad's Sadr City, the largest single victory-related death toll since the U.S. won the Iraq War in 2003.

In an address to the nation Dec. 10, President Bush predicted that, if efforts continue as they have in Iraq, "This could become America's longest victory ever," Bush said.

Dan Simpson said...

Lysis: I didn't confuse your two arguments, I lumped them together, not the most clear form of rebuttal, but it was expedient considering there was some cross over.

As far as sword and shield, of course it can be misused. I don't disagree. I also think the people taking the process to the courts are out of line in this case (I pointed this out as I talked of the similarities between this and the Legacy Highway).

As far as Judge Allphin, the facts I interjected were about the use of injunctions. It is interesting to note, however, that the law is 'merely a technicality' when it goes against you (generic you not personal you), but is incredibly important when it supports your point. (I am as guilty of this as anyone, but in this case, you are calling it a technicality.)

My points with the judicial system and Judge Allphin are as follows. Despite what Sean Hannity rants about Judicial Activism, most judges are kept in very strict check by the laws and rules put upon them. Knowing Judge Allphin, and knowing the decisions he has made in the past (despite how people have ranted aboutthem), I believe he made the correct ruling according to the evidence, and the laws he had to follow.

If he were to not follow the law, because he thought the outcome was unpleasant, THAT would be the worst form of judicial activism, something conservatives always complain about. We can't have it both ways, either the judge has to follow the law or not.

As far as 'harming' the students. I highly doubt it. That is really the point. It doesn't matter to an individual student which color his football team wears. The parents who want to stand in the way are being ridiculous fools, but 'harm'?

I doubt even if the process is pushed back a full school year that any student will suffer any actual harm.

Anonymous said...

THIS Gilbert and Sullivan song from *Pirates of Penzance* satirises the idea of the modern educated British Army officer of the later 19th century. (even perhaps some educators of HISTORY within THIS purview)

The song is replete with HISTORICAL and CULTURAL references, satirising the "Major-General (blogger's)" impressive and well-rounded (but mostly IRRELEVANT academic and HISTORICAL education) Pointing out, through its absence, the embarrassing lack of any "real" knowledge.
_______________________________

I am the very model of a NEO-histori.CON/educational,
I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to School Board's, in order categorical:

I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical
If WISHING means I understand equations, both simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news,
ALL with cheerful FACTS about George's progress in Iraq I can't refuse.

I'm very good at integral and differential calculus;
When EVOLUTION is the subject I'm DESIGNED a human and not a louse,
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a NEO- histori.CON/educational!!!!

I know OUR "mythic" history, King Arthur's and Achillie'es'es'es', I've a pretty taste for ad hoc, with neo/Jupiteristic/Mormon paradox.
I quote in perfect conscience crimes at Mountain Meadows' saprophytic sarcophagus.
In spite of all I'm still a
NEO-histori.CON/educational opportunistic pathetic mess.

The 'flaccidics' I profane with smutty entandre perfidious:
But, I can tell undoubted Raphaels from horrid "neolib" Picasso's excess!
I know the croaking chorus from The *Frogs of Aristophanes*!
Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore,
And whistle all the airs from that INFERNAL NONSENSE PINAFORE!!!!

Merry Christmas

truth to power said...

That doesn't scan.

Anonymous said...

BRAVO Anonymous! and Happy Holidays!

Lysis said...
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Lysis said...

Child;

Once again you create a statement and then attack it. No one has ever said, let alone continued to insist, that the mission was accomplished in Iraq.

Once again Gibson’s movie is instructive:

1. At one point, Jaguar Paw is actually draped across the alter stone. - This was America with Saddam in power, bribing the U.N, Russia, Germany, and France into submission as he stockpiled billions with which to build nuclear weapons.

2. A “miracle” rescues Jaguar Paw from hideous death. - This was the Battle for Baghdad which liberated Iraq and brought Saddam to justice, stopped the WMD development, and cut Saddam’s pipeline of support to world terror.

3. Jaguar Paw is brought to the “game field” to be disposed of, but through his great courage and skill as a warrior and the help of a friend, he is able, not only to escape, but to kill the son of his great enemy. - This was America and the Iraqi people facing the devastation of thirty years under Saddam’s deadly dictatorship, a nation at the edge of destruction from within, but through great courage and much sacrifice the Iraqi people have built a democratic and constitutional government and are preparing to take their place as a free and successful nation, but the danger is not over.

4. The monster man hunters chase Jaguar Paw into the Jungle, wounded and weary he struggles through the slaughtered bodies of thousands of innocent victims and finds himself in a jungle hunted by the monsters. Here too he must fight, use all his wit, courage, skill, and strength. - This is the situation American finds itself in now, with a free Iraq, damaged and beset by terrorist murder monsters. Like Jaguar Paw the American military is victorious in every battle but still forced to fight on.

Our Anonymous “cut and run” crowd screams, “let them kill us, the struggle is too difficult, to frightening, let them skin us alive and wear our skins before us as we die”. But thankfully they are not the heroes that guide our course; to whom we have trusted our lives. America will fight on, and the day may well come when our lives and those of our families will be safe at last. It will be a hard fight, but it is the only way if our loved ones or ourselves are to survive.

Picture this from the film. See Jaguar Paw at the base of the falls looking up as his enemies leap over to pursue him, knowing that he must fight on for those and that he loves. I re-recommend the film to all of you. See the movie; get some inspiration, and stand by our heroes.

Dan;

Well, I guess I wouldn’t mind being lumped if I was also answered. What was the point of law, the technicality, on which Judge Allphin, issued the injunction? If you’re going to give me facts, please give me pertinent ones. A second testimonial to Allphin’s character does not suffice. Perhaps Judge Allphin should have challenged the law. I understand that judges do, on occasion, do that – and it seems particularly applicable when the law is being misused. Let Randy Edwards seek appeals at his expense.

I find your dismissal of the lives and learning of 15,000 High School students and 1000 + teachers, administrators, and staff rather cavalier. And as for having a high school sit unused for a year; sopping up a fortune in tax funds on life-support; while people’s lives sit on hold for the benefit of a batch of bigots who want their kids in school with the right crowd; it is wrong. Your claims are either callous or ill-informed. Perhaps you should consider more closely the sacrifice, service, and effort it takes to put a high school on line; the endless hours it takes to get kids registered in classes and lessons planed to present to them. Too bad Judge Allphin can’t snap his fingers and have that all happen by judicial fiat.

Anonymous said...

lysis...

Would you have the judges that preside over the appeals of death sentence prisoners simply ignore their legal right to appeal, determine for themselves that the process was done correctly in spirit if not in fact letter, and move straight to the execution of the penalty as provided by the law?

Dan Simpson said...

"I find your dismissal of the lives and learning of 15,000 High School students and 1000 + teachers, administrators, and staff as rather cavalier."

Sometimes you penchant for the melodramatic forces a laugh, even when I am sitting at work.

I never dismissed the lives or learning of any of these students. None of their lives depend on the reworking of the boundaries, none will be told they cannot attend school.

I never denegrated your, or any other teachers efforts, or preparations for teaching these students.

I have, every step of the way, denounced the choice that the parents behind the hold up have made.

I have, every step of the way, said that it wasted time and money for stupid bigoted reasons.

I guess you would have judges challenge laws they felt were wrong, I would not.

I like how the system is set up, if the laws are wrong, we should change them through the process set up by the constitution.

I cannot imagine the havoc (actually with some of the activist decisions handed down in the last decade+ I can) that ensues when your idea of a good judicial practice takes over.

I don't want the judge to use his best discretion as to which laws to uphold, and which to not.

I have to say, for the first time, you and every wacko liberal I can think of are in lock step.

I am not a fan of judicial activism, whether the judge is liberal or conservative.

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

Thanks for the song. I know you went to a lot of work. I’ll share it with my students once we’re back from the holidays. It will be good for another laugh.

Mindmechanic;

I would rather do away with the death penalty entirely and thus save us the trouble of endless appeals on irrelevant technicalities. Two wrongs do not make a right. Bigotry is wrong; the execution of helpless prisoners is wrong. Providing the best possible education for all students is right, preventing state sanctioned killing is right. Justice is all about right and wrong, judges are supposed to give justice.

Dan Simpson said...

As soon as we start expecting Judges to be the fount of justice, we set ourselves up for a horrible system.

If our system lacks justice it is our (the people)'s fault.

Judges dispense decisions, based on the evidence provided, and the rules/laws they are bound by. This does not always equal justice.

A woman who is raped would not think a judge gave justice if he found a defendant not guilty if there was not enough evidence. But that is how our system works, and its good that it does.

Lysis said...

Dan;

Your comments demonstrate your complete lack of understanding as to what is going on in the enormous effort necessary to make the 2007 – 2008 school year happen. Like most students, you assume that everything just appears the moment you walk in the doors. I cannot begin to explain to you the frustrations that this monkey wrench of bigotry has wrought on the operations of even our relatively unaffected school. Class schedules for next year cannot be developed, or if developed will eventually have to be reworked. I don’t know what classes I will teach; how can I prepare? I know you cannot imagine the labor involved in crafting 180 times six 90 minute lesson plans, in reading the books and doing the background preparation, while teaching, keeping records, dealing with individual student’s problems, and the ever increasing demands of district, state, and federal governments. Perhaps you would consider them.

Think of the teachers and administrators, the custodians, and cooks, whose lives and families depend on their work at the new high school. “Let them wait,” you say, “what harm there?” Districts are even now interviewing, at universities and elsewhere, hopeful new teachers for next year’s staffs. This order will let them sit and wonder whether or not they will be employed or what or where they will teach and live; because, by golly, some lawyer in Farmington has a 15 year old daughter who could well be contaminated by the micro Mormons from Bountiful.

I am among the least affected of teachers, my school the least impacted, but even our plans and preparations are befouled by this. There are thousands of things going on every day throughout this district, thousand of lives dedicated to the distant success of next years education of 15,000 high school kids, but now it is all messed up, all on hold, all up in the air because someone lacked he courage to say – this is wrong!

For you, high school may well seem to be little more than mascots and school colors, but believe me it is much much more.

As for judicial activism; I am not so quick to dismiss it. You imply above that what is a technicality if you’re against it is an important point of law if you are for it. If the technicality/point of law defends what is right, then I am for it. Thank God Thrugood Marshall found twenty years of judges who had the wisdom and courage to challenge bad law when they say it. I am more than willing to allow judges to deal with bad laws when they should and I will challenge those judges when they shouldn’t. I am not interested in a Judges politics only in their willingness to do justice.

Lysis said...

Dan;

To some extent I agree with you. That the system lacks justice is often the people’s fault. We then must turn to just judges to set them right. It was jot obeying judges that declared Dread Scott a piece of property and that slavery could not be stopped without Civil War. It was unjust technicality bound judges that decreed separate but equal as the law of the land when the people unjustly sought to segregate American, it was natural law, as recognized by just judges that set them straight. When the people and their representatives were at fault in interning Japanese Americans, it was technicality bound, unjust judges that allowed their abuse, and justice was at last given to some by courageous and good judges that attempted to set the situation aright.

A woman might feel she was unjustly treated by a judge, who could not rule without evidence, but she was not, a black man might feel he was unjustly sentenced because a jury will not accept his word because it contradicts the obvious lies of a white man, (literary reference) and he would be right. Where can we turn when the people are unjust? We must turn where we have since the beginning. We must be able to turn to just judges. And when judges are not just they must be challenged.

Dan Simpson said...

The judges in Plessy were not bound by technicalities. They were only bound by the Constitution. If they had decided differntly, the law would have been different.

As well, the justices in Brown v the board were not bravely going against the law that bound them. They were going against convention, following the law.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

WHAT ARE OUR SOLDIERS DOING IN IRAQ!?

They weren't responsible for 9/11.

They was no WMD.

They are not making it a stable democracy.

Al-Queda's leaders are being ignored.

I am just sickened by the Haditha massacre. How many more? What are our soldiers doing to the Iraqis and what is this war doing to our soldiers?

If an attack occurs in England over the holidays it will be sickening because we are left with the knowledge that we took our eyes off the ball. We let ourselves be distracted, deceived and misled by an incompetent administration who has given succor to our enemies with their blundering.

It's been five years since Bush promised dead or alive and we are less safe today. Not a very merry situation.

God bless us all.

Lysis said...

Dan;

You’re exactly right, the judges in Plessy were not bound by technicalities, they were bound by their bigotry which they made the law of the land by claimed to be following technicalities. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution speaks of any person within its [the U. S.] jurisdiction receiving equal protection. Justice John Harlan was right:

"Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law...In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott case...The present decision, it may well be apprehended, will not only stimulate aggressions, more or less brutal and irritating, upon the admitted rights of colored citizens, but will encourage the belief that it is possible, by means of state enactments, to defeat the beneficient purposes which the people of the United States had in view when they adopted the recent amendments of the Constitution."

The fact remains that the other eight should have decided differently but chooses rather to sight unjust technicalities to enable their bigotray:

"That [the Separate Car Act] does not conflict with the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery...is too clear for argument...A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races -- a distinction which is founded in the color of the two races, and which must always exist so long as white men are distinguished from the other race by color -- has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races...The object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either."

They were wrong!

As for Brown v The Board; the justices were indeed obeying laws, both natural and constitutional when they ruled against convention, convention supported by an ocean of silly state laws and technicalities put in place by a multitude of bigots. We could only wish that Davis County would have had such a judge.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Child;

We are in Iraq because that country was in the hands of a murderous dictator killing his enslaved people by the hundreds of thousands, a barbarous rate that makes the massacres in Darfur look like paintball. We are in Iraq because Saddam had defied near a scour of U.N. demands that he open his WMD programs to inspection and obey the conditions of the Gulf War Treaty. We were in Iraq because Saddam was giving money to terrorists throughout the world, and paying and facilitating the training of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Iraq. We are in Iraq because the intelligence agencies of the world claimed Saddam had WMD and he refused to demonstrate otherwise. We are in Iraq because Saddam was stockpiling billions of dollars, stolen from his starveling and suffering subjects, in order to lay the foundations for a nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons program that would enable him to intimidate and attack the rest of the world. Had the U.N., corrupted by Saddam’s bribes, been left to deal with the problem; Saddam would today be making Kim Il look like the insect he is.

The majority of Al Qaeda’s leaders are dead or in prison in American Cuba.

Every reasonable person is sickened by the Haditha massacre. Our soldiers in Iraq are fighting murderers, even American murderers, and if these few Marines broke the laws and committed murder, they will be punished by the United States. How many murderers have the terrorists arrested for their crimes? None of course, they exist to encourage and commit murder. That you are incapable of seeing the distinction between who is evil and who is good here speaks to your confused state and the pervasive nature of the neo-lib talking points that dominate your mind. You demonstrate to all of us that you are completely incapable of independent thought, or even the simplest logical functions. You might as well be an agent for Osama, but your too dense to realize it.

I could go on and on – but it makes no difference to you. You’re tired of the fight, you’re ready to lie down and let the terrorists murder their way into control of Iraq, you’re ready to cut and run. You can only run so far, Child, they will come for you and your family if you have your way.

Go to the movie I’ve been talking about this whole post, imagine its ending if Jaguar Paw, having seen the slaughter of so many; would have said, “Why fight? Go ahead, skin me.”

I wish you had the wit to consider the many attacks world wide President Bush and those who loyally serve with him have already prevented. The truth is, Child, the attacks will continue world wide because the constant drum beat of quit, quit, quit gives hope to the enemies of the West.

As for Osama, I believe he is dead; at best he wishes he were. He is better off greasing up the bottom of some forgotten cave than paraded through New York ginning up sympathy from the mindless. Let him continue to sink into oblivion.

Rumpole said...

Dan,

Isn't an accurate quote requisite to graduating from law school?

You post: “when we 'protect the guilty' we are injecting stupidity into a criminal justice system well thought out by the founders.”

Nowhere in my postings have I suggested that we “protect the guilty”.

I posted: “What we need are prosecutors and judges who do not see the law as a weapon to be wielded with unchecked authority, but rather use the law as it was intended, to protect both victims and the accused.”

This inaccuracy strikes to the very heart of our disagreement. Apparently you do not differentiate between being accused and being guilty. That being the case, it is perfectly understandable that you believe using any means to proceed against the accused “can only hurt the guilty.”

I asked a question earlier that you did not answer. “Do you really believe that the ends justify the means?” With the subject at hand being “Does the truth ever differ from the “facts?”, I’ll ask the question again; however, I do need to add some emphasis, as follows:

Do you really believe that an unjust end is warranted by using just means?

I mean no sarcasm when I tell you to read the question again. I intended to ask exactly what was written.

Bearing that in mind, my response to your post, point by point, follows below:

1. As I have said, I do not question that Ricci was in violation of his parole. What I do question is that Ricci would not have even been a topic of conversion with the police on his parole violation if they hadn’t been desperate for a suspect in the Smart kidnapping. Did Ricci’s guilt on the parole violation lead to his assumed guilt by police on a kidnapping that he did not commit? If Smart had not reappeared the way she did (with no aid of the police), would the world have believed to its end that Ricci was the perpetrator of the kidnapping? It seems to me to be an on-point example that just means were used to attempt to bring about an unjust end.

My allusion to your ability as a prosecutor referred directly to you posting the following: “I have no problem with the justice system using the small crime to find the big criminal. This can only hurt the guilty.” You are partially right when you suggest that the Constitution is there to protect rights. It does exists to protect the rights of the innocent. But it also exists to protect the rights of the accused. The Constitution was not put in place to use just means to bring about an unjust end.

Any individual, in my view, who does not understand the Constitution's dual nature is not qualified to be a prosecutor.

2. The Duke case is not, as you suggest, “a huge straw man that has nothing in common with any example I gave.” I take that back. It might not have anything to do with examples you gave, as you suggest. It is, rather a glaring example of what I have offered by way of “a just means to an unjust end”, which has essentially been the question at hand.

If the Fox article that I referred you to is accurate, and as you have acknowledged, the guilt of the accused is very unlikely. The prosecutor used the “just means” of his position to bring suspicion upon the accused in an attempt to pander to a specific constituency.

The only “straw man” here is your disregard for the fundamental question and topic of discussion.

3. Many of the most educated people I know have not attended law school. They have, for that matter, not attended any institution of “higher learning”. I do not attack your achievement and your diploma. I do attack the notion that it is a piece a paper that determines whether or not one is qualified to make a reasoned and informed judgment on the law, and on the Constitution. The founding fathers would agree with me. We all have the right to vote.

4. As to your claim that Ricci was in jail when he died for a parole violation and not for suspicion of kidnapping, I couldn’t disagree more. I have acknowledged Ricci had “just” issues that he was held for. But I will reemphasize to you that if the police had not held the suspicion of Ricci about Smart, they wouldn’t have concerned themselves with him.

Maybe I’ve watched a few too many episodes of “Law and Order”, but you will not convince me that behind closed door conversations did not take place about the method to hold Ricci while a case was being attempted to be built against him. You have implied you have no problem with that. It is just. I would suggest to you the end is unjust specifically when the alleged perpetrator is innocent!

I have ignored none of your points, as you have suggested. You did not list #5, but for sake of organization I will, and will address the Judge Allphin question.

At the risk of being redundant, the entire purpose of lawsuit in Davis County was not to question the open meetings law. It was a legal tactic (a just means) to promote a personal agenda about a school boundary (an unjust end).

Allphin certainly ought to be familiar with the law. If he’s not, then he shouldn’t be a judge.

It would be reasonable, then, to expect that Allphin knew it was legal for Davis County to go to a one-man consultant. Maybe Allphin even suggested it to Davis County. If he did, then my respect in him is restored. But if he didn’t, his decision was weak. The “wait and see” ruling did nothing but vindicate, if only for a time, those who attempted to use “just means” to come to an unjust end.

If Allphin had had the courage to make a ruling, we would be arguing about bad law, not about just means to an unjust end. The irony, as Lysis has so articulately pointed out, is that in the end the law the litigants were hiding behind to promote their agenda worked against them; it limited public discussion rather than encouraging it. Should we now proceed by arguing about bad law?

Finally, you post: “Because no matter how much it may offend, merely stating an opinion on an issue does not put one's opinion on the same level as another who has bothered to take the time to learn about the subject.”

If I may, the underlying assumption here is that you have taken the time to “learn about the subject”, while those who merely state an opinion (in your humble estimation) have not.

It is a silly assumption. It is the kind of assumption that leads others not to believe you when you try to defend yourself against your own, self-stated, arrogance.

That would be the case, whether in school, or through independent study.

Dan Simpson said...

For someone so worried about me misquoting them, you sure do a good job of continually attributing to me those opinions you would like me to have, because they are easier for you to defeat.

You are right, I used the term guilty, but it was to speak to a specific problem in the justice system, not to change your point.

You believe that my saying I don't mind using the small crime to get the big criminal equates to ". . . using any means to proceed against the accused “can only hurt the guilty.”

No where have I supported or put forth the notion that any means should be used.

Do you disagree with a parole violator being held without bail pending trial? Really, because it happens thousands of times a year across the country. Are you going to claim that they are all dirty cops twisting the system for an unjust result?

Let me state unequivocally, I am sure, absolutely positive, that cops and prosecutors talked about using the parole violation to keep an eye on Ricci.

Here is my point, I don't mind at all. His violation called for his incarceration.

You are right, if they had not been looking into the Smart kidnapping they may not have found his trunk full of burglary tools that it was illegal for him to posess.

Does this make that discovery tainted? Does it make it a dirty cops trick?

You ask directly:
"Do you really believe that an unjust end is warranted by using just means?"

I answer: no.

The reason I did not answer this question directly last time, because you had pulled it out of thin air misconstruing (purposefully it seems seeing as you continue down the path) my entire point about criminal justice.

Nothing 'justifies' an unjust result. But what unjust result are you speaking of? There was no unjust result in the Ricci case. None. You, I, Ricci, none of us has a constitutionally protected right to be held above suspicion. None of us has a right to die and be remembered fondly.

I would ask you: Do you really believe the government to be unjust when it brings a case against a man, and then loses? Is the government in the wrong because some may believe the man is guilty regardless?

How would you have the system work? Secret investigations, followed by a secret presentation of evidence, then a secret ballot, so that if the man is found not guilty, no one ever knows the suspicion was on him?

Of course that would be ridiculous, and I know that is not what you are espousing, but what then? Where did these investigators go wrong? All signs pointed to Ricci, they interrogated him, they asked for anyone with knowledge of his wereabouts during the unknown time (unknown because of him) to come forward.

He was held because of a parole violation (what you call just means), and then . . . . .what do you enter here as the unjust result? Him dying? Take that up with God. Him being in prison when he died? He shouldn't have violated his parole. People thinking he was a kidnapper? Not the governments responsibility.

If you wish the justice system to be able to work, investigations, trials, charges, with no possibility that anyone will think ill of the accused, I ask you (much like we ask the anonymy time and time again) what would you have the police do in that situation?

I ask again, to be clear.

What would you have the police do differently in that situation to keep the 'unjust' result you speak of from happening?

I will try once more, but doubt it will be successful, to deflect your personal attacks.

I have never set up a law school degree litmus test. I have never set up any sort of education standard.

You proclaimed that I did, followed by me denying that I did. I then followed that up by explaining that the only test I had was whether or not someone tried to educate themselves on the matter.

You say I assumed that I had educated myself, while others had not. The only issue that I pointed that accusatory finger at was the issue of Ricci dying in prison for a crime he didn't commit. That was a point made in Lysis' class. Anyone who bothered to look for ten seconds on the internet would have known that was not true.

I took that ten seconds, others did not and followed in the lamenting of the shame of our justice system.

My statements and the opinion that Ricci died while being held unjustly are not equal.

Call that arrogance if you will, but merely stating something with nothing to back it up does not put your opinion (generic your, not personal) on par with someone who does have facts to back it up.

The only time I assume someone has not taken the time to educate themselves, is when the state things that are factually incorrect, that would have taken them a matter of moments to find out.

For the record (and you can go back as far as you want in the archives), I have never belitted someone for their education, or lack thereof. My education has been called into question by Lysis, the common anonymy, and now you. So, if we are talking about arrogance about others education, I think you should look a little closer to home.

Lysis said...

Dan;

I protest, check the record. I have never called your education into question. I may have questioned Weber State College, (and that tongue in cheek) but I surely followed up with what is my belief – which is that one gets the education one works for in spite of the school one attends. That would only call into question the education of a person who demonstrates they did not to work for an education.

Anonymous said...

Lysis...
"I would rather do away with the death penalty entirely and thus save us the trouble of endless appeals on irrelevant technicalities."

I know this about you. And I respect this about you. The question is, would you have a judge make this decision on his own without the legislative process because the judge after all should know better, or should the judge be bound by law?

Judicial activism is judicial activism, whether you agree with the decision or not.

Anonymous said...

"Justice is all about right and wrong, judges are supposed to give justice"

I disagree...judges are supposed to render decision based on the rule of law. They are not supposed to do what they want based on their determination of right or wrong.

I can recall some very ugly times in the military. Without going into details and on top of the missions which we personally may have found repulsive we were also there at the will of a commander in chief that we knew despised the military and used the military out of political expedience. Clintons conduct as commander in chief would not have been tolerated by even an E-1.

But...

The US system doesnt work if the military doesnt follow the rule of law. We dont get to pick and choose which orders we choose to follow and which commander in chief we trust. Should we then in the military pick and choose which orders we follow based on our sense of right or wrong? maybe we should decide the direction of our government and if they acting out of accordance with what we believe in just stage a coup and take over till we implant someone that we will do what WE think is right.

It doesnt WORK that way. Judicial activism is wrong...even when the decisions are ones you support.

Anonymous said...

"I cannot begin to explain to you the frustrations that this monkey wrench of bigotry has wrought on the operations of even our relatively unaffected school"

As cheap as this sounds...I feel your pain. So...blame the right parties. Blame the school board for not following the rule of law and for allowing the loophole that someone chose to exploit. Blame the individual for being so petty and selfish that he chose to exploit the loophole provided by the school board. Blam e all the parents that cant stand the thought that their little dears wont get what THEY the parents want. And of course...express your frustration.

Your expression of the problem is powerful. THATS what should be presented. I hope you and other teachers have flooded the Davis School board and local papers and yes, even the judge with your concerns and a petition for quick resolution.

Anonymous said...

Anon...if it wasnt so sad, you would make me laugh.

You worry about your safety? really? Seriously...when you go to sleep at night do you REALLY fear that the US is vulnerable? Liar.

The only time you give national security and safety a second thought is when you want to go on one of your little tirades.

In point of fact you sound just like all the other little sheep on the left. You bleat about national security, then complain you have lost freedoms. You cant point to any evidence of either...but hey...when has that every stopped you?

The 9-11 terrorists came to this country and planned their mission under the 'watchful' eye of the Clinton administration. We know for a fact there are numerous terrorist cells that came to this country in the 90's and we have been working very hard to expose them, to capture them. To this point, considering the logistics and potential targets...that it hasnt occured again is a testimony to the work that is ongoing.

The only contribution the left has made to the war against terrorism is to expose and decry every program that has been used to combat terrorism. The governemnt monitors incoming and outgoing calls to known terrorist states and you and yours on the left file injunctions to stop the practice because you have this idea that YOU are being secretly monitored. Never mind that again...no EVIDENCE of it.

Every time the subject comes up here (usually brought up by the anon collective) all you can do is complain. When asked directly you have NEVER offered anything resembling a solution. You cant point to policies or ideas promoted by the leftist politicians to solve the problem. You continue to prove why the left can never be trusted with national security.

You believe Bush caused the creation of terrorism...yet you ignore the fact that the world has battled terrorists for centuries. You ignore the fact that the US and US interests were targeted numerous times during the Clinton administration. And you cant point to a single thing the Clinton administration did to combat terrorism.

You are a broken record. A tragic, pathetic joke.

Merry Christmas to you.

Anonymous said...

"They were wrong!"

But they BELIEVED they were right. Thats the danger of using your own beliefes over the rule of law.

You want further evidence, examine the US 9th. They are extreme liberals, they BELIEVE they are right and thats why every liberal with an axe to grind takes their case to the 9th. Thats also why the US supreme court threw out 69 of 80 of their decisions.

Judicial activism is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole...

Been a cop lately?

"What I do question is that Ricci would not have even been a topic of conversion with the police on his parole violation if they hadn’t been desperate for a suspect"

I'm NOT a cop. I DO know that if 'I' was investigating the case and I knew that recently a paroled convict and career criminal had been in the home and had been accused of theft I might look to that person as a prime suspect. If in investigating the suspect I found he had access to a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle seen in the neghborhood just before the victim (the real victim...remember her?) disappeared I would give that person a keen look. If I knew by the odometer readings that there were about 350 miles unaccounted for while the vehicle was in the possesion of the individual, I would continue to give him a hard look. If I found tools and materials that could easily be used in disposing of a body, man...my instincts would be piqued for sure. If that suspect refused to give an accounting for three days of his life, well...c'mon now. If you ARENT hot on this guy it is a darned good thing you arent a cop. Now...the fact he has been found on parole violations on top of all these things...do you think I am NOT going to use the full extent of the law?

Did the police err? No. Not a bit. They held a career criminal on charges of parole violation. They never stopped investigating but they did focus attention on this guy, not because he was desperate but because he was their absolute best suspect. There were others and even when Ricci was in jail they continued investigating (including every adult male member of the Smart family)...but Ricci was at the top of the list...sure.

All he had to do was tell where he had been for those three days. Why do you suppose he refused? Seriously...tarp, shovel, jeep, 350 unaccounted for miles, 3 unaccounted for days, prime suspect, refusal to account for time. Help me out Rumpole. I mean...WITHOUT your advance knowledge that he was not in fact responsible (isnt hindsight a great and glorious thing when we are proving how much smarter we are than people we disagree with) just WHAT would you have had the police do differently?

Anonymous said...

RE the Duke case...

“a just means to an unjust end”

Hogwash. The only 'end' to this case was re-election for the prosecutor...not justice. I dont know anyone here has suggested that prosecutorial misconduct doesnt occur...quite the opposite. But why people insist on doggefd defense of bad examples is beyond me.

1- The Davis School Board decision is simply an injunction that MUST be awarded by law because the school board did not follow established policy. No guilt or innocence, right or wrong has evenm been decided.

2- The Ricci case was valid police work. It could have all been avoided had Ricci simply told what he had been doing for 3 days. (BTW...that is ALSO a condition of parole...).

3- The Duke case is about a prosecutor trying to appease the minority community so that he could be re-elected.

Judicial activism lives...just not behid EVERY tree.

Anonymous said...

Dan...

"You are right, if they had not been looking into the Smart kidnapping they may not have found his trunk full of burglary tools that it was illegal for him to posess"

I recently read the papaers filed on him...he was arrested because he was accused of stealing several items from the smart home and during a lawful search, the items were discovered. It was during follow on investigations they found that he had used the vehicle and then the tools.

Can anyone suggest a valid reason for him having those tools and not giving an accounting of his whereabouts if he was NOT up to no good?

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

I am reminded of a judge back east some were that was ordered to remove the Ten Commandments from his courthouse and refused. He was disrobed, as I recall. I did not agree with his stand, but I admired his courage in making it. Justice was still done, and he stood for his beliefs. I recall many civil rights “protestors” who broke unjust laws and then went to jail. They are among my heroes. I remember courageous judges who struck down unjust laws because it was the right thing to do, they were heroes too.

Now to your question on the death penalty; let me just say that since the death penalty is unjust, a judge should never enforce it. That does not mean that judges should set aside the guilt of murderers because they have been condemned, but it does mean that they should refuse to do injustice. Now to your question, if there was such a judge SHOULD he be bound by the law? No! What if the law said that black men could not sit to the lunch counter? Should a judge be bound by that law? No! In this country there are higher laws, and judges have the prerogative to appeal to them. There is the Constitution, which often comes to the aid of judges facing injustices in local and state laws, but there are even higher Natural Laws, and no one, least of all a judge, should be questioned for obeying them, even in the face of very angry mobs or legislatures.

Now let me ask you some question? What is the purpose of law? Statutes are only Laws when they are aligned with Natural Laws. You make a great point on the military, and when one doesn’t know better, it is probably best to have FAITH in your commanders. But tell me the excuse you would give the Nazi soldiers who followed unjust orders and murdered in the name of following military commands. To quote another favorite movie, “That’s an argument that didn’t work for the Nazis and Nuremburg that didn’t work for Calley at May Lai”. I’m not calling for a coup, but I am calling for justice. Was the Revolution a coup? We could quibble on definitions but I’ll tell you this – the Revolution was Just!

Now – to the School board, I DO fault their mistake. I fault the mistakes of many whose incompetence and good faith bungling have brought problems on others. But the person who could have dealt with this mistake with justice and with perfect hind and foresight was the judge. He could have done justice because it was within his power and within the realm of right. In my little world of camp; the only place where I exercise any real authority; I am presented daily with the mistakes of my sincere if somewhat immature workers. I often make mistakes myself. But I have obtained a modicum of success by quickly acting to set right most of these errors, not allowing them to be compounded to the detriment of our customers or our camp just because I feel obligated to maintain some precedent or save a little face.

Now let me ask you another question. Why do you believe judicial activism is wrong? (Obviously believing in right and wrong is something you believe in.) I can tell you why treating men differently because of color is wrong, how it degrades our very humanity by elevating to the level of statute the idea that concocted divisions between men, created to justify slavery, exploitation, and murder, are wrong. Tell me why judicial activism is wrong. Racism and segregation are always wrong but is judicial activism? It is wrong when the actions taken are wrong, necessary and right when it makes justice possible. Just because the US 9th has been wrong 69 out of 90 times does not mean that the Supreme Court was right to uphold segregation laws for railroad cars, or wrong to through out laws dividing students because of the color of their skin.

In the case of blocking the boundary committee from reporting to the School Board; what I need is some reason why it was wrong for the committee to act as it did. What I don’t need are endless arguments around whether the judge had an excuse to support the position of the bigots. If their meeting three times without inviting the public in was harmful show me how, if it was not, then we ought to have judges with the wisdom and courage to say so.

Dan Simpson said...

Of the many things that you are missing here I will point out the two most glaring.

1. The two Supreme court cases you mention are not judicial activism.

Maybe I need to more clearly explain the definition I am going on, as if we are using different definitions, the debate is useless.

Judicial activism is when a judge goes against the law he is bound by to get to the result he wants.

The Supreme Court is not bound by previous decisions. At all. Plessy is not controlling on the Supreme Court when they hear another one. This is why tomorrow the Supreme Court could overrule Roe v. Wade, (or planned parenthood, or any of the other abortion cases). They are not controlled by previous decisions.

They are also not controlled by state law (where that state law conflicts with the constitution).

That is why Brown was decided, because those state laws conflicted with the constitution.

Our system is set up so that lower court judges cannot overturn higher court decisions, thats the whole idea of the appeal.

If you disagree with that, you disagree with the ENTIRE justice system.

For a wonderful explanation you should read some of Justice Alito's abortion decisions when he was a lower court judge, he makes it plain how much he disagrees with the law, but he understands what the law is. He rules, and that gives the opportunity for the case to be appealed to a higher court.

If the way you wanted it to work was the way it was, it would be anarchy.

Judges decide based on their personal values, not the law, then those decisions are only enforced if the police believe in the resulting decision, lawmakers pass laws, but we only follow them if we personally agree with them.

We have a system set up, a system that works.

You say activism is good when it is right, and bad when it is wrong. How can a system be set up that way. We just let judges do their thing, then when they get it wrong, what? We could petition the legislature to pass a law overrulling what the judge did? Or we could ignore his ruling?

Or, we could in our representative government, have our representatives pass laws that are the will of the people (or as close as we can get), and demand that our judges follow those laws. If we find that there is injustice done, we then follow the process to change the law. Instead of setting up mini-king demi-gods that get to rule on their whim and pleasure, hoping that their idea of justice and right is the same as ours.

Dan Simpson said...

Second thing you have been getting way wrong.

"What I don’t need are endless arguments around whether the judge had an excuse to support the position of the bigots"

The judge did not support their position, he issued an injunction.

An injunction does not rule on the merits, it is like calling a timeout, so the problem can possibly be solved without the court having to do it for them.

You ask.

"If their meeting three times without inviting the public in was harmful show me how"

Because it was against the law, and not only was the public not invited, they were turned away at the door.

If you disagree with the law, by all means fight for its change.

But, do you really believe it is an unjust law to require the meeting to be open to the public?

Are you really pulling up civil rights movement here?

The school board messed up. They didn't follow a fairly simple rule. Did it cause harm? I don't think so, but frankly it doesn't affect my kids so I haven't really studied the boundary issue. I think it is mostly whiners. The point, however, is that the school board did not follow the rules they MUST live by. If the school board is not required to follow their own rules, then why have rules for them at all?

Anonymous said...

Lysis...

"let me just say that since the death penalty is unjust, a judge should never enforce it"

OK...how about this...since YOU BELIEVE a death penalty is unjust, YOU BELIEVE a judge should never enforce it. See...I'm fine with that position just so long as you dont actually expect the judge to act on YOUR wishes. The judge isnt appointed to act for you and all like minded individuals. The judge is appointed to enact the rule of law and currently, the law requires the death penalty in certain capital cases, whether you like it or believe in it or not.

"they should refuse to do injustice." No...you really mean they should refuse to do what YOU PERCIEVE TO BE injustice. How does your perception stack up priority wise to those that believe the sentence is fair and just? thank goodness for the rule of law then!

"What if the law said that black men could not sit to the lunch counter? Should a judge be bound by that law?"

I believe the judge should do what the judges did...used the judicial system to determine if the law could be upheld constitutionally. They challenged the law. they didnt say
"to hell with the law...I'm ruling how I want. Because after all...I'm a judge. And 'I' do what 'I' want. Based on what 'I' think is right." You REALLY want that??? Yikes!

To use a less dramatic example...the city has a skateboarding ordinance. Many believe skaters should be able to skate where they want. Should a judge throw out the ordinance because his son happens to be a skateboarder and he disagrees with the ordinance?

I just get a little queesy when I start thinking about a country governed by the "rule of judges." We have seen examples of that and it is NOT a pretty sight.


"judges have the prerogative to appeal to them"

I agree. Show me the higher law which says a judge has the right to NOT grant an injunction that is filed properly in accordance with the law and based on a factual violation of code, just because they dont want to.

And BTW...the teachers unions, parents, school board, etc have a right to file an appeal to the injunction.

"Natural Laws,"
ummmm...pretty sure this is why they formed the constitution. A nation of 300 million... whutrthaodds that many of those folks are going to have contrary opinions regarding the law and the 'natural' law? My guess is the early saints got a little dose of that themselves...

"What is the purpose of law?"
IMO, the purpose of law is to establish a set of guidelines and procedures along with consequences that allows for the development and progress of a society. It is for progress and avoidance of anarchy.

"But tell me the excuse you would give the Nazi soldiers who followed unjust orders and murdered in the name of following military commands."

I cant. As a military person I understand the conflict those Nazi troops faced. I know how it feels to participate in the killing of kurds on one side of a border, while killing Iraqis and protecting Kurds on another side of the border. I dont excuse or justify the behaviors of the Nazis. I do understand their conflict. I also think it is arrogant of people that have never been in that position to believe that they would somehow have been morally superior to those they judge. I have talked with german men in gasthauses over beer and brats. Good men that served their country during the war. I can tell you they for the most part are no different than you and me and they found themselves in the most horrifying of circumstances. It haunts their memory. Many committed suicide. It was an impossible situation. Welcome to war.

“That’s an argument that didn’t work for the Nazis and Nuremburg that didn’t work for Calley at May Lai.”

Right. And it shouldnt. I understand the violence at Mi Lai. I dont justify it or excuse it but I understand how it can happen. And when it happens, men are held accountable. Because that too is law. And not justice decided by "right and wrong."

"I’m not calling for a coup, but I am calling for justice. Was the Revolution a coup?"
nah...the revolution was just that...a revolution. The revolution was an overthrow of a government. It was CERTAINLY against the law of the established land and those that were caught prior to the end of the war were often executed for treason against the crown.

and I agree...the revolution was just. It wasnt just ignoring a few laws...it was the overthrow of a government. It was engaged by the great majority. If we were America at the time, the revolution would have been unneccesary because they could have voted to change the laws. Because THAT is the system of government we fought for.

I'm glad you see the school board at fault and also that you are able to rule so justly and wisely at your camp (I mean that sincerely). I suspect the BSA empowers you to do so, primarily because thats the only way it would work. You operate within the law.

"Why do you believe judicial activism is wrong?"

Wow... why is judicial activism wrong? because one individual is not the arbiter of law and constitution. Because absolute power corrupts absolutely. Because right and wrong is a subjective term based on mans morality and social upbringing. Because with literally thousands of judges all acting on what they believe is right and wrong we have the perfect recipe for anarchy and chaos. Because right here, right now, you and I disagree and if we were both judges wouldnt THAT make for some screwed up judicial processes? Now multiply us by everyone else in here as individuals PLUS the anon collective (because they only have one mind between them) and you can see a tremendous potential for judgement of "right and wrong" leading to some very confusing and fun times.

Socialism/Marxism/World Order practised under the caring example of Christian values, where all are equal and all excel equally and all do their very best whatever that very best is and there is no iniquity, unequity, or inequality, is a wonderful idea. It also has proven to be a dismal failure in every place where it has been engaged.

Weird example? Give it a chance.

Imagine the rule of law...with honest and honorable men doing what they believe to be right and all given the authority to enact law based on what they believe is right. I would LOVE to believe that their decisions would be always fair and just and would never be corrupted by power and would always (and here is the key) happily coincide with my beliefs. Since I dont see that as having the proverbial snowballs chance in Hades of succeeding, I'll stick with constitutional law where judges are bound by the rules of law and not by man.

"Racism and segregation are always wrong"
Geez Lysis...again? Look...you and I today agree. Good and honorable men 200 years ago didnt agree. I am truly glad as a society we have evolved. I am MORE glad that those men 200 years ago laid a framework that would eventually support the belief that racism and segregation is always wrong...even though many at the time were slaveowners and would today be called racists.

"It is wrong when the actions taken are wrong, necessary and right when it makes justice possible. Just because the US 9th has been wrong 69 out of 90 times does not mean that the Supreme Court was right to uphold segregation laws for railroad cars."

No Lysis...what it means is that the US 9th is doing EXACTLY what you advocate. And look at the results.

"whether the judge had an excuse to support the position of the bigots."

He didnt. He issued an injunction (a stop order) because based on the rule of law the school board (by your own admission) screwed up and created the loophole. There hasnt been a decision on right or wrong...only that the school board has to follow the laws.

Anonymous said...

Duke redoux...

OK...so now the rape charges are dropped. the DNA proved the accuser had sexual intercourse with numerous people within a 24 hour period NONE of which were the Duke Lacrosse team members.

And it is proven that the DA knew it and didnt turn over the DNA evidence.

SO...now the accuser changes her story and says she may not have actually been penetrated...she doesnt know.

but they are still holding charges of kidnapping and sexual assault on 3 young men, 2 of which have incontrovertable evidence they were miles and miles away in a cab at the time of the alleged attack.

THIS is what I consider prosecutorial misconduct.

Lysis said...

Dan;

As I’m sure you know there are only three ways that a case can come before the Supreme Court. The first – Original Jurisdiction is rare. The most common, writ of certiorari, is the right of any citizen to bring his complaint before the court, but the third, and in this instance the most applicable method to our discussion, is through the appeals process.

It was by this process, of laws violated and Judges ruling with or against those laws that brings cases before the Supreme Court. Even the Plessy case came before the Supreme Court after it had passed through other courts, where judges ruled, rightly or wrongly on the justice of the law. Before Roe v Wade can be overruled, some state must make a law that some lawyer will claims violates the precedent of Roe v Wade. Then the Supreme Court will have to choose to take that case on appeal and then act to reverse its previous unjust decision. Theses “little kings” must choose to protect the rights of all Americans, even the most helpless, the unborn ones. The lower court judge is not bound to rule unjustly, nor the intermediary courts to follow laws they deem unjust. In the end the Supreme Court is the court of last resort, the ruler one this case. They too can rule unjustly.

Realize that less than one percent of the cases appealed to the Supreme Court actually get a hearing there. Thank goodness there are other levels on which justice can be handed down against flawed laws.

NO Judge is controlled by state law when it conflicts with state of federal Constitution, and judges rule freely against state statutes all the time, starting the ball on its way to one Supreme Court or another.

Alito may well have ruled as he saw the law, and passed the case to “higher” courts. He could just as easily have done so by ruling on what was right.

Read my lips, IT IS OUR RIGHT, OUR OBLIGATOIN TO DISOBAY UNJUST LAWS. It is not our right to enter into acts of terrorism and harm innocents in seeking justice, but it is our right to disobey unjust laws, and it is the right of judges to challenge the justice of such laws.

Legislatures pass laws to overrule the acts of judges all the time; they even set about amending constitutions. [Something about checks and balances there.] Even Constitutions can be wrong, ours has been repeatedly. The goal is justice, not blind obedience to statues to achieve order.

Speaking of mini-king demi-gods, what do call the Taney Court, which ruled slaves un-human, or the Burger Court which ruled that “at least through the first trimester”, unborn humans are not humans. Or for that matter the Warren Court that ruled that segregation was wrong. Even mini-kings can be just.

Since Judges do act like petty kings they, like George III, must be held accountable when they are unjust. At the same time, since they have the power, they must maintain their legitimacy by giving justice.

The will of the people is only Law when it is in accordance with Natural Law. Just because determining justice is difficult is no excuse to handing it over either to legislatures or judges who are not accountable to the truth.

I do believe it is unjust to decree some meeting must be open to the public while allowing others, try Supreme Court conferences, to remain closed so they can work efficiently.

And what is most amazing here is the utter incongruity of claiming that a law exists in order to insure public input and then rule in such a way as to make immense public input moot and turn instead to a one man consultant who can do and recommend as he pleases without public input. In the mean time, Dan, children – though admittedly not yours - are being hurt. The fact remains, the judge could have made a different choice, he could have done justice, he chose not to.

I don’t know if the School Board messed up. The boundary committee made an error or three, in good faith – and may not have even violated any law, that remains to be seen. The facts remain that bigots have gotten their way, for the moment, and kids are suffering and will probably suffer more because of all the choices open to Judge Allphin, he chose the wrong one.

Before Mussolini messed it up, one of the symbols of the court was the fasces, the bundle of rods bound around an ax; that was the symbol of kingly power placed in the hands of judges that they might do justice.

Dan Simpson said...

There is none so blind as one who refuses to see.

And none so frustrating in an argument as one who refuses to meet the argument.

Your responses are the same, again and again. Your 'ideal' would not work. Your idea of our system is not how it works.

Lower courts are bound, completely, by what higher courts decide.

If the supreme court says in Plessy that the constitution always separate but equal, the ONLY way that that is overturned is by the Supreme Court.

The reason I pointed to Alito, is that he knows, and knew, how it works. He HAD to rule according to the law, and with that ruling he could give all the arguments he FELT to be sent up to the SC hoping they would hear the appeal, and overthrow the previous ruling. He had NO power to do such.

As a private citizen, I agree we have duties when it comes to unjust laws. When one makes the CHOICE to become a judge, he knows what it entails. Your rights of free speech are not the same, many rights change as you are required to act in a certain way.

You have a meeting every summer before camp, we spend hours going over all of the rules. Everyone is clear on what is expected. Everyone is clear on the consequences.

Are you saying that you would champion an employee of yours who disobeyed you, or went against the rules that he felt were unjust? Is he not honor bound to disregard unjust rules?

No, because he agreed to live by them. He is, in fact, honor bound to live up to them, and if he finds that he cannot, he is honor bound to leave.

A judge knows what his duty is, he swears an oath to do it. If he feels he cannot, he is honor bound to resign, not to begin pushing his personal agenda through the position he has been entrusted.

MM:
I hope that prosecutor loses his license. From everything I have read and heard, he has leaped over his ethics responsibilities.

Dan Simpson said...

You want something that supports your stance Lysis.

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,650216641,00.html

I read something like this, and I think, man it would have been nice if Judge Cassell could have just done what he wanted.

I have had Judge Cassell as a professor, and have been in his courtroom (as an observer). I know him, and trust him. I have very, very rarely disagreed with him. And even though I would be comfortable giving him the power you espouse Lysis, if I could, still I would not. I can name too many judges who I would be literally terrified to know they had the same power.

It would be more than inconvenient, it would be, literally, the end of our justice system.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

The very fact that you admit that the School Board ECT can appeal proves that were at least two choices open to Judge Allphin in this case. I simply claim that he made the wrong one. It was the bigots who were out of line here and the law, as you have admitted, by allowing for appeal, could have been interpreted otherwise. Allphin doesn’t even claim, as you and Dan have been, that a law was broken. If he would have at least taken that stand, he would have shown what he believed.

As for the good Germans who followed orders and served their country, I would remind you of the millions of Germans who challenged Hitler and did not live to contemplate their actions over beer. There were 12 millions who died in Hitler’s death camps, half of them were Jews; many of the others were Germans who made the decision to die in defense of Nature Law. May I suggest a book, *Hubener v Hitler*, a carefully researched and documented monograph by Richard Lloyd Dewey. Helmuth Hubener was a seventeen year old boy when he was guillotined for handing out home-made newspapers. He had never been to the battle front, but he made his “arrogant” decision to fight Nazism because he had the courage to stand up for right against wrong. He too was held accountable, by the “laws” of his country, that was not justice. It was young Helmuth who had done what was right, not wrong.

It was America, after Plessy v Ferguson allowed Jim Crow to crush blacks, they didn’t have much of a chance to vote for justice. Thank god there were some judges that did.

Again, as I did in my discussion above with Dan, I would like to AMEND my comments on the School Board. I do not know if they acted wrongly. The Committee set up to advise them did meet privately. There has been no determination if that was against any law. We are left to question what is best for kids. If Allphin would have sighted a violation of law, then he might have claim to your support, but I don’t see that here. He chose the way that mollified the bigots, he avoided justice.

To your final discussion on when the 9th is right and when the Constitution is wrong. It is sadly all a matter of drawing lines. You don’t like the lines the 9th draws, you do like the lines the Supreme Court draws. In the mean time, thousands of babies are being butchered every day, in a way that would put the Mayans to “shame”.

I don't like the line Allphin drew because he too hurts kids.

I would also agree with you, that there hasn’t been a decision on right and wrong. The Judge didn’t have the courage to do that – even though the choice is obvious. He didn’t even have the courage to claim a law has been broken. Someday, some judge will have the courage to draw the line; we can only hope he will make the RIGHT choice.

Anonymous said...

OF COURSE there are two choices. And appeals are always an option and SOMETIMES you find higher court judges that disagree with lower court judges. Had Judge Allphen NOT issued the injunction (mind you...provided he could justify legally) then of course, the plaintiffs could have appealed and likely THEY would have found someone to side with them. It IS the system.

"many of the others were Germans who made the decision to die in defense of Nature Law"
You'll note...I am not defending them. I only hope 1-you and others are not placed in the same position, and 2-If you are, you will have the strength to offer your life in defiance and defence of your cause. All i am suggesting is that when the shoe is actually ON the other foot...the decision might not be so easy to make.

He too was held accountable, by the “laws” of his country, that was not justice. It was young Helmuth who had done what was right, not wrong.

And he is a Hero...we should all be so noble. I am being sincere when I say this.

"It was America, after Plessy v Ferguson allowed Jim Crow to crush blacks, they didn’t have much of a chance to vote for justice. Thank god there were some judges that did."

yes, Lysis, and thank God the rule of law doesnt allow southern judges that still have certain prejudices to act based on their version of right and wrong.


"There has been no determination if that was against any law."
No one here has suggested that the school board is even guilty of anything improper. JUST that they acted in a way that provided a legal loophole for someone to exploit.

Ever argue a ticket in court? It happens every day. Loopholes be damned...the law is still the law. It has to be followed.

"If Allphin would have sighted a violation of law, then he might have claim to your support, but I don’t see that here."
Au Contraire. I will be willing to bet the remainder of the Christmas budget that judge Allphen did indeed cite the legal reasoning he granted the plaintiffs injunction. That he didnt issue it to you does not mean it isnt there as a matter of public record.

"You don’t like the lines the 9th draws"
No, Lysis. i dont. When a court decides they have the right to create law or act in a manner inconsistent with the law, I dont like it even a little bit. When the court acts (as did Allphen) in a way which I disagree, I may not be happy, but I am man enough to accept it as the rule of law. If I am still upset, I can then take further legal action. Or I can complain.

"I don't like the line Allphin drew because he too hurts kids."

(sigh) Judge Allphen ruled on a motion. He didnt make law. He didnt create law. He acted as he is supposed to. He acted in accordance with the rule of law. its just not that difficult. OR diabolical.

"I would also agree with you, that there hasn’t been a decision on right and wrong. The Judge didn’t have the courage to do that"

No, Lysis...he didnt have the RIGHT to do that. He had the right to decide on a motion...if there was legal basis to grant the injunction.

I disa gree with the plaintiffs filing the motion. I agree that Judge Allphens decision was the right one.

Anonymous said...

maybe this will be put to bed soon. Not likely...but maybe.

http://www.code-co.com/utah/code/04/52-04.htm

This si the Utah code cited by the plaintiff when seeking the injunction on the school board. The judge had no choice but to accept that infact the school board had violated the Utah code. that was his reason given...like it or no.

On a plus note, it was reported on Wednesday that they may be as few as 2-3 weeks away from an arbiters decision in regard to the redistricting. And then things can get back to normal.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic,

I will stand corrected that the Judge may well have sited a law, he did not rule that any law had been broken.

Lysis said...

Let’s talk about prosecutorial and plaintiff(ial) abuses. Nifong has now thrown in the towel, hopefully on his way to a long stay in prison with some folks he put there. Where were the judges that could have stopped this nonsense along the way?

In a few weeks of months Sewer, Randy Edwards will have to admit he had no grounds for his assault on the Davis School District boundary process. Where is a judge that will act to stop this nonsense?

It is telling that there is a link of bigotry common in these to affronts to justice. There is also a link of judicial irresponsibility. Is that a new term? I’m all for judicial restraint – I am also for judicial responsibility.

How cavalier it is of those whose “children are not affected” to dismiss the evil done by prosecutors and plaintiffs driven by politics and bigotry. How unjust it is to those who must suffer.

Imagine the just anger of fathers and mothers whose son’s lives have been marred forever because a prosecutor brought false charges against innocent college students. Where was the wise judge who could have prevented this?

There will be anger when Edward’s charges are at last thrown out, but by then – too late! Where was the judge?

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

(AP) A Sedgwick County judge dismissed 30 misdemeanor criminal charges against Wichita physician and abortion provider George Tiller, less than a day after recently defeated Attorney General Phill Kline filed them.

Isn’t it tragic that an unjust judge can dismiss a case attempting to save the lives of children in a day, but no judge can be found to do justice to children after a year in Maryland or months in Utah?

Rumpole said...

Dan,

If indeed you did not misquote, but were rather attempting to make a point, it ought to now be clear that the point was not well made.

You post: “You believe that my saying I don't mind using the small crime to get the big criminal equates to ". . . using any means to proceed against the accused “can only hurt the guilty.”

Unless I am mistaken, I have never stated a position as to your belief. I certainly have asked you questions about your belief, such as “Do you really believe that an unjust end is warranted by using just means?”

You have now provided the answer. You post: “I answer: no.” Thank you for being clear.

You ask, “Do you disagree with a parole violator being held without bail pending trial?” My answer is that it depends on the circumstances of the case. Read my comments below to Mind Mechanic for more detail.

You post: “Let me state unequivocally, I am sure, absolutely positive, that cops and prosecutors talked about using the parole violation to keep an eye on Ricci.” You followed up with several questions about discovery and “tricks”. Through the course of this discussion, it is possible that my view now more closely parallels your position than before. Refer to my comments to Mind Mechanic below.

You post: “There was no unjust result in the Ricci case.” Perhaps you feel this way because Ricci was eventually (by no effort from his accusers, the same accusers that are charged with also protecting his rights as being accused) exonerated. I disagree.

Ricci may have been a thief, but in this instance he was neither a child abuser nor a murderer. We unfortunately live in a time when the labels that come with accusations by those in authority are difficult to shed. We need to be very careful when we make such claims.

That being said, I would offer that we ought to proceed aggressively to also protect victims. But both the victim and the accused must be protected.

You post: “I would ask you: Do you really believe the government to be unjust when it brings a case against a man, and then loses? Is the government in the wrong because some may believe the man is guilty regardless?”

I have never suggested that the government would be unjust to bring a case against a man even if the government lost. I only suggest, (and you have agreed), that the government ought not use just means to bring about and unjust end in such an instance. You have been quite clear in your agreement.

You ask “Where did these investigators go wrong?” My answer, on two levels. 1) You acknowledge Ricci probably would never have been incarcerated had not the suspicion of his involvement in a kidnapped existed. However, a “just means” was used to incarcerate him until the unjust end, which turned out to be his innocence, was determined, and by no effort by the police. 2) While Ricci certainly already had a sullied reputation, it did not nearly approach that of a childe abuser and/or murderer. Things like reputation are very difficult to restore once they are taken.

What would I do in this situation? Refer to my comments to Mind Mechanic below.

You post: “I have never set up a law school degree litmus test. I have never set up any sort of education standard.” When I suggested you had, my intention was to illustrate with the absurd, some of the self- absorbed comments you have posted. For example:

“This is one of the problems I have with many arguments about the justice system (including death penalty arguments) so much emotion, so much 'sympathy', very little in the way of fact, or knowledge on the subject.”

Here is another, more by the way of condescension:

It is also important to understand what an injunction means, (of course I assume there are at least a few that understand the legal terms at least as well as I do, some obviously do not). It is not a judgement on the merits that decides who is right and wrong. It just forces everyone to step back, and hold off on actions that will likely be irrevocable, until another impartial body can rule on that action.

Please, Dan, explain to me exactly who it is that “obviously” does not understand legal terms as well as you do.

Here is one more, and this is a great one:

“Because no matter how much it may offend, merely stating an opinion on an issue does not put one's opinion on the same level as another who has bothered to take the time to learn about the subject.”

I will work harder on being clearer when I illustrate with the absurd.

By way of clarification, as to you backing with facts the assertion that Ricci was not unjustly held when he died in prison, we have never had disagreement. I have said from the beginning that I knew why Ricci was being held.

Finally, you post: “For the record (and you can go back as far as you want in the archives), I have never belitted someone for their education, or lack thereof. My education has been called into question by Lysis, the common anonymy, and now you. So, if we are talking about arrogance about others education, I think you should look a little closer to home.”

I have never belittled your education. Here is what I have done:

“Isn't an accurate quote requisite to graduating from law school?” It seems to me that this is a legitimate question, especially in light of you admission that you did, indeed, misquote.

Another example:

“By no means do I intend to personally attack you. But I absolutely intend to ridicule your position. We travel a road that ought not be traveled if we turn our legal system over to anyone with a law school diploma because, by your litmus test, we have avoided putting someone in place who uses “so much emotion, so much 'sympathy', very little in the way of fact, or knowledge on the subject.”

We’ve already gone over my weakness in illustrating with the absurd with a “litmus test”. I will take the opportunity here to speak a little clearer, if I may. When anyone graduates from law school, their achievement is noble and admirable. But it does not necessarily qualify them have the reigns of the legal system turned over to them in lieu of those who may have more wisdom and understand without that same diploma.

One final example:

“I do not attack your achievement and your diploma. I do attack the notion that it is a piece a paper that determines whether or not one is qualified to make a reasoned and informed judgment on the law, and on the Constitution.”

Could this be any more clear?

This post is way too long. I want to insure that you felt I covered every point. If I have missed something, it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying.



Mind Mechanic,

You know I love your posts, and you often leave me thinking; but before we go forward, I have to ask you a few questions.

Have you been a woman lately? Have you recently changed your ethnicity? Do you sit on death row? Do you live within the boundary of Davis County Schools? Heck, have you been to law school?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then, by your own implied standard, you are not in a position to comment on any subjects relating to the groups listed above.

Of course, I know you are more than qualified to discuss any of those subjects. So how about we lose the “Have you been a cop, lately” type questions and move forward?

Your recollection of the circumstances surrounding Ricci’s detention are excellent. Perhaps Ricci is a poor example used to illustrate the danger in accepting “just means to an unjust end.” Nevertheless, it does appear that I have made my point.

I only wish to emphasize that it is critical to protect the rights of the accused. Based on the current P.C. climate, reputation is difficult to retain when one is simply accused. A long, hard look needs to be taken before such serious accusations are levied. The prosecutor in the Duke case appears to have not taken that look. Based on the information you have provided, it appears that the Salt Lake police did.

RE - the Duke case

You post: “The only 'end' to this case was re-election for the prosecutor.” Yes! This is exactly my point. The prosecutor misused his position (that he justly held) to create favorable circumstances for his re-election (an unjust end). Perhaps you might argue that the prosecutor used unjust means (misuse of power) to an unjust end. If so, I can accept that.

As for your pointing out that no suggestion of prosecutorial misconduct has ever been made here, previous to your posting at the Agora Dan did indeed imply that it does not occur, and went so far as to suggest that prosecutors should not be questioned. As I said, I’m a little tired right now so you’ll have to look in the archives, but it’s there.

RE – Davis Schools

If “established policy” was not followed, why not rule that way instead of issuing an injunction. I’m too tired right now, so I’m not going to go back and look; however, on several occasions you and Dan have both implied that the law was violated.

Let’s assume that to be the case. Then why not issue that ruling? Shouldn’t a judge have the courage to follow the “rule of law” as you suggest, rather than issue a “time-out?” Is this not his own form of activism?

As Dan has suggested, why not rule so that we can argue over bad law? Calling a time-out based on yours and Dan’s view that the law had been violated was spineless.

Too long! Merry Christmas.

Dan Simpson said...

"Please, Dan, explain to me exactly who it is that “obviously” does not understand legal terms as well as you do"

Answer: Lysis. His comments all along about the judges decision showed he thought Allphin sided with, and supported the position of the petitioner. That was a lack of understanding.

“Because no matter how much it may offend, merely stating an opinion on an issue does not put one's opinion on the same level as another who has bothered to take the time to learn about the subject.”

I still don't understand your problem with this. If I spouted an opinion about something I have no knowledge, or experience with, that opinion would be of much less worth than someone who does have the knowledge.

There are some things I know about, and many that I don't. But, it is rather childish to say I cannot use the knowledge I have gained. I enjoy it immensely when MM does the same to Anonymy, or when Lysis' superior level of historical knowledge trumps others (and it has me on occasion here, my BS in history does not bring me to the level of Lysis in historical knowledge).

When lysis claims Ricci died while incarcerated for a crime he did not commit, that is uninformed. That opinion is not as valid as one that is informed. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with education or diploma. And, as I have admitted on this blog many times, there are plenty of things I know little of, just because I do have knowledge of a few, doesn't make me condescending or arrogant.

Finally, and most dissappointing.

"Dan did indeed imply that it does not occur, and went so far as to suggest that prosecutors should not be questioned."

This is a lie, no further argument by me needed. I have never, ever stated that prosecutors were infallible, or should not be questioned.

I did my entire seminar paper on prosecutorial ethics and the lines that prosecutors step over.

You have flat out lied to prove a point.

It is one thing to disagree, which we have been able to do with some level of civility. Not on this. You are flat out lying to try to strengthen your argument.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole...

The “Have you been a cop, lately” comment was designed to ask you to consider this from the perspective of a police officer and not an outraged armchair quarterback. Me...no...I havent been a cop ever. I do golf with a former SLPD department head and PR boss 4 times a month and we chewed over this case a lot. You would probably be surprised just how much scrutiny was placed on the Smart family. Ricci was the suspect in the public eye but there were plenty of others.

"Perhaps Ricci is a poor example used to illustrate the danger in accepting “just means to an unjust end.”

I think if you check back a few posts, thats all I was saying. I am wary of police misconduct. I think we discussed a while back some run-ins with the Layton PD that have left me quite soured on them. If not...I'd be GLAD to share. On the federal scale I think the action at Ruby ridge was criminal and the action at Waco even more so.

Just not the Smart/Ricci case. No injustice was done to him. That he has been made a victim is curious to me.

I only wish to emphasize that it is critical to protect the rights of the accused.

Agreed. No argument from me.

Sometimes I think we all get entangled in the argument and stop hearing each other. I know I did it to Dan a few topics back. I appreciate that you were able to stop, regroup, restate your original position (which we are all actually pretty close on), and from that I think we can see we have common ground.

I want to wish everyone here a Merry Christmas, belated happy Hanukkah, or joyous whatever it is you celebrate.

Rumpole said...

Dan,

I don’t really enjoy about arguing about the argument, but if that is what you want to do, I will oblige.

“Obviously”: If you’re talking to me, tell me. If you’re talking to Lysis, tell him. Additionally, I know Lysis, as do you. He knows what indictment means, as you well know. If you’re are going to dish out sarcasm in an attempt to strengthen your argument, you’d better be able to take it when someone responds in kind.

“Opinion”: Apparently you understand little about tone. You see nothing wrong in saying “I’ve studied this issue more than you have, so I know more about this issue than you do?” Do you think anyone will respond positively to such an implication?

Additionally, especially in this forum where the opportunity for anonymity is provided, how is it that you know you have done more research than others who post here? Even in the minute possibility you have, does your study automatically equate to accurate knowledge on the subject? For example, if you used Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” as a resource, memorized the book, then declared yourself an expert on global warming, would you be correct?

The strength of an argument lies in the argument, not in the level of education one uses in an attempt to back up that argument. By all means, use your knowledge to persuade, but let it stand on its own. I don’t care about your resume’ or the allegation that you think you know more so your view carries more weight.

“Dan did indeed imply that it does not occur, and went so far as to suggest that prosecutors should not be questioned."

Before I address your accusation, let me use another example of your educational arrogance.

I don’t care what you wrote your “seminar paper” on. Why is it relavant? To reinforce your position, you immediately go some paper from school that I have never seen or heard? Even if you posted the paper in it’s entirety now, it doesn’t matter! It adds no credibility to what you try to prove!

As for my statement, I guess I will have to take the time to back it up by going to the archives. I acknowledge that I should have done it already, but I will take the time now. It might take me a day or two, but I will find it.

Mind Mechanic,

You demonstate that you have far more maturity than I do. As I said, I really enjoy your posts.

The Smart case has been very interesting to follow. I am certainly glad it turned out the way that it did. I am curious to know if your police buddies have ever shed much light on Ed Smart. My view is only from the perspective of an outsider looking in, but it sure seems to me that guy has maximized his ten minutes of fame. Have you had similar conversation?

Dan Simpson said...

On 'suggestion' from my wife, I will be taking a posting hiatus.

I have obviously lost perspective when I let this blog get me so riled up.

I can see my wifes point of view when it begins to affect my opinion of those she knows and respects.

I'll still read, as I am too bored at work not too.

I also always enjoy MM's posts.

I do, however, find it interesting that when MM states his experience in the world that gives him knowledge or a different/more complete perspective on some issues (something I highly appreciate, as he has loads of experience that I lack), it lends power to his position; but if I mention that I have researched a subject, prosecutorial misconduct, that makes me a condescending ass.

You have whatever opinion you want about me Rumpole. I find that, though at one point I did care what that was, I no longer do.

I will continue to read here and be educated by the plethora of intelligent people who post here. I have read this blog too long to quit it cold turkey.

Just to be specific, I am not stopping because others disagree, or use personal attacks, I weathered that from anonymous for a long time. Its that I actually let it get to me, and that is my problem.

Lysis said...

Dan;

I have a dear friend; we went to school together and worked at camp as best friends for years. He started teaching back in 77, and quit a year later. It was because the kids were so mean. I might add that he went to work for a rocket company and now they don’t launch the space shuttle with out him, so we all gained from his thin skin – all but the students who might have had their lives changed for the better by him.

I learned long ago, that you can’t please all the people all the time, and as a teacher you will just be hated by some kids. If I went to work every day trying to please ever student, every parent, every colleague, I would soon need a hiatus myself. You might go back into your own days in my class to recall some of the hurtful things student can say about me. I do not go to school for the ones that hate me, I go to school for the ones who need me. There are never very many, probably not as many as those who consider me a condescending ass, but I don’t even worry about them.

Here in this web long, I have suffered at least as much abuses as you. I mean really, when is the last time anyone called you Mullah Dan Simpsomar. Shoot they don’t even make fun of your spelling. I know I have often deferred to you in the areas where you are the master. Your knowledge is valued by many. If you need to take a break, please do, but realize that there are many folks here who appreciate your posts.

Least I be thought to be going too soft on you, Dan, I ought to say, (at this special time of year), that appreciate Flaccid, and all the little Anonomy too. People play this argument game at different levels and for different reason. When we quite saying what we feel as strongly as we can think to say it, then the Agora will be as dull as “work”.

I hope no one feels left out in my universal thanks to all of you for what I have learned and experienced here at the Agora this year. You might note that I took a rather nasty swing at the Mindmechanic just a few posts up. He handled it like a trooper!

Let me join him in wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and for all of us who remember the Old Gods, a most joyous Saturnalia

truth to power said...

"When we quit saying what we feel as strongly as we can think to say it, then the Agora will be as dull as 'work'."

Spot on, Lysis! I agree with what you wrote to Dan, but I don't think it will do any good. Not unless his wife reads it. My wife is mildly amused by the fact that I post here. She hasn't read any of it, though.

Of course your students don't make fun of your spelling. They can't read your handwriting!

But seriously, don't take my jabs at your form as criticisms of your content. I think you're basically a good guy, and I agree with much of what you say. But I do enjoy the clash of ideas around here. Debate is good for the soul!

Just calm down a bit, Dan.

Merry Christmas to all!

Silver Lining said...

Lysis, You do have a thick skin and typically let hateful things fail to bother you. There are a few select individuals good opinions of you, however, that I think you value highly. Therefore, though your advice to Dan is good and worth noting, I would suggest that you understand that there are those at the Agora whose good opinion he values.

Lysis said...

Silver Lining;

You may speak true, but I doubt Rumpole is one such. I don’t know if I am one, let me post my comment to Dan concerning Richard Ricci:

Lysis said...

Dan;

I appreciate the truth in this case. However, it doesn’t change the fact that our justice system does, on many occasions, punish innocent people for the crimes of others. Let’s remember the 13 inocent men found on Illinois’ death row a few years ago when the governor ordered a DNA evidence check.

If Richard Ricci was being held on other charges, then there is no reason for the people of Utah to feel any shame at his death. Even if he were being held on legitimate suspicion for crimes he did not commit, he would have had his day in court – his death was surely not the intent of the authorities. I will agree he was a bad example to use to support what remains a good argument.
7:53 AM

truth to power said...

Not to be a broken record, but there are no innocent men on Death Row anywhere. I doubt there are even any as "innocent" as Richard Ricci.

Anonymous said...

I hope everyone has had a great Christmas weekend. I have to be careful...these three and four day work weeks may spoil me! I might become European.

Rumpole...
I can't tell you much about the inner workings of the case (not being secretive...I just dont know...we never really got into areas we shouldnt...that would ruin a good golf game). I do know that the SLPD was just HOPING there was SOMETHING they could slap Ed Smart with. He was a nuisance to them. I dont know if it was because it is his personality, if he was honestly and honorably doing what he believed was the right thing to do, or if he is just the type to capitalize on a personal tragedy. I dont know him so I will give him the benefit of doubt and say he was trying to do what he bleieved was the best thing. I do know that the police often felt he was hindering progress. There was an uncle also that fell under great scrutiny.

Regardless of what the public saw, this was an around the clock investigation and from what I know of, the police did everything they could. You try to imagine any and everything you can...every scenario. Who would have thought the girl had been kidnapped to be a would-be cult leaders wife? You can imagine the runaway, the kidnapping for sex and murder scenario, just about any other type. But that???

This is another one of those "I dont know what he was going through and pray I never have to find out" situations so I have a tendency to cut Ed Smart some slack. I am glad Elizabeth is back home and I only hope she is getting the best of care. The girl has been through Hell. She probably still is.

To all...

One of the things about passioned debate is that it can cause some intense feelings. I hope everyone can keep it in perspective and not take things too personally. When people know each other sometimes it tends to make things sticky. I suspect that happens a bit here.

One of the things I love about this group (even some of the anon collective) is that there is passion and action behind their belief. One of the things that drives me crazy when I am having discussions with colleagues is that invariably (because the mental health field is populated with a majority of liberal minded people) someone will bring up politics and invariably you get the same type of ninny minded lame brained rhetoric. When you engage them they all (ok...thats a generalization...MOST) get this same blank look which proves they havent actually given it any thought or done any reading and dont have a personal perspective to support their position. Drives me nuts...so many 'intelligent' people behaving so foolishly.

The flip side to that are the people that will say "Well...I personally believe it is wrong...but it's not my place to say..." POW!!! right in the kisser. What???

Anyway...thats why I love intelligent, reasoned, passionate debate. It CAN influence opinion. It CAN have a positive affect. It can change people. As stubborn and arrogant and obstinate as I am, I have had my opinions influenced by reasoned debate. That should indicate there is hope for EVERYONE. But only if you can keep it from becoming a personal attack. Then it just devolves into angry diatribe and defensiveness.

Dan...I'd hate to see you stay away...you lend too much to the discussions.

Of course...it helps that you were right!

;-)

Perspective is everything!

Silver Lining said...

Lysis,

I read all the comments previously. I was simply thinking that you might have some empathy for Dan in spite of your generally thick skin.

Colton McBride said...

Kudos, Lysis. I also think Mel Gibson is a very praiseworthy person when it comes to movie-making. I loved Apocalypto, a story of courage and truth. I thought it funny that you referred to Jaquar Paw as the "Quizatz Haderach."

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