Saturday, July 2, 2011

Freedom: Granted By The Almighty, Preserved By Adherence To The Constitution, Maintained By Integrity

Once again, the story of a life nearly ended by judicial murder, an innocent man framed by law enforcement, a corrupt medical examiner, and a court system that has become agnostic about the idea of Truth.

It is a relief to see Cory Maye freed from death row in Mississippi. It is distressing to see that those who colluded to put him there will never see a day inside a prison for their attempts to murder him.

Sans a bedrock stance that freedom and dignity are Divine birthrights, that the Constitution is our safeguard against tyranny, and the insistence that integrity is the only option, these frightening cases will continue to occur.

Until we level the playing field between the agents of the State and the private citizen, i.e., placing each badge, law license, and the freedom of those agents at risk when they prosecute felonies, the glue that holds us together will continue to melt.

There is a place for the death penalty--justice sometimes demands it. However, since the system has become so corrupted, administration of the death penalty becomes a lethal game of roulette. We must know with certainty that the convicted are truly guilty before they are dispatched violently. And, in the end, every execution is an act of violence against the condemned.

Sans that certainty, we must not carry that sentence out.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hugo Chavez Admits He Has Cancer, And Life Is About To Get Interesting In Venezuela

The Devil's Excrement carries the story in English.

Here's the video of Chavez's announcement. He seems, well, rather less ebullient than in times past.

Of course, the obvious problem with someone who sets himself up as 'President for Life' is the inevitability of death, often with a decline preceding the departure.

People possessed of the kind of arrogance that creates a Chavez tend to never think of this detail, or other details, like just what the hell happens to TheGloriousRevolution the day after TheGloriousLeader's funeral.

In the meantime, Hugo's gots-lots-of-'splainin'-to-do-Lucy. And a lot of power-hungry people circling his rowboat.

Wanna bet he ends up in Miami, getting the latest-and-greatest cancer treatments the evil capitalist system of the United States can provide? What if he dies on our soil?
Do we get to toss him back like the opposing team's home-run ball at Wrigley Field?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Ontario 'Child Murder' Cases, And The Miscarriage Of Justice

NPR carries the story, which airs today.

It's literally horrifying, a tale of innocent lives turned upside-down and ruined, reputations destroyed, years lost to imprisonment on the most horrible of trumped-up charges--the crime of murdering one's own children. All on the false testimony of a pathologist determined to view every child's death as a criminal case to win, and a coroner who both encouraged and covered up the official malfeasance.

And yet, and yet...

Charles Smith (the pathologist) never faced charges. Earlier this year, a medical board stripped him of his license and ordered him to pay a $3,650 fine.

!!!***!!!@@@###!!!!! (absolutely unprintable language here)

Does it occur to the Great And Good that this utter miscarriage of justice destroys the fabric of a culture?

It is a blessing to see the exoneration of the wrongly convicted. There remains a foul stench in the air, knowing that the real criminals will never, ever, see a day of jail, much less the lifetime of imprisonment their crimes call for.

This sort of horror tears the civility of a civil society apart, and breeds the horrible violent practices of revenge, the malevolent alternative to justice.

As OS keeps repeating, We Don't Want To Go There. Ever.

Unless the police, prosecutors, judges, and 'experts' like coroners know they have 'skin in the game', that every prosecution requires they lay their badges, law licenses, medical degrees, etc., on the table, at risk, the moral hazard soars, and the persecution of the innocent becomes their stock in trade.

Quote Of The Day, From Jesse: The Road To Hell

Jesse is a modern-day OT prophet.

When you socialize the losses and privatize the gains for a powerful few, when you reward the perpetrators and punish the innocent and unsophisticated victims of fraud, when you idolize greed, selfishness and deception and vilify simple hard work and honest decency, how can one really expect a healthy, vibrant economy? You are birthing a monster.

Austerity will not improve this picture, and will inflict intense misery on the growing number of unfortunates. They know this, but they don't care. When the oppressed react, there will be calls to put them down, to subdue them, savagely. Provoke and react. Never waste a crisis, and if you need it, create one.

This is the road to hell.

His entire post here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Bank of America Settlement: Too Big To Fail, Too Stupid To Succeed, And Too Politically Connected To Ever Go To Jail

Denninger asks the correct questions again, as always, even if he is constantly abrasive in tone.

How does he do it and not suffer a blood pressure of infinity-over-275?

Well, anyway, this news brought my friend Billy The Banker to mind. He's now retired, happily, after working for the same county-seat bank for fifty years. High school diploma plus banking courses offered over the years. He advanced from junior teller to president. When all the chaos was going on in 2008, OS asked him what he thought, and he scratched his head and said, 'I don't know what to think, I've never seen anything like it. Our board of directors always wanted to make sure we had a strong equity base, and enough earnings to take care of the employees and pay a little dividend to the shareholders. That's what we did, concentrated on building the equity of the bank. It worked. I don't understand these other people at all.'

OS does know one thing: Had Billy behaved like the execs at BOA, his bank would have failed, and he'd be living out his retirement years in the state pen about thirty miles west of his present modest comfortable home.

Billy lived and worked in a context of reward for good behavior, and legal and moral culpability for bad behavior. His bank made money, his shareholders made money, the county is growing at a stable pace, and he's enjoying visiting his grandkids.

Black-Humor Headline Of The Month: Greece Votes To Delay Default Until 2012

Well, cut my legs off and call me shorty! A Czech physicist nails the entire ridiculous soap opera down in one sentence.

Luboz Motl is very bright, with a wonderful dry sense of humor, and a reasonable approach to life. His essay includes an account of events inside the Greek Parliament, and a video of the chaos on the streets. It's an impossible mathematical situation, as he points out, and everyone will have to muddle through.

His conclusion shows the wisdom of someone whose family has endured life in Eastern Europe for generations:

On the other hand, I am no Europe hater. I think that there are obviously many things that are meaningfully organized at the European level - such as the free-trade zone and others. It would be nice if the recent developments helped the people to rationally discuss what kind of activities the EU can and and what kind it cannot do and shouldn't do. However, it doesn't seem to me that this is happening. People either deny that anything is happening that shows lethal flaws in the European unification concepts; or they're already talk about a funeral and the end of time.

There won't be any end of time. There won't even be a Big Crunch because our Universe has a positive cosmological constant: it will approach de Sitter space event more closely. There will be some future and people should rationally evaluate the experience from the past and try to optimize the future. It's damn obvious that the idea that the desire to "unify" everything - while paying no attention to the evidence that it could be a very bad idea in many contexts - is something that we shouldn't repeat again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Greek Parliament Votes Tomorrow...

Tomorrow could interesting in Athens...

All those kids, screaming, 'Bread/Education/Liberty', most of them still believing that government can provide all three, and stick the culture with the bill.

What happens when it dawns on them it can't be done?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quote Of The Day: Cranmer-'God Cares For the Poor'

Perhaps the best essay His Grace has ever shared with us, well worth the time spent. Very few have his moral clarity and command of English.

His best paragraph:

God cares for the poor, the oppressed, and the underdogs in society. He pours his wrath upon those who corrupt justice or create economic machines designed to provide more wealth for the wealthy and deprive the poor. The story of Naboth’s vineyard in 1 Kings 21 establishes that authorities are not free to pursue any policy they please or to ride roughshod over the rights of the poor. These same concerns are vehemently expressed by the prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah and Micah, writing in the 8th century BC. God demands conscience above political conviction, and a government which places narrow economic considerations above liberty and justice is guilty of worshipping Mammon above God.

Pastor Peters: The Deconstruction Of Marriage

When is this gent going to write that book that needs to be read by so many?

Today's post is especially poignant, as the Pastor looks at how we have managed to so totally 'deconstruct' our lives and society as to leave both completely fragmented. 'All the king's horses, and all the king's men...' does come to mind when reading these thoughts.

The problem with deconstruction is that when we are left with only the parts, we also leave it to others or to the moment to reconstruct those parts into something (and therefore leave it to another day to be deconstructed over again). The end result of this is that our social institutions and values have broken down, we are even more fragmented as a people, and even more disappointed in what we have and our future. Far from offering us stability or hope, the result of deconstruction is that we have been left divided, bitter, and captive to the prevailing wind of the moment. We have no common morality or values to bind our diverse people together and we have no common vision of what the present or the future should be.

We were not created to live this way. And in saying this, OldSouth asserts that, yes indeed, we are creations, not accidents. We need not live this way, or at least let it dominate everything about our existence.

One of the most memorable 'deconstruction' moments in OS's inglorious life occurred about fifteen years ago, at Harvey Brown Presbyterian Church in Louisville. OS and his lovely bride were visiting on a Sunday morning, only to find that the service was being led by seminarians from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. (Fair enough, gotta let the kids get some experience under the belt.) The brave young boys and girls decided to take the venerable Geneva order of service, and rewrite the liturgy based upon Dr. Seuss's environmentalist tome, The Lorax.

The service was, well, nonsense. Mr. and Mrs. OS sat in the pew, amazed, suppressing their laughter, when the best moment of all occurred: One dear old saint, eighty years old at least, stood up and walked out down the center aisle, deliberately striking her cane loudly upon the hard tile floor. Each impact reverberated through the church, like a hammer striking a nail. It was wonderful.

OS wishes he had followed her, but he was too polite. Or too timid. He prays for the good sense and character to follow her example in the days ahead.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Greece (and Spain, and Portugal, and the US): The Alternate Hard-Soled Foot-Covering Apparatus Descends Rapidly Toward The Surface Of The Earth

In other words, the other shoe may be in the process of dropping.

OS thinks we may be arriving at one of those interesting points in human events, such as 1914, or 1929, or 1939, or 1945, where very little going forward resembles what once was.

Q. What were The Two Big Ideas to emerge from the smoke and rubble of Western Europe in 1945?

A. A unified Europe, guarded by NATO, and integrated by The Common Market, which became the vast machine created by the Lisbon Treaty.

B. The Welfare State. From cradle to grave, the elimination of want, disease, ignorance, unemployment, even the provision of the high arts, all on the taxpayer dime.

From these two bedrock Big Ideas would emerge a NewEurope, blissfully free of Christendom, sailing ever toward the dawn of GreaterThings. The Best And The Brightest, all the very best minds, carefully chosen and trained to lead the way, devoted their lives to the great cause, The Two Big Ideas.

It didn't work out at all. Idea A failed because there is simply too much history to overcome, and it is foolish to attempt it. The Portugese shopkeeper shares no cultural identity with the Irish truck driver, and both resent like hell being forced into the same cultural straight-jacket.

Idea B failed due to simple math. No one can tax at the levels needed to build and maintain The Welfare State, and have the underlying economy survive. Add to that a plunging birthrate and an unquenchable desire for consumption over production, and everything caves in upon itself. Even a good-ole'-boy like OS knows you can't keep that up too long. It's like downing a fifth of Jack Daniels every day for twenty years, and wondering why you become a drunk with cirrohsis who can't afford to buy his Jack anymore.

Cranmer's post today about the monstrous building going up to house the EU administrative offices is brilliant. Take a look at that ugly piece of ugliness. Why would anyone trust anything to anybody who believes that building is worth the expenditure of even one fake-currency Euro, much less hundreds of millions of them?

The Emperor be buck-nekkid, ya'll. Europe's in for a real tussle, and we're next in line in the US. 'Cuz we not only embraced the TwoBigIdeas, we by-golly championed them, and ponied most of the money to keep NATO running all along.

So, OS has decided not to rant about it much more, or spend any time being angry about it. The mathematics of default are now likely inexorable, with the only question being how ugly things get, and how graciously and skilfully the situation is handled.

He is trying to discern how best to care for his family, friends and community here during these days to come. He has some ideas about what to do in The Meantime.

Moh, latuh'. Hug yoh' loved ones, don't-chew ferget.

HT Mish