May 10th, 2010

me at yd

OT: Terrorists, child pornographers and the rule of law

Despite doing my level best to avoid watching the media circus surrounding the wannabomber’s attempt to, as the always reasonable Rush Limbaugh put it, “Blow up Times Square,” I could not help but notice the conservative outrage over the fact that Mr. Shahzad had been read his Miranda rights. To me, this is a triumph of the American system and everything that makes our country great: an evil man attempted a hideous crime and was brought to justice without our law enforcement officers breaking any of our laws. Surely this is proof that our system works and that our way of life is worth defending?

Not so, according to the increasingly venerable John McCain, who has changed his stance on protecting the civil rights of prisoners and is now reciting the Republican mantra that in this new, tougher war with these new, tougher opponents we need new, tougher tactics. It is strange to me that the same conservatives who, straight-faced, accuse Mr. Obama of despotism, are so eager to allow law enforcement to operate without the pesky constraints of the Bill of Rights-and yet, the conservative battle-cry hasn’t changed much since the Bush years. “Why are you coddling terrorists,” they wail, to all that disagree with them. “Why do you hate America so?”

It basically goes like this: a police officer (or, in the battlefield, a soldier) catches a terrorist. He knows the guy is a terrorist-ok, you whinging liberal, there hasn’t been time for an investigation, but it’s very obvious. By the time the slow wheels of justice have turned, Americans could be dead, especially if the terrorist gets a scumbag lawyer who hates America and helps a terrorist hide behind our laws. We don’t need him Mirandized, we need him talking-and if we have to rough him up a little bit to get him to talk, fine. I have no sympathy for terrorists, and we need to know who this guy is working with.

For me, this is loose logic at best. Working within the confines of our laws, police catch hardened criminals every day, and they extract confessions from very tough and evil people. In fact, working within the confines of our laws, they caught and extracted a confession from Mr. Shahzad.

But if you do follow the logic that sometimes the niceties of law shouldn’t apply to the people who enforce the law, shouldn’t we make the same argument about a child pornographer? Police kick in a door on a tip, find a guy with a ton of kiddie porn. Shouldn’t we find out who he’s buying from? Shouldn’t they find out who he’s selling to? If we simply arrest him, his network will disappear and we’ll miss the chance to save children from unthinkable abuses. I sometimes work with survivors of childhood sexual assault and, liberal that I am, I believe I would be capable of torturing someone I suspected of being a child pornographer in order to find out who was bringing him his victims.

That’s why the Framers ensured that people suspected of the most horrible crimes are given due process. Because we cannot create a grey area, we cannot allow exceptions to the rule of law. The same calculus could be applied to other despicable people-pimps, drug dealers, fences. Giving law enforcement a freer hand to investigate such suspects without having to worry about warrants and the right to remain silent-especially if the suspects were literally worried for their own skin while being interrogated-might very well save lives. But it would also destroy our way of life. It would reduce us to the level of our enemies. Liberals oppose any such step in that direction, no matter how small, not because we hate America, but because we love it.

Weekly Topic

Hi again! So here's what you guys selected for Topic of the Week (10.05 / 16.05)

"Community organizing, activism & grassroots movements"

Lets simply call it Activism Week. I know, i know, some will again say its going to be another "leftist wank fest", but in fact last time it didnt play out that way, so no worries ;) However, i do agree that we might be in some need of more conservative reinforcements over here, if you see what i mean. Anyway, here's how this topic could be filled with substance:

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Kagan for SCOTUS

I haven't read anywhere near all of this, but it seems to be a pretty thorough review of Kagan and her chances of being confirmed. In a nutshell: There's not much public info on her views, and obviously no judicial decisions, etc (since she hasn't been a judge), but she's probably got the votes to be confirmed once she's done with the going-through-the-motions confirmation process.

Family Guy's Transphobic Mother's Day Episode

Family Guy an animated television series on Fox aired an extremely transphobic episode on Mother's Day. The episode called "Quagmire's Dad" was about a big life change for his father, a recognized Navy war hero veteran. The episode is filled with homophobic and transphobic language and judgment.

My personal opinion is that satire is acceptable and political incorrectness can sometimes be funny. This in my humble opinion was over the top and creates a society that allows for fear and panic of transgender individuals. Please weigh in with your thoughts on the article and the video episode?