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Examining settled and unsettling questions.

Archive for June 2009

More Suppression of Dissent

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Here is a recent partial transcript of FOX News Shep Smith with Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group cashing in on “hate” and serving as an outsourced government-Inquisition. Thanks to Mike Tuggle at www.dixienet.org blog:

Beirich: The Department of Homeland Security report got savaged, but they were on to something there. We’ve had several examples of domestic terrorism just in the last few months. We had a crazed cop killer in Pittsburgh who was motivated by racism and anti-government views, who killed three people in his front yard. We had a guy who was actually found with the components of a dirty bomb according to the FBI in January in Bangor, Maine, who had a whole bunch of anti-government beliefs. We’ve had two assassination plots against the president by some skinheads.
Smith: How are you handling that through your organization? I’m sure you’re getting busier.
Beirich: We’ve been very busy! Our biggest concern right now is we’re making sure we’re getting the right information into law enforcement’s hands so they can deal with these problems, so we’re monitoring all these web sites and publications from these folks, all these racists and anti-government types, and when we see something frightening, we’re passing it on to law enforcement.

In case you didn’t notice, Beirich is telling us that the Department of Homeland Security report alerting Americans to the terror threat posed by activists supporting gun rights, border security, and Ron Paul was correct. And you can’t ignore the drumbeat pounding in the idea that anyone who questions the government suffers from irrational hatred of others.
Shep bids adieu to Heidi by wishing the best of luck to her “terrific organization.” Fair and balanced.
In a must-read post on Lew Rockwell today, William Norman Grigg discusses how the old Soviet Union also equated dissent with “crazed” behavior:

This was the logic – if that word applies – behind the political use of psychiatry in the Soviet Union: Only someone clinically deranged could hate socialism, and since such people were a danger to themselves and society, they had to be incarcerated in the psiushka (psychiatric gulag) and forcibly cured of their anti-social(ist) tendencies. The heroic former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky recounts his own experience in the Soviet psycho-gulag in his memoir, To Build a Castle.

The Soviet use of psychiatry was an outgrowth of the Regime’s longstanding policy of pre-emption: Threats to “stability” and “social order” had to be recognized and aborted before they reached maturity.

We haven’t reached the point where we must turn in our friends and family to prove our loyalty and rationality. At least, not yet.


Written by polemicscat

June 21, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Current Events

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Is Sotomayor Qualified?

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President Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the forthcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court.  She fits the President’s desire to have an “empathetic” Justice in the Court— one who is more interested in subjective and personal experience than in a rigorous following of the Constitution and law.                                     

The New York Times reported that the prominent cause of Judge Sotomayor’s career has been advancing persons of color, over whites, based on race and national origin.  Consequently, there has been criticism from some conservatives who identify her rulings as just another form of racial bigotry.

Patrick Buchanan says, “Down the path Sotomayor would take us lies an America where Hispanic justices rule for Hispanics, black judges rule for blacks and white judges rule for white folks.”  Mr. Buchanan adds that “Obama would not have selected Sotomayor if he did not share her convictions. And there is nothing in his writings or career to hint at disagreement.”

An analysis by Andy McCarthy (“The Corner,” NRO) puts a little different light on the subject.  He says forget whether she is too racist to be a Supreme Court Justice; would Judge Sotomayor qualify as a juror? 

He says citizens who are called to jury duty “have a sworn obligation to decide cases objectively—without fear or favor.”  McCarthy says that Judges at every single trial solemnly instruct prospective jurors “that if the person believes he or she has a bias or prejudice, especially one based on a belief that people are inferior or superior due to such factors as race, ethnicity, or sex, the person is not qualified to be a juror.”

Mr. McCarthy then gives a standard set of instructions used by a judge in selecting a jury:

You have two duties as a jury. Your first duty is to decide the facts from the evidence in the case. This is your job, and yours alone. Your second duty is to apply the law that I give you to the facts. You must follow these instructions, even if you disagree with them…. Perform these duties fairly and impartially. Do not allow sympathy, prejudice, fear, or public opinion to influence you. You should not be influenced by any person’s race, color, religion, national ancestry, or sex.

Would Judge Sotomayor be qualified to serve as a juror?  She has gone on record as saying that she believed a wise Latina makes better judgments than a white male; that she doubts it is actually possible to “transcend [one’s] personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law”; and that there are “basic differences” in the way people “of color” exercise “logic and reasoning.”

McCarthy then asks:  “If, upon hearing that, would it not be reasonable for a lawyer for one (or both) of the parties to ask the court to excuse her for cause? Would it not be incumbent on the court to grant that request?  Should we have on the Supreme Court, where jury verdicts are reviewed, a justice who would have difficulty qualifying for jury service?”

Written by polemicscat

June 10, 2009 at 10:42 am