Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for November 21st, 2008

The art of rhetoric

Posted by Charles II on November 21, 2008

Robert Farley of Lawyers, Guns, and Money has a great piece up at The Guardian on Somalian piracy. In one of the great bits of dry wit of our era, he says:

In a November 19 article, Peter Lehr makes a provocative argument about the rise of maritime piracy off the Horn of Africa. He suggests that Somali pirates are victims of circumstance as much as high seas highwaymen, and that the intervention of western naval forces will not solve the piracy problem. Both of these claims may have a kernel of truth, but unfortunately Dr Lehr’s analysis makes significant errors of fact and interpretation.

There are two major problems with Lehr’s argument. First, he buys into the notion that Somali pirates are acting as a coast guard, and that they are primarily interested in the defence of traditional fishing grounds. Were this so, it would hardly explain why the pirates have attacked ships well beyond Somali territorial waters, or why their attacks have been indiscriminate with regards to nationality and type of vessel. The Saudi oil tanker seized the day before yesterday was not, after all, engaged in illegal fishing.

That line alone wins him the argument.

Posted in Africa, terrorism | 1 Comment »

Malware day

Posted by Charles II on November 21, 2008

A Tech Republic presentation by Sophos here. Nothing startling, but a good overview.

Ryan Naraine, ZDNet:

Computer maker Lenovo is shipping a malware-infected software package to Windows XP users, according to warning from anti-virus researchers at Microsoft.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in computers and software | 2 Comments »

The Death of the Innocent Bystander

Posted by Charles II on November 21, 2008

I think David Sirota is onto something with this:

As anyone who has read my columns, blog posts or book knows, I have a mild obsession with the Innocent Bystander Fable – the one whereby political actors pretend they have no power or even minor role in the arenas they are elected or hired to participate in. This fable has been most prevalent in the Democratic Party’s posture toward the Iraq War and the bailout – they claim, rather idiotically, they have no power to stop the war or fix the bailout. But now, as I am three-quarters of the way through Newsweek’s 7-part story on the gossip, innuendo and palace dramas behind the presidential campaign, I see that this Innocent Bystander Fable may be just as powerful inside the media itself.

For twenty five years, the behavior of Congressional Democrats has always bothered me. There was a time when they really had to worry about party unity, but that has passed. In the last fifteen years, 85% of the Democrats could be brought around to leadership positions. The other 15%, for either political or pecuniary reasons, would join the Republicans at inconvenient moments. But a party with only 40% control can, as the Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated, grind Washington to a halt and extort concessions.

But the 40% level is just for what can be done under parliamentary procedure. As Gandhi showed, even one man, if in the right and sufficiently determined–and supported by a movement–can force a system to its knees. Yet never did a single congressman or Senator so much as go on a hunger strike to protest the war. Only a handful spoke at demonstrations. Dozens of crimes against the nation, against the Constitution, and against humanity have gone without protest from our leaders.

With the swearing in of the new Congress in early January, there are no excuses whatsoever, no “Innocent Bystanders.”

Posted in abuse of power, Democrats | Comments Off on The Death of the Innocent Bystander

Credit Where It’s Due

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 21, 2008

Charles reminds us how Boumediene’s court victories came about:

Not Boumediene, but the Center for Constitutional Rights. The initial counsel for Boumediene was Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. This was joined to Al Odah vs. United States, for which the initial counsel was CCR and Shearman & Sterling, among others. But the granddaddy of them all was Rasul v. Bush. At that time, early 2002, CCR was very much alone.

CCR, as well as the National Lawyers Guild, do some of the the most important work in safeguarding civil liberties. Let people know!

Let the word go forth!

Posted in abuse of power, Afghanistan, Good Things, Iraq war, judicial rulings, Rule of Law, terrorism | 1 Comment »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on November 21, 2008

Alex Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

 
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