I have been preparing for RAGBRAI for the past 2 months or so, and have also been working on two books I have been writing. Consequently, I haven’t updated this blog as often as I would have liked. I still owe a dear friend a column on the Wisconsin labor issues (it’s coming, I swear!) but this past week’s lunacy has got me in a mood that transcends my usual bad humor and just has me wondering about the state of things.
It has been a week of complete lunacy, mostly led by the Obama administration and its amen corner.
On Friday, the administration defended the ban on incandescent light bulbs by having Secretary of Energy Steven Chu tell the press “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.” Mark Steyn notes that “Secretary Chu and his colleagues took a trillion dollars of “stimulus” and, for all the stimulating it did, might as well have given it in large bills to Charlie Sheen to snort coke off his hookers’ bellies with.”
To be honest, I admit to having wasted my own money before. I once contributed to a democratic candidate. Certainly more efficient bulbs are better than less efficient ones. VW Jettas with a diesel engine are a more efficient choice than a Ford F-150, at least measured solely by MPG. Dogs are better than cats, and the Yankees are better than the Cubs. But in all these cases, we don’t need a government nanny imposing these choices on free and independent citizens.
Then, there is the continuing debacle of the “Fast and Furious” program. For once, Vin Diesel isn’t the worst thing connected with that name. The Obama administration decided it would be a good thing to sell guns to the Mexican drug cartels, so they could be used to kill American DEA and ICE agents. The result of this asinine program? Multiple deaths, and a lawsuit against the government. Lucky somebody like Holder isn’t facing criminal charges. But not to worry, the administration just enacted new rules that will track anyone buying 2 guns a week, cartel member or not.
Then we were treated to the spectacle of Charles Rangel asking “What would Jesus do?” about the debt ceiling. I don’t claim to speak for God, although I do speak with him. I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t be brought up on charges in the House for lying, cheating, and stealing. Just my best guess, though.
Then, to top it all off, we have Rep. Keith Ellison(D-MN) giving a speech in front of a progressive student coalition known as Campus Progress at their 2011 National Conference. Ellison decided to attack the character of presidential candidate Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. According to Ellison:
“This is an era of extremism. These same people that want to shrink government so that you can drown it in a bathtub also want Mom to get back in the kitchen and take her shoes off and get pregnant. You understand? They are offended by strong, powerful women. And here’s the sad part: some of them are women themselves. Michele Bachmann would be an example.”
So Ellison believes that we conservatives all want to have our women back in the kitchen and pregnant. Let’s see what Ellison thinks about women, shall we?
Ellison is a Muslim, a Sunni, to be precise. He has ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case.
Ellison spoke at a meeting in Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Detroit, telling those in attendance that the principles of Islam guide his life.
Ellison was listed as the keynote speaker for the Community Service Recognition Luncheon on September 1, 2007 during the Islamic Society of North America 2007 annual convention. In the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case, the United States Department of Justice named ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator and one of a number of “entities who are and/or were members of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
While a law student in 1989 and 1990, Ellison wrote several columns in the student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily. In the articles, he defended Louis Farrakhan against accusations of antisemitism In 1997, when Joanne Jackson, executive director of the Minneapolis Initiative Against Racism (MIAR), allegedly said that, “Jews are among the most racist white people”, Ellison, using his religious name Mohammed, read a statement supporting her on behalf of the The Minneapolis-St. Paul Study Group of the Nations of Islam.
So Ellison is a devout Muslim, and has been active in support of a wide variety of Muslim organizations. And that support is reciprocated. During the 2006 election Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR and James Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, spoke at a fundraiser for Ellison. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune Ellison accepted thousands of dollars from Nihad Awad and another leader of CAIR. Ellison stressed that he was supported by individuals, and that the organization CAIR itself did not endorse him. CAIR leaders Parvez Ahmed and Nihad Awad wrote “We are proud of our personal donations to Ellison’s campaign” and derided any ‘guilt by association’ arguments. During October 2006, Ellison traveled to Florida on a fundraising tour that “included a party hosted by Altaf Ali, CAIR’s state director there. Since winning the 2006 election, Ellison and CAIR have continued their association.
So now that we understand the depths of Ellison’s Muslim faith, let’s see what Islam says about women.
Tabari IX:113 “Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah has made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Qur’an.”
Tabari I:280 “Allah said, ‘It is My obligation to make Eve bleed once every month as she made this tree bleed. I must also make Eve stupid, although I created her intelligent.’ Because Allah afflicted Eve, all of the women of this world menstruate and are stupid.”
Qur’an 4:11 “Allah directs you in regard of your Children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females…. These are settled portions ordained by Allah.”
Bukhari:V1B22N28 “The Prophet said: ‘I was shown the Hell Fire and the majority of its dwellers were women who are disbelievers or ungrateful.’ When asked what they were ungrateful for, the Prophet answered, ‘All the favors done for them by their husbands.'”
Muslim:B1N142 “‘O womenfolk, you should ask for forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell.’ A wise lady said: Why is it, Allah’s Apostle, that women comprise the bulk of the inhabitants of Hell? The Prophet observed: ‘You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. You lack common sense, fail in religion and rob the wisdom of the wise.’ Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense? The Prophet replied, ‘Your lack of common sense can be determined from the fact that the evidence of two women is equal to one man. That is a proof.'”
Qur’an 4:15 “If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death [by starvation] claims them.”
Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.'” Ishaq:584 “Tell the men with you who have wives: never trust a woman.”
Let’s face it: the koran and its associated hadiths are full of juicy misogynisms like that. And one can’t defend islam by suggesting they are old practices. They are observed today by muslims. The evidence is in the daily papers. These are all things Ellison believes. If he doesn’t believe them, he is an apostate, and according to other hadiths, he would deserve death.
So you’ll pardon me if, during this week of lunacy, I don’t take anything Ellison says about women seriously. Let him condemn the treatment of women under sharia, then he can lecture to the west. Frankly, though, I don’t believe a goddam thing that hypocrite Ellison has to say.
There are, in any criminal trial, four possible outcomes. The defendant can be innocent and found not guilty, innocent and found guilty, guilty and found not guilty, or guilty and found guilty. Out of these four possibilities, only two are problematic. That would be when an innocent party is found guilty, and when a guilty party is found not guilty.
When an innocent person is found guilty, we often don’t know about it for years. When we do find out, the result is a collective sigh of Deo gratias, and an attempt to enact safeguards to prevent re-occurrences, as in the Rolando Cruz case. The real problem in these cases is the nagging thought that we don’t know how many of these cases there are. Some of us know of the Richard “Bruno” Hauptman trial, that convicted him of the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. Or of the MacDonald case, where Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of killing his wife and children, and is still in jail some forty years later. I don’t know whether those men are guilty or not, but I do know that neither of them was given a fair trial.
When a guilty party is found not guilty, however, our reaction is often colored by the nature of the offense. In some cases, we celebrate the outcome and our whole system of government changes. Witness the John Peter Zenger case, where although clearly guilty of the crime alleged, the jury returned a not guilty verdict. The result? The idea of jury nullification entered American jurisprudence, and has been used since then to acquit people of unpopular or unjust laws.
In other cases, the outcome has a polarizing effect. Remember O.J. Simpson? Or the Fuhrman trial, over the Rodney King incident? And now, most recently, the Casey Anthony trial, where people are castigating the jury, accusing it of everything from cowardice to stupidity and cupidity. So let’s take a look at what went on during the trial.
The trial lasted over a month. The prosecution had 80 witnesses for their case, some of whom testified as many as 8 different times. The State offered over 1,000 pages of evidence, in addition to the 4,000 pages and 3 CDs of evidence it released publicly before the trial. The Simpson case was the longest trial ever held in California, costing more than $20 million to fight and defend, running up 50,000 pages of trial transcript in the process. Some reports say the Casey Anthony trial far exceeded these numbers. I haven’t even mentioned the defense evidence or witnesses yet.
How many of those complaining that the verdict was incorrect have read even a tenth of the material proffered? I’d bet on none. How many watched the entire trial? None, since not all of it was broadcast. How many really listened to the experts, for either side? My guess is that most people changed the channel to “Jerry Springer” as soon as the subject turned to the technical nature of duct tape marks and residue.
Cheney Mason, one of Casey Anthony’s defense attorneys, blamed the media for the passionate hatred toward his client. He termed it a “media assassination” of Anthony before and during the trial:
“I hope that this is a lesson to those of you who have indulged in media assassination for three years, bias, and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be… I can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don’t know a damn thing about, and don’t have the experience to back up their words or the law to do it. Now you have learned a lesson.”
I think he hit the nail on the head. We have seen, in too many cases, the press whip up a feeding frenzy, condemning a defendant long before the trial begins. Often, they are wrong. But the damage they do to the justice system is incalculable. Incomplete and misleading media coverage, often driven by the desire for ratings, leads talking heads like Nancy Grace to not report, but to advocate. Stumping for “justice for Caylee” only interferes with our ability to deliver justice to the only person we can: the defendant.