Blogito, Ergo Sum

by Gregg Calkins

25 November 2008, a Tuesday

Not much new this morning, things remain about the same as they were yesterday.  Market flat, no new appointments, blah blah blah.

An interesting clip from Best of the Web Today:

The Associated Press's Monika Scislowska reports from Warsaw on a new historical finding:

Researchers said Thursday they have identified the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus by comparing DNA from a skeleton and hair retrieved from one of the 16th-century astronomer's books. The findings could put an end to centuries of speculation about the exact resting spot of Copernicus, a priest and astronomer whose theories identified the Sun, not the Earth, as the center of the universe.

Actually, I am the center of the universe, but if Monica wants to believe that the sun is, I don't mind.  Actually, come to think of it, I believe that is what Copernicus thought at the time, so her statement is perfectly correct: that is what his theories identified.  The fact that we now think differently doesn't change that.

Bret Stephens succinctly explains the piracy problem, and I've edited him down even more tightly:

Why? The view of senior U.S. military officials seems to be, in effect, that there is no controlling legal authority. Title 18, Chapter 81 of the United States Code establishes a sentence of life in prison for foreigners captured in the act of piracy. But, crucially, the law is only enforceable against pirates who attack U.S.-flagged vessels, of which today there are few.

What about international law? Article 110 of the U.N.'s Law of the Sea Convention -- ratified by most nations, but not by the U.S. -- enjoins naval ships from simply firing on suspected pirates. Instead, they are required first to send over a boarding party to inquire of the pirates whether they are, in fact, pirates.  ...

(In) the 18th century, pirates knew exactly where they stood in relation to the law. A legal dictionary of the day spelled it out: "A piracy attempted on the Ocean, if the Pirates are overcome, the Takers may immediately inflict a Punishment by hanging them up at the Main-yard End; though this is understood where no legal judgment may be obtained."  ...  (And) it succeeded in mostly eliminating piracy by the late 19th century

"We're humane warriors," says one U.S. Navy officer. "When the pirates put down their RPGs and raise their hands, we take them alive. And that's a lot tougher than taking bodies."

And how simple is the solution?  Simply stop accepting surrender as one of the rules of warfare, particularly with respect to piracy.  If you are a pirate, you headed for a quick and abrupt death, period.  End the problem the way we learned to do it several hundred years ago.

I know that I'm an old guy, and a conservative, but just the same I look around everywhere, from the banks to the Big Three, pirates and terrorists, even drug dealers and common criminals, and everywhere I look it seems I see one thing: they don't seem to think they're ever going to be caught, for one thing, and for the second they don't think they're going to be really punished, especially not severely.  Even if you knew for sure you'd be caught, who wouldn't trade 5 years in a nice federal pen in return for $100 million dollars?  Kill a few American infidels in a gun battle and then run out of ammunition?  No problem, just surrender.  Go to Guantanamo, put on some weight and get back into good fighting condition, pretty soon some judge will release you.

I can just see the scene now when the British navy arrives at the side of the suspected pirate vessel.  A crewmember turns and yells up to the captain...hey Cap, guy down here wants to know if we've seen any pirates?  No, the captain says, this here's a fishing charter.  Tell them to come on aboard and have some of Joe Wilson's hot, sweet, mint tea, look around all they like, they won't find any skull-and-crossbones flags or cutlasses or any other pirate costumes on MY ship!  Whups, time for prayer, gotta ask you infidels to leave now.  Sorry, old chap, better luck next time.  Hope you get the ruddy blighters, I do.  Gives a bad name to us fishing charter skippers.

One of the unhappy things I see happening in America these days is the willingness, even eagerness, to find someone "wrong" for whatever they do, no matter what their intentions.  It's like a giant game of gotcha, where the goal is not to avoid being got but to get someone else.  From The American Spectator:

La Raza, by the way, is the same group, that, along with ACORN and the Greenlining Institute, helped to cause the subprime mortgage meltdown. After decades of demanding more loans for racial minorities, the group performed a dramatic about-face as mortgage markets collapsed, suddenly warning that lenders, realtors, and investors who bought up subprime loans could be sued under a federal law that forbids housing discrimination. It was the lenders' responsibility to "match families to the sustainable loans that they should have gotten in the first place," said Murguia.

Of course, is was a do-gooder government which forced the lenders into this position in the first place...the Clinton government, spearheaded by Barney Frank.

Michael Mukasey fainted and distracted the MSM from what he had to say:

And when people denounce a purported assault on the "Geneva Conventions," you might expect some level of specificity in the charges. One cannot "assault" a treaty as an abstract concept; one can only violate the treaty by acting contrary to its words. The Geneva Conventions contain 319 articles, of which 315 are plainly addressed to armed conflicts among the nations that signed the Conventions. It is hardly surprising that the United States concluded that those provisions would not apply to the armed conflict against Al Qaeda, an international terrorist group and not, the last time I checked, a signatory to the Conventions.

I couldn't agree more!

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