Wednesday, July 27, 2005

moot court whack-a-mole...

If you have ever played that game at the carnival where the little plastic moles pop up and you whack them down with a rubber hammer, you know what moot court is like. The difference is that you are the mole, and there is only one of you. YOu pop up, get smacked. Pop up again, get smacked.

I don't recall the last time in my life I was quite so at a loss for words. What was that question? Maybe if I continue to stare at the podium they will get distracted and forget I am here. Maybe if I shrink down and make myself small they won't be able to see me. Was law school really such a good idea?

If there is any doubt what experience teaches you, moot court removes that. In front of you; attorneys with decades of experience. YOu? fourth year law student. Priceless.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The CBA accreditation

From the Princeton review

"The Bar Exam and Accreditation (Perfect Together?)
Most states won't let you take the bar exam if you haven't attended an ABA-accredited school. California is in a barely traceable minority of states, however, that allow students from non-ABA-accredited schools to take the bar exam. If they pass, they can practice law in California and a small number of other districts as specified in their reciprocity law. The trick is: the California Bar Exam is known as the toughest in the nation (it's called an "exclusionary bar" because it's meant not just to measure competence, but also to regulate the number of lawyers who can practice in the state), so no matter what sort of school you've attended, you will be judged by the same ruthless standards as your accredited-school or non-accredited school peers. Simply put, it is NOT easy to become a lawyer in California, no matter what sort of school you choose.

To Pursue ABA Accreditation or Not to Pursue ABA Accreditation…
There's no doubt about it: Going to an ABA-accredited school is the most prestigious route, and allows for greater geographic mobility. Some firms only accept graduates from ABA-accredited schools, and an ABA-approved education often guarantees a higher starting salary. Furthermore, some critics argue that schools not accredited by the ABA are oriented less towards instilling students with a thorough knowledge of the law, and more towards teaching them how to pass the bar exam, supplying part-time professors and Spartan facilities. Two years ago, approximately eighty percent of students who attended ABA-approved schools in California passed the bar exam, versus approximately thirty percent for students who attended CBA-approved schools, and about fifteen percent for those who went the non-accredited route.

Some people argue that within California, CBA-approved schools are treated with the same respect as ABA-schools. But outside of California, that open-mindedness disappears, and people tend to regard CBA-approved schools in the same way they view unaccredited schools, which is to say, with less respect. If you know that you want to practice law in California, and you feel that your GPA and LSAT score are not competitive enough to get you into an ABA-accredited school, attending a CBA-approved school becomes a logical choice. Or, in an age of growing legal specialization, if a CBA-approved school matches your interests especially well, it might be perfect for you. Just keep in mind that this choice could affect your options further down the road. "

I might know the law

Here's a fantastic piece I found about a 3l at Haaaaaaaavaaaaad who is exactly the kind of brilliant, self-effacing individual I would expect to find occasionally at such a school; someone who doesn't buy into the mythology surrounding the profession, or the intellectual potty-training we call law school.


But it turns out that the assumptions just aren’t true. And so we carry around our secret, a little bit ashamed, a little bit amused, a little bit concerned, a little bit puzzled, a little bit resigned, and a little bit angry.

Here it is: I don’t know any law.

That’s an overstatement, but not by much. I don’t know that I really thought about it before I started law school, but I feel like I must have assumed I’d graduate having more of a clue than I do. I’ve been noticing more and more lately. People cut you some slack when you say you’re just a student, but you tell them you’re about to graduate and they expect Perry Mason. After watching a segment on The Daily Show last week, I had a conversation with a friend about whether they would be allowed to film on the Harvard campus without permission. Neither of us had any idea. I have no clue what the difference between robbery, burglary, larceny, theft, and just plain stealing are. My cousin is a teacher. She asked me whether it’s legal to handcuff her students. I mean, it sounds illegal... but is that really a more informed answer than I would have given three years ago?

I plugged the words “what every lawyer should know” into Google. I found pages that tell me what every lawyer should know about today’s paralegal, what every lawyer should know about computer forensics, what every lawyer should know about electronic evidence and discovery, what every lawyer should know about the Florida code of judicial conduct, what every lawyer should know about reciprocal discipline, what every lawyer should know about title surveys, what every lawyer should know about the Plain English rules, what every lawyer should know about representing deaf clients, what every lawyer should know about winning and defeating summary judgments, what every lawyer should know about crop insurance, what every lawyer should know about Texas residential landlord/tenant law, what every lawyer should know about brain injuries, what every lawyer should know about lurking liability in business practice, what every lawyer should know about the role of psychologists in custody cases, what every lawyer should know about parliamentary procedure, what every lawyer should know about about anti-SLAPP motions under Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16, what every lawyer should know about trips and slips on public sidewalks, what every lawyer should know about minimizing and responding to attacks on corporate information infrastructures, and much, much more. I don’t know anything at all about any of these things, and can’t imagine too many of my classmates do. Yet we’re all going to be law school graduates very shortly (barring any disasters in the upcoming weeks). And if we pass the bar, we could actually represent clients. Yikes. If I was a client, I would not want me as a lawyer. Sorry.

It all makes me start to wonder about doctors. Now that I know what we know after law school, I have to ask – how much medicine do doctors know after medical school? Do they have to run into their offices after every patient and look up the difference between the kidney and the spleen? Do they need to double-check the number of toes we’re supposed to have? Are they not quite certain what color healthy phlegm is really supposed to be? It’s frightening if they know as little about medicine as I know about what’s legal and what’s not. Then again, they’re dealing with life and death. We’re only dealing with freedom and justice. So who cares?

But you know what? It’s okay. I’m cool with it. Because here’s what I’ve learned in three years of law school. We can all find the law. What I can do that I couldn’t before law school is make the arguments. I can make stuff up that sounds credible enough. I can make my uncle think I know what I’m talking about when I tell him it’s illegal to buy milk on Tuesdays. I can make my grandma think I’m serious when I tell her giving a tin of brownies to her friend without charging is a violation of the antitrust laws. I can use big words, compound words, Latin words to make stuff up. And if they know I go to Harvard Law School, they believe me. This is an awesome power, and I waste it by telling my mom she’ll forfeit her U.S. citizenship if she makes an illegal U-turn, or telling a friend that you’re allowed to steal cable as long as you file the right paperwork with the local public library. We have the tools at our disposal to say anything, and have people believe us. It’s crazy.
Of course here at Empire college, which embarassingly enough is attached to a nursing school and an IT school (I actually think they aren't even nurses, they are nursing assistants, who by the way, are all about three hundred pounds and smoke like a chimney) although a superior court annex as well, we have actual lawyers teaching us. We may not be able to engage in an esoteric discussion on the vagaries of the commerce clause and the slaughterhouse cases, but people like me who CAN aren't really highly regarded. People who go to Harvard make public policy. People who go to empire, if they are lucky, get a public defender position or a good salary and develop a clientele. They end up in litigation over a tree stump bought for it's quality of wood after the tree it was attached to landed on the house and the company who sawed the tree down didn't get paid by the company from down south who discovered the wood wasn't such high quality. I'm not making this shit up. Is that bad or good? I don't know. I probably should have gone to Harvard but was more interested in wandering around the woods for a decade or so and didn't grow up until now. Assuming I have.

Public policy, esoteric arguments are cool. But I understand where 3l is coming from. I'm not sure how much I know either.

Worshipping intellect

Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship -- be it JC or Allah, bet it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles -- is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.

I ran across this by accident and it struck me between the eyes. I often feel stupid, a fraud, on the verge of being found out. Time for a little meditation. Too bad I have only enough time to read community property and get ready to be shredded in Moot court by the judges...

Starbuck's is too loud

Starbuck's officially sucks. Yes they are there when I need them, just like McDonald's was there for me in Europe when all I needed was some orange juice and a bowl of pasta was twenty franks and took an hour.

But everytime I go in there the music is literally BLASTING, people are talking at the tops of their voices, or on their cell phones loudly, and kids are screaming. There appears to be a real dearth of quiet space in our lives, and I chalk it up to the lack of an inner life most people have. Reading is not in vogue. Quiet contemplation certainly isn't. It's just idiots pulling up in their SUV's (okay my girlfriend owns two broken down SUV's, not hummers) bought on their home equity line of credit along with the wide-screen tv.

I hope to pray someday I can own a coffee shop where people can go an listen to quiet jazz in the background and carry on conversations in normal tones. Where people on cell phones are booted instantly and the girls who are rocking out behind the counter get fired within thirty seconds of turning the volume to eight.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Here we go again

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt - Egypt launched a massive hunt Saturday for terrorists who set off multiple bomb blasts that killed at least 88 in this Red Sea resort packed with European and Arab vacationers. Just days after the latest London strike, the world reeled from yet another attack with possible links to al-Qaida.

Egyptian investigators said they were trying to determine whether foreigners carried out the string of blasts that leveled the reception area of a luxury tourist hotel and ripped apart a coffeehouse crowded with Egyptians at 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

No direct link was seen between the devastating blasts in Sharm and the two rounds of explosions that recently hit London's subway and buses, but together the attacks reinforced a global fear that militants can strike anywhere
Direct link? Are these reporters serious? The whole essence of al Qaeda is that they are joined by ideology. They can operate without leadership, direction, or anything at all, because the only thing they need to do is kill innocent people.

This is a new era that requires new tactics. What the Israelis have been going through for decades is now what the world is experiencing. I dread to think what will happen to our civil liberties now that these enemies are gaining ground and momentum. One thing is certain. The backlash against muslims and arabs will be terrible. I pray for peace.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Asshole of the week...

Right-Wing Radio Talk Show Host John Stokes is an asshole. In fact, he may be one of the biggest assholes I have seen in years. I caught wind of his neo-nazi hate-mongering on a PBS special about a community in Montana divided between your typical red-neck, truck drivin' gun-toting jackasses who don't see forests, they see uncut lumber. If they cut every piece of commercial timber down and there isn't anything left to harvest, it's not their fault for not waiting for the trees to grow back, it's those darn hippies. Let's take a look at some of the things this jackass says:


This hue and cry now that you're starting to hear from the environmentalists, the Green Nazis: "We need have a dialogue. We need to sit down and understand each other." Don't. We need to finish them off and make sure they don't have babies.
Of course he claims this isn't a threat. NO, I suppose technically it isn't. SO when I say that we need to finish off right-wing neo-nazi assholes like this, it's isn't a threat either.

When the Left extremists are out of power, they are vicious, and it is pure, unadulterated, satanic evil. And they may look like your neighbors. It's evil.
Hitler made anger very fashionable. It was one of the techniques he used to get into power. By responding to everything in anger, he made it acceptable, and then the norm. Watching the vicious hatred this clown spews in the US is frightening. Fortunatley most of us are too busy watching "survivor" and eating fast food. Our economy would really have to go in the crapper for people to take this idiot seriously. I didn't hear about this on the PBS special but I came across this piece...Kalispell made the news last year when a militia outfit called Project 7 was broken up by local police. Its leader, a 38-year-old named David Burgert, was arrested for jumping bail on an earlier conviction for assaulting an officer and resisting arrest; when captured, officers uncovered him in possession of an arms cache of about 30 weapons and some 30,000 rounds of ammo.66

What was even more disturbing was the simultaneous discovery of his plans for this materiel: To run amok in a killing spree against local authorities. Burgert had organized a team of about 10 people to target some 26 city and county officials, including some of those same police officials, mayors and judges who came out for the potluck last summer.
We call them terrorists.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Black dog...

The post-Booker thicket, the sixth amendment, sentencing guidelines and the reasonableness standard

By Wallace E. Francis and Jennifer Willits


It was in the eighteenth century that Blackstone commented that juries were part of a "strong and two-fold barrier . . . between the liberties of the people and the prerogative of the crown" because "the truth of every accusation . . . . [must] be confirmed by the unanimous suffrage of twelve of his equals and neighbors indifferently chosen and superior to all suspicion.".

In the later part of the twentieth century, the Supreme Court upheld this important right and overruled Congressional law also designed to accomodate an important right; that of giving different defendants in different places equivalent terms and avoiding unjust disparities in sentencing.

The conflict here is vast and complex. This casenote addresses the origin of the Apprendi/Blakely/Booker rule and it's consequences in relation to the reasonableness standard. The issues of "plain error" and "pipeline" cases , are beyond the scope of this casenote. It attempts to trace the origins of the rule and it's implications to California's sentencing standard.

The Sentencing Reform Act

In 1984, more than 20 years ago, Congress passed the Sentencing Reform Act(SRA) . Prior to this date, federal judges had broad discretion with regard to sentencing within a wide statutory range. The Act was passed in an effort to avoid disparate sentences for similar crimes and to provide fairness and predictability in sentencing ranges. The Federal Sentencing Commission was formed under the Act, and the commission established a set of mandatory guidelines for the federal judiciary. During the last 25 years, most state courts have also done away with the discretionary sentencing style of the past and adopted their own guidelines, which vary from state to state but follow the ideal of providing certainty in sentencing. This was the noble goal of the commission.

There was widespread criticism of the sentencing laws. Critics pointed out that judges were now using facts not proven to a jury in order to sentence defendants to sentences much longer than the maximum allowable for the crime they were charged with. Prosecutors were able to charge a person under a "reasonable doubt" standard then judges could enhance the sentence under the "preponderance of the evidence" standard.

Apprendi v. New Jersey 530 U.S. 466 (2000)
The conflict between the sixth amendment and the sentencing guidelines came to light in a series of cases beginning with Apprendi V. New Jersey. Apprendi held that judges cannot enhance the sentence of a defendant using facts which have not been proven to a jury by the "reasonable doubt" standard beyond the statutory maximum. Against the backdrop of this decision, other courts refused to follow Apprendi. The Supreme Court, realizing the lower courts needed clarification, took the opportunity presented in the landmark case, Blakely v.Washington , to do so.

Blakely v. Washington

In an unexpected and fractured five-four decision, the Court held per Justice Scalia that the Washington State sentencing guidelines violated the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial as well as the Fifth amendment due process right. Citing Apprendi, they followed the rule which stated that "other than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt." Although the Apprendi rule had been applied in previous cases, it was later limited in its application by subsequent lower court rulings. This absolute and unqualified rule in Blakely (although the ninth circuit has now stated in the partially published opinion in People v. Black that there is no bright-line, contrary to the widely held view in accordance with the second circuit. turned twenty years of sentencing reform upside down.

Justice O’Connor pointed out in her dissent (in which she scathingly referred to this decision as a "Godzilla raging through Tokyo".) that the Blakely decision would probably not be limited to Washington state law, but would clearly affect the Federal Sentencing Guidelines as well.

The decision left numerous questions. The Washington state guidelines struck down in Blakely were almost identical to the federal guidelines. Would the court also make the same ruling in relation to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines? Would the rule by retroactively applied? Would hundreds or thousands of defendants now be up for resentencing and thus shorter sentences? U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew said, "I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I don't think anybody is sure what to do. ... It is an extremely stressful time."
Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and one of the foremost experts on sentencing law stated that Blakely is "like an earthquake," and that "Twenty years of investment in structured sentencing has essentially come crashing down." (and now)they're trying to figure out which parts have come down and how to put them back up again."

The Supreme Court, well aware of the confusion that the decision created, attempted to clarify the questions, or at least some of them, in the form of the Jan. 12, 2005 decision in US v. Booker.

US v. Booker

As the January 2005 decision in U.S. v. Booker demonstrates, O'Conner was absolutely correct in her concerns over the fate of the federal sentencing guidelines. In a decision that generated six opinions opinions from the Supreme Court, Booker applied the Blakely decision to Federal law, going so far as to invalidate and excise a portion of the United States Code.

Freddie Booker was charged with possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of crack (statutory minimum of 10 years prison, life maximum). The jury heard evidence that Booker had 92 grams in his duffel bag, and found him guilty of the charge. Based on the jury’s finding, combined with Booker’s prior criminal history, federal sentencing guidelines required the judge to assign a “base” sentence of 210 months minimum.

In post-trial sentencing proceedings, the judge concluded by a preponderance of the evidence that Booker possessed an additional 566 grams of crack and that he was guilty of obstructing justice. Those findings required the judge to impose a 360 months minimum sentence. The judge sentenced Booker to 30 years (360 months) in prison, a significant increase in his sentence.

On appeal, the seventh circuit court held the sentence was an unconstitutional violation of Booker’s Sixth Amendment rights, citing the Apprendi rule and relying on the recent Blakely decision. The case was remanded to the District Court with instructions to resentence within the range consistent with jury findings, or hold a separate sentencing hearing before a jury. The Government petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, which was granted, asking the Supreme Court to determine whether the Apprendi line of cases applies to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and if so, what portions of the guidelines remain in effect.

Justices Stevens delivered the first part of the majority opinion. The court held that the current sentencing guidelines violated the Sixth Amendment. They affirmed the rule from Blakely, citing Apprendi stating that "the ‘statutory maximum’ for Apprendi purposes is the maximum sentence a judge may impose solely on the basis of the facts reflected in the jury verdict or admitted by the defendant.”

As far as the majority were concerned, there was no significant distinction between Washington State procedure in Blakely and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines; thus, the rule applied in Federal court as well as state. Both systems were unconstitutional because they imposed mandatory guidelines on judges. Justice Stevens explained:

"We have never doubted the authority of a judge to exercise broad discretion in imposing a sentence within a statutory range. Indeed, everyone agrees that the constitutional issues presented by these cases would have been avoided entirely if Congress had omitted from the SRA the provisions that make the Guidelines binding on district judges… When a trial judge exercises his discretion to select a specific sentence within a defined range, the defendant has no right to a jury determination of the facts that the judge deemed relevant."
Justice Breyer delivered the second part of the opinion, further clarifying statements made by Stevens as to the application of the rule. The majority found portions of the U.S Code to be incompatible with the Court’s holding, and addressed the question of whether this finding invalidates the Guidelines “as a whole.”

The analysis included a discussion of the probable legislative intent of Congress with regard to sentencing statutes in light of the Court’s holding. Breyer concluded that the Guidelines need not be eliminated entirely, but must be modified:

"One approach…would retain the Sentencing Act (and the Guidelines) as written, but would engraft onto the existing system today’s Sixth Amendment “jury trial” requirement. The addition would change the Guidelines by preventing the sentencing court from increasing a sentence on the basis of a fact the jury did not find (or that the offender did not admit.)

The other approach, which we now adopt, would make the Guidelines system advisory while maintaining a strong connection between the sentence imposed and the offender’s real conduct—a connection important to the increased uniformity of sentencing that Congress intended its Guidelines system to achieve."

Many experts believe the Booker decision did little to alleviate the problems and confusion created by Blakely. By allowing each federal circuit to build their own interpretation of the “reasonableness standard” through precedent, the problems Congress sought to avoid in passing the Sentencing Reform Act were perpetuated: disparate sentencing for the same crimes based upon the jurisdiction in which the defendant was charged and convicted. In fact, in the recent decision in US v. Shannon, No. 04-2895 (8th Cir. July 14, 2005) the court handed out a sentence of 58 months, when the standard range for that type of crime was only 6-12 months. The 8th circuit concluded that such a sentence was not unreasonable.

People v. Black

The latest Booker decision in California, People v. Black, points to what the court claims are important differences between California's sentencing guidelines and those guidelines promulgated by the state of Washington and the federal government. It is because these guidelines are different that the ninth circuit felt compelled to rule that California's sentencing laws were constitutional, claiming that the Blakely/Booker rule was thus inapplicable.
California uses "determinate" sentencing. In this type of sentencing, the judges choose between three different sentences, rather than any number within a chosen range (for example five years, ten years, or fifteen years rather than any sentence from five to twenty years). California judges are required to give the middle-range unless aggravating factors are found from which the judge may enhance the sentence unilaterally.
California's guideline, as argued in Black, essentially gives the court the same type of power Blakely held unconstitutional, the power to make determinations of fact from which one may enhance the sentence.

The majority disagreed, stating that the type of facts usually found by juries were not like the ones being used here.

"Because an aggravating factor under California law may include any factor that the judge reasonably deems to be relevant, the determinate sentencing law’s requirement that an upper term sentence be imposed only if an aggravating factor exists is comparable to Booker’s requirement that a federal judge’s sentencing decision not be unreasonable."


The Apprendi/Blakely/Booker rulings by the Supreme Court continue to create currents and countercurrents in American jurisprudence. Recent rulings of the California indicate that the conflict is not over. The Supreme Court has spoken on the issue of the sixth amendment but perhaps not clearly. As long as circuit courts continue review cases with a different standard of "reasonableness", the Supreme Courts' spirited defense of the sixth amendment will in all likelihood continue to create confusion.
Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England *349-*350 (T. Cooley 4th ed. 1896).

See United States v. Ameline, 376 F.3d 967 as well as "Litigating in a Post-Booker World" by Alan Ellis, Karen L. Landau, and James H. Feldman, Jr. Criminal Justice 20, No.1, Spring 2005 by the American Bar Association
United States v. Ameline, 376 F.3d 967, 983
18 U.S.C.S. § 3551 and 28 U.S.C.S. § 991
Apprendi v. New Jersey, 125 S.Ct. 738
Blakely v. Washington, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004)
People v. Black Ct. App. 5 No. F042592
See "The Roots and Realities of Blakely, " by Douglas A. Berman, from Criminal Justice, Volume 19, No.4 Winter 2005 by the American Bar Association
125 S. Ct. 738 (2005)

See 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 3553(b)(1) and 3742(e). Thus the courts were now bound by 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and the important prerequisite was that the sentence be "sufficient, but not greater than necessary" to,
A) reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense;
B) afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct
C)protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and
D) provide the defendant with needed educational and vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner.
530 US 466, 490
See Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 481; Williams v. New York, 337 U.S. 241, 246 (1940).
125 S. ct. 725, 750

125 S. ct. 738, 756 see also

People v. Black Ct. App. 5 No. F042592
See for an in-depth analysis "An Important Sentencing Ruling from the California Supreme Court: " from Vikram David Amar

People v. Black Ct. App. 5 No. F042592 page 27

The Glaspie affair

One of the really irritating things about the Michael Moore faction (who I consider to be a great example of the shrill, hysterical and half-educated left who could easily show up next year as conservatives since they do all the things the Nixonians do; lie, tell half-truths, don't bother to research things, spin things as best they can)

is present the Glaspie Affair, as it is called, as some kind of damning evidence of an American conspiracy. The funny thing is that no one is ever able to really explain why we did it. The idea goes like this; in the conversations with Hussein, Glaspie gave Hussein the "green light" (grrrrr) to invade Kuwait.

Now, in order to believe this, you have to think of a rationale. You have to believe the US would want to risk stabilizing the mideast and then put bases there along with half a million soldiers and then just unilaterally withdraw them, leaving only 5000 men. The bellicose idiots who rant about American imperialism become ominously quiet when confronted with this simple fact. Did we withdraw because we were afraid of the "arab street"? Alternately we are portrayed as imperalist nazi dogs and cowards. I"m not sure how we can be both.
Q: What was April Glaspie telling Saddam?

Atkinson: Well, April Glaspie our Ambassador to Iraq was telling Saddam fundamentally that we were concerned about his bellicose attitude and the various statements that he had issued regarding his intentions toward Kuwait, regarding his disgruntlement with the way he was being treated by the Arab world in general. But it was hardly tantamount to a warning shot across the bow. She had a meeting with Saddam on July 25, 1990 in which she basically said, the United States has no direct vested interest in Arab disputes including the border dispute that Saddam had with the Kuwaitis. In retrospect this was a clear mistake. I think if taken within the context of the time you have to first of all appreciate that she was more or less executing orders that came to her from the State Department. Secondly, again, this was a continuation of a long policy of tough love with Saddam. Warning him that we were watching him and yet telling him that we would continue to be his friend as long as he remained within certain parameters. It was a continuation of basically a tough love policy that the United States had adopted towards Saddam in which we periodically wagged our finger under his nose, but at the same time said, we will continue to be your friend. We'll make it worth your while if you will simply conform to certain standards of behavior. Saddam took this I think in retrospect as if not a green light -- a yellow light and one that he could safely run without consequence.

Q: Why wasn't she or Bush or the Administration firing a stronger warning shot?

Atkinson: Part of it was they were preoccupied with other events. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the emergence of Germany. This occurred two months before -- German unification which was certainly higher on the agenda of world events in terms of American interests then what seemed to be a relatively minor border dispute which had cropped up periodically over the years between Iraq and Kuwait. I think that it can fundamentally be explained just in terms of inattention and a belief that Saddam had for the previous ten years in which we've been courting him adhered to this policy of carrot and stick that we had used toward him where we swaggered a bit, threatened, and then did nothing that we really found offensive. So in retrospect, clearly they misjudged. They misjudged his intentions. It was a bad read on Saddam's character and intentions at the time.

7/17/2005 2:38 PM 66 out of 66

Here was a man who came to believe that the United States first of all would turn a blind eye to control the forty percent of the world's oil supply. He was a man who believed that he could hunker down and ride out an attack by what was clearly the most formidable coalition of military powers since World War II. He was a man who believed that the West lacked a political will to carry through on its threats. He was a man who miscalculated in taking hostages and then compounded his miscalculations and made Schwarzkopf's military efforts much easier by letting them go in December. Every time he had to make a major strategic decision, Sadam guessed wrong until the end of the war when he guessed right.

Sadam made many strategic miscalculations. He failed to recognize that the world was awash with oil. That Iraqi oil was not critical to the functioning of the Western democracies. There was plenty of oil. He failed to recognize that Arab unity would hold even in the face of attacks on Israel and the potential for Israel to come into the war. He failed to reassure King Fahd of his benign intentions toward Saudi Arabia thereby driving the Saudis into the arms of Washington. Perhaps most importantly, he failed to calculate that the United States was serious about this. That there had been a decision made in Washington that they would go to war. I think he believed that the United States would fold as it had after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 and simply leave. He made one strategic miscalculation after another.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Juan Cole

Juan Cole has become a media darling but I instantly took a disliking to him when he went after someone for not being able to speak arabic. Since I only speak English and a smattering of Spanish, I'm biased. Since he speaks Arabic, so is he. But this argument is the classic "appeal to authority". We should listen to him because he has the credentials, he is president, he's a rich business know the drill. It's total bullshit. I found this piece by a guy named Michael J. Totten (he shares a name with a ranger I knew in Yosemite who would go after employees of the YCS like an attack dog, arresting them every five minutes) I liked.
Juan Cole would rather align himself with anti-American Iraqis like the blogger Riverbend. Okay, whatever. But I have no idea why he expects conservatives and centrists to do any such thing.
Most people in this world don’t reflexively side with those who hate them. One reason he is in the political wilderness and I’m not is because he does and I don’t.

unhinged mohsin

This bnet post comes from a particularly insane, anti-semitic poster on bnet who goes by the moniker "mohsin". His compadre, "Let peace prevail" (probably the most hilarious name for a islamofascist one could imagine) echoes his racist views. Here's a sample.
According to explosives experts London bombs that destroyed three London Underground carriages and a double-decker bus, were crude homemade devices set off with a simple timer. Each weighed less than 10 pounds and could be carried in a backpack. According to Alex Standish, the editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest: "Any crook with ready cash could obtain this stuff if they knew where to look for it."

Regardless of who the culprits were - (al Qaeda or Mossad) - let's compare the deaths and mayhem these simple, unsophisticated homemade devices have caused to what happens when 1000 , 2000 and 5000 pounds bomb is dropped on a city, marketplace, hospital, school or a wedding party but goes largely unreported in the western media.

I mean why don't we get to see that 'Breaking News' or round the clock news coverage of the civilian massacres carried out from 30000 feet high up in the sky?

Of course you do see on your tv screens the air strikes, carpet bombings and Shock and Awe campaigns carried out on poor & defenceless but oilrich third world nations, and boy that does make you feel so proud of your military strength and superiority.

But what happens on the ground, when tonnes and tonnes of zillion trillion dollar bombs are rained upon civilian populations==
In a previous post he mentions something about Jews knowing about the london bombings. NOtice here he mentions the Mossad as being an equally likely suspect as Al Qaeda, and then on to the "carpet bombings" in Iraq.

Their own worst enemies

How ignorant are Al Qaeda and the OBL supporters here on bnet and elsewhere?

They attack the most democratic city in America, in which 90% of the voters are democrats. The democrats are the party that oppose Bush, and in the last thirty years have been the party least likely to engage in adventurism overseas. They kidnap French journalists who oppose the Iraq war. They kidnap Italian communists who oppose the Iraq war. They kill Dutch film makers in a nation that opposes the Iraq war. They kill schoolchildren in Russia, a nation that opposed the gulf war. They blew up a train station in Spain, a country where 90% of the population opposed the Iraq war. They regularly spew anti-semitic nazi propaganda when Jews in the US are almost all democrats and historically have been the catalyst for the largest progressive movements in the US.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Apology not accepted...

let's here it for the apologists already thinking of excuses for the slaughter of innocents. Isn't exploding a bomb in a train station a rational response to the "illegal" war in Iraq? WOuldn't you do that too?

The answer to that is no. I wouldn't. And if you are going to sit there at your computer and try to explain this murder as some sort of rational reaction to American imperialism, as though those people had anything to do with it, then you are to far gone to reason with. The people who believe that a confrontation with these people cannot be forestalled are vindicated; the people who are thinking of all the reasons why the rape victim deservered to get raped are not.

But it is not surprising; the more vicious the attacks of the Palestinians became, the more people idenitified with these irrational fanatics. The more horrific the spectacle, the more in need we are of a rational explanation. How terrifying it must be to confront the notion that we cannot vote our enemies out of office; that we cannot write a letter, attend a protest, or join a potluck.

Dschlleb is in awe of the ability of the terrorists to attack us "anywhere, anytime" and believes apparently that had we avoided Iraq, sent money to the PLO, and apologized to the Arab world that everything would be just fine. He isn't disgusted by the fact that these murderers utilize our freedom to move about and do as we like without government intrusion in order to kill us. He isn't repulsed by the fact that they see our greatest strength as a weakness to be exploited, and that the only choice confronting us now are the draconian measures installed as a course of matter in the decadent societies from which they come.

You are looking across the English channel and saying "it's all our fault Germany has gone made".

I find it sickening.

7/7/2005 2:51 PM 8 out of 9

It cannot be very long now before some slaughter occurs on the streets of London or Rome or Warsaw, as punishment for British and Italian and Polish membership of the anti-Saddam coalition. But perhaps there is still time to avoid the wrath to come. If British and Italian and Polish troops make haste to leave the Iraqis to their own "devices" (of the sort that exploded outside the mosques of Karbala and Najaf last month), their civilian cousins may still hope to escape the stern disapproval of the holy warriors. Don't ask why the holy warriors blow up mosques by the way—it's none of your goddam crusader-Jew business.
-Christopher Hitchens"To Die in Madrid"