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Monthly Archives: December 2010

I shouldn’t have to write this essay. But a judge in Oklahoma forced me into it.

Last month, 70% of the voters in Oklahoma approved State Question 755, which bans Sharia law (and international law) from being used in the state’s legal system. Almost immediately afterward, CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) sued to have the vote overturned, based on the bizarre claim that the measure is “unconstitutional.” U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange then sided with CAIR and issued an injunction preventing the measure from taking effect until all lawsuits against it are resolved. Since the suits will likely take years to play out, the new measure (and the will of the voters) will be stymied for the foreseeable future.

Those who oppose Sharia in the United States often argue their point by highlighting how misogynistic, backward, cruel and discriminatory Islamic law can be under most interpretations. And while all that may be true, it is the wrong argument to make. I get so frustrated watching pundits, politicians and bloggers making the weakest argument in what should be a slam-dunk debate that I’ve decided to write this brief outline of what I think should be the prioritized hierarchy of arguments against the use of Sharia in the United States.

In order, these are the arguments that Sharia’s opponents should be using, not just in Oklahoma but anywhere else in the country where the same issue crops up:

1. U.S. law is the “supreme law of the land,” no exceptions.

The specifics of what’s in Sharia law are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether Sharia is the most wonderful, mild and reasonable set of humanitarian recommendations ever devised, or if it’s an oppressive medieval framework for a nightmarish theocracy — or something in between. All of that is off-topic. Why? Because in the United States of America, only U.S. law governs. Period. You can’t violate a U.S. law and then offer up as a legal excuse, “Well, in Mongolia what I did is perfectly legal!” You’d be convicted, while the jury laughed.

To get specific, Article VI of the Constitution, better known as the Supremacy Clause, states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.

“Supreme law of the land” nails it down pretty well. I don’t see anything in there about exceptions made for religious law — do you?

Even the lead plaintiff in the case concedes this point; quoted in the top link above, Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR, said “the measure is unnecessary ‘because even first-year law students know’ that another type of law cannot supersede the U.S. Constitution.”

And…? What’s his point here? It may be true that State Question 755 merely reaffirms already-established legal principles, but just because a measure is “unnecessary” doesn’t mean that it’s unconstitutional. In fact, as many legal experts know, there is plenty of duplication and overlap in the Constitution itself, and much more in state law. Hate-crime laws are a clear recent example of “unnecessary” duplicative legislation: It’s already illegal to assault someone, but the courts have allowed additional laws against assault motivated by malice, even though they’re theoretically “unnecessary.” The same allowance for “unnecessary” reaffirmation of Constitutional ideals applies to the new Oklahoma law as well.

2. Sharia, as “divine revelation,” is inherently undemocratic.

One of the fundamental principles of United States law is that it is subject to the will of the governed, and can be updated and revised over time. This can be done at the federal level by Constitutional amendments in which the people of each state (through their elected representatives) vote on whether or not to alter the nationwide legal framework; or by electing (or booting out) representatives who enact laws according to the will of the voters; or by electing presidents and governors who appoint judges of this or that political slant; or by similar mechanisms at state or local levels. This process is so self-evident that it hardly needs to be described.

But Sharia operates in a completely different way. The Qur’an (from which Sharia is ultimately derived) is deemed by Islam to be “revealed,” in that it was supposedly handed down from on high by Allah himself, and as such is perfect, unchangeable, uninterpretable, and thus beyond the reach of man’s attempt to alter it. In other words, Sharia is undemocratic. In practice, various Islamic experts and jurists — imams, ayatollahs, mullahs, and so forth — do indeed “interpret” the medieval Arabic of the Qur’an and apply it to modern settings, since only scholars can even read the Qur’an in the original. (Even direct translations of the Qur’an are regarded by true believers as corruptions; only the original is the true “word of God.”) But these jurists themselves are not elected. So neither the text nor the implementation of the text are subject to the will of the populace.

Needless to say, any such legal system fundamentally contradicts the basis of the American legal system. You can’t have an immutable, eternal set of fixed religious laws (i.e. Sharia) incorporated as a subset of a malleable legal system (such as U.S. law).

(Now, if three-fourths of U.S. states voted to amend the federal Constitution to jettison all existing law and replace it with Sharia, then yes, we could have Sharia in America. But that doesn’t seem likely. And until such an amendment is passed, then Sharia is in fundamental disagreement with the existing Constitution.)

Sharia’s advocates think that by citing Sharia’s “perfection,” divinity and immutability, they are making a good argument for why it should be adopted; but it is for that very reason that it is completely unacceptable in the United States, a land whose government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Note that last word: people. Not God, not Allah. Us.
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Long ago, in an earlier epoch of human existence (Fall 2008), I created some anti-Obama slogans with a mind to manufacturing political ephemera for the purpose of influencing the presidential campaign, however slightly. Alas, in the frenzy of the election season, I never got around to actually making any use of these slogans. Then, shortly after the election, I came up with additional designs, this time catering to the new market of Obama voters with “buyers’ remorse.” But those too fell by the wayside, unused. More recently, in the aftermath of the 2010 midterms, I created yet more anti-Obama slogans, reflecting current attitudes, and was on the verge of once more allowing them to rot on the vine — until now. Rather than let them all go to waste, I have gathered up a selection of my more memorable propaganda slogans from the last 2+ years and finally made them available for purchase by the public, just in time for Christmas Kwanzaa Boxing Day the late-December gift-buying season.

And so I hereby present the Obama Disappointment Syndrome gift shop at CafePress where you can buy bumper stickers, shirts, hats, mugs and more emblazoned with your favorite anti-Obama mantras.

Thanks are due to Buzzsawmonkey and Chicken Kiev for help in thinking up some of the slogans, and to a couple of unnamed online pals willing to actually set up and host the CafePress shop.

On the next page you will find samples from our vast selection of designs and products, which you can order (for real!) and have delivered just in time for 2011 — or the next Tea Party rally. Click on any image below to go to a shop page devoted exclusively to that particular slogan — many more products are available than just the samples presented here. And for those of you short on cash and long on printer ink, I have included on this page fairly hi-res jpegs so you can download the images and print your own ersatz bumper stickers, if you so desire.

Politics + shopping — what better way to get this country back on track?


 

“Frowny Obama” bumper sticker


 

Frowny Obama sums up the national zeitgeist midway through his presidency. Direct, simple, and to the point — like a diagrammatic road sign. At this stage, words are extraneous anyway; all you need is the name Obama, a big frown, and your message is clear. Suitable for conservatives, liberals, anarchists, peaceniks and Tea Partiers.

“Hope-a-Dope” women’s shirt


 

Remember Muhammad Ali and his “rope-a-dope” strategy against George Foreman? Ever get the feeling that Obama is trying something similar with the American public, allowing us to exhaust ourselves opposing an endless stream of outrageous proposals, and when we’re all tuckered out — blam! — he slips in a lame-duck-session combination when we least expect it. I call this the Hope-a-Dope technique, and now you can too.

“Obama for Caliph” yard sign.


 

I originally designed this double-take-inducing Obama for Caliph campaign sign back in 2008. Dripping with cynical double-edged sarcasm, it warned of a looming totalitarian theocracy while simultaneously poking fun at the then-nascent “birther” movement. I saw three emerging social waves: A new religion forming around Obama-worship among American leftists; fear among Christians that Obama was secretly still a Muslim; and Obama’s wild popularity (at the time) in the Middle East. What one slogan ties all three together? Obama for Caliph. Suitable for starry-eyed Obama die-hards, snarky conservatives, and jihadists.

“F O” girl’s shirt


 

Brevity is the soul of wit, and ultra-brevity is the soul of political effectiveness. Want to dominate your neighborhood with the most concise political opinion ever devised? Go F O ! (In case it needs explaining: it’s an update of the old blog/texting insult “F U”.)

“Obama Ipecac” all-American shirt.


 

Obama Ipecac? What the hell does that mean?

It doesn’t “mean” anything, in the literal sense. It’s what psychologists call “word association.” In this case we’re juxtaposing Obama’s name with the name of the once-common medicine “ipecac,” the extract of a South American plant which causes immediate and uncontrollable vomiting when ingested. If you’ve ever tasted ipecac, just seeing the word can induce nausea. Which is exactly the goal.

“I Cling…and I Vote” trucker’s hat.


 

Calling all rednecks!

Do you cling to guns and religion out of fear and ignorance, as our president so derisively theorized? And do you vote anyway, despite your stupidity and superstition? Time for some payback! An I Cling…and I Vote bumper sticker on your pickup truck will put the fear into the neighborhood liberals at your local supermarket parking lot.

“Hope and Change…suckers!” bumper sticker.


 

I designed this one in the first few weeks of Obama’s White House tenure, when it was already becoming obvious that liberals were starting to get a little suspicious of Obama’s sincerity about some of his campaign promises. While Hope and Change…suckers! was originally conceived with a strictly left-leaning audience in mind, smart-ass conservatives can also buy it as a way to taunt any liberals in the vicinity.

“NObama ’08″ mug.


 

NObama ’08 was the very first of my designs, way back when Obama tied up the Democratic nomination in the summer of 2008. Alas, shortly afterwards, the exact same slogan occurred to several other more retail-savvy entrepreneurs, so I shrugged and set my slogan aside as not particularly original. But now in retrospect I see that my actual finalized design was better than most of the others on the market, so if you’re nostalgic for the “good old days” when Obama had not yet been elected, then this is the slogan for you!

“Barack, you have disappointed me” women’s tank top.


 

Guilt is the primary liberal weapon, both politically and interpersonally. I’ve distilled down the essence of this emotional blackmail and turned it into a personalized guilt-trip aimed at Obama from the left: “Barack, you have disappointed me.” The child-like handwriting gives it that extra-potent whiney passive-aggressiveness. Suitable for liberals and leftists only.

“Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss/Bush” cap.


 

When Obama won the election in 2008, I knew he couldn’t possibly keep all his campaign promises, so I suspected a huge wave of disillusionment would eventually sweep across the country. With that in mind, I adapted The Who’s teen slogan Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss and superimposed “Bush” on the second “Boss,” to show that, no matter how hard he would try to be the anti-President, Obama would surely follow in his predecessor’s footsteps on many issues. Sure enough, my prediction came true (Afghanistan, bailouts, Guantanamo, gay marriage, surveillance, etc.), so this old slogan’s time has finally come.

“I voted for HOPE and CHANGE but got MORE of the SAME” bumper sticker.


 

I voted for HOPE and CHANGE but got MORE of the SAME was yet another variation on the “Obama Disillusionment” theme from late 2008.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Have ideas for other slogans/designs you think would be good to include in the Obama Disappointment Syndrome gift shop? Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section below!

The Berkeley City Council voted last night on its controversial resolution to proclaim Bradley Manning a hero — and took the cowards’ way out by not making a decision at all. After a firestorm of international media attention and hours of debate, the Council eventually voted to “table” the motion honoring Bradley Manning, which basically means that they put it on hold for possible consideration at a later date — if ever.

But that doesn’t mean the councilmembers are against the idea of honoring the person who released the classified government documents to Wikileaks. Far from it. In fact, almost all the councilmembers declared their enthusiastic support for the “whistleblower” who stole and released the documents, but there was one hitch: We still don’t know who that person is. Sure, Manning is suspected of being the culprit/hero, but he hasn’t been convicted yet, and for all we know, it could have been someone else, or Manning could have been a minor player in a larger effort, so the city should not honor Manning individually — yet. When and if he confesses, or is conclusively convicted of stealing the documents, then would be the time to honor him as a hero.


Some of the Berkeley City Councilmembers prior to the vote, on December 14, 2010

You can watch a streaming video of the hours-long debate and vote on this page; make sure to choose “Support and Free Pfc. Bradley Manning and proclaim Him a Hero” from the “Jump to…” drop-down menu. (Otherwise, you’ll have to sit through an hour of unrelated Zoning Adjustment Board arguments.)

As you can see in the video, many Berkeley residents got up to speak their minds about the Manning vote, and opinion was divided; some urged the council to vote “Yes” on the resolution, while a few called for a “No” vote — but the majority opinion seemed to be, “Why are you wasting our time with these ridiculous political resolutions? Get on with the business of running the city!”


Audience members streaming into the council chamber in preparation for the controversial Bradley Manning vote.

The councilmembers are no fools — they realized that a “Yes” vote would embarrass the city in front of the whole nation. But a “No” vote would undermine their leftist credentials, and enrage most of the city’s political activists. So they ducked the issue entirely, but only after reassuring everyone present of their anti-American bona fides. (Watch the video linked above to see each councilmember’s statement, if you’re curious about which one said what.)

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The Real WikiLeaks Villian Is Not Julian Assange

December 9th, 2010 - 11:05 am

The Berkeley City Council plays a handy role in contemporary American politics: If you want to know what your opinion should be regarding any particular event, note carefully what the Berkeley City Council has voted on that week, and whatever they’re for, that’s what you should be against. In this instance, Berkeley is voting to give Bradley Manning — the traitorous ex-soldier who was the original source of all the “Wikileaks” documents — an award for heroism.

Berkeley’s sickening municipal resolution has received a smattering of media coverage here and there, but it hasn’t aroused the national outrage it deserves, for the simple reason that most Americans still don’t know who Bradley Manning even is. Bradley who? Shouldn’t Berkeley be giving an award to Julian Assange, just as so many other leftists have lavished praise on Wikileaks’ Australian-born head honcho?

Well, no. Say what you want about Berkeley, but they got it right this time, in their own sick way: If you’re going to praise the America-hating traitor responsible for this incident, your award should go to Manning, who actually leaked the secret government files, rather than Assange, who merely put them on his Web site.

The very fact that this incident is usually dubbed “the Wikileaks case” by the media is absurd; it’s not about Wikileaks. It should be called “The Manning Incident” or “The Manning Files.”

Julian Assange is a bit player in this case. His crime, if any, is minor. I can’t fathom why there has been so much media attention focused on him as opposed to Manning, who after all is the one who stole the secret documents.

The focus should be on the leaker, not the leakee. When the Rosenbergs “leaked” nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, did we put Stalin on trial for treason? Of course not. He was simply the recipient of the leak. Even though Stalin benefited from the treachery, it was neither his fault, nor was he under U.S. jurisdiction, so he could not be (nor should he have been) prosecuted. Instead, the law and the nation’s attention were correctly directed at the people who actually did commit treason and who were under United States jurisdiction: the Rosenbergs.

Antiquated Espionage Laws Inadequate to Handle Stateless Anti-American Sentiment

Just as our honor-based rules of war are not equipped to handle our interactions with stateless amoral opponents in an age of terrorism, so too are our laws against treason and espionage not equipped to deal with stateless opposition in the Internet era.

Despite the much-mocked phrase “war on terror,” we’ve never officially declared war on anyone since 9/11, because you can’t declare war on an individual, an ideology or a tactic. And now it’s becoming clear that it may be difficult to prosecute someone like Bradley Manning as a traitor or a spy because there is no foreign government to which he has betrayed his nation.

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Child Rapist Captured by Good Samaritans

December 3rd, 2010 - 1:20 pm

I don’t usually cover crime stories.

But something happened yesterday that was so depraved as to nearly defy human comprehension:

Union City sex offender accused of raping 2-year-old

A registered sex offender is being held on suspicion of rape after police said he sexually assaulted a 2-year-old girl in a Dollar Tree store on Decoto Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Eugene Ramos, 36, of Union City, was arrested and booked on suspicion of kidnapping, rape, sexual acts with a child and false imprisonment.

The incident began when a man grabbed the girl as she returned a ribbon to a Christmas aisle in the store, momentarily leaving the sight of her grandmother and aunt, who were with her, police said.

The man had the child pinned down in the aisle and was sexually assaulting her when he was spotted by the grandmother, police said. The child’s pants and diaper had been removed and she was being straddled by the man, who had pulled his pants and underwear down, according to police.

The man was pulling up his pants as he fled the store while being chased by the girl’s grandmother and aunt, according to police.

Eugene Ramos, scuzzball.

Several customers chased him through the shopping complex and a solicitor in front of the store eventually tackled the man.

A BART police officer nearby was flagged down as a small group of people held down the man.

More details here:

Ramos attacked a 7-year-old child in Hayward in 2003 and was convicted of assault with intent to commit rape, sodomy or oral copulation, authorities said. Jail records show he is unemployed.

Ramos ran, with the grandmother and aunt in pursuit, police said. Demario Hawkins, who was soliciting donations outside the store for a nonprofit that helps homeless people, and another man, Sammy Johnson, also gave chase, police said. The men tackled him.

“Had it not been for these two gentlemen, he could have gotten away with this,” Musgrove said.

And here:

On Thursday, police honored two men who prevented Ramos from fleeing the scene.

Sammy Johnson, 55, of Fremont, was in the store Wednesday afternoon when the crime occurred, and 24-year-old DeMario Hawkins was outside soliciting donations.

They were absolutely instrumental in the capture of the suspect from yesterday,” police Capt. Brian Foley said. “Without their help, the suspect would not be in custody.”

The incident began about 1 p.m. when a man grabbed the girl as she returned a ribbon to a Christmas aisle in the store, momentarily leaving the sight of her grandmother and aunt, police said.

This is not a case of inattentive parents or guardians. … This happened in the space of 20 to 30 seconds,” Foley said.

The man had the child pinned down in the aisle and was sexually assaulting her when he was spotted by the grandmother, police said. The child’s pants and diaper had been removed and she was being straddled by the man, who had pulled down his pants and underwear, police said.

The man was pulling up his pants as he fled the store while being chased by the girl’s grandmother and aunt, police said.

“She (the aunt) was just hysterical, holding this baby and screaming, ‘Please, please, help me,’” Johnson said.

Demario Hawkins, American hero.

He and Hawkins thought there had been a purse snatching, and intervened.

Hawkins tried to stop Ramos, who squared off and swung at him. Hawkins punched back and hit Ramos on the cheek.

I reeled back, swung at him and kind of decked him,” Hawkins said.

Johnson then tackled Ramos and kept him pinned down.

I couldn’t do nothing else,” he said. “I didn’t care — I was going to get him.”

BART police Officer Kory Frost was flagged down, and he took Ramos into custody.

“A lot of people are saying that I did a good job, and I appreciate that,” Frost, a 28-year veteran, said in a statement. “But the heroes are the citizens, not me.”

Both Johnson and Hawkins, though, said they don’t feel like heroes.

“I just felt like I was happy to help,” Hawkins said.

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Sarah, She Wolf of the GOP

December 2nd, 2010 - 9:10 am

William A. Jacobson over at the Legal Insurrection blog speculated earlier this week about “The Obsession With Liberals’ Obsession With Sarah Palin”:

Charles Krauthammer has lambasted the mainstream (i.e. liberal) media for its obsession with Sarah Palin.

That goes double for liberal entertainers and academics, and triple for the left-blogosphere, which is nuts-in-the-head (that’s a precise medical term in Austrian) when it comes to Palin.

But this obsession is not a one-way street.

Admit it, many of us in the right-blogosphere are obsessed with liberals’ obsession with Palin.

It didn’t start out this way. But it has developed not because of who Palin is, but who the Palin haters are.

And yes, it is liberals, much more than even conservatives, who can’t stop thinking about her; consider the numerous polls over the last year which show Palin unable to muster a majority even among Republican voters, much less the general electorate, and yet the liberal-leaning media gives Palin more ink than any other figure in America except possibly the president himself.

All sorts of theories are proffered to explain this preoccupation. Just this morning the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin spelled out the standard theory — that the “obsession” must be a ruse to elevate an unelectable candidate:

Much of the punditocracy is obsessed with Sarah Palin. It’s understandable on several levels. First, she makes for good copy and has a knack for coining catchy phrases (“death panels”) and new words (“refudiate” — it’s now in the dictionary). She is controversial and opinionated, so given the choice between, say, a story on John Thune and one on Palin, it’s a no-brainer to choose the best-selling author, TV reality show star and Tea Party darling. But conservatives suspect there’s also some mischief-making afoot — the desire by liberal-leaning members of the media and the White House to make Palin the symbol of the Republican Party, which they are convinced will translate into her presidential run, her nomination and a shellacking for the GOP at the polls in 2012.

While that theory might describe the goal of a few elite members of the Sarcastic Class, it’s fairly evident that most leftists truly do fear a Palin nomination, since they feel that none of the other current GOP hopefuls has much of a chance in 2012.

But what else could explain the liberal obsession with Palin? Everybody’s got their own ideas: Palin’s a Jungian archetype; she’s a Riot Grrrl; she evokes “status-anxiety”; every day produces another theory. How long before “Palin Studies” becomes a college major?

Sarah Palin at the Belmont Stakes in June

But really, everyone knows the real answer: it’s all about sex. I had once planned to make a post about this too-obvious thesis, but then I saw that Harper’s Magazine had a cover story called “Is Sarah Palin porn?” back in June, and so I shelved my idea, since someone had beaten me to it.

But then yesterday I finally got around to actually reading the Harper’s story and discovered to my shock that it’s not about porn or sex at all — that was just a catchy headline for an otherwise standard-issue leftist essay about how awful Sarah Palin is.

I guess it’s up to me, then, since no one else is willing to come out and say it.

Why are liberals obsessed with Sarah Palin?

Because she is their dominatrix.

I posit that American liberal men are, as a group, masochists in search of a sadist. Sarah Palin at first walked into the dominant role completely unwittingly, but once she grasped the erotic control she wielded over her opponents, she became not quite as unwitting about it as some may think.

Sexual kinks are a peculiar thing: they often make no logical sense to an outsider who does not share the fetish. How can liberals denounce Sarah Palin as a Nazi and a bitch and an idiot yet simultaneously harbor a masturbatory fascination with her?

There is a one-word answer: Ilsa. Actually, make that six words: Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. If that doesn’t ring a bell, it’s the title of a pornographic exploitation film from the mid-’70s about a sadistic female Nazi officer who tortures and rapes concentration camp victims. If you’re familiar with the sexual subculture, you already know that this cult film is a favorite with masochists who require a cruel dominatrix (or at least the fantasy of a cruel dominatrix) for them to achieve sexual release. If you’re not familiar with the subculture of fetishes and sadomasochistic sex games, then you likely will find the whole Ilsa/Nazi/dominatrix thing completely mystifying and more than a little “sick.”

But it doesn’t matter that “normal” people don’t understand: this psycho-sexual pathology plays out right before their eyes every day, whether they’re aware of it or not.

To make it all clear for everybody, I have taken the original lobby poster for Ilsa and updated it to explain contemporary American politics:

(Click on the image or here to view it full-size.)

Do the liberals fear Sarah Palin? Yes. And that fear is the basis of their sexual attraction to her. They want — nay, need — to be dominated, not only because they are masochists, but also because it helps them adopt the morally superior underdog role in the battle of ideas.

Sarah Palin was dragged from obscurity into someone else’s sexual fantasy. She didn’t intend to become the liberals’ dominatrix: she was elevated to that position by submissives who finally found their perfect mistress. She was caught off-guard at first, angry and offended, but by now I think she understands, maybe even subconsciously, that she can use this role to her advantage. Liberals need someone to crack that whip? Crack! Do as Sarah says!