Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two Posts For Your Morning Reading At American Thinker

My latest is up at American Thinker, and by coincidence, so is an excellent piece by my friend and fellow Council member Ms. Bookworm.As a matter of fact, we're right next to each other.

Bookworm's fine piece entitled How much information can the government demand from us? deals with a question that's going to come increasingly to the fore as Barack Obama's unabashedly socialist big government administration starts following its natural inclinations. And being a crackerjack lawyer among her other accomplishments, what she has to say about it bears reading:

I first became aware of this problem in connection with jury questionnaires. I've never been a juror, but I've certainly prepared such questionnaires and I've reviewed those prepared by other council. If you've been on the receiving end of such a questionnaire, it's a true horror. In theory, their purpose is to ask questions closely tailored to the case, so as to screen out true bias. For example, in a murder case, the questionnaire could logically ask whether anyone in the juror's family has been murdered or whether anyone in the family was convicted for murder. A positive answer to either question could hint at a bone-deep bias that might interview with a juror's duty to review the facts impartially.

The problem, though, is that jury questionnaires don't stop there. Each lawyer, fancying himself an amateur psychologist, includes dozens of questions aimed at determining just who you are. The questionnaires ask about your upbringing, your education, your lifestyle, your hobbies, your interests, your religious beliefs, your political beliefs, and on and on.

Nor do you have the choice, as you do in a commercial transaction, to say no to answering these questions. If the questionnaire is in front of you, it means that the judge has already put his imprimatur on the questionnaire. You are required to answer the questions or risk being in contempt of court. In a "heads I win, tails you lose" formulation, there's no benefit to you in answering the questions, but you can go to jail if you refuse to do so. (Although to be honest, I haven't heard of jurors being jailed for contempt. Either, sheep-like, they all answer those intrusive questions or, if a few object, the judge hears the matter in camera and just makes it go away.)

Jury questionnaires are a rather narrow, arcane example of governments demanding that people give them private information. Under the Obama administration, however, two much more serious issues are arising that place the government in a position in which it is demanding deeply private information, and in which the punishment for withholding that information can be severe.

The first situation is Obama's health care plan. We know that, not only will it be unbelievably expensive, it will also destroy private medicine for all but the wealthiest. Because the government will be the largest pot of money, that's where the care will go. And once it's in charge of health care for all Americans, the government will also be in charge of health data for all Americans. It will know if you're sick or well, if you have an "embarrassing" illness, if you're fertile or infertile, if you're vain, if you're stoic or weak, and anything else that used to be between you and your doctor, or between you and the insurance provider of your choice.

Under ObamaCare, you name it an area of physical or mental privacy, and the government will have huge databases with that information. And you can't opt out because there's nowhere else to go. The marketplace is gone. Your choices are bad and worse: Either be treated and give up your privacy, or give up treatment entirely.

She goes on to explore another Obama- fostered tool to invade American's privacy, the upcoming ACORN run census. I urge you to read it all.

My piece, "Masquerade In Iran" expands ideas I've mentioned that will be familiar to memebers of Joshua's Army..that the label of "democratic reform," attached to Mousavi and many of his followers is just a masquerade, and a revolt against Khameinei and Ahmadinejad would just put a new and possibly worse group in power.

It's practically guaranteed to upset people espousing a lot of the conventional views on this subject:

Mousavi is not some democracy-minded reformer. All candidates for elective office in Iran are handpicked and only allowed to run for office by the express permission of the Supreme Council of Guardians and its leader Ayatollah Khamenei. All candidates agree to follow orders. On issues that matter to the West -- Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, threats of genocide aimed at Israel, interference in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for Islamist terrorism and any reasonable compromises with the West on these issues -- the two candidates were virtually the same.

Mousavi is a longtime proponent of Islamist triumphalism and terrorism, a hardliner on Iran's illegal nuclear weapons program and an anti-Semite who has called for Israel to be destroyed. He was a key aide to Ayatollah Khomeini during the Islamic revolution in 1979 and played a part in the decision to overrun our embassy and take American diplomats hostage. As Iran's prime minister between 1981-89, Mousavi was vociferously anti-Western and anti-American. He had a major hand in the creation of Hezbollah in Lebanon. His handpicked interior minister, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, was Mousavi's liaison when the Iranian government formed and funded that terrorist group. One of Mohtashami's first major operations was the murder of 240 US Marines in Lebanon. {...}

There is nothing about Mousavi or his supporters that particularly merits being championed by Americans. We simply don't have a dog in this fight. And in any case, Ahmadinejad is in and he will stay in as long as he does what the mullahs tell him to.

If one looks at what actually passes for democracy in the Middle East, it usually consists of one election where tribalism and Islamism always wins. That's been true in the Palestinian territories, in Egypt (where Mubarak had to curtail the vote to stop the Muslim Brotherhood from winning), in Turkey, and everywhere else in the Muslim Middle East that has actually had an election. The exception was in Lebanon -- where Hezbollah was defeated primarily by Christian votes. And Islam still reigns in Iraq, although with some interesting differences I will get to shortly.


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