Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why Doesn't Anyone Ask About This?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Interesting Problem

The problem is not how did they get in there...

it's how do you get them out.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Is Crisis Management Better Than No Management?

That seems to be the mantra of the political classes with regards to the debt ceiling extension. But as a citizen, the most aggravating thing has to be the delay in dealing with it. Ever since last year when the debt ceiling was raised $1.9 Trillion, you'd think someone would have noticed that we were spending more money than we were taking in and we would be bumping up against the debt ceiling again. But No! That would take foresight and understanding, both of which seem to exist in zero amounts in Washington.
If the Democrats get their way, they want to extend the cap by $2.4 Trillion just so we can get through the next election. After all, if the electorate is involved in the debate, they just may say "What in the Sam Hell are you thinking?" which would really harsh their mellow about spending, spending, spending.
By extending the debt limit, we aren't saving our financial situation, we are handing junkies their fix, all the while they plead that "This will be the last time, I promise." Maybe it is true that we get the government that we deserve, which makes me ask "Why does God hate us?"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Internecine Strife is Fun!

Apparently, JC of 4&20 and Wulfgar are in a spat as to the direction of the Democrat Party. As an outside observer, I see it as Wulfgar being practical (I know, hard to believe) and JC being the voice of the believers in the "One True Faith."
While I think both are too limited in their thinking, and they are too quick to disregard actual reality, it is an interesting debate. Sort of like that going on with the Tea Party at the moment: Stick with the GOP or consider them out of date and out of touch.
In any event, give them both a read, and enjoy their misery.

Sen. Tester: What's Your Plan?

All fifty-three Democrat senators have sent a letter to the Speaker of the House saying that they will reject the plan under consideration to raise the debt limit. Among them of course, our junior senator, oops, I mean the extra vote that Harry Reid has, who agrees with his party's leadership that just saying no is an effective strategy.
So, Sen. Tester, if there is no plan, or even if it is passed by the House and presented to the Senate, you are going to vote to keep the status quo? In a way, I kind of like that, since the automatic reduction in the size of government in one day will be quite dramatic. But isn't Jon in the least bit worried? About the debt limit, our credit rating, our fiscal future, or even that we could figure out that we can live with a whole lot less government?
And what is the Senate's plan? Harry Reid's smoke and mirrors is the greatest problem for our credit rating, and contains no real cuts. So, Senator Tester, what are you going to do to protect Montana families? Just go along with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer?
If so, I am sure that you will enjoy returning to your farm in January of 2013, with lots of time to think about it.

The Left Unhinged

It has become impossible to discuss anything with the Left since November of 2010 as they wallow in their buyer's remorse about Obama. Yet somehow, they refuse to acknowledge that they are the minority of the country and have no useful political clout outside of the Mainstream Media and Hollywood. But like any wounded animal, they are still dangerous as they lash out in all directions in order to somehow hurt their tormentors.
For instance, as James Taranto notes in his Best of the Web the Left have taken to attacking Republicans in general and the Tea Party in particular. Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times who argues that duly elected Representatives of the US House are our own "domestic terrorists and extremists" are a bigger threat to national security than China or Iran. Really? Aren't you questioning their patriotism, and isn't that verboten? And isn't it more than just a little over the top to equate Bachman and other Tea Partiers with terrorism? The hyperbole makes the argument laughably irrelevant. And it wouldn't matter except for the proliferation of what has become known as the "unsophisticated voter."
These voters are easy to identify because they take no interest in the political affairs of the country until such time as they are bused to the ballot box where they can register and vote in accordance with the guy's wishes who gave them a sandwich. They used to be evenly distributed between the two parties until the Democrats figured out that with enough of these uninformed dolts, they could actually take over the country, hence the current version of the Get Out the Vote efforts of that party. Now they are being called upon by the Leader of the Free World to intimidate Congress into spending more than it has the ability to pay.
By itself, the disparaging remarks of those who believe in fiscal discipline and limited government keeps us from having an honest debate. For instance, why is it that those advocating raising the debt limit without serious reductions in spending will still be facing the same problem anywhere from six months to a year from now? Why raise taxes on a few that will fail to close the deficit and ignore the 49% who pay no taxes? Have they no interest in solving the fiscal problem, or do they simply want to institute income redistribution, the country be damned?
Finally, I am amazed at the number of law professors who are advocating that Obama raise the debt limit on his own. As we are often reminded, Obama was a "Professor of Constitutional Law" at Chicago. I am just curious, which Constitution? Certainly not the one that he swore an oath to uphold in January of 2009. And yet these luminaries of the professorate seem to have no problems with arguing for a complete usurpation of the power of the purse by the Presidency.
I remember when Watergate was going on and thinking that it was a constitutional crisis if Nixon tried to hold onto power. If Obama tries a power grab as he is being encouraged, that my friends is a real constitutional crisis.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why the Tax Code is Immoral

There is a false argument that taxes should be progressive. The idea is that there should be higher rates for higher earners, but no one explains why that is so. Once you question the validity of that premise, you come up with this. The untalked about point in the argument in raising the debt ceiling is that raising rates on the rich will not provide enough revenue to cover the deficit in government spending. In fact, as has been noted often enough, taxing all the billionaires and millionaires 100% of their income will only cover the deficit for one year. How many of the people hit with 100% tax be back to work the next year? And when they do, what happens to the jobs that they used to pay, or the goods they bought, who will buy them now?
No, raising taxes on only one segment of the society is not about "revenue enhancements." It's all about wealth redistribution, pure and simple. If our leaders were serious about the deficit, they would impose a flat tax, but what they really want is to reward their friends and punish their enemies.
But if you do believe in progressive tax rates, could you tell me what the maximum rate could be? And what do you think happens to people when the rate is imposed? How much of their efforts that had gone to creating wealth are now directed at tax avoidance schemes? And why is that better?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Obama Quoting Reagan

Watching the President's address, I was waiting for the balloons and confetti to start falling as soon as his speech ended, just like any other campaign event. But in reviewing his speech, his lies were growing in number to the point that he loses touch with reality in spite of his carefully focus group tested words. But it galls me that he wants to quote Reagan by saying that he would have been in favor or raising taxes. Of course, like everything this President says, it is out of context and false in it's usage. But why didn't Obama use this quote?
In a 1983 debt-ceiling debate, Reagan threatened to veto any measure that contained tax hikes. “I am unalterably opposed to Congress‘ efforts to raise taxes on individuals and businesses,” he said. His administration “did not come to Washington to raise the peoples’ taxes. We came here to restore opportunity and get this economy moving again. We do not face large deficits because Americans aren’t taxed enough. We face those deficits because the Congress still spends too much.”
Words still true as ever, and here we are more than thirty years on. Many on the Left are calling for Defense spending cuts to the point of eliminating the Defense Department all together. The only function of the government that is absolutely necessary, is the only place that they are willing to cut.
In closing, one more quote from the Gipper that seems so appropriate:
“For those who say further responsible spending reductions are not possible,” Reagan said, “they are wrong. For those who say the only choice is undermining our national security … they are wrong. For those who say more taxes will solve our deficit problems, they are wrong.”
Obama is wrong.

The Difference Between a Lie and a Mistake

The Left has always said that "Bush lied!" when it came to WMDs in Iraq. I thought that they were just trying to exploit the confused voter for their tactical advantage. But now we have actual lies coming out of the White House and crickets coming from the Leftocracy and blogosphere. From the article:
“I wanted to give you an update on the current situation around the debt ceiling,” Mr. Obama said at 6:06 p.m. OK, that wasn’t a lie — but just about everything he said after it was, and he knows it.

“I just got a call about a half-hour ago from Speaker [John A.] Boehner, who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations,” he said.

Not so: “The White House made offers during the negotiations,” said our insider, a person intimately involved in the negotiations, “and then backtracked on those offers after they got heat from Democrats on Capitol Hill. The White House, and its steadfast refusal to follow through on its rhetoric in terms of cutting spending and addressing entitlements, is the real reason that debt talks broke down.”

Mr. Boehner was more blunt in his own news conference: “The discussions we’ve had with the White House have broken down for two reasons. First, they insisted on raising taxes. … Secondly, they refused to get serious about cutting spending and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform.”

But back to the lying liar and the lies he told Friday. “You had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that theyve been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues,” Mr. Obama said.

That, too, was a lie. “The White House had already agreed to a lower revenue number — to be generated through economic growth and a more efficient tax code — and then it tried to change the terms of the deal after taking heat from Democrats on Capitol Hill,” our insider said.
But Mr. Obama, with a straight face, continued. “We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.”

The truth: “Actually, the White House was walking back its commitments on entitlement reforms, too. They kept saying they wanted to ‘go big.’ But their actions never matched their rhetoric,” the insider said.

While the article asks if Obama is a pathological liar, I think in fairness to him, that he just doesn't have a clue what the truth looks like. And neither do the Lefties who said that Bush lied.


I just heard Sen. Reid's news conference where he is trying to get the Republicans to give up their listening to concerned citizens, otherwise known as the Tea Party. Reid says that because the Republicans are listening to their constituencies, they are following "extremists" in refusing to give in to Obama's demands for a raise in the spending cap.
Let's see how extremist the Tea Party really is. They believe in fiscal responsibility and limited government. No matter how I look at this, to consider that extremist is either delusional or dishonest, although in Harry Reid's case, both may be applicable. Sen. Reid is sowing what he reaped, when he put together the "deficit reduction plan" that was agreed to last December, and resulted in several millions of dollars in savings, when we had been promised billions.
For Sen. Reid, spending is more important than anything else, and when he threatens Social Security checks, he has pulled out the heavy artillery. But if Sen. Reid and President Obama believe that Social Security checks won't be going out, is that because they are more interested in funding the high speed rail boondoggles that have been proposed? What about National Endowment for the Arts, or Planned Parenthood, or ethanol, cotton, sugar, peanut and milk subsidies? Why are all those more important than getting retirees their checks? That my friends is extremist, to take money away from the elderly to support big donors in order to keep Democrats in power.
One good thing if the debt limit isn't raised - We will instantly have a balanced budget.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Are Not as Safe as You Think

Think that the Constitution entitles you to feel secure in your home? Think again. If the police break into your home and you resist this unlawful invasion, you will be charged with resisting arrest, at least in Minnesota. From the article:
In closing arguments Wednesday morning, Sauceda’s defense attorney, Ryan Deaton, chronicled how his client was wronged by Lufkin Police when they entered his home at 111 Finley St. on a report of a black male kicking in the front door, called in by a neighbor. Sauceda, who Deaton described as having the mind of a child, then locked himself in the bathroom and refused to come out despite repeated warnings by the officers on scene.
But at least this time they actually came to the right address.
As a search of Reason's blog for cops breaking in the wrong address yields this.

Quo custodiet ipso custodes?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dishonest Debt Debate

As we come nearer and nearer to the supposed economic Armageddon of not raising the debt ceiling, everyone is being stirred to action in support of their side. Letters to the editor are flying, but I am becoming particularly annoyed by those whose only solution is to raise the taxes on "the rich." This is the favorite topic of those on the Left and Democrats in general as a solution to the problem because it fits in with their narrative of class warfare. Even if you confiscated all the wealth of millionaires and billionaires, you would only be able to pay the deficit for one year, and the next year they would have all quit and the Treasury will receive $0 from them, and still have the deficit. Since this makes no sense at all for generating revenue, why is it that our “leaders” are proposing such a thing. My answer is that this is not about raising revenue, but social engineering. And we have sufficient evidence in support of this proposition.
For instance, the tax code is more than 70,000 pages of rules and regulations which set forth not only tax rates but exceptions. That is how General Electric was able to make $6 Billion in profits and pay no income tax. And they did it legally, because their lobbyists were able to get the government to subsidize activity for them that you and I can never get.
The progressive rate of taxation is another example of social engineering. I am always amazed and amused at people who take the notion of progressive taxes as a given. President Obama wants all of us to pay “our fair share, even millionaires and billionaires.” Now, I may not be that good at math, but the fact that he wants to raise taxes on those making $250,000 a year in addition makes me wonder what he thinks a million really is. But the idea is that people making more than you should contribute more. Well, they already do.
In 2011, Federal income tax rates were set to increase to pre-2001 levels, but the renewal of the Bush Tax Cuts left the existing tax brackets in place through 2012. Below are the resulting tax rates and income ranges for 2011:
Filing Status and Income Tax Rates 2011
Caution: Do not use these tax rate schedules to figure 2010 taxes. Use only to figure 2011 estimates.
Tax rate Married filing jointly
or qualified widow(er) Single Head of household Married filing separately
10% $0 - 17,000 $0 - 8,500 $0 - $12,150 $0 - 8,500
15% $17,000 - 69,000 $8,500 - 34,500 $12,150 - 46,250 $8,500 - 34,500
25% $69,000 - 139,350 $34,500 - 83,600 $46,250 - 119,400 $34,500 - 69,675
28% $139,350 - 212,300 $83,600 - 174,400 $119,400 - 193,350 $69,675 - 106,150
33% $212,300 - 379,150 $174,400 - 379,150 $193,350 - 379,150 $106,150 - 189,575
35% over $379,150 over $379,150 over $379,150 over $189,575

Looking at the lowest rate, one could argue that $17,000 for a couple is pretty low for being taxed, and you would be right, unless you remember that this number considers taxable income after deductions. So say the married couple have only one earner and a child. If I remember correctly, you get a $3700 deduction per person plus an additional $1,000 for the kid. And if they are buying a house, they get to deduct the mortgage interest. Suppose that they are smart and put money into a 401k and a flex plan and give to charitable organizations, all of which is not considered to be income for the purposes of computing taxes, and pretty soon you could be looking at some real coin before deductions. Throw in the Earned Income Tax Credit and a family like the one above could easily end up paying no taxes on their income.

For the higher earners, a lot of those exceptions of the family above are not available, and the richer ones have to cope with the Alternative Minimum Tax in addition, and that’s not even taking into account that their base rates are three and a half times higher than the lower earners. Do the rich drive on roads that are three and a half times better, or are they defended by the military three and a half times as much? Why no, they’re not. So the rich are already paying more than their “fair share.”

Why then is there such a hue and cry from Obama on down for what is effectively redistribution? Well, it seems that they have arbitrarily decided that the rich have too much, and can part with it more easily. There is a certain logic to it, for example, the family that lives on $45,000 could argue that if they can make it on that, so can anyone else. But let’s just hope that that family doesn’t work in any kind of industry which produces goods that the rich would buy, since they would no longer be able to do so, and the $45K family will then be out of a job. Even if they don’t work in that industry, whatever work that they do will be affected by all the ones that are engaged in producing products that the rich buy, since when they are laid off, those people will no longer be able to purchase goods or services either. The cascading effect of unemployment will be ameliorated somewhat in that the increased tax collections will be used for the most part as unemployment insurance for all those that lost their jobs.

Maybe, that is too extreme of an example. Let’s say that someone who is working and bringing home $450,000 dollars a year is our subject next. People who earn that kind of money are doing something right, since the general rule is that you provide more in value than you cost. Let’s say that the $450K earner only produces $400K in value for the company. There is a net loss of more than $50K (don’t forget all of the supplemental costs beyond salary) and eventually the business will either have to lay them off or go bankrupt, in which case there is no longer that amount of income for the household. But if the worker is meriting their higher salary, they usually have some incentive to keep working at that job. Making them pay more in taxes, will have an impact on their incentives to keep working at that level, and if they should decide that enough is enough, and live off their investments at the level of the $45K family, the government has been shortchanged all that income when they were working for a net loss to the Treasury.

So, soaking the rich doesn’t solve our debt problems. Then what do we do? My suggestion is to return the tax code to an instrument of collecting revenue and do away with trying to use it to coerce or reward behavior. If we went to a two step flat tax, with everyone making less than $50,000 paying 10% and everyone above that paying 20%, with absolutely no deductions or tax havens or anything else, we would have a solid and steady source of income, greater employment because business will finally feel that investing is not the same as gambling.

The problem with this solution is that it doesn’t allow the government to reward or punish people, and that is why the Democrats oppose such a common sense approach and are only interested in soaking the rich. And that is why Obama will never give up on his irrational need to raise taxes in the middle of a recession.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Racists Don't Always Wear Sheets

I realize that this is the proverbial shooting fish in a barrel, but really, how stupid is Sheila Jackson-Lee? She thinks that the only reason that there is opposition to raising the debt limit is because Obama is black. Some of her quotes are especially ironic:
"I do not understand what I think is the maligning and maliciousness [toward] this president,” said Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Why is he different? . . . .Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully? Why has the debt limit been raised 60 times?
"I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president — only this one, only this one — has received the kind of attacks and disagreement and inability to work, only this one," said Jackson Lee from the House floor.
If it was just about the debt limit, I would point out that everyone protesting now did so too when the debt exceeded $14.5 TRILLION. I wonder if she understands that that is a lot of money?
But worst treatment of a President? Remember that the ever so concerned about the dignity of the President, was always in the forefront of trying to impeach Bush for following the Congressional Resolution for going to war. I mean, when did anyone call Obama McChimpy, or Adolf Obama? And those are just the less inflammatory names.
To say that opposition to raising the debt limit to an extraordinarily large sum is only racism, is racist itself. She can't seem to separate that people could have logical and fiscal objections to that action, but she only sees racism.
I don't want to spend the time to look for it, but this kind of racism is not unique. A while ago, I drifted over to Left in the West where they were saying that everyone who isn't a liberal has to be a racist. In support of that proposition, someone told Rob Kailey that they met a black man who had been to Montana and said that Missoula was the most racist city he had ever been in.
I'm sure it's all of the "coloreds only" drinking fountains and restrooms that we have, or the fact that people of color are not allowed to sit at the counter at the Oxford and eat. Missoula? The most racist city he had ever been in? Has he been in any other city than San Francisco? But what was really interesting, is the willingness to accept the allegation by the writer and the readers at LITW. And unthinkingly assigning specific traits to a group based on the color of their skin is racist, even if you say everyone in Missoula is a racist because they aren't of color.
I am beginning to realize that the good Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee is really a pillar of moral and intellectual thought for the Left.
It sure is a good thing that only 20% of the country identify as liberals. Of course they are all in either politics or "journalism."

As an Example

Jonah Goldberg puts out a weekly missive that is not linked, but in this case, I think that I need to include the entire thesis on how government is screwed up because it's run by people.
Dear Reader (and those of you who, according to the McConnell plan, will read this "News"letter only after 3/5ths of it has been approved by the president),

I was listening to the "This American Life" podcast the other day and heard a story. I will summarize.

A man is returning from vacation with his wife and kids and some neighbors' kids. They went camping in Texas. Towards the end of the long drive home in the family van, a Texas highway patrol car comes right up on the van, following like an "angry hornet," lights and siren blazing, forcing the driver to pull over. The man can tell from watching Cops that these guys are serious. From behind their car doors, the police yell through their loudspeaker, to turn off the enginge "using your left hand!" When the flustered driver uses his right hand, the cops shout louder. They make the driver get out of the car and get down on his knees on the gravelly shoulder of the Texas interstate. Some of the kids are already crying. The driver is terrified, confused, freaking out. One of the cops approaches with his rifle pointed at the man's head. The other cop, his gun drawn, is talking to the wife.

Finally, after an eternity, the cop who'd been talking to the wife comes over and says to the driver, "Sir, do you know what your daughter wrote on the car?"

It was actually the neighbor's kid, not his own daughter. But to make a long -- but very entertaining -- story short, what was written in the dust on the back of the van was: "Help. Please God. Call 911. I've been kidnapped."

"Well, son, for about fifteen minutes there, you were the most wanted man in Texas," one of the lawmen informed him.

The driver was so furious that, when the cops told him it was a crime to write that on the car, the driver told them, "Take her in."

But it turns out that the neighbor's daughter didn't write the whole thing. It was a group effort. And that's why I'm taking up your time with this story in the first place.

Apparently what happened is that the mother had written, "Help. Please God," several hours earlier because she so dreaded getting back in the car with all of the kids for even more driving. Then one of the other kids filled in after, "I've been kidnapped." And then the neighbor's daughter wrote, "Call 911."

It seems to me that this is a great little allegory for understanding how really, really, really stupid things happen in life, particularly in Washington. Person A has a harmless idea. Person B doesn't completely understand A's idea, but builds on it anyway. By the time you get to person Z, you're selling hundreds of automatic weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

On both the left and the right there's a tendency to assume the other side -- particularly when it is running the government -- is both really evil and really competent. Most of the time it's closer to the opposite -- again, particularly when we're talking about the government. What appear to be conspiracies from the outside are in fact a series of dumb, innocuous, or even somewhat okay ideas that build on each other into colossally idiotic foul-ups, thanks to imperfect information and mission creep. If there's a human being out there who hasn't had some experience with this sort of thing I can only assume it's because you were raised in a refrigerator box and without human contact. And if there's a reader out there who doesn't think this capacity for screw-ups is an important part of the human condition, well, you're free to read this but you're not a conservative.

This is not -- or at least not entirely -- a road-to-Hell-is-paved-with-good-intentions point. The initial idea that gets the ball rolling can be cynical or crass. Rather, it's to note that the more humans you have in the decision tree, the more you multiply the human factor, and that can lead to some pretty inhuman results.
Which is why I would be fine with government control of my life as long as there are no people in government.

You Have Been Warned

If you load a page on this site and sit on it for awhile, you will start to hear music from the game Angry Birds. Go to the bottom of the site, and there you will find the game, just click on the icon, then click on the pause button, which will allow you to mute the game while you play it.
Or you could just back out of it, but what would be the fun of that?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Am So Proud

One of the misfortunes of not learning history, is that you are apt to repeat the same mistakes that others had. For instance Phidipides, who ran from the battle at Marathon to announce the victory to Athens, died shortly thereafter. But not knowing history, also means that you do things that you don't know can't be done. As an example, my daughter, Annelise Hedahl, just completed the Missoula Marathon, and I am so proud of her.

Why We Need More Taxes

How else are we going to pay for all of the soon to be unemployed once employers start to let them go because they can't afford them anymore?

The most amusing thing to me, is how stupid our elected leaders are, or alternatively, how stupid they think we are. The Democrats need to punish the wealthy as some form of Calvinistic redemption, the economy and workers be damned. And Republicans seem to fear anytime someone calls them "racist, hater" or whatever is the term du jour to make them falter. When Obama wants to claim that busting the debt ceiling means that Granny won't get her Social Security check, and the soldiers won't be paid while serving in a war zone just to keep the wealthiest tax cuts, why don't the Republicans point out that the Democrats want to starve Granny just to keep money going to the National Endowment for the Arts, Planned Parenthood, whatever version ACORN is calling itself now, and subsidies for "green tech" that doesn't even come close to being efficient. We not only have a problem with spending, but we have no priorities when it comes to spending.
Someone please tell me the justifications for either the Department of Education or Energy, both of which have seen a continued slide in their benchmarks since their creation. How much worse off would we be without Pell Grants that encourage universities to keep price pressure higher and higher to the detriment of whoever has to take out a loan to go to school? Or how much money would we save if we quit giving ethanol subsidies and lifted the tariff on imported ethanol, or for that matter, just allowing for the expansion of energy development, even if it means coal or oil.
And the thing that ticks me off the most is the complexity of the tax code. How is it that GE managed to pay less taxes than I did? Oh, that's right, I can't afford to hire a lobbyist like they do, and oh yeah, I am not being nominated for Treasury Secretary, or Chairman of the House Tax Committee, yet those same people will demand that I pay more before they do.
The only solution is a complete rewrite of the tax code. I suggest a 10% Value Added Tax with a 15% income tax for all incomes over the national median. No deductions, (amazingly called "tax expenditures" in the Orwellian language of the Obama Administration) no shelters for investment or business development, nothing. Just a flat tax that would apply to everyone, no matter their station or if they are a corporation or not. Everyone over the median would pay the same and everyone who consumes will also pay the VAT, so we will all be involved in paying for the government we get, deserved or not. It would stand out like a sore thumb when the first politician decides to do the bidding of the person who bought him and pass through a tax break that wouldn't apply to everyone.
But by removing the deductions, we will increase the rate of unemployment as lobbyists, accountants and tax lawyers have to go find something else to do. But I am sure that as creative people they will finally find something of use to do.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Believe It Or Not

But the legal system actually worked in the Casey Anthony trial. Like Dave, I did not follow the case at all, but my family did, including my wife who gave me constant updates on the trial's progress. From what she told me, I did not believe that the prosecutors would get a conviction on the deliberate homicide charge, but because a child was dead, I figured the jury would at least go for whatever version of manslaughter was proffered. And then, my wife called to tell me that she was "Not Guilty."
I must admit that I was surprised, inasmuch as I usually feel that juries go with what they think is fair, then their common sense, and finally will look at the law. But in this case, the jurors actually found that the State had failed in its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the aftermath of the verdict, I did have a good time watching the talking heads like Nancy Grace have a complete meltdown on air about the jury's verdict. But she was not alone, and as noted here, the court of public opinion feels as if there has been a complete miscarriage of justice.
The reality is that the system worked. The State put on the best case that they could, which really consisted of pseudo science (a device to sniff decomposition? Give me a break!) and character assassination of the defendant, but no evidence of how the child died. And that is where the case failed apparently in the eyes of the jurors.
My wife and daughter both feel that Casey is guilty of something, and I would probably agree with them on that point. But if the State doesn't prove it, how can there be a conviction unless being a bad person is all the proof you need.
Now I say that the system worked because the jury found that the State hadn't proven their case. The reason that the system is set up this way is not to protect the guilty, but to protect the innocent. If mass opinion is enough, there is no real need for evidence or actual proof. Simply take a poll and determine the accused's guilt or innocence. But if you are innocent and charged with a crime, don't you want the highest standard before the State can take your freedom or even your life? And if you are convinced that the State would never wrongly charge you or your loved ones with a crime that you did not commit you are living in a fantasy world, as prosecutors become more attuned to the political winds than they are in their pursuit of justice.
If nothing else, remember the people who have given you the right to make the State prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and honor their sacrifice.