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October 19, 2007

Needling Public Safety in San Francisco (updated)

As Published On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

The Bridge to Being Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog2

The Human conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
And
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

Monday, October 29, 2007 UpDate:

THE OUT-LAWYER REPLIES ABOUT NEEDLES AND DEATH


 

My last piece on the Human Conspiracy Blog - http://jaygaskill.com/blog3/ , elicited some responses.  I had defended the death penalty, lethal injection, and expressed my dismay at San Francisco’s proposed ‘needle’ room for addicts. I’m cross referencing that article and the recent replies on both blogs.

For my recent "needle exchange, go to the Out-Lawyer's blog http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

Needling Public Safety

Let me be clear.  I don’t like the death penalty; I spent the better part of my legal career striving to prevent its application to any of my clients.  But the evidence is now unambiguous and – I submit – beyond reasonable dispute: The death penalty has a deterrent effect; it saves innocent lives. 

 

Many of my liberal friends are in the same state of denial about this effect as some of my conservative friends are about global warming. [My own view on the latter is nuanced.  See http://jaygaskill.com/InconvenientChoice.htm .]

 

I’ve written about the death penalty in print and on the web extensively. [ See http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20060309/ai_n16158247 .]  Let me just refer the deterrence skeptics to the Brookings Institute / A.E.I. joint study, an abstract of which is still available on the web: http://aei-brookings.org/publications/abstract.php?pid=922 . 

 

Yes, there are studies and reports that oppose the conclusion that the prospect of execution deters would-be murderers; but these focus on older studies.  And death penalty opponents obscure the deterrence question by filling the policy discussion with ideological bromides -- like the concern for “evolving standards of decency”.  But as one of the Brookings Study authors put it, “Capital punishment thus presents a life-life tradeoff, and a serious commitment to the sanctity of human life may well compel, rather than forbid, that form of punishment.” 

 

At the moment, two things are happening: There is an upsurge in murders in urban California and there is a de facto death penalty moratorium in place as a result of the 9th Circuit’s decision that lethal injection is a forbidden from of punishment. [So is the torture murder of rape and child molest victims, I am constrained to point out.] 

 

While this issue is being decided, the U. S. Supreme court has not only agreed to take up the matter, but it has issued a stay that halts all lethal injection executions on a national basis.  The California de facto moratorium has become national.  If this state of affairs goes on much longer, I believe that we will begin to see an increase in the murder rate everywhere. 

 

In this context, you might imagine my reaction to the following AP story:

 

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer, October 19, 2007.

 

San Francsico.  “City health officials took steps Thursday toward opening the nation’s first legal safe-injection room, where addicts could shoot up heroin, cocaine and other drugs under the supervision of nurses.”

 

Drug addiction is a pernicious form of chemical slavery; indeed addicts are responsible for a disproportionate number of homicides as compared with the general population.  Profound drug addiction, particularly to cocaine, is a character poison.  But really successful treatment models actually exist; most of them are linked to the very successful “drug court” program. This a therapeutic system with sanctions that originated in Oakland, California in the early 90’s when I was the county Public Defender.  Drug addiction is chemical slavery that affects the volitional centers of the brain such that the enslaved person initially resists liberation.  This is why the successful treatment models include therapeutic sanctions.

 

Facilitating the continuation of a serious narcotics addiction with nurses in a sterile setting is analogous to supporting continuing slavery by providing “more humane” chains.

 

I count myself among the “real world” liberals. Apparently the species of liberal that runs that beautiful city on the San Francsico Bay can only agree to an injection program that facilitates slavery but not one that liberates potential murder victims.

 

If you agree or disagree, email me at The Policy Think Site and I’ll post a sample of the responses.

 

JBG
  Many of my liberal friends are in the same state of denial about this effect as some of my conservative friends are about global warming. [My own view on the latter is nuanced.See .]Yes, there are studies and reports that oppose the conclusion that the prospect of execution deters would-be murderers; but these focus on older studies. And death penalty opponents obscure the deterrence question by filling the policy discussion with ideological bromides -- like the concern for “evolving standards of decency”.But as one of the Brookings Study authors put it, “.”In this context, you might imagine my reaction to the following AP story:JBG
  Many of my liberal friends are in the same state of denial about this effect as some of my conservative friends are about global warming. [My own view on the latter is nuanced.See .]Yes, there are studies and reports that oppose the conclusion that the prospect of execution deters would-be murderers; but these focus on older studies. And death penalty opponents obscure the deterrence question by filling the policy discussion with ideological bromides -- like the concern for “evolving standards of decency”.But as one of the Brookings Study authors put it, “.”In this context, you might imagine my reaction to the following AP story:JBG

October 16, 2007

Cupidity, Stupidity & Ideological Narcissism on the Left and Right

As Published On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

The Bridge to Being Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog2

The Human conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
And
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

A print version of this piece is posted at --http://jaygaskill.com/CupidityAndMore.htm .

 

Cupidity, Stupidity & Ideological Narcissism on the Left and Right

Why the Center does not yet hold….
by

Jay B. Gaskill

The cupidity award of the month goes to Idaho’s Senator Larry Craig who presses on, no doubt inspired by our impeached former president’s example. The Senator, clinging by his fingernails to a sinking reputation, is exercising his appeal rights from a reasonable ruling denying his bleated attempt to get out of his plea bargain.   I’m still of the opinion that Mr. Craig secretly hopes and expects that effort to fail.  “There. See! I tried” beats the actual embarrassing jury trial he wisely avoided in the first place. 
The stupidity award goes to Oakland’s Mayor, Ron Dellums who, faced with an alarming and persistent increase in “Oaktown’s” murder rate, has clung to vague fog-ball solutions, like “more youth opportunities” while standing fast against the public outcry, resisting the one thing that history conclusively shows actually works: More cops on the street.  As columnist, Chip Johnson, so eloquently put it in today’s San Francisco Chronicle (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/16/BAL7SQFHK.DTL&hw=dellums&sn=001&sc=1000 ):
[Mayor] “Dellums … has a choice of legacies to choose from. He can be remembered for reconfiguring the zoning map or searching for more programmatic solutions to a street-crime problem - or he can grab the issue and get a handle on it before it gets any worse. Do you want to be remembered as former New York Mayor David Dinkins or his successor, Rudy Giuliani? The citizens of this city, from every corner, have told you what they want. It's your move, Mr. Mayor.”
The Ideological Narcissism Award on the right goes to the Evangelical wing of the Republican Party, many leaders of which – in a time of a real war against civilization itself – have somehow deluded themselves that the abortion issue (about which the next president can do very little except to appoint one or two justices to the Supreme Court over the next four to eight years, candidates for whom a “litmus” test on the issue would be disqualifying) is so important that it trumps everything else. 
The Ideological Narcissism Award on the left goes to the anti-military wing of the Democratic Party (think “MoveOn.org” and George Soros here) who are prepared to back the next president (here think Hillary) into such a Carteresque corner that we might have to endure a nuclear armed Islamist state in the Middle East, a devastating attack on Israel or another 9-11 scale attack on us (or some combination thereof) before we finally come to our senses and take this deadly, long term threat to our way of life seriously.
It is as if FDR had to face the complete defection of the loony George Wallace wing of the Democratic Party in an unholy alliance with the Lindbergh / Lafollette isolationist wing of the Republican Party to stop Lend Lease military support to Great Britain and our other beleaguered friends.  Had ideological Narcissism prevailed in this country between 1938 and 1943, say, all of Europe’s Jews would be just a sad memory, British school kids would be learning German, and our vacations to Hawaii would take place – if at all – under the watchful eyes of the Japanese Imperial Security agents.
Cupidity, Stupidity and Ideological Narcissism are not curable for individuals, save in rare cases.  But as collective maladies, they are correctable by the simple expedient of popular rejection.  I have a strong, long term confidence in the folk wisdom and common sense of the American people.  But these are times that try the optimism of even a “Truman democrat” like me. 
I refuse to wallow in despair.  After all, not only did Mr. Truman defeat Mr. Dewey in 1948, he set the stage for our eventual victory in the Cold War and trumped all of the cramped and dispirited expectations of history.
JBG 
 

October 15, 2007

Ann Coulter & "Perfected Jews"

As Published On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog:
http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

The Bridge to Being Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog2

The Human conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
And
The Policy Think Site
http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com
NOTE: A printable version of this post is available at http://jaygaskill.com/CoulterDustup.htm

 

Ann Coulter’s “Perfected Jew” Dustup

 

Recently, I had dream.  This vision came to me that Ann Coulter is a reincarnated, ancient prophet, who woke up as a girl, grew up, then went to college and law school where she was surrounded by dyspeptic lefties.  She was endowed by nature with a very sharp wit – sometimes too cutting by half.  So Ms. Coulter become a conservative flame thrower. And, yes, the girl is funny.

 

On October 8th, she and her wit both fell into the anti-Semitism trap.  This event was, as we say, a teaching moment. 

 

First, a recap:

 

October 8, on CNBC, host Donny Deutsch asked her an open-ended question.

 

Deutsch - If you had your way ... and your dreams, which are genuine, came true ... what would this country look like?

 

Coulter - It would look like New York City during the Republican National Convention. In fact, that’s what I think heaven is going to look like. People were happy. They’re Christian. They’re tolerant. They defend America.

 

Deutsch - It would be better if we were all Christian?

 

Coulter -Yes.

 

Deutsch - …We should throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians?

 

Coulter -Yes…. We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say. ... That's what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws."

 

After a commercial break the interview resumed.

 

Deutsch - Ann said she wanted to explain her last comment….So you don't think that was offensive?

 

Coulter -No. I’m sorry. It is not intended to be. I don't think you should take it that way, but that is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews. We believe the Old Testament. As you know from the Old Testament, God was constantly getting fed up with humans for not being able to live up to all the laws. What Christians believe -- this is just a statement of what the New Testament is -- is that that's why Christ came and died for our sins. Christians believe the Old Testament. You don't believe our testament.

 

Coulter - We consider ourselves perfected Christians. For me to say that for you to become a Christian is to become a perfected Christian is not offensive at all.

 

Ms. Schlussel Speaks for Many of “the Chosen

 

 

The firestorm continues, but Ms. Coulter is not without her Jewish defenders.  For example, these representative comments were posted by the Jewish blogger, Debbie Schlussel

 

“The Internet and Mainstream Media are abuzz in their latest attack on Ann Coulter. This time, they’re claiming she's an anti-Semite. It all stems from an interview she did with CNBC's horrid talk show host Donny Deutsch. …

 

“In describing the connections between Christian and Jewish beliefs, Ann said that Jews believe in the Old Testament, but Christians believe in that AND the New Testament. Jews need to be ;perfected,’ she said. Reading the full script …it’s abundantly clear what she was talking about. To wit: That we, as Jews, don't accept the full Christian Bible, and therefore, it's the Christian belief that we need to be fully accepting of it. She said ‘That is what we [Christians] believe we are--perfected Jews.’

 

“Why should that offend me? I've had brunch with Ann, and we've had many conversations through e-mail, etc. During all of that, she's never once told me she's offended that I believe that I am part of the Chosen People. To you far-left Jews and other uber-liberals who want to rush off and call Ann an anti-Semite, that means that we as Jews believe Christians and Hindus and Bahai Fathers (and definitely, Muslims) are not Chosen. Does that make me a religious bigot? Nope. It just means I actually believe in my religion.

 

“Just like Ann does. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

 

Now, for that Teaching Moment:

 

Many of us – especially those who see ourselves as “Judeo Christians” - are struck by the fact that the essential Judaic origins of the Christian faith are quite visible during nearly every Sunday worship; typically, about half the service is devoted to passages from Jewish scriptures. 

 

Some of the scholars among us take this recognition even further.  In the first century, Judaism was far from a monolithic faith, and within its pluralism one could find the seed congregations that would eventually be called “Christian”. Jewish scholars agree that in its beginning “Christianity” was a branch of Judaism. For many contemporary Christians, it remains at least a sister religion.

 

I think that the theological position that Christians are “perfected Jews” is a silly error. But it is an innocent one that can be traced to one of the teachings of Rabbi Jesus.  As captured in the Gospel of Matthew, we can hear the rabbi teaching his followers about fidelity to the Law (bearing in mind, this is a fragment - for the full text of this version of the Beatitudes, go to Mark Chapter Five, verses 1-20):

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.
“Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  

 

The notion that Jesus lived “not to abolish the law (i.e., the Torah) but to fulfill it” is the key passage that gave rise to the mistaken notion that Christians, by following Jesus as Messiah, become “perfected Jews”. 

 

Please show me a “perfect Christian”.

 

I am reminded of a striking parallel:  The great rabbi, Hillel the Elder, who probably was still teaching in Jerusalem when young Jesus was alive, once was confronted by a non-believer who apparently wanted to get the “Cliff Notes” version of the Torah.  This fellow promised to convert if the great rabbi could recite the entire Law while standing on one leg. 

 

It is recorded that Rabbi Hillel stood on one leg and said: “Do not that which is hateful to yourself to your neighbor.  All else is commentary. No go and study.”  Apparently Hillel’s insouciant interlocutor did just that and later converted to Judaism.  

 

An astute modern Jewish philosopher, Professor Jacob Needleman, in his new book, “Why Can’t We Be Good?”, has stated his belief that Hillel undoubtedly would included the Shema (the injunction to love G-d with all ones strength, heart and mind”) in his one-legged essence-of-Torah summary for the non-believer.  I certainly agree.

 

A few short decades later, that popular young rabbi, Jesus (or Jeshua or Joshua) from Nazareth, was approached by a lawyer who asked for a quick summary of the “greatest” commandment.  The reply, captured in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 22, was strikingly similar to Hillel’s:  

 

“‘You shall love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the prophets.”

 

From this passage and related findings we can conclude that the simplistic notion still held by many Christians that Jesus essential moral teachings were a radical break with Judaism is gravely incorrect. Judaism was already on a developmental vector that Hillel presaged, Jesus intensified, and the Jewish people have followed over the ensuing centuries.  Christians should note that the injunction of love one’s neighbor is taken right out of Leviticus.

 

Any moral “perfection” represented by Christianity itself was mirrored by Jewish real-world moral progress along about the same time line. The specifically Christian drama was more about the difficult and tumultuous “out-breaking” by which the Christian church was a vehicle through which the essence of Judaism was carried out of its immediate tribal and regional boundaries.

 

And it was about the concomitant vision of hope for all peoples.  Christianity has made the Torah available (concededly sometimes in just the “Cliff Notes” version) to all the world’s peoples, circumcised, uncircumcised, men or women, rich or poor.  Approximately one billion more people study some aspect of Jewish wisdom today than would have likely been the case had a certain First Century rabbi not lived, died, and become accepted as messiah … at least to us gentiles.

 

No, Ms. Coulter is not a theologian. She is a socially conservative comic with a sharp edge and a quick mind.  She is no more “anti-Semitic” than Chris Rock is anti-white or anti-black.  Chris and Ann are just anti-boring. 

 

Get used to it.

 

JBG

 

October 06, 2007

Now What?

As Published On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

The Bridge to Being Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog2

The Human conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
And
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

THE CHALLENGES TO THE WEST AND ITS PROGENY

 

The current set of challenges to civilization threaten to usher in a Dark Age from which we may not be able to recover, given the size of our footprint on the world, the virulence of the pathogens that follow us wherever we live and the scale and seriousness of the instabilities in the biosphere on which we rely.

 

Civilization in its most developed form follows the “Western civilization” model, a product of Greco-Roman organization, Judeo-Christian values and Anglo-American jurisprudence, with accrued innovations from all the other successful models. 

 

Western civilization is fragmented and unstable at the moment, held in temporary suspension by its decaying traditions against a storm of destructive challenges. The current challenges are deadly.  They represent a unique admixture of atavistic, nihilistic and paleo-ideological forces.  We who are committed to the preservation of civilization need to achieve general agreement about that which we will fight to preserve.

 

Where to we go from here? Read my new article, “A NEW SOCIAL COMPACT - At The Crossroads of The Human Condition”. It is now posted on The Policy think Site in PDF format, only.  Go to http://jaygaskill.com/COMPACT.pdf .

 

JBG:jbg

 


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