Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dallas police use of robot-deployed bomb is troubling

The media has rightly focused in recent days on the decision by the Dallas police to use a robot to blow up the black-power activist who murdered five police officers.  Although the sniper, Micah Johnson, ultimately got what he deserved, we are troubled by this use of technology.

Even if we shed no tears for the shooter in this case, it is not hard to envision a scenario where such a dystopian killing machine is abused (or, given the competence we generally expect from the government, malfunctions) in the future.  We are reminded of the exploding collars affixed to prisoners in the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic Running Man.

Steve Sailer makes the point that use of the robot was not much different than the typical police tactic of using a sniper to take out an active shooter, but, as other commenters point out—aside from the precedent and optics—the robot didn’t appear necessary in this circumstance.  The shooter was boxed in and not an immediate further threat to anyone.  Given the potential for collateral damage from a robot, it seems a bit draconian.

Even a sniper who has admitted guilt, as Johnson did in his “negotiations” with the police, is entitled to due process (though the Dallas police chief’s and media’s repeated description of Johnson as a “suspect” in recounting the events seems inaccurate—how about “perpetrator”?).  Police generally are charged with subduing and arresting a perpetrator unless killing him is necessary to prevent further loss of life.

Why couldn’t a robot be affixed with tear gas, a taser, or some other non-lethal disabling agent?

Incidentally, a Salon writer called this use of force a “frightening precedent.”  In a first, we agree with every word of the article (except for the reference to “the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” which we had never heard of and, given that it was brought to us by the United Nations, probably means the opposite of its title suggests).

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Trump didn’t build his career by negotiation from a position of weakness

National Review Online‘s Ramesh Ponnuru is out in front with some establishment wishful thinking:  Donald Trump can choose John Kasich as his running mate to “help Trump get the nomination, and be his running mate for the service?”

Help Donald Trump how?  With his 5% of the delegates?  With a stirring endorsement, referring to his mailman father?  Trump has not succeeded thus far in the election—nor in becoming a billionaire in business—by negotiating from a position of weakness (e.g., like Jeb Bush in choosing a spouse), which is what picking Kasich in a gambit to pick up his votes would amount to.

A Trump choice of the already-vanquished Chris Christie would be a stronger signal, because he would not be trading any delegates, bur rather choosing someone for his perceived fit on the issues or general-election electability.

We think it’s more likely that Trump will double-down on his advertised appeal by picking another outsider.  If we wins a wide victory in the primaries, why wouldn’t he stay the course?  (Alex Pappas at The Daily Caller has some good ideas.)  Ben Carson is conceivable (though we hope not, as, like Sarah Palin before him, a baffling lack of knowledge, and apparent lack of curiosity, about world affairs would not bode well for his fitness to be commander-in-chief).

We could see Trump choosing Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz in the event that he enters the convention with a plurality but not a majority of delegates, to prevent the two of them from teaming up to deny him the nomination, which would be likely.  We hope that he would find a way to make it Cruz to maintain credibility on immigration and anti-establishment positioning.

The New York Times‘ Ross Douthat raises a scenario that is somewhat more plausible on the surface:  that Marco Rubio could employ a similar tactic and pick Kasich.  Rush Limbaugh says that this possibility is the only reason why Kasich is staying in the face.  Of course, the same point about Kasich’s lack of electoral value in the primaries holds; it seems implausible that Kasich’s delegates could tip the balance in a race between Rubio, Cruz, and Trump, or that his endorsement at some point before all of the primaries are complete would sway voters significantly.

The big problem with a Rubio-Kasich ticket would be the massive “screw you” that it would convey to the anti-establishment voters who will have given Trump and Cruz a lot of votes.  It would be saying, “frustrated voters, we heard you loudly and clearly, just like we always do.”  A lot of them would stay home in November.

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Political interference in the Olympics is unacceptable (sometimes)

We loathe the “Olympic movement.”  That fact that it even ascribes that moniker to itself is evidence of its rot to the core—the corruption, venality, hypocrisy, and arrogance displayed by Olympic officials at the international levels rival those even of the United Nations.

So we found this article confusing:  “The IOC suspended Kuwait in 2010, saying there was evidence of political interference in the country’s sports movement,” but has resolved the issue so Kuwaiti athletes were allowed to compete under their own flag in 2012.

That point is hard to understand.  Are we to believe that Kuwait in 2010 was the only example in the world of “political interference in the country’s sports movement” or a lack of “independence of its sports movement”?  For all Gulf Cooperation Council countries, at a minimum, there is no difference between the public and private sectors when it comes to athletic development (or any other endeavor).  Olympic participation is completely controlled by the government.

How about the example of Greece.  How can that country’s Olympic Committee get away with kicking Voula Papachristou off of its Olympic team for a “racist” tweet?  Her case was steeped in political maneuvering.  Opinion leaders in Greece had targeted her for some time as a “known racist” and a notorious “supporter of right-wing political parties.”  So, in her case, the Olympic ban was basically an attempt to hound such a person out of mainstream society.

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Do you think that Marcia Clark is still a bit bitter?

Before today I had no idea who Casey Anthony was, besides some vague awareness that she was involved in some sensational circus trial of a pretty woman.  Marcia Clark weighed in today; the details of the Anthony case are not important, and the article seems to be mostly about using her acquittal to relive and make excuses for her failure to convict O.J. Simpson:

” . . .Casey Anthony was no celebrity. She never wowed the nation with her athletic prowess, shilled in countless car commercials, or entertained in film comedies. There were no racial issues, no violent Rodney King citywide riot just two years earlier.”

“Because of those factors, many predicted from the very start in the Simpson case—in fact, long before we even began to pick a jury—that it would be impossible to secure a conviction.”

“The trial itself, despite bumps and turns, never introduced any unexpected bombshells that blew up in the prosecution’s face (à la detective Mark Fuhrman’s racially charged interview tapes with a novelist).”

“So there was no racist cop, no questions about evidence collection, and no endless cross-examination on irrelevancies like Colombian necklaces and drug cartels. And while there was significant media coverage before the trial, it didn’t come close to the storm that permeated the Simpson case for months prior to jury selection.”

“After the verdict was read in the Simpson case, as the jury was leaving, one of them, I was later told, said: ‘We think he probably did it. We just didn’t think they proved it beyond a reasonable doubt.'”

OK, Marcia, we get it.  Anthony was acquitted, but what you were dealing with in the O.J. case was much more difficult, so we forgive you for blowing it.

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