Justice?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know how many of the links on his sidebar you actually visit. For your Maximum Leader, the links serve as a favourites list of sorts. He likes to go down the list and keep up with the other blogs.

Your Maximum Leader hadn’t read the Iowahawk blog in a little over a week. And when he did he was shocked to read the story of Shawn Howard. Your Maximum Leader also followed the links to read about this horrible murder on Jennifer Chancellor’s site as well.

So it seems as though two men, a local business owner and a manager in his employ (Josh Martin), were beaten by a homeless man with a metal pipe. The business owner, Shawn Howard, died as a result of this attack. The local District Attorney, Tim Harris (Tulsa, Oklahoma) is not prosecuting the attacker, one Terry Badgewell. D.A. Harris has said that Badgewell was acting in self-defence; although the only wounded people were Shawn Howard and Josh Martin.

It seems inconceivable to your Maximum Leader that the D.A. would not so much as convene a Grand Jury to see if there was evidence enough to go to trial. Perhaps some of the lawyers who sometimes read this site could comment on what legal issues might be in play here. For surely, your Maximum Leader doesn’t understand the current disposition of this case from the facts he knows. Alas the local newspaper website requires paid registration to view the articles it has published on this case. And the local TV station websites seem to purge stories after a few days.

This appears to be a miscarriage of justice in our nation’s heartland.

Carry on.

The Grand Vizier.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was wondering why the Grand Vizier had taken a hiatus without mentioned he was leaving town or something. It seems he was involved in a bad accident. Your Maximum Leader entreats you to go over to his site and wish him a speedy recovery.

Carry on.

While watching TV last night…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, rather than responding to the many congratulatory e-mails in his mailbox, was watching television last night and happened upon the film Armageddon on FX. He only watched the last 45 minutes or so (as he started channel surfing late).

Warning plot spoilers follow… Of course if you haven’t seen the film yet, it is unlikely that you will…

So your Maximum Leader is watching the film, and at the end, the brave Harry Stamper detonates the bomb that bifurcates the asteroid and saves the world. The movie shows scenes of people all over the world pointing heavenward and marvelling at the blast that saves them all.

Ten your Maximum Leader had a cynical moment.

Leaving aside the many problems of the film (concerning the real science of what was going on, etc., etc.), your Maximum Leader realized something…

If there was a giant asteroid on a collison course for our planet, and…
If the US was able to launch a mission to the asteroid to destroy it and save the world, and..
If the mission was successful and the US astronauts did save all humanity from certain destruction,…

then…

The French would still vote against a UN Security Council Resolution thanking the US for saving the world.
The rest of the world would still hate us.
A sizeable number of Americans would say it was just about oil.
And Michael Moore would make a film in which he would claim that Halliburton overcharged the government for materials.

Carry on.

Edwards and Kerry… Perfect together…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is being pretty retro, oui? What? You don’t recognize the subtle lifting of that old New Jersey Tourism motto from when Tom Keane was governor? New Jersey and you… Perfect together. Well… Let your Maximum Leader just move along then.

So, John Kerry had chosen John Edwards as his running mate. What does this mean?

Well, it means that now there is someone else on the ticket that Teresa can call “cheeky” and “sexy.” If John Kerry and Elizabeth Edwards are flying together somewhere and the plane crashes, would Teresa and John Edwards make that love match? They are both filthy rich. So that sort of negates the money motive for Edwards. Hmmm…

Actually, your Maximum Leader is pretty sure that this is an ingenious move by Kerry to force Bush to campaign in the south. Kerry has already been spending money and time in the south. He is trying to put into play states that (except Florida) would not be in play. This is either very crafty, or just a waste of time and resources.

Surely he will get that post-Veep-selection bounce. But will that bounce have staying power? Doubtful. Your Maximum Leader believes that many of the Democratic faithful (who will vote for Kerry anyway) will have some buyers remorse about his selection every time they see the sauave, dashing, and wholly-inexperienced Edwards on the campaign trail. They will sigh whistfully and wish that they had pinned their hopes to that dashing southern senator who made his money by exploiting our out-of-date laws concerning class action and medical malpractice suits. Your Maximum Leader asks you all, what could be more desirable for a Democrat than a sexy class-action lawyer?

(Okay, your Maximum Leader heard you all in the back snickering while calling out a career politicican from Arkansas…)

Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure what to make of the whole Kerry/Edwards southern strategery. If the economy continues to improve, and the situation in the middle east improves; all the time and money spent by Kerry/Edwards in the south is a waste. If the economy doesn’t continue to improve, and the situation overseas deteriorates, then the time and money spent in the south by the Democrats is a waste because the critical midwestern swing states are going to go Kerry/Edwards anyway.

So, Kerry’s southern strategery is a waste.

But that John Edwards is a cheeky, sexy, trial lawyer no matter how you parse it.

Carry on.

Many thanks.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to thank the many minions who either wrote or blogged kind words about the birth of the “wee Villain.” A few of you asked for some vital statistics. Your Maximum Leader will gladly oblige with some. The wee Villain was born on June 29. He weighed 9 lbs 2 oz (or 4139 grams for those of you on the metric system). He was 22 inches long. And although he doesn’t normally post photos of his progeny on the internet your Maximum Leader will break with tradition, here is your one (and possibly only) peek at the litle bundle of villainy.

The fruit of your Maximum Leader's loins.

There you go.

Carry on.

Happy 228th!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is spending a quiet Fourth of July with his new son and Mrs. Villain. The Villainettes are visiting their esteemed grandparents and it has left the Villainschloss quiet (excepting the cries of the Villain, Jr.).

This morning when your Maximum Leader woke he asked Mrs. Villain, “What day is it?” She replied, “The Fourth.” And your Maximum Leader said pithily, “Thomas Jefferson survives.” Alas, Mrs. Villain didn’t get it and your Maximum Leader had to explain it. The moment of the joke was lost.

Of course, your Maximum Leader stopped today and contemplated our nation and its history. This space has been used many times efore to discuss American greatness. We are a nation borne of an abstract idea; and we continue to be a people who daily struggle to fulfill the spirit of that idea. Perhaps you should go and read over the Declaration this day.

While your Maximum Leader has stated before that he does not believe that God himself embued all mankind with certain rights, he did create within each human being the capacity to think and create governments. The rights we enjoy as Americans are a great gift. They are our political inheritance. They come to us from the distant past. Their genesis is from Athens and Rome. From King Henry II of England, we received the gift of common law. From King John, we get the concept (not fully realized for many years after 1215) that all people are subjects of the law. From Oliver Cromwell, we get the idea that even our governors are subject to the law. Our political inheritance also owes great debts to Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

But the greatest men to give us our political inheritance are the brave Founders. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and many others. They are the men who risked all they had and owned (remember all the men, regardless of whether or not they signed the Declaration pledged their lives, fortune, and sacred honour). They created a system that we today enjoy, and most others in the world envy.

Have we gotten it right all the time? Of course not. The troubles of our nation are myriad. Slavery, Civil Rights, treatment of Indians are a few. But we have gotten so much more right. Representing the will of the people while respecting dissent. Moderation in Government imposition on the general population. Protecting property rights. Peaceable transfer of government. And so many others. We need to be proud of our political heritage, and mindful that we are now the custodians of our way of life.

We are, at any time, moments away from savagery. The fabric of society is a fragile one. We must always be mindful of our freedoms, but remember that liberty is not license to do as we please when we please. We have a responsibility to be informed of what is going on in our community and nation. We must be involved. And we must actively encourage the growth of political beliefs we hold. And we must be tolerant of those with whom we disagree. But toleration is not the same as equivalence. There is a profound difference that is often lost in the constant cry of diversity in our land.

So this Fourth of July, stop and think about what it means to be American. If your only thoughts about being American consist of fireworks, beer and barbeque; think a little harder. There are millions (perhaps billions) of people who would risk all they had and their very lives to have what you have. There is a reason for that beyond just the material manifestations of freedom. Remember the ideas that are the foundation of our state. And remember that it is the responsibility of every citizen to uphold them in their hearts and actions.

Carry on.

Where is your Maximum Leader?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to state for the record that he has not meant to abandon you. He knows that without regular doses of your Maximum Leader’s writing you all go into nasty D.T.’s and start to worship false gods…

Well, your Maximum Leader has been busy this week with his new arrival. Mrs. Villain delivered a healthy baby boy on Tuesday. Villain, Jr. is healthy and happy. (What man wouldn’t be happy when all he has to do every day is sleep and play with boobs?)

Next week your Maximum Leader will resume posting on a regular basis.

Carry on.

Hegel and our times.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was thinking the other day about a number of different things when driving back from having lunch with the AirMarshal in DC. During lunch the AirMarshal stated that he didn’t think that Ronald Reagan’s historical legacy will be as glowing as the recent outpouring of funeral tributes would have us believe. Your Maximum Leader disagreed. But it caused him to think some more about it.

Recently Jonah Goldberg wrote a column on NRO discussing how in retrospect certain actions look more important to us now than they did at the time they happened. Goldberg mentioned Reagan’s pullout of the Marines from Lebanon as one of these actions. At the time it seemed like the reasonable thing to do. But in retrospect, it may have shown Arabs that the US didn’t have the resolve to fight when confronted by terror. Goldberg quoted historian R.C. Collingwood’s assertion that each generation must redefine its own history.

This caused your Maximum Leader to think about Hegel and his musings (if a German philosopher can be properly said to “muse” about anything) on history. If you remember, Hegel wrote, in his treatise “The Philosophy of History,” that history is an upward cycle of progress through a form described as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. (That is to say an idea arises - the thesis, its opposite arises - the antithesis, and the conflict between the two causes a new thesis - the synthesis to be created. Hegel does not use this terminology, but instead refers to the Aristoliean dialectic.) History is a cycle by which the “World Spirit” evolves over time in what Hegel supposes we would define as progress. The ultimate goal of history being the realization of the “Spirit;” which is Freedom.

Hegel saw the world as progressing from days when the world spirit was limited by ignorance, despotism, and the constraints of religion. But, with optimism uncharacteristic of a German, Hegel saw that the spirit was manifesting itself in his time more greatly than in any previous epoch. He likely assumed that this progress would continue into the future.

In 1992, Francis Fukuyama wrote a controversial book in which he declared an “end to history.” Of course, if people had read more than the title of the book on the dust jacket they would have not thought the work to be so controversial. Fukuyama is a Hegelian. In his book he theorized that since anglo-western liberal democracy had triumphed over communism/fascism in the battle of ideas commonly called the 20th Century we had reached an “end of history” in the sense of a new synthesis had been developed and we were entering a new age. A new age, in a Hegelian sense.

Of course at the time it was hard to guess what the antithesis of the triumphant thesis of anglo-western liberal democracy was. We still may be too close to our present world situation to adequately identify the antithesis Fukuyama was looking for.

This is the point that your Maximum Leader has been pondering. Is Islamo-fascism the antithesis to anglo-western liberal democrcy. And if it is, does the world risk falling back into a new dark age. Made more sinister by the likes of theocratic Nazis?

Unless your Maximum Leader missed something, the goal of people like Usama Bin Laden, Al-Zharqawi, and their ilk is to redress the grievances suffered by Islam and restore the true faith to its place atop the world stage. Restoring a lost time when Islam was the beacon of the world.

So the choice on is asked to make is one between liberal western democracy, or Islamic fascism. Humm… What a choice.

If the antithesis of liberal anglo-western democracy is in fact near-eastern Islamofascism it would seem, if we viewed things like a Hegelian, that the world-historical forces advancing the Spirit would be destined to win. But assuming that advances in the Spirit (remember, the Spirit is human freedom) are not inevitable, doesn’t that mean we must soberly examine the courses we must take in our actions.

By this your Maximum Leader means shouldn’t we carefully examine our national foreign policy (among other things) and see how we must act.

This now brings your Maximum Leader on to the subject at hand, Iraq. Wow! Did you catch that handover of power today? Who’da thunk that we’d be so sneaky and give them control over their country two whole days early? What does this transfer of power mean really?

Not much for a while. But it is an important first step. Iraq is now one of the primary battlefields in the war against Islamic extremists. It is a battlefield that was created by the US liberation. How we proceed now, and how the Iraqis proceed is of outmost importance. We must continue to fight against our enemies in Iraq. We must go into Fallujah and the other cities that we have allowed to descend into a Hobbesian state of nature and crush the resistance there. But we must also continue to work with sensible Iraqis (and the interim government seems to have enough of them) to help them advance the world-historical Spirit against forces that would shackle them to a past that did not exist the way our enemies think it did, and shouldn’t be allowed to come into being.

Carry on.

down with censorship!

I just sent a letter to a bunch of bloggers, and cc’ed it to a couple news organizations, and also made sure it would reach the South Korean MIC (Ministry of Information and Culture). One possible consequence is that the MIC will start hunting down proxy sites; then again, they might be doing this already. Be warned. This fight might see several twists and turns before it’s over.

My letter:

Fellow blogger,

I am sending this message to the bloggers on my blogroll (and a few other folks) in the hopes that some of you will print this, or at least find it interesting enough for comment. I’m not usually the type to distribute such messages, but I felt this was important enough to risk disturbing you.

As some of you may already know, a wing of the South Korean government, the Ministry of Information and Culture (MIC), is currently clamping down on a variety of blogging service providers and other websites. The government is attempting to control access to video of the recent Kim Sun-il beheading, ostensibly because the video will have a destabilizing influence. (I haven’t seen the video.)

Many Western expat bloggers in Korea are in an uproar; others, myself included, are largely unsurprised: South Korea has not come far out of the shadow of its military dictatorship past. My own response to this censorship is not so much anger as amusement, because the situation represents an intellectual challenge as well as a chance to fight for freedom of expression. Perhaps even to fight for freedom, period.

South Korea is a rapidly evolving country, but in many ways it remains the Hermit Kingdom. Like a turtle retreating into its shell, the people are on occasion unable to deal with the harsh realities of the world around them. This country is, for example, in massive denial about the atrocities perpetrated in North Korea, and, as with many Americans, is in denial about the realities of Islamic terrorism, whose roots extend chronologically backward far beyond the lifetime of the Bush Administration. This cultural tendency toward denial (and overreaction) at least partially explains the Korean government’s move to censor so many sites.

The fact that the current administration, led by President Noh Mu-hyon, is supposedly “liberal”-leaning makes this censorship more ironic. It also fuels propagandistic conservative arguments that liberals are, at heart, closet totalitarian. I find this to be a specious caricature of the liberal position (I consider myself neither liberal nor conservative), but to the extent that Koreans are concerned about what image they project to the world, it is legitimate for them to worry over whether they are currently playing into stereotype: South Korea is going to be associated with other violators of human rights, such as China.

Of the many hypocrisies associated with the decision to censor, the central one is that no strong governmental measures were taken to suppress the distribution of the previous beheading videos (Nick Berg et al.). This, too, fuels the suspicion that Koreans are selfish or, to use their own proverbial image, “a frog in a well”– radically blinkered in perspective, collectively unable to empathize with the sufferings of non-Koreans, but overly sensitive to their own suffering.

I am writing this letter not primarily to criticize all Koreans (I’m ethnically half-Korean, and an American citizen), nor to express a generalized condemnation of Korean culture. As is true anywhere else, this culture has its merits and demerits, and overall, I’m enjoying my time here. No, my purpose is more specific: to cause the South Korean government as much embarrassment as possible, and perhaps to motivate Korean citizens to engage in some much-needed introspection.

To this end, I need the blogosphere’s help, and this letter needs wide distribution (you may receive other letters from different bloggers, so be prepared!). I hope you’ll see fit to publish this letter on your site, and/or to distribute it to concerned parties: censorship in a supposedly democratic society simply cannot stand. The best and quickest way to persuade the South Korean government to back down from its current position is to make it lose face in the eyes of the world. This can only happen through a determined (and civilized!) campaign to expose the government’s hypocrisy and to cause Korean citizens to rethink their own narrow-mindedness.

We can debate all we want about “root causes” with regard to Islamic terrorism, Muslim rage, and all the rest, but for me, it’s much more constructive to proceed empirically and with an eye to the future. Like it or not, what we see today is that Korea is inextricably linked with Iraq issues, and with issues of Islamic fundamentalism. Koreans, however, may need some persuading that this is in fact the case– that we all need to stand together as allies against a common enemy.

If you are interested in giving the South Korean Ministry of Information and Culture a piece of your mind (or if you’re a reporter who would like to contact them for further information), please email the MIC at:

webmaster@mic.go.kr

Thank you,

Kevin Kim
bighominid@gmail.com
http://bighominid.blogspot.com
(Blogspot is currently blocked in Korea, along with other providers; please go to Unipeak.com and type my URL into the search window to view my blog.)

PS: To send me an email, please type “hairy chasms” in the subject line to avoid being trashed by my custom-made spam filter.

PPS: Much better blogs than mine have been covering this issue, offering news updates and heartfelt commentary. To start you off, visit:

http://marmot.blogs.com/korea/
http://jeffinkorea.blogs.com/
http://aboutjoel.com/
http://oranckay.net/blog/
http://kimcheegi.blogs.com/
http://gopkorea.blogs.com/flyingyangban
http://rathbonepress.tblog.com/
http://blog.woojay.net/

Here as well, Unipeak is the way to go if you’re in Korea and unable to view the above blogs. People in the States should, in theory, have no problems accessing these sites, which all continue to be updated.

PPPS: This email is being cc’ed to the South Korean Ministry of Inormation and Culture. Please note that other bloggers are writing about the Korean government’s creation of a task force that will presumably fight internet terror. I and others have an idea that this task force will serve a different purpose. If this is what South Korea’s new “aligning with the PRC” is all about, then there’s reason to worry for the future.

_

Lewinsky Speaks Out

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been waiting all week for the “other shoe to drop.” Now it appears as though it is dropping. According to the news wires, Monica Lewinsky is “was really upset” about what Clinton is saying about her in his book and all over TV.

Now your Maximum Leader hates to be the one to break this to you Monica, but you shouldn’t be surprised. He didn’t treat you particularly well (at least by your Maximum Leader’s standards). You were essentially an object into which he could put is libidinous needs. Did you expect to be treated well? If you did, sadly you were about the only one.

Ah well. Live and learn, eh Monica?

Carry on.

Jane Goodall eat your heart out.

Greetings, oyal minions. Your Maximum Leader scorched his sensitve nasal pasages reading the following piece from INDC. Your Maximum Leader presents, “Moonbats in the Mist.” for your reading pleasure.

Carry on.

Dr. Rusty makes us laugh

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader tries to read Dr. Rusty’s site every day. This post gave your Maximum Leader a chuckle.

Of course we know that Dr. Rusty must not be terribly fluent with his translation. The first censored line that the good Doctor renders as “What up G-Dawgs?” should really be rendered as “Shoutin’ out to my peeps.” Not that your Maximum Leader is going to make an issue of it. Vernacular after all.

Carry on.

Another sign…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t been blogging much of late. He has been taking care of family business at the Villainschloss and enjoying it. But, he thought he would submit the following item from the news wires. In case you hadn’t seen it. U.S. Dominance of Skies May Wane.

Perhaps the AirMarshal would care to comment.

Carry on.

A little election humor

From an e-mail I received:

“This a case of a “good” idea not really thought out very well.

“The backstory is as follows: earlier this month, the web site for the Bush-Cheney campaign - the real one, paid for by MBNA America and Richard Scaife - featured a “create your own banner” tool, where you could enter your own slogan and print out your own poster, with the Bush-Cheney logo, and a note at the bottom - “paid for by Bush-Cheney 04, Inc.”

“Democrats, of course, couldn’t get enough of this. The original sloganator accepted everything, then it started censoring profanity and words like “Hitler,” “dictator,” and “evil.” Nevertheless, many clever folks exploited the sloganator to their own ends before its sad demise only a couple of weeks after its birth, and its mourners assembled some of the best for the slideshow.”

Just a few laughs between election opponents provided by your Minister of Propoganda, who urges you to vote FOR the Geneva Conventions in ‘04.

Believe.

Ferguson’s essay/ Europe

Ferguson essay on an apolar world is very interesting. History seems to be a series of peaks and valleys. Our recent concept of progress, and a constant state of improvement, is a relatively new concept. The peaks seem to get higher and higher as we build on past achievements, and the valleys seem lower and lower by comparison. Ferguson speaks more eloquently about this, and the global situation than I can, so I’ll leave it to the reader to come to his or her own conclusions.

As for Europe emerging as a world power… Hah. The foundation of European power has been colonization, and bringing in revenue from around the globe. Now, Europe has no colonies, a dwindling and aging population, and little relevance outside it’s own continent.

Europe is like the old Grandmother who won’t stop talking at a family event. People will let her rant on out of respect for her, but noone really pays attention to her or cares what she says. Yes, Grandmother may have been beautiful, and relevant in her day, but her day is long gone. Grandmother doesn’t care about younger people, or today’s issues. She talks about films released 50 years ago, news stories from WWII, and people who lived the better part of a century ago. And periodically she’ll tell you about her latest health oncern. Still, you listen to be polite. Inside you hope she’ll either shut up, or learn to listen, but you know that won’t happen.

Europe thinks she’s the matriarch still deserving to run the family. The reality is quite different.

And on the subject of the European Union, I’ve always wondered what the foundation for power for the EU is. In America, we believe that power flows from the ground up. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed“. Where’s the power base for the EU? It seems to have a top down philosophy. That power comes from the governments themselves. This bothers me. A logical extension of this would be that rights are things to be given to the citizens, by the government. This has profound implications.

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