Saturday, May 05, 2007
Final vote results for roll call 298, from South Dakota Politics and South Dakota War College.
The best argument in favor of Hate Crimes legislations is that Hate Crimes Laws are actually Anti-Terrorist Laws. Terrorists, such as today's al Qaeda and yesterday's Ku Klux Klan kill people for the same reason that politicans pass laws: to get things done. al Qaeda wants America out of the mid-east, just as the Klan wanted America out of the south-east. This subverts the political process.
Hate violence is political violence. When a black or homosexual is murdered for being in the wrong neighborhood, this killing is done by those who wish to answer the political question, "who should live in our neighborhood?", through violence. However, if that same person was killed by his boyfriend in a quarrel, such would be a murder among murders. In the same way, if a PLO suicide bomber kills an Israeli, the world properly calls it terror and vows to pursue the terrorist to the ends of the earth. But, if that same Israeli was killed by her boyfriend, the world calls it "crime" and expects the police to handle it in the normal procedure. For that matter, the hateful political violence of 9/11, which killed almost three-thousand Americans, is considered much more serious than vitamin deficiency, which may easily top that number.
Hate crimes are attempts to subvert the political system, while regular crimes are attempt to subvert the justice system. When a man kills a friend, he attempts to go around the law-courts in a "he done me wrong" manner. He has no larger goals, and is thus merely a law-and-order threat for the country. However, when a man killers another out of hate, he attempts to go around the Congress and legislature. He is killing for a reason.
Thus, my Representative's (Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-SD) vote against hate crimes protections for veterans and soldiers is sickening. If I gave her and Nancy Pelosi intellectual credit, I would say that are more interested in protecting their supporters from terrorist violence than they are in reducing terrorism. However, I don't give them credit. The Democratic-Party Congress has been a disaster. Vote Republican.
All killings are for a reason. Why does the scope of the goal matter?
Posted by: Steve French | Saturday, May 05, 2007
Because some reasons are petty, with no further significance, and others are grand, with political significance.
The latter, thus, is more significant on the former.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, May 05, 2007
I guess that's the point. Why is the scope of the motivation relevant, and why should we trust the democratic process/government to choose the right ones?
Posted by: Steve French | Sunday, May 06, 2007
This was a great post until that last paragraph where you become totally incoherent.
If you support hate crimes legislation, why do you want more Republicans in Congress? Republicans (or whoever the party of the white South is at any given time) have always tried to kill hate crimes legislation because it would throw half of their constituents in jail. A Republican president is saying he'll veto the bill. On the other hand, the Democratic majority leader worked hard in favor of the bill. The Democratic Judiciary chairman, Conyers, worked hard in favor of the bill. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat, is the Senate sponsor of the bill.
Republicans in Congress tried to kill the bill by expanding it to include military personnel and seniors. It was not a good-faith effort on their part to expand hate-crimes protection to the military, police officers, or old people. It was a cynical attempt to kill the bill.
"Republicans, in a parliamentary move that would have effectively killed the bill, tried to add seniors and the military to those qualifying for hate crimes protection. It was defeated on a mainly party-line vote."
Posted by: a517dogg | Tuesday, May 08, 2007
So I can understand your position, would you say that terrorism is at heart a police matter? That is, 9/11 is best seen as a mass murder?
I'm neutral on hate crimes laws -- this post presented the best argument for it. The best argument against it is that the law would inevitably be used by prosecutors to make prosecutions even more political.
That a Republican addition of protection for veterans would have prompted the Democrats to kill the bill is a stain on the Democrats, not the Republicans. The sentence "would have effectively killed the bill" should be revised, in the interests of correct English, to replace "effectively killed" to "prompted Pelosi to kill."
Regarding Republicans more generally, "At this point, I do not care if decapitated boyscouts are found in the offices of the Republican Congressional Leadership."
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, May 08, 2007
TDAXP - you seriously think Republicans would have voted for the bill even with the amendment criminalizing hatred of government employees?
Attacking a police officer is already a crime beyond attacking a normal person. Is there some hate movement against police officers that they need triple, rather than double, protection against?
The saying "the perfect is the enemy of the good" seems to apply here. You would ditch the good (a Democratic Congress) because they are not perfect (they are trying to end the war in 6 months rather than immediately). In exchange you'd return to one of the most corrupt and delinquent Congresses in American history that made a name for itself by enabling the worst American president in a hundred years.
Posted by: a517dogg | Tuesday, May 08, 2007
I would say it's mass murder, and a crime, yes. Being a police matter, (which I gather is the question), not necessarily. the right tool for the job in all things. If you're looking for proper labeling, I suppose it's closer to an act of piracy than anything else.
That doesn't make it better or worse than anything else, but that does seem the proper label.
Posted by: Steve French | Tuesday, May 08, 2007
"you seriously think Republicans would have voted for the bill even with the amendment criminalizing hatred of government employees?"
You're playing loose with words. You should stop it if you want to have a serious argument.
If you are asking me, "would there have been Republican support (votes in Congress, a Presidential signature, etc) for a hate-crimes bill which added soldier, veteran, and police offier to suspect classes?" I would answer "yes, probably."
But in anycase, I'm neutral on the issue of hate-crimes laws. Whether the Republicans are for it as long as it is fair or against it consistently is of no concern to me. What does sicken me is how Pelosi believes the lives of veterans are cheaper than the lives of others, or, alternative, that there can be hate-motivated violence against homosexuals but not veterans, or, alternatively, the former matters but the latter does not.
"Attacking a police officer is already a crime beyond attacking a normal person. Is there some hate movement against police officers that they need triple, rather than double, protection against?"
Well, movements against law enforce officials are generally known as "gangs," but this is somewhat besides the point. You're arguing loosely, and it does your position no justice.
"You would ditch the good (a Democratic Congress) because they are not perfect (they are trying to end the war in 6 months rather than immediately)."
I think you've misunderstood my argument.
I believe that giving a free, anti-baathist, anti-qaedst Iraq support is vital, and that this is best done through money, arms, and air cover. Such a plan is doable and winnable. Almost every decision Bush has made with regards to Iraq has been a disaster since the transfer of sovereignty, and the disbanding of the Iraqi Army was the last truly great decision Bush made on Iraq.
That said -- the prosecution of a war is the responsibility, duty, and power of the President, not of Congress. The Constitution makes it hard to go to war, and gives Congress the power to declare wars. But the Constitution also makes it hard to end wars, and gives the President the power to make Treaties (that is, to declare peace) and gives him the title of commander-in-chief. Pelosi's rogue foreign policy is far more dangerous from a constitutional standpoint than it is helpful from a geopolitical one. It is as irresponsibible as a President ordering the army from preventing the Congress from forming a quorum.
"In exchange you'd return to one of the most corrupt and delinquent Congresses in American history"
Given the choice between incompetent and self-loathing, I'll go with incompetent. The Congress is unpopular and cross-dealing by design. I don't like that, but I can stand it. Nancy Pelosi wishes to add "executor of wars" and, apparently "self-loathing" to that list. I can't stand that.
"that made a name for itself by enabling the worst American president in a hundred years."
Again, your rhetoric undermines your point.
I think we fundamentally disagree.
Organized attacks are essentially worst than random violence. The first threatens the existence of the group, because an organized foe is able to maneuver to gain maximum advantage. The latter is a public-health nuisance, unthinking and unable to strategize.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I think we fundamentally disagree on our interpretation of the Constitution. I read the Constitution as providing Congress an important role to play not just in declaring war, but in the prosecution (allocating resources, passing laws regarding freedom of the press during war, confirming generals, etc.) and ending (Senate ratification of treaties) wars. Consequently I do not see Pelosi overstepping her role at all.
Given our fundamental disagreement I don't see us coming to agreement anytime soon (if Supreme Court Justices can't agree on this stuff, it's hopeless...). Don't interpret this as me leaving your blog though as I've had too much fun disagreeing with you to just up and leave.
Posted by: a517dogg | Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Anybody who has spent much time in the South knows why hate crime legislation came to be, and is sad about the alteration made to the idea that has done such harm to its noble intent.
Vote Republican? Was the end of the Civil War a dream?
Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I'd forgotten about this thread.
Dan, to your earlier point about organized attacks vs random violence - what I gather is that an organized attack would merit more priority in search and capture (I imagine those efforts would have a higher payoff than trying to stop random violence). I agree with that, but why should the penalty vary for the same crime?
Posted by: Steve French | Wednesday, May 23, 2007
When I lived in Dallas a group of young men approached two gays in a park. They inserted the barrel of a pistol into the mouth of one of the gays and blew his brains out. It was a premeditated murder in the first degree. While in the process of doing the same to the second, he bolted and escaped into the woods.
The judge in the case made an astonishing statement. He said he could not invoke the most severe punishment because the victims of the assault were gay.
The original intent of the legislation was really the judge, not the boys who shot the gay man. That got jettisoned and the boys became the focus of the legislation, which missed the point altogether.
Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Mountainrunner posted some quotes  which are closer to your interpretation.
"what I gather is that an organized attack would merit more priority in search and capture (I imagine those efforts would have a higher payoff than trying to stop random violence). I agree with that, but why should the penalty vary for the same crime?"
Because the effect of stiff penalties for organized attack does greater good than the effect of stiff penalties for random attacks. The Courts do not serve "justice," they serve the laws, and the laws are written more than mere "justice" (including mercy and the state's survival) in mind.
Your stories of the South  are way paint an interesting picture!
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, June 18, 2007
So you're saying that it's an empirical matter? If so, then this article will probably be of some interest
Posted by: Steve French | Monday, June 18, 2007
Thanks for the link to David Friedman's and William Sjostrom's paper, "Hanged for a sheep -- The economics of marginal difference"!
Here's the kicker:
"Query : Can one prove that, if benefit to offender has the same ordering as damage to victim, then optimal punishment also has the same ordering?
[Mathematical proof omitted]"
In hate crimes, both the State and the insurgent weigh meaningful violence more heavily and weigh random violence less heavily.
Take, for example, the death toll of swimming pools v. hijackers in 2001. With no data in front of me, I'd imagine a far greater number of Americans died from swimming pools than hi-jackers. However, by being an out-group that exploited weakness for geopolitical ends, the 9/11 hijackers both created outrage among the people and restricted the nation's freedom of movement oversees. Swimming pool deaths, however, are of no concern at a State-level of analysis.
Likewise, an insurgent has great motivation to cause death and misery to further his political objectives. He has no interest one way or another in being rude to his neighbor, however. Rudeness has no importance at an ideological level of analysis.
In hate crimes, both the victim (the State) and the offender (the insurgent) order damage in the same way. Therefore, Friedman's and Sjostrom's query answer stands.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, June 18, 2007
"The Democratic-Party Congress has been a disaster. Vote Republican."
Some how I think your going to change your mind again, especially when there comes a new legislative establishment. Not that changing your mind is a bad thing, but I think any established political party is going to do something to make you mad one way or the other.
Posted by: Jeffrey James | Monday, June 18, 2007
Congress is designed to be corrupt and cross-dealing, so you're right that any established party is enraging. However, considering the deficiencies of both parties right now, I'll take stupid (GOP) over defeatist (Democratic Party) any day.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, June 19, 2007