Thursday, December 30, 2010

Swedish Man Loses His (other) Head

In the socialized medicine health care reform debate the president has taken a bit of flack from socialists progressives for not expending more political capital in order to achieve "single payer" health care here in the US. In point of fact, "single payer" as it refers to the progressives' concept of health care is a gross misstatement. A true single payer system would consist of the health care consumer paying for it out of pocket whereas the progressives would have the taxpayers (that's multiple payers) pick up the tab. The following is an interesting but not surprising outcome of socialized single payer lack of health care.  
A Swedish man was forced to have his penis amputated after waiting more than a year to learn he had cancer.
The man, who is in his sixties, first visited a local clinic in Blekinge in southern Sweden in September 2009 for treatment of a urinary tract infection, the local Blekinge Läns Tidning (BLT) reported.

When he returned in March 2010 complaining of foreskin irritation, the doctor on duty at the time diagnosed the problem as a simple case of inflammation.

After three weeks passed without the prescribed treatment alleviating the man’s condition, he was instructed to seek further treatment at Blekinge Hospital.

But it took five months before he was able to schedule an appointment at the hospital.

When he finally met with doctors at the hospital, the man was informed he had cancer and his penis would have to be removed.

It remains unclear if the man would have been able to keep his penis had the cancer been detected sooner.

"If it's any consolation, he's probably better off without it. Given what we've learned about Swedish law from the Julian Assange case, those things just get you into trouble over there."

h/t: James Taranto 

Government Agencies at Work

Warning: R rated narration!

H/T William L. Anderson

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Something to Ponder on Boxing Day

Even an intensive study of history can result in no more than an absorption of limited data. The known "facts" available to us do not constitute even a miniscule quantity of the fund of human history. We are therefore forced to develop a philosophy of history as even the data which have survived the ravages of time were recorded by fallible human beings who viewed events through the prism of their own prejudices and cultural biases. This has been the case in the view of this writer for even such meticulous historians as Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, Josephus, Plutarch, Tacitus and Sozomen to name but a few of the more scrupulous historians of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Enough of the works of the above scholars as well as others have however survived to supply us with at least an imperfect view of the great historical powers including their ascendancy and decline.  Perhaps one of the most important literary works on the subject is Edward Gibbon's classic "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", the first Volume of which was published beginning in 1776, eerily concomitant with the US Declaration of Independence. The following is an excerpt from Vol. I chapter 3:
The [western] Roman government [seated in Ravenna after 402 AD] appeared every day less formidable to its enemies, more odious and oppressive to its subjects. The severe inquisition, which confiscated their goods and tortured their persons, compelled the subjects of Valentinian [III] (425-455 AD) to prefer the simple tyranny of the barbarians, to fly to the woods or the mountains, or to embrace the vile and abject condition of mercenary servants. They abjured and abhorred the name of Roman citizens, which had formerly excited the ambition of all mankind. If all the barbarian conquerors had been annihilated in the same hour, their total destruction would not have restored the empire of the West: and if Rome still survived, she survived the loss of freedom, of virtue, and of honour. [Gibbon uses the term "severe inquisition" in referring to the Roman equivalent to our Internal Revenue Service.]
Do you, gentle reader note any similarities to the conditions now obtaining here in "the freest nation on earth"; a nation that requires a submission to illegal searches as a precondition for air travel, criminal penalties for ingesting or even possession of proscribed substances which cause no injury to third parties? The US and its provincial "states" today exhibit many of the characteristics which evinced the decline of the Roman Empire. These conditions to mention but few, include the debasement of the currency by the creation and exponential augmentation of fiat, unbacked paper/electronic money in the US as compared to the coin-clipping and precious metal debasement by Roman emperors as well as the proliferation of obscure and arcane laws. As in the declining era of the Roman Empire, our citizens are precluded from engaging in any enterprise except by the leave of the federal and/or local government and the payment of a myriad of arbitrary fees as well as submission to countless stifling regulations put in place at the behest of the new priesthood of environmentalists by our nanny state rulers. Real property is for all practical purposes owned by the state and deeded (leased) out to private entities in exchange for payment of unilaterally determined rents (taxes). The lower orders of the populace are purchased and kept quiescent by the means of seizing wealth from the industrious and transferring it to the indolent or failing that, borrowing the largess from foreign potential foes. Infiltration of the borders by foreigners who decline to assimilate into the host culture is also a condition existing in both the later Roman Empire and the United States of recent decades. Continuing proposals here such as the (for now) defeated "DREAM" act mirror the gradual displacement of Roman citizens in its legions by foreign tribesmen.

Fitzroy McLean sums up succinctly in this quote what he observes as the collapse of western civilization as we now know it:
In the very near future the only truly admirable and moral profession will be a smuggler. There will be genuine heroes that ply that trade moving goods and people in service of humanity, although it will be illegal. This goes to the death rattle of the nation state, which will almost certainly be violent and oppressive. The US and Europe will have an underground railway and covert information highway.
The insidious metamorphosis of our nation into a collectivist state seems to go unnoticed and unremarked by the bulk of our younger population which appears to have been indoctrinated into its acceptance of and by a government "education" system controlled by a ruling elite primarily concerned with enjoying the perquisites of power.

The question arises: can the inexorably approaching collapse be averted? It is the view of this writer that the tipping point has already been passed and is apparent in the disregard by both ourselves and our rulers of the restraints placed upon government by the founders of the Republic. The interregnum following the collapse is likely to be bloody and tumultuous with a restoration of the status quo ante as regards liberty, unlikely. Western culture previously endured  nearly a millennium before an awakening and given the most optimistic outcome, those living today are unlikely to experience the next one. These are the views held by one who approaches threescore and fifteen years of observing the descent and he would be overjoyed to be proven overly pessimistic.

Merry Christmas

This is the original 1943 (WW II) version of the song written for the musical Meet Me in St Louis and it brought tears to the eyes of grown men who were often far from home and dying for their country.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


It has been some time since Leonidas was a grunt (formerly dogface) in the Army of the United States (hint: the term refers to the conscripted Army). It appears however, that some things haven't changed substantially. The following essay describes the practice of "over classification" of documents. It has been going on for at least decades but has taken an ugly turn since the emergence of highly politicized and undeclared wars:

American Soldiers Should Be First in Line To Defend Bradley Manning

by Andrew Mason and Mark R. Crovelli
One of the most curious facets of the ongoing Wikileaks saga is the conspicuous silence of the American military about the Bradley Manning case. The military’s silence is absolutely deafening, for example, on the pages of Stars and Stripes, where only two articles in the turbulent month of December have even deigned to mention Mr. Manning. One would expect that, in a case involving the largest leak of classified documents in the history of the world, the armed forces would be staking out a concrete position on this case for the entire world, and especially the armed forces, to see. After all, it was one of the armed forces’ own who allegedly released the documents to Wikileaks, and other active-duty servicemen with access to classified documents may be considering doing the very same thing as Manning.
This silence emanating from the armed forces regarding Manning raises a fascinating and important question: What position should the armed forces take with regard to the Manning case? We all know what stance the Pentagon is likely to take, given that many of the embarrassing documents actually refer to people in the Pentagon, but the question that truly needs to be answered concerns the position the armed forces should take – especially the position that average soldiers should take on Bradley Manning.
The answer, it turns out, cannot be discovered by facilely pointing out that it is illegal under military law for soldiers to release classified information to the public. This is true, because the document classification system has been manipulated by political and military elites in a way that is extremely prejudicial to average soldiers. Ironically, this fact has itself been revealed by the Wikileaks releases, because it is clear that political and military elites are over-classifying documents in order to protect their own asses. They have been classifying documents "secret" even when they involve nothing more than gossip about foreign diplomats and royalty, for example. Peruse the Wikileaks files for two minutes and you will get a good sense of just how absurd the document classification system in the United States has become.
Insofar as the document classification system in the U.S. has been absurdly extended and abused, this has created a serious moral problem for conscientious soldiers in the armed forces. For, by over-classifying documents, political and military elites are able to hamstring their subordinates and make the exposure of what they are doing virtually impossible, unless it is leaked. Any unsavory, illegal, untruthful or even just plain embarrassing information can be hidden from public view simply by stamping the offensive document "secret." It is also a way for political and military elites to avoid prosecution for crimes in the United States by claiming that their defense involves "sensitive" or "secret" documents that cannot be revealed in open court. This strategy is so common in our corrupted day and age that it even has a name: "greymail."
In essence, then, the document classification system in the United States has warped into an instrument of intimidation against average, conscientious soldiers who might be appalled by their superiors’ words or deeds. Superior officers and civilian bureaucrats can preempt dissent by simply stamping incriminating documents "secret," and use that tiny word as a threat against conscientious soldiers that they had better keep their mouths shut – or else. This threat is all the more unconscionable while two wars are going on that are killing average American soldiers, not political and military elites, in droves. When lies are used to get American soldiers killed, and soldiers are intimidated to preempt the exposure of those lies, you have a recipe for tragedy on a massive scale.
It is important to bear in mind, moreover, that we are not talking about documents upon which the safety of the United States rests. No high-ranking officers would be stupid or reckless enough to share such sensitive documents with low-level officers and enlistees. If they were that mind bogglingly idiotic, then the entire Pentagon and officer corps ought to be forced to resign for incompetence immediately. In addition, the fact that people in Washington routinely leak documents to the press that are far more sensitive to national security than those Manning released, like the National Intelligence Estimate, testifies to the existence of a revolting double standard being applied to political and military elites as compared to the standard being applied to average soldiers like Mr. Manning.
Bearing these observations in mind, it ought to be obvious that average soldiers should celebrate Bradley Manning as a hero who stood up to this unconscionable intimidation from above. He didn’t just reveal to the world that the upper echelons of the political and military establishment are engaged in outright crimes and deception; he revealed and took a stand against conscientious soldiers being silenced by asinine document over-classification. He is, in other words, a defender of the honor and integrity of the average soldier and the Army’s own core values, which stands in stark contrast to the depravity of the political and military elites that we meet in the Wikileaks documents, and who are now trampling on the constitution even in their detention of Mr. Manning.
Thus, average soldiers ought to be the first in line to defend Bradley Manning. They ought to insist that he only be punished if it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the documents he released were indeed of vital importance to the security of the United States. If this cannot be proven, then Mr. Manning ought to be immediately and unconditionally released. (Proving this in Mr. Manning’s case will be extremely difficult, however, given that Defense Secretary Gates has already asserted that the documents have harmed no one, and the fact that the Pentagon didn’t even think it necessary to redact names from the documents). The assumption going forward, now that we know for a fact that documents are being over-classified in abundance by political and military elites, is that any released document is not vital to national security until conclusively proven otherwise. If average soldiers were to operate under this assumption, moreover, political and military elites would be forced to take the time to actually hide any truly sensitive documents from the view of hundreds of thousands of people, as they should have been doing from day one.
It was long overdue for someone to stand up against the practice of over-classifying documents in order to intimidate average soldiers. Bradley Manning has courageously done so, and all members of the armed forces should rejoice for it.
December 22, 2010
Andrew Mason is a former corporal in the U.S.M.C. Mark R. Crovelli [send him mail] writes from Denver, Colorado.
Copyright © 2010 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Adiós Madams Liberty and Justice

As is the case these days with most of us connected to the internet, this blogster receives a fair number of forwarded emails in addition to the usual spam. This morning's harvest of such missives included a message forwarded by the widow of one of Leonidas' army buddies with whom casual contact has spanned many years. The following is excerpted from that forwarded message:
11.  It's the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.
It's the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It's the Veteran, not the community organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.
It's  the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
It is reasonable and appropriate to harbor feelings of gratitude toward those who participate in the defense of our nation and communities, but I am driven to disagree with the assertion that persons who have participated in defending the national interests have "given" us such liberties that the government deigns to refrain from denying us. Indeed, the liberties that we yet retain are inexorably diminishing as I type this essay and one need only consider the many thousands of pages in the Federal Register to understand the magnitude of the loss.

Military conscription in the US ended most recently in 1973 and for that reason one must more or less volunteer (hopefully based on informed choice) to subject ones self to the body of laws consisting of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) governing members of the military. These laws, in the interest of discipline, differ in some procedural respects from civilian legal usages.

Having noted the distinctions between the two justice systems, one is forced to be curious as to precisely what rights are forfeited by members of the military. Let us consider the provision in the VI th Amendment to the Constitution requiring a "speedy...trial": An army private first class, one Bradley Manning "was arrested on July 29 ... for allegedly downloading... classified material while serving on an Army base outside Baghdad." It is duly noted that UCMJ does not provide for bail pending court martial proceedings, however the conditions under which Manning has been detained would seem to argue against a prolonged delay based on humanitarian considerations.
"At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up (on weekends, he is allowed to sleep until 7:00 a.m.). Under the rules for the confinement facility, he is not allowed to sleep at anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards...PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day...The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes [day and night] by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay...He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. However, he is given access to two blankets and has recently been given a new mattress that has a built-in pillow...He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell...He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop...He does receive one hour of “exercise” outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long[er] feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell...When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning."
According to a computer researcher who has bi monthly contact with Manning:..."he is starting to deteriorate. Over the last few weeks I have noticed a steady decline in his mental and physical wellbeing," he said. His prolonged confinement in a solitary holding cell is unquestionably taking its toll on his intellect; his inability to exercise due to [prison] regulations has affected his physical appearance in a manner that suggests physical weakness."

May I remind you dear reader that this individual, a citizen of these United States has not been convicted as yet of any crime. The reasons offered by our government for confining PFC Manning under these conditions are due to his being held on "Prevention of Injury (POI) watch". Is it any coincidence that we learn: " Justice Department officials are said to be looking for evidence of collusion between him and Assange to build a case against the 39-year-old WikiLeaks founder...and that the U.S. had offered Manning a plea bargain in exchange for his naming Assange as his co-conspirator"? But then we all know that our "federal rulers" would never suborn perjury; especially in order to obtain a conviction against one who has seriously embarrassed them (wink wink nudge nudge).

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Lynch Mob Gathers

Greetings gentle readers. For some time there has, in the opinion of this humble blogster, been a pernicious myth permeating our society. The myth involves the idea that our nation is the beacon of "freedom" on the global stage. Indeed, when compared to many nation states as well as super-national conglomerations such as the European Union and the Russian Federation the US citizen enjoys a measure of (but vanishing quantity of) liberty.

Prior to the days of "diversity", the national security state, zero tolerance, progressivism and environmentalism our society was a much freer one. Indeed, in order to institute national alcohol prohibition in 1920 our rulers, finding no such authorization in the constitution, proposed and the several states ratified the XVIIIth amendment. How times have changed! It is not fantasy to conceive that recent Congresses (Congri?) would legislate such a prohibition without recourse to the amendment process and when questioned would reply: "Are you serious"?

Until the advent of the United Nations in 1945 it was inconceivable that our nation would engage in warfare lacking legitimately declared hostilities under Article I sec 8 of the Constitution. The last time the US legally declared a state of war was 5 June 1942. In June of 1950 our military forces were committed to hostilities on the Korean peninsula under the auspices of a United Nations "police action" resolution. Since that time all armed conflicts involving the US military have proceeded sans the legal niceties described in our constitution but with the occasional sanction of a congressional resolution or a perfunctory genuflection toward the "War Powers Act".

This is all understandable as historically the public has countenanced violations of constitutionally "protected" liberties during declared hostilities e.g. the Palmer raids  subsequent to WW I enforcing the Espionage Act of 1917 and the ordered internment of US citizens of Japanese ancestry in 1942. We have now descended progressed to a public outcry amounting to blood lust demanding the trial/execution/assassination of a foreign national for "treason".

Strangely enough, the previous outcry against the WikiLeaks dump last summer involving the Iraq and Afghan files failed to generate the level of outrage accompanying the recently published State department unredacted cables. Can it be that the previous releases were less embarrassing to the ruling class but now their subterfuge, arrogance and incompetence are revealed for all to view?  Just askin'.

In any event is it not ironic that Mr Assange was finally taken down for sex "crimes" committed in the Feminazi Republic of Sweden and we now await Eric Holder's efforts to discover an appropriate crime to utilize for the show trial? Perhaps Mr Assange can plead honorary membership in the New Black Panthers in order to quash the  investigation. It is all reminiscent of Leventry Beria's statement to Stalin: "Show me the man and I will find the crime".

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Friday, December 03, 2010

Enemy of the State Updated

If any of you gentle readers were entertained and or amused by the cinematic 1998 production "Enemy of the State" starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman this humble blogster would hasten to call your attention to the present and ongoing saga of Julian Assange, an Australian citizen and founder of the notorious web site Wikileaks. Last year Wikileaks released many thousands of electronic documents dealing with the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The documents had been "classified" by agencies of the US government and were at variance with many official information releases. It was asserted that the publication of these sensitive documents could/would result in retributive actions on "innocent" assets of intelligence agencies of the US and its allies.

When recently questioned, Admiral Mike Mullen chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff was unable to cite one instance of an intelligence asset being harmed as a result of wikileaks' document dumps. Conversely:

"The major government players such as the CIA and the Pentagon do not stop at just Julian but also target many WikiLeaks volunteers or associates. Two volunteers and an American WikiLeaks spokesperson have been detained and questioned in the United States along with other individuals alleged to be participant to his publishing activities ... The result is a constant need for legal and political support and managing this from afar and throughout many continents is no small task. Furthermore Julian Assange does not take these matters lightly having been privy to bad experiences in the past - while working on the extra judicial assassinations taking place in Kenya, two WikiLeaks' affiliates [were] assassinated."

The most recent instance of political harassment of Mr Assange is the issuance of an interpol warrant for his arrest, by the government of Sweden; not for espionage or theft of documents but for "Sex by Surprise"(???) which involves a fine equivalent to US $715.00. The warrant arises from incidents occurring in August 2010 involving:

"The strange tale of Assange's brief flings with two Swedish women during a three-day period...and decisions by three different prosecutors to first dismiss rape allegations made by the women and then re-open the case...

[O]ne of Assange's accusers sounds tailor-made for those who think Assange is being set up in Sweden by dark CIA-backed operatives who want him smeared or silenced for his document dumping. She's a 31-year-old blond academic and member of the Social Democratic Party who's known for her radical feminist views, once wrote a treatise on how to take revenge against men and was once thrown out of Cuba for subversive activities."  Assange arrived in Sweden on Aug. 11 to speak at a weekend seminar sponsored by the Social Democratic Party and arranged to stay at a Stockholm apartment belonging to the event organizer, a member of the branch of the party who would become one of Assange's two accusers.

According to a police report obtained by the Daily Mail in August, she and Assange had sex, and at some point the condom broke. While she was apparently not happy about the condom breaking, the two were seen the next day at the seminar, and nothing appeared amiss.

Another woman at the seminar, a 27-year-old art photographer, said in her police statement that she'd come to hear Assange's lecture because of her fascination with him and his work. She can be seen in video footage on the Internet sitting in the front row during Assange's lecture, wearing a pink sweater and snapping pictures of him.

According to the police report, the woman managed to get an invitation to go out for lunch with Assange and his entourage after the seminar. They spent time together before he went back to stay at the event organizer's apartment.

Two days later, on Aug. 16, they reconnected by phone and the woman invited him to her apartment, more than 40 miles outside Stockholm. She paid for the ticket since Assange apparently had no cash and doesn't like to use credit cards because they could be traced.

She complained in her police statement that during the train ride to her hometown, "he paid more attention to his computer rather than me." She also said that by the time they arrived at her apartment, "the passion and excitement seemed to have disappeared."
 You can't make this stuff up.

It should be pointed out that none of the released wikileak documents have been challenged as unauthentic but are extremely embarrassing to many high powered players on the global political scene including US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

For this writer, the most disturbing issue of this entire sordid situation is the blood lust by many supposed conservative defenders of the rule of law.  There have been calls for Assange and his associates to be declared "terrorists" and enemy combatants indicating they should be dealt with outside the law. Jonah Goldberg, a conservative syndicated columnist asked "why wasn't Julian Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?"

Enemy of the State indeed. It would appear that sunshine and truth are serious crimes in our Brave New World.

UPDATE 4 Dec 2010 12:13 hrs EST

As an update for anyone interested in evidence that the Swedish charges are a frameup please visit here and here. The "authorities" wish to have Assange returned to Sweden and enact Ex Post Facto legislation in order to criminalize acts which were at the time not  illegal. Sweden has no constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder or ex post facto laws.

cross posted at: Eternity Road