Saturday, August 30, 2008

Law and Order complaints

Well, as long as I'm complaining about Law and Order, I thought I'd complain about the legal stuff in another one. Here's the plot: Famous Baseball Player kills Limo Driver. Famous Baseball Player is taking steroids. Prosecutor thinks the motive is that Limo Driver was blackmailing Famous Baseball Player about steroid use. Prosecutor gets some sort of package from Defense and finds a memo that was put in the mail by accident. This memo mentions that Mystery Witness will not testify (doesn't say what this has to do with case). Prosecutor interviews Mystery Witness and finds out that Mystery Witness is Famous Baseball Player's gay lover and that this was what the blackmail was about --not about steroids. Judge rules that Prosecutor cannot use this information about mystery witness because they got it from Defense work product.

So far, I'm following. Now comes the strange stuff: Prosecutor tries to call Steroid Witness to show that Famous Baseball Player was being blackmailed for steroid use. Defense objects that Prosecutor is arguing a false theory. Prosecutor argues that he is only going to present evidence and let the jury draw its own conclusions. Judge rules in favor of Defense and Prosecutor's Annoying Assistant gets all indignant that Prosecutor would even try such a thing. Since Prosecutor cannot offer either theory of a motive now, Defense tries to convince the jury that there was no motive; Famous Baseball Player just went into steroid-induced rage for no reason, so he should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Questions:

1. How did it become undisputed fact that the motive for the crime was the gay-lover blackmail? Why can't the Prosecutor say that the gay-lover motive is open to question and go ahead with the steroid motive?

2. If it is undisputed fact that the motive for the crime was gay-lover blackmail, then why is it OK for the Defense to argue a false theory (that the murder had no motive) but not OK for the Prosecutor to argue a false theory?

3. If the gay-lover-blackmail motive is undisputed fact and there is a double standard about who can argue false theories, then why didn't it occur to Prosecutor (or Prosecutor's Annoying Assistant) that the defense memo that eventually got both blackmail theories thrown out was put in there intentionally for just that purpose? Why not ask Defense under oath if the letter was put in accidentally? If it was deliberate and if Defense is unwilling to commit perjury, then surely this would reverse the previous decision about Mystery Witness because then the memo becomes a deliberate disclosure to Prosecutor.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

the Christian right as terrorists

Last night I saw about three episodes of Law and Order. It's one of my favorite shows, but it isn't unusual to see the warped left-wing ideology of the shows creaters in the script. There are have been two major groups of terrorists in the world over the last hundred years: the Left and the Muslims. The Christian right was largely organized to oppose the Left, and since then has been about the only group criticizing Muslims. And in both cases, their primary, most universal complaint against both the Left and the Muslims is the violence that these groups inspire and endorse. Not only do Muslims and the Left together contribute the vast majority of terrorists in the modern world, there is a long record of the non-terrorists in both groups excusing and even supporting the terrorists.

By contrast, when people try to name terrorists of the Christian right, they usually end up naming people who aren't even Christians. I doubt there has even been a political group in history with tens of millions of members and so few violent acts on behalf of the group. And the Christian right has never, in any form, ever excused or supported the tiny, insignificant amount of violence that has come out of their ranks.

Furthermore, the Christian right has been one of the most reliable supporter of Israel over the last half century, while Muslims have been wanting to kill all the Jews and the Left has been wanting the US to stand aside and let it happen. Although there have sometimes been harsh words between Jews and Christians, no one on the Christian right has ever proposed, endorsed, or even stood silently aside during violence against Jews. If you take violence as your measure rather than political and religious opposition, then the Christian right has probably been the least anti-Semitic collection of tens of millions of people in the history of the Jews.

So when Law and Order needs an anti-semitic terrorist villain, who do they make him? Well, "a combination of the christian right and the militia movement". Of course.

This is why there are millions of people in the US (and in the world, for that matter) who think that the christian right is mean and bigoted and violent and wants to enslave women. These people have never actually listened to what the christian right is really about and all they know is the ugly stereotype of popular entertainment.