“Diplomatic immunity” must be abolished everywhere

Read this story:

Equatorial Guinea argues luxury Paris mansion was part of embassy when raided

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Equatorial Guinea argued on Monday that a luxury mansion in central Paris used by the son of the country’s president was protected by diplomatic immunity when it was raided by French authorities in 2012.

The case at the International Court of Justice is seen as a test for the limits of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity, which shields government officials from prosecution abroad.

Equatorial Guinea launched the case in 2016 after the residence of Teodorin Obiang on the grand Avenue Foch was raided as part of a corruption investigation that resulted in a conviction for embezzlement, confirmed last week.

The conviction came after a collection of 25 supercars he owned, including a Ferrari Enzo and a Bugatti Veyron, were confiscated by the Geneva prosecutor’s office under a deal ending a money-laundering inquiry. The cars fetched nearly 27 million Swiss francs ($27 million) at auction in September.

Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.

A representative for Equatorial Guinea told the court’s judges on Monday that the luxury apartment, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, had been bought by the African nation in 2011 and was part of its embassy.

“France has refused to recognize the diplomatic pretext of the building under the false pretence it belongs to the private domain”, ambassador Carmelo Nvono Nca, Equatorial Guinea’s agent, told the judges.

In coming days France will present its side before the United Nation’s highest court for disputes between states. A ruling is expected later this year.

In earlier hearings the French argued Equatorial Guinea was attempting to shield Obiang, known for posting pictures of his glamorous lifestyle on Instagram, by retroactively adding his opulent 101-room home to its diplomatic mission.

Police raided Obiang’s residence as part of a corruption investigation, eventually seizing 100 million euros worth of assets including paintings by Renoir and Degas and another fleet of luxury vehicles.

Obiang was convicted last week by a French court of embezzlement of public funds and ordered to pay a 30 million euro ($33 million) fine.

Diplomatic immunity in any case is a concept by which officials representing a country are allowed to openly violate the laws of another country while living there.  It is a form of disrespect for the second country’s government and the people there that are subject to those laws. A basic standard of ethics and justice is that NO ONE should be above the law.

And this is not about some young idiot that didn’t know that he was doing wrong.

Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.

Being 50 myself, I know damn well if I were not the son of a ruler who has been in power for far too long, there would be no question of me being imprisoned for my crimes. This case angers me too!

I hope the International Court of Justice rejects this appeal and ultimately abolishes the concept of diplomatic immunity completely. And also that the people of Equatorial Guinea themselves rise up and force their corrupt leader into retirement, and also prevent his son from ever ruling. Sheesh!

 

Kobe Bryant, rape allegations, and a Disney heiress

Here’s a story that emerged in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash last month. Among those killed with him was his 13 year old daughter.

https://www.businessinsider.com/kobe-bryant-abigail-disney-rape-allegations-not-a-god

Disney heiress says Kobe Bryant ‘was not a god’ in lengthy Twitter thread about rape allegations

abigail disney

Abigail Disney spoke out about Bryant’s rape allegations Saturday.

Disney heiress Abigail Disney addressed the rape allegations against late NBA star Kobe Bryant in a 24-tweet thread on Saturday that urged people to avoid turning Bryant into a god.

The 60-year-old, who is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney — a cofounder of the Walt Disney Company — had in a tweet January 29 shared an op-ed from the Washington Post about allegations Bryant faced some 17 years ago, writing “The man was a rapist. Deal with it.”

On February 1, the Disney heiress, who has a net worth of over $120 million, doubled down on her previous statement, offering new commentary on Bryant, who died January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.  

“OK, time to bite the bullet and say something,” Disney said when she began her Twitter thread early Saturday morning. “If you don’t like it, just stop following. First of all, yes, it IS my business because I’m a woman who has herself been assaulted and spent my life knowing, loving and feeling for women for whom it’s been so much worse.” 

At the onset of the thread, Disney offered praise for Bryant amid her discussion of the rape allegations, noting that a person can do both good and bad things in their lifetime. “I mourn Kobe too,” she wrote. “He went on to be a man who seemed genuinely to want to do good. The face[sic] that he raped someone does not change any of these other facts.”

As The New York Times reported, the allegations stem from Bryant’s 2003 a trip to Colorado for an operation on his knee. Byrant reportedly asked a concierge at the spa where he was staying for a private tour. Following the tour, he invited her to his room where they began kissing. Bryant had said what followed was consensual sex, though his accuser said she was raped. 

Court documents revealed the woman had bruises on her neck and tears on her vaginal wall, The New York Times reported. While the case never went to trial, reportedly over the accusers’ refusal to testify, a lawsuit between Bryant and the accuser resulted in an undisclosed settlement.  

Bryant later apologized to his accuser. 

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual,” he said in a statement, “I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.”

Disney went on to compare the allegations against Bryant to a drunk driver killing a person. “Does his lack of intention absolve him of responsibility for the death?,” Disney asked. “If he said he wasn’t that drunk or didn’t know he was drunk, or didn’t mean to kill the person, or is really really really sorry, does any of this absolve him?”

“Of course not,” she added in the next tweet. 

Disney’s final takeaway: don’t worship the NBA star. 

“So yes, we should mourn him,” Disney said. “We should mourn his daughter and his family and all the other lives lost on the helicopter. It was horrible. But don’t deify him because he was not a god. That’s all. Just don’t deify him”.

There has been a flood of discourse since Bryant’s death over whether his 2003 rape allegations should be revisited as the world mourns the basketball star’s tragic death. The Washington Post received backlash when it suspended a reporter for sharing an article about the 2003 case on Twitter after Bryant’s death. The DC newspaper would later walk back its decision to suspend the reporter, saying her tweets did not violate WaPo policy. Still, it said her tweets were “ill-timed.” 

The reactions to Disney’s two-dozen tweets were largely negative. 

“Breaking: bored heiress of a multimedia empire has nothing better to do on a Wednesday because her life is completely empty & meaningless,” one Twitter user said in a tweet that was retweeted more than 120 times. 

Not all of the reactions to Disney’s thread were negative, however.

“What a thoughtful thread,” one person tweeted. “Thank you for writing it. I have seen the way that fierce emotional identification and defense of abusive behavior can happen with sports figures.”

Abigail Disney did not return Business Insider’s request for comment.

Here are my responses to that story:

  1. Kobe Bryant was ACCUSED of rape, but he was never brought to trial, let alone convicted. From a strictly legal standpoint, he is NOT a rapist, so calling him one, especially when he is dead and cannot defend himself from that charge, might as well be called SLANDER.
  2. It is entirely possible that the supposed victim was an opportunist who after having sex with Bryant proceeded to sue him in an effort to get money out of him. This is why, even if the sex was indeed consensual, KOBE BRYANT WAS AN IDIOT TO HAVE AN AFFAIR.
  3. Bryant had four daughters at the time of his death and I’m sure they would have been shocked at the idea of their father raping anyone. That’s a bigger issue to me than his celebrity sports status. Sometimes it is better to let dead dogs decay.
  4. Abigail Disney’s personal wealth was completely irrelevant to the issue, so why mention it? If she had been homeless and not even related to Walt Disney at all, the issue would have been the same.
  5. Sports figures ARE glorified and thus are largely shielded by their own fans from their reputation being damaged by accusations of wrongdoing. We saw that to some extent with O J Simpson, who was a football star early in his life. To this day, I think Simpson got away with murder because he was a rich celebrity; a poor man would have been convicted and sent to prison for life.
  6. Yes, point 5 does seem to contradict point 1. Maybe someday I will have a more consistent ethical position, but for now I have to keep thinking about the matters more. I just feel that one mistake made by a man shouldn’t destroy his life…..unless that mistake destroys other lives. Murder is far worse than rape or adultery. And all people make mistakes.

 

Freedom of Speech must have Logical Limits

Read this outrageous story.

A woman who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court

(CNN)Attorneys for Michelle Carter filed an appeal of her conviction with the United States Supreme Court Monday.

In the filing, Carter’s attorneys urged the Supreme Court to consider, “the questions whether Carter’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter violated the U.S. Constitution.”
Carter was found guilty in 2017 and sentenced to 15 months in a Massachusetts jail for her part in the death of her boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, who killed himself in his car in Fairhaven, Massachusetts in 2014.
After his death, investigators discovered Roy had texted Carter as he contemplated and attempted suicide, with her encouraging him to do it when he had doubts.
“I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it! You can’t keep living this way,” one of dozens of texts from Carter to Roy reads.
Massachusetts highest court upheld her conviction following an appeal in February.
Her attorneys argued in Monday’s filing that her freedom of speech may have been violated and should be protected under the constitution.
“Michelle Carter did not cause Conrad Roy’s tragic death and should not be held criminally responsible for his suicide,” said attorney Daniel Marx of Fick & Marx LLP. “This petition focuses on just two of the many flaws in the case against her that raise important federal constitutional issues for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide.”
“As Justice Gorsuch ruled in a recent case, ‘A vague law is no law at all,'” added Marx’s partner, William Fick. “Ms. Carter’s conviction should not stand.”

Warning: I am about to go totally Klingon on this matter:

First, only an irrational extremist thinks in absolutes like that. WORDS CAN KILL! Send her to prison for life, not just 15 months! She committed MURDER, premeditated and cold-blooded.

Second, if she really thinks she had a right to do what she did, she should prove herself by committing suicide too. Otherwise she is a hypocrite. If both of them had committed suicide, it would have been tragic but understandable. She was instead a coward who chose to live without him.

The Idiocy of Mary Kay Letourneau

Read this story:
https://people.com/crime/mary-kay-letourneau-wanted-to-salvage-marriage-vili-fualaau-seeks-split/

Mary Kay Letourneau ‘Tried Everything’ to Save Marriage, But Husband Wants to Split: Source

“I don’t think they have it in them anymore,” says a source close to Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau

March 29, 2019 02:19 PM

Mary Kay Letourneau tried everything to save her floundering marriage husband to Vili Fualaau, a source close to the former teacher tells PEOPLE.

After Fualaau filed for legal separation in May 2017, the couple had multiple discussions about where things were going, the source says. “She really tried everything she could think of, but she just wasn’t able to work it out. She loves him, she knows he loves her, but it really seems like it has run its course.”

PEOPLE confirms a legal filing with the King County Superior Court stating the couple is moving forward with private arbitration to finalize their split.

Image result for mary kay letourneau

“After all that, the cards were stacked against them, but they managed to have a long-term marriage,” says the Letourneau source. “She still looks at their relationship as this amazing love story.”

Many would disagree. The relationship began when Fualaau was just 12 years old and Letourneau was his sixth-grade teacher. Ultimately, she was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for child rape in connection with their relationship. She twice became pregnant with Fualaau’s children before he was 15, despite court orders that would keep them apart.

By the time she was released from prison, Fualaau was an adult — and he petitioned the court to allow them to see each other. The restraining order was dropped, but Letourneau remains a registered sex offender in Washington state.

The couple married in 2005, despite the criminal history of their relationship.

“I’m not surprised that they got married,” Letourneau’s lawyer and friend David Gehrke told PEOPLE in 2017, after the couple first announced their plans to split before they later attempted to reconcile. “And I’m not surprised, in this day and age, that they are separating.”

Before she began her relationship with Fualaau, Mary Kay Letourneau was married and had four children, but she was clearly unhappy with her life up to that point. So she not only went after another guy, but one of her own students! If I’d been her, I might have gotten divorced from my husband anyway, but NEVER had sex with someone I was supposed to be teaching. She threw away a career in education just to have fun. She and her young lover then went on to have two daughters. How would they have felt if one of their daughters got pregnant from one of their teachers in turn? Why couldn’t Letourneau and Fualaau have waited until he was an adult and out of high school, at least?

Some people are simply not fit to be married permanently, and Letourneau and Fualaau seem to be two of these. They were clearly delusional to think they would find happiness for the rest of their lives with each other when they really had little in common. Perhaps marriage itself as an institution should be made temporary, ending after maybe ten years or so, unless the couple decides to renew the union for another ten years.

In any case, what Letourneau did was clearly immoral, but I don’t think it should have been considered criminal. She certainly should have been fired as a teacher and banned from ever taking another teaching job in any school. I also think Fualaau should have been expelled from that school. Putting Letourneau in prison for several years didn’t help anyone and only delayed the marriage that seemed inevitable. But it is still ending and I am not surprised at all.

BTW, the current President of France, Emmanuel Macron, married HIS former school teacher, Brigitte Trogneux. At least they were smart enough to wait until they were both adults to become a couple.

The Wayback Machine preserves the debunked nonsense of hypocrites!

On several occasions, I have recorded on this blog and directly answered the lies and unfounded nonsense of Christian apologists. Here are two examples:

Lying About History for the Bible

Insulting and Libeling Unbelievers

In the first, I showed how history was distorted regarding the city of Tyre and the obviously false meaning of Bible “prophecy” was papered over in an incredible display of projection and damage control, while in the other one I attacked Creationist Hugh Ross when he tried to explain why people often do not become Christians. In both cases, at least one of the false web pages were removed completely by the writers, while in the second case the other false web page’s address was changed to make it harder to find (but I caught that and updated my blog entry anyway). You’d think with that, both liars would have sense enough to shut up, but their phony websites remain to this day:

https://www.reasons.org/home

http://exchangedlife.com/

Here’s a basic rule of thumb to prevent you for falling for a con artist of any kind: If a person is caught telling ONE lie, then anything else he says should not be taken at face value. Huge Ross lied about whale ankles, while the unknown writer(s) of the Exchanged Life Discipleship website lied about the issue of the prophet Ezekiel. I am pleased that their web pages in question were deleted after I busted them on this very blog, but don’t you think they should have had the courage to make a public apology for their lying? Instead, they chose to hide what they did like it never mattered!

But a special website known as the Wayback Machine preserved what they said anyway.

https://web.archive.org/web/20120131174133/http://www.reasons.org/philosophyreligion/atheism/barriers-salvation

https://web.archive.org/web/20101124175220/http://exchangedlife.com/skeptic/ezekiel.htm

And with these falsehoods exposed, seekers of truth can know to avoid those websites and their creators to prevent being deceived by anything else they might claim.

Ironic that the Christian rock band Petra made a song about hidden things being revealed in an act of judgement against people.

As a Christian, I LOVED Petra, so this pleases me to no end!

 

 

“Good Guy” vs. “Strong Guy” Dichotomy

In my younger days, I was often rejected by girls and young women even though I tried to be as loving towards them as possible. I assumed that it might have been because they thought I was ugly or weak. But the real issue seems to be something I often see in politics too.

Women naturally want men that are strong to protect them and their children, and our culture seems to depict men that have a strong sense of empathy and compassion for others to be “weak”, therefore such men are not considered as suitable for a domestic partnership as men that are highly aggressive towards others.

Likewise, people generally want a leader that is highly aggressive for the same reason. That explains why George McGovern lost so badly to Richard Nixon in 1972 despite having a much better character and this was repeated with Jimmy Carter losing to Ronald Reagan in 1980, and Donald Trump winning his election in 2016.

But what people often fail to consider is that the same aggressive attitude that makes a man look strong can be twisted to hurt or abandon the very ones the man is supposed to be protecting, including his love partner and their children. By contrast, a loving, empathic man can encourage a woman to stand up for herself rather than just let a man fight for her. And he would not leave her as long as she loved him just as deeply.

I have known several cases of women who used to see me as just a friend who after being abused and/or neglected by the men in their life, later took another look at me and decided I would have been the better partner for them after all. And I would consider it an honor to help care for them.

Likewise, I am hopeful that the American people will stop being seduced by the mere appearance of strength and seek in future Presidents the most powerful character trait anyone can have: LOVE! Its being seen as weakness is sheer ignorance. Have you ever seen a mother bear fight to protect her cubs?