Scott Sumner points out that Paul Krugman’s latest column makes a basic logical error. Krugman notes a study that finds that stimulus spending leads to more jobs where the money is spent, but then makes the logical leap to the proposition that it leads to more jobs overall. Since stimulus spending is highly uneven (indeed, it is allocated exclusively by political considerations), the one hardly implies the other.
Honest mistake? Well, Krugman is a smart guy, but somehow that hasn’t stopped him from a history of mistakes; mistakes that a smart guy like him should be incapable of. His notorious divide-by-tenerror comes to mind. At the time he tried to defend himself:
No, I didn’t forget to divide by 10. (For God’s sake: whatever you think of my politics, I am a competent economist, and know how to use numbers.)
Indeed, Mr. Krugman. That’s one reason we don’t think it was an accident.
Democrats accuse Republicans of using violent rhetoric in politics. They say they want more civility. They don’t mean it:
Last Friday…. after the Assembly voted to engross the Budget Repair Bill, [Democratic State Representative Gordon] Hintz turned to a female colleague, [Republican] Rep. Michelle Litjens and said: “You are F***king dead!”
When the left was trying to pin the Tucson shooting on Sarah Palin and other Republicans, they had to stretch to an absurd degree, since they had no real examples. On the other hand, on the Democratic side:
Gordon Hintz (D) makes an explicit death threat on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly.
Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) calls for Rick Scott (R, now governor of Florida) to be put against a wall and shot.
Rahm Emanuel (D, now mayor of Chicago) recites the names of his enemies, punctuated by plunging a knife into a table and yelling “dead!”.
President Obama says “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”, and says that a GOP takeover of Congress would mean “hand-to-hand combat”.
Alan Hevesi (D, then New York State Comptroller, who later resigned as part of a plea agreement in an unrelated corruption case) praises Charles Schumer as the sort of the man who would “put a bullet between [President Bush’s] eyes”.
Keep in mind, that’s just from elected politicians. If I were to open it up to entertainers, journalists, bloggers, union thugs, and/or protesters, we would be here all day.
Am I going to let this go? Not bloody likely. Those jackasses started this thing when they tried to blame a mass murder on our free speech. Now they are going to hear about it every damn time they do they very things of which they falsely accused us.
UPDATE: George Noel (D, head of Massachusetts’s Department of Labor) attacked Wisconsin’s Governor Walker (R) saying, “Make no mistake about it. We are at war.”
People are puzzled by President Obama’s decision not to continue enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act even though he has determined it is unconstitutional. As Glenn Reynolds puts it, “Yes, you take an oath to enforce the Constitution. This may give the President the authority to enforce the Constitution as he sees it, but it surely doesn’t give the President the authority to choose not to enforce the Constitution as he sees it.”
So what is Obama doing? I’m certain that any answer that doesn’t center on political considerations is well off the mark.
Since 2009, Mr. Heicklen has stood [outside the federal courthouse] and at courthouse entrances elsewhere and handed out pamphlets encouraging jurors to ignore the law if they disagree with it, and to render verdicts based on conscience.
That concept, called jury nullification, is highly controversial, and courts are hostile to it. But federal prosecutors have now taken the unusual step of having Mr. Heicklen indicted on a charge that his distributing of such pamphlets at the courthouse entrance violates a law against jury tampering.
This man was arrested for handing out leaflets in a public space! His speech was constitutionally protected even if he was urging people to commit a crime. And he was not urging people to commit a crime: a whole series of decisions going back to 1794 affirm jurors’ rights to nullify.
What we have here is the latest instance of a longstanding outrage. Lawyers want to control the legal system; they don’t want anyone outside the priesthood coming in and interfering with their process. If they could, they would get rid of juries entirely. Since they can’t, they have to settle for controlling the juries, spoon-feeding juries exactly what they want juries to hear, and giving them explicit instructions for how to return a verdict. The last thing they want to see is juries consulting their own consciences and deciding to acquit. The courts have even upheld jury instructions that lie, informing jurors they may not nullify.
Here, the lawyers’ eagerness to control the legal process is leading them even to trample our right to free speech. And who is going to stop them? The judicial system is populated entirely with lawyers. Perhaps that is inevitable, but nearly all of our legislators are lawyers too. So is the president. We need to discard our entire political class and start over.
The likelihood that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of health care nationalization, already quite high, has now gone to 100%. That’s because, whatever the court ultimately decides about Obamacare, the D.C. District Court’s ruling upholding the law will certainly be overturned.
For what has to be (doesn’t it?) the first time in American jurisprudence, Judge Gladys Kessler has asserted the government’s power to regulate mental activity. I am not making this up (p. 45):
As previous Commerce Clause cases have all involved physical activity, as opposed to mental activity, i.e. decision-making, there is little judicial guidance on whether the latter falls within Congress’s power. . . However, this Court finds the distinction, which Plaintiffs rely on heavily, to be of little significance. It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not “acting”. . . Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something.
Note that “mental activity” is her own phrase, not my paraphrase. She says “mental activity” is the same as doing things. Your thoughts can now be regulated under the Federal government’s interstate commerce power. Wow.
I don’t think we’re going to see the Democrats crow about this decision very much. These lower court decisions are mostly symbolic, and regulation of thought is symbolism they can do without.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews compares Sarah Palin to Moammar Qaddafi. Let’s see, one of them is oppressive dictator who carpet bombs his own cities to cling to power, the other is a private citizen who sometimes says things that Chris Matthews doesn’t like.
Matthews later allowed that Palin is not as bad as Qaddafi. How magnanimous of him.
Strategypage has an optimistic analysis of what’s happening in Libya. (Optimistic in the sense that Qaddafi will lose in the end, not in the sense that he will lose without additional bloodshed, or in the sense that we will necessarily like whoever follows him.) His conclusion:
Out of approximately 50,000 regular troops, only a hardcore of about 5,000 soldiers and special forces can be considered reliable, and it’s simply impossible to retain dictatorial control over a population of almost 7,000,000 people with only a single brigade of soldiers. It is now out of the question as to whether the government can retake the entire country. It can only hold out for as long as possible.
Why aren’t we seeing any leadership on Libya from President Obama? I know it’s too much to hope for him to approve US action against Qaddafi, like a no-fly zone to keep Qaddafi from bombing protesters. But is it too much to ask for a speech or something? So far nothing.
UPDATE: Well, the president gave a speech condemning the violence. Unfortunately, I don’t see anything in it that would give Qaddafi pause, or encourage the opposition.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether, with the budget bill tied up, Republican senators could pull out the collective bargaining provisions and pass them as a standalone measure. The Senate’s rules require a quorum of 20 senators to pass any bill that involves spending but just 17 senators for nonfiscal bills. Therefore, some believe that Republicans, with 19 votes, could pass the collective bargaining measure on their own.
It won’t work. Walker put out a statement Monday strongly arguing that the collective bargaining provision is in the budget bill because it has a big fiscal impact and therefore would have to be passed by the higher vote standard.
I admit I thought the collective-bargaining-only maneuver sounded a good idea, but Walker is right; using it would undermine the justification for the measure. It might work to get the bill passed, but it would give Democrats a good political argument where they currently have none at all.
UPDATE (3/9): There was a loophole after all, but it wasn’t that one.
Pundit Press reports UW Health’s Department of Family Medicine seems to be scrubbing its website to remove doctors giving out bogus excuse notes to Wisconsin protesters.
I was able to confirm at least part of Pundit Press’s story. This page confirms that one doctor from the list is indeed a part of the Department of Family Medicine, despite not currently appearing on the DFM’s page. More tellingly, Pundit Press reported last night that one Dr. Hannah Keevil was still on the DFM’s page, but she isn’t any longer. Her page at fammed.wisc.edu is empty now but still appears in the Google cache, which proves that pages really are being removed.
What isn’t at all clear is what this means. I’d like to believe this means these doctors are being suspended, but it seems much too soon for that. So why do it?
Ford Vox writes for the Atlantic about the doctors handing out bogus excuse notes to Wisconsin’s union protesters.
What I find particularly disgusting about the affair isn’t what they did, but how they defended their actions even when caught. Absolutely everyone knows these excuse notes are bogus, and it is ridiculous to suggest otherwise. When you say that your excuse notes, handed out en masse to protesters illegally skipping work, are just the same as any other medical excuse notes, all you are saying is that none of your excuse notes are worth anything. Is that true? Maybe it is.
In an effort to reverse the pummeling they are getting in public opinion over the Wisconsin affair, Democrats have invented a new line of attack, which the legacy media is repeating uncritically. Here’s MSNBC’s Chris Matthews:
My question of course is why does the Governor pick on the unions that didn’t endorse him in the last campaign but give a free ride to the firefighters and the cops who did and the localities? Why did they get off and are allowed to continue to negotiate collectively?
(ASIDE: I love the “of course”. That’s the Democratic attack narrative; “of course” that’s his question.) And here’s CBS’s Chris Wragge:
You say this is a modest request. Now some state workers have been hit harder than others. Your teachers union, which votes Democratic under normal circumstances, hit very hard. Yet your police, state trooper, firemen unions, who all supported and endorsed you, did not get touched in any of this. Why is that?
The allegation is that Governor Walker is letting his friends off, while punishing his enemies.
Walker says the allegation is ridiculous; he is exempting police and fire fighters because he doesn’t want public safety threatened. And events have proven the wisdom of his policy: police and fire fighters can’t legally strike in Wisconsin, but neither can teachers. That hasn’t kept the teachers from walking off the job illegally for days. When teachers strike it inconveniences people and hurts education, when police and fire fighters strike people die.
But that’s all beside the point, because the premise of the attack isn’t true. Walker did not get most of the police and fire fighter endorsements. As he explains to Wragge:
Well, Chris – Chris that actually is not true. There are 314 fire and police unions in the state. Four of them endorsed me. All the rest endorsed my opponent.
So 310 of 314 opposed Walker. Moreover, the large statewide unions of police and fire fighters both endorsed Walker’s opponent. If the legacy media had made even a cursory effort to check the facts before parroting the Democratic line of attack, they would have learned there was no truth to it.
But here’s what is particularly galling about this attack: What Democrats are unfairly accusing Governor Walker of — rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies — is standard practice for the Democrats. The best recent example is the Democrats’ health care nationalization law, which contains a big new tax on medical devices. The reason they levied the tax on the medical device industry as opposed to some other is because the industry was insufficiently enthusiastic in its support for health care nationalization. Industries that supported the effort were left alone, and those that did not were punished.
I didn’t hear about this when it happened last October: The SPEECH Act was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama. The act protects American’s free speech from libel tourism by making foreign libel judgements unenforceable in the United States unless they comport with the First Amendment (which they never do). Well done.
Congress could still do more. The SPEECH Act protects me perfectly well, because I have no assets abroad, but those who do have assets abroad can still be victims of libel tourism. Congress should extend the law so that those who lose money to libel tourism abroad can recover the damages from any assets the tourists have in America.
Now that four people are dead, can we please give the Navy a hunting license to go after these thugs? Putting down the Barbary pirates was one of America’s first triumphs. It’s a scandal that piracy is back two centuries later, and it’s the direct result of our treating piracy with kid gloves.
How do you know we’re winning the Wisconsin budget battle? Here’s how:
White House now disavowing involvement in Wisconsin protests
And can it be any surprise? You could hardly pick a less sympathetic side than the union staging an illegal strike to demand more of the taxpayers’ money during a financial crisis while Democratic legislators flee the state.
It’s crap, though. The president is involved up to his ears.
Moammar Qaddafi has reportedly fled for Venezuela. Al Jazeera is reporting that military jets are bombing the protesters. Two colonels from the Libyan air force have defected rather than obey those orders.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) is complaining that the ATF is stonewalling a Senate investigation into the ATF’s gun-running activities (yes, the ATF is engaged in gun-running), and their involvement in the murder of a Border Patrol agent. I don’t think this scandal is going away; subpoenas are presumably next.
Josie Dimon is the infamous paramedic who left a man to die when she refused to pick him up during Pittsburgh’s blizzard last year:
Beginning early Feb. 6, as the city all but ground to a halt under a crippling blizzard, Mr. Mitchell and his girlfriend repeatedly called 911 seeking help for his abdominal pain. At 5:50 a.m., an ambulance crew headed by Ms. Dimon reached Second Avenue and West Elizabeth Street in Hazelwood.
Citing the snow-covered Elizabeth Street Bridge, Ms. Dimon declined to go any farther and asked for Mr. Mitchell to walk to the ambulance. By 6:09 a.m., city officials said last year, Ms. Dimon had grown tired of waiting.
“He ain’t [expletive] comin’ down, and I ain’t waitin’ all day for him,” she said to a colleague on a call recorded at the dispatch center. “I mean, what the [expletive], this ain’t no cab service.”
Minutes later, Ms. Dimon said, “Is he on his way? Because we are not going to wait all day for him.” . . .
By the time another ambulance reached him Feb. 7, Mr. Mitchell had died.
She left a man to die, because the dying man couldn’t walk to her ambulance. She claims that the dispatcher never told her that this call was serious. I guess you’re under no obligation unless the dispatcher says “we really need you to do your job this time.”
Naturally she was fired, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks that her firing was unjustified.
Except for her union, the Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics.
The union filed a grievance saying the Dimon was fired without “just cause”, which is prohibited under the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the City of Pittsburgh. An arbitrator, one James Duff, agreed with the union, and ordered that the city reinstate Dimon with full back pay. The city is appealing the decision.
In his decision, Duff said it was really the fault of the city, the mayor, and the director of public safety. No question, the mayor screwed up by the numbers. But one failing that cannot be blamed on Luke Ravenstahl is Josie Dimon’s unwillingness to get out of her ambulance and walk across a bridge to save a man’s life.
This is where our public-sector unions have taken us: a world in which you can’t even fire a paramedic for leaving a man to die.
Some Washington State Democrats are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution that would declare that corporations are not persons and are entitled to not of the protections of persons. They are targeting the Citizens United decision, but, as Eugene Volokh points out, they haven’t thought through the ramifications of their proposal: Media corporations would lose the right to a free press, non-profits (e.g., the ACLU) would lose their right to free speech, the government could take corporate property without compensation, the police could search the premises or wiretap the phones of any corporation without a warrant, etc.
In addition to that, these fools continue to misunderstand what the Citizens United ruling actually said. (Probably they are getting their information from the legacy media.) They decry the notion that corporations are persons, but the ruling never said that corporations are persons. On the contrary, the ruling found that corporations are made up of persons who have chosen to organize their efforts as a corporation. Restricting the speech of a corporation means restricting the speech of those persons who make up the corporation.
The average liberal would understand the danger of allowing the government to search the desks in a corporate office without a warrant, but somehow they fail to see the same danger in suppressing their speech.
Actual political violence, as opposed to the bogus metaphorical kind being hyped by the legacy media, comes from the left, particularly from the unions. At a Tea Party rally in Madison, a thug tried to disable the sound system, and became violent when bystanders tried to stop him.
I didn’t notice this when the story broke last October:
The three American hikers arrested by Iran last year were on the Iraqi side of the border, according to US military documents released on Friday by WikiLeaks, reported the New York Times. The internal US document highlights military grids where the group was detained, which the Times said were on the Iraqi side of the border.
Iran crossed the border into Iraq to abduct three Americans. That is an act of war. Unfortunately, the world is learning that America will brush off nearly any provocation.
All of that talk about excluding ROTC from campus because of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is revealed as just a pretext:
Wounded Iraq vet jeered at Columbia
Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.
“Racist!” some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.
The New York Times says that talking about someone being on the Endangered Species List constitutes a threat. Now, if you’re thinking that the Times has surely used that metaphor themselves, you’re thinking more clearly than the Times.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow says that Wisconsin — the home of this week’s budget battle, illegal strike, and truant state senators — has a budget surplus. “What?!” I hear you cry. “That can’t be right!”
Indeed it’s not. The Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel explains. Most charitable explanation: poor reading comprehension and useless editors. (There’s much more to the budget than just the general fund.) Most likely explanation: she’s just lying.
Doctors (or people who claim to be) are giving outmedical excuses to Wisconsin teachers who skipped work to protest. What’s even more disgusting than watching them do it (yes, there’s video), is watching them defend their actions. These quacks should be called before the medical licensing board.
We have seen the future of the health care system, and it is the doctors on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin, handing out free sick notes to public sector union members so they can fraudulently collect their pay for missing work.
Boy, oh boy, I can’t wait for Obamacare. Politicized medicine, massive fraud in the name of progressive politics, and a callous disregard for the law free from fear of prosecution for those aligned with the Democrats.
UPDATE: The University of Wisconsin Health System is investigating.
I guess I hadn’t been paying attention. I’ve been hearing people talk about a proposed Internet kill switch, but I assumed that it was either hyperbole or a fringe proposal. Nope. This is an actual bill proposed by Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Susan Collins (RINO-ME).
Its supporters defend it thus:
Proponents of the bill say it is narrowly crafted and does not intend to limit speech but to eliminate the vulnerability of critical systems such as banks, the power grid and telecommunications from attacks by terrorists or agents of hostile countries.
Indeed, the bill specifically does not grant the president power to act unless a cyberattack threatens to cause more than $25 billion in damages in a year, kill more than 2,500 people or force mass evacuations. The president would have the ability to pinpoint what to clamp down on without causing economic damage to U.S. interests, for anywhere from 30 to 120 days with the approval of Congress, according to the bill.
“This is not Big Brother,” says Tom Kellermann, vice president of security awareness at Core Security Technologies, and a former security expert for the World Bank. “It’s not about shutting off the Internet, but taking a scalpel to command control to key services to protect them.”
Call me unreassured. Who issues the finding that one of this parade of horribles is going to happen, thereby allowing the president to shut down the Internet? The president, of course. The bill specifically prohibits judicial review, and the Congress merely has to be notified. So the limitations are meaningless.
Remember that the Democrats have made it clear that they believe that Sarah Palin can singlehandedly instigate a mass shooting merely by posting a web page calling for the defeat of some Democrats. Against that backdrop, it’s very easy to imagine a Democratic president deciding that Republicans communicating on the Internet are going to cause mass casualties.
Worse still, the proposal is not really for a nationwide kill switch. Such an extreme power could be used only in a legitimate emergency. Instead, the proposal would give the president a “scalpel”, with the power “to pinpoint what to clamp down on.” The president can easily choose precisely who to silence without inconveniencing the general public.
But the president would never do such a thing, right? Wrong. The administration is already shutting down tens of thousands of domains, without any due process at all, for literally no reason other than its confusion about how the Internet works.
Neither is the limitation of the power to dealing with “cyberattack” likely to be any protection. We have seen many times before how racketeering and money-laundering laws have been creatively interpreted to prosecute political activity, and that was with the approval of the courts. Here, the power of creative interpretation would lie with the same person who would exercise the power (remember, no judicial review). That’s no protection at all.
President Obama actually offered to approve it, if only the Palestinians agreed to make it non-binding. Abbas refused, apparently deciding that a defeated binding resolution is better than a unanimous non-binding resolution. Good thinking!
Still, the administration was determined to get its anti-Israel on, and followed its veto with a tirade against Israel’s settlements. (On that note, let’s recall that the US and Israel had a deal to extend Israel’s settlement moratorium, but the deal fell through when the US refused to put it in writing.)
Helen Thomas is a real piece of work. Now that she’s started spouting her hatred of Jews, she seems unable to stop. In a recent interview with Joy Behar (tough interviewer there!) she added to her already voluminous record:
She said Jews didn’t need to leave Europe after World War 2, because they weren’t being persecuted any more. I guess they were supposed to stick around where they had been nearly exterminated, trusting that Europe had had its last pogrom ever.
She defended her earlier remarks saying that Jews should return to Germany and Poland, adding “I also said Russia.” Terrific, another country with a history of persecution against Jews.
When Behar pointed out that Russia has a history of persecution against Jews, Thomas said “They also had 25 million who died in World War II”. It’s hard to see how that’s even relevant; does Russia’s fight against Nazi Germany somehow excuse its persecution of Jews? Moreover, we should remember that Russia opened World War 2 as Nazi Germany’s ally. The Holocaust was well under way when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa.
She defended herself against charges of anti-Semitism saying that she can’t be anti-Semitic when she is a Semite herself. Despite being the lamest defense ever, you hear this all the time from Jew-haters in certain ethnic groups.
Finally, she blamed “the” Ari Fleischer and “the” Abraham Foxman for causing her troubles by “distorting everything”. No matter how many different people criticized her after she came out as an anti-Semite, I guess it’s always about the Jews in the end, isn’t it.
President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin’s broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals. . .
The president’s political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to get thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.
This is the President Obama that we know and, well, don’t love. To win re-election, he doesn’t actually need to move to the center. The legacy media will say he is moving to the center, whether he is or not. All Obama has to do is not sabotage that narrative. And that is exactly what he is doing by siding with Wisconsin’s disgusting public sector unions. These guys illegally walk off their cushy taxpayer-funded jobs to demand more taxpayer money, and are rightfully reviled by just about everyone for it.
This is political malpractice, but it seems Obama just can’t help himself. In the next election, Republicans are going to be able to tie Obama to these jackals very effectively; not only has Obama expressed support for the unions, he has been instrumental in furthering their efforts. And the unions are going to look very bad on television.
The White House is asking Judge Vinson, the federal judge in Florida that struck down Obamacare, to order states to obey it nonetheless. I read an analysis somewhere (can’t find it now, sorry) that suggested that Vinson’s decision contained some pretty strong hints that he would not issue such an order. But even that aside, isn’t it pretty unusual for a judge to order the winning party to do what the losing party wants?
I think we have to see this as a political decision. Rather than waiting for an appeals court to hear the case, the White House has decided it wants a confrontation with this judge, right now.
UPDATE: This isn’t the same analysis, but it mentions many of the same things.
Also, it should be noted that a few commentators have considered the failure of the anti-Obamacare forces to obtain an injunction against the act as some kind of victory. It really isn’t. Instead the court reasoned that a judgment declaring the law to be unconstitutional is sufficient relief to the plaintiffs because “there is a long-standing presumption that officials of the Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court. As a result, the declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction.” (internal quotation marks removed.) In other words, he felt that the Federal Government would try to obey the law without the court formally ordering its obedience. But believe you me, if the Obama administration ignores this ruling, the court can and certainly will revisit the matter and issue an injunction.
The Obama administration has censored the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s report on the safety evaluation of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site. Presumably this means that it disagrees with administration policy, which is to stop the Yucca facility regardless of what the science says.
NOTE: I’m not being bombastic here. The administration’s policy is literally to ignore the science. Specifically, the NRC chairman gave orders last October to stop looking at the science.
The battle going on in Madison, Wisconsin today is truly consequential. Schools are closed as Wisconsin teachers continue their illegal strike for a third day, protesting the budget being considered by the state legislature.
In the last election, voters turned control of the state House and Senate and the governorship over to the GOP. The GOP is keeping its promise to fix the state budget, and — as in most states — Wisconsin’s key problem is the public sector unions. The unions won’t accept the verdict of the voters, and are bringing pressure (ugly, ugly pressure) to defeat the budget.
Politicians across the country are paying close attention to Madison. If the unions succeed in scuttling this reform despite losing the election, that will be a signal to the rest of the country not to take on the unions. That will mean the fiscal ruin of the states, and probably an end to our federalist system. But a victory in Madison will encourage reformers around the country, in addition to saving the state of Wisconsin.
While Wisconsin teachers were staging an illegal and very ugly strike to protest a bill the would cut the state budget, Wisconsin’s Democratic legislators skipped town to prevent a vote from taking place. The legislators were located at a resort in Rockford, Illinois. To get a sense of the nature of the resort, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The religious discrimination policy at UC Davis specifically exempts Christians from protection. The policy is now being changed; the administration previously ignored complaints about the policy, but the threat of legal action and some press scrutiny quickly got them to see the light (so to speak).
The Associated Press is taking a page from the McClatchy playbook: taking as fact the unsupported allegation of one party to an incident.
The scene of the incident was a meeting of the Dallas County Commissioner Court, at which many citizens attended to complain about the dismissal of the elections administrator. One such attendee named Jeff Turner referred to Commissioner John Price (who happens to be black) as the “chief mullah of Dallas County.”
As I’m sure any reader of this blog knows, the mullahs are the unaccountable religious leaders in the Islamic theocracy of Iran. It’s a strange insult in context, but one without any racial implications.
John Price didn’t see it that way. Price thought Turner had said “chief moolah”. Price claims that “moolah” is a racial slur against black people. It is not, as far as I can tell, but after some googling I believe Price confused the word “moolah” with “moolie”, which is an obscure racial slur in Italian slang.
The incident culminated in Price dismissing the complaints, saying “All of you are white. Go to hell.” Price, incidentally, is a piece of work. He previously gained notoriety by taking offense at the term “black hole” (he says it’s racist), and he has a long history of assaults (although he always manages to get acquitted of the most serious charges).
When the Associated Press reported the story, they accepted Price’s version as fact, reporting that Turner called him “chief moolah” (false) and that “moolah” is a racial slur (also false):
Note that the AP’s bogus history of “moolah” as a racial slur is cribbed from Price’s press release. The local CBS affiliate later corrected its story as to what Turner said, but has yet to correct its description of “moolah” as a racial slur.
This, it seems, is how the Associated Press reports a controversy now: Pick one party and report his side, and don’t bother checking any facts. Moreover, the party they picked to support is the one who said “All of you are white. Go to hell.” Nice work, AP.
Last weekend, the Department of Homeland Security seized 84,000 domains, and replaced those sites with a banner asserting that they were trafficking in child pornography. All but ten of them (at most) were innocent. None of the owners had the opportunity to fight the action, nor were any of them even notified it would happen.
Widener University seems confused about what tenure is for, as they consider revoking a professor’s tenure for controversial content in his lectures. Then again, this isn’t the first time Widener University has been confused about basic ideas.
UPDATE: The more we learn about this, the worse it looks.
UPDATE (3/10): A Widener committee recommends that the charges be withdrawn.
Argentina’s relations with the U.S. took a sharp turn for the worse Monday as the country continued to hold military equipment it confiscated last week from a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane sent as part of a training course for local police.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, called on Argentina to return the property without delay. . . Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman quickly rebutted Mr. Valenzuela and called on the U.S. to apologize for violating Argentine law. . .
Mr. Timerman accused the U.S. of using the plane to smuggle undeclared firearms, surveillance equipment and “various doses of morphine” into the country for ulterior motives. . .
A State Department official familiar with the seizure told Dow Jones Newswires most of the material, which was intended for use in a hostage-rescue course, had been properly declared and previously approved by Argentine authorities.
The only thing that hadn’t been declared was the medication confiscated at the airport, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the delicate nature of the issue.
The medication, including morphine, is part of a first aid kit belonging to an Army medic who participates in the training courses, the official said. The course uses real weapons and live-fire exercises, making it imperative to have medication available in an emergency, the official said.
Glenn Reynolds suggests that this is payback for President Obama skipping Argentina in his South America trip next month, but I doubt it. I think this is most likely all about domestic politics: attacking the United States always plays well, whether it makes sense or not. The fact that the foreign minister personally supervised the confiscation lends additional credence to that interpretation.
The Obama administration was warned of instability in Egypt nearly a year ago:
Early last year, a group of U.S.-based human-rights activists, neoconservative policy makers and Mideast experts told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that what passed for calm in Egypt was an illusion.
“If the opportunity to reform is missed, prospects for stability and prosperity in Egypt will be in doubt,” read their April 2010 letter.
The correspondence was part of a string of warnings passed to the Obama administration arguing that Egypt, heading toward crisis, required a vigorous U.S. response. Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s 82-year-old dictator, was moving to rig a string of elections, they said. Egypt’s young population was growing more agitated.
The bipartisan body that wrote to Mrs. Clinton, the Egypt Working Group, argued that the administration wasn’t fully appraising the warning signs in Egypt. Its members came together in early 2010, concerned that the Arab world’s biggest country was headed for transition but that the U.S. and others weren’t preparing for a post-Mubarak era.
This makes the administration’s flat-footed response to the crisis even more inexcusable.
This story provides a much darker perspective on the Egyptian protests:
On Friday, Feb. 11, the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a “60 Minutes” story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.
In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.
The media has tended to focus on the English-speaking, pro-western elements in the crowd. This is a dreadful reminder that neanderthal elements are also represented.
Being a leftist is like having a get-out-of-jail-free card. Without the scrutiny of a hostile media, the left has never been forced to purge its racist elements, as the right has. Thus the left has become something of a refuge for racist elements that are largely extinct elsewhere. And that applies not just to the fashionable forms of racism, just as hatred of whites, Asians, and Jews, either. If you’re on the left, it seems you can refer to a prominent black man as a “monkey” and a “minstrel”, provided he is a conservative.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey contrasts Alternet’s tolerance — nay, promotion — of racism with CPAC, which ran off a white-supremacist recruiter.
The left’s hatred for Sarah Palin makes them do some amazingly stupid things. After Christina Aguilera butchered the national anthem at the Superbowl, Us Weekly reported some crackpot commentary from Sarah Palin:
The TLC reality star also criticized both the NFL and President Obama’s administration for allowing Aguilera to perform, arguing that “spicy Latin princesses” shouldn’t be permitted to sing at such events.
“Unemployment is at nine percent, yet we have to suffer through a performance by a foreigner with a poor grasp of the English language?” Palin argued. [Ed.: Aguilera is from Staten Island.] “If I were president, I’d deport Ms. Aguilera back to wherever it is she’s from and give Amy Smart a call.”
Now, if you’re not suffering from Palin Derangement Syndrome, you’re probably thinking to yourself that Sarah Palin said no such thing. And you would be right. The interview was invented out of whole cloth by a satire website and then plagiarized by Us Weekly. They later apologized.
Of course, Us Weekly is just a supermarket tabloid. No real news publication could make such a mistake, right?
Was Christina Aguilera’s Star-Spangled Banner slip-up enough to provoke war? Conan apparently thinks so. And you thought Sarah Palin went overboard by commenting that she wanted to deport the singer?
And that’s not even the pathetic part. When Time learned of its error, it was unable to maintain the high journalistic standards of Us Weekly. Instead of admitting it made a mistake, it claimed that it knew the quote was bogus all along:
(CLARIFICATION: Palin did not, in fact, say this. It was a tongue-in-cheek link to an article that was intended as a joke.)
In other words, “I meant to do that.” Pathetic.
Actually, it’s even more pathetic than it first appears, when you consider that their defense is that they printed the line knowing it was false. They would rather that people thought they knowingly print libel than be thought a bunch of buffoons.
The New York Times editorial page has weighed in on the constitutionality of Obamacare. It’s failure on a basic factual level isn’t a good sign for nationalization supporters. If they had a strong case, you would think that they could describe the debate accurately.
UPDATE: The Times runs Barnett’s letter. In keeping with NYT policy, the letter doesn’t say that they were wrong — a reader would have to go back and compare with the editorial to discover that.
The left went crazy over the Bush-era Terrorist Surveillance Program, in which we eavesdropped on foreign terrorists’ communications without a warrant. I’ll be interested to see what the left thinks of this:
The Obama administration’s Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy.
We’ll find out who really cares about this sort of thing, and who just found it a convenient club with which to attack the Bush administration.
I call your attention particularly to that last point. [“Muslims must be patient.”] Americans are eager to believe that because the Brotherhood is not using jihadist language or imagery now, its goals must have changed. If you fall in with this view, you are, quite frankly, allowing yourself to be played.
Charges are being filed against the UC Irvine students who disrupted (and ultimately prevented) a speech by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren. Immediately after the incident, the students claimed implausibly that the disruptions were not organized, and emails later surfaced that proved that the disruptions were organized by the university’s Muslim Student Union.
The real problem here is the death of respect for free speech at our universities. Far too many students seem to believe that preventing someone from speaking is somehow an exercise of free speech. Orwell would be amused.
POSTSCRIPT: Glenn Reynolds quotes a reader who wonders why the administration is welcoming this coup, but fought tirelessly against the coup in Honduras, which was actually not a coup at all (as even Hillary Clinton acknowledged).
The Justice Department acts on Freedom of Information Act requests selectively, depending on the politics of the requester. J. Christian Adams calls this a “bombshell”, but I don’t think it’s the least bit surprising.
Bad day for the “Intelligence Community” here in Washington. CIA chief Leon Panetta opined that Mubarak was very likely going to resign in a few hours, while DNI (Director of National Intelligence) General James Clapper declared the Muslim Brotherhood “largely secular” and has “eschewed violence.” These analyses from our mastodontic Intel establishment no doubt encouraged the president to gush about living through an historic moment in world history, and to proclaim that young people were primarily to praise for the epic events of the day.
Except that Mubarak didn’t resign, and the Brothers aren’t secular and have long embraced and practiced violence, and we don’t yet know exactly what history is being made, let alone who is making it.
In recent decades the CIA has become thoroughly political and bureaucratic, and at the same time has become incompetent. I doubt this is a coincidence. We ought to junk the whole thing and start over.
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, testified before the House of Representatives on Thursday morning that there was a “strong likelihood” that Mr. Mubarak would step down by the end of the day. American officials said Mr. Panetta was basing his statement not on secret intelligence but on media broadcasts, which began circulating before he sat down before the House Intelligence Committee.
President Obama is right, we are witnessing history unfold. This administration is inventing a whole new kind of incompetence.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, says that the Muslim Brotherhood is “mostly secular”. Your first hint that this is completely, gob-smackingly stupid is the fact that the group is named the Muslim Brotherhood.
If the president is getting his information from this fool, we have a lot to worry about.
So just what the hell was this? A simple gaffe? Too detailed. A calculated sound byte intended to give the Brotherhood a false sense of security? Oh, they’re feeling secure, all right. Between this clown and CIA Director Leon Panetta getting his Mubarak intel from CNN, US intelligence is the gift that keeps on giving.
There are two possibilities, and they’re both appalling. One is that Clapper knew everything he was saying was a gross distortion of reality but said it anyway, thereby deliberately misleading the American people and giving aid and comfort to a group whose interests are completely antithetical to those of the United States. The other is that Clapper is genuinely ignorant of the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, a thought that is just about as unnerving as can be imagined.
Turkey’s “mildly” Islamist (to borrow the Economist‘s curious description) Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has been up to his “mildly” authoritarian tricks again. Claire Berlinski has the details:
How certain am I that the world will not notice this development? Oh, 100 percent. It’s one of those little items, again. No one’s reporting it in English. Compared to Iran’s hanging binge, it’s such a modest outrage against civil liberties that who’s going to bother to get exercised about it? But an outrage against civil liberties it is. Erdoğan has begun pressing charges against bloggers whose writings meet with his displeasure. A 22-year-old college student, Barış Ünver, could face two years in prison for intimating that Erdoğan was “the soul mate” of PKK terrorist Ocalan.
When Chris Christie killed a massive high-speed rail boondoggle from New York to New Jersey, his hyperbolic critics said it was a disaster. Now the project has been replaced by a new rail plan that’s a much better deal for New Jersey. It’s also probably a better deal for the taxpayers overall, in that the funds are supposed to come from the Port Authority and private investors.
POSTSCRIPT: Christie also notes with amusement how the new plan is supposed to control cost overruns better than the old plan. He is amused because the people touting the cost controls are the same ones who previously denied there could be any cost overruns.
Since Glenn Reynolds commented on DARPA’s CRASH and PROCEED programs:
Well, my only thought is that if you have cyber-security that’s modeled on the human immune system, the result will be a generation of hackers expert in overcoming the human immune system. I can see longer-term problems with that . . . .
CRASH’s immune system motivation is really just a metaphor. It really has nothing to do with the human immune system so you don’t need to worry about that. The most important thing about CRASH is they are pushing for “clean-slate” operating systems work, which means starting over rather than trying to make incremental improvements to existing faulty operating systems.
PROCEED would be a bigger deal, if someone can figure out how to make fully homomorphic encryption practical. So far, no one has any idea how to do that. (There’s a somewhat layman-friendly explanation of what fully homomorphic encryption is about here.)
A meme is running amok throughout the left-wing blogosphere: the idea that Republicans want to “redefine rape”. I first saw it in Mother Jones and it’s been in lots of other places, but for the sake of a canonical version, let’s take the version being promulgated in a petition by the Democratic Party. It opens:
Rape is Rape: Tell Speaker Boehner to Drop Republicans’ Plan to Redefine Rape As one of their first acts after taking the majority, House Republicans are proposing to drastically narrow the definition of rape that qualifies women for health care coverage. H.R. 3 would redefine rape in these cases to only include “forcible rape,” a definition that rules out a woman being drugged, children who are victims of statutory rape, and many date rape scenarios.
No matter what Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans want to call it, rape is rape — women should have the right to health care following a rape.
Before we look at how many lies the Democrats were able to pack into a few short sentences, let me briefly explain what this is about: During the health care nationalization debate, Democrats claimed that their bill would not fund abortion because the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortion. This was an outright lie; the Hyde Amendment would not (and now does not) apply. House pro-lifers — both Republicans and Democrats — are working to amend the law so that it reads the way that the Democratic leadership pretended it already read.
Rather than copying the language of the Hyde Amendment, the authors of HR 3 changed “rape” to “forcible rape”. They also narrowed the incest exception to cases in which the female is a minor. (This second change has not provoked outrage, presumably because the left does not want to defend taxpayer-funded abortions for pregnancies resulting from consensual incest.)
The “forcible” language has already been dropped, but for my purposes that’s beside the point. I’m looking at the Democrats’ lies, not at what those lies were able to accomplish.
The first point is that HR 3 (even before being altered) did not redefine anything. The whole idea is a vicious lie, intended to imply that rapists would go unpunished because their crimes were being narrowed away. Nothing could be further from the truth. This bill would create a prohibition on federal funding for abortion (something that Democrats like to pretend already exists), but leave an exception for “forcible rape”. The fact that the exception did not use a different word (“rape”) does not somehow constitute a redefinition of the word that wasn’t used. Indeed, if they had been redefining the word, there would have been no need to use a different word!
The second point is that “forcible rape” does not mean what the Democrats are saying it means. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook (p. 19), “forcible rape” is defined as follows:
Forcible Rape—Rape by Force (2a)
Definition: The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. . .
“Against her will” includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of her youth).
Thus, forcible rape does apply when a woman is drugged. Forcible rape applies to statutory rape when the victim is too young to give consent. “Many date rape scenarios” is awfully vague, but any scenario in which the woman is forced against her will is forcible rape.
In short, the only effect of the word “forcible” is to exclude what might be called statutory rape with consent: sexual relations in which the female is mentally mature enough to give consent, but not old enough to give consent legally. In such cases, HR 3 (before it was revised) would have prohibited a taxpayer-funded abortion.
The third point is the petition never admits that it is talking about abortion. It never uses the word. Instead, it uses the euphemism “health care”. Abortion is not health care. Even if one thinks that abortion is part of health care, the two words are certainly not synonyms. Nothing in this bill would do anything to deny health care to anyone at all.
To summarize: nearly every word in the petition is a lie. HR 3 is not a Republican bill; it is bipartisan. It does not redefine rape. Forcible rape does include women who are drugged, etc. And the bill deals with abortion, not health care.
The irony here is the Democrats are guilty of the accusation they are leveling at Republicans. While Republicans are not redefining rape, Democrats actually are redefining forcible rape. Perhaps I should start a petition.
Last week Kathryn Jean Lopez caught ABC News republishing a story from Mother Jones. Now David Bernstein finds the New York Times republishing a story from Bay Citizen, a Bay-area lefty online magazine. Unsurprisingly, it’s a mess.
The NYT has a lot of problems (to say the least!) but they still have a reputation to protect, a reputation that is damaged (further) when they run dreck from lesser publications. Why would they do that?
GORDON PETERSON, HOST: It’s been a terrible winter. If global warming is the problem, why are we having such a tough winter? Well Al Gore told Gail Collins of the New York Times there’s about a four percent more water vapor in the air now in the atmosphere than there was in the ’70s because of warmer oceans and warmer air, and it returns to earth as heavy rain and heavy snow. That’s what Al Gore says.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Look, if Godzilla appeared on the Mall this afternoon, Al Gore would say it’s global warming…
…because the spores in the South Atlantic Ocean, you know, were. Look, everything is, it’s a religion. In a religion, everything is explicable. In science, you can actually deny or falsify a proposition with evidence. You find me a single piece of evidence that Al Gore would ever admit would contradict global warming and I’ll be surprised.
The study of historical temperature is science, even if the peer review processes that are supposed to ensure that sound science prevails have been seriously corrupted. It operates by proposing hypotheses and testing them against data.
The projections of future temperature are not science. They rely on models that cannot be tested in the short term because temperature is too noisy. It will take decades to gather enough data to substantiate or reject them. Neither can you test the models on historical data (even assuming accurate historical data) primarily because of the problem of over-fitting the data, and secondarily because the historical data lies in a different part of the curve than the projections are interested in.
When Al Gore says the science of climate change is settled, it’s not true. It would be more accurate to say the science of climate change has yet to begin.
The Times editorial writers are knowingly and intentionally misstating the law in order to misinform their readers. . . The general point is that the Times repeatedly states, often in very strong terms, that detention without trial is unlawful. And it refuses, in doing so, to give a minimally correct account of the body of cases that say precisely the opposite. The latest editorial on detention, published yesterday, reads in relevant part as follows:
Much of the public and most politicians seem to feel that as long as these suspects are held out of sight on the island of Cuba, they can be held indefinitely without trial, in violation of basic constitutional protections and international treaties.
Once again, the Times is clearly alleging that detention without trial is unlawful–contrary both to “basic constitutional protections” and international law. And once again, it is doing so either without reference to or by grossly mischaracterizing a large and growing body of case law that stands for precisely the opposite proposition. . .
Because the Times’ last editorial acknowledged that “judges have upheld” these detentions (while flamboyantly misstating the basis for those decisions), I can no longer attribute these misstatements of fact to gross ignorance of these cases. They are willful, not incompetent.
The Times is actively and repeatedly propounding a theory of law to its readers as though it were an established principle that the federal courts have, in fact, consistently rejected. It is no more complicated or defensible than if the Times described its preference for the legality of same sex marriage (which I share) by describing same-sex marriage as “legal in every state.”
While in context “this is unconstitutional” may sometimes be understood by readers of some kinds of publications as “I think this is unconstitutional under the right reading of the Constitution, whatever courts might say,” I agree with Wittes that this is not how a casual reader would understand the statement in the Times editorials.
The facts are clear. . . Intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.
It’s not even close to true. Homicide overall is the number five cause of death for that population (less than half of the number two cause), and that includes strangers and acquaintances. Nevertheless, the error has lingered on the DOJ web site for over a year.
It’s been months since our administration screwed the British, so I guess we were due. This one is a doozy:
Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.
Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.
The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website. . .
A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the “New START” deal.
Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.
Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.
We sold out our closest ally in order to strike a useless (indeed harmful) treaty. Our administration truly is astonishing.
The Obama administration reportedly has decided to halt the publication of abortion statistics that have been released annually for over 40 years by the Centers for Disease Control.
One theory suggests that they don’t want the public to see the effect of Obamacare’s abortion funding on the abortion rate. That could be, but I suspect the explanation is simpler: Opacity is simply this administration’s default policy unless the release of information is either beneficial to their cause or unavoidable, which abortion statistics certainly are not.
UPDATE: The CDC has announced that it will release the statistics. Whether it intended to do so all along isn’t clear; the CDC press office at least said they did not.
The Senate Homeland Security Committee report on the Fort Hood shootings, released yesterday, isn’t exactly shocking. We pretty much knew all this already. A better word would be horrifying. It is horrifying to see the sheer volume of unmistakable evidence that Nidal Hasan was (as the committee put it) a ticking time bomb, all of which was ignored because of political correctness.
The signs that were ignored included (starting on page 27):
In the last month of his residency, he chose to fulfill an academic requirement to make a scholarly presentation on psychiatric issues by giving an off-topic lecture on violent Islamlist extremism. . . Hasan’s draft presentation consisted almost entirely of references to the Koran, without a single mention of a medical or psychiatric term. Hasan’s draft also presented extremist interpretations of the Koran as supporting grave physical harm and killing of non-Muslims. He even suggested that revenge might be a defense for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The most chilling feature of both the draft and final presentation was that Hasan stated that one of the risks of having Muslim-Americans in the military was the possibility of fratricidal murder of fellow servicemembers.
Hasan advanced to a two-year fellowship at USUHS. . . Hasan confided to a colleague that he applied for the fellowship to avoid a combat deployment in a Muslim country; one of Hasan’s supervisors realized that he had the wrong motivation for applying and warned against accepting him.
Hasan’s radicalization became unmistakable almost immediately into the fellowship, and it became clear that Hasan embraced violent Islamist extremist ideology to such an extent that he had lost a sense of the conduct expected of a military officer. Classmates . . . described him as having “fixed radical beliefs about fundamentalist Islam” that he shared “at every possible opportunity” or as having irrational beliefs.
Less than a month into the fellowship, in August 2007, Hasan gave another off-topic presentation on a violent Islamist extremist subject instead of on a health care subject. This time, Hasan’ s presentation was so controversial that the instructor had to stop it after just two minutes when the class erupted in protest to Hasan’s views. The presentation was entitled, Is the War on Terror a War on Islam: An Islamic Perspective? Hasan’s proposal for this presentation promoted this troubling thesis: that U.S. military operations are a war against lslam rather than based on non-religious security considerations. Hasan’s presentation accorded with the narrative of violent Islamist extremism that the West is at war with Islam. Hasan’s paper was full of empathetic and supportive recitation of other violent Islamist extremist views, including defense of Osama bin Laden, slanted historical accounts blaming the United States for problems in the Middle East, and arguments that anger at the United States is justifiable.
Several colleagues who witnessed the presentation described Hasan as justifying suicide bombers. These colleagues were so alarmed and offended by what they described as his “dysfunctional ideology” and “extremist views” that they interrupted the presentation to the point where the instructor chose to stop it. The instructor who stopped the presentation said that Hasan was sweating, quite nervous, and agitated after being confronted by the class.
One classmate said that Hasan supported suicide bombings in another class. He told several classmates that his religion took precedence over the U.S. Constitution he swore to support and defend as a U.S. military officer. . . His statement was not part of an abstract discussion on the relationship between duty to religion and duty to country. . . Rather, Hasan’s statements about the primacy of religious law occurred as he was supporting a violent extremist interpretation of Islam and suggesting that this radical ideology justified opposition to U.S. policy and could lead to fratricide in the ranks. Perhaps for this reason, Hasan’s comments on his loyalty to religious law, which he made more than once, were so disturbing to his colleagues that they reported Hasan to superiors.
Later in the fellowship, Hasan pursued another academic project in the ambit of violent Islamist extremism. . . It was the third project in the span of a year that Hasan dedicated to violent Islamist extremist views.
Hasan proposed to give Muslim soldiers a survey which implicitly questioned their loyalty and was slanted to favor the violent Islamist extremist views he had previously expressed. In one question, Hasan wanted to ask whether the religion of Islam creates an expectation that Muslim soldiers would help enemies of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. And again, Hasan raised the ominous possibility of fratricide by Muslim-American servicemembers against fellow servicemembers as a central reason for his survey.
(Bold emphasis mine.)
Hasan’s radicalism was not even balanced by professional competence:
Hasan was a chronic poor performer during his residency and fellowship. The program directors overseeing him at Walter Reed and USUHS both ranked him in the bottom percent. He was placed on probation and remediation and often failed to meet basic job expectations such as showing up for work and being available when he was the physician on call.
Hasan wasn’t eligible for the fellowship he received (p. 29) and he didn’t even show up for work! Despite all of this, Hasan received positive evaluations:
Yet Hasan received evaluations that flatly misstated his actual performance. Hasan was described in the evaluations as a star officer, recommended for promotion to major, whose research on violent Islamist extremism would ass ist U.S. counterterrorism efforts. . . These evaluations bore no resemblance to the real Hasan, a barely competent psychiatrist whose radicalization toward violent Islamist extremism alarmed his colleagues and his superiors. The lone negative mark in the evaluations was the result of Hasan failing to take a physical training test. Other than that, there is not a single criticism or negative comment of Hasan in those evaluations.
Thus, despite his overt displays of radicalization to violent Islamist extremism and his poor performance, Hasan was repeatedly advanced instead of being discharged from the military. . . The officers who kept Hasan in the military and moved him steadily along knew full well of his problematic behavior. As the officer who assigned Hasan to Fort Hood (and later decided to deploy Hasan to Afghanistan) admitted to an officer at Fort Hood, “you’re getting our worst.” On November 5, 2009, 12 servicemembers and one civilian employee of DoD lost their lives because Hasan was still in the U.S. military.
In addition to all this, Hasan made contacts with terrorists under investigation by the FBI (beginning on p. 35), but like the Army, the FBI took no action.
Glenn Reynolds remarks “yeah, everybody already figured this out, but thanks.” If only that were true. The report notes (p. 9) that the Army still hasn’t figured this out:
However, DoD — including Secretary Gates’s memoranda — still has not specifically named the threat represented by the Fort Hood attack as what it is: violent Islamist extremism. Instead, DoD’s approach subsumes this threat within workplace violence or undefined “violent extremism” more generally. DoD’s failure to identify the threat of violent Islamist extremism explicitly and directly conflicts with DoD’s history of directly confronting white supremacism and other threatening activity among servicemembers.
Despite 13 murders, political correctness is still in charge.
A small victory for the rule of law and a small defeat for our lawless government: A federal court has sanctioned the Obama administration after it flagrantly ignored a court ruling against its drilling moratorium:
The Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deepwater-drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down, a New Orleans judge ruled.
Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.
“Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance,” Feldman said in the ruling.
“Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the re-imposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium, and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this court with clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt,” Feldman said.
The liberal intelligentsia has been reassuring us that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and non-violent, but the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t seem to agree:
A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that he would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel, according to the Hebrew-language business newspaper Calcalist.
Muhammad Ghannem reportedly told Al- Alam that the Suez Canal should be closed immediately, and that the flow of gas from Egypt to Israel should cease “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.” He added that “the people should be prepared for war against Israel,” saying the world should understand that “the Egyptian people are prepared for anything to get rid of this regime.”
One could cast this story as good news, I suppose: When a Canadian “human rights tribunal” ordered a woman’s house seized after she said a Muslim’s lunch smelled bad, a real court overturned the ruling.
But that would be wrong. The outrage is that these “human rights” tribunals continue to exist at all. In the name of human rights, they perversely (1) prosecute free speech, and (2) offer free representation to the accuser while leaving the defendant without representation. Moreover, this is the first time a tribunal’s decision has ever been overturned.
Here at Internet Scofflaw, I usually refer to Obamacare as the health care nationalization act, because that’s what it accomplishes. Sure, there will continue to be “private” “insurance” firms, but they won’t be insurance, nor will they really be private. The government will dictate what policies they write, for whom, and at what price. The government will also dictate how much they pay out, require individuals to buy their services, and pay for much of the cost with taxpayer funds.
Still, you may think that we’re better off under a regime in which health care is run by public utilities than a single-payer regime, in which the government makes all your health care decisions directly. Well, be comforted no longer. Obamacare places us on a glide path to single payer, and it won’t be averted without repealing the provision on pre-existing conditions.
It is well-known — and universally acknowledged by the law’s advocates — that the prohibition on declining coverage for pre-existing conditions depends on the individual mandate. Without the individual mandate, people will wait until they get sick to buy “insurance”. (Of course, a plan that covers things that have already happened isn’t insurance at all.) That would quickly put all the health insurers out of business. The individual mandate addresses the problem by forcing people to enter the system when they are not yet sick.
That is how the system is supposed to work, but it fails to account for an important problem (actually many, but we’ll focus here on just one). The quality of health care is not uniform. The individual mandate does not require individuals to buy good insurance, so they will buy the minimum coverage that will satisfy the mandate. Something very similar happens in the auto insurance market, in which many people buy the minimum coverage to satisfy state requirements.
Consumers cannot upgrade their auto insurance after they have an accident, but under Obamacare, consumers can upgrade their health insurance once they get sick. Thus, high-quality health insurance will be bought primarily by those who are already sick. This is inarguable; it is the direct application of an observation that Obamacare’s advocates have already conceded.
Thus high-quality health insurance will become a money-losing business and it will quickly disappear. (Remember, by high-quality I mean anything that is more expensive than the minimum allowed.) All of us will be forced into lousy health coverage, because nothing else will exist.
What happens next? Well, people won’t like their new lousy health coverage, and they will demand that government make it better. It could do so by repealing the pre-existing condition rule, but it is much more likely to increase regulation instead. The new health care bill (which will once again be called “reform”) will try to drive up health care quality. It won’t work, but the red tape will drive most providers out of business. Those that survive will be de facto government agencies, with government regulators calling the shots and taxpayers footing the bill.
At that point, the system will be single payer in all but name. At some point the government might officially take everything over, but it probably won’t bother. The executives of the “private companies” that provide health care will be well compensated and politically connected. Those positions will be valuable as sinecures for leftists, just as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac function today, so they will be preserved as an extra layer of inefficiency on top of a single-payer system.
W Joseph Campbell debunks a recent article by Bill Keller, the NYT’s executive editor:
In an article to be published Sunday, Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, rubs shoulders with a tenacious media myth linked to the newspaper’s reporting in the run-up to the Bay of Pigs invasion nearly 50 years ago.
I devote a chapter to the New York Times-Bay of Pigs suppression myth in my latest, mythbusting book, Getting It Wrong.
The suppression myth has it that the Times, at the request of President John F. Kennedy, suppressed or emasculated its reporting about the pending Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
But as I discuss in Getting It Wrong, in the 10 days before the ill-fated assault, the Times published several detailed reports on its front page discussing an invasion and exiles’ calls to topple Fidel Castro. And, I note, there is no evidence that Kennedy either asked or persuaded the Times to suppress, hold back, or dilute any of its pre-invasion reporting.
ABC News is republishing stories from Mother Jones, probably the most notorious of all the left-wing opinion magazines. Having been called on it by National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, the ABC version has gone now down the memory hole, but Lopez has screen shots.
So is this how ABC sees the news now? They are republishing opinion pieces as news (and this was a particularly vicious, dishonest piece), and when caught, they are trying to hide what they did.
During the health care nationalization debate, Democrats frequently claimed that their bill would not fund abortion because funding abortion was illegal under federal law. That was a shameless, outright lie.
Now some Republicans are proposing legislation that would make the law actually be what the Democrats pretended it was all along. Result: the left wing is outraged.
Thus we can see by their own actions that (1) they knew what they were saying was false, and (2) they don’t even want their earlier fabrications to be made true.
Last year, Pew polled several Muslim countries, including Egypt, on various subjects. With Egypt looking likely to adopt a new government soon, the results are troubling:
The Pew researchers found that 84 percent of Egyptians favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion. In another survey, Pew found that 90 percent of Egyptians say they believe in freedom of religion.
Evidently at least 74% of Egyptians mean something very different by freedom of religion than we do.
ASIDE: To be fair, Americans can be inconsistent in a similar way. Lots of people say they support free speech while simultaneously supporting restrictive speech codes. I think that people know that free speech is something they are supposed to be for, and they don’t really think about what that means. But, a sufficiently great difference in degree becomes a difference in kind. We’re talking here about the death penalty for changing religions, and you just can’t get a clearer violation of freedom of religion than that.
And there’s more:
When asked which side they would take in a struggle between “groups who want to modernize the country [and] Islamic fundamentalists,” 59 percent of Egyptians picked the fundamentalists, while 27 percent picked the modernizers. . .
A majority, 54 percent, support making segregation of men and women in the workplace the law throughout Egypt. . .
When asked whether suicide bombing can ever be justified, 54 percent said yes (although most believe such occasions are “rare.”)
Eighty-two percent supported stoning for those who commit adultery.
I remember the Al Qaqaa affair (in which the Democrats, as a last-ditch effort to win the 2004 presidential election, fabricated a bogus scandal about the supposed disappearance of explosives from an Iraqi depot), but I don’t think I ever knew that Mohammed El Baradei was responsible.
I’m alarmed by what I’m hearing from the liberal intelligentsia about Egypt. Yesterday on NPR I heard someone from the Brookings Institute talking about how the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and non-violent. This, of course, is nonsense. The Muslim Brotherhood’s modus operandi is to maintain a thin veneer of respectability, while promotingviolentextremism throughout the world through its links with local branches, such as Hamas.
Now, I don’t know for certain that the Obama Administration and the State Department share that wishful thinking. I haven’t heard Hillary Clinton speak clearly about the Muslim Brotherhood (or really any other matter related to the unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, other than to say that violence is very, very bad). But it is certain that NPR and the Brookings Institute represent the same culture that informs our current administration. I’d be very surprised if they differed.
We need to be very careful. Propping up Mubarak doesn’t look like a realistic option, and anyway it would be disgusting if we were reduced to doing so. But the Muslim Brotherhood will make a play to take over any post-Mubarak regime, and they are likely to succeed. We need to oppose them however we can. This is exactly the sort of situation that calls for clandestine action, but unfortunately, after years of neutering the CIA, we probably don’t have much ability or will to conduct clandestine political action any more. Between the wishful thinking prevailing among the liberal intelligentsia, and a risk-averse CIA without a lot of contacts on the ground, it seems all but certain that the Obama Administration will convince itself that its best course of action is to do nothing.
The Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government.
The administration did say that the Muslim Brotherhood must renounce violence, etc., but history has taught us clearly that our government will be satisfied if the Muslim Brotherhood merely mouths the words. Indeed, our government will be flexible even on the words. The Palestinian Authority never did amend their charter to delete its call for the destruction of Israel; they merely declared that some parts of it were “no longer effective.”
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