Patterico's Pontifications

6/27/2004

Jarvis Rips Moore

Filed under: Morons — Patterico @ 8:32 pm

I’m not going to waste my time on Michael Moore, which means I’m not going to spend a lot of time debunking his latest piece of crap and collecting links that do the same. Luckily, Jeff Jarvis has already done it.

6/24/2004

Open Thread

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 6:32 am

I always wanted to do this, even though I’ve always known that doing so may lead to a laughably low number of comments. But I am about to undertake a likely blogging hiatus until Sunday night. You readers can keep the site interesting — if you want — by starting your own discussions in the comments.

This is also a good opportunity for a Eugene Volokh-style “pledge drive.” If you enjoy the site, forget the PayPal jar below. It’s never been used — not even once. But please do tell a few friends about the site. Thanks for reading. It’s you readers (and your feedback) that make this fun.

6/23/2004

Larry McMurtry Reviews Clinton’s Book

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Patterico @ 7:14 pm

I don’t like Bill Clinton, but I do like Larry McMurtry. He’s probably a leftist, as most artists seem to be, but I enjoy his writing style. He gives a Jeff Jarvis.)

Who’s Getting Fooled by the Los Angeles Dog Trainer?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 5:38 pm

Recently I have been discussing how the Los Angeles Dog Trainer has provably distorted both the findings of the 9/11 interim staff report, and the statements of the 9/11 commissioners regarding that report. Is anyone still fooled by this faulty reporting?

Well, check out today’s letters, in particular the last one:

It now seems that we have two truths as a result of the 9/11 commission findings. The first is the one the administration would have you believe based on its word, and the second is the result of the evidence the bipartisan 9/11 commission has uncovered. Take your choice.

Bernard Rapkin

Los Angeles

It now seems that we have two versions of whether the 9/11 commission has contradicted statements from the Bush Administration. The first is the one the media would have you believe based on its word, and the second consists of the statements from the bipartisan 9/11 commissioners themselves. The two versions are completely different. It appears Bernard Rapkin of Los Angeles has made his choice.

Dog Trainer: Why We Should Not Enforce the Law

Filed under: Immigration — Patterico @ 7:03 am

Unsurprisingly, the local Dog Trainer today editorializes against the “new policy of seemingly random arrests of illegal immigrants by the Border Patrol.” As the paper has reported recently:

For years, Border Patrol agents concentrated on the border and highway checkpoints. But that changed last year. Now a dozen agents rove far from the border, confronting individuals as they step off buses, troll for work or go to Mexican markets. News of arrests in Corona, Ontario and Escondido has fueled rumors of similar patrols as far afield as Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley.

I’ll pause while you emit a low, impressed whistle at the thought of a dozen agents on the loose!

The thrust of the editorial is an attack on what most people would consider a pretty basic concept: arresting lawbreakers. Why is this somehow wrong? Here’s the “logic”:

These patrols might be defensible if they were part of a comprehensive immigration policy that reflected some degree of statewide and national consensus. But there is no such policy and no such consensus.

This is sophistry. The existence of the relevant immigration laws is all the “consensus” we need to enforce those laws. But the editorialist wants authorities to take no action unless everyone in the country agrees with those laws. If we applied the same standard to other laws, many laws would be unenforceable. Many people disagree with the drug laws; that doesn’t make it unfair to make drug arrests. If you disagree with the law, get your own consensus and change it. Until then, it gets enforced as written. That’s how we do things in this country.

Ironically, the lack of “consensus” on this issue is demonstrated mainly by a lack of enforcement of the law — which somehow becomes a reason not to enforce the law. Can you say “circular”?

Also, the alleged unfairness of enforcing the law doesn’t seem to trouble the editorialist when it comes to arresting employers. All of a sudden, it doesn’t matter whether there is a “consensus” to enforce the law.

The editorial also complains about racial profiling. Why aren’t we sending random patrols to deport Swedes, the piece asks? I have no idea what the answer to that question could be. Sure, Sweden is not on our border, so we have almost zero illegal immigration from Sweden — but the answer can’t be that simple. Gotta be racism.

If this were a policy argument about whether to change the law, it would be more complicated. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I empathize with illegals who came here to better their lives. But they also impose a huge burden on our resources. That’s a thorny debate.

But enforcing the law as written? Sorry, that’s a no-brainer. The editorial is an unconvincing effort to make a simple concept (arresting lawbreakers) sound complicated.

Patterico Cited by Danish Blog

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 12:47 am

How cool is this? A post I wrote at “Oh, That Liberal Media” was cited (favorably — I think) by this Danish blog.

“Hvor dumme er læserne af Politiken?” I couldn’t have put it better myself. Really.

Justice William W. Bedsworth Answers Howard Bashman’s “20 Questions for the Appellate Judge”

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 12:29 am

You can read it here. It’s one of the best installments yet.

And make sure to read Justice Bedsworth’s blog at this link.

6/22/2004

Hitchens Blasts Michael Moore

Filed under: Morons — Patterico @ 6:20 am

Don’t miss Unfairenheit 9/11 – The lies of Michael Moore by Christopher Hitchens. Here’s a taste:

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of “dissenting” bravery.

Thanks to alert reader Hank K. for the link.

6/21/2004

Who Are You Gonna Believe? Me, or Your Lying Transcript?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 9:46 pm

Three days ago, I railed at the L.A. Times for an incredibly misleading story regarding the 9/11 Commission’s interim staff report. The story, which was on the paper’s front page, was titled Despite Findings, Bush Sees Iraq Tie to Al Qaeda. The story repeatedly asserted, quite incorrectly, that the interim staff report had directly contradicted the Administration’s position on Iraq/Al Qaeda connections. I noted that the story had pointedly omitted several recent quotes from the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, in which they had forcefully and repeatedly stated that their findings were completely consistent with the Bush Administration’s position.

Well, the L.A. Times is at it again — lying directly to its readers’ faces. And this time, it’s not lying by omission — it’s a direct misrepresentation, as the reader can easily verify with a simple review of the relevant transcript.
(more…)

What Happens When Pseudo-Journalists Are Confronted with Their Own Ignorance?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:00 pm

Captain Ed makes a very important observation: the first clear example of a member of an urban American newspaper clearly admitting that his paper screwed up its reporting about the links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. I’m not talking about the half-assed non-apologies of the New York Times. I’m talking about this: a piece by Jack Kelly, national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who says today:

On Thursday, the lead headline in the Post-Gazette was “Saddam, al-Qaida Not Linked. Sept. 11 Panel’s Conclusion at Odds with Administration.” In the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that day, the banner headline read: “9/11 Panel Debunks Saddam Link. Report: No Evidence of al-Qaida Ties.”

This was false, as the chair and vice chair of the 9/11 commission hastened to make clear.

The 9/11 commission staff report details a series of contacts between Saddam Hussein’s regime and Osama bin Laden.

Kelly continues, making the point that the information about these contacts is not new:

The report in effect confirms everything Secretary of State Colin Powell said about Iraq/al-Qaida ties in his February 2003 presentation to the United Nations, though you’d never know that from the reporting that has been done on the report.

In addition to the information presented by Powell in 2003, there is a mountain of other evidence — most of it going back to the days of the Clinton Administration — of significant ties between Iraqi intelligence and bin Laden’s organization, as detailed by Stephen Hayes here. For example, Hayes reminds us that “Clinton officials were adamant about an Iraq-al Qaeda connection in Sudan” and that “the Clinton Justice Department included the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship in its 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden.” Clinton Administration officials Dick Clarke, William Cohen, and Thomas Pickering all expressed certainty that Iraq had collaborated with Al Qaeda in developing lethal weapons.

Although this evidence has been around for years, the folks in the mainstream media are just now figuring it out. This is because — in response to virtually universal media reports falsely stating that the commission’s interim staff report had found “no links” between Iraq and Al Qaeda — the 9/11 commissioners have consistently emphasized that there were, in fact, extensive ties. Though the media initially struggled mightily to ignore the commissioners, the commissioners have simply been too vocal and consistent. People are noticing. As a direct result (as Cori Dauber notes), people other than right-wing ideologues are beginning to discuss the extensive evidence of connections between Saddam’s regime and bin Laden.

It’s ironic that it was the media’s very ignorance on these topics that caused the commissioners to speak out, which is finally getting these connections the publicity they had lacked. In the face of this publicity, Jack Kelly does his paper credit by forthrightly acknowledging just how badly his paper messed up the story of Iraqi connections to Al Qaeda.

I have a feeling he will be alone in this posture of honest acknowledgment.

Which bring me back to my old nemesis, the Los Angeles Times. Although there is a lot of crow to go around, I want to make sure to reserve a heaping helping for editor John Carroll. Remember his speech decrying the so-called “pseudo-journalism” of Fox News? Do you remember how he “proved” what a biased, ridiculous organization Fox supposedly is? Let me quote from Carroll’s speech — and you can bet I’m grinning a big grin as I remind you of these words:

You may be familiar with a study published last October on public misconceptions about the war in Iraq. One of those misconceptions was that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been found.

Another was that links had been proven between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

A third was that world opinion favored the idea of the U.S. invading Iraq.

Among people who primarily watched Fox News, 80 percent believed one or more of those myths. . . .

How could Fox have left its audience so deeply in the dark?

Carroll gave this speech in May of this year, when virtually all of the evidence I have mentioned or linked to in this post was already available.

So, in the face of all this evidence — evidence that has been available for years — the editor of the Los Angeles Times labeled a “misconception” and a “myth” the concept that “links had been proven between Iraq and Al Qaeda.” And he bitterly mocked anyone who believed that “myth” as a dupe, fooled by those pseudo-journalists at Fox News.

Now that the 9/11 commissioners are widely publicizing the fact that this is no “myth” at all, Carroll is now being shown to have been the biggest dupe of all — far less informed than the Fox News viewers for whom Carroll has such arrogant contempt.

The classy thing to do would be to issue an apology, as Jack Kelly so admirably did today.

Mr. Carroll, over to you.

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