Patterico's Pontifications

1/1/2008

Will the L.A. Times Cover Hillary’s Clueless Comments About Pakistan?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:10 pm

Earlier today, DRJ noted that Hillary screwed up some comments about Pakistan, revealing a frightening ignorance about the current state of affairs there. As Pakistan analyst Thomas Houlihan put it:

And then it hit me:

Sen. Clinton really didn’t know that the upcoming elections were for individual seats in Pakistan’s parliament. She actually believed that Bhutto, Nawaz and Musharraf would be facing off as individual candidates for leadership of the country in the upcoming elections.

Sen. Clinton didn’t know that Nawaz Sharif isn’t allowed to run for office in Pakistan because of a felony conviction. She didn’t know that President Musharraf won’t be on the ballot because he’s already been elected.

Sen. Clinton, a candidate for the leadership of the free world, apparently doesn’t know the first thing about the country referred to by some as “the most dangerous place on earth.”

More from Captain Ed, Power Line, and Hot Air.

I am waiting with bated breath to see how the L.A. Times covers this. I looked tonight to see if there was anything online about it yet. I did find an article that noted the fact that Mike Huckabee had stumbled earlier in the month in commenting on Pakistan. The same article described the unstable situation in Pakistan as a plus for Clinton, because she is considered so great on foreign affairs.

But I could find nothing on Hillary’s numerous gaffes on Pakistan — at least through and including their January 1, 2008 edition.

Surely, they’re hard at work on something about it.

After all, when George W. Bush failed a pop quiz in 1999 regarding the names of the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan, the L.A. Times thought it was worth an article. And a follow-up. And another follow-up. And some Page A1 commentary from Ron Brownstein.

Hillary’s comments about Pakistan are more worrisome than Bush’s poor performance on the 1999 pop quiz. After all, the current election situation in Pakistan is more critical than a pop quiz regarding the names of world leaders. And Hillary’s statements were unforced errors, not the answers to a pop quiz.

So I’m expecting at least four “Hillary doesn’t know squat about Pakistan” pieces in the L.A. Times over the next couple of weeks.

At least.

Because the L.A. Times isn’t biased against conservatives. And you’ll never find me saying anything different.

(Thanks again to D.J.)

UPDATE: Nothing in the paper through January 2.

L.A. Times Repeats Ridiculous Lie That Bush Erroneously Said Mandela Was Dead

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:17 pm

An L.A. Times end-of-the-year political quiz resurrects the canard that George W. Bush “[e]rroneously said Nelson Mandela was dead.” (H/t D.J.) Read this question, focusing on the last line:

quiz.JPG

And here is the “correct” answer: George W. Bush.

quiz-2.JPG

The problem is, this is nonsense. Here is a transcript of the relevant press conference. Bush was asked a question about the lack of political progress in Iraq:

I’ll ask you about Iraq. Efforts to curtail the deployment of troops is an ongoing debate right now. One of the things you spoke about in your address last week had to do with impatience with the Iraqi government. And you spoke about that, but not in much detail. How is that dynamic changing, your level of frustration with the lack of political progress? And how long can Americans reasonably expect you to wait before you take some kind of action that really forces the Iraqi government’s hand to reach the goals of reconciliation that you set for them?

As part of his answer, Bush suggested that Iraq has no equivalent to Nelson Mandela, because Saddam killed all of them:

Part of the reason why there is not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule. I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where’s Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas. He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families, and people are recovering from this. So there’s a psychological recovery that is taking place. And it’s hard work for them. And I understand it’s hard work for them. Having said that, I’m not going the give them a pass when it comes to the central government’s reconciliation efforts.

Reuters ran a ridiculous story about Bush’s alleged “gaffe” titled Mandela still alive after embarrassing Bush remark. That story opened:

Nelson Mandela is still very much alive despite an embarrassing gaffe by U.S. President George W. Bush, who alluded to the former South African leader’s death in an attempt to explain sectarian violence in Iraq.

The silly story was instantly debunked by Newsbusters. But the L.A. Times continues to push it.

Pay close attention, folks. Because this is how they lie to you.

And you know what? I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that they won’t correct it.

Because, after all, Bush did say: “Mandela is dead.” So what if his meaning was clearly nothing to do with the actual Nelson Mandela. He said it. It’s his fault, not ours. We don’t see the need for a correction.

That’s what they’ll say. Mark my words.

Just watch and see. I’ll write the Readers’ Rep right now. I’m telling you, they’re not going to do a damned thing about it.

P.S. I should acknowledge at this point that this isn’t necessarily a “lie” — it could just be someone who got taken in by the Reuters story, and is completely out of touch with the conservative New Media, and therefore missed the discussion over how misleading the Reuters story was.

But if they refuse to correct it or clarify it, by arguing that it’s an opinion column — well, then, it damn sure will be a lie.

More Immigration Enforcement that Works: Operation Streamline

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 4:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Sara Carter of the Washington Times recently published an article detailing the success of Operation Streamline in cutting border crossings near Laredo, Texas:

A strict policy to arrest, prosecute and jail illegal aliens who cross into the U.S. has shown significant success in reducing crossings and crime along the Texas border, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials said this month. The first 45 days of Operation Streamline — a collaborative effort of local, state and federal agencies in Texas — has resulted in decreased illegal border crossings and crime since its implementation Oct. 31 compared with last year’s numbers, said Laredo Border Patrol Sector chief patrol agent Carlos X. Carrillo.

“As more and more illegal aliens are prosecuted and incarcerated under Streamline-Laredo, the word is spreading quickly that illegal entry has its consequences,” Mr. Carrillo said. “Those found guilty of violating this statute face penalties that can include fines and up to six months in prison.”

During the first 45-day period of Operation Streamline in the Laredo sector only 2,833 illegal entries were reported, compared with last fiscal year, when 4,424 illegal entries were reported during a similar period. The operation covers a 60-mile span along the U.S.-Mexico border at Laredo. Mr. Carrillo also noted that there was an overall reduction of 33 percent in apprehensions along the entire 171-mile Laredo border corridor.”

Operation Streamline not only reduced border crossings, it apparently reduced crime in adjacent border communities. For instance, in Laredo, Texas:

The Laredo Police Department’s crime data for Oct. 31-Dec. 15 indicates a year-to-date reduction in reported crimes of approximately 30 percent, and a 36 percent decrease in major crimes during the 45-day Streamline-Laredo reporting period. “As a result of this partnership, the positive effects of Streamline-Laredo resonate deep within the community,” Mr. Carrillo said.

And in Del Rio, Texas:

“Operation Streamline II was first adopted in the Del Rio, Texas, sector in December 2005. It focused on high-traffic smuggling corridors along the 205 miles of the Rio Grande that divide the sector from Mexico. Since its implementation, the crime rate has been reduced by 76 percent and illegal border crossings are at the lowest numbers since Border Patrol began keeping records in 1972, [Texas Republican Congressman John] Culberson added.”

The success of Operation Streamline – described as a “zero tolerance program” – has led the Border Patrol to expand its use into the Tucson, Arizona, sector and ultimately into other border areas:

Operation Streamline will be adopted next month by law-enforcement agencies in the Border Patrol’s Tucson, Ariz., sector, [Congressman] Culberson added. Mr. Culberson, who has publicly advocated for the strict border policy, said he hopes the operation will be adopted along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. “I expect to see zero tolerance implemented in the Tucson sector in January, and my next target is the Brownsville Sector [in Texas],” Mr. Culberson said.”

For so many years, I’ve heard that we can’t do anything to stop illegal immigration and I was almost convinced. But stories like this and others – where the US increases border security, employer sanctions, and similar enforcement actions – convinces me that if border security makes it harder to get to America and if American employers aren’t hiring, many illegal immigrants won’t come.

In other words, enforcement works.

— DRJ

Bhutto to meet Specter, Kennedy over Election Rigging

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 2:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

On the day she was assassinated, the UK Independent claims Benazir Bhutto was set to hand over to visiting US politicians (identified as Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Patrick Kennedy) proof of a Pakistani intelligence plan to rig the January 8 elections:

“On the day she was assassinated, Benazir Bhutto had planned to reveal what she claimed was damning evidence that revealed the involvement of a shadowy Pakistani intelligence agency in a plan to rig the country’s upcoming elections.

Colleagues of Ms Bhutto have revealed she was due to meet visiting US politicians to hand over a report compiled by her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) into an operation it says was being run by the ISI military intelligence agency to fix the polls in the favour of President Pervez Musharraf. Safraz Khan Lashari, a member of the PPP election monitoring cell, said the report was “very sensitive” and the party wanted to initially share it with trusted US politicians rather than the government of George Bush, which has backed Mr Musharraf.”

It was reported earlier that Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Patrick Kennedy were in Pakistan and scheduled to meet with Bhutto when she was assassinated. The Independent article confirms the meeting:

“The PPP has not claimed that Ms Bhutto was killed in order to stop her from revealing the information the party had gathered. However, last Thursday – the day that she was killed in Rawalpindi – Ms Bhutto was due to meet Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican, and the Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy. It is unclear whether the two US lawmakers had any indication that they were to be provided with the report.

After Ms Bhutto’s death, Mr Specter said: “Our foreign policy had relied on her presence as a stabilising force. I knew her personally… She was, as you know, glamorous, beautiful, smart. Her loss is a setback. But you have to face what is. And now, without her, we have to regroup.”

The Melbourne Herald Sun described the meeting with Specter and Kennedy as follows:

“Ms Bhutto was due to meet US Republican Senator Arlen Specter and Democrat Patrick Kennedy last Thursday to hand over a report charging that the military Inter-Services Intelligence agency planned to fix the polls in favour of President Pervez Musharraf.

Safraz Khan Lashari, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party election monitoring unit, said the report was “very sensitive” and the party wanted to initially share it with trusted American politicians rather than the Bush administration, which it believed strongly backed Mr Musharraf.”

I’d like to know what Specter and Kennedy knew beforehand and where their interests lie.

The Independent report (linked above) also indicates the proof was provided by intelligence sources loyal to Bhutto and claims the plans to rig the election used diverted US aid funds:

“The report compiled by the PPP apparently includes information on an alleged “safehouse” being run by the ISI in a neighbourhood of Islamabad called G-5, from which the rigging operation was run. “It was compiled from sources within the [intelligence] services who were working directly with Benazir Bhutto,” said Mr Lashari.

The report names a recently retired ISI officer who has allegedly been running the rigging unit and claims he worked in tandem with another named senior intelligence officer. It also claims that US aid funds were being used for the projects.

At the heart of the scheme, the report says, was a project in which ballot papers – stamped in favour of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), which supports Mr Musharraf – were to be produced by the intelligence agencies in about 100 constituencies. Mr Lashari said the effort was directed at constituencies where the result was likely to be decided by a small margin, so it would not be obvious. “They diverted money from aid activities. We had evidence of where they were spending the money,” he added.”

Finally, the Independent article provides new hospital information that further disputes the government account that Bhutto died after hitting her head on a sunroof lever:

“Meanwhile, controversy continued to rage over the precise cause of Ms Bhutto’s death. Having initially said she was killed by a gunman, the government has since claimed Ms Bhutto died after striking her head on a lever that controlled the sunroof of her bullet-proof car. The claim drew accusations of a cover-up from members of her party who said the government was seeking to avoid criticism for not having provided adequate security.

Yesterday a member of the board of the hospital where Ms Bhutto was rushed last Thursday, said doctors had been prevented from carrying out a post-mortem examination by the local police chief. Athar Minallah, a leading lawyer, released medical notes from the hospital which showed Ms Bhutto had suffered a single wound to her head. Mr Minallah said the doctor who had written the report, the head of surgery at Rawalpindi General Hospital, had told him he believed Ms Bhutto had died of a bullet wound, though the medical notes make clear that a post-mortem examination was required.

“The doctors have said they were not allowed to perform an autopsy,” said Mr Minallah.”

Corrupt Pakistani elections, diverted US aid, and clandestine meetings with US politicians to avoid the Bush Administration …

This is not good news for the US government.

— DRJ

Intelligence Sources say Rogue Pakistani Military involved in Bhutto Assassination

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 12:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Middle East Times reports that Indian and other intelligence sources say jihad supporters in the Pakistan military were involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto:

Lower and middle level officers of the Pakistani army and the Pakistani air force were involved in the killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, according to various intelligence sources, including members of India’s counter-intelligence service. Well-informed sources have told the Middle East Times that these rogue elements of the Pakistani military support the jihadis and share their extremist views of an ultra-conservative form of Islam.

One former CIA official told a Middle East Times source that, “It’s worrying when half of your lower or mid-level Pak intelligence analysts have bin Laden screen-savers on their computers.” The conclusion of a number of U.S. analysts is that al-Qaida and other jihadis have successfully penetrated the armed forces and security services in Pakistan. If these findings are substantiated it could be a matter of grave concern, given the fact that Pakistan is in possession of nuclear weapons.”

Rawalpindi, the city where Bhutto was assassinated, seems especially involved:

“Backing up their theory that pro-extremists found sympathy and support among influential people in the Pakistani security forces, the sources cited the example of Rashi Rauf, the prime suspect in a recent plot to blow up 10 U.S. passenger airplanes in the United Kingdom last year. Rauf escaped last week while being taken from court in Rawalpindi. The prime suspects are the security personnel, who some believe, have facilitated Rauf’s escape, the sources said.

Of the seven or eight attempts to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf, two took place in December 2003 when rockets were fired at his vehicle during a visit to Rawalpindi, the same city where Bhutto was killed on Thursday.”

The Middle East Times identified one Pakistani general that particularly concerned Bhutto:

“Bhutto’s main fear, according to a well-placed source, was that Brig. Gen. (rtd) Ijaz Shah of the Pakistani IB would prove a grave threat to her. She was worried about security but did not make it a big issue until Dec. 26 when she complained that the electronic jammers used to neutralize IED’s were faulty.

But one U.S. analyst familiar with the situation told the Middle East Times that Mrs. Bhutto was warned of security issues. “She was warned of the dangers yet she continued to behave in a way in which the Secret Service in the U.S. would never accept,” said Thomas Houlahan, director of military assessment with the Center for Security and Science in Washington, D.C.

“She insisted on having her own people run her protection,” said Houlahan, who added, “but nothing would protect her when she decided to stand through the sun roof of her car. “That was extremely reckless,” said Houlahan. “I don’t see what could have been done.”

In a related story, Houlahan (who is also a contributor to the Middle East Times) wrote this interesting op-ed on Hillary Clinton’s misstatements of Pakistani political matters, but that story has been covered elsewhere.

For more background, the Times of India addresses the bad blood between Bhutto and the Pakistan ISI in this article.

Musharraf is walking the thinest tightrope in the world as he tries to balance the competing interests that surround him and his country. I don’t know where his allegiances lie but he must be made of steel.

— DRJ

Happy New Year 2008

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 11:02 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Brendan Loy and family are having the perfect New Year:

“A new year, a new baby, the miracle of new life, and a new chapter in our lives. Never has the turning of the calendar’s page meant so much to us. What an amazing day.”

Congratulations, Loyette and family.

PS – And a 2007 tax deduction, too.

— DRJ

California School District Targets Non-Resident Immigrant Students

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 10:48 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The school district in the border town of Calexico, California has adopted an interesting method to identify and expel non-resident Mexican students who attend Calexico schools:

“With too many students and too few classrooms, Calexico school officials took the unusual step of hiring someone to photograph children and document the offenders. [Daniel] Santillan snaps pictures at the city’s downtown border crossing and shares the images with school principals, who use them as evidence to kick out those living in Mexico.

Since he started the job two years ago, the number of students in the Calexico school system has fallen 5 percent, from 9,600 to 9,100, while the city’s population grew about 3 percent. “The community asked us to do this, and we responded,” school board President Enrique Alvarado said. “Once it starts to affect you personally, when your daughter gets bumped to another school, then our residents start complaining.”

Every day along the 1,952-mile border, children from Mexico cross into the United States and attend public schools. No one keeps statistics on how many. Citizenship isn’t the issue for school officials; district residency is. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled illegal immigrants have a right to an education, so schools don’t ask about immigration status. But citizens and illegal immigrants alike can’t falsely claim residency in a school district.

Enforcement of residency requirements varies widely along the border. Some schools do little to verify where children live beyond checking leases or utility bills, while others dispatch officials to homes when suspicions are raised. Jesus Gandara, superintendent of the Sweetwater district, with 44,000 students along San Diego’s border with Mexico, said tracking children at the border goes too far. “If you do that, you’re playing immigration agent,” he said.

The El Paso Independent School District in Texas sends employees to homes when suspicions are raised. But spokesman Luis Villalobos said photographing students at the border would be a monumental, unproductive effort.

That’s not the thinking in Calexico, a city 120 miles east of San Diego that has seen its population double to 38,000 since 1990. A steel fence along the border separates Calexico from Mexicali, an industrial city of about 750,000 that sends shoppers and farm laborers to California. Calexico’s rapid growth outstripped school resources, resulting in overcrowding and prompting demands that Mexican interlopers be ousted. Taxpayers complained their children were bused across town because neighborhood schools were full, even after Calexico voters approved a $30 million construction measure in 2004. Portable classrooms proliferated.”

Santillan says he has to have a “tough skin” to do the job, even though he is only enforcing school residency rules and not immigration laws. Apparently the community supports the effort:

“Many Calexico residents support the crackdown. Fernando Torres, a former mayor, was upset when the district said his grandchildren would have to transfer because there was no room in their neighborhood school. “It’s not right” for U.S. taxpayers to build classrooms for Mexican residents, he said. The district eventually relented.

School board member Eduardo Rivera estimates there are still 250 to 400 students from Mexico attending Calexico’s schools. “It’s a continual struggle,” Rivera said. “You have people who are determined to continue sending their kids over here.”

As long as the federal government refuses to enforce the immigration laws, local governments will fill the void. It would be much simpler, cost effective, and more humane if the federal government would do its job.

— DRJ

Gunning for the Perfect Tattoo

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 10:11 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Two New Mexico men were shot as they traced a loaded .357 Magnum to use as a pattern for a tattoo.

I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.

— DRJ

Iowahawk’s 2007 “Men of the Year”

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 9:47 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Iowahawk has announced his “2007 Men of the Year”:

Iowahawk

“Awarded for meritorious achievements in the
field of high speed brassiere-related car crash lawsuits”

From the Toledo Blade:

Two Toledo men who were seated side-by-side in a car that crashed last year after a red bra sailed back toward it from another car ahead are now on opposite sides of a lawsuit. Jeff Long is suing James Campbell, driver of the car that swerved and flipped several times in the median on I-75, moments after the dog-chewed brassiere slipped off another car’s antenna Sept. 26, 2006.

Mr. Long, 42, who suffered broken ribs, also is suing the girl whose bra went airborne on the freeway just outside of Perrysburg that afternoon.

But Mr. Campbell is being sued because, according to Mr. Long’s lawsuit, he “negligently operated” his car, causing a “serious single-vehicle, rollover-type accident at high speed.” I don’t take it as he’s suing me,” Mr. Campbell said yesterday. “I take it as he’s suing my insurance company. We’ve been friends an awful long time, and for something like this to break up our friendship is ridiculous. He just wants his bills paid.

Mr. Long, who is seeking in excess of $25,000 in the lawsuit filed on his behalf in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Aug. 23, could not be reached for comment. But Mr. Long’s attorney, John Fisher, said there is some liability on Mr. Campbell’s part because he was the driver of the car that crashed. Mr. Long declined further comment.”

Unlike Time Magazine and the Dallas Morning News, Iowahawk clearly understands how to run a “Person of the Year” contest.

— DRJ

Democrats Seek to Impeach Cheney Based on Lies — That Is, the *Democrats’* Lies

Filed under: General,Scum — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Via Instapundit, three lying Congressman (Robert Wexler, Luis Gutierrez, and Tammy Baldwin) are seeking Dick Cheney’s impeachment. One of their misleading arguments falsely suggests that Cheney deliberately misled Scott McClellan regarding the Plame leak:

Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the vice president and his staff purposely gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice.

Did Scott McClellan really say that? Well, there was a brief media firestorm when McClellan’s publisher printed a brief and ambiguous excerpt from his upcoming book that, without any context, could be read as supporting the Congresspeople’s accusation:

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the President himself.

If that excerpt were all we had to go on, these Congesscritters would be able to argue that there is a basis for their assertion.

But it’s not all we have to go on. And their assertion is a lie.

McClellan’s publisher quickly made it clear that McClellan was not claiming that Bush had deliberately lied to him:

McClellan doesn’t suggest that Bush deliberately lied to him about Libby’s and Rove’s involvement in the leak, said Peter Osnos, founder and editor-in-chief of Public Affairs Books, which is publishing McClellan’s memoir next year.

“He told him something that wasn’t true, but the president didn’t know it wasn’t true,” Osnos said in a telephone interview. “The president told him what he thought to be the case.”

In an interview with CNN in March, McClellan said he had said what he “believed to be true at the time” and “it was also what the president believed to be true at the time, based on assurances that we were both given.”

He said he spoke directly with Rove and Libby. Referring to press briefings he gave in 2003 denying Rove and Libby’s involvement, McClellan told CNN: “Knowing what I know today, I would have never said that back then.”

There is no basis to say that Cheney deliberately misled McClellan, any more than there is to say that Bush did.

Wexler, Gutierrez, and Baldwin have absolutely no basis to argue that, according to McClellan, “the vice president and his staff purposely gave [McClellan] false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson.” That’s a shameful lie. McClellan has said no such thing. As a basis for Cheney’s impeachment, this is nothing more than dishonest political theater.

If you fall for it, you’re a sucker.

P.S. Michelle Malkin has been doing a great job keeping an eye on this lunacy — see, for example, here.


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