Patterico's Pontifications

2/14/2010

Happy Valentine’s Day ♥

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 10:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all.

— DRJ

Obama Wants to Be President His Way (By Losing the House?)

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 10:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last month, President Obama stunned many when he said he’d rather be a one-term President his way than get re-elected in 2012:

“President Obama, buffeted by criticism of his massive health care reform bill and election setbacks, said today he remained determined to tackle health care and other big problems despite the political dangers to his presidency.

“I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” he told ABC’s “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview today.”

There’s been a lot of debate whether Obama meant this — frankly, it’s often hard to parse what he means — but I think he meant it in a way. First, I’m sure he wants to get re-elected and will do everything he can to make that happen. However, second, even after a setback in the Massachusetts’ special election, it’s clear Obama plans to shape events to suit his goals rather than scale back to save the Democrats’ majority in the House or acquiesce to voter sentiment.

Here’s a reminder what the White House was saying just before the Massachusetts’ election, when Martha Coakley’s defeat seemed likely:

President Barack Obama plans a combative response if, as White House aides fear, Democrats lose Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts, close advisers say.

“This is not a moment that causes the president or anybody who works for him to express any doubt,” a senior administration official said. “It more reinforces the conviction to fight hard.”
***
There won’t be any grand proclamation that “the era of Big Government is over” — the words President Bill Clinton uttered after Republicans won the Congress in the 1990s and he was forced to trim a once-ambitious agenda.

“The response will not be to do incremental things and try to salvage a few seats in the fall,” a presidential adviser said. “The best political route also happens to be the boldest rhetorical route, which is to go out and fight and let the chips fall where they may. We can say, ‘At least we fought for these things, and the Republicans said no.’

It seems to me that’s exactly what Obama has done since Scott Brown’s election.

Maybe he really is willing to let House Democrats lose. Not only would a GOP-controlled House give Obama someone to rail against but, given what may be voters’ reluctance to give one Party control of both bodies, it may help safeguard Democratic control of the Senate. And Obama needs the Senate to approve his Supreme Court nominees.

— DRJ

Doing Their Part for GM

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 9:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Another government fender bender today, and this one injured Peggy Fleming:

“First, they came for some random citizens that I didn’t know — and I did nothing. Then, they came for Treacher — and I said nothing (except for blogging about it and twittering some stern messages!) Next, they came for Peggy Fleming. Before they come for me, I must speak up.

Joe Biden’s motorcade was involved in yet another accident. What is this now? Four? Like Jim Treacher himself said on Twitter:

“Biden’s motorcade has killed and injured more people than global warming.”

And, now this time, they hit Peggy Fleming! So, first, a State Department vehicle injures, rather seriously, Jim Treacher — and tried to cover it up. Now, Biden’s motorcade hits Peggy Fleming! Clearly, they hate America. Or, at least, conservative bloggers, random citizens and figure skating personalities.”

There was also an incident last week at the White House:

“After his motorcade was delayed for a few minutes by a fender-bender at the White House, where a black vehicle lost its grip on the road and slid into one of the press SUVs, President Obama arrived at the Capital Hilton at 10:15 a.m. to address the Democratic National Committee.”

Forget the stimulus. This may be the best way for government to help car repair businesses and Detroit, especially GM.

— DRJ

Wyoming Crime Files

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 9:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Bad luck, bad planning or just bad karma?

“Police say the man grabbed the bottle of booze and a package of cough drops on Wednesday, ran out the store and hid in a nearby building, which just happened to be the police station.”

Or it may have been bad Schnapps.

— DRJ

Arrests in Juarez Birthday Party Massacre

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 8:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Over 4,300 people have been killed in Juarez, Mexico, since 2008 and the violence continues with each month bringing news of more murders. Among the recent shockers was a January 30 attack at a birthday party that killed 11 teenagers. Last week, the Chihuahua state attorney general announced Los Linces (the Lynxes), a drug cartel hit squad, was involved:

“The attorney general’s office said the involvement of Los Linces and an Azteca leader were revealed in interrogations of two men arrested in connection with the Jan. 30 attack at a birthday party that killed 16 people, including 11 teens.

Los Linces (the lynxes) is a secretive assassination group reportedly made up of former Mexico special forces soldiers. The group works for the Juárez drug cartel, reputedly led by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.
***
Mexican authorities said the assault on the birthday party was well-planned. The location was first scouted and the block was then sealed off and lookouts were posted outside before gunmen entered the party at a house in southeast Juárez. Authorities said the killers believed the students were members of a rival gang.”

The announcement stressed “there is no indication Los Linces works in El Paso or elsewhere in the U.S.” That might be comforting except the article identified the attack’s mastermind as an El Paso resident who was killed in a shootout during the arrest:

“The attack’s alleged mastermind, Adrian “El Rama” Ramirez of El Paso, was later killed in a shootout with soldiers. Jose Dolores Arroyo Chavarria and Israel Arzate Melendez, aka “El 24″ or “El Country,” have been arrested. More than a dozen suspects remain at large.”

In addition, relatives of some victims are seeking asylum in the United States.

All in all, it’s hard to believe assurances that the United States isn’t affected by and involved in the violence in Juarez. At best, America is a safe harbor for Mexican residents but the economic impact is already here. The violence can’t be far behind.

— DRJ

PS — As I’ve mentioned before, I guess the Ramos-Compean prosecutor knew what she was talking about when she told the jury in closing argument someone in their neighborhood was a dope dealer (in Volume 15 at page 102):

“Ladies and gentlemen, we live in El Paso, Texas. There is a substantial likelihood that somebody in your neighborhood is a dope dealer. That is even more likely in San Isidro, Mexico.”

She could have also said that somebody in the neighborhood might be the leader of drug cartel hit squad.

Afghanistan ROE

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 6:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An AP report from the Badula Qulp area, West of Lashkar Gah in the Helmand province of Southern Afghanistan:

“Close to the road and relative safety, soldiers saw a man in black walking. He was unarmed. They watched him in their scopes but did not shoot. Western forces in Afghanistan are operating under rules of engagement, or ROE, that restrict them from acting against people unless they commit a hostile act or show hostile intent. American troops say the Taliban can fire on them, then set aside their weapon and walk freely out of a compound, possibly toward a weapons cache in another location.

“The inability to stop people who don’t have weapons is the main hindrance right now,” McMahon said after the firefight. “They know how to use our ROE against us.”

— DRJ

Obama’s Moral War on Terror

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 5:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion predicted, more civil rights for terrorists means more dead terrorists:

“I predicted that once we lost the ability to effectively interrogate detainees, more terrorists would be killed because there was no logic to capturing terrorists you could not interrogate …

There was a corollary to the scenario in my post, which is that there also would be a lower incentive for friendly governments to capture terrorists and turn them over to us. That is how we obtained possession of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and many others.

And now it has come to pass, Under Obama, more targeted killings than captures in counterterrorism efforts.”

Last May, President Barack Obama pledged to restore the “moral authority that is America’s strongest currency in the world” by closing Guantanamo. He also said that locking up terrorists in Guantanamo had “became a symbol that helped al Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause.”

I support killing terrorists but if locking up terrorists destroys America’s moral authority and helps recruit terrorists, how are assassinations around the world any better?

— DRJ

The Obama Administration Fights the War on Terror

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 4:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration continues to criminalize the War on Terror as John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said yesterday that 20% recidivism rate for Guantanamo detainees is not that bad. Today, his boss General Jim Jones followed up by acknowledging that recidivism will “never be zero:”

“Gen. Jim Jones defended Brennan, the president’s top counterterrorism adviser, after Brennan on Saturday compared the U.S. criminal recidivism rate of 50 percent to the one in five terrorists who are released to other nations and return to the battlefield.

“Twenty percent isn’t that bad,” Brennan said.

Jones said the United States has to make sure to do the best it can, but it’s unrealistic to think no terrorist allowed to go free won’t return to battle.

“It’s never going to be zero,” Jones said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We have a long history of having convicted terrorist in federal courts, locking them up for many, many years and doing the best we can, but zero is not going to be the standard in which we try to achieve it.”

I watched the interview. What Jones said is that it will never be zero unless we lock them up for the rest of their lives, something we may have to do with some of the Guantanamo detainees:

“Jones added captured terrorists need to have some due process, but the “big guns” need to be “incarcerated for the rest of their lives.”

Finally, Jones admitted the NSC’s six-month delay in establishing President Obama’s High Value Detainee Interrogation Group was an error, noting “We didn’t support the president as well as he should’ve been supported.”

I thought protecting and supporting the American people was Jones’ job.

— DRJ

America’s Looming Financial Disaster

Filed under: Economics,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 3:42 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Sobering thoughts from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

“Obama demanded fiscal austerity this week … at the same time he lifted the cap on US debt from $12.4 trillion to $14.3 trillion. The difference between the two is about what the federal government spent for all of FY1999. It’s half of what Obama proposes to spend in FY2011. Democrats have raised spending by over a trillion dollars a year since taking control of Congress in 2007.

Which party needs to be told to get serious about fiscal responsibility?

We may rebuild the economy with cheap credit based on a borrowing spree by the federal government, but we’re about to reach our limit on how much we can keep borrowing. China, which holds a significant amount of our debt, has already begun making noises about dumping it in retaliation for our foreign policy towards Taiwan. We’re buying our own debt these days just to keep interest low. It won’t take much more than a single hard push to collapse the financial house of cards we’ve built — and if that happens, the resulting disaster will make 2008-9 look like a picnic.”

The worst part is that this isn’t deterring the Democrats at all.

— DRJ

Cheney to Appear on ABC’s “This Week” (Updated)

Filed under: Obama,Politics,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 5:15 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to appear on ABC’s “This Week” and the White House is responding:

“Former Vice President Cheney will appear on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, and it’s a safe bet what he will say: President Barack Obama projects weakness to terrorists and puts American lives at risk.

It’s the kind of brutal charge — nuance-free and politically explosive — that has become a Cheney specialty since he left office 13 months ago.

Cheney’s broadsides on Afghanistan policy, detention and surveillance policies, and Obama’s general philosophy about the U.S. role in a dangerous world inevitably dominate the news. No other figure in Republican politics has equal ability to drive debate on national security, rally Obama critics and force the administration to respond. On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden will be countering Cheney on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

After providing a long list of sources that attack Cheney’s motives, Politico turned to two amusing sources for commentary on Cheney and the war on terror — Keith Olbermann and Andrew Sulllivan:

“In interviews for this article, some of Cheney’s harshest critics said the origins of his Obama criticism may be more psychological than political. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann said in an e-mail to POLITICO that Cheney has been “shrill, totally unpatriotic and sounding more concerned with torture and interrogation than with results and intelligence.”

“I think he may believe that only his vision can save America, and thus anything, including lying to America, is justifiable,” Olbermann wrote. “This is, I believe, called ‘a Messiah Complex.’”

Andrew Sullivan, who writes “The Daily Dish” blog on The Atlantic.com, wrote in an e-mail for this story: “Cheney’s unprecedentedly aggressive approach … reflects his own knowledge that he has committed war crimes of a very grave sort, war crimes that at some point could lead to prosecution and will undoubtedly lead to historical infamy.”

“If that becomes the prevailing narrative — because it is true — he will go down in history as a man who betrayed the very core principles of Western civilization out of panic and then covered it up,” Sullivan continued. “So he has to change the subject and launch this kind of P.R. campaign to throw everyone off the scent. … Cheney is cornered. He knows justice is coming, and he knows that one day the full truth will come out and there will be no hiding. Until then, he will fight and fight and break every taboo that respect for the Constitution and for civil discourse requires.”

Critics like Sullivan and others want the media to “take away Cheney’s megaphone” by denying him coverage for his views, a tactic that (so far and to its credit) the Politico is resisting.

Nevertheless, it’s too bad the Politico didn’t include responses from a few Cheney supporters or “Obama critics” so this article would have more balance, especially since some of the responses were apparently the result of email correspondence. Surely there are a few conservatives and former Bush Administration personnel on the Politico’s contact list.

— DRJ

UPDATEABC News’ report on Cheney’s appearance:

“If [the administration is] going to take credit for [Iraq’s success], fair enough … but it ought to come with a healthy dose of ‘Thank you, George Bush’ up front and a recognition that some of their early recommendations with respect to prosecuting that war were just dead wrong,” Cheney told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.
***
“Obama and Biden campaigned from one end of the country to the other for two years criticizing our Iraq policy,” Cheney said. “If they had had their way, if we’d followed the policies they’d pursued from the outset or advocated from the outset, Saddam Hussein would still be in power in Baghdad today.”

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