Patterico's Pontifications

11/27/2010

(Stupid) Quote of the Day

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:58 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

So Obama got elbowed in the face yesterday and ended up needing a bunch of stitches for a cut lip.  I know there is room to snark but I am not going to join that same club that felt it was endlessly funny that Bush choked on a pretzel or that Dick Cheney accidentally shot a guy.

But that being said, this has to be the stupidest comment regarding the incident, from Scott Simon:

I wonder if having a larger scar wouldn’t actually fortify President Obama’s profile, as he contends with Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Vladimir Putin. Imagine a president with a gnarly, vivid scar telling the rulers of China, “Nice country ya’ got here. I’d hate to see something happen to it if you didn’t stop foolin’ around with the value of your currency. Know what I mean?”

You know, if you wanted to have a president who is physically imposing, you might want to have hired the guy who survived a Vietnamese prison camp.  By comparison, I don’t think a basketball injury is going to impress anyone.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Learning What is in Obamacare: The Severability Edition

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:56 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

So the Virginia and Florida Obamacare cases will have verdicts in about a month and the New York Times has finally noticed a small “oversight” that might come into play if the mandate is declared unconstitutional:

Virginia’s attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a Republican who filed the Richmond lawsuit, argues that if Judge Hudson rejects the insurance requirement he should instantly invalidate the entire act on a nationwide basis.

Mr. Cuccinelli and the plaintiffs in the Florida case, who include attorneys general or governors from 20 states, have emphasized that Congressional bill writers did not include a “severability clause” that would explicitly protect other parts of the sprawling law if certain provisions were struck down.

An earlier version of the legislation, which passed the House last November, included severability language. But that clause did not make it into the Senate version, which ultimately became law. A Democratic aide who helped write the bill characterized the omission as an oversight.

Without such language, the Supreme Court, through its prior rulings, essentially requires judges to try to determine whether Congress would have enacted the rest of a law without the unconstitutional provisions.

The Justice Department, which represents the Obama administration, acknowledges that several of the law’s central provisions, like the requirement that insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions, cannot work unless both the healthy and the unhealthy are mandated to have insurance. Otherwise, consumers could simply buy coverage when they needed treatment, causing the insurance market to “implode,” the federal government asserts.

The administration argues that other key provisions do not depend on the insurance mandate. Those provisions include establishing health insurance exchanges, subsidizing premiums through tax credits and expanding Medicaid eligibility, all scheduled for 2014.

In other words, Congress “forgot” to put in language that said that if part of this law was struck down, the remainder of the law would remain in place.  Now that doesn’t mean that the courts will automatically strike down all of it, if any one part is struck down.   But they will ask whether the whole bill would have been passed without that part.  In Buckley v. Valeo, the rule was stated as follows:

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Video

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:50 pm

Feds Foil Terror Plot; Firedoglake Genius Calls It “State Sponsored Terror”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:09 am

Let’s start with the ever-silly leftist take on the story:

Tonight in Portland, we had a small dose of the FBI’s almost-operational terror sprees, as agents spent more than a year goading a young jihadi wannabe into almost killing thousands of Portlandians in our city’s living room as we gathered for the lighting of the holiday tree.

. . . .

How long are we going to let the cowboys shoot up our country with their false terror plots and operations that would go nowhere without their instigation, planning, and coercion? How long will we allow our own federal constabulary to justify its own recklessly inflated budget by permitting actions like this to develop, fester, and grow operational in our midst?

This is terror, pure and simple. State-sponsored terror. Big-splash terror designed to make people compliant and fearful, and grateful to their federal government — in a city which has not yet installed the Rapiscan porno-scanners at our airport.

Now for the facts.

According to the story, Mohamud was corresponding with an overseas terrorist and looking for ways to become involved in “violent jihad.” This is when the FBI entered the picture, with an undercover agent who pretended to be an associate of the terrorist willing to help Mohamud assemble a bomb to kill men, women and children at a Christmas tree lighting event.

According to the FBI, Mohamud had a thumb drive with detailed instructions for making the bomb. He mailed bomb components to the investigators so they could assemble the bomb. He set off a practice device. And he mailed passport photos to the investigators as part of a getaway plot. And so on and so on. He was quite serious about this.

The FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of his plan, noting that there would be many people, including children, at the event, and that Mohamud could abandon his plans at any time with no shame.

“You know there’s going to be a lot of children there?” an FBI operative asked Mohamud. “You know there are gonna be a lot of children there?”

Mohamud allegedly responded he was looking for a “huge mass that will … be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.”

If this is “entrapment,” it’s the kind I like: the kind that captures people willing to kill innocent women and children for jihad. By all means, let’s “entrap” as many such people as possible.

FBI Stops Bomb Plot… By Nearly Letting It Succeed?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:26 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Well, we learn that there was an attempted terrorist attack in Portland yesterday, at that city’s Christmas Tree lighting:

The FBI thwarted an attempted terrorist bombing in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square before the city’s annual tree-lighting Friday night, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.

A Corvallis man, thinking he was going to ignite a bomb, drove a van to the corner of the square at Southwest Yamhill Street and Sixth Avenue and attempted to detonate it.

However, the supposed explosive was a dummy that FBI operatives supplied to him, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint signed Friday night by U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta.

And this version of the story makes it clear how far they let this guy go:

They left the van near the downtown ceremony site and went to a train station where Mohamud was given a cell phone that he thought would blow up the vehicle, according to the complaint. There was no detonation when he dialed, and when he tried again federal agents and police made their move.

Other chilling details include how the man was told repeatedly that lots of children would be there, and he said he wanted to carry the attack out, anyway.

I want to say I am glad that the FBI stopped this, but I am disturbed that we felt the need to take it this far.  Perhaps the situation was sufficiently controlled to prevent this, but I wonder if it would have been possible to dupe the dupers, and set up a real bomb in place of the fake?

And you have to suspect that the purpose in letting it go so far—to the point of letting the man try to detonate it twice is to convince someone that this guy was serious.  At the very least, you have to think this detail was for public consumption, especially the people who continually argue that these guys we arrest in these bomb plots are just morons with a dream who could never pose a real threat.  But you also have to suspect the intended audience would be a civil jury which might be tempted to find the man was entrapped—something we wouldn’t have to worry about if we locked him up in line with the law of war as it was understood prior to this one.

Like I said, I am glad this man was stopped.  But I am disturbed by how far we let it go.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I guess we double-posted on this. My take is here. I am not at all disturbed by how far it was allowed to go. I just hope they caught anyone else this guy may have been communicating with.


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