Patterico's Pontifications

11/28/2010

Leslie Nielsen Dead

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:37 pm

Good guy. He will be missed.

Glenn Greenwald: The Portland Terror Plot Was Entrapment, But We Deserved the Death and Destruction It Would Have Caused

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:07 pm

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

In some ways, this is a predictable rehash of Patterico’s post yesterday, only we are switching out who is being silly this time.  I mean the title of Greenwald’s post “The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot” tells you most of what it is about, but of course this is done with extra paranoia.  For instance, he finds all kinds of paranoid conspiratorial goings on in the fact that the FBI was unable (for technical reasons) to record one encounter with the defendant.  And of course you have to love the sheer snottiness of this passage:

That’s why we have what we call “trials” before assuming guilt or even before believing that we know what happened: because the government doesn’t always tell the complete truth, because they often skew reality, because things often look much different once the accused is permitted to present his own facts and subject the government’s claims to scrutiny.

Mmm, get in a good whiff of that there liberal condescension.  (Summoning my thickest redneck drawl…)  Gee, us bumpkins never heard of this thing called a try-elle—can you tell us, more you sophistercated city guy?

Okay, I will stop that now (and AD, for the record all bad grammar and spelling in the foregoing paragraph was intentional).

It goes on explaining that part of the reason why he turned to jihad was because he was so poor and the mean U.S. government prevented him from obtaining any gainful employment:

In June, he attempted to fly to Alaska in order to work on a fishing job he obtained through a friend, but he was on the Government’s no-fly list.  That caused the FBI to question him at the airport and then bar him from flying to Alaska, and thus prevented him from earning income with this job (para. 25).  Having prevented him from working, the money the FBI then pumped him with — including almost $3,000 in cash for him to rent his own apartment (para. 61) — surely helped make him receptive to their suggestions and influence.

You get that?  According to Griswald Greenwald, the correct course of action would have been to allow this man who was plotting to engage in terrorism to board a U.S. flight. And further because we prevented him from working in Alaska that meant there was absolutely no employment he could obtain, anywhere.

But where this post really sets itself apart is where Greenwald then decides to argue that this plot—which he believes is a frame up—was our just deserts for eight years of Chimpy McHitler:

There are several statements attributed to Mohamud by the Affidavit that should be repellent to any decent person, including complete apathy — even delight — at the prospect that this bomb would kill innocent people, including children.  What would drive a 19-year-old American citizen — living in the U.S. since the age of 3 — to that level of sociopathic indifference?   He explained it himself in several passages quoted by the FBI, and — if it weren’t for the virtual media blackout of this issue — this line of reasoning would be extremely familiar to Americans by now (para. 45)[.]

But in fact it is all quite familiar and indeed tedious.  We have been hearing it since 9-11.  This version is we get the terrorists claiming claiming that our soldiers target civilians as justification for terrorism.

But here’s the thing, Glenn, our soldiers don’t target civilians as a general rule and when they do they are very often arrested and rightfully punished for doing so.  So where on earth would he get the idea that our soldiers as a matter of policy regularly target civilians, Glenn?  Oh, right, from lefty propagandists like you.

And notice how Greenwald infantilizes these terrorists.  According to Greenwald, we are intentionally murdering civilians in Afghanistan and that is a horrible crime that justifies the murder of innocent civilians here at home—even in cities that decided to sit out on the war on terror.  But on the other hand, the murder of American civilians on 9-11 doesn’t justify the murder of Afghan civilians, does it?  And you get the feeling that it is because the perpetrator is dark skinned or belonging to a certain religion that he does not believe this young man is as responsible for his actions.

In which case, if true, would justify all kinds of things Greenwald opposes, such as racial profiling in TSA scan or grope procedures.  I mean if we can’t trust “those dark, exotic, foreign-seeming Muslims” to be willing to endure the murder of civilians without resorting to the murder of civilians, then all kinds of profiling is justified, isn’t it?  And thus once again a liberal who condemns bigotry engages in precisely the same kind of bigotry.  It would be funnier if it was not so predictable.

Update: Unintentional spelling error fixed.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Portland Saved From Islamofascist Terrorism In Spite of Itself (Update: More Details on the Terrorist and Arson Attack on his Mosque)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:39 am

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

This is a juicy catch from Byron York:

In 2005, leaders in Portland, Oregon, angry at the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror, voted not to allow city law enforcement officers to participate in a key anti-terror initiative, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.  On Friday, that task force helped prevent what could have been a horrific terrorist attack in Portland.  Now city officials say they might re-think their participation in the task force — because Barack Obama is in the White House.

Mmm, yeah, they are motivated by the fact we have a new president.  Never mind that he has been president for nearly two years now.  Nah, I am calling B.S. on that one.

And of course these paragraphs contain a little schadenfreude,too:

What is ironic is that the operation that found and stopped Mohamud is precisely the kind of law enforcement work that Portland’s leaders, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, rejected during the Bush years.  In April 2005, the Portland city council voted 4 to 1 to withdraw Portland city police officers from participating in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Tom Potter said the FBI refused to give him a top-secret security clearance so he could make sure the officers weren’t violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs.

Other city leaders agreed.  “Here in Portland, we are not willing to give up individual liberties in order to have a perception of safety,” said city commissioner Randy Leonard.  “It’s important for cities to know how their police officers are being used.”

(Emphasis added, for extra irony.)  Of course I am very glad that we are talking about Portland being ironically saved from itself, instead of being ironically allowing a man to murder a few hundred of its citizens.  But I am reminded of John Stewart Mill speaking of the miserable creature that “has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”  In this episode, the FBI and (credit where credit is due) the Obama administration is the better people.

Anyway, as they say, read the whole thing.

Update: More details about the plotter, here, including this:

Authorities have not explained how a young Muslim man described by friends as an average university student who drank an occasional beer and hung out with fraternity friends became so radicalized.

Actually indulging in stuff like drinking a beer can be a bad sign.  The 9-11 terrorists engaged in a lot of conduct that was sinful in the eyes of radical Islam (drinking, going to strip clubs, etc.), because they believed that the act of carrying out 9-11 would save their souls.  More:

Prosecutors say after the trip to the backcountry, Mohamud made a video in the presence of one of the undercover agents, putting on clothes he described as “Sheik Osama style:” a white robe, red and white headdress, and camouflage jacket. He read a statement speaking of his dream of bringing “a dark day” on Americans and blaming his family for getting in the way.

“To my parents who held me back from Jihad in the cause of Allah. I say to them … if you — if you make allies with the enemy, then Allah’s power … will ask you about that on the day of judgment, and nothing that you do can hold me back,” he said.

It’s interesting that his parents were opposed to this.

Update (II): And in other news, there has been an arson attack on the mosque that the bomber occasionally attended.  To his credit, the Imam didn’t take this as a chance to condemn the community at large:

Islamic Center leader Imaam Yosof Wanly said he doesn’t believe the fire is a reflection on the community of Corvallis where he has lived for 24 years.

“I know people here know the true reality of the Muslim community here,” he said. “It’s a sad situation.”

Wanly condemned the alleged plot by the 19-year-old, stating he “denounced the actions of Mohamed Mohamud.”

Hat tip, The Blaze.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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:

(more…)

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.

11/26/2010

Sockpuppet Friday

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:49 pm

The usual rules apply.

The Law of Unintended (But Wholly Predictable) Consequences: Medicare Cuts Edition

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:23 pm

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

Remember folks, all that talk about Death Panels, reduction of doctors’ availability, etc. under Obamacare was just a series of Republican lies.  And pay no attention to stories like this:

Doctors say Medicare cuts force painful decision about elderly patients

Want an appointment with kidney specialist Adam Weinstein of Easton, Md.? If you’re a senior covered by Medicare, the wait is eight weeks.

How about a checkup from geriatric specialist Michael Trahos? Expect to see him every six months: The Alexandria-based doctor has been limiting most of his Medicare patients to twice yearly rather than the quarterly checkups he considers ideal for the elderly. Still, at least he’ll see you. Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the District’s Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients.

“It’s not easy. But you realize you either do this or you don’t stay in business,” she said.

As they say, read the whole thing.  And which evil, right wing newspaper am I linking to?  Um, the Washington Post.

Gee, it’s almost like as if the first mistake regulators make is to forget that those they regulate might either flee the jurisdiction or change their behavior so they are no longer under their regulation…  you know, someone should put that in a blog post or something, right?

So now that we passed it, and we are beginning to see what is in it, how does it look?  Do you think maybe we should have figure out what was in it, before we passed it?

Oh, and if that isn’t nice enough, Sen. Mark Warner is urging that we give even more power to the board to carry out more Medicare cuts.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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