Patterico's Pontifications

2/18/2011

Outrage: Republicans Reject Tiny Spending Cuts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:10 pm

Unbelievable — and yet, all too believable:

The House rejected a measure cutting an additional $22 billion from the Republican spending bill, as conservatives ran into a wall of opposition from the GOP establishment over the depth of reductions to federal funding.

$22 billion is too much for our side? $22 billion??

The amendment backed by the conservative Republican Study Committee failed, 147-281, but not before putting the GOP spending divide under a spotlight on the House floor. Authored by RSC chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the proposal would have dramatically reshaped an appropriations bill that already slashes federal spending by $61 billion over the next seven months.

More than half of the Republican conference backed the measure in opposition to two party chiefs, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who voted with every Democrat against it. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did not vote, as is traditional for Speakers.

Let me remind you what my man Chris Christie said about people who would promise to do something about the debt and fail to deliver:

This afternoon at the American Enterprise Institute, New Jersey governor Chris Christie said he wants House Republicans to “put up or shut up” on entitlement reform and had a message for those candidates he campaigned for in 2010: “If the people who I campaigned for don’t stand up and do the right thing, the next time they’ll see me in their district [it will be] with my arm around their primary opponent,” Christie said. “Because you asked me to put my reputation on the line for you based on a promise that you were going to deal with these hard issues.”

As a reminder, here is what we do not want to see: cowardice from people who want to put the burden on the other side to handle the problem:

And as another reminder, here is what we do want to see: people standing up and talking about the problem and what we need to do to fix it — even when saying these things is politically risky:

I know I already showed you that video . . . but God, I love it so much.

And the contrast to the Geither video is telling. Geither’s attitude that, hey, sure our plan sucks, but let’s see if you people can somehow muster the political will to do better! . . . that is exactly what Gov. Christie is talking about.

If you want to claim to be a leader, try leading.

Thanks to narciso for the first link.

Sockpuppet Friday—The TetriMario Edition!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:37 am

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

As usual, you are positively encouraged to engage in sock puppetry in this thread. The usual rules apply.

Please, be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads. I have made that mistake myself, a lot.

And remember: the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.

————–

And for a little frivolity, check this out.  A man playing Tetris comes this close to making a Mario image, complete with hat:

And to appreciate the mad skillz it took to get even that close, watch this video.  Thankfully the video is sped up massively, because this took ninety minutes.

An impressive try Shuey187 and for that I salute you!

Of course, merging Tetris and Mario is not the worst video game mashup possible…

(That is Mario, reimagined as Kratos from the God of War games, via this hungarian site)

H/t: Joystiq.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Obama Administration Tries to Mislead Judge Vinson and Scattered Legal Updates

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:36 am

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

There has been a lot of activity in a lot of legal issues we have been following.  So here’s a post catching up on a few of them.

Let me start with the misleading part, because this is pretty outrageous.  As you know, Judge Vinson in Florida held that all of Obamacare was unconstitutional, because the mandate was unconstitutional, and it could not be severed from the rest.  If you need to catch up, this search will help you find pretty much all of the posts on this subject.

So the Obama administration’s lawyers have filed a “Motion to Clarify” where they pretend that they are not sure what Judge Vinson meant by his ruling.  You see a few states, such as Florida and Alaska, have decided in light of Vinson’s ruling that Obamacare is a dead letter to them (both states were parties to the decision).  This is the correct reading of the decision.  The judge declared the law to be unconstitutional, and the only reason why an injunction wasn’t granted was because, in Vinson’s words

there is a long-standing presumption .that officials of the Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court. As a result, the declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction….  There is no reason to conclude that this presumption should not apply here.  Thus, the award of declaratory relief is adequate and separate injunctive relief is not necessary.

(internal quotation marks omitted.)  So things couldn’t be clearer.  He declared that the law was void and expected the administration to treat it as such.  Of course in a moment Judge Feldman is going to give us a reason to doubt that the Obama administration would follow the law, but Vinson is probably wise to wait for them to defy him before putting an injunction into place.

Nonetheless, the adminstration’s lawyers are confused and seek to clarify, or so they say.  But in truth, they seem to be actually intent in getting the judge to grant a de facto stay of his ruling, and to do so they cross the line into dishonesty, writing:

In other declaratory judgment cases, pending appellate review, “the Government has been free to continue to apply [a] statute” following entry of a declaratory judgment.  Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144, 155 (1963); accord, e.g., Carreno v. Johnson, 899 F. Supp. 624, 628 (S.D. Fla. 1995) (“[a]bsent an injunctive sanction, a district court’s declaration that a statute is unconstitutional does not bar the government from continuing to apply the statute pending review by the Court of Appeals and the . . . Supreme Court”).  Mendoza-Martinez contrasted that rule for declaratory relief with the different immediate consequences of an injunction, under which “a single federal judge” could “paralyze totally the operation of an entire regulatory scheme, either state or federal, by issuance of a broad injunctive order” prior to appellate review.  372 U.S. at 154.

That entire paragraph is wholly deceptive.  Mendoza-Martinez was a man facing deportation to Mexico, who claimed birthright citizenship in the U.S.  The dispute involved the application of 28 U.S.C. § 2282, which required that three judge panels must be convened in order to grant injunctive relief preventing the application of federal law.  So the question in Mendoza was whether the judge had violated this statute by giving Mendoza-Martinez declaratory relief all by himself, without the three judge panel to back him up.  There are several problems with applying Mendoza to this current situation, not the least of which being that the statute in question was repealed.  Thus the entire reasoning of the opinion relied on the policy underlying a statute that was no longer operative.

Further, the Carreno citation is equally invalid.  Prior to Carreno, a D.C. District Judge held that an extradition statute was unconstitutional in Lobue v. Christopher, 893 F.Supp. 65 (D.D.C.1995).  In Carreno itself, this time in Florida, another man who was not a party to the Lobue case, claimed that the Lobue court’s  declaration that the law was unconstitutional freed him, too.  The Carreno judge denied this, saying

Judge Lamberth’s August 31, 1995 declaratory judgment does not bar the government from proceeding under the extradition statute in the case of Manrique Carreno. Moreover, the August 31, 1995 ruling only enjoins execution of the surrender warrants for the two plaintiffs in Judge Lamberth’s case. Therefore, the injunction has no direct effect on the extradition proceedings as to Manrique Carreno.

In other words, the Lobue case only meant that the statute could not be applied to the parties in that case, a principle that is pretty much black letter law.  Carreno couldn’t ride their coattails to victory.  Which means that a person in Connecticut, for instance, doesn’t get the benefit of Vinson’s ruling.  But on other hand, every single state in the case can receive the benefits of the decision.  That only makes sense.  For instance, the state of Virginia was not before Judge Vinson.  Instead they chose to sue on their own before Judge Hudson in Virginia.  And while they got the mandate struck down, the remainder of the law was allowed to stand.  So obviously the State of Virginia can’t suddenly pretend it won the whole case because Vinson ruled differently.  And the amazing thing is that later on, the government’s lawyers show that they get this, writing, “[n]on-parties are of course not entitled to the benefits of a judgment against the government[.]”

Of course that creates a problem of patchwork enforcement.  But there is an easy solution if the government doesn’t like it: stop enforcing the law entirely until this is cleared up.

They go on pretending to be confused on when this decision goes into effect.  Really?  You can’t figure out he means, “immediately?”  Seemed pretty obvious to me.

Anyway, the brief as a whole is a thinly disguised motion for a stay or motion for reconsideration of the entire ruling, with a healthy dose of deception for good measure.

Meanwhile, down in New Orleans Judge Feldman has ordered the Obama Administration to begin acting on drilling permits.  You might recall that Feldman ordered the administration to lift their moratorium on drilling months ago and the administration has been flouting the decision ever since, resulting in the administration being held in contempt.  Now he has given them a month to get off their behinds and act, although importantly he didn’t require them to accept the permits.  So the question is whether the administration will start acting honestly, will continue delaying the permits anyway, or deny them all as a giant “screw you” to Feldman.

Anyway, you can read the opinion, here, but my only commentary on it is that it is actually a very standard order of this kind.

I expect to hear the usual defamatory accusations of conflict of interest against Feldman.  Apparently the left believes that if you ever own stock in oil, work for an oil company, etc, you contract a serious case of oil cooties rendering you incapable of dealing logically with the issue.  And knowledge of one of the most important industries in the world is a bad thing.

Finally, in Patrick’s neighborhood, the California Supreme Court has taken up the question of standing in the Proposition 8 case.  This is bluntly not much of a surprise, but Ed Whelan has the rundown, here.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Real Sex Ring Busted, Showing Importance of Live Action Sting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:40 am

In Houston, the feds have made several arrests in a sex slave ring involving underage prostitutes from Mexico:

The federal indictment, unsealed on Thursday, paints a vicious picture of Maria Rojas, aka “Nancy,” an alleged ringleader in an international sex trafficking ring that pimped out girls as young as 14 inside a compound on the city’s east side.

It was Rojas, a 46-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, who prosecutors say co-owned La Costeñita Bar and a neighboring compound in the 8000 block of Clinton Drive, where the Mexican pimps — the padrotes — brought the girls, prosecutors charged. And it was Rojas who decided which girls worked the bar, who was friends with the pimps, who once held a gun to the belly of a young, pregnant woman and threatened to kill her and her baby.

. . . .

The indictment details the evolution of the ring over more than a decade, charging that it started out recruiting girls and women from Mexico with promises of work in restaurants in the U.S., but instead forced them into prostitution to work off smuggling fees. The ring would double the fee charged by a smuggler, forcing women to repay $4,000 for a $2,000 smuggling debt, prosecutors said.

Did any of these girls, or girls in similar rings that continue to operate, ever get pregnant?

Did they go to Planned Parenthood for the abortion?

What did Planned Parenthood do to protect them?

These are real questions. It is why the Live Action stings are important. They put abortion providers on notice: that when they suspect something like this is going on, they had damn well better not turn a blind eye.

Planned Parenthood employees have behaved irresponsibly. And all the left cares to do about it is smear the people trying to uncover it.

UPDATE: When I say “Planned Parenthood employees” I don’t mean “Planned Parenthood” and I don’t mean “all.” But I suspect that the organization’s ethics and training have something to do with the employees who have acted irresponsibly.

I note also that the House today voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

The Jawa Report Needs Your Help

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:56 am

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

The short version is that they have been the victim of “Lawfare” where “Ohio jihadist attorney Omar Tarazi” has been seeking to learn the real life name of Barbarossa:

Because of our many and very public tangles with jihadists and actual terrorists here at the Jawa Report, revealing any one of our identities could pose a real danger to our health and safety. If my identity were revealed, Tarazi could use the court system to compel me to reveal the identities of other Jawa contributors[.]

So they had to hire lawyers who are representing them for free, but its not free for the lawyers.  So they quite logically make this bleg:

With that in mind, I need to ask for your help. So far the legal costs to file for this protective order have been underwritten by the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project. I’m kindly asking readers of the Jawa Report to go to the Legal Project’s paypal page and throw them some shekels to help us fight this jihadist lawfare attack. Please note “Barbarossa” or “Jawa Report” in the comment section.

I also ask that you consider helping support John Stemberger’s legal defense fund. He is not only a defendant in this bogus federal lawsuit, but is currently fighting a separate bogus bar complaint against him filed by Tarazi with the Florida Bar (who was been more than a willing accomplice since many of Stemberger’s political enemies are using this to cripple his efforts). You can donate to his legal fund here.

Donations to the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project and the Stemberger Legal Defense Fund are tax-deductible. All of the money goes to the attorneys to help fight this jihadist lawfare attack on our First Amendment rights. We personally won’t see a dime of this money.

So do consider giving them a hand.  It’s a way to concretely stand for freedom of speech.

And you can read the protective order they have filed at this link.

(By the way, constructive criticism to bloggers everywhere.  I hate Scribd.  There has to be a better way to post documents.)

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


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