Patterico's Pontifications


Obamacare, Crony Capitalism and Big Media

Filed under: General — Karl @ 3:42 pm

[Posted by Karl]

By sheer coincidence, as our Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare, the Washington Post runs an op-ed by fmr. Sen. Maj. Ldr. Tom Daschle shilling for the legislation and for Pres. Obama. In fact, it runs under the banner “On Leadership.” The bio the WaPo ran for this propaganda states:

Daschle was one of the longest serving Senate Democratic leaders in history, and the only one to have served twice as both majority and minority leader. He was President Obama’s initial nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, and currently serves as a senior adviser at DLA Piper.

The WaPo fails to mention why he was the initial nominee for HHS Secretary. He withdrew mostly because he failed to pay $128,000 in taxes, primarily for personal use of a car and driver provided to him by a private equity firm for which he consulted. But at the time, even the New York Times noted the lurking backstory:

Mr. Daschle’s financial ties to major players in the health care industry may prove to be even more troublesome as health reform efforts proceed. Like many former power players in Washington, Mr. Daschle cashed in on his political savvy and influence to earn $5 million in recent years, including more than $2 million from Alston & Bird, a law and lobbying firm; more than $2 million from the private equity firm, InterMedia Advisors, which provided the car and driver; and hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches to interest groups, including those representing health insurance plans, medical equipment distributors and pharmacy boards.

Although Mr. Daschle was not a registered lobbyist, he offered policy advice to the UnitedHealth Group, a huge insurance conglomerate. He was also a trustee of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, on whose behalf he voiced opposition to a federal loan for a freight rail line near the clinic’s headquarters in Rochester, Minn. The loan was subsequently denied by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Mr. Daschle is another in a long line of politicians who move cozily between government and industry. We don’t know that his industry ties would influence his judgments on health issues, but they could potentially throw a cloud over health care reform.

In typical Beltway fashion, Daschle remained the Democrats’ “go-to guy” in the efforts to seize control over American healthcare. The main thing that changed was Daschle’s clients used to be mostly Big Insurance, while at DLA Piper, they seem to include pharmacies and pharmacos. That, and the likely pay increase over the huge pay boost he got becoming a “not a lobbyist” influence peddler.

This is the sort of thing folks a liberal outlet like the WaPo cared about before Obamacare needed a public defense, e.g., Dan Froomkin. Now the paper fails to disclose Daschle’s seeming financial interest, while Ruth Marcus complains about Obama’s naivete in not hiring more lobbyists from the outset. They all probably hoped for an even more socialistic government healthcare law, but now that Obamacare faces an important legal attack, it is time to circle the wagons for the crony capitalism of the mandate.


Ken at Popehat on Anti-Free Speech Thuggery

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am

Ken at Popehat has an excellent post about attacking people in real life to squelch their speech, using as an example the Nadia Naffe threat against me. Ken says:

Naffe released assertions publicly in a clear bid for publicity. The notion that a blogger who happens to be a lawyer can’t comment on her claims without straying into “legal advice” to a party is ludicrous. Such a wide interpretation of ethical rules would not survive First Amendment scrutiny. Similarly, the notion that an attorney is “interfering” in a public civil matter by commenting upon it is fatuous. Naffe and her hangers-on will not be producing any authority supporting their arguments, because (1) it doesn’t exist and (2) they aren’t capable of finding it if it did exist.

But Naffe and her supporters aren’t relying upon the legal force of their arguments. They are relying upon openly censorious thuggery — on politics by other means. Misconduct allegations against an attorney — even when they are sub-literate and specious — are embarrassing, inconvenient, and annoying. That’s the point of the tweet pictured above, and of Naffe’s celebrations of censorship-by-complaint. Naffe and her supporters do not seek to persuade, or to prove their cause is right — they intend to make frivolous complaints to a public entity in hopes of silencing a critic. For this, they deserve our contempt.

The “tweet pictured above” is one encouraging Naffe to file a complaint against me because doing so will reduce my power as a blogger. Or so the guy thinks, anyway.

One point I would add to Ken’s excellent observations: perversely, threats against a blogger not only serve as an attempt to intimidate, but are used as a tool to delegitimize the blogger. Here’s how it works: if a blogger criticizes someone in the public eye, the anti-free speech thug simply attacks the blogger in real life. If the attack fails to intimidate him, the thug now has the argument that anything the blogger posts about the thug in the future is done out of “revenge.” Even though the thug is the one who made it personal, while the blogger was simply reporting on the news, the thug’s personal attack on the blogger now enables the thug to claim to be the victim of a personal attack.

This is how the thugs use their weapons of real life attacks: not just as intimidation, but as attempts to delegitimize. They also can report you to the authorities for made-up crimes and ethical lapses, and then describe you as being “under investigation.”

It’s all part of a playbook. Ken does a great job explaining why it’s wrong. Read his post here. And don’t miss his epic takedown of one of these thugs in the comment section.

Deport the Criminals First: Two Stories

Filed under: Crime,Deport the Criminals First,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 7:03 am

A triple murderer should have been deported after his previous robbery and assault conviction leading to a prison sentence. Gee, maybe we should Deport the Criminals First:

A day after authorities arrested a suspect in connection with the brutal slayings of five people in a San Francisco home, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the accused killer had eluded deportation and instead had to be released from custody in 2006.

San Francisco police have connected Binh Thai Luc, 35, of San Francisco with the grotesque killings of three men and two women, who were discovered dead about 7:45 a.m. Friday by a woman who had access to the house. Officials arrested Luc on Sunday and alluded to his having a criminal history.

On Monday, officials said Luc had been taken into ICE custody in August 2006 as he was serving a prison sentence at San Quentin State Prison for assault and attempted robbery. Officials say he was ordered to be removed from the country by an immigration judge a month later, but because Vietnamese authorities declined to provide appropriate travel documents, Luc could not be deported and had to be released in December 2006.

Vietnam didn’t want their robber back? Now there’s a shocker.

I think it’s about time we told countries that we don’t care if they don’t want their criminals back. They are their problem, not ours. If they don’t like it, no more American cash.

So that’s one issue. But this one was obvious: of course we should deport robbers. I keep hearing, though, that we are being meanies by wanting to deport illegals who commit minor crimes, like DUIs. OK . . . and when we don’t, here’s what can happen:

Immigration officials confirmed Monday that the suspect in an alleged drunken driving wreck that killed one boy and critically injured another was in the country illegally.

Luis Hector Lopez-Rodriguez, 27, of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, is accused of plowing into the porch of a southwest Houston apartment, where two young boys were playing during a March 17 party, authorities said.

Gregory Palmore, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said agents have determined that Lopez-Rodriguez was in the country illegally and have filed paperwork to detain him. Palmore said ICE officials had no prior contact with Lopez-Rodriguez, who was convicted of driving while intoxicated in Harris County in January 2008.

. . . .

Jesus Ordonez, 7, was taken to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Christopher Cruz, 4, suffered burns on more than 40 percent of his body after the car slammed into a hot grill, authorities said.

Yeah, they had no contact with him because they didn’t start their program until later in 2008:

Immigration officials launched a jail screening program called Secure Communities in the Harris County Jail in the fall of 2008 . . .

Wish they’d listened to me. In November 2003, I said:

Look, I understand that we don’t have the resources to deport all illegal immigrants. But it seems like a no-brainer to start with the criminals. If a single immigration agent is worrying himself with illegals who have not already been convicted of a crime serious enough to warrant jail time, while illegals are being deliberately released from jail, there is something seriously wrong.

I reiterated the idea in March 2005 and December 2006. And I started a crusade with my multi-part series “Deport the Criminalst First” campaign in May 2007.

It’s sometimes fun on this blog for me to call myself Carnac by talking about the correct predictions I have made and so forth. But it’s actually no fun being Carnac when you realize that actual lives would have been saved — like that of the seven-year-old boy above — if people had just listened to you earlier.

By the way, if you’re still opposing identifying criminal aliens in jail, even those convicted of “minor” crimes like DUI, you’re part of the problem — and the blood of children like Jesus Ordonez is on your hands.


Obamacare Arguments: Supreme Court Seems Likely to Decide the Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:28 pm

I am listening to the audio now, but it’s hard to get too interested tonight, because today’s arguments (the first day of three days of argument) were mostly about whether the Justices are going to decide the case — and just about everyone seems to agree that they will.

But down in the weeds, the argument was over whether the individual mandate is a tax (the federal government says it is), and that has some relevance to the statute’s constitutionality.

Ilya Somin has the rundown, saving me the grief:

Today’s Supreme Court oral argument transcript suggests that many of the justices, including at least three of the liberals, are skeptical of claims that the individual mandate is a tax. This is important not only for today’s argument about the applicability of the Anti-Injunction Act (which probably does not apply if the mandate penalty is not a tax), but to tomorrow’s argument about the constitutionality of the mandate. The federal government has argued that the mandate is constitutional because it is an exercise of Congress’ power under the Tax Clause. Lower courts have almost uniformly rejected this constitutional tax argument, and today’s questioning suggests that the Supreme Court is unlikely to accept it either.

Things should get interesting tomorrow.

Report: Trayvon Martin Was the Aggressor, According to the Evidence

Filed under: General,Obama,Race — Patterico @ 6:24 pm

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered, law-enforcement authorities told the Orlando Sentinel.

That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say.

The newspaper elaborates on Zimmerman’s story:

Trayvon was visiting his father’s fiancée, who lived there. He had been suspended from school in Miami after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.

. . . .

Zimmerman told them he lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from the left rear, and they exchanged words.

Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, he told police. Trayvon then said, “Well, you do now” or something similar and punched Zimmerman in the nose, according to the account he gave police.

Zimmerman fell to the ground and Trayvon got on top of him and began slamming his head into the sidewalk, he told police.

Zimmerman began yelling for help.

As well as the available corroborating evidence:

Several witnesses heard those cries, and there has been a dispute about whether they came from Zimmerman or Trayvon.

Lawyers for Trayvon’s family say it was Trayvon, but police say their evidence indicates it was Zimmerman.

One witness, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him — and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help.

Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest at very close range, according to authorities.

When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head.

I, for one, will not tolerate facts getting in the way of my narrative. I demand that the facts be changed to conform to my pre-determined beliefs.

BY THE WAY: Remember: Obama told us, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

OK. Would he act like him?

I remember the last time Obama waded into a racially charged public controversy. It turned out that the facts were not quite the way they had been initially portrayed.

He may end looking stupid . . . again.

Maybe one of these days he’ll learn to keep his mouth shut and let the facts in a criminal case come out?

Nah . . .

Another Deadly Result of Obama’s Opposition to Gitmo?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:20 am

From the New York Post:

The Muslim fanatic who killed seven people in France was so proud of his unspeakably evil work that he uploaded sickening video to the Internet showing him executing a helpless, terrified 8-year-old girl, officials said.

Mohammed Merah is seen yanking Myriam Monsenego by her hair — then firing a bullet into her head while he holds her.

Officials believe Merah strapped on a camera before each murder and posted the videos on jihadi Web sites, where he believed they would inspire other al Qaeda wannabes.

Sounds like a prince of a guy.

By the way, we had him in our clutches. He was captured in Afghanistan, and turned over to American custody. And we essentially let him go — by turning him over to France, which released him:

Meanwhile, new details emerged about Merah’s 2010 capture in Afghanistan — and the failure of both French and American officials to detain him.

Merah was grabbed by Afghan security forces in Kandahar and turned over to the US Army. The United States “put him on the first plane to France,’’ Molins said.

Pentagon spokesman Lt Col. Todd Breasseale said: “The Kandahari police picked him up a matter of years ago. They detained him. The mechanics by which he was returned to France, we are continuing to investigate.”

. . . .

Upon his return to France, he was interviewed by intelligence officials, who released him.

Wasn’t there a place where we used to send enemy combatants? So they wouldn’t be released and end up killing people?

It’s on the tip of my tongue. Bitmo, Jitmo. Something mo.

The one thing I do remember: the president who had the policy of detaining terrorists and enemy combatants was one George W. Bush. And he was a baaaaaad man. A very baaaaaaad man.

Three cheers for the new guy. And R.I.P. Myriam Monsenego, and the other victims of the Jewish school shooting.


New Black Panthers: We Want George Zimmerman “Dead or Alive”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:34 am

If you’ve been living in a cave: George Zimmerman is the guy who killed the young black kid Trayvon Martin. So forget the system — let’s kill him if necessary!

On Thursday, members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense circulated a “wanted dead or alive” poster for George Zimmerman over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The posters were circulated during a press conference led by Minister Mikhail Muhummud, who said he is the southern regional director for the New Black Panther Party in Jacksonville, Florida.

Feel free to pass along where you’re seeing this story in Big Media.

Thanks to Dana.


A Call for Civility in the Wake of an Attack on a Democrat . . . by a Homeless Man Who Talks About Aliens

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:32 pm

A Democrat state senator has her office firebombed, and implies that it was done because of Republican rhetoric:

On Wednesday, Davis used the incident to call for civility: We should “be careful about the type of rhetoric bandied about.”

We need “to stop demonizing (political opponents) … in a way that might incite these kinds of responses.”

. . . .

Davis was at her law office in downtown Fort Worth at the time.

She said that when she heard of the attack she thought of the January 2011 shootings in Arizona in which six people were killed and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 13 others were wounded.

“It’s a sad but true fact of public service that we have to feel concerned sometimes for our personal safety,” Davis said. “But we can’t let that stop us.”

Damn Republicans!

By the way, let me introduce you to the arsonist: a 40-year-old homeless dude who likes to rant about aliens:

A 40-year-old homeless man who spoke of aliens and twice visited state Sen. Wendy Davis’ offices demanding to see her returned Tuesday and tossed a paper bag filled with six Molotov cocktails against the outer door, sparking a small fire, police said Wednesday.

. . . .

Steele had visited Davis’ office Friday and again Monday, requesting to speak with the senator about a tazing incident that occurred in Michigan, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

He left behind part of a dead animal, “stating it was a new species and wanted the senator to see it,” the affidavit said.

. . . .

Before his arrest, Steele “spoke of an alien species” to officers and said he “had another piece of the alien in the rafter” of the vacant residence on Donnelly, the affidavit says.

It could not be more obvious that this fragile man was wound up by excessive Republican rhetoric about alien parts. I, for one, demand that Republicans stop making incendiary speeches about new species of animals and alien pieces in rafters — lest we have another tragedy like this one.

For shame, Republicans.

For shame.

UPDATE: Thanks to Ag80, who noted this earlier this week.

Documents from Nadia Naffe’s Race Discrimination Case Against the RNC: The Computer That Was Never Returned

Filed under: General,Nadia Naffe — Patterico @ 5:11 pm

Poking around PACER, one finds the most interesting things. Things that journalists like Tommy Christopher might want to look into, if they found themselves writing about Nadia Naffe. The following is from an order made by the court overseeing that lawsuit, after taking testimony from Naffe regarding a laptop that she had been lent by the Florida Republican Party during her employment. The court found that she had been asked to return it, and intentionally did not:

The relevance of the laptop is described in her deposition, which I found on PACER as well, in three parts: one, two, and three. Interesting reading. Apparently she believed she had been given an inferior laptop, presumably because she was black, given the lawsuit’s allegations.

But I guess it was good enough to keep after she was terminated, even though she had been instructed to return it.

By the way, I should note that Naffe has threatened to report me to my State Bar and my place of employment for writing posts critical of her:

The theory is that, by pointing out holes in her story, on a public blog, concerning a matter of public interest, I am giving James O’Keefe “legal advice” in a civil suit.

The claim is absurd. If a non-lawyer criticizes O’Keefe, in a way that gives her a legal argument in court, is that practicing law without a license? No self-respecting employer or bar investigator would buy this logic, so she moved on to another false claim: that I updated my blog on company time. You can add that to a large set of other falsehoods she has told in recent days and weeks.

The motive is to silence me. The likely result is that her tactics will draw greater attention to my criticism of her claims, and her tactics of trying to silence her critics.

UPDATE: Interesting points in comments about the medications she was taking, and how those medications don’t mix well with alcohol. One of the medications, Seroquil, is commonly prescribed for schizophrenia, mania, or bipolar disorder — all afflictions that may well not be temporary. If she was still taking the medications in late 2011, it could explain why she allegedly had such a strong reaction to alcohol. Details here.

There is another point about Seroquil that, together with the above information, might make for an interesting post. Will have to think about this one . . .

The Louisiana primary

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 4:30 pm

[Posted by Karl]

The Pelican State votes today, but the polls do not close until 9 ET, which may limit the media impact (which is the main impact they would have).  Here’s your Google Map.  According to the rules, only 20 of 46 GOP delegates are selected tonight, proportionately with a 25% threshold (unlike many of the March contests, this is an overall contest, not by Congressional district).  If the polls are accurate (a not-insignificant if),  Santorum should win most delegates, but Romney will win a share as well.  Nate Silver suggests it could be a 12-8 split, which would not be bad for Romney.  Silver also contrasts this primary with the upcoming Wisconsin contest, which — taking place in April — has more aggressive, closer to winner-take-all delegate rules.  A Romney win there would boost Romney’s odds of winning the nomination outright.  Based on the contests to date, Romney can get by with only 25% of the South… so long as he does 33%+ in the Midwest.


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