Patterico's Pontifications

9/27/2012

Maker of Anti-Muslim Movie Arrested

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:27 pm

Yes, this time it’s not a voluntary interview but an arrest:

A man believed to be behind an anti-Muslim video that spawned international protests was held without bail in Los Angeles on Thursday, after federal authorities arrested him earlier in the day for allegedly violating the terms of probation on a prior conviction.

Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the 55-year-old alleged filmmaker, had a history of misrepresenting himself and posed a flight risk in denying a request for bail. “The court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time,” the judge said.

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have accused Mr. Nakoula of eight violations of the terms of his probation for a 2010 bank-fraud conviction.

I think it’s worth keeping in mind the words Ken from Popehat had when Nakoula was questioned:

Based on 6 years as a federal prosecutor and 12 as a federal defense lawyer, let me say this: minor use of a computer — like uploading a video to YouTube — is not something that I would usually expect to result in arrest and a revocation proceeding; I think a warning would be more likely unless the defendant had already had warnings or the probation officer was a hardass. But if I had a client with a serious fraud conviction, and his fraud involved aliases, and he had the standard term forbidding him from using aliases during supervised release, and his probation officer found out that he was running a business, producing a movie, soliciting money, and interacting with others using an alias, I would absolutely expect him to be arrested immediately, whatever the content of the movie. Seriously. Nakoula pled guilty to using alias to scam money. Now he’s apparently been producing a film under an alias, dealing with the finances of the film under the alias, and (if his “Sam Bacile” persona is to be believed) soliciting financing under an alias. I would expect him to run into a world of hurt for that even if he were producing a “Coexist” video involving kittens.

The problem we have here is that the head of the federal executive has criticized this guy repeatedly. His administration pressured Google to take down his movie; his Cairo embassy called it an “abuse” of free speech; and his State Department apologized for it in a country (Pakistan) where a public official offered money for the filmmaker to be killed.

So even if the line guys are doing their jobs the way they would otherwise, the President has made them look like political hacks. Which is unfortunate on several levels.

Thanks to Aaron Walker.

Just a Reminder

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:00 am

Our economy still sucks.

A key measure of the economy, especially in manufacturing, just had the bottom fall out. Orders for durable goods dropped 13.2% in August, the worst decrease in almost four years, and a large signal that the American economy is diving into a recession.

Miserable failure.

Refs Back Tonight

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:40 am

I had dinner with a friend last night who predicted exactly this result: the refs are getting more cash to acquiesce to the change to a 401(k)-like contribution-based plan. This allows the league to maintain such plans for their full-time employees who aren’t refs, but gives the refs extra dough to sock away, to deal with the change.

This is good news, as we can now go back to complaining about Obama.

Four Pinocchios for Obama

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

Obama: lying again.

Obama is getting four PInocchios for his comments blaming the deficit on Bush. And this is from Glenn Kessler, hack extraordinaire who falsely accused Romney of taking those redistribution comments out of context. But even Kessler can’t stand by and watch as Obama blames 90% of the deficit on Bush:

Obama certainly inherited an economic mess, and that accounts for a large part of the deficit. But Obama pushed for spending increases and tax cuts that also have contributed in important ways to the nation’s fiscal deterioration. He certainly could argue that these were necessary and important steps to take, but he can’t blithely suggest that 90 percent of the current deficit “is as a consequence” of his predecessor’s policies — and not his own.

As for the citing of the discredited MarketWatch column, we have repeatedly urged the administration to rely on estimates from official government agencies, such as the White House budget office. It is astonishing to see the president repeat this faulty claim once again, as if it were an established fact.

Astonishing, I tell you!

In shocking news, Kessler has done nothing to correct his misleading post on the redistribution comment.

Astonishing!

Meeting a Troll

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

An excellent post about the effects of Internet trolling:

It started in July 2009. I’d been on Twitter for over 2 years at that point having joined in May 2007, and I’d never had a problem. My account was followed by a fairly innocuous looking one which I followed back and within 10 minutes I had received a Direct Message (DM) calling me a ‘Dirty f*cking Jewish scumbag’. I blocked the account and reported it as spam. The following week it happened again in an identical manner. A new follower, I followed back, received a string of abusive DM’s, blocked and reported for spam. Two or three times a week. Sometimes two or three times a day. An almost daily cycle of blocking and reporting and intense verbal abuse. So I made my account private and the problem went away for a short while. There were no problems on Twitter but my Facebook account was hacked, my blog was spammed and my email address was flooded with foulmouthed and disgusting comments & images. Images of corpses and concentration camps and dismembered bodies.

Again, it eased off for a couple of weeks. I relaxed. Thought they’d finally tired of failing to get a reaction from me. Boy, was I wrong.

It got far worse:

Then one day something happened that truly frightened me. I don’t scare easily but this was vile.

I received a parcel at my home address.

Nothing unusual there – I get a lots of post.

I ripped it open and there was a tupperware lunchbox inside full of ashes. There was a note included ‘Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz’ I was physically sick.

I was petrified.

They had my address.

I reported it to the authorities and hoped for the best.

Two days later I opened my front door and there was a bunch of dead flowers with my wife’s old Twitter username on it. Then that night I recieved a DM. ‘You’ll get home some day & ur b**ches throat will be cut & ur son will be gone.’

I got on to the authorities again but, polite and sympathetic as they were, there didn’t seem much that could be done.

Every night for weeks I lost sleep over it.

Listening for noises. Opening the door everday with trepidation. Trying to maintain a semblance of normality and not let my wife or son see that I was dying on the inside. Mortified that they might be in danger because of my big mouth or ancestry.

Then the last straw. I received another tweet, on the public timeline this time ‘I hope you die screaming but not until you see me p*ss on ur wife’

A lot of the post rang true for me. Things like having my address and pictures of my house published.

(The redaction is mine, not theirs.)

Or having someone threaten to do violence to me and do something vile to my wife:

Read the whole post, because the reactions of the man who wrote it are vivid and help you understand what Internet trolling can do to people. The stuff about wandering the house looking for strangers? Yup. Not knowing who to trust? Yup. Worrying about the safety of the family? Yup.

This fellow got to meet the troll, and the troll turned out to be someone not so menacing in real life. I won’t spoil the surprise.

But imagine a situation instead where the troll is an actual psychopath — or, better yet, more than one, joining forces.

Some of us don’t have to imagine it.

9/26/2012

Obama Administration Knew Stevens Assassination Was Terrorist Attack Within 24 Hours

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

Unbelievable — and yet, so very, very believable:

Five days after the attack on the Benghazi consulate that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the Obama administration sent UN Ambassador Susan Rice onto five Sunday talk shows to insist that the sacking of the consulate was the result of a protest over a YouTube video that “spun out of control.” The government of Libya was already scoffing at that story, and by the end of the next week the White House began reluctantly admitting that terrorists had attacked the diplomatic mission. Today, however, Eli Lake reports for the Daily Beast that the Obama administration knew within 24 hours that the attack had not been a spontaneous event, but a well-planned terrorist attack.

Terrorist attack on September 11, administration lies about it, media ignores.

I don’t see any news here, do you?

The media is going to continue to ignore this — unless Mitt Romney brings it up, every day, until they finally confront it.

Let’s go, Mitt.

9/25/2012

James Rainey: You Should *Thank* The L.A. Times for Withholding the Khalidi Tape

Filed under: 2012 Election,Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:35 pm

James Rainey says we should be thanking the L.A. Times for withholding the Khalidi tape — because if they hadn’t promised to do so, we never would have heard about it in the first place:

The latest resurrection of the Khalidi video mythology came this week courtesy of Breitbart.com. The website on Thursday offered a $100,000 reward for a copy of the “Khalidi tape” — which the right-wing site speculates will lay bare the ugly back story of Obama’s disdain of Israel, his “sacrifice” of Free Speech, and his effusive support of Mideast radicals.

. . . .

So why couldn’t the newspaper simply release the video, along with the story? This is where the tempest, which began four years ago, continues to this day.

The misunderstanding stems from one camp’s unwillingness to hear, or acknowledge, some essential truths about the way journalists do their jobs. Wallsten, like every other honest reporter out there battling for information, must build relationships with sources.

Every conversation about a piece of information becomes a transaction. For many sources who share previously confidential information, their threshold for divulging the secret is that their identity be shrouded. That also means keeping confidential any details, regarding the exchange of information, that might tend to divulge the source’s identity.

In the case of the Khalidi video, the unnamed source agreed to share the illuminating bit of video evidence with Wallsten, but only with the understanding that the reporter could not reproduce or rebroadcast the images. The journalist had to make a decision: Do I agree to that condition and get to see evidence that no other reporter has seen of Obama meeting with Palestinian Americans? Or do I insist on a full public release of the video, with the likely outcome that the source would share nothing?

Wallsten pushed for the release of the video but when the source would not agree, Wallsten agreed to accept more limited access to the recording. He agreed not to reveal his source nor share the video with anyone else.

The net result: The world got a story that showed Obama the political operator, sliding between two opposite and highly contentious worlds. The audience did not get to view the video, but it got far more than it had without The Times’ reporting. That’s the nature of some journalistic negotiations; giving up the perfect to obtain the very good.

That’s fine, as far as it goes. But there are some other steps that could be taken, and I pointed them out in November 2008, just before the last presidential election:

I’m at a loss as to why editors can’t take simple steps that (as far as we know) are not precluded by the promise to the source. They could:

  • Prepare and release a transcript.
  • Go back to the source and ask permission to release the tape now.
  • View the tape again to see if Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were present (as has been rumored) — and if they were, publish a story setting forth the details of their interaction, if any, with Senator Obama.
  • View the tape again to see whether Senator Obama is shown on tape during any of the more controversial statements — and if he was, describe his reaction.

Promises to withhold source material, while they may be necessary for a story, should be disfavored. If they’re given, editors should give them the narrowest possible reasonable interpretation.

Instead, editors seem determined to construe their promises more broadly than even their source contemplated. They haven’t said they promised not to release a transcript, for example. So why haven’t they?

Do me a favor and help me ask James Rainey for a response as to why these things couldn’t be done. He decided to opine, so he can’t really refuse to answer on the grounds that it’s someone else’s story.

These are fair questions. Could you answer them, Mr. Rainey?

Rainey can be contacted at james.rainey@latimes.com and is on twitter at http://twitter.com/latimesrainey. (I am on Twitter at http://twitter.com/patterico. Follow me if you haven’t already!)

Thanks to dana.

P.S. I will happily publish any missive sent to Rainey, along with his response, if any.

Public Resources Illegally Used to Advocate for Tax Increase in Schools

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

The Orange County Register has an editorial this morning noting the illegal use of state public resources to advocate for Proposition 30, which would increase taxes in the State of California:

[I]t is illegal for public universities to use school resources “for the purposes of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure.” (Education Code 7054(c)). The California Supreme Court upheld that ban three years ago. In our view, there’s an inherent conflict of interest when professors tell students how to vote.

But that ban on electioneering isn’t being universally observed when it comes to Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Nov. 6 ballot measure to raise sales and income taxes. California State University officials sent professors “talking points,” “sample letters to the editor,” and “PowerPoints” to push its passage as part of its “tool kit” to highlight how Prop. 30 will “impact” California higher education.

In addition, the CSU Board of Trustees has voted for a 5 percent tuition increase only if the proposition fails to pass — and the CSU administration sent hundreds of thousands of parents letters saying, essentially, that if the proposition doesn’t pass, little Billy or Susie may not have a spot in the CSU system.

Meanwhile, the editorial states, “[t]uition is at its highest levels in decades, and college administrator benefits have never been more generous.”

Since the activity is illegal, I am sure Kamala Harris will be all over it. If my eyes were rolling any more I’d be looking at the back of my skull.

Politically Motivated Burglary? UPDATE: Apparently Not

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:20 am

That’s what this sounds like:

[Yesterday] morning in New York, staff arrived at Republican Rep. Michael Grimm’s re-election campaign headquarters to find windows shattered by rocks and pieces of cement.

Grimm released a statement that the burglary “is a disgraceful act of cowardice that is beneath the people I represent,” adding that he had “never saw anything as dirty or disgraceful as this.”

There are no known suspects, according to police. However, a press release states that police do believe that the broken windows is a “cover-up for the burglary in which the suspect corrupted and erased the hard-drive of the campaign computer server, which contains confidential campaign files and polling data.”

Thanks to JD.

UPDATE: False alarm. The vandal was an eighth grader and apparently no computer data was affected. Why Grimm said it was, I have no idea. Thanks to jim2.

9/24/2012

Worst Call Ever – Packers Got Screwed

Filed under: General — JD @ 9:25 pm

[guest post by JD]

The NFL has to get this fixed. Soon. The refs lost control of the Ravens/Pats game. The pass interference call against GB was horrible, but the game-changing horrific awful bad wrong call that awarded the win to Seattle was a travesty. Not only did Tate deserve a pass interference, it was clear that the GB safety had the ball first.

The guys on the ESPN set were cowards when Russell Wilson was on set.

— JD

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: You mean shoving a guy before the ball arrives is pass interference? And then “catching” it with one hand while the other guy has control with two isn’t a reception? Get out of here!

I.e. JD is totally right.

Video here.

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