Patterico's Pontifications

11/30/2012

Obama “Proposal”: More Stimulus Spending, Lots of Taxes — And Cuts to Be Determined in the Future Sometime

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:29 am

More stimulus spending! Cuts to be worked on in the future!

House Republicans said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, an immediate new round of stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, was likely to meet strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other entitlements, to be worked out next year, with no guarantees.

“I won.”

I agree with Krauthammer. It’s an insult. Quite a deliberate one. Don’t offer a counterproposal. Walk away.

Tell the American people that, after adding $5 trillion in spending we couldn’t afford, Obama wants to spend more. It’s impossible to negotiate with someone who opens with a joke proposal.

No counter proposal to a joke. Walk away.

11/29/2012

The Untold Story of the Shenanigans in a Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Louisiana — and Why Eric Holder Should Be Asked About It

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Wow. This order from the U.S. District Court from the Eastern District of Louisiana describes an utter trainwreck of federal prosecutors running amok, posting anonymous comments on the local paper’s web site mocking the defense during their pending, high-profile trial . . . and then lying to a federal district judge about it.

There are two points I would like to make about this.

First, AUSA Jan Mann is one of the people excoriated by the judge for leaving numerous comments on nola.com about a pending case and lying about it. Mann was quoted in the press at the time James O’Keefe was prosecuted by this same office. And at the time of O’Keefe’s prosecution, guess what she said?

Mann, the first assistant U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, declined to talk about specifics of the case, but said there were are no ulterior motives with their case.

“We don’t try cases in the press,” Mann told FoxNews.com. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is motivated by nothing more than what we believe is to mandate and enforce the existing laws that were put in place to ensure the safety and security of federal buildings.”

We don’t try cases in the press — unless we do so anonymously, and then lie to the court about it.

I wonder if they left anonymous comments about the O’Keefe case. I especially wonder whether they left such comments on nola.com. Frankly, I don’t see how they could have helped themselves.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it . . .

Second of all, some of the commentary on this misses what is perhaps the most disturbing revelation of the opinion: the willful blindness of the Washington D.C. Office of Professional Responsibility. When J. Christian Adams (linked by Instapundit) invokes Eric Holder’s name at Pajamas Media, he seems to focus on the behavior of the two government lawyers who made misrepresentations to the court:

I will have more on this stunning development later. In sum, the Eric Holder-run Justice Department prosecuted several New Orleans police officers for conduct during Hurricane Katrina. During the case, it seems a couple of attorneys were acting very very badly, to the detriment of the defendants’ due process rights. Here is the opinion issued this week. It is worth a read to see what government lawyers are capable of.

I’ll grant you that those lawyers’ actions appear to be the most egregious described in the order. But it’s also worth noting the extreme skepticism that the judge expresses in DoJ’s Washington, D.C. Office of Professional Responsibility:

“It is difficult to imagine how this could have possibly been missed by OPR. . .” He is saying that Holder’s DoJ ethics watchdogs are incompetent.

But, of course, there is another possibility. They could be corrupt.

Either way, the inadequacy of the investigation is a fair charge to place at Holder’s feet. And I think he should be asked about it. So spread the word about this order. It’s an entertaining story about shenanigans in the Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office that prosecuted James O’Keefe — but it’s also a story that raises deadly serious questions about whether Eric Holder is trying to keep his unethical lawyers in check.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link.

11/28/2012

SOS Rice ?

Filed under: General — JD @ 9:07 am

[Guest post by JD]

It is sexist and racist to criticize a potential SOS nominee for knowingly misleading the American public, if she is a Dem. If she is a Republican, it is not sexist or racist to call her a house-Negro, because you disagree with her.

Sens Ayotte, McCain, and Graham were underwhelmed yesterday, and it looks like noted sexist Sen Collins has some fairly pointed questions she would like answered today, even though Carnie assures us there are no remaining unanswered questions.

Update – like Fast & Furious, etc …. The complicit MFM either characterizes criticism as political so it can be disregarded, or simply ignores the controversy altogether.

– JD

L.A. Times Covers SWATting on Front Page

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:16 am

Using Simon Cowell’s recent SWATting as a news peg, Chris Lee and Richard Winton have a front-page story at the L.A. Times about the phenomenon of SWATting. The story focuses on the recent rash of celebrity SWATtings in Los Angeles, rather than the politically motivated SWATtings of four people (including myself) between June 2011 and June 2012. Hey, the news biz is all about eyeballs! However, the article does mentions the SWATtings of myself and Aaron Walker.

If you’re looking for a typical Patterico polemic on the atrocities of the L.A. Times, you’re going to be disappointed. I spoke to reporter Chris Lee for the story a few weeks ago, and he pretty much gets it right:

When Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Frey got swatted at his Rancho Palos Verdes home last July, he thought it might have been in retaliation for posts on his conservative-leaning Patterico’s Pontifications blog.

In full view of his startled neighbors, Frey was led out in shackles by five armed deputies after a male caller told responders at the Lomita sheriff’s station that the deputy district attorney had shot his wife. Outside were four police cruisers, a fire truck, an ambulance, a hazardous materials van and a chopper shining a spotlight over his property. Frey’s wife was awakened and frisked by police on the front porch while two officers checked on the couple’s 8- and 11-year-old children sleeping upstairs.

“I’m dealing with psychopaths who know where I live,” Frey said. “Someone had it in for me so much, they committed an act they knew could get me killed.” No arrests have been made in the case.

In June, another lawyer-blogger, Aaron Walker, was swatted at his home in Prince William County, Va. Two officers wielding M4 assault rifles showed up at Walker’s town house and ordered him out. The attorney de-escalated the tension, however, by telling the patrolmen: “Let me guess, someone called and claimed I shot my wife.”

“I believe this to be reckless endangerment if not attempted murder,” Walker said. “The intent there was to cause harm. The other angle is, [swatting] degrades the police’s ability to trust 911. It used to be they had some degree of trust knowing people had a fear of filing a false police report.”

I think the editors should have explained that Aaron had been my guest blogger, and knew it had already happened to me and two other conservatives who had written about related topics. That information would have helped readers understand how Aaron knew he had been SWATted. And I would have liked to have seen more discussion of the political SWATtings and potentially related harassment — including the details of the SWATtings of Erick Erickson and Mike Stack, and the curious way in which we and our writings have been the particular obsession of a dangerous group of online lunatics.

I nevertheless tip my hat to the L.A. Times for finally covering the phenomenon in general, and giving it the front-page placement the topic merits. The story does a good job portraying the potential dangers of the phenomenon:

“Swatting is a very real problem for those in the public eye,” said Blair Berk, a criminal lawyer who has represented stars including Mel Gibson, Kanye West and Lindsay Lohan. “It is only a matter of time before someone dies because of this stupidity.”

What started a decade ago as a malicious prank among computer gamers is quickly evolving into a Grade-A crisis for law enforcement nationwide, encouraging new legislation aimed at stiffer punishments for swatters as well as redoubled attempts to defeat the “spoofing” technology that enables such cyber-troublemaking.

[LAPD] Chief [Charlie] Beck acknowledged that swatting has stretched the LAPD’s emergency response capacity while also endangering victims by placing them in potential confrontation with police firepower.

“It not only draws public safety resources away from real emergencies, it places people at significant risk by the dispatch of armed police officers,” said Beck. “Our big fear is that [swatting] will become more prevalent.”

And I learned something I didn’t know before — namely, that SWATting has already caused heart attacks:

Kevin Kolbye, assistant special agent in charge of the Dallas FBI office, began fielding swatting probes in 2007. He views the phenomenon’s rapid growth in recent years as a dangerous replacement for a time-honored practical joke.

“You no longer call pizza [to someone's house] like in the old days,” said Kolbye. “Instead, the young generation are getting their kicks putting a lot of people at risk. We’ve already had a couple of heart attacks and an officer hurt in a collision responding to a scene.”

Given how serious the dangers are, people are considering legislation to increase punishments for these sorts of false reports:

One major stumbling block to police efforts, however, is California law. At present, making a false police report is a misdemeanor. But departments across L.A. County are beginning to realize that many jurisdictions are wasting valuable resources on swatting call-outs. “We are going to approach the Legislature with the idea of making swatting a felony,” McSweeney said.

Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) oversees a district that includes such celebrity-studded areas as Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and Pacific Palisades. He is looking into proposing legislation that would make it easier for district attorneys to make swatting a felony offense.

“There may be other ways to do it in which you wouldn’t need a law,” Lieu said. “But if they can’t fix it — if they can’t figure out a way to easily trace the people who make these very dangerous 911 calls — I would introduce a bill to try to mitigate the problem.

“The issue is, people have figured out how to do this,” Lieu said, “and it’s only going to get worse unless you can put some consequences in place.”

California law on this is especially disappointing. Penal Code section 148.3(b) makes such false reports a felony if the person making the false report “knows or should know that the response to the report is likely to cause death or great bodily injury, and great bodily injury or death is sustained by any person as a result of the false report.” And if someone is actually badly hurt or killed, the maximum punishment is? A whopping 3 years in state prison. Wait, did I say state prison? Sorry, under realignment, these days that piddling sentence would be served in a county jail. People would serve only half that time — and in Los Angeles, Sheriff Lee Baca could let them go any time he decided the jails were too crowded, whether the sentence was completed or not.

Given these meager penalties, it’s not surprising that I have been contacted by people on both the state and federal level looking to change the law, and asking me about my experience in that regard. If nothing else, today’s front-page story may help get the ball rolling on changing the law. And hopefully the public interest will also motivate law enforcement to solve all these cases.

I still think they’re solvable, if the police try hard enough.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link.

11/27/2012

Your Mandatory Fiscal Cliff Post

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 am

I suppose that it is incumbent upon me as the proprietor of a political blog to have a “fiscal cliff” post. But I can’t find words to express how supremely uninterested I am in the already-underway kabuki dance of finger-pointing and posturing.

Because, as a resident of California, I have seen this game played before, and I already know how it’s going to end.

There will be plenty of drama and fiscal cliffhangers. There will be rending of garments and gnashing of teeth.

And then, in the end, we will arrive at a Solemn Agreement to Tackle This Problem Head-On . . . next year.

The details of this agreement will be a matter of intense interest to the same group of politicos who discussed polling every day during the presidential election and never really discussed policy.

Meanwhile, our massive government debt bubble will continue to grow, and nobody will show the slightest bit of interest in letting the air out.

At this point, since the popping of that bubble is inevitable, I just want it to hurry up and happen. The problem isn’t going to get fixed. We’re not paying off the debt. So let’s get the catastrophe over with now instead of later, and give my children some chance at a few decent years.

11/26/2012

Simon Cowell SWATted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:17 pm

He appears to be the first of the celebrity SWATting victims to have been home when it happened:

Beverly Hills police responded to a call that someone had been tied up and needed help at “X Factor” judge Simon Cowell’s house, but the report turned out to be false, authorities said Monday.

The caller initially told Beverly Hills police that the person had been tied up with duct tape and gave an address outside of city limits, according to authorities. The caller then said the incident was taking place at “Simon Cowell’s” house, which is in Beverly Hills.

Agence France-Presse adds:

The police spokesman added that Sunday’s incident was rather amateurish.

“The call was so ridiculously done it had no credibility with the dispatcher … The dispatcher immediately suspected it was a fake,” he said, although officers were sent to check out the report just in case.

If they never catch anyone, it encourages copycats.

Blatant L.A. Times Bias Against Israel

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:49 am

L.A. Times, November 23, 2012:

The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was tested Friday when a group of Gazan youths approached the border in an area Israel considers an off-limits buffer zone. One young man was shot and killed, Palestinian officials said. Nineteen other people were reportedly injured.

The shootings marked the first episode of violence since the cease-fire went into effect.

It did? Israel was the first to break the cease-fire? Are you sure you want to stick to that story?

L.A. Times, November 21, 2012:

Whether the truce holds remains to be seen. Though most of the major Palestinian factions joined Hamas in Cairo to negotiate the deal, smaller, Al Qaeda-inspired extremist groups in Gaza have proved difficult to control.

Even after the cease-fire took effect, about half a dozen rockets were fired into Israel.

Oh well. Probably the reporter for the most recent story was simply unaware of the rocket attacks mentioned in the earlier story?

Um, no. Both stories were written by the same reporter: Edmund Sanders.

They are, quite simply, lying to their readers.

Thanks to df, who blogged this here.

11/25/2012

Bill Whittle for President

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:57 pm

Or at least someone who can articulate the message like this.

Eerie Similarities Between Neal Rauhauser and “LulzShack”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:47 pm

Who likes putting the word “fake” in bold when referring to the sock puppets in the Weinergate saga? I’ll tell you who. A guy named “LulzShack” — and Neal Rauhauser.

These are comments from “LulzShack” that the loser tried to leave on my blog. They never showed up, but I have preserved them in my Trash file.

And this is Neal Rauhauser, from his own blog using his own name:

Why does it matter that Neal Rauhauser sounds so very, very much like “LulzShack”?

There are a few reasons. Those who are in the know can list a few in the comments section. For now, I’ll just paraphrase Troy McClure and say: you might know “LulzShack” from such blog posts as Convicted Bomber Brett Kimberlin, Neal Rauhauser, Ron Brynaert, and Their Campaign of Political Terrorism.

I’ll have more to say about this in coming days. For now, let’s just say that “LulzShack” knew a lot about my SWATting at a time that he had no business knowing anything about it …

Remember this screenshot?

(That’s not really Dennis Markuze. That’s just one of several names “LulzShack” used as a joke.)

Your hint: my SWATting was not public knowledge when those tweets were sent.

Hi, Neal!

P.S. Has anyone been reading Rauhauser’s blog lately? If you have, you have no doubt seen that he seems to believe he is going to be indicted soon.

P.P.S. …

Teaching Children About Economic Realities

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:19 pm

A couple of nights ago I explained basic supply and demand concepts to my 12-year-old, using Hurricane Sandy as an example. She was easily able to grasp concepts that apparently eluded Gov. Chris Christie, such as the fact that prices go up when demand goes up and supply goes down. More important, she was able to understand the effect that artificially depressing prices has on supply. (Gov. Christie still needs to figure that one out.)

These are not difficult concepts, but our schools don’t teach them the way they should. Which means that, in a crisis, politicians can put on fleece and go around artificially depressing prices, and people confronted by shortages consider these politicians to be heroes.

That conversation got me thinking about the fact that, as a culture, we need to get these concepts across to our children systematically. Coincidentally, I received an email today from the author of The Fisherman’s Catch : A Conservative Bedtime Story. From the book description at Amazon:

Hanauhoulani (call him Han) is a fisherman in a remote pacific island village a long time ago. He figures out a better way of catching fish and begins to become wealthy. The village chief decides it is not right for one man to have so much while others have so much less.

Experience a story that teaches kids it is hard work and determination that creates wealth. Not simply having something handed to you. From the old adage, “You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day or teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime” this story helps explain that true wealth does not come from redistribution of goods but from inspiring others to reach their potential.

The author has a Kickstarter project for his second book, which he describes as follows:

The second will be called “The Cobblers Magic! A Conservative Bedtime Story” and takes place in a land of magic just on the other side of imagination. The concepts it will teach will center on Deficit Spending, Inflation, and that it is okay to say ‘No’ in a world of infinite wants, but limited resources, the word ‘no’ is how we budget. It compares an intelligent cobbler elf named Silvia against the fairy council that simply does everything that the other faeries want.

Ultimately the fairy council casts a dark and terrible spell to try to fix everything, they try to ‘make magic’ which is the currency of the land. This does not work and instead they simply dilute everyone’s magic and cause a whole new set of problems to take place and quickly spirals out of control.

I recoil a little at the idea of “conservative” children’s stories, because it smacks of brainwashing children towards acceptance of a particular ideology. However, as a practical matter, most popular culture brainwashes children towards an ideology that rejects self-reliance and economic realities in favor of a mushy socialistic reliance on government. I haven’t read these particular books, but I like the idea of teaching children how the real world works. If that means it has a “conservative” label, so be it.

If we’re going to save the future, educating our children properly is going to have to be part of it. Check out these books and see if you think they might help.

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