Patterico's Pontifications

8/31/2013

Obama Will Seek Congressional Authority for Syria Strike

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:13 pm

A dictator in the Middle East uses poisonous gas on his citizens. The world refuses to agree to support a U.S. attack, but the President decides to go “unilateral” — after seeking an authorization to use military force from Congress, of course.

Thank God we’ve changed from the days of George Bush and Iraq.

FLASHBACK:

[Obama's] approach is a far cry from then-candidate Obama’s campaign-trail appeals for international cooperation.

During an April 2007 speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Obama said the U.S. cannot try to “bully [the world] into submission.”

In a 2007 essay in Foreign Affairs, he specifically warned about breaking off from European allies: “In the case of Europe, we dismissed European reservations about the wisdom and necessity of the Iraq war.”

During his July 2008 campaign speech in Berlin, Obama told Europeans that “no one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone.” He warned that “on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny” and that neither America nor Europe can “turn inward.”

Hope and change, baby. Hope . . . and change.

Saturday – College Football!!!

Filed under: General — JD @ 6:02 am

[guest post by JD]

Today is the first Saturday of college football. If the Vandy vs Ole Miss game is any indicator, this should be an exciting season. Cliff Kingsbury’s Texas Tech team should be fun this year. Georgia vs Clemson and LSU vs TCU should be interesting Week 1 matchups.

I am recovering from a 38mph bicycle mishap – broke my carbon frame in half, shattered my helmet, pretty awful road rash, a couple nasty bone bruises, but nothing serious.

Good timing since Patterico is back.

—-JD

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I have seen the pictures. The “pretty awful road rash” is not something I will forget soon.

I do appreciate that JD waited to have his potentially life-threatening bike crash until when I returned, for the good of the blog.

Priorities.

8/30/2013

Hiking the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:59 pm

The hike from Grutschalp to Mürren.

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 9.51.23 PM

Syria Attack to Be Enough to Keep Obama from Getting Mocked

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

Because that’s what’s important here:

A U.S. official briefed on the military options being considered by President Obama told the Los Angeles Times that the White House is seeking a strike on Syria “just muscular enough not to get mocked.”

“They are looking at what is just enough to mean something, just enough to be more than symbolic,” the official told the paper, giving credence to similar reports describing a limited military strike in the aftermath of last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack.

Via Hot Air.

It’s all ego with this guy.

UPDATE: And, as a reminder: it all started with an ad lib.

RANDOM THOUGHT: I bet if Obama thought he could use the military domestically to avoid being mocked, he’d do that too.

8/29/2013

Booker denied being gay in ’00, now says gay rumors are ‘wonderful’

Filed under: General — Charles C. Johnson @ 2:59 pm

[Guest post by Charles C. Johnson]

Although Mayor Cory Booker now refuses to say whether or not he’s gay and says gay rumors about him are “wonderful,” Booker told the New Jersey’s Star Ledger that he wasn’t gay in 2000.

“[Booker] keeps copies of fliers about him on his desk, street literature that denounces him as a carpetbagger and a liar. Broadsides that say the bachelor is gay,” wrote Bob Braun of the Star Ledger on February 2, 2000. “‘I’m not,’ he says.”

Is it too cynical to think that maybe the reason he didn’t want people to think he’s gay then is that he wanted to represent blacks in Newark?

The answer seems to be because Cory Booker has a bigoted view of blacks. Witness T. Bone, his fictitious drug dealer friend exposed over at National Review by Eliana Johnson.

Booker likely thought that a friendship with a street thug would play well in seedy Newark. He likely also thought that keeping his sexuality on the down low would play well, too.

Now that he doesn’t need the blacks he doesn’t have to worry and can play footsie around the closet.

But if he wants to be president, he has to play an Ed Koch by refusing to answer every question about himself except the one about his sexuality.

–Charles C. Johnson

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I don’t care if a politician is gay.

Time will tell whether that is Booker’s only issue, though.

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: Foo Bar points out in comments that Booker described himself as a “straight male” as recently as July 22. Without more, this seems like a non-issue to me.

National Journal: ObamaCare Will Make Premiums Higher As Employers Drop Coverage

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

I’ll be over here holding my breath waiting for Big Media to ask Obama about this:

Republicans have long blamed President Obama’s signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the “Unaffordable Care Act.”

Turns out, they might be right.

For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers’ monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.

Health law proponents have excused the rate hikes by saying the prices in the exchange won’t apply to the millions receiving coverage from their employers. But that’s only if employers continue to offer that coverage–something that’s looking increasingly uncertain. Already, UPS, for example, cited Obamacare as its reason for nixing spousal coverage. And while a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 49 percent of the U.S. population now receives employer-sponsored coverage, more companies are debating whether they will continue to be in the business of providing such benefits at all.

If you like your doctor and your health plan, you can keep it.

We just forgot to mention you’ll have to pay a lot more for it.

8/28/2013

More Obama 2008 – Where Candidate Teh One Contradicts President Teh One

Filed under: General — JD @ 10:41 am

[guest post by JD]

I am sure the MFM will be all over this. Maybe Letterman will ask him about it next time he gives an interview.

For the moment, let’s set aside the issue of whether or not going to war in Libya or Syria is the right thing to do. Let’s focus on what Obama and Biden claimed to the their underlying principles that would inform their decisions.

First, constitutional scholar Obama …

[Candidate Obama] responded in writing to a series of questions regarding executive power from Charlie Savage, then of The Boston Globe:

Q. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

OBAMA: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.;

And then, resident dunce, Biden …

Vice President Joe Biden, who voted for the Iraq War, agreed with Obama.

“The president has no constitutional authority to take this country to war… unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked,” Biden said in 2007.

Biden, then a Democratic senator from Delaware, suggested presidential war-making was an impeachable offense.

Discuss.

UPDATE – Larger quote from Slow Joe

It is precisely because the consequences of war – intended or otherwise – can be so profound and complicated that our Founding Fathers vested in Congress, not the President, the power to initiate war, except to repel an imminent attack on the United States or its citizens. They reasoned that requiring the President to come to Congress first would slow things down… allow for more careful decision making before sending Americans to fight and die… and ensure broader public support.

The Founding Fathers were, as in most things, profoundly right. That’s why I want to be very clear: if the President takes us to war with Iran without Congressional approval, I will call for his impeachment.

I do not say this lightly or to be provocative. I am dead serious. I have chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. I still teach constitutional law. I’ve consulted with some of our leading constitutional scholars. The Constitution is clear. And so am I.

I’m saying this now to put the administration on notice and hopefully to deter the President from taking unilateral action in the last year of his administration. If war is warranted with a nation of 70 million people, it warrants coming to Congress and the American people first.

—JD

Obama 2008: We Need to Talk to Syria and Iran

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am

A tipster sent me an 2008 article from the Ottowa Citizen (reprinted from the Daily Telegraph), not available online, in which Obama is quoted as saying: “One of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria.”

I researched a little further to look for the context of the quote, and found that it came from one of the debates in 2008. The immediate context has to do with fallout from the Iraq war, but the full context reminds one of Obama’s naivete in thinking he could simply sit down with leaders from Syria and Iran and work things out:

QUESTION: “[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?”

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this [the Bush] administration — is ridiculous.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.

And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We’ve been talking about Iraq — one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they’re going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses.

They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region.

So. Has President Peace Prize started the bombing yet?

Open thread!

Another Historic Speech

Filed under: General — JD @ 6:06 am

[guest post by JD]

Teh One will give yet another historic speech to commemorate MLK JR’s “I have a dream” speech’s 50th anniversary.

Yesterday, Obama cautioned about having elevated expectations, and in a moment of rare humility, suggested that his own historic speech won’t be as good as Dr King’s.

In Vegas, there should be a prop bet on the over/under of I/me/my and another for the number of I/me/my said prior to saying Dr King. Add in “Like Dr King, I …” and “let me be clear.”

—JD

8/27/2013

Exclusive: Jim Letten Tells Charles C. Johnson That the Decision to Prosecute O’Keefe Was Made “At Highest Levels of the Justice Department”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

The following comes to us from Charles C. Johnson, the “good Charles Johnson” (not to be confused with the guy at Little Green Footballs who bans anyone who disagrees with him even slightly.) Back in July, Charles spoke to former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten about the video of Jim Letten’s angry confrontation with James O’Keefe, in which Letten called O’Keefe a “hobbit” and a “spud” and an “asshole” and threw O’Keefe’s book at him.

Charles has allowed me to publish the interview exclusively here at patterico.com. Mr. Letten is welcome to respond with his side. Indeed, I specifically extended that invitation to Letten by email upon the publication of this post. Here is Charles’s interview:

My conversation in mid-July with former U.S. Attorney and Tulane Law School Dean Jim Letten

I reached out to Letten on his Tulane email address and gave him my number. He called me and we spoke for twenty-five minutes. Letten kept asking for the conversation to be off the record, something I never agreed to.

In any event, Letten did not respect his own off the record request and went to another journalist, John Simerman, a writer for the New Orleans Advocate who has written positively about Letten in the past, including a very sympathetic portrait of the former U.S. Attorney only days after he resigned in disgrace.

Using information he could only have obtained from me, Letten talked to Simerman about O’Keefe. Simerman then wrote an article trashing O’Keefe. Letten, who is unnamed as a source in the article but most likely “a source with knowledge of the incident,” admitted in an email to having spoken with Simerman. By contrast Simerman reported that Letten “declined to comment on the incidents.” Simerman did not return a request for comment.

When asked if his own comments were appropriate, Letten attacked O’Keefe’s credibility and called him an “extreme right-winger partisan who does these kind of stunts.”

When I said that I had seen the videotape of O’Keefe offering his wife a copy of the book and that he seemed pleasant, Letten insisted that O’Keefe had “terrorized” his wife and “threatened” his family, an assertion he repeated throughout the conversation.

Letten, who had been the longest serving U.S. Attorney, resigned in December 2012 after his two top lieutenants, including first assistant Jan Mann who prosecuted O’Keefe, were caught posting anonymous comments on a major Louisiana newspaper site mocking the defense during a high-profile trial. When confronted by a federal judge about it, Letten’s top staffers lied. Letten, along with two others, including Mann, resigned in disgrace.

At the time of O’Keefe’s trial Mann refused to comment on the charges brought against O’Keefe. Mann told Fox News.com that the U.S. Attorney’s office “[doesn’t] try cases in the press.”

Letten refused to answer whether O’Keefe’s case wasn’t subject to similar online sock puppetry, maintaining that O’Keefe was “appropriately prosecuted.” He did not answer questions as to how he could have known that if he recused himself from the prosecution.

O’Keefe has maintained that someone from the U.S. Attorney’s office leaked his privileged attorney-client emails, a subject he discusses at length in his book. Letten insists that he had nothing to do with it, if it indeed happened at all. “He’s just very deceitful and deceptive,” Letten said, who again said he had recused himself.

Letten wouldn’t say why he recused himself, but it is most likely because one of the defendants, including Robert Flagan, who is the son of the then acting U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Louisiana. Letten and Flagan are social acquaintances.

Letten insisted that he recused himself from the case, but after prodding acknowledged that it was “my office who continued to make the decision.” “When someone recuses themselves it isn’t done lightly,” Letten insisted.

The decision to prosecute O’Keefe and to accept Letten’s recusal was made at “the very highest levels of the Justice Department.” “[O’Keefe] was appropriately convicted.”

Letten declined to answer if his office worked with Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute O’Keefe.

There’s reason to think that he may have. Last month, J. Christian Adams, a voting rights expert, revealed documents that showed coordination by Holder’s Justice Department with Attorney General Richard Head of New Hampshire after O’Keefe’s successful voter fraud investigations. [Editor's note: Richard Head has worked directly with Brett Kimberlin associate and professional harasser Neal Rauhauser.]

Insisting that O’Keefe wasn’t a “journalist,” Letten did not answer a question about whether O’Keefe should have been given the same protections as the so-called McConnell buggers, who were given First Amendment protections by the Justice Department. He persisted in refusing to answer the question.

Letten was indignant when asked why he took O’Keefe’s book only to throw it back at him. “Oh come on! I tossed it at him!”

Finally, I asked him if he felt his behavior was in keeping with the code of conduct that Tulane has for all its students and faculty. He declined to answer.

Bug Mitch McConnell, get treated like a journalist. Be James O’Keefe, get the book thrown at you.

That’s our Justice Department these days. Aren’t you proud?

UPDATE: Ken from Popehat makes the sound point that we can’t necessarily infer that McConnell’s bugger won’t be prosecuted just because he confessed in writing at Salon.com months ago and has yet to be prosecuted. The Feds have a way of delaying action to such a degree that is mystifying to mere mortals.

UPDATE x2: Thanks very much to Instapundit for the link.

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