Patterico's Pontifications

4/30/2014

Dirty Money And The Moral Dilemma

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:43 pm

[guest by Dana]

Not surprisingly, the fallout from the Donald Sterling debacle continues apace. Charities that have been the recipients of Sterling’s largesse now find themselves facing a bit of a dilemma: Is it morally right to keep Sterling’s dirty money?

Well known and longtime charities like Goodwill of Southern California and the L.A. Rescue Mission have been able, in part, to meet the needs of untold numbers because of Sterling’s sizable donations.

When questioned by TMZ whether they would keep Sterling’s donations or return the money, the responses varied. It would have been interesting to see how each organization arrived at their decisions.

– A Place Called Home — a program for high-risk teens — got a $100,000 donation from Sterling, doled out in $10K yearly installments. The charity has received $30K, which it will NOT return, but it is REJECTING the $70K balance.

– Temple of the Arts — It’s keeping Sterling’s $10K donation.

– L.A. Union Rescue Mission — It’s been receiving $10K a year. They’re keeping the cash, telling TMZ, “We take money from all kinds of bad people all the time.”

– Goodwill of So. Cal. — It got a $100,000 donation from Sterling, doled out over 10 years. It has received $20K so far and it’s giving all the money back and not accepting the balance.

– American Diabetes Ass’n — Sterling donated $25K. It’s keeping the loot, telling us, “The sad reality is that without donations like Mr. Sterling’s, we can’t help the people that we do.”

This week, UCLA announced it will be returning $425,000, which was the first payment of a 3 million dollar donation and will decline the balance. The money was earmarked for kidney research.

Additionally, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance received $30,000 dollars but is unable to return it as it has already been spent.

So, is it ridiculous to return money that could have been well spent on improving the quality of life for those in need or is it a more noble thing to decline money coming from a racist?

(On a side note: As an individual, I suspect if I were the one in need, hungry or homeless or seriously ill, I would not be concerned where the money came from to help meet my needs. If I were at that point of hardship, I would not have the luxury to contemplate such moral dilemmas. My guess is that the efforts to simply survive another day lend a much different perspective.)

On the other hand, one must draw the line somewhere.

–Dana

PATTERICO SEZ: Kudos to everyone who is keeping the cash. Who cares if it came from a guy who said racist stuff in private? It’s not like the money was earned in the process of crimes or horrific acts. It was earned by a flawed man. If he has donated to good causes, then he this flawed man has done something good. These people want to give him back the money, because it’s better for a racist to have more money than it is for UCLA to have money for cancer research??

You know what? Make me a list of anyone giving money back. They get nothing from me.

Not Passing the Giggle Test

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:40 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last night, I posted about the newly released State Department documents provided to Judicial Watch via a FOIA request. The focus was on one particular email which clearly showed that White House officials intentionally and willfully planned to spin the jihadi attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam video. Smoking gun. But apparently that email wasn’t what it appeared to be. Instead, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney, it was an email about protests outside embassies in Egypt, Yemen and other countries. Seriously.

Last night I also naively declared about that email, It would appear there is no way to spin any of this. Shame on me, because today Jay Carney did just that.

If you look at the document, that document we’re talking about today was taking [sic] about the overall environment in the Muslim world.

Further,

Officials expected Rice to use a different CIA-drafted memos whenever she was asked about the Sept. 11 attack on the lightly guarded diplomatic site, which killed the U.S. ambassador and a State Department official, Carney said.

So the email was really about answers to questions about other protests in Cairo, Sanaa, and various Muslim capitals, Carney said. In fact, Carney said, that’s why the officials didn’t release the email to congressional investigators who were examining the lead-up to the Benghazi attack on the embassy and a nearby CIA site.

The Sept. 14 memo, which was written by Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s top national security spokesman, declared that Rice should emphasize that “these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

And that’s precisely what Rice related in her public comments.

The second page of the email explicitly addresses the Benghazi attack, and includes a proposed answer to a possible question. “What’s your response to [a news report saying that a warning of] the Benghazi attack that was ignored?” said the question. The proposed answer stated “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.”

The protests, according to the email, “were sparked by a disgusting and reprehensible video.

Also, the Rhodes memo doesn’t say anything about Rice using the CIA memo when she is questioned about on the Benghazi attack, as claimed by Carney.

For those of you who simply want to get to the bottom of this swirling vortex of lies and contradictions because four Americans died and a seemingly complicit administration must be held accountable, Carney wants you to know that he’s concerned there is an “intense effort to politicize this. … The issue here has always been making sure that what happened in Benghazi can’t happen again.”

In response to Carney’s explanation today, Jill Sutherland Farrell, the communications director at Judicial Watch, gave a snort of derision,

That Carney would imply that the State Department gave us some random document doesn’t pass the giggle test.

–Dana

Note: Sharyl Attkisson’s White House Directed Incorrect Benghazi Narrative is well worth the read.

I Blame Elsa

Filed under: General — JD @ 3:06 pm

[guest post by JD]

GDP posted at an anemic 0.1% for 1st quarter 2014. This was propped up by a huge INCREASE in healthcare spending, resulting from bending the cost-curve downward, or something. Absent that surge, it would have been negative.

The Chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors blamed this recovery on winter happening. During winter.

I am kind of at a loss, because this is so mendoucheous and predictable, yet startling nonetheless. They are combating global warming, but winter wrecked the economy. A little more global warming and we would have been just fine.

Couple this with Carnie’s presser where he denied that the Benghazi political talking points for Rice were about Benghazi, and it is now clear that their strategy is simply to just lie. The bigger the better. Flood the zone.

Damn you, Elsa.

—JD

Militia Setting Up Checkpoints Outside Bundy Ranch

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:39 am

Tension:

A Democratic congressman from Nevada said in a letter this week that his constituents have reported the armed militia supporting rancher Cliven Bundy have set up checkpoints to verify the residency of anybody passing through.

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), who represents the area, sent the letter Sunday to Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, asking him to investigate.

Hey. If y’all are going to call out the militia, there might be better causes. Is all I’m saying.

In fact, I’m sure of it.

UPDATE: To make my point perfectly clear, should I list some of those causes?

Nah. I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Jeffrey Toobin’s Lazy Lefty Screed About Race and the Roberts Court

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

Why do people pay attention to this guy? (Yes, I know, I am writing an entire post about him. Quiet! I’m trying to make a point here.)

It’s challenging to keep up with the latest in racist tirades, so let’s attempt a brief review. Last week, Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who became a conservative folk hero for his refusal to pay his debts to the federal government, said that he often wondered if black people fared better as slaves. Then, over the weekend, a tape of what appears to be the voice of Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, surfaced, and it featured Sterling instructing his girlfriend to avoid being photographed with black people and to refrain from bringing African-Americans to the Clippers’ basketball games.

Bundy and Sterling represent an ugly corner of contemporary American life, but it is one that is entirely invisible in recent Supreme Court rulings. In the Roberts Court, there are no Bundys and Sterlings; the real targets of the conservative majority are those who’ve spent their lives fighting the Bundys and Sterlings of the world.

Toobin goes on to argue that Justice Sotomayor’s dissent is the opinion that is in touch with how racism affects minorities, while the white males in the majority are simply out of it, man.

Let me say up front that I do not have any respect for Jeffrey Toobin, and this sort of lazy, reflexively leftist argument is the reason. Toobin nowhere explains why the existence of racism means that the Constitution requires affirmative action, a policy that provides an unneeded leg up to wealthier minorities while doing nothing for the lower-income people who, if anyone, suffer the effects of racism. More to the point, what do the attitudes of Cliven Bundy or Donald Sterling have to do with this case — or even with the argument that affirmative action is necessary for people to, say, have jobs in this society? Is Toobin saying that if Cliven Bundy were not a racist, he might finally hire a black bodyguard — one so devoted to him that he would “take a bullet” for him? Is Toobin saying that affirmative action is necessary to force Donald Sterling to hire black basketball players? News flash, Toobin! These things have already happened, and not as a result of affirmative action, either. In fact, affirmative action would hurt blacks in professional basketball, as it would require owners to bypass more qualified black players in order to give less qualified whites a chance.

In short, Toobin’s argument will play well with his New Yorker readers, who take their knee-jerk leftism as a given, and are unaccustomed to being challenged on their political beliefs, ever. But to the rest of us, Jeff Toobin is a lazy hack — and worse, he’s boring, because soporific and sophomoric screeds like his are everywhere, threatening to put readers to sleep the second they start reading.

Get a job, Toobin.

4/29/2014

Thought vs. Actions

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:48 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Ben Shapiro raises some interesting points as he considers the racism of Donald Sterling and what he sees as the rise of thoughtcrime. In agreeing with the vast majority of Americans, Shapiro observes,

Sterling’s a pig, and that’s been no secret for decades.

However, he is also concerned about penalizing a person for their thoughts – thoughts expressed in private. He begins his examination by laying out the past public sins of Sterling and the responses – or lack thereof – to them,

In November 2009, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling settled a lawsuit in which the Department of Justice alleged that Sterling had discriminated against Hispanics, blacks and families without children in his rental properties. The lawsuit contained testimony that Sterling had suggested Hispanics were poor tenants because they “smoke, drink, and just hang around the building,” and that “black tenants smell and attract vermin.” The settlement cost him and his insurers $2.73 million.

The NBA and the national media said virtually nothing. That same year, the NAACP gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2005, Sterling signed a check for more than $5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that he had attempted to prevent non-Koreans from renting in his facilities in Koreatown.

The NBA and the national media said virtually nothing.

He then brings us to the present sins of Sterling, the subsequent firestorm and his eventual judgment,

But the big problem here isn’t hypocrisy. The big problem is that the market is turning on Sterling not over action, but over words. Sterling’s a pig, and that’s been no secret for decades. But what triggered America’s response? Sterling’s thoughts. American society now considers expression of thought to be significantly more important than action. Sterling got away with actual discrimination for years. But now he is caught on tape telling his gold-digging girlfriend he doesn’t like blacks, and that’s when the firestorm erupts?

This is the thought police at work. Feelings matter more than action. Words matter more than harming others. That sets a radically dangerous precedent for freedom of thought and speech, particularly for those whose thought and speech we hate. Freedom of speech and thought matters especially when it is speech and thought with which we disagree. The moment the majority decides to destroy people for engaging in thought it dislikes, thoughtcrime becomes a reality.

Shapiro concludes,

Sterling’s career should have been ended by public outrage based on his established patterns of discrimination years ago. To end it based not on such disreputable action but on private musings caught on tape demonstrates America’s newfound disregard for the rights of those whose thought we find despicable.

Read the whole thing.

–Dana

Shaping the Benghazi Story

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In an announcement today, Judicial Watch revealed that they received 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents in response to a FOIA request. One email was particularly revealing.

White House officials consciously planned to spin the successful 2012 jihadi attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam video, according to a new email exposed by the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch.

The Sept. 14 email by Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s chief foreign policy spokesman, described the public relations goals for a planned briefing of a top official — Susan Rice — who was scheduled to appear Sept. 16 on five Sunday talk-shows.

She was invited on the shows to explain the September 11 attack, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The subject of the email was “PREP CALL with Susan.”

The goal of the appearances, said Rhodes, is “to convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad; [and] to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, not a broader failure of policy.”

As a reminder, here is what Rice claimed on the Sunday morning shows,

Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo.

In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.

It would appear there is no way to spin any of this. Not only is this problematic for the president, but it is for Hillary Clinton, too, who was secretary of state at the time. The security of the embassy fell to her.

She was implementing Obama’s foreign policy in Libya, following his decision to help kill the country’s leader in 2010. State Department officials have testified that senior officials insisted prior to the attack that there was no need for extra security. The insistence was caused by the White House’s judgement that the Obama-backed Libya government was keeping peace.

Also, if Hillary makes a run in 2016, this should be a serious problem for her.

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–Dana

The Horrible Pain of a Botched Execution

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:27 pm

Clayton Lockett was not a very nice man:

Stephanie Neiman was proud of her shiny new Chevy truck with the Tasmanian Devil sticker on it and a matching “Tazz” license plate.

Her parents had taught the teenager to stand up for “what was her right and for what she believed in.”

Neiman was dropping off a friend at a Perry residence on June 3, 1999, the same evening Clayton Lockett and two accomplices decided to pull a home invasion robbery there. Neiman fought Lockett when he tried to take the keys to her truck.

The men beat her and used duct tape to bind her hands and cover her mouth. Even after being kidnapped and driven to a dusty country road, Neiman didn’t back down when Lockett asked if she planned to contact police.

The men had also beaten and kidnapped Neiman’s friend along with Bobby Bornt, who lived in the residence, and Bornt’s 9-month-old baby.

In fact, you might say he was downright evil.

Neiman was forced to watch as Lockett’s accomplice, Shawn Mathis, spent 20 minutes digging a shallow grave in a ditch beside the road. Her friends saw Neiman standing in the ditch and heard a single shot.

Lockett returned to the truck because the gun had jammed. He later said he could hear Neiman pleading, “Oh God, please, please” as he fixed the shotgun.

The men could be heard “laughing about how tough Stephanie was” before Lockett shot Neiman a second time.

Why, it sounds kind of like a “botched execution,” doesn’t it?

“He ordered Mathis to bury her, despite the fact that Mathis informed him Stephanie was still alive.”

Bornt and Neiman’s friend “were threatened that if they told anybody about these events, they too would be murdered,” court records state.

“Every day we are left with horrific images of what the last hours of Stephanie’s life was like,” her parents’ impact statement says.

. . . .

Bornt wrote a letter Feb. 7 stating: “Clayton being put to death by lethal injection is almost too easy of a way to die after what he did to us. … He will just be strapped to the table and will go to sleep and his heart will stop beating.”

Well . . . turns out, not quite.

Oklahoma called off a high-profile double execution with an experimental drug combination Tuesday evening after the first execution was apparently botched and the inmate died of a heart attack about 40 minutes after the drugs were administered, according to local news reports.

Clayton Lockett was slated to be the first to die after a legal battle over Oklahoma’s lethal-injection methods, which have come under fire from death penalty opponents for the secrecy surrounding the process.

But his vein apparently burst while officials were trying to administer the drugs beginning at 6:23 p.m. He began to convulse and officials tried to resuscitate him, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

According to the AP, Lockett had received a new lethal-injection formula that included the sedative midazolam as the first in a three-drug combination. He died of a heart attack at 7:06 p.m. The second execution was called off.

Most stories you read today will be about the horrible, awful suffering Lockett supposedly went through today during the “botched” execution. Not this post.

I say he still had it way too easy. I bet Bobby Bornt agrees. I bet Stephanie Neiman’s parents do too.

Somehow, I don’t think our Founding Fathers, who authored and ratified the Eighth Amendment, would have been too disturbed by the manner of Clayton Lockett’s death either. But why speculate? Let’s ask Emmy-Award Winning Founding Father James Madison!

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 8.26.07 PM

So shed no tears for Clayton Lockett. And let’s set a new execution date for Charles Warner, pronto.

So says me. And James Madison.

Democrat Clinton Appointee Strikes Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 pm

I have read the opinion (.pdf), and, shockingly, it is nonsense. In a nutshell, the judge finds that 1) there ain’t no such thing as voter fraud, and 2) obtaining a photo ID is second in difficulty only to scaling Mount Everest.

You will be shocked to learn that the judge was appointed by Bill Clinton and was a Democrat in Wisconsin’s State Senate from 1977 to 1997.

I’m not going to spend hours of my life deconstructing the judge’s partisan claptrap, but let me note one teensy tiny little hole in the judge’s argument. After he gets done asserting that there ain’t no such thing as fraud by voter impersonation, he addresses a topic that I have railed about here in the past. Namely: the overwhelming likelihood that illegal immigrants, who habitually present fraudulent documentation in every other walk of life, and habitually and illegally claim rights of citizenship that they have not earned, just might possibly decide to vote as if they were a citizen. Especially if nobody is checking IDs. As I said in 2010:

Estimates say that there are anywhere from 10 million to 18 million illegal immigrants in the country. This means millions are of voting age. What’s more, many of them are experts at obtaining false documents, allowing them to work, drive, and participate in all other aspects of civic life. Do we really think that none of them vote? None? Let’s go with a conservative estimate of 10,000,000 illegal immigrants. If only one percent of them vote — just one percent! — that’s 100,000 illegal votes. That is voter fraud on a massive scale — certainly enough to tip a close election. This sort of thing dilutes your vote.

It has happened in New Mexico and I bet you it has happened in Wisconsin.

Here’s what the good Democrat judge says about that:

The defendants contend that the photo ID requirement will help detect and deter forms of voter fraud other than voter impersonation. However, the defendants do not adequately explain how that could be so. The first type of unlawful voting the defendants cite is “voting under invalid voter registrations.” Defs.’ Post-Trial Br. at 12–13. The examples the defendants give of this kind of voter fraud are voting by a registered voter who has been convicted of a felony and voting by a non-citizen who has managed to register to vote.

However, the defendants do not explain how the requirement to present an ID at the polls will prevent these types of unlawful voting, and I cannot think of any way that it could. If a person is registered and has a valid ID, that person will be allowed to vote. No evidence in the record indicates that persons convicted of a felony or non-citizens will be unable to present qualifying forms of ID.

That’s pages 20-21 of the opinion. Remember that, folks: there is NO EVIDENCE in the record indicating that non-citizens will be unable to present voter IDs.

NO EVIDENCE, I TELL YOU!!!

Serious You Guys, I am over here racking my brain trying to think of a way that an ID requirement could prevent non-citizens from voting, and I am just coming up empty!

If you’re already rubbing your eyes in amazement, just wait until you hit the part of the opinion where the good Democrat judge talks about how very very hard it is to get these IDs.

For almost all low-income voters who lack an ID, the easiest ID to obtain will be the free state ID card, which is issued by the DMV. To obtain a state ID card, a person generally must present documents that satisfy four requirements: (1) proof of name and date of birth, (2) proof of United States citizenship or legal presence in the United States, (3) proof of identity, and (4) proof of Wisconsin residency. See Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15.

That’s at page 26.

!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you see it? I bolded it for you so you would! Did you?

Now, the highlighted portion does allow non-citizens who are legally present in the United States to obtain a state ID card, so requiring a state ID card would not neatly exclude every non-citizen from voting. But it would exclude non-citizens who are not legally present in the country — absent the presentation of fraudulent documents to obtain a state ID card.

So, gee, Mr. Judge, doesn’t it seem like maybe the ID requirement might kinda help after all?

By the way, those requirements are what is necessary to obtain a state ID card, which (according to the judge) is the easiest kind of ID to get. The main other acceptable forms of ID include a Wisconsin driver’s license, an “ID card issued by a United States uniformed service,” or a U.S. passport. These also seem difficult to come by, if you’re an illegal immigrant, except by fraud.

In short, the judge is either exceedingly dense, or he is a liar. Perhaps both, but certainly not neither.

I hope the state of Wisconsin appeals this, and stuffs a resounding reversal opinion right down this judge’s partisan Democrat throat.

Sterling Gets Lifetime Ban from NBA

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:52 pm

Having had a chance to listen to his full remarks on that tape, there’s really no defending him. Anyone listening to him comes away thinking: “what a maroon.” That being said, the whole thing does feel like a set-up job and an invasion of privacy.

I am no expert on the NBA and its rules and powers, but maybe you guys are. Discuss away.

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