Patterico's Pontifications

1/26/2015

State Deptartment: Religion Had Nothing To Do With Execution Of Japanese Citizen By ISIS

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:47 am



[Guest post by Dana]

As we have already observed, the White House has steadfastly refused to use the “I” word. This in spite of other world leaders citing “radical Islam” as being linked to the current wave of terrorist attacks throughout the world as well as the continuing executions by the Islamic State.

This weekend, in yet another act by a member of the Washington Theater of the Absurd, a top State Dept. official claimed there was “nothing religious” about the execution of a Japanese citizen held hostage by ISIS. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Rick Stengel made the comment as he condemned the execution of Haruna Yukawa:

Of course Stengel is following the lead of the White House. After the attacks in France, the White House claimed it would be “inaccurate” to use the phrase “radical Islam” with regard to terrorists.

This weekend at Davos, Kerry again pushed the company line, explaining that by using “radical Islam” instead of “violent extremism” the barbarians might get mad at us:

“We have to keep our heads,” Kerry said. “The biggest error we could make would be to blame Muslims for crimes…that their faith utterly rejects,” he added.

“We will certainly not defeat our foes by vilifying potential partners,” the top U.S. diplomat said. “We may very well fuel the very fires that we want to put out.”

Further:

Kerry referred to the terrorists as “nothing more than a form of criminal anarchy–nihilism, which illegitimately claims an ideological and religious foundation.”

Kerry said it is not appropriate to use terminology referring to Islam because the terrorists are ignorant individuals with ulterior motives that distort the religion.

As a counterpoint to the administration’s careful avoidance of certain terminology, former Wall St. Journal reporter and Muslim Asra Q. Nomani, who has faced death threats for criticizing Islam and fighting for reforms, explains why it’s vital to frame the debate correctly. Nomani writes about the “ghairat brigade,” an organized group that powerfully bullies and publicly labels as “Islamophobes” any pundits, journalists, public figures and individuals who dare to criticize or challenge Islam. No one is too big or too small to be a target of this campaign. With a strong online presence and being “coordinated, frightening and persistent,” their goal is to protect the image of Islam before the world as well as force critics to back down and refrain from suggesting or discussing any links between Islam and jihad or terrorism. And it is chillingly effective:


Bullying this intense really works. Observant members of the flock are culturally conditioned to avoid shaming Islam, so publicly citing them for that sin often has the desired effect. Non-Muslims, meanwhile, are wary of being labeled “Islamophobic” bigots. So attacks against both groups succeed in quashing civil discourse. They cause governments, writers and experts to walk on eggshells, avoiding important discussion.

Silencing the critics.

Nomani points to Obama:

Next month, the Obama administration will hold a conference on challenging violent extremism, and President Obama last year called on Muslim communities to “explicitly, forcefully and consistently reject the ideology of al-Qaeda and ISIL.” But his administration isn’t framing extremism as a problem directly tied to Islam. Last month, by contrast, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi acknowledged that there was an ideology problem in Islam and said, “We need to revolutionize our religion.”

When I heard Sissi’s words, I thought: Finally.

–Dana

1/25/2015

Jessie Gallan, 109: The Secret To A Long Life Is No Men

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:52 pm



[guest post by Dana]

So, what’s the secret to a long, long life? According to Scotland’s oldest living woman, 109-year old Jessie Gallan, it’s fairly simple:

‘My secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.

‘I also made sure that I got plenty of exercise, eat a nice warm bowl of porridge every morning and have never gotten married.

Gallan also has a positive outlook on life:

I’ve never had to depend on anybody. I’ve had my ups and downs, many. But I’m thankful.

I read that news of Gallan’s no-men-allowed code resulted in some fun jabs at misandry:

But of course, that’s not what real misandry looks like. This is:

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 5.34.03 PM

And with all due respect, I so disagree with Ms. Gallan’s view on men. Frankly, I think they are more than worth all that trouble!

–Dana

1/24/2015

Young Woman Forced To Undergo Chemotherapy Against Her Will

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:44 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Cassandra C, as she is known, is a 17-year old girl with cancer. She was given an 85-90% chance of recovery with chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma, one of the most treatable forms of cancer. However, Cassandra did not want chemotherapy, believing it was “poison.” Her mother, Jackie Fortin said Cassandra believed chemo would not just kill her cancer, but “everything in her body” as well. Fortin stood along side Cassandra in her decision not to undergo chemo treatment:

“[These] are her human constitutional rights to not put poison in her body,” Fortin said. “Her rights have been taken away. She has been forced to put chemo in her body.”

After losing an appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court, Cassandra is now being compelled by the state to undergo chemotherapy:

The state’s highest court reviewed the case under an emergency appeal filed by attorneys representing Cassandra and her mother, taking up an issue previously decided by several other states – whether some minors are mature enough to make decisions about their own bodies.

On Thursday, the judges decided that Cassandra is not mature and will continue to receive chemotherapy. She turns 18 in September, a year after her cancer diagnosis.

“Connecticut Children’s respects the decision provided by the Supreme Court this afternoon. Now that a ruling has been issued, we will continue to work with the Department of Children and Families in providing care for this child,” said Bob Fraleigh, director of corporate communications at Connecticut Children’s.

In an op-ed written by Cassandra, she describes the whole ordeal as “horrifying”:

Words cannot describe what my life has become over the last few months. “Horrifying” seems like an understatement. What I have been going through is traumatizing. Never did it cross my mind that one day I would be diagnosed with cancer. In September, after a stressful summer of blood work, examinations and biopsies, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

My mom and I wanted to make sure my diagnosis was correct, so we agreed to seek a second opinion. We wanted to be 100 percent sure I had cancer. Apparently, going for the second opinion and questioning doctors was considered “wasting time” and “not necessary.” My mom was reported to the Department of Children and Families for medical neglect because we weren’t meeting the doctors’ time standard.

As a result, DCF put Cassandra into foster care. She was permitted to return to her own home after promising authorities that she would begin chemotherapy. She underwent treatment for two days, quit and ran away in order not to be forced to put something into her body that she did not want. Fearing authorities would assume her mother was refusing to disclose her whereabouts (which her mother did not know) and perhaps be jailed, Cassandra returned home. And once again she was picked up by DCF. Her ordeal was not over, far from it:

In December, a decision was made to hospitalize me. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I did know I wasn’t going down without a fight.

I was admitted to the same room I’m in now, with someone sitting by my door 24/7. I could walk down the hallway as long as security was with me, but otherwise I couldn’t leave my room. I felt trapped.

After a week, they decided to force chemotherapy on me. I should have had the right to say no, but I didn’t. I was strapped to a bed by my wrists and ankles and sedated. I woke up in the recovery room with a port surgically placed in my chest. I was outraged and felt completely violated. My phone was taken away, the hospital phone was removed from my room and even the scissors I used for art were taken.

I have been locked in this hospital for a month, missing time from work, not being able to pay my bills. I couldn’t celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with my friends and family. I miss my cat and I miss fresh air. Having visitors is complicated, seeing my mom is limited, and I’ve not been able to see all of the people I’d like to. My friends are a major support; I need them. Finally, I was given an iPad. I can message my friends on Facebook, but it is nowhere near like calling a friend at night when I can’t sleep or hearing someone’s voice to cheer me up.

This experience has been a continuous nightmare. I want the right to make my medical decisions. It’s disgusting that I’m fighting for a right that I and anyone in my situation should already have. This is my life and my body, not DCF’s and not the state’s. I am a human — I should be able to decide if I do or don’t want chemotherapy. Whether I live 17 years or 100 years should not be anyone’s choice but mine.

How long is a person actually supposed to live, and why? Who determines that? I care about the quality of my life, not just the quantity.

At the heart of the issue is the question of when a minor is mature enough to make medical decisions for themselves. While 17 other states have the “mature minor” doctrine, Connecticut does not. The courts did not believe Cassandra or her mother proved Cassandra capable of making life and death decisions:

The state Supreme Court order argues that Cassandra, along with her mother, had a chance to show that she was a mature minor and did not do so. It also says that even if you presume the mature minor doctrines can be considered in Connecticut, Cassandra and her mother failed to prove she is “capable of acting independently” when it comes to her illness and treatment. (The court cites the fact that Cassandra ran away from home for a time and stopped her treatment as a part of this finding).

And then there is the ambiguity and seeming inconsistency about a set age defining maturity:

The existence of age-related laws and requirements creates a certain gray area. Does a person who is one week shy of turning 21 change dramatically over the ensuing week before being deemed mature enough to drink alcohol? It is tough to argue that a mere matter of days represents enough time for incredible change to occur for each and every person governed by these laws. There are also exceptions to the rules that exist. You typically have to be 25 to rent a car, but in some states younger drivers can rent a car if they are willing to pay an additional fee.

Interestingly, abortion for minors in Connecticut is legal and does not require parental consent or notice. There is, however, a requirement for minors under 16 to receive counseling beforehand, which must include the possibility of informing parents.

–Dana

Flashback: Obama on Patriotism

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:32 am



Obama, 2008:

On the American flag lapel pin, Obama said, “When we start getting into those definitions of patriotism, that’s a debate I’m happy to have, because I will come right after them.”

Obama said he would argue that the GOP is “a party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor that they needed or [sent] troops over who were untrained because of poor planning, or are not fulfilling the veterans benefits that these troops need when they come home, or [are] undermining our constitution with warrantless wiretaps that are unnecessary.

“That is a debate that I am very happy to have,” Obama added. “We’ll see what the American people think is the true definition of patriotism.”

Obama’s record on providing care for veterans, and on maintaining citizens’ privacy, is unblemished: he has done neither.

Robert C.J. Parry Running for City Council in Monrovia

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:12 am



Friend of the blog Robert C.J. Parry is running for City Council in Monrovia. His Web site, which has a handy donation button, is here. I feel confident he would work to make life there better.

1/23/2015

President Obama Will Not Be Joining 3,000 Dignitaries At The 70th Anniversary Of The Liberation Of Auschwitz

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:14 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This coming week marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Approximately 300 remaining survivors are expected to attend a commemoration ceremony on Tuesday. Due to most survivors being 90 years or older, it clearly marks the last major anniversary where such a significant number of survivors will be in attendance.

With that, the 300 survivors will be part of a larger group of 3,000 dignitaries attending the ceremony. This would also include heads of state and royalty:

A preliminary list of those attending includes President François Hollande of France, President Joachim Gauck of Germany and President Heinz Fischer of Austria, as well as King Philippe of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Unfortunately, President Obama will not be in attendance to represent the United States as he is due to arrive in India on Sunday. Instead, representing the United States will be Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

It’s a shame that our president will once again not be representing the United States before the world at an historic occasion. This especially as the opportunity comes on the heels of the recent tone-deaf decision made by the White House not to have the president attend the unity march in Paris and publicly stand in solidarity with other world leaders supporting a traumatized France. Further, in light of increasing antisemitism sweeping across Europe and the large number of Jews leaving Paris and points beyond because they no longer feel safe, it would seem a most opportune moment for the President of the United States to personally express to the world America’s unwavering support of the Jewish people who have endured so much – both then and now. And not lost from view, this happens as the White House announces that neither the president nor John Kerry will be meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu when he is in Washington next month.

Anyway, how pressing is this trip to India? Well, Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace suggests maybe not that pressing:

“President Obama crosses into one of the indisputable stages of a lame duck presidency this week. That is the non-essential foreign travel stage,” Pace said on CNN. “He’s going to India basically for a parade and a visit to the Taj Mahal.

“Yes, there are strategic interests with India, and those will be on the agenda, but think about the timing of this. The president is going to India three days after his State of the Union Address. A period of time when he normally would be out trying to rally Congress and the public behind his agenda. I think this says all you need to know about the likelihood that anything he announces on Tuesday actually gets done.”

And some of what is on the agenda: climate change; counterterrorism cooperation; stability of the Asia-Pacific region and defense trade and technology.

–Dana

UPDATE: Commenter happyfeet notes that President Obama has decided to cut short his trip to India so that he can pay official respects to King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the family of late King Abdullah. Vice-President Biden was originally scheduled to make the trip.

It’s a bitter irony that the president has chosen to make the special trip to Saudi Arabia to pay our country’s respects, given the kingdom’s historical and continuing grim record on human rights violations and yet chose not to make the trip to Auschwitz to pay respects to the survivors and families who suffered some of the world’s most horrific human rights violations on record.

Friday Night Music: Kevin Kane from the Grapes of Wrath

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:17 pm



Kevin Kane from the great Canadian band The Grapes of Wrath, performing an acoustic version of one of their classics: “All The Things I Wasn’t”:

These days, Kevin is touring with Bryan Potvin of The Northern Pikes, another long-time favorite. (The two bands have played several gigs together recently; I saw them play together in 2001, nearly fourteen years ago . . . as proved by this photo, which I first published in 2009 in this post.

Marquee -- good quality picture
April 26, 2001: Barrie, Ontario

Kevin tells me that he and Bryan Potvin are headed into the studio next month to record their first album together. I can’t wait to see what comes of it . . .

Romney: We Need International Agreements to Deal with Climate Change

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am



It’s a matter of record that he believes climate change is real and that humans contribute to it, although some of you may have forgotten that. The part about needing international agreements to deal with it seems to be new, though. Here’s a quote from an AP story that was excerpted at Hot Air:

While hitting familiar Republican points criticizing the size of the federal debt, Romney at times sounded like a Democrat, calling for President Barack Obama and other leaders in Washington to act on common liberal priorities such as climate change, poverty and education.

“I’m one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that,” he said of climate change, charging that federal leaders have failed to enact global agreements needed to tackle the problem

“Let’s deal with poverty,” he said Wednesday night. “Have we done it? No. Let’s do it.”…

Romney had previously acknowledged that climate change is real, noting in his 2010 book that “human activity is a contributing factor.” But he questioned the extent to which man was contributing to the warming of the planet and said throughout his 2012 campaign that America shouldn’t spend significant resources combating the problem — particularly with major polluters like China doing little.

The AP has apparently changed the story since Hot Air quoted the above passages, but remnants of it remain findable (see here, for example).

My own position is probably familiarly infuriating to long-time readers: I think the planet is warming (although there has been an odd “pause” in the data), and I think it stands to reason that humans might be contributing to that — but (and this part is very important) I don’t have a clue how much that contribution is, and I don’t think the “scientists” do either.

Increasingly, climate change “science” seems to bear a greater resemblance to a field like economics than it does to actual hard sciences like chemistry and physics. Look at the similarities. Both constitute a human effort to describe and predict systems that are so complex that prediction seems impossible. Both have become so partisan that one simply can’t trust the messengers to accurately describe the data, much less provide meaningful conclusions from that data. And both have lefty priests whose pronouncements lead to government actions that cost us billions that we can’t afford.

This, seemingly, was Romney’s position last time around as well. But now it seems that he has “evolved” to the point where (unlike me) he wants international agreements to address this horrible issue that he previously said he doesn’t know whether we contribute to or not.

(Plus, he seems to want to “deal with poverty” — and I am concerned that he is talking about using the government to do so, rather than getting government out of the way so that the free market can address the problem. What is he talking about there? We already know he wants to raise the minimum wage, a stupid idea that will increase unemployment. What other “poverty-fighting” programs might he propose to trash our economy further?)

So, you Romney supporters who are far more skeptical of global warming than I am . . . how do you like him now?

Unnamed Obama Official: Netanyahu Will Pay a Price for This

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:24 am



Haaretz (via Hot Air):

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” a senior American official said. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”

I don’t know; maybe Netanyahu is just trying to show that he’s not a “chickenshit.” That’s the label that an unnamed Obama administration official pinned on Netanyahu last October with no real blowback from the administration. If this is all about petty revenge for personal slights, well, I suppose two can play that game. That ever occur to you, Obama?

I guess it didn’t, because guess what? You also seem to be making the same mistake in complaining that this is a breach of protocol. It’s also kind of a breach of protocol (to put it mildly) to go around handing out work permits to people that Congress has said are here illegally and should be removed from the country. (It’s also unconstitutional, in my opinion, but let’s just talk “protocol” for now.)

In Rome, not long before the fall of the Republic, there was a fella named Tiberius Gracchus who breached “protocol” and bypassed the Roman Senate (and violated several other traditional norms of collegiality) in an effort to address inequality in society. Things didn’t end well for him. Namely, he was beaten to death with clubs and bench legs. Nobody is talking about doing any such thing to Obama, of course — nor should they be. All they’re doing is inviting a foreign leader to make a speech — and showing that breaches of protocol run both ways.

The sowing is done. It’s reaping time. Enjoy the harvest, pal.

1/22/2015

NFL Bad Lip Reading

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 pm



All I know is that this is a bad guy, and this is a good one.

Thanks to Ken White on Facebook.

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