Patterico's Pontifications

9/17/2014

Joe Biden: These “Shylocks” Took Advantage

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

It’s a strong indication of what a buffoon this guy is that this offensive comment will likely merit a shrug from Big Media. It’s just Joe being Joe, you see.

It’s a cliche to say “Imagine how the media would react if a Republican had said this.” That said, imagine how the media would react if a Republican had said this.

Romney Running Again?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

So says a top GOP money man. (Well, he says he might.)

It’s a test of your ability to be civil to one another. Please try.

Yesterday’s News, Tomorrow: 7th Circuit Reinstates Wisconsin Voter ID Law

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

Yes, I know, that headline makes me sound even more prompt than I am. I’m admittedly days late to the reporting of this news, but there are a few things that happened when I was overwhelmed at work last week that deserve some mention, and this is one of them.

In April, when a Democrat judge invalidated the Wisconsin voter-ID law, I said: “I hope the state of Wisconsin appeals this, and stuffs a resounding reversal opinion right down this judge’s partisan Democrat throat.” Looks like we are well on the way:

In a stunningly fast decision, a federal appeals court in Chicago reinstated Wisconsin’s voter photo identification law on Friday — just hours after three Republican-appointed judges heard arguments on reactivating the hotly debated law in time for the November election.

In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said, “The State of Wisconsin may, if it wishes … enforce the photo ID requirement in this November’s elections.”

Wisconsin officials wasted no time in saying they would do just that.

“We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November general election,” said Kevin Kennedy, the state’s top election official. “We are now focused on communicating with local election officials and voters, and will have more information about the details next week.”

The court has not issued a final ruling; this is just a one-pager lifting the stay. But it’s a strong indication that they are going to reverse.

Election Law Expert Rick Hasen says the appellate court decision is a “big, big mistake,” which is persuasive evidence that it’s a good idea.

The decision in April was a partisan travesty. It’s nice to see it on its way to the trashbin.

9/16/2014

3,000 Troops To Liberia

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:12 pm

[guest post by Dana]

While the president has repeatedly stated there would be no ground troops sent to fight the threat that is ISIS, he did announce that he will be sending 3,000 troops to Liberia to lead the way in the fight against Ebola:

‘U.S. Africa Command will set up a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination with U.S. government and international relief efforts,’ a statement from the White House press office said.

‘A general from U.S. Army Africa, the Army component of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), will lead this effort, which will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. forces.’

However, it should be noted: AFRICOM already warns its own personnel that they should ‘avoid nonessential travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.’

Further:

And the Defense Department is concerned, one Pentagon official told MailOnline, about the public perceptions aroused when American G.I.s patrol ground zero in a disease outbreak that could plunge three or more countries into chaos if it worsens significantly.

Combat soldiers and Marines ‘will be on hand and ready for anything,’ said the official, who has knowledge of some, but not all, of the Ebola-related planning. ‘But hopefully it will be all logistics and hospital-building.’

‘The president has ordered us to help, and we’re eager to do it,’ he said. ‘Now it looks like we’re going to be the lead dog, and that’s bound to make a lot of people nervous. It’s understandable.’

‘But no one wants U.S. personnel enforcing someone else’s martial law if things go south and the entire region is at risk.’

Commenter ThOR aptly expresses my concerns:

I am far more concerned about the military deployment to ground zero in the Ebola epidemic than a deployment against ISIS. Our troops have the tools and the training to wage war; they’ll be sitting ducks in West Africa. The proposed deployment to West Africa speaks volumes about President Obama’s disregard for the safety of our servicemen and women. Also, if there is a pathway by which Ebola makes its presence felt here at home, the conduit could easily be our returning Ebola-fighters.

There is no mention of specific precautions and barrier methods that will be in place to keep our troops well protected from this virulent and unusually contagious strain of Ebola.

–Dana

So Amusingly Unaware

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:07 pm

[guest post by Dana]

We haven’t heard from Touré lately, but tonight he provides us with a fun bit of irony. Per usual, he appears utterly unaware and clueless:

TOURE NEBLETT: Another week, another video of a beheading by those media-savvy savages at ISIS. Another video the vast majority of us will never see. Our government and media shield us from being able to see anything more than a slide. Part of what’s so shocking here is, we’re not used to seeing horrific things happen to American bodies overseas. For the first several years of the Iraq war we weren’t allowed to see flag-draped coffins, so it seemed like a war without American deaths. We’re blocked from seeing too much of the cost of war, of the evil of war, as if we are too sensitive or too squeamish or just unable to handle the graphic truth. Part of what makes ISIS so barbaric is not simply the beheadings, but trying to force us to see them, forcing us to see how evil war can be, thus breaking the unstated modern contract that war should be conducted largely out of public view.

Our government seems to say let them see some of it but not the truly messy parts. We learned in Vietnam seeing too much erodes public support. So out of Iraq we get stories like that out of photo-journalist Kenneth Jarecke was in Iraq in 1991 during the first Gulf War who happened upon an Iraqi in a truck who had been burned beyond recognition, almost man frozen in the midst of dying. Ken said “if I don’t make pictures like this, people like my mother will think what they see in war is what they see in movies.” So he took a graphic photo, which he called Incinerated Iraqi.

You see a man almost frozen in the midst of dying, a man charred beyond belief. The AP did not transmit his photo, judging too much for even editors to see. The London Observer published it and later it ended up in a traveling museum exhibit of images from war. But it was one of many images that are kept from us. Incinerated Iraqi is so graphic I can’t even show it to you now. . .

–Dana

Cracking Open The Door: US Troops On The Battlefield In Iraq?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:13 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The nation’s top military officer opened the door slightly today to the possibility of American troops accompanying Iraqi forces on the battlefield against ISIS if needed.

The latest deployment of 475 American forces to Iraq includes 150 advisers who will be working closely with Iraqi brigades at the headquarters level to coordinate the Iraqi military’s offensive operations against ISIS.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the advisers “will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support, and coordinate coalition contributions.”

“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president,” said Dempsey, using one of several acronyms for the militant Islamic group that has taken over a large swath of Syria and Iraq. The group calls itself the Islamic State.

Gen. Dempsey also reminded the committee:

[P]resident Obama has given the order for no combat troops in Iraq, but “he has told me as well, to come to him on a case-by-case basis.”

–Dana

Cop to Daniele Watts: “I’m Mildly Interested That You Have a Publicist, But I’m Going to Get Your ID”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:07 am

And thus does another narrative of a racist white cop collapse with the emergence of facts. The other day, our law-enforcement-loving friends at Reason were telling us about the latest outrage: an acbtress from Django Unchained arrested for KWB (Kissing While Black).

For the “why relations between the American people and their law officers can be strained” department, even in the hallowed halls of Tinseltown (adjacent) and involving stars of the silver screen, such as Daniele Watts of Django Unchained and the TV show Partners fame, cops are still officious asses, as reported by Mic.com:

African-American actress Danièle Watts claims she was “handcuffed and detained” by police officers from the Studio City Police Department in Los Angeles on Thursday after allegedly being mistaken for a prostitute.

According to accounts by Watts and her husband Brian James Lucas, two police officers mistook the couple for a prostitute and client when they were seen showing affection in public. Watts refused to show her ID to the cops when questioned and was subsequently handcuffed and placed in the back of their car while police attempted to ascertain her identity. The two officers released Watts shortly afterwards.

Oh, the horrible and despicable racisms!!!

And then . . .

And then audio of the incident emerged.

In the audio, the officer explains that someone called saying there were lewd acts in the car. Watts repeatedly refuses to show her ID and complains about black people being stopped by the cops, to which the cop asks why Watts is playing the race card, as he had not brought up race. Watts tells the cop: “I can make a scene about it . . . I have a publicist.” The cop responds: “I’m mildly interested that you have a publicist, but I’m going to get your ID.” Well played, Mr. Cop.

In the CNN clip above, note how Watts complains that the cop asked her husband for her ID, apparently oblivious to the fact that the cop was politely not interrupting her phone conversation with her dad. The sympathetic CNN interviewer explains that the cop had the right to ask for ID, and keeps politely asking the clueless Watts why she didn’t just give up her ID. (Once Watts’s husband gave up her ID, the incident was over.) Watts also says “It’s my right and my pleasure to enjoy myself” by making out with her husband passionately in the car. TMZ says: “we’ve learned witnesses from the nearby Art Directors Guild office building told cops they were watching her and her BF have full-on sex in the passenger seat WITH THE DOOR OPEN!” (I love your passion, TMZ!)

Here’s how Reason describes the audio in their update:

[UPDATE: To vicariously live through and hear exactly why Watts, and other Americans, get so aggravated with police, it's worth listening to some audio of the incident released by celeb gossip website TMZ, in which a Sgt. Parker tells Watts with maddening supercilious arrogance that "I do have more power than you. Yes it's true. I have more power than you" and "I don't work for you" and "When I tell you to do something you have to do it, ma'am. That's the law....We actually have no charges now" when stressing she was not arrested but merely being detained. TMZ also found eyewitnesses who claim that Watts and her husband were having intercourse in the parked car, though nothing in the audio they released corroborates that as the complaint.]

Well, the cop does say someone called about “lewd acts” in the car, so yeah, actually it does corroborate it.

It’s a tough thing to have your narrative destroyed by facts, huh, Reason guys?

So what was initially portrayed in Reason as another Terrible Incident of Racism turns out to be a race-baiting publicity hound being dealt with by a bored, irritated, and decidedly non-racist cop just trying to do his job.

Whaddya know . . .

UPDATE: Husband, not boyfriend. Thanks to Christopher Smith.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali At Yale

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:25 am

[guest post by Dana]

In a followup to last night’s post, Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke before an audience of more than 300 people at Yale. Apparently there were no major interruptions during her speech. She presented her personal history and background of growing up in Somalia before addressing modern Islam and the need for reform:

During her speech, Hirsi Ali reiterated her views on the religion in which she was raised, focusing on her childhood and adolescence in a Muslim community in Somalia. She said she believes her experiences are relevant to the current state of Islam, which she described as violent, intolerant and in need of reform.

Hirsi Ali added that this “indoctrination” is at the source of radical Islam and leads to intolerance and violence. Therefore, she said, in order to fight the symptoms of radical Islam, the “core creed” of Islam — the Qur’an and hadith — must be reformed. Hirsi Ali called on Muslims to listen to their consciences and stand up to Allah, rather than bending to his will.

She also addressed the West’s response to radical groups:

Hirsi Ali repeated many times that the western world acts with “restraint” when dealing with conflicts of Islamic terrorism and radical groups.

“The clash is there, but what we follow up with is restraint. And restraint is what we’ve been showing for the last 30 years,” Hirsi Ali said to the audience.

Although she said she did not blame U.S. President Barack Obama for his reservations in handling situations such as the current rise of ISIS, she also spoke in favor of perceiving her former religion as “one Islam” whose core creed involves complete submission to Allah, the Islamic god that she previously deemed “fire-breathing.”

Turning the tables, she pointedly addressed the Muslim Student Association which had written a letter protesting her appearance:

Hirsi Ali directly addressed the MSA during her speech, asking why the organization took the time and resources to “silence the reformers and dissidents of Islam,” including herself, rather than fighting against the violence, intolerance and indoctrination Hirsi Ali associates with Islam.

“MSA students of Yale, you live at a time when Muslims are at a crossroads,” she said. “The Muslim world is on fire and those fanning the fire are using more creed. With every atrocity [they underscore] your commitment to Allah … Will you submit passively or actively, or will you finally stand up to Allah?”

Hirsi Ali also responded to the MSA’s critique of her lack of academic credentials by saying that even scholars with substantial credentials who have criticized Islam have been “bullied into silence.”

Courage seems to be in awfully short supply on university campuses these days. Hopefully some in the audience found themselves inspired to honestly examine their preconceived notions and views.

–Dana

9/15/2014

Further Shaming Themselves

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last week, I posted about the timid little people of the left whose narrow-minded bigotry revealed itself in protests against an invitation extended to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak at Yale.

Well, Hirsi Ali will be speaking at Yale tonight. In a collective outcry, narrow-minded bigots on campus are collectively whining about her appearance – including the pearl-clutching Yale chaplain Sharon Kugler:

“We understand and affirm Yale’s commitment to free expression within an educational context,” Kugler said in the statement. “We are deeply concerned, however, by Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s long record of disparaging, and arguably hateful, comments about Muslims and Islam.”

Kugler wants the Buckley Program to allow speeches by critics of Hirsi Ali, one of the planet’s greatest and bravest campaigners for women’s rights and a very vocal critic of Islam.

“To better represent the whole Yale community and its educational goals, we recommend the organizers consider actions to expand the event, such as allowing concerned students to present their perspectives, or adding a scholarly voice to create a more nuanced conversation,” the chaplain urged.

Can you hear the screams of warning: Plug your ears!!

God help us. It appears that large swaths of the student population at Yale prefer having their intelligence insulted in order to remain safely cocooned in their ignorant infancy. At $44,000 per year in tuition, that’s some very expensive babysitting going on.

Thirty-five student campus groups co-signed a letter of protest from the Yale Muslim Students Association, stating they feel not only highly disrespected by the invitation but also believe that Hirsi Ali lacks the credentials to speak as an authority on Islam. I will refrain from a crude rejoinder here, but suffice it to say, I think there are very few who can actually provide such a uniquely powerful perspective and authoritative look at Islam. Further, if they believe she lacks the necessary authority, then why do they even care what she says? Why be so threatened by an ignorant rube?

But sadly, you know who has insulted and degraded the women on campus most in this? The dull-eyed, uninspired and fear-mongering Yale Women’s Center who co-signed the letter.

–Dana

9/14/2014

Tim Rutten Gets It Right (No, Really!)

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:09 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Columnist Tim Rutten has deservedly come in for withering criticism at these parts through the years (see here, here, here, and, oh, here and maybe here and here; can’t forget here either). He’s a committed leftist who always seeks to put conservatives in the worst possible light, and a blowhard to boot. However, just as with the old aphorism about the broken clock being accurate twice per day, Rutten once in a great while gets one right. Brace yourselves, friends: this is one of those times.

In today’s column, Rutten addresses the ills of Wahhabism as the antecedent of the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, ISIS, and the rest of the islamofascism that has become so prominent in Muslim countries:

While political Islam’s contemporary ideology is the work of mid-20th century Egyptian thinkers like Sayyid Qutb, the style of Muslim religiosity in which it flourishes is rooted in the Wahhabi creed that is the official religion of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Since the 18th century, when the puritanical religious zealot Muhammad ibn-Wahhab struck an alliance with the tribal leader Muhammad bin Saud, the family that today supplies Saudi Arabia’s royals has allowed the Wahhabi clerical establishment to dominate their people’s religious and social lives in return for political support. Even today, the kingdom’s minister of religious affairs always comes from among Wahhab’s descendants, the al ash-Sheikh family. More importantly, the Saudis have spent tens of billions from their petro-wealth to promote Wahhabism around the world. Today, its prestige is, as a result, unrivaled in the globe’s Muslim communities.

Naturally, because this is after all Tim Rutten we are dealing with, there has to be at least a few silly leftwing delusions:

Contemporary American notions of tolerance put us ill at ease when circumstances require condemnation of other people’s religious practice. . .

Because, you know, American liberals have been so reticent when it comes to condemning the beliefs of Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, and other religions who don’t gleefully adopt the modern groupthink on abortion, birth control, or homosexuality. Nevertheless, Rutten steps up to the plate and takes a mighty cut (at an admittedly slow pitch):

. . . but the time has come to deliver exactly that verdict on Saudi salafism. It is intolerant, repressive and obscurantist and has made the world a more dangerous place for us all. It preaches hatred of Jews, Christians, women, gays and even other Muslims. The international community of nations has put up with behavior on the Saudis’ part that would not be countenanced on the part of any other country in the world. No matter how much the Obama administration believes it requires Saudi assistance in the campaign against the Islamic State, it’s kidding itself if it thinks the kleptocratic and deceitful House of Saud is a reliable ally.

Sure, Rutten is unloading on an illiberal religion and that’s easy enough for any leftist to do, but I think we can all take solace in the fact that he did not try to temper his criticism of salafism with a critique of U.S. foreign policy over the past seventy years (especially under Republican Administrations) or some banal recitation of the shopworn idea that Islam is the Religion of Peace and that Wahhabis only comprise a very small subset. Note that he even registers a slight criticism of the Obama Administration’s deference to the House of Saud.

There will be plenty of opportunities to criticize Tim Rutten’s future musings, but for tonight let’s welcome him as an ally on this particular issue.

- JVW

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