Patterico's Pontifications

10/21/2014

David Corn Falsely Smears Rand Paul as a Truther

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:05 am

David Corn, lefty hack from Mother Jones, has a hit piece designed to take out Rand Paul. It’s full of spin and exaggerations, but let me highlight one particularly nasty piece of dishonesty:

Jones’ show has also been a hub of the so-called truther movement, which claims that the 9/11 attacks were mounted or permitted by the US government. During Paul’s 2010 Senate campaign, it was revealed that his campaign spokesman was a truther (as well as a death-metal musician with racist and satanic tendencies). When a Kentucky newspaper asked if Paul agreed with this view, his campaign replied that it was a “complicated situation” with “truth on both sides.”

Well. That’s a strong charge. First Corn claims that Paul’s campaign spokesman was a 9/11 truther, defined as someone who “claims that the 9/11 attacks were mounted or permitted by the US government.” Then Corn claims that Paul’s campaign sanctioned this view.

I looked into this. It wasn’t hard. What Corn says simply isn’t true.

Paul’s campaign spokesman was dismissed after several aspects of his online life were distorted in the press. Relevant here is a letter he wrote to a Kentucky newspaper in which he defended Ron Paul’s position that the 9/11 terrorists were motivated in large part by the United States’s military actions in the Middle East. Ron Paul, an adamant noninterventionist, has long argued that the United States’s penchant for becoming embroiled in military expeditions overseas has unintended consequences. One of those consequences is that it motivates people to plot terrorist attacks on the United States.

The point of my post is not to defend this claim on its merits — although it is certainly beyond dispute that the 9/11 terrorists were motivated in part by the U.S. presence in the Middle East, as is evident to anyone who has read bin Laden’s diatribes. I don’t think this mitigates the terrorists’ responsibility for their awful and indefensible actions on 9/11, but I don’t know if Ron Paul (or Rand Paul) thinks that either.

What I do know is that this argument is very different from saying that “the 9/11 attacks were mounted or permitted by the US government.”

And when Paul’s campaign said the issue was complicated, with truth on both sides, they weren’t saying: “Maybe the government was behind 9/11. Who can say?” They were saying: “We don’t want to be distracted by this controversy, which is why we have fired this guy, but there are aspects of what he said about U.S. foreign policy and interventionism that we can’t honestly disavow.”

That’s very different from what Corn claims.

In short, David Corn is simply lying. Shocking, I know.

(Corn’s claim about the spokesman’s supposed racist tendencies appears to be more exaggeration, for what it’s worth. You can follow the links and see for yourself.)

This post, by the way, is not link bait. Although Rand Paul recently linked this blog when it defended his comments about what the CDC says about Ebola, I doubt very much that he will be linking this post — although he is certainly welcome to, if he likes. The post speaks the truth, but it’s my impression that Paul is currently downplaying the aspects of his previous foreign policy statements that might make GOP donors nervous. My guess is that, even though this post shows that Corn is lying about him sanctioning Trutherism, Paul will take a pass on anything that draws further attention to his noninterventionist statements from the past.

The details, for those who are interested, are in the extended entry.

(more…)

Feds Preparing For A “Surge” Scenario

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

Of course, while given the perfect cover of a public very distracted by Ebola, the administration has been quietly working to prepare for an expected surge of immigrants to live and work in the U.S.:

Unnoticed until now, a draft solicitation for bids issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Oct. 6 says potential vendors must be capable of handling a “surge” scenario of 9 million id cards in one year “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”

The request for proposals says the agency will need a minimum of four million cards per year. In the “surge,” scenario in 2016, the agency would need an additional five million cards – more than double the baseline annual amount for a total of 9 million.

“The guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards,” the document says.

The agency is buying the materials need to construct both Permanent Residency Cards (PRC), commonly known as green cards, as well as Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards which have been used to implement President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program. The RFP does not specify how many of each type of card would be issued.

How big of a surge are we really talking? Consider this:

Jessica Vaughan, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies and former State Department official, said the document suggests a new program of remarkable breadth.

The RFP “seems to indicate that the president is contemplating an enormous executive action that is even more expansive than the plan that Congress rejected in the ‘Gang of Eight’ bill,” Vaughan said.

In conjunction with this, one should take note of current unemployment rates across the country.

I think we can assume that this indicates the president’s plans are likely to be far more wide-reaching than we originally anticipated.

–Dana

Barack Obama Tells An Inconvenient Truth

Filed under: General — JD @ 4:33 am

[guest post by JD]

I am sure that Pryor, Landrieu, Begich, Braley, Shaheen, Grimes, and the rest were really excited to hear this.

“Well, look, here’s the bottom line,” said Obama, “We’ve got a tough map. A lot of the states that are contested this time are states that I didn’t win. And so some of the candidates there, you know, it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turn-out. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress. They are on the right side of minimum wage. They are on the right side of fair pay. They are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure. They’re on the right side of early childhood education.
“So, this isn’t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me. And I tell them, I said, you know what, you do what you need to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn up.”

I don’t know if this was accidental truth telling, or my initial impression, that he is just trying to dispel the idea that he is not universally adored, even within his own party, which would be too much for his notoriously thin skin to handle. Regardless, he did them no favors.

The ads should write themselves. I emphasize should.

I particularly enjoyed the last sentence – “I will be responsible for making sure our voters show up”. So, it is Obama’s fault when they lose.

—JD

10/20/2014

Wendy Davis: Desperation Is So Ugly

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

While we’ve already ascertained that Wendy Davis has no shame, she nonetheless continues to surprise. With her hometown newspaper now endorsing her opponent, Davis (who continues to trail Greg Abbott) pulled out all the stops today, and did what desperate politicians on the left do — she played the race card:

What set this in motion was a reasonable and sound response from Greg Abbott to the editorial board of the San Antonio Express-News on Sunday as they attempted to equalize current legal proceedings over gay marriage to the historical debates over interracial marriage:

“Right now, if there was a ban on interracial marriage, that’s already been ruled unconstitutional,” Abbott pointed out. “And all I can do is deal with the issues that are before me … The job of an attorney general is to represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down.”

When I said I wasn’t clear if he was saying he would have defended a ban on interracial marriage, he said, “Actually, the reason why you’re uncertain about it is because I didn’t answer the question. And I can’t go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.”

Asked about the similarities some see between the ban on gay marriage and past prohibitions on interracial marriage, Abbott said, “Well, the Supreme Court has disagreed with that” by holding that sexual orientation isn’t due protected-class status in the way that race is.

(Meanwhile, Greg Abbott’s wife Cecilia Phalen Abbott — a San Antonio native and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who could make history in the process by becoming the first Latina first lady — offered no comment.)

–Dana

Dana Milbank Badly Misinforms His Readers on Libertarian Views

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

It’s been on my back burner to respond to this diatribe by Dana Milbank, claiming that NIH Director Francis Collins was telling the truth when he said that there would have been an Ebola vaccine but for budget cuts. Milbank goes on and on about the horrible budget cuts that NIH supposedly suffered from, defends origami condoms, etc. But this passage really got my attention:

Even hard-core libertarians tend to agree that medical research and public health, like national defense, are among the few things that should be a federal responsibility. Eric Cantor, the recently deposed House majority leader, made a big push for government funding of medical research.

I’m sorry? Milbank is citing Eric Cantor as an example of a “hard-core libertarian”?? Let’s review some of Cantor’s super-libertarian record:

Cantor helped usher the 2008 bailout to passage. He was the Chamber of Commerce’s most important ally in reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank in 2012, and was expected to play the same role again this year. He voted for the insurers’ and drug makers’ beloved Medicare prescription drug bill in 2003, and for the Republicans’ pork-filled energy bill in 2005.

I was suspicious of Milbank’s claim because the “hard-core libertarians” I am familiar with don’t even necessarily believe national defense should be handled by the government. (I disagree with them.) So I suspected they would not be big fans of federal funding for medical research.

I decided to look into the views of one fairly prominent “hard-core libertarian”: Ron Paul. Guess what? He believes medical research should be done privately. (Sorry, it’s a Prison Planet link, but that’s the only place I can find it.) Here’s Paul:

The issue is not whether the federal government should fund one type of stem cell research or another. The issue is whether the federal government should fund stem cell research at all. Clearly there is no constitutional authority for Congress to do so, which means individual states and private citizens should decide whether to permit, ban, or fund it. Neither party in Washington can fathom that millions and millions of Americans simply don’t want their tax dollars spent on government research of any kind. This viewpoint is never considered.

Federal funding of medical research guarantees the politicization of decisions about what types of research for what diseases will be funded. Scarce tax resources are allocated according to who has the most effective lobby, rather than on the basis of need or even likely success. Federal funding also causes researchers to neglect potential treatments and cures that do not qualify for federal funds. Medical advancements often result from radical ideas and approaches that are scoffed at initially by the establishment. When scientists become dependent on government funds, however, they quickly learn not to rock the boat and stick to accepted areas of inquiry. Federal funds thus distort the natural market for scientific research.

It’s impossible to know whether Milbank is just lying — or whether he really believes what he said, and has no idea what actual libertarians think. Either way, he is badly misinforming his readers.

The Not-So-Great Orator On The Campaign Trail

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:36 am

[guest post by Dana]

In light of the president’s slipping popularity , especially in key states, many Democrats have avoided appearing with him on the campaign trail.

However, tonight he joined Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown of Maryland and spoke at a rally for Brown. Unfortunately, the Great Orator didn’t have the best of nights:

“You’ve got to vote,” Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington.

“There are no excuses. The future is up to us,” Obama said.

The crowd just wasn’t feeling it:

While the 8,000 crowd at the first event gave him an enthusiastic welcome, his repeated urging of them to turn up and vote apparently failed to impress. By the end of his address, around half of the crowd had departed.

A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, and at one point a heckler interrupted his remarks to complain about his handling of the immigration issue. The President told the heckler he would be better protesting at members of Congress who he said had blocked all attempts to resolve the crisis.

If you are curious about all the possible reasons to walk out on the president, here you go.

–Dana

Remember When They Said This Wouldn’t Happen?

Filed under: General — JD @ 5:55 am

[guest post by JD]

This is happening. Now.

You will be made to conform.

—JD

10/19/2014

Obama’s History of Being “Angry” About Screw-Ups in His Executive Branch

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:11 pm

We saw recently that Obama is mad about how the feds are handling Ebola:

“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting. He told aides they needed to get ahead of events and demanded a more hands-on approach, particularly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said.

I thought I would review some other stuff he’s been mad about.

He was mad about the IRS Scandal:

“Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it,” Obama said.

“It should not matter what political stripe you’re from. The fact of the matter is, the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity,” the president said.

He was mad about the ObamaCare rollout:

“Nobody’s madder than me that the website isn’t working as it should , which means it’s going to get fixed,” he said.

He was mad about the VA scandal:

President Barack Obama is “madder than hell” about the problems facing the Department of Veterans Affairs but still supports its embattled chief, Secretary Eric Shinseki, according to the president’s chief of staff.

“Nobody is more outraged about this problem right now” than the president, said White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in a Friday interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

He was mad about the Secret Service fumbling on security:

The first lady was still upset when her husband arrived home five days later from Australia. The president was fuming, too, former aides said. Not only had their aides failed to immediately alert the first lady, but the Secret Service had stumbled in its response.

“When the president came back . . . then the s— really hit the fan,” said one former aide.

All these examples share one characteristic: they are screw-ups in the executive branch — for which Obama is responsible. If he wants to get mad, he should start with himself.

Instead, he tries to show how he is really on top of all this, by leaking stories about how mad he is. Big Media never seems to pick up on the pattern.

Here, we do.

Maybe you have some other examples of your own.

Federally Funded Study to Examine Your Dangerous Free Speech

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:27 am

There appears to be one sane person on the FCC, and he is raising alarms about the way the federal government is using your taxpayer money to study the alarming ways in which you are using your so-called right to free speech:

If you take to Twitter to express your views on a hot-button issue, does the government have an interest in deciding whether you are spreading “misinformation’’? If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?

My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation, a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.

The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”

Named “Truthy,” after a term coined by TV host Stephen Colbert, the project claims to use a “sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models” to distinguish between memes that arise in an “organic manner” and those that are manipulated into being.

But there’s much more to the story. Focusing in particular on political speech, Truthy keeps track of which Twitter accounts are using hashtags such as #teaparty and #dems. It estimates users’ “partisanship.” It invites feedback on whether specific Twitter users, such as the Drudge Report, are “truthy” or “spamming.” And it evaluates whether accounts are expressing “positive” or “negative” sentiments toward other users or memes.

A federally funded study of online political discourse that owes its name to a term used by a leftist? What could go wrong?

The Truthy team says this research could be used to “mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.”

Hmm. A government-funded initiative is going to “assist in the preservation of open debate” by monitoring social media for “subversive propaganda” and combating what it considers to be “the diffusion of false and misleading ideas”? The concept seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.

. . . .

Some possible hints as to Truthy’s real motives emerge in a 2012 paper by the project’s leaders, in which they wrote ominously of a “highly-active, densely-interconnected constituency of right-leaning users using [Twitter] to further their political views.”

And there we have it. They’re spending your money to warn the world about the way you are expressing your political opinions. In this way, they can keep false and misleading ideas from being spread — you know, like those “false” claims that ObamaCare could lead to government rationing and death panels, or that Ebola exposure could result from being three feet away from someone for a prolonged period of time.

We must keep such lies from spreading and infecting the public. And we must use taxpayer money to do it.

It is for the greater good, citizen.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Rand Paul Is Politicizing Ebola By Accurately Citing the CDC

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:57 am

Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on Fox News Sunday today and furthered the “Rand Paul got Ebola transmission wrong” canard. (H/t Colonel Haiku.) The video is at The Daily Caller; I initially embedded it, but it’s one of those annoying auto-start videos. At 8:41, Schultz says:

When you have Republican Senators like Rand Paul, who’s a doctor, who should know better, who are saying that you can be three feet from someone who has Ebola and actually get it, I mean, that’s an example of how Republicans are politicizing this.

As I showed in this post, Rand Paul simply repeated what the CDC says. It is a fact, beyond any rational dispute, that the CDC defines a “low-risk exposure” to include being within “three feet” of an Ebola patient for a “prolonged period of time.” To attack Rand Paul over this, when he is simply accurately citing the CDC, is the height of ignorance.

Unfortunately, host Chris Wallace didn’t seem to know this — or, if he did, he allowed this misinformation to go unchallenged. But, as Patterico readers, you know it — even if Sunday talk show hosts don’t.

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