Patterico's Pontifications

3/26/2015

Ignorant Parents Encourage Children To Use Vietnam Memorial As A Jungle Gym – In Front Of Veterans

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:43 pm

[guest post by Dana]

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This is The Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington D.C. As you can see, it is also doubling as a jungle gym for children.

[Matthew Munson] was taking photos when girls showed up, and says at first he didn’t think anything of it. He says he was waiting for them to move so he could take more pictures when their parents showed up and told the girls “to get on for pictures.” He says the kids were treating the memorial like a jungle gym.

“The parents were laughing while trying to get their kids to pose,” Munson wrote on Reddit. “There was a crowd of tourists forming around the parents just glaring at them. It was all pretty brutal to watch.”

Veterans watched the antics:

“They looked hurt more than angry. They were quiet. That’s when I noticed a big group around the parents glaring at them, the pressure was intense and the kids blissfully ignorant. That’s when I snapped the picture.”

Reaction to the children playing on the memorial was what you would expect – outrage over the disrespectful behavior being encouraged by parents. However, there are also those who see this as anything but disrespectful:

Some saw the carefree children as the very thing veterans fought to enable. One user told of how his grandfather, a World War II veteran, loved watching kids play on a local memorial that had names of lost friends — including his brother — on it.

“He saw it as a way for the next generation to take some joy out of something so terrible and at the same time gave them a link to the past,” the commenter wrote, noting that some kids would stop to read names or be prompted to read up on the history.

Another said his grandfather, also a World War II vet, let him play on local memorials in town, adding “I think they fought so kids can freely be kids.”

Parents encouraging their children to behave rudely and disrespectfully at a war memorial? If I had been there, I would not have been able to remain silent. Not for one second.

–Dana

Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:23 am

First he locked the main pilot out of the cockpit — which pilots can do, thanks to 9/11 — and then deliberately crashed the plane.

The co-pilot’s name: Andreas Lubitz. Religion: unknown.

Hmmmmm. One gets the feeling that there will be a lot of interest in Mr. Lubitz’s life in the weeks and months leading up to this crash. For now, let’s call it what it was: mass murder.

3/25/2015

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl To Face Charges (Added: Administration Comments On Bergdahl)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:11 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Army is charging Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy”:

The charges were announced by the service at Fort Bragg, N.C., hours after the 28-year-old was handed a charge sheet, according to one of his attorneys. Bergdahl will next face a preliminary Article 32 hearing, which is frequently compared to a grand jury proceeding in civilian court.

If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison.

The Army’s decision comes after nearly 10 months of debate about whether Bergdahl should face charges and about the circumstances of his recovery. Critics — and an independent review by the Government Accountability Office — said President Obama broke the law in authorizing the release of five Taliban detainees held by the United States in exchange for Bergdahl without consulting Congress. Others have insisted that Washington had a responsibility to bring Bergdahl home by any means necessary.

As you recall, in 2014, the administration released five high-risk and dangerous Taliban leaders in exchange for Bergdahl.

The five Taliban leaders have been living the good life in an exclusive neighborhood in Doha, Qatar with their families as part of the agreement with the United States. They are to remain there for one year.

Sadly for us, not all five are happy with their lot in life:

Reports are circulating among senior Taliban commanders that at least two of them are eager to leave Qatar and return to the war zone. The reunion could get ugly. One of the reputed malcontents, Mullah Fazl Akhund, was head of the Taliban regime’s army until his capture during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Senior Taliban members say he’s convinced he should lead the insurgency. He regards Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the current chief of the group’s ruling council, as a usurper. One senior commander says members of Mansour’s circle, trying to head off a power struggle, have warned Western intelligence that Fazl is likely to join ISIS if he’s allowed to leave Qatar.

For some reason, tonight when the major broadcast networks were reporting on the Bergdahl charges, they chose not to mention that back in June, 2014, Susan Rice insisted that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction” and told Americans not to worry about the five Taliban members being a threat to the Unite States:

“assurances relating to the movement, the activities, the monitoring of those detainees [released in exchange for Bergdahl] give us confidence that they cannot and, in all likelihood, will not pose a significant risk to the United States. And that it is in our national interests that this transfer had been made.”

(Formal apologies should be offered immediately to Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers who were accused of lying and being psychopaths when they claimed Bergdahl had deserted. The White House should go first, leading by example.)

ADDED: Megyn Kelly asked Jen Psaki tonight whether the Bergdahl exchange had been worth it:

“Was it worth it? Absolutely,” Jen Psaki told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File.” “We have a commitment to our men and women serving in the military, defending our national security every day, that we’re going to do everything to bring them home if we can, and that’s what we did in this case.”

I was disappointed that Kelly did not point-blank ask Psaki when Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers can expect an apology from the White House for smearing them. I hope in the next few days we see media outlets boldly put the question to the White House. After all, don’t those who really do “serve with honor and distinction” deserve that respect from their Commander in Chief?

–Dana

Hacks Still Pushing the “Ted Cruz Is a Hypocrite” Line

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 pm

Some guy named Igor Something or Other has a post at ThinkProgress titled Ted Cruz Wants You To Believe He’s Legally Required To Sign Up For Obamacare. He’s Not.

Yes, he is.

If I were to str-e-e-e-tch to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, I guess I would say that it depends on what you mean by “sign up for ObamaCare.” Cruz is legally required to obtain an insurance plan that meets the ridiculous one-size-fits-all “minimum” standards of an ObamaCare plan, or pay a penalty. Sorry: a “tax.”

He doesn’t have to do this on an exchange, but apparently, he will (while getting zero benefit from the exchange). So what?

If he complies with this law, which he hates (as I do), and which he wants to repeal (as I do), that does not mean that he is endorsing ObamaCare because he is signing up for a plan that he is legally required to buy. And nobody is denying that he is legally required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty (sorry: “tax”). They just seem to think he is a hypocrite for doing so on one of the exchanges. What the holy f[vowel deleted]ck does it matter whether he gets his overpriced plan on an exchange or not? He is getting no subsidy. He is entitled to one under a Harry Reid “don’t make us follow our own law” provision and is rejecting it. How in the name of all that is holy does this make him a hypocrite???

A guy called James Downie at the WaPo says Cruz is a hypocrite for “going on ObamaCare,” which also implies that the real problem is Cruz’s plan to use an exchange. Downie at least admits that Cruz must “purchase a plan that meets minimum standards established under Obamacare” and that he will “reject the 75 percent employer contribution that the federal government decided to continue offering to all members and their staffs.” Yet Downie finds “hypocrisy” in the simple fact that “[t]he law does not require Cruz to get health insurance on the exchanges.” Downie’s position implies that Cruz’s Big Issue with ObamaCare is the exchanges, use of which is the only thing Cruz is doing that he is not required to do.

Wrong, Downie. Cruz’s problem is not the exchanges. It is the law itself. It is the requirement that people buy something Congress has no constitutional authority to make them buy. It is the interference with the operation of the free market, which causes distortions in the marketplace, leading to inefficiency, waste, higher costs, and eventually to rationing. Find me a clip of Cruz saying: “Hey, I’m cool with the President forcing people to buy insurance with federally mandated minimum coverage standards; I just don’t like the exchanges” and I will quit blogging tomorrow.

The ridiculous arguments don’t end there. A guy calling himself David Ferguson at Raw Story has a deceptive headline titled Ted Cruz wasn’t forced to sign up for Obamacare — no matter what he says. Ferguson tells the following whopper:

In other words, under Obamacare, Ted Cruz can insure his family any way he likes, but if he wants the government to shoulder part of the burden, he will have to use the exchanges.

Well, first of all, he doesn’t want the government to shoulder part of the burden. Again: Cruz has explicitly said he will reject any Harry Reid “exempt us from our own law” contribution from the government.

But, more fundamentally, how stupid and/or dishonest do you have to be so say that “Ted Cruz can insure his family any way he likes”?? Oh, really? So all of a sudden, Ted Cruz can buy a non-approved plan that does not meet the ObamaCare standards? And he doesn’t have to pay a penalty (sorry, “tax”)? Is that what you are saying, David Ferguson? Or are you saying that he is free to get no health insurance and pay a penalty — just as you are free to rob liquor stores “any way you like” as long as you pay the penalty of going to prison for the legally specified amount of time? Just what are you saying??

But what really takes the cake is the way CNN took a quote from Cruz on this issue and sliced it up to make it mean the precise opposite of what he intended. Here is the original quote:

It is one of the good things about Obamacare, is that the statute provided that members of Congress would be on the exchanges without subsidies just like millions of Americans, so there wouldn’t be a double standard.

The bold part of that statement makes it clear that he is saying it is good that the idiots in Congress who passed this crap sandwich are going to be forced to personally take a bite.

Watch how, at :50 in this clip, they cut off the part of the quote I have placed in bold, to suggest that Cruz is actually saying that it’s a “good thing” that ObamaCare lets Congressman get that good ObamaCare health insurance:

Make sure and keep watching to enjoy the media hyenas yukking it up at old Ted’s “hypocrisy.” Yuk yuk yuk! If I were physically in the room with them, I’m not sure I’d be able to restrain myself from walking over and slapping them.

They act as if, absent ObamaCare, Ted Cruz would be unable to obtain health insurance at all.

There is a “good thing” about the chuckling morons on CNN: they illustrate a common fallacy about government-arranged programs. Namely, people seem to think that, without the thing the government is providing, the good would not exist at all.

If government didn’t provide welfare, then the people collecting welfare would get zero help from society and would all starve! (But we used to have things called “charities” that did this; there are rumors some of them still exist.) If government didn’t have federal money for education, local school districts would all go broke! (How did children ever get educated before Jimmy Carter’s presidency?)

And if the government didn’t provide health insurance through ObamaCare, there would be no such thing as health insurance!

So Ted Cruz wants health insurance, and health insurance is now provided through ObamaCare? Well then he is a hypocrite! I explained this fallacy to my daughter and showed her the CNN clip above, and she said: “Did they really forget that health insurance was around before four years ago?” (My answer, as it often is, is that it’s tough to say for sure whether certain people are liars or idiots.)

The hypocrisy doesn’t end there, folks! Did you know Ted Cruz wants to abolish the IRS, yet he still pays his taxes???!!! (H/t Allahpundit.) Well then he is a hypocrite!!!! Yuk yuk yuk, I mean it’s just so deeply ironic, gosh, I just don’t know what to say, ha, ha!

Keep me out of the same room as these people. Please.

James O’Keefe Reminds Us That Cornell University Supports Terrorism — But This Is Nothing New

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

Long-time readers may remember I am a graduate of Cornell University. Imagine my pride when I saw James O’Keefe revealing that a Cornell official told an undercover operative that he was cool with ISIS or Hamas sending a freedom fighter to the campus to conduct training camps:

Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-“Islamic State Iraq and Syria” group on campus, the undercover for conservative activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas asks.

Sure, Scaffido says in the recorded March 16 meeting.

Scaffido doesn’t even blink an eye when the undercover asks about providing material support for terrorists — “care packages, whether it be food, water, electronics.”

How about supporting Hamas?

No problem at all, Scaffido said.

. . . .

The undercover asked if he can invite “a freedom fighter to come and do like a training camp for students.”

Scaffido responds, “You would be allowed to do something like that. It’s just like bringing in a coach, to do a training, a sports trainer or something,” the Cornell official said.

The State Department includes both ISIS and Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations.

My favorite part is Cornell’s response:

“Cornell fully supports the free exchange of ideas and does not review or control the political ideology of our students. We do not, of course, tolerate unlawful advocacy of violence, and the comment about training by ISIS freedom fighters does not reflect university policy,” said Joel Malina, Cornell’s vice president for university relations.

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I’ll hand the mike to Thomas Sowell, a former Cornell professor who provided contrary evidence in a 1999 column titled The Day Cornell Died:

No one who was at Cornell University in the spring of 1969 is ever likely to forget the guns-on-campus crisis that shocked the academic community and the nation. Bands of militant black students forcibly evicted visiting parents from Willard Straight Hall on the Cornell campus and seized control of it to back up their demands. Later, after the university’s capitulation, the students emerged carrying rifles and shotguns, their leader wearing a bandoleer of shotgun ammunition. It was a picture that appeared on the covers of national magazines and was even reprinted overseas.

What happened behind the scenes was at least as shocking: Death threats were phoned to the homes of professors who had opposed their previous actions or demands. Shots were in fact fired into the engineering building.

Here’s the picture Sowell references:

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 7.24.16 AM

In 2012 I told you how the university remembered the 20th anniversary of the armed takeover of the student union: with pride and welcoming arms for the criminals.

When I was at Cornell University, the school “celebrated” the 20th anniversary of an armed takeover of the Willard Straight Hall student union by black student activists. I was appalled that the leader of the takeover was invited to the school as a featured speaker, as if he were a returning hero.

The students were supposedly protesting the burning of a cross on campus. Only this year did it emerge, thanks to the efforts of Stan Chess, a journalist who edited the school’s newspaper just before the takeover, that there is evidence that “black students covertly burned the cross to dramatize their grievances by falsely invoking a racist symbol.”

In other words, there is evidence that the cross-burning was a false flag operation, used to justify an armed terrorist operation. Which the school has applauded ever since.

So when James O’Keefe tells us that Cornell supports terrorism on its campus . . . he isn’t revealing anything new. He’s just reminding us.

MINOR CORRECTION: The post originally said Stan Chess edited the Cornell Daily Sun “at the time of” the takeover of Willard Straight Hall. Chess writes to say that his editorship of the paper ended a month before the takeover. The error has been corrected.

UPDATE: Here is the statement of Cornell President David J. Skorton:

As the president of Cornell University, I want to be clear that the notion that Cornell would allow ISIS training sessions on our campus is ludicrous and absolutely offensive.

Project Veritas, the organization behind this shoddy piece of “journalism” has been repeatedly vilified for dishonest, deceitful activity. It is shameful that any individual would pose as a student facing racial discrimination at another university, ask leading questions on hidden camera about Cornell’s tolerance for differing viewpoints and backgrounds, and then conveniently splice together the resulting footage to smear our assistant dean and our University. After speaking with Assistant Dean Scaffido, I am convinced that he was not aware of what he was being asked.

Let me be clear: Cornell has an unwavering commitment to the free and responsible exchange of ideas. However, we remain vigilant in maintaining an appropriate balance of freedom of expression within accepted boundaries. Of course, incitement to violence is not protected and would never be tolerated on our campus.

Never!

3/24/2015

HYPOCRISY!!!!!! Ted Cruz Will Sign Up for ObamaCare!!!!11!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 pm

OMIGOD WHAT A HYPOCRITE FIRST HE SAYS HE WOULD REPEAL OBAMACARE NOW HE WANTS TO USE IT!!!!!11!!1!!!!!!

Cruz to sign up for government health care

Ted Cruz, one of the loudest critics of Obamacare, will soon be using it for health insurance coverage.

“We will presumably go on the exchange and sign up for health care, and we’re in the process of transitioning over to do that,” Cruz, a Republican candidate for president, told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday.

Cruz’s wife, Heidi, is going on an unpaid leave of absence from her job at Goldman Sachs to join Cruz full time on the campaign trail, Cruz told the Register.

Bloomberg was first to report that Heidi Cruz has taken the leave. CNN noted that Cruz, who has boasted about not needing to receive government health care benefits, would no longer be covered under his wife’s health insurance plan.

Cruz confirmed that to the Register.

So, why is this actually happening? Well, if you keep reading the story beyond the “gotcha” headline and the misleading initial paragraphs, you find that:

  • Cruz has to sign up for ObamaCare because a GOP Senator, Chuck Grassley, passed an amendment (opposed by Democrats, though the story doesn’t mention that part) requiring that members of Congress subject themselves to the same shitty insurance they are foisting on the rest of the country; and
  • It doesn’t help him anyway. [Indeed, as we will see below, he is rejecting extra help that Democrats voted themselves despite the Grassley amendment.]

Here’s the next paragraph in the story:

Iowa U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley pushed through an amendment on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that requires members of Congress to obtain their coverage via health insurance exchanges. Congress pays most of the premium. But Cruz won’t be getting any extra benefit under the Affordable Care Act that a member of Congress wouldn’t have gotten before the ACA became law.

Nevertheless, shameless Big Media sneering entities like CNN call it a “deeply ironic development” — even as they downplay the fact that Cruz is turning down a “contribution” that softens the blow, on principle.

“I strongly oppose the exemption that President Obama illegally put in place for members of Congress because (Senate Minority Leader) Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats didn’t want to be under the same rules as the American people,” Cruz said . . . Under the Affordable Care Act, members of Congress and some designated congressional staffers are required to obtain health care coverage through the D.C. Health Link Small Business Market. The Office of Personnel Management’s guidelines state that lawmakers and their staff receive a “government contribution” if they get health care coverage through the ACA.

But some lawmakers have declined to accept the contribution, saying they do not want to get special treatment. After the interview, a Cruz spokesperson clarified that he wouldn’t take the contribution.

To me, the real story is that a man who despises ObamaCare — who hates it so much that he is basing his entire presidential run on opposing it — still has to sign up for it. That’s the nature of the tyranny of this law and this government.

P.S. While we’re on the topic of sneering media, I have been meaning to highlight this since I first saw it. Here is NPR’s story on Ted Cruz’s announcement speech, from before the speech was made:

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He’s a “Republican thorn,” you see — and look at this picture of phony Ted and his phony family pretending to wave to a crowd. Never mind that he’s training his very young daughters to cope with an unusual situation. NPR and the AP (which took the picture) are soooo proud that they managed to portray him as less than genuine.

I’m rapidly getting to the point where expressing my opinion about the media without using obscenities is just too great a challenge. So I’ll end the post now.

Is This Man an Extremist?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:31 pm

No. His responses are masterful. He comes across likable — and not as the scary boogeyman he is portrayed to be by Big Media.

Watch it. It’s great.

UPDATE: DRJ doesn’t blog here any more but I hope she doesn’t mind if I take a comment she wrote and highlight it:

I like Cruz so I lean toward him, but I also think it’s important to look at a candidate’s experience and background in picking a President. Serving as a governor suggests to me that a person has management and leadership qualities, and those are important qualities in this era of big bureaucracy. I can understand why some people want to give former and current governors an edge in picking a President. All things being equal, I would, too. But all qualities aren’t equal when we’re talking about specific candidates. We not only look at background and experience, we also look for communication skills and adherence to American principles and values. I’ve called that charisma in the past but I think it’s more than charisma. It’s what Washington and Lincoln had, and it enabled them to lead America and Americans during difficult times. I think it’s vision.

All Presidents struggle at times but I believe the Presidents who struggle the most are the ones who haven’t had a vision or goal of where they want to take America. Washington and Lincoln knew what they wanted for America, even if they didn’t always know how to achieve it. Obama has a vision, too. He has accomplished many of his goals and that brings me to a related point: Successful Presidents have a vision that is grounded in America’s core principles as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, because those principles are path to justice and prosperity.

I think all the GOP candidates are dedicated Americans. I think several have shown they are skilled managers, have strong characters, are intelligent, and are good men. Most of them would serve America well as President. But I think Ted Cruz has the vision based on America’s core principles that would enable him to lead us in the very best sense of the word.

Very well said.

To Those Who Say Executive Experience Matters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

Sure, it matters if you are a leftist dolt like Barack Obama and haven’t figured out basic common sense principles about government.

But we’re not talking about dolts.

Name me one GOP governor who became President, and whose vaunted executive experience allowed them to accomplish great things with a Democrat Congress.

If you say Reagan then your assigned reading is “The Triumph of Politics” by David Stockman.

3/23/2015

Ted Cruz’s Speech Announcing His Bid for the Presidency

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:30 pm

For the first time in a long time, I feel inspired.

“Imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders. And imagine a legal immigration system that welcomes and celebrates those who come to achieve the American dream.”

No Evidence That University of Virginia Gang Rape Ever Happened

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Remember that Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia? Looks like it was just that, a story:

Charlottesville police announced Monday that they could find no evidence that a rape happened at a University of Virginia fraternity as described in a Rolling Stone article, and said they were suspending their investigation.

However, Chief of Police Timothy J. Longo wouldn’t close the door to the possibility that something still may have happened to Jackie:

“We’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house, for that matter,” Longo said at a news conference. “That doesn’t mean something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie … we’re just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is.”

With that, Rolling Stone plans to release an outside review of the story within the next several weeks.

Writer of the original story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely has publicly remained silent on the controversy, with her last tweet posted November 30.

U-Va President Teresa Sullivan has not commented on news of the investigation being closed. She is, however, currently under scrutiny as the U-Va executive board decides whether or not to renew her contract which expires in June. It is being reported that the alleged gang rape story (which occurred during her tenure) and Sullivan’s response to it will be part of the review.

–Dana

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