Patterico's Pontifications


A Real Bush Lie

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Politics — Patterico @ 10:24 pm

A debate has been raging on this blog (starting here) about whether Bush is a liar, with people on the left trying to come up with lies Bush has told, and people on the right shooting down each submission with ease.

The lefties are doing a pathetic job of coming up with Bush lies — but there is a real one out there. Let’s see you right-wingers shoot down this Bush lie:

[A]ny time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

I guess it depends on the meaning of “wiretap,” or “court,” or “order.” Or “anytime.”

The White House transcript says these remarks were made in April 2004.

Personally, I am having a hard time thinking of a plausible justification for what appears to be an evident lie by the President. What do you say, right-wing Patterico readers? Can you put any lipstick on this pig?

UPDATE: Several commenters have argued that Bush had to lie because the program was secret. I expected someone might make this argument. But it wasn’t like he was asked a question at a press conference and lied; he had no need to tell a lie about the program. He could have simply remained silent.

Bill Clinton could have argued that he lied about sex so that he could remain in power — for national security reasons, of course. I bet that he rationalized it in just this way.

In my opinion, this is a very poor excuse for lying to the American people, especially when the lie is volunteered in this fashion. It makes me wonder what else Bush is lying (or ridiculously uninformed) about.

UPDATE x2: Other commenters argue that the secret surveillance program did not involve wiretapping, contrary to press accounts that suggest that it did. I’m not expert in these matters, and it’s clear that many details of the program remain unclear. This, to me, is a possible defense, whereas the “Bush was lying to fool our enemies” defense doesn’t wash, in my opinion.

Proposition 36

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 9:45 pm

The L.A. Weekly article I mention in the post below is noteworthy for revealing some of the harsher facts about Proposition 36, the California proposition that all but eliminates custody as a punishment for drug possession:

“Basically you put people in jail and they’re doing three to seven days. That is a problem and we do try to levy jail time and probation sentences and send people to county [jail],” adds [Deputy District Attorney Janet] Moore. [Incidentally, Janet is my boss. — P.] “But Proposition 36 substantially changes the way that we do business in drug cases. It was a big societal shift from punishment and incarceration over to rehabilitation.”

The author of the piece, Sam Slovick, continues with this revealing observation:

Proposition 36 is the initiative that was passed by 61 percent of California voters in November 2000. It allows people convicted of nonviolent drug possession to get treatment instead of incarceration, often even if it’s a third pop. Prop. 36 costs $120 million annually, though it was supposed to save California taxpayers $1.5 billion over five years. I think I might have voted for that one myself, but I missed the part that said the streets would be overrun with crack-smoking junkies and dope fiends.

Yeah, you and a lot of other people.

“Inside the Box With the Super Dope Cops”

Filed under: Crime,Real Life — Patterico @ 9:12 pm

The L.A. Weekly has a feature in this week’s edition titled Inside the Box With the Super Dope Cops. It is about L.A.’s skid row, and features several L.A.P.D. Central Division officers with whom I have had the privilege of working. Chris Luna and Rick Kellogg testified in a trial of mine this past year, and did an excellent job. They took me to the crime scene (5th and Main in L.A.) and walked me through the whole thing; while they did so, we watched someone selling dope just across the street. The jury was very impressed with their professionalism, as was I.

As the article states, Officer Kellogg passed away several days ago. I found out about his death the day before I found out my Dad died. Officer Kellogg’s funeral was held just after I returned to town from my Dad’s; unfortunately, I was unable to attend because I was in the middle of a preliminary hearing on a murder case. He will be missed.

Bush’s Surveillance Program: Probably Legal

Filed under: Civil Liberties,General — Patterico @ 6:42 pm

It’s a complicated area, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that the president’s secret surveillance program was (and remains) legal, based on the facts we know to date.


Maybe for Ace, but Not for Patterico

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 7:07 am

You’re wrong, Ace; there’s no trade-off necessary. As Baloo the bear says: “You better believe it and I’m loaded with both.”

Shots Fired Outside Tookie Williams Funeral

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,Scum — Patterico @ 6:27 am

Kevin Roderick notes that shots were fired outside Tookie’s funeral. Tookie’s legacy lives on.

The L.A. Times covered the funeral but missed this story.

More Links on the Surveillance Program

Filed under: Civil Liberties — Patterico @ 6:26 am

Jeff Goldstein has a good set of links on the whole secret surveillance brouhaha.

Power Line “Colloquy” With NYT Reporter

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:24 am

John from PowerLine engages in a “colloquy,” if you can call it that, with the NYT reporter who wrote the article about Bush’s secret surveillance program. You can read it here. At the end, John says, “In any event, we greatly appreciate his taking the time to engage us in this conversation.”

I hope John meant that at least partly ironically. All the guy did was say: “Did too!” twice.

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