Patterico's Pontifications


Memo to CNN: How to Run a Fair Debate

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 7:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Rule #1. Google the questioners:

“So, the fellow who just asked the Republican candidates about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, retired Brigader General Keith Kerr, is a member of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Presidency.”

H/T The Corner and Instapundit.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Michelle Malkin has evidence of other questioners’ affiliations with Democrat candidates.

CNN should be deeply embarrassed.

Must have been a helluva lot of money to spend in court costs just to get back less than a third-of-an-ounce of pot

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Court Decisions — Justin Levine @ 5:57 pm

But I’ve still got to admire a guy for standing on principle. [PDF link alert]

[posted by Justin Levine, and most definitely NOT posted by Patterico who, rumor has it, works in the District Attorney’s office and may or may not have his own opinions on this issue.]

Bill Clinton Reinvents His View on the War in Iraq

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Bill Clinton tried to give a boost to wife Hillary’s campaign by reminding Iowa voters of his Presidency (‘back to the future!’), but his efforts may have fallen flat when he claimed he always opposed the War in Iraq:

“Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring America ‘back to the future,’ husband Bill says, promoting his own legacy in public life almost as much as his wife’s presidential campaign.

Showing inconsistency on an issue that has dogged his wife, the former president also told Iowa Democrats that he “opposed (war in) Iraq from the beginning.”

However, Clinton did not clearly oppose the Iraq War and he was forced to explain his inconsistent statements:

“He has not clearly opposed the war from the start. Like his wife, the former president has been critical of the Iraq war in recent months, but at one time he gave President Bush the benefit of the doubt. “I supported the president when he asked for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” he said in May 2003, the same year he was quoted praising Bush’s handling of the war.

Asked about the discrepancy, Clinton aides said Tuesday’s comment was a short-handed explanation of his long-held views that weapons inspectors should have been given more time in Iraq. “As he said before the war and many times since, President Clinton disagreed with taking the country to war without allowing the weapons inspectors to finish their jobs,” said spokesman Jay Carson.”

Clinton also complained that he wasn’t taxed his share for the War in Iraq:

“On Iraq, he told the crowd that wealthy people like he and his wife should pay more taxes in times of war. “Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers,” Clinton said.”

President Clinton: Please feel free to make a generous Gift Contribution to Reduce the Public Debt.


Pakistan’s Musharraf Assumes Civilian Role; May Lift State of Emergency

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 4:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf today relinquished his position as Army Chief and the Times of India reports he may lift the state of emergency in the next 48 hours:

“Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who quit as the Army Chief on Wednesday, is expected to end the Emergency he imposed earlier this month “within the next 48 hours”.

Musharraf would make “major political announcements”, including the lifting of the Emergency and freeing of detained persons, while addressing the nation after being sworn in as a civilian ruler for a second presidential term on Thursday, Dawn News channel reported.

Besides the withdrawal of the Emergency “within the next 48 hours”, all journalists, lawyers and rights activists detained under emergency regulations would be freed soon, the channel quoted sources as saying.”

I think Musharraf’s political actions correlate with Pakistan’s recent military action in the tribal areas. The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, and it’s believed that Osama bin Laden may be in the tribal areas. This adds a compelling reason for the US to encourage Musharraf to take action in the tribal areas, likely with a threat to end US financial assistance to Pakistan if he refuses.

Recent military actions have resulted in militants trapped in the Swat Valley and many insurgent deaths. Musharraf’s credibility with elements of the military would be damaged, perhaps beyond repair, when he ordered the Pakistani military to mount a serious attack on the tribal areas. Musharraf’s resignation as Army Chief in favor of a hand-picked successor and US ally might be the best result he could hope for under the circumstances.

The next question is what’s happening in the Swat Valley and the tribal areas. The Pakistani military may have intentionally or unintentionally lured local insurgents into the Swat Valley. The military sealed the Swat Valley, killing many insurgents. These may not be al Qaeda or bin Laden’s protectors but they were a buffer that has virtually disappeared in a fortnight.

What’s next? By all reports, Pakistan has pulled thousands of troops from its border with India and put them into the tribal areas. US and Afghan troops wait on the other side of the tribal areas. The vise is tightening. It remains to be seen if the Pakistani military will close the vise.


Hail To The Chief

Filed under: Judiciary — Justin Levine @ 11:55 am

 [posted by Justin Levine]

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will soon be getting a Daily Koz fix. Very cool indeed.

A Predictable Response from Nancy Pelosi and the White House Press to Good News from Iraq

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics,War — DRJ @ 9:17 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

In Monday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Dana Perino introduced General Lute, the Assistant to the President for Iraq and Afghanistan, to discuss the signing of a US-Iraq Declaration of Principles. President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki signed the Declaration in a video teleconference Monday morning.

General Lute described the Declaration as a non-binding agenda designed to guide the US and Iraq into a long-term agreement governing any future US presence in and/or assistance to Iraq:

“Today’s agreement is not binding, but rather it’s a mutual statement of intent that will be used to frame our formal negotiations in the course of the upcoming year. It’s not a treaty, but it’s rather a set of principles from which to begin formal negotiations. Think of today’s agreement as setting the agenda for the formal bilateral negotiations that will take place in the course of ’08.

Let me just outline the importance of this document. First of all, I think it’s important to the people of Iraq. It signals a commitment of both their government and the United States to an enduring relationship based on mutual interests. The basic message here should be clear: Iraq is increasingly able to stand on its own; that’s very good news, but it won’t have to stand alone.”

Reactions to this agreement were mixed, ranging from Don Surber’s “We Won” to this statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

“President Bush’s agreement with the Iraqi government confirms his willingness to leave office with a U.S. Army tied down in Iraq and stretched to the breaking point, with no clear exit strategy from Iraq.

“The President should take responsibility for his Iraq policy rather than expect the American people or the next Admisitration [sic] to bear the consequences of his mistakes. The President can do that by working with Democrats who are fighting every day to bring our troops home responsibly, honorably, safely and soon.”

The truth probably lies somewhere in between Surber’s and Pelosi’s views but Surber is a lot closer than Pelosi. Nevertheless, while it may be difficult to predict where Iraq will be in a year, the White House press corp’s questions were predictable and pathetic. The following are selected questions from the press conference, and my summary of General Lute’s responses appears in brackets following each question:

Q “Is there any precedent for this in history? I mean, there wasn’t anything like this after Korea or Vietnam or any other kind of American engagement.”

[The US has been a party to a long-term agreement with Korea and is a party to bilateral agreements with 100 other nations.]

Q “How can any nation make a deal under occupation and not feel coerced? And anyway, they don’t really have a sort of government there at all.”

[A declaration is not something that must be voted on but, nevertheless, all major Iraqi leaders agreed to it and it was read to, discussed and generally agreed to by the council of representatives.]

Q “Is this a facade for the Middle East conference, so it doesn’t wave this big cloud of our being in Iraq?”

[The declaration is part of a process that started August 26 and has no relation to what’s going on in Annapolis.]

Q “You mentioned the size and the shape or the scope, stuff like that. Will this contain time lines or goals for the withdrawal of troops?”

[That’s not part of the declaration but it will be part of the negotiations and “all these things are on the negotiating table.”]

Q “General, will the White House seek any congressional input on this? … Is the purpose of avoiding the treaty avoiding congressional input?”

[Negotiations like this are handled by the State Department and are not subject to Congressional approval. There are about a 100 similar agreements between the US and other nations and the vast majority are not treaties.]

The White House transcript didn’t identify the questioners but it’s not hard to guess who may have asked these questions.

H/T Instapundit.


Another Measure of the Gang of 14’s “Success”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Ed Whelan has the sad details of the record-setting slow pace of confirmations of President Bush’s judicial appointees.

Hooray for the Gang of 14!

L.A. Times Sucks Up to Yagman Even As He Is Sentenced to Prison

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General,Scum — Patterico @ 6:41 am

In his story on the Yagman sentencing, anti-LAPD reporter Scott Glover gives prominence to the theme that the government picked on Yagman because he is an anti-establishment hero. Here are the first few paragraphs of Glover’s article. Pay special attention to whose spin is given the primary emphasis.

Stephen G. Yagman, a pugnacious lawyer who made a career of suing the Los Angeles Police Department and other law enforcement agencies, was sentenced Tuesday to three years in federal prison for tax evasion, money laundering and bankruptcy fraud.

He did not go quietly — or quickly.

In an unusual courtroom hearing that spanned three days, Yagman and his attorneys painstakingly went over the evidence in the case and accused the U.S. attorney of targeting him because of his long and confrontational history with the federal government.

“A cage went in search of a bird,” Yagman told U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, quoting from Franz Kafka’s book “The Zurau Aphorisms.” “I’m the bird, and they got me.”

Wearing a blue suit and a sailboat-decorated tie, Yagman also quoted from, or referred to, Woody Allen, Abraham Lincoln and Socrates during more than four hours of oration. At times, he was remorseful, but for the most part, he was defensive.

Government officials, he said, “want to scorch everything around me . . . destroy me.”

Yagman’s sentence, which includes an additional two years of supervised release after his prison term, was significantly less than the nine years that prosecutors had recommended. He is scheduled to surrender to authorities and begin serving his sentence Jan. 15.

The convictions, in all likelihood, mark an end to Yagman’s work as a litigator. It was a career in which he occasionally broke new legal ground and antagonized some of L.A.’s most powerful leaders, often while representing gang members and other criminals who allegedly had been abused by the police.

That’s eight paragraphs packed with Yagman spin about about how this was a politically motivated prosecution against a crusading civil rights attorney. Finally, in paragraph nine, Glover quotes Judge Stephen Wilson as saying that Yagman was guilty and the jury got it right.

Glover probably figures that if he puts the pro-Yagman spin up high, the other stuff that he has to include for “balance” might be stuffed on the back pages. I don’t have the hard copy of the paper to see if this tactic worked; I’ll try to check it out today and report back later. If you have a hard copy, let me know where the jump happens — assuming that this story even made it to the front of the California section.

Not only did Wilson say Yagman was guilty, he said Yagman was a liar — and a bad one:

Ultimately, the judge said he concluded that Yagman had not only committed the crimes, but also lied and fabricated evidence to cover his tracks.

“Frankly, I was shocked by his testimony,” Wilson said, calling it “transparently untrue in so many areas.”

In discussing the facts, Glover retreats to the allegations of the indictment, as if there had been no trial:

The government’s investigation spanned five years and centered on a tax liability totaling more than $100,000. Yagman was indicted in June 2006 on 19 counts of tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering.

And what was he convicted of?

According to prosecutors, Yagman transferred his Venice Beach home into his girlfriend’s name, hid money by depositing his income into her bank account — from which he wrote checks — and declared bankruptcy in New York without disclosing his assets in California.

Shortly after claiming he was broke, prosecutors said Yagman spent $2,000 on clothes and shoes on New York’s Madison Avenue, then had a $260 dinner.

Guess what? The jury convicted on all counts (although, unreported in this story, Judge Wilson later overturned some of the guilty verdicts on technical grounds). We’re not just talking about allegations here, or what “prosecutors said” — we’re talking about what the jury found, and what the judge confirmed the jury was right to find.

For a more revealing story, read Patrick McDonald’s L.A. Weekly piece on the sentencing, here.

P.S. I’ll reiterate, as I have before, that I disapprove of prison rape jokes, even about Yagman — and it’s unfortunate that one such joke was made on this site by a commenter, and quoted in the L.A. Weekly article. I will tell you this: the commenter who made the joke had his career essentially ruined by lost a job opportunity due to the actions of Yagman despite having done absolutely nothing wrong. (I spoke with the commenter about his situation on the phone several weeks ago.) Due to the fact that Yagman named the commenter (along with dozens on others) as a defendant in a lawsuit — simply because his name had appeared in a report somewhere — the commenter missed out on a job opportunity he had sought for years. He ended up testifying in the suit for five minutes about his complete lack of involvement in the events at issue, and was dismissed out — but the damage was already done. Police departments don’t like to hire defendants in lawsuits, and during the years-long pendency of the suit, he lost his other opportunity. So while I deplore his prison rape joke, the commenter had good reason to be upset at Yagman. I may tell his story here in detail some day. Yagman affected a lot of people in a negative fashion, and there is indeed a lot of glee among law enforcement types now that he is going to prison.

UPDATE: The commenter clarifies that his career wasn’t “ruined” — that was poor phrasing on my part. He did lose out on a job opportunity that had a significant effect on his life, however. Apologies for the infelicitous phrasing.

Slow Moderation

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:15 am

Still no comments approved at the Readers’ Representative blog. It’s not a “conversation” if the readers’ side can’t be heard . . .

UPDATE: A few comments have now been posted, but nk’s comment wasn’t. We know they know about it, because Jamie Gold wrote nk about it.

Amy Alkon notes a caveat in their comment posting policy:

Those that touch on topics of wide interest or raise new aspects of the conversation will be posted.

Very sly, that.

They aren’t going to post all comments. Just the ones they choose to post.

“Conversation,” indeed.

I want anyone who leaves a comment there to save it and e-mail to me.

If they don’t post it, I will.

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