Patterico's Pontifications


Milblogger Taken Offline for Telling Truth Without Asking Permission First

Filed under: Civil Liberties,War — Patterico @ 5:39 pm

Teflon Don reports that one of his favorite bloggers from on the ground in Iraq has been ordered to stop posting to his blog. The blogger explains here:

Though I committed no OPSEC violations, due to a series of extenuating circumstances – the least of which was me being on leave – my “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage” post on May 28 did not go through the normal vetting channels. It’s totally on me, as it was too much unfiltered truth. I’m a soldier first, and orders are orders. So it is.

Read the post with too much unfiltered truth here. Teflon Don calls the post a

too-real look at the struggle of a combat lieutenant to stay out of the mind-draining quagmire. No, not the media’s Iraq: that quagmire is contrived and belied by the situation on the ground. This quagmire was the grind of the Tactical Operations Center, of the FOB life. LT G did not want to be a company executive officer. For a combat troop, that would be as good as suicide. The post he wrote about it got his blogging canned.

This is a common reason for government censorship: to keep the government from looking bad.

L.A. Times Forgets to Tell Readers That Obama Supported the D.C. Gun Ban

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Court Decisions,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:16 pm

Howard Kurtz notes that Big Media is failing to hold Obama’s feet to the fire for his flip-flop on firearms.

Barack Obama is under hostile fire for changing his position on the D.C. gun ban.

Oh, I’m sorry. He didn’t change his position, apparently. He reworded a clumsy statement.

That clumsy statement, which his campaign is now running away from, was pretty categorical: “Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.” Yet, Kurtz says, the newspapers aren’t calling him to task:

But even though the earlier Obama quote and the “inartful” comment have been bouncing around the Net for 24 hours, I’m not seeing any reference to them in the morning papers. Most do what the New York Times did: “Mr. Obama, who like Mr. McCain has been on record as supporting the individual-rights view, said the ruling would ‘provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.’ “

Add the L.A. Times to the list. In David Savage’s piece on the Heller decision, he allowed Obama to pretend he has always supported the decision, which found unconstitutional the very ban Obama’s campaign had declared constitutional:

On the presidential campaign trail, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama were supportive of the court’s ruling.

. . . .

For his part, Obama drew a somewhat different lesson from the court’s decision. He said it endorsed both gun rights and reasonable regulation.

“I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures,” he said.

“I know what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun-show loophole and improving our background-check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals.”

Wouldn’t it have been helpful to tell readers that Obama’s campaign said the D.C. law was constitutional?

Yes, that would have been helpful . . . to the truth.

But not to Obama.

And increasingly, that appears to be the editors’ calculus for deciding what appears in the paper.

UPDATE: In a story today about the Obama move to the center, the editors once again allow Obama to act as though he has always been in favor of the result in Heller:

Obama’s reaction to another Supreme Court ruling, which struck down a gun ban in Washington, D.C., stood in contrast to that of many local political leaders and was more tempered than that of many liberals. Whereas his hometown mayor, Richard M. Daley of Chicago, and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton sharply criticized the court decision, Obama was more welcoming. He said the ruling “reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.”

The best they do to undercut this notion is to say that “McCain’s campaign said Obama was unable to give a clear account of whether he viewed the Washington gun ban as constitutional” and claim that Obama has given “mixed signals” on the issue. How about saying that his campaign flatly declared the ban constitutional? There’s nothing “mixed” about that signal . . .

UPDATE x2: Is this a mixed signal, or a flip-flop?

Thanks to daytrader.

Quote of the Day

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Humor — Patterico @ 2:46 pm

“One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support.”

Mistakes in Heller — Substantive Ones

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:31 pm

The mistakes are listed here — and suggest that Justice Stevens and his clerks didn’t read the cases they cited.

The most significant error: at page 2 of his dissent, Stevens said of the Miller case: “Upholding a conviction under that Act, this Court held that…”

(All emphasis in this post is mine.)

But if you read Miller itself, you see that the case did not arise in the context of an appeal from a conviction. Before trial, the defendant interposed a demurrer to an indictment, and the district court granted it, causing the government to appeal:

The District Court held that section 11 of the Act violates the Second Amendment. It accordingly sustained the demurrer and quashed the indictment.

The cause is here by direct appeal.

To be fair, Justice Scalia made the same error himself, writing at page 49 of the majority opinion:

The judgment in the case upheld against a Second Amendment challenge two men’s federal convictions for transporting an unregistered short-barreled shotgun in interstate commerce . . .

Apparently, Miller was never convicted.

Via Gabriel Malor at Ace’s, who reminds us of similar Stevens laziness in the Hamdan case.

P.S. Did anyone else notice that Eugene Volokh got, not one, not two, but three mentions in Scalia’s opinion?

Way to go, Professor!

The Fact-Checker

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:16 pm

There’s a very interesting blog/column in the Washington Post called The Fact-Checker.

The writer is Michael Dobbs, who participated in a hard-hitting and fair piece on the CBS forged documents, and who did some of the best independent reporting in the mainstream media on the Swift Vets controversy (I believe that Beldar agrees). Dobbs did write that the Vets had failed to disprove Kerry’s accounts of what happened in the war zone, but he also questioned Kerry’s failure to release all “relevant records and personal diaries.”

Dobbs tends to lean a bit left, and is a little overly dismissive of blogs, but he clearly makes the effort to rigorously tie his assertions to the facts. This sets him apart from a lot of other reporters out there.

If you’re looking for a fascinating post that serves as an example of his fact-checking, check out this December 2007 post of his with the Most Revealing Fibs of Barack Obama. At the time, that is. There have been a few since. Also good is his fact-based analysis of whether Obama broke his public financing pledge. His conclusion:

He does not want to disarm in the face of likely Swiftboat-type attacks on his character, mounted by conservative groups not directly affiliated with the McCain campaign. But none of this alters the fact that he has gone back on his word.

(My emphasis.)

I don’t read the reference to “Swiftboat-type attacks” as being necessarily as dismissive as that phrase usually is when used by a mainstream reporter, since Dobbs did such good and largely fair reporting on the controversy. It’s nice to see a reporter so clearly saying that Obama broke his word.

Dobbs gives Obama three “Pinocchios,” which signifies “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”

The site is now on my regular reads.

Another site that seems more even-handed is from the St. Petersburg Times.

It’s good to see this sort of fact-checking at major newspapers. I hope they do more of it.

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