Patterico's Pontifications


Sacramento Bee Editors Deep-Six Haughty Editorial Criticizing Voters in Favor of One That Lays Into Those DAMN POLITICIANS!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:58 pm

This is good: Big Media editors accidentally publishing what they really think, and then whisking it away to hide the evidence . . . but not fast enough!!

We got a little glimpse into the minds of the editors at the Sacramento Bee today, when they accidentally published a draft editorial that was haughtily dismissive of the voters. Doug Ross has the whole thing at this blog post; here are some choice excerpts that convey the sneering, supercilious tone. You can label this version “What We Really Think”:

Good morning, California voters. Do you feel better, now that you’ve gotten that out of your system?

You wanted to show the state’s politicians just how mad you are at them. And you did. Boy, did you ever.

. . . .

[Y]ou showed those politicians who’s in charge. You. You’re now officially in charge of a state that will be something like $25 billion in the hole for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

So, now that you’ve put those irksome politicians in their place, maybe it’s time to think about this: Since you’re in charge, exactly what do you intend to do about that pesky $25 billion hole in the budget?

. . . .

You’ve got until June 30 to get it all straight.

That sounds a lot like work, you say? Sorry, no whining allowed. You asked for this job. Now you’ve got it, so get on it. Oh, and remember. The entire nation is watching to see how you do now that you’re in charge.

No pressure or anything. Just thought you’d want to know.

The comments are brutal, as you might expect . . . and the editors responded by whisking away that version, and replacing it with one that directs venom primarily at those damn politicians in Sacramento. Call this version “What We Are Pretending to Think”:

Good morning, members of the California Legislature. Good morning, Governor.

Feeling bruised and abused this morning? Well, you can’t say you didn’t see it coming. . . .

You can blame the voters for reacting with uninformed and misplaced anger.

Or you can look in the mirror and admit you had it coming. And you know you did.

. . . .

[M]ake Californians feel they are getting their money’s worth from the governments they pay for.

If that sounds difficult, well, it will be. You’re starting from a deep hole, one that you’ve dug yourselves.

The first step is to stop digging. Don’t blame voters, no matter how much you may want to. Accept their verdict with good grace. Acknowledge that even if they don’t have a mastery of all the details of the state budget, their judgment about your performance is not subject to your approval.


An editor’s note explains:

Many of the comments below refer to an article that was posted in error. That article was a draft prepared for internal discussion among members of The Bee’s editorial board. Such discussions are a routine part of our work, and frequently lead to editorials that are considerably different from writers’ first drafts.

That’s what happened in this case. After discussion, we decided that our initial editorial about the special election should take a different tack.

Indeed. You decided to replace “What We Really Think” with “What We Are Pretending to Think.” We get it.

Really. We do.

Thanks to Jim Lakely, who has thoughts on the original screed here. His thoughts on the walkback here.

Hasty Decisions

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 5:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama was inaugurated President of the United States on January 20, 2009. As one of his first acts, he signed an Executive Order on January 22, 2009, ordering the closure of the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base:

“Sec. 3. Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo.

The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”

The Executive Order was the fulfillment of Obama’s long-standing, unequivocal campaign promise that he would close GTMO if elected President.

Today Obama’s Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, apparently said Obama’s decision to close GTMO was a hasty decision:

“I don’t doubt that the President–and I think he’ll say this tomorrow–that we’ve made some hasty decisions that are now going to take some time to unwind. And closing Guantanamo Bay obviously is one of those decisions,” he added.

Gibbs later clarified his statement by saying that any hasty decisions that “we’ve made” referred to decisions made by the Bush Administration, decisions he said it will take the Obama Administration time to unwind.

It didn’t sound like that’s what Gibbs meant, especially since it was made in response to press questions about Congress’ refusal to authorize funding to close GTMO. But, whether he meant it or he didn’t, in today’s world sound-bites matter almost as much as substance. The Obama Administration will have to own this one.


Democrats close national security gap, follow evil Bush policies

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:41 am

[Posted by Karl]

The Democrat-affiliated Democracy Corps has a new poll purporting to show that Pres. Obama polls higher on national security than his overall job approval, and that Democrats have drawn about even with Republicans on national security and the war on terrorism. Left-leaning pundits like TIME’s Joe Klein exult:

[W]e should not underestimate the significance here: Obama is trying to do something far more complicated and sophisticated than Bush–comprehensive diplomacy takes time and great skill. It doesn’t have the immediate satisfactions of a bang-bang, three-week rush to Baghdad (although the successfully kinetic anti-pirate operation may have something to do with this level of approval).

Diplomacy does take time, but Obama has little to show for his efforts to date. On issues as diverse as the global recession, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Europe and NATO have almost entirely rejected Obama’s agenda. Israel is at loggerheads with the current administration. Obama’s call for a world without nukes was met with a North Korean missile test. His outstretched hand to the mullahs running Iran has been met with another missile test. And unstable Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal.

So what is there for voters to like about Obama and the Democrats on national security and the war, if not diplomacy?

How about the fact that — as Jack Goldsmith points out at The New Republic — with a few minor exceptions, Obama has embraced eleven essential elements of fmr. Pres. Bush’s approach to counterterrorism policy? Internet sock-puppeteer and ideologue Glenn Greenwald sums it up from a lefty perspective:

Just consider some of Goldsmith’s examples: Obama makes a melodramatic showing of ordering Guantanamo closed but then re-creates its systematic denial of detainee rights in Bagram, and “[l]ast month Secretary of Defense Gates hinted that up to 100 suspected terrorists would be detained without trial.” Obama announces that all interrogations must comply with the Army Field Manual but then has his CIA Director announce that he will seek greater interrogation authority whenever it is needed and convenes a task force to determine which enhanced interrogation methods beyond the Field Manual should be authorized. He railed against Bush’s Guantanamo military commissions but then preserved them with changes that are plainly cosmetic.

Obama has been at least as aggressive as Bush was in asserting radical secrecy doctrines in order to prevent courts from ruling on illegal torture and spying programs and to block victims from having a day in court. He has continued and even “ramped up” so-called “targeted killings” in Pakistan and Afghanistan which, as Goldsmith puts it, “have predictably caused more collateral damage to innocent civilians.” He has maintained not only Bush’s rendition policy but also the standard used to determine to which countries a suspect can be rendered, and has kept Bush’s domestic surveillance policies in place and unchanged. Most of all, he has emphatically endorsed the Bush/Cheney paradigm that we are engaged in a “war” against Terrorists — with all of the accompanying presidential “war powers” — rather than the law enforcement challenge that John Kerry, among others, advocated.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are blocking the relocation of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Partisan hacks like Joe Klein — as opposed to ideologues like Greenwald — may want to consider exactly what it is voters like about Obama and the Democrats on national security these days. Moreover, in the longer-term, voters may come to recognize that the Democrats and their lapdog media were playing politics with our national security during the Bush administration. The public may be willing to overlook that during times of safety, but if the Democrats falter, it may well haunt them.

Cross-posted at HotAir, with updates from Allahpundit:

Update (AP): The Senate vote on Gitmo went off as expected after Karl posted this. 90-6, with not even Russ Feingold in opposition. Meanwhile, in a case that’ll probably end up in the Supreme Court with Anthony Kennedy breaking our hearts yet again, a federal district judge gave The One some breathing room on Gitmo by ruling that some detainees can indeed be held indefinitely without charges. I confess, I’m not sure why Supermax is safe enough to hold someone as dangerous as Ramzi Yousef but not safe enough to hold KSM or Abu Zubaydah, but the head of the FBI told Congress today the idea of transferring them worries him. (“Mueller [noted] that in some instances imprisoned gang leaders have run their gangs from inside prisons.”)

Lest you doubt that Karl’s right and that the GOP’s winning this debate — resoundingly — note that Cheney’s been scheduled for weeks to address AEI at 10:45 tomorrow morning about national security. And now, as Goldfarb notes, suddenly The One’s scheduled to give a national security speech of his own at 10:10. Fancy that.

Update (AP): Again via Goldfarb, AEI states the obvious about a dazzling coincidence:

The announcement of the former Veep’s address went out officially from AEI on May 12, though he had been asked to give a talk a couple of weeks before. (We asked him because this is one of the most important national security issues of the day, and AEI is committed to informing and prompting a public debate consisting of more than sound bites.) President Obama’s speech was announced today. What do we think? 1) The Obama White House runs the savviest information ops of any White House in modern history. This is all about rebutting an increasingly effective exponent of aggressive counterterrorism policies. 2) Why do it? The simple answer is that the public is listening to Cheney on the issues, and if the Democratic Congress’s decision this week to deny funding to close Gitmo is any indication, finger-in-the-wind politicians are listening, too.


Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program, Uncovered by Democrats

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:51 am

[Posted by Karl]

If Democrats make the case, it must be true:

In testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that was largely ignored by the media, the legendary Manhattan District Attorney [Robert Morgenthau] opened a window on how Iran is secretly obtaining the ingredients for an arsenal of mass destruction. Mr. Morgenthau, whose recent cases have exposed illicit Iranian finance and procurement networks, has discovered what he calls “Iran’s shopping list for materials related to weapons of mass destruction.” They add up to “literally thousands of records.”

The list included 400 sophisticated gyroscopes and 600 accelerometers, necessary for developing accurate long-range missiles. But wait, there’s more:

Mr. Morgenthau also noted that the material shipped by LIMMT “included 15,000 kilograms of a specialized aluminum alloy used almost exclusively in long-range missile production; 1,700 kilograms of graphite cylinders used for banned electrical discharge machines which are used in converting uranium; more than 30,000 kilograms of tungsten-copper plates; 200 pieces of tungsten-copper alloy hollow cylinders, all used for missiles; 19,000 kilograms of tungsten metal powder, and 24,500 kilograms of maraging steel rods . . . especially hardened steel suitable for long-range missiles.”

Lest anyone think that these materials may have innocent uses, Mr. Morgenthau added that “we have consulted with top experts in the field from MIT and from private industry and from the CIA… Frankly, some of the people we’ve consulted are shocked by the sophistication of the equipment they’re buying.”

Iran was also buying a rare metal used in the IEDs killing US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, a staff report for the Foreign Relations Committee (chaired by the not-so-right-wing John F. Kerry), notes that Iran “could produce enough weapons-grade material for a bomb within six months.”

Given the record compiled by his fellow Democrats, it seems rather odd that Pres. Obama plans on spending six months assessing whether his diplomatic effort is “moving in the right direction.” After all, Obama recently reaffirmed that he would like a nuke-free world and acknowledges that Iran’s intransigence threatens to set off a Mideast arms race.

As John Hannah recounted in yesterday’s Washington Post, “[s]uccessful denuclearization of hostile states is most likely to occur as a result of regime change, coercive diplomacy or military action, not U.S. pledges of mutual respect.” As someone familiar with the Chicago Way, Obama should understand that you can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.

The president is trying to vote “present” on this issue, but he looks to be missing in inaction.

Cross-posted at HotAir, with an update (at my suggestion) by Allahpundit: Iran’s answer to The One’s outreach? A new missile test, of course, designed to show how much suffering they’re capable of inflicting on Israel — among other places:

Iran says the missiles have a range of almost 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers). If tthat’s accurate, the missile brings Moscow, Athens and southern Italy within striking distance from Iran, according to Jane’s Information Group, which provides information on defense issues.

Your must-read of the day: Two analysts tell the Jerusalem Post they’ve concluded what the rest of us figured out long ago, that Obama’s given up on the idea of halting Iran’s nuclear program


The Geniuses of the Democrat Party

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:53 am

First, you have Harry Reid, telling us Ted Kennedy’s cancer is in remission (it’s not), and that Robert Byrd is expected to be released from the hospital this week (he’s not).

The kicker: Reid says he certainly doesn’t want Gitmo prisoners a) released in the U.S., or b) locked in prisons in the U.S. Which leaves . . .?

Ooh, I have an idea! Gitmo!

Then we have these words of wisdom from Joe Biden, delivered to a graduating class at Wake Forest. Marvel at the man’s way with words:

I believe so strongly, as you may recall when I was here in October, not in you particularly but your generation, that I don’t have a single doubt in my mind we’re on the cusp not only of a new century but a new day for this country and the world.

. . . .

There’s not a single issue on this President’s plate that will not yield a change — just merely by ignoring it, it will change.

. . . .

Folks, we’re either going to fundamentally change the course of history, or fail the generations that come after us, because change will occur. Non-action is action, unlike most generations.

. . . .

This has been the history of the journey of America — never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, never have the American people let their country down at rare moments, similar moments in our history. And it’s a journey we’re all going to take together.


At least you can tell he didn’t plagiarize anything.

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