Patterico's Pontifications


The Campaign to Close Guantanamo

Filed under: Law,Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 11:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Some well-known musicians want to know what music was played at Guantanamo:

“A coalition of mega-bands and singers outraged that music – including theirs – was cranked up to help break uncooperative detainees at Guantanamo Bay is joining retired military officers and liberal activists to rally support for President Barack Obama’s push to shutter the Navy-run prison for terrorist suspects in Cuba.

Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails are among the musicians who have joined the National Campaign to Close Guantanamo, which launched Tuesday.
Based on documents that already have been made public and interviews with former detainees, the archive says the playlist featured cuts from AC/DC, Britney Spears, the Bee Gees, Marilyn Manson and many other groups. The Meow mix cat food jingle, the Barney theme song and an assortment of Sesame Street tunes also were pumped into detainee cells.”

A spokeswoman for Joint Task Force Guantanamo said music was not used at Guantanamo after 2003, and a CIA document reportedly states the decibel levels would not cause permanent hearing damage. In addition, it said loud music or white noise was used solely “to mask sound and prevent communication among detainees” and not for punitive reasons.

The initiative is apparently sponsored by the National Security Archive. [H/T steve.]

Another interested group, New Security Action, is a “501(c)4 organization seeking to promote progressive solutions to our national security challenges” following “eight long years of the failed Bush/Cheney approach.” Other than a desire to pressure President Obama into closing Guantanamo, the group doesn’t appear concerned about current tactics authorized by the Obama Administration for use in the rendition program, at Bagram, or elsewhere.

Meanwhile, another detainee case is on the way to the Supreme Court. Kiyemba v. Obama is a sequel to Boumediene v. Bush that will be heard in two separate appeals:

Kiyemba I,” just granted review, tests whether federal judges may grant release of Guantanamo detainees to live in the U.S. “Kiyemba II,” the next case, will ask whether judges may bar transfer out of the prison in Cuba to countries where they fear torture or abuse. The D.C. Circuit Court found no power in the courts to take either action as a remedy in a habeas case.”


NCAA Football, Week 8 (Updated)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 6:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Here’s a link to today’s scores. Florida and Mississippi State are tied at 13 in the 3rd quarter and the Tennessee-Alabama game was exciting, wasn’t it?


UPDATE on Top 25 upsets:

  • #8 Miami lost to Clemson.
  • #21 Texas Tech lost to Texas A&M.
  • #25 Oklahoma beat #24 Kansas.
  • The other Top 25 teams won today except: #16 BYU lost to #10 TCU, #4 USC is leading Oregon State in the 4th quarter, and #6 Boise State is just underway at Hawaii.

    Why Can’t Health Care be Like Car Insurance?

    Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 6:29 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    I’ve heard and read that ObamaCare will be like mandatory car insurance. I know such pundits don’t literally believe in “Cadillac” health care but this approach glosses over real differences between how car insurance and the Democrats’ proposed health insurance will work.

    Unlike ObamaCare’s anticipated mandates, not everyone is required to buy car insurance – only those who own cars and choose to drive on public roads. In addition, car insurance rates are adjusted based on factors like age, geographical region, driving history, tickets, etc. Reports indicate ObamaCare will prohibit discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and may not allow rate adjustments.

    Car insurance protects drivers from catastrophic events – wrecks that result in property damage and/or personal injuries — but car insurance doesn’t cover drivers for routine costs like repairs and maintenance, or cosmetic costs like detailing. Car insurance could include all vehicle-related costs but it would be prohibitively expensive, primarily because the demand for services would skyrocket. The main thing that would stop drivers from getting a car wash every week, an oil change every month, or body work for every dent would be personal time constraints imposed by long lines because everyone wants to use those “free” services. But many would use every bit of those services and more.

    Mandatory universal health care would cover Americans for catastrophic health events as well as the health care equivalent of repairs, maintenance and detailing. Some people see this as a good idea because it will make health care available to everyone. I think it will result in long lines and rationing for both routine and catastrophic services. I also fear that a health care system overburdened with routine demands will not be able to handle real emergencies.

    So why can’t health insurance be more like car insurance? Because if insurance paid for every oil change and engine failure, we’d have an autocare crisis, too.

    — DRJ

    Obama Declares Swine Flu Emergency

    Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 5:31 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    President Obama has declared a national health emergency to deal with the swine flu outbreak:

    President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, giving his health chief the power to let hospitals move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients.

    The declaration, signed Friday night and announced Saturday, comes with the disease more prevalent than ever in the country and production delays undercutting the government’s initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses of the vaccine could be available by mid-October.”

    The declaration enables hospitals to deal with the increased demand occasioned by more patients:

    “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius now has authority to bypass federal rules when opening alternative care sites, such as offsite hospital centers at schools or community centers if hospitals seek permission.

    Some hospitals have opened drive-thrus and drive-up tent clinics to screen and treat swine flu patients. The idea is to keep infectious people out of regular emergency rooms and away from other sick patients.

    Hospitals could modify patient rules — for example, requiring them to give less information during a hectic time — to quicken access to treatment, with government approval, under the declaration.

    It also addresses a financial question for hospitals — reimbursement for treating people at sites not typically approved. For instance, federal rules do not allow hospitals to put up treatment tents more than 250 yards away from the doors; if the tents are 300 yards or more away, typically federal dollars won’t go to pay for treatment.”

    I think this is a good idea. Normally I would have stopped this post here but given President Obama’s continued attacks on his predecessor, I’ll add what Obama would have said if this had been the Bush Administration: Too bad the Administration didn’t do this earlier. After all, a lot of places have been dealing with flu outbreaks for weeks. Where have you been, White House?

    — DRJ

    L.A. Times Does Good Piece on Polanski

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:58 pm

    It’s lengthy and appears accurate. The title: How a girl’s stark words got lost in the Polanski spectacle. The deck headline reads: “Samantha Gailey, at 13, was unequivocal in her testimony against Polanski. But her account was turned into something almost benign.” In one of several illuminating passages, Joe Mozingo explains how the probation officer

    ignored the most damaging parts of Samantha’s testimony and focused on the few quotes about her hazy memory. He was clearly impressed by the tragedies Polanski had overcome. “The defendant has not only survived, he has prevailed . . . and has become one of the leading creative forces of the last two decades.”

    In a highly unusual passage, he gushed about Hollywood.

    “Possibly not since Renaissance Italy has there been such a gathering of creative minds in one locale as there has been in Los Angeles County during the past half century. . . . While enriching the community with their presence, they have brought with them the manners and mores of their native lands which in rare instances have been at variance with those of their adoptive land.”

    His conclusion: “It is believed that incalculable emotional damage could result from incarcerating the defendant whose own life has been a seemingly unending series of punishments.”

    Star-struck, sounds to me. As were the producers of that highly one-sided documentary, which I watched again recently:

    Much like the probation report, the documentary sanitized the core allegations, presenting selected bits of Samantha’s grand jury testimony interspersed with Polanski’s description of what happened.

    Indeed. The documentary does a model job of pretending to be dispassionate, while skewing the facts in one direction and one direction only.

    Which is what the L.A. Times often does, to the detriment of the facts. (See the post below if you doubt me.) But not in this story, which is a job well done.


    My Letter to the Editorial Page Editor of the L.A. Times Regarding That Fact-Challenged Pro-ACORN Op-Ed Written by the ACORN Consultant

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:34 pm

    I have sent the following e-mail to Nick Goldberg, the Editorial Page Editor for the Los Angeles Times:


    A recent op-ed in your paper defending ACORN makes at least two factual misstatements: 1) that ACORN staff offered to help shield an underage prostitution ring at only two offices, and 2) that no voter fraudulently registered to vote by ACORN had ever actually cast a ballot. Furthermore, your paper failed to disclose that the author of the op-ed, Peter Dreier, has been a (presumably paid) consultant for ACORN in the past . . . something that might help explain how he botched the facts so badly.

    I think the paper should issue corrections of the two false facts, and disclose Dreier’s past consulting work for ACORN.

    This e-mail will be a little long, because I’m showing my work. While it might seem like an imposition to ask you to read such a long e-mail, I believe I’m doing you a favor, because I’m laying out the research necessary to show that corrections are warranted.

    Let’s start with Dreier’s false claim that only two offices offered to help shield an underage prostitution ring:

    Two “gotcha” right-wing activists showed up at about 10 ACORN offices hoping to entice low-level staff to provide tax advice for an illegal prostitution ring. In most ACORN offices, the staff kicked the pair out. In a few cities, staffers called the police. In two offices, however, the staff listened and offered to help. That was wrong. But ACORN immediately fired the errant staffers.

    “Two” offices? Try at least five, if not more. Let’s start with the two that Dreier appears to acknowledge.

    1) Baltimore: ACORN employees were fired in Baltimore after being caught on tape advising James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles regarding ways to evade the tax laws while running a prostitution business that involved 13 girls from El Salvador that were aged 15 and under. One employee, after being told that Giles was a prostitute, suggested that Giles call herself an independent artist or a dancer. ACORN employees suggested that the underaged prostitutes could be claimed as dependents — and argued that the underaged girls’ income did not have to be reported because they didn’t have Social Security numbers. An ACORN employee also gave advice on how to deal with an abusive pimp, advising them to tell the underaged prostitutes to keep their mouths shut. You may view the videos here:

    And review a transcript here:

    2) Washington, D.C.: In Washington, D.C., ACORN employees were fired after they gave O’Keefe and Giles advice on how to run a brothel including underaged prostitutes. An employee advised them to create a false company name to disguise the “lady of the night thing.” Giles was told to call herself a “consultant” or a “marketer” and to be “low key.”

    Employees didn’t bat an eye when told that there were 10 El Salvadorian girls involved in the underage prostitution ring. An employee told O’Keefe to say that he was just the landlord and that he has no knowledge of what was going on in the brothel. When they discussed where his money came from, he was told: “When the police ask you, you don’t know where it’s coming from.” View the videos here:

    And a transcript here:

    That’s two. Ah, but Nick . . . there are more.

    3) Brooklyn: In Brooklyn, O’Keefe and Giles received advice from ACORN employees on how to obtain mortgage loans when they were using El Salvadorian girls, aged 13-15, as prostitutes. One employee said: “Honesty is not going to get you the house.” Another advised the couple to find another name for the business besides “prostitution” . . . and to bury the proceeds in a tin in the back yard. Watch the videos here:

    And read a transcript here:

    4) San Bernardino: In San Bernardino, a woman explained how to report income from trafficking in underaged prostitutes. She advised them to call it a “group home” and not to declare too much money on their tax returns — which would work, she said, because it was a cash business. View the videos here:

    A transcript is here:

    5) San Diego: In San Diego, an ACORN employee actually went so far as to offer his help smuggling in underage prostitutes across the border. He told O’Keefe and Giles that Tijuana is the best place to smuggle the underaged prostitutes over the border, because “I have a lot of contacts” in Tijuana. Giles and O’Keefe told him that they have 12 girls who are 13-15 years old that they wanted to use as prostitutes. The man’s response? He said he wanted to talk to them via e-mail. Here’s the video:

    And here is the transcript:

    Now, the fellow in San Diego who offered his help in trafficking in underaged prostitutes apparently called his cousin, a police detective . . . two days later. I don’t know whether his cousin warned him that he might be the subject of a sting operation before the cousin talked to federal authorities, but I do know that the ACORN employee was later fired. And he sure seems helpful on the tape.

    (There is another tape that has recently been released from Philadelphia, but the audio of the ACORN employee has been muted due to ACORN’s legal actions against O’Keefe and Giles, so let’s just stick with the five examples above for now.)

    I have spent some time here to gather together the evidence and summarize it in one place so that you can clearly see, with just clicks of the mouse, that Dreier is absolutely full of it when he says that employees offered to help in only two places. Who are you going to believe: Dreier, or your lying eyes?

    This not the only falsehood Dreier tells in his op-ed. He also says:

    Our study documented that many news outlets reported the voter fraud allegations without attempting to verify them. Had they done so, they would have discovered that not a single person who signed a phony name on a registration form ever actually voted. What occurred was voter registration fraud, not voter fraud, and it was ACORN that exposed the wrongdoing in the first place.

    You might think that the extraordinarily sweeping nature of that statement would raise a red flag. Can he really know that no person voted after being fraudulently registered by ACORN?

    And in fact, it is not so:

    Darnell Nash of Cleveland, Ohio, was registered to vote by ACORN nine times for last year’s election. Nash cast a fraudulent ballot and was convicted of vote fraud and voter registration fraud. He’s currently serving a six-month prison term.

    A spokesman for Cleveland’s Democratic prosecutor Bill Mason told me earlier this month that a local investigation of ACORN remains wide open.

    Now, when I read this piece, I wondered: how could the man get these facts so badly wrong? A commenter of mine pointed out one possible motive: he has been a consultant for ACORN. As Dreier’s online bio states:

    He has worked closely with a wide range of community organizations, labor unions, and public interest organizations, and has worked as a consultant for a variety of foundations and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), VISTA, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the MacArthur Foundation, the Boston Foundation, the California AFL-CIO, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, ACORN, the Industrial Areas Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and others.

    This was not disclosed in the L.A. Times piece, which says only the following about Dreier:

    Peter Dreier is a professor of politics at Occidental College. His study of media coverage of ACORN can be found here.

    The paper should have disclosed Dreier’s consulting work for ACORN. Don’t you agree?

    I think the paper should do so now, and correct the two factual errors I have discussed in this e-mail. I look forward to your response.

    Yours truly,

    Patrick Frey

    As always, I’ll let you know what I hear back.

    UPDATE: It might also be worth noting that Dreier’s online CV also contains this entry:

    Advisory Committee, ACORN (1997- )

    He should have mentioned that, too.

    UPDATE x2: Since writing this post, I have learned that the American Spectator article was incorrect to assert that Nash was convicted of vote fraud. He was charged with vote fraud and numerous other felonies, but was convicted of three counts of false registration. I have written the author of the American Spectator piece seeking a correction but have received no response. Details in an update to this post.

    L.A. Times Fails to Disclose that Author of Fact-Challenged Pro-ACORN Op-Ed Has Been ACORN Consultant

    Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:50 am

    Yesterday I posted about an L.A. Times op-ed by Peter Dreier, who wrote that only two ACORN offices engaged in wrongdoing related to a purported child prostitution ring (at least five did), and who also falsely claimed that no ACORN-registered fraudulent voter ever cast a vote (false; one has been convicted for exactly that). How could somebody get the facts so badly wrong to ACORN’s benefit? In comments to my post, Bradley J. Fikes tipped us to one possibility: Dreier has been ACORN’s (presumably paid) consultant. As Dreier’s online bio states:

    He has worked closely with a wide range of community organizations, labor unions, and public interest organizations, and has worked as a consultant for a variety of foundations and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), VISTA, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the MacArthur Foundation, the Boston Foundation, the California AFL-CIO, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, ACORN, the Industrial Areas Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and others.

    Was this disclosed in the L.A. Times piece? Uh, no, it wasn’t. The entire bio for Dreier at the end of the L.A. Times piece reads:

    Peter Dreier is a professor of politics at Occidental College. His study of media coverage of ACORN can be found here.

    I’ll be writing Nick Goldberg about this today, as well as Dreier’s errors of fact.

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