Patterico's Pontifications


Sarah Palin’s Future

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 10:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Toby Harnden analyzes Sarah Palin’s chances in 2012 and he doesn’t like them:

“The hatred of Mrs Palin by the east and west coast elites – to whom her very accent is an affront – is not shared by most American voters. But polling shows that the former vice-presidential candidate has some serious problems on her hands if she is to pursue her presumed ambition of winning the presidency in 2012.

A recent Gallup survey found that 63 percent of voters would not seriously consider her for the presidency next time around. She remains very popular among Republicans but among independents – who will decide the next election – her favourability rating is just 41 percent.

This is not snooty elitism – it’s based on the perception that Mrs Palin’s track record is thin and that while she has real star quality her political prescriptions are vague. Sound familiar? That may have worked for Barack Obama in 2008 but Americans are likely to want much more substance next time around.”

Instead of running against President Obama in 2012, Harnden thinks Sarah Palin should challenge another O — Oprah. Palin would have good personal reasons to avoid running in another national political election. She cited the cost of ethics probes to Alaska and criticism of her family as the reasons why she resigned as Governor of Alaska. She’s also making more money from giving speeches and writing books than she could earn as an elected official.

I like Sarah Palin. I voted for her in the last election and I would vote for her again. Today’s anti-Palin sentiment doesn’t bother me because I believe Palin will be remembered as someone who opposed Obama’s policies, a history that may resonate with voters in 2012 (especially jobless voters). So I disagree with the bottom line of Harnden’s analysis: Palin isn’t Obama-lite, she’s the anti-Obama, and I hope she throws her hat in the 2012 GOP primary ring because she will energize Republicans as they face an election against an incumbent President.

However, I’m also willing to consider the value of having Sarah Palin in the world of television celebrities. More than any conservative I can think of, she could help get the conservative message out to the demographic where the GOP needs it most — with unemployed and low-income women and minorities who are more likely to watch daytime TV and vote for Democrats.

Thus, if conservatives want to win the culture war [Edit by DRJ: In other words, the conservative agenda of lower taxes, less government, abundant energy, and more jobs], then having Sarah Palin on daytime TV might be a good place to start … but I still hope she runs.


Juarez Violence Continues (Updated x2)

Filed under: Crime,International — DRJ @ 10:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Almost 2,000 people have been killed this year in Juarez, Mexico — just across the border from El Paso, Texas — including fifteen in one day:

Authorities say a 7-year-old boy, three women and a university professor are among 15 people who were killed in a single day in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez.

State prosecutor’s spokesman Arturo Sandoval says the child was traveling with his father in a pickup truck when gunmen opened fire Friday, killing them both.

Sandoval says three women were shot to death in two separate incidents. A university professor was killed in a residential area.”

Joint Mexican police-military operations are viewed as a failure so Juarez businessmen have asked for UN peacekeepers:

“This is a proposal … for international forces to come here to help out the domestic (security) forces,” said Daniel Murguia, president of the Ciudad Juarez chapter of the National Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism. “There is a lot of extortions and robberies of businesses. Many businesses are closing.

The government has sent more than 5,000 soldiers to the city across the border from El Paso, Texas, but killings, extortions and kidnappings continue.

Ciudad Juarez has had 1,986 homicides through mid-October this year – averaging seven a day in the city of 1.5 million people.

“We have seen the U.N. peacekeepers enter other countries that have a lot fewer problems than we have,” Murguia said.”

Juarez reportedly has one of the highest homicide rates of any city in the world.


UPDATE 11/16/09: The 7-year-old boy was an El Paso resident visiting his father. Police believe the father was shot first and his son was shot several times in the back as he tried to run away.

UPDATE 11/17/09: The Houston Chronicle reports incidents of vigilantism may be on the rise.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Opening Statement (Updated x3)

Filed under: Law,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 6:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An attorney often speaks for a defendant in the American criminal justice system but defendants have the right to represent themselves in state and federal criminal cases, i.e., to appear pro se. Any bets on how many of the Guantanamo detainees will want to appear pro se so they can make the opening statements in their New York criminal trials?

If that happens, Prof. William A. Jacobson at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion thinks he knows how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will begin his opening statement:

“With regards to these nine accusations that you are putting us on trial for; to us, they are not accusations. To us they are badges of honor, which we carry with pride….”

And this:

“In fact, it was you who had wiped out two entire cities off the face of the earth and killed roughly half a million people in a few minutes and caused grave bodily harm by nuclear radiation? Did you forget about your nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

You are the last nation that has the right to speak about civilians and killing civilians. You are professional criminals, with all the meaning the words carry. Therefore, we kill treat you the same. We will attack you, just like you have attacked us, and whomever initiated the attacks is the guilty party.”

Why might KSM say this? Because it’s from a written statement he and other detainees offered at Military Commission proceedings. There are more excerpts and the full statement at the link.

Prof. Jacobson concludes that the opportunity to say this “in the shadows of the former Twin Towers, a short distance from where thousands of infidels died, in a room face to face with the loved ones who still mourn …. to him, it will be priceless.”


UPDATE: Newsweek reports that the U.S. Marshal’s Service in New York has been working for months on preparations for the detainee trials. I don’t read much into this — it’s their job to be prepared for various contingencies and Obama sent signals he was open to this as a candidate. However, this excerpt gave me a chill:

“Among security measures the Marshals Service has already undertaken are assessments of the risks the presence of high-level Qaeda prisoners, such as Mohammed, would pose for New York—and what kind of bodyguard squads will be needed to guard trial participants, like judge and jury.”

UPDATE 2: Andrew Cohen, CBS News’ Chief Legal Analyst, agrees KSM will try to turn his trial into political theater. Cohen points out it may help seal KSM’s guilty verdict but Cohen overlooks Jacobson’s point that this gives terrorists a forum they don’t deserve and that could be harmful.

UPDATE: IraqPundit says KSM has finally gotten the circus he wanted, and Iraqis believe this means KSM will win.

2009 Medicare Fraud Exceeds $47B

Filed under: Government,Health Care — DRJ @ 5:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Medicare fraud in 2009 exceeded $47 billion:

The government paid more than $47 billion in questionable Medicare claims including medical treatment showing little relation to a patient’s condition, wasting taxpayer dollars at a rate nearly three times the previous year.

Excerpts of a new federal report, obtained by The Associated Press, show a dramatic increase in improper payments in the $440 billion Medicare program that has been cited by government auditors as a high risk for fraud and waste for 20 years.”

If $47 out of $440 billion are improper payments, then this means almost 11% of the Medicare claims paid are fraudulent. The AP says the number is 12.4% “when counting both Medicare fee for service and managed care.” Worse yet, this could be old news:

It’s not clear whether Medicare fraud is actually worsening. Much of the increase in the last year is attributed to a change in the Health and Human Services Department’s methodology that imposes stricter documentation requirements and includes more improper payments – part of a data-collection effort being ordered government-wide by President Barack Obama this coming week to promote “honest budgeting” and accurate statistics.”

The money is out the door, so even if we find the culprits the overall chance of recovering most of these funds is about as high as the government getting it’s money back from Chrysler and AIG. So tell me again how government health care is going to save us money?


PS — “In the Medicaid program for the poor, roughly $18.1 billion, or 9.6 percent of claims, are believed to be improper payments.”

Things That Don’t Mix, Continued

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Remember the Bugatti Veyron that took an unplanned dip in Texas salt water?

Gazzer has the video.


NCAA Football, Week 11

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 3:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s getting to crunch time in Week 11. Is anyone brave enough to predict the final BCS standings?


How Low will he Go? (Updated x3)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 2:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama bows to Japanese Emperor Akihito:

LA Times Top of the Ticket: “Very low bows like this are a sign of great respect and deference to a superior.”

It looks like Obama has a thing for royalty, especially in certain countries.


UPDATE: Compare and contrast Obama’s bow with other world leaders. H/T GatewayPundit.

UPDATE 2: Obama may not be the first Pacific President but he might be the first President to pose for photos in a Chairman Mao jacket. H/T Dana.

UPDATE 3: Jake Tapper says this a tradition begun by President Clinton, and President Bush apparently donned a similar jacket in China. Is this what passes for American diplomacy today — we can’t even wear our own clothes?

Accepted Wisdom™ on Trying KSM in Federal Court: Glenn Greenwald Edition

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:47 am

When are attacks on military targets “terrorism”? For Glenn Greenwald, the answer is: “only when it benefits my argument.”

Glenn Greenwald suggested the other day that those who attack purely military targets should not be considered terrorists. Greenwald called Joe Lieberman “incomparably pernicious” after Lieberman claimed that Hasan was a terrorist. Greenwald argued that Hasan’s attack “was carried out on a military base, with his clear target being American soldiers, not civilians.” Greenwald argued that, if one calls Hasan’s attack terrorism, then the United States also engages in terrorism with its drone attacks on terrorists in Pakistan.

Greenwald’s logic obviously applies to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole — which was, after all, a purely military target attacked in a surprising and unconventional manner. Greenwald seems to be arguing that the right slaps the label of terrorism on purely military attacks (like the attack on the U.S.S. Cole) when it suits the right’s purposes.

Oddly enough, however, Greenwald does exactly the same thing.

In his post on Eric Holder’s announcement that KSM will be tried in federal court, Greenwald savages Holder for also announcing that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole attack, will be tried before a military tribunal. Greenwald scoffs: “So what we have here is not an announcement that all terrorism suspects are entitled to real trials in a real American court.”

“Terrorism suspects”? Hold up. Since when is Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri a terrorist in Glenn Greenwald’s mind?

Answer: when it suits Glenn Greenwald’s argument. That’s when.

If a conservative were to cite the Cole attack as an example of terrorism, Greenwald would rush off to find a dozen allegedly similar atrocities perpetrated by the U.S., in a desperate bid to establish moral equivalence. Greenwald would ridicule the notion that the Cole attack is “terrorism” deserving of opprobrium. Why, it’s just warfare!

But note what happens the second you tell him: fine, it’s warfare. So we’ll try the combatant in military court. Before you can say “Thomas Ellers is a hypocrite,” the argument gets revised right before your very eyes. All of a sudden, the Cole attack becomes “terrorism,” and the “suspects” need to be tried in federal court.

Greenwald loves to pretend that he’s all about consistency. To that contention, let me furrow my brow seriously and respond: Hahahahahaha! Dude, you’re all about advancing leftist arguments, period.

Quit trying to pretend you’re some high-minded great man, Greenwald. Leave that to your sock puppets.

Palin-Mania; UPDATE: Newsweek Joins the Mania!

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 12:10 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue will be released next Tuesday, November 17, and the media is awash in anticipation … or dread. It’s hard to tell.

Using an advance copy, the AP fact-checked her book and didn’t find much to like, something I can’t recall it attempting with Presidential candidate Obama’s already published books. Palin replied that the AP and other media outlets are “erroneously reporting” the contents of her book, and John Ziegler confirms the AP did a poor job of fact-checking.

Meanwhile, MSNBC investigates why Palin drives us wild. Note MSNBC’s use of a well-known and long-debunked photo-shopped pic of Palin.

Sometimes the best thing about Sarah Palin is that she drives liberals crazy.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Newsweek asks, in an image that you probably think I am making up but that Politico insists is real: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah?” Newsweek adds: “She’s bad news for the GOP — and for everybody else, too.”

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