Patterico's Pontifications


NY Governor at Odds with Obama Over Trials

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 10:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

New York Governor David Paterson has publicly criticized the Obama Administration’s decision to try the 9/11 terrorists in New York, a decision the Administration may have told him about 6 months ago:

Paterson’s comments break with Democrats, who generally support the President’s decision.

“Our country was attacked on its own soil on September 11, 2001 and New York was very much the epicenter of that attack. Over 2,700 lives were lost,” he said. “It’s very painful. We’re still having trouble getting over it. We still have been unable to rebuild that site and having those terrorists so close to the attack is gonna be an encumbrance on all New Yorkers.”

Paterson also said that the White House warned him six months ago this very situation would happen. He said while he disagrees with the decision, he will do everything in his power to make sure that the state’s Department of Homeland Security will keep New Yorkers as safe as possible.”

Six months ago, in a May 21 national security speech (the same day former Vice President Dick Cheney was already scheduled to speak on national security issues), President Obama addressed how he planned to handle the Guantanamo detainees. He divided them into 5 categories, the first of which were detainees to be tried in United States civilian courts:

  • “First, whenever feasible, we will try those who have violated American criminal laws in federal courts — courts provided for by the United States Constitution. Some have derided our federal courts as incapable of handling the trials of terrorists. They are wrong. Our courts and our juries, our citizens, are tough enough to convict terrorists. The record makes that clear. Ramzi Yousef tried to blow up the World Trade Center. He was convicted in our courts and is serving a life sentence in U.S. prisons. Zacarias Moussaoui has been identified as the 20th 9/11 hijacker. He was convicted in our courts, and he too is serving a life sentence in prison. If we can try those terrorists in our courts and hold them in our prisons, then we can do the same with detainees from Guantanamo.”
  • The other categories were:

  • Detainees who violate the laws of war and are therefore best tried through military commissions;”
  • Detainees “who have been ordered released by the courts” and who will be released;
  • Detainees who we have determined can be transferred safely to another country;” and
  • Detainees “who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people.”
  • Regarding the last category of detainees, Obama promised they would never be released because they are still at war with America:

    “Examples of that threat include people who’ve received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

    Let me repeat: I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture — like other prisoners of war — must be prevented from attacking us again.”

    This sounds like the detainees the Obama Administration plans to try in New York, and it matches the promises Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have made that they will never be released. In other words, it sounds like category 1 “can be prosecuted” detainees have been combined with the category 5 “clear danger” and “still at war with us” detainees who can’t be prosecuted.

    One of the problems with Obama’s speeches is that he’s given so many of them and presented so many ideas — sometimes contradictory ideas — that’s it’s hard to keep up with them. In this case, I wonder if Obama intended all along to bring the high-risk detainees to the U.S. and that he told Gov. Paterson as much months ago.

    — DRJ

    The State of New York is Poor

    Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 10:18 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Happy New Year, New York State. Come the end of December, you may be broke:

    “If Gov. David Paterson and state legislators continue to do nothing about the way they spend money, the state’s general bank account will be $1 billion short at the end of December, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the man who writes the checks.

    That means the state will not be able to pay $2.5 billion to cities, towns and villages for property taxes residents have not paid because of the state’s STAR exemption.

    It means the state will not be able to make a $1.6 billion payment to schools.

    And it means the state could miss five weekly payments of about $400 million each to hospitals and other providers who give services to Medicaid patients.

    “If anybody thinks the numbers are going to take care of themselves, they’re wrong,” DiNapoli said.”

    New York has already used $5 billion from its cash reserves and reportedly there’s no more funds to raid. Meanwhile, Gov. David Paterson says the prospect of a budget deal looks bleak:

    “Gov. David Paterson, who had sought legislative action on a $3.2 billion deficit for weeks, now says he doesn’t expect any action on Tuesday, the latest target date.

    The Democrat also tells The Associated Press that he will continue to compel the Legislature back to Albany until it approves spending cuts and any new revenue sources or “stands up” to vote his proposal down so voters can see where each lawmaker stands. He blames a lack of action on some “irresponsible” lawmakers in both parties.”

    Paterson specifically criticized Democratic leaders for “distraction politics” and the “naked political act of trying to fool people” instead of working to solve the budget problems. And there may be no help for New York in Washington, since President Obama may be reluctant to help New York since Paterson publicly criticized the Administration’s decision to try the 9/11 terrorists in New York.

    Maybe this has something to do with Hillary Clinton’s decision not to run for Governor.

    — DRJ

    Leonid Meteor Shower

    Filed under: General — DRJ @ 8:27 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The Leonid meteor shower is tonight:

    “The annual Leonid meteor shower will make its one-night appearance over North America tonight. Viewing conditions should be excellent because the peak will occur after midnight, when the lights of metropolitan areas will be at their dimmest.

    Further, the presence of a new moon will make it much easier to see the white streaks across the sky.”

    There’s more detail on the Leonids here and here, or intrepid night owls can just go wing it.

    — DRJ

    Hunger in America

    Filed under: General — DRJ @ 8:09 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Hard times and no jobs means more hungry Americans:

    “The number of Americans who lived in households that lacked consistent access to adequate food soared last year, to 49 million, the highest since the government began tracking what it calls “food insecurity” 14 years ago, the Department of Agriculture reported Monday.”

    This is an increase of 13 million Americans since the last survey, and includes this data the Agriculture Secretary terms a ‘wake-up call’:

    “One figure that drew officials’ attention was the number of households, 506,000, in which children faced “very low food security”: up from 323,000 the previous year. President Obama, who has pledged to end childhood hunger by 2015, released a statement while traveling in Asia that called the finding “particularly troubling.”

    Analysts attribute the increases to rising food prices and a growth in unemployment — suggesting the number of hungry Americans will rise even more since this data was based on a jobless rate of 7.2%. Households with single parents and Southern households reported the most food insecurity. However, there are questions about the methodology of the survey:

    “The 18-item questionnaire asks about skipped meals and hunger pangs, but also whether people had worries about getting food. It ranks the severity of their condition by the number of answers that indicate a problem.

    “Very few of these people are hungry,” said Robert Rector, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “When they lose jobs, they constrain the kind of food they buy. That is regrettable, but it’s a far cry from a hunger crisis.”

    — DRJ

    ACORN in L.A. Gets a Clean Bill of Health . . . Or Does It?

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:28 pm

    Big Government dropped another ACORN video today. This one is from ACORN in L.A., and the ACORN employee actually seems non-supportive of the prostitution business. O’Keefe dubs him “ACORN EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR”:

    Well, there you have it.

    It’s a clean bill of health for L.A.!

    [Patterico screws up face into his best Columbo impression — which, if I say so myself, is pretty good.] But wait. There’s just one more thing.

    Cruising Andrew Breitbart’s Twitter feed, the attentive reader notices this:

    Its been almost 4weeks since dropping last ACORN video. Introducing ACORN L.A., a MULTI-part episode w a twist!

    MULTI-part, you say? A “twist,” you say?


    Oh yes, and I should also mention this. O’Keefe says in the video above: “Felix Harris was the only ACORN employee in our nationwide investigation who would not assist us [in] obtain[ing] a house for our illegal activities.”

    The only one? But didn’t James Rainey of the L.A. Times tell us that an ACORN employee in Los Angeles named Lavelle Stewart talked to Giles and O’Keefe?

    Why, yes! Yes, he did. And Rainey implied that ACORN employee Stewart refused to help Giles and O’Keefe. Which certainly seems inconsistent with O’Keefe’s unambiguous declaration today.

    Just trying to connect the dots . . .

    Well, I guess we’ll have to wait for the next shoe to drop. I have this feeling it’s going to drop right on James Rainey’s head.

    ObamaCare: A raid on Medicare and Social Security?

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 5:19 pm

    [Posted by Karl]

    Senate Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid intended to introduce his version of ObamaCare for the Senate floor this week, but the New York Times is telling us: “don’t count the days.” As has often been the case, the problem has been getting favorable numbers from the Congressional Budget Office:

    About 11 p.m. last Tuesday, the budget office sent Mr. Reid 11 pages of questions about his legislation. On Wednesday afternoon Mr. Reid’s staff met with budget office officials. And the back-and-forth continues.

    But Mr. Reid has already received some substantial analysis of his measure, and if the numbers had been what he wanted, he would have released a bill by now.

    Instead, he has repeatedly gone back to the budget office with variations of the legislation, trying to figure out how to limit the overall cost of the bill while increasing the number of people who would gain health coverage.

    Mr. Reid has put forward a proposal to increase the Medicare payroll tax on wealthy taxpayers, in part to help reduce a proposed tax on high-price health insurance plans, which is opposed by organized labor interests.

    But the tax on high-price insurance plans is one of the few proposals still included in the legislation that the Congressional Budget Office has said would help slow the growth of the nation’s health care costs. So Mr. Reid must choose between following the recommendation of experts on health economics and angering a crucial Democratic constituency.

    Left unreported is the effect of the two taxes. The intended effect of tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance policies is to get people to adjust their compensation, shifting the ratio away from coverage toward wages (whether employees would actually end up with higher wages is debatable). The CBO accounting of the Baucus poposal made clear that its supposed deficit reduction depended on skimming the new Social Security taxes, perhaps the clearest example of “raiding the trust fund” on record.

    Reid apparently hopes to appease Big Labor by reducing the effect of the “Cadillac” tax, but plans to do so by increasing the Medicare payroll tax. That looks suspiciously like Reid is planning to siphon funds ostensibly collected for Medicare to fund healthcare for non-seniors — i.e., a raid on the Medicare trust fund. Seniors have consistently been one of the groups most opposed to ObamaCare. Reid’s willingness to raid their safety net will only increase that opposition.


    Abortion: It’s No Joke

    Filed under: Abortion,Health Care — DRJ @ 1:40 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The abortion issue may heat up as ads air like this one from the Center for Reproductive Rights:

    The ad likely opposes the Stupak Amendment discussed in this earlier post.

    — DRJ

    Allegations of Wrongdoing by SEIU and Its President Andy Stern

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 am

    First, via Instapundit, we have Big Government reporting on allegations of illegal tactics by the SEIU in a union election. The allegations, made in a sworn affidavit by a former SEIU worker, include “changing ballots and threatening to report a worker to immigration officials,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

    Second, via Hot Air, we have an exclusive report of a letter from Americans for Tax Reform and the Alliance for Worker Freedom seeking an investigation of SEIU president Andy Stern for allegedly lobbying despite being unregistered as a lobbyist. The evidence includes Stern’s Twitter feeds, where he says things like this:

    Lobbying with Mayor Bloomberg on health care. Leaving Senator Snowe. Mayor big proponent of keeping people healthy and the right public plan

    Now might be a good time to recall that the release of White House visitor logs showed that Stern was the most frequent visitor to the White House. Browsing through Stern’s Twitter feed, I saw this entry from February 18:

    just left White House where group from MoveOn to Chamber of Commerce but mostly progressives had cocktails with Prez and VP

    It’s progressive heaven!

    UPDATE: Meanwhile, an Eagle Scout clears a path through a park, and the local SEIU chapter considers filing a grievance against the city for allowing it to happen:

    ”We’ll be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails,” [local SEIU president Nick] Balzano told the council.

    Might hafta bash a few skulls.

    Administration: Releasing Photos of Abused Prisoners Would Endanger Our Soldiers

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:06 am

    The AP reports:

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates has blocked the public release of any more pictures of foreign detainees abused by their U.S. captors, saying their release would endanger American soldiers.

    This is just another attempt by the Bush administration to paper over its history of state-sanctioned abuse with a ludicrous argument that releasing details of the torture of prisoners would somehow . . .

    Just one second.

    . . . I’m being informed that Barack Obama is now the president, and this action was actually taken by the Obama administration.

    Never mind!

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