Patterico's Pontifications


What America Stands For, by President Obama (Updated)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 9:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama explains what America stands for in a message to Iran celebrating the Iranian New Year:

“I want the Iranian people to know what my country stands for. The United States believes in the dignity of every human being, and an international order that bends the arch of history in the direction of justice – a future where Iranians can exercise their rights, to participate fully in the global economy, and enrich the world through educational and cultural exchanges beyond Iran’s borders. That is the future that we seek. That is what America is for.”

What in the heck does “an international order that bends the arch of history in the direction of justice” mean, and how does that have anything to do with what America stands for?

The President also wants to have more exchange students “so that Iranian students can come to our colleges and universities.” However, he doesn’t mention sending Americans to Iran. That’s probably because of what happened to Esha Momeni and Shane Bauer, Sharon Shourd, and Joshua Fattal.


UPDATE — This is an Obama variation of a quote by Martin Luther King:

“In a speech delivered on August 16, 1967, Dr. King declared, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Now President Obama developed a variation on Dr. King’s words. Speaking to thousands in Millennium Park on the night of November 4, and to millions around the world, the President said of his own election, “It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.”

Dr. King’s version expresses hope in the future of mankind. Obama’s most recent version puts the “international order” in charge of mankind’s future.

“It’s a Feeling of Being Duped”

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 7:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Some homeowners who have sought government assistance in paying their mortgages are surprised to see their credit ratings decline:

“To enroll in the Obama administration’s $75 billion “Making Home Affordable” program, borrowers enter a trial period in which they make at least three payments. But some are finding out that their credit score takes a dive during this trial phase. It happens once their mortgage company notifies the three big credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

For delinquent borrowers, the damage was done when they fell behind on their loans.

But for homeowners who are having financial troubles but managing to pay their bills, a request for a loan modification is the first sign of difficulty. And that means a sharp drop in the borrower’s credit score.”

Some of these homeowners feel duped:

“And many homeowners are angry that a program designed to help carries such a penalty, said Kathy Conley, a housing counselor with GreenPath Inc., a nonprofit group in Farmington Hills, Mich.

“It’s a feeling of being duped,” she said.”

Maybe counselors should warn their clients, although it’s hard to believe a homeowner wouldn’t realize that using a loan assistance program signals lenders that the borrower may be in trouble. Amazingly, lenders are having to defend themselves:

“The credit rating industry defends the practice. People who sign up for loan modifications would not be asking for help unless they were having severe money troubles, said Norm Magnuson, spokesman for the Consumer Data Industry Association, a trade group in Washington that represents the credit bureaus.

“The consumer is going into the program because they’re in a financial bind,” he said. “Other lenders would need to be aware of that.”

We really, really need to put real life examples back into basic math and economics classes. Too many Americans are economically illiterate.


The Drones of War

Filed under: International,Obama,War — DRJ @ 7:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration has expanded the use of CIA and military drones, especially in Pakistan, and CIA Director Panetta is positive about their use:

“CIA Director Leon Panetta gave an interview to the Washington Post claiming that the “secret war” of drone assaults in Pakistan is having a major impact on al Qaeda.”

During his Presidency, Bush authorized the use of drones but President Obama has significantly expanded their use. There were objections to the use of drones during the Bush years and also after Obama took office, with many liberals complaining that drones increased civilian deaths and were used in countries with which the U.S. is not at war. In January, the ACLU announced an effort to obtain specific information about drone attacks:

“The ACLU is asking the government to release basic information about its use of drones to execute targeted killings. The group believes that “the use and proliferation of this tactic must be the subject of public scrutiny and debate.” The strikes are reportedly being carried out both by US military forces and the CIA.

The request is seeking information, including who may be targeted and the geographical limits on where drone strikes may occur. It wants information about the scope and consequences of drone strikes, including a breakdown of the total number of people killed, the civilian casualty toll, the number of people killed who were fighters with the Afghan Taliban or al-Qaeda in Afghanistan or who had some other terror-related affiliation or status.

“The public has been kept in the dark and is therefore unable to assess the wisdom or legality of the strikes,” the group claimed.”

The ACLU’s request was directed at the CIA and 3 government Departments — Defense, Justice, and State. Politico reports the CIA responded and the ACLU is pursuing an intra-agency appeal. The ACLU also sued to compel disclosure by the other agencies earlier this week.


“Crossing a Line”

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 5:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration is reportedly spamming federal workers and telling them to support ObamaCare, or else:

“The White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle has been feverishly sending out unsolicited email messages to federal employees in an effort to build support for President Barack Obama’s health reform package over the last several weeks.

DeParle’s unsolicited emails have been regularly coming to some federal employees’ official government email inboxes for weeks without permission or request, causing some federal employees to feel threatened by the overt political language.”

What’s next — Immigration reform and “you’re all racists if you don’t support amnesty” emails?


Health Care: Alive and Kicking (Updated)

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 2:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It sounds like ObamaCare may be on its way to a done deal:

“Stupak’s office sent out an email saying he will hold a press conference with “other pro-life” members at 11:00a.m. to discuss the health care bill. Maybe all the pro-life Democrats cut a deal?”

Any bets on whether the White House will be hosting a special champagne, caviar and lobster reception this Sunday?


UPDATE — There’s nothing worse than sore winners:

“On the left, some progressives, especially on the blogs, pretty much are beating a defeatist note. They have been repeatedly bemoaning that they did not get what they wanted, namely, the public option, to the point of some even opposing the bill altogether.

Not that the public option has been alive for quite some time now, but many left-leaning bloggers are sounding demoralized that Mr. Obama and many members of Congress did not stick to pledges gathered that if a vote were available for the public option, they would promote and approve it.

Many feel taken for granted and thrown under the bus.”

Biden Speaks Truth to Power

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 12:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Vice President Joe Biden to ABC’s Jake Tapper:

“You know we’re going to control the insurance companies.”

Actually, Biden may be speaking truth to the formerly powerful.


Obama’s Great Society

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 12:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

At a George Mason University rally with “young and raucous” supporters, President Obama compared health care reform to two other favorite programs of modern progressives — Medicare and Social Security:

“The president reminded the crowd of apocalyptic warnings and once-unpopular legislation of the past. “You know, the naysayers said that Social Security would lead to socialism,” he said to laughter. “But the men and women of Congress stood fast and created that program that lifted millions out of poverty.”

Other cynics, he said, “warned that Medicare would lead to a government takeover of our entire health care system, and that it didn’t have much support in the polls. But Democrats and Republicans refused to back down, and they made sure that our seniors had the health care that they needed and could have some basic peace of mind.” He added that “previous generations, those who came before us, made the decision that our seniors and our poor, through Medicaid, should not be forced to go without health care just because they couldn’t afford it. Today it falls to this generation to decide whether we will make that same promise to hardworking middle-class families and small businesses all across America, and to young Americans like yourselves who are just starting out.”

Medicare and many state Medicaid programs are going broke and they have led to socialized medicine. But I’m glad these young people are enthusiastic, and I hope their enthusiasm lasts for the next 80 years while they pay for this.


House Republican Claims Senate Won’t Pass Reconciliation

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 12:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A House Republican claims the Senate won’t be able to pass the Reconciliation Bill, so “the Senate version will become the law of the land:”

He also reviews some of the changes in the Reconciliation Bill.

I suspect this is intended in part to discourage House Democrats from voting “Yes” based on the reconciliation fixes, but it’s a plausible argument.


Holder: Detainee Lawyers are Patriots

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 12:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Attorney General Eric Holder says the DOJ lawyers who represented Guantanamo detainees are patriots:

“Two weeks after a conservative group disparaged Justice Department lawyers who previously represented terror suspects, Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday weighed in for the first time, calling such lawyers “patriots.”

“Those who reaffirm our nation’s most essential and enduring values do not deserve to have their own values questioned,” Holder told a group of lawyers who offer “pro bono,” or voluntary, legal services. “Let me be clear about this: Lawyers who provide counsel for the unpopular are, and should be treated as what they are: patriots.”

If they are patriots, most are nameless patriots because Holder still won’t identify 7 of the 9 politically-appointed DOJ lawyers who previously represented Guantanamo detainees.

There is a place for pro bono representation in American society and once a lawyer undertakes that representation, he or she should do so responsibly and diligently. However, I’m not convinced detainee lawyers are patriots any more than plumbers, office workers, and doctors who do their jobs responsibly and diligently are patriots.

Pro bono lawyers may love civil rights and due process but a “patriot” is defined as a person who loves, supports, and defends his country, not selected principles. And if the latter is the definition of a patriot, then will Eric Holder also acknowledge that defenders of the Second Amendment are patriots?


An Irrefutable Argument (Two, Actually) Against the Slaughter Rule and ObamaCare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:29 am

The unconstitutional Slaughter sleight of hand on Sunday will allow Democrats to vote for ObamaCare, and then later claim they didn’t.

It’s purely an exercise in political cowardice. And I can prove it.


If they’re not going to claim they didn’t vote for it, then why are they doing it this way?


Any argument to the contrary is hereby deemed to have been refuted.

My blog, my rules. And that is what I have decided.

Normally, on this blog, we make our arguments and stand behind our words. But why should we be forced to stand behind our words, if our opponents are redefining terms so their cronies in Congress don’t have to stand behind theirs?

The people who support the Slaughter rule are rewriting the English language. They are calling a non-vote a vote, by “deeming” it to be what it is not. Their justification? They have the power to do it, so fuck you.

If they are going to use their raw political power to redefine the very language of our Constitution, we should treat their arguments with no more respect.

And so I hereby use my own raw power to declare the “Slaughter the Language rule”: the arguments of people who support the Slaughter rule are hereby “deemed” to be incorrect. Don’t respond to them. Just explain to them that their arguments have been deemed to be lacking in logical support.

(This is actually less offensive than the Slaughter rule, because I am deeming incorrect something that already is incorrect.)

If these people are going to make a mockery of the Constitution and the English language itself, we should make a mockery of them. Starting now.

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