Patterico's Pontifications


Smart Diplomacy Fail: We Have Been Negotiating With a Fake Taliban

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:57 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Via the New York Times, which deserves credit for making “Teh Won” look like an idiot.  It must have been hard for them:

Taliban Leader in Secret Talks Was an Impostor

For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the repeated appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.

But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel [A.W.: or a crappy 80’s comedy], United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”

American officials confirmed Monday that they had given up hope that the Afghan was Mr. Mansour, or even a member of the Taliban leadership.

NATO and Afghan officials said they held three meetings with the man, who traveled from across the border in Pakistan, where Taliban leaders have taken refuge.

The fake Taliban leader even met with President Hamid Karzai, having been flown to Kabul on a NATO aircraft and ushered into the presidential palace, officials said.

(emphasis added.)  So it’s bad enough we are negotiating with these bastards, but could we actually negotiate with the real bastards?  Is that too much to ask?

And at what point do even liberals admit that Obama doesn’t know what the hell he is doing?

Update: Iowahawk tweets:

WH in secret talks with high level Taliban who turns out to be imposter….  In related news, media calls Palin stupid

Folks, you have two choices with a story like this.  You can laugh, or cry.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Breaking: Miller Files in State Court

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:00 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Truthfully, there isn’t much right now to the story that wasn’t telegraphed a few days ago when I commented on the story of the Federal ruling on Friday.  If I have any proper sense of the time difference, it seems he waited until pretty late (it was probably a very busy weekend for their legal team), but still filed it on time to comply with the federal judge’s wishes.

A few highlights from the Forbes article:

State law stipulates that write-in ballots must have the provided oval filled in and the candidate’s last name or name written as it appears on their declaration of candidacy.

“Defendants nevertheless have decided to ignore the statute and create ‘exceptions’ to count ballots that do not satisfy these clear requirements,” the 21-page lawsuit filed in Fairbanks states. “By so doing the defendants have violated the mandatory legislative requirements and fundamentally altered the election.”

The state, however, cites case law in counting Murkowski ballots containing misspellings or those phonetic to her name. Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who oversees elections, defends the procedure and says the state doesn’t want to disenfranchise any voters….

Miller, who has said the law should be strictly followed, also alleged among other things that the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause and equal protection were violated.

The complaint maintained that write-in candidates like Murkowski have a substantial advantage because of the state’s practice of hand-reviewing write-in ballots to determine voter intent. Ballots for other candidates went through automatic machines….

Meanwhile, Miller’s campaign has been going through voter rolls to try to match the number of people signed up to vote with votes cast in certain precincts to ensure there was no voter fraud or other irregularities. The campaign has provided affidavits, generally from supporters, that have cited irregularities like an unsecured ballot box, ballots sorted by candidate and signatures that appear similar – the last of which could be due to voters receiving requested, allowable aid in filling out ballots.

Anyway, the complaint is here.  No analysis yet, because I haven’t read it myself.

Update: I read the complaint, and here are a few thoughts.  For the most part this is a very bare bones complaint.  But a few interesting points:

  1. He explicitly relies on Bush v. Gore for the idea that all voted must be judged objectively and by a single standard.
  2. He alleges that election officials have defacto issued regulations in violation of the Alaska version of the Administrative Procedures Act.

Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be a lot that is surprising.

One other thought I had was this.  As I understand it, Alaska is unique in the United States in that it has a “loser pays” principle in its courts.  Most American courts let each side bear its legal costs, but Alaska appears to be the only state that forces the loser to pay court costs and attorneys fees, much as they do in England.  Whether Alaska is an unlitigious paradise is too big a topic for me to tackle here, but Point of Law discusses it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Guess Who Might be Paying for the Ground Zero Mosque?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:10 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

The answer: you! At least in part.  The Daily Beast informs us that the organizers of the GZM are seeking a grant from the federal government to help them build the mosque.

Oh, and it gets even better.  Where would the grant be coming from?  From “a fund designed to rebuild lower Manhattan after 9/11[.]”

So bear that in mind the next time they assert that they intend no disrespect on the people who died on 9-11.  Indeed the chutzpah on display is breathtaking.

And notice how the contradictions keep piling up.  They picked this site because debris from the WTC fell there—that is their explanation as to why they are picking this place.  And now they are seeking money based on a fund designed to rebuild from the damage caused by 9-11.  But of course the left will continue to maintain it is wrong, wrong, wrong to call this the Ground Zero Mosque.  They will also argue that…  squirrel!

Of course, I suggested months ago that the Federal Government could step in and seize about half of the land, which probably would have made this project impossible (there is a real factual question whether my approach is legal now, if certain deals pending at the time I wrote that post were completed).  And I showed you months ago that the Ground Zero Imam was a creep, not deserving of the Gandhi-like praise heaped upon him.

Anyway, as they say, read the whole thing.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Breaking: Conviction in Chandra Levy Trial

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:43 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Ingmar Guandique has been convicted of murdering Chandra Levy.  You might remember that the world was obsessed with her disappearance in the summer of 2001.  You can read the details, here.

And this seems at good at time as any to say that if Gary Condit is listening, I honestly believed you had a high probability of being involved in her murder.  And for that I sincerely apologize.  I don’t apologize for thinking you were sleeping with her, given that it is apparently true.  But I do apologize for thinking you were likely to be involved in her murder.

And to the Levy family, I hope you can find peace.

Update: Michelle Malkin correctly notes an immigration angle to all of this.

Update (II): Tag teaming me in the comments DRJ and Jack S bring up some uncomfortable facts suggesting maybe I was being too kind on Condit, especially with this transcript of this classic interview with Connie Chung.  Wholly apart from the merits of this case, lawyers should read this interview as a classic example of how to impeach a witness on cross examination.  Really say what you will about the fall from grace of Connie Chung, but she did a great job with this one.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

(Bristol) Palin Derangement Syndrome Reaching a Fever Pitch

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:59 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

So apparently Bristol Palin is doing really well on Dancing With the Stars.  I say “apparently” because I could think of nothing more utterly boring than watching anyone dance on TV to a lame cover band.  If anything interesting (read: unintentionally hilarious) happens, I am sure it will crop up on The Soup.

But apparently there are people taking it waaaaay too seriously.  For instance, recently someone sent white powder to the Palin offspring, although thankfully it appears to be just talcum powder.  And this is not the most insane response to Palin so far:

A SWAT team descended on a house in Wisconsin earlier this week after a 67-year-old man shot his TV because he was so furious with Bristol’s performance.

Local authorities say the man, Steven Cowan told police that he felt Bristol was only on the show because of her famous mother, Sarah.

Cowan fired at his television set and then aimed the gun at his wife although she managed to escape outside.

Police negotiators were able to talk Cowan into surrendering early on Tuesday morning.

I am sure of course the left will assure us that this is an isolated incident not at all reflecting on the general mindset of the left.

I mean the extra insane part was his criticism was basically that Bristol was only on the show because of her mother.  To which I say, duh. It’s not called “Dancing With Professional Dancers,” or “Dancing With Random Citizens.”  It’s called Dancing With the Stars.  They don’t pick based on merit—indeed, according to Ann Althouse, they are not supposed to pick professional dancers as the “stars.”  You know, they are supposed to pick stars who aren’t known for their dancing, like Jennifer Grey of Dirty Dancing (who Althouse accuses of milking the death of Patrick Swayze) and R&B singer Brandy, who can be seen in this video not dancing professionally.

And while not generally as violent or threatening as the examples above, certainly Mark Perigard’s critique of Palin is silly, complaining that better dancers have been eliminated.  First, dance competition is not generally about actual objective quality anyway, if only because there is no such thing.  That is why the Olympic Figure Skating Competition and similar “artistry” competitions are so lame.  The Olympic “artistry” games in particular very often descend into nationalistic pissing matches easily susceptible to politics, bribery and horse-trading and should be eliminated from the competition entirely.  I am not denying that there is serious athleticism involved, I am just denying that the outcomes in this sport have a lot to do with that.  And as for a show like this, the idea doesn’t seem to be about technical mastery—otherwise, it would be a professional dance competition, and not a competition at least officially about dancing with well-known amateurs.  No, it’s all about the journey, the human element.

And there are few better human interest stories than the underdog story.  And really, it’s hard to beat the underdog story of Bristol Palin.  From the very first weekend after Sarah Palin became McCain’s nominee, liberals have targeted Bristol, suggesting that Trig was really her child.  She has had to endure the public humiliation of being an unwed mother before the entire world.  David Letterman more or less called her a slut on national television.  And she has had to endure the cruelty of Levi Johnson.  So the viewers of this show have a chance to pen a suitable coda on this mess: “and then she rose above all of that, beating out ringers like Brandy and Jennifer Grey, to win on Dancing With the Stars.”  It is regular Americans’ chance to say to the media that you have done this girl wrong.  And I forthrightly confess I will be glad if she does win.

I mean you know the left is losing all perspective when Jon Stewart has to tell his side to knock it off.  This is the guy who invited an unapologetic, unreconstructed Islamofascist to his rally to restore sanity.  And he is the voice of reason?

Update: For those of you who claim the left doesn’t hate Sarah Palin, I submit to you, (via a guest post by DRJ): The Wilding of Sarah Palin.  But nothing has been a greater indictment on the left than their constant attacks on Bristol and other Palin children.

Also slight edits for early morning grammar.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Obama Jokes About Going to See Hugo Chavez

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

Over the weekend, CBS White House Correspondent Mark Knoller published this message on Twitter:

Obama joked he’d have AF-1 fly home via South America so he could see Hugo Chavez. Some joke.

Yuk, yuk.

Coming next: jokes about political arrests and politically motivated yanking of broadcast licenses.

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