Patterico's Pontifications


Obamacare, Crony Capitalism and Big Media

Filed under: General — Karl @ 3:42 pm

[Posted by Karl]

By sheer coincidence, as our Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare, the Washington Post runs an op-ed by fmr. Sen. Maj. Ldr. Tom Daschle shilling for the legislation and for Pres. Obama. In fact, it runs under the banner “On Leadership.” The bio the WaPo ran for this propaganda states:

Daschle was one of the longest serving Senate Democratic leaders in history, and the only one to have served twice as both majority and minority leader. He was President Obama’s initial nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, and currently serves as a senior adviser at DLA Piper.

The WaPo fails to mention why he was the initial nominee for HHS Secretary. He withdrew mostly because he failed to pay $128,000 in taxes, primarily for personal use of a car and driver provided to him by a private equity firm for which he consulted. But at the time, even the New York Times noted the lurking backstory:

Mr. Daschle’s financial ties to major players in the health care industry may prove to be even more troublesome as health reform efforts proceed. Like many former power players in Washington, Mr. Daschle cashed in on his political savvy and influence to earn $5 million in recent years, including more than $2 million from Alston & Bird, a law and lobbying firm; more than $2 million from the private equity firm, InterMedia Advisors, which provided the car and driver; and hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches to interest groups, including those representing health insurance plans, medical equipment distributors and pharmacy boards.

Although Mr. Daschle was not a registered lobbyist, he offered policy advice to the UnitedHealth Group, a huge insurance conglomerate. He was also a trustee of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, on whose behalf he voiced opposition to a federal loan for a freight rail line near the clinic’s headquarters in Rochester, Minn. The loan was subsequently denied by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Mr. Daschle is another in a long line of politicians who move cozily between government and industry. We don’t know that his industry ties would influence his judgments on health issues, but they could potentially throw a cloud over health care reform.

In typical Beltway fashion, Daschle remained the Democrats’ “go-to guy” in the efforts to seize control over American healthcare. The main thing that changed was Daschle’s clients used to be mostly Big Insurance, while at DLA Piper, they seem to include pharmacies and pharmacos. That, and the likely pay increase over the huge pay boost he got becoming a “not a lobbyist” influence peddler.

This is the sort of thing folks a liberal outlet like the WaPo cared about before Obamacare needed a public defense, e.g., Dan Froomkin. Now the paper fails to disclose Daschle’s seeming financial interest, while Ruth Marcus complains about Obama’s naivete in not hiring more lobbyists from the outset. They all probably hoped for an even more socialistic government healthcare law, but now that Obamacare faces an important legal attack, it is time to circle the wagons for the crony capitalism of the mandate.


Ken at Popehat on Anti-Free Speech Thuggery

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am

Ken at Popehat has an excellent post about attacking people in real life to squelch their speech, using as an example the Nadia Naffe threat against me. Ken says:

Naffe released assertions publicly in a clear bid for publicity. The notion that a blogger who happens to be a lawyer can’t comment on her claims without straying into “legal advice” to a party is ludicrous. Such a wide interpretation of ethical rules would not survive First Amendment scrutiny. Similarly, the notion that an attorney is “interfering” in a public civil matter by commenting upon it is fatuous. Naffe and her hangers-on will not be producing any authority supporting their arguments, because (1) it doesn’t exist and (2) they aren’t capable of finding it if it did exist.

But Naffe and her supporters aren’t relying upon the legal force of their arguments. They are relying upon openly censorious thuggery — on politics by other means. Misconduct allegations against an attorney — even when they are sub-literate and specious — are embarrassing, inconvenient, and annoying. That’s the point of the tweet pictured above, and of Naffe’s celebrations of censorship-by-complaint. Naffe and her supporters do not seek to persuade, or to prove their cause is right — they intend to make frivolous complaints to a public entity in hopes of silencing a critic. For this, they deserve our contempt.

The “tweet pictured above” is one encouraging Naffe to file a complaint against me because doing so will reduce my power as a blogger. Or so the guy thinks, anyway.

One point I would add to Ken’s excellent observations: perversely, threats against a blogger not only serve as an attempt to intimidate, but are used as a tool to delegitimize the blogger. Here’s how it works: if a blogger criticizes someone in the public eye, the anti-free speech thug simply attacks the blogger in real life. If the attack fails to intimidate him, the thug now has the argument that anything the blogger posts about the thug in the future is done out of “revenge.” Even though the thug is the one who made it personal, while the blogger was simply reporting on the news, the thug’s personal attack on the blogger now enables the thug to claim to be the victim of a personal attack.

This is how the thugs use their weapons of real life attacks: not just as intimidation, but as attempts to delegitimize. They also can report you to the authorities for made-up crimes and ethical lapses, and then describe you as being “under investigation.”

It’s all part of a playbook. Ken does a great job explaining why it’s wrong. Read his post here. And don’t miss his epic takedown of one of these thugs in the comment section.

Deport the Criminals First: Two Stories

Filed under: Crime,Deport the Criminals First,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 7:03 am

A triple murderer should have been deported after his previous robbery and assault conviction leading to a prison sentence. Gee, maybe we should Deport the Criminals First:

A day after authorities arrested a suspect in connection with the brutal slayings of five people in a San Francisco home, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the accused killer had eluded deportation and instead had to be released from custody in 2006.

San Francisco police have connected Binh Thai Luc, 35, of San Francisco with the grotesque killings of three men and two women, who were discovered dead about 7:45 a.m. Friday by a woman who had access to the house. Officials arrested Luc on Sunday and alluded to his having a criminal history.

On Monday, officials said Luc had been taken into ICE custody in August 2006 as he was serving a prison sentence at San Quentin State Prison for assault and attempted robbery. Officials say he was ordered to be removed from the country by an immigration judge a month later, but because Vietnamese authorities declined to provide appropriate travel documents, Luc could not be deported and had to be released in December 2006.

Vietnam didn’t want their robber back? Now there’s a shocker.

I think it’s about time we told countries that we don’t care if they don’t want their criminals back. They are their problem, not ours. If they don’t like it, no more American cash.

So that’s one issue. But this one was obvious: of course we should deport robbers. I keep hearing, though, that we are being meanies by wanting to deport illegals who commit minor crimes, like DUIs. OK . . . and when we don’t, here’s what can happen:

Immigration officials confirmed Monday that the suspect in an alleged drunken driving wreck that killed one boy and critically injured another was in the country illegally.

Luis Hector Lopez-Rodriguez, 27, of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, is accused of plowing into the porch of a southwest Houston apartment, where two young boys were playing during a March 17 party, authorities said.

Gregory Palmore, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said agents have determined that Lopez-Rodriguez was in the country illegally and have filed paperwork to detain him. Palmore said ICE officials had no prior contact with Lopez-Rodriguez, who was convicted of driving while intoxicated in Harris County in January 2008.

. . . .

Jesus Ordonez, 7, was taken to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Christopher Cruz, 4, suffered burns on more than 40 percent of his body after the car slammed into a hot grill, authorities said.

Yeah, they had no contact with him because they didn’t start their program until later in 2008:

Immigration officials launched a jail screening program called Secure Communities in the Harris County Jail in the fall of 2008 . . .

Wish they’d listened to me. In November 2003, I said:

Look, I understand that we don’t have the resources to deport all illegal immigrants. But it seems like a no-brainer to start with the criminals. If a single immigration agent is worrying himself with illegals who have not already been convicted of a crime serious enough to warrant jail time, while illegals are being deliberately released from jail, there is something seriously wrong.

I reiterated the idea in March 2005 and December 2006. And I started a crusade with my multi-part series “Deport the Criminalst First” campaign in May 2007.

It’s sometimes fun on this blog for me to call myself Carnac by talking about the correct predictions I have made and so forth. But it’s actually no fun being Carnac when you realize that actual lives would have been saved — like that of the seven-year-old boy above — if people had just listened to you earlier.

By the way, if you’re still opposing identifying criminal aliens in jail, even those convicted of “minor” crimes like DUI, you’re part of the problem — and the blood of children like Jesus Ordonez is on your hands.

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