Patterico's Pontifications


Thought vs. Actions

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:48 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Ben Shapiro raises some interesting points as he considers the racism of Donald Sterling and what he sees as the rise of thoughtcrime. In agreeing with the vast majority of Americans, Shapiro observes,

Sterling’s a pig, and that’s been no secret for decades.

However, he is also concerned about penalizing a person for their thoughts – thoughts expressed in private. He begins his examination by laying out the past public sins of Sterling and the responses – or lack thereof – to them,

In November 2009, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling settled a lawsuit in which the Department of Justice alleged that Sterling had discriminated against Hispanics, blacks and families without children in his rental properties. The lawsuit contained testimony that Sterling had suggested Hispanics were poor tenants because they “smoke, drink, and just hang around the building,” and that “black tenants smell and attract vermin.” The settlement cost him and his insurers $2.73 million.

The NBA and the national media said virtually nothing. That same year, the NAACP gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2005, Sterling signed a check for more than $5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that he had attempted to prevent non-Koreans from renting in his facilities in Koreatown.

The NBA and the national media said virtually nothing.

He then brings us to the present sins of Sterling, the subsequent firestorm and his eventual judgment,

But the big problem here isn’t hypocrisy. The big problem is that the market is turning on Sterling not over action, but over words. Sterling’s a pig, and that’s been no secret for decades. But what triggered America’s response? Sterling’s thoughts. American society now considers expression of thought to be significantly more important than action. Sterling got away with actual discrimination for years. But now he is caught on tape telling his gold-digging girlfriend he doesn’t like blacks, and that’s when the firestorm erupts?

This is the thought police at work. Feelings matter more than action. Words matter more than harming others. That sets a radically dangerous precedent for freedom of thought and speech, particularly for those whose thought and speech we hate. Freedom of speech and thought matters especially when it is speech and thought with which we disagree. The moment the majority decides to destroy people for engaging in thought it dislikes, thoughtcrime becomes a reality.

Shapiro concludes,

Sterling’s career should have been ended by public outrage based on his established patterns of discrimination years ago. To end it based not on such disreputable action but on private musings caught on tape demonstrates America’s newfound disregard for the rights of those whose thought we find despicable.

Read the whole thing.


Shaping the Benghazi Story

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In an announcement today, Judicial Watch revealed that they received 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents in response to a FOIA request. One email was particularly revealing.

White House officials consciously planned to spin the successful 2012 jihadi attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam video, according to a new email exposed by the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch.

The Sept. 14 email by Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s chief foreign policy spokesman, described the public relations goals for a planned briefing of a top official — Susan Rice — who was scheduled to appear Sept. 16 on five Sunday talk-shows.

She was invited on the shows to explain the September 11 attack, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The subject of the email was “PREP CALL with Susan.”

The goal of the appearances, said Rhodes, is “to convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad; [and] to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, not a broader failure of policy.”

As a reminder, here is what Rice claimed on the Sunday morning shows,

Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo.

In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.

It would appear there is no way to spin any of this. Not only is this problematic for the president, but it is for Hillary Clinton, too, who was secretary of state at the time. The security of the embassy fell to her.

She was implementing Obama’s foreign policy in Libya, following his decision to help kill the country’s leader in 2010. State Department officials have testified that senior officials insisted prior to the attack that there was no need for extra security. The insistence was caused by the White House’s judgement that the Obama-backed Libya government was keeping peace.

Also, if Hillary makes a run in 2016, this should be a serious problem for her.



The Horrible Pain of a Botched Execution

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:27 pm

Clayton Lockett was not a very nice man:

Stephanie Neiman was proud of her shiny new Chevy truck with the Tasmanian Devil sticker on it and a matching “Tazz” license plate.

Her parents had taught the teenager to stand up for “what was her right and for what she believed in.”

Neiman was dropping off a friend at a Perry residence on June 3, 1999, the same evening Clayton Lockett and two accomplices decided to pull a home invasion robbery there. Neiman fought Lockett when he tried to take the keys to her truck.

The men beat her and used duct tape to bind her hands and cover her mouth. Even after being kidnapped and driven to a dusty country road, Neiman didn’t back down when Lockett asked if she planned to contact police.

The men had also beaten and kidnapped Neiman’s friend along with Bobby Bornt, who lived in the residence, and Bornt’s 9-month-old baby.

In fact, you might say he was downright evil.

Neiman was forced to watch as Lockett’s accomplice, Shawn Mathis, spent 20 minutes digging a shallow grave in a ditch beside the road. Her friends saw Neiman standing in the ditch and heard a single shot.

Lockett returned to the truck because the gun had jammed. He later said he could hear Neiman pleading, “Oh God, please, please” as he fixed the shotgun.

The men could be heard “laughing about how tough Stephanie was” before Lockett shot Neiman a second time.

Why, it sounds kind of like a “botched execution,” doesn’t it?

“He ordered Mathis to bury her, despite the fact that Mathis informed him Stephanie was still alive.”

Bornt and Neiman’s friend “were threatened that if they told anybody about these events, they too would be murdered,” court records state.

“Every day we are left with horrific images of what the last hours of Stephanie’s life was like,” her parents’ impact statement says.

. . . .

Bornt wrote a letter Feb. 7 stating: “Clayton being put to death by lethal injection is almost too easy of a way to die after what he did to us. … He will just be strapped to the table and will go to sleep and his heart will stop beating.”

Well . . . turns out, not quite.

Oklahoma called off a high-profile double execution with an experimental drug combination Tuesday evening after the first execution was apparently botched and the inmate died of a heart attack about 40 minutes after the drugs were administered, according to local news reports.

Clayton Lockett was slated to be the first to die after a legal battle over Oklahoma’s lethal-injection methods, which have come under fire from death penalty opponents for the secrecy surrounding the process.

But his vein apparently burst while officials were trying to administer the drugs beginning at 6:23 p.m. He began to convulse and officials tried to resuscitate him, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

According to the AP, Lockett had received a new lethal-injection formula that included the sedative midazolam as the first in a three-drug combination. He died of a heart attack at 7:06 p.m. The second execution was called off.

Most stories you read today will be about the horrible, awful suffering Lockett supposedly went through today during the “botched” execution. Not this post.

I say he still had it way too easy. I bet Bobby Bornt agrees. I bet Stephanie Neiman’s parents do too.

Somehow, I don’t think our Founding Fathers, who authored and ratified the Eighth Amendment, would have been too disturbed by the manner of Clayton Lockett’s death either. But why speculate? Let’s ask Emmy-Award Winning Founding Father James Madison!

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 8.26.07 PM

So shed no tears for Clayton Lockett. And let’s set a new execution date for Charles Warner, pronto.

So says me. And James Madison.

Democrat Clinton Appointee Strikes Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 pm

I have read the opinion (.pdf), and, shockingly, it is nonsense. In a nutshell, the judge finds that 1) there ain’t no such thing as voter fraud, and 2) obtaining a photo ID is second in difficulty only to scaling Mount Everest.

You will be shocked to learn that the judge was appointed by Bill Clinton and was a Democrat in Wisconsin’s State Senate from 1977 to 1997.

I’m not going to spend hours of my life deconstructing the judge’s partisan claptrap, but let me note one teensy tiny little hole in the judge’s argument. After he gets done asserting that there ain’t no such thing as fraud by voter impersonation, he addresses a topic that I have railed about here in the past. Namely: the overwhelming likelihood that illegal immigrants, who habitually present fraudulent documentation in every other walk of life, and habitually and illegally claim rights of citizenship that they have not earned, just might possibly decide to vote as if they were a citizen. Especially if nobody is checking IDs. As I said in 2010:

Estimates say that there are anywhere from 10 million to 18 million illegal immigrants in the country. This means millions are of voting age. What’s more, many of them are experts at obtaining false documents, allowing them to work, drive, and participate in all other aspects of civic life. Do we really think that none of them vote? None? Let’s go with a conservative estimate of 10,000,000 illegal immigrants. If only one percent of them vote — just one percent! — that’s 100,000 illegal votes. That is voter fraud on a massive scale — certainly enough to tip a close election. This sort of thing dilutes your vote.

It has happened in New Mexico and I bet you it has happened in Wisconsin.

Here’s what the good Democrat judge says about that:

The defendants contend that the photo ID requirement will help detect and deter forms of voter fraud other than voter impersonation. However, the defendants do not adequately explain how that could be so. The first type of unlawful voting the defendants cite is “voting under invalid voter registrations.” Defs.’ Post-Trial Br. at 12–13. The examples the defendants give of this kind of voter fraud are voting by a registered voter who has been convicted of a felony and voting by a non-citizen who has managed to register to vote.

However, the defendants do not explain how the requirement to present an ID at the polls will prevent these types of unlawful voting, and I cannot think of any way that it could. If a person is registered and has a valid ID, that person will be allowed to vote. No evidence in the record indicates that persons convicted of a felony or non-citizens will be unable to present qualifying forms of ID.

That’s pages 20-21 of the opinion. Remember that, folks: there is NO EVIDENCE in the record indicating that non-citizens will be unable to present voter IDs.


Serious You Guys, I am over here racking my brain trying to think of a way that an ID requirement could prevent non-citizens from voting, and I am just coming up empty!

If you’re already rubbing your eyes in amazement, just wait until you hit the part of the opinion where the good Democrat judge talks about how very very hard it is to get these IDs.

For almost all low-income voters who lack an ID, the easiest ID to obtain will be the free state ID card, which is issued by the DMV. To obtain a state ID card, a person generally must present documents that satisfy four requirements: (1) proof of name and date of birth, (2) proof of United States citizenship or legal presence in the United States, (3) proof of identity, and (4) proof of Wisconsin residency. See Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15.

That’s at page 26.

!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you see it? I bolded it for you so you would! Did you?

Now, the highlighted portion does allow non-citizens who are legally present in the United States to obtain a state ID card, so requiring a state ID card would not neatly exclude every non-citizen from voting. But it would exclude non-citizens who are not legally present in the country — absent the presentation of fraudulent documents to obtain a state ID card.

So, gee, Mr. Judge, doesn’t it seem like maybe the ID requirement might kinda help after all?

By the way, those requirements are what is necessary to obtain a state ID card, which (according to the judge) is the easiest kind of ID to get. The main other acceptable forms of ID include a Wisconsin driver’s license, an “ID card issued by a United States uniformed service,” or a U.S. passport. These also seem difficult to come by, if you’re an illegal immigrant, except by fraud.

In short, the judge is either exceedingly dense, or he is a liar. Perhaps both, but certainly not neither.

I hope the state of Wisconsin appeals this, and stuffs a resounding reversal opinion right down this judge’s partisan Democrat throat.

Sterling Gets Lifetime Ban from NBA

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:52 pm

Having had a chance to listen to his full remarks on that tape, there’s really no defending him. Anyone listening to him comes away thinking: “what a maroon.” That being said, the whole thing does feel like a set-up job and an invasion of privacy.

I am no expert on the NBA and its rules and powers, but maybe you guys are. Discuss away.

Schmucko’s Approval Rating at New Low (for ABC News Poll)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

Heckuva job, Barry:

Democrats face serious obstacles as they look to the November elections, with President Obama’s approval rating at a new low and a majority of voters saying they prefer a Congress in Republican hands to check the president’s agenda, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Obama’s approval rating fell to 41 percent, down from 46 percent through the first three months of the year and the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC News polls. Just 42 percent approve of his handling of the economy, 37 percent approve of how he is handling the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and 34 percent approve of his handling of the situation involving Ukraine and Russia.

Other surveys have put Obumbler’s approval rating even lower in the past, but it’s nice to see a trend with this one. Keep up the good work, pal.

John Kerry Apologizes for Israel “Apartheid” Remark

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

John Kerry is now apologizing for the following remarks:

A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.

So: is he right, or is he wrong?

Look: I love jumping on John Kerry as much as the next guy. But for some on the right, the topic of Israel is treated the way race is treated by the left: there is a very narrow category of allowable discussion, and Heaven help you if you make a remark that falls outside that range.

He didn’t say Israel is an apartheid state. (And, clearly, it’s not. It’s a democracy in which the same laws apply to all.) He said what he said.

I’m not saying he’s right. In fact, I tend to think he’s not.

I’m saying: can we have a discussion about whether he’s right — and, if not, why not? — without the sort of hissing and finger-pointing that the left does on race issues?

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