Patterico's Pontifications


You Idiots, ‘You’ve Never Heard Of A Computer Crashing Before?’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The House committee investigating the IRS scandal subpoenaed Commissioner John Koskinen to testify on June 23 about the agency’s claims it cannot locate Lois Lerner’s missing emails which were supposedly lost when her computer crashed.

Clearly, Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has run out of patience:

“I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the Committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting,” Issa, R-Calif., said in a letter accompanying the subpoena. “For too long, the IRS has promised to produce requested – and, later, subpoenaed – documents, only to respond later with excuses and inaction.”

In the meantime, Sharyl Attkisson reminds us of Commissioner Koskinen’s testimony about Lerner’s emails given last March:

Koskinen said, at the time, it would be 2015 before the Committee got the documents it subpoenaed. That means he predicted it would take the tax agency a year and a half from the time the material was first requested to provide it.

Koskinen said the IRS uses Microsoft Outlook but that a simple search through a user’s “sent” and “in” boxes would not turn up the emails because “they’re stored somewhere.”

Koskinen indicated that seven months after the request, the agency had not yet begun serious work to turn over Lois Lerner’s emails. But he said, “We can find, and we are in fact searching, we can find Lois Lerner’s emails.” He made no mention of a computer or system “crash.

Commenting from Air Force One about the missing emails, White House spokesman Josh Earnest dismissively sneered:

You’ve never heard of a computer crashing before?

When informed that emails are stored on servers and not hard drives, Earnest predictably went on the attack:

I think it’s entirely reasonable because it’s the truth and it’s a fact. And speculation otherwise I think is indicative of conspiracies that are propagated in a way that left people with a disinformation about exactly what occurred.

So a good-faith effort has been made by the IRS to cooperate with congressional oversight. The far-fetched skepticism expressed by some Republican members of Congress is not at all surprising and not particularly believable.

It will be interesting to see what June 23rd brings.


Hiltzik Calls Chelsea Clinton’s $600,000 NBC Gig a “Bribe”; L.A. Times Editors (OK, Lawyers) Rush to Quietly Paper Over the Accusation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:27 pm

Michael Hiltzik has a column that is — currently — titled Why did NBC reportedly pay Chelsea Clinton $600,000 a year?

The disclosure raises the obvious question of NBC’s goal in giving a person without any measurable journalistic or broadcasting experience or any particular public following a high-profile job and apparently paying her a top-echelon salary.

The answer is equally obvious. Plainly, it was done to curry favor with the Clinton family.

I find myself in rare agreement with Hiltzik. But here’s the funny part. At the very bottom of his piece we see this:

Updated at 12:08 p.m. PDT: This post has been revised. During the editing process, changes were made to the headline and text.

Were they now!?

Odd how the changes are not specified. It’s enough to make an L.A. Times critic want to dig deeper.

A fella on Twitter has a hint as to what might have changed, saying that the original headline called Clinton’s job a “bribe”:

It looks like the fella on Twitter is right. iowahawk noticed the “bribe” language hours ago — before the story was changed and people started telling iowahawk that the link was broken:

Tellingly, Hiltzik still has this tweet up:

Look at the screenshot of the article below the tweet. The original headline is still there, as it is in this L.A. Times tweet that I predict will be removed shortly after this post goes live:

By the way, when you take the Twitter version of the short link offered by Hiltzik and put it into to analyze it, you get this:

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 7.18.29 PM

Look at entry #2. The word “bribery” is part of the post’s title.

All this is proof that the word “bribe” was in Hiltzik’s original title, before the editors (OK, let’s be honest: the lawyers) got hold of it.

P.S. Please email when the Hiltzik and L.A. Times tweets get removed, in 3…2…1..

Yes, of course I have screenshots.

P.S. He’s right, you know. Even a stopped clock dishonest leftist hack is right twice a day once in a blue moon.

No Deniers Allowed!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:16 pm

[guest post by Dana]


The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has a cute online petition designed to get BAD Repulicans in Congress to stop denying global warming.

Tell Republicans to Stop Denying Climate Change:

It’s time to take action on climate change. But many Republicans in Congress refuse to admit that climate change exists.

It’s time for Republicans to admit that climate change is real. Stand with President Obama and Democrats and call out Republicans who are denying climate change.

Their Facebook page quotes the president:

Ninety-seven percent of scientists have now put that to rest. They’ve acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it.” — President Obama

Add your name to stand with President Obama (and experts like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson) for an energy policy that helps fight climate change.


UPDATE: Doubters and deniers are going to continue to pay a price for their blasphemy – even if a credentialed liberal. These fervent fundamentalists will continue to push their religion on everyone. Even our president is an evangelist, opting to focus on climate change for his UCI commencement speech.

Climate McCarthyism has claimed another victim. Dr Caleb Rossiter – an adjunct professor at American University, Washington DC – has been fired by a progressive think tank after publicly expressing doubt about man-made global warming.

Rossiter, a former Democratic congressional candidate, has impeccably liberal credentials. As the founder of Demilitarization for Democracy he has campaigned against US backed wars in Central America and Southern Africa, against US military support for dictators and against anti-personnel landmines. But none of this was enough to spare him the wrath of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) when he wrote an OpEd in the Wall Street Journal describing man-made global warming as an “unproved science.”

Two days later, he was sacked by email. The IPS said: “We would like to inform you that we are terminating your position as an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies…Unfortunately, we now feel that your views on key issues, including climate science, climate justice, and many aspects of US policy to Africa, diverge so significantly from ours.”

Back to Iraq

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

President Obama notified Congress on Monday that he was sending up to 275 U.S. military personnel “to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.”

Obama also is considering sending 100 or fewer special operations troops to Iraq to advise its armed forces as it battles Sunni Muslim insurgents, according to a senior U.S. official. It was unclear whether they would be among the 275 military personnel or in addition to them.

A U.S. special operations team would operate under the ambassador in Baghdad and would be barred from engaging in ground combat, the senior U.S. official said. If approved, their mission would include coordinating U.S. airstrikes on insurgent positions, sharing intelligence with Iraqi security forces and giving Iraqi commanders tactical advice, the official said.

Lest you think the president is backpedaling on last week’s reassurance:

We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces, and I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that American troops would not be involved in ground combat, however they might go back as advisors.

“The president was very clear that we will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq,” she said in a statement. “That remains the case and he has asked his national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces.”


UPDATE: Here is the full statement released by the White House:

Today, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, the President transmitted a report notifying the Congress that up to approximately 275 U.S. military personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The personnel will provide assistance to the Department of State in connection with the temporary relocation of some staff from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to the U.S. Consulates General in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman. These U.S. military personnel are entering Iraq with the consent of the Government of Iraq. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains open, and a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission.

Also, Secretary of State John Kerry was interviewed today. In part, he was asked about the safety of personnel at the embassy in Iraq:

QUESTION: Again, a more immediate concern: What about the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad? There are reports that some personnel from that Embassy have been moved. How many are still there, and how are they being protected, and how concerned are you?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I’m absolutely convinced that we have the security we need for our Embassy. We watch this every single day. We have had any number of meetings to make evaluations. We don’t discuss the numbers of people, but suffice it to say that there are a large number of contractors who have been doing various things around the country and because of the situation around the country, but clearly they’re not able to be out there safely at this point in time. So we think it is advisable to reduce those numbers, but we’re not doing so with respect to our diplomatic presence or our ability to be able to interact with the Government of Iraq. We’re really quite convinced that we have a security situation that will protect the interests of the United States and our citizens.

Reminder – this is what the president said today:

[A]pproximately 275 U.S. military personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.


ISIS: We Have Executed 1700 People. What Are You Going to Do About It, Obama?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

ISIS claims to have executed 1700 members of the Iraqi security forces, and has taken over yet another city:

Wielding the threat of sectarian slaughter, Sunni Islamist militants claimed on Sunday that they had massacred hundreds of captive Shiite members of Iraq’s security forces, posting grisly pictures of a mass execution in Tikrit as evidence and warning of more killing to come.

The possible mass killing came as militants cemented control of the city of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, after two days of fierce clashes with Iraqi troops, residents and senior security officials said. The city came under mortar attack, sending many residents fleeing toward Sinjar to the west and Mosul to the east. Residents said the militants freed dozens of prisoners.

Even as anecdotal reports of extrajudicial killings around the country seemed to bear out the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s intent to kill Shiites wherever it could, Iraqi officials and some human rights groups cautioned that the militants’ claim to have killed 1,700 soldiers in Tikrit could not be immediately verified.

. . . .

The sectarian element of the killings may put more pressure on the Obama administration to aid Iraq militarily. In fact, the militants seemed to be counting on it. A pronouncement on Sunday by the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had a clear message for the United States: “Soon we will face you, and we are waiting for this day.”

If this keeps up, Iraqi politics might get as brutal as Hillary Clinton’s experience of United States politics.

Meanwhile, we’re moving (some) people out of the embassy, and (supposedly) beefing up security (I know):

On Sunday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that some U.S. security personnel will be added to the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other staff members will be temporarily relocated to consular offices in Basra and Irbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman, Jordan.

A “substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place,” Psaki said in a statement, and “the Embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission.”

I think we all see where this is headed.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 7.34.08 AM

That’s if we’re lucky.

Paul Krugman, Contrarian Indicator

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

Paul Krugman has a silly piece out called Yes He Could. The deck headline: “Health Care and Climate: President Obama’s Big Deals.” It’s his typical partisan hackery and I won’t bore you with most of it, but this part caught my eye:

A larger answer, I’d guess, is Simpson-Bowles syndrome — the belief that good things must come in bipartisan packages, and that fiscal probity is the overriding issue of our times. This syndrome persists among many self-proclaimed centrists even though it’s overwhelmingly clear to anyone who has been paying attention that (a) today’s Republicans simply will not compromise with a Democratic president, and (b) the alleged fiscal crisis was vastly overblown.

When Paul Krugman says it’s “overwhelmingly clear” that “the alleged fiscal crisis was vastly overblown” . . . it’s time to buy gold.

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