Patterico's Pontifications


Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl To Face Charges (Added: Administration Comments On Bergdahl)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:11 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Army is charging Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy”:

The charges were announced by the service at Fort Bragg, N.C., hours after the 28-year-old was handed a charge sheet, according to one of his attorneys. Bergdahl will next face a preliminary Article 32 hearing, which is frequently compared to a grand jury proceeding in civilian court.

If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison.

The Army’s decision comes after nearly 10 months of debate about whether Bergdahl should face charges and about the circumstances of his recovery. Critics — and an independent review by the Government Accountability Office — said President Obama broke the law in authorizing the release of five Taliban detainees held by the United States in exchange for Bergdahl without consulting Congress. Others have insisted that Washington had a responsibility to bring Bergdahl home by any means necessary.

As you recall, in 2014, the administration released five high-risk and dangerous Taliban leaders in exchange for Bergdahl.

The five Taliban leaders have been living the good life in an exclusive neighborhood in Doha, Qatar with their families as part of the agreement with the United States. They are to remain there for one year.

Sadly for us, not all five are happy with their lot in life:

Reports are circulating among senior Taliban commanders that at least two of them are eager to leave Qatar and return to the war zone. The reunion could get ugly. One of the reputed malcontents, Mullah Fazl Akhund, was head of the Taliban regime’s army until his capture during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Senior Taliban members say he’s convinced he should lead the insurgency. He regards Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the current chief of the group’s ruling council, as a usurper. One senior commander says members of Mansour’s circle, trying to head off a power struggle, have warned Western intelligence that Fazl is likely to join ISIS if he’s allowed to leave Qatar.

For some reason, tonight when the major broadcast networks were reporting on the Bergdahl charges, they chose not to mention that back in June, 2014, Susan Rice insisted that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction” and told Americans not to worry about the five Taliban members being a threat to the Unite States:

“assurances relating to the movement, the activities, the monitoring of those detainees [released in exchange for Bergdahl] give us confidence that they cannot and, in all likelihood, will not pose a significant risk to the United States. And that it is in our national interests that this transfer had been made.”

(Formal apologies should be offered immediately to Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers who were accused of lying and being psychopaths when they claimed Bergdahl had deserted. The White House should go first, leading by example.)

ADDED: Megyn Kelly asked Jen Psaki tonight whether the Bergdahl exchange had been worth it:

“Was it worth it? Absolutely,” Jen Psaki told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File.” “We have a commitment to our men and women serving in the military, defending our national security every day, that we’re going to do everything to bring them home if we can, and that’s what we did in this case.”

I was disappointed that Kelly did not point-blank ask Psaki when Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers can expect an apology from the White House for smearing them. I hope in the next few days we see media outlets boldly put the question to the White House. After all, don’t those who really do “serve with honor and distinction” deserve that respect from their Commander in Chief?


Hacks Still Pushing the “Ted Cruz Is a Hypocrite” Line

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 pm

Some guy named Igor Something or Other has a post at ThinkProgress titled Ted Cruz Wants You To Believe He’s Legally Required To Sign Up For Obamacare. He’s Not.

Yes, he is.

If I were to str-e-e-e-tch to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, I guess I would say that it depends on what you mean by “sign up for ObamaCare.” Cruz is legally required to obtain an insurance plan that meets the ridiculous one-size-fits-all “minimum” standards of an ObamaCare plan, or pay a penalty. Sorry: a “tax.”

He doesn’t have to do this on an exchange, but apparently, he will (while getting zero benefit from the exchange). So what?

If he complies with this law, which he hates (as I do), and which he wants to repeal (as I do), that does not mean that he is endorsing ObamaCare because he is signing up for a plan that he is legally required to buy. And nobody is denying that he is legally required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty (sorry: “tax”). They just seem to think he is a hypocrite for doing so on one of the exchanges. What the holy f[vowel deleted]ck does it matter whether he gets his overpriced plan on an exchange or not? He is getting no subsidy. He is entitled to one under a Harry Reid “don’t make us follow our own law” provision and is rejecting it. How in the name of all that is holy does this make him a hypocrite???

A guy called James Downie at the WaPo says Cruz is a hypocrite for “going on ObamaCare,” which also implies that the real problem is Cruz’s plan to use an exchange. Downie at least admits that Cruz must “purchase a plan that meets minimum standards established under Obamacare” and that he will “reject the 75 percent employer contribution that the federal government decided to continue offering to all members and their staffs.” Yet Downie finds “hypocrisy” in the simple fact that “[t]he law does not require Cruz to get health insurance on the exchanges.” Downie’s position implies that Cruz’s Big Issue with ObamaCare is the exchanges, use of which is the only thing Cruz is doing that he is not required to do.

Wrong, Downie. Cruz’s problem is not the exchanges. It is the law itself. It is the requirement that people buy something Congress has no constitutional authority to make them buy. It is the interference with the operation of the free market, which causes distortions in the marketplace, leading to inefficiency, waste, higher costs, and eventually to rationing. Find me a clip of Cruz saying: “Hey, I’m cool with the President forcing people to buy insurance with federally mandated minimum coverage standards; I just don’t like the exchanges” and I will quit blogging tomorrow.

The ridiculous arguments don’t end there. A guy calling himself David Ferguson at Raw Story has a deceptive headline titled Ted Cruz wasn’t forced to sign up for Obamacare — no matter what he says. Ferguson tells the following whopper:

In other words, under Obamacare, Ted Cruz can insure his family any way he likes, but if he wants the government to shoulder part of the burden, he will have to use the exchanges.

Well, first of all, he doesn’t want the government to shoulder part of the burden. Again: Cruz has explicitly said he will reject any Harry Reid “exempt us from our own law” contribution from the government.

But, more fundamentally, how stupid and/or dishonest do you have to be so say that “Ted Cruz can insure his family any way he likes”?? Oh, really? So all of a sudden, Ted Cruz can buy a non-approved plan that does not meet the ObamaCare standards? And he doesn’t have to pay a penalty (sorry, “tax”)? Is that what you are saying, David Ferguson? Or are you saying that he is free to get no health insurance and pay a penalty — just as you are free to rob liquor stores “any way you like” as long as you pay the penalty of going to prison for the legally specified amount of time? Just what are you saying??

But what really takes the cake is the way CNN took a quote from Cruz on this issue and sliced it up to make it mean the precise opposite of what he intended. Here is the original quote:

It is one of the good things about Obamacare, is that the statute provided that members of Congress would be on the exchanges without subsidies just like millions of Americans, so there wouldn’t be a double standard.

The bold part of that statement makes it clear that he is saying it is good that the idiots in Congress who passed this crap sandwich are going to be forced to personally take a bite.

Watch how, at :50 in this clip, they cut off the part of the quote I have placed in bold, to suggest that Cruz is actually saying that it’s a “good thing” that ObamaCare lets Congressman get that good ObamaCare health insurance:

Make sure and keep watching to enjoy the media hyenas yukking it up at old Ted’s “hypocrisy.” Yuk yuk yuk! If I were physically in the room with them, I’m not sure I’d be able to restrain myself from walking over and slapping them.

They act as if, absent ObamaCare, Ted Cruz would be unable to obtain health insurance at all.

There is a “good thing” about the chuckling morons on CNN: they illustrate a common fallacy about government-arranged programs. Namely, people seem to think that, without the thing the government is providing, the good would not exist at all.

If government didn’t provide welfare, then the people collecting welfare would get zero help from society and would all starve! (But we used to have things called “charities” that did this; there are rumors some of them still exist.) If government didn’t have federal money for education, local school districts would all go broke! (How did children ever get educated before Jimmy Carter’s presidency?)

And if the government didn’t provide health insurance through ObamaCare, there would be no such thing as health insurance!

So Ted Cruz wants health insurance, and health insurance is now provided through ObamaCare? Well then he is a hypocrite! I explained this fallacy to my daughter and showed her the CNN clip above, and she said: “Did they really forget that health insurance was around before four years ago?” (My answer, as it often is, is that it’s tough to say for sure whether certain people are liars or idiots.)

The hypocrisy doesn’t end there, folks! Did you know Ted Cruz wants to abolish the IRS, yet he still pays his taxes???!!! (H/t Allahpundit.) Well then he is a hypocrite!!!! Yuk yuk yuk, I mean it’s just so deeply ironic, gosh, I just don’t know what to say, ha, ha!

Keep me out of the same room as these people. Please.

James O’Keefe Reminds Us That Cornell University Supports Terrorism — But This Is Nothing New

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

Long-time readers may remember I am a graduate of Cornell University. Imagine my pride when I saw James O’Keefe revealing that a Cornell official told an undercover operative that he was cool with ISIS or Hamas sending a freedom fighter to the campus to conduct training camps:

Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-“Islamic State Iraq and Syria” group on campus, the undercover for conservative activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas asks.

Sure, Scaffido says in the recorded March 16 meeting.

Scaffido doesn’t even blink an eye when the undercover asks about providing material support for terrorists — “care packages, whether it be food, water, electronics.”

How about supporting Hamas?

No problem at all, Scaffido said.

. . . .

The undercover asked if he can invite “a freedom fighter to come and do like a training camp for students.”

Scaffido responds, “You would be allowed to do something like that. It’s just like bringing in a coach, to do a training, a sports trainer or something,” the Cornell official said.

The State Department includes both ISIS and Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations.

My favorite part is Cornell’s response:

“Cornell fully supports the free exchange of ideas and does not review or control the political ideology of our students. We do not, of course, tolerate unlawful advocacy of violence, and the comment about training by ISIS freedom fighters does not reflect university policy,” said Joel Malina, Cornell’s vice president for university relations.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 7.17.10 AM

I’ll hand the mike to Thomas Sowell, a former Cornell professor who provided contrary evidence in a 1999 column titled The Day Cornell Died:

No one who was at Cornell University in the spring of 1969 is ever likely to forget the guns-on-campus crisis that shocked the academic community and the nation. Bands of militant black students forcibly evicted visiting parents from Willard Straight Hall on the Cornell campus and seized control of it to back up their demands. Later, after the university’s capitulation, the students emerged carrying rifles and shotguns, their leader wearing a bandoleer of shotgun ammunition. It was a picture that appeared on the covers of national magazines and was even reprinted overseas.

What happened behind the scenes was at least as shocking: Death threats were phoned to the homes of professors who had opposed their previous actions or demands. Shots were in fact fired into the engineering building.

Here’s the picture Sowell references:

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 7.24.16 AM

In 2012 I told you how the university remembered the 20th anniversary of the armed takeover of the student union: with pride and welcoming arms for the criminals.

When I was at Cornell University, the school “celebrated” the 20th anniversary of an armed takeover of the Willard Straight Hall student union by black student activists. I was appalled that the leader of the takeover was invited to the school as a featured speaker, as if he were a returning hero.

The students were supposedly protesting the burning of a cross on campus. Only this year did it emerge, thanks to the efforts of Stan Chess, a journalist who edited the school’s newspaper just before the takeover, that there is evidence that “black students covertly burned the cross to dramatize their grievances by falsely invoking a racist symbol.”

In other words, there is evidence that the cross-burning was a false flag operation, used to justify an armed terrorist operation. Which the school has applauded ever since.

So when James O’Keefe tells us that Cornell supports terrorism on its campus . . . he isn’t revealing anything new. He’s just reminding us.

MINOR CORRECTION: The post originally said Stan Chess edited the Cornell Daily Sun “at the time of” the takeover of Willard Straight Hall. Chess writes to say that his editorship of the paper ended a month before the takeover. The error has been corrected.

UPDATE: Here is the statement of Cornell President David J. Skorton:

As the president of Cornell University, I want to be clear that the notion that Cornell would allow ISIS training sessions on our campus is ludicrous and absolutely offensive.

Project Veritas, the organization behind this shoddy piece of “journalism” has been repeatedly vilified for dishonest, deceitful activity. It is shameful that any individual would pose as a student facing racial discrimination at another university, ask leading questions on hidden camera about Cornell’s tolerance for differing viewpoints and backgrounds, and then conveniently splice together the resulting footage to smear our assistant dean and our University. After speaking with Assistant Dean Scaffido, I am convinced that he was not aware of what he was being asked.

Let me be clear: Cornell has an unwavering commitment to the free and responsible exchange of ideas. However, we remain vigilant in maintaining an appropriate balance of freedom of expression within accepted boundaries. Of course, incitement to violence is not protected and would never be tolerated on our campus.


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