Patterico's Pontifications


San Bernardino Terror Attack One Year Later: Blame The Christmas Party

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It was reported this week that last year’s terror attack in San Bernardino may have been the result of… Christmas trees and other symbols of holiday cheer:

Authorities believe the terrorist attack on Dec. 2, 2015, in San Bernardino may have been triggered by a mandatory employee training session and lunch replete with holiday decorations, including a Christmas tree, that shooter Syed Farook was forced to attend.

Emails discovered by the FBI and police reveal Farook’s wife, Pakistani native Tashfeen Malik, objected to the Christmas setting and was upset her husband had to go.

“She had essentially made the statement in an online account that she didn’t think that a Muslim should have to participate in a non-Muslim holiday or event,” said San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan in an exclusive interview with ABC News that aired on ABC News’ “Nightline.”

“That really is one of the very, very few pieces of potential evidence that we have that we can truly point to and say, ‘That probably is a motive in this case,’” he said.

As a reminder, Syed Farook left the Inland Regional Center that fateful day as the department was transitioning from a training session to a holiday party for employees. Farook was gone for approximately 30 minutes, only to return with his wife and open fire. If, as the report claims, it was the holiday party that was so upsetting to Farook, why even return to the venue? Why not just stay home? After all, he had already participated in the training portion that morning.

During an appearance on Capitol Hill just a week after the attack, FBI director James Comey had testified that Farook and his wife “were radicalized for quite a long time before their attack” and that they were “inspired by foreign terrorist organizations.” Further, since 2013, the couple had been talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom. And according to investigators at the time, “[T]he couple had been adherents of a radical strain of Islam long before the massacre.” But with this latest discovery of a motive, maybe we should just discard Comey’s silly talk.

Let this be a lesson to us all: Never underestimate the power of jingle bells and Christmas trees to inspire the most evil of acts.


Straight-Up Fascism Never Results In A “Meaningful Discussion,” No Matter What The Brown-Shirt Thugs Claim

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:30 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is utterly infuriating. I would have called the police.

These clowns are a spectacular indictment against current higher education in America. I suspect the obnoxious chick doesn’t realize this kind of harassment only serves to compel citizens to demand that immigration laws on the books be fully enforced. And unfortunately for her, we have an incoming administration that might actually do just that.

Kudos to the guy for keeping his cool during such an ugly provocation.

Motherfuckers, indeed.


No, Jazz Shaw, the Holdout Juror in the Slager Trial Should *Not* Consider the Consequences of Hanging the Jury

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:30 pm

Michael Slager has been convicted by the media, but not yet by the jury

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, on the possibility that the jury in the Michael Slager trial will declare itself deadlocked:

That’s why there’s a bigger risk in having this trial fail than the basic question of justice and seeing the guilty convicted. We’re talking about the trial of a cop who killed a suspect and almost every one of these instances winds up causing major public controversy.

. . . .

I don’t know what’s going through the mind of that one juror who, “cannot with good conscience consider a guilty verdict.” But they should be aware that they’re endangering a lot more than one murder case.

With all due respect to Jazz Shaw, this is dead wrong. Dangerously, appallingly wrong.

A juror in a criminal case should look at the evidence presented in the case, and the law given them by the judge . . . period. End of story. They are to find the facts, apply the law to those facts, and completely ignore public sentiment or the possible societal reaction to their verdict.

For Jazz Shaw to encourage jurors to consider the possibility of civil unrest in the wake of their verdict misunderstands the nature of our jury system. It is wrong and fundamentally contrary to the values of our country.

What #DumpKelloggs and Trump’s Threats Have in Common: Unintended Consequences

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:00 pm

A few days ago, embarked on a jihad against the Kellogg Company, after Kellogg pulled its advertising from Breitbart, saying the sometimes incendiary site wasn’t “aligned with our values.” Breitbart then “launched a #DumpKelloggs petition and called for a boycott of the ubiquitous food manufacturer.” (An amusing side effect of this was the emergence of a hashtag on Twitter called #BreitbartCereals, featuring cereals that would be approved by the alt-right, such as Special KKK, Count Cuckula, or Reich Krispies.)

I was reminded of Breitbart’s actions when I saw numerous articles about Donald Trump’s pledge to punish companies who decide to go overseas (as well as his decision to reward Carrier, a company that decided to keep some of its jobs in country, with Pence-induced state tax breaks that will apparently be specific to Carrier).

What concept links these two incidents? Let me answer that question by telling a third story which ought to make the connection obvious. Two women, Betty and Veronica, are standing on the corner watching Cheryl, a gorgeous redhead, walk out of Archie’s house. “Oh, it looks like Cheryl decided to leave Archie, ” says Betty. “What do you mean?” asks Veronica. “Don’t you see Cheryl’s black eye?” asks Betty. “Archie always beats up girls when they say they’re going to leave him. He thinks it will make them stay with him.”

Do you think Veronica is likely to want to date Archie?

Hopefully the point is clear. The statement: “If you leave me, I’ll punish you!” does not ensure people will stay with you. In fact, it often causes bystanders to ask: “Why would I want to be with you in the first place?”

Breitbart, by savaging one of its advertisers, is sending a message to all other companies that might consider advertising with Breitbart: “If you leave us, we may engage in a campaign to destroy your reputation.” (One might say that they are simply disincentivizing advertisers from declaring their discontent with Breitbart as they leave — but Kellogg’s, looking at Milo-penned Breitbart articles like “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive And Crazy,” may have felt it had little choice but to openly distance itself from the site. And other potential advertisers watching the whole debacle understand this.)

Similarly, Trump, by telling companies that they will suffer consequences if they leave America, is going to cause some number of companies not to set up shop in the United States to begin with.

The incentives created by Trump and Breitbart are examples of unintended consequences called “perverse results,” where someone intends one outcome and unintentionally creates the opposite result. Government actors are actually fantastic at creating such perverse results, because they love to throw their power around, and rarely reflect on how their actions might backfire.

Anti-discrimination laws in employment are excellent examples of this perverse effect. By punishing employers who allegedly fire members of a particular class (women, minorities, etc.) because they belong to that class, these laws often have the effect of making employers less willing to hire from those groups to begin with. These employers know that they are more likely to be sued by someone they fired than they are to be sued by people they turned down for jobs. So many conclude that it’s just not worth the hassle to hire such people, and consequently hire as few as they think they can get away with hiring. The net effect is that the laws end up harming the very people they were supposed to help.

Trump’s Carrier deal is likely to have another perverse effect: it will cause more companies to threaten to move to Mexico or overseas, in order to squeeze concessions from government. This is a different type of perverse result, which can be categorized as the “rat effect” after the famous and entertaining story about the rats in Hanoi.

The government of Hanoi, which was overrun with rats, decided to pay its citizenry to help kill the rats, offering a monetary bounty for a severed rat tail. Inexplicably (or so the government thought), the rat problem got worse! How on Earth could this happen? You have probably already guessed the answer: people started breeding rats to cut off their tails and claim their reward. This is known as the “rat effect” (or “cobra effect,” since it allegedly happened with cobras in Delhi as well), wherein if government pays for something, it gets more of it.

The citizens of Hanoi saw people getting paid for rat tails, and decided to produce their own rat tails, creating more rats, and making the initial problem worse. Similarly, companies in the U.S. see Carrier getting paid for threatening to move jobs overseas, and will inevitably produce their own new plans to move plants overseas, making the initial problem worse. It is likely that under President Trump, you will see more companies declaring an intent to move out of the country than ever before.

Trump will bribe some of them and “save” more jobs, and his more economically illiterate fans will applaud.

If Trump had been in charge of the colonial administration in Hanoi during the rat crisis, he would have simply made sure the TV cameras were there when he held up the bags of rat tails.

And his subjects would have applauded. You know, to the extent they had time to applaud in between dodging all the rats everywhere.

P.S. If this sort of discussion about free-market economics is your thing, you might enjoy my group The Constitution Vanguard. It’s a group of like-minded people who believe in the free market, liberty, and the Constitution. There’s a newsletter, a private Facebook group, and a private discussion forum, for members only. We’d love to have you! Join up here.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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