Patterico's Pontifications


When You Have Run Out of Winning Arguments [Updated]

Filed under: Fiskings,General — JVW @ 6:10 pm

[guest post by JVW]

So if you are on Facebook and have liberal friends, you no doubt have seen the multitude of posts that would have us believe that the Supreme Court’s decision today in the Hobby Lobby case means an end to birth control usage throughout America. Perhaps you have seen a repost from Mother Jones’s blog purporting to be the eight best lines from the dissent written by the always laughably clueless Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These assertions are so completely risible, so utterly insipid, that one cannot help but Fisk them. For your consideration, then, here are her eight tidbits, followed by my responses:

1. “[The court majority] in a decision of startling breadth, [would allow corporations to opt out of almost any law that they find] incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

This is of course the standard left-wing narrative regarding this decision, yet commentators on the right seem to believe that Alito’s ruling was purposely drawn very narrowly. Ann Althouse, who I think could be generally categorized as a centrist, highlighted this passage in Justice Alito’s majority decision which seems designed to counter Justice Ginsburg’s claim:

We do not hold, as the principal dissent alleges, that for-profit corporations and other commercial enterprises can “opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Post, at 1 (opinion of GINSBURG, J.). Nor do we hold, as the dissent implies, that such corporations have free rein to take steps that impose “disadvantages . . . on others” or that require “the general public [to] pick up the tab.” Post, at 1–2. And we certainly do not hold or suggest that “RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on . . . thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby.” Post, at 2.1

2. “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.”

This is such blatant balderdash that it can be dispensed with rather quickly. Neither the ruling nor Hobby Lobby’s policy prevents women from obtaining contraception or abortifacients (indeed, Hobby Lobby’s health plan apparently covers standard birth control pills, just not Plan B and other methods that prevent fertilized eggs from being implanted in the uterus), it just means that Hobby Lobby is no longer forced by law to pay for them. Any Hobby Lobby employee can walk into Planned Parenthood and obtain these anti-implantation methods without Hobby Lobby having any say in the matter. Justice Ginsburg is thoughtlessly repeating left-wing feminist talking points here.

3. “Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.”

But of course, Hobby Lobby is a closely-held company run by a family of committed Christians, not some huge corporation with two dozen board members and a majority of stock held outside the family. Justice Ginsburg is aware of this, but nevertheless seems happy to use the force of government to compel them to behave in a manner consistent with how her side believes health care should be organized.

4. “Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.”

Great. But why in the world does that mean that Hobby Lobby should be forced to pick up the tab?

5. “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”

According to the abortion cheerleaders at Planned Parenthood, an IUD and its implementation costs between $500 and $1000, but then the device lasts up to 12 years. So even if we amortize over 10 years, we’re looking at $50-100 per year, or $4-$9 per month. Why doesn’t Planned Parenthood use all the money it raises to set up a lease program for IUDs, where users can pay them back over the duration of the device’s implementation?

6. “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”

And these are the people who derided Justice Anton Scalia when he asked if the principles behind ObamaCare could compel government to mandate broccoli consumption?

7. “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.”

I wonder what Justice Ginsburg thinks about the Obama Administration’s well-known policy for exempting some favored groups from the law’s provisions. Isn’t the whole point of Big Government – which Justice Ginsburg seems to personally favor – that some groups get designated winners and others are designated losers?

8. “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

Gosh, this has never happened before in our Constitutional history, has it? Either Justice Ginsburg is truly ignorant of Supreme Court history, or this was just filler in her opinion in order to reach some arbitrary word count that her law professors used to enforce.

Jonathan Keim at NRO’s Bench Memos has more on the vacuity of Ginsburg’s dissent. Feel free to read it and add your favorite Ginsburgisms below.


Update: In a comment below, JD links to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s reaction, delivered from the rarified air of Aspen:

So to introduce this element into our society — look, we’re always going to argue about abortion. It’s a hard choice and it’s controversial and that’s why I’m pro-choice because I want people to make their own choices. And it is very troubling that a salesclerk at Hobby Lobby, who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer’s health care plan because her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception.

She probably knows that Hobby Lobby provides 16 of the 20 different forms of contraception mandated by the ACA, but she is going to propagate the lie that Hobby Lobby is forcing the young cashier to have unprotected sex and get knocked up because some mean Christians won’t let her have The Pill. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a vile and contemptible woman.



Maguire on Yglesias on the Underwear Bomber

Filed under: Fiskings,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Tom Maguire fisks Matt Yglesias’ support for the Obama Administration’s handling of the Underwear Bomber. Here’s my favorite part, and note that Maguire’s comments are in regular type and Yglesias’ quotes are in italics:

“Pressing on:

It’s true that as an investigative technique “convince the guy’s family to convince him to cooperate” isn’t quite as bad-ass as “use Khmer Rouge torture tactics against him.” On the other hand, the non-torture way actually produces reliable information.

And Matt knows the intel is reliable because…? People can’t lie when their sainted mum or beloved aunt is in the next room? I don’t know how the reality-based community gleaned this particular fragment of reality.”

More at the link.



Fisking The LAT’s Latest Fantasy Article on BiCoastal Hip Hop Feud by Chuck Pulitzer Philips

Filed under: Buffoons,Crime,Dog Trainer,Fiskings,Morons,Snarkage — WLS @ 5:08 pm

[Posted by WLS]

The lastest in a long-line of Pulitzer prize winning “fakesters” appears to be Chuck Philips of the LAT, who wittingly or unwittingly seems to have stepped in it with his latest article seeking to shine a spotlight on the “origins” of the BiCoastal Hip Hop “war” that led to the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. The reason for the article is that Philips claims to have solved the heretofore unsolved beating/shooting of Tupac Shakur outside a recording studio in New York in Nov. 1994 — two years before he was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Both shootings are unsolved, but in the aftermath of the 1994 shooting Shakur blamed it on Sean “Puffy” Combs and associates at his “Bad Boy” record label.

Philips’s article says that he has now obtained heretofore undiscovered FBI “302s” — memoranda of interviews — reflecting information given to the FBI by an “informant” establishing that Combs and his associates at “Bad Boy” knew about the shooting before it happened, and were responsible for it. Philips claims this “newly discovered information,” along with “interviews of people at the studio that night,” confirm that it was Combs and his associates that were responsible for the shooting.

But it’s now being widely reported that Mr. Philips has likely been the victim of an elaborate hoax by one Mr. James Sabatino, described by Philips in his article variously as a rap “promoter,” a “fixture” in Combs’s “inner circle,” and … oh yeah, the son of a Captain in the Columbo Crime Family in Brooklyn — according to unnamed “federal authorities.” According to The Smoking Gun, Sabatino’s father describes him as “a disturbed young man who needed attention like a drug.”

But, having read through the entire piece, I have a strong suspicion that it is Mr. Sabatino that is the “informant” mentioned throughout the piece. I have a long breakdown of the article after the jump.



Fisking Obama’s Speech Today — Didn’t See It, Just Reading The Text

Posted By WLS: 

I’m in no way enamored of Obama — neither his style nor his politics. 

So, I’m looking at his speech with a very jaundiced eye.  And there are lots of things I don’t particularly like in the text:

I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together

 From what I’ve read over the last few days, he didn’t learn “togetherness” as a method of problem solving from Rev. Wright.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

Which remarks have you condemned, and why did it take until this moment for you to condenm them?  Were they not equally worthy of condemnation two weeks ago?  Two months ago?  Two years ago?  Two decades ago — because he’s been saying them as long as you have been a member of his church.  You are the one identifying — without specifying — that he has made comments in your presence that you disagreed with and considered controversial.  Tell us which of his comments you consider controvesial — so that we will know which ones you DO NOT CONSIDER CONTROVERSIAL.  That would tell the voters much more about you than you have told us in the 4 years since you hit that stage in Boston.



TPMuckraker on Chertoff “Lies” — Written by a Clown named Ackerman

[Posted by WLS — aka “Shipwreckedcrew” for all you coming from TPM]

The Leftwingnuts seem to believe that Chertoff is in line to be the AG — I happen to think otherwise, but that’s for another post.

But some clown named Spencer Ackerman, seriously lacking in an understanding of the Bill of Rights, or simply challenged in terms of reading comprehension, has a post up with a couple of links claiming that Chertoff lied in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee when recounting events surrounding the decision to allow the FBI to interview of John Walker Lindh without the presence of the attorney hired by his parents.

At issue is a statement given to DOJ Inspector General investigators in 2002 by a DOJ Prosecutor named John De Pue, a 25 year veteran of DOJ.

Bottom line — anyone reading De Pue’s affidavit would come away with the exact opposite impression given by Ackerman in his post.  Lets compare what Ackerman claims and what the affidavit states. 

Lets start with the basics — what De Pue was asked to research. (more…)


Bustani or Bust!

Filed under: Fiskings,International,Law,Politics,War — Dafydd @ 2:11 am

AP’s title:

Bolton’s role in diplomat’s ouster questioned
U.N. tribunal ruled arms-control chief’s dismissal ‘unlawful’
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:05 p.m. ET June 4, 2005

I thought of fisking this AP story earlier; but I honestly thought nobody could be so disingenuous as to cite it as some sort of justification of the Democratic attempt to vilify John Bolton, both preventing his ratification as ambassador to the UN and also, if possible, destroying his life and career. Foolish me. The ink was barely dry (the phosphors were barely glowing) before it was being quoted all over the place by triumphalist liberals: ah-HA! It’s the smoking gun!

Note that indented paragraphs are taken directly from the AP story; my responses are unindented.


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