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July 31, 2014

Thursday Morning News Dump


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Posted by BenK at 08:10 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 7-31-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Thursday.

"We never tried to impeach Bush," says Democratic lawmaker who cosponsored articles of impeachment against Bush.

WaPo has an interesting piece on happy and unhappy cities.

The ATF agents responsible for the insane reverse-sting operation in Milwaukee get slaps on the wrists.

Lawyer-morons, the Popehat Signal is out for a fellow in Colorado being sued by his former ISP for putting up bad reviews on Yelp, among other things.

NYTimes has an A1 piece on the American suicide bomber in Syria.

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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:50 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (7-30-2014)


John Kerry: Cargo Cult Politician

And it struck me also that this might be the sum total of why he has risen to the heights he has, that and his ability to promote himself. He has never seemed especially bright or accomplished, and certainly never especially likeable. But he always looked like a senator, and so instead of playing one on TV he became one.

Politics isn't the only thing Kerry ever did; he was a prosecutor for a while. But it's the main thing he's done, and although it's hard to point to any specific accomplishments of his even in politics, he still managed to almost become president. I maintain that it's because he's the perfect cargo cult senator, presidential nominee, and now Secretary of State. He looks a certain way, and sounds a certain way, and our society has devolved to the point where looking like something is considered good enough. Why should skills be necessary, as well? The simulacrum of the thing is enough.

I think my first ever impression of John Kerry came from a 1986 PJ O'Rourke article ("Goons, Guns, and Gold") in Rolling Stone on his experiences during the Philippines election in which Marcos was attempting to stuff the ballot box against the far more popular Corazon Aquino. Senators Kerry and Lugar were sent there by Reagan as election observers. But when the election workers walked out over Marcos' chicanery with the vote totals and asked for his assistance, John Kerry was the waste of human skin that we've all come to expect.

Here is PJ O'Rourke's recollection of the events:

Village Voice reporter Joe Conason and I had been tipped off about the walkout, and when we got to the church, we found Bea Zobel, one of Cory Aquino's top aides, in a tizzy. "The women are terrified," she said. "They're scared to go home. They don't know what to do. We don't know what to do." Joe and I suggested that Mrs. Zobel go to the Manila Hotel and bring back some members of the Congressional observer team. She came back with Kerry, who did nothing.

Kerry later said that he didn't talk to the COMELEC employees then because he wasn't allowed to. [A bone-head Rolling Stone fact-checker sent the article to Kerry's Senate office for comment. Kerry staffers were wroth and insisted the senator's version of events be included.] This is ridiculous. He was ushered into an area that had been cordoned off from the press and the crowd and where the computer operators were sitting. To talk to the women, all he would have had to do was raise his voice. Why he was reluctant, I can't tell you. I can tell you what any red-blooded representative of the U.S. Government should have done. He should have shouted, "If you're frightened for your safety, I'll take you to the American embassy, and damn the man who tries to stop me." But all Kerry did was walk around like a male model in a concerned and thoughtful pose.

And there you have probably the only comparison of Kerry to a male model ever made.

O'Rourke noted in 2004 that he's "had a nonpartisan grudge against John Kerry for 18 years" over this incident. And ever since I read O'Rourke's account I have as well. John Kerry had a chance to actually do something meaningful as a US Senator and instead he chose to uselessly walk around and preen as the well coiffed empty-suit that he is.

You can read the original article here. It's still funny even after 28 years and entertaining to read now since we know what nemesis eventually had in store for the feckless members of the US delegation.

JohnKerry11 johnkeyyer3452555010-1024x745

Another Contender for Dumbest Member of Congress

I hate to say it but the ladies of Congress seem to have more than their fair share of borderline retardation. Just having a uterus may get you elected in some districts but it clearly does not convey any special knowledge or mental prowess or even guarantee average faculties.

Here is Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) talking about the need for high speed rail (as well as anything else that darts through her brain) at a hearing in 2012. TRIGGER WARNING: This audio will make you dumber and Sanchez's near-ultrasonic screeches may cause feeling of alarm and anxiety about the country's future.

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:16 PM Comments

Open Thread: Sharknado 2: The Second One


So, this eagerly non-anticipated film debuts at 9pm on ScyFy.

Posted by Ace at 08:33 PM Comments

Boy, The Democrats Really Are Running Hard on Impeachment, Huh?


They mean Boehner's lawsuit against Obama's executive-action overreach.

"Impeachment Lite."

Posted by Ace at 07:45 PM Comments

Sheila Jackson Lee: We Never Tried to Impeach Bush, Because We Recognized He "Had That Authority"



So, of course, you know where this is heading. You must know what will happen if you google "Sheila Jackson Lee Bush Impeachment," right?

Sheila Jackson Lee cosponsored articles of Impeachment against President Bush.

Posted by Ace at 07:00 PM Comments

France Offers Asylum to Christians Iraqis Fleeing ISIS; Washington, DC, Silent



The French government says it is willing to grant asylum to Iraqi Christians in the face of a jihadist onslaught against them.

"We are assisting displaced persons who are fleeing the Islamic State's threats and seeking refuge in Kurdistan," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a joint statement this week. "Should they so wish, we are prepared to offer them asylum on our soil."

They're Socialists, by the way. I just say that in case anyone thinks they're part of the French Neocon Establishment or something.

In Washington, meanwhile, a leading religious freedom advocate on Capitol Hill slammed both President Obama and Congress Tuesday for their "silence" about the plight of Iraq’s Christians, which he said amounted to "genocide."

"The silence in this town -- in Washington -- is deafening," Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said on the House floor. "Does Washington even care?"

And once again it seems like the sympathies of the progressive establishment are turned off the minute someone mentions the C-word, "Christians."

Posted by Ace at 05:38 PM Comments

Surprising No One, Five Thirty Eight Gives In to Priestly Caste's Shrieking and Fires Global Warming Skeptic


The skeptic is Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of climate studies at the University of Colorado. As far as Credentialism, then: He has all his credentials. Certainly better credentials that the millions of "pro-science" lefties who know nothing about science, except that we must put our Faith in Science.

But even though he knew what he was talking about, he said The Wrong Things, Forbidden Things, Things Which Are Not Of The Book or the Body, and so, the "Pro-Science" contigent does what "scientists" do best, which is of course excommunicating heretics.

Charles Cooke has a piece on the general appropriation of the "Science" mantle (there we go with mantles again) for leftwing political agitprop.

In this manner has a word ["nerd"] with a formerly useful meaning been turned into a transparent humblebrag: Look at me, I’m smart. Or, more important, perhaps, Look at me and let me tell you who I am not, which is southern, politically conservative, culturally traditional, religious in some sense, patriotic, driven by principle rather than the pivot tables of Microsoft Excel, and in any way attached to the past. "Nerd" has become a calling a card -- a means of conveying membership of one group and denying affiliation with another....

Thus do we see unexceptional liberal-arts students lecturing other people about things they don’t understand themselves and terming the dissenters "flat-earthers." Thus do we see people who have never in their lives read a single academic paper clinging to the mantle of "science" as might Albert Einstein. Thus do we see residents of Brooklyn who are unable to tell you at what temperature water boils rolling their eyes at Bjørn Lomborg or Roger Pielke Jr. because he disagrees with Harry Reid on climate change. Really, the only thing in these people’s lives that is peer-reviewed are their opinions.

Posted by Ace at 04:55 PM Comments

Submitted for Your Disapproval


Somewhere a cow's ghost is saying, "I deserved better."

Hillary Clinton was shooting a fashion spread for Don't magazine.

Meanwhile, to deflect attention away from Hillary Clinton's fashion catastrophe, Ronan Farrow embarrassed himself.

More at Newsbusters, including the video.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 03:16 PM Comments

Ed Schultz: Hey, Maybe Obama Doesn't Have the Constitutional Power to Just Grant Amnesty Via His Personal Royal Decree



First Jen Rubin, now Ed Schultz?

Well, actually now that Ed Schultz says it, I guess I do see that being anti-Amnesty is racist.

It's just the way he says it. So much White/Red hate.

Posted by Ace at 02:44 PM Comments

After Ending Interview with Israeli Ambassador to the US, Mika Brzezinsky Invites Viewers To Watch the Next Segment on "Morning Jew"



I guess we know what's on her mind.

From Twitchy.

I'm sure we'll see the left go into fully frothy mode that we last saw when Bob Beckel said "Chinaman."

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 01:37 PM Comments

So Taxpayers Are Paying $202,000 To Figure Out Why Wikipedia is Sexist; Apparently This is Proven By The Brevity of Its Sex & the City Recaps



The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending over $200,000 to find out why Wikipedia is sexist.

The government has awarded two grants for collaborative research to professors at Yale University and New York University to study what the researchers describe as "systematic gender bias" in the online encyclopedia.


An ongoing debate exists over whether the website has sexist undertones.

Zandt argues that Wikipedia is biased because the majority of its editors are "young, white, child-free men."


Noam Cohen, a columnist for the Times who does not have a Wikipedia page, has asserted the encyclopedia is biased because articles about friendship bracelets are shorter than entries about baseball cards.

"And consider the disparity between two popular series on HBO: The entry on 'Sex and the City' includes only a brief summary of every episode, sometimes two or three sentences; the one on 'The Sopranos' includes lengthy, detailed articles on each episode," he wrote.

The only true thing here is that Wikipedia does have a cultural bias. The bias is towards the cultural phenomenon that Wikipedia's editors are interested in. Some cultural phenomena -- science fiction, comic books -- get a fairly exhaustive treatment, and others get brief blurbs.*

I have trouble imagining this as "sexist," though, even doing my level-best to see the other side. Wikipedia is a volunteer site, and the people who volunteer will, necessarily, tend to bring their own interests and areas of expertise to the site. If (and I'll just assume this is true for purposes of this post) Wikipedia's volunteers tend to be younger men hooked into sci-fi/manga culture and interested in stuff young men are interested in (they have a pretty good article on The Longbow, for example), the site is going to reflect that.

The site is not sexist. Period. But the site inherently appeals to cultural ideas favored by (young) men of a nerdish bent. The very fact that a site exists which gives an exhaustive, 4000 word plus citations treatment of Ant-Man is going to skew male.

I love Wikipedia. There is something about it that appeals to me on a primal level. I feel like... I don't know, that I'm hunting on the great plains of data or something.

Men (well, those of a nerdly bent) tend to be interested in trivia and obscura; women tend to not be, or at least not so much.**

If you want to annoy a date, just keep quoting Midnight Run to her. A male friend might like your calling yourself "Jack Walsh, I mean, John Wesley Walsh" when you put in for a table at a restaurant. A female date will be much less taken with your wit.

I don't care about Ant-Man, but for some reason I find comfort in knowing that someone out there does care about Ant-Man, and has digested Ant-Man's fifty year history for me, should my life ever depend on knowing when Ant-Man married Janet Van Dyne.

If women aren't volunteering in large numbers -- I don't know what on earth a feminist agitator suggests we could do about that. Pay female volunteers (but not male ones) to increase interest?

And the most important thing here is that this is only one small part of Wikipedia. The rest of Wikipedia is about less silly things. It's not as if most of Wikipedia is about Ant-Man, for crying out loud. The rest of it is about history and quarks and evolutionary biology and just about everything else.

So the real complaint boils down to: the ten percent of a website which could reflect the cultural preferences of its unpaid volunteers does in fact reflect the cultural preferences of its unpaid volunteers, and yes, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does get a more exhaustive, nerdishly-loving treatment than Sex & the City.

The federal government needs to pay people to study this and propose "solutions"?

Thanks to @comradearthur and @lizwfb.

* This bias isn't mostly male, though. It's mostly nerdish (which does tend to skew male).

I myself have looked up various cultural artifacts which have not been embraced by the nerdly community, and have found the articles on those to be thin and not nearly satisfying as that for Ant-Man.

I hardly imagined I was the victim of a Bias Crime owing to this, though.

** It also occurs to me that we've spent $202,000 for a "study" which deliberately avoids examining a very simple explanation:

Women just aren't as interested in this type of crap as men.

You don't have to believe that to at least agree: This should have been one of the explanations scientifically studied, if we're going to have a scientific study at all.

Let's get down to brass tacks: I've seen Die Hard 50 times and I would watch it right now if it were on.

I will watch Die Hard only to see the Asian guy steal the candy bar.

And when I click on Wikipedia, I'm expecting them to tell me if the Asian guy stealing the candy bar was in the script, or if it was improvised on the day of the shoot.

And when Wikipedia doesn't tell me this (it doesn't, I've checked), I'm disappointed in it.

Do women watch episodes of Sex & the City 50 times? No, they don't. Maybe the "best" episodes, they'll watch two or three times. Women do watch some things a bunch of times (Law & Order repeats, for example), but this phenomenon is much more a male trait than a female one.

So why isn't this obvious truism even part of this "study"?

Because the academy doesn't exist to do science or scholarship; it exists to collect grants from politicized arms of the government for the purpose of agitation of coalitions of voters in support of the politicized arms of the government.

The difference between a scholar or scientist and priest is that the scholar or scientist, supposedly, will question any and everything, whereas the priest will only ask those questions permitted by his Holy Book, and only seeks to elicit answers which support the dogmas of his Holy Book.

Seems to me we have a lot of Priests posing as scholars.

Posted by Ace at 01:01 PM Comments

Oh Dear God In Heaven. I Agree With....I Can't Event Type It


I'm not sure what sign of the Apocalypse this is but you're going to want to get right with your God ASAP.

If you had asked me ten minutes ago what I thought Jennifer Rubin would suggest the GOP do after Obama's upcoming executive amnesty I'd have bet all my money it would be something like, "GOP candidates must promise to extend this policy or else they will lose forever". I'd have gone broke-broke (not Hillary "dead broke")

For starters, they and the GOP candidates for 2016 should make clear that any executive order will disappear at the end of Obama’s term and any who step forward for exemptions now may be subject to deportation in 2 1 /2 years. Harsh? No; it’s a sensible deterrent to prevent widespread lawlessness. (The Democratic presidential nominee should be challenged on his or her own plans to rule by executive edict. Let Hillary Clinton try to win an electoral majority on a platform of executive imperialism.)

And then she suggests how the GOP can get really tough.

I'm going to say this and enjoy the whole thing.

Was her blog hacked?

If Rubin is on board with this approach maybe the rest of the squish brigade will be too.

I gotta go lay down, the world doesn't make sense any more.

Posted by DrewM. at 12:22 PM Comments

Open Thread


A crumb of content (probably more about it later)....Lois Lerner doesn't think much of you.

"Not a smidgen" of corruption.

By the way, it appears the person Lerner is emailing with is also a Treasury employee. Look at the originating email of the tread and scroll to the last page where the first email is. It comes with a Treasury Department non-disclosure statement.

So who's the other person and what's their job?

Update: Maybe not. The original email was a forward that the redacted person couldn't read. Maybe that person isn't a government employee after all.

Posted by DrewM. at 12:01 PM Comments

Rand Paul: Hey Maybe The Government Shouldn't Be Able To Take Your Stuff Without Any Due Process


"Civil Asset Forfeiture" is a cancer in America. Cops and prosecutors across the country are empowered to take your money and property if they think it's been used as part of a crime. You'll have to prove your innocence before you can have your belongings back, and that isn't always enough. Oh and if the state taking all your money means you can't afford a lawyer? Too bad.

How did this cancer spread so far? We made it profitable for the government to rip off citizens. But it's ok because it was "for the children".

Though civil-asset forfeiture has a long history, it took off in America following passage of some amendments to the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention Act in 1984 that allowed police to keep and spend forfeiture proceeds. This gave law-enforcement agencies a direct financial incentive to take more stuff, and led to what the Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian law firm, calls "policing for profit". In 1986 the federal Asset Forfeiture Fund took in $93.7m; by September 2013 the Fund held more than $2 billion in net assets. Some of those funds are disbursed to local law-enforcement agencies. As Sarah Stillman noted in her outstanding article on forfeiture abuses, many police departments depend on forfeiture funds to fill budget gaps, which further increases the incentive to snatch (for some, this is a feature, not a bug). Agencies can spend funds with relatively little oversight on activities only tenuously related to law-enforcement: in Atlanta's Fulton County, for instance, the district attorney's office is alleged to have spent forfeiture funds on a Christmas party, flowers, a security system for the district attorney's home and assorted yummies including "mini crab cakes in a champagne sauce" (Paul Howard, the district attorney, insists such expenditures have reduced turnover and improved morale).

You'd think there'd be an outcry against this sort of extortion but there hasn't been. It doesn't happen to most people (until it does) and no politician wants to get labeled as being soft on crime or anti-police.

Well someone has finally decided to try and end this abuse. Rand Paul has taken up the cause and try and put the government back in its box. Don't think of it as anti-police, think of it as pro-freedom and limited government.

The bill would also require states “to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property.” This is important. Currently, a number of state legislatures across the country have passed reform bills to rein in forfeiture abuses. The problem is that the federal government has a program known as “adoption” or “equitable sharing.” Under the program, a local police agency need only call up the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or similar federal agency. That agency then “federalizes” the investigation, making it subject to federal law. The federal agency then initiates forfeiture proceedings under the laxer federal guidelines for forfeiture. The feds take a cut and then return the rest — as much as 80 percent — back to the local agency. This trick thwarts the intent of state legislature that have attempted to make civil forfeiture more fair when it comes to burden of proof, protections for innocent property owners and eliminating the perverse incentive of allowing forfeiture proceeds to go to the same police agency that made the seizure.

Which brings us to a final important provision in the bill: It would “would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury’s General Fund.” Read the full text of the bill here.

I've sworn off voting for Paul a number of times (Remember his pal the "Southern Avenger" and his goofy theories on Iraq and Dick Cheney?) but he keeps doing stuff I like and tempts me to get back on board.

Republicans keep telling me there are no perfect candidates and you have to hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. I accept that but Republicans need to accept that for some of us that means Rand Paul is the lesser of the evils. At least with Rand Paul's crap I actually get stuff I like. With supporters of a muscular and far reaching federal government like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, I just get the crap.

Posted by DrewM. at 09:22 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 7-30-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Wednesday.

Greg Sargent's piece on the ACA's missing federal subsidies yesterday gave me such lulz. In case you missed it, here's Jeff B.'s take. And here's Patterico's. Here's my summation in 140 characters.

But, honestly, I think Sargent might just be learning disabled or something. Because, c'mon:

Being able to write the bar exam on a computer instead of writing all those essays by hand is nice, except when it is so not nice.

President Obama gives big speeches on nuclear nonproliferation, also cuts the nonproliferation budget by $399 million in FY2015. Left hand doesn't know what the far left hand is doing.

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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:49 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (7-29-2014)


Quote of the Day

We had turned the corner at U Street and were marching up 14th Street when the woman with the megaphone leading SlutWalk DC started a new chant: 'We love consensual sex! We love consensual sex!' Well, OK, but who doesn't? Is there any actual opposition to this agenda? Is there an Anti-Consensual Sex Movement that someone forgot to tell us about?

-- Robert Stacy McCain in "Slutwalk Insanity"

Sucking in the 70s

Yes kids, prior to Star Wars, these were the films we were forced to watch to document our hardscrabble existence during the horrific Nixonfordcarter years when America went to hell in a polyester hand-basket: lots of crime, lots of grime, lots of graffiti, lots of bell-bottoms - and at least until the very end of the decade, no Internet, no cable TV, or video games: Kathy Shaidle brings you the "10 Movies Millennials Must See to Understand the 1970s - The era of devils, divorces and disasters, captured on film."

Also How Graffiti Vanished From NYC Subways

For decades, authorities treated subway graffiti like it was a sanitation issue.  Gunn believed that graffiti was a symptom of larger systemic problems. After all, trains were derailing nearly every two weeks. In 1981 there were 1,800 subway car fires-that's nearly five a day, every day of the year!

When Gunn launched his "Clean Trains" program [in 1984], it was not only about cleaning up the trains aesthetically, but making them function well, too. Clean trains, Gunn believed, would be a symbol of a rehabilitated transit system.

Systemically, train line by train line, Gunn took the subways off the map for graffiti writers. While they were fixing it, they didn't allow any graffiti on it. If graffiti artists "bombed" a train car, the MTA pulled it from the system. Even during rush hour.

May 12, 1989 was declared the official day of the city's victory over train graffiti.


Is This Correct - 35% of All Americans With a Credit History Are In Collections?

According to a new study by the Urban Institute, 35% of U.S. adults with a credit history (91% of the adult population of the U.S.) have debt "in collections" - a status generally not acquired until payments are at least 180 days past due. Debt problems seem to be worse in the South, with states hovering in the 40%+ range, while the Northeast has it better, at less than 30%. The study's authors claim their findings actually underrepresent low-income consumers, because "adults without a credit file are more likely to be financially disadvantaged."

Oddly, only 5% of adults have debt 30-180 days past due. This latter fact is partially accounted for by the fact that a broader range of debt can enter "in collections" status than "past due" status (e.g. parking tickets).

Are people really this behind on payments or is this just a quirk of what counts as 'in collections'? But in any case the South is definitely deadbeat-ier than other areas of the country - something David Hackett Fischer noted as a regional trait in Albion's Seed.


Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:04 PM Comments

Horrible News Presented in The Chill Groove (TM) Format


Shock: Democrats absolutely insist that the price for doing anything about a crisis-in-progress on the border will be some form of Comprehensive Amnesty to satisfy their Open Borders donors.

By the way, illegals insist on being included, and by included I mean physically present, during White House negotiations on amnesty.

Oh, and there are reports that Obama intends to issue millions of work permits to illegals on his own authority.



And while millions of people spore across our southern border from parts unknown, there's an extremely serious outbreak of Ebola killing people in Africa.

An Ebola victim who was allowed to board an international flight was an American citizen on his way home to the United States, it has emerged.

Patrick Sawyer worked for the Liberian government and was visiting his sister there when he developed symptoms while on a plane to Nigeria. He was quarantined on arrival in Lagos and died on Friday.

His wife, Decontee, 34, who like Mr Sawyer is originally from Liberia, currently at the heart of the terrifying Ebola outbreak, said he had been due to travel on to America where he could have become Patient Zero in a US epidemic.


Fellow passengers on his plane were given warnings about the disease’s symptoms, which can include bleeding from the nose and mouth, but were allowed to continue on their journeys.

As Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days, there are fears that some may even now be spreading the disease still further.

This outbreak is the most serious ever.

The outbreak is the largest and deadliest on record, with more than 670 deaths and more than 1,200 infections in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fatality rates for Ebola have been as high as 90% in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

Oh, and in that article, a second American has been found to have Ebola.

One scientist claims this:

"No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low," says Monroe, who says that the CDC has sent 12 experts to Africa to help with the crisis. "While it's possible that someone could become infected with Ebola in Africa" before boarding a plane to the USA, "it's very unlikely that they would spread it to other passengers."

What if they're deliberately trying to spread it? This is the most fantastically cheap and easy terrorist weapon I can think of.

On the plus side, this is going to make my next game of Pandemic much more meaningful.


And finally, conspiracy-addled asshole Jesse Ventura wins $1.8 million in his defamation suit against slain SEAL sniper Chris Kyle -- or rather against his widow.


Thanks to @doreenhdixon, @coolczech, and @cuteemergency and probably @emergencypuppy.

Posted by Ace at 07:25 PM Comments

WaPo's Greg Sargent Devastates Halbig Case Against Obamacare Federal Subsidies With Bombshell Reporting (JeffB.)


Guest post by JeffB./@esotericCD.

Wait, did I say "devastates?" I meant "vindicates." I get confused about stuff like that sometimes. Then again, in my defense, so does Greg Sargent. Let me explain. This is a lengthy post, so fair warning.

Quick refresher: Halbig case turns upon the question of whether the ACA, as written, permits the government to offer federal subsidies (read: price relief) to people who purchase health insurance on federally-established exchanges, or only on state-established ones. The IRS issued an official administrative ruling last year that subsidies applied to both state and federal exchanges.

The problem? The actual text of the Affordable Care Act says something different: it states that subsidies/tax credits are only available to consumers using "exchanges established by the state." Nowhere are federal exchanges mentioned, even though they pop up several times elsewhere in the statute.

This is obviously a Big Problem, since (contrary to expectations at the time of the ACA's drafting, it must be pointed out) only 14 states plus DC ultimately bothered to establish their own exchanges. The rest -- either out of protest or naked sloth -- farmed the work of establishing ACA exchanges out to the Feds.

So does that mean that, under the statutory language of the ACA as written, the residents of those 36 states are ineligible for federal subsidies and will have to pay extremely elevated prices for plans purchased via federal ACA exchanges?

We now have two answers: in Halbig v. Burwell the DC Circuit Court of Appeals said "Yes." Meanwhile, in King v. Burwell, the 4th Circuit said in so many words, ", we guess. But honestly this language is really ambiguous and hey SCOTUS help us out here will ya?"

Chaos, predictably, has ensued. On the Left, the amusingly unified PR response to Halbig has been variations upon the theme of "LOL are you kidding? Of course Obamacare was always supposed to provide subsidies to everyone, only madmen ever thought otherwise, now hush your crazytalk."

Jonathan Gruber, unless he is in fact a madman, put paid to that argument with his deliciously self-undermining speak-oes.

So now, rushing into the breach, here comes Crack Legal Correspondent Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, with his breathlessly reported scoop that will save the day for the Left:

Senate documents and interviews undercut 'bombshell' lawsuit against Obamacare

Let's pause for a moment and savor that headline on its own for the spectacular own-goal carnage that's about to follow.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 06:42 PM Comments

Meanwhile, Libyan "Militants" Overrun a Special Forces Base


The Special Forces have been reassigned to a Very Special Forces unit.

Also, they're dead.

Well I don't know if they're dead. I actually expect they fled, like Special Forces do.


The Cavalcade of Awesome Foreign Policy continues.

Militant fighters overran a Libyan special forces base in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday after a battle involving rockets and warplanes that killed at least 30 people.

A special forces officer said they had to abandon their main camp in the southeast of Benghazi after coming under sustained attack from a coalition of Islamist fighters and former rebel militias in the city.

"We have withdrawn from the army base after heavy shelling," Saiqa Special Forces officer Fadel Al-Hassi told Reuters.


Benghazi has been at the centre of fighting between special forces and ex-rebel fighters of the Benghazi Shura Council who have joined up with the Ansar al Sharia, a militant Islamist group, residents said.

They joined forces? I'd like to see the videotape that caused that to happen.

I don't even know what to say anymore.

Unfortunately, neither does Barack Obama.

Posted by Ace at 05:13 PM Comments

It's An Open Secret That Hamas Maintains Its Command Center Below Al-Shifa Hospital, But The Media Won't Report That


Via Hot Air.

Last week a French-Palestinian reporter confirmed this, when he was brought to the hospital to meet with a Hamas "local council" and be interrogated and threatened. Then, he asked for the article to be unpublished.

So all the reporters know this -- and in fact the reporters have been brought there for friendly chats with Hamas -- but no one will report it.

The idea that one of Hamas' main command bunkers is located beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is one of the worst-kept secrets of the Gaza war. So why aren't reporters in Gaza ferreting it out? The precise location of a large underground bunker equipped with sophisticated communications equipment and housing some part of the leadership of a major terrorist organization beneath a major hospital would seem to qualify as a world-class scoop--the kind that might merit a Pulitzer, or at least a Polk.


[T]he rules of reporting from Shifa Hospital are easy for any newbie reporter to understand: No pictures of members of Hamas with their weapons inside the hospital, and don't go anywhere near the bunkers, or the operating rooms where members of Hamas are treated...

Reporters who bravely or foolishly violate Hamas' rules even on their social media accounts can be seen to repent with such alacrity that it’s not difficult to imagine how scared and dependent they are. Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal, for example, tweeted that "You have to wonder w the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media." Casey then quickly deleted his tweet, which didn’t save him from being put on a list of journalists who “lie/fabricate info for Israel” and "must be sued" -- a threat which is surely the least of Casey’s fears. Last week, French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagg was summoned to Shifa by Hamas and interrogated. He wrote about the experience of "attempted intimidation" for Liberation--and then quickly had the paper take down the article.

Hey I was just saying that.

The writer has sympathies for reporters, who, after all, could simply be murdered for reporting something Hamas doesn't like.

However, he wonders about the editors sitting back home.

Posted by Ace at 04:26 PM Comments

Wow: Obama "Demands" That Israel Unilaterally Declare a Ceasefire;
Israeli Government Apparently Leaks the Transcript of the Conversation to the Press


This is huge.

A State Department Spokesman says this is a major breach of diplomatic etiquette if this is a genuine transcript. (Don't they know?)

Which it would be. But on the other hand, look at the contents of it.

I am going to guess, provisionally, that this isn't real.

Even for Barack Obama, this is too much.

Still, for the moment, this is news.

Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire -- silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It's a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel's position.

BN: Kerry's proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel's military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel's commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It's impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks --

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball's in Israel's court, and it must end all its military activities.

Now, this is apparently a translation of a Hebrew transcript, which means that Obama's words have been translated twice -- once into Hebrew, and then again back into English.

Understand that an awful lot can change in one translation, nevermind two.

"Ask," for example, can erroneously become "demand." In some languages they're the same word.

We know the Famously Cosmopolitan President only speaks a single language.

On the other hand, the transcript, if accurate, features Obama demanding that Israel concede to Hamas that which it began the war to get -- the lifting of the blockade, so it can go back to arming itself without bother.

Giving Hamas a huge win for starting and then losing a war.

Denied: Not that the White House's denials count for much, but Ben Rhodes calls this completely "false," and a commenter posts this, I think from WH go-to mouthpiece Chuck Todd (but I'm not sure):

NSC aide tells me purported Obama-Netanyahu phone call transcript is "literally made up" dialogue. Says POTUS never made those statements

That doesn't resolve it either way, because I'd expect them to lie.

However, as I said, I tend to think this is false. That, or a botched and tendentious translation so bad as to constitute a #switchrape.

(Note that this latter explanation would only account for the tone of the transcript. But there are substantive demands in the transcript that cannot be explained away by a bad translation. But, as I say, this strikes me as likely bogus all the way through.)

Netanyahu: The Claimed Transcript Bears No Resemblance to Reality. This is more authoritative:

Posted by Ace at 03:22 PM Comments

Important Moral Guidance from the Vice Prime Minister of Turkey: Women Must Not Laugh In Public, As It Is Indecent


From a French source.

Bit of a #WarOnWomen here.

"A woman must keep her moral rectitude, she must not laugh out loud in public," stated the Turkish Vice Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc, sparking a controversy Tuesday in Turkey...

"A man must be moral, and a woman too;, she must know that which is decent and that which is not," said, on Monday Bulent Arinc, and influential memeber of the Islamist government, of which he is also the spokesman...

And he added: "She must not laugh out loud in front of everyone, [she] must absolutely keep her decency at all times." This little sentence provoked an avalanche of reactions -- for the most part, indignant -- on the social networks where internet-users denounced the the intervention "more and more flagrant" of the Turkish regime into the private sphere...

A dozen days from the [upcoming] presidential elections from August 10th to the 24th, which for the first time will include universal suffrage the candidate of the oppostion, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, had immediately responded.

"We have a real need to hear the gay laughter of the women," he wrote... on Twitter.

The article says "rire fort." I've translated this as "laugh openly," though it probably means something like "burst into laughter." I guess maybe gentle ladylike titters are permissible.

Before anyone says it, I saw Gentle Ladylike Titters open for 4 Non Blondes in 1995.

I commenter suggests "laugh out loud." Perfect. I changed it.

Oh is that all? Fruminous Bandersnatch checks a German paper (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) for this clarification:

Aric (acting head of government) is only limiting laughter, not banning it. They may laugh as lustily as they want to in private, but may not laugh loudly in public.

Wow. Thank you, Lord Aric.

Posted by Ace at 02:41 PM Comments

Does John Kerry Read the New York Times?


The Times actually had a good article for a change. Last week, they reported that Hamas started this war with Israel in order to shore up their internal political standing.

GAZA CITY -- When war between Israel and Hamas broke out two weeks ago, the Palestinian militant group was so hamstrung, politically, economically and diplomatically, that its leaders appeared to feel they had nothing to lose.

Hamas took what some here call "option zero," gambling that it could shift the balance with its trump cards: its arms and militants.

Now, this conflict has demonstrated that while Hamas governed over 1.7 million people mired in poverty, its leaders were pouring resources into its military and expanding its ability to fight Israel. If it can turn that improved military prowess into concessions, like opening the border with Egypt, that may boost its standing among the people of Gaza -- although at an extraordinarily high cost in deaths and destruction.

I don't wish to excerpt more than that, but if you read on, you will read of a series of political problems Hamas was/is experiencing.

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip is around fifty percent.

Hamas lacked the funds to even pay its 40,000 government workers.

The blockade of Gaza (by both Israel and Egypt) was of course unpopular with Palestinians, and Hamas seemed weak in its inability to undo that.

They even began talking about forming a unity government with their hated rival Fatah -- but that just provoked a fresh burst of criticism.

So... they began lobbing missiles at Israel, and, get this, sent out fictitious reports about all the Israeli casualties those missiles produced. (Note well: Hamas considers high civilian casualties to be a strong selling point.)

This is why Israel reacted with such vehemence to John Kerry's attempt to cede by treaty what Hamas cannot win by force.

Israel understands that Hamas started this war because Killing Jews is Good Politics in Gaza.

Ergo, Israel will absolutely refuse to permit Hamas to politically profit from this war. They will not concede points to Hamas that will permit it to spin a great and cynical catastrophe for its people as some kind of cunning victory.

They will not announce to Hamas that all they need to do when they're in political trouble is to abduct and murder some Israeli teenagers.

Israel, for reasons which must appear obvious even to John Kerry, wishes Hamas instead to learn the opposite lesson.

John Kerry stumbled, bumbled, and gaffed his way to delivering a cease-fire agreement that gave Hamas much of what it wanted. He did so without consulting the Israelis, the Egyptians, or damn near anyone else besides Hamas' patrons Turkey and Qatar.

With his actions -- either stupid and uninformed, or actively hostile to Israeli lives -- he's announced that he has absolutely no credibility, gravitas, or authority to speak on these matters or to broker any kind of peace.

Eli Lake and Josh Rogan report on Kerry's "meltdown."

[Deputy National Security Advisor Tony] Blinken also insisted that Kerry's plan contained many of the "same elements" as an Egyptian proposal, released July 15 and immediately rejected by Hamas. Cairo's plan called for an immediate halt to violence on both sides and would have provided for the opening of border crossings and the end of rocket fire into Israel.

But the two plans also had key differences. Multiple Israeli officials, lawmakers, and experts told The Daily Beast that Kerry's proposal altered the Egyptian ceasefire in many important ways, and in one case altered longstanding U.S. policy toward the funding of Hamas.


The Kerry proposal also stated a commitment would be made to "transfer funds to Gaza for the payment of salaries of public employees." Israeli and U.S. officials said the understanding was that money would be given to Hamas by the government of Qatar. A senior U.S. official said that the American government doesn't like Qatar providing money to Hamas, which is still officially designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department. But Kerry was trying to reach Hamas and he believes this was the best way to influence them.

Again, this is helping Hamas out of problems it itself created -- all because they started murdering people.

And, via @benk84, who remembers all:

Posted by Ace at 02:04 PM Comments

David Harsyani: What the Hell is John Kerry Doing?


Krauthammer calls Kerry Hamas' lawyer.

He is the bumbling blowhard hard-left fool we always took him for.

It seems like a rather big deal when Egypt, Israel, Fatah, Jordan, Saudi Arabia -- ostensibly, all allies of ours -- agree on anything. This development, one imagines, would be something the United States would be interested in fostering rather than destroying. Certainly, the idea that Hamas’ power should be neutralized and the influence of the "moderate" Palestinian authority expanded, sounds like a plan worth pursuing.

You would think. But instead, Kerry basically ignored an Egyptian-led ceasefire effort to do just that, and handed Israelis a document that offered them this:

* Rather than empowering Fatah, it recognizes Hamas as the legitimate authority in the Gaza Strip, though it is considered a terrorist organization by the Justice Department and an entity that’s founding principle and driving purpose is to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.

* Rather than choking off this organization's lifeline, it would have allowed them to collect billions in 'charity' that would be been able to use to rearm, retrench and reengage in hostilities.

* And all the while, it would not have made no demands on Hamas to get rid of its rockets, or its tunnels and other weaponry used to instigate war – while at the same it would have limited Israel’s ability to take them out. (Update: This final point is disputed by U.S. officials.)

Kerry's actions have caused a major diplomatic row -- the Israeli press are criticizing him, accurately, and the Administration, of course, is thus required to claim the Israelis are lying. I'm sorry, I meant sowing a "misinformation campaign," and suggesting, weirdly, that the Israeli government should clamp down on the Israeli press.

"It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other," Jen Psaki psimpered.

Her comments were echoed by the White House, where National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the U.S. was "dismayed" by mischaracterizations of Kerry's efforts...

As Kerry returned from the region over the weekend, Israeli media commentators leveled almost nonstop criticism of his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey -- two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters -- into the cease-fire negotiations. Kerry was also accused of abandoning some of Israel's key demands during the negotiations, including demilitarizing Gaza.

In trying to implement the cease-fire over the weekend, "U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything," wrote columnist Ari Shavit in Monday's Haaretz, Israel's leading liberal newspaper. "Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a 'strategic terrorist attack.'"

Obama's had such practice intimidating the US press he's decided to try his hand at intimidating the Israeli one.

More: The Wall Street Journal has a good article on this "fiasco," too.

The question that routinely comes up regarding U.S. foreign policy these days is: What in the world were they thinking? The latest puzzlement is the weekend fiasco in which President Obama and John Kerry pressed a cease-fire that is likely to extend the war between Hamas and Israel.


The reaction in Israel was opposition bordering on contempt. Ari Shavit, a center-left columnist for Haaretz, wrote that Mr. Kerry's "decision to go hand in hand with Qatar and Turkey, and formulate a framework amazingly similar to the Hamas framework, was catastrophic..."

He added that "the Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends." And you should hear what Israel's hawks are saying. We're told Mr. Kerry is upset about being criticized so publicly by an ally, but Israel is a free society and the U.S. doesn't get to impose a gag order.

The WSJ says the Obama Administration, by encouraging Hamas to hold out (in hopes that America will increasingly pressure Israel to cave), has achieved the opposite of what it was supposed to.

But then they reconsider this:

We say "supposed" because it's hard to know what this Administration is trying to achieve beyond its perennial call to end the violence. From Iran to Syria to Iraq and now to Gaza, this Administration seems to believe that merely enunciating good intentions will yield good outcomes. No wonder it yields more war.

Americans are increasingly concerned about these questions: Does the president know what the hell he even intends to do, and if he does, does he have any competency whatsoever to achieve that intention?

Posted by Ace at 12:23 PM Comments

Yuval Levin: Obama's Deliberately Divisive Plan for Amnesty



Many people in Washington seem to be talking about the prospect of the president unilaterally legalizing the status of several million people who entered the country illegally as though it were just another political question. But if reports about the nature of the executive action he is contemplating are right, it would be by far the most blatant and explosive provocation in the administration’s assault on the separation of powers, and could well be the most extreme act of executive overreach ever attempted by an American president in peacetime.


In one sense, the approach the president is said to be contemplating does fit into a pattern of his use of executive power. That pattern involves taking provocative executive actions on sensitive, divisive issues to isolate people he detests, knowing it will invite a sharp response, and then using the response to scare his own base voters into thinking they are under assault when in fact they are on the offensive. That’s how moving to compel nuns to buy contraception and abortive drugs for their employees became "they're trying to take away your birth control." This strategy needlessly divides the country and brings out the worst instincts of people on all sides, but it has obvious benefits for the administration and its allies. Liberals get both the substantive action and the political benefit of calling their opponents radicals and getting their supporters worked up.


[S]urely it would all harm the country -- dividing the public and debasing our system of government. It seems like just the sort of thing that a national leader would seek to avoid, rather than work to invite.

But they'll win the day's Twitter War, which is what matters.

Spike Lee was right -- we will speak of America in terms of "Pre-Obama" and "Post-Obama."

Posted by Ace at 10:23 AM Comments

At Least 160 Children Have Died Digging Hamas' Tunnels, as of 2011


And these do not seem to be deaths due to Israeli action -- just the natural consequence of setting children to work deep in the earth.

The author of the paper, Nicolas Pelham accompanied a police patrol in Gaza during December 2011. He reported that "nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies."

"You just got Harry Reid's attention!" emails Harry Reid.

He also found that "at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials." And, as noted, this was as of the end of 2011.
Posted by Ace at 09:43 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 7-29-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Tuesday.

Legal weed hasn't quite made it onto the 2016 candidates' issues pages, but they should all be preparing to answer questions on it.

D.C. moves to stay the decision legalizing lawful handgun carry while it appeals.

While everyone has their eyes on Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel, Libya has accelerated its slide into chaos. The U.S., UK, and Germany have evacuated their embassies. The U.S., UK, Germany, and France have all warned their citizens to leave the country as the militia factions vie for control.

AoSHQ Weekly Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:48 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (7-28-2014)


Quote of the Day

But none of those [previous] episodes ...provoked the kind of outraged disbelief at Kerry's performance that has been emanating from the Israeli leadership in the past 48 hours. Leaked comments from unnamed senior government sources to Army Radio, Channel 2 and other Hebrew outlets have described the secretary as amateurish, incompetent, incapable of understanding the material he is dealing with - in short, a blithering fool.

But actually, it's worse than that. What emerges from Kerry's self-initiated ceasefire mission - Israel had already accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal; and nobody asked him to come out on a trip he prefaced with sneering remarks about Israel's attempted "pinpoint" strikes on Hamas terror targets - is that Jerusalem now regards him as duplicitous and dangerous.

...Whether through ineptitude, malice, or both, Kerry's intervention was not a case of America's top diplomat coming to our region to help ensure, through astute negotiation, the protection of a key ally. This was a betrayal.

-- The Times of Israel [roughly equivalent to our NYT in terms of ideology and influence]. This editorial gave the Obama administration a case of the sads.

The Ten Commandments as Covered by Buzzfeed

Courtesy of McSweeneys.

You Won't Believe What God Said to This Man.

  • What You Need to Know Now About the Lord Totally Being God
  • At the Beginning He Had Me Confused, But by Minute Two I Knew That I Shouldn't Have Other Gods.
  • Are You Making This Common Mistake with Graven Images?
  • How I Work: Read This Life Hack from God Your Only Creator.
  • She Admitted to Doing What Every Sunday?
  • Seven Morning Habits of People Holier Than You: #7 No Killing Before Lunch.
  • 37 Things in Your Bedroom That You Need to Get Rid of Right Now, Like Adulteresses.
  • What the Government Doesn't Want You to Know About Stealing Your Neighbors Servants.
  • This Little Girl Bore False Witness and the Results Will Shock You.
  • Doctors Hate Her But You Shouldn't Covet Her.


Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 09:28 PM Comments

I Know You're Not Going to Be Able to Believe This, But There's a Comic Book Series Debuting on TV


This is "Constantine," on NBC, from DC's "Vertigo" imprint, a "Mature"-oriented imprint where they're allowed to say "Bollocks" during standard comicbook shenanigans.


Seriously this bubble is getting way too big. I actually know who Constantine is. I've read like three of the comics.

I think the character is kind of okay (for comic book characters, I mean).

But seriously-- in one year, Ant-Man will come out, a major motion picture starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. Douglas plays the original Ant-Man, noted wife-beater Henry Pym (seriously Pym beat up his wife in the comics), and, to get away from all that baggage, Rudd will play a successor character, a thief who stole Ant-Man's Ant Potion, or whatever the hell it is.*


John Constantine is now a tv series, and Ant-Man (Ant-Man!!!) is now a major movie.

Come on now. Come on.

Remember when it was virtually impossible to even get a live-action Spider-Man production in the works?

Now we've decided Ant-Man deserves his own movie.

That's how far we've come.

* I actually know what the hell it is that permits Ant-Man to shrink down to Ant-size. It's Pym Particles, but I want to pretend I don't know that.

I think I'm a self hating nerd. The crowd at Comic Con cheers the disclosure that Doctor Fate might show up in Constantine (late in the panel).

Now, I'll admit it: I do have some idea who Doctor Fate is. He's a superhero sorcerer, like Doctor Strange. (Fate came first.)

But should The American Public know this, or just silly dorks like me?

I feel like I'm somehow a vector for a terrible disease. I feel partly responsible for this madness.

Oh: Wonder Woman's costume below.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 07:07 PM Comments

Okay So Here's The Good News -- We're All Doomed


Hillary Clinton is polling better with White voters than any Democrat since Carter. (Who did reasonably well with White voters.)

Dave Weigel noticed this important sub-finding.

Obama, who won only 39 percent of the white vote in 2012, is swooning because he's lost even more of it. But Clinton's grabbing 46 percent of the white vote. That's better than Obama did in 2008 (43 percent), better than John Kerry did in 2004 (41 percent), better than Al Gore did in 2000 (42 percent). It's even better than her husband did in 1996 (43 percent), though that result—like the 1992 result—is skewed by the presence of Ross Perot. You have to go back to 1976 to find a Democrat who polled better than 46 percent with whites. And when Jimmy Carter narrowly defeated Gerald Ford, the electorate was 89 percent white overall. In 2016 it's likely to be closer to 70 percent white. In 2016 a Democrat who wins only 40 percent of the white vote and holds close to Barack Obama's totals with nonwhites can win easily.

So we now know the secret source of Hillary's high standing in the polls: Racism.

Posted by Ace at 06:30 PM Comments

(Provisionally Retracted Due to the Doubtful Nature of the Story)


I've been thinking about this, and this story is seeming less and less likely to me.

When someone wants to make a histrionic false case (or even a non-histrionic one), they generally make it the best presentation of that histrionic false case possible.

Including tweaking the facts to support their claim -- and omitting facts that undermine it.

But in this histrionic false case, the author goes out of her way to include, gratuitously, details that not only don't support her, but in fact undermine her.

For example, she goes out of her way to tell us she doesn't even care about this guy -- she's just using him sexually in order to "satisfy" her.

That doesn't read like something a claimed victim would say.

That reads like something that someone intending to spoof a feminist would say.

If she were really making this charge, wouldn't she have omitted that self-undermining detail?

Later on she gratuitously notes she "came" from the claimed rape, and then gives some rigamarole to justify the inclusion of that fact.

Again -- why bother to claim that many rapes result in the victim's orgasm (???!!!!?)?

If the writer realized this was a detail that cast doubt on her tale, why include it at all? In that case, you don't even have to supply a dubious argument to explain the fact away.

As the Media instructs us, the most powerful argument you can make against an inconvenient fact is simply suppressing the fact altogether.

So this all seems very doubtful to me.

I'm sorry-- I bit hard on this because I needed something to publish and I didn't have anything. But now that I've had more than two minutes to consider it, this seems pretty implausible to me.

Original post below. The original title was "Good Lord."

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 05:28 PM Comments

Leaked Michelle Nunn Strategy Paper: One One Hand We Can Fundraise Like Crazy Off of Jews.
On The Other Hand, Michelle's Foundation Gave a Grant to an Organization Accused of Being a Hamas Conduit.


Glass half full.

Nunn is running as the Democratic candidate for Senate in Georgia. Her main campaign message is that she shares an atypical amount of DNA with former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn.

The campaign's finance plan draws attention to the "tremendous financial opportunity" in the Jewish community...

So you know, the good news for Nunn is that Jews are Rich.

...and identifies Jews as key fundraisers. It notes, however, that "Michelle's position on Israel will largely determine the level of support here." That's a position she has yet to articulate, and Israel goes unmentioned on her campaign website.

So far, nothing here that would offend Jews. Just that Those People really like Money and Israel. (Left tastefully unsaid: Those People also really like Controlling the Media.)

Now here's the little snaggerooni, per Nunn's own leaked paper analyzing her position in the race.

Though the campaign plan recommends emphasizing Nunn's accomplishments at the Points of Light Foundation, which she has done on the campaign trail, her strategists express enormous concern about attacks that might arise from her work there. She has served as CEO of Points of Light since 2007 and, according to the document, it has made grants to "terrorists" and "inmates" during her tenure. The document also makes reference to a 2010 audit that concluded Points of Light’s accounting system was "not adequate to account for federal funds."

I have to say again that this document originated in her own camp.

According to the IRS Form 990s that Points of Light filed in 2008 and 2011, the organization gave a grant of over $33,000 to Islamic Relief USA.... Islamic Relief USA is part of a global network of charities that operate under the umbrella of Islamic Relief Worldwide. Islamic Relief USA says on its website that it is a legally separate entity from its parent organization, but that they share "a common vision, mission, and family identity."

Islamic Relief Worldwide has ties to Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. In June, Israel banned the charity from operating in the country because, according to Israeli officials, it was funneling cash to Hamas.

So Points of Light actually donated to Islamic Relief USA, which is claimed to be a separate entity from its parent/umbrella organization Islamic Relief Worldwide. And Islamic Relief Worldwide is accused of smuggling cash to Hamas.

Nunn's camp isn't troubled by that, though. The way they see it, they have a secret weapon which will protect them and give them a head's up on damaging stories.

That secret weapon is the Media.

Her strategists are optimistic that the media won’t prove much of an obstacle.

Yeah, me neither.

They write that at some point her opponent, who at the time the document was written had yet to be determined, will be "shoveling research" against her. But they say they anticipate they will often have "fair warning" about negative news stories and can work to "kill or muddy" them.

So there you go.

By the way, the Nunn paper also celebrates the rich diversity of Asian culture:

Asians are also identified as key fundraisers. The community is described as "very tight," one in which people work to "become citizens quickly."

Good at math, too. Surprised they forgot to mention that.

Posted by Ace at 04:07 PM Comments

Boko Haram Kidnaps Wife of Cameroon's Vice Prime Minister


Good Lord.

Nigerian Boko Haram militants kidnapped the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister and killed at least three people on Sunday in a cross-border attack involving more than 200 assailants in the northern town of Kolofata, Cameroon officials said.

A local religious leader, or lamido, named Seini Boukar Lamine, who is also the town's mayor, and five members of his family were also kidnapped in a separate attack on his home.

The Vice PM and his wife were apparently at a local's home to celebrate Ramadan when the attack occurred.

This was one of three attacks in Cameroon this weekend, plus at least one attack in Nigeria:

Meanwhile, a Boko Haram bomb killed five people as they left a church in Kano, Nigeria, also on Sunday.

Four countries are finally combining resources to fight Boko Haram:

According to the BBC, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger recently formed "a 2,800-strong regional force" to combat Boko Haram.

Only 2800? Commenters point out that Nigeria is a country of 170 million people. The other three states in this regional force are much smaller, but still have a good number of people: Cameroon, 22 million; Chad, almost 13 million; Niger, almost 18 million.

We're talking about combined populations easily exceeding 200 million, and all they can muster against a serious cross-border terrorist force is 2,800 men under arms?

These would not be the only units available to fight Boko Haram, but it does seem like this is supposed to represent these nation's commitment to stamping them out.

It sure seems like a puny commitment.

Posted by Ace at 03:22 PM Comments

Atheist Sam Harris: Here's Why I Don't Criticize Israel


After establishing his secular/atheist credentials, and noting his objection go any state organized around religious identity (though he allows that if it were permissible for any state to be organized around a religious identity, that permitted state would be Israel, given the need for an Escape Hatch for the world's Jews as proven by just about all of the history of the last several thousand years), he begins explaining why he stands with Israel.

This is a long piece. I'm just excerpting parts of his best argument. I'm also cutting out a lot of his nuances, because, well, I can't just excerpt everything.

[T]his gets to the heart of the moral difference between Israel and her enemies. And this is something I discussed in The End of Faith. To see this moral difference, you have to ask what each side would do if they had the power to do it.

What would the Jews do to the Palestinians if they could do anything they wanted? Well, we know the answer to that question, because they can do more or less anything they want. The Israeli army could kill everyone in Gaza tomorrow. So what does that mean? Well, it means that, when they drop a bomb on a beach and kill four Palestinian children, as happened last week, this is almost certainly an accident. They’re not targeting children. They could target as many children as they want....

What would the Palestinians do to the Jews in Israel if the power imbalance were reversed? Well, they have told us what they would do. For some reason, Israel's critics just don’t want to believe the worst about a group like Hamas, even when it declares the worst of itself.


Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we're talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be...

Now imagine reversing the roles here. Imagine how fatuous--indeed comical it would be--for the Israelis to attempt to use human shields to deter the Palestinians.... Imagine the Israelis holding up their own women and children as human shields. Of course, that would be ridiculous. The Palestinians are trying to kill everyone. Killing women and children is part of the plan. Reversing the roles here produces a grotesque Monty Python skit.

That's a very cutting point. Try to imagine it -- you can't. It's absurd. Not because Israelis wouldn't use human shields -- they wouldn't, but that's not the most absurd part.

The absurd part is the idea that Hamas would be in any way deterred by this, rather than thinking, "F***in' awesome!"

Posted by Ace at 02:37 PM Comments

Of Course: Hollywood Now Making a Dan-Rather-Was-Right Film About Rathergate


Starring Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchette as Mary Mapes. The script will be based, however, on an impartial outside journalist's account of the affair -- by which I mean Mary Mapes' book.

Megan McArdle objects. She writes a long letter recapitulating all the facts which cast doubt on Redford's, Rather's, and Mapes' new mythology.

Her conclusion:

Mapes still insists the documents are genuine. This is even more boggling than believing Burkett in the first place. Burkett displayed the classic characteristics of unreliable sources: They tell one story, and then, when you note the inconsistencies, you suddenly hear an entirely new story that covers up those holes. The terminal story is usually impossible to check -- and also completely implausible.

Mapes is reduced to offering speculation that perhaps "Lucy Ramirez" wanted the originals destroyed to conceal any DNA evidence of her involvement. A much more plausible alternative is that the originals were destroyed to conceal their creation on a laser printer. Mapes, amazingly, acknowledges that this story seems incredible, but then she says that it's entirely plausible, because... it's Texas. "As I sat listening to Burkett’s scenario spill out, I realized how truly ridiculous this sounded from our vantage in New York. But in Texas ... a place where bull semen is worth its weight in gold (and the bizarre long ago became the mundane), I believed it was quite possible that Bill Burkett was finally telling the truth, the whole weird truth, and nothing but the truth. By God, in Texas, anything could happen." Texas is indeed weird and wonderful, but I doubt Burkett's story sounded any more plausible there than it did in New York.


With the time pressure she was under, it's possible to argue -- as I have -- that Mapes made a forgivable mistake.

What happened next, however, was not forgivable... [Even after all the proofs the documents were forged,] Mapes insisted that she was right about the documents, and everyone else was either the enabler or the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy. Of course, refusing to accept that you’ve made an enormous mistake is natural behavior. But at some point, you have to be able to see the obvious.


It would be a pity if Hollywood made the same blind mistakes that destroyed several distinguished careers in New York. I know that the film production company for this project is called Mythology Entertainment. That said, the journalists who deserve to have their stories told are the ones who dug into the provenance of these memos and exposed them for what they actually were. If you are going to make a movie, it should honor their fine work, not the errors that made it necessary.

Sincerely, Megan

Emphases added.

Posted by Ace at 01:30 PM Comments

Open Thread


Posted by rdbrewer at 10:37 AM Comments

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William Kristol: Note to the House GOP: Kill the Bill
"The policy objections to the bill seem convincing to me—among them that it seems to appropriate more money, on a pro-rated monthly basis, than the president's proposal; that it might well make it harder, not easier, to send some or all of the illegal migrants back; that it changes the asylum laws in ways that might well backfire; and that it doesn't deal in any way the core cause of the problem...." Also from TWS: Lamar Alexander in the Crosshairs. [rdbrewer]

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The great orator speaks [rdbrewer]

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Animals. Via @Slublog. [rdbrewer]

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Viagra. [rdbrewer]

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