Eratosthenes wonders aloud how liberals like Obama can lie so blatantly without shame or inhibition.
I was thinking about Barack Obama. And, other liberals. Some of the stuff that comes out of them is just so obviously untrue you have to think, “How did you think you’d be able to sell that line of baloney?” In the President’s case, the one thing that keeps coming up over and over again is “I first found out about this in the last day or two, from reading the newspapers just like you” and now that He knows about it, “nobody is angrier about this than I am.”I know there is a hardcore segment of our population that is still gaga over Barack Obama, but is anyone actually buying this swill?
I think it’s a behavior learned from childhood — to go ahead and try & sell it, no matter how ridiculous it is. I think it’s bad parenting. Was going to start a blog post about it called Bad Mothering or something, but that would have been an exercise in just trying to tick people off, which isn’t healthy. However, the problem must start there. An important part of a parent’s job, and unfortunately it seems to fall disproportionately onto the mothers, is to send the message “That’s not going to fly, if you really want to go through life lying you need to get better at it.” That must be the problem, for there’s only one alternative and I don’t find the alternative credible. I can’t believe Barack Obama and His inner circle meet behind closed doors, go through all their shrewd calculations about what spin will & won’t work, and with all their P.R. talents come to the conclusion that the most winning strategy available to them is: Obama goes out and says “I had no idea this was going on…”…again…for the fifty-seven billionth time or whatever. It must be something far more primitive. Like a gag reflex. The aid comes up and says “Sir, questions are being asked about when You knew the website was going to take a crap,” and inside Obama’s head the instinct is activated — it’s worked this way since childhood. “Barack, did you know such-and-such?” and “No Mom, I had no idea” has always worked. Since the umbilical cord was cut. If something has always worked since then, that can be a powerful motivator.
Obama-Enigma starts to achieve resolution and make more sense when you open yourself to the possibility that President Obama, far from being a deity who hung the moon and sprinkled the stars across the inky canvas of heaven, is actually a tiny man who lives in a tiny world. Someone says “did You know” and the answer is “had no idea.” It’s just expected. And so I think, due to bad mothering, the boss says “had no idea” and the underlings…well, who the heck are they to question it? And so, I infer, they sprint off to the telephones and the computer keyboards and the podiums, and repeat it. Only after that does any real rational thinking enter into it, and of course by then the thinking is institutional, it says “Now that we’ve said it we’ve got to stick to the story.”
These lefty politicians seem to be trying to make a name for themselves, showing off what bad mothering they had. How naturally it comes to them to peddle such clear and obvious lies. It’s like they’ve figured out, the democrat politicians who rise to the power structure and get nominated for the big offices every two years, are the ones who have no shame. Shame weighs you down. So you rise to the top by showing off that you don’t have any.
According to US Dept of Health and Human Services
There are roughly 700,000 employed physicians in the U.S
There are roughly 120,000 accidental deaths caused by physician per year
That means there are roughly 0.171 accidental deaths per physician per year
According to the FBI
There are roughly 80, 000, 000 gun owners in the U.S
There are roughly 30,000 gun-related deaths (accidental/non-accidental) per year
That means there are roughly 0.000375 deaths per gun owner per year
The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves?
One of my Yale classmates yesterday forwarded this New York Times editorial denouncing the National Rifle Association’s efforts to prevent sophistors, economists, calculators, and “leading experts” on violence from artfully collecting data and massaging statistics in order to produce a scientific, apparently empirical case favoring gun control.
Why would the naughty NRA oppose data collection and scientific research by well-credentialed experts?
The NRA sensibly opposes these so-called empirical studies because it knows that when you get to establish the principles used for collecting data and the methodologies employed in arranging the assembled information and evaluating the results, you possess the ability to prove any case you want to prove, empirically. The NRA knows that figures lie and liars figure, and that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Where does such empiricism lead? Just look at Britain where conventional pocket knives are banned as “offensive weapons” and “leading experts” have been calling in recent years for a ban on pointed kitchen knives.
[Accident & Emergency] doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.
A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase – and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings.
They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.
The research is published in the British Medical Journal.
The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.
They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.
None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.
The researchers said a short pointed knife may cause a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault – but is unlikely to penetrate to inner organs.
They won’t stop with taking away our guns. As the example of Britain shows, they will go to the most absurd lengths in criminalizing innocent and harmless possession of marginal examples of weapons in their fanatical pursuit of the elimination of every kind of risk and hazard by the calculative power of human reason operating through the coercive agency of the state.
A disabled caravanner who kept a penknife in his glove compartment to use on picnics has blasted the authorities after being dragged through court for possessing an offensive weapon.
Rodney Knowles, 61, walks with the aid of a stick and had used the Swiss Army knife to cut up fruit on picnics with his wife.
Knowles yesterday admitted possessing an offensive weapon at Torquay Magistrates Court. He was given a conditional discharge.
But speaking after the hearing, he said: ‘It’s a stupid law. Now I have a criminal record.’
A lot of reactionaries like myself have described Barack Obama as “a socialist,” “a Marxist,” and “a Communist.” How could we possibly have thought that about someone who, in his closing statement at the Second 2012 Presidential Debate, delivered this encomium to Capitalism and Free Enterprize:
I think a lot of this campaign, maybe over the last four years, has been devoted to this notion that I think government creates jobs, that that somehow is the answer.
That’s not what I believe. I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known.
I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded. But I also believe that everybody should have a fair shot and everybody should do their fair share and everybody should play by the same rules, because that’s how our economy’s grown. That’s how we built the world’s greatest middle class. . . .
This sounds enough like Barry Goldwater to make poor Bill Ayers go out and commit seppuku in Grant Park. But that would assume that Barack Obama was expressing himself with sincerity. In reality, Barack Obama, in his closing statement at that Second Debate, was fraudulently trying to position himself as a mainstream centrist believer in the American system, which he really is not. In the statement above, he is not expressing his real position. He is blowing smoke in an effort to conceal it.
The real Barack Obama is the Barack Obama who tried to revive turn-of-the-last-century Progressivism in a speech delivered lat December in Osawatomie, Kansas:
[T]here’s been a certain crowd in Washington for the last few decades who respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes—especially for the wealthy—our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.
Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory. . . .
John Lott noticed the contradiction between exactly the same two Obama statements.
In a last desperate attempt to save Barack Obama’s hopes of re-election, Hillary Clinton took a leaf from Charles Dickens’ Sydney Carton, and did the “far, far better thing,” taking responsibility for the failure to provide security for the consulate in Benghazi and for the long series of misstatements, fabrications, and falsehoods describing the carefully-planned terrorist attack calculatedly timed to occur on 9/11 as a spontaneous mob outburst provoked by an obscure video.
Hillary Clinton, of course, does not fully resemble Sydney Carton. She is not going to the guillotine. She is only “accepting responsibility,” which in the manner of liberal democrats amounts only to issuing a statement tacitly eating crow on a single occasion. It does not mean resigning from office, ending one’s political career, or otherwise actually being subject to any real penalty or punishment.
One rather thinks that the reverse is probably the case. Hillary’s sacrifice must be part of a private arrangement made between Barack Obama and the Clintons. Barack Obama must have entered into some bargain promising Hillary some highly valuable future compensation, something along the lines of his complete support in the quest for the democrat nomination in 2016 combined with the delivery of his donors (Soros in particular) in return for Hillary assuming the role of scapegoat and going through the charade of throwing herself under the bus.
We have had the public ceremony of accepting responsibility and shame, but the question remains: Will this modest sacrifice of Hillary’s amour propre suffice to satisfy the curiosity of the media and the voting public’s wrath? It seems unlikely to me. Republicans in Congress are still demanding more specific and concrete explanations of why Ambassador Stevens’ requests for more security were denied and are still going to want to know who exactly decided to fabricate the false narrative given by UN Ambassador Rice and others. The spotlight will fall on Barack Obama directly at tonight’s Town Hall Debate, and it seems unlikely that even Hillary Clinton’s noble sacrifice will succeed in sheltering the president from pointed questions.
Barack Obama is not a truthful man. He was not truthful in his campaign promises. He is not truthful in the way he consistently belittles and makes strawmen of political opponents. He is not even truthful about his own life story. In 2008, Barack Obama was able to take advantage of very powerful, deeply reflexive cultural impulses which promoted him instantly to the highest ranks of media godhood and which surrounded him with a protective cloak of adoration which totally precluded any serious critical scrutiny. Bill Ayers? “Just a guy I ran into a few times.” Revered Wright goddamning America? “Gosh, I never heard that particular sermon.” Things are different four years later. There is blood in the water right now. We are twenty-odd days from a presidential election. Hillary Clinton’s little gesture of loyalty is not going to make the Benghazi debacle and the investigation of the coverup go away.
Priorities USA Action, an independent expenditure PAC, with roughly $21 million dollars to spend provided by Dreamworks, a bunch of unions, some law firms, McKinsey (!), and a number of liberal-owned companies, produced the hardest-hitting ad directed at Mitt Romney so far.
The attack ad says:
“When Mitt Romney and Bain shut down the plant, I lost my health care. A short time after that, my wife became ill. I don’t know how long she was sick. . . . I took her to the Jackson County hospital, and admitted her for pneumonia, and that’s when they found the cancer. By then it was stage four. . . . She passed away in 22 days.”
Romney stopped doing work for Bain in 1999; the steel plant in question here closed down in 2001; Soptic’s wife passed away in 2006; and yet, Romney’s somehow culpable. Perfection. You know what’s really interesting about this spot? It’s not even a health-care ad. It’d be sleazy under any circumstances, but there’d at least be a concrete policy angle if Burton was selling it as an argument for, say, single-payer, to decouple insurance from employment. He’s not. There appears to be no actual policy argument here at all, unless The One now opposes layoffs on principle, for fear that someone somewhere might be left without insurance. Is that where our very pro-business president — seriously, just ask him — is now at? As John Sexton says, does this mean O himself is on the hook until 2014 for any deaths that resulted from GM dealerships being closed in 2009? I thought workers bore some responsibility to find a new job with insurance after they’re laid off, but if he wants to take the blame for human tragedies at Government Motors, fine by me.
Anthony Weiner in full denunciatory mode on the House floor.
Victor Davis Hanson welcomes Anthony Weiner to the ever-lengthening list of fallen liberal moralists.
Nemesis is always hot on the trail of hubris, across time and space, and the goddess has been particularly busy in destroying the carefully crafted images of Bono, John Edwards, Timothy Geithner, Al Gore, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner, and a host of others. What do their tax hypocrisies, sexual indulgences, and aristocratic socialist lifestyles all have in common?
Collectively, they represent a self-appointed or elected global elite that oversees, lectures about — in sanctimonious fashion — the ethical responsibilities of the redistributive state.
——————————————— Allahpundit reports that ABC news has been forwarding vindictively to everyone the following video from a little ways back in which Weiner asserts his innocence and defiantly confronts his interviewer. AllahPundit tells us that he himself feels uneasy watching Weiner’s unabashed and brazen dishonesty, that there is about it a disturbing abnormality, a whiff of the Bates Motel… something that makes his skin crawl.
How creepy? Creepy enough that ABC posted this footage (which was recorded a few days ago, of course) just within the past hour and then sent around the link via e-mail. I didn’t go hunting through their archives for it, in other words; they’re pushing it on people tonight themselves because, understandably, they (a) want to atone for having aired this guy’s lies as news last week and (b) presumably want the world to see what an almost pathologically fluid liar he was when cornered. The last 80 seconds of it will have you squirming in your seat — not only the way he claims to be the innocent target of a hoax but his insistence on lecturing the interviewer for assuming the worst, taking care to maintain accusatory eye contact the whole way. It’s genuinely disturbing.
If, like me, you felt bad for him when he choked up at his presser today, spend four minutes watching this. It’ll straighten you right out.
The New York Post wins the headline-of-the-day award.
——————————————— The Anchoress comments on the impact of the Weiner scandal on the press, particularly on Barbara Walters.
To my way of thinking, the saddest part of this story is Barbara Walters devolution; this once-respected newswoman nears the end of her distinguished career by playing as ghastly a non-sequitur as I’ve ever heard, saying (in essence) if Sarah Palin ‘can ride around on her bus,’ Weiner Can Stay in Congress.
When Joy Behar, of all people has to defend Sarah Palin from your bizarrely gratuitous swipe, you know you’ve let your hate lead you too far into Whackyland.
Listen (if you can stand the noise of this show) to Walters talking about how she “knows” Weiner and “knows” his wife, who of course works for Hillary Clinton, whom she also knows.
This is the problem with the mainstream media in a nutshell. They “know” the people they’re supposed to be covering, and they consider themselves “friends” of those people. And it has ruined them. As you listen to Walters, all you see is passionate advocacy; not a newswoman concerned with the truth of a story, but a partisan doing everything she can to divert attention from a story she doesn’t like — even to comparing a private citizen on a bus to a sitting congressman having some sort of cyber-engagement in his office — and championing her “friend.”
This has never been a nice story, which is why I haven’t written about it until now. But I still am less interested in Weiner than in how the press reacted to this story. Some were willing to believe him, simply because he said they should. Some seemed like they didn’t want to believe him, but didn’t want to not believe him, even more. The usual partisans tried to blame and smear the usual partisans.
Joe Queenan does a fine job of mocking the federal government’s “core inflation rate” calculation methodology.
[I]magine my surprise when the latest economic data came out and we were told that inflation wasn’t much of a problem at all. The price index for core personal consumption expenditures increased a piddling 0.9% from the previous year, keeping the national inflation rate far, far below what economists see as the danger level.
Hang on a second, I thought: What about my exorbitant fuel costs and the two bucks for my disgusting coffee and the $1.25 for my stale, tasteless bagel, with no schmear, no butter, no nothing? If inflation had jumped just a puny 0.9% in the past 12 months, why did it feel like everything that I bought last week had gone up 25%?
The answer lies in the way economists calculate what they call “core” price indexes. The core personal consumption expenditures index (PCE), for example, computes the cost of a representative basket of goods that consumers might buy—like used copies of “Madden 2009” and lace camisoles and jumbo-size containers of Percocet and personally autographed Kenny Chesney guitar picks and Blu-ray discs of “AVP: Alien vs. Predator” —but it cuts out variables like food and energy prices. This makes the month-to-month reporting on inflation less volatile, far less subject to the vicissitudes of the market.
At first glance, this seems baffling. Removing fuel and food costs from the index purely for the sake of statistical balance seems a bit like saying, “All told, four million people died in World War II. Well, unless you include the people who died in concentration camps. And, oh yeah, the 20 million Russians.” It’s a bit like saying, “On average, a major league baseball team will win 3.2 World Series each century. Obviously, not the Cubs. And we’ve thrown out the New York Yankees and their 27 world championships because it doesn’t provide a true snapshot of the game at any given moment.” It’s a bit like saying, “Billy Joel never wrote a single song that just totally sucks and makes people’s skin crawl. Unless you include ‘Captain Jack.’ Which we deliberately left out of our sample because it skews the results. Maybe we should have left out ‘Piano Man,’ too.”
Iowahawk catches Paul Krugman lying with figures and nails his slimy hide to the barn door.
Please pardon this brief departure from my normal folderol, but every so often a member of the chattering class issues a nugget of stupidity so egregious that no amount of mockery will suffice. Particularly when the issuer of said stupidity holds a Nobel Prize.
Case in point: Paul Krugman. The Times’ staff economics blowhard recently typed, re the state of education in Texas:
And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.
Similarly, The Economist passes on what appears to be the cut-’n’-paste lefty factoid du jour:
Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows:
South Carolina – 50th
North Carolina – 49th
Georgia – 48th
Texas – 47th
Virginia – 44th
If you are wondering, Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is ranked 2nd in the country.
The point being, I suppose, is that unionized teachers stand as a thin chalk-stained line keeping Wisconsin from descending into the dystopian non-union educational hellscape of Texas. Interesting, if it wasn’t complete bullshit. ...
[A] state’s “average ACT/SAT” is, for all intents and purposes, a proxy for the percent of white people who live there. In fact, the lion’s share of state-to-state variance in test scores is accounted for by differences in ethnic composition. Minority students – regardless of state residence – tend to score lower than white students on standardized test, and the higher the proportion of minority students in a state the lower its overall test scores tend to be.
Please note: this has nothing to do with innate ability or aptitude. Quite to the contrary, I believe the test gap between minority students and white students can be attributed to differences in socioeconomic status. And poverty. And yes, racism. And yes, family structure. Whatever combination of reasons, the gap exists, and it’s mathematical sophistry to compare the combined average test scores in a state like Wisconsin (4% black, 4% Hispanic) with a state like Texas (12% black, 30% Hispanic). ...
So how does brokeass, dumbass, redneck Texas stack up against progressive unionized Wisconsin?
2009 4th Grade Math
White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)
To recap: white students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin.
Stanley Kurtz suggests skepticism, pointing to Barack Obama’s record of willingness to misstate his real position when he finds it politically expedient to mislead the voters.
Obama loves capitalism like he opposes gay marriage. That is the larger lesson I take from President Obama’s recent decision to stop defending DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act). What does gay marriage have to do with capitalism? It’s all about Obama’s true beliefs.
About a week before Obama’s inauguration, the Windy City Times (“the voice of Chicago’s gay, lesbian, bi and trans community”) revealed that on February 15, 1996, in the midst of his first campaign for the Illinois State Senate, Obama told a local gay paper in answer to a questionnaire: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” That was news in early 2009, because Obama maintained steadfast opposition to gay marriage throughout his 2007-08 presidential run. (The Windy City Times reporter who found the original questionnaire with Obama’s statement claims to have stumbled upon it only just after the election.) So it turns out that if you unearth previously hidden documentary evidence of what Obama believed about same-sex marriage in 1996, you have a better guide to his actions as president than his own campaign promises or early presidential statements from 2007-2010.
I think this pattern applies across the board. Essentially, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, my political biography of the president, argues that the Obama of 1996 is the real thing, while the president’s “post-partisan pragmatist” persona merely serves as a cover for his long-held incremental program of radical change. Or, as I put it in the book, only the president’s past reveals the full meaning of his plans for our future. That Obama favored gay marriage in 1996, disguised that fact during the 2008 campaign, then effectively reverted to his original position when president, doesn’t prove that the same pattern applies to other issues. Yet it certainly does make my argument in Radical-in-Chief more plausible.
It’s sometimes claimed that Obama’s early leftism was nothing but a sop to his Hyde Park constituents. Yet it would be tough to argue that Obama’s pro-gay marriage stance in 1996 was insincere, while his later opposition was deeply held. Gay marriage didn’t become a national issue until 1995, when it looked like Hawaii’s highest court might force legalization on the state. That prompted Congress to pass DOMA, as a way of preventing other states from having to follow Hawaii’s lead.
DOMA cleared Congress with ease in 1996. So when Obama first endorsed same-sex marriage, he was taking an outlier position on the left. How many people “evolve” from that kind of stance to sincerely held opposition to gay marriage? Religious conversion might prompt such a change. But Obama embraced Reverend Wright’s Christianity back in 1988, and Wright was in any case well known for acceptance of homosexuality and hostility to Christian social conservatism.
We also have an interview Obama gave to Windy City Times in 2004, when he was running for US Senate, in which he explicitly frames his new-found opposition to same-sex marriage as a strategic move, rather than a matter of principle.
By the time Obama published The Audacity of Hope in 2006, his support for gay marriage and open talk of strategic positioning were both suppressed. Yet if you read the book closely, the political calculations are clear. Obama never directly says he opposes same-sex marriage in Audacity. Instead he says that society “can choose to carve out a special place” for the union of a man and a woman. (Not “should” carve out a special place for man-woman marriage, but “can.”) Then he rests his view on the “absence of any meaningful consensus” on a new definition of marriage. (The unspoken implication is that, as public opinion shifts, Obama might shift, too.) Obama even says in Audacity that his opposition to gay marriage may be due to his “infection” with society’s prejudices, so he pledges to remain open to “new revelations” on the issue. In retrospect, it’s clear that Obama was setting himself up in Audacity for a policy shift as president. Although he ostentatiously wonders whether he’s been “infected with society’s prejudices,” in reality he’d never actually shared those “prejudices” to begin with.
It’s also emerged since his recent policy shift that the Obama justice department has been “defending” DOMA in a manner designed to subvert the law. Obama has tailored his arguments in defense of DOMA in such a way as to play into the hands of the law’s opponents.
Now if someone were to say that Obama’s socialist views in 1996 tell you more about his plans for our economic future than his campaign promises or public statements as president–while adding that Obama’s efforts to shore up the free enterprise system are actually designed to undermine it over time–that person would sound extreme. Yet this apparently intemperate statement accurately characterizes Obama’s history on the gay marriage issue. ..
[What applies to gay marriage] applies to economic policy as well. In other words, Obama loves capitalism like he opposes gay marriage–which is to say, not much.
Stanley Kurtz links this video demonstrating Obama lied about his intentions to replace private health insurance with the federal government as the single payer.
In his ruling striking down Obamacare, Judge Vincent recognized the same mendacious habit, quoting in his opinion, Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign statement that the federal government had no more constitutional authority to force everyone to buy health insurance in order to make health insurance affordable than it would have to solve collapse of the real estate market by ordering everyone to go out and buy a house.
Alvarez claimed to be a retired 25-year Marine Corps veteran, who was many times wounded and had received the nation’s highest award for military valor for serving as a helicopter pilot and rescuing US POWs from behind enemy lines during the War in Vietnam. In fact, Alvarez was never in the military, and was 17 years old when the Vietnam War ended in 1975. (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin link)
In 1977, Alvarez was exposed and was prosecuted and pled guilty under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which made the unauthorized claim, display, manufacture, or sale of US military decorations or awards a federal misdemeanor. He was sentenced to more than 400 hours of community service at a veterans hospital and fined $5,000, but then appealed claiming the 2005 law violated his right to free speech (!).
Preposterous, wouldn’t you say?
But not too preposterous to persuade a three-judge panel of the 9th Circus. Judge Milan D. Smith opined, joined by Judge Thomas Nelson, as Josh Gerstein reports, that there is a free speech right to lie.
We have no doubt that society would be better off if Alvarez would stop spreading worthless, ridiculous, and offensive untruths. But, given our historical skepticism of permitting the government to police the line between truth and falsity, and between valuable speech and drivel, we presumptively protect all speech, including false statements, in order that clearly protected speech may flower in the shelter of the First Amendment.
While asserting that they were not endorsing “an unbridled right to lie,” Smith and Nelson said regulations of false speech that have been upheld by the courts were limited to narrow categories where a direct and significant harm was caused. But, they said, the harm caused by people making false statements about military decorations was not evident.
Both of these judges were Bush appointees, leading one to conclude that there must be something in the water out there.
Yesterday, our friend Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm linked the generally admirable Clarice Feldman at American Thinker who was editorializing from the perspective opposite to my own on immigration.
Ms. Feldman quoted some alarming, and authoritative sounding, statistics from “the Law Enforcement Examiner.”
On April 7, 2007, the US Justice Department issued a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails.
In the population study of 55,322 illegal aliens, researchers found that they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.
They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses.
More than two-thirds of the defendants charged with an immigration offense were identified as having been previously arrested. Thirty-six percent had been arrested on at least 5 prior occasions; 22%, 2 to 4 times; and 12%,1 time.
Clarice Feldman ought to have inquired a little more more closely.
“The Law Enforcement Examiner” is actually an editorialist named Jim Kouri. Mr. Kouri’s biography identifies him as a former chief security guard at a housing project in Washington Heights and the “fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police” which, I expect, must be roughly on a par with being First Guard of the Tent at one’s local International Order of Oddfellows chapter.
Mr. Kouri is renowned on the Internet for his expertise on Satanism and for the exoticism of the views of some sources he has in the past relied upon.
Unfortunately, Mr. Kouri is not himself a reliable source. He tells us that his statistics come from “a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails” issued by the US Justice Department on April 7, 2007.
It is not accidental that Mr. Kouri does not link the original report.
The report in question was really released on May 9, 2005. It is GAO report number GAO-05-646R entitled ‘Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States.’
The figures cited all pertain to 2002-2003. Mr. Kouri (and the study’s authors) deliberately selected the best figures for making certain kinds of arguments in the quoted paragraphs.
In reality, this study pertains to 55,322 individual illegal aliens who are the portion of the illegal alien population that wound up arrested, convicted, and sentenced to jail.
55,322 out of the seven million illegal aliens estimated to be present in the United States by this same study is the 0.0079 portion of that illegal immigrant population, well under 1%.
And the character of their crimes?
Forty-five percent of illegal alien offenses were for drugs and immigration;
8% for Traffic violations;
7% for Obstruction of Justice.
60% of the under 1% of illegals in jail in 2002-2003 were not even in jail for any form of theft or violence.
And, more recently, both illegal immigration and violent crime have actually been declining (even while la patrie est en danger reports are dramatically increasing).
[S]tatistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the FBI indicate that both the number of illegal crossers and violent crime in general have actually decreased in the past several years.
According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona’s population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.
According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the bill “overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.”
If we really looked at the facts, we could only conclude that illegal immigration is not the same thing as narcotics smuggling and, by and large, illegal immigrants tend to be more law-abiding and less violent than us native-born Americans. The public panic and the draconian laws represent responses to misinformation, commonly disseminated by sensationalizing journalists.
Look at AP and Matt Drudge yesterday. or check today’s Wall Street Journal, which blares Killing Stokes Immigration Debate, in reference to Deputy Puroll getting slightly grazed in a minor skirmish with marijuana smugglers. Nobody got killed, and the incident had nothing to with illegal immigration.