Tag Archives: Patterico

“Here I Am. Tell Me I Didn’t Do The Things That I Did.”

Sharyl Attkisson at CBS News:

Federal agent John Dodson says what he was asked to do was beyond belief.

He was intentionally letting guns go to Mexico?

“Yes ma’am,” Dodson told CBS News. “The agency was.”

An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms senior agent assigned to the Phoenix office in 2010, Dodson’s job is to stop gun trafficking across the border. Instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen.

Investigators call the tactic letting guns “walk.” In this case, walking into the hands of criminals who would use them in Mexico and the United States.

Dodson’s bosses say that never happened. Now, he’s risking his job to go public.

“I’m boots on the ground in Phoenix, telling you we’ve been doing it every day since I’ve been here,” he said. “Here I am. Tell me I didn’t do the things that I did. Tell me you didn’t order me to do the things I did. Tell me it didn’t happen. Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it. Here I am. Someone now, tell me it didn’t happen.”

Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department. The idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a cartel. And it was all kept secret from Mexico.

ATF named the case “Fast and Furious.”

[…]

On Dec. 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down. Dodson got the bad news from a colleague.

According to Dodson, “They said, ‘Did you hear about the border patrol agent?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And they said ‘Well it was one of the Fast and Furious guns.’ There’s not really much you can say after that.”

Two assault rifles ATF had let go nearly a year before were found at Terry’s murder.

Dodson said, “I felt guilty. I mean it’s crushing. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Sen. Grassley began investigating after his office spoke to Dodson and a dozen other ATF sources — all telling the same story.

Mark Krikorian at The Corner:

When Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by drug smugglers in Arizona last December, Tom Tancredo revealed that Terry’s BORTAC unit (the Border Patrol’s equivalent of a SWAT team) were armed with bean-bag rounds in their weapons:

Here’s the part Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Border Patrol management are trying to hide: Border Patrol Agent Terry and the BORTAC team were under standing orders to always use (“non-lethal”) bean-bag rounds first before using live ammunition. When the smugglers heard the first rounds, they returned fire with real bullets, and Agent Terry was killed in that exchange. Real bullets outperform bean bags every time.

At the time, the government denied such “bizarre Internet-fueled rumors”:

“There was no order given to CBP law enforcement personnel – now or in the past – that dictates the use of less-than-lethal devices before using deadly force,” stated CBP’s Southwest Border Field Branch Office of Public Affairs.

Oops:

Records show agents fired beanbags in fatal border gunfight
Brady McCombs Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2011 12:00 am

Border Patrol agents shot beanbags at a group of suspected bandits before the men returned fire during a confrontation in a remote canyon, killing agent Brian Terry with a single gunshot, records show.

And an illegal immigrant wounded in the gunbattle who is now the only person in custody linked to the slaying contends he never fired a shot, according to FBI search warrant requests filed in the U.S. District Court in Tucson.

The documents provide the most detailed version yet of what happened in the deadly gunbattle Dec. 14 in Peck Canyon, northwest of Nogales.

The documents say the group of illegal border entrants refused commands to drop their weapons after agents confronted them at about 11:15 p.m. Two agents fired beanbags at the migrants, who responded with gunfire. Two agents returned fire, one with a long gun and one with a pistol, but Terry was mortally wounded in the gunfight.

Border Patrol officials declined to answer questions about protocol for use of force, citing the ongoing investigation.

Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler:

It seems highly unlikely that officers would choose to load beanbags instead of live rounds. That’s not the kind of thing field agents come up with. It’s a policy that’s so stupid it had to come from Washington.

And even worse than Washington’s policy stupidity: No one will be held to account for the killing of BP agent Brian Terry

The Jawa Report

Brian Doherty at Reason:

Presented as an interesting case study in the way law enforcement actually thinks–not to say that it is an essential task of U.S. law enforcement to “keep guns out of Mexico.” Our real culpability in Mexican gun violence lies, of course, in our drug prohibition, as see Jacob Sullum from earlier today.

Patterico at Patterico’s Pontifications:

How were they tracing the guns across the border? Was this murder also the result of guns that the Obama administration deliberately allowed into Mexico?

Keep a close eye on this one.

Regardless of whether that is the case, it is clear that this was a stupid idea in any event. Who knows how much violence has increased due to the new availability of thousands of assault rifles and other powerful weapons?

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:

But, don’t worry.
Barack Obama says the border is as safe today as it’s ever been.

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Filed under Crime, War On Drugs

Subterranean Agenda Blues

Kenneth T. Walsh at US News:

On March 12, 2010, President Obama welcomed me into the Oval Office for an interview for this book. Dressed in an elegant dark blue business suit and tie with an American flag pin in his left lapel, he was serene and confident. Behind him was the portrait of George Washington that has hung in the Oval Office for many years. Flanking that portrait were two busts added by Obama, reflecting his own values and heroes—behind him on his right was a likeness of Martin Luther King Jr., and on his left was one of Abraham Lincoln.

Obama was in a reflective mood. He began the interview by saying he had been “fully briefed” on my topic and was ready for me to “dive in.” He proceeded to methodically defend his effort to build a race-neutral administration. “Americans, since the victories of the civil rights movement, I think, have broadly come to accept the notion that everybody has to be treated equally; everybody has to be treated fairly,” the president told me. “And I think that the whole debate about how do you make up for past history creates a complicated wrinkle in that principle of equality.”

[…]

But Obama, in his most candid moments, acknowledged that race was still a problem. In May 2010, he told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent “Tea Party” movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn’t helping them nearly enough, he said.

A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to “take back” their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn’t dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a “subterranean agenda” in the anti-Obama movement—a racially biased one—that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it.

His goal, he said, was to be as effective and empathetic a president as possible for all Americans. If he could accomplish that, it would advance racial progress for blacks more than anything else he could do.

Mike Riggs at Daily Caller:

Pres. Obama has successfully avoided reducing the complex populist outrage of the Tea Party to racial anxiety–in public, that is. Behind closed doors, however, he allegedly has no problem distorting the motivations of anti-government types.

Roger L. Simon at Pajamas Media:

That was May 2010, according to Walsh. Ironically, only a few days before, on April 29, 2010, your humble scribe wrote the following:

The real reason liberals accuse Tea Partiers of racism is that contemporary America-style liberalism is in rigor mortis. Liberals have nothing else to say or do. Accusations of racism are their last resort.

The European debt crisis — first Greece, then Portugal and now Spain (and Belgium, Ireland and Italy, evidently) — has shown the welfare state to be an unsustainable economic system. The US, UK and Japan, according to the same Financial Times report, are also on similar paths of impoverishment through entitlements.

Many of us have known this for a long time, just from simple math. Entitlements are in essence a Ponzi scheme. Now we have to face that and do something serious about it or our economy (the world economy) will fall apart.

Liberals, leftists or progressives — whatever they choose to call themselves — have a great deal of trouble accepting this. To do so they would have to question a host of positions they have not examined for years, if ever, not to mention have to engage in discussions that could threaten their livelihood and jeopardize their personal and family associations.

Thus the traditional wish to kill the messenger who brings the bad news: the Tea Partiers. And the easiest way to kill them — the most obvious and hoariest of methods – is to accuse them of racism.

When I wrote that, it was a month after Andrew Breitbart issued his as yet unanswered $100,000 challenge for evidence of racism at a Tea Party demonstration. So this is now already a relatively old debate. And the same arguments keep coming up again and again. The left keeps accusing the right of racism and the right keeps denying it, demanding evidence, which is never forthcoming. Not once. But that doesn’t stop the left. They continue the accusations — and the president, at least according to Walsh, believes them.

Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler:

There was, of course, no evidence at all that the Tea Parties had any racial motive whatsoever, and there still isn’t. None. They’re not motivated by race, but by policy. They consider Obama’s policies to be dangerous and destructive, and they’re right on both counts.

But this president, and the people he hires (think Eric “nation of cowards,” “my people” Holder, Van Jones, etc) can’t seem to abide opposition based on policy. Either that, or they’re using race cynically as a way to freeze the shallower thinkers around them and try to put legitimate critics out into the political outer darkness. Charges of racism do both quite nicely.

Tom Maguire:

I think (hope?!?) he was being polite to some fat-cat donors rather than describing his own convictions (and I am bitterly clinging to the notion that he has some convictions).  Huckabee going on about Obama’s Kenyan attitudes would be an example from the right of pandering to the nutters rather than challenging them.

Obviously, your mileage may vary.

THEN AGAIN:  The First Panderer is also the First Condescender, so he might very well believe the worst of these lowly Tea Partiers…

Patterico at Patterico’s Pontification:

Of course, it’s difficult to know what he said and how he said it from this report, as it is admittedly full of paraphrases, and lacks the clarifying aids of a recording or even direct quotes longer than two words. Depending on what he said, he may have been accurate — there clearly is a racial component to some of the opposition to Obama. The issue is how widespread he portrayed this aspect of his opposition to be. Because most of us really don’t care about the color of his skin. The color we’re worried about is red — all the red ink required to document the effects of his disastrous policies on our national balance sheet. (Look at it as a stimulus program: Obama will save or create thousands of jobs at the manufacturers of the red ink hues!)

Given how uncertain it is what he said, how’s about a journalist asks him at his next press conference? Let’s get some clarification on just how racist he thinks Tea Partiers really are.

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:

What a horrible disappointment this man has been as president.
2012 cannot get here soon enough.

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Filed under Political Figures, Politics, Race

How Do You Say “Whodunit?” In Farsi?

DEBKAfile:

Prof. Majid Shahriari, who died when his car was attacked in North Tehran Monday, Nov. 29, headed the team Iran established for combating the Stuxnet virus rampaging through its nuclear and military networks. His wife was injured. The scientist’s death deals a major blow to Iran’s herculean efforts to purge its nuclear and military control systems of the destructive worm since it went on the offensive six months ago. Only this month, Stuxnet shut down nuclear enrichment at Natanz for six days from Nov. 16-22 and curtailed an important air defense exercise.

Prof. Shahriari was the Iranian nuclear program’s top expert on computer codes and cyber war.

The Jawa Report

David Frum at FrumForum:

Perhaps Iranian parents should be advising their science-minded youngsters to consider a less hazardous specialty.

Aaron Worthing at Patterico:

The last few days we have seen quite a few interesting stories about the Stuxnet virus/malware currently wreaking havoc in Iran’s nuclear program.  First was this very interesting Fox news reportage on the program:

Intelligence agencies, computer security companies and the nuclear industry have been trying to analyze the worm since it was discovered in June by a Belarus-based company that was doing business in Iran. And what they’ve all found, says Sean McGurk, the Homeland Security Department’s acting director of national cyber security and communications integration, is a “game changer.”

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Others have called it the first “weaponized” computer virus.

Simply put, Stuxnet is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

The target was seemingly impenetrable; for security reasons, it lay several stories underground and was not connected to the World Wide Web. And that meant Stuxnet had to act as sort of a computer cruise missile: As it made its passage through a set of unconnected computers, it had to grow and adapt to security measures and other changes until it reached one that could bring it into the nuclear facility.

I mean that passage is so “holy sh-t” I wonder if the correct name for this thing should be “Skynet.”  Of course I urge you to read the whole thing.

But then there was a moment this morning that I liken to the second plane striking the WTC.  Now let me be clear.  I am not about to compare this thing to the evil of the 9-11 attacks, or anything like that.  But like a lot of you, I remember hearing about the first plane striking, and thinking it was an accident, or maybe just one lone crazy pilot.  And then I heard about the second plane and I knew this was an attack, and it had to be more than just one nut.  That was the feeling I had learning the next few facts.

You see, this morning we learn that two of Iran’s nuclear scientists were attacked in car bombs—meaning their cars were blown up.  One died and one is hospitalized.

Tom Maguire:

I suppose that some dissident Iranian faction could have pulled this off but the money bet has to be the Israelis.  (Hmm, might the Russians be on the board?  They could be playing both sides, publicsly sorta-supporting Irana while privately getting worried about a nuclear crazy on their border.)

Roger L. Simon at Pajamas Media:

Ahmadinejad et al, of course, blame Israel and the West, and no doubt this “blame” is deserved. How it should be apportioned may be forever a mystery, but it is unlikely we will find out via WikiLeaks, which have thus far done little more than ratify the obvious and make the Obama administration look foolish for its ludicrously ineffective security. Intelligence work evidently has two levels – a completely incompetent one that produces WikiLeaks and a brilliant one that produces Stuxnet.

Speaking of Stuxnet, some recent reports have added Russia to the list of nations (in this case with the US and Germany, not Israel) who have conspired to construct the malware. Now that’s interesting – and undoubtedly crazy-making to the Iranians.

Instapundit

Moe Lane:

The Iranians are blaming Israel, of course… despite the fact that this would be precisely the sort of cinematic attack that generally stays in cinemas*.  That would be because you don’t start a war to kill two scientists; and if Mossad had done this, it would have been an act of war.

On the other hand: between this situation and the Stuxnet worm, this entire Iranian nuke situation is starting to get an action-movie feel to it.  Which is not actually a good thing, given a). the number of extras that typically die in action movies and b). the amount of real estate that typically gets blown up…

Gateway Pundit

Ace of Spades:

I sure would like to think my government was capable of stuff like this. Or had the balls to do it. But I don’t.

Reza Aslan at The Daily Beast:

Earlier this year, I wrote about a clandestine CIA program to delay or perhaps even derail Iran’s nuclear ambitions by convincing high-level Iranian nuclear scientists to defect to the United States. The program, called Brain Drain and put in place by the Bush administration as early as 2005, came under intense scrutiny after the botched defection of a 30-year-old junior staff member of Iran’s Atomic Agency named Shahram Amiri, who was picked up by U.S. intelligence agents in Saudi Arabia last summer but who later asked to be returned to Iran.

Part of the CIA’s clandestine efforts apparently include selling faulty nuclear components to Iran, some of which have been booby-trapped to explode and destroy the machinery altogether. There have been scattered reports of explosions at various enrichment facilities, including one that destroyed 50 centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz plant. And, just recently, we learned of the so-called Stuxnet computer virus, which seems to have been developed (likely by the U.S. and/or Israel) specifically to target Iran’s centrifuges. The virus reportedly shut down thousands of centrifuges at Iran’s controversial Natanz enrichment facility.

I reported then about the possibility that these covert activities, which seem to have been successful in slowing Iran’s nuclear program, may also include targeted assassinations of high-level nuclear scientists and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In 2007, the intelligence website STRATFOR claimed that Mossad agents had used “radioactive poison” to kill a nuclear physicist named Ardashir Hosseinpour who was suspected of being involved in Iran’s secret nuclear program. Another Iranian nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, was also mysteriously assassinated by a car bomb in January 2010. Add to this a number of high-profile “disappearances,” like that of a former defense minister and general in the Revolutionary Guard, Ali-Reza Asgari, who vanished while on a trip to Turkey, and a distinct pattern starts to emerge.

Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst at STRATFOR, puts it plainly. “With cooperation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets involved in the nuclear program and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain.”

If that is true and Monday’s assassination attempt of Iranian nationals signals a shift in U.S. or Israeli strategy toward Iran (perhaps emboldened by what the recent WikiLeaks dump shows is growing Arab government support for a harder line toward Iran’s nuclear program), then we may be entering a new and extremely dangerous phase in the nuclear standoff with Iran—one that could quickly get out of hand. The head of Iran’s nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, sounded a dire warning to the U.S. and Israel. “Don’t play with fire,” he said. “The patience of the Iranian people has its limits. If our patience runs out, you will suffer the consequences.”

Doug Mataconis:

Of course, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever really know who’s behind this, which is of course the point of a covert operation. However, it seems pretty clear that there is an ongoing effort, perhaps international in origin, to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program. That in and of itself is a fascinating story.

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Filed under Middle East

“I’m Crazy For Trying And Crazy For Crying…”

David Klinghoffer at Los Angeles Times:

Once, the iconic figures on the political right were urbane visionaries and builders of institutions — like William F. Buckley Jr., Irving Kristol and Father Richard John Neuhaus, all dead now. Today, far more representative is potty-mouthed Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart, whose news and opinion website, Breitbart.com, is read by millions. In his most recent triumph, Breitbart got a U.S. Department of Agriculture official pushed out of her job after he released a deceptively edited video clip of her supposedly endorsing racism against white people.

What has become of conservatism? We have reached a point at which nothing could be more important than to stop and recall what brought us here, to the right, in the first place.

Buckley’s National Review, where I was the literary editor through the 1990s, remains as vital and interesting as ever. But more characteristic of conservative leadership are figures on TV, radio and the Internet who make their money by stirring fears and resentments. With its descent to baiting blacks, Mexicans and Muslims, its accommodation of conspiracy theories and an increasing nastiness and vulgarity, the conservative movement has undergone a shift toward demagoguery and hucksterism. Once the talk was of “neocons” versus “paleocons.” Now we observe the rule of the crazy-cons.

Donald Douglas:

I can’t speak for Andrew Breitbart, and I actually reject a good bit of the “craziness” on the right, but as you finish Klinghoffer ask if American politics, realistically, will be returning to a more wistful, respectful era? (And also ask if being “crazy” is code for being “racist”?) Besides, National Review‘s not my top source for right wing news. I prefer Commentary and Weekly Standard, to say nothing of Ace of Spades HQ, Instapundit, and The Other McCain. And I read these sources, among others, because they provide me with the intellectual sustenance to “save civilization,” which is what Klinghoffer suggests is “what he signed up for” when he became a conservative.

And here’s the thing: A lot of us became conservative because we saw society’s moral foundations in tatters, and it was the Democratic-left holding the shears. You can always hold up your hands and scream “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,” but you still have to choose. We have no viable third party movement, and the GOP at present is the best place to form a conservative-libertarian coalition for political victory. And as a party out of power, the most strident voices at the base are going to get a lot of play, especially when new media is driving most of the key political memes. I choose conservatism. It’s a no-brainer. But notwithstanding the citations above, I’m not wedded to any particular talking point. I think for myself, thank you. For example, is it crazy to call President Obama a socialist? I think he is (but on an intellectual level, e.g., see Jonah Goldberg, “What Kind of Socialist Is Barack Obama?“). But that kind of talk gets one attacked as an extremist by the left-wing media machine. How about if you don’t submit? Breitbart’s attacked mercilessly as a “liar” and a “unprincipled” scoundrel because he gets results. Yet, almost daily I find some MSM outlets reporting not just factual errors, but outright lies, and then people like me are crazy for calling out this sh*t? I don’t think so. People are mad. And when people get mad they starting gravitating to more polarizing messages, and some of it can get heated. For me though, Klinghoffer and others like him (which no offense to him, would include idiots like Charles Johnson) simply prop up the left’s Media Industrial Complex, and in that sense they’re enabling the very anti-conservative forces Andrew Breitbart is finally beginning to take down.

Rick Moran:

Maybe it’s the heat. Perhaps it’s an al-Qaeda plot that has dumped LSD in public cisterns throughout the country. Or, it could be simple, old fashioned, bat guano crazy wishful thinking.

Whatever it is, the very silly season has arrived on the right and with it, diminishing chances that the American people will drink the same flavor of Kool Ade and join conservatives in giving the Democrats a well-deserved paddling at the polls.

A kind of irrational combination of fear and exuberance has infected the right in recent weeks as the number of vulnerable Democrats grows and the realization that at the very least, the House may fall into their laps takes hold. And if the hysteria was limited to the fringes, one might dismiss it as not worthy of discussion.

Instead, illogical ranting has gone mainstream with a call by former Rep. Tom Tancredo in the Washington Times for the president to be impeached, and now the belief that there may be another American Revolution on the way emanating from the pages of the staid, and usually rational Investors Business Daily.

The probable response of those two media organs would be that these are valid points of view and they are performing a public service by airing them. At least, that’s what the New York Times says when they publish off the wall looniness from liberals.

In truth, they are not valid. They are not rational. They are not sane. Tancredo especially, forces one to ask the question; what country is he talking about?

For the first time in American history, we have a man in the White House who consciously and brazenly disregards his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. That’s why I say the greatest threat to our Constitution, our safety and our liberties, is internal. Our president is an enemy of our Constitution, and, as such, he is a danger to our safety, our security and our personal freedoms.

Now, if you’re familiar with the conservative internet, this is not an uncommon idea. All that’s missing is the charge that President Obama is a Marxist.

Oh, wait…

Mr. Obama’s paramount goal, as he so memorably put it during his campaign in 2008, is to “fundamentally transform America.” He has not proposed improving America – he is intent on changing its most essential character. The words he has chosen to describe his goals are neither the words nor the motivation of just any liberal Democratic politician. This is the utopian, or rather dystopian, reverie of a dedicated Marxist – a dedicated Marxist who lives in the White House.

That’s right. Tom Tancredo believes the president of the United States is a Commie. He’s not even a pinko. He is a dead red, dyed in the wool, “dedicated Marxist.” Left unsaid, but easily inferred from Tacredo’s unbalanced rant, is that President Obama is deliberately out to destroy the country. This is a Rush Limbaugh talking point and many of his 17 million daily listeners fall for it. One would think a former congressman should know better, but evidently, such rationality requires adherence to a worldview that doesn’t see the political opposition as the reincarnation of the Devil.

Is President Obama intent on “changing [America’s] most essential character?” Unfortunately, yes he is trying. He is doing it not because he wants to destroy America but because he thinks he is improving her. This misguided, imprudent, and ultimately doomed attempt to alter the relationship between the people and the government can be opposed rationally (as defending it can be argued without resorting to hyperbole or name calling). Tancredo chooses to believe (or lets on that he believes) that in order to oppose the president, one must resort to hysterical exaggerations and deliberate misinterpretation of Obama’s motives. But doing it the logical way will not garner him headlines or make him a hero on the right.

Such is the level to which conservatism has sunk in some quarters.

Doug Mataconis:

Indeed, and as I’ve said to many of my friends on the right upset by the latest news from Washington, it was the failures of George W. Bush and the Republicans that made Barack Obama’s election not only possible, but likely. Obama’s mistake, it would appear, is assuming that his election constituted an endorsement of his agenda rather than a rejection of the other guy.

Moran is concerned that rhetoric like this will hurt the GOP at the polls in November. While I don’t know that ranting by a guy like Tom Tancredo or an op-ed at Investors Business Daily are going to have that much of an influence on the electorate. However, as the examples of Sharron Angle and Rand Paul show us, one of the most viable Democratic strategies over the next 90 days may be the argument that “Yea we’re bad, but look at them. They’re crazy.

Will it work ? Maybe not in 2010, but if the right continues down this road then it will be handing Barack Obama back the White House on a silver platter.

Steve Bainbridge:

These days it’s getting increasingly embarrassing to publicly identify oneself as a conservative. It was bad enough when George Bush 43, the K Street Gang, and the neo-cons were running up spending, fighting an unnecessary war of choice in Iraq, incurring massive deficits, expanding entitlements, and all the rest of the nonsense I cataloged over the years in posts like Bush 43 has been a disaster for conservatives.

These days, however, the most prominent so-called conservatives are increasingly fit only to be cast for the next Dumb and Dumber sequel. They’re dumb and crazy.

[…]

Let’s tick off ten things that make this conservative embarrassed by the modern conservative movement:

  1. A poorly educated ex-sportwriter who served half of one term of an minor state governorship is prominently featured as a — if not the — leading prospect for the GOP’s 2012 Presidential nomination.
  2. Tom Tancredo calling President Obama “the greatest threat to the United States today” and arguing that he be impeached. Bad public policy is not a high crime nor a misdemeanor, and the casual assertion that pursuing liberal policies–however misguided–is an impeachable offense is just nuts.
  3. Similar nonsense from former Ford-Reagan treasury department officials Ernest Christian and Gary Robbins, who IBD column was, as Doug Marconis observed, “a wildly exaggerated attack on President Obama’s record in office.” Actually, it’s more foaming at the mouth.
  4. As Doug also observed, “The GOP controlled Congress from 1994 to 2006: Combine neocon warfare spending with entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects and you end up with a GOP welfare/warfare state driving the federal spending machine.” Indeed, “when the GOP took control of Congress in 1994, and the White House in 2000, the desire to use the levers of power to create “compassionate conservatism” won our over any semblance of fiscal conservatism. Instead of tax cuts and spending cuts, we got tax cuts along with a trillion dollar entitlement program, a massive expansion of the Federal Government’s role in education, and two wars. That’s not fiscal conservatism it is, as others have said, fiscal insanity.” Yet, today’s GOP still has not articulated a message of real fiscal conservatism.
  5. Thanks to the Tea Party, the Nevada GOP has probably pissed away a historic chance to out=st Harry Reid. See also Charlie Crist in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and so on. Whatever happened to not letting perfection be the enemy of the good?
  6. The anti-science and anti-intellectualism that pervade the movement.
  7. Trying to pretend Afghanistan is Obama’s war.
  8. Birthers.
  9. Nativists.
  10. The substitution of mouth-foaming, spittle-blasting, rabble-rousing talk radio for reasoned debate. Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt, and even Rush Limbaugh are not exactly putting on Firing Line. Whatever happened to smart, well-read, articulate leaders like Buckley, Neuhaus, Kirk, Jack Kent, Goldwater, and, yes, even Ronald Reagan?

Jonathan Adler:

Professor Bainbridge lists “ten things that make this conservative embarrassed by the modern conservative movement.”  I’m not as enamored with David Klinghoffer’s lament (see also here), nor would I equate Hugh Hewitt with Michael Savage, but I largely agree.

Mike Rappaport:

Bainbridge seems to be missing something here.  Yes, the Republicans of 2000-2006 were excessively big government.  Now, why does the Tea Party want to see Marco Rubio instead of Charlie Crist, and the others?  Because the Tea Partiers believe, quite rightly, that Charlie Crist supported Obama’s stimulus and would behave much like the Republicans of 2000-2006.  I would take my chances with Rubio and the possibility of real constraint.Bainbridge can’t really have it both ways.  You can’t criticize the Tea Partiers for wanting better conservatives and also criticize the old Republicans who were elected based on the idea of “not letting perfection be the enemy of the good.”

You can count Professor Bainbridge among the folks who love David Klinghoffer’s L.A. Times piece (criticized here earlier today). Via Jonathan Adler at Volokh, Bainbridge offers a remarkably unconvincing set of ten reasons that he claims are reasons that “It’s getting to be embarrassing to be a conservative.” Upon closer inspection, however, the “reasons” turn out mostly to be reasons that conservatives should not support the Republican party — a quite different proposition entirely. Added in there, for good measure, is a heaping helping of overly broad generalizations about Tea Partiers.

Bainbridge’s complaints include: a lament that Palin is being considered a leading contender for the 2012 GOP nomination; complaints that the GOP is running candidates that are too extreme to take seats that should be ripe for the picking; complaints that certain Republicans have (in Bainbridge’s view) criticized Obama unfairly and too harshly; and criticism of birthers, “nativists,” and the “anti-science and anti-intellectualism that pervade the movement.”

Heavens! T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII would most certainly agree!

Bainbridge also moans about “mouth-foaming, spittle-blasting, rabble-rousing talk radio” including . . . Hugh Hewitt (?!). (Really? When is the last time Bainbridge was on Hewitt’s show?)

In addition to the above nonsense, which has nothing to do with conservatism and everything to do with the shortcomings of the GOP, Bainbridge also has a perfectly legitimate complaint regarding the GOP’s lack of fiscal restraint during the Bush years. But, again, why should that GOP failure to act in line with true conservative principles make anyone ashamed to be a conservative??

Jonah Goldberg at Los Angeles Times:

Conservatives, being conservatives, have a soft spot for the good old days, but this is getting ridiculous. It seems every day another colleague on the right wants to click his ruby red slippers — or Topsiders — and proclaim, “There’s no place like home” — “home” being the days when conservatism was top-heavy with generals but short on troops.

The latest example comes from my old National Review colleague David Klinghoffer in this paper. “Once, the iconic figures on the political right were urbane visionaries and builders of institutions — like William F. Buckley Jr., Irving Kristol and Father Richard John Neuhaus, all dead now,” Klinghoffer lamented. “Today, far more representative is potty-mouthed Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart.”

As someone who knew Buckley and Kristol (and was a brief acquaintance of Neuhaus), I think David’s got it wrong. For starters, no one confuses Breitbart for Buckley — first and foremost, Breitbart himself — and the only people making that comparison are those wishing to indict contemporary conservatism for one reason or another.

Let’s start with the left, which certainly has different motives than Klinghoffer’s. The urge to lament how far today’s conservatives have fallen from the “golden age” of Buckley & Co. is a now-familiar gambit. You see, this is what critics on the left always say: “If only today’s conservatives were as decent or intellectual or patriotic as those of yesteryear.”

The best conservatives are always dead; the worst are always alive and influential. When Buckley and Kristol, not to mention Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, were alive, they were hated and vilified by the same sorts of people who now claim to miss the old gang. The gold standard of the dead is always a cudgel, used to beat back the living.

As for the right, there are many competing agendas among those lamenting the populist enthusiasms of the right today. Some seem to want to displace and replace today’s leaders; others are simply beautiful losers in forgotten struggles eager to tear down the winners.

But what undergirds a lot of this is simply nostalgia. A conservative populism is sweeping the land, and although I think it is for the most part justified and beneficial, you cannot expect millions of people to get very angry — deservedly angry — and expect everyone to behave as if it’s an Oxford seminar.

James Poulos at Ricochet:

Jonah’s reminder that the right’s intellectual lions actually deigned to have a practical political project is more than helpful: it’s needful. Yet there’s a danger that he and Klinghoffer — and, more broadly, the loose camps they each represent — will wind up talking past each other. To be sure, yesterday’s deep thought and institution-building created the preconditions for today’s popular political activity. And we all know that popular political activity, even (or especially) in America, makes plenty of room for demagogues, hucksters, opportunists, and careerists. The question is whether a fresh crop of erudite heroes, very unlike the technocratic eggheads who set the agenda for the left, would be of any help in pressing what Jonah calls “the battle” that’s been joined.

Few on the right would respond in the negative. But for a number of those like Klinghoffer who answer yes, a suspicion is growing that new intellectual heavyweights are not only helpful to partisan conservatism today but essential. The trouble is simple: these mental mandarins are nowhere to be found on the right. Or the left. Or somewhere in the middle, or off in some unclassifiable corner of our political map. No wonder their influence is nil. Jonah would likely insist that this is nothing, necessarily, for anyone to be ashamed of. True; it’s entirely possible that one or two or two dozen will burst or creep onto the scene over the next, say, ten years. Really, there are too many names to watch to name. The issue, now, isn’t nostalgia versus populism. The kind of public theorists who dominated the American right in its contemporary infancy aren’t available to lead conservative politics. Why waste any time crying out for them, or crying over their absence? Ask, rather, what kinds of smart people are most needful today. Some of them, I imagine, will be better suited to calling and running plays on the ground. Others will remain pretty high up in pretty narrow towers. And a third kind of genius will do the most good explaining precisely what kind of intellectual leadership conservatives require most today.

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Yes, We’re Having This Argument Again

James Joyner rounds this up.

Patterico:

There was a shooting just outside the Pentagon today, at a security checkpoint. Two cops were injured; breaking reports say the suspect, J. Patrick Bedell, has died.

The suspect, believed to be a U.S. citizen, walked up to a security checkpoint at the Pentagon in an apparent attempt to get inside the massively fortified Defense Department headquarters, at about 6:40 p.m. local time. “He just reached in his pocket, pulled out a gun and started shooting” at point-blank range, Keevill said. “He walked up very cool. He had no real emotion on his face.” The Pentagon officers returned fire with semiautomatic weapons.

And Internet research shows that the guy was a 9/11 Truther and an anti-Bush nut case.

Via Charles Johnson comes this link to some crazy ranting from the guy. It was recorded in November 2006 — when Bush was president, to belabor the obvious. I transcribed this part, in which he is speaking of criminal organizations working within the U.S. Government:

This criminal organization would use its powers to convert military, intelligence, and law enforcement bureaucracies into instruments for political control, and the domination and subjection of society, while discrediting, destroying, and murdering honest individuals within those services, that work to root out corruption, and faithfully serve their fellow citizens. This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, would see the sacrifice of thousands of its citizens in an event such as the September 11 attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control. This collection of gangsters would find it in their interest to foment conflict and initiate wars throughout the world, in order to divert attention from their misconduct and criminality. The true nature of such a regime would find its clearest expression in the satanic violence currently ongoing in Iraq.

There is also plenty of creepily nerdy/calm ranting about government control of the economy. As a correspondent wrote to me: “If he thought Bush was out to get private property, just imagine what he thought after Obama’s first year.”

Zachary Roth at TPM:

In a recorded manifesto called “Directions To Freedom”, the audio of which he posted online in 2006, John Patrick Bedell, of Hollister, California, praised private property as “the most successful basis for structuring society that humanity has ever known.”

Bedell shot two police officers last night during the rampage, before being mortally wounded himself.

“Communist and socialist governments that abolished or disregarded private property,” said Bedell in the recording, “created poverty, repression and murder on a truly enormous scale.” But, he continued, “Even in the United States, however, there has been a continual erosion of protection of private property justified by the belief that government is an efficient instrument for the positive direction of society.”

Bedell added: “Governments lack the profit and loss incentives that individuals and private organizations must use…”

And he warned: “When governments are able to confiscate the resources of their citizens to fund schemes that need only be justified by lies and deception enormous disasters can result.”

Bedell also denounced the monetary system, a frequent bete noir of anti-government extremists. “When the government can control how private property is used,” he said, “and especially when the government controls the monetary system that is use to exchange private property, the government has the mechanisms and the motivation to control individuals to the smallest detail.”

Bedell even railed against the concept of public education. “Government control of the schools that shape minds is pervasive in today’s world,” he said. “The imperative to defend the freedom of conscience must lead us to eliminate the role of the government in education and leave parents and communities free to raise their children as they see fit.” He denounced public education as “no more legitimate than a government-run church for universal religious training.”

As several other outlets have already reported, Bedell also wrote online postings that expressed skepticism about the official explanation for the 9/11 attacks. He wrote that he was “determined to see that justice is served” in the death of James Sabow — a US Marine whose 1991 death was ruled a suicide but whose case has long been the source of cover-up theories, according to Fox News — and that justice in the Sabow case would be “a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions.”

Bedell also denounced the government’s enforcement of marijuana laws.

Michelle Malkin:

The Blame the Tea Party push by the MSM begins (h/t allahpundit):

CSM: John Patrick Bedell: Did right-wing extremism lead to shooting?

The Associated Press piles on.

***

Update: www.Electorates.us has 180 million registered voter records available online (thanks to Anne Horrigan). Thirty-six-year-old John Patrick Bedell’s voter registration records in Hollister, CA are available for any journalist before he/she goes off and labels him a “right-wing extremist.”

Guess which party he registered under in 2005 and was actively registered under as of 2008?

DEMOCRAT.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs:

The Internet Archive has a series of deranged audio files by “JPatrickBedell:” Internet Archive: Free Download: Directions to Freedom, part two (25 November 2006).

And a JPatrickBedell is also the author of this bizarre page at Wikipedia; he’s apparently a 9/11 Truther and a devotee of libertarian icon Ludwig Von Mises: User:JPatrickBedell – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Ann Althouse:

So, should we make this easy and just consign Stack and Bedell to the dead psycho dustbin? But they attacked government buildings, so it was political. Yes, but a lot of crazy people rave incoherently about the government. That in itself doesn’t make them part of a movement. Do they belong to the left or to the right? Is that a question that interests you? If it does, do you lean in the direction other than the one you feel like saying they lean? No one answers “no” to that last question, do they? And therefore… what?

Allah Pundit

If there’s any silver lining in the very dark clouds created by Bedell and Joe Stack (and even the Kentucky census worker fiasco), it may be that partisans on both sides have necessarily become more cautious about trying to divine coherent motives from incoherent minds. Not all partisans, natch, but some.

Your exit question: Is it possible to be a “left-wing extremist” anymore or do nuts who embrace some lefty ideas before launching an attack automatically fall under the broader heading of “anti-government,” a term that’s conveniently also used to describe conservatives’ opposition to statism? That’s why CSM ended up labeling him a right-winger, I suspect. Righties want a smaller federal government and Bedell hated the military and the military’s part of the federal government. Voila!

James Joyner:

Can we please stop with the political name-calling whenever one of these nuts goes off?

Look, we’re a big country.  There are over 300 million of us.  Almost everyone holds a position or two that’s way off the charts and a whole lot of people believe in 9/11 Trutherism, black helicopters, and all the rest.  Less than a handful of those people are out trying to kill people.    However stupid or loathesome a political view may be, the fact that some nut also holds it adds nothing to the counter-argument.

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The Amy Bishop Case

Ed Morrissey:

Not too many details on this yet, but it’s another tragic story from a college campus:

Officials at the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus say three people have been killed and another injured in a campus shooting. University spokesman Ray Garner says a woman is in custody but he could not identify her or any of the victims.

Sophomore Erin Johnson tells The Huntsville Times a biology faculty meeting was under way when she heard screams coming from the room.

The shooting happened Friday afternoon in the university’s Shelby Center, a science building. University police secured the building and students were cleared from it.

Usually these involve disaffected and socially isolated males, not females, so that detail is an eye opener.  This just broke, and not too many other details have been published, but I’ll keep my eyes on this tonight.

Update: Changed the headline to specify the Huntsville campus.

Update II: The AP has updated its story to note that there are “several other” shooting injuries apart from the three deaths and one wounded in the original article, according to the mayor’s chief of staff.

James Joyner:

Naturally, the tragic and unusual nature of this incident is drawing substantial blogospheric commentary.

Ed Morrissey takes a just-the-facts approach, noting only that he’s surprised that the shooter was a female.  So was I, actually.

Bob Owens notes that this was clearly “premeditated murder,” since it’s not customary to bring guns to faculty meetings. The Blogprof concurs.

Stacy McCain refrains from his customary snark, given that three are dead and others are seriously injured.  His commenters, not so much, including some odd speculation on the race of the suspect.  (She would appear caucasian.)

Vox Day ties this into the global warming debate and sees this as proof that scientists aren’t rational and objective.   Which, aside from being bizarre and cruel, seems not to match events. After all, the decision to deny Dr. Bishop tenure would seem vindicated.

It’s always baffling to me when people try to politicize random tragedies — usually while they’re breaking news stories with little real information. At first blush, Bishop would seem to be extremely bright — a Harvard-trained neuroscientist doing cutting edge work — but with some serious psychological issues.  My natural tendency in these mass murder situations is to write the shooters off as mentally ill but the seeming premeditation and obvious revenge motives against the victims would seem contrary evidence.

Regardless, however, this tragic, one-off case is unlikely to significantly alter my views on higher education, gun rights, crime and punishment, or global warming.  I’ll post a follow-up if that changes.

Ann Althouse:

“She seemed to be one of these persons who was just very open with her feelings. A very smart, intense person who had a variety of opinions on issues.”

That was said about a woman who is now — apparently — in custody after shooting 3 of her faculty colleagues to death. Those statements sound like PR for murderers: They’re forceful and intense and very open with their feelings. So expressive!

Dan Riehl:

Whoa! Just when you thought it couldn’t be more weird. She fired at her brother 3 times, was taken at gunpoint and it was accidental? Hellooo.

She shot her brother, an 18-year-old accomplished violinist, in the chest in 1986, said Paul Frazier, the police chief in Braintree, Mass., where the shooting occurred. Bishop fired at least three shots, hitting her brother once and hitting her bedroom wall before police took her into custody at gunpoint, he said. Frazier said the police chief at the time told officers to release Bishop to her mother before she could be booked. It was logged as an accident.

But Frazier’s account was disputed by former police Chief John Polio, who told The Associated Press he didn’t call officers to tell them to release Bishop. “There’s no cover-up, no missing records,” he said.

Update: More at Gateway Pundit, including a report that it was Bill Delahunt who made the call to release Amy Bishop back in 1986.

Now that it’s confirmed Alabama Prof Amy Bishop was involved in the death of her brother back in 1986, I followed up on a RedState post inquiring about Rep. Bill Delahunt’s (D,MA) role in handling the 1986 shooting death of her brother. Delahunt was the DA who opted to not pursue charges at the time.

In an interview at his home this afternoon, Polio, 87, said, “There was no coverup.” He said he followed all department procedures and then-District Attorney William Delahunt’s office conducted an inquiry and the decision was made not to file charges.

It seems Delahunt was accused of being soft on crime during a run for Congress back in 1996. This new issue could prove even more troubling for Delahunt, assuming he intends to run for re-election this year.

In a testy final debate last night where both candidates displayed their growing distaste for each other, Democratic Norfolk County District Attorney William D. Delahunt described as “despicable” efforts by Republican Edward B. Teague to link him with a man who killed while out on a prison furlough in 1979. “You took advantage of a grieving man,” Delahunt said, referring to a letter by Joseph Gilmore of Canton that Teague has publicized. In it, Gilmore writes that Delahunt failed to follow through with a promise to notify the family that his daughter’s killer was out…

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit

Instapundit:

HAPPILY, THIS IS RARE. Especially as I have a tenure meeting next week. Alabama Prof Kills Three at Faculty Meeting After Being Denied Tenure. “Amy Bishop, a biology professor at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, allegedly shot and killed two biology professors and a staff person during a faculty meeting this afternoon in which she learned she was denied tenure.” Of course, maybe this is why we always have the Dean deliver the good or bad news after the meeting has ended . . . .

UPDATE: From Ratemyprofessors.com: “This class was great. Bishop makes the class interesting by talking about her research and her friends research. That speaker she had for class was hard to understand but smart. She expects alot and you need to come to every class and study. She is hot but she tries to hide it.And she is a socalist but she only talks about it after class.”

Reader George Berryman writes: “I’m guessing the ’she’s a socialist’ part won’t get talked about much in the MSM. But if she had been a conservative it’d lead every evening news cast for two months.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Proposed TPM and LGF Headlines.

Plus, Steve Huff proves my point by missing it entirely. Good grief. Steve, follow the link just above for some — obviously much-needed — remedial reading.

Robert Stacy McCain:

It’s always baffling to me when people try to politicize random tragedies — usually while they’re breaking news stories with little real information.”
James Joyner, Outside the Beltway

Joyner is (a) from Alabama and (b) has a Ph.D., and I’m sorry if that caused anyone’s head to explode — “An intellectual? From Alabama?” — but he doesn’t seem to be the kill-everybody-in-the-faculty-meeting type of intellectual, so he’s OK with me.

Joyner is correct about the unfortunate tendency toward instant politicization of major news events. We’ve seen Michael Moore blame the 1999 Columbine shootings on Charlton Heston. We’ve seen Robert Kennedy Jr. blame the 2005 New Orleans flood on Haley Barbour and George W. Bush.

Having recently seen liberal bloggers make fools of themselves by hasty conclusions — “Send the Body to Glenn Beck!” — I certainly wasn’t going theorize about Professor Amy Bishop’s murder spree at the University of Alabama-Huntsville in the absence of facts.

Well, the facts are now starting to pile up like the corpses of Amy Bishop’s victims, so let’s go there, shall we?

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

Amy Bishop, who killed three fellow professors at the University of Alabama – Huntsville because she was denied tenure, obviously was a disturbed person. Her politics, whatever they may have been, are irrelevant. She did the crime, and now she needs to do the time (or face the needle).

One thing about Bishop’s politics seems likely, however. And that is that she must never have attended a Tea Party or said something nice about Sarah Palin, or we would have heard about it by now.

Had Bishop’s politics been within 100 miles of a Tea Party, Talking Points Memo and Little Green Footballs would have been all over the case making the connection. Just like they did with the similarly disturbed Gregory Girard, who never shot anyone but who “stockpiled” weapons.

Moe Lane

UPDATE: Robert Wright and Ann Althouse at Bloggingheads

UPDATE #2: Justin Elliott at Talking Points Memo

DRJ at Patterico

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Oh Jimmy Mack, When Are You Coming Back?

Chris Good at The Atlantic:

James O’Keefe, the conservative filmmaker who posed as a pimp in video stings at ACORN field offices, has been arrested by the FBI at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office in downtown New Orleans, in connection to what appears to be an attempt to wiretap the offiice, NOLA.com reports:

FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O’Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office’s telephone system.

A fourth person, Stan Dai, was accused of aiding and abetting Basel and Flanagan. All four were charged with entering fedral property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

O’Keefe gained notoriety for his secretly filmed ACORN videos, which caused a firestorm of media intrigue surrounding ACORN after O’Keefe posted them on the Andrew-Brietbart-owned blog Big Government last year.

Michelle Malkin:

The Times-Picayune has not posted the full FBI affidavit, but the details they have are damning. This is neither a time to joke nor a time to recklessly accuse Democrats/liberals of setting this up — nor a time to whine about media coverage double standards. Deal with what’s on the table

Patterico:

UPDATE x3: OK, final word. I’m sticking out my neck and declaring that I think this will prove to be a big nothing.

I just don’t believe this guy was wiretapping phones or trying to do so. I really don’t.

It might not even have been an attempt to show how easy it would be to bug phones. Maybe there is another explanation. But I don’t think he was acting in a criminal fashion. I don’t.

You can quote me.

Rick Moran:

But this guy is no journalist – conservative or otherwise. He’s a glory hound. And, if these charges pan out, prove the adage that you’re only as good as your next spectacular. The nature of modern celebrity demanded that O’Keefe try and top his ACORN show. Taping the private conversations of Landrieu and spilling them out all over YouTube would have kept him on top of the heap.

Fortunately, the FBI had other ideas and now O’Keefe faces the prospect of doing hard hitting exposes about prison food.

What a dope.

Andrew Breitbart at Big Government:

Wait until the facts are in.

Mainstream Media, ACORN, Media Matters (all the supposed defenders of due process and journalistic ethics) are jumping to conclusions over the arrest today of James O’Keefe, with the clear intention to smear and, if possible, convict O’Keefe and his alleged co-conspirators in the court of public opinion in order to taint the “jury of their peers.”

The ACORN story was a huge black eye for the organized left and their allies and cohorts in the mainstream media. So they are relishing every minute of this breaking story, making it their top story – while they ignored the initial ACORN story until they no longer could.

MSNBC and other “news organizations” are even billing this developing story as “Watergate”. What do  Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow know? And when did they know it?

I’m sure they would like to believe O’Keefe is stupid enough to try to “wiretap” a sitting U.S. senator in broad daylight during office hours, while recording the entire sequence of events on his cell phone camera. And they’d like you to believe it, too.

But there is absolutely no allegation in the criminal complaint that “wiretapping” or “bugging” is any part of this case, just the charge that O’Keefe and the others entered Sen. Landrieu’s office in New Orleans “for the purpose of interfering with the office’s telephone system.”

Atrios

Tristero:

Heh. I can only hope the judge does a John Sirica, ie throws the book at him, and finds out exactly who’s been putting him up to this shit.

David Weigel at The Washington Independent:

O’Keefe had become a conservative media star since the ACORN sting. I just talked to Lisa De Pasquale, director of CPAC, who said that O’Keefe, along with co-stinger Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart, is (or was) under consideration for the annual conservative conference’s coveted Reagan Award.

Mike Flynn, the editor of Big Government–where the ACORN videos originally appeared–told me that the conservative news site had no knowledge of what O’Keefe was up to.

“We had absolutely no clue what he was up to,” said Flynn, “and now you see why! It’s a complete surprise to us. We’ll just see what happens.”

John Cook at Gawker:

And, of course, Fox News, which was one of the outlets that pushed hardest to turn O’Keefe into a folk hero, is taking the position that this Landrieu office incident is a story “that probably needs a lot of context and a lot of looking into” before anyone jumps to conclusions. Unlike, say, videos of a white boy in garish pimp clothes which are prima facie evidence of … something.

Lindsay Beyerstein:

Stan Dai is one of the four men arrested with a failed attempt to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

I did some research. Ten bucks says this is the little (would-be) bugger:

STAN DAI, Lisle, Ill., attends The George Washington University majoring in Political Science. He is editor-in-chief of The GW Patriot, an alternative conservative student newspaper, a Club 100 Activist of Young America’s Foundation, and an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies. He is co-founder of GW’s Students Defending Democracy, a volunteer on several political campaigns, and active in the GW College Republicans and GW Colonials for Life. He was a 2003 Honorable Mention in the U.S. Institute of Peace Essay Contest.

One Stan Dai was listed as the Assistant Director of the The Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (ICCAE) at Trinity (Washington) University. The ICCAE says it prepares young people for careers in intelligence.

(Original reporting, please credit Lindsay Beyerstein.)

Pareene at Gawker:

And Breitbart playing dumb about the activities of his newest pet conservative media darling strains credulity. First of all, O’Keefe was Tweeting that he was up to something. If O’Keefe was truly a free agent, wandering the nation taking down liberals on his own time and selling the videos to the highest bidder, then sure, Breitbart didn’t know. But O’Keefe’s on the BigGovernment payroll.

Read this interview Breitbart did with Hugh Hewitt yesterday. Breitbart says the last time he talked to O’Keefe was “weeks” ago (but less than a month ago). Hewitt asks how much Breitbart paid O’Keefe for the ACORN video:

HH: And are you free to tell me how much you pay him?
AB: I’ll…perhaps at another date, but he’s paid a fair salary.
HH: Is he…so he is an employee?
AB: I’m not sure that’s technically the thing, but yes, he’s paid for his life rights. And he’s, you know, he’s still…we reserve the right to say yes or no to any of the stories that he puts up on our site as we do to any other contributor who comes to the site.
HH: Will it be a mischaracterization to say he was working for you when he went about this?
AB: Well, I mean, no. He was not involved in anything that was related to Big Government, or Breitbart.com.
HH: And I think that’s the key thing. Lots of people work for lots of corporations, and do dumb and sometimes illegal things that are not within the scope of their employment. And this was not within the scope of his employment.
AB: Yes, absolutely. That is absolutely the case.

So… Andrew’s websites pay O’Keefe a salary and have right of first refusal for the work he produces as an “independent filmmaker.” But the work he did when he attempted to film himself and his friends sneaking into the office of a US Senator to tamper with her phones does not count as work done for Andrew’s sites. (I guess because it wasn’t finished?) Lots of people do illegal things “that are not within the scope of their employment,” sure, but O’Keefe’s job is actually sneaking into places under false pretenses and filming it without permission, for Andrew’s websites.

UPDATE: Chris Good

Allah Pundit

Jonathan Turley

UPDATE #2: James O’Keefe’s statement on Big Government

Ed Morrissey

Chris Good at The Atlantic

David Weigel at Washington Independent

UPDATE #3: Ben Stein at The American Spectator

Patterico

David Weigel at Washington Independent

UPDATE #4: Chris Good again, on the prosecutor’s withdrawal

More Patterico

UPDATE #5: Max Blumenthal at Salon

Larry O’Connor at Big Journalism

David Weigel at Washington Independent

UPDATE #6: David Weigel at Washington Independent

Max Blumenthal

Frank Ross at Big Journalism

Lachlan Markay at Newsbusters

UPDATE #7: Charles Johnson and Conn Carroll debate Salon/O’Keefe at Bloggingheads

UPDATE #8: Justin Elliott at TPM

UPDATE #9: More Elliott at TPM

David Frum at FrumForum

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