Blowing up kids coming out of a damned concert. I’ll hold off commentary until more details come out. But whoever did this, whatever his motive was … it was an act of unadulterated evil.
The Ninth Circuit issued a ruling on Trump’ immigration EO, maintaining a nationwide suspension of the order.
While I think that Trump’s ban was poorly reasoned and executed with the skill of a brass band falling down a flight of stairs, I’m a bit bothered by this decision for reasons David French gets into here:
Finally, and crucially, the court made a statement near the end of its opinion that is deeply, deeply troubling. In discussing the evidence before the court, the panel says this:
The Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.
Putting aside, for the moment, the administration’s inexplicable failure to include in the executive order or the record the extensive documentation and evidence demonstrating the threat of jihad from the seven identified countries (including terror attacks in the U.S., plots in the U.S., and a record of plots and attacks abroad), whether an attack has been completed in this country is not the standard for implementing heightened security measures. The president doesn’t have to wait for completed attacks to protect the U.S. from dangerous immigrants. He can see the deteriorating security situation on the ground, evaluate the intentions and capabilities of the enemy, and then act before the enemy can strike. Indeed, that’s the goal of national defense — to prevent attacks, not respond after the carnage.
I’ve been hearing versions of this argument over and over again. “No refugee has launched a terror attack against the US!” “No one from those seven countries has attacked the US soil!” “Since 9/11, more people have been killed by Right Wing terrorism than Jihadists!” For a while, I was swayed by these arguments. But I’ve come to realize that they are complete horse manure.
First, as French notes, the job of the federal government is to prevent attacks, not close the barn door after the horse has been stolen. If they have credible intelligence of an attack or a danger, they are supposed to act (within Constitutional limits).
Second, terrorist attacks are, by their very nature, stochastic. They are thankfully few and when you try to do any analysis of them, you are immediately swallowed by small number statistics. This is obvious when you think about it. Any sentence that starts with, “well, excluding 9/11 …” is just silly. 9/11 was the biggest terrorist attack in American history. It completely dominates the discussion. Our entire anti-terrorism policy is designed around preventing another 9/11. You simply can not exclude it from consideration and act like you’re clever for doing so.
It would take only one successful Jihadist attack to upset those numbers (indeed, the numbers changed dramatically after San Bernardino and Orlando). It would take only one attack by a refugee from, say, Somalia, to make those arguments completely moot. When your argument can be rendered useless by a singular event, it’s a terrible argument.
Think about where we were on 9/10. At that point, the most successful attack on American soil was the Oklahoma City bombing. Should Bush have therefore ignored the threat of Jihadists? On the contrary, many liberals slammed him for paying insufficient attention to the “Al-Qaeda determined to strike in US” memo.
Just to be clear: I think the danger presented by people coming into this country with visas or as refugees is low. But it is not zero. Can we quit pretending that it is?
(I would note, in passing, that deciding on the wisdom of a policy is not the Court’s job. Antonin Scalia used to note that the Courts were required to uphold laws that were ill-advised but passed Constitutional muster. He joked that he wished he had a stamp: “Stupid but Constitutional.” I’m not quite familiar enough with this case to opine on whether Trump’s order is legal or Constitutional. It may be dumb. I know many on this blog disagree. But even if we assume it’s dumb, it’s not the Court’s job to stop stupidity.)
At least 77 people were killed Thursday night when a large truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, President Francois Hollande said.
The driver first shot a gun into the crowd before driving 2 kilometers along the Boulevard des Anglais, the main street in Nice, mowing down people who’d gathered to watch fireworks, regional President Christian Estrosi told CNN affiliate BFM-TV.
Police shot and killed the driver, said Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesman for the French Interior Ministry. Police found firearms, explosives and grenades in the truck, Estrosi said.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility. Anti-terror prosecutors have taken over the investigation, according to BFMTV, citing the prosecutor’s office.
Given the recent spate of Islamist attacks on Baghdad, Dhaka, Istanbul and Miami, I think it likely this will turn out to be another ISIS supporter or sympathizer.
Three thoughts on unrelated topics:
When it came to the Brexit vote, I was partial to Remain, mainly because I am an avid supporter of free trade. And I’m worried that the departure of the UK could trigger an eventual dissolution of the EU, with bad economic consequences and an empowerment of Russia. I still worry about this but … I think the reaction of the Remain faction has been hysterical. Vox alone has run a few dozen articles rending their garments and gnashing their teeth over this. To borrow a thought from Greg Guttfield, this is about ten times as many articles as they’ve run on Venezuela, which is having an actual economic meltdown right now, with severe shortages of good, medicine and power. For Americans to go into hysterics because the UK’s economy might be a little weaker going forward while ignoring the Lord of the Flies situation developing in our own hemisphere is insane. McArdle argues they are lamenting the decline of this idea that we will no longer be citizens of nations but “citizens of the world” — a notion that has a lot of sway in elite circles.
Warren Meyer has a great post up, contrasting the “it was racism!” explanation that is now the default on the Left against the real regulations coming down on things like tea kettles. It’s worth a read but here’s a critical point:
The real crime from a US perspective is the actions of our President. Mr. Obama has told the British that by voting for Brexit, they go to “the back of the line” for trade negotiations with the US. This is, amongst a lot of stupid things politicians say, one of the stupidest I have ever heard. My response as president would have been to move Britain to the front of the line, offering them a free trade treaty with the US the day after the Brexit vote. Like most politicians, unfortunately, President Obama does not view trade as a vehicle for the enrichment of individuals but as a cudgel to enforce his whims in the foreign policy arena. Why on Earth has President Obama threatened to undermine America’s strong interest in trading with the UK merely to punish the UK for not staying in the EU, a transnational body this country would certainly never join?
The UK would be one of the most logical countries in the world for us to have a free trade agreement with. I have little hope that our next President will grok this.
The FBI has said that they have no evidence that the Orlando shooter was gay. That doesn’t prove he wasn’t, as the FBI notes. There are still indications from his friends and wife that he might have been. But the narrative that he was actively dating men and a regular at the club appears very unlikely.
The FBI is currently saying “they may never know” his motive, given some of the ambiguity around his sexuality. But given that he called 911 to specifically pledge allegiance to ISIS and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the slightest thought might begin to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing our minds that this was Jihadist terrorism. Especially as Jihadism and killing gay people are not exactly incompatible ideas.
Honestly, theres enough blood to go around. We don’t have to confine ourself to one motive.
Blue Cross has announced that they are pulling out of the Minnesota individual insurance market. The Kaiser Foundation is projecting steep hikes in insurance premiums. The longer this goes on, the more Obamacare is faltering, slowly destroying the individual market. We’re barely two years into this thing and we are now at the point where it’s not if, but when, Obamacare is going to face a massive overhaul. I don’t know that the insurance market can be repaired after this. But I know that if we dick around for much longer, we’re going to see uninsured rates spike drastically to the point where individual insurance may cease to exist.
Makes you kind of wonder if that was the point.
The Democrats filibustered the Senate until they got a vote on four gun control measures yesterday. All four failed:
Senators couldn’t muster enough bipartisan support to pass a series of gun control measures Monday, the latest in a long string of failed attempts at enacting tighter curbs on firearms in the United States.
Spurred by the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, senators from each party introduced the measures they said would have strengthened background checks and prevented suspected terrorists from obtaining weapons.
But tough election year politics, paired with disputes over the effectiveness of each party’s ideas, proved too powerful to break the longstanding partisan gridlock that’s surrounded gun issues for years.
The result was expected. A fifth option, set to be introduced and voted upon as early as Tuesday by moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins, has generated more optimism, but still faces long odds at passage.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who sponsored one of the failed measures expanding background checks, reacted angrily after his provision was defeated.
“I’m mortified by today’s vote but I’m not surprised by it,” Murphy said Monday evening. “The NRA has a vice-like grip on this place.”
No, it really doesn’t. What has a grip on Congress is a fleeting minimal respect for due process of law. It wasn’t just the NRA that opposed this. The ACLU vehemently opposed it because the ACLU, unlike the Democrats, sees the danger in restricting basic civil liberties for “potential terrorists” through secret and nebulous FBI criteria.
The Collins bill is a little better in that it would only use the “no-fly” list. But even that list is secretive, vague and almost impossible to challenge. The Democrats know this because they’ve been complaining about that list for years. What’s more, they exposed those years of complaining as political opportunism, not genuine concern about civil liberties. Provisions were offered to reform the terror watch list, to make the process more transparent and to make it easier for people to challenge their placement on the list. The Democrats refused because they really don’t want a gun control law as much as they want a gun control issue for the election.
Remember when not compromising to get legislation passed was a sign of evil Republican unreasonableness and partisanship? Good times.
And just in case you thought the Democrats were the voice of reason here:
I'm old enough to remember when "you oppose my ideas so you support terrorism!" was an eeevil GOP talking point. https://t.co/voUH7EkeHj
— HAL 10000 (@Hal_RTFLC) June 21, 2016
If I said opposing the Patriot Act empowered terrorists or opposing torture empowered terrorists or closing Gitmo empowered terrorists or ending mass surveillance empowered terrorists, Democrats would have a fit. But apparently it’s OK to say your opponents are terrorists when it’s gun control.
It’s kind of amazing the philosophical flim-flam the Democrats have pulled off here. As Lucy Steigerwald pointed on Twitter, passing gun laws is now considered an apolitical act, just “common sense”. The only people who “play politics” are those who oppose such laws.
Fuck Trump. Fuck Clinton. Let’s draft Netanyahu.
I have disagreements with Bibi but this message was perfect.
Fifty people were killed inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, Orlando Police Chief John Mina and other officials said Sunday morning, just hours after a shooter opened fire in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
At least 53 more people were injured, Mina said. Police have shot and killed the gunman, he told reporters.
“It’s appears he was organized and well-prepared,” the chief said, adding that the shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of (other) device on him.”
Officials warned that a lengthy investigation was ahead, given the number of victims and the scope of the violence.
Once again, be suspicious of initial reports and fuck anyone who tries to use this to advance their pet political cause before they know what happened.
(I won’t print the name of the shooter. Suffice it to say there are good reasons to suspect the motive.)
In this corner, we present the Democratic Party. Fresh off of Obama’s lackluster Oval Office speech, they are pushing to ban people on the federal no-fly list from buying guns. Never mind that the list is arbitrary and secretive. Never mind that it’s difficult to find out why you’re on the list and almost impossible to get off of it. Never mind that there are several hundred thousand people on the list, including the odd PhD Candidate and the occasional 4-year old. Never mind that this would deprive people of a basic civil liberty without due process. Never mind that terrorists will simply get their guns illegally. There’s an election coming up. Time to sow some panic!
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) December 7, 2015
And in this corner, we have the Republican frontrunner. Fresh off making false claims that he saw video of thousands of American Muslims celebrating 9/11, calling for Muslims to be registered and saying that some mosques should be closed, today he said that we should just stop letting Muslims come into the country. He clarified later that this would include US citizens currently abroad although he didn’t clarify if this meant military personnel. In support of this, he cited a bunch of unscientific online polls from anti-Islamic groups. Never mind that we’ve had a total of 40 people killed on American soil by anything remotely Islamic in the last five years (against five million American Muslims and 70,000 total murders in that time). Never mind that it would be unconstitutional. Never mind that there would be no practical way to do it without forcing everyone to declare their religion to the government. Never mind that his campaign is drifting further and further into something that can only be called fascism. There’s panic to sow!
So one party wants to take away civil liberties based on secret lists. The other wants to bar people from the country based on their religion.
And people wonder why I vote libertarian.
We’re still learning the details, but some information has emerged on Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood Clinic. It does appear that Planned Parenthood was the target but that no one was killed there because the patients and staff went behind a security door (abortion clinics have developed extensive security procedures since a wave of anti-abortion violence hit in the 90’s). Preliminary reports are that the shooter was talking about baby parts so this does not appear to have been a random attack.
A few little thoughts:
Democrats who are jumping on this to promote gun legislation can go to hell. Colorado has background checks and an assault weapons ban and it’s still not clear what weapons were used. I have lost patience with this business of milking every tragedy for their agenda.
Last week, we got a bunch of think pieces asking why Muslims always have to denounce jihadist violence. We’re already seeing those same outlets demanding that anti-abortion politicians and Christian organizations denounce this act of violence. Of course, many of them, including Mike Huckabee, already have.
Was this terrorism? Well, it wasn’t part of a mass organization to attack abortion clinics. But it is violence directed against innocent people to try to end abortion. So, yeah, I have no problem calling it terrorism.
There has been a recent uptick in attacks on abortion clinics. But, overall, violence directed against clinics and providers is way down from the late 90’s. Keep that in mind.
In keeping with my previous posts, I will not name the shooter. I will, however, name Garret Swasey, the police officer murdered by this lunatic.