Oregon scandal, another special election in the offing?

July 23, 2011

What is it with congressmen and their evident inability to keep their pants zipped? Now it’s Democrat David Wu of Oregon, who stands accused of making unwanted sexual advances to a teenaged girl:

According to the Beaver State-based outlet, the daughter of a longtime friend and campaign donor accused the Democratic congressman of pursuing an unwanted sexual encounter said to have occurred last year. The young woman reportedly raised the matter in a voicemail left at Wu’s Portland office this past spring. An unnamed source tells the Oregonian that she sounded “distraught” in her message.

This is not the first time that Wu has come under scrutiny over matters unrelated to his work in the political domain. Earlier this year, the congressman found himself combating calls to resign in the wake of demonstrating questionable behavior. In February, Wu cited a reaction to mental health drugs in resisting calls to step down.

Apparently Wu’s behavior has been so erratic that his staff staged an intervention:

Three days before the Nov. 2 election, U.S. Rep. David Wu’s most loyal and senior staffers were so alarmed by his erratic behavior that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment.

Their concern had been spiking for weeks in tandem with the Oregon Democrat’s increasingly unpredictable performance on the campaign trail and in private. He was loud and sometimes angry, some of them told The Oregonian. He said kooky things to staff and — more worrisome with a tough election fast approaching — around potential voters and donors.

Most of all, they were worried for Wu, a 55-year-old single father of two children.

Earlier and gentler efforts had failed, so the tight-knit group of high-level staff took other steps, including quiet inquiries about the availability of beds in hospitals in Portland and Washington, D.C., multiple sources familiar with the effort told The Oregonian.

Several staff members confronted Wu for the final time on Oct. 30. Wu’s psychiatrist was brought into that meeting as well, joining the group at the Portland campaign headquarters by speaker phone. The meeting was held after four consecutive days of troubling behavior that led the staff to agree that Wu needed a higher level of medical care, according to people intimately familiar with the events of that period.

“This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW,” wrote Lisa Grove, a senior and long-serving campaign pollster, in an e-mail to colleagues that day. “No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else.”

Wu, however, remained defiant, sources said. He left the meeting and said he was going to a movie.

Oregon Live details further bizarre behavior by Congressman Wu. It seems as if he has serious mental health problems and is in need of treatment; his staff surely thought so. Perhaps the best thing for all concerned would be for him to resign so he can get the help he needs, and so the people of his district can choose a better representative.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Nightmare in Norway: at least 92 dead, and the question of religion

July 23, 2011

How awful for them:

Norwegian police said Saturday that the death toll from Friday’s attacks has risen to 92 and confirmed that they have arrested a suspect whom they described as a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

In a news conference Saturday morning in Oslo, police confirmed that they had arrested Anders Behring Breivik, 32, on suspicion of orchestrating both the Oslo bombing and the youth-camp shooting rampage and had begun searching two apartments that he owns.

Breivik reportedly owns four properties including a farm on the outskirts of Oslo, allegedly to enable him to store legally a large amount of fertilizer.

Police would not comment on whether he acted alone but said no other arrests have been made. They said Breivik had no criminal record.

They would not speculate on his motives, but said, based own his own Twitter and Facebook accounts, he appeared to be a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

Police say he was arrested by security forces at the Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya after the shootings. They said 84 people were killed on the island. At least seven were killed in the Oslo bombing.

Police Chief Oystein Maeland told reporters that they could not confirm the number of victims would stop at 92, adding that the attack had reached “catastrophic dimensions.”

He said officers were still “looking in the water around the island for more victims.”

It appears Breivik stalked the island for an hour-and-a-half, shooting the teens wherever he found them. The survivor accounts in the rest of the article are just horrifying. And there’s something dreadfully wrong with Norwegian law if the worst he can face is only 21 years in prison.

The issue of “why” remains unresolved and it likely won’t be settled for weeks, though it bears resemblances to both the attack on the Murragh Building in Oklahoma City for its anti-government angle and the massacre of children that occurred at Columbine and Dunblane.

The role of religion as motive is obviously going to play a role, however. Yesterday I hypothesized that this might have been an act of jihad — inspired by Islam. I wasn’t alone in my speculation, as the pattern of the attack fit previous jihadist operations: near-simultaneous attacks aimed at mass casualties (Bali, London, Madrid), the focus on children (Beslan), and a history of Islamic terror threats against Norway, including threats to kill government officials. Violent jihad is central to Islam. And lest anyone say that, even if this were an act of jihad, Islam wouldn’t permit the killing of innocent children, let me point out that Muhammad himself defined “innocent child” differently than we.

Now it appears that a narrative is building that this sociopath acted out of “Christian fundamentalism,” whatever that is. If that takes hold, and I say this as a thoroughly secular person, it would be grossly unfair and a slander against religious Christians because, unlike Islam, their faith forbids just this kind of action and makes it a mortal sin. The Fifth Commandment is, “You shall not murder.”

In other words, for Breivik to do what he did here or, more locally, for a Christian to gun down an abortionist, he necessarily acts against his religion. Not so with the jihadist, and I can see another false equivalence being created that needs to be pushed back against for the sake of moral and intellectual clarity and truth.

And the core truth at this time is that Breivik, regardless of whatever reason he did this, is an immensely evil human being, and that our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the Norwegian nation in this awful time.

LINKS: More from Power Line and Hot Air, and ST. Also The Anchoress (thanks for the link!).

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)