Wednesday, 25 July 2007

THE NBA AND ITS REFEREES

Ken Berwitz

If you are an NBA (National Basketball Association) fan, or even a casual sometimes-watcher of games, you know that basketball has become a contact sport.  A foul can probably be called on every play, and it can probably be called on one or more players from either team. 

For this reason, basketball referees don't just influence NBA games, they can literally orchestrate their outcomes.

How many times have you heard an announcer say something like "the referees are letting them play" or "the referees are reigning them in because they don't want a fight to break out"?   Think about what those comments mean:

-"the referees are letting them play" means they are declining to call fouls that they would call at other times;

-"the referees are reigning them in..." means they are calling fouls for things they would usually ignore.

As you can see, referees are more or less in full control of the game.  An honest referee does his/her best (yes, I'm happy to say there are female as well as male referees in the NBA).  A dishonest referee can make it happen for one team or the other.  Obviously there is an enormous issue of trust involved here. 

So what happens if one or more referees decide to fix the games?  And what happens when the media which paid ungodly amounts of money to broadcast those games have to react?  

Here, courtesy of Reuters, is at least a partial answer:.

TV networks stand by NBA amid betting scandal

By Paul J. Gough

Reuters
Tuesday, July 24, 2007; 11:47 PM

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The NBA said Tuesday it would work hard to restore the trust of basketball fans after a federal investigation revealed that a former referee is suspected of betting on games and providing confidential information to other bettors.

It appears that it won't have to work hard to win the trust of its TV partners, ESPN and Turner Broadcasting, who both said that they supported the embattled league. The scandal comes at an interesting time for the NBA, which recently signed a multiyear rights deal with ESPN-ABC and TNT to continue their relationship. Neither network was told about the FBI investigation before the new rights agreement, but an ESPN executive said the situation wouldn't have impacted the negotiations.

Referee Tim Donaghy, who resigned from the NBA on July 9 and has so far not been charged with a crime, is accused of betting on an unspecified number of games he worked and others he didn't during the past two years. It wasn't clear whether Donaghy tried to fix NBA games, but instead he might have made calls that would affect the point spread. Donaghy was a referee in 139 regular-season, eight playoff and four preseason games from 2005-07, when the incidents were alleged to have occurred.

"We're not positive it's games that he worked, although I understand some of those are games specifically that he worked," NBA commissioner David Stern said Tuesday during a news conference in New York. "I understand that maybe he bet on other games in which he didn't work."

The disclosure Friday that the FBI was investigating Donaghy rocked the NBA and its fans.

"We believe the NBA acted in good faith and that the league will do everything in its power to address this situation appropriately and forcefully," ESPN executive vp content John Skipper said. "We don't expect this will have a material impact on our agreement over the course of the next eight years."

Sports-media consultant and former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson agreed.

"I don't think that presents any issue in terms of television," Pilson said of the NBA scandal. "I don't think it has any impact on the value of the television contract." He added that he didn't think there would be any impact on attendance, ratings or other measurable metrics as long as the investigation remains contained to one rogue referee.

"I expect they will move on from this situation," Pilson said.

Turner Sports president David Levy talked to Stern several times during the weekend about the situation, though Turner seems to be taking a wait-and-see approach so far.

"We've been partners with the NBA for 24 years," Turner Sports said in a statement. "We continue to support the league. This is an ongoing federal investigation, so we'll elect to decline further comment at this time."

One executive who asked not to be identified said Tuesday that the networks were following the developments like everyone else but believe that if it's relegated to misconduct by one referee, then it seems like the NBA is taking care of it.

Madison Avenue isn't leaving the NBA, but if the scandal turns out to be widespread all bets are off, said Sharon Weinstein, senior broadcast supervisor at media buyer Initiative in Atlanta. Weinstein said that it doesn't mean that there isn't a cost for the NBA and other sports leagues that seem to be in the headlines every week for the misconduct of professional athletes.

"It's calling their ethics into question," she said. "Nobody's going to watch a game (where) they're not even sure the refs are being fair."

Stern said in the news conference televised live by ESPN, CNN and Fox News Channel that the league had been advised not to talk to anyone about the investigation. He also said that he felt the league had to speak out on the issue and answer as many questions as it could given the FBI's restrictions.

Pilson, who has known Stern for more than 30 years, said it was clear that the situation is causing Stern physical pain and that it was evident during the news conference. He also said that he felt Stern handled the situation well and that the media was sympathetic to the NBA's plight.

"This is a guy who has built his reputation and the reputation of the league on integrity and quality of presentation of the game," Pilson said. "This obviously wounds him deeply, but I think his credibility will help move the league forward."

Stern said he had been informed that the misconduct was "an isolated case" and didn't involve more than Donaghy. He said he wanted to make sure that NBA fans and others knew that the league was doing everything it could to clean up the situation.

"We take our obligation to the fans in this matter very, very seriously, and I can stand here today and pledge that we will do everything possible to analyze our processes and seek the best advice possible to see if there are changes that should be made and procedures that should be implemented," Stern said..

There you have it.  The answer is "we stand by the NBA". 

In fairness, I suppose there's nothing else they can do.  You sort of have to give the benefit of the doubt at least one time, no matter how easy it is for referees to fix games, don't you?  Especially when you stand to lose all that NBA revenue if you shut it down, not to mention fielding the inevitable lawsuits that would be filed.

But for someone like me, who watches basketball, I have to tell you that every time I see a controversial call from now on I'll wonder that much more about whether it is an honest opinion or the consummation of a deal.  And when you doubt the referees in one sport it makes you wonder about the other ones as well.

Too bad for the NBA.  Too bad for all sports.


JIMMY CARTER'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAR ON TERRORISM

Ken Berwitz

Here, courtesy of the Jerusalem Post, is an excellent account of jimmy carter's input regarding the war on terrorism:.

Jimmy Carter: Father of the Iranian Revolution
By: Michael D. Evans

We just don't get it. The Left in America is screaming to high heaven that the mess we are in in Iraq and the war on terrorism has been caused by the right-wing and that George W. Bush, the so-called "dim-witted cowboy," has created the entire mess.

The truth is the entire nightmare can be traced back to the liberal democratic policies of the leftist Jimmy Carter, who created a firestorm that destabilized our greatest ally in the Muslim world, the shah of Iran, in favor of a religious fanatic, the ayatollah Khomeini.

Carter viewed Khomeini as more of a religious holy man in a grassroots revolution than a founding father of modern terrorism. Carter's ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, said "Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint." Carter's Iranian ambassador, William Sullivan, said, "Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure." Carter adviser James Bill proclaimed in a Newsweek interview on February 12, 1979 that: Khomeini was not a mad mujahid, but a man of "impeccable integrity and honesty."

The Shah was terrified of Carter. He told his personal confidant, "Who knows what sort of calamity he [Carter] may unleash on the world?"

Let's look at the results of Carter's misguided liberal policies: the Islamic Revolution in Iran; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (Carter's response was to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics); the birth of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization; the Iran-Iraq War, which cost the lives of millions dead and wounded; and yes, the present war on terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

WHEN CARTER entered the political fray in 1976, America was still riding the liberal wave of anti-Vietnam War emotion. Carter asked for an in-depth report on Iran even before he assumed the reins of government and was persuaded that the Shah was not fit to rule Iran. 1976 was a banner year for pacifism: Carter was elected president, Bill Clinton became attorney-general of Arkansas, and Albert Gore won a place in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

In his anti-war pacifism, Carter never got it that Khomeini, a cleric exiled to Najaf in Iraq from 1965-1978, was preparing Iran for revolution. Proclaiming "the West killed God and wants us to bury him," Khomeini's weapon of choice was not the sword but the media. Using tape cassettes smuggled by Iranian pilgrims returning from the holy city of Najaf, he fueled disdain for what he called gharbzadegi ("the plague of Western culture").

Carter pressured the Shah to make what he termed human rights concessions by releasing political prisoners and relaxing press censorship. Khomeini could never have succeeded without Carter. The Islamic Revolution would have been stillborn.

Gen. Robert Huyser, Carter's military liaison to Iran, once told me in tears: "The president could have publicly condemned Khomeini and even kidnapped him and then bartered for an exchange with the [American Embassy] hostages, but the president was indignant. 'One cannot do that to a holy man,' he said."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has donned the mantle of Ayatollah Khomeini, taken up bin Laden's call, and is fostering an Islamic apocalyptic revolution in Iraq with the intent of taking over the Middle East and the world.

Jimmy Carter became the poster boy for the ideological revolution of the 1960s in the West, hell bent on killing the soul of America. The bottom line: Carter believed then and still does now is that evil really does not exist; people are basically good; America should embrace the perpetrators and castigate the victims.

IN THE '60S it was mass rebellion after the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. When humanity confronts eternity, the response is always rebellion or repentance. The same ideologues who fought to destroy the soul of America with the "God is dead" movement in the 1960s are now running the arts, the universities, the media, the State Department, Congress, and Senate, determined more then ever to kill the soul of America while the East attempts to kill the body. Carter's world view defines the core ideology of the Democratic Party.

What is going on in Iraq is no mystery to those of us who have had our fingers on the pulse of both Iran and Iraq for decades. The Iran-Iraq war was a war of ideologies. Saddam Hussein saw himself as an Arab leader who would defeat the non-Arab Persians. Khomeini saw it as an opportunity to export his Islamic Revolution across the borders to the Shi'ites in Iraq and then beyond to the Arab countries.

Throughout the war both leaders did everything possible to incite the inhabitants of each country to rebel - precisely what Iran is doing in Iraq today. Khomeini encouraged the Shi'ites across the border to remove Saddam from power and establish an Islamic republic like in Iran.

Carter's belief that every crisis can be resolved with diplomacy - and nothing but diplomacy - now permeates the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, Carter is wrong.

There are times when evil must be openly confronted and defeated.

KHOMEINI HAD the help of the PLO in Iran. They supplied weapons and terrorists to murder Iranians and incite mobs in the streets. No wonder Yasser Arafat was hailed as a friend of Khomeini after he seized control of Iran and was given the Israeli Embassy in Teheran with the PLO flag flying overhead.

The Carter administration scrambled to assure the new regime that the United States would maintain diplomatic ties with Iran. But on April 1, 1979 the greatest April Fools' joke of all time was played, as Khomeini proclaimed it the first day of the government of God.

In February 1979 Khomeini had boarded an Air France flight to return to Teheran with the blessing of Jimmy Carter. The moment he arrived, he proclaimed: "I will kick his teeth in" - referring to then Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar, who was left in power with a US pledge of support. He was assassinated in Paris by Iranian agents in 1991.

I sat in the home of Gen. Huyser, who told me the Shah feared he would lose the country if he implemented Carter's polices. Carter had no desire to see the Shah remain in power. He really believed that a cleric - whose Islamist fanaticism he did not understand in the least - would be better for human rights and Iran.

He could have changed history by condemning Khomeini and getting the support of our allies to keep him out of Iran. .

These days there is no shortage of people willing to call the current president ignorant and incompetent.  I disagree.  However I certainly acknowledge that they have a perfect right to their opinion. 

But for REAL ignorance and incompetence, it's hard to beat carter.  As you can plainly see above.


MORE ON THE NEW REPUBLIC'S 'SCOTT THOMAS' FIASCO

Ken Berwitz

Who is Scott Thomas?  IS there a Scott Thomas?  Has the New Republic been hosed again, as they were in the 1990's, by running a series of stories based on invented "facts"?  Was the New Republic victimized then, or was it part of the scam?  Are they being victimized or are they part of a scam now? 

Here is a column by Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post that provides a lot of food for thought about this.  As usual, the bold print is mine:.

Anonymous in Iraq
By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

So did you hear the one about American soldiers playing with dead baby parts found in a mass grave in Iraq?

No wait, how about the guy who loved to drive Bradley armored vehicles so he could knock down concrete barriers and mow down little doggies sunning in the road?

Or this one: American soldiers in a chow hall making fun of a woman whose face was "more or less melted, along with all the hair on that side of her head" from an IED.

These are but a few of the claims made by one "Scott Thomas," otherwise known as the "Baghdad Diarist," allegedly a soldier serving in Iraq who has sent three dispatches to The New Republic since January. He uses the pseudonym "Scott Thomas," say the magazine's editors, so he can give honest reports without fear of official reprisal.

But are they honest? Or has The New Republic (TNR) been ''glassed'' again? In the 1990s, TNR Associate Editor Stephen Glass was fired for fabricating stories.

The conservative Weekly Standard began questioning the reports last week. Bloggers have joined in challenging the anecdotes, as have military personnel who have served in Iraq and, in some cases, have eaten in the same chow hall mentioned.

Thomas' version of events in Iraq is looking less and less credible and smacks of the "occult hand."

The occult hand was an inside joke several years ago among a group of journalists who conspired to see how often they could slip the phrase -- "It was as if an occult hand had ..." -- into their copy. This went on for years to the great merriment of a few in the know.

Looking back, it's hard to imagine how a phrase as purple as "an occult hand" could have enjoyed such long play within the tribe of professional skeptics known as journalists. Similarly, one wonders how Thomas' reports have appeared in the magazine without his editors saying, "Hey, wait just a minute."

When it comes to the playbook of anti-military cliches, Thomas seems guilty of plagiarism. What could be more cliche, after all, than American soldiers ridiculing a defaced woman, running over dogs or desecrating babies' remains?

The New Republic editors say they're investigating the reports, but refuse to reveal the author's identity. There's always a chance, of course, that these stories have some truth to them. Maybe a guy made an unkind remark about a poor woman's burned face. Maybe a dog got run over. Maybe a grave was found and a soldier capped his head with a skull part.

Stranger -- and far worse -- things have happened in war. But people who have served in Iraq have raised enough questions about these particular anecdotes that one is justified in questioning whether they are true.

As just one example, it is unlikely that a Bradley would be driven through concrete barriers just for fun, according to an Army JAG who e-mailed me. He explained that people aren't alone out there. Other vehicles, NCOs and officers would be around and Iraqis would have made a claim for repairs, resulting in a JAG investigation.

In other words, either plenty of people would know about it -- or it didn't happen.

It may be that The New Republic editors and others who believed Thomas' journal entries without skepticism are infected with Nifong Syndrome -- the mind virus that causes otherwise intelligent people to embrace likely falsehoods because they validate a preconceived belief.

Mike Nifong, the North Carolina prosecutor in the alleged Duke lacrosse team rape case, was able to convince a credulous community of residents, academics and especially journalists that the three falsely accused men had raped a black stripper despite compelling evidence to the contrary.

Why? Because the lies supported their own truths. In the case of Duke, that "truth" was that privileged white athletes are racist pigs who of course would rape a black woman given half a chance and a bottle o' beer.

In the case of Scott Thomas, the "truth" that American soldiers are woman-hating, dog-killing, grave-robbing monsters confirms what many among the anti-war left believe about the military, despite their protestations that they "support the troops."

We tend to believe what we want to believe, in other words.

Whether Scott Thomas is real and his reports true remains to be determined. In the meantime, it is tempting to wonder: What if we believed in American honor and victory in Iraq?

What would those dispatches look like?  .

I don't know for 100% sure whether the Scott Thomas reports are completely, partially or not at all true.  But it is very clear that they don't coincide with reality, as pointed out by Ms. Parker (and others I've cited in previous blogs).

If I were running the New Republic, I'd put this one to bed damn fast, one way or another.  And I'd try to remember as best I could that if the Scott Thomas reports are fake, however bad that will be for the magazine (and it will be devastating), trying to cover it up will be even worse.


THE OTHER 'RIGHT OF RETURN'

Ken Berwitz

You of course know all about the mideast refugee problem.  Hundreds of thousands of people displaced, forced to leave their homes, left without a thing.

The problem is, many readers probably think I'm talking about Arabs.  I'm not.

There is no subject discussed with greater certainty and greater ignorance than the middle east.  And the late 1940's refugee issue is one of the most glaring examples. 

There is a long way of explaining this and a short way.  Given that this is a blog, I opt for the short way.

Simply stated, within the same time period that palestinian Arabs left what is now Israel by the hundreds of thousands, so did Jews leave the surrounding Arab countries, in much the same numbers.  The estimates I've seen range from about 750,000 to 900,000 or more.

But there was a bit of a difference.  Most (not all, but most) of the Arabs left VOLUNTARILY.  They were told to leave by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who had just spent the war years supporting hitler.  He told them that if they left, when Israel came into existence the invading Arab armies could be confident that they would be killing no one but Jews.  Then, after all the Jews were dead or gone one way or the other, they would return as conquering heroes. 

By contrast, the Jews who had lived for so long in places like Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, etc. weren't exactly encouraged to leave so that they'd return as heroes.  They were either tossed out or fled, because they had few rights and privileges under the Arab regimes, especially during and after WWII, their land and belongings were being taken from them and they were threatened with death.  THEY were refugees.

You can find a more complete account of the post-war refugee issue at http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_independence_refugees_jews_why.php and I urge you to read it.

But here, courtesy of this excerpt from the Jerusalem Post, is a concise explanation of what happened....and how the UN (with it's almost 60 Muslim countries) have treated this issue ever since.

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Congress mulls Jewish refugee cause

 

Two resolutions currently before Congress aim at requiring that any international discussion mentioning Palestinian refugees refer to Jewish refugees as well.

It is the latest attempt to bring greater attention to the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

Groups advocating on behalf of Jewish refugees from Arab countries have stepped up efforts over the last year to bring the issue to the forefront of discussions relating to Middle East refugees.

Last fall, a conference on "rights and redress" for this population launched a campaign in Jerusalem to register all families who lost assets when Jews fled Arab countries following the creation of the State of Israel.

In May, the House Foreign Affairs Middle East and South Asian Subcommittee Chairman Gary Ackerman held a hearing on the subject, the first such Congressional hearing, according to his staff.

The two resolutions currently before Congress were introduced at a Congressional Human Rights Caucus briefing last week that addressed the mass displacement of minority populations from Arab countries. It is estimated that 850,000 Jews fled Arab states following the creation of the State of Israel.

The resolutions - one in the House and the other in the Senate - instruct the president to ensure that any international discussion of Middle East refugees make mention of Jewish, Christian and other refugees "as a matter of law and equity."

Since 1947, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted 681 resolutions on the Middle East conflict, including 101 resolutions on Palestinian refugees.

"During that same period there were no UN resolutions, nor any recognition or assistance from the international community, for Jewish and other refugees from Arab countries," said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), a member of the Caucus, at the briefing.

The principal parties involved in the Mideast peace process must restore "fidelity" to the narrative, said Irwin Cotler, human rights activist and former justice minister and attorney-general of Canada. Cotler blamed the UN for "distorting" this narrative.

"We need to rectify a historical injustice that has gone on for 60 years, and return the narrative of Jews from Arab countries to the Mideast narrative," Cotler told The Jerusalem Post. Cotler was unable to attend the briefing, but submitted written testimony that focused on the themes of "truth, justice and reconciliation."

Any Mideast peace process needed to address the "rights and redress" of Jews from Arab countries, said Cotler. More than that, he said, the US, in the course of its foreign policy, should ensure that any resolution regarding refugees must include reference to Jewish refugees. .

Some readers may have known about this.  It is probable, however, that most did not. 

Well, now you do.  And I hope it provides a fresh, more realistic perspective on what really happened in those years and who actually is entitled to some kind of "right of return" consideration.

 


YOUR INSTRUCTIONS, FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Ken Berwitz

Not content with publishing propaganda disguised as news, the New York Times has crossed another border.  Today, instead of telling you what to think they are telling you what you already think.

Here, below, are the first two paragraphs of today's lead editorial, about (what else?) the war in Iraq.  Read them and you'll know what I'm talking about:.

The American people have only one question left about Iraq: What is President Bush's plan for a timely and responsible exit? That is the essential precondition for salvaging broader American interests in the Middle East and for waging a more effective fight against Al Qaeda in its base areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it is exactly the question that Mr. Bush, his top generals and his diplomats so stubbornly and damagingly refuse to answer.

Yesterday provided two more frustrating and shameful examples of this denial. One was a new war plan drawn up by America's top military commander and top diplomat in Baghdad that will keep American troops fighting in Iraq at least until 2009. The other was yet one more speech by President Bush that claimed that Iraq was the do-or-die front in the war on terrorism -- rather than a rallying point for extremists and a never-ending drain on the resources America needs to fight that fight.  .

How nice of the Times to tell you the only question you have left about Iraq.  And how interesting that it just happens to coincide with their multi-year effort to sabotage this war. 

IS that the only question you have about the war in Iraq?  I hope not.  Because I have a few other questions about this war and I think they're important enough that you should have them too.  Here is a partial list:

-What will happen if we leave Iraq on a timetable, rather than when we have confidence that its fledging government can defend itself?

-How many people will die if we leave under those circumstances?  However bad the current civilian casualty rate is, would it be worse?  A lot worse?  

-If we leave at a point where the government cannot fight off the terrorist insurgency, who will take over and thus be in possession of that vitally important geographic location and all that oil?  What will it mean to the security of the region?  TO the security of the USA? 

-Is the surge working?  Has it had enough time to work?  If it does work what will that do to improve the situation in Iraq?  If it does work and we leave on a prescribed timetable will our leaving negate whatever it has done to improve things?

-How great a propaganda coup would it be for al qaeda and other terrorist entities if we just left?  Isn't that specifically what bin laden SAID we would do?  It makes him a prophet and the USA a cut and run country which can be defeated just by hanging around long enough and waiting us out.  How great a victory would that be for terrorism?  How many new recruits would it encourage to join the winning side?

-How much easier would a terrorist base in Iraq make it for them to attack us domestically?  Will the attacks be even worse than 9/11? 

Frankly, if you aren't thinking about things like this, you are a fool.  But the New York Times is telling you that you aren't.  They are providing your marching orders, and those orders do not include these issues.

Your job, in the eyes of the New York Times, is to be a fool.  An idiot.  A circus clown.  To blindly follow their lead.  To take the safe route by just agreeing with them.  To believe what they believe and say what they say to others, so those others will be just as foolish, idiotic and clown-like.  Just as owned and operated by the New York Times as you would have to be to do this.

For god sake, you have a mind.  You don't need the New York Times to lead you by the nose as if you were brain dead.  THINK about the consequences of leaving under these circumstances.  Then, if you agree with the Times, so be it.  But if you don't, be courageous enough to forgo the "safe" position and say what you really think.

Don't you acquiescently hand over your mind to the New York Times.  They don't own it.  You do.


GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

Here, courtesy of Reuters, is the latest news on our disastrous global warming problem which, we have been assured time after time, will cause catastrophic hurricanes in the USA, among many other disasters in store for us:.

Forecaster cuts 2007 hurricane outlook

Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:56PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The 2007 hurricane season may be less severe than forecast due to cooler-than-expected water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, private forecaster WSI Corp said on Tuesday.

The season will bring 14 named storms, of which six will become hurricanes and three will become major hurricanes, WSI said in its revised outlook. WSI had previously expected 15 named storms of which eight would become hurricanes and four would become major hurricanes.

"Because the ocean temperatures have not yet rebounded from the significant drop in late spring, we have decided to reduce our forecast numbers slightly," said Todd Crawford, a WSI seasonal forecaster.

The energy and insurance industries are keenly watching the 2007 storm season after the record damage caused by hurricanes two years ago.

During the 2005 season, hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast and temporarily knocked out a quarter of U.S. crude and fuel production, sending energy prices to then-record highs.

WSI's Crawford added that wind conditions due to the lack of an El Nino event were less conducive to formation of tropical storms.

Despite the downgraded forecast, WSI still expects the 2007 season to be more active than last year, and added that storm-weary parts of the Gulf Coast could still be hit.

"We feel the general threat to the western Gulf is reduced slightly, with a corresponding increase in the threat to the eastern Gulf and Florida," Crawford said. .

This is the first downward revision.  Maybe there won't be any more.  Or maybe, like last year, they'll keep revising it downward to nothing. 

That's right, nothing.  Because, last year, not one hurricane hit the USA mainland.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada. 

Stay tuned, and be sure to buy extra copies of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" videos for the kiddies.

Or save your money and just print a few copies of the inconvenient truth you just read on this blog.


Our savior. The one man who knows what is going to happen to save the day for

Democrats and Americans from these crooks.
 
barry sinrod
 
E-mail
Op-eds PDF Print
Radical GOP, Dem landslide
July 24, 2007
As George Bush claims powers reminiscent of King George III and escalates a disastrous war with single-minded zeal, the do-nothing Republican senators, acting like segregationist senators of the Old South, blockade the voters hunger for
change with filibuster after filibuster.

With a president whose popularity rivals Nixon during impeachment, there is a new radical Republicanism in the Congress, supporting the very executive abuses that overwhelming majorities of Americans want ended.

With nearly 70 percent of the voters believing the Iraq war is a deadly mistake, nearly 100 percent of Republicans in Congress vote for it nearly 100 percent of the time. They offer fig-leaf proposals that change nothing, and filibuster any real change in their new brand of obstructionist and do-nothing Republicanism.

When Republicans controlled the Senate, they tried to destroy the integrity of Senate rules by ending the filibuster permanently through the nuclear option. When Republicans are in the Senate minority, they try to destroy the integrity of Senate rules by filibustering bill after bill.

This is the unprincipled abuse of power by Senate Republicans, in support of disastrous policies, pursued through constitutional abuse, in ways alien to American history, tradition and law.

The House Republicans created what was known as the K Street Project, now under criminal investigation. Almost unanimously they have backed every catastrophic blunder in the Iraq war and every abuse of power and common sense that Americans overwhelmingly oppose. They could not even protect young congressional pages from abuse, and even now, when America hungers for change, they brag about their success in blockading the very changes that 70 percent of America yearns for.

In the latest contempt of Congress, also backed by the radical Republicans, the president orders the Justice Department to not uphold the law of executive privilege, even when criminal conduct is alleged. The president claims the power to define the law without legislative or judicial review, and to make himself a unitary ruler regardless of courts, Congress or precedent.

This is radical by any traditional standard.

In this world of unitary power, the Bill of Rights can be violated in secret, federal statutes can be violated with nonbinding statements almost 800 times, executive orders seek to prevent the law from being faithfully executed.

When a distinguished general warns of a cover-up of Abu Ghraib crimes, when their Attorney General makes a mockery of the rule of law and destroys the upper echelon of the Justice Department in ways that help the terrorists; even when the most senior Senate Republicans are humiliated by a president who treats their advice on Iraq with contempt, they still support or submit.

Independents move to Democrats in tidal wave numbers. Hispanics surge for change. Seniors and young people alike are moving to Democrats.  Republicans could be wiped out in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest while Democrats bid for majorities in Southwestern states and surge on both coasts. Almost half of Senate Republicans run for reelection while the number of contested House Republican seats rises every week.

Democrats are surging in volunteers and campaign donations, with huge and expanding leads in every aspect of fundraising, from grassroots money to the smart money of business and special interests.

The stage is set; the die is cast; there is panic in the air from Republicans, and landslide in the air for Democrats. The bell now tolls for the Republican Party, and if they campaign as the do-nothing party of obstructionism to preserve a repellant status quo, the tidal wave is coming and a realigning election will change American politics for a generation.


Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, and to Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. He is contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service and can be read on




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At “Hopelessly Partisan” we discuss all issues, big and small. In here, nothing is sacred and nothing is out of bounds.

So settle back, preferably after laughing your way through a copy of “The Hopelessly Partisan Guide To American Politics”, and let the battle begin. In this blog, your opinion counts every bit as much as anyone else's, maybe even more.

And to show that my willingness to provide all sides of the issues is sincere, here are links to a variety of web sites, from the left, the middle (more or less) and the right. Read them and either smile in agreement or gnash your teeth in anger!!