Saturday, 29 September 2007

HILLARY VS. OBAMA: THE GLOVES ARE OFF

Ken Berwitz

Months ago, after watching as much of a Democratic debate as I could take, I blogged that Hillary Clinton's opponents were making a huge mistake by joining her in condemning President Bush. 

My point was that, while the condemnation of Bush was certainly expected from Democrats, when all the candidates are doing the same thing the frontrunner (Hillary Clinton) benefits.  Why?  Because it doesn't give anyone a reason to change their voting preference. 

Simply stated, if you're ahead and you break even for the rest of the way, you win.

Finally, over the last couple of weeks, Democratic candidates have awakened to this reality.  Barack Obama, who is running second to Hillary, has been especially critical of her. And that makes perfect sense;  unlike the second tier bunch who are going nowhere, if Obama successfully attacks Hillary he might win the nomination.

This, in turn, has apparently awakened the others;  in the most recent debate, earlier this week, all of the candidates were going after Hillary.  And she wasn't particularly adept at responding to them either.

So what would you expect to have happen?  Would you expect Hubby Bill to ride in on his white horse and save his damsel, the one who owes her big-time because she stood by him as he sexed, or tried to sex, half the women in North America? 

If so, you're exactly right.  Please read the following article, courtesy of www.bloomberg.com.  The bold print is mine:.

Bill Clinton Says He Was More Experienced Than Obama (Update1)
By Kristin Jensen

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Former President Bill Clinton said he was far more experienced when he made his successful 1992 White House run than Senator Barack Obama is today.

``There is a difference,'' Clinton said in an interview with Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital With Al Hunt'' that will air this weekend. ``I was the senior governor in America. I had been head of any number of national organizations that were related to the major issue of the day, which is how to restore America's economic strength.''

Clinton was 46 in 1992 when he beat Republican President George H.W. Bush to win the highest U.S. office, the same age that Obama is now. When Clinton, then the Arkansas governor, was first running, ``he was initially dismissed as an obscure if colorful outsider, handsome and articulate but, at age 46, too young and inexperienced for the job,'' his wife Hillary wrote in her autobiography, ``Living History.''

Today, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, 59, is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination and her closest rival is Obama, a first-term U.S. senator from Illinois who previously served in the state legislature and worked as a community organizer in Chicago.

Hillary Clinton's campaign has emphasized her record as first lady and in the U.S. Senate as a way of highlighting Obama's relative lack of experience.

Memo

After a July 23 debate, her campaign put out a memo criticizing Obama for saying he would agree to meet with dictators without precondition in his first year in office. During the debate, Clinton said she would refuse to do so because such meetings could be used as propaganda.

``Hillary Clinton distinguished herself and showed that she has the strength and experience to be the next president,'' her campaign said. Clinton later told the Quad-City Times that Obama's comments were `irresponsible and frankly naive.''

Still, her husband's comments were the Clinton camp's most pointed and direct to date on Obama's level of experience.

Obama, for his part, has fashioned himself as the agent of change in the race, emphasizing in speeches that he hasn't adopted ``the ways of Washington.''

Experience

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said today that his candidate has ``over two decades of the experience America needs.''

``He can change the divisive politics of Washington because he's the one candidate who's spent his career bringing people of differing views together,'' Burton said.

One of Obama's best-known supporters, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, in August dismissed the experience comparison, saying, ``Being a former first lady doesn't prepare you to be president.''

Bill Clinton, 61, said Obama's experience today is closer to his own in 1988, when he decided not to pursue a White House run. ``I came within a day of announcing, because most of the governors were for me and I had been a governor for six years,'' Clinton said in the interview taped in New York. ``And I really didn't think I knew enough and had served enough and done enough to run.''

Obama has the added difficulty that the international situation is more complicated today, with the threat of terrorism and the war in Iraq, than it was in 1992, Clinton said.

Post Cold War

At that time, the most pressing international issue ``was how to build a post-Cold War world,'' he said. ``We didn't have the terror threat. We didn't have the troops in Iraq. We didn't have the Afghan issue hanging fire.''

When he campaigns for his wife, Bill Clinton highlights her experience as a widely traveled first lady who focused on health- care policy during her husband's administration and now works on the Armed Services Committee as a second-term senator. That experience is critical as the U.S. needs to pursue foreign alliances, build up the military, disengage from Iraq and handle a variety of domestic issues, he said.

``What America needs in a president changes from time to time,'' Clinton said in the Bloomberg Television interview. ``Her experience is more relevant and more compelling.'' .

As you can see, Mr. Obama and Ms Clinton are now doing a bit more than agreeing about President Bush.

And you can bet that it will get a lot more contentious between them in the future - the very near future.  Primaries are just a few months away.  Obama cannot allow the status quo to stand or he loses.  And, despite what some people are supposing about a Clinton/Obama ticket, the odds against it are huge. 

That said, my favorite part of the above article is where Hubby Bill tries to show that Hillary Clinton has presidential qualifications. 

Simply stated, she does not.

Is Hillary Clinton MORE qualified than Barack Obama?  Unquestionably yes.  Obama is eminently unqualified to be president.  He is barely halfway through his first term as a senator, has no legislative accomplishments and has spent the last half year or so basically ignoring his senate seat to run for president.  Before that he was in state government.  Barack Obama is about as qualified to be president as I am to be Secretary of Agriculture.

But, forgetting comparisons with Obama, is Hillary Clinton qualified to be president of the United States?  The answer is no.  Not even close. 

Being a first lady doesn't qualify you to be president.  If so, Laura Bush should be running against her -- and Laura has a more sincere smile.

What's more, citing Ms. Clinton's "experience" in health care is an insult to your intelligence.  The health care task force she led resulted in proposals so disastrous that every DEMOCRAT voted against them along with Republicans. 

With superseding arrogance, Hillary Clinton did not even allow physicians - you know, the people who provide the health care - to be on that task force.  And a federal judge imposed a fine of almost $300,000 afterwards because of dishonesty and illegality, mostly by her henchman Ira Magaziner, in who was put on it*****.

Other than that, what are they citing as a presidential qualification?  That she's on the armed services committee?  Every senator is on committees.  So what?  What has she ACCOMPLISHED on the committee?  That, they aren't saying.  And you know why.

So, bottom-line, what do we have here?  Two unqualified candidates, one of whom has a heavyweight champion husband to block for her, about to go into high gear attack-wise.  If nothing else, it should be entertaining.

 

**** The reason this is asterisked is that when I tried to fact-check the amount ($290,000) and the judge (Royce Lamberth), it took me about 10 minutes to find this on google.  The only way that is possible is if, through a strategy called "google-bombing", some number of individuals or groups has intentionally made it harder to get this information.  The further back you have to look to find it, the less likely you are to do so and the less likely you are to ascribe importance to it.

Now who do you suppose would do such a thing?

Ken Berwitz You're 100% right. Edwards is a one-term senator with no accomplishments of any significance. As an extra added attraction, he also was almost never in attendance at his committee hearings (maybe he was boning up on how to sue more hospitals and doctors out of existence...you get ring rust if you don't keep your hand in). (09/29/07)

steven schneider the interesting part is that edwards is even less qualified yet all the media talks about is the "weak" republican candidates and the "strong" democratic choices. steve (09/29/07)


WHEN HATE CRIMES ARE NOT HATE CRIMES

Ken Berwitz

During the height of the Jena, Louisiana media frenzy, I mentioned that there was no guarantee that the nooses hung on the so-called "White Tree" at Jena's high school were put there by White racists.  I noted that there have been instances in which a Black person creates an incident so that he/she can claim racism (Tawana Brawley is the classic example).

Here, from the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) Pioneer Press, is a current example of what I'm talking about:..

Police say cross burned into lawn was a hoax

Recently jailed man allegedly hoped to win sympathy, money

BY DAVID ORRICK AND ELIZABETH MOHR

Pioneer Press/Twincities.com-Pioneer Press

He thought about faking a heart attack. Or maybe urinating on himself to feign stroke.

But in the end, prosecutors alleged today, ex-con and wanted man De'Andre McCoy June figured the best way to win sympathy and maybe even bail money was to commit a hate crime.

Against himself.

Anoka city prosecutors today charged June, a 47-year-old black man, with burning the symbol of the cross in his own front lawn earlier this week. June called police Wednesday morning and reported someone - he had no idea who - had burned a 6-foot-by-10-foot cross in the grass.

The alleged ruse worked for awhile.

When the first police officers arrived at the rental house in the 3900 block of 10th Lane North in Anoka, a TV camera crew was already there.

All day long, June accommodated the media, angrily chastising unknown racists and vowing: "I'm not going anywhere, because if I leave, they won."

The media played the story, neighbors offered help. The city's Human Rights Commission even called state activists and scheduled an emergency meeting for Tuesday.

Then several Anoka County Jail inmates saw a TV news report during lunch. According to the charges filed today, they recognized June, an eight-time convict, and told guards and later investigators he had spoken of his plan in advance.

"The investigation took an unexpected turn," Anoka Police Capt. Phil Johanson said.

June's Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension rap sheet includes 32 aliases and convictions for crimes ranging from burglary to car theft. Last week, June was in the Anoka County Jail on traffic-related charges, scheduled to report to Hennepin County on theft charges and then to Wright County for a different matter, according to jail records, police statements and today's charges.

According to three inmates, June was hard-up for bail and brainstormed aloud several hoaxes - including a cross burning - to gain sympathy and make money upon his release. Johanson said the inmates have cut no deals with authorities for coming forward.

Investigators do not believe he told any of the eight other family members who live with him.

June faces three misdemeanors: falsely reporting a crime, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process. The last two charges stem not from the cross burning, but from what happened when officers went to arrest June on a separate warrant and question him about the cross Thursday. He denied any involvement.

According to the officers, June physically resisted and swore at the officers. Then he dropped to the floor and said he was having a heart attack, the complaint states.

"After about 10 seconds he appeared to be okay," according to the complaint, which was filed in Anoka County District Court - an uncommon practice for misdemeanors.

"We chose a formal complaint because we wanted the public to know what we knew," Johanson said. "This kind of thing has an effect on a community."

Anoka Human Rights Commission Chairwoman Cynthia Blesi released a statement that read in part "We are very troubled by these turn of events. Any declaration of a hate crime certainly invokes strong reaction from the public. False accusations are a huge hindrance to legitimate claims of bias."

Blesi and another human rights commission member met with June Thursday and had begun to plan a prayer vigil at his home. "He was good," Blesi said of June. "He told us he was from Louisiana and this really hit home."

June is being held without bail at the Hennepin County jail and was unavailable for comment this afternoon.

No one answered the door at his home this evening. The area where the image of the cross had been burned was re-sodded and a hand-drawn sign read: "Thanks Neighbors for All Your Caring Support. God Bless You."

Lisa Skaalerud, who lives down the street from June, saw one bright side to today's charges.

"I'm glad that it cleared the Anoka residents and that we stood by our neighborhood," she said. "I hope the news gets out that there's not that kind of racial prejudice in Anoka." .

There's lots to be said about this. 

The most important point is the damage that a career loser and scumbucket like this does to Black people.  Despite this fraud, racism certainly does exist and is pervasive throughout the USA (and, for that matter, the world). 

When a racist hoax is perpetrated, it means that the next incident that really IS racist may be seen with unfair skepticism...and that the victim may be thought of as the perpetrator.  That is awful.

But because this hoax (along with the others) has been committed, we cannot we cannot take for granted that incidents like this are, in fact racist.  Again, this is awful because I have no doubt the vast majority are just what they seem to be.  

Finally, how in the world is this sack of manure allowed to be on the streets at all?  Did you read that "list of accomplishments"?  32 aliases?  Convictions for burglary and car theft?  And he's out there doing it again - this time making fools of well meaning people of good will? 

Is the criminal justice system that insane?  Yes it is. 


AS THE UN SLEEPS........

Ken Berwitz

I found the following article at a site called www.strategypage.com.  I have no history with this information source and therefore cannot vouch for its accuracy.  But it reads pretty persuasively.  

See if you agree:.

Fear and Loathing in Iran

September 28, 2007:

Information coming out of Iran indicates that the military there is very dismayed at how ineffective new Russian anti-aircraft systems were during the Israeli September 6th air strike  on a Syrian weapons development facility near the Iraqi border. Syria  and Iran have both bought billions of dollars worth of the latest Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. Apparently the Israelis were able to blind these systems electronically. Syria isn't saying anything, nor are the Israelis, but Iranian officers are complaining openly that they have been had by the Russians. The Iranians bought Russian equipment based on assurances that the gear would detect and shoot down Israeli warplanes.

Over the Summer Russia delivered the first dozen or so (of 50) Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft systems to Syria. It is believed that some of these systems are going to Iran, if only because Iran is apparently paying for them. Russia made the sale to Syria, despite $13.4 billion still owned for past purchases. Russia forgave most (73 percent) of the old debt, and is taking some of the balance in goods. In return, Syria is able to buy $400 million worth of anti-aircraft systems, mainly the self-propelled Pantsir-S1. This is a mobile system, each vehicle carries radar, two 30mm cannon and twelve Tunguska missiles. The missiles have a twenty kilometer range, the radar a 30 kilometer range. The missile can hit targets at up to 26,000 feet. The 30mm cannon is effective up to 10,000 feet. The vehicle carrying all this weighs 20 tons and has a crew of three.

 By selling to Syria, even via the use of an enormous discount, Russia gets another foreign customer for their new anti-aircraft systems. Previously, fifty of these systems had been sold to the United Arab Emirates. Each foreign sales make it easier to sell these systems to other foreign customers. But the poor performance in Syria makes it much more difficult to sell any Russian air defense systems (which have a spotty track record in any event.)

 As a practical matter, Syria is too poor to ever pay back the forgiven debt, so forgiving the debt recognizes that reality. However, because Syria has been a client state of Iran for decades, the assertions that Iran put up the money, and will get many of the systems, carry a lot of weight. Iran would most likely use these systems to protect high value targets, like nuclear weapons research facilities. However, if anyone should get photos of these systems in Iran, there would be quite an uproar.

 The Iranians fear an Israeli air strike against their nuclear weapons development facilities. It was thought the new Russian missiles and radars would persuade the Israelis to stay away. But now the raid on Syria looks like a dress rehearsal for one a little further east. Since Iranian leaders have openly called for the destruction of Israel, one can't deny the Israelis a little self-defense. Thus the cries and whispers in Iranian military headquarters. A lot of this is leaking on to Farsi language email and message boards. There is much angst and unhappiness. .

If this is true -- as it very well may be -- where is the UN? 

-Is it still hiding from people who want to know more about the oil for fraud scandal its secretary general and his son, and other UN bigs made all that money from? 

-Is it still hiding from the people who want to know when they will ever do anything about Darfur?  Zimbabwe?  A dozen other places that desperately need exactly the help the UN is supposed to give them?

-Is it still hiding from the people who wonder why Israel is regularly condemned for protecting itself from enemies sworn to destroy it, while dozens of countries which engage in slavery, torture and real war (as opposed to bulldozing the homes where terrorists lived) are ignored?

We edge ever closer to nuclear holocaust, as a madman builds nuclear weaponry that he intends to use against another sovereign country - one that has nuclear weapons to retaliate with.  And what is the UN response?   I'll show you:

The UN response:  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

 


ANOTHER STEP ON THE WAY TO THE UNITED STATESISTAN

Ken Berwitz

Think it can't happen here?  Well read this and think harder:.

First Jell-O, now Santa

OAK LAWN | School district considers banning traditions seen as offensive to Muslims

September 28, 2007

So long, Halloween parade. Farewell, Santa's gift shop.

The holiday traditions are facing elimination in some Oak Lawn schools this year after complaints that the activities are offensive, particularly to Muslim students.

Final decisions on which of the festivities will be axed will fall to the principals at each of Ridgeland School District 122's five schools, Supt. Tom Smyth said.

Parents expect that the announcement is going to add to the tension that has been building since officials agreed earlier this month to change the lunch menu to exclude items containing pork to accommodate Muslim students. News that Jell-O was struck from the menu caused such a stir that officials have agreed to bring it back. Gelatin is often made with tissue or bones of pigs or other animals.

That controversy now appears to have been been dwarfed by the holiday debate, which became so acrimonious Wednesday that police were called to Columbus Manor School to intervene in a shouting match among parents.

"It's difficult when you change the school's culture," said Columbus Manor Principal Sandy Robertson.

Elizabeth Zahdan, a mother of three District 122 students, says she took her concerns to the school board this month, not because she wanted to do away with the traditions, but rather to make them more inclusive. "I only wanted them modified to represent everyone," she said.

Nixing them isn't the response she was looking for. "Now the kids are not being educated about other people," she said.

There's just not time in the six-hour school day to celebrate every holiday, said Smyth, who sent the message to principals that they need to "tone down" the activities that he sees as eating too much into instructional time. "We have to think about our purpose," Smyth said. "Are we about teaching reading, writing and math or for parties or fund-raising during the day?"

Robertson is hoping to strike compromises that will keep traditions alive and be culturally acceptable to all students -- nearly half of whom are of Arab descent at Columbus Manor, she says. Fewer than a third of students districtwide are of Arab descent, according to Smyth.

Following the example of Lieb Elementary School, Columbus Manor School will exchange the annual Halloween parade for a fall festival next month. The holiday gift bazaars at both schools also will remain, but they'll likely be moved to the PTA-sponsored after-school winter festival. And Santa's annual visit probably will be on a Saturday..

This is unbelievable.  We are supposed to give up our culture and our traditions in this country because Muslims might be offended?  Are Christians or Jews demanding that Muslims forgo their culture or traditions because they're offended?  And what would Muslim groups say if that demand were made?

For that matter, what would the Oak Lawn school district say? 

I hate to be crude, but if a minority group comes into my country, expects to preserve its way of life based on the freedoms my country offers, and then tells me I have to change MY way of life because it offends them, the answer is "fuck you".  That's the nicest answer I can think of.

And that goes double for the idiots at Oak Lawn, or anywhere else, who abet them.


AN APOLOGY FROM DUKE: ONE YEAR OVERDUE

Ken Berwitz

Well, it's been almost a year since the Duke lacrosse players were lied about, villified and condemned by a nutcake with no evidence, no corroboration, no DNA who had fraudulently accused men of sexual misconduct at least one other time in the past.

And now, all this time later, the President of Duke has come out of his ivory tower and indicated that, hey, maybe we shouldn't have treated you guys as if you were tried and convicted the day those accusations were made.

Read this and see:.

Duke Apologizes to Lacrosse Players
Sep 29 03:46 PM US/Eastern
By AARON BEARD
Associated Press Writer
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Duke University President Richard Brodhead apologized Saturday for not better supporting the men's lacrosse players falsely accused in last year's highly publicized rape scandal.

Brodhead, speaking at the university's law school, said he regretted Duke's "failure to reach out" in a "time of extraordinary peril" after a woman accused three players of raping her at a March 2006 party thrown by the team.

"Given the complexities of this case, getting the communication right would never have been easy," Brodhead said. "But the fact is that we did not get it right, causing the families to feel abandoned when they were most in need of support. This was a mistake. I take responsibility for it and I apologize for it."

Brodhead spoke at a school-sponsored forum on legal and ethical issues common to high-profile cases, and he received a standing ovation following his speech. He left afterward and school officials said he would not be available for further comment.

As authorities began to investigate the allegations, Brodhead and the university initially suspended the highly ranked team from play. He later canceled the remainder of its season and ousted longtime coach Mike Pressler. Meanwhile, Durham County prosecutor Mike Nifong labeled the team "hooligans" as he searched for suspects.

But even as Nifong won indictments against players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans, it became clear the allegations had no merit.

State prosecutors determined in February the accuser's story was a lie, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper called the three players innocent victims of Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse."

Nifong was disbarred in June for more than two dozen violations of the state bar's rules of professional conduct, including withholding results of critical DNA tests, and resigned from office. He spent one night in jail earlier this month after a judge held him in criminal contempt of court for lying to a court about having provided those test results to defense attorneys.

In the early days of the case, Brodhead was generally cautious in his comments, saying the players should be presumed innocent while also insisting the crimes alleged had no place at the elite private university.

Brodhead said Saturday he worried that making numerous public comments could be interpreted as an attempt by Duke to "influence the judicial process," especially since Nifong was insisting a crime had occurred.

That may have created an impression that Duke did not care about the accused students, Brodhead said, which he said was untrue but still something he regrets.

"Duke needed to be clear that it demanded fair treatment for its students," he said. "I took that completely for granted. If anyone doubted it, then I should have been more explicit, especially as the evidence mounted that the prosecutor was not acting in accordance with the standards of his profession."

Brodhead also said the school could have done more to show that some members of Duke's faculty who were openly critical of the lacrosse team did not speak for the university as a whole.

Duke has reached private settlements with Pressler, now the coach at Division II Bryant in Rhode Island, as well as the three cleared players and a teammate who was not indicted but accused a professor of giving him a failing grade because he was a lacrosse player.

Brodhead said the university is planning a national conference of lawyers, educators and student affairs leaders to discuss how schools should deal with students facing serious criminal charges.

.

Does anyone really care what Richard Bonehead says about this now?  Does anyone really care that he's going to put together a "conference" to discuss how to deal with criminal charges?

Dear Mr. Bonehead:  Here's a way to deal with criminal charges that you don't need a conference for:  Treat your students as if they were innocent until proven guilty.  I repeat:  innocent until proven guilty.

And that goes double for the 88 idiots on your faculty who condemned them in writing last year, based 100% on the accusations of one nutcake with a history of lying about sexual molestation. 

Got that?  You're a university president. I'm hoping this isn't above your head.


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