Sunday, 20 April 2008

RICHARD QUEST

Ken Berwitz

I am posting the beginning of this New York Post article (which you can read in its entirety by clicking here) because it is news per se, and because you'll hear about it elsewhere anyway:

KINKY NEWS NETWORK

CNN'S QUEST A VERY 'KNOTTY' BOY

By DAREH GREGORIAN and PHILIP MESSING

April 19, 2008 --

This is CNN? Kinky!

CNN personality Richard Quest was busted in Central Park early yesterday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.

Quest, 46, was arrested at around 3:40 a.m. after a cop spotted him and another man inside the park near 64th Street, a police source said.

The criminal complaint against Quest said the park was closed at the time - something Quest should have known because of all the signs saying "Park Closed 1 a.m. to 6 a.m."

Quest was initially busted for loitering, the source said. Aside from the oddly configured rope, the search also turned up a sex toy inside of his boot, and a small bag of methamphetamine in his left jacket pocket.

It wasn't immediately clear what the rope was for.

I know some people will think I posted this for its prurient content.

Well, think what you want.  I didn't.  Mr. Quest obviously has some major issues to deal with and I hope he gets help and is back on the air - under much, much better circumstances - soon.

The Post clearly enjoyed making sport of Mr. Quest's problems.  Me, I don't make fun of people in this situation and hope you don't either. 

The paper's handling of this humiliating personal issue is shameful.


OBAMA BS (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

First we had the BS about Barack Obama's family being on food stamps (while he was attending a pricey elite private school in Hawaii and his grandmother was the vice president of a bank).

Now we have this, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.  Please note what I've put in bold print:

chicagotribune.com

How broke were Obamas? Hard to tell

By Ray Gibson, John McCormick and Christi Parsons

Tribune reporters

4:13 PM CDT, April 19, 2008

The Obamas often say they would still be in debt if not for his best-selling books, which began to swell the couple's bank account in 2005. In fact, for some period of time, Michelle Obama tells audiences, the couple's college loan payments cost them more than their monthly mortgage.

As young lawyers, the Obamas pursued non-profit or public service during much of the 1990s. Obama once said he was so broke when he arrived in Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention in 2000 that his credit card was rejected when he tried to rent a car.

Still, it's hard to tell just how broke they were, when and for how long.

Public records paint only part of the financial picture. In 1993 they bought a condominium in Hyde Park for $277,500, paying about $111,000 as a down payment, according to county real estate records.

As for income, they earned a combined household total of slightly more than $240,000 in 2000, according to tax records they have since made public. (Their income fluctuated in that range until 2005, when they reported earning $1.6 million.)

But it's unclear how much their college loan debts were, and aides to the Obama campaign said last week that they could not immediately provide records to clarify.

However, Michelle Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988 and her husband graduated in 1991, around the time when the school's dean estimated the cost of a Harvard law degree at $62,200. They both also earned undergraduate degrees from Ivy League schools.

In 2005, though, Obama told the Tribune that royalties from his first book and advances on the next had cleared up his financial difficulties. The family moved into a $1.6 million home.

Look at that BS meter fly. 

This is right up there with the whopper that his parents met at the Selma (Alabama) march --- when he was 4 years old.  And the one about not knowing that his pastor of 20 years, whose church he regularly attended, is an anti-USA, anti-Israel racist.

Yes, it is true that Hillary Clinton is a serial liar.  Yes, it is true that John McCain has lied and displayed hypocrisy.  You won't get any denial from me on either account.

But it is also true that Barack Obama is exactly the same.  The difference is that he is the one a segment of gullible people are running to because they have convinced themselves that he is above this kind of behavior.

Well, he isn't above it.  He lies to us all the time. 

BARACK OBAMA IS A CHICAGO DEMOCRATIC MACHINE POLITICIAN .  That loud enough?  Got it now?

He is slicker than most politicians who come out of the Chicago Democratic political machine.  He is certainly more eloquent than most.  But that is where he came from and that is what he is today.

Presidential politics is no fantasyland.  To a great extent, the person in the oval office holds our destiny in his/her hands.  Strip away Barack Obama's false patina of purity and what do you have left?  An Illinois state senator who won a U.S. senate seat, has served there less than one term, and has spent the lion's share of his time running for the presidency instead of getting anything done, that's what.

Gertrude Stein dismissed the city of Oakland, where she grew up, by saying "There is no there there".  Presidential qualifications-wise, Ms. Stein could have as easily been talking about Barack Obama.


JACK CAFFERTY AND CHINA

Ken Berwitz

CNN it taking it on the chin today.

Not only do we have the Richard Quest issue, but it seems that Jack Cafferty, a sort of gadfly who is given a chance to vent on CNN's "The Situation Room",  is under extreme fire for comments he made about China.

Here is an excerpt of the story from today's Los Angeles Times, with Cafferty's quote in bold print.  You can read it all by just clicking here:

Chinese Americans line Sunset Boulevard outside the network's offices to call for the commentator's dismissal.
By David Pierson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 20, 2008
Throngs of Chinese Americans protested outside CNN's offices in Hollywood on Saturday morning, calling for the dismissal of commentator Jack Cafferty, whose recent remarks about Chinese goods and China inflamed a community already angry about international condemnations directed at the host country of the upcoming Olympic Games.

The protesters lined Sunset Boulevard from Cahuenga Boulevard to Wilcox Avenue chanting "Fire Cafferty" and "CNN liar" and singing the Chinese national anthem and other patriotic songs. They waved Chinese, American and Taiwanese flags and directed their anger at the news channel's dark glass tower.

"It's really unacceptable," said John He, an organizer of the event. "It maliciously attacks all Chinese. This would not be accepted if it was directed at any other ethnic group."

On the April 9 airing of "The Situation Room," Cafferty said of America's relationship with China: "We continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export . . . jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart. So I think our relationship with China has certainly changed. I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years."

CNN later said Cafferty's comments were directed at the Beijing government.

"In this occasion Jack was offering his strongly held opinion of the Chinese government, not the Chinese people," a CNN spokesman said in a statement. "It should be noted that over many years, Jack Cafferty has expressed critical comments on many governments, including the U.S. government and its leaders."

Let me first point out that I disagree with Jack Cafferty a lot.  His politics usually do not coincide with mine. 

That said, however, I am having trouble finding anything in his commentary to disagree with. 

A lot of what China exports is junk, the lead paint and the inedible dog food did come from China, many of their workers do work for next to nothing and the government is still controlled by goons and thugs. 

Look, this is the United States of America.  Ethnic Chinese people and/or anyone else are free to protest Mr. Cafferty to their hearts' content. 

But, regarding this issue, don't count on me to be among them.  


THE NEW YORK TIMES FINALLY DEALS WITH WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN BASRA

Ken Berwitz

How they must have hated publishing this.

The New York Times, finally, has acknowledged that Iraqi and US forces (mostly Iraqi, I'm thrilled to say) decimated moqtada al-sadr's "mahdi army" in Basra.

Until now the Times played a despicable game of let's-pretend about this beating.  A cynical person might even say the paper revealed its rooting interest by doing so (i.e. if Basra was a defeat, it would "prove" the paper's relentless mantra that there are no successes and nothing ever goes right for us in Iraq).

I have posted the first part of the Times' article below.  You can read it all by clicking here:

BAGHDAD Iraqi soldiers took control of the last bastions of the cleric Moktada al-Sadrs militia in Basra on Saturday, and Irans ambassador to Baghdad strongly endorsed the Iraqi governments monthlong military operation against the fighters.

By Saturday evening, Basra was calm, but only after air and artillery strikes by American and British forces cleared the way for Iraqi troops to move into the Hayaniya district and other remaining Mahdi Army militia strongholds and begin house-to house searches, Iraqi officials said. Iraqi troops were meeting little resistance, said Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry in Baghdad.

Despite the apparent concession of Basra, Mr. Sadr issued defiant words on Saturday night. In a long statement read from the loudspeakers of his Sadr City Mosque, he threatened to declare war until liberation against the government if fighting against his militia forces continued.

But it was difficult to tell whether his words posed a real threat or were a desperate effort to prove that his group was still a feared force, especially given that his militias actions in Basra followed a pattern seen again and again: the Mahdi militia battles Iraqi government troops to a standstill and then retreats.

The plain truth is that Iraq's army, with help from the USA, handed al-sadr's "mahdi army" a shellacking they will never forget.  It is not out of the question that this defeat in Basra is the straw that will break moqtadr al-sadr's back altogether.

The beating was so bad and so decisive that Iran, which is BANKROLLING al-sadr, and where he has been hiding while his so-called army took the beating (what a brave, courageous warrior al sadr is!!) had to swallow hard and pretend it was ok with them too. 

What else could ahmadinejad & Co. do?  Everyone (except the New York Times, at least until today's edition) knew what happened.

And let me assure you in strongest terms that I hope this is just the beginning.  I hope that the New York Times is forced to publish an entire series of articles just like this one. 

And if they don't like it?  If it makes the Times' nonstop attacks look stupid and small, not to mention dead wrong?  That's too effing bad. 

free Not sure if you blogged about Ralph Peters article or not. It is a must read about Basra and how the MSM have lied about it. Media's War Lies By Ralph Peters New York Post | 4/18/2008 LIKE many Americans, I get angry at biased "reporting" about Iraq and the spin from dishonest pundits. Usually, I get over it quickly, since my expectations of the media are pretty low. But sometimes a Big Lie just won't let go. And the lefty lie that the Iraqi military is a hopeless failure must be answered. Yes, we all know that left-wing media outlets, such as the dying New York Times, need Iraq to fail to redeem their credibility. They'll do all they can to dismiss any sign of progress. But the perverted gloating over recent Iraqi military operations in Basra combines willful ignorance of military affairs with a shameless manipulation of the facts. Yes, some local Iraqi police and new military recruits ran away. But that was all that the media reported. Where was the coverage of the 95 percent of the Iraqi security forces who did their duty? Some fought superbly. The Iranian-backed gangs and militias took a beating. Muqtada al Sadr - not the central government - asked for a cease-fire. The Iraqi military remains in Basra, still pushing (and freeing the occasional kidnapped journalist). The government now has a presence where lawlessness prevailed - and it took control of Basra's vital port facilities, the country's economic lifeline. But all we continue to hear about is the one Iraqi cop or soldier in 20 who ran away. OK, consider our own military history - which isn't short of ultimate victories: * During the American Revolution, George Washington repeatedly had trouble with troops fleeing the battlefield and with desertions. Militias remained unreliable all through the war. Yet, we defeated the British - a global power - in the end. * In the War of 1812, American troops broke again - and more than once. Yet, at the war's conclusion, it was redcoats seasoned in the Napoleonic Wars who fled from the US Army's "Cottonbalers" at New Orleans. * In the Mexican-American War, Gen. Winfield Scott's march on Mexico City was the most brilliant campaign ever fought by American troops - yet, earlier in the conflict, an entire troop of US Cavalry (new immigrants) deserted to the Mexican side. That's why there's never a J or Juliet troop in a US Cavalry regiment. * After a few hours of fierce fighting, the Union Army broke at Bull Run, fleeing in panic at the start of our Civil War. Even two years later, when the Army of the Potomac was well on its way to becoming the first great industrial-age force, the XI Corps - more than 10,000 men - disintegrated when surprised by Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville. Guess who won the Civil War, anyway? * As other writers have noted in regard to Basra, the green US forces in North Africa in WWII fell apart when struck by Rommel's Afrika Korps at Kasserine Pass. At Vossenack Ridge, two years later, US troops cracked under heavy shelling and ran again. Guess who won that war, too? * At the outset of the Korean War, the US Army's Task Force Smith collapsed as it was overwhelmed by North Koreans. But we came back with a vengeance. Should we have just quit? And should we demand more of the Iraqis, who have so many internal obstacles to overcome, than we ourselves could deliver in the past? Few battles have perfect outcomes. No wars do. Not all soldiers will measure up. And no human endeavor is more complex than warfare. Soldiers break and run in three basic circumstances: when they're new and are asked to do too much too soon; when they're surprised; or when they're ground down to the breaking point by overwhelming odds. Show me one country whose troops have never fled a battlefield - I can't find any. In the past, when we still honored military service, even the literary set understood that wars are fought by fallible human beings. Stephen Crane's American classic, "The Red Badge of Courage," is about a young soldier who runs away in terror from his first taste of combat - yet returns to fight bravely later on. The Iraqi military, which now has 190,000 troops in uniform, is getting along pretty well by historical standards. These troops are taking responsibility for their own country, allowing us to do less and less of the fighting and dying. Yes, they'll need our help for a while yet - but we needed the "technologically superior" French to help us get to Yorktown. Meanwhile, why don't the noisiest critics of the situation in Iraq, from the Times' silly Frank Rich to Sen. Barack Obama, go to Iraq to see things for themselves? Are they afraid? If so, they really shouldn't question the courage of others or mock their sacrifices. I've always admitted that Iraq could fail. Despite real, measurable progress, that remains the case. I only wish that those on the left would have the integrity to acknowledge that Iraq also has a chance to succeed. (04/20/08)


THE CLINTON AND OBAMA COMPLAIN-A-THON

Ken Berwitz

You don't need my input for this one; Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press said it well enough without me.  I have posted the relevant excerpt below, but you can read the entire article by clicking here

Clinton, Obama complain about complaining

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer Sat Apr 19, 5:10 AM ET

RADNOR, Pa. - Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are complaining about which candidate is the biggest complainer.

The issue is their treatment in debates. Obama is objecting to the questions posed this week in one moderated by ABC News. Many of the toughest questions were targeted at Obama, the front-runner for the nomination, and he's said too much time was spent on political divisions instead of issues that matter to Americans.

Clinton said Friday that if Obama thinks the debate was tough, it pales in comparison to the pressures a president faces.

"I'm with Harry Truman on this if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen," she told voters while campaigning in Pennsylvania. "Just speaking for myself, I am very comfortable in the kitchen."

But it wasn't so long ago that Clinton was the front-runner and complaining about her treatment in debates. After a debate last fall, her campaign compiled clips of her being targeted, and called it the "Politics of Pile On." In late February, Clinton complained that she always got asked the first question.

"Her blatant hypocrisy here is stunning," responded Obama spokesman Bill Burton..

No wonder John McCain is smiling so much these days...and complaining so little.


HARVARD HALAL

Ken Berwitz

I just read this bone-chilling editorial from Investor's Business Daily at www.sweetness-light.com.  I wonder if it will have any impact on the ostriches in our country whose heads need so desperately to be raised out of the sand:

Harvard Goes Halal

INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY

Posted 4/18/2008

Islamofascism: Separate gym hours for Muslim coeds. Calls to prayer. Lectures on Shariah finance. A campus in the Mideast? Nope. It's all happening at America's pre-eminent college.

Over the past few years, Harvard University has received millions in endowments from rich Saudi and Emirate sheiks. Now it's returning the favor by Islamizing its campus and promoting the Shariah agenda of its new Arab masters.

Recently, the Ivy League school has made special accommodations for the religious needs of Muslim students, including, and rescheduling of exams to observe Islamic holidays.

And this weekend it hosted a $400-per-person conference on Shariah finance led by officials from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The goal of the forum sponsored by Harvard's Islamic Finance Project is to "integrate" Islamic finance into the mainstream economy.

That's a tough fit, because Islamic, or Shariah, finance forbids investment in major Western industries, including those that derive substantial income from interest.

Banking and insurance, as well as alcohol, tobacco or pork-related industries, are not considered "halal," or allowable, under Islam. Entertainment is also unlawful.

Shariah-compliant investments are monitored by paid Shariah law advisers who must "purify" certain returns by donating them to Islamic charities including some that promote jihad and support suicide bombings.

With $800 billion already in Shariah assets and $1 trillion to $2 trillion in Arab petrodollars annually looking for an investment home the potential for billions being siphoned off for terrorism is real.

This, of course, would be a serious criminal violation of U.S. law. Yet Western bankers, including many on Wall Street who are jumping into the Shariah finance market, don't know this.

One prominent Shariah adviser is Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He's a paid adviser to Arcapita (formerly Crescent Capital), which happens to sponsor Harvard's Islamic Finance Project along with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian who has advocated suicide bombings and described Shariah finance as nothing less than "jihad with money."

He heads the Islamic American University and is a proposed trustee of the Islamic Society of Boston. The director of Harvard's Islamic Finance Project, S. Nazim Ali, is active in both the university and the Islamic Society. Ali is neither an economist nor a scholar. His background is in computers.

Another paid Shariah adviser is Sheik Muhammad Usmani, a Pakistani cleric who ran a madrassa that trained thousands of Taliban and who recently wrote a book supporting jihad and Islamic domination. He, too, has links to Harvard, according to the Center for Security Policy, a vanguard against so-called Shariah creep.

Roger Ferguson, president-elect of the university's board of overseers, joined Swiss RE in August 2006. Two months later, Usmani was named chairman of Swiss RE's Shariah advisory board.

Until recently, Usmani was listed as chief adviser to the Dow Jones Islamic Fund, which is run by the North American Islamic Trust, a recently named co-conspirator in a federal terror-financing case.

Usmani's name along with the entire section covering the fund's "Shariah supervisory board" mysteriously disappeared from the Islamic Trust's Web site after we exposed the fund's extremist ties in a Feb. 28 editorial ("The Risky Business of Islamic Finance"). Other key information on Shariah also has been purged. In addition, the Islamic Trust renamed its Dow fund the "Iman Fund" and amended several paragraphs in its prospectus.

It appears Islamists are trying to use such Shariah-compliant financial products as tools to get Islamic law through the back door into Western countries, including the U.S. They're enlisting our finest colleges in the project.

If Arab sheiks think they can buy American colleges and use our campuses to spread Wahhabism, Harvard only has encouraged them.

Nice going, Harvard.  But why stop there?  Why not just skip the intermediate steps;  rename the school Halal University and turn Cambridge into a "holy city"?

Is it not clear that things like this happen because of our energy dependency, therefore our need to make these people impossibly rich by buying their oil?

We have ANWR, but we don't drill.  We have offshore assets in the gulf of Mexico, but we don't exploit them.  We have enough shale oil resources to tell the Saudis to take a walk, but we don't extract them.  We have vast coal  reserves and the technology (and regulations) to use them without destroying the environment.  We have the ability to power our country with nuclear energy.

But we use virtually none of this.  Why?  Because a tiny cadre of activists want to keep us energy dependent while simultaneously attacking us for getting that energy elsewhere. 

And that is why we are slogging through $115 a barrel oil, the Saudis are getting richer and richer from it, and they can toss around so much money that even Harvard is bowing down to them.

When do the ostriches poke their heads out of the sand and see what is in front of their eyes?


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