Tuesday, 25 November 2008

STRETCHING THE LIMITS OF HUBRIS

Ken Berwitz

hubris

Pronunciation: \ˈhy-brəs\
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek hybris
exaggerated pride or self-confidence

Did you ever hear of "The Office of the President-Elect"?  I didn't either.

But suddenly there is Barack Obama, standing in front of podiums with a seal and those words underneath (see picture below, followed by the story from www.foxnews.com).


Despite Bells and Whistles, 'Office of President-Elect' Holds No Authority

The props that decorate the stage for the Office of the President-elect serve as just that, since Barack Obama will hold no actual authority in the Executive Branch until Jan. 20.

FOXNews.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama is looking very presidential these days. When he makes an announcement, he is ringed by American flags and stands behind a lectern that has a very presidential-looking placard announcing "The Office of the President-Elect." 

But the props are merely that. Under the Constitution, there is no such thing as the Office of the President-elect. Technically, Obama will not even become the president-elect until the Electoral College convenes after the second Wednesday in December and elects him based on the results of the Nov. 4 general election, as stated in the Constitution.

So what is Obama's executive authority in the weeks leading to Jan. 20?

In the 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, the next president must ensure a smooth transition by selecting political appointees to manage key agencies and offices within the Executive Branch, and by creating the policies that will define the new administration -- all while respecting the authority held by the current president.

The Presidential Transition Act -- created in 1963 and amended in 2000 -- establishes formal provisions for the transition period by outlining training and other assistance that the president-elect and his team of advisers can receive as they prepare to assume office.

The amended bill -- co-sponsored by lawmakers including former Sen. Fred Thompson, Sen. Joe Lieberman, and Sen. Dick Durbin -- calls for the "training and orientation of high-level presidential appointees," among other things, as well as more efficient background checks to ensure individuals are properly vetted and confirmed for office.

"New administrations face a series of hurdles they must overcome to accomplish this essential task before they can begin to govern," Lieberman told Congress in 1999 while arguing in favor of the amended legislation.

The original bill also allowed the president-elect and vice president-elect certain "services and facilities," like suitable office space to conduct transition operations, public funds to pay their staff's salaries and money to transport workers to and from Washington.

Obama has employed over 500 staffers to assist in his transition operations -- working from a nondescript office building in downtown Washington and from locations in his hometown of Chicago.

His transition team has received a budget of $12 million -- $5.2 million of which was allocated by Congress, and the rest from private donations of under $5,000.

As president-elect, Obama is also given the same highly classified intelligence briefings that President Bush receives on a daily basis. And Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden get full Secret Service protection, which Obama also received during the Democratic primaries and general election campaign.

But the "Office of the President-Elect," while critical in building the future government, has no official power -- which Obama himself acknowledged during his victory speech in Chicago on Election Night.

"It is an office -- it's just a quasi-government office for planning the takeover of the government," said Stephen J. Wayne, a professor at Georgetown University's department of government.

"Obama has no formal power as far as the existing government is concerned, but he has a lot of informal influence, which President Bush has encouraged," he added.

Wayne compared the function of the "Office of the President-Elect" to spring training in baseball.
"It doesn't count in the standings, but it does contribute to a team's ability to do well from day one," he said.

The extensive operations and considerable funding for Obama's transition office are not unique. President Bush received $8.5 million to fund his transition team -- a sum that was "unprecedented at the time," according to Georgetown University government professor Chris Hull.

"The Bush administration built their transition team a month before the election was over to make sure it would be a fully-functioning office on November 5," he said.

Despite its lack of formal power, some argue that the "Office of the President-Elect" must maintain an official and authoritative front -- even if just for show. This transition comes at a particularly vulnerable time for the U.S. government in protecting against terrorism -- as evidenced in 1993 when terrorists bombed the World Trade Center as former President Bill Clinton prepared to take office.

"President Bush and President-Elect Obama have stressed together that the times of transition are particularly perilous in terms of terrorist strikes," said Hull. "The President-Elect and his team must appear to maintain confidence."

Ok, let's get two things straight:

-There is no such thing as an "Office of the President Elect".  It doesn't exist;

-Even if it did exist, contrary to popular opinion and the ignorance of countless journalists, Barack Obama is not the President elect yet.  He achieves that status only after the electoral college meets and a majority of electors vote for him.

First we had that ridiculous "presidential seal" with his name on it during the campaign.  Then we had him remove an American Flag from the tail fin of his campaign plane and replace it with that same phony "presidential seal".  Now we have an idiotic invented "office".

At the beginning of this blog, I put up the word "hubris", along with its etymology and meaning.  After seeing Barack Obama in action, I think maybe Merriam-Webster should insert Mr. Obama's picture next to it.


AT LONG LAST A GLIMMER OF HOPE?

Ken Berwitz

Is it an earthquake, or simply a shock?
Is it the good turtle soup, or is it merely the mock?
Is it a cocktail, this feeling of joy?
Or is what I feel the real McCoy?

Is it for all time or simply a lark?
Is it Granada I see or only Asbury Park?
Is it a fancy, not worth thinking of?
Or is it at long last love?

From "At Long Last Love", written by the great Cole Porter

So I'm checking the St. Paul (MN) Pioneer-Press, and I come across this article:

Franken losing ground to Coleman on DFL turf - Minneapolis

As Minnesota's recount in the U.S. Senate race marches on, campaign operatives have focused on the color of the ballots being counted.

Are the piles of recounted ballots from red counties, where Republican Sen. Norm Colman might be expected to pick up a few stray votes? Or blue counties, where DFL challenger Al Franken might have the advantage?

But Minneapolis the biggest, bluest pile of all is turning that logic on its head. With nearly half of its ballots recounted, the city Franken calls home isn't doing the candidate any favors. And that could be dimming Franken's hopes of catching Coleman before the state canvassing board meets Dec. 16.

"Things are clearly moving in the wrong direction for Franken," said Larry Jacobs, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance.

With fewer than half of the ballots counted in Minneapolis, Franken has lost 86 votes, while Coleman has lost just 37. In other words, the city could be blunting any recount advantage Franken might have in the rest of the state as the recount rolls toward its Dec. 5 deadline.

Once the dust settled from Election Day, Coleman had a 215-vote advantage. After the statewide hand recount began Wednesday, Franken closed the gap to double digits before Coleman's lead grew again. It now stands at 172, with 74 percent of the ballots recounted.

More than 200,000 people voted in Minneapolis, a DFL stronghold. By contrast, fewer than 120,000 ballots were counted in St. Louis County, another DFL stronghold and one where Franken has picked up votes during the recount.

One big question mark is the challenged ballots. The state canvassing board will decide whether each of those ballots now numbering 2,801 statewide goes to Coleman or Franken or is rejected altogether. But the challenged ballots are not included in the current recount totals.

Consequently, a campaign could generate a perceived advantage by challenging votes for the opponent. In Minneapolis, Coleman has issued more challenges than Franken, 110 to 79.

Another lingering issue is absentee ballots that were rejected by local elections officials. The Franken campaign wants those ballots reviewed, with any improperly rejected ballots then counted, and Jacobs said it looks increasingly likely that that is Franken's only path to victory.

"The Franken campaign is going to win or lose based on what happens with the absentees," Jacobs said.

Minneapolis Election Director Cindy Reichert said Minneapolis will continue counting today before taking a five-day holiday hiatus.

While Ramsey County finished counting all St. Paul precincts Monday, Minneapolis ballot counters will restart Monday with more counting tables to meet the Dec. 5 deadline, Reichert said.

The Franken campaign has tried to point out that more Democratic votes so-called "blue piles" remain to be counted than red piles, presumably giving their candidate an advantage. Franken campaign attorney Marc Elias dismissed the argument that the recount in Minneapolis seems to be working against Franken.

Elias pointed out that Franken has picked up votes in red counties such as Stearns County and that voters anywhere can make a mistake on their ballots though their intent to vote for a candidate is clear.

"The thing about random error is, it's random," Elias said.

Elias also predicted Franken will see gains in Minneapolis once the challenged ballots are resolved. Asked whether he indeed thought so, Elias said: "I know so."

Fritz Knaak, Coleman's lead recount attorney, said Franken isn't seeing the gains he would expect in strongly Democratic parts of the state.

"As Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis (counties) come to the conclusion of their recounts, the amount of votes the Franken campaign had hoped to gain have not materialized," Knaak said.

Knaak said the number of votes he feared Coleman would lose in the three counties also has not materialized.

"It was at least a possibility that we'd get through the Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis count down in the count," Knaak said. "That has not occurred."

The Franken campaign on Monday raised another issue with the recount, releasing a letter it sent urging Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to ask local elections officials to search for what the campaign called "missing" ballots.

"In an election this close, we cannot (allow) any lawful vote to go uncounted," Elias said.

In a handful of precincts around the state, the hand-counted totals have been slightly lower than the number of people recorded as having voted on Election Day.

That has spurred local officials to search for what could be missing ballots, with some turning up in voting machines or in boxes marked as containing unused ballots.

In Burnsville, for example, 120 ballots with write-in votes for a City Council race were left in a voting machine and discovered during the recount when the overall vote totals didn't match.

But local officials also say the ballots may not be missing, with the differing totals likely the result of Election Day machine errors in which elections workers mistakenly believe a ballot hasn't been counted and feed it back through the machine, thereby counting it twice.

In a Coon Rapids precinct, for example, the number of recounted ballots fell a few votes short of the Election Day total, but Anoka County Elections Manager Rachel Smith said she believes there are no missing ballots.

Several metro counties are nearing the end of their recounts. Anoka County will finish its last precinct this morning, and officials in Dakota County say they will stay late tonight to finish.

I don't know what to think about this.  Is it possible that al franken will not steal Norm Coleman's senate seat?  Or is it that this movement in Coleman's favor is meant to lull us into complacency, so the franken people to be able to say "see, it worked both ways" after the magical new votes materialize that give him a victory? 

Is it Granada I see, or only Asbury Park? 

Let me end by apologizing to Asbury Park, New Jersey for the comparison to al franken.  Neither Asbury nor franken is Granada, of course.  But even though al franken sounds more like the Alhambra, Asbury Park is classier.


ONE MORE BLOG ABOUT OBAMA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE

Ken Berwitz

Here is part of a larger article by Jane Porter of www.worldnetdaily.com, enumerating specific issues regarding whether Barack Obama's facsimile birth certificate is legitimate. 

Within it, there is a link to a 6 1/2 minute video in which someone named Ron Polarik, who claims to be an expert on this subject, details the discrepancies he imputes to Mr. Obama's facsimile document:

Rathergate II: Certification of Live Birth a clear forgery

Posted: November 25, 2008
1:00 am Eastern  2008 

The media bought it. The voters bought it. And now some in Congress are resisting the idea of congressional hearings because they believe that Barack Obama's "birth certificate" has been posted online.

Not so.

What was posted was not a birth certificate, but something that resembles a "Certification of Live Birth" or COLB, which, even if authentic, does not prove "natural born" U.S. citizenship. You see, in Hawaii, a Certification of Live Birth is issued within a year of a child's birth to those who register a birth abroad or one that takes place outside a hospital.

It's Rathergate all over again with more amiss than a 1970s Selectric typewriter. But before I tell you what the experts found, let me ask you a few questions:

  1. If you were a natural born American citizen and had it within your means to quiet all the lawsuits and questions with proof, would you do it?
  2. If you were a natural born American citizen, would you spend thousands of dollars to fight the legal cases against you, or would you simply answer the legitimate question of whether you meet the constitutional requirements for office?
  3. If you were a natural born American citizen, would you forge a document called a "Certification of Live Birth" and tell the public it was a real "birth certificate"?

If someone were to violate the law by manufacturing a forgery in order trick the public, would that be enough evidence for members of Congress to conduct hearings and for a court to issue an order for the critical records, including the original long-form birth certificate (signed by the doctor) to ensure that the U.S. constitutional requirements for office were not violated? After all, Congress is sworn to uphold and defend that Constitution, and the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are "guardians" of the Constitution. That's their job, isn't it?

Ron Polarik, who holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Media and specializes in computer graphics with over 20 years experience with computers, printers and typewriters, has come forth with more definitive evidence than the word processor that tried to simulate a 1970s Selectric typewriter.

Polarik has submitted a signed affidavit and has now released his findings on video at www.ObamaForgery.com with his identity masked and voice altered to guard against the carrying out of threats, which he has already received.

The Summary: The Certificate of Live Birth documents posted on Mr. Obama's website www.fightthesmears.com, Daily Kos (a pro-Obama blog) and factcheck.org, (a pro-Obama political research group), were found to be altered and forged.

  1. The problem of the pixels: When you have a green patterned document such as this, there should be a lot of green pixels from the background showing up between the letters that appear on the certification. But in this case, instead of green pixels, there are white and grey pixels between the letters, which result when you replace existing text with other text.
  2. There is no second fold line. The pictures show two folds necessary to fit any COLB into an envelope for mailing, but the document itself shows only one fold. This is another indication of document alteration.
  3. There's a blurred border. The border has a lower resolution than the rest of the document, which is another indication that it has been altered.
  4. The border is one that is used in 2007 COLBs. As a security measure, Hawaii changes their borders every year. This is when the Obama campaign claims the certificate was obtained. That is fine except for the problem that
  5. The seal and signature stamp are from a 2008 COLB. As revealed by a process called edging, the Hawaiian seal and signature stamp on the back of the document are revealed to be from the wrong year!

Like with Rathergate, when you're creating documents, make sure you use only a typewriter that was invented at the time you report the document was manufactured. When posting a "Certification of Live Birth," make sure you "borrow" only from documents used in the same year!

Be sure to sign the petition demanding evidence of Barack Obama's constitutional qualifications.

But beyond the birth certificate issue, there's the matter that Obama traveled to Indonesia, Pakistan, Southern India and Kenya in 1981. He said he went to Indonesia to see his mother. This seemed plausible, except for the fact that his mother returned to Hawaii in August of 1980 to file for a divorce from her second husband, Lolo Soetoro. Unless she went back to pal around with the man she divorced, she wasn't there at the time of Obama's visit.

There's another problem. No record of Obama holding an American passport prior to the one he received once becoming a U.S. senator has been found. If he traveled to Pakistan with an American passport, he wouldn't have been allowed in since Pakistan was in turmoil in 1981 and under martial law. It was also on the State Department's travel ban list for U.S. citizens.

If he couldn't get into Pakistan with a U.S. passport, perhaps he went there with an Indonesian passport. But the only way you can get one of those is if you are an Indonesian citizen.

That's quite possible since under Indonesian law, when a male acknowledges a child as his son, it deems the son in this case Obama to be an Indonesian state citizen, which was also recorded by Obama's school record.

So, if he didn't go to Indonesia in 1981 to visit mom (who had returned to Hawaii by then), might it have something to do with the fact that Indonesian passports expire every five years and it was time for renewal?

Why does that matter?

If Obama would have been a U.S. citizen, 8 USC 1481(a)(2) provides loss of nationality by native born citizens upon "taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state ... after having attained the age of eighteen years," in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1401(a)(1). Simply put, since Indonesia did not allow for dual citizenship, if Obama got that passport in 1981, when he was 20 years old, he effectively renounced any U.S. citizenship he may have had.

So, if the experts are right, Obama forged a Certification of Live Birth to fool America. In addition to the automatic Indonesian citizenship granted to a child acknowledged as a "son" by an Indonesian male citizen, and the Indonesian citizenship listed in Obama's school records, Obama then traveled to a place where Americans weren't allowed to go, but citizens of Indonesia were. If he obtained an Indonesian passport on his trip

in 1981, he effectively renounced any American citizenship he may have had and cannot serve as president (or "rule" as president, as members of his campaign have stated). These are serious questions that must have answers.

Does this prove to my satisfaction that the document is a forgery and Barack Obama is ineligible for the presidency? 

No it does not. 

I don't know who Ron Polarik is, and I am no expert on this stuff so I don't know if the claims which are made here actually prove a thing.

But it does convince me that, to be sure, we need more than Mr. Obama's smiling face and a questionable non-original document. 

The people have a right to know if they have been defrauded into electing a man ineligible for the office he ran for. 

The people have a right to demand in no uncertain terms that the original "vault copy" of Barack Obama's birth certificate be produced and reviewed.

Ted The Supreme Court CANNOT DUCK Obama’s Birth Certificate Constitutional Crisis (albeit the media blackout on the issue). The messiah will NOT become President! This 90-minute blogradio program explains why: politicalpistachio.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-is-obamas-birth-certificate-still.html (11/25/08)

BOB W HEY MARTY YOU MAY BE RIGHT- YOU MAY BE WRONG- BUT THERE IS ONE SURE FIRED WAY TO SHUT EVRY ONE UP AND THAT IS JUST STOP DUCKING THE ISSUE AND PROVE IT- WELL UNLESS NO-BAMA HAS SOMETHING TO HIDE!!! (11/25/08)

Marty Pres. Elect Obama has no obligation to produce a birth certificate. Nor will he ever be required to do so to take the oath of office or serve as President. Either one externally proves he is not a natural born citizen or this concept is not relevant. (11/25/08)

Ken Berwitz Marty - That's an interesting position you have. We need valid ID to get a courtesy card at the local supermarket. But you seem to think it's unnecessary as a requirement for someone to prove he is legitimately qualified to become the single most powerful person in the world. Me, I don't think it's asking too much to expect Mr. Obama to do what he'd have to do to buy some bread, milk and eggs by check. (11/25/08)

beth So, the the 'conclusive proof' offered is the difference(s) between the impression made by the "real" seal and the one found on Obama's certificate? Damn skippy! I find it even odd, however, that the Dept of Health for the State of Hawaii doesn't have _more_ than _one_ seal with which to certify its numerous (hundreds? thousands?) requests for such certification each year. Maybe her citizens should find some funds to get those poor workers a second (or, who knows, maybe even a couple dozen) seal...that would cut down on wait time for documents needing an official seal of authenticity/certification, for sure. Gads, the tinfoil hat stores must jumping for joy with this latest bit of nonsense from Polarik...they're bound to make a killing with all the new 'converts'; all, of course, needing proper head attire. (11/26/08)


THE IRAQ NEWS YOU DON'T SEE

Ken Berwitz

I just looked at the invaluable web site www.littlegreenfootballs.com, and it referenced a story from Michael Ledeen of National Review.  It is about a major military success in Iraq.  It has drama, it has valor and it has plenty of blood (though not USA blood).  In short, it is perfect for a lead story, even in the "if it bleeds, it leads" world of contemporary journalism.

The problem?  It is good news for the USA, not bad.  And therefore I'm betting that, unless you're a subscriber to National Review, this is the first you'll be seeing of it -- despite the fact that it was originally written up by Corporal James. M. Mercure for the Marine Corps News, and published a week ago:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hero of the Day   [Michael Ledeen]

by Cpl. James M. Mercure
 
FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan - In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.
 
Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.
 
The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.
 
Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines' deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.
 
"The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat," said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. "Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our 'humvees' was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast."
 
The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.
 
"The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they're given the opportunity to fight," the sniper said. "A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong."
 
During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn't miss any shots, despite the enemies' rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.
 
"I was in my own little world," the young corporal said. "I wasn't even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target."
 
After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies' spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.
 
"I didn't realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies' lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us," the corporal said. "It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured."

During World War II, they made movies about incidents like this.  There would be actors like William Bendix, Robert Ryan and Barton MacLane.  People would leave theaters proud of the bravery and heroics of our men in uniform.

But don't expect to see a movie about this incident coming to your local theaters any time soon.  

Today, our successes in Iraq (and they have been legion over the past year) are an untidy inconvenience for mainstream media, whether print, broadcast or motion picture.  They are something to look away from, while waiting for and hoping that soon a car bomb might go off in a Baghdad market.  Then they'd have a story to report.

How sad and dispiriting that we are denied information like this by the same people who claim to keep us informed.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


GUEST COMMENTARY: JOSEPH FARAH

Ken Berwitz

Joseph Farah either runs, or is instrumental in running, www.worldnetdaily.com .  He is as troubled as I am by the stonewalling of Barack Obama's birth certificate (the REAL one, not the facsimile foisted on a public which Mr. Obama evidently hopes is gullible enough to just accept it and move on).  Maybe even more so.

Here is his columm, complete with a petition you can sign if you wish:

Insufficient public interest?

Posted: November 24, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

 2008 

Another lawsuit attempting to obtain a copy of Barack Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate was thrown out Friday by a judge who said there was "insufficient evidence to indicate that the public interest supports" the document's release.

Judge Bert Ayabe upheld arguments from Republican Gov. Linda Lingle's office, which, inexplicably, has fought tooth and nail to protect the birth certificate from public scrutiny even though it remains the key to establishing whether the man elected to be the next president is actually eligible under the Constitution.

Ayabe ruled that Andy Martin, the man who filed the suit, did not have standing under state law because he did "not have a direct and tangible interest in the vital statistic records being sought, namely the birth certificate of President Obama."

Yes, you read that right. The judge in the case not only denied the motion, he also elevated Obama to the presidency before the Electoral College votes and before the Inauguration takes place Jan. 20. Is it any wonder he didn't understand the constitutional issues at stake?

But it is that other excuse for not releasing the document that really has me bugged "insufficient evidence to indicate that the public interest supports" the release.

Let me point you to Exhibit A in the evidence-of-public-interest department: It is a petition I launched Friday to all controlling legal authorities Congress, Supreme Court, Federal Elections Commission, Electoral College, etc. urging scrutiny of the original birth certificate and release of facsimile to the public.

Within 24 hours, 24,000 people had signed up.

Within 48 hours, 48,000 people had signed up.

Do you see a pattern here?

It appears to me that about 1,000 people per hour are signing this petition. I would say that is evidence indicating public interest, wouldn't you?

I tell you this because there are other judges who will be ruling in the days ahead. Even the U.S. Supreme Court is going to review this issue soon. That's why it is imperative that the public makes its voice heard.

You now have that opportunity on this petition.

I urge you to e-mail it to all your friends.

Do you know people concerned about this birth-certificate issue?

Do you know Americans who still care about little matters like constitutional eligibility for presidents?

Do you know others who will put their names to this petition and pass it along?

Then put your name to it and e-mail it to your entire Christmas card list.

I'm not asking you to march in the streets of Washington.

I'm not asking you to send money for a courtroom battle.

I'm not asking you to write to your congressman.

I'm asking you to take about 90 seconds to put your name and e-mail address on the petition and send it to others.

I believe it can make a profound difference.

At the current rate, before the end of December, we'll have 1 million signed up on this petition. We can get there faster if you can help me circulate it beyond WND readers.

I would think a petition of 1 million names would be sufficient evidence of public interest for nearly any judge.

Keep in mind, this has been achieved with no coverage outside WND. If we get some help from talk radio and some of my eminent colleagues in the news media, who knows where it can go.

But they'll take notice more quickly if you get involved. I need this miracle petition to continue to grow at the current pace or faster. Can you help me?

Show them you are watching. Show them you are awake. Show them you do care. Show them you read the Constitution. Show them this is still America, the land of the free, the home of the brave, where the rule of law reigns supreme and the will of the people prevails. Sign the petition.

Spread the word.

Frankly, Mr. Farah isn't getting any million signatures.  The way things like this work is that the true believers immediately sign up and then there usually is a rapid dropoff.  But he could get six figures' worth.  And that is pretty impressive too.

Continuing my frankness, let me also say that I could live without the reference to Christmas card lists (as if the only people interested in Mr. Obama's eligibility are exclusively Christians).  And I am, to say the least, no fan of "Andy Martin", who has, over the years, made a number of dumb, ignorant anti-Semitic comments. 

However, neither of these things change what is necessary from Barack Obama.  It is entirely appropriate that he be made to prove conclusively he is legally eligible to hold the office of President.

If anyone, even Andy Martin, can force him to do so, that is fine with me.


INVERSE RACISM

Ken Berwitz

Here's an unpleasant reminder, from Connecticut's Hartford Courant, that racism can come from just about anywhere:

Probe Sought Against Judge Who Allegedly Used Racial Epithet

The co-chairman of the state legislature's judiciary committee wants a full review of allegations that a judge charged with drunken driving last month angrily hurled epithets at police officers during her arrest, called a black state police sergeant nigger and told officers she was a state judge.

Judge E. Curtissa R. Cofield, 59, who is black, also referred to state police Sgt. Dwight Washington as "Negro Washington" during her Oct. 9 arrest which was captured by police video recorders Courant columnist
Kevin Rennie, a lawyer and former state legislator, wrote in his column in Sunday's Courant.

"Assuming it's true that she made those extremely racist comments, that can't be tolerated from a judge, of all people," state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said Monday.

Nothing was said of Cofield's alleged conduct during her appearance Monday in Superior Court in Manchester, where Judge William Bright Jr. delayed a decision on her application to a pretrial alcohol-education program until Dec. 8. Those who are admitted to and successfully complete the program, open only to first-time offenders, will have their record of arrest wiped clean.

Judge E. Curtissa R. Cofield

Bright said he wanted to give the prosecutor a chance to talk to Trooper Michael Kowal, whose patrol car Cofield reportedly struck as she drove her BMW east on Route 2 about 10:50 p.m. on Oct. 9. Bright said he received an objection to Cofield's application from Kowal.

State police initially reported that Kowal was not injured, but he is seeing a doctor as a result of the crash, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman. Vance wouldn't comment on the allegations that Cofield made racist comments. Cofield, her attorney, James Sulick, and the prosecutor handling the case, John Whalen of the chief state's attorney's office, also declined to comment.

Bright said he has received letters of support for Cofield about 40, according to Cofield's lawyer and then heard glowing statements from a prominent defense attorney and a clergyman in favor of approving Cofield's application.

"Despite all the letters, I don't believe she should be treated differently in this situation because she is a judge, whether it's positive or negative," Bright said.

Lawlor said Bright should see the video of Cofield's arrest. "At minimum, I would certainly expect that under the circumstances the judge would review the videotape before deciding whether Judge Cofield should be admitted to the program," Lawlor said.

It's appropriate, Lawlor said, for the judge to consider an applicant's demeanor during arrest and the injuries anyone suffered. "In this particular case, the comments are troubling," he said. "Beneath the surface there's more to the story than just someone who had too much to drink."

Lawlor said he is exploring whether his committee, which oversees the judicial branch and has the power to impeach a judge, will be able to view the videotape.

"Our first preference would be to have the judicial branch do the oversight," Lawlor said. "We have been in communication with them to see what, if anything, will happen. We have received assurances there will be some type of action taken at some point. Obviously, it's still a pending case in court. We want to know the whole story."

The state Judicial Review Council should also open an investigation, if it hasn't already, Lawlor said.

The executive director and the chairman of the council said Monday that they cannot say whether an investigation of Cofield has begun. Such investigations remain secret unless the commission finds sufficient reason to air them publicly.

According to a state police incident report, Cofield drove her 2003 BMW X5 into Kowal's state cruiser, which was parked in the right shoulder protecting a construction zone. Cofield was taken to the Glastonbury police station for processing and was charged with driving under the influence and failure to drive in the proper lane. Her comments were captured on a video and audio monitoring system at the Glastonbury police station.

The Courant filed a Freedom of Information request with Glastonbury police for a copy of the video of Cofield's booking. Glastonbury Police Chief Thomas J. Sweeney denied the request, and the newspaper is appealing to the state FOI Commission.

Well, I didn't see the video so I don't know 100% for certain.  But it sure seems that the only person who would gain from lying would be Judge Cofield.

Now the big question:  Assuming she made those comments, is the fact both she and the officer are Black a mitigating circumstance?

The answer is that while the circumstances are obviously different - i.e. it seems clear to me that Judge Cofield's comments were meant as demeaning insults rather than racial epithets - the fact remains that they are racial epithets.  Even if you eliminate the racial component you're left with the demeaning insults. Sgt. Washington should no more be expected to take that kind of abuse from a Black person as he should from a White person.

If the video bears out this account of what happened, Ms. Cofield should immediately apologize to Sgt. Washington - and be impeached for the purpose of removing her as a judge.


A WORD FROM THE ENABLERS....

Ken Berwitz

The ex-President of Mexico is miffed.

He feels that it is an affront to his country that the United States built a border fence (and, presumably may build additional fences and take other actions to minimize the tidal wave of illegal aliens into our country).

Here, courtesy of Penny Starr writing for www.cnsnews.com, are the particulars.  The bold print is mine:

Former Mexican President Calls Border Fence Offensive
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer


Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. Under Secretary of State, and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo (Photos by CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
(CNSNews.com) Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo said he and his countrymen regret and resent the construction of a security fence on the border between the United States and Mexico and called for more intelligent security between the two countries on Monday.
 
Zedillo also blamed drug violence largely on Americans use of illegal drugs
 
I personally find (the fence) profoundly offensive, said Zedillo, co-chairman of the Brookings Institutions Partnership for the Americas Commission, which released its report Rethinking U.S.-Latin American Relations on Monday.
 
Zedillo told CNSNews.com that the United States needs to have a frank discussion about the role domestic drug consumption plays in the ongoing violence on both sides of the border.
 
The point we are making in this report is that the present strategy to combat drug trafficking is failing, said Zedillo, who appeared at the panel discussion with the co-chairman of the commission, former U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas R. Pickering.
 
Pickering noted that 90 percent of the guns seized in drug law enforcement operations in Mexico can be traced back to the United States, a statistic also cited by officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in testimony before the House Foreign Affair Committees subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere in February 2008.


Former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo (Photos by CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
In a report issued in April by the National Drug Intelligence Center, federal, state, and local law enforcement data revealed that major Mexican drug trafficking operations, or DTOs, operate in at least 195 cities in the United States and that 129 of those cities have DTOs that are linked to four of the principal Mexican drug cartels that supply illicit drugs in the United States.
 
In its National Drug Threat Assessment for 2008, the National Drug Intelligence Center described drug distribution from Mexico into the United States.
 
The Southwest Border Region is the most significant national-level storage, transportation, and transshipment area for illicit drug shipments that are destined for drug markets throughout the United States, the
report said.
 
Mexican DTOs have developed sophisticated and expansive drug transportation networks extending from the Southwest Border to all regions of the United States, it added.
 
It also cited the flow of weapons between the two countries.
 
Mexican DTOs and their associated enforcement groups generally rely on firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico to obtain weapons for their smuggling and enforcement operations, the report said.
 
Drug traffickers, firearms smugglers, and independent criminals smuggle large quantities of firearms and ammunition from the United States to Mexico on behalf of Mexican DTOs, who then use these weapons to defend territory, eliminate rivals, enforce business dealings, control members, and challenge law enforcement, the report added.
 
The ATF estimates that thousands of weapons are smuggled into Mexico every year, reads the Drug Threat Assessment report.
 
Firearms are typically purchased or stolen from gun stores, pawnshops, gun shows, and private residences prior to being smuggled into Mexico, where they are often sold for a markup of 300 to 400 percent. Moreover, large caches of firearms often are stored on both sides of the Southwest Border for use by Mexican DTOs and their enforcement groups, it added.
 
At the Brookings Institution event, organizers billed the commissions report as part of the new direction the United States will take in foreign policy and other areas under a Barack Obama administration.
 
Its recommendations included a path to legal status for illegal immigrants; the lifting of all restrictions on travel to Cuba; taking communist Cuba off the U.S. State Departments State Sponsors of Terrorism List; and establishing a Renewable Energy Laboratory of the Americas to promote hemispheric cooperation on developing solar, wind and cellulosic-biomass technologies.
 
The report is about identifying those issues that we believe require a collective work, Zedillo said.

Unbelievable.   Zedilla's point seems to be that Mexican drug smugglers illegally transport their wares to the USA because there are buyers here and, by the way, firearms are smuggled back from the USA to Mexico. 

Is it just me or do both of these facts argue FOR a security fence rather than against it?

In any event, a few other points to be made here:

-The Mexican government literally publishes and distributes pamphlets for illegals trying to cross the border, helping them to do so.  The pamphlets tell them, among other things, what to do and say if they're caught.  Mr. Zedillo doesn't appear to have a problem with that, only with the fact that we try to prevent them from breaching our sovereign borders.  For that reason alone I couldn't care less what he thinks;

-Mexico has an illegal immigration problem too - on its southern border.  But Mexico heavily guards its border and when illegals are caught coming in from Guatemala or Belize, they are immediately detained and tossed back.  No human rights issues, no health care services, no drivers' licenses and no free college. To say there is a hypocrisy problem here is to grossly understate;

-Finally, take a good look at that summary of immigration policy which we might have for the next four years, if the Brookings Institute and others have their way.  How do you like it?

Barack Obama has spent years mesmerizing people into thinking he is what he isn't.  I can only hope that the geniuses over at Brookings are among the ones who will be disappointed by his reality.


THE HAIL HUGO PASS

Ken Berwitz

It's all falling apart for hugo chavez (or, as I usually refer to him, yugo chavez, since his performance so closely resembles the car of that name). 

Now that oil prices have fallen back from the ionosphere, suddenly he can't buy off the poor people of Venezuela with as many giveaways.  And quite possibly because those goodies are not dropping out of the sky anymore, he just sustained a major loss in national elections.

What to do, what to do........

Well, here is what he's trying, courtesy of www.rigzone.com.  Please pay special attention to the paragraph I put in bold print:

Venezuela's Chavez Eyes OPEC Oil Price Band
AFX News Limited      Tuesday, November 25, 2008

President Hugo Chavez said he is proposing that OPEC countries consider setting a price range for oil of $80 to $100 a barrel to stabilize the global market.

Chavez raised his proposal for an oil price band Monday night, along with other proposals Venezuela is promoting among fellow oil exporters.

"Let's look for a band between $80 and $100; we're thinking about that," Chavez said. "We think that price would be a fair price for oil."


He called it a "stabilization band to avoid those jumps to $150, suddenly to $50 -- a terrible uncertainty."

Chavez suggested in September that oil producers should look to keep prices between $90 and $l00 a barrel.

Venezuela has said it will urge the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production by 1 million barrels per day at its informal meeting in Cairo Saturday, and carry out those cuts before the end of the year.

Last month, the oil cartel cut output by 1.5 million barrels a day to boost prices.

Venezuela depends on oil for 94 percent of exports and roughly half the government's budget.

The socialist leader said Venezuela is evaluating the effects of falling oil prices, but has plenty of international reserves and other funds to weather the financial storm. Venezuela will not cut high levels of social spending, he said.

But Chavez said Venezuela could make some unspecified changes if prices stay at their current levels or lower throughout next year.

By mid-afternoon in Europe on Tuesday, light, sweet crude for January delivery was down $1.70 to $52.80 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices were trading in a range between $50.79 and $54.66.

How touching.  yugo chavez is worried about oil spiking higher.  I'm sure he loses lots of sleep over that prospect.....

And all the money he claims he has for social programs -- money that the rest of his comment suggests has a year or less before it runs out (which he's probably lying about)?  Not good for someone who stays in power through pacifying poor people by giving things away to them (in addition to rigging elections, of course.  Even that didn't help him this week).  

To me, this looks like the "hugo" variety of a hail mary pass. His desperate attempt to bluff the world markets into higher prices.  To look those markets in the eye and tell them to act out of synch with reality.

I can almost hear Don Ameche's voice from Trading Places (with a Venezuelan accent, of course) yelling into the empty stock market floor.  "Turn those machines back on!  Turn those machines back on!

It ain't gonna work.


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