Saturday, 03 January 2009

BURRIS TSURIS

Ken Berwitz

Do you know what tsuris is?  Sure you do, even if you've never seen or heard the word before.

Tsuris is the yiddish word for troubles/woes/ill fortune.  If someone you care about has tsuris, you worry about that person and try to help out as much as you can.

Well, the Democratic Party has Burris tsuris.  Roland Burris, is going to show up on capital hill with the legal credentials to be Illinois' new senator. 

Mr. Burris' credentials apparently will not include certification by the Illinois Secretary of State -- but, as noted in a previous blog,  there is absolutely no legal need for that certification, so it doesn't matter a bit.

Now, what will Democrats do about it?  Are they really going to have the doors blocked, as they were considering doing, or have they thought better of it? 

The answer is in this news piece from the AP, via www.sweetness-light.com:

Burris To Be On Capitol Hill Tuesday

January 2nd, 2009

From a conflicted Associated Press:

William Walls of the Committee for a Better Chicago speaks at a news conference, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, in Chicago where activists gathered to push for lawmakers to accept Gov. Rod Blagojevichs appointment of former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate. Walls warned that, if Secretary of State Jesse White doesnt certify the appointment and Sen. Dick Durbin doesnt support Burris, activists will work to defeat them in upcoming elections.

Blagojevich pick to be given few privileges

Roland Burris plans to be on Capitol Hill Tuesday

WASHINGTON - Democratic leaders plan to grant few if any privileges next week to Roland Burris, the man picked by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate, even if he arrives on Capitol Hill with the right credentials.

Senate officials involved in the tangle of legal and logistical planning said Friday that a Democrat will object to Burris being duly sworn with the rest of his class, and propose that his credentials be reviewed for a period of time by the Rules Committee.

The only way Burris will be allowed on the floor is if he possesses a certification of appointment signed personally by his embattled patron, Blagojevich and Ill. Secretary of State Jesse White. Burris would then be treated as a senator-elect, which by tradition means hell be allowed on the Senate floor without voting or speaking privileges - and he wouldnt be granted a desk, according to these officials. They demanded anonymity because they werent authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The man charged with letting people through the door of the chamber, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer, said he expects the two sides to work out a deal before Tuesday

Whatever the drama, Burris will not be seated when the new Senate convenes on Tuesday, Democrats have said all week

Privately, Democrats have been busily charting out the choreography for Burris arrival, conscious of the racial sensitivity involved with blocking Burris from becoming the Senates only black member. And there is significant debate over whether the Senate has any legal standing to turn away a person who meets the Constitutions qualifications for serving in the chamber.

Senate Democrats believe the Constitution and their agenda-setting power gives them the tools for a slow-motion rejection of Burris credentials if they are not signed, in person, but both the governor and White, who has refused to certify anyone Blagojevich appoints

This should be fun to watch.

Do these ninnies really think that treating the only Black person in the United States senator like a pariah is any better than blocking the door to prevent him from coming in?  Can they be this incredibly dense? 

Evidently they can.

As Steve Gilbert of www.sweetness-light.com says, "This should be fun to watch"  Personally, I would add "pathetic" and "destructive" 

It is also a huge opportunity for Republicans -- provided they are less dense than Democrats.  Frankly, this remains to be seen.


OBAMA GOES INTO LOWER-EXPECTATION MODE

Ken Berwitz

How many politicians could hope to convince the people of his country - and media - that if unemployment rises almost 50% he will have been a success?

Only one.  THE one.

Here, courtesy of www.bloomberg.com, are excerpts of what Barack Obama said about the economy in this morning's radio address:

Obama Says U.S. Must Act Swiftly to Address Economic Crisis
By Hans Nichols

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- President-elect Barack Obama said that Democrats and Republicans need to act with urgency to address the great and growing economic crisis, warning of double-digit unemployment if swift action isnt taken.

These are Americas problems, and we must come together as Americans to meet them with the urgency this moment demands, he said today in his weekly radio address. If we dont act swiftly and boldly, we could see a much deeper economic downturn that could lead to double-digit unemployment.

With the U.S. amid its worst economic slump since World War II, Obama said he is looking forward to meeting with leaders of both political parties in Washington in the new week.

The incoming 44th president, back on the U.S. mainland after a 12-day vacation in Hawaii, is working on a package of tax cuts and spending on infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and transit systems, to stimulate growth and create 3 million jobs. Eighty percent of these will be in the private sector, he said.

We must make strategic investments that will serve as a down payment on our long-term economic future, Obama said.

Citing a long-term goal of reducing the federal deficit, he said there would be tough choices ahead on spending, without being specific.

Act now or there will be double digit unemployment?  Ok, let's think about this.

The current unemployment rate is 6.7%.  It would have to go up another 50% to get to double digits.  So Mr. Obama is positioning himself to be able to claim success if unemployment rises as much as 45% or even more.

Too bad those pictures from Hawaii only showed him undressed from the waist up.  I would pay money to see a pair of balls that big.

free` Let me see if i have got this right, when Obama is asked about Gaza, he says we only have one president at a time. But when Obama is asked about something he has an answer for, we don't have one president at a time. How does he get away with this? (01/04/09)


HAMAS AND THE "INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY"

Ken Berwitz

Mona Charen's latest column is an excellent analysis of how hamas fares with "the so-called "International Community".  Here it is:

The So-Called International Community

Mona Charen
Saturday, January 03, 2009

Just for a lark, I decided to google "international condemnations of Hamas" this morning. You can guess what came up, right? Naturally, searching for condemnations of Hamas, one finds only international condemnations of Israel. An Australian report noted that the "British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is calling for an urgent ceasefire, while Russia's Foreign Minister says he's told his Israeli counterpart to urgently halt the military action." The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, "strongly condemned Israel's disproportionate use of force," as did Brazil. Indonesia called on all countries to "sever all forms of diplomatic and business ties with Israel." French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently holds the rotating chair of the European Union, did call upon Hamas to halt its rocket attacks but also censured Israel's "disproportionate response."

Let's fantasize. Let's pretend that the "international community" (it's not a community, thus the quotation marks) actually lived by the principles it claims to advance. It happens that international communiteer par excellence, Jimmy Carter, (he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts") was in Syria on Dec. 14, meeting with Hamas leaders. Nobel laureate Carter was silent when Hamas announced its decision to allow an Egyptian brokered ceasefire with Israel to expire. Nor did he -- or any international leader -- comment upon the 4,000 rockets that Hamas has rained down on Israel just since 2005.

Hamas held an anniversary party of sorts during the time of Carter's visit. Marking the 21st anniversary of the organization's founding, Hamas staged a large demonstration in Gaza City that featured video connections to Damascus (where Carter was meeting with Khaled Meshaal). Ismail Haniyeh addressed the crowd of 300,000, promising more terror and violence toward Israel in the name of Allah. There was also a skit. A Palestinian dressed as Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped and has been held by Hamas since 2006, was portrayed pleading for his life. "I miss my Mommy and Daddy," he sobbed into a microphone for the crowd's delectation. Search in vain for international condemnations.

The so-called international community has a script already prepared for any news from the Middle East. In this script, there is only Israeli violence, Israeli repression, Israeli guilt. The script reads as follows: Palestinian violence and terror against Israel is not to be condemned because it is the response to occupation and repression. On BBC radio, host Owen Bennett-Jones objected when Israel's ambassador to Great Britain pointed out that Hamas has been bombarding southern Israel with rockets on a daily basis. "But your analysis is seen by people around the world to be completely wrong-headed. The idea that Hamas sort of came from nowhere and radicalized Palestinian society overlooks the fact that Israel occupied and repressed these people for over 40 years."

In 2005, perhaps accepting Bennett-Jones's interpretation of history, Israel pulled out of Gaza completely, uprooting all of the Jewish settlers, and leaving the area completely to the Palestinians to administer. Rather than build a society of their own, Hamas, which controls Gaza -- the Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank -- has used its independence to launch a ceaseless barrage of missiles against Israel.

It's often pointed out that Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist. It's more than that. Hamas, with Iran's backing, is committed to Israel's violent destruction. Missiles have fallen on schools and homes. Hamas is explicit about desiring Israeli counterattacks, because while Hamas aims to kill Israeli civilians, they know that Israel tries very hard not to kill Palestinian civilians. But every Palestinian death at the hands of Israel is seen as a propaganda victory for Hamas -- which is why they place their munitions and terrorists in mosques, hospitals, and homes crowded with children. Hamas representative Fathi Hamad stated it explicitly: "For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly (Palestinians) created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire life."

It's impossible for Israel to hit back at Hamas without harming and killing innocent civilians. As Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out, by aiming at Israeli civilians and using Palestinian civilians as human shields, Hamas is committing a double war crime.

But you will wait in vain for an international outcry.

Let's remember that this is the same "international community" that sat by and watched the carnage in Sudan, and Rwanda.  It is the same "international community" that is currently wringing its hands over Zimbabwe, as mugabe systematically starves and kills his own people. 

Realistically, if the "international community", which includes billions of Black people, can accept such atrocities in Africa, what would we expect it to do about daily attacks on a few million Jews it despises, who live in a country it despises?

To understand this is to understand why Israel will never get a fair hearing in the world community -- and to understand how principled and courageous the United States has always been in its support of Israel.

We can only hope that Mr. Obama appreciates and respects this.


HARRY REID: NO BLACKS ALLOWED

Ken Berwitz

I've talked at some length about the symbolism of harry reid and other senate Democrats preventing Roland Burris, Illinois' Black former state Comptroller and Attorney General, from being seated.

It certainly is possible that Mr. Burris's being Black is incidental.  But before you assume that's the case, read this article from today's Chicago Sun-Times:

Reid pressured Blagojevich not to appoint Jackson Jr. to Obamas U.S. Senate seat

SENATE PICK | Reid reportedly made it clear he didn't want Jackson, Davis or Jones to be appointed, fearing they'd lose to a GOP opponent in a future election

January 2, 2009

Days before Gov. Blagojevich was charged with trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, top Senate Democrat Harry Reid made it clear who he didnt want in the post: Jesse Jackson, Jr., Danny Davis or Emil Jones.

Rather, Reid called Blagojevich to argue he appoint either state Veterans Affairs chief Tammy Duckworth or Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero confirmed that Reid (D-Nev.) and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) the new chief of the Senate Democratic political operation each called Blagojevichs campaign office separately Dec. 3. Sources believe that at least portions of the phone conversations are on tape.

Before their contacts, Obamas chief of staff Rahm Emanuel called Blagojevich to tell him to expect to hear from Senate leadership because they were pushing against Jackson and others, according to statements the governor made to others.

The Reid-Menendez calls came a day before a Dec. 4 conversation overheard on government wiretaps where Blagojevich says he was getting a lot of pressure not to appoint Candidate 5. Candidate 5 is Jackson.

The calls reveal the varying forces directed at Blagojevich as he weighed the appointment.

Duckworth is the wounded Iraq war veteran who was tapped by Blagojevich for the state post after she lost a House race in 2006. Duckworths entry in the House contest was championed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) with her campaign assisted by Emanuel, who was running the House political operation at the time, and Obama. David Axelrod, Obamas chief presidential campaign strategist, was Duckworths media consultant for her House race.

Madigan is supported by her powerful father Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan.

A Jackson spokesman said the congressman believes he could attain statewide support.

Congressman Jackson was encouraged that two independent statewide polls confirmed that he was the most popular Democrat to succeed Barack, Jackson spokesman Rick Bryant said. The polls also showed he was in a strong position to win reelection in 2010, drawing strong support from virtually every demographic group.

Jim Manley, spokesman for Reid, acknowledged Friday that Reid called Blagojevich as well as other governors who had Senate vacancies in their respective states.

Of course Sen. Reid spoke to the governor of Illinois -- just as he spoke to the governors of New York and Colorado when senators from those states accepted jobs in the new administration, Manley said. It is part of his job as majority leader to share his thoughts about candidates who have the qualities needed to succeed in the Senate.

Reid declined to reveal the specific names discussed, saying he didnt want to embarrass anyone.

Though Menendez did talk with Blagojevich about the appointment, he did not suggest any names and he did not discourage the appointment of anyone, said Matt Miller, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee which Menendez chairs.

Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on charges he tried to sell Obamas vacant seat in exchange for campaign funds, a job or ambassadorship.

On Tuesday, he appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the post.

Reid, as well as other Senators, have vowed to block the move. At a news conference naming Burris, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) told reporters he backed Burris because it was important that an African American hold a post in the U.S. Senate.

An Obama transition team spokeswoman would not comment, referring reporters to a report released by Obamas transition team before Christmas.

The report did not specify the contact between Emanuel and the governor.

A spokesman for Jones could not be reached for comment. A Davis spokesman declined comment.

Please note that Jesse Jackson Jr., Danny Davis and Emil Jones all have something in common.  I bet you can guess what it is.

That's right, every one of them is Black.  And every one of them is rejected by harry reid.

Now, guess what harry reid's two favorites, Tammy Duckworth and Lisa Madigan are not.

Right again!  Ms. Duckworth and Ms. Madigan are not Black.

So is harry reid intentionally disqualifying every notable Black contender in Illinois?  Good question.....you tell me.

Here's an even better question:  Will voters notice this and react to it?  How about Nevada voters in 2010, when reid is up for re-election?

And the best question of all:  Will MEDIA notice it?  If you think that reporting the race of harry reid's rejects is unavoidable in a story like this, read the Sun-Times article again - this time specifically looking for any mention of the fact that Jackson, Davis and Jones are Black or that Duckworth and Madigan are not.

See my point?


TODAY'S IRAN

Ken Berwitz

Since it is generally assumed that hamas, to a large extent, is bankrolled and armed by Iran, I thought you might like to see how Iran is conducting itself these days. 

Here are three short pieces from Radio Free Europe, which should provide you with a pretty clear answer:

Heard In Iran: Iranians Speak Out Against Hamas

January 01, 2009

Some Iranians Speak Out Against Hamas
December 31 -- An Iranian newspaper was closed by authorities after publishing a statement critical of the government's support for Hamas. The statement was made by a pro-reform student group to "Kargozaran," a paper affiliated with former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [read more in Persian]. During a discussion of the Gaza conflict, a Radio Farda listener in Tehran calls Hamas an obstacle to peace [listen in Persian]. Another listener from Southern Iran wonders why the government is sending support to the Palestinians when there are so many problems at home [listen in Persian].
 
More Harassment of Nobel Peace Laureate
December 29 -- Eight days after raiding the Center for Human Rights Defenders [more in English], Iranian security agents raided the private law office of the Center's Nobel prize-winning founder, Shirin Ebadi. Ebadi says five agents illegally confiscated her computers and all confidential documents relating to her clients [read more in English or listen in Persian].
 
Crackdown: Jailed Journalist on Hunger Strike, Jailed Activist in Critical Condition, Another Activist Arrested
December 29 -- Jailed Azeri journalist Shahnaz Gholami has been on a hunger strike for ten days to protest her prison conditions [read more in English or listen to an interview with her lawyer in Persian]. Meanwhile, Mohammad-Sedigh Kabudvand's wife says the imprisoned human rights activist has suffered as second heart attack in jail and has received no treatment [listen to an interview with her in Persian]. And prominent labor activist, Ebrahim Madadi, was arrested on December 20 despite concerns about his physical condition [read more in Persian].

Are you surprised?  I didn't think so.


HOW DID OUR FINANCIAL MESS GET TO THIS POINT?

Ken Berwitz

Do you think you know the answer to that question? 

Here is the key information that you need to make an informed judgment, courtesy of Warner Todd Huston:

Just a reminder When did the Financial mess start?

Posted on January 3, 2009

-By Warner Todd Huston

Bush tried to regulate and supervise Fannie and Freddie but the Democrats scoffed at it all and blocked Bush from trying to fix the financial mess. So, whose fault is the economic mess?

Here is what Representative Barney Frank said in 2003 about Fannie and Freddie:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not in a crisis.

The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the treasury, which I do not see I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and will withstand some of the disaster scenarios. And even if there were a problem the federal government doesnt bail them out. But the more pressure there is there, then the less I think we see in terms of affordable housing.

Here is a video that YouTube initially pulled because it proved that the Democrats are at fault.

What you have just read and seen is 100% accurate.  Every video speaks for itself and every quote is easily checkable.

How much of this have you seen in mainstream media?  How much of this would you ever expect to see?

Thanks to Mr. Huston, you now know which end is up.  As for our wonderful "neutral media?  No thanks at all. 

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


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