Thursday, 05 February 2009

ANOTHER OBAMA CABINET NOMINEE IN TROUBLE

Ken Berwitz

Holy excrement.  When does it end?

Hilda Solis was selected by President Obama to be the next Labor Secretary.  But there are problems - including an organization Ms. Solis belongs to and (what else is new?) a tax problem - this one with her husband.

Here's the news, from the (Obama-supporting) Washington Post:

Solis Senate Session Postponed in Wake of Husband's Tax Lien Revelations

Updated 3:30 p.m.
By Michael A. Fletcher
A Senate committee today abruptly canceled a session to consider President Obama's nomination of Rep. Hilda Solis to be labor secretary in the wake of a report saying that her husband yesterday paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens against his business -- including liens that had been outstanding for as long as 16 years.

The report,
by USA Today, came just before the Senate's Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee was slated to meet to consider Solis's nomination, which had been delayed by questions over her role on the board of the pro-labor organization American Rights at Work. A source said that committee members did not learn about the tax issue until today.

"Today's executive session was postponed to allow members additional time to review the documentation submitted in support of Representative Solis's nomination to serve in the important position of Labor Secretary," read a joint statement issued by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the panel's chairman, and Mike Enzi (Wyoming), the committee's ranking Republican. "There are no holds on her nomination and members on both sides of the aisle remain committed to giving her nomination the fair and thorough consideration that she deserves. We will continue to work together to move this nomination forward as soon as possible."

No new date has been set for the hearing. The disclosure about Solis's husband comes after tax problems caused trouble for three of Obama's top appointees, leading two of them -- HHS-nominee Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, who was to be chief performance officer -- to withdraw.

Asked about the USA Today report at the White House daily briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs emphasized that the nominee's tax returns are in order.

"Well, I read the story in USA Today, and it quotes somebody that works here, so obviously we've -- we know about this story. I'll say this. We reviewed her tax returns, and her tax returns are in order," said Gibbs.

"The story denotes that her husband had some issues with paying a business tax, and obviously that tax is -- should be paid. He's -- she's not a partner in that business, Gibbs continued. "So we're not going to penalize her for her husband's business mistakes. Obviously, her husband, I think, has and should pay any taxes that he owes. "

Way to go Robert.  Nice of you to say Ms. Solis' husband should have paid his taxes, presumably sooner than the 16 YEARS it took him. 

But, funny thing;  you didn't say a word about her membership in a pro-labor activist group.  Don't you think that it just might communicate a certain lack of circumspection in her point of view?  That she might potentially be a tad one-sided?

Evidently in the world of Obama that isn't an issue.

Incidentally, is it just me, or does Robert Gibbs seem more and more like what you'd get if Napoleon Dynamite mated with Helen Thomas?


DARWIN AWARD FINALIST

Ken Berwitz

Here is another candidate for the coveted Darwin Award.  See if you agree that he should be nominated:

Blow-up Doll Party

Floridian nabbed for public mnage a trois with plastic partners

FEBRUARY 5--A Florida man was arrested yesterday after he was spotted fondling and making out with a pair of blow-up dolls in a supermarket parking lot. Shoppers called cops when they spotted George Bartusek, 51, getting busy in the front seat of his 1998 Lincoln Town Car, which was parked directly in front of a Publix store. Evidence photos (seen below and here) showing Bartusek's inanimate partners were provided to TSG by the Cape Coral Police Department. According to a police report, witnesses told cops that Bartusek was "performing activity to two different blow up dolls in his vehicle that was consistent with masturbation and other simulated sexual activity." He was also spotted "aggressively" kissing the dolls. When confronted by police, Bartusek said that he was headed to Target to "get some clothes for his dolls." Bartusek, charged with breach of peace, was wearing shorts with a three-inch opening "in the crotch area." Of course, he "had no underwear on under the shorts," noted police. Bartusek is pictured at right in a Lee County Sheriff's Office mug shot.

I wonder if the dolls ever get jealous of each other......


RUTH BADER GINSBURG'S PANCREATIC CANCER

Ken Berwitz

Supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a cancer survivor (colon cancer).  She has now been hospitalized with pancreatic cancer.

May she beat this one too.


WAFA SULTAN ON THE VALUE OF MUSLIM WOMEN

Ken Berwitz

Wafa Sultan is an escapee from radical Islam.

Ms. Sultan was born and raised in Syria.  She was a rarity there - an educated woman who became a psychiatrist.

In 1989 Ms. Sultan emigrated to the United States.  Taking advantage of the freedoms she has here, Ms. Sultan has been a remarkably outspoken critic of radical Islam for years, culminating in her comments on al-jazeera TV in 2006 (which, no doubt, shocked and dismayed its ownership), that:

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is ... a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century.  It is a clash between freedom and oppression."

Given the truth of Ms. Sultan's statement, and who she said it about, it is more than a little surprising that she is still alive today.  But, happily, she is. 

And Wafa Sultan has not stopped talking about the impact of radical Islam on humanity.  She continues to illuminate and educate. 

Here, from the invaluable site www.memri.org, are her comments about the "value" of women to Islamists, especially in Arab countries.  The bold print is MEMRI's, not mine:

Arab-American Psychiatrist Wafa Sultan: "The Subjugation of Women Reduces Them to a Level Lower Than Beasts"

"Islam Has Distorted the Concept of Honor"

Wafa Sultan: "If Islam really treated women with honor, we would see the positive consequences of that honor over the course of the past 14 centuries. Islam did not treat women with honor. On the contrary, it has distorted the concept of honor.

"My brother Rashid, I can call this pen a knife for 14 centuries, but it will never become a knife. It will remain a pen. Islam has turned these concepts upside-down, and has forced its followers to see things as their opposites - to view killing and beheading as an act of tolerance, to view taking a woman captive as an act of compassion, to view the plundering of spoils of war as their right, and to view masturbation against a little girl's thighs as marriage.

"Thus, it has destroyed the intellectual structure of the Arabic-speaking nation, and has produced people who cannot distinguish between things and their opposites - people with distorted thinking and warped mentality, as infertile as barren land, which cannot yield a thing.

"The best proof of this is the reality of Islam. When the Prophet Muhammad married the child 'Aisha, this was not an act of honor toward her childhood. When Muhammad married Zaynab, the wife of his adopted son, after seeing her naked and desiring her, this was not an act of honor toward married women. When Muhammad married the Jewish woman Safiya, upon his return from a raid in which he killed her father, brother, and husband, this was not an act of honor toward her. The same goes for all his marriages."

"The Subjugation of Women Reduces Them to a Level Lower Than Beasts - Not to Mention the Laws of Inheritance, Testimony in Court, The Beating Of A Wife Who Refuses to Go to Bed With Her Husband, And 'Honor' Crimes"

"Accusing women of being 'lacking in brains' is not an act of honor toward her. Human beings - whether male or female - are the property of their Creator. No human being has the right to own another. The subjugation of women reduces them to a level lower than beasts - not to mention the laws of inheritance, testimony in court, the beating of a wife who refuses to go to bed with her husband, and 'honor' crimes.

"Muhammad said in a hadith: 'Three things spoil one's prayer: a woman, a black dog, and a donkey.' Do they ever give this any thought? Do they realize that Allah chose the female body for his greatest invention - creation itself? Wouldn't it be moral to bestow upon the female body a certain holiness, instead of viewing it as impure?" [...]

"In The Arab Countries In Particular, You Cannot Say That the Status of Women Has Nothing to Do With Islam... Islam is An All-Embracing Faith, Which Intervenes in the Smallest Details of a Person's Life"

"As for the intellectuals who claim that Islam honors women, they remind me of someone trying to catch two rabbits, which are running in opposite directions, and never catching either one. On the one hand, they try to convince the reader or the viewer that they are 'liberal' and progressive, and support women's rights, while on the other hand, they try to please the clerics and their followers by claiming that Islam honors women. History will show that they were deceivers, not intellectuals.

[...]

"In my opinion, in the Arab countries in particular, you cannot say that the status of women has nothing to do with Islam. You cannot deny that there is a connection between the two. Islam is an all-embracing faith, which intervenes in the smallest details of a person's life - beginning with the way he should enter the toilet, and ending with - excuse my language - the way he should wipe his behind.

"Since Islam is an Arab religion, it has succeeded in erasing the culture, customs, and traditions of the Arabic-speaking peoples, more than in Islamic nations that are not Arabic speaking. Therefore, in the Arab world in particular, the status of women is an inevitable outcome of the Islamic teachings." [...]

"I Firmly Believe That the Islamic Faith Was Created to Serve Muhammad, and to Legitimize His Desires and Urges"

"I firmly believe that the Islamic faith was created to serve Muhammad, and to legitimize his desires and urges. As evidence, we have 'Aisha's words: 'I see that your Lord hastens to satisfy your desires.' These words, which she said with innocence and spontaneity, embody the goal for which the Islamic faith was formed.

"Islam allowed men to marry infants in order to justify Muhammad's marriage to 'Aisha. Islam forbade adoption in order to justify Muhammad's marriage to the wife of his adopted son - a thing forbidden by the pre-Islamic moral values of the Arabs. Islam permitted taking women captive and violating their honor in order to justify Muhammad's marriage to Safiya, after killing her husband, her father, and her brother that same night. Can you imagine any woman on the face of this earth witnessing with her own eyes the killing of her husband, her father, and her brother, and accepting the religion of their killer on the spot, and sleeping with him?! Can the human mind possibly accept such a story?" [...]

"I Have Witnessed Many Crimes Against Women Perpetrated Within My Extended Family and In the Framework of My Work"

"I personally did not suffer, but I have witnessed many crimes against women perpetrated within my extended family and in the framework of my work. As a doctor, I have entered homes that have not seen the light of day, and I have witnessed many crimes against women, perpetrated under the influence of Islamic teachings.

"In my family - at the age of 12 at most, my sister's daughter was forced to marry her cousin, who was over 40 years old. Her life with him was an intolerable hell on earth. When she felt there was no escape from this hell, she committed suicide. She set fire to herself, and within minutes she became ashes, leaving four children behind."

This is a woman who speaks from personal experience.  A woman who knows exactly what she is talking about.  And a woman brave enough to risk death and say it.  I honor her.

To the apologists for this "culture" and the people who perpetuate it:  If you want to live this way, go ahead and be my guest.  Just don't force anyone else to. 

This is what we are fighting.  This is why we fight.  I can only hope that President Obama, who seems determined to appease the people Ms. Sultan described by telling them of our failures instead of theirs, comes to understand as much.


OBAMA'S SORRY START

Ken Berwitz

Here is Michelle Malkin's excellent piece, written for Investors Business Daily, regarding the godawful performance of Barack Obama and his people on cabinet selections:

Ethics Missteps Mar The Start Of Obama Rule

By MICHELLE MALKIN | Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2009 4:20 PM PT

You never get a second chance to make a first post-inaugural impression. Less than three weeks into his first 100 days, Barack Obama has left an indelible mark on his nascent presidency: the mark of incompetence and hubris.

Despite the administration's much-touted wealth of bright minds and high bars, the transition has been a complete disaster.

In a double whammy on Tuesday, tax troubles and ethical clouds forced the withdrawal of not one but two high-profile Obama nominees.

These come on the heels of former Commerce Secretary-nominee Bill Richardson's withdrawal due to a pay-for-play probe in New Mexico and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's "tax goofs" involving his failure to pay $43,000 in federal self-employment taxes for four separate years until, that is, he was nominated for the Treasury post.

Thorough vetting, it seems, is an inconvenient process a pesky "distraction," if you will in the Land of Hope and Change.

Health and Human Services Secretary-designee Tom Daschle finally bowed out after aggressive rehabilitative efforts failed. His chummy Senate pals on both sides of the aisle may have been willing to forgive his failure to pay longstanding back taxes owed on limo services, undisclosed consulting fees and dubious charitable donations worth an estimated $146,000, including interest and penalties. But the American people were not.

(Interesting postscript: He may have apologized and dropped out of the administration, but Daschle still owes Medicare taxes equal to 2.9% of the personal value of the car service he received from Democratic donor and crony Leo Hindery Jr.)

Just before the Daschle announcement came the withdrawal of Nancy Killefer. She was tapped to be President Obama's "chief performance officer," overseeing compliance, organizational effectiveness and waste management across every federal agency.

But the former Clinton Treasury official and head of the prestigious Washington office of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. couldn't be bothered to manage her own household help effectively. She failed for a year and a half to pay employment taxes and had an outstanding tax lien on her home. The lien was worth less than $1,000 far less than the tax liability Geithner owed.

If I were a left-wing feminist, I'd be sorely tempted to whip out the gender card and give the Good Old Boys Club a few whacks. Killefer gets thrown under the bus, but Geithner gets to drive? No justice, no peace!

Now, compare President Bush's transition track record in 2001. Remember that the traditional 100-day period was shortened as a result of the election lawsuit.

Bush Gets High Marks

Wrote Paul Light of the left-leaning Brookings Institution at the time:

"Bush gets an A on the transition into office. He survived his truncated 40-day transition with only one major mistake Linda Chavez, who withdrew her nomination for Labor Secretary after the flap over allowing an illegal immigrant to stay in her house.

"Bush also deserves an A-plus for the timely assembly of his White House team. Building around Vice President Dick Cheney, the Bush White House is an MBA's dream: efficient, predictable, well controlled, on time, under budget."

During Tuesday's press briefing, glib White House spokesman Robert Gibbs did his best to bat down a rising chorus of questions about his boss's judgment not only on the nomination "glitches," but also on an ever-growing list of exemptions to Obama's no-lobbyists pledge.

Echoing Bill Clinton's "most ethical administration ever" and Nancy Pelosi's "most ethical House ever" mantras, Gibbs defensively asserted: "The bar that we set is the highest that any administration in the country has ever set."

Then how, pray tell, did all the president's tax cheats make it past the front door? And where is Vice President Joe Biden to wag his finger at their lack of patriotism? Team Obama embraced these damaged candidates despite advanced knowledge of their lapses.

Killefer's tax lien was four years old. Questions about Daschle's judgment have lingered for years. Ask GOP Sen. John Thune, who defeated Daschle the Dodger in 2004 after news broke of his bogus property-tax homestead exemption claim on his $1.9 million D.C. mansion which he listed as his primary residence despite voting in South Dakota and claiming it as his primary residence in order to run for re-election.

The buck stops at the desk of Barack Obama. A little of that humility and personal responsibility he spoke so much about during his inaugural address is now in order.

I'll say it plain:  This is what happens when you're in way, way over your head. 

You sign on to stupid things because you don't know any better.  You have to rely on the people below you - people who are agenda-driven and less worried about the political impact of their decisions than you may be.  After all, when the attacks come, they will be on the top guy, not the wonks under him.

We voters did this to ourselves.  We elected a President and a congress so heavily weighted to his side of the political aisle that there are barely any checks and balances on him.

We have two years to live with this.  Then we can do something about it.  Will we?


HARRY MARKOPOLOS: WHISTLEBLOWER, HERO, AND IGNORED BY THE SEC

Ken Berwitz

Harry Markopolos had the understanding, intelligence and guts to blow the whistle on bernard madoff's fraudulent "investment" business almost a decade ago. 

For it, he first was ignored, and then basically told to shut up and sit down.

Mr. Markopolos is a hero.  A true whistleblower.  But he was not able to break through the smug, turf-obsessed SEC.  Here, courtesy of the Boston Globe, is his story:

Markopolos: SEC's regional turf tiffs hampered case

Accountant was warned N.Y. didn't like tips from Hub

Harry Markopolos, the man who tried to tip off federal regulators about the Bernard L. Madoff scandal for nine years, yesterday told lawmakers that turf battles between the Boston and New York offices of the Securities and Exchange Commission were at the heart of the agency's bungling of the case.

Speaking before the House Financial Services subcommittee, Markopolos recalled that one SEC staffer in Boston who had listened to him warned him "that relations between the New York and Boston regional offices were about as warm and friendly as the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry."

Madoff was arrested in December for allegedly running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, evidence of which Markopolos said he had "giftwrapped and delivered" to SEC staff, but the SEC did nothing.

Markopolos, a 52-year-old accountant from Whitman, said he first contacted the SEC's Boston office in 2000. He said Ed Manion, a staff member there, was helpful but was unable to persuade his superiors to investigate the case.

Manion advised Markopolos to send his evidence to the New York office, which Markopolos said he did in 2001, in a report titled "Madoff Investment Process Explained."

But nothing happened, he said. By the fall of 2005, Markopolos said, he was in touch with Mike Garrity, the branch chief of the SEC in Boston. He told congressmen yesterday that Garrity "distinguished himself" in the case, examining the evidence and agreeing there were irregularities in the Madoff operation. Garrity put Markopolos touch with SEC officials in New York because Madoff's firm was based there.

But, Markopolos said, he was warned that "New York does not like to receive tips from Boston. Truer words were never spoken."

In his testimony yesterday, a frustrated Markopolos said the SEC is "captive to the industry it regulates and it is afraid of bringing big cases against the largest, most powerful firms." He added, "Clearly the SEC was afraid of Mr. Madoff."

Markopolos figured out Madoff was running a scheme while working for Rampart Investment Management in Boston. The office math whiz, he was assigned in 2000 to learn how Madoff was achieving double-digit returns on an options strategy and to try to replicate it, but he couldn't.

Markopolos said this wasn't the first case the SEC missed. The drivers of major enforcement actions of the past decade have been the New York attorney general's office and Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin, he said. Those offices pursued mutual fund market timing and the auction-rate securities scandal, he said, "while the SEC watched quietly from the sidelines."

David Bergers, district administrator of the SEC's Boston office, declined to comment yesterday, as did a Washington spokesman for the SEC.

Tensions ran high in the hearing yesterday when SEC officials Andy Vollmer, the agency's acting general counsel, and enforcement director Linda Thomsen, refused to respond to questions about the Madoff investigation posed by Representative Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat.

"You've told us nothing," Ackerman shouted. "You have totally and thoroughly failed in your mission, don't you get it?"

Thomsen said the SEC could not comment on the ongoing investigation of Madoff.

Mary L. Schapiro, the new head of the SEC appointed by President Obama, sent a letter to Pennsylvania Democrat Paul Kanjorski, the panel's chairman, yesterday after the hearing, saying in part: "There needs to be a full accounting, both of Mr. Madoff's activities and why we did not detect the fraud, which we truly regret."

In his testimony, Markopolos said he had discovered a dozen additional funds that funneled money to Madoff, "hiding in the weeds" in Europe.

He plans to present his findings to the SEC's inspector general today.

I want every senior member of the SEC - including the heads of the Boston and New York office - to be up there answering questions under oath. 

I want answers to those questions. 

I want them to explain why they shouldn't be held accountable for this unbelievable misfeasance and malfeasance.

I want to know how many other madoffs they still haven't stopped, and why.

And, though it isn't as important, I also want Rep. Gary Ackerman to just shut the hell up.  This blowhard has made a career out of mouthing off about everyone else's poor performance;  what the hell has he ever done to make things better -- other than wait until someone else discovers a problem and play Monday-morning quarterback?


THE "STEALFROMUS" PACKAGE": DESPERATION TIME FOR OBAMA

Ken Berwitz

As his "stealfromus...er, stimulus package" sinks further and faster, Barack Obama has taken to creating non-existent "arguments" people are supposedly making against it, and then tearing them down. 

Charles Johnson of www.littlegreenfootballs.com has put up a blog which exposes this beautifully.  Here it is:

Barack Obama Sets Up Straw Men, Knocks 'Em Down in the Washington Post

Politics | Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 9:57:03 am PST

Barack Obama promotes his gigantic spending bill in the Washington Post, with a string of straw man attacks against critics: Barack Obama - The Action Americans Need.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems...

I have not heard of a single person who says tax cuts alone are the solution.

... that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures...

Who has ever said this? Who would say such a ridiculous thing?

... that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

Ignore energy independence and health care? Again, where can I find the pundits who write these things? Because I read a lot of political opinion pieces, and I dont recall ever seeing such a viewpoint advocated.

This is the same kind of empty, false rhetoric he employed in his campaignattacking stances that no one has espoused, and no one even would espouse. The very definition of a straw man argument.

Things must be getting pretty desperate for President Obama to try this crap.  The best thing I can say about it is that his strategy is so transparent that anyone can see right through it.

Somehow, though, I doubt that this is what he meant by transparent government.

Maybe, instead of treating voters like we're a bunch of drooling idiots, a better idea would be to rework this monstrosity so that it does what it is supposed to do. Either that, or respect us enough to change the name to "Left Wing Wish List".   At least that would constitute some truth in advertising.


CHARLIE RANGEL UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

Here, from Chuck Bennett of the New York Post, is the latest news about Charles Rangel (D-NY), who is still a member in good standing of the house of representatives and still is allowed to chair the house ways and means committee:

RANGEL 'FLUNKS' $$ MATH

30 YEARS OF 'FUZZY' DISCLOSURES SLAMMEDBy CHUCK BENNETT

 

Last updated: 3:11 am
February 5, 2009
Posted: 2:40 am
February 5, 2009

The financial-disclosure forms filed over the past three decades by Rep. Charles Rangel are full of fuzzy math, according to an exhaustive review released yesterday.

The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation identified 28 separate instances within Rangel's 30 years of congressionally mandated filings where, it says, he failed to report acquiring, owning or disposing of assets.

The new report could add more woes for the powerful Democrat, already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over his finances and possible abuse of authority.

"Assets worth between $239,026 and $831,000 appear or disappear with no disclosure of when they were acquired, how long they were held, or when they were sold," foundation researchers wrote after poring through Rangel's filings from 1978 to the present.

"In his calendar year 2006 filing, for example, Rangel reported 13 investments, mostly in mutual funds, which he valued in a range between $54,013 and $286,000, without indicating when he acquired them," the researchers wrote.

"In that same year, a quartet of assets that he reported acquiring in 2004 and worth between $95,004 and $250,000 disappeared from his filing without any indication of whether they were sold or exchanged."

Rangel dismissed the report as a "cheap political stunt."

"The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is currently reviewing these matters at Chairman Rangel's request and that bipartisan committee will look at the House rules and make its judgments," said spokesman Emile Milne.

"Given that Chairman Rangel already has acknowledged errors on his financial-disclosure forms and has hired a forensic accountant to review and correct the mistakes, it's not news that there are errors here," Milne said.

Separately yesterday, Texas Republican Rep. John Carter submitted a mostly symbolic resolution to remove Rangel from his chairmanship of the tax-law-writing Ways & Means Committee, until the Ethics Committee finishes its probe.

The investigative subcommittee was convened after a Post expos reported that the 38-year lawmaker failed to declare rental income on a beachfront villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.

Question to Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership in the house (that would be nancy pelosi):  If Tomothy Geithner is tarnished by his tax cheating, and Nancy Killefer withdrew her name because of tax cheating, and Tom Daschle withdrew his name because of tax cheating....

what the hell are you going to do about Charles Rangel?  And when?

free` I am getting together all of my documents to go meet with my bookkeeper to file my taxes, the very first thing I plan to ask him is how to not pay my taxes like the democrats. (02/05/09)


RACIST CRAP FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

Ken Berwitz

Here is the beginning of an article published in today's Washington Post.  You can click on the link and read it all if you care to, but this is as much as I can stand reposting for you:

Holder Seen as a Chance To Right Racial Wrongs
By Carrie Johnson and Krissah Thompson
Updated: Thursday, February 05, 2009

For decades, the face of the criminal justice system in this country has been black and male: hundreds of thousands locked behind bars, arrested in disproportionate numbers and facing execution at rates far greater than those for the general population.

This week, Eric H. Holder Jr.'s swearing-in as the nation's first black attorney general and its top law enforcement official came weighted with heavy expectation that the system could change.

Known as a prosecutor who was unflinchingly tough on crime, Holder, 58, is also a former civil rights lawyer who has mentored young black men. Many advocates view him as the best chance in decades to right what they consider unchecked racial injustice and insensitivity by federal officials.

Civil rights advocates are already outlining a long list of priorities, including changing laws that lead to disproportionate prison terms for blacks, ending racial profiling and stepping up the policing of discrimination in employment and housing.

"The most important thing is that we have a person who gets it," said Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP. "He understands that the purpose of incarceration is not just punishment and protection but it is also redemption. He understands that people shouldn't be targeted because of what they look like but because of what they do. He understands that enforcing civil rights serves the interest of law enforcement. It's not about what he looks like, it's about what he believes."

Are Black males arrested in disproportionate numbers?  Are Black males facing execution at rates far greater than those for the general population?

Well, that depends on how you look at things.

Heather MacDonald, the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has written a long, very detailed analysis of Black incarceration and the criminal justice system.  It blows Johnson and Thompson's assumptions out of the water.  You can read it by clicking here

But since murder is the most egregious crime of them all, let me post some statistics on Black crime in the United States that just might inform the disproportionality Ms. Johnson and Ms.Thompson are talking about:

Black people comprise about 14% of the US population.

-According to www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, since 1976, 34% of all people executed in the United States were Black and 57% were White.   On its face, that clearly shows Blacks are disproportionately executed compared to Whites, right?  Except....

-..... according to the US Department of Justice, in that same period of time (since 1976) 52% of all murders were committed by Blacks and 46% by Whites.

So let's see:  Blacks commit 52% of the murders and account for 34% of the executions.  Whites commit 46% of the murders and account for 57% of the executions. 

Yep, there's disproportionality all right.  But not the kind Johnson and Thompson are talking about.

The article goes on to imply that, because Eric Holder is Black, Black people will do better with the criminal justice system.  I will leave it to you to read the article and figure out what this is supposed to mean.  I have a feeling you won't like some of it.

IMPORTANT:  In reading this material, several mitigating circumstances should - must - be pointed out:

-First and foremost, a large majority of Black people are law abiding, decent citizens.  I'm not saying this as some clich to be noted and tossed aside.  It is a fact, and a very, very important one;

-Blacks, in aggregate, are disproportionately poor.  Poor people have higher crime rates regardless of race. 

-Blacks, in aggregate, are disproportionately less educated.  Less educated people have higher crime rates regardless of race.

-Blacks, in aggregate, are disproportionately in single parent households.  People in single parent households have higher crime rates regardless of age.

What I'm trying to point out is that, while statistics may indicate that Blacks are disproportionately crime prone, there is a lot more to the whole story.   

Because Blacks are disproportionately in demographic groups with higher crime rates, it stands to reason that, in aggregate, they will commit more crimes.   Just as Whites in these same demographic groups commit more crimes.

Being Black doesn't make someone a criminal any more than it makes someone a President.  Being Black doesn't make someone anything except Black. 


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