Saturday, 25 April 2009

BEA ARTHUR R.I.P.

Ken Berwitz

Bea Arthur died today in Los Angeles.  While the exact cause of death is not yet reported, it probably had something to do with her cancer.

On Broadway, Ms. Arthur was Yenta the Matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof, then Vera Charles in Mame, for which she won a Tony.

In the movies she was the stoic mom in Lovers and other Strangers

On TV she was Maude, and then Dorothy Zbornak of The Golden Girls, winning an Emmy for each role.

Bea Arthur was a great talent and, from all accounts, a terrific, accomplished lady who will be missed.

May she rest in peace.


THE IRAN PROBLEM IS.....ISRAEL (?!!)

Ken Berwitz

It would take a nitwit to actually mean what that title says.  Iran has overtly threatened Israel's existence, while it rushes at full speed to create the nuclear weapons with which to do it.  By contrast, Israel's "threat" is entirely defensive - i.e. to prevent Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons.

With that in mind, please read the following thoughtless piece by walter rodgers (sorry, I can't call it a think piece), and see just how completely a so-called journalist can contort reality. 

The obtuseness and stupidity is rodgers'; the bold print is mine:

The danger of an Israeli strike on Iran

Oakton, Va. The new Israeli prime minister recently appeared to give President Obama a blunt ultimatum: Stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or we will.

Benjamin Netanyahu's challenge (intimated in an interview he gave to The Atlantic magazine) smacks of unrealistic bravado and, worse, it appears to be a crude attempt to bully an American president into bombing Iran's nuclear installations.

The world should hope it's a hollow threat.

The consequences of a unilateral Israeli strike would be enormous if not disastrous. Mr. Obama cannot allow himself to be intimidated by Mr. Netanyahu, nor can he wink if the Israeli air force bombs Iran's nuclear facilities.

Israel has acted unilaterally to squash a perceived nuclear threat before. In 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin sent fighter jets to knock out Iraq's "Osirak" nuclear reactor. Israel claimed that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons and that it had no choice but to bomb it out of existence. In 2007, Israel bombed a facility in Syria it claimed was a nuclear reactor.

Any strike on Iranian reactors would be a different matter entirely. Osirak was a lone, poorly guarded, and inoperative nuclear plant that had a year earlier been damaged by an Iranian airstrike. The Iranians have taken considerable precautions to build their facilities on something more solid than desert sand. At present there is but one facility, Bushehr I, but Tehran is gearing up to build an entire network of nuclear plants. Israel would be bombing until the Shah comes home to merely delay what is an unstoppable Iranian nuclear program.

The fallout from Israel's strike on Osirak was serious but limited. But a preemptive strike on Iranian soil would border on catastrophic. Consider:

Iran has signaled that if attacked, it would close the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world's oil flows. This would plunge the world into economic calamity.

Hezbollah, Iran's proxy army in Lebanon, is believed to have more than 42,000 missiles, according to Defense Minister Ehud Barak enough to make Israeli cities such as Haifa and Tel Aviv burn like London did during the Nazis' Blitz. Hezbollah is believed to have terror cells in Europe and North America. It has struck in South America, and many terrorism experts believe it is potentially even more dangerous than Al Qaeda. Iran, using this proxy force, would probably unleash it on the world if Netanyahu were to bomb the Bushehr I reactor.

It would trigger a tsunami of anti-Semitism that would inevitably translate into violence against Jews worldwide.

Such a strike would be perceived as further evidence of a US-Israeli global war on Islam. Islamist fighters from Marrakesh, Marseille, London, Cairo, Karachi, and Tehran would enlist overnight by the thousands and march to Iraq and Afghanistan to wage jihad against the American troops there.

Netanyahu is no fool. He is keenly aware of these global implications. He knows that a unilateral Israeli strike would not only accelerate Iran's nuclear ambitions but also legitimize them. He also knows that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threat to wipe Israel off the map is bombast. It is the country's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, who commands the armed forces and national security apparatus, not the populist president.

Domestic Israeli politics may have been a factor motivating Netanyahu's warnings. Talking tough soothes anxieties at home. Equally likely, Netanyahu was prodding the new Obama government. And in that sense he may feel the recent US-led invitation to Tehran to meet with Washington and five other major powers to discuss the disputed nuclear program was a result of his threat. Iran has agreed to "constructive dialogue," although it may be delusional for the Israeli prime minister or any other Western leader to believe that political or economic pressure can sway Iran's ruling clerics.

What's worrying is that Netanyahu had a record of bad judgment in his previous term as prime minister from 1996 to 1999. Not without cause did The Economist run a cover photo of "Bibi" in October 1997 under the headline "Israel's Serial Bungler." It described his governance of the Jewish state as a "calamity" for the peace process.

Iran has no need to nuke Israel. Its ruling clerics, whom Netanyahu described as a "messianic apocalyptic cult," believe time, history, and Allah are on their side. They believe the Jewish state, starting across the border in Lebanon, can be nibbled to death over the next century just as the Arabs did to the Crusader kingdoms 600 years ago.

It should surprise no one that Iran's mullahs want nuclear weapons. They live in a nuclear neighborhood: Pakistan, India, Russia, China, and Israel, which is estimated to have 200 nuclear bombs ready to use if it were attacked. The ayatollahs also remember Mr. Hussein's 1991 folly of going to war with the US without nuclear weapons.

Obama needs to do Netanyahu a favor and tell the Israelis: "No first strike." Keep the F-15s and F-16s at home. A messianic vision such as Mr. Ahmadinejad's is rife in much of the Islamic world. Bellicose rhetoric most often serves as an excuse for inaction. It does not denote suicidal inclinations on the part of Iran's more pragmatic leaders.

Walter Rodgers, a former senior international correspondent for CNN, writes a biweekly column for the Monitor's weekly print edition.

The first thing to point out is that rodgers was a senor international correspondent for CNN.  That goes a long way toward explaining CNN's coverage of Israel for many years --- especially CNN International's coverage (which, is even worse).

Now let's think about what the article says:

Overall it is telling us that a country run by violent religious fanatics who hate Israel, consider Jews subhumans, and specifically have threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, is not the problem.  The problem is that Israel might do something to prevent it from happening.

(I'm going to continue.  But I could stop right there, couldn't I?  rodgers' central point is that the Israeli people should leave Iran a clear field to vaoporize them -- which makes him an Israel-hating moron.)

Then we have rodgers' assurance that Israel's 1981 attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor was some silly little nothing.  In truth, it was anything but.  You can read a dispassionate, even-handed commentary about it by clicking here

With Osirak, as with Iran, the constant is that rodgers has a problem with Israel trying to survive.  What do you expect Israel to do if it is threatened by a madman building nuclear capabilities?  Wait for him to strike and then have a meeting? 

Maybe rodgers thinks the UN model will work - i.e. if there are any Israeli survivors they can issue a very strongly worded resolution.

I think my favorite stupidity from this thoughtless piece is that if Israel were to take out Iran's nuclear capability there would be a wave of anti-semitism around the world.  In other words, if Israel leaves itself wide open for a nuclear attack from Iran, people will like Jews better.

What the eff does this genius think is happening nowWithout any attack from Israel?  Does he feel the love for Jews that permeates planet Earth? 

Actually, I agree with him in one sense:  If Israel is successfully vaporized and 5 million Jews die, the world probably will like Jews better.  I certainly get the impression rodgers would.

Then we have the incredibly stupid comment that Iran is perfectly content to wait 100 years and nibble away at Israel.  Yep, that is why it is building nukes:  for use in the year 2109. 

Let me finish by again pointing out that this "journalist" wrote, thus influenced the dissemination of, news, for CNN (and ABC news before that).  This may go a long way toward explaining the sorry state our wonderful "neutral" media have descended to over the years.


WES PRUDEN ON THE POSSIBILITY OF 'TORTURE TRIALS'

Ken Berwitz

Wes Pruden is not the first writer to describe President Obama's (or, more exactly, moveon.org's and george soros') policy regarding "torture trials" as worthy of a third world hellhole, or banana republic.

But he says it very, very well, so I thought you might want to read his analysis:

PRUDEN: Steady descent into third world

The president's on-again, off-again, maybe-he-will and maybe-he-won't decision to punish someone who loosened tongues of Islamist terrorists at Guantanamo suddenly threatens not only the CIA interrogators and Justice Department lawyers, but even members of Congress. Maybe it won't stop there: if the lawyers who offered legal opinions are at risk of punishment for their legal advice, why not the members of Congress who knew what was going on? Why not the secretaries who typed up the transcripts? Why not the interns who fetched the coffee? All were accessories either before or after the fact.

We're on unfamiliar ground now. No president before has sought to punish his predecessor for policy decisions, no matter how wrong or wrong-headed. Lyndon B. Johnson's management of the Vietnam War was often ham-handed, as anyone who was there could tell you, and his policy makers sometimes verged on criminal incompetence. But Richard Nixon was never tempted to send LBJ or any of those presidential acolytes to prison. Abraham Lincoln, by his lights, would have had ample opportunity to hang Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, but even the rabid Republicans who survived the assassination stopped short of putting Davis in the dock, finally releasing him from imprisonment at Fort Monroe when judgment overcame lust for revenge. Lee was never touched.

Exacting revenge for unpopular policies is the norm in the third world, heretofore more likely in Barack Obama's ancestral Kenya than in America, more in the tradition of gangland Chicago than in Washington, where we count on cooler heads to prevail when raw emotion threatens to overwhelm sobriety and the undisciplined senses. We recall perceived national mistakes with the sadness of regret and even gratitude for lessons learned, not the frenzied catharsis of a St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Mr. Obama, having won the White House fair and square, is entitled to change any presidential policy he chooses, but the vindication of a national election does not entitle any president to exact mindless revenge.

The loquacious prince of Hyde Park should understand this, having eloquently sounded caution and reason on his inauguration as president, promising as he had during the long campaign to "look forward," not "backward." Rahm Emanuel, once described as the president's alter ego (if indeed such an outsized ego could have an "alter"), said as recently as Sunday that "it's not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back in any sense of anger and retribution."

This was in line with what the president had said all last summer when he was campaigning for the White House, what he had said on his inauguration, and in line with his oft-stated goal of restoring bipartisan civility and mutual goodwill to governing the country. Mr. Emanuel's reassurance was regarded in Washington as putting paid to an ugly era, an emphatic determination to "move on" to something close to national unity.

The president hadn't counted on the rage of the jackals on the leftmost fringe of his party, organizations like MoveOn.org, which want only the "unity" of the lynch mob. They demand a hanging and the president promises only to think about it. Ever confident that his golden tongue, with or without the teleprompter, would mesmerize all foes and vanquish all rancor, Mr. Obama then threw George W. Bush's lawyers to the mob.

Perhaps the president imagines that nobody cares much about what happens to lawyers, but he has set in motion something neither he nor anyone else can control. Some of the Democrats in Congress, eager now to join the mob, will regret what they cry for. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, for one, was a member of the House intelligence committee and sat in on super-secret briefings after Sept. 11. She concedes that she heard about waterboarding but she doesn't remember exactly what she heard. Just like Barack Obama sleeping through 20 years of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's rabid sermons, Ms. Pelosi dozed through the briefings. Her colleagues on the intelligence panel say they remember her demanding that the CIA do more to get the "intelligence" to prevent another attack.

Republicans in the Senate, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are finally finding their voices. So is Joe Lieberman, a courageous Democrat. If we're going to have hangings, Ms. Pelosi may be at risk of becoming our most famous female hangee since Mary Surratt paid her debt at the end of a rope for hanging out with John Wilkes Booth.

Stomping on snakes is never pretty.

You have to wonder whether President Obama has thought for one minute about the harm this causes - not just to the people he would put through the wringer, but to the United States and its standing in the world? 

Does he even begin to think about what this would do to our intelligence-gathering in the future?  How unlikely our people will be to aggressively seek out information about terrorism if they believe that, even if they do what has been judged acceptable at the time, their actionsmight result in they, rather than the terrorists, being on the hook?

And can he possibly not realize that, if this is pursued, virtually every Democratic "leader" who was ever briefed about our interrogation techniques will be on trial right along with the Republicans he and his masters hate so much? 

Can he possibly think Republicans will lie down and roll over without going after people like Nancy Pelosi?  Harry Reid?  Every Democratic member of the house and senate intelligence committees?  They'll all be in the same boat.  You can take that to the bank.

Sadly, this is what you get when you elect a man who is unqualified to be President and in way over his head.  You get a man who makes bumbling, counterproductive decisions and can easily be manipulated by the people around him.

Did we elect Barack Obama, or the ghost of Warren Harding?


SWINE FLU AND ANTHRAX

Ken Berwitz

As most of us know by now, there is a terrible flu ravaging Mexico which has, so far, killed 68 people and threatens to kill many multiples more.  According to the article at msnbc.com, "Genetic analysis shows the flu strain is a never-before-seen mixture of swine, human and avian viruses."

Although there are no deaths here yet, it appears to have migrated to the United States as well. 

Is it coming here because infected illegal aliens have crossed the border?  I don't know -- but it certainly is likely.  We don't secure our borders and don't have any way of preventing infected illegals from entering the country.

Let's hope that this flu can quickly be contained on both sides of the border.

Now on to anthrax.

The reason I mention anthrax in this post is because for the same reasons a Mexican flu outbreak can quickly migrate here - our unsecured borders - an anthrax attack can be mounted that could kill thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of us. 

Do I have your attention?  Good.  Because this is no joke and it is no exaggeration.

Want to know how it could be done?  Then watch this video, provided by the invaluable www.MEMRI.org, and see/hear a Kuwaiti "professor", named abdallah nafisi, who not only describes its feasibility but is clearly thrilled by the prospect of it happening:

"KuwaitiProfessor Abdallah Nafisi Suggests a Biological Attack at the White House and Prays for the Bombing of a Nuclear Plant on Lake Michigan." from Memri.

FYI:  In case you wonder how hate like this gets to the general public, this "speech" aired February 2 of this year, on al-jazeera TV.  And, yes, Kuwait is the country we saved from saddam hussein in 1991.  Nice of them to pay this scumbag for providing a blueprint to mass-murder our people.)

My purpose in showing it is to make clear - again (and again and again) - that we have enemies who are chafing at the bit to commit mass murder in the United States, and borders that give them every opportunity to do just that.

This is not some silly little political game.  This threat is real.  And if we are not protecting ourselves from it every way we know how - which we most definitely are not - we are asking for it.  And we'll get it soon enough.

NOW can we have a serious attempt at border security? 


RACIST PLAGIARIST UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

Remember that "teacher" from Columbia University Teacher's College who claimed someone put a noose on her office door during the night?  An act that somehow eluded 56 HOURS*** of surveillance videos which covered her office door and adjacent areas?  The one who was, at that time, being investigated for academic plagiarism and needed some kind of cover so she wouldn't be fired?

Well, fired she was.  And here, courtesy of Yoav Gonen of the New York Post, is what she is doing about it:

'NOOSE' PROF SUES FOR $200MBy YOAV GONEN Education Reporter

Last updated: 1:59 am
April 22, 2009
Posted: 1:53 am
April 22, 2009

She first made national headlines when a hangman's noose was found dangling from her Columbia University office door.

Now, Madonna Constantine, the controversial former Teachers College professor fired last year for plagiarism, is resurrecting the image with a $200 million lawsuit that charges her former employer with an "academic lynching."

The strongly worded, 92-page claim -- which veers into spy-time territory with its allegations of coverups, evidence destruction and conspiratorial "schemes" -- was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday.

"It was a prosecution, it wasn't an investigation," Constantine's lawyer, Paul Giacomo Jr., said of the school probe that led to her firing. "They basically set her up."

The complaint says that the allegations against Constantine were fueled by "academic rivalry and political intrigue" and grew into a "complex and calculated scheme to use false information to discredit" her.

"The manner in which the scheme was hatched and carried out is tantamount to an academic lynching," the complaint concludes.

A spokesman for Teachers College said the case was "totally without merit, and we intend to defend against it vigorously."

Constantine's firing is set for review by a Teachers College faculty committee starting tomorrow.

.Do you doubt that she will find support - a lot of it - at hopelessly left wing Columbia University?

Maybe she can go on tour with Ward Churchill.  They'd clean up at college campuses around the country.

--------------------------------------------------------

NOTE:  The 56 hours of surveillance video was an obvious coverup.

Those video tapes would have had to show when, and who, put the noose there.  But Columbia University refused to give police the video for several days before finally agreeing to do so. 

There is zero doubt in my mind that the tapes were doctored to remove the incriminating evidence that had to be there.

free` I would bet money that she put the noose there herself. I'm not saying she did but that i would bet that she did. [don't want to be sued] (04/25/09)


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