Friday, 01 May 2009


Ken Berwitz

Jay Severin, an aggressive, often controversial, radio talk show host whose most recent gig has been in the Boston market, was indefinitely suspended for making comments about Mexican people.  Here are the particulars, via excerpts from an article in the Boston Globe:

Jay Severin, the fiery right wing talk show host on Boston's WTKK-FM radio station, was suspended yesterday after calling Mexican immigrants "criminaliens," "primitives," "leeches," and exporters of "women with mustaches and VD," among other incendiary comments.


Heidi Raphael, a spokeswoman for the station, said Severin had been suspended indefinitely from his afternoon drive-time show. She declined to say which of his comments - made since an outbreak of swine flu was linked to Mexico in recent days - sparked the suspension.


"I can assure you that the station has not been using the remarks for which he has been suspended in on-air promos," she said, declining to comment further.


In an e-mail, Severin, a bombastic voice whose views often mirror those of fringe conservatives and who rarely lacks something to say, referred questions to his lawyer. "I am simply not at liberty to discuss it at this time," he wrote.


George Tobia, his lawyer, said it was not clear how long Severin will be on suspension. "All we know is it's indefinite," he said in a telephone interview. "We're just learning of it, and we're dealing with it."


Severin's comments sparked deep concern among Mexicans and other Latinos living in the Boston area, prompting what Tobia described as a flood of complaints to station management in recent days.


"It would certainly be unfortunate if someone was suspended because some people didn't like what he said," Tobia said.


He said he did not know Severin's precise comments.


In one of his broadcasts this week, Severin said: "So now, in addition to venereal disease and the other leading exports of Mexico - women with mustaches and VD - now we have swine flu."


Later, he described Mexicans as "the world's lowest of primitives."


"When we are the magnet for primitives around the world - and it's not the primitives' fault by the way, I'm not blaming them for being primitives - I'm merely observing they're primitive," he said.


He added that Mexicans are destroying schools and hospitals in the United States. He also criticized their hygiene.


"It's millions of leeches from a primitive country come here to leech off you and, with it, they are ruining the schools, the hospitals, and a lot of life in America," he said.


He added: "We should be, if anything, surprised that Mexico has not visited upon us poxes of more various and serious types already, considering the number of criminaliens already here."

Should jay severin have been suspended for those comments?  You're damn right he should have been.

severin stereotyped an entire country.  Over 100 million people.  And he did so in a disgustingly insulting, offensive way. 

"You seen one, you seen 'em all" is unacceptable and intolerable.  Period.  Regardless of which country or which ethnicity or which religion or which skin tone is being talked about.

I'm no fan of censoring free speech.  If jay severin thinks he can define and classify every Mexican on earth, he's welcome to his ignorance and prejudice. 

But the radio station(s) employing him has a right to its version of free speech too.  And if the station's owners/managers do not like severin's views, they can suspend him -- which, to their credit, is what they did.

Good for them. 

Johnny Guitar WisOldMan is a skinny-armed nerd who wears Harley t-shirts and can't even ride a bicycle. (02/01/11)

WisOldMan What I enjoy about KenBz's webpage is his fine work in helping people understand the subtleties that lie in what we could term "media bias". Here in Boston after Jay Severin's asinine remarks, it was reported in paragraph one of the Boston Herald report on his suspension from WTKK that Jay was "conservative", and although Jay Severin is far from being a moonbat, he has spoken more about being Libertarian, than any other political chararacteristic, and it seemed that identifying him as conservative was the best method of selling the story. Point considered is that even the so-called Boston "conservative" paper is still willing to stoop to using slogans/chiches if it's the difference between printing a newspaper, or going the way of the Boston Globe. Does that make it "sad" or "tragic" ? Actually, who cares. What we do know is that the media is what it is...and it's no Holy matter what those in the industry try to lay claim to. (05/02/09)


Ken Berwitz

Jed Babbin, editor of Human Events, has an excellent piece on how badly the CIA has been shaken by President Obama's actions and Nancy Pelosi's lies.  This should be must-reading for anyone who cares about our country and, especially, our national security:

Panic Time for Pelosi

by  Jed Babbin



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has had a bad week. Caught between her own involvement in the CIA interrogations now condemned as torture and her partys inquisitions, Pelosi floundered.  Her fear and frustration have apparently given way to panic after word reached her of the CIAs reaction to the damage she, President Obama and other Democrats have done to the spy agency in the last three months.

Pelosi -- as I wrote earlier in the week -- was one of the few members of Congress briefed in detail on the harsh interrogation methods and who could have stopped them but didnt. Pelosi first said that she wasnt briefed about waterboarding. Then she sort of admitted she had, inserting that the CIA only said that they might do it, not that they were going to do it.  Which could have been plagiarized from John Kerrys 2004 circular explanation of his vote for the war in Iraq.

As badly as that hurt Pelosi, what apparently pushed her into a panic was the feedback she and other Democrats are getting from the CIA.  Pelosi learned that her actions, and those of President Obama and other Democrats over the past ninety days have so damaged CIA morale that the agencys ability to function could be in danger. 

As a result, two emergency closed-door meetings were called this week on Capitol Hill.

The first meeting, on Tuesday evening, was attended by Pelosi, Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Tx) and others.  The following night, Pelosi and some or all of the other attendees met with CIA Director Leon Panetta, also behind closed doors. 

No Republicans were invited to either meeting which means the Democrats were assessing the damage and deciding how to maneuver their way out from under the responsibility for it.  Spin and strategy. 

Morale among in the spy agency is so low because of the relentless assault on the CIA in President Obamas first 100 days.  The first blow to the CIA was his decision to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba without any plan on what to do with the 240 dangerous detainees housed there.  Many CIA employees believe these people to be killers, responsible for the deaths of CIA operatives overseas.   Many in the CIA apparently see this as a betrayal. 

The Obama administration plan to set some of these people loose in the US was despite CIA objections.

And then came the presidents decision to release the so-called torture memos and the disavowal of CIA interrogation methods. 

The presidents on-again, off-again promise to not prosecute CIA operatives who had conducted the harsher interrogations has left many in the CIA uncertain of his real intentions.  Leaving up to the Attorney General whether to prosecute the Bush-era lawyers who wrote the torture memos has added to the already great doubt about the safety and security of CIA interrogators jobs, and more.

By the end of the meeting Wednesday, Pelosi, Reyes and Panetta apparently determined that damage control had to begin immediately.   

Later Wednesday evening, Reyes sent an unprecedented letter to CIA director Panetta making a sort of apology to the CIA.  Reyes cover letter asks Panetta to disseminate it to the CIA workforce as soon as possible.  (At this writing, the letter has not yet been distributed.)  The letter to CIA employees is a very odd mixture of praise for the CIA and CYA for Reyes.  (Click here to read the letter)

Reyes begins, In recent days, as the public debate regarding CIAs interrogation practices has raged, you have been very much in my thoughts, expressing his deep gratitude for the work you do each day.  

But then Reyes retreats into lawyer-isms:  First and foremost, I wholeheartedly support the Presidents decision that no CIA officer or contractor will be prosecuted for authorized actions they took in the context of interrogations.  In other words, if some young prosecutor or Capitol Hill staffer decides you did something unauthorized, youre sunk.

And then comes the CYA for Reyes:  One important lesson to me from the CIAs interrogation operations involves congressional oversight. Im going to examine closely ways in which we can change the law to make our own oversight of the CIA more meaningful; I want to move from mere notification to real discussion. 

The fact that mere notification of the interrogation methods was comprised of a virtual tour of them matters not at all: Reyes letter says Congress should be held innocent of any wrongdoing.  If CIA morale was bad before the letter, it will be vastly worse after it. 

Worst of all is the next sentence:  Good oversight can lead to partnership, and thats what I am looking to bring about.  If theres anything that could possibly make the CIA even less effective than it was before 9-11, thats it.  The nations security requires that the CIA be strengthened and more effective, not bogged down with congressional tourism.  

And, by the way, what Reyes proposes is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers doctrine. Not that Reyes would care.   But the prospect of more Congressional involvement is just another morale killer. 

Obamas first 100 days did enormous damage to our entire intelligence community.  Its all too clear that Speaker Pelosi will do much more if she believes it will help her out of the corner shes in.  Panicked people make mistakes.  Pelosi has made a big one in propelling the inquisition into the CIA interrogations  She will make more, and the damage to our intelligence gathering ability may be fatal to many Americans.

Given the actions of Obama, Pelosi and Napolitano, can you honestly say you feel safer now than you did when it was President Bush and Michael Chertoff?  Can you honestly say you feel as safe?  Or anywhere near it?

We have a President who would give the go-ahead to kill three Somalian pirates in order to save one person, but who disallows an interrogation technique - not death or injury but an interrogation technique - to save countless people.

Is it any wonder CIA morale is low?  It's a wonder there is any morale at all.


Ken Berwitz

Ok, Arlen Specter is now a Democrat.  But he has a bit of a problem:  Democrats don't appear to like him any more than Republicans do, and several are apparently itching to run against, and beat the tar out of, him in the 2010 primary.

The Washington Examiner's Byron York explains:

Senator Specter, meet your new friends

What does the future hold for Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter?  A lot of uncertainty, soured relationships, and possible disaster. And that's just with his new-found friends in the Democratic Party.

There's no doubt Senate Democrats wanted Specter's help with the president's agenda this year. His vote in the Democratic column could mean significantly better chances for the Obama administration's proposals on health care, energy, and education. So Specter's support will be valuable to his new party in the short run.

The long run is another matter. Go behind the news conferences and photo-ops, and Specter's fellow Democrats aren't exactly welcoming him with open arms and warm feelings -- or even respect. Specter's defection, one well-connected party strategist told me, "seems to me like the cowardly act of a cornered man."

Underlying Democratic feelings about Specter is this fact: Even though the party faithful are happy to have Specter's vote in the coming months, they would rather have someone else come November 2010, when Pennsylvania elects its next senator. "As a Democrat who wants Obama's agenda passed, am I happy? Yes," the Democratic strategist said. "Would I rather have a real Democrat?  Absolutely.  Do I think I will eventually get one?  Yes."

It shouldn't surprise Specter that his new allies in the Democratic party don't think of him as a "real" Democrat.  Why should they?  He's a Democrat of necessity, and everyone knows it.  And even though there's word that Senate Democratic leaders have assured Specter he won't face a challenge from within his new party next year, there's really no way they can guarantee that another Pennsylvania Democrat won't make the run. If you were a true-blue party loyalist in Philadelphia, would you want Specter as your candidate, or a "real" Democrat?

"If Ed Rendell ran against Specter, he would mop the floor with him," the strategist told me. "If [Philadelphia Mayor Michael] Nutter ran against him, he would mop the floor with him." A number of other Democrats might also prevail against Specter in a party primary. Who can say for sure they won't try?

So Specter, 79 years old and apparently determined to serve another term in the Senate, is in a very vulnerable position. "Democrats have the blackmail card," the strategist explained. "In the past, the Republicans could say to Specter, 'We're going to challenge you in the primary,' and he could say, 'To hell with you -- I'll become a Democrat.'  He can't say that any more. If the Democrats say, 'We're going to challenge you in the primary,' he can't say, 'To hell with you -- I'll become a Republican.' They'll say, 'Noooooo you won't.'"

As far as Republicans are concerned, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.  More than a few in the GOP were gobsmacked when Specter explained his defection in nakedly strategic terms. "He made perfectly clear in a private conversation with [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell that his decision was made last Friday, when his pollster came to him and said, 'You will not win the Republican primary,'" a top Senate aide told me. "So the decision to run as a Democrat wasn't because he wanted to leave the Republican party, or because the party was mean to him." Specter said much the same thing in public; his decision was born of sheer desperation.

Now, it's on to the new 60-vote, filibuster-proof Democratic majority (assuming Al Franken eventually wins in Minnesota).  Even though there's been a lot of attention paid to the Republican party's new powerlessness -- and it's true, they're toast -- Specter's jump also creates new pressure within the Democratic caucus. With Specter, and 41 votes, Republicans had the power to stop anything, but only if all their members stuck together. That made the inclinations of moderates like Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Specter critical to the GOP's fortunes. Now, with just 40 votes, that doesn't really matter. Republicans can stick together and still not stop anything.

Democrats, on the other hand, now have the power to pass anything, but only if all their members stick together. That makes moderates like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln critical to the party's fortunes. "From now on, the story is, 'Can the president keep his troops in line?'" the Senate aide told me.

And the newest Democrat, Arlen Specter, better keep his new colleagues happy. After all, his future is in their hands.

So what has Specter accomplished, other than going back on his own word (as late as March 17) and changing parties?

-His former Republican colleagues, who weren't that crazy about him under the best of circumstances, now see him as a traitor;

-His new Democratic colleagues, who were never that crazy about him either, also see him as a traitor, albeit a useful one in the short term;

-He says he won't vote the straight Democratic Party line, so his Democratic colleagues may not even get the benefit of his short term value, at least not some of the time.  That will make them like him even less;

-If a strong, or even not-so-strong, Democrat runs against Specter in the 2010 primary he will almost certainly lose anyway.

Way to go Arlen.  Or, more exactly, way to go bye-bye.

Zeke Subject: The British never trusted Benedict Time: 1241221228 The British never trusted Benedict Arnold, even though they did abide by their agreement and made him a General in the British Army. ()


Ken Berwitz

I watched the Today show this morning (most of its first hour, anyway).  I was particularly interested in seeing how they handled the Red Cross report, which was referenced here yesterday.

To refresh your memory, the report shows that khalid sheikh mohammed was not waterboarded 183 times or anywhere near it, nor was abu zubaydah waterboarded anywhere near 83 times.  In reality, mohammed was subjected to 5 waterboardings and 8-10 for zubaydah.  This means the claim of 266 waterboardings for mohammed and zubaydah combined was wrong by 251 - 253.  That comes to about 95% fewer instances of waterboarding than media have been reporting.

Must have been a rounding error........ 

Given that, for almost two weeks, the Today show hosts did feature after feature based on the premise that khalid sheikh mohammed was waterboarded 183 times, you would think this must be a pretty big deal to them. After all, it means their reports were wrong, they grossly misinformed their viewers, and they were made abject fools of by the Obama administration (more on that further on). 

So how did the Today Show hosts address the waterboarding lie this morning?  The answer is.....they didn't.  At least through the first 45 minutes of the show, there wasn't one word about it.  The waterboarding lie, so far as Today show viewers know, is still just as true.

I also scoured this morning's New York Times to find any mention that the Red Cross, which independently monitored guantanamo prisoners, had definitively shown the administration's claims were lies.  And guess what?  Not a word about it there either.

If you aren't enraged by this, you need professional help. 

You have been LIED to.  I don't mean this in any interpretive sense, I mean it 100% literally:  you were told khalid sheikh mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and abu zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, when the truth was 5 for muhammad and 8-10 for zubaydah. 

Now:  who did the lying? 

First and foremost it is Barack Obama and his administration.  They certainly had access to the Red Cross report, so they knew there were only 13 - 15 waterboardings.  But President Obama, and his toady Attorney General eric holder, decided to selectively declassify and release documents, heavily redacted so we saw only the parts they wanted us to, which suggested the dramatically higher number instead.  

Do you have any doubt that, if we had seen the unredacted documents, they would have explained what the "183" and "66" referred to?  But we didn't see them, because Barack Obama and eric holder intentionally censored those documents to make us believe something that was not true.  This is not just a lie.  It is a disgrace and a scandal of the first order.

Second, our wonderful "neutral" media are lying to us just as badly.  They, too, had access to the Red Cross report and therefore knew the Obama administration's selective declassification of documents was intentionally misrepresenting what happened.  But they went along with it anyway, thus aiding and abetting the waterboarding lie.

Finally, I would like to make a special mention of MSNBC.  The far-left commentators on that woefully unprofessional network fell all over themselves to attack and indict President Bush, Dick Cheney and any other member of the previous administration they could think of, based on the waterboarding lie.  keith olbermann in particular has spent over a week sneering about how incredibly stupid the Bush administration was to think that any information gotten after 183 waterboardings would be accurate.

Did olbermann have anything to say about the Red Cross report last night?  You might think he would, given that it makes him look like the south end of a northbound horse.

I tried watching for a short time and - as per my 100% expectation - didn't hear a word about it.  But I checked his web site and found that he did do a story on "torture".  So I watched the video on MSNBC's web site to find out what said - as you can too by Clicking here.  It turned out to be a remarkably dishonest appraisal of what Condoleezza Rice said in discussing torture with college students.  But not a single word about the fact that every one of his attacks during the past week and a half which, cited the 183 waterboardings lie, were wrong.

What does that make olbermann?  The answer:  exactly what I suspect most people thought he was anyway:  a lunatic-fringe leftist with no scruples or integrity, who is perfectly happy to lie to our faces if the lie pushes his agenda.

How I wish that less of our mainstream media would be trying to emulate him.

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