Saturday, 22 August 2009


Ken Berwitz

This wit and wisdom from New York's Governor-by-accident David Paterson, comes to us via the New York Daily News:

ALBANY - Gov. Paterson blamed a racist media Friday for trying to push him out of next year's election - launching into an angry rant that left even some black Democrats shaking their heads.

"The whole idea is to get me not to run in the primary," Paterson complained on a morning radio show hosted by Daily News columnist Errol Louis.

He suggested that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the country's only other African-American governor, also is under fire because of his race.

"We're not in the post-racial period," Paterson said.

"The reality is the next victim on the list - and you can see it coming - is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than trying to reform a health care system."

Paterson said the campaign against him is being "orchestrated" by reporters who would rather make the news than report it.

But critics said the governor should blame his own blunders.

"He's given the media more than enough to feed on with the incompetence shown in his administration," said state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), an African-American.

"To quote Michael Jackson, he should start with the man in the mirror," Parker said.

Even state Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem), a black supporter of the governor, urged him to be more like Obama by staying "focused on the message."

Paterson has been the target of Democrats who fear his low approval ratings - 18% at their lowest and about 30% now - will endanger the party next year if he decides to run for his first full term as governor.

Paterson insisted in the interview that he has made tough decisions to deal with the state's ballooning budget deficits while at the same time helping those most in need.

He noted that the state, despite its fiscal crisis, has not had to write IOUs or had its bond ratings drastically reduced, like California, and is not in as bad straits as Pennsylvania, Michigan or Massachusetts.

He seemed to take a shot at Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a possible primary competitor. Polls show Cuomo would trounce the governor in a match-up.

"If I run in the primary, the same people who are sitting in beach chairs while I'm in the ocean with the sharks will have to come into the ocean - and they will be eaten alive."

Paterson said there would be no shame in running next year - and losing.

"It will be my highest honor to have served as governor of this state, to make the tough decisions," he said.

Later, Paterson looked to downplay his comments, saying, "At no point did I claim that this media piling-on effect was due to race."

"What I did point out was that certain media outlets have engaged in coverage that exploits racial stereotypes," he said.

Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that Paterson is an incompetent who has given us a series of fiascos (like Caroline Kennedy's senate fling, for example), or that he illegally used campaign funds for things like hotel rooms to bed women other than his wife, and to go on trips, etc.  And it is unrelated to his through-a-trapdoor polling numbers.

Nope, it isn't any of that.  It is that he's Black.

This kills me because, phony-baloney whining aside, racism does exist and remains a horrible reality.  But when people like Paterson use it as a cheap political gimmick to cover their personal shortcomings, racism is trivialized and people have an excuse not to take it seriously.

How I wish David Paterson would just shut up.  But not everybody's wishes are granted, are they?  So we probably will endure months more of his BS.  Too bad for him, too bad for us, and too bad for the victims of real racism.

Zeke No .. No... No .... You don't understand ..... "You are a racist" means "here is my Get-Out-of-Jail Card" .... "I don't have to be bound by conventional bounds of decency, morality, honesty." .... Just understand that, and everything else makes perfect sense. (08/22/09)



Ken Berwitz

This remarkable incident, as detailed by Investors Business Daily, is a classic example of two recurring themes I talk about a lot:  the Obama administrations incompetent foreign policy, and the bias and/or ineptitude of our media. (The bold print is mine):

Where's The Thanks?

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, August 21, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Allies: Tiny Honduras last week handed over a Syrian death merchant to face justice in the U.S. That's right: The same 'coup-government' the Obama administration reviles is one of the very few helping us fight terror.

As shadowy moneymen in the terror underworld go, not many are as unsavory as Jamal Yousef, an ex-Syrian military man turned terrorist arms supplier. Three years ago in Honduras, undercover U.S. agents caught him trying to sell 100 AR-15 assault rifles, 100 M-16 assault rifles, 10 M-60 machine guns, C-4 explosives, 2,500 hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and as many as 18 surface-to-air missiles to Colombia's FARC Marxist narcoterrorists.

His price? A ton of cocaine, something he knew how to "move."

Honduran cops put him away for petty charges, but he did only three years in prison that ended this week.

Instead of letting him walk, the Honduran government put him on a plane bound for New York to stand trial on narcoterror conspiracy charges, arriving there Wednesday. If convicted, Yousef faces at least 20 years in one of our slammers.

The extradition was noteworthy because Honduras has been blasted by Obama administration officials over what it claims is a coup around the Honduran Supreme Court's removal of former President Mel Zelaya, a Chavista leftist who on June 28 illegally tried to extend his term in office.

The Obama administration presumes to know Honduran law better than the Honduran Supreme Court and has yanked visas of Honduran officials, condemned the tiny country in the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and refused to recognize anyone in the current government.

It could be worse economic sanctions are also possible but it's bad enough.

In light of how hard it is to get any nation even a friend to extradite a criminal to the U.S., what Honduras did for a nation that refuses to recognize its government was rather remarkable.

Mexico, by contrast, didn't start extraditing terrorists until a couple of years ago, and other countries still refuse to do so.

Lest we forget, Americans have suffered at the hands of the FARC. Three were held in the jungle as FARC hostages for six years, during which 11 contractors and military personnel were killed. Anyone who arms these barbarians has American as well as Colombian blood on his hands.

Yet in its press release, the Justice Department thanks everyone and his brother for the fine police work that resulted in this extradition everyone, that is, except the Honduran government.

How ungrateful can we be?


How many ways can Barack Obama and his foreign policy "geniuses" muck this up? 

-First we immediately and emphatically take the wrong side when Honduras President-turned-dictator is legally removed by the countrys supreme court.  Instead, we support the dictator wannabe, who, as it turns out, is a major proteg of hugo chavez.  A backhanded slap to the country and its legal system.  Brilliant.

-Now, when the interim government looks past our foreign policy and does this for the United States, we give credit to everyone but the interim government.  Another backhanded slap.

But, hey, why not?  Its not like our wonderful neutral media (other than IBD, obviously) are about to inform the public that this is taking place, is it?  

Thats some daily double.  Stupidity for foreign policy, and a media that do not report it. 

Would they have reported it if this were the Bush administration?  .

Then they wonder why people call them biased.


Ken Berwitz

As you may have noticed, I wrote a piece about Sheila Leavitt a few days ago that someone using her name angrily rebutted.   Based on further investigation I retracted my first story - but noted that I consider Leavitt to be a nut-job.  I thought that might end the issue.

But if you look at the "comments" for my retraction (SHEILA LEAVITT:  WRONG NUT-JOB)  you will see that the same person, now specifically claiming to be Sheila Leavitt is still angrily making demands of me.

Ok, here's my answer, which comes in the form of a standing offer to her -- and to any public figure I talk about:

If this commenter actually is Sheila Leavitt (she'll have to demonstrate as much to my satisfaction), and she writes a rebuttal of reasonable size (no bigger than what I usually put up myself), I will post it. Word for word.  (I don't censor other people).  Then you can make up your own mind about her.

I, of course, reserve the right to respond.

Let's see where this goes.....

free` I can't believe you have spent this much time with this obvious nut job. (08/22/09)

Sheila Leavitt, M.D. AAARRRGH. To the “WisOldMan” (Hint:Watch my lips, fella): Sheila Leavitt, M.D., Doctor: yes. Physician: yes, although not practicing for many years. Medical license: yes, state of New York, currently inactive. Former driver of car with Uncle Sam (in a casket, but not quite dead, merely moribund at the time, which was the July 4th following the 2004 election). Sam was on the roof of my lovely, colorful, now deceased (I think) Corolla. Uncle Sam, in sharp contradistinction to the Corolla), is feeling much better, thank you, ever since November 2008, although he has a way to go towards total recovery. There seem to be a bunch of people in congress and elsewhere who are not all that interested in his health. Hope I’ve cleared that up for ya. If not there's not a heckuva lot more I can say. (08/24/09)

WisOldMan I've been trying to follow this thread, but I'm having some trouble understanding whether or not there are actually two Shiela Leavitt's, one who drives the car with Uncle Sam in a casket on the roof, who is not the same Sheila Leavitt as the one responding that she was almost a doctor. (08/24/09)

Sheila Leavitt, M.D. Hi Ken. Would you please re-post what I've already written? I did not make a copy of it, and I hate to repeat myself. I understand that you felt my tone to have been somewhat angry. Perhaps it was. Personally, I feel that, having been widely vilified and slandered; having suffered unfounded allegations of fraud, merely for stating, accurately and with no intent to mislead, that I am a doctor; and having done this as a means of brief self-introduction in a public forum where the topic was health care reform, I have good reason to be angry. I understand that it is exciting for partisan bloggers to sit in front of their computers and play "gotcha" journalism with powerful search engines via which they believe all truth can be discovered. But any good physician will tell you that, when a patient presents with what may be, initially, a confusing set of signs and symptoms, an open mind is one of the most important tools in the doctor's diagnostic kit. If a physician decides, before all the facts are in, that the patient must be suffering from a particular problem, and, perhaps without even realizing it, the doctor forces the test results to fit this preconceived notion, unfortunate errors in diagnosis often occur. A real, good journalist must begin, as must a real, good doctor, with an open mind. Findings that do not support one's initial thesis must be acknowledged and a new thesis proposed. A competent cardiologist, for example, obviously bears in mind that not all chest pain originates in the heart, even though this organ may be his or her area of expertise. Sometimes what appears to be angina pectoris may just be gastric reflux. On the other hand, many patients (especially women) have in the past been misdiagnosed with reflux and gone on to succumb to a heart attack. This whole brouhaha has disturbed me on several levels. On a personal note, my kids, especially my young teenager who saw all these blogs before I did and, unbeknownst to me, responded to a couple of them, was quite upset. He's a nice kid and he respects his parents and is proud that they are involved in the public debate over how health care reform might be structured. Furthermore, I put in many long years of training and, whether or not I am currently practicing, I have every right to refer to myself as a doctor. Finally, and most importantly, I deplore the attempt, by you and dozens of other bloggers, to use this fake "fake doctor" story to slander the health care reform efforts of the Obama administration, whether or not you agree with the plan. (I, too, have many differences of opinion with Obama and the current Democratic plan, as I strongly favor single payer Medicare for all---what you might call socialized medicine. You might read Dr. Arnold Relman's article in the recent New York Review of Books if you want an excellent discussion of why this might be the best option). Okay, Ken, so yours was a poorly researched cheap shot. So what would you like to see: notarized copies of my medical school diploma from the University of Rochester? My Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society award? My pay stubs from my internship year at Rochester General and Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester? My license to practice medicine, currently inactive as I have not practiced for two and a half decades (on file, however, at the New York State Board of Medicine, as I think someone already noted elsewhere. Like they told me when I called the Board to check if they ordinarily inform callers about the names of doctors on their list:"Of course, Dr. Leavitt! Once a doctor, always a doctor! Don't people know that?)? W2 forms from the two years I practiced as a full-time physician at Rochester Institute of Technology in their Student Health Service? A letter from the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where I was half-way through a residency in Pathology when our first kid, now a medical student, was born, had a health problem, thereby convincing me to take time off for child rearing? What do you want Ken? Please let me know. Because I would like you to apologize, very publicly, and despite the fact that we disagree about the specifics of health care reform; and to let other bloggers, etc., know that their partisan "gotcha" journalism has not flushed out a fake Obama-camp planted doctor, but just a private citizen with a lot more medical background that 99+% of you guys out there at your keyboards; a citizen who really cares about getting health care to the 50 million uninsured Americans, and who believes that the best way to do this is to get the profit motive out of the insurance system. But this is just MY opinion, to which I'm at least as entitled as the next guy. BTW, I drove that crappy old corolla because I also hate paying a lot of collision insurance to protect fancy metal when all I really care about is getting me and mine from point A to point B cheaply and without using too much gas. Do you really think that all, or even most, doctors are in it for the big cars and fancy houses? Some are, sure, but if you are looking for those really chasing the big bucks, look at the insurance industry. If you locate a "health insurance CEO" driving a 12 year old Corolla, by all means, check him out. Or her. He (or she) might well be a fake. Waiting for your reply, Ken. Please omit any self-justifying nonsense or irrelevant liberal bashing. I've handed you the scoop out of this whole pile of crud you folks have created, handed it to you because you seemed the most reasonable, rational, and interested in the truth.Don't let me down, Ken. (08/23/09)


Ken Berwitz

From (and many other web sites) comes this unspeakably ugly claim:

Lockerbie Bomber Released for Oil?

World | Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 8:43:31 am PDT

Scottish officials said they were releasing Lockerbie terrorist Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi for compassionate reasons.

Well, that ... and those Libyan oil contracts.

LONDON In the wake of the sole convicted Lockerbie bombers return to a heros welcome in Tripoli, questions intensified in Britain on Friday as to whether lucrative Libyan oil contracts were as much a factor in his release as compassion for a dying man.

The bomber, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, suffering from terminal prostate cancer, was freed from a Scottish prison on Thursday and flown home in a V.I.P. jetliner to scenes of jubilation in Libya that were broadcast around the world, angering many in Britain and America, including President Obama.

On Friday, Lord Trefgarne, chairman of the Libyan British Business Council, said Mr. Megrahis release had opened the way for Britains leading oil companies to pursue multibillion-dollar oil contracts with Libya, which had demanded Mr. Megrahis return in talks with British officials and business executives.

If this is true, it makes me sick to my stomach. 

And, sadly, it has the ring of credibility since, in looking for a reason that this subhuman mass-murdering scumbag was set free, a quid pro quo of some kind is the most logical explanation.

That said, though, we have to be fair.  As of now this claim is being denied.  So let's hold off until we see what information comes forward in the next few days. 

But the UK better have something more than a smile and a verbal assurance to convince us.  A lot more.

Zeke Subject: Reposting my recent comment & Time: 1250978675 Reposting my recent comment & Ken's reply: .....Zeke Exactly WHO determined that this terrorist's prostate cancer was an end of life situation ? In many (not all) cases, it is so slow growing that nothing is done, and the patient goes on to die from old age (other causes). ... This is a younger guy, so perhaps some treatment is indicated ... had he gotten any ? Which doctors diagnosed and treated his condition ? .... Or does his release have anything to do with Great Britain being selected to exploit Lybia's oil reserves, which are the largest in North Africa and mostly underdeveloped. (08/21/09) Ken Berwitz Helluva question, zeke. (08/21/09) Zeke Ken -- It does disturb me that my immediate reaction to MSM stories is to look for where they are slanting the story and concealing relevant facts. ... sigh '... The expectation is that they are reporting propaganda. (08/21/09) ()


Ken Berwitz

While we're on the subject of poor decisions, let's reprise Attorney General (and chief toady) eric holder's repulsive one, to vacate a default judgment against members of "the new Black panther party" who were overtly intimidating voters in Philadelphia.

John Fund, of the Wall Street Journal has a terrific column on this, and here it is: 

Holder's Black Panther Stonewall

Why did the Justice Department dismiss such a clear case of voter intimidation?

By John Fund

President Obama's Justice Department continues to stonewall inquiries about why it dropped a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.

The episodewhich Bartle Bull, a former civil rights lawyer and publisher of the left-wing Village Voice, calls "the most blatant form of voter intimidation I've ever seen"began on Election Day 2008. Mr. Bull and others witnessed two Black Panthers in paramilitary garb at a polling place near downtown Philadelphia. (Some of this behavior is on YouTube.)

One of them, they say, brandished a nightstick at the entrance and pointed it at voters and both made racial threats. Mr. Bull says he heard one yell "You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker!"

In the first week of January, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party and three of its members, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring voters with the weapon, uniforms and racial slurs. In March, Mr. Bull submitted an affidavit at Justice's request to support its lawsuit.

When none of the defendants filed any response to the complaint or appeared in federal district court in Philadelphia to answer the suit, it appeared almost certain Justice would have prevailed by default. Instead, the department in May suddenly allowed the party and two of the three defendants to walk away. Against the third defendant, Minister King Samir Shabazz, it sought only an injunction barring him from displaying a weapon within 100 feet of a Philadelphia polling place for the next three yearsaction that's already illegal under existing law.

There was outrage over the decision among Congressional Republicans, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Divisionespecially after it was learned one of the defendants who walked was Jerry Jackson, a member of Philadelphia's 14th Ward Democratic Committee and a credentialed poll watcher for the Democratic Party last Election Day.

Then the Washington Times reported on July 30 that six career lawyers at Justice who had recommended continuing to pursue the case were overruled by Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrellia top administration political appointee. One of the career attorneys, Appellate Chief Diana Flynn, had urged in an internal memo that a judgment be pressed against the defendants to "prevent the paramilitary style intimidation of voters" in the future.

Justice spokesman Alejandro Miyar says the dismissal was "based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law." But Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.), has been asking for more information. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Welch, for example, claims in a July 13 letter to Mr. Wolf that charges against the New Black Panther Party itself were dropped because there wasn't "evidentiary support" to prove they "directed" the intimidation. But Mr. Wolf notes in a letter sent to Justice that one defendant, Black Panther Party Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, said on Fox News just after the election that his activities at the polling station were part of a nationwide effort. Mr. Shabazz added that the Black Panther activities in Philadelphia were justified due to "an emergency situation."

Mr. Wolf's demands that Justice make the career attorneys on the case available for questions have been rebuffed. He also wants the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings. A spokesman for House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers was noncommittal as to whether any hearing would be held.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted on Aug. 7 to send a letter to Justice expanding its own investigation and demanding more complete answers. "We believe the Department's defense of its actions thus far undermines respect for rule of law," its letter stated. It noted "the peculiar logic" of one Justice argument, that defendants' failure to show up in court was a reason for dismissing the case: "Such an argument sends a perverse message to wrongdoersthat attempts at voter suppression will be tolerated so long as the persons who engage in them are careful not to appear in court to answer the government's complaint."

The commission noted that it could subpoena witnesses and documents if Justice doesn't better explain its actions.

President Obama needs to clear the air. As a former law professor who specialized in voting rights, he is aware of how important even-handed application of the law is to election integrity. In 2007, then-Sen. Obama introduced a bill to protect Americans from tactics that intimidate voters. It also increased the criminal penalty for voter intimidation to five years in prison from one year.

"There is no place for politics in this debate," he testified before Mr. Conyers's committee in March, 2007. "Both parties at different periods in our history have been guilty in different regions of preventing people from voting for a tactical advantage. We should be beyond that."

One way to get there is for Mr. Obama to insist his Justice Department reinstate the Black Panther case or provide a full explanation for why it was dropped.

Why?  That's the one and only question here.  Why would this clear case, and a default judgment, be given a free pass?

I hate to raise the issue, but Barack Obama's opponent is White, while Barack Obama, Attorney General holder and the intimidators are all Black.  

If those colors were reversed, what would you be hearing about this incident in the media?  Would it have been buried this way?  What would .....ahhhh, you get the picture.

Bottom line:  This is a disgrace.  A travesty of justice.  And Barack Obama damn well should be doing something about it.  Fast.

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