Friday, 09 April 2010


Ken Berwitz

For two weeks, Andrew Breitbart ( has offered a reward - first $10,000 and then $100,000 - to anyone who can produce audio and/or video evidence that the Black congresspeople who marched through a tea party protest on March 20 were called "nigger" by one or more people in the crowd. 

No one has come forth with such evidence, even though countless recording devices were present throughout their march (which clearly was a strategy designed to goad tea-partiers into aiming offensive comments at them.  Nice try guys, but no cigar).

Now, fast-forward to Wednesday.  richard trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, is speaking at Harvard.  And Breitbart is in the audience. 

Here is what happened next, as chronicled by conservative activist Warner Todd Huston (the bold print is mine):

Union Chief Claims He Witnessed Racism At Tea PartyYeah, Riiiiight

April 9, 2010

By Warner Todd Huston


Not long ago Andrew Breitbart issued a challenge to the anti-tea party left to show proof that the N word was thrown at black members of Congress by Tea Party protesters in their walk to Congress just prior to their passage on Obamacare. In fact, Breitbart has offered $100,000 for video or audio proof of any racism during that incident. No one on the left has been able meet the challenge.

On the April 7, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was giving a speech at Harvards Kennedy School of Government and in the audience was one Andrew Breitbart. During the question and answer phase of Trumkas appearance, Breitbart asked the Union Chief about the supposed racism of the Tea Party movement and asked if he, Trumka, would denoucne the violence that union thugs perpetrated against Tea Party folks at the event in Searchlight, Nevada.

In answer to Breitbarts charges of union thuggery, Trumka claimed that he was a witness to the N word being cast toward black members of Congress during the Democrats solidarity walk previous to their vote on Obamacare. I watched them spit at people, I watched them call John Lewis the n-word, he said. I witnessed it. I saw it in person. Thats real evidence.

Uh, no, that is hearsay, not evidence. And biased hearsay at that.


Here is that exchange (if you can't see it below, just click here):


There is little doubt that Trumka is simply lying here. There is no way that any Tea Party protester yelled the N word at any member of Congress on the day Trumka claims it happened. We know this because those members of Congress had several folks with cell phones taking video of the crowd during their walk and NO video of audio evidence of this supposed racist epithet has come forward. If the N word really was yelled at members of Congress that day you can be 100% sure wed have seen the video or heard the audio seconds after it was uttered. 


And if you're wondering whether lying might or might not be in character for trumka, I suggest you read the following, from  Be sure to click on the "Fact Sheet" link it supplies as well:

Incoming AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's Ugly History of Violence and Corruption 


At this weeks AFL-CIO national convention, Richard Trumka is expected to be elected president of the nations largest union umbrella organization. The National Right to Work Foundation has prepared a Fact Sheet about Trumkas record of militancy and disregard for the rule of law.


As president of the United Mine Workers (UMW) union, Trumka led multiple violent strikes. Trumkas fiery rhetoric often appeared to condone militancy and violence, especially against workers who dared to continue to provide for their families by working during a strike. As a Virginia judge ruled in 1989, "violent activities are being organized, orchestrated and encouraged by the leadership of this union."


Take the murder of Eddie York, a nonunion contractor, who was shot in the back of the head and killed while leaving a worksite in 1993. Trumka and other UMW officials were charged in a $27 million wrongful death suit by Eddie Yorks widow. After fighting the suit intensely for four years, UMW lawyers settled suddenly in 1997 -- just two days after the judge in the case ruled evidence in the criminal trial would be admitted.


Later, as Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, Trumka pleaded the Fifth Amendment before Congress and a court-appointed election monitor over his role in an illegal fundraising scheme to benefit the Teamsters president Ron Careys re-election. Trumka has remained in his position ever since despite an AFL-CIO rule (adopted in 1957) which held that union officials who plead the Fifth have no right to continue to hold office in the union umbrella organization.


Read more about Trumka's history of condoning union violence and corruption in the Foundation's eye-opening Fact Sheet (PDF).

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how strongly I support unions.  But some unions, and heads of unions, make it hard to do so.  Like the AFL-CIO under richard trumka.

It is people like trumka that give unions a bad name.


Ken Berwitz

Chris Christie, the newly elected Governor of New Jersey, was left a fiscal disaster by his predecessor Jon Corzine.  In an effort to rein in the state's runaway spending, one of the many areas he is looking at is teachers' compensation.

So how does the union feel about this?  Maybe the following report from CBS News will be instructive:

Apr 9, 2010 9:51 am US/Eastern

Union Memo Hints At Gov.'s Death

Teachers Union's Memo The Latest Salvo In War Of Words With Gov. Christie



New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn't laughing about a teachers union's memo that hints of his death.

The memo is the latest salvo in a war of words between Christie and the union over wage and benefits concessions.

The Record of Bergen County obtained the Bergen County Education Association memo that includes a closing prayer:

"Dear Lord this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor."

Association president Joe Coppola says the "prayer" was a joke and was never meant to be made public.

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak says there's nothing professional about the group.

Meanwhile, Drewniak says the governor is also considering reopening union contracts to try to get salary concessions at the institutes of higher learning.

Unionized employees at the schools deferred a 3.5 percent increase last year when former Gov. Jon Corzine reopened their contracts.

College and university officials are considering cuts to staff and programs to offset a $173 million cut to higher education in Christie's proposed budget.

On Tuesday, Christie extended a deadline for school districts to receive additional state aide in exchange for teachers agreeing to wage freezes.

The Association President, Joe Copolla,  thinks it is a joke to overtly wish death on the Governor -- for the "crime" of including teachers in his attempt to close the state's runaway budget deficit?

That is hate speech.  Hate speech of the first order.

But instead of apologizing, and maybe rolling a couple of heads for this unbelievably crude, stupid - and threatening - memo, the best he can do is say that it wasn't supposed to go public, as if it would have been ok otherwise.

Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

Here's what should happen:  Whoever inserted the "prayer" into this memo should summarily be fired, Coppola, who thinks this is no more than a private little joke, should resign, and the teachers' union should offer Governor Christie a formal apology. 

But will any of this happen?  You'll pardon my skepticism......

On the other hand, maybe CBS (which, to its credit, is reporting this story) and other media will shame the union into taking appropriate action.  Who knows?

I'll keep an eye open and let you know one way or another.


UPDATE:  Coppola remains as clueless and unrepentant as before.  But the statewide teachers' union has a different attitude.

Excerpted from the Associated Press:

Association president Joe Coppola said the "prayer" was a joke and was never meant to be made public.

The New Jersey Education Association was more contrite. It issued an apology Friday, saying the attack wasn't funny and that it takes away from the more serious discussion the group would like to have with the governor. NJEA President Barbara Keshishian said she would try to apologize personally to Christie.

At an appearance in New Brunswick on Friday, Christie didn't see any humor in the memo - and used it as another chance to blast the teachers unions.

"They said they didn't intend it to be public," said Christie, a Republican. "So, private prayer for my death would have been OK?"

So far, so good.  Now:  When does Ms. Keshishian prevail upon the Bergen County Association to at least pretend it has a similar level of maturity and responsibility?  Or is that a lost cause?

To be continued....


FURTHER UPDATE:  Now, belatedly and I suspect under duress, Joe Copolla has apologized too.  CBS is reporting that he said:

While it was intended as a joke I recognize that it was in poor taste, bad taste and was definitely an error of poor judgment and I sincerely apologize to the governor

Sincerely?  Surrrrrrrrrre Joe.  Thanks.  And here's some aloe vera to sooth the black and blue mark that Barbara Keshishnian's shoe left on your ass .

Zeke ... .... .... Public Service employees are a HUGE lobbying force in NJ. ... ... The teachers union is one of the biggest. ... ... Not only does NJ have no way to pay off the retirement benefits of public employees, but for several years, the legislature has passed laws to authorize NOT budgeting retirement contributions by state and local governments .... ... just pay the bill 'some time in the future'. .... .... It's one thing to see a train wreck coming ---- but do they have to furiously shovel more coal while it is happening. .... .... By ignoring future obligations, the current year's budget is "balanced". .... .... No wonder government at every level is despised by the citizenry. .... ... (04/09/10)


Ken Berwitz

From my sister (in a somewhat revised form):

During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, "How do you determine whether or not a patient is senile and should be put in a home?"

"Well," he said, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the retiree and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," I said.  "A normal person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

"No," he said.  "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"

Admit it:  you laughed.


Ken Berwitz

John Paul Stevens, who will be 90 years old on April 20th and who has served on the United States Supreme Court for 35 years, has announced he will retire in June.

Whatever you think of Justice Stevens' tenure on the court, or of his somewhat leftward journey over the later years of that tenure, he has had a remarkable, productive career. 

To Mr. Stevens:  my sincerest congratulations.  Thank you, sir, for your service.  


Ken Berwitz

Bart Stupak, the Michigan congressperson who enraged much of his (relatively conservative) base by horse-trading his position against federally funded abortions, apparently - and very suddenly - will announce his "retirement" today.

From CNN:

Nine-term Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan will reveal Friday he is retiring from Congress, several Democratic sources close to Stupak tell CNN.


The anti-abortion Democrat has been facing opposition from both the right and the left for his 11th-hour deal with the White House to support the administration's health care legislation. He struck the deal because, he said, he was convinced that the measure bans federal funding for abortion.


Stupak first informed Democratic leaders last week that he was considering retiring, and he received calls from President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others urging him to run again.


Democratic sources in Washington and Michigan say they fear losing Stupak, a historically popular Democrat in a sprawling conservative district, will mean likely losing his seat to the Republicans.


According to one Democratic source familiar with his plans, Stupak is expected to make the case that he is leaving because he has accomplished what he went to Washington in 1992 to do - pass health care reform.

He will also say he considered retiring several times in the past.

Is Stupak retiring because ObamaCare passed?  Yep, I'm sure that's the reason.

But is the retirement really because ObamaCare fulfills some 9-term dream of his?  That I'm not so sure of. 

Frankly, I think Stupak is closing shop because his consituents have made it clear that President Obama's "executive order" regarding federally funded abortions, which can be rescinded at will, is not credible to them.  They think he sold out, and will turn their back on him for a Republican challenger. 

Which is fine with me. 

I respect the sincerely-held positions of both pro-choice and pro-life people.  But I have trouble respecting someone who reverses field on a supposedly deeply-held position for political considerations.  That is what a political whore does. 

Bye-bye Bart. 

Zeke .... So, do you think Stupak got a CornHusker bribe? .... or a Louisiana Purchase. .... .... or maybe a Federal Judgeship or appointment to Fannie Mac, Freddie May or Sallie Harlot. ..... .... ..... Those quasi-govt positions pay rather big bucks .... Franklin Raines got $90 million for heading one of them into bankruptcy and Jamie Gorelick got over $20 million for a similar accomplishment. .... .... Obama has shown he will spend the country into poverty to buy votes and support, and to get his programs enacted. (04/09/10)


Ken Berwitz

We now know that Qatar "diplomat" mohammed al-madadi, the idiot who smoked in the lavatory of a Denver-bound airline and then joked that he was trying to light his shoes on fire (a la the "shoe bomber, richard reid, who is currently serving a life term in jail), was on a mission to visit a member of al qaeda who is jailed there.

From Fox News, via the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON The 27-year-old Qatari diplomat who caused a full-blown, midair security scare when he tried to sneak a cigarette and then joked about it will probably be catching the next flight to Doha, a senior State Department official said Thursday.


"His ability to function effectively has been compromised," the official said, adding that the diplomat will probably not be returning to the United States after the incident.


Fox News also has confirmed that the diplomat was on his way to Denver for a consular visit with a jailed Al Qaeda operative -- perhaps adding to the tension with the U.S. government.

Qatar, the article goes on to say, is a key ally of ours in the middle east and hosts the forward headquarters of US Central Command, which runs our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Maybe one of the folks at US Central Command could respectfully inquire of Qatar what the eff its "diplomat" was doing visiting an al qaeda operative.

I sure would like to know.  Wouldn't you?

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