Sunday, 22 August 2010

EUGENE ROBINSON'S IDEA OF A "WINNING STREAK"

Ken Berwitz

I'll bet you didn't know that Barack Obama is on a winning streak.

I'll bet you thought (as do most rational people) that he was pretty decidedly on a losing streak, as his poll numbers clearly suggest.

Well, Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post columnist and consummately self-impressed MSNBC regular, who - possibly because he demands it - is always introduced as a Pulitzer prize winner (as he smirks his approval), says you are wrong. 

Here, via excerpts from his latest column, is Mr. Robinso - uh, sorry, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING Mr. Robinson's reasoning:

This is a radical break from journalistic convention, I realize, but today I'd like to give credit where it's due -- specifically, to President Obama. Quiet as it's kept, he's on a genuine winning streak.

 

It's hard to remember that the inauguration was just 19 months ago. Expectations of the new president were absurdly high. If Obama had done back flips across the Potomac River, when he reached the other side he'd have faced probing questions about why it was taking him so long to cure cancer, solve the Arab-Israeli conflict and usher in an age of universal peace and prosperity.

 

But look at what he's accomplished in just the past few weeks. Let me highlight four recent headlines.

 

"Last U.S. combat troops leave Iraq": Before dawn on Thursday, the last U.S. combat brigade crossed the border into Kuwait, effectively ending the military misadventure that Bush named Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

"General Motors to launch stock offering": One of the many crises Obama faced when he took office was the imminent collapse of an iconic industrial giant. But now, after making more than $2 billion in profits so far this year, the restructured company is confident enough to sell stock on Wall Street -- and begin repaying the government's investment.

 

"Gulf oil spill contained": When BP's Deepwater Horizon well went rogue, the Obama administration was criticized for being slow off the mark. Some of the criticism was justified -- the initial response did seem unfocused. But the administration managed to turn things around and quiet any talk of "Obama's Katrina."

 

And finally, "President wades into mosque controversy": Yes, I'm serious. Supporting the mosque in Lower Manhattan didn't score any political points. But Obama saw his duty to uphold the values of our Constitution and make clear that our fight is against the terrorists, not against Islam itself. Instead of doing what was popular, he did what was right.

Ok, there you have it.  There is Eugene Robinso -- oh, excuse me, PULITZER PRIZE WINNER Eugene Robinson's explanation.

 

Let's take his points one by one:

-The US combat troops are out of Iraq because President BUSH implemented the troop surge that turned a stagnant war effort into a victory, thus enabling us to withdraw them.  Significantly, then-Senator Barack Obama not only opposed the surge, but said that it would have the opposite affect.  In other words, this part of the  "winning streak" is George Bush's, no matter how many times Mr. Obama grins at us and tries to take credit for it;

-The GM stock offering may or may not be a success for Barack Obama.  I admit not knowing enough about the situation at GM to comment.  So I'll just concede this one to Mr. Robinson;

-The BP oil spill, however, I do know about.  And it was a bungled mess from day one.  President Obama had nothing whatsoever to do with any success there.  To the contrary, Mr. Obama and his people were a major impediment to the oil rig disaster, because they refused the offers of equipment and expertise from over a dozen foreign countries for weeks upon weeks, while the situation worsened.  And when the well was finally capped (as it now seems to be), it was BP that did it, not the Obama people, who never had even the slightest hint of a plan of action..  Calling this a "win" for Barack Obama is ludicrous;

-And the mosque controversy?  What was his "win"?  Do you "win" by saying one thing on Friday, then backing away and claiming you said something different on Saturday?  And even if the President had said the same thing both times, how is that a "win"?  Is the situation resolved?  Have tensions lowered?  Has the issue been settled in any way? 

There you have it.  There's the Eugene Robinso...whoops, I forgot again:  The PULITZER PRIZE WINNING Eugene Robinson's definition of a winning streak.

I have a feeling there are a few casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City that would love for Mr. Pulitze...er, Mr. Robinson to show up and "win" exactly the same way.


OLBERMANN: LYING OR MISINFORMED. AGAIN.

Ken Berwitz

Noel Sheppard of newsbusters.org apparently has decided to check on the inaccuracy of keith olbermann after each "Countdown" show.  Not a bad idea, since it yields material for his blog just about every day.

Here, excerpted from today's blog, is his latest mess.  (I'm just giving you the bare bones; do yourself a favor and use the link I've provided to read Sheppard's entire blog):

Olbermann Rips 'Racist' Nugent for Speaking at Beck Rally He's NOT Going To

By Noel Sheppard (Bio | Archive)
Sat, 08/21/2010 - 11:52 ET

Keith Olbermann on Friday evening once again stuck his foot in his mouth on national television when he bashed Ted Nugent for appearing at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally next Saturday.

Problem is Nugent is booked at the Boise Knitting Factory Concert House that night, and won't be attending the Beck event.

But this actually wasn't the only fact Olbermann got wrong on MSNBC's "Countdown," for he also accused Nugent of making racist remarks while giving a concert in Dubuque, Iowa, a few weeks ago.

Turns out this was flatly contradicted by an eyewitness

...a photographer that was in the crowd at the Mississippi Moon Bar in Dubuque on the evening in question has flatly contradicted what Olbermann, Media Matters, and the Telegraph Herald claimed:

Although the Telegraph Herald seemed to be reporting that Ted Nugent put on a racially biased show last night, what I head [sic] him say in his opening monologue was this: "Hey there sure are a lot of white people in this crowd. You need to do something about that."

He later said, heavy on the sarcasm, "Dubuque is a white town."

If anything, Nugent showed how much he honored and respected black performers of the past such as Wilson Pickett, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry and James Brown among others. He said at one point that all American soul came from these black performers who gave their blood, sweat and tears to the music. He even launched into an American Soul retrospective with songs such as Soul Man and Hey Baby.

Is olbermann a serial liar?  Is he so invested in promoting the left side of things that he jumps on "information" which supports his views without fully checking it out?  Both?  (Make up your own mind, but I'd say option #3 is your best bet).

How proud the folks at MSNBC must be of their "star", keith olbermann.   


AS THE PRESIDENT VACATIONS....

Ken Berwitz

As President Obama and his family enjoy yet another of their many vacations this year (Spain was so tiring for Michelle and Sasha), I thought you might like to see what is happening on the illegal immigration front. 

This story comes to us from Reuters.  I don't suggest that you be eating when you read it:

MEXICO CITY Four decapitated and mutilated corpses were strung from a bridge in a popular getaway outside the Mexican capital Sunday, the latest atrocity as the country battles an escalating drug war.

The bodies of the four young men were discovered early on Sunday, hung upside down by their feet from a bridge near a wealthy area of Cuernavaca, a leafy city about an hour outside Mexico City, where many of the nation's elite own homes.

The victims' genitals, index fingers and heads had been cut off, according to a statement from the attorney general's office in Morelos state, which includes Cuernavaca.

Their heads and genitals were found nearby, along with a handmade sign, the statement said.

"This will happen to everyone that helps the traitor Edgar Valdes," the placard read, referring to a leading drug capo whose real name is Edgar Valdez.

It was signed C.P.S., the initials for the South Pacific Cartel, a relatively new drug gang that has claimed responsibility for other gruesome killings.

Drug violence has escalated across Mexico as President Felipe Calderon goes after powerful cartels and as rival gangs fight over smuggling turf. More than 28,000 people have died in drug violence since Calderon took office in late 2006.

While much of the bloodshed is centered in northern Mexico, violence has climbed Cuernavaca, a once-quiet colonial city, since security forces killed a top drug lord, Arturo Beltran Leyva, in a shootout there in December.

His death kicked off a power struggle within his cartel, and rival gangs have been seeking to co-opt his territory.

Valdez, a Mexican-American known as 'La Barbie' due to his blond hair, is a leading contender to head the Beltran Leyva cartel.

A spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office said the crime appeared to be linked to drug trafficking and that federal authorities would lead the investigation.

Arizona is already flooded with drug trafficking, to the point that U.S. citizens are being warned away from parts of the state because they would not be safe.  And since the Obama administration has done exactly nothing about this, the state enacted legislation that would make it more difficult for illegals - very much including the drug traffickers - to remain unidentified.

The good news is that Arizona's new legislation finally roused the Obama administration into action.  The bad news?  Its action was to sue Arizona to prevent those laws from being enforced.

Enjoy Martha's Vinyard today, Mr. President.  And know that you, and your disgraceful sock-puppet of an Attorney General, are enabling the drug traffickers in Arizona (and New Mexico, and Texas, and southern California) to operate freely, thus ensuring that, soon enough, there will be grisly scenes like the one described above on our side of the border too.

Hope you have a great round of golf....


IS IT FAIR TO EQUATE ISLAM WITH TERRORISM?

Ken Berwitz

There is no doubt that most of the terrorism we read about is done in the name of Islam.  But does that make it reasonable to equate Islam with terrorism? 

Here, from his invaluable web site, www.sweetness-light.com (which is worth reading every day) is Steve Gilbert's take on this issue, via his comments about an Associated Press article on the subject:

Americans Associate Islam With Violence!

August 21st, 2010

 

From a thoroughly outraged Associated Press:

 

Americans still associate Islam with violence

By Daniel Trotta Fri Aug 20, 2010

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) The furor over plans to build a Muslim cultural center near the World Trade Center site shows nine years of efforts to separate Islam from association with terrorism have largely failed, experts say.

 

"Id take it one step further. Id say that its far, far worse today than it was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11," said Reza Aslan, a writer and scholar on religion, using the shorthand for the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Gee, why on earth would that be? Certainly, 9/11 was the last time that there has been any violence whatsoever associated with Mohammedans.

Public opinion polls show more than 60 percent of Americans oppose building the proposed Muslim cultural center and mosque two blocks from the site known as "Ground Zero."

 

Former U.S. President George W. Bush repeatedly sought to separate Islam from the al Qaeda hijackers who carried out the attacks there and on the Pentagon

If the media cant induce Mr. Bush to come out and personally defend Mr. Obama on this matter, they will simply do it for him this way.

[A]nd all major American Muslim organizations have issued repeated statements condemning violence in the name of Islam.

Sure they have.

But that message has been overpowered by news coverage of the seemingly endless attacks on civilians often claimed by al Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamist extremists in the Muslim world, in addition to images of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan

 

Perhaps the news media should stop reporting these seemingly endless attacks. After all, who really knows if they actually were done by Muslims or not.

Receiving far less attention are regular statements from the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations strongly condemning any violence perpetrated in the name of Islam

You mean to say that the milquetoast "statements from these worthies have gotten less attention than the dozens of terrorist attacks on our country? What is this world coming to?

 

By the way, if you are belaboring under any illusions about these Islamic groups, you can begin your education by reading about the Islamic Circle of North America at Discover The Networks.

 

Discover The Networks also has a nice write up on the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which it describes as a Los Angeles-based Muslim organization whose leadership defends extremist violence.

 

And, lest we forget, CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Discover The Networks has more on their background, as well.

Both Muslim and non-Muslim religious scholars generally support that view of the faiths mainstream, but for many Americans extremist actions have had more resonance than the moderate majoritys words and practices

This is simply untrue. Many of Islamic scholars, such as those at Islam Q&A declare that jihad is a more important duty for Muslims than even performing a Hajj (trip to Mecca).

 

The Associated Press is simply and blatantly lying about a major tenet of Islam. 

Republicans have seized on the controversy over the plan [to build a mosque at Ground Zero] ahead of midterm elections where Democrats are fighting to retain control of Congress amid difficult economic conditions

And of course the fact that Americans have somehow come to associated violence with Islam is all the fault of those dastardly Republicans who will stop at nothing in their ruthless pursuit of power. Indeed, the AP has far more hatred for members of the GOP than would ever have for those heroic terrorists Muslim extremists.

Religious scholar Aslan blames "Islamophobia" that he said was being whipped by the Republican Party establishment.

 

"They are making religious bigotry just as they made anti-immigrant sentiment part of their political platform," Aslan said. "Democrats in the most cowardly fashion have completely caved in to this challenge."

Which of course is why the AP went to Mr. Aslan in the first place. They knew they could put their words in his mouth. Still, who knew that Harry Reid and Howard Dean were part of the Republican Party establishment?

 

Of course the AP would never let such petty objections as that get in their way of labeling an entire political party and a vast majority of the American populace as religious bigots.

 

The AP are that desperate. And that despicable.

 First, let me say that, although I'm no stranger to criticizing the Associated Press, Steve is far further down that path than I am. 

Now, what about his points regarding Islam, and some of the Muslim groups that the AP describe as speaking up against terrorism?

Islam has extremists.  Many of them.  This is not an issue.  However, Islam is not the only religion that has extremists.   There have certainly been abortion clinic bombings done in the name of Christianity.  And in 1994, Israeli and orthodox Jew Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Arabs and injured many more at a mosque in Hebron. 

But can these individual incidents in any way be compared to the huge, multinational monster that is today's Islamic terrorism?  How many killings have there been in your lifetime specifically in the name of Christianity or Judaism?  Are hundreds of millions of Christians and Jews scared into silence for fear of being killed by their religious extremists if they dare to speak out against them? 

The answer in every case is no. 

And Steve is dead-on right in pointing out that the general statements  deploring all forms of violence and terorism that are issued from groups that, themselves, have ties to terrorist individuals and groups, are a crock of BS. 

So does this mean Islam, per se, is a religion of violence and terrorism?  The answer is an emphatic no.  Most Muslims, I am certain, would just like to live their lives in peace.  And although the koran is loaded with violence, it doesn't mean every Muslim wants to kill infidels any more than the violence in the old and new testaments turns Christians and Jews into killing machines.

But, that not withstanding, in today's world it is undeniable that Islam vastly predominates as the source of violence and terrorism.  Therefore, the vast majority of the war on terrorism must be fought against the segments of Islam which are perpetrating it.

We ignore this reality at our own peril.


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