Saturday, 02 October 2010

BARACK OBAMA AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Ken Berwitz

I was just scanning through the articles at www.freerepublic.com, as I do every morning, and came across a truly fascinating entry. 

A contributor, screen name "aquila48", unearthed a 20 year old article from the New York Times about Barack Obama and how he became the editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Here is a segment you might be particularly interested in reading:

Mr. Obama was elected after a meeting of the review's 80 editors that convened Sunday and lasted until early this morning, a participant said.

Until the 1970's the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank. Among these were Elliot L. Richardson, the former Attorney General, and Irwin Griswold, a dean of the Harvard Law School and Solicitor General under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

That system came under attack in the 1970's and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review.

Harvard, like a number of other top law schools, no longer ranks its law students for any purpose including a guide to recruiters.

Got that?  Barack Obama became editor because, instead of  making the selections based on grades (an objective criterion), it was decided that a "writing compeitition" - entirely subjective - should be used "to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review".

And the first Black student to become editor under this system, which was specifically designed to elevate minority students?  None other than Barack Obama.

Affirmative action, anyone?

One other thing.  Since Barack Obama got to be editor, supposedly based on his writing capabilities, how is it that we have never seen even one example of anything he ever wrote for the Harvard Law Review?  Why are his writings - so brilliant that they propelled him into the position - completely, totally, 100% withheld from us?

Don't you wonder about that?  I know I do.

free` Don't you wonder about that? ---- I wonder more about how the msm just don't care and even worse purposely cover up for obama. (10/02/10)


CUOMO'S FARKAS PROBLEM

Ken Berwitz

Did Andrew Cuomo get a big, cushy job as a payoff from someone he was investigating?  Someone whose problems suddenly went away, and who is now a big shot in Cuomo's campaign?

That is what Mr. Cuomo's opponent, Carl Paladino, is charging.  And, based on Phil Fairbanks' article in Thursday's Buffalo News, which i am excerpting below, he may well have a point.

Read it and decide for yourself:

Andrew Cuomo and Andrew Farkas have a long history, a roller-coaster relationship that started when Cuomo accused Farkas' companies of doling out $7.6 million in kickbacks as part of a federal housing program.

Today, Farkas is one of Cuomo's biggest benefactors, a major contributor to his campaign for governor who went so far as to hire his former adversary after their lawsuit was settled and Cuomo left the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"Andrew gave him a bye," Republican Carl Paladino said Monday. "And then he comes and he pays Andrew off with a $1.2 million salary he gave him and $800,000 in political contributions."

Paladino, during an interview with The Buffalo News, said the Farkas matter is criminal in nature.

The Cuomo campaign countered by criticizing former Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples, Paladino's campaign chairwoman, and her ties to a bond underwriter who is now treasurer of the State Conservative Party.

Five years ago, a series of stories by The News revealed Naples was awarding 80 percent of the county's borrowing to one politically connected underwriter, Paul Atanasio.

"Paladino hired a campaign chair who steered more than $1 billion in bond business to the current treasurer of the Conservative Party," State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs said in a statement Monday.

The dueling allegations of pay to play a kind of political tit for tat, started when Paladino released an Internet video ad suggesting Cuomo gave Farkas "a pass" instead of prosecuting him.

After leaving as HUD secretary in 2001, Cuomo eventually went to work for Island Capital, a Farkas company, and earned $1.2 million over two years.

"Where I come from, this is called a payoff," Paladino said in his ad.

The Cuomo campaign challenged Paladino's take on the relationship between Farkas and Cuomo.

"Pay-to-play Paladino is now rewriting history with a mud pen," said spokesman Josh Vlasto. He said the government's settlement with Insignia Financial Services, one of Farkas' companies, was negotiated by the Department of Justice, not HUD.

"This issue has been reported on extensively over the years and Paladino should know better than to try to call this a payoff," Vlasto said.

Vlasto also claims Cuomo and Farkas didn't meet until 2002, after Cuomo left HUD.

The Democrat's professional ties to Farkas date back farther, to the mid-1990s, when HUD engaged in a protracted legal battle over allegations that Insignia, which managed housing projects under a contract with HUD, paid kickbacks to building owners.

The lawsuit focused, in part, on the Sierra Nevada Arms, a Las Vegas low-income housing project that Cuomo visited in 1994 while he was assistant HUD secretary.

Cuomo later said he was so disturbed by the conditions there that he vowed to do something about it. The result was the suit that Insignia eventually settled by paying the government $7.4 million.

Years later, Farkas hired Cuomo to work for Island Capital, one of his other companies, and later became one of the Democrat's biggest campaign contributors.

"And then he makes this guy, who should be in jail today, his campaign finance chairman," Paladino said Monday in the interview. "Come on, Andrew, are you consorting with criminals?"

To summarize:  Cuomo goes after Farkas.  But then Cuomo decides not to prosecute -- and soon afterwards is earning over a million dollars working for Farkas, who also becomes one of his biggest political contributors.

Does that pass the smell test?  You tell me.

And what is Cuomo's response?  That Paladino's campaign chairperson funneled bond business to a political ally, and that the charges have been out there for a long time.

-Assuming the worst case scenario - that Cuomo's people are right about Paladino's campaign chair - what does that have to do with the charges against Cuomo?  Nothing at all, that's what.  It is a smokescreen;

-And assuming these charges have been reported extensively, how does that answer them?  One of the oldest tricks in the political book is to duck, dodge, deny for a period of time, and then sneer out an "oh, brother, we're rehashing that again" sarcasm, to suggest that the charges had already been answered.

The bottom line is that - countercharges notwithstanding - Andrew Cuomo owes the citizens of New York an explanation of why a guy he accused of making 7.6 million dollars in payoffs wound up off the hook - after which Cuomo benefitted by millions from him. 

My hat is off to Phil Fairbanks and Jerry Zremski of the Buffalo News for providing this article.  Maybe they can give a few lessons in journalism to the New York City dailies and broadcast media.


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