Saturday, 26 March 2011


Ken Berwitz

What happened to that "democracy" Egypt was supposed to have after Hosni Mubarak resigned?  What happened to all those jubilant assurances by our wonderful "neutral" media that the huge crowds in Tahrir Square were heralding the dawn of a free society?

Have you seen any articles or seen any features touting Egyptian "democracy" recently?  If the answer is "no", here's why - excerpted from Rob Miller's blog at  Please pay special attention to the last part, which I've put in bold print:

Remember when the pundits, columnists and the newsrooms in the dinosaur media were practically jumping out of their shoes touting the Egyptian 'pro-democracy' movement? How wonderful it all was, and how Egypt was going to be the new liberal paradise in the Arab world? How sagacious and wise Obama was for encouraging it all and dumping Mubarak so quickly?

Well, it appears that some second thoughts and some serious walking back are in order as reality rears its ugly head.

They've finally noticed that the secular unemployed and underemployed twitter addicts and students in Cairo aren't the ones who will be running the new will be the military in partnership with the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We are all worried," said Amr Koura, 55, a television producer, reflecting the opinions of the secular minority. "The young people have no control of the revolution anymore. It was evident in the last few weeks when you saw a lot of bearded people taking charge. The youth are gone."

Is this a surprise?  Not for readers of this blog, who saw me write over and over again about the common-sense reality that, a) if there is a power vacuum, the most organized, dedicated group is likely to take over and b) the Muslim brotherhood would, therefore, be most likely to become a major player, or take over completely, in Egypt.

It didn't take any particular smarts to see this.  It was right in our faces.  But it took a major level of denial not to see it.  And that goes straight to our media.

Remember all those interviews in the square?  Remember that virtually all of them were with Egyptians who spoke perfect English?  How could those "news" venues possibly have thought they represented the overall population of the country? 

There are 70-80 million Egyptians, most of whom are poverty-stricken and most of whom live in rural rather than urban areas.  About 35% of Egypt is illiterate.  How could anyone in his or her right mind think that interviews with visibly affluent, western-dressed, multi-lingual people in Cairo's main square would be representative of the country? 

While the protests were in progress and the Mubarak-must-go media frenzy was in full tilt, I posted the results of a Pew Global Research study conductedin Egypt just a few months before.  As I blogged on February 10th:

I understand that it is easier to interview people who speak English this well, but I wonder if it occurs to at least some media people that, by cherry-picking this segment and ignoring the others, they are giving us a very distorted view of what's going on.  Sort of like pretending that a campus protest, or an organized march on Washington, inherently represents what the entire USA is thinking.

Common sense tells me that there are a great many Egyptians who are not marching on Tahrir Plaza, and have a very different view of things. 

In that connection, you might want to look at the latest poll conducted by Pew Global, in Muslim countries.  You will find that, by 85% to 2% Egyptians welcome an Islamic presence in their government (i.e. no separation of church and state), 82% favor stoning people who commit adultery, 77% favor whippings or the cutting off of hands as a punishment for theft/robbery ..... and 84% of Egyptians favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion. 

Does any of that sound like what you would hear from people demanding freedom and democracy? 

That question at the end of the excerpt?  It is at least as valid now as it was then. 

And the answer - one our media could not face throughout the anti-Mubarak protests - is that these views are what will now inform the new "Democratic" Egypt. 

How do you suppose the people who were interviewed in Tahrir Square like the post-Mubarak era so far?

How do you like it?


Ken Berwitz

Am I a racist?  No I am not.

Does our company in Chicago hire Black employees?  Yes it does, just as it hires women and gays.  There are no ethnic, gender or sexual-orientation rules there, and never will be.

Would we hire people with criminal records?  It would depend on the crime - its severity and how recently it occurred.  But, as the co-owner of this business, I would avoid hiring people recently convicted of significant crimes, and/or people whose crimes relate to the conduct of our business.

Would I avoid hiring a Black person in the situation I just described?  Absolutely.  Just I would avoid hiring a White person.  The person's behavior, not his/her skin color, would be the issue.

Would I be called a racist for feeling this way?  Based on the following excerpt from Monique W. Morris's article at, yes I would be - and a lawbreaker too.  Read it and see if you agree or disagree with Ms. Morris:

Today, it is estimated that 65 million U.S. adults have a criminal record and continue to face barriers to employment as a result. According to a new report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the overuse of imposing criminal background checks and blanket bans against hiring people who have been charged with even a misdemeanor offense is a practice that has been adopted by at least 10 leading national employers, including Bank of America, Aramark, Lowe's, Domino's Pizza and Radio Shack, among others.

In 1987, the EEOC issued policy guidelines that determined barring people from employed based solely on a criminal conviction history disproportionately excluded African-Americans and Latinos from the labor market because they are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Just as it is illegal to overtly discriminate by race, ethnicity or skin color, it is also a violation of civil rights law for an employer to use non-job related selection criteria that disproportionately disadvantages people of color in hiring decisions.

Still, the violations are numerous and bold. NELP's four-month scan of Craigslist, which operates in more than 400 geographic areas of the U.S., documented more than 300 ads precluding the consideration of individuals with criminal conviction histories:

Ms. Morris goes on to discuss the case of Darrell Langdon, whose 25 year old felony conviction for cocaine possession caused him to be denied a job, even though he had, for many years, been an excellent, reliable worker.  

I agree with Ms. Morris about Mr. Langdon.  But cherry-picking an especially egregious example like his does not make her case.  You can find a few exceptional circumstances for just about everything. 

To me, Ms. Morris's argument comes across more as saying "if you don't hire a Black criminal, you're a racist" than anything else.  And seeing criminal activity as "non-job related selection criteria" is, under most circumstances, ludicrous. 

Would you hire a convicted robber to be a cashier, or to count money?  Would you hire a convicted arsonist to be a fireman?  Would you hire a convicted mugger to work at an assisted living center?  Would you hire someone with muliple convictions for anything at all?  The examples are countless.

And suggesting that companies which look for employees without such criminal records is "disadvantaging people of color"?  Frankly, that comes across as nothing other than saying "if they are Black, just hire them", which I see as both racist, and hugely insulting to Black people in general.

Anyway, that's my opinion.  What's yours?

Janet Montgomery I think we're screwed, there are way too many people with attitudes like this. We're going to have to let the country collapse and start over. It's too late to save what's left : ( (03/26/11)

Janet Montgomery I think we're screwed, there are way too many people with attitudes like this. We're going to have to let the country collapse and start over. It's too late to save what's left : ( (03/26/11)


Ken Berwitz

I'm not a big fan of Donald Trump's, and I very much hope that his supposed interest in a Presidential run is nothing more than one of his many ego-driven PR stunts.

But Mr. Trump is owed a shout-out, with great thanks, for stating the obvious about Barack Obama's birth certificate (and numerous other documents that would illuminate his past) -- i.e. the fact that he has zealously withheld them suggests they contain information he does not want the public to know -- information that might bear on his legitimacy to be President.

Excerpted from Trump's interview with Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella of

Donald Trump is not backing down from his demand that President Barack Obama produce his birth certificate and stepped up his criticism by questioning why he has not released other personal records, including college transcripts and legislative papers.

The billionaire real estate tycoon and star of The Apprentice created a stir on Wednesday when he said on The View that Obama must release his birth certificate.

Now Trump has reiterated his call in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, with this simple message for Obama: Why dont you produce your birth certificate and put to rest all speculation that you were born outside the United States?

Im hearing all sorts of stories that his own family cant agree which hospital he was born in and lots of other things, and Im trying to find out where is the birth certificate. I have a birth certificate. Where is his birth certificate?

After questions were raised about his birth, Obama's campaign released a Certification of Live Birth. The form is a summary document and does not include the newborn's location of birth. The long-form Birth Certificate includes such data, but Obama has declined to release it.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie first ordered the state attorney general and health department director to release more information about Obamas birth there, then abandoned that pursuit.

I assume that Obama was born in the United States. I assume he was probably born in Hawaii. But I have to get rid of the word assume. If somebody wants to run for president you have to be born in this country.

And when the family argues about which hospital it was because theyre not sure, as has been reported, and you dont have a birth certificate, its sort of a strange situation.

Asked if Obama has fulfilled his campaign pledge to have the most transparent administration, Trump responds: Certainly he hasnt in terms of his birth, and I guess a lot of college records and other records havent been produced, and thats a little unusual. Why wouldnt you produce your records?

There are client lists that havent been produced and lobbying lists that havent been produced, so there are a lot of things that havent been produced for somebody who is supposed to be so transparent.

Theres certainly not a lot of transparency.

For years, our wonderful "neutral" media obsessed over whether George Bush may have missed a few national guard meetings in the early 1970's, as if that were of earth-shattering importance. Every possible bit of evidence was searched for, ferreted out and examined with a fine-tooth comb. 

But finding out whether or not Barack Obama is legally our President?  Questionning why every document that could shed light on his status (not just the original birth certificate, but college records that might show if he received foreign aid, etc.)?  Not important enough.  We got our guy in the oval office, so let's bash Sarah Palin instead. 

And then they wonder why people call them biased.

So thank you, Donald Trump, for saying what should be said.  And don't back down one little bit.


Ken Berwitz

Earlier this morning I blogged about how our media strongly promoted the anti-Mubarak protesters in Egypt, calling them fighters for democracy -- but now it appears that post-Mubarak Egypt is likely to bring the country to rule by the fundamentalist, jihadist, terrorist Muslim brotherhood.

But leave it to our wonderful "neutral" media to ignore history - even history this recent - and do it again. 

This excerpt, from London's Daily Telegraph, is dedicated to the media that are promoting Libyan "rebels" as if they are wonderful freedom fighters instead of a just-as-bad alternative to qaddafi:

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya".

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists," but added that the "members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader".

Look, I would not lose one minute's sleep if moammar qaddafi were killed today, along with every one of the people around him.

But I feel a lot differently about the prospect that the US military is now supporting al qaeda sympathizers in Libya, in an effort to hand the country over to them.

How do you feel about this?  How do you feel about the classicly inept, bungling mess Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are perpetrating in that part of the world?  

Would you like one or both of them to address the comments of this "rebel leader"?  To discuss his support of al qaeda, and explain why we are bombing Libya on his behalf?  I sure as hell know I would.

I would especially like to hear what they have to say about al-hasidi's insistence that the "members of al-qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader".  Since the fight is between us and qaddafi who, whatever else you can say about him, is not an invader, what does that make us? 

Here's an idea:  maybe we should try to convince al-hasidi and al-qaeda to build residential housing for Jews in Jerusalem.  Then at least I know there would be an angry response from the Obama administration.

free` Ken, Maybe on Monday when President Obama gives us a speech about why he is doing what he he is doing in Libya, the press will actually ask some pertinent questions, including the one you have just asked. (03/26/11)


Ken Berwitz

I bet you didn't know that Republicans are unworthy of constitutional freedoms.  I'll bet you didn't know that they owe Frank Lautenberg and his fellow Democrats a big fat thank-you for allowing them to have those freedoms in spite of not deserving them.

No, I have not been drinking, or smoking those thin, smelly little cigarettes, or popping pills.  He really said that. 

Want to see the verbatim quote?  Ok, here it is, with the video (hat tip to


"The Republicans in Congress claim theyre concerned about the budget balance, but its a disguise! Its not true! Its a lie! Thats not what they want. They want they want other people not to be able to have their own opinions. They dont deserve the freedoms that are in the Constitution! But well give it to them anyway."

That, by the way, was said to a highly receptive, highly appreciative group of Planned Parenthood advocates outside of their office in Englewood, New Jersey.

Frank Lautenberg was a very successful business entrepreneur, and I give him full credit for that.  But, politically, he is a hopelessly ridiculous partisan Democrat who is spewing incoherent idiocy at these people.  And they are loving it. 

Here's a hint, Senator:  Every citizen has constitutional freedoms.  They exist even for people who disagree with you and your fellow Democrats.  And the people who disagree with you are not supplicants waiting for you to dispense those freedoms, as if you were in charge of doling them out.

Mr. Lautenberg retired from the Senate some years ago.  He came back only because the incumbent, Robert Torricelli, resigned in disgrace from his re-election campaign ,and the New Jersey supreme court ignored the law by allowing Lautenberg to take his place weeks after the deadline had passed.

If this is all Frank Lautenberg has left, maybe he should resign too.


UPDATE:  So how are our wonderful "neutral" media doing in making the public aware of what Senator Lautenberg said?

According to Tom Blumer of and

I found three reporters for two news organizations who appear to have been on hand for Lautenberg's appearance. Two of those reporters did not report the...remarks. One relayed "these people don't deserve the freedoms in the Constitution," and framed it as applying to "Tea Party Republicans."

Tom goes on to point out there was very little reporting of Mr. Lautenberg's comments in other mainstream media - and even what little there was often sanitized what he actually said.

Would media have run this kind of interference for, say, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell?   Surrrrrre.  Count on it. 

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