Sunday, 27 March 2011

THE USA: BOMBING FOR JIHADISTS? FOR AL-QAEDA?

Ken Berwitz

From John Rosenthal at pajamasmedia.com, we have this ugly information:

Libyan rebels: Now is the time of Jihad!

The journalist Marc de Chalvron was in Libya ten days ago. He accompanied rebel forces as they advanced to the oil-producing town of Ras Lanuf and then were turned back by Libyan government forces. On a broadcast today on the French news channel i-Tl, de Chalvron showed footage from his trip. The footage includes interviews with rebels on the back of a pick-up truck on the road to Ras Lanuf. The full report can be viewed here. The relevant portion is between 3:45 and 4:20 of the clip.

 

One rebel says: We were at Benghazi with many other volunteers. From there, we are at Ajdabiya, the center of the Jihad.

 

A second rebel, alluding to the rule of Muammar al-Gaddafi, adds: Forty-two years of a nightmare Now the time of Jihad has arrived!


 

A third yells Allahu Akbar! as other rebels fire their guns into the air.

Are we bombing Libya to replace moammar qaddafi with al-qaeda allies?  With a bunch of jihadists?  Are we trying to create another pre-9/11 Afghanistan - this one with oil?

Does anyone in the Obama administration have any idea of why we are helping these people out?  Whether they would be better or worse than qaddafi?   (Yes, it is hard to be worse than qaddafi, but jihadists who are sympathetic to al-qaeda - as I pointed out in a blog yesterday - would make the cut.)

Is there one ounce of sense between President Obama and Hillary Clinton about what they are doing?  Or do they remain a pair of ridiculously unqualified neophytes, trying to cover their inexperience and ineptitude by brazening things out?  Are they in any meaningful way seeking out the advice of people who actually know something about foreign policy?

This is insane.

Zeke .... .... ..... ..... We must wage war to make the world safe for al Q'aeda. .... ..... ..... Just like WW I made the world safe for democracy -- Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, Stalin. ..... ....... ...... (03/27/11)


LIBYA AND THE CONSTITUTION

Ken Berwitz

What do you say when the Secretary of Defense tells the country, in so many words, that, by President Obamas own criteria, he had absolutely no constitutional authority to authorize the bombings in Libya?

Sounds amazing, doesnt it?  But thats what happened.  Honest.  See for yourself, by reading the following excerpt from ABC Newsperson Jake Tappers Political Punch blog, and pay special attention to the parts Ive put in bold print:

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that Libya did not pose a threat to the United States before the U.S. began its military campaign against the North African country.

On This Week, ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper asked Gates, Do you think Libya posed an actual or imminent threat to the United States?

No, no, Gates said in a joint appearance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was not -- it was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest and it was an interest for all of the reasons Secretary Clinton talked about.  The engagement of the Arabs, the engagement of the Europeans, the general humanitarian question that was at stake, he said.

During his campaign for the Presidency, in December, 2007, Barack Obama told The Boston Globe that The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

Could that be clearer?  If so, how?

 

Thank you, Jake Tapper, for once again being honest enough to point out this administrations ineptitude, and its lack of concern regarding the constitutionality of what it does.  You are one of a disturbingly small, and dwindling, number of truly professional journalists.

 

Now lets see how the rest of our wonderful neutral media handle this remarkable situation other than simply burying it on behalf of their undisputed hero of heroes, that is.

free` Comparing the treatment Bush got vs the treatment Obama gets makes me sick! (03/27/11)


ED SCHULTZ ON LIBYA

Ken Berwitz

Why does Ed Schultz support President Obama's action in Libya? 

Here is about as much as I could stomach of his blog, posted at huffingtonpost.com.  Schultz (justifiably) is in rust and my comments are in blue:

Why I Support President Obama's Decision to Invade Libya   

Er, when did we invade Libya, Ed?  Were just bombing, remember?  President Obama said no ground troops.  Helluva start.

 

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, deserves the benefit of the doubt and our support in his decision to use military force in Libya.  Ok, you think President Obama deserves our support.  Now tell us why we should be bombing Libya.

 

After 10 years in Afghanistan, eight years in Iraq, Americans, I think many of us have war fatigue. I think we all deserve clarity on this issue.  Im with you.  Now tell us why we should be bombing Libya.

 

However, it's important to note, President Obama explained this won't be a long-term operation.  Still waiting for the reason we should be bombing.

 

Matter of days, not a matter of weeks. Not even months.  Oops.  MSNBC, we have a problem.  President Obama is now indicating it will be months, maybe even longer.  So one of the reasons you are ok with bombing Libya, that it will be of very short duration, is kaput.  Next?

 

But the majority of Americans don't want any part of a third war in a Muslim country.   Yep.  And that argues against, rather than for, bombing Libya.  So there better be a damn good reason we are doing it.  Asking for the fourth time:  why should we be bombing Libya?

 

The president's base is angry because we're firing millions of dollars of missiles at Libya instead of investing in America's infrastructure.   That so?  What basis do you have for telling us what President Obamas base thinks?  You arent referencing any polling data, are you?  So, apparently, this is nothing more than your personal opinion, which you are passing off as fact.  Now, for the fifth time:  why should we be bombing Libya?

 

On the other side -- the Republicans are hammering the president not because he is not invading the entire Middle East, but because he's not doing it the way they would want to do it.  Oooooohhhh, hold the presses.  The opposition party is against what the President is doing.  Who ever heard of such a thing?  That certainly never happened when George Bush was President, did it?  One more try:  WHY SHOULD WE BE BOMBING LIBYA?

 

President Obama has decided on a more focused, realistic approach. He's trying to give the rebels, those who want democracy, a fighting chance at just that and trying to stop Gaddafi -- this is the human thing to do -- from slaughtering his own people.  Finally, a reason.  But there is a bit of a problem:  namely, that the reason is absurd. 

 

You are saying, in so many words, that President Obama is picking and choosing which rebels he helps that the bombing is only being done on behalf of those who want Libya to be a democracy. 

 

Tell us how President Obama is managing that, Ed?  If he weakens qaddafi it gives all of  the rebels a greater chance to succeed.  How are the democracy rebels getting more benefit than the al-qaeda rebels or the jihadist rebels both of which absolutely exist, as I have shown in blogs over the past two days?  How do you even know there are democracy rebels?   What in the world are you talking about?

Schultz continues, and I've given you the link to read his entire piece.  But you're going to have to do it without me.  I've had enough. 

 

I don't want to deal with any more of this nonsense - such as Schultz's sarcasm that "(Obama) actually had a coalition" - suggesting that President Bush did not - which ignores the reality that Bush not only had an international coalition for Iraq , but it was comprised of twice as many members as President Obama's coalition for Libya.  Etc. etc. etc.  I'm sure that you get the idea by now.

 

The moral of this story?  It is a lot easier to be a blowhard on TV, with hand-picked guests (Schultz has made his disdain for booking "righties" on his show very plain), than it is to make an intelligent case that stands up to serious scrutiny.

 

But thanks for playing, Ed, and here's our board game for hours of fun at home.....

Zeke. .... ..... The US is NOT the world's policeman. .... There are 167 nations in the UN...... We simply do not have the resources to go into even a tiny fraction of that. And, we would reap only condemnation for attempting to do so. ..... ...... While we have the might to conventionally defeat most foreign armies, guerilla conflicts last for decades, and are exercises in attrition. We cannot sustain that. ..... .... WHY has Libya become an arena where we spend the blood of our young soldiers, national treasure, our military resources and our standing in the world. .... ..... There is no strategic or economic advantage to the US. .... We are simply pulling France and Italy's chestnuts out of the fire. THEY get oil from Gadaffi; the US does not. .... ..... The foreign policy legacy of Obama will be to have installed radical jihadist regimes in Egypt, Libya, and perhaps Yemen, maybe Syria; and pushed most of the other regimes into a more accommodating stance towards radicalism, or worse. (03/27/11)


UNION CHECKOFFS: THE BATTLE RAGES

Ken Berwitz

Should a state that has public sector employees both in and out of unions be performing the unions' functions for them?

Read this excerpt from the Orlando Sun-Sentinel and decide for yourself:

TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida House delivered a major blow to public employee unions Friday, approving a bill that would ban automatic dues deduction from a government paycheck and require members to sign off on the use of their dues for political purposes.

Democrats and Republicans fought over the legislation for just under two hours. Democrats and labor unions have accused conservatives of "union-busting" and said the bill was more about political payback than public policy. Unions have typically been big backers of Democratic candidates.

Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, the House sponsor of the legislation, said this was simply the state's movement to get out of the dues deduction business and let the unions take care of it.

"It's a bill that empowers membership of labor unions," Dorworth said.

The measure, HB 1021, passed by a 73-40 vote, with three Republican lawmakers siding with the Democrats.

Florida is a "right to work" state, which means a worker is not forced to join a union. But many public employees do so, and state employers typically withhold union dues from workers' paychecks. A portion of those dues is set aside by their unions for education, community action and political contributions.

Democrats argued that Republicans are simply trying to take out their political opponents.

"It's about silencing the opposition. That's not democratic," said Rep. Richard Steinberg, D-Miami Beach.

During the last general election cycle, the statewide teachers' union gave more than $3.4 million in campaign contributions, mostly to Democrats. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees doled out nearly $1.4 million, much of it directly to the state Democratic Party.  And the AFL-CIO and other labor groups gave hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

Let's try to digest this:

-Currently, taxpayers are forced to incur the cost of deducting the dues of public sector union members and forwarding that money to the unions.  Obviously, the money spent by taxpayers is money the union does not have to spend on its own dues collections;

-The bill, which passed in a landslide, 73-40, also requires that union members must have the right to accept, or decline, the use of their dues for political contributions. 

-Every Democrat voted against the bill - hardly surprising in view of the fact that just about every dollar of political contributions from unions goes to Democrats - either to the party or individual candidates;

-And, for exactly the same reasons, almost every Republican voted in favor of the bill.

Florida is a Republican-leaning state - that's how they got a Republican Govenor and a such a large majority in the house. 

Little wonder that the Republican majority does not want to subsidize unions on the cost of collecting dues.  And little wonder that they want union members to have the option of preventing dues from being used for political contributions, given that a percentage of union members - maybe a large percentage - vote Republican, but unions contribute almost exclusively to Democrats.

As you can see, it is very easy to identify, and understand, the battle lines.  But which side is right? 

You tell me.

free` Ken wrote: "-And, for exactly the same reasons, almost every Republican voted in favor of the bill." ---- Sorry but I don't believe that is so. ---- You also asked, "But which side is right?" ----- The side that is right is the side that is for freedom. What freedom you may ask? The freedom of how your money is being spent. The new law actually lets union and nonunion workers decide where there money is being spent in regards to elections. That is the freedom I speak of in this case. (03/27/11)


IN CASE YOU THINK IT'S ONLY WISCONSIN, USA....

Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from an article by Alan Jones, of London's Independent:

Up to 500,000 protestors attend anti-cuts demo

By Alan Jones, PA

 

Saturday, 26 March 2011Organisers of a huge protest against the Government's public spending cuts tonight hailed the demonstration a "fantastic success" after hundreds of thousands of people joined the biggest event of its kind for over 20 years.

 

Between 400,000 and 500,000 teachers, nurses, firefighters, council and NHS workers, other public sector employees, students, pensioners and campaign groups from across the UK marched through central London to a rally where union officials and Labour leader Ed Miliband condemned the "brutal" cuts in jobs and services.

 

Violence flared away from the rally when a group of hundreds of activists, not connected with the union protest, clashed with police. They set off fireworks, threw paint and attacked shops in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly.

 

Topshop and HSBC had their windows smashed, while paint and glass bottles were thrown at a Royal Bank of Scotland branch.

 

Covering their faces with scarves, they fought with police and disrupted traffic, throwing lightbulbs filled with ammonia at officers and lighting a fire.

 

Nine arrests were made and some police officers were injured.

 

UK Uncut, an anti-cuts direct action group, later occupied the Fortnum & Mason store in Piccadilly, claiming the firm had "dodged" paying taxes.

 

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said he "bitterly regretted" the violence, adding that he hoped it would not detract from the massive anti-cuts protest.

 

He told the Press Association: "I don't think the activities of a few hundred people should take the focus away from the hundreds of thousands of people who have sent a powerful message to the Government today.

 

"Ministers should now seriously reconsider their whole strategy after today's demonstration. This has been Middle Britain speaking."

Mr Barber said unions would now step up pressure on the Government, especially MPs in their constituencies, and launch a series of protests next week in defence of the NHS."

What happens when you give people more and more, by taxing other people?  Do you create an entitlement society which thinks their financial support can always be addressed by raising taxes on "rich people" and "corporations"?

And what happens when you hit the limit of taxation, and/or the economy sags so that even higher taxes won't make up the difference?  Do the people demand that the money to fund their lifestyles must magically materialize anyway?

Those are questions that face Wisconsin.  And California, and New York and a lot of other places in the USA.

But they also face the UK.  And Greece, where workers have been striking because the government spigot has run dry, forcing it to make "austerity cuts" in services.  And Portugal, and Spain and Ireland and Italy.

It isn't easy to put the genie back in the bottle.  But economic circumstances are forcing an awful lot of cities, and countries, to try. 

We are in hard times, and they are about to get a lot harder.


THE MEDIA MATTERS ASSAULT ON FOX NEWS

Ken Berwitz

This one is for anyone who still thinks that Media Matters is in any way a neutral web site.

Excerpted from Ben Smith's article at politico.com:

The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of guerrilla warfare and sabotage aimed at the Fox News Channel.

The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the nerve center of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals not least among the donors who fund Media Matters staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.

The strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment, said Brock, Media Matters chairman and founder and a former conservative journalist, adding that the groups main aim had been to challenge the factual claims of the channel and to attempt to prevent them from reaching the mainstream media.

The new strategy, he said, is a war on Fox.

In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics.

Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Foxs top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Becks show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Foxs operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Media Matters last month also issued a report criticizing Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocys criticism of this reporters blog.)

Opposition research?  What are they going to do, try blackmailing Fox News people?  Maybe they've already done it.

David Brock, you may remember, once was a conservative political writer.  But a nice big dollop of $$$ from george soros seems to have changed all that on a dime. 

Media Matters used to present itself as a watchdog site, making sure that people got the true story.  But it quickly became evident that the site was dedicated, virtually exclusively, to attacking the people Mr. Brock had been so comfortable with in the past;  Republicans and conservatives.

Now it has dropped all pretense and is a dedicated soroseian attack organization, doing its best to shut up, and shut down one of the relatively few venues that effectively present a differing point of view.

Are you comfortable with that?  I hope not.

Thank you, Ben Smith, for honestly reporting Media Matters' disgraceful activities.  You are a brave man. 

But don't count on our wonderful "neutral" mainstream media to stand up with you.  Don't expect a raft of news reports and features condemning this blatant attempt to censor a major news organization.  

Remember, it is much safer to go along and get along with the soros people.  And cowards love safety.


BILL MAHER: MISOGYNIST OR OPPORTUNIST?

Ken Berwitz

On Friday, Bill Maher called Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann "two bimbos"   He got lots of press for it, just as he got lots of press for referring to Sarah Palin as a "dumb twat" the week before.

It is easy to assume Maher is a misogynist, a woman-hater.  That was my initial reaction. 

But, in thinking about it, I've come to realize that this is not misogyny, it is a marketing strategy.

Simply stated, maher understands that if he attacks republican/conservative women in as vile a way as possible, it gets him lots of publicity, but little condemnation.  And he will be revered by the kind of audience his HBO show generates.

But don't ever expect him to call a leftward Democratic woman, especially a Black leftward Democratic woman, a dumb twat or a bimbo.  That will get him nothing but trouble.

And certainly don't expect our wonderful "neutral" media to condemn him for what he says about the women most of them join him in hating.


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