Thursday, 21 April 2011

COLONOSCOPY DAY

Ken Berwitz

I won't be blogging for part of the day, because I am having a colonoscopy this morning.

And the prep for a colonoscopy - which entails (accent on "tails") drinking quarts of something that looks and has the consistency of anti-freeze, then eliminating it from the other end - is probably worse than the procedure itself.

The way I see it, my doctor (a good friend - we used to umpire little league baseball together) will be dealing, medically, with what I often write about, politically.

Later today I will blog about this morning's impossibly nonsensical New York Times op-ed piece written by (or ghosted for) Abdullah Gul, the President of Turkey.

Until then?  Hasta la colon.

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UPDATE (OR SHOULD I SAY OUTDATE?):  Whew, that's better.  And everything in that particular part of me seems to be AOK.

And afterwards?  What an opportunity to toss decorum to the wind (and I do mean wind). 

You can fart all you want and never have to apologize for it, everyone expects it anyway.  A little like being an MSNBC show host......

Ok, back to politics.


ABDULLAH GUL'S SOLUTION FOR WORLD PEACE

Ken Berwitz

I used to greatly admire Turkey.  To my knowledge it is the oldest Muslim democracy there is (about 90 years), and has long been a paradigm of peace and tolerance for non-Muslims. 

Until recently. 

Now, sad to say, Turkey is becoming more and more Islamicized.  The country still has a democratic system of government but - I hope I'm wrong - its days may be numbered. 

In any event, the President of Turkey is Abdullah Gul.  And Mr. Gul has written an op-ed piece for today's New York Times, which addresses his view of how peace can be obtained. 

Here it is, in rust - with my comments in blue.  Trust me, it won't take long for you to see what I think of Mr. Gul's proposals:

The wave of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa is of historic significance equal to that of the revolutions of 1848 and 1989 in Europe. The peoples of the region, without exception, revolted not only in the name of universal values but also to regain their long-suppressed national pride and dignity. But whether these uprisings lead to democracy and peace or to tyranny and conflict will depend on forging a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and a broader Israeli-Arab peace.  There you go.  Arabs have taken to the streets in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia and everywhere else because they want a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and a broader Israeli-Arab peace.  That stuff about national pride and dignity?  Strictly second-tier.  It's all about Israel.  That's why the protesters aren't screaming "down with Mubarak" or "down with qaddafi", they're all screaming We demand a peace deal with Israel.  Yeah, right.  

The plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict in the region and is being used as a pretext for extremism in other corners of the world. Israel, more than any other country, will need to adapt to the new political climate in the region. But it need not fear; the emergence of a democratic neighborhood around Israel is the ultimate assurance of the countrys security.  Nah, Israel shouldnt fear a population that has been taught all their lives to believe Jews have no right to be in Israel or anywhere else, and that they are the spawn of monkeys and pigs who Allah wants either converted or dead preferably dead.  I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

In these times of turmoil, two forces will shape the future: the peoples yearning for democracy and the regions changing demographics. Sooner or later, the Middle East will become democratic, and by definition a democratic government should reflect the true wishes of its people.  Like an Islamic state which is what Egypt is about to get?  Oh, ok.  Such a government cannot afford to pursue foreign policies that are perceived as unjust, undignified and humiliating by the public. For years, most governments in the region did not consider the wishes of their people when conducting foreign policy. History has repeatedly shown that a true, fair and lasting peace can only be made between peoples, not ruling elites.  Then explain the enduring 30 year peace (cold though it was) between Israel and Egypt during the Sadat-Mubarak era.  I'll wait.

I call upon the leaders of Israel to approach the peace process with a strategic mindset, rather than resorting to short-sighted tactical maneuvers. Like protecting itself from hamas, which attacks Israel every day and is committed in writing to its destruction?  How shortsighted those Israelis are.  This will require seriously considering the Arab Leagues 2002 peace initiative, which proposed a return to Israels pre-1967 borders and fully normalized diplomatic relations with Arab states.  You left out the part where they demand that there be a law of return so that every Arab who claims to have roots there can return, and presumably get land back.  That, of course, would make Israel an Arab state.  What a great offer for Israel. 

Sticking to the unsustainable status quo will only place Israel in greater danger. History has taught us that demographics is the most decisive factor in determining the fate of nations. In the coming 50 years, Arabs will constitute the overwhelming majority of people between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. The new generation of Arabs is much more conscious of democracy, freedom and national dignity.   Whats your point?   That Israel cease to be Israel because there are a lot of Arabs?  Wakeup call:  there are already 50 times more Arabs than there are Jews in Israel, so you have no point at all just like the rest of this idiotic drivel.

In such a context, Israel cannot afford to be perceived as an apartheid island surrounded by an Arab sea of anger and hostility. Bullshit.  Since Israel is not apartheid   which certainly cant be said of the so-called Palestinian Territories and many Arab states, by the way this fraudulent perception can only be changed if Arab countries tell their people the truth:  i.e. that Israel has a large Arab population, they are citizens, they can vote (women and men both), own property, serve in government, etc, etc, etc.  Why arent you asking for that to happen, Mr. Gul?  As if I didnt know.  Many Israeli leaders are aware of this challenge and therefore believe that creating an independent Palestinian state is imperative. A dignified and viable Palestine, living side by side with Israel, will not diminish the security of Israel, but fortify it.  A dignified Palestine would be a Palestine that accepts and respects Israels right to exist.  I notice you havent demanded that of Palesinian Arabs, Mr. Gul.  In fact you havent demanded anything of Palestinian (or non-Palestinian) Arabs at all.  Only of Israel.  Amazing how peace can only be obtained if Israel changes its ways.  Boy, those Arab countries must be models of everything that is good.....   

Turkey thinks strategically about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, not only because it knows that a peaceful Middle East would be to its benefit, but also because it believes that Israeli-Palestinian peace would benefit the rest of the world.   If this is your idea of strategic thinking, god help you.

We are therefore ready to use our full capacity to facilitate constructive negotiations. Turkeys track record in the years before Israels Gaza operation in December 2008 bears testimony to our dedication to achieving peace. Turkey is ready to play the role it played in the past, once Israel is ready to pursue peace with its neighbors.  Yep.  The once-secular but increasingly Islamic state of Turkey is happy to facilitate the end of Israel as we know it.  Thanks for the heads-up, Abdullah.  Youre a regular prince.

Moreover, it is my firm conviction that the United States has a long-overdue responsibility to side with international law and fairness when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The international community wants the United States to act as an impartial and effective mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, just as it did a decade ago. Securing a lasting peace in the Middle East is the greatest favor Washington can do for Israel.   Ahhhh, we knew that was coming.  If anyone besides Israel was going to be told what to do it was going to be the Great Satan.  The USA and Israel have to change their ways, and the Arab world is juuuuust perfect as it is, with nothing to be done except wait for those two awful transgressors to come around.  I guess we can all learn a valuable lesson about how to live from the peaceful, tolerant, progressive Arab world.  

It will be almost impossible for Israel to deal with the emerging democratic and demographic currents in the absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. Turkey, conscious of its own responsibility, stands ready to help.   Thanks Abdullah.  Im sure Israel will give your offer all the serious consideration it deserves.

Well, there it is.  Now:  who do you think has a better handle on reality?  Your call.

Arnold Evans "who do you think has a better handle on reality?" Between you and the foreign minister of Turkey? Are you serious? (04/27/11)


THE IMMINENT ENSIGN RESIGNATION

Ken Berwitz

U.S. Senator John Ensign (R-NV) will resign from the United States Senate tomorrow.

Excerpted from an article by Shira Toeplitz at rollcall.com:

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) abruptly announced on Thursday he will resign from the Senate, effective May 3.

In a statement released by his office, Ensign cited the ongoing Senate ethics investigation stemming from his extramarital affair with the wife of his former top aide as the reason he was stepping down now as opposed to the end of 2012, when he was not seeking re-election.

While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings, Ensign said. For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great.

Mr. Ensign did the wrong thing when he had the extramarital affair.  And, it seems to me, the only reason he is resigning now is because he doesn't want to deal with the ongoing humiliation he brought on himself.

You can take the crap he's spewing about not violating any law, rule or standard of conduct and toss it in that bathroom bowl, the one with the seat.  That's where it belongs.

Goodbye and good riddance.  I only wish a few other politicians were embarrassed enough by their actions - which in some cases are far worse than Ensign's - to do the same.


VOTER ID LAWS: ARE THEY UNFAIR?

Ken Berwitz

If you want to hear some very interesting dialogue, just talk about the voter ID issue to a leftist.

Leftists feel that requiring a voter ID is terribly unfair.  And y'know?  They have a point. 

Let me show you, by posting the following exchange between Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a dour, hard-left Representative from Florida, and MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow, while they are discussing the new voter ID law just enacted in Kansas:

MADDOW: Is making it harder to register to vote, which many Republican-controlled states are pursuing right now -- is that a partisan tactic?

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Well, I think it's sending a very strong signal that Republicans don't think they can win elections in a fair fight. So, they need to go systematically state-by-state rigging it so that it makes it much more difficult for all voters, regardless of political party affiliation or philosophical approach can get to the polls.

Ok, let's review.  According to Rachel Maddow:

-Expecting people to show proof of who they are is "making it harder to register to vote".  Ok, she's got a point.  People without IDs, who are trying to vote illegally, will definitely find it harder to vote. 

-Expecting people to show a valid ID might be a partisan tactic.  Well, yes - if one party stands to gain a lot more illegal votes than the other.  If that is the case, making sure voting is done only by people who have a legal right to vote will hurt the party that illegal voters gravitate to.

See?  You can't understate Ms. Maddow's veracity, can you?  She was right both times.

Now let's review what Ms. Wasserman-Schultz said.  According to her:

-Republicans who feel voters must show proof that of who they are, don't want a "fair fight".  That's true - if a fair fight means people with no legal right to vote should vote anyway.  If that's the case, Ms. Wasserman-Schultz has a point.

-Expecting people to show a valid ID is rigging the election.  Yes it is - assuming that elections are unfair if illegal voters are denied the ballot.

-Expecting people to show a valid ID makes voting more difficult for all voters, regardless of political party.  Uh, sure.  As we saw with Ms. Maddow's earlier comment, people who have no right to vote will certainly find it much more difficult.

-At this point, Wasserman-Schultz goes on to complain that a newly married woman (i.e. one whose ID might not have the same last name) would need to bring her marriage certificate.  Right again:  everyone knows how heavy those are to carry.  I think by now you get the idea.

So let's not be hard on Rachel Maddow and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for their attitude about voter ID's.  They are clearly right.  That new Kansas law is going to make it much tougher for people who have no legal right to vote. 

Legal voters, of course, will find it just as easy to vote as always.  No problem at all. 

But that doesn't count, does it?  Restricting elections only to people who have a legal right to vote is ...what were those words?  Oh yeah:  partisan, an unfair fight and vote-rigging.

I strongly suggest that Ms. Maddow and Ms. Wasserman-Schultz make their points known to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.  I'm sure he will immediately see the error of his ways and aggressively work to make illegal votes as easy as they were before.  Aren't you?


INVESTIGATING MEDICAL FRAUD IN WISCONSIN

Ken Berwitz

According to the Associated Press, Wisconsin's Department of Regulation and Licensing, along with the Medical Examining Board, will investigate 8 doctors (so far) who are accused of writing medical excuse notes for teachers who protested Governor Walker's then-pending legislation in February.

Good. 

I hope every doctor who was guilty is assessed the appropriate punishment.


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