Friday, 29 April 2011

RACISM AS A MEANINGLESS TERM

Ken Berwitz

Racism - real racism - is ugly, dumb, ignorant and abhorrent.

Unfortunately, three of those adjectives also apply to people who use the term "racism" as a way of deflecting legitimate questions or concerns about President Obama.  What they are doing is ugly, dumb, and abhorrent. 

But, for the most part, it is not ignorant.  They know exactly what they're doing.

This brings me to the latest example (among countless others) of using an accusation of racism to protect Barack Obama:  David Letterman calling Donald Trump a racist for questioning Mr. Obama's academic credentials.

Excerpted from a blog by Michael Krebs at digitaljournal.com:

Letterman calls Trump a racist and says he should apologize

 

Suggesting real estate billionaire and controversial potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a racist, late night television talk show personality David Letterman believes Mr. Trump should apologize for remarks the candidate made regarding President Obama's ability to get into Harvard Law School.

 

"I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump told AP on Monday, according to a CBS News report. "I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."

 

"If the sons of his presumably wealthy friends couldn't get into Harvard with great credentials, then how could a person from Mr. Obama's humble background and academic achievements get into Harvard? Trump's inference is that Mr. Obama is a cipher, cannot be trusted and is concealing a dark secret," Dan Farber reported for CBS News.

 

But David Letterman is not seeing Trump's remarks through the same lens.

 

"It's all fun, it's all a circus, it's all a rodeo, until it starts to smack of racism. And then it's no longer fun," Letterman told Dr. Phil McGraw, a friend of Mr. Trump.

David Letterman is a very successful late night personality.  But comments like this indicate that he is also a world class putz.

Through over 2 years of repeated inquiries, Barack Obama refused to make his long term birth certificate public.  He still is refusing to make his college records and passport information public.  

When the President of the United States hides significant parts of his life, it is fair to ask whether there are things about those parts of his life that cast him President in an unfavorable light, or worse. 

When President Bush was accused of missing a few national guard meetings in the early 1970's, media (I am certain this included Mr. Letterman) were all over him - even after he agreed to the release of whatever documentary evidence existed.  I do not recall anyone claiming the Democrats calling Mr. Bush every name in the book, including "draft dodger" and "coward" were bigots. 

So how is it that when Barack Obama intentionally hides his birth certificate, college records and passport information, to question it is somehow to be a racist? 

I have news for Mr. Letterman and others like him:  it is not racist to question the credentials Mr. Obama is withholding from us.  But it is racist to claim that any inquiry into his background must be for racial reasons. 

For that reason, Mr. Letterman, you are the racist.  Not Donald Trump, but you.  I do not mean this as a clever little turn of phrase, either.  I mean it 100% literally and 100% sincerely. 

And the worst part about your brand of racism is that it trivializes the real racism that we all should be appalled by.   Because of people like you, the term itself has lost almost all meaning. 

So the next time you hear someone blowing a charge of racism off as nothing more than a mindless little political strategem?  Congratulate yourself.  Because you, and people like you, made it happen.

free` Ken wrote: "When the President of the United States hides significant parts of his life, it is fair to ask whether there are things about those parts of his life that cast him President in an unfavorable light, or worse." ---------- Speaking of casting the President in an unfavorable light, I wonder if the LA Times will ever release the video they have of Obama at Khalidis party? (04/29/11)


A TALE OF PUBLIC SECTOR UNION ABUSE

Ken Berwitz

This unbelievably sick story of public sector union abuse comes to us via an editorial in today's New York Daily News. Please read it with appropriate disbelief - especially the parts I've put in bold print:

Crazy rules let ex-cop keep scammed, tax-free disability pension because of a positive cocaine test

Friday, April 29th 2011, 4:00 AM

How ridiculously stacked is the city's pension system against taxpayers? So ridiculously stacked that an ex-cop who was caught faking a disability and abusing cocaine still gets to collect benefits of $52,000 a year, triple tax-free.

That was the upshot of a blood-boiling ruling from the state's highest court yesterday - further evidence that New York's retirement system for government workers is out of control.

The outrageous story began in December 2003, when James Seiferheld, an 11-year NYPD veteran, put in for a line-of-duty disability pension. He reported slipping on ice and claimed constant pain in his arm, shoulder and neck made work impossible. His application was granted in May 2004.

But just one month later, the city discovered that Seiferheld was working construction jobs - and videotaped him lifting, carrying and nailing building materials "without apparent difficulty."

The Police Pension Fund's Medical Board recommended canceling Seiferheld's disability payout in May 2005.

Despite slam-dunk evidence, the board of trustees, which is half-controlled by union representatives, failed to take action for almost two years.

In April 2007, the Bloomberg administration finally persuaded the board to invoke its only real option in such situations - a law that requires disability retirees to go back to their old jobs if they regain their health and reduces or replaces their pensions with a regular salary.

Pinning a badge on a man whose pension proved undeserved was hardly an ideal outcome, but at least taxpayers would have gotten something for their money.

Before the NYPD could follow through, though, Seiferheld tested positive for coke - creating a Catch-22. The city couldn't offset his undeserved pension unless it hired him. But it couldn't hire him because he was disqualified.

Logically, the Law Department told the pension fund to cut him off - a decision that survived a first round of litigation.

Seiferheld appealed and, believe it or not, won.

The Court of Appeals' hair-splitting decision found that Seiferheld's benefits could be revoked only by a vote of the fund's board of trustees and that its prior decision to send him back to work didn't count.

Dissenting Judge Eugene Pigott applied a common-sense analysis and reached the opposite conclusion. He was right.

So a former cop gets paid even when found to be able-bodied, even when he can't be rehired because of drug use. The pension system is efficient about nothing other than doling excessive tax money to retirees, whether they deserve it or not.

Could this possibly be more outrageous? 

Now tell me how come the system is not immediately being overhauled?  Do you think it just might have something to do with the power of public sector unions?

Maybe, just maybe, they have to be reigned in. 

And maybe, just maybe, when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took a stand regarding less latitude for public sector unions, he had a point.


EGYPT: "FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY" UPDATE:

Ken Berwitz

 

Remember our wonderful neutral media rhapsodically telling us how freedom and democracy were coming to Egypt and all it would take is the removal of that terrible Hosni Mubarak from power?

 

Have you noticed how little was written about any of that since Mr. Mubarak stepped down?

 

Well, the New York Times cant hold the truth back any more.  And to its credit (however belatedly) has a front page article by David D. Kirkpatrick in todays paper about what is really happening there.

 

Here is the beginning of Mr. Kilpatricks article:

 

Egyptian officials, emboldened by the revolution and with an eye on coming elections, say that they are moving toward policies that more accurately reflect public opinion. In the process they are seeking to reclaim the influence over the region that waned as their country became a predictable ally of Washington and the Israelis in the years since the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

The first major display of this new tack was the deal Egypt brokered Wednesday to reconcile the secular Palestinian party Fatah with its rival Hamas. We are opening a new page, said Ambassador Menha Bakhoum, spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry. Egypt is resuming its role that was once abdicated.

Egypts shifts are likely to alter the balance of power in the region, allowing Iran new access to a previously implacable foe and creating distance between itself and Israel, which has been watching the changes with some alarm. We are troubled by some of the recent actions coming out of Egypt, said one senior Israeli official, citing a rapprochement between Iran and Egypt as well as an upgrading of the relationship between Egypt and Hamas.

These developments could have strategic implications on Israels security, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the issues were still under discussion in diplomatic channels. In the past Hamas was able to rearm when Egypt was making efforts to prevent that. How much more can they build their terrorist machine in Gaza if Egypt were to stop?

Israel had relied on Egypts help to police the border with Gaza, where arms and other contraband were smuggled to Hamas through tunnels.

Balancing its new independence against its old allegiances, Egypt is keeping all its commitments, including the peace treaty with Israel, Ambassador Bakhoum emphasized, and she said that it hoped to do a better job complying with some human rights protocols it had signed.

But she said that the blockade of the border with Gaza and Egypts previous enforcement of it were both shameful, and that Egypt intended soon to open up the border completely.

At the same time, she said, Egypt is also in the process of normalizing its relations with Iran, a regional power that the United States considers a dangerous pariah.

All the world has diplomatic relations with Iran with the exception of the United States and Israel, Ambassador Bakhoum said. We look at Iran as a neighbor in the region that we should have normal relations with. Iran is not perceived as an enemy as it was under the previous regime, and it is not perceived as a friend.

Does that look like the kind of freedom & Democracy our media were telling us about just a couple of months ago?  

 

Does it make you wonder what happened to all those well-bred, well-fed, English-speaking idealists media sought out and interviewed in Tahrir Square during the protests?  You know, the ones who were going to take over Egypt on the basis of their sterling personalities along with their facebook and twitter accounts.

 

How do you think this situation compares to the admittedly cold and tenuous, but sustained, 30 year peace that used to exist between Egypt and Israel but clearly is in its death throes?

 

Do you think Egypt is a better place today than it was when Hosni Mubarak was Egypts head of state?

 

Do you think the Middle East is a safer place today than it was when Hosni Mubarak was Egypts head of state?

 

Ive said it repeatedly over these months, but I have to say it again:  Mubaraks government may have been bad, but some alternatives are worse.  A lot worse.

 

And that is where Egypt is right now, even if our media the ones who perpetrated this starry-eyed freedom & democracy hoax have skulked away and barely talk about it any more.

 

The next time these "journalists" build up a story or a cause, you would do well to remember how disconnected their Egypt reporting was from reality.

 

And you would also do well to remember what happened in Egypt the next time a "journalist" suggests that President Obama or Secretary of State Clinton have the slightest idea of what they are doing foreign policy-wise.

free` Ken, The only upside I see to all these protests is that when the extreme islamaniacs take over, we wont have to pretend any more about certain countries we now consider to be our 'allies'. (04/29/11)

Ken Berwitz free - That's a very fair point. Even under Mubarak, Egypt voted against the USA more than 90% of the time in the UN. Isn't it fascinating, therefore, that Kirkpatrick refers to Egypt as a "reliable ally"? Apparently voting our side of things once every ten times, and declining to be at war with Israel (after losing four of them), qualifies in that regard. I wonder if Mr. Kirkpatrick considers Israel a reliable ally as well..... (04/29/11)

free` I'll tell you Ken, this seems like a bad dream you can't wake up from. G-d help us if Obama is reelected or if whoever is the the next POTUS can't undo the damage Obama and the dems have done. (05/01/11)


THE ROYAL WEDDING

Ken Berwitz

We have house guests today, who put on the royal wedding.

I caught a bit of the Today show, with Meredith Viera.

She was wearing what I suppose was a hat.  But, so help me god, it looked like a squirrel on her head.  Greyish, furry....lucky for her it didn't have a bladder problem.

I hope someone took a picture.


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