Wednesday, 13 March 2013

THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

If blatantly disingenuous BS is your cup of tea, you are going to love today's quote of the day.

According to President Barack Obama, after being asked whether it was really necessary to cut the White House tours:

           "Y'know I have to say, this was not a decision that went up to the White House. But What the secret service explained to us was that they're gonna have to furlough some folks.  What furloughs mean is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay.  And, y'know the question for them is y'know how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we got White House tours if it means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seein' a five or ten percent reduction in their pay. Well, what I'm asking them is, are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups uh, y'know, who may have traveled here with some bake sales, can we make sure that kids potentially can still come to tour"

In other words, "It's not my fault, I can't do anything about it, and I'm just protecting those secret service guys and their family while watching out for the children."  My god, this man is a saint on earth.

Byron York's reaction is just about perfect: 

"Essentially, what he's asking you to believe is that the most powerful man in the world is powerless to pressure the agency that serves as his own personal guard to keep the White House open to schoolkids and tourists. There are, I guess, no less pressing priorities in the executive branch's budget that could be cut instead. Including the White House calligraphers"

Thank you, President Obama, for the quote of the day, delivered with precisely the amount of credibility we have come to expect from you.

And thank you, Mr. York, for putting that quote in precisely the perspective it deserves.


THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: TRANSPARENTLY OPAQUE

Ken Berwitz

It doesn't happen very often but, on occasion, some decidedly leftward web sites post articles critical of the people they usually support.

One such instance occurred yesterday, when slate.com, a reliably pro-Obama site, put up an article by Paul D. Thacker, which attacked the President for promising a transparent government, but providing the exact opposite...and, as an extra-added attraction, putting the fear of God (aka Obama) into the hearts of any potential whistle-blowers who might help us by exposing what is really going on..

Here is an excerpt of this article, in which Mr. Thacker explains how Mr. Obama gets away with it.

Whether it's responding to Congress, media questions, or FOIA requests, this administration is no better than its predecessor. The big difference: Obama is a Democrat. And because he is a Democrat, he's gotten a pass from many of the civil liberty and good-government groups who spent years watching President Bush's every move like a hawk.

Soon after he was sworn into office, Obama appointed an "ethics czar" named Norm Eisen, a successful attorney, who had been one of the president's classmates at Harvard Law School and later became a major fundraiser to his campaign. Eisen was likely handed the ethics portfolio for a specific reason: He was steeped in the world of Washington watchdogs. (Eisen is one of the co-founders of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.) With Eisen on board, the administration was able to make cosmetic changes and neutralize harsh disapproval with a classic Washington maneuver-inviting potential critics to the White House for meetings. The administration understood that many of these groups would be satisfied by getting meetings with the ethics czar, and would calculate that if they became too critical of the president that their newfound "access" would be in peril. So the watchdogs have scampered up to the White House time and again, hopeful that maybe with the next election, the next initiative, maybe even the next meeting, something would change.

The most absurd example came a couple years ago when a group of Washington watchdogs went to the White House to give the president a "transparency" award, and the president refused to accept the award in public. The meeting wasn't even listed on the president's public schedule. 

Last September, Bloomberg News tested Obama's pledge by filing FOIA requests for the 2011 travel records of top officials at 57 agencies. Only about half responded. In fact, this president has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined.

Very worthwhile reading, wouldn't you say?

Well, it is even more worthwhile than you may realize.  Because the latter part of Mr. Thacker's piece details just how completely this administration has lied about and stonewalled the Operation Fast and Furious scandal.   I am not putting up material from that portion of his commentary because a) it would make the blog too long but b) more importantly, I am hopeful it will spur you to read every word.

My thanks to Paul. D. Thacker for writing this piece.  My thanks to salon.com for posting it.  But my condemnation of the Obama administration for its sorry record of secrecy....and its Accomplice Media, which have been complicit in this behavior since he took office. 

to the Accomplice Media - and there is no shortage of them:  You may think you are journalists.  Your business card may say you are journalists.  But you are not journalists, you are willing propagandists, without ethics, integrity or professionalism.  Shame on you.


A NEW POPE

Ken Berwitz

Congratulations to Catholics around the world.  There is a new Pope - the first Jesuit Pope in history.

He is 76 year old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, of Buenos Aires, and will be known as Pope Francis I.


REAL RACISM (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

I wish there wasn't such a rich mother-lode of real racism to choose from.  But there is.  And this latest installment has an extra kicker; an interesting, maybe unsettling, twist to it.

A high school teacher in the Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) school system has been suspended without pay for five days for voicing racial slurs against a Black student. 

According to Roger Lohse's article at local10.com, The teacher, Leslie Rainer, referred to one of her students as 'Little chocolate boy", told him he "was dark chocolate, the kind that nobody wants", and saying "You got one time, chocolate", which caused his classmates to laugh, and presumably was more than a little humiliating.

I don't know the quality of the young man Ms. Rainer went after; whether, for example, he might have been a problem student.  But I do know when someone is being singled out based on his race.  And, obviously that is what happened in this instance.

The interesting twist?  Leslie Rainer herself is Black.  But, as can be seen, just as capable of making a racial slur against a Black student as a non-Black person is.

Real racism.  It comes in all forms, from all sources.  No group is immune to it, or from it.  Not even a Black teacher talking to a Black student.


THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

If blatantly disingenuous BS is your cup of tea, you are going to love today's quote of the day.

According to President Barack Obama, after being asked whether it was really necessary to cut the White House tours:

           "Y'know I have to say, this was not a decision that went up to the White House. But What the secret service explained to us was that they're gonna have to furlough some folks.  What furloughs mean is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay.  And, y'know the question for them is y'know how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we got White House tours if it means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seein' a five or ten percent reduction in their pay. Well, what I'm asking them is, are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups uh, y'know, who may have traveled here with some bake sales, can we make sure that kids potentially can still come to tour"

In other words, "It's not my fault, I can't do anything about it, and I'm just protecting those secret service guys and their family while watching out for the children."  My god, this man is a saint on earth.

Byron York's reaction is just about perfect: 

"Essentially, what he's asking you to believe is that the most powerful man in the world is powerless to pressure the agency that serves as his own personal guard to keep the White House open to schoolkids and tourists. There are, I guess, no less pressing priorities in the executive branch's budget that could be cut instead. Including the White House calligraphers"

Thank you, President Obama, for the quote of the day, delivered with precisely the amount of credibility we have come to expect from you.

And thank you, Mr. York, for putting that quote in precisely the perspective it deserves.


SEQUESTER WATCH

Ken Berwitz

It is day 13 of the sequester.  

Do you feel any different?  Do you think anything has changed?  Do you think the country has gone to hell in a handbasket?

No?  Me neither.

But it has caused a major breakthrough in President Obama's level of accommodation and bipartisanship, which Nancy Pelosi and many other Democrats have been waxing poetic about for the past weeks:  today, Mr. Obama will be meeting with Republican house members!

That's certainly a show of accommodation and bipartisanship, isn't it? 

Except....

This is the first meeting President Obama will have had with Republican house members since June of 2011.  That's right.  It is the first time in over a year an a half that Mr. Obama has spoken with the people who control the House of Representatives. 

And the only reason for this meeting is because the sequester, which Mr. Obama - with similarly dire predictions from his Accomplice Media - warned would cause a cataclysm in this country, has caused nothing except the President making an absolute fool of himself by stopping White House tours, as if that were in any way a necessary consequence.

Did it stop Michelle from inviting Beyonce and Adele to her big 50th Birthday Bash?  Who's paying for that bash?  Who's paying for Beyonce and Adele's travel and expenses?

There's your Presidential accommodation and bipartisanship.  Are you impressed?

The Obama administration desperately needs a crisis to "prove" Barack Obama was right about what horrible consequences would come down on us if there were forced cuts in our impossibly bloated deficit spending.  And, by God, it is going to come up with one, even if it has to create the crisis out of thin air - while hoping you are "low information" enough to be convinced it is real. 

And in the abesence of any such crisis, he is now forced to do what, as President, he should have been doing all along:  meeting with leaders of both parties and trying to get something done, instead of going out on the campaign trail, playing golf, and planning his next vacation.

Who says nothing good has come of this?

Another installment of sequester watch tomorrow.


OUR COMMITMENT TO SOLAR ELECTRICITY

Ken Berwitz

Putting in solar electricity means never being lonely.

I've lost count of the number of people working on our roof and around the house today, including the plumber who is removing two panels we put up about 35 years ago for a solar hot water system.

Given the current state of technology - i.e. the amount of time it will take to switch over to renewable energy - I strongly support aggressive exploitation of our fossil fuels , But, I just as strongly support maximum use of renewable energy in every way possible.

The sooner we replace the former with the latter, the better off we will all be.

Ken Berwitz zeke - not only did it work very effectively for many years, but when they took the panels down yesterday I was told that they were still relatively warm (i.e. functioning to some degree). This is 35 years later. (03/14/13)

Zeke .... .... Ken - how DID that solar hot water heater work out ? ..... ..... (03/13/13)


OUR COMMITMENT TO SOLAR ELECTRICITY

Ken Berwitz

Putting in solar electricity means never being lonely.

I've lost count of the number of people working on our roof and around the house today, including the plumber who is removing two panels we put up about 35 years ago for a solar hot water system.

Given the current state of technology - i.e. the amount of time it will take to switch over to renewable energy - I strongly support aggressive exploitation of our fossil fuels , But, I just as strongly support maximum use of renewable energy in every way possible.

The sooner we replace the former with the latter, the better off we will all be.

Zeke .... .... Ken - how DID that solar hot water heater work out ? ..... ..... (03/13/13)

Ken Berwitz zeke - not only did it work very effectively for many years, but when they took the panels down yesterday I was told that they were still relatively warm (i.e. functioning to some degree). This is 35 years later. (03/14/13)


THE WINNER OF THE SENATE BUDGET/PALESTINIAN ARAB ELECTION RACE

Ken Berwitz

In 2009, the Democrat-controlled senate passed a budget.  But, despite the fact that it is required each year, the senate has not passed a budget since then.

This has allowed Democrats to take the budgets passed by the Republican house (this year will be the third since 2009), and rip them apart, without having to defend their own budget, which is nonexistent.

Easy as pie.  All they needed was a willing media to let them get away with it - and they have one.

In 2009, Palestinian Arabs were supposed to have free elections, like the (more or less) free elections held in 2005.  But they did not.  The elections of 2009 were "postponed", and have been "postponed" since then.

This allows the current rulers of Judea & Samaria (also known as the west bank) to continue in power without being challenged.  (Please note that I am excluding Gaza, because hamas rules there by "virtue" - strange word to use - of a violent overthrow in which all fatah elected officials were either killed or disposed of in some other way).

Easy as pie.  All they needed was a willing media to let them get away with it - and they have one.  In fact, much of those media still refer to the west bank government as "freely elected" which has not been true for four years.

So, since 2009, the race has been on.  What would happen first:  would the Democrat-controlled US Senate pass a budget, or would Palestinian Arabs get to vote in "free elections" again.

Well, we are about to have a winner.  The Democrat-controlled US Senate is going to present us with a budget.  Four years late, but a budget nonetheless.

Meanwhile, in Judea & Samaria, the people still wait for their next "free election".

My congratulations to the Democrat Party and its Senators.  You win.  You have shown yourself to be marginally more responsible than Palestinian Arab dictators. 

What a great triumph.


THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: TRANSPARENTLY OPAQUE

Ken Berwitz

It doesn't happen very often but, on occasion, some decidedly leftward web sites post articles critical of the people they usually support.

One such instance occurred yesterday, when slate.com, a reliably pro-Obama site, put up an article by Paul D. Thacker, which attacked the President for promising a transparent government, but providing the exact opposite...and, as an extra-added attraction, putting the fear of God (aka Obama) into the hearts of any potential whistle-blowers who might help us by exposing what is really going on..

Here is an excerpt of this article, in which Mr. Thacker explains how Mr. Obama gets away with it.

Whether it's responding to Congress, media questions, or FOIA requests, this administration is no better than its predecessor. The big difference: Obama is a Democrat. And because he is a Democrat, he's gotten a pass from many of the civil liberty and good-government groups who spent years watching President Bush's every move like a hawk.

Soon after he was sworn into office, Obama appointed an "ethics czar" named Norm Eisen, a successful attorney, who had been one of the president's classmates at Harvard Law School and later became a major fundraiser to his campaign. Eisen was likely handed the ethics portfolio for a specific reason: He was steeped in the world of Washington watchdogs. (Eisen is one of the co-founders of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.) With Eisen on board, the administration was able to make cosmetic changes and neutralize harsh disapproval with a classic Washington maneuver-inviting potential critics to the White House for meetings. The administration understood that many of these groups would be satisfied by getting meetings with the ethics czar, and would calculate that if they became too critical of the president that their newfound "access" would be in peril. So the watchdogs have scampered up to the White House time and again, hopeful that maybe with the next election, the next initiative, maybe even the next meeting, something would change.

The most absurd example came a couple years ago when a group of Washington watchdogs went to the White House to give the president a "transparency" award, and the president refused to accept the award in public. The meeting wasn't even listed on the president's public schedule. 

Last September, Bloomberg News tested Obama's pledge by filing FOIA requests for the 2011 travel records of top officials at 57 agencies. Only about half responded. In fact, this president has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined.

Very worthwhile reading, wouldn't you say?

Well, it is even more worthwhile than you may realize.  Because the latter part of Mr. Thacker's piece details just how completely this administration has lied about and stonewalled the Operation Fast and Furious scandal.   I am not putting up material from that portion of his commentary because a) it would make the blog too long but b) more importantly, I am hopeful it will spur you to read every word.

My thanks to Paul. D. Thacker for writing this piece.  My thanks to salon.com for posting it.  But my condemnation of the Obama administration for its sorry record of secrecy....and its Accomplice Media, which have been complicit in this behavior since he took office. 

to the Accomplice Media - and there is no shortage of them:  You may think you are journalists.  Your business card may say you are journalists.  But you are not journalists, you are willing propagandists, without ethics, integrity or professionalism.  Shame on you.


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