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Friday, 22 August 2014

THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's Quote Of The Day comes to us from Senate Majority Leader - and, based on what you are about to read, borderline idiot - Harry Reid.

It seems that Mr. Reid was at the the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, trying to convince the group to endorse Lucy Flores, the Democrat candidate for Lieutenant Governor instead of Mark Hutchison, the Republican.

 Evidently he decided that he could win the crowd over with humor.  So he told a couple of jokes.  Here are two of them:

"I don't think you're smarter than anybody else, but you've convinced a lot of us you are"

"One problem that I've had today is keeping my Wongs straight."

Stop blinking your eyes in disbelief.  This is no satire - he really did say those exact words.  Honest - you can see for yourself by clicking here and reading Time Magazine's account.

It was so bad that afterwards, probably as the result of being taken aside by one of his aides, Reid apologized, saying "My comments were in extremely poor taste".

Y'think?

I suspect I am not surprising you to note that the group wound up supporting Hutchison.

I award Harry Reid Quote Of The Day honors for demonstrating, as he so often does, that either he so intellectually diminished that he has no business in the U.S. Senate, let alone being its majority leader, or - even more appalling - that he is not diminished at all; this is how he always has been.

Now - Time obviously excepted - watch most mainstream media not bother to report it.  Just like they would not have bothered if it had been, say Sarah Palin.

Media bias?  Naaaaahhhh.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 16:53 PM   1 comment

SHOULD ROBERT MCCULLOCH RECUSE HIMSELF?

Ken Berwitz

Should Saint Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch head the investigation of Michael Brown's shooting death"  Or should he recuse himself - and, if so, why? 

First I'll put up both sides, and then I'll tell you where I stand.

Reasons for recusing:

-McCulloch comes from a family with a good number of members in the police force:  his father, brother, nephew and cousin all were on the force and his mother worked there in a clerical capacity.  As such, he might be prejudiced in favor of Officer Darren Wilson.

-McCulloch's father was a police officer who, 50 years ago, was shot to death in the line of duty by a Black suspect.  As such, he might be prejudiced against Black people in general, and, more specifically, against Black men like Michael Brown.

-In 2000, McCulloch publicly agreed with a county grand jury's decision not to prosecute two White police officers who, while working undercover in a drug operation, shot and killed two unarmed Black men.  The grand jury - and McCulloch - agreed that, the officers' lives were in danger when they opened fire.

-Shortly after the Brown shooting, McCulloch ok'ed the release of a surveillance tape which apparently shows Brown, (with his friend Dorian Johnson) robbing a store of about $50 worth of cigars, then physically pushing off the owner of the store who came over, presumably to get payment for his merchandise.  The argument is that this was an unnecessary slurring of Brown's reputation (the other side being that it was nothing other than a visual demonstration of who/what Brown was - and, in any case, several news organizations said they would immediately invoke the Freedom Of Information Act to get it).

Reasons for not recusing:

-McCulloch has been the Saint Louis County Prosecuting Attorney for 23 years, and been elected four times to that position.  As recently as August 5th of this year - four days before Michael Brown was shot to death - McCulloch, who is a Democrat, won his primary over a Black opponent, Leslie Broadnax, by 71% - 29% (though most Black voters cast their ballots for Ms. Broadnax);

-Other than the 2000 incident,  I have not come across any other similarly controversial positions McCulloch has taken which seem to favor White police over Black suspects/perps (this is not to say there have been no such cases, only that I can't find any where his performance generated significant controversy).

-If Mr. McCulloch does recuse himself, it will appear to affirm the accusations made against him that he could not prosecute Officer Wilson objectively - i.e. it comes across as a concession that he would not/could not be fair.

My conclusion, for whatever it is worth?  In looking at the totality of the picture, I think that, regardless of whether Mr. McCulloch is capable of handling this case fairly, his family's police background, the way his father died and the controversy surrounding his position in the 2000 drug case, create too much of an appearance that he might be prejudiced for him to perform as the prosecuting attorney.

He should identify the most senior person in his office who has a more neutral background, and put him/her in charge.

This is not to accuse Mr. McCulloch of being prejudiced.  I don't know very much about him and have no opinion of his integrity one way or the other.  My conclusion is based on (sorry for the buzzword, but it really does fit here) the "optics" of a man whose entire life has been so completely tied to the police force, handling this highly controversial police-involved matter.

Do I think that Mr. McCulloch must recuse himself from all other cases involving police officers as well?  No I do not.  But the circumstances of this specific case put it in a different league than the others: 

-What if Officer Wilson is exonerated?  McCulloch will be condemned as a White cop lover with a 50 year old grudge, who got a guilty White cop off because the guy he shot down in cold blood was Black.

-What if Officer Wilson is convicted?  McCulloch will be condemned as a weak willie, scared into submission by the sharptons and jacksons of the world, who let an innocent White cop take the fall rather than standing up for what was right.

Which outcome is the good one?

Of course, Governor Jay Nixon can end this issue any time he cares to, by either removing McCulloch from the case - which, from what I have read, he can do at will - or standing up for him, insisting that this is his job, and that he will stay on it regardless of what anyone else says. 

But that is not happening - at least not up to the time I write this.  So, far Governor Nixon, again showing that when it comes to the Michael Brown case he is incapable of making a firm decision in any direction, has wimped out by saying it is up to McCulloch himself - in other words, "I'm not doing anything at all, so whatever happens is someone else's fault".

I can't help thinking Missouri deserves a lot better.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 12:58 PM   2 comments

GAZA: THE MIDDLE EAST VERSION OF SALEM

Ken Berwitz

In 1692-93, there were a series of "witch trials" in Salem, Massachusetts (and other towns as well, though Salem is far and away the best known), in which Calvinist Puritans - with Minister cotton mather leading the way - put twenty people suspected of witchcraft to death; most of them women and none of them witches.  The Salem witch trials were a case study in religious lunacy, superstition, rumor-mongering, intolerance and hatred.

Welcome to hamas-ruled Gaza.

From an article at Reuters:

Hamas militants killed seven Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel in a public execution in a central Gaza square on Friday, witnesses and a Hamas website said.

The victims, their heads covered and hands tied, were shot dead by masked gunmen dressed in black in front of a crowd of worshippers outside a mosque after prayers, witnesses and al-Majd, a pro-Hamas website, said.

Another 11 people suspected of collaborating with Israel were killed by gunmen at an abandoned police station in Gaza earlier on Friday, Hamas security officials said.

Suspected of collaborating with Israel?  That's it?  No evidence, no nothing.  Not even a show trial like in Salem.  Just line 'em up and take 'em out?

Yep, that sounds like hamas, all right.  And don't think the Palestinian Authority (PA) - which punishes any Palestinian Arab who sells land to a Jew with death - is far behind, because it isn't.

With this in mind, have you ever wondered why you never hear of dissent in Gaza or in Judea and Samaria (the west bank)?  Why you never hear of a critical article or TV commentary by what passes for their media?  Why you never hear of a march - maybe of people who would rather live and let live than die as jihadists, or people who remember that the blockade was not always there, it was put in place as a reaction to hamas attacks on Israel?

It is impossible to imagine that every Gazan is on board with using the billions of dollars which flow into Gaza from around the world not for infrastructure and industry, but for armaments and terror tunnels - then firing rockets into Israel until Israel retaliates.  Yet never one peep of dissent.

Is it just possible that this is because they know what their fate would be if they dared to speak out? 

Put another way, if summary execution is what happens to "suspected collaborators", what do you think would happen to them? 

Never forget that this is what sits on Israel's border; what Israel must deal with every day. 

Somewhere in the ether, what is left of cotton mather must be smiling broadly.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 08:35 AM   Add Comment

SHAHEEN/BROWN - IT LOOKS LIKE A REAL RACE

Ken Berwitz

As you may remember, Scott Brown is the relatively unknown Massachusetts Republican who, after iconic Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy died, managed to overhaul his inept opponent, Martha Coakley (who now is running for Governor), and win a special election to finish Mr. Kennedy's term. 

He then ran for a full term.  But Massachusetts reverted to form, and dumped him in favor of a more leftward Democrat, Elizabeth Warren.

Now, Mr. Brown has changed his residence, become a citizen of New Hampshire, and is in the Republican primary to run against incumbent Senator Jean Shaheen. 

Until now, Ms. Shaheen looked like she would be an easy winner over the carpetbagging Brown.  I doubt many people, other than the most optimistic Republican cheerleaders, gave him more than a distant chance. 

But, according to the latest WMUR/Granite State poll, Brown has quickly closed the gap.  A month ago, Shaheen lead Brown by 12% (50%-38%).  Now the difference is 2% (46%-44%).

I assume Brown will use this poll to sell New Hampshire Republicans on the premise that, unlike his other two primary opponents, he can win against Shaheen - which is a pretty good argument. 

Add in the fact that, as Ms. Coakley will ruefully concede, he has done it before, and the obvious conclusion is that, at least as of this moment, if Scott Brown becomes the Republican's Senate candidate in New Hampshire, the state is in play.

We'll keep an eye on this one. 

Hopelessly Partisan @ 07:26 AM   Add Comment

OBAMA, ISIS AND POROUS

Ken Berwitz

A question for President Obama:  If ISIS is an international terrorist threat which is specifically targeting the United States, and you are keeping our borders porous....

....does it not follow that ISIS terrorists will avail themselves of our porous borders, enter our country, and perform terrorist acts here?

What are you going to do about this?  Practice your putting game?

Hopelessly Partisan @ 06:58 AM   2 comments

Thursday, 21 August 2014

A FEW QUESTIONS FOR CHUCK HAGEL

Ken Berwitz

First, let me show you what Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said today.  Then I would like to ask Sec. Hagel a few questions.

Speaking of ISIS, Secretary Hagel said this:

"They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else.  They are...as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen.  They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of...military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen."

Now, here are my questions:

-Mr. Secretary, would you please ask your boss, President Barack Obama, why he ignored this "imminent threat to every interest we have", that is "beyond just a terrorist group" until it got that way? 

-Would you then ask him why, incredibly, he downplayed ISIS, as recently as THIS YEAR, by saying that "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant."?  Can he possibly be this dense? 

-Can he possibly believe that thrilling his left wing base by doing nothing as terrorism grew and flourished around the world was more important than the oath he took - twice - to protect and defend the United States of America? 

-Can he possibly believe the feeling of superiority he may have had by being able to say "See how much better I was than George Bush", I didn't send troops anywhere" was worth allowing this truly horrific threat to us and the rest of the free world to grow to its current strength?

-And - most importantly, since the past cannot be undone - what is he prepared to do now?  Shoot a few air strikes at selected targets and brag about what a stud he is, the way he took credit for other people nailing osama bin laden?  Or actually lead the world, instead of being led by others like a little puppy dog?

Please, Mr. Secretary, ask those questions of your boss.  And do let us know his answers, won't you?  Thanks.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 17:55 PM   4 comments

THE FERGUSON FIX?

Ken Berwitz

Is the Ferguson fix in?

Until the Obama administration I always had at least some level of confidence that if the Department of Justice stepped into a situation things would be handled fairly.

But under Attorney General eric holder, we do not have a Department of Justice.  We have a Department of Just-Us.  And I have no confidence at all that its treatment of the Michael Brown case will be fair.

Why do I feel this way?

Here, with a major-league hat tip to Paul Mirengoff at powerlineblog.com and to former DOJer J. Christian Adams, is a sampling of the team that will be involved:

-Saeed Mody. a civil rights activist and, in college, co-chair of the Palestine Solidarity Committee; 

-Tona Boyd, an ACLUer and Black activist at Harvard (she was Racial Justice Chair of the Black Law Students Association there);

-Chiraag Bains, has a left-wing oriented history of going after police;

-And more, whose biographies are available here.

And if you read Paul's entire blog (which I fervently hope you do) you'll find plenty more where that came from.

Does this give you any confidence - even one tenth of one percent - that Officer Darren Wilson is going to get a fair shake from holder and his underlings?

Remember, we're talking about the same Department of Just-Us which vacated charges against two members of the new black panther party for standing in front of a Philadelphia voting location on election day, 2008, wearing what appeared to be paramilitary clothing - one holding a billy club - and threatening potential voters:  charges which the two in question did not fight in court.  They didn't even bother to show up for the hearing. 

Evidently they were confident that the Philadelphia Fix was in then. 

Why should we not be equally confident that the Ferguson Fix is in now? 

Hopelessly Partisan @ 14:24 PM   Add Comment

LOSING FROM BEHIND

Ken Berwitz

Italy has just announced it is sending machine guns and anti-tank weapons to the Peshmerga Kurds, who are on the ground fighting ISIS.

How many have the United States sent?

U.S. air strikes from a safe distance are fine, and greatly help the ground forces...provided there are ground forces there, with the armaments to be effective.  And, since U.S. boots are not on the ground, that means the Peshmerga.

So what possible reason is there not to arm the Peshmerga to the teeth?

In 2011, President Obama made good on President Bush's deal to withdraw our troops from Iraq.  (That's right, President Bush.  Obama took 100% credit for a deal Bush cut in 2008).

But, at that time, Mr. Obama  was either unwilling to, or incapable - probably both - of negotiating a deal with the Iraqi government to keep enough U.S. forces in the country so that it wouldn't fall apart and be overtaken by terrorists (which President Bush specifically warned would happen).

Bush's exact words:

"If we leave Iraq before the job is done, it will create a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, a terrorist state much more dangerous than Afghanistan was before we removed the Taliban, a terrorist state with the capacity to fund its activities because of the oil reserves of Iraq. The stakes are high. it's very important for the American people to understand that the security of the United States of America, the capacity of our children to grow up in a peaceful world, in large part depends on our willingness to help this young Iraq democracy succeed."

Despite that warning, and despite holding all the cards (the USA was the only reason Maliki held power), Obama could not and/or would not make certain a reasonable contingent of USA troops stayed on, to train, maintain and generally back up Iraqi forces. 

And the resulting lack of U.S. training/backup is a major reason - most likely the major reason - that Iraqi boots, which should be at the forefront of fighting ISIS, are mainly used for running in the opposite direction instead.

It has been 5 1/2 years of President Obama "leading from behind" - while proclaiming that al qaeda is virtually decimated and ISIS is "the JV (junior varsity). 

But neither of those claims was ever true. 

The truth?  Because of Barack Obama's abdication of taking the lead in fighting the war against terrorism, al qaeda is stronger than ever.  And ISIS, which no one ever heard of the day he took office - now controls a land area larger than Jordan....with a promise of taking far more land there, and then coming to the USA to kill as many of us as possible and turn what's left into part of the worldwide caliphate.

That is not leading from behind.  It is losing from behind.

Mr. Obama - before it is too late (assuming it isn't already) can we please stop losing and start leading again? 

How about starting by arming the Peshmerga, thus giving them a chance against ISIS.  Or is that too much of a problem for you?

Hopelessly Partisan @ 11:50 AM   Add Comment

THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's quote comes to us from movie director, New York Knick fan, and civil rights activist, Spike Lee.

On Tuesday Night, during a discussion of the Michael Brown death on Anderson Cooper's CNN show, Mr. Lee said this:

"I do not think you should be killed in this country because allegedly you steal some cigarillos. I don't think you should be killed in this country if there is marijuana in your system.  The people -- not only in Ferguson, but all over this country -- do not trust what is happening. I just think there's a war on the Black male, and it's tearing this country apart."

I do not always agree with Spike Lee. But in this case I agree with every word he said.

I agree that no one should be killed for allegedly stealing cigarillos or having marijuana.  What puzzles me, however, is why Spike Lee applies this to Michael Brown? 

It is true that there is video surveillance showing Brown walking out with (what we are told was $48.99 worth of) Swisher Sweets without paying for them - and roughing up the store owner he towered over in the process.  And it is true that the toxicology results of his autopsy showed he had been smoking marijuana. 

But no one knows whether those facts have a thing to do with why the police officer shot him.  Not one witness has said that was the reason - not even the witnesses Spike Lee apparently chooses to believe. 

So how does he come to this conclusion?  Does Mr. Lee have proof?  Does he have anything but his personal, factless opinion?  If so, let's see it.

I agree that people all over this country do not trust what is happening...though I suspect that a great many more do not trust the "Michael Brown didn't do anything wrong" story than any other version of how he was shot.  And I'm 100% certain that most people do not trust al sharpton's claim that the looters and rioters are "liberators" and "builders". 

I agree that there is a war on the Black male in progress.  On an average day in this country, about 19 Black people are murdered, with a disproportionate percentage of them males.  And, in over 90% of the cases, the murderer is also Black and disproportionately male.  It is hard to dispute that this is a war on Black males.  Mr. Lee just left out the fact that this war is being waged by Black males.

I therefore award Quote Of The Day honors to Spike Lee for speaking as truthfully as he did. 

But I have to admit having this funny feeling in my gut that he may not be bragging about this latest accolade...

Hopelessly Partisan @ 10:11 AM   2 comments

GOOD NEWS FROM GAZA

Ken Berwitz

From an article just posted at Fox News:

Hamas said that an Israel airstrike in Gaza killed three of its senior military leaders early Thursday.

The Palestinian militant group claimed that the men -- identified as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar -- were killed along with three other people in a strike on a four-story building near Rafah, a town in the southern part of the coastal territory.

The trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas' military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training of fighters and smuggling of weapons to Gaza, Israel said.

Hamza Khalifa, an area resident said the house was struck without warning. "We only heard multiple F-16 (warplane) missiles, one after the other, six or seven missiles," he said.

What great news!

If Israel is taking out senior hamas military leaders, then the more the merrier.

Oh, one other thing:  am I supposed to be troubled that - this time as opposed to so many of the others - Israel did not warn of the attack so these murdering cowards could get out of harm's way, while ordering civilians to stay put?

Trust me when I tell you I am not.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 09:37 AM   Add Comment

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