Sunday, March 30, 2008

OBAMA IS AS FULL OF IT AS HILLARY: THE KENNEDY CONNECTION


Crossposted from STOP THE ACLU, written by Jay. (See link for video.)



When Mitt Romney stated that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr., there was wall to wall media coverage reporting how he had to start backpeddaling. Even after witnesses came forward claiming they had seen his father march with him, the media story of Mitt fabricating the story still persists.



Will Obama get the same media treatment with his lies? Don't hold your breath. In a speech to a Selma, Alabama crowd meant to pump up his civil-rights movement authenticity and his Kennedy Camelot image, Barack Obama claimed that the Kennedy administration paid for his Kenyan father to travel to America on a student scholarship and therefore was responsible for his "very existence". However, the first march on Selma took place on March 7, 1965. Obama would have been about three and half years old at that time. For some reason the media never did the math on this.



The Washtington Post Fact Checker delves deeper.




Addressing civil rights activists in Selma, Ala., a year ago, Sen. Barack Obama traced his "very existence" to the generosity of the Kennedy family, which he said paid for his Kenyan father to travel to America on a student scholarship and thus meet his Kansan mother.



The Camelot connection has become part of the mythology surrounding Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. After Caroline Kennedy endorsed his candidacy in January, Newsweek commentator Jonathan Alter reported that she had been struck by the extraordinary way in which "history replays itself" and by how "two generations of two families - separated by distance, culture and wealth - can intersect in strange and wonderful ways."



It is a touching story - but the key details are either untrue or grossly oversimplified.



Contrary to Obama's claims in speeches in January at American University and in Selma last year, the Kennedy family did not provide the funding for a September 1959 airlift of 81 Kenyan students to the United States that included Obama's father. According to historical records and interviews with participants, the Kennedys were first approached for support for the program nearly a year later, in July 1960. The family responded with a $100,000 donation, most of which went to pay for a second airlift in September 1960.



Obama spokesman Bill Burton acknowledged yesterday that the senator from Illinois had erred in crediting the Kennedy family with a role in his father's arrival in the United States. He said the Kennedy involvement in the Kenya student program apparently "started 48 years ago, not 49 years ago as Obama has mistakenly suggested in the past."



[...]



Obama's Selma speech offers a very confused chronology of both the Kenya student program and the civil rights movement. Relating the story of how his parents met, Obama said: "There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Junior was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama."



After bloggers pointed out that the Selma bridge protest occurred four years after Obama's birth, a spokesman explained that the senator was referring to the civil rights movement in general, rather than any one event.




Sister Toldjah wonders:




Will we see similar blanket, wall to wall coverage of Obama's latest faux pax, one of many he's been caught in on the campaign trail? I won't hold my breath. Mitt Romney didn't enjoy the "messiah-like" status that the media bestowed long ago on Barack Obama.




MacRanger:




Around these parts we call these kinds of mistakes - "lies".




I hate to break it to Obama, but this kind of crap is not "a new kind of politics."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spitzer WAS Behind "Dirty Tricks" Scandal, After All


I knew the truth would out, eventually. Last July, I posted "Spitzer Exposed: Anatomy of a 'Breaking Scandal.'" That scandal focused on whether Spitzer directed the NY State police to "keep tabs" on Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, his chief political rival, to see if he was misusing state helicopters for political trips. See my various Spitzer posts, for the details and updates. Obviously, it was not the scandal that ultimately took him down, but I will revisit it once again, starting with a quote from my post:



"It all depends on what he knew, and when he knew it. I predict that we're gonna find out both of those things, and it ain't gonna be good for Gov. Spitzer, pardon my slang."



As the NY Times (link) and the NY Post (link) reported yesterday, Spitzer knew it all, some time before the "leaking" of the Bruno travel records to the Albany Times-Union. The only question still unanswered by yesterday's stories is if Spitzer told his aides to order the creation of these "special" records. These were leaks from the DA's report, which will be released within the week. I'll venture another prediction: Spitzer did order their creation. If that's not in the report, it's as much of a whitewash as the Albany DA's first report was. Please read both stories, linked above.



Speaking of which, why isn't Albany DA David Soares' "first investigation" being investigated? How about the Albany Times-Union's role in this corruption? There are other investigations pending, but they probably won't get near as much publicity as the one that took "Client Nine" down. I'll keep passing on what I hear, of course. Spitzer's "dirty tricks" scandal gives us a window into political corruption in NYS, which deserves exposure.



Just ask Joe Bruno, or our new Governor Paterson. Or maybe not. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"SO?"


My man, VP Dick Cheney!



"On the security front, I think there's a general consensus that we've made major progress, that the surge has worked. That's been a major success," Cheney told ABC News' Martha Raddatz during an exclusive interview in Oman.



When asked how that assessment comports with recent polls that show about two-thirds of Americans say the fight in Iraq is not worth it, Cheney replied, "So?" (link to story)



Ya gotta love this guy. The Congress, and the American public supported the deposing of Saddam Hussein, before we did it. War is not something a nation can do "halfway," once comitted to. The lessons of Vietnam have been learned, and those mistakes will not be repeated today. Both Hillary and Obama have said as much, in one of their early debates. Neither would promise to have "all" troops out by the end of their first term. Most people understand that, even as the situation gets better in Iraq, our continued presence is essential.



Cheney knows this, and also knows the loaded nature of the poll numbers Ms. Raddatz cites in her question. "Not worth it?" That isn't a judgement that us "average Joes and Janes" get to make. We elect leaders to do what they think is right, and our only way of changing policy is to elect someone else. "Lame duck" is the distinct flavor of his response, and I find it delectable.



Thanks to Cheney, for saying it "SO" bluntly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What If Sen. Obama Was Sen. O'Blarney: A Fictional Scenario


This provacative post was caused by a guest (a supporter of Obama, and Pastor Wright) on the O'Reilly Factor, who stated "Blacks have never enslaved anyone." This is a false statement, on it's face. Africans practiced slavery, on other Africans, before Europeans started sending ships down the African coast. Further, African Americans owned African slaves, and even fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. These are facts, not opinions. Here's an interesting hypothetical scenario.



What if a (fictional) White pastor said the following:



"Blacks ENSLAVED Black men before the White man ever CAME to Africa! We LEARNED it from them! The Black man BROUGHT this EVIL into western civilization!"



Were I a politician, I wouldn't want to be associated with those comments. I could say that I "understand where he was coming from," even though I disagreed with the conclusion he arrived at. I doubt any explanation could satisfy the public, and rightly so. This is an "inverted parallel" of what's happening to Obama, over pastor Wright's comments. Imagine Sen. Barack Obama was Sen. "Barry O'Blarney," and he was trying to defend my fictional pastor's statement. There is no excuse for tolerating such hate, in my fictional scenario, or the world we live in..



Sen. Obama has has a huge challenge ahead of him. He has the nomination within his grasp, if he can surmount this obstacle. Perhaps he can find a "middle way," and refute his former pastor, while appeasing the base that Wright appeals to, in the Black community. Today's speech is a crucial moment in his campaign.

Friday, March 14, 2008

OBAMA IS AS WHITE AS HE IS BLACK, TO BE FAIR


I find something missing from the public/political perception of Sen. Obama. He is as much White as Black, genetically. Why is he considered a "Black" candidate, with no acknowledgement to half of his ancestry? In fact, there has been some media attention to this, some time ago. There were questions of "is Obama Black enough" at the beginning of the campaign, before his meteoric rise. Interestingly enough, the TIME magazine piece by that title ends with this:




Back in the real world, Obama is married to a black woman. He goes to a black church. He's worked with poor people on the South Side of Chicago, and still lives there. That someone given the escape valve of biraciality would choose to be black, would see some beauty in his darker self and still care more about health care and public education than reparations and Confederate flags is just too much for many small-minded racists, both black and white, to comprehend.



Barack Obama's real problem isn't that he's too white - it's that he's too black.




That was published over a year ago, and I haven't seen any evidence since then of him being identified as "White" by any mainstream media. In fact, his Black wife and his Black church have caused problems for his campaign, and his only well-known connection with "poor people on the South Side of Chicago" has been through his association with Tony Rezko, a White slumlord/political contributor.



I'm still waiting to hear Obama show some pride in his Kansan heritage, unless he's ashamed of it. He is as much a Kansan as a Kenyan, though he never lived in either place. To put it in ethnic terrms, he is as White as he is Black, and I don't think it's fair to call him "the Black candidate." As usual, I'm swimming against the tide of public perception.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"CLIENT NINE" MUST RESIGN: WHY SPITZER MUST GO


I know it may sound redundant by now, but apparently some people still need to hear, yet again, why Gov. Spitzer must resign. On Monday, he was identified as "client #9" in a federal criminal prosecution of an international prostitution ring. The news has rocked NY State, and shocked the national "body politic." This is still a "breaking" story on Wednesday, because Spitzer still hasn't resigned, after giving a half-minute statement on Monday afternoon. While apologizing to his family, and the public, he also called it "a private matter," and promised to "report back" soon.



Since then, he has retained high-profile legal counsel, and been "incommunicado." The classic "circle the wagons" move, with "sources" leaking both that he will resign, or may try to stay. This blog has commented repeatedly on Spitzer, and his many previous scandals. The current delay is caused by his lawyers' negotiating an "exit strategy" with federal prosecutors, I suspect.



In an ironic twist, Spitzer may have brought the "heat" down onto the prostitution ring, and not vice-versa, as some suggest. Gov. Spitzer was no mere "client" caught in a prostitution bust (something that too many people sympathize with). According to the NY Post:




"the IRS began probing a commercial bank account with suspicious transactions, and turned their findings over to the FBI's public integrity unit, sources told The Post



The feds soon realized the account was in effect a private slush fund operated by Spitzer. He wired multiple payments of thousands at a time to shell companies controlled by Emperors Club, sources said."




So the feds were investigating Spitzer's "slush fund," which alerted them to the prostitution ring. Even as Governor, he's been helping do his old job (Att'y Gen.), in a perverse way. Seriously, though, that's reason one among many that Spitzer has to go.



Some will see this as a "right-wing" attack against a Democratic governor. Some will cite the exclusive use of my hometown paper, The NY Post, as a news and opinion source, as proof of that bias. I will refute that with my own words, from LEAVWORLD: GRAFFITI POLITTI. This excerpt is from Feb. 14th, '07:




I'm not switching back to being a Democrat, but I'll support Gov. Spitzer against the Senate Republicans, as long as he's also going against the Assembly Democrats. The place is a rat's nest, but the fault is in the laws, and perhaps the state constitution. Spitzer must change the leadership in the Legislature before any reform will be passed by that body.





My worst fears are that Spitzer is just doing this so that he can have more control, which is not an unreasonable assumption, given Republicans' experience with Pataki. They all come in on a bright white horse, claiming to cut taxes, or clean up Albany, in Spitzer's case. It took Pataki two years to cave to the corrupt power structure of Albany (health care workers' and Teachers' unions, as well as a huge lawyers' lobby, among others).





Spitzer's fight with Silver and Bruno is just a precursor to the bigger battles he must wage, if he really intends to "change everything" in New York State. I like him so far, but will watch for signs of a Pataki-type cave-in to the "status quo" bureaucracy. I haven't been as excited about a Democrat since I was one, though. If he does the right thing, and makes a dent in the bureaucratic corruption, he will earn my support for re-election.




I gave him a fair shot at winning my support for his promised "reform" of Albany. Unfortunately, my worst fears were confirmed in July '07, when the "dirty tricks" scandal broke. He moved against Joe Bruno, the Senate Majority Leader, with a fumbled attempt to use the State Police to "document" his movements, to prove misuse of state aircraft for political purposes. Bruno was absolved of wrongdoing, and it blew up in Spitzer's face, and was still being investigated when this new scandal broke.



I knew he was in it for the power, and the power trip, after that. It reminds me of another, more prominent NY politician...but I digress. Gov. Spitzer has confirmed all of the worst fears that both friends and foes have had about him, over the years. In honor of his long career of mis- and malfeasance, I'll cite two excerpts from the Tuesday's NY Post. Frederic U. Dicker's INSIDE ALBANY column, and the Post's OP-ED piece from Tuesday, "NY's Naked Emperor." I have found their reporting, and commentary, to be much closer to the truth than most local, or national media outlets'. Please read both articles in full; they're worth it:




INSIDE ALBANY Frederic U. Dicker



March 11, 2008 -- ALBANY - A disgraced Gov. Spitzer has been publicly and privately de scribed for more than a year by New York's top political figures as a ruth less, sanctimonious, amoral man whose righteous public persona was regularly contradicted by the realities of how he conducted his political life.



Talk about confirmation!



Whether it was Spitzer's involvement in the Dirty Tricks and Internal Revenue scandals that targeted Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, his threats against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and other Assembly Democrats, his undermining through rumor and innuendo of Lt. Gov. David Paterson, or his seemingly paranoid hostilities to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Spitzer's style struck many as so far out of line with his public claims of righteousness that many started using the jargon of abnormal psychology to describe him.



NY'S NAKED EMPEROR



So much for cleaning up Albany.



Yes, Spitzer has been convicted of nothing. But the level of specificity in the complaint is such that, as a practical matter, he can't possibly remain in office.



And that would be so even if he weren't carrying so much extra baggage.



Such as:



* The Dirty Tricks scandal, which saw top Spitzer aides sending the State Police to spy on Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Spitzer's precise complicity in the abuse of power remains unknown.



* His uncontrollable temper, best exemplified by his now-famous "I'm a [expletive] steamroller, and I will destroy you" tirade to Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco, not long before reportedly referring to Bruno, in the wake of the Dirty Tricks scandal, as "an old, senile piece of sh--."



* His overt hypocrisy, like the encouragement of political donors looking to subvert the strict gift limits he so publicly set for himself.




"CLIENT NINE" MUST RESIGN. "Circling the wagons" only delays the inevitable. Just ask Alan Hevesi. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: Senate Republicans are promising impeachment proceedings on Thursday. I guess I have to start doing "Spitzer Updates" again.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

El Loco's "Promised Land"


When Hugo Chavez recently called Columbia "the new Israel," my lovely Anna wondered what made it the new "promised land," interpreting it biblically. I had to explain to her that Chavez was speaking in geopolitical terms, referring to how Israel is treated by the "tyrant's club" we politely call the United Nations, as well as many other "multi-national" groups.



Read Rich Lowry's latest column,The Israel of Latin America, for an in-depth analysis of the situation Here's an excerpt:




Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reached for what he considered the ultimate insult when he called Colombia "the new Israel." If by that he means a country better governed than its immediate neighbors, that dares to protect itself against terrorists across its border despite getting bludgeoned for it by the international left - he had a point...



...Colombia is the Israel of Latin America - a moniker to be proud of.




My quick take is that there may likely be a war. If not an international war, then a civil war in one or more of the nations involved. Chavez has been trying to provoke war with the US, or at least telling anyone who is listening that we are going to invade Venezuela. He has the money, and the arms to start a regional "communist" revolution, and, unlike Castro, his country is not an island. He has willing neighboring nations that will "team up" with him against Columbia. Hence, his comparison to the nations surrounding Israel. What both situations have in common is a hatred of the US, and our support for anti-terrorism operations by both of these nations (Israel and Columbia).



PS: Remember that the Dems love Daniel Ortega, who just came back into power in Nicaragua. He's part of Chavez' "alliance" against the US, and Columbia. If you don't know who he is, here's a synopsis of "Iran-Contra." The profits from selling weapons to Iran were funneled into overthrowing Ortega in the '80's, by covertly funding the Contras (The Dem congress outlawed any support for them). The weapons deal with Iran was made in order to free American hostages held by Hezbollah. The profits were a fringe benefit, and put to good use, IMHO. -and now, Danny's back, and Chavez is also allied with Iran! I'm worried, folks.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Will Clinton Vs. Obama Be Worse Than Gore Vs. Bush?


Just a rant, for consideration:



Gore Vs. Bush was a traumatic event for the Democrats, mainly because they lost. It was also traumatic for the country as a whole, and very damaging. Let's review a little history. Nixon decided to not challenge Kennedy's "disputed" win in 1960, for the "good of the country." In 1968, there were riots at the Democratic convention over a "back room" deal to nominate Hubert Humphrey. In 2000, Gore decided to challenge Bush's "disputed" win, and brought the legal system fully into presidential politics.What will happen at the Democratic convention in 2008? Will the lawyers devour the the party nomination process, and will protests occur at the courthouse, as well as at the convention?



According to many pundits, Hillary has to show the class that Al Gore lacked in 2000, if she wants to save her party. Will she "blow up" the party, rather than losing gracefully? How much damage can she do, if she feels scorned? This will be an interesting primary battle, rivaling Gore Vs. Bush in media coverage, if not surpassing it. One difference between Gore v Bush, and a potential Clinton v Obama lawsuit is that, as a party nomination, it will not affect the operation of government in any immediate way, and so can be reported on more fully. Another reason this Democrat primary will get more coverage than many general elections is that it's between a White woman and a Black man, which has a separate historical contextual signifigance. Most of these contests in recent history have been between two "white guys," after all.



Clinton v Obama could be the court drama of the summer of '08, leading up to a contentious convention. Of course, this is all hypothetical, at this point. Whether it comes to pass or not, expect me to elaborate on these ideas, until the Dems have picked a nominee for president. The Democratic party is going to reap what they've sown, with their own policies of suing over "racial" and "gender" identity coming back to bite them in the ass, politically.

New Tort State II: Doctors Descend on Albany


When the doctors are taking buses to Albany to protest, you know something is up with health care in New York. It's hard for some to have sympathy for "rich" people, including doctors. Looking at the numbers involved, though, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that the government is both promoting lawsuits against doctors (see part I: link), and then screwing them with astronomical insurance rates begat by those same lawsuits.



Here are a couple of excerpts (link):




Hundreds of the protesting physicians from the five boroughs and Long Island hopped on an organized fleet of buses before dawn to make the upstate trek to lobby lawmakers poised to release a task-force report on the issues...



..."It was an historic day - there were 2,010 doctors . . . extremely galvanized for change," said Rick Abrams, executive director of the Medical Society of the State of New York, which spearheaded the rally.



Decrying what he called the "terribly, terribly unequal playing field" on which doctors are forced to compete against "behemoth insurance companies," Abrams said there were seven buses stuffed with Manhattan physicians alone to make the journey...



...The doctors' gripes included out-of-control malpractice suits and exorbitant malpractice insurance, which for obstetricians alone has risen about 70 percent - or to between $125,000 and $250,000 a year - in the past three years, organizers said.There also is the issue of the litigation system, Abrams said.



"The problem with the current system is that it's imprecise, it's just not predictable," he said.




"Not predictable," indeed. It looks like another case of New Tort State "killing the golden goose," with repurcussions on the poorest among us much worse than it's hurting the "rich" doctors it's apparently supposed to target. My sympathies are with the doctors and the poorest among us; my beef is with the corrupt NYS pols who set up this "squeeze play," regardless of party.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

NEW TORT STATE: Silver & Luxenberg


Gov. Spitzer takes a back seat to NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, when it comes to brazenly corrupt politics!



Since 2002, NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been "of counsel" to the biggest ambulance-chasers in NYS: a firm called Weitz & Luxenberg. This firm is at the forefront of contributing to the NYS Democrats, who are blocking much-needed "tort reform." As if to "spit in the face" of reformers, Silver appointed his boss to a state position, as reported in the NY Post (link):




Silver and Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D) last month tapped Arthur Luxenberg as their appointment to the 13-member committee that recommends to the governor candidates for the Appellate Division, Court of Claims and State Supreme Court in the city's district.




it continues...




One lawyer with knowledge of the appointment noted that Luxenberg, whose firm's Web site boasts of "more million-dollar verdicts than most firms in the country," will now have a say in selecting appellate-court judges who will decide whether to uphold or lower such awards.




"Tort reform" is code for the problems in many areas of public policy, especially health care and education. The choice of Mr. Luxenberg is an obvious conflict of interest between the state, and lawyers who routinely sue the state. Speaker Silver should be noted for his ties to the health care and teachers unions, as well. The Post article continues about Siver's past conflicts of interest:




In 2006, The Post reported that Weitz & Luxenberg was shopping for clients who were injured at state-run parks, even though Silver, as Assembly speaker, has a role in overseeing the management of the parks as well as setting budgets for them.



The firm removed the solicitation from its Web site soon after.




See Speaker Silver's pathetic rebuttal (link):




Asked if his firm would gain from the appointment, Silver responded: "Absolutely not. The reverse is true. It takes his time to do the functions properly, and I wanted someone who I had confidence would do the necessary background work when they do the screenings."




Oh, PUH-LEEZE...



I'm in agreement with the NY Post editorial take on Silver, excerpted here (link):




March 1, 2008 -- Albany's King of Torts is at it again.



Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has long had a sweetheart part-time gig - exact duties, salary and clients (if any) undisclosed - with one of New York's largest trial-law firms, Weitz & Luxenberg.



Maybe Weitz doesn't exactly chase ambulances these days - but it sure follows them down the street pretty closely.



And now, at a time when tort-law abuse is putting appalling financial pressure on commerce and government alike in New York, along comes Silver to make matters worse.



Actually, you might think it couldn't possibly get any worse than having Silver use his role as top dog in the Assembly to deep-six any legislation carrying even a marginal possibility of reining in New York's voracious tort bar.



But you'd be wrong.



As The Post's Ken Lovett revealed yesterday, Silver - with the acquiescence of Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith - picked a founder of his law firm, Arthur Luxenberg, to serve on a 13-member judicial-screening commission.



The panel recommends judicial candidates for three venues - the Appellate Division, Court of Claims and State Supreme Court.



Silver, no surprise, sees no problem.



"There is no conflict at all. I have designated one to a 13-member board, all of whom should be familiar with the judicial system in this state," he told The Post.



With a straight face.



He added: "We want people who know how judges are supposed to conduct themselves, how judges are qualified and I have found a very qualified attorney to do yeoman's work on behalf of the state, without compensation, I might add. This is totally voluntary."



Right.



Given that the firm boasts that it reaps "more million-dollar verdicts than most firms in the country," Luxenberg will hardly starve while "volunteering."



Yes, there's a conflict: Luxenberg can now help select the appellate-court judges who'll review those million-dollar verdicts.



Silver has picked a man who can help appoint judges who may help Weitz & Luxenberg's - and, indirectly - Shelly Silver's bottom line.



No conflict?



Silver and Luxenberg get to influence the system to an even greater degree than they have to date via Silver's strangling tort reform all by himself.



What's worse: The conflict? Or Silver's refusal to admit it?



Or, perhaps most egregious, the possibility that Silver's conflicts of interest have become so ingrained that he truly doesn't even see them?



In the end, it doesn't make any difference. Silver's arrogance is exceeded only by his contempt for the rule of law.



And, of course, by the tort bar's appalling greed.




Assembly Speaker Silver is working with Gov. Spitzer to take the NYS Senate majority away from the Republicans. In fact, they just won a special senate election in a county on the Canadian border, cutting the GOP Senate majority to one. As bad as the NYS GOP is, things will be much worse if a Democrat Senate Majority Leader comes into office indebted to Silver and Spitzer.



NYS is already a cesspool of political corruption. I fully expect the NYS Dems to consolidate their hold on the reins of power in this fall's elections. The GOP has no leader who can oppose the institutional corruption in the state; Sen. Majority Leader Joe Bruno never was that guy, and his resovoir of sympathy over the Spitzer "spygate" scandal is running dry.



I don't see any light at the end of this tunnel. Let's hope I'm wrong.