Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 21, 2014
Two of The View’s host, Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell, had a telling debate concerning race and racism during a show last week. Goldberg expressed the reasonable position that sometimes actions are taken due to a lack of intelligence, not racially motivated, stating “dumb folks who just say dumb stuff because they’re not looking or paying attention to the person they’re talking to.” She was referring to comments made last week by the President and his wife that at times they were treated like common workers, instead of the President and First Lady, inferring that race was a reason.
Rosie would have none of Whoopi’s logic, inferring that race is always the cause of such behavior. That led to Whoopi claiming that Rosie’s skin color precluded here from truly understanding racism to which Rosie angrily retorted that her related skills were honed by her sexual proclivities and the fact that she adopted a black child.
The Video below is evidence that the Left’s use of race baiting against its political and philosophical appointments is spreading to even some of its allies. Sure getting ugly out there. Once the issue of race is raised, open and intellectual discussion is typically the victim.
Posted in Racism | Tagged: debate, Goldberg, O'Donnell, Race, Racism, View | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 18, 2014
People magazine is publishing an article “The Obamas: How We Deal with Our Own Racist Experiences” after interviewing the First Couple. The title appropriately defines the article’s subject matter with the President and his wife sharing the personal experiences concerning race issues.
One incident shared by Michelle Obama was:
“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.”
The intent of the First Lady’s remarks is pretty evident; because of her skin color she wasn’t being seen as the First Lady, but instead a low level store clerk. However, this story completes with Mrs. Obama’s explanation of the Target trip she made on the David Letterman show in 2012 (video below) when the first lady said:
“No one knew that was me. Because a woman actually walked up to me, right? I was in the detergent aisle, and she said — I kid you not — she said, ‘Excuse me, I just have to ask you something.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, cover’s blown.’ She said, ‘Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?’ I kid you not. And the only thing she said — I reached up, because she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down. She said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.’ That was my interaction. I felt so good.”
The different versions of the story shared by the First Lady are not reconcilable with at least one being incorrect. This type of lack of transparency and honesty from the First Couple denigrates the office and increases Americans’ distrust of government in general, which was already very low prior to the Obama’s entering the White House.
It is unquestionable that many people of color face racism as a minority in America. At the same time this problem is miniscule compared what it was to just the few decades ago. There is not better proof than the fact an African American was elected as president. The subject of race remains an important, but is best served by honest discussions.
The Left’s continued use of race-baiting is merely, although tragically, a part of their calculus to gin up their political base. Society was less kind to such tactics when not too long ago in America’s past the Right used this issue in a different context to gin up its base. The Right was appropriately castigated for that tactic and it is now time to similarly address the Left’s intolerance.
Posted in Racism | Tagged: letterman, Michelle, Obama, Race, target | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 14, 2014
Followers of the diplomatic doubletalk from Europe concerning the Israeli-Palestinian matter is aware of the double standard Israel is often held to. Any attempt by Israeli at self-defense that results in casualties on the other side is made a world pressing problem, not only by Europe, but also in the United Nations. Any Israeli policy that could be detrimental to Palestinian interests receives similar treatment. However, when it comes to the damage Palestinians inflict on their own people, or the carnage that Arabs inflict on fellow Arabs, there is rarely international outcry.
When the issue of the standard towards Israel is raised, it is often trivialized by Progressive diplomats and the mainstream media. However, recently in a rare show of frankness, the Danish Ambassador to Israel, Jesper Vahr, came out and admitted to the double standard saying:
“Those are not the standards that you are being judged by. It is not the standards that Israel would want to be judged by. So I think you have the right to insist that we apply double standards and put you to the same standards as all the rest of the countries in the European context.”
Vahr’s admission is both remarkable and scary. On the one hand it is condescending to the Palestinians and the greater Arab population insinuating that they are not capable of the “European standards”. It also reeks of anti-Semitism for which Europe has a sordid history.
During the roundtable discussion where made his remarkable comments, Jerusalem Post editor Caroline Glick ripped into the Ambassador, as included in the video below. Glick’s comments included: “Isn’t it kind of patronizing to the Palestinians to say that, ‘We hold Israel to a higher standard than we hold you’?”, to which Vahr incredibly responded: “I am not sure it is”. Glick then took Vahr to the woodshed saying:
“I think that this patronizing attitude towards us that we should be happy that you have a separate standard for Israel is really, I’m sorry, a statement of contempt for our intelligence. I consider it to be an obsession. I consider Europe’s keen interest in the Middle East, specifically Israel, to be an obsession, and it’s an obsession that Jews have seen from Europeans from the time of Jesus. ‘We have this whole common culture,’ I mean, really? We respect international law. You guys make it up.” She then goes on to cite examples.
Unfortunately the double standard towards Israel does not end in Europe. The US State Department and current American President pursue this same Progressive agenda. The failure of this agenda and its related policies are significant reasons behind the current mess in the Middle East and the deplorable plight of many Palestinians and the greater Arab population. But reality does not deter Progressives who when confronted with their failed policies, often merely double down on the bad bets.
Posted in Anti-Semitism, Israel | Tagged: Ambassador, Danish, double-standard, Glick, Israel, Palestine, Palestinian, Vahr | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 12, 2014
Senator Tom Coburn, Republican from Oklahoma, is doing what few professional politicians do today; retiring after a mere 20 years in Congress. Few politicians are willing to leave the perks of office that comes with being a member of Congress.
Those that know Coburn’s record are not entirely surprised he would retire while on top of his game. He is been a staunch opponent of government overspending and pork, irrespective of the constituents that benefit from the spending.
Coburn’s departing speech, video below, to Senators was not only emotional, but also a jab at the key problem of the government. After reciting the oath of office that all congressmen swear to, Coburn chastises his fellow senators saying:
“Your state is not mentioned one time in that oath. Your whole goal is to protect the Constitution and its liberties. It’s not to provide benefits for your state. That’s where we differ. That’s where the conflict with my colleagues has come.”
While Coburn’s comments are on point, it is unrealistic to expect politicians to act honorably. Most either enter office because of the privileges it offers, or become corrupted by the power once arriving in Washington. There are two simple items required to constrain inappropriate spending by Washington politicians: 1) term limits, and just as important, 2) a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. As long as politicians have the ability to print money they will continue bringing to their constituents the bacon to the detriment of the Country’s interest.
Posted in Constitution | Tagged: Coburn, Constitution, Pork, Retire, Senate, Speech | 1 Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 9, 2014
Academia is supposed to be a place where ideas can be debated and studied openly so that open minds can come to informed conclusions. Unfortunately, in many colleges today that is not the case. Instead, Leftist professors use positions of power to intimidate and indoctrinate those they are supposed to teach in order to pursue their own political agendas. While this has been going on for decades, today’s inexpensive video recording technology has exposed this travesty.
Dr. Blake Armstrong of South Texas College, Weslaco, Texas, is a psychology professor who was recently caught red-handed pursuing his Leftist agenda. Knowing that his remarks were political and not educational, Armstrong asked students not to “tell anybody” about his so-called lecture. However, one student flipped on a video phone camera saving the professor’s inappropriate lecture for cyberspace, as posted below. Armstrong’s Tea Party bashing comments included:
“In 1931, which was really interesting, the Nazis — people were kind of tired of them. They’ve been around since 1920, 11 years now. They’ve won seats — they’re like the tea party! That’s such a good example,” and “but in the sense of how they politically came to power, there’s a good analogy there. That eventually people realized, ‘Oh, these Nazis are a bunch of nuts,’ ‘These tea party people are a bunch of nuts.’ I mean, the analogy really is a good analogy.”
It is fair to disagree with the Tea Party’s Libertarian views as well as its strict interpretation of the Constitution. However, to compare them to Nazis is not meant to spur intellectual discussion, but rather demonize some Americans in an effort to thwart legitimate debate. This is all too often the goal of liberal academia.
Many industries are today being revolutionized and made less expensive for consumers through new technologies. The higher education industry has so far avoided this mainly due to governmental interference whose manipulation of student debt (loans) has allowed the inefficiencies to continue. This is why cost of higher education increase has outstripped inflation for decades. It has resulted in the current aggregate student debt exceeding $1 trillion, an amount greater than all consumer credit card debt. This unsustainable economic path will soon be a controlling factor for Progressive educators, such as Blake Armstrong. Students will start demanding real education that betters their lives, rather than accepting police indoctrination. However, since Dr. Armstrong likely never took Econ 101, he is oblivious to the unstoppable forces of supply and demand that will ultimately act to curtail lame educators such as he.
Posted in Education | Tagged: academics, Armstrong, Liberals, Nazi, South Texas College, Tea Party, Texas, Weslaco | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 7, 2014
There have been two grand jury decisions in recent weeks that have torn at the fabric of American society. While both involve African American males killed by police officers, they involve very different circumstances.
In Ferguson, Missouri, Officer Darren Wilson was acquitted by a grand jury of any criminal wrongdoing in the death of Michael Brown. The evidence made public confirms that Brown was involved in a robbery at a convenience store a few minutes before he was shot. It also shows that Brown attacked Wilson while the policeman was in his squad car and attempted to take the officer’s gun. Finally, African-American witnesses testified that Brown charged Wilson as he was being shot.
Given the evidence, the grand jury had no choice but to find Wilson innocent. However, the reaction of many protestors, rioters, and the mainstream media avoids the facts and instead created the inflammatory rally cry; “hands up, don’t shoot,” meant to promote the false narrative that a white cop maliciously shot an unarmed black man that was attempting to give himself up. The results have been tragic with businesses and property in Ferguson being destroyed and race-relations deteriorating to historic lows in the country.
Shortly after the Darren Wilson decision, a gran jury in in New York decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choking death of Eric Garner. In this incident, Garner was confronted by the police for selling single cigarettes on a New York City street for $1 each. This is a substantial discount from cigarettes purchased within the City that include its huge sin tax. By purchasing cigarettes outside the City, Garner was able to bring a bit of capitalistic spirit to the benefit of himself and purchasers. However, the loser would be the City who stood to loose tax revenues.
While this Blog has difficult finding empathy for those who find wrongdoing in the Michael Brown incident, we are troubled by the events that lead to the death of Eric Garner. Garner was involved with a victimless crime. The police were and are inappropriately tasked with addressing a matter whose only beneficiary is the local and State taxing authorities. Had they not been given this questionable charge, Michael Brown would be alive today.
Society is quick to find racism as the cause when a victim is a person of color. In the Michael Brown incident the facts do not back this narrative and those that promote it either refuse to review the evidence or have more nefarious agendas.
The Eric Garner matter is more complex. Clearly the victim was black and just as clear the police over reacted. However, given that the sergeant in charge at the scene was a black officer, it is hard to make this about race. Still, there is ugliness here that a victimless action that shouldn’t have been a crime was made criminal and that resulted in Garner’s tragic and uncalled for death. Not only should our law enforcement have other priorities, but this tragedy shows the danger of the creping power grab taken at all levels of the government. The Progressives that are so quick to blame the police fear this broader and necessary discussion.
Posted in Racism | Tagged: African-American, Black, Brown, Cigarettes, Death, Garner, Grand Jury, Police, Tax | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 3, 2014
Milton Friedman once said “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” Friedman’s quip was not far from reality.
Alex Pollock recently posted an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “A Federal Guarantee Is Sure to Go Broke” in which he outlines yet another example of a mismanaged government program that will ultimately cost taxpayers billions. This relates to the near insolvent finances of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC). This organization created in 1974 is a private corporation, but with the implied backing US government. Its goal is to protect pensioners from the failure of private pension funds that pay them. However, it is but another Ponzi scheme that will ultimately need a governmental bailout meaning that some taxpayers will lose and others will win.
According to economist Pollock:
- The PBGC insurance fund has a negative worth of $62 billion for 2014, up from a deficit of $36 billion the year before.
- The PBGC’s total assets are $90 billion with total liabilities of $152 billion. A company disconnected from the government with such a ratio would be shut down.
The government has demonstrated that when these quasi-governmental corporations become insolvent, taxpayers end up bailing them out. History includes the bailout of Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. costing taxpayers $150 billion in the late 1980s. More recently it was the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacles that cost taxpayers billions.
One piece of evidence that the PBGC program is a Ponzi scheme is the corporation’s misleading statements to the public. PBGC’s annual report states: “the U.S. Government is not liable for any obligation or liability incurred by PBGC.” Its website further states: “PBGC receives no taxpayer dollars and never has.” Those statements are just not credible.
The type of pension plans guaranteed by the PBGC are high risk since they guarantee returns based on assumptions that are little better than guesswork. In addition, increasingly frequent and larger governmental interventions have made such plans irresponsible from a financial standpoint. Governmental interventions into the economy significantly affect the return rates of these pension plans. Guaranteeing such plans would not be possible without governmental tacit promises.
Was the PBGC created merely out of bad business judgment or as a plan to reward certain taxpayers (mainly union workers) at the expense of others? This type of discussion is never held when governmental programs fail. Instead, those that created the programs have long since departed with huge pension supplied by the government. In addition to this slap in the face, taxpayers of forced to pay the damage through bailouts.
Posted in Ponzi Scheme | Tagged: Bailouts, PBGC, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp, Pensions, Ponzi, Taxpayers | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 2, 2014
Charles Barkley is a Hall of Fame basketball star. He is also a television analyst and an African-American who is not afraid to speak his mind. During a recent radio interview, audio posted below, Sir Charles spoke out concerning the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and the related happenings since. His comments include:
“…. no excuse for people to be out there burning down people’s businesses, burning down police cars.”
“…. it wasn’t for the cops we would be living in the Wild, Wild West in our neighborhoods.”
“Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn’t for the cops?”
Concerning the media’s failure to report on “good, hardworking black people,” but covers “negative black people.”
Charles Barkley is certainly a well-respected African-American. Unlike the Rev. Al Sharpton, Barkley was not invited to the White House this week to discuss race relations in America. The message that Barkley would share does not fit with Obama’s narrative on race in the Untied States and this President does not tolerate dissent. His approach has been detrimental to race relations in this country that have deteriorated during Obama’s presidency. That is perhaps the greatest tragedy of his failed presidency.
Posted in Racism | Tagged: Barkley, Ferguson, Race, race-relations, radio, Riot | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 1, 2014
Often the narrative created by some on the Left and the mainstream media is that the debate on the Ferguson tragedy that began with the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer is only a racial issue. This narrative insinuates that white Americans view the events through one lens, with black Americans in other. This is a false narrative. There are many white Americans who believe that Michael Brown was racially profiled and conversely African-Americans who are more focused on crime and criminal behavior within their communities.
This past Sunday CNN held a conversation with two African-Americans on its “Reliable Sources” concerning Ferguson. Presenting one side of the argument was left-leaning Elon James White of “This Week in Blackness.” On the other was right-leaning Crystal Wright of Conservative Black Chick. Irrespective of one’s position on Ferguson and race relations, the conversation between White and Wright is the type required to have a truly open discussion on the complex issue of race in America.
Posted in Racism | Tagged: African-American, CNN, Ferguson, Race, White, Wright | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 28, 2014
This week Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery for a coronary blockage. This was not the Justice’s first bout of serious health issues. In 1999 Ginsberg had surgery for colon cancer. Ten years later in 2009 she had surgery for pancreatic cancer.
This Blog wishes Ms. Ginsberg a speedy recovery. At the same time it is hard to imagine that the 81-year-old Justice can effectively carry out her duties. Giving her advanced age and in health issues, both her physical and mental prowess must be diminished.
Many politicians and public servants enter the field to serve the People. At the same time too many seem to believe that once elected or appointed that they have the right to the job for life, irrespective of their capabilities.
Serving in government should be what it was once was considered, public service. That was the philosophy envisioned by Founding Fathers. The many who stay too long and make this a lifestyle demonstrate that is no longer is a public service, but has instead become a career path. This has lead to the creation of an elitist ruling class whose focus is often on power or personal enrichment instead of service.
Posted in Supreme Court | Tagged: Blockage, Ginsberg, Supreme Court, Surgery | Leave a Comment »