Thursday, October 31, 2013

Not All Jokes Are a Laughing Matter

Not All Jokes Are a Laughing Matter

"A school is expecting the surprise visit of the Supervisor. The kids practice for the event. Maurice is called upon. (“Móricka”/Little Maurice/ is a perennial figure in a category of jokes. The character is a smart Jewish kid whose logical critique, wrapped in innocence, demolishes the lies of the mighty.) “Maurice, what is a tragedy? – A tragedy is if my bunny dies. – That is not right, son. This is not a tragedy but something bad. A tragedy is if Comrade Kádár (the country’s dictator) dies.” Next day, the Supervisor poses the anticipated question “who can tell me what a tragedy is”? Maurice eagerly volunteers, “If comrade Kádár dies that is a tragedy but it is not bad. Bad is if my bunny dies in its cage.” " 

Societies can be overloaded as much as boats can.

The Right of Migration

When obvious remedies are difficult to implement.
The more crucial a subject, the more myths will shroud it. Pretentions, lies, and mindless conventions make it difficult to discuss such matters sensibly. Even more difficult is to avoid curses for crossing an arbitrarily red line that the sanctimonious exploit. The “refugee” crisis in the Mediterranean is such a taboo subject. Unless, of course, that one says what is “proper”, in which case, the pre-programmed answers make it superfluous to address the matter.
A subject that the wise avoid concerns the Mediterranean as a zone of death. The area owes its name to Africans that chase chimeras and to their morally castrated Arab exploiters that provide passage on vessels that are more likely to sink than to sail. Let us repeat the salient fats of the shocker that writes headlines.
One more overloaded boat that carried migrants capsized in the Med. This is no accident as the condition of the vessel made this outcome more likely than its safe arrival at its destination. Hundreds of bodies were recovered while the few survivors joined the refugee population of overcrowded Lampedusa. Lampedusa is an Italian island that is closer to North Africa than it is to Italy.
In the past decade about 20 000 people have died during the crossing. Since the newest case broke, new tragedies occurred. With that, the matter is on the agenda of a Europe while concerns regarding illegal migration continue to grow.
Besides headlines, the man-made tragedy demands solutions. Reflecting the temper of our time, certain circles like to label the crisis as the “shame of Europe”. Starting from there, the suggestions discuss how more “refugee” deaths are to be avoided. These generally involve ways to make the passage safer. That is to be followed by the quick transfer of arrivals to the European mainland and their placement there.
While this sounds as a humanitarian response to a need, the suggested measures and the assumptions behind them are problematic.
To begin, we need to admit that –with the partial exception of the Syrians- we are dealing with a misnomer. Most of those that try to enter “Europe” are not persecuted refugees. At least not in a way that fits the world-war provoked term which led to a right to refuge. The majority of those that wish to settle in Europe - or in other comparable locations- do not flee political persecution. If they would be genuine refugees, the number of the escapees would be much lower. Hard dictatorships close their borders -think of the “Iron Curtain”- to intimidate the discontented. Actually, numerous countries encourage departures while they refuse to readmit citizens that are rejected by their chosen hosts and that thereafter attempt repatriation.
Convincing motives are discernible behind the migration. However, these reasons are economic, meaning that no moral or legal obligation exists to accept such applicants. Immigration control does not contradict human rights; there is no ethical need to suspend sovereignty to allow settlement according to demand.
Complicating factors can be added. Europe’s recent experience with alleged refugees is negative. The problems begin with the lies made to gain admission. People that had identifications to board a plane claim upon arrival to lack papers and then assume the fictitious nationality of an “unsafe country” to demand asylum as a right. The lacking IDs hinder repatriation. With disturbing frequency, the alleged victim becomes a warden of the host state that houses and feeds him and allots pocket money. Illegal entry is often followed by a life of crime. Apprehended culprits enjoy virtual immunity as they cannot be expelled or fined. After perfunctory warnings, to avoid “racism”, they are soon released. If incarcerated, the time served is used to demand residency status as the claimant got “used” to his milieu. Except for the Left and the PC privileged, people know this. The rise of parties of outrage and the isolation of the political class, as elections in France and Austria show, is a consequence.
Mass incursion under the cover of protection from persecution brings obstacles beyond criminality. One: solving the failures of development and the gap to the advanced world cannot be overcome by admitting all those that wish to escape home-grown poverty. Take in a thousand? Easy. Accept ten thousand? Hardly a problem. Let in a hundred thousand? Makeable. How about a million or ten? The reserves are multiples of these figures. An unwelcome question:  Once all from there are here, where are those that are now here to go? Second, those induced to migrate by the promise of an easy life – immigration into the state of welfare- are more than a numerical problem. The masses whose advance is checking in, are for several reasons not integrable in the system of their choice. Africa’s problems cannot be solved through its inclusion into Europe. Transferring the problem will not modernize Africa, as it will only set back the host.
Let us beginning with the receiving societies. Wanted are at their stage of development well trained individuals. That means a trade or college degrees. These are to be in practical subjects achieved at a level that conforms to global standards. A BA in Koran Studies might be nice but it is useless in a modern environment.
The migrating masses lack more than usable training, they are also devoid of the attitudes that made historic migrations, which brought people from backward areas into developed economies, successful. One value is that even physical work, is honorable. Values that stress individual responsibility and an understanding of why the host society is successful need to be coupled to the acceptance of those norms. Entrants that regard “luck” or “exploitation” as determinants are positioned to fail. Verbal skills to demand allotments through the redistribution of society’s existing wealth might benefit a few but will not feed masses. Besides, those that get gifts tend to think that they got too little. Some of today’s migrations react to their failure to gain acceptance on their own terms, with hostility to their host country. In this, the religious tradition imported in the luggage can act as a catalyst. The “radicalized” globally active extremists that are residents or formally citizens of advanced countries illustrate the point.
When we look beyond the headlines the hard facts of limitations leave us with a “what can be done?” and some limited alternatives. Humanism and the need to defuse a trend that is becoming a second “migration of peoples” demand action in ways that implement its good intentions. This means that action must be taken locally, that is “over there”. Genuine refugees, such as those from Syria, must be given temporary shelter in their region, among their brothers in language and religion. Upon the conclusion of the conflict, the displaced will be able to return and to rebuild their homeland.
More complex is the problem of the accelerating migration that leaves Africa. Ill prepared and misled regarding what to expect, the mass in motion cannot be accommodated outside of its own continent. The remedy is to create conditions in Africa that gives people hope and that puts that region on the path of development. Some of those that plead the case like to talk about a “Marshall Plan”. The analogy is wrong and betrays ignorance. In post-war Europe, only the destroyed infrastructure of advanced economies had to be rebuilt. For that, money sufficed as the right kind of labor force –in terms of skills and values- was available. In the case of Africa, the main problem is the lack of the workforce that Europe had. It is easier to build a new industry than it is to hone the people to man its machines. This means that no amount of money thrown at the problem will produce the quick results that the hither policy of aid had tried to achieve.
Asia’s case demonstrates that the quick closing the developmental gap is possible and that the central question is not money but culture. This brings us to the crucial but solvable problem of upgrading Africa – and by implication also other bypassed spots.
Foreign aid has been remarkably ineffective in Africa. This is no surprise as not the economic base of the population’s wellbeing was funded but the elites of newly created countries were cuddled. To be effective, aid must be handled the way one would ones private investment. Funds, especially in the form of skills, should not be transferred on a government-to-government basis. They need to be directed directly to local projects constructed and run not from above but from below.
Obvious solutions can be difficult to implement. Accordingly, such a policy will elicit the hostility of the causers of backwardness and its beneficiaries. The rational stimulation along the path that merges organically into the modern world’s order is needed. Such a policy needs to be cognizant that facilitating that process will enrage the local ruling classes. These will loudly justify their resistance as a patriotic act to protect “sovereignty” and “independence”.

Toronto? Yikes

In a stunning announcement, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said Thursday that police have recovered a video allegedly showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking from what appears to be a crack pipe.
The existence of the video was first reported by the Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker in May.
Blair said a number of digital files were recovered after several computer hard drives were seized on June 13 in the course of so-called Project Traveller raids, which targeted guns, drugs and gang activity in the city’s west end.
On Tuesday, forensic teams were able to recover a deleted file that contained the video, Blair said.
He said the footage is "consistent with what has been described in the media," but would not detail what activities were depicted in the video.
Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, a friend of the mayor, has been charged with extortion in connection to the video, Blair said.
Police allege that Lisi, 35, made "extortive efforts to retrieve a recording.” He is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall at 9 a.m. Friday.
Blair added that evidence is still being reviewed and that further charges could be laid.
Earlier this month, Lisi was arrested on marijuana trafficking charges as part of the ongoing police investigation.
Blair said the recovered video does not support criminal charges against the mayor.
But he said he was “disappointed” after watching the footage himself.
"As a citizen of Toronto I'm disappointed," Blair said. "This is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of this city and that concerns me."
After yelling at reporters to get off his property in Etobicoke before Blair dropped the bombshell, Ford emerged outside his office Thursday afternoon to say he has “no reason” to resign.
“I wish I could come out and defend myself, unfortunately I can't because it's before the courts. That’s all I can say," he told reporters.
When the video allegations first surfaced in May, Ford said: “I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist."
One of two Toronto Star reporters who viewed the Ford video months ago, Robyn Doolittle, said her newsroom was elated when Blair made his announcement.
“It has been a long slog and we are thrilled,” she told CTV News Channel.
Before the police chief addressed the media Thursday, the Crown released more than 400 pages of a document used in the investigation that led to Sandro Lisi’s earlier arrest on Oct. 1.
That document reveals it was the and Toronto Star reports that sparked the investigation, code-named Project Brazen 2. It says police began an investigation within days and began surveillance on Lisi.
Police documented Lisi exchanging numerous phone calls with Ford, using four different numbers to reach him. For example, starting from Aug. 7, when police began tracking the phone numbers of calls to and from Lisi's cellphone, until Sept. 19, Ford and Lisi exchanged 349 phone calls.
On May 17, the day after allegations about the video surfaced, Lisi called Mohamed Siad, the man police believe was trying to sell the video to reporters.
Siad was arrested in June as part of the Project Traveller investigation.
Investigators also documented Lisi meeting with Ford, often in gas stations and abandoned parking lots, sometimes leaving behind packages in white plastic bags or manila envelopes.
In one incident on July 11, police followed Lisi to a west end gas station where Ford had just arrived. While Ford used the station's restroom, Lisi allegedly placed an envelope inside the mayor's Escalade. The two did not speak. The mayor then got back into his vehicle and drove away.
The police surveillance teams also report that Lisi engaged several times in "counter surveillance measures" as he drove, sometimes speeding to evade pursuit.
After police lost track of Lisi several times, they then began to track his movements using Toronto Police Service aircraft to follow him.
None of the allegations in the document have been tested or proven in court.
Toronto media lawyer Peter Jacobsen, who is representing several outlets including CTV News, said the massive document shows that “clearly, there was an investigation that (police) thought was worth doing.”
Jacobsen said the Crown released what was described “as the essential narrative related to Lisi.”
Jacobsen said he will also argue for the release of other documents which are not related to Lisi, but have been filed as part of the investigation. He said he’s hoping to get those released in the next couple of weeks.  
Jacobsen said it’s very unusual for police to file so much material in connection with a relatively minor drug charge.
--With files from Angela Mulholland

When you're an ideologue you can't be impartial


NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked a judge's ruling that found the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy discriminated against minorities, and it took the unusual step of removing her from the case, saying interviews she gave during the trial called her impartiality into question.
The city applauded the appeals court's decision. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who was shouted down over the tactic by students during a speech at Brown University this week, said he was grateful for it.
"This is indeed an important decision for all New Yorkers and for the men and women of the New York City police department who work very hard day in and day out to keep this city safe," he said.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ruling by U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin will be on hold pending the outcome of an appeal by the city. But it may be a nonissue after next week's mayoral election: Democrat Bill de Blasio, who's leading in polls, has said he would drop objections to the ruling, which calls for major changes to the police tactic.
The judge decided in August the city violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of blacks and Hispanics by disproportionally stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking them. She assigned a monitor to help the police department change its policy and training programs on the tactic.
The three-judge panel heard arguments Tuesday. Lawyers in the case said the police department hasn't had to do anything except meet with a monitor since the judge's decision, but the city said police officers are afraid to stop and frisk people now and the number of stop-and-frisks has dropped dramatically.
The appeals panel didn't change the deadline for the appeal and said it expected arguments in March, well after the new mayor takes office.
It said Scheindlin needed to be removed because she ran afoul of the code of conduct for U.S. judges by misapplying a ruling that allowed her to take the case and by giving media interviews and making public statements responding to criticism.
Scheindlin said in a statement later Thursday she consented to the interviews under the condition she wouldn't comment on the ongoing case.
"And I did not," she said.
She said some reporters used quotes from written opinions that gave the appearance she had commented on the case but "a careful reading of each interview will reveal that no such comments were made."
She also defended her decision to direct the plaintiffs to bring the case to her, saying she took the most recent case because it was related to a previous case she heard.
The 2nd Circuit said a new judge would be assigned randomly and will deal with any further rulings. It's possible the new judge could order a fresh set of reforms or review the trial testimony and decide the city didn't violate people's civil rights, but it would be highly unusual.
Stop-and-frisk has been around for decades, but recorded stops increased dramatically under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration to an all-time high in 2011 of 684,330, mostly of black and Hispanic men. A lawsuit was filed in 2004 by four minority men, who said they were targeted because of their races, and it became a class action case.
To make a stop, police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is about to occur or has occurred, a standard lower than the probable cause needed to justify an arrest. Only about 10 percent of the stops result in arrests or summonses, and weapons are found about 2 percent of the time.
Scheindlin heard a bench trial that ended in the spring and coincided with a groundswell of backlash against the stop-and-frisk tactic, which became a mayoral race flashpoint. She noted in her ruling this summer that she wasn't putting an end to the practice, which is constitutional, but was reforming the way the NYPD implemented its stops.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented the four men who sued, said it was dismayed that the appeals court delayed "the long-overdue process to remedy the NYPD's unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practices" and was shocked that it "cast aspersions" on the judge's professional conduct and reassigned the case.
De Blasio, the city's public advocate, said he was "extremely disappointed" in Thursday's decision.
"We have to end the overuse of stop and frisk — and any delay only means a continued and unnecessary rift between our police and the people they protect," he said in a statement.
His Republican challenger, Joe Lhota, a deputy under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, praised it.
"The next mayor absolutely must continue this appeal," he said.

If the DOJ doesn't prosecute it'll be clear evidence of the way this regime operates

IRS' Lois Lerner gave confidential Tea Party tax info to FEC, violating law

The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails.
The public watchdog group Judicial Watch told Secrets Thursday that it was former scandal boss Lois Lerner who shared the information on groups including the American Future Fund and the American Issues Project.
The emails obtained by Judicial Watch show that the IRS, which was considering the tax status of the groups, gave the FEC the tax returns of the groups, including income, expenditures and staff pay. The emails also revealed the exact working of the prying political questions the IRS wanted the groups to reveal, such as their goals and the requests for brochures and ads.

The emails were produced to Judicial Watch last week by the FEC in response to an Aug. 9, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.The information, sent via email, to the FEC came in response to the organization’s questions about whether the IRS had granted tax-exempt status to the Tea Party groups. It is unclear how the information the IRS sent was going to help the FEC, since the IRS hadn’t determined the tax status of the groups yet.
The email chain began Feb. 3, 2009, when the FEC made it’s request to Lerner.
She emailed back 10 minutes later, and said: “I have sent your email out to some of my staff. Will get back to you as soon as I have heard from them.”
According to Judicial Watch, the materials “from the IRS’ files sent from Lerner to the FEC containing detailed, confidential information about the organizations. These include annual tax returns (Forms 990) and request for exempt recognition forms (Form 1024), Articles of Organization and other corporate documents, and correspondence between the nonprofit organizations and the IRS. Under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, it is a felony for an IRS official to disclose either ‘return information or ‘taxpayer return information,’ even to another government agency.”
Lerner, who was head of the unit deciding tax exempt status, quit in the scandal.
“These extensive emails and other materials provide a disturbing window into the activities of two out-of-control federal agencies: the IRS and FEC,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And there is the very real question as to whether these documents evidence a crime.”

The childish and hate filled left


On Wednesday, The New Yorker printed a piece from film critic David Denby on Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Written about any Democrat, the piece surely would have been spiked for offensive quasi-racism. “When Ted Cruz lies, he appears to be praying,” Denby writes, before embarking upon a long and demeaning description of Cruz’s physical appearance: “

Cruz has large ears; a straight nose with a fleshy tip, which shines in camera lights when he talks to reporters; straight black hair slicked back from his forehead like flattened licorice; thin lips; a long jaw with another knob of flesh at the base, also shiny in the lights…If, as Orwell said, everyone has the face he deserves at fifty, Cruz, who is only forty-two, has got a serious head start.
Imagine a piece from a conservative suggesting that President Obama’s ears, nose, and chin are the “face he deserves.” Imagine the cries of outrage. That’s how loud the silence is from those on the left.
Denby goes on to rip Cruz for the moral sin of seeking the presidency, since his “strategy is universal aggression, aimed at everyone.” Denby then states that Cruz promises to fix “a malaise that is particularly hurting 'single moms, Hispanics, African-Americans’” in order to expand “his support in a messianic crusade, a quest to purify and redeem the nation.” But it’s all false, says Denby – it’s a “mask of sincerity.”

What exactly are they hiding?

Justice and State departments blocking access to survivors of Benghazi attack

The Justice and State departments are now citing a year-old FBI investigation and a future criminal prosecution to block access to survivors of last year’s Benghazi terror attack.
In an Oct. 28 letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Julia Frifield, refers to "significant risks" and "serious concerns about having the survivors of the attack submit to additional interviews."
Graham has been asking since last year for the FBI’s transcripts of interviews with State Department and CIA survivors who were evacuated to Germany after the Sep.11 attack on the U.S. consulate.
He and other Republicans believe the transcripts will show the survivors told the FBI it was a terrorist attack and made no mention of a video or anti-U.S. demonstration at the consulate.
This intelligence was  likely available to the president, his national security team and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who five days after the assault blamed it on an anti-U.S. demonstration and inflammatory video.
"You can't hide behind a criminal investigation," Graham told reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill.  "That's not a good reason to deny the Congress witness statements 48 hours after the attack."
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform  and its Republican Chairman, Darell Issa, recently interviewed – against the Justice Department’s wishes -- two State Department security agents who have firsthand knowledge of the attack, leading one Democratic lawmaker to predict the move would create inconsistencies and complicate a trial.
"As a prosecutor, you never want your witnesses to be interviewed by multiple sources. It just lends itself to the possibility of unintentional conflicts within their statements," Rep.Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News. 
"It concerns me that that was not a higher priority for the chairman, to make sure that we could bring these people to justice, than to carry on this political exercise."
But waiting for a criminal prosecution and appeal to be wrapped up, according to Republicans, doesn't pass the sniff test.
"So we are going to wait three years when we had a terrorist attack, which is very different than your average criminal case that Senator Graham talked about, to get the truth and think about what we know to prevent future terrorist attacks?" asked Sen.Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.
As Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., renewed his call for a select committee, lawmakers also cited the reporting of Fox News, followed by CBS’ “60 Minutes,” that the main Benghazi suspects have strong ties to Al Qaeda senior leadership.
At the same time, another Republican turned the tables on the media and its apparent lack of curiosity about Ambassador Chris Stevens' final days.
"Does it bother you whether or not you know why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi?" asked Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. "Do you know why we were the last flag flying in Benghazi after the British had left and the Red Cross had been bombed? Do you know why requests for additional security were denied?"
Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Tex.,chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry with 84 congressional signatures asking why his department was not offering a reward for tips leading to the Benghazi suspects.
The “Rewards for Justice” program, described on the State Department’s own website as a valuable tool in counter-terrorism cases, offers millions of dollars for information about suspects who are not accused of murdering Americans.
Yet there is no reward for information leading to those who murdered  Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Kerry's staff refuses to discuss it. "I don't have anything new for you on the Al Qaeda suspects from Benghazi," State Department spokesman Jen Psaki told Fox News. .

Whatever the rule it's only an impediment to this administration so it can be ignored

UPDATED: appears to violate White House guidance on web security

As Jay Leno quipped the other day: It's easy to tell the fraudulent sites because you can get on to them.

Notice how the leftist media lose their sense of humor when it's necessary to lampoon Democrats. 

Democrats behaving badly

Biden’s niece: Don’t you know who I am?

Pals say the pressure of being Vice President Joe Biden’s niece made her a “hot mess” – but Caroline Biden apparently had no trouble using her status to try and pull rank on cops, The Post has learned
“I shouldn’t be handcuffed! You don’t know who you’re doing this to,” Caroline Biden barked at police, according to court documents.
Cops arrested Biden at her then luxury rental apartment in Tribeca Sept. 17 after she allegedly went berserk in a door-pounding, screaming confrontation with her roommate over unpaid rent.
After swinging at a female officer then slapping another, cops cuffed her and took her to the station house.
The unstable 26-year-old rambled for nearly two hours, snootily trying to get cops to make the connection between her name and that of her powerful uncle, court papers show.
“My name can’t be on it,” Biden bossily demanded, referring to police paperwork. “I know my rights, I studied law.”
When cops tried to search the Georgetown University grad’s purse she snapped, “I have secret service stuff in there.”
Biden continually referenced her connection to her uncle, despite having complained to friends about how much she hated the pressure of being the VP’s niece, according to socialite and pal Paul Johnson Calderon.
She at one point asked to use the bathroom and when her cell door was opened she announced she was leaving, according to the criminal complaint.
The prima donna, who wasn’t cuffed, tried to slide past an officer who blocked her.
“Don’t touch me,” she squealed, trying to push the cop out of the way. When the officer tried to deposit her back into the cell, she desperately clung to a doorframe to prevent it.
Some cops questioned whether the young woman’s erratic behavior and incessant gabbing might be caused by medication, a source added.
A friend of Biden’s previously told the Post she’d struggled with alcohol and pill addiction and even did a stint in rehab.
In a last ditch effort to escape police custody, Biden appealed to the next best thing to her big shot uncle. “I need to call my father,” she said, referring to her financier dad James Biden Sr.
She’s charged with obstruction of government administration, resisting arrest and harassment.
The blue-eyed Biden sported a mysterious black eye at her appearance Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court.