President Barack Obama backed down on Friday from a statement that police had "acted stupidly" in arresting a black scholar in a racially charged case that was rapidly becoming a distraction for Obama. The president made a surprise appearance in the White House press briefing room shortly after he spoke by phone to Cambridge, Massachusetts, police Sgt. James Crowley, who had arrested Henry Louis Gates, a prominent scholar of African-American studies at Harvard, last week.
"Because this has been ratcheting up and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up, I wanted to make clear in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically," Obama said. "And I could have calibrated those words differently." Crowley suggested Obama invite him and Gates, to the White House for a peace-making beer, and a plan was in the works to do so, Obama said. Obama later called Gates, had a positive discussion, told him about his phone call with Crowley and invited him to join Crowley at the White House in the near future, the White House said.
Obama said he hoped the event would end up being a "teachable moment, where all of us instead of pumping up the volume spend a little more time listening to each other" and improve race relations "instead of flinging accusations." "Lord knows we need it right now -- because over the last two days as we've discussed this issue, I don't know if you've noticed, but nobody has been paying much attention to health care," he said.
At a news conference on Wednesday night, Obama weighed in on the case, saying the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police had "acted stupidly." Obama pointed out that blacks and members of other minority groups tend to be stopped more frequently by U.S. police officers than whites. Until Friday, Obama and the White House had defended Obama's remarks. The police union stoked tensions further, firing back at Obama. "President Obama said that the actions of the Cambridge Police Department were stupid and linked the event to a history of racial profiling in America," Sgt. Dennis O'Connor, president of the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, said at a news conference in Cambridge. "The facts of this case suggest that the president used the right adjective but directed it at the wrong party," he said.
With the incident threatening to escalate, Obama chose to engage in some damage control. He did not say he had apologized to Crowley, but his words were regretful. Obama said his impression of Crowley was that he was an "outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation. And I told him that."... Obama said he continued to believe that there was an overreaction in arresting Gates and that he also believed that Gates "probably overreacted as well."
The following video has been suggested as the new Obama model for the Cambridge police force
Obama, Gates and Crowley
Obama has chosen to attach his own credibility to this matter so I think I can reasonably put up two further comments on it:
I heard on the radio this morning that there were nine break-ins in Gates's Cambridge neighborhood in the first quarter of 2009 alone. Officer James Crowley had good reason to believe that this might have been another. There might even have been a break-in attempt at Gates's house during the time he was away, as Gates himself indicates in an interview. (Why is there so much crime in the neighborhood around Harvard?)
It is clear from reading the police report that Gates behaved boorishly and belligerently from the first moment he saw the white policeman. Officer Crowley, perplexed at Gates's behavior, called into headquarters that he was in the house with what appeared to be the resident, but that the resident was behaving in an excited manner that surprised and confused him. And Gates initially refused to present identification, but then did. He continued yelling at Crowley and calling him a racist throughout the incident. It is almost as if Gates was determined to foment the incident into something he could use later. If there is any racism here, it is Gates's automatic antagonism toward a white policeman.
The police report contains a supplemental narrative by a second policeman on the scene, Officer Carlos Figueroa, who completely corroborates Crowley's account and adds the detail that Gates was actually shouting to the gathering of about seven people outside the house who had been attracted by the ruckus, "this is what happens to black men in America," almost as if he were trying to incite them. It is this ongoing disruptive behavior, which continued after Crowley warned him to stop, that prompted his arrest.
The policemen could not be making all this up. The details in Crowley's and Figueroa's reports about Gates's arrogance and claims of privilege and so on .... all that is not something the policemen could just fabricate. In addition, there were a number of witnesses who saw a lot of what happened and can corroborate it. Here is some of Figueroa's account:
"As I stepped in [into Gates's house], I heard Sgt. Crowley ask for the gentleman's information which he stated "NO I WILL NOT!" The gentleman was shouting out to the Sgt. that the Sgt. was a racist and yelled that "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN America!" As the Sgt. was trying to calm the gentleman, the gentleman shouted "You don't know who your messing with!"
I stepped out to the gather the information from the reporting person, WHALEN, LUCIA. Ms. Whalen stated to me that she saw a man wedging his shoulder into the front door as to pry the door open. As I returned to the residence, a group of onlookers were now on scene. The Sgt., along with the gentleman, were now on the porch of __ Ware Street and again he was shouting, now to the onlookers (about seven), "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN AMERICA!". The gentleman refused to listen to as to why the Cambridge Police were there. While on the porch, the gentleman refused to be cooperative and continued shouting that the Sgt. is racist police officer.
Gates also said that he couldn't have been yelling because he had a throat problem, but witnesses heard him yelling, and there is a photo in which he is clearly yelling. He is either not telling the truth or blinded to his own faults.
Now we have the president of the United States adding fuel to the fire without, by his own admission, even knowing the facts \emdash two astronomically high-status blacks piling on an ordinary white policeman doing his job. Perhaps Gates deliberately made an incident out of this because he fears white-liberal guilt has been declining since the election of Obama. Perhaps he hopes to re-ignite those feelings (without which he feels discomfort at all the unearned privileges of his life). Certainly there is something odd about his practically instantaneous pronouncements that he is going to use his arrest to preach about racism and make documentaries about racial profiling and so forth. And his interview ends with his mocking any thought of a "post-racial" America and rehearsing some of the sorry statistics about black men in prison, as if they had anything to do with his own shameful and uncontrolled behavior.
Gates's own account appears to be unreliable. He remarks in his interview that the 911 call said that two big black men were trying to break in and he called that "the worst racial profiling I've ever heard of in my life," and he laughs about it because he is only 5'7''. Now, the police report doesn't mention two big black men, just two black males with backpacks. But if the word "big" was spoken during the 911, it might well have been by the citizen who called in the report, not the policemen. Yet Gates is trying to maintain that he is grateful for the neighborly vigilance of the woman who called 911, and that it's only the police he despises.
And one last comment on the Gates/Crowley episode
DailyKenn has a lot of links on this matter and, like me, is not afraid to call something how he sees it. Below is his own succinct comment on the Gates matter, a comment in which I suspect much truth, despite certain linguistic improprieties:
Prof. Gates; why uppity Negroes are uppity
Short answer: to compensate for feelings of inferiority . . .
When Sergeant James M. Crowley stepped up to Henry Louis Gates Jr.\rquote s home last week, he was met with a seemingly arrogant, obnoxious and ungrateful black man.
Gates' "loud and tumultuous behavior" toward officer Crowley is not unique. Blacks often display irrational arrogance when interacting with whites. The question is: Why?
The answer: While some blacks possess a choleric temperament and innately display belligerent behavior, others manufacture arrogance as a means to compensate for feelings of inferiority.
On the surface it appears that such behavior is anti-white racist hatred. In reality, the subject isn't displaying hatred for the "victim's" whiteness but is displaying hatred for himself for being black.
In the Gates episode it is apparent that racial profiling occurred twice. Both occasions were on the part of Prof. Gates, not Officer Crowley. Gates' belligerent behavior revealed racial profiling of a white officer. It also displayed racial profiling of himself.
Gates' attitude served another purpose: It got him off the hook as charges against him were dropped.
Obama has a history with the Cambridge police Dept.: "According to the Somerville Times in 2007, as a Harvard Law School student, Obama got 17 parking tickets during 1989-1991 from the Cambridge Police Department that he left unpaid until just weeks before he announced his bid for the presidency. "In other words, as a practicing lawyer in Chicago, he allowed these tickets and penalties to remain unpaid; as an Illinois state senator he allowed these tickets and fines to remain unpaid; and as a United States senator he allowed these almost-two-decade-old signs of his disdain for the law to remain unpaid," commented John LeBoutillier on Newsmax.com. The Washington Post said two years ago that the tickets included parking without a proper permit and parking in a bus stop. The Associated Press reported in 2007 that Obama's "healthy stack" of parking tickets was finally paid, including late fees, "two weeks before he officially launched his presidential campaign."
You can’t print production and prosperity: “It’s hard to imagine that the monetary policy talk can get any nuttier, but we’ve likely only just begun. After all, despite the Federal Reserve growing its balance sheet by 140 percent and dropping rates essentially to zero, the bankruptcies just keep on coming. Ex-Fed governor Wayne Angell told Larry Kudlow’s CNBC audience, ‘monetary policy always works!’ Although Angell does stipulate that it takes time before the tromping on the monetary gas pedal will spin the economic tires and spray the prosperity gravel.”
Another taxpayer donation to GM and the auto workers union: "Welcome to the General Motors bailout, part three—or is it four, or five? It’s hard to keep up, but this week the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation took over the pension liabilities of Delphi, the auto-parts spinoff of GM that has been working its way through Chapter 11 since 2005. As with the previous taxpayer rescues, this one includes a special favor for the United Auto Workers. Under the agreement, the PBGC will assume some $6.2 billion in pension liabilities from Delphi, including both hourly and salaried employees. That’s the second biggest pension bailout in PBGC history, and it takes billions of liabilities off the books for GM. As Delphi’s former parent, GM had agreed to take responsibility for billions of dollars of Delphi’s pension obligations to its hourly employees."
NJ: Five pols, others arrested in corruption case : “An investigation into the sale of black-market kidneys and fake Gucci handbags evolved into a sweeping probe of political corruption in New Jersey, ensnaring more than 40 people Thursday, including three mayors, two state lawmakers and several rabbis. Even for a state with a rich history of graft, the scale of wrongdoing alleged was breathtaking. An FBI official called corruption ‘a cancer that is destroying the core values of this state.’”
How robot drones revolutionized the face of warfare : “Barely an hour’s drive from the casinos of Las Vegas, a group of unassuming buildings have become as important as the trenches were to WWI. The big difference? Today’s warriors are fighting without getting in harm’s way, using drones to attack targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Major Morgan Andrews is one such combatant. He kisses his wife goodbye, drives to Creech, a tiny desert air force base in Nevada, and within minutes could be killing insurgents on the other side of the world.”
Dems to seniors: Drop dead : “As Erick Erickson points out: ‘I think, given that the member of Congress who drafted H.R. 3200 read and take seriously people like Klien, Yglesias, and Singer, we should be very troubled by Section 1233 of H.R. 3200. The section, titled ‘Advanced Care Planning Consultation’ requires senior citizens to meet at least every 5 years with a doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss dying with dignity.’ … Forget all the kind rhetoric about ‘dignity.’ Let’s call it what it is: Geriatric Euthanasia. And let’s be very clear about why we want the old people to die: We’ve sucked all the economic productivity we’re going to get out of them, and it’s more convenient to kill them than it is to assume the financial burden of their care. You can pretty it up with all the flowery language you want, but at the end of the day, it comes down to, ‘You cost too much to keep alive. Just die.’”
Older people are more than “food for worms”: “Such is the strength of cultural miserabilism today that even the most smile-inducing good news stories can swiftly be turned into doom-laden tales about the terrible future humanity faces. This week, a report published by the US Census Bureau revealed something properly startling: some time in the next 10 years the global population of over-65s will outnumber the global population of under-fives for the first time ever. Such a monumental demographic change is a consequence of decades of development and scientific advance, which have allowed people to live longer, healthier, wealthier lives, and to live — in the real meaning of that word: to travel, to have new experiences, to chill out — even after they stop working. Yet rather than being treated as good news, as evidence of the leaps forward made by mankind, the US Census Bureau’s prediction was treated at best as ‘worrying news’, and at worst as ‘bad news.’”
Irony: China reversing one-child policy: "China has taken the first step towards ending its controversial one-child policy by encouraging urban couples in Shanghai to have two children. The easing of restrictions comes in response to concern about economic problems caused by the country's ageing population. Shanghai is actively promoting the two-child policy as China tries to defuse a demographic time bomb caused by a shortage of young workers after 30 years of tough population growth restrictions. The policy shift in the large coastal city marks the first time since 1979 that officials have actively encouraged parents to have more children. If they are both single children themselves, husbands and wives in Shanghai are allowed to have two children. While they have technically been allowed to do so before, the couples are now the target of a city-wide campaign to persuade them to make use of their extra allowance. They will receive home visits and leaflets to promote the benefits of a second child. The city government is worried about the rapidly rising number of elderly people and the resulting burden and drag on the Chinese economy."
Anti-Americanism -- The last acceptable bigotry : “The more intense the statism, the more intense the hatred of America. Those seeking to extort more funding for the CBC, or yet another social services bureaucracy, need only point to America as a horribly atavistic, though still barely civilized society. A victim of too much freedom, usually expressed through the euphemisms of Wall Street, Big Business and the Gun Lobby. Like the biker in a 1950s PSA, the Canadian Left points to America as what Canada might become if it strays from the true path. America the villain, if not exactly the Great Satan, is a necessary prop to Canadian statists.”
Britain's Labour Party loses another by-election: "British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party has suffered another embarrassing by-election defeat. It was the first poll triggered by a recent scandal over politicians’ expenses. Labour was pushed into second place by the main opposition Conservatives in the Norwich North constituency in eastern England. The Conservatives overturned Labour's majority of 5549 at the last election in 2005 to take the seat by more than 7000 votes. The sitting lawmaker, Ian Gibson, quit last month after revelations that he claimed nearly £80,000 ($162,000) in second-home expenses on a London flat which he later sold cheaply to his daughter. Mr Brown admitted it was “clearly a disappointing result” but said voters were disenchanted with all main parties in the wake of the expenses furore. Although it comes as little surprise, the defeat shows Mr Brown's government facing a struggle to beat David Cameron's Conservatives -- who are well ahead in opinion polls -- at a general election which must be held within a year. Mr Cameron said the Tory victory showed people had “had enough” of Mr Brown and “want change in our country”. Chloe Smith, the victorious Conservative candidate, is only 27 years old and will be the youngest politicians in the House of Commons. She will take her seat when parliament returns in October from its summer recess, which started this week."
British Fuel scheme “failing the poorest”: “A scheme aimed at improving households’ fuel efficiency and cutting fuel poverty is ‘failing the poorest and most vulnerable,’ MPs have said. Nearly a fifth of the funding for the multi-million pound Warm Front scheme was going to households that were already energy efficient. And £15m was spent on measures that did little to pull households out of fuel poverty, the committee of MPs said.The government is aiming to end fuel poverty in England by 2016.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)