Thursday, May 22, 2014

Enough Lip Service, Mr. President


There was a sportscaster who used to say, “the wheels are coming off now,” to denote a sports team in the throes of a thorough thrashing. One could borrow the phrase to describe the  floundering Obama administration especially now with the  latest  revelation regarding military veterans not getting the adequate and timely care they deserve from the Veterans' Administration.

When the president found out about inconsistencies in record keeping, long waits and fatalities, according to CNN  as many as 40 veterans died waiting for medical treatment, he was appalled and promised to get to the bottom of the situation. Indeed , anytime an inconvenient truth rears its ugly head the president resorts to his default position, feigning ignorance, then promising to resolve said situation.

Don’t expect to see the president with those affected by the tragedies that occurred at the VA. He only appears in the public spotlight when those victimized support one of his initiatives. In this case, he’ll send some junior-level officers to try and assuage the family members affected. And, of course, they’ll have no information about what happened or why it happened. These are common threads in this administration.

He seems to have not known about  “Fast and Furious,” the IRS harassment of conservative  fund-raising groups, the glitches inherent in the Obamacare website roll out. He was incommunicado during the Benghazi tragedy. This pattern lends credence to the criticism many of his distractors adhere to:  that he is not engaged in his position or is incompetent. Or my feeling, that his incompetence is matched only by his high-handed tendencies. And his sheer distaste for accepting responsibility for anything other than a terrible golf game.

 Perhaps in between the accolades bestowed upon him by the Hollywood elites at fund-raising events; his frequent vacations, putting on the verdant greens of some of the best courses in the country, he can convene an occasional cabinet meeting to find out what’s going on under his watch, if only to make Jay Carney’s spin doctoring look less tendentious and more informative.

Instead,  expect the Oblivicrats to circle the wagons and point at the president’s  predecessor as being responsible for the current situation in the Veterans Administration. After all, President Bush got us into these wars.

 With an overly sympathetic media, the president may straddle yet another maelstrom. But I think to the American electorate, looking forward to the upcoming mid-term elections,  the wheels on this administration may very well be in need of replacing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rutgers Wrong on Rice

Once again Rutgers University  has diminished itself  and shown it doesn’t belong in the upper echelon of second tier universities. And I’m not talking only about their lackluster football and basketball programs. I’m talking about the  controversy regarding Condoleezza Rice as the university’s choice to be this year’s commencement speaker.

The opposition’s major problem with Condoleezza Rice was her involvement in the Iraqi War and the use of water boarding by the Bush administration. While most of the Democrats did indeed object to water boarding , they did vote strongly in support of the Iraqi War. Mind you not on principle but because the overwhelming majority of Americans were behind President Bush’s military operation. In addition, intelligent sources both domestic and foreign claimed the Iraqi regime had weapons of mass destruction. In fact, they had already used them on the Iranians and Kurds.

We know how that story ended. But to place blame on Secretary Rice would be like blaming Secretary Clinton for the failure of the Arab spring.

An accomplished, multi-talented woman, Secretary Rice deserved better. But the voice of the minority (reportedly about 300 students out of 10,000)has once again scored an unlikely  victory. How many times will the feeble-minded, 97-lb. weakling  score victory after victory over a more accomplished  adversary.

Egging on the dissident students were  a few non-descript academicians who could not even entertain the possibility of teaching in a prestigious university like Stanford where Rice teaches and has served as provost.

Preening around these days  as a card-carrying member of the intelligentsia seems pretty simple. All you have to do is take the ultra-liberal contrarian view on common sense issues. It might even land you a spot on the Al Sharpton Show. Some of the Rev. Sharpton’s best friends are African-American but I doubt Secretary Rice would be in that number. Any accomplished, free thinkers in the African-American community seem anathema to Sharpton  and his associates.

Rice took the high road. An elevation the undistinguished, faculty members who  condemned her appearance will never reach. But what perturbs me is why take the high road? Why be at the mercy of the minority. Why always acquiesce? Why compromise? Why give the opponents of free speech and  the open exchange of ideas  even the slimmest of victories? If we don’t stand up for our beliefs as free Americans that right may be taken from us.

So now  former NJ Gov. Kean will be the commencement speaker. It should be a safe choice. Perhaps the president of the Left-Handed Plumbers Union had prior commitments.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Less Than Sterling

Of course the statements by Donald  Sterling were abhorrent to men and women of good will. And NBA Commissioner Silver rightfully declared him persona non grata in his league. But this whole episode “stinks on ice” to use a phrase from my grandfather.

This has all the earmarks of a set up. Was this visor-wearing vixen put up to this mischief; or was she just trying  muddy the waters  to impede the Sterling family from  recovering her ill-gotten gains? Or was this a gambit to force Sterling to sell his team. Some names of potential buyers  being bandied about: Oprah, P Diddy, Magic Johnson and Floyd Mayweather. Hmnn.

Also, why was the NAACP set  to award Mr. Sterling with a second lifetime humanitarian achievement award even though they were  aware of his past indiscretions.

In at least two instances, Mr. Sterling was implicated in biased behavior. First involving Clippers’ general manager, Elgin Baylor and then again for discriminatory practices regarding  property rentals to minority tenants in his vast real estate empire. Was the NCAAP as easily bought off as hucksters like Reverends Jackson and Sharpton that they would give this bigot an award to ameliorate his image?

This kind of hypocrisy does more to perpetuate racism as does the off putting remarks from African- Americans who adhere to the same vitriol as Sterling. Rev. Jackson and his “Hymietown” remark. Rev. Sharpton and his involvement in the Tawana Brawley case and the incineration of Freddie’s, a Harlem haberdashery, run by, Sharpton’s term, “ a white interloper.” In the case of Freddie’s, seven fatalities resulted from the fire. And what about that firebrand, Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaching sermon after sermon of divisiveness.  In terms of sheer hatred Rev. Wright, though, comes in a distant second to Louis Farrakhan whose machinations rival Herr Eichmann.

Where are the men and women of color to speak against these bigots? Too often they are silent. Until they can find it in themselves  to condemn racist remarks by other than white racists there will be no real progress in the fight against bigotry. And are we to believe   no racist remarks were ever uttered by African-Americans or Asian-Americans?

Racism is not a one way street but is only portrayed that way.