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Monday, November 24, 2014

Has The Washington Post Ever Heard Of Satire? They Fact-Check SNL

The opening skit on Saturday Night Live was a hilarious satire of "School House Rock" teaching the difference between a bill and an executive action, using that framework to poke fun at President Obama's recent immigration action. Forgetting that it was satire, "The Washington Post Wonk Blog" fact-checked the comedy routine.
This skit got a couple of things right, and a couple of things wrong. For starters, Obama didn't sign an executive order. He is taking executive action, in particular by directing the Department of Homeland Security to expand programs that defer deportation for classes of undocumented immigrants — parents of U.S. citizens or permanent-resident children, as well as undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

See a handy flow chart to determine who qualifies.

Obama's action on Thursday adds 4 million new eligible immigrants, on top of the 1 million young immigrants who became eligible for deferred deportation under Obama's original 2012 program.

The cold open got the basic explanation of what the difference is between a law and executive order right. And SNL also is correct that more Americans, even if they support comprehensive immigration reform, don't believe Obama should do it by fiat.

As to whether the executive action is unconstitutional? That's a matter of debate, of course. Some House Republicans think so and may add a complaint to a suit they are planning to file challenging Obama's executive actions on his health-care law.

One Obama backer who also supports a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws says the action may be impeachable, as "by constitutional design, impeachment for 'treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors' is a political accusation."
The piece goes on to go issue by issue disputing the lines in the skit as if they were real political positions rather than laugh lines and concludes with:
And so what matters most for Obama's action is public opinion, and what his successor does. The SNL skit, in that sense, doesn't help him.
Perhaps the WAPO is afraid the sketch will be believed at truth by progressive.  After all it was an SNL parody that put the words, "I can see Russia from my house," in Sarah Palin's mouth--something progressives sill believe the former Governor said. Going back to the show's beginnings, President Ford wasn't anywhere near as clumsy as Chevy Chase portrayed him as being.  The history of SNL is ripe with political satire, some of it was actually believed as truthful (usually by progressives looking for one more thing to hang around GOP candidate's neck.

Factual correctness is not important to Saturday Night Live or any satire (they weren't trying to convince the viewer that President Obama would ever push someone down the stairs either). What matters the most for Saturday Night Live is that their sketches generate laughter on Saturday and discussion around the office water cooler on Monday. Apparently "The Washington Post" doesn't get it.

As Usual The Media Singles Out Israel For Criticism

Six countries including America’s good friend Saudi Arabia claim Islam as the ideological foundation of state and constitution. Fourteen other countries and the Palestinian Territories have legally set Islam as their state religion. But legally create one Jewish State; it becomes the biggest affront to human rights since…well the last trumped up charge against Israel

The Israeli cabinet approved on Sunday a basic law “Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” legislation that cements Israel’s status as a Jewish state

Set to be voted on by the Knesset by the end of the week is a new law that Israel, among other things, as “a democratic state, founded on the principles of liberty, justice and peace, in accordance with the vision of Israel’s prophets, which upholds the individual rights of all of its citizens according to the law.”

The bill also says ”Jewish law will serve as an inspiration for the Knesset,” When a particular judicial quandary cannot be derived directly from Jewish law, bill continues that the Knesset may decide on the matter based on “the principals of liberty, justice, integrity and peace, in light of the heritage of Israel.”

It also asserts “national rights” of the Jewish people, such as the flag and anthem and right to immigrate. The legislation determines that Israel will establish the Sabbath as a national day of rest, and states that the government will work to strengthen its connection with Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

Just as important by the time it reaches the Knesset it will include promises to allow each and every citizen of Israel, “regardless of religion, race or nationality, to act to preserve his or her culture, legacy, language and identity.”

Israel has no constitution per se; instead its constitutional character is made up of basic laws, judgments and the Declaration of Independence of 1948, which enshrines the right of the Jewish people to their own sovereign state and also pledges to “uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens.” If passed this so called Jewish law will become a “basic law.”

This new law implements the original vision of UN Resolution 181, the original partition resolution passed by the UN in November 1947. It did not call for the establishment of a state of Israel. UN Resolution 181 calls for dividing Palestine into Independent Arab and Jewish States.

There has been strong opposition to the bill within and outside Israel

According a report in Haaretz, the attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, has expressed concern, shared by some ministers, that the new law would effectively give greater emphasis to Israel’s Jewish character at the expense of its democratic nature. A number of Israeli basic laws use the term “Jewish and democratic”, giving equal weight to both. They worry the new law would enshrine only the Jewish character of the state.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) stressed that under no circumstances would they or members of their parties, both secular in nature, vote in favor of the law in its current form, despite the possibility that Netanyahu could fire them.

“People ask who needs this bill; we have managed 66 years without it,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said ahead of the meeting. “And I ask, who needs the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, we managed 45 years without it. We need both,” he said. “Israel is a Jewish democratic state. There are those who want democracy to take precedence over Judaism, and those who want Judaism to take precedence over democracy. In the law that I am bringing, both principles are equal and must be given equal consideration.”

Netanyahu said Israel is the national home of the Jewish people where there are equal rights for every citizen. “But there are national rights only for the Jewish people; a flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel, and other national symbols,” he said. He promised to amend the draft before any final Knesset vote in Parliament to ensure, the principle of “equal individual rights for every citizen.”

The media was quick to trash the law as something that will inflame tensions. The “Associated Press “led its report with, “The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday moved to legally define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people a decision that will likely inflame already-raw tensions.”

“The NY Times” began by calling it “a move that critics said could undermine the fragile relationship with the country’s Arab minority at a time of heightened tensions.”

Sydney Australia’s “The Age” led by calling it a “move that critics said could undermine the fragile relationship with the country's Arab minority at a time of heightened tensions.”

“The Guardian” in the UK said the bill “defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people has been approved by cabinet despite warnings that the move risks undermining the country’s democratic character.”

Nowhere in any of the reports does it compare Israel’s intended laws to that of its Muslim neighbors. The Israel law will guarantee freedom of religious practice; in Saudi Arabia for example you can be arrested for setting up a Christmas tree. The Egyptian constitution is closer to what Israel is proposing, it supposedly guarantees absolute freedom of belief, but Islam is the state religion. American ally Kuwait does not recognize religious groups not sanctioned in the Quran (Jews and Christians although there are no Jews left in the country). Other religions cannot operate their own official places of worship or obtain visas for their clergy. The Palestinian territories does not want Jews living within its borders.

The critics of the “Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” bills coming from two places, liberal in observance and secular Jews who believe it is possible to separate Jewishness from the religion, and media sources that will criticize Israel for anything she does.

Truth be told, Israel cannot demand that the Palestinians recognize her as the “Jewish State,” if Israel herself doesn’t recognize it as a Jewish State.

As long as the bill recognizes individual rights and freedom and continues to allow everyone equal voting rights, Israel will remain what it always has been a Democratic and Jewish State.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

RACE WAR!! Giuliani Scolds Dyson, What About The 93% of Blacks Who Are Killed By Other Blacks?

During a "Meet the Press" discussion about police forces in Black neighborhoods being disproportionately white former Mayor Giuliani argued they are ignoring the bigger problem, black on black violent crime,  which made MSNBC contributor, Professor Michael Eric Dyson flip out arguing Giuliani was engaged in a massive false equivalency.

At one point Giuliani took off his glasses, an indication he was getting ready to rumble,

“[Black on black crime] is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community. Why don’t you cut it down so so many white police officers don’t have to be in black areas? And eventually, "The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other.”

Dyson answered, "This is the defensive mechanism of white supremacy in your mind”

Watch the angry exchange below:
Giuliani: Well, starting with Mayor Koch, Mayor Dinkins, myself, Mayor Bloomberg, we have tried to make the police force in New York City as proportionate as we can. We go out of our way to do that. I think we do a pretty good job, not a perfect job. But the reality.
Todd: You're not on this list. That's a good thing. Right. I was glad to see that we weren't.

Giuliani: The fact is, I find it very disappointing that you are not discussing the fact that 93% of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We're talking about the exception here.

Todd: Go ahead, Michael.

Giuliani: Let me finish. We are talking about the significant exception, 93% of blacks are killed by other blacks. I would like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this and the solutions so to that.

Dyson: Can I say this? First of all, most black people who commit crimes against black people go to jail. They are not sworn by the police department as a agent of the state to uphold the law. In both cases, that's a false equivalency that the Mayor has drawn which has exacerbated which is imbedded in American culture. Black people who kill black people go to jail.

Giuliani: It's hardly --

Dyson: If a jury can indict --

Giuliani: It's hardly insignificant.

Todd: It's the trust issue. This is a trust issue.

Giuliani: It's hardly insignificant.

Dyson: I didn't say it was insignificant disproportionate.

Giuliani: It's the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community.

Dyson: Not at all.

Giuliani: 93%.

Dyson: Not at all. The police presence cannot make a distinction between those who are criminals and --

Giuliani: What about the poor black child killed by another black child? Why aren't you protesting?

Dyson: I do protest. They go to jail. Why don't you talk about the way in which white policemen are undercut the abilities of Americans to live?

Giuliani: Why don't you cut it down so many white police officers don't have to be in black areas?

Dyson: They don't have to be. It's the matter of the affect of the state occupying the forces.

Giuliani: How about 70 do 75% of the crime in my city --

Dyson: How about your attitude that reinforces

Todd: This is a debate that --

Giuliani: How about you reduce crime?

Dyson: When I became Mayor, I will do that.

Todd: Let's not make this.

Giuliani: The white police officers wouldn't be there if you weren't killing each other.

Dyson: The second --

Todd: Michael -- I’m going to stop it there. Michael Eric Dyson, Mayor Guiliani, as you can see, this has a lot of tension to it, a lot of heated debate. Thank you both for being here.

Former NBC Employee- I Was Bill Cosby's Fixer

According to Frank Scotti he was the one who guarded the outside Bill Cosby's dressing room, sent hush money to women and even arraigned for the star to have a private apartment in Queens for another pretty young lady. In short he was the mega-star's fixer.
“He had everybody fooled,” said Scotti in an exclusive interview with the Daily News. “Nobody suspected.”

Scotti came forward last week with his insider’s look at Cosby’s womanizing ways during the magical 1984-92 run of “The Cosby Show.”

The 90-year-old Scotti said he decided to speak as the drumbeat of sexual abuse allegations against Cosby, 77, grew steadily louder. “I felt sorry for the women,” he told The News.

The Emmy-winning Cosby, NBC’s most bankable star at the time, used Scotti to deliver monthly payouts to eight different women in 1989-90 — including Shawn Thompson, whose daughter Autumn Jackson claimed the actor was her dad.
Thompson told the TV show “Inside Edition’’ that she believed that the entertainer drugged and raped her — nine months before she gave birth to her daughter. Daughter Autumn was convicted of threatening to tell her story a supermarket tabloid if Cosby didn't pay her off.

Cosby, while denying paternity, paid out more than $100,000 to Thompson over the years after their 1974 affair began. Scotti told The News that he believes Cosby was sleeping with all the women who received money.

“I was suspicious that something was going on,” said Scotti. “I suspected that he was having sex with them because the other person he was sending money to (Thompson) he was definitely having sex with.

“Why else would he be sending money?” Scotti asked. “He was sending these women $2,000 a month. What else could I think?”

Scotti, who lives in Lakewood, N.J., saved copies of money orders from the era detailing his payouts to four of the Cosby women.

He recalled Cosby presenting him with “a satchel of money, all $100 bills,” and pressing Scotti to distribute the payments using money orders in his own name.
Many of the women mentioned by Scotti refused to comment on his report.
Thompson, contacted last week by email, refused to comment on the ongoing Cosby sex scandal and stopped writing once Scotti’s name was mentioned.

A second woman said “Dr. Cosby” sent her money to help cover expenses for her son to attend private school. The receipts showed her receiving four money orders in one day worth $3,500.

“Your source could have asked me, instead of leading you on a witch hunt,” the woman texted The News. “Not that any of this is your business.”

Cosby, via Scotti, passed along an additional $1,560 to a third woman in February 1990.
One however confirmed Scotti's story.
Angela Leslie, now 52, was the last name on the receipts — and she told The News the Cosby camp paid for her to fly to California in the early 1990s. She got sick and returned her ticket but saw him two years later in Las Vegas.

Once there, Leslie claimed Cosby got naked before getting sexual — despite her lack of interest. When she backed off, Cosby chased her out of the room.

“I felt so used,” she told The News.

Scotti said Cosby also had an arrangement with a Manhattan modeling agency in which the owner would deliver young women to his dressing room. Some of the aspiring models were as young as 16, Scotti said.

“‘I want you to keep that one girl here,’ ” Scotti quoted Cosby as telling him. “ ‘I want to interview her for a part in the show.’”

The other models and the agency’s owner would quickly disappear, leaving Cosby’s pick alone with the comedian.

“The owner just walked right out,” he recounted. “She knew exactly what was going to go on. Then he’d tell me, ‘Stand outside the door and don’t let anyone in.’ Now you put that together and figure (out) why.”
As of this writing the number of women who have, either anonymously or openly, now accused Cosby has risen to 17, with an unusually large number talking on camera. So many victims of alleged sexual assault, from many walks of life, are now going public to talk unashamedly about their experiences in America that experts are hailing it as the most significant cultural shift against rape in a generation.

On one hand all 17 cannot being lying, on the other Cosby was my favorite comedian ever. Scotti's story certainly gives more credence to the claims of the 17 women.

Like many who grew up to listening to Bill Cosby albums, my head says they are probably telling the truth, my heart prays they aren't.

Administration's Unemployment Claim Proves Gruber's Not Alone In Belief of American's Stupidity

To paraphrase Jonathan Gruber, the White House is trying to fool the "stupid American" voters again. On Wednesday, they released a chart reflecting that unemployment “is dropping faster than projected" in the years 2010-2014. Not so, according to the 2009 projection used to sell the public on the stimulus bill. Compared to the 2009 projections, unemployment has declined slower than estimated.

First released in the tweet below, the White House chart compares the actual unemployment rate with forecasts made by the Administration in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014: 

That chart omits the projection from the “Romer-Bernstein Report” issued by the administration in January 2009 used to sell the the almost one trillion dollar stimulus plan. If those projections were included they would present a different story.

Based on the Romer-Bernstein Report, the unemployment rate of 5.8% was supposed to have been achieved over two years ago (in early 2012).

The truth that the Administration is hiding is that this has been the slowest recession jobs recovery the United States has ever experienced in the post-war period, and that the 2009 stimulus plan failed to meet its objectives.

Chart Source: Calculated Risk
Jonathan Gruber wasn't the first person associated with the Obama Administration to believe that the American voters were a stupid lot, he was just the first one caught on tape vocalizing the concept.

The Administration's misleading tweet/chart on unemployment is just one more example of their low opinion of the intelligence of the American voter.