Monthly Archives: December 2014

1960s episode of Dragnet offers lessons for today

Last night, I did some late night channel surfing and paused on an old, I would say 1960s, episode of Dragnet.  Ironically, it was about a case of police brutality – mild by today’s standards. It was about a basically good cop who slapped a young drunk who called him a pig and ripped off the officer’s badge.

There were two sides to the story, which contained many of the issues found behind today’s news stories.  First, was the issue of calling the officer a pig.  The show expressed concern over the rising tide of public distrust of police, especially among the young.  The 1960s was a time of violent demonstrations against the police all across the nation – especially in Chicago.  The description of the times could have been scripted from current news stories.

Then there was the inappropriate response of the officer.  Even after being verbally assaulted and physically attacked, he was admonished that it was unprofessional to have lost control.  The officer’s explanation, that he was just fed up with being degraded on the streets by the people he was sworn to protect, was not acceptable.

The main character, Joe Friday, lectured the officer on his responsibility to remain professional.  He said the action set a bad tone for police respect.  He also sympathized with the pressure police come under when dealing with criminal activity in a hostile public environment.

In the outcome, the drunk got a 30 day suspended sentence and the officer got 30 days of unpaid leave.

While the story could have been produced by Disney, in its squeaky clean presentation, the underlying issues were exactly the same as exists today, but far less virulent.   The crime was minor and the response tepid compared to what we see today.  The Dragnet version had no racial implications since all the characters were white.

Still, I came away thinking of that cliché that the more things change, the more they are the same.  For sure, Dragnet episode was sanitized to make a moral point, as one might with a child, but it was alluding to the real violence in the streets – where both rioters and police were dying.

What can be drawn from both the fictional Dragnet story and the real life drama in the streets is that whenever a sufficient number of people feel abused or oppressed by their government, the police are always in the middle of the conflict.  They are the public referees.  How they do their job is critical to resolution.

The way to maintain respect for police, and to minimize occasional excessive force, is to end government policies that abuse and oppress the public.  While there will always be grandstanding professional protesters, the hateful minority must not be allowed to grow to a critical mass. Preventing that is the job of the politicians, and the job of the public to elect the right politicians.

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Here is my take on who is culpable for the violent atmosphere that led to the deaths of two New York police officers as published in the Washington Times on December 23, 2014

Washington Times, The (DC)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Bill deBlasio share blame in N.Y. police killings

 There is a huge pushback against statements of the many who have assigned New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and even President Obama with culpability in the deaths of two New York police officers (“Al Sharpton says he’s the victim, plays audio of death threat during press conference,” Web, Dec. 21).

There can be a huge gap between responsibility and culpability. Those who hold Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Sharpton, Mr. Holder and Mr. Obama blameless in the shooting deaths of New York Police Department Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu are merely acting out of partisan and philosophic zealotry. The facts of their statements are on the national record for all to see.

They have pitted one group against another by perpetrating the mythology of pandemic racism, when racism in America is anecdotal and receding. They have rhetorically accused — no, smeared — the police departments across America with false implications of and allusions to systemic and institutional racism. They have elevated the reputations of petty criminals above those of hardworking cops. They have remained silent as mobs, not peaceful demonstrators, rampaged illegally through the streets, vandalizing and looting. They have called such people “protesters.” They remained silent as the mob called for the murder of police.

The president has empowered Mr. Sharpton, arguably the most provocative inciter of violent action, as the racial spokesperson for America.

They now attempt to say the murder last weekend of the two NYPD officers was merely the work of an insane lone wolf. They question his motivation. But there is no question; the killer told us exactly what motivated him: the demonstrators on the streets and those calls for vigilante justice. In fact, he specifically referred to Mr. de Blasio’s words.

I believe these leaders have violated the very rules they claim to so cherish. They are guilty of hate language. They are guilty of inciting public unrest. They are guilty of creating a hostile work environment. They are guilty of promoting racism.

Leaders are important. What they say has meaning, and words influence actions. In another time of racial tension, President Abraham Lincoln called upon leaders to guide their people to “the better angels of our nature.” In this case, Mr. Obama, Mr. Holder, Mr. Sharpton, Mr. de Blasio and others take us to the darker demons of our nature. If not responsible, they are most certainly culpable.

LARRY P. HORIST

Boca Raton, Florida

Obamacare is taking away free medical care for the poor … a personal reflection published in the Florida Sun Sentinel on December21, 2014

Obamacare is destroying free medical care for the poor. According to a recent report, many free clinics are closing all across the country, citing Obamacare as the reason. People who were led to believe they would be receiving coverage under Obamacare, but are now ineligible, are losing their free care, too.

This subject was missing from the Obamacare debate because the White House did not want it known that a millions of uninsured Americans were already getting very good free medical treatment, or to know that many of them would be losing it.
Once, when self-employed and unable to afford health insurance, I was directed to a Chicago free clinic. After a means testing review, I was accepted.
For things like X-rays, patients were sent to a county hospital. Despite the problem of long waits in the ER, this was not the case for scheduled tests. In my two visits, I was seen immediately.

I received first-class treatment at no cost — no co-pay, no “donut hole,” no deductible. When I was able to afford insurance again, I felt like I was taking a step down.

Here again, government is driving out a great private-sector solution, and the poor are the losers.

Larry Horist, Boca Raton

Copyright © 2014, Sun Sentinel

Another news story you may have missed

The determiners and enforcers of political correctness have been making a full court press on the name of the Washington Redskins.  Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, numerous left-wing columnists and a few enticed Indians made the name a national issue.  Weeeeeell, the Federal Election Commission (FCC) just ruled that the name is not indecent or pejorative, and cannot be barred from the airwaves.   Mark up a victory for commons sense, free speech and American correctness.

A couple interesting stories you may have missed

Bye, bye de Blasio

Just days before the murder of two police officers in New York, Eisenhower grandson and Nixon son-in-law David Cox made a bold prediction.  He said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio would be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.  My!  My!  How events can change things.  That blustering Bluto of a mayor will not only NEVER be a candidate for president, it is questionable whether he can even hang on to the mayor’s job.  He is now the poster boy for all that is bad about urban liberal Democrat leadership.  I doubt he can ever regain moral authority even if he finishes out his term as arguably the most hated mayor in America.  Based on coverage on CNN and FOX, the people of New York would love to see the return of Rudy Giuliani.  New Yorkers may even see the return of the 32 ounce cola.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel knows crime

Lost in the coverage of the New York murders was a major crime in Chicago.  Seems like, Zach Emmanuel, the 17-year-old son of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel went outside the family home to make a 10:00 p.m. cell phone call when he was mugged and robbed by two assailants.   He suffered a bloody lip and chipped tooth.  The muggers took the phone after forcing Zach to punch in the password.  The mayor was said to be extremely upset and outraged.  At least he know knows how thousands of Chicagoans feel each night – and in many cases, suffering a lot worst.  You can bet that Hizzoner’s family will now be provided with overwhelming protection from Chicago’s finest.  I wonder if this will get him more involved in addressing the extraordinarily high crime rate in Chicago – especially the killing of so many innocent blacks.  Naaaay!

Two dead cops, killed by politics, political rhetoric and political correctness.

President Obama’s campaign promise to “bring America together” has proven to be as false as many of his others.  By ever measure, including polls that show both blacks and whites see racial relations worse today than in 2008.  There is no doubt about it.

The Obama legacy is one of increased racial friction brought on by the President’s own words and policies, echoed by Attorney General Eric Holder and amplified by the President’s chief racial advisor, Al Sharpton.

It permeated the left-wing political structure and was condensed into the kind of provocative talking points you heard from New York’s pugnacious Mayor William de Blasio.

In recent years, we have seen attacks on the first amendment.  Kids who post negative opinions about teachers on social media are punished.  People who espouse loyalty to terrorists are arrested – perhaps not enough.  If you make offensive racial remarks, you are guilty of hate crimes.  Even Tea Party criticism of national policy is dubbed terrorism.

The movement to criminalize free speech is rampant, except when it comes to provocative left-wing, politically correct bellowing.

When people like Al Sharpton use his platform to give black people a heightened sense of victimization, and fuel embers of anger and hatred, this is not only acceptable to the President, the Attorney General and the mayor of New York, it is reinforced.  Yet, this rhetoric, dangerous as it is, is never challenged as incendiary or provocative.

Obama and Holder sympathize with blacks killed not matter the circumstances.  They send White House representatives to the funeral of a dead street thug, elevating him to a racial hero.  The President compares another dead young man to a “son.”  In virtually every case, he calls out the police before investigations even begin.  De Blasio publicly admits that he educates his mixed race son to be wary of the police.  They call criminal rioters, “demonstrators.”

They have used public office and publicity to demonize the police.  There was no official outrage over scores of “demonstrators,” white and black, chanting for the murder of police.  There was no outrage against those who expressed giddy pleasure at the assassination of the two law enforcement officers.

The result?  Two dead police officers, killed because of the heightened racial tensions caused by racist policies and rhetoric.  Yes, the shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, is likely a mental case, but that is exactly who this racially charged rhetoric  motivates first.

Despite their best efforts, the responses to the deaths of the two officers from Obama, Sharpton and de Blasio lack the deep sincerity you would hope for.

The head of the New York police union goes so far as to say there is blood on the hands of de Blasio and Sharpton.  While that seems pretty harsh, it is also hard to refute.

Praise for Obama on Crimea … finally.

One of the obligations of an honest critic is to praise when deserved.  It could have been sooner.  It could have been more.  But, I will credit President Obama with taking important symbolic and meaningful action against Vladimir Putin, and his territorial war against the Ukraine.  Obama has cut off the exportation of critical technology to the Crimea province of the Ukraine currently occupied by Russia.  He also imposed sanctions on companies and individuals aiding a Russian takeover.

Yeah, yeah, I know he is only following what Canada and the European Union previously announced.  But lacking a desire for strong leadership, I at least give him credit for good follower-ship — I suppose that is the Obama doctrine of  “leading from behind.”

WANNA BET? The Bergdahl case gets swept under the rug in the Oval Office

Recently, under “old business,” I wondered what had become of the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted and was then traded for five top terrorist leaders.

Leaked reports indicate that the Bergdahl investigation found he was guilty of desertion in time of war, and culpable if not totally responsible for the deaths of soldiers trying to find and rescue him.  These are extremely serious charges, and would normally result in a court martial and prolonged incarceration.

Unfortunately, such an outcome would make President Obama look worse than incompetent.  He negotiated with terrorists.  He aided and abetted terrorism by send five of the most extreme militants back to the field of battle.  He allowed Bergdahl to be promoted even before the investigation began.  Bergdahl as determined to be eligible for up to $350,000 in back pay and benefits — which cannot be retrieved even if he is found guilty.

Therefore, I suspect Bergdahl will demoted and discharged on a less than honorable basis.  His reward for desertion on the field of battle and the deaths of fellow soldiers will be a prompt return to family and friends, with a very nice bonus from the taxpayers.  Five terrorist leaders are also back with family, friends and fellow American-hating terrorists.

Give the man in the Oval Office credit for yet another lose-lose situation for America.

DAILY OBSERVATON: Why the Obama deal with Cuba is bad all around.

Since November, I had been telling people that they have yet to see the worst of Obama.  With no more elections in the future, no control over Congress and no Harry Reid to block legislation from reaching his desk, we will see a succession of autocratic directives coming from the White House.  In many ways, he is bitter and lashing out at a country that took him down from the pedestal upon which he placed himself.  In the worst of the Chicago tradition, it is payback time on the America the radical left loathes.

His private deal with Raul Castro is another in what will be a long string of hard core left-wing dictates to be coming from the Oval Office.  Whether you agree that normalizations with Cuba is a worthy goal or not, this is not the time or way to do it.

For decades, Cuban leaders have longed for a deal with the United States that would bring untold advantages to their struggling economy and more power to their brutal regime.  While sanctions failed to topple the two-headed Castro regime, they did prevent the dictatorial duo from becoming popular – an important leverage for both the United States and eventually the welfare people of Cuba.

Once again, Obama uses past precedents that are not true examples.  The administration cites China and Russia as two adversaries where we benefited by normalizing relationships.  Where Obama is typically deceptive is that normalization with those nations came on OUR terms, with great benefits to world trade and free enterprise.  In the case of China and especially Russia, we were open to negotiations AFTER we put their economies on the road to collapse.

In Cuba, Obama is giving benefits to the dictators without any discernible benefits to the United States.  Sure, we got the release of one American hostage, but the Obama trade was typically disproportionate.  And, despite his grand announcement, there are elements of the trade that are beyond his power.  He is again tip toeing to the edge of abuse of power.

Obama only offers some vague hope that things will get better with Cuba in the far future.  There is no quid pro quo addressing Cuban civil rights abuses, crushing opposition, supporting international terrorism, confiscation of American property and undemocratic policies.  In other words, for a public relations victory among his radical left-wing base, Obama has strengthened the grip of the totalitarian Castro brothers and their Communist successors.

It is said that the Obama-Castro deal was brokered by the Pope.  It seems to be so.  To me this makes the Pope just another hard core left-wing leader, who holds America in contempt.  Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan formed an alliance to bring down the Soviet Union.  Obama and Francis have formed an alliance to bring down American power and influence.  I predict his narrow political views will exacerbate the loss of membership in the Catholic Church.  I already know a few who heading out the door.  I also expect that Francis will be the first Pope to be welcomed to the United States by demonstrators opposing his reign.

Cuba is another example of the Obama doctrine that suggests that a weak America is better for the world.  For six years, he has sided with America’s traditional adversaries over long time friends.  He has bowed figuratively and literally to despotic leaders who would be thrilled to see American influence in the world diminished to the point of irrelevancy.  This is why he chokes up when ever asked about American Exceptionalism.

New feature –> OLD BUSINESS: Old business is news, too.

In formal meetings, the agenda usually includes something called “old business.”  It is how past unresolved issues can be brought up for further review.

It occurred to me that this would be a good idea for all those talking heads on cable news channels.

Allow me to preface.

In watching the news on all the major channels, I find two things troublesome. First is the custom of using their own talking heads and “contributors” over and over on one show after another.  It seems most of the guest experts are merely folks from their other programs or their regular stable of panelists.  The principal anchors host their own show and guest on all the others.  I sort of think “news” should present something new.

The second problem is the focus on very few stories.  When there is a very dramatic event, it is understandable to give it more air time, but often there is nothing new to report.  I found this particularly annoying on CNN, which gave hours upon hours of air time to the missing Malaysian jetliner – with nothing more to say than it was still missing.  FOX’s Bill O’Reilly bragged that his show does not delve into speculation and for the next hour there was nothing but speculation about what happened to the plane.

So, my recommendation to the news providers is to engage more outside experts rather than regurgitate the opinions of in-house staff.  And secondly, the stations should create a segment for “old business.”

For example, I will deal with this in this blog from time to time – starting now.

OLD BUSINESS

WHAT HAS BECOME OF SGT. BOWIE BERGDAHL?

Every time Obama sends off more Gitmo detainees back to the bosom of terrorism, I keep getting reminded of Sgt. Bowie Bergdahl.  For those who may have forgotten him, as has most of the Main Stream Media, Bergdahl is the guy the President traded for five high level terrorist leaders.  ISIS and al Qaeda got replenished, and we got back a guy who deserted his post, fled to the enemy and caused the deaths of American soldiers trying to rescue him.

So far, no update on the promised investigation.  We actually know more about what happened to the released terrorists.  Some, if not all, are not back in action.

Rather than being brought before a military tribunal to adjudicate his case and apply appropriate military punishment, if deemed necessary based on facts.  The good sergeant was whisked away to the obscurity of a cushy military job, was given back pay and received a promotion.

All this got me to thinking.  We have made several attempts to us Special Forces to liberate captured American hostages because we never negotiate with the enemy.  Good policy, because it prevents future kidnappings.  So, why did we negotiate for Bergdahl, arguably a less worthy a subject.  The others were taken forcefully, while Bergdahl literally walked into the enemies arms.

IS THE WAR STILL GOING ON IN SYRIA?

Do you recall when President Obama said that Libyan tyrant Bashar al Assad, would have to go – and even predicted his departure in the near future?

First of all, a President should never make such brash and foolish statements unless he has a pretty good plan to accomplish the mission.  Obama did not have such a plan.

But how is it going?  The news media seems to have lost interest.

Well from what I can tell, it is going very badly.  Assad is still in power, the battle rages and the United States looks weak and fleckless.  In failing to arm and support the insurgents early on, the United States has adversaries no matter who wins – Asaad. ISIS or the insurgents no influenced by al Qaeda .

What policy Obama might have had – and it is not easy to identify one – has collapsed. It currently appears that Assad will eventually win out.  In Iraq, we are fighting alongside Iran to knock out ISIS and in Libya we are on the side of ISIS to knock out Assad.

IS IRAN GOING NUCLEAR?

While the Obama administration plays paddy cake month-after-month with Iran constantly extending the talks, the number one terrorist nation in the world, not conceding statehood to the so-called Islamic State, the Iranians are freed of the burden of sanctions that were crippling their economy.

As Secretary of State John Kerry deludes himself into believing that the Iranians are negotiating in good faith, the folks in Tehran are building up their economy, strengthening their military and moving forward on developing munitions-grade plutonium.

Apparently, Obama & Co. is willing to give them all the time they need.

RETURN TO FORT HOOD.

What in hell is taking so long to determine that terrorist Major Nidal Malik Hasan should be tried, found guilty, as is so obvious, and executed?  Why is it still “workplace violence” in Attorney General Eric Holder’s mind?

The only new development I have seen is a move by Republicans in Congress to award those killed and wounded the Purple Heart, as they so well deserve.  Why does Obama have such a problem with this?

REMEMBER ALTON ALEXANDER NOLEN?

Alton Alexander Nolen is the Islamic terrorist who beheaded a woman in Oklahoma. Like Hasan, he also has not been declared a terrorist even though all the evidence shows he was doing the bidding of ISIS.  I am assuming that by not declaring all these Muslim jihadist attacks on Americans a terrorist attack, but just a local crime, the Obama administration does not have to count them as terrorist attacks on their watch.

REDSKINS WATCH.

I know the football team is still called the Redskins, but what has happened to all those inappropriate and abusive threats of government intervention?  This is a perfect example of idiotic political correctness actually creating a racial issue where none existed.  So, will the government sneak away silently in the night after their high profile bluster, or will they push forward and remind themselves why freedom loving Americans turned against them last November?