Suds Diplomacy… The Missing Story

August 2, 2009

Man, did I blow the prediction of the outcome of the famous (infamous?) meeting between Prof. Gates, Sgt. Crowley, the POTUS, and (unexpectedly) Joe Biden. (Did you notice that Joe was drinking non-alcoholic beer? Hmmm…) I claimed that there was too much at stake, that the unions didn’t want to pick a fight with Obama, and that Obama definitely didn’t want to pick a fight with the unions. That Obama would demand “nicey-nicey” between the cop and the prof as a good photo op and happy ending.

So what actually happened? Who knows… Maybe the cop was just stubborn and was in the right and wouldn’t apologize. Maybe… Or just maybe it had something to do with the union brass that accompanied the good Sergeant to that fateful “Beer Summit.”

I don’t know. Here’s my guess, though. The President just met the Fifth Estate — an estate of his own creation. Read that unions. Powerful unions… Oh there are the old standbys like the AFL/CIO, and the UAW, etc. But there are others like police unions and SEIU… The very unions that assured Barack Obama’s election them, now want their pound of flesh and then some.

Like I said, I don’t know… But the POTUS was mostly quiet during the “Suds Summit” for a reason… (And from here the speculations freely flow…) Perhaps he was pondering the sleeping giant he’d just awakened. Perhaps he was reminded of the old expression that when two elephants fight, the grass gets trampled. Maybe he was calculating the teachers unions vs. the police unions vs. the AFL/CIO vs. the “Area 51 union”… In any event, something strange happened a few days ago. Even Prof. Gate’s daughter Elizabeth, somewhat self-righteously, said as much

Regardless… There’s something missing here; a part of the story we don’t quite understand yet (if we ever will). Just how much power do the unions have over the Executive Branch of this presidency?

My guess is that’s the missing story, as well asthe formal and rather hoary birth of the Fifth Estate.

Alan Speakman


Doobie Diplomacy

July 30, 2009

Right off the bat, I’m going to admit that this is simply going to be an opinion piece. This isn’t the usual Grand Rants “research saturated”, thoughtful piece. Nope. This is off the cuff.

Here’s the deal. If I lock myself out of my house, and a neighbor sees me busting my way in and calls the cops, I have to explain myself. And if I refuse to provide ID to the responding cops and start yelling out on the front steps, I go to jail. I’m a public nuisance, I’m interfering with a police investigation, and I go to jail. And if I start yelling about a police officer’s “momma”, first I go to the hospital, and then I go to jail. (Sure, toss in resisting arrest…) That’s the way it is. And those charges will not be dropped.

Now enter the Prof, the Cop, and the Prez. Oh, lookie! Charges dropped! Better yet, let’s all gather at 1600 for a beer. The Prof wants it to happen because that little tantrum and its sequelae will further entrench him in the “struggles of the black community”. The Prez and the police unions want kumbaya to happen because they really don’t want to go to with war with each other. And the police officer doesn’t want to get caught in the middle of all this – bad for the career, don’t you know.

You watch. Just watch, This so-called Beer Diplomacy will be a great “teaching experience”. Lots of great pics, with the Prof’s and the Cop’s arms on each others’ shoulders. So this is where it’s at in our culture. (I guess it’s all in how you define “is”…)

I say we just have at it. We’ve lost the definition of words, and the meaning of words, let alone law. We are living in the Tower of Babel, What the hell, let’s just legalize pot and do stuff like this correctly: Doobie Diplomacy.

And no, I’m not kidding. Our society is acting like I used to act when I was stoned on my ass 30 years ago. Back then, objective words had multiple meanings, and reality was pretty damned distant and flexible. Kind of like today. Yup, I say we simply head for “Doobie Diplomacy” and let ‘er ride. Talking over beers? How passé. How about talking over beer bongs? If you think a few Buds will calm the nerves and help everyone gain insight, try a few bowls and a ton of “Funny Bones”.

obama stonedNow stick with me on this; Barack admits to smoking ganja, as does Dubya. Bubba says he didn’t inhale (Bwahahaha…. He’s either the biggest liar, or the biggest twerp. Take your pick.) Anyway, MaryJane ain’t new to the denizens of 1600, so if they’re going to act stoned, they might as well be stoned. Ditto for we the people.

Just picture it… Obama can hold one of his all-important press conferences and finally admit that he doesn’t know what the bleep is going on. (“Another Funny Bone please.”) He can talk with the likes of Iran, China, and North Korea and miss the whole damned shebang because he was trying to find his copy of Grateful Dead’s “Box of Rain”.

No seriously, this is where we’re at. Turbo Tax Tim Geithner can waft around the world claiming that the economy is sound whilst caressed by the Moody Blues “In Search of the Lost Chord”. (Jesus, three decades ago I soaked myself in that music… I sat in a treehouse on a hill in Harwichport, rested my eyes and felt the warm summer sun. At that point, I’m pretty sure I could have made an amicable deal with Beelzebub… How tough could Ahmadinejad be?)

I’m not kidding. Our government officials have left planet earth. Our long-term budget is wildly hopeless. (Sorry, I promised that I wouldn’t put research in this rant… Oops.) Our politicians lie without even blinking. (I’ll give you five days to research that assertion and how did you like the first two days?) The “Elected Ones” don’t even bother to read the bills their lobbyists write. Screw it! Let’s all get stoned! I say that we make Jonathon Edwards the first Pot Czar and go for it. We might as well, we’re already there — just without the weed.

Yeah, forget Beer Diplomacy and cut to the chase: Doobie Diplomacy is in… Now, don’t bogart that jay and where the hell is that box of Funny Bones?

UPDATE: Doug Powers, writing at Michelle Malkin’s blog, goes for Beerestroika: Drinking to Distraction

Alan Speakman

Please Don’t Go to D.C.

July 29, 2009

To: Sergeant James Crowley
Cambridge Police Department
People’s Republic of Cambridge, MA

Dear Sgt. Crowley,

You have nothing to gain by your planned trip to Washington D. C. to have a beer with two racists, and everything to lose.

All accounts from witnesses to released recordings of the 911 call to the recording of the incident itself exonerate you from the charges of racism that have been flung your way. Your history and your work record substantiate your behavior that night. Your colleagues are eloquent in their defense of you, and people famous, not quite as famous, and not famous at all, are standing up for you.

President Obama, the man who brought the entire incident into the limelight in the first place, is now trying to placate, well, everyone, I guess, by inviting you and Professor Gates to have a beer with him at the White House. His reasons for doing so are to prove that you’re all one big happy family, and to divert attention from the fact that the President of the United States commented outrageously and entirely inappropriately on something about which he knew nothing. He opened his mouth, spoke — in a nationally televised press conference — without knowing the facts of the case, and accused you and the Cambridge Police Department of acting stupidly.

The awful realities are obvious. The President is once again trying to back away from the fact that he is a racist. Professor (“Your Momma”) Gates is a racist. And, sadly, your police unions would happily throw your personal integrity under the bus to maintain a cozy relationship with 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Please don’t pander to these racists and opportunists. Don’t legitimize their attempts to make this a “teaching moment” or a “learning moment” or whatever the phrase du jour is, by lending your presence (and thereby your tacit approval) to this farce.

Say no. Stay home.


For Obama, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

July 28, 2009


As a follow-up to Stoutcat’s rant on “The New Racists”,  we’ve all known someone like President Obama at some point in our lives: A boorish know-it-all who is so in love with the sound of his own voice that he’s constantly jumping into conversations he’s not even a part of. And even when he sticks his foot in is mouth, keeps right on talking as if the more he talks, the more likely the situation will be resolved.

Item: According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, President Obama will host a meeting between himself, his buddy Harvard Professor “Skippy” Gates, and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley. What Obama is hoping no one notices is that the entire event is as counterfeit as a three dollar bill. And it’s a no-win situation for Sgt. Crowley. The one word Crowley won’t hear from either Obama or Gates, I’m guessing is the word, “Sorry.”  They both have too much invested already in their trumped-up profiling claim.

To be clear: This was never about profiling. This was about a police department being called and a report being filed of a possible burglary at a house that had previously been broken into.

According to the African American policeman who accompanied Sgt Crowley to the home, it was the professor who immediately jumped to the race card in an unprovoked rage against the police officer.

Obama’s first big mistake was in taking the question from the reporter during the press conference. If you look at the video of the press conference, the question comes out of nowhere. It’s the only question not related to the health-care reform topic… the only topic of the rare prime-time press conference.

Is it me, or doesn’t it seem just a bit too calculated? My guess is Obama knew he was going to take a beating on the health care issue (which he did) but wanted to be able to end on some question which enabled him to appear presidential and the wise sage. As we all know now, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Obama plunged his foot right into his mouth, leaping to a racist conclusion even after admitting he didn’t have all the facts.

In summarizing his comments, he stated the Cambridge Police acted stupidly. Only a racist assumption could lead to that position… one that assumes Sgt. Crowley acted in a biased manner. This assumption is from the President of the United States, the man responsible for, among other things, selecting nominees for the Supreme Court of the United States. One would hope a person with such authority and responsibility would be a little less quick to play the race card. (Clearly, one would be wrong.)

But it gets worse.

When the White House was inundated with calls the following morning from police organization around the country demanding an apology for his racist assumption and accusation against Sgt. Crowley, Obame just couldn’t trust his Press Secretary “Leave It To Beaver” Gibbs, to handle it. Thus he decided to step in himself and here’s where he now insults our intelligence:

This was the President’s best opportunity to set the record straight, provide a brief mea culpa and, in doing so, bring his completely inappropriate involvement to an end. He simply couldn’t do it.

He again chose to go the route of the race card. In doing so, this man who claimed to be the first “post-racial President” has, in fact, quite possibly done more to set race relations back 20-30 years than anyone else including both Reverends Sharpton and Jackson.

Note several well-crafted lies and mis-directions in the following which are transcript segments from the above video:

“I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved. And I have to tell you that as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was a outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation — and I told him that.”

As he said yesterday?  Not to the press. The comment he made “yesterday” was that Sgt. Crowley had acted stupidly abd that this was just another case of profiling.

“I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently.”

You “gave an impression?” No, you made it clear your position was the Cambridge Police (Sgt. Crowley, specifically) acted stupidly. There was no “impression” at all. And yes, Mr. President, you could have “calibrated those words differently.” But you chose not to. You chose to make the judgement of racism.

“I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station. I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well. My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved.”

Ah yes, the politically correct “out.” No sale, Mr. President. As facts in the form of recordings and testimony emerge, it is clear that Sgt. Crowley acted in accordance with police guidlelines in handling cases of this type. There was no overreaction. Your pal Skippy acted like a horse’s ass to an officer who had come to protect his property. But you just can’t bring yourself to state the truth: The only person overreacting was Professor Gates. You see, folks, Obama just has to have Gates as the victim or else his claim of racial profiling is moot. 

And finally:

“The fact that it has garnered so much attention I think is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America. So to the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate.”

Nice try Mr. President. The only thing the attention is tesimony to is the fact that your comments were inappropriate and have fired up Aftican Americans nationwide into viewing this as a racial incident. You have set back racial relations possibly by decades and besmirched the reputation of a Police Sgt. who actually teaches other policemen techniques to avoid profiling.

Obama spends the rest of his “cameo” in the Press Room making further comments about the problem of profiling in America which only further suggests that’s what this incident was about… instead of a arrogant black professor who immediately jumped to the race card when a policeman was actually there to serve and protect.

Nobody is saying that profiling doesn’t exist. We know it does. But as this case clearly shows, when a Harvard professor and the President of the United States both jump to a conclusion that this was a racial incident, it becomes clear that, yes, there is a problem in this country… and a large part of the blame for the problem needs to be placed at the feet of those who would jump to a wrong and damaging conclusion when the truth is quite different:

  1. The person who committed the offensive act is merely trying to cover his own inappropriate behavior or
  2. A person who was not there and admits to now knowing the facts, not only jumps to the wrong conclusion, but then broadcasts that as if it were true.

Again: Racism is a two-way street and it’s about time the President realizes we are not as dumb as he assumes we are. We saw what he did, how he did it, and how he continues to refuse to accept responsibility for his actions. By holding this meeting with the two participants and joining with Professor Gates in in presenting an agenda  as a “teachable  moment”, they are both predicating this meeting is about racial profiling when, in fact, it wasn’t.

Sgt. Crowley is damned if he goes and damned if he doesn’t. The only way this could have an appropriate ending is if the President and Professor Gates join with Sgt. Crowley and establish that this was a crucial lesson for non-whites to get their facts straight before calling an incident profiling (and I’m not holding my breath). Anything less will render this entire meeting nothing more than another Obama moment of mis-direction and gaffe-covering.

And if the people of the United States haven’t caught on to his tired tactics by now, this beer-moment may well be their “last call.”

Gerry Ashley

The New Racists

July 25, 2009

Skippy Gates

What a fortunate man is Skippy Gates! Imagine coming home from a long trip, not being able to find your keys, and having to have your driver help you break into your own home. Imagine also having good neighbors who, knowing you have been out of town, are keeping an eye on your home for you. Then imagine having a police force which is also quick to protect your home — your castle! — from intruders.

Imagine the appreciation with which you would greet the conscientious police officer who was investigating a possible break-in at your home! You’d be eager to show that you were the home owner, and would gladly show identification to prove it.  Why, you might even call your neighbor to thank her for her diligence.

Of course if you imagined Skippy Gates behaving in such a manner, you’d be wrong. No, Mr. Gates, instead of showing gratitude for the care that his neighbors and the police showed, immediately screamed “Racism!” Of course you know the rest of the story. Lawsuits, recriminations, and the ugly spectre of racism hanging over an arguable exemplary police officer, all on the bitter say-so of an aging, angry race-baiter with an enormous chip on his shoulder.

obamaIn another surprise turn of events, it looks like Barack Obama, America’s first ever post-racial president, isn’t so post-racial after all. By his own words, he’s a good old-fashioned racist. During a nationally televised pimp-my-healthcare program press conference, and after admitting that he didn’t know all the facts of the Gates story, our president concluded that the police acted stupidly. He then used that to segue into a stilted diatribe about racial profiling, forgetting all about his post racial promise. Which, given his past association with men like Rev. Wright, shouldn’t be too much of a surprise at all.

deval patrickAnd even the Massachusetts governor, “Coupe” Deval Patrick is getting into the race-baiting act. In a statement on Thursday, Patrick came down solidly on the side of “I don’t know the facts, but I’m going to side with my pal, Skippy.” Actually, he went even further than that, describing Gates’ experience as “every black man’s nightmare and a reality for many black men…” Honestly, the only way he could have been more inflammatory would have been to call in Al Sharpton.

boxerBut blacks don’t have a monopoly on racist behavior. Senator Barbara “Ma’am” Boxer (D-Idiot) showed her true colors last week when she told businessman Harry Alford that the NAACP would be proud of him. She might just as well have said Mr. Alford was a credit to his race, and that some of her best friends are black. Of course, condescension and racism are nothing new for Sen. Boxer. At various points in her career, she has attacked notables such as Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, and of course, the man who gave Boxer her entrée to the Senate, Justice Clarence Thomas.

The Gates story isn’t over yet, not by a long shot. At some point, those racist comments will redound upon their speakers to their disadvantage. Of course vestiges of racism still survive in America. But some people still are living in — and manifesting — a past that no longer exists. A past in which a black man could never become a respected Harvard professor, or a governor, or even president.


Obama, Race, and Another Campaign Promise Broken

July 24, 2009


President Obama’s reaction to the arrest of Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. shows just one more example of the president’s inability to keep a campaign promise. First, let me tell you a little story to put things in context:

Some years back a police cruiser followed my wife and me home after we’d had dinner out. The cruiser passed by as I parked in our driveway. But the officer immediately turned around and promptly parked at the end of the driveway, effectively blocking us in. As we were both out of the car, he approached me directly and asked to see some identification.

Keep in mind we’re middle aged, pretty respectable looking, and my wife was at the mailbox getting our mail. Still the officer felt — for reasons unknown to us — that there might be  problems and so he wanted my identification. OK, fine. I knew that since he had been following us, he probably knew who I was anyway by running my plates. He had some reason to be standing on our property blocking our car asking for my ID.

I didn’t assume that he was picking on me because my last name sounds Jewish (although it wouldn’t be the first time that had happened). Regardless, I certainly didn’t pull the boorish stunt that Prof. Gates pulled:

Cambridge police said Gates answered an officer’s request for identification by shouting, “No I will not,” according to Figueroa’s report. Gates accused the arresting sergeant of racism and told him, “You don’t know who you’re messing with,” the report said. …”I’ll speak with your mama outside!”

As it turned out, the registration sticker on our license plate had expired, and the officer noticed it and wanted the skinny. But this is where it gets interesting… We couldn’t find our registration, and a check on the plates came back to someone half a state away. Still there was no “Your mama” and we quietly solved the problem. On the other hand, if I’d shouted or refused to provide ID, I would have been in the “Gray Bar Hotel” so fast my head would have spun. And I would have stayed there because I’m not a friend of the POTUS, I’m not a Harvard prof, and because I didn’t try to play the “I’m being discriminated against!” card.

So with that as a backdrop, how did the head of our nation react? He first admitted that he didn’t have all the facts and then immediately claimed that the Cambridge Police acted “stupidly”.

No, no, Mr. President, the Cambridge Police didn’t act stupidly… no more than that police officer acted stupidly in my driveway that night. He had a legitimate concern and he was duty-bound to get to the bottom of it all. We both behaved as gentlemen, and a computer SNAFU was unearthed.  When he left, we were all smiling, my wife and I commenting to each other how efficient our town police are.

But there are two people and two issues that are stupid and sad about this pathetic story:

  • Prof. Gates played the race card on three police officers – one white, one black, and one Hispanic.
  • The President of the United States jumps wildly to a conclusion — even though he first admits that he doesn’t know the facts on which he is opining.
  • A professor with connections and a chip on his shoulder played a “get out of jail card”  that us common folks (black, white, or green) never would have had (or wanted) in the first place.
  • And finally and most tragically, you, President Obama, promised that your term would be the first post-racial presidency. I guess we all should have know better, given your long-time association with folks like Rev. Wright.

Anyway, chalk up yet another presidential broken promise, right along with pledges concerning jobs, transparency, staffing, Gitmo, gay rights, earmarks, a five-day window for all all Americans to read the bills that it turns out no-one has read except the lobbyists who wrote them, etc.

It’s going to be a loooong four years.

Alan Speakman

Obama Will Get What Obama Wants

November 30, 2008

On Oct 15th, I wrote the following about Barack Obama…

He’s just a new old-school Chicago politician. Sure he has associated with Ayers and Wright, but he’s obviously not a terrorist or a racist. He’s simply too bright. But O is tough…

Read that, “The ‘Loony Left’ and the “Hard Right” are both going to be surprised by the President elect. Consider the following:

  • His chosen economic team is by all accounts fairly centrist.
  • He’s keeping Gates as Secretary of Defense.
  • You know those tax cuts for the wealthy? Well Obama might just keep those and let them expire after all.
  • 2.5 million jobs… Create? Or “Create or save…”
  • And then there’s his change in his stance on the war in Iraq.

And so it goes…

Now compare all of the above with the various reasons why he shouldn’t be president. The contrast is stunning and stark, and the lesson is very clear – Mr. Obama will do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said, and associate with whoever to get his way. (George Packer wrote a fantastically true sentence that touched on this in the New Yorker when he wrote,

“Obama, whatever the idealistic yearnings of his admirers, has turned out to be a cold-eyed, shrewd politician.”)

No, Obama isn’t going to fit a preconceived mold, no matter how attractively that mold was cast. And he also isn’t going to look into anyone’s eye and “get a sense of his soul”. The only thing Obama is going to get is exactly what he wants.

The big question is, “What exactly does the President-elect really want?”

Alan Speakman