President Barack Obama has invited Cambridge (Mass.) Police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., to drink beer with him July 30 at a White House kegger.
The president and these Massachusetts guests are at the center of a political controversy.
Crowley was called to investigate a reported break-in at Gates' residence.
Crowley confronted Gates, who reportedly loudly called him a racist for asking for his I.D. (and, worse, for failing to recognize and kowtow to Gates as a privileged media celebrity on the Public Broadcasting Service).
Crowley arrested and handcuffed the scholar for “loud and tumultuous behavior,” a charge quickly dropped by higher-ups who recognized that ours is a country of privilege, not equal treatment under the law.
President Barack Obama raised this local case to global prominence at a press conference by appearing to take Gates' side, declaring that the Cambridge Police Department behaved “stupidly.” The president's uninformed statement was taken as an insult by law enforcement officers across the nation.
Can sharing a beerfest extinguish the hot sparks of anger and distrust that this case and Obama have enflamed?
If this ancient elixir beer can work such calming, peace-making magic, then our president should be remembered in history as Beerack Obeerma.
Brew might open the gates to a Brave New World of beerplomacy in which the president and other officials negotiate by getting sloshed and snockered with tipsy foreign leaders.
But seriously, folks, let's take this occasion to look more deeply into some of the least-reported aspects of this case and beerfest.
Our early presidents served beer and other intoxicants to voters on election days. President George Washington had what we would call a “microbrewery” at Mt. Vernon.
Prohibition was never fully repealed — merely replaced with myriad government regulations, restrictions and high taxes on alcohol. But Americans are permitted to brew 400 gallons of “bathtub beer” tax-free each year for personal consumption.
America is home to more than 1,400 commercial breweries and brewpubs, more than any other nation, churning out 6 billion gallons of beer each year.
(The average sober American swills about 85 pints of beer yearly, ranking us eighth among nations in per capita beer consumption.)
Our microbreweries produce some of the world's finest beers, which could receive a major business boost if Obama heralds them.
But when the White House press secretary was asked about Obama's beer preference, he replied that the president recently imbibed Budweiser.
This evoked memories of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., asking a Philadelphia cheesesteak maker what kinds of gourmet French cheeses he offered.
Worse, it reminds us that Anheuser-Busch was coerced to give its Chicago beer franchise to two young sons of Rev. Jesse Jackson so they, with no experience in this business, could rake in $35 million a year in profits from the scourge of alcoholism in Chicago's African-American community.
Obama is rapidly twisting America into Chicago Democratic machine politics, where everything is for sale — probably even beer-brand White House “product placement” — and graveyards vote to keep the specter of one-party Democratic rule eternal.
If Bud becomes the brew of choice at Obama's peace-pipe White House kegger, then American workers need to remember something:
Budweiser is no longer an American beer. It is owned by InBev, a Belgian-Brazilian-created conglomerate that acquired Anheuser-Busch in 2008.
With 1,400 genuine American homebrews to choose from, what will it say if Obama serves a foreign-owned beer like Budweiser, whose profits go to Brussels?
On another front, the mainstream media has endlessly proclaimed that Crowley handcuffed Gates “in his own home.”
This home at 17 Ware St. in Cambridge is not owned by Gates. It is owned by Harvard University, which is one reason why Harvard Police were summoned to the scene just outside the university's boundary.
Harvard officially says it prefers to rent such properties at “market rates.” But this is the single most expensive three-bedroom, 2.5-bath residence it rents to its scholars, listed at $4,060 per month market rate.
But Harvard acknowledges that it offers discounted rents to certain favored teachers as “financial aid.”
Has Gates been paying $48,720 rent per year for this luxury home?
If he pays less, has he paid income taxes on the money effectively put in his pocket via a lower rent? A lower-than-market rent could be a de facto emolument on which less-privileged people like you and me would be required to pay tax.
A Boston reporter needs to investigate whether Gates has paid taxes on a sweetheart deal here.
Truth be told, the election of Obama as America's first African-American president is a mixed blessing for Gates.
Gates has made his living through grievance, endlessly denouncing America as racist. He heads a Harvard black studies department named for Communist Party USA member W.E.B. DuBois.
Obama's “post-racial” election puts the lie to claims that America is racist. It turns Gates into an obsolete, fading spokesman for a civil-rights cause that has triumphed and no longer needs highly-paid demagogic leaders like himself.
But Gates is media savvy and seized a golden opportunity when he saw one.
By screaming racism at an innocent cop — whose career he was therefore willing to destroy — as a publicity stunt, Gates gained millions of dollars of worldwide publicity — and will easily pocket at least an extra million dollars in speaking fees, book deals, and other opportunities this has created.
Gates' opportunism comes in the dying twilight of poverty pimps and race hustlers like Jackson, Al Sharpton, Democratic politicians of the Obama type, and others who for half a century have enriched and elected themselves by promoting racial polarization, Balkanization, fear, and hatred.
Let's raise our glass at Obama's “teachable moment” and toast the passing of racism — and of its divide-and-conquer profiteers such as Gates.
Lowell Ponte is co-host of the radio show “Night-Watch,” heard live nationwide Monday through Friday 10 p.m. to midnight Eastern time on gcnlive. com.
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