Sunday, 03 June 2007

OPEN GOVERNMENT, DEMOCRATIC STYLE

Ken Berwitz

One of the many promises made by Democrats in the past campaign was that there would be open government - i.e., that you would be able to see what they are doing, where they are spending money, etc. in the light of day.  It wouldn't be hidden from you so who knows who, would get who knows what, for who knows who else. 

Well, they won.  It was a great message.  And now...... (As usual, the bold print is mine). -

Democrats Hide Pet Projects From Voters


WASHINGTON (AP) -- After promising unprecedented openness regarding Congress' pork barrel practices, House Democrats are moving in the opposite direction as they draw up spending bills for the upcoming budget year.

Democrats are sidestepping rules approved their first day in power in January to clearly identify "earmarks" - lawmakers' requests for specific projects and contracts for their states.

Rather than including specific pet projects, grants and contracts in legislation as it is being written, Democrats are following an order by the House Appropriations Committee chairman to keep the bills free of such earmarks until it is too late for critics to effectively challenge them.

Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., says those requests for dams, community grants and research contracts for favored universities or hospitals will be added to spending measures in the fall. That is when House and Senate negotiators assemble final bills.

Such requests total billions of dollars.

As a result, most lawmakers will not get a chance to oppose specific projects as wasteful or questionable when the spending bills for various agencies get their first votes in the full House in June.

The House-Senate compromise bills due for final action in September cannot be amended and are subject to only one hour of debate, precluding challenges to individual projects.

Obey insists he is reluctantly taking the step because Appropriations Committee members and staff have not had enough time to fully review the 36,000 earmark requests that have flooded the committee.

What Obey is doing runs counter to new rules that Democrats promised would make such spending decisions more open.-

First it was the culture of corruption that they walked away from.  Then they caved on a timetable for troop withdrawal.  Now they are ignoring their own rules concerning openness in spending bills -- the rules they instituted upon taking power just five months ago.

What is going on here?  Very simple:  It is a combination of politics (i.e. what they say before the election ain't what they do afterwards, fooled you again) and practicality (even if they meant to be at least somewhat open, it is extremely hard when deals have to be made with individual congresspeople, PACs and large-wallet contributors, about spending that doesn't look or smell very good in public).

Ironically, this can operate as a silver lining for Democrats.  If they anger some of their LAMB** supporters enough to drive them away, it liberates the party to move more toward what used to be called the "sensible center".  Right now, with moveon.org and other LAMB groups wielding the kind of influence they do, this is nearly impossible.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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**The Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade

 


WHEN IS ISRAEL SUPPOSED TO ACT?

Ken Berwitz

Suppose you are Israel's head of state.  This means your country is being subjected to daily rocket attacks, daily threats of suicide/homicide bombing (diminished greatly by the security wall you put up -- against the world's wishes), and daily teaching of Arab and/or Muslim children in countries all around you and throughout your region, that you are the spawn of apes and pigs and you should all die.

Now suppose  the head of state of Iran, a country currently building a nuclear arsenal who has told the world Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth, says this: -

Iran president sees "countdown" to Israel's end

Sun Jun 3, 2007 9:12AM EDT

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's president said on Sunday the Lebanese and the Palestinians had pressed a "countdown button" to bring an end to Israel.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who triggered outrage in the West two years ago when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map", has often referred to the destruction of the Jewish state but says Iran is not a threat.

"With God's help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine," Ahmadinejad said in a speech.

"By God's will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future," he said. He did not elaborate.

Iran has described the war last summer between Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel as a victory for the Iranian-backed group. Tehran also often praises the Palestinians for what it says is resistance against Israeli occupation.

Ahmadinejad was speaking ahead of Monday's anniversary of the death in 1989 of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, whose words Ahmadinejad echoed when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

The president's comments caused consternation in Israel and the West, which also fear Iran is seeking to build an atomic arsenal under cover of a civilian nuclear power program, a charge Tehran denies.

Although Ahmadinejad has said Iran is not a threat to Israel, Iranian officials have said Tehran would respond swiftly to any Israeli attack. Some analysts have speculated Israel could seek to knock out Iran's atomic sites.-

You're the head of state of Israel, remember?  What would you do?  Would you wait for Iran to finish developing weapons capable of striking Israel?  Would you believe Iran's head of state when he says you should be wiped off the face of the earth as he builds nuclear weapons that would do it, if he tosses in something like "oh, don't worrry about us, we won't attack?" 

The rest of the world is sitting on it's thumbs and in its usual "let's see what happens" holding pattern.  This is what got us two world wars last century and the immense growth of international terrorism over the past 15 years. 

The difference is that WWI and WWII did not lead to the nuclear annihilation of planet earth.  International terrorism combined with nuclear weaponry very definitely could.  And whether or not the entire world would be engulfed and destroyed, Israel most certainly would be, because it would be first on the list.

You're the head of state of Israel.  What would you do?  Would you wait for this to happen or act? 

Somebody better wake up and fast.  This is everyone's future we're talking about.


KATIE CARWRECK: THE COST OF A HUGE BLUNDER

Ken Berwitz

Well, at least you don't have to ask "what were they thinking?".

They were thinking that they could replace a disgraced has-been, Dan Rather, with a perky, smiley-faced morning babe with star quality, Katie Couric.  And, as an extra bonus, the Today show would take a nosedive because Katie was gone, which would benefit CBS's bottom-dwelling alternative in the "get up and go to work" time slot.

So now that this has gestated for nine months, how did they make out? 

Well, Today is still absolutely dominant over CBS in the morning.  The replacement of Katie with Meredith Viera was virtually seamless. 

But, you might point out, so what?  The boost for CBS in the morning was only a hoped-for byproduct.  What about those great ratings that Katie would generate for her $15 million dollar a year paycheck?

Hokay, here's your answer, courtesy of the New York Post.  They have created the following chart, which shows how cost-effective the Katie move has been for CBS:

 

 

Whoops.

The greatest irony here is that Bob Schieffer, CBS's long-time correspondent who served as the interim anchor between Rather and Carwreck, got more bang for the buck than any of them; even Gibson and Williams, both of whom are beating the pants off of Katie (sorry for the unintended sexual innuendo, but I'm leaving the comment there anyway).

The moral of this story?  If you have to replace a disgraced has-been as your news anchor, don't replace him with a perky, smiley-faced morning babe. 

Any questions?


REAL TORTURE, AND THE DISGRACE OF OUR MAINSTREAM MEDIA

Ken Berwitz

I post this without almost no accompanying commentary, because it speaks for itself perfectly.

The only thing I would say is that I urge you to think back to abu ghraib, those horrifying pictures of a naked man a guy on a dog leash and a guy with panties on his head - every one of which would have been one of the milder pictures from any college fraternity's hell week - and compare them with the pictures this article links to.

If it doesn't make you understand how completely you have been played by mainstream media regarding the war in Iraq, and how they are manipulating your opinion of it, I don't know how to get through to you.-

 

NINE DAYS AFTER PHOTOS RELEASED, NETS AND TOP
PAPERS SILENT OVER AL-QAEDA TORTURE HOUSE


Yet Top Media Ran More Than 6,000 Stories on Abu Ghraib Abuses
 

ALEXANDRIA, VAThe U.S. Defense Department released photos last week of an al-Qaeda torture chamber in Iraq, which showed various torture toolsblow torches, meat cleavers, hammers, drills, metal filesdrawings of torture methods, and photos of actual victims found in another house in Karmah who had been burned, mutilated, and tortured in myriad ways.

To their credit, CNN and Fox News Channel ran stories on the declassified material. Yet nine days since the material was released, neither ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times nor The Washington Post has run a story with the photos of this shocking evidence of al-Qaedas barbarism.

Concerning the top medias silence on the al-Qaeda torture chamber in Iraq, MRC President Brent Bozell issued the following statement:

The elite medias liberal bias is abundantly clear in this case. U.S. soldiers raided several al-Qaeda safe houses in Iraq and discovered stacks of evidence about how al-Qaeda tortures its victims. The tools, the drawings, and the photos are gruesome and clearly show what type of enemy the U.S. is facing.

Yet most of the liberal media are deliberately silent. This is the same self-righteous liberal media that ran more than 6,000 stories and countless photos of Abu Ghraib and the abuse of prisoners there by several U.S. soldiers. Where are they now? Why will they not show the American people what al-Qaeda is actually doing in Iraq right now? Whose side are they on?

Al-Qaedas crimes are a thousand-fold more brutal than anything done by any derelict U.S. soldier. Yet its obvious now that the liberal media want to focus on U.S. misdeeds, and alleged misdeeds, and theoretical misdeeds instead of giving the truth to the American people.

To view the photographs and drawings declassified by the U.S. Defense Department, visit this site,
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0524072torture1.html

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