Monday, 11 June 2007


Ken Berwitz

I'm not a big fan of Alberto Gonzalez.  He comes across to me as someone overmatched for his job, who got it because of his friendship with, and loyalty to, President Bush.  I wish he were not the Attorney General and would not be troubled if he resigned.

That said, however, the non-binding "no confidence" vote that senate Democrats have hatched for today has no meaning, no currency, no legal standing and does nothing except tell the world "we don't like Gonzalez and there's nothing we can do about it, so we're going to whine as loudly as possible.  We have nothing better to do with our time".

If there were ever an Attorney General who SHOULD have been forced out it was Janet Reno.  Ms. Reno gave us:

-The Waco Texas disaster, in which 80 men women and children were incinerated.  After 51 days of declining to pick up David Koresh during his numerous trips from the "compound" into town, she signed off on driving the people there crazy for over a day with loud, irritating music and sounds, then attacking them with tanks and other warlike equipment.  Whether the fire that killed them started because it was ignited by the armed forces she sent in or by someone inside, it could have been avoided and wasn't;

-The middle-of-the-night, stormtrooper removal of Elian Gonzalez from his family in Florida...after his mother died getting him out of Cuba.  He is now a poster child for Castro;

-And the sorry spectacle of "Whitewater", in which Reno continued sucking it up for her boss Bill Clinton by expanding the investigation, as Clinton and his flying monkeys kept using every legal maneuver possible to prolong the investigation while attacking Starr for how long it was and how much it cost. 

-Because of Clinton's slime machine and copious backup by our "neutral" media, most people are unaware that it was RENO's call to expand the "Whitewater" investigation, not Starr's.  His job was to do the investigating.  Every day Clinton's flying monkeys went on camera to attack, condemn and defame Ken Starr, knowing this....and making fools out of a great many people trusting people in the process.  And Janet Reno?  She never had the honesty or courage to tell them the truth. 

-Reno's performance in Waco was so grotesquely inept that her own fellow Democrat, John Conyers, called it "a profound disgrace to law enforcement in the United States of America." And lectured her that "You did the right thing by offering to resign. And now I'd like you to know that there is at least one member of Congress that isn't going to rationalize the death of two dozen children." 

But, of course, Ms. Reno didn't resign at all, and continued to prop up her master Bill Clinton throughout his two terms.

By contrast, Alberto Gonzalez, whatever his failings and shortcomings, has acted with the intent of protecting our country.  His actions certainly have not benefitted either President Bush or him personally, they have been focused on protecting us from international terrorism.  You may have heard of international terrorism:  it is that worldwide in-progress reality which many of the people who hate Gonzalez' guts claim to be nonexistent.  They can't even acknowledge that terrorism exists, let alone fight it effectively.

So let the Democratic majority run its dog and pony show today.  Let them vote "no confidence", whatever that means (which in real terms is absolutely nothing). 

Then, when election day rolls around, let's see how impressed the voters are.  Let's see what Democrats, as a party, answer, when Republicans say:

"We may have made mistakes, but our efforts have always been to protect the country.  What have Democrats done to protect you?  Nothing.  They have ignored terrorism and put all their efforts towards "getting" as many Republicans as they can. 

Partisan politics is all they care about.    In fact, they've told you that global terrorism doesn't even EXIST.  They pretend there was no 9/11, and no terrorist attacks all over the world since then.  They pretend that the terrorist leaders, who tell you in their own words they want to destroy the United States and put it under radical islamic law, are figments of your imagination.

Now, who do you feel safer with?"


UPDATE:  As it turned out, there wasn't any "no confidence" vote, because it was blocked by Republicans.  I doubt that Democrats realize it, but this was a favor to them, since it prevented them from looking whiney and ineffective.  Maybe now they'll try to accomplish something legislatively, and take time out from small, vindictive, meaningless sniping that benefits nobody, including themselves.


Barry Sinrod
June 10, 2007    
Op-Chart: The State of Iraq

See what's free at


Ken Berwitz

Gaza has been "judenrein" for a year now.  No Jewish soldiers (except in reaction to specific attacks from Gaza into Israel) and no settlers. 

Without any Israeli Jews (or any other Jews for that matter) it must be peaceful, right?  After all, the only impediment to these peace-loving folks was Israel's presence, right?

If you are nodding agreement to either of the last two questions, I suggest you read the following Associated Press dispatch:-

Nowhere safe for Gaza residents

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press WriterMon Jun 11, 3:14 AM ET

A hospital doctor is seized after attending his brother's police graduation ceremony and shot in the legs because of his suspected Hamas sympathies. A 72-year-old retired fisherman is beaten up in a mosque for tearing down Hamas posters.

As the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah turns increasingly brutal, a terrifying realization has taken hold in Gaza nowhere and no one is safe. Everyone is a potential target. Danger and risk once confined to combatants have found their way into homes, schools, mosques.

Gazans won't discuss politics anymore, for fear of retribution. Ambulance drivers are reluctant to answer emergency calls because they don't know which checkpoint they might come across along the way.

"There's a blanket of fear around the city," said human rights activist Raji Sourani.

Gazans say seven years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting were much easier to deal with than the yearlong power struggle between the Islamic militant Hamas and the Fatah movement of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Battle lines were clear in the confrontation with Israel, and risks more easily calculated than in the internal fighting that has claimed 200 lives in the past year.

Instilling fear in ordinary people is intentional, said Walid al-Awad, a member of the tiny People's Party who grew up in Lebanon during the civil war there, then moved to Gaza and now tries to mediate between Hamas and Fatah. The combatants want to paralyze civilians and prevent them from "thinking of doing anything against this or that group," he said.

No one knows where the next bullet will come from.

Last week, Dr. Fayez al-Barrawi, a 29-year old physician at a north Gaza hospital, was attending a graduation ceremony for the newest recruits of the Presidential Guard, an elite force loyal to Abbas. One of al-Barrawi's brothers was among the graduates, and the doctor, a Hamas supporter, videotaped the event, held at the Presidential Guard's heavily fortified compound.

Al-Barrawi, who wears a close-cropped beard, often a sign of association with Hamas, said that while filming he was approached by armed men who accused him of spying for Hamas. The doctor said he was dragged away, bundled into a jeep, blindfolded, handcuffed and driven to another location.

There, he was interrogated, beaten, dumped in a field, then shot six times in the legs and one of his kneecaps. Al-Barrawi now lies in a hospital, with metal rods in his legs, and doctors say he might need a year to heal.

Al-Barrawi's attackers apparently were Fatah gunmen. The Presidential Guard said in a statement it was not involved and that the abduction did not take place during the ceremony, as al-Barrawi claims.

Nimr Bakr, the elderly fisherman, is recovering in another hospital from a severe beating that left him with bruises and a dislocated shoulder.

Bakr, who is from a well-known Fatah family, is a volunteer caretaker at the Kahlil Al Rahman mosque in the Shati refugee camp on the outskirts of Gaza City. He is not a friend of Hamas and routinely tears down Hamas posters in the neighborhood on the way to the mosque.

On Saturday, he was attacked by four men he described as Hamas supporters. He said the assailants dragged him into the basement of the mosque, hooded and handcuffed him, then beat him with chairs, rifle butts and sticks.

Bakr said the attackers acted "as if they found a spy who wants to blow up the mosque."

Hamas denied involvement in the attack.

Another Gaza resident, 52-year-old Abul Abed, didn't even have to venture out. The fighting came to his beachfront high-rise in the upscale Tel al-Hawwa neighborhood. Last month, a mortar tore a hole into the facade of his apartment and destroyed his daughters' bedroom.

No one was hurt, but the panicked family of eight hastily fled, at first seeking refuge with relatives. Abul Abed, who wouldn't give his last name for fear of retribution, said he's now furnishing a new apartment in another neighborhood that hasn't yet seen any fighting.

"The national struggle is now turning against me, the citizen," said Abul Abed. "I am afraid to see a friend at night ... I am afraid to go to the beach."

Abul Abed, who sells cosmetics and perfumes, keeps little money in his shop because he worries about armed robbery. Police have reported a 30 percent increase in robberies of shops from 2005 to 2006.

Abul Abed's 7-year old son, Abed, won't go anywhere without his father. The boy asked for Khofa, or "fear treatment," common in Gaza, in which lay healers offer massage with olive oil, often accompanied by readings from the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

One such healer, 28-year-old Adham Abu Nasser from Shati, said he'd get about five or six calls from patients during an Israeli incursion, but treated about 15 people last month.

He said some sought his help after visiting wounded people at the hospital. Others were traumatized by going through checkpoints run by unpredictable gunmen.

"Everything around us now is causing us all to fear," he said. "Everything around us is scary." -

It seems that, for a great many palestinian Arabs, the only thing they can agree on is hatred of Jews.  If they were more successful in killing and maiming Jews, they might have less interest in killing and maiming each other.  But they aren't, so their time is occupied doing it to each other.

One of the many great tragedies here is that I have no doubt there are many Gazans who would like nothing better than to live and let live.  Not all Palestinian Arabs are stupid, hate-filled, violent and self-destructive.  Not by a long shot.  I am certain there is a significant segment of the population which understands that there is a better way, and it is peaceful coexistence. 

But would you want to be the one to say so out loud?  Well, neither would they.  The unrelenting, pervasive violence they would be subjected to for voicing such an opinion makes it impossible.  So, despite what might be in their hearts, they are forced to be silent complicitors.

I wish I could see a solution to this horror show somewhere.  But I can't.  Maybe you can help me out and tell me what it is.


Ken Berwitz

As you probably have seen, Barry put up a chart from that noted source of neutrality, the New York Times, and has told you that:



When someone makes a demand like this, I feel you have to really look at the material being presented - in this case, the chart.  So I did.  And here is what I found, line by line:

-We have the same number of troops in Iraq now that we had four years ago.  The troop level had dropped, but is now back up to where it was, because we are attempting to quiet Iraq via a troop surge.  Ok........

-About half the non-USA foreign troops have pulled out over the past four years.  I wish they hadn't, but that is their decision, not ours. In any event, it has nothing to do with whether we are correct or incorrect to be in Iraq.

-US troop deaths are up in this month compared to the same month four years ago.  I'm very sorry to see that, but it is hardly a surprise.  We had 123 combat deaths in May.  By way of comparison, we averaged over 1,000 deaths a month during the major war years in Vietnam and over 10,000 a month during WWII (407,000 in total).  So, in reality, 123 is an extremely low number.  While I wish the number were 0, combat deaths are a consequence of any war.

-Most troop deaths (65%) are from roadside bombs.  In other words, since the "insurgents" do not have the support of the government, or the masses of Iraqi people, all they can do is blow things up here and there to kill and destroy.  That is their agenda - it is also what we would leave the country at the mercy of, if we were to cut and run.

-Iraq has gone from no security forces to 349,000 over the past four years.  That is not good news, it is great news.  It means they, rather than we, will increasingly take over national security which should enable us to lower both our troop strength and combat casualties.  Isn't this precisely what we want to happen; Iraqis defending themselves?

-Iraqi security fatalities have quadrupled over the past four years.  Hardly surprising since they are more and more in charge of their own security. While I don't like to see them die, the reason it is happening is because one of our objectives - self governance and security of Iraq - is moving forward.  Therefore, despite the Iraqi casualties, this is very good news.

-Monthly attacks against the coalition and civilians are horrific.  That is awful news.  But I note with great interest that the chart does not separate the two.  Most of those attacks are by "insurgents" on the civilian population .  The USA is not culpable for this, it is something we, with Iraqi troops, are trying to prevent.  If you want to prosecute someone for attacks like these, prosecute the global terrorists who streamed into Iraq and are performing these cowardly acts. 

-Iraqi civilian deaths are way up - again at the hands of insurgents rather than the USA.  While it is an interesting component of the chart, we are out of the loop. It is not something that we do, nor something that is done to us -- it is what insurgents are doing to Iraqi civilians.  Maybe that's why one of the lines that DIDN'T make the chart is what percentage of Iraqis want us to stay until insurgents are defeated.  No one likes an occupier, and that's what we are.  But you can bet that Iraqi civilians like being sitting ducks for terrorists even less.

-The number of new Iraqi civilians being displaced by violence, while up from four years ago, is actually down 25% in the past year.  Again, it has to be remembered that insurgents are the ones doing this to civilians, not us. If you want to demand justice against someone, demand it against them.

-Multiple fatality bombings is the only thing insurgents seem able to accomplish, so they do it relentlessly.  Why would you attack the USA because al qaeda forces blow up Iraqi civilians at marketplaces and on job lines?  Wouldn't logic dictate that you attack the insurgents who are planting the bombs?   On the other hand, if you are looking for some reason - any reason - to "get" the Bush administration, you don't think about or notice such trifles as who the actual perpetrators are, you just refllexively blame George Bush, your all-purpose bogeyman.

-Oil production is up about seven-fold.  That is great news. 

-Household fuel supply is up almost six-fold.  That is great news.

-Electricity production is up over seven-fold.  That is great news.

-Unemployment is cut almost in half.  That is great news.

-There are 33 times as many people with telephone service.  That is great news.

-Annual growth is 4%.  That is ok, nothing better, but it certainly isn't bad news.  If you want to see what bad news is, take a look at Zimbabwe - a place where the same left that attacks President Bush every day seems to be blind to. 

-Most Iraqis feel the country is not headed in the right direction.  However, if the troop surge has a positive effect, that will change on a dime.

Whew, that felt good.  So we went through the entire list. And did we find anything to prosecute the USA for?  Or did we find a combination of the logical (if horrible) consequences of war, coupled with areas of astonishingly positive progress?  You see it, you tell me.

There are only two types of people who would conclude that this chart is a basis for prosecuting the Bush administration:  1) someone who didn't actually read it and just assumed it was nothing but bad news against Bush, or 2) someone who did read it and put it up anyway, hoping the headline alone would cause people to make a negative assumption about Bush.

This is what happens when hate supersedes reason.  Now there's an area I wish there were some improvement in.


Ken Berwitz

I didn't know a thing about this until today.  But, having read the article by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann (excerpted below), it has all the markings of a Nancy Pelosi-Ricardo** classic:-

Pelosi's Hypocrisy Exposed

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Monday, June 11, 2007

The son of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert moved to Washington when his father became speaker and landed a lush lobbying contract for Google.

When Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, she promised to change things -- to enact serious, and long overdue, ethical reforms -- to stop the growing trend of legislators and their families accepting gifts, trips, and jobs from lobbyists and corporations.

Well, some things never change.

Several days ago, disclosed that in February, shortly after his mother became the first woman speaker, Paul Pelosi Jr., was hired by InfoUSA for $180,000 a year as its vice president for Strategic Planning. Pelosi also kept his other full-time day job as a mortgage loan officer for Countrywide Loans in California. And, unlike all of the other InfoUSA employees, he did not report to work at the company's headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

InfoUSA is the same company that has been cited by the New York Times for creating marketing lists that were used by con artists to fleece vulnerable elderly people. The lists had provocative names and offered the names of elderly people with cancer, elderly people with Alzheimer's and gamblers over 55 years of age who think their luck will change. After purchasing the lists, the con artists would call and convince the elderly person that they had actually ordered an expensive item. Once they received the victim's financial information, they often emptied their bank accounts, leaving many people penniless. Some of InfoUSA's internal e-mails suggest that company employees were aware that several of the companies they sold the lists to were under investigation.

And InfoUSA is also the same company that Bill Clinton works for as a consultant, and for which the former president was paid $3.3 million over the past five years. In addition, the Clintons got $900,000 worth of free travel.

Pelosi insisted that the unusual job opportunity had nothing to do with his relationship with his famous and influential mother. He just sent in an application for a job and they hired him.

Of course.  -

Add this one to Ms. Pelosi-Ricardo's advocacy for a San Francisco waterfront project that would significantly upgrade the value of real estate her husband owns nearby, and you get an all too familiar pattern.

This is the woman who railed against special privileges?  The culture of corruption?  Politician, heal thyself.


** I call her Pelosi-Ricardo because, absent the humor, her actions remind me so much of Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy.  The biggest difference is that on I Love Lucy, it was her husband Ricky who had some 'splainin' to do.  In real life, it is Pelosi who owes us some 'splainin'.


Ken Berwitz

It's nice to see that the CCC (Culture of Corruption Crew) is working so hard to maintain integrity among Democratic candidates.

The latest news from Hillary Clinton's camp is that she has appointed congressperson Alcee Hastings as her campaign co-chair.  Hastings, you may be aware, is a disgraced former federal judge, who was impeached and removed for office because he took a $150,000 bribe.  He was subsequently acquitted in a court of law on a technicality, but congress knew exactly what they were dealing with.  Virtually every member of BOTH parties voted to get rid of him.

Now?  He is a valued member of the Clinton team. 

Hey, why stop there?  If Hastings is acceptable to Hillary, I have some other suggestions for her staff:

-How about convincing Chris Dodd to end his going-nowhere presidential bid and be put in charge of her committee on race relations.  Dodd is that nice senator who told us that former (?) KKK member Robert Byrd would have been a great leader at any time in this country's history, including during the civil war. 

-Then we could have Ted Kennedy in charge of a committee on responsible drinking and driving.  Do you really need me to explain why?;

-Jim McDermott, who owes a $720,000 award (just upheld last month) to Republican John Boehner for his involvement in making the contents of an illegal wiretap public?  A natural for security.

-And who could possibly be better as her treasurer than William Jefferson? This is a man who truly knows how to preserve cash.

Finally, her appointments secretary just has to be hubby Bill.  He can be in charge of making sure her supplicants - especially shapely female ones - are treated well (wink, wink).  Hey, we do something for you, and you......etc.

I know that some might disagree with me.  But I feel it is wonderful to see that a man's ethics don't fade away with him, they become entirely indigenous to his wife.


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