Saturday, 14 July 2007


Ken Berwitz

The New York Times makes sure to publish a frontal assault on President Bush and his administration every day.  And today is no exception.

One of the components of today's assault is an editorial excoriating Mr. Bush for preventing Harriet Miers and Sara Taylor from testifying in one of the (literally) hundreds of investigations and hearings which Democrats prefer to do rather than legislate on behalf of the country.

Here are the first two paragraphs of the editorial:..

The Bush administrations disregard for the rule of law hit another low this week when Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, defied a Congressional subpoena. Ms. Miers, who was called to testify about the United States attorneys scandal, refused even to show up at the Capitol. A second former official, Sara Taylor, did testify, but she inappropriately invoked executive privilege to dodge key questions. Congress should take firm action to compel Ms. Miers and Ms. Taylor to provide the testimony it is entitled to hear.

Congress has been conducting a much-needed investigation of last years dismissal of nine top prosecutors. The evidence so far strongly suggests that the firings were done for improper political reasons, to help Republicans win elections, and that Ms. Miers and Ms. Taylor were involved. As part of its supervisory authority, Congress is entitled to question the two women. .

I don't claim to be a lawyer.  I don't know who is right about the legal issues involved with Miers or Taylor' when it comes to testifying.  But I do know whether this is a "scandal" and whether there is any basis for calling the dismissal of these attorneys improper.

Presidents have the right to dismiss US attorneys, for their own reasons, and the decision to do so is not subject to congressional ovesight.  Period. End of story.

Clinton fired all 93 US attornies when he took office, and then fired dozens of the attornies he replaced them with thereafter.  Carter - who with great fanfare said that he would de-politicize the hiring of US attorneys - fired 65 US attornies and replaced 64 of them with Democrats.  And so on and so on and so on.

No one had a word to say about this when Clinton, Carter and other presidents did it.  And rightfully so -- because Presidents CAN do it and congress has nothing to say about it.

But this is the Bush administration and BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) is at epidemic proportions.  So if President Bush fires 9 (I thought it was 8, but they're saying 9) attorneys, instead of yawning and going onto the next subject as they did with the other Presidents, suddenly it becomes a scandal.  Suddenly it is improper.

The New York Times long ago forfeited any claim to neutral journalism.  But this is below even their current, already low standards. 

Simply stated, the Times is inventing a "scandal" out of nothing and misinforming its readership by claiming as much.  Their hatred of George Bush supesedes ven basic journalistic responsibility.

Shame on them.


Ken Berwitz

This superb column, written by Thomas Friedman, was published a month ago.  I don't know how I missed it, but I did. 

It is so important and makes so much sense that, albeit a month late, I would like to show it to you.  Please pay special attention to the last two paragraphs, which I have put in bold print..

 word of sanity


New York Times
Published: June 17, 2007

Two weeks ago I took part in commencement for this year's doctoral
candidates at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The ceremony was held
in the amphitheater on Mount Scopus, which faces out onto the Dead Sea
and the Mountains of Moab. The setting sun framed the graduate students
in a reddish-orange glow against a spectacular biblical backdrop.

Before I describe the ceremony, though, I have to note that it
coincided with the news that Britain's University and College Union had
called on its members to consider a boycott of Israeli universities,
accusing them of being complicit in Israel's occupation of the
Palestinian territories.

Anyway, as the Hebrew U. doctoral candidates each had their names
called out and rose to receive their diplomas from the university's
leadership, I followed along in the program. The Israeli names rolled
by: "Moshe Nahmany, Irit Nowik, Yuval Ofir. But then every so often I
heard an Arab name, like Nuha Hijazi or Rifat Azam or Taleb Mokari.

Since the program listed everyone's degrees and advisers, I looked
them up. Rifat got his doctorate in law. His thesis was about
"International Taxation of Electronic Commerce." His adviser was "Prof.
D. Gliksberg." Nuha got her doctorate in biochemistry. Her adviser was
"Prof. R. Gabizon." Taleb had an asterisk by his name. So I looked at
the bottom of the page. It said: "Summa Cum Laude." His chemistry
thesis was about "Semiconductor-Metal Interfaces," and his adviser
was "Prof. U. Banin."

These were Israeli Arab doctoral students - many of them women and
one of whom accepted her degree wearing a tight veil over her head.
Funny - she could receive her degree wearing a veil from the Hebrew
University, but could not do so in France, where the veil is banned in
public schools. Arab families cheered unabashedly when their sons and
daughters received their Hebrew U. Ph.D. diplomas, just like the Jewish

How crazy is this, I thought. Israel's premier university is giving
Ph.D.'s to Arab students, two of whom were from East Jerusalem - i.e.
the occupied territories - supervised by Jewish Israeli professors, all
while some far-left British academics are calling for a boycott of
Israeli universities.

I tell this story to underscore the obvious : that the reality here
is so much more morally complex than the outside meddlers present it.
Have no doubt, I have long opposed Israel's post-1967 settlements. They
have squandered billions and degraded the Israeli Army by making it an
army of occupation to protect the settlers and their roads. And that
web of settlements and roads has carved up the West Bank in an ugly and
brutal manner - much uglier than Israel's friends abroad ever admit.
Indeed, their silence, particularly American Jewish leaders, enabled
the settlement lunacy.

But you'd have to be a blind, deaf and dumb visitor to Israel today
not to see that the vast majority of Israelis recognize this historic
mistake, and they not only approved Ariel Sharon's unilateral uprooting
of Israeli settlements in Gaza to help remedy it, but elected Ehud
Olmert precisely to do the same in the West Bank. The fact that it is
not happening now is hardly Israel's fault alone. The Palestinians are
in turmoil.

So to single out Israeli universities alone for a punitive boycott
is rank anti-Semitism. Let's see, Syria is being investigated by the
United Nations for murdering Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik
Hariri. Syrian agents are suspected of killing the finest
freedom-loving Lebanese journalists, Gibran Tueni and Samir Kassir.. But
none of that moves the far left to call for a boycott of Syrian
universities. Why? Sudan is engaged in genocide in Darfur. Why no
boycott of Sudan? Why?

If the far-left academics driving this boycott actually cared about
Palestinians they would call on every British university to accept 20
Palestinian students on full scholarships to help them with what they
need most - building the skills to run a modern state and economy. And
they would call on every British university to dispatch visiting
professors to every Palestinian university to help upgrade their
academic offerings. And they would challenge every Israeli university
that already offers Ph.D.'s to Israeli Arabs to do even more. And they
would challenge every Arab university the same way.

That's what people who actually care about Palestinians would do.
But just singling out Israeli universities for a boycott, in the face
of all the other madness in the Middle East - that's what anti-Semites
would do.


"That's what people who actually care about Palestinians would do". 

Does that say it all! 

In my opinion (maybe Friedman's too, though it is not addressed here), the United States and Israel are especially despised by the left because they are the two most conspicuously successful Democracies on earth.  The US because we are the biggest and strongest, and Israel because, in a sea of hatred and against an international boycott, they have blown dramatically past every Arab neighbor in just about every important attribute - education, technology, science, medicine, agriculture and industry to name a few.

There are people whose concept of the world begins and ends with the idea that there are many oppressed people and some successful ones, so the successful ones must necessarily have become successful on the backs of the oppressed.  Thus they must be despised.

It reminds me of that great H. L. Mencken quote:   There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible and wrong"


Ken Berwitz

As we read this week about President Bush's low job approval numbers, I thought it would be good to show you how the Democratic congress made out during this same period.

Mainstream media have a curious habit of giving half the story when it comes to job approval.  And it's not like they don't have access to it all -- I pulled this straight from the Associated Press.  As usual, the bold print is mine:.


Last updated July 13, 2007 1:56 p.m. PT

AP Poll: Public gives Congress low marks


WASHINGTON -- In the eyes of the public, Congress is doing even worse than the president.

Public satisfaction with the job lawmakers are doing has fallen 11 points since May, to 24 percent, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. That's lower than for President Bush, who hasn't fared well lately, either.

Bush has been taking heat over the Iraq war, his decision to spare a former top vice presidential aide from going to prison and his desire for an overhaul of immigration laws that critics said would give a free pass to illegal immigrants. His job approval rating in the AP-Ipsos survey remained virtually unchanged at 33 percent.

The 24 percent approval rating for Congress matched its previous low, which came in June 2006, five months before Democrats won control of the House and Senate due to public discontent with the job Republicans were doing.

Just two months ago, 35 percent of the public approved of Congress' work.

Poll respondents from both political parties say they're tired of the fighting between Congress and the White House, and want the two branches of government to work together on such issues as education, health care and the Iraq war.

"They don't approve of anything he does," Theresa Holsten, 55, a Republican and unemployed resident of Lawton, Okla., said of Congress. "He can't do anything right, according to what some people say. It irritates the living daylights out of me."

Tammy Lambirth, 42, a data researcher from San Antonio, disapproves of "all the fighting that they do all the time."

The latest tussle involves Bush's refusal to hand over documents and let former White House aides answer questions from the Democratic-controlled Congress about the firing of U.S. attorneys. The dispute could end up in federal court.

"The Republicans are just stonewalling everything, and the Democrats are just not stepping up and making them do what they need to do, especially about Iraq," said Lambirth, a Democrat. "They need to make our troops get out of Iraq."

While the public's approval of Congress has dropped 11 points since May, the percentage of Democrats who are turning up their noses at Congress - like Lambirth - nearly doubled. Among Republicans, though, not so much.

Approval among Democrats fell 21 points, from 48 percent in May to 27 percent.

It remained low among Republicans, at 20 percent, and has not changed significantly in the past two months.

Democrats won control of Congress on the strength of their promises to end the Iraq war, but so far have failed to do it. Bush vetoed one spending bill that included a deadline for ending the war, and Democrats don't have the votes to override him.

An increase in the federal minimum wage became law, but much of the Democratic agenda has cleared the House only to become bottled up in the Senate, where the party has a much narrower working majority.

Democrats need to be mindful of the public's satisfaction with Congress' productivity, especially as the party campaigns to win back the White House in elections next year, said political science professor Kenneth Sherrill.

"If you manage to persuade a very large number of voters, including an increasing percentage of people who associate with your own party that you're not capable of governing, you're in real trouble," said Sherrill, who teaches at Hunter College in New York City. "That is not a good message to send."

Among other survey findings:

-Bush's marks on his handling of the economy and domestic issues like health care, education and the environment, held steady, at 37 percent on the economy and 33 percent on domestic matters. Last month, Bush was at 37 percent approval for his stewardship of the economy, and 32 percent on domestic issues.

-On handling of foreign policy, including terrorism, 38 percent approved, compared with 35 percent last month.

-On handling the Iraq war, 31 percent approved, compared with 28 percent last month.

-One-fourth of the people, or 26 percent, said the country is headed in the right direction. Last month, 21 percent said the country was on the right track.

The telephone survey of 1,004 adults was conducted July 9-11 in English and Spanish by Ipsos, an international public opinion research company. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points. .

So what is the rest of the story?  Well let's see:

-The Democratic congress has fallen to the levels that Republicans were when the Democrats won congress from them.  That can't be very good.

-In two months congress dropped from 35% approval to 24% --- that is one third of the total approval, gone in 60 days.  Yikes.

-President Bush has held steady and gained during this period.

Credit where credit is due:  I found this in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which is hardly what you'd call a pro-Bush/anti-Democrats publication.  But have you seen it featured in the network news?  In major city dailies like the New York Times, et al? 

We certainly don't have to wonder if media are going to tell us how President Bush has dropped in approval, do we?  Would that these same media were as quick to show when things go at least as bad, even worse, for Democrats. 

It's called journalistic integrity.  Whatever happened to it?



Ken Berwitz

You read stuff like this and question the sanity of  the people who perpetrate it. 

I got this from the invaluable website,  And it is jaw-dropping:.

Schools told to dump Churchill and Hitler from history lessons


Secondary schools will strip back the traditional curriculum in favour of lessons on debt management, the environment and healthy eating, ministers revealed.

Even Winston Churchill no longer merits a mention after a drastic slimming-down of the syllabus to create more space for modern issues.

Along with Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King, the former prime minister has been dropped from a list of key figures to be mentioned in history teaching

The only individuals now named in guidance accompanying the curriculum are anti-slavery campaigners Olaudah Equiano and William Wilberforce.

The omission of Churchill added to a growing row over Labour reforms to secondary education - the most radical since the national curriculum was introduced in 1988.

Critics warned traditional subject disciplines were being stripped of key content and used to promote fashionable causes and poorly-defined life skills

Schools are also being told to tear up the timetable of eight lessons a day and introduce classes lasting a few minutes - or several hours - by mixing different subjects together.

Five-minute lessons on spelling, French or German could be drip-fed throughout the day

Key subjects such as history and science will be cut back to allow teachers to spend a quarter of the day helping pupils who struggle with literacy and numeracy.

At the same time, staff will be expected to introduce topics such as personal finance and Urdu aimed at preparing youngsters for life in the 21st century

The news follows a report from the think-tank Civitas warning that subjects are being hijacked by politicians to promote pet causes.

Deputy director Robert Whelan said: It is almost as if the Government has taken the damaging trends highlighted in our report and ratcheted them up a notch. .

Churchill? Gone.  Gandhi?  Martin Luther King?  Buh-bye.  Hitler and Stalin?  Who were they? 

Forget them all.  We're talking about good eats and conversational Urdu.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot.  And those two major influences of world culture, far more significant than those other guys....Olaudah Equiano and William Wilberforce.  How could anyone leave out THOSE two?

I suppose it's nice, in a way, to know that some educators are as insane on the other side of the pond as they are here.  But, to tell you the truth, it isn't giving me very many warm fuzzies.

When do we take back the educational system from these absolute nutcakes?


Ken Berwitz

Don't you love a good feud?  If so, you'll love this one, because it is developing into a classic.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., obviously, is the son of Robert F. Kennedy.  Now you may or may not have liked RFK (I thought he was a a consummate opportunist and hypocrite) but at least he seemed to know what he was saying, even if it may have changed with the political winds.

By contrast, RFK Jr. is an enviro-whacko of the first order. You can read about his looney-tune positions by Googling his name - provided you scroll past the first screen (isn't it amazing how people like this are insulated through "google-bombing", which gets only the positive comments about them on that first page?)  You'll see what I mean, I guarantee it.

Anyway, somehow he and John Stossel, the no-nonsense consumer advocate from ABC News, have gotten into a media shouting match.  And, as I noted earlier, this one is becoming a classic.  You thought Rosie O'Donald and Donnell Trump*** were at each other?  Read this: .

RFK Jr Tirade, Air America, John Stossel, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity


Against RFK Jr, Stossel Plays Pit Bull

After one too many fringe tirades by kookmaster / Air America host
Robert F Kennedy Jr, ABC's John Stossel has had enough. The longtime 20/20 presenter unleashed a tirade against the Hyannisport Hippycrite, accusing him of inconsistent positions on environmental issues, according to Page Six:

...Stossel has had no qualms about using "20/20" to rip Kennedy as an unabashed hypocrite, citing the fact that he's part owner of a bottled water company and opposes alternative energy near the Kennedy compound in Massachusetts.

The latest blow-up between the two began last Saturday when Kennedy took the stage at the sold-out Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium, which featured such rock acts as the Police, Bon Jovi and Smashing Pumpkins. He named Stossel as one of several broadcasters who are "these flat-Earthers, these corporate toadies, lying to you, lying to the American public and telling you that global warming doesn't exist."

Kennedy then urged the crowd to e-mail Stossel's advertisers and "tell them you're not going to buy their products anymore." He also ripped Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

Stossel struck back on Steve Malzberg's WOR-AM show Wednesday night. "The level of [Kennedy's] hypocrisy is endless," the newsman fumed. "He flies in private jets while preaching this stuff. He says we have to go to alternate sources of energy. But when they propose a wind farm in Cape Cod miles out to sea where the windmills would be an inch in your eyesight, but it's near the Kennedy compound, so he opposes it. I mean, he's an imbecile."

Stossel went on: "This is the same guy who says without a doubt that vaccines are poisoning a whole generation of children, causing IQ deterioration, autism and a host of problems . . . terrifying parents. This guy's irresponsible."

Stossel and others have argued that Kennedy's bottled water company creates waste. But Kennedy insists his Keeper Springs Mountain Spring Water is the first brand to meet the same Food and Drug Administration standards that are applied to city water supplies and that, after taxes, profits go to the Waterkeeper Alliance, which helps preserve the nation's waterways.

Hooboy.  Call it a gut hunch, but I just don't think these two like each other.

Ok, enough with the fun aspect of this feud.  There is a serious issue here as well.

I have blogged numerous times about the hypocrisy of the elitist leftwing crowd, the ones like Gore, and Larry/Laurie David, the human oil slick, John Edwards, et al, who tell YOU to adjust your lifestyle for the environment while THEY live in a parallel universe of privilege and conspicuous consumption. 

RFK Jr. is hardly alone in this regard, as you can see.  But that doesn't make him any less hypocritical, or any less a member of the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do contingent.

What amazes me is how many people they fool.

***I mixed up the names because, in so many ways, these two are interchangeable:  Rich, egotistical, arrogant and sanctimonious.

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