Friday, 12 October 2007


Ken Berwitz

If you think the, Frost family is the first instance of Democrats - with willing accomplices in the media - trotting out a phony example to sell bad policy, think again.

Here is an article by (gasp!) Michelle Malkin, dated February 4, 2000, that tells the story:.

Michelle Malkin



Hillary's poisoned
poster child -- FLORIDA IS HOME to an ill-fated child whose life was ruined upon becoming a political pawn. No, this is not another lamentation about Elian Gonzalez.

This is the tragic tale of Jennifer Bush.

Do you remember Jennifer? Probably not. First Lady Hillary Clinton, who helped turn Jennifer into a national political prop for health care reform in 1994, must be very grateful that we've all forgotten the poor little girl from Coral Springs. Jennifer's story, which took a shocking but largely unnoticed twist last week, is not merely a case of legislation-by-anecdote run amok.

It's poster child abuse.

Six years ago, Jennifer's mother wrote a widely-publicized letter to the White House. "Do you know what it is like to choose between purchasing groceries for the week to feed your family or buying needed medications for your chronically ill child?" Kathleen Bush asked.

Pale and wan, young Jennifer suffered from unidentified chronic digestive problems and myriad ailments from birth. She had her gall bladder, appendix, and fragments of her intestines removed. Those organs were replaced with a tangled cable of feeding tubes that constricted Jennifer's 43-pound frame. Surgeons threaded a catheter into the girl's heart. After 200 hospital visits and 40 operations, the Bush family had racked up medical bills worth more than $2 million.

Puzzled doctors and nurses scratched their heads over Jennifer's 33,000-page medical file. The media ran maudlin profiles of the family. With TV crews in tow, saintly mother and sickly child headed up to Capitol Hill to campaign for Clinton-sponsored health insurance mandates.

Politicians unquestioningly embraced the Bushes and their tale of need. Hillary cuddled with seven-year-old Jennifer for the cameras; their mugs were splashed on the pages of USA Today and newspapers across the country. Shamelessly coached, Jennifer gave the Clintons a lucky silver dollar "to bring you good luck so everyone can have good insurance." In another pre-programmed, kiddie-sized soundbite, Jennifer dutifully told the press: "I pray every night that I can get better - and that everyone can have insurance."

Jennifer's mother reveled in the relentless media attention and generous outpourings of public sympathy. Dropped by the family's health insurer, out of a job, and in allegedly dire financial straits, Mrs. Bush poignantly appealed for government relief from the burden of Jennifer's mysterious illness. "It's strangling us," she told one reporter.

But who was strangling whom? Several years before Hillary deified Mrs. Bush and elevated Jennifer to poster-child stardom, suspicious medical professionals had already begun questioning the mother's role in making her "beautiful little angel" sick. Nurses complained that Mrs. Bush was force-feeding her child with unnecessary seizure drugs that made her vomit.

Independent specialists conducted extensive tests on Jennifer and found no evidence of digestive disorders. When Jennifer was separated from her mother for treatment at a Cincinnati hospital, the starved child feasted mightily on pizza, hot dogs, and chocolate bars. Meanwhile, authorities discovered that while the Bush family claimed poverty because of Jennifer's health problems, they had splurged on trips to the Bahamas and Disney World, house remodeling, and a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Dr. Eli Newberger, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, concluded that nothing in Jennifer's extensive records indicated "that the child has any underlying illness except the suffering she has had to endure as a result of efforts to portray her as needing urgent care." Jennifer was removed from her family in 1996 and has been healthy ever since.

And now the final piece of the story that didn't make it onto the front page of USA Today or into the First Lady's talking points: Last week, Kathleen Bush Hillary Clinton's once-proud and loud sister in arms -- was sentenced to five years in prison on two counts of aggravated child abuse and one count of fraud. She also pled guilty to a separate count of welfare fraud for misrepresenting $60,000 in assets on Medicaid forms. "There was probably more abuse in this single case," lead prosecutor Bob Nichols noted, "than in all of the child-abuse cases I've prosecuted in my life combined."

Mrs. Bush's behavior is an extreme example of the Nanny State opportunism to which Hillary Clinton has dedicated her life. It's enough to make you sick. .

Yesterday it was Jennifer Bush and her family

Today it is Graeme Frost and his family.

Tomorrow, who knows?  With this many unconditionally supportive media stooges dutifully barfing out whatever the Democratic Party tells them to, the sky's the limit.

Oh, but wait;  this column was written by Michelle Malkin.  So you don't have to pay any attention to the facts it is filled with.  Paul Krugman said so.

Move along, sheeple.  Nothing to see here........


Ken Berwitz

It would be understatement to point out that the folks over at don't like the Associated Press. 

Usually I don't share their feelings about the AP.  But sometimes they have a point.  And today is one of them, as you can see below:


Toy Cart Bomb Kills 2, AP Stresses US Crimes

October 12th, 2007

From those moral relativists at the Associated Press:

Iraq bomb in toy cart hits children in playground

By Mussab Al-Khairalla

A bomb hidden in a cart of toys killed two children and wounded 17 others in a playground in northern Iraq on Friday, the first day of a national holiday to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The attack came the day after U.S. forces killed nine children and six women in an air strike northwest of Baghdad targeting suspected al Qaeda leaders. The U.N. mission in Iraq urged U.S. forces to conduct a vigorous probe into the strike.

Police Colonel Abbas Mohammed said a would-be suicide bomber pushed the cart into a play area in the predominantly Shiite northern town of Tuz Khurmato. He said the bomber was wounded.

The towns mayor, Mohammed Rasheed, told Reuters two boys aged between 10 and 12 had died and another 17 people under the age of 18 had been wounded in the deadly attack

The U.S. military said it was conducting a thorough investigation of Thursdays strike by attack helicopters near Lake Thar Thar, about 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Baghdad

In its latest human rights report on Iraq, published on Thursday, the United Nations called on U.S. forces to investigate the killing of civilians in air strikes or raids by ground forces and make the findings public.

Iraqi civilians have borne the overwhelming brunt of violence since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, with tens of thousands killed across the country.

The United Nations also called for probes to determine whether private security contractors in Iraq have committed war crimes by killing civilians and for governments to ensure that the rule of law is applied.

The killing of 17 Iraqis in a shooting involving U.S. security firm Blackwater last month has created tensions between Baghdad and Washington and sparked calls for tighter controls on private contractors, who are immune from prosecution in Iraq.

Even by the loathsome standards of the Associated Press, this is a disgusting piece on so many levels. (Especially when you consider the headline was probably written by someone other than the reporter.)

Mr. Mussab Al-Khairalla just couldnt wait to put in his (and the APs) idea of the moral equivalence between this bomber and the US military, which appears in the second paragraph:

The attack came the day after U.S. forces killed nine children and six women in an air strike northwest of Baghdad targeting suspected al Qaeda leaders. The U.N. mission in Iraq urged U.S. forces to conduct a vigorous probe into the strike.

Guess what, Mr. Al-Khairalla, the US does not target civilians. Any civilians who get injured are due to accident.

And no other military force in the history of the world does more to avoid such accidents. (At a deadly cost to their own troops.)

Iraqi civilians have borne the overwhelming brunt of violence since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, with tens of thousands killed across the country.

What a liar you are, Mr. Al-Khairalla, to imply that these civilians have all been killed by the US, when the vast majority have been killed by your fellow Muslims.

But congratulations, Mussab, for even managing to drag in Blackwater once again.

Also, it is informative to note that there are as yet no photos of this incident on the news wires. When you would think they could make for some poignant shots. Mangled toys lying on the ground?

Remember how many (questionable) shots we saw like that when the Israelis went into Lebanon?


But we will get no similar photos from this attack, you can be sure.

But this is what passes for journalism from the All Propaganda agency the AP. .

Apart from pointing out that Israel works at least as hard to avoid civilian casualties as the USA does, I find it hard to disagree with this analysis.

What do you think?

Incidentally, the import of those two pictures at the bottom of the article may not be entirely clear, so let me explain:  The children's toys in the foreground certainly have a great deal of emotional impact.  But the fact that, amid the rubble, they are undamaged, no debris, not even a smudge, tells us they are plants, and the photos, therefore, are setups, not reality.


Ken Berwitz

Cal Thomas understands middle east reality far better than a lot of so-called experts. 

He speaks about it plainly and factually.  In this regard he is miles ahead of the dreamers and deniers who pass for "diplomats" when it comes to Israel.  His head is in a different place than theirs - i.e. out of the sand.

And here is his latest column to prove it:.

Selling out Israel by bits

October 12, 2007

Cal Thomas - Name one concession Israel has made in recent years that has been reciprocated by its sworn enemies. This is not a trick question. There are none.

That's why next month's announced "Middle East Summit" in Annapolis should be viewed as one more installment payment in selling out Israel and U.S. interests in the Middle East. While the United States continues to struggle to shore up democracy in Iraq, the Bush administration like others before it proceeds to undermine the likelihood that the region's first democracy will endure.

At every negotiating session, Israel is pressured into making concessions for "peace" and receives more war in response. Mostly this is because of the wishful thinking in the West that has replaced sound policy. Why should the Palestinians make concessions when they are drawing closer to their objective of eradicating Israel by throwing stones and bombs and stonewalling negotiations?

In an address to the Israeli Knesset, President Shimon Peres reaffirmed the flaw in Western thinking: "Even if there are some who express doubt at the ability of the Palestinians to achieve peace, the impression must not be created that Israel has doubts regarding the need and the willingness to achieve full peace." So it's not about hard bargaining resulting in preserving Israel with defensible borders and cessation of terrorist attacks; it's about "impressions"? No wonder Israel's enemies are emboldened as never before.

While details of a "joint declaration" by Israel and the Palestinians on a final status agreement remain secret, some information has leaked. One report has Prime Minister Ehud Olmert preparing to divide Jerusalem by allowing Arab East Jerusalem to come under Palestinian control. The holy sites, now administered by Israel and open to all (which was not the case when Jordan controlled East Jerusalem prior to 1967), would be internationalized.

For 40 years, Israel has provided security for the holy places. It is doubtful an international force would do as good a job protecting these sites from terrorists (think of the Taliban and the destruction of ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan and regular attacks on Christians, their churches and schools in heavily Muslim nations).

According to one report, "the drafters are planning to call for a withdrawal by Israel to the 1967 lines," thus making Israel more vulnerable than ever to heavily armed Arab states and Palestinian enemies and leaving it completely exposed to infiltration from the East. Does anyone doubt such infiltration would not occur? Would the United States come to the aid of Israel should it again be invaded? Probably not since that might hurt our "image" in the Arab world.

Infidel Israelis, Americans and Europeans will not dissuade those sworn to destroy Israel. President Bush had promised former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon he could expect U.S. support to maintain defensible borders. In the plan now being discussed, Israel's borders would be indefensible.

In all this, the United States is trying to prop up Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But Mr. Abbas is a figurehead, manipulated by the terrorist organization Hamas, which virtually controls the Palestinian territories, thanks to democratic elections. Caroline Glick writes in the Jerusalem Post: "Over the past week, Abbas announced his adherence to maximal Palestinian demands from Israel. These include the full transfer of sovereignty over the Temple Mount to the Palestinians; the complete surrender of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians; and an Israeli acceptance of the so-called 'right-of-return' that would force Israel to accept millions of foreign Arabs as immigrants within its truncated borders."

Why should anyone expect anything else when the real intentions of Israel's enemies can be summed up in the "phased plan" for destroying Israel expressed in 2000 by Palestinian Minister of Supply Abd El Aziz Shahian: "The Palestinian people accepted the Oslo agreements as a first step and not as a permanent arrangement, based on the premise that the war and struggle on the ground is more efficient than a struggle from a distant land ... for the Palestinian people will continue the revolution until they achieve the goals of the '65 revolution."

The " '65 Revolution" refers to the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the publication of the Palestinian Charter, which calls for destruction of Israel through armed struggle.

So, why is the United States hosting this sellout in Annapolis?

Reality check:  You cannot negotiate with or peacefully coexist with people who want your country vaporized and you either somewhere else or dead, preferably dead. 

And you cannot negotiate with or peacefully coexist with people who freely elect "governments" that promise these results.

Can you name one palestinian Arab in authority of any kind who has ever said that even one square inch of land is sovereign to Israel?  I'm not talking about Gaza. I'm not talking about Judea/Samaria (the west bank).  I'm talking about places like, for example, downtown Tel Aviv. 

The answer is that not one palestinian Arab in authority of any kind has EVER said any land was sovereign to Israel.  Zero. 

We have heard dances and dodges, like "we accept the existence of Israel" (much as a kid in the playground accepts the fact that the bigger kids get the basketball court).  Accepting something that exists is not the same thing as agreeing that it is acceptable.  Don't ever forget that.  It doesn't mean they think it is right or won't change it the minute they can.

Peace for Israel is a remote possibility under the best of circumstances,.  But until Israel stops the folly of making concessions and handing over land to people whose only interest is the end of Israel, it will never have even have that remote hope.


Ken Berwitz

Paul Krugman's latest column is about Graeme Frost.

Graeme Frost, as you probably know, is the 12 year old boy who Democrats exploited the weekend before last, by using him to read their response to President Bush's veto of the CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) legislation.  

Young Mr. Frost read a plaintive, poignant statement detailing how badly he and his sister were hurt in a serious accident, how much it cost in hospital bills and how vetoing CHIP legislation would hurt victims like his sister and him. 

If you are old enough to remember shows like Queen For A Day, or Strike It Rich, you will certainly appreciate the stroll down memory lane you got from Graeme Frost's radio debut.

The problem, however, is that questions immediately arose about the Frost family's eligibility for this program. 

-We were told that Mr. Frost was a self-employed woodworker, his wife worked part time and their total household income was $45,000 - $50,000.   However, the Frosts would not show anyone their tax return.  I grant you that their personal finances are no one's business, but if you a) tell us what you're earning and b) use your situation to petition for governmental money, it seems to me you've forgone your right to fiscal privacy;

-The Frosts live in a home that is apparently worth about half a million dollars (a smaller house on their block recently sold for $485,000).

-Two, and possibly all four, of the Frost children attend private schools;

-Mr. Frost purchased a warehouse in 1999 for $160,000 and apparently still owns it.

At this point I urge you to think about how this could be done on (let's take the midpoint) $47,500 a year.  Maybe it would be a piece of cake for you, but I can't even begin to figure out a way.

Yesterday I posted and debunked an article in Time Magazine about the Frosts and their "eligibility" for CHIP help.  Today it's Paul Krugman.

Here is Mr. Krugman's column, which essentially regurgitates what Karen Tumulty of Time previously regurgitated -- and adds Krugman's requisite insults aimed at "right wingers" like Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh as well as a recitation of other accusations that stand as legitimate in the world of Krugman:

Sliming Graeme Frost

Two weeks ago, the Democratic response to President Bushs weekly radio address was delivered by a 12-year-old, Graeme Frost. Graeme, who along with his sister received severe brain injuries in a 2004 car crash and continues to need physical therapy, is a beneficiary of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program. Mr. Bush has vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have expanded that program to cover millions of children who would otherwise have been uninsured.

What followed should serve as a teaching moment.

First, some background. The Frosts and their four children are exactly the kind of people S-chip was intended to help: working Americans who cant afford private health insurance.

The parents have a combined income of about $45,000, and dont receive health insurance from employers. When they looked into buying insurance on their own before the accident, they found that it would cost $1,200 a month a prohibitive sum given their income. After the accident, when their children needed expensive care, they couldnt get insurance at any price.

Fortunately, they received help from Marylands S-chip program. The state has relatively restrictive rules for eligibility: children must come from a family with an income under 200 percent of the poverty line. For families with four children thats $55,220, so the Frosts clearly qualified.

Graeme Frost, then, is exactly the kind of child the program is intended to help. But that didnt stop the right from mounting an all-out smear campaign against him and his family.

Soon after the radio address, right-wing bloggers began insisting that the Frosts must be affluent because Graeme and his sister attend private schools (theyre on scholarship), because they have a house in a neighborhood where some houses are now expensive (the Frosts bought their house for $55,000 in 1990 when the neighborhood was rundown and considered dangerous) and because Mr. Frost owns a business (it was dissolved in 1999).

You might be tempted to say that bloggers make unfounded accusations all the time. But were not talking about some obscure fringe. The charge was led by Michelle Malkin, who according to Technorati has the most-trafficked right-wing blog on the Internet, and in addition to blogging has a nationally syndicated column, writes for National Review and is a frequent guest on Fox News.

The attack on Graemes family was also quickly picked up by Rush Limbaugh, who is so important a player in the right-wing universe that he has had multiple exclusive interviews with Vice President Dick Cheney.

And G.O.P. politicians were eager to join in the smear. The New York Times reported that Republicans in Congress were gearing up to use Graeme as evidence that Democrats have overexpanded the health program to include families wealthy enough to afford private insurance but had backed off as the case fell apart.

In fact, however, Republicans had already made their first move: an e-mail message from the office of Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, sent to reporters and obtained by the Web site Think Progress, repeated the smears against the Frosts and asked: Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vetting this family?

And the attempt to spin the media worked, to some extent: despite reporting that has thoroughly debunked the smears, a CNN report yesterday suggested that the Democrats had made a tactical error in holding up Graeme as their poster child, and closely echoed the language of the e-mail from Mr. McConnells office.

All in all, the Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the modern right-wing political machine at work, and in particular its routine reliance on character assassination in place of honest debate. If service members oppose a Republican war, theyre phony soldiers; if Michael J. Fox opposes Bush policy on stem cells, hes faking his Parkinsons symptoms; if an injured 12-year-old child makes the case for a government health insurance program, hes a fraud.

Meanwhile, leading conservative politicians, far from trying to distance themselves from these smears, rush to embrace them. And some people in the news media are still willing to be used as patsies.

Politics aside, the Graeme Frost case demonstrates the true depth of the health care crisis: every other advanced country has universal health insurance, but in America, insurance is now out of reach for many hard-working families, even if they have incomes some might call middle-class.

And theres one more point that should not be forgotten: ultimately, this isnt about the Frost parents. Its about Graeme Frost and his sister.

I dont know about you, but I think American children who need medical care should get it, period. Even if you think adults have made bad choices a baseless smear in the case of the Frosts, but put that on one side only a truly vicious political movement would respond by punishing their injured children.  .

There is a lot of ground to cover here (sorry for the length of this blog), so I'll do it as expeditiously as possible:

-If the Frost family really lives on the $47,500 they claim, why are they refusing to show anyone their tax returns to prove it?  They told the world about their financial situation, so why hide the particulars - other than that they may not be telling the truth;

-There are reports that all four Frost children attend private schools.  Is that true?  If so, how could it be done on so little income;

-The Frosts live in a half million dollar house.  Even if we accept the premise that it was far less expensive when they bought it in 1990, what are the TAXES on this house now?  The house is currently assessed at $263,000 (assessments are usually much less than actual value).  I don't know for sure, but it seems likely that would generate a yearly property tax of five figures - and that's before we get to the costs of running a house.  On $47,500?????????  If you're not suspicious by now, you are living in downtown Krugmanville;

-In 1999 Graeme Frost's father purchased a warehouse for $160,000.  He appears to still own it.  That leads to many questions, including a) where did he get $160,000 to buy a warehouse, b) what exactly is he warehousing if he is only a self-employed woodworker, and c) if he is renting warehouse space to others, what income is he deriving from it -- income that the Democratic party somehow forgot to include when they wrote his son's script.

-This, of course, is before we get to Krugman's fraudulent claim about what Rush Limbaugh meant by "phony soldiers"  (which I, along with countless others, have already debunked) and the equally fraudulent claim that Limbaugh accused Michael J. Fox of faking Parkinson's (as opposed to exaggerating the problem by intentionally not taking his medication - which he has ADMITTED doing in the past).

If Graeme Frost were from a Republican family petitioning for Republican legislation, do you think Paul Krugman would decline to look into every one of these questions?  You know the answer as well as I do. 

Simply stated, Krugman is a hardline ideologue who does not want the information if it falls outside his predetermined political model.

Krugman reminds me of  a great scene in "Inherit The Wind", when Frederic March, playing the Matthew Harrison Brady character, is pressed by Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy) on why he refuses to consider troubling questions. 

BRADY: "I don't think about the things that I... don't think about"

DRUMMOND:  "Do you ever think about the things that you do think about?"

Maybe Paul Krugman should watch that scene.  Renting the movie is cheaper than buying a mirror.


Ken Berwitz

This Associated Press article needs no commentary from me, it speaks for itself.  My only contribution is to make a couple of parts speak a bit louder by putting them in bold print:


CANTERBURY, N.H. (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton called Barack Obama naive when he said he'd meet with the leaders of Iran without precondition. Now she says she'd do the same thing, too.

During a Democratic presidential debate in July, Obama said he would be willing to meet without precondition in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

Standing with him on stage, Clinton said she would first send envoys to test the waters and called Obama's position irresponsible and naive.

But asked about it Thursday by a voter, the New York senator said twice that she, too, would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."

"I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading," she said at an apple orchard.

She characterized her recent vote to label Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization as a way to gain leverage for those negotiations.

Obama and other rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have been criticizing Clinton's vote late last month in favor of the resolution, comparing it to her 2002 vote authorizing the war in Iraq.

They have suggested that the Iran vote was the first step toward a military invasion there.


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