Monday, 24 December 2007

HO (EXPLETIVE) HO?

Ken Berwitz

The following story most definitely comes under the heading "you can't make stuff like this up".

Here, courtesy of the (London) Sun, is what I'm talking about.  If you happen to be a literate reindeer or an elf on break, please do not read the article below;  it will make your job today and tonight too disheartening:

Fathers Christ-mashed

By ONLINE REPORTER

Published: Today

 A 50-STRONG gang of rampaging drunken Santas ransacked a cinema frightening customers, damaging property and swearing.

Police believe the Santas, who went on the rampage in New Zealand, were a group of university students.

They ran amok for through Hoyts Cinema complex in the South Island city of Christchurch on Saturday, manager Derek Rive said.

As they ran through the complex they wrecked everything they could, the Christmas tree - they bowled everything over ... (they were) just absolute fools, he said.

He added that the hooligans" abused astonished cinema-goers, chanted obscenities, ripped down posters and knocked over cardboard figures advertising films.

How often do a bunch of Santas just go and wreak havoc? Rive said.

It was a random act of stupidity that upset moviegoers."

Security cameras caught the action, but Rive said with their hats, white beards and suits, the rampaging Santas cannot be identified.

Film-fan Kate Gorman, 35, was waiting to see the movie Enchanted with her two children when the group arrived.

She said: They were kicking things over, ripping down posters and smashing everything in sight.

They were all dressed as Santa and shouting Ho (expletive) ho."

Her children, Gabriella, 6, and Jackson, 7, had been confused by the incident.

She said: They asked me, Are they Santas helpers gone crazy? and I said No, they are just idiots."

As they left, the Santas triggered a fire alarm, forcing several hundred patrons to evacuate the complex for half an hour. .


RON PAUL IN HIS OWN WORDS (ARE YOU LISTENING, ANDREW SULLIVAN?)

Ken Berwitz

I guess I wasted my time trying to convince people of who and what ron paul is.  He does it so well himself.

Here are some of paul's gems, straight from yesterday's appearance on Meet The Press:

Ron Paul on Meet the Press

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2007 2:54 PM by Mark Murray
Filed Under:
,

From NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
On Meet the Press this morning, Paul called the American Civil War a mistake, criticized Ronald Reagan as a "failure," and refused to rule out a third party run.
 
Paul repeated his claim that Abraham Lincoln should not have started the Civil War to get rid of slavery. "Six-hundred-thousand Americans died in the senseless Civil War," he said. "No, he should not have gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original tenet of the Republic," he told NBC's Tim Russert.
 
"Slavery was phased out in every other country in the world," Paul continued, responding to the question if America would still have slavery had there not been the Civil War. "The way I'm proposing that it should have been done is do it like the British Empire did -- you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans?... I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach."

Paul also criticized Reagan for not reducing the government to a "constitutional size." But Paul also is using Reagan's picture in his brochure. "He ran on a good program," Paul explained. "His idea was limited government ... and a strong national defense."
 
In 1987, Paul resigned from the Republican party. Now he's running as a Republican. "I represent what Republicanism used to be. I represent the group that wanted to get rid of the Department of Education, the part of the Republican Party that used to be non-interventionist overseas. That was the tradition, the Robert Taft wing of the party. There was a time when Republicans defended individual liberty and the constitution and decreased spending."
 
While Paul never voted for a bill with earmarks, he has included earmarks for his district in bills. "I put them in because I represent people who are asking for some of their money back," he explained. "But it doesn't cut any spending to vote against an earmark. And the Congress has the responsibility to spend the money. Why leave the money in the Executive Branch and let them spend the money?"
 
"It's like taking a tax credit," he continued, on why he doesn't refuse the money. "I'm against the tax system, but I take all my tax credits. I want to get their money back for the people."
 
Russert also asked Paul to explain his positions on abolishing agencies such as the FBI, CIA, and IRS. After listening to Paul list the reasons for abolishing the IRS, Russert asked the Republican presidential hopeful how much money would be lost without the IRS.
 
Paul replied that it would be "a lot" of lost revenue. Russert told him it would be "over a trillion dollars." Paul did not seem phased and said "the goal is to cut the spending."
 
"If you brought our troops home, you save hundreds of billions of dollars," Paul said, explaining how he would make up the lost revenue. "You can start saving immediately by changing the foreign policy and not be the policeman of the world."

Finally, Paul refused to rule out a third party run, saying he has "no intention of doing that." He previously ran for president in 1988 as the Libertarian Party's candidate, but is now running for the Republican nomination. "I can be pretty darn sure that I have no intention, no plans in doing that. And that's about 99.9% of a chance," he said. "I don't like people who are such absolutists -- 'I will not ever do this' or 'I will win' or 'I'm going to come in first.' I don't like those absolutists terms in politics."  .

The civil war was a mistake?  THE CIVIL WAR WAS A MISTAKE?

Do you still wonder why the diarrhea piles who comprise the White supremacist movement in this country support ron paul? 

Andrew Sullivan, the increasingly bizarre writer/political theorist, supports ron paul.  As readers of this blog know, I e-mailed Sullivan three times about this over the past week and a half to warn him of his hero's tendencies, and to detail why paul is so attactive to nazis and White supremacists in this country.

Sullivan ignored me every time.  I wonder if he'll continue to do so after this revealing little performance.

Can he at least let us know if  he agrees or disagrees with ron paul about the civil war?


POLLYANNA

Ken Berwitz

It just occurred to me that I used the term "Pollyanna-ish" in my last blog.  Most people have a vague idea that it means naively seeing on the positive side of things, but little more. 

So, for your information, I will now utilize wikipedia (which sometimes is accurate, this being one of those times) to show you where this eponymous**** term came from:

Pollyanna is a best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter that is now considered a classic of children's literature.

The title character is Pollyanna Whittier, a young orphan who goes to live in Beldingsville, Vermont with her wealthy but dour Aunt Polly. Pollyanna's philosophy of life centers on what she calls "The Glad Game", an optimistic attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation. It originated in an incident one Christmas when Pollyanna, who was hoping for a doll in the missionary barrel, found only a pair of crutches inside. Making the game up on the spot, Pollyanna's father taught her to look at the good side of things in this case, to be glad about the crutches because "we don't need 'em!".

With this philosophy, and her own sunny personality and sincere, sympathetic soul, Pollyanna brings so much gladness to her aunt's dispirited New England town that she transforms it into a pleasant place to live. 'The glad game' shields her from her aunt's stern attitude: when Aunt Polly puts her in a stuffy attic room without carpets or pictures, she exults at the beautiful view from the high window; when she tries to "punish" her niece for being late to dinner by sentencing her to a meal of bread and milk in the kitchen with the servant, Nancy, Pollyanna thanks her rapturously because she likes bread and milk, and she likes Nancy.

Soon, Pollyanna teaches some of Beldingsville's most troubled inhabitants to 'play the game' as well, from a querulous invalid named Mrs. Snow to a miserly bachelor, Mr. Pendleton, who lives all alone in a cluttered mansion. Aunt Polly, too finding herself helpless before Pollyanna's buoyant refusal to be downcast gradually begins to thaw, although she resists the glad game longer than anyone else.

Eventually, however, even Pollyanna's robust optimism is put to the test when she gets hit by a car and loses the use of her legs. At first she doesn't realise the seriousness of her situation, but her spirits plummet when she accidentally overhears an eminent specialist say that she'll never walk again. After that, she lies in bed, unable to find anything to be glad about. Then the townspeople begin calling at Aunt Polly's house, eager to let Pollyanna know how much her encouragement has improved their lives; and Pollyanna decides she can still be glad that she had legs.

At this point, a kindly doctor (who also happens to be Aunt Polly's long-estranged lover) reveals the existence of a mysterious new "cure" for the little girl's spinal injury. Pollyanna goes away for ten months to a distant hospital, where she learns to walk again; Aunt Polly and the doctor are wed; and gladness reigns supreme..

------------------------------------------------

****If you want to know what eponymous means, look it up yourself.  I'm going just so far here.


RON PAUL AND ISRAEL

Ken Berwitz

In my previous blog I showed why White supremacists would be pleased by ron paul's comments yesterday during Meet The Press.  Here's a reason the nazis who support him would be pleased as well.  It comes to us courtesy of Shmuel Rosner, chief US correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz:

Ron Paul insists: 'Israel encourages Americans to go into Iran'

1. Ron Paul was on Meet the Press this morning, and for some reason, Israel was at the top of the agenda. As I wrote in the past, Paul was very careful not to single out Israel when it comes to foreign aid.

Will you cut off all foreign aid to Israel, he was asked. "Absolutely," he said. But he didn't forget to add that he meant Israel "and the Arabs." Paul did raise some questions about his views regarding Israel when he talked about Israel and Iran.

2. Paul's supporters were praising their candidate's performance in the program before it even
ended. Those are the kind of supporters he has. They were also furious with the host, Tim Russert, for his tough questioning of the candidate. This, after many weeks during which they were angry with him for not inviting Paul to the program.

3.  So here is what Paul had to say about
Israel and Iran:

What if Iran would "invade" Israel? (This is a somewhat strange framing of the question. The danger people seem to view in a nuclear Iran is that it will bomb Israel, not invade it.)

Paul: "Well, they are not going to. That is like saying that Iran is about to invade Mars. They have nothing, they don't have an army or a navy or an air force. Israelis have 300 nuclear weapons, nobody would touch them... It is an impossible situation."

So far so good. Whatever one thinks of Paul's foreign policy analysis, assuming that Iran will not harm Israel is a legitimate position. But here is where Paul becomes more - well - kooky:

Russert showed him a quote of something he said on CNN: "Israel is dependent on us, you know, for economic means. We send them these billions of dollars and then they depend on us. They say, well, you know, we don't like Iran. You go fight our battles. You bomb Iran for us. And they become dependent on us."

Then the question: "who in Israel says go bomb Iran for us?"

Paul: "Well, I don't know the individual, but we know that the leadership, you read it in the papers daily, that the government of Israel encourages Americans to go into Iran. I don't think that's a top secret..."

Russert: "That the government of Israel wants us to bomb Iran?"

Paul: "I don't think there's a doubt that they've encouraged us to do that. And of course the neoconservatives have been anxious to do that for a long time."

4.  A couple of points on this Q&A exchange:

A. Maybe it is true that Israeli leaders want America to bomb Iran. I wouldn't be surprised to discover that is the case. But Paul can't prove it. They have never stated such a position publicly, and are very careful not to even hint that they want it as Paul described it. Since he did not present any evidence apart from reading the paper (what paper? who wrote what?), I'd presume that this is no more than the ventilation of rumors and assumptions and anti-Israel propaganda.

B. Iran is a problem for Israel, but it is also an American problem. The Bush administration and many other policy wonks from all political parties believe that Iran poses a challenge to America for many reasons apart from the threat to eliminate Israel. Paul might disagree, but he should have mentioned that. Otherwise, the impression he is creating is misleading at best (and manipulative at worst).

C. Mentioning the "neoconservatives" in this context doesn't seem innocent. Is it Paul's way of hinting that there's a cabal ("Jewish cabal") dragging America to war with Iran?

5.  Paul is trying to pretend that Israel's best interest concerns him. "Why make Israel so dependent... They can't defend their borders without coming to us. If they want a peace treaty they have to ask us permission? we have made them second-class citizens. I think they would take much better care of themselves..."

Maybe so.

But do you believe for a second he really cares?
.

Ron paul is what he is.  I give him credit for making it plain.  And I have no problem with his candor, I find it refreshing.

My problems are a) with the people who forgo their logic, intelligence, even rationality to ignore what he is being candid about-- the ones who selectively avoid the parts they don't like/can't justfy in order to support him and b) the ones who support him BECAUSE of the parts that can't be justified.

Hello, Andrew?  Anyone home?


LARRY KUDLOW ON PRESIDENT BUSH'S YEAR

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I posted Jennifer Rubin's take on how President Bush made out this year.  Today I will show you Larry Kudlow's:

Bushs Very Good Year
The presidents optimism is well-earned . . . and hes not done yet.

By Larry Kudlow

Against all odds, and despite the usual drumbeat of criticism, President George W. Bush has had a very good year. The troop surge in Iraq is succeeding. America remains safe from terrorist attacks. And the Goldilocks economy is outperforming all expectations.

At his year-end news conference, President Bush stated with optimism that the economy is fundamentally sound, despite the housing downturn and the sub-prime credit crunch. The very next day, that optimism was reinforced with news of the best consumer spending in two years. The prophets of recessionary doom, such as former Fed chair Alan Greenspan, Republican advisor Martin Feldstein, ex-Democratic Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, and bond-maven Bill Gross have been proven wrong once again.

Calendar year 2007 looks set to produce 3 percent growth in real GDP, nearly 3 percent growth in consumer spending, and over 3 percent growth in after-tax inflation-adjusted incomes. Meanwhile, headline inflation (including food and energy) will have run at 2.5 percent, with only 2 percent core inflation.

Jobs are rising over 100,000 per month and the stock market is set to turn in a respectable year despite enormous headwinds. Low tax rates, modest inflation, and declining interest rates continue to boost Goldilocks, which is still the greatest story never told.

Bushs optimism is well-earned, in Congress too. He has stopped a lot of bad legislation on higher taxing and spending. He won on S-CHIP and the alternative minimum tax. He mostly prevailed on domestic spending. And he got much of what he wanted on war funding without any pullout dates.

And hes not yet finished. In the most dramatic statement of his holiday news conference, Bush said he will not stand for the continuing congressional proliferation of pork-barrel earmarks.

Another thing thats not responsible is the number of earmarks the Congress included in the massive spending bill, said Bush. The bill they just passed includes about 9,800 earmarks. Together with the previously passed defense spending bill, that means Congress has approved about 11,900 earmarks this year. And so I am instructing budget director Jim Nussle to review options for dealing with wasteful spending in the omnibus bill.

This is huge. The statute of limitations for Republican overspending, over-earmarking, and over-corrupting that caused huge congressional losses in last years campaign will not run out until the GOP shows taxpayers that it again can be trusted on the key issues of limited government and lower taxes.

In these matters, Republicans must be holier than the pope. And while President Bush has been doing the Lords work with his newfound veto pen, he must continue to wage war on earmarks if the GOP is to cleanse the political memory of Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and Randy Duke Cunningham.

Think of it: This behemoth spending-bill was porked-up with such essential items as rodent control in Alaska ($113,000); olive fruit-fly research in France ($213,000); a hunting and fishing museum in Pennsylvania ($200,000); a bike trail in Minnesota ($700,000); a post office museum in Las Vegas ($200,000); and a $2 million monument to Rep. Charlie Rangel in New York.

Senators like Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, and John McCain are working hard to clean up the earmark process. But the balls in the presidents court. Either through executive order, recission authority, or apportionment of funds, Bush can elevate both the fiscal fortunes of the nation and the political fortunes of his party.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told me in a CNBC interview that elected politicians are more knowledgeable about spending peoples money than faceless bureaucrats. And while McConnell has done a terrific job maintaining conservative policies in the Senate, he is wrong on this topic. The earmarks shouldnt be made. And the money shouldnt be spent. Period.

McConnell is nevertheless correct that passage of this omnibus spending bill is a defeat for the tax-and-spend-happy Democrats. Republicans also can take credit for outmaneuvering the Democrats on a patch for the AMT. The Democrats were made to waive the pay-as-you-go budget rule that might have forced tax increases on businesses and investment pools. Stopping this tax hike is a singular GOP achievement, while the AMT will now be indexed for inflation, thereby sparing over 20 million taxpayers.

Looking ahead, the economy also would benefit from a corporate tax cut for both large and small businesses, including corporate capital-gains. The U.S. dollar would reap the rewards as new investment would flow in from the world. Several recent studies also show that businesses would pass on tax-cost savings to the workforce, thereby bolstering wages and ultimately creating new jobs.

Hokey ideas for temporary tax rebates? They should be ignored. But if the president and Republicans are successful at wiping out earmarks, holding down spending, and passing a bold corporate tax cut, Goldilocks will be nourished and sustained. And come November 2008, Republicans might be back in the drivers seat.
.

Is Kudlow overly too Pollyanna-ish for you?  Does he see more success than there really was for President Bush?

Maybe the answer is yes, maybe no.  But there are an awful lot of good things enumerated in his column which are factually unarguable.  And so what if some are downplayed or virtually unreported by mainstream media?  That's the way things go for this administration.  It's not like we haven't seen it before.

Hey, maybe Kudlow has a point.


FOR WHOM THE RULES APPLY

Ken Berwitz

Here, from our friends at www.sweetness-light.com, is a telling pictorial of the Bill and Hill show at a Black church in Iowa.  Please note both the pictures and captions:

Todays Candid Moments With The Clintons

December 23rd, 2007

From the wire services.

First, the loving couple before they realize that they are being photographed:

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton attend church service at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Waterloo, Iowa, December 23, 2007.

Then the happy couple see the photographers camera:

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton attend church service at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Waterloo, Iowa, December 23, 2007.

Or perhaps they are sharing an innocent laugh at the thought of a taxpayer-supported 501c3 church hosting a partisan political campaign appearance and fundraiser:

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (C) takes off his tie to give to Reverend Frantz Whitfield (R) as Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) looks on during a church service at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Waterloo, Iowa, December 23, 2007.

Needless to say, this is all in direction violation of the IRS rules for charities.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) speaks at a church service at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Waterloo,Iowa, December 23, 2007.

Oops  Never mind.

It would appear that that the Mt Carmel Missionary Baptist Church is a Black Church, and of course the Clintons are Democrats.

So none of these silly rules apply. .

It bothers me only a little that the Clintons think nothing of ignoring these rules.  I expect that of them and more or less expect that other candidates will bend or break rules if allowed to do so.

What bothers me a lot is media's seemingly endless capacity for allowing them to do so. 

If, say, Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney were to do the same, would media choose not to notice?  Not to mention it?  You know the answer as well as I do.

Yet these same media give the Clintons a free pass, just as they give Barack Obama a free pass on his long-time affiliation with a Black racist church.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


OSCAR PETERSON R.I.P.

Ken Berwitz

Oscar Peterson, died yesterday in Mississaugua, Ontario, Canada.  He was 82 years old.

Peterson was one of the greatest piano players I ever heard, both from the standpoint of technical expertise and pure jazz expression. 

In his heyday, Peterson's physical size was huge.  But it had nothing on the size of his talent.  I'm  sitting here thinking of his magic on Autimn Leaves and Someday My Prince Will Come (yes, the Disney classic.  Mr. Peterson's interpretation of it was amazing).  And that's before we get to how he soared on actual jazz compositions. 

I hope he is given a piano in heaven, to thrill every music lover in the next world the way he thrilled countless music lovers in this one.

Mr Peterson, may you rest in peace.  But not necessarily in 4/4 time.


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