Saturday, 17 May 2008

INVESTORS BUSINESS DAILY ON THE APPEASEMENT ISSUE

Ken Berwitz

If you've read my comments over the past several days you know I'm going to agree with Thursday's IBD editorial on the subject.  Here it is:

Hitting A Nerve

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Foreign Policy: Barack Obama claims he's not an appeaser. But when President Bush attacked those who "seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists," why was the senator sure he was talking about him?

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" is the famous Hamlet quote referring to pleas of innocence that actually indicate guilt. Did Obama, the near-certain Democratic Party nominee for president, "protest too much" in complaining about Bush's speech to Israel's Knesset on Thursday?

Addressing lawmakers in Jerusalem in a special session of the legislature commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, the president made comments with which few Americans could find fault.

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," the president said.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' "

According to the president, "We have an obligation to call this what it is the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

That infamous senator, William Edgar Borah of Idaho, wasn't even a Democrat; he was a "progressive" Republican, an isolationist who in 1919 helped wreck Woodrow Wilson's internationalist dream of a League of Nations. So why would Obama issue such a stinging statement in response to the president's remarks?

Obama called it "sad" that he used such a speech "to launch a false political attack." He added: "It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel.

"Instead of tough talk and no action, we need to do what Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan did and use all elements of American power including tough, principled and direct diplomacy to pressure countries like Iran and Syria."

According to the senator, "George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel."

Judging from the standing ovations the president received, our Israeli allies who have the most to fear from a nuclear Iran disagree. Moreover, Kennedy's blockade of Cuba, Nixon's Vietnamization (reneged on by the post-Watergate Democratic Congress) and Reagan's years of defense buildup and "evil empire" saber-rattling before agreeing to a Soviet summit all belie Obama's invocation of those presidents.

Furthermore, the terrorists themselves know a President Obama will engage with them. The chief political adviser to Hamas' Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh is on record as saying, "We like Mr. Obama, and we hope he will win the election."

Earlier this month, Obama described the takeover of West Beirut by Hezbollah gunmen as a "power grab" and declared, "It's time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus."

Letters found on the seized computer of Raul Reyes, the warlord with Colombia's Marxist-Leninist FARC terrorist group who was killed in an army strike in March, happily reported that "two gringos" he met assured him that Obama would win the election.

"Lord, if I could only have talked to Mahmoud" will be words of little comfort to future victims of nuclear terrorism.

I couldn't have said it better.  I hope I said it as well.


PRESIDENT BUSH ON THE ENERGY CRISIS

Ken Berwitz

Are you unhappy with spiraling oil prices?  Are you upset by the fact that so much of the oil money is going to people who hate our guts, and now are in a position to dictate the condition of our economy?

Then you probably will appreciate what President Bush said yesterday:

Our problem in America gets solved when we aggressively go for domestic exploration. Our problem in America gets solved if we expand our refining capacity, promote nuclear energy and continue our strategy for the advancing of alternative energies as well as conservation," he said.

"One interesting thing about American politics these days is those who are screaming the loudest for increased production from Saudi Arabia are the very same people who are fighting the fiercest against domestic exploration, against the development of nuclear power and against expanding refining capacity."

Truer words were never spoken.

steve schneider wow, i think the pres. reads your blog as he obviously read my comment from a few days ago. steve (05/18/08)


ILLEGAL ALIENS AND CONCERTINA WIRE

Ken Berwitz

In an effort to secure our borders, concertina wire is being installed along a 5 mile stretch of fence that is often breached by smugglers (the Los Angeles Times article excerpted below doesn't make clear whether the smuggling is of illegal aliens, drugs or both, but its text suggests illegal aliens). 

Predictably, this is outraging people who want illegals to be able to come into the country as they please.  Here are the particulars (the bold print is mine):

Razor-sharp concertina wire installed at U.S.-Mexico border

Patrol
Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
U.S. Border Patrol agent Richard Smith drives Wednesday along a section of the border fence in San Ysidro that was recently topped with razor wire.
 
By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 17, 2008
SAN DIEGO -- -- The U.S. Border Patrol is installing razor-sharp concertina wire atop border fencing between San Diego and Tijuana, marking a major shift in approach along a frequently violent stretch of the frontier.

The triple-strand wire, meant to keep smugglers from attacking agents, will stretch five miles when completed this summer -- the longest expanse of this type of wire ever used on the Southwest border.

 
Federal authorities in the past have avoided using fortifications with such negative symbolism. Hundreds of miles of barriers going up in other areas have had to meet "aesthetically pleasing" federal design standards.

Critics say the new approach is inhumane and could leave illegal immigrants bloodied.

Border officials in San Diego say it was necessary and already is proving effective.

They say they opted to augment the existing fencing with razor wire amid escalating violence across from Colonia Libertad, one of Tijuana's most notorious smuggling enclaves.

Fisher drew criticism late last year after his agents began tear-gassing densely populated areas, sending some residents to a hospital. He said the safety of his agents is his top priority.

"We didn't just decide to put up concertina wire," Fisher said. "This is a 1.5-year process on . . . how to make the border safe and secure, and to keep our agents safe from assaults."

So far, about a mile of the concertina wire is up. The installation started in December for a 60-day test period and was expanded in February. The wire runs atop the secondary fence, which sits roughly 50 yards inside the primary fence.

According to the Border Patrol, there were half as many assaults in the five months since the wire went up -- 58, compared with 122 in the five months before the installation.

Illegal entries were also down more than 50% over the same period, from 16,322 to 6,319, according to Border Patrol statistics
.

Immigrant rights groups call the new fencing a major move toward border militarization. They say it's not the right solution.

"This is a primitive way of trying to conduct border enforcement," said Pedro Rios, San Diego area program director for the American Friends Service Committee. "Razor-sharp wire isn't going to stop people from coming across, and I doubt it will stop people from throwing rocks."

Enrique Morones, president of the Border Angels, a San Diego-based immigrant rights group, said he thought it would push more illegal immigrants into dangerously remote desert and mountain areas.

"This fence shows a total disregard for human life," said Morones. "What's next? Gun racks with machine guns and bazookas?"

What part of ILLEGAL do these whining illegal alien advocates not understand? 

Illegals may be bloodied if they try to go over the fence.  Then DON'T go over the fence, you are entering our country illegally.

Illegals may have to go to dangerous remote desert and mountain areas to cross the border?  Then DON'T cross the border.  You are entering our country illegally.

The crying over this fence can mean only one thing.  It is working - as further demonstrated by the accompanying statistics.  Good!

Illegal entry into the country is down and border patrol agents are safer?  That's a win-win situation to me.  How about you?

free Pedro Rios, San Diego area program director for the American Friends Service Committee. "Razor-sharp wire isn't going to stop people from coming across..." Enrique Morones, president of the Border Angels, a San Diego-based immigrant rights group, said he thought it would push more illegal immigrants into dangerously remote desert and mountain areas. Maybe these two should talk, because they are contradicting themselves. Since when doesn't a country have the right to stop people from entering illegally? (05/18/08)


TED KENNEDY

Ken Berwitz

As I write this, Ted Kennedy has been transported from Cape Cod hospital to Mass General in Boston.  Though we do not know for sure, it appears he may have had a stroke.

I hope he didn't, and is able to walk out of there laughing about the false alarm.  If he did have a stroke I wish him a full, speedy recovery.

I hope you agree.

UPDATE:  Apparently Senator Kennedy suffered a seizure.  A serious one.  But not a stroke.  Here is an excerpt from the Associated Press report:

BOSTON (AP) - Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was airlifted to a hospital Saturday after suffering a seizure at his home, and did not appear to have had a stroke as initially suspected, his spokeswoman said.

The 76-year-old Democrat, the lone surviving son in a famed political family, was undergoing tests at Massachusetts General Hospital to determine the cause of the seizure, spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said.

"Senator Kennedy is resting comfortably, and it is unlikely we will know anything more for the next 48 hours," she said. Kennedy's wife, Victoria, two of his children and Caroline Kennedy were among those with him at the hospital.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, speaking at the Nevada Democratic Convention in Reno, said he spoke to Kennedy's wife Saturday afternoon and was told "his condition is not life-threatening, but serious."


MSNBC'S IDEA OF JOURNALISTIC PROFESSIONALISM

Ken Berwitz

Here, from P. J. Gladnick of www.newsbusters.org, is a demonstration of how "evenhanded" MSNBC is regarding the presidential election.  This dialogue is from Dan Abrams' flatline-rated show, The Verdict, which replaced his previous flatline-rated show. 

Dan Abrams and Catherine Crier Salivate Over 'Inherent Contempt' Arrest of Karl Rove

By P.J. Gladnick | May 17, 2008 - 10:41 ET

Dan Abrams, apparently still smarting from the castigation he received in April from Karl Rove, just cannot let go. Despite the fact that the "high level" Republican operative, Jill Simpson, who accused Rove of orchestrating the prosecution of convicted Democrat former Alabama governor, Dan Siegelman, never actually met nor talked to Karl Rove and whose "high level" operative activities in her own words never rose above typical volunteer work, Abrams continues to wander into the swamp created by this much less than credible source. On Thursday, Abrams and Catherine Crier were salivating with glee on MSNBC's Verdict over the prospect that the House Judiciary Committee might issue something called an 'inherent contempt' arrest for Karl Rove (emphasis mine):

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  We have got breaking news tonight: The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has threatened to have Karl Rove arrested, at issue whether Rove will testify about the prosecution of Alabamas former Democratic governor, Don Siegelman.  What role if any did Rove play in bringing down the popular Democrat?

Thus far, Rove has refused to testify and the committee has given him another week or they say theyll subpoena him.

If he still refuses, Politico.com reporting that John Conyers, chairman of the Judiciary Committee said today, quote, Well do what any self-respecting committee would do.  Wed hold him in contempt.  Either that or go and have him arrested.  Were closing in on Rove, Conyers said.

Joining us now is former judge, Catherine Crier.  Catherine, the congressman has been getting very serious about this.

Um, Dan, you might have mentioned what Politico.com also reported Conyers as saying:

Just off the House floor today, the Crypt overheard House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers tell two other people: Were closing in on Rove. Someones got to kick his ass.

Not exactly an example of blind justice in that quote which is why Abrams neglected to use it in his introduction. Let us now return to Abrams and Crier as they pretend to not openly lust for Rove's arrest based on not much more than the testimony of a highly questionable source:

CATHERINE CRIER, FORMER JUDGE:  Its about time.

ABRAMS:  Tell me why.

CRIER:  Im serious because weve got - well, there was the Harriet Miers, there have been several individuals if you go back throughout this Bush administration that havent responded.  Now, theyve got Karl Rove in the Siegelman affair and he has refused repeated offers to compromise, to give him an opportunity to testify and its finally to the point where you sayeither this third branch has power or it has been completely a masquerade.

ABRAMS:  Because up to now what theyve been saying iswell like you to come in voluntarily and testifying.  So far, hes been sayingwell answer questions in writing, well come in and talk but there cant be a transcript.

CRIER:  Cant be under oath.

ABRAMS:  Not under oath, et cetera.  And now it sounds like Congress is getting a little tired of it.  This is Congressman Wexler, also a member of this committee, on this program last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ROBERT WEXLER, (D) FLORIDA:  And if he refuses to honor the subpoena, then the full House of Representatives must hold Mr. Rove in contempt of Congress and then we must ask the attorney general to enforce the contempt of Congress subpoena or citation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Inherent contemptwhat does that mean?

CRIER:  Well, heres the way this plays out.  If the full House issues the contempt citation, then its supposed to go to the Department of Justice.  And theyre supposed to take it to a grand jury, theyre supposed to enforce this.  Well, theyve alreadythe Bush administration saysno, through executive authority were saying privilegetheyre not going to enforce it.

You might then try the federal courts.  The federal courts are liable to say its a political question but the Constitution gives Congress the inherent power to issue contempt and then to prosecute on this.

ABRAMS:  On their own?

CRIER:  They can send the sergeant of arms out into the countryside, arrest, haul somebody in and in days gone by use to literally hold them in the basement of Congress, an impromptu jail and then they could have a trial.  That is still their power today.

ABRAMS:  Unlikely to happen here but it does sound like theyre getting ready to move forward with something here.

CRIER:  Well, unlikely to happen in the sense that they might not jail them in the basement any longer.  But at this point in time, if you look at the DOJ, it has already basically saidwe are not going to do what were supposed to do.  They must take it to a grand jury.  So no (ph), executive privilege, were not going to act.  The courts probably wont.

So, it willif the full Congress asserts, if the full House votes, then they will have to try this case themselves which means issue the arrest warrant and try them.

ABRAMS:  Again, final question on this, executive privilegewith Karl Rove has said that he didnt talk to anyone in the White House about it.  So, whats the potential executive privilege?

CRIER:  Well, hes making the claim and that assertion I dont think will go anywhere.  It might be something a federal court will go with.  But right now, the Department of Justice has given no indication that they willthat they will go out and serve those subpoenas issued by Congress.

ABRAMS:  Are you surprised Conyers is using language like arrested?

CRIER:  At this point?  No.  Im a big rule of law.  This has nothing to do with politics for me.  It is respecting the rule of law, regardless of Democrat or Republican.  And at this point in time, if they dont show backbone then there are not three branches of government in this country.

ABRAMS:  And we should say again, the subpoena has not been issued yet.  So, we shall see what happens if and when the subpoena is issued and Ill continue to follow this case.

To fully appreciate the orgasmic glee with which Abrams and Crier ponder the "inherent contempt" arrest of Karl Rove by the House sergeant-at-arms as he is possibly hauled off to incarceration in the basement of Congress, you need to check out the video of this segment of the Verdict. .

Abrams is running the network these days.  So if you ever wondered how any self-respecting media venue could allow someone like keith olbermann to be so childishly, unprofessionally, viciously personal against his numerous bogeymen, the fact that Abrams is doing exactly the same thing probably explains it.

Pathetic.


OBAMA, BUSH AND CHIMPS

Ken Berwitz

Earlier this week I railed about t-shirts being sold in an Atlanta-area bar, that depicted Barack Obama as a banana-eating chimp.  I said that they were racist and disgusting.

Before continuing, let me say it again.  They are racist and disgusting.  They make me sick to my stomach.  People who put out garbage like this need help.

That said, www.sweetness-light.com has written a blog in which they show that this same "comparison" was done about President Bush over and over again.  See it below:

Outrage At Obama/Curious George T-Shirts

May 16th, 2008

From New Englands NECN and a highly incensed Associated Press:

Curious George publisher may sue T-shirt vendor

May 16, 2008

MARIETTA, Ga.The publisher of the popular childrens book series Curious George is considering legal action against a Georgia bar owner for selling T-shirts that show the inquisitive monkey peeling a banana with Obama in 08″ printed beneath the image.

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt did not nor would we ever authorize or approve this use of the Curious George character, which we find offensive and utterly out of keeping with the values Curious George represents, said Richard Blake, the companys spokesman.

    Bar owner Mike Norman, who began selling the shirts in late April, has said they are not meant to be racist. He said he thinks the Illinois senator and the character look so much alike.

    Bill Nigut, southeast regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, said Norman is being disingenuous.

    He can pretend he doesnt understand what the message of that T-shirt is, but he knows full well thats an offensive and demeaning stereotype used to insult African-Americans, Nigut said.

    Of course you remember all of the similar outrage expressed when the left made a cottage industry out of comparing President Bush to a chimpanzee?

    We dont either.

    .

    On the one hand, sweetness-light is 100% correct to point out that Bush detractors have done this relentlessly throughout his presidency.  And there is no doubt that most media had absolutely no problem with it.

    On the other hand, the comparison of President Bush and a chimp, while childish, stupid and mean-spirited, has no racial component.  The comparison of Barack Obama with a chimp is all those things AND has a racial component.

    As much as I agree with sweetness-light on so many other things, they have it wrong here.  There is a difference.  And it is a big one.


    OBAMA LOSES? IT'S BECAUSE OF FOX!!

    Ken Berwitz

    This is the new standard bearer for election year whining.  It comes to us from Barack Obama, via Louisville's Lexington Herald-Leader:

    Obama blames Fox News, e-mail for likely loss in Kentucky

    LEXINGTON, Ky. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, facing a likely defeat in next Tuesday's primary election, won't travel to Kentucky before the voting, but said he hopes to have much more time to win over Kentucky voters before the November general election.

    He also blamed Fox News for disseminating "rumors" about him and said that that and e-mails filled with misinformation that have been "systematically" dispersed have hurt him in Kentucky.

    "When we're able to campaign in a place like Iowa for several months and I can visit and talk to people individually, I do very well. That's harder to do at this stage in the campaign," Obama said in a brief telephone interview Friday. "And once we get past the primary, we'll ble to focus more on those states where we need to make sure people know my track record."

    In contrast, Obama's rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, will make five stops in Kentucky over the weekend, including appearances at two university campuses.

    Obama spoke to more than 8,000 supporters in Louisville Monday night his first time in the state since August. He said he had hoped to spend more time in Kentucky earlier this week but was called back to Washington, D.C. for votes on Tuesday.

    Since then, hes stumped in Oregon, which will hold its primary by mail on Tuesday, and South Dakota, where Democrats vote June 3, as well as in states that have already held their primary elections, such as Michigan and Missouri.

    Were having to campaign in a lot of different places, Obama said. Obviously we think Kentucky is important. People in Kentucky are concerned about the same things people are concerned about all across the country declining wages and incomes combined with the rising costs of everything from gas to health care.

    Obamas wife, Michelle, is slated to campaign in Kentucky on Monday.

    Obama conceded that he has a steep challenge to get his message and background to voters in states such as Kentucky where he trails Sen. Hillary Clinton by 27 points, according to a poll published earlier this week and West Virginia, where voters chose Clinton over Obama by 40 points on Tuesday.

    "What it says is that I'm not very well known in that part of the country," Obama said. "Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it's not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle."

    Obama has been trying to introduce himself to Kentuckians using a series of biographical TV ads, as well as fliers, including one that shows him at a pulpit in front of a churchs cross and pipe organ.

    He acknowledged that hes trying to reverse a lot of misconceptions about his background. He is a Christian, although some e-mail chains have said he is a Muslim.

    Part of it is because there have been these e-mails that have been sent out very systematically, presumably by various political opponents, although I dont know who, he said. And there are a lot of voters who get their news from Fox News. Fox has been pumping up rumors about my religious beliefs or my patriotism or what have you since the beginning of the campaign.

    Waaaaaahhhhh!!!  I'm losing Kentucky.  And since it will come after losing West Virginia by 41% it's going to make me look like a weak candidate who can't win blue collar White voters....which means I will be in huge trouble in a general campaign.  Hillary Clinton will look like she can win those voters, which gives her something to present to super-delegates too.  It's NOT FAIR!!!

    What can I say about it?  How can I explain this away?  Hey, I have the answer.  It's the same answer every Democrat has for every setback for years.  It's because of FOX NEWS!! 

    Yeah, that's the ticket.  Fox News did me in.  Saying all those bad things about me.  Making people wonder if, with a Muslim father and a Muslim name and four years in grade school in a Muslim country and my book telling them how much I love to listen to the Muslim call to prayer, I just might have some connection to Muslims.  THAT'S NOT FAIR EITHER!!!  How dare they do such a thing?

    The fact that Fox has my supporters on their shows too, who tell viewers none of this means anything?  So what?  It doesn't count. 

    The fact that, politically, I own MSNBC lock, stock and barrel and they say nothing but good things about me?  So what?  It doesn't count either.

    So I'll just look good in my tailored suit, and tell them in my soothing voice that it's all Fox's fault.  And lots and lots of them will listen and believe it (hehehehehe).

    White House, here I come!!  I wonder if you can hear Muslim calls to prayer from the oval office window?


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