Saturday, 24 May 2008

FEITHLESS JOURNALISM

Ken Berwitz

Did you know that Douglas Feith has a book out, which gives an insider account of the events leading up to President Bush's decision to invade Iraq?

There's an excellent chance you do not know this, since the book has been dealt a virtual blackout in major news coverage. 

How could this possibly be?  Isn't Douglas Feith one of those "neo-cons" media have not stopped talking about and the Democratic Party has not stopped attacking for the last five years?  

Feith and Wolfowitz.  Wolfowitz and Feith.  Then they angrily spit out the term "neo-con" (which, to be perfectly frank, never fails to come across as really meaning "dirty Jew bastard").  Over and over again throughout the Iraq war.  But who would ever want to hear one of THEIR accounts of what happened?

Paul Mirengoff, one of the several brightly shining lights at www.powerlineblog.com, has written a short piece about this.  You should see it, so here it is:

The silent treatment

We have noted the Washington Post's decision not to review Douglas Feith's important book, War and Decision, an inside account by the former Under Secretary of Defense of the key decisions of the first Bush II administration regarding the war on terror generally and the war in Iraq particularly. The Post's justification -- that it already ran a front-page news story about the book -- is implausible on its face. A book important enough to rate a news story is more, not less, likely to merit a review.

Much of the remaining liberal print MSM apparently has resolved this conundrum by failing to mention War and Decision at all. According to Noah Pollak, there has been no mention of the book in USA Today, the LA Times, NY Daily News, Houston Chronicle, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, or the Miami Herald. As Rich Lowry puts it, "apparently its OK to heap every failure in Iraq on Feiths head, but then to turn around and pretend hes a figure of no consequence when he writes a book.

Finally, there's the case of the New York Times. It has neither reviewed nor reported on War and Decision. This silence comes despite the fact that the Times' Pulitzer Prize winning national security affairs reporter James Risen, hardly a fan of the Bush administration, has submitted three articles about the book.

Risen immediately recognized the importance of War and Decision. According to Feith, Risen requested and received a pre-publication copy of the book, interviewed Feith, and wrote a piece highlighting book's most newsworthy item -- the Bush administrations postwar plan for political transition in Iraq (the one most people who follow these things probably believe didn't exist). Risen's editor, however, turned the article down on the ground that it was not newsworthy.

Risen then re-worked the piece and submitted it to the Week in Review editors. One of them approved it and, acccording to Feith, Risen called him to say it would run on a particular Sunday. Later, the editor called back to say that a higher level editor had blocked it. Next, Risen told Feith he was trying to get a further revised piece into the Times' internet edition. That attempt also ended in failure.

Risen insists that the decisions to kill his stories were not political. The party line is that because the Washington Post wrote about the book, there is no point in another article. It's doubtful, though, that the Times would deprive those of its readers (probably numbering in the hundreds of thousands) who don't see the Post version of a story adverse to the administration on the ground that the paper had been scooped. The Times' decision to override the persistent judgment of Risen, one of its star reporters, smacks of bad faith. Neither Risen nor anyone else at the Times would accept this sort of explanation if it came from the Bush (or any Republican) administration.

It's clear enough what is happening here. The MSM is delighted with the prevailing narrative regarding the Bush administration's decision-making on Iraq, a narrative it played the major role in advancing. Anything that casts doubt on that narrative should not be mentioned, much less discussed.

Mr. Mirengoff is dead-on correct.  

Rather than deal with Mr. Feith's first-hand account of what actually happened, it is far more beneficial (and far less embarrassing, given what they've already written) for these so-called credible news venues to just bury it.

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


NEWSWEEK'S CLASSIC AAR

Ken Berwitz

The latest issue of Newsweek is reporting a national poll which pits Barack Obama against John McCain.  The magazine's conclusion is that there is a racial divide in this country which affects voting patterns.

Fair enough.  I think that's pretty obvious.

But when Newsweek notices only the racial divide among White voters and not Black?  That is classic AAR (Affirmative Action Racism).

Readers of this blog are familiar with what AAR means.  For those who aren't, AAR occurs when White racism is identified as such, but Black racism is either ignored or rationalized. 

Because people who do this look the other way when Blacks vote by race, as if it is reasonable to expect lower standards from Black people, it is Affirmative Action Racism. 

It is also extremely unfair and insulting to Black people.

Here is the Newsweek article.  Read it and see what I mean:

The White Stuff

A new NEWSWEEK Poll underscores Obama's racial challenge.

Among voters overall, however, Obama fares better, tying McCain 46 percent to 46 percent in a hypothetical match-up. (That's down slightly, within the margin of error, from the last NEWSWEEK Poll, conducted in late April, in which Obama led McCain 47 percent to 44 percent). In that contest, he is boosted by a strong showing among nonwhites, leading McCain 68 percent to 25 percent (Clinton leads McCain 65 percent to 25 percent among nonwhites). But even this result shows some of the electoral challenges facing Obama in a year when Democrats generally appear to hold an electoral advantage--boasting a 15 point advantage in generic party identification over Republicans, 53 percent to 38 percent. Clinton fares slightly better against McCain: 48 percent to 44 percent (within the margin of error). She enjoys this slight edge even though Obama leads Clinton 50 percent to 42 percent as the choice of registered Democrats for the party's nomination. Clinton's white support is unusually high: at a comparable point in the 2004 election, Democratic nominee John Kerry received the support of 36 percent of white voters, compared to George W. Bush's 48 percent, and in June of 2000, Bush led Al Gore 48 percent to 39 percent.

Obama's race may well explain his difficulty in winning over white voters. In the NEWSWEEK Poll, participants were asked to answer questions on a variety of race-related topics including racial preferences, interracial marriage, attitudes toward social welfare and general attitudes toward African-Americans. Respondents were grouped according to their answers on a "Racial Resentment Index." Among white Democrats with a low Racial Resentment Index rating, Obama beat McCain in a hypothetical match-up 78 percent to 17 percent. That is virtually identical to Clinton's margin in the category, 79 percent to 13 percent. But among white Democrats with high scores on the Racial Resentment Index, the picture was very different: Obama led McCain by only 18 points (51 to 33) while Clinton maintained a much larger 59-point lead (78 to 18).


Who exactly are these high Racial Resentment Index voters? A majority, 61 percent, have less than a four-year college education, many are older (44 percent were over the age of 60 compared to just 18 percent under the age of 40) and nearly half (46 percent) live in the South.

C onfusion over Obama's religious background may also be hindering his ability to attract white support. Asked to name Obama's faith, 58 percent of participants said Christian (the correct answer), compared with 11 percent who answered Muslim, 22 percent who did not know and 9 percent who said something else. Obama's name could be contributing to the confusion; 18 percent of white Democratic voters say they judge the Illinois senator less favorably because of his name, compared to only 4 percent of white Democrats who say it makes them judge Obama more favorably.

While the NEWSWEEK Poll clearly suggests a lurking racial bias in the American electorate, the role of race in presidential politics may be diminishing. In 2000, only 37 percent of voters thought the country was ready for a black president. Now, 70 percent of voters think a black candidate like Obama could win the White House.

Unbelievable.

There is exactly one non-White reference in the ENTIRE ARTICLE, and even it is not to Blacks, but to non-Whites generally.  There is not one word here about Black voting patterns for Obama.

FYI:  In the primaries, Mr. Obama is getting something like 90% of the Black vote against Hillary Clinton, with her lifelong commitment to what she calls Black issues and her enormous popularity among Black voters - until she ran against a Black man, that is.  Is that racial voting?

And there is more.  Under normal circumstances Black citizens are about 13 -14% of all voters.  Most analysts I've read/heard feel that if Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate Black voters will come out in much greater numbers to vote for him.  Since Black voters already are well over 90% Democrat, that higher number of voters is going to move states with large Black populations more toward the Democratic Party. 

It could give Mr. Obama several southern states he would otherwise have no chance for.  It could affect major states with large urban Black populations such as Ohio (Cleveland), Michigan (Detroit) and Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).

But here is an article about the effect race has on this campaign, which does nothing but talk about White racial voting.  Not one word about Black racial voting and its effect.

Why?  Because the rules are different, that's why.  The fact that Black voters almost always vote for the Democrat and Black voters, as a race, are expected to come out in much larger numbers to vote for a Black candidate?  This is not for your fragile sensibilities.  We won't talk about that.

AAR at its finest.


IBD EDITORIAL ON OIL COST & SUPPLY

Ken Berwitz

Investors Business Daily has an excellent editorial in yesterday's edition, which details the facts regarding oil prices, and the consequences of our not using the energy resources we have.

Here it is:

House Of Oil Repute

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Congress: Democrats oppose extracting 10 billion barrels of oil from ANWR because it won't affect prices, but want to tap our strategic reserve of 700 million because it will. Come again?

At a hearing last week before the House Committee on Global Warming, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said he didn't understand why President Bush wasn't releasing oil from the nation's reserves stored in underground salt domes in Texas and Louisiana.

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman tried to explain that the stockpile "is meant to deal with . . . the physical interruption of the flow of oil to this country. We don't have that issue today."

We might, however, in the event of a conflict with, say, Iran. And for that reason, we believe the SPR should remain what's the word? "pristine" and filled to the brim.

The "pristine" coastal plain of Alaska's Arctic Wildlife Refuge, under which billions of barrels of oil lie, is seen in this 2001 photo.

But we not only need the SPR; we need more reserves from the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to shale oil in the Rockies to the outer continental shelf.

Instead, we have the likes of Rep. Markey, who last year introduced H.R. 39, legislation that would make the 1.2-million-acre coastal plain of ANWR a permanently protected wilderness.

Oil development would affect only 2,000 acres, yet Markey et al. seek to end forever efforts to develop its energy resources to benefit Americans.

Never mind that off the coast of Louisiana, not far from our strategic reserve, there are 3,200 offshore oil platforms that survived Hurricane Katrina without leaking a drop of crude.

Also never mind that Louisiana produces a third of America's commercial fisheries; fish thrive amid the platforms. Yet we are barred from more offshore exploration because of fears of spills and imaginary threats to marine life.

In our world, 10 billion is a lot bigger than 700 million. It's bigger in Bodman's world as well. The biggest factor affecting prices, he said, is that beginning in 2005 "there has been no change in global production" and "demand has outstripped supply."

The Energy Information Administration says the U.S. by itself will need 19% more energy in 2030. Add in the rest of the world and the growing economies of China and India, and you're talking 55% more energy demand. Despite our best efforts, more than 60% of that demand will be for oil and natural gas.

As President Bush said at a recent press conference, the Department of Energy has estimated that ANWR development, vetoed by Hillary Clinton's husband in 1995, would add a million barrels of oil to our daily supply.

That, he said, "translates to about 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel every day." And that, he continued, "would be about a 20% increase of oil . . . and likely mean lower gas prices."

In last week's annual scapegoating of Big Oil, John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., told his Senate inquisitors: "This persistent denial of access is costing American consumers right out of their pocketbooks."

ANWR is only the tip of the iceberg, no pun intended. The outer continental shelf holds an estimated 115 billion barrels of oil and 635 trillion feet of natural gas. If allowed to develop these resources in Alaska, the shelf and elsewhere, U.S. reserves would increase by a factor of five, and we'd jump from 11th to fourth in the world in the size of our proven reserves.

Enough, in other words, to make OPEC blink and gas prices drop.

This could not be spelled out more clearly.  We have the resources to alleviate oil prices, probably enough of them to hold out until alternative energy development is able pick up the slack.  But we are not using those resources.  For no good reason

When do we wake up?  If we elect a more leftward congress than we have already (which seems very likely) don't expect the wakeup to be any time soon. 

Too bad for us.


THE REAL OIL STORY

Ken Berwitz

Are the big US oil companies responsible for what is happening at the gas pumps?

Are you sure you know the true answer to this question?

These excerpts from a John Hinderaker post at www.powerlineblog.com, tell you the real story about oil. 

Read it twice, because it is worth the effort (be sure to click on the graph so you can see the enlarged version):

This graph tells the story; you can barely see the American oil companies as minor players on the right side of the chart. The chart was presented to the House committee by Chevron; click to enlarge:

With 94% of the world's oil supply locked up by foreign governments, most of which are hostile to the United States, the relatively puny American oil companies do not have access to enough crude oil to significantly affect the market and help bring prices down. Thus, Exxon Mobil, a small oil company, buys 90% of the crude oil that it refines for the U.S. market from the big players, i.e, mostly-hostile foreign governments. The price at the U.S. pump is rising because the price the big oil companies charge Exxon Mobil and the other small American companies for crude oil is going up.

This is obviously a tough situation for the American consumer. The irony is that it doesn't have to be that way. The United States--unlike, say, France--actually has vast petroleum reserves. It would be possible for American oil companies to develop those reserves, play a far bigger role in international markets, and deliver gas at the pump to American consumers at a much lower price, while creating many thousands of jobs for Americans. This would be infinitely preferable to shipping endless billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela.

So, why doesn't it happen? Because the Democratic Party--aided, sadly, by a handful of Republicans--deliberately keeps gas prices high and our domestic oil companies small by putting most of our reserves off limits to development.

Now you know the truth.

Grow old waiting for media to report it.  And grow even older waiting for them to talk about what the oil we could extract from ANWR, offshore and from shale would do to alleviate our situation.


MEDIA DOUBLE STANDARD AGAINST HILLARY

Ken Berwitz

By now we all know the comment Hillary Clinton made about staying in the presidential race - i. e. using the example that Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in June of 1968.  And we've all heard the outrage by just about everyone, because she might have been suggesting that Barack Obama was a likely assassination target (which she adamantly denies).

But do you remember what Barack Obama's WIFE said about his chance of being assassinated? Charles Johnson of  www.littlegreenfootballs.com sure does, and here it is:

Media Hyperventilating Over Hillary, Ignored Mrs. Obama

Sat, May 24, 2008 at 8:44:01 am PDT

The ridiculous media hyperventilation over Hillary Clintons remark about Robert Kennedys assassination is just one more indication of their stunningly over the top bias toward Barack Obama.

Heres a Hot Air video from more than a year ago in which Obamas wife Michelle speculates not about RFK, but specifically about her husband being murdered: Hot Air Blog Archive Video: Obamas wife plays race card on 60 Minutes.

The heavy presence of security around Obama was also a silent reminder of the change that took place with the announcement. Michelle Obama, the candidates wife, acknowledged it in an interview to air on CBS 60 Minutes, in which she was asked if she fears for her husbands life as a black candidate.

I dont lose sleep over it because the realities are that . . . as a black man . . . Barack can get shot going to the gas station, Michelle Obama said in the interview, set to air Sunday night. You cant make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.

So let's see: 

-Hillary Clinton justifies staying in the race against Barack Obama by reminding us of a political assassination and is reviled in every imaginable way. 

-But when Barack Obama's own wife played the racial-victim card by assuring us that her husband could be shot at a gas station just because he is a black man, it went virtually unreported.

Media bias in favor of Obama?  Naaaaahhhhhhhh 


THE DESPERATE OBSESSION OF THE LAMBS

Ken Berwitz

The LAMBs (Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade) desperately search for ways to attack their bogeymen - of which there are a very great many.

Here is a post from Howie Klein at www.crooksandliars.com, which gives us a wonderful rendition of Count Basie's classic, "Jumpin' at the Woodside". 

Speaking logically, the only purpose of this post is to provide some really great music.  But this is www.crooksandliars.com, so why am I speaking logically? 

Look at how far Klein stretches to attack John McCain (yes, you are seeing this right, he is stuffing an attack on John McCain into a Count Basie music post!!):

C&Ls Late Nite Music Club with Count Basie

When Count Basie first released Jumpin At The Woodside in 1938 John McCain was still learning to ride a burro around his native Panama though Basie had already had 5 hits. It was just the beginning for Basie and he and his orchestra went on to defining the entire swing era of jazz. At various times Basies Big Band had singers (or backed singers) like Billie Holiday, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Basie won an astounding 17 Grammy awards and when he died in 1980 he had achieved every milestone of success a musician can aspire to. (Unfortunately for us all, over the decades McCain went from trying to stay on a burro to flying planes with disastrous consequences.)

 

Thanks for the music, Howie.  And thanks for the belly laugh over trying to fit an attack on John McCain into it.  You are truly a stalwart champion of the LAMBs.


OBAMA'S INVESTMENT IN IRAQ FAILURE

Ken Berwitz

Here is an excellent article which explains why it is in Barack Obama's political interest to see the United States suffer a defeat in Iraq.  It is written by Linda Chavez and found it at the New York Post's web site, www.nypost.com..

Please read what Ms. Chavez has to say, and see if you can find anything to disagree with (I can find only one).  The bold print is mine:

WAR BLINDNESS

DEMS' VIETNAM BLINKERS

By LINDA CHAVEZ

May 24, 2008 --

Barack Obama must be too busy declaring victory to read a newspaper. How else can you explain his obliviousness to what is going on in Iraq at this very moment?

Both The New York Times and the Washington Post this week had front-page stories about successful operations by Iraqi forces to root out Shiite militias in Baghdad's Sadr City - a significant turning point in the war and a huge accomplishment for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

But there Obama was Tuesday evening patting himself on the back for his Oregon primary victory while once again repeating the same old tired formulation about the "failed" Bush policy in Iraq, "that asks everything of our troops and nothing of Iraqi politicians."

Sadr City has been a major problem for Maliki's fragile government. When Sunni tribal leaders last year began to turn against the insurgency - whose forces were swelled with foreign fighters and which had killed thousands of Sunnis, as well as Shiites and Americans - Maliki came under increasing pressure to rein in Shiite militias.

His first effort to do so in Basra, a Shiite city in the south of Iraq, was largely successful despite early reports of massive desertion by Iraqi troops and logistical problems. But Sadr City has always been the toughest nut to crack, with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militias ruling the streets in the enclave of 2 million people.

Iraqi troops were able to move into Sadr City and restore order there, allowing civil society to function, precisely because Maliki's Shiite-dominated government is making significant strides in political reconciliation with Sunnis.

So why can't Obama acknowledge this improvement? Because he's invested too much in the Iraqis - and America - failing.

Now, Gen. David Petraeus, who currently leads US forces in Iraq but has been nominated to take over the entire US Central Command, says that things are going so well in Iraq that the US will be able to withdraw more troops from there in the fall. But this type of good news is bad news to Sen. Obama, and most Democrats.

Obama and his fellow Democrats are stuck in a time warp. The Democratic candidates - Hillary Clinton only slightly less so than Obama - have been counting on military and political failure in Iraq. When things started improving with the surge in US troops and the so-called Sunni Awakening last year, they couldn't retool their messages to take account of the improved situation.

It's not so surprising that much of the Democratic Congressional leadership would fall into this trap. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are, after all, baby boomers who came of age during Vietnam. Iraq was always Vietnam redux for them. But Obama claims he represents a new generation, new ideas - in his words, "change."

But he certainly hasn't let the facts change his opinion about what is going on in Iraq or what the United States should do in response. Like a broken record, he just keeps repeating the same old tune.

If he really were a new kind of politician, he'd cheer what's happening in Iraq, compliment Prime Minister Maliki for his strides and rethink his promise to undercut the progress by a precipitous withdrawal of all American troops.

In his stubborn refusal to admit things have changed in Iraq, Obama is looking more and more like a throwback to the Vietnam protesters who actively promoted America's defeat in order to prove they were right in their opposition to the Vietnam War. He may not be old enough to remember firsthand the shouts of "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh," or the Viet Cong flags hoisted at anti-war rallies of that era.

But the sentiment that the enemy must win in order for American policy to be thoroughly repudiated seems to hover just beneath the surface of his gloomy assessment of Iraq. Obama's pessimism is simply old school anti-Americanism dressed up in patriotic rhetoric.

The one area of disagreement I have with Ms. Chavez is her question right at the beginning:  "Barack Obama must be too busy declaring victory to read a newspaper. How else can you explain his obliviousness to what is going on in Iraq at this very moment?"

The answer is right there, throughout her own article.  The explanation for Mr. Obama's "obliviousness" is that it is not obliviousness at all. 

If we succeed in Iraq Mr. Obama looks bad, and if we fail in Iraq Mr. Obama looks good.  So, in order to benefit politically, he has to see failure in Iraq.  And that is what he will see, whether we are succeeding or not.

If this is what you want in a President, you certainly will get it in Barack Obama.  But is it what you want? 


A GREAT CHOICE FOR OBAMA - IF HE MAKES IT

Ken Berwitz

Robert Novak is reporting, in his column today, that Barack Obama may pick former Virginia Governor Mark Warner as his running mate.

Warner would be an excellent choice.  He is older than Obama but still young (just 54), dynamic, popular in his state (which could bring it to the Democratic fold) and has been able to work with Republicans because, by Democratic standards, he is somewhat of a centrist.

Did I mention that he is immensely rich too?  He made his fortune in cellular phones and other tech-oriented ventures.  That means he has plenty of personal resources -- and he has an extremely impressive business background (which Obama does not)

The only down side I see is that Mark Warner is expected to run for the senate this year to fill the seat of retiring Republican John Warner (no relation).  If he doesn't, Democrats do not have a really good alternative to go up against the likely Republican nominee, former Governor James Gilmore.  But winning the presidency is obviously a higher party priority.

All in all, this would be a superb pick for Mr. Obama.  I wonder if he'll offer it and Mr. Warner will take it.


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