Tuesday, 10 June 2008

MICHAEL GRAHAM ON OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE PROMISES

Ken Berwitz

Michael Graham is a radio talk show host and a columnist for the Boston Herald.

His latest column (which you can read by clicking here) is a sarcastic, but witty and factual attack on the Sainthood that some media people apparently have conferred upon Barack Obama.

The best part of Mr. Graham's column, to me anyway, deals with Mr. Obama's health care promises.  They sound so good and so wonderful that (like pretty much everything else he says) most mainstream media are giving him a free pass on the difference between his proposals and reality. 

But not Graham.  No free passes in this column.

Here is the commentary I'm referring to:

For sheer entertainment value, few things can beat South Side Obama, the High Priest of Rezko Politics, offering himself as the new Moses in the land of free medical care manna from heaven.

Unfortunately, embracing this fantasy means we dont seize the humble, modest opportunities for real reform.

Take Obamas claim that were finally going to provide care for the sick. Beyond the insult to every American medical professional already hard at work, theres a price to be paid for this fantasy.

The notion of every American having identical health care, from Bill Gates to Bob the Street Bum, is simply impossible. Ask the Soviets, the Communist Chinese and everyone else whos tried it.

A more humble approach would be mandatory, catastrophic health care coverage to cover major medical crises.

Most people have it already; healthy, risk-taking young people could be required to buy into the system, and this limited coverage would be so affordable that only the poorest families would need a government subsidy.

A national mandatory catastrophic medical coverage plan isnt flashy.

It doesnt hail the arrival of the Messiah, harness swirling positive energy or realign our national feng shui.

Its just a modest way to make life better for more Americans.

Its part of what politics used to be - the art of the possible.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama is in the business of selling the impossible, to a crowd of people clueless enough to believe it is inevitable.

That's good.  That's really good. 

Too bad that mainstream media let Barack Obama get away with his pie in the sky nonsense.  And too bad that, media-wise, Michael Graham is a voice in the wilderness when he exposes it. 


THE FIVE BIGGEST LIES ABOUT IRAQ

Ken Berwitz

Ben Johnson, the Managing Editor of www.frontpagemagazine.com, has written an article which takes apart the Democratic Party's five biggest lies about Iraq. 

Let me amend that:  Johnson doesn't just take them apart, he blows them to kingdom come.

The article is way too long to post here.  But it is also way too important not to.  So I'm excerpting it (even so, it is still pretty long) and giving you the link to read it all by just clicking here, which I fervently hope you do.

Here are the excerpts:

The Party of Defeat's Top Five Lies About Iraq  
By Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, June 10, 2008

FROM THE BEGINNING, THE WAR HAS BEEN BASED ON LIES, DECEPTION, AND PROPAGANDA: the war against President Bush, that is. Beginning five years ago next month, the Party of Defeat's attempts to discredit the commander-in-chief in the midst of a war have continued without quarter, undeterred by factual refutation, rational discourse, measurable progress in Iraq, or palpable damage to the morale of American soldiers in a very hostile part of the world. The Left's campaign against the very war many of its banner-wavers voted to authorize has been built upon a tissues of lies layered upon one another, big and small, consequential and unspeakably petty, political and military, and aimed at the war's rationale and prosecution -- and those implementing both.

Of the scores of such fabrications, it would be difficult to quantify the most damaging or widely held. However, here is in an attempt at recounting some of the most commonly parroted lies of the antiwar echo chamber.

1. Bush Lied, People Died.

One of the chief targets of any enemy campaign is not one reached by any bomb, biological agent, or terrorist attack: it is psychological. If the enemy can undermine his opponents' self-confidence or feeling of certainty in his own moral purpose, he can win without firing a shot. This is the most successful aspect of the Left's campaign against President Bush and the war in Iraq, embodied in one pithy, vapid saying: "Bush Lied, People Died."

The specific instance of the president's alleged mendacity is ever-shifting. Its sources have sometimes been
Ambassador Joseph Wilson and Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, both proven to be liars themselves by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The theme of the president's alleged lies tends to be the case for the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. However, as one prominent politician has stated:

The intelligence from Bush I to Clinton to Bush II was consistent. That intelligencewas very strong on the continuing presence of biological and chemical programsIt was also very consistent on the continuing effort to develop nuclear capacity

This picture of a threatening Iraq projected itself far beyond the U.S. intelligence community:

The consensus was the same, from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. It was the same intelligence belief that our allies and friends around the world shared.

These quotations do not come from John McCain, Donald Rumsfeld, or another fire-breathing "neocon": they were spoken by Hillary Clinton, one of the voices now declaiming the president misled her about the war.


2. Iraq was not an imminent threat, as Bush said.

CIA Denies Claims That Iraq Posed Imminent Danger, blares a headline at one leftist "news" website. The contention, magnified by constant repetition, holds that, to justify spilling the blood of Iraqi innocents which he secretly lusted after, President Bush labeled Iraq an "imminent threat" to the United States. Yet, the Left contends, this is not true; thus, "Bush Lied, People Died." (See above.)

This tactic is most shamefully embodied in the words of Sen. Ted Kennedy, belched to the Associated Press just
six months after the beginning of the war:

There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud.

However, the president specifically said Iraq was not an imminent threat -- and must never be allowed to become one. In his 2003 State of the Union Address, George W. Bush declared:

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.


3. The war was  about WMDs, which don't even exist.

Perhaps the most pervasive of the five myths holds that the United States only toppled Saddam Hussein because of his alleged possession of WMDs. Since no such weapons have been uncovered, this allows the Left to accuse President Bush of "lying" about their existence to precipitate a war. (See lie #1.) However, the possession of WMDs was never the full rationale for hostilities. The
actual cause for the war was Saddam Hussein's violation of more than a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions about his program during his "decade of defiance." These actions invalidated the ceasefire agreed to at the end of the Gulf War. As a 1998 law declared, Iraq was at that time in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire. It concluded:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations, and therefore the President is urged to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.

President Clinton signed that bill on August 19, 1998.

Shortly thereafter, Clinton
signed Public Law 105-338, "The Iraq Liberation Act," which "expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime."

4. The war is a distraction from the War on Terror.

The 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, famously called Iraq a
"diversion," "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time," a conflict launched because the president took his "eye off the ball." His successor, Barack Obama, has repeatedly spoken of "the distraction of Iraq."

Far from a "distraction," the war in Iraq is the War on Terror's central front -- according to both commanders of that war. The New York Times
reported that al-Qaeda sees the sectarian war for Baghdad as the necessary main focus of its operations last March, in a story that relies upon intelligence Americans found on laptops seized the previous December. Osama bin Laden himself verified this assessment, stating,

The most important and serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War...It is raging in the land of the two rivers. The worlds millstone and pillar is in Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate...The whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries; the Islamic nation, on the one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other. It is either victory and glory or misery and humiliation.

5. Opposing the war has no demoralizing effect on the troops.

In theory, it is possible to oppose a given war without opposing those fighting it. However, as Henry Mencken said about Christianity, nobodys tried it yet. If one believes American soldiers are pawns in an imperial grand strategy to
maintain [American] hegemony through the threat or use of military force;  that the invasion of Iraq is an immoral and illegal war  (a charge also made by Saddam Husseins Ba'athist government in its most craven days); that such a war makes us an international pariah  (as John Kerry said, alongside former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami); if you see the United States as the aggressor and a "belligerent bully"; it is impossible to wish those waging such a war well.

Soon, such a critic will be casting aspersions at the troops he claims to support. Witness John Kerry
telling CBSs Bob Schieffer that "young American soldiers" are "going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children you know, women breaking sort of the customs of the, of, the historical customs, religious customs."

Hear Jack Murtha
bellow, "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

See timid Dick Durbin
prattle in monotone that soldiers guarding al-Qaeda henchmen in Iraq are no better than "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regimePol Pot or othersthat had no concern for human beings," with no more forethought than if he were weighing in on the merits or demerits of a farm subsidy bill.

Soon, such critics will write openly that Osama bin Laden
"made sense to me." If you share these views, Osama may one day take his cues from you, cribbing his videotapes from your movies, citing your phony war statistics, or calling you "among the most capable" of his fifth column.

This fifth column, this Party of Defeat does what no external power can dream of: undermine the war from within.
 
Sadly, you can count on mainstream media to continue perpetuating these lies right along with their party of choice.  Hey, all it does is defame President Bush and the Republican Party.  What's wrong with that?

And doing it during a war?  That's just icing on the cake.


IS THE NBA FIXED?

Ken Berwitz

Is the NBA fixed?  What a dispiriting question to have to ask. 

We already know that Tim Donaghy, the disgraced former National Basketball Association referee, has been involved in fixing dozens and dozens of games.  But, as we now find  out from today's article in the New York Daily News, he may not be the only one -- and the NBA itself may be complicit in the fixes.:

Ex-referee Tim Donaghy blows whistle on NBA dirty secrets

Tuesday, June 10th 2008, 4:10 PM

Ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy told the feds two refs fixed the outcome of one playoff series - and that officials were told not to eject star players from games for fear of hurting ticket sales.

The bombshell allegations are contained in a court document filed Tuesday by Donaghy's lawyer. It describes the inner workings" of the NBA in which top league executives used referees to manipulate games.

Donaghy, who pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court to charges of betting on games he officiated, told FBI agents league officials would tell referees that they should withhold calling technical fouls on certain star players because doing so hurt ticket sales and television ratings," the document said.

Donaghy claims he was told that two refs who were company men acting in the interest of the NBA conspired to extend a playoff series in 2002 to a seventh game.

The referees allegedly ignored flagrant fouls committed by the team that needed to win. They also reportedly called "made-up fouls" against the other team which led to the ejection of two of their players. The team favored by the refs won that night and the next game to win the series.

The document does not name the teams. The Nets were in that playoff series, losing the championship finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Donaghy also claimed a supervising referee told refs that an unidentified NBA executive did not want them to call technical fouls on star players or boot them from the game.

Donaghy told feds the league reprimanded a referee who disobeyed that edict in January 2000 and ejected an unnamed star player from a game in the first quarter.

Lawyer John Lauro filed the four-page letter to Federal Judge Carol Amon because none of the information was included in the governments letter to the judge seeking leniency for Donaghy when he is sentenced next month.

Lauro has gone to war against Brooklyn federal prosecutors for offering plea deals to Donaghy's betting accomplices that give them less time than the disgraced ref, despite his extensive cooperation.

Donaghy claims referees have accepted autographs, free merchandise and meals from team coaches and managers. He told probers one referee used a team's practice facility to exercise and another played tennis with an NBA coach.

"These activities were against NBA rules, indeed, such inappropriate relationships could influence the outcome of games," Lauro wrote.

Lauro said he withheld the names of the teams, referees and league officials because the feds may still investigate the allegations.

How can you possibly trust the integrity of the NBA any more? 

Now, every time a questionable call is made - especially at the end of a game - you will have to wonder whether it was legitimate or because the referee and/or league office were working towards a pre-planned ending.

Between this and the steroids, it is becoming harder and harder to have any confidence in professional sports.  Or to derive any enjoyment from watching them.


OBAMA'S VP "VETTERS"

Ken Berwitz

Maybe Barack Obama ought to think a bit more about who he is using to "vet" vice presidential candidates.

He has assembled a three-person team to do this.  One of them is Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, JFK's daughter.  What her qualifications are to pick a vice presidential candidate - other than her family name?  Maybe you can help me on this one, because I don't know of any at all.

Another is Eric Holder, Bill Clinton's last Attorney General -- and the one who facilitated Clinton's pardon of international criminal Marc Rich.  Rich as Dick Morris and Eileen McGann remind us, is...

the fugitive billionaire who renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Switzerland to avoid prosecution for racketeering, wire fraud, 51 counts of tax fraud, tax evasion (to the tune of $48 million), and illegal trades with Iran in violation of the US embargo following the 1979-80 hostage crisis.

For absolutely no good reason, Clinton pardoned this unregenerate scumbag.  Then, suddenly, millions of dollars were being funneled through Rich's ex-wife Denise to the Clinton coffers (and, rumor has it, Denise herself may have been part of the bargain every now and again).  And he couldn't have done it without Eric Holder.

With a duo like this, you would hope the last of the three vetters would be something a bit better.  But you can kiss that goodbye too.

The third is a Democratic power broker named Jim Johnson.  At one time Johnson ran Fanny Mae, so he has lots of pull among financial interests.  Maybe this explains how he was able to get money the way he did.  Amanda Carpenter of www.townhall.com explains:

Ever since Barack Obama chose former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson to vet potential vice presidential choices, critics have questioned Johnsons ties to Countrywide Financial Corporation, a mortgage lender that gave Johnson millions in below-market loans.

The Obama campaign issued a vehement statement Monday calling questions about Johnsons loans overblown and irrelevant.

Obamas GOP opposition, however, is showing no tolerance for Johnsons role in Obamas campaign and is eagerly tying the scandal to Obamas disgraced landlord friend, Tony Rezko. While Obama was kicking off a two-week battleground state economy tour in Raleigh, North Carolina on Monday, the Republican National Committee was busy blasting out emails to reporters with Obamas Hypocrisy on Housing in the subject line. Dueling statements from RNC spokesman Alex Conat said It takes a lot of nerve for Barack Obama to stand before voters, speak to the rising costs hurting families, attack his opponent on the housing crisis, and completely ignore the fact that both he and his campaign leadership have enjoyed housing deals that no average North Carolinian would be able to access and His campaigns suggestion that controversy surrounding his senior advisers favorable loans is overblown is out-of-touch, but its what weve come to expect from a candidate who lives in a multi-million dollar house thanks to Tony Rezko.

(Rezko, a former Chicago-based fundraiser for Obama, was convicted on 16 of 24 counts of corruption last Friday.)

Since then, a spate of new stories have been published criticizing Johnson because he secured $7 million in loans through Countrywide largely because of his close relationship with Countywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo. The Wall Street Journal published a story Saturday that said: Countrywide Financial Corp. makes mortgage loans through a vast network of offices, brokers and call centers. But a few customers have gotten their loans a special way: through Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo ... One was James Johnson, a longtime Democratic Party power and an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign, who this past week was named to a panel that is vetting running-mate possibilities for the presumed nominee.

Complicating the issue for Obama is the fact that he has attacked the housing industry for granting too many irresponsible loans, much like the ones Johnson secured. Obama specifically singled out Countrywide in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by saying, These are the people who are responsible for infecting the economy and helping to create a home foreclosure crisis.

P.S. No, I did not hear any mention of this on the Today show.  No, I do not see a thing about it in the New York Times.

You'd think that when they hold this much water for Barack Obama there would sometimes be at least a small leak somewhere.  Not yet, though.  This is Saint Barack we're talking about, so they're very, very careful.


RUPERT EVERETT: ANOTHER ACTOR-IDIOT SPEAKS OUT

Ken Berwitz

This is another in the ongoing series of actor-idiots that we regularly come across - people whose success as performers, with its concomitant adulation by adoring fans, seems to have convinced them that they are experts in areas they know nothing about.

The latest is British actor Rupert Everett.  Here, courtesy of the London Guardian, is what he said;  and what he apologized for, presumably after his PR guy read him the riot act.  Please pay special attention to the two paragraphs I have put in bold print:

Rupert Everett apologises for calling soldiers 'wimps'

Last updated: 8:01 AM BST 10/06/2008

Rupert Everett, the actor, has made an unreserved apology for calling soldiers "wimps" and suggesting they went into the Army to torture prisoners.

Rupert Everett
GETTY IMAGES

The star of My Best Friend's Wedding, 49, caused consternation with his attack in The Sunday Telegraph.

In an interview to publicise his new film The Victorian Sex Explorer, in which he plays the renowned explorer Sir Richard Burton, he said: "In Burton's day they were itching to get into the fray. Now it is the opposite. They are always whining about the dangers of being killed. Oh my God, they are such wimps now!

"The whole point of being in the Army is wanting to get killed, wanting to test yourself to the limits. Now you have to fly 15,000ft above the war zone to avoid getting hit. I don't think there is any point in having wars if that's how you're going to behave. It's pathetic. All this whining!"

He went on to say: "The whole point of being in the Army is going to war and getting yourself blown up. That and p---ing on prisoners. Yet we all get shocked by Abu Ghraib."

But on Monday he issued a lengthy statement apologising "without reserve" to the "many in this country, and hundreds and thousands of others across the world who have lost their brothers and sisters, their fathers and mothers to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the countless others".

He explained he made his remarks to compare war now to war in Victorian times, saying: "I compared his longing to get into battle to the way we engage in war today. Then death was glorious. Today it is what it really is. Each and every death is a terrible tragic loss."

The point he was making was that while in Burton's day war was portrayed as "romantic or exciting", it actually "creates terrible suffering everywhere, and today we go into it with our eyes open."

He said: "To be a soldier one needs that special gene, that extra something, that enables a person to jump into one on one combat, something, after all, that is unimaginable to most of us, as we are simply not brave enough."

Furthermore he admitted: "I also talked flippantly about torture and our attitude towards it. I apologise.

"However it seems to me that embracing war means accepting its underbelly as well, torture and the unspeakable violence that spirals from the battlefield to its surroundings. You cannot be politically correct in a war. My flippant and irresponsible behaviour arises from a deep frustration at the fact that we seem to be continually making war, dreaming up new ones, instead of doing everything we can to avoid them. Again I apologise without reserve to anyone who has been insulted by my remarks."

Everett's father is a retired Army major and he said in his interview that "two of my forebears, maybe three, got VCs in Afghanistan."

Is this an idiot, or what?

In what passes for Rupert Everett's mind, the purpose of being in the army isn't to protect and defend your country, it is a suicide attempt.  You want to get killed.  That's the sum and substance of the military profession to him. 

Here is a quote from General George S. Patton that Mr. Everett might want to think about:

"..no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." General George S. Patton
Maybe before acting Mr. Everett was a higher-ranking general than General Patton.  He certainly thinks he knows more about soldiering that Patton did.

And, since he believes that the only point of war is to get blown up, Mr. Everett petulantly whines (that's right HE whines) that it is pathetic for soldiers to try to finish their military careers standing vertically instead of boxed horizontally. 

I doubt that many British or American soldiers piss on prisoners.  But it is clear that Rupert Everett pisses on soldiers. 

I don't care how many of Rupert Everett's "forbears" were in the military.  He can go to hell.


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