Wednesday, 30 July 2008

THE MESSIAH COMPLEX IN ACTION

Ken Berwitz

The remarkable personal evaluation below is reported by Johnathan Weisman of the Washington Post (which ain't exactly a member of the vast right wing conspiracy):

Obama's Symbolic Importance

By Jonathan Weisman
Perhaps he's beginning to believe the hype.

In his closed door meeting with House Democrats this evening, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama delivered a real zinger. According to a witness, he was waxing lyrical about last week's trip to Europe, when he concluded, "this is the moment, as Nancy [Pelosi] noted, that the world is waiting for."

The 200,000 souls who thronged to his speech in Berlin came not just for him, he told the enthralled audience of congressional representatives.

"I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions," he said.

What arrogance and self-importance.  What incredible arrogance and self-importance.

You don't need any explanation from me -- Mr. Obama certainly has made his attitude clear. But I do have just one question:

Does the quality of media coverage given Mr. Obama throughout his primary and now general election campaigns have anything to do with his hugely inflated self-image?

What do you think?


ANOTHER TASTE OF THE FUTURE

Ken Berwitz

Here is a new installment in the series detailing how our world will operate if radical Islam makes good on its threat to take over the world and end western civiliation.  It comes to us from Agence France Presse:

Pets used to 'pick up' women banned

From correspondents in Riyadh

July 30, 2008 11:50pm

Article from: Agence France-Presse
 
SAUDI Arabia's religious police have banned selling cats and dogs or exercising them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said today.

Othman al-Othman, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh, known as the Muttawa, told the Saudi edition of al-Hayat daily the commission has started enforcing an old religious edict.

He said the commission was implementing a decision taken a month ago by the acting governor of the capital, Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, adding it followed an old edict issued by the supreme council of Saudi scholars.

The reason behind reinforcing the edict now was a rising fashion among some men using pets in public "to make passes on women and disturb families,'' he said.

Mr Othman said that the commission has instructed its offices in the capital to tell pet shops "to stop selling cats and dogs''.

The 5,000-strong religious police oversees the adherence to Wahabism - a strict version of Sunni Islam, which also forces women to cover from head to toe when in public, and bans them from driving.

Take a good look.  Because this is what will replace western civilization if we allow it to.  And it will be the way YOU live.

If we fight against radical islam we may win and we may lose.  If we do not fight, we will most assuredly lose because, either way, they will continue fighting.  And if they win, our culture and our civilization is over, to be replaced by what?  A society in which "religious police" patrol the streets to make sure someone with a pet doesn't have a relationship with someone who liked that pet?  And who ban the sale, thus ownership, of cats and dogs because they are so fearful this might happen?

God help the people who want to live this way.  I know I'm not one of them.  Are you?

We play political games with such lunacy at our own peril.


BARACK OBAMA'S SOLUTION TO THE GAS CRISIS

Ken Berwitz

You have to see the video to believe this.  Because in the absence of absolute proof you never will.

Today Barack Obama told an audience that if we would just properly inflate our tires, and get regular tuneups, we could save an amount of gas equal to what we could get from additional drilling.

I swear, he actually said that.

Here, courtesy of www.powerlineblog.com, is the video of Obama's incredibly nutty "solution".  I am also including John Hinderaker's comments about it.   

Please note the audience reaction - which Hinderaker correctly described as stunned silence.  And remember, this is HIS crowd:

Get This Man A Teleprompter!

Barack Obama is a lot like Sean Penn or George Clooney. If you give him a script, he can deliver it pretty well. But if he tries to talk without a script that has been written for him by others, he quickly reveals that he is poorly-informed if not downright ignorant. Today he delivered another classic, by claiming that if only we would all properly inflate our tires, we could save as much gasoline as "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling." Seriously:

The stunned silence with which the crowd greets this howler suggests that most Americans have a more practical understanding of energy consumption than Obama.

Just for fun, I did the math. Properly inflating your tires can improve gas mileage by 3%. Of course, many people already keep their tires properly inflated, and many more are at least close to being properly inflated. Let's be generous and assume that one-half of the total possible savings would be realized if we all inflated our tires properly; that's a net gain of 1.5% fuel efficiency.

Americans drive approximately 2,880 billion miles per year. If we average 24 mpg, we use around 120 billion gallons of gasoline in our vehicles. If, through perfect tire inflation, we improved our collective fuel efficiency by 1.5%, that would be 1.8 billion gallons. A barrel of oil produces around 20 gallons of gasoline, so the total savings available through tire inflation is approximately 90,000,000 barrels of oil annually.

How does this stack up against "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling?"

ANWR: 10 billion barrels
Outer Continental Shelf: 18 billion barrels (estimated; the actual total is undoubtedly much higher, since exploration has been banned)
Oil shale: 1 trillion barrels

So, on the above assumptions, it would take only 11,308 years of proper tire inflation to equal "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling."

Obama is a curious case. He gives the impression of being an intelligent guy, but through his unscripted comments we have learned that he knows little about history, science or mathematics. He also seems rather shockingly short on common sense, as this most recent gaffe illustrates.

Unbelievable.
 
I'll just bet that keith olbermann leads with this story on Countdown tonight.....


THE MCCAIN HEALTH CARE PLAN

Ken Berwitz

Do you know what John McCain's health care plan is and what it does?  If you're counting on most mainstream media to give you the details, I doubt you ever will, so please keep reading.

Here is an article by John C. Goodman which explains the McCain health care plan.  Take a close look at its structure and see if you think it is better - maybe appreciably better - than what is being offered by Barack Obama:

McCain Is the Radical on Health Reform

By JOHN C. GOODMAN
July 30, 2008; Page A15


If you listen only to presidential campaign rhetoric, you might conclude that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama proposed bold new changes for our health-care system, while John McCain is offering only small improvements. If so, you are in for a surprise. Most health-policy analysts believe that Mr. McCain is proposing the most fundamental health-care reform.

Right now the federal government encourages private health insurance primarily through the tax system -- handing out more than $200 billion in tax subsidies every year. Mr. Obama would leave this system largely intact. Mr. McCain would completely replace it with a fairer, more efficient system with a much better chance of insuring the uninsured and controlling health costs at the same time.

Under the current system, every dollar in health-insurance premiums paid by an employer is excluded from employee income and payroll taxes. Take an employee in the 25% income-tax bracket. Throw in state and local income taxes, add the 15.3% (FICA) payroll tax, and the tax exclusion for a middle-income family is worth almost 50 cents on the dollar. To make things a little better, employees can often pay their share of the premium with pretax dollars as well.

But this system is extremely arbitrary. There is virtually no tax relief for people who work for the 40% of employers who do not provide insurance, for part-time workers or people not in the labor market, or for anyone else who for any reason must buy his own insurance. The self-employed get a slightly better deal: They can deduct 100% of their premiums, but they get no relief from the payroll tax.

According to the Lewin Group, a private health-care consulting firm, families earning $100,000 a year get four times as much tax relief as families earning $25,000. In other words, the biggest subsidy goes to those who least need it, and who probably would have purchased insurance anyway.

The system is also wasteful. People can always lower their taxes by spending more on health insurance, and there is no limit to how bloated a health plan can be.

Under the McCain plan, no longer would employers be able to buy insurance with pretax dollars. These payments would be taxable to the employee, just like wages. However, every individual would get a $2,500 credit (and every family would get $5,000) to be applied dollar-for-dollar against taxes owed.

The McCain plan does not raise taxes, nor does it lower them. Instead, it takes the existing system of tax subsidies and treats everyone alike, regardless of income or job status. All health insurance would be sold on a level playing field under the tax law, regardless of how it is purchased.

The impact would be enormous. For the first time, low- and moderate-income families would get just as much tax relief as the very rich when they purchase health insurance. People who must purchase their own insurance would get just as much tax relief as those who obtain it through an employer. Whereas Mr. Obama would continue the current practice of giving the vast bulk of federal help to the rich (through tax subsidies) and the poor (through spending programs), the McCain tax credit would give the most new tax relief to the middle class.

The McCain plan would also encourage all Americans to control costs. The tax credit would subsidize the core insurance that everyone should have. It would not subsidize bells and whistles (marriage counseling, acupuncture, etc.) as the current system does. Since employees and their employers will be paying for additional coverage with aftertax dollars, everyone will have an incentive to compare the value of extra health benefits to the value of other things money can buy. When they eliminate health-care waste, they would get to keep every dollar they save.

The McCain tax credit would be refundable. People could apply $2,500 per person or $5,000 per family to the purchase of health insurance, even if they do not owe any income taxes. Families would not have to wait until April 15 the following year to get their credit. They could obtain the subsidy at the time the insurance is purchased.

The credit would also be transferable. Insurance companies and other intermediaries would be able to help families obtain their credit and apply it directly to health-insurance premiums.

The McCain health plan would allow people to buy insurance across state lines -- thus creating a competitive, national market for health insurance. It would provide additional federal money for people who have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, making it easier for people who have lost their insurance to obtain new coverage. It would also encourage Medicare to become a smarter, more efficient buyer of care.

The McCain plan will not solve all our health-care problems. But it has a far better chance of positively reforming the system than any other plan that has been proposed in this campaign season.

Mr. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He is an unpaid adviser to the McCain campaign.

.

Interesting, isn't it? 

I urge you in strongest terms to go over the details of this plan. 

It seems crystal clear to me that, like it or not, something major is going to be done regarding health care in the USA.  And both major party candidates have proposed their own plans. 

My suggestion is that you think long and hard about which of them is preferable to you.  Health care is one of the most important issues of this campaign.

J Hauser Here is my perspective from working in healthcare since the world was created!! We are a mess of fragmented financing and craziness with healthcare and hence with a rather large population of uninsured people. In a country which is truly rich and endowed with incredible people, the lack of access to healthcare is something very important to me. John McCain is taking a bold step with this reform and breaking the cycle of work linked health insurance which will change the incentives of finally having affordable health insurance. Introducing competition in health insurance is the first step of healthcare financing reform. There are not many areas of healthcare which lends itself to competition other than health insurance, dental care, and durable medical equipment. Due to the *closed* shop of medicine which requires licensure and certification and the specialized mission of hospitals, we will not see *sales* on cardiac surgery or other care ever. The one thing which can be done is changing the incentives of health insurance. McCain is absoluely on point and I commend him and his advisors. Kudos to the WSJ for printing the article. I sincerely hope more of my fellow citizens will read John McCain's website on health care finaning reform and educate themselves. Obama's plan is not viable in my humble opinion because a radical change of this nature will not happen in the US. There is no way the private and public sectors of healthcare will pool funds and resources for national health care. There is plenty of money is the system currently which is approx 17% of GDP.... We need no new taxes for healthcare, we need a total paradigm shift in how health insurance is contracted for in the US! Vote John McCain, Nov 4th. He has vision! (07/30/08)


AS THE MEDIA OBAMADORATION CONTINUES.......

Ken Berwitz

World Net Daily is a significant internet site.  But it certainly pales in its staff and resources when compared to, say, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, MSNBC, major news services like the Associated Press or major newspapers like The New York Times.

So how come Aaron Klein, writing for World Net Daily, can find this information when none of the above seem to be able to?

Here, complete with copious references to back it up, is what I am talking about:

ELECTION 2008
Obama tied to Iraqi government fraud?
Hundreds of millions in deals with candidate's associates

Posted: July 30, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

By Aaron Klein
 2008 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM Sen. Barack Obama's office engaged in six months of negotiations with a company controlled by convicted criminal Tony Rezko to lobby the U.S. government to push through a nixed $50 million contact to train Iraqi security personnel at a site in Chicago.

The contract was awarded to Rezko's company while Aiham Alsammarae, a long-time, close Rezko friend and a contributor to Obama's campaign, served as Iraq's U.S.-appointed electricity minister.

Rezko was a major Obama fundraiser and associate for two decades.

Alsammarae also awarded another Rezko-controlled operation as part of a $150 million contract to construct a 250-megawatt electricity plant in Iraq.

Alsammarae later was arrested by Iraqi authorities for bilking the coalition government out of some $650 million. He was sprung from prison under questionable circumstances in 2006 and escaped from Iraq, where he is still wanted for questioning with regard to major financial crimes.

The information raises questions into the nature of Obama's relationship with multiple deals made by Iraq's Electricity Ministry while Alsammarae was in charge. Obama has ties to Alsammarae and to the recipients of several of the massive contracts Alsammarae handed out.

While he was the electric czar of Iraq for the Coalition Provisional Authority from mid-2003 until mid-2005, Alsammarae granted the $50 million contract to train Iraqis to guard electrical plants to Companion Security, a start-up reportedly controlled by Rezko, his partner Daniel Mahru and a front man, Daniel Frawley, a former Chicago policeman. Frawley has multiple civil court judgments against him for his alleged failure to pay millions in outstanding bills.

The plan was to fly about 150 Iraqis to a site in Illinois for security training, which reportedly would include the use of AK-47 machine guns.

Obama's office did not reply to repeated WND requests for comment. A working number could not be found for Frawley.

Alsammarae did not return WND calls left on his cell phone and at his voicemail at his KCI Consultants firm in Chicago.

The contract with Rezko's group was signed April 18, 2005, one month before Alsammarae left his governmental post.

But Iraq's new electricity minister aborted the deal, complaining the Companion contract was too expensive, according to a U.S. embassy official in Baghdad who spoke earlier this year to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In the spring of 2006, Frawley and his company reportedly reached out to Chicago politicians, including Obama and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, to bring pressure to revive the deal, arguing the business would be good for the state.

Blagojevich's office and Illinois Homeland Security reportedly helped by offering an Army depot in Savanna in western Illinois as a site for Companion to conduct the Iraqi training.

Frawley then reportedly reached out to Obama, who in 2006 was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, engaging in six months of dialogue petitioning the Illinois senator to write a letter introducing the Rezko-connected Companion company to senior Iraqi officials. Frawley met with Seamus Ahern, who runs Obama's Moline, Ill., office.

But Obama, who has denied doing political favors for Rezko, later claimed he did not known Rezko was involved with Companion.

Obama's office declined to help about the same time Rezko was indicted on charges of fraud.

Obama's spokesman Ben LaBolt said, "The Senate staff had two meetings, one conference call and sporadically e-mailed with representatives of Companion Security about their request for Sen. Obama to write a letter introducing the company to senior officials in the Iraqi government."

LaBolt said Obama declined to help in the Companion deal, because "that is not the kind of action Sen. Obama usually takes for individual companies, and our staff concluded on that basis to decline the requested assistance."

LaBolt claimed Obama was not aware of Rezko's connections to the security firm.

LaBolt did not explain how Frawley could have survived the routine vetting of a petitioner by the U.S. Senate office staff when it was a matter of public record that his company was controlled by Rezko.

The nixed Iraqi government deal opens questions into the nature of Obama's relationship with agreements made by various associates with Iraq's Electricity Ministry while Alsammarae was in charge. Obama has ties to both Alsammarae and to the recipients of several of the massive contracts he handed out.

Alsammarae, a dual Iraqi-U.S. citizen, arrived in U.S. in 1976 and currently lives in Chicago and travels frequently to Amman, Jordan, where he maintains a residence despite still being wanted in Iraq.

Alsammarae has described himself as a close friend to Rezko, a former top confidante and fundraiser for Obama. Alsammarae and Rezko had been friends for nearly 30 years, since the two were classmates at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

WND reported Alsammarae posted more than one-third of Rezko's jail bond earlier this year, putting up as surety his $1.9 million Chicago home and two other properties.

Alsammarae contributed the maximum allowable donation of $2,300 to Obama's campaign, sending money six times in January, February and March. Obama donated the funds to charity in April, only after Alsammarae posted bond for Rezko.

As electricity minister, Alsammarae not only granted a Rezko firm the $50 million security training contract but also approved a contract with another Rezko company, Rezmar, to construct a 250-megawatt plant in the Kurdistani city of Chamchamal. That contract was granted to both Rezmar and the London-based General Mediterranean Holdings, which is headed by British billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, who was also involved in a large real estate deal in Chicago with Rezko and others around Obama.

Auchi, a former Baathist who left Iraq in 1979, was convicted in 2003 in a French court of corruption in an oil deal that stretched back to the Saddam Hussein regime. Auchi denies the charges.

Auchi could not be reached for comment

In another connection to Obama, when Alsammarae was jailed in Iraq in 2006, his Chicago-based family reportedly contacted Obama's U.S. Senate office for information. Obama's office passed a written request to the State Department about Alsammarae Oct. 16, 2006, and received a reply from the U.S. consul in Iraq about a week later. The reply was forwarded by Obama's staff to Alsammarae's daughter.

It wasn't immediately clear how Alsammarae landed his electricity ministry job. He was an outspoken critic of the U.S. military campaign in Iraq and publicly has supported Hussein.

In August 2000, Alsammarae, a board member of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, appeared in Washington alongside celebrities such as Martin Sheen and British politician George Galloway at a demonstration against U.N. sanctions on Saddam's regime.

Even as late as last month, Alsammarae delivered a press conference stating he hoped the insurgency in Iraq "would continue [against U.S. occupation] and avenges the Iraqi people."

American political insiders suggest Alsammarae received major insider help in securing his U.S.-brokered Iraqi government position. Unconfirmed reports point to Alsammarae's previous Baathist background as being a factor in his elevated status in post-Saddam Iraq.

Alammarae was accused in a federal filing during the Rezko federal corruption trial of being the recipient of a $1 million bribe from Rezko to deliver the original Companion deal. No charges have yet been filed, though the accuser is Daniel Mahru, the former partner in the Companion deal.

Alsammarae was the only cabinet-level Iraqi official to be convicted and jailed for misusing money during his time in office. In April, Alsammarae made an appearance on CBS's "60 Minutes" to defend his troubled conduct in Iraq and in the U.S.

An Interpol warrant for his arrest, issued in 2007 at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's government, was taken down after Alsammarae was forgiven for some parts of his conduct by an Iraqi legislative initiative, according to Arabic-language Iraqi criminal court documents obtained by WND and translated into English. Alsammarae has been warned by the Maliki government not to return to Iraq. Other charges are still pending, and Alsammarae has been warned by the Maliki government not to return to Iraq.

.

Barack Obama's ties to antoin rezko are a matter of public record.  They have been pals for a long time.  I've blogged about their association for months and months.  Yet major media seem determined not to pursue this connection, even as rezko cools his heels in jail after being convicted on 16 counts:   12 of wire and mail fraud, two of money laundering and the other two of aiding and abetting bribery.

And let's remember that rezko was the man who facilitated the purchase of Barack Obama's home - at a below market value price - and then procured the plot of land next door so the property on his 1.6 million dollar home would be even larger.

If that were John McCain, media would be on it like flies on excrement. So where are they when it's Barack Obama?

Evidently they're hiding in the same place they hid when it came time to talk about jeremiah wright - a hate filled practitioner of "Black liberation theology".  How could they just accept Mr. Obama's continued lies about his relationship with wright and how much he knew of what wright was preaching. 

How could they not question Mr. Obama's judgment in subjecting his own two daughters to this hate-filled man's ravings for all their lives?  Isn't the Obama campaign based on his having sound judgment?

What we are seeing is the continuation of media bias, brought to a grotesque level by fawning journalists who would rather compromise the principles they are supposed to be upholding than seriously scrutinize Barack Obama.

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


A LESSON IN PRIORITIES FROM ISRAEL

Ken Berwitz

Palestinian Arabs live in exactly the same neighborhood as Israelis.  About 1.3 million of them live in the same country. 

This is what Israel does with its desert, and what palestinian Arabs could do if their efforts were moved in that direction.  It comes to us courtesy of Tal Barak, writing for www.bloomberg.com:

Blooming Deserts Turn Israeli Water Industry Into Money Magnet

By Tal Barak

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- At the end of a road winding through Israel's Negev desert, the entrance to Kibbutz Hatzerim is flanked by jojoba shrubs jutting from the arid earth.

The grove is the result of drip irrigation developed by Israeli engineer Simcha Blass in the 1960s that enabled the kibbutzniks to farm the desert. The company they started, Netafim Ltd., has sold the product in 110 countries from Germany to Peru.

``The founders were living in the middle of the desert and saw one agricultural failure after the other,'' Naty Barak, 64, a director at Netafim, said at the kibbutz visitors center. ``Back then it was their problem, but now it's a global necessity.''

Today, some 300 Israeli companies make equipment to deliver water or purify it with lasers or diffusion, putting them in a position to profit as climate change, population growth and food shortages strain supplies. With agriculture accounting for about two-thirds of global water use, the Israeli government predicts overseas sales of the technology will top $10 billion by 2017.

As a result, the businesses are attracting investors. Amiad Filtration Systems Ltd., which will help manage sewage treatment at the Beijing Olympics, is up 49 percent in the past year in London, giving it a market value of about $75 million.

Deere & Co., the world's largest maker of tractors and combines, on June 5 agreed to buy Israel's Plastro Irrigation Systems Ltd., Netafim's main competitor in agricultural irrigation, for an undisclosed sum.

`Track Record'

More than 1.1 billion people, mostly in Africa and Asia, don't have clean drinking water, according to the World Health Organization. Global food prices, meanwhile, surged 57 percent in March from a year earlier, United Nations data show.

``There is a growing lack of water in the world, and people are realizing now that it's an issue that's gaining momentum,'' said Nir Belzer, managing partner of Tel Aviv-based Gaon Agro Industries Ltd.'s $65 million clean-technology fund. ``In Israel, there's already a track record for water companies.''

Belzer's fund invested in closely held Desalitech Ltd., a Tel Aviv-based company that invented a way to take salt out of water using 20 percent less energy than standard reverse osmosis.

Amiad, founded 45 years ago on a kibbutz, developed what it calls ``suction scanning,'' a new way of filtering pollutants from water. It has a contract to remove iron from drinking water in Ramenskoye, a town near Moscow.

Atlantium Technologies Ltd. uses ultraviolet light to zap deadly organisms, a method employed by Coca-Cola Co.

`Conservative Market'

Two-thirds of Israel is desert. In the Arava region, south of Hatzerim, the average annual rainfall is less than 50 millimeters (2 inches). Wastewater there is cleaned for drip irrigation to grow fruit and vegetables, 80 percent of which are exported to Europe, Barak said.

Israel's Water Authority started a countrywide campaign in July to conserve resources as the Sea of Galilee, the main source of drinking water, dries up.

Israeli companies still face challenges finding investors and developing sales. While demand for water is high, few customers are willing to commit to new products, said Oded Distel, director at the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor.

``Israeli water-technology companies are dealing with a very conservative market that isn't always tempted to try the most innovative solutions,'' Distel said. ``Municipalities around the world are hesitant to try a new technology.''

With Netafim's system, farmers bury pipelines underground, allowing them to drip water and fertilizers directly onto the roots of their crops through devices that control the pressure and quality of the liquid.

Going Global

The company expects to double sales within a few years, according to Chief Executive Officer Ofer Bloch. Sales increased 25 percent to $500 million in 2007.

``An amazing agronomic knowledge has developed in Israel in the past 40 years, which we are now selling to the world,'' Bloch, 48, said at his Tel Aviv office.

One Netafim customer, Sociedad Agricola Drokasa SA in Peru, uses 10,000 miles of drip irrigation hoses. The company, known as Agrokasa, picked Netafim 12 years ago when starting production of avocados, asparagus and grapes.

``We contacted Netafim because we weren't just looking for hose, plastic or dripper suppliers, we were looking for a partner in technology,'' Jose Chlimper, Agrokasa's chief, said by telephone from the company's base in Lima.

The global water industry, which includes waste treatment, valves, pumps, filtration and desalination equipment, is worth about $400 billion, according to Francesca McCann, an analyst at Stanford Group Co., a Washington-based research company.

``There was little incentive to conserve water, but now with rising commodity prices and the climate change, that will boost demand for more efficient technologies,'' McCann said.

The market will reach $537 billion by 2010, according to Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor.

At Kibbutz Hatzerim, surrounded by grass and trees, Barak displayed the first adapted hose used on the site.

``About 60 years ago, there was nothing here, only a dry wasteland,'' said Barak, a kibbutznik for four decades. ``This was the start of the development of a serious industry.''

There is no reason palestinian Arabs in Gaza and Judea and Samaria (the west bank) can't do the same.  They don't even need to innovate the technique, Israel has done that for them. 

The day palestinian Arabs, as a group, decide living decent lives is more desirable than killing Jews, is the day that peace might finally start to break out in that part of the world.

It can't happen too fast.


TED STEVENS VERSUS SHARPE JAMES AND JOHN EDWARDS: COMPARE THE COVERAGE

Ken Berwitz

By now I'm sure you know that Ted Stevens, REPUBLICAN senator from Alaska, has been charged with wrongdoing.  The media had no problem whatsoever reporting this and immediately identifying Mr. Stevens' party affiliation.

He has been convicted of nothing and claims he is innocent of all charges.  But that didn't stop media from featuring it in their news reports (illustratively, it is the lead story in today's New York Times).  Nor should it have.

Sharpe James is the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey.  He was convicted  - not accused, but convicted - of numerous misuses of public funds.  He is about to be sentenced to jail.   Have you seen or heard a story about James at all?  And if you have, did it mention his party affiliation?  I know the WNBC-TV New York report I watched last night didn't. 

And then we have John Edwards, a former US Senator, former Vice Presidential nominee and currently believed to be on the short list of possibilities as a VP nominee for "Mr. Sound Judgment", Barack Obama.  Have you heard or read a thing in mainstream media about his apparent mistress and "love child"? 

Well, even if the networks somehow haven't discovered this story, at least one network's on-air comedic talent has.  Read all about it, courtesy of P.J. Gladnick, writing for www.newsbusters.org:

NBC Comedians Crash MSM Wall of Silence to Tell John Edwards Jokes

It's a strange dichotomy. While NBC News  continues to maintain a wall of silence regarding the alleged John Edwards scandal, the comedians on that network are having a field day joking about it. On Monday night Jay Leno told the following John Edwards joke:

John Edwards asks Kobe Bryant, 'What's a good jewelry store?'

Conan O'Brien went even further on Tuesday night with an extended  joke that incorporated video shots of his band leader, Max Weinberg, as well as trombonist Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg:

O'BRIEN: I'm sure many of you have heard the rumors about former Sen. John Edwards having a secret love child with a woman who used to work for him. Yeah, and when the story first broke, Edwards denied it. One of his former political aides claimed that it was he, not Edwards, that had made the woman pregnant. Well since then however the woman has confided that Edwards actually is her baby's father. And last week The National Enquirer caught Edwards visiting the woman in a hotel.

I want to talk about this just for a second. Now, I don't know about you but I find this whole thing really disgusting.

What kind of a guy would cheat on his wife, make another woman pregnant, and then still pretend to be an upstanding family man?

(Cut to shot of Max Weinberg)

It's ridiculous. I mean, I guess some jerks, in the public eye think they can do whatever sleazy little they feel like doing and then just scurry away like a weasel.

(Cut to shot of Max Weinberg)

Now only a spineless dirtbag would leave his trusting wife at home and then sneak off for a quickie with his out of town baby mama. It just makes me sick.

(Cut to shot of Max Weinberg)

A guy who probably spends less money supporting his army of illegitimate kids than he does on imitation Italian suits and over-priced hair gel.

(Cut to shot of Max Weinberg)

And rather... rather than take responsibility for his despicable actions, he gets some underling to take the heat for him, some innocent, insignificant schlub too stupid to realize he's being used.

(Cut to shot of LaBamba)

If you are as outraged as I am by all this, please address your angry emails to: cowardlyadulteroussleazeball@NBC.com

(Cut to shot of Max Weinberg with email address at the bottom of the screen)

It is very interesting that an alleged scandal that has entered our popular culture continues to be ignored by the mainstream media. Meanwhile comedians will now have a lot more John Edwards scandal material to work with thanks to the latest information released by the National Enquirer:

A NATIONAL ENQUIRER investigation has uncovered John Edwards mistress, Rielle Hunter the mother of his love child has been secretly receiv­ing $15,000 a month as part of an elaborate cover-up orchestrated by the former presidential contender.

The money is being funneled to Hunter by a wealthy colleague who was closely tied to the Edwards campaign. This same man is also shoveling cash to Edwards pal and former aide Andrew Young who tried to take the heat off the ex-Senator by claiming he is the father of Rielles baby.

And The ENQUIRER is also exclusively revealing that Rielles baby is a girl named Frances Quinn Hunter and was born at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

 A super-rich pal who was closely involved with the campaign finances is helping John. Its likely this man doesnt know all the dirty details of Johns extramarital affair, but is acting out of loyalty and is not asking a lot of questions only writing the checks, revealed a source very close to the situation.

So will the MSM at least double check the information in this story? If their past attitude is any indication, don't hold your breath. However, we can still continue to laugh at the jokes told by comedians about material that the major media still refuses to cover.

For how many years have we been reminded that Newt Gingrich pursued a divorce while his wife was hospitalized with cancer? 

Well here is John Edwards, whose wife has cancer and is fighting for her life (Gingrich's wife recovered), apparently taking on a mistress and fathering her child.  And not a peep from media.

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


REPARATIONS & POLITICAL STRATEGY

Ken Berwitz

This week the house of representatives, in a non-binding voice vote, apologized to Black people for slavery.  No one in particular, just every Black person in the country.  Here, from an Associated Press account, is the key excerpt:

The House "apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow."

And here is what Barack Obama said about it while speaking to a gathering of minority journalists (bold print mine).

"I personally would want to see our tragic history acknowledged... we've got some very sad and difficult things to account for, I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds."

Does this mean Barack Obama wants reparations to be paid?  It doesn't exactly say so but heavily implies it. 

What a weaselly way to appease the audience he was speaking to without specifically taking a stand.  Very much like his pledge for an "undivided Jerusalem" to a cheering AIPAC gathering, after which he claimed that he didn't actually mean Israel should control the entire city.

If McCain and his people are smart, they will immediately demand to know if Obama does or does not, favor reparations.  Because this is an issue that can only help McCain and can only hurt Obama.

John McCain is sitting with maybe 5% of the Black vote, if that. And let's be honest, the few Black voters on his side are probably the hardest of hardliners to be there.  He has no downside at all.

But no matter what Obama's answer is it must hurt him:

-If Obama says yes to reparations he cleaves away a great many non-Black votes; 

-If he says no, he outrages his most monolithic voting bloc; 

-If he waffles in an effort not to take either position, voters on both sides of the issue will be furious.

In my opinion, John McCain should be stating what I would be stating if it were me:  that he personally is sorry that there was slavery and that Blacks have been mistreated in this country.  And he feels a generic apology was appropriate.  But there is no slave or slaveowner alive today, therefore no one to pay reparations to and no one responsible for paying them.  The concept that being White means you owe something to Blacks as a group, for actions you did not participate in and today's Black population was not subjected to, is as racist as slavery was.

Again, what does he have to lose? 

This is one of those wonderful situations where a politician can be perfectly honest without worrying about losing votes for it.  Not only that, but it puts new life into the premise that McCain is a straight shooter not afraid to speak bluntly about controversial issues.  What an opportunity!

Now a few thoughts beyond political strategy.

From a personal perspective, my family - both sides - came to this country a generation after the end of legal slavery because WE were being oppressed.  Who do I owe reparations to?

And even if you believe in our collective, five-generations-removed guilt, who gets the reparations?

-Do all Black people get them? 

-Does Barack Obama get half as much because his mother was White?  None because his mother was White and his father was from Kenya?

-What about the Haitian people who risked their lives to come here for a BETTER life, and rejected going to Black countries that were closer than the USA to do so?  Are we supposed to be giving them reparations too?

-Will the per-person amount of reparations be deducted from Black people's income tax forms so they wouldn't be paying reparations to themselves?  Would Barack Obama get a 50% tax break for because he is half Black?

Do you see how completely absurd this is?

One other thing:  Have there ever been any demands for reparations from Arab countries, since Arabs started the African slave trade and engaged in it for 1,000 years before Europe got into the act? 

Of course not.

The one and only reason no such demands are made is because, if they were, the Arab countries would collectively tell Black people to do something acrobatic. 

The one and only reason demands like this surface in the USA is because we are foolish enough to take them seriously.


TWO MORE MONTHS IS TWO TOO MUCH

Ken Berwitz

From Reuters:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will announce on Wednesday that he will leave office in two months, Israel's Channel Two television reported.

The report said Olmert will not run in his Kadima party's leadership contest on September 17, clearing the way for rivals to try to form a new government. Channel Two said Olmert would step aside as soon as Kadima chooses a new leader.

That's two months more for Olmert to further damage his country.

I'm thrilled he's leaving.  And despair that it isn't immediately.


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