Saturday, 02 August 2008

ISRAEL PEACE PARTNER UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

This comes to us from yahoo.com and the Associated Press:

Five Palestinians die in Gaza tunnel

02-08-2008 - 18:10

Five Palestinians were killed and 18 wounded in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border after Egyptian troops blew up the entrance, an Egyptian security official and Gaza hospital doctors said Saturday.

The destruction of the entrance deprived those inside the tunnel of oxygen, said the Egyptian official, who is stationed at the border and spoke on customary condition of anonymity. Gaza hospital officials said the five died from lack of oxygen.

The tunnel entrance was destroyed late Friday, near the Gaza border town of Rafah.

A wide network of tunnels runs under the border and is used to bring supplies into Gaza. The territory has been virtually cut off from the world since June 2007 when Hamas seized control by force. Both Israel and Egypt have enforced the closure of Gaza.

Israel says Gaza"s Hamas rulers use the tunnel to bring in weapons and cash, and has urged Egypt to do more to stop the smuggling. In recent months, Egypt has begun cracking down on the smugglers. In the past week alone, Egypt has destroyed 14 tunnels, the Egyptian official said.

Since the beginning of the year, 27 Palestinians have been killed in tunnels, including the five killed late Friday.

Please note that Egyptian troops blew up the tunnel entrance, not Israelis.  Albeit for very different reasons, they're just as enamored of palestinian Arab smuggling as Israel is.

But they do want peace, don't they?  It's just a matter of ironing out a few little matters in negotiations, right?

free` That is the first time i have seen the AP say egypt has closed the borders also, usually they just say Israel. I wouldn't be surprised if that gets changed in one of the AP's magical edits. (08/02/08)


DRILLING FOR OIL: THE PROGRESS OF A WEDGE ISSUE (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

This comes to us from www.politico.com and from www.sweetness-light.com, which, as you will see, kept updating it during Friday's "session" of congress.

Read it and see just how far the imperious, incompetent Nancy Pelosi will go to a) deny us an opportunity to increase domestic oil supply and b) prevent you, the voter, from knowing that she is doing it:

Pelosi Cuts Lights, Mikes In Oil Debate

August 1st, 2008

From the Politico:

House Dems turn out the lights but GOP keeps talking

August 01, 2008

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats adjourned the House and turned off the lights and killed the microphones, but Republicans are still on the floor talking gas prices.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosis refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.

At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark. But as Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz..) was speaking, the lights went back on, and the microphones have been turned on as well.

But C-SPAN, which has no control over the cameras in the chamber, has stopped broadcasting the House floor, meaning no one is witnessing this except the assembled Republicans, their aides, and one Democrat, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has now left.

Only about a half-dozen Republicans were on the floor when this began, but the crowd has grown to about 20 now, according to Patrick OConnor.

This is the peoples House, Rep, Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said. This is not Pelosis politiburo.

Democratic aides were furious at the GOP stunt, and reporters were kicked out of the Speakers Lobby, the space next to the House floor where they normally interview lawmakers.

Youre not covering this, are you? complaing one senior Democratic aide. Another called the Republicans morons for staying on the floor.

Update - The Capitol Police are now trying to kick reporters out of the press gallery above the floor, meaning we cant watch the Republicans anymore. But Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is now in the gallery talking to reporters, so the cops have held off for a minute. Clearly, Democrats dont want Republicans getting any press for this episode. GOP leaders are trying to find other Republicans to rotate in for Blunt so reporters arent kicked out.

Update 2 - This message was sent out by Blunts office: 

Although, this Democrat Majority just Adjourned for the Democrat 5-Week Vacation, House Republicans are continuing to fight on the House Floor. Although the lights, mics and C-SPAN cameras have been turned off, House Republicans are on the Floor speaking to the tax payers in the gallery who, not surprisingly, agree with Republican Energy proposals.

All Republicans who are in town are encouraged to come to the House Floor.

Update 3 - Democrats just turned out the lights again. Republicans cheered.

Update 4 - Republican leaders just sent out a notice looking for a bullhorn and leadership aides are trying to corral all the members who are still in town to come speak on the floor and sustain this one-sided debate.

Also, Republicans can thank Shadegg for turning on the microphones the first time. Apparently, the fiesty Arizona conservative started typing random codes into the chambers public address system and accidentally typed the correct code, allowing Republicans brief access to the microphone before it was turned off again.

I love this, Shadegg told reporters up in the press gallery afterward. Congress can be so boringThis is a kick.

You dont expect the Democrats to cut into their five week vacation do you?

What a circus.

What a disgrace the Democrat Party is to this country.

Every piece of research I have seen, bar none, indicates that huge majorities want this drilling to take place (the latest, from CNN, puts the percentage at about 7 in 10).  But Pelosi has spent her entire career desperately trying to prevent it.  And nuclear.  And increased use of coal (despite the new technologies that dramatically lessen its environmental impact).   

And that's not all.  Pelosi and many of her fellow Democrats have demanded TAX INCREASES on gasoline to make the price even HIGHER.  The theory is that if the price is high enough we will use less gas and get more serious about alternative energy. 

As anyone who took introductory economics knows, there is validity to the overall concept that higher prices eventually result in less demand.  But with energy, the alternative energy sources are not in place and will not, cannot, be for a good many years.  So what do we do in the meantime?  Make our cars into flower pots?  Turn off our home heating and air conditioning?  Who do you know who would go along with that?

The bottom line:  Nancy Pelosi is subverting the will of the people.  AND the will of the house of representatives.  The Democratic party holds a substantial majority in the house: if enough of her own party members agreed with her she'd have allowed a vote, because the legislation would have been defeated, The reason she didn't allow that vote is because so many of them are against her dictatorial one-woman rule, right along with the Republicans on the other side of the aisle. 

Little wonder that Pelosi did everything she could, short of blowing up the power supply, to prevent you from knowing that she summarily blocked a vote on drilling. 

But you know now, don't you?


MORE ON THAT WEDGE ISSUE: THE OBAMA FLIP-FLOP

Ken Berwitz

Can you believe it?  As Nancy Pelosi prevents the house from voting on offshore drilling, suddenly (with enough caveats so he can still show his face at a moveon.org meeting) Barack Obama is in favor of it.

Now this is interesting. 

Barack Obama has been adamantly against drilling.  Until those data came out showing how many votes it will lose him. 

So, like he did with FISA, and meeting unconditionally with Iran, and keeping Jerusalem undivided, and a hard timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, and handgun ownership after the Supreme Court ruling, and public financing of his campaign, etc. etc. etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam, Mr. Obama has flip-flopped.

Here are the particulars, courtesy of Johnathan Weisman, writing for  The Washington Post:

Obama Signals Support for Wider Offshore Drilling

Oil Search Would Be Part of 'Comprehensive Energy Policy' Aimed at Lower Gas PricesBy Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 2, 2008; Page A04

ORLANDO, Aug. 1 -- Sen. Barack Obama suggested on Friday that he could accept an expansion of offshore oil drilling as long as it was part of a broader package of measures that would free the logjam of energy bills in Congress.

"My interest is in making sure we've got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices," Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said in an interview with the Palm Beach Post. "If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well-thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage -- I don't want to be so rigid that we can't get something done."

Republicans have consistently said they could craft legislation that would expand oil exploration on the outer continental shelf without jeopardizing delicate shoreline habitats. But Democratic leaders in Congress have been ardently opposed. Environmental groups, a key constituency, have been unyielding in their opposition.

Instead, Democrats crafted a rhetorical answer to the GOP's drilling campaign, calling on companies to begin oil drilling on the millions of acres both on- and offshore that have already been leased to them but remain untapped. Obama has taken up that line as part of his standard stump speech.

Flip flop, flip flop flip flop.  Again.

Mr. "Vote for me because of my sound judgment" does it again.

How can you believe a word this man says?  How can you believe he is anything but a two-faced politician feeding you whatever you are gullible enough to believe?

How can you believe Barack Obama is anything but a standard-issue Chicago Democratic machine politician?


THE LATEST OBAMA FLIP FLOP

Ken Berwitz

More about Barack Obama's flip-flop on offshore drilling......

I'll let ABC news and Steve Gilbert of www.sweetness-light.com tell the story:

Obama Spins His Offshore Drilling Shift

August 2nd, 2008

From ABC News:

Obama Attempts to Explain Shift on Offshore Drilling

August 02, 2008

Sunlen Miller

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., fought back against the perception that hes shifted away from his opposition to off-shore oil drilling by suggesting he softened his position as a compromise toward a broader energy policy.

Obama first indicated Friday in an interview with the Palm Beach Post that he would be willing to compromise on his opposition to off-shore drilling, and would consider expanding the current drilling boundaries if it was part of a plan to make the country more energy independent by developing more fuel-efficient cars and alternative energy sources.

Today, at a press availability in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Obama said that his comments werent a shift.

This wasnt really a new position. What Im saying is that we cant drill our way out of the problem, he told reporters. And if we can come up with a genuine bi-partisan compromise in which I have to accept some things I dont like, or the Democrats have to accept some things that they dont like, in exchange for actually moving us in the direction of energy independence, then that is something I am open to.

On Friday, the bi-partisan Gang of 10 group of senators unveiled a compromise energy plan that would include opening areas of the Gulf of Mexico and southeast Atlantic to drilling - in addition to raising taxes on major oil companies. Part of the plan also includes oil exploration 50 miles off of Floridas coastline - a state that is an important battleground in the general election.

Obama said that while he hasnt seen the Gang of 10s final legislation, he understood it has some aggressive elements that could move America in the direction of energy independence.

I think is [sic] a positive step, so there are a whole bunch of good things that have been proposed by this bi-partisan group, Obama said. I remain skeptical of some of the drilling provisions, but I will give them credit that the way they crafted the drilling positions are about as careful and responsible as you might expect for a drilling agenda.

Obama said while he is opening the door to a compromise, he will not support a plan that suggests drilling is the answer to the nations energy problems

Obama said that in the end the shift on offshore drilling shouldnt be a political one.

What Im interested [in], ultimately, is going to be governing, he said. And what that means is that were going to try to get things done. At some point, people are going to have to make decisions: Are we going to keep on arguing or are we going to get some things done?

Do they still run Dancing With The Stars? Mr. Obama would be a shoo-in to win.

Hes got this two-step down perfectly.

I think is [sic] a positive step, so there are a whole bunch of good things that have been proposed by this bi-partisan group, Obama said.

He sure is articulate. And deep.

And just imagine the profundity of his analysis if he had actually seen the proposal.

Yep, Mr. Obama is going to be a wiz at governing.

Quick:  name a major issue that Barack Obama hasn't changed his position on.  I dare you.

Flip-flop, flop-flip, flip-flop, flop-flip........................etc.


OBAMA AND REPARATIONS

Ken Berwitz

This is BS even by the Associated Press's wholly pro-Obama standards:

Here is the beginning of today's Associated Press article by Christopher Willis:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama opposes offering reparations to the descendants of slaves, putting him at odds with some black groups and leaders.

The man with a serious chance to become the nation's first black president argues that government should instead combat the legacy of slavery by improving schools, health care and the economy for all.

"I have said in the past - and I'll repeat again - that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed," the Illinois Democrat said recently..

Just curious:  Do you see anywhere in that excerpt where Mr. Obama specifically says he is against reparations?  Or anywhere in the rest of the article? 

Now that you've answered "no", here is a statement of Mr. Obama's from just a few days ago, during a speech to minority journalists (bold print is 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."

Er, Mr. Willis....would you like to rethink your article a tad?  And maybe give us a paragraph or two on how far a news venue has to be in the tank for Mr. Obama to present this kind of baloney?

And as far as Mr. Obama himself is concerned?  All I can say is.....flip-flop, flop-flip, flip-flop, flop-flip, etc...........................


THE VICIOUS NASTINESS AND DISHONESTY OF KEITH OLBERMANN

Ken Berwitz

Ok, I admit it.  I could probably put that title up every day and fill a blog with what keith olbermann said the day before. 

keith olbermann is a viciously nasty, vituperative partisan.  And he is regularly caught in dishonesties ranging from exaggerations to intentional misunderstandings to outright lies.  I have detailed a number of them over the months - this is just the latest in an ongoing series.

It is a daily disgrace that MSNBC puts keith olbermann on the air, and a blight on any claim it has to being a news channel. 

No one on the right comes close to being as unprofessional, insulting and negative as olbermann.  And when one or another of them says even one thing that sounds like the typical kind of bile tossed around by olbermann (e.g. Michael Savage's disgusting comment about autistic children last week) media has a collective excrement-hemmorhage.

But, hey, if most of olbermann's views are in synch with major media, I guess that isn't about to happen.  So he goes on his way, adding new dimension to the term "farbissoner" on every show.

Here is an article which lays out a couple of (the seemingly countless) examples of olbermann's vile mouth in action.  It comes to us from Brad Wilmouth of www.newsbusters.org.    The bold print is mine:

Olbermann Mocks the Elderly as '65 to Dead'


On Friday's Countdown, during the show's "Worst Person in the World" segment, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tried to characterize the ratings of his show as more admirable than than those of FNC's highly watched O'Reilly Factor by narrowly citing viewing figures among younger demographics. Olbermann, who regularly cites the viewing figures for those 25-54 years old -- citing their value to advertisers -- to make himself appear more competitive with O'Reilly, on this occasion dismissively referred to older viewers as "65 to dead." Olbermann: "But don't worry, Bill, you're still dominating that important demographic, 65 to dead."

And, although Olbermann vaguely claimed that Bill O'Reilly "crows about the ratings and then gets them wrong again," the MSNBC host in no way contradicted O'Reilly's numbers as Olbermann merely cited the statistics for the specific younger demographics, which did not disprove anything FNC hosted stated.

Although O'Reilly typically draws twice as many viewers as Olbermann, the Countdown host referred to O'Reilly's ratings being "down" as he plugged the segment: "And Bill-O, the Clown gets caught with his ratings down."

In another plug, Olbermann claimed O'Reilly got the ratings "wrong": "Bill-O crows about the ratings and then gets them wrong again in 'Worst Persons.'"

During the "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann quoted O'Reilly's words about the July ratings for CNN, MSNBC, and FNC, informing viewers of their performance in relation to all cable channels. Olbermann, quoting O'Reilly: "'The ratings for July are in. The TV ratings causing a true reality check for CNN and MSNBC. Fox News ranked number six in prime time. That's among all cable channels. CNN, 22, MSNBC 30, right behind the tomato channel. Since I was off for a few days in July, I want to thank Laura Ingram, John Kasich and E.D. Hill for keeping the numbers up.'"

Although O'Reilly seemed to be talking generally about all primetime shows in citing the numbers, conveying the cable news rankings' place among total viewers of all cable channels, Olbermann switched to talking exclusively about his own show versus O'Reilly's, only citing numbers for younger viewers, and comparing cable news shows only instead of including all cable shows -- presumably to make the numbers sound as different as possible from those O'Reilly used without explicitly contradicting him.

Olbermann: "I've got your reality check right here, goober. In July, Countdown was the number three rated show in all of cable news, adults 25 to 54, behind Bill-O and Hannity. We were the number two rated show in all of cable news adults 18 to 49, and we were the number one rated show in all of cable news, adults 18 to 34. And Bill-O was third. Since I was off for two weeks in July, I want to thank Rachel Maddow for kicking the asses of Laura Ingraham, John Kasich and E.D. Hill. But don't worry, Bill, you're still dominating that important demographic, 65 to dead."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday, August 1, Countdown show on MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN, DURING COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:17 P.M.: And Bill-O, the Clown gets caught with his ratings down. You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.
...

OLBERMANN, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:34 P.M.: Bill-O crows about the ratings and then gets them wrong again in "Worst Persons."
...

OLBERMANN: But first, time for Countdown's number two story, tonight's "Worst Persons in the World." Number three, Bill-O the Clown ventured into the audience estimates again, and, in the process, caught stepping on his loofah. (NOTE - THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH IS O'REILLY SPEAKING, NOT OLBERMANN) "Finally, finally the ratings for July are in. The TV ratings causing a true reality check for CNN and MSNBC. Fox News ranked number six in prime time. That's among all cable channels. CNN, 22, MSNBC 30, right behind the tomato channel. Since I was off for a few days in July, I want to thank Laura Ingram, John Kasich and E.D. Hill for keeping the numbers up."

I've got your reality check right here, goober.  In July, Countdown was the number three rated show in all of cable news, adults 25 to 54, behind Bill-O and Hannity. We were the number two rated show in all of cable news adults 18 to 49, and we were the number one rated show in all of cable news, adults 18 to 34. And Bill-O was third. Since I was off for two weeks in July, I want to thank Rachel Maddow for kicking the asses of Laura Ingraham, John Kasich and E.D. Hill. But don't worry, Bill, you're still dominating that important demographic, 65 to dead."

Let me repeat what I said earlier:  keith olbermann is a viciously nasty, vituperative partisan.  And he is regularly caught in dishonesties ranging from exaggerations to intentionally misunderstanding things to outright lies.  I have detailed a number of them over the months - this is just the latest in an ongoing series.

It is a daily disgrace that MSNBC puts keith olbermann on the air. 

I will conclude by showing you the July, 2008 ratings.  Note where Fox News Channel is and where MSNBC is (I've put them both in bold print), and see who is telling the truth:

BASIC CABLE NETWORK RANKINGS FOR JULY 2008:

SOURCE: NIELSEN MEDIA RESEARCH (NHI)

TOP 30 NETWORKS RANKED ON PERSONS 2+PRIMETIME (M-SU 8PM-11PM)* TOTAL PROGRAMMING DAY

1 USA                        16 SPIKE

2 TNT                        17 HIST

3 TBSC                     18 AMC

4 NAN                       19 FOOD

5 ESPN                     20 TRU

6 FOXNC                   21 CMDY

7 LIF                         22 CNN

8 TOON                    23 MTV

9 HALL                     24 TVL 

10 FAM                    25 TLC

11 AEN                    26 BRVO

12 FX                       27 APL

13 HGTV                  28 BET

14 SCIFI                   29 VH115 DISC

15 DISC                   30 MSNBC

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

Oh, one other thing: 

-The average July viewership for olbermann's "Countdown" was 959,000, with 347,000 aged 25-54.

-The average July viewership for The O'Reilly Factor was 2,252,000, with 444,000 aged 25-54.

Game.  Set.  Match.

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

NOTE:   Earlier today I accidentally reversed the 25-54 viewership for O'Reilly and olbermann.  Because of this I erroneously indicated it was olbermann with the greater viewership. 

Wrong.

Sorry about that.  And tough noogies, keith.  Better luck in August.


WHO IS PLAYING THE RACE CARD?

Ken Berwitz

In the past few days, accusations about racism have passed back and forth between the Obama and McCain camps.  Do any of them have merit?

Yes.  Barack Obama pre-emptively raised the issue of race.

He did it by ridiculing his opponent on racial grounds, saying things like "they're going to tell you I don't look like you" (this week's variation was "he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills".

This is nothing new for Barack Obama.  It is exactly the strategy he used against Hillary Clinton during the primaries.  He raised the issue of race, and then when Clinton said anything at all about him it was funneled into a complaint that she was race baiting.  

Illustratively, former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, a Clinton supporter and a lifelong champion of racial equality. was attacked as racist for telling the simple truth that Mr. Obama's race was an advantage in the primaries (which is was - just look at the turnout, and voting patterns, of Black Democrats during those primaries).

Since it worked so well for Mr. Obama against Hillary Clinton who, until then, was considered a great friend of Black people, it certainly would work against a Republican -- because we all "know" Democrats love Black people and Republicans hate them, don't we? 

At this  point you may be saying to yourself  "Hey, wait a minute.  How does Berwitz know that this line about not looking like other people is racial?  There is no specific mention of "race", or "White" or "Black" in it". 

The answer is that this has been a tactful way that Black people communicate "they're going to hate you because you are Black" for many years -- long before Barack Obama brought it into the presidential campaign.

In the 1990's, WLIB 1190 AM was a Black oriented AM radio station out of New York City***.  In those days, I often listened to "The Morning Show with Mark Riley", also known as "The GBE (Global Black Experience"), which aired from 9:OOAM to, I believe 12 noon on weekdays.

Mr. Riley regularly used the "people who don't look like us" terminology, both to describe Whites he considered racist (which is to say just about every one of them) and to warn Blacks not to be taken in by White storeowners, politicians, etc. 

And he wasn't the only one who did so on, or outside of, WLIB.  Not by a long shot.

So, believe me, I know whereof I speak when I call the expression racial in nature.

Now let's look at the McCain "Paris Hilton" ad, in which Mr. McCain, through quick, almost subliminal, visuals compares Barack Obama to Ms. Hilton (and to Britney Spears as well).

The thrust of the ad is that Barack Obama is a celebrity without any substance.  You may or may not agree with that characterization, but I'm reasonably certain we can agree that this is what the ad is trying to say.

I challenge you to name anyone, White or Black, male or female, with a more recognizable image as a celebrity without substance than Paris Hilton. 

Is that image true, or fair?  I don't know.  But I do know that if you are doing an ad to communicate these "attributes", Paris Hilton is probably the single best symbol there is.

Yes she is White and female.  But what does that have to do with anything?  What would the Obama people have liked John McCain to do, change the lighting to make her look Blacker?  Give her a moustache?   She is what she is, folks. 

The bottom line here is that, yes, race has been injected into the 2008 political campaign, starting with the primary season and continuing through to today (and, I'm sure, beyond). 

The person who has injected it is Barack Obama.

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

***In 2004, WLIB replaced much of its Black oriented programming with the Air America, expecting to be its flagship station.  But the ratings were awful.  So, in 2006, WLIB dumped Air America and went back to its Black orientation.


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