Wednesday, 06 August 2008


Ken Berwitz

You sort of knew it was going to happen, didn't you?

Paris Hilton, the poster girl for celebrity without substance, has answered John McCain with a video of her own.

I saw a very sanitized version of it on Today this morning.  They were nice enough to eliminate the funny but insulting references to Mr. McCain's age at the beginning of the video.  Paris thanks you, folks.

But I don't do that.  Click here to see the full Paris Hilton ad.

The truth is, this video is very, very clever and very, very funny.. 

Ms. Hilton (or, more exactly, whoever put this together for her - which is exactly why McCain's split-second image of Ms. Hilton was so on target), made a big mistake by calling John McCain and Barack Obama "bitches".  That was stupid and immature.

Otherwise, it was really good.  And having her recite an actual plan for energy while sitting poolside in a revealing bathing suit was an inspired touch.

But, to his credit, John McCain (ok, maybe his handlers) didn't get mad.  He got amused...and issued the following response through his spokesperson:

"Sounds like Paris is taking the All of the Above energy approach that John McCain has advocated both alternatives and drilling. Perhaps the reality is that Paris has a more substantive energy plan than Barack Obama.

In a more perfect world, this would end the issue. I hope that's what happens.

free Her video shows you how successful the media has been at painting McCain and the republicans as only wanting to drill for oil. when the R's have been calling for "All of the Above" meaning wind, solar, bio, nuclear and drilling. "But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased." (08/06/08)


Ken Berwitz

Here are just a few quotes I thought you should keep in mind:

I believe that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week :  Harry Reid, April 19, 2007

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said twice Sunday that Iraq is a failure, adding that President Bushs troop surge has not produced the desired effect.  February 10, 2008

"I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence.  In fact, I think it will do the reverse."  Barack Obama, January 2007

You might want to store them in your memory bank, for reference as the presidential campaign progresses.  Because I doubt that Mr. Reid, Ms. Pelosi or Mr. Obama -- or their many friends in the media -- will remind you about them.


Ken Berwitz

John McCain is so disturbed by the angry reaction his "Paris Hilton" ad which called Barack Obama a celebrity and questioned if he is ready to lead that.......

He just released another ad with the same theme. 

This one has no images of Paris Hilton, but does make some serious claims about the difference between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain. 

Here it is (if you have trouble seeing it below, just click here):



While the tone of this follow-up ad is appreciably less fluffy/more somber, it does the same thing:  It uses Mr. Obama's celebrity status against him by attempting to make a negative out of the cheering crowds he attracts.  

I thought the first ad was brilliant because it effectively turned a positive for Mr. Obama into a negative.  I think this one, while less fun, extends the same theme and is therefore building on the same premise. 

And I continue to laugh at the media who simultaneously protect Barack Obama at all costs and whine like babies who need a diaper change when his opponent tries to overcome their protection.


Ken Berwitz

I wish I had the time, the resources and the talent to produce what I am about to show you.

Unfortunately for me I don't.  But fortunately for all of us John Hinderaker, of, apparently does.

Time Magazine, ever vigilant to find ways of propping up Barack Obama and explaining away his rapidly growing number of gaffes and mistruths, has published an article by Michael Grunwald which claims to justify Mr. Obama's remarkable claim that:

"...we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!"

Is Mr. Grunwald right?  Well, here is John Hinderaker's answer.  Sit back, sip a beverage, and watch Mr. Hinderaker take him, and Time apart:

Time Tries to Salvage Obama's Gaffe

Barack Obama's suggestion that we can't drill our way out of the current energy shortage, but we can solve the problem through tire inflation, has been the source of much hilarity. We did the math here, and found that it would take approximately 11,308 years of tire inflation to equal the energy we can obtain by developing our own petroleum resources.

Now, remarkably, Time magazine has rushed to the defense of its candidate, arguing that "Obama is right."

The author of the article, Michael Grunwald, mixes apple-and-orange statistics to try to create the false impression that there is more to be gained by inflating tires than through offshore drilling:

The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.

Grunwald is trying, through sleight of hand, to conceal certain basic facts: Obama said that tire inflation could save energy equal to "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling," not just the outer continental shelf; the outer continental shelf, ANWR and Rocky Mountain oil shale contain an estimated one trillion, 28 billion barrels of oil--an estimate that is undoubtedly low--while the maximum savings that could be attained through tire inflation and tuneups, assuming that every single vehicle in America is driving around with semi-flat tires and has never had a tuneup, is a mere 420 million barrels per year.

But there are more devious errors lurking behind Time's claim that "Obama is right." Notice the curious formula that Grunwald uses to quantify the energy potential of the outer continental shelf:

The Bush administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. [barrels] per day by 2030.

That equates to 73,000,000 barrels per year. Which may sound like a lot, but amounts to only four-tenths of one percent of the OCS's 18 billion barrels. Further, why is Time not only putting out an absurdly low number, but also talking about the year 2030? The implication seems to be that the oil wouldn't flow until then, or maybe wouldn't peak until then, but such a claim would be patently false.

To get to the bottom of the puzzle, I tracked down the source of the statistic that Grunwald attributes to the "Bush administration." I'm pretty sure this is it: the Annual Energy Outlook 2007 with Projections to 2030, as published by the Energy Information Administration. This graph, I'm confident, is the source of the "200,000 barrels a day in 2030" claim:


As you can see, the projected recovery from OCS drilling in 2030 is around 200,000 barrels per day. EIA projects recovery to begin around 2018, but as you can see from the graph, EIA projected that only a tiny percentage of the 18 billion barrels (minimum) under the OCS would be recovered.

The explanation, obviously, lies in the set of assumptions used by the EIA in creating its forecast. The forecast was not based on the amount of oil that the OCS actually contains, it was based on the amount that was predicted to be economically remunerative at the then-prevailing price of oil. The EIA report makes this explicit:

Although a significant volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and natural gas resources is added in the OCS access case, conversion of those resources to production would require both time and money. In addition, the average field size in the Pacific and Atlantic regions tends to be smaller than the average in the Gulf of Mexico, implying that a significant portion of the additional resource would not be economically attractive to develop at the reference case prices.

Aha! The obvious question, for anyone with the most rudimentary understanding of economics, is, What are the reference case prices? Here they are:


That's right: the EIA, writing in early 2007, assumed that oil prices would decline from their 2006 peak; that in 2008, the price of crude oil would be around $60 a barrel; that it would continue to decline until around 2013 to a low of about $50 a barrel; and that the price would then gradually increase to a little under $60 a barrel by 2030. Those were the assumptions on which EIA concluded that it would not be economically profitable to get most OCS oil out of the ground.

Earth to Michael Grunwald: that isn't what happened. The EIA was wrong. Currently crude oil is at around $120 per barrel, not $60. At the elevated prices we are now experiencing and are expected to experience in the future, vastly greater quantities of OCS oil (or ANWR oil, or shale oil) can profitably be exploited, and those resources can make a vastly greater contribution to our economic well-being.

When we read wildly inaccurate reporting in the mainstream media, it's often hard to tell whether the reporter is incompetent, or is deliberately trying to deceive. You can make your own guess. For now, suffice it to say that Time's attempt to rehabilitate Obama's tire-inflation gaffe is a failure.

Now that is a the anatomy of a reaming if I ever saw one.

Incidentally, one of my friends wrote our junior (and I do mean junior) Senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, to complain about energy policy and got back a (presumably canned) letter from his office with the same BS about how long it would take and how little oil we would get.  Except Menendez added an additional dishonest touch by suggesting that President Bush was the source of this estimate, not a federal agency using assumptions that have proved entirely wrong.

These people have no shame at all.


Ken Berwitz

Google is the most popular search engine there is, and has made the people behind it fabulously wealthy.

But, unless you are a slave to Democratic talking points, being wealthy doesn't make you Republican, conservative or right wing in any way.  Some of the hardest-left people you can find are fabulously wealthy.

Which brings us to the possibility - and from Brian Maloney's account in, a very real one - that Google is censoring the information you have access to based on partisan, left wing politics.

Here are the particulars:

Google's Pattern Of Harassment Against Conservative Sites


Internet Monster Turns Against Non-Liberal Websites

While Internet behemoth Google's motto has long been "Don't Be Evil", recent actions against dissenting bloggers suggest the company is quick to disregard that principle for the sake of partisan convenience.

Long associated with far- left causes, San Francisco Bay Area- based Google would like the public to believe it uses its immense power fairly, but many right- leaning writers would beg to differ.

That's because in recent months, a growing number of conservative sites have found themselves targeted for shutdown by the company, including The Radio Equalizer.

For some time, Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs has been documenting the problem. See some of her recent posts on the subject
here and here.

In a story picked up by the Drudge Report, today's New York Sun
examines the allegations:

Anti-Obama Bloggers Say They Were Silenced

Election 2008

By ANNA PHILLIPS, Special to the Sun | August 5, 2008

Web loggers who are campaigning against Senator Obama's presidential run are accusing Google and Obama supporters of silencing them after their Web logs were marked as spam and their accounts temporarily frozen.

On Thursday, hours after publishing a post about an online petition demanding that Mr. Obama publicly produce his birth certificate, an associate professor of business administration at Brooklyn College, Mitchell Langbert, found that he could no longer access his Web log.

Google's Blogger hosting service had suspended "Mitchell Langbert's Blog," which Mr. Langbert describes as "two-thirds academic stuff I'm working on and one-third politics," until it could verify the Web log was not a "spam blog," or a site designed solely to increase the page views of associated Web sites.

A day later Google lifted the block on the account, but the incident and earlier Web log freezes in late June have led Mr. Langbert and other anti-Obama bloggers to accuse the Illinois senator's supporters of intentionally identifying their blog addresses to Google as spam blogs. They also say the company has reflexively suspended the sites.

"These tech-savvy smart alecks have figured out that if you report a blog you don't like, you can do some damage to a person," Mr. Langbert said.
The story also includes Google's response:

A spokesman for Google, Adam Kovacevich, said in a statement that an overzealous antispam filter was responsible for the blocks.

"We believe this was caused by mass spam e-mails mentioning the 'Just Say No Deal' network of blogs, which in turn caused our system to classify the blog addresses mentioned in the e-mails as spam," he said. "We have restored posting rights to the affected blogs, and it is very important to us that Blogger remain a tool for political debate and free expression."
But how does Google's theory explain last week's shutdown of this site? On Thursday, your Radio Equalizer was also locked out and threatened with permanent site deletion.

While previous posts were still available to public viewing, it was frozen, with no ability to add updates. This came just as yours truly was working on an article to commemorate Rush Limbaugh's twentieth anniversary.

This site has no relationship to those mentioned above, so the firm's official position on the cause of the shutdowns simply can't be accurate. In addition, comments are moderated here, meaning spam is completely absent from The Radio Equalizer.

Is Google simply trying to cover its tracks?

Here's the letter your Radio Equalizer received after being locked out of the site:

Your blog at: has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at

Your blog will be deleted within 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and you'll be unable to publish posts during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. If this blog doesn't belong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won't be affected.

We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help:

Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.


The Blogger Team

P.S. Just one more reminder: Unless you request a review, you won't be able to use your blog. Click this link to request the review:

If there isn't any spam present at the site, what exactly would trigger a shutdown by their "automatic spam detection" system?

In addition, where is the evidence that liberal sites have also been affected? If this is really a computer glitch, shouldn't some left-of-center sites also become ensnared?

With only one shutdown to date, this site has been relatively lucky. Others have already faced this headache several times.

When will the company come clean regarding its partisan antics?

I have found for a long time that, when I "google" almost any partisan issue, the first several pages of my google search contain the left wing position on that issue. 

This is highly significant because most people don't go beyond the first or maybe the first couple of pages to find what they're looking for.  If all they see is a series of sites with one side of an issue, they will assume that the other side either doesn't exist or is a joke.

Until now I have assumed that this is being accomplished through the technique of "google bombing";  i.e. having operatives access the sites with their point of view frequently enough so that they go to, and stay at, the top of the list.

Now I'm not so sure that it doesn't go a lot deeper than that.

I hope Brian is wrong.  Because Google, like any major search engine, has a very special responsibility.  The amount of power it has to influence and direct opinion in this country is huge, maybe even unprecedented in our history.

If the people running Google do not use that power fairly, WITHOUT regard to their political views, they are literally setting themselves up as unappointed censors and as dictators in the USA.

I hope they read this and think damn hard about it.

free I don't know about anyone else but i have noticed on youtube that some videos with a conservative spin load and play slower than others. i suspect they are lowering the bandwidth on videos they don't agree with. also as far as the google results go i agree you must go several pages in to get reliable info most of the time and i tell everyone i know to be careful relying on google or wikipedia. (08/06/08)


Ken Berwitz

Barack Obama is attacking John McCain and his people for being ignorant and for lying about him. 

The problem is that he himself is lying.  He is doing so by revising what he said about inflating tires and getting tune-ups, then pretending that McCain and Co. were reacting to his new improved version, not the original one.

Here is the original, verbatim comment that Barack Obama made:

"There are things that you can do individually, though, to save energy.  Making sure your tires are properly inflated.  Simple thing.  But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling if everyone was just inflating their tires.  And getting regular tune-ups.  You could actually save just as much"

Ok, now, courtesy of excerpts from Jake Tapper's blog at ABC News, let's look at what Mr. Obama said yesterday -- while calling McCain & Co. liars and ignoramuses:

Obama Pushes Back on GOP Tire Pressure Attack: "It's Like These Guys Take Pride in Being Ignorant"

August 05, 2008 3:47 PM

At a town hall meeting in Berea , Ohio, today, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, pushed back against the GOP attack  on his advice to a voter last week that having a tuned up car and fully inflated tires would help save energy.

"Let me make a point about efficiency, because my Republican opponents - they dont like to talk about efficiency," Obama said.

...I told them something simple," Obama said. "I said, 'You know what? You can inflate your tires to the proper levels and that if everybody in America inflated their tires to the proper level, we would actually probably save more oil than all the oil we'd get from John McCain drilling right below his feet there, or wherever he was going to drill.'"

"So now the Republicans are going around - this is the kind of thing they do. I don't understand it! Theyre going around, they're sending like little tire gauges, making fun of this idea as if this is 'Barack Obama's energy plan.'

"Now two points, one, they know they're lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. Its like these guys take pride in being ignorant.

"You know, they think it is funny that they are making fun of something that is actually true. They need to do their homework.

Hmm, a funny thing happened on the way from the first statement to the second statement.

-The extent of drilling changed from all drilling to what we'd get if we drilled below John McCain's feet -- from a blatantly ridiculous comment to a sneering sarcasm;

-"... all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling..." magically mystically morphed into 3-4%;

-"every expert" is cited as agreeing with Mr. Obama -- but on a 3-4% savings, not on saving the equivalent of all oil drilling everywhere it was proposed. 

Presto - change-o.

So who is lying here?  Is it McCain or is it Barack Obama. 

You tell me.


Ken Berwitz

I just received this blog from David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee.  It explores the so-called "Palestinian Refugee" issue, and includes many facts that most people don't know a thing about ( a special thanks to our wonderful, even-handed media for keeping us in the dark about them).

Mr. Harris' blog is long, so I won't add to it (not that it needs my input anyway):

Why are Palestinian refugees different from all other refugees?

David A. Harris
Executive Director
American Jewish Committee
New York
August 6, 2008

Why indeed?

Tragically, there have been countless refugees in the annals of history.

Many have fled political persecution, religious harassment, racial or ethnic targeting, or gender or sexual discrimination.

Its happened in just about every era.

In the twentieth century alone, tens of millions of refugees, if not more, were compelled to find new homesvictims of world wars, border adjustments, population transfers, political demagoguery, and social pathologies.

The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne codified the population exchange of Greeks and Turks, totaling more than 1.5 million people. Ancestral homes were wiped out on both sides.

Massive numbers of Hindus and Muslims were moved to accommodate the partition of the sub-continent into two independent nationsIndia and Pakistan.

Refugees by the millions, unable to return to their countries, were created as a result of the twelve-year Third Reich.

Czechs, East Germans, Hungarians, Poles, and Romanians fled the suffocation of Soviet-led tyranny whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The exodus from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam after the victory of Communist and rebel forces was massive.

Refugee flows from Africas civil and tribal wars, as well as its dictatorships, have been constant.

Yemenis were expelled from Saudi Arabia by the hundreds of thousands during the first Gulf War due to Yemens support for Saddam Husseins Iraq.

Countless Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims fled, or were expelled, due to Serbian aggression.

And this is just the tip of the refugee iceberg.

In fact, I dont have to look very far to understand the unending refugee crises of our timesor the trauma they have created.

My mother and her family fled oppressive Bolshevik rule and Soviet anti-Semitism in 1929, among the last to leave before the exit gates sealed shut. They arrived in Paris and had to start over againnew language, new culture, new everything. Eleven years later, they were on the road again, this time courtesy of the Nazis and their French collaborators. They were on the run for eighteen months before they were among the very few to make it to the United States. Once more, new language, new culture, new everything.

My fathers story was similar. From Germany to Austria, thanks to Hitler, and a new start. From Austria to France, again thanks to Hitler, and another new start. And, after the war, from shattered Europe to the United States and a third new start. He, too, found his footing and moved on.

And my wife and her family, whose roots in Libya predated the Arab conquest and occupationyes, conquest and occupationby centuries, were ousted from the country in 1967. Of course, they had an alternative. They could have stayed and been killed by the rampaging mobs looking for Jews. They, like other refugees, had to start anew in Italy.

Yet, rather than wallow in victimization, allow themselves to be exploited by unscrupulous leaders, or become consumed by hatred and revenge, they established new lives, grateful to their adopted lands for making it possible.

The same was the case with the Indochinese refugees with whom I worked in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the couple that my wife and I sponsored to come to the U.S. And with the Soviet and East European refugees I worked with for several years just before.

At the end of 2007, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) counted 11.4 million refugees in its jurisdiction, with the largest populations being from Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia, Sudan, and Somalia. Over five decades, UNHCR estimates that it has assisted 50 million refugees to help restart their lives. Refugees are defined as those with a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
And yet, of all the worlds refugees, one groupthe Palestiniansare treated entirely differently from all others.

Indeed, the 1951 Refugee Convention explicitly does not apply to Palestinians, who fall within the purview of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

There is no equivalent UN body for any other refugee group in the world.

The definition of a refugee under the UNRWA mandate is also unique. It covers all descendants, without generational limitation, of those deemed refugees in 1948. This helps explain why its caseload has nearly quintupled since 1950.

Unlike UNHCR, UNRWA does not seek to resettle Palestinian refugees, but rather provides social services while, in effect, keeping them in perpetual limbo.

And despite the crocodile tears shed by Arab countries, many of which today are awash in petrodollars, about the plight of their Palestinian brethren, they have been among the most miserly donors to UNRWA. They callously assert that it is not their responsibility to care for refugees created by the decisions of others. The top six donors to UNRWA this year are the U.S. and European governments, with miniscule amounts donated by a few Arab nations and nothing by others.

By the way, I should hasten to clarify that only those Palestinians who are seen as victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict are given this special treatment.

In 1991, when Kuwait summarily threw out an estimated 400,000 Palestinians for their alleged support of Iraqs Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War, there wasnt a peep from the international community. Arab violations of Arabs human rights are viewed differently, if theyre noticed at all.

And in countries like Lebanon, with a large Palestinian refugee population under UNRWA auspices, the government has long imposed restrictions on the Palestinian right to work in many professions and trades. But there has never been an outcry.

So, we are confronted by an unprecedented situation.

Palestinians are not the worlds first refugee population, but they may be the first to lament their perpetual refugee status while resisting any effort to resolve it.

Think about it. In 1947, the UN offered a two-state solution to address two competing national claims. The Jews accepted it; the Arabs rejected it. Or in UN-speak, the proposed Arab State failed to materialize. Had it been otherwise, two states might have emerged, and with any luck, learned to live side by side. To this day, that two-state concept remains the most feasible outcome.

Instead, the Arab side went to war. Has there been any war that didnt produce refugees? Yet the Arab world blames Israel for the refugees from a war it ignited.

Meanwhile, that same Arab-Israeli conflict produced a greater number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who resettled elsewhere with little fanfare.

Then, by design, the Palestinian refugees were kept in camps, as wards of the international community, to serve as permanent reminders of the impermanence of their situation. Taught to focus their hatred on Israel, rather than to hold their own leaders accountable for using them as pawns, they have been denied opportunities for new lives.

Even now, three years after Israel totally withdrew from Gaza, astonishingly, nearly 500,000 Palestinians continue to live in UNRWA refugee camps there. Why?

While the Palestinians are among the worlds largest per capita aid recipients, as British official Kim Howells has noted, much of that aid has been siphoned off to line the pockets of corrupt Palestinian officialswho then turn around and seek more aid for their allegedly neglected people.
Its the same absurd logic that Hamas deploys when it decries energy shortages while shelling the Israeli power plants that provide electricity to Gaza.

The whole process is abetted by an elaborate and well-funded UN apparatus, encompassing more than just UNRWA, created by the majority of member states to support the Palestinian cause. It goes without saying that Darfuris, Kurds, Tibetans, and others who believe they have suffered from injustice and occupation have no comparable UN bodies to advance their cause.

This is not to say that Palestinians have had easy lives. They havent. It is to say that their leaders, with the complicity of many in the international community, have pulled off one of the most successful spin jobs in history. Rather than settle the refugeesjust like untold othersthey have shamelessly exploited the refugees instead.

Therein lies the irreducible tragedy of a decades-long conflict.

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