Wednesday, 24 December 2008


Ken Berwitz

Barack Obama is putting together a far less left wing, far more circumspect administration than his hardcore base expected.

Not that it isn't leaning leftward or that it doesn't have hardcore people;  it is just a lot less in that direction than the LAMBs (Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade) had in mind. 

And they are royally ticked off about it.

Jeff Jacoby explains why in his latest column:

Obama and peeved progressives

By Jeff Jacoby
Globe Columnist / December 24, 2008

CAN YOU HEAR the grumbling over in what Howard Dean used to call "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party?" The tolerance-and-diversity crowd is upset with Barack Obama; it seems the president-elect has been bringing people into his circle who don't agree with them on every single issue.

The consternation on the left began with the naming of Obama's national security team - Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Robert Gates to continue as secretary of defense, and retired four-star General James Jones as national security adviser. "Barack Obama's Kettle of Hawks," they were promptly dubbed in the Guardian by the left-wing journalist Jeremy Scahill, "with a proven track record of support for the Iraq war [and] militaristic interventionism." How could Obama possibly keep his campaign promise "to end the mindset that got us into war," asked the The Nation, when none of his top foreign policy/national security picks had opposed the war?

There was even more distress in progressive precincts after Obama's economic team was announced. Lawrence Summers, who will chair the National Economic Council, "opposed regulating the newfangled financial instruments that greased the way to the subprime meltdown," wrote David Corn, the Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones magazine, in a column for the Washington Post. Obama's choice for Treasury secretary, New York Fed president Timothy Geithner, "helped oversee the financial system as it collapsed." Both of them, lamented Corn, are close to Robert Rubin, "a director of bailed-out Citigroup and a poster boy for . . . Big Finance."

Add the passel of former Clinton operatives who have returned to play key roles in the Obama transition, including Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta, and Greg Craig, and Obama Girl herself could be forgiven for feeling disillusioned. Whatever happened to the fresh, progressive candidate who promised an escape from Clinton-era Democratic politics?

As if all that weren't enough to give a fervent liberal agita, Obama has asked the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. From many on the left, where Warren's staunch opposition to same-sex marriage is reason enough to loathe him, responses have ranged from dismay to fury. Barney Frank labeled the pastor's views "very offensive" and pronounced himself "very disappointed" that Obama would invite him. The blog Liberal Rapture was more pungent: "Obama throws another middle finger to liberals."

A few reflections:

1. It's never advisable to fall in love with a politician; sooner or later, you're bound to feel betrayed. While Obama's true believers may be feeling jilted, can they really claim he gave them no warning? After all, once he nailed down the Democratic nomination in June, Obama began backing away from one liberal stance after another: on banning handguns, on NAFTA, on Iran, on warrantless wiretapping, on public financing of the presidential campaign, on the death penalty for child rape - even, eventually, on the desirability of swiftly withdrawing US troops. He was not the candidate of left-wing ideological purity: Could he have put it any more clearly?

2. Actually, he did put it more clearly. He ran explicitly against believing "that we're doomed to fight the same tired partisan battles over and over again" and in favor of changing America into "a country that no longer sees itself as a collection of Red States and Blue States." However one-sided his voting record in Illinois and the US Senate, he pledged something different if he were elected president. For now, at least, he's making good on his pledge.

3. Still, Obama is hardly in danger of turning into anything resembling a right-winger. With his trillion-dollar "stimulus" proposal, he is inviting comparisons to FDR. And with committed liberals like Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services secretary, Carol Browner as energy czar, and Eric Holder as attorney general, the Obama administration is never going to be accused of harboring Republican tendencies.

4. Most Americans are not explicitly ideological, and most, so far, think very highly of Obama. According to Gallup, 67 percent of the public is confident of his ability to be a good president; 71 percent view him favorably. OK, so Barney Frank and The Nation are complaining about him. There are worse fates.

If we learned anything about Barack Obama, it is that he has a very selective acquaintance with the truth.  We experienced this over and over again during his campaign - enough times to realize that he has no problem using his extraordinary personal magnetism to pull the wool over people's eyes whenever it benefits him.

And, apparently, LAMBs are just as vulnerable to Mr. Obama's dishonesty as everyone else. 

The difference is how they feel about it, compared to centrists and right wingers. 

LAMBS thought they'd get a hard-left administration, so they're bitter and angry.  But many in the center and on the right are surprised in the positive, for exactly the same reason.

Bottom line:  When someone is continually untruthful, you should never think you know what he/she will do next.  That, so far, is the story of President-designate Barack Obama.

free` when are they not bitter and angry? (12/24/08)


Ken Berwitz

How would you like to be the judge on this one?

It comes to us from the Orlando Sentinel:

Angry wife jailed after biting husband's you-know-what

Charris Bowers

Charris Bowers (December 23, 2008)

A 27-year-old Deltona woman told authorities she bit her husband's penis because she didn't want to have sex with him.

Charris Bowers was arrested Saturday by a Volusia County sheriff's deputy, accused of misdemeanor battery. A judge set her free Sunday without requiring her to post bail.

Her husband, Delou Bowers, today would not comment.

According to a sheriff's office report, the Bowerses had been to a bar Friday night. Delou Bowers told authorities that when they got home, his wife began to perform oral sex on him but then began to bite his penis.

He says he was fighting off her aggressive attempt to perform oral sex on him.  She says he stuck his penis in her mouth.

Now I ask you, your honor, which of those two accounts has more credibility?

And I have to say that I'm intrigued by the deputy photographing the injury.  "Gentlemen of the jury, here is Exhibit A.  Ladies of the jury, I swear the picture was taken from a distance, it usually looks much bigger and better than that.  When I'm healed I promise you will think of it as Exhibit A+"

Personally, I think she is going to win.  I doubt that his evidence will stand up in court.


Ken Berwitz

Hoover didn't understand it.  Roosevelt ignored it.  Now Obama is determined not to learn from either of them.

Government invervention and micromanaging hurts the economy.  They do not get us out of economic downturns, they solidify and prolong them.

John Stossel understands (how does he manage to stay on ABC with ideas like this anyway?).  Here is what he has to say about Barack Obama's grandiose "transformation" plans:

Arrogant Conceit

Barack Obama wants to use the recession to remake the U.S. economy.

"Painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people," Obama said (

His designated chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is more direct: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste" (

So they will "transform our economy." Obama's nearly trillion-dollar plan will not merely repair bridges, fill potholes and fix up schools; it will also impose a utopian vision based on the belief that an economy is a thing to be planned from above. But this is an arrogant conceit. No one can possibly know enough to redesign something as complex as "an economy," which really is people engaging in exchanges to achieve their goals. Planning it means planning them.

Obama and Emanuel want us to believe that their blueprint for reform will bring recovery from the recession. Yet we have recovered from past recessions without undertaking a radical social and economic transformation.

In fact, reform would impede recovery.

This is not the first time a president chose reform over recovery. Franklin Roosevelt did it with his New Deal, and the result was long years of depression and deprivation. Roosevelt's priorities were criticized not just by opponents of big government but by none other than John Maynard Keynes, the British economist whose theories rationalized big government. Before FDR had been in office a year, Keynes wrote him an open letter, which was printed in The New York Times:

"You are engaged on a double task, Recovery and Reform; recovery from the slump and the passage of those business and social reforms which are long overdue. For the first, speed and quick results are essential. The second may be urgent, too; but haste will be injurious. ... [E]ven wise and necessary Reform may, in some respects, impede and complicate Recovery. For it will upset the confidence of the business world and weaken their existing motives to action. ... Now I am not clear, looking back over the last nine months, that the order of urgency between measures of Recovery and measures of Reform has been duly observed, or that the latter has not sometimes been mistaken for the former" (

Note Keynes's concern. Government interventions, such as the cartelizing of industry through the National Recovery Administration, "will upset the confidence of the business world and weaken their existing motives to action." In other words, investors will not take the risks necessary for recovery if their profits and freedom are subject to unpredictable government action. Economic historian Roberts Higgs calls this phenomenon "regime uncertainty" (

Keynes's letter apparently had little influence on Roosevelt, who stuck to his plan. In his second inaugural address a few years later, FDR feared that signs of recovery had jeopardized his reform plans by removing the sense of emergency: "To hold to progress today, however, is more difficult. Dulled conscience, irresponsibility and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster! Prosperity already tests the persistence of our progressive purpose." (Emphasis added.) (

What a shame. Free people enjoying their lives make it harder for the administration to forcibly impose its utopian vision on them.

Obama wants to act quickly. In the name of stimulating the economy, he plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars the government does not have to convert the economy from carbon-based fuels to "green" alternatives. Even if that were a good idea and it's definitely not ( it would not bring recovery. Any money the government spends must be taxed, borrowed or conjured out of thin air by the Federal Reserve, and that will reduce sound private investment. Obama has no real wealth to inject into the economy. He can only move around existing money while inflation robs us of purchasing power. Meanwhile, private investors who might have produced a better engine, battery, computer, cancer treatment or other wealth-creating and life-enhancing innovations hold back for fear that big government will undermine productive efforts.

The way to a lasting recovery is to greatly lighten the burdens of government. Then free Americans will save and invest.

Grand interventionist reforms go in precisely the wrong direction.

Here is a question which has been asked countless times over many years:  Can you name one thing that government has ever done better than the private sector?

The answer has always been, and remains, no. 

Barack Obama's ego may tell him otherwise; it may whisper in his ear that "you're the guy who can square this circle, you'll just mesmerize the recession away like you mesmerize audiences at political rallies".  But that's just ego talking.  Reality is very, very different.

Let's hope Mr. Obama has an epiphany (earpiphany?), tells his ego to take a hike, and acts in the best interests of the country. 


Ken Berwitz

"People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"

I bet your mommy taught you that sometime during your single-digit years of age.. 

Too bad the New York Times didn't have a mommy. 

What am I talking about?  Read this, from and see:

The Times Falls for French Prank After Mocking Palin for Similar Gaffe

The Times, which last month mocked Sarah Palin for getting taken in by a French taken in by a French prank, publishing a phony letter from the "Mayor of Paris."

Posted by: Clay Waters
12/23/2008 8:28:23 AM

The Times, which last month mocked Sarah Palin for getting taken in by a French prankgot taken in by a French prank, printing a letter Monday allegedly from Bertrand Delanoe, the Mayor of Paris, calling Caroline Kennedy's bid for a U.S. Senate seat as "appalling" and "not very democratic."

The Times explained in Tuesdays edition:

In Mondays newspaper, we published a letter over the name of the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delano, criticizing Caroline Kennedy. This letter was a fraud and should not have been published. Mr. Delanos office has since confirmed that he did not write it.

Printing the letter, which also appeared on until it was removed, violated the standards and procedures of The New York Times editorial department.

It is our practice to verify the authenticity of every letter we publish. Like most of our letters these days, this one arrived by e-mail. We sent an edited version back to the writer of the e-mail and did not receive a response.

At that point, the letter should have been set aside. It was not.

The Times has expressed its regret to Mr. Delanos office for the lapse in judgment that led to this error. We now express those regrets to our readers.

We will be reviewing our procedures in an attempt to ensure that an error like this is not repeated.

Back on November 6, the Times Republican-hostile reporter Elisabeth Bumiller mocked Gov. Sarah Palin in a story relishing the post-election backbiting emanating from the John McCain campaign. Bumiller concluded by recapping a prank interview Palin conducted with who she thought was President Nicolas Sarkozy of France but was actually a French radio prankster.

One of the last straws for the McCain advisers came just days before the election when news broke that Ms. Palin had taken a call made by Marc-Antoine Audette. Mr. Audette and his fellow comedian Sebastien Trudel are notorious for prank calls to celebrities and heads of state.

Ms. Palin appeared to believe that she was talking to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, even though the prankster had a flamboyant French accent and spoke to her in a more personal way than would be protocol in such a call. At one point, he told Ms. Palin that she would make a good president some day. Maybe in eight years, she replied.

Let me ask you a question:  If Sarah Palin was successfully pranked because she is some unsophisticated rube from Alaska without the wits to figure out the caller wasn't Sarkozy......

.....what does it make the New York Times, which is located in ultra-sophisticated midtown Manhattan and has specific procedures to prevent phony letters to the editor from being published?  (I know this because I have been published in the Times and was called beforehand for that reason)  

So now the Times is busy wiping an entire poultry farm worth of eggs from its masthead.  It has even offered what the Times apparently thinks is an apology (When you want to make up with your spouse, try saying "I express my regret" instead of "I apologize" and see how far it gets you). 

One other thing:  The New York Times spent the last 8 years skewering George Bush for virtually everything he did as President.  But how did the Times do during Bush's years?  On the day that George Bush took office New York Times stock was at $45 a share.  As I type this, it is at $6.  And before you blame that on Bush, please note that it is the lowest price for New York Times stock since at least 1986 (that's as far back as the chart I found will go).  

Maybe another "expression of regret" is in order.  Straight from the glass house on 8th Avenue..


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