Tuesday, 10 February 2009

THE INFIDEL OFFENSIVE (OOPS, MAKE THAT DEFENSIVE)

Ken Berwitz

The United Kingdom has hit upon a sure-fire way to diffuse the threat of radical islam.  And here it is, courtesy of the UK Guardian, via www.sweetness-light.com:

UK To Muslims: Please Dont Hate Us

February 10th, 2009

From those tireless defenders of the faith at the UKs Guardian:

Please dont hate us: UK ad campaign to target extremism

Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
The Guardian, Tuesday 10 February 2009

Prominent British Muslims are being recruited to star in a government-backed advertising campaign aimed at preventing people in Pakistan from engaging in extremist activity, the Guardian has learned.

The three-month public relations offensive, called I Am the West, consists of television commercials and high-profile events in regions such as Peshawar and Mirpur. It is being funded by the Foreign Office which is paying up to 400,000 for a pilot project.

Starring in the first three adverts are Sadiq Khan, the communities minister, Jehangir Malik, the UK manager of Islamic Relief, English cricketer Moeen Ali and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Chaudry Abdul Rashid, who is from Mirpur. Mirpuris represent around 70% of Britains Pakistani population.

According to a project synopsis, the target audience is 15-25-year-old males who are "less than well-educated and worldly wise, but potentially susceptible to extremist doctrines". If successful, it will be implemented in Egypt, Yemen and Indonesia

The campaign has four key aims: to ensure Pakistanis realise the west is not "anti-Islamic", that British society is not "anti-Islam", to demonstrate the extent to which Muslims are integrated into British society and to stimulate and facilitate "constructive debate" on the compatibility of liberal and Muslim values.

Yes. This will work for sure.

Who can doubt it?

Do these geniuses understand what this communicates to radical islamists?  Let me spell it out.

 

W   E   A   K   N   E   S   S.

 

This is the kind of stuff that, if we're lucky, radical islamists will just laugh at instead of being enraged by. 

But since they show no propensity for laughing, and a full propensity for rage, I think we have a pretty good idea of where it will fall. 

In other words, this is utterly devoid of any logic, any reality and any hope for success.

If I didn't know better, I'd swear that Dennis Kucinich emigrated to the UK and became an ad guy.....


THE BAILOUT PLAN: GIVE US THE $$$, THEN WONDER HOW WE'LL SPEND IT

Ken Berwitz

Here, from the AP is why the stock market tanked so badly today:

Stocks plunge as government unveils bailout plan

 

By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer Tim Paradis, Ap Business Writer 18 mins ago

 

NEW YORK Investors are frustrated with the government's latest bank bailout plan and showed it by unloading stocks. The major stock indexes fell more than 4 percent Tuesday, including the Dow Jones industrial average, which tumbled 382 points. Financial stocks led the market lower, a sign of how concerned Wall Street is about the government's ability to restore the health of the banking industry. Demand for safe havens like Treasurys and gold rose.

 

Traders and investors complained about what they saw as a lack of specifics from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on how the government will direct more than $1 trillion in public and private support to the financial system.

 

The plan is aimed at restoring proper functioning to credit markets, which seized up over worries about bad debt after the September bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. The latest plan calls for a government-private sector partnership to help remove banks' soured assets from their books. It would also boost an effort to unclog the credit markets that govern loans to consumers and businesses.

 

"The good news is they are going to spend a trillion dollars, the bad news is they don't know how," said James Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group.

 

"They built this up as being a panacea," he said. "There was so much hope pinned on them to do a good job. The expectations have been so high. It's hard to live up to."

Don't you just love that?  "the good news is they are going to spend a trillion dollars, the bad news is they don't know how"?

Is this what you wanted from the Obama administration?   Does this in any way strike you as intelligent policy?  Something you can have confidence about?  Something that will help our economy?

If the answer is "no", and I'm betting it is, then congratulations on how much you have in common with Wall Street.


THE MURTHA RAIDS

Ken Berwitz

Yes, the corrupt, arrogant john murtha was re-elected to the house last November.

Yes this is the same murtha who accused eight U.S. marines of murdering innocent Iraqis in cold blood - and who, after 7 of them were exonerated and the 8th almost certainly will be, has yet to show the courage, or guts, to apologize for it.

Now, finally, the FBI seems to be closing in on his fascinating "friends and relatives" deals with defense contractors.

ABC News has the details, which are excerpted below (you can read the entire article by clicking here):

EXCLUSIVE: FBI Raided Lobbying Firm Connected to Murtha

Feds Narrowing In On Companies With Ties To Congressman

The FBI raided the offices of a defense lobbying firm with close ties to Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Penn.), sources tell ABC News.

PMA Group
The FBI raided the offices of a defense lobbying firm with close ties to Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Penn.), sources tell ABC News.

The FBI searched the Virginia headquarters of the PMA Group in November, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. PMA was founded by former Murtha aide Paul Magliochetti and specializes in winning earmarked taxpayer funds for its clients.

Good government groups have long criticized Murtha's cozy relationship with a handful of lobbyists and defense firms, ties that see millions of dollars in government spending go out from Murtha's office, and hundreds of thousands in campaign donations come in. Murtha has said his earmarking has helped revive his economically depressed district.

PMA is the second company with close ties to Murtha to be raided by federal agents recently. In January, agents from the FBI, the IRS and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service searched the office of Kuchera Industries and Kuchera Defense Systems, as well as the homes of the firms' founders. The companies reportedly have received over $100 million in earmarks, thanks to Murtha's efforts.

Investigators have not commented on their interest in the companies, and no official has suggested Murtha was involved in any suspected wrongdoing by the companies.
 
While it is unclear whether Murtha is a target of the investigations, the heightened scrutiny of some of his closest donors and allies signals that the Feds may be inching closer to the 35-year-member of Congress, who chairs the powerful Defense Appropriations subcommittee.

"The FBI is showing a lot of interest in" a lot of people around Murtha, said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "If I was in Murtha's camp, I would not be sleeping at night."

I only wish he could have said that "If I was in murtha's skin, I would not be sleeping at night".  But he didn't.  Because this corrupt, obnoxious pant-load probably sleeps like a baby.

May the FBI get to the bottom of murtha's dealings ASAP.  And may at least a few of the Democrats who would like to try George Bush for anything and everything they can think of, take a few minutes out to go after a genuine crook.

free` "may at least a few of the Democrats who would like to try George Bush for anything and everything they can think of, take a few minutes out to go after a genuine crook."<<<< Don't count on it, they protect their own. (02/10/09)


PRESIDENT OBAMA'S PRESS CONFERENCE WAS F.O.S. BUT HE SPOKE BEAUTIFULLY

Ken Berwitz

Doesn't President Obama speak beautifully?  So much better than former President Bush.

That's what I hear over and over again from my Obama-loving friends, who seem to think that elocution is the key to being a great President.

Personally, I'll take a dese/dem/dose type 100 times out of 100, if he/she has something better to say.

This leads me to Mr. Obama's press conference yesterday.  Yes, he spoke beautifully.  But there is a bit of a problem. 

The problem is that a lot of what he said was F.O. S. (for those of you who don't know what that means, the first two words are "full of...".  Got it?)

Ed Morrissey of www.hotair.com wrote about Obama's BS this morning and, as usual, does a great job in laying it all out.  See for yourself:

Obama presser: Does Obama pay attention?

posted at 8:18 am on February 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

An oft-repeated aphorism instructs us that we can have our own opinions, but not our own facts or at least not unless we get to stand behind the podium at the White House.  When Barack Obama explained his economic package last night to the American people in a prime-time press conference, he made two flat-out false statements regarding his opposition.  He also added a completely incorrect reading of history, one that turns out to be very instructive about his own economic incompetence.

First, lets start with his lies (and thats not too strong a word) about Republicans:

As I said, the one concern Ive got on the stimulus package, in terms of the debate and listening to some of whats been said in Congress is that there seems to be a set of folks who I dont doubt their sincerity who just believe that we should do nothing. Now, if thats their opening position or their closing position in negotiations, then were probably not going to make much progress, because I dont think thats economically sound and I dont think what thats what the American people expect, is for us to stand by and do nothing.

Republicans in both the House and Senate have offered at least two alternative stimulus packages.  None of them demanded that Obama do nothing.  In fact, it was the Congressional Budget Office and not Republicans that suggested that doing nothing might have a better effect than the Obama/Pelosi/Reid stimulus bill, as our friends at Power Line point out.

This lie is particularly egregious, as Nancy Pelosi locked Republicans out of drafting the bill altogether.  Barack Obama talked about his own initiatives to reach across the aisle by naming three Republicans to his Cabinet, but what he didnt mention was his and Pelosis version of bipartisanship in drafting the bill, which amounted to we won.  Had Republicans been given an opportunity to work on the bill, it would have been somewhat smaller with a different set of tax cuts, but probably in a range from $450-600 billion, which is what their alternatives proposed and it would have gotten overwhelming support in Congress.

Second lie:

My administration inherited a deficit of over $1 trillion, but because we also inherited the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression, doing little or nothing at all will result in ever even greater deficits, even greater job loss, even greater loss of income and even greater loss of confidence.

But what I what Ive been concerned about is some of the language thats been used suggesting that this is full of pork and this is wasteful government spending, so on and so forth. First of all, when I hear that from folks who presided over a doubling of the national debt, then, you know, I just want them to not engage in some revisionist history. I inherited the deficit that we have right now and the economic crisis that we have right now.

Obama tried a couple of times to lay the deficit off on the Republicans, but more than half of that deficit came from the bailouts of last year, which the Democrats pushed through Congress.  Republicans balked at the massive TARP program, which Obama criticized in his press conference last night.  The Bush administration didnt partner with Republican leadership to get that passed; they had to get the Democrats to pass it, and Democrats have controlled Congress for the last two years.  And the economic crisis came from the collapse of the housing market bubble created by the kind of intervention Obama proposes.

And now the historic illiteracy of Barack Obama:

I think that what Ive said is what other economists have said across the political spectrum, which is that if you delay acting on an economy of this severity, then you potentially create a negative spiral that becomes much more difficult for us to get out of.

We saw this happen in Japan in the 1990s, where they did not act boldly and swiftly enough, and as a consequence they suffered what was called the lost decade, where essentially for the entire 90s, they did not see any significant economic growth.

Er, what? Even the New York Times knows that Japan acted too swiftly, too boldly, and ran up massive deficits on infrastructure work that never stimulated the economy:

Japans rural areas have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy from a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s. During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in the developed world totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy while failing to generate a convincing recovery.

In the end, say economists, it was not public works but an expensive cleanup of the debt-ridden banking system, combined with growing exports to China and the United States, that brought a close to Japans Lost Decade. This has led many to conclude that spending did little more than sink Japan deeply into debt, leaving an enormous tax burden for future generations.

In other words, Obama gets an F in economic history despite supposedly having the best and brightest cribbers working on his staff.  He gets an F for honesty as well as an D- on bipartisanship.  Its a lousy start to his four-year class on how to be an executive.

Great job, Barack. 

First you build a straw-man argument about the people who say that we should do nothing (you never name them, of course, because they aren't there). 

Then you keep repeating that line about the national debt.  While we agree that Republicans have a lot to do with where it is now, you seem to have forgotten that Democrats - those folks who have run congress, thus written the budgets for the past two years - have even more to do with it. 

I would have paid money for a reporter to ask Mr. Obama to compare where the economy was on January 1, 2007, the first day Democrats took over both houses of congress, versus where we are today. 

And I'd have paid double for a reporter to quote Barney Fudd and Chris Dudd, who head the house Financial Affairs committee and the Senate Banking Committee respectively, on how solid Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac were -- right up to the time they blew up in our faces.  Maybe Mr. Obama could explain why Fudd and Dudd aren't to blame for the sub-prime mess, not to mention the investors who lost their shirts by believing their claims.

Mr. Obama could also explain why Democrats did everything they could to prevent the regulation of Fannie and Freddie when President Bush - you know, the inarticulate guy - was asking for it in 2001 and then again in 2003.

Finally there is that fraudulent, invented history of Japan. 

But...But.....he said it so beautifully.


HEALTH CARE UNDER THE STEALFROMUS PACKAGE

Ken Berwitz

Once, during a teachers' strike, I saw a picketer holding a sign that read "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance".  I've mentioned that sign in previous blogs.  But it bears repeating now, because of what the stealfromus ... er, stimulus package will do to health care in this country.

You think health care is bad now?  Well, try the health care as envisioned in this bill. 

Betsy McCaughey, who is not much of a politician but a genuine health care expert, took a look at it and wrote the following analysis for www.bloomberg.com.  The bold print is mine:

Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan: Betsy McCaughey
Commentary by Betsy McCaughey

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Republican Senators are questioning whether President Barack Obamas stimulus bill contains the right mix of tax breaks and cash infusions to jump-start the economy.

Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bills health rules will affect every individual in the United States (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and guide your doctors decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis. According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and learn to operate less like solo practitioners.

Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.

New Penalties

Hospitals and doctors that are not meaningful users of the new system will face penalties.  Meaningful user isnt defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose more stringent measures of meaningful use over time (511, 518, 540-541)

What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the tough decisions elected politicians wont make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschles book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept hopeless diagnoses and forgo experimental treatments, and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Elderly Hardest Hit

Daschle says health-care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschles book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

Hidden Provisions

If the Obama administrations economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later.

The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administrations health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it, he said. The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.

More Scrutiny Needed

On Friday, President Obama called it inexcusable and irresponsible for senators to delay passing the stimulus bill. In truth, this bill needs more scrutiny.

The health-care industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nations gross domestic product. Yet the bill treats health care the way European governments do: as a cost problem instead of a growth industry. Imagine limiting growth and innovation in the electronics or auto industry during this downturn. This stimulus is dangerous to your health and the economy.

(Betsy McCaughey is former lieutenant governor of New York and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The opinions expressed are her own.)

All that, and hundreds of billions of dollars in pork and/or expenditures which would occur years from now, thus can't possibly stimulate the economy during the current meltdown.

I don't call this a stimulus package.  I call this a stealfromus package.  The reason, as you can see, is because that is precisely what it does. 

Originally, I saw this bill as a monstrosity.  But now that I've read about the health care policies it would put into place, I realize that it is far, far worse than I originally imagined.

I hope a few senators read Ms. McCaughey's piece and realize it too.


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