Thursday, 30 April 2009


Ken Berwitz

Does it matter that khalid sheikh mohammed was not waterboarded 183 times, nor was abu zubaydah waterboarded 83 times?  Does it matter that these claims were a load of BS?

Probably not.  By now, just about everyone in the USA and everywhere else in the world "knows" it happened.  Even though it did not.  Congratulations to the Obama administration and its countless friends in the media.  Mission accomplished.

Why am I so certain the waterboarding accusation is BS?  Read this report from Fox News and see for yourself.    NOTE:  Before you dismiss it on the grounds that Fox is partisan, rightwing, hates Obama, loves Republicans, yada yada yada, be sure to click on the link it supplies to the 2007 RED CROSS REPORT about what was done to muhammad and 13 other terrorists.  Go to page 10, read the bottom two lines, and you will see the confirmation with your own eyes:


Despite Reports, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was Not Waterboarded 183 Times

The number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded was the focus of major media attention  -- and highly misleading.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The New York Times reported last week that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, was waterboarded 183 times in one month by CIA interrogators. The "183 times" was widely circulated by news outlets throughout the world.

It was shocking. And it was highly misleading. The number is a vast inflation, according to information from a U.S. official and the testimony of the terrorists themselves.

A U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation program told FOX News that the much-cited figure represents the number of times water was poured onto Mohammed's face -- not the number of times the CIA applied the simulated-drowning technique on the terror suspect.  According to a 2007 Red Cross report, he was subjected a total of "five sessions of ill-treatment."  

"The water was poured 183 times -- there were 183 pours," the official explained, adding that "each pour was a matter of seconds."

The Times and dozens of other outlets wrote that the CIA also waterboarded senior Al Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah 83 times, but Zubayda himself, a close associate of Usama bin Laden, told the Red Cross he was waterboarded no more than 10 times.

The confusion stems from language in the Justice Department legal memos that President Obama released on April 16. They contain the numbers, but they fail to explain exactly what they represent.

The memos, spanning from 2002-2005, were a legal review by the Bush administration that approved the use of waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques." Obama banned the procedure on his second day in office, saying that waterboarding is torture.

Click here to see Memo 1 | Memo 2 | Memo 3 | Memo 4

The memos describe the controversial process: a detainee is strapped to a gurney with his head lowered and a cloth placed on his face. Interrogators pour water onto the cloth, which cuts off air flow to the mouth and nostrils, tripping his gag reflex, causing panic and giving him the sensation that he is drowning.

At that point the cloth would be removed, the gurney rotated upright and the detainee would be allowed to breathe. The technique could be repeated a few times during a waterboarding session; Zubaydah said it was generally used once or twice, but he said he was waterboarded three times during one session.

The Justice Department memos described the maximum allowed use of the waterboard on any detainee, based on tactical training given to U.S. troops to resist interrogations:

-- Five days of use in one month, with no more than two "sessions" in a day;
-- Up to six applications (something like a dunk) lasting more than 10 seconds but less than 40 seconds per session;
-- 12 minutes of total "water application" in a 24-hour period

Bloggers who read the memos last week noted that the CIA's math "doesn't add up" -- meaning that the 12 long pours allowed in a day couldn't add up to the 12 minutes mentioned in the memo, and they could barely even guess how the detainees could have been waterboarded an astounding 286 times in one month.

The memos did not note that the sessions would be made up of a number of short pours -- the ones the U.S. official said lasted "a matter of seconds" -- and that created the huge numbers quoted by the New York Times: 183 on Mohamed, 83 on Zubaydah.

Pours, not waterboards.

A close look at a Red Cross report on the interrogations makes the numbers even clearer.

As the Red Cross noted: "The suffocation procedure was applied [to Abu Zubaydah] during five sessions of ill-treatment ... in 2002. During each session, apart from one, the suffocation technique was applied once or twice; on one occasion it was applied three times."

The total number of applications: between eight and 10 -- not the 83 mentioned in the Times.

Mohammed similarly told the Red Cross that "I was also subjected to 'water-boarding' on five occasions, all of which occurred during the first month." Those were his five "sessions"; the precise number of applications is not known but is a fraction of the 183 figure.

All of those individual pours were scrupulously counted by the CIA, according to the memos, to abide by the procedures set up for the waterboardings.

"[I]t is important that every application of the waterboard be thoroughly documented: how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was used in the process," read a memo from May 10, 2005.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the only other detainee known to be waterboarded, was not discussed in the memos.

The Times wrote that until the release of the memos, "the precise number" of 286 total waterboardings was not known.

Does that look a tad different than the ludicrous "183 waterboardings" claim?  Or, for that matter the 83 for Zubaydah?  And in case you think I'm some Johnny-come-lately, let me point out (immodestly, I admit) that I expressed strong skepticism about the number of waterboardings right from the start.  Here is my blog from April 21, in which I called the administration out on it. 

(Please also note that my blog contains a piece by Steve Gilbert of in which he specifically says "According to the sources familiar with the Red Cross report, Mohammed claimed to have been waterboarded five times".  If Steve could find this a week and a half ago, it defies all credibility that the New York Times and countless other major media could not find it then, or since.)

Ok.  Now that we know the truth, I have a few questions:

-Did Barack Obama and his people know?   Did the documents they released indicate the true number of waterboardings, which then were intentionally redacted out (I would consider this a near-certainty).  If so, WHO altered those documents and WHY would that person/those persons not summarily be fired?

-Will the Obama administration apologize for the unbelievably misleading nature of the declassified documents it foisted on a trusting public?

-Other than Fox, will the mainstream media be reporting this information?  If so, will they be reporting it as prominently as they reported the original charges?  Will they be apologizing for wrongly reporting it for the past week and a half?

-Will either the Obama administration or the mainstream media explain to us why, since this was an unclassified Red Cross report, they couldn't come up with the real truth?  If Fox News could uncover that document, so could ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

-Will media now demand answers from the Obama administration? 

-Or will none of this happen?  Will the same news venues which aided and abetted this fraud continue doing so? Will they parlay their misinformation into disinformation, by not reporting it even after they know the truth?

We'll know tomorrow, won't we?

dlr ONCE was too much. ONE TIME to ONE PERSON for any reason UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES was too much. Every person who engaged in it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Every person who authorized it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The most contemptible thing Obama has done since he became president was to fail to prosecute the criminals who committed this crime. The worst criminals are the criminals who commit their crimes under the color of authority. Anyone who engages in TORTURE to defend "the American way of life" has already lost. They have become Terrorists themselves. (01/01/10)


Ken Berwitz

It can't be easy being married to a human oil slick.  But Elizabeth Edwards is -- and has spent years defending him to us.

Even when her husband showed himself to be a consummate hypocrite and a phony, two-faced politician (not exactly unique for politicians, I admit), she stood by him.  She was made of iron.  Unshakable in her loyalty.

But even she has her limits. 

From Celeste Katz of the New York Daily News:

Elizabeth Edwards writes about husband's affair in book, 'Resilience'


BY Celeste Katz

Updated Thursday, April 30th 2009, 6:30 AM


Elizabeth Edwards tells all in a new book.


Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards is shown with videographer Rielle Hunter.


Campaign cad John Edwards' cheating ways made his wife, Elizabeth, sick to her stomach - literally.


After the former presidential hopeful confessed his betrayal, Elizabeth Edwards writes in her new book, "I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up."


Elizabeth, 59, who is terminally ill with cancer, speaks in far more detail than before about her husband's infidelity in her new memoir, "Resilience," due to be published May 12 by Broadway Books. A copy was obtained by the Daily News.


Despite feeling deeply deceived, Elizabeth Edwards nonetheless publicly stood by her husband's side, lending his candidacy the aura of a warm, loving family life.


But she had actually wanted him to quit the race to protect the family. Edwards admitted the hanky-panky to her days after declaring his candidacy in 2006 - almost a year before the National Enquirer reported it.


She was afraid of the destructive questions Edwards' affair with videographer Rielle Hunter would raise.


Later events proved her right. "He should not have run," she says.


Edwards did not publicly admit the affair until last August - seven months after he quit the race, and the National Enquirer had reported he was the father of Hunter's infant daughter.


Edwards denied paternity, and his wife's book doesn't address that issue.


But it does highlight Elizabeth Edwards' anger and sorrow at being duped by a man whose four children she'd borne and whose political ambitions she'd passionately supported for so many years.


Hunter initially seduced Edwards using a worn come-on line, Elizabeth writes:


"You are so hot," Hunter told him outside a swank New York hotel. The campaign ultimately paid Hunter $114,000 to produce a batch of short films on his candidacy.


She lashes out at Hunter, now 45, whose name she never actually uses in the book, as a parasitic groupie who invaded the Edwardses' life.


Her own life may be tragic, she concludes, but Hunter's is "pathetic."


Even when Edwards confessed to his wife, he lied, claiming he had slipped up just once, Elizabeth writes. His original version of the story "left most of the truth out," she writes.


While Elizabeth still hasn't fully come to terms with her man's roaming, the memoir is laced with a powerful dose of forgiveness.


"I lie in bed, circles under my eyes, my sparse hair sticking in too many directions, and he looks at me as if I am the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. It matters," she writes.

I have never been a big fan of Elizabeth Edwards, because I have always felt that she was far too willing to be used by her husband for political purposes.  But, as pointed out earlier, everyone has their limits. And it would appear that Ms. Edwards is pretty close to hers.

Can you blame her?


NOTE:  I assure you that my political attitudes about Elizabeth Edwards have nothing to do with her cancer;  I have all the sympathy in the world for her in that regard and hope that she recovers and lives many more years in the best health possible.


Ken Berwitz

Alan Dershowitz, the celebrated Harvard law professor, and strong advocate for Israel, attended the UN anti-racism conference in Geneva (also known as "Durban II", since the first was held in Durban, South Africa). 

He's got more intestinal fortitude than I do.  I don't think I am physically or emotionally capable of sitting through a phony UN hate-fest like this for more than a few minutes.

In any event, Mr. Dershowitz has written about his time there at  I am posting his entire piece below, so that readers of this blog will know what the UN has degenerated into:

Confronting Evil at Durban II | Thursday, April 30, 2009


Last week I came face to face with evil, as I stood just a few feet away from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We were both staying in the same hotel in Geneva . He was there to be the opening speaker at Durban II, a review and reprise of Durban I, the United Nations sponsored conference on racism that had turned into a racist hate fest against the Jewish people and the Jewish state. I was therealong with Elie Wiesel, Irwin Cotler and others who have devoted their lives to combating bigotryto try to prevent a recurrence of Durban I.


I first set eyes on Ahmadinejad when he walked into the hotel and waved in the general direction of where my wife and I were standing. We looked back contemptuously as my wife let out an audible hiss. He was about to be welcomed to Geneva by the Swiss President who made a special visit to the hotel in order to greet a man who denies the Holocaust while threatening another one, this time with nuclear weapons.


When the Swiss President was widely criticized for his warm and uncritical embrace of one of the worlds most evil and dangerous tyrants, he offered two justifications. First, because Switzerland was the host nation for the conference, he was obliged, as the president of the host nation, to greet a fellow head of state. This is patent nonsense. American presidents do not greet heads of states invited by the United Nations, unless they have also been invited by the United States . No American president has greeted Ahmadinejad when he spoke at the UN. Nor would President Obamacertainly without publicly and privately expressing disdain for his bigoted and dangerous views.


This leads to the Swiss Presidents second purported justification, namely that Switzerland represents the United States interests in dealing with Iran , with whom it has no formal diplomatic relations. In other words, when the president of Switzerland extended a hand to Ahmadinejad, it was not only the hand of Switzerland , but also the hand of the United States . This too is nonsense compounded by overreaching. The United States had no interest in extending a hand of legitimacy to Ahmadinejad. Indeed the Obama governmentalong with many other democratic governmentsrefused to legitimate this conference by its attendance. Other democracies, which chose to attend, publicly walked out of Ahmadinejad 's bigoted tirade.


The Swiss president had no authority or right to act on behalf of the United States in the way that he did. The US should find another governmentone that understands the difference between good and evil and knows how to confront the latterto represent it in its dealings with Iran . By his craven actions, the Swiss president has disqualified himself from serving in this important role. Neutrality should not be confused with legitimating evil and being complicit with bigotry, as the Swiss have been guilty of since they served as Hitlers banker during World War II.


Not only did the Swiss president legitimate, the Swiss security services protected him from the media. It was certainly appropriate for security to protect Ahmadinejad from physical threats, but they also sought to protect him from being embarrassed by difficult questions from the press, as evidenced by the following incident.


A bank of television cameras and reporters were waiting to interview Ahmadinejads after his meeting with the Swiss president. He was still in the meeting, and so I approached the reporters and suggested that they put several specific questions to him. The press was anxious to hear from me, but the security services physically removed me from the hotel, even though A was nowhere to be seen.


My second encounter with evil occurred on the day of Ahmadinejads speech. We, who were there to respond to Ahmadinejads bigotry, were told that we could listen to his speech in a special room set aside for those who could not enter the actual room in which he was speaking. Several hundred people watched on a television screen as he walked up to the podium to rousing applause by many of the delegates. But the UN purposely decided not to translate his speech into English. All other speeches were translated but we were required to listen to Ahmadinejad in Farci. I complained that the right of free speech goes both ways: it not only includes Ahmadinejads right to express his horrendous opinions, it also includes his critics right to listen to his words so that we can rebut them in the marketplace of ideas. When the UN authorities refused to translate his speech, I led a walkout from the overflow room toward the room in which he was speaking. I entered the room and took a seat several rows away from where he expressed some of the most horrendous views I had ever heard. To their credit, many of the European delegates walked out in disgust. I joined them, urging other delegates to leave as well and telling them that silence in the face of evil is complicity. But most of the delegates remained and applauded Ahmadinejad when he made his extreme statements calling not only for the end of Israel but the end of all liberal democracies around the world.


It was then that I understood better how Hitler had come to power. Hitler rose to a position where he could commit genocide not as the result of anti-Semites, but rather because otherwise decent people put their own self interests before the need to condemn his bigotry. As Edmund Burke observed many years ago, all that is required for evil to succeed is for good men [and women] to remain silent. In that room, on that day, I came face to face with Ahmadinejads evil. I expected that, but I also came face to face with a different kind of evil: the evil of a president of a great nation extending a hand of friendship to Ahmadinejad; and the evil of delegates of many nations applauding some of the most bigoted statements ever uttered from a United Nations lectern.


In the end, the forces of hate and bigotry were confronted by students, professors and political figures who stood against Ahmadinejad and everything he represents. Ahmadinejad and the conference that reflected his world view lost this round, but the battle against bigotry never stays won.

I thank Mr. Dershowitz for the excellent, informative, telling report.

The UN is dead.  Morally, ethically and spiritually dead.  This is just one of many, many examples which prove it.  

free` I really like Mr. Dershowitz but I disagree with what he says in the beginning that the US President wouldn't shake hands with Ahmadinejad, I think Obama would gladly shake his hand. (04/30/09)


Ken Berwitz

Hee Hawwww!

Jackass Joe Biden (a man who makes George Bush sound like a member of the Oratory Hall Of Fame by comparison) has done it again.

From Carol E. Lee and Amie Parnes of

Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he would not recommend taking any commercial flight or riding in a subway car at this point because swine flu virus can spread in confined places. A little more than one hour later, Biden rushed out a statement backing off.

I would tell members of my family and I have I wouldnt go anywhere in confined places now, Biden said on NBCs Today show.. Its not that its going to Mexico. Its [that] youre in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft. Thats me.

So, from my perspective, what it relates to is mitigation. If youre out in the middle of a field when someone sneezes, thats one thing. If youre in a closed aircraft or closed container or closed car or closed classroom, its a different thing.

That contradicted more restrained advice from President Barack Obama and the federal government and the last thing the White House wants to do right now is shut down the airline industry and big-city subways out of mass panic.

The White House quickly arranged for Biden to make this statement through a spokesperson.

On the Today Show this morning, the vice president was asked what he would tell a family member who was considering air travel to Mexico this week. The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the administration is giving to all Americans: that they should avoid unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways. This is the advice the vice president has given family members who are traveling by commercial airline this week. As the president said just last night, every American should take the same steps you would take to prevent any other flu: Keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough; stay home from work if you're sick and keep your children home from school if they're sick.

Maybe Mr. Biden can go on tour with Janet Napolitano.  They could hit the college campuses performing a routine based on that Owen Wilson & Jeff Daniels movie. 

They could call it "Dim and Dimmer"


Ken Berwitz

Here is an odd coincidence for you, apropos of nothing:

I spent the last few days working in Chicago.  I finished yesterday in the late afternoon and high-tailed it to O'Hare, hoping to catch an earlier flight to Newark.  I was booked on the 7:35 PM flight but thought I could make the 5:45 and buy a couple of hours -- enough so that I had a realistic chance to see my wife before she was asleep for the evening.

But, as per usual, there was plenty of traffic from Downtown Chicago to O'Hare, and by the time I got there a) only standby was available on that flight and b) there were a half dozen people already on the standby list.  So that was out.

I considered getting on the 6:35, but realized that, even if it went off on schedule, by the time I drove home I'd have little or no time with my wife anyway.  And I'd be stuck in a middle seat to boot.  So I stayed with the originally-scheduled 7:35 flight.

This gave me about an hour of extra time.  So I wandered into the Continental Airlines President's Club to have a snack, watch TV and - me being me - chat and generally schmooze with other people. 

One of the people I chatted with was a very affable Texan named Joe Hasbrouck*** ("just like Hasbrouck Heights New Jersey", he told me).  In the course of our discussion Joe mentioned that Steve Forbes had been in the lounge, but left "about 20 - 25 minutes ago", presumably to make his plane. 

Since Forbes lives in New Jersey, I assume he was on the 6:35 PM Newark flight.  The one I could have gotten on but decided not to bother with.

And, by remarkable coincidence, just hours ago I blogged about  "The Great Alternative Energy Flim-Flam", and included a piece Mr. Forbes had written which closely parallels my opinion of where we are energy-wise.  How I would have loved to talk with him about it!  

So now I'm kicking myself for not getting on that flight.  You never know, do you?


I originally wrote Joe's name as Jack.  That was my mistake, as Joe subsequently reminded me.  Might as well fix it -- beter late than never

joe bloggs Ken, Jack is my brother, I am Joe Hasbrouck. There were 9 of us and all were "J" until the last two who were twins. Jill, Jack, Joe, Jane, Judy Joan, Jim and Richard and Robert. I was great meeting you and I love your blogg. Keep it up I will spread the news. Joe hasbrouck (05/01/09)

Ken Berwitz Joe Sorry about that. To be perfectly honest, I couldn't remember whether it was Joe or Jack (too much work and too little sleep). I decided to take a guess, on the theory that a) there was a 50% shot I was right and b) the only way it would matter if I was wrong is if you saw it, in which case you'd set me straight anyway. You're a good guy and it was very nice speaking with you. I hope your brother is too, since I have inadvertently told the world as much. Now, if Steve Forbes would only leave a comment................ (05/01/09)


Ken Berwitz

How many times have you read about, or seen video footage of, Israel being attacked as "an apartheid state"?  I'm guessing that your answer is "plenty". 

Me too.

The fact that Israel has about 1.4 million palestinian Arabs living within its borders who enjoy citizenship, voting rights, can serve in government, can go to the universities, can own property, can own businesses and can live among Jews (and do in many parts of Israel)?  Irrelevant'n'immaterial to these haters.

Now we could stop right there and have a pretty good idea of just how ludicrous any claim of Israel apartheid is. 

But let's not stop right there.  Let's talk about palestinian Arab apartheid.  Why?  Because it is the real deal, but is ignored by the Israel haters as if it didn't exist.

Does Israel demand that no palestinian Arabs live within its borders?  Obviously not.  Do palestinian Arabs in Gaza and on the west bank demand that no Jews live there?  Yes.  They want every Jew gone.  They want their land "judenrein".  Just like that nice fellow adolf did.

Somehow this little tidbit never seems to be included in a discussion of Israel, Jews and apartheid.  Why do you suppose?

And then we have land ownership.  I'm not talking about disputes over which entity "owns" large expanses of land or whether it was stolen from this one or that one.  I'm talking about the sale of land between two agreeable parties.

It doesn't sound like there could be any issue about that, does it?  But reality often is very different from logic and/or reason. 

Please read this article from today's Philadelphia Bulletin and see what I mean:

US Synagogue Organization: Palestinian Land Policy Is 'Racist'

National Council Of Young Israel Wants Obama Administration To Denounce Death Sentence For Selling Property To Jews

By David Bedein, Middle East Correspondent

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Jerusalem The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), a national American synagogue organization comprising 150 synagogues throughout the United States, issued a harsh condemnation yesterday of the Palestinian Authoritys decision to sentence a Palestinian man to death after he was accused of selling land to Jews.

The death sentence, issued by the Palestinian Authoritys military court, was based on a longstanding Palestinian policy that prohibits Palestinians from entering into real estate transactions with Jews.

The courts decision comes in the wake of a recent reminder to Palestinians by Palestinian Authority Chief Justice Sheik Tayseer Rajab Tamimi that selling land to Jews is considered high treason, a crime that carries with it a death sentence.

The Palestinian Authoritys decision to punish people for selling land to Jews is a racist policy that should be viewed by the entire international community with disgust and disdain, said NCYI President Shlomo Z. Mostofsky, Esq.  Equating a real estate transaction with a death sentence is unconscionable and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

The National Council of Young Israel also called on the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to denounce the Palestinian policy and to demand its renunciation by the Palestinian Authority.

The United States cannot in good faith engage in a conversation about peace with the Palestinians while they continue to advocate a policy that is so deeply rooted in hatred, said Mr. Mostofsky.  Before the U.S. can contemplate partnering with the Palestinian Authority in an attempt to achieve peace in the Middle East, it must insist that they abandon these bigoted policies that incite hatred and ill-will against the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

You want apartheid?  Try that on for size. 

A palestinian Arab who dares to sell land to a Jew - not necessarily an Israeli, but any Jew at all - is subject to the death penalty.  And this is no recent decision, either.  yasir arafat implemented it many years ago.  Nor would this be the first such death penalty carried out.  Not by a long shot.

The National Council of Young Israel wants President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to speak out about this despicable, racist outrage.  I assure you that neither will - not directly and decisively, anyway.  Either or both might put out a general, mealy-mouthed political condemnation (along the order of "the United States deplores the politics of exclusion and is second to none in blah blah blah").  But you will not hear a direct reaction to the specific apartheid/race hatred demonstrated by palestinian Arabs.

The reason is simple:  palestinian Arabs are a protected species among the political left -- and among our wonderful "neutral" media as well.  They are not expected to do a thing other than promise peace - and then they are excused every time they break that promise. 

Israel, by contrast, is no "protected species" at all.  It is expected to hand over tangible assets and make good on significant promises every time, or it will be nailed unmercifully for not doing so.

Incredibly, Israel is also expected to provide Gaza and the west bank with food, clothing, medical supplies and even much of their electrical power needs.  That is not a sick joke;  Israel is literally expected to do this.

No other country in the world - today or any other day - would ever have been expected to prop up the exact people who intend to obliterate it the first chance they get.  Only Israel.

There are the facts.  Now:  which one is the "apartheid state"?  Think about it.


Ken Berwitz

Another day, another idiocy from Janet Napolitano. 

From the Associated Press (bold print is mine):

Can you even begin to imagine what the media would be saying about this unbelievably inept, incompetent, ignorant joke-on-legs if she were a Republican?

Can you even begin to imagine someone like this in charge of homeland security?  Sadly, and potentially catastrophically, you don't have to imagine it at all.  She is in charge of homeland security.

This is insane.  Replace her.  Now.

free` Would her replacement be any better though? Look at the people Obama has appointed already, why would you think a new pick would be any better. This is what happens when you give someone a job they aren't ready for. We have a POTUS that is in no way ready for the job and I am afraid we are in for a long and bumpy 3.7 years. I pray that we all live to regret it. (04/30/09)


Ken Berwitz

From my intrepid west coast pal Russ, comes this comparison of pre and post marital relationships.  See if you recognize any (or, maybe I should be asking you if there are any you don't recognize):


Before And After Marriage

Before - You take my breath away.
After - I feel like I'm suffocating.

Before - Twice a night.
After - Twice a month.

Before - She loves the way I take control of a Situation.
After - She called me a controlling, manipulative, egomaniac.

Before - Ricky & Lucy.
After - Fred & Ethel.

Before - Saturday Night Live.
After - Monday Night Football.

Before - He makes me feel like a million dollars.
After - If I had a dime for every stupid thing he's done...

Before - Don't Stop.
After - Don't Start.

Before - The Sound of Music.
After - The Sound of Silence.

Before - Is that all you are eating?
After - Maybe you should just have a salad, honey.

Before - Wheel of Fortune.
After - Jeopardy.

Before - It's like living a dream.
After - It's a nightmare.

Before - $60/dozen.
After - $1.50/stem.

Before - Turbocharged.
After - Needs a jump-start.

Before - We agree on everything!
After - Doesn't she have a mind of her own?

Before - Victoria's Secret.
After - Fruit of the Loom.

Before - Feathers & handcuffs.
After - Ball and chain.

Before - Idol.
After - Idle.

Before - He's lost without me.
After - Why can't he ask for directions?

Before - When together, time stands still.
After - This relationship is going nowhere.

Before - Croissant and cappuccino.
After - Bagels and instant coffee.

Before - Oysters.
After - Fish sticks.

Before - I can hardly believe we found each other.
After - How the hell did I end up with someone like you?

Before - Romeo and Juliet.
After - Bill and Hillary.

free` Ha ha ha ha ha, I emailed to everyone in my email list. (04/30/09)


Ken Berwitz

Here's a pleasant surprise:  An Associated Press writer has taken a serious look at President Obama's, er, veracity -- and finds that there isn't a whole lot of it: 

FACT CHECK: Obama disowns deficit he helped shape

Apr 29, 5:55 PM (ET)



"That wasn't me," President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One.

It actually was him - and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years - who shaped a budget so out of balance.

And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.

Obama met citizens at an Arnold, Mo., high school Wednesday in advance of his prime-time news conference. Both forums were a platform to review his progress at the 100-day mark and look ahead.

At various times, he brought an air of certainty to ambitions that are far from cast in stone.

His assertion that his proposed budget "will cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term" is an eyeball-roller among many economists, given the uncharted terrain of trillion-dollar deficits and economic calamity that the government is negotiating.

He promised vast savings from increased spending on preventive health care in the face of doubts that such an effort, however laudable it might be for public welfare, can pay for itself, let alone yield huge savings.

A look at some of his claims Wednesday:

OBAMA: "Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.... That wasn't me. Number two, there is almost uniform consensus among economists that in the middle of the biggest crisis, financial crisis, since the Great Depression, we had to take extraordinary steps. So you've got a lot of Republican economists who agree that we had to do a stimulus package and we had to do something about the banks. Those are one-time charges, and they're big, and they'll make our deficits go up over the next two years." - in Missouri.


Congress controls the purse strings, not the president, and it was under Democratic control for Obama's last two years as Illinois senator. Obama supported the emergency bailout package in President George W. Bush's final months - a package Democratic leaders wanted to make bigger.

To be sure, Obama opposed the Iraq war, a drain on federal coffers for six years before he became president. But with one major exception, he voted in support of Iraq war spending.

The economy has worsened under Obama, though from forces surely in play before he became president, and he can credibly claim to have inherited a grim situation.

Still, his response to the crisis goes well beyond "one-time charges."

He's persuaded Congress to expand children's health insurance, education spending, health information technology and more. He's moving ahead on a variety of big-ticket items on health care, the environment, energy and transportation that, if achieved, will be more enduring than bank bailouts and aid for homeowners.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated his policy proposals would add a net $428 billion to the deficit over four years, even accounting for his spending reduction goals. Now, the deficit is nearly quadrupling to $1.75 trillion.


OBAMA: "I think one basic principle that we know is that the more we do on the (disease) prevention side, the more we can obtain serious savings down the road. ... If we're making those investments, we will save huge amounts of money in the long term." - in Missouri.

THE FACTS: It sounds believable that preventing illness should be cheaper than treating it, and indeed that's the case with steps like preventing smoking and improving diets and exercise. But during the 2008 campaign, when Obama and other presidential candidates were touting a focus on preventive care, the New England Journal of Medicine cautioned that "sweeping statements about the cost-saving potential of prevention, however, are overreaching." It said that "although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not."

And a study released in December by the Congressional Budget Office found that increasing preventive care "could improve people's health but would probably generate either modest reductions in the overall costs of health care or increases in such spending within a 10-year budgetary time frame."


OBAMA: "You could cut (Social Security) benefits. You could raise the tax on everybody so everybody's payroll tax goes up a little bit. Or you can do what I think is probably the best solution, which is you can raise the cap on the payroll tax." - in Missouri.

THE FACTS: Obama's proposal would reduce the Social Security trust fund's deficit by less than half, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

That means he would still have to cut benefits, raise the payroll tax rate, raise the retirement age or some combination to deal with the program's long-term imbalance.

Workers currently pay 6.2 percent and their employers pay an equal rate - for a total of 12.4 percent - on annual wages of up to $106,800, after which no more payroll tax is collected.

Obama wants workers making more than $250,000 to pay payroll tax on their income over that amount. That would still protect workers making under $250,000 from an additional burden. But it would raise much less money than removing the cap completely.

Readers of this blog certainly know that I have no problem criticizing the Associated Press.  But not today. 

Credit where credit is due.  Calvin Woodward has written a well-researched highly professional analysis, which deals in facts rather than hero worship. 


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