Thursday, 07 May 2009

HELLO? MR. SARKOZY? ANYONE THERE?

Ken Berwitz

This unsettling story and video come to us from Scott Johnson of www.powerlineblog.com.  (if you have trouble viewing the video, just click here).

Jew-hating thugs wearing shirts that proudly describe their agenda go into a supermarket and just take out what they don't like, while disrupting everyone else there and shouting their slogans. 

What a proud moment for France! 

I'll wait to hear if Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy will say or do anything about this (Sarkozy, interestingly enough, is partly Jewish by ancestry).  If he doesn't, you can bet your life this will be repeated elsewhere. 

In occupied France

May 7, 2009 Posted by Scott at 7:13 AM

Our friend Fern Oppenheim points us to the video of Israel haters scouring a French supermarket to remove Israeli products from the shelf. There isn't a manager in sight. All the shoppers go about their business like it is 1942 Vichy France. The video was apparently shot in the northeastern suburbs of Paris that gained attention as the scene of the mysterious French "youth" riots of 2005

 

UPDATE: Reader Martin Adamson picks up on the video's self-identified provenance:

This video is even more grotesque than you think. It was shot in a suburb of Paris called Aulnay-sous-Bois. The next-door town to Aulnay is called Drancy, about one mile away. Drancy was used by the Nazis between 1942-1944 as a deportation holding camp for the Jews of Paris prior to the deportation to the extermination camps in eastern Europe. Sixty-five thoursand Jews passed through Drancy, of whom 63,000 were killed. In other words, the Israeli boycotters have chosen, of all the supermarkets in France, the one closest to France's most important Holocaust memorial site. Look on Google Maps to see how close they are.

Waiting, Mr. Sarkozy......................


"WELFARE CADILAC": 2009 MODEL

Ken Berwitz

But things still gonna get better yet

At least that's what I understand

They tell me this new President

Put in a whole new poverty plan

 

Why, he gonna send us poor folks money

They say we gonna get it out here in stacks

In fact, my wife's already shopping around

For her new Cadillac

 

(The final verses of "Welfare Cadilac", by Guy Drake, 1970 -- Cadillac was  intentionally misspelled)

I never liked that song.  I thought it was insulting to people on welfare because it characterized them all as leeches (yes, some are.  but nowhere near all)

Little did I realize that, almost 40 years later, "Welfare Cadilac" would come close to being a reality.  The only thing that changes is the make and model - I think.

Read this incredible article by Hillary Chabot at the Boston Herald and see.  The insanity is MA Governor Deval Patrick's.  The bold print is mine:

Free   cars   for   poor   fuel   road   rage

By Hillary Chabot
Thursday, May 7, 2009 -


Gov. Deval Patricks free wheels for welfare recipients program is revving up despite the stalled economy, as the keys to donated cars loaded with state-funded insurance, repairs and even AAA membership are handed out to get them to work.

But the program - fueled by a funding boost despite the states fiscal crash - allows those who end up back on welfare to keep the cars anyway.

Its mind-boggling. Youve got people out there saying, I just lost my job. Hey, can I get a free car, too? said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading).

The Patrick administration decided last month to funnel an additional $30,000 to the nearly $400,000 annual car ownership program.

The program, which is provided by the State Department of Transitional Assistance, gives out about 65 cars a year, said DTA Commissioner Julia Kehoe.

The state pays for the cars insurance, inspection, excise tax, title, registration, repairs and a AAA membership for one year at a total cost of roughly $6,000 per car.

The program, which started in 2006, distributes cars donated by non-profit charities such as Good News Garage, a Lutheran charity, which also does the repair work on the car and bills the state.

Kehoe defended the program, saying the state breaks even by cutting welfare payments to the family - about $6,000 a year.

If you look at the overall picture, this helps make sure people arent staying on cash assistance. Its a relatively short payment for a long-term benefit, Kehoe said.

But Kehoe admitted about 20 percent of those who received a car ended up back on welfare, and while they lose the insurance and other benefits, they dont have to return the car.

Given the states fiscal condition, paying for AAA and auto inspection costs is outrageous, said Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R-Wakefield). There are so many families out there trying to deal with layoffs and pay cuts. You have to wonder what the states priorities are at this point.

Applicants for cars must have a job or prove they could get one if they had the car in order to qualify. Once they have the wheels, they must send DTA their pay stubs to prove they are employed.

To get the cars, they must be unable to reach work by public transportation and have a clean driving record. The program is only available to families on welfare with children.

Kehoe said the bulk of cars go to places with less public transportation, such as Fitchburg, New Bedford and Lowell.

I cant believe there are no restrictions on how they use the car, Jones said. I just dont see this as a core function of government.

How surprised should we be, really?  Isn't Massachusetts the same state that gave us the "Big Dig" in Boston, the single costliest highway-construction boondoggle in United States history? (FYI:  Its original estimate was $2.8 billion dollars....it's current expected final total is $22 billion). 

So why not cars to welfare recipients to get themselves to work?  Hey, it's only a free car, complete with insurance, AAA coverage, etc. that they get to keep even if (when) they go back on welfare.  What's wrong with that?  

Sorry, folks.  I have no sympathy for the people of Massachussets on this one.  They elected this left wing, incompetent dunce and they got what they deserved.  Just like Boston got what it deserved by continuing to elect one-party (Democratic) governance throughout the big dig.

Maybe they'll think more clearly next time. 

Zeke Dang ! .... Guess there is no way to carpool to the job. Pay the driver $5 a day for a lift. ..... Where is my welfare hot tub ?? (05/07/09)


SPECTERMINATION (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

From Mark Finkelstein, of www.finkelblog.com, we have this entertaining and informative piece about how Arlen Specter has so quickly "endeared" himself to the Democrats he joined (or didn't join, depending on how you look at things):

The Ransom of Red Chief Arlen Specter

 

Remember O. Henrys tale, The Ransom Of Red Chief? A couple of con men kidnap a rich bankers son.  The boy turns out to be a hellion who makes the kidnappers lives a living hell.   By the end of the story, rather than paying a ransom, the boys father demands money to take the rascal back.  So beleaguered are the kidnappers that they pay up.

The O. Henry tale comes to mind in observing the way that Republican turncoat Arlen Specter is making his new-found Dem colleagues miserable.  As recounted on this evenings Hardball, in the course of just a few days, Specter:

  • Has declared that he is not a loyal Democrat.
  • Accused Dem leader Harry Reid of renegging (sic) on a promise.
  • Spoken out in favor of the Minnesota courts seating Republican Norm Coleman as senator over Dem Al Franken.
  • Voted against various Dem bills.
  • Said that being granted full seniority by the Dems is not a gift but an entitlement.

We didnt dig him as a RINO.  The Dems obviously arent grooving on him as a DINO, either, since yesterday they voted to strip him of his seniority.  The only committee on which they permitted him to retain some seniority is one on aging, which I take as a jab of its own at the 79-year old senator.

Im guessing there are many Republicans out there who wouldnt want Arlen back at any price.  Even so, if you were going to establish a reverse ranson, what would it be?

Remember O. Henrys tale, The Ransom Of Red Chief? A couple of con men kidnap a rich bankers son.  The boy turns out to be a hellion who makes the kidnappers lives a living hell.   By the end of the story, rather than paying a ransom, the boys father demands money to take the rascal back.  So beleaguered are the kidnappers that they pay up.

The O. Henry tale comes to mind in observing the way that Republican turncoat Arlen Specter is making his new-found Dem colleagues miserable.  As recounted on this evenings Hardball, in the course of just a few days, Specter:

  • Has declared that he is not a loyal Democrat.
  • Accused Dem leader Harry Reid of renegging on a promise.
  • Spoken out in favor of the Minnesota courts seating Republican Norm Coleman as senator over Dem Al Franken.
  • Voted against various Dem bills.
  • Said that being granted full seniority by the Dems is not a gift but an entitlement.

We didnt dig him as a RINO.  The Dems obviously arent grooving on him as a DINO, either, since yesterday they voted to strip him of his seniority.  The only committee on which they permitted him to retain some seniority is one on aging, which I take as a jab of its own at the 79-year old senator.

Im guessing there are many Republicans out there who wouldnt want Arlen back at any price.  Even so, if you were going to establish a reverse ranson, what would it be?

Note: On Hugh Hewitts radio show yesterday,  John Eastman, Dean of the Chapman University School of Law, pointed out another way in which Specters defection is anything but a blessing for the Dems.  He mentioned that there is a tradition by which Supreme Court nominees are not reported out of the Judiciary Committee unless at least one member of the minority party votes in favor.  Specter was, by far, the Republican on the Judiciary Committee most likely to vote for an Obama nominee.  So now what?

Update: Legal Insurrection Was There First

I thought I was being amusingly original with my Ransom of Red Chief theme for this item.  But Googling things this morning revealed that I was not the first to make the Specter-Red Chief connection.  My friend Bill Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection had an item along the same lines . . . this past Sunday.   All I can say is that I had not seen Bills item before writing mine.  An eerie case of GMTA.

Other than his unfortunate misspelling of "reneging" (hey, it happens to me all the time), this is an excellent piece and an excellent reason for at least some buyer's remorse on the part of the Democratic Party.  To paraphrase that old Toyota commercial "You asked for it, you got it, A. Specter".

Just one other thing.  Every time I see GMTA (Great Minds Think Alike) it occurs to me that SDI (So Do Idiots).  That is not an accusation, it is an observation. 


THE NEW YORK TIMES, OBAMA & THE WATERBOARDING LIE

Ken Berwitz

On April 30, I wrote a blog debunking the claims that khalid sheikh mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and abu zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times.

  My reference point was the Red Cross report which indicated that mohammed was waterboarded 5 times and zabaydah 8-10 times.  This was derived from their own accounts within that report.  You see it for yourself, by clicking on the link I just provided and reading page 10....or you can save yourself the bother and read the relevant section below - which, I assure you, is verbatim (the bold print is mine):

Mr. Abu Zubaydah described the suffocation method of ill-treatment, used in his third place of detention, as follows:  "I was put on what looked like a hospital bed, and strapped down very tightly with belts.  A black cloth was then placed over my face and the interrogators used a mineral water bottle to pour water on the cloth so that I could not breathe.  After a few minutes the cloth was removed and the bed was rotated into an upright position.  The pressure of the straps on my wounds caused severe pain.  I vomited.  The bed was then again lowered to a horizontal position and the same torture carried out with the black cloth over my face and water poured on from a bottle.  On this occasion my head was in a more backward, downwards position and the water was poured on for a longer time.  I struggled without success to breathe.  I thought I was going to die.  I lost control of my urine,  Since then I still lose control of my urine when under stress."  The suffocation procedure was applied during five sessions of ill-treatment that took place during an approximately one-week intense period of interrogation allegedly in Afghanistan in 2002.  During each session, apart from one, the suffocation technique was applied once or twice; on one occasion it was applied three times.

Before continuing, I agree that waterboarding doesn't sound very pleasant and it is nothing that I would want done to me.  But, since IT IS USED ON OUR OWN SOLDIERS DURING TRAINING to prepare them for battle, I guess it can't be too far up the food chain "ill-treatment"-wise. 

Also, let's remember that zubaydah has a stake in describing this in the worst possible terms:  if he was going to exaggerate, it would be in the negative, not the positive.  With that in mind, the only lasting damage zubaydah claims to have come away with is that he now pisses himself (which, for all we know, he did before as well).  It seems to me that he got through the waterboarding just fine -- a whole lot better than his pal bin laden treated the victims of 9/11, wouldn't you say?

And the number of waterboardings?  Read it again:  The absolute maximum he claims is 10:  four sessions of 1 or 2 waterboardings --- let's assume the worst-case scenario, which is that all but one of them were 2-waterboarding sessions -- and one session of 3 waterboardings.  Let's see:  1+2+2+2+3.  That adds to 10.  Honest.  Any reasonably competent third grader would be able to confirm it.

Ok, groundwork laid.  Now let's talk about the New York Times and see how it stacks up against those third graders I just referenced.

Today the Times' lead editorial excoriates the USA (and the Bush administration, of course) for waterboarding zubaydah.  Here is part of what it says:

For two years, the A.C.L.U. has been seeking complete transcripts of the hearings at Guantnamo for 14 men who were previously in C.I.A. custody, including Abu Zubaydah, who has been described as an operative of Al Qaeda and was waterboarded at least 83 times.

I have just shown you, as clearly as I know how, that the claim of 83 waterboardings is a lie.  Yet not only does the Times use this lie again, but now it is "at least" 83 times.  You can use your imagination to come up with a greater number.  Maybe it's 84.  Maybe it's 100.  Maybe it's 28,653.  You pick; the Times has given you permission.

And where did the Times get this lie about waterboarding that it is so eager to keep repeating?  From the heavily - redacted memos on "torture" issued by President Obama and his toady Attorney General eric holder.  One of the memos appeared to claim that khalid sheikh mohammed was waterboarded 183 times - in a month!!!! - and abu zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. 

But is that true?  Well, here is the beginning of a report by James Abrams of Fox News which indicates what the memo probably said before it was redacted in a way that created the waterboarding lie:

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.

In other words, the Obama administration intentionally put out a memo which was redacted in a way that made it seem mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times.  The New York Times, and its many kindred spirits in our wonderful "neutral" media, gleefully jumped all over these numbers -- despite the Red Cross report and the actual testimony of mohammed and zubaydah. 

And today the Times is knowingly repeating the waterboarding lie.  The Times must know it is a lie, because not only was the Red Cross report available to them all this time, but the editorial actually references it!!!:

Disclosure of the torture memos and the Red Cross report gives detainee lawyers more leeway, but they should not have to parse their words under a threat of prosecution.

How much more blatant can this be? 

The Obama administration intentionally put out memos that were redacted -- EDITED -- to create a lie about waterboarding.  Then our wonderful "neutral" media jumped through their hoop, as usual, and gleefully reported the lie.  The New York Times in particular, has made the lie a mainstay of its reporting and editorializing about this issue.

How can you ever trust these people?  How?


FRUGALITY, OBAMA-STYLE

Ken Berwitz

This blatantly ridiculous claim of frugality by President Obama comes to us via www.conservativexpress.blogspot.com and Fox News.  The bold print is mine.

Obama Announces Whopping $17 Billion in Budget Cuts; Less Than 0.5% of Total Budget (Video)

"These savings, large and small, add up," Obama said. "The 121 budget cuts we are announcing today will save taxpayers nearly $17 billion next year alone. That's a lot of money, even by Washington standards."

"It's as if you took a teaspoon of water out of the bathtub while you left the spicket on at full speed," Sen. Judd Greg (R-NH) on President Obama's "budget cuts".

A blog post on the White House website by Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag includes
a full link to the budget document and the terminations, reductions and savings volume.

Fox News reports:

WASHINGTON -- The ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee said Thursday he's not impressed by President Obama's proposal to cut $17 billion out of the federal budget.

Appearing on FOX News, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said it's important to place the $17 billion figure in the context of the president's $3.4 trillion budget.

"It's as if you took a teaspoon of water out of the bathtub while you left the spicket on at full speed," he said.

"Basically right now we're running up a debt that is so high as a percentage of our gross national product that we couldn't even get into the European union," he said. "I mean we're headed to third-world country status if we keep this up."

Obama's $17 billion proposed cut represents a roster of 121 budget cuts and equals about one-half of 1 percent of the $3.4 trillion budget Congress has approved for next year.

Obama said the cuts appear small only in Washington.

"All across this country, Americans are responding to difficult economic times by tightening their belts and making tough decisions about where they need to spend and where they need to save," Obama said Thursday as he unveiled the details.

"The question the American people are asking is whether Washington is prepared to act with the same sense of responsibility," he said. "I believe we can and must do exactly that."

Obama acknowledged that these steps won't be easy but he urged lawmakers to act.

"For every dollar we seek to save there will be those who have an interest in seeing it spent," he said, claiming that's how unnecessary programs survive and budgets swell.

"But at this moment -- at this difficult time for our nation -- we cannot accept business as usual," he said. "We cannot accept anything less than a government ready to meet the challenges of our time."

White House budget director Peter Orszag said the president's plan for program cuts is just a start and that a lot more needs to be done to dig the government out of its fiscal hole, especially curbing the growth of the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and the poor.

"But $17 billion a year is not chump change by anyone's accounting," he said.

You have to hand it to Mr. Obama.  He is either the world's greatest optimist, to think that anyone in his/her right mind would consider a one-half of one percent drop in the largest budget in US history to be significant savings.  Or he is the world's greatest cynic for the same reason.  

I'm betting cynic.  How about you?


ANOTHER OBAMA BUDGET-SLASH

Ken Berwitz

The more I learn about where President Obama really did slash the budget, the sicker I get

Here is the newest information, via excerpts from an Associated Press article:

Obama to cut slain officers program almost in half

May 7, 2009 - 5:15pm

By DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration wants to cut almost in half a benefits program for the families of slain police and safety officers.

The president's proposed budget calls for cutting the Public Safety Officers' Death Benefits Program from $110 million to $60 million.

Justice Department budget documents say the reduction is being made because "claims are anticipated to decrease" because the number of officers killed in the line of duty has been decreasing.

The proposal is being made just days before Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to attend ceremonies in Washington honoring slain officers.

"It makes us kind of nervous. While we aren't panicking, it certainly has increased our concern, coming a week before National Police Week," said Suzie Sawyer, executive director of Concerns of Police Survivors, a group taking part in next week's events.

Now that's a budget cut.  45%. 

Is it taken out of the impossibly sickening boondoggles john murtha has perpetrated on the budget? Or some of the thousands and thousands of earmarks that Mr. Obama said wouldn't exist at all?  Nope.  We're slashing a benefit program for the families of slain police and safety officers -- during a year, by the way, when killings of officers are up 21%.

Are you as sick about this as I am?  Are you as furious about it as I am?  I hope so, because you damn well should be.

We have about a year and a half before we can do anything about this, at least at the congressional level.  I urge you not to forget what you've just read here.


BUDGET SLASHING, OBAMA-STYLE

Ken Berwitz

In the previous blog I showed you how ridiculous President Obama's claim of frugality was (lowing a 3.4 trillion dollar budget by all of 17 billion dollars --- a one-half of one percent drop). 

However, I just learned that I owe Mr. Obama an apology of sorts.  There is one place where he really did slash the budget - by 9%.  Now that's a serious cut.  If he had cut 9% out of the entire budget, instead of 17 billion dollars less we would be talking about over 300 billion.  I assume you can see the difference. 

But there is a problem.  The problem is where this cut was made.  I'll let Philip Klein of www.americanthinker.com explain:

Obama Slashes Union Enforcement Budget

President Obama today unveiled a paltry $17 billion in cuts to the $3.4 trillion federal budget, about half of which will come out of defense spending. But buried in the budget documents released by the White House today is a 9 percent cut in the unit of the Department of Labor that is in charge of regulating unions.

Under the leadership of Elaine Chao during the Bush administration, the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards took its job of policing unions seriously. Its actions led to 929 convictions of corrupt union officials and to the recovery of more than $93 million on behalf of union members. Yet the Obama administration has proposed slashing its budget from $45 million in 2009 to $41 million in 2010, citing an insufficient "workload" for the office.

Instead of using the money to make sure unions play by the rules, the Obama administration proposes shifting resources to the department's Wage and Hour Division, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- all areas of the agency focused on regulating businesses.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who has had a long and cozy relationship with big labor, already announced recently that the department would loosen union disclosure requirements.

These are the type of actions that occur under the radar, out sight of most Americans, but that have a dramatic impact on life in the workplace.

The message to crooked union bosses by the Obama administration is being delivered loudly and clearly: we've got your back.

Now we know what motivates Barack Obama to make a serious budget cut.  He will do it to protect unions from being scrutinized (thus giving them a clear field to do whatever they want, which all too often means corruption and abuse).  

Pathetically, this is in keeping with Mr. Obama's support of ending secret-ballot votes for unions.  It is also in keeping with his decision to allow the DC school voucher program to die on behalf of the teachers' union - thus consigning thousands of children, the vast majority of them Black, to public schools that do not educate them. 

If Mr. Obama leaves the unions to their own devices, they will love him and work for him.  That's the game.  And he's playing it to the hilt.

He promised you a different kind of government.  And you're getting it.  This administration brakes for unions. 

I hope his voters are real happy about it. 


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