Friday, 22 May 2009

THE STIMU-LESS PACKAGE: (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

Well, Democrats (not Republicans) passed the so-called "stimulus package" almost three months ago and put us trillions and trillions of dollars into debt for the express purpose of quickly stimulating the economy.

How is it working? 

Here are the feature stories from www.drudgereport.com today:

California Cities Irked by Borrowing Plan...
Florida's BANKUNITED Fails; Year's Biggest Bust...
Recession Turns Malls Into Ghost Towns...
Dollar Falls...
Fed President Says Inflation to Increase...
GM Bankruptcy: As Early As Next Week...
Ohio Unemployment Rate Exceeded 10%...
.

When do media start talking about how the "stimulus package" has taken us hopelessly into debt for - so far - not only no gain but a net loss?

 

And when do they challenge President Obama, as he continues to blame it on the previous administration? 


AN APOLOGY TO THE NEW YORK POST

Ken Berwitz

Earlier this week I blogged that the New York Times has descended to the point where it is basically the New York Post with bigger words and a different fold. 

It occurs to me that I have maligned the New York Post.  Because the following editorial, which is in today's edition, would never ever be seen in the Times:

THE ENEMY AMONGST US 

 

Last updated: 12:50 am
May 22, 2009
Posted: 12:48 am
May 22, 2009

 

It's scant comfort that the four men arrested Wednesday night as they carried out what they thought was their own private jihad -- attempting to car-bomb two Riverdale synagogues and shoot down military planes in upstate Newburgh -- were not trained terrorists.

Don't be misled by the amateurish nature of their misadventure. What the four lacked in brains, they more than made up for in malign intent.

And the fact that their plot went as far as it did -- the men actually had planted what they thought were deadly bombs before the feds moved in -- dramatically underscores, as Police Commissioner Ray Kelly noted, the very real threat of homegrown terror cells.

 

The imitators, in other words, are potentially as dangerous as those sent from abroad by the likes of al Qaeda.

New York is lucky that these four were nabbed as part of an elaborate sting in which an informant supplied them with inert explosives and an inoperable Stinger surface-to-air missile.

Who's to say their dreams of unleashing death and destruction couldn't have been realized -- had they approached someone who was tied to Islamist terrorists instead of working with the feds?

The plot also raises anew questions about how America's prison system has become a breeding ground for aspiring terrorists.

All four of those arrested were Muslim, three of whom converted while doing time. As the sister of ringleader James Cromitie said: "They do a little time in jail, and they don't eat pork no more."

Three years ago, The Post broke the story of a vitriolic anti-American diatribe delivered by Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, a Rikers Island chaplain.

"We know that the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House, without a doubt," he said -- later urging that American Muslims stop allowing "the Zionists of the media to dictate what Islam is to us." Muslims, he said, must be "compassionate with each other" and "hard against the kufr [unbeliever]."

 

Abdul-Jalil, shockingly, remains on the municipal payroll.

Then there's Warith Deem Umar, who long had a key post overseeing Islamic programs in New York's prison system, including the recruitment and training of numerous chaplains.

Umar actually boasted to The Wall Street Journal that "prison is the perfect recruitment and training ground for radicalism and the Islamic religion."

 

As Steven Schwartz has written: "Radical Muslim chaplains . . . acting in coordination to impose an extremist agenda have gained a monopoly over Islamic activities in America's state, federal and city prisons and jails."

Thus, it's likely no accident that the spiritual leader of the four men arrested Wednesday, the imam of a mosque in Newburgh, has worked for the state prison system since 1985.

Who knows how many potential terrorists have been inspired by the preachers of poison in our nation's prisons?

Well, at least four.

Maybe it is impossible to keep Islamist propaganda out of the prisons, but the fact that it is directly subsidized by tax dollars is simply insane.

It's time that this boil was lanced.

Thank you, New York Post.  That is a hard-hitting, fact-filled, eminently reasoned statement of opinion. 

The New York Times, in it's tra-la-la-la world of "if we just talk things out everything will be fine, but don't you dare do anything about these people" would never have published an editorial like that.  The New York Post, obviously, feels a bit differently.  Like 180 degrees differently.

My apologies, again, to the New York Post.


OIL PRICES IN THE OBAMA ERA: HELLO, MEDIA???????

Ken Berwitz

Here is the www.money.cnn.com headline for January 20, 2009, the day Barack Obama became President

Oil dips below $33 a barrel

Weakening global economy continues to pull down demand. Russia and Ukraine agree to a gas deal to supply Europe.

And here is a chart showing oil prices for the past three months:
 
70
60
50
40
30
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
 
Are you wondering when our wonderful "neutral" media will start talking about this? 

Me too.

free` obama and the dems have made it clear to opec that we arent going to drill for our own oil, so why shouldnt the price go up. i hate these politicians. (05/22/09)


OBAMA TV???

Ken Berwitz

From Jake Tapper of ABC News - one of the few reporters in mainstream media who still has a semblance of evenhandedness - comes this story of the Obama people creating their own "news", by simply cutting out the actual media pool:

Do You Want Your OTV?

May 20, 2009 5:56 PM

On April 27, President Obama welcomed the University of Connecticut Lady Huskies, who had just won the NCAA women's basketball championship.

After the event, President Obama went to the White House basketball court to shoot hoop with the Lady Huskies. The White House press corps was not allowed to attend.

Reads the print pool report from that day: "After shaking hands with the team's parents and members of Congress who showed up, the president walked the team over to his basketball court and shot hoops. The pool was held back from the stroll down the drive and around the corner, and couldn't see the court. Poolers could hear periodic cheering coming from the other side of the bushes."

Read the TV pool report: "Your Pool was not allowed to go over and shoot POTUS with the team shooting hoops.  We protested loudly."

Now we know why: Obama White House officials decided to do their own media report on the visit, complete with cuts, interviews, and chyrons identifying who's speaking.

Also, just like a network, they have their own little logo!

Cute!


It's perfectly fine, of course, for the White House to put out its own version of events -- but is it right to do so by preventing actual reporters from covering something? (Even something like a pickup basketball game).

Do Obama White House officials think their media coverage isn't flattering enough?

Is the goal to ultimately replace the pesky photographers who film what they want to and not what they're told to (not to mention the annoying reporters who ask uncomfortable questions about, say, detainee policy and bank bailouts)?

Do you want your OTV? (I'll bet there are a few takers out there.)

See that line I put in bold print?  That's the point, isn't it?  The Obama people do their own "reporting" in order to go beyond the vastly positive coverage President Obama already is given by our wonderful "neutral" media and hit the 100% mark.  El Presidente's ego is satisfied and the sheeple get another puff piece.

hugo chavez couldn't have done it any better.


OBAMA'S EFFRONTERY AND NETANYAHU'S RESPONSE

Ken Berwitz

Suppose Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed that the Lincoln Monument, the Smithsonian and other iconic sites in Washington DC take down the stars and stripes and fly the UN flag instead?  How do you suppose that would go over?

Ok.  Now that you've given this proposal the serious consideration it deserves, read this piece from Israel National News, and think about how Israelis would react to the proposal that actually was made by President Obama:

Bibi Rejects Obama's 'UN Flag at Kotel'; Star of David to Remain


by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(IsraelNN.com)

 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem Thursday night that the Israeli flag will continue to fly over the Western Wall (Kotel). The first prime minister in years to appear at the venerable yeshiva on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), he ignored U.S. President Barack Obamas apparent trial balloon that he wants to see the United Nations flag fly over the Old City holy sites.

 

Jordans King Abdullah II said the president put forward the proposal during his visit to the White House last month.

Prime Minister Netanyahu declared, "The flag that flies over the Kotel is the Israeli flag... Our holy places, the Temple Mount -- will remain under Israeli sovereignty forever.

 

Between 1949 and 1967, the religious sites in the City, as well as all of Judea and Samaria, had been under the control of Jordan, which forbid entry of Jews to the Western Wall (Kotel) and other holy places, as well as barring Christians from churches. Israel immediately opened all holy sites to all religions after the entire city was re-united in 1967, returning the Old City to Israeli sovereignty after nearly 2,000 years.

 

In his short but enthusiastic speech at the yeshiva, where an Arab terrorist slaughtered eight young students slightly more than a year ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu repeated his Undivided Jerusalem message.

 

The packed study hall of the yeshiva interrupted Prime Minister Netanyahus short speech several times with applause.

 

The first clap of hands was in response to the statement that Israels capital never will be divided again. Jerusalem Day marks the day in the Six Day War upon which the Israel Defense Forces liberated the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem from Jordanian rule.

 

In an attempt to appeal to the national-religious community after years of neglect from a prime minister, Netanyahu said, It is important for me to stay in warm communication with you. The connection with Jerusalem unites all sectors of the people, secular and religious, as one."

 

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had kept a very close relation with Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav when he was mayor of Jerusalem and attended annual Jerusalem Day ceremonies there, but he became more distant from religious institutions after he followed former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to his new Kadima party.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahus vow on Jerusalem was made in the presence of Israels two chief rabbis, Likud Knesset Member and former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, and Jewish Home party chairman MK Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz.

 

It was the second time during the day he promised to keep the city united, having stated earlier in the day that Jerusalem was always ours, will always be ours, and will never again be divided. His speech was delivered at Ammunition Hill in memory of soldiers who fell in the Six-Day War in 1967.

What amazing effrontery. 

Is Barack Obama's ego so inflated that he now thinks the hypnotic trance he seems to hold over some people in the United States will work in Israel too? 

 Did he not notice that when he went to the EU and asked for troops in Afghanistan he got next to nothing?  Did he learn nothing from that?

Did he not learn that, those cheering crowds notwithstanding, the only country that Barack Obama runs is the United States?  And when he asks other countries to do things, they are not going to bow (as he did to the saudi king) and say "your wish is my command"?

Does he not realize that making such a ridiculous, even insulting, proposal to Israel, which is sure to be rejected in the strongest of terms, isn't going to make his international standing stronger, it is going to make him weaker?

Some people have to learn the hard way.  President Obama appears to be one of them.


NEWT GINGRICH ON THE CALIFORNIA ANTI-TAX VOTE

Ken Berwitz

Newt Gingrich, whatever else you may think of him, is an exceptionally intelligent, analytical and politically savvy man.  Accordingly, he has written an exceptionally intelligent, analytical and politically savvy piece for the Washington Post today.  It is about the California tax revolt which took place earlier this week and what that revolt can mean to national politics.

Here it is.  See if you agree:

Rising Anti-Government Tide

By Newt Gingrich
Friday, May 22, 2009

 

Americans should look carefully at the anti-politician, anti-government mood exhibited in California this week. Just as Proposition 13 and the anti-tax movement of 1978 were the forerunners of the Reagan presidential victory, so the results of Tuesday's vote are a harbinger of things to come.

 

The repudiation of the California establishment in the series of initiative defeats could hardly have been more decisive. Five taxing and spending measures were rejected by 62.6 to 66.4 percent of the voters. That is a consistent majority of enormous potential. An even larger majority, 73.9 percent, approved the proposition limiting elected officials' salaries when there is a deficit.

 

This vote is the second great signal that the American people are getting fed up with corrupt politicians, arrogant bureaucrats, greedy interests and incompetent, destructive government.

 

The elites ridiculed or ignored the first harbinger of rebellion, the recent tea parties. While it will be harder to ignore this massive anti-tax, anti-spending vote, they will attempt to do just that.

 

Voters in our largest state spoke unambiguously, but politicians and lobbyists in Sacramento are ignoring or rejecting the voters' will, just as they are in Albany and Trenton. The states with huge government machines have basically moved beyond the control of the people. They have become castles of corruption, favoritism and wastefulness. These state governments are run by lobbyists for the various unions through bureaucracies seeking to impose the values of a militant left. Elections have become so rigged by big money and clever incumbents that the process of self-government is threatened.

 

Sacramento politicians will now reject the voters' call for lower taxes and less spending and embrace the union-lobbyist-bureaucrat machine that is running California into the ground, crippling its economy and cheating residents. This model of high-tax, big-spending inefficiency has already driven thousands of successful Californians out of the state (taking with them an estimated $11 billion in annual tax revenue). The exodus will continue.

 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a smart, tough, charismatic leader who has been forced to submit to policies he knows are ruining California on behalf of interests he knows are cheating the state. His failure to tame the union-lobbyist-bureaucrat machine that owns the legislature is a symptom of just how powerful it is.

 

Albany is even more corrupt and dysfunctional. The special interests that own the legislators in both parties have been exploiting New York for two generations. They have impoverished the Upstate region to the point where it is a vast zone of no jobs and no opportunities. Their predatory tax and bureaucratic union behavior is beginning to cripple New York City. More and more successful New Yorkers are leaving the state. In the face of multiple crises, Gov. David Paterson has shown himself incapable of carrying out reform.

 

In other words, the political machines in California and New York are wrecking the states' economies and driving out successful residents. But the machines don't care because all they want to do is own the wreckage.

 

This system of ruining communities on behalf of interest groups first appeared in Detroit. Bad government, bad politicians and bad policies drove a city that had, in 1950, the highest per capita income of any large American city to No. 62 in per capita income as of 2007. The population has declined from 1.8 million to fewer than 950,000. Recently, 1,800 homes were sold for under $10,000 each. The human cost of bad politics and bad government in Detroit is staggering.

 

Now President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid want to impose on the nation this style of politics in which interest groups, politicians and bureaucracies dominate. Look at their record: a $787 billion stimulus no elected official had read, 8,000 earmarks, an Environmental Protection Agency plan to control the economy through carbon regulations, the government threatening retaliation against those who would protect their property rights against theft in the Chrysler bailout -- again and again, this team is moving toward a government that owns the country rather than a government that is owned by the people.

 

Watch Sacramento politicians and interest groups work to overrule the people of California. Watch Albany politicians and interest groups continue to undermine the economy of New York. Watch the arrogance of the elites in Washington as they impose their costs and special deals on the American people.

 

Then look again at the 62 percent-plus majority in California in favor of smaller government and lower taxes.

In the great tradition of political movements rising against arrogant, corrupt elites, there will soon be a party of people rooting out the party of government. This party may be Republican; it may be Democratic; in some states it may be a third party. The politicians have been warned.  

Is Gingrich right?  Is this the canary in the coal mine that signals a taxpayers' revolt against the insane budget deficits and profligate spending of the Obama administration and Democrats in general?

Time will tell. 


ANOTHER ROUND OF "GUESS THAT PARTY!!"

Ken Berwitz

Ok, fun-seekers.  It's time for another round of "GUESS THAT PARTY!!"

Here is an article that appeared in the New York Times yesterday.  Every word of it.  Read it carefully, don't cheat yourself.  And then......GUESS THAT PARTY!!

May 21, 2009

Ex-Labor Leader Is Sentenced to 10 Years for Racketeering

By BENJAMIN WEISER

 

Rejecting requests for leniency from the defense and the prosecution, a federal judge in Manhattan sentenced the former president of the nations largest municipal labor council to 10 years in prison on Wednesday, saying his abuse of the trust placed in him staggers the mind.

 

You had every opportunity, said the judge, Richard J. Sullivan of Federal District Court, and you used those opportunities and squandered them for your own benefit on a monumental scale.

 

The defendant, Brian M. McLaughlin, 57, who had also been an assemblyman from Queens, pleaded guilty in March 2008 to racketeering charges that included using embezzlement, fraud and bribes to take money from taxpayers, labor unions and contractors, even from a Little League team in Queens.

 

A document made public on Wednesday shows that Mr. McLaughlin has agreed to forfeit more than $3 million in illegal proceeds from his crimes.

 

Prosecutors had asked for a lenient sentence, saying Mr. McLaughlin had helped the government in investigating others. But Judge Sullivan said Mr. McLaughlins betrayal of public trust outweighed any assistance he had given. He also fined the defendant $25,000.

 

Mr. McLaughlins assistance, for instance, helped lead to the arrest of Anthony S. Seminerio, another Queens assemblyman, a person involved in the case has said. Mr. Seminerio was charged last year with a fraud scheme; he has pleaded not guilty.

 

Prosecutors charged that Mr. McLaughlin had misappropriated more than $330,000 from his own re-election committee; $185,000 from the New York City Central Labor Council, which he led; and more than $35,000 from the State Assembly. They said he had created fictitious jobs within the labor council and on his own legislative staff, and took kickbacks from the jobholders.

 

In court on Wednesday, a federal prosecutor, Daniel A. Braun, formally asked for leniency for Mr. McLaughlin, saying he had provided substantial assistance to the government, though he did not offer details in open court.

 

Mr. McLaughlins lawyer, Michael F. Armstrong, told the judge, This is someone who at core is a good person who went terribly wrong, and who realizes that, and realizes it fully.

Mr. McLaughlin, addressing the judge, apologized for his improper conduct and criminal activity.

 

I make no excuses for it, he said, but Id like to add that over the last three, three and a half years, Ive had the opportunity to live the way Id like to live my life, an apparent reference to steps he has taken toward rehabilitation like attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as well as cooperating with the government.

 

Mr. McLaughlin, who was ordered to surrender on July 21, remained free on bond. He had no comment after the sentencing.

 

Mr. McLaughlin was a seven-term assemblyman when he was charged in 2006; he had long served simultaneously as the head of the labor council, a federation of 400 union locals with more than one million members. His dual role as legislator and union chief was unusual, and lucrative he earned $263,600 in combined salaries and expenses annually.

 

Once an electrician, Mr. McLaughlin took over the labor council in 1995. He was not a particularly high-profile legislator; most of his influence was exerted as a union chief.

 

Judge Sullivan said he had received dozens of letters in support of Mr. McLaughlin, including one from John Sweeney, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., who urged leniency, citing Mr. McLaughlins long record of service to the working men and women of New York City.

 

But Judge Sullivan said he found it hard to reconcile the portrait offered by Mr. McLaughlins supporters with the picture that emerged from the case of a man who so abused the trust of institutions and people who depended on him that it sort of staggers the mind.

 

The sheer number of instances of this sort, the judge said, the brazen and perversely creative ways in which you abused that trust, paints a picture of an extremely different man.

 

He said Mr. McLaughlins conduct confirmed the harshest critics of organized labor who accuse the leadership of corruption, and point to you as an example of that corruption.

 

The Central Labor Council said it had moved forward as a stronger, more accountable labor organization, and had made the necessary reforms to protect our integrity and increase transparency and reporting measures.

 

In an agreement with the United States attorneys office in Manhattan, both sides originally agreed that a reasonable sentence would be 8 to 10 years, without accounting for cooperation.

 

The judge said an appropriate sentence would be 15 years, but he then reduced that to 10 years because of Mr. McLaughlins cooperation.

 

I derive no joy in imposing a sentence of this kind, Judge Sullivan said. This is a day of failure for everyone.

Could this "man" be dirtier?  Well, other than not stealing from the poor-box of his church (that we know of, anyway) I can't think of a way. 

And how dirty is john sweeney, the scumba...er, respected labor leader, who asked for the judge to show leniency because of mclaughlin's "long record of service to the working men and women of New York City"? 

Here's a little heads-up for sweeney (as opposed to his head-up-his-ass call for leniency):  mclaughlin was not serving the working men and women of New York City, he was stealing from them. For god sake he was even stealing from little leaguers.   He was stealing from everybody. 

I guess that stealing is so matter-of-fact to someone like sweeney that this hasn't registered yet.

So, have you thought about what party the "honorable Mr. mclaughlin belongs to?  Have you read through the article?  Carefully?  Every word?

If so, what party do you figure he belongs to?

See, I can't ask you for a definitive answer because, as you are aware, there is no mention of Mr. mclaughlin's party.  Not a single one.

Ok, let's use deductive reasoning instead.  If the New York Times, the so-called "paper of record", makes a point of not mentioning the party affiliation of a crooked politician, what party do you suspect that politician might belong to?

The Democratic Party?

Heyyyyyyy, congratulations.  You go to the lightning round!!!

And congratulations to the New York Times as well.  Your reporting technique is nothing if not consistent.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


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