Monday, 01 June 2009


Ken Berwitz

Has President Obama flip-flopped since taking office?  Are you kidding?

As most mainstream media continue to be dazzled by Barack Obama, he has exploited their unconditional love by going back on so many things so quickly that, by the time they unmesmerize (assuming it ever happens) his administration will be unrecognizable to them.

Alex Conant, writing for, lays it all out for us:

The Obama flip-flops you don't know
By: Alex Conant
June 1, 2009 04:51 AM EST

Since winning the election, President Barack Obama has famously flip-flopped on many of the major issues that he championed on the campaign trail. But did you know hes also flip-flopped on a myriad of less publicized issues?

This much everybody knows: Even before taking office, Obama broke his promise to not appoint lobbyists to his administration. Since then, hes abandoned his promises to pay for every dollar of new government spending and bring home all combat troops from Iraq within 18 months. And in recent days, hes outraged his political base by reversing his earlier commitments to eliminate military tribunals and release photos depicting prisoner abuse.

All those well-publicized
reversals have overshadowed the administrations flip-flops on a host of additional positions. Here are just some of the biggest flip-flops that you may not have noticed:

Osama bin Laden: During the presidential debates last year, Obama declared that capturing or killing Osama bin Laden has to be our biggest national security priority. In his first TV interview after winning the election, he said the terrorist leader was not just a symbol. Hes also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against U.S. targets, and that the additional troops being sent to Afghanistan would hunt him down because capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out Al Qaeda.

The Politico 44 Story Widget Requires Adobe Flash Player.

Bin Ladens significance to Obama dissipated during the transition. By the time Obama gave another interview in early January, he said killing or capturing bin Laden was not necessary to meet our goal of protecting America. A few months later, when he announced his Afghanistan troop surge, he made no reference to the hunt for bin Laden.

On human space exploration: Early in his presidential campaign, Obama had great reservations about the costs and risks of human space flight. He said he would delay NASAs plans to send humans to the moon and, eventually, Mars and, instead, spend that money on education. But, as Florida, Ohio and Texas became more politically important, Obama began to walk back his proposed NASA cuts, promising to fund unmanned space exploration and some other scientific missions.

Now that hes in office, Obamas reversal is complete: The White House budget, released earlier this month, provides a healthy increase in NASA funding and explicitly endorses the goal of returning Americans to the moon and exploring other destinations.

On the Armenian genocide: In the U.S. Senate and on the campaign trail, Obama firmly declared that the death of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I was genocide a touchy topic between Turks and Armenians and a political priority for Armenian-Americans and promised that as president, I will recognize the Armenian genocide.


Nonetheless, during his recent trip to Turkey as president, Obama broke his promise. Instead, he tried to muddy the waters, announcing that my views are on the record and I have not changed views but refusing to state what those views actually are.

On business tax cuts:
Even though he unapologetically promised to raise taxes on entrepreneurs (and everybody else) making more than $250,000 per year, Obama offered small businesses some solace by promising several specific tax cuts. One, which became a cornerstone of his campaigns jobs plan, would eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses. Another, which he proposed as the economy crashed in the waning days of the campaign, would offer businesses a $3,000 tax credit for every employee they hired.

The economy has not improved since Obamas election, but he nevertheless shelved both proposals: His budget puts off the capital gains tax cut until after his term in office ends and makes no mention of his new-job tax credit.

These four examples only scratch the surface of Obamas reversals since taking office. Other flip-flops include everything from federally funding needle-exchange programs (which he supported in the campaign but his budget does not), allowing five days of public review before bill signings (he broke the promise with his first bill signing) and ordering the repeal of Dont Ask, Dont Tell.

Obamas senior adviser, David Axelrod, recently told POLITICO that Obamas governing is completely consistent with the way he campaigned. A cursory comparison between his campaign promises and administration policies shows thats not true.

Wow.  That, folks, is a lot of flip-flopping in a very short period of time.

Can you imagine how many articles, features, condemnations, etc. there would have been if Mr. Obama were seen as something less than a demigod by our wonderful "neutral" media?

You better imagine it.  Because if you're expecting to see it, you're living in a dream world.


Ken Berwitz

From Eric Trager, writing for Commentary Magazine:

Israel and Egypt Lose Faith in Obama

Eric Trager - 06.01.2009 - 7:12 AM

During his first four months in office, President Barack Obama has demonstrated remarkably little leadership on Iran.  This has significantly undermined our position in the Middle East, where states have lost confidence in the Obama administration and - as a consequence - are formulating new, unilateral strategies in anticipation of continued Iranian uranium enrichment.

In this vein, Israel has issued the latest signal that it is serious about executing a preemptive strike on Iran - with or without U.S. support.  Yesterday, it launched the biggest civilian defense drill in its history, with police, local authorities, emergency services, and civilians engaging in a series of exercises to plan for a variety of attack scenarios - including non-conventional missile strikes.  The signal that Israel is trying to send to Iran - and the U.S. - is very obvious: We are prepared for any counterstrike that might follow our own attack on Iranian nuclear sites, and therefore possess ample freedom of action for hitting Iran if we deem it necessary.  Remember: the current Israeli government already has significant public support for attacking Iran - public support that remains quite strong even if the Obama administration maintains its opposition to such an attack.

Egypt is also planning for the likelihood that the administration wont inhibit Irans nuclear ambitions.  In a statement released on Sunday, a spokesperson for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced that, With regard to attempts to say Iran is a common danger, President Mubaraks and Egypts priority is on the Palestinian issue.  Egypts strategic thinking is clear: if Iran is to become a nuclear state, its best option is to ensure that Israel is significantly weakened via the peace process, and thereby prevented from engaging Iran in armed (and perhaps nuclear) conflict.  Or, to put it another way, Egypt is shrewdly calculating that its interests are better protected with one regional power than with two - and it has noticed that the Obama administration is more eager to take a hard line with Israel than with Iran, despite Cairos own distaste for the latter.

Of course, if the Obama administration actually believes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more destabilizing than a nuclear Iran, it will embrace Cairos sudden priority on the peace process.  However, it will then have to contend with the increasing possibility that a well-prepared and determined Israel will take matters vis--vis Tehran into its own hands.  For this reason, the Obama administrations lack of resolve on Iran is paving the road towards utter disaster.

Very, very well said.

Some of us get it.  We understand that, his election-year posturing to Jewish groups notwithstanding, Barack Obama is no great friend of Israel, and would rather jeopardize its existence than do something significant regarding Iran's preparation for a nuclear attack on the country.

Incredibly, some of us still don't.   

But, most importantly, ISRAEL gets it.  And it is Israel's existence at stake, not President Obama's. 

Barack Obama, at least as of now, is home-free on his Israel policy.  If recent history is any indicator, an Iran-created disaster in the Middle East will immediately be blamed on President Bush.  And, regardless of how preposterous that is, most of our wonderful "neutral" media will obediently go along with it. 

But Israel doesn't have the luxury of sitting back and hoping Iran isn't going to make good on its threats. 

Do you seriously think Israel is willing to wait and see if Iran will vaporize it?  Would the USA sit back and watch an implacable enemy become a nuclear power as it tells us it will use those weapons to hit our territory?  Of course not.  And neither would Israel.

Taking this a step further, suppose Israel did hold back and Iran tried a nuclear attack.  Then, one of two things would happen.  Either the attack would be wholly "successful" (i.e. Israel would be decimated) or it would not be, in which case you can bet everything you own that Israel would retaliate with a nuclear attack on Iran.  

What then?  How many millions would die?  How many tens or hundreds of millions?  What would happen if other countries got into the battle?  Would any of us survive?

And do you think for a minute that Israel's neighboring countries do not understand this?  Trager mentions Egypt, but how about Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and any country which relies on the Persian gulf?  Do you think for even one second they want to trust Iran's accuracy in shooting off a nuclear weapon?  Do you doubt that they worry about Israel being able to either intercept or divert a nuclear attack - which means it might land on THEIR territory or in THEIR shipping route?

Maybe, just maybe, President Obama and his lickspittle Secretary of State should do some thinking about this.


Ken Berwitz

This video is for people who wonder why non-Israelis should care what happens to Israel. After all, what do they have to lose?

Please watch it and see with your own eyes (if you have trouble doing so, just click here):


Now tell me what, comparatively speaking, would we lose if we lost any of Israel's major enemies.  

Any other questions?


Ken Berwitz

From Khaled Abu Toameh, writing for the Jerusalem Post, comes this insight into who (or maybe the appropriate word is what) Israel is supposed to be engaging in a peace partnership with:

Analysis: Bloodshed becomes focus of PA-Hamas relations

Sunday's confrontation between an armed Hamas cell and Palestinian Authority policemen in Kalkilya shows that the Islamic movement still has a military presence in the West Bank - one that it is hoping to use to topple Mahmoud Abbas's regime there.

PA security officials said the two Hamas operatives who were killed in the clash, Muhammad Samman and Muhammad Yassin, headed a cell that possessed large amounts of weapons, including explosives and automatic rifles, some of which had been hidden in a basement of a mosque in the city.

The weapons, according to the officials, were supposed to be used by Hamas against members of the PA security forces and Fatah and PA officials. The officials revealed that Hamas members had long been collecting information about PA security officials and installations in the context of what they alleged was a scheme to stage a "coup" similar to the one that the movement carried out in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.

But while the elimination of Hamas's Kalkilya cell may have foiled or hindered the movement's attempts to undermine the PA, the incident is seen as the final nail in the coffin of Palestinian unity talks.

Over the past few months, the Egyptians have been working very hard to convince Hamas and Fatah to end their differences and agree on the formation of a new unity government. At least four sessions of negotiations between the two parties have ended in failure.

But this did not dissuade the Egyptians from pursuing their efforts. Omar Suleiman, head of Egypt's General Intelligence Service who has been overseeing the talks, had summoned representatives of the two parties to another [and final] session of talks in Cairo in the coming days. Suleiman was hoping to employ heavy pressure on Fatah and Hamas to end their power struggle and sit together in a unity government.

Hamas and Fatah officials agreed on Sunday that it would be "almost impossible" under the current circumstances to resume the unity talks in Cairo. Hamas representatives said they were seriously considering pulling out from the talks, while Fatah accused the Islamic movement of declaring war on its men in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leaders and spokesmen are now openly calling on their supporters in the West Bank to rise up against Abbas and his prime minister, Salaam Fayad. Some went as far as accusing the two of high treason for collaborating with Israel - an allegation that is normally punished with death in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas is convinced that the killing of its men is one of the results of Abbas's recent visit to Washington, where he held talks with US President Barack Obama, and presented him with a "detailed plan" to wipe out the movement.

Hamas also believes the incident in Kalkilya, as well as the ongoing crackdown by the PA security forces on Hamas supporters in the West Bank, should be seen in the context of efforts by Abbas and Fayad to show Israel, the US and the EU that they are fulfilling their obligations under the road map by fighting terrorism.

Yet while Abbas and Fayad may win words of support from Jerusalem, Washington and European capitals for joining the war on Islamic fundamentalism, it's likely that the two are almost certain to lose points among their own constituents. Many Palestinians have long been drawing parallels between the two men and the former pro-Israel South Lebanon Army headed by Antoine Lahad.

Many Arab media outlets refer to the PA security forces in the West Bank as the Dayton Forces, a reference to US security coordinator Keith Dayton, who has been entrusted with overseeing the reconstruction and training of these forces to prevent Hamas from extending its control beyond the Gaza Strip.

Judging from the actions and fiery rhetoric of both sides, it's obvious that Hamas and Fatah are far from achieving any form of reconciliation between them. Talk about reconciliation has, for now, been replaced with talk about confrontation and bloodshed.

Regarding the prospects of making peace with Palestinian Arabs as they now are, I have a one-word question.



Ken Berwitz

Here, from Robert J. Samuelson of Newsweek, is a remarkable wake-up call -- remarkable because it comes from one of the more egregious offenders. 

Take a look and you'll see what I mean.  Please pay special attention to the short passage I put in bold print:

The Obama Infatuation

Is the press giving the president a free pass?

Robert J. Samuelson


Newsweek Web Exclusive


Jun 1, 2009 | Updated: 1:47  p.m. ET Jun 1, 2009


The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time. Has any recent president basked in so much favorable media coverage? Well, maybe John Kennedy for a moment, but no president since. On the whole, this is not healthy for America.


Our political system works best when a president faces checks on his power. But the main checks on Obama are modest. They come from congressional Democrats, who largely share his goals if not always his means. The leaderless and confused Republicans don't provide effective opposition. And the presson domestic, if not foreign, policyhas so far largely abdicated its role as skeptical observer.


Obama has inspired a collective fawning. What started in the campaign (the chief victim was Hillary Clinton, not John McCain) has continued, as a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows. It concludes: "President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House."


The study examined 1,261 stories by The Post, The New York Times, ABC, CBS and NBC, NEWSWEEK magazine and the NewsHour on PBS. Favorable articles (42 percent) were double the unfavorable (20 percent), while the rest were "neutral" or "mixed." Obama's treatment contrasts sharply with coverage in the first two months of the Bush (22 percent of stories favorable) and Clinton (27 percent) presidencies.


Unlike George Bush and Bill Clinton, Obama received favorable coverage in both news columns and opinion pages. The nature of stories also changed. "Roughly twice as much of the coverage of Obama (44 percent) has concerned his personal and leadership qualities than was the case for Bush (22 percent) or Clinton (26 percent)," the report said. "Less of the coverage, meanwhile, has focused on his policy agenda."


When Pew broadened the analysis to 49 outletscable channels, news Web sites, morning news shows, more newspapers and National Public Radiothe results were similar, despite some outliers. No surprise: MSNBC was favorable, Fox was not. Another study, released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, reached parallel conclusions.


The infatuation matters because Obama's ambitions are so grand. He wants to expand health-care subsidies, tightly control energy use and overhaul immigration. He envisions the greatest growth of government since Lyndon Johnson. The Congressional Budget Office estimates federal spending in 2019 at nearly 25 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). That's well up from the 21 percent in 2008, and far above the post-World War II average; it would also occur before many baby boomers retire.


Are his proposals practical, even if desirable? Maybe they're neither? What might be the unintended consequences? All "reforms" do not succeed; some cause more problems than they solve. Johnson's economic policies, inherited from Kennedy, proved disastrous; they led to the 1970s' "stagflation." The "war on poverty" failed. The press should not be hostile, but it ought to be skeptical.


Mostly, it isn't. The idea of a "critical" Obama story is one about a tactical conflict with congressional Democrats or criticism from an important constituency. Larger issues are minimized, despite ample grounds for skepticism.


Obama's rhetoric brims with inconsistencies. In the campaign, he claimed he would de-emphasize partisanshipand also enact a highly partisan agenda; both couldn't be true. He got a pass. Now, he claims he will control health-care spending even though he proposes more government spending. He promotes "fiscal responsibility" when projections show huge and continuous budget deficits. Journalists seem to take his pronouncements at face value even when many are two-faced.


The cause of this acquiescence isn't clear. The press sometimes follows opinion polls; popular presidents get good coverage, and Obama is enormously popular. By Pew, his job approval rating is 63 percent. But because favorable coverage began in the campaign, this explanation is at best partial.


Perhaps the preoccupation with the present economic crisis has diverted attention from the long-term implications of other policies. But the deeper explanation may be as straightforward as this: Most journalists like Obama; they admire his command of language; he's a relief after Bush; they agree with his agenda (so it never occurs to them to question basic premises); and they don't want to see the first African American president fail.


Whatever, a great edifice of government may arise on the narrow foundation of Obama's personal popularity. Another Pew survey shows that since the election the numbers of both self-identified Republicans and Democrats have declined. "Independents" have increased, and "there has been no consistent movement away from conservatism, nor a shift toward liberalism."


The press has become Obama's silent ally and seems in a state of denial. But the story goes untold: Unsurprisingly, the study of all the favorable coverage received little coverage.

Excellent.  Dead-on correct.  And oh, so descriptive of Newsweek.  At least until this mea culpa article.

Is this the first of many dominos falling?  Is this the beginning of our wonderful "neutral" media finally realizing what they are aiding and abetting? 

Time will tell.


Ken Berwitz

Dick Cheney disagrees with Barack Obama on gay marriage. But if you don't know the actual position each of them takes, you may be surprised about who is where on this issue.

I'll let former Vice President Cheney tell you in his own words:

"I think freedom means freedom for everyone. As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay, and it is something weve lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute that governs this, I don't support.  I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. This has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled today, that is on a state-by-state basis.  Different states will make different decisions.  But I don't have any problem with that.  I think people ought to get a shot at that, and they do at present."

And, yes, Barack Obama is on record as being against gay marriage.

So where are the protests about President Obama's position?  Where are the condemnatory words, the features on the network news and morning shows?

What's that you say?  You've never seen any?  And you're wondering how that is possible, given the fact that most news media fall over each other in support of gay marriage? 

How in the world does President Obama, who is on record as being against gay marriage, get a free pass?  How is it possible when the previous President was villified for holding the exact same position?

Helluva question.  Why do you think?


Ken Berwitz

We've all heard the proverb "don't cut off your nose to spite your face", which means you shouldn't damage yourself to get back at someone else. 

Well here, in the latest installment of our "you can't make this stuff up" compilation, is an instance of someone taking that admonition to a new low - both logically and physically:

Egyptian man cuts off his own penis after family won't let him marry lower class girl

SARAH EL DEEB | Associated Press Writer

4:54 PM EDT, May 31, 2009

CAIRO (AP) A 25-year-old Egyptian man cut off his own penis to spite his family after he was refused permission to marry a girl from a lower class family, police reported Sunday.

After unsuccessfully petitioning his father for two years to marry the girl, the man heated up a knife and sliced off his reproductive organ, said a police official.

The young man came from a prominent family in the southern Egyptian province of Qena, one of Egypt's poorest and most conservative areas that is also home to the famed ancient Egyptian ruins of Luxor.

The man was rushed to the hospital but doctors were unable to reattach the severed member, the official added citing the police report filed after the incident.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press, added that the man was still recovering in the hospital.

Traditionally, marriages in these conservative part of southern Egypt are between similar social classes and often within the same extended families and are rarely for love.

There!  That showed 'em!

See, this guy's problem is that he lived near the ruins of Luxor instead of Giza. 

Giza is where he would have seen the Sphinx we're all familiar with, the one without a nose.  The Luxor Sphinx's nose is still there, so maybe this poor boob got conned into taking his displeasure out a different body part.

Personally, I think he probably could have found a better alternative.


Ken Berwitz

Here, from, is Barack Obama's latest lie:  This one is about his involvement in the GM downfall:

Auto Maker Loans Were Obama Idea

June 1st, 2009

In his remarks today about the General Motors bankruptcy, Mr. Obama gave the clear impression that the federal government, specifically the Bush administration, had long ago begun the pernicious practice of loaning the automaker money.

And that he, Mr. Obama has always been reluctant to go this route:

Good morning, everybody. Just over two months ago, I spoke with you in this same spot about the challenges facing our auto industry, and I laid out what needed to be done to save two of Americas most storied automakers General Motors and Chrysler. These companies were facing a crisis decades in the making, and having relied on loans from the previous administration, were asking for more.

From the beginning, I made it clear that I would not put any more tax dollars on the line if it meant perpetuating the bad business decisions that had led these companies to seek help in the first place. I refused to let these companies become permanent wards of the state, kept afloat on an endless supply of taxpayer money. In other words, I refused to kick the can down the road

Well, a look at the November 11, 2008 edition of the Washington Post tells a very different story:

Obama Asks Bush to Back Rescue of Automakers

By Lori Montgomery and Michael D. Shear
Tuesday, November 11, 2008; A01

Obama Asks Bush to Back Rescue of Automakers

By Lori Montgomery and Michael D. Shear
Tuesday, November 11, 2008; A01

President-elect Barack Obama yesterday urged President Bush to support immediate aid for struggling automakers and back a new stimulus package, even as congressional Democrats began drafting legislation to give the Detroit automakers quick access to $25 billion by adding them to the Treasury Departments $700 billion economic rescue program.

Bush, speaking privately to Obama during their first Oval Office meeting, repeated his administrations stand that he might support quick action on those bills if Democratic leaders drop their opposition to a Colombia trade agreement that Bush supports, according to people familiar with the discussions

Congress could consider the auto measure as soon as next week, when lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington. Yesterday, in an urgent bipartisan appeal, all 15 House members and both senators from Michigan sent a letter asking the Bush administration to include the auto industry in the Treasury program on its own initiative or to work with Congress to modify the program.

"Theres an urgent crisis. Its a national issue. If the administration wont act, well have to. But they should act," said Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.)

So far, administration officials have resisted calls to include the Detroit automakers in the Treasurys bailout program, which was conceived to stabilize banks and other financial institutions reeling from the global credit crisis. Opening the program to the auto industry would expand the governments role in private enterprise far beyond the banking sector, and analysts warn that it could prompt a long line of companies from other industries to show up in Washington with their hands out.

Administration officials have pointed instead to $25 billion in low-interest loans recently approved by Congress as a source of quick help for the car companies. Yesterday, White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters that the White House would be open to legislation that removes bureaucratic roadblocks slowing the release of that money.

"Congress is going to come back into town next week," Perino said. "If it wants to do anything in addition for the automakers, well certainly listen to ideas they have on how to accelerate the loans to viable companies."

Democrats said the loan program is intended to provide long-term assistance to the car companies to retool their factories to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. They said it was not designed to provide urgent relief from a crisis in consumer confidence that has pushed auto sales to their lowest level in two decades.

"GM has estimated maybe theyd get a billion or two at most next year" from the previously approved loan program, Levin said. "It wouldnt provide for the infusion of capital thats absolutely necessary for them to bridge to the future."

Democrats want the Bush administration to approve an additional $25 billion in loans from the Treasury program, bringing total federal assistance to the car companies to $50 billion. In a letter sent yesterday to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., Levin and other Michigan lawmakers urged Paulson "in the strongest possible terms to use your authority under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) or other statutes to immediately address a significant and systemic threat to the U.S. economy and provide emergency assistance to the domestic automobile industry."

Given that one of every 10 U.S. jobs depends in some way on the auto industry, the letter says, helping Detroit is "well within the broad mandate of the Treasury Department to promote stable economic growth. Given the urgency of the situation, we ask that you work with us in the coming days to provide immediate loan support to the domestic auto industry, including, if necessary," by amending the emergency stabilization act.

The letter followed a similar entreaty to Paulson over the weekend by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.)

Michigan lawmakers from both parties said failure to act would be devastating, not only to the car companies but also to the nation.

"Our nations leaders must not turn a deaf ear toward helping the nations automakers," Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), co-chairman of the Congressional Auto Caucus, said in a written statement. "We can either stand by and do nothing, watching tens of thousands of jobs in Michigan and Middle America evaporate, or we can meet our challenges head on."

Members of Congress, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, right, met with auto executives last week in Washington.

Once again Mr. Obama tries to re-write recent history.

The bailout of GM and Chrysler was the brainchild of the Democrat Congress and Mr. Obama himself.

The bailout of GM and Chrysler was the brainchild of the Democrat Congress and Mr. Obama himself.

Don't worry, Mr. President.  You're safe.  Our wonderful "neutral" media will make sure to run interference for you.  Again.

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