Thursday, 04 June 2009


Ken Berwitz

Do media love political polls?

Well, yes and no. 

Yes if they benefit Barack Obama, no if they benefit either his opponents or ideas in opposition to his.

Want an example?  How about this one, from "Allahpundit at

Shhhh: Support for torture of terrorists up 14 points since 2005

posted at 9:20 pm on June 3, 2009 by Allahpundit

It takes the AP fully 15 paragraphs to inform us of this, with priority given to the monthly Obama job-approval check and navel-gazing quotes from citizens about whether were safer than we were under Bush. Theyre having a big day today, arent they?

I know it sounds crazy but sometimes I cant shake the feeling that the medias helping to push Obamas agenda.

Some 52 percent of people say torture can be at least sometimes justified to obtain information about terrorist activities from suspects, an increase from 38 percent in 2005 when the AP last asked the question. More than two-thirds of Republicans say torture can be justified compared with just over a third of Democrats.

On Obamas plan to close the Guantanamo prison, 47 percent approve, while 47 percent disapprove. Again, the country is divided on partisan lines, with most Republicans disapproving and most Democrats approving. Independents are evenly divided.

Despite the presidents safety assurances, more than half of Americans say they would be worried about the chance of terrorism suspects escaping from U.S. high-security prisons. Yet again, more Republicans express concern than Democrats. Still, the figures indicate that the GOP-fueled fear may be resonating.

The "15 paragraphs in" factor is bad enough.  But let me ask you something else:  Have you seen this story at all in your usual media, whether print or boradcast?  I'm not talking about placement or amount of time/words spent on it, I'm talking about whether you saw it at all.

Remember, this is an Associated Press dispatch, and virtually all media subscribe to the AP, so they all had it.

I'm betting the answer is no. 

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


Ken Berwitz

This woman is either an amazingly inept opportunist or a definite finalist for the Darwin Award.  You decide:

Crunchberries Buyer Should Have Known Cereal had No Real Fruit, Court Says

By Ray Stern in Laugh Track, News

Tuesday, Jun. 2 2009 @ 3:52PM

A California woman sued Pepsi after finding out that Crunchberries contained no real fruit, but a judge ruled any reasonable person could have figured that out.

The case of Janine Sugawawa does provide a modicum of hope that the justice system isn't running on four flats -- this one was nipped in the bud quickly.  Judge Morrison England Jr. of the U.S. District Court of Eastern California approved Pepsi's motion to dismiss on May 21, noting that the Sugawawa's attorneys were the same hillbillies who tried to sue because Froot Loops had no real fruit.

Nobody's really this stupid, we're sure -- this is just attempted litigation for fun and profit.

Let's see:  she sued because Crunchberries have no real fruit and because Froot Loops have no real fruit (I wonder if it has any froot).  

Would you sell this woman Moose Tracks ice cream?  Or Sockeye Salmon?  

And Moon Pie would be completely out of the question - unless she intended to file in the correct jurisdiction which, I suspect, would be fine with everybody.

free` Maybe they will go after fruit of the loom next. (06/04/09)


Ken Berwitz

We've already seen Sonia Sotomayor's rationale/explanation/apologia for stating that she would think her opinions are better than those of White Males.  That, in and of itself, should have disqualified her from the Supreme Court.

But if you still have lingering doubts regarding Sonia Sotomayor's state of mind, you better read this piece by Tim Graham of and be sure to click on each link.  I have a feeling those doubts will disappear:

Mark Levin Says Damaging New Sotomayor Texts Emerging: Will Media Notice?

By Tim Graham
June 4, 2009 - 10:51 ET


Mark Levin highlighted two new damaging blows to Sonia Sotomayor's nomination at the start of his show Wednesday night. First, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post's Who Runs Gov site found that Sotomayor said almost exactly the same thing about "wise Latina women making wiser decisions" in 1994 as she did in 2001.

Second, and more shocking, via Ed Whelan on the Bench Memos blog on NRO, former New York Times and Newsweek legal reporter Stuart Taylor asked his friend K.C. Johnson to look at Sotomayor's Princeton thesis. Johnson was disturbed that Sotomayor declared herself a Puerto Rican nationalist and dismissed the U.S. Congress as the "North American Congress" or the "Mainland Congress." 

First, I'm curious as to when Sotomayor ceased being a Puerto Rican nationalist who favors independence -- as she says she does in the preface. (The position, as she points out in the thesis, had received 0.6 percent in a 1967 referendum, the most recent such vote before she wrote the thesis.) I don't know that I've seen it reported anywhere that she favored Puerto Rican independence, which has always been very much a fringe position....

Second, her unwillingness to call the Congress the U.S. Congress is bizarre -- in the thesis, it's always referred to as either the 'North American Congress' or the 'mainland Congress.' I guess by the language of her thesis, it should be said that she's seeking an appointment to the North American Supreme Court, subject to advice and consent of the North American Senate. This kind of rhetoric was very trendy, and not uncommon, among the Latin Americanist fringe of the academy.

This morning, Whalen updated the Puerto Rico material with Sotomayor wanting an "affirmative action plan" for Puerto Rican statehood in the Yale Law Journal in 1979.

Here's a piece of the 1994 speech where Sargent found:  

Justice OConnor has often been cited as saying that "a wise old man and a wise old woman reach the same conclusion in dueling cases. I am not so sure Justice OConnor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes the line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, if Prof. Martha Minnow is correct, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise woman with the richness of her experience would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.

Sargent is a liberal blogger, and he brought up this speech to make the point that Senators at Sotomayor's 1998 confirmation for the appeals court were given this speech transcript, so if they allowed it then, why object now? But he was also forced to concede that this rerun also disproves the liberal theory that Sotomayor "misspoke" or simply stumbled into a "poor choice of words."

Is Ms. Sotomayor a racist?  a sexist?  A Puerto Rican nationalist?  Apparently the answers, in that order, are yes, yes and yes.

How does she have any business being on, or anywhere near, the Supreme Court?

Now:  Where are our wonderful "neutral" media?  How far in the tank do they intend to go for this impossibly bad selection? 

The answers so far are nowhere, and the bottom of the tank.  

What a disgrace.


Ken Berwitz

For months I have written about the similarity of Barack Obama's path to that of hugo chavez (or "yugo" chavez, as I prefer to call him, because his performance is so similar to that of the car). 

Interestingly, I seem to have acquired a major supporter in my opinion:  yugo chavez himself.  Based on the Reuters report below, chavez not only agrees, but seems envious of how effectively Mr. Obama has moved in this direction.

From Reuters:

Venezuela Chavez says "Comrade" Obama more left-wing

Tue Jun 2, 2009 10:27pm EDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday that he and Cuban ally Fidel Castro risk being more conservative than U.S. President Barack Obama as Washington prepares to take control of General Motors Corp.

During one of Chavez's customary lectures on the "curse" of capitalism and the bonanzas of socialism, the Venezuelan leader made reference to GM's bankruptcy filing, which is expected to give the U.S. government a 60 percent stake in the 100-year-old former symbol of American might.

"Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his right," Chavez joked on a live television broadcast.

During a decade in government, Chavez has nationalized most of Venezuela's key economic sectors, including multibillion dollar oil projects, often via joint ventures with the private sector that give the state a 60 percent controlling stake.

Obama has vowed to quickly sell off General Motors once the auto giant is back on its feet, but the government will initially control the company after a $30 billion injection of taxpayer funds.

Chavez, a vehement critic of the U.S. "empire," has toned down his rhetoric since Obama took office in January and the two men shook hands during a summit in Trinidad and Tobago in April.

At some point, I would like to think that the country as a whole - and our wonderful "neutral" media in particular - will notice what no less an authority than hugo chavez sees so clearly.

Will it be too late, by then, to do anything about it?

free` Not only does the media see it they support it. They knew it before he was elected and committed fraud during the election to get him elected. The majority of people rely on the MSM for their information, so they will never see what he is unless the MSM reports it. I can't believe what is happening in our country, it breaks my heart to see us moving towards marxism, especially at the pace we are. This really sucks. (06/04/09)


Ken Berwitz

A quick review of President Obama's speech, which just ended:

He lavished too much praise on Islam and not enough on the United States.  I agree that diplomacy would probably dictate that he lean in that direction, given where the speech was made (Egypt) and the fact that it was being broadcast throughout the Muslim world.  But he overdid it and I wish he had not. 

I especially did not like his repeated references to "the holy Koran", without speaking to the religious and cultural base of western civilization.  It made us come across as inferior to them.  No wonder they applauded.

That aside, however, President Obama said a lot of things that the Muslim world needed to hear, and did so with a bluntness that was both remarkable and very, very welcome. 

-He made no bones about the commitment of the United States to Israel (a position on his part that I have been very skeptical about). 

-He made no bones about the violence and intolerance of a segment of Islam and how wrong it is. 

-He made no bones about the fact that Palestinian Arabs have to behave acceptably to achieve a two-state solution -- though someone ought to tell him that Gaza has not been occupied for over three years and there was an increase in violence against Israel since then.

All in all, a speech for which there is a lot to criticize, but also a speech which said a lot of things in very direct terms that I fervently hope the Muslim world will take to heart.


Ken Berwitz

Dick Morris, and his co-writer/wife Eileen McGann, have written a devastating evaluation of the "siumulus package" that President Obama, with his lopsided Democratic majority in congress, foisted upon us earlier this year. 

Read their analysis and see why I call it the "stimu-less" package:


By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann


The data is in for April. Heres what happened:

1. Household personal income (inflation adjusted) rose but every penny - and then some - went into savings or paying down debts. Consumer spending, on which Obama is betting to stimulate the economy, actually fell. None of the stimulus money was sent. None.

2. Meanwhile, to pay for this stimulus spending that didnt stimulate, Obama had to borrow so much money that long term interest rates have almost doubled since he took office, forcing postponement of abandonment of business expansion and hiring across the board.

What a record!

Here are the details. In April, personal household, inflation-adjusted income rose by $122 billion. Of that increase, one-third or $44 billion came from the governments stimulus program. But while personal income was rising, household savings (which includes paying down credit card balances, mortgages, student loans, car loans, etc) rose by $132 billion $10 billion more than the rise in income. So personal consumption dropped 0.1%.

The stimulus package was a total and complete failure. As predicted, as happened with Bushs 2008 tax cut, as happened with the Japanese stimulus packages of the 90s, fearful consumers sat on their money and wouldnt spend it. Keynesian economics didnt work. Again.

But the debt sure piled up. The deficit quadrupled and is sending interest rates soaring as the government elbows aside businesses and consumers at the loan window, all in a desperate effort to borrow enough money to spend enough money to stimulate the economy which isnt happening.

As we describe in our new book (out June 23rd) Catastrophe, Keynesian economics doesnt work. The theory for rational expectations has taken its place. Consumers are not idiots. They know that when their paycheck is fatter - either because of tax cuts or government spending - that it is not the beginning of nirvana but just a short term, one shot respite from hard times. They know the difference between standing in front on an electric fan and a windy day.

Barack Obama has fatally undermined our currency, our solvency, our financial stability, and - ultimately - our economy all to spend money that has had no economic effect!

Is Obama a failure? Not by his lights. His goal was never to stimulate the economy. His goal was to expand government spending and he used the recession as an excuse to do so. And, by this standard, he is a raging success. With the stimulus spending, the government proportion of GDP will rise from about 35% to about 40% and with health care reform it will go soaring into the mid-forties, bringing us to parity with Germany en route to France!

But the results are in: None of Obamas spending is doing anything to help the economy.

Of course, the process of household savings, designed to pay down debt, is very healthy. Economists call it de-leveraging. By the start of the recession, the debt American households owe had risen from 70% of their annual income in 1995 to 140% (excluding mortgages). Now it is on its way back down again. And, eventually, that will lead to a real recovery If Obama doesnt wreck the currency and bring on mega-inflation before then. (But he probably will).

 There you have it.  Facts.  Not rhetoric or preposterously untrue claims.  Just facts.

Now:  when do our wonderful "neutral" media start talking about this?  When does the Obamesmerization end? 



Ken Berwitz

Here, for your entertainment and amusement, is a truly delusionary column. 

It is written by E.J Dionne of the Washington Post.  And it will tell you that, because Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are getting a ton of coverage these days, it means the media are moving to the right.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Here, see for yourself:

Rush and Newt Are Winning

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Yes, you read that correctly: If you doubt that there is a conservative inclination in the media, consider which arguments you hear regularly and which you don't. When Rush Limbaugh sneezes or Newt Gingrich tweets, their views ricochet from the Internet to cable television and into the traditional media. It is remarkable how successful they are in setting what passes for the news agenda.

The power of the Limbaugh-Gingrich axis means that Obama is regularly cast as somewhere on the far left end of a truncated political spectrum. He's the guy who nominates a "racist" to the Supreme Court (though Gingrich retreated from the word yesterday), wants to weaken America's defenses against terrorism and is proposing a massive government takeover of the private economy. Steve Forbes, writing for his magazine, recently went so far as to compare Obama's economic policies to those of Juan Peron's Argentina.

Democrats are complicit in building up Gingrich and Limbaugh as the main spokesmen for the Republican Party, since Obama polls so much better than either of them. But the media play an independent role by regularly treating far-right views as mainstream positions and by largely ignoring critiques of Obama that come from elected officials on the left.

This was brought home at this week's annual conference of the Campaign for America's Future, a progressive group that supports Obama but worries about how close his economic advisers are to Wall Street, how long our troops will have to stay in Afghanistan and how much he will be willing to compromise to secure health-care reform.

In other words, they see Obama not as the parody created by the far right but as he actually is: a politician with progressive values but moderate instincts who has hewed to the middle of the road in dealing with the economic crisis, health care, Guantanamo and the war in Afghanistan.

While the right wing's rants get wall-to-wall airtime, you almost never hear from the sort of progressive members of Congress who were on an America's Future panel on Tuesday. Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Donna Edwards of Maryland and Raul Grijalva of Arizona all said warm things about the president -- they are Democrats, after all -- but also took issue with some of his policies.

All three, for example, are passionately opposed to his military approach to Afghanistan and want a serious debate over the implications of Obama's strategy. "If we don't ask these questions now," said Edwards, "we'll ask these questions 10 years from now -- I guarantee it."

Polis spoke of how Lyndon Johnson's extraordinary progressive legacy "will always be overshadowed by Vietnam" and said that progressives who were challenging the administration's foreign policy were simply trying to "protect and enhance President Obama's legacy by preventing Afghanistan and Iraq from becoming another Vietnam."

As it happens, I am closer than the progressive trio is to Obama's view on Afghanistan. But why are their voices muffled when they raise legitimate concerns, while Limbaugh's rants get amplified? Isn't Afghanistan a more important issue to debate than a single comment by Judge Sonia Sotomayor about the relative wisdom of Latinas?

Polis, Edwards and Grijalva also noted that proposals for a Canadian-style single-payer health-care system, which they support, have fallen off the political radar. Polis urged his activist audience to accept that reality for now and focus its energy on making sure that a government insurance option, known in policy circles as the "public plan," is part of the menu of choices offered by a reformed health-care system.

But Edwards noted that if the public plan, already a compromise from single-payer, is defined as the left's position in the health-care debate, the entire discussion gets skewed to the right. This makes it far more likely that any public option included in a final bill will be a pale version of the original idea.

Her point has broader application. For all the talk of a media love affair with Obama, there is a deep and largely unconscious conservative bias in the media's discussion of policy. The range of acceptable opinion runs from the moderate left to the far right and cuts off more vigorous progressive perspectives.

Democrats love to think that Limbaugh and Gingrich are weakening the conservative side. But guess what? By dragging the media to the right, Rush and Newt are winning.


Has Dionne noticed what the "tilts to the right" media are SAYING about Limbaugh and Gingrich?  They are attacking them relentlessly.  They are calling Limbaugh and Gingrich every name in the book. This is tilting to the right?

Using that "logic", the Jerusalem Post, which writes about Palestinian Arab terrorism all the time, is an apologist for hamas.

How amazing that someone who supposedly knows something about politics could be this obtuse.  But there it is, right before your eyes.


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