Sunday, 28 June 2009


Ken Berwitz

You certainly can't accuse house minority leader John Boehner of political rhetoric on this one.

From -- and please pay special attention to the last part, which I have put in bold print:

Boehner:  Climate bill a 'pile of s--t'

By Molly K. Hooper

Posted: 06/27/09 09:22 PM [ET]

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had a few choice words about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) landmark climate-change bill after its passage Friday.

When asked why he read portions of the cap-and-trade bill on the floor Friday night, Boehner told The Hill, "Hey, people deserve to know what's in this pile of s--t."

Using his privilege as leader to speak for an unlimited time on the House floor, Boehner spent an hour reading from the 1200-plus page bill that was amended 20 hours before the lower chamber voted 219-212 to approve it.

Eight Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the bill; 44 House Democrats voted against it.

Pelosi's office declined to comment on Boehner's jab. But one Democratic aide quipped, "What do you expect from a guy who thinks global warming is caused by cow manure?"

Even though Sen. Majorty Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) holds the bill's fate in his hands, House Republicans intend to hammer Speaker Pelosi's signature climate-change measure over recess.

And GOP Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) said "we have only just begun to fight as he left the Capitol Friday night.

Pence encouraged GOP rank-and-file lawmakers to hold energy summits in their districts over the Independence Day recess. In the recess packets sent home with members, he even included directions on how to organize energy summits.

The goal of holding an energy forum is to educate your constituents about the Democrats national energy tax legislation and let them know what 'all of the above' solution you support.


"All of the above solution is a reference to the Republicans' plan that would increase the use of and exploration for domestic energy supplies.

Further, officials with the House GOP's campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee, confirm that they will run with paid media over recess in districts of conservative Dems who voted for the bill. The official would not reveal details on the ad buys at this time.

One Democrat was upset that his leaders would needlessly force vulnerable Dems to vote for a bill that will come back to haunt them. Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor (D) voted against the measure that he says will die in the Senate.

"A lot of people walked the plank on a bill that will never become law," Taylor told The Hill after the gavel came down.

Yesterday, we discussed sickening, disgraceful way that this bill was put through the house (i.e. with hundreds of pages added, then a vote taken before anyone could read them to know what they were voting on).  That, by itself, makes Boehner right in his opinion, including the expletive he used.

And Gene Taylor is exactly right in his analysis as well.  Some of the Democrats who voted for this pile of...what did Boehner say?  oh yeah, 's--t'...will pay for it in the next election. 

You can bet several of the 8 Republicans voting for it will pay as well.  What were they thinking?  Were they thinking at all?


Ken Berwitz

Sometimes it happens.  Sometimes a newspaper that usually is strongly partisan to one side actually talks from a different perspective.

Today's departure is found in the Los Angeles Times, where Peter Nicholas has written a genuinely troubling analysis of President Obama's ties to Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees International Union (SIEU). 

I have posted the first part of the article below.  You can read the entire article by clicking here:

Obama's curiously close labor friendship

SEIU chief Andy Stern enjoys unusual access to the White House, but some in the fractious labor movement question its value.

By Peter Nicholas
June 28, 2009

Reporting from Washington -- They led the most powerful forces in healthcare -- the trade groups representing doctors, insurance companies, hospitals and drug makers. Any one of them could stall, if not derail, President Obama's hopes of overhauling the U.S. healthcare system.

Instead, they stood with Obama before TV cameras at the White House and pledged their cooperation. For Obama, the show of unity gave momentum to perhaps his most ambitious domestic goal.

But the moment was a victory, as well, for another man invited to the event that morning in May. Andy Stern heads the SEIU, the union that helped corral the industry groups, and his presence at the White House was a fresh sign of his formidable clout with Obama.

When the president met privately with the health industry leaders that day, Stern and a second Service Employees International Union official were the only labor representatives in the room.

In a fractious labor movement fraught with rivalries and mutual suspicion, Stern's close association with Obama has given him cachet that may prove important in the fierce competition to lure new members.

But Stern's access to the White House has also provoked jealousies. His opponents paint him as a polarizing figure that Obama elevates at his own peril.

The Obama-Stern relationship has emerged as one of the most curious within the young administration.

The SEIU spent $60 million to help elect Obama, according to the union. Stern said the group deployed 100,000 volunteers during the campaign, including 3,000 who worked on the election full time.

Now in the White House, Obama has continued to derive political benefits from the union. It was the SEIU's health chief, Dennis Rivera, who helped bring industry to the table to start talks on a healthcare overhaul.

With nearly 2 million members, the SEIU says it has people in 13 states whose senators are considered important targets in the lobbying effort behind the emerging Democratic healthcare bill. The union wants to coax those senators into voting for the bill.

Stern can boast that union officials are scattered throughout the Obama administration. White House political director Patrick Gaspard is a former executive at an SEIU local based in New York. No other union has placed anyone at such a high level in the White House.

Anna Burger, SEIU secretary-treasurer, was appointed to Obama's economic recovery board. And union associate counsel John Sullivan was named to the six-member Federal Election Commission.

Moreover, Stern has enjoyed considerable entree to the new administration -- starting on Inauguration Day, when he joined Obama and the new president's family on the reviewing stand outside the White House to watch the inaugural parade.

Stern estimates he visits the White House once a week. SEIU officials talk to senior Obama advisor Nancy-Ann DeParle about healthcare -- a top priority for Stern -- and to Obama aide Cecilia Munoz about immigration, Stern said.

"We get heard," Stern said.

Stern's access is envied by some fellow union leaders. John Wilhelm, head of Unite Here, the apparel, hotel and food service union, said his perception is that Stern gets a steady stream of invitations to the White House that other union executives do not.

Wilhelm said he was disappointed, for example, that his union was not invited to a White House meeting that touched on travel to Nevada -- an important subject for his union, which represents hotel and culinary workers in Las Vegas. Part of the meeting was spent placating Nevada interests upset over comments Obama made that banks receiving bailout money should not take Las Vegas junkets.

The SEIU's access to the White House also has left California officials unsettled. Earlier this year, the Obama administration invited the SEIU to take part in a conference call centering on a dispute over pay cuts to home healthcare workers represented by the union. State officials said the union's involvement in a government-to-government conference seemed inappropriate.

Personally, I am a strong proponent of unions.  I've talked about this many times and won't repeat my reasons here now.

But I am not a proponent of the head of one extremely strong union exerting this much influence (control?) over the President of the United States.  And that is what we have right now.

It is time for Barack Obama to start opening his mind and expanding his horizons.  Today would be a good day to start.


Ken Berwitz

Since I've cited the influence of Andy Stern on President Obama, I thought I would give you a heads-up on who he is and how he operates.

Instead of referencing the numerous attacks on Stern from organizations which oppose him politically and philosophically, I decided to give you a perspective from someone who is at least as far left as Stern is -- Ralph Nader.  Here, from, is his takedown of Stern, published on April 23, 2008:

Violent Crackdowns and Sweetheart Deals

Andy Stern's Rackets


Andy Stern, the president of the 1.9 million member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is embroiled in the politics of accepting sweetheart union contract deals  and, ironically is being condemned by the Wall Street Journal. What gives here?

It seems that Stern wants to put heat on the private equity funds that have bought hospitals, nursing home chains and other firms whose employees he wants to organize. He lost a clumsy attempt to get a bill through the California legislature to restrict state pension funds from investing in private equity firms. The bill was backed by some foreign countries sovereign investment funds.

The state pension fundsCalSTRS and CalPERSdefeated the bill and received the approval of the Wall St. Journals right wing editorial writersa rare plaudit indeed. The Journal even praised the California Nurses Association for obtaining a restraining order from a California court against SEIU harassing, assaulting and stalking members of this union, which is embroiled in disputes with SEIU for what the nurses union says are blatant sweetheart contracts that SEIU dangles before large employers.

Are you confused?

The California Nurses Association (CNA) is a fast growing union that fights for patient rights, for adequate nurse-patient ratios and bargains for strong contracts with hospital chains. SEIU, by contrast wants membership growth even if the cost is a weaker contract for the newly organized workers.

In Ohio, the CNA exposed a SEIU deal with nine hospitals owned by Catholic Healthcare Partners. SEIU let the employer pick SEIU as its chosen union without a single signed union card. The company-union collaboration scheduled elections.

CNA sent representatives to Ohio and sounded the alarm about a top-down agreement sealed by a mutually imposed code of silence.

SEIU and the hospital chain owner postponed the election after the employees became aware of this sweetheart deal.

CNAs actions threw SEIU into a rage. Buses of SEIU people from Ohio were sent by Mr. Stern to break up an annual meeting of 1000 labor activists sponsored by the magazine, Labor Notes, in Dearborn, Michigan. CNAs Executive Director, RoseAnn DeMoro was scheduled to speak to the assemblage.

Shouting, scuffling, overturned chairs and the arrival of the Dearborn Police to impose order led A.F.L.-C.I.O. president John J. Sweeney, to denounce what he called a violent attack orchestrated by SEIU.

SEIU split from the A.F.L.-C.I.O. in 2005. SEIU aggressively raids other unions, such as the Allied International Union (AIU).

AIU fled a RICO law suit in New York against Sterns alleged racketeering behavior and tactics to replace AIU leadership and take control of its members.

In addition, the Department of Labor is investigating a Las Vegas local of SEIU regarding possible misuse of employer funds to advance certain candidates in a local election.

All these struggles and outside charges against Andy Stern are not keeping him from moving to remove rebellious leaders of locals and consolidate power at the top. The biggest battle is in San Francisco. Dissident, Sal Rosselli, head of SEIU-United Health Care Workers West, will propose democratic changes to the autocratic way Stern runs the union at their national convention in June.

Rosselli is pushing to give local unions of SEIU more authority in contract bargaining and more voice in proposed union mergers.

Some labor observers believe Andy Stern is biting off more than he can chew. His assurance to the Democratic Party of over $50 million for the upcoming election exposes him to critics who believe he should be spending the money on and pay far more attention to getting more for his members from the large corporations he massages.

Is this the guy you want whispering in President Obama's ear?  Is this the guy you want influencing the President of the United States?

Well, it doesn't matter what you want.  This is what you got.

The next election can't come soon enough.


Ken Berwitz

Republican, Democrat, it doesn't matter.

If you believe the cost estimates of a bill that goes through congress you should have your head examined.

Here, from the invaluable Steve Gilbert of, is a lesson in why:

The Low-Ball Lies Of Medicare Part D

June 27th, 2009

Lest we forget, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (also known as Medicare Part D) was signed into law by President Bush in December 2003, after passage through Congress by a razor thin margin.

And, like so many government programs especially social programs it was sold by vastly under-estimating its projected ten year costs.

Moreover, the people in charge of selling the program knew they were lying.

From (of all places) the archives of Salon:

Lies, bribes and hidden costs

By Eric Boehlert

April 5, 2004

[Robert Moffitt, director of health policy studies at the Heritage Foundation] says fiscally conservative Republicans, who traditionally would have opposed the Medicare bill the biggest expansion of an entitlement program in nearly 40 years are fuming that the actual price of the Medicare bill was suppressed by the administration. "They had grave reservations about voting for it," he says. "They were told repeatedly by the Republican leaderships, Its a fiscally responsible bill, we promise you. Now theres a lot of buyers remorse up on the Hill."

Last November, in an extraordinary vote held open for an unprecedented three hours by the speaker of the House, the Republican leadership, after leaning on its members, eked through passage of the historic Medicare bill by a count of 220-215. (Most Democrats opposed it, calling the bill a giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry.)

Pivotal to passage were reluctant yes votes by 13 conservative Republicans who had initially balked at the $395 billion price tag. During the pre-dawn hours of the Nov. 22 Medicare vote, they were eventually persuaded to vote yes. Bush signed the bill into law in December.

The following month, the administration announced the program would actually cost $534 billion to implement, nearly 40 percent more than advertised. "Had people known that real price, the bill wouldnt have ever made it to the House floor for a vote," says Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill

Then, last month, Richard Foster, the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the top independent Medicare cost analyst, revealed he had been threatened by the Bush administration that he would be fired if he told Congress the true cost of the policy. He received orders in June 2003 from his boss, Thomas Scully, the Bush-appointed director of the Medicare program, instructing him to ignore information requests from members of Congress who were drafting the drug bill. In the past, lawmakers had free access to the actuarys estimates. And they assumed they were getting a true statistic as they considered the bill this time.

The Wall Street Journal first reported March 18 that Foster received a note from Scullys aide ordering him to answer the Republicans questions but warning him not to respond to Democratic queries "with anyone else until Tom Scully explicitly talks with you authorizing release of information. The consequences for insubordination are extremely severe."

In other words, the MMA only passed because fiscal conservatives had been assured that its ten year cost estimate would not exceed $400 billion.

But a mere one month after the bill was signed into law, that estimate was hiked to $534 billion, which is a $140 billion over the cost figure presented during the Congressional debate.

Worse yet, as the Salon article notes, this was a matter of administration policy. The point man for the MMAl, Thomas A. Scully, was told not to reveal the true numbers. Indeed, he was threatened with firing if he had revealed them.

(Do note the irony of Mr. Obamas point man on healthcare, Rahm Emanuel, complaining about these phony cost estimates.)

But the worst was yet to come, for a mere one year later, the Washington Post was gleefully reporting that the White House Budget had increased the 10-year estimate to $1.2 trillion:

Medicare Drug Benefit May Cost $1.2 Trillion

Estimate Dwarfs Bushs Original Price Tag

By Ceci Connolly and Mike Allen
Wednesday, February 9, 2005; Page A01

The White House released budget figures yesterday indicating that the new Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost more than $1.2 trillion in the coming decade, a much higher price tag than President Bush suggested when he narrowly won passage of the law in late 2003.

The projections represent the most complete picture to date of how much the program will cost after it begins next year. The expense of the new drug benefit has been a source of much controversy since the day Congress approved it, with Democrats and some Republicans complaining that the White House has consistently low-balled the expected cost to the government

So the ten year costs of the MMA program skyrocketed from $395 billion to $1.2 trillion, even before it began.

Who knows what the cost estimates are now? Or where they will ultimately end up?

Of course the MMA was a Republican social program. Neither Salon nor the Washington Post would ever deign to report such failings about any Democrat program.

Nor will they even suggest that the Mr. Obamas healthcare plan might be similarly low-balled.

Still, is there any doubt that history will repeat itself and with a vengeance?

I could write paragraph after paragraph seconding Steve's motion.  But you don't need it.  He has laid it out for you in crystal-clear terms.

Never believe them.  I don't care which party is in power.  They lie to us and do not think twice about it.  I don't know how to say this any plainer.

And never forget that if it is a Republican lie, you are far more likely to hear about it than if the lie comes from Democrats.


Ken Berwitz

This story,written by Drew Zahn, was posted today at

I have no idea if any of it is true.  But since the Obama people have moved heaven and earth to prevent us from seeing his actual birth certificate (not the "Certification of Live Birth" which has been referred to as a birth certificate but in fact is not), I feel other possibilities should at least be made public:

'Kenyan birth certificate' remains eBay mystery
Investigator who traveled to Africa 'skeptical' document is real deal

Posted: June 28, 2009
8:29 pm Eastern

By Drew Zahn
 2009 WorldNetDaily

How much would a genuine copy of President Obama's birth certificate from a hospital in Mombasa, Kenya be worth on the open market?


One eBay seller, known to the public only as "colmado_naranja," attempted to find out, only to be shot down by the auction website's administrators at least four times.


As WND reported, colmado_naranja alleged that he had been traveling in Kenya, where natives boasted that Barack Obama II was, indeed, born in the Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961, which correlates with speculation that has existed over President Obama's birthplace since even prior to his election.

The eBay seller, with a flawless track record of dozens of sales on the auction website, also claimed that he was able to obtain a genuine copy of Obama's Kenyan birth certificate and posted it for sale online, with an opening bid of $1,000 and a "buy it now" price of $1 million.


As WND reported, however, the auction was taken down again and again. Even after WND posted a story on it yesterday, including the eBay seller's explanation for why the auction was allegedly scrubbed by eBay administrators, a page offering the birth certificate for sale appeared yet a fourth time only to disappear yet a fourth time.


And while repeated contacts have been made with colmado_naranja, the validity of his claims as well as the document remain a mystery, for the seller has refused to allow the document to be seen or photographed.


In the original listing, colmado_naranja explained, "I am not posting any photos of the birth certificate here on eBay. I have not seen this birth certificate anywhere on the Internet, to post it here on eBay would lead to a flood of facsimiles on the Internet. This would inadvertently decrease the value of the certificate as well."


At least one investigator, who has traveled to Africa and sought the birth certificate from the very same hospital, however, told WND he remains "skeptical" of the eBay auction's claims.

WND's senior staff writer, Jerome Corsi, traveled to Kenya in 2008 to look into Obama's past and remaining ties to the nation.


While there, however, immigration authorities detained Corsi and his publicist holding them under armed guard and without food to prevent Corsi from holding a news conference revealing what he had discovered, eventually requiring thousands of dollars in bribes to set the writer free.


Corsi told WND that despite contacts in government offices, the help of others and even the offer of financial reward, the Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa would not confirm Obama's birth there nor provide access to records.

"When I was there, I tried to get records from that hospital, but I couldn't do it," Corsi said. "The hospital either had no records or wouldn't release them.


"That's what makes me skeptical," Corsi continued. "How did [colmado_naranja] get the birth certificate, if it's real?"

Corsi wouldn't rule out the possibility that the eBay seller may have somehow obtained a genuine document, but stated only that his efforts in Kenya proved fruitless.


WND has continued to attempt to contact the seller through several channels, but thus far, examining the document colmado_naranja claims to hold has proven as difficult as examining the records at the Coast Provincial Hospital.

President Obama's place of birth, however, remains only one of several questions and possible avenues for answers that remain in determining whether or not Obama is a "natural born citizen" under the U.S. Constitution and eligible to serve as president.


WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama's status as a "natural born citizen." The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."

Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama's American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.


Other challenges have focused on Obama's citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.


Complicating the situation is Obama's decision to spend sums estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid releasing a state birth certificate that would put to rest all of the questions.


WND has reported that among the documentation not yet available for Obama includes his kindergarten records, his Punahou school records, his Occidental College records, his Columbia University records, his Columbia thesis, his Harvard Law School records, his Harvard Law Review articles, his scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, his passport, his medical records, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his adoption records.


Because of the dearth of information about Obama's eligibility, WND founder Joseph Farah has launched a campaign to raise contributions to post billboards asking a simple question: "Where's the birth certificate?"

The campaign followed a petition that has collected almost 400,000 signatures demanding proof of his eligibility, the availability of yard signs raising the question and the production of permanent, detachable magnetic bumper stickers asking the question.


The eBay birth certificate seller is a self-proclaimed "collector of old Dominican and Cuban money" and has worked in the Congo.


"This spring I traveled through Kenya and its capital Nairobi. I was overwhelmed by the 'iconicized' face of U.S. President Barack Obama that displays itself throughout the country. I had lunch at a small eatery and noticed that the club sandwich with fried plantains was now known as 'Obama's Plate of the Day,'" the seller wrote on the initial auction page. "As an American I was bombarded with questions in English (English is national language of Kenya) on my feelings and opinions of a Kenyan governing the United States of America. The first several times I responded in saying that not enough time had elapsed since Barack Obama's appointment as president of the U.S.A., and that I'd have to hold my official opinion until at least January 2010, a year in office might be sufficient for me to judge his ability to govern the U.S.A.


"Naturally I thought that by 'Kenyan' they were referring to Barack Obama's blood, being that his father Barack Obama Sr. was a native of Kenya. After a day and a half of my being in Nairobi I learned that they were literally referring to President Barack Obama Jr. as being born in Kenya, a native of Kenya."

The seller also cited the fact that Obama has not release his "Hawaiian" birth certificate. His administration, the seller says, "in an attempt to put the birth certificate issue to a rest, has presented the American public with a fake, forged, fraudulent Hawaiian birth certificate."


The "certification of live birth" posted online and widely touted as "Obama's birth certificate" does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same "short-form" document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true "long-form" birth certificate which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.


Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a "natural born citizen," no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama's claim to a Hawaiian birth.

There it is.  Make of it what you will. 

And remember:  If Barack Obama was really born in Hawaii, it would take a short telephone call and a small processing fee to get the actual vault copy, show it to us all, and end this issue.  Instead, Mr. Obama has spent a ton of money for a small army of lawyers to prevent it from ever seeing the light of day.


smrstrauss Re: "But since the Obama people have moved heaven and earth to prevent us from seeing his actual birth certificate...'" Actually, they haven't. There has never been one lawsuit against Obama that asked a court to have him deliver a copy of his birth certificate to the court. All the lawsuits were to stop the election or to stop the certification of the election. None were for the birth certificate or other documents. None "prayed" (asked) that the court order Obama to release his birth certificate or other document. All prayed that the election be stopped or not certified. Re: "(not the "Certification of Live Birth" which has been referred to as a birth certificate but in fact is not)..." Answer. In fact, it is. It is the only birth certificate that Hawaii currently sends out to people who ask for copies of their birth certificate. (I would have put in the reference to the site here, but this page will not accept it.) A birth certificate is an official government document giving details of birth--not necessarily all the details. A birth certificate is NOT a hospital document, which is not official, and is not accepted by the US government as proof of birth in the USA. The Certification of Live Birth of Hawaii, and the other short-form birth certificates of other states, is accepted as proof of birth in the USA by the US State Department. The basic question, however, is why doesn't Obama show the long-form birth certificate, which was the one that was issued when he was born. The answer is that he probably lost it, and now that Hawaii sends out only the certification of live birth, he can't get a copy of the original--like everyone else in Hawaii for their own birth certificates. Hawaii only sends out the certification. (06/28/09)

(Anon) Re: "If Barack Obama was really born in Hawaii, it would take a short telephone call and a small processing fee to get the actual vault copy, show it to us all, and end this issue." Obama has paid the fee and gotten the only birth certificate that Hawaii now sends out, the Certification of Live Birth. And he has posted it, and the essential fact that it shows--that he was born in Hawaii--has been confirmed by the two officials of the state of Hawaii who looked into the file, and the PR representative of the DOH called the Chicago Tribune, which asked whether the original in the file meant that Obama was born in Hawaii, and she said YES. Then why doesn't Obama post the original? Because Hawaii sends out only the short-form Certification. (06/28/09)


Ken Berwitz

Super-pitchman Billy Mays, who gave us such "as seen on TV" products as Oxi Clean, Orange Glo, Mighty Putty and that stuff that is supposed to fix scratches on your car, is dead at the age of 50.

He was found by his wife in their Tampa, Florida home this morning.  No cause of death has been reported yet, but it appears there was no foul play involved.

I couldn't stand the guy and turned his commercials off whenever they assaulted my senses.  But being an annoying pitchman is not a capital crime.  I'm very sorry he is gone.

May he rest in peace.


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