Sunday, 19 July 2009


Ken Berwitz

No, President Obama has not told Israel that there can be no Jews in all of Jerusalem.

He has, however, told Israel that there can be no new housing projects for Jews in East Jerusalem.

That's right.  The President of the United States has told Israel it can't build housing for Jewish citizens in parts of the country's own capital city.

Think I'm kidding?  Well, I wouldn't blame you if you did, because this sounds impossibly ridiculous.  And I wish you were right.

But here it is, via the following excerpts from an Associated Press article by Amy Teibel.  Read it for yourself:.

Israel rejects US call to halt Jerusalem project

Jul 19, 9:49 AM (ET)

By AMY TEIBEL JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel on Sunday rejected a U.S. demand to suspend a planned housing project in east Jerusalem, threatening to further complicate an unusually tense standoff with its strongest ally over settlement construction.

Israeli officials said the country's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, was summoned to the State Department over the weekend and told that a project being developed by an American millionaire in the disputed section of the holy city should not go ahead.

Settlements built on captured lands claimed by the Palestinians have emerged as a major sticking point in relations between Israel and the Obama administration because of their potential to disrupt Mideast peacemaking.

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently yielded to heavy U.S. pressure to endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state, he has resisted American demands for an immediate freeze on settlement expansion. On Sunday, Netanyahu told his Cabinet there would be no limits on Jewish construction anywhere in "unified Jerusalem."

"We cannot accept the fact that Jews wouldn't be entitled to live and buy anywhere in Jerusalem," Netanyahu declared, calling Israeli sovereignty over the entire city "indisputable."

"I can only imagine what would happen if someone suggested Jews could not live in certain neighborhoods in New York, London, Paris or Rome. There would certainly be a major international outcry," Netanyahu said.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Jewish expansion in east Jerusalem jeopardizes peace efforts.

"If the Israeli prime minister continues with settlement activities, he will undermine the efforts to revive the peace process," he said.

According to Army Radio, the U.S. has demanded that planning approval for the project be revoked.

The approval, granted by the Jerusalem municipality earlier this month, allows for the construction of 20 apartments plus a three-level underground parking lot.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment.

The Palestinians have been encouraged by Washington's insistence that Israel freeze all settlement construction on captured lands in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Nearly 300,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, in addition to about 180,000 Israelis living in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.

The Palestinians say the Israeli presence makes it increasingly difficult to establish an independent state in these areas. They have refused to restart peace talks until Israel halts all settlement expansion, something the Israeli government has refused to do.

The east Jerusalem project is being developed by Irving Moskowitz, an influential supporter of Israeli settlement in east Jerusalem who purchased the Shepherd Hotel in 1985 and plans to tear it down and build apartments in its place.

The Jerusalem municipality issued a statement saying the purchase was legal.

Incredible.  But true. 

Israel is, in sum and substance, being instructed that half of its own capital belongs to people committed to its annihilation.  It is being told that it can't even build a housing project there on legally purchased land. 

And who is telling Israel this?  Who is telling Israel that its enemies own half of Jerusalem?   Its "ally", the United States. 

So why bother negotiating?  Just hand over your land, Jews.  Barack the Great has spoken. 

According to the exit polls, 78% of all Jewish voters supported Barack Obama in the last election.  Presumably, most of them support Israel.  I hope they're happy with what they got.

Speaking as one of the other 22%, I can assure you I am not.


Ken Berwitz

Here is Ed Morrissey's analysis of the situation in Honduras.  It is short, complete and I can't add a thing to it, so I'm just posting it as-is without further commentary.  See if you agree:

Zelayas ultimatum

posted at 9:11 am on July 18, 2009 by Ed Morrissey 

The negotiations between the opposing sides in the Honduras crisis have apparently reached an impasse, which prompted an ultimatum today from Manuel Zelaya, the Hugo Chavez acolyte ousted by the military, the legislature, and the Supreme Court.  If Honduras does not agree to reinstate him, Zelaya threatened to sneak back into the country and seize power:

An ultimatum from ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya left little room for compromise in U.S.-backed talks Saturday aimed at resolving a crisis that has become the latest test for democracy in Latin America.

Zelaya, who was forced into exile in a June 28 military coup, gave negotiators meeting in Costa Rica until midnight to restore him to office, threatening to return to Honduras in secret and attempt to retake power on his own if no agreement is reached. He indicated he would reject any power-sharing agreement, a proposal to be discussed at the talks.

If at that time, there is no resolution to that end, I will consider the negotiations in Costa Rica a failure, Zelaya said at a news conference Friday night at the Honduran embassy in Nicaragua. I am going back to Honduras, but I am not going to give you the date, hour or place, or say if Im going to enter through land, air or sea.

He did not say what steps he would subsequently take. But earlier this week, he said Hondurans have a constitutional right to rebel against an illegitimate government.

Costa Rica did what it could to work out a diplomatic solution, but this has been an intractable problem since it erupted.  With both sides rejecting a power-sharing arrangement, the only offer Honduras could make would be amnesty from prosecution for Zelayas multiple violations of the Honduran constitution.  Zelaya would take nothing less than reinstatement, which Honduras rejects outright.

Could Zelaya return to foment a rebellion?  Hes got enough support at home to make that a real possibility.  It doesnt take a majority or even a particularly large minority to make a successful revolution, after all.  The military would resist it strongly which could make this a bloody mess.  The real problem for Honduras isnt a rebellion, but an invasion of Nicaraguan and Venezuelan troops to put Zelaya back in power and back to being a Chavez stooge.

If that happened, eyes would shift immediately to Washington to see how Barack Obama would react.  Will he make clear that the US will brook no foreign military involvement in Honduras, and back it up with a show of force in Central America?  Or will Obama waffle long enough to allow Chavez and Daniel Ortega an opening to invade Honduras?  Obama certainly has given them plenty of tacit encouragement thus far, and I suspect that Obama will do little but issue airy statements of regret in the event of a military invasion of Honduras.


Ken Berwitz

Riddle:  How do you take an unbelievably badly managed program and make it even worse?  You hand more power over it to the executive wing of the government.

How do you do it?  Read the following AP story and find out:

White House wants more power to set Medicare rates


 WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is asking Congress to give the executive branch more power to limit Medicare's rising costs.


A White House letter to top lawmakers on Friday said the move would be "a critical step forward" in controlling health care costs and providing better care.

The proposal would allow an independent advisory board to recommend changes in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors, hospitals and other providers. If the president approved the recommendations, Congress could still vote to reject them altogether. But Congress could not approve some recommendations and reject others.

Currently, Medicare reimbursement rates vary from region to region. Key lawmakers often get involved in setting local rates, a practice the Obama administration plan would end.

This is another chapter in the book "How to chavez the US government. 

You are told that handing still more power to Emperor Barack will provide wondrous benefits -- a little like the 3,500,000 to 4,000,000 million new jobs that were promised if the so-called "stimulus package" was enacted.

Now:  What is your job in all this?

Your job is to believe this - even though the "stimulus package", so far, has resulted in the loss of over 2,000,000 jobs.  You are also supposed to ignore the fact that this would give more and more power to one man and his cadre of insiders, at the expense of what used to be revered as a system of checks and balances;  a system which doesn't appear to have very much importance since January 20th.

You are supposed to believe that giving more power to centralized government will give you better health care at lower cost.  Based, I suppose, on the sterling past record of government regarding improved services and cost efficiency?

And  what would it take for you to believe these things?  The answer is that you would have to be a sheep.  A drone.  Someone so completely swayed by White House propaganda that fact, logic and the system of government you think you are living under are somehow forgotten.

There's the job description in just a few short paragraphs.  Do you want that job?  God help you (and the rest of us) if you do.


Ken Berwitz

It is the 40th anniversary of Ted Kennedy driving off the Chappaquiddick bridge with a young unmarried woman, somehow escaping from the car, and then leaving her to die while he met with friends and advisors to desperately assess his political options.

Jeff Jacoby, the terrific columnist for the Boston Globe, wrote brilliantly about this at the 25th anniversary of Chappaquiddick and has reprised that column today. 

Chappaquiddick's unanswered questions

by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
July 21, 1994

"I've answered all the questions."
-- Edward Kennedy, July 8, 1994 on the tragedy at Chappaquiddick

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TOMORROW, on July 22, 1969, Mary Jo Kopechne was buried at St. Vincent's Cemetery in Plymouth, Penn. She had died three days earlier, pinned underwater when Sen. Kennedy's car swerved off Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island

Within hours of Kopechne's death, a Kennedy aide named Dun Gifford flew a chartered plane into Edgartown (the Martha's Vineyard town of which Chappaquiddick is a part), with orders to get the body off the island. Before Massachusetts officials had even decided whether to perform an autopsy to settle the cause of death, Kopechne's remains were in Pennsylvania -- beyond the state's jurisdiction.

-- Did Kennedy order Gifford to remove the body?

That's one question the senator has never answered.

In fact, quite a few questions have never been answered.

At least, not by Kennedy.

At least, not truthfully.

Kennedy and Kopechne were part of a group of 12 that had come to Chappaquiddick for the Edgartown Regatta and a private barbecue afterward. Half the guests were married men, half were single women in their 20s. Kennedy and Kopechne left the party at some point that evening and ended up driving off the bridge.

Though Kennedy managed to extricate himself from the car and get back to his motel that night, Kopechne remained in the car until her body was recovered by a Fire Department diver at 8:45 the next morning. To the diver, Capt. John Farrar, it was clear that she had neither drowned nor died quickly. Kopechne survived for some time by breathing a pocket of trapped air, finally suffocating to death when the oxygen ran out. When Kennedy reported the accident to the Edgartown police, it was 9:45 a.m. -- some nine or 10 hours after he left Kopechne in his car.


-- Why did Kennedy and Kopechne leave the barbecue?

Kennedy said they wanted to return to their respective motels and left to catch the ferry (which only operated until midnight) back to Edgartown center. But Kennedy's chauffeur, who was on hand, didn't drive them; Kopechne didn't take her purse or her room key; and they didn't go to the ferry. Kennedy headed in the opposite direction -- to Dike Bridge and the secluded beach beyond.

-- What time did they leave?

Kennedy claimed he left at 11:15 p.m., and the accident happened a few minutes later. Yet Deputy Sheriff Huck Look reported seeing Kennedy's black Oldsmobile at 12:45 a.m., heading down Dike Road toward the bridge. After the accident, the senator said he hadn't been able to rescue Kopechne because of the "strong and murky current" in which he kept getting "swept away." In truth there was no current at 11:15. The water was absolutely slack, at low tide. At 12:45, however, the current was fast-moving and strong.

-- Did Kennedy take a wrong turn without realizing it?

So he testified, and his whole story rests upon that claim. But the road to the ferry, which Kennedy had already traveled several times that day, was the only paved road on the island. Anyone driving from the house where the barbecue was held would have felt the road bank unmistakably to the left -- toward the ferry -- and would have seen the shiny left-turn sign. By contrast, it required a deliberate effort to turn right, toward the bridge. Dike Road was unpaved and very bumpy. Its entrance was obscured behind bushes and necessitated a 90-degree turn -- hard to do inadvertently.

-- Why didn't Kennedy call for help to rescue Kopechne?

Because, he said, he was in shock. He called his behavior "irrational, indefensible, inexcusable and inexplicable."

Yet he was not too traumatized to return to the barbecue and fetch two close lawyer friends, Joey Gargan and Paul Markham. He was not too traumatized to make more than 16 long-distance phone calls that night to aides and advisers (none of whom tried to get help to Kopechne, either). Despite his "shock," he managed to: return to his motel, complain to the manager about a noisy party, go to sleep, chat with a friend the next morning about the boat race, order two newspapers, meet again with Gargan and Markham and return to Chappaquiddick to call another lawyer from a pay phone -- all before going to the police.

Other questions:

-- How much alcohol had Kennedy drunk that night?

-- If he and Kopechne did leave the barbecue at 11:15, what occupied their time until 12:45, when Deputy Look saw them drive toward Dike Bridge?

-- After getting out of the submerged car, why didn't Kennedy walk to the lighted house a few yards away and call for help? Or call from the house with the barbecue? Or from his motel?

-- Did he urge Gargan to fabricate a story about Kopechne being alone in the car when it went off the bridge?

-- Did he go to the police only when he realized he would not be able to carry off such an alibi?

-- If, as Kennedy said later, what was uppermost in his mind was "the tragedy and loss of a very devoted friend," why did he summon 19 high-level political advisers to Hyannis the next day?

-- Was the prosecutor rewarded for not bringing manslaughter or driving-to-endanger charges against Kennedy?

-- Why was the grand jury threatened with jail and intimidated by a judge when it tried to look into the tragedy?

-- When an inquest was eventually held, why did Kennedy fight -- against all precedent -- to keep its proceedings secret?

-- Why was Farrar, the diver, barred from telling the inquest and grand jury what he knew?

Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, Mary Jo Kopechne was buried. Three days later, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was sentenced to two months, suspended.

Following the secret inquest in January, District Judge James Boyle found "probable cause" that Kennedy had driven "negligently" and had engaged in "criminal conduct" that "contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne." The senator was never prosecuted and never tried. Though he did not save his young friend that midsummer night in 1969, he did preserve his political career. Kennedy has been reelected to the Senate four times since.

One final question -- the one Kennedy himself asked in 1974, when Richard Nixon was pardoned:

"Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law, or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?"

.The next time you hear one of the seemingly endless tributes to Ted Kennedy and what a wonderful man he is, what a great humanitarian, etc., you might keep this in mind.


Ken Berwitz

You already know the answer to the question, don't you?  We have elected a one-party government.  So, really, what would you expect?

The following excerpts are from an analysis by John Lott  written for Fox News (Of course it is from Fox.  Who would you expect this from?  MSNBC?  The New York Times?  The morning shows?  The network news shows?): 

ANALYSIS: States Hit Hardest by Recession Get Least Stimulus Money

Sunday, July 19, 2009
By John Lott


The stimulus bill "includes help for those hardest hit by our economic crisis," President Obama promised when he signed the bill into law on Feb. 17. "As a whole, this plan will help poor and working Americans."

But has analyzed data tracking how the stimulus money is being given out across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and it has found a perverse pattern: the states hardest hit by the recession received the least money. States with higher bankruptcy, foreclosure and unemployment rates got less money. And higher income states received more.

The transfers to the states having the least problems are large. Even after accounting for other factors, each $1,000 in a state's per capita income means that the state got $21 more per capita in stimulus funds. With a spread of almost $38,000 in per-person income between the top and bottom states, this has a sizable impact. High-income states get considerably more stimulus money.

States with higher bankruptcy rates got a lot less, not more, money roughly $86 less per person for each percentage point increase in the state's bankruptcy rate. States with higher foreclosure rates were treated very similarly, losing $82 per person for each one percentage point more of the people suffering foreclosures.

The spending data come from two reliable sources: the Wall Street Journal and the Federal government's On June 30, the Wall Street Journal published data on stimulus spending by state for seven categories of social spending (education, HUD, health, crime fighting, job training, arts, and food and farming) and eight categories of infrastructure spending (transportation, water, energy, military, veterans, government, outdoors, and emergency shelters). The Journal's data allow a comparison by each category of government spending. Their total accounts for $195 billion out of the $787 billion that will be spent on the stimulus. Out of this money, the amounts vary a lot across the nation, with the very lowest, a mere $504 per capita in Florida, to the highest, at $3,712 per capita in D.C.

If one relies on the accounts instead, which, as of July 8, reported $218 billion of spending but without the detailed breakdown provided by the Journal, the bottom line is the same: the money is not going to the states hardest hit by the recession or to the poorest states.

Politico reported on June 5 that the Stimulus tour visits by Mr. Obama and other administration officials across the country to tout the massive spending program or hand out stimulus cash to grateful local officials overwhelmingly took place in states that voted for Obama: 52 of the 66 events were in states that backed Obama. The other 14 events were in states that Obama lost only narrowly. A new study released by USA Today also finds that counties that voted for Obama received about twice as much stimulus money per capita as those that voted for McCain.

In our results, Obama's share of the vote accounted for only a small percentage of the variation in how the stimulus money is being allocated. A one percentage point increase in Obama's vote share means an additional $13.52 in per capita spending, but even then the relationship rests on the large amount of money given to D.C.

Breaking down the data by type of spending shows that money for infrastructure was much more likely than social spending to go to high-income states with low bankruptcy and foreclosure rates. Federal spending on construction and repairs to federal buildings as well as repairs to highways and public transit projects drives much of this perverse relationship between economic distress and infrastructure stimulus spending.

Tell me truthfully:  Did you really expect the Obama administration and its lopsided majorities in the house and senate to provide an honest "stimulus package"?  Did you really think there wouldn't be untold billions for Democratic special interest groups that stimulate nothing but the perpetuation of Democrats in office?  Did you really think that the money allocations would be based on state by state need, rather than voting patterns?

And - this is the cherry on top - it still isn't enough for these frauds.  They want more.  A second "stimulus package".  To do what?  Continue the good work of the first one?

We deserve this, folks.  We elected these people.   

The next national election is in November of 2010.  It can't come soon enough.


Ken Berwitz


Hamas Movie Celebrates A Terrorist

July 18th, 2009

From a popcorn buying Associated Press:

Hamas makes feature film about slain militant

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip   The Gaza movie premiere drew an exclusive crowd with local celebrities posing for jostling photographers and thats pretty much where the similarities end between Hollywood and the fledgling film industry of Gazas Hamas rulers.

The Islamic militants first feature film an action-packed homage to a top Hamas militant cost only $200,000 to make and is being shown to segregated audiences of bearded men and veiled women.

"Its Hamaswood instead of Hollywood," Fathi Hamad, Gazas Hamas interior minister, said after the films first showing Friday evening at Gaza Citys Islamic University. "We are trying to make quality art that is Islamic and about the resistance, without provocative (sexual) scenes."

The movie tells the story of Emad Akel, commander of the Hamas military wing, who was killed in a firefight with Israeli troops in Gaza in 1993.

Akel, 23 at the time, was known as "the ghost" for his many disguises, including dressing up as a Jewish settler with a skullcap. In the early 1990s, he topped Israels wanted list for his suspected role in killing 11 Israeli soldiers, an Israeli civilian and four Palestinian informers in a series of attacks.

In the two-hour movie, titled "Emad Akel," theres plenty of action. The hero frequently leaps out of cars to open fire on Israeli soldiers, prompting bursts of applause from the audience each time. Theres no romance, however, and the female actors all wear long robes and headscarves.

The actors playing the Israeli characters soldiers, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and his army chief of staff at the time, Ehud Barak speak in Hebrew with a heavy Arabic accent, and their dialogue is translated in Arabic subtitles.

Rabin frequently yells at an inept Barak now Israels defense minister who cant stop Hamas fighters. Israeli soldiers always seem asleep. Sleazy Israeli handlers try to persuade Palestinians to collaborate by offering them women and alcohol

The movie was shot over 10 months on a production lot that Hamas hopes will one day grow into a $200 million media city. As part of its media empire, Hamas already operates a Gaza-based satellite television station, a radio station and a dozen news Web sites. Two daily newspapers are linked to Hamas, and the group produces a Hamas newsletter and an occasional glossy for its militant wing

Hamad and Zahar want to make their next movie about Palestinian fighter Izzedine al-Qassam, after whom their military wing is named

At Fridays invitation-only screening, the real stars were Zahar, Hamad and Gazas Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh. They chatted with the actors and posed for photographs.

Zahar said making movies is just another way for Palestinians to fight Israeli rule.

"Resistance can be a word, a poem," he said.

You would think all of this would be redundant, given how strongly Hollywood backs the Palestinians.

But the locals probably cant see most of Hollywoods pro-Palestinian because of all that naked woman flesh.

After all, if their young men get the idea that they can find female companionship in this life they might not be as eager to blow themselves up to get to the houris of paradise.

These are the folks Israel is supposed to make peace with?


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