Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Ken Berwitz

That questions looks a little far-fetched.  But is it? 

Here is Bret Stephens' brilliant, and unsettling, analysis in today's Wall St. Journal:

Obama Is Pushing Israel Toward War

President Obama can't outsource matters of war and peace to another state.


Events are fast pushing Israel toward a pre-emptive military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, probably by next spring. That strike could well fail. Or it could succeed at the price of oil at $300 a barrel, a Middle East war, and American servicemen caught in between. So why is the Obama administration doing everything it can to speed the war process along?


At July's G-8 summit in Italy, Iran was given a September deadline to start negotiations over its nuclear programs. Last week, Iran gave its answer: No.


Instead, what Tehran offered was a five-page document that was the diplomatic equivalent of a giant kiss-off. It begins by lamenting the "ungodly ways of thinking prevailing in global relations" and proceeds to offer comprehensive talks on a variety of subjects: democracy, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, "respect for the rights of nations," and other areas where Iran is a paragon. Conspicuously absent from the document is any mention of Iran's nuclear program, now at the so-called breakout point, which both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his boss Ali Khamenei insist is not up for discussion.


What's an American president to do in the face of this nonstarter of a document? What else, but pretend it isn't a nonstarter. Talks begin Oct. 1.


All this only helps persuade Israel's skittish leadership that when President Obama calls a nuclear-armed Iran "unacceptable," he means it approximately in the same way a parent does when fecklessly reprimanding his misbehaving teenager. That impression is strengthened by Mr. Obama's decision to drop Iran from the agenda when he chairs a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Sept. 24; by Defense Secretary Robert Gates publicly opposing military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities; and by Russia's announcement that it will not support any further sanctions on Iran.


In sum, the conclusion among Israelis is that the Obama administration won't lift a finger to stop Iran, much less will the "international community." So Israel has pursued a different strategy, in effect seeking to goad the U.S. into stopping, or at least delaying, an Israeli attack by imposing stiff sanctions and perhaps even launching military strikes of its own.


Thus, unlike Israel's air strike against Iraq's reactor in 1981 or Syria's in 2007, both of which were planned in the utmost secrecy, the Israelis have gone out of their way to advertise their fears, purposes and capabilities. They have sent warships through the Suez Canal in broad daylight and conducted widely publicized air-combat exercises at long range. They have also been unusually forthcoming in their briefings with reporters, expressing confidence at every turn that Israel can get the job done.


The problem, however, is that the administration isn't taking the bait, and one has to wonder why. Perhaps it thinks its diplomacy will work, or that it has the luxury of time, or that it can talk the Israelis out of attacking. Alternatively, it might actually want Israel to attack without inviting the perception that it has colluded with it. Or maybe it isn't really paying attention.


But Israel is paying attention. And the longer the U.S. delays playing hardball with Iran, the sooner Israel is likely to strike. A report published today by the Bipartisan Policy Center, and signed by Democrat Chuck Robb, Republican Dan Coats, and retired Gen. Charles Ward, notes that by next year Iran will "be able to produce a weapon's worth of highly enriched uranium . . . in less than two months." No less critical in determining Israel's timetable is the anticipated delivery to Iran of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft batteries: Israel will almost certainly strike before those deliveries are made, no matter whether an Iranian bomb is two months or two years away.


Such a strike may well be in Israel's best interests, though that depends entirely on whether the strike succeeds. It is certainly in America's supreme interest that Iran not acquire a genuine nuclear capability, whether of the actual or break-out variety. That goes also for the Middle East generally, which doesn't need the nuclear arms race an Iranian capability would inevitably provoke.


Then again, it is not in the U.S. interest that Israel be the instrument of Iran's disarmament. For starters, its ability to do so is iffy: Israeli strategists are quietly putting it about that even a successful attack may have to be repeated a few years down the road as Iran reconstitutes its capacity. For another thing, Iran could respond to such a strike not only against Israel itself, but also U.S targets in Iraq and the Persian Gulf.


But most importantly, it is an abdication of a superpower's responsibility to outsource matters of war and peace to another state, however closely allied. President Obama has now ceded the driver's seat on Iran policy to Prime Minister Netanyahu. He would do better to take the wheel again, keeping in mind that Iran is beyond the reach of his eloquence, and keeping in mind, too, that very useful Roman adage, Si vis pacem, para bellum.

I realize that it is much more fun stand in front of adoring crowds at safe, campaign-like venues, and propound on the meaning of life to continuous cheers. 

But, as President, you're also supposed to get something done - other than selling out our future with a "stimulus package" that has stimulated nothing but the coffers of people who support you (2.4 million jobs lost since it was implemented, and a 9.7% unemployment rate).

The middle east would be a very good place to start being effective.  Because, as Bret Stephens clearly shows us, doing nothing might cause a war.  Soon.  Very soon.

By the way, in case you're wondering about that Roman adage, it means "if you wish for peace, prepare for war"  No truer words were ever spoken.

Zeke ... When a nation 'outsources' its wars, events may not go the way it was anticipated. ... 1) Israel might decide it cannot destroy all of Iran's nuclear facilities (distance too great, multiple facilities, situated in deep caves & tunnels, sophisticated anti-aircraft defenses) 2) Israel could conclude that its only option is to eliminate Iran's oil industry ... by dirty bombs ... making oil fields highly radioactive for 10,000 years (and the price of oil is hundreds of dollars/bbl) ....3) Israel could conclude it must eliminate the oil wealth of all arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lybia, Iraq, etc) .. and similarly make their oil fields radioactive. 4) Far fetched ? Sure ... Possible, if the alternative is destruction of Israel .... Once oil is no longer a factor in international relations (since the Mideast is no longer producing any), the world will ignore the region. (09/15/09)


Ken Berwitz

In this case, the answer is profoundly important to the future of the United Kingdom.  Read the following excerpt from an article in London's daily Telegraph and see if you agree:

Mohammed is most popular name for baby boys in London

Mohammed is now the most common name for baby boys born in London and three other English regions, official Government figures have shown.


By Rebecca Lefort and Ben Leapman
Published: 5:07PM BST 15 Sep 2009

The Islamic name overtook traditional choices like Jack, Thomas and Daniel to become the number one name in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North West, as well as in the capital, in 2008.

The figures emerged in a detailed regional breakdown of figures published last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is the first time that the Muslim name has been shown to the top choice for parents in any part of the UK. In previous years no regional figures were disclosed, only nationwide totals.

When various spellings of the Islamic prophet are added together - including Muhammad, Mohammad, Mohamed and Muhammed - the name is now more than twice as popular in London as the capital's second-ranked boys name, Daniel. There were 1,828 baby boys given the name Mohammed, including varients, in 2008, compared with only 844 who were called Daniel.

London is not the first European capital to see Mohammed become the number one name for baby boys. In Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Oslo the name has already gained the top slot.

The way in which the true figures emerged, days after the official publication, will fuel claims that Government statisticians tried to play down the increasing popularity of the Muslim name. The official announcement by the ONS, which does not take varient spellings into account, states that Mohammed was only the third most popular name in London.

In the West Midlands, 1,399 baby boys were given the name Mohammed last year, including varient spellings, almost twice as many as the next most popular name, Jack, with 768.

In the North West 1,337 boys were named Mohammed, including varients, beating Jack into second place with 1,154. And in Yorkshire and the Humber there were 1,255 babies registered with the name Mohammed, including varients, with Jack again second with 854.

Throughout England and Wales Mohammed, including its varient spellings, was the third most popular name, with 6,591 newborns given the religious name, behind Jack with 8,007 and Oliver with 7,413.

What does this tell you about the future of the UK?  Of the continuity of its British culture?

Do you really need me to figure it out?


Ken Berwitz

What will our health care future be if we adopt "Obamacare"?

Anything like Britain's?  There are people who would cheer if the answer to that question is "yes".  But I don't know why.  And, after reading Rupert Darwell's piece in today's Wall St. Journal I doubt you will know why either.  Here it is (the bold print is mine):

Government Medicine vs. the Elderly

In Britain in 2007-08, 16.5% of deaths came after 'terminal sedation.'



Rarely has the Atlantic seemed as wide as when America's health-care debate provoked a near unanimous response from British politicians boasting of the superiority of their country's National Health Service. Prime Minister Gordon Brown used Twitter to tell the world that the NHS can mean the difference between life and death. His wife added, "we love the NHS." Opposition leader David Cameron tweeted back that his plans to outspend Labour showed the Conservatives were more committed to the NHS than Labour.

This outbreak of NHS jingoism was brought to an abrupt halt by the Patients Association, an independent charity. In a report, the association presented a catalogue of end-of-life cases that demonstrated, in its words, "a consistent pattern of shocking standards of care." It provided details of what it described as "appalling treatment," which could be found across the NHS.

A few days later, a group of senior doctors and health-care experts wrote to a national newspaper expressing their concern about the Liverpool Care Pathway, a palliative program being rolled out across the NHS involving the withdrawal of fluids and nourishment for patients thought to be dying. Noting that in 2007-08, 16.5% of deaths in the U.K. came after "terminal sedation," their letter concluded with the chilling observation that experienced doctors know that sometimes "when all but essential drugs are stopped, 'dying' patients get better" if they are allowed to.

The usual justification for socialized health care is to provide access to quality health care for the poor and disadvantaged. But this function can be more efficiently performed through the benefits system and the payment of refundable tax credits.

The real justification for socialized medicine is left unstated: Because health-care resources are assumed to be fixed, those resources should be prioritized for those who can benefit most from medical treatment. Thus the NHS acts as Britain's national triage service, deciding who is most likely to respond best to treatment and allocating health care accordingly.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the NHS is institutionally ageist. The elderly have fewer years left to them; why then should they get health-care resources that would benefit a younger person more? An analysis by a senior U.K.-based health-care expert earlier this decade found that in the U.S. health-care spending per capita goes up steeply for the elderly, while the U.K. didn't show the same pattern. The U.K.'s pattern of health-care spending by age had more in common with the former Soviet bloc.

A scarcity assumption similar to the British mentality underlies President Barack Obama's proposed health-care overhaul. "We spend one-and-a-half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we aren't any healthier for it," Mr. Obama claimed in his address to Congress last Wednesday, a situation that, he said, threatened America's economic competitiveness.

This assertion is seldom challenged. Yet what makes health care different from spending on, say, information technologyor any category of consumer servicesuch that spending on health care is uniquely bad for the American economy? Distortions like malpractice suits that lead to higher costs or the absence of consumer price consciousness do result in a misallocation of resources. That should be an argument for tackling those distortions. But if high health-care spending otherwise reflects the preferences of millions of consumers, why the fuss?

The case for ObamaCare, as with the NHS, rests on what might be termed the "lump of health care" fallacy. But in a market-based system triggering one person's contractual rights to health care does not invalidate someone else's health policy. Instead, increased demand for health care incentivizes new drugs, new therapies and better ways of delivering health care. Government-administered systems are so slow and clumsy that they turn the lump of health-care fallacy into a reality.

According to the 2002 Wanless report, used by Tony Blair's government to justify a large tax hike to fund the higher spending, the NHS is late to adopt and slow to diffuse new technology. Still, NHS spending more than doubled to 103 billion in 2009-10 from 40 billion in 1999-2000, equivalent to an average growth rate of over 7% a year after inflation.

In 1965, economist (and future Nobel laureate) James Buchanan observed of the 17-year old NHS that "hospital facilities are overcrowded, and long delays in securing treatment, save for strictly emergency cases, are universally noted." Forty-four years later, matters are little improved. The Wanless report found that of the five countries it looked at, the U.S. was the only one to be both an early adopter and rapid diffuser of new medical techniques. It is the world's principal engine driving medical advance. If the U.S. gets health-care reform wrong, the rest of the world will suffer too.

How do you feel after reading this?  Do you feel better about our prospects under "Obamacare"?

If you do not, then you probably understand those town hall meetings over the past few months.  You also probably understand the Tea Party march on Washington this past weekend. 

And I'm sure you understand why our wonderful "neutral" media, ever vigilant to pump up President Obama and Democrats in general, were so quick to underplay and/or dump on both.

Zeke ... No, No, No. ... The British NHS (National Health Service) is NOT the plan for the US. ... Instead, watch the movie, "Logan's Run". ----- anyone over the age of 30 is euthanized. ---- the bottom line is that despite increasing life span by 25 years in the last generation, "government policy" will be to withhold life extending care... Hell... don't pussyfoot. No health services for anyone over 30. In fact, no food for anyone over 30. ... Don't stop with half measures. (09/15/09)


Ken Berwitz

You think that conservative writers don't get equal treatment by media?  Geez loueez, what's the matter with you?  Why would you say such a thing?

Well, here's a reason or two, from Matt Philbin and Zoe Ortiz of the Cultural media institute.  I am putting up the executive summary of their carefully researched, eye-opening essay,  Unmentionable:  Best-Selling Conservative Books and the Networks that Ignore Them:

Executive Summary


Since the 1940s, an appearance on The New York Times Best-Seller List has been the mark of commercial success for any book. Authors with titles on the list can count on media attention to help sell even more copies. Unless they are conservatives.


Conservative books and authors have been very successful recently, as evidenced by their showing on the best-seller list. Since January 2009, conservatives enjoyed 95 total weeks on the list, compared to just 80 weeks for liberal books and authors. At this writing Michelle Malkins Culture of Corruption was at No.1, and several other conservative titles have prominent berths on the list.


But as the Culture and Media Institute discovered, viewers of ABC, CBS and NBC might never know of the popularity and commercial success of those conservative books.


CMI studied the coverage network news organizations gave to 25 books that appeared on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best-Seller List during the first half of 2009. Of those, 14 were liberal (either in subject or author) and 11 were conservative. The books in question covered current events and politics, political biography and economics. CMI analysis discovered a dramatic difference between the amount and quality of coverage.


Major Findings

CMI discovered a glaring imbalance in network coverage of liberal best sellers vs. comparable conservative titles.

  • Liberal Books Favored: The networks covered liberal books three times as often (36 to 12) as conservatives.
  • Liberal Authors Favored: 79 percent of the liberal authors on the list received at least a mention on the networks, compared to just 36 percent of conservatives.
  • Levin Snubbed: The book that was by far the most successful in both longevity and position on the Best-Seller List, Mark Levins Liberty and Tyranny did not garner a single network mention.
  • Interviewers Hostile to Conservative Authors: When conservative authors did appear on the networks, they were greeted with skepticism and adversarial questions. Conversely, liberal books were complimented.
  • ABC the Worst: ABC was the least balanced of the three networks, favoring liberals eight mentions to two (four to one). NBC was a close second at 20 mentions to six.
  • CBS the Best: CBS did the best job ensuring ideological balance in its book coverage, mentioning liberal books eight times and conservative books five times.


Networks must work to balance the quantity and quality of coverage they give to liberal and conservative authors. Some suggestions:

  • Watch the Numbers: While one-for-one parity isnt necessary, producers should keep in mind which authors and what books theyve covered recently, and try to ensure diversity of perspective. 
  • Make it a Popularity Contest: Networks should consider the popularity of the books they do viewers and themselves a disservice when they ignore remarkably successful titles.
  • Even-handed Interviews: Interviewers should either read and compliment the books of both sides, or refrain from complimenting any of them.
  • Consistency is a Key: Before interviewing someone from either side, on-air personalities should review the tone and type of questioning they used the last time they interviewed an author.

A few specific examples for you: 

-Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption" was the New York Times #1 best seller for 4 weeks.  But the Times did not bother to review the book and, other than Fox, Ms. Malkin got barely any TV time on the networks.

-Mark Levin's "Liberty & Tyranny:  A Conservative Manifesto" was the New York Times #1.best seller for 12 weeks.  This week it passed 1,000,000 book sales which, as an author myself, I can assure you is heaven on earth.  But the Times did not bother to review the book and, other than Fox, Mr. Levin got no TV time on any of the networks.

-Bill O'Reilly has written 3 books in the past several years that have hit #1 on the New York Times best seller list.  Not one of them has been reviewed by the Times.

-By contrast, liberal Thomas Friedman's "Hot, Flat and Crowded" was the New York Times #1 best seller for 2 weeks.  Being a Times writer he, of course, was reviewed by the paper.  But he also got 6 network appearances.  Levin, with 12 weeks on top and over 1,000,000 books sold, is still waiting for his first.

Media bias?  Naaaaahhhh.

Why would you say that?


Ken Berwitz

Is ACORN on the way out?

Well, let's review:  In recent months, this corruption-ridden de facto arm of the Democratic Party (remember those words, I'll be referring to them later on) has:

-Had millions and millions of dollars removed from its grasp in the so-called "stimulus package";

-Been dumped by the US Census Bureau from its roster of workers for the 2010 census;

-And now the U.S. Senate has refused to give ACORN federal housing funds -- after giving it tens of millions over the years.

From Reuters:

U.S. Senate denies funds for poverty group

Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:45pm EDT


By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A poverty-rights group that has drawn the ire of conservatives suffered another setback in Washington on Monday when the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to deny it access to federal housing funds.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which helps poor people fight foreclosures and fix tax problems, has received more than $53 million in U.S. funds since 1994, but conservatives' charges of widespread fraud have begun to impact its reputation in the capital.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau told the group it did not want its help boosting participation in next year's census.

The Senate measure, which passed 83 to 7 in the Democratic-led chamber, was included in a must-pass spending bill that funds housing and transportation programs for the fiscal year that starts October 1.

"This is an opportunity for the United States Senate to stand up and say 'Enough is enough' just as the Census Bureau did," said Republican Senator Mike Johanns, the measure's sponsor.

The bill includes $165 million for housing-counseling programs and $4 billion to help poor communities weather the worst recession since the 1930s.

ACORN said the Senate's action was disappointing but would have little impact on its overall operations.

"The only real victims of today's vote are the families who have benefited from ACORN's important work," ACORN chief Bertha Lewis said in a statement posted on the group's website.

The House of Representatives passed a similar spending bill without restrictions on ACORN. The House and Senate must resolved differences before a final measure can be sent to Obama to sign into law.

Republicans say ACORN engaged in widespread fraud during the 2008 presidential campaign when it launched a massive voter-registration drive in minority communities, which typically support Democrats and ended up voting overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama.

ACORN says less than 2 percent of its 1.3 million voter applications were fraudulent, stemming from canvassers who sought to boost the number of forms they turned in. Independent analysts say any actual impact on the election was negligible.

The group has also suffered an embezzlement scandal involving the founder's brother.

ACORN more recently has been embarrassed by conservative activists who secretly taped employees in several cities giving tax advice to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute.

The group has fired several of those taped while denouncing the actions as a smear campaign.

Is this for real?  Is ACORN on the way out?  Or are Democrats cynically putting on a dog and pony show, designed to fool the sheeple into thinking so, when their real  intent is to quietly put ACORN right back in line for funds after a short period of time?

You'll pardon my cynicism here.  But ACORN has meant too much to Democrats for too long - too much to President Obama for too long - for me to believe the senate would just get rid of it in an almost unanimous vote, with little or no debate.  That does not in any way square with reality. 

I hope I'm wrong about this.  But I smell a rat. 


Ken Berwitz

What a great idea.  Take on a name like www.factcheck.com, write in an authoritative tone, and - to a lot of people, anyway - everything you write is the God's honest truth.

Or is it?

From an obviously (and understandably) agitated Steve Gilbert at www.sweetness-light.com:

FactCheck/Sweet Get Obama Lie Wrong

September 15th, 2009

From the laughably ill-named FactCheck.org:

Sweet: Another Stretch by Obama

September 13, 2009

The Chicago Sun Times columnist and Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet reports on an Obama exaggeration that we missed.

Sweet said Obama "went too far" when he said, in his health care speech to Congress and the nation Sept. 9:

Obama, Sept. 9: One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadnt reported gallstones that he didnt even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it.

Obama was referring to the widely reported case of a Otto Raddatz of Downers Grove, Illinois, who died in January.

Sweet agrees that "Raddatz suffered horrific treatment from his insurance company," Fortis Insurance Co., which she said "deserves all the scorn Obama sent its way." Fortis canceled his coverage while he was in chemotherapy for stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer. That did delay his treatment.

But coverage was reinstated  in April 2005, Sweet reports, and treatment resumed. "Raddatz did not, as Obama said, die because of delayed treatment in 2005." He died this year, nearly four years later. "The last sentence of Obamas cant be supported," she said, since theres "no proof" that Raddatz would have survived his cancer had his insurance coverage not been interrupted.

Sweet says she was told White House speechwriters got their information from an article in Slate magazine which reported the affair "incorrectly."

Note that FactCheck and Ms. Sweet still repeat the disinformation that Mr. Raddatzs treatment was delayed. It was not delayed at all, according to Mr. Raddatzs sister.

Thanks to her efforts, he was reinstated in time to get his stem cell transplant within the two week window, just as was originally scheduled.

Moreover, this was not a stretch, not an exaggeration. It was a deliberate flat-out lie.

And, worse yet, it was a lie solely told for political advantage as Mr. Obama is wont to do. (Not that you would ever know that from FactCheck, which regularly praises Mr. Obamas honesty.)

We also have to note that, despite FactChecks claims, it was Sweetness & Light who first uncovered Mr. Obamas misrepresentation of Mr. Raddatzs case.

Of course we cant expect FactCheck to get either of these minor details correct.

After all, Mr. Obama said Raddatzs treatment was delayed, so it must be true. And, worse yet, S&L is just one of those sewers of the internet.

Its not a highly respected news outlet, like all those who repeatedly reported Mr. Obamas claim as if it were gospel. Nor are we respected reporters, like Ms. Sweet, who doesnt even credit our widely broadcast discovery.

Heck, were not even considered a fact checking organization like Mr. Jacksons (formerly of CNN) sterling operation.

Even though we check more facts in a week than FactCheck.org has in its entire history.

Not hard to understand the anger, is it?

For the record, www.factcheck.com is an arm of the Annenberg Foundation.  The Annenberg Foundation handed the proud, unrepentant terrorist/radical william ayers something like $50 million dollars to disburse for "educational" purposes.  And ayers, hired Barack Obama to do most of the disbursing.

From the www.deathby1000papercuts.com web site:

Stanley Kurtz of the National Review has been closely following Obamas ties to Ayers as well as his association to ACORN .

While both the AP and the New York Times are reporting that there is no truth to the claims that Obama had ties to Ayers, Kurtz has uncovered a long standing association between the two men, one that leads straight to the Annenberg Foundation:

Ayers was a key founder of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

In 1995 Obama was appointed Board Chairman and President of the Annenberg Chicago Challenge, a branch of the Annenberg Foundation.

Ayers co-chaired the Chicago Annenberg Collaborative, which set education policy for the Challenge.

Obama was authorized to delegate to the Collaborative the development of collaborative projects and programs.

Obama had to obtain assistance of the Collaborative in the development of requests for proposals.

Obama had to seek advice from the Collaborative regarding the programmatic aspects of grant proposals.

Ayers sat on the same board as Obama as an ex officio member.

Obama and Ayers sat together on the boards Governance Committee.

Ayers and Obama were part of a group of four instructed to draft the bylaws that would govern CAC.

As Board Chair, Obama authorized the funding for Ayers educational projects, as well as projects of Ayers radical friends.

Obama and Ayers guided monies to ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

Kurtz also points out Obamas tenure as Board Chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge in regards to the one and only executive experience of Obama which was rated as a bust:

The Chicago Annenberg Challenge stands as Barack Obamas most important executive experience to date. By its own account, CAC was a largely a failure. And a series of critical evaluations point to reasons for that failure, including a poor strategy, to which the foundation over-committed in 1995, and over-reliance on community organizers with insufficient education expertise. The failure of CAC thus raises entirely legitimate questions, both about Obamas competence, his alliances with radical community organizers, and about Ayerss continuing influence over CAC and its board, headed by Obama. Above all, by continuing to fund Ayerss personal projects, and those of his political-educational allies, Obama was lending moral and material support to Ayerss profoundly radical efforts. Ayerss terrorist history aside, that makes the Ayers-Obama relationship a perfectly legitimate issue in this campaign.

Factcheck.org is part and parcel of the Annenberg Foundation. Factcheck was also chosen by the Obama campaign as the arbitrar of whether Obamas birth certificate, which purportedly proves hes a citizen of the United States, is authentic.

Now:  Do you really believe www.factcheck.com  is a credible source of information? 

Your call.


Ken Berwitz

The term "working class hero" has, over the years, become more than a little hackneyed.  Mor often than not it is used in a sarcastic or humorous way rather than as a serious description.

But there really are working class heroes.  And we lost one of them last Friday.

Almost everyone knows the name "Norma Rae" - the character played by Sally Field, who was instrumental in unionizing textile workers in a southern city.  Most people don't know the name Crystal Lee Sutton. 

But it was Crystal Lee Sutton's tireless work for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers union that "Norma Rae" was based on.

From the New York Times obituary:

(In 1973) Ms. Sutton (then Crystal Lee Jordan) was a 33-year-old mother of three earning $2.65 an hour folding towels at the J. P. Stevens plant in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., when she took her stand. Low pay and poor working conditions had impelled her to take a leading role in efforts to unionize the plant. She was met with threats, she said.

Management and others treated me as if I had leprosy, she later said in an interview for Alamance Community College, in Graham, N.C., which she attended in the 1980s.

After months trying to organize co-workers, Ms. Sutton was fired. When the police, summoned by the management, came to take her away, she made one last act of defiance.

I took a piece of cardboard and wrote the word union on it in big letters, got up on my worktable, and slowly turned it around, she said in the interview. The workers started cutting their machines off and giving me the victory sign. All of a sudden the plant was very quiet.

Within a year, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union had won the right to represent 3,000 employees at seven plants in Roanoke Rapids, including J. P. Stevens, which was then the second-largest textile manufacturer in the country.

In 1977, a court ordered that Ms. Sutton be rehired and receive back wages. She returned to work for two days, then quit and went to work as an organizer for the union.

Ms. Lee was 68 years of age.  The cause of death was brain cancer.

Her life reminds us of the importance of unions to working people who, without them, have no voice and no leverage.  She also reminds us that persistence and hard work can succeed, even against seemingly overwhelming odds.

A job well done, Ms. Lee.  May you rest in peace - with time and a half for overtime, of course.


Ken Berwitz

As promised, here is the follow-up on reaction to President Obama's health care speech, based on the three day rolling average polls conducted by Rasmussen Research and the Gallup Organization

President Obama made his speech on Wednesday, September 9, so there it had a minimal affect on the September 10 numbers (which incorporated interviewing from September 7 to 9), and, eventually full affect in the September 13 numbers (because all of the previous three days' interviews were conducted after the speech).  

Here are the data:




Presidential Approval Index

Strongly Approve

Strongly Disapprove

Total Approve

Total Disapprove








































9/12-14  52% - 41%

9/11-13  53% - 40%

9/10-12  53% - 40%

9/9-11    52% - 41%

9/8-10    51% - 42%

9/6-9      51% - 42%

9/5-8      51% - 41%

9/4-6      51% - 41%

9/3-5      52% - 41%


Bottom line:  In Rasmussen, President Obama lowered his "strongly disapprove" level by a just a few percentage points. But his total approval versus disapproval ratings are virtually unchanged.


In Gallup, his approval ratings have stayed virtually unchanged throughout the past week and a half.


If these data are accurate, it means President Obama's speech essentially got him nowhere with the American people.


Make of it what you will.


Ken Berwitz

In the world of President Obama, when the going gets tough, the tough go on TV as much as possible.

www.drudgereport.com  has just announced that, over the next week or so, Mr. Obama will be on the David Letterman show (the entire show), This Week, Face the Nation, Meet the Press, Late Edition and Al Punto.

I wouldn't be surprised if he starts turning up at baseball and football games too.  Heck, why stop there.  Maybe he can do the numbers and letters on Sesame Street.

But, at least so far, Fox News is shut out of his media blitz.  The only network that is not graced with Mr. Obama's presence. 

You decide why (and I'll bet, regardless of your politics, you have an answer or two).

Evidently the President feels that he can sell health care by making himself unavoidable on TV for a week.  The fact that he already has been out there relentlessly for the past several months and hasn't been able to sell it?  Irrelevent'n'immaterial.

I used to think that Senator Chuck Schumer was the biggest news hog in US politics.  But Barack Obama leaves him in the dust.

Maybe jawboning with congresspeople -- or (gasp!) including Republicans in the legislative process instead of piously assuring us that you want their input while completely shutting them out - might be a bit more effective.

But I guess we're not going to find out.


Ken Berwitz

I've written a lot about ACORN recently -- because there is a lot to write about. 

The organization has been caught in a three-city sting (so far) where it has aided and abetted the procurement of a home for the purpose of underage prostitution. 

The census bureau has dumped it from working the 2010 census

The Senate has voted to disallow it housing money.

These are major stories, every one of them. 

But are they properly being covered by our wonderful "neutral" media?  Is the coverage - where it exists at all - commensurate with the importance of the story?

From Dan Gainor at www.foxnews.com -- the bold print is mine:

ACORN Story Grows But Mainstream Media Refuse to Cover It

Dan Gainor, FOXNews.com, September 14, 2009


This story has everything you could ever want corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news directors dream.

Bruce Springsteen once wrote: From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come). I doubt he expected that story of love gone wrong would become ideal political commentary for the group known as ACORN. 

The small scandal showing an embarrassing video of Baltimore ACORN staffers looking like they were giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel, is now national news. -- This story has everything you could ever want corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news directors dream. Imagine the ratings!

Only almost no one is covering it. 

This is the news media in the era of Van Jones and President Obama. The major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want. When they find something inconvenient, they let it pass. They didnt like the Van Jones story, so they ignored it. The network news media liked the financial entity known as Fannie Mae, so they ignored that scandalous organization for years. ACORN is getting the same treatment.

But it isnt working any more. The ACORN fiasco has now impacted three offices Baltimore, Washington and New York with laugh-out-loud videos reminiscent of the hookers and pimps from the 1970s Starsky and Hutch show. Huggy Bear returns! Four employees have been fired, with more likely to come. And the controversy was so laughably bad that the Census Bureau cut off all ties to the group known formally as the "Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." -- They called it the tipping point to shed themselves of ACORN. More nuts for someone else, I guess.

And yet. And yet its still been ignored by the network news. Nothing on ABC, CBS or NBC. The only thing any one of the three broadcast networks has done appeared in a blog post by ABCs Jake Tapper. It's hardly worth noting except to show that the networks know about whats going on. They just dont care to report it. Only FOX News has bothered to report on the controversy.

The video scandal is only part of the fiasco that is this Saul Alinsky-esque community group. Just last week CNN reported that other ACORN employees were arrested in Florida. Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for 11 Florida voter registration workers who are suspected of submitting false information on hundreds of voter registration cards, according to court documents, said CNN.

Thats typical. The Web site "Rotten ACORN" is devoted to election fraud complaints against the organization. The sites map shows 14 different states where complaints have been filed. The last time any one of the broadcast networks talked about that was before the 2008 presidential election. That was NBC on Nov. 1. Nothing since.

Yes, the newspapers have taken a passing glance at the video story. The Post wrote about the firings in D.C. The New York Times ran a story by the Associated Press. Nothing more. I am underwhelmed. At least the Times covered it this time. With Jones, the Times waited until he had resigned to report he was under fire.

Whats worse with ACORN is that were paying for all this. At least in part. The Washington Examiner writes that they found that ACORN has received at least $53 million in federal money since 1994.

For its own part, ACORN naturally blamed someone else. In this case, FOX News, calling itself their Willy Horton for 2009. The ACORN state reads like a paranoids interpretation of the videos. Heres Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer, for the group:

The relentless attacks on ACORN's members, its staff and the policies and positions we promote are unprecedented. An international entertainment conglomerate, disguising itself as a news agency (FOX), has expended millions, if not tens of millions of dollars, in their attempt to destroy the largest community organization of Black, Latino, poor and working families in the country. It is not coincidence that the most recent attacks have been launched just when health care reform is gaining traction. It is clear they've had these tapes for months.

Yeah, all that about under-aged prostitution, corruption and government connections isnt news. People are just out to get ACORN. No wonder their name symbolizes a kind of nut. Too bad the rest of the media dont want us to know that.

Unbelievable?  Not in today's climate, sad to say.

The amazing thing is that these propagandists-posing-as-journalists look down their noses at Fox, when Fox is the only one covering this story. 

Is it "faux news" or "fixed news" when Fox reports a major event that other networks ignore, apparently because it doesn't fit their mindset? 

And let's be clear that ACORN is far from the only example.  You need only reference their non-coverage of the Tea Party march on Washington to see that.

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


Ken Berwitz

Barack Obama has selected 32 "czars" (so far) to run major areas of government.  They are unvetted.  Neither the voters nor congress has heard them explain who they are, what they are or why they are qualified for the positions they were handed.

van jones was one of them.  When we found out who and what he was, he had to resign. 

You would think this was a call for media to finally wake up and start doing what they're supposed to be doing in the first place - exposing what amounts to President Obama's secret little army of czars so that we can know who is running the country.

In this regard, like him or not for other reasons, we owe Glenn Beck a huge debt of gratitude.  He has put together a compendium of the "czars" so that you can know about them, which I posted on this blog a couple of weeks ago. 

But when do mainstream media report who they are?

Here, courtesy of Seton Motley at www.newsbusters.org is another one of the "czars" our wonderful "neutral" media are ignoring on Barack Obama's behalf.  His name is Mark Lloyd.  See what you think of him:

FCC 'Diversity' Czar on Chavez's Venezuela: 'Incredible...Democratic Revolution'

By Seton Motley

August 28, 2009 - 11:21 ET

We have written often about Mark Lloyd, who has since his July 29 appointment been reveling in the position created just for him, "Chief Diversity Officer" at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

As we have repeatedly stated, Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd is virulently anti-capitalist, almost myopically racially fixated and exuberantly pro-regulation.

(It will come as no surprise to those who follow the work of the Media Research Center to learn that Lloyd was also at one time, prior to attending law school, an Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer for among other outlets NBC and CNN.)   

Lloyd is in fact a Saul Alinsky disciple.  In his 2006 book entitled Prologue to a Farce: Communication and Democracy in America, he calls for an all-out "confrontational movement" against private media.  He wants leftist activists - through incessant political pressure - and the government - through the creation of a totally untenable operating environment of fees, fines and regulations - to work together to force the commercial broadcasters out, to be replaced by  public broadcasters. 

And in his tome, Lloyd had this to say about the First Amendment:

"It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press.  This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.

"[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."

Nice, eh?  Note how Lloyd views the freedoms of speech and the press as just two of a number of "communications policies." Ones that he appears to view as less than equal - and in fact impediments to - the others he seeks to see implemented in the interest of promoting "democratic governance."

Note Lloyd's use of the word "democratic" to describe the "governance" he seeks to promote.  It's the same word he uses to describe the work Hugo Chavez is doing in Venezuela

As we see here in a video (at right above) from the June 10, 2008 National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) in Minneapolis, Minnesota discovered by the intrepid people of the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck program, who used it in conjunction with their graciously having me on their airwaves on Wednesday.

What Lloyd says about Chavez is more than a mite frightening:

"In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution - a democratic revolution.  To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela.

"The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela rebelled - worked, frankly, with folks here in the U.S. government - worked to oust him.  But he came back with another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.  

"And we've had complaints about this ever since."

"The property owners and the folks who then controlled (read: OWNED) the media rebelled" in 2002 against Chavez's "incredible...democratic revolution."  You bet they did - they were watching Chavez seize their property and nationalize their industries. 

Lloyd then expresses disdain for the fact that there were some senior officials in the Bush Administration who gave a wink and a nod to the attempted ouster.  How dare we in any way intervene to prevent Chavez's full-on Communist takeover?

And this is where Lloyd gets really dangerous given his new gig: "But he (Chavez) came back with another revolution (in 2006), and then began to take very seriously the media in his country."

Well let's see; what does Lloyd mean by this?  How exactly did Chavez "beg(i)n to take very seriously the media in his country" when he "came back with another revolution?"

NGOs Warn of Restrictions in Pending Venezuela Law

Associated Press - May 7, 2009

Prominent Venezuelan nongovernmental organizations warned Thursday that a bill being drafted by lawmakers loyal to President Hugo Chavez could be used to financially strangle groups that criticize the government.

Chavez clamps down on broadcast media

Irish Examiner - Friday, July 10, 2009

President Hugo Chavez's government is imposing tough new regulations on Venezuela's cable television while revoking the licenses of more than 200 radio stations.

Report: Venezuela's Hugo Chvez aggressively seizing control of media

Miami Herald - August 14, 2009

An unclassified report lists examples of Venezuelan government efforts to crack down on or seize control of media outlets to stifle criticism.

How's that for a chronology of authoritarian censorship? 

Ridiculously exorbitant fees and fines on broadcasters could certainly be "used to financially strangle groups that criticize the government," could they not?  That is, when the government's not simply "revoking the licenses" of stations that don't toe the Party line.  Or better still, "seiz(ing) control of media outlets to stifle criticism."

This entire censorious evolution - from fines, to license rescissions to outright seizures - took place in just over three months.  This is Lloyd's definition of Chavez "tak(ing) very seriously the media in his country," as a part of leading an "incredible..democratic revolution." 

Please view the Media Research Center and other like-minded entities here in the U.S. as akin to the "Venezuelan nongovernmental organizations" sounding the alarm about the governmental hammer about to fall on dissenting media - in our case conservative and Christian talk radio.  We're the ones who've "had complaints about this" backdoor approach to silence the Right from its very inception.  

As we draw closer to its execution, we work to ensure that we too do not suffer a Venezuelan fate.  

Are you comfortable with mark lloyd holding an unelected, unvetted position of authority in our government?  If you are, then lucky you.  You've got him -- and media aren't going to challenge his appointment.

But if you aren't?  Then you've also got him -- and media aren't going to challenge his appointment.

How proud hugo chavez must be at what Barack Obama is learning from him. 

And how proud our mainstream media must be that they are facilitating it.

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