Thursday, 17 September 2009


Ken Berwitz

Larry Elder knows what he knows.  And he knows jimmy carter perfectly.  Watch him (deservedly) take carter apart below): 

Jimmy Carter Is More Proof Of Elvis Factor

By LARRY ELDER | Posted Thursday, September 17, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Jimmy Carter strikes again!

The former president is not content having left office with high inflation, high interest rates and high unemployment.

Nor is he content with having signed into law the Community Reinvestment Act strengthened by President Bill Clinton which played a major role in the eventual housing market meltdown.

Nor is he content with having cut the legs from under the Shah of Iran, which led to the establishment of the Islamic theocracy in Iran a state that pursues a nuclear weapon, funds the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and continues to undermine the fledgling democracy of Iraq.

Nor is he content as ex-president with writing a book in which he likened the state of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians to South Africa under apartheid.

Now the former president claims the opposition to President Obama in general and his attempt at "health care reform" in particular stems from . . . "racism"!

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter said in an NBC interview.

"Racism . . . still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."

That same day, during a town hall meeting at his presidential center in Atlanta, Carter also called Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst shouted at Obama during his health care address to Congress racist.

"I think it's based on racism," Carter said. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."

Let's analyze this.

The president overwhelmingly carried "the black vote." Recently, California voters changed the state's constitution to abolish same-sex marriage. Obama publicly opposed this change. Yet opposition to same-sex marriage by black voters the very ones who voted for the president helped to strike down same-sex marriage.

GOP And Powell

Black voters differentiated their general support for the president from their opposition to him on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Similarly, most Republicans who voted against the president in November 2008 support his decision to increase our troop commitment in Afghanistan. Republicans, not unlike the black voters in California, differentiated their opposition to the election of the president from their support for his decision on an issue the war against Islamofascists in Afghanistan with which they agree.

In 2000, many Republicans urged a black man, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, to run for president. If Powell had chosen to pursue it and had secured the Republican Party's nomination, he could well have become the country's first black president with broad GOP support.

In 2006, a black man, then-Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, ran for U.S. Senate as a Republican. Then-Sen. Barack Obama campaigned against him and in favor of his white Democratic opponent.

President Obama A Racist?

Obama told an audience at the historically black Bowie State University:

"Listen, I think it's great that the Republican Party has discovered black people. But here's the thing . . . . You don't vote for somebody because of what they look like. You vote for somebody because of what they stand for."

Did this make Obama a "racist" against his own people by opposing a fellow black?

Mr. Carter, please ponder the following question:

Why, in 1993, did "racist" conservatives oppose President Clinton's attempt at government seizure of health care? Clinton, remember, was and remains white.

Do some Americans oppose the president because of his race? Yes, 3%. Back in 1958, only 35% of whites said they would vote for a black president. By 2006, a mere 3% of all voters said they would not vote for a black president.

Call it the "Elvis Factor." A few years ago, a poll found that 10% of Americans believed Elvis Presley was still alive, and 8% believe that if you send him a letter he will get it.

The notion that we can reach a sort of nonracist, nonsexist, nonhomophobic nirvana is romantic, unrealistic and nonsensical. Wing nuts will, unfortunately, always be with us.

It is, however, even more unfortunate that a former president of the United States sits among them.

 Beautiful job, Mr. Elder. 

Now, will jimmy carter just shut the hell up and go away.  For good.

We can only hope.....

Zeke ..... Clearly, Mr. Boswell, Dr. Samuel Johnson needs to be informed: ..... Racism is the last refuge of the scoundrel (09/18/09)



Ken Berwitz

Want to see a complete screwing by President Obama of our Eastern European allies -- and, of course, Israel?

From Reuters:

U.S. replaces Bush plan for Europe missile shield

Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:50pm EDT

By Jeff Mason and Adam Entous

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday dumped a Bush-era missile defense plan for Europe that Russia had bitterly opposed and offered what he said would be faster, more flexible defense systems to protect against Iran.

In a move that could spur fears of resurgent Kremlin influence, Obama said he had approved recommendations from U.S. military leaders to shift focus to defending against Iran's short- and medium-range missiles.

"This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack," Obama said, scrapping plans put in place by his White House predecessor George W. Bush for ground-based interceptors in Poland and a related radar site in the Czech Republic.

Under the new U.S. plan, missile interceptors would initially be placed on ships and land-based defense systems would be fielded in a second phase.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the decision, which removed an issue clouding U.S. efforts to enlist Russian support on Afghanistan, Iran and nuclear arms control.

"We value the U.S. president's responsible approach toward implementing our agreements," Medvedev said in an address shown on national television. "I am ready to continue the dialogue."

But critics accused the White House of dangerous weakness. The Bush plans for the missile shield had raised hopes of huge contracts among U.S. defense giants, although analysts said weapons makers were still likely to profit.

Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate who lost to Obama in 2008, blasted the move as "seriously misguided" and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a leading Bush-era hawk, was scathing.

"It's just unambiguously a bad decision," Bolton said. "Russia and Iran are the big winners. I just think it's a bad day for American national security."

The Bush administration had proposed the system amid concerns Iran was trying to develop nuclear warheads it could mount on long-range missiles. But Russia saw it as a threat to its own missile defenses and overall security.


Outlining the new approach, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States would deploy Aegis-equipped ships with interceptors capable of shooting down ballistic missiles to defend both European allies and U.S. forces.

Gates said land-based defense systems would be fielded in a second phase starting in about 2015.

"Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing," Gates said.

Marine Corps General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon also envisioned eventually deploying a land-based radar as part of the system which would ideally be based in the Caucasus.

"Clearly it is a shift in the specific components of the missile defense system, the architecture of the missile defense system, but it continues our commitment to the security of Europe," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

Shares of U.S. companies involved in missile defense, including Boeing Co, Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp and Raytheon Co, were little changed in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

The decision had been widely anticipated, with the contractors also likely to benefit from the administration's revised missile-defense plans.

Analysts said investors could see some long-term trade and other benefits if the U.S. missile decision improves relations with Russia, but noted that there were also risks if Moscow ended up in taking a more assertive posture.


The move drew praise from Obama's fellow Democrats and some arms control advocates who saw the Bush plan as aimed at a Iranian missile threat that did not yet exist.

"The Obama administration is restoring American credibility while protecting our national security and that of our allies by canceling a failed, ideologically driven program," said the pro-Obama National Security Network.

The White House rejected Republican charges it had made a major concession to Moscow without winning anything in return. "This is not about Russia," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, adding there was no quid pro quo expected.

But other Democrats said they hoped for a pay-off on Iran policy where Russia is seen as a reluctant partner in efforts to end Tehran's nuclear program.

"It is time for Russia to join our push to impose stricter sanctions on Iran," Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said.

Republicans -- who hope to build momentum against Obama after a summer dominated by angry debate over his healthcare reform plan -- wasted no time assigning blame.

"The reported decision to scrap missile defense for Europe sounds dangerously like a policy of appeasement," Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

Such fears were likely to grow in eastern European states, many of which had seen the large missile plan as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the defense against any encroachment by its former Soviet rulers 20 years after the end of communist rule.

Obama informed the Czech and Polish governments of his decision just hours before the announcement, officials said. In Poland, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said the United States would still go ahead with plans to station a battery of armed Patriot missiles on Polish soil.

Some European analysts said the U.S. move could help the traditionally pro-American region to build a more pragmatic relationship with both Washington and Moscow.

A senior Iranian government source said the move could signal a move away from what he called 'threats and confrontation' over Iran's nuclear program.

(Additional reporting by Jan Lopatka in Prague, Conor Sweeney in Moscow, Jim Wolf in Washington and Ross Colvin in Baghdad, Tim Hepher; Writing by Andrew Quinn; Editing by Patricia Wilson and Jackie Frank)

Under President Bush, the former soviet socialist republics of Eastern Europe became some of the most reliably pro-USA countries in the world.  This is Baracks thanks to them giving the store to Russia, as it aggressively moves towards recreating a new version of the USSR (look at its actions in Georgia and see the future).

And Iran?  There's the signal that we aren't going to be a problem to them -- as they continue their movement toward the nuclear weaponry that they will use when they try to make good on the threat to "wipe Israel off the face of the map".

That is what passes for foreign policy in the Obama administration. 
As for the 78% of Jews who voted for Barack Obama in last year's election?  I hope you're happy with what you got.  But speaking as one of the other 22%, I can assure you I am not.


Ken Berwitz

Here's a story about health care that our wonderful "neutral" media should be all over.

From Terry Trippany, writing for

87% of Employers to Reduce Benefits if Health Care Reform Increases Costs

By Terry Trippany | September 17, 2009 - 13:38

Will The MSM Notice?

A Towers Perrin Survey came across the Business Wire on Reuters this morning stating that a majority of employers surveyed will reduce benefits resulting from the proposed Democrat Health Care Reform bill that is working its way through Congress if it increases costs.

A Towers Perrin Survey came across the Business Wire on Reuters this morning stating that a majority of employers surveyed will reduce benefits resulting from the proposed Democrat Health Care Reform bill that is working its way through Congress if it increases costs.

Of course, none of this will mean a thing if health care costs don't rise under Obamacare.  And if you believe the crap you are being, the facts you are being sincerely told by Mr. Obama and his administration, you might even believe that's what will happen.

But what if it doesn't?  What then?  The above table answers that one pretty clearly.

Now the big question:  what about media coverage.  Will they cover it?  Or will they bury this story and give us yet another example of pro-Obama bias (number 348, 573 so far, give or take a few).

I'll wait and see.  But you know as well as I do what the likelihood is.


Ken Berwitz

For months I (and many others) have blogged that the so-called "stimulus package" is not working.  I (we) have cited a number of reasons, including the unemployment rate - which President Obama told us would cap at 8% if the package was in place, but would go to 9% if it was not.  (Today's unemployment rate, with the stimulus package, is 9.7% and rising).

But now six months have passed since the "stimulus package" was signed into law and we have a much better handle on whether or not it is working.  So is it?

In a word:  no.

From today's Wall Street Journal:

The Stimulus Didn't Work


The data show government transfers and rebates have not increased consumption at all.



Is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 working? At the time of the act's passage last February, this question was hotly debated. Administration economists cited Keynesian models that predicted that the $787 billion stimulus package would increase GDP by enough to create 3.6 million jobs. Our own research showed that more modern macroeconomic models predicted only one-sixth of that GDP impact. Estimates by economist Robert Barro of Harvard predicted the impact would not be significantly different from zero.


Now, six months after the act's passage, we no longer have to rely solely on the predictions of models. We can look and see what actually happened.


Consider first the part of the package that consists of government transfers and rebates. These include one-time payments of $250 to eligible individuals receiving Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, veterans benefits or railroad retirement benefits and temporary reductions in income-tax withholding for a refundable tax credit of up to $400 for individuals and $800 for families with incomes below certain thresholds. These payments, which began in March of this year, were intended to increase consumption that would help jump-start the economy. Now that a good fraction of these actions have taken place, we can assess their impact.


The nearby chart reviews income and consumption through July, the latest month this data is available for the U.S. economy as a whole. (TO SEE CHART, CLICK HERE)


Consider first the part of the chart pertaining to the spring of this year and observe that disposable personal income (DPI) the total amount of income people have left to spend after they pay taxes and receive transfers from the government jumped. The increase is due to the transfer and rebate payments in the 2009 stimulus package. However, as the chart also shows, there was no noticeable impact on personal consumption expenditures. Because the boost to income is temporary, at best only a very small fraction was consumed.


This is exactly what one would expect from "permanent income" or "life-cycle" theories of consumption, which argue that temporary changes in income have little effect on consumption. These theories were developed by Milton Friedman and Franco Modigliani 50 years ago, and have been empirically tested many times. They are much more accurate than simple Keynesian theories of consumption, so the lack of an impact should not be surprising.


Indeed, one need not have looked any further than the Bush administration's Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 to find plenty of evidence that temporary payments of this kind would not jump-start consumption. That package made one-time payments and rebates to people in the spring of 2008, but, as the chart shows, failed to stimulate consumption as had been hoped. Some argued that other factors such as high oil and gasoline prices caused consumption to fall during this period and that consumption would have been even lower without the stimulus, but no significant impact of these rebates is found even after controlling for oil prices.


Consider next the government-spending part of the stimulus package. The Obama administration points to the sharp reduction in the decline in real GDP from the first to the second quarter of 2009 as evidence that the package is working. Economic growth was minus 6.4% in the first quarter and minus 1% in the second quarter, so the implied improvement of 5.4 percentage points is indeed big. But how much of that improved growth rate can be attributed to higher government spending due to the stimulus? If we rely on predictions of models, again we see disagreement and debate. According to our research with modern macroeconomic models, the increase in government spending would add less than a percentage point, a relatively small portion. The model predictions cited by the administration's economists suggest a much larger portion: two to three percentage points. Prof. Barro's model predicts zero.


So let's look at the data on the contributions of government spending and other components of GDP to the 5.4 percentage-point improvement. By far the largest positive contributor to the improvement was investment which went from minus 9% to minus 3.2%, an improvement of 5.8% and more than enough to explain the improved GDP growth. Investment by private business firms in plant, equipment and inventories, rather than residential investment, were the major contributors to the investment improvement. In contrast, consumption was a negative contributor to the change in GDP growth, because consumption growth declined following the passage of the stimulus package.


One is hard put to see what specific items in the stimulus act could have arrested the decline in business investment by such a magnitude. When one looks at monthly investment indicators such as new orders for nondefense capital goods one sees a flattening out starting early in the first quarter of 2009, well before the package went into operation. The free fall of investment orders caused by the financial panic last fall stabilized substantially by January, and investment has remained relatively stable since then. This created the residue of a very large negative growth rate from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009, and then moderation from the first quarter to the second of 2009. There is no plausible role for the fiscal stimulus here.


Direct evidence of an impact by government spending can be found in 1.8 of the 5.4 percentage-point improvement from the first to second quarter of this year. However, more than half of this contribution was due to defense spending that was not part of the stimulus package. Of the entire $787 billion stimulus package, only $4.5 billion went to federal purchases and $17.7 billion to state and local purchases in the second quarter. The growth improvement in the second quarter must have been largely due to factors other than the stimulus package.


Incoming data will reveal more in coming months, but the data available so far tell us that the government transfers and rebates have not stimulated consumption at all, and that the resilience of the private sector following the fall 2008 panic not the fiscal stimulus program deserves the lion's share of the credit for the impressive growth improvement from the first to the second quarter. As the economic recovery takes hold, it is important to continue assessing the role played by the stimulus package and other factors. These assessments can be a valuable guide to future policy makers in designing effective policy responses to economic downturns.

There you have it.  We mortgaged our children and grandchildren's future to get a stimulus package that has stimulated nothing except the bank accounts of special interest groups who support President Obama.

Do you recall that Mr. Obama demanded this bill be passed before anyone had a chance to read it? 

Do you recall his doomsday speeches about what would happen if we didn't pass it that second? 

And then, do you recall, Mr. Obama waited FIVE DAYS to sign the bill, because it would enable him to do so at a huge, highly publicized rally in Denver, Colorado?

We should have known then.  We sure as hell should know now. 

But sadly, there are still plenty of us who still don't know and never will.

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