Monday, 21 September 2009

VIETGHANISTAN (OR IS IT AFGHANETNAM?)

Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from an article in today's Washington Post:

McChrystal: More Forces or 'Mission Failure'
Top U.S. Commander For Afghan War Calls Next 12 Months Decisive

By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 21, 2009

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict "will likely result in failure," according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) -- while Afghan security capacity matures -- risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible."

His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team.

McChrystal concludes the document's five-page Commander's Summary on a note of muted optimism: "While the situation is serious, success is still achievable."

But he repeatedly warns that without more forces and the rapid implementation of a genuine counterinsurgency strategy, defeat is likely. McChrystal describes an Afghan government riddled with corruption and an international force undermined by tactics that alienate civilians.

He provides extensive new details about the Taliban insurgency, which he calls a muscular and sophisticated enemy that uses modern propaganda and systematically reaches into Afghanistan's prisons to recruit members and even plan operations.

McChrystal's assessment is one of several options the White House is considering. His plan could intensify a national debate in which leading Democratic lawmakers have expressed reluctance about committing more troops to an increasingly unpopular war. Obama said last week that he will not decide whether to send more troops until he has "absolute clarity about what the strategy is going to be."

The commander has prepared a separate detailed request for additional troops and other resources, but defense officials have said he is awaiting instructions before sending it to the Pentagon.

Senior administration officials asked The Post over the weekend to withhold brief portions of the assessment that they said could compromise future operations. A declassified version of the document, with some deletions made at the government's request, appears at washingtonpost.com.

McChrystal makes clear that his call for more forces is predicated on the adoption of a strategy in which troops emphasize protecting Afghans rather than killing insurgents or controlling territory. Most starkly, he says: "[I]nadequate resources will likely result in failure. However, without a new strategy, the mission should not be resourced."

'Widespread Corruption'

The assessment offers an unsparing critique of the failings of the Afghan government, contending that official corruption is as much of a threat as the insurgency to the mission of the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, as the U.S.-led NATO coalition is widely known.

"The weakness of state institutions, malign actions of power-brokers, widespread corruption and abuse of power by various officials, and ISAF's own errors, have given Afghans little reason to support their government," McChrystal says.

The result has been a "crisis of confidence among Afghans," he writes. "Further, a perception that our resolve is uncertain makes Afghans reluctant to align with us against the insurgents."

McChrystal is equally critical of the command he has led since June 15. The key weakness of ISAF, he says, is that it is not aggressively defending the Afghan population. "Pre-occupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us -- physically and psychologically -- from the people we seek to protect. . . . The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves."

McChrystal continues: "Afghan social, political, economic, and cultural affairs are complex and poorly understood. ISAF does not sufficiently appreciate the dynamics in local communities, nor how the insurgency, corruption, incompetent officials, power-brokers, and criminality all combine to affect the Afghan population."

Coalition intelligence-gathering has focused on how to attack insurgents, hindering "ISAF's comprehension of the critical aspects of Afghan society."

In a four-page annex on detainee operations, McChrystal warns that the Afghan prison system has become "a sanctuary and base to conduct lethal operations" against the government and coalition forces. He cites as examples an apparent prison connection to the 2008 bombing of the Serena Hotel in Kabul and other attacks. "Unchecked, Taliban/Al Qaeda leaders patiently coordinate and plan, unconcerned with interference from prison personnel or the military."

Again and again, McChrystal makes the case that his command must be bolstered if failure is to be averted. "ISAF requires more forces," he states, citing "previously validated, yet un-sourced, requirements" -- an apparent reference to a request for 10,000 more troops originally made by McChrystal's predecessor, Gen. David D. McKiernan.

These are the geniuses who promised us what?

-A predetermined, publicized schedule of withdrawals from Iraq.  This is rapidly turning a war we won into a war that is in doubt, as insurgencies work with the timetable we have so conveniently provided them;

-A troop insurgency in Afghanistan.  This is doing little because, other than Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and just a few others, there is virtually nothing to defend.  Few countries are more desolate, or more comprised of mountains, caves, and friendly terrain across the border (Pakistan) where the enemy can hide.  That is why McChrystal is asking for more and more men.  It is also why the taliban could never be removed entirely, or anywhere near it, by the Bush administration, and why it will never be removed entirely, or anywhere near it, by the Obama administration.  The difference is that Bush and his people knew it.  Obama and his people do not.

By the way, didn't Mr. Obama promise us not just the defeat of the taliban, but the capture of osama bin laden?  What ever happened to that promise?  Mr. Obama doesn't talk about it any more, and our wonderful "neutral" media don't ask. 

So we slouch inexorably toward a new Vietnam.  Call it Vietghanistan, call it Afghanetnam.  Whichever name you choose, this disaster-in-the-making is still growing.

But do you see an outcry from our mainstream media?  Even a tiny fraction of what you saw for Iraq?

What great news for the politicos who work for Mr. Obama.  And what bad news for us.


LITTLEGREENFOOTBALL.COM'S LAST STRAW

Ken Berwitz

As you know, I provide a total of 20 links from this site - ten leftward and ten rightward.  That is because, whatever my thoughts are on any subject, I insist on providing access to differing points of view. I firmly believe that, in almost all cases, no one is truly informed about a topic unless all sides have been considered.

But there is now an imbalance.  In recent months, www.littlegreenfootballs.com has morphed from a mostly conservative site to a mostly leftward site - with a stream of nonstop whining from its owner, Charles Johnson, that he is being put upon by those terrible rightward people he was so friendly with until recently.

Despite the sudden, decisive change, I have left littlegreenfootballs.com on this site because a) I'm pretty lazy about things like this (sorry, folks - I'm a one-man outfit.  I don't have a staff to take care of the site's housekeeping) and b) I had hoped Charles was "going through a phase" as my mother used to say about my brother, sister and me, and would at least somewhat return to who he used to be.

But that isn't happening.

Just last week, www.powerlineblog.com dropped www.littlegreenfootballs.com from its links for the same reason I am about to - i.e. with the (notable) exception of his support for Israel, Charles has moved himself significantly leftward.  I wonder how much longer even his support of Israel will last:  based on the past few months, the clock is probably ticking.

The last straw was this morning, when I read his headline:  "Limbaugh:  'We Need Segregated Buses'", accompanied by a Media Matters-supplied audio which supposedly provides documentation of Mr. Limbaugh's overtly racist comment.

Well, it doesn't.  Not at all.

Limbaugh was commenting on last week's schoolbus incident, in which several Black students beat a White student while other Black students cheered them on.  Here is what Limbaugh actually said - straight from the link provided by Media Matters/Charles Johnson.  I have put the "offending comment" in bold print.  I have also posted the commentary which precedes it, so there is no doubt about context:

In Obamas America the White kids now get beat up, with the Black kids cheering yeah, right on, right on, right on, right on (NOTE I watched the video and heard the Black kids chanting something, but I couldnt tell what the exact words were.  In any event, their body language made it 100% clear they were egging the beating on).

And, of course, the White kid deseved ithe was born a racist, hes White.  Newsweek Magazine told us this.  We know that White students are destroying civility on buses, White students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, White congressmen destroying civility in the house of representatives.  And we can redistribute students while we redistribute their parents wealth.  I mean just redistribute everything. 

Just return the White students to their rightful place.  Their own bus.  With bars on the windows and armed guards.  Theyre racists, they get what they deserve.  Newsweek Magazine told us this.  Post-racial America.

The clear inference of Charles Johnson's headline is that Limbaugh wants Whites separated from Blacks (a la the old segregation days in the South, when Whites had everything and Blacks had next to nothing). 

But, as you can plainly see, Limbaugh's comment was a sarcasm that White students should be separated from Blacks because WHITES are "racists" and should "get what they deserve".  That is just about 180 degrees from Johnson's inference, isn't it? 

Look, regular readers of this blog know that I am no fan of Rush Limbaugh's.  I consider him insufferably pompous and arrogant.  And although I agree with some of his views, I also have problems with some of them (which, to be honest, I can say about pretty much every political commentator on the right or left). 

But what he was communicating here clearly is not what Media Matters, or Charles Johnson, is claiming.  

And it is also clear that this is not the same Charles Johnson he used to be.

It's not that I am about to put www.littlegreenfootballs.com on the left half of my links.  Not yet.  But it certainly has no place in the right half any more.

So in the next day or two it will be gone. 


SAUDI DUPLICITY ON THE BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL

Ken Berwitz

From the still pro-Israel Charles Johnson of www.littlegreenfootballs.com:

Our Friends the Saudis

World | Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 11:42:17 am PDT

You mean the Saudis lied when they said they would stop participating in the Arab League boycott of Israel? Shocka!

Leading Democratic and Republican congressmen expressed outrage following a report in Mondays Jerusalem Post that Saudi Arabia has been violating its promise to Washington to stop enforcing the Arab League boycott of Israel.

Democrat Howard Berman of California, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Post from Washington that he had read the report in Mondays paper.

This is a very disturbing report, Berman said, particularly in light of the fact that US officials assured us four years ago that Saudi Arabia would abandon the boycott as the condition for its entry into the World Trade Organization.

Truth be told, this is a shocker.

But the shocker isn't that Saudi Arabia was full of excrement when it said it would stop enforcing the boycott of Israel.  The shocker is that Howard Berman, who appears to have an IQ well above the 37 it would take to have believed Saudi Arabia, believed Saudi Arabia anyway,.

When do these people learn?  What does it take for them to get their heads out of their rectums?  How clear does it have to be?

The naivete of people like Howard Berman (and he is far from alone among congresspeople) makes life easy for the Saudis.  Let's make it tough.  Ok?


JAMES O'KEEFE, HANNAH GILES AND OUR WONDERFUL "NEUTRAL" MEDIA

Ken Berwitz

James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles have forced an almost uniformly recalcitrant mainstream media to cover just one element of the corruption of ACORN.  

Did you doubt they would be reviled for it?  

Here is the account of just how much and how quickly, by of www.powerlineblog.com.  The bold print is mine:

Sliming James O'Keefe: A case study

September 20, 2009 Posted by Scott at 11:01 PM

James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles are the young activists who have blown the lid off the criminal left-wing enterprise known as ACORN. If they were left-wingers exposing some conservative or religious organization, government-funded or not, the mainstream media would have hailed them as heroic whistleblowers, perhaps worthy of a Time cover. Instead, the media are doing their damndest to slime them.

Michael Barone reflects here on how the Washington Post has treated O'Keefe and Giles in the context of the ACORN story:

The Post's Thursday news story (headlined "ACORN to review incidents") helpfully identifies Giles as "the eldest daughter of a conservative Christian minister in Miami." (Questions for the reporter: Does it make any difference that she's the eldest rather than, say, the second eldest? On what basis do you characterize the minister as conservative, and why is that relevant? You characterize the minister as "Christian," but aren't all ministers in the U.S. Christian, or are you just trying to distinguish him from a cabinet minister?).

The Post's Friday story ("The $1,300 mission to fell ACORN") reads as if the reporters were assigned to find out what nefarious right-wing outfit financed their operation and came up empty. They did manage to include two paragraphs on the beliefs on Giles's father, apparently on the theory that it illuminates her motivation. Then it segues to an account by ACORN sources of how the two were thrown out of an ACORN office in Philadelphia when they mentioned 13-year-olds (but not when they mentioned prostitution?). I guess the idea is to discredit Giles and by inference O'Keefe as religious fanatics whose motivations should lead readers to disregard what's on their videos.

More could be said about the second of these two Post stories in particular. The Post implies that there is something to the suggestion that O'Keefe and Giles's work was not done independently: "O'Keefe insists that he and Giles's work was done independently and rejects liberal suggestions that the videos were bankrolled by conservative organizations. He does, however, acknowledge receiving help and advice from a conservative columnist and Web entrepreneur."

But Breitbart's role was limited to publishing the videos and accompanying posts at Big Government, and plotting to publicize them upon publication. Isn't that how publishing works?

More nefariously, the Post implies that O'Keefe and Giles worked with racist motivations:

Though O'Keefe described himself as a progressive radical, not a conservative, he said he targeted ACORN for the same reasons that the political right does: its massive voter registration drives that turn out poor African Americans and Latinos against Republicans.

"Politicians are getting elected single-handedly due to this organization," he said. "No one was holding this organization accountable. No one in the media is putting pressure on them. We wanted to do a stunt and see what we could find."

If O'Keefe had said something incendiary about a racial motivation for undertaking his investigation of ACORN, one can be sure that the Post reporters would have quoted it instead of simply larding the context with an imputation of racism. The Post certainly provides no supporting quote.

It appears to me that Post reporters Darryl Fears and Carol D. Leonnig are alone responsible for introducing race to the discussion. Associated Press reporters Sharon Theimer and Pete Yost pick up where the Post left off in this story:

James O'Keefe, one of the two filmmakers, said he went after ACORN because it registers minorities likely to vote against Republicans: "Politicians are getting elected single-handedly due to this organization," O'Keefe told The Washington Post. "No one was holding this organization accountable."

But did O'Keefe say any such thing? The Washington Post reporters imply the existence of a statement that is nowhere quoted. The AP takes the cue and puts the words in O'Keefe's mouth. It's quite a racket they've got going here, and someone really should call them on it.

I wrote both Fears and Leonnig this afternoon:

I write for the conservative blog Power Line. I believe you have defamed James O'Keefe, perhaps inadvertently, in these two paragraphs [of their Friday Post article]:

"Though O'Keefe described himself as a progressive radical, not a conservative, he said he targeted ACORN for the same reasons that the political right does: its massive voter registration drives that turn out poor African Americans and Latinos against Republicans.

"'Politicians are getting elected single-handedly due to this organization,' he said."

Did O'Keefe say he targets ACORN because its voter drives turn out poor African American and Latinos against Republicans? Please supply the quote if he did.

I am going to post an item about your story later tonight. I would appreciate your comment before 11:00 pm Eastern time.

As of late this evening, we had not heard from Fears or Leonnig. If we hear back from either of them, we'll let you know.

UPDATE: Reader Gordon Stewart writes: "I'm missing some important context: what did Woodward's father do for a living? Hard to pin down his motivation otherwise. And Bernstein's mom, what was her deal?"

Andrew Breitbart reviews the proceedings of this past week: "At the very least, filmmaker James O'Keefe and actress Hannah Giles deserve a Pulitzer Prize for their expose of deep corruption and unspeakable immorality at the ACORN housing division. But more important, I won't rest until they receive a grant to continue their partisan artistry from the National Endowment for the Arts."

Breitbart concludes: "That's this week's mission." Stay tuned.

Then they wonder why people call them biased.......


PRESIDENT OBAMA AND GOVERNOR PATERSON

Ken Berwitz

Just a quick word on President Obama's apparent desire (expressed through an administration intermediary) that New York Governor David Paterson not run for election to a full term next year.

As you may remember, Paterson was Lt. Governor of New York, and succeeded Eliot Spitzer when he was forced to resign. (Not that it's important to this blog, but every commentator who has said that Paterson was asked not to run for "re-election" is incorrect.  Paterson was never elected Governor in the first place).

The reason I bring this up is that much is being made over the fact that a Black President is asking one of just two Black Governors in the country to take a hike.  Even the (also Black) head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, has raised this "issue".

My take?  Paterson is a catastrophe.  He has shown no particular capability to govern, made an abject fool of himself when selecting Hillary Clinton's replacement (earning the enmity of the all-important Kennedy family in the bargain), and his poll numbers are somewhere between the basement and the center of the earth.

From a political standpoint, asking Paterson not to run has nothing to do with race.  It has everything to do with trying to retain the Governorship of New York -- and, since 2010 is a national election year, also retaining several marginal congressional seats. 

Put a David Paterson at the head of the ticket against, say Rudy Giuliani, and you're likely to see Governor Giuliani.

Even if Paterson loses in the primary to, say Andrew Cuomo (probably the strongest candidate Democrats can field), he will damage Cuomo both politically and financially before the election campaign.

So, to me, the fact that President Obama and Governor Paterson are both Black is entirely incidental.  Mr. Obama just wants his party to win. 

On this one, the President is making lots and lots of sense.

BOBW IN A WAY - I AGREE- GOV. PATTERSON IS A TOTAL MORON AND THE STATE OF NY WILL BE BEST SERVED IF GOV. PATTERSON GOES TO PASTURE. I ALSO UDERSTAND THAT PRES. NOBAMA IS THE TITULAR HEAD OF THE DEOMOCRAT PARTY. BUT COME ON IS IT RIGHT THAT -DICTATOR- SOCIALIST PRES. NOBAMBA SHOULD NOW GO STATE TO STATE AND TELL SITTING GOVERNORS TO GO AWAY? THE PEOPLE OF NY ARE NOT THAT STUPID EVEN THOUGH THEY ELECTED -SPITZER AND THEY WILL VOTE OUT PATTERSON- WHATS NEXT - WILL NOBAMA TELL THE WILPONS TO FIRE MYNAYA AS GM OF THE METS?- ITS A GOOD IDEA BUT NOT FOR THE PRES. TO DO!- WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE ON A DICTATOR? (09/22/09)


OUR PERVERSE HONDURAS POLICY

Ken Berwitz

Here is a terrific editorial in today's Washington Times, on the administration's perverse policy regarding Honduras:

EDITORIAL: Subverting Honduran democracy

The shameful siege of Honduras continues. In the past few weeks, the United States has cut more than $30 million in non-humanitarian aid, suspended most visa services and sided with Venezuela, Cuba and other of Latin America's worst dictatorships in undermining democracy. Meanwhile, the people of Honduras are desperately trying to maintain their freedom and prevent the return of a regime that Washington is committed to forcing down their throats.

The United States rushed to the wrong side of this issue when former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted on June 28, and since then it has reinforced a bad policy. Rather than seek means of mitigating the crisis, the United States clings obdurately to demands that Mr. Zelaya be returned to power. The "San Jose process," a peace initiative brokered by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias that the United States supports, would place Mr. Zelaya in office to serve out the rest of his term, which ends in January. But the Honduran government - all of it, the president, Congress and the Supreme Court - has determined that Mr. Zelaya's ouster was a legal response to his illegal attempts to rig a referendum to establish himself as president for life. This scheme followed the model of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.

The United States has attacked Honduran autonomy with bullying tactics. Washington recently stood by as Honduras was hectored out of the United Nations Human Rights Council by Cuba and Nicaragua, and current Honduran President Roberto Micheletti said he would not attempt to travel to New York to attend the upcoming meeting of the U.N. General Assembly because his U.S. visa was revoked. All the while, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - who heads a government that is among the world's most odious human rights abusers - is being welcomed to the city to spread his message of hope and change.

The United States has a chance to make a diplomatic escape from this perverse policy. On Nov. 29, Honduras will hold its regularly scheduled presidential election, which is the one Mr. Zelaya was seeking to undermine. Term limits make him ineligible to run, so his current status should have nothing to do with the validity of the election. The central premise of the San Jose process - that Mr. Zelaya serve out the rest of his term - will be moot by January, when the new president is inaugurated. After the ballots are counted and a new president is elected, that would be a perfect opportunity to recognize the will of the Honduran people, declare the crisis over and move forward.

But offering no particular reason, the United States has decided not to recognize the outcome of the election. This not only is bad policy but is amateurish diplomacy. The November election and January inauguration are natural firebreaks that end any pretense Mr. Zelaya would have to continue his rule. Undermining the succession process will put relations with Honduras into free fall with no clear mechanism for resolution. The State Department said that "policy and strategy for engagement is not based on supporting any particular politician or individual," but this claim is hard to square with the facts.

Taking a stand against a constitutionally mandated, free and fair election is a statement from the Obama administration that Mr. Zelaya - the would-be autocrat - is the administration's man, right or wrong. The Honduran people be damned.

What does President Obama and the state department have against democracy?  What do they have against a country adhering to its own constitution?

There was no military coup here.  There is no Generalissimo or Colonel running Honduras.  The next in line is now President.  Not even the ruling party has changed.

All that has happened is that a man overtly acting outside of Honduran law was stripped of his power for doing so.  Not by an unruly mob, but by the country's highest legal authority, its Supreme Court.

Does this administration love hugo chavez so much that it insists his butt-boy return to power and continue flouting the Honduran constitution?

Evidently, and sickeningly, the answer appears to be yes.


THE "CASH FOR CLUNKERS" CLUNKER - A RETROSPECTIVE

Ken Berwitz

So how did the "cash for clunkers" initiative really work out?  Here's your answer from, of all places, the (New York Times-owned) Boston Globe.  Please pay special attention to the segment I've put in bold print:

Car showrooms quiet after clunkers clamor ends

Dealers add other incentives in bid to entice buyers

 

By Megan Woolhouse

Globe Staff / September 19, 2009

It has been nearly a month since the car-buying frenzy of the Cash for Clunkers program

Like consumers nationwide, Massachusetts residents rushed to take advantage of the federal voucher program, which offered them up to $4,500 on old gas-guzzlers to be put toward the purchase of new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. About $65 million worth of vouchers were handed out statewide during the monthlong program that ended Aug. 24.

But once the federal money dried up, so did the sales rally. Now, customers at dealerships like Silko Honda in Raynham are few and far between, and inventory is once again accumulating.

Manager Adam Silverleib said business was pretty intense as a result of the federal stimulus program, with the dealership hustling to accommodate customers and handle the piles of paperwork required for them to receive reimbursement on vouchers. Now were kind of back to where we were in the spring, he said.

In an attempt to draw customers back to showrooms, some dealers are offering new incentives, albeit none as enticing as a $4,500 for a rusting junker. Silko, for example, is promoting 2.9 percent financing on new Accords, along with other deals on its website.

Nationwide, customers snatched up 700,000 new cars, most of them foreign-made, and the government ended up paying out nearly $3 billion toward the purchases. But from the start, analysts predicted that Cash for Clunkers would not boost sales for the year. Septembers sales swoon seems to be making their case. Car sales are usually slow after Labor Day, but because of the recession consumers this year are especially reluctant to say yes to major purchases. To make matters worse for dealers, most are still waiting for voucher reimbursements.

It was probably, in the end, a complete waste of taxpayer money, said John Wolkonowicz, a senior auto analyst at IHS Global Insight, Lexington forecasting firm. The dealers, who were supposed to be the primary beneficiaries, many were forced into cash flow problems because the government didnt pay them in a timely fashion.

From the outset, there were problems with the Car Allowance Rebate System. It was supposed to start July 1 but was delayed until July 24. The rules were complicated, and the list of qualifying vehicles and other requirements changed repeatedly. And in addition to the formidable paperwork, the government website set up to process the deals kept crashing, creating a backlog.

Ray Ciccolo, president of Village Automotive Group, which operates eight Boston-area dealerships, said he has received $400,000 from the government, but that is only half of what he is owed. Ciccolo was in Washington last week to hear Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood address the National Automobile Dealers Association. Ciccolo said LaHood pledged to have all claims paid by the end of this month.

There isnt much you can do except wait, Ciccolo said.

That does not mean that Ciccolo and other dealers in Massachusetts condemn the program. Several said they were grateful for it because it helped them quickly move inventory and brought in a barrage of unexpected customers.

Richard White, general manager at Cityside Subaru in Belmont, said the dealership sold 52 cars through the program and that he has been reimbursed for 51. His biggest problem has been trying to rebuild inventory since it ended. By every measure, the program was extremely successful for us, he said.

The Department of Transportation said it has approved 83 percent of dealer rebate applications and was working through snags to process the rest.

Robert OKoniewski, executive vice president of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, which represents 441 dealerships, estimated that most are probably still owed money.

This program was very good at getting product off the lot, but there havent been long-term benefits, he said. Dealers are reporting that showrooms are pretty dead right now.

Wolkonowicz said the fall slowdown may have been worsened by the program because many buyers came out early to take advantage of the program instead of waiting until now to shop.

In Raynham, Silverleib is relying heavily on longtime customers ready for a new model. But he is realistic about the state of the auto business, and skeptical that the economy is out of the woods.

Speaking as someone on the front lines, were still in a recession, he said.

Bottom line:  "Cash for clunkers" was, itself, a clunker.  A big one. 

But it did prove two things:

1) If Uncle Sap pays thousands of dollars of the cost of your new car, you are more likely to buy a new car because it costs you thousands less (what a shock!  hold the presses!);

2) The government cannot efficiently administer even a single-minded, highly defined, short-term program without screwing it up eight ways from Sunday.

Now:  Other than uninsured and illegals, is there anyone left who still wants the government to run our HEALTH CARE?  Just asking.....


BRAZIL'S ACT OF AGGRESSION AGAINST HONDURAS

Ken Berwitz

It is illegal for former President manuel zelaya to be in Honduras.  He was ousted by the Honduran Supreme Court in June.

With that in mind, read this report from Reuters:

Curfew imposed in Honduras after Zelaya's return

21 Sep 2009 21:45:48 GMT

Source: Reuters

 

TEGUCIGALPA, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Honduras' de facto rulers imposed a curfew on Monday after ousted President Manuel Zelaya returned the country and took refuge in the Brazilian Embassy, a spokesman for the interim leaders said.

"The government has declared the curfew for the entire country from 4 in the afternoon until 6 a.m. to conserve calm in the country," spokesman Rene Zepeda told Reuters.

 

Thousands of Zelaya's supporters surrounded the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, with a 100 police wearing riot gear deployed nearby. (Reporting by Gustavo Palencia)

Brazil's President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva welcomed zelaya to Brazil in August, treating him like a head of state, even though he no longer was.  Now zelaya has apparently snuck back into Honduras, and da Silva is allowing him to stay at its embassy in Tegucigalpa.

Is Brazil trying to push Honduras into a war?  Because it seems to me that this has the potential to force one. 

It seems certain that the Honduran government will demand zelaya be handed over (and, presumably, arrested and put in jail).  If Brazil refuses, it may well cause Honduras to order Brazil's embassy closed, thus enabling authorities to enter the building and physically take zelaya.

What is da Silva thinking?  IS he thinking?  What possible good can come of this?


IN CASE YOU THOUGHT ALL THE SCAMS COME FROM NIGERIA...

Ken Berwitz

For anyone who thinks the "look what you have won, just give us your personal information and collect your fortune" scams only come from Nigeria:  I received this in my email over the weekend:

Attn: Liverwood Prize Winner

We are pleased to inform you of the result of NATIONAL LIVERWOOD LOTTERY
WEEKLY PRIZE,which was held on Friday 18th September, 2009. Your e-mail
address attached to Prize Ref: LIUK/5020/0261/20,won you a prize of
1,500,000 Great British Pounds.

Mrs. Diane Milton, Extol Finance Limited
Call Office Phone: +44 703 182 1229, Fax: +44-7006-065-063
Respond to: extolfinance3@aol.co.uk

CLAIMS QUESTIONAIRE/PERSONAL DETAILS
[Full Name]......... [Complete Address/Country].....[Alternative
Email]...[Occupation/Position]......[Tel/Mobile/Fax].....[Age].....
Choose Mode of Payment: A. Certified Cheque B. Wire Transfer

Yours Faithfully,
NATIONAL LIVERWOOD LOTTERY INC

Yes, you would have to be a potato to respond by sending your personal information to this site.

But there is one reason and one reason only they keep sending their emails, and that is because some people do respond.

Don't be one of them, ok?  .

 

 


A PHOTOSHOPPED PICTORIAL COMMENTARY ON THE OBAMA-ACORN CONNECTION

Ken Berwitz

Below, you will find an unflattering photoshopped picture.  But it tells a tale, doesn't it?  (And the cigarette isn't photoshopped, that's for real)

If you have trouble seeing the picture, just click here.  And, by all means, read the article that goes along with it.

FYI, I got it from the "Yid With Lid" web site, which replaces littlegreenfootballs.com.  I urge you to read www.yidwithlid.blogspot.com  often, along with as many of the other rightward, and leftward, links I provide.  You're never fully informed unless you consider all sides.


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At “Hopelessly Partisan” we discuss all issues, big and small. In here, nothing is sacred and nothing is out of bounds.

So settle back, preferably after laughing your way through a copy of “The Hopelessly Partisan Guide To American Politics”, and let the battle begin. In this blog, your opinion counts every bit as much as anyone else's, maybe even more.

And to show that my willingness to provide all sides of the issues is sincere, here are links to a variety of web sites, from the left, the middle (more or less) and the right. Read them and either smile in agreement or gnash your teeth in anger!!