Thursday, 15 October 2009


Ken Berwitz

Chris Christie is the Republican candidate for Governor of New Jersey.  He is running against incumbent Governor/former Senator Jon Corzine and independent Chris Daggett (who seems to be draining more votes from Christie than Corzine).

Tomorrow night is their second, and last, debate.***

Corzine has used his immense fortune to wildly outspend his opponents for Senate and then Governor, thus "buying" his political career.  Performance-wise he is nothing with nothing. 

In the scandal department, Corzine had an affair with the head of New Jersey's largest union which busted up his marriage, and then gave her millions of dollars after it was over.  For what?  To keep her quiet about things?  You tell me.  And when Corzine nearly died in a car accident, while having his driver going something like 25MPH over the speed limit, they initially tried to blame it on a young kid driving a red pickup truck. That was a lie.

Christie is a highly successful, crusading prosecutor. 

In the scandal department, Christie appears to have played favorites several times in the administration of his duties, doing more for friends and colleagues than others.  And he beat a speeding ticket or two by virtue of his position as a prosecutor.

Ok, that's our choice. 

Campaign-wise, Corzine has inundated the air waves with TV ads claiming that Christie is against women getting mammographies, is putting 35,000 teachers out of work, is against pre-school programs, etc.  To watch these you'd wonder why Christie isn't in a cage somewhere being fed raw slabs of beef and sewer water.

Christie cannot overcome the money disparity.  He cannot compete with Corzine's unlimited personal funds which are being used to attack him daily.  So the only way he can win is to use Corzine's attack ads against him.

In order to win, Christie has to frontally attack Corzine tonight.  I'm not talking about cute little metaphors and double entendres.  I'm not talking about being clever.  That may make a speechwriter feel good, but it won't get him the votes he needs.

Christie has to call Corzine a liar.  And prove it.

Take mammographies, for example.  The single most damning charge against Christie is that he is against women having access to them. 

If it were true, Christie would be dead meat.  But it appears not to be.  It appears that Corzine's claim stems from Christie's proposal that women can have the option of buying "no frills" insurance coverage that would not have a number of procedures covered, including mammographies.  Christie does not propose that even one woman who wants coverage with mammographies should be denied that option..

If this is the way of things, then Christie has to call Corzine a liar.  That word.  Call him a liar and show that he is one.  Christie has to say it directly and force Corzine to defend his attacks. 

If all Corzine can do is produce some statement that was intentionally misrepresented, then Christie can make the issue work for, rather than against him. (I again emphasize that this assumes Corzine is either distorting Christie's position or lying outright).

The same goes for Corzine's claims about teachers and pre-school.  If Corzine is lying, than he has to be called on it directly. 

Chris Christie either wants to win this race or lose it.  Playing nice against someone who will outspend him five to one is equivalent to saying "I agree to lose this race".

Tomorrow night should be pretty interesting.  I'll be watching.


***Originally, I erroneously wrote that the debate was tonight.  Actually, it is tomorrow night.  Sorry about that.


Ken Berwitz

If this guy isn't a Darwin award finalist, no one is:

LEBANON, Pa., Oct. 15, 2009


Police: Pa. Man Busted With Weed Stuck To Forehead


Pa. Police: 'Pothead' With Bag Of Marijuana Stuck To Forehead Charged With Drug Possession


(AP)  Police in central Pennsylvania say they've nabbed a real pothead.

They say an officer spotted 29-year-old Cesar Lopez inside a convenience store with a bag of marijuana stuck to his forehead.

Investigators say Lopez was seen peering inside his baseball cap early Saturday morning in Lebanon, about 75 miles northwest of Philadelphia. When Lopez looked up, the officer noticed a small plastic bag appearing to contain marijuana stuck to his forehead.

Police say the officer peeled the bag off Lopez's forehead and placed him under arrest. He has been charged with drug possession. Police do not know whether Lopez has an attorney.

Authorities say the sweatband of a baseball cap is a frequent hiding place for drugs.

Maybe he thought this is how you operate a head shop.

Darwin (what there is of him after the worms are through) must be grinning from ear to ear....and maybe taking a puff or two.

free` Darwin Award Dimwits II Great video (10/15/09)


Ken Berwitz

Ok, now I'm boiling.

I just got a telephone call for my wife.  It came from an affable young-sounding man who said he was from the Democratic Party and that their records show my wife has not yet filled out her vote-at-home ballot.  He was calling to remind her to do so.

I asked him how he would know whether or not my wife filled out her ballot and suddenly I was listening to stuttering and stammering.  "I don't know" was the (convenient) answer.

Well I sure as hell would like to know how he knows.  I am dead-on sure that this is privileged information.  How could it not be?

My wife is at the gym right now and won't be home for a bit.  But you can bet I'll be asking her about it when she comes in.


UPDATE:  Since writing the above blog I have learned - incredibly - that whether or not my wife (or anyone else) handed in a ballot is a matter of public record.  Unbelievable, but true.


Ken Berwitz

Sometimes people forget that Israel is more than just the one and only Jewish state on the planet.  Sometimes they forget that it is one of the foremost centers of technological innovation there is -- maybe the single most important one of all.

Here is one of the latest advances it is providing the world:

New Israeli battery provides thousands of hours of power


A new kind of portable electrochemical battery that can produce thousands of hours of power - and soon replace the expensive regular or rechargeable batteries in hearing aids and sensors and eventually in cellphones, laptop computers and even electric cars - has been developed at Haifa's Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The unique battery is based on silicon as a fuel that reverts to its original sand. The battery can also be left on the shelf for years and inserted into a device to provide immediate power.

It was developed over the last two-and-a-half years by Prof. Yair Ein-Eli of the Technion's materials engineering department, with collaboration by Prof. Digby Macdonald of Pennsylvania State University in the US and Prof. Rika Hagiwara of Kyoto University in Japan.

The work was conducted with a grant from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and an article on the battery was just published in the journal Electrochemistry Communications.

Ein-Eli told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that he has spent the last eight years investigating silicon in all aspects and the possibility of its serving as the major component of a highly efficient and environmentally friendly battery.

Five years ago, he met Macdonald, who attended Ein-Eli's lecture on electrochemistry, and they decided to work together, with the American coming to visit his Technion lab once a year.

The team obtained from the Japanese researcher an ionic liquid (liquid electrolytes or salts that form stable liquids) that does not evaporate easily. Most of the work was performed in the Haifa lab.

Ordinary portable batteries are composed of a positive electrode called a cathode and a negative one called an anode. They are separated by material containing ions (electrolytes in a liquid form).

Some metal-air batteries exist, such as those using lithium, and are cheaper and lighter because they lack a cathode structure. Various big companies such as IBM, together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are trying to develop rechargeable lithium-air batteries that could function 10 times longer than conventional batteries, but they have not yet succeeded.

The ionic liquid developed a decade ago in Japan is the perfect substance for this purpose, Ein-Eli continued. In such electrolytes, the highly doped silicon - a semi-conductor - is activated and acts as a highly metalized conductor.

"We bought ready-made flat metalized silicon wafers, which serve as the anode. There is no corrosion or evaporation with the ionic liquid, and unlike conventional batteries, the silicon-air battery does not absorb water from the outside," he explained.

In the Technion battery, oxygen from the air in the battery capsule passes through a membrane and interacts with oxidized silicon, which is inert, stable, lightweight and nontoxic, has a high-energy content and can be used later as a building material. Most computer chips are also made from silicon.

The new invention - with a US patent pending - is not rechargeable, but it can supply power for thousands of hours, said Ein-Eli.

The Technion battery ranges from one square centimeter - small enough for hearing aids and much more efficient than the highly expensive, short-lasting lithium ones used now - to several square centimeters. In another year, the power output can be significantly increased, and in three or four years, said the researcher, it could be made rechargeable as well.

"Think of an electric car battery made from silicon that will turn into sand that would be recycled into silicon and then into power again," suggested Ein-Eli. "This would take about 10 years more and be revolutionary. It could be used in any portable electronic device or be integrated with solar or wind power as well as electric energy."

A number of foreign and Israeli companies have already contacted him and shown strong interest in the battery, he said.

The system is "highly promising, as it is capable of outperforming other existing metal-air battery technologies," Ein-Eli concluded.

What a huge boon this would be for countless electronic devices, including medical devices.  What a benefit to the world.

When do you suppose anything like this will emanate from one or another of Israel's neighbors?

This is another part of what we lose if we lose Israel.  One of many.

free` The last thing the islamaniacs invented is the 'butt bomb' (10/15/09)


Ken Berwitz

From Human Events' Pamela Geller:

Criticizing Islam? Sorry, You're Cancelled

by Pamela Geller (more by this author)

Posted 10/15/2009 ET


Conservative warrior David Horowitz was scheduled to speaking at St. Louis University this month. But he wont be. University officials canceled his speech because of its title: Islamo-Fascism Awareness and Civil Rights.

Horowitz commented: I have spoken at 400 universities. This is the first time my speech has been censored and stopped by an administration. And they are supposed to be the guardians of intellectual discourse. Cary Nelson, the president of the American Association of University Professors, said that with this cancellation, St. Louis University joins the small group of campuses that are universities in name only. The free exchange of ideas is not just a comforting offshoot of higher education; it defines the fundamental nature of the enterprise.

But the free exchange of ideas is something that is increasingly denied to conservative voices. Robert Spencer was set to speak at the American Library Association convention last summer but was canceled at the last minute after pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Michael Savage was set to participate by means of a video link in a debate next Thursday at Britains Cambridge Union, but last Wednesday the debate was canceled. Julien Domercq and Jonathan Laurence of the Cambridge Union claimed that there are numerous legal issues with Dr Savage speaking here.

Savage suggested that the debate was canceled because he had said he would reveal how British authorities added his name to a list of people banned from Britain so that it wouldnt consist entirely of Islamists: Did they fear my reading the secret e-mails which disclose how the entire British leadership colluded to destroy a mans name and reputation? He added: What did the socialist Brown regime fear I might say during the debate? What are they hiding form the general public that would have been exposed? Why do they wish to hide what they did to an innocent broadcaster?

It has happened to me also. Last Friday, I was scheduled to appear on The Eddie Burke Show on WBYR, the best news and talk in Alaska, to debate the freelance journalist and anti-Semite Alison Weir.

Weir is the founder of the fiercely anti-Israel organization called If Americans Knew. Daniel Okrent, the former Public Editor of the New York Times, says: Representatives of If Americans Knew earnestly believe that the information they present to be true, and refuse to accept evidence that contradicts their beliefs. The Anti-Defamation League says: Weirs criticism of Israel has, at times, crossed the line into anti-Semitism.

Thats an understatement. She is a fierce racist and infamous trafficker in Jewish blood libels. Weir condemns U.S. aid to Israel (which is, in fact, mostly loans). Does Weir address the $900 million that Barack Obama has given to the Palestinians, i.e., to Hamas? No. Does she address the billions that the U.S. gives to Egypt? No way. Does she say anything about the ten thousand rockets that have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza? No, she has nothing to say about that, but she laments (with graphs!) the fact that more Jews were not killed during the conflict in Gaza last year. She laments the low casualty numbers of the Jews -- as if its the Jews fault that the jihadist rockets from Gaza have not been more accurate.

I was going to take her on. Until I got a call from Eddie Burke late Friday afternoon.

Apparently, Alison Weir would not appear on the show with me, so Burke had to cancel me. He had promised Alison Weir an appearance when she came up to Alaska, so no opposing voice would be allowed to be heard.

Burke is a good guy. And I said to him, You, Eddie, youre a decent fellow; one day, I hope you will step outside yourself and look at what happened here objectively. You have given in to a racist and a liar, provided an open platform for a Jew-hater to spread venom and bile, and capitulated to a demand for censorship. Why bow to those who traffic in lies and evil? Why strike at heart of free speech?

This is how we lose the war. Drip, drip, drip. Fifteen or twenty years ago, Alison Weir would not be heard in decent society. She would be relegated to the fringe, as all malevolent propagandists should be. Instead, decent folks like Eddie Burke are mainstreaming her fallacious message. Mainstreaming anti-semitism.

That is how evil advances. That is how the road is paved for incitement to violence and hatred.

And increasingly, the voices that would defend freedom are silenced.

Sadly, this happens over and over and over again.  Despicably, it happens with barely a word about it in our wonderful "neutral" media.

It is especially painful for me that Saint Louis University is the latest school to fall into this ugly category because, albeit not very successfully, I was a student there in 1963-1964. 

Saint Louis University was a Catholic (Jesuit) school and I was an underachieving Jewish student from New York City.  That's an interesting match, wouldn't you say?  But I spent two pretty happy semesters there (heck, when you're not studying or worrying about grades, what's there not to like).  And other than a couple of very inappropriate comments from two priests (a tiny minority of the total number of priests I came in contact with, it should be noted), the fact that I was Jewish was no impediment to me whatsoever.

Based on what happened to David Horowitz, I wonder if that would be true today.

Regarding Ms. Geller's situation, she may feel Eddie Burke "is a good guy", but how good a guy is it that will accede to the demands of an anti-Semite and allow that person's venom to be spewed without a challenge? 

That's not a good guy in my book.  That's either a collaborator or a coward.


Ken Berwitz

Did Rush Limbaugh cease to exist? 

If you look at the Huffington Post ( right now (about 2:42 this afternoon) there is not one mention of him at all on the entire home page - which is very big, very long and has dozens of articles to choose from.

How interesting, given that pretty much everyone else, left and right both, is featuring Limbaugh today.

Maybe Rich Noyes of can supply a reason:

Will the Huffington Post Retract Bogus Limbaugh 'Slavery Had Its Merits' Quote?

The Weekly Standards John McCormack has a fine run-down of CNNs use of the discredited claim that Rush Limbaugh once said of slavery it had its merits. McCormack also reports that the Huffington Post, which originally ran the quote (and another preposterous quote about Limbaugh saying that MLK assassin James Earl Ray deserved the Congressional Medal of Honor) in a 2006 post by left-wing author Jack Huberman, might pull the quotes from their Web site as early as today.

McCormack contacted the Huffington Post, and was told by a spokeswoman that now that the issue has been raised, Huberman has now been asked to back up the quote. When a question of accuracy is raised with us, we give our bloggers 24 hours to either back up the claim or correct the record. If not, we remove the post.

McCormack, playing off the fact that CNNs Rick Sanchez has yet to retract the statement, says: So around 6:00 p.m. tonight we'll get to find out whether the Huffington Post has higher editorial standards than CNN.

(Sanchez, however, may issue his own retraction during his 3pm ET show, especially since prime time anchor Anderson Cooper on last night's AC360 declared the slavery quote not something he [Limbaugh] ever said.)

(MRCs Matthew Balan chronicled Sanchez false smear of Rush Limbaugh on Monday here, and his non-retraction follow-up here. Stay tuned to see what Sanchez says today.)

Heres more of The Weekly Standards McCormack today:

It appears the first person to lift the quote from Wikipedia and put it into print was Jack Huberman, the author of 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America, which was published by Nation Books in 2006. Nation Books has not responded to a phone message asking to confirm this quote and other apocryphal quotes in his book, such as:

"You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed."

Huberman posted this quote and the slavery quote on the Huffington Post in 2006.

Last night, I emailed the HuffPo to ask if they could verify the quote, and the HuffPo's Mario Ruiz replied:

"When a question of accuracy is raised with us, we give our bloggers 24 hours to either back up the claim or correct the record. If not, we remove the post. Now that the issue has been raised, we've asked him to respond."

So around 6:00 p.m. tonight we'll get to find out whether the Huffington Post has higher editorial standards than CNN.

Well gee golly gosh.  It isn't even 3PM and the Huffington Post has no mention of Rush Limbaugh at all.  How come?

And no retraction either.  How come?  If there is documentation that he said it, why aren't those quotes being featured?  What a great "I told you so" moment for the Huffington Post!  And if it has been determined there is no sourcing for the quotes, why isn't there a retraction?

Stay tuned.  There are sure to be updates.


UPDATE:  It is after 6PM, the entire home page of the Huffington Post has been revised and updated ---- but not a word about the Limbaugh quotes. 

Why do you suppose?


Ken Berwitz

This absolutely terrific piece was written by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.  It should be required reading for anyone who "knows" that Rush Limbaugh disqualified himself from ownership of an NFL team because of the comments he is supposed to have made. 

The bold opinions are Salguero's.  The bold print is mine:

Limbaugh issue: Hypocrisy abounds in the NFL

[This post includes political, social and Dolphins commentary. If you have a problem with any of those don't bother reading it.]

Pulling his shorts up to his waist and then motioning over to a couple of waiting reporters who wanted to interview him in the Dolphins locker room Wednesday, nose tackle Jason Ferguson used the N-word.

He was talking either to a teammate or one of the reporters who is black, but that didn't matter because the word seemingly floated away -- clearly heard but ignored because, in an NFL locker room, that word is uttered by players practically every day.

Sometimes the N-word is said in jest. Sometimes it is said in anger or rage. Sometimes it is blasted through boom boxes playing rap music. Sometimes it is clustered with taunts about another player's mother or wife or, in extreme vengeance-filled moments, another player's boyfriend.

And this is the NFL Roger Goodell wants to protect from Rush Limbaugh comments?

Limbaugh will not be part of the group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams, it was announced Wednesday. Pressure from inside and outside the NFL doomed Limbaugh's attempt to own the team, meaning a group of people decided a game played on a lined field has to draw one more line to keep Limbaugh out.

Funny how folks that once marched against exclusion, such as Jesse Jackson, will call for exclusion when it suits them. Interesting how Al Sharpton is appalled at Limbaugh's divisiveness but gives himself a free pass when he says things like, "white folks was living in caves while we was building empires." 

The hypocrisy on this issue is everywhere. It is rampant. It is sickening.

The same commissioner that is allowing dog-killer Michael Vick to play in the NFL doesn't want Limbaugh to vie for an ownership stake because, "We're all held to a high standard here and divisive comments are not what the NFL's all about," Goodell said earlier this week. "I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL, no. Absolutely not."

So the league allows dog-killers, wife-beaters, strip club addicts, girlfriend-batterers, drug addicts, drunk drivers, and coaches who allegedly bust up other coaches, but the commish is worried about divisive quotes?

About those quotes: The same news media that is "reporting" what Limbaugh has said in the past is filled with people who loathe Limbaugh because they don't agree with his view of the world. Those "journalists" have been trotting out two quotes from Jack Huberman's 2006 book, "101 People Who Are Really Screwing America."

The first and most damning of those, quotes Limbaugh as saying, "Let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back. I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."

That quote appeared on CNN's Rick Sanchez show. It appeared in a column written on It appeared all over the Internet.

And not one "journalist" who used it can verify its validity. Not one 'journalist" who broadcast the quote actually heard Limbaugh say it. Not one actually heard a tape recording of Limbaugh saying it. Meanwhile, on one of his shows this week, Limbaugh said he's never uttered those words.

Somebody produce the tape or retract the quote!

And, yes, the second quote does not make this space because it is equally unsubstantiated and unverifiable.

Another thing the "journalists" reporting this story haven't told you: Huberman, the man they are using as their source, has penned other books, including The Bush-Haters Handbook and The GOP-Haters Handbook. So, of course, it's not like Huberman has an agenda or anything dark like that.

I am part of the media. I have friends in the media. Most of those friends lean left. They know, and now you know, I lean right. That's not the point. The point is the media has an agenda. And my agenda is to expose the hypocrisy on this issue.

I saw that hypocrisy at work in the Miami locker room Wednesday.

Several reporters were going around the locker room asking players their opinions of Limbaugh and the possibility he might own an NFL team

This is how one interview went:

Reporter: "What's your take on Rush Limbaugh and the Rams?"

Running back Ronnnie Brown scissors closed his index finger and thumb and zips them across his mouth to signify his lips are sealed. And after a pause Brown then says... 

"I don't know, I mean, I guess it's good in a way that he's interested in wanting to be the owner of an NFL team. At the same time, who's to say. I don't know."

That, of course, is not the answer the reporter wants. It sounds almost pro-Limbaugh. So ...

Reporter: "Well some guys would say they would never play for a team that he has ownership stake in. You think that's a legitimate statement?"

Of course anyone would answer that is a legitimate statement. It's an opinion from another player so how is Brown supposed to say it is not legitimate? The question is leading and practically begs agreement with the dump-Limbaugh agenda.

And despite this, Brown refuses to go in that direction.

"Obviously, they're entitled to their own opinion," he responds. "For me, I'm not going to say that. I don't know. You never know. You could be sitting here jobless and depending on what kind of situation you're in and you don't have any money coming in, it's hard to turn down a job like this."

Greg Camarillo is Hispanic. So not only is he a minority in American society, he's among the smallest of minorities in a league that is approximately 65 percent black, 30 percent white and approximately 5 percent everybody else.

So what does Camarillo think of Limbaugh's attempt to enter the league before news of his exclusion is announced?

"Ya'll trying to make me political real quick," he says to reporters with a grin. "I don't have too much to say about that. We'll let the business handlers handle their business. But, I mean, the man has said controversial things in the past. Things that bring up the issue of race. The NFL is obviously a diverse work place. You have to be pretty sensitive to everybody's beats. You can't alienate any group. That being said, we leave the business to the business people and trust the NFL and NFLPA handle it properly."

Camarillo is much too trusting.

The NFL Players Association, the union representing the players, encouraged its players to speak out on the Limbaugh matter. According to this ESPN report, NFL Players executive director DeMaurice Smith wrote an e-mail to the union's executive committee on the subject.

"I've spoken to the Commissioner and I understand that this ownership consideration is in the early stages," Smith wrote. "But sport in America is at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer, and when it transcends. Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred."

Agreed. The NFL is best when it transcends things such as polictics. So why is Smith getting all political? The NFL is best when it overcomes division. So why doesn't Smith admit he, himself, is divisive when he mentions discrimination without citing a tangible, verifiable example?

It is called double-speak.

This, meanwhile, is not double-speak, but fact: Smith served in President Clinton's Administration as Counsel to then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder in the US Department of Justice. Holder is now in President Barak Obama's Attorney General. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats.

Smith has contributed $6,850 to political campaigns since 2004 -- all to Democrat Party candidates. Smith made his largest contribution in 2008 when he contributed $2,300 to President Obama's campaign. Limbaugh, in case you are not aware, is one of President Obama's most ardent and high-profile critics.

So is Smith transcending his differences with Limbaugh? Or is Smith using his position as a union boss to further his personal political beliefs and bring down an opposing point of view?

Smith's e-mail rejects discrimination. Well, is it not discriminatory in America to want to exclude someone from a business venture simply because one does not agree with that person's politics?

Yes. Or no. Please answer.

And back to the "journalists" for a second: Did you read anywhere what Smith's political leanings actually are in all those stories you read where he rips Limbaugh's attempt at ownership? Or were those facts left out?


Now Limbaugh is not a pristine individual. He's been divorced three times -- some NFL people have been divorced just as often. In 2003 he admitted being addicted to prescription pain killers -- Brett Favre once admitted to the same. He often appears on Fox News Channel championing conservative views -- as does Goodell's wife, Jane Skinner, who is an anchor and commentator on the channel and the daughter of a former White House Chief of staff under the elder President Bush.

So what makes Limbaugh so villainously different?

Limbaugh is polarizing in a country that, guess what, is polarized. But he is no more, and probably less, of a racist than the two men leading the charge against his ownership bid -- Sharpton, who infamously offended Mormons last year and Jackson, who once referred to Jews as "Hymies."

Limbaugh has addressed race issues in forums that "journalists" can actually confirm.

Limbaugh resigned from ESPN in 2003 for stirring a racial controversy when he basically said Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was getting preferential treatment from the media because he is black.

"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL," Limbaugh said on air. "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well, There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

Stupid, yes. Unsophisticated in its general assumptions, yes.

But racist?

The NFL better clean up all the N-words floating around its locker rooms before anyone makes that leap.

Hypocrisy, anyone?


Ken Berwitz

In the old "Blondie" comic strip, Dagwood Bumstead had a boss named Mr. Dithers - presumably taken from the word "dither" which means to be indecisive/vacillate.

When it comes to Afghanistan, I'm starting to wonder if President Obama is channeling that comic strip character.

Let's remember that during last year's presidential campaign, Mr. Obama called Afghanistan a "war of necessity".  He attacked President Bush for not pursuing it as aggressively enough, and for not cleaning out the Taliban and capturing osama bin laden there.

So this doesn't stand as some abomination inherited from President Bush, it stands as the war President Obama agreed with and would have fought on his own.

In August, General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of forces in Afghanistan - who was picked for that job by the Obama administration - requested 45,000 more troops.  He warned that, without them, the war could be lost.  Even if we held on, a lack of troop strength presumably would put our men and women in increased danger.

It is now mid-October.  And Mr., Mr. Obama has still not decided what he is going to do about McChrystal's request. 

But we now have a story about this issue from The Star in London, which details a report by the BBC.  Here it is -- see what you think about it:

U.S. denies 45,000 troops on way

October 15, 2009

Gregory Katz 

LONDONHours after Washington thanked Britain for sending more soldiers to Afghanistan, the White House was denying a report that President Barack Obama will announce U.S. plans next week to send up to 45,000 additional troops to the war-torn country.

The BBC's Newsnight reported Wednesday that the Obama administration has already told the British government it will soon announce a substantial increase to its military forces in Afghanistan.

The announcement could come next week, the report said, in time for a NATO defence ministers meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia.

However, the report was immediately dismissed by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who said Obama had not yet made a decision on troop numbers.

Obama has said he would make up his mind in the coming weeks.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, has submitted a still-secret troop request which outlines three options from as many as 80,000 more troops to as few as 10,000 but favours a compromise of 40,000 more forces, officials have told The Associated Press.

There now are 67,000 American troops in Afghanistan, and 1,000 more are headed there by the end of December.

Gibbs was talking following the latest three-hour meeting on the United States' next moves in Afghanistan, which dealt at length with strengthening the civilian mission and training of Afghan police and army.

The BBC report and denial comes on the heels of a pledge Wednesday by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to send more troops to Afghanistan but only if NATO and the Afghan government do more to help fight the Taliban.

Brown said his government would increase British troop levels to 9,500 an increase of about 500 on the condition that President Hamid Karzai reduce corruption and improve his government's performance.

Brown also pledged to send troops only if he can provide them with the proper equipment, and if NATO allies increase their contributions to the war effort.

Germany has about 4,200 troops, and Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure from legislators at home to set a timetable for a withdrawal. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged to pull out the bulk of Canada's 2,800 soldiers by 2011, and the Dutch parliament has called for bringing home their 2,200 troops.

Military experts said Brown wants to show British support for the war as the U.S. debates an increase in its Afghan troop levels and he is unlikely to call off the deployment. Brown did not specify what contributions he is seeking from NATO nations, or exactly what the Afghans must do to get the extra forces, an indication that the conditions are largely designed to put political pressure on Karzai and NATO, they said.

The increase in British troops is small and may be of mostly symbolic importance, but it will likely be welcomed by Obama as his administration ponders difficult options in Afghanistan. Britain is the second-largest force in the 42-nation NATO coalition in Afghanistan.

Gibbs said Brown informed Obama of his decision last week when the two leaders spoke by telephone.

"Obviously, the British people and those that serve there have borne an enormous price in casualties," Gibbs said Wednesday. "Obviously, we're thankful for a strengthening of the coalition, and our assessment continues. But again ... we're happy for their increase in contributions."

Retired Col. Christopher Langton, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said it is extremely unlikely that Brown will ultimately decide to cancel the deployment even if the conditions he demanded are not met, in part because Brown has said he is responding to requests from senior military advisers.

Brown appeared to dismiss an argument put forward that Western forces should limit their goals to eliminating Al Qaeda through precise strikes.

"Our objective is clear and focused: to prevent Al Qaeda launching attacks on our streets and threatening legitimate government in Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said.

Would it be fair, at this point, to wonder what the hell the Obama administration is doing?  Why has it dithered for almost two months, while our volunteer army ruminates and waits for a decision? 

Casualties are up in Afghanistan.  Is this because we have not sent additional troops?  No one will ever know for sure.  But what we do know is that the commanding General told the Commander In Chief he needed those troops for the war effort and for six weeks there has been nothing but dithering.

For god sake, Mr. President, make a decision.


Ken Berwitz

In 2007, after literally thousands of rockets had been fired by the terrorist group hezbollah on Israel from southern Lebanon, Israel finally had enough.  It entered Lebanon and blew straight north until it cleaned out the problem. 

Israel stopped voluntarily before getting to Beirut, which it could have done at will.  (Do you think hezbollah would have stopped before getting to, say, Tel Aviv?  You're welcome for the belly laugh.)

From this, hezbollah declared a "victory".  Some victory.  But it also stopped attacking Israel.  This was hailed by many as a "truce" and progress towards peace between them.  (More on this further on)

In the two or so subsequent years, since Israel has not been attacked from Lebanon, it has maintained a peaceful border there - proof, again (as if another proof were needed) that Israel is not looking for war, it is happy to peacefully coexist with its neighbors.

But things are as they are.  Just as the leopard cannot change its spots, neither can hezbollah change what it is - a terrorist organization bent on destroying Israel and killing as many Jews as possible.   

The following report is from Israel National News.  Be sure to click on the "video footage" link and see for yourself what is going on there:

Another Lebanese War on the Horizon?

by Hillel Fendel



The IDF Intelligence video released this week showing Hizbullah terrorists stockpiling long-range missiles is the proof that Israel needs to take off its gloves in the next round of warfare. So says long-time military analyst Yisrael Katzover, speaking with Arutz-7s Hebrew newsmagazine.


The video footage, released on Tuesday of this week, shows the terrorists taking missiles and other weaponry out of a southern Lebanon warehouse, where an explosion had occurred the day before, and loading them onto trucks. United Nations ceasefire resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War of 2006 clearly bans such activity.


This video shows the simple truth very clearly, Katzover said. Hizbullah has spent these many months re-arming itself, in blatant violation of the ceasefire. Israel has long said that Hizbullah has no fewer than 300 arms storehouses south of the Litani River, where it will be able to easily access its missiles when the next round of fighting begins, without having to transport them from place to place. We finally have the proof.


The video shows clearly the terrorists closing off the area so that the UNIFIL forces cant get there. It also shows that the missiles are long-range ones that can apparently reach deep into Israel important testimony regarding the type of threats we will face in the next round.


The very fact that the video exists proves that the IDF was ready and waiting for this type of eventuality, Katzover says:Immediately after the warehouse explosion, the IDF was able to send a drone to the site to photograph the goings-on and this shows that our drones are in the air, ready to go.

Katzover predicts that in the next battle with Hizbullah, Israel will be more aggressive: We are currently busy proving to the world that Hizbullah is a major threat to Lebanese stability, because in the next round, Israel will take off its gloves; we have learned the lessons of the last war, and this time there will be a massive entry of Israeli ground forces into Lebanon.

In other words, the "truce" that was so impressive to some people was not based on any disinclination to attack Israel and kill Jews.  It was based on the fact that Israel had decimated hezbollah's weaponry, so it needed time to restock.  

This is what Israel lives with every day. 

The last time, Israel was very careful to avoid destroying as much of the Lebanese infrastructure as possible.  This time, if hezbollah has long-range missiles that can strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, I doubt it will worry about Lebanon's infrastructure as much as taking out those missiles.

And if it happens, the UN and the USA are going to have to take a position on Israel's actions. 

I already know what the UN's position will be (has Israel ever done anything right in the past half century?). 

But the jury is still out on the Obama-led USA.  We used to be highly supportive of Israel.  But this administration has clearly demonstrated an antagonism toward Israel since taking office. 

I'm not looking forward to finding out how it would feel about a defensive battle against terrorists in Lebanon.

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