Sunday, 25 October 2009


Ken Berwitz

The Goldstone Report was a UN report which found that, during last year's Operation Cast Lead, Israel was a major violator of the human rights of Gazans -- those nice, wholly innocent, folks whose thousands of bombings into Israel over three years finally caused Israel to implement Operation Cast Lead in the first place.

But there was a little fly in the ointment.  An eminently qualified expert, Colonel Richard Kemp, who could completely debunk his report. .  So Goldstone - a South African Jew who claims to be a zionist, but had no problem acting as a judge when South Africa was under apartheid (what a great humanitarian) refused to hear him before the report was issued. 

Sort of makes you think he already had his findings in place on behalf of his UN masters, doesn't it? 

Surprisingly, however, the UN "Human Rights Council" (which includes some of the worst abusers of human rights in the world) allowed Colonel Kemp to testify afterwards. 

What did he say?  Here is your answer, from Scott Johnson, writing for  The bold print is mine:

In defense of Israel


October 24, 2009 Posted by Scott at 8:48 AM


On October 16 the UN Human Rights Council held an emergency debate on the Goldstone Report condemning Israel's conduct during Operation Cast Lead. According to UN Watch, the debate featured the usual "line-up of the world's worst abusers condemn[ing] democratic Israel for human rights violations." The hearing was in all respects but one the typical of Orwellian world of the UN in which Freedom is Slavery, War is Peace, and Ignorance is Strength.


The sole departure from the usual UN scenario was provided by Colonel Richard Kemp. "The moment he began his first sentence," UN Watch reports, "the room fell silent. Judge Goldstone, author of the distorted report that prompted [the] one-sided condemnation of Israel but not Hamas, had refused to hear Col. Kemp's testimony during his 'fact-finding' hearings." In the video below, Colonel Kemp speaks.


Here is the text of Colonel Kemp's remarks:


I am the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan. I served with NATO and the United Nations; commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. I spent considerable time in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government's Joint Intelligence Committee.


Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.


Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.


Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.


The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.


The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.


Despite all of this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes.


More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas' way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians.


Mr. President, Israel had no choice apart from defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets.


And I say this again: the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.


The UN Human Rights Council of course adopted the Goldstone Report, by a vote of 25-6. The UNHRC is an organization that serves little purpose other than to stigmatize Israel in its battle for survival. (Carl in Jerusalem posts more videos of Colonel Kemp here.)

Those are the facts.  Facts that somehow did not affect the Goldstone Report.

Did Colonel Kemp's words fall on deaf ears?  Yes they did.

But they are the truth - even if the morally, spiritually and ethically dead UN does not want to hear it.


Ken Berwitz

What do you do when the line you've been touting for years is increasingly being rejected by the people you've been touting it to?

Here is a fascinating, and actually pretty entertaining, piece by Bill Dupray, on how ABC News' people try to discount their own poll data when shows that more and more people disbelieve what they've been telling us all this time.   I don't necessarily agree with Mr. Dupray's political views, but I think this is a worthwhile read.  See if you agree:

ABC all upset at poll showing huge drop in Global Warming Believers

by: Bill Dupray   posted: 2009-10-25 08:49:00

Not to be the master of the obvious here, but it is going to be hard to convince people that the earth is warming . . . when it is not.

The earth's temperature peaked in 1998. It's been falling ever since; it dropped dramatically in 2007 and got worse in 2008, when temperatures touched 1980 levels.

But we'll give ABC credit for reporting the poll numbers. Then they get downright hilarious trying to discredit it eight ways to Sunday. The advocacy is top-notch, it is just too bad that they don't see it as such.

Just 57 percent think there is solid evidence the world is getting warmer, down 20 points in just three years, a new poll says. And the share of people who believe pollution caused by humans is causing temperatures to rise has also taken a dip, even as the U.S. and world forums gear up for possible action against climate change. . . .

Only about a third, or 36 percent of the respondents, feel that human activities such as pollution from power plants, factories and automobiles are behind a temperature increase. That's down from 47 percent from 2006 through last year's poll.

So only a small (and drastically shrinking) minority thinks that we are causing any global warming. The rest of the normal people presumably think one of two things, either (1) the planet is not warming (so the whole issue is moot), or (2) that bright yellow ball in the sky seems to have something to do with the earth's temperature. Either way, this hardly seems the time to go taking over all of American industry with a Cap and Trade scheme and taxing the bejesus out of the American people. Let's just say it ain't exactly a stimulus package.

But ABC dives right in with the standard attacks. First we have the "settled science" of global warming with which we are not allowed to argue.

At the same time, there has been mounting scientific evidence of climate change from melting ice caps to the world's oceans hitting the highest monthly recorded temperatures this summer.

Hmmm. I heard a little something different in a couple of places about those 'melting' ice caps.

First, the 2009 summer minimum Arctic Sea Ice Extent [Area of ocean with at least 15 percent sea ice] that was predicted by alarmists to decline, instead, grew dramatically. According to International Arctic Research Center AMSR-E satellite data, it grew by about 1 million square kilometers of ice (1.4 times the size of Texas), which is a 23 percent growth above 2007 and 11.5 percent growth above 2008 sea-ice levels, respectively.

More bad news for alarmists came when results of the Arctic Sea Ice Expedition were released. NASA characterized this expedition as a six-nation, 20-scientist Arctic expedition, equipped with an aircraft that had precision measurement instruments. Alarmists had argued that new Arctic sea-ice growth was thinner and less robust than older ice. The expedition instead found new sea ice was much thicker, up to four meters in places, which was more than twice what was expected.

I guess ABC didn't find any of that in the "settled" science. But they nevertheless proceed undaunted.

The poll was released a day after 18 scientific organizations wrote Congress to reaffirm the consensus behind global warming. A federal government report Thursday found that global warming is upsetting the Arctic's thermostat.

Funny, they must have forgotten to mention that 650 of the world's leading climatologists met in Poland in December and declared that man-made global warming is a media-generated myth, without scientific basis. Then there was the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change in New York earlier this year, in which at least 70 scientists seem to have missed the memo about the "settled science." Oh yeah, and the They kept talking saying crazy stuff like "we don't agree" and "the science shows something else." Surely these people must be silenced.

Then ABC goes with the perennial favorite of lefties who are losing an argument: The people are confused by crazy things like weather and, lobbyists, or something.

Andrew Weaver, a professor of climate analysis at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, said politics could be drowning out scientific awareness. [me - now there is some professor-speak for you]

"It's a combination of poor communication by scientists, a lousy summer in the Eastern United States, people mixing up weather and climate and a full-court press by public relations firms and lobby groups trying to instill a sense of uncertainty and confusion in the public," he said.

Translation: Dammit! If people weren't so stupid, we'd have this thing in the bag already.

So, to help turn the tide, ABC decides to haul out a little more of that "settled science."

Though there are exceptions, the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that the primary cause is a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.

Jane Lubchenco, head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a business group meeting at the White House Thursday: "The science is pretty clear that the climate challenge before us is very real. We're already seeing impacts of climate change in our own backyards."

In whose backyard? Have you noticed any global warming in your backyard? If not, you must be confused. You'd better read up a little more on the "settled science."

Surprisingly, it seems that the more liberal you are, the more the science is settled.

People living in the Midwest and mountainous areas of the West are far less likely to view global warming as a serious problem and to support limits on greenhouse gases than those in the Northeast and on the West Coast. Both the House and Senate bills have been drafted by Democratic lawmakers from Massachusetts and California.

Oh yeah, and even if you are a Warmer, turns out that China and India aren't with you and aren't coming to Copenhagen. So keep in mind that whatever the Democrats do with Cap and Trade or the "world community" does at Copenhagen, we are unilaterally killing our own economy while two of the world's biggest "polluters" charge onward. They must marvel that we are hell-bent on chasing a hoax while they continue to go about the business of living in the real world.

Though ABC gratuitously includes the liberal talking points and mounts an impressive defense on behalf of the Warmers, they grudgingly concede that the American people are figuring out the truth.

Look, I'm no scientist, and don't know for sure whether global warming is a fact.  But there is a lot of evidence that it isn't. 

And it is more than a little unbecoming of a major news venue, which lives and dies by its polling when they like what it says, trying to disclaim one of its polls because it goes against their conventional wisdom.

Good job, Bill. 

Ken Berwitz Zeke - warm-mongers? Very clever. I may use that in the future (if I do, you'll get attribution for it of course). (10/25/09)

Zeke ..... You are ignoring the proof of the WARM-MONGERS ---- The temps in August were 50 F higher than in February. At this rate, in just 10 years, temperatures in the Northeast will be 1,000 degrees F higher than today. ---- And of course human activity causes Glib Warming -- it was them Cavemen, driving around in SUV's that ended the last ICE AGE, 15,000 years ago. (10/25/09)


Ken Berwitz

Did Jeffrey Piccower drown (i.e. die by accident)?  You decide.

Excerpted from an Associated Press article:

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Jeffry Picower, a Florida philanthropist alleged to have extracted billions from Bernard Madoff's investment scheme, drowned in his pool Sunday, police said. He was 67.


The former New York lawyer and accountant had been a friend of Madoff for decades.


A statement from Palm Beach police said Picower's wife and a maid found the body at the bottom of the pool Sunday afternoon and rescue workers could not revive him. Picower was transported to Good Samaritan Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at about 1:30 p.m.


Police are investigating the death, as is standard for any drowning, the statement said. Detectives were still at the home Sunday afternoon.


Joseph Sekula, spokesman for the Palm Beach Fire Department, said a 911 call came in at about noon about a possible drowning at Picower's oceanside home. As rescuers reached the back of the house, they found Picower lying by the edge of the pool, Sekula said. Picower's wife and housekeeper had pulled him from the water, he added.


"He was pulseless upon arrival of crews so they started CPR immediately," Sekula said. Rescuers worked on Picower for about 20 minutes trying to revive him before transporting him to Good Samaritan in nearby West Palm Beach.


Sekula said Picower's pulse returned as he was brought into the emergency room, but authorities said he died a short time later at the hospital.


Sekula said Picower's body showed no visible injuries.


"There wasn't anything noted as far as trauma or anything to the body," he said.


An operator at Good Samaritan said the hospital wouldn't be making any statements.


In the initial aftermath of the Madoff scandal in December 2008, the foundation Picower and his wife started in 1989 said it would have to cease grant-making and would be forced to close. The Picower Foundation had given millions to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Human Rights First and the New York Public Library. It also funded diabetes research at Harvard Medical School. The foundation, whose assets were managed by Madoff, said in its 2007 tax return its investment portfolio was valued at nearly $1 billion.


But Picower was later sued by the trustee recovering Bernard Madoff's assets for jilted investors. Irving Picard labeled the Florida philanthropist as the biggest beneficiary of Madoff's multibillion-dollar fraud and demanded he return more than $7 billion in bogus profits.


In court filings, Picard's lawyers have said Picower's claims that he was a victim "ring hollow" since Picower withdrew more of other investors' money than anyone else during three decades of investing with Madoff and should have noticed signs of fraud.


According to the lawyers, Picower's accounts were "riddled with blatant and obvious fraud," and he should have recognized that since he was a sophisticated investor.

Is is possible that this was a simple case of drowning?  Sure; it happens every day.

But this guy, based on what happened to his pal madoff, was probably about to be immersed in scandal and would wind up in the same place madoff is - jail for the rest of his life. 

And that's before we get to the enemies that Picower must have had (how many does madoff have?  Didn't Picower get the money from madoff, thus from the people he defrauded?  See my point?)

Nope, I wouldn't be that quick to write this off as a simple drowning.

Let's see where the investigation goes.


Ken Berwitz


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Obama BIG LIE: Health Insurance Profits


In Barack Obama's vision of America, people are not allowed to disagree with the president's position. Even of facts are used, dissent must be crushed.  Such it is with the the insurance industry


"Even as America's families have been battered by spiraling health care costs, health insurance companies and their executives have reaped windfall profits from a broken system." Barack Obama July 2009


Two weeks ago when the Insurance Industry released a study showing that Obamacare would actually increase costs, the POTUS went on a rampage once again:


Its smoke and mirrors. Its bogus. And its all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, Take one of these, and call us in a decade. Well, not this time. The fact is, the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits, bonuses, and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy that often actually go toward figuring out how to avoid covering people.


If you believe the-bully-in-chief, all of our problems are due to the greedy insurance companies and their windfall profits.  Problem is the President's claims are lies, there are no windfall profits, in fact the average insurance company makes  a measly 2.2% of profit. The 2007 profit margin for President Obama's friends at General Electric was 10.3%, Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett's company earned an 11.47% profit in 2007.

The President's propaganda about the health industry is nothing more than trying to destroy anyone who disagrees with him. The United States is quickly becoming a country where dissent is not allowed:

FACT CHECK: Health insurer profits not so fat

By CALVIN WOODWARD Quick quiz: What do these enterprises have in common? Farm and construction machinery, Tupperware, the railroads, Hershey sweets, Yum food brands and Yahoo? Answer: They're all more profitable than the health insurance industry.

In the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making "immoral" and "obscene" returns while "the bodies pile up."

Ledgers tell a different reality. Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That's anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.

Insurers are an expedient target for leaders who want a government-run plan in the marketplace. Such a public option would force private insurers to trim profits and restrain premiums to compete, the argument goes. This would "keep insurance companies honest," says President Barack Obama.

The debate is loaded with intimations that insurers are less than straight, when they are not flatly accused of malfeasance.

They may not have helped their case by commissioning a report that looked primarily at the elements of health care legislation that might drive consumer costs up while ignoring elements aimed at bringing costs down. Few in the debate seem interested in a true balance sheet.

But in pillorying insurers over profits, the critics are on shaky ground. A look at some claims, and the numbers:


_"I'm very pleased that (Democratic leaders) will be talking, too, about the immoral profits being made by the insurance industry and how those profits have increased in the Bush years." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who also welcomed the attention being drawn to insurers' "obscene profits."

_"Keeping the status quo may be what the insurance industry wants their premiums have more than doubled in the last decade and their profits have skyrocketed." Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, member of the Democratic leadership.

_"Health insurance companies are willing to let the bodies pile up as long as their profits are safe." A ad.


Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.

HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That's a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.

The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.

UnitedHealth Group, reporting third quarter results last week, saw fortunes improve. It managed a 5 percent profit margin on an 8 percent growth in revenue.

Van Hollen is right that premiums have more than doubled in a decade, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found a 131 percent increase.

But were the Bush years golden ones for health insurers?

Not judging by profit margins, profit growth or returns to shareholders. The industry's overall profits grew only 8.8 percent from 2003 to 2008, and its margins year to year, from 2005 forward, never cracked 8 percent.

The latest annual profit margins of a selection of products, services and industries: Tupperware Brands, 7.5 percent; Yahoo, 5.9 percent; Hershey, 6.1 percent; Clorox, 8.7 percent; Molson Coors Brewing, 8.1 percent; construction and farm machinery, 5 percent; Yum Brands (think KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), 8.5 percent.

Will our wonderful "neutral" media let Barack Obama get away with another in-your-face lie?  Why would we think otherwise, when they have let him get away with so many to date?

Read your newspaper and watch the network news and/or morning shows tomorrow.  Let's see if they'll play lets-pretend on his behalf again this time.

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