Friday, 30 October 2009


Ken Berwitz

Here, from the Frasier Institute, via Doug Bandow at, are the latest waiting times for medical procedures in Canada:

Canadian Waiting Lists Are Down!

Now you only wait four months on average to see a doctor!  That's a week better than last year!  Reports the Fraser Institute:

The Fraser Institute's nineteenth annual waiting list survey found that Canada-wide waiting times for surgical and other therapeutic treatments decreased in 2009. Total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and treatment, averaged across all 12 specialties and 10 provinces surveyed, fell from 17.3 weeks in 2008 to 16.1 weeks in 2009. This nation wide improvement in access reflects waiting-time decreases in 5 provinces, while concealing increases in waiting times in Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador. The total waiting time in British Columbia was unchanged.

Among the provinces, Ontario achieved the shortest total wait in 2009, 12.5 weeks, with Manitoba (14.3 weeks), and Quebec (16.6 weeks), next shortest. Newfoundland & Labrador exhibited the longest total wait at 27.3 weeks; the next longest waits were found in Prince Edward Island (26.7 weeks) and New Brunswick (25.8 weeks).

The fall in waiting time between 2008 and 2009 results from a decrease both in the first wait-the wait between visiting a general practitioner and attending a consultation with a specialist-and in the second wait-from the time that a specialist decides that treatment is required to treatment.

What's four months among friends?  (More than six months in Newfoundland, but who's counting?!)  I am looking forward to Nancy Pelosi delivering my health care!

There you have it.  The vaunted Canadian health care system we are supposed to be so envious of.

Is there any doubt why Canadians stream into the United States to get health care?  Is there any doubt why they pay the money for treatment here, over "free" Canadian health care.

Take a good look.  Because what you are seeing in this report now, may well be our future.

Health Care For Clunkers.  Think about it.


Ken Berwitz

Just because President Obama is dithering and dawdling on Afghanistan, while pulling out troops fom Iraq on a timetable that is clearly being exploited by our enemies there, doesn't mean he isn't fighting wars.

There are a number of them.

There is a hot war going on against Fox News.  And Rush Limbaugh.  And Sean Hannity.  And congressional Republicans. And insurance companies. Etc. etc. etc.

Well, here is still another one.

Yesterday, Edmunds - the criterion company for measuring new and used car sales - issued a fact-filled analysis that showed the "cash for clunkers" program was a big, fat, costly bust.

The Obama administration answered by immediately attacking Edmunds. 

Ok, the battle lines are drawn.  But now, enter  Here is there take on this latest Obama-against-everyone-else melee: Fights Back After White House Attack

Joe Weisenthal|Oct. 30, 2009, 6:54 AM | 1,829 | 19

Last night we were shocked to see that The White House was using its blog to tear into car website over some analysis it did of Cash-For-Clunkers. To recap: says the program was a gigantic waste with little effect. The White House disagrees.

Anyway, Edmunds is sticking by its analysis, and it put out the following press release:

 SANTA MONICA, Calif. October 29, 2009 Today the Department of Transportation and White House chose to respond to an analysis released Wednesday that looked at auto sales this year and what sales volumes would have been had the popular Cash for Clunkers program never existed.

At issue is one point of the analysis showing the taxpayer cost for every incremental vehicle sold was $24,000. To be clear, is not disputing the government's statements regarding total voucher applications, vehicles sold or voucher values. The key question is how many of these sales would have occurred anyway.

Apparently, the $24,000 figure caught many by surprise. It shouldn't have. The truth is that consumer incentive programs are always hugely expensive when calculated by incremental sales always in the tens of thousands of dollars. Cash for Clunkers was no exception.

The White House claims that our analysis was based on car sales on Mars and that on Earth, the marketplace is connected. We agree the marketplace is connected. In fact, that is exactly the basis of our analysis.

It is also claimed we missed the possibility that Cash for Clunkers generated excitement and consumers bought vehicles even if they didn't qualify for the program -- a claim that has been widely supported by anecdote but by little analysis. It does, after all, seem a bit odd that masses of consumers would elect to buy a vehicle because of a program for which they don't qualify -- doubly so when you add in the fact that prices shot up during Cash for Clunkers, creating a disincentive to buy.

Finally, the White House claims that the increase in fourth-quarter production reported by the car manufacturers can be attributed to Cash for Clunkers. But here is a better reason: the economy is recovering accompanied by improved car sales. No manufacturer increases production -- a decision with long-term consequences -- based on the 30-day sales blip triggered by an event like Cash for Clunkers.

With all respect to the White House, thinks that instead of shooting the messenger, government officials should take heart from the core message of the analysis: the fundamentals of the auto marketplace are improving faster than the current sales numbers suggest.

Isn't this a piece of good news we can all cheer?

We're on Edmunds side here. We haven't seen any evidence that the program was a massively expensive way of pulling demand forward, with little long-term to show for it.

An employee of a car dealership left this comment on the last post:

As an employee of a car dealership I will tell you first hand that the whole program was VERY temporary. Yes we broke every record we had ever set before. Sales are now lower than before due the the Cash for Clunker program. It was a great program and it did draw a bunch of people into the market that probably wouldn't have bought until this winter. The problem is: now we won't have the sales we would have had this winter. Everyone in the car business will tell you that November-February are the worst months for sales. Probably 30% of the sales that we made during the program wouldn't have happened until those bad months.

We're eager to see if The White House responds again.

What we are witnessing, is the Chicago way of conducting politics.  Fight every vestige of dissent, hold nothing back, take no prisoners -- and never, ever admit you are wrong about a thing.

If you don't like this, don't complain.  We voted for it.  We elected Barack Obama, along with a huge majority for his party in both houses of congress.  We have brought this on ourselves.

That sais, don't you find it fascinating that almost none of our wonderful "neutral" media have commented on this staple tactic of the Obama administration?  Aren't these the same folks that pilloried President Bush for never admitting that he did anything wrong?

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


Ken Berwitz

You would have to be a brain stem to believe this.  But in the interests of showing all sides, I will post the latest job-creation (or saving, whatever that is supposed to mean) lies from the Obama administration, via Agence France Presse:

Stimulus plan created one million jobs: US officials

By Stephen Collinson (AFP) 5 hours ago


WASHINGTON US officials said Friday that President Barack Obama's stimulus plan has saved or created at least 650,000 jobs, and likely more than a million, as they battle a momentous unemployment crisis.


New data, to be released later in the day, provides the first solid evidence from employers on job creation spawned by the 787-billion-dollar Recovery Act passed in February despite stiff opposition from Obama's Republican foes.


The latest measure of the economy's struggle to emerge from the crisis comes a day after government statistics showed 3.5 percent GDP growth in the third quarter after a painful year of contraction.

Republicans, however, accused the administration of making up job creation numbers "out of thin air" to disguise the failure of Obama's economic policies.


The officials said the data to be posted on, the website of the independent panel overseeing the stimulus measure, would show 650,000 jobs were directly saved or created up until September 30.


Since the survey data only accounts for half the spending during that time, officials say the true number of jobs created is over a million.


The figures "confirm government and private forecaster's estimates that overall Recovery Act spending has created and saved at least one million jobs," an administration official said on condition of anonymity.


The president has vowed that the economic recovery package would save or create 3.5 million jobs over two years, and officials argue Friday's figures will show them on pace to meet that goal.


The statistics were provided by tens of thousands of state and local governments, private firms and universities and detail how around 150 billion of 339 billion dollars have been spent.


They related to jobs created on projects like infrastructure projects, construction on highways and account for education jobs saved or created with the use of stimulus money.


Unemployment remains a key hurdle to sustained recovery, with the latest monthly figures in September pushing the jobless rate to a new 26-year high of 9.8 percent, with job losses accelerating to 263,000.


Government data showed Thursday that the US economy had emerged from the deepest recession in decades, but the White House continues to battle crushing unemployment of just under 10 percent.


The numbers apply to jobs directly created with Recovery Act funds, but officials say more jobs are also created indirectly, for instance in the retail sector, when these people spend their wages.


The official release ignited a new row between the White House and its political foes.


"What is quite certain is that since the stimulus passed in February, over 2.6 million American jobs have been lost," the Republican Party said in a statement.


"The Obama administration is either living in a fantasy world or using these reports to have a public argument with the facts.


For Republicans, "it is clear that President Obama's stimulus has failed our economy and the American people," it added.


Christina Romer, chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, warned Thursday that the US unemployment rate is likely to remain "severely elevated" for some time even as the economy recovers from recession.


The recession's impact on employment has been massive, making it difficult to recoup lost jobs, she told a congressional panel.

Reality check:  The unemployment rate has gone from 8% when the so-called "stimulus package" was enacted to 9.8% today.  That is a loss of about 2,700,000 jobs - according to the government's own figures.

These people think you are idiots.  They think you are so ignorant, so ill informed, so owned and operated by Barack Obama, that you will believe anything they toss at you, including blatant lies like these.

And, for some people, this will be true.  Some people are exactly what the Obama people think they are.

Are you one of them?  For your sake, I sure hope not.

Zeke ..... Certainly appropriate for Halloween ..... OBAMA: 1,000,000 PHANTOM JOBS CREATED (OR SAVED) (10/30/09)

Zeke From the CIA Factbook (yah, the Central Intelligence Agency .... public info on countries) .... [Jamaica's] economy faces serious long-term problems: a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of almost 130%. Jamaica's onerous debt burden is the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably the financial sector. It hinders government spending on infrastructure and social programs as debt servicing accounts for nearly half of government expenditures. Inflation rose sharply in 2008 as a result of high prices for imported food and oil. High unemployment exacerbates the serious crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade. .... .... ..... See any of these trends in the situation of the United States ? (10/30/09)


Ken Berwitz

This must be a test, by God, to see just how gullible people are.

From Rod Hotakainen of the Sacramento Bee:

Schwarzenegger: Profanity in veto was 'wild coincidence'

By Rob Hotakainen
Published: Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 - 11:35 am
Last Modified: Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 - 11:42 am


WASHINGTON ---- It may be highly improbable mathematically, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that the encoded profanity contained in one of his veto messages was "a wild coincidence."


Speaking to reporters at the White House, the Republican governor said: "That was a total coincidence. It was one of those wild coincidences."


The first letter in seven lines of the message, when read from top to bottom, combine to spell out "F you."


Schwarzenegger sent the letter to Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who earlier had told the governor to "kiss my gay a ."


Stephen Devlin, the chair of the math department at the University of San Francisco, told the San Francisco Weekly that the odds of the letters appearing in proper order in seven consecutive lines to spell out the profanity was one in 10 million.


"Not surprisingly, it's virtually impossible for this to happen," Devlin told the newspaper.

Ammiano tells Schwarzenegger to kiss his gay ass, then Schwarzenegger sends him a seven line message with the first letter of each line, vertically, spelling "fuck you".  And he's telling us that it is a coincidence.

Yeah.  Right.

As they say on the streets of Brooklyn (my home town):   Ah-nuld.  Boobie.  Fuggedaboudit.  Yaw busted.

But, then again, what can you expect from a man who can't pronounce his own state without mentioning two animals. 

Maybe that's the way they do it in Collie-fawn-ya.

free` As a Californian I wish the Gov would stand up to the dems. He was elected to straighten out the state financially. He did try , but the voters voted against him because of the media campaign that the unions carried out. But he shouldn't have just surrendered like he did. It only took the liberals about 20 years to destroy California. (10/30/09)

Ken Berwitz free - I'm not sure Arnold Schwarzenegger even knows who he is anymore (10/30/09)


Ken Berwitz

Barack Obama promised that if he were elected we would have transparent government.

Here, from Steve Gilbert at, is what he appears to have been talking about:

Dozens (Of Dems) Under Ethics Inquiry

October 30th, 2009

From an outraged (at the leak) Washington Post:

Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

Document was found on file-sharing network

By Ellen Nakashima and Paul Kane
Friday, October 30, 2009

House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.

The report appears to have been inadvertently placed on a publicly accessible computer network, and it was provided to The Washington Post by a source not connected to the congressional investigations. The committee said Thursday night that the document was released by a low-level staffer.

The ethics committee is one of the most secretive panels in Congress, and its members and staff members sign oaths not to disclose any activities related to its past or present investigations. Watchdog groups have accused the committee of not actively pursuing inquiries; the newly disclosed document indicates the panel is conducting far more investigations than it had revealed

The 22-page "Committee on Standards Weekly Summary Report" gives brief summaries of ethics panel investigations of the conduct of 19 lawmakers and a few staff members. It also outlines the work of the new Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body that initiates investigations and provides recommendations to the ethics committee. The document indicated that the office was reviewing the activities of 14 other lawmakers. Some were under review by both ethics bodies

Many of the broad outlines of the cases cited in the July document are known the committee announced over the summer that it was reviewing lawmakers with connections to the now-closed PMA Group, a lobbying firm. But the document indicates that the inquiry was broader than initially believed. It included a review of seven lawmakers on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee who have steered federal money to the firms clients and have also received large campaign contributions. [John Murtha and friends?]

The document also disclosed that:

Ethics committee staff members have interviewed House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) about one element of the complex investigation of his personal finances, as well as the lawmakers top aide and his son. Rangel said he spoke with ethics committee staff members regarding a conference that he and four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus attended last November in St. Martin

The Justice Department has told the ethics panel to suspend a probe of Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), whose personal finances federal investigators began reviewing in early 2006 after complaints from a conservative group that he was not fully revealing his real estate holdings

The committee on June 9 authorized issuance of subpoenas to the Justice Department, the National Security Agency and the FBI for "certain intercepted communications" regarding Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). As was reported earlier this year, Harman was heard in a 2005 conversation agreeing to an Israeli operatives request to try to obtain leniency for two pro-Israel lobbyists in exchange for the agents help in lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to name her chairman of the intelligence committee

The committee did not detail the two newly disclosed investigations. However, according to the July document, Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA], a high-ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, came under scrutiny because of activities involving OneUnited Bank of Massachusetts, in which her husband owns at least $250,000 in stock.

Waters arranged a September 2008 meeting at the Treasury Department where OneUnited executives asked for government money. In December, Treasury selected OneUnited as an early participant in the bank bailout program, injecting $12.1 million.

The other [California Democrat], Rep. Laura Richardson [D-CA], may have failed to mention property, income and liabilities on financial disclosure forms.

The committees review of investigations became available on file-sharing networks because of a junior staff members use of the software while working from home, Lofgren and Bonner said in a statement issued Thursday night. The staffer was fired, a congressional aide said.

The committee "is taking all appropriate steps to deal with this issue," they said, noting that neither the committee nor the Houses information systems were breached in any way

Since everyone mentioned as being investigated is a Democrat, our watchdog media is sure to focus on the impropriety of this report being made public.

(Firing the congressional aide wont be enough.)

After all, they believe it is vital that all secrets must be kept. Unless they can hurt our national security or a Republican or conservative.

In other words, the only reason we saw this is that a "low level staffer" accidentally made it public.  And that staffer has been fired.

If those were Republicans instead of Democrats, do you think this information would have been hidden?  Do you thik the staffer would have been fired?

That, folks, is the "transparency" of this administration.  How do you like it?


Ken Berwitz

Congratulations to the Obama administration for leading the charge and overturning Honduras' demonstration of how a democracy is supposed to work.


From the Times of London:

From Times Online

October 30, 2009

Manuel Zelaya to return as Honduras President


The interim government of Honduras has yielded to international pressure and agreed to allow the return to power of Manuel Zelaya, the ousted President who was toppled in a military coup four months ago.


The breakthrough came after renewed pressure from senior US officials who travelled to Honduras this week for a last-ditch effort to end the crisis.


"It is a triumph for Honduran democracy," said Mr Zelaya after the rival sides agreed to a deal under which he may be reinstated as President within days.


Roberto Micheletti, the president of the interim government that took power after the coup on June 28, announced that he had agreed to reinstate his political rival.


"I am pleased to announce that a few minutes ago my negotiating team signed an agreement that marks the beginning of the end" of the four-month stand-off, Mr Micheletti said in a statement from the presidential palace.


Mr Zelaya was sent into exile at gunpoint on June 28 but returned secretly to Honduras last month where he has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy.


Mr Micheletti said that Mr Zelaya could return to office after a vote in Congress that would be authorised by the country's Supreme Court. He said that the deal would require both sides to recognise the result of a presidential election due to take place on November 29 and would transfer control of the army to the top electoral court.


The United States, the European Union and Latin American leaders had all demanded that Mr Zelaya be allowed to finish his presidential term, which ends in January. They had said that they might not recognise the winner of the November election unless democracy was first restored.


A US team led by Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon and Dan Restrepo, Washington's special assistant for Western Hemisphere affairs, sat in on talks earlier in the day and warned that time was running out to reach a deal.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, praised the agreement.


"We were very clearly on the side of the restoration of the constitutional order, and that includes the elections," Mrs Clinton told reporters during a visit to Pakistan.


Mr Zelaya had angered many in Honduras by becoming an ally of the socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Critics also alleged that he was seeking backing to extend presidential term limits, a claim he denies.


Human rights groups have documented major abuses by the de facto government and say that free and fair elections would be impossible after Mr Micheletti curbed civil liberties and temporarily shut down pro-Zelaya news organisations.


US President Barack Obama cut some aid to Honduras after the coup but had been criticised by some Latin American countries for not doing more to force the de facto government to back down.


The collapse of talks last week prompted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to dispatch the US delegation to push again for a negotiated settlement.

manuel zelaya was removed from office because he ignored the Honduran constitution and illegally tried to run a referendum that would enable him to stay President.  Honduras' supreme court voted unanimously to remove him as President and was supported by the country's congress.  He was replaced by the next in line, Roberto Micheletti - a member of zelaya's own party.


That is not a "coup" as media insist on calling it.  That is democracy in action.


The obama administration immediately sided with zelaya - who, by the way, is an implacable enemy of the United States, and something of a protege of hugo chavez - another USA hater.  Obama & Co. led the charge to overturn the removal of zelaya, thus subvert Honduras' democratic process.


And what is the payoff of this great "victory" for a rogue would-be dictator?  The elections will be held on November 29, so in less than a month he will be a lame duck. And for the 3-4 weeks he is reinstated, he will be powerless because a) the congress, which agreed to oust him in the first place, will turn their backs on him and b) the reinstatement agreement disallows him from controlling the army.


Brilliant.  Just brilliant.


This is what the USA gets for electing a Chicago machine politician with no qualifications for the presidency, and a hard-left background. 


We deserve this.  We voted him into office, didn't we?  And we gave him a lopsided majority in both houses of congress to back up just about anything he wants to do.


The 2010 elections cannot come soon enough.

free` obama and the left hate the USA as much or more than chavez and the castros. this story makes me sick, what has happened to our country? (10/30/09)


Ken Berwitz

This gets more and more bizarre.

Now it is, of all people, Katie Couric questioning the fantasy numbers being put out by the Obama administration:

From Noel Sheppard of

CBS Says White House Is Fudging Stimulus Jobs Numbers

By Noel Sheppard (Bio | Archive)
October 30, 2009 - 11:53 ET


When Katie Couric and the folks at CBS start doubting what the Administration says about how effective February's economic stimulus package was, you know President Obama is in trouble.


Consider that on Thursday's CBS "Evening News," Chip Reid began a segment with the following startling statement about a jobs report card to be released by the White House Friday:


Well, Katie, that report is going to claim that the stimulus has already created or saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, but if the administration`s first effort at counting stimulus jobs is any guide, tomorrow`s numbers could be hard to believe.


Readers are advised to make sure youngsters are out of the room, for watching Katie and the Gang say the White House might be fudging numbers could be way too frightening for minors.


KATIE COURIC, HOST: Now lets get back to that $787 billion stimulus Anthony mentioned. Earlier this year, the president claimed it would create or save three million jobs. There are some questions about how many it may have created so far. Chip Reid is at the White House tonight. And, Chip, I know the administration is putting out a jobs report card tomorrow. What can you can tell us about that?


CHIP REID, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Katie, that report is going to claim that the stimulus has already created or saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, but if the administration`s first effort at counting stimulus jobs is any guide, tomorrow`s numbers could be hard to believe.




REID: At a small college in Georgia, $100,000 in stimulus funds paid for trucks for students to practice for commercial driver`s licenses. Another $100,000 went for a modular classroom. The school reported to the government that 280 jobs were created.


In reality, not even close. That`s the number of students who benefited. It has nothing to do with jobs.

In Cocoa, Florida, a childcare center reported 129 jobs created by a stimulus grant. In fact, no jobs were created. The money was really used to increase the compensation and benefits of 129 existing employees.

Overall, it turns out the administration`s initial stimulus jobs report contained hundreds of errors as first reported by the Associated Press. Critics say if the kinds of errors found in that earlier report are repeated in Friday`s much more extensive job creation survey, it won`t be worth the paper it`s printed on.


CRAIG JENNINGS: We have, I think, a rough estimate at best. And at worst, these numbers are next to useless.

REID: The White House says the errors have already been corrected, that tomorrow`s jobs report has been double- and triple-checked for weeks, and that it will give an accurate, detailed look at the early success of the stimulus.


Republicans in Congress, though, predict the report will be a world- class example of government obfuscation.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: There is no factual way of determining how many jobs were saved or created.




REID: Those Republican critics also say they don`t understand how some stimulus projects will create any jobs. For example, half a million dollars to study social networks like FaceBook, and $219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen. Katie.


COURIC: Chip Reid reporting from the White House tonight. Thanks, Chip.


Makes you wonder if White House communications director Anita Dunn is going to file a complaint with CBS.

After all, she didn't think it was right for Fox News's Chris Wallace to fact check the Adminstration.


Why should Katie and crew get to do it?

Is it possible to be more pathetic than this?  If so, how?

I think my favorite part is where they claim that $100,000 for trucks to practice driving and $100,000 for a modular classroom resulted in 280 new jobs.  I would absolutely love an explanation of how it did so?  Would the trucker candidates not have practiced without them?  Would all the kids in that modular classroom have been unemployed if they were in a different classroom?   What types of jobs were created?

No one is going to believe this utter BS.  Not even the Obama flaks stuck with pretending that it makes any sense.

They pee on your head and tell you it's raining.  Don't believe them.  It's pee.

Zeke .... .... "...$219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen". .... .... Surely, college men would undertake this, and PAY for the experience. (10/30/09)

Ken Berwitz Zeke -- the drinks sure are expensive at that off-campus bar..... (10/30/09)


Ken Berwitz

The Obama administration's claims of job creation (and saving - whatever that means) are so preposterous that, in the past several days, there has been a treasure trove of commentary ridiculing them.

Let's see what Investor's Business Daily has to say about it:

Phantom Jobs

Economic Recovery: The White House says it "created or saved" 650,000 to 1 million jobs through its stimulus. Maybe so, but only if you count the jobs that never existed in the first place.

The administration's claim is as laughable as any in recent memory. There is no actual count of jobs; it's all based on phony math. While it was at it, it could just as well have said 2 million or 3 or 4.

No question, this has been a hard recession in terms of jobs. Since it began in December 2007, we've lost 7.2 million of them 4.1 million this year alone despite a promise that passage of the $787 billion stimulus would yield 3.5 million new ones by the end of 2010.

Knowing the number was unreachable, the White House's ever-eager-to-please economists came up with a guess one that can serve as a down payment on the 3.5 million jobs they need to show by 2011.

"We're solidly on track to create 3.5 million jobs by the time this (stimulus) program winds down," White House economist Jared Bernstein told CNN Friday. "There's a lot more ammunition in that Recovery Act. The stimulus package is absolutely working, both in GDP terms and in terms of saving or creating jobs."

True, GDP increased 3.5% in the third quarter, but that was a no-brainer. Last December the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to a record 0% and flooded the banking system with nearly $1 trillion in liquidity. Such massive monetary stimulus always leads to a rebound six to 12 months later.

In addition to the Fed's stimulus, GDP got a boost from one-time spending by the Cash for Clunkers program and by the $8,000 first-time homebuyers credit.

As we have noted, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Christina Romer told Congress on Oct. 22: "Most analysts predict that the fiscal stimulus will have its greatest impact on growth in the second and third quarters of 2009. By mid-2010, fiscal stimulus will likely be contributing little to growth."

In other words, stimulus is dead. This moment of honesty makes it tough for White House officials to pretend the best is yet to come. And if they can't show real results, they can't make a case for a second stimulus as the White House and Congress want.

Suppose for a minute they're right. They've spent $150 billion of the $787 billion in "stimulus" to create 650,000 jobs. That comes out to $230,000 per job. That's not stimulus; it's waste.

The problem, again, is that none of these numbers is real. No one has gone out and counted actual jobs. It's all made up. In a scathing critique, the nonpartisan Americans for Tax Reform wrote:

"The data will show that the bulk of the jobs 'saved/created' are government jobs, mostly jobs in the unproductive sector of the economy furthering no economic growth, and preventing necessary streamlining of an already bloated bureaucracy."

Precisely. So don't be fooled. No jobs are being generated by the stimulus, but a lot are being lost along with the wealth of an entire generation. What a waste.

What a bitter pill this must be to swallow - especially for a President who has been treated so deferentially throughout his election campaign and well over a half year of his administration.

Virtually no one is buying Mr. Obama's new math.  Not even his biggest pals.  And that is as it should be, because the administration's "facts" are so obviously ridiculous.

Then again, they are no more ridiculous than the administration's "facts" about health care - for example, that 30 - 50 million more health care patients, with the same number of doctors, will not result in lower quality care or rationing of care.  An average third grader would be shaking his/her head at that whopper. 

Simply stated, they are telling us that they think we are a bunch of idiots, devoid of even basic brain function.  But we aren't (well, most of us, anyway).  It took some time, but a lot of the country - including some of the mainstream media - is finally unmesmerizing and seeing things as they really are.

Better late than never.


Ken Berwitz

Michael Gerson, writing for, has given us an excellent analysis of why Barack Obama's guy in the Virginia Governor's race is losing so badly.  Here is its key segment (bold print is mine):

It is difficult to remember now, but Obama was elected largely for his tonal, not ideological, appeal. His announcement speech in Springfield, Ill., denounced "the smallness of our politics." At the time, Obama adviser David Axelrod explained, "If you can inspire people and if you can give them something real to believe in, you can advance your campaign without tearing everybody else down." During the primaries, Obama ended up benefiting from the contrast to Hillary and Bill Clinton's wrecking crew.

But the tonal candidate also had a conventionally liberal policy agenda. And as that agenda has run into resistance -- on spending, health care and climate legislation -- the president's tone has utterly changed.

The Obama administration has gone after both Rush Limbaugh and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- showing an inability to distinguish between the burning of heretics and the burning of bridges. It has courted insurance companies, then publicly demonized them for showing independence. Obama has tended to define all opposition, particularly on health care, as resulting from fear, cowardice and selfishness -- instead of admitting genuine disagreement. At a recent fundraiser, he mocked Republicans as robots who "do what they're told." He has engaged in consistent, classless, self-excusing criticism of his predecessor. Other presidents have been known for a war on totalitarianism or a war on terror. Obama is known for a war on Fox News.

"The campaign," say Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen in Politico, "underscores how deeply political the Obama White House is in its daily operations -- with a strong focus on redrawing the electoral map and discrediting the personalities and ideas that have powered the conservative movement over the past 20 years." Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander -- a conservative, but not normally an angry one -- describes these tactics as behavior "typical of street brawls and political campaign consultants." It is also behavior typical of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who called town hall protesters "evil-mongers," and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who labeled them as "simply un-American."

There are many reasons why Obama, according to Gallup, has suffered the largest decline in approval, at this portion in his term, of any elected president since 1953 -- and why more Americans believe in UFOs than approve of the job done by Congress. But one reason is surely the bitter, brittle tone of the new Democratic establishment -- highlighted by the promise they have raised and disappointed.


How did the tonal candidate become so tone-deaf? We have always known that there are two Obamas. One is the thoughtful, Niebuhr-quoting professor, who listens to every side and speaks inspiring words of unity. The other Obama comes from Chicago, and suffers from an excess of Chicagoans around him. Many Democrats seem to like the street-brawling side of Obama and his team. Many independents and Republicans seem less enthusiastic that Mr. Hyde has moved in his furniture and clearly plans to stay.

America in 2008 and Virginia in 2009 show that tone is an underestimated factor in American politics. Positive candidates in these races have looked like leaders and winners. Negativity has seemed trivial. Virginians seem to be deciding that Deeds is too small to be governor. Obama seems intent on proving that he is too small to be an effective president.

Excellent.  Right on the money.

And, in all likelihood, likely to fall on deaf ears in the White House.


Ken Berwitz

This one doesn't need any comment from me.  It comes to us from Noel Sheppard of

Rush 'Divisive', Snoop Dogg OK for ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown


By Noel Sheppard (Bio | Archive)


October 30, 2009 - 00:18 ET While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was calling conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh too "divisive" to own a professional football team, rapper Snoop Dogg was appearing in television ads for ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown."


I guess Goodell and other higher-ups within the league weren't concerned with having a man possessing multiple felony charges against him including murder do commercials for the highly-watched Sunday pre-game show on the nation's leading sports cable network.


Maybe Goodell should have looked at Snoop's rap sheet before he derided Limbaugh right out of an ownership position with the St. Louis Rams (ESPN commercial embedded below the fold along with Wikipedia highlights of the rapper's legal issues, h/t NB reader Shekhar Jain): 


While recording Doggystyle in August 1993, Snoop Dogg was arrested in connection with the death of Phillip Woldemariam, a member of a rival gang who was shot and killed by Snoop's bodyguard, McKinley Lee; Snoop was charged with murder along with Lee as he was driving the vehicle from which the shooting had commenced. Snoop was defended by Johnnie Cochran, with his bodyguard McKinley Lee.[46] Both Snoop and Lee were acquitted; Lee was acquitted on grounds of self-defense, but Snoop Dogg remained entangled in the legal battles around the case for three years.[47] In July 1993, Snoop was stopped for a traffic violation and a firearm was found by police while conducting a search of his car. In February 1997, he pled guilty to one count of being an ex-felon in possession of a handgun and was ordered to record three public service announcements, pay a $1,000 fine, and serve three years' probation.[48] Twice, in May 1998 and October 2001, Snoop Dogg was fined and arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession.[49] [...]


Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, and The Game were sued for assaulting a fan on stage at a May 2005 concert at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, Washington. The accuser, Richard Monroe, Jr., claimed he was beaten by the artists' entourage while mounting the stage.[51] He alleged that he reacted to an "open invite" to come on stage. Before he could, Snoop's bodyguards grabbed him and he was beaten unconscious by crewmembers, including the rapper and producer Soopafly; Snoop and The Game were included in the suit for not intervening. The lawsuit focuses on a pecuniary claim of $22 million in punitive and compensatory damages, battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.[52] The concerned parties appeared in court in April 2009.


On April 26, 2006, Snoop Dogg and members of his entourage were arrested after being turned away from British Airways' first class lounge at Heathrow Airport. Snoop and his party were not allowed to enter the lounge because some of the entourage were flying first class, other members in economy class. After the group was escorted outside, they vandalized a duty-free shop by throwing whiskey bottles. Seven police officers were injured in the midst of the disturbance. After a night in prison, Snoop and the other men were released on bail on April 27, but he was unable to perform at the Premier Foods People's Concert in Johannesburg on the same day. As part of his bail conditions, he had to return to the police station in May. The group has been banned by British Airways for "the foreseeable future."[53][54] When Snoop Dogg appeared at a London police station on May 11, he was cautioned for affray under Section 4 of the Public Order Act for use of threatening words or behavior.[55] On May 15, the Home Office decided that Snoop Dogg should be denied entry to the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future due to the incident at Heathrow as well as his previous convictions in the United States for drugs and firearms offenses.[56][57]  [...]


Snoop Dogg was arrested again on October 26, 2006 at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California while parked in a passenger loading zone. Approached by airport security for a traffic infraction, he was found in possession of marijuana and a firearm, according to a police statement. He was transported to Burbank Police Department Jail, booked, and released on $35,000 bond. He faced firearm and drug possession charges on December 12 at Burbank Superior Court.[62] He was again arrested on November 29, 2006, after performing on The Tonight Show, for possession of marijuana and a firearm.[63] [...]


On April 26, 2007, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship banned him from entering the country on character grounds, citing his prior criminal convictions. He had been scheduled to appear at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards on April 29, 2007.[66] Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship lifted the ban in September 2008 and had granted him visa to tour Australia. DIAC said "In making this decision, the department weighed his criminal convictions against his previous behaviour while in Australia, recent conduct - including charity work - and any likely risk to the Australian community ... We took into account all relevant factors and, on balance, the department decided to grant the visa."[67]


Snoop Dogg's many legal issues forced San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to withdraw his plan to issue a proclamation to the rapper.[68]


Despite all this, Snoop does commercials for ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown."


But Rush Limbaugh is too "divisive" to be a minority owner of a team.


Any questions? 


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