Saturday, 31 October 2009


Ken Berwitz

From Fox News:

Republican state Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava has suspended her campaign for upstate New York's 23rd Congressional seat, leaving Democratic nominee Bill Owens and Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman in the race that will conclude Tuesday.


The move comes on the heels of a new poll that showed Scozzafava had fallen behind her two competitors in a race too close.


The Siena College poll has Owens picking up 36 percent of the vote, while Hoffman has 35 percent. Scozzafava has 20 percent, with nine percent of voters undecided.

It's a turnaround from the first Siena poll on the race in September, which had Scozzafava leading, followed by Owens and Hoffman.

Is this a surprise?  To me it is - but only a mild one.  The surprise is how fast and how far Scozzafava fell in this race.

I would think the Republican geniuses who decided to run Ms. Scozzafava - whose party designation may say "Republican" but whose positions, one after the other, are liberal Democrat - must be wondering what hit them.

Let me help out.

What hit them was that, while some (certainly these) party apparatchiks may think that Republican voters want anyone who can win, regardless of his/her politics, the voters have made it eminently clear that they want someone who is more than a Republican in name only.  They want someone who actually is a Republican.

Ironically, it is not at all clear whether Scozzafava's exit is going to help conservative Republican Douglas Hoffman or hurt him.  It can be argued that Scozzafava's dramatic falloff in the past couple of weeks was comprised of disaffected Repbublicans who wished Hoffman had been the candidate in the first place - and that her remaining support might therefore include a lot of people with Democratic positions who felt she was a good alternative to Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate.  With her out of the race, those votes would probably go to Owens.

What a Tuesday this is going to be! 

Zeke ..... .... Today's (Sunday's) NY Times column by Frank Rich is on this. ... and there's a notice to read for the updated column - revised after Dede announced her withdrawal. .... Rich states there that "Scozzafava is a mainstream conservative by New York standards" ... .... Rich omits many of her leftist stands. ... Rich's logic is strictly from 2nd grade --- Republicans are Poo-Poo-Heads. .... Simply put, Frank Rich is a waste of ink and electrons. (11/01/09)

free` LOL, what great news to wake up to. I donated money to Hoffman [first time i have ever donated money to a politician] yesterday and to wake up to this today is great news. I am not a republican or a democrat I belong to no party, but I am a conservative person and I am sick and tired of all this big government BS. (10/31/09)

Zeke ... On Friday, when Dede Scozzafava dropped out of NY-23, she said she hoped to work toward a “stronger GOP.” ... Yesterday, word began to break that Scozzafava and her husband are working with union activists to push her voters toward Bill Owens, the Democrat. ... Scozzafava believes "a stronger GOP" ... means one in which the Democrat wins. ... It has been 48 hours since Dede Scozzafava dropped out of NY-23. After $900,000 wasted on her candidacy by the GOP, the candidate is now returning the support by encouraging votes for the Democrat. (11/02/09)


Ken Berwitz

It's a pretty good bet that you don't know who Jason Shih is, so let me tell you that he is a 25 year old "assistant deputy campaign director" for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.

Here is what Mr. Shih is up to these days, courtesy of ABC news (and almost no one else):



Jason Shih, an Assistant Deputy Director to the campaign of NJ Gov. Jon Corzine was arrested last night on drug charges.


East Rutherford police say they pulled over the 25-year-old on Route 17 for driving while using a cell phone.

Police say they found 19 ecstasy pills and several hundred glassine envelopes.


He was charged with possession of a controlled narcotic and paraphernalia that is used for distribution.

He was released on $15,000 bail.

What does this have to do with Jon Corzine?  Frankly nothing.  He has no way of knowing the drug proclivities of a low-to-mid-level operative in his campaign (who knows if he has even met Jason Shih).

But -- if this story is not reported by the media which cover the New Jersey campaign, and the lack of coverage becomes an issue on the internet, and/or is discussed Monday night on the cable talk shows (like, for example the Fox shows, which all have seven figures worth of viewers)?   Then it can hurt Corzine in Tuesday's election.

(FYI:  As of now, on the first two pages of google, the one and only reference to Jason Shih's arrest is what you just saw from ABC.)

Is it fair to Jon Corzine?  No it is not.  But it is reality. 

We'll see how this story plays out.


Ken Berwitz

As I said in the previous blog, there is a treasure trove of commentary ridiculing the "job creation/saving" claims of the Obama administration - very much including usually deferential news venues.

Here's one more:  A report on Katie Couric's newscast by White House correspondent Chip Reid:

October 30, 2009

CBS: Admin's Trillion-Dollar Stimulus Claims "Hard to Believe"



The CBS "Evening News" aired a report Thursday night on the jobs claims already made by the White House.

The piece cites an Associated Press analysis that the Administration has overstated by thousands the number of jobs created or saved. One fiscal watchdog adds that at worst, these numbers are next to useless. House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) notes that there is no factual basis for the White Houses claims.

That's right, Chip.  "Hard to believe".  Which, in this case, is a highly sanitized version of "absolutely, positively full of s#!t".

I wonder if this blatant insult to the intelligence of voters (or even precocious 3rd graders) will have an affect on the competitive elections on Tuesday - such as the New Jersey gubernatorial race, or the congressional districts in New York and California that are up for grabs (Virginia seems a safe Republican pickup, which in and of itself is damaging to the Obama people). 

On paper, Democrats should handily be winning all three.  New Jersey is a blue state, the New York congressional race is in a Republican area but two candidates are splitting the Republican vote, and the California race is in the bay area, which is to Republicans roughly what the Zionist Organization of America is to hamas.

But every one of them is competitive.  And the effrontery of passing off these job numbers just might turn the tables.

We'll find out soon enough. 


Ken Berwitz

This excerpt from an article in the Times of London  is a concise - and chilling - demonstration of what Sarah Palin and others may have meant by using terms like "death panels" to describe what will happen under ObamaCare.  Please pay very special attention to the last paragraph, which I have put in bold print:


October 31, 2009

Patients who wait too long will get private care on the NHS

Patients who do not get the treatment that they need from the NHS within 18 weeks are to be given the legal right to free private care.

The Cabinet agreed this week that the legislation, placing maximum waiting times on the statute book for the first time, should be rushed through Parliament before the next election.

Cancer patients, in particular, will receive funding for private treatment if they have not seen an NHS specialist within two weeks of GP referral.

This will send a strong no turning back message to voters, a senior government source said. David Cameron will have to decide whether he wants to repeal this measure and take rights away from patients.

The Tories have promised to phase out all NHS targets, including those for waiting times, saying that patients should make informed choices about their care without hospitals being forced into a straitjacket of government regulation. Labour always focuses on the process while we think what really matters is whether you are better after your treatment, a Conservative spokesman said.

Patients are currently offered a choice from a range of NHS, independent and private provision only at the outset of their treatment. They are obliged to stick with that decision even when their treatment is delayed beyond the existing target time limits.

The new rules will allow people to switch to a different hospital, including those in the private sector, if they have been made to wait longer than 18 weeks for treatment by a specialist after seeing their family doctor.

According to the latest figures from August, about 37,000 patients had not received treatment from an NHS specialist within 18 weeks of their GP referral. There are legitimate clinical explanations for some and others are caused by patients cancelling their own operations to go on holiday but officials believe that about half have been failed by the system.

Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, told Cabinet colleagues this week that the new legislation would mean that underperforming hospitals would lose funding from patients going elsewhere and act as a powerful challenge for them to raise their game.

Jennifer Dixon, of the Nuffield Trust, said the plans could be seen as Tory-proofing the NHS. It would not only give patients enforceable health care entitlements but it would also prevent managers and clinicians from controlling waiting times as a way of limiting demand and saving money, she said. In the past requirements to make financial savings often resulted in hospitals stopping routine surgery for a couple of months before the end of the financial year.

"...prevent clinicians from controlling waiting times as a way of limiting demand and saving money"?  "In the past requirements to make financial savings often resulted in hospitals stopping routine surgery for a couple of months before the end of the financial year"?

Maybe, just maybe, that is what is meant by "death panels". 

And maybe, just maybe, given that health care providers here will be under the same kinds of financial restraints, that is what would happen under ObamaCare.

And maybe, just maybe, the oldest of our citizens - the ones with fewer years left - will be at the front of the line when it comes to saving the money by withholding procedures.

So maybe, just maybe, Sarah Palin and the others have it right.

You tell me.


Ken Berwitz

From today's New York Post.  You decide if it makes sense:

The Pelosi-Reid tranwreck


Last Updated: 4:47 AM, October 31, 2009

Posted: October 31, 2009


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a 2,000-page health-care bill Thursday -- complete with a "public option" -- cobbled together from competing versions passed by separate committees.


At this point, she and her Senate counterparts are crafting their bills in ways to secure votes for passage rather than to produce good policy. But their attempts may backfire on both fronts.


Fiscally conservative Dems in the Blue Dog coalition, for example, quickly demanded more proof that the bill -- which spends $1.055 trillion over 10 years -- will lower health-care costs in the long run.


And that comes after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's ObamaCare bill met major resistance from Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman, who said he'd back a GOP filibuster.


Government-run health insurance -- even with an opt-out provision, as Reid proposes -- "creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line," said the Connecticut senator.


And that, he added, "is just asking for trouble -- for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt."


How right he is.


Combined with growing skepticism from other Senate Democrats, that could leave Reid short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.


Reid & Co. also lost the support of Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, who says she's "deeply disappointed" that the majority leader included a public option, notwithstanding its opt-out for states.


Why? For one thing, no one can say how that opt-out would work. For another, it fails to address a key problem with a government plan: With Washington writing the rules and providing funding, a public plan would enjoy an unfair edge over private ones.


Meanwhile, Democrats have already significantly weakened various cost-containment provisions proposed by Republicans in both the House and Senate bills.


And OMB Director Peter Orszag admitted this week: "It is . . . difficult to quantify precisely how these steps will work together to promote quality and reduce cost growth."


That's because Dems keep promising the moon, claiming they can provide universal coverage, better care and steeply declining prices -- all without blowing new holes in the federal budget.


And anytime a skeptic crunches their numbers, they just move the goal line, saying it's a "work in progress."


But as House Minority Leader John Boehner said Thursday, some things about the bill are already clear: "It will raise the cost of Americans' health-insurance premiums; it will kill jobs with tax hikes and new mandates, and it will cut seniors' Medicare benefits."


Seems the old adage still makes sense: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.


Ken Berwitz

Just a quick thought:

-Suppose you were appointed the commanding General of a war by the administration.

-Suppose you told the President you needed 40,000 more troops, without them the troops already there were in greater danger, and without them the war could be lost.

-Suppose the President ignored your request for two months.

-Suppose, after those two months, the President sought out the recommendations of other generals, not in command of your troops, for the purpose of finding a course of action that you do not think is adequate.

Would you resign your command?

I wonder when General McChrystal will do so.  Any day he packs it in will not surprise me.

Ken Berwitz free - Let them laugh. It makes perfect sense, even if they can't see it. McChrystal's recommendations have not only been ignored for two months, but President Obama is proactively looking for ways to reject them. That is about as humiliating as it gets for a commanding General. Any day he calls it quits will not surprise me in the least. Tell whoever is laughing at you to put his/her logic up here and give me a crack at responding to it. (10/31/09)

Zeke .... GW Bush repeatedly said, "If the Generals tell me they need resources, then I will direct they get them" ... Men, Equipment, Diplomatic Support. .... and they did ... including the 'Surge'. The surge, coming at a time when the Iraqi Army was combat capable and properly led, turned the tide in Iraq. .... Please tell Mr. Obama that saying "Present" will not win the day in Afghanistan. (10/31/09)

free` I brought this same subject up in #politics and i was laughed at, glad to see I am not the only one to think about this. (10/31/09)


The President Obama Afghanistan D&D (Dither & Dawdle) index is at two months and counting.

Here, excerpted from an article by Ann Kornblut and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post, is the latest D&D activity:

Obama seeks options for sending fewer to war

He asks Pentagon chiefs for alternatives to troop requests on Afghanistan


By Anne E. Kornblut and Greg Jaffe

updated 3:30 a.m. ET, Sat., Oct . 31, 2009

WASHINGTON - President Obama has asked the Pentagon's top generals to provide him with more options for troop levels in Afghanistan, two U.S. officials said late Friday, with one adding that some of the alternatives would allow Obama to send fewer new troops than the roughly 40,000 requested by his top commander.

Obama met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the White House on Friday, holding a 90-minute discussion that centered on the strain on the force after eight years of war in two countries. The meeting -- the first of its kind with the chiefs of the Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Air Force, who were not part of the president's war council meetings on Afghanistan in recent weeks -- prompted Obama to request another such meeting before he announces a decision on sending additional troops, the officials said.

The military chiefs have been largely supportive of a resource request by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, that would by one Pentagon estimate require the deployment of 44,000 additional troops. But opinion among members of Obama's national security team is divided, and he now appears to be seeking a compromise solution that would satisfy both his military and civilian advisers.

Obama is expected to receive several options from the Pentagon about troop levels next week, according to the two officials, who discussed the deliberations on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly.

Which strategy to embrace?
Before he can determine troop levels, his advisers have said, he must decide whether to embrace a strategy focused heavily on counterinsurgency, which would require additional forces to protect population centers, or one that makes counterterrorism the main focus of U.S. efforts in the country, which would rely on relatively fewer American troops.

One option under review involves a blend of the two approaches, featuring an emphasis on counterterrorism in the north and some parts of western Afghanistan as well as an expanded counterinsurgency effort in the south and east, one of the officials said. Obama has also asked for a province-by-province review of the country to determine which areas can by managed effectively by local leaders.

The president appears committed to adding at least 10,000 to 15,000 troops in Afghanistan in an effort to bolster the training of Afghan army and police officers in the country. Current plans call for the United States to double the size of the Afghan army and police forces to about 400,000 in the hope that they can take over security responsibilities.

In meeting with the military chiefs, Obama heard their assessment of the how prepared the services are to handle a new commitment. "Each chief discussed the state of their own service, how they are doing today and what the long-term consequences will be for each of their services," an administration official said. The military advisers also put the troop deployments in the context of the rest of their global deployments, including in Iraq.

It was not a "recommendations meeting," with concrete options of how to proceed, the official said. That will presumably come in the next such meeting, which has not been scheduled.

The timing of Obama's decision on Afghanistan remains up in the air. But his request for another meeting with the military chiefs -- and the expectation that he will meet again with his top national security advisers before reaching a conclusion -- may leave him too little time to decide the issue before he travels to Asia on Nov. 11. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to be overseas for much of that time, except for a brief stint at home from Wednesday to Friday, giving Obama little opportunity to convene his war council in person. It appears increasingly likely that Obama will not announce his new Afghanistan strategy until after returning to the United States on Nov. 20.

Obama has come under criticism from Republicans, notably former vice president Richard B. Cheney, for deliberating so long, but his advisers have said he is determined to get the decision right rather than satisfy his critics.

Let me get this straight:  President Obama's own commanding General, Stanley McChrystal, told him he needed 40,000 more troops.  IN AUGUST.  And now, at the end of October, he is first asking the generals at the pentagon to give him alternative plans? 

Is it unfair to ask why it took two f#(%ing months for him to ask for those plans?  

President Obama either accepted or did not accept the McChrystal recommendation when it was made.  If he accepted, the troops would have been deployed.  If he didn't, especially since McChrystal made the gravity of the situation perfectly clear (without them, the currently-stationed troops are in greater danger - and the war could be lost) why weren't alternatives requested immediately? 

The sad but inescapable reality is that President Obama's dithering and dawdling is either because he is incompetent to make a decision on this matter or because he just doesn't give a damn about our troops in Afghanistan.  Maybe both. 

Now, according to Kornblut and Jaffe, the decision might wait another three weeks, until November 20. 

How many of our men and women in uniform will be injured or die because of his dithering and dawdling?  How many have been injured or died because of it already?

This is more than a national disgrace.  This is a pathetic demonstration of what happens when we elect a Chicago machine politician, with no qualifications - no executive experience, no foreign policy experience, nothing - to be President.

We deserve this.  We elected Barack Obama, and handed him a lopsided majority in both houses to back his actions up.

But does our volunteer army deserve this --  especially those who are at risk in Afghanistan? 

Mr. President, when are you going to DO SOMETHING?


Ken Berwitz

It's quite a combination:  Hillary Clinton lies, and Hillary Clinton blames Bush for anything and everything.

Sort of like hitting for a daily double of BS.

From Paul Mirengoff of - and please pay special attention to the part I've put in bold print:

October 31, 2009

No class, bad memory

 October 31, 2009 Posted by Paul at 4:17 PM


Hillary Clinton continued her farcical visit to Pakistan today by blaming Obama's failure to make any progress with respect to Israeli-Palestinian relations on George W. Bush. Clinton told a group of Pakistani journalists

I think that, look, we all know that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is one that is a very serious and difficult problem that we are working hard also to try to resolve. We inherited a lot of problems. If you remember, when my husband left office, we were very close to an agreement because he worked on it all the time. The next administration did not make it a priority and did not really do much until toward the end. And unfortunately, we are trying to make up for some lost time, in my opinion.

Clinton's statement goes beyond the usual, ungracious Obama administration mantra that everything is Bush's fault. Here, Clinton has affirmatively misstated history. Thus, her comments are much closer to the administration's patently false claim that the Bush White House did no planning regarding Afghanistan.

It is true that Israel and the Palestinians appeared to be close to an agreement during the tail end of the Clintion administration. But the appearance of closeness does not even count in horseshoes. When Clinton left office, the parties were not only nowhere near an agreement, the Palestinians were conducting a robust terror campaign inside the state of Israel. This was the fruit of Clinton's years, which culminated with Arafat, Clinton's peace partner, unleashing the terror on the theory, or perhaps the pretext, that Clinton had not extracted more concessions from Israel than he had.

In short, Bush inherited a mess (as the Obama folks like to say) from his predecessor -- at least from the perspective of those who care about the security of Israel, as Hillary has claimed, at times, she does.

Bush, though, didn't publicly blame Bill Clinton for this parlous state of affairs. Instead, he supported the government of Israel in its eventually successful efforts to end the Palestinian terror campaign.

In addition, as Rick Richman points out, Bush endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state if the Palestinian Authority would renounce terrorism; developed the "road map" to piece; urged Israel to withdraw from Gaza (which it did); and helped arrange for the election of a successor to Arafat, one regarded by Clinton and Obama as a moderate and a viable peace partner.

All of this happened in Bush's first five years in office.

Frankly, I regard Bush's steps towards "peace" as a mixed bag, at best. But it is simply not true that Bush "did not really do much until toward the end." Nor is it true that "we were very close to an agreement" when Bill Clinton left office.

President Obama doesn't understand much when it comes to foreign policy. However, he appears to understand that Hillary Clinton is not ready for prime time diplomacy. Let's hope he acts on this insight.

It's bad enough that Hillary Clinton is a serial incompetent who never seems to get anything done successfully.  It's bad enough that she is (thanks Bill Safire) a congenital liar.  It's bad enough that instead of acknowledging that the Obama administration is getting nothing done in that part of the world, she blames President Bush as if he were still in office.

Now you're waiting for a "But......." with me writing something after it, aren't you? 

Nope, it's not coming.  Hillary Clinton is bad enough without mentioning any more.

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