Sunday, 29 November 2009

HONDURAS & THE NEW YORK TIMES

Ken Berwitz

Don't you just love it when someone writes something that a) is in complete agreement with you, but b) is written weeks and weeks after you wrote it?

With that in mind, here is Jimmie Bice Jr's piece, from www.hotair.com, about how completely the New York Times misrepresents what happened in Honduras (which, incidentally, had its democratic election today). 

Distorting Honduran History at the New York Times

posted at 2:00 pm on November 29, 2009 by Jimmie Bise, Jr
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Im having a hard time deciding whether this article in the New York Times is dishonest or just biased toward the Obama Administrations point of view. The author purports to be critical of the administrations vacillations toward the situation in Honduras, but clearly shes in the tank on the administrations approved explanation about what happened there. Here is the offensive paragraph.

Mr. Zelaya, once a darling of the Honduran upper classes, fell from favor when he began increasing the minimum wage, reducing the price of fuel and allying himself with President Chvez. His critics say he crossed a line when he defied the Supreme Court and pushed a referendum to change the Constitution so that he could run for another term. The court called in the military

That poor Zelaya, hero of the working class and foe of the rich, huh? Except you and I both know thats now what really happened. In this case, his critics included the entire government of Honduras. Zelaya did not merely defy the Supreme Court; he openly violated the Honduran constitution which is crystal clear on the matter of Presidents serving more than one term and on the penalty for anyone who even attempts to change that provision. Both the Supreme Court (which unanimous decision included members of Zelayas own party) and the Honduran legislature decided to remove Zelaya, even though they did not need to do so. Their actions were found appropriate by the Law Library of Congress. I suppose you could call all those people his critics but that does cover them under an umbrella of understatement thats so obscure as to be misleading.

Which does seem to be the point.

Its also worth noting that his critics also included every printing business in Honduras (none of which would print his illegal ballot, which is why he had them printed in Venezuela) and the head of the armed forces, General Romeo Vasquez, who refused to comply with his illegal order.

In other words, his critics include the whole of the Honduran government, the head of the Honduran armed forces, all the printers in Honduras, and the Law Library of the Congress of the United States. Biased or dishonest; you tell me.

There is a truth in that paragraph, though, but it is also understated to the point of deception as well. The court did indeed call in the military to enact its will, bit it did so because the military was the appropriate authority to use in that situation according to the constitution. If the court has used any other law enforcement authority, it would have been guilty of violating the constitution just as surely as Zelaya is. The way that little fact reads, though, youd think that the court brought in the military just like the military came in on every other coup in Central America.

Honduras has worked very hard over the years to pull itself out of decades of being an unstable banana republic where various Presidents for Life were toppled by any general with enough soldiers. The country has a constitution that works and a government that is respectful of the rule of law and good order. The Obama administration has discredited itself badly and shown a staggering amount of ignorance by treating Honduras like it was just another banana republic when it clearly is not. Im sorry the New York Times had to resort to rhetorical chicanery to help prop up the administrations ignorant and callous treatment of a would-be ally.

The only consolation is that the author has billed her piece as news analysis. Hopefully she never gets the chance to flex her puny analytical muscles again.

Jimmie, you may be having a hard time deciding whether the article is dishonest or biased in favor of Barack Obama.  But I'm not.

It's both.


AFGHANISTAN: THE 'IT'S BUSH'S FAULT' DEFENSE

Ken Berwitz

You could see this coming 100 miles away. 

Every mistake, every blunder, every failure that Barack Obama has been responsible for since he became President has not been his fault.  It has been George Bush's fault. 

Well, here is the latest example, via a wonderfully timed report which has been released just before Mr. Obama finally announces his decision on increasing troop strength in Afghanistan.  It comes to us from the AP and Mr. Obama's most munificent benefactors at MSNBC:

Senate report: Bin Laden was within our grasp

 

Review could be seen as warning against opponents of a troop surge now

WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force, a Senate report says.

The report asserts that the failure to kill or capture bin Laden at his most vulnerable in December 2001 has had lasting consequences beyond the fate of one man. Bin Laden's escape laid the foundation for today's reinvigorated Afghan insurgency and inflamed the internal strife now endangering Pakistan, it says.

Staff members for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Democratic majority prepared the report at the request of the chairman, Sen. John Kerry, as President Barack Obama prepares to boost U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate has long argued the Bush administration missed a chance to get the al-Qaida leader and top deputies when they were holed up in the forbidding mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan only three months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Aimed at foes of surge?
Although limited to a review of military operations eight years old, the report could also be read as a cautionary note for those resisting an increased troop presence there now.

More pointedly, it seeks to affix a measure of blame for the state of the war today on military leaders under former president George W. Bush, specifically Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary and his top military commander, Tommy Franks.

"Removing the al-Qaida leader from the battlefield eight years ago would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat," the report says. "But the decisions that opened the door for his escape to Pakistan allowed bin Laden to emerge as a potent symbolic figure who continues to attract a steady flow of money and inspire fanatics worldwide. The failure to finish the job represents a lost opportunity that forever altered the course of the conflict in Afghanistan and the future of international terrorism."

The report states categorically that bin Laden was hiding in Tora Bora when the U.S. had the means to mount a rapid assault with several thousand troops at least. It says that a review of existing literature, unclassified government records and interviews with central participants "removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora."

Fewer than 100 U.S. commandos
On or about Dec. 16, 2001, bin Laden and bodyguards "walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's unregulated tribal area," where he is still believed to be based, the report says.

Instead of a massive attack, fewer than 100 U.S. commandos, working with Afghan militias, tried to capitalize on air strikes and track down their prey.

"The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines," the report said.

At the time, Rumsfeld expressed concern that a large U.S. troop presence might fuel a backlash and he and some others said the evidence was not conclusive about bin Laden's location.

This is the mother lode of all BS.  Here's why, in no particular order:

-The report comes from the opposition party just before they need some cover for Obama's dithering and dawdling.  That blows its credibility to smithereens right there;

-This fortuitously timed report was prepared at the request of John Kerry, who a) was Bush's losing opponent in 2004 (there's a fair and balanced view) and b) has a decades-long history of being against military actions (apparently he suddenly became a hawk and a half on this one);

-The decision on how to proceed - unlike deciding how many troops to send - did not come from the White House.  It was a decision by the military people in the field.  So even if Kerry had a point, the point would be about Tommy Franks and the other field commanders, not George Bush;

-Sending in massive troops would have resulted in a wild goose chase through caves that the locals who were protecting bin laden knew like the back of their hands.  For this reason, our military probably would not have caught bin laden, but most assuredly would have sustained untold numbers of casualties.  This isn't a city block we're talking about, where the military can look  at a grid, see how tall each building is, where the doors are, etc.  These are frigging caves in the middle of nowhere.  The advantage was 100% with the enemy;

-And, in any event, though John Kerry may think he "knows" that bin laden was there, he doesn't.  In the absence of actually catching him at Tora Bora we will never know for sure;

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, maybe we can go back to wondering why Barack Obama has taken a quarter of a year to make a decision on Afghanistan, and then waited almost another week so he could announce it with the pomp and circumstance that seems so much more important to him than the decision itself.

Don't expect Kerry to be talking about that any time soon..

Zeke ... ... omg !!! uhhh, i mean omA ... ... ... G W Bush really IS Osama bin Ladin ... ... ... the DailyKos told me so. (11/29/09)

Zeke ... ... Was Kerry listening to Richard Nixon and sitting in a boat in Afghanistan, while Osama was hanging in Tora Bora ? ... ... ... (11/29/09)


NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT.....

Ken Berwitz

With a tip of my (nonexistent) hat to the late, great, Jimmy Cannon, here is the latest edition of "nobody asked me, but...."

-If Barack Obama commits any appreciable amount of our tax dollars at the climate-change convention in Copenhagen, it will cost his party seats in 2010.  However many they are likely to lose for all other reasons, this will make them lose more.

-We saw "An Education" yesterday at the Clearview Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey.  The movie was absolutely great, except for the fact that, for no good reason whatsoever, it made the bad guy - the guy who had no morals, no conscience and profitted from racism - a Jew.  I don't mean in passing, I mean conspicuously.  It was absolutely unnecesssary to the story, and no one else's religion was so much as mentioned.  I walked out of the theater troubled by this, but still very high on the movie.  However, the more I think of it the lower my opinion goes.  I'd love an explanation.  Maybe the story is adapted from a book, which has a discernible reason for his Jewishness that is not evident in the movie.  I'll try to contact Nick Hornby, the guy who wrote the screenplay, and find out.

-We were in New York with friends last weekend, and ate at Sevilla in the West Village.  God I love that place.  Great atmosphere, very neighborhoody, and the mariscada in green sauce is, as my wife would say "to die for".  Plus, you walk out of the place with so much garlic in you that you're safe from werewolves for a month.  Another fun element of Sevilla is that whenever we go there I walk over to Eduardo, the owner, and sing "Granada......."  And he immediately comes back with the rest of the song's first line, but in Spanish: tierra soada por mi.  The next time we're there, maybe I'll blow him away by singing the entire second line in his native tongue:  Mi cantar se vuelve gitano cuando es para ti, and see what happens next.

-I do not know if the NBA's New Jersey Nets will win even 10 games this season.  So far, after 16 games (almost 20% of the season) they're 10 short.

-Still on sports (more or less) I genuinely hope that the Tiger Woods incident was nothing more than a silly spat that went awry.  I don't have high expectations for almost any sports or entertainment figures, but he is one of the very few who I've aways thought of as exemplary. (Derek Jeter is another of them - just thought I'd throw that in).

-We were at thanksgiving dinner with our nephew, his beautiful family and a bunch of other folks (mostly relatives but friends too).  And we had the most amazing dip - something totally easy to make and just flat-out delicious.  I won't tell you the ingredients, but I guarantee you wish you had them.  And you'd never guess them in a million years.

-My wife loves those dance shows (So You Think You Can Dance & Dancing With the Stars).  I don't.  It makes for two TV's going in two different rooms several nights a week.  Of course it should also be pointed out that she thinks I'm out of my mind to watch the Cable News shows.  So I guess it all evens out.

-My wife also likes good (not necessarily expensive, just good) wine, usually red.  At 63, I'm still a kid and usually prefer orange soda.

-No matter how fast we go on the Garden State Parkway, even 20 MPH over the speed limit, someone is always going much faster.  What happened to the speeding laws?

-I see Eliot Spitzer on TV news shows more and more these days.  I think he's trying to revive his political career.  I wonder if it can be done.

-Driscoll's strawberries used to be great.  Now, whenever we buy them we wind up throwing out a few because in no time flat they get that moldy fuzz.  Strange.

-Lord & Taylor at Freehold Raceway Mall never has many people in it, no matter how crowded any other of the department stores are.  I wonder how they stay in business.

-If I were a Republican, I would be torn by Attorney General eric holder's performance.  Part of me would pray that he resigns or is canned, because of what a disaster he is.  But another part would be praying that he sticks around, because his actions seem guaranteed to damage the Democratic Party.


JERRY BROWN'S ACORN DEFENSE

Ken Berwitz

Yeterday I blogged about Attorney General eric holder's position that, despite being outed as a thoroughly corrupt organization, ACORN should continue to receive federal money (otherwise known as our tax dollars).

I wasn't surprised at all.  Partly this is because eric holder - who, earlier this month, announced he was giving the 9/11 terrorists civil trials in New York City -  is so clearly an amoral sack of excrement.  But mostly it is because ACORN, as dirty as it is, generates votes for the Democratic Party.

Now we have this, from Mike Flynn's www.biggovernment.com web site:

Calif. Attorney General Offers Incoherent, Troubling Answers When Asked About ACORN Doc Dump

by Stage Right

 

On Tuesday November 24th, the day after Big Government broke the story revealing tens of thousands of documents containing sensitive material had been unceremoniously dumped in a trash bin behind the San Diego ACORN office, Attorney General Jerry Brown appeared on Talk Radio KABCs Peter Tilden Show.

Considering this document dump occurred just a few days after the Attorney General had announced an investigation of this very same office, we anticipated his righteous anger at this obvious afront to the integrity of his investigation and the people of Californias right to investigate all evidence pertaining to the operations of ACORN.

Instead, Attorney General Brown offered a rambling and somewhat troubling political answer to a question of law and justice. (NOTE:  THERE SHOULD BE AN AUDIO BELOW.  IF IT ISN'T THERE, OR YOU HAVE TROUBLE USING IT, CLICK HERE)

Attorney General Brown cites a poll which claims that 52% of Republicans think ACORN stole the election for Obama.  The full results of this poll of 1,006 voters can be downloaded here.

Why is this poll and its results relevant to your investigation of ACORN and of this latest news that the office you announced you would be investigating trashed over 20,000 documents in the dark of night right before your investigators came down to visit?

Why does an opinion poll even enter into the discussion during the first minute of the Attorney Generals interview about an ongoing investigation?

And, why is more time spent in this interview on the constitutional rights of ACORN with regard to their trash and speculation over who hired Private Investigator Derrick Roach, instead of the activities of this ACORN office?

Mr. Brown, if this is how you conduct yourself as the chief law enforcement officer for the State of California, how seriously will you conduct your duties as Governor?  (Probably about as seriously as you did the first time you served)

The scariest part?  Jerry Brown is currently the Attorney General of California - the guy entrusted with going after corrupt organizations.  Like ACORN.  How do you suppose that's working out?

 Plus, while it is far from guaranteed, I have no doubt that Brown could win back the governorship of California.  And, while I would have no way of proving it, I broadly suspect that, if he did win, the winning margin might be comprised of illegally registered voters, probably including a great many illegal aliens, registered by ACORN. 

This is dirty even by dirty standards.  And it is entirely the province of one party - the Democratic party.

Which is why our wonderful "neutral" media are working so hard at avoiding it.

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


HACKED EMAILS: THEIR EFFECT ON CAP & TRADE

Ken Berwitz

Kyle Smith, writing for the New York Post has an excellent article today about how the hacked emails - the ones which appear to show that global warming is a scam and maybe a hoax altogether - should affect "cap and trade" legislation.  You can, of course, read the entire piece by using the link I've provided.  But since it is relatively long, I'm excerpting the key points below:

The end of cap-and-trade

By KYLE SMITH

Last Updated: 4:31 AM, November 29, 2009

Posted: 1:22 AM, November 29, 2009

 

Surprise: Hacked e-mails have revealed that sober, empirical, fact-loving scientists at the heart of global-warming research behave like a crazed group of Delta girls engaged in a flame war to paint the Kappas as a bunch of nasty skanks.

It may not be the biggest scandal since Watergate. But what appeared to be a clear path to massive cap-and-trade legislation just a few months ago now resembles a Jenga tower, and the scandal looks like the tile that will bring the whole thing down.

The British scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of East Anglia University and their correspondents, some of them American, apparently conspired to delete evidence to escape required public disclosure; fudged and buried data; tried to lock out skeptics seeking to publish non-alarmist research; and even wanted to beat the crap out of a skeptical scientist.

Its no use pretending this isnt a major blow, said environmentalist writer George Monbiot in The Guardian. The e-mails could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and Im dismayed and deeply shaken by them. BBC environmental analyst Roger Harrabin fretted that the e-mails will have a lasting impact within the world of science. Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry wrote that, Even if the hacked e-mails . . . end up to be much ado about nothing . . . the damage to the public credibility of climate research is likely to be significant.

Republican lawmakers are calling for investigations to mirror the ones that will dog the CRU back in Blighty. All of this happens on the eve of next months Copenhagen climate-change summit, when President Obama will coo about decarbonizing the carbon-based US economy as if itll be as easy as banning smoking in bars.

Every product that is made with carbon-based energy would be punished. The primary appeal of the plan to statists and their never-ending search for new revenue is its ninja-like stealth. Like Europes Value Added Taxes that are simply included in the price of everything, it wouldnt be transparent, like a sales tax or an income tax. Its really big, really, really hard, and is going to make a lot of people mad, Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat, said this week.

Lawmakers, even Democrats, from states that produce oil, natural gas and coal are opposed to the plan, which is why the Senate has put off discussion until at least the spring. A few months before an election that already looks like a wipeout for Democrats? Sure, theyll be much more courageous about it then.

All this backsliding comes before most Americans 55% have even heard of cap-and-trade. They arent going to grow more fond of it once they learn the sticker price $1,761 per family, the equivalent of hiking income taxes by 15%, according to an internal estimate from Obamas treasury department. (House Republican leader John Boehner says the actual total is more like $3,100 a year per family.)

Now the CRU e-mails undermine the most basic tenets of global-warming dogma (such as the idea that climatologists are automatically disinterested and neutral truth-seekers) and confirm what many Americans already believe: That global-warming science is highly politicized. (Only one-third of the US even believes that global warming is being caused by human activity.)

That comes on top of a lot of other climate-related bad news, which is the tag alarmists use for what the rest of us call good news. A now-famous BBC article from Oct. 9, What Happened to Global Warming? noted, For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

Other horrible news for climate scientists: One of the hacked e-mails from a climate scientist considers the likelihood that SO2, or sulfur dioxide, being emitted by Chinas smokestack economy may be counteracting warming trends elsewhere. So a cheap solution to warming one that doesnt rely on dreamy fantasies about rejiggering Western economies might be to simply build really tall smokestacks to inject SO2 above the earths atmosphere to cool the planet like a windshield visor. The same solution is detailed in the bestseller Superfreakonomics.

Der Spiegel International wrote this week, The closer one looks at climate models, the greater the temptation to doubt their usefulness. Is this not a case of altering parameters until they produce the desired results? How much real science can be found in the models? How much is merely the result of tuning?

Thanks to the CRU scandal, the gap is closing between the BBC and Der Spiegel on the one hand and Homer Simpson on the other. His take on global warming: Ive got an inside tip that its all a bunch of crap.

Will President Obama blithely go on his way to Copenhagen and commit this country to climate-change policies, like cap and trade (which, in my opinion is a scam even if global warming were not)? 

Well, if this presidency has shown us anything, it is that Barack Obama has no problem doing eminently dumb, damaging things to the country and lying to our faces about it.  This is a man who mortgaged our children's futures with the so-called "stimulus package", assured us it would cap unemployment at 8%, and then - when unemployment jumped to over 10% - told us that he had saved or created 600,000 - 1,000,000 jobs. 

A President who can lie that overtly about jobs, can lie about climate.   Don't doubt it for a moment.

The big question is:  do Democrats - at least the ones whose seats are not 100% safe - have the same capacity? 

The 2010 elections cannot come fast enough.

And that goes double for 2012.

 

Zeke ... The Warmists have perverted the Scientific Process: The data which is the basis of Global Warming was "lost" .... so no other scientists could reproduce the calculations, examining the 'data smoothing' assumptions. ... The calculation routines were kept secret, not revealed for evaluation. ... Editors of peer-reviewed publications were forced from their positions, and Warmist editors appointed, who refused publication of contrary views. ... ... Hiding data and methods ON ITS FACE calls any research into question ... it's saying "TRUST ME, I'm right". ... ... The whole basis of the Scientific Method is the testing of theories and replicating results, often with different methods. THAT is how the validity of results is determined. ... ... Right now, there are more holes in Global Warming than in Swiss Cheese. ... ... AND, the methods to counteract hypothetical GW might be as easy as atmospheric sun shades. (fine particles, mimic volcano emissions). ... ... Chicken Little doe not have it right. ... ... Damn Warm-Mongers. ... bunch of Natural-Climate-Cycle Deniers. (11/29/09)


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