Thursday, 17 December 2009


Ken Berwitz

What a bitter pill this must be for NBC to swallow.

Barack Obama has taken a nosedive in its latest polling and now, along with most other major polls, is below 50% in job approval. 

Since NBC, more than any other network, has been a proponent of Mr. Obama, it is very difficult to report these findings and still find some kind of silver lining for him.  But deputy political director Mark Murray did give it at least somewhat of a try, as you can see from his report, which is posted below: 

Poll: Obama approval dips below 50 percent 47 percent say his overhaul is a bad idea, 55 percent support Afghan surge

By Mark Murray

Deputy political director

NBC News

updated 6:41 p.m. ET, Wed., Dec . 16, 2009

WASHINGTON - For much of his first year in office, President Barack Obama has largely defied political gravity in the midst of skyrocketing unemployment, an ambitious legislative agenda and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His approval rating remained above 50 percent, a plurality viewed his party positively, and even the number believing the country was on the right track despite the bad news temporarily spiked during his first few months on the job.

But now nearing the end of his first year in office, the economy, the wars and the legislative skirmishes finally have taken a toll on the president and his party, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

For the first time, Obamas overall job approval rating has fallen below 50 percent (to 47 percent). In addition, for the first time since Sept. 2007, a plurality (45 percent) sees the Democratic Party in a negative light. And the percentage believing the country is on the wrong track (55 percent) is at its highest level in the Obama presidency.

This survey underscores what I consider a dramatic and unmistakable change in the political landscape, said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with GOP pollster Bill McInturff. For Democrats, the red flags are flying at full mast.

The sagging economy is beginning to drag him down, McInturff added. This is increasingly becoming President Obamas economy.

Deep dissatisfaction with nation's direction
Underlining the entire poll is a deep dissatisfaction with the current state of the country. Only 33 percent believe the nation is headed in the right direction an eight-point drop since Obama took office.

(By comparison, however, the right track number hovered between 10 percent and 20 percent during George W. Bushs final months in office.)

Whats more, six in 10 say the country is in a state of decline, and a whopping two-thirds say theyre not confident that life for their childrens generation will be better than it was for them.

All of this says that optimism has crashed through the floor board, Hart observed.

Yet there is some optimism for next year: 46 percent say that 2010 will be a better year than 2009, 27 percent say it will be about the same and 25 percent say it will be worse.

Taking it out on Democrats and Republicans
The publics frustration with the direction of the country has rubbed off on both Democrats and Republicans.

In addition to Obamas job approval rating at 47 percent, fewer than four in 10 say they are confident he has the right set of goals and policies, which is down 15 points since his election.

And only one-third have confidence the president has the right goals and priorities to improve the economy, down 13 points since June.

Whats more, while Obama holds an overall 50 percent to 37 percent positive/negative rating in the poll, the number with a very positive view of him dropped from 36 percent in October to 29 percent this month.

Despite these lower numbers, the president remains the most popular American politician in the survey. Just 32 percent have a positive view of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, compared with 40 percent who see her in a negative light.

The entire Republican Party, moreover, continues to maintain a net-negative favorable/unfavorable rating, 28 percent to 43 percent.

But, for the first time in more than two years, the Democratic Party also now holds a net-negative rating, 35 percent to 45 percent.

By comparison, the conservative libertarian-leaning Tea Party movement has a net-positive 41 percent to 23 percent score in the poll.

Further demonstrating a disappointment with Democrats and Republicans in Washington, an overwhelming 81 percent believe that the past year in Congress has been marked by division and a lack of willingness to compromise.

Compare that with a majority (52 percent) who thought immediately after Obamas presidential victory that unity would prevail in 2009.

Barack Obama has defied gravity?????  What kind of nonsense is that?  Mr Obama came in when outgoing President George Bush was being blamed for every problem we have.  And with copious help from our wonderful "neutral" media -NBC very much included - he has spared no effort to continue blaming Bush, even for things that he himself initiated. 

That's not defying gravity, that's riding in on a white horse and making sure that the last guy continued to take all the heat. 

A much better analysis would be that Mr. Obama's plummeting numbers are the result of dissatisfaction with his performance - partly because it is seen as deficient per se, and partly because fewer and fewer people accept the premise that what happens under Obama is because of the guy who no longer is in office.  It worked for the first few months but, as time has passed, the blame-shifting has had less and less credibility.

Then we have the remarkable claim that "there is some optimism" in the fact that 46% say 2010 will be a better year than 2009. 

How is that finding "optimistic"?  It means that a majority of respondents feel 2010 will be just as bad as 2009 or even worse.  And that's before we get to the fact that even those who believe next year will be better than this one don't necessarily think it will be a good year.  Illustratively, if unemployment were to drop back to, say, 9%, it would be better than 2009, but still lousy.

And I love the idea of claiming that Mr. Obama is still popular by comparing him with Sarah Palin -- after Ms.Palin has been attacked ferociously and unrelentingly by media for the past year.  That's like saying a new poll shows Alex Rodriguez isn't as popular as he used to be, but he's still doing well because this week's numbers put him above Tiger Woods.

No matter how Mr. Murray slices the baloney, the bottom line is that Barack Obama's approval ratings have fallen through a trap door.  Period, end of story.


Ken Berwitz

This is not political at all, but I'm annoyed enough to put it up here.

Last night Turner Classic Movies aired the great, great film "Casablanca" - one of my all-time favorites.  For that I thank them; every second was wonderful.

But Robert Osborne, who introduces the films, and then has comments about them afterwards, made a mistake.  He said that Joy Paige, who played the young Bulgarian girl Rick helps out by, er, facilitating her husband's winning enough at the roulette table to buy their passports, had died earlier this year, and there were no other living cast members.

Actually, that's not true. 

Unless is mistaken (and I don't think it is), Madeleine Lebeau, who played Yvonne (the beautiful girl Rick spurns after having a brief fling with her; the one he tells Sasha to take home "and come right back here!"), is still alive.   Although a minor character, Yvonne did have a credited, speaking part -- and was also featured in a subsequent scene, when she came into Rick's Caf with a German soldier (to spite Rick, of course), but immediately had a change of heart when Victor Lazlo got the band to play La Marseillaise (the French national anthem), and sang it out with tears in her eyes.

Now if you've never seen Casablanca, none of this will mean anything to you.  If you have, it still might not.  Fair enough.

But I just spent ten minutes trying to traverse TCM's web site to inform either Osborne or someone else there about the error, and finally gave up.  The normandy invasion was only marginally more difficult than figuring out how to contact anyone there.  So I'm posting the correction here, in case a reader knows how to tell the people at TCM about Ms. Lebeau.

Ok, back to politics.

Jerry Smith You are not alone on that one. Heard the same thing and likewise know what a silly website TCM "operates". Like majority of the cable networks they thrive on not hearing from anyone, choosing instead a blog site to spy on! (12/31/09)


Ken Berwitz

How sincere is the Democratic majority about getting tough on illegal immigration?

Mark Krikorian, of National Review, gives us our answer:

Taqiyya in Immigration   [Mark Krikorian]

The Democratic amnesty bill is almost like something I'd write as a parody. Sec. 157, for instance, prohibits the arrest of any illegal or criminal alien on the premises of, or in the immediate vicinity of, a childcare provider, a school, a legal-service provider, a Federal court or State court proceeding, an administrative proceeding, a funeral home, a cemetery, a college, university, or community college, a victim-services agency, a social-service agency, a hospital or emergency-care center, a health-care clinic, a place of worship, a day-care center, a head-start center, a school bus stop, a recreation center, a mental-health facility, or a community center. Depending on how you define "immediate vicinity," that wouldn't leave much of anywhere to arrest illegal aliens, which is the point.

But this bill is more than just an object of hilarity. It accurately reveals what the open-borders side really wants, or at least what they think they can safely reveal about their goals. The counterpart bill in the Senate, to be introduced early next year by Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham, will have the same broad outlines but won't be quite as wacky. But the difference between the bills won't simply be one of degree, like whether we should buy 10 new fighter jets or 20. Rather, the Senate bill will be an exercise in taqiyya or dissimulation, an attempt to deceive the public into believing that the supporters of legalization will vigorously enforce new, tougher immigration laws in the future once the current illegal population is amnestied. The House bill makes clear, in this provision and in many others, that that's simply not true.

They lied to our faces about the "stimulus package" creating jobs.  They are lying to our faces about ObamaCare giving us choices and lowering health care costs.  And they are lying to our faces about getting tough on illegal immigration.

Then they wonder why President Obama in particular, and Democrats in general, are dropping so far so fast in the polls.


Ken Berwitz

With so much dishonesty emanating from this administration, it's hard to pick a single example that rises to the top.  But this one is surely somewhere up there.

Just last week Barack Obama warned Republicans to stop using scare tactics when advocating against Democrats' health care legislation.  Here are two specific examples of Mr. Obama admmonishing his opposition against using scare tactics -- the first from Reuters and the second from

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept 12 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned Americans on Saturday not to be tricked by "scare tactics" he accused his opponents of using as he went on the road to rally support for his drive to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.


Obama to GOP: 'Stop trying to frighten the American people'

By Sam Youngman - 12/09/09 01:14 PM ET

President Barack Obama told House Republican leaders to "stop trying to frighten the American people" even as he and Democrats said they see a possibility for bipartisan cooperation on job creation legislation.

Ok, we get it.  President Obama is 100% against scare tactics being used to sell a political position.  That's what he has told us in so many words.

Except.....Isn't this the same Barack Obama also who told us that there would be a catastrophe if we didn't immediately pass the so-called "stimulus package"?  That sure sounds like a scare tactic to me. 

Well, yeah, an Obama supporter might say, but you're taking one instance from months and months ago, and making a big deal out of it.  Everyone is entitled to one lapse. 

Dear reader:  if you in any way buy the above argument, please read this excerpt from a report, filed just yesterday by Karen Travers of ABC news:

President Obama: Federal Government 'Will Go Bankrupt' if Health Care Costs Are Not Reined In

December 16, 2009 3:01 PM

ABC's Karen Travers reports from Washington:


President Obama told ABC News Charles Gibson in an interview that if Congress does not pass health care legislation that will bring down costs, the federal government will go bankrupt.

The president laid out a dire scenario of what will happen if his health care reform effort fails.

If we don't pass it, here's the guarantee.your premiums will go up, your employers are going to load up more costs on you, he said. Potentially they're going to drop your coverage, because they just can't afford an increase of 25 percent, 30 percent in terms of the costs of providing health care to employees each and every year.

The president said that the costs of Medicare and Medicaid are on an unsustainable trajectory and if there is no action taken to bring them down, the federal government will go bankrupt.

This actually provides us the best chance of starting to bend the cost curve on the government expenditures in Medicare and Medicaid, Obama said.

Watch Charlie Gibsons interview with President Obama tonight on World News and check back on for the full interview.

Obama told Gibson that anybody who says they are concerned about the rising deficit or worried about tax increases in the future has to support this health care bill.

Because if we don't do this, nobody argues with the fact that health care costs are going to consume the entire federal budget, the president said.


That, folks, is from the man who says scare tactics must not be used.


One thing I'll give Barack Obama.  When he lies, he does it about as blatantly as anyone I've ever seen.  You don't have to look for nuance, that isn't the Chicago way.  He does it straight-on in your face.


And I love that "nobody argues with the fact that...." routine too.  He uses it often.  Mr. Obama and/or his advisors evidently think that if he says everyone is in agreement with the premise of his position, he can fool some people into believing it.  And, for some people, he's probably right too.


Do yourself a favor and don't be one of them.


Ken Berwitz

Have you ever actually heard one of keith olbermann's "special comments"?  If not, I thought you might be interested in just how, er, uplifting they are.

Well, all you have to do is click here, and you'll be able to either read, or view the every word.  I suggest fastening your seat belts before you do so....and having plenty of antacids at hand.

(I am hoping you are either reading or viewing the special comment right now.  Tick tock tick tock tick tock.................................................)

So, are you finished?  Is that about 11 or 12 minutes of primal therapy or what?

Try counting up the personal insults, then the attacks on groups and entities.  It is dizzying.

In olbermann's latest expedition through Venomville, his bogeymen include Republicans en masse (as always), Joe Lieberman (Independent/Democrat), Chuck Grassley (Republican) Jim Demint (Republican) Max Baucus (Democrat) and Ben Nelson (Democrat).  In addition, Barack Obama and Harry Reid are positioned as helpless, feckless dupes.  And I'm sure I've left out a couple of others.  In the world of olbermann, the only good people are hard-leftists.

Lieberman in particular, is called a piqued, vengeful betrayer, a sellout, someone who has lost part of his sanity, who has sold hundreds of thousands into pain, fear, privation and slavery for money, is bought and sold by the insurance lobby, and is a senatorial prostitute/streetwalker. 

Funny, I thought that all he did was petition for what he wanted in the bill.  Just like every other senator.  The only reason he is pivotal is that almost everyone else seems to have a settled position.  Who does olberman blame for that? Lieberman?

I wonder if olbermann has thought for one moment about the fact that, as people know more and more about this legislation, fewer and fewer want it.  If it were good legislation and did what he claims, wouldn't that trend be moving in the opposite direction?

Illustratively, in the most recent poll (NBC/WSJ),  there are four choices - it is a good idea, a bad idea,  no opinion and not sure.  In April 33% said good idea, 26% said bad idea, and 41% said no opinion or unsure (rounded to the nearest percent).  Now?  32% say it is a good idea, 47% say bad idea and 21% are not sure.  That is a big, big move to the negative side.

Did this happen because the media have pounded us with negative stories about health care and driven down public sentiment?  Absolutely not.  The exact opposite is true:  most mainstream media have been, and remain, strongly supportive of this legislation. 

No, the reason is a realization by more and more people that, with all its warts (and there are plenty of them), they prefer our current system to the monstrosity being proposed.  Why?  I'm almost certain that a lot of it is because they flat-out do not believe what this administration is telling them about it.

I think they disbelieve that it will result in actual competition - not with government simultaneously running part of it and in charge of setting the rules for everyone else.  That doesn't compute;

I think they disbelieve that if you add 30 - 45 million people, with a disproportionate percentage of them non-payers and high risks, it could possibly result in better services and lower prices.  That is an obvious contradiction in terms.

And, perhaps most importantly, I think that the so-called "stimulus package" has turned them away.  When this legislation was enacted, we were told it would cap unemployment at 8%.  But in the 10 months it has been on the books, unemployment has risen to over 10% - that's a loss of about 3,500,000 jobs.  Yet, incredibly, the administration is looking us in the eye and saying that it has created or saved seven figures worth of jobs.  Maybe olbermann believes this, but it is pretty clear not many others do.  I suspect most folks feel it is self-evident BS.  And they're 100% right.

So, it could be reasoned, if the previous major piece of legislation is a demonstrable failure, and the administration is lying about it to our faces, why would anyone think that same administration will be any more successful, or honest, about health care?

This is the perspective that never quite gets onto the radar with olbermann.  It's much easier hurling bilious personal insults.

Maybe his next special comment can be about vicious, nasty, offensive louts who host low-rated cable news shows.  At least we'll be sure he knows something about the subject.

Zeke . . . RA: . Your facts on the stimulus are incorrect: ... 1) "bipartisan fetishist zeal" ... EVERY Republican representative voted AGAINST the stimulus; the ONLY Republican senators to vote for it were the two ultra-liberals from Maine --- THAT you call "bipartisan" ... come on, man ... words DO have meanings . . . . . . 2) "dismissed stimulus as a method of dealing with an economic downturn" . . . between TARP, the 2009 Stilmulus Bill, the $600 Federal Rebate .... the US has ponied up a trillion dollars ... hardly a 'dismissal' . . . . . . . 3) Your 'spend ourselves rich' concept totally ignores the economic anchor that debt places on the future ... EVERY country that has done that has 'rued the day' .... Greece is just the latest example. (12/18/09)

Zeke . . . RA: "Socialism works, until you run out of other people's money". [Margaret Thatcher] . . . Your proposal to 'give it [medical care] to them from the public treasury' is just that. . . . . . . Support for the health care bill dropped sharply BEFORE Harry Reid's 'give Medicare at 55' proposal ... why did you ignore that reality ? . . . . . . We all agree that there are benefits to giving first class medical care to all (hey, how about the whole world?) ... but you have not addressed where the money for that will come from. . . . . . . BTW, what country do you reside in; what is your citizenship? (12/18/09)

Mr. R. A Oh, the Obama Adminstration, in its triangulationist and bipartisan fetishist zeal, having already watered down the original stimulus and making it disproportionately tax cuts, is now headed towards the austerity method of dealing with an economic downturn, which is what the IMF would impose on Third World countries and this would cause food riots and massacres like that in Venezuela in 1989. When this is implemented, I guarantee things will be very bad and you will rue the day you dismissed stimulus as a method of dealing with an economic downturn. (12/17/09)

free` After reading this: "Yours is the most corrupt country in the entire world." You show that you are not to be taken seriously. (12/17/09)

Mr. R.A. Actually, the drop in support for the bill coincides with all the good stuff being excised from it at the behest of Blue Dogs and Joe Lieberman in the name of "reality" and "compromise". The public option and the medicare buy in are popular items, as is regulation of the insurance racket, and these have effectively been removed, leaving a bill that is nothing but a gift for that racket. People understand this and are making this known when polled about it. It doesn't compute that these compromises serve to make the bill more unpopular. One would think that politicians who value votes would compromise towards making it more popular, or at least make it more palateable for more people. But the votes of the people mean little - the bribery means more and in the end the ultra-corrupt American political culture maintains it to be "pork" to deliver to constituents but good politics to deliver to those who contribute to political campaigns. Yours is the most corrupt country in the entire world. As long as the principle is "they who own the country ought to govern it", it will remain so and the corruption only deepens. (12/17/09)

Ken Berwitz RA - All countries are corrupt to one extent or another and the US certainly is no exception. But if you think it is the single most corrupt country in the world you must have a screw loose. Regarding the health care proposal, your position doesn't make sense, because the trend has been downward for months, even when "the good stuff, as you call it, was all still there. If those data had held at the initially higher levels, then suddenly dropped in the past few weeks, you'd have a point. But they didn't so you don't. (12/17/09)


Ken Berwitz

I bet you think the senate is debating the health care legislation it will be asked to vote on.  I know I did.

Well they aren't.

Read this stunning press release from the office of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.  The bold print is mine:

Completely Reckless, Completely Irresponsible
from the Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Thursday regarding the importance of getting it right on health care reform:

Senators on both sides acknowledge that the health care bill were considering is among the most significant pieces of legislation any of us will ever consider.

So it stands to reason that wed devote significant time and attention to it.

Indeed, some would argue that we should spend more time and attention on this bill than most if not every previous bill weve considered.

The Majority disagrees.

Why? Because this bill has become a political nightmare for them.

They know Americans overwhelmingly oppose it, so they want to get it over with.

Americans are already outraged at the fact that Democrat leaders took their eyes off the ball. Rushing the process on a partisan line makes the situation even worse.

Americans were told the purpose of reform was to reduce the cost of health care.

Instead, Democrat leaders produced a $2.5 trillion, 2,074-page monstrosity that vastly expands government, raises taxes, raises premiums, and wrecks Medicare.

And they want to rush this bill through by Christmas one of the most significant, far-reaching pieces of legislation in U.S. history. They want to rush it.

And heres the most outrageous part: at the end of this rush, they want us to vote on a bill that no one outside the Majority Leaders conference room has even seen.

Thats right. The final bill well vote on isnt even the one weve had on the floor. Its the deal Democrat leaders have been trying to work out in private.

Thats what they intend to bring to the floor and force a vote on before Christmas.

So this entire process is essentially a charade.

But lets just compare the process so far with previous legislation for some perspective. Heres a snapshot of what weve done and where we stand:

The Majority Leader intends to bring this debate to a close as early as this weekend four days from now, on this $2.5 trillion dollar mistake

No American who hasnt been invited into the Majority Leaders conference room knows what will be in that bill

This bill has been the pending business of the Senate since the last week of November less than four weeks ago.

We started the amendment process two weeks ago.

Weve had 21 amendments and motions less than two a day.

Now lets look at how the Senate has dealt with previous legislation.

No Child Left Behind (2001):

21 session days or 7 weeks.

Roll Call votes: 44

Number of Amendments offered: 157

9/11 Commission/Homeland Security Act (2002):

19 session days over 7 weeks.

Roll Call votes: 20

Number of Amendments offered: 30

Energy Bill (2002):

21 session days over 8 weeks

Number of Roll Call votes: 36

Number of Amendments offered: 158

This isnt an energy bill. This is an attempt by a majority to take over one sixth of the U.S. economy to vastly expand the reach and the role of government into the health care decisions of every single American and they want to be done after one substantive amendment. This is absolutely inexcusable.

I think Senator Snowe put it best on Tuesday:

Given the enormity and complexity, she said, I dont see anything magical about the Christmas deadline if this bill is going to become law in 2014.

And I think Senator Snowes comments on a lack of bipartisanship at the outset of this debate are also right on point.

Heres what she said in late November:

I am truly disappointed we are commencing our historic debate on one of the most significant and pressing domestic issues of our time with a process that has forestalled our ability to arrive at broader agreement on some of the most crucial elements of health care reform. The bottom line is, the most consequential health care legislation in the history of our country and the reordering of $33 trillion in health care spending over the coming decade shouldnt be determined by one vote-margin strategies surely we can and must do better.

The only conceivable justification for rushing this bill is the overwhelming opposition of the American people. Democrats know that the longer Americans see this bill the less they like it. Heres the latest from Pew. It came out just yesterday.

A majority (58 percent) of those who have heard a lot about the bills oppose them while only 32 percent favor them.

There is no justification for this blind rush except a political one, and thats not good enough for the American people.

And theres no justification for forcing the Senate to vote on a bill none of us has seen.

Americans already oppose this bill. The process is just as bad.

Its completely reckless, completely irresponsible.  

That is utterly breathtaking. 

They lie to your face.  They hide the legislation while pretending to be debating it.  And they demand that it be voted on without being seen.

When do our wonderful "neutral" media become outraged?  Ever?


Ken Berwitz

What reasons are there for being skeptical about man-made global warming?  How about 100 of them.

The list comes to us from The European Foundation (a UK think tank), via London's Daily Express.  I wish I could post all 100, but it would make this post way too long.

So, instead, I'll post the first 10 reasons and provide a link.  Trust me, it's worth clicking on.

Here are the first ten reasons:

1) There is no real scientific proof that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from mans activity.

Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history.

3) Warmer periods of the Earths history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels.

4) After World War II, there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.

5) Throughout the Earths history, temperatures have often been warmer than now and CO2 levels have often been higher more than ten times as high.

Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time.

7) The 0.7C increase in the average global temperature over the last hundred years is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term, natural climate trends. 


8) The IPCC theory is driven by just 60 scientists and favourable reviewers not the 4,000 usually cited.

9) Leaked e-mails from British climate scientists in a scandal known as Climate-gate - suggest that that has been manipulated to exaggerate global warming

10) A large body of scientific research suggests that the sun is responsible for the greater share of climate change during the past hundred years.

I urge you to read the rest, by clicking here.

Enjoy (if that's the right appalled is probably much more apt).

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