Friday, 02 April 2010

PHIL'S HARE-BRAINED BS

Ken Berwitz

This remarkable video, which demonstrates what a fraud and a liar Illinois congressperson phil hare is, comes to us from www.newsbusters.org:

Today's talking point: brutal honesty from Illinois Democratic Congressman Phil Hare (if you have trouble seeing the video, CLICK HERE):

 

 

Which is more shocking: Hare's dismissive attitude towards his own oath, or the fact that he's open about it?

Evidently, hare is one of these geniuses who thinks that if you just repeat, over and over again, that all you want to do is help people, no one will hear anything else you are saying -- even if what you are saying is palpably ridiculous and dishonest;  in other words, total BS.

He was nailed, but good.  And deserved it.


PRESIDENT OBAMA AND VITRIOL

Ken Berwitz

When our President has an immense ego, and the virtually unconditional support of most mainstream media, this is what we get.

From John Hinderaker of www.powerlineblog.com:

Obama Doesn't Like "Vitriol"?

April 1, 2010 Posted by John at 10:07 PM

CBS's interview with Barack Obama has to be seen to be believed. Here, Harry Smith asks Obama whether he is aware that some have called him a "socialist" or a "Nazi." The tone of the interview is remarkable; just try to imagine a network news correspondent asking George Bush in the same sympathetic manner what he thinks about the appalling excesses of the other side:

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Note how Obama immediately starts talking about the "vitriol" of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. This is a bad joke: has Obama never listened to Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow et al.? I've never watched or listened to Beck, but Limbaugh is a more moderate and sophisticated analyst of the political scene than, say, Paul Krugman or E.J. Dionne.

As for vitriol, has Obama forgotten his own contributions? "If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun," (NOTE:  Did President Obama incite violence when he said this?) and "Get in their face"? Or how about his many denunciations of the insurance industry, of doctors, and others involved in health care? Can you remember the last time a President insulted millions of Americans in this manner? I can't. As far as Obama is concerned, "vitriol" is entirely a matter of whose ox is being gored.

Amazing, isn't it, how MSNBC, which exists specifically to spew out vitriol, is somehow exempted from the equation. 

Look, I expect this from Barack Obama.  He is a Chicago machine politician, fully versed in hardball politics and perfectly willing to use every weapon in his arsenal (whoops, did I just incite violence there?)

But Harry Smith, at least in theory, is supposed to be a journalist.  How does he let Obama get away with it?  Can you come up with a reason other than his support of, and agreement with, Mr. Obama -- neither of which should have any place in an interview?  I can't.

A couple of weeks ago I watched Bret Baier of Fox News interview President Obama.  He asked important questions in a direct, professional tone.  And when Mr. Obama tried to filibuster his way out of answering, Mr. Baier pressed him, firmly and fairly.

By contrast, in the past week I have seen Matt Lauer and Harry Smith "interview" President Obama by tossing him softballs and handing him the floor so he could belt them out of the park.

The difference is breathtaking. 

Thank you, Bret.


OBAMA AND JEWS

Ken Berwitz

Here is a terrific column about Barack Obama and his relationship with Jews, and Israel.  It comes to us from Suzanne Fields, writing for the Washington Times.  The bold print is mine:

Pass the Gefilte Fish -- but Don't Expect the Enemy To Pass Over Israel

by Suzanne Fields

 

You scream, I scream, and even Dolley Madison screamed for ice cream, serving it at the White House for the first time. Vanilla, of course, and she got the attention of voters with a sweet tooth. Rutherford B. Hayes banned liquor at the White House, trying to encourage Republicans to temperance, so his wife, Lucy, served lemonade. She became known as "Lemonade Lucy," and this embarrassed his secretary of state, accustomed to entertaining diplomats. He boasted after one official dinner that "the water flowed like champagne."

Jackie Kennedy attempted to bring a little sophistication to the White House after Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower, whom she regarded as dowdy dames from the Middle West. She introduced French cuisine to state dinner parties, but someone, maybe even her husband, had to step in to scotch the proposal to print the menus in French.

Food and fashion have always been political, and this week President Obama served gefilte fish on White House china, reprising the first White House Seder, which he presided over last year. There was a precedent of a sort; he hosted a Seder during the '08 campaign when Jewish staffers couldn't get home for the holiday. Instead of the traditional toast at the end of the dinner, "next year in Jerusalem," the president raised his glass to "next year in the White House."

Nearly 80 percent of the Jewish voters helped make his toast come true, and no doubt many of them are flattered that the president most hostile to Israel pays a little Passover lip service to the Jews. But certainly not all.

Many other Jews confess to second thoughts, troubled about what his presidency means for the future -- and even the survival -- of Israel. The Obama administration's application of moral equivalence in the dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians ignores the reality writ plain and simple. These Jews do not quarrel with the goal of a two-state solution, but the corrosive double standard makes the goal unobtainable.

"We use American influence with Israel not to promote economic growth in the West Bank, but to try and impede Jewish (never Arab) construction in the capital city," Elliott Abrams, an assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration, a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush and now a fellow of Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in The Weekly Standard. Indeed, when the United States condemns Israel, as it did over the building of housing units for Israelis in East Jerusalem, the condemnation emboldens allies and enemies to jeer at Israel. When the Palestinian Authority named a public square for a terrorist who killed 38 Israelis, including 13 children, neither the president nor the secretary of state said anything to criticize.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington last week, he was punished again. His meetings with U.S. foreign policy officials were kept secret. He was the unwashed country cousin whose presence was tolerated but not welcomed. He met with the president, but there were no photo ops. That might have offended Palestinian radicals.

The official American criticism not only hurts Israel's image internationally, but the lack of rebuke for Palestinian offenses encourages them to persist in ignoring their obligations for responsible leadership. Crude hatred of Jews continues unabated in Palestinian textbooks and in the media, supported by the Palestinian Authority. A generation is being raised to hate thy neighbor.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Jewish audience that Palestinian "provocations" must be condemned, but stopped well short of condemning any of them. Such toothless rhetoric is not overlooked by Israel's enemies -- or ours.

"American presidents can be more successful when they put their arms around Israeli prime ministers and encourage them to move forward, rather than attempt to browbeat them into submission," Martin Indyk, the U.S. ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, once said. Ariel Sharon got that message and at great risk to himself and to his country removed certain settlements from the West Bank and Gaza.

An insidious and perverse idea carried through innuendo and insinuation is rising in Washington today, even suggesting that American support for its most reliable ally in the Middle East endangers American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, as if the Islamists and the Taliban would lay down their guns and bombs on getting the news of a settlement freeze in Israel. This flies in the face of the ruthless reality that the Palestinians draw no moral distinctions between Great Satan and Little Satan. "In the eyes of these fanatics," says Netanyahu, "we are you and you are us." Serving gefilte fish on White House china won't change that.

In the 2008 election, 78% of Jews, most of whom presumably support Israel, voted for Barack Obama.  I hope they're happy with what they got.

Speaking as one of the other 22%, I can assure you I am not.


LOBBYING IN THE OBAMA ERA

Ken Berwitz

Remember when Barack Obama promised you that he would minimize the influence of lobbyists in his administration?  Did you think he would actually make good on that promise?

Well, here, from the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, is your answer:

Total Lobbying Spending

1998

<>

$1.44 Billion

1999

<>

$1.44 Billion

2000

<>

$1.56 Billion

2001

<>

$1.64 Billion

2002

<>

$1.81 Billion

2003

<>

$2.04 Billion

2004

<>

$2.17 Billion

2005

<>

$2.43 Billion

2006

<>

$2.62 Billion

2007

<>

$2.86 Billion

2008

<>

$3.30 Billion

2009

<>

$3.46 Billion

There you have it.  Another Obama promise ignored.  Lobbying went up in 2009, not down.  In fact, it didn't just go up, it reached an all-time high of 3.46 BILLION dollars. 

And since, as we saw with the "stimulus package" and health care legislation, Democrats are the only ones making laws these days, it isn't hard to figure out which party is getting the money.

So, like Mr. Obama's promise about there being no earmarks, it was all just a lie to get your vote.  There isn't even a pretense of doing what was promised.

And our wonderful, "neutral" media?  See how many of them feature the data I just showed you in their newspapers/on their news shows.  Or do you already know the answer to that one?


THE LATEST UNEMPLOYMENT DATA

Ken Berwitz

The "stimulus package" was enacted in February of last year.  President Obama told us in no uncertain terms that it would cap unemployment at 8%.

Well, now it is April, 2010.  And here, from Reuters, and from Gallup, is the still-dismal job situation:

From Reuters:

US Payrolls Rose 162,000 In March, Less Than Expected

Published: Friday, 2 Apr 2010 | 8:35 AM ET  

By: Reuters

 

U.S. non-farm payrolls, a key measure of the economy's health, rose in March for only the third time since recession struck in late 2007 as the private sector stepped up hiring at the fastest pace in almost 3 years.

 Employers added 162,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, leaving the unemployment rate steady at 9.7 percent for the third straight month.

 

The payrolls increase was the largest since March 2007, and also reflected temporary hiring for the census.

Payroll figures for January were revised to show a 14,000 gain, while February was adjusted to show only a loss of 14,000.

 

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected non-farm payrolls to rise 190,000 last month and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 9.7 percent.

 

The median projection from the 20 economists who have forecast payrolls most accurately over the past year predicted 200,000 jobs were created in March.

From Gallup:

April 1, 2010

Underemployment Rises to 20.3% in March

Unemployment saw a slight but insignificant decline

by Jenny Marlar

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup Daily tracking finds that 20.3% of the U.S. workforce was underemployed in March -- a slight uptick from the relatively flat January and February numbers.

These results are based on March interviews with more than 20,000 adults in the U.S. workforce, aged 18 and older. Gallup classifies respondents as underemployed if they are unemployed or working part-time but wanting full-time work. Gallup employment data are not seasonally adjusted.

Bottom line:  instead of capping at 8%, unemployment rose to over 10%, then edged down to 9.7% (20% higher than it was before the "stimulus package") and has stayed at that level.  Further, the only reason it is holding at 9.7% may be that a ton of (temporary) census workers have been hired.  What happens to the unemployment level when they are finished?

Additionally, underemployment has not only not gone down, it has risen slightly. 

Damn that President Bush.....


THE CBS POST-OBAMACARE POLL

Ken Berwitz

CBS News has just completed one of the first major polls since passage of ObamaCare.  And the information from that poll is buried at the bottom of its web site.

Want to know why?  Here are a few possibilities for you:

-Mr. Obama's approval rating is at a new all-time low:  44%, down from 49% one month ago;

-Approval of Mr. Obama's handling of health care is at a new all-time low:  34%, down from 41% one month ago;

-The condition of the economy is viewed as bad by 84% of the sample, good by 16%.  One month ago it was 77% - 22%;

-Mr. Obama's handling of the economy is down to 41%, down from 45% one month ago.

Think about it:  The two major "accomplishments" of this administration are the so-called "stimulus package" (the economy) and ObamaCare (health care).  Now look at those numbers again.

So, d'ya think Harry Smith had access to this poll when he interviewed President Obama just yesterday?  D'ya think he just forgot to ask about it?  D'ya think CBS just forgot to give it to him?  Waddaya think?

But listen to the Harry Smith's and CBS's of the world squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


PUBLIC RELATIONS VERSUS ADVERTISING

Ken Berwitz

Here is a very interesting dissertation on the difference between public relations and advertising.

It comes to us from Scott Berwitz, of Padilla Speer Beardsley:

Disappearing Line Between Reality (PR) and Script (Advertising)

Posted by Scott Berwitz on April 2, 2010 at April 2, 2010 9:42 AM

Upon leaving "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" Spencer Pratt, villain of the enormously popular "The Hills", said "I'm not a reality star...I'm a...character (emphasis added)."

In a stroke, and likely without realizing it, the loathsome Pratt actually articulated the very real issue of the blurred line between reality and entertainment, where the consumer is unable to discern between an objective, unbiased viewpoint and a scripted/paid act. The confusion between truth and propaganda takes on far greater significance in the practice of public relations than in the world of reality TV. Whether Spencer actually is a detestable snot or is simply playing one on TV has (hopefully) little impact on our lives. Whether a document is an objective news item or an advertisement masquerading as one is remarkably more significant.

The dissipation of this once "never-to-be-crossed" ad/editorial line is rapidly increasing as flailing media outlets are putting their editorial for sale to secure dollars once reserved only for ads. If it becomes more common, there will soon be no difference between public relations and advertising. Even if a news item is purely editorial, it will be looked upon with suspicion...is the reporter for real? Or is he/she getting paid to "play a character?"

Given how threatening this trend is to the PR industry, it's surprising how many of our industry peers not only fail to stop it but actively perpetuate the practice. We've all heard the stories of PR people masquerading as random bloggers to promote client products, to say nothing of communication vehicles where paid spokespeople are presented as objective news sources.

The PR industry has spent its entire life differentiating itself from advertising...promoting the value of the article over the advertisement. The idea has always been that a disinterested, unbiased, objective third party validating a company's claims is tremendously more valuable and credible than an organization subjectively talking about how great it is.

When conducting PR for your company, make sure that you and your firm understand the difference between paid and earned media...and practice the latter. Lest your company become another Spencer Pratt of the media world.

My wife and I are enormously proud of both our sons.  And as you probably have guessed by now, the author is one of them.

Great job, Scott! 

Love you.


KATIE CARWRECK UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

Here is the first-quarter 2010 average viewership for each network's nightly news:

NBC (Brian Williams):  9.92 million viewers

ABC (Diane Sawyer): 8.27 million viewers

CBS (Katie Couric):  6.45 million viewers

I admire tenacity.  But not when it becomes ridiculous.

When will CBS remove the wreckage and get a new vehicle?


THE CIA, A NUCLEAR IRAN, iSRAEL...AND PRESIDENT OBAMA

Ken Berwitz

The CIA, today, informed us that Iran now is capable of building a nuclear weapon.

-This is the same Iran whose "leader", the fraudulently elected ahmadinejad, has told us his country wants Israel wiped off the face of the earth.

-It is the same Iran whose citizens protested in the streets by the hundreds of thousands after ahmadinejad was fraudulently elected.

-It is the same Iran whose protests were ignored by President Obama on the grounds that we should stay out of their internal affairs.

-And this is the same President Obama who, along with his toady secretary of state Hillary Clinton, has manifested his hands-off policy toward another country's internal affairs by having a major blow-up aimed at Israel because it will build residential housing in a Jewish section of East Jerusalem.

So let's review:  Iran has been ignored while it builds nuclear weaponry which represents a clear and present danger to the state of Israel.  But Israel is on the hot seat because it is building residential housing in its capital city.

And what will the Obama administration say if -- make that when - Israel is forced to do something about this?

According to the exit polls, 78% of American Jews, most of whom presumably support Israel, voted for Barack Obama in the presidential election.  I hope they're happy with what they got.

Speaking as one of the other 22%, I can assure you I am not.

free` I can think of another country that wished obama had minded his own business, Honduras. (04/02/10)


JAIME ESCALANTE (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged a tribute to Jaime Escalante.  But I was unaware of the following - troubling - information, which comes to us from today's Wall Street Journal:

Jaime Escalante, the brilliant public school teacher immortalized in the 1988 film, "Stand and Deliver," died this week at the age of 79. With the help of a few dedicated colleagues at Garfield High in East Los Angeles, he shattered the myth that poor inner-city kids couldn't handle advanced math. At the peak of its success, Garfield produced more students who passed Advanced Placement calculus than Beverly Hills High.

 

In any other field, his methods would have been widely copied. Instead, Escalante's success was resented. And while the teachers union contract limited class sizes to 35, Escalante could not bring himself to turn students away, packing 50 or more into a room and still helping them to excel. This weakened the union's bargaining position, so it complained.

 

By 1990, Escalante was stripped of his chairmanship of the math department he'd painstakingly built up over a decade. Exasperated, he left in 1991, eventually returning to his native Bolivia. Garfield's math program went into a decline from which it has never recovered. The best tribute America can offer Jaime Escalante is to understand why our education system destroyed rather than amplified his successand then fix it.

I have often blogged about my support for unions and their importance to workers.  But I have also blogged when there is a monopoly, unions can be a detriment.  Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the public school system:

-A union worker at, say, GM, has a stake in the quality of the company's product:  the better GM's product, the more cars are sold versus other auto manufacturers.  That translates into more work hours, more opportunity for advancement, etc. 

-But when there is no competition, as in the public schools (other than expensive private schools which few can afford), it all reverses.  The less efficiency and success, the more teachers are necessary, more summer school classes, more tutoring opportunities, etc. etc. etc. 

Evidently, this was what sealed Jaime Escalante's fate at Garfield High School.  To whose detriment?  To the students' detriment, that's who. 

And it is not just Mr. Escalante.  The power of teachers' unions is also what sealed the fate of those thousands of motivated Black children in Washington DC who - courtesy of a majority of senate Democrats and President Obama - are now denied a chance at maximizing their potential, and put right back into the hopelessly abysmal DC school system, where success is not a realistic expectation, it is a miracle.

When do we learn?  And when do we start doing something about it?


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