Tuesday, 06 April 2010

SHUSTER'S SUSPENSION

Ken Berwitz

David Schuster left Fox News Channel to join MSNBC because he felt Fox was too far right for his taste.  Either that or he just plain got a better offer.  No one knows for sure.

Well, now he is apparently gone from MSNBC as well.  The network suspended him indefinitely because he did a demo for CNN

Here are the particulars, from Brian Stelter of the New York Times:

April 6, 2010, 9:21 am

MSNBC Suspends David Shuster Indefinitely

By BRIAN STELTER

MSNBC said Tuesday that it had indefinitely suspended one of its highest-profile anchors, David Shuster. The decision came days after the revelation that Mr. Shuster had participated in a test of a new show for CNN, a competing cable news channel.

An MSNBC spokesman provided no further information Tuesday morning.

The MSNBC president Phil Griffin and other executives were said to be furious when they found out about the test through a New York Observer article Friday morning.

Mr. Shusters MSNBC contract is set to expire at the end of this year, which raised questions about the appropriateness of the CNN test.

Later that day, an MSNBC spokesman said it was unacceptable if true and indicated that Mr. Shuster will be punished appropriately.

According to The Observer, the CNN test episode featured Mr. Shuster and Michel Martin of National Public Radio. It is unclear how long ago the test took place, or whether it was well-received within CNN; a spokeswoman for that channel declined comment on Monday.

Mr. Shuster anchored two hours a day on MSNBC, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. He did not appear on the channel on Monday, the same day that the channels executives met to determine what action to take. Mr. Shusters agent had no comment about the meeting.

Mr. Shuster, who worked at the Fox News Channel for six years before joining MSNBC, was a jack-of-all-trades anchor. In addition to his two hours a day, he regularly filled in at other times and sometimes reported in the field. Last month he handled most of MSNBCs marathon Sunday coverage of Congressional health care votes. For a time he was also the appointed substitute for Countdown with Keith Olbermann, MSNBCs highest-rated show.

Mr. Shuster, however, did not have his own branded program the way some other MSNBC anchors do. And he had something of a reputation for controversial comments. He drew criticism in 2008 when he asked whether Chelsea Clinton had been pimped out during her mothers presidential campaign. At that time, he was suspended by the channel for two weeks.

MSNBC has not yet said who will replace Mr. Shuster on the 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. hours.

CNN apparently is so desperate for someone who can boost its ratings that they would consider Schuster who, while obviously a versatile on-air personality, ain't what you'd call a record breaker ratings-wise. 

Then there is the ethical issue.  Should Schuster have done a demo for CNN with 8 months left on his MSNBC contract?  Should CNN have been agreeable to the demo?  I really don't know.  But MSNBC seems to think it is inexcusable - and the network may well be right.

This is one of those situations where no one is going to come out looking good.  CNN looks like a bunch of raiders, Schuster looks like a media whore, willing to take MSNBC's money even as he sandbags the network behind its back, and MSNBC's people come out looking like a bunch of vindictive crybabies.

Try to imagine how much Fox must be enjoying this circus.


OUR FOREIGN POLICY MESS

Ken Berwitz

If you think that Barack Obama stopped at ignoring the cries for support from democracy protesters in Iran, or at bringing down the weight of US power on Israel for daring to build housing in its capital city, or so exasperating the (admittedly unsavory) karzai in Afghanistan that he has threatened to align with the taliban.....you are wrong.

The foreign policy mess being created by this administration is far worse than that.

Here, from John Hinderaker of www.powerlineblog.com, is additional insight into just how bad things have gotten:under the Obama/Hilton axis of incompetence.  Please pay special attention to the last part, which I've put in bold print:

Several Doses of Pessimism

April 5, 2010 Posted by John at 8:02 PM

If you need cheering up, read no further. Here are a couple of pessimistic evaluations of recent events. First, Frank Gaffney asks Who Lost Iraq?

Back in February, Vice President Joseph Biden declared: "I am very optimistic about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration." ...

[U]nfortunately for the Iraqi people and others who love freedom, it looks increasingly as though the Obama administration will have the loss of Iraq as one of its most signal accomplishments.

Three murderous suicide bombings in Baghdad over the weekend are but the latest indication of the renewed reality there: Those determined to use violence to destabilize the country, foment sectarian strife and shape Iraq's destiny can do so with impunity. ...

There is an unmistakable vacuum of power being created by President Obama's determination to withdraw U.S. "combat" forces no matter what, starting with the cities a few months ago and in short order from the rest of the country.

Increasingly, that vacuum is being filled by Iran and its proxies on the one hand and, on the other, insurgent Sunni forces, both those aligned with al Qaeda and those that have, at least until recently, been suppressing the AQI. ...

The unreliability of the United States as an ally - a hallmark of the Obama presidency more generally - is reinforcing the sense that it is every man for himself in Iraq.

The prospects of any "great achievement" in Iraq are being further diminished by the direction to the Pentagon to shift personnel and equipment from Iraq to Afghanistan. The President himself reinforced that commitment during his speech to U.S. troops at Bagram Air Base last week. The detailed planning and ponderous logistics associated with such a transfer increasingly foreclose options to change course. Our commanders will soon be hard pressed to preserve today's deployments of American forces in Iraq, let alone to have them take up once again the sorts of positions in the urban areas that they held to such therapeutic effect during the surge.

The inadvisability of relocating U.S. forces from the strategically vital Iraqi theater to the marginal Afghan one is made all the greater by another grim prospect: The mounting evidence that our troops will be put in harm's way in Afghanistan simply to preside over the surrender of that country to one strain of Shariah-adherent Taliban or another. There, too, President Obama has publicly promised to begin reversing his mini-surge by next summer, again irrespective of conditions on the ground. And his insistence on "engaging" at least some of those who allowed the country to be used as a launching pad for al Qaeda's 9/11 attacks augurs ill for the Afghan people (especially the female ones) - and for us.

Jonathan Spyer, meanwhile, observes the Druse and draws sad but logical conclusions. (Spyer is with the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel.):

The small and dispersed Druse sect has over time developed the most sensitive instruments in these parts for knowing in which direction the winds of political power are blowing. This ability derives from necessity. The Druse strategy for survival has been to spot which trend, leader, country or movement is on the way up, and to ally with it in good time. This explains, for example, the long alliance between the Druse of the Galilee and the Zionist Jews.

It also explains one of the most curious political turnabouts in the last half decade: namely, the transformation of Lebanese Druse leader Walid Jumblatt from a stalwart of the pro-democracy, pro-Western March 14 movement into a supplicant of Damascus.

Jumblatt, hereditary Druse warlord and leader of the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon, met in Damascus this week with Bashar Assad, hereditary Syrian president. Assad is the son of the man who murdered Jumblatt's father Kamal, a towering figure in modern Lebanese politics. ...

The Syrian news agency SANA reported that the two discussed the "historic and brotherly ties" between Syria and Lebanon, and the importance of enhancing them. Jumblatt, according to SANA, had particular praise for Assad's efforts to safeguard Lebanon's "security and stability." The two also agreed regarding the importance of the role played by the "resistance" (i.e. Hizbullah) in confronting the "schemes" of Israel.

Jumblatt's company on the trip to Damascus was of note. According to the An-Nahar newspaper, he was escorted not by officials of his own party, but rather by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Hizbullah officials Wafiq Safa and Hussein Khalil. The Shi'ite Islamist group played the key role in mediating between Jumblatt and Assad.

ALL THIS represents an interesting journey for Jumblatt - both in the geographical and in the wider sense. It was he, after all, who previously referred to the Syrian president variously as a "snake," a "tyrant," "the one who killed my father" and a "monkey." With regard to Hizbullah, Jumblatt, in January 2008, called the movement "savage people, not an opposition... declaring war whenever they want, and kidnapping soldiers whenever they want." He accused Syria of responsibility for a wave of murders of pro-Western political figures following the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon in 2005. ...

Nor did the matter stop at words alone. In the fighting in May 2008, which brought Lebanon to the brink of civil war, it was Jumblatt's Druse fighters who put up the most impressive resistance to Hizbullah. ...

So what has happened? What has transformed the formerly defiant Jumblatt into the humble, awkwardly apologizing figure emerging from the meeting in Damascus?

The answer is not complex. The Druse weatherman has taken a glance at the sensitive and vital weather vane maintained by his community, and has noticed that it is currently pointing toward Damascus and Teheran.

JUMBLATT TURNED away from Syria and toward the West in 2004, shortly after the US invasion of Iraq. For a moment, at that time, Iran and Syria were cowed. Their subject peoples shifted their hopes and their allegiances accordingly. But that moment looks rather remote now. Through a combination of cunning and murderous ruthlessness, Damascus and Teheran have rebuilt their power in Lebanon, in Iraq, among the Palestinians and beyond.

The change started at the top. The current administration in Washington has made clear from the outset that it seeks accommodation with its regional enemies, rather than confrontation with them. This has made its regional enemies happy and dismayed its friends. ...

That the most sensitive instrument for the reading of regional trends is currently indicating that Iran and Syria are the people with whom it is worth being friends should be of concern to anyone who cares about the future of the Middle East. It is perhaps the strongest indication yet of where the current Western policy of punishing allies and rewarding enemies is likely to lead.

Then, of course, we have Karzai's threat to join (some say re-join) the Taliban, which despite its air of low comedy suggests which way the winds are blowing in Afghanistan. The problems of the Middle East and Central Asia are intractable, to be sure, but at the moment we seem to be doing about the worst possible job of dealing with them. This is what I don't understand: why doesn't Obama bring to bear on foreign policy the lessons he learned in Chicago? Is "Be a faithless friend and a toothless enemy" the Chicago Way? Hardly. Maybe if Obama could just pretend that Ahmadinejad, Assad, Nasrallah et al. are Republicans....

 Apparently, most of our wonderful "neutral" media are loath to say it, but the Obama administration's foreign policy has been little short of disastrous. 

And, if that weren't enough, yesterday Mr. Obama compounded this dangerous ineptitude by telling the world exactly when he would and would not use nuclear weapons.  In other words, he has given our enemies a blueprint for what they can and cannot do before the US might act.

Well, look at the bright side:  Assuming the rest of the world sees Barack Obama as a weakling and a liar (as more and more of us do domestically), the information will be useless because they won't believe him anyway.


BARACK OBAMA'S BOOKCOOK

Ken Berwitz

My wife and I have a number of cookbooks.  She sometimes makes really good meals from them (so do I and so do we both - in our household responsibilities are shared, not assigned by gender).

Maybe if I send Barack Obama a cookbook he'll use it to make nice meals for Michelle and the children.  I would far prefer this to the bookcook that he is currently using to make fraudulent claims about the economy and health care's effect on it.

The Washington Times has an excellent editorial laying out just how blatant this fraud really is.  I thought you might like to read it.  The bold print is mine:

EDITORIAL: Obama's deficit deception

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Barack Obama claims Obamacare is necessary to keep the country solvent. This is a strange assertion coming from the most fiscally irresponsible president in American history.

Last week in a speech in Portland, Maine, Mr. Obama said the government takeover of health care would "lift burdens" off the middle class and reduce the deficit "by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades." Yet this questionable claim is a paltry sum compared to the trillions of dollars of debt Mr. Obama's policies will levy on the same middle class he pretends to be helping.

Obamacare, in fact, does not save money. The belief that it does is based on a last-minute analysis from the Congressional Budget Office before the legislation was passed that found that the new health law would reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over 10 years. But CBO calculations were based on 10 years of revenues under the plan and just six years of expenditures. A straight-up balance sheet shows the plan adding $114 billion annually to the national debt by 2020. CBO now reports that the student loan nationalization slipped into the health care legislation will add an additional $52 billion in debt by the end of the decade.

These billions in red ink are small compared to the trillions of dollars in overall debt that Mr. Obama is handing to current and future generations. On March 24, the day after the president signed Obamacare into law, CBO released an analysis of the president's latest budget proposal. The numbers are sobering. The lowest annual deficit will be $724 billion in 2014, and the red ink will rise every year thereafter. Net interest payments will nearly triple from 1.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2010 to 4.1 percent in 2020. Interest payments alone will consume $5.6 trillion this decade.

The Obama budget adds $12.8 trillion to public debt between 2009 and 2020, growing from $7.5 trillion to $20.3 trillion. The current, very high 63 percent ratio of debt to GDP will rise to an unsustainable 90 percent by the end of the decade and is expected to soar to more than 100 percent in later years. So while Mr. Obama claims to be concerned about deficits, he is in fact driving the United States to international pauper status.

It's no wonder that the president attempts to portray himself as some kind of deficit hawk. Polling indicates that the swiftly mounting national debt is a leading issue going into the 2010 election season. The Obama administration routinely asserts that these were problems the O Force inherited, even though final CBO estimates of projected debt from the George W. Bush administration were much lower, and the base line debt assumptions are raised consistently with each new estimate. Most shocking, the current dire numbers are based on the belief that the economy will recover quickly and fully from its present woes. If the Obama team's rosy scenarios do not come to pass, these record peacetime deficits will grow even higher.

Mr. Obama can make all the claims he wants about his fiscal responsibility but, unlike some politicians, the numbers don't lie.

As outrageous as this is, it is far more outrageous that so many of our wonderful "neutral" media either are ignoring the unprecedented deficit Mr. Obama is saddling us all with (a disgrace beyond belief) or, even worse, going along with the lie that ObamaCare is somehow going to reduce our deficit. 

Try to imagine what these same media would be reporting if George Bush had proposed, and rammed through a Republican congress, a bill that put us this much in debt, while making the preposterous claim that it would save us money.  They would be on him like white on rice.

But Barack Obama?  No problem at all.  They've got his back.

This is not journalism.  This is complicity.  This is aiding and abetting a blatant lie. 

Do these "journalists" have any shame?  Evidently they do not. 

But they do have indignation if you call them biased, don't they?

Zeke( ..... Hmmmm ...... ...... Obama gives a speech in Portland, Maine. (Something about creating and saving $134 billion). .... .... A week later, a couple dozen women walk barebreasted through the town. ... .... Hope 'n Change .... Hope 'n Change... .... ... Sheesh .... NONE of this makes any sense . (04/06/10)


GOODWIN LIU: UNACCEPTABLE

Ken Berwitz

A month ago I blogged about how unacceptable Goodwin Liu was for the federal bench.

Well, now we have this, from Judson Berger at Fox News:

Republicans Slam Obama Judicial Nominee Over 117 Omissions From Record

By Judson Berger

 - FOXNews.com

Senate Republicans on Tuesday slammed one of the Obama administration's most controversial judicial nominees for failing to initially disclose more than 100 of his speeches, publications and other background materials -- an omission the Republicans called unprecedented and a possible attempt to "hide his most controversial work." 

Senate Republicans on Tuesday slammed one of the Obama administration's most controversial judicial nominees for failing to initially disclose more than 100 of his speeches, publications and other background materials -- an omission the Republicans called unprecedented and a possible attempt to "hide his most controversial work." 

They said Goodwin Liu's nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is in "jeopardy" in light of the problem. 

The complaint came after Liu, a Berkeley law professor, gave the Senate Judiciary Committee a bundle of supplemental material that contained 117 things he left out after his February nomination. 

Among the items disclosed were several speeches on affirmative action and his participation at an event co-sponsored by the Center for Social Justice at Berkeley and the the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group. 

What we know about Liu is bad enough.  But how it appears that he has tried to hide a ton of additional distasteful material as well.

Get this guy out of here. 

And to the rest of our wonderful "neutral" media:  This information is critical for us to know about a significant judicial appointment.  If Fox is reporting it and you're not, maybe the problem isn't Fox.  Maybe the problem is you.


ONE TICKET, PLEASE, IN THE NO-BREATHING SECTION

Ken Berwitz

This definitely qualifies as an entry in the "you can't make this stuff up" file:

From www.flightglobal.com:

Two arrested at Liverpool over corpse check-in incident

By David Kaminski-Morrow

 

Two women have been arrested after allegedly transporting a corpse into Liverpool Airport, possibly with the intention of taking it on board an EasyJet flight.

 

EasyJet says that the two women arrived to check in for the carrier's flight 7223 to Berlin Schonefeld on 3 April, accompanied by an elderly man in a wheelchair.

 

"On arrival at the airport, staff were immediately concerned about his health and the first aid team were called," says a spokeswoman for the carrier.

 

"It was then discovered the passenger was in fact deceased and the police were called."

Greater Manchester Police states that officers at Liverpool Airport were alerted to the death of a 91-year old German national in the terminal building.

 

Two women, aged 66 and 41, have been arrested on suspicion of failing to give notification of death. Both suspects have been released on bail until 1 June.

 

"The coroner has been informed and police are continuing with their inquiries," Greater Manchester Police adds.

Personally, this makes a lot of sense to me.  Between the cost of transporting a corpse in baggage, and the paperwork, a coach seat would probably be a good deal easier and less expensive.

Of course you'd have to fold her up pretty good to get her through baggage screening.  And you'd also have to bring plenty of air freshener on board.

However, look at the benefits for the airline.  No soft drinks, no snacks, no problem crowding the passenger behind her by reclining the seat, one less person in the bathroom line. 

And what fun when the flight attendant asks if she wants a headset!


DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: LIAR PAR EXCELLENCE

Ken Berwitz

Want to see a truly gifted liar, engaging in her specialty?

Watch this video of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz telling a constituent that the ObamaCare legislation doesn't require that you buy insurance, you can choose not to -- and then telling him, with a straight face, that the cost of insurance just will be taken in taxes, as if that was supposed to be the difference. 

 

 (CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO)

 

Wow!  What a hot steamy load. 

Wasserman-Schultz isn't just any kind of a liar.  She is something special in the category.  A true artisan. 

Hey, that makes her a partisan artisan.  She may not be honest, but at least she rhymes.

But y'know what?  It doesn't matter.  In Wasserman-Schultz's congressional district, any Democrat with a pulse is going to win....and a Democrat without one is still going to be competitive.

I bet they love her to death.


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