Friday, 23 April 2010


Ken Berwitz

Have you seen the ads for Volkswagen minivans, where people see them and punch the person next to them?

If not, you probably think I'm either telling a joke or exaggerating.  Well, I'm not.

I just saw a new one (to me, anyway) this morning.  A guy takes his children on a drive through the neighborhood with their blue Volkswagen minivan.  Every time someone sees it he/she punches the person next to them in the arm and says "there's a blue one". 

And at the end of the commercial, the children beg to take another drive just like it - presumably to see how many other people will be punched.

My congratulations to Volkswagen for truly impactful advertising.  We will be looking at cars later this year and Volkswagen was in the running.  Now now it isn't.


Ken Berwitz

Here is today's editorial from the Washington Times, concerning how we are taxed, how much we are taxed, how little we trust the current government, and how amazingly disconnected politicians (mostly Democrats) are to how we are reacting to it. 

I can't excerpt this one, because every paragraph is important -- so here is the entire editorial:

Friday, April 23, 2010

EDITORIAL: Big-government extremism


The rising wave of popular activism in the United States is ritually derided by liberal commentators, politicians and academics as fringe-movement politics. But recent polling reveals that skepticism about government is broad and deep. Discontent with Washington has become the mainstream position; those who defend big government are the real extremists.


The annual Pew Research Center survey on trust in government released this week found "a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government - a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials."


The details are sobering. Fifty-six percent of Americans are frustrated with government, and an additional 21 percent are "angry." Anger at government has doubled in the past 10 years and now is equal with the percentage of people who are basically content. As well, 30 percent identify the federal government as a major threat to their personal freedom.


The Obama administration has the lowest average trust rating of any administration in the 50 years of the survey. Discontent with Congress is also at record levels. The percentage of Americans desiring smaller government with fewer services has risen from 42 percent to 50 percent since Barack Obama was elected president, while the number desiring more big-government solutions has declined from 43 percent to 39 percent.


In another survey, the Rasmussen organization reported that two-thirds of Americans think they are overtaxed, a belief surprisingly more prevalent among lower-income voters. Three-quarters think 20 percent is a fair rate of taxation, and most think the average American pays 30 percent or more. This is a good estimate. The most recent report from the Tax Foundation pegs the total tax burden from all levels of government at almost 27 percent in 2010. This figure rises to almost 39 percent when the increased debt from massive deficit spending is included. This is almost twice the tax burden most Americans consider fair.


Complaining about taxes is an American custom, but now there is a serious disconnect between the people and Washington power brokers. Eighty-one percent of mainstream Americans think the country is overtaxed, but three-quarters of the political class think tax levels are just fine. This could help explain the results of another Rasmussen survey, from January, that showed just 4 percent of Americans tend to trust political leaders more than the public at large.


Politicians ignore growing public dissatisfaction at their professional peril. Discontent of this scale was last seen in 1994, which contributed to the watershed congressional election that year in which Democrats lost a net 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate. But President Obama and the congressional Democratic leadership are determined to double down on the very big-government programs the public is rejecting.


Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, draws the lesson from the Pew survey that "both sides are guilty" and public frustration is not the result of high taxes and soaring deficits but of "promises made but not promises kept." If the senator's state of denial represents the general view of Democrats, 2010 is likely to be another watershed election year. Mrs. McCaskill is lucky her term isn't up for another two years. Many in her party aren't so fortunate.

 The Tea Party movement wasn't dreamed up by a couple of political operatives (like the phony Coffee Party "movement" is).  It is a largely spontaneous reaction by average, everyday citizens who were pushed over the edge by President Obama's apparent intent to turn what is left of our capitalist republic into an ersatz European social state. 

Am I wrong about this?  Is it just a bunch of fringe group people?  Is it going to just calm down and go away in a short period of time?

Good questions.  See me in November, and we'll discuss them a bit more knowledgeably.

free` Seeing these headlines, I can't imagine why people don't trust this government. State-Run Media Comes Clean… Finally Admits Obamacare Will Increase Costs --- Outrage– GM Paid Back Bailout Money By Dipping Into Separate Bailout Pot --- Team Obama Will Focus on Israeli-Palestinian Peace to Help Solve Iranian Nuke Crisis --- Obama Blasts GOP for Meeting With Wall Street Execs – While He Met with Goldman Sachs Brass 4 Times at White House --- Obama Returns to Cooper Union… Where He Once Attended Socialist Conferences --- Breaking: Senate Democrats Gather In The Rules Committee To Eliminate The Filibuster --- (04/23/10)


Ken Berwitz

The moon must be in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars.  Or Uranus.  Or something.

Here is my second "Guess who said it" in less than 24 hours.  And, yes, you will be very surprised.

First the quote, from his op-ed piece in today's New York Times:

For centuries, Europeans in Africa kept close to their military and trading posts on the coast. Exploration of the interior, home to the bulk of Africans sold into bondage at the height of the slave trade, came only during the colonial conquests, which is why Henry Morton Stanleys pursuit of Dr. David Livingstone in 1871 made for such compelling press: he was going where no (white) man had gone before.


How did slaves make it to these coastal forts? The historians John Thornton and Linda Heywood of Boston University estimate that 90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders. The sad truth is that without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred.


Advocates of reparations for the descendants of those slaves generally ignore this untidy problem of the significant role that Africans played in the trade, choosing to believe the romanticized version that our ancestors were all kidnapped unawares by evil white men, like Kunta Kinte was in Roots. The truth, however, is much more complex: slavery was a business, highly organized and lucrative for European buyers and African sellers alike.


The African role in the slave trade was fully understood and openly acknowledged by many African-Americans even before the Civil War. For Frederick Douglass, it was an argument against repatriation schemes for the freed slaves. The savage chiefs of the western coasts of Africa, who for ages have been accustomed to selling their captives into bondage and pocketing the ready cash for them, will not more readily accept our moral and economical ideas than the slave traders of Maryland and Virginia, he warned. We are, therefore, less inclined to go to Africa to work against the slave trade than to stay here to work against it.

 Ok.  Now, who said it?

Take a guess.

You probably think it's a Black person, right?  Because I said you'd be surprised, right?

Well, that is correct.  It is a Black person.  But which Black person?

The answer is......

Henry Louis Gates Jr.  Yes, the same Henry Louis Gates Jr. who was involved in that bizarre event in Boston last year, when police stormed his house believing there was a break-in.  The same Henry Louis Gatets Jr. who sat down to have a beer, as part of a ridiculous photo-op with one of the cops, President Obama and Joe Biden.

Geez loueez;  how long is the moon going to be in this phase, anyway?

And what's next?  Will we see Barney Frank leave his lover and run away with Michele Bachmann?

Now that would be some moon phase!

Zeke ... ... The good Prof. Gates neglected to mention the role of ARAB slave traders. IIRC, three times as many slaves went to arab countries as to the Western Hemisphere. .... Note that the Black population in the Middle East is very very small minority ... WHAT HAPPENED to the descendants of these slaves ? ? ? ? Were they worked to death in mines and heavy manual construction, or otherwise 'disposed of', when no longer young, attractive or productive ? ... ... ... Another aspect is the revolt the 53 slaves on the inter-island schooner Amistad. The slaves were eventually returned to Africa. The leader of the revolt, Sengbe Pieh (aka Joseph Cinqué), in later life was a slave trader. Further, in some southern states, it was not unusual for 'Freed Black Men' to own slaves. .... (04/23/10)

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