Saturday, 15 May 2010


Ken Berwitz

Despite the denials, will part of ObamaCare, the health care legislation passed earlier this year, consist of policies which ensure that elderly people die sooner?

Thomas Sowell, the great thinker and writer, suspects that is the case.  Here, via excerpts from Mr. Sowell's latest column, is his reasoning.  You decide:

The despicable 'duty to die'


Last Updated: 4:19 AM, May 15, 2010

One fashionable notion among some of the intelligentsia is that old people have "a duty to die," rather than become a burden to others.


This is more than just an idea discussed around a seminar table. Already Britain's government-run medical system is restricting what medications or treatments it will authorize for the elderly. It seems almost certain that similar attempts to contain runaway costs will lead to similar policies when US medical care is taken over by the government.


Make no mistake: Letting old people die is a lot cheaper than spending the kind of money required to keep them alive and well. If a government-run medical system is going to save any serious amount of money, it is almost certain to do so by sacrificing the elderly.


There was a time when some desperately poor societies had to abandon old people to their fate, because there was just not enough margin for everyone to survive. Sometimes the elderly would simply go off to face their fate alone.


But is that where we are today?


It is today, in an age when homes have flat-paneled TVs, and most families eat in restaurants regularly or have pizzas and other meals delivered to their homes, that the elites -- rather than the masses -- have begun talking about "a duty to die."


Much of what is taught in our schools and colleges today seeks to break down traditional values, and replace them with more fancy and fashionable notions, of which "a duty to die" is just one.


These efforts used to be called "values clarification," though the name has changed over the years, as more and more parents caught on to what was going on and objected. The values that supposedly needed "clarification" had been clear enough to last for generations and nobody asked the schools and colleges for this "clarification."


Nor are we better people because of it.

The UK's health care - which, as I have chronicled in this blog, is deficient, even despicable in its treatment of patients, especially the elderly - is in no small part the model for ObamaCare.

Is this what we want?

But don't call the bureaucrats making these decisions "death panels".  That would give credence to what Thomas Sowell - and, for that matter, Sarah Palin - have said and is, therefore, unacceptable.

We'll just keep playing "let's pretend" instead.

Zeke ... .... .... Amazingly, many core provisions of the US Constitution have never been litigated. ..... .... Just in the past year was the 2nd amendment ruled on by the Supreme Court .... "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". ... ... The ruling was that the words mean what they say ... and citizens (except felons, nut cases) CAN, in fact, do just that. ..... .... Be interesting to see how other provisions stand up to Supreme Court rulings ... .... ..... the 14th Amendment "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. " .... .... Anchor babies are NOT 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof' any more than the Queen of England. ... ... .... .... .... also 14th Amedment: "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." ,,,, ,,,, ,,, ANY person ... EQUAL protection ... wonder if I can demand EQUAL medical treatment, regardless of age .... .... especially since (also 14th) "...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" .... .... .... (05/15/10)

free` "without due process of law" That is where they got you Zeke. (05/15/10)


Ken Berwitz

This is bizarre.  True, but bizarre.

As regular readers know, I have blogged a couple of times about "Harry the squirrel", who takes food from the elementary school dumpster near where our son and his family live, scurries it over to their deck and eats it there.

Well, now we have a wildlife story too.

Three days ago we were awakened at about 5:30AM by a series of "boom" sounds, which seemed to be coming either from our attic or the side of the house.  Being that we had no idea of what was making the noise we were more than a little concerned.  In about 5 - 10 minutes it stopped.  So, at that point, we chalked it up to a random "thing" of some kind and assumed we'd never hear the noise again.


The next morning at just about the same time, there it was.  Boom!  Boom! Boom!.  I got up, started listening around, and could have sworn it was coming from the window over our bed (which is always closed and has high bushes in front of it) but I wasn't 100% sure.

Yesterday?  No noise.  We got up, each of us got ready for the day and still there was nothing.  Hallelujah, over and out.  Or so I thought.

At about 9:30 I'm in my home office and I think I hear it again.  I scoot into the bedroom and, sure enough, there it is.  Boom! Boom! Boom!

So, given that I'm fully awake and dressed, I go running outside.  And I can't believe what I see.  It appears that a red-breasted bird is flying into the window - not hard enough to hurt itself but hard enough to make a loud sound inside the house.  The bird only did it a couple of times while I was watching, and was gone.

Could that really be what was making the noise?  Or did I just see a bird that appeared to be banging itself against the window and coincidentally was doing so at that exact moment.

I decided to take action.  So I got a couple of moth balls (camphor, that is, I didn't emasculate a poor little moth) and placed them under the window and on the window sill.  That, I thought, would chase away the bird (or just about any other animal - they hate the smell of camphor).

Wrong again.

This morning?  Boom!  Boom!  Boom!  I got out of bed, moved to the window and carefully pulled the blinds back enough to see outside.  And it was the bird.  The same effing red-breasted bird from the day before, banging itself against our window time after time after time.

I went outside afterwards to look around again.  There did not appear to be a nest there, or anything inside the window (actually between the storm window and the regular one) that would attract a bird; not that I can see anyway.

Why is this happening?  A complete mystery.  I'm going to call around and ask for advice on what to do about it. 

Maybe Harry could come down our way and eat the bird.....

free` Do you have some decals or stickers to put on the window, birds cant tell it is a window without them. Also there must be a nest there that you aren't seeing. (05/15/10)


Ken Berwitz

The answer to that question seems pretty evident:  of course we shouldn't fund the EU's bailouts.

But, in fact, we already are doing so.

And for that reason, Republican house members have introduced legislation to stop any more of our billions from being used in this way.

Here are the particulars, from Dave Weigel of the Washington Post.  The bold print is mine:

Republicans introduce bill to prevent Euro bailout

After a week of preemptive attacks on a possible IMF bailout of Greece, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) introduces the European Bailout Protection Act, aimed at preventing taxpayer dollars from going to a rescue plan.

"This legislation would require that countries like Greece cut spending and put their own fiscal house in order," says Pence, backed up by other members of the House GOP, "instead of looking to the United States for a bailout. We face record unemployment and a debt crisis of our own, and American taxpayers should not be forced to bear the risk for nations that have avoided making tough choices."

The full release is below the fold, with the detail that the bill "does not permanently prohibit the IMF from lending" to the troubled counties. Nevertheless, Ezra Klein is not a fan of this proposal.

(Thanks to my colleague Ben Pershing.)

U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, joined Conference Vice-Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee Rep. Jerry Lewis, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, and Rep. Kay Granger in introducing legislation today to stop U.S. tax dollars from being used by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for bailouts for European countries. Rep. Pence released the following statement today as the European Bailout Protection Act was introduced:

The American people are fed up with taxpayer-funded bailouts and deserve to know we are bailing out Greece and possibly other European countries. If the Obama Administration has its way, the U.S. will contribute to a nearly trillion dollar bailout of European countries with economic crises that are a direct result of wasteful government spending.

This legislation would require that countries like Greece cut spending and put their own fiscal house in order, instead of looking to the United States for a bailout. We face record unemployment and a debt crisis of our own, and American taxpayers should not be forced to bear the risk for nations that have avoided making tough choices.


The European Bailout Protection Act would:

1) Prohibit any funds that have yet to be drawn by the IMF from being used to provide financing to any EU countries until all EU nations are in compliance with the debt to GDP ratio requirement in their own collective growth pact.

2) Require the Treasury Secretary to oppose any IMF loans to EU nations until all EU countries are in compliance with their debt to GDP ratio requirement.

The bill does not permanently prohibit the IMF from lending to these nations; it simply prohibits the U.S. from participating in the proposed European bailout.

Wouldn't it be nice to see a bunch - a big bunch - of Democrats signing on to this legislation? 

I wonder how many will.  Frankly I doubt there will be many at all.

I hope I'm wrong about this.


Ken Berwitz

The President on Fox's hit show "24" has her Bauer.  CTU stud Jack Bauer.

But the real President, Barack Obama, has his own Bauer. 

Read the following excerpt from Chelsea Schilling's article at and see for yourself:

Obama waives ethics rules for eligibility lawyer

White House: Restrictions on top attorney 'not in public interest'

Posted: May 10, 2010
9:00 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
 2010 WorldNetDaily

President Obama has waived ethics rules for White House counsel Robert Bauer, his personal and campaign lawyer and the same attorney who has defended Obama in lawsuits challenging his eligibility to be president.

Late last year, Obama installed Robert Bauer top lawyer for Obama, Obama's presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and Obama's Organizing for America as White House counsel. Bauer had been a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie.

However, Executive Order 13490, "Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel," prohibits political appointees from participating in any matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to former employers or former clients. The rule typically expires two years after the date of appointment.

According to the ethics waiver posted May 7 at 5 p.m. on the White House website, Bauer is now exempted from the requirements of the ethics pledge "solely with respect to his former client the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and with respect to his former employer Perkins Coie LLP (Perkins Coie) in its capacity as counsel to the DNC and to President Barack Obama in his personal capacity."

The waiver suggests the ethics rules would have prevented Bauer from working on Obama's financial disclosure forms or issues related to the Democratic National Committee.

The document states, "Before his service as Counsel to the President, Mr. Bauer and Perkins Coie represented the President in his personal capacity, and Mr. Bauer's former firm continues to represent the President on such matters. If the ethics pledge were literally applied, when representing the interests of the President and the United States as Counsel to the President, Mr. Bauer would not be able to advise the President appropriately on particular matters that are directly and substantially related to Perkins Coie's representation of the President in his personal capacity."

The waiver allows Bauer to deal in an official capacity with Perkins Coie and remain involved in Obama's personal legal matters. The document also states, "Mr. Bauer does not have any continuing financial interest in his former client the DNC. His only continuing financial interest in Perkins Coie is the repayment of his capital account pursuant to his partnership agreement."

Politico reported Bauer earned $959,000 from Perkins Coie in 2009, and the firm currently owes him another $216,000.

The Federal Election Commission shows "Obama for America," Obama's 2008 political campaign, has made regular payments totaling $2,877,083.56, or $2.9 million, to Perkins Coie since Jan. 1, 2007 the month Obama formed a presidential exploratory committee and only weeks before he formally announced his candidacy for president.

Nearly $2 million, or $1,941,381.04, of that sum was paid to Perkins Coie since questions about Obama's eligibility were raised in June 2008 while Bauer was a partner (until Bauer's departure in December 2009).

"Obama for America" made another payment of $261,206.69 to Perkins Coie during the period of Jan. 10 to March 31, 2010, after Bauer left to become White House counsel. Perkins Coie continues to represent the Obama campaign, the Obama family and the DNC.

Evidently, if you are successful at keeping Mr. Obama's original birth certificate (not the COLB that Chris Matthews and many of his counterparts dishonestly tell you is the original) from the public, so we do not and cannot know for sure if he is eligible to be President, you get a free pass on the ethics rules.

Hey, why not.  Since you are essentially throwing ethics out the window by preventing the country from seeing that birth certificate, you might as well go all the way, right?  Besides, there's money in it.  A lot of money.

Funny thing, though:  I see this story, completely referenced, at World Net Daily, but I don't see or hear a word about it from our wonderful "neutral" mainstream media. 

Musta been an inadvertent oversight.


Ken Berwitz

Did you know that there were horrific floods in Nashville, Tennessee from May 1 to May 3? 

Did you know that the floods caused dozens of deaths, countless injuries and massive structural damage?  That it was arguably the worst such natural disaster in that part of the country in over a century?

Unless you live in or around Nashville, I'll bet the answer is no.  I'll bet you don't know much about this,  if you know anything at all.

Therefore, the answer is also "no" if I ask whether you have any idea of how President Obama and FEMA handled - or, more exactly, didn't handle - this disaster?  But you got weeks of nonstop coverage when it was President Bush and Katrina, didn't you?

Why do you think that is?

Andrew Romano, writing for Newsweek (otherwise known as Olbermann lite) thinks he knows why.  I've put the two reasons he cites in bold print.  Here is his writeup, see if you're impressed:

Why the Media Ignored the Nashville Flood

Andrew Romano

As you may have heard, torrential downpours in the southeast flooded the Tennessee capital of Nashville over the weekend, lifting the Cumberland River 13 feet above flood stage, causing an estimated $1 billion in damage, and killing more than 30 people. It could wind up being  one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history.

Or, on second thought, maybe you didn't hear. With two other "disasters" dominating the headlinesthe Times Square bombing attempt and the Gulf oil spillthe national media seems to largely to have ignored the plight of Music City since the flood waters began inundating its streets on Sunday. A cursory Google News search shows 8,390 hits for "Times Square bomb" and 13,800 for "BP oil spill." "Nashville flood," on the other hand, returns only 2,430 resultsmany of them local. As Betsy Phillips of the Nashville Scene writes, "it was mind-boggling to flip by CNN, MSNBC, and FOX on Sunday afternoon and see not one station even occasionally bringing their viewers footage of the flood, news of our people dying."

So why the cold shoulder? I see two main reasons. First, the modern media may be more multifarious than ever, but they're also remarkably monomaniacal. In a climate where chatter is constant and ubiquitous, newsworthiness now seems to be determined less by what's most important than by what all those other media outlets are talking about the most. Sheer volume of coverage has become its own qualification for continued coverage. (Witness the Sandra Bullock-Jesse James saga.) In that sense, it's easy to see why the press can't seem to focus on more than one or two disasters at the same time. Everyone is talking about BP and Faisal Shahzad 24/7, the "thinking" goes. So there must not be anything else that's as important to talk about. It's a horrible feedback loop.

Of course, the media is also notorious for its ADD; no story goes on forever. Which brings us to the second reason the Nashville floods never gained much of a foothold in the national conversation: the "narrative" simply wasn't as strong. Because it continually needs to fill the airwaves and the Internet with new content, 1,440 minutes a day, the media can only trade on a story's novelty for a few hours, tops. It is new angles, new characters, and new chapters that keep a story alive for longer. The problem for Nashville was that both the gulf oil spill and the Times Square terror attempt are like the Russian novels of this 24/7 media culture, with all the plot twists and larger themes (energy, environment, terrorism, etc.) required to fuel the blogs and cable shows for weeks on end. What's more, both stories have political hooks, which provide our increasingly politicized press (MSNBC, FOX News, blogs) with grist for the kind of arguments that further extend a story's lifespan (Did Obama respond too slowly? Should we Mirandize terrorists?). The Nashville narrative wasn't compelling enough to break the cycle, so the MSM just continued to blather on about BP and Shahzad.

If I sound like I'm condoning the media's inattention here, I'm not. My explanation is meant as a criticism. Given audience demandsespecially at a time when traditional media companies aren't doing so wellit's impossible to avoid the stories with the most buzz and the strongest narratives. Nor should we. But urgency should be at least as important. In this case, the most urgent aspects of the oil spill and the Times Square attack had already been covered to death; the culprit was already caught, the containment was already underway. And yet we still kept rehashing each of those storiesand fighting about politicswhile thousands of homes and business were destroyed and dozens of people died. That matters. Media silence means public ignorance, and public ignorance means fewer charitable donations, slower aid, and less political pressure. If that's not reason enough to cover the flood--to do our jobs--I don't know what is.

So?  What do you think?  Does this make any sense at all to you?

Andrew Romano thinks modern media is multifarious and monomaniacal.  Yep, I hear that about the Tennessee disaster every day all over town.

And he thinks there was nothing to report about the flood other than that it happened.  No human interest stories, no people displace, no businesses ruined, no.....yeah, ok, sure.

Could that get lamer?  How?

Finally, however, in the last paragraph, Mr. Romano slaps media's wrists for not covering Nashville enough.  Why?  Because it causes public ignorance (gee, not reporting something causes the public to be ignorant of it?  Whodda thunk it?), fewer charitable donations, etc.

Here's one you didn't mention, Andrew.  The Obama administration did an absolutely lousy job in Nashville.  It didn't act fast enough and didn't act decisively enough.  And this is AFTER KATRINA, when - if media were doing their job - the comparisons would be inevitable, and would result in major criticisms of Obama's lack of performance. There might even have been an article or two noting that if Obama & Co. found flooding in Nashville this difficult to handle, maybe President Bush should have been cut a little more slack for the far greater, far more damaging Katrina disaster.

I guess that was too hard to figure out.  Or, maybe, if Mr. Romano wrote it, keith olbermann would ban Newsweek from his nightly hate-fest, the way he banned Dana Milbank.

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