Thursday, 22 July 2010


Ken Berwitz

As reported by Fred Barbash at

Shirley Sherrod said she'd like President Barack Obama to reach out to her, not for an apology but for a conversation about what life is like where "the rubber meets the road."

"He hasnt lived the kind of life I've lived," she said on CNN's morning show.

"I know he's African-American or part African-American, and many of us are not totally black in our genes. I'm one of them. But when you get down to where the rubber meets the road, I think he needs to understand a little more of what life is like at that level."

A couple of days ago I apologized for blogging that Shirley Sherrod's comments indicated she was a racist.

Now I'm not so sure.  Are you?


Ken Berwitz

For those of you who live and die by political polls:

Barack Obama has been President for 1 1/2 years.  Democrats have run both houses of congress for 3 1/2 years.

And here, according to the latest Gallup poll, is what people think of them.  The bold print is mine:

July 22, 2010

Congress Ranks Last in Confidence in Institutions

Fifty percent "little"/"no" confidence in Congress reading is record high

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's 2010 Confidence in Institutions poll finds Congress ranking dead last out of the 16 institutions rated this year. Eleven percent of Americans say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in Congress, down from 17% in 2009 and a percentage point lower than the previous low for Congress, recorded in 2008.


Confidence in Institutions, 1973-2010: Congress -- % Great Deal or Quite a Lot of Confidence


The Gallup poll was conducted July 8-11, shortly before Congress passed a major financial regulatory reform bill.

Underscoring Congress' image problem, half of Americans now say they have "very little" or no confidence in Congress, up from 38% in 2009 -- and the highest for any institution since Gallup first asked this question in 1973. Previous near-50% readings include 48% found for the presidency in 2008, and 49% for the criminal justice system in 1994.

This year's poll also finds a 15-point drop in high confidence in the presidency, to 36% from 51% in June 2009. Over the same period, President Barack Obama's approval rating fell by 11 points, from 58% to 47%. However, confidence in the presidency remains higher than in 2008 -- the last year of George W. Bush's term -- when the figure was 26%.


Confidence in Institutions -- % Great Deal or Quite a Lot of Confidence, June 2009 and July 2010, and Difference Between the Two

Any questions?


Ken Berwitz

Here, excerpted from Andy McCarthy's blog entry at, is another part of the speech Shirley Sherrod made at an NAACP banquet:  the one that had a part where she seemed to speak against racism, but apparently still had plenty of it to offer her (highly appreciative) NAACP audience:

...we are to understand that Ms. Sherrod was not exhibiting racism. Instead, "taken in context," we're told, she is actually a heroic figure who has transcended the racist views that, given the terrible things she saw growing up in the South, were understandable.


Okay, but how come it is not incumbent on the folks who are pushing the revised narrative (and slapping Andrew around over the old one) to account for the Sherrod gem below (which begins a little after the 22 minute mark in her speech)?


For context: She is talking about how the evil "people with money," beginning in the 17th and 18th centuries (i.e., around the founding of our republic), created a still existing system designed to institutionalize racism against black people while simultaneously keeping poor whites and poor blacks divided. All highlighting is mine:


So that's when they made black people servants for life. That's when they put laws in place forbidding them [i.e., blacks and whites] to marry each other. That's when they created the racism that we know of today. They did it to keep us divided. And they It started working so well, they said, "Gosh, looks like we've come upon something here that could last generations." And here we are, over 400 years later, and it's still working.


What we have to do is get that out of our heads. There is no difference between us. The only difference is that the folks with money want to stay in power and whether it's healthcare or whatever it is, they'll do what they need to do to keep that power, you know. [Applause] It's always about money, ya'll. [Applause and murmurs of agreement.] You know. I haven't seen such a mean-spirited people as I've seen lately over this issue of health care. [Mumurs of agreement.] Some of the racism we thought was buried [someone in the audience says, "It surfaced!"] Didn't it surface? Now, we endured eight years of the Bushes and we didn't do the stuff these Republicans are doing because you have a black president. [Applause]


I wanted to give you that little history, especially the young people, I want you to know they created it, you know, not just for us, but we got the brunt of it because they needed to elevate whites just a little higher than us to make them think they were so much better. Then they would never work with us, you know, to try to change the situation that they were all in.


So, in Sherrod World, mean-spririted, racist Republicans do nasty things that "we" would never do because we have a president who, being black, is above that stuff. Still, we have-nots need to band together for "change" because a cabal of haves, desperate to keep their power, is still imposing their centuries old capitalist system of institutionalized racism the same racism that courses through the Republican Party and surfaces on "us versus them" issues like healthcare.


Pardon me, but I think I'll stay off the Canonize Shirley bandwagon. To me, it seems like she's still got plenty of racial baggage. What we're seeing is not transcendence but transference. That's why the NAACP crowd reacted so enthusiastically throughout her speech.

A lot of people (me included) have been apologizing to Ms. Sherrod for jumping the gun and calling her a racist.

Between this and what I posted in the previous blog, I'm about thisclose to retracting my apology to her.


Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged about the "journolist", a now-defunct (at least under that specific name) email venue for left wing journalists, professors, etc to talk to each other and decide how to shape the news to their partisan positions.

Let me say that again:  "journolist" was used by left wingers to talk to each other and decide how to shape the news to their partisan positions

I promised that if there were more posts about this conspiracy to manage the news (what would you call it?) I would blog about it.  Well, there is. 

So, as promised, here is the latest information being offered by Johnathan Strong, writing for Tucker Carlson's

In fairness to the web site, I am only posting the first third or so of Strong's piece.  I certainly urge you to go to the daily caller and read it all (which you can do by clicking here):

When McCain picked Palin, liberal journalists coordinated the best line of attack

By Jonathan Strong - The Daily Caller | Published: 3:09 AM 07/22/2010 | Updated: 10:19 AM 07/22/2010

In the hours after Sen. John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the last presidential race, members of an online forum called Journolist struggled to make sense of the pick. Many of them were liberal reporters, and in some cases their comments reflected a journalists instinct to figure out the meaning of a story.

But in many other exchanges, the Journolisters clearly had another, more partisan goal in mind: to formulate the most effective talking points in order to defeat Palin and McCain and help elect Barack Obama president. The tone was more campaign headquarters than newsroom.

The conversation began with a debate over how best to attack Sarah Palin. Honestly, this pick reeks of desperation, wrote Michael Cohen of the New America Foundation in the minutes after the news became public. How can anyone logically argue that Sarah Pallin [sic], a one-term governor of Alaska, is qualified to be President of the United States? Train wreck, thy name is Sarah Pallin.

Not a wise argument, responded Jonathan Stein, a reporter for Mother Jones. If McCain were asked about Palins inexperience, he could simply point to then candidate Barack Obamas similarly thin resume. Q: Sen. McCain, given Gov. Palins paltry experience, how is she qualified to be commander in chief?, Stein asked hypothetically. A: Well, she has much experience as the Democratic nominee.

What a joke, added Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker. I always thought that some part of McCain doesnt want to be president, and this choice proves my point.  Welcome back, Admiral Stockdale.

Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation noted that Obamas non-official campaign would need to work hard to discredit Palin. This seems to me like an occasion when the non-official campaign has a big role to play in defining Palin, shaping the terms of the conversation and saying things that the official [Obama] campaign shouldnt say very hard-hitting stuff, including some of the things that people have been noting here scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia wing-nut a heartbeat away bang away at McCains age making this unusually significant . I think people should be replicating some of the not-so-pleasant viral email campaigns that were used against [Obama].

Ryan Donmoyer, a reporter for Bloomberg News who was covering the campaign, sent a quick thought that Palins choice not to have an abortion when she unexpectedly became pregnant at age 44 would likely boost her image because it was a heartwarming story.

Her decision to keep the Downs baby is going to be a hugely emotional story that appeals to a vast swath of America, I think, Donmoyer wrote.

Politico reporter Ben Adler, now an editor at Newsweek, replied, but doesnt leaving sad baby without its mother while she campaigns weaken that family values argument? Or will everyone be too afraid to make that point?

Again, I urge you to use the link I've provided and keep reading.  The comments made by these so-called "journalists" are devastating.

How many of these people, caught in the act of discussing ways to manipulate the news by making it more amenable to the (leftward) side they belong to, are among the "journalists" who squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased?

Is this decisive proof that they are what they're accused of?  You tell me.

Then, explain to me why almost all mainstream media are refusing to cover this huge, important story.  Can you come up with a reason other than that the journolist revelations shred their own credibility, so they are desperately trying to pretend this is not newsworthy?

Do you think it's newsworthy? 

Me too.

Go, Daily Caller, go.

Zeke ... ... Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ..... ...... Who will guard us from (those who are) our guardians ? ... (07/23/10)


Ken Berwitz

Remember when we were promised that, with Barack Obama, we would have a "post-racial presidency"?

How's that working out so far?

Victor Davis Hanson has answers for us, and they are not pretty.  Here are some of the key excerpts from his latest column at

Victor Davis Hanson

The New Racial Mess


Weren't we supposed to enter a new age of tolerance with the election of President Barack Obama?


His half-black, half-white ancestry and broad support across racial lines suggested that at last Americans judged each other on the content of our characters -- not the color of our skin or our tribal affiliations.


Instead, in just 18 months of the Obama administration, racial discord is growing and relations seem to have been set back a generation.


Black voters are galvanizing behind Obama at a time of rapidly falling support. White independents, in contrast, are leaving Obama in droves.


Indeed, race seems to be the subtext of almost every contemporary issue, from the soaring deficit and government spending to recent presidential appointments and the enforcement of existing immigration law. In times of growing deficits, white people are stereotyped as being angry over supposedly paying higher taxes to subsidize minorities, while minorities are stereotyped as being mostly on the receiving end of entitlements.


Why the escalation of racial tension in the supposed postracial age of Obama?


First, Obama's reputation as a racial healer was largely the creation of the media. In fact, Obama had a number of racially polarizing incidents that probably would have disqualified any other presidential candidate of the past 30 years.


His two-decade apprenticeship at Trinity Church under the racist and anti-Semitic Rev. Jeremiah Wright has never been adequately explained. Obama indulged in racial stereotyping himself when he wrote off the white lower-middle class of Pennsylvania as clueless zealots clinging to their guns, religion and xenophobia.


Obama also characterized his grandmother as a "typical white person" when he implied that her supposed fear of young black males symbolizes the prejudices of the entire white community. Michelle Obama did not help things when, in clumsy fashion, she indicted America as "just downright mean"-- a nation she had not been proud of in her adult life until it embraced the hope and change represented by her husband's candidacy.


Such campaign trash talk did not stop during the first 18 months of the Obama presidency. The race-baiting Van Jones -- the short-lived presidential advisor on "green jobs" -- should never have been appointed. Then, the president himself criticized Cambridge, Mass., police for acting "stupidly" when they arrested his friend, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.


Then there was the outburst of Attorney General Eric Holder, who blasted America as "a nation of cowards" for not talking more about race on his terms. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was almost obsessive in self-referencing herself as a "Latina." She also suggested that her racial background and experiences made her "wise" in a way white male colleagues could never be.


Recently, Obama appealed to voters along exclusionary race and gender lines -- not traditional political allegiances -- when he called upon "the young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women, who powered our victory in 2008."


The more the president appeals to his base in racial terms, the more his appointees identify themselves as members of a particular tribe, and the more political issues are framed by racial divisions, so all the more such racial obsession creates a backlash among the racially diverse American people.


America has largely moved beyond race. Tragically, our president and a host of his supportive special interests have not.

In the title of this blog, I asked whether the Obama presidency qualifies as "post-racial" or "most-racial".

There are the facts.  You decide.


Ken Berwitz

Early this week, Shirley Sherrod was accused of making racist comments during a speech at an NAACP banquet earlier this year.  She was immediately fired from her job with the USDA.

Within 48 hours Ms. Sherrod was apologized to and offered her job back. 

Now she is a major cause celebre among the left in this country, a superstar.  She stands to make a fortune off of this incident.

With the above in mind, I want to show you how two supposed "journalists" characterized Ms. Sherrod's experience:.

First, keith olbermann, who came back from "vacation" (or whatever he is doing right now) to say the following:

"No matter how much of a stretch it is to compare Shirley Sherrod to Alfred Dreyfus, mistake it not: Shirley Sherrod has been to her own Devil's Island"

And then there is this comment, by the increasingly incoherent David Gergen while on Rick Sanchez's CNN left-fest:

Rick, I don't want to put her on too high a pedestal. I don't think she would want that. But I kept thinking about Nelson Mandela as I heard her story, because he had to overcome the same sort of hatred on both sides. And he became this larger-than-life figure and I think we all loved him and revered him because he was able to grow like that. And there is that quality about her story.

Er, let's review:

-Alfred Dreyfus was tried and convicted of a phony charge of treason, and then spent four years of absolute hell on Devil's Island.  He wasn't even exonerated until 11 years afterwards;

-Nelson Mandela, accused and convicted of sabotage by South Africa's apartheid regime (a real one, not like Israel), spent 27 years in jail before being released;

-Shirley Sherrod was accused of racism, convicted of nothing, fired from her job, and in less than two days was apologized to and offered reinstatement.

Is it just me, or do you also notice a slight difference here?

Want to compare these two characterizations - neither of which was challenged in the least on MSNBC and CNN, which aired them -  to how Sherrod was reported by Fox News? 

C'mon, make my day......


Ken Berwitz

The New York Post has it right about extending unemployment benefits.  Not the Times, not the network news shows, not the other media which seem to have a limitless capacity for presenting Democratic spin as fact, but the New York Post.

Here it is, laid out plainly in today's editorial:

Digging a deeper hole

Last Updated: 4:57 AM, July 22, 2010

Posted: July 22, 2010

In extending jobless benefits this week, Democrats are trying to claim the moral high ground -- pretending they "stood on the side" of "working families," as President Obama put it, while heartless Republicans stood in the way.


It's rubbish. Starting with the fact that the extension -- which will let out-of-work Americans collect weekly checks for almost two years, instead of the traditional 26 weeks -- will bloat the federal deficit by some $34 billion.


That's right: The entire tab for stretching out benefits will simply be added to this year's shortfall, now pegged at a mind-blowing $1.4 trillion.  


As if it's all just play money.


It's not, of course.


Indeed, the Dems' horrifying yearly gaps are pushing the nation's total debt to dangerous levels -- and diverting ever-more-scarce capital from the job-creating private sector.


Which is why the national debt has become an issue in this fall's elections.


And it's the sole reason, in fact, why Republicans opposed the benefits bill.


"There's no debate in the Senate about whether we should pass a bill -- everyone agrees that we should," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday. "This debate is about whether, in extending these benefits, we should add to the debt or not."


GOPers say they would have backed more extensions, as they have in the past, if Dems agreed to pay for them with funds from elsewhere in the budget.


Actually, though, it's not at all clear that stretching out benefits ad infinitum will help the long-term unemployed.

Sure, workers struggling to make ends meet while searching for a job will be glad for the extra cash.


New Yorkers may even feel slighted by the new bill -- since, under federal rules, they face a 93-week limit on benefits, rather than 99 weeks, as in states with higher unemployment rates.


And Obama & Co. are right that out-of-work Americans at present far outnumber job openings.


But the answer to a job shortage is not more government handouts -- but more jobs. And at some point, anyway, endless extensions turn into permanent welfare -- fostering dependency.


Again, though, it's all moot -- because, good or bad, there's just no money for them. Which makes it a bit hard, we'd say, for Dems credibly to claim they're acting responsibly.


Indeed, all they are doing is making things worse.  

There you go.  Those are the facts, not the spin-job that has been foisted on us.

Democrats demanded that unemployment benefits be extended by spending an additional 34 billion dollars we do not have.  Republicans agreed to extended unemployment benefits, but insisted on doing it by using money that already is available - e.g. from the so-called "stimulus package" which was enacted over a year ago and much of which is currently sitting and collecting dust.  That way we don't run up more debt..

But I have a question:  since the Obama administration has relentlessly told us that the "stimulus package" has created millions upon millions of jobs, why do we need unemployment benefit extensions at all?  Heck, with so many new jobs to choose from I guess just about everyone either is, or should be, employed by now. 

Or, maybe the truth is a bit different.  Maybe the "stimulus package", like the cash for clunkers program, the Afghanistan troop surge, the nonexistent border security and so many other actions (and inactions) by President Obama and his lopsidedly Democratic congress, is a failure. 

Maybe the real reason so many have been jobless for so long is because unemployment, which was at 8.1% the day "stimulus" legislation was signed, then jumped over 10% and, a year later, is still in the mid-9's. 

When will our wonderful "neutral" media start demanding answers from this administration about why putting us almost a trillion more dollars into debt resulted in a loss of jobs, not a gain?

Or is that one of the issues the journolist bunch decided to ignore on Barack Obama's behalf?

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