Saturday, 07 August 2010


Ken Berwitz

Sometimes I wonder if the editorial board of the New York Times smokes some of that funny stuff before they start writing.

Case in point:  The paper's editorial this morning on Iran, which I am excerpting below:


President Obama and Iran

Published: August 6, 2010


At first glance, President Obamas policy on Iran and its illicit nuclear program is not all that different from President George W. Bushs. They both committed themselves, on paper, to sanctions and engagement.


Mr. Bush, however, was never really that serious about the carrots, and he spent so much time alienating Americas friends that he was never able to win broad support for the sticks: credible international sanctions.

Mr. Obama has done considerably better on the sanctions front at the United Nations and from the European Union, Canada and Australia. But the other piece of a credible strategy serious engagement seemed to be getting lost. So it was encouraging that he made the effort this week to reassert his commitment to talks with Tehran. Meeting with journalists from The Times and other publications on Wednesday, he said his pledge to change the United States-Iran relationship after 30 years of animosity continues to be entirely sincere.

He also stressed the need to outline a clear pathway of steps that Iran could take to convince the world that it is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program. They should know what they can say yes to, he said.

President Obama says he hears rumblings that sanctions are beginning to bite. Aides believe that technical problems with Irans nuclear program have bought at least a year for sanctions and diplomacy to work.

The Iranian government continues to churn out nuclear fuel and block international inspections. Theres no guarantee it will ever agree to curb its nuclear program. But Washington and its partners are creating a plan that might have a chance of affecting Irans calculations.

There you have it, readers....

The New York Times thinks that "credible international sanctions" - which mahmoud ahmadinejad and his radical islamic bosses use as toilet paper - are some kind of "stick" which will bring Iran back to the table.  Does that make sense to you?

And what is Mr. Obama doing on the diplomatic front?  Why he is "stress(ing) the need to outline a clear 'pathway' of steps that Iran could take to convince the world that it is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program". 

Brilliant, just brilliant.  Now, what about the fact that everyone knows Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, and it has become more and more open about doing so?  

In other words, the President of the United States is giving Iran tips on how to lie to the nations of the world about its nuclear activities.  And, if you're asking me, they should be listening:  a President who tells us we've gained millions of jobs and we're in a "recovery summer", certainly has experience with looking people in the eye and lying to them.

Then add in the fact that when Iranians went to the streets by the hundreds of thousands to protest this regime, President Obama did not say a word in support of their demands for a democratic society.  Why wouldn't that cause Iran's rulers to figure he is little more than comic relief?   

Sadly, Iran understands President Obama's policies far better than the Times' editorial staff.

Finally, to provide us with one more opportunity to laugh, cry or just shake our heads and roll our eyes, the Times ends by siting what it considers a tangible basis for believing that Iran will change its ways.  It notes that "President Obama says he hears rumblings" that the sanctions - which have been in place for years to absolutely no effect - "are beginning to bite".

Hello, New York Times?  Sanity calling.  The only "rumblings" Barack Obama hears right now are the beginnings of a political earthquake that could well take Democratic control of the house, and maybe even the senate, away from him in November.

For as long as I have read the New York Times (50 or so years) it has claimed never to have a comic section.  But frankly, with editorials like these, that claim is getting harder and harder to take seriously.


Ken Berwitz

Here is another example of the truly unusual campaign ads we have seen this year.

It touts Joel Demos, who is running for congress in Minnesota's 5th district against the incumbent, radical, left wing, and (despite the mainstream name) Muslim Keith Ellison.

Take a look and see what you think:


Derek (a.k.a. gumstick) I like it, it's kind of funny, not really a negative attack ad, and the imagery is clever. (08/07/10)


Ken Berwitz

How much stronger is the political position of homosexual citizens these days?

Read the following excerpt from an article by Maggie Haberman at and see:

When a federal judge in California last week ruled the states ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, several political observers braced for a flood of Republican blasts on the issue that could end up resonating in campaigns nationally.

Instead, the anticipated GOP bang over the ban known as Proposition 8 amounted to little more than a whimper. There were angry columns and cries of protest from right-wing groups and conservative writers, but the majority of the Republican establishment kept on a bread-and-butter message and party leaders are encouraging them not to stray.

It also was expected that Democrats, outside of deep-blue states, would not press the issue in broad strokes but the relative calm from a party whose last president called for a constitutional ban on gay marriage and denounced activist judges was telling about the meta-narrative of the 2010 cycle.

Things could change its the doldrums of August, after all and theres a possibility the issue will be used surgically in certain districts. But this election cycle is focused, by both sides, on a swath of the electorate that isnt driven by social issues the independents and the very real economic problems facing voters.

In California, the two leading GOP candidates gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman and U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina issued muted statements.

On MSNBCs Morning Joe the day after the ruling, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who opposes gay marriage, said he thought it may come up in a subliminal way in campaigns and moved off the topic fairly quickly.

The national committees didnt touch it in a real way I havent been following closely, said one Washington GOP operative who works with one of the committees and Republican leaders made clear their strategy is staying on jobs.

"Every indicator that I havegenerally speaking is that economic growth and job creation are the tandem issues that will be the principal drivers of voter decision at polls, said Republican National Committee political director Gentry Collins at a press briefing at the partys Kansas City, Missouri, meeting Thursday.

"What Im encouraging candidates to do is go out and run on an economic platform, a jobs platform."


Until recently - and I mean very recently - this ruling would have brought the wrath of the GOP elephant down on Judge Walker and his decision that a ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.

But now?  Tread lightly.  If you're going to speak about it in negative terms, do it carefully.  No frontal assaults.

If that doesn't tell you that the movement for gay rights has dramatically strengthened, nothing will.

Is this a good thing?  You're damn right it is. 

Assuming the relationship is consensual, what you or I do in my bedroom, and who you and I do it with, is nobody's business but our own. 

You may be repulsed by homosexuality.  And/or you may believe it is a mortal sin and God will punish people for engaging in it - maybe even consign them to hell for eternity.  Ok.  I'm fine with that.  You are entitled to your beliefs.

But if a man is attracted to another man, or a woman is attracted to another woman, and, as couples, they want to commit to each other in a life relationship, which includes a sexual relationship?  Ok.  I'm just as fine with that. 

It is THEIR LIVES AND THEIR BELIEFS, not anyone else's.

So, though I have no illusions about the general position on gay marriage among most Republicans (and most Democrats too - don't you doubt it for a second), I am very happy to see that gay rights have come to the point where, even if not thought of as morally correct, it is considered politically smart to back off the issue. 

Freedom.  That's what it is all about.  Let's all revel in it.


ONE MORE THING:  From an article by Chris Moody at

GOProud, a Washington-based group that represents gay conservatives, announced Friday that feisty right-wing pundit Ann Coulter would keynote the organizations upcoming Homocon fundraiser party.

Im so tickled that she agreed to do it, Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud told The Daily Caller. Think about it: Shes hilarious, shes provocative and, honestly, our folks just love her.

LaSalvia said Coulter was the only person the group asked to headline the party, and she immediately agreed.

Of course Ill do it, Coulter wrote to GOProud when they asked her to join the event. Im the right-wing Judy Garland!

GOProud used that quip to advertise the event, adding, our gays are more macho than their straights! which Coulter wrote in a 2005 article comparing liberals and conservatives.

Yes there are Republican and/or conservative homosexuals.  Lots and lots of them. 

Why not?  Why can't people be politically Republican, conservative and homosexual too?  And why can't Ann Coulter support them as Republican, conservative homosexuals?

I rest my case.


Ken Berwitz

I've seen this before, but don't remember ever posting it.

It was just sent to me from my long-time friend, and co-author (I hope you have your copy of "The Hopelessly Partisan Guide To American Politics"), Barry Sinrod. 

Barry, having the political views he does, put a sarcastic name to it, which I have eliminated.  Other than that, it is pretty much as sent.  

Have fun:

I cduol nto blveiee taht I cluod aculalty  udesnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig  to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.   Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.


Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!


if yuo cna raed this, pelaes psas it on!! 

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