Sunday, 08 August 2010


Ken Berwitz

In 1962, Katherine Anne Porter wrote a best-selling novel named "Ship Of Fools".

Who could have foreseen that, in 2010, a revised version of that ship would be heading toward Gaza.  

Excerpted from an article by Ben Gedalyahu at

A women-only ship, complete with a nun and a heavily pregnant mother, has cleared political and technical obstacles and is set to sail for Gaza, presenting Israel with a new challenge. The ship is supposed to leave Tripoli by Sunday night, its co-coordinator, Hizbullah-backer Samar al-Hajj, told the London Guardian.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told Israel National News, There are no limits on goods going to Gaza, and any ships trying to bring so-called aid to Gaza will be regarded as provocations.

The sight of womensupposedly unarmedfacing Israeli naval commandos trying to stop it from breaking the sea embargo on Hamas-controlled Gaza faces Israel with a new public relations challenge. The women have dramatized possible violence by preparing to travel equipped with blood test equipment  in case we come under attack from Israel and you need a blood transfusion," al-Hajj said.

She added, "We will not even bring cooking knives in order to prevent accusations that they are armed.

Pro-Arab activists have been preparing the Mariam ship for more than a month, but Lebanese and Cypriot authorities had refused to clear the boat and a sister ship for sailing. It must dock in Cyprus to prevent a claim by Israel that it will intercept the ship because it is sailing towards Israel from the declared enemy state of Lebanon


Israel implemented its blockade to protect itself from hamas-controlled Gaza, which is committed, in writing, to decimating the country, killing or subjugating every Jew there (preferably killing them) and transforming it into Gaza's prevailing culture. 

And here we have a ship populated entirely by women - whom this same culture treats as fifth-class citizens, and subjugates completely.

In Israel women are human beings with rights.  In Gaza, along with almost all of the Arab/muslim world, they are chattels with no rights. 

How ironic.  How pathetic.  A shipload of women detrermined to endanger a culture which provides their gender with freedom and individual value, in favor of a culture that provides them with neither.

A ship of fools if there ever was one.

Zeke .... .... .... There have been lots of FEMALE Homicide Bombers ..... .... Maybe some of them are among the "peaceful" protesters . .... .... .... International Law (San Remo Manual - 1994) requires 'neutral' ships to stop and submit to searches when a blockade is in force. .... Failure to stop and be inspected, or acts of resistance, made the 'neutral' into a belligerent, subject to force. These searches may be conducted on the high seas -- no need to be within 12 or 3 miles of the coastline. (08/08/10)


Ken Berwitz

Democrats in at least four states are actively working on behalf of Tea Party candidates.

Yes, you read that right. 

So why would Democrats actively work to promote Tea Partiers?  Just one reason - and it will quickly become clear when you read this excerpt from the article by Jeanne Cummings at

Dems accused of tea party tampering

By JEANNE CUMMINGS | 8/5/10 2:28 PM EDT Updated: 8/6/10 8:12 AM EDT

Nationally, Democrats say they intend to campaign against the tea party movement. But locally, Democratic officials and activists in at least four states now stand accused of collaborating with tea party candidates in an attempt to sabotage Republican challengers in some of the closest House races in the nation.

The charges of dirty tricks are being leveled in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey and Florida  and they involve more than a half-dozen contests that could tip the balance of power in the House.

The accusations range from helping tea party activists circulate candidate petition sheets to underwriting the creation of official tea parties, which then put forth slates of candidates that local conservatives accuse of being rife with Democratic plants.

In all of the affected races, the outcome is expected to be close enough that a third-party candidate who wins just a few percentage points could end up swinging the outcome to the Democratic congressman or candidate.

The Democrats have come to the realization that they cant win on issues, and with their flawed candidates, so they are forced to skirt the rules by running candidates who they hope can split the vote with Republicans, said Paul Lindsey, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman.

Democratic officials deny there is any grand conspiracy.

"The DCCC has nothing to do with this," said Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But the evidence of campaign tampering in at least two states is hard to dismiss. In Michigan, the party chairman in suburban Detroits Oakland County now concedes that one of his top aides played a role in helping nine tea party candidates get onto the ballot for various offices across the state including the open 1st Congressional District and the 7th Congressional District, held by vulnerable freshman Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer.

Recruitment of so-called straw candidates or spoilers is a time-honored, if less than reputable, tradition in American politics. But in this case, some Democrats appear to be in cahoots with ideological adversaries whose ideas they hope to use as weapons against Republicans in the fall.

Now, seven House seats are the subject of controversies that are spawning threats of lawsuits and criminal complaints and even pitting conservative tea party activists against one another.

One of those activists is Jim Schneller, who is running to fill the suburban Philadelphia-based seat left vacant by Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

The seat is among the Republicans top targets this fall, and the contest between Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz and Republican Pat Meehan is viewed as a tossup. The entry of a third- party candidate, however, could scramble that balance which prompted Meehans campaign to scrutinize Schnellers credentials.

According to its analysis, 3,800 of the 4,200 voter signatures gathered to put Schneller on the ballot were collected by Democrats. And among those who helped the tea party candidate are Colleen Guiney, the chairwoman of the Swarthmore Democratic Party and a Lentz supporter, and Nicholas Allred, who works for the Swarthmore College Democrats.

Bryan Kendro, Meehans campaign manager, accused Lentzs backers of trying to split the conservative vote by using Jim Schneller as nothing more than a prop.

In an interview with POLITICO, Schneller said hes been disappointed by the Republican assault on his legitimacy. My signatures were gathered by volunteers, said Schneller. We didnt go around screening signatures or signors.

Democratic dirty tricks.  Not Republican dirty tricks - a mantra our wonderful "neutral" media love to pump out at us - but Democratic ones.

Please note that the date of this article is Thursday, August 5 at 2:28PM.  That means, conceivably, it was available for the network news that night.  In fairness, however, it would have been difficult to fit in on such short notice.

But how about Friday?  How about the morning shows and  the network news.  And how about the newspapers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Did you catch a thing about this four-state (that we know of so far) dirty trick strategy?

I didn't think so.

Then they wonder why people call them biased......


Ken Berwitz

There is an article in yesterday's New York Times which discusses the vacation trip Michelle Obama is taking with her 9 year old daughter Sasha.  

Did I say article?  Ok, I'm exaggerating.  Egregiously.  In reality this is another of the classic Times pieces which looks something like a news article but, in reality, is protective cover for the Obamas.

Here are the key excerpts, in rust, and my comments, in blue:

First Lady's Trip to Spain Draws Criticism

Saturday, August 07, 2010

By PETER BAKER, The New York Times


WASHINGTON -- A quiet holiday in a lavish Mediterranean retreat for the first lady and her daughter has turned into a bit of a headache for a White House trying to battle bad economic news at home.  A bit of a headache?  How about a full-blown scandal, with Michelle Obama being compared to Marie Antoinette as a symbol of the public figure who uncaringly spends tons of money on herself and her own while the masses are suffering? 


Michelle Obama took her younger daughter, Sasha, to southern Spain this week for a mother-daughter getaway. But when you are married to the president, it has a way of becoming a mother-daughter-Secret-Service getaway that invariably sweeps into town, takes over much of a pricey hotel and leaves the taxpayers with a hefty bill.  HOW hefty, Peter?  You didnt say.  Estimates are in the $375,000 range for the Obamas five day jaunt.  How nice of you to spare Times readers any specifics.  Why would you do that, other than making this look far more inconsequential than it actually is?


The first lady is paying for her own room, food and transportation Oh?  Does that include the Air Force plane that took them to Spain, is sitting idle for a week - crew included - and will take them back?, and the friends she brought will pay for theirs as well. But the government picks up security costs, youre telling us that the only thing not being paid for out of their pockets is security?  Nothing else?  BS.  and the image of the president's wife enjoying a fancy vacation at a luxury resort abroad while Americans lose their jobs back home struck some as ill-timed. Finally, you got something 100% correct. European papers are having a field day tracking her entourage, a New York Daily News columnist called her "a modern-day Marie Antoinette" and the blogosphere has been buzzing.


The White House said it would not comment. "The first lady is on a private trip," Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said this week. "She is a private citizen and is the mother of a daughter on a private trip. And I think I'd leave it at that."  A private trip that Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer are subsidizing, apparently to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Can I have a private trip too?


Other officials, asking not to be named because the first family considers it a private matter, said some reports of the trip have been exaggerated. Mrs. Obama is not traveling with 40 friends, one official said, but with two friends and four of their daughters, as well as a couple of aides and a couple of advance staff members.  Well, how many is it, Peter?  Funny how you report the pooh-poohing of the number of friends without telling us who gave you the Obama-friendly lower estimates - but dont give us any indication of which side is right.  How come? 


Laura Bush took solo vacations without her husband each year of George W. Bush's presidency, likewise traveling with her Secret Service detail on a government plane to meet friends for camping and hiking excursions to national parks. But it never generated the sort of furor Mrs. Obama trip's is causing, at least in part because visiting national parks in the United States is not as politically sensitive.  How come you didnt compare the costs of the Bush and Obama vacations, Peter?  Or do you expect us to assume that a camping and hiking excursion to a national park is the same cost as a jet-set vacation to the places in Spain where the rich and famous congregate?  Do you think we are all idiots?  Evidently you do.


"It's always very difficult to lead a private life when you're a public person," said Anita McBride, who was Mrs. Bush's chief of staff. "No one would deny any of our hard-working public officials an opportunity for a vacation. Everybody needs that. But I think the more expensive or lavish a trip might be perceived, the more criticism you invite. It's just the risk. It comes with the territory of being a public person."  Er, for this trip it is not a risk.  It is a fact.  And your "news" article about it is a thinly-disguised coverup on behalf of the Obamas.  Thanks for nothing.

Zeke .... .... IIRC, it was reported that Michelle's party had 45 rooms in that 5-Star hotel in Spain.... ..... Hardly squares with 'four friends' & Michelle. .... .... .... Sounds like *** gasp *** the Obama's are lying to us. ... ... .... Oh well, Let Them Eat Cake .... .... (08/08/10)


Ken Berwitz

Is the ruling this week, by a federal judge in Virginia, the beginning of the end of ObamaCare?

Read this excerpt of an article in the Wall Street Journal, written by former New York Lt. Governor and health care expert Betsy McCaughey, and see what I mean:

Last November, a reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if it was constitutional for Congress to require Americans to buy health insurance. Ms. Pelosi responded, "Are you serious?"

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson got serious. He denied Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state of Virginia challenging the new health law. His ruling stated that it is far from certain Congress has the authority to compel Americans to buy insurance and penalize those who don't.


Judge Hudson's ruling paved the way for a trial to begin on October 18, with possible appeals all the way to the Supreme Court, a lengthy process. Some states will likely delay creating insurance exchanges and slow down other costly preparations for ObamaCare until its constitutionality is determined by this case.


If mandatory insurance is declared unconstitutional, the entire health law could collapse like a house of cards. Most complex legislation states that if one part of the law is struck down, other parts remain enforceable. But authors of ObamaCare chose to omit that clause, suggesting that the health overhaul won't work without mandatory insurance.

Did that get your attention?  I can assure you it got mine.

Wouldn't it be something if ObamaCare, which was written with virtually no Republican input and against the will of the people (just about every poll shows we do not want it), is circumvented by the legal process? 

Wouldn't it have made more sense - a lot more sense - if Obama and his fellow Democrats had worked with Republicans to come up with a bipartisan health care overhaul that we actually wanted?

Ironically, if the ruling by Judge Henry Hudson (don't you love that name) causes the legal process to extend beyond election day - as seems certain - Obama & Co. probably will have a far different, far less accepting congress in place; one that may be itching to change this legislation before it is ever implemented.

I'd say Judge Henry Hudson just gave ObamaCare the, er, half moon.  Maybe even a full one.

Ken Berwitz Steve - you are only required to have car insurance if you choose to drive a car. If you don't have a car you don't get the insurance. Health care is going to be mandatory for everyone, period. (08/08/10)

Zeke .... .... No, Steve, ..... NOWHERE are you required to have Auto Insurance that covers YOUR costs. .... .... You ONLY are required to have LIABILITY insurance to protect the other drivers and pedestrians. ... ... If you choose to decline collision insurance, and a deer hits your car, or a tree limb falls on it, or you drive into a wall ... with no collision insurance, then it's tough luck for you. ..... ..... (08/08/10)

steven schneider this does confuse me. we certainly are required to have auto insurance. is this a state federal issue? steve (08/08/10)

Zeke ** Half Moon ** ... .... .... * G r o a n * ... .... .... (08/08/10)


Ken Berwitz

Paul Krugman, the smug, preppy economist who writes an op-ed column for the New York Times, does not like the way Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) thinks.  And has said so very directly.

Mr. Ryan takes exception to Mr. Krugman's comments, and has written a response. 

Here is the first part of what Rep. Ryan has to say, excerpted from the Milwaukee Jounal-Sentinel.  You can read his entire commentary by clicking here - and I very much hope you do:

Despite watching European welfare states collapse under the weight of their own debt, those running Washington are leading us down precisely the same path. With the debt surpassing $13 trillion, we can no longer avoid having a serious discussion about how to address the unsustainable growth of government.

Unfortunately, rather than make meaningful contributions to this conversation and bring solutions to the table, Democrats have attempted to win this debate by default. Relying on demagoguery and distortion, the left would prefer that entitlements - often labeled the "third rail" of American politics - remain untouchable, and the column by Paul Krugman of The New York Times is indicative of the partisan attacks leveled against the plan I've offered, a "Roadmap for America's Future."

When I introduced the "Roadmap," my hope was that it would spur an open and honest discussion about how our nation can address its fiscal challenges. If we are truly committed to developing real solutions, this discussion must be free of the inflammatory rhetoric that has derailed past reform efforts. In keeping with this spirit, it is necessary to clarify some of the inaccurate claims and distortions made recently regarding the "Roadmap."

The assertion by Krugman and others that the revenue assumptions in the "Roadmap" are overly optimistic and that my staff directed the Congressional Budget Office not to analyze the tax elements of the "Roadmap" is a deliberate attempt to misinform and mislead.

I asked the CBO to analyze the long-term revenue impact of the "Roadmap," but officials declined to do so because revenue estimates are the jurisdiction of the Joint Tax Committee. The Joint Tax Committee does not produce revenue estimates beyond the 10-year window, and so I worked with Treasury Department tax officials in setting the tax reform rates to keep revenues consistent with their historical average.

What critics such as Krugman fail to understand is that our looming debt crisis is driven by the explosive growth of government spending - not from a lack of tax revenue.

Krugman also recycles the disingenuous claim that the "Roadmap" - the only proposal certified to make our entitlement programs solvent - would "end Medicare as we know it."

Ironically, doing nothing, as Democrats would prefer, is certain to end entitlement programs as we know them, and in the process, beneficiaries would face painful cuts to these programs. Conversely, the "Roadmap" would pre-empt these cuts in a way that prevents unnecessary disruptions for current beneficiaries.

Look, I'm no expert on economics and don't claim to understand its more technical aspects.  But I think I understand the basics.  And I think I know a trip to the woodshed when I see one. 

It sure looks to me like Mr. Ryan has given Mr. Krugman the grand tour of that woodshed.

What do you think?


Ken Berwitz

Here is a very short blog - too short to excerpt - from Paul Mirengoff at  It shows an ad that is currently being run against congressperson Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio.  Take a look and see what you think:

August 7, 2010

Collectively punish Mary Jo Kilroy

August 7, 2010 Posted by Paul at 10:03 PM


Our friends at the Emergency Committee for Israel are airing an ad criticizing Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy for voting in favor of a resolution that accused Israel of the "de facto collective punishment" of the residents of the Gaza Strip - i.e., a war crime. Here is the ad (if you have trouble seeing it, just click here):



Rep. Kilroy represents Ohio's 15th congressional district. She is among the most endangered House incumbents, having won the seat in 2008 by less than 1 percentage point. I hope that this ad will help ensure her defeat.


You can contribute to the campaign of her opponent, Steve Stivers, by going here.

I have written about instances like these in the past, where either a letter or a resolution concerning Israel is made available for congresspeople to sign/vote for, and virtually every one of the anti-Israel signatories/votes is a Democrat.  '

This is one such instance.  And, while there certainly are congressional districts where that signature would not damage the incumbent's standing, Ohio's 15th is one where it could.

Personally, I join Paul in hoping that it is directly responsible for Ms. Kilroy's defeat.

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