Sunday, 07 November 2010


Ken Berwitz

It has been reported - without any evidence to back it up, but reported nonetheless - that President Obama's trip to India and points beyond is costing US taxpayers $200 million per day. 

It seems very clear that this is a wildly overstated amount.  But after reading the following report from the Hindustan Times (whatever that is), it occurs to me that, if the alternative is relying on India's security arrangements, any amount would be worth it to protect the President:

An assistant police inspector of Mumbai police's crime branch, deployed in the outer security ring of US President Barack Obama, accidentally fired a shot from his .38 bore service revolver near Taj Mahal Hotel on Saturday evening. Suhas Chaudhary, posted with unit V of the crime branch, was injured in the incident and was admitted to St George Hospital.


According to police, neither Obama nor his wife, Michelle, were not at the hotel when the incident occurred.

Preliminary investigation found that Chaudhary was posted 50 meters away from Taj Mahal Hotel. After his duty, he was getting into his official vehicle, which was parked outside the security perimeter thrown around the hotel; when he removed the revolver pulling its trigger accidentally.

Y'know that old saying about someone shooting himself in the foot?  Well this is a pretty close real-life parallel.

And what about the part that says "neither Obama nor his wife, Michelle, were not at the hotel"?  Does that mean they were there at the time?  Is the double negative intentional?

Look at it this way:  Mr. Chaudhary didn't not shoot himself, did he?


Ken Berwitz

Here's a non-shock for you:  Seniors abandoned the Democratic Party in droves last Tuesday.

And why did they do it?  Here's a lot of the answer, via this excerpt from Byron Tau's article for

In an election marked by dramatic defections from the Democratic Party, older voters swung hardest, seemingly threatened by President Barack Obamas mantra of change.


Voters over 65 favored Republicans last week by a 21-point margin after flirting with Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections and favoring John McCain by a relatively narrow 8-point margin in 2008.


Concerned by changes to Medicare and compelled by a Republican Party that promised a return to Americas glory days, seniors played a crucial and often understated role in races across the country. They were unswayed by ubiquitous Democratic warnings about Republican changes to Social Security. And they put a series of campaigns out of reach for Democrats.


In New Hampshire, for instance, seniors backed GOP Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte over her Democratic challenger by 33 points. In the narrow Illinois Senate contest, Republican Mark Kirk won older voters by 22 points. And In Delaware, they were the only age group to back tea party favorite Christine ODonnell, by an 11-point margin.


Ive been saying since August 2009, that there was a tsunami in this case a senior citizen tsunami headed towards Capitol Hill, said Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association, a conservative campaign group targeted toward older voters. That tsunami came ashore.

Being old doesn't mean being dumb. 

Seniors - a great many of them, anyway - understand that President Obama gutted Medicare to cook the books for ObamaCare.  And they also understand that ObamaCare is going to mean decisions will be made about what procedures older patients will and will not be able to get (death panels, anyone?)

So after giving their support to Barack Obama in 2008, then noting what he did to them on ObamaCare, there was a major move away from him in 2010.  And, barring some epiphany about seniors by Mr. Obama, there is an excellent probability this movement will continue and maybe even accelerate in 2012.

To Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats:  Think of the decreasing support among this group as a senior citizen discount......

free` WOW!!! I don't believe it, an article about obama losing the support of a group and that group NOT being called racist. I never thought I would see this day. (11/08/10)


Ken Berwitz

I plan on joining, Im not gonna ask for permission or whatever, Im gonna find out when they meet and I will be a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and I think I meet all of the criteria and its so important that we break down this 'monolithic voice' that continues to talk about victimization and dependency in the black community,

Those are the words of Alan West, about whom there are two undeniable facts:  1) he was elected to congress on Tuesday and b) he is Black.

Let's see:  Congressional Black Caucus.  Congressional Black Caucus.  Mr. West will be in congress and he will be Black.  Does that get him an invite?

The last Black Republican who tried joining the CBC was Rep. Gary Franks of Connecticut.  It's all-Democratic membership grudgingly let him in.  But they despised him, treated him like an outcast and denied him access to meetings and other events.

Another Black Republican house member - a very important one -J. C. Watts of Oklahoma, declined to join.  His reason: 

 "...they said that I had sold out and Uncle Tom. And I said well, they deserve to have that view. But I have my thoughts. And I think they're race-hustling poverty pimps."

But now we have two newly elected Black Republican house members:  Alan West, and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) who, so far as I know, has not commented on his interest in joining or not joining the CBC.  What will happen when West, and possibly Scott, try to join?  How will they be treated if they are allowed to join?

Well, since they are Black it is at least a possibility that they will become members of the CBC.  Presumably, they will be considered for membership.  By contrast, White congresspeople are not considered at all.

In this regard, it might surprise you to know that the CBC's bylaws do not explicitly deny White people entry into the organization.  But don't be fooled;  that is a dodge, meant to create the false illusion that the CBC is not the racist organization it, in fact, is. 

Illustratively, the PLO's bylaws probably don't specifically exclude Jews.  But don't expect a synagogue to be built at PLO headquarters on behalf of its Jewish members (point of order - there is a mosque at Israel's knesset for its more than a dozen Muslim members).

Over the years, several Whites have tried to join the CBC and - get ready for a big surprise - none have been accepted.  The most recent was Steve Cohen, who represents a mostly Black district in Memphis, Tennessee and votes in virtual lockstep with most CBC members.  Here, from Wikipedia, is how he made out:

Freshman Representative Steve Cohen, D-Tn., who is white, pledged to apply for membership during his election campaign to represent his constituents, who were 60% black. Hearn further reported that although the bylaws of the caucus do not make race a prerequisite for membership, former and current members of the Caucus agreed that the group should remain "exclusively black." Rep. William Lacy Clay, Jr., D-Mo., the son of Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr., D-Mo., a co-founder of the caucus, is quoted as saying, "Mr. Cohen asked for admission, and he got his answer. He's white and the Caucus is black. It's time to move on. We have racial policies to pursue and we are pursuing them, as Mr. Cohen has learned. It's an unwritten rule. It's understood." In response to the decision, Rep. Cohen stated, "It's their caucus and they do things their way. You don't force your way in." Clay issued an official statement from his office:

"Quite simply, Rep. Cohen will have to accept what the rest of the country will have to accept there has been an unofficial Congressional White Caucus for over 200 years, and now it's our turn to say who can join 'the club.' He does not, and cannot, meet the membership criteria, unless he can change his skin color. Primarily, we are concerned with the needs and concerns of the black population, and we will not allow white America to infringe on those objectives."

Translation:  Take a hike, White Boy.  This is for Black people, not Whites.  You're White so you don't qualify. 

Still impressed by their bylaws?

I understand the reason that Alan West will seek membership in the Black Congressional Caucus.  But, based on what he said, I sort of assume he expects to be turned down, and is spoiling for a very public fight over the reasons for his rejection. 

If so, I'm all for it.  That fight needs to take place.


Ken Berwitz

Alex Weprin, of, is not very impressed with Rachel Maddow's defense of keith olbermann (which consisted almost entirely of attacking Fox News).  This excerpt from Mr. Weprin's latest blog, gives you a pretty good idea of why:

MSNBC host Rachel Maddows defense of her colleague Keith Olbermann Friday did not strike all viewers as being totally fair, especially with her focus on Fox News Channel. FNCs policies are clear: the opinion hosts may donate to candidates, as long as they disclose it, while the journalists may not.

Sure enough, The Wrap reports that no FNC journalists have donated to political campaigns, only opinion hosts like Sean Hannity have.

For that reason, her defense of Olbermann struck some as a bit hollow. Among those was Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, who wrote this about Maddows special comment:

And shes so upset shes going to demand his immediate reinstatement. But what is she going to do if he is not reinstated? Nothing, because that would involve paying a price, however small, for her convictions. And if she walked off in protest, who would publish her self-absorbed, snarky poems?

Poor MSNBC President Phil Griffin, having to play headmaster to this crew of emotional 15-year-olds.

Hey, here's an idea:  if the rest of MSNBC's prime time lineup - Mr. Schultz, Mr. Matthews and Mr. O'Donnell - shares Ms. Maddow's beliefs, why don't they all resign in protest unless and until olbermann is reinstated?  That would send quite a chill up the spines of the network's small, but dedicated, regular viewership.

I'm sure keith would do the same for any of them.......

What a zoo.


Ken Berwitz

Does President Obama understand the meaning of last Tuesday's election? 

Read these excerpts from Friday's Washington Times editorial, and decide for yourself:

President Obama continues to live in a state of denial regarding the message of the midterm elections. He stubbornly clings to the belief that his policies had nothing to do with the historic "shellacking" the voters gave his party and instead blames the red tide on his lack of communications skills. What a change from the 2008 campaign, when Mr. Obama was being heralded as the great orator of the 21st century. Apparently, the 2010 election was lost because Mr. Obama didn't have enough teleprompters.


"I think that over the course of two years, we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn't just legislation," Mr. Obama told Steve Kroft in a "60 Minutes" interview. "That it's a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone." The president is only now realizing that it's not a textbook example of effective executive leadership to ram through unpopular legislation while mocking those who try to point out the negative consequences of his ill-advised actions. He did set a tone, but it was one of arrogance, condescension and recklessness.


This is quite an awakening for the most polarizing president in recent history, but he still doesn't get it. Exit polling showed that voters had genuine objections to his legislative and policy agenda. The federal takeover of health care, unprecedented accumulation of debt, failed economic policies and massive expansion of government all weighed on voters' minds. Those messages were coming through loud and clear.


The president has realized belatedly that there's a difference between reading words from a teleprompter and actually governing the country. Put another way, the White House is admitting that for Barack Obama, the presidency is mostly on-the-job training.

By the way, the editorial mentions that "his party" took a shellacking last Tuesday.  In his press conference, Mr. Obama said that "I" took a shellacking.  First person.

So, does he get it yet?


Ken Berwitz

In the previous blog, I indicated that President Obama does not understand why Democrats got their collective tusheys handed to them last Tuesday.

But he's got nothing on Nancy Pelosi.

Ms. Pelosi wrote a letter to Democrats soliciting their support to make her house minority leader (quite a comedown - a little like Bill Clinton running for the Chappaqua, NY town council).  In it, she had this to say about the midterm elections - excerpted from Jonathan Allen's blog at

Pelosi says in the letter that her conversations have been focused on the policies that will assist American families. Her focus on message implies that Democrats lost at least 60 seats and the House because of a failure to communicate effectively about the agenda the party delivered rather than public disapproval of the policies. Its an argument that may resonate well with House Democrats who blame the White House for not putting enough energy into honing and promoting public relations campaigns in support of major legislative items.

Yeah, right.  What we have here is a failure to communicate.  Nothing to do with policy.  And the cow jumped over the moon.

That said, however, the idea that Ms. Pelosi's argument may resonate well with a segment of house Democrats, does hold some water. 

Tuesday's election has materially changed the Democratic contingent in congress.  While the hardest-line segment from the safest districts remains virtually intact, the "blue dog" segment - i.e. from contested districts where incumbents had to take both points of view into account - took a major hit.

The result?  A significantly smaller and significantly more left-wing Democratic contingent; one that will be more amenable to Nancy Pelosi's "ascent" (descent probably is more like it) to house minority leader.

The problem for Democrats, however, is that her "victory", if she gets it, is based on an illusion. 

Voters removed over 60 house Democrats (and a half-dozen senators) because they consider the Obama administration's two most important legislative initiatives - the so-called "stimulus package" and ObamaCare - to be failures.  All the slick marketing in the world will not magically drop unemployment below 8%, as President Obama promised, or retrieve the trillion dollars in debt that it has rung up while unemployment ran above 10% and then settled in the mid-9's.

In this world, some people are visionaries.  And some are delusionaries.  Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi appear to be members in good standing of the latter group.

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