Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Ken Berwitz

Since I've already written a blog drawn from Chris Matthews' "Hardball" show, let's do one more. 

Here is Chris Matthews' "question" (propaganda is more like it) attacking Republican critics of President Obama's action in Libya, and then editor Joan Walsh's incoherent, incomprehensible response:

MATTHEWS:  Cant they hear themselves in the echo chamber of B.S. they live in that the minute the guy did the opposite of what he said he did, he should have done, they would have attacked that. Its just automatic criticism. Your thoughts, Joan?

WALSH:  "Well, its so shallow, too. You know? And that is what youre saying, Chris. It doesnt matter. If something different happened, they would have a different principle. So theyre not, theyre not applying any kind of coherent principle of foreign policy or of domestic policy. Theyre just looking for opportunities to cheap shot the President. The people who were criticizing Bush had a coherent, had coherent reasons to criticize him. It wasnt like that. There was coherence to the point of view, where as here, I think youre exactly right. They would just be trashing him whatever he did, and it feels that way. It feels cheap, it feels shallow."

The translation - I think - is that Matthews accuses Republicans of looking for something to criticize Mr. Obama for no matter what he does (which, of course, is true of the opposition regardless of which party is in power), Walsh agrees, and then assures viewers that it was ok to do this against Bush, but not Obama, because the reasons to attack Bush were "coherent".  Or something.

Evidently, neither Mr. Matthews nor Ms. Walsh can find any reason to criticize President Obama for unilaterally bombing Libya - without any objective, or any intention of holding ground that might be won (without ground troops it would be impossible to do so), or any intention of removing qaddafi from power.  The only thing we have been told is that bombing will continue for less than a week more (to what end nobody knows) and that the USA does not want to lead the effort (so we will intentionally make ourselves subserviant to whomever leads it instead).

THAT'S coherent?????????????????????????????

No need to remind you that Hardball is on MSNBC.  The comments by Matthews and Walsh pretty much leave no doubt.

WisOldMan Perhaps this explains Matthews actually drawing a smaller audience than the fellow that replaced Keith Olberman. There just aren't enough pro-goofball news junkies around, to help this guy be relevant. (03/23/11)


Ken Berwitz

ObamaCare was signed into law a year ago.  (Let's forget for a moment that its current status is that the legislation was ruled unconstitutional:  heck, if President Obama can ignore it, so can we, right?)

Here, according to the following excerpts from CNN, is how public opinion stood then and how it stands now:

 (CNN) One year after President Barack Obama signed the health care reform bill into law, a new national poll indicates that attitudes toward the plan have not budged.


According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday, on the one year anniversary of the signing of the law, a majority continue to oppose the measure, but some of the opposition is from Americans who think the law is not liberal enough.

Thirty-seven percent of Americans support the measure, with 59 percent opposed. That's basically unchanged from last March, when 39 percent supported the law and 59 percent opposed the measure.


"It's worth remembering that opposition to the bill came from both the left and the right last year, and that has not changed either," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 2010, about a quarter of the health care bill's opponents disliked the bill because it was not liberal enough - the same as today. That works out to 13 percent of all Americans who oppose the bill because it did not go far enough. Forty-three percent oppose it because it was too liberal."

Two other polls released in the past week, by Gallup and Kaiser Family Foundation, also indicate that Americans are divided over the health care law.

If these data are correct, they tell us that, for a year the public has looked at ObamaCare, kicked its tires, checked under the hood, and......they feel exactly as they did the year before.  They don't want it. 

Popularity-wise, this legislation is in quicksand.

Which means that - again, if these data are accurate - Republicans should be rooting for the Obama administration and every Democrat congressperson to be pushing for ObamaCare every day, right through to November, 2012.

One other thing:  I love that last paragraph, don't you?  37% in favor, 59% against, and "Americans are divided over the health care law". 

Who does the data analysis over at CNN?  The ghost of Tip O'Neill?


Ken Berwitz

From MSNBC (more details to follow, of course):

JERUSALEM  A bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop Wednesday in central Jerusalem, wounding at least 25 people in what appeared to be the first militant attack in the city in several years.


The blast could be heard throughout Jerusalem and blew out the windows of two crowded buses. There was no claim of responsibility, but Israeli police blamed Palestinian militants, calling the bombing a "terrorist" attack.

Yitzhak Aharonovich, Israel's minister of public security, said militants planted a 2-pound device in a bag on the sidewalk.


Israel's national rescue service said 25 people were wounded, including 15 seriously and several critically. Rescuers were seen removing bloodied people from the area on stretchers. No deaths were reported.

That, in the eyes of the "newspeople" at MSNBC is a "militant attack".  Not a terrorist attack.

An explosive detonated in an area populated with innocent civilians, dozens of casualties among random people who were doing nothing other than riding on busses, and MSNBC can't find a way to characterize it as terrorism.  Every reference of theirs is to "militants".

How can you believe anything these people say?

WisOldMan When the president speaks of the attack...if he speaks of it, he'll also mention settlements in E. Jerusalem, and that "rushing to judgment" could lead to angering Muslims. (03/23/11)

Zeke .... ..... Seems relaxing security measures (at West Bank border crossings, patrolling in Arab areas) allows murdering terrorists to slip into non-Arab areas and plant bombs. .... ..... Israel reduced security because of 'international pressure'. .... .... and this is the result. .... .... This is not isolated -- there have been a series of individual attacks recently, as well as the massive bombardment from Gaza (over 50 mortars & rockets shot into Israel). .... .... Hamas and Hezbulloh have acquired very sophisticated rockets -- the next round of war will be much more deadly. ...... ..... (03/23/11)


Ken Berwitz

Because Elizabeth Taylor died today, Dorothy Young's passing will get virtually no press.  But that's not fair.

So here, excerpted from an article at ABC News, is her remarkable claim to fame:

Dorothy Young, the last surviving stage assistant of illusionist Harry Houdini and an accomplished dancer, has died. She was 103.

Young's death was announced Wednesday by Drew University, where she was a prominent donor and patron of the arts. Spokesman Dave Muha said she died Sunday at her home in a Tinton Falls, N.J., retirement community.

Young joined Houdini's company as a 17-year-old after attending an open casting call during a family trip to New York. She initially sat in the back because she was too shy to step forward, but Houdini and his manager soon noticed her and asked her to dance the Charleston. They signed her to a contract, and she eventually persuaded her parents to let her join the stage show.

Who would have believed it possible that someone who worked on stage with Harry Houdini could still be alive?  But there it is, in black and white. 

If you click the link, you'll find that Ms. Young went on to have a very nice career in her own right, eventually becoming a philanthropist and patron of the arts.

People like this are always in too-short supply.  I'm sure you join me in being sorry to see her go.

May Dorothy (forever) Young rest in peace.


Ken Berwitz

There's a holdup in the Bronx, Brooklyn's broken out in fights,

There's a traffic jam in Harlem that's backed up to Jackson Heights,

There's a scout troop short a child,

Khrushchev's due at Idlewild,

Car 54, where are yoooooooouuuuuu?

That is the classic theme song from a hit TV show of the early 1960's:  "Car 54, Where Are You?", starring Joe. E. Ross and Fred Gwynn.

It was supposed to be funny - and it was, too.

But this is 2011, and we have a real-life version of this song at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue starring Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; one that is not funny at all.

Excerpted from The New York Post's editorial:

Yesterday was just another day in the rapidly unraveling Middle East.


* Turkish news media reported that a Syria-bound Iranian cargo plane suspected of carrying nuclear material was forced to land in Turkey on Saturday for inspection.


The weapons may have been intended for use in Syria -- where five days of anti-government protests have led to a half-dozen deaths in a crackdown by security forces.


Or, more likely, they may have been destined for Hamas-ruled Gaza, where renewed rocket fire against Israel began over the weekend.


* In Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh -- a key US ally in the war on terror -- announced his willingness to call elections and step down in January after 32 years in power, following mounting public protests and growing defections of key military and political leaders.


* In Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, backed by Saudi troops, ordered his armed forces to continue a bloody crackdown on anti-government Shiite protesters, sweeping them from the capital's financial district and elsewhere.


* And in Libya, Moammar Khadafy's troops remained undeterred by coalition airstrikes, continuing to terrorize civilians in Tripoli 


Meanwhile, where is the president?


What signs are there that he and his team have anything remotely resembling a thought-out, coherent policy for dealing with the crises?


Answer: none.


On Libya, the US, France and Britain agreed to hand off primary responsibility for the air campaign to NATO -- although Turkey and the Arab League continue to resist that.


And members of Congress across the political spectrum wondered whether Obama ever intends to fill them in.


Maybe when he returns from south of the border, sometime today?


It's the least he can do.

Maybe now that his essentially useless jaunt to South America (on the taxpayer's bill, of course) is over, Mr. Obama can come back to the White House and start trying to make some kind of sense about USA policy and objectives in the middle east. 

Or - as I fear - is that too much to ask of a Chicago machine politician, with no qualifications for the Presidency, who seems more interested in listening to the academics, political lifers and assorted other navel-gazing types he has surrounded himself with than the people with real world experience who just might have a bit more valuable input?

Zeke .... .... Even BJ Clinton remained in the White House, when bombing Yugoslavia. .... and BJ did not go roaming around, trying to find someone to hand the Tar-Baby to. .... .... ..... Maybe we'd be better off if BO stayed with the Mayan ruins .... he can't do much damage there. .... .... Why are we in Lybia? .... What are our objectives ? .... .... How does this advance US strategic interests? .... .... What are our specific goals, and will we leave, when they are accomplished? What forces are needed? ... .... WHO will be the "leader", when the US hands over leadership "in a few days". .... ... WHO are the Rebels? .... WHAT chance is there for "democracy" in this tribal culture ? .... .... What are the democratic institutions in Libya? (after 4 decades of autocratic rule) ..... .... Maybe we should invade third world countries ALPHABETICALLY. ... Start with Azerbaijan .... and finish with Yemen, Zimbabwe. .... .... Note that Hillary's criticism is what Q'addafi MIGHT do ... not what he has already done to the population. .... ..... (03/23/11)


Ken Berwitz

If Joe Biden was a man of his word, or anything remotely near it, he would aggressively be moving to impeach President Obama right now.

And if you think that is political BS on my part, I suggest you watch the 1:27 clip of of then-Senator Biden saying exactly, precisely that - completely in context, on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" show.  The date?  Tuesday, December 4, 2007 -- just prior to the 2008 presidential primaries.

Click on the link I've provided, and you will hear the following dialogue (bold print is mine):

CHRIS MATTHEWS:  I want to ask you a question about something youve been involved with.  You said that if the President of the United States had launched an attack on Iran without congressional approval, that would have been an impeachable offense.  You want to review that comment you made.  Well, how do you stand on that now?  Do you think


JOE BIDEN:  Absolutely.  Yes I do.  Well I want to stand by that comment I made.  The reason I made the comment was as a warning.  The reason I made, I dont say those things lightly, Chris, youve known me for a long time.  I was chairman of the judiciary committee for 17 years, or its ranking member.   I teach separation of powers ofconstitutional law.  This is something I know.  So I got together, and brought a group of constitutional scholars together, to write a piece that Im going to deliver to the whole United States Senate, pointing out the President has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war against a country of 70 million people unless we are attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked.  And if he does, if he does, I would move to impeach him.  The house obviously has to do that, but I would lead an effort to impeach him...

The clip ends by showing the following statement, made by then-Senator and Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, just two weeks later on December 20, 2007 - less than a year before he was elected President:

The President does not have power, under the constitution, to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

Well, President Obama unilaterally bombed Libya - a country that is not presently attacking us, nor is there any proof that it is about to do so.

Joe?  I'm waiting. 

And if Joe Biden doesn't have the integrity to make good on that unequivocal pledge, how about you, Mr. President?  Turn yourself in for impeachment, based on your own statement.

Gee, I guess it's a lot easier to shoot off your mouth when you run for President than it is to be one.  Wouldn't you say?


Zeke ... ... The impeachment statement only applies to Republicans. .... .... Democrats get a free pass. ....... .... (03/23/11)


Ken Berwitz

Ken Hoagland, at, has written a terrific blog detailing the ObamaCare lies that we know about so far (with this many, why would anyone assume there aren't more?).

Here is a taste of his piece, which I urge you to read in its entirety by clicking here:

Its now entirely clear why Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass Obamacare to know what it contained. This week marks the laws one-year anniversary, and what weve learned is not good. If this had happened in the private sector, someone would be facing charges for false advertising.


Almost all the promises so often repeated by President Obama and his supporters are proving false. Despite the presidents apparent exasperation with us for not accepting his repeated assurances, for example, most of us will probably not be keeping the health insurance coverage that we like. Recent studies predict that 80% of small businesses, among others, will have to drop their current coverage.


We also know now that our annual federal deficits and the destructively growing national debt will be going up rather dramatically as a result of Obamacare, despite repeated promises delivered with a straight face to the contrary.


We know that the very first promise that the law would rein in escalating health care costs was abandoned by House and Senate Democrats to secure passage. In truth, American families will pay $2,100 more a year for family coverage by 2016 than they would have without Obamacare.


We know that the SEIU and other unions that spent tens of millions of dollars to see the president elected and that routinely disparaged opponents of this government takeover of health care have sought and been granted waivers because they, too, cant afford the program.


Speaking of favored treatment, we now know that the House and Senate committee staffers who wrote the law exempted themselves from the act. While they were at it, they exempted the president, the vice president, their families and cabinet officers. The speaker and Senate majority leader were also exempted.


We know now that the appropriations process was ignored when more than $100 billion was hidden in the authorization of the act.


We know that the cost of the new law will be far higher than was promised because, in fact, revenues were double-counted and because a half-trillion-dollar cut to Medicare wont really take place unless legislators are willing to see few if any doctors ever again treat the elderly. .

And so on....and on and on and on.

How can anyone believe a thing this administration and its congressional leadership say? 

We can only wonder how much of an effect these lies had on the clock-cleaning Democrats sustained in November. 

Frankly, they better hope the effect was huge.  Because if this is how voters reacted before realizing what a fraud ObamaCare is, it could make last year's mid-term elections look good by comparison.


Ken Berwitz

Elizabeth Taylor, a great actress (two academy awards), oft-married (8 marriages to 7 husbands -- Richard Burton twice) and amazingly beautiful woman in her youth, died of heart failure today at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles.  She was 79 years old.

At other times I would write more about such a huge entertainment icon.  But she has not been in the public eye for many years and, frankly, world events are far more important today than the death of a great former actress.

This is nothing against Ms. Taylor, it is just an issue of timing. 

May she rest in peace.


Ken Berwitz

You know those billboards with a smiling George Bush and the words "Miss me yet?".  After this unbelievably inept, harebrained fiasco in Libya you may be seeing a ton more of them.

Here, compiled by, is a synopsis of stories detailing just how quickly this has fallen to pieces:

Germans pull forces out of NATO; Libyan coalition falls apart...
Allies in disarray...
DER SPIEGEL: Coalition of the Unwilling...
OBAMA: No ground troops, no matter what happens...
French PM: 'We are not at war'...
Costs, mission unclear...
Also backing the rebels -- al Qaeda...

Libya has become so much of a mess that even Matt Lauer of the Today show found himself agreeing with Newt Gingrich's assessment of it - which I would have thought only slightly more likely than a tropical heat wave in the Antarctic, a blizzard in Borneo or the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series (on second thought, scratch that last one - nothing is more improbable than the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series).

Want to see it for yourself?  Then use the link I've provided, and note that, from about 3:00 to the end at 4:44, Gingrich lays out chapter and verse of what is wrong with the Obama Administration's actions and what should be done, with Matt Lauer not having one word of dispute with him.

If that doesn't tell you how bad this is, nothing will.

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