Saturday, 30 April 2011


Ken Berwitz

Hard though it may seem to imagine, the Obama administration has decided to go to war with the San Francisco Chronicle - one of his most reliably supportive newspapers (among a crowded field, admittedly) - and, more generally, with the overall White House pool reporter contingent.

To briefly summarize, the Chronicle's Carla Marinucci is part of the White House pool of reporters.  But, earlier this week, Ms. Marinucci enraged the administration by using her cell phone to take pictures of anti-Obama protesters outside the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, where the President was making a speech.

For this "offense", the White House threatened to banish Ms. Marinucci from the reporting pool.

Needless to say, the Chronicle strongly objected.  And it went public with the incident.

Now the administration is claiming it never made any such threat in the first place.  And the Chronicle is calling them liars.

Excerpted from a statement from the Chronicle's Phil Bronstein:

In a pants-on-fire moment, the White House press office today denied anyone there had issued threats to remove Carla Marinucci and possibly other Hearst reporters from the press pool covering the President in the Bay Area.

Chronicle editor Ward Bushee called the press office on its fib: 

Sadly, we expected the White House to respond in this manner based on our experiences yesterday. It is not a truthful response. It follows a day of off-the-record exchanges with key people in the White House communications office who told us they would remove our reporter, then threatened retaliation to Chronicle and Hearst reporters if we reported on the ban, and then recanted to say our reporter might not be removed after all.


The Chronicle's report is accurate.


If the White House has indeed decided not to ban our reporter, we would like an on-the-record notice that she will remain the San Francisco print pool reporter. 

I was on some of those calls and can confirm Ward's statement.


Messy ball now firmly in White House court.

Is the White House guilty of being thin-skinned, and lying about what really happened?  It sure looks that way. 

If this was meant to intimidate reporters into submission, it obviously was a miserable failure.

And for what?  Do these geniuses think that we don't know people are protesting President Obama?  Maybe someone over there should read his political approval numbers.

The Obama administration would be better served by leaving the pool reporters alone (why would you make enemies there), and trying harder to understand why those protesters were out there in the first place.

free` The government approved reporters are only supposed to show protest rallies against tea partiers or R's not the protected D's and liberal loonies. (04/30/11)

Zeke .... ..... Do ya think Obama wants Gaddafi to step down as President of Libya so Obama can hire him as Press Secretary. .... ..... Barry really needs someone who can get his message across. (04/30/11)


Ken Berwitz

In earlier blogs I referred to Donald Trump as Carl Paladino to his logical conclusion.

I would like to thank Mr. Trump for making my point so well in his speech to supporters in Las Vegas. 

Excerpted from a report at

At a rally of almost 1,000 Republican supporters in Las Vegas on Thursday night, the real estate mogul called the US leadership "weak, pathetic and incompetent."

He also used seven expletives in his well-received 40-minute speech, the Las Vegas Sun reported -- one of many media organizations to note his language.

Forgetting good taste and decorum for just a moment, why would Mr. Trump think that barfing out one f-bomb after another makes him sound like presidential material?  It doesn't.  It makes him sound like a classless, clueless loudmouth.  

Now add in the good taste and decorum.  What do you wind up with?  

I respect Donald Trump as an enormously successful businessman and a brilliant self-promoter.  Unfortunately, I would say the same about Phineas T. Barnum.  (And he, to my knowledge, never made profanity-laden speeches.)

I want Donald Trump to be President about as much as I want an advanced case of impetigo.  I certainly hope, and expect, that most Republicans feel the same way.

Zeke .... .... @free` .... Trump has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead the nation and forge a direction for the country's economic, political and social goals. Trump does not have the personal integrity to inspire the nation's citizenry. ...... Neither does the current President. ..... (04/30/11)

(Anon) Zeke, at least trump knows about going BK. ;) (05/10/11)

free` Oooops that last post was from me. :) (05/10/11)

free` I hope the R's run someone/anyone other than Trump. With that said, who would you vote for between Obama and Trump? (04/30/11)


Ken Berwitz

John Lott, writing for, has put up an excellent, fact-filled, thoroughly persuasive blog, which shows just how weak the current economic "recovery" is.  Mr. Lott calls it the "excuses economy".

Here are his first three paragraphs:

Call it the "excuses recovery." President Obama and his administration have been warning for the last week that the just announced first quarter GDP growth rate of 1.8 percent would be weak, and they have been quick to blame it on the recent spike prices in oil. The problem is that this whole recovery has been anemic, not just one or two slow quarters of economic growth.


Seven quarters into the Obama recovery, GDP growth has averaged an annual rate of only 2.8 percent. In contrast, since 1970, the first seven quarters of previous recoveries averaged 4.6 percent. The poor growth rate is especially surprising since the preceding recession was so severe, there should have been ample room for high growth as the unemployed returned to work. For example, the Reagan recovery followed a similarly high unemployment rate and saw the economy grow at an average annual growth rate of 7 percent (see graph here).


The slight decrease in unemployment currently at 8.8 percent -- has been touted as good news. Yet that slight drop has largely been the result of job-seekers giving up looking for work and leaving the labor force. On top of that, the new jobs that have opened up have primarily been temporary jobs, the number of permanent jobs has actually fallen.

There is more.  Much more.  Mr. Lott's piece is a true must-read.  But even if you stop right here, is it not clear that this is no recovery at all?

Economies work in cycles.  There are down times and there are up times.  The "growth" we have experienced during this administration is so weak that it might well have happened if Mr. Obama had done nothing at all. 

And, compared to the "stimulus package", which has put us trillions of dollars in debt, how I wish he and his Democrat-majority congress had done nothing at all.

My one dispute with Mr. Lott's analysis is his characterization of 8.8% unemployment as a "slight decrease".  Decrease from where?  The day the "stimulus package" was enacted, unemployment was 8.1%.  It quickly jumped over 10%, then sat in the mid-9's for over a year and is now 8.8%.

That is not a slight decrease.  That is a considerable increase over where it was in the first place. 

We can argue over why the economy was in bad shape when Barack Obama took office.  But it seems unarguable that Mr. Obama and his cohorts have taken that bad economy and made it a lot worse, while saddling our children and grandchildren with an impossible level of debt. 

In short, Mr. Obama is having about as much success with his economic policy as he is with his foreign policy. 

What a bungling mess this presidency is.

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