May 19, 2011

A Question for American Jews and Other Supporters of Israel (UPDATE: An AP Mistake? If So, AP Doubles Down)

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:54 pm

American Jews supported Obama 79-21 in 2008. Certain Gentiles, including people like Peggy Noonan, voted for Obama because … well … he was all bright and shiny … and gave nice speeches … and gosh, it would be neat to have an African-American guy (who really isn’t African-American) in the White House.

Question: So, how’s that hope and change workin’ out for ya?

From the AP:

Obama says Palestine must be based in 1967 borders

President Barack Obama is endorsing the Palestinians’ demand for their future state to be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war …

… Until Thursday, the U.S. position had been that the Palestinian goal of a state based on the 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps, should be reconciled with Israel’s desire for a secure Jewish state through negotiations.

Well, I guess Israel’s security isn’t all that important any more.

Nobody who really followed the news in 2007 and 2008 should be surprised (but oh, they will be). Here’s just one item (HT Atlas Shrugs):

Palestinian minister praises Obama

A senior Palestinian minister said yesterday that he was pinning his hopes on US presidential candidate Barack Obama, believing he would seal an elusive deal on creating a Palestinian state.

… Obama has been working to reassure Jewish Americans that he is a friend of Israel’s.

In May, Obama’s Republican opponent John McCain said that the hardline Palestinian movement Hamas would welcome an Obama presidency, charges the Democratic candidate denied as “offensive.”

Oh, and here’s a BizzyBlog post in June of 2008 that lefties didn’t like (too bad, so sad), which wrapped with the observation that Barack Obama and his associates had (and more than likely still have) “terror-supporting and/or terror-sympathetic relationships you can believe in.” That patently obvious observation has been further vindicated.

By advocating a one-sided surrender of land without simultaneously demanding as a precondition that Palestinians unconditionally renounce terrorism (which they’ll never do) and drop their insistence that “Palestinians” have a unilateral right to return to their homes as they were in 1948 (which, again, they’ll never do), Obama has just given aid and comfort to those in the Arab world who want to see the destruction of Israel.

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UPDATE: Captain Ed at Hot Air is claiming that AP got it wrong. Here’s the full report (for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), which as far as I can tell is the first official release –

APonObamaAndIsrael1967Borders051911at1150am

Well Ed, AP is doubling down, as of 2:01 p.m. as written by Ben Feller:

Trying to advance debate in the explosive Middle East, President Barack Obama on Thursday endorsed a key Palestinian demand for the borders of its future state and prodded Israel to accept that it can never have a truly peaceful nation that is based on “permanent occupation.”

Obama’s urging that a Palestinian state be based on 1967 borders – those that existed before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza – was a significant shift in U.S. policy and seemed certain to anger Israel.

The guess here is that AP and Feller wouldn’t be making the “1967″ assertion without confirming it with others on background.

This looks like it might head towards FUBAR-Land, as was the case with the continual story changes concerning the killing of Osama bin Laden. The White House will probably try to backtrack to some extent, but my take is that Obama has told Arab opponents of Israel’s existence what they wanted to hear.

UPDATE 2, 4:45 p.m.: Via AP’s Josef Federman, as of 3:30 p.m. –

Israeli leader reacting to Obama speech: West Bank pullout would leave Israel indefensible

Reacting to Obama’s speech, Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a full withdrawal from the West Bank, saying the 1967 lines were “indefensible” and would leave major Jewish settlements outside Israel. Netanyahu rejects any pullout from east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu heads to the White House on Friday and said he would seek clarifications.

Behind the rhetoric, though, was the possibility of finding common ground. Obama said he would support agreed-upon territorial swaps between the Israel and the Palestinians, leaving the door open for Israel to retain major West Bank settlements, where the vast majority of its nearly 300,000 Jewish settlers live.

Netanyahu said he would urge Obama to endorse a 2004 American commitment, made by then President George W. Bush, to Israel. In a letter at the time, Bush said a full withdrawal to the 1967 lines was “unrealistic” and a future peace agreement would have to recognize “new realities on the ground.”

So it is a policy change. Ed at Hot Air has acknowledged that “this does represent a significant change, at least in public commitments.” That’s what I like about so many righty bloggers; they fight like heck when they know they’re right, but they’ll acknowledge errors when they occur. This characteristic is virtually absent in leftyland.

UPDATE 3, 10:50 p.m.: Alan Deshowitz

The US President was wrong to insist that Israel give up its card of occupying most of the West Bank without demanding that the Palestinians give up theirs, the so called right of return.

Refusing to give up the “right of return” is the equivalent of saying “We want it all; we want our ‘Palestinian’ state, and we want to overrun Israel with million of ‘returning’ refugees.” Horse manure.

Boston Who? Establishment Press ‘Colleagues’ Virtually Ignore WH Shutout of Boston Herald

Imagine if the Bush 43 administration had decided to exclude a newspaper’s reporters from full access to presidential events–regardless of the ostensible reason. Does anyone believe that the New York Times or Associated Press would have ignored the story?

Well, in a thoroughly predictable but nonetheless sad development, that is what has happened since the Boston Herald’s Hillary Chabot reported that “The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news ‘fairly.’” Lachlan Markay relayed Chabot’s item at NewsBusters yesterday, and also chronicled several previous examples of White House mistreatment, maltreatment, and abuse of disfavored media members.

A search of the Associated Press’s main site late this morning on “Boston Herald” (without quotes) returned nothing relevant, as seen here:

APsearchOnBostonHeraldAt1124am051911

An advanced search at the New York Times also returned nothing relevant:

NYTsearchOnBostonHeraldAt1131am051911

At the Washington Post, the coverage consists of the following in Chris Cilliizza’s “The Fix” Blog, in its entirety: “The White House has shut out the Boston Herald from a presidential event today.” Wow. Don’t get carpal tunnel over this, Chris.

The LA Times, to its credit, had an item yesterday by Kim Geiger at its Politics Now blog. To its discredit, the story’s headline (“White House quarrels with Boston newspaper over Romney op-ed”) failed to communicate the situation’s true nature, while Geiger aired a mindless White House argument over what was supposedly “on the record”:

More than two months after the Boston Herald devoted its front page to promoting an opinion piece by Republican Mitt Romney, the White House press office denied the Herald full access to President Obama’s activities in Boston on Wednesday, sparking an unusual release of email banter that illustrated the sometimes adversarial relationship between the White House and the media.

The Herald published portions of what the White House says was an off-the-record email exchange, as part of a scathing report that suggested the White House was retaliating against the paper.

According to the Herald, White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in an email that, in determining which local reporters to include in the press pool, he considers “the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly…”

Citing the March 8 op-ed, which ran as President Obama was visiting the area, Lehrich said: “My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting U.S. President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the president’s visits.”

Obama is in Boston for two Democratic National Committee fundraisers.

According to this link, one has to be an LA Times subscriber to view its print edition online. It would be interesting to learn whether or not Geiger’s work made it into print. I’m betting against it.

Leave it to Investors Business Daily to tell the full truth, in an editorial (internal link to Dan Gainor’s Fox News column on Soros money in the media added by me):

What the White House has done by telling the Boston Herald it can no longer send a pool reporter to cover local campaign events on behalf of the media is another baby step toward state control of the media, using the carrot of access against the stick of exile.

… As it stands, the Boston Herald is on its own, with its media colleagues in other organizations largely silent as a vindictive White House press office gets away with determining what’s “fair.”

It’s not as if the Herald was making up stories — as the New York Times or Washington Post have been caught doing. Its “crime” to the White House was an unrelated editorial decision to run former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s opinion piece on “the Obama misery index” on its front page two months ago.

Seems the newly self-appointed goons of “fairness” never noticed that what the former governor thinks is of particular interest to Massachusetts readers.

Nor did it notice that the Boston Herald has been unusually hard on Romney in both its news and editorial coverage in the past.

… Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci was threatened with the same booting the Herald got because of White House displeasure at her filming of a bunch of looney left protestors improbably criticizing Obama.

… Meanwhile, an Orlando Sentinel pool reporter was stuffed into a closet and held against his will on the Joe Biden campaign trail, while the Pleasanton (Calif.) Weekly was warned by the White House its coverage of first lady Michelle Obama was insufficiently flattering.

The media silence over these repeated violations of press freedom is baffling. Can the fact that 30 mainstream media outlets have been co-opted by $48 million in spending by George Soros, a top campaign ally of President Obama, have something to do with this?

Or is the urge to fawn over Obama more important than covering the news without fear or favor?

I’d say it’s both.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (051911, Morning): Strolling Through the Progressive Paradise

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 10:41 am

Reports from the Progressive Paradise, Item 1:

Senator questions benefits to ‘adult baby’
Coburn sees possible fraud

A key senator has asked the Social Security Administration to investigate how people who live their lives role-playing as “adult babies” are able to get taxpayer-funded disability payments — after one of them was featured on a recent reality TV episode wearing diapers, feeding from a bottle and using an adult-sized crib he built.

Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and the Senate’s top waste-watcher, asked the agency’s inspector general to look into 30-year-old Stanley Thornton Jr. and his roommate, Sandra Dias, who acts as his “mother,” saying it’s not clear why they are collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits instead of working.

… In an email response to The Washington Times, Mr. Thornton threatened to kill himself if his Social Security payments are taken away.

… In an extensive biography on his web page, Mr. Thornton says he worked as a security guard for a year and a half but said trauma stemming from childhood abuse, combined with other mental problems, made it impossible for him to hold the job, and he has been receiving SSI payments for most of the last 10 years.

But, according to progressives, there’s absolutely no way Washington can make meaningful spending cuts or reform the unsustainable entitlement state without unconscionably harming people.

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Reports from the Progressive Paradise, Item 2:

Michigan man still on food stamps despite winning $2M

A man who won $2 million on a Michigan lottery show has told a TV station that he still uses food stamps.

Leroy Fick of Bay County admitted he still swipes the electronic card at stores, nearly a year after winning a jackpot on “Make Me Rich!” He told WNEM-TV in Saginaw that more than half the prize went to taxes.

Fick says the Department of Human Services told him he could continue to use the card, which is paid with tax dollars. He told WNEM: “If you’re going to … try to make me feel bad, you aren’t going to do it.”

Quite the sense of entitlement, eh?

According to USA Today, “Department of Human Services officials confirmed that they had told Leroy Fick, 59, that he could continue to receive aid because he took his Make Me Rich earnings in a lump sum and still met the income threshold for food assistance.”

This story proves, as if any proof was really needed, that the example Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion cited in Warren County, Ohio (his original post; my related column) is not isolated. As I noted at the time, incidents such as these continue to demonstrate that the original intention of Food Stamps has been perverted in “a conscious expansion of the program to people who have the resources to buy their own food.”

But, according to progressives, there’s absolutely no way Washington can make meaningful spending cuts or reform the unsustainable entitlement state without unconscionably harming people.

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Reports from the Progressive Paradise, Item 3:

You idiot! Shamed politician John Edwards rages at mistress Rielle Hunter for not destroying sex tape

Furious John Edwards has allegedly vented his anger at mistress Rielle Hunter over the steamy sex video they made during his White House run.

In an amazing outburst, the shamed politician reportedly exploded after a judge ruled portions of his testimony under oath would be made public.

… According to the Wall Street Journal (former Edwards aide Mr. (Andrew) Young has described the tape as like “watching a traffic pile-up occur in slow motion – repelling but also transfixing.”

Edwards did what he did because the fawning leftist press made him think he was untouchable. The fawning leftist press wouldn’t follow up on the National Enquirer’s dead-on accurate reporting in late 2007 because he adhered to the complete menus of correct progressive political positions, especially protecting and expanding the entitlement state. John Edwards, if he had caught a few other breaks, could have been the Democrats’ freaking nominee for President.

The media elites in “progressive paradises” around the world treat their rulers with overindulgence and look away when hints of scandal appear. That ultimately leads to situations like the next item.

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Reports from the Progressive Paradise, Item 4: By now, most readers probably know of the arrest of International Monetary Fund head and French Socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has resigned from the IMF.

While the reporting in the U.S. has tended to play the story straight, FrontPageMag.com tells us that the French press has gone on the offensive — in defense of Strauss-Kahn:

… leftists defending one of their own have been shameless, mixing equal parts of attacking the alleged victim with an odious denial of Strauss-Kahn’s long track record of “seduction.”

The onslaught has been relentless. French newspaper Le Monde and the French version of Slate Magazine have printed the woman’s name, with Le Monde adding information about the size of her breasts and the shape of her behind. A photo of the alleged victim has been revealed on Twitter, and a Facebook profile of her was linked to blogs and other social media sites before it was deleted. Bernard Henri-Lévy, who once called it “shameful to throw a 76-year-old man into prison for unlawful sex committed 32 years ago,” in reference to sexual predator Roman Polanski, is using one of the left’s favorite expressions when it comes to defending Strauss-Kahn. Henri-Lévy contends that Strauss-Kahn, more familiarly known as DSK, is a victim of sexual “McCarthyists” and “nothing in the world can justify a man being thus thrown to the dogs” which one would assume is a reference to the American justice system.

Leftist politicians were quick to follow suit. Socialist Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Gilles Savary, while admitting that “[E]veryone knows it’s true to say that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a hedonist,” declared that the real problem is American culture “where everything is shaped by unforgiving Protestantism[.]” Socialist Party Member of Parliament (MP) Jean-Marie Le Guen contended, “[W]hat they are asking us to believe…it’s just hallucinations. I’m a doctor and I know this can happen,” adding that pictures of DSK in handcuffs are “hyper violent.” Socialist politician and Strauss-Kahn loyalist Manuel Valls described the handcuffing as “an unbearable cruelty…Political life in France, will now be remembered as being before and after this moment.”

Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) leader Jean-Francois Cope was worried about France’s international image. …

Prospect Magazine columnist Tim King explains the genesis of the French media’s “remarkable solidarity with a man who has been accused of attempted rape,” which has resulted in 57 per cent of French voters believing that Strauss-Kahn was the victim of a setup.

Like progressive John Edwards, Socialist Strauss-Kahn clearly thought he was untouchable, thanks to the just-described “solidarity” of his country’s press with the man and his supposed causes, especially his party’s promotion of the seemingly bottomless but in reality unsustainable entitlement state. In advanced stages of socialism, the “progressive” press goes into attack mode against those who dare question their leaders, no matter how corrupt, venal, or criminal.

The press defense and subsequent lionization of ARIFPOTUS (that would be “Accused Rapist and Impeached Former President of the United States” for those of us who refuse to forget his full, sordid history) Bill Clinton is, sadly, an object domestic example.

Update: Here’s a Poliwood segment from Pajamas TV which covers the French media’s sympathetic treatment of Strauss-Kahn, accompanied by a warning that this is what happens when you have a monolithic government-media complex, and why we must avoid the Obama administration initiatives which clearly point in that direction:

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Reports from the Progressive Paradise, Item 5, via Investors Business Daily:

Why Won’t Media Stand Up To White House?

The Obama administration has picked another fight with a dissident newspaper, kicking the Boston Herald out of the press pool on an unprecedented claim that its coverage is unfair. Who died and elected them judge?

If the mainstream media had any gumption at all, they would vigorously protest the strange, new self-appointed arbiter of “fair” press coverage as an implicit threat to their own capacity to cover the news fairly.

The Herald is being hung out to dry with no establishment press defense because the establishment press agrees with and promotes the Obama White House’s agenda, particularly its grim determination to protect and expand the entitlement status quo. To them, that’s far more important than the freedom of the press it champions only when its sympathizers suffer the least little trifle.

Initial Unemployment Claims: ‘Only’ 409,000; Past 10 Weeks Tracked ALL Revised Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:57 am

Here’s the updated graphic (DOL report is here):

InitialUnempClaims051411

This week’s report is the best news in quite a while, especially when you consider that the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) number was only 358,000, down 40,000 from the previous week and down 57,000 from a year ago. Both the SA and NSA numbers need to drop more in the coming weeks, but it’s a start. That said, six weeks over a seasonally adjusted 400K after five weeks under 400K is nothing to brag about, and even the Associated Press has noted that the SA number needs to get consistently below 375K for consistent, meaningful job creation.

Note that each of the past 10 weeks has subsequently been revised upward.

More locally, Ohio, after a couple of weeks of getting noticed for an increasing number of layoffs (April  23, +1,700; April 30, +2,319) came in with a large reported decrease of 3,014 during the week of May 7 (note that the state detail is for the week before week addressed by the initial claims report). The increases were reported as due to layoffs in the automobile industry (hmm) and construction; the May 7 improvement was unexplained.

Positivity: Giffords has surgery to repair skull

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Houston:

May 18, 8:52 PM EDT

Doctors repaired Gabrielle Giffords’ skull on Wednesday, the latest milestone in her recovery from an assassination attempt and a procedure that experts say will improve her quality of life.

A gunman shot her in the head more than four months ago in Tucson, Ariz., and doctors had to remove a portion of her skull to relieve pressure on her brain.

On Wednesday, they put a plastic implant in place to fully cover her brain, according to a statement from TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital. The hospital planned a briefing on Thursday to give an update on her medical condition and discuss the next steps in her rehabilitation.

Giffords is “recovering well after her surgery today,” a hospital statement said.

Giffords’ astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, is orbiting Earth on space shuttle Endeavour and is getting updates on her condition, NASA said.

Doctors familiar with the procedure and not involved in her care said it was fairly routine, will significantly improve her quality of life and help her feel more normal.

“It’s a very significant milestone in the recovery,” said Dr. Robert Friedlander, chair of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The implant – or bone flap as doctors call it – will protect the brain and the skull, Friedlander said. It will allow Giffords to freely move about without her helmet, adorned with the Arizona state flag, for the first time since she began therapy in late January.

In addition, it makes therapy easier because the helmet can be uncomfortable and cumbersome, Friedlander said.

Dr. Reid Thompson, chairman of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said there is also an important psychological element to removing the helmet.

“They look in the mirror and they don’t see someone who’s been injured or shot. They look normal,” Thompson said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.