Friday, 31 August 2007

THE TODAY SHOW'S PRIORITIES.

Ken Berwitz

Point of order:  The Today show this morning led with their promise of live coverage of the memorial service for Princess Diana (who, I believe, remains deceased as she has been for the last 10 years). 

Their domestic lead was that there are increasing calls for Senator Larry Craig to resign, with the tag line "How much more humiliation can he take?" 

The Hillary Clinton campaign scandal?  Not a lead story.  I don't even know for sure if they so much as mentioned it. 

This being the case, I checked their website.  Not one mention of the Hillary Clinton campaign scandal.  Zero, zip, nada. 

And Hillary isn't the only one.  Democrats all over the country are suddenly and very publicly divesting themselves of massive amounts of money they got from Hsu. Illustratively:

-Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York, who could buy and sell Croesus, is unloading $62,000 from Hsu. 

-Al Franken - The comedian (maybe to you, not to me) who is running for the senate in Minnesota, and who had no problem raking in a ton of money from Air America that was taken from a New York Charity and was the cause of children and the elderly being deprived of vital services?  He is relinquishing an undetermined amount from Hsu 

-John Kerry, the 2004 presidential candidate of the Democratic party?  Him too.

-Ted Kennedy?  Him too

-Barbara Boxer?  Her too.

-Diane Feinstein?  Her too.

-And Barack Obama (yep, the OTHER frontrunner for the Democratic nomination) magically determined that $7,000 of Hsu's laundered $$$ was too much to keep.

That's right:  Literally a who's who of  major Democrats, including BOTH of their leading presidential contenders, their 2004 presidential nominee and highest profile senators, got $$$$$ and plenty of it from Norman Hsu -- a convicted swindler and fugitive from justice. 

And Hsu, who has apparently either directly given or laundered through equally dirty sources over $600,000 to Democrats (based on the New York Times article in my previous blog) is not a major story on the Today show. Maybe not even a minor story.  And is nonexistent on their website.

Simply stated, the Today show is so biased that it makes the Tower of Pisa look straight up and down by comparison.

Matt?  Meredith?  Ann?  Hillary and Barack thank you.  Profusely


KUNG FU, NINJAS & THE INTERNET.

Ken Berwitz

If the following story (straight from Reuters by the way) doesn't come under the heading "you can't make this stuff up", nothing does:.

China kung fu monks seek apology for ninja affront

Fri Aug 31, 1:34 AM ET

China's Shaolin Temple, the cradle of Chinese kung fu, is demanding an apology from an Internet user who said its monks had once been beaten in unarmed combat by a Japanese ninja, Chinese media reported on Friday.

Shaolin Temple, in the northern province of Henan, became famous in the West as the training ground for Kwai Chang "Grasshopper" Caine in the 1970s "Kung Fu" TV series.

Ninjas -- professional assassins trained in martial arts -- date back to mediaeval Japan.

"The so-called defeat is purely fabricated, and we demand the Internet user to apologise to the whole nation for the wrongs he or she did," the Beijing News said, citing a notice announced by a lawyer for the Shaolin monks.

Relations between Chinese and Japanese are sensitive at the best of times, with emotions still running high over Japan's invasion and occupation of parts of China in the first half of the 20th Century.

The Internet user, calling themselves "Five Minutes Every Day", said on an online forum last week that a Japanese ninja came to Shaolin, asked for a fight and many monks failed to beat him, the newspaper said.

"The facts that the monks could not defeat a Japanese ninja showed that they were named as kung fu masters in vain," the Internet user was quoted as saying in the post.

The Shaolin temple "strongly condemned the horrible deeds" of the user, the newspaper said.

"It is not only extremely irresponsible behaviour with respect to the Shaolin temple and its monks, but also to the whole martial art and Chinese nation," it quoted the monks as saying. .

Do you think they'd feel better if David Carradine issued a formal statement saying he's just an actor, and never really traveled through the old West looking for his half-brother as depicted on the Kung Fu TV series? 

Maybe he could also mention that his character, Kwai Chang Caine, lived a century before the internet was invented by....er....Al Gore.  Or that his first name had nothing to do with the river Kwai and his last name was unrelated to that mutiny flick with Humphrey Bogart and Van Johnson.

Nah, I guess that wouldn't be enough.  I guess they'll have to wait for an apology from the internet dude.


NORMAN HSU: NORMAN WHO?

Ken Berwitz

Credit where credit is due.  Todsay's New York Times has a very fair, very informational article about Norman Hsue, the convicted swindler, fugitive from justice and humongous source of Democratic campaign funds.

But non-credit where it is due as well.  The Times a) buried the story on page A16 and b) not connect this dirty money to the numerous other instances of dirty money pouring into Clinton's coffers - some (not all) of which I enumerated in blogs over the past two days.

Here is the Times' article.  Bold print is mine:.

Democrats turn from big donor whos fugitive

Campaigns across the country have begun to return Hsus contributions

By Mike McIntire and Leslie Wayne
Updated: 4:59 a.m. ET Aug 31, 2007

From $62,000 for Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York, to $10,000 for the Tennessee Democratic Party, the full extent of fund-raising by Norman Hsu came into focus yesterday, as campaigns across the country began returning his money in light of revelations that he is a fugitive in a fraud case.

Beyond the hundreds of thousands of dollars he raised from others for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Mr. Hsu personally contributed more than $600,000 to federal, state and municipal candidates in the last three years, a review of campaign finance records shows. It was a startling amount of money for someone whose sources of income remained far from obvious yesterday, as visits to addresses he has provided for his businesses found no trace of Mr. Hsu.

In interviews with Democrats, a picture emerged of Mr. Hsu as a valued and reliable rainmaker, someone who was frequently tapped at all levels of politics to make a contribution, bundle checks or hold an event. In addition, Mr. Hsu donated about $100,000 to the New School, where he is a board member and where a scholarship is offered in his name, according to Bob Kerrey, the former Democratic senator from Nebraska who is president of the university.

John Liu, a New York City councilman who said he last spoke to Mr. Hsu a few months ago at a gathering of Asian-American Clinton supporters in Washington, said Mr. Hsu certainly had a strong reputation for being able to raise lots of money.

He actually told me he doesnt get involved in municipal elections the first time I met him, but then he went ahead and gave to my campaign, and others, Mr. Liu said, adding that he refunded Mr. Hsus $4,950 donation yesterday.

The Clinton campaign has said it will give to charity $23,000 that Mr. Hsu contributed, and yesterday representatives of Mr. Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, who received $50,000 from Mr. Hsu, said they would do the same. A spokesman for Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat who is a rival of Mrs. Clinton for the partys presidential nomination, said Mr. Obama intended to give away $7,000 that Mr. Hsu contributed to his committees.

Mrs. Clinton appeared with Mr. Spitzer yesterday at an event in Manhattan, where she made her first public comments on the matter, saying revelations of Mr. Hsus past criminal problems were a big surprise to everybody.

When you have as many contributors as Im fortunate enough to have, she said, we do the very best job we can based on the information available to us to make appropriate vetting decisions.

Mr. Hsus rapid fall was precipitated this week when the California attorney generals office said there was an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest dating from 1992. Mr. Hsu was facing up to three years in prison after pleading no contest to a charge that he had defrauded investors, but he skipped out on a court appearance and was never seen again.

E. Lawrence Barcella, Mr. Hsus lawyer, said that Mr. Hsu was getting a California lawyer to represent him before the state attorney general. Mr. Barcella declined to comment on where Mr. Hsu was, or on the status of any bench warrants issued against him in that state. On that matter, he will be represented by California counsel, Mr. Barcella said.

Investigators believe that after Mr. Hsu skipped his court appearance in 1992, he went to his native Hong Kong and then continued working in the garment trade. At some point, Mr. Hsu, a naturalized American citizen, returned to New York and in 2003 made the first of what became hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to Democratic campaigns around the nation.

People who met him said they knew only that he ran an apparel business. Efforts to learn more about his trade hit dead-ends yesterday. Visits to companies at addresses listed by Mr. Hsu on campaign finance records provided little information. There were no offices in buildings in New Yorks garment district whose addresses were given for businesses with names like Components Ltd., Cool Planets, Next Components, Coopgors Ltd., NBT and Because Mens clothing all listed by Mr. Hsu in federal filings at different times.

At a new loft-style residential condominium in SoHo that was also listed as an address for one of his companies, an employee there said that he had never seen or heard of Mr. Hsu. Another company was listed at a condo that Mr. Hsu had sublet in an elegant residential tower in Midtown Manhattan just off Fifth Avenue, but an employee there said Mr. Hsu moved out two years ago, after having lived there for five years. The employee, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about residents, said he recalled that Mr. Hsu had received a lot of mail from the Democratic Party.

Mr. Kerrey said he was introduced to Mr. Hsu about two years ago, and shortly thereafter Mr. Hsu joined the board of governors at the Eugene Lang College for liberal arts at the New School. He joined the universitys board of trustees last July.

So much of the university is about the immigrant culture, and I liked his personal story, coming from China, and he had an interest in fashion as well, Mr. Kerrey said. It all intrigued me.

He said that the university did not do background checks of prospective trustees, and that he saw no reason to ask Mr. Hsu to resign from its board. .

Ok, I'll buy the generic premise that no campaign can fully vet every source of contributions. 

But which ones WOULD they vet?  Wouldn't the vetted sources be the biggest contributors, the people who seem to be getting the most influence for their contributions?  The answer, of course, is obviously yes.

And, as the article makes crystal-clear, even the most nominal vetting of Norman Hsu would have raised enough red flags to stop every NASCAR race in history.

That means Hillary Clinton, again (and again and again and again and again) is the repository of dirty money from a shady source that she juuuuuust can't believe would ever come her way.

If you believe this, you are either so completely and unconditionally partisan that it wouldn't matter how many times Hillary is busted, or you are so gullible that that anyone can tell you anything, no matter how fraudulent, and you'll buy it.

Which of these two is good?


ONE MORE ON THE HILLARY CAMPAIGN SCANDAL

Ken Berwitz

Fox News is often maligned by the LAMB crowd as being "Faux News" and a bunch of other things.

But here is the verbatim transcript of the segment on Fox's Hannity & Colmes show last night, in which they interviewed Wall Street Journal's John Fund on the Hillary campaign scandal. 

Please note that BOTH SIDES get an equal shot at their positions on this issue.  Then try and find similar equality on one of the other news broadcasts:.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: A campaign fundraiser with close ties to the Clinton campaign has come under fire.Norman Hsu, one of the nation's leading political fundraisers, promised to raise at least $100,000 for the New York senator's presidential campaign.

The Los Angeles Times also reported today that the state of California has an outstanding warrant for Hsu's arrest on charges of grand theft.

Earlier today, people were claiming that Hsu is a decent man who has convinced friends and colleagues to join in his fundraising efforts. But late this evening, the Clinton campaign announced that they would donate all of Hsu's contributions to charity because of the controversy surrounding the warrant for his arrest.

Al Franken's Senate campaign in Minnesota and Congressman Mike Honda of California have also returned donations. And that might only be the tip of the iceberg.

Joining us now, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.

John, welcome.

JOHN FUND, COLUMNIST, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Thanks.

COLMES: Is there any evidence that Hillary Clinton knew anything of what Hsu was doing, if indeed he did anything illegal, that she had any knowledge that this was going on?

FUND: At this point, no. But I think we need to learn more. And I think we need to have Mr. Hsu found. After all, there's a warrant out for his arrest on grand theft. And he should be brought in and should be asked a lot of questions about a lot of things.

COLMES: What, she should be brought in?

FUND: No, Hsu should be brought in.

COLMES: Mr. Hsu. All right. But you want to pin this on Hillary Clinton because of his behavior?

FUND: No. No, no. The only concern with the Clinton campaign is we have seen strange campaign contribution scandals before. The 1996 campaign saw 120 people connected to the Clinton fundraising efforts either flee the country to avoid questioning or plead the Fifth Amendment.

COLMES: Right, but you want to then use...

FUND: I'm simply saying the Clintonites should have learned from that 1996 thing.

COLMES: First of all, you don't know that they didn't. You don't know they didn't. You want to go back to John Lund. You want to go back to what happened in 1996 with Bill Clinton let me just get out my question.

And then you want to use that to overlay that on Hillary Clinton, and presume that there's some malfeasance here because of what might have happened 10 years ago.

FUND: The same finance people who worked in the Clinton campaign in 1996 are running Hillary's campaign. The same people, Alan.Terry McAuliffe.

COLMES: But you sound like you're chomping at the bit with the hope that there's a problem with the campaign.

FUND: I want questions answered.

COLMES: There's no evidence of it. In fact, there's no public record or indication that Hsu reimbursed, for example, the Paw family, the family in California that gave like-minded contributions.

FUND: We also have these gentlemen who have just fled to Pakistan because they gave illegal campaign contributions, fled the country. I'm saying there are ominous parallels with exactly what went wrong in the 1996 Clinton campaign, and we never got the answers to what...

COLMES: Generally, you know the candidates are not aware, day-to-day, of what's happening with people who may contribute, who are going to contribute.

FUND: And in 1996, we do know Bill Clinton was aware. He was aware of the Lincoln bedroom. He was...

COLMES: John...

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: What does it have to do with this?

FUND: Clinton has a modus operandi. This is a pattern.

COLMES: You want to go back to '96?

FUND: It's a pattern.

COLMES: And it has nothing to do with it.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: You guys are arguing. I want to go through this step-by-step and explain exactly, especially as it relates to the Paw family, where you have a gentleman that only makes $45,000 per year.

FUND: And his wife is a homemaker.

HANNITY: And his wife is a homemaker. Why don't you explain in detail what's happening here and why this is significant? He's a fugitive, by the way.

FUND: Absolutely. We can't find him. Although he's sponsoring a Clinton fundraiser September 30, Mr. Hsu is.

The Paw family is very interesting. They live in a house that Mr. Hsu used to own in Daly City, California.

HANNITY: Right.

FUND: The family there has contributed over $250,000 to Democratic candidates in the last three years. They never contributed before 2004 to anyone.

HANNITY: Right.

FUND: He makes $49,000 a year. There's very little other income in the family.

HANNITY: Right.

FUND: They apparently have all of this money.

The suspicion is that, like with a lot of campaign finance scandals, Mr. Hsu may have been reimbursing them in order to make those contributions to evade the campaign contribution limits. That would be the suspicion.

HANNITY: In other words, that they would be funneling the money from Mr. Hsu, basically, through the Paw family...

FUND: Right.

HANNITY: ... to get it into the Clinton coffers there.

FUND: Exactly.

HANNITY: Now how where would the culpability of the Clinton campaign be here? In other words, should they be doing background checks? Should they have knowledge of this? Is this something that can happen instantly?

FUND: I would say if the Clinton campaign hadn't had the 1996 experience, when 120 people fled the country or pled the Fifth Amendment, I would say a campaign should try to do due diligence, try to look out for suspicious behavior.

But because of the 1996 thing, they should have had all of their radar out. They should have a heightened level of scrutiny, and they should have protected themselves from this. Because we also have this guy who's fled to Pakistan over campaign contribution-limit problems.

HANNITY: Now, she's saying, I think, she's going to give some of this money, I guess, to charity.

FUND: Sure.

HANNITY: Does that get her off the hook?

FUND: I think we need to scrutinize the Clinton campaign very carefully. We didn't do it in 1996. And we had a situation in which we may have compromised American national security regarding the Chinese, who were clearly trying to influence our election. So we need more scrutiny here.

HANNITY: We have this George Soros-funded group. It's called Americans Coming Together, headed up by a Clinton friend, Harold Ickes. Now today, the Federal Election...

FUND: He's working in the Clinton campaign now.

HANNITY: He's working in the Clinton campaign now, and they fined this organization $775,000 for using...

FUND: The third largest fine...

HANNITY: Absolutely, in history. For using soft money to boost Kerry and other Democratic candidates during the 2004 election.

Here's my question. We talk about John Wong and Charlie Tre in the '96 scandal. And the Paw family, Mr. Hsu, does it get too confusing? Is this something that the American people really can relate to? Or is it a basic knowledge that you can sort of thwart these laws and there's no punishment or there's no consequence?

FUND: I've often thought that a lot of these campaign finance laws really can't be enforced. What you should have is full disclosure. And people came up. And have real punishment if you don't disclose.

The real problem here, though, is these laws are an invitation for people who don't have good ethics to evade them. Remember, that fine was levied because over $100 million was improperly spent on that Kerry campaign.

HANNITY: A hundred and thirty-seven million, to be exact.

FUND: A hundred million dollars is more than we used to spend on the entire presidential campaigns.

HANNITY: Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Will he be in jail because of this?

FUND: In jail? The investigation goes on. The Federal Election Commission says they're continuing to...

COLMES: Do you have any public record or indication that Hsu reimbursed the Paw family?

FUND: No, but I have strong suspicions of it.

COLMES: All right.

FUND: The Paw family should come forward.

HANNITY: Where did they get the money? They only make $49,000 a year. Where did they get the money?  .

Bottom line:  If you want "faux news", try the networks that either ignore this story or run interference for Hillary Clinton on it.  THAT'S "faux news".


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