Wednesday, 13 February 2008

KEITH OLBERMANN - KEEPING THE MSNBC SPIRIT ALIVE

Ken Berwitz

It is 8:20PM tonight.  I have watched keith olbermann for the last five minutes or so, during which he insulted John McCain several times and smirked along with E.J. Dionne, the liberal-left columnist of the Washington Post, at each broadside. 

In the world of olbermann, Barack Obama is a superstar.  But John McCain is the kind of guy who yells at kids to get off his lawn, a "grampa" (nice attack on McCain's age) and someone whose speaking style imitates Red Skelton (the goofy-laughs comedian of many years ago).

Then he parlayed these comments about McCain with an equally sarcastic, insulting hit piece on Karl Rove.

I'm not going to watch anymore.  But I'm sure if I did, I would be seeing olbermann do his "worst person in the world" routine with Bill O'Reilly (the man who triples his ratings and has become his pathological obsession), still prominently featured in it.

I wonder what david shuster is thinking about this.  shuster used one sarcastic phrase against Chelsea Clinton and was suspended.  Maybe he'll even be fired for it. 

Memo to Mr. shuster:  the lesson is easily learned.  You can be as big a sack of excrement as you care to be on MSNBC --- so long as it is against Republicans, not Democrats.  When the object of derision is a Bush or a McCain or a Rove?  No apologies necessary.

Pathetic.


HILLARY PILLARIED

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday Barack Obama took Hillary Clinton to town.  And I'm not talking about a social date.

Mr. Obama smashed Ms. Clinton in the Virginia, Maryland and DC primaries by landslide proportions.  Well in excess of what the polls said - illustratively www.realclearpolitics.com's compilation of Virginia polls showed Obama ahead by an average of 18%.  He won by 29%, a difference of slightly more than double the margin of error. 

The actual results were:

Virginia:          Obama 64%, Clinton 35%

Maryland:       Obama 57%, Clinton 39%

Dist. of Col:    Obama 75%, Clinton 24%

These results are barely even competitive for Ms. Clinton.  And it is expected that Mr. Obama will win the next primaries, in Wisconsin and Hawaii (Obama's home state) by similarly lopsided margins.

What does Ms. Clinton do now?  Well, the first answer is that she does more than just change the campaign hierarchy.

As I see it, she has two alternatives:

-One is to take the hit in Wisconsin and Hawaii.  Then win, maybe win big, in Ohio and Texas (where she still has substantial leads in the polls, at least as of now), parlay that into a win in Pennsylvania, then use her superior organization and every political credit card she and Hubby Bill have amassed over the years to prevail at the convention. 

This might be feasible without attacking personal attacks on Obama using whatever they have in their arsenal (count on it being a lot).  Thus it might get her the nomination without much further damage among Black voters.  (Of course it should also be noted that the minimum damage among Black voters is going to be extremely heavy anyway);

-The other is to assume that Obama's wins yesterday, coupled with the wins expected in Wisconsin and Hawaii, are going to melt Ms. Clinton's leads in Ohio and Texas like ice cream in a microwave.  So she has to hit him with everything she has right now or it is over.  What's the difference if it alienates countless Black voters if not doing it means she's out of the race altogether?

These are not pretty alternatives. But they're the ones that Ms. Clinton has to be considering.

It will be more than a little interesting to see how she procedes.


WHAT GOES UP CHRIS MATTHEWS' LEG

Ken Berwitz

MSNBC is not what you would call a paragon of neutrality.  I think most of us know this.  But sometimes its on-air "talent" goes over the cliff even more than we expect. 

See what you think of this example, which was pulled from www.newsbusters.org.  Please pay special attention to the two comments I put in bold print, which demonstrate just how "neutral" these people really are:

Matthews: Obama Speech Caused 'Thrill Going Up My Leg'

By Brad Wilmouth | February 13, 2008 - 03:37 ET

During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's presidential primary elections, after the speeches of Barack Obama and John McCain had aired, Chris Matthews expressed his latest over the top admiration for Obama's speaking skills as the MSNBC anchor admitted that Obama's speech created a "thrill" in his leg: "It's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." Minutes later, Brian Williams poked fun at Matthews' confession: "Let's talk about that feeling Chris gets up his leg when Obama talks ... That seems to be the headline of this half hour." (Transcript follows)

At about 10:13 p.m., right after McCain finished his speech, which came after Obama's speech, co-anchor Keith Olbermann remarked that, due to Obama's unusual speaking skills, it was a good idea for any other speaker to speak before the Illinois Democrat instead of after him. Matthews then expressed what he referred to as an "objective assessment" of Obama's speech:

I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often. No, seriously. It's a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment.

After complimenting Obama for praising McCain's heroism, Matthews delivered a pessimistic assessment of McCain's situation as well as that of the Virginia Republican party:

But I just think that McCain's problem is he's over 70, he's standing there with John Warner, who's much older than him. He's standing with Tom Davis, who's retiring. He looks like an army in retreat in Virginia. That's what it looks like tonight. The Virginia Republican party used to own that state. They could elect people that are not particularly likable. They were able to do that in the past. Now they're having a hard time even fielding a candidate against Mark Warner.

Olbermann soon brought aboard Williams, who started off making fun of Matthews:

WILLIAMS: Well, let's talk about that feeling Chris gets up his leg when Obama talks, for starters.

OLBERMANN: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

WILLIAMS: That seems to be the headline of this half hour.

MATTHEWS, laughing: Let it stand, then. Don't tread on it, Brian, if it's a good line.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portions of the Tuesday February 12 coverage of the presidential primaries from MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN: John McCain speaking after his three victories in the Potomac primaries tonight, from Alexandria, Virginia, to the tunes of Johnny B. Goode, instrumental only. And in a statement which I hope transcends political orientation and party affiliation and all that, I would think, Chris, as we start to analyze what we have heard here, the rule has to be, if you can, always speak before Barack Obama, not after Barack Obama.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.

OLBERMANN: Steady.

MATTHEWS: No, seriously. It's a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment. John McCain is a hero. I thought it was very appropriate that Barack Obama extended that fact-

OLBERMANN: And very savvy.

MATTHEWS: -to an audience of people who were very probably liberal and probably anti-Republican. He said this is an American hero I'm running against. And then, of course, he went in to delineate his differences with him. It shows a lot of class. I think there will be class if there is such a contest come this coming summer. But I just think that McCain's problem is he's over 70, he's standing there with John Warner, who's much older than him. He's standing with Tom Davis, who's retiring. He looks like an army in retreat in Virginia. That's what it looks like tonight. The Virginia Republican party used to own that state. They could elect people that are not particularly likable. They were able to do that in the past. Now they're having a hard time even fielding a candidate against Mark Warner. The former governor's going to run for that Senate seat of John Warner's, no relation, and it's going to be very tough for them.
...

OLBERMANN: Where do we start with this? Brian, we haven't spoken to you tonight. Simply on the results here, are we clearer about where each of these primaries are going, how soon we will get to the nominees in both cases?

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Well, let's talk about that feeling Chris gets up his leg when Obama talks, for starters.

OLBERMANN: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

WILLIAMS: That seems to be the headline of this half hour.

MATTHEWS, laughing: Let it stand, then. Don't tread on it, Brian, if it's a good line..

Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't read very neutrally. 

First olbermann gushes about how great Obama is (I'm surprised he didn't insult Bill O'Reilly in the same sentence.  He usually can't make any comment at all without indulging his obsession). 

Then we have Chris Mouthews telling us how Obama gives him a thrill going up his leg. 

To tell you the truth, it sounds less like what goes up Chris Matthews' leg and more like what goes down the back of it.

Can you believe these two are co-anchoring a NEWS REPORT?  This has about as much credibility as Bill Clinton running a symposium on how to respect female interns in the workplace.


DEMOCRATS AND TERRORIST SURVEILLANCE

Ken Berwitz

Why are so many Democrats so fearful that we might be able to perform effective survellance against terrorist suspects?   What are they worried about?

-Are they worried that we will prevent terrorist attacks on our shores?

-Are they worried that we will demoralize terrorist groups?

-Are they worried that they will lose major campaign $$$$$$$?

Hey, where'd that third one come from?

Well, it came from here - with excerpts provided below:

Obama, Hillary, Dems Take FISA Trial Lawyer Cash
By Amanda Carpenter
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

As Congress debates giving immunity to phone companies that assisted the government in tracking terrorist communications, trial lawyers prosecuting those phone companies have poured money into the coffers of Democratic senators, representatives and causes.

Court records and campaign contribution data reveal that 66 trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in lawsuits against these phone companies donated at least $1.5 million to 44 different current Democratic senators and Democratic causes.

All of the trial lawyers combined only contributed $4,250 to Republicans in comparison. Those contributions were made to: Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), Sen. Lindsay Graham (S.C.), Sen. Mel Martinez, and Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.).

One maxed-out lawyer donor, Matthew Bergman of Vashon, Washington, has given more than $400,000 in his name to Democrats. In the 2008 cycle alone he has donated $78,300 to various campaigns.

Bergmans law firms website says that he also specializes in identifying viable asbestos defendants, locating evidence and developing legal theories to hold offending companies accountable. In 2004, his firm split a $4.3 billion payout from Halliburton with seven other law firms. $30 million of that was delivered to their firm's asbestos victim clients.

Another lawyer prosecuting the phone companies is Mikal Watts of Corpus Christi, Texas, who has given more than $200,000 to Democrats. Watts has prosecuted Ford Motors over defective tires and attempted to run against Republican Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.) for the Senate.

On Wednesday, the Senate held a critical vote on an amendment to the FISA reauthorization that would grant this immunity. It passed, but 29 Democratic senators voted against it. 24 of them have accepted campaign contributions from trial lawyers who are suing the government over those activities.

Two of them are running for President.

Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), who is in the running for the Democratic nomination, was given $28,650 from trial lawyers listed as counsel for plaintiffs who are suing Verizon, AT&T, and MCI because those companies turned over phone records as a part of President Bushs covert phone surveillance program. $19,150 of that was donated in the last year.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y), the other main contender for the Democratic presidential bid, also accepted money from trial lawyers on the case. Records show those lawyers have poured $34,800 to her and her husbands campaigns over the years. $12,150 of those donations were made to her within the last year.

Now that FISA has been reauthorized in the Senate, the bill was sent over to the House where an effort to strip the immunity provision is expected. House Republicans are pressuring House Democrats to pass the Senate version of the bill quickly, as it is scheduled to expire on Saturday.

Records show that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) accepted $3,750 in donations to her campaigns and PACs from these lawyers from 1996-2001.

How refreshing it would be if mainstream media talked about this amazing confluence of Democratic opposition to strong surveillance measures, and contributions from the trial lawyers who stand to make untold millions if the Democrats prevail.

Their lead stories on the subject are scheduled two weeks after Pat Robertson replaces medea benjamin as head of code pink.


ED RENDELL'S MOTIVES

Ken Berwitz

Was Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania simply stating a fact, subliminally attacking Barack Obama in a racist way, or both?

Here is the story, courtesy of the Associated Press.  You tell me:

Rendell: Race Factor Could Hurt Obama

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) Gov. Ed Rendell, one of Hillary Rodham Clinton's most visible supporters, said some white Pennsylvanians are likely to vote against her rival Barack Obama because he is black.

"You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate," Rendell told the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in remarks that appeared in Tuesday's paper.

To buttress his point, Rendell cited his 2006 re-election campaign, in which he defeated Republican challenger Lynn Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, by a margin of more than 60 percent to less than 40 percent.

"I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann been the identical candidate that he was well-spoken, charismatic, good-looking but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so," he said. "And that (attitude) exists. But on the other hand, that is counterbalanced by Obama's ability to bring new voters into the electoral pool."

Rendell, chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2000 and previously Philadelphia's mayor, endorsed Clinton on Jan. 23.

Pennsylvania holds its primary April 22.

Several figures in Clinton's campaign, including her husband, the former president, have been criticized in recent weeks for raising Obama's race. In response, Bill Clinton has said he will stick to promoting his wife, rather than defending her.

Later Tuesday, Rendell's spokesman said the governor did not mean to offend anyone.

"He was simply making an observation about the unfortunate nature of some parts of American society," said spokesman Chuck Ardo. "He wasn't being critical, he wasn't making accusations, but just being realistic.".

Personally, I'm not sure that it makes a difference what Ed Rendell's motives are.  What he is saying is 100% correct.

Of COURSE there are White people who will not vote for a Black Candidate if they can avoid it - as there are Black people who will not vote for a White candidate if they have a fellow Black to vote for. 

Does this argument have the potential to benefit Hillary Clinton's candidacy?  Yes it does, unequivocally.   But is it a factual argument?  Yes again, just as unequivocally. 

Governor Rendell is asking Democratic voters who want a member of their party in the White House next January 20 to consider the disadvantage that Barack Obama brings with him -- i.e. that some people will never vote for a Black man.

There is, however, a corollary here.  Democratic voters who want a member of their party in the White House next January 20 might also want to consider how many votes would be lost by a Hillary Clinton candidacy because some people will never vote for a woman.  And how many will be lost because some (maybe a lot of) people will never vote for Hillary Clinton in particular.

Talking honestly about these things is a messy business that inherently carries with it the opportunity to be called a racist, a sexist, an anticlintonist (?) etc. etc. etc.  But it doesn't make them untrue.

Do you need me to tell you that John McCain, a White male candidate, is spared this issue?  It is hard not to see that as a major advantage for the Republican side.


MCCAIN AND THE PAIN

Ken Berwitz

John McCain won all three Republican primaries yesterday.  He beat Mike Huckabee by 9% in Virginia and mashed him altogether in Maryland and DC.

Here is the carnage:

Virginia:          McCain 50%, Huckabee 41%

Maryland:       McCain 55%, Huckabee 29%

Dist. of Col:    McCain 68%, Huckabee 17%

This puts McCain at 801 delegates while Huckabee is mired at 240. 

It also begs the question of why Mike Huckabee is still in this race.  He doesn't have to prove that evangelical Christians like voting for a Baptist minister who wants to take the country back for Christ.  Most of us could have told him that without any primaries.

It is hard to see what, other than Huckabee's apparently very large ego, is keeping him from dropping out.  But the fact that he is forcing McCain to continue fighting in primaries rather than concentrating on the Democratic opposition will not soon be forgotten.

If Huckabee thinks this gets him a Vice Presidential nod, or any particular cachet within the Republican party, he isn't very smart.


THE DANISH CARTOONS: 2nd ANNIVERSARY

Ken Berwitz

It it two years since the Danish cartoons of Mohammed became an orchestrated hate-campaign against the cartoonists, the papers which printed them and the entire state of Denmark.

The single most controversial of the cartoons depicted Mohammed with his turban doubling as a lit bomb.  It was drawn by Kurt Westergaard who, to this day, is under police protection because he drew it.

In the interest of celebrating my freedom as citizen of the USA I think it's time to show how I feel about this.  So here they are:

That clear enough?


ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO APPRECIATE ISRAEL

Ken Berwitz

Yeah, Israel is denying it had any part of this.  It sort of has to.  But we're big boys and girls and I'd like to think we can figure things out, especially when they are this elementary

When you read this article, which comes to us from MSNBC news services, please take special note of the paragraph I've put in bold print:

Hezbollah: Top militant wanted by U.S. slain

Mughniyeh, indicted over TWA hijacking, reportedly killed in car bombing

MSNBC News Services
updated 1 hour, 49 minutes ago

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Imad Mughniyeh, one of America's most wanted, has been killed by Israeli agents, Hezbollah announced in a statement Wednesday. An Iranian television station said he was killed in a car bomb in Syria.

Israel denied it played a role in the killing. Israel rejects the attempt by terror groups to attribute to it any involvement in this incident. We have nothing further to add, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmerts office said.

Mughniyeh, who has been in hiding for years, was among the fugitives indicted in the United States for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed. He was also suspected of masterminding attacks that killed more than 200 Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s when he was then the Iranian-backed Hezbollah's security chief.

Alleged to have links to Argentina bombings
Mughniyeh is also believed by Israel to have been involved in planning the 1992 bombing of Israel's embassy in Argentina in which 29 people were killed and the blast at a Buenos Aires Jewish center two years later that killed 95.

"With all pride we declare a great Jihadist leader of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon joining the martyrs ... The brother commander hajj Imad Mughinyeh became a martyr at the hands of the Zionist Israelis," said a statement carried on Hezbollah's television.

The statement did not say how he was killed, but the announcement came a few hours after a late night explosion in Damascus, capital of neighboring Syria, destroyed a vehicle. Witnesses in Damascus said at the time that a passerby was killed as security forces sealed off the area and removed the body, but authorities there would not give details.

  Click for external link

Iran's English-language satellite station Press TV on Wednesday said the person slain in the Damascus explosion turned out to be Mughniyeh. It said an Iranian school and a Syrian intelligence office were in the same area of Kafar Soussa where the explosion occurred.

Mughniyehs brother was killed in a similar attack in Beirut in 1994. Reports at the time suggested Imad was the real target. Mughniyeh had spent much of the 1990s in Iran, making only a few visits to Beirut..

Read that bold paragraph closely and see what Israel is up against.  The "pride" for this "great jihadist leader" is that he killed so many innocent civilians, especially innocent Jews. 

This is what the "people" of hezbollah value. It it what they take pride in.  It is what they live for.  And it is what Israel faces every day, along with hezbollah's counterparts in hamas and fatah, the lunatic-asylum regime in Iran, the diseased optometrist in Syria, etc. etc. etc.

If Israel was responsible for this subhuman scumbag's death, the civilized world owes it a major debt of gratitude.  If Israel was not responsible, it certainly wasn't for lack of trying.


IRAN'S "PEACEFUL" NUCLEAR PROGRAM

Ken Berwitz

What do you expect from ahmadinejad?  Anything other than this?**** 

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Iran's new generation of advanced centrifuges have begun processing small quantities of the gas that can be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads, diplomats told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The UN will stand by and watch it happen.  The hard left in the USA will insist that President Bush stand by and let it happen.  This leaves Israel, the country ahmadinejad wants to "wipe off the face of the earth" to do something about it. 

And they must, because the alternative is leaving ahmadinejad free to make good on his threat.

Remember that NIE report, the one with the title that suggested there was no Iranian nuclear weapons program but the detail that suggested there was?  The report one of its authors expressed regret over because it caused some people to think Iran wasn't going to create nuclear armaments?

Well, what if Israel does do something about it?  Will the UN condemn it (approximately the 23,846th UN condemnation of Israel)?  Will the Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade in the USA condemn it? 

If the friend of your enemy is your enemy, then Israel's enemies have some pretty powerful friends, don't they?

------------------------------------------------------

**** I have been advised that the Associated Press and other news venues do not allow bloggers to put up their entire articles.  The fact that I haven't been nailed for doing so until now apparently is pure luck. 

So from now on I will be providing a key excerpt or two, along with a link to the entire article, the way I did it here.

This should keep the wolves at bay....and make my posts a lot shorter in the bargain!

free I think one reason they don't like you to post the whole article is because when they change something they got wrong, they rarely ever post a correction. They just change it and none of the news agencies that ran the original wrong story never have to correct it, because it doesn't get listed as a correction. I have seen this happen many times. (02/14/08)

Ken Berwitz Free: Maybe you're right. I know that I almost always go back and correct my blogs -- usually for reasons of spelling, grammar and syntax but, once in a while, for content as well. On the other hand I am flying entirely solo, without staff of any kind to oversee and/or check what I writ. And I do so while engaging in a business day that has nothing to do with this blog. I think that probably gives me more of an excuse. (02/14/08)


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