Tuesday, 19 February 2008


Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged about an astonishing comment made by Michelle Obama, wife of presidential candidate Barack Obama.  At a Milwaukee rally, she said that this is the first time in her adult life she has been proud of the United States (since Ms. Obama will be 44 this year, that would cover most of her entire life).

In case there is any doubt that she said what she said, I am putting the following video below.  In fact, it is from her stop at Madison, Wisconsin, after the Milwaukee rally, and is the second time she said it that day.  If you have any problem with my cut and paste, just click here and you can see it courtesy of www.breitbart.com:


"What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something -- for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I've seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues, and it's made me proud."

Yesterday I pointed out that if John McCain's wife ever said that she would be major news in mainstream media today.  I then wondered how they would treat Ms. Obama.

Well, I have read the New York Times and watched the political segment on Today this morning.  There is not one word about it.  Zero.

In fairness, I should point out that the wives of Democratic candidates have been nailed for their embarrassing comments in the past.  Teresa Heinz Kerry certainly comes to mind.  I do not mean this to say that all Democrats get a free ride on their wives' disgraceful comments. 

But Michelle Obama does, doesn't she? 

Do you think it is important to know that Barack Obama's wife has found nothing to be proud of about her country - the one she would be First Lady of - in her adult lifetime?  If so, you probably are wondering why this isn't even so much as mentioned, let alone discussed and analyzed, by venues such as the New York Times and Today. 

Me too.

UPDATE:  Barack Obama campaign has issued the following statement about Ms. Obama's comment: 

The point is that of course Michelle is proud of her country, which is why she and Barack talk constantly about how their story wouldnt be possible in any other nation on Earth, she said. What she meant is that shes really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans whove never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grassroots movement for change.

Are you buying this?  If so, can I interest you in a bridge that goes from Manhattan to Brookly.....well, you get the idea.



Ken Berwitz

You can't say that Matt Lauer didn't give Barack a tough interview on the Today show this morning (it was taped yesterday).

You can't, that is, if you work for the Today show.  If, however, you are not scared of losing your job, you can say it was a disgrace, a laughable, pathetic disgrace.

And if you think I'm exaggerating, please read this account of it, complete with the transcript, from Mark Finkelstein of www.newsbusters.org:

Lauer to Obama: Ready for Racist, Swiftboating Republicans?

By Mark Finkelstein | February 19, 2008 - 09:12 ET

In MSM circles, "swiftboating" is shorthand for false attacks on Democrats, even though John O'Neill and other members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth stand adamantly behind their allegations about John Kerry's war record.

In an interview of Barack Obama conducted yesterday and aired on this morning's Today, Matt Lauer employed the "swiftboating" code to ask whether the candidate is prepared for the Republican onslaught. For good measure the NBC anchor wondered if Obama is ready for Republican racism.

Lauer, introducing the issue, stated that "Senator Clinton has questioned whether he can withstand negative attacks from Republicans in the fall."

LAUER: Have you stopped to think what the Obama version of Swiftboating might be in this campaign cycle if you get to the general election? What they did to John Kerry: what's that version going to be with Barack Obama?

BARACK OBAMA: Oh, I think we can already anticipate because we've already seen it. First of all, I've had to go up against the Clinton machine. It's not as if they're playing tiddlywinks, right?

LAUER: Right; it's hardball.

OBAMA: Every day they've got a press conference accusing me of this or that or the other. So we've been battle-tested during the course of this primary. But we've also seen the scurrilous emails that are going out, suggesting that I'm a Muslim and that I don't pledge allegiance to the flag.

LAUER: Right.

OBAMA: So I think there will probably be some of that, but it may not come explicitly from the Republican National Committee, but I think that we'll probably see some of that stuff underground.

LAUER: How about race -- in its purest sense?
OBAMA: I don't think that you're going to see explicit racial appeals. I actually think there are people in the Republican party who would be offended by that.

So Obama thinks some Republicans would be offended by blatantly racist appeals. Thanks! He continued.

OBAMA: I don't think the American people would tolerate that. But I do think that you'll see exaggerations of my positions, that make me as some wild-eyed liberal.

Like falsely painting you as the most liberal member of the Senate? Oh, wait. .

Let's see:  Lauer invoked the Swiftboat Veterans in a wholly negative way (what part of their charges against Kerry has ever been disproven?).  Lauer suggested that Republicans might hit Obama with a racist campaign (but no mention by Lauer of the real try at tagging Mr. Obama by race that Hillary Clinton tried).   Matt didn't miss a stereotype, did he?

And in case you're wondering about that last line, please click on Mr., Finkelstein's link and find that Barack Obama has been declared the single most liberal member of the United States Senate.  And it wasn't by the GOP, it was by National Review.  Here is their table for Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton too:

How They Scored


Interesting chart, isn't it?  Surprising though it might be to many people, Hillary Clinton - while always to the liberal side - actually does show at least some propensity to go off the reservation here and there.

But Obama?  Look at that rating.  95.5%. Numero Uno in the liberal sweepstakes.

And it's not like these data are brand new.,  They have been out for weeks.  The above information was taken from a National Review article dated January 31.  Is it realistic to believe that Matt Lauer didn't know it?  Of course not.

But did he challenge Mr. Obama when he ridiculed the idea that he could be seen that way?  Nope.

I guess the only thing you can say about this is that it's NBC.  The home of keith olbermann, Chris Mouthews and Dan Abrams.  That pretty much puts it in context.


Ken Berwitz

Sick, not getting better and apparently nearing his death, career mass murderer, dictator and icon of the Hollywood left fidel castro has "resigned" as prime minister.

Before you break out the champagne, however, be advised that there won't be any free election to replace him.  fidel is turning over the government to his brother raul. 

Furrther, though he will no longer be PM castro remains a member of parniament and as First Secretary of Cuba's communist party -- which just so happens to be the only legal political party in the country.  That should be a pretty safe spot for him, since it has been over 10 years since party leadership has been revamped.

Bottom line:  Yeah, castro is no longer prime minister.  But nothing is going to change, at least not in the short term.  He is still running the show.

Too bad for Cuba.


Ken Berwitz

No President in the history of the USA has done more to try to uplift Africa than George W. Bush.  Not a one. 

Not surprisingly, therefore, as Mr. Bush tours Africa he is being greeted with warmth and love.

Now try to find anything about said warmth and love in most USA media coverage of the trip.  I dare you.

Mr. Bush's triumphant tour is not only being downplayed, but much of the media are writing about it, and his achievements regarding Africa, in negative terms, not positive.  To people who rely in mainstream media to be informed, therefore, Africa is just another of the 36,924 failures of the Bush administration. 

With that in mind here is a piece by Jon Ward, White House correspondent for the Washington Times, which talks about just how great Mr. Bush's efforts have in fact been and how at least one internationallly renowned activist views them.  Please pay special attention to the segment I have put in bold print:

Bob Geldof in Rwanda gives Bush his props

KIGALI, RWANDA -- Bob Geldof has parachuted into the White House travel pool here in Rwanda, and will join us on the flight from Air Force One to Ghana tonight.

He's going to interview President Bush for Time magazine and several European outlets, such as Liberacion, about aid to Africa for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and business development.

Mr. Geldof is an Irish rock and roll singer and longtime social activist who has helped, along with U2 rocker Bono, raise awareness about need in Africa. His most well known achievement is organizing the Live Aid concert in 1985, which raised money for debt relief for poor African countries.

But Mr. Geldof has remained closely engaged with African affairs since then, and he spoke off the cuff to reporters today who were waiting for a press conference with Mr. Bush and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.

Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, "has done more than any other president so far."

"This is the triumph of American policy really," he said. "It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion."

"What's in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing," Mr. Geldof said.

Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed "to articulate this to Americans" but said he is also "pissed off" at the press for their failure to report on this good news story.

"You guys didn't pay attention," Geldof said to a group of reporters from all the major newspapers.

Bush administration officials, incidentally, have also been quite displeased with some of the press coverage on this trip that they have viewed as overly negative and ignoring their achievements.

There is just one thing that can explain the dishonest, hateful and disgraceful coverage of Mr. Bush and what he has done for Africa:  BDS -- Bush Derangement Syndrome.

BDS was coined by the great Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.  It refers to the hatred some people (in and out of media) have for President Bush which is so great that it overwhelms everything  else, including facts and realities. 

It seems to me that Mr. Krauthammer's term fits this situation perfectly.  What do you think?


Ken Berwitz

As most of you are aware, a couple of days ago the Clinton campaign accused Barack Obama of plagiarism, because he was using entire passages that seemed to come, virtually word for word, from Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.  Specifically, as the New York Times reports:

Senator Barack Obama adapted one of his signature arguments that his oratory amounts to more than inspiring words from speeches given by Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts during his 2006 campaign.

At a Democratic Party dinner Saturday in Wisconsin, Mr. Obama, of Illinois, responded to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who has criticized him for delivering smooth speeches but says they do not amount to solutions to the nations problems, by ticking through a string of historic references.

Dont tell me words dont matter, Mr. Obama said, to applause. I have a dream just words? We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal just words? We have nothing to fear but fear itself just words? Just speeches?

Mr. Patrick employed similar language during his 2006 governors race when his Republican rival, Kerry Healey, criticized him as offering lofty rhetoric over specifics. Mr. Patrick has endorsed Mr. Obama, and the two men are close friends.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal just words? Just words? Mr. Patrick said one month before his election. We have nothing to fear but fear itself just words? Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Just words? I have a dream just words?.

A lot of the blogosphere - sites like www.captainsquartersblog.com and others - downplayed this as plagiarism and just chalked it up to the fact that Obama was being counseled by Patrick so these things happen.

But wait.  Here's a second instance, just uncovered and put online by www.nationalreview.com:

Clinton Campaign: A "Pattern" of Obama Borrowing   [Byron York]

Top Clinton campaign officials Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson are holding another conference call with reporters now.  Wolfson is pointing to a "pattern" of alleged plagiarism by Barack Obama, suggesting that reporters look at a blog entry by ABC's Jake Tapper which suggests another example of Obama lifting material from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.  In that blog entry, Tapper points to a statement from Obama quoted in USA Today in 2007: "I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me.  I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."  Tapper then quotes Patrick, speaking to the 2006 Massachusetts Democratic convention, saying, "I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me.  I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."

"We are seeing a pattern here," Wolfson told reporters a short time ago.  "And here is another example of where the words match exactly."

Until this second instance, I was on the fence, but leaning toward the "there isn't much there" school of thought.

Now, however, I can't be on that side of the fence.  It seems evident to me that Mr. Obama, aside from saying next to nothing (other than that he'd cut and run from Iraq regardless of the circumstances on the ground) is simply lifting Deval Patrick's punch lines and reciting them to the sheeple.

On paper, Obama is the heavy favorite to win this nomination from Ms. Clinton.  In practice, he is up against a talented, experienced, battle-tested machine that knows how to play by any set of rules available, and is willing to use any of those sets on an as-needed basis.  One look at how they're exploiting this issue tells you how good they are.

It ain't over yet.


Ken Berwitz

While channel surfing just now, I caught the last part of keith olbermann's "worst person in the world" routine.  I didn't see who was third worst.  But Glenn Beck was #2 on olbermann's hit parade and he hit Beck with a barrage of sneering insults (I don't tape this stuff, I can't give you the exact quotes). 

Finally #1 was Karl Rove, who olbermann quoted as saying (again, I am paraphrasing here) that years from now people will thank President Bush for fighting in Iraq. 

Olbermann's comment about it?  He said that the people thanking the President of the United States would be al qaeda.

Meanwhile david shuster sits, suspended from the network for his comment that Hillary Clinton was "pimping out" her daughter by using her for political purposes.  Shuster sits while olbermann can accuse President Bush of acting on behalf of al qaeda.  And you can bet the ranch there will be no suspension.  No apology.  No nuthin'.

If that doesn't demonstrate the bias of MSNBC, nothing ever will.


Ken Berwitz

If I had heard about this church when I was in high school, I'd have converted on the spot - until I read the next to last paragraph.

Here, courtesy of Orlando, Florida's www.local6.com are the specifics:

Church Challenges Members: Have Sex Every Day

YBOR CITY, Fla. -- A Florida church issued a challenge for its married members on Sunday: Have sex every day

Relevant Church head pastor Paul Wirth said the 50 percent divorce rate was the catalyst for The 30-Day Sex Challenge.

The church set up a Web site concerning the challenge, Local 6 reported.

"And that's no different for people who attend church," Wirth said. "Sometimes life gets in the way. Our jobs get in the way."

Oh, and the flip side of the challenge? No rolling in the sheets for the unwed.

Church member Tim Jones and his fiancee agreed to take on the challenge, though he acknowledges it'll be a tough month.

But he added: "I think it's worth trying to find out other things about each other." .

Great job of reporting.  They really nailed it.  Or something.

This reminds me of an old joke (most things do):

A guy goes to the church to confess. He says "Forgive me, father, for I have sinned".  The priest says "Tell me, my son, what did you do?"   And the guy says "I had sex with my wife"

The priest says "But what would be wrong with that?" and the guy says "Well, father, we made a sacred vow between the two of us that we'd only have sex once a week.  But it was just three days after the last time, and there she was, all bent over picking up a box of detergent.  I took one look and couldn't stop myself"

The priest thinks about this for a minute and says "Well, my son, I realize that you made a vow between the two of you, but marriage is a sacred vow which surely supersedes it.  Why not just go home and forget the whole thing".

The guy says "Y'mean you're not going to throw me out of the church"?

The priest says "Why in the world would I throw you out of the church"?

And the guy says "Well they threw us out of the supermarket...."


Ken Berwitz

I've been asked to do this again, so I will happily oblige.

The table below, from www.realclearpolitcs.com, shows the latest Winconsin political polls -- which is to say the latest there are going to be, because the primary is in progress as I type this:


Polling Data
Poll Date Sample Obama Clinton Spread
RCP Average 02/08 - 02/14 - 46.3 42.0 Obama +4.3
Research2000/WISC 02/13 - 02/14 400 LV 47 42 Obama +5.0
Rasmussen 02/13 - 02/13 855 LV 47 43 Obama +4.0
Strategic Vision (R) 02/08 - 02/10 LV 45 41 Obama +4.0
See All Wisconsin Democratic Primary Polling Data

As you can see, all three polls indicate that Barack Obama will win in Wisconsin by 4 - 5% over Hillary Clinton.

Tomorrow we'll know for sure.  It will be interesting to see if the pollsters do any better now that they did in most of the other primaries.

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