Wednesday, 05 March 2008


Ken Berwitz

Here is an editorial by the Investors Business Daily, on how completely useless the UN is regarding Iran.  It dead-on correct, and should be a must-read for anyone who thinks the organization has any value at all in world events:

U.N. Irresolutions

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, March 04, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Iran: The United Nations Security Council and the U.N.'s atomic "watchdog" have confirmed their critics' worst fears: Even when they can bring themselves to act on Iran's nuclear threat, their actions are toothless.

Iran's new punishment from the Security Council for continuing to enrich uranium freezes the assets of 12 individuals and 13 companies, and monitors two financial institutions.

But it may actually be worse than doing nothing. It tells the Islamofascist mullahs that the civilized world is so fixed to diplomatic fantasies that it actually thinks Tehran will be swayed by more of the same pointless measures Iran has gleefully defied in the past.

It was the third round of U.N. sanctions on Iran, but it may as well have been the 33rd. The 14-0 vote with one abstention came after months of delicate diplomacy, we are told, but it could just as well have been the full general assembly scolding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Euro diplomats reassured us that the new measures will send Iran a "very clear message" that the world "is not turning its back" on Tehran's nuclear mischief. But even with it going on under our noses for years, our response has been to do more of what we already know will not stop it.

And the carrots of technological and economic aide the Security Council has put on the table? They're a fundamental misjudgment of this Islamist enemy. They're gifts that will embolden Tehran.

Meanwhile, a planned resolution against Iran from the International Atomic Energy Agency was scrapped due to opposition from Russia and China. Both have helped Tehran build nuclear facilities and benefit from trading ties with the regime especially oil.

But even if the IAEA's measure had passed, would it have done anything? What good does it do to announce support for IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei being allowed to expose past Iranian nuclear experiments with a possible "military dimension"? What impact does expressing "serious concern" about Iran's stubbornness have in stopping its enrichment program?

The world certainly the Free World should for years have been united in waging real economic warfare against the Iranian regime which, with its obvious nuclear ambitions, is a clear threat.

It could have materially and morally assisted the student, labor and religious leaders who make up the real opposition in Iran, and who have proved their commitment by staging demonstrations and by letting themselves be imprisoned for their brave beliefs.

Because the world has not supported Iran's freedom fighters, it's difficult to see how the U.S. or Israel or both will not soon be forced to save the world from Iran's nuclear threat with military action the only resolution the Islamofascists will ever understand.

We all know people who perform "make-do" work -- that is, they appear to be doing something, but that something is useless and meaningless.  It is done only to  "prove" they aren't just sitting around doing nothing at all.  So the actual objective is getting credit for doing something when in reality they accomplish nothing.

Isn't that exactly what the UN is doing about Iran?

And isn't it exactly what they did about Iraq for 12 years and through 16 different resolutions, all of which were ignored by saddam hussein in just the condescending way ahmadinejad is ignoring them for Iran?

I can't say it describes what it is doing in Darfur or Chechnya, though.  Because there isn't even make-do work there - not even a tiny pretense of trying to accomplish anything.

What a joke the UN has become.  What a pathetic joke.


Ken Berwitz

Yesterday was the second day of the trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times a new allegation has surfaced that Rezko paid a $1.5 million dollar bribe to get a $50 million dollar contract in Iraq.  The Chicago Tribune has extensive coverage of the jury selection and is characterizing the trial as "politically explosive". 

Its consequences for the Obama campaign could be devastating and, conceivably, even candidacy-ending.

Following is the entire body of Rezko coverage given by this morning's New York Times:








Well, that's about it.  I'll report on the Times' coverage of Rezko's trial again tomorrow.


Ken Berwitz

They can talk all they want about how Barack Obama still has a lead in convention delegates (all of 83 at the moment) and how Hillary Clinton can't overtake him before the convention (which conveniently ignores superdelegates - i.e. the people who REALLY pick the Democratic nominee under this system).

But the plain fact is that Hillary Clinton won Ohio, won Texas and won Rhode Island.  in fact, she has won almost every major state Democrats need for a victory (New York, California, New Jersey, etc.), while Obama has lost those states.  And the momentum has abruptly shifted to her side.

There seems little doubt that this fight will go straight to the convention.  And the convention is where Hillary Clinton, via her organization within the Democratic party, is holding most of the high cards.

I watched Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama on Today this morning.  She looked strong and confident.  He looked tense and had trouble forcing out a smile.  Most of the swagger we have seen from Mr. Obama in recent weeks is now gone. 

I have blogged numbers of times about the problems that should bring down Mr. Obama (i.e. inexperience, his church and its racist/anti-semitic ties, his BAIPA stand and others).  I see him as a balloon that will burst, with the key issue being whether it will happen earlier (which would benefit Hillary Clinton) or after (which would benefit John McCain). 

The jury is still out on this, of course, but it is starting to look more and more like the burst will be early.  That's good news for Clinton and bad news for Obama.

And it is great news for McCain.  Why?  Because if Ms. Clinton wins the nomination it will be done by trampling over the Black candidate. 

If there is one thing the vote totals have demonstrated, it is that Mr. Obama's skin tone is enormously important to Black voters. 

The Today show had a graphic up this morning that broke voting patterns by race.  It showed Clinton winning 67% of the Hispanic vote (thus about one-third went to Obama).  It showed Hillary Clinton winning 56% of the White vote (thus over 40% went to Obama). 

But it showed Hillary Clinton winning just 16% of the Black vote (thus Obama got over 80%).  Since their senate voting records are virtually identical, it seems clear that the Black vote was primarily based on race.

If Ms. Clinton gains the nomination, how will Black voters react to this - after "knowing" it was in the bag for a Black candidate and seeing it taken away?  How will some number of these voters take it out on Ms. Clinton? 

Think not voting for President at all.  Think write-in voting for Obama.  Even dare to think of a percentage of Black Democrats voting for McCain.

If Hillary Clinton loses any appreciable part of the Black vote she cannot win the election.  Period.  And the chances of this happening, in my opinion, are in the range of 100%.

The next months will be great political theater (or should I say circus).


Ken Berwitz

Brent Bozell's latest column, out today, is a near-perfect explanation of what constitutes fair and unfair political reporting in mainstream media today.

Here it is. Try finding something to disagree with:

Obamaholics Unanimous

Now that Barack Obama is closing in on the Democratic nomination, some are wondering whether the media will be tougher in their coverage. Theres a better question: is it possible to be any softer? The media writ large have been sounding like theyre covering a messiah more than a man. So was Hillary Clinton right to complain that Barack Obama has been more celebrated rather than vetted?

Lets be clear. Hillary Clinton has been the beneficiary of so many cotton-candy profiles and I Am Woman honorifics that its almost impossible that her bad press will ever come anywhere close to balancing out her mountains of puff over the last 15 years. The rough press shes been getting since Super Tuesday is merely the political prognosticators noticing shes getting her clock cleaned by 18 to 20 points in a lot of states. Even so, shes still being awarded softball interviews like the latest in a long series of twinkly Katie Couric gal-pal segments on 60 Minutes.

Its also clear that when it comes to Hillary Clinton complaining about the need for Obama to be vetted on scandal stories, we should all fall to the floor laughing. If she thinks shes had a rough scrubbing on cattle futures and travel office cronyism and Whitewater lawyering and Puerto Rican terrorist pardons and on and on, shes living in a parallel universe.

But shes not wrong that the media loves for Obama surpasses their devotion to her. Just start with the way they all flail with outrage when a conservative uses his full name, Barack Hussein Obama. Its not a lie. Its not a distortion. Its his name. Chris Matthews thinks this tactic is vicious, this ethnic stuff is evil. Keith Olbermann even sneered at his fellow Bush-basher Jon Stewart for making a joke out of Obamas complete name at the Oscars.

The mainstream media dont just feel Obamas pain, they loudly object to any hostility whatsoever.

Ridiculing Obamas middle name stopped being funny a while ago. But the idea that the Obamaholics on TV can pound the desk and proclaim that these tame middle-name jokes are beyond the pale is utterly ridiculous. Are Olbermann and Matthews really going to claim theyve been gentle with Bush and Cheney? Olbermann can suggest Bush is a totalitarian who has commenced the beginning of the end of America, and Matthews can call Bush a sadistic murderer, and hope for a modern-day Nuremberg trial, as if the Bushies were the Nazis, and then they have the chutzpah to complain about middle names?

Many liberals in the media object to whispers that Obama is a Muslim. On CBSs 60 Minutes, reporter Steve Kroft told Obama that the idea that Obamas a Muslim popped upon our radar screen all the time. Obama asked: Did you correct them, Steve? Kroft said yes. Obama decried a systematic e-mail smear campaign thats offensive not only to him, a devout Christian, but to Muslims because of the fear-mongering.

Kroft then turned on Mrs. Clinton and pressed her to deny that her campaign was spreading this mangy stuff. Hillary replied that Obamas not a Muslim, as far as I know. Kroft kept complaining: Its just scurrilous. But Kroft made no attempt to press Obama on what his actual religious beliefs are, or how devout he is in attending services every Sunday. These matters make liberal reporters uncomfortable. What makes them comfortable is trying to convince the audience that their fellow liberal Obama is a heroic victim.

But like Olbermann and Matthews, Kroft has a very flexible, very partisan definition of what is scurrilous in media coverage. One week before on the same 60 Minutes program, CBS reporter Scott Pelley publicized wildly unsubstantiated charges against former Bush aide and strategist Karl Rove, who allegedly sought to ruin the crooked Democratic governor of Alabama Don Siegelman, now in prison. Pelley set up an accuser named Jill Simpson: Karl Rove asked you to take pictures of Siegelman...In a compromising sexual position with one of his aides.

Brit Hume of Fox News pointed out the next day that the Associated Press reported that CBSs star witness had never made that allegation before to reporters or lawyers in hours upon hours of interviews and a sworn affidavit. Hume added that Karl Roves lawyer Robert Luskin said no one from CBS approached Rove to give him a chance to respond to these off-the-wall sex-picture charges.

The dramatic double standard of our media elite a hyperbolic outrage at any criticism of Barack Obama, even as they insult and smear Republicans without restraint or regret, or evidence is one reason why its going to hard to find the audacity to hope for media fairness or balance in this upcoming general election campaign.


Ken Berwitz

Now that almost all the primaries have been held, and Senators Clinton and Obama are only 83 delegates apart, it is clear that the nomination will be decided by "super-delegates" at the Democratic convention. 

In other words, the primary voters may have enjoyed themselves voting, but they ain't the ones making any selection this year.

I admit that, until a few moments ago, I was seeing this as an anomaly of sorts.  I was thinking that circumstances caused things to work out this way in 2008, but that in other presidential years there would be a winner going into the Democratic convention and the super-delegates would not be overriding the primaries.

And it is true that in years where there is no real competition for the nomination - i.e. just one major candidate - it will be locked up by convention time.

But if there is a seriously contested nomination, like the one we have now?  Under the Democrats' system, super-delegates are going to pick the presidential nominee.  The primary system they have set up is a sham.

Let me show you why:

In the current Democratic system, there are a total of 4,049 delegates.  To win the nomination, a candidate needs a simple majority (2,025 or more).  So far, very simple and direct, right?

Well, here is where it gets a lot more interesting.  The delegates are comprised of 3,253 from primaries and caucuses, and 796 "super-delegates" who are hand-selected from among Democratic office-holders, V.I.P's, etc.  In other words, 20% of the total is not derived from the people voting in primaries or caucuses.

Further, every state in the Democratic primary system awards its delegates proportionately.  This means that if a state has 100 delegates, and one of the candidates wins 55% of the vote - a clear victory - that candidate only gets 55 of the 100 delegates.  Even a huge win, say 65% of all voters, would only get that candidate a net gain of 30 (65 for the winner versus 35 for the opponent(s).

In order to win a majority of delegates prior to the convention, therefore, a candidate would have to get over 50% of the total number of delegates, without any of the super-delegates being counted (they only come into play at the convention). 

To get 50% plus one vote - the lowest majority possible - from the 80% of delegates which can be won in the primaries and caucuses?  That requires over 62.5% across the board.  That is the average one candidate would have to gain throughout every primary in the country. 

Given that no one candidate is a huge favorite in every state, and given that early in the primary season, votes are inevitably going to be split between a larger number of candidates (Democrats started with 8 in the current campaign and eventually worked down to just Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton), averaging 62.5% is a virtual impossibility.  It would be like a bowler having 10 perfect 300 games in a row.  There is no way in the world it would ever happen.

So the bottom line is that, while the primaries LOOK meaningful, and millions upon millions of Democrats get to vote, just like in a real competition, the Demcratic nomination will in fact be decided by super-delegates at the convention. 

Super-delegates may vote for the candidate who has the most primary votes if they like, but don't have to.  They may vote for the candidate that offers them some kind of goodie if he/she gets the nomination too.  They can pledge their vote for any reason they feel like.  But no matter what the reason, it is they - not the rank and file - who are picking the Democratic presidential candidate.

Great system.  Very equitable.  A wonderful exercise in democracy, I'm sure.


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