Sunday, 04 May 2008


Ken Berwitz

My wife and I just got back from a weekend wedding, and I turned on the computer.  This piece from was the first thing I saw online. 

Obviously the folks over there expect Hillary Clinton to lose to Barack Obama.  But the pictures they show are fascinating, almost eerie. 

Take a look for yourself:

Have They Upped Hillarys Dosage Yet Again?

May 3rd, 2008

A sampling of her latest hyper-elation from the wire services:



Of course her handlers probably think they are doing her a kindness by softening reality for her.

But wont it make the inevitable final blow just that much harder to take?

This its-all-over assessment may well turn out to be right.  But they don't know any more than you or I do. 

So I'll wait until the primary votes from Indiana and North Carolina have been counted before looking beyond Tuesday.


Ken Berwitz

Today is the day al sharpton was going to shut down New York City.  

You may recall sharpton's fury over the Sean Bell verdict, in which a judge ruled that the police did not act improperly when they shot Bell dead and injured his two companions during Bell's bachelor party. 

Here is a pretty decent description of what happened, which I've excerpted from  (a site you always double check before believing anything you read there, which I did):

Sean Bell was an electrician by trade and in between jobs when the shooting occurred.  Bell had been arrested three times, twice for drug dealing and once for a firearms possession.  In all cases, he was released on his own recognizance.  The New York Daily News reported that, according to unnamed law enforcement sources, Bell sold crack cocaine twice to a confidential police informant in August of 2006.

Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, who were also shot in the incident, had been arrested nine and three times, respectively, each having been arrested at least once for illegal firearm possession.  Benefield was subsequently arrested during a gambling raid in Harlem after attending the funeral of James Brown, and again on September 25, 2007 for hitting a woman with whom he had a child. The latter arrest resulted in his pleading guilty on October 12, 2007 to a lesser charge, and accepting a conditional discharge along with counseling.

The night of the shooting, Bell was holding his bachelor party at Club Kalua in the Jamaica section of Queens, a venue that was being investigated by seven undercover police detectives, as a result of accusations that the owners of the club had been fostering prostitution.

The New York Post reported that, according to an unnamed undercover officer, Guzman had an argument inside the club with a woman and threatened to get a gun. One of Bell's friends was heard to say "yo, get my gun and kill that dumb white bitch" as they left the scene. Fearing a shooting may occur, the detective followed the men to their car while alerting his backup team, prompting the team to confront Bell and his companions before they could leave the scene.  The undercover officer ordered Bell to raise his hands after getting in his car. Instead, Bell accelerated the car and hit an unmarked police minivan.[  A toxicology report reportedly showed that he was legally intoxicated at the time of the shooting. An attorney for the Bell family said in response to the report, "No matter what his blood-alcohol level was, he's a victim."

Other accounts of the incident conflict with that of the undercover officers. According to Guzman and lawyer Michael Hardy, the detectives never identified themselves while they approached the vehicle with drawn weapons.  Another source also told New York Daily News that the officers failed to warn Bell before opening fire and started firing immediately upon leaving their vehicles.

After the shooting, sharpton was on it in two seconds flat; just like sharpton has been on so many other high profile racial cases that he could use to make a, seek justice for aggrieved parties..

Once the decision was rendered, sharpton declared that he would shut New York City down over it.  And, as mentioned above, today was the day.  Protesters were going to mobilize at a number of different points around the city, march, disrupt, and generally stop The Big Apple in its tracks.

Well, I watched the local news tonight, concentrating mostly on NBC but channel-surfing to ABC and CBS as well.  And guess what?  I didn't catch one word about this shut-down of New York.  Maybe I missed a two sentence report because I was changing channels so much, but I assure you there was no major story, probably no story at all. 

This tells me sharpton's shut down fizzled big-time.

When sharpton announced his intentions, I kept wondering what this routine was supposed to accomplish - other than getting his face in the paper and maybe intimidating jurors if there is a subsequent civil suit (i.e. another chance to make some do re mi).  Who exactly was he protesting?  New York City didn't find the officers not guilty, a judge did. 

I hope (and would like to think) that the reason it failed was because sharpton's shut-down effort was so preposterous that even people who might support him in other situations couldn't bring themselves to be a part of this one.

Obviously, the fizzle-out makes sharpton look ridiculous.  I wonder if it makes him look so ridiculous that Democratic candidates will be a bit less likely to seek out his endorsement during the election campaign this year. 

Hey, the Democratic party might be so embarrassed by sharpton's clownishness that they'll only give him 15 minutes of prime time during their convention instead of the 20 minutes they gave him in 2004.


Ken Berwitz

The New York Times' lead editorial today makes some very important points.  Because they are very important to the 2008 presidential race, I am posting the entire editorial for you below:

May 4, 2008

Missing Records

Senator John McCain is 71 years old, a survivor of an aggressive form of skin cancer. If elected, he would be the oldest man to become president.

These factors are not disqualifying, but they impose on Mr. McCain a larger duty than usual to provide detailed, timely disclosure about his health. So far, he has failed to meet this obligation to voters, even though he is now the presumed Republican nominee.

And it is not just on health issues that there is a lack of transparency in this campaign. Neither Mr. McCain nor Senator Hillary Clinton has been forthcoming enough about financial records.

No presidential candidate should get to the point that he has locked up his partys nomination without public vetting of his health. And Mr. McCain, in particular, knows that. Early in his first run for president, in 1999, he provided an in-depth look at his medical history: 1,500 pages of medical and psychiatric records collected by a Navy project on the health of former prisoners of war. He has released precious little medical information since his surgery for melanoma in August 2000.

In March, this newspapers medical reporter, Dr. Lawrence Altman, wrote about interviews with several experts not connected to Mr. McCains case concerning the probability of melanoma recurring. Most were positive about his prospects, but they lacked the benefit of Mr. McCains actual records and his physicians explanation of the extensive nature of his surgery. Voters are entitled to know about other potential health concerns for an average 71-year-old man.

The McCain campaign says it will make his health documents available and arrange for follow-up questioning of the candidates doctors on May 23. Why has it taken so long? Having repeatedly postponed this moment over the past year, the McCain camps excuse that the doctors are too busy to take the time to brief Americans about a potential presidents health has worn thin.

Last month, Mr. McCain released two years tax returns. That is better than none. But it has long been the practice for general election presidential candidates to release tax filings going back a lot further, and Senator Barack Obama has done just that.

The portrait of Mr. McCains finances is particularly skimpy because his wife, Cindy McCain, has chosen not to make her separate tax returns available. Mrs. McCain, the daughter of a multimillionaire Anheuser-Busch distributor, is not the candidate, but the need to gain public trust and to air potential conflicts of interest is vital. Four years ago, we urged Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wealthy wife of the 2004 Democratic nominee, to release her tax returns.

There is no question that Mr. McCain benefits from his wifes money, including his low-cost use during the campaign of a corporate jet owned by a company headed by Mrs. McCain.

Last month, Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, released eight years of tax information, showing they earned $109 million over that period, much of it from book writing. The public is still owed a more complete accounting of the sources and amounts of Mr. Clintons speaking fees and business income. Still missing, too, is a complete list of the major donors who have been supporting the Clinton presidential library and foundation.

The extent of a candidates candor is a good measure of how candid he or she will be in the White House.

As you can see, the prime target of this piece is John McCain.  And I have no doubt the editorial was written to bring Mr.  McCain down.  But, that notwithstanding, the Times is making several important points which cannot be ignored:

-John McCain's health must be an issue in the campaign.  Yes, he is 71 years of age and yes, he has had a bout with skin cancer.  Voters have a right to know the complete health picture here, and Mr. McCain has a responsibility to make it available.

-I would add another element as well - that of Mr. McCain's years as a POW during the war in Vietnam.  It is amazing that he came through it so well.  But if there are long term effects on his mental capacities - i.e. if, because of those years, he might suffer mental deterioration at an earlier age because of them - we have to know that too. 

-I'm a little more iffy on whether Mr. McCain's wife should be expected to disclose her financials.  She is not running for office, and I have read that there were prenuptual agreements that, at least to an extent, separate her finances from her husband's.  But I admit I would feel more comfortable if she did so. (I also wish the Times didn't simply dismiss her as the daughter of a beer distributor.  She runs that business and it has grown dramatically under her stewardship.  Is it really necessary to toss in such a nasty little subliminal dig?)

-I agree that Hillary Clinton should not be withholding the donor list.  It is unacceptable.  And I have little doubt that the reason she does so is how embarrasshing/politically damaging the list is.

-Finally, I absolutely agree that the extent of a candidate's candor is a good measure of how candid he or she will be in the white house.  Which leads me straight to Barack Obama.

Funny that a man who has lied to our faces about whether he heard offensive, racist, anti-USA commentaries from his pastor/spiritual mentor, would escape mention here.  Mr. Obama first said he never heard the comments at all, then said he heard about them but never was in the church when such comments were made and then said he was there when such comments were made and found them offensive.  Is that candor?

Funny that a man who denounces louis farrakhan when it is politically expedient, respectfully calls him "Minister Farrakhan" and didn't complain when his church conferred farrakhan with a lifetime achievement award last year.  Is that candor? 

Funny that a man who claimed only peripheral involvement with the domestic terrorist william ayers and his USA hating wife bernardine dohrn, but (as I have blogged about several times) has clearly been lying about the extent of their relationship, is spared mention.  Is that candor?

And since the Times - correctly - demands that Hillary Clinton supply a donor list for her husband's presidential library, I find it funny that the paper does not also insist we find out how Michelle Obama got into Princeton.  I've read that she was flat-out an affirmative action student.  If that is true, I would love for her to explain why she had nothing to be proud of in a country that handed her an ivy league education only a tiny fraction of students could ever afford to pay for.

Yes, I agree with just about everything in this editorial.  But wouldn't it have been nice if the Times did too?  Because if the Times agreed with its own editorial, Barack and Michelle Obama would have had a featured role in it.


Ken Berwitz

Here is a very interesting take on a report by CBS "60 minutes"  reporter Lesley Stahl on the 2000 election.  It was written for by William Tate. 

Mr. Tate reminds us that Al Gore did, in fact, lose Florida that year, no matter how much whining and history revisionism Bush haters keep shooting your way.  And he nails Ms. Stahl for misrepresenting the court battle for Florida (out of either ignorance or partisanship), during her "60 Minutes" interview with Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

Here is Mr. Tate's commentary:

Even as the MSM wing of the party warns fellow Democrats that the prolonged WWE-style grudge match between Barack Obama and the Clinton machine may tear the party apart--"Fracture the party? cried Diane Rehm on her taxpayer-subsidized NPR show. Fracture the country! --they may already have identified an issue they hope the party can coalesce around, like some sort of political superglue.

Lesley Stahls 60 Minutes profile of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent an inordinate amount of time mis-stating facts about an eight-year old legal issue:
Of all the cases that have come before him on the court, Bush v. Gore may have been the most controversial. It has been reported that he played a pivotal role in urging the other justices to end the Florida recount, thereby handing the 2000 election to George Bush. (Emphasis added.)

It was a statement of fact by an establishment journalist, uttered with absolute conviction, iterated no less than three times in a segment that was supposed to be about Scalias new book. Twice by Stahl:

You dont think it (the court decision in Bush v. Gore) handed the election to George Bush? Stahl asks.

Well how does that make it a political decision? Scalia asks.

It decided the election, Stahl says


And once by a stand-in (a technique regularly used by the media in selecting questions for debates):

Supposing yourself as a Supreme Court justice were granted the power to appoint the next president of the United States. Who would you pick and why? And would he or she be better than your last choice? a student asked Scalia.

Yet, as Stahl should be aware:

A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year(2000)s presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward. Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore.

That from the conservative bastion, the New York Times.  In the unlikely event that Ms. Stahl isnt a Times reader, all she had to do was search the CBS News website:

Mr. Bushs narrow margin of victory in Florida would have likely tripled had the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a hand recount of the undervotes to be completed, a newspaper review of the ballots concluded

Further, the news media consortium formed to explore the Florida vote found that, under the recount scenario halted by the Supreme Court, Bush won.

And Scalia himself pointed out to Stahl in the interview, It (Florida in 2000) would have come out the same way, no matter what. Adding, The principal issue in the case, whether the scheme that the Florida Supreme Court had put together violated the federal Constitution, that wasnt even close. The vote was seven to two.

But with a variation on another journalistic trick (using some people say for personal commentary) Stahl insisted:

People say that that decision was not based on judicial philosophy but on politics, Stahl asks.

I say nonsense, Scalia says It was Al Gore who made it a judicial question. It was he who brought it into the Florida courts. We didnt go looking for trouble...

It ended up being a political decision, Stahl points out.

(Note the use of the phrase, points out, not says. Its another journalistic device to give a statement extra credence.)

Despite Scalias protestations, Stahls misstatements did not end up on the cutting room floor--or wherever in cyberspace edited digital video goes. Why?

During the Dems Compassion Debate on CNN, Barack Obama, seemingly from nowhere, said, ...Al Gore was mentioned earlier. By the way, I have to say, I think Al Gore won.

Obamas statement is notable for a couple of reasons. First, the transcript shows that Gore had NOT been mentioned. Second, Obama interrupted himself to interject the opinion--as if it was a planned talking point that he was afraid he would forget to mention.

Jeff Dobbs recently pointed out at the American Thinker that the one thing that could unite Democrats would be their hatred of George Bush. Perhaps the Obama campaign has identified a way to do that, by rallying the media and Democrats around their deeply held--and equally deeply wrong--belief that the Supreme Court handed the (2000) election to George Bush, in Stahls words.

Only time will tell whether Stahls disregard of the truth about 2000 is an ongoing storyline by the MSM to help Obama heal the rifts in the Democrat party, or simply an example of a reporter not letting the facts getting in the way of a story.

-Wm Tate is a former award-winning broadcast journalist and author of the new book, A Time Like This,

I just watched a CBS report, not ten minutes ago, in which the reporter stated - not as an opinion but as a fact - that when Republicans use the term "out of the mainstream" about Democratic opponents "it is a code word for unpatriotic".  Then the reporter said that Republicans even have used this against Purple Heart recipients, while file footage of John Kerry was shown.

This, folks, is not news reporting.  It is DNC propaganda being pumped out to you during what is billed a a news show. 

In short, it is mainstream media being mainstream media.  It would be good to keep that in mind throughout this election year.

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