Wednesday, 21 May 2008

THE GREAT NEWS IN IRAQ

Ken Berwitz

Here it is, via Paul Mirengoff of www.powerlineblog.com:

Iraqi troops take charge of Sadr City

Iraqi troops pushed deep into Sadr City yesterday, the New York Times reports. They did so, moreover, without the support of U.S. troops. In fact, the Iraqi forces were not even accompanied by American advisers, though American helicopters provided reconnaissance during the operation.

This Iraqi success follows the governments successful offensive in Basra. According to the Times, that operation "seems to have pacified that city and restored government control," at least "for the time being."

The next step in Sadr City will be searches by the Iraqi army for hidden weapon caches. The "general view," says the Times, is that the Mahdi Army has already moved its weapons and senior leadership out of Sadr City and is content to let the Iraqi Army search the area.

The governnment's back-to-back successes in areas previously controlled by Shiite militias should go a long way towards establishing its authority and towards promoting political reconciliation with the Sunni population. For their part, the Sunnis, with our aid, have pretty much routed al Qaeda.

Only the U.S. Congress, or an Obama presidency, seems capable of reversing the current virtuous cycle in Iraq.

Please notice the "but there's the problem" addenda to each bit of good news that is referenced from the New York Times' article.  I've put them in bold print.

How it must kill the the Times to report this success. Who knows, maybe at some point they'll have to credit Bush - and especially McCain - for the success of the troop surge.

The day that happens, they better put a net under pinch sulzberger's window.


KENTUCKY AND OREGON

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday's primaries are over and the votes are counted.

Hillary Clinton ran over Barack Obama in Kentucky.  She more than doubled his vote total, winning 65% - 30%.

Barack Obama returned the favor in Oregon, winning in a 58% - 42% landslide.

So what do the two candidates say about this?

Ms. Clinton's position is that, again, it is shown that blue collar Whites are far more likely to prefer her over Mr. Obama. 

This is a very compelling point.  How can a Democrat win if he/she is weak on blue-collar White voters?  Think of the states this affects.  Yes, West Virginia last week and Kentucky yesterday.  But what about larger states like Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and Florida and Michigan, among others?  Does a Barack Obama candidacy turn them from competitive to Republican?  If so, there is no way for him to win in November.  That's something to think about.

But Mr. Obama has a compelling point too.  His is that he does he can win White votes, as demonstrated by Oregon yesterday and also a spate of mostly-White other states that went for him earlier in the primary season.  And, in addition, he now has a majority of the pledged delegates (i.e. delegates that were won in primaries, as opposed to super-delegates who can change their minds any time they feel like it).

Further, he will say that, in the final analysis, Democrats are going to vote Democrat.  So even if the blue-collar, White segment prefers Ms. Clinton to Mr. Obama the primaries, they will vote for EITHER of them against Republican John McCain in the general election. 

There is also another strong argument for the Obama candidacy, but one that media are unlikely to talk about.  It is that if a Black Democrat is running for President, Blacks may not be able to give him much more of their vote percentage-wise (Kerry got 93% in 2004), but the number of Black voters coming out to vote could rise significantly.  In other words, the percentage of support will remain at least as high, but you'll see more voters providing that high percentage.

Of course another argument media probably won't be talking about, which argues for Ms. Clinton, is that a Black candidate is likely to boom up White voting percentages too, certainly among people who do not want a Black man in the oval office.  And since there are 6 - 7 Whites in this country to every Black, even if the rise in White voters is not as great as that for Black voters, it can result in a substantial numerical gain for the White candidate.

This, of course, is before you get to the disadvantage that John McCain has in running Republican at a time when voters are particularly negative toward the Republican party.  But it is also before you get to the advantage he has as a candidate very much associated with bipartisanship, who has no problem working with both sides of the aisle (something Obama promises to be, but not very credibly).

Pretty complicated, isn't it?

In any event, Obama and Clinton will continue their battle while Mr. McCain has the chance to sit back and watch.  All he has to do is field daily attacks from the not insubstantial number of "neutral" media which are acting as the Democrats' proxy against him.


OBAMA'S "EVOLVING" MEETING WITH IRAN

Ken Berwitz

How weaselly is Barack Obama's duck-away from what he actually said about meeting with Iran?  You decide.

Here is an excerpt from a report in ABC News' blog:

Obama's Evolving Take on Meeting With Iran

Democratic Contender Under Fire From McCain on Foreign Policy

By RICK KLEIN

May 20, 2008

Barack Obama's original answer seemed crystal clear: last July, asked whether he would meet with the "leaders" of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea "without precondition," during his first year as president, he quickly answered yes.

"I would," Obama, D-Ill., said at the CNN/YouTube debate. "And the reason is this: that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous."

Obama has not renounced his commitment to meet directly with the leaders of rogue nations, including Iran. But in recent weeks, his top aides and advisers have sought to add caveats to his promise, as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has made Obama's debate answer a central campaign issue.

Obama Camp Offers Nuanced Approach

The Obama campaign is now offering a more nuanced approach that would not necessarily include a presidential meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- and that stresses diplomatic work that would take place before any such meetings take place.

Asked about Obama's original statement Tuesday morning on CNN, former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., a top Obama adviser and supporter, said top-level meetings would not be immediate -- and would not happen without preliminary extensive diplomatic work.

"I would not say that we would meet unconditionally," said Daschle. "Of course, there are conditions that we [would] involve in preparation in getting ready for the diplomacy. ... 'Without precondition' simply means we wouldn't put obstacles in the way of discussing the differences between us. That's really what they're saying, what Barack is saying."

Obama told ABC News' Jake Tapper in an interview Tuesday that he sees no contradiction in the statements, explaining that he has always said that lower-level diplomatic contacts would lay the groundwork for a presidential meeting.

"I have to say I completely disagree that people have been walking back from anything," Obama said. "They may be correcting the characterizations or distortions of John McCain or others of what I said. What I said was I would meet with our adversaries, including Iran, including Venezuela, including Cuba, including North Korea, without preconditions, but that does not mean without preparation."

Obama is offering a more nuanced approach?????????  No sir, he is not doing any such thing.

To offer a more nuanced approach means, inherently, that he has CHANGED his tune and is offering something DIFFERENT.  But neither he nor anyone in his camp is saying he's changed a thing.  Instead they are trying to sell you that this is what he meant all along.

That weaselly enough for you?

"Change we can decieve in"


LINDA DOUGLASS, "NEUTRAL" REPORTER, JOINS OBAMA'S TEAM

Ken Berwitz

Here is the story.  Make of it what you will:

Linda Douglass Joins The Obama Campaign

21 May 2008 11:50 am

Linda Douglass, an award-winning television and print journalist who currently serves as a contributing editor to National Journal, will join Barack Obama's presidential campaign as a senior strategist and as a senior campaign spokesperson on the roadshow, a newly created position.

Douglass confirmed her new position when I walked up to the ninth floor, knocked on her door, and asked her about it. She informed National Journal President Suzanne Clark this morning of her impending departure.

"I see this as a moment of transformational change in the country and I have spent my lifetime sitting on the sidelines watching people attempt to make change. I just decided that I can't sit on the sidelines anymore."

Over 34 years in journalism, Douglass said, she grew disillusioned with the partisanship she saw first-hand. She came to specialize in campaign finance investigations, including a segment for CBS entitled "Follow The Dollar." When she interviewed donors, she would always ask them, "Why should your vote matter any more than my mother's?"

After serving as Justice Department correspondent for CBS News, DougIass moved to ABC News, where she covered Capitol Hill. A few years ago, she met Barack Obama and the two became friendly. Douglass retired from ABC News in 2006 to work on a project at New York University that was looking into how partisanship had paralyzed Congress. She joined the National Journal group as a contributing editor in 2007, writing for the magazine and hosting a weekly radio show on XM Satellite radio.

Douglass declined to discuss the terms of her new job or how the offer was broached. An Obama spokesman had no comment..


FROM THE "YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP" FILE.....

Ken Berwitz

Here is another of those stories that are so out of the mainstream they have to be true, because no one could make them up. 

This one comes to us via excerpts from an Associated Press article I read on the www.msnbc.com web site:

Lost parrot tells veterinarian his address

African grey parrot missing two weeks is returned to owners

Yosuke the parrot rests in his cage at his home in Nagareyama in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, on Wednesday, after he went missing for two weeks.
AP

TOKYO - When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help.

Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo.

He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet.

"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs.

"We checked the address, and what do you know, a Nakamura family really lived there. So we told them we've found Yosuke," Uemura said.

The Nakamura family told police they had been teaching the bird its name and address for about two years..

Now if we can only find osama bin laden's pet parrot.....


THE MOHAMMED AL-DURA FRAUD: WE HAVE A VERDICT

Ken Berwitz

The claim that Mohammed Al-Dura was a helpless child killed by bloodthirsty Israeli forces has been used by the Arab and Muslim world for years as "proof" that Israel is illegitimate and its people are subhumans. 

But this was always a fraud.  And now, in a French court ruling, its fraudulence has been proven again.  

Here is the background information, from a report published last year at www.camera.org:

September 12, 2007

Tunisian stamp of Mohammed Al Dura
The image of Mohammed Al Dura, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy crouched in terror behind his father as he allegedly becomes the fatal victim of Israeli bullets, has become an icon of Palestinian "martyrdom," fueling Arab hatred of and violence against Israel. But the controversy around the authenticity of the event and its original broadcast by French Public Television continues to simmer.

On September 19, 2007a year after the original trial of France 2 vs. Philippe KarsentyKarsentys appeal will finally be heard. The original trial involved plaintiffs Charles Enderlin, France 2's Middle East correspondent, and Arlette Chabot, France 2's news director, charging defendant Philippe Karsenty, founder of the French online media watchdog, Media Ratings, with defaming their honor and reputations by writing an article (posted on his Web site) that suggested France 2's news broadcast on the death of Mohammed Al Durah was fraudulent. (See France 2 Counters Accusations With Lawsuits)

Philippe Karsenty

The belief of Karsenty and many others that France 2 broadcast a staged scene is based on several sources, including an extensive investigation by the French-language Israeli news agency MENA, a book by Gerard Huber, a psychoanalyst and former correspondent for MENA entitled "Contre-expertise dune mise en scene" (Re-evaluation of a Staged Event) that puts forth evidence suggesting that this was a staged scene, and the accounts of a few journalists who have viewed the raw film footage of the scene, which France 2 has steadfastly refused to make public. According to those journalists, the raw film footage directly contradicts the description given by Middle East correspondent Charles Enderlin. Rather than showing the death throes of 12-year-old Mohammed Al Dura, as Enderlin had claimed and on which he presumably based his report, the footage is not of Al Dura at all, but shows Palestinians pretending to be shot, then springing up to replay the same scenes over again. (See BACKGROUNDER: Mohammed Al Dura)  Richard Landes, a Boston University historian who came to believe that the entire Al Dura scene was a hoax, devotes a blog, Augean Stables, and a Web site, The Second Draft, to media manipulation and specifically to the Al Dura case. He has produced three filmsPallywood, The Birth of an Icon, and Icon of Hatredpresenting evidence that the Al Dura scene was staged. (See Second Draft: Movies

Now let's move to today.  Here is the result of Karsenty's appeal:

May 21, 2008

Karsenty Wins! Court Overturns Libel Charge Against French Blogger

karsenty.jpg

Philippe Karsenty, the French blogger who was sued for libel by France 2 and its Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin for suggesting their broadcast about the shooting death of 12-year-old Mohammed Al Dura by Israeli soldiers was fabricated, has finally won his appeal. The French appeal court overturned the libel charge by the lower court. Stay tuned for more details on the court's ruling.

For years, the French public TV station and correspondent tried to defend their lies through bullying. They filed lawsuits against anyone who dared challenge their version of events. The court ruling is an indication to them that their strategy may no longer be working and that they may finally have to confront the reality of what happened on September 30, 2000--and their own role in instigating Palestinian violence against Israelis. For a full timeline and backgrounder, see Mohammed Al Dura: Anatomy of a French Media Scandal.

How will mainstream media report this?  Will they report it at all?  We'll talk about it tomorrow.


JUDGE JAMES ROBERTSON: IN CLINTON'S JUDICIAL POCKET

Ken Berwitz

As you will see (and as you have seen in other posts I've shown of theirs) www.sweetness-light.com is no fan of the Associated Press.  I think they go overboard in their anger/resentment/hatred of the AP.

That said, however, they have put together a genuinely eye-opening expos of just how at least one Clinton-appointed judge has shown his appreciation by ruling on their behalf  - seemingly without regard to law or common sense or even simple fairness.

Here is the sweetness-light report:

Clinton Crony Blocks Hillarys Phone Records

May 21st, 2008

From those seekers of the truth at the Associated Press:

US Judge: Wait your turn for Clinton phone records

WASHINGTON (AP) A federal judge refused to rush the release of Hillary Rodham Clintons phone records from her days as first lady and, in doing so Tuesday, offered a conservative watchdog group a manners lesson straight from the playground.

Judicial Watch had asked for the records under the Freedom of Information Act, then sued to have them released immediately. Librarians for the Clinton presidential library in Little Rock, Ark., said there was a tremendous backlog. Fulfilling the Judicial Watch request first, the library argued, would mean skipping over other requests.

Judicial Watch must abide by the kindergarten commandment to wait ones turn, U.S. District Judge James Robertson said.

Robertson said the librarians were doing their job diligently and there was no evidence that the National Archives, which runs presidential libraries, was stalling the request.

Robertson said he would put the lawsuit on hold for one year.

The overworked librarian who must slowly process this information line-by-line is owed no less deference than the anxious requester who must wait in line for the results, even if the democratic process is slowly mooting the very purpose of the request, Robertson wrote.

What a knee-slapper. Surely such a witticism warranted its own story from the Associated Press.

The same AP that is such a champion of the peoples right to know unless of course it is something detrimental about their Democrat masters.

Of course the Clintons and their minions have managed to drag out the release of these records until it is hardly relevant. But still, shouldnt we get this material? Arent they the property of the taxpayers?

Moreover, one wonders what similarly clever retorts the judge has made to the ACLU? One suspects not many, since they are on the same side.

For the AP somehow neglected to mention that Judge James Robertson was appointed a United States District Judge by Bill Clinton in 1994.

They forgot to note that he is the selfsame legal Solon who threw out Ken Starrs charges against the Clintons bag man and fall guy, Web Hubbell and who has protected many other Clinton cronies over the years.

Moreover, Mr. Robertson is also the same heroic judge who resigned from the FISA court in a self-righteous hissy fit protest.

Lastly, but not leastly, Judge Robertson is the also same legal hero who gave us the Hamdan ruling, which provides the Gitmo bravos Constitutional rights.

But why should the AP bother its readers with such meaningless details?

Like Mr. Robertson, the AP knows its priorities.

Now grow old waiting for mainstream media to report this....with the possible exception of NBC and MSNBC, which are so completely in the tank for Barack Obama that it may be used to drive Ms. Clinton from the presidential race.


MAUREEN DOWD ON THE OBAMA/CLINTON BATTLE

Ken Berwitz

I can't say I'm a fan of Maureen Dowd's.  But, as nasty and sarcastic as it is, her latest NY Times column does make some serious points.  So here it is.

Remember, folks, the broadsides at each candidate are hers, not mine:

The Last Debate

What do you want? Please, Sweetie, would you just tell me what you want?

Dont Sweetie me, Twiggy. You know what I want.

Besides that, Hillary. Seriously, you dont want your delusion to put John McCain in the White House. Or maybe you do. You have no shot. Im 60 delegates away from nomination nirvana. You should stop stalking me. I come down to Florida for a victory lap and you follow me down here and call for a recount. Look what that did for Al Gore. If you show a shred of common sense and take a powder now, the party will put you on a pedestal.

Pedestals are for losers. Youre on a pedestal. Ive never been a loser. I refuse to lose. I won the West Virginia and Kentucky derbies, and Im not going to end up like Eight Belles.

Hillary, youve been a great candidate, better than your train-wreck campaign. Youre Churchillian in your indomitable tenacity. Youve inspired women all over the country. In fact, youve inspired some of them to hate me. But now its time for you to try to muster a gracious exit.

Forget it, Bones. Once Harold Ickes works his dark magic on the delegate rules to count Michigan and Florida, Ill have the popular vote. And then the superdelegates will grovel back. They know in their hearts that they dont want to go on a blind date with a guy whos going to be BFF with Cuba, Hamas, Iran and retired Weathermen. You can bet your white turban that Im not raising the white flag.

Like hell you arent, sister.

Sexist!

Racist!

Speaking of whites, you cant win without them. And if you think your Secretary of Hairdressing, John Edwards, is going to help, youre more delusional than I am.

Hillary, when are you going to realize that these whites you consider your pawns are so sick of the Republicans that theyre going to vote for anybody who has the D next to their name, and its going to be me. So cool it with the White Fright. Now what do you want? Debt relief?

Bill and I dont need your Netroots arugula moolah. We dont need your stinking $20 donors. Weve got Burkle, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis and Kazakh uranium loot on tap.

Settle down, Hillary. What if I let you write the health care plank in the party platform?

Wow, youre so-o-o generous. Can I also write the plank on switchgrass?

I switched from grass a long time ago.

Listen, rookie, were gonna have to share this thing.

Fine, you can have the 3 a.m. shift on the White House switchboard.

Oh, youre so witty with all your stupid rallies with 75,000 people and spending $100 million on ads to promote one puny word: Change. Ive made sacrifices in this campaign. While youve been fake-eating and losing weight, Ive had to stuff myself with all that greasy working-class junk food and chase it with Boilermakers.

What about me? Ive come from nowhere, with a single mother on food stamps and a funny name.

Oh, youre so inspiring. For the first time in my adult lifetime, Im really proud of my country.

Dont mock Michelle. I would be polite and ask you to be my vice president, but youd accept, just the same way Lyndon Johnson sandbagged Bobby Kennedy, so I cant. You and Bill are just too much drama for me. Bill is off-the-charts crazy.

Tell me about it. But hed be way over on Massachusetts Avenue, a completely different ZIP code than the White House. And Cheney built that underground bunker there, so wed always have someplace to stash him. If you dont put me on the ticket, Ill signal my faithful to vote for John McCain. Hes more fun than you, anyhow.

Hillary, I dont trust you. And Michelle hates your guts. Look, the Senate is a wonderful place. I enjoyed my two months there. Youve never made the most of the experience because you were so busy using it as a launching pad.

Back at ya, Skeletor.

Can you stop talking, Hillary? Is that even possible?

No, I wont, Mr. Never-Convened-Your-European-Affairs-Subcommittee. I dont want to go back. Its boring. And why should I work with all those self-hating, so-called feminists who stabbed me in the back, like Claire McCaskill and Amy Klobuchar?

Look, Hillary, a few years back in the Senate helping me move my world-changing agenda will help you repair some of those relationships. In Barack Obamas Washington, there will be no more game-playing, mud-slinging or back-stabbing.

Hey, Seor Appeaser, theres another primary in 2012. Bill and I are already gearing up for it.

Youre not likeable enough, Hillary.

.


MICHELLE MALKIN ON THE OBAMA GAFFE MACHINE

Ken Berwitz

Since I showed you Maureen Dowd's column today, let me show you Michelle Malkin's too.

Ms. Malkin enumerates some of the ongoing series of gaffes that Barack Obama has made over the past year.  It's an amazing ride:

Barack Obama: Gaffe machine

By Michelle Malkin    May 21, 2008 07:43 AM

Heres my syndicated column this week. Hardly a comprehensive listand sure to grow.

***

Barack Obama: Gaffe machine
Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2008

All it takes is one gaffe to taint a Republican for life. The political establishment never let Dan Quayle live down his fateful misspelling of potatoe. The New York Times distorted and misreported the first President Bushs questions about new scanner technology at a grocers convention to brand him permanently as out of touch.

But what about Barack Obama? The guys a perpetual gaffe machine. Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign:

* Last May, he claimed that Kansas tornadoes killed a whopping 10,000 people: In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died an entire town destroyed. The actual death toll: 12.

*Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: Over the last 15 months, weve traveled to every corner of the United States. Ive now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.

*Last week, in front of a roaring Sioux Falls, South Dakota audience, Obama exulted: Thank you Sioux CityI said it wrong. Ive been in Iowa for too long. Im sorry.

*Explaining last week why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, Obama again botched basic geography: Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So its not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle. On what map is Arkansas closer to Kentucky than Illinois?

*Obama has as much trouble with numbers as he has with maps. Last March, on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, he claimed his parents united as a direct result of the civil rights movement:

There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.

Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965. His spokesman, Bill Burton, later explained that Obama was speaking metaphorically about the civil rights movement as a whole.

*Earlier this month in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Obama showed off his knowledge of the war in Afghanistan by honing in on a lack of translators: We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then its harder for us to use them in Afghanistan. The real reason its harder for us to use them in Afghanistan: Iraqis speak Arabic or Kurdish. The Afghanis speak Pashto, Farsi, or other non-Arabic languages.

*Over the weekend in Oregon, Obama pleaded ignorance of the decades-old, multi-billion-dollar massive Hanford nuclear waste clean-up:

Heres something that you will rarely hear from a politician, and that is that Im not familiar with the Hanford, uuuuhh, site, so I dont know exactly whats going on there. (Applause.) Now, having said that, I promise you Ill learn about it by the time I leave here on the ride back to the airport.

I assume on that ride, a staffer reminded him that hes voted on at least one defense authorization bill that addressed the costs, schedules, and technical issues dealing with the nations most contaminated nuclear waste site.

*Last March, the Chicago Tribune reported this little-noticed nugget about a fake autobiographical detail in Obamas Dreams from My Father:

Then, theres the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs dont exist, say the magazines own historians.

* And in perhaps the most seriously troubling set of gaffes of them all, Obama told a Portland crowd over the weekend that Iran doesnt pose a serious threat to uscluelessly arguing that tiny countries with small defense budgets cant do us harm and then promptly flip-flopped the next day, claiming, Ive made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave.

Barack Obamapromoted by the Left and the media as an all-knowing, articulate, transcendent Messiahis a walking, talking gaffe machine. How many more passes does he get? How many more can we afford?

Would McCain get this kind of deference?  HAS he gotten it?

Ms. Malkin asks "How many more passes does he get?".  That's a damn good question.


JIMMY KIMMEL'S DOUBLE-STUFFED OREO VIDEO

Ken Berwitz

Earlier today I blogged about a truck loaded with double-stuffed oreos,  which crashed outside of Chicago.

Jimmy Kimmel has done a short video "news report" about it, which I am showing below (if you have trouble viewing it, just click here).

If you don't get a laugh out of this video you have had a senseofhumorectomy.  Take a look and see for yourself.

video

 


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