Thursday, 29 May 2008


Ken Berwitz

For the past few days there has been a tremendous buzz about former Bush Press Secretary Scott McLellan's as-yet-unreleased book, "What Happened".  The main issues on which Mr. McLellan attacks the Bush adiministration (not always President Bush himself) are the valerie plame "leak" and the leadup to the war in Iraq.

I have not commented on any of this so far, because I have seen too many instances where an unreleased book which appears to attack Republican/conservative targets is excerpted very differently than what the book actually means to convey.

That said, however, this does not appear to be one of those instances.  Scott McLellan was (I assume that is past tense now) a valued member of the Bush media team and he does not - at least so far - appear to be assuring us that anything being reported about his book is taken out of context.

Here is an excerpt of an article from that spells out the problem McLellan presents for the Bush administration:

Former Aide McClellan Blames Bush, Rove in CIA Case (Update3)
By Holly Rosenkrantz and Ken Fireman

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a memoir that he unintentionally misled the public about the leak of a CIA operative's name because of misinformation given to him by President George W. Bush, political adviser Karl Rove and other top officials.

A three-paragraph excerpt from the book released today by the publisher doesn't give details of what the president told McClellan. The case eventually led to the indictment and conviction of Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

``I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby,'' McClellan, 39, wrote. ``There was one problem. It was not true.''

McClellan wrote that he ``unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff, and the president himself.''

White House Response

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said last night that the president ``has not and would not ask anyone to pass on false information.'' She directed reporters to call McClellan, saying he believes the excerpts were taken ``out of context.''

McClellan didn't return a phone call and an e-mail requesting comment.

McClellan doesn't suggest that Bush deliberately lied to him about Libby's and Rove's involvement in the leak, said Peter Osnos, founder and editor-in-chief of Public Affairs Books, which is publishing McClellan's memoir next year.

``He told him something that wasn't true, but the president didn't know it wasn't true,'' Osnos said in a telephone interview. ``The president told him what he thought to be the case.''

In an interview with CNN in March, McClellan said he had said what he ``believed to be true at the time'' and ``it was also what the president believed to be true at the time, based on assurances that we were both given.''

He said he spoke directly with Rove and Libby. Referring to press briefings he gave in 2003 denying Rove and Libby's involvement, McClellan told CNN: ``Knowing what I know today, I would have never said that back then.''

Given the history of how tell-all books like this are presented by media - and the fact that one of Mr. McLellan's assertions doesn't make any sense to me (Richard Armitage has admitted to and apologized for being the one who leaked valerie plame's name), I am going to wait and see.  But not for long, I promise. 

More on this in the near future.


Ken Berwitz

Kwame Kilpatrick is the thoroughly corrupt, thoroughly discredited mayor of Detroit. 

The problem is that, while pretty much everyone on both sides of the political aisle seem to know this, Mr. Kilpatrick either doesn't know it, or does but doesn't care.

The Detroit city council (filled with members of Kilpatrick's own Democratic Party) has passed a resolution asking the governor to remove him from office.  That should tell you how bad things are.  

But Mr. Kilpatrick, in a move worthy of Robert Mugabe (another impossibly corrupt man who thinks he is above the law, not to mention simple decency) has vetoed the resolution. 

The Detroit Free Press has published an excellent editorial in today's edition about Kilpatrick and his veto.  Here it is:

Round and round they go, and where Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the City Council will stop, no one knows.

Actually, one person does have a leg up on deciding when the craziness -- which reached new lows Tuesday with the mayor attempting to veto the council's resolution asking the governor to remove him -- will end.

His name is Kwame Kilpatrick, and if he has any regard for the city's operation, its image, reputation or future, he'll do the right thing soon and leave. Get out of the way. Stop the antics and maneuvering and blustering.

Just go.

Kilpatrick's behavior Tuesday is all about self-preservation and aggrandizement. What else could explain a move so futile, so redolent of the fantastical ploys you'd be more likely to find in an Alice-in-Wonderland type of story?

On what basis does the mayor really believe he might veto an effort that attempts to remove him for misconduct? It's absurdity gone wild.

Of course, Kilpatrick and his lawyers are aided in their silliness by the city's charter, which doesn't make clear on what basis the legislative branch may act to remove the executive, what process it should follow, or what standard of proof it ought to use. If nothing else, Kilpatrick's scandal reminds all Detroiters that the charter's many weaknesses loom as a serious structural challenge for the city to address in the near future.

But first, Kilpatrick has got to go. The legal maneuvering between him and the council has just begun, and already it's better for laughs than it is for serious debate.

Kilpatrick can put an end to all of it by doing the right thing, the thing nearly everyone knows he must do. Resign, and free the city from this nightmarish feeling of having fallen through the rabbit hole.

The impression I'm left with is that Kilpatrick will try to finish out his term by trying whatever legal maneuverings and shenanigans he can come up with, however ridiculous they are and however much they hurt the city (if only he'd worked this hard to be a good mayor!) until his term runs out. 

And, this being Detroit, I would not in any way be surprised if he ran for re-election - and won!

Well, if he succeeds, he succeeds.  But if he doesn't?  There's always Zimbabwe.  His brand of make-it-up-as-you-go-along governance would fit in just fine there.


Ken Berwitz

Sad news from the entertainment world. 

Harvey Korman, the wonderful comedic actor best known for his work on the Carol Burnett Show - and the guy who Tim Conway could break up just about at will - died tonight in Los Angeles.  He was 81 years old.

Mr. Korman suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm months ago, which normally kills people right then and there.  Somehow he held on until today. 

He spent 12 years with Carol Burnett and made countless people laugh countless times.  He also starred in several Mel Brooks films, including Blazing Saddles (He was Hedley Lamarr) and The History of the World, Part 1.

From all accounts, Harvey Korman was a classy, decent man.  He certainly was a talented one.  He will be greatly missed.

May he rest in peace.


Ken Berwitz

Several days ago I blogged about an especially moronic comment by the one-time successful actress Sharon Stone in which she suggested, among other things, that the earthquakes in China were the result of bad karma. 

Here is Ms. Stone's entire quote:

"Well you know it was very interesting, because at first I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else.  And, so, I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that, because I don't like that, and then I've been dis, y'know, concerned about, oh, how we should deal with the olympics because they're not being nice to the Dalai Lama who's a good friend of mine.  And then all this earthquake and all this stuff happened and I thought, is that karma, when you're not nice that the bad things happen to you, and then I got a letter from the Tibetan Foundation that they wanted to go and be helpful, and that made me cry.   And they asked me if I would write a quote about that and I said that I would, that it was a big lesson to me,  that sometimes you have to learn to put your head down and be of service, even to people who aren't nice to you, and that's a big lesson for me."

Do you hear a faint chorus of "tra la la la la" at the end of her statement, the way I do?  Just curious....

Anyway, China did not exactly react to Ms. Stone's wit and wisdom with unbridled glee.  And this resulted in one of the products she endorses having to take quick, decisive action - as seen in this excerpt from an Agence France Presse article:

Hollywood star Sharon Stone has apologised for suggesting China's earthquake was bad "karma" for its handling of Tibet, but Christian Dior on Thursday dropped her from its local ads amid a public uproar.

The 50-year-old US actress offered to help with relief efforts after the May 12 quake that killed nearly 70,000 people, in an effort to smooth over tensions sparked by her controversial comments at the Cannes Film Festival last week.

"My erroneous words and deeds angered and saddened the Chinese people, and I sincerely apologise for this," she said in a statement issued by Dior China and sent to AFP on Thursday.

"I'm willing to participate in any earthquake relief activity and to do my utmost to help Chinese people affected by the disaster," she added.

But Dior said Stone -- who promotes the French luxury brand's anti-ageing skin-care line, among other products -- would no longer appear in its ads in China.

"In light of the negative reaction that Sharon Stone's inappropriate remarks have triggered, Dior China has decided to immediately cancel and stop any advertisements, marketing campaigns and commercial activities associated with Sharon Stone," it said.


Wow.  How can you beat that for a sincere apology?  I wonder if she'll retract it now that she lost the endorsement gig.

Let me say that, despite my obvious sarcasm here, I do not hate or even strongly dislike Sharon Stone.  I've always found her demeanor on TV to be smug and arrogant, but I don't know what kind of a person she is in real life. 

On the other hand, it is nice to see a pampered movie star have to pay a price for her ridiculous comments.  I only wish it happened more often with this crowd.




Ken Berwitz

This latest installment of "you can't make this stuff up" comes to us from the Rocky Mountain News:

Phone home: Purported UFO video to be shown Friday

Originally published 03:15 p.m., May 28, 2008
Updated 07:01 p.m., May 28, 2008

Jeff Peckman

Jeff Peckman

A video that purportedly shows a living, breathing space alien will be shown to the news media Friday in Denver.

Jeff Peckman, who is pushing a ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission in Denver to prepare the city for close encounters of the alien kind, said the video is authentic and convinced him that aliens exist.

"As impressive as it is, it's still one tiny portion in the context of a vast amount of peripheral evidence," he said Wednesday. "It's really the final visual confirmation of what you already know to be true having seen all the other evidence."

When Peckman went before city officials this month to discuss his proposed ET initiative, he promised to show the video.

Peckman said the general public will have to wait to see it because it's being included in a documentary by Stan Romanek.

"No one will be allowed to film the segment with the extraterrestrial because there is an agreement in place limiting that kind of exposure during negotiations for the documentary," he said.

But people won't have to wait too long to see it for themselves.

"There is an open, public meeting in about a month in Colorado Springs," Peckman said. "We'll hope to do one in Denver at some point, and then in a few months, there will be the documentary that anybody can have, and it'll have the footage."

An instructor at the Colorado Film School in Denver scrutinized the video "very carefully" and determined it was authentic, Peckman said.

Peckman, 54, said the video was among the reasons he was "compelled" to launch the proposed ballot initiative, which has generated news as far as South Africa.

"It shows an extraterrestrial's head popping up outside of a window at night, looking in the window, that's visible through an infrared camera," he said. The alien is about 4 feet tall and can be seen blinking, Peckman said earlier this month.

In a statement, Peckman said "other related credible evidence" proving aliens exist will be shown at Friday's news conference, too.

In 2003, Peckman authored an off-beat ballot initiative that would have required the city to implement stress-reduction techniques. The "Safety Through Peace" initiative failed, but garnered 32 percent of the vote.

.An "Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission"? 

Who will head it?  Jeff Peckman or Beldar Conehead?  Maybe they can combine the two;  then it could be run by Jeffdar Peckerhead.

Like the title says, you can't make this stuff up.


Ken Berwitz

I acknowledge that, at first glance, the title of this blog seems pretty ridiculous.

But is it?

Look at what has uncovered, via information supplied by one of its readers:

The Soros-McClellan Connection

Wed, May 28, 2008 at 7:28:40 pm PST

The hat tip for this post goes to LGF reader John Williams in Texas.

The company that published Scott McClellans new Bush-bashing book is PublicAffairs Books, and their Editor at Large is a guy named Peter Osnos: About The Century Foundation.

The owner of PublicAffairs Books is a company called Perseus Book Group. Heres their ownership tree: Perseus Books Home.

The firm is owned by Perseus Funds Group (holding company Perseus LLC), a capital management firm that grew from about $20 million in 1995 to over $2 billion now. Big infusions of cash seemed to help it grow exponentially, and it closed funds almost as fast as it opened them. The board has tons of liberals from the Clinton and Carter Administrations, with far-left credentials that almost put Osnos to shame. Their web site is here: PERSEUS - merchant bank and private equity fund management.

If you go to the New York Department of State web site and enter Perseus in the Business Organization search, you get this on page 2 of the results:

Hi, George!

UPDATE at 5/29/08 9:20:56 am:

Heres the direct connection between Perseus Funds Group and PublicAffairs Books: PERSEUS Portfolio - Perseus Books Group.

Perseus Books is a leading publisher of non-fiction books, publishing titles under seven distinctive imprints: Basic Books, Da Capo Press, PublicAffairs, Running Press, Basic Civitas, Counterpoint, and Westview Press.

Let me ask you a question:  If this can be uncovered by some guy who reads the little green footballs blog, and put out by little green footballs this fast, how come mainstream media don't have a clue about it?

Is it that the story line - a hit job on President Bush - is too good to muddy with the fact that the publisher is a George Soros enterprise? 

One of two things is true.  Either mainstream media are clueless about this obviously key piece of information, or they know about it and decided YOU shouldn't have a clue.

Remember that as Scott McLellan makes the rounds.


Ken Berwitz

This blog entry is not directed toward people who believe what Barack Obama said about his "spiritual mentor" jeremiah wright, whom he was thisclose to for almost 20 years. 

If you remember, first Mr. Obama said he never heard wright say anything hateful (a blatant lie.  wright preaches Black liberation theology, which is as hateful as any klan meeting). 

Then he said that he was never there to hear anything offensive that wright said. (Another blatant lie.   Again, wright's ministry is BASED on hatred, and it is impossible that Obama didn't hear it there). 

Then, in his Philadelphia "race speech" - the one that Chris Mouthews is still drooling over - he changed his story to, well, yes I did hear him say offensive things, and that's just awful, but I would no more disown this offensive man than I would disown my racist grandmother.  (No one has ever been able to figure out why he took down his grandmother that way.  She's still alive, and I would have loved to hear their next telephone call.)

That, too, turned out to be a lie since just a couple of weeks later he disowned wright.  (I wonder how granny made out).

If you believed what Obama said, you are incapable of logic or reason so don't bother reading any further.

Ok.  Now that we've cleared out the fools and dupes, let me show you what Obama's church was a party to just this past weekend. 

One of the few White people who preach there is Father michael pfleger.  pfleger is, in my opinion, a lunatic left nutcake who sees just about everything through a racial prism.  To Barack Obama, however, he is a "moral compass" (his words, folks, not mine).

Here is what Father pfleger had to say from that pulpit over Memorial Day weekend, courtesy of  Watch it by clicking below, or just read the transcript.  See what you think about Mr. Obama's "moral compass":

Hes baaaack: Obama supporter Rev. Michael Pfleger flogs Hillarys white entitlement on the pulpit

By Michelle Malkin    May 29, 2008 11:48 AM

Ive reported before on Obama supporter/spiritual advisor/Jeremiah Wright chum/Farrakhan cheerleader Rev. Michael Pfleger and his racial demagoguery (see March 29 and April 30).

Pfleger, who until recently was featured on the Obama campaign website as a spiritual endorser, was back at Obamas Trinity United Church this weekend mocking Hillary Clintons white entitlement. Its one thing to ridicule Hillarys sense of political and ideological entitlement as part of the Clinton dynasty. But the demagogic emphasis on her race from this hate preacher on the pulpit is quite another thing. You really have to see his performance to believe it.

Heres the video thats getting around. Ive transcribed it below as well if you cant stomach the antics:

Pastor Otis Moss: He needs no introduction. Hes a friend of Trinity, hes a brother beloved. Hes a preacher par excellence. Hes a prophetic, powerful pulpiteer. He is our friend. He is our brother. He is none other than Father Michael Pfleger. (Crowd on its feet, standing ovation, loud applause). We welcome him once again

Pfleger: [Unintelligible] to address the one who says, Well, dont hold me responsible (gesticulating) for what my ancestors did. But you have enjoyed the benefits of what your ancestors did and unless you are ready to give up the benefits (voice rising), throw away your 401 fund, throw away your trust fund, throw away all the money you put into the company you WALKED INTO BECAUSE YO DADDY AND YO GRANDDADDY AND YO GREATGRANDDADDY(screaming at the top of his lungs)UNLESS YOURE WILLING TO GIVE UP THE BENEFITS, THEN YOU MUST BE REPSONSIBLE FOR WHAT WAS DONE IN YOUR GENERATION CUZ YOU ARE THE BENEFICIARY OF THIS INSURANCE POLICY! (Wild gestures, wild applause).

We must be honest enough to expose white entitlement and supremacy wherever it raises its head.

I said before I dont want this to be political because, you know, Im very unpolitical (mocking tone, huge laughter).

When Hillary was crying (gesturing tears, uproarious laughter from audience)and people said that was put onI really dont believe it was put on.

I really believe that she just always thought This is mine (laughter, hoots). Im Bills wife. Im WHITE. And this is mine. And I jus gotta get up. And step into the plate. And then out of nowhere came, Hey, Im Barack Obama. And she said: Oh, damn! WHERE DID YOU COME FROM!?!?! (Crowd going nuts, Pfleger screaming). IM WHITE! IM ENTITLED! THERES A BLACK MAN STEALING MY SHOW. (SOBS!) SHE WASNT THE ONLY ONE CRYING! THERE WAS A WHOLE LOTTA WHITE PEOPLE CRYING!

Im sorry. I dont wanna get you in any mo trouble. The livestreaming just went out again

There you have it.  Barack Obama's new pastor and Barack Obama's moral compass.  Add them to his spiritual mentor jeremiah wright. 

Anyone who thinks this will not be a front-burner issue in the upcoming campaign is nuts.  And anyone who thinks this will not severely damage Barack Obama's chances to win the presidency is even more nuts.

How much longer before we hear another "sincere" denunciation from Mr. Obama, this time taking down michael pfleger?  Maybe he can use his racist grandmother as a prop again.  Look at how well that worked last time.

UPDATE:  I just made the mistake of tuning in Dan Abrams' MSNBC show, "The Verdict".  I got there just in time to hear him sneeringly refer to attacks against Barack Obama's relationship with michael pfleger as "right wing propaganda" and to then attack Fox News for paying too much attention to jeremiah wright.

Got that?  Barack Obama's "moral compass screams out a racist screed in Barack Obama's church and Barack Obama's pastor praises him to the skies.  But in the happy horsemanure world of Dan Abrams, mentioning this is right wing propaganda. 

Some people call Abrams' network A Mess NBC.  They have a point.

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