Sunday, 08 June 2008

OBAMA UNPLUGGED

Ken Berwitz

Ever wonder what Barack Obama would sound like if his teleprompter and/or earplug were disengaged?  Whether he'd be as smooth, eloquent and articulate as our fawning media tell you he is?

Well, that apparently is what happened on Thursday during a speech of Mr. Obama's in Bristol, Virginia.  And here is how he sounded:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still impressed? 

Now:  think about two things:  1) did you even see/hear/read about this in the media?  2) What would those same media have said if it were John McCain instead of Barack Obama?


THE END OF FREE SPEECH IN CANADA

Ken Berwitz

Canada's history of, and reputation for, free speech is over.

The country has decided to put together a "human rights tribunal" to tell its citizens what they can and cannot say - one that even the UN would be ashamed of, which should tell you how consummately fraudulent, biased and arbitrary it is. 

Here is an explanation from Ezra Levant, himself an attempted victim of this commission.  It talks about what happened to a clergyman who spoke out against homosexuality:

What could Mark Steyn's punishment look like? Look at Alberta

What could Mark Steyn's punishment look like, if he's convicted by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal?

It could look like this order, issued just last week by Alberta's human rights commission, against a Christian pastor named Rev. Stephen Boission. (The substantive ruling against Rev. Boissoin can be found here. See paragraph 357 where the right not to be offended "trumps the freedom of speech afforded in the Charter." And see a thoughtful response by the former executive director of the gay rights lobby, EGALE, here.)

loriandreachuk.jpg
The kangaroo court judge in this case is a Tory patronage appointee, a divorce lawyer from Lethbridge named Lori Andreachuk, (pictured at left). That's her expertise: divorce law. Not constitutional law; not freedom of speech or freedom of religion. And it shows.

Last November, she convicted Boissoin. Last week she ordered her "remedy".

It is the most revolting order I have ever seen in Canada. Ever.

I'll excerpt a few lines from her ruling:

In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward...

That's insane already. No-one was hurt. The complainant was an officious intermeddler, a busybody, the town scold, an anti-Christian activist named Darren Lund who had an axe to grind, and Andreachuk gave it to him.

Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.

So a busybody with no standing spends time filing complaints -- and gets a tax-free reward for doing so. Oh -- and for his "suffering". Not suffering at the hands of Rev. Boission, but "as a result of his complaint". People in the community ridiculed Lund for filing the complaint -- as they should. And so Andreachuk will get the pastor to pay for that. Why the hell not? Who's going to stop her? Her political patron, Ed Stelmach?

Mr. Boissoin and [his organization] The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.

There's a lot there, starting with a small but telling point. Darren Lund is a not a medical doctor. He's a professor. But Andreachuk refers to him as Dr. Lund. Stephen Boissoin is a pastor. But Andreachuk calls him "Mr. Boissoin". No "Rev. Boissoin" for her.

But look at the staggering order there. Boissoin can never -- ever -- communicate anything "disparaging" about gays. It's a lifetime ban -- and it applies to every conceivable medium, including his private e-mails.

But nothing "disparaging"? That means nothing critical.

She didn't order him not to communicate anything "illegal" or even anything "hateful". She ordered him to say nothing disparaging. Ever. For the rest of his life.

A divorce lawyer from Lethbridge with a second-rate patronage job just ordered a Canadian pastor to stop communicating to anyone, ever, about gays. Not to stop "hate speech" -- whatever that malleable legal definition is. She just told him to shut up, period.

And then she orders that Rev. Boissoin and his group are:

...prohibited from making disparaging remarks in the future about Dr. Lund or Dr. Lund's witnesses relating to their involvement in this complaint..

Again, not banned from "hate speech", whatever that is today; but banned from disparaging remarks about Lund, an anti-Christian activist, who now is "protected" not just from Rev. Boissoin's alleged anti-gay remarks, but from his political criticism of his own tormentor. Apparently, being a busy-body human rights complainant-of-fortune is a new "protected ground" of hate speech. Become one, and no-one can ever say anything "disparaging" about you again. Ever. Not even in an e-mail.

But Chief Kangaroo Andreachuk is just getting warmed up.

Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. provide Dr. Lund with a written apology for the article in the Red Deer Advocate which was the subject of this complaint.

So Ed Stelmach's "conservative" government now believes that if it can't convince a Christian pastor that he's wrong, it will just order him to condemn himself? Other than tribunals in Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China, where is this Orwellian "order" considered to be justice?

This is like a Third World jail-house confession -- where accused criminals are forced to sign false statements of guilt. But the thing about jail-house confessions is that they at least pretend to be real. The forcible nature of them is kept secret. Not here: Andreachuk just comes out and says it: you're going to say you're sorry, even if you aren't.

That's a bizarre "remedy". It's meaningless, other than as a thought crime. We don't even "order" murderers to apologize to their victims' families. Because we know that a forced apology is meaningless. But not if your point is to degrade Christian pastors. 

Oh, and by the way, Rev. Boissoin and his organization are ordered to:

request their written apology for the contravention of the Act be published in the Red Deer Advocate.

That's the local newspaper. So Rev. Boissoin doesn't just have to issue a false apology. He has to publicly humiliate himself, by publicly declaring his contrition -- contrition he does not feel -- and his abandonment of his deeply-held religious beliefs. A second-rate government bureaucrat has ordered a Canadian pastor to publicly renounce his religious beliefs.

Does that happen anywhere outside of Communist China, or theocratic Saudi Arabia?

OK. Now the cash. Rev. Boissoin and his group:

shall pay to Dr. Lund an award for damages, jointly and severally, in the amount of $5,000.00.

Andreachuk already said Lund suffered no damages. But so what. When you're forcing a man to publicly renounce his conscience, why not stick him with the bill? In Communist China, the family of prisoners who are executed are sent the bill for the bullet that killed them. So while Rev. Boissoin's money is being divvied up, why not make him pay for the hearing, too? A witness against Rev. Boissoin, Janelle Dodd, will get her expenses paid,

up to the maximum amount of $2,000.

So, let's re-cap.

A Christian pastor has been given a lifetime ban against uttering anything "disparaging" about gays. Not against anything "hateful", let alone something legally defined as "hate speech". Just anything negative.

So a pastor cannot give a sermon.

But he must give a false sermon; he is positively ordered to renounce his deeply held religious beliefs, and apologize to his tormentor for having those views.

And then that pastor is ordered to declare to his entire city that he has renounced his religious views, even though he has not.

That's Alberta's human rights commission. That's the group where 15 bureaucrats are busily beavering away against me, because I published some Danish cartoons two years ago.

That's the same "law" under which Maclean's and Mark Steyn are charged.

Fire. Them. All. 

Speaking personally, I have no problem whatsoever with homosexuality.  Sexual preference is a personal matter, not a referendum by others. 

I also have no problem with people disagreeing with me on homosexuality (though I might not think very much of their logic or reasoning).  That is a matter of free speech.

But regardless of what I or anyone else thinks about homosexuality, empowering a government judge -a wholly unqualified one at that - to censor what a citizen can say publicly or privately?  That is what they do in fascist societies, not free ones.

So goodbye to freedom of speech in Canada.  Believe me, they'll miss it. 

And there will come a time in the very near future when the good people of this country will either speak out against what Canada has become, or will not do so out of fear that the next convicted offender will be them. 

What a horror show.


OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY

Ken Berwitz

Want to know which politicians are and are not generous to the needy?  Then take a look at Peter Schweizer's eye-opening column in today's American Spectator (www.spectator.org) and be prepared to marvel at the hypocrisy level you see. 

To make things easy for you I have put the names in bold print:

Liberal Scrooges
By Peter Schweizer
Published 6/6/2008 12:07:19 AM

Samuel Johnson once reported on a man who was privately stingy but publicly touted the merits of sharing. Dr. Johnson said sarcastically that the man was a "friend of goodness." What he meant was that flesh-and-blood goodness is very different from supporting "Goodness" in the abstract.

Many modern liberals like to openly discuss their altruism. Garrison Keillor explains that "I am liberal and liberalism is the politics of kindness." But it rarely seems to turn into acts of kindness, especially when it comes to making charitable donations.

Consider the case of Andrew Cuomo, current New York Attorney General and advocate for the homeless. He has, according to his website, "compassion toward the most vulnerable of us." And this is how the New York Times described the courtship of Kerry Kennedy (of guess which family): "Ms. Kennedy-Cuomo, 43, said she fell in love with Mr. Cuomo, 45, when he took her on a tour of a homeless shelter on their first date and agreed to fast for the labor leader Cesar Chavez."

But that advocacy should not be confused with actually giving to the less fortunate. Cuomo was a homeless advocate throughout the 1990s, but according to his own tax returns he made no charitable contributions between 1996 and 1999. In 2000 he donated a whopping $2,750. In 2004 and 2005, Cuomo had more than $1.5 million in adjusted gross income but gave a paltry $2,000 to charity.

Cuomo made no charitable contributions in 2003, when his income was a bit less than $300,000.


CUOMO IS NOT alone in this Scroogery of course. Barack Obama has a rather poor track record when it comes to charitable contributions. He consistently gave 1 percent of his income to charity. In his most charitable year, 2005, he earned $1.7 million (two and a half times what George W. Bush earned) but gave about the same dollar amount as the President.

The last two Democratic Party nominees for President have come up short on the charity scale. Al Gore has been famously stingy when it comes to actually giving his own money to charities. In 1998 he was embarrassed when his tax returns revealed that he gave just $353 to charity.

Gore's office initially defended the action, claiming that the Gores had often given "food and clothing to the homeless." But when no one showed up in cast-off clothes, Gore's spokesman Chris Lehane offered a typical "friend of Goodness" response saying that you could only "truly judge a person's commitment to helping others" you needed to see "what they have done with their lives." In other words, politics was charity work.

Senator John Kerry likewise has a poor record. In 1995 he gave zero to charity, but did spend $500,000 to buy a half stake in a seventeenth century painting. In 1993, he gave $175 to the needy. Later, of course, Kerry married the rich widow Theresa Heinz, and today is active in charitable causes using the Heinz foundation as his vehicle.

Senator Ted Kennedy has clearly relished his role over the years as a liberal Robin Hood. He once told Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal, "I come from an advantaged life, and I'll be goddamned if I'm going to get re-elected to the U.S. Senate by taking food out of the mouths of needy children." But this should not be confused with Senator Kennedy actually giving much money to needy children.

Kennedy's tax returns are obviously a closely guarded secret. But when he chose to run for President in the 1970s, he released some of them. With a net worth of more than $8 million in the early 1970s and an income of $461,444 from a series of family trusts, Senator Robin Hood gave barely 1 percent of his income to charity. The sum is about as much as Kennedy claimed as a write-off on his fifty-foot sailing sloop Curragh.

Robert Reich, once Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor and now a professor at Berkeley, has been outspoken about how greedy conservatives are. Conservatives believe in "reviving social Darwinism" and because of conservatives, "America has placed too high a value on selfishness."

But when he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he was all but forced to release his tax returns. It's not a pretty picture. Reich's 1040 reveals an income of more than $1 million, much of it giving speeches to corporations and universities for up to $40,000 a pop. He contributed just $2,714 to charity, or .2 percent of his income -- note the decimal -- and not all of that was cash. Part of it was the value of a donation of a used drum set to an organization called City of Peace.

Jesse Jackson has often claimed that he operates from a "liberal spirit of compassion and love" while conservatives are "heartless and uncaring toward the silent poor." But according to his publicly-released tax returns, he regularly donates less than 1 percent to charity.

Jackson and his family have also established a charitable foundation called the Jackson Foundation to support the underprivileged. According to tax records, the foundation board is controlled by family members and they receive large contributions from corporations. In 2004, for example, they collected $964,000 from corporations like McDonald's, Anheuser-Busch, and GMAC.

When asked on the tax form to described "direct charitable activities," the foundation responded: "none." From the close to million dollars collected, they gave away only $46,000 to a couple of colleges. The Jackson Foundation spent nearly twice that amount -- $84,172 -- on a "gala celebration" in honor of -- you guessed it -- Jesse Jackson.


NOR IS THIS liberal tightfistedness anything new. The greatest liberal icon of the 20th Century is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He is regarded by many on the left as the personification of charity and compassion, but FDR actually has a slim record when it comes to giving to charity.

Roosevelt had an average income of $93,000 ($1.3 million in today's dollars) but gave away about 3 percent of his income to charity. In 1935, during the height of the Great Depression, when people really could have used it, he donated just 2 percent.

This evidence of liberal hypocrisy is damning enough, but what really amazes is how poorly these liberals do in comparison to so-called "heartless conservatives." President Ronald Reagan, for instance, was often called heartless and callous by liberals. Unlike Roosevelt or JFK, Reagan was not a wealthy man when he became president. He had no family trust or investment portfolio to fall back on.

And yet, according to his tax returns, Reagan donated more than four times more to charity -- both in terms of actual money and on a percentage basis -- than Senator Ted Kennedy. And he gave more to charities with less income than FDR did. In 1985, for example, he gave away 6 percent of his income.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have continued this Reagan record. During the early 1990s, George W. Bush regularly gave away more than 10 percent of his income. In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney gave away 77 percent of his income to charity. He was actually criticized by some liberal bloggers for this, who claimed he was getting too much of a tax deduction.

The main point of liberal compassion appears to be making liberals feel good about their superior virtue. Such are the rewards of being a "friend of goodness."

There are the facts in black and white.  But don't expect to see them featured in mainstream media any time soon.  Especially the facts about Saint Barack.


BARACK OBAMA ON THE VALUE OF TENACITY

Ken Berwitz

From IBD via www.powlineblog.com, here is Michael Ramirez, on Barack Obama's selective admiration for tenacity; click to enlarge:

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MELTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN

Ken Berwitz

keith olbermann is the most vicious, obnoxious, nasty, below-the-belt commentator on TV.  Using these "attributes", he has developed something of a following by presenting an hour of male PMS weekday evenings at 8PM on MSNBC. 

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly is the main competition in olbermann's time-slot.  And O'Reilly blows him away in the ratings.  This absolutely infuriates olbermann, who reacts by spewing vile personal attacks on Mr. O'Reilly which are so disgusting that they shred his, and MSNBC's, reputation as a news venue.

Simply stated, keith olberamann is a 49 year old man with a 49 month old maturity level.  But because MSNBC's other shows do so poorly that olbermann is the network's biggest draw, they are loving it.

With this in mind, here is a fascinating article from one of olbermann's targets:  www.newsbusters.org.  Read Brent Baker's explanation of what olbermann said about newsbusters.org and O'Reilly.  Then read the transcripted material and see what the actual truth is:

Inaccurate Olbermann Ridicules O'Reilly for Relaying Accurate Item from 'Hilariously Inept Right-Wing Web Site NewsBusters'

By Brent Baker | June 6, 2008 - 22:38 ET

Erroneously recounting a Tuesday NewsBusters post I wrote about how, unlike ABC and CBS, the NBC Nightly News did not report the lowest U.S. death level in May for any month since the war in Iraq began, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Friday night made FNC's Bill O'Reilly his Worst Person in the World runner-up for picking up some of his features from the hilariously inept right-wing Web site NewsBusters. Olbermann proceeded to claim that NewsBusters had criticized our colleague Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News for leading Monday's newscast not with the lower May casualty figures from Iraq, but with a story on how underfunded mass transit system can't keep up with increased ridership caused by the rape of the driver by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and their oil buddies.

But Olbermann is the inept one. The June 2 NB item did not scold Williams for failing to lead with the development (nor, of course, for any rape of drivers by Bush), but for not mentioning it at any time in his newscast: ABC and CBS on Monday night managed to squeeze in -- more than 20 minutes into their evening newscasts -- brief mentions of how in May the fewest number U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began five years ago. But not NBC Nightly News.

Derogatorily impersonating O'Reilly, Olbermann recited O'Reilly's Wednesday hit on Williams as his pinhead of the night. Olbermann then asked and answered about O'Reilly: Surprised that you're a blithering sociopath cutting and pasting items from NewsBusters? No, I am not...

MP3 audio clip of Olbermann (1:13, 430 Kb). Windows Media video (4.8 MB)

 
As opposed to Olbermann who often cuts and pastes from Media Matters and other left-wing sites to find people to ridicule in his Worst Persons in the World segment?

Bill O'Reilly in his Pinheads and Patriots segment on the Wednesday, June 4 The O'Reilly Factor: 

On the pinhead front, both Charles Gibson and Katie Couric told their viewers that in May U.S. casualties in Iraq were the lowest since the war there began. But somehow, NBC's Brian Williams neglected to mention that. Somehow, old Brian could not work that in, even though his network was the biggest offender of the explosion de jure in Iraq -- carnage without context -- that we exposed last year. Since then it has stopped. Anyway, for ignoring what he has to know is an all-important story for America, Brian Williams is a pinhead. Questions: Are you surprised?
Olbermann's silver in the Friday, June 6 Worst Person in the World segment on MSNBC's Countdown:
The runner-up: Bill O, who continues to mail it in, now picking up some of his features from the hilariously inept right-wing Web site NewsBusters, such as one that criticized our colleague Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News for leading Monday's newscast not with the lower May casualty figures from Iraq, but with a story on how underfunded mass transit system can't keep up with increased ridership caused by the rape of the driver by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and their oil buddies.

Bill O said [impersonating O'Reilly's voice]: On the pinhead front, both ABC and CBS told their viewers that in the month of May U.S. casualties in Iraq were the lowest since the war there began, but somehow NBC's Brian Williams neglected to mention that. Somehow, old Brian couldn't work that in. For ignoring what he has to know is an all-important story for America, Brian Williams is a pinhead. Questions? Are you surprised?

Surprised that you're a blithering sociopath cutting and pasting items from NewsBusters? No, I am not. Surprised that you don't have a clue about what's all-important or news to Americans like any casualties in Iraq are too many, Bill, and the country's being strangled by big oil? No, I am not. Surprised that you're going on 59 and he's 49, yet you refer to him as old? No, I am not.
My June 2 item, NBC Nightly News Spikes News About Fewest Troop Deaths of War, began:
As lead-ins to short reports on the posthumous presentation of a Medal of Honor, ABC and CBS on Monday night managed to squeeze in -- more than 20 minutes into their evening newscasts -- brief mentions of how in May the fewest number U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began five years ago. But not NBC Nightly News. (And Sunday's Today and Nightly News, as well as Monday's Today, also skipped the good news.) NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday led with worries that because it's been underfunded for decades, mass transit may not be ready for all the Americans leaving their cars behind, and ran his short update, on the Medal of Honor going to Army Private First Class Ross McGinnis, without anything about the decline in troops killed.
Fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos set up his report on the White House ceremony presenting the honor to the parents of McGinnis by dampening the positive news with the total death number:
The Pentagon reported 19 American troops were killed in May. That's the lowest monthly toll since the war began. The total number of Americans killed in the war is now approaching 4,100.
On the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric also noted the total, but CBS didn't display it on screen, as she painted the fewest killed as perhaps a sign violence is going down:
In Iraq, a sign perhaps that violence is decreasing. In the lowest monthly death U.S. toll since the war began, 19 Americans were killed in May. The total U.S. toll for the war is now 4,086.

That makes it pretty clear, doesn't it? 

olbermann, whose vitriol in this segment included calling Bill O'Reilly a "blithering sociopath" is, of course, free to say things like this every day without being challenged by almost any mainstream media for his unbelievable hatred level and lack of even the slightest zephyr of professionalism.  If you read anything at all about this disgusting spectacle it is almost certain to suggest that the two of them are going at it just about the same way (you read things like "the feud between keith olbermann and Bill O'Reilly"). 

Point of order:  O'Reilly has gone further than anyone I have ever seen in NOT answering in kind.  I do not believe I have ever heard him so much as mention keith olbermann's name.  He will attack MSNBC generally, but not olbermann personally.  I suspect this is because he has determined (correctly in my opinion) that if he responds in kind it creates an equality between the two that benefits olbermann and hurts him.

As far as most of our mainstream media are concerned?  Try and find an article that mentions the things olbermann says about O'Reilly and that O'Reilly does not respond in kind.

It is hard not to conclude that many of them cover olbermann's back because, politically, he is on their side. 


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