Monday, 14 July 2008

THE NEW YORKER'S INCREDIBLY TASTELESS FRONT COVER

Ken Berwitz

Here, so help me god, is the cover of the latest issue of The New Yorker:

.

I have read a couple of explanations of this appalling image.  Some people think it is despicably anti-Obama, some think it is slyly, subtlely pro-Obama.  But nothing I have read explains away it's unbelievably bad taste.

The New Yorker should be ashamed of itself.

free "Lekane This image is really just showing what Fox and co had to say about Obama these last months. I agree though it's a mistake. (07/14/08)" I love it, a left leaning magazine prints this and it is what FOX or the R's would or are doing. NO it is this magazine not FOX. A D says something racist and it is explained away as that is what the R's playbook will be, again NO it was a D that said it. Is that what this election is going to be Ds saying racist things or media printing racist or inappropriate things with the tag line this is what the R's are all about? What a great strategy say all these things then paint it as the R's being the racists. (07/14/08)

Lekane This image is really just showing what Fox and co had to say about Obama these last months. I agree though it's a mistake. (07/14/08)

J Hauser The cover of The NewYorker is beyond bad taste, it is disgusting and common. I can only imagine what they have instored for John McCain. I will not read this trash magazine again and we should all boycott it and email them and say so. It is one thing to disagree with someone politically but this crosses over the line of any decency! (07/14/08)


HOLLYWOOD'S IDEA OF "NEUTRALITY"

Ken Berwitz

Here, via excerpts from an Associated Press article about a barroom fight involving movie stars and crew members, is an insightful look into what Hollywood considers neutrality:

Brolin, Wright, others in film crew arrested
Jul 14 08:58 AM US/Eastern

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Wright, along with members of a crew filming an Oliver Stone movie, were arrested during a bar fight Saturday morning, police said.

Shreveport police Sgt. Willie Lewis said Brolin, Wright and five others were arrested just after 2 a.m. at a club called the Stray Cat bar.

A call to Brolin's publicist was not immediately returned Saturday night.

"W" began filming in May in Shreveport. Brolin plays President Bush and Wright plays former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The cast also includes Elizabeth Banks as first lady Laura Bush, Ellen Burstyn and James Cromwell as the elder Bushes and Thandie Newton as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Brolin appeared in three films last year, "In the Valley of Elah," "American Gangster" and "No Country for Old Men," which won the best-picture Oscar.

Wright won a Tony Award for "Angels in America" on Broadway and a Golden Globe for the same role in the television miniseries. He also has appeared in "Syriana," "Ali" and "Casino Royale."

"W" is Stone's third presidential film, following "Nixon" and "JFK." He also directed the Vietnam sagas "Born on the Fourth of July" and "Platoon," which won four Oscars including best picture and director.

Stone has said the film, which will focus on the life and presidency of Bush, won't be an anti-Bush polemic, but, as he told Daily Variety, "a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from being an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?"

Please note the movies I put in bold print.  Every one is severely anti-US foreign policy and/or highly critical of the USA. 

Then we have Oliver Stone, who does movies of that genre as a matter of course, calling the President of the United States an "alcoholic bum" who somehow got into the oval office.

But it won't be anti-Bush, you see.

They take you for absolute idiots, don't they?


WHERE THE OBAMA MONEY IS REALLY COMING FROM

Ken Berwitz

I don't recall any politician who has been more publicly pious about where his/her money is coming from than Barack Obama.  One of the key parts of his piety is that he would accept public funding (with its limitations) if he were to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

But, like pretty much everything else with Mr. Obama, his position on public funding was about as fluid as water down your drainpipe during a monsoon.  He reversed himself on this pledge just about the time he figured out that there was more $$$ in it for him the other way.

Since the issue of campaign money has been turned on its ear by Mr. Obama's switcheroo, I thought you might be interested in where a ton of his campaign money comes from.  Here, via a great article by John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, is the answer.:

OPINION

Obama's Liberal Shock Troops

By JOHN FUND
July 12, 2008; Page A11
Denver

While he is a skilled candidate, Barack Obama's ability to surprise, stun and sweep over the vaunted Clinton Machine to capture the Democratic nomination was rooted in his background as a community organizer. He's now turning those skills to the general election.

But liberals aren't just on the march on the presidential level. This year, liberal activists are spending parts of the fortunes of their wealthy donors to transform politics at the state and local level.

In 2005, billionaire investor George Soros convened a group of 70 super-rich liberal donors in Phoenix to evaluate why their efforts to defeat President Bush had failed. One conclusion was that they needed to step up their long-term efforts to dominate key battleground states. The donors formed a group called Democracy Alliance to make grants in four areas: media, ideas, leadership and civic engagement. Since then, Democracy Alliance partners have donated over $100 million to key progressive organizations.

Take Colorado, which has voted Republican for president in nine of the last 10 presidential elections. But in 2006, Colorado elected a Democratic governor and legislature for the first time in over 30 years. Denver will be the site for the party's 2008 presidential convention. Polls show Barack Obama would carry the state today. This hasn't happened by chance. The Democracy Alliance poured money into Colorado to make it a proving ground for how progressives can take over a state.

Offshoots of leading liberal national groups were set up including Colorado Media Matters in 2006, to correct "conservative misinformation" in the media. Ethics Watch, a group modeled after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was started and proceeded to file a flurry of complaints over alleged campaign finance violations -- while refusing to name its own donors.

Western Progress, a think tank to advance "progressive solutions," opened its doors as did the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, one of 29 such groups around the country. Then there's Colorado Confidential, a project of The Center for Independent Media, which subsidized liberal bloggers. CIM has set up similar ventures in Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan, with funding from groups such as the Service Employees International Union, and George Soros's Open Society Institute.

On the electoral front, Progressive Majority Colorado has set up seven offices with the goal of "recruiting progressive leaders" as candidates. America Votes-Colorado promises to coordinate the largest voter mobilization effort in the state's history. "All of this activity has flown under the radar," says Ed Morrissey of the conservative blog Captain's Quarters. "But efforts to change the political ground game may have real long-term consequences."

More audaciously, in Michigan, signatures have been filed to put a sweeping reorganization of state government on this November's ballot. The measure, pushed by a group called "Reform Michigan Government Now," contains at least 36 distinct provisions that take up a dozen pages of fine type. "It's a Trojan Horse dressed up as My Friend Flicka," says Lawrence Reed, president of the conservative Mackinac Center.

In a recession-wracked state seething with public anger at elected officials, the measure hits populist notes by cutting the size of the legislature and reducing the salaries of top officeholders. But on voting, it would mandate no-excuse-needed absentee voting -- despite a long history of vote-fraud scandals involving absentee votes in Detroit and other cities. A redistricting commission would be set up to reshape political boundaries, but state courts would be barred from reviewing any plans it draws up. (Only federal courts could review the boundaries.) Voters would also be barred from rejecting or amending the commission's work by initiative.

There is also a direct attack on the judiciary. The initiative reduces the state's Supreme Court to five members, down from seven, and the state's Court of Appeals to 20 judges, down from 28. Saving money appears not to be the motive: Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm could appoint 10 newly created circuit court judges. The net result would be that conservatives would lose control of the state Supreme Court, because the two justices who would be removed would be the last two appointed by GOP Gov. John Engler. Of the eight appeals court judgeships that would be eliminated, six are now held by people with GOP backgrounds.

"It's a strange reform that benefits one political party exclusively at all three levels of the judiciary," observes Mr. Reed. "Is the intent that the judiciary become just another arm of one of the political parties?"

The financing for the initiative is mysterious and will not be publicly revealed until campaign finance reports are due in late September or early October. But the measure appears to be a Democratic effort. The campaign is being quarterbacked by a former Democratic state legislative leader, and Mark Brewer, the state's Democratic Party chair, says his party supports the measure.

Should Mr. Obama be elected, he would become not just the head of the Democratic Party but also the inspiration for a large number of liberal groups. Some of them would no doubt lobby him to hand out taxpayer grants and contracts for their nonpolitical "community" efforts.

Indeed, Mr. Obama has extensive connections with the granddaddy of activist groups, Acorn (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which has gotten millions in government grants for its low-income housing programs. In 1992, Acorn hired Mr. Obama to run a voter registration effort. He later became a trainer for the group, as well as its lawyer in election law cases.

Acorn's political arm has endorsed Mr. Obama while its "voter education" arm has pledged to spend $35 million to register people this fall -- despite a history of vote fraud scandals that have led to guilty pleas by many Acorn employees.

The housing bill now before Congress would set up a slush fund for community organizations such as Acorn. But Acorn has gone quiet in its lobbying for the bill this week with the news that one of its employees -- the brother of Acorn founder Wade Rathke -- had stolen nearly $1 million from the group. Mr. Rathke decided not to alert law enforcement or the organization's board, and kept his brother employed at Acorn until last month. "Is this the kind of group we want getting taxpayer money?" asks Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.)

But Acorn may play, along with other liberal groups, a leading role in electing Mr. Obama. Such groups deserve a closer look now, before their influence and possibly their clout grow dramatically after the November election.

Barack Obama is a politician.  Right out of the Chicago Democratic machine.  He says and does anything to get elected, no matter how contradictory it is to yesterday's promises.  Don't let the honey-coated voice and the soothing tones fool you -- he has no problem at all working with people like the ones described by Mr. Fund.  As you can see.

Now, how many stories about this have you seen on the network news?  In the NY Times or LA Times or the Today show, etc.? 

How many will you see?

When do these so-called neutral venues drop a dime on Obama and expose any of this to their audiences?  The week after the election,maybe?

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


PUTTING THE TOILET SEAT DOWN

Ken Berwitz

Until I learned for good, my wife used to yell at me a lot because I didn't put the toilet seat down.

Here, courtesy of www.thesmokinggun.com is an alternative way of doing so that most guys probably would just as soon not learn:

Cops: Woman Battered Beau With Toilet Seat

Floridian, 18, attacked after finding boyfriend smoking crack in loo

 JULY 14--Meet Kimberlee Ann Cole and Joel Goldsmith. The Florida woman, 18, allegedly assaulted her boyfriend with a toilet seat after finding him smoking crack in a bathroom of their home Friday afternoon. Cole told cops she battered Goldsmith, 24, after he "refused to give her the drugs," according to an arrest affidavit prepared by Fort Pierce police. Goldsmith "refused to stop smoking the drugs and Ms. Cole hit [him] with the toilet seat," the affidavit notes. As the couple--parents to an eight-month-old boy--scuffled in the bathroom, Goldsmith dropped a cocaine rock in the shower and Cole tried to wash it down the drain. Responding to a 911 call placed by a female roommate of the pair, police found blood on the bathroom's walls, floor, and toilet. They also recovered a broken toilet seat, though the affidavit does not indicate whether it was broken over Goldsmith's head or was in disrepair prior to the July 11 incident. In the shower, investigators found a "small amount of a substance" which field tested positive for cocaine. Cole and Goldsmith, pictured in the mug shots below, were charged, respectively, with domestic battery and cocaine possession. Goldsmith, who would not tell cops what happened in the bathroom, suffered two lacerations on his forehead (and smaller cuts) during the confrontation.

All I can say is, Goldsmith's stash wasn't the only dope in the room.

And it's pretty clear that Ms. Cole is real big on putting the toilet seat down when she's pissed.

Ok, there's two bad puns about this bizarre story.  Now you can make up your own.  I'm sure if you come up with one you'll be flushed with success.


OBAMA AND JERUSALEM

Ken Berwitz

This one is for the people, non-Jewish and Jewish (I know plenty, both in and out of my family) who support Israel and are intending to vote for Barack Obama.  It comes to us from www.crossactionnews.com, which is part of Israel Today:

Obama: I never promised an undivided Jerusalem

Posted on July 14, 2008

By Israel Today Staff

 Ahead of an upcoming visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, US presidential candidate Barack Obama reiterated on Sunday that he never intended to support Israels position that Jerusalem remain its eternal, undivided capital.

Obama said in an interview with CNN that he had used poor phrasing in a speech last month that most took to be an unprecedented vote of support by a US presidential candidate for Israels refusal to surrender half of its biblical capital to the Palestinian Arabs.

Addressing the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) just days after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination in June, Obama declared that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.

In Sundays interview Obama clarified that the point we were simply making is that we dont want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to how it was prior to the 67 war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent.

Obama is scheduled to visit the region next week to discuss his intended policies. Meetings with top Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders have already been confirmed.

Right-wing Israeli lawmakers later warned in remarks to Israels Walla news portal that Obamas deceptive rhetoric make him a serious threat to Israel if he is elected president.

A poll conducted last week by the Peace Index Project at Tel Aviv University found that 46 percent of Israelis prefer that Obamas opponent, Senator John McCain, win the upcoming US presidential election. Only 20 percent of respondents said they want Obama to win.

Go ahead, folks. Cast your vote for the Democrat who you know is ok with handing part Israel's capital to an implacable enemy committed to its destruction.  And who had no problem reaping as many Jewish votes as he could by promising the exact opposite to AIPAC.  (Oh, sorry, my mistake.  He didn't actually say it, he said something that sounded exactly like it but was "poorly phrased".  It only took him a month to correct it.)

Look  at it this way:  if/when Mr. Obama signs on to handing half of Jerusalem to Palestinian Arabs, you can just figure out a way to blame it on George Bush and Republicans, not the guy you elected.

That shouldn't be hard.  A supporter of Israel who can figure out a rationale to vote for Barack Obama, can figure out a rationale to do anything.


FRAMING THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Ken Berwitz

Here is a fascinating, and instructive, blog from Brent Baker of www.newsbusters.org about how Democrats are trying to cover for Barack Obama's nonexistent rsum and ongoing gaffes and lies.  It also is a glimmer of hope that not all media are in the tank for Mr. Obama:

Halperin Scolds CNN, Charges Press in Cahoots with Democrats

With WORST. WEEK. EVER? on screen above the promise of NO BIAS, NO BULL, Friday's CNN Election Center show devoted a story to John McCain's bad week, but afterward, Mark Halperin, the former ABC News political director now with Time magazine, declared that McCain's challenge are less his supposed gaffes than his problem is stopping the press and the Democrats from making this what the election is about. Specifically, I think the problem is that the press right now and the Democrats are trying to seize on every mistake, the Democrats are being very adept at creating the story of the day when John McCain misspeaks.

Before Halperin, the 8 PM EDT CNN show anchored by Campbell Bran ran a set up piece by Dana Bash who ran through a series of events in McCain's campaign, such as Phil Gramm's America is in a mental recession, but also McCain's politically perilous decision to express in Michigan his pro-free trade position. Halperin scolded her:

I have great respect for Dana Bash, but I'd say that some of the examples in her piece, I don't think were particularly bad. John McCain is a free trader. We've had free traders as Presidents who've been elected almost every election in modern times. So I don't think everything that the press is picking on is necessarily a gaffe or a problem.

Halperin's comments on the July 11 CNN Election Center, as provide to me by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
I think Senator McCain was having a pretty good week until Phil Gramm said what he said. You know, I have great respect for Dana Bash, but I'd say that some of the examples in her piece, I don't think were particularly bad. John McCain is a free trader. We've had free traders as Presidents who've been elected almost every election in modern times. So I don't think everything that the press is picking on is necessarily a gaffe or a problem. Earlier in the week, I thought they did a good job of taking advantage of Senator Obama's mistakes. The problem they have, the two problems they have that I think this week shows, one is, his advisors need to keep their mouths shut and not say bad things. What Senator Gramm said is going to hurt at least with the elites who are paying attention now, and probably eventually with real voters. The other problem they have is, what Dana talked about, his style is to talk a lot -- talk in town meetings, talk to reporters. And it is difficult to talk a lot and not occasionally go off message, whether he makes a slip-up or not, because the press will seize on what the press wants to seize on. That is a problem that I don't think they've solved.

Campbell, I think the problem is that the press right now and the Democrats are trying to seize on every mistake, the Democrats are being very adept at creating the story of the day when John McCain misspeaks. I don't think that's what this election should be about. There were other examples during the week, something he said about Social Security, the Democrats are driving it hard. I do think Steve Schmidt will do better than the previous regime at fighting back. But this isn't what the election should be about. There are real big issues, but for now, his problem is stopping the press and the Democrats from making this what the election is about.

Yes, it is true that John McCain can meander off course during an extemporaneous give-and-take.  But then again so do I.  Often.  Who doesn't?

Maybe the fact that Barack Obama is running at full speed away from his promise to do a series of town hall-type meetings with Mr. McCain indicates that he is appreciably worse at it than Mr. McCain.  One good indication was last week's "it's embarrassing" comments, in which he basically indicated that the average USA citizen is a provincial ignoramus.

Simply stated, there is no way to get around the fact that media, for the most part, are in the tank for Barack Obama. 

And there is no way to get around the fact that Barack Obama is a different person with different positions the minute there's something in it for him.


BARACK OBAMA'S TAKE ON 9/11

Ken Berwitz

The great Charles Johnson of www.littlegreenfootballs.com has unearthed a piece that Barack Obama, then a state senator from South-side Chicago, wrote just after 9/11.

Here it is, complete with Johnson's comments.  And is he ever on the money!

Obama: 9/11 Was 'A Failure of Empathy'

Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 10:01:38 am PDT

Eight days after the atrocities of September 11, 2001, Barack Obama wrote a piece for the Hyde Park Heraldand blamed the attacks on a failure of empathy.

Even as I hope for some measure of peace and comfort to the bereaved families, I must also hope that we as a nation draw some measure of wisdom from this tragedy. Certain immediate lessons are clear, and we must act upon those lessons decisively. We need to step up security at our airports. We must reexamine the effectiveness of our intelligence networks. And we must be resolute in identifying the perpetrators of these heinous acts and dismantling their organizations of destruction.

We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.

We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globechildren not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores.

Obamas comments display an appalling disconnect from reality.

Osama bin Laden came from one of the richest families in the world. None of the 9/11 attackers were poor; if anything, they could be considered middle class. Ringleader Mohammed Atta was educated as an architect in the West.

Almost everything Obama wrote in this article was proven wrong. And he gave absolutely no consideration at all to the ideology of radical Islam, which is much more to blame than any imaginary poverty or lack of empathy.

And now hes within reach of the presidency.

Here is a quick little exercise for you:  Think about what happened on 9/11/01.  Then think about what Barack Obama wrote.  Now....based on what he wrote, what (if anything at all) would he have DONE about it?

If you don't know the answer, and are not deeply concerned - maybe even damn scared - about the answer, I doubt that I can reach you.


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