Tuesday, 09 September 2008

JOE BIDEN AND TAXPAYER-FUNDED ABORTIONS

Ken Berwitz

I do not mean this blog entry as an argument for or against abortions.  I mean it only to show the hypocrisy level of Joe Biden in making claims about his abortion record.

Read this from www.lifenews.com:

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Joe Biden repeatedly made the claim in a Sunday interview on the NBC political show "Meet the Press" that he opposes taxpayer funding of abortions. However, a look at his voting record over the years reveals numerous instances where Barack Obama's pro-abortion running mate did exactly that.

"I don't support public, public funding. I don't, because that flips the burden. That's then telling me I have to accept a different view," he said on the program.

As recently as February, Biden voted against an amendment that would permanently prevent abortion funding at Indian health care service facilities. The amendment from Sen. David Vitter would codify a longstanding policy against funding of abortions with federal Indian Health Service (IHS) funds.

The language of the Vitter amendment follows the Hyde amendment, which prohibits direct funding of abortion under Medicaid except in very rare cases when the mother is a victim of rape or incest or when the pregnancy threatens her life.

The Senate voted 52 to 42 for the Vitter amendment and several Democrats joined Republicans in passing it, though Biden was not one of them.

In April 2005, Biden voted against the Mexico City Policy, which President Bush instituted to prohibit taxpayer funding of groups that promote or perform abortions overseas. He also voted for international abortion funding in July 2003.

In a May 2003 vote, Biden also voted for a pro-abortion amendment to repeal the law that prohibits performance of abortions of military base hospitals, all of which are taxpayer-funded.

The Senate defeated the amendment by just three votes and the margin would have been larger had Biden voted against it.

Biden voted for taxpayer-funded abortions at military base medical centers in June 2002 along with votes in May 1999 and June 2000.

In fact, according to voting records from the National Right to Life Committee, Biden hasn't voted against taxpayer funding of abortions since a July 1999 vote prohibiting the funding of abortions in the health plans of federal employees.

Let's face it.  It isn't easy to be a liberal Democrat and a practicing Catholic.  That is because the liberal Democrat position favors abortion under almost all circumstances, while Catholicism teaches that there is a human life at the point of conception and therefore an abortion is infanticide.

Because of this you get ridiculous contortions of  "logic" from people like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy and others, such as "I personally am against abortion but I cannot impose my beliefs on others".  This literally translates into "I believe you're killing an innocent child but, hey, it's your call"

Using that same logic Mr., Biden would be unable to vote for a law making it illegal for mothers to kill their 5 year olds.  Why?  Because if you truly believe life begins at conception, a 5 year old is no more or less alive than a 5 week old in the womb.  And you "...cannot impose my beliefs on others".  See the problem? 

Look, I don't envy Joe Biden this predicament.  I don't know how I would handle it if I were him.  But I do know that when he makes claims about his voting record on Meet The Press, those claims ought to bear at least some resemblance to how he actually voted.


THE TODAY SHOW: A LESSON IN BIASED REPORTING

Ken Berwitz

I watched the Today show this morning.  On it, there was a report about Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and the so-called "bridge to nowhere" (the bridge in Ketchikan, Alaska that wound up not being constructed).

First off, let's acknowledge that the bridge is certainly a legitimate issue.  In its final form it would have cost something like $200,000,000 - $400,000,000 and provided minimal value for that money.

The Today show pointed out that Sarah Palin supported the bridge.  A video was shown from a year or two ago in which she said as much. 

Today then showed a very recent video of Barack Obama ridiculing Ms. Palin for claiming to be against the bridge.  Mr. Obama assured his audience that "you can't just make stuff up" and ended with a sure applause-getter, "the American people (i.e. you guys in the audience) are not stupid".

Afterwards, Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw discussed the meaning and import of this issue without any additional facts being brought to viewers' attention.

So what's my problem?

My problem is that the Today show lied by omission.  It left out entire parts of this issue that would have had a material affect on viewers' opinions.

Specifically, the Today show left out these facts:

1) Although Sarah Palin was initially supportive of the bridge she changed her position and was then against it.  And before you assume her change was a convenient flip-flop concocted for her Vice Presidential run, be advised that she changed her position long before John McCain selected her, probably long before he even considered her.  

The Palin people claim that her initial support was for a far more modest bridge.  Then, when the project got to D.C. and blossomed into a $200 - $400 million spectacular, she came out against it.

Is that true?  I don't know.  It is certainly plausible, which argues for her.  And it is certainly politically convenient, which argues against her.  But, regardless, there is no doubt that she changed positions and did so long before anyone was offering her a spot on the McCain ticket.

2) Barack Obama, unlike Ms. Palin, did not change his position on the "bridge to nowhere".  When it came up for a vote in the U.S. Senate, Mr. Obama voted for it.  Then, when it was challenged by Senator Tom Coburn (a Republican, it should be noted) and came up for a second vote in the senate?  Barack Obama voted for it again.

At the time Barack Obama was voting for the bridge, Sarah Palin was already on record as being against it. 

This means that, when Mr. Obama sneers out comments that "you can't just make stuff up....the American people are not stupid", he is not talking about Sarah Palin.  He is talking about himself.

3)  And Joe Biden?  He voted for the "bridge to nowhere" both times as well.  Just like his running mate Barack Obama.

If you know these facts, does it not change how you view Ms. Palin and Mr. Obama when it comes to the "bridge to nowhere"? 

Well, the millions of people who look to the Today show for news and information did not hear one word of it.  Their opinion is being formulated without this information.  It is therefore being formulated from half the story. 

Simply stated, the Today show took people who wanted to become informed and instead made them ignorant.  And it did so in a way that would clearly have made them more sympathetic to Barack Obama and less to the McCain-Palin ticket.

That is Today's lesson in how media bias works.  Do you like it?

free How is that not fraud? (09/09/08)


RACISM AND STUPIDITY

Ken Berwitz

What do you call a student - a student heavily involved with the Republican party, it should be noted - who thinks it's funny to insult Barack Obama's "big lips"? 

For me, words like "racist" and "stupid" immediately come to mind. 

Here, courtesy of an excerpt from the Associated Press article, is what I am referring to:

Student GOP leader resigns over Obama remark

ALLENTOWN, Pa. The leader of a statewide group of college Republicans has been forced to resign after posting racially insensitive comments about Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on the Internet.

Adam LaDuca, 21, the former executive director of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans, wrote on his Facebook page in late July that Obama has "a pair of lips so large he could float half of Cuba to the shores of Miami (and probably would.)"

LaDuca, who previously had called Martin Luther King Jr. a "pariah" and a "fraud," also wrote: "And man, if sayin' someone has large lips is a racial slur, then we're ALL in trouble."

The College Republicans asked LaDuca to resign after his remarks were publicized by the Pennsylvania Progressive, a blog written by a Democratic committeeman from Berks County. The group announced LaDuca's resignation on its Web site Friday.

"The comments were completely uncalled for and very offensive," said Anthony Pugliese, 22, a senior at West Chester University and chairman of the College Republicans, an umbrella group with more than 50 chapters statewide. "The P-A College Republicans do not accept or tolerate racism in any way."

There are some things that intelligent or even semi-intelligent people know like the back of their hand.  They know that:

-If you talk about how big a Jew's nose is, you're engaging in a classic anti-Semitic attack. 

-If you speculate on how many times an Irish guy gets drunk you're engaging in a classic anti-Irish attack. 

-And if you make a dumb, unfunny joke about the size of a Black man's lips you are engaging in a classic anti-Black attack -- an attack made even worse by also conspicuously invoking the word "man" which, itself, is a word used to stereotype Black people.

This was a classicly anti-Black statement.  Period.

Maybe Mr. LaDuca didn't mean it to come out that way.  I don't know one way or the other.  But I do know that the minute he put his name to that offensive filth he disqualified himself as a spokesman for any legitimate political group. 

Goodbye and good riddance.


SOME FACT CHECKS FROM FACTCHECK

Ken Berwitz

I've already blogged about most of this.  But, in case you missed any, here is a quick compendium of fraudulent attacks on Sarah Palin, courtesy of www.factcheck.org

Weve been flooded for the past few days with queries about dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCains running mate, Gov. Palin. We find that many are completely false, or misleading.

  • Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent. She didnt cut it at all. In fact, she tripled per-pupil funding over just three years.
  • She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a What if? question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palins first term.
  • She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. Shes been registered as a Republican since May 1982.
  • Palin never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president. She once wore a Buchanan button as a courtesy when he visited Wasilla, but shortly afterward she was appointed to co-chair of the campaign of Steve Forbes in the state.
  • Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaskas schools. She has said that students should be allowed to debate both sides of the evolution question, but she also said creationism doesnt have to be part of the curriculum.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Democratic party has dispatched an "army" of 30 slime merchants to Alaska with the sole purpose of digging up any and everything they can on Ms. Palin.  Here is the beginning of the article:

The Hunt for Sarah October
City slickers invade Wasilla
September 9, 2008
Democrats understand Sarah Palin is a formidable political force who has upset the Obama victory plan. The latest Washington Post/ABC Poll shows John McCain taking a 12-point lead over Barack Obama among white women, a reversal of Mr. Obama's eight-point lead last month.


It's no surprise, then, that Democrats have airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau and Mrs. Palin's hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background. My sources report the first wave arrived in Anchorage less than 24 hours after John McCain selected her on August 29.

They've been there for over a week now.  Is this the best they can come up with?

Are these people in trouble or what?


AN HONEST LOOK AT OBAMA'S 'BIPARTISANSHIP'

Ken Berwitz

The Lugar-Obama legislation.  Barack Obama keeps making reference to it as if he was some kind of bipartisan prime mover and shaker who crossed the political aisle and shepherded major legislation through the United States Senate.

But did he?  Or is this another paper-thin "accomplishment" that Mr. Obama has been able to wildly exaggerate because the mainstream media have given him a free pass on it?

Well, let's see.  Here is an article from Scott Johnson of www.powerlineblog.com which takes an honest look at Mr. Obama's involvement:

It would be nice if the press would bring just one reporter back from Alaska to look into Senator Obama's legislative claims. If you'll bear with me, I think a few details on "signature" Lugar-Obama legislation bear fleshing out because The One is being an out-and-out fabulist.

In one of Obama's television ads, and in countless press interviews, Obama claims that he "reach[ed] out to Senator Lugar...to help lock down loose nuclear weapons." Not true.

A little background::

The Soviet-Nuclear Threat Reduction Act passed in 1991(!) and was signed by George H.W. Bush. It was renamed the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction ACT in 1993. It was meant to secure Russia's nuclear stockpile and to help pay for eliminating Russia's excess strategic weapons. By the time that Obama entered the Senate the legislation had mostly accomplished its main goals (securing Soviet nuclear warheads and destroying delivery systems). In fact, Russia had long since begun building new nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

What Obama's legislation did was extend and amend this already wildly successful legislation. But the real substance of amendment had nothing to do with nuclear weapons. Just the opposite. The new authorities in Obama's amendment dealt only with conventional weapons.

Here are his amendments to section 11 of the State Department Authorization Act of 2006:

(a) In General- The Secretary of State is authorized to secure, remove, or eliminate stocks of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), small arms and light weapons, stockpiled munitions, abandoned ordnance, and other conventional weapons, including tactical missile systems (hereafter in this section referred to as 'MANPADS and other conventional weapons'), as well as related equipment and facilities, located outside the United States that are determined by the Secretary to pose a proliferation threat.
And Section 12:
a) Statement of Policy - Congress declares that it should be the policy of the United States to hold foreign governments accountable for knowingly transferring MANPADS to state-sponsors of terrorism or terrorist organizations.
This amendment didn't start any work on securing nukes, nor did it finish it. It doesn't even mention nuclear weapons. In fact, you could argue that it diverted us from securing "loose nukes."

And look at that Section 12 statement of policy, again. It's vintage Obamian bunny rabbits and rainbows. Keep in mind that the largest manufacturer of MANPADS is Russia. And the country that most often transfers them to terrorists is Iran. Just how did Obama want to "hold them accountable"? Tickle them to death? Write them a very nasty letter? He doesn't say.

This legislation that Obama claims as his own was couched in the annual State Department Authorization...he wasn't even a cosponsor of that larger bill. His amendment had been folded into the larger authorization much earlier (yes, by unanimous consent).

But we can actually take this one step further. After the bill's passage, the US went on a worldwide hunt to buy up MANPADs. Unable to get the MANPADs out of the hands of real enemies, we twisted the arms of allies to give up air defense stockpiles we deemed superfluous. One of the easiest targets? Georgia. We browbeat Georgia into giving us its MANPAD stockpile, which was their only air defense. We all know the rest of the story. Georgia was smart enough to go buy a few new MANPADs from places like Poland (against our loud protestations), but when Russia invaded last month they didn't have nearly enough to protect themselves against Russia's onslaught.

Obama shouldn't be allowed to get away with this.

It's too bad the big boys at the Washington Post can't be bothered to look seriously into Obama's tall tales of bipartisan accomplishment. You'd think this story might be up their alley. Unfortuntately, they're busy at the moment checking up on Governor Palin's per diem as governor of Alaska.

Bottom line:  Barack Obama's claims about the Lugar-Obama legislation are demonstrably untrue.  And, as I've pointed out already, the only reason he has gotten away with these untruths is that our "neutral" media look the other way and allow him to.

Hello.  Calling mainstream media?  Anyone home?


DEBUNKING STILL ANOTHER ATTACK ON PALIN

Ken Berwitz

This is getting ridiculous. 

Now it's the Washington Post. 

Today's edition has a page 1 story on Sarah Palin and her expense account.  Here is the first part of that story.  Please read the headline - think about what it communicates to you - and then read the rest, paying special attention to the parts I've put in bold print.

Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home

Taxpayers Also Funded Family's Travel

Sarah Palin and John McCain campaign at the John Knox Village retirement community in Lee's Summit, Mo.
Sarah Palin and John McCain campaign at the John Knox Village retirement community in Lee's Summit, Mo. (By Dave Kaup -- Getty Images)
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 9, 2008; Page A01

ANCHORAGE, Sept. 8 -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.

Gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Monday that Palin's expenses are not unusual and that, under state policy, the first family could have claimed per diem expenses for each child taken on official business but has not done so.

Before she became the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee, Palin was little known outside Alaska. Now, with the campaign emphasizing her executive experience, her record as mayor of Wasilla, as a state oil-and-gas commissioner and as governor is receiving intense scrutiny.

During her speech at the Republican National Convention last week, Palin cast herself as a crusader for fiscal rectitude as Alaska's governor. She noted that she sold a state-owned plane used by the former governor. "While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for," she said to loud applause.

Speaking from Palin's Anchorage office, Leighow said Palin dealt with the plane and also trimmed other expenses, including forgoing a chef in the governor's mansion because she preferred to cook for her family. The first family's travel is an expected part of the job, she said.

"As a matter of protocol, the governor and the first family are expected to attend community events across the state," she said. "It's absolutely reasonable that the first family participates in community events."

The state finance director, Kim Garnero, said Alaska law exempts the governor's office from elaborate travel regulations. Said Leighow: "The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it."

The popular governor collected the per diem allowance from April 22, four days after the birth of her fifth child, until June 3, when she flew to Juneau for two days. Palin moved her family to the capital during the legislative session last year, but prefers to stay in Wasilla and drive 45 miles to Anchorage to a state office building where she conducts most of her business, aides have said.

Palin rarely sought reimbursement for meals while staying in Anchorage or Wasilla, the reports show.

Unbelievable, isn't it?  That headline clearly suggests Ms. Palin is a hog who stuffs her pockets with taxpayer money by padding her expense account.  But in reality, not only is she doing no such thing but Ms. Palin takes substantially less in expense account money than she is entitled to.

Here, fascinatingly, is the same article, but with another headline .  This one is from the Fort Wayne, Indiana Journal-Gazette, which evidently subscribes to the Washington Post news service.  Read it and shake your head in amazement:

Published: September 9, 2008 6:00 a.m.

Alaska law backs Palin expenses

Washington Post

Let me emphasize, again, that this headline is for THE EXACT SAME STORY.  Notice any difference?

There will be books written about the intensity -- and dishonesty and viciousness -- of attacks on Sarah Palin in this campaign.

I don't know who will be writing them, but they'll be written.  I would not at all be surprised if one or more are already in progress.


DID BARACK OBAMA CALL SARAH PALIN A PIG?

Ken Berwitz

Do you think that title is dishonest or misleading?  Well, don't.  It's neither.

Here is an article from the Boston Globe which shows you what I mean.  The bold print is mine:

Swift blasts Obama over 'pig' comment

Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor September 9, 2008 07:13 PM

Jane Swift went quickly to work this evening as a leader of a brand new "truth squad" defending GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, excoriating Barack Obama for a comment he made while campaigning in Virginia today.

Obama told voters that they shouldn't believe John McCain and Palin's talk about reforming Washington. "You can put lipstick on a pig," Obama said. "It's still a pig."

"You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still gonna stink," Obama added. "We've had enough of the same old thing."

Republicans took offense, saying that was a personal attack on Palin, who during the GOP convention speech last week, asked delegates if they knew the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull. Pointing to her mouth, she exclaimed, "Lipstick."

Swift told reporters on a conference call that Obama's comment was "disgraceful" and that "he owes Governor Palin an apology."

Challenged about how she could be sure that Obama was referring to Palin, Swift replied, "She's the only one of the four presidential or vice presidential candidates who wears lipstick."

Swift also said Obama's remark was different than McCain comparing Mitt Romney to a pig during their free-for-all before the New Hampshire primary. "Never get into a wrestling match with a pig. You both get dirty -- and the pig likes it," McCain said then.

Swift said Obama's comment was gender-specific.

The Obama campaign, however, pointed out that McCain used the same phrase while criticizing Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan, saying it was the same as the one she pushed as first lady. "I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," he said of her proposal.

The former Massachusetts governor said it's only the latest in a series of offensive comments from Obama and his supporters. She said that after going up against Hillary Clinton in the primaries, Obama's campaign "would have figured out how to respectfully" debate a female candidate.

"This is just the same old low road," Swift said.

Republicans also blasted Obama for describing Palin in Michigan on Monday as a "mother, governor, moose shooter."
The McCain campaign issued a statement today from Walter Morse, co-chairman of New Hampshire Sportsmen for McCain: "What Barack Obama dismisses as a 'moose shooter' we in New Hampshire call a 'sportsman' or a 'moose hunter.' Senator Obama has demonstrated once again that he doesn't understand rural America -- and after suggesting that many of us 'cling' to religion and guns, he also doesn't seem interested in learning. Although the sportsmen's community knows Barack Obama is no friend, this comment reinforces the critical need for hunters and anglers to mobilize behind our allies John McCain and Sarah Palin."

Could this be getting worse?

Every day that Barack Obama goes after Sarah Palin instead of John McCain is a day that John McCain wins.

And every day that Barack Obama finds a new way to personally insult Sarah Palin is a day that Barack Obama loses.

That looks like the same direction to me.

etsuVol This is about the dumbest "issue" ever. Like somebody pointed out, McCain used the same phrase earlier! Complaining about the comment just looks desperate and that the main reason they put Palin on the ticket was to complain when she was attacked. There's plenty of issues to debate without having to invent some. (09/11/08)

Gina Obama's lip stick / pig remark ... and, Biden's unsavory children with special needs remarks show us what a couple of creeps these two candidates are. In lieu of Sarah Palin's comment about hockey moms, pit bulls and lip stick, Obama's lip stick/ pig remark was extremely demeaning. Even though I am not an Obama supporter, at least I thought he had some degree of class and sophistication. He can try to cover his tracks by saying that the lip stick remark was not directed towards Governor Palin, but anyone with half a brain knows that's exactly what he meant. I think Obama knows his campaign is in real trouble, and that's why he's stooping to such desperate, insulting and distasteful attacks. Obama is definitely not Presidential material. (09/10/08)


JOE BIDEN AND THE ASBESTOS CLASS ACTION SUIT

Ken Berwitz

I wonder if media can take a little time out from its nonstop attempts to crucify Sarah Palin.  Maybe they could invest that time in looking at Joe Biden's connections to the asbestos industry.

Steve Gilbert at www.sweetness-light.com provides the details, and - unlike most of what we've been treated to about Ms. Palin - they are actually fact-based. 

Here, see for yourself:

Biden Killed Bill For Top Asbestos Donors

September 9th, 2008

What a shock.

Mr. Biden killed legislation that would have hurt his top donors, relatives and friends who all just happen to be involved in highly lucrative asbestos class action lawsuits.

From the legal journal, the AM Law Daily:

Sen. Joe Biden appears with son Beau, who was a partner in a law firm that specializes in asbestos class action lawsuits.

ELECTION 2008: The Legal Ties That Bind the Bidens

Posted by Rachel Breitman

Although he hasnt practiced law in over 30 years, newly-minted vice presidential nominee Joe Biden remains a favorite son in the legal community.

Like all potential VPs, Joe Biden was thoroughly vetted by the Obama campaign, his relationships to lobbyists carefully analyzed. The Am Law Daily did some of its own vetting of the new nominee and the extensive legal ties that bind the Bidens. Older son Beau, 39, followed his father into politics, and is currently the attorney general of Delaware. Younger son Hunter is a partner at Oldaker, Biden & Belair, a Washington law and lobbying firm. Hunter stepped down from the firms lobbying affiliate in 2006 in keeping with a Senate ethics bill requirement. His firm was retained as legal counsel to the Biden campaign and paid more than $57,000 this year.

The senator has longstanding relationships with law firms that donated to his congressional races and his two bids for the White House. Top contributors for his recent run were the Law Office of Peter Angelos in Baltimore, Maryland, which donated $156,250; SimmonsCooper in East Alton, Illinois contributed $146,600; Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones in Wilmington gave $145,625; and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor in Wilmington gave $127,979.

Many of those firms have handled asbestos and bankruptcy cases, issues Biden has weighed in on from his seat on the judicial committee. Biden was a critic of the failed Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act of 2005, which would have trimmed returns on future litigation and hurt firms like SimmonsCooper, a billion dollar asbestos practice which used son Beaus former law firm, Bifferato, Gentilotti, Biden & Balick (now Bifferato Gentilotti), as local counsel to file asbestos suits in Delaware. Angelos firm also represents asbestos clients, and Stargatt & Taylor has handled mass tort asbestos cases, representing court-appointed advocates for unknown future claimantsindividuals representing people who have been exposed to asbestos but have not yet become sick.

On the other side of the asbestos issue, Pachulski Stang, a bankruptcy boutique, counsels companies that filed for Chapter 11 after being hit with a multitude of asbestos claims

And here is a little more information on exactly what Mr. Biden did for all of that money, from, of all places, USA Today:

Biden move had intersection of interests

Updated 8/27/2008

DENVER Sen. Joe Biden worked to defeat a bipartisan bill designed to curb asbestos lawsuits at a time his sons law firm was filing them in Delaware and a former aide was lobbying against the measure, according to public records and interviews.

Biden, a longtime ally of trial lawyers who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, opposed legislation that would have replaced thousands of lawsuits with a trust fund for asbestos victims. He proposed a series of amendments in 2003 and 2005 that backers of the bill viewed as poison pills designed to kill the bill, said Lawrence Fineran, a lobbyist who supported the measure.

Supporters including chief sponsors Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. said the measure would end abusive litigation that had bankrupted dozens of companies. Critics, including Biden, said it would leave some victims without compensation. In February 2006, Biden joined a majority of Democrats, including Sen. Barack Obama, in voting to defeat the bill

The Delaware Democrat had ties to opponents of the asbestos measure at the time he worked against the bill, a USA TODAY review shows:

His older son, Beau Biden, was a partner in a Wilmington law firm that was filing asbestos lawsuits and seeking to develop a specialty in that area, according to firm partner Connor Bifferato

His former Senate aide, John T. Dorsey, was a lobbyist representing three asbestos-related clients from 2003 to 2005 who opposed the bill. In May, Dorsey became treasurer of Bidens political action committee, records show

Employees at three law firms that specialize in asbestos litigation are among Bidens top 10 all-time contributors, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Employees at those law firms have given him $411,000 since 1989, according to the center.

Asked if Biden should have disclosed his son was working on asbestos cases, Wade said: No. Sen. Biden was a well-known opponent of the asbestos bill, and Beau Biden was a prominent attorney who was working on behalf of mesothelioma victims.

And a look at the numbers from the Center For Responsive Politics, Open Secrets site:

(Please note that MBNAs ranking also indicates a similarly blatant conflict of interest for Mr. Biden that we have discussed elsewhere.)

Of course Mr. Obama scored one of his (two) triumphs of his community organizing career when he asked the managers of a housing development to remove asbestos from their buildings. Which they agreed to immediately.

But you would think that Mr. Biden outrageous conflicts of interest would attract some of our mainstream journalists to investigate the story.

Though that might distract them from their 24/7 Sarah Palin witch hunt

Is it just me, or does this appear to be worth a look by mainstream media?  Then again Mr. Biden does have a D instead of an R after his name, doesn't he?  So I guess that largely ends the issue.

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


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