Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Ken Berwitz

Today we got proof that even a Harvard law school graduate can be taught new things.

Today John McCain made a speech calling on Barack Obama to go along with him and suspend their first debate (scheduled for Friday) until there is a resolution of the pending financial legislation.  McCain also called for senators to come together in a bipartisan way, put party politics aside and get things done for the country.

Specifically, John McCain said:

America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administrations proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday nights debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

Is it a good idea?  Yes of course it is.

Is it a good political move?  No.  That would not do it justice.  It is an utterly brilliant political move.

In one five minute speech, John McCain showed the country that he is a leader; a man willing to act swiftly, forcefully and in a bipartisan manner. 

By contrast, Barack Obama was reduced to saying "yeah, what he said".  In other words, he comes across as a follower who is going along with what a leader took the initiative to do.

If ever there was a situation where one candidate took the other to school, this was it.  And don't think it will be lost on voters.


UPDATE:  Barack Obama just held a short press conference.  He said that a) he is available but does not at this time want to get involved in the issue and b) he thinks they should debate on Friday regardless of whether this is resolved.

I guess he didn't learn a thing.


Ken Berwitz

Here, verbatim, is a statement issued by Michael Goldfarb of the McCain campaign that accuses the New York Times of lying about Mr. McCain, and being hopelessly compromised in its support of Barack Obama.

Other than the title I will not put anything in bold print, because it is so important that you read every word:

A Partisan Paper of Record

Today the New York Times
launched its latest attack on this campaign in its capacity as an Obama advocacy organization. Let us be clear about what this story alleges: The New York Times charges that McCain-Palin 2008 campaign manager Rick Davis was paid by Freddie Mac until last month, contrary to previous reporting, as well as statements by this campaign and by Mr. Davis himself.

In fact, the allegation is demonstrably false. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis separated from his consulting firm, Davis Manafort, in 2006. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis has seen no income from Davis Manafort since 2006. Zero. Mr. Davis has received no salary or compensation since 2006. Mr. Davis has received no profit or partner distributions from that firm on any basis -- weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual -- since 2006. Again, zero. Neither has Mr. Davis received any equity in the firm based on profits derived since his financial separation from Davis Manafort in 2006.

Further, and missing from the Times' reporting, Mr. Davis has never -- never -- been a lobbyist for either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Mr. Davis has not served as a registered lobbyist since 2005.

Though these facts are a matter of public record, the New York Times, in what can only be explained as a willful disregard of the truth, failed to research this story or present any semblance of a fairminded treatment of the facts closely at hand. The paper did manage to report one interesting but irrelevant fact: Mr. Davis did participate in a roundtable discussion on the political scene with...Paul Begala.

Again, let us be clear: The New York Times -- in the absence of any supporting evidence -- has insinuated some kind of impropriety on the part of Senator McCain and Rick Davis. But entirely missing from the story is any significant mention of Senator McCain's long advocacy for, and co-sponsorship of legislation to enact, stricter oversight and regulation of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- dating back to 2006. Please see the attached floor statement on this issue by Senator McCain from 2006.

To the central point our campaign has made in the last 48 hours: The New York Times has never published a single investigative piece, factually correct or otherwise, examining the relationship between Obama campaign chief strategist David Axelrod, his consulting and lobbying clients, and Senator Obama. Likewise, the New York Times never published an investigative report, factually correct or otherwise, examining the relationship between Former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson and Senator Obama, who appointed Johnson head of his VP search committee, until the writing was on the wall and Johnson was under fire following reports from actual news organizations that he had received preferential loans from predatory mortgage lender Countrywide.

Therefore this "report" from the New York Times must be evaluated in the context of its intent and purpose. It is a partisan attack falsely labeled as objective news. And its most serious allegations are based entirely on the claims of anonymous sources, a familiar yet regretful tactic for the paper.

We all understand that partisan attacks are part of the political process in this country. The debate that stems from these grand and sometimes unruly conversations is what makes this country so exceptional. Indeed, our nation has a long and proud tradition of news organizations that are ideological and partisan in nature, the Huffington Post and the New York Times being two such publications. We celebrate their contribution to the political fabric of America. But while the Huffington Post is utterly transparent, the New York Times obscures its true intentions -- to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama -- under the cloak of objective journalism.

The New York Times is trying to fill an ideological niche. It is a business decision, and one made under economic duress, as the New York Times is a failing business. But the paper's reporting on Senator McCain, his campaign, and his staff should be clearly understood by the American people for what it is: a partisan assault aimed at promoting that papers preferred candidate, Barack Obama.

One of these two - either the New York Times or the McCain campaign - is lying. 

You just read the statement -- which of them do YOU think it is?


Ken Berwitz

Joe Biden has spent weeks attacking Sarah Palin on the issue of earmarks.  To hear Mr. Biden tell it, you'd swear he never even heard the word until Ms. Palin was nominated as John McCain's running mate.

With this in mind, please read the following verbatim transcript from yesterday's "Anderson Cooper 360" show on CNN.  See what you think about Mr. Biden's attacks then:


SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's what I call a Bridge to Nowhere, an absolute Bridge to Nowhere. That is a bridge too far.


COOPER: So Senator Biden, understandably, likes to bring up Alaska's Bridge to Nowhere almost as much as his opponent, Sarah Palin, although for different reasons.

Biden has some other bridges of his own that he has to account for, however. Special investigations unit correspondent Drew Griffin is also Keeping Them Honest.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last week, it became part of his stump speech. If you believe Senator McCain and Governor Palin are good for America's road to recovery, Joe Biden says you'd better check their road map.

BIDEN: I've got also a bridge I've got to sell you. And guess what? It's in Alaska, and it goes to nowhere.

GRIFFIN: Perhaps Biden believes the Bridge to Nowhere is the symbolic bridge to cross into the White House.

BIDEN: John McCain's answers for the economy -- and we're in such desperate shape -- is the ultimate Bridge to Nowhere. It's nowhere, it takes you nowhere.

GRIFFIN: But hold on, Senator Biden. Keeping him honest, we decided to check on 116 reasons in Delaware that one Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska may not be such a good Democratic talking point. Because 116 is this number of earmarks Senator Biden asked for this year alone. The total bill to taxpayers, more than $342 million.

He told our "AMERICAN MORNING" they're all justified. BIDEN: Every one has seen them. And we have no Walter -- you know, we have no Lawrence Welk Museum. We have no bridges to nowhere in Delaware. It's all straight up.

GRIFFIN: Straight up? We went to Delaware to see for ourselves. True, there is no Lawrence Welk museum. But Biden does want a million dollars for a children's museum. Another million dollars for opera- house renovations. Hundreds of thousands for this tiny waterfront park.

(on camera) and believe it or not, there is also a bridge, maybe not to nowhere. But after the tourists have gone at this time of year, the Indian River Inlet Bridge can seem like a bridge between two nowheres.

CAROL EVERHART, REHOBOTH BEACH-DEWEY BEACH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: We need a new bridge. And we are so fortunate that this is finally at a place where it's going to happen.

GRIFFIN: Carol Everhart, with the local chamber of commerce, says the Indian River Inlet Bridge is a vital link in the tourist trade, connecting the vacations towns of Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach.

Without this bridge, she says 30,000 summer vacationers a day would have to drive an extra 35 minutes. The bridge has some erosion problems, and if it ever collapsed, it would cause economic disaster here, Everhart says.

EVERHART: The bridge, as it is, is currently safe.

GRIFFIN: So why is Senator Biden asking for $13 million for this bridge now? That's what Bill Allison of the watchdog group, the Sunlight Foundation, wants to know.

BILL ALLISON, SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION: Essentially what Senator Biden is doing is say that, while my state's bridge gets the priority dollars, even though it's not a priority project.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Now the real twist in this story. Senator Biden must really like bridges, because not only does he want you to help pay to replace this bridge here in Delaware, despite what he's been saying on the campaign trail, he actually voted for Alaska's Bridge to Nowhere, twice.

(voice-over) That's right. He and Senator Barack Obama were among the 93 senators who voted for the massive 2005 transportation bill funding the Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere and thousands of other projects across the country.

And when another senator tried to divert the Bridge to Nowhere money to fix a bridge to New Orleans damaged by Katrina, senators Biden and Obama and 80 other senators present voted against the amendment.

ALLISON: Yes. They had a chance to vote specifically against the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, to redirect the money, and they chose not to.

GRIFFIN: John McCain, who always opposed earmarks, was not in the Senate that day and did not cast a vote. Sarah Palin wasn't even the governor yet.


COOPER: So what does Biden say about his votes on the Bridge to Nowhere and his earmarks to replace the safe bridge in Delaware?

GRIFFIN: Well, of course, Anderson, we wanted to ask him directly. But as Ed Henry said, these candidates are somewhat in hiding. The campaign just never got back us to on when or if we could sit down and talk with Senator Biden.

COOPER: We've always, on this program -- you've been the one who's driving this -- made a big distinction between those who try to hide their earmarks and those who at least are public and open about them. Has Senator Biden been open about his earmarks?

GRIFFIN: According to the Sunlight Foundation, this is the first year, Anderson, the first year in his 36-year Senate career, that he's actually released his earmark requests in advance.

Remember last year we asked everybody in Congress about their earmarks and whether they'd show them with us? Well, our summer interns did. Remember that?


GRIFFIN: Well, Senator Biden never got back us to then either. So this is the first time we're actually seeing his earmark requests in advance.

COOPER: Drew Griffin, "Keeping Them Honest." Drew, thanks.

So tell me;  after reading that are you impressed with Joe Biden's attacks on Sarah Palin?  Or, maybe, do you think that Joe Biden is full of beans -- more exactly the result of them?

I rest my case. 


Ken Berwitz

From the redoubtable Steve Gilbert of

How Cute! An Obama Ad Lies About McCain

September 24th, 2008

From McClatchy:

Out of bounds! Obama falsely accuses McCain of blocking stem-cell research

By Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers Tue Sep 23

Throw the flag on: Barack Obama .

Call: Pulling opponent by the face mask.

What happened: Obama is accusing John McCain of blocking stem-cell research, using a charged appeal from the mother of a diabetic child to slam McCain falsely as someone whos blocking a cure.

Stem-cell research could unlock cures for diabetes, cancer and Alzheimers, too, says an Obama radio ad thats airing in selected states. But John McCain has stood in the way. Hes opposed stem-cell research. Picked a running mate whos against it. And hes running on a platform even more extreme than George Bushs on this vital research. John McCain doesnt understand that medical research benefiting millions shouldnt be held hostage by the political views of a few.

The ad then hits home with an emotionally charged appeal from a woman whos identified as the mother of a child with diabetes.

For Maddy and millions of others, stem-cell research can unlock cures, the woman says in the ad. Barack Obama understands that. But John McCain just doesnt.

Why thats wrong: McCain doesnt oppose stem-cell research. He supports it.

Hes voted to lift President Bushs restrictions on federal financing and to expand federal financing of stem-cell research. At some political peril, he stood by that stand during the Republican presidential primaries, when it threatened to cost him support from social conservatives.

Stem-cell research has the potential to give us a better understanding of deadly diseases and spinal cord injuries affecting millions of Americans, McCain said in April 2007 as he voted to support federal financing.

In 2004, he was one of 14 Republicans who signed a letter to Bush urging him to lift restrictions on the research, which they said had the potential to treat and better understand deadly and disabling diseases and conditions that affect more than 100 million Americans, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and many others.

The fact is John McCain has been a champion for stem-cell research, which holds the promise of curing devastating diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, Sen. Arlen Specter , R- Pa. , said Tuesday.

John McCain bucked the majority of our party in standing strong with me in urging the Bush administration to lift restrictions on stem-cell research, and last year voted to overturn the Bush policy.

Penalty: Set Obamas credibility back 15 yards for manhandling the truth.

Gee, isnt it cute how this journalist chose to report this little white lie.

Like its all a game. Well, it really isnt. Its our countrys future.

That Mr. Obama lies so facilely and regularly shows all we really need to know about him.

That our media finds it all so amusing tells us just how much they value the truth as well.


Ken Berwitz

The Democratic Party would like you to believe it is in the process of passing legislation to open up offshore drilling.  This would be wonderful news to a large majority of voters, who want just that.

But there is a bit of a problem;  namely, that the bill is a fraud, which prevents rather than allows the offshore drilling we need.

Investor's Business Daily published an editorial in yesterday's edition which explains it fully, and shows how blatantly we are being played by the Democratic leadership.  Here it is (the bold print is mine):

The Democrats' 'Kill Drill' Bill


Posted 9/23/2008

Energy Policy: With nearly 70% of voters demanding more domestic oil, the Democratic Congress is about to sneak a new drilling ban into a must-pass government funding bill while claiming it supports drilling.

Earlier this month, Rasmussen Reports found that 69% of voters support offshore oil drilling. That's no wonder, with fuel prices still painfully high and widespread concerns that America is becoming dangerously dependent on oil-rich foreign nations with ties to Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and hostile regimes like that of leftist Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

The do-nothing Democratic Congress may not have passed an appropriations bill all year long, but it's now in a position in which inaction would actually serve the public good.

At the end of this month, the quarter-century-long ban on oil and gas leasing on most of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) expires.  With 97% of our offshore lands sitting unleased, the United States is in the dubious position of being the only industrialized country in the world that restricts access to so much of its offshore resources. 

Considering public outrage over high prices at the pump, you'd think the people's representatives would be eager to carry out the public will and let the outdated ban expire especially since in the 21st century the exploration and extraction of oil is no longer the dirty, ecologically risky business it once was.

In July, President Bush lifted the executive branch's longtime ban on offshore drilling. That placed the ball squarely in the court of the Democratic Congress, which must renew the ban every year in the form of appropriations legislation in order to keep the drilling prohibition in effect. 

But when it comes to Democratic Party bosses in Congress, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the vox populi always seems to get shouted down by the special interests to which their party is enthralled. In this case, it's enviro-extremists who think Barack Obama was right when he recommended an energy policy of everyone checking the air in their tires. 

Wind, sun, corn, hydrogen these forms of energy are obviously in our long-term future as substitutes for petroleum.  But Democrats refuse to accept that the desperately needed remedy to our short-term and intermediate-term energy woes is more of our own oil and gas now.

 And so they are using the massive, end-of-the-fiscal-year "continuing resolution" to try to get Pelosi's "Kill Drill" legislation enacted into law. By attaching it to a must-pass budget measure, they hope to force President Bush to sign, convince voters that Democrats have "done something" about drilling, and thus neutralize the biggest political issue of the year for John McCain and congressional GOP candidates.

It won't wash.  Pelosi's "Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act" actually bans drilling in places where we know the oil and gas are. It prohibits drilling within 50 miles of our coasts.

The House bill deprives the states from sharing in royalty revenues a strong built-in disincentive for state governments, whose legislatures would have to approve drilling off the state coast separately from Congress. 

The measure's provisions for utilizing oil shale reserves in Western states are tepid at best.  The legislation does nothing to encourage more use of nuclear power.  Yet it will raise oil prices by taxing oil companies to the hilt to pay for subsidies and tax breaks for research into green alternatives to oil that are too expensive and still at the drawing-board stage.

With Congress scheduled to take yet another recess later this week for final campaigning before Election Day, defeat of this latest attempt to pass a drilling-bill-that-isn't would likely mean the matter is being handed on to the next Congress and the next president. That is to be fervently hoped for, because what Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi are trying to do is pretend they are responding to the people's demands for more domestic oil when they actually are doing the opposite

The voters will have to elect a far different Congress this November to see a real drilling bill become law.

Investors Business Daily notwithstanding, fraudulent BS like this can only be perpetrated with the complicity of most mainstream media.  If they don't challenge the Democratic leadership on its dishonesty, voters may be fooled into thinking the bill supports offshore drilling instead of opposing it.

Let me say that again.  This fraud cannot be perpetrated without the complicity of most of our mainstream media.

I'd say they should be ashamed of themselves, but I've long since become convinced that when it comes to shame they don't have any.


Ken Berwitz

Well, for the second time in a week a major poll shows Barack Obama jumping out to a substantial lead over John McCain (most of the polls show it even, with either Obama and McCain ahead by one or two points).

The Washington Post-ABC News poll has Mr. Obama ahead 52% to 43% nationally.  If that were true it would be very big news.

Well, here is their own description of methodology (bold print is mine).  Beneath it is the breakout by political affiliation.  See what you think about that 9% Obama lead after reading it:

This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone September 19-22, 2008, among a random national sample of 1,082 adults, 916 registered voters and 780 likely voters. The survey includes additional interviews with randomly selected African Americans, for a total of 163 black respondents. The added interviews (commonly referred to as an "oversample") were completed to ensure there were enough African American respondents for separate analysis; the group was not over-represented in the reported results from the full sample. The results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Error margins are higher for subgroups. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Political affiliation:

Democrat:    54%

Republican:  38%

Other:            8%

Sniff sniff sniff.  Peee-ew!  Who designed this study?  Obama's campaign staff?

If I were Mr. McCain I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.


Ken Berwitz

Do yourself a favor:  don't be eating or drinking when you read this, because you might spontaneously spew.  I've seen it at several web sites, but am pulling from

If Sarah Palin isnt enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention, Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida said at a panel about the shared agenda of Jewish and African-American Democrats Wednesday. Hastings, who is African-American, was explaining what he intended to tell his Jewish constituents about the presidential race. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose dont care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through, Hastings added as the room erupted in laughter and applause.

A few days ago, when blogging about a Jewish organization's disgraceful action in disinviting Sarah Palin from an anti-Iran protest, I mentioned that there are Jews who are liberal Democrats first and Jews second.

The piece doesn't make clear how many Jews were on the panel hastings spoke to.  But if any of them laughed and applauded at hastings' idiocy, they fit my description perfectly.

As a Jew, I'm ashamed of people like this.  And, sadly, I have no doubt that a great many of them think this makes them smarter than other people, instead of pathetic dupes being fed ideology, instructed not to think beyond that ideology, and turned into reliably mindless robots.

alcee hastings, a disgraced former judge who was impeached and removed from the bench, tells them that "Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and Blacks" and they laugh and applaud?  God help them.

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