Friday, 26 September 2008


Ken Berwitz

Yes, of course the picture is doctored.  The people who doctored it (or bought the bib, or something) are from P.U.M.A. (People United Means Action).  As you may have surmised, they are not particularly taken with Barack Obama.

I usually wouldn't be passing along an obviously bogus picture.  But this one is so funny I thought I'd make an exception.  I'll leave you to figure out what it intends to convey:



Ken Berwitz

Last night I watched just a few minutes of Anderson Cooper's show on CNN.  He was moderating a political panel that included among others, paul begala -- a Democratic operative and one of the most vicious hatchet men who comes on these shows.

In the course of discussing the financial negotiations that had taken place during the day, begala referred to President Bush as "a high functioning moron". 

No one on the panel called begala on his vicious, disgusting insult.  Not one of them said a word about it.

In other words, a Democratic operative calling the President of the United States a "high functioning moron" was treated as nothing other than acceptable commentary.  Even the moderator, Anderson Cooper, did not challenge begala or suggest that it might be over the top.  It was just fine.

Then they wonder why people call them biased.


Ken Berwitz

I write a lot about blatant media bias (BMB).  Not because I'm working at finding it, but because it is so prevalent in our mainstream media that it's virtually unavoidable.

Here are two recent examples, both from that well known "neutral" journalist, Katie Couric.

1.  The Party Affiliation Game

Here is a report from Brent Baker of regarding how katie couric, the CBS news anchor, handled two political corruption stories last night.  See if you notice a difference between the two:

Couric IDs Stevens as 'Senior Republican,' Didn't Cite Rangel's Party

On Thursday night, CBS anchor Katie Couric began a short news update on Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska by immediately highlighting his party affiliation: The senior Republican in the U.S. Senate went on trial today for corruption... Stevens was appointed to his seat in 1968. But the night before, in an item on ethical questions surrounding Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, a House veteran elected in 1970 who is Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Couric failed to inform viewers he's a Democrat. Though, as his bio recites, he's Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sans any party ID Couric announced on Wednesday's CBS Evening News:

The House also plans to investigate one of its own: New York Congressman Charles Rangel. He's come under fire for, among other things, failure to pay taxes on a luxury villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Rangel has rejected calls that he step down as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Couric on Stevens on Thursday night, September 25, as she also brought in Alaska's Governor, Sarah Palin:
The senior Republican in the U.S. Senate went on trial today for corruption -- Ted Stevens of Alaska. Prosecutors say a contractor renovated Stevens' home for free, but the Senator failed to report it as a gift. The defense told the court Stevens paid every bill he received for the project and had no idea the contractor wasn't billing him for all the work. Here in New York today, reporters asked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin if she supports Stevens' re-election. She replied, we'll see where his trial goes.

2. The Great Depression Invocation

On Wednesday, Ms. Couric interviewed Sarah Palin and then, later, John McCain.  As you might expect, both interviews aired on her network news show (in edited form, I believe, but that's another story for another time).

During the Palin interview, Couric asked if "...there's a risk of another great depression".  Here is the verbatim transcript>  I have added what came beforehand, so you know that Couric was the one who introduced this terminology to the interview:

Couric: But polls have shown that Sen. Obama has actually gotten a boost as a result of this latest crisis, with more people feeling that he can handle the situation better than John McCain.

Palin: I'm not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who's more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who's actually done it?

Couric: If this doesn't pass, do you think there's a risk of another Great Depression?

Couric then interviewed John McCain later in the day.  If you view the interview you will find that virtually every question in the 11 minute segment was negative and designed to reflect badly on Mr. McCain (click here to see for yourself).  That in and of itself, is a good example of BMB.  But it is not the one I'm zeroing in on (how nice to be able to pick and choose). 

The question that really struck me was this one: 

Couric:  Earlier today, Senator, I spoke with your running mate Sarah Palin and she told me that if action is not taken a great depression is, quote, the road that America may find itself on.  Do you agree with that assessment?

Notice the wording?  That is a very artfully constructed sentence that, almost certainly, caused the vast majority of viewers to think Sarah Palin was the one who introduced the term "great depression"  -- which she did not.  As you saw above, Katie Couric did.

Given the almost immediate proximity of the two interviews, it is highly unlikely that John McCain was able to fully review the Palin interview before it was his turn. 

So what Couric really did was to ambush McCain with a question that invoked the great depression, and force him to defend his running mate about it when she didn't even bring the subject up.

BMB folks, pure BMB.

But listen to Ms.Couric squeal like a stuck pig if you call her biased.


Ken Berwitz

Dick Morris isn't much of a political prognosticator (about this time last year he told us Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination and had an 80% probability of becoming the next President). 

But he is an excellent political strategist.  That is why his analysis of what John McCain has done is so interesting to me.

Here it is.  See what you think of it:

The Brilliance of McCain's Move
A Commentary by Dick Morris
McCain has transformed a minority in both houses of Congress and a losing position in the polls into the key role in the bailout package, the main man around whom the final package will take shape. He arrived in Washington to find the Democrats working with the Bush Administration to pass an unpopular $700 billion bailout. The Democrats had already cut their deal with Bush. The Dems agreed to the price tag while Bush agreed to special aid to families facing foreclosure, equity for the taxpayers, and limits on executive compensation. But no sooner had McCain arrived than he derailed the deal.

Knowing how unpopular the bailout is with the American people, the Democrats are not about to pass anything without broad Republican support even though their majorities permit them to act alone. Instead of signing on with the Democratic/Bush package, the House Republicans are insisting on replacing the purchase of corporate debt with loans to companies and insurance paid for by the companies, not by the taxpayers. That, of course, is a popular position. McCain would be comfortable to debate this issue division all day. And, if the Dems dont cave into the Republican position, thats probably exactly what hell do on Friday nights scheduled debate in Mississippi.

But the Democrats are not about to be stubborn. They know their package is a lemon and need the political cover of Republican support. So the Republicans can write their own ticketand they will. John McCain will be at the center of the emerging compromise while Obama is out on the campaign trail kissing babies. If the deal is cut before Fridays debate, my bet is that McCain shows up in triumph. If it isnt, he shows up anyway and flagellates Obama over the differences between the Democratic package and McCains.

By Monday, at the latest, the Democrats have to cave in and pass the Republican version. They dont dare pass their own without GOP support, so they will have to cave in to the Republican version.

Then McCain comes out of the process as the hero who made it happen when the president couldnt and Obama wouldnt. He becomes the bailout expert.

And, of course, the bailout will work. With the feds standing behind the bad debt, whether by purchase or loans and insurance, Wall Street will breathe a sigh of relief. Bears wont dare bet against the economy with the entire weight of the federal government on the other side. They may be bears but they are not rabid.

Finally, McCain, as the reigning expert on bailouts, then can take the tax issue to Obama, saying that a tax increase, such as the Democrat is pushing, would destroy the bailout, ruin the economy, and trigger a collapse.

This bold move by McCain is about to work. Big time.

Do Morris' points sound logical?  Yes.,  But is Morris right?  I have no idea.  .

This is certainly worth following closely.  Let's talk about it again next week and see how things shook out.


Ken Berwitz

All thanks to Ed Morrissey, formerly of and now a regular writer at

He has written a clear, fact-filled explanation of a key reason so many Republicans will not sign onto the financial bailout deal. 

Read it and see what Democrats are trying to pull here.  The bold print is mine:

The Democratic ACORN bailout; Update: Video added

posted at 7:55 am on September 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey 

House Republicans refused to support the Henry Paulson/Chris Dodd compromise bailout plan yesterday afternoon, even after the New York Times reported that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson got down on one knee to beg Nancy Pelosi to compromise.  One of the sticking points, as Senator Lindsey Graham explained later, wasnt a lack of begging but a poison pill that would push 20% of all profits from the bailout into the Housing Trust Fund a boondoggle that Democrats in Congress has used to fund political-action groups like ACORN and the National Council of La Raza:

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to blow it up by withdrawing her partys support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

I didnt know you were Catholic, Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulsons kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: Its not me blowing this up, its the Republicans.

Mr. Paulson sighed. I know. I know.

Graham told Greta van Susteren that Democrats had their own priorities, and it wasnt bailing out the financial sector:

And this deal thats on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I cant believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesnt work.

Heres the relevant part of the Dodd proposal:


  1. DEPOSITS.Not less than 20 percent of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2).
  2. USE OF DEPOSITS.Of the amount referred to in paragraph (1)
    1. 65 percent shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4568); and
    2. 35 percent shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund established under section 1339 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 4569).

REMAINDER DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY.All amounts remaining after payments under paragraph (1) shall be paid into the General Fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.

Profits? Well be lucky not to take a bath on the purchase of these toxic assets. If we get 70 cents on the dollar, that would be a success.

That being said, this section proves that the Democrats in Congress have learned nothing from this financial collapse.  They still want to game the market to pick winners and losers by funding programs for unqualified and marginally-qualified borrowers to buy houses they may not be able to afford and thats the innocent explanation for this clause.

The real purpose of section D is to send more funds to La Raza and ACORN through housing welfare, via the slush fund of the HTF.  They want to float their political efforts on behalf of Democrats with public money, which was always the purpose behind the HTF.  They did the same thing in April in the first bailout bill, setting aside $100 million in counseling that went in large part to ACORN and La Raza, and at least in the former case, providing taxpayer funding for a group facing criminal charges in more than a dozen states for fraud.

Its bad enough that taxpayers have to pay the price for Congress decade-long distortions of the lending and investment markets.  If we realize a profit from the bailout, that money should go to pay down the debt or get returned to taxpayers as dividends from their investment not to organizations committing voter fraud, and not to restarting the entire cycle of government meddling in lending markets.  Id support a rational bailout package, but anything that funds the HTF needs to get stopped.

Update: Heres the video with Graham:

Update II:  The Wall Street Journal reported on the HTF/ACORN/Democratic connections in July:

The housing bill signed Wednesday by President George W. Bush will provide a stream of billions of dollars for distressed homeowners and communities and the nonprofit groups that serve them.

One of the biggest likely beneficiaries, despite Republican objections: Acorn, a housing advocacy group that also helps lead ambitious voter-registration efforts benefiting Democrats.

Partly because of the role of Acorn and other housing advocacy groups, the White House and its allies in Congress resisted Democrats plans to include money for a new affordable-housing trust fund and $4 billion in grants to restore housing in devastated neighborhoods. In the end, the money stayed in the bill; the White House saw little choice.

What most riles Republicans about the bill is the symbiotic relationship between the Democratic Party and the housing advocacy groups, of which Acorn is among the biggest. Groups such as the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League also lobby to secure government-funded services for their members and seek to move them to the voting booth. Acorn has been singled out for criticism because of its reach, its endorsements of Democrats, and past flaws in its bookkeeping and voter-registration efforts that its detractors in Congress have seized upon.

Once again, the Democrats want to set up a self-funding mechanism, this time by exploiting a severe financial crisis.  Despicable.


Over the past year I have talked extensively about ACORN.  About all the fraudulent activities in all the states and all the lawsuits and all the convictions and admissions of guilt, every one of them involving fraudulent voter registrations on behalf of Democrats.

So given a situation where we must act, and as quickly as possible?  Democrats try to exploit it to give these dishonest, Democrat-benefitting frauds untold millions to keep up the good work.

WHERE ARE THE MEDIA ON THIS?  The answer is that it goes unreported because most media in this country are sympathetic to the goals of ACORN - namely, to use any means necessary, illegal being just fine - to get Democrats votes and win them elections.

La Raza is an organization dedicated to taking the entire southwest from the United States.  That's right.  Taking the southwestern states and making it a Latino entity.  Democrats want to pour money into these people too.

When Sarah Palin was (dishonestly) connected to the Alaska Independence Party, media jumped all over the story - and then quietly stopped talking about it when the story turned out to be 100% untrue.

Here is a major political party trying to fund a group that wants an entire region of the USA taken away, and not one effing word about it from the same media.

Frauds. Whores.  Liars.


Ken Berwitz

You can listen to the spin and BS, or you can know the actual, indisputable facts.

This is John McCain's verbatim statement, made on the floor of the Senate on May 25, 2006.  

The vision is Mr. McCain's.  The bold print is mine:

Sen. John McCain [R-AZ]: Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae's regulator reported that the company's quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were "illusions deliberately and systematically created" by the company's senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae's former chief executive officer, OFHEO's report shows that over half of Mr. Raines' compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator's examination of the company's accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs--and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO's report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO's report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

Quick Info
Last Action: Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute favorably.
Status: Dead

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation

There is John McCain laying out the problem and proposing a solution --- OVER TWO YEARS AGO.

Anyone care to put up what Barack Obama said about Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac then?  Before then?  After then?  Before last week?  I'll wait.....and it will be one helluva long one.

Remember this when you hear the political operatives laying blame for our financial problems....and know who was trying to solve them years ago.


Ken Berwitz

I'm tired so this is going to be real quick.

Obama held his own and then some at the beginning, on the economy issues.  He may have won that part of the debate slightly

On the foreign policy issues (about 3/4 of the entire debate) McCain won this debate and bordered on cleaning Obama's clock altogether.

The two most frequent comments over that period were McCain saying "Senator Obama doesn't seem to understand....." and Obama saying "Senator McCain is absolutely right....."  That pretty much tells the story.

The most memorable line?  During the discussion of whether a President should meet ahmadinejad without preconditions, when McCain, with genuine amazement, looked at Obama and said something like "You're going to sit across the table from him and he tells you he's going to exterminate Israel.  What are you going to say to him, no you can't?"  (UPDATE:  McCain's exact words were "So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, "We're going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth," and we say, "No, you're not"? Oh, please")

I also thought McCain had a far more appealing demeanor.  Obama seemed to alternate between visible irritation and a somewhat patronizing smile/derisive laugh.  Arrogance like that usually doesn't play very well.

The next debate won't feature foreign policy, so Obama will be on stronger ground then.  He'll need it.

steve schneider ken, i disagree. i think obama did very well. there was a stark contrast as mccain did seem old. since the next debate is the economy maybe they'll spend half the time talking about foreign policy since this debate did spend alot of time about the current crisis, but you know that won't happen as that may give an advantage to mccain. the msm can't let that happen. steve steve (09/27/08)

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