Saturday, 11 October 2008


Ken Berwitz

My wife put on the Today show this morning.  Part of it was pre-empted to broadcast a live speech by President Bush, speaking about the economy.

During Mr. Bush's speech, there suddenly was a 2-3 second swatch of the trailer for "A Tale of Two Cities".  The voiceover said "It was the worst of times" followed by a guillotine coming down.  Then the network cut back to President Bush's speech.

The on-air people didn't even pretend this was an inadvertent accident.  They just continued on, the female co-host wearing a smirky smile.

This is what NBC has sunk to.  Pulling an insult-line from a movie ad while the President is speaking and showing a guillotine coming down.  On who?  Well, there was no shot of the person beheaded in the movie.  The next image we saw was President Bush. 

Is this supposed to be funny?  Clever?  If so it failed miserably on both counts. Implying you want the President of the United States dead is not funny or clever.  And it is the absolute last thing a supposedly "neutral" network should ever be airing. 

That guillotine came down on nothing but the network's credibility.

All it did was remind me of why a hater like keith olbermann is so at home at NBC.

Rebecca The ad was not from a movie, but rather from the new Broadway musical A Tale of Two Cities that is currently playing at The Al Hirschfeld Theatre. I just wanted to set the record straight. It was unfortunate for President Bush, but a stoke of good luck for the musical. (10/12/08)


Ken Berwitz

Charles Krauthammer has nailed this issue - not surprising, given his status as one of the very best columnists in the country. 

Here, without further commentary of mine, is what Mr. Krauthammer has to say about Barack Obama's associations:

Obama & Friends: Judge Not?
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, October 10, 2008; A19

Convicted felon Tony Rezko. Unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers. And the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is hard to think of any presidential candidate before Barack Obama sporting associations with three more execrable characters. Yet let the McCain campaign raise the issue, and the mainstream media begin fulminating about dirty campaigning tinged with racism and McCarthyite guilt by association.

But associations are important. They provide a significant insight into character. They are particularly relevant in relation to a potential president as new, unknown, opaque and self-contained as Obama. With the economy overshadowing everything, it may be too late politically to be raising this issue. But that does not make it, as conventional wisdom holds, in any way illegitimate.

McCain has only himself to blame for the bad timing. He should months ago have begun challenging Obama's associations, before the economic meltdown allowed the Obama campaign (and the mainstream media, which is to say the same thing) to dismiss the charges as an act of desperation by the trailing candidate.

McCain had his chance back in April when the North Carolina Republican Party ran a gubernatorial campaign ad that included the linking of Obama with Jeremiah Wright. The ad was duly denounced by the New York Times and other deep thinkers as racist.

This was patently absurd. Racism is treating people differently and invidiously on the basis of race. Had any white presidential candidate had a close 20-year association with a white preacher overtly spreading race hatred from the pulpit, that candidate would have been not just universally denounced and deemed unfit for office but written out of polite society entirely.

Nonetheless, John McCain in his infinite wisdom, and with his overflowing sense of personal rectitude, joined the braying mob in denouncing that perfectly legitimate ad, saying it had no place in any campaign. In doing so, McCain unilaterally disarmed himself, rendering off-limits Obama's associations, an issue that even Hillary Clinton addressed more than once.

Obama's political career was launched with Ayers giving him a fundraiser in his living room. If a Republican candidate had launched his political career at the home of an abortion-clinic bomber -- even a repentant one -- he would not have been able to run for dogcatcher in Podunk. And Ayers shows no remorse. His only regret is that he "didn't do enough."

Why are these associations important? Do I think Obama is as corrupt as Rezko? Or shares Wright's angry racism or Ayers's unreconstructed 1960s radicalism?

No. But that does not make these associations irrelevant. They tell us two important things about Obama.

First, his cynicism and ruthlessness. He found these men useful, and use them he did. Would you attend a church whose pastor was spreading racial animosity from the pulpit? Would you even shake hands with -- let alone serve on two boards with -- an unrepentant terrorist, whether he bombed U.S. military installations or abortion clinics?

Most Americans would not, on the grounds of sheer indecency. Yet Obama did, if not out of conviction then out of expediency. He was a young man on the make, an unknown outsider working his way into Chicago politics. He played the game with everyone, without qualms and with obvious success.

Obama is not the first politician to rise through a corrupt political machine. But he is one of the rare few to then have the audacity to present himself as a transcendent healer, hovering above and bringing redemption to the "old politics" -- of the kind he had enthusiastically embraced in Chicago in the service of his own ambition.

Second, and even more disturbing than the cynicism, is the window these associations give on Obama's core beliefs. He doesn't share the Rev. Wright's poisonous views of race nor Ayers's views, past and present, about the evil that is American society. But Obama clearly did not consider these views beyond the pale. For many years he swam easily and without protest in that fetid pond.

Until now. Today, on the threshold of the presidency, Obama concedes the odiousness of these associations, which is why he has severed them. But for the years in which he sat in Wright's pews and shared common purpose on boards with Ayers, Obama considered them a legitimate, indeed unremarkable, part of social discourse.

Do you? Obama is a man of first-class intellect and first-class temperament. But his character remains highly suspect. There is a difference between temperament and character. Equanimity is a virtue. Tolerance of the obscene is not.



Ken Berwitz

We've all heard that John McCain almost always sides with President Bush so he, not Barack Obama is to blame for the financial meltdown we are experiencing. 

We've also heard that, unlike Barack Obama, John McCain is a staunch deregulator, and his refusal to regulate is a key reason that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac have gotten to the ugly state they are in.

Now for a little reality.

Here is the letter sent to the then-majority leader Bill Frist and signed by 19 senators.  The sponsor and three co-sponsors of the legislation it references signed on page 1. 

Since John McCain was one of the three co-sponsors you can find his signature in the second row, left side.

Please note the date of this letter:  May 5, 2006 -- a time when something could still have been done to prevent the consequences we are suffering through now.

I urge you to read every word, so that you will know the truth:

McCain Letter


One of the senators whose name is not among the 19?  Barack Obama.

Now, do we really know that John McCain is to blame for this meltdown?  Do we really know that John McCain is against regulation when he deems it necessary? 

And do we really know that Barack Obama will solve our problems?

November is coming.  Vote wisely.


Ken Berwitz

Let's start with the obvious:  no one will ever accuse either the Associated Press or the New York Times of favoring Sarah Palin.

Now the story:  The Alaska investigation into Governor Palin's firing of public saftety commissioner William Monegan has concluded.  It has found no wrongdoing, though it criticizes Ms. Palin for some of her actions regarding that firing.

Hmm.  No wrongdoing, through critical of some of her actions in the course of not doing anything wrong.  What's the headline.........

In the real world this isn't a tough call.  Here is how the Associated Press headlined it, along with the its first paragraph (you can read the entire article by clicking here):

'Troopergate' Panel: Gov. Palin Broke No Law

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) ― The chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded Friday that Governor Sarah Palin broke no laws when she tried to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper. The inquiry looked into her dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire trooper Mike Wooten. However, Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute, and the panel said his firing was lawful.

That seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it? 

But now look at how the New York Times handled this story.  As with the AP, I'll give you the headline and first paragraph.  You can read the entire article by clicking here:

Alaska Inquiry Concludes Palin Abused Powers

Published: October 10, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin abused the powers of her office by pressuring subordinates to try to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired, an investigation by the Alaska Legislature has concluded. The inquiry found, however, that she was within her right to dismiss her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who was the troopers boss.

Notice a teeny weeny difference?

Less than a week ago the Associated Press suggested that Ms. Palin was a racist because she attacked Barack Obama's relationship with (White) william ayers and said he doesn't share the positive view of the USA that she and her supporters do.  In other words, for no reason whatsoever.  The AP embarrassedly changed the article's headline after being lambasted by countless other media venues. 

Yet even the AP did not have the stomach to mislead readers this badly about the Palin investigation's findings.

But the New York Times?  No problem at all.  Keep 'em ignorant and you own 'em.  And when you're the Times, which a lot of educated people still think to be a definitive source of information?  It's as easy as pie. 

Then they wonder why people call them biased.



Forget what I said about the Associated Press being any better than the New York Times.

The AP article shown above is not the only one it issued.  Here is another one, shown in its entirety, which I picked up at  Please note that, if anything, it is even worse than the Times' version:

Alaska panel finds Palin abused power in firing

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer Fri Oct 10, 8:24 PM ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A legislative committee investigating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has found she unlawfully abused her authority in firing the state's public safety commissioner. The investigative report concludes that a family grudge wasn't the sole reason for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan but says it likely was a contributing factor. The Republican vice presidential nominee has been accused of firing a commissioner to settle a family dispute. Palin supporters have called the investigation politically motivated.

Monegan says he was dismissed as retribution for resisting pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute.

I sincerely apologize to readers for thinking that the Associated Press was in any way more professional and/or less biased than the New York Times.  I promise to be less gullible in the future.


Ken Berwitz

John Lewis was, at one time, a great civil rights leader.  Now he is just a loudmouthed blowhard congressman.

Worse, he is one of what I call the "Professionally Oppressed" - i.e. a Black politician/activist (in his case, both) whose answer to everything is "racism", regardless of what it is.

Here is Lewis' reaction to John McCain and Sarah Palin's latest attacks on Barack Obama:

John Lewis, invoking George Wallace, says McCain and Palin "playing with fire"

Civil Rights icon and Georgia congressman John Lewis is accusing John McCain and Sarah Palin of stoking hate, likening the atmosphere at Republican campaign events to those featuring George Wallace, the segregationist former governor of Alabama and presidential candidate.

"What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history," Lewis said in a statement issued today.  "Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse."

Lewis didn't accuse McCain of imitating Wallace, but suggested there were similarities.

"George Wallace never threw a bomb," Lewis noted.  "He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama."

Translation:  Leave Barack Obama alone so he can win the presidency and you're tolerable.  Aggressively run against him and you're a racist -- oh, and by the way, if little Black children are killed it's on your head.

John McCain has no history of racism of any kind.  In fact, without fanfare or any issue being made of it for political gain in this campaign, one of his children is Black.  Cindy and John McCain adopted Bridget McCain as an infant.  She is now 17 years old.    

Bottom line:  John Lewis is spewing the most despicable filth imaginable.  I wish for everyone's sake, especially his, he would just shut up.

ludovic for more about race baiting and racism in the elections, stop by We're covering the good, bad and ugly from the left, right and center. (10/13/08)

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