Tuesday, 21 October 2008

THE SUBPRIME LOAN MESS: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Ken Berwitz

I know I've blogged about this before.  But a chatroom pal who uses the name "free" put me on to the following article, and I think he is right in his belief that it's worth posting.  So here it is:

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
By Orson Scott Card

Editor's note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

An open letter to the local daily paper almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism.  You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere.  It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan?  It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor which especially would help members of minority groups.  But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay?  They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it.  One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules.  The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans.  (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me.  It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here?  Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout?  Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal.  "Housing-gate," no doubt.  Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" ( http://snipurl.com/457townhall_com] ): "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago.  So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President.  So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts.  This financial crisis was completely preventable.  The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party.  The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie.  Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What?  It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Freddie Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign because that campaign had sought his advice you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents.  Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link.  (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth.  That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans.  You have trained the American people to blame everything bad even bad weather on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do.  Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences.  That's what honesty means .  That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one.  He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all?  Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women.  Who listens to NOW anymore?  We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late.  You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis.  You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe and vote as if President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats including Barack Obama and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city. .

The reputations of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank are entirely a concoction of mainstream media.  Because if mainstream media covered them the way they would cover any two Republicans who performed this way, neither would have a reputation anymore.

And this isn't the first time media have protected these two.  Chris Dodd's involvement in the enron scandal and Barney Frank's behavior with his live-in boyfriend's male prostitution activity would have torpedoed them if there were an R instead of a D after their names.  You can bet the house on it.

Come to think of it, with these two a lot of people DID bet the house on it.  And lost.


MORE ON JOE BIDEN'S STUPID COMMENT

Ken Berwitz

Here is today's New York Post editorial on Joe Biden's comment about how Barack Obama will be tested shortly after becoming President.  It doesn't need any help from me, so I'll just put it out for you to read with no further comment:

JOE BIDEN'S FEARS

October 21, 2008 --

Joe Biden wonders whether Barack Obama is qualified to be commander-in-chief.

"Mark my words," Biden warned Sunday at a Democratic fund-raiser. "It will not be six months [after the inauguration] before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy."

Then he added, "Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

Now, here's where it gets scary.

Obama's "gonna need your help to use your influence within the community to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

He's going to need help?

Terrific.

What's particularly disturbing is Biden's Kennedy analogy.

For those who don't recall, it was a scant five months after JFK became president that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took his measure.

Kennedy had just bungled the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, then went off to a summit in Vienna - where Khruschev determined that the rookie chief executive could be had.

Two months later, construction began on the Berlin Wall, precipitating a crisis that nearly led to a US-Soviet shooting war in Europe.

And 14 months after that came the Cuban Missile Crisis - when nuclear Armageddon was only barely averted.

Is Biden saying that America's current enemies - sorely aware of Obama's inexperience - plan to test a President Obama with similar crises, to see what he's made of?

Sure seems like it.

But what if Obama is still on the wrong side of the learning curve when this major international crisis hits?

More important: What if he makes the wrong decision - as even Joe Biden suggests he might?

After all, Obama was wrong about the troop surge in Iraq.

And he was wrong in his initial response to Russia's invasion of Georgia - when he urged the victimized nation to "show restraint."

And he was wrong when he said he would gladly sit down unconditionally with people like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - the very people his own running-mate now says are planning to "test" him.

As John McCain said yesterday, "We don't want a president who invites testing from the world . . . The next president won't have time."

Little wonder, then, that Biden later admitted that he "probably shouldn't have said all this."

But why not, Joe?

It's doubtless all true.

And it's much better to get it all out now - rather than wait until it's too late to do anything about it.

.


BOB HERBERT'S VIEW OF REPUBLICANS, AND ACORN

Ken Berwitz

Bob Herbert was a pretty good sportswriter*** for the Daily News. 

Now he is a godawful social/political columnist for the New York Times.

Here is Mr. Herbert's latest offering.  Let's see how many things we can find wrong with it.  (In the interests of making it as easy to follow as possible, I will go paragraph by paragraph rather than in order of importance.  Mr. Herbert is in red, I'm in blue):

The Real Scandal

It never ends. The Republican Party never gets tired of spraying its poison across the American political landscape.

-Mr. Herbert stereotypes the entire Republican party as poisonous.  I assume he would be offended if someone stereotyped every Democrat, or for that matter every Black or every Jew or every...well, you get the picture.

So there was a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann, telling Chris Matthews on MSNBC that the press should start investigating members of the House and Senate to determine which ones are pro-America or anti-America.

-Chris Matthews introduced the term "anti-American", not Ms. Bachmann.  And what she actually said was that media should scrutinize ALL members of the house and senate, not just Democrats.

Can a rancid Congressional committee be far behind? Leave it to a right-wing Republican to long for those sunny, bygone days of political witch-hunting.

-Ms. Bachmann is a right wing Republican.  Congratulations to Mr. Herbert for this instance of accuracy.  It is truly an oasis in his column.

Ms. Bachmanns demented desire (I would love to see an expos like that) is of a piece with the G.O.P.s unrelenting effort to demonize its opponents, to characterize them as beyond the pale, different from ordinary patriotic Americans and not just different, but dangerous, and even evil.

-How can such scrutiny demonize only Republican opponents, when Ms. Bachmann said everyone (i.e. both parties) should be scrutinized?  Is Mr. Herbert saying that anti-Americanism is exclusive to Democrats?

But the party is not content to stop there. Even better than demonizing opponents is the more powerful and direct act of taking the vote away from their opponents supporters. The Republican Party has made strenuous efforts in recent years to prevent Democrats from voting, and to prevent their votes from being properly counted once theyve been cast.

-What efforts have Republicans made to prevent LEGAL voters from voting?  No explanation from Mr. Herbert.

Which brings me to the phony Acorn scandal.

-With investigations now ongoing in 13 different states, including states run by Democrats as well as Republicans, there is nothing phony about the ACORN scandal.

John McCain, who placed his principles in a blind trust once the presidential race heated up, warned the country during the presidential debate last week that Acorn, which has been registering people to vote by the hundreds of thousands, was on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history.

It turns out that a tiny percentage of these new registrations are bogus, with some of them carrying ludicrous names like Mickey Mouse. Republicans have tried to turn this into a mighty oak of a scandal, with Mr. McCain thundering at the debate that it may be destroying the fabric of democracy.

-Without the findings of these investigations, Mr. Herbert has no idea how much fraud is being perpetrated by ACORN.

Please. The Times put the matter in perspective when it said in an editorial that Acorn needs to be more careful with some aspects of its voter-registration process. It needs to do a better job selecting canvassers, among other things.

But, the editorial added, for all of the McCain campaigns manufactured fury about vote theft (and similar claims from the Republican Party over the years) there is virtually no evidence anywhere in the country, going back many elections of people showing up at the polls and voting when they are not entitled to.

-Nice of The Times to suggest that ACORN should be more careful in the future.  Has it occurred to The Times or Mr. Herbert that voter fraud may be a result of the organization's careful efforts?

Two important points need to be made here. First, the reckless attempt by Senator McCain, Sarah Palin and others to fan this into a major scandal has made Acorn the target of vandals and a wave of hate calls and e-mail. Acorn staff members have been threatened and sickening, murderous comments have been made about supporters of Barack Obama. (Senator Obama had nothing to do with Acorns voter-registration drives.)

-Republicans have every right to bring up interstate voting fraud.  They are not responsible for some people becoming angry enough to do stupid things because of it. 

And with Mr. Obama making sure that over $800,000 was sent into ACORN'S coffers, he had plenty to do with their voter-registration drives.

Second, when it comes to voting, the real threat to democracy is the nonstop campaign by the G.O.P. and its supporters to disenfranchise American citizens who have every right to cast a ballot. We saw this in 2000. We saw it in 2004. And were seeing it again now.

-Again Mr. Herbert rails against Republicans for disenfranchising legal voters with no evidence of any kind, or even a link to evidence of any kind.

In Montana, the Republican Party challenged the registrations of thousands of legitimate voters based on change-of-address information available from the Post Office. These specious challenges were made surprise, surprise in Democratic districts. Answering the challenges would have been a wholly unnecessary hardship for the voters, many of whom were students or members of the armed forces.

-Of course Republicans challenged votes in Democratic districts rather than Republican districts.  It is a partisan entity.  Do Democrats ever challenge votes in Democratic rather than Republican districts?  Of course not.  Plus, if we're still talking ACORN, since the organization only attempts to register voters in vastly Democratic districts, that is inherently where such challenges would take place.

In the face of widespread public criticism (even the Republican lieutenant governor weighed in), the party backed off.

That sort of thing is widespread. In one politically crucial state after another in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, you name it the G.O.P. has unleashed foot soldiers whose insidious mission is to make the voting process as difficult as possible or, better yet, impossible for citizens who are believed to favor Democrats.

-This is the third time that Mr. Herbert rails against Republican efforts to make voting harder or impossible for Democrats......without one iota of evidence to back it up.

For Senator McCain to flip reality on its head and point to an overwhelmingly legitimate voter-registration effort as a threat to the fabric of democracy is a breathtaking exercise in absurdity.

Miles Rapoport, a former Connecticut secretary of state who is now president of Demos, a public policy group, remarked on the irony of elected Republican officials deliberately attempting to thwart voting. Some years ago, he said, he and all the other secretaries of state would bemoan the lack of interest in voting, especially among the young and the poor.

Now, he said, with the explosion of voter registration and the heightened interest in the presidential campaign, youd think officials would welcome that, and encourage it, and even celebrate it. Instead, he said, in so many cases, G.O.P. officials are trying to pare down the lists. .

-The final two paragraphs invoke the name Miles Rapoport.  It would have been nice if Mr. Herbert mentioned he is a Democrat and his organization, Demos, is a social activist group.  But Mr. Herbert declined to do either.

Other than that, Mr. Herbert was right on target.

-------------------------------------------

*** I remember Mr. Herbert as a sportswriter.  But I find that, in googling his name, there are almost no references to his years writing sports.  Either I have an extremely faulty memory or his biography has been scrubbed of the sports part.


OBAMA'S TAX PLAN

Ken Berwitz

Here's a good, realistic, fact-filled explanation of the Obama tax plan and what it really does, from William McGurn, writing for www.wsj.com

I bet that if you read it you'll know a lot more about this issue than mainstream media have been hand-feeding you:

Obama Talks Nonsense on Tax Cuts

Revenues will inevitably be diverted from Social Security.

By WILLIAM MCGURN 

Now we know: 95% of Americans will get a "tax cut" under Barack Obama after all. Those on the receiving end of a check will include the estimated 44% of Americans who will owe no federal income taxes under his plan.

 In most parts of America, getting money back on taxes you haven't paid sounds a lot like welfare. Ah, say the Obama people, you forget: Even those who pay no income taxes pay payroll taxes for Social Security. Under the Obama plan, they say, these Americans would get an income tax credit up to $500 based on what they are paying into Social Security.

Just two little questions: If people are going to get a tax refund based on what they pay into Social Security, then we're not really talking about income tax relief, are we? And if what we're really talking about is payroll tax relief, doesn't that mean billions of dollars in lost revenue for a Social Security trust fund that is already badly underfinanced?

Austan Goolsbee, the University of Chicago economic professor who serves as one of Sen. Obama's top advisers, discussed these issues during a recent appearance on Fox News. There he stated that the answer to the first question is that these Americans are getting an income tax rebate. And the answer to the second is that the money would not actually come out of Social Security.

"You can't just cut the payroll tax because that's what funds Social Security," Mr. Goolsbee told Fox's Shepard Smith. "So if you tried to do that, you would undermine the Social Security Trust Fund."

Now, if you have been following this so far, you have learned that people who pay no income tax will get an income tax refund. You have also learned that this check will represent relief for the payroll taxes these people do pay. And you have been assured that this rebate check won't actually come out of payroll taxes, lest we harm Social Security.

You have to admire the audacity. With one touch of the Obama magic, what otherwise would be described as taking money from Peter to pay Paul is now transformed into Paul's tax relief. Where a tax cut for payroll taxes paid will not in fact come from payroll taxes. And where all these plans come together under the rhetorical umbrella of "Making Work Pay."

Not everyone is persuaded. Andrew Biggs is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Social Security Administration official who has written a great deal about Mr. Obama's plans on his blog (AndrewBiggs.blogspot.com). He notes that to understand the unintended consequences, it helps to remember that while people at the bottom pay a higher percentage of their income in payroll taxes, they are accruing benefits in excess of what they pay in.

"It's interesting that Mr. Obama calls his plan 'Making Work Pay,'" says Mr. Biggs, "because the incentives are just the opposite. By expanding benefits for people whose benefits exceed their taxes, you're increasing their disincentive for work. And you're doing the same at the top of the income scale, where you are raising their taxes so you can distribute the revenue to others."

Even more interesting is what Mr. Obama's "tax cuts" do to Social Security financing. As Mr. Biggs notes, had Mr. Obama proposed to pay for payroll tax relief out of, well, payroll taxes, his plan would never have a chance in Congress. Most members would look at a plan that defunded a trust fund that seniors are counting on for their retirement as political suicide.

And that leads us to the heart of this problem. If the government is going to give tax cuts to 44% of American based on their Social Security taxes -- without actually refunding to them the money they are paying into Social Security -- Mr. Obama will have to get the funds elsewhere. And this is where "general revenues" turns out to be a more agreeable way of saying "Other People's Money."

When asked about his priorities during the second presidential debate, Mr. Obama said that reform of programs like Social Security would have to go on the back burner for two years or so. "We're not going to solve Social Security and Medicare unless we understand the rest of our tax policies," he said.

The senator is right. But you have to read the fine print of his tax cuts to know why..

There's a healthy dose of reality for you.  Enough of a dose so that you can now judge Mr. Obama by what he is actually proposing rather than what he is telling you he is proposing.

Don't expect to see much of it from the pro-Obama media, though.


KERRY JOINS KEITH

Ken Berwitz

I congratulate john  kerry.  It isn't every day a man descends so low that he is in keith olbermann territory.

Months ago, olbermann made a disgustingly offensive comment about John McCain, suggesting that he wears Depends (an adult diaper used for incontinence). 

Well here, courtesy of www.politickerma.com, is what john kerry said yesterday:

Kerrys answer to the boxers or briefs question: He goes commando and McCain would say Depends

CAMBRIDGE - U.S. Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, had some choice words for the political press corps and, in particular, cable news Monday.

Kerry, addressing a business summit on energy issues, kicked off his remarks with some light-hearted banter.

"These are the exciting last two week moments of the presidential campaign," the Boston Democrat said. "So it's a very special time. I can't wait for it to be over. I am so tired of the press' silly questions that they ask along the way. And cable television which reduces everything to stupidity - the lowest common denominator of conflict."

Kerry tried to relay to the audience what it is like to face the press corps' inquiries.

"I don't know if any of you know what it's like. I do, obviously," he said. "I've been asked all of those brilliant questions that were repeated this year."

"Barack got asked the famous boxers or briefs question," Kerry went on. "I was tempted to say commando."

The senator said Obama successfully parried that question but that John McCain, the GOP nominee, had some problems.

"Then they asked McCain and McCain said, Depends,'" Kerry said to lots of laughter from the crowd.

Apparently, that is a laugh riot to john kerry and his Massachusetts pals.  But I wonder how funny it is to people at or near John McCain's age, some of whom do need Depends?  I wonder how hard they're laughing.

And since kerry thinks its so funny to stereotype older people, I wonder how he'd react if a Republican senator returned the favor for the candidate kerry supports, and suggested that Barack Obama's favorite meal is necks, collards and watermelon.  Do you think he'd be laughing then?

Offensive stereotypes are not funny.  They are not funny about Black people and they are not funny about older people.  john kerry may have wowed 'em at this business summit, but to most people - I would hope - all he did was resolidify his status as a terminal jerk.


MARK FOLEY: OBAMA GUY (BUT READ THE UPDATE)

Ken Berwitz

Remember Mark Foley? 

He was the Republican house member from Florida's 16th District until he resigned in disgrace two years ago, after Democrats made sure we all knew about his penchant for e-mailing and text-messaging young male pages.

Well, guess what:  He is now supporting Barack Obama for President.  Here, I'll show you via this article from Variety Magazine's blog site, www.wilshireandwashington.com:

October 20

Spotted: Mark Foley

There have been so many scandals since October, 2006, the month that I launched this blog, that I just about forgot who Mark Foley was.

I got an excited phone call yesterday from two friends, TV producer Richard Ayoub and talent manager Dolores Cantu, who were having lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Sitting the next table over was Foley, who resigned just before the midterms after the revelation that he sent inappropriate e-mail messages to a congressional page.

Ayounb and Cantu didn't know immediately recognize him until he told them he had once been in Congress. The jist of the conversation then went like this, according to both:

Cantu: "You didn't have an affair, did you?"

Foley: "Well, I was..."

Realizing who was in their midst, Ayoub, who has a penchant for devilish humor, offered a deadpanned admonishment, "You should not flirt with congressional pages." Foley went on to say that nothing happened, he didn't realize that the page was only 18, and that he perhaps was a bit tipsy when he sent the e-mails.

What they both said was how great Foley looked, and he was particularly excited about Colin Powell's endorsement that morning of Obama. Foley said he also favors Obama.

And Foley also expressed some pleasure in watching the latest developments from his old Florida district: His successor, Democrat Tim Mahoney, is now in trouble for a series of extramarital affairs.

Tell me, do you expect that Demcorats are going to attack and condemn Mr. Foley now, as they did in 2006?  I didn't think so.

By the way, I love that reference at the end to Tim Mahoney, whose wife stood silently next to him when he did the now-standard "wife-at-your-side apology" routine.....and then filed for divorce less than a week later.  The one poll I am aware of, taken after his admission, was done by a Republican firm, so it is dubious even by normal polling standards.  However, it shows Mahoney behind by 26% - which would not surprise me at all.

Hey, I wonder if Tom Rooney, the guy who probably will replace Mahoney, is e-mailing and/or boffing anyone too.   I admit that I have no reason to accuse him other than the fact that the last two guys' escapades, but until they at least check what's in the 16th district's water supply I feel I have to remain suspicious.....

------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE:  Mr. Foley has denied voting for Obama.  Here is his statement:

 "An online article posted today on Variety's website innaccurately reported that I was supporting Barack Obama. The story on Variety's website, based on a second or third-hand account of my private conversation, is incorrect. I have already voted by absentee ballot in Florida. Although I didn't vote for Senator Obama, I intend to keep my choice private."

Make of it what you will.

 


BIDEN'S BIG, STUPID MOUTH: CHAPTER # 43,756 (est.)

Ken Berwitz

We're talking big stupid mouth here.  So, not surprisingly at all, we're talking Joe Biden, who has one of the biggest, stupidest mouths in congress (and that, folks, is no small accomplishment).

Here is the latest chapter of Mr. Biden's unending series of stupid comments.  On the internet (as opposed to mainstream media) there are countless sites which feature it.  I've selected Mark Finkelstein's post from www.newsbusters.org because it quotes, of all people, Dan Rather.  Rather talks about how little coverage the story is being given compared to what would have happened if Sarah Palin said it:

Guess Who Sees MSM Double-Standard on Biden's Latest Gaffe?

Guess who said the following this morning about Joe Biden's latest gaffehis statement that America would be faced with a major international crisis within the first six months of an Obama administration as foreign forces seek to test the young new president: "certainly if Sarah Palin had said this, it would be above the fold in most newspapers today."

1. Brent Bozell
2. Rush Limbaugh
3. McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer
4. Dan Rather

If you guessed 1, 2 or 3, you'd be a rational NewsBusters reader . . . but wrong.  Yes, the answer is 4, Dan Rather.  In true man-bites-MSM mode, Rather made the remark on today's Morning Joe.

View video here.

The show led with a discussion of Biden's vainglorious gaffe.

WILLIE GEIST: Let's listen to Joe Biden in his own words, and then we can discuss it.

Cut to audio clip of Biden in Seattle, Washington yesterday.

JOE BIDEN: The whole world is waiting, folks. The whole world is waiting.  I know almost every one of those major leaders by their first name, not because I'm important, because they were young parliamentarians when I was coming up and we've been hanging around a long time.  I'll tell you what, mark my words, within the next, first six months of this administration if we win, you're gonna face a major international challenge, because they are going to want to test him just like they did young John Kennedy. They're going to want to test him, and they are going to find out this guy has got steel in his spine.

After Joe Scarborough reported that the Obama campaign is furious with Biden, Mika Brzezinski noted that there was only spotty coverage of Biden's remarks in the morning's papers.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well you know it's interesting, because I'm going through the papers. I figure there's got to be, just as you analyzed, Joe, political ramifications to that comment, gaffe, however you want to make ittwo in a row, thoughbut I'm seeing spotty media coverage.  I feel like half the media covered this.  I'm just going through the papers and seeing if it plays highly, and I'm not finding it in the [Washington] Post so far.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, let us just say it's surprising, and I would just throw it back to you-all and tell you what the McCain campaign is saying this morning, and what a lot of Republicans, they're asking really a question: what if Sarah Palin had said electing John McCain would create an international crisis because of his age. Would that be above the fold on the front page of the New York Times, the Washington Post?  Would that be a lead story? We've got somebody who's an expert in the media who I think, Mika, knows a lot better than we do, Dan Rather.  Dan, talk about the double standard.  Are there times that you would cover this story differently if Sarah Palin said it rather than Joe Biden? Not you, but the media.

DAN RATHER: Well I think the point is well taken, Joe, that certainly if Sarah Palin had said this it would be above the fold in most newspapers today.

Rather expanded on his comment, and while he was putting it in the mouths of "what happens on the internet," he clearly seemed to be adopting it as his own opinion.

RATHER: But let me point out that what happens on the internet may be as important or more important than what's happening in the newspapers.  And I'll be surprised, and you know, Joe, I'm frequently surprised, but I'll be surprised if this doesn't have a run on the internet, with among the points two that you raised.  Number one, if Sarah Palin had said this, the newspapers would have jumped all over it and so would have the major television outlets. And number two, they can't be happy inside the Obama campaign about this, and let me emphasize I've not spoken with them this morning.

SCARBOROUGH [who clearly had been in touch with the Obama campaign]: They are not.

You live long enough, you see everything.  Let me write words I never imagined I would: I'll let Dan Rather's statement speak for me.

Note: I just heard from the McCain campaign that Biden is off the campaign trail, with no scheduled events today.  Now why would that be?

Aside: If only Dan would have spiced up his commentary with some of his classic down-home shtick, perhaps something along the lines: "gosh knows if I were still at the Evening News desk, I'd of buried this story deeper than a large-mouthed bass on a Ju-ly afternoon."

When Dan Rather is complaining that media are suppressing a story to benefit the Democratic ticket, you know it's bad.  That's like ahmedinejad complaining that the Arab world is too hard on Israel.

But there it is.  And, finally at last, Rather is correct.

You have a 6 term senator who is running for the Vice Presidency (a job with responsibilities that he has no idea of, as we found out in the debate) either predicting international events out of thin air - or, worse still, using our intelligence information to make his predictions.  But look at how much of our wonderful "neutral" mainstream media yawn, pretend it never happened, and go back to ferreting out new angles to attack Sarah Palin for (legally) firing her public safety commissioner.

These charlatans are destroying their own journalistic credibility - what little of it is left - and don't seem to care.  If they can elect Saint Barack and acolyte Joe?  Everything will be just fine.

Oh, one other thing:  Biden's comments are not in today's New York Times.  So the elevated, erudite elites who think reading the Times gives them the news......don't have a clue this even happened.

I hope they enjoy the Arts section, though.


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