Sunday, 14 June 2009


Ken Berwitz

From Ed Morrissey, writing for

Video: Obama auto team called shareholder lawyer a terrorist

posted at 8:46 am on June 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When we last left the negotiations between Chryslers senior bondholders and Barack Obamas auto task force, Thomas Lauria and his clients alleged that the government used intimidation tactics and threatened to sic the White House press corps on individuals if they didnt give up their rights to allow the unions to win in the bankruptcy. Congress took an interest in thismadman theory of the Presidency and got access to some e-mails floating between the task force and an analyst.  Rep, Steven LaTourette (R-OH) reads from the e-mails, in which the auto task force calls Lauria their attorney a terrorist and refuses to negotiate after a Chrylser expert consulted him:


Ms Underestimated writes:


The important part comes at the end: an email exchange between Matthew Feldman, attorney on the Presidents Auto Task Force, and Robert Manzo, Chrysler restructuring expert. Manzo is basically pleading to further negotiate to prevent bankruptcy, but Feldman is having none of it. Here is the exchange:


Robert Manzo, Chrysler restructuring expert: I hope you think its worth giving this one more shot.

Matthew Feldman, attorney on the Presidents Auto Task Force: Im now not talking to you. You went where you shouldnt.


Manzo: Sorry. I didnt mean to say the wrong thing and I obviously did. I was trying oto make sure that if we had to contribute to the solution you knew we had some room. Sorry I did not realize the mistake!!


Feldman: Its over. The President doesnt negotiate second rounds. Weve given and lent billions of dollars so your team could manage this properly.And now youre telling me to bend over to a terrorist like Lauria? Thats B.S.


A terrorist like Lauria? Lauria represented a teachers pension fund in Indiana (among other bondholders), and had the temerity to insist that the government follow contract law.  I may be no fan of lawyers, but I dont call them terrorists.  Apparently the White House has another view of lawyers, especially when they insist that the government follow the law.


In this process, we see which side tried to terrorize the other, and it wasnt Laurias.

How proud we should all be of what is happening to our country under Barack Obama. 

And how proud mainstream media should be of not reporting it to us.


Ken Berwitz

Without going into the details, I will have almost no access to a computer for the next week or two.  If I am able, I will blog here and there during that time.  But it is unlikely.

I will definitely be back at my computer by the last week of June, when I will explain the reasons for this short hiatus.

Zeke Ken ..... We'll be here, looking for your insight, entertainment and cold, hard look at the realities of today in the world .... Be well, and we'll see you in a couple of weeks. (06/16/09)


Ken Berwitz

Remember all those attacks, by our so-called "neutral" media and the various talking heads, on Miss California, Carrie Prejean, because she spoke against legalizing gay marriages?

Do you remember those few voices in the wilderness noting that President Obama has the exact same position on gay marriages?

Well, albeit ridiculously belated, a few more voices are finally chiming in, instead of just genuflecting at Obama's feet and saying "yes, yes, yes!", to everything he is, says or does. 

From the AP, via

Gays decry Obama's stand on gay marriage case


By LINDA DEUTSCH and LISA LEFF 1 day ago LOS ANGELES (AP) Gay rights groups expressed dismay with the Obama administration Friday over its championing of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law the president pledged to try to repeal while on the campaign trail.


The government filed a motion late Thursday to dismiss the case of Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, who are challenging the 1996 federal act. The law prevents couples in states that recognize same-sex unions from securing Social Security spousal benefits, filing joint taxes and other federal rights of marriage.


U.S. Department of Justice lawyers argued that the act known informally as DOMA is constitutional and contended that awarding federal marriage benefits to gays would infringe on the rights of taxpayers in the 30 states that specifically prohibit same-sex marriages.


"The president made very explicit and emphatic campaign promises that he opposes DOMA and would provide leadership calling on Congress to repeal it," said Jennifer Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal. "This brief is not consistent with that promise."


Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Friday that the department is abiding by its standard practice of defending existing law and that the filing doesn't mean Obama has changed his mind about wanting to see gay couples win federal recognition.


"Until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it is challenged in the justice system," Schmaler said.


More than four months into his first term, Obama has been under growing pressure from gay rights activists who supported his candidacy to move forward on repealing DOMA and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevents gays from serving openly in the military.


Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights lobbying group based in Washington, called on Obama to reassure his supporters by sending Congress a bill to lift the federal marriage law.


"The Administration apparently determined that it had a duty to defend DOMA in the courts. The President has just as strong a duty to put his principles into action," Solmonese said in a statement.

In the papers, Justice Department lawyers said federal court was not the right venue to tackle legal questions raised by Hammer and Smelt, who got married in California last year during the five-month window in which the state sanctioned same-sex unions.


Lambda Legal's Pizer said the government's stance in some ways marks an improvement from Justice Department positions taken on the Defense of Marriage Act when George W. Bush was president.


The brief acknowledges that gay couples who tie the knot in the six states where same-sex marriages are permitted are legally married and does not cite the oft-used argument that children fare better in households headed by a married man and woman, Pizer said.


At the same time, it repeated several arguments made under Bush, including the argument that a union between a man and a woman is "the traditional, and universally recognized, version of marriage."


The Obama administration will have more opportunities in coming weeks to weigh in on the subject. Another challenge to DOMA brought on behalf of married couples in Massachusetts and a lawsuit seeking to overturn California's gay marriage ban under the U.S. Constitution are making their way through the courts.

At this point you may be wondering how come these same groups weren't all over Barack Obama for the same reason during last year's campaign. 

Well, either they weren't, or they were but it wasn't reported very much, or at all, by our wonderful "neutral" media.

Either way, it would be nice to see President Obama nailed for the things he should be nailed for.  And this is one of them (yes, I support gay marriage).



Ken Berwitz

I started to write more about President Obama's amazingly naive statement regarding the "robust debate" in Iran (doesn't anyone in that White House advise him about what can happen in a Muslim theocracy when the "clerics" decide they want someone to win?). 

But Paul Mirengoff of has written it so well, that I won't bother.  Here is Paul's commentary, which says it all --- please pay special attention to the last paragraph, which I've put in bold print:

Criminally useful idiocy

June 13, 2009 Posted by Paul at 10:14 PM

On Friday, President Obama had this to say about the election in Iran:


We are excited to see what appears to be a robust debate taking place in Iran. Whoever ends up winning the election in Iran, the fact there has been a robust debate hopefully will advance our ability to engage them in new ways.


This was an extremely foolish comment for at least two reasons. First, the debate in Iran was circumscribed. The candidates were screened by the mullahs. Four were permitted to run; hundreds were deemed insufficiently in tune with the "Revolution." And there appars to have little or no debate on the issue of primary concern to the U.S. -- Iran's nuclear program. Ahmadinejad's main rival, Mir-Hossein Moussavi, was in full agreement with the regime on this matter.


Second, there was always a strong possibility of election fraud. Robust debate, even had it existed, would be meaningless in the face of a fraudulent election. Thus, Obama should not have lauded the election, much less characterized it as advancing our ability to engage Iran in new ways, until he was satisfied that the election was honest. A fraudulent election in which the existing, intransigent regime claims a landslide victory will not advance our ability to engage in Iran in new ways.


A day later, it seems clear that the election was fraudulent. U.S. officials have said as much off-the-record. They find it "not credible" that Mousavi would have lost the balloting in his hometown or that a third candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, would have received less than 1 percent of the total vote.


So Obama has praised an election that appears to have been a travesty. It's difficult to see how either Iran's rulers or its dissidents can view him as other than a fool -- usefully so in the case of the rulers; criminally so in the case of the dissidents.

Realistically speaking, how can you blame Barack Obama?  He is so used to being beloved, adored and lionized for everything he says and does by our wonderful "neutral" media, that his (frankly, stupid) comments about Iran will just vanish like a fart in the wind.

Watch your network news, watch the morning shows, read the New York Times or LA Times or.....etc. etc. etc. and see if this is what happens.

Wanna take bets?


Ken Berwitz

I read every day, because it is a good clearinghouse for left wing thought and opinions.  And I respect and accept Buzzflash's hardline political view.

But not when it is presented dishonestly.

Here is a case in point.  This headline is on's home page as of now (about 10:45AM Eastern Time):

You can take the G out of OP, but you can't take the racism out of the Republican Party! S. Carolina GOP Activist: Im sure [escaped gorilla] is just one of Michelles ancestors" 6/14

Ok, we now "know" that the entire Republican party is racist because of a racist comment that one  "GOP Activist" wrote in facebook.

FYI, here is the article this headline links to (the web site is

Saturday, June 13, 2009

S. Carolina GOP Activist: Im sure [escaped gorilla] is just one of Michelles ancestors"

By GottaLaff

All I can do at this point is shake my head. This is simply unacceptable:

A prominent S.C. Republican Party activist is in hot water after describing an escaped gorilla at a South Carolina zoo as an ancestor of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The exchange occurred after Trey Walker, an advisor to S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, posted an innocuous Facebook update about this mornings escape of a Western Lowlands Gorilla from Columbias Riverbanks Zoo.

Walkers harmless update, however was followed by a highly-questionable comment from longtime SCGOP activist and former State Senate candidate, Rusty DePass. [...]

An early South Carolina supporter of former President George W. Bush, DePass has been active in Republican politics in South Carolina for decades. [...]

The comment has been removed from Facebook. No word yet on who yanked it.

Is the comment racist?  You're kidding, right? Of course it is.  The best possible thing you can say about this is that rusty depass didn't mean it the way it came out -- and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.  If depass himself subsequently removed the comment you can also say that he realized how offensive it was - which doesn't change the fact that he said it in the first place.

Now, what does this have to do with the overall Republican Party?

Has Mark Karlin (who runs written about how you can't take the anti-Semitism out of Barack Obama because he proactively belonged to a church run by the anti-Semite jeremiah wright?  Has Karlin written about how Sonia Sotomayor's string of comments which indicate she thinks her Latino roots and her gender make her superior, prove something about the overall Democratic Party?

No, of course he hasn't.  Nor should he.  Because in both cases the issue involves individuals, not an entire party.

But if he is going to generalize and stereotype this way, it seems to me that the actions of a nationally famous reverend and a Supreme Court nominee would be more significant than those of one "activist" no one outside of South Carolina ever heard of, whose great claim to fame is that he ran for the state senate -- and lost.

I think it would be.  So I'm pointing it out now.

I hope (not optimistically) that in the future Mr. Karlin will try to be a lttle more realistic, a little less exaggerated -- ok, ok, a little ess dishonest.


Ken Berwitz

Did Richard Durbin, the Democratic senator from Illinois, use insider information gained through senatorial hearings to make a killing in the market?

Well, here from Bloomberg News, via the Chicago Sun-Times, is what you need to make up your mind:

WASHINGTON | Asset sales came after meeting with Fed, Treasury chiefs


June 13, 2009


As U.S. stock markets plummeted last September, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, sold more than $115,000 worth of stocks and mutual-fund shares and used much of the money to invest in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The Illinois senator's 2008 financial disclosure statement shows he sold mutual-fund shares worth $42,696 on Sept. 19, the day after then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged congressional leaders in a closed meeting to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks. The same day, he bought $43,562 worth of Berkshire Hathaway's Class B stock, the disclosure shows.

Altogether, Durbin sold investments worth $116,000 in September. By Oct. 2, he had invested $98,046 in Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway, the form shows.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index plunged 4.7 percent last Sept. 15 after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bank of America Corp.'s government-engineered takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co. By the end of October, the index had fallen 22.6 percent.

"Durbin was doing what a lot of other people were doing, taking a look at their savings" and seeing it "start to tank and trying to preserve some level of wealth by getting out of the market," said his spokesman, Joe Shoemaker.

Shoemaker said Durbin didn't capitalize on anything Paulson and Bernanke told congressional leaders at the Sept. 18 meeting.

Whatever information Paulson gave lawmakers wasn't secret or classified and was disclosed publicly the next day, Shoemaker said.

Bloomberg News

Did Durban do anything wrong? 

You're seeing what I'm seeing.  You decide.


Ken Berwitz

Amir Tehari, writing for the New York Post, does an excellent job of showing us the real vote in Iran.  Not the phony popular-vote fraud (every opponent of ahmadinejad lost his home town - you would have to be a spud to believe that), but the vote on how much ahmadinejad would "win" by.

Read it for yourself:



Last updated: 7:25 am
June 14, 2009
Posted: 2:18 am
June 14, 2009

THAT Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would win re-election was never in doubt. But the scale of the victory arranged for him has surprised even some of his friends.


Whoever scripted the results made sure that Ahmadinejad won more votes than anyone in the 103-year history of elections in Iran. With almost 63 percent of the votes, Ahmadinejad is credited with twice as many votes as his closest rival, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi. The turnout was also the highest ever -- put at 85 percent. The president won in every social category and age group and in every one of Iran's 30 provinces. It was even arranged that Ahmadinejad's three rivals, all veterans of the Khomeinist revolution, were roundly defeated in their respective hometowns.

Not surprising, the scale of the victory has raised many eyebrows, even among the regime's apologists.

Mousavi, the best known of the three defeated candidates, has called the election "a dangerous spectacle." Mahdi Karroubi, the only mullah among the four candidates, has threatened unspecified action against "this charade." The third defeated candidate, Mohsen Rezaei, a former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has described the results as "contrary to all reasonable expectations."

The defeated candidates' protestations are unlikely to carry much weight. All three are regime insiders, having occupied key positions within the system for decades. They agreed to enter an electoral process of which every aspect is fixed. To start with, only candidates approved by the Council of the Guardians, a 12-mullah "star chamber," are allowed to run. In the absence of an independent electoral commission, the Ministry of the Interior and the security services control the process. There is no secret ballot, and no representatives of candidates are allowed to supervise the casting and counting of the votes. In theory, the authorities could declare any results they wish without having to worry about outside observers. And this time, at least, it seems that they have done precisely that.

Ahmadinejad may have wanted a big mandate to justify what many believe will be a massive purge of the top echelons of the ruling elite. During the presidential debates, broadcast live on national television, Ahmadinejad named a number of dignitaries, including two of his predecessors, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, as Mafia-like "godfathers" engaged in "plundering the nation." He promised that, if re-elected, he would bring the "thieves" to justice and "restore the probity of our Islamic system."

Ahmadinejad has vowed to devote his second four-year term to fighting on two fronts, against Israel and the United States abroad and "centers of corruption" at home.

A communiqu published by the official Islamic Republic News Agency described the president's re-election as "the revival of the revolution" and a "victory for Hezbollah and the soldiers of Allah."

Ahmadinejad defeated those who "mocked his anti-Israel campaign in support of the wronged Palestinian nation" and "those who regard a crippled creature named the United States as a superpower," the communiqu claimed.

Recalling the president's belief that we are living at "the end of times," the communiqu said Iran would use its power to prepare for "the return of the Master of Time," referring to the Hidden Imam of Shiite Islam, who disappeared 14 centuries ago.

Yesterday, the defeated candidates, with Khatami, gathered at Rafsanjani's house to forge a common strategy against what they now see as a threat not only to their positions but also to their safety within the Islamic Republic. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad's supporters marched in Tehran streets, calling on the re-elected president to "bring the thieves to justice."

Ahmadinejad presents himself as the champion of a new generation of revolutionaries who believe that most of the older ones have betrayed Ayatollah Khomeini's ideal by creating a new class of "parasitical rich sucking the blood of the poor masses."

His re-election is also a victory for the military and security organs of the state that have tried to secure more power at the expense of the mullahs.

Under Ahmadinejad, the number of mullahs in key official positions has been cut by almost 70 percent. In every case, their places have been taken by members of the Revolutionary Guard or its allied security services. Friday was historic in that this was the first presidential election in which no mullah was featured as a major contender. The only mullah allowed to stand, Karroubi, was put at the bottom of the polls and credited with less than 1 percent of the votes.

Ahmadinejad's re-election is bad news for President Obama's key foreign-policy ambition of making a deal with the Islamic Republic. Ahmadinejad is convinced that the United States has embarked on a "historic retreat" and that, as a "sunset power," it lacks the political courage to challenge a rejuvenated Islamic revolution in Iran.

The Khomeinist regime remains deeply unpopular, especially among young Iranians, who account for two-thirds of the population. Yesterday, Tehran and other major cities witnessed a series of anti-regime demonstrations, mostly with young people shouting, "Shame on you, Ahmadinejad! Quit the government!" Though small and isolated, these demonstrations could in time snowball into a mass movement against a divided regime that relies on social bribery and repression for its survival.

Unless the "Supreme Guide," Ali Khamenei, succeeds in calming things down, the two camps, frowning at one another like a pair of angry cats for months, are certain to clash at some point. The clash could push Iran, already facing economic meltdown, ethnic revolts and mass labor unrest, closer to the edge.

Ahmadinejad may end up with what looks like a pyrrhic victory.

.This ridiculous farce, it should be noted, was what "excited" Barack Obama because it provided a "robust debate" in Iran (those are President Obama's words, not mine). 

The sad part is that he obviously didn't see this coming.  Did he really think Iran holds legitimate elections?  Why would he think that?  Because of its sterling history of electoral honesty?

This is what happens when we elect a President who is not qualified for the office, and in way over his head. 

Which is what we did.

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