Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Ken Berwitz

Well, ACORN has selected the person that will conduct a hard-hitting, scrupulously nonpartisan investigation of the organization's activities.

It's Scott Harshbarger, a former Attorney General of Massachusetts, hardline Democrat of the first order and the man who prosecuted a child daycare center sex abuse case that just about everyone thinks was a travesty of justice.

That, folks, is what ACORN thinks of your intelligence.

Here are the particulars, from of Tom Blumer of www.newsbusters.org:

ACORN Selects 'Investigator' Instead of the 'Auditor' It Promised; AP Cooperates With the Water-down


By Tom Blumer (Bio | Archive)
September 22, 2009 - 17:09 ET


Last Wednesday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis promised that her organization would conduct a "total audit," and would name an independent auditor by Friday ("within 48 hours"). Later, it said it would do so yesterday


The group finally acted today, in totally underwhelming fashion. We're not going to get a "total audit" after all. Instead, there's going to be an "internal investigation," and it will be conducted by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger. 


If this were a Republican group, or if the press were doing its job, this change in mission would be correctly labeled a watered-down cop-out. Instead, the Associated Press's Sharon Theimer played along with it and made no reference to ACORN's high-minded promises last week.


Here are key paragraphs from Theimer's report:


ACORN names former Mass AG its investigator


The community activist group ACORN said Tuesday it has selected a former Massachusetts attorney general to investigate its housing program and other public service projects after employees were caught on video giving advice to a couple posing as a prostitute and pimp and Congress moved to cut off its federal funding.


Democrat Scott Harshbarger, a lawyer whose specialties include corporate governance, will conduct the internal investigation. ACORN said the review would be "aggressive, thorough and far-reaching."


"I took over this organization in the summer of 2008 with a mandate to modernize and reform the nation's largest community organizing network," ACORN chief executive Bertha Lewis said in a written statement. "We have strengthened our systems on a number of fronts. But that process is ongoing."


Theimer "cleverly" left out the words "several times" in reference to the undercover videotapings done by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles in her first paragraph. Though she mentioned "other cities" in her fifth paragraph, she compounded her "cleverness" by only specifically referring to the pair's Brooklyn work, not naming Baltimore, Washington, San Bernardino, or San Diego. Finally, she allowed ACORN to dispute the veracity of the Brooklyn video when it has presented no concrete contrary evidence that I am aware of in the eight or days since that video first appeared.


All of this will give newcomers to the story the incorrect impressions that Brooklyn remains a "he said, she said situation," and that the others have similar problems (which they don't). I do not believe this pathetic treatment by Theimer is an accident.


As to Harshbarger, here is how Theimer describes him in later paragraphs:


Harshbarger's inquiry will include ACORN's housing program, tax preparation program and other public service work such as screening for benefits like food stamps.


Harshbarger was Massachusetts attorney general in the 1990s. He later ran unsuccessfully for governor before becoming head of the government watchdog group Common Cause, where he pushed for tougher campaign finance laws.


Harshbarger currently is an attorney in Boston with the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP, where his specialties include corporate governance and corporate defense and investigations. He was a fundraiser for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign, and donated $2,800 to Obama's campaign after Edwards left the race.

Not bad, but as I noted at BizzyBlog earlier today, there's a major oversight in what Theimer chose to tell us about Harshbarger. You see, he is the attorney general who put away the Amiraults.


Here's a memory refresher:


Harshbarger found public prominence and political success, like Janet Reno, by prosecuting cases in the day care sex abuse hysteria of the 1980s. He obtained the conviction of Gerald Amirault and other employees of the Fells Acres Day Care Center in Malden, Massachusetts. The Amirault conviction has been widely criticized as a gross miscarriage of justice by publications as politically diverse as The Wall Street Journal (e.g., April 30, 2004) and The Nation (e.g., Feb. 28, 2002).


The Wikipedia excerpt understates the heinous nature of the Amirault case. No one other than those in the case who were brainwashed at the time by clever shrinks seriously believes the Amiraults were guilty. Harshbarger's sham prosecution can perhaps be excused given the hysteria at the time, but his refusal to back down when it became obvious after their conviction that he had railroaded the family is unforgivable, and should have kept him out of consideration for the job he accepted.


In terms of the task at hand, ACORN's Lewis either deceived everyone last week, or subsequently learned the hard way that no auditor worth having was willing take on the business and reputational risk of attempting a "total audit" of an organization with well-known sordid history, a pervasive lack of internal controls, and, apparently, serious tax problems.

That Theimer played along with the mission change to a mere "internal investigation" without questioning what happened is disgraceful. Despite last week's promise of an "audit," that word appears nowhere in her report.

Sadly, this is all too typical for what has become the Apparatchik Press.


Exit question: Where will Harshbarger's staff, whose numbers will have to be substantial if anything resembling a decent "investigation" is to occur, going to come from? 

That is ACORN's "investigation";  sure to leave no stone unturned.  Just like, say, keith olbermann being investigated by chris matthews. 

In short, it is a sick joke.

But let's see how our wonderful "neutral" media treat this sick joke.  Somehow I doubt that they'll talk about it the same way you or I would.

Zeke No, No, No. You said ... "That is ACORN's "investigation"; sure to leave no stone unturned" ... They meant they were going to the beach to throw rocks at the birds..... and Leave No Tern Unstoned. (09/22/09)


Ken Berwitz

Here is today's edition of Barack Obama BSpeak, provided by today's editorial in the Washington Times.  Please pay special attention to the all-too-telling passage I've put in bold print:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

EDITORIAL: Depends on what the meaning of 'tax' is

President Obama seemed to be channeling President Clinton's disquisition on the meaning of "is" during his weekend media blitz. On ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Mr. Obama told George Stephanopoulos that the dictionary definition of the word "tax" isn't reliable. If the president doesn't like the dictionary, perhaps he ought to consult the very bill he was favorably discussing when he said a tax isn't a tax.

The mandate in question is the financial penalty that Democrats want to impose on healthy citizens who don't have health insurance. One of the main health care bills under consideration calls the proposal a "tax."

As for the negative effect the tax would have on hard-working Americans, the president ought to consult himself. Last year, he said the same proposal would be punitive and unfair. In other words, Mr. Obama was against this tax before he was for it.

On "This Week," Mr. Obama argued with the host about whether a government fee of up to $3,800 for a family of four is a tax. The repartee follows:

Obama: "[Suppose] you get hit by a bus, and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's ..."

Stephanopoulos: "That may be, but it's still a tax increase."

Obama: "No. That's not true, George. The - for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase."

Stephanopoulos: "I - I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary: Tax - 'a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.' "

Obama: "George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now."

That's the first time we've ever heard a dictionary accused of "stretching" a word's definition. But no matter. Mr. Obama explicitly was discussing the bill put forth by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat. Philip Klein of the American Spectator highlighted the relevant language from page 29 of Mr. Baucus' bill: "The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax. ... The excise tax would be assessed through the tax code and applied as an additional amount of Federal tax owed."

The tax that the president says isn't a tax would, of course, be punitive. That's what Mr. Obama himself said in a primary debate last year with opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Back then, he argued against the same sort of mandate he is now supporting. He said: "If, in fact, you are going to mandate the purchase of insurance and it's not affordable, then there's going to have to be some enforcement mechanism that the government uses. And they may charge people who already don't have health care fines, or have to take it out of their paychecks. And that, I don't think, is helping those without health insurance. ... I think we can anticipate that there would also be people potentially who are not covered and are actually hurt if they have a mandate imposed on them."

It doesn't tax our judgment much to conclude that Candidate Obama was right about this in 2008 but President Obama is wrong today.

The classic Death of a Salesman character, Willy Loman, was described as "a smile and a shoeshine". 

That may work for salesmen.  But not for Presidents.

Telling the truth would be a refreshing change.  How I wish Mr. Obama would try it sometime.


Ken Berwitz

If you have ever heard of Gerald Walpin at all, it's a good bet you heard of him here. 

Because if you rely on our wonderful "neutral" media to tell you about Gerald Walpin, you probably have not heard of him at all.

For those who do not know, Gerald Walpin was (not is, was) the Inspector General who was onto a large, fraudulent use of taxpayer money in Sacramento.  Over $800,000 worth, and who knows how much more if the investigation had continued.

But there was a problem.  The mayor of Sacramento is former NBA star Kevin Johnson - a big Barack Obama supporter. 

So what happened?  I'll let Byron York of the Washington Examiner tell you (but I've put the last paragraph in bold print):

Walpin scandal update: Grassley blocks nomination, accuses administration of stonewalling

By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
09/21/09 6:39 PM EDT

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley has blocked the ambassadorial nomination of Alan Solomont, currently chairman of the board of the government agency that oversees AmeriCorps, in retaliation for what Grassley says is the administration's stonewalling of Congress over documents relating to the firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin. Specifically, Grassley has sought, and been denied, information relating to the White House's role in the decision to fire Walpin.

Solomont, a major Democratic donor, is chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which includes AmeriCorps. His term ends in October, and President Obama has nominated him to be U.S. ambassador to Spain. The nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week and now moves to the Senate floor -- except that Grassley has placed a hold on it, meaning it will go nowhere until the senator's objections are resolved.

On June 12 of this year, shortly after Walpin was summarily fired, Grassley wrote to the Corporation demanding "all records, email, memoranda, documents, communications, or other information, whether in draft or final form" related to the firing. Among other things, Grassley asked for any contacts between the Corporation and the White House and between the Corporation and the United States Attorney's Office. Although the Corporation has provided information requested in other areas -- mostly internal documents involving Walpin -- Grassley says the Corporation has not responded at all to the request for information relating to the White House and U.S. Attorney's Office.

"The publics business ought to be public, especially when there are serious questions about whether an inspector general was fired for political reasons," Grassley said in a statement. "The leaders of the Corporation for National and Community Service have been far from transparent about the dismissal of the inspector general. Until the Senate receives the documents we need for a complete picture of what happened, this nominee will have to wait before his confirmation is considered with my consent."

Grassley also points out that not only has the Corporation not provided the requested information, it has also not complied with the common practice of providing a list of the withheld documents along with the reason for withholding them.

Any senator may place an anonymous hold on a nomination. Grassley is not shy about using his power to block a nomination, but always acts in full public view; when he places a hold, he also issues a public announcement and explanation for his action.

Walpin was fired without warning June 10, when he received a call from the White House telling him he had an hour either to resign or be terminated -- an apparent violation of a law giving special job protections to inspectors general. When Walpin refused to quit, he was fired. At the time, Walpin was involved in a contentious investigation of corruption allegations involving a prominent Obama supporter, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, California.

This, folks, is a genuine scandal.  Not a concocted one, a real one. 

Gerald Walpin was forced out because he was uncovering a taxpayer fraud that would have embarrassed a major supporter of President Obama and, by implication, Mr. Obama himself.

That is why I wish Senator Grassley well in  trying to force a public airing of what went on in Sacramento. 

And our wonderful "neutral" media?  They're too busy trying to defame James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles to bother with a corruption and coverup case like this, not to mention the illegality of Walpin's firing and the probability that it was ordered by the White House.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


Ken Berwitz

As you know, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles went to a number of ACORN offices posing as a pimp and a prostitute, who needed help in procuring a house so that they could have underage El Salvadoran girls engage in prostitution. 

Every ACORN office agreed to help and gave them advice, even on how to lie so that the authorities would not know the purpose for which the house would be used (my favorite was one of the ACORN employees telling Giles, who she believes is a prostitute, to call herself a "performing artist"). 

You would think that the media would be skewering ACORN over this.  But it appears that at least as much effort is being expended in an effort to demonize and destroy O'Keefe and Giles as there is in giving ACORN the serious scrutiny it so richly deserves.

The Washington Post in particular published a story about O'Keefe and Giles which indicated that they scammed ACORN because they felt it was getting Black people elected to office.  The story's lead writer, Darryl Fears, even quoted O'Keefe as saying this in a roundabout way.

The problem?  A very simple one.  He didn't.

And now the Washington Post has had to, humiliatingly, retract that part of the story. 

Here, from Scott Johnson of www.powerlineblog.com, are the particulars:

Nothing to fear but Fears himself

September 22, 2009 Posted by Scott at 6:33 AM

We have not heard anything from Washington Post reporters Darryl Fears and Carol Leonnig in response to "Sliming James O'Keefe: A case study." I think it's fair to conclude that Fears and Leonnig have no quote from O'Keefe to support their imputation of racial motives to him, and that what the Post has done to O'Keefe is disgusting.

John Rosenberg of the Discriminations site writes to point out that he has frequently commented on Fears. Rosenberg cites several posts inspired by Fears. "Sliming ACORN's exposers is not his first transgression," Rosenberg writes. "Each one of these is an individual post...responding to a different outrage in one of his Post articles. I've never tried to amalgamate them into one post specifically about Fears. Or, for that matter, about the Post: the fact that these articles keep coming obviously
says as much, or more, about the Post as Fears himself:" Below are Rosenberg's posts in reverse chronological order:

Fears no evil

More Fears mongering

Fears some evil

More Fears

At the Washington Post, more Fears mongering

At the Washington Post, Fears for minorities as victims

At the Washington Post, Fears for affirmative action

Downside of diversity, cont.

Need I add that I have borrowed the heading of this post from Rosenberg's message to me?

UPDATE: The Post runs a correction of the Fears/Leonnig story today:

Correction to This Article
This article about the community organizing group ACORN incorrectly said that a conservative journalist targeted the organization for hidden-camera videos partly because its voter-registration drives bring Latinos and African Americans to the polls. Although ACORN registers people mostly from those groups, the maker of the videos, James E. O'Keefe, did not specifically mention them.

In other words, Post reporters Fears and Leonnig fabricated the existence of an O'Keefe quotation indicating a racial animus for O'Keefe's reportage. The race angle existed only in the minds of the Washington Post itself. Thanks for clearing that up.

We hope later today to have Joel Mowbray reporting for us regarding the Post's drive-by on O'Keefe.

Wouldn't it be nice if they cared less about O'Keefe and Giles' motives and more about what ACORN did as a matter of course in every one of those offices?  I would think so.

But if they are going to care more about O'Keefe and Giles, maybe it would be a good idea not to invent a racist quote that does not exist.

And maybe it would be an especially good idea to reconsider anything that Darryl Fears writes, since the links Scott provides seem to show he has a nasty little habit of "creating" facts over and over again.

Zeke IIRC, Maureen Dowd of the NY Times (One Old Grey Lady to Another) .... wrote that Joe Wilson actually MEANT "You Lie, Boy" .... while acknowledging that the "Boy" existed ONLY in Maureen's Brain .... and not in anything Wilson said. (09/22/09)

Zeke Ken -- TY for the kind words. ... The phrase .... (One Old Grey Lady to Another) ... just seemed to fit the situation ... a spontaneous authorship of the moment. (09/22/09)

Ken Berwitz Zeke - One old grey lady to another? That's very, very funny. Evidently you assume that the shock of red hair on 57-year-old Maureen Dowd's head has some help. You're probably right too. I only wish there were a product that could help what's in it..... (09/22/09)


Ken Berwitz

Charges have been filed against ACORN for various types of voter registration fraud in over a dozen states.  Last week two young investigative reporters, John O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, demonstrated that, in ACORN offices around the country, employees were perfectly willing to facilitate the acquisition of a home for the purpose of prostitution with underage girls.  

Bertha Lewis, the titular head of ACORN, claims that the workers were all fired (just as they're always "fired" when a voting registration scandal erupts).  But that is an obvious dodge.  Let's use basic common sense here:  if this were a case of a couple of employees acting outside the policies of ACORN, it would have happened in a single office.  When the same thing happens in every office, it isn't a couple of rogue employees, it is the organization's policy. 

And now we have this, from Deroy Murdock writing in the New York Post (the bold print is mine).:

ACORN:  Tax cheat

Group faces huge IRS liens

Last Updated: 1:30 AM, September 22, 2009

Posted: 1:16 AM, September 22, 2009

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis told Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday that her group "absolutely pays its taxes." Not true: The IRS and Louisiana's taxmen have imposed nearly $2 million in liens against ACORN for failing to fork over taxes at its New Orleans national headquarters.

The IRS recently filed a $548,000 lien against the group, and Louisiana state tax officials have slapped $334,000 in liens on ACORN since last October.

Evidence that ACORN ignored its tax obligations may be less exciting than its branch offices' eagerness to help a self-professed pimp break multiple laws, or the voter-registration fraud for which various of its workers have been convicted.

But the tax mess shows that the lawlessness starts at its headquarters. (ACORN actually has three national HQs -- in the Big Easy, Washington, DC, and New York City.)

Another New Orleans group, the free-market Pelican Institute for Public Policy, uncovered official records that confirm ACORN's deadbeat tax status. (Full disclosure: Pelican hosted my visit to New Orleans last May.)

At the Orleans Parish Clerk of Courts Office, Pelican researcher Steve Beatty found a Sept. 3 IRS filing showing that "Elysian Fields Corp., Inc., Alter Ego of ACORN" skipped five quarterly withholding-tax payments -- covering income, Social Security and Medicare levies -- in 2005-08, and made no federal unemployment-tax payments for the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2008.

"We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid," reads IRS form 668(Y). So the federal taxmen have placed liens on ACORN's New Orleans offices at 2609 Canal St. and 2610 Iberville St.

This follows a $1 million invoice that the IRS already had handed ACORN, as Pelican reported last August. The group's in trouble with the state, too.

"We have a full-scale investigation into ACORN and all of its subsidiaries," Tammi Arender, spokeswoman for Louisiana Attorney General Bobby Caldwell, said recently. "No stone will be left unturned. We're still looking into their recent activities."

Caldwell subpoenaed ACORN, former ACORN head Wade Rathke and the group's financial institution, Whitney Bank. Caldwell seeks information stretching back to 1998 on ACORN and some 361 tax-exempt and non-tax-exempt outfits in its universe.

Citizens Consulting, Inc. -- ACORN's bookkeeping arm, no less -- scored a Louisiana "Notice of State Tax Assessment and Lien" on Oct. 29, 2008. It details 66 withholding-tax payments that Citizens Consulting skipped in 2002-08, totaling more than $300,000.

These documents are online at pelicaninstitute.org. American taxpayers have to struggle to pay their taxes in full and on time. Meanwhile, ACORN routinely has ignored its duty -- even as it has continued to collect millions of taxpayer dollars from the government.

Since 1989, at least $53 million has flowed from law-abiding taxpayers, via Washington, into the coffers of ACORN and its branches.

ACORN, in turn, stiffs its workers by failing to pay for their Social Security and Medicare benefits. One expects better from self-styled "progressives."

ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson did not reply to repeated requests for comment.

In overwhelming numbers, the Senate and House voted last week to terminate ACORN's federal funding. Given ACORN's history of corruption and illegal support of Democratic political candidates, Congress should go further and rescind the tax-exempt status of ACORN and its subsidiaries.

Days ago, I speculated that the only reason congress voted to defund ACORN's federal funding without a major blow-up by the left, was that everyone knew it was all for show - that the defunding in the senate, for example, was just a rider on a transportation bill (bad pun in there somewhere) which could quietly be removed when things cooled off.

But this is another story:  one that has no business cooling off.  Except........

Deroy Murdock has given us the information and the specifics to back it up.  Will this be on the network news tonight?  On the morning shows tomorrow?  In other words, will our wonderful "neutral" media COVER it?

I'll wait and see.  But I am not at all hopeful.


Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from an article in today's Los Angeles Times:

Terror probe widens in U.S.


As many as a dozen people are suspected to have ties to what authorities say is an Al Qaeda-linked plot.


By Josh Meyer and Tina Susman

September 22, 2009


Reporting from Washington and New York - Federal authorities have tied as many as a dozen people to a suspected Al Qaeda-linked bomb plot on U.S. soil as they continue to gather evidence to indict on terrorism charges the young Afghan immigrant at the center of the case, law enforcement officials said Monday.

Authorities said that they did not know the exact number of potential suspects or many of their identities, but that they had been connected through electronic intercepts, surveillance, seized evidence and interviews.

A federal law enforcement official and others, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the high level of secrecy surrounding the investigation, said the suspects appeared concentrated in the New York area, with possibly others in the suspect's home state of Colorado and elsewhere.

Of particular interest are several individuals that Najibullah Zazi, 24, had met or communicated with on a trip to New York two weeks ago.

In interviews and court filings, federal law enforcement officials said they feared that Zazi was meeting in New York with co-conspirators in a possible plot to bomb subway stations or other crowded civilian targets.

The disclosures came as Zazi, of Aurora, Colo., and two other men arrested Saturday night made their first court appearances Monday on charges of making false statements to federal authorities.

Zazi, his father Mohammed Wali Zazi, 53, and Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, of Queens, N.Y., were held in custody on orders by judges in Colorado and New York.

Several of the officials said it was likely that Najibullah Zazi will be charged with providing material support to a known terrorist organization based on his admission that he trained in weapons and explosives at an Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan last year. That admission was cited in an FBI affidavit unsealed over the weekend.

The affidavit also alleges that authorities found images on Najibullah Zazi's laptop of nine pages of notes on making explosives and fuses, apparently in his own handwriting. In addition, the affidavit alleges that authorities have found other information linking Zazi to the suspected plot, including his fingerprints on a small electronic scale and double-A batteries, which are often used in making bombs.

 The article does not say how long this investigation was going on.  But it's a pretty good bet that it predated the Obama administration.  So when you read about "electronic intercepts" and "surveillance", it is more than likely that they include monitoring telephone conversations the Obama administration never would listen in on.

There are some people who feel that when authorities conduct electronic intercepts and surveillance, even when the targets are suspected terrorists, they put us all at risk by diminishing our rights to privacy. 

This being the case, let me ask you:  Now that this bunch has been arrested because of what was heard/seen on the intercepts and surveillance (i.e. "...a possible plot to bomb subway stations or other crowded civilian targets"), do you feel less safe, or more? 

Oh, one other thing:  Will the administration take punitive action against the Los Angeles Times for calling this a "Terror" probe, instead of a "Man-made disaster" probe?  

Or, put another way, when do Obama, Napolitano and Co. stop making utter fools of themselves by sanitizing the description of what terrorists - that's right, terrorists - are trying to do?


Ken Berwitz

Arthur Ferrante, who, with Louis Teicher, gave us a tidal wave of beautiful, listenable music from their twin pianos, died on Saturday in Longboat Key, Florida at the age of 88.  No specific cause of death was listed. (Mr. Teicher died last year).

Ferrante and Teicher met when they were students at the Julliard School of music in the 1930's.  Their partnership began a good many years later. 

They had their biggest successes when recording movie themes.  Their two biggest hits (among a good many) were the theme from "The Apartment", which sold over 1,000,000 redords and the theme from "Exodus" which sold over 6,000,000 records.  Fascinatingly, both were recorded in the early 1960's, when Rock and Roll was king and what they did was disdainfully referred to as "elevator music.

In all, Ferrante and Teicher had 22 gold or platinum records and claimed to have played over 5,000 concerts for delighted music fans.

You can call their music whatever you want.  But it was a pleasure to listen to.  Even today.

May ArthurFerrante rest in peace. 

Or, even better, may he reunite with Louis Teicher and continue the beautiful music for eternity.


Ken Berwitz

Glenn Garvin, writing for today's Miami Herald, has a mostly excellent piece on how blatantly nancy pelosi (and others on the left, including the perpetual dire-threat machine Frank Rich and the loudmouthed fraud, Chris Matthews) turns even political violence into partisan garbage.  Here it is:

Left's been out for blood, too



For one, brief shining moment last week, I thought Nancy Pelosi must be the bravest American politician of the century, standing up to her own nutball constituency in the interest of American political politesse. After all, when she tearfully told a press conference that the partisan bombast should be dialed down several notches lest it turn bloody -- ``I saw this myself in the late '70s in San Francisco, this kind of rhetoric . . . it created an environment in which violence took place'' -- she had to be talking about left-wing violence, right?

Because when you talk about political murder and mayhem in San Francisco 30 years ago, the trigger was almost always pulled or the cyanide Kool-Aid poured by a leftist. There were the revolutionary nihilists of the Symbionese Liberation Army, assassinating an Oakland school superintendent, kidnapping Patty Hearst and finally shotgunning an innocent bystander during a bank robbery.

There were the cop-killing drug dealers of the Black Panthers, who began murdering their own sympathizers to keep them quiet. And of course the Black Liberation Army, a Panther offshoot that bombed a church where a policeman's funeral was being held. We think it was the BLA, anyway; in San Francisco those days, you couldn't tell your bombers without a scorecard. The Weather Underground, the New World Liberation Front, the Revolutionary Army, they were all blowing something up on practically a weekly basis.

And who can forget Jim Jones and his communal cult that ended in an orgy of murder and mass suicide in 1978? Well, most Democrats can; otherwise, they have to explain why people like Rosalynn Carter, Walter Mondale and Jerry Brown were such enthusiastic supporters of Jones until his infamous Kool-Aid party.

But no, Pelosi wasn't thinking of any of those examples. Shortly after she quelled her theatrical sniffles, her spinmasters clarified that she was referring only to the 1979 murders of liberal politicians George Moscone and Harvey Milk by a conservative rival, Dan White, dramatized in last year's film Milk.

Now that's the Pelosi I know: conveniently ignoring the corpses of literally hundreds of victims of organized left-wing violence while using two murders committed by an unbalanced (and, to be sure, evil) individual to make it sound like the San Francisco of the 1970s was a hellhole of right-wing terrorism. How silly of me to think she might, however briefly, have lapsed into intellectual honesty.

Unfortunately, Pelosi is alone in neither her equation of conservative politics with bloodlust nor her willingness to shade the truth to make her case. Lately, the favorite talking point of America's chattering classes has been that to oppose President Obama's economic policies is to court presidential assassination. MSNBC's Chris Matthews and the New York Times' Frank Rich have even gone so far as to say that it's happened before.

Rich compared the anti-Obama tea-party rallies to ``the walk-up to the Kennedy assassination, [when] there was all this hate talk about Kennedy.'' Matthews chimed in that ``the mood we're in right now'' reminded of him of when ``Jack Kennedy was killed in an open car in Dallas.''

Neither Rich nor Matthews offered a plausible explanation of how right-wing hate could have triggered the death of Kennedy, killed by a Marxist who six weeks before the assassination was begging for visas from Cuba and the Soviet Union. There's no need. The idea that conservatives (especially Christian conservatives) are a homicidal mob eternally poised on the verge of bloodshed is an article of faith on the left.

Rich in particular has practically made a career of predicting mass murder by the right. He wrote column after column warning that Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of The Christ would touch off worldwide slaughter: ``Its real tinder-box effect could be abroad, where anti-Semitism has metastasized since 9/11.''

Five years later, we're still waiting for the first riot, just as we're still looking for the anti-Asian bloodshed that was certain to follow the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, which indelicately suggested the guys dropping the bombs that day were Japanese. Or the angry white male who was, we were repeatedly assured, behind the Washington Beltway sniper murders of 2002. (Actual killers: a pair of black Muslims.)

The unavoidable fact is that there is a rich history of violence on the fringes of both sides of the American political spectrum. The right, as liberals are fond of pointing out, has Timothy McVeigh and James Earl Ray. The left has the Puerto Rican nationalists who opened fire on the floor of Congress, animal-rights nuts and eco-terrorists. If Nancy Pelosi really sees trouble coming, she needs to look in both directions.

I've put the last paragraph in bold print because Garvin nails it perfectly.  Political violence exists in the United States, it has existed for a long time, and it is surely going to continue.  But neither side has any monopoly on it - there are violent extremists and hapless dupes in both directions.

Wouldn't it be nice if pelosi - or Rich or Matthews or the majority of mainstream media - were to notice?


Ken Berwitz

In case there is someone left out there who has any respect or regard for jimmy carter, we have this column by Dick Yarbrough, which reminds us of who the real racist was (and probably still is).  Please pay special attention to the segment I've put in bold print:

YARBROUGH: Jimmy Carter is poster boy for racism

I dont know how Jimmy Carter can look himself in the mirror. He has made hypocrisy an art form.


When asked recently about the actions of South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson, who stunned the crowd during President Obamas address to a joint session of Congress on health-care reform a couple of weeks ago by yelling, You lie! at the presidents assertion that reforms would not be made available to illegal immigrants, Carter opined that Wilsons remarks were an act based on racism. He should know. He is poster boy for acts based on racism. That is how he became governor of Georgia.

Youve heard it before, but it bears repeating: In 1970, Carter ran one of the nastiest, most racist campaigns imaginable against former Gov. Carl Sanders, who unlike his counterparts in neighboring states, had taken the high road on race relations during the turbulent mid-60s.

He slandered Sanders every way possible from calling him a (shudder) liberal to looking the other way when his integrity-impaired lackeys showered Klan meetings with photos of Sanders with his arm around a black basketball player.

Sanders had rejected an effort by the Legislature to bring race-baiting Alabama Gov. George Wallace to Atlanta, but Carter pledged that if elected he would invite Wallace to address the General Assembly.

Carter also refused to attend the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, while his campaign staff noted ominously that Sanders had paid tribute to King.

Carter then had the unmitigated gall in 2006 to appear at Coretta Scott Kings funeral and use his time to trash President Bush, who was seated behind him, instead of apologizing for the disrespect he had shown Dr. King and his followers after the civil rights leaders assassination.

The black opportunists who gave him his soapbox showed an equal lack of class. If they had a shred of decency, they would have remembered those days when Carter was treating them like second-class citizens. Sanders had too much integrity to demean blacks just to get elected. Carter did not.

Keep your fingers crossed, but since Barack Obama became president, you have not seen Jimmy Carter traipsing around the world, criticizing sitting presidents and trying to make his own foreign policy. I would be sorely disappointed if our current president allowed this egomaniac to jeopardize our national security in order feed his craving for the limelight. Let him write his pontificating op-ed pieces for The New York Times. They deserve each other.

Georgia has produced some great public figures in my lifetime: Senators like Richard Russell, Walter George and Sam Nunn; representatives like Carl Vinson, Phil Landrum and Charles Weltner. Jimmy Carter is not in that group. He is an accident of history and would still be shelling peanuts in Plains had President Gerald Ford not pardoned Richard Nixon and enraged a nation. In 1976, voters would have elected Elmer Fudd president. Instead, they elected Jimmy Carter. Same difference.

This is the "man" who calls YOU racist if you don't like President Obama's policies.

God how I wish he would just shut up, go back to Plains, Georgia, sit on his porch and chew on boiled peanuts for the rest of his life.


Ken Berwitz

My pal, Publisher Perry, sent me the following video. 

I don't know if it is real or fake.  But if you don't laugh you're missing a humor chip.




(Incidentally, I'm sorry that my first link, put up last night, did not work.  This one seems to work just fine, though.)



Zeke I didn't laff ..... clicking on the link gave me .... Not found (09/23/09)


Ken Berwitz

This absolute insanity comes to us from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Are bath-time photos child pornography?

Last fall A.J. and Lisa Demaree took a memory stick with family photos to the printing center at the Wal-Mart store in Peoria, Ariz. Some of the photos showed their three young girls, all under 5 years old, partially nude in the bathtub. The Demarees say these were innocent pictures that all families take. But a Wal-Mart employee felt otherwise and contacted the police who agreed that this was a child pornography situation.

The Demaree's lawyer released this photo to show the pictures of the girls are innocent. (TO SEE THE PHOTO, CLICK HERE)

The police report read, "The young girl appeared to be posed in a provocative manner." A report issued by Peoria authorities described the photos as "child erotica" and "sex exploitation."

Child Protective Services searched the Demaree home and took custody of the children for a month while the state investigated. The watched family videotapes and found a few in which the children were playing unclothed. Lisa was suspended from her school job for a year, and both of their names were placed on the sex offender registry. The couple spent $75,000 on legal bills.

The Demarees were eventually cleared of any charges and their daughters returned, but they are now suing the state and Wal-Mart for what they call unfair accusations.

This morning the Demarees appeared on "Good Morning America." "I don't' understand it at all," A.J. told "GMA." "Ninety-nine percent of the families in America have these exact same photos."

"It took us a long time to take a picture [again]," Lisa told "GMA." "I even worry about them in their bathing suits now, if I get a shot of them in their bathing suits and they're tilting their heads a certain way or their hips are sticking out a little bit, all I think of is 'Does someone think that it was posed? Or how is that going to be perceived?'"

"Honestly we've missed a year of our children's lives as far as our memories go," Lisa added, "As crazy as it may seem, what you may think are the most beautiful innocent pictures of your children may be seen as something completely different and completely perverted."

Are these people nuts?

My wife and I took pictures of our children in the bathtub too.  Were they naked?  Yes, of course;  they were taking a bath.  So what?  We even have a couple of pictures of our grandson in the bathtub.  And when our granddaughter is born (November is when she's due) I have no doubt we will take pictures of her in the bathtub too.

Are we perverts? No, we're parents and grandparents.

Try to find families that DON'T take pictures of their children splashing around in a bathtub.

What a strange country we live in.  We are told that it is ok for schools to teach sex education to grade schoolers, and for schools to make condoms available to the children who attend them.  In case that doesn't work, impregnated girls can seek abortions without their parents' knowledge or consent.

But take a picture of your children in a bathtub, apropos of nothing, and you can lose those children for a month -- then go through your savings to prove you aren't a child pornographer.

And what if the judge ruled against the Demarees, and they had to continue on through the legal system which had already separated them from their children? 

I hope the Demarees win a judgment - a big one.  And I hope the lion's share of that judgment is from the state.  An anal-retentive Walmart employee is one thing.  But that employee didn't take away the Demarees' children.  The state did.

Then, for god sake, fire the idiots who took away those children.  That might make their replacements think twice before doing the same thing and destroying another family in the process.


Ken Berwitz

Want another major scandal for President Obama (and Bill Clinton) that media are dilligently overlooking? 

Try this one on for size.  It comes to us from Reuters (the bold print is mine):

U.S. charges Obama fund-raiser in $290 million fraud

Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:25pm EDT


By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hassan Nemazee, a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, has been indicted for defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup Inc out of more than $290 million in loan proceeds, U.S. prosecutors said on Monday.

The announcement follows last month's indictment of Nemazee, head of a private equity firm and an Iranian American Political Action Committee board member, on one count of defrauding Citigroup's Citibank.

The new indictment adds allegations that he defrauded two other banks, Bank of America and HSBC Bank USA, in a similar fashion by falsifying documents and signatures to purportedly show he had hundreds of millions worth of collateral.

The office of the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan and the FBI said he used the proceeds of his scheme to make donations to election campaigns of federal, state and local candidates, donations to political action committees and charities.

He bought property in Italy and paid for maintenance on two properties in New York.

His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

As of August 2009 Nemazee owed Bank of America about $142 million and owed Citibank about $74.9 million, the indictment said. He drew on a line of credit he fraudulently obtained from HSBC to pay the Citibank loan.

Nemazee, 59, typically donates more than $100,000 annually to Democratic political candidates. He is listed as one of the top "bundlers" of contributions to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website run by the Center for Responsive Politics research group.

"For more than 10 years, Hassan Nemazee projected the illusion of wealth, stealing more than $290 million so that he could lead a lavish lifestyle and play the part of heavyweight political fundraiser," United States Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in a statement.

Nemazee was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on August 23 as he was checking in for a flight to Italy, according to court papers. He was released on bail.

If convicted on three counts of bank fraud, Nemazee faces up to 30 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. He is also charged with identity theft.

The case is: U.S. v. Nemazee, 09-mj-1927 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

If you have heard and/or read the name hassan nemazee at all, you have heard and/or read it just barely.

Yet this "fundraiser" is accused of dramatically more fraud than Jack Abramoff ever came up with in his wildest dreams.

The difference?  nemazee can only be pinned on Democrats.  Not Republicans.  And, as President Obama continues to make an oafish dupe of himself by trying to appease the unappeasable Iran, nemazee is Iranian to boot.  By contrast Abramoff, who worked for both parties could be pinned on Republicans (media decided to forget the Democrats, like Harry Reid for example, because they, of course, didn't count).

Jack Abramoff was first-page story material for months.  But what about hassan nemazee?

Illustratively, did you look for the story about nemazee in today's New York Times?  If so, you are still looking.  Because it isn't there.  Not one word.  There is, however a story that someone in the Letterman show's audience gave President Obama a potato in the shape of a heart (how envious Cliff Claven would have been).  That, obviously, is far more newsworthy than a $290 million dollar fraud who raised untold amounts of money for Democrats.

Then they wonder why people call them biased......

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