Wednesday, 06 April 2011


Congratulations to Matt Lauer of the Today Show.  You have outdone yourself.

This morning, Mr. Lauer conducted an interview (the quotation marks are necessary here) with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on the looming government shutdown one which was so clearly promoted the Democrats party line that Lauer might as well have been wearing I love Chuck and Obama 2012 buttons.

As you may be aware, Senator Schumer was caught, days ago, instructing his fellow Democrat Senators on what dialogue to use in attacking Republicans, right down to what specific words should be incorporated into their spontaneous comments.  This was done by phone, before a telephone press conference, when Schumer thought reporters were not yet on the line.  Once he realized they were, his instructions to the other Democrats suddenly stopped (Im picturing a frantic aide getting his attention and warning him that he was busted).


Here, drawn from countless news sources, was the account I reported on April 3:


Moments before a conference call with reporters was scheduled to get underway on Tuesday morning, apparently unaware that many of the reporters were already on the line, Charles Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, began to instruct fellow senators on how to talk to reporters about the contentious budget process.


After thanking his colleagues Barbara Boxer of California, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over how spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John Boehner of Ohio, the Speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. I always use the word extreme, Mr. Schumer said, That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.


Fast-forward to this morning.  


Now we have Matt Lauer interviewing Senator Schumer about the budget process.  


Would you expect Lauer to grill Schumer on the predetermined talking points he was issuing to his colleagues?  


If the answer is no, you should be very impressed with Lauers interview.  Because there was not one word asked about it.  Not even after Schumer says:


Weve met the Republicans more than half way, $33 billion, but they keep moving the goalposts back.  Thats because Speaker Boehner is pulled by the Tea Partythey said shut it down, no compromise.  


If ever there were a time for Lauer to ask about Schumers canned talking points, this was it.  Because he was reciting the canned talking points.  But no dice.  That was not going to happen, not on Lauers interview.  


By contrast, here is what Lauer asked Schumer further on in the interview: 


You talk about Speaker Boehner, and, in some ways, it does appear that hes in a very difficult position here.  Hes got a lot of pressure coming from the Tea Party, and yet hes got to compromise with Democrats to avoid this shutdown.  These are your words: 


We take it for granted that because of the intense political pressure being applied by the Tea Party, the speaker has to play an outside game as well as an inside game.  As long as he continues to negotiate its OK by us if he needs to strike a different pose publicly.  


What youre saying there is hes playing a game.  Hes talking out of both sides of his mouth.  Is that accurate?


What a great softball lobbed Schumers way.  And his answer?


Well, I wouldnt be that harsh.  I would say that he has a constituency, the Tea Party, which says no compromise, but he knows if he follows them its bad for the country and bad for his party, and he has to sort of walk that tightropeits his job as a leader to tell the Tea Party they cant have everything their way


Ok, now Lauer has been given yet another opportunity to nail Schumer on his Tea Party talking point which Lauer absolutely, unequivocally knows he is reciting, because Schumer himself said so in the telephone recital.  


But does he?  You already know the answer, dont you?  Instead, Lauer asks:


And when you look at some of the things the Tea Party and others on the far right are asking for.does it seem to you, Senator, that this is less about a fiscal debate or an economical policy debate, and theyre making an ideological stand here?


Not only is this another softball, but it is a specific statement of agreement - to which an obviously delighted Chuck Schumer responds:


Thats exactly right, Matt, youve hit the nail on the head.


And what about Matt Lauers interview with a Republican member of congress - maybe even Mr. Boehner - who presented the other side?  


Well, there wasnt any.  The segment began and ended with the Lauer/Schumer agreement-fest.  No other side necessary.


The most amazing part of this?  That Lauer, and his similarly-disposed co-hosts, would be upset if anyone called them biased.


I am hopeful you know better.

steve schneider how about someone asking him why we are in this situation to begin with? ans: no budget passed last year despite democratic controlled congress, senate and presidency. steve (04/06/11)

free` Just saw this report. ---------------------- As headlines have Meredith Vieira leaving the "Today" show, a source tells ET and The Insider that Matt Lauer has notified his NBC bosses that he will be resigning from the "Today" show when his contract expires on December 31, 2012. -- add the www to that link (04/06/11)

free` The most amazing part of this? -- Is that you continue to watch the Today show. (04/06/11)


Ken Berwitz

They warned me that if I voted for McCain in 2008, I would get President Bush's 3rd term.  Well, I voted for McCain in 2008.......**

Have you noticed that, in foreign policy decisions, President Obama is becoming less and less distinguishable from George Bush?

I hadn't really thought about it - until I read Victor Davis Hanson's latest piece for National Review.  Here is an excerpt of what Mr. Hanson has to say:  see if it resonates:

Almost every promise, almost every reset proclamation from Barack Obama about the struggles against, and those within, the radical Muslim world has either been withdrawn or proven bankrupt.

On the day the president announced his reelection bid, his administration renounced its loud promises to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a New York civilian court. While blaming Congress for the flipflop, Team Obama conceded that it had no public support for such a sensational courtroom drama and knew that the trial of the mastermind of 9/11, a few blocks from the site of his mass murdering, might have endangered the presidents reelection.

Consider the rest of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols, all of which Senator Obama demagogued and promised to overturn, or at least curtail, if he was elected president. Yet Obama has now embraced military tribunals, kept Guantanamo open (and will probably put new prisoners in it), left the Patriot Act largely untouched, vastly expanded the Predator targeted-assassination program, continued renditions, declared preventive detention and the suspension of habeas corpus legal and necessary in the case of terrorists, surged in Afghanistan, and kept to the Bush-Petraeus-Maliki agreements on scheduled troop withdrawals from Iraq. President Obama assumes two facts: Such policies are critical in keeping us safe; and they can be embraced without worry over demagogic attacks by the likes of Senator Obama.


Candidate Obamas campaign opposition to all of the above, except the war in Afghanistan, weakened American credibility at a critical juncture in the war in Iraq, and helped propel him to victory over Hillary Clinton as a more passionate and leftward critic of George Bush. That he has now simply copied Bushs anti-terrorism agenda, gussied it up with some ridiculous euphemisms, and banned descriptive terms like war on terror and radical Islam exposes him as hypocritical, nave, and weak. Hypocritical: If these measures were bad in 2008, why are they good in 2011? Nave: Did Obama really believe that campaign rhetoric was synonymous with the responsibility of governance? Weak: Why boast about ending Bushs protocols only to give up on repealing them at the first sign of political pushback?

Apart from being a terrific writer, Victor Davis Hanson has hit on a very important point:  namely that, when it comes to foreign policy, if you get past the wordsmithing and political dancing, President Obama - grudgingly, to say the least  - has taken on more and more of President Bush's policies.

And whenever he departs from what President Bush was doing - most notably his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and his numbingly mindless foray into Libya, with no definable objective or any idea of who we are fighting for - he falls flat on his face.

If I were former President Bush, I would be more than a little proud of how many different ways President Obama, by his actions, has acknowledged I was right all along.

Now, when do our wonderful "neutral" mainstream media catch on to what Victor Davis Hanson has told us?  Ever?


**I wish that clever turn of phrase was original, but it isn't.  William F. Buckley (speaking of people with ties to National Review - he founded it) once said something like "I was warned that if I voted for Barry Goldwater, the war in Vietnam would escalate.  Well, I voted for Barry Goldwater....."


Ken Berwitz

In the "non-partisan" race for the Wisconsin state Supreme Court, the latest information (according to the Associated Press) is that, with all the votes counted - about one and a half million of them - Joanne Kloppenburg leads David Prosser by an amazingly tiny margin of 204 votes.

Despite the obvious fact that there will be a recount, this, to me, means Ms. Kloppenburg is a shoo-in.  Major urban centers, dominated by Democrats, have a very strong propensity to "find" additional votes that put elections like this out of reach for Republicans.  It has happened again and again - and I expect it to happen here as well.  I would be very surprised (to be exact, very pleasantly surprised) if David Prosser pulls this one out.

It goes to show you what millions of union dollars and the fraudulent accusation that Prosser somehow was sympathetic to a serial pedophile can do...........

Zeke ..... ..... ...... It is the Democrat sense of fair play ---- Dead people and citizens of other countries have the same right to vote as anyone else. ..... ........ (04/06/11)


Ken Berwitz

This is for anyone who believes that journalists simply report what they see in Judea and Samaria (the west bank) or Gaza:

Excerpted from Caroline May's article at

Human Rights Watch released a report Wednesday detailing the abuse of journalists in the West Bank and Gaza at the hands of the Palestinian Authority.


The report, No News is Good News: Abuses Against Journalists by Palestinian Security Forces, accuses Palestinian Authority security forces of censoring, harassing and torturing reporters, resulting in a severe restriction of free speech.


Documenting seven instances of journalist detention and abuse, Human Rights Watch concludes that the effect has not only been active censorship but also a chilling effect of self-censorship by journalists in the area.


Security forces of the Palestinian Authority have arbitrarily detained scores of West Bank journalists since 2009, and in some cases abused them during interrogation in a manner that amounted to torture, the report reads. Like other Palestinian victims of abuse by the Palestinian Authoritys security services, these journalists confront a virtual wall of impunity when they try to hold their abusers accountable, leaving the victims feeling vulnerable to further harassment and abuse.

Are you surprised?  If so, why?  It is not - repeat, not - anything new. 

Just because our wonderful "neutral" media do not report the abusive treatment of journalists (maybe to protect the ones they send there), doesn't mean it isn't happening. 

It is happening.  It has happened for a long time.  And there is every reason to believe it will continue to happen.

I strongly suggest you keep this in mind every time you read a news story emanating from the so-called "Palestinian Territories".  Fear is quite a motivator when writing about people who a) have no problem abusing a journalist, and b) whom the journalist will be accessible to after his/her report is published.

free` Let me add to this, the MSM and our government claim the PA are the moderate ones. Imagine the press treatment in Gaza by hamas. (04/06/11)


Ken Berwitz

As I post this, there are reports all over the internet that Robert Titcomb, a close friend of Barack Obama's, was arrested in Honolulu on Monday night for soliciting sex from an undercover officer posing as a prostitute.

Can someone - anyone - tell me what this has to do with Barack Obama? 

Unless Mr. Obama was out catting with Mr. Titcomb, this is a complete, 100% non-story.  And he wasn't. 

In the words of Gertrude Stein, after unsuccessfully trying to find her childhood home in Oakland, California, "There's no 'there' there".

With so many real  issues to talk about, why would anyone make a thing out of this? 


Zeke .... WHEN will we get honest elections .... Fraudulent handling of ballots, fraudulent counts, fraudulent voter registration [people not entitled to vote there; .... non-citizens ...... dead / moved people's registration used .... fictitious people registered] ..... .... The credit card industry seems to have solved these problems in 1970..... Why do we put up with Fraud ? ? ? (04/07/11)


Ken Berwitz

In the previous post we saw Matt Lauer tsk-tsking about the far right.

I wonder what he has to say about Barack Obama's association with the career racist, White Supremacist al sharpton, and his bogus National Action Network?

Excerpted from John Lemire's article in today's New York Daily News:

President Obama looks to Rev. Al Sharpton for help in 2012 reelection bid

President Obama will speak Wednesday in New York at event hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

President Obama is making his second visit to the city in as many weeks - and is calling upon an unlikely ally to shore up the support of his political base.

Obama will be speaking Wednesday for the first time as commander in chief at the annual convention of the National Action Network and standing with its founder, the Rev. Al Sharpton - whom the President largely ignored before his 2008 election.

The symbolic speech at the Sheraton in midtown - coming just days after the President held two events in Harlem - indicates that Obama, who is battling slipping poll numbers, is trying to bolster his standing among African-Americans, political scientists said.

"It proves again that 2012 will be very different than 2008," said Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia. "Then, Obama was very wary of the race issue and of being labeled as a 'black candidate.'"

"But some of the enthusiasm surrounding that election has faded," said Sabato. "He needs an injection of energy and Sharpton can provide some of that, at least in the black community."

I have written extensively about al sharpton:  about the tawana brawley hoax, of course -- but also about his involvement in the Williamsburgh riots, the Freddy's Fashion Mart mass murder, his long history of financial shenanigans, his long-time support of racist, White supremacist, anti-Semite louis farrakhan, his proud and conspicuous attendance at the funeral of racist, White supremacist, anti-semite khalid muhammad, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Years ago, Steve Gilbert of did an extensive investigation of the so-called National Action Network, and found it to be a shell organization (shell game is more like it) which spent almost all the money it collected on its own executive board, comprised of sharpton, while leaving almost nothing for the people it was supposed to help -- hardly a surprise, with sharpton involved.

So, Matt, will you have anything to say about Barack Obama's association with al sharpton on Thursday's Today show?

Trust me, folks, that question is purely rhetorical.

free` Zeke, LOL at the dead voters. --- Just saw this report. ---------------------- As headlines have Meredith Vieira leaving the "Today" show, a source tells ET and The Insider that Matt Lauer has notified his NBC bosses that he will be resigning from the "Today" show when his contract expires on December 31, 2012. -- add the www to that link (04/06/11)

Zeke .... ..... Greasy Al owes somewhere between $330,000 and $3.5 million in unpaid taxes. .... .... He routinely stiffs suppliers (printers, landlords, hotels, etc). .... Al claims he owns nothing ... that his non-profits actually own his car, suits (very, very expensive threads, btw ... saw him while waiting for the same flight in Newark airport). Sharpton is a windbag .... He is NOTHING without the media. Giuliani refused to talk about him, and suddenly ole Al was no longer in the news. (04/06/11)

Zeke ...... @ free` ..... Yuh. ..... ..... and support for Obama was 100% among dead voters (04/06/11)

free` In the last poll I saw by race, blacks still favored Obama by 90% or more. (04/06/11)


Ken Berwitz

Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News Channel.

This is Fox's lucky day.

Here is the beginning of a blog I wrote about Beck on July 29, 2009:



Ken Berwitz


If Fox News Channel (FNC) finds keith olbermann an obnoxious, tasteless, viciously offensive loudmouth - as well they should - why did they hire his right wing clone and hand him a show?


glen beck is an obnoxious, tasteless, viciously offensive loudmouth. 


Does he have some facts that are indisputable and is he sometimes right in his conclusions?  Yes and yes - just as olbermann does and is (a broken clock is sometimes right too).  But that doesn't change what glen beck is or how he comports himself.

That still goes today.

Fox will be far better off without him. 

WisOldMan Comparing Glenn Beck to Keith Olberman is like comparing a newspaper to a garden too. (04/07/11)


Ken Berwitz

On Sunday I blogged about the UN's "Goldstone report", published in 2009, which condemned Israel for its military action against hamas-ruled Gaza in 2008 - after enduring years of daily artillery attacks from that woebegotten place. 

I called it the "Gallstone report" because its author, Richard Goldstone, now admits the report is a pile of garbage and he didn't know what he was talking about.  What gall he had in publishing such a dishonest, unfair document in the first place.

Jeff Jacoby, the great columnist for the not-as-great Boston Globe, has written about this farce in his latest column.  I thought you might want to see a key excerpt.  The bold print is mine:

In an article published Friday in The Washington Post, Goldstone admitted that his mission's venomous central allegation -- that Israel purposely murdered Palestinian noncombatants -- was false:

"If I had known then what I know now," he writes in his opening paragraph, "the Goldstone Report would have been a different document." What he knows about Israel now is "that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy." By contrast, "that the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying -- its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets." He acknowledges that Israel has been conscientiously investigating incidents in which civilians were killed, whereas Hamas has investigated nothing. And he states the most elemental truth about the Islamist extremists who rule Gaza, a truth nowhere mentioned in the UN report that bears his name: "Hamas . . . has a policy to destroy the state of Israel."

That is a point that an honest investigation of the fighting in Gaza would have stressed. An objective inquiry would have focused on the conflict's asymmetrical nature -- Israel, a nation-state that bends over backward to avoid harming civilians, was facing Hamas, a terrorist organization that not only targets Israeli civilians, but deliberately puts Palestinian civilians in harm's way.

But Goldstone's investigation was a one-sided sham. His commission was a production of the UN Human Rights Council, which has a history of disregarding real human rights abusers (several of which are council members) in order to single out Israel for condemnation. Indeed, the panel's original mandate presupposed Israeli guilt: It called for an investigation of "the grave violations of human rights" caused by "the recent Israeli military attacks."

Goldstone blames the Israeli government for not cooperating with his "investigation," but the Jewish state was under no obligation to assist in its own lynching. And a lynching it was. The commission had made "a mockery of impartiality," commented The Washington Post when the report was issued. Goldstone's panel claimed not to know "that Hamas hid its fighters among civilians, used human shields, fired mortars and rockets from outside schools, stored weapons in mosques, and used a hospital for its headquarters, despite abundant available evidence." Yet it had no problem concluding that Israel's goal was to kill civilians. 

Note to all Israel-haters:  Don't worry.  Your guys got two years of propaganda value out of the Gallstone Report, and most of your compatriots either will never see this retraction (that's what it amounts to, doesn't it?) or will claim that it doesn't count because it was the result of Jewish pressure.

Never forget that the progenitor of this report is the United Nations.  And, if you are an Israel-hater, the UN is not going to let you down.

Zeke .... .... "If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth" ..... .... Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister (04/06/11)

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