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Insider Report: Hsu Gave to Kennedy, Obama; Rush Attacked

By    |   Sunday, 16 September 2007 12:54 AM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Norman Hsu Gave to Kennedy, Kerry, Obama, Others
2. Hillary Fundraiser Curses Out GOP
3. Obama's Brzezinski Link Troubles Israel Supporters
4. Rep. Robert Wexler Calls for Rush Limbaugh Apology
5. Report: Liberals and Conservatives Have Different Brains
6. Top Rabbi Addresses U.S. Muslim Group
7. Hillary Lags in 'Engagement'
8. We Heard: 'Mancow' Muller, Ja Rule, Judith Miller


1. Norman Hsu Gave to Kennedy, Kerry, Obama, Others

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made headlines when her presidential campaign said it would return $850,000 in donations raised by disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, and give the $23,000 she received directly from Hsu to charity.

But the list of politicians who benefited from Hsu's largesse reads like a "Who's Who" of the Democratic Party.

Hsu is under federal investigation for allegedly violating election laws. The FBI is probing whether Hsu paid so-called straw donors to send campaign contributions to Clinton and other candidates.

A list of politicians who received money from Hsu, published in the Wall Street Journal, includes these prominent Democrats in addition to Hillary:

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry
Minnesota Senatorial candidate Al Franken
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson
West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy
Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford
Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack
Nevada Sen. Harry Reid
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin
New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell
California Sen. Barbara Boxer

Since 2004, Hsu has donated $260,000 to Democratic Party groups and federal candidates, and raised hundreds of thousands of additional dollars. He was regarded as a top party fundraiser until reports surfaced recently that he was wanted on a warrant in California in connection with a 1991 grand theft charge, and he was arrested on Sept. 12.

2. Hillary Fundraiser Curses Out GOP

When Florida's Republican Party attacked Hillary Clinton for enlisting a fundraiser once accused of racketeering, the fundraiser responded with a profanity-laced tirade — and later apologized.

Former Hialeah, Fla., Mayor Raul Martinez was brought up on federal corruption charges nearly two decades ago. He was convicted but successfully appealed, and two more trials ended in hung juries, the Miami Herald reported.

After the Democrat hosted a Clinton fundraiser at his home on Monday, Sept. 10, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer issued a release stating, "Considering the controversy that is still swirling from the arrest of Norman Hsu last week, it's surprising that a politician as calculating as Hillary Clinton would enlist another embattled fundraiser to help line her campaign coffers in Florida."

Told about the release from Greer, Martinez called him a "vulgar word for a female body part," according to the Herald, and told the paper: "I would debate any f****** Republican about my past. We'll have a debate . . . if they want to take me on."

He added: "I'm a businessman. I'm a Democrat. Why shouldn't I raise money at my house? I will get on the horse, and I will beat the s*** out of them."

The next day, Martinez — who stepped down as mayor in 2005 — said he was sorry about the obscene rant. In an e-mail to the Herald, which had reported the outburst, he said, "I want to apologize to you and your readers."

He also said: "I was baited and I took it. There is no excuse for it. I should have known better."

3. Obama's Brzezinski Link Troubles Israel Supporters

Presidential candidate Barack Obama's enlistment of Jimmy Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski as a foreign policy adviser has disturbed some supporters of Israel.

Brzezinski created controversy this summer when he wrote a paper defending a new book critical of Israel's influence on American policy.

The book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by Harvard's Stephen Walt and the University of Chicago's John Mearsheimer argues that U.S. policy in the Middle East is driven by the "Israel lobby" — sometimes to the detriment of American interests.

Brzezinski wrote that the authors have "rendered a public service by initiating a much-needed public debate on the role of the 'Israel lobby' in the shaping of U.S. foreign policy."

Brzezinski's defense of the book doesn't sit well with Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, an outspoken critic of the volume, The Politico reports.

"It is a tremendous mistake for Barack Obama to select as a foreign policy adviser the one person in public life who has chosen to support a bigoted book," said Dershowitz.

Obama has already distanced himself from the book, according to The Politico. His campaign said in a statement last week that "the idea that supporters of Israel have somehow distorted U.S. foreign policy, or that they are responsible for the debacle in Iraq, is just wrong."

Nevertheless, Mark Siegel — who was President Carter's Jewish liaison until he resigned in 1978 in a dispute over the sale of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, said: "Brzezinski was a major obstacle to bridging the divisions between the president and the Jewish community. I'm very, very surprised that someone would have him directly involved in a presidential campaign."

4. Rep. Robert Wexler Calls for Rush Limbaugh Apology

Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler has demanded an apology from radio talker Rush Limbaugh for calling the congressman's South Florida constituents "lunatics" who are "deranged" and "devoid of rationality or reason."

"Many of the same people Rush Limbaugh is calling 'deranged' and 'lunatics' are World War II and Korean War veterans," Wexler said in a statement.

"Many of them are Holocaust survivors. These are the same men and women who re-built America after the Great Depression. These are good, law-abiding citizens — and he owes them an apology. It is pathetic that Mr. Limbaugh only supports veterans that share his opinions."

On his Sept. 11 radio show, Limbaugh referred to the congressman as "the disgusting Robert Wexler" for his aggressive questioning of Gen. David Petraeus at a congressional hearing the day before, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Limbaugh, who lives in Palm Beach County, said Wexler "is talking to the relatively few number of people in his district down here and making it sound like he's representing the United States of America.

"If you want to know how kooky they are, you ought to pick up any South Florida paper . . . Just go to the letters to the editor, and you will swear you're at Daily Kos . . . They are deranged — and, yes, they are listening to me right now. You people down here, you are deranged. You Democrats down here are absolutely delusional, devoid of any rationality or reason."

Referring to Wexler's attempts to compare Iraq with Vietnam, Rush said "that's something else that you'll find that these lunatics down there are constantly harping on, because they've drunk the Kool-Aid down here, folks, and they drink it each and every day."

Wexler is "pontificating and making speeches for the media down here to show him on TV and so forth, because that's what they think," Rush added. "Folks, this is not far off from the rest of the kook, liberal population throughout this country."

5. Report: Liberals and Conservatives Have Different Brains

It's a given that liberals and conservatives think differently. Now research suggests that's literally true.

According to a report in the journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers at New York University and UCLA found that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain deals with information.

The results indicate that "there are two cognitive styles — a liberal style and a conservative style," UCLA neurologist Dr. Marco Iacoboni, who was not involved in the research, told the Los Angeles Times.

The researchers told college students — whose political orientation ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative" — to tap a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer screen, and not to tap when a W appeared.

The letter M appeared four times more frequently than W, so participants were conditioned to "press a key in knee-jerk fashion whenever they saw a letter," the Times explained.

Participants were wired to a device that recorded activity in the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency — pressing a key when they saw a W — and the appropriate response, not pressing the key.

The results: Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, while the left-wing and right-wing brains performed equally well in recognizing an M.

Liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of participants for accuracy, according to Frank Sulloway, a researcher at the University of California-Berkeley's Institute of Personality and Social Research, who analyzed the data but was not connected to the research.

The Times reported: "Sulloway said the results could explain why President Bush demonstrated a single-minded commitment to the Iraq war and why some people perceived Sen. John F. Kerry . . . as a flip-flopper for changing his mind about the conflict."

6. Top Rabbi Addresses U.S. Muslim Group

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of America's largest Jewish denomination, spoke at a major Islamic conference in Chicago and called for an end to discrimination against Muslims.

Yoffie addressed the 44th annual conference of the Islamic Society of North America, also calling for more dialogue between religions and for support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish Daily Forward reported.

Yoffie — president of the Union for Reform Judaism — said a "profound ignorance" about Islam in the U.S. has encouraged Americans' views of Muslims as the enemy.

"The time has come to stand up to the opportunists in our midst — the media figures, religious leaders and politicians who demonize Muslims and bash Islam, exploiting the fears of their fellow citizens for their own purposes," he said.

"The time has come to end racial profiling and legal discrimination of any kind against Muslim Americans."

But Yoffie insisted that while Jews should help Muslims overcome Islamophobia, Muslims should help fight anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

The ISNA has in the past been accused of supporting the Palestinian organization Hamas, and was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism trial against a Texas-based charity shut down after the 9/11 terrorist attacks because of its alleged ties to Hamas, according to The Forward.

But ISNA's new leadership has condemned terrorism, including that perpetrated by Hamas and Hezbollah, and openly supports a two-state solution in Palestine.

Nevertheless, David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, was critical of Yoffie for addressing the Muslim organization.

"Here is another discredited group eager for mainstream recognition," he wrote on the Jerusalem Post's Web site.

"Inadvertently, in the name of inter-religious dialogue, he gave it."

Indiana-based ISNA is the largest umbrella group for Muslims in North America, and claims more than 100,000 members. The URJ represents some 1.5 million Jews and 900 congregations.

7. Hillary Lags in 'Engagement'

A candidate's "engagement" — the positive or negative feelings they engender with voters — is a key factor in determining the outcome of an election. And that could be bad news for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

Researchers at Harris Interactive found that the way people feel about candidates and their political ads is a better predictor of how they will vote than polls that ask them their voting intentions.

For example, in the 2004 presidential race, Harris Interactive's online poll showed John Kerry ahead in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. But his engagement numbers — basically his favorability rating — in a separate Harris poll correctly indicated that he would win only Pennsylvania, Advertising Age reports.

In the 2008 race, three August polls show that Hillary has by far the highest negative ratings of any candidate. Rudy Giuliani and Barack Obama both have much better ratios of positives to negatives.

Advertising Age notes: "Engagement, or lack thereof, did in John Kerry in 2004, and it might do in Hillary Clinton in 2008."

8. We Heard . . .

THAT radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller has filed a $6 million lawsuit against the owner of his longtime Chicago flagship WKQX-FM, claiming the company kept him from being hired by another Chicago station.

Muller left the station in July 2006 and is now with Talk Radio Network, but he does not have an affiliate in Chicago.

In his suit against Emmis Communication Corp. and several company employees, Muller alleges that WKQX personalities mocked him on the air and managers made false, disparaging remarks about his show, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The lawsuit also states: "Emmis took proactive steps to ensure that Mancow would not be hired by another radio station in Chicago."

THAT rapper Ja Rule launched into an obscenity-filled rant against bisexual and gay programming on television.

"We need to go step to MTV and Viacom, and let's talk about all these f****** shows that they have on MTV that is promoting homosexuality, that my kids can't watch," he said in an interview with Complex magazine.

"Dating shows that's showing two guys or two girls in mid-afternoon. Let's talk about sHIT like that! If that's not f***** up American, I don't know what is."

THAT former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify in the CIA leak investigation, has joined a conservative think tank.

Miller will serve as an adjunct fellow and contributing editor at City Journal, a quarterly magazine put out by the Manhattan Institute.

"As an adjunct fellow, I hope to continue writing about how best to enhance national security and public safety without sacrificing our freedom and civil liberties," Miller said in a statement.

Miller was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury probing the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent.

She retired from the Times in November 2005.

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Norman Hsu Gave to Kennedy, Kerry, Obama, Others2. Hillary Fundraiser Curses Out GOP3. Obama's Brzezinski Link Troubles Israel Supporters4. Rep. Robert Wexler Calls for Rush Limbaugh Apology5. Report: Liberals and...
Sunday, 16 September 2007 12:54 AM
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