Daily Archives: June 3, 2010

Beck Blames One Of Fox News’ Largest Shareholders, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, For 9/11

On his television program this afternoon, Glenn Beck declared that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the largest stockholder of Fox News outside of the Rupert Murdoch family, “flew … the plane into the trade centers.” Beck started his rant as a defense of Israel’s actions against the aid flotilla to Gaza, but eventually began hypothesizing about if a similar flotilla was sent to Manhattan by Saudi Arabia. Beck said this had already happened essentially, when Prince Alwaleed offered $10 million dollars to then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Beck repeatedly burst into moral outrage, demanding why people are held “to a different standard” and why the media refused to be “consistent” with its reporting. Of course, during his monologue, Beck never mentioned that the very Saudi Prince Beck accused of being behind the 9/11 attacks is a close friend of his own boss, Rupert Murdoch, or that Beck’s employment at Fox News is financed by that same Prince. Without a tinge of irony in his voice, Beck implored his listeners not to trust any offering of money from Prince Alwaleed, despite the fact his own salary depends on him:

BECK: Didn’t we almost kind of do that? Do you remember what happened right after 9/11 with Rudy Giuliani? Do you remember Saudi Arabia came and said, we want to help. This guy [pointing at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud] came over and said ‘I want to give you a $10 million dollar check.’ Rudy Giuliani said, you see that over there? I don’t think we want your help. You already sent us help. And you flew that help into the plane, into the the trade centers. The same prince later blamed the U.S. policy for the attacks. Giuliani said, take your check, we don’t want your money. There is no way America, that if it was us, that we would allow that to happen. Why do we hold people to a different standard? [...]

BECK: We answered this question on the beating. We just have to be consistent.     Watch:

Prince Alwaleed has grown close with the Murdoch enterprise, recently endorsing James Murdoch to succeed his father and creating a content-sharing agreement with Fox News for his own media conglomerate, Rotana. As ThinkProgress has reported, many conservative activists have been enraged at Fox News for allowing Prince Alwaleed to dictate its content. For instance, Prince Alwaleed had boasted in the past about forcing Fox News to change its content relating to its coverage of riots in Paris. Curiously, Fox News has also rejected television ads criticizing America’s dependence on Middle East oil, a source of wealth for the Prince Alwaleed family.

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Filed under Fox News, Fox News Distortions, Glenn Beck Delusions

Harry Reid Leads In Nevada Senate Race, Tea Party Candidate Surges In GOP Primary

This is very good news for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).  The news media had painted a grim picture for Reid over the last few months.  The media had given the Tea Party” credit for sinking Reid in the polls.  Then a funny thing happened on the way to the upcoming Nevada primaries:

  • Sue Lowden found that bartering chickens for health care may have been an unrecoverable faux pas.
  • Danny Tarkanian and Sharon Angle had no name recognition in the political world

Now, it appears that Reid is ahead of all three contenders:

Huffington Post

A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll released Thursday shows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) leading all potential GOP challengers in general election match-ups.

Reid is ahead of Tea Party-backed candidate Sharon Angle 43 percent to 37 percent, he leads Republican Sue Lowden 42 percent to 38 percent as well as long-shot GOP challenger Danny Tarkanian 43 percent to 39 percent, according to the Kos/Research 2000 poll.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side Angle is surging ahead in her fight to win the June 8 primary, according to both the Kos poll as well as a new survey from the Suffolk University.

Here are the results from the Kos/Research 2000 poll:

Sharon Angle: 34 %
Sue Lowden: 25 %
Danny Tarkanian: 24 %

The Suffolk poll shows Angle leading with 33 percent of the vote, followed by Tarkanian and Lowden, who trail the Tea Party favorite with 26 percent and 25 percent of the vote, respectively.

DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas writes of the latest numbers to come out on the Nevada primary:

Ouch… Sue Lowden was riding high, queen of the world against two little-known irrelevant opponents. Then she opened her flap, ranted on and on about chickens, took illegal gifts from her supporters, spent general election money illegally on the primary, and now she’s en route to a third-place finish in next week’s primary.

Earlier polls from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Patriot Majority/Public Policy Polling revealed Angle and Lowden to be in a tight match-up in the fight to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.

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Filed under Harry Reid, Nevada Primary

BP CEO Tony Hayward Tries To Salvage Reputation With New Ad Campaign: ‘We Will Make This Right’

Mea culpa?  I doubt it.  More like “public relations fix”.

Think Progress

The foreign oil giant BP has launched a new series of advertisements to contain the damage to its reputation and stock price from its uncontrolled disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In a television advertisement that aired nationally this morning, BP CEO Tony Hayward promotes how his corporation is running the response to the environmental calamity it caused.

Unlike the attitude expressed in interviews when he dismissed the scope of the disaster and complained that he wanted his life back, Hayward tells the camera he is “deeply sorry” for this “tragedy that never should have happened.” With the cries of seabirds in the background, he expresses an air of authority, lumping “volunteers” and “the government” together in his thanks for their help:

The gulf is home for thousands of BP employees and we all feel the impact. To all the volunteers and for the strong support of the government, thank you. We know it is our responsibility to keep you informed and do everything we can so this never happens again. We will get this done. We will make this right.

While BP is on the hook for the billion-dollar costs of the cleanup, it still has money to conduct a broad greenwashing campaign with the support of an army of lobbying and public relations firms and former Dick Cheney press secretary Anne Womack-Kolton. Full-page ads in major newspapers promote the slogan: “We will get this done. We will make this right.”

Hayward’s recognition of BP’s “responsibility to keep you informed” flies in the face of reality, with its demonstrated willingness to misinform the public, lie to Congress, and restrict media access to the scene of its crime.

Hayward’s lack of respect towards the United States government’s authority reflects his company’s position. In addition to the failed efforts to stop the leaks, BP controls millions of dollars of claims processing, thousands of environmental contractors on land and sea, telephone lines, volunteer assistance, access to the disaster site, and data collection. The Center for American Progress recommends that the government take control of the cleanup, instead of keeping the perpetrator in charge.

It is, of course, too late to “make this right” for the 11 workers who died in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, or for the countless animals and miles of shoreline that have been killed by BP’s toxic sludge.

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Filed under U.S. Politics

HuffPo: Activist Killed In Israeli Raid Was American, Shot Four Times In Head

This is a suprising development.  It will be interesting to see how things unfold since this information was released.  

I’m almost certain that the “American Citizen” element will change nothing  in terms of our relationship with Israel.  Some will argue that he had dual citizenship, and therefore was not solely loyal to the United States. 

There is no way that the United States will leave Israel isolated and alone in that region. 

It’s a relationship similar to a parent who has to chastise their child for being insensitive and frankly, too damned self-righteous in many instances.  However, the fact remains, the parent will always be in the child’s corner, protecting him and scolding him when necessary, because in the end, the parent has an unwaivering committment to the child, especially when no one else wants to deal with him.

However, I do think there will be more scrutiny focused on how the American was killed (four times in the head is indeed overkill.)

Huffington Post

A U.S. citizen was among those killed in Israel’s flotilla raid Monday, the AP reports.

A State Department official says one of the nine people killed in the Israeli raid on an aid flotilla Monday was a 19-year-old man with dual U.S.-Turkish citizenship.The official identified the victim as Furkan Dogan, who was believed to have been residing in Turkey.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter has not been officially confirmed by the U.S. government.

The official said the victim had been shot but it was not clear who shot him. He was among eight of the dead being mourned at a funeral in Istanbul Thursday.

ABC News, quoting the Anatolian news agency, reports that Dogan was shot at “close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest.”

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Filed under Gaza Flotilla

GOP congressman says Rand Paul has “disrespect” for Constitution

Daily Kos

For the credit where credit is due file, GOP Rep. Connie Mack called out Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul for his plan to strip the citizenship of children born in the U.S. to undocumented parents. Via Think Progress, the Tampa Bay Times reports Mack’s statement:

“Late last week, Dr. Rand Paul, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, said, ‘We’re the only country I know that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby, and then that baby becomes a citizen … And I think that should stop also.’

“Certainly, it is Dr. Paul’s and others’ right to express their opinion, but as a candidate who strongly believes in the Constitution, Dr. Paul is wrong on this issue.

“As we all know, the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution explicitly states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States …

The Constitution was created to limit government, protect liberty, and safeguard individual rights. Ignoring the plain meaning and written word of the Fourteenth Amendment – and indeed, the entire Constitution – disrespects the Constitution itself and discredits the candidate.”

Too bad he didn’t speak up back when it was Bush and Cheney were disrespecting the Constitution, but hey, better late than never. Connie Mack joins the GOP-led Kentucky State Senate in rebuking Paul for his statements on the Civil Rights Act.

It might be too much to wish for, but Rand Paul could help hasten the inevitable fracturing of the Republican party. Connie Mack and Kentucky Republicans can’t be the only ones who see where his party is headed in its relentless pursuit of the crazy base and doesn’t like it.

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Filed under Rand Paul, Rep. Connie Mack

We got the president we elected

 

I agree with the author of this opinion piece.  This op-ed, in my opinion is spot on. 

  • Gloria Borger says Obama was elected because his calm, cool approach contrasted with Bush
  • She says the oil spill is a crisis and people are looking for someone to express their anger
  • Obama is trying to show a sense of urgency on the issue, she says
  • Borger: “We elected Barack Obama. Now we want to change him.”
  •  

    The news about Al and Tipper Gore deciding to separate after 40 years of marriage shocked Washington — and those who know them — into a kind of frenzy: How could this be? They have always been the genuine political couple. The ones who were affectionate and caring; the ones who had fun. The couple who dared to smooch onstage at a national political convention.

    Al and Tipper were like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Always better together.

    And maybe they were. And what we saw was true. And maybe now — because it once was true and isn’t anymore — they’ve decided to split.

    We don’t know, and it’s not our business.

    But the shock it sent is about us, not them. It’s about the way we perceive (and choose to perceive) what’s put in front of our eyes, especially when it comes to the political world.

    All of which leads to President Obama. He was elected because he is cool, calm and analytical. That’s what we wanted to see after George W. Bush, so we made him president. But now the disaster in the Gulf has made many of us want to see someone else — with plenty of anger, emotion and bravado. We want him to yell at BP. We want him to loudly tell us he’s whipping the cleanup effort into shape.

    We can’t tell BP ourselves, so we want him to do it for us.

    Fair enough. But that’s not the person we elected.

    So we want him to morph into something he isn’t — which is exactly what we hate about our politicians. We want him to be another Barack Obama, an actor. Maybe we want him to be George Bush with the bullhorn after 9/11. Only he isn’t.

    And he isn’t the first president to have his empathy gene questioned, either. Remember Bush 41, who had to flatly tell us, “Message: I care,” when we didn’t think he did care? Or his son, who had to declare his concern for the Gulf Coast when playing catch-up on Katrina.

    There is one president, of course, who never had to be prodded into the empathy zone: Bill Clinton. He felt our pain all the time. Last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell put it this way: “If Bill Clinton was president, he’d have been in a wetsuit, trying to get down to see the spill.” He’s right, of course, but think back for a moment: That’s exactly what Americans came to distrust about Clinton. By emoting too much, they never knew what to believe. What was real and what wasn’t?

    Perception is important, of course. Maybe if the president had gone to the Gulf sooner — and met with fishermen instead of functionaries — we would have eased up on him. Surely we would have felt better. It’s important for a president, as a leader and national pastor, to let Americans know he gets it, so an early trip to the Gulf matters. That’s why the White House sprang a leak-a-thon when it told reporters that the president had gotten angry in private, telling advisers to just “plug the damn hole.” Message: I emote.

    But the real problem, of course, is that the “damn hole” isn’t getting plugged, with junk or anything else. The oil continues to spew out of the well, a daily reminder in the corner of our cable screens that there is something out of control that we cannot yet stop. And Obama rightly suffers: As president, he’s in charge. He’s the one who told us he wanted to preside over a smart government that can work. And he finally accepted responsibility for dealing with the mess last week, and we approved. But the hole remains unplugged.

    So as the oil continues to flow, Obama sent Attorney General Eric Holder to the Gulf to announce massive criminal and civil investigations into the disaster. The president himself now tells us almost daily that the spill is his highest priority, as is the cleanup. And his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, responded to a question about the president’s emotional state by saying, “I’ve seen rage from him.”

    Good to know, I guess. But if Obama were full of rage, he wouldn’t have been elected.

    True to form, we want it all. We want a leader who can feel our pain while rising above it. We say we don’t trust government, but we look to it for answers and cleanups. And we elected Barack Obama. Now we want to change him.

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    Filed under GOP Lies, GOP Obstructionism, GOP Political Attacks

    Obama rips GOP on economy, looks ahead to midterm elections

    CNN

     President Barack Obama laid out a sweeping defense of his domestic record Wednesday while blasting his Republican opponents as political opportunists and defenders of a bankrupt economic philosophy.

    Noting that the economy has grown for three quarters in a row, the president claimed credit for “breaking the free fall” and building a new foundation for growth “without much help from our friends in the other party,” he said. Republicans have mostly “sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers,” he said.

    The president’s remarks, delivered in the perennial swing state of Pennsylvania, were the latest partisan salvo in the run-up to November’s heated midterm elections.

    The Republicans will campaign on “the same promises they’ve been making for decades,” Obama said in a speech at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. But for much of the last 10 years, “we tried it their way … [and] know where those ideas will lead us.”

    “We can go backward or we can keep moving forward,” he said. “We need to keep moving forward.”

    Obama’s trip to Pennsylvania was his fifth since taking office. The president arrived in Pittsburgh with Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, who was recently defeated by Rep. Joe Sestak in a tough Senate Democratic primary fight. Obama had endorsed Specter.

    Some of the GOP opposition to his agenda, Obama asserted, “is just politics. Before I was even inaugurated, the congressional leaders of the other party got together and made a calculation that if I failed, they’d win.”

    But much of the Republican position is also “rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about government,” he said. “It’s a belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges. It’s an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations.”

    The president predicted that “as November approaches, leaders in the other party will campaign furiously on the same economic argument they’ve been making for decades. Fortunately, we don’t have to look back too many years to see how it turns out.”

    Obama blamed the GOP for providing tax cuts to “millionaires who didn’t need them” while gutting regulations, putting “industry insiders in charge of industry oversight” and turning record budget surpluses into record deficits.

    “We already know where their ideas led us,” he said. “And now we have a choice as a nation. We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future.”

    The president also used the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico to advance his alternative energy agenda Wednesday, calling it a warning that America needs to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels.

    “The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error — or corporations taking dangerous shortcuts that compromised safety,” he said.

    “But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth — risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes. Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren.”

    Obama acknowledged that the Democratic leadership’s energy reform plan doesn’t currently have the votes to clear the Senate but promised to keep pushing for the bill’s passage.

    A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in early May indicated that 46 percent of Pennsylvania voters approve of the job Obama’s doing as president, wtih 48 percent opposed. Obama beat GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona by 11 percentage points in Pennsylvania in 2008.

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    Filed under GOP Folly, GOP Hubris, GOP Obstructionism, GOP Political Attacks, President Obama