Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley stepped into the hallway after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday to supporters asking for selfies and autographs — and, from others, a less friendly greeting.
“We love Trump, we love Trump!” a crowd around her started chanting. Some Haley supporters shouted her name back as the former U.N. ambassador escaped with staff to an elevator.
The dust-up showed the risks of taking the primary fight to what has clearly become Trump’s home turf. Though CPAC has long been seen as a big-tent forum for the conservative movement and a mandatory cattle call for presidential hopefuls, the annual conference has increasingly grown into a stomping ground for the 45th president and his “Make America Great Again” wing of the GOP. Trump will speak at the event Saturday.
“Remember, you’re not at CPAC, you’re at TPAC,” John Fredericks, a pro-Trump talk radio host broadcasting from the sidelines here, said in an interview Wednesday. He said potential 2024 rivals opted to skip the conference rather than risk getting booed or losing the straw poll. “We own this thing, it’s ours,” he said. “No Trump, no CPAC.”
This year’s lineup was heavy with Trump family members and acolytes — such as Lara Trump, Donald Trump Jr., former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, losing 2022 Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Sens. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), and Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) — to the near-total exclusion of the party’s other voices.
Lazy Caturday ReadsPosted: March 4, 2023 Filed under: cat art, caturday, just because | Tags: CPAC, Dominion lawsuit, Fox News, George Conway, gossip, Joe Biden, Kellyanne Conway, Merrick Garland, Michael Beschloss, odds and ends, Ron De Santis, Rupert Murdoch, Sergei Lavrov, Ukraine 23 Comments
I’m not finding a lot of exciting stories today, which is actually fine with me, because I’m going through one of my periods of being burned out on political news. So once again, I’m offering a mixed bag of odds and ends that I found interesting. Here goes…
CPAC is still in the news and, as Dakinikat indicated yesterday, it’s even more bizarre than ever before.
Steve Reilly and Maggie Severns with a long read at Grid: Why does CPAC seem extra weird this year? How CPAC went from launching the Reagan era to “Schlapp Inc. and the Trump grifters.”
Its sponsors include multiple organizations founded by convicted criminals. Key speaking slots are filled with prominent election deniers. Many top Republicans are keeping their distance.
At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, the most troubled parts of the conservative movement were on full display.
“It has transformed itself into a Donald Trump-supporting group fully engaged with election deniers, culture wars and indicted guests,” said Al Cardenas, who led the American Conservative Union (ACU), which produces the event, from 2011 to 2014.
“It’s Schlapp, Inc. and Trump grifters,” said GOP strategist Dennis Lennox, who has attended CPAC since 2007, referring to CPAC and Matt Schlapp, the current head of the ACU, who faces his own legal problems.
Sponsors in years past have included blue chip companies like Google and pillars of the conservative movement like the Heritage Foundation, the National Review and the Washington Times.
Among this year’s CPAC sponsors: America’s Frontline Doctors, whose founder Simone Gold was sentenced to 60 days in prison after pleading guilty to entering the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and the #WalkAway Foundation, whose leader Brandon Straka was sentenced to three years’ probation after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and admitting he recorded himself telling Capitol rioters to “go go go.”
Other sponsors include New Federal State of China, a lobbying group cofounded by former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was convicted in July 2022 of contempt of Congress. Real America’s Voice, a network that broadcasts Bannon’s “War Room” program on which 2020 election falsehoods continue to prevail, is also a sponsor, with a large booth for broadcasting outfitted in red, white and blue signage.
Reilly and Severns trace the history of CPAC beginning in the 1970s and describe how it has devolved over the years.
Isaac Arsdorf and Meryl Kornfield at The Washington Post: Haley heckled as Trump movement asserts its dominance at shrunken CPAC.
It’s a mystery to me what these people see in Trump. He has only sunk deeper into dementia over the past two years, but he symbolizes something for these strange people–maybe it’s just that he gives them permission to hate.
Daniel Dale at CNN: Fact check: Republicans at CPAC make false claims about Biden, Zelensky, the FBI and children.
The Conservative Political Action Conference is underway in Maryland. And the members of Congress, former government officials and conservative personalities who spoke at the conference on Thursday and Friday made false claims about a variety of topics.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio uttered two false claims about President Joe Biden. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia repeated a debunked claim about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama used two inaccurate statistics as he lamented the state of the country. Former Trump White House official Steve Bannon repeated his regular lie about the 2020 election having been stolen from Trump, this time baselesly blaming Fox for Trump’s defeat.
Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida incorrectly said a former Obama administration official had encouraged people to harass Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina inaccurately claimed Biden had laughed at a grieving mother and inaccurately insinuated that the FBI tipped off the media to its search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence. Two other speakers, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and former Trump administration official Sebastian Gorka, inflated the number of deaths from fentanyl.
And that’s not all. Here is a fact check of 13 false claims from the conference, which continues on Saturday.
Head over to CNN to read the detailed list of lies with corrections.
Fallout continues from the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News.
The Hollywood Reporter: Rupert Murdoch, Fox Corp. Sued For Sharing Biden’s Presidential Ads Before They Aired.
A complaint has been filed against Fox Corp. and chairman Rupert Murdoch over allegations that the network chief gave confidential information in 2020 to former president Donald Trump’s campaign.
In a suit filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, progressive watchdog group Media Matters claims that Fox made an illegal contribution to Trump’s political action committee when Murdoch shared then-candidate Joe Biden’s campaign advertisements with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. The liberal nonprofit seeks the maximum fine allowable for violations of campaign contribution laws and “appropriate remedial action” against Fox, Murdoch and the Make America Great Again PAC for a “nefarious attempt by people in power to operate a press entity as a political organization.”
A filing in Dominion Voting System’s defamation suit against Fox included claims that Murdoch gave Kushner a preview of Biden’s ads before they were public. It cited a deposition from Murdoch and internal company communications.
The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits campaign contributions from corporations, including direct or indirect gits of money or services. The FEC considers information about advertising, messaging and other campaign strategy a contribution, according to the complaint.
While there are press exemptions for violations of the FEC Act, the suit alleges that Fox wasn’t acting as a press entity. It stresses that the ads hadn’t aired at the time Murdoch provided the information to Kushner and that the ads were covertly shared to hide the alleged misconduct.\
“This ‘distribution’ is diametrically opposed to Fox Corporation’s regular press activity broadcasting news programming through television and radio outlets and online publications,” writes Angelo Carusone, a lawyer for Media Matters in the suit. “Murdoch’s secret conveyance of the Biden advertisement is even less like press activity than a cablecasting company sending campaign flyers in its bills – and neither can be protected by the press Exemption.”
Politico: Dems want to cut Fox off after lawsuit revelations.
The thunderclap of stories showing Fox News’ role in pushing 2020 election fraud conspiracies and aiding Donald Trump’s campaign has intensified calls among Democrats to black out the network.
The revelations, made public as part of a $1.6 billion lawsuit brought against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems, showed that some network hosts and executives endorsed lies about Trump’s loss, hosted conspiracy theorists whom they thought were unhinged, and overtly prioritized the company’s profit over truth. A related deposition of the media empire’s chair, Rupert Murdoch, revealed that he shared private intel about Joe Biden’s campaign TV ads and provided debate strategy with top Trump advisers.
For years, Democrats have been engaged in a debate over whether the party should shun the cable news giant or grudgingly use its airwaves to run counterprogramming. But in the midst of the latest saga, a newer type of reaction has emerged: that they should sever all ties, including any money spent advertising on the network.
“There is nothing in those documents to show they operate like a real news organization,” said Doug Gordon, a Democratic strategist. “If you are running a campaign in 2024, how do you in good faith hand your ads to Fox when you know they handed them over to Republicans? If there are any general election debates, how do you let Fox be a moderator?”
There is no indication, at this juncture, that major Democratic entities are ready to halt their ad buys on Fox News, let alone its many affiliates. But that is partially because few Democratic campaigns or causes are currently spending ad money. In the interim, the Dominion lawsuit revelations have led to louder calls for the party to make a firm break from any involvement with the cable channel, whom they view as functionally a campaign arm for Republicans. Democrats spanning the ideological spectrum have even started calling on the White House Correspondents’ Association — the group of news reporters advocating for press access — to boot Fox News reporters from the briefing room.
I’m skeptical that the wimpy Democrats will actually follow through on any of this, but I’d love to be surprised.
Politico: The Trump world-Fox News war gets nasty.
In his first minute onstage at CPAC on Friday, Steve Bannon identified one of his top targets of the moment, an entity he claimed is opposing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign at its own peril: Fox News.
The host of the popular War Room podcast and longtime Trump hand started by ripping the conservative channel for announcing that Joe Biden had won Arizona on election night in 2020.
“Fox News illegitimately called it for the opposition, and not Donald J. Trump,” the Trump adviser-turned-talk show host told the crowd in National Harbor, Maryland, an audience full of diehard MAGA supporters.
Ten minutes in, Bannon went after the network again, rousing the audience to their feet as he called out Fox for not having Trump on since he announced his campaign in November. He called out Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp. founder who sits atop the media empire.
“Murdoch, you’ve deemed Trump’s not going to be president,” Bannon continued as the crowd roared with applause. “But we deem that you’re not going to have a network, because we’re going to fight you every step of the way.”
Far from random broadsides, Bannon’s screed against Fox News was the latest in what has become a hot war between MAGA world and the longtime conservative channel. Trump himself has gone off on Fox News before, often for coverage he has deemed unfair. But the current state of affairs — coming at the start of what promises to be a deeply contested GOP primary — is as strained as it has ever been.
Some news out of Ukraine
The New York Times: The U.S. attorney general meets with Zelensky during a surprise visit to Ukraine.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Friday to reaffirm America’s commitment to help hold Russia responsible for war crimes, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.
Mr. Garland held several meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky and foreign law enforcement officials in Lviv, while attending the United for Justice Conference, the department said in an email.
During the conference, Mr. Garland “reaffirmed our determination to hold Russia accountable for crimes committed in its unjust and unprovoked invasion against its sovereign neighbor,” the email said.
Mr. Zelensky, in his nightly address, said the thrust of the conference was to hold Russia’s leadership to account for atrocities committed by its army, a position he has hammered home repeatedly over the last year of war. “The main issue of all these meetings and the Lviv conference is accountability,” he said.
Mr. Garland’s visit, which was not public in advance for security concerns, comes on the heels of President Biden’s trip to Kyiv last month — and two days after Mr. Garland told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was determined to hold Russians accountable for war crimes they are committing in Ukraine.
Mr. Garland, a former federal judge whose family escaped the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, singled out Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Moscow-allied Wagner paramilitary group.
“Mr. Prigozhin, who runs this thing, is in my view a war criminal — and maybe that’s inappropriate for me to say as a judge before getting all the evidence,” Mr. Garland told the committee.
Mr. Garland added that he believes the group “is responsible for the attacks on Ukrainians in the Donbas” and accused them of using prisoners from Russia “as cannon fodder” in Ukraine.
A few gossipy odds and ends
NPR: Russia’s foreign minister gets laughed at over Ukraine remarks at a global conference.
Ever since Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, it has become rare for major international conferences to invite Russian officials. So, when an Indian think tank welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to speak, it made for some awkward exchanges.
This week, India’s Observer Research Foundation gathered academics, business executives and diplomats from the G-20, or Group of 20 economies, for a conference in Delhi known as the Raisina Dialogue.
On Friday, Lavrov took center stage of a Q&A session, where he voiced Moscow’s views on the war in Ukraine.
In one exchange, Lavrov received loud applause for accusing the West of having a double standard, noting its heavy criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine despite Western powers having invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. In another, the reaction was less positive.
“The war, which we are trying to stop, which was launched against us using Ukrainian people,” he said.
Before Lavrov could finish his sentence, the audience laughed and groaned — loud enough for the foreign minister to pause and stumble on his words.
“Of course it influenced the policy of Russia, including the energy policy. And the blunt way to describe what is the change, what changed, we would not anymore rely on any partners in the West,” Lavrov added.
Page Six: Kellyanne Conway and George Conway to divorce after 22 years of marriage.
Page Six hears that Kellyanne Conway, the longtime advisor to President Donald Trump, and George Conway, the longtime tormentor of President Trump, have decided to divorce after 22 years of marriage.
Beltway insiders tell us that they’ve both lawyered up and that the two sides are hashing out the details of the split.
During the 2016 elections, Kellyanne served first as a campaign advisor to candidate Trump and then as his campaign manager, while her husband co-founded the Lincoln Project with the express purpose of keeping Trump out of the White House.
After the inauguration, she became senior counselor to the president, while George continued to lambast Trump at every opportunity on social media.
In 2022, Vanity Fair wrote that, “One of the greatest mysteries of the 21st century is the marriage of Kellyanne Conway and her husband, George — specifically, if they hate each other as much as their public commentary would suggest, or if the whole thing is some kind of three-dimensional chess designed to further their own interests.” [….]
The pair wed in 2001 and share four children, but their political differences during the Trump administration took a toll on their relationship.
In her 2022 memoir “Here’s the Deal,” Kellyanne said that she considered George’s steady barrage of criticism of the then-president a betrayal of their marriage, calling it “cheating by tweeting.” She also said that Ivanka Trump had suggested couples therapy.
Read the rest at the link.
The Washington Post: White House physician says small lesion removed from Biden’s chest was cancerous.
President Biden had one cancerous skin lesion removed from his chest on Feb. 16, his longtime doctor Kevin C. O’Connor said in a letter Friday. O’Connor said that all cancerous tissue was successfully removed, and no further treatment is needed.
The headline is a bit misleading, as Beschloss didn’t actually call Trump a cockroach; he just compared Trump’s ability to survive with cockroaches.
CNN Politics: DeSantis appointee to new Disney oversight board suggested tap water could turn people gay.
An appointee to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new oversight board in control of Disney’s special tax district called homosexuality “evil” last year and shared a baseless conspiracy theory that tap water could be making more people gay.
On Monday, the Republican governor appointed Ron Peri, an Orlando-based former pastor and the CEO of The Gathering – a Christian ministry focused on outreach to men – as one of five people who will now oversee the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the government body that has given Disney unique powers in Central Florida for more than half a century.
DeSantis signed a bill in February that allowed him to replace the district’s existing board – mostly people with ties to Disney – with a five-member body that he hand-picked. The move to remove power from Disney comes nearly a year after the company spoke out against a Florida bill – which DeSantis later signed into law – to restrict certain classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity.
A CNN KFile review of Peri’s past comments found that he frequently made derogatory remarks about the LGBTQ community.
“So why are there homosexuals today? There are any number of reasons, you know, that are given. Some would say the increase in estrogen in our societies. You know, there’s estrogen in the water from birth control pills. They can’t get it out,” Peri baselessly said in a January 2022 Zoom discussion, later put on YouTube. “The level of testosterone in men broadly in America has declined by 50 points in the past 10 years. You know, and so, maybe that’s a part of it.”
“But the big part I would suggest to you, based upon what it’s saying here, is the removal of constraint,” he continued. “So our society provided the constraint. And so, which is the responsibility of a society to constrain people from doing evil? Well, you remove the constraints, and then evil occurs.”
Read more at CNN.
That’s it for me today. What stories are you following?
Wednesday Reads: Some Good News and Bad News (links only)Posted: August 6, 2014 Filed under: 2016 elections, Foreign Affairs, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Hillary Clinton, Market Basket, Rupert Murdoch, Stephen Colbert 14 Comments
JJ isn’t able to write her usual Wednesday post, because she had to take Jake to Atlanta for doctor’s appointment. I have a lot to do today too, so this is going be a quickie post with some good news and the usual bad news headlines.
Part of the good news is that I have some good news to begin with today!
Media Consolidation Fail
Rupert Murdoch has given up on taking over Time Warner, according to the LA Times.
21st Century Fox withdraws bid for Time Warner.
Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has abandoned its $80-billion takeover bid for rival Time Warner, a stunning retreat for a mogul not known for throwing in the towel.
Murdoch said Tuesday that he wanted to orchestrate a friendly, not hostile, takeover. But Time Warner Inc.’s board dug in, and that meant Fox would have had to wage a contentious and protracted fight that could risk the company’s value.
Over the weekend, Murdoch and his top deputies assessed the situation and concluded that their chances of success were slim. Wall Street and many in Hollywood had been betting that Murdoch would eventually claim Time Warner as the grand prize in his 60-year-plus quest to build the world’s most powerful media company.21st Century Fox withdrew its $75 billion takeover offer for Time Warner Inc., the owner of HBO and Warner Bros.
“He underestimated the resolve of Time Warner’s board and [Chief Executive] Jeff Bewkes to fight this thing,” said one person close to Time Warner who was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.
Fox executives were genuinely surprised that Time Warner declined to even entertain deal discussions. Not only did Time Warner reject the $80-billion offer, but its board moved quickly to change its corporate bylaws to make it more difficult for Murdoch to buy the company.
I’m really surprised and gratified by this news; I’m so happy that Murdoch isn’t going to get his hands on HBO for the time being.
Market Basket Updates
A couple of updates on the Market Basket work stoppage that I wrote about yesterday.
From WBUR Boston (NPR), Market Basket Workers Rally, Keeping Pressure Up.
Thousands of workers and customers at the troubled Market Basket supermarket chain shouted “Bring him back!” Tuesday at a boisterous rally designed to pressure management to reinstate the company’s fired chief executive or accept his offer to buy the New England chain.
The rally outside a Market Basket store in Tewksbury was the fourth large demonstration workers have held since Arthur T. Demoulas was fired in June by a board controlled by his cousin and rival, Arthur S. Demoulas.
Over the last two weeks, hundreds of warehouse workers and drivers have refused to make deliveries to the family-owned chain’s 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, leaving stock severely depleted and prompting customers to shop at other grocery stores. Market Basket, based in Tewksbury, is known for its low prices.
“Our resolve has galvanized to something a lot firmer than it was,” fired Market Basket employee Steve Paulenka told WBUR before the rally. “The customer boycott, the employee resolve is just insurmountable. The customers aren’t coming back until we come back, and we’re not coming back until the boss comes back.”
The rally had the atmosphere of an outdoor rock festival, as participants threw beach balls high in the air and music blasted from large speakers set up along the parking lot.
It sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it?
The New York Times has an article about the Market Basket battle: Grocery Chain Reels as Employees and Customers Rally for an Ousted President.
TEWKSBURY, Mass. — With a crippling job action enveloping the New England supermarket chain Market Basket for a third week, the company’s board is conducting round-the-clock negotiations with its former president — and others — in search of a deal that will quell the turmoil.
But the bid by the former chief, Arthur T. Demoulas, to buy the company is mired in uncertainty, according to people close to the negotiations. And the board is weighing nearly a dozen offers, including one that is higher than Mr. Demoulas’s, these people said. The sale could be worth more than $3.5 billion.
While the board bargains with bidders behind closed doors, employees continue to stage public rallies to demand that “Artie T.,” as he is known, be brought back to run the company. He was deposed as president in June in the latest chapter of a decades-long feud with his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, who now controls Market Basket, one of New England’s most successful retail chains….
Market Basket is said to be losing millions of dollars a week in sales. The shelves are devoid of fresh produce, meat and dairy products. Supplies of nonperishables are dwindling, too, as if a huge snowstorm had struck.
At the store in North Andover, Mass., where 21 registers are usually open and customers clog the aisles, only one register was open on Monday, and the cashier there had no customers. Mike Dunleavy, the store director in Somerville, Mass., said volume at his store had dropped 90 percent. Vendors, growers, drivers and others in Market Basket’s supply chain have all felt the pinch.
Hillary Clinton News
Here’s something interesting. The New York Daily News reports that Hillary Clinton has leased an office in midtown Manhattan.
Hillary Clinton inks deal for private office in Midtown skyscraper owned by big Democratic donor.
Hillary Clinton has inked a deal for a brand new personal office in a Midtown skyscraper owned by real estate bigwig Stephen Green, a big Democratic donor.
Clinton signed a two-year lease for more than 4,000 square feet on the 27th floor of 120 West 45th St., between Sixth and Seventh Aves., a source told the Daily News. The space has room for a staff of up to 25 people.
A spokesman for Clinton confirmed the new digs were a personal office. “Plan was for the personal office to move to NYC, we did that last week,” he said in an email.
Is Hillary working herself up to a big announcement? She made a surprise appearance last night on the Stephen Colbert show. At The Fix, Jaime Fuller reports that Clinton and Colbert had a name-dropping competition, Hillary Clinton and Stephen Colbert have a namedrop-off.
Stephen Colbert had a surprise guest last night — presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who magically appeared to rescue her book from Colbert’s complaints about all the name dropping she did in its 600-plus pages….
When Clinton walked through the door, the audience, usually reverent for Colbert alone, started to yell, “Hillary, Hillary.” Colbert then proceeded to remind them that they had been chanting his name only four minutes earlier, “you two-timers.”
Watch the video and read Colbert’s tweets at the WaPo link.
That’s about all the good news I could find.
This morning’s breaking news headlines (links only).
News 7 San Diego: “Always Willing to Help Soldiers”: Retired Colonel Remembers General Killed in Afghanistan.
Christian Science Monitor: US general killed in Afghanistan: How big is threat of insider attacks?
Reuters: Bodies dumped in streets as West Africa struggles to curb Ebola.
New York Times: U.N. Reports Dire Impact on Children in Gaza Strip.
Wall Street Journal: Cease-Fire Between Israel and Hamas Holds for Second Day.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Indirect Israel-Hamas talks on Gaza start in Cairo.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Death toll in southern China quake rises to 589.
Mother Jones: The Toxic Algae Are Not Done With Toledo. Not By a Long Stretch.
USA Today: 4 states face gay marriage showdown in Cincinnati.
LA Times: Utah, Virginia want Supreme Court to settle same-sex marriage issue.
CNN: New leaker disclosing U.S. secrets, government concludes.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great Wednesday!
Friday Reads: Rent seeking by Billionaire Lobbyists wrecks the WorldPosted: May 2, 2014 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: Chaco Canyon, Extraction, Fox News, fracking, Israel apartheid, Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Addison 42 Comments
Those of you that have known me for some time know that I am a big fan of our nation’s National Parks. I spent a good deal of my childhood travelling all over the country with the major destinations being our National Parks. This is because my mother was taken on camping trips to our new National Park System when she was a girl. I followed in that traditional and took my oldest daughter and youngest–mostly with my parents but sometimes with my husband in tow if he would actually leave work–and headed off to many in the west.
Yellowstone, Dinosaur National Monument and then the Anasazi Indian sites were my favorites. It was really dismaying for me to read this today because Chaco Canyon rates high in my all time favorite places. The evil extraction businesses wants to frack in our National Parks and Chaco Canyon is on the list. This is the kind of legislation the Koch Brothers love because they can wreck our national parks and earn billions by paying the U.S. government next to nothing to do so. What they pay to Republicans in Congress is a completely different matter.
Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Four Corners region of the U.S., preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian historical areas in the country. The site hosts the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest and the area is considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people.
Both Chaco Canyon National Park and Otero Mesa in New Mexico, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are being targeted for exploratory research for oil and gas extraction.
Click here to learn more about fracking.
Read Gloria Flora’s article ”Fracking the Commons.”
Read an essay on fighting oil and gas development in National Forests.
Take our partner’s call to action to ban fracking on federal lands.
This really rates up there with some of the absolute worst policy I’ve ever heard about. Considering that a lot of this energy is being sold to places in China and India, there is really no reason to rape our public lands for the benefit of a few folks.
The Koch Brothers are intent on keeping this country addicted to fossil fuel. They obviously want to frack us into some post apocalyptic hell realm while they continue to live off their daddy’s wealth. The Koch Brothers are pushing legislation all over the south to get rid of tax incentives for solar power conversion and to put taxes on it to make it more expensive.
As U.S. Solar electric capacity has expanded explosively – 418% – from 2326 megawatts in 2010 to 12,057 MW in February 2014, an increase of 9,731 MW reports the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Solar has moved rapidly from a niche market to 1.13% of total U.S. capacity. To stop the rapid growth of solar, which is threatening to break Americans from the death grip of fossil fuels, the Koch Brothers are demanding to tax the sun.
U.S installed solar capacity shot up over 400% in the last 4 years.
The rapid decline in the cost of solar panels and state and federal incentives have spurred investment in solar power at all scales from individuals to small businesses to large utilities. Net metering, which allows users to reverse their power meter when they produce more power than they consume, has incentivized rooftop solar. Moreover, states from Hawaii to South Carolina have developed programs to make the installation costs affordable to average consumers. Forbes reported in July 2013 on how Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii’s Democrats made solar accessible to renters. This is exactly the kind of legislation I advocated a decade earlier when I ran for a position on the board of Kauai’s electric power co-op. It’s great to see seeds planted finally coming up and bearing fruit.
Senate Bill 1087, which Gov. Abercrombie signed on June 27, makes solar photovoltaic systems, as well as solar thermal water heaters and big-ticket energy efficiency upgrades, available to all these underserved customers by eliminating the thorny issue of the upfront costs.On-bill financing enables residential or commercial property owners or renters to avoid the initial out-of-pocket expense to install energy improvements. Upgrades are instead financed with loans paid back via a line item on the customer’s monthly utility bill. If the property is sold or transferred, the loan stays with the meter and would be taken over by the new property owner or tenant.
But, this great progress in bringing clean energy to the individual threatens monopolists from the Koch brothers to electric utilities. The Koch’s AFP have conspired with utilities to write legislation to force individuals to pay a tax to the utility companies for accessing the grid. The Koch Brother’s AFP has demanded laws to tax the sun.
This is what the billions of dollars of Sheldon Adelson support: Genocide on indigenous Palestinians.
There are so many lobbying groups in Washington DC these days that money and tax subsidies go to a continued, horrifying array of policies that are not good for any one but a few people and power brokers. SOS John Kerry called the state of Israel a state of apartheid. He is most certainly right. The current government–cobbled together from right wing extremists–promotes policies aimed at Palestinians that are straight out of the playbook of South Africa. There is no way our government should be giving any government money and support when there are policies used to kill indigenous peoples.
Still, the most thorough comparison of the Apartheid system of racial segregation with Israeli practices can only be made of the West Bank and Gaza, where Palestinians are ruled by Israel but kept stateless and without rights.
1. South Africa created Bantustans as a way of denaturalizing Blacks, ensuring that they could not vote for the national government and were assigned citizenship only in their weak Bantustan.
Gaza and the West Bank function as Bantustans, as South African Blacks have no trouble recognizing. Indeed, a former Italian prime minister maintains that former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon told him he thought the Bantustan system was the best way of dealing with the Palestinians. The Palestinians living in these occupied territories have no citizenship in any real state. They are stateless. The West Bank has been segmented into 8 units. Palestinians cannot travel between them without going through numerous checkpoints. They cannot vote for the Israeli government, but they are ultimately controlled by the Israeli military. When in 2006 they were allowed to hold elections for a toothless “parliament,” and they cheekily elected a party the Israelis find unacceptable, the election results were overturned by Israel.
2. South Africa instituted a “pass” system to control the movement of Blacks.
Israel instituted a “permit” system to control the movement of Palestinians. West Bank Palestinians cannot live outside the 8 designated areas without a permit. Desmond Tutu, who knows a bit about Apartheid South Africa, remarked of seeing, on his visit to the Occupied West Bank, “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about”.
3. In Apartheid South Africa, 80% of the land was set aside for white settlers.
Israel itself was ethnically cleansed of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948, and was designated “Jewish,” such that the expelled Palestinians (now millions strong) were denied the right to return to their homes. Some 70% of the residents of the Gaza Strip are from southern Israel, and cannot return to their nearby homes in cities such as Sderot, where Israelis have settled Ethiopians and Thai guest workers. In the Palestinian West Bank, some 600,000 Israeli squatters have usurped significant amounts of land from Palestinians, for which they paid nothing to the original owners, and their squatter settlements are off-limits to Palestinians, who cannot live in them.
4. In Apartheid South Africa, Blacks from the Bantustans could not attend universities designated for whites.
In the Occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli military governor has recognized a squatter university, Ariel, built on usurped Palestinian land. Although Palestinian-Israelis can attend, stateless West Bank Palestinians cannot get on campus because they are barred from settlements by the Apartheid pass system, as Dahlia Scheindlin wrote at 972mag:
“Member of Knesset Zahava Galon, head of the Meretz party, scoffed at that. Ariel, she told me by phone, is off limits for Palestinians very simply because it is an Israeli-controlled settlement. Just as a West Bank Palestinian can’t go to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv easily, they are equally unwelcome in Ariel. For her, the move reeked of hypocrisy. “It’s a higher education committee approved by people in uniform, so what is the substantive meaning? It’s unbelievable.” She called it a sign of the government’s true program of “creeping annexation,” and remarked that it would legitimize the global movements calling for the academic boycott of Israel.”
5. South African Apartheid forbade marriages between people of different ethnicities.
Israelis of Jewish and Palestinian heritage cannot intermarry in Israel. Two Israeli citizens of different ethnic heritage can marry abroad and return to Israel. But Israeli-Palestinians who marry Palestinians from the Occupied West Bank are not allowed to bring their spouse to Israel. The same problem is not faced by Israeli Jews who marry squatters on the Palestinian West Bank.
Pink Floyd has joined the call to boycott Israel just as musicians boycotted South Africa when its government was destroying the civil rights, liberties, and lives of its indigenous peoples.
With the recent news that the Rolling Stones will be playing their first-ever concert in Israel, and at what is a critical time in the global struggle for Palestinian freedom and equal rights, we, the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd, have united in support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), a growing, nonviolent global human rights movement initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005 to end Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of basic Palestinian rights.
The BDS movement is modeled on the successful nonviolent movements that helped end Jim Crow in the American South and apartheid in South Africa. Indeed, key figures who led the South African freedom struggle, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mandela’s close associate, Ahmed Kathrada, have come out in support of BDS for Palestinian rights. BDS offers us all a way to nonviolently pressure the Israeli government to fully realize that its injustices against the Palestinian people are legally and morally unacceptable and unsustainable.
Adelson loves him some Bibi so much that he is buying up Israeli media much of which is highly critical to the PM’s policies. This ensures that the ordinary Israeli hears even less of what’s really going on around them.
Israel’s news media are lively, but venues are not infinite, with four main national newspapers, three television news broadcasters and a handful of radio and news Web sites vying to inform and sway public opinion in a country known for its rough-and-tumble politics.
An investigative report by Channel 10 aired last year claimed that Adelson’s newspaper Israel Hayom was spinning the news to show Netanyahu in a more positive light. The newspaper’s editor, Amos Regev, dismissed the report, saying, “This so-called evidence doesn’t prove anything other than the routine workings of a news organization.”
Adelson’s new ventures are seen as a good thing for Netanyahu. Israel’s media is often very critical of Netanyahu — and loves engaging in what the Prime Minister calls “psychobabble” about his motives. Though he makes plenty of public pronouncements, Netanyahu rarely grants on-the-record interviews or does not host regular news conferences. Adelson’s purchase might also be a plus for Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, who regularly faces media scrutiny for what critics call her imperial lifestyle (she recently came under fire for yelling at a staffer for buying bags of milk instead of a proper carton).
Adelson has played a big role in GOP politics and is vocal about his support for Israel. In 2012, he spent millions backing the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney, not only in a bid to beat President Obama but also to ensure strengthened support for Israel in domestic U.S. politics.
And, more recently, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) apologized to Adelson after referring to the West Bank as “occupied territories” in a speech at the spring leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, an event Adelson hosted at his Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
This reminds me of the same kind of treatment we’re getting at the hands of Australian Rupert Murdoch. Fox continues to put right wing advocacy of its billionaire owner and Roger Ailes above all kinds of facts, science, data, and reality.
A Scientific American editor must have struck a nerve over at Fox News this week when hetweeted about having a “Fox & Friends” producer shoot down his idea to talk about the impacts of climate change on the show.
On Thursday morning, the hosts of “Fox & Friends” went off on editor Michael Moyer for tweeting about having an uncomfortable experience on the show. During the segment, they showed a photo of Moyer with text on the screen that labeled him a “‘Scientific’ Coward.”
Hosts Steve Doocy, Anna Kooiman and Brian Kilmeade agreed they had a “nice chat” with Moyer on set when he appeared Wednesday. But they said Moyer apparently didn’t feel the same way.
“Clearly he has a problem with Fox,” Doocy said. “So why did he come on? Clearly, it was just to promote himself, and maybe his magazine as well. But, you know, hashtag classy. We put him on, we have a nice conversation and then he stabs us in the back.”
“The bone that he had to pick with Fox, he said, was that he wanted to come on here and talk all about climate change,” Kooiman added. “Well, our producers decide what we air.”
“We talk about climate change all the time,” Doocy interjected.
Moyer was brought on to talk about future trends in technology. He later tweeted that when he suggested the number one future trend would be the impact of climate change, he was “told to pick something else.” The experience, he told TPM on Wednesday, made him decide against future appearances on the program.
“There are some things that in science and scientific discourse are not controversial at all,” Moyer told TPM. “I hope that we can all as a society agree to at least discuss them and come up with good solutions. Just because you don’t want something to be true doesn’t make it not true.”
Fox News later denied that a producer “specifically” told Moyer that he couldn’t discuss climate change. In response, Moyer told TPM that he had proof: a producer had sent him an email specifically asking, “can we replace the climate change with something else?”
The refreshing thing is that most of these people are really old and we can just hope that when we dance on their graves, this kind of crap will be all over. There have been a number of books noting the decline in the number of people identifying as “Conservative Christian Evangelicals” which could eventually stop the influence of the millionaire preachers and their misogyny and homobigotry. The end of dominionists would put an end to popular support of the kinds of things billionaires like Adelson and the Koch Brothers finance.
The common thread in these books is the contention that Christianity, especially conservative Christianity, is rapidly losing strength and cultural authority in a changing America. Charting Americans’ religious beliefs is notoriously tricky, as comparison between any two religion-related polls will attest. Nevertheless, these authors’ argument that conservative Christianity — both evangelical Protestantism and conservative Catholicism — is losing sway in America has become the consensus view of most experts who study American religiosity. In 2012, the Pew Research Center made headlines with a study showing that for the first time, the percentage of Americans claiming no religious affiliation (19.6 percent) surpassed the number of white evangelical Protestants (19 percent). Other surveys conducted in recent years (by Gallup, the General Social Survey, Baylor University, and other research organizations) show declines in the number of people who identify as Christian, believe in God, and attend church regularly. American Catholicism has undergone its own similar involution, with nearly half of all Catholics under age 40 now Hispanic and a majority of Catholics favoring same-sex marriage, according to Pew. Meanwhile, the number of Muslims in America has risen rapidly, more than doubling since 1990. In the most recent (2008) American Religious Identification Survey, Islam surpassed Mormonism as America’s fastest growing faith.
For conservative Christians, the turnabout has been disorienting. Just 10 years ago, conservative Christianity appeared ascendant, with a coalition of evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics twice electing a born-again Christian to the presidency and, in 2004, outlawing gay marriage in 11 states. Today, laws against same-sex marriage are being rolled back and conservatives have failed to budge debate over access to contraception in the new health law. The Tea Party, which pairs evangelicals in an uneasy alliance with an increasingly assertive libertarian movement, is now a dominant force in Republican politics, shouldering aside once-feared evangelical organizations such as the Christian Coalition. Key evangelicals, stung by polls showing younger Americans are turned off by strident conservatism, have begun pivoting politically, as have Catholic bishops in response to Pope Francis’s attempt to reorient his church toward evangelism and social justice. Last year, prominent evangelical leaders, including the political director of the Southern Baptist Convention, spurned the Tea Party and emerged as prominent backers of comprehensive immigration reform. Evangelical leaders told me they were responding to demographic change in America: both the rise of immigrants in their churches and the emergence of a younger, more politically progressive generation of Christians. Yet in a sign of Christians’ diminished political clout, so far evangelicals’ fervent activism on this issue has failed to garner congressional Republican support.
The broader cultural implications of this shift in American religiosity are immense and deserve careful study. The books considered in this essay don’t supply such study — but then, that’s not their aim. Change has come so quickly to American conservative Christianity that conservatives are still scrambling to understand the challenges they face, and to persuade one another that their problems are real, which is telling. Reading these books is like listening in on a board meeting as corporate executives struggle to come to terms with sudden massive economic decline. The errors and off notes in each book — and there are plenty, ranging from counterfactual history to weird persecution complexes — are as valuable as the books’ many passages of sound reportage and insightful critique. After decades in which conservative Christians went from strength to strength in America, growing in numbers and political clout, suddenly they are facing a moment of acute self-doubt. The contours of that doubt can help more neutral observers gain a fuller understanding of America’s changing religious present, and its future.
Nothing else would be better than to get rid of what seems an endless parade of millionaire/billionaire racists. However, there are some that still exist and have managed to bundle up racism in a more subtle, “elegant” form.
Like Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling confirms our comfortable view of racists. Donald Sterling is a “bad person.” He’s mean to women. He carouses with prostitutes. He uses the word “nigger.” He fits our idea of what an actual racist must look like: snarling, villainous, immoral, ignorant, gauche. The actual racism that Sterling long practiced, that this society has long practiced (and is still practicing) must attract significantly less note. That is because to see racism in all its elegance is to implicate not just its active practitioners, but to implicate ourselves.
How can it be that in a “black league,” as Charles Barkley calls the NBA, an on-the-record structural racist like Donald Sterling was allowed to thrive? Everyone now wants to speak to Elgin Baylor. Where were all these people before? Where was Kevin Johnson? Where was the Los Angeles NAACP? When Donald Sterling was driving black tenants out of his buildings, where was David Stern?
Far better to implicate Donald Sterling and be done with the whole business. Far better to banish Cliven Bundy and table the uncomfortable reality of our political system. A racism that invites the bipartisan condemnation of Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell must necessarily be minor. A racism that invites the condemnation of Sean Hannity can’t be much of a threat. But a racism, condemnable by all civilized people, must make itself manifest now and again so that we may celebrate how far we have come. Meanwhile racism, elegant, lovely, monstrous, carries on.
Money still gives these people an oversized role in policy,culture, and politics. This is unacceptable in a democracy. It is easy to see how power and money create worse living situations for people. Most of the policies these cretons support are not supported by the majority of people. We need to find a way to keep their influence down to the same size as every other single voter in the country. Freedom of speech is about government suppression of religion and spoken ideas. It isn’t about giving people with oversized egos and wallets more say in everything than every one else.
It’s enough to make you miss the guillotine. I know this has been a long one today, but as you can see, I had a lot to get off my chest.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Monday ReadsPosted: May 20, 2013 Filed under: morning reads, The Media SUCKS, The Right Wing | Tags: journalist whores, Koch Brothers, Propaganda journalism, Rummy the ethics advisor to NBC, Rupert Murdoch, scandalous nonscandals 39 Comments
I’m still really tired and quite removed from the total weirdness of the current Beltway antics. From my groggy eyes, it seems like some odd, abstract dance done to music with an oft-repeated, dissonant theme. I’m very much lost in a world of books and games right now and catching up with things around the house. Oh, and sleep. I just can’t seem to get enough of that. Who invited all these tacky people and why hasn’t some one taught them how to behave properly at a national cotillion?
So, the journalistic dance theatrics orchestrated by the right wing appear to be spinning out there in a place that no one cares much about. However, it should be noted that while no one real seems to care, the press is still tap dancing to the jingoism. Have the little republican boyz cried wolf so many times that only the villagers listen and no one else? Cue the polls and the pols,
President Barack Obama comes out of what was arguably the worst week of his presidency with his approval rating holding steady, according to a new national poll. But a CNN/ORC International survey released Sunday morning also indicates that congressional Republicans are not overplaying their hand when it comes to their reaction to the three controversies that have consumed the nation’s capital over the past week and a half. And the poll finds that a majority of Americans take all three issues seriously.
“That two-point difference is well within the poll’s sampling error, so it is a mistake to characterize it as a gain for the president,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Nonetheless, an approval rating that has not dropped and remains over 50% will probably be taken as good news by Democrats after the events of the last week.”
The CNN poll is in-line with Gallup, which also indicated a very slight rise in Obama’s approval rating over the same time period. And Gallup’s daily tracking poll also indicated a slight upward movement of Obama’s approval rating over the past week. But as with the CNN poll, it was within that survey’s sampling error.
More than seven in 10 in the CNN poll say that the targeting by the Internal Revenue Service of tea party and other conservative groups that were applying for tax exempt status was unacceptable. While the White House and both parties in Congress are criticizing the IRS actions, congressional Republicans are depicting the controversy as a case of the federal government gone wild.
But more than six in 10 say that the president’s statements about the IRS scandal are completely or mostly true, with 35% not agreeing with Obama’s characterizations. And 55% say that IRS acted on its own, with 37% saying that White House ordered the IRS to target tea party and other conservative groups.
It’s nice to see that a lot of real folks are not taking all these conspiracy theories very seriously. How can any one take them seriously with idiots like Senator Aqua Buddha pushing them? Why does any one give this whackadoodle air time? Not every US senator deserves national face time. This one should be placed in a carnival sideshow in a Scheherazade costume. However, this crackpot may try to take on Hillary Clinton for the presidency next time out so it’s a way for the press to rattle the Clinton cage. Rand Paul’s trying to spin his little tail and tale into something credible. Good luck with that!! It all come off as fundraising theatrics to me. A little snake oil music from the maestro please!!!
Sen. Rand Paul continued with his charges from earlier this week that former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton had “her fingerprints all over these talking points” on the Benghazi attack and claims that she never “really accepted culpability” because she failed to resign shortly after the tragedy. When CNN’s Candy Crowley asked Paul if he was worried about appearing to politicize the controversy by making his remarks in Iowa and other presidential battleground states, Paul dismissed the notion that his remarks were based on politics.
It’s laughable that anyone expects us to believe that Republicans care one iota about this trumped up Benghazi story for any other reason than to muddy up Hillary Clinton, because they all assume she’s going to be the front-runner for the next presidential election.
And I’d say it’s safe to assume Rand Paul is going to take up his father’s mantle and make a career out of perpetually running for president as a fundraising scheme. It worked out pretty well for his dad and the press is already propping him up because of it — with this being the latest example — so why not?
Meanwhile, the choreography of the supposed liberal bias in the press came apart when ABC’s Jonathan Karl was caught telling right wing whoppers and had to apologize. Actually, he kinda sorta, sashayed towards an apology. Here’s his anti-mea culpa. Oh, and you gotta laugh about exactly who got to read it on air yesterday!!!
Jonathan Karl, chief White House correspondent for ABC News, addressed criticism of his reporting on the Benghazi talking points controversy, saying in a statement to CNN that he regrets the inaccuracy of his report.
“Clearly, I regret the email was quoted incorrectly and I regret that it’s become a distraction from the story, which still entirely stands. I should have been clearer about the attribution. We updated our story immediately,” he said in the statement to Howard Kurtz, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Earlier this month, Karl reported that he obtained emails by White House staff that indicated they had a dramatic role in altering the talking points that were later used by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Sunday morning talk shows to explain the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.
From those talking points, she said the attack spurred from a spontaneous demonstration outside the compound, while the Obama administration later stated the violence came from a premeditated terror attack.
Questions soon arose over how the error took place, as reports showed that initial drafts of those talking points included references to extremists but were later changed to attribute the incident to protests over an anti-Islam film.
Karl reported on May 10 that, based on summaries of the emails, the White House had a leading role in the editing process and had scrubbed vital information from the talking points.
But CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s “The Lead,” reported days later that the actual e-mail from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told a different story.
Yea. Right. He regrets he got caught spreading propaganda more like it. Karl’s done it before. He has done it a lot actually.
Karl’s high profile at ABC demonstrates that conservative messages can find a comfortable home inside the so-called “liberal” media. Karl channeled former ABC corporate cheerleader John Stossel with a segment (3/5/11) complaining that regulation of the egg and poultry industries was “almost embarrassing,” since different government agencies regulate different aspects of the industries. “Got that?” Karl asked. “Fifteen separate agencies have responsibility for food safety.”
During the rollout of Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Karl (1/26/11) gushed that the Republican media darling was “a little like the guy in the movie Dave, the accidental president who sets out to fix the budget, line by line.” And while Democrats were saying Ryan “is a villain,” Karl was clear about which side he was on: “Ryan knows what he sees…. Paul Ryan is on a mission, determined to do the seemingly impossible: Actually balance the federal budget.” (Actually, even with its draconian spending cuts and absurdly optimistic economic assumptions, the Ryan plan still foresees a cumulative deficit of $62 trillion over the next half century—Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10.)
On a This Week roundtable (2/20/11), Karl declared that state budget debates were “the Tea Party’s moment” and “also the Chris Christie phenomenon. Will politicians be rewarded for making tough choices—again, something I don’t think we’ve ever seen happen?” Of course, it’s hard not to conclude that the “tough choices” made by Christie and other Republicans are the ones that ought to be rewarded.
And in one World News segment (2/14/11), Karl likened the federal budget to stacks of pennies in order to demonstrate that deeper spending cuts would be necessary in order to balance the budget. Karl concluded that “the bottom line, Diane, is unless you’re willing to talk about cutting entitlements or defense or both, really, there’s no way you can even think about balancing the budget.” This is not actually true—one could raise revenues by increasing taxes on the wealthy—but it is how Republicans want to frame the budget debate.
Just think of how horrible things are going to get when the Koch Brothers take over media outlets. Eric Alterman–writing for The Nation–things that they could make Rupert Murdoch look good. May the wisdom beings protect us all!! Talk about your odd dance partners!! Could Murdoch actually step in to take over the Trib and could that make us all actually breathe easier? Well, not really.
But chill out for a minute and consider the following: should they enter the newspaper publishing business, the Koch brothers would be King Midas in reverse. Their commitment to producing disinformation designed to defame liberals, moderates and, indeed, all manner of sane individuals would result in the destruction of the professional purpose of their purchase. A Los Angeles Times or a Chicago Tribune answerable to Koch ownership would soon lose most of its serious journalists and all of its credibility with readers. This would vaporize the value of their investment and leave them with extremely expensive propaganda sheets to publish and loads of legacy costs to assume. Other publications would jump in to fill the vacuum, though it’s unlikely that any of them would be able even to approach the scope and reach of what will be lost. Ideally, the Koch brothers will soon recognize the folly of their ambitions and withdraw.
The scenario that should truly alarm and depress the rest of us is the one that many have posed as the salvation of these papers: a Tribune Company takeover by Rupert Murdoch. While one group of Los Angeles businessmen is interested in buying the LA Times, they have no interest in the package of eight. That leaves Murdoch. And while resistance to a Koch purchase among editors and reporters is strong enough to convince the new owners that they might be buying an empty shell, the attitude toward a Murdoch takeover is quite the opposite. When, during a meeting of the entire staff, LA Times columnist Steve Lopez asked those assembled to “raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Rupert Murdoch,” only a handful reportedly did so (compared with about half of the staff when the Koch purchase was proposed). Similarly, one member of the Baltimore Sun staff wrote Jim Romenesko that “Murdoch, at least, is a newsman,” a view that was echoed nearly word for word by a Chicago Tribune journalist: “Murdoch, for all his flaws, is a newspaper man.”
True, but by the same logic, Jack the Ripper was a lover of the ladies. Murdoch may be a “newspaper man,” but he is surely not a man who respects honest journalism or even the laws of society as they apply to it (or much else, for that matter). Just in the past few weeks, Murdoch has been making news in the following ways:
He paid out $139 million to settle a class-action suit by News Corp. shareholders, who accused the board of directors of putting the Murdoch family’s interests above those of the company with regard to both the British phone-hacking episode—one of the most egregious criminal scandals in the history of journalism—and News Corp.’s sweetheart acquisition of his daughter Elizabeth’s television production company. The lawsuit alleged that the board “disregarded its fiduciary duties” and allowed Murdoch to run News Corp. as his “own personal fiefdom.”
So, want the worst example? Guess who was on MTP yesterday? Dancing Dave managed to embarrass the entire journalistic bordello in one short hour.
GREGORY: And we’re back. For our remaining moments, joining me now, author of the new book Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life, the Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Mister Secretary, welcome back. You have such an interesting distinction here because I remember President Bush who I covered called you a matinee idol and now you’re soon to be a great grandfather. That’s a pretty good combination.
MR. DONALD RUMSFELD (Former Secretary of Defense/Author, Rumsfeld’s Rules): Think of that. It’s exciting.
GREGORY: I want to ask you first about a very disturbing subject within the military that of course you’ve worked over for so long and that is sexual assaults in the military. Some of the reported cases going back to when you were Defense Secretary and reported and then the estimates is that much larger number and the alarming rise between 2010 and 2012. And the issue at hand here is what should the military do about it? Does it have to change the way these crimes are reported at the chain of command and go outside of that to a special prosecutor? What would you do?
MR. RUMSFELD: Well, I don’t know that a special prosecutor is the answer, but there is an argument that can be made for handling them in a way different than they’re being handled because they’re serious. And– and I would suspect that an awful lot of them don’t even get reported.
MR. RUMSFELD: And– and that’s probably true in the public sector, in private citizens as well as in the military.
MR. RUMSFELD: But– but it’s a terrible thing. There has to be zero tolerance. And it– it appears that– that something different is going to have to be done and I wish I knew what the answer was. I don’t. But– but it had– people have simply got to not tolerate it.
GREGORY: What about the culture in the military? Is that a part of what’s contributing to this? Is it a major part of what’s contributing to it?
MR. RUMSFELD: Well, people talk about that. The military– they talk about athletic teams and– and male environments. I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t think– there’s certainly nothing about the military that would contribute to it in terms of– of the purpose of the armed forces. The– but I don’t know the answer. I– and I think they better– they better really land all over people that are engaged in any kind of abuse of that nature.
GREGORY: There’s so much happening in Washington and you are a veteran of so much controversy as even in your most recent incarnation as defense secretary in the Bush administration. You write this from the book, Rumsfeld’s Rules, “If you foul up, tell the boss and correct it fast. Mistakes can usually be corrected if the adminis– the organization’s leaders are made aware of them and they are caught up early enough and faced honestly. Bad news doesn’t get better with time. If you have fouled something up, it’s best to tell the boss first.”
MR. RUMSFELD: That’s true.
GREGORY: Accountability. Whether it’s IRS or the questions about Benghazi, who is accountable? How do you assess that in these cases?
MR. RUMSFELD: Well, in these cases, I don’t think they know yet. Clearly, the president and in the case of Benghazi, the Secretary of State. That’s the way life works. But what bothers me about it is that two things really concern me. One, you think of a manager, a leader. When something like that happens, you call people in, you sit them down and you let them know that you intend to find ground truth fast. And he seems not to have done that. The other thing that’s worrisome is, as they say, truth leaves on horseback and returns on foot. What’s happening to the president is incrementally trust is being eroded because of the different messages coming out. You know, it’s important that you avoid the early reports because they’re often wrong, and you have to get people in, find ground truth, and then communicate that as fast as you can to the extent information goes out that’s– proves not to be accurate. Presidents and leaders lead by persuasion and for persuasion to work, they don’t lead by command. You have to be trusted. And to the extent trust is eroded, as it is when stories get changed and something more is learned and– and it kind of incrementally destroys your credibility, I think that clearly is a problem. I was worried, for example, I came back from being ambassador of NATO when President Nixon had resigned and President Ford was in office. And the reservoir of trust had just been drained during the– that– that experience that we went through.
Yes. I saved the best for last. Dancing Dave asked Donald Rumsfeld about how to hold the federal government accountable for made up scandals. Hasn’t this man been put in jail for crimes against humanity yet? And, aren’t you glad I didn’t quote the rest of the damn panel?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?