Cross-posted from Think Progress. After winning the GOP nomination for the California U.S. Senate race last week, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has been quick to tout her chief executive credentials in her race against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). While claiming to fight for “millions of Californians [that] are struggling without a job,” Fiorina has mounted a fierce defense of her record off-shoring American jobs and has glossed over her rocky tenure at Hewlett Packard. Portfolio named Fiorina one of the 20 worst CEO’s of all time, saying she was “busy pontificating on the lecture circuit and posing for magazine covers while her company floundered.” And Fiorina’s even gone as far as saying that “of course” she would still cut 10,000 jobs, like she did in 2003, if she were the HP CEO today. Moreover, the former HP CEO has made a concerted effort to criticize the stimulus package, asserting the economic recovery act “has done nothing” for unemployment in California. In Sacramento on Wednesday, Fiorina reiterated her misguided rhetoric at a press conference held at Rex Moore Electrical Contractors & Engineers, a Sacramento electrical company:
“If you’re a business owner and there are stimulus dollars that might help your customers buy more of your product or might help you, of course you’re going to accept the stimulus dollars,” Fiorina said. “But that is not an argument that the stimulus package has worked because the stimulus package clearly, factually, manifestly has failed because people are losing their jobs for every single dollar that’s out there.”
Interestingly, both Rex Moore and the window-making plant Fiorina’s campaign visited yesterday both benefited from stimulus funds — the first receiving $447,000 subcontract through the program and the latter advertising that customers could receive energy tax credits. The New York Times also reported that there is another California business benefiting from the Recovery act: Fiorina’s former company, Hewlett-Packard. The Times called this “the kind of benefit to private industry that Fiorina says has been missing from the stimulus program. ” As The Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo has pointed out, the Senatorial candidate’s “only real solution to anything is to cut taxes. But that doesn’t do much good for those who are already out of work and have no taxable income, and it doesn’t spur demand that will give businesses more customers and thus a reason to expand.” Additionally, while Fiorina argues “people are losing their jobs” because of the stimulus, she clearly fails to recognize the stimulus’ positive impact in California. Although the Golden State is undeniably still struggling economically, the more than 70,000 jobs created as a result of the stimulus are difficult to ignore. Furthermore, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Recovery act has already saved or created 2.8 million jobsan estimated 3.7 million by September.
This post originally appeared on Think Progress. Earlier this morning, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) called the $20 billion escrow fund BP agreed to set up yesterday to pay for oil spill damages a “slush fund” resulting from a “shakedown” by the White House. Though many conservatives agree with Barton, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) refused to endorse Barton’s position. Now, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) has called for Barton to step down as the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee because of his comments:
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), whose Pensacola district is among the most-impacted areas in the Gulf by the oil spill, condemned Barton for apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward during a committee meeting on Thursday. “I condemn Mr. Barton’s statement. Mr. Barton’s remarks are out of touch with this tragedy and I feel his comments call into question his judgment and ability to serve in a leadership on the Energy and Commerce Committee,” Miller said in a statement. “He should step down as Ranking Member of the Committee.”
 
UPDATEBarton will soon have to step down anyway as House Republicans decided in February to "stick with six-year term limits for top Republicans on House committees."
UPDATEBarton tells Politico that he has no plans to step down prematurely from his spot on the committee. Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise said, "I don't think anybody should be apologizing to Tony Hayward. I think he should be apologizing to the Gulf States.”
UPDATERep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) says Barton "owes the people of the gulf coast an apology, not the CEO of the company that caused this mess."
This post originally appeared on Think Progress. In a recent interview with USA Today, Fox News host Glenn Beck was asked to define what he does. “I’m a little of everything,” replied Beck, saying that included being a “‘concerned dad,’ ‘faith-based guy,’ ‘businessman,’ ‘entertainer’ and, after a long pause, ‘journalist.’” “I don’t have formal training as a journalist, but I think that works to my advantage,” said Beck. Though not shocking, Beck’s claim to be “a journalist” is surprising, given how often he has rhetorically shielded himself by saying, “I’m not a journalist.” In fact, as recently as April 5, 2010, Beck said he wore it “as a badge of honor” that he is “not a journalist”:
– “I am not a journalist. I’m just a guy who cares. I’m sorry. I’m just a guy who cares an awful lot about my country.” [Fox News, 2/3/2009] – “I’m not a journalist. I’m just a dad, man. I’m a guy who just loves my country, and I think you are very much the same with me.” [Fox News, 2/6/2009] – “I want you to understand clearly, I am not a journalist — be very clear on that. I am an opinion-maker.” [Fox News, 3/23/2009] – “You know, honestly — look, I’m not a journalist. This is the first, you know, tragedy that I have covered on the air.” [Fox News, 4/3/2009] – “I come to the table from a conservative or libertarian point of view, and I admit that. I’m a commentator. I’m not a journalist or anything else.” [Fox News, 6/2/2009] – “I want you to know, I’m not a journalist. I am a conservative. I am much more of a libertarian.” [Fox News, 8/6/2009] – “I think there should have been a follow-up question, George. I’m not a journalist, you are.” [Fox News, 9/21/2009] – “I mean, you know — I say on this program all the time, I’m not a journalist.” [Fox News, 9/30/2009] – “Even in the news division of FOX — which I want to make very clear and I have from the very beginning — I am not a journalist. In fact, I wear that as a badge of honor.” [Fox News, 10/15/2009] – “And I remind you, I am not a journalist. I’m just a dad.” [Fox News, 12/10/2009] – “This administration, they respond to FOX News by saying we’re not even a news organization. And opinion shows like mine — understand, I’m not a journalist and I wear it as a badge of honor, I’m an opinion guy.” [Fox News, 4/5/2010]
Beck routinely makes the claim on his radio show as well. “I am so proud of the fact to tell you I am not a journalist,” Beck said on his Jan. 14, 2008 radio show. “I never claimed to be a journalist. I am an opinion person,” said Beck on April 16, 2009. Beck even told Katie Couric that he’s “not a journalist.” Watch it: It’s quite ironic that after all these years of saying that he’s “not a journalist,” Beck has finally attempted to claim the mantle of journalist while promoting a fiction book he wrote with a team of staffers.
Cross-posted from Think Progress. In 2007, former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones revealed that she had been gang-raped by her co-workers while working in Baghdad, and then left by the company in a “shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water.” Jones sued the company and won. KBR has petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling. Since Jones went public, several more female KBR employees have come forward with allegations of rape. ABC News reports today that “another female ex-employee of KBR has come forward to claim that she was raped while working for the military contracting company in Iraq”:
According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Houston Wednesday, Anna Mayo was working at KBR’s facility in Balad in November 2009 when she was assaulted by an unnamed rapist who worked for KBR. She charges that she was choked unconscious with a rope, beaten and raped. The suit seeks damages from KBR and from KBR subsidiary Service Employees International Inc., the contractor that employed Mayo from 2008 to 2009. Without releasing the name of the victim, an Army spokesman confirmed that the military has investigated an alleged sexual assault that occurred at the time and place specified in Mayo’s suit.
Mayo’s attorney, Todd Kelly, also represents Jones and says that “up to 20 women have contacted his office alleging sexual harassment or assault while working for the contractor or at KBR installations overseas.” “There does not appear to be any change in how KBR treats these victims or disciplines their employees,” Kelly told ABC. A KBR spokeswoman told ABC that “a thorough investigation is underway” and that KBR “maintains strong and effective sexual harassment prevention and reporting programs.”
Cross-posted from Think Progress. On the day after health care reform passed the House last March, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced legislation to repeal it. But Bachmann’s regressive agenda goes beyond just repealing health care reform. In an October 2009 discussion at the Heritage Foundation, Bachmann laid out her strategy for a conservative future, saying that “after we defund the left, we pass repealer bill after repealer bill after repealler bill.” When a man named Doug called into Scott Hennen’s radio show yesterday, Bachmann gave an indication of just what she would like to repeal. Doug said that he “very rarely” hears “anybody speaking about repealing all the government programs that have no constitutional warrant” such as No Child Left Behind “and all the money that goes to foreign aid for countries like Haiti.” When he asked Bachmann if she was committed to cutting such programs, she said that she agreed with everything he said:
DOUG: My question to you though, is, has to do with the Constitution and all that I’m hearing people say from the Republican and more conservative sides, very rarely do I hear anybody speaking about repealing all the government programs that have no constitutional warrant. And, as you know better than must of us, that even under the Republicans in the last administration and beyond when we had control of both the House and the Senate there was a lot of things like Medicare B and the farm bill expansion and No Child Left Behind that there’s really no constitutional basis for and all the money that goes to foreign aid for countries like Haiti that we really don’t get any real return on. My question to you, to hear how you would address it, is your commitment to taking Washington, what is your commitment to cutting programs in an appropriate time frame, but cutting of programs and institutions, and institutionalizing a commitment to say no new programs that the Constitution does not warrant that program. Live by the Constitution as the basis for cutting the budget. BACHMANN: Doug, I’m in agreement with everything that you said. We wouldn’t be in the problem that we’re in today if the federal government would have followed the constrictions of the Constitution in the first place. … So yes, I am committed to getting our nation back to a constitutional form of government and doing the cutting that will be required, number one, because of the Constitution, number two, because we are looking at certain economic collapse if we fail to do that.
Listen here: Bachmann has previously endorsed ending such long-standing programs. In February, she called for a “reorganization” of entitlements like “Social Security and Medicare and all the rest” where people “already in the system” would continue to receive benefits, but “everybody else” would be weaned off. Transcript: More »
This post originally appeared on Think Progress. With last month’s massive oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico threatening the livelihood of the area’s fishermen, BP said it would “hire as many local residents as possible to clean the beaches and distribute booms through the surrounding marshes and waterways.” But the effort has hit a few bumps with fishermen complaining that “too few people” were being hired and their cleanup contracts contained problems. Now, the Los Angeles Times reports that some fishermen have “become ill after working long hours near waters fouled with oil and dispersant.” At least one worker says he wasn’t given protective equipment by BP:
Like other cleanup workers, Jackson had attended a training class where he was told not to pick up oil-related waste. But he said he wasn’t provided with protective equipment and wore leather boots and regular clothes on his boat. “They [BP officials] told us if we ran into oil, it wasn’t supposed to bother us,” Jackson said. “As far as gloves, no, we haven’t been wearing any gloves.”
BP spokesman Graham McEwen told the LA Times that “he was unaware of any health complaints among cleanup workers,” adding that “the fishermen the company is training are not being deployed into areas that require respirators or breathing apparatus. Those who are working for BP laying booms or skimming oil are issued protective coveralls and gloves.” However, George Barisich, president of the United Commercial Fishermen’s Association. in St. Bernard Parish, said that fishermen “complained to a BP representative about illness” at a recent meeting. “BP has the opinion that they are not getting sick,” Barisich said.
This post originally appeared on Think Progress. In an interview on ABC News’ Good Morning America today, host George Stephanopoulos pressed GOP Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul on “how far” he would “push” his anti-government views. Playing a clip of Paul telling Fox Business that he wants to “get rid of regulation” and “get the EPA out of our coal business down,” Stephanopoulos asked if Paul believed “the EPA should not be allowed to tell oil companies they can’t use certain chemicals to enforce safety regulations on that rig out there?” “No,” replied Paul, saying that he was referring to the EPA’s effort to regulate carbon emissions. When Stephanopoulos followed up with a question about getting “rid of the EPA,” Paul defended BP’s response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last month and attacked the Obama administration’s crackdown on the oil giant as “really un-American“:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you don’t want to get rid of the EPA? PAUL: No, the thing is is that drilling right now and the problem we’re having now is in international waters and I think there needs to be regulation of that and always has been regulation. What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, you know, “I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.” I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault. Instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen. I mean, we had a mining accident that was very tragic and I’ve met a lot of these miners and their families. They’re very brave people to do a dangerous job. But then we come in and it’s always someone’s fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen.
Watch it: Paul’s defense of BP comes a day after the oil giant finally released live video of the disaster site 5,000 feet below, drawing “scrutiny on BP’s claim of how many barrels of oil were leaking out daily.” “I think now we are beginning to understand that we cannot trust BP,” said Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). On Wednesday, Purdue engineering professor Steve Wereley testified before the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee that BP was making false and misleading statements about the size of the spill. Paul says that he’s “heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill,” but McClatchy reported yesterday that BP’s low estimate of the spill’s size “could save the company millions of dollars in damages when the financial impact of the spill is resolved in court.” “It’s always a bottom-line issue,” said Marilyn Heiman, a former Clinton administration Interior Department official who now heads the Arctic Program for the Pew Environment Group.
This post originally appeared on Think Progress. As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, after alleged Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was arrested late Monday at JFK International Airport, conservatives began following the political playbook they used to criticize the Obama administration’s handling of the attempted Christmas day bombing: complaining that authorities might read him his Miranda rights. “Don’t give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it’s all about,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). McCain’s close ally, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), even suggested that Congress should create a process to strip “American citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorists” of their citizenship and, therefore, their Miranda rights. Lieberman explained to reporters that he believes “that any time we arrest somebody we suspect to be a terrorist the first thing that ought to happen with them is they ought to be interviewed without Miranda Rights being given to them”:
LIEBERMAN: My own feeling about this is that any time we arrest somebody we suspect to be a terrorist the first thing that ought to happen with them is they ought to be interviewed without Miranda Rights being given to them by law enforcement officials to extract from them every piece of information that might help us stop an ongoing terrorist threat. My own feeling is that anybody who we decide there is reasonable possibility that they’ve committed a terrorist act ought to be turned over to our military justice system because though it’s an unconventional war, they are prisoners of a war. A war that Islamic extremists declared against the United States, certainly, on 9/11/01. So, bottom line, I don’t believe somebody like Faisal Shahzad should receive Miranda rights. I don’t believe he’s entitled to them.
Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, did eventually have his rights read to him, but not until after he was questioned extensively under a “public safety exception” to the Miranda rule. Fox News’ Jamie Colby reported today that “a source on the Homeland Security Committee” told her that Shahzad was read his rights “nine and a half hours after questioning.” Watch it: Colby added that she was told that once Shahzad was Mirandized, “he waved his right to counsel, he waved his right to an appearance.” Indeed, Deputy FBI director John Pistole said yesterday that Shahzad continued to cooperate after hearing his rights:
Shahzad was not immediately Mirandized after authorities yanked him off a Dubai-bound flight from New York Monday night. John Pistole, deputy FBI director, said Tuesday that agents interviewed him under the “public safety exception” to determine whether there was an imminent threat. He was later read his rights and waived them, according to the White House. Officials have described the suspect as cooperative and talkative ever since. “He was … cooperative and provided valuable intelligence and evidence. He was eventually transported to another location, mirandized and continued talking,” Pistole said.
So, despite conservative complaints, reading a U.S. citizen his Miranda rights has not impeded information-gathering. But this hasn’t stopped conservatives from complaining. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey told Fox News that despite claims that Shahzad “kept spilling the beans, the question is how many beans he spilled.”
Update New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that Shahzad has "continued to be helpful" after being Mirandized.
Last night, the New York Times and CBS News released a poll finding that the “18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.” The poll, which “oversampled” Tea Party supporters “for the purpose of analysis” and “then weighted” them “to their proper proportion in the poll,” found that Tea Partiers are more likely than the general public to think President Obama “favors blacks over whites“:
The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public. They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.
According to the poll, Tea Partiers are also more likely to believe that President Obama was born in another country, with 30 percent believing that compared to 20 percent of the general public. Supporters of the Tea Party are also more likely to believe that violence against the government is sometimes justified: Poll on Tea Party and violence toward the government In terms of where the Tea Party turns for news, the poll found that 63 percent watch Fox News “most for information about politics and current events.” Additionally, 53 percent of Tea Partiers consider “shows hosted by people like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity” to be news rather than entertainment: Poll on Tea Party view of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity The Tea Partiers, who view Sarah Palin very favorably but aren’t sure she is ready to be president, have a distorted image of whether or not their views reflect America. According to the poll, 84 percent of Tea Partiers believe that “the views of the people involved in the Tea Party movement generally reflect the views of most Americans.” Only 25 percent of the general public, however, believe that the Tea Party reflects their views.
In the upcoming issue of Newsweek, Evan Thomas and Eve Conant report on how “‘Patriot’ groups— described by the [Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)] as outfits ‘that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose ‘one-world government’ on liberty-loving Americans’ — are ‘roaring back’ after years out of the limelight.” According to the SPLC, there has been “a 244 percent increase in the number of active Patriot groups in 2009, growing from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009. Newsweek also notes that recent years have seen a resurgence in membership in the Ku Klux Klan:
Fear of “the other” has long fueled hate crimes, from the torture and lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan beginning in the late 1800s, to the violence of the 1950s and ’60s, to the virulent anti-immigrant groups today. In 2008 the Census Bureau announced that whites will make up only half the U.S. population in 2050. “That was a big deal,” says the SPLC’s Potok. In recent years white-power groups mushroomed and the Klan reversed declining membership.
The SPLC estimates that “there are between 5,000 and 8,000 Klan members” active today, “split among dozens of different — and often warring — organizations that use the Klan name.”