Fox News' Lou Dobbs is accusing President Obama of "trying to subvert the national sovereignty," "circumvent[t] our constitution," and impose "unprecedented ... rule by fiat" by participating in UN climate change negotiations, even though the latest round of talks is expected to accomplish little.
The UN climate change summit in Doha, Qatar is not expected to produce any new commitment to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, and if it does, any treaty would need to be ratified by a supermajority in the Senate. Yet Dobbs claimed Obama is trying to "rule by fiat" by supporting action on climate change, even as anchor Megyn Kelly pointed out that Americans support doing more:
But far from "trying to subvert the national sovereignty," Obama was recently praised by the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board for "veto[ing]" an attempt by Europe to levy a carbon tax on U.S. airlines in one of his first moves after re-election.
A Washington Post article connected U.N. ambassador Susan Rice's investments in companies with business ties to Iran but didn't mention that Sen. John McCain, one of Rice's chief critics, has holdings with similar ties.
The right wing has conducted a witch hunt against Rice over her September 16 appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, in which she discussed the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.
The campaign against Rice ramped up after reports that she may be nominated for secretary of state. As Slate's David Weigel noted, McCain has been among her chief opponents. Weigel also noted that McCain's investments have ties to Iran.
The Post article reported that Rice and her husband own "modest stakes in companies that have until recently done business with Iran." From the article:
One of the biggest of the holdings, between $50,000 and $100,000, according to Rice's disclosure statement for 2011, is Royal Dutch Shell. The international oil giant stopped buying crude oil from Iran early this year as sanctions were tightened to block oil exports by Iran and to stop financial transactions with its central bank.
Rice and her husband also own between $15,000 and $50,000 of stock in ENI, the Italian international oil company. ENI has said that it is no longer doing business with Iran, but it has a waiver from sanctions to enable it to collect oil as payment for about $1 billion Iran owes the company from earlier business deals. The company had been purchasing crude oil and developing natural gas fields.
The article did not mention the McCain family's similar ties. For instance, in 2011, McCain declared that he held tens of thousands of dollars in JPMorgan funds via his wife, Cindy McCain. According to a 2010 report by an organization called "United Against Nuclear Iran," JP Morgan Chase appears on the Iran Business Registry (IBR), "a running database of reputable media and academic reports of international business in or with Iran."
Also via his spouse, McCain held between $1,000 and $15,000 in the JP Morgan International Value fund. According to JPMorgan, 3.6 percent of that JPMorgan fund is currently invested in Royal Dutch Shell, which also has ties to Iran, according to the IBR. The Post article mentioned Rice's investment in Royal Dutch Shell, but not McCain's.
The Post article reported that some of the companies Rice is invested in have ceased their relationship with Iran, and also reported that ethics lawyers say it does not appear as though Rice's investments violate the Ethics in Government Act.
Reports by major media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and CNN, are giving credence to Republicans' baseless attacks on Ambassador Susan Rice over statements she made in September appearances on Sunday morning political shows regarding an attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, Rice's remarks were based on the intelligence available at the time, and commentators from across the political spectrum agree that the attacks on Rice are inaccurate and driven by partisanship.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd defied her own paper's reporting to hype false Republican attacks on Ambassador Susan Rice.
Dowd devoted much of her November 27 column to quoting questions Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME) had for Rice -- who currently serves as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and is rumored to be a possible nominee to become the next secretary of state -- regarding statements Rice made during September appearances on Sunday political shows about the attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. But the questions Dowd posed have already been answered by Times reporting, and those answers show that Rice is being unfairly attacked.
This is the second time that Dowd has defied her own paper's reporting to attack Rice.
Dowd wrote that Collins "wants to know Rice's basis for saying on ABC that the attacks were 'a direct result of a heinous and offensive video' " -- a reference to an anti-Islam video that sparked unrest across the Muslim world. In fact, the Times has repeatedly reported that the Benghazi attackers cited the video as motivation for their attack. In an October 15 article, the Times reported:
To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck the United States Mission without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as members of a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.
The Times similarly reported on November 27 that "[w]itnesses to the assault said it was carried out by members of the Ansar al-Shariah militant group, without any warning or protest, in retaliation for an American-made video mocking the Prophet Muhammad."
Fox News is hyping a petition that calls for Congress to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, on the grounds that global warming is a "hoax." But while hyping 15,000 signatures gathered by a group that is in the business of misleading the public on climate science, Fox ignored that over 3 million comments have been submitted in favor of EPA's greenhouse gas regulations.
Fox News uncritically repeated the conservative Heartland Institute's declaration that the extensive science behind manmade climate change is just a "hoax." The group's petition, which is being promoted by Republican Senator James Inhofe, tries to cast doubt on everything from the basic physics of the greenhouse effect to the fact that Arctic sea ice has hit record lows and sea levels are rising. Based on that misinformation, the petition argues that the EPA should allow businesses to continue spewing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the air at no cost to the polluters.
Fox News did not give any background on the Heartland Institute, which has received significant industry funding and came under fire earlier this year for a billboard campaign associating acceptance of climate science with murderers. Heartland took down the billboard, but refused to apologize for its "experiment."
Fox News is mounting smear campaigns against Sen. John Kerry and Ambassador Susan Rice in an attempt to prevent them from being part of President Obama's second-term Cabinet. On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Obama may ask Kerry to be defense secretary, while Rice is being considered for secretary of state.
Fox is attacking Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, over her statements about the attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, and reviving the utterly discredited lies about Kerry's service in Vietnam that were advanced by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004.
It's remarkable that Fox would suggest that the Swift Boat lies could play any role in Kerry's nomination. After the notoriously false attacks on Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign, the term "swift-boating" became shorthand for dishonest political smears.
Likewise, Fox's attacks on Rice over Benghazi are premised on falsehoods about statements she made during Sunday talk show appearances on September 16. But as Mother Jones' Kevin Drum explained, Rice was accurately conveying the intelligence community's best assessment at the time of what had happened in Benghazi.
Fox is ramping up these campaigns in the wake of an election that resulted in losses for Republicans, and many in the media agree that Fox's influence on the GOP has hurt the party.
Much of the criticism of Fox's influence is that it pressures elected officials to embrace storylines that are at odds with reality. Yet Fox is undeterred, kicking off its coverage of Obama's potential second-term advisers with stories that are rooted in falsehoods.
Fox News is distorting Sen. John Kerry's record in an attempt to discredit his possible nomination as Defense secretary. But Fox's criticism is based on the misleading and false claims of a disgraced 2004 Swift Boat campaign against Kerry and on the misrepresentation of past Kerry remarks.
Fox News is trying to disqualify Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, from being nominated as the next secretary of state by alleging that she made inaccurate statements about the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. But during her Sunday show appearances, Rice was accurately conveying the consensus of the intelligence community at the time, and there is evidence that the anti-Islam video she referenced did, in fact, play a role in motivating the attack.
From the November 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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From the November 13 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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The Drudge Report and Fox News have attacked the federal government and President Obama over their response to Hurricane Sandy, with Drudge suggesting that Obama is responsible for hunger in New York City. In fact, the federal government shipped 1 million meals to New York, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies have provided other aid in the days following Sandy.
From the November 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' Sean Hannity Show:
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The Wall Street Journal obfuscated important facts to defend Mitt Romney's suggestion that states should take a larger role in handling natural disasters than they currently are. But the federal government can only issue a disaster declarations after state governors request federal assistance. Furthermore, states devastated by natural disasters often cannot burden the costs of such disasters on their own.
During a June 2011 Republican presidential primary debate, Romney was asked about whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should be given additional money or whether "we're learning a lesson here that states should take on more of this role." Romney replied, in part, by saying: "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a Wall Street Journal editorial defended Romney's argument, claiming that federal disaster declarations have increased too much in recent decades and arguing that "energetic governors and mayors are best equipped to handle disaster relief":
Matt Mayer of the Heritage Foundation has found that annual FEMA disaster declarations have multiplied since the Clinton years and have reached a yearly average of 153 under Mr. Obama. That compares to 129.6 under George W. Bush, 89.5 under Mr. Clinton, and only 28 a year under Reagan. Mr. Mayer argues that taxpayers and storm victims would be better served if FEMA devoted itself to helping out in the biggest disasters, such as Sandy, and not dive in at every political request for assistance.
Citizens in the Northeast aren't turning on their TVs, if they have electricity, to hear Mr. Obama opine about subway flooding. They're tuning in to hear Governor Chris Christie talk about the damage to the Jersey shore, Mayor Mike Bloomberg tell them when bus service might resume in New York City, and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy say when the state's highways might reopen.
Energetic governors and mayors are best equipped to handle disaster relief because they know their cities and neighborhoods far better than the feds ever will, and they know their citizens will hold them accountable. The feds can help with money and perhaps expertise.
But state governors are the very ones telling the federal government that they cannot handle disasters without federal aid. As FEMA's website points out, governors initiate the process of requesting federal disaster aid:
The Stafford Act (§401) requires that: "All requests for a declaration by the President that a major disaster exists shall be made by the Governor of the affected State." A State also includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia are also eligible to request a declaration and receive assistance.
The Governor's request is made through the regional FEMA/EPR office. State and Federal officials conduct a preliminary damage assessment (PDA) to estimate the extent of the disaster and its impact on individuals and public facilities. This information is included in the Governor's request to show that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the local governments and that Federal assistance is necessary. [emphasis added]
Right-wing media, led by the Drudge Report, are pushing a conspiracy theory that the Labor Department will use Hurricane Sandy to delay releasing October jobs data until after the election. This scaremongering is a continuation of the right-wing conspiracy theory that the government is manipulating economic data to help re-elect President Obama.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release October jobs data, including the official unemployment rate, on Friday -- days before the presidential election. But Labor Department officials have reportedly said that it will be difficult for economists to access the employment data, which can only be accessed on site, as long as the federal government is shut down due to the storm.
An October 29 Wall Street Journal blog post quoted a spokesman for the Bureau of Labor Statistics saying that the bureau would assess the situation after the storm passes and notify the public if it needed to change its release schedule.
In a subsequent statement released on Monday, the Labor Department said, "The employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are working hard to ensure the timely release of employment data on Friday, November 2. It is our intention that Friday will be business as usual regarding the October Employment Situation Report."
And, as reported by The Hill, there is no mystery surrounding a possible delay: it's a simple fact that BLS analysts cannot access the data as long as the federal government is shut down.
From the October 25 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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