Friday, November 12, 2010

George Soros His Big Sarah Palin Connection

Glenn Beck's George Soros Expose Missed One Surprising Thing: His Big Sarah Palin Connection

Glenn Beck's epic takedown of George Soros left out something interesting.

One of Sarah Palin's top aids, Randy Scheunemann, has been on Soros' payroll for years.

From Salon:

Given Soros' alleged role plotting to destroy the United States, Beck and his Fox viewership might be surprised to learn that one of Sarah Palin's top aides, [Scheunemann], has been on Soros' payroll for years.

It's weird that Beck didn't mention this.

One, because it would only help further his conspiracy theory: that Soros is plotting to break the US economy the same way he broke the British pound.

And if Soros is surreptitiously backing Palin, and she might become President... Then the U.S. will come to an even quicker, more destructive end!

Before anyone gets too worried that this actually might happen, know that it was the Soros-backed Open Society that funded Scheunemann, and that they gave the money to him to lobby for free rights in Burma, where Aung San Suu Kyi, who was voted into power years ago, is still under house arrest.

Scheunemann and a partner have since 2003 been paid over $150,000 by one of Soros' organizations for lobbying work, according to federal disclosure forms reviewed by Salon. The lobbying, which has continued to the present, centers on legislation involving sanctions and democracy promotion in Burma.

Media Matters: weekly update on why I hate FOX NEWS? Channel

Why are Fox News employees allowed to plug their financial interests without disclosure?

Last December, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson interviewed New York Yankee Derek Jeter and, as the New York Times wrote, "lavished praise on the Yankee shortstop." At no point did Fox News disclose to viewers that Carlson's husband is Jeter's agent.

Afterward, Fox News reportedly told the Times that a disclosure should have been made, and a network source claimed management was "stunned" by the way the interview was handled.

Yet on matters weightier than baseball, Fox News has consistently shown it has little interest in asking its on-air talent to disclose their financial interests in the topics they discuss.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal noted that Glenn Beck has been doing "live-read" advertisements on his radio program -- which is not produced by Fox News -- for FreedomWorks. On Fox News, Glenn Beck prominently featured the organization and its president in an October show. Beck never mentioned his financial connections with FreedomWorks. Video of the appearance, along with a "partner with Glenn Beck" promotion, is currently featured on the front page of FreedomWorks' website

Beck's help for radio sponsors doesn't stop there. As Media Matters' Zachary Pleat noted, Beck has done paid radio ads for Food Insurance, and turned those radio ads into monologues for his Fox News show about rising commodities prices (without the explicit pitch for the company).

Beck's had practice doing this radio-to-television shilling: As Media Matters documented last year, Goldline International has an "exclusive" sponsorship deal with Beck's radio program. While Goldline sponsors advertisements on his radio program, Beck tells Fox News viewers to invest in gold to "protect" themselves from a possible economic collapse. (Such radio sponsorships are reportedly appropriate for Fox News hosts, though being a "paid spokesman" and getting paid individually by a company is not.)

Fox News contributors also directly discuss and promote their clients on-air. Take the cases of Fox Newsers Doug Schoen and Frank Luntz. On October 15, Schoen criticized the Democrats' strategy of making a campaign issue out of U.S Chamber of Commerce's funding sources. On October 6, Luntz applauded an ad by the Chamber and said the group has "done some of the best advertising across the country."

At no point did Fox News mention that Schoen and Luntz work for -- and presumably are paid by -- the Chamber. Luntz's website touts the Chamber as one of his clients.

The Schoen/Luntz situation isn't unique. In April of 2009, for instance, Fox News military analyst Tom McInerney -- last seen raising questions about Obama's birth certificate -- criticized the Obama administration's decision to procure only four more F-22 fighters. At no point did Fox News disclose that McInerney may have had a financial reason to be upset about the F-22 decision: he reportedly served as a consultant for the Northrop Grumman Corp., which is a major subcontractor on the F-22.

During the health care debate, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich appeared on Fox News - and elsewhere - to criticize the public option and regulation of insurance companies. Fox News and other media outlets have neglected to mention that Gingrich runs and reportedly profits from the Center for Health Transformation, a for-profit organization that receives annual membership fees from several major health insurance companies. In other words, Gingrich was speaking against policies that would have hurt companies that were paying his group.

Fox News contributor Rick Santorum appeared on the network repeatedly to discuss health care reform without disclosing that he serves on the board of directors for Universal Health Services, a Fortune 500 health care company headed by Republican and public option opponent Alan B. Miller. Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros also repeatedly discussed health care reform on the network. Her corporate biography states that she is a "Vice President with Sloane and Company where she specializes in crisis communications, healthcare, and public affairs clients." (The firm's website does not specifically state which clients Tantaros works with.)

The disclosure problem extends to Fox News guests. In March, America Live's Megyn Kelly hosted a "fair and balanced" debate that featured Chris Wilson, who trashed health care reform and was identified as a "GOP pollster and strategist." At no point did Kelly point out that Wilson polls for companies that would be affected by the health care bill he criticized. Fox News also failed to disclose the conflicting interests of anti-healthcare reform interviewees Frank Donatelli, Mary Grealy, and former Sen.-turned Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America lobbyist John Breaux (D-LA).

And there can be no conversation about conflict-of-interest problems without mentioning Fox News contributor Dick Morris. In at least two Beck-like schemes, Morris has received financial payments from GOP-aligned groups advertising on his email newsletter, and then repeatedly promoted and fundraised for those two groups on Fox News without disclosing the payments.

Fox News was "stunned" about Jeter and Carlson, but is apparently unconcerned about Morris. In 2008, questions were raised about Morris promoting the National Republican Trust PAC, which has paid him at least $24,000. Fox News offered no response to a reporter's inquiry, instead deferring questions to Morris.

Unfortunately, while Fox News may have some of the most prominent conflict-of-interest disclosure problems on television, concern shouldn't be limited just to them. Media Matters has regularly called out non-Fox News outlets for similar failures, and the Times article noting the Fox & Friends conflict also reported on disclosure failures by NBC's Today.

In February, The Nation found that since 2007, "at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials -- people paid by companies and trade groups to manage their public image and promote their financial and political interests -- have appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure of the corporate interests that had paid them."

Glenn Beck's Anti-Semitic Attacks

Anti-Semitism, like all ideologies, tells a story about the world. It’s a story about almost occult Jewish power, about cabals that manipulate world events for their own gain. In classic anti-Semitic narratives, Jews control both the elites and the masses; they’re responsible for the communist revolution and the speculative excesses of capitalism. Their goal is to undermine society so that they can take over.

Through the lens of anti-Semitism, social division, runaway inflation, and moral breakdown all make sense because they all have the same cause. Nazi propaganda called Jews drahtzieher—wire-pullers. They constitute a power above and beyond ordinary government authority. “There is a super-government which is allied to no government, which is free from them all, and yet which has its hand in them all,” Henry Ford wrote in The International Jew.

Glenn Beck and George Soros. (AP Photos) If you know this history, you’ll understand why Glenn Beck’s two-part “exposé” on George Soros, whom Beck calls “The Puppet Master,” was so shocking, even by Beck’s degraded standards. The program, which aired Tuesday and Wednesday, was a symphony of anti-Semitic dog-whistles. Nothing like it has ever been on American television before.

“There is a crisis collapsing our economy—George Soros,” Beck said on Tuesday’s show. “When the administration and progressives look for a savior to step in and save the day—George Soros… He’s pulled no punches about the end game. It’s one world government, the end of America's status as the prevailing world power—but why?” Because, Beck suggests, Soros wants to rule us all like a God: “Soros has admitted in the past he doesn't believe in God, but that's perhaps because he thinks he is.”

Soros, a billionaire financier and patron of liberal causes, has long been an object of hatred on the right. But Beck went beyond demonizing him; he cast him as the protagonist in an updated Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He described Soros as the most powerful man on earth, the creator of a “shadow government” that manipulates regimes and currencies for its own enrichment. Obama is his “puppet,” Beck says. Soros has even “infiltrated the churches.” He foments social unrest and economic distress so he can bring down governments, all for his own financial gain. “Four times before,” Beck warned. “We’ll be number five.”

Beck went beyond demonizing Soros; he cast him as the protagonist in an updated Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

It’s true, of course, that Soros has had a hand in bringing down governments—communist, authoritarian governments. Beck seems to be assuming a colossal level of ignorance on the part of his viewers when he informs them, “Along with currencies, Soros also collapses regimes. With his Open Society Fund… Soros has helped fund the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic, the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, the Rose Revolution in Georgia. He also helped to engineer coups in Slovakia, Croatia, and Yugoslavia. So what is his target now? Us. America.”

Beck’s implication is that there was something sinister in Soros’ support for anti-communist civil society organizations in the former Soviet Union. Further, he sees such support as evidence that Soros will engineer a communist coup here in the United States. This kind of thinking only makes sense within the conspiratorial mind-set of classic anti-Semitism, in which Jews threaten all governments equally. And as a wealthy Jew with a distinct Eastern European accent, Soros is a perfect target for such theories.

To inoculate himself against charges of anti-Semitism, Beck hurled them at Soros, pointing out that he’s an atheist and a critic of Israel. He accused Soros of helping Nazis steal Jewish property as a teenager and of feeling no remorse about it. In fact, when Soros was 14 in Nazi-occupied Hungary, his father bribed an agriculture official to pretend that the boy was his Christian godson. Soros once had to accompany his protector to inventory a confiscated Jewish estate. Asked by 60 Minutes if he felt guilty about it, he said no, because he wasn’t at fault. The slander that he was a Nazi collaborator has proliferated on the right ever since.

It’s entirely possible that Beck has waded into anti-Semitic waters inadvertently, that he picked up toxic ideas from his right-wing demimonde without realizing their anti-Jewish provenance. Early on Wednesday’s show, Beck cited the “Prime Minister of Malaysia” on Soros’ villainy. As Media Matters pointed out, he was almost certainly talking about former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Maybe he doesn’t know that Mohamad also said, “We do not want to say that this is a plot by the Jews, but in reality it is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge, and coincidentally Soros is a Jew.”

“There’s a difference between first-degree murder and vehicular homicide, which is intentionality,” says J.J. Goldberg, a columnist and former editor in chief of The Forward, America’s leading Jewish newspaper. Goldberg wasn’t convinced that Beck meant to attack Jews. Nevertheless, he described the show as “as close as I’ve heard on mainstream television to fascism.”

On Thursday morning, the Anti-Defamation League, which exists to combat anti-Semitism, finally condemned Beck. Earlier, I’d criticized the group for its silence, a change that Todd Gutnick, the ADL’s director of media relations, fiercely disputed. “Sometimes the ADL likes to consider what it’s going to say before it says it,” he said. “In this case we wanted to see the totality of what he was doing on the air before speaking out.”

In a statement, Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director and a Holocaust survivor himself, expressed outrage over Beck’s charges about Soros’ behavior as a boy in Nazi-occupied Hungary, which Beck made on television on Tuesday and again on the radio Wednesday. “Glenn Beck’s description of George Soros’ actions during the Holocaust is completely inappropriate, offensive and over the top,” said Foxman. “For a political commentator or entertainer to have the audacity to say—inaccurately—that there’s a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps, as part of a broader assault on Mr. Soros, that’s horrific… To hold a young boy responsible for what was going on around him during the Holocaust as part of a larger effort to denigrate the man is repugnant.”

Michelle Goldberg is a journalist based in New York.
She is the award-winning author of The New York Times bestseller Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism and The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and the Future of the World.

Cindy McCain is smarter and has a bigger heart than her silly husband!

Cindy McCain does video opposing DADT, accuses 'our government' of sending signal that bullying is okay - her hubbie is the lead defender of DADT

John McCain is leading the filibuster against the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" "repeal" legislation in the Senate (it's not an actual repeal, but we'll leave that for another time). Today, Cindy McCain joined a number of celebrities in a video about gay youth suicide and bullying. Mrs. McCain's part of the video condemned DADT and then accused our government of sending bullies a message that what they do is okay.

The woman basically accused her husband of sharing the blame for gay kids killing themselves.

I'm astonished. And impressed as hell.Posted by John Aravosis


Scientists learn physics behind how cats drink water without getting wet

As all cat lovers know well, Felis domestica is a marvel of balance, subtlety and other hidden elegances.

Prepare to learn of another remarkable attribute: Four researchers have painstakingly filmed, analyzed and determined how it is that a cat can drink water while (unlike a dog) keeping its chin and whiskers pleasingly dry.

The answer involves an exquisite demonstration of physics: The cat, in effect, balances the forces of gravity against the forces of inertia, and so quenches its thirst.

While a dog curls its tongue like a ladle to collect the water and then pull up what it can, a cat curves its tongue under and slightly back, leaving the top surface of the tip of the tongue to lightly touch the liquid. The cat then raises its tongue rapidly, creating an upward mini-stream of water. The cat snaps its mouth shut and the water is captured before the countervailing force of gravity pulls it down.

An average house cat, the team found, can make four of these mini-streams per second.

"What we found is that the cat uses fluid dynamics and physics in a way to absolutely optimize tongue lapping and water collection," said Jeffrey Aristoff, now at Princeton University but who was one of the four researchers who began the study out of curiosity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Nobody had ever studied it before, so nobody knew how the water went from the bowl into the cat's mouth," he said. Not surprisingly, they found that cats lap at precisely the rate that would get them the most water for the effort expended. The team's results are described in an article released Thursday by the journal Science.

As with most basic scientific research, the ultimate usefulness of this knowledge is uncertain. But it is not, the researchers say, hard to imagine some downstream applications, perhaps in robotics.

Something as complex as a cat drinking water doesn't get unraveled and turned into a paper at the nation's top science journal overnight. It was almost four years ago that Roman Stocker, an associate professor at MIT's department of civil and environmental engineering, became interested in how his cat, Cutta Cutta (or "Stars Stars" translated from an Australian aboriginal language), drank. His enthusiasm spread to Aristoff, Sunghwan Jung, now an engineer at Virginia Tech, and Pedro Reis, a physicist who works on the nature of soft solids at MIT.

"Science allows us to look at natural processes with a different eye and to understand how things work, even if that's figuring out how my cat laps his breakfast," Stocker said. "It's a job, but also a passion, and this project for me was a high point in teamwork and creativity. We did it without any funding, without any graduate students, without much of the usual apparatus that science is done with nowadays."

The four researchers went to several zoos to observe and film tigers, jaguars, lions and ocelots, and went to YouTube to find videos of bobcats, cheetahs, leopards and lionesses drinking in the wild.

They found the same basic drinking mechanism in all the cats, though the larger ones (with larger tongues) slowed their lapping to best take advantage of the physics at play - that is, the balance between upward movement of the water set off by the cat's tongue (the inertia) and the gravity pulling the water down. A lion, Aristoff said, laps about two times per second.

"In the beginning of the project, we weren't fully confident that fluid mechanics played a role in cats' drinking," said Jung, whose research focuses on soft bodies, such as fish, and the fluids surrounding them. "But as the project went on, we were surprised and amused by the beauty of the fluid mechanics involved in this system."

Aristoff explained the dynamics at work: You're in the shower and turn on the hot water. The steam starts to rise, and that upward flow lowers the pressure levels at your knees. The result is that the inside of the shower curtain will billow in toward you, unless you have some weight attached to the curtain to stop it. That interplay of motion and pressure parallels the dynamic that quenches the cat's thirst.

Although the work on cat drinking was done for professional pleasure - it wasn't funded by a grant, and the only expense was high-quality video cameras - the researchers said there could be useful implications gleaned from their "fundamental" research.

Engineers, for example, are moving into the field of "soft robots" and are working on the basic properties of nonmetallic parts that may play a role. Aristoff said there's great interest in creating robots that can walk on water, and this research could help.

This new cat-drinking research follows by 70 years related work done by Harold "Doc" Edgerton, who first used strobe lights to capture stopped action on film. His photography, which uncovered some of the secrets of how cats drink, was featured in an Academy Award-winning short called "Quicker'n a Wink." The four current-day researchers used equipment at an MIT center for high-speed photography named after Edgerton, who was a much-honored MIT professor of electrical engineering for five decades.

Krazyhammer FINALLY gets one right! CONGRATS there is still hope.

Why President Obama is right about India

Much grousing about the expense of President Obama's India trip. This is silly and vindictive. The one thing this country owes its leader is to spare no expense in protecting him. Especially when his first stop is Mumbai, scene of one of the most savage and sustained terror attacks in modern times.

It is protested that Britain's prime minister took a British Air flight when he traveled here in July. So what? To be blunt about it: A once-imperial middle power flies commercial; America flies colossal. Why do you think we built that 747 flying palace emblazoned with the presidential insignia - if not to land to awestruck crowds wherever it goes?

There was grumbling about the White House taking over every room at Mumbai's five-star Taj Mahal Palace hotel. What is the Secret Service to do? Allow suites to be let to, say, groups of Pakistani madrassa instructors?

I will admit that Indian authorities went somewhat overboard when they cut down the coconuts surrounding the Gandhi museum in Mumbai. I am no expert on this, having never been subject to a coconut attack, but it seems to me that a freefalling coconut is no match for an armored car built to withstand anything short of a small nuclear device. Now perhaps the enemy, always racing one step ahead of us, is working on the dreaded RPC - the rocket-propelled coconut. I'm not privy to all the intelligence here, and, try as I may, I could get nothing out of the Coconut Desk at CIA. Nonetheless, to this outsider, the anti-coconut measures seemed a bit excessive.

But I digress. The only alternative to drawing down the Treasury to move the president around safely is for him not to go at all. And that's not an alternative. Presidential visits are the highest form of diplomacy, and the symbolism alone carries enormous weight. No one remembers what Nixon did in China; what changed the world is that Nixon went to China.

The India visit was particularly necessary in light of Obama's bumbling overenthusiasm in his 2009 trip to China in which he lavished much time, energy and praise upon his hosts and then oddly tried to elevate Beijing to a G-2 partnership, a kind of two-nation world condominium. Worse, however, was Obama suggesting a Chinese role in South Asia - an affront to India's autonomy and regional dominance, and a signal of U.S. acquiescence to Chinese hegemony.

This hegemony is the growing source of tension in Asia today. Modern China is the Germany of a century ago - a rising, expanding, have-not power seeking its place in the sun. The story of the first half of the 20th century was Europe's attempt to manage Germany's rise. We know how that turned out. The story of the next half-century will be how Asia accommodates and/or contains China's expansion.

Nor is this some far-off concern. China's aggressive territorial claims on resource-rich waters claimed by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Japan are already roiling the neighborhood. Traditionally, Japan has been the major regional counterbalance. But an aging, shrinking Japan can no longer sustain that role. Symbolic of the dramatic shift in power balance between once-poor China and once-dominant Japan was the resolution of their recent maritime crisis. Japan had detained a Chinese captain in a territorial-waters dispute. China imposed a rare-earth mineral embargo. Japan capitulated.

That makes the traditional U.S. role as offshore balancer all the more important. China's neighbors from South Korea all the way around to India are in need of U.S. support of their own efforts at resisting Chinese dominion.

And of all these countries, India, which has fought a border war with China, is the most natural anchor for such a U.S. partnership. It's not just our inherent affinities - being democratic, English-speaking, free-market and dedicated to the rule of law. It is also the coincidence of our strategic imperatives: We both face the common threat of radical Islam and the more long-term challenge of a rising China.

Which is why Obama's dramatic call for India to be elevated to permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council was so important. However useless and obsolete the United Nations, a Security Council seat carries totemic significance. It elevates India, while helping bind it to us as our most strategic and organic Third World ally.

China is no enemy, but it remains troublingly adversarial. Which is why India must be the center of our Asian diplomacy. And why Obama's trip - coconuts and all - was worth every penny.

WASHINGTON POST Charles Krauthammer