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Congress Grills Oil Execs; Ron Paul Weighs in on Economy; Illegal Immigrant Cab Driver Sues Police
Aired April 1, 2008 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, oil executives summoned to Capitol Hill for a congressional inquisition. Who`s the bad guy here? The oil executives or the opportunist politicians?
Then, leading libertarian Ron Paul will stop by. He`ll tell me why he thinks the government`s proposed overhaul of the nation`s financial markets is a bad idea.
And Obama, clearly trying to be Mr. Moderate. But he may be a lot more liberal than you think.
All this and more tonight.
BECK: Hello, America.
Barack Obama will be by later to punish all with a baby. I`ll explain coming up.
And also, the headline today was the Great Depression. That`s what they were calling for in America over in the newspapers in Great Britain. We`ll have "The Real Story." It ain`t the Great Depression. Coming up.
But let`s lead with this. Senior executives from the five largest U.S. oil companies were called in front of the principal`s office again. Congressional committee today wanted them to defend their success. I know it sounds crazy, but, remember, Congress is made up of lawyers who went all politician on us. And why would we expect lawyers who are now politicians to use logic or principles? So here`s "The Point" tonight.
Since when in this country do we have a maximum wage law? Today`s move by Congress is yet one more sign that capitalism is in trouble and socialism is marching right around the corner. And here`s how I got there.
I want to make this really clear. I don`t like paying $3.50 a gallon any more than you do. I hate it. I look at it -- I cuss these oil companies all the time. But it`s just a popular thing to do, I guess.
We have to put aside our feelings when we`re talking about oil companies and their profits. Feelings and logic, different. Oil is a commodity. Just like milk or coffee, it is subject to the simple laws of supply and demand. And I`ll explain in a minute. Also now speculation.
Back in the late 1990s, oil companies like Exxon were taking a bath in red ink, losing money. Today, things are looking up. Good for them. Isn`t that what we used to say in America?
Why are we now pulling them in for hearings in front of Congress? If Congress wants some credibility, maybe they should go after big milk, as well. Milk is up 26 percent. Oil is up 26 percent. How about we talk to big egg? Because eggs are up 40 percent. Where are their profits going? How is that happening?
Too bad we haven`t been taught to hate farmers the way we have been taught to hate the oil industry. Remember, we live in a gloriously capitalist system, right now. And big oil companies help fuel our economy. We need them to succeed. That`s what kills me every time I hear one of these presidential candidates say something like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We thought it would be easy to change our energy policy. Exxon Mobil made $11 billion last quarter.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you saw Exxon Mobil profits last year: $40 billion in profits.
OBAMA: Now Exxon is making $40 billion a year, and we`re paying $3.50 for gas.
I`m Barack Obama. I don`t take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: I don`t take money from -- he can`t. It`s against the law to take money from companies, but that`s a different story.
Vilifying the evil rich. Makes a great speech, makes a great campaign commercial. But until people like Barack Obama and Clinton, who both make over a million dollars a year, get their wish in turning America into a socialist nation, keep one thing in mind, will you? Corporations like Exxon and Shell are not owned by one big fat guy who`s sitting in a room, lighting his cigar with 100-dollar bills. They`re publicly held companies. The shareholders are people like you.
In fact, one of the biggest beneficiaries of big oil success are these huge retirement funds that a lot of moms, a lot of dads, maybe even you or Grandma`s depend on their survival.
Let me use the same tactic that the politicians like to use in Washington. Why is it all of these congressional people want Grandma eating cat food? Of course they don`t want that. Think hard before you jump on this Marxist anti-oil bandwagon.
Tonight, America, here`s what you need to know. A tax on windfall profits is just another progressive ploy of redistributing wealth in America. Here, success should be encouraged, not penalized. All businesses, big ones, small ones, one that climb on rocks, everything in between, deserve the opportunity to enjoy the reward that results from their risk. They should also pay for their penalties if they, you know, go ahead. They lose, they made a bad investment, bye-bye. I`m not there to bail you out.
Remember, that`s the way the stock market works. Big oil is only big because it`s made up of a bunch of little investors like you. Unfortunately, doesn`t seem like anybody is telling you that besides me tonight.
David Weidner is the Wall Street columnist for "Marketwatch."
David, the FTC has done study after study after study that shows the profits are in line with big oil. What`s the beef here?
DAVID WEIDNER, COLUMNIST, "MARKETWATCH": Well, the beef, I mean, the reason you see these executives paraded up on Capitol Hill is that it`s a very simple answer in a political season to a very complicated problem about rising fuel prices. I mean, the reality is, is that the market is driving these prices higher, and the oil companies are really only one part of this.
BECK: Let me -- let me jump in here on this one. Because there`s -- the falling dollar, which is directly tied to the Fed and their moves is rising oil prices.
But also the hedge funds. There`s speculation now on what the price of oil is going to be in six months. Why aren`t we dragging the hedge funds in front of Congress?
WEIDNER: Well, why not retail investors, too. I mean, you know, there are opportunities for individuals now to go and plan these markets that didn`t exist even just a few years ago.
So the reality is that while the -- while, you know, this isn`t a supply and demand game anymore, this is all about financial instruments, derivatives, things that we used to think were so -- that were the demand of sophisticated investors, it`s in the hands of everyone now. And these markets are being played. So this isn`t -- this isn`t a simple supply and demand game anymore.
BECK: David, it`s really frightening to me that we seem to be living in a country that doesn`t understand capitalism anymore. We just go after people who are villains, no matter what the truth is.
Why isn`t anybody going after big egg and big milk? The prices are up just as much as oil. I think the reason is, is because Congress is responsible for the price of milk going through the roof.
WEIDNER: Well, I don`t know if the Congress is responsible for oil or milk going through the roof...
BECK: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait, wait, wait. Let me defend that one.
BECK: Yes, they are. And tell me where I`m wrong. The reason why we are having so much problems with milk and eggs is because farmers can`t afford the food for their beef. They can`t afford the food for their beef because they can no longer afford to buy corn. They can`t afford to buy corn because Congress is mandating ethanol. I mean, they are responsible for the rise in food.
WEIDNER: I see your point. But you`re making the same mistake that Congress made today. And they`re playing the blame game. And the reality is we need to start holding hearings about the solution, about energy policy in this country that will work.
You know, the reality is, is that, you know, these rising prices are maybe good for oil companies in the short-term, but in the long-term, they`re not. Because Americans are going to, like any other economy, Americans are going to get smart and they`re going to say, "Hey, I want a hybrid car. I want to -- I`m going to curtail my use of energy. I`m going to find other sources."
And these oil companies are not big players in alternative energy right now.
BECK: You know what, I...
WEIDNER: They`re going to price themselves out of business.
BECK: All right. David, thanks a lot.
Let me switch gears here and go to Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
BECK: Ron, that doesn`t make any -- it doesn`t make any sense at all to talk about, "Well, maybe we should get more into hybrids." That`s the problem with all of this, is there`s too much money in the system. We`re gaming the system.
You go after oil, and not the farmers because, well, the farmers are more popular. You go after oil and not GE because, well, GE is doing clean energy. Big oil is doing dirty energy. Why should we be playing this game at all?
REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: Well, we shouldn`t be. What we should do is to protect the marketplace, let the market determine what is the best source of energy. This whole idea that when prices go up, we have to blame somebody, sometimes people want to blame labor unions for the inflation and the high cost of living, and sometimes people want to blame profits like for the oil companies.
And they never want to talk about the real problem, and that is there are too many dollars floating around because they`re created by the Federal Reserve. And some prices go up faster than other prices. And that`s why we have this tremendous price inflation in energy.
But I think we`re looking at symptoms and not at the cause. And they`re getting all over the place on trying to solve a problem like putting taxes on energy companies. That`s not going to solve the problem.
BECK: Well, I have to tell you, I am more convinced than ever the cause of almost all of our problems in our nation come from the building that you`re standing in right now.
Almost everything that Congress does, at least in the last 100 years, we end up paying for. And then they`re fixing the problems that they created. I mean, it`s -- this story over and over and over again. And yet, you know, they want to expand programs, they want to make everything bigger.
PAUL: And I can boil that down to the fact that the people around this place in D.C. and in the capital and the executive branch and in the judicial branch, they don`t care that much about our Constitution, because if we followed the Constitution, we wouldn`t have these spending programs and we wouldn`t be causing all these problems.
And yet the more problems we create, the more government the people demand. For every problem we create down here, or try to solve, then we create two new problems. And it goes on and on and it pyramids up. And some day we`re going to have to realize we can`t afford this much government any longer. We`ve got -- we`ve got to depend on ourselves and on freedom and sound money rather than thinking that Washington, D.C., can solve all our problems.
BECK: I have to tell you, they -- we had the Fed up on Capitol Hill, and everybody is trying to get more regulation, more power to the Fed. Yet we`re calling oil in front of Congress to explain their profits. Part of the reason why oil is so expensive is because of the Fed.
Do you mind, Ron -- we`re up against a break. Will you stay for a couple of minutes and we`ll talk to you about the Fed coming up on the other side of the break. We`ll be back in a minute. Tonight, brought to you by the sleep number bed. It is the sleep number bed, the bed that counts by select comfort.
BECK: The British newspaper "The Independent UK" claims that we`re in the Great Depression here in America. Great headline, huh? How about the content? Unfortunately for all of our friends over in England, they`re just wrong. And I`ll tell you why in tonight`s "Real Story."
But first, I swear to you, the entire stock market ganged up today and decided to play one giant, you know, April Fool`s joke on investors. Because I cannot explain how the stock market rocketed today in the face of the morning news that gas prices are hitting another record high.
UBS is announcing another $19 billion in write-downs, along with the resignation of its chairman. The Deutsche Bank is revealing another $3.9 billion in write-downs. And maybe I`m missing the forest through the trees, but the bad news this morning seemed to be irrelevant compared to yesterday`s announcement of the most sweeping reform in regulation of the financial sector since the Great Depression.
So if that is why the mark set so happy, how long is that going to last? I mean, Isn`t this a little like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? Isn`t it already too late? Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is back with us.
Giving the Fed, the organization that answers to nobody in our government, more power when they created these bubbles is beyond me, Mr. Paul.
PAUL: I think you`re absolutely right. We do need regulations in all markets. The market itself regulates itself by supply and demand and bad businesses going out of business and consumers benefiting when a business does a good deal.
But the regulation has to be on government. The regulation has to be on the Federal Reserve. You`re absolutely right. The Federal Reserve has so much power and is very secretive. And now we`re planning on giving it even more. But that`s what should be regulated. What we need is an oversight of the Federal Reserve. We have no oversight of monetary policy. They can create all the money they want out of thin air, and that is the creation of the bubble. It causes the malinvestment and the excessive debt.
And now they`re coming in and they want to regulate the -- it`s sort of like putting wage and price controls on once you have inflation. Not realizing the inflation comes from the Federal Reserve inflating the money supply.
BECK: OK. The -- I think we`re absolutely on the road to nationalism. I mean, we`re going to nationalize these banks and this debt. I mean, I don`t know how you get out of it.
They were saying yesterday -- I think it was yesterday in the newspaper, I saw that they`re on a road to nationalization, the Nordic way. Well, the Nordic way, when they bailed out their banks, they let the stock -- they let the stockholders and the shareholders fail. They lose their money. None of these CEOs walked away with any money. That`s not what we`re doing here. We`re talking about bailing out the mortgages and bailing out the banks. What kind of system is that?
PAUL: no, I think we are on the road to nationalization. But we`ve already been on that road, and this is just accelerating the pace. Because the large banks especially are in collusion with the Federal Reserve. Because once the Federal Reserve creates the high-powered money, the banking system then can further inflate through fractional reserve banking. So they`re in cahoots in this whole -- whole process.
BECK: Congressman, I have to tell you that I find myself increasingly in a place mentally that I just don`t want to be. I`ve never been a conspiracy theorist. I`ve never been any of these -- you know, I`ve never been a John Birch or anything. I always thought those people were crazy.
But the more you learn and the more you look at history -- this weekend I was reading about the crash of 1907, and how that thing was controlled and what came out of that and came to the Fed. I mean, we`re repeating the same mistake, and it was always to give these private individuals control, almost a fourth branch of government or a separate tree, of our economic system. How do we get -- how do we untangle ourselves from that?
PAUL: There is no more ominous power than to give this authority to a secret bank to create money out of thin air. And it works as long as people trust the money.
But if the money has no backing to it and it is not convertible into anything, it eventually ends. And this is what we`re witnessing, the beginning of the end of the dollar hegemony. It is going to end, because the world is starting to reject it.
But no, we need a new monetary system, and it will come. All paper money self-destructs. Now we`re seeing what is happening. They`re able to patch it together now and then for decades, even Bernanke who is getting a lot of blame now, he didn`t create most of these bubbles. Yet he`s trying to keep this system that is unsalvageable together by just further inflating.
But eventually we will have to have monetary reform. It is coming, and it`s coming quickly.
BECK: Congressman, I had David Walker on. I know you know who he is, the head of the GAO. And he said this is a nightmare coming. It`s a giant meteor coming, falling out of the sky our way.
He said that it will only be solved by a third party. You`re not going to be the Republican candidate. Why don`t you run as a third party? You have a lot off support out there.
PAUL: Well, one reason is that, you know, there`s not a whole lot of democracy in this country. You know, in the third party, you really have a tough job. I tried it one time. Spent most of my money just trying to get on the ballot.
So unless you`re Ross Perot, you can`t compete. You know, you do get marginalized even if you have nonconventional ideas, you get marginalized in the major parties as I have been. Right now it is -- I think there is a fertile field out there right now for a third party. There`s a lot of frustration and anger and aggravation. And it`s a stalemate.
You know, I don`t see any difference between the three leading candidates right now.
PAUL: And people are starved for some other answers. I agree with you on that.
BECK: I have to tell you, I don`t agree with everything that you say. But there are a few things that, man, you got it right on, and nobody else is saying it. Thank you very much.
PAUL: Thank you, Glenn.
BECK: Now, time to find out where I`m wrong. Letting people and businesses fail is not only the capitalist thing to do; it is the compassionate thing to do. Failure builds strength. Agree or disagree? I can`t wait to see this poll. Go CNN.com/Glenn right now and cast your vote.
All right. Coming up, when is it illegal to report an illegal, and what is an honest cop to do? We have the latest on an illegal immigrant suing two NYPD officers for reporting him to the authorities. It will make blood shoot out of your eyes.
And a former Wal-Mart employee takes on the mega-store. But should this case be swayed by sympathy or by the law?
BECK: Executive order 41. And executive order is when the president or a mayor or a governor knows they can`t get something by Congress or their city council so they just write it up themselves.
This one was issued by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2003. Essentially, it was a pledge that the city would not alert immigration authorities to illegals who otherwise obey the law. And it was intended, or they say, to encourage illegal immigrants to seek help from the police and other agencies without fear that they`d be turned in to federal immigration officials. Well, wait until you hear this story.
New York City cab driver now crying foul because he says a police lieutenant here in New York tipped off the feds about his illegal status. So it`s in court now. He`s suing.
Jessica Vaughn is a senior policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies and former foreign services officer.
Jessica, first of all, let`s start with this. How did this guy get called? Why did the police officer call?
JESSICA VAUGHN, SENIOR POLICY ANALYST, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: Well, this guy had a history of illegal activity: of traffic tickets, of dangerous behavior with respect to other people. He was like a ticking time bomb in this community.
BECK: OK. Give me some -- give me some examples here of the things that he had done.
VAUGHN: Well, he had been involved in fights with other people. He had apparently tried to run somebody over with his car.
BECK: Over a parking space.
BECK: I mean, it`s like that "Seinfeld" episode. It is.
VAUGHN: So he`s clearly a danger to other people in New York. Aside from the fact that he`s an illegal alien.
BECK: Right. That doesn`t -- wait, wait, that doesn`t quite go far enough. When you think of illegal aliens, the media has trained us to go, oh, but it`s only because Mexico is so bad, and they`re just trying to come over here and feed their family because of the economy of Mexico.
This isn`t an illegal alien from Mexico. He`s an illegal alien living in New York City. Where is he from originally?
VAUGHN: He`s from Palestine. The West Bank.
BECK: The West Bank, yes. He`s from the West Bank. The place where they were handing out candy and cake on 9/11. How did this guy get into the country?
VAUGHN: He came in on a visa, and he simply overstayed.
BECK: I thought we were going to fix that as our government -- after 9/11. Wasn`t that the first thing we were going to fix?
VAUGHN: Well, supposedly. But the -- the mechanism has not been implemented at all. I mean, overstayers are as many as, you know, 40 some percent of illegal aliens.
BECK: Yes. No, I know. It is -- the problem has actually doubled in size. But executive order 41, let me go to the city now. Executive 41 was for trying to get poor illegal aliens who are here to feel comfortable to calling the police. But you say that`s not even a problem.
VAUGHN: No. All of these executive orders, sanctuary orders and so on are based on junk social science. If you look at the Justice Department`s crime statistics, specifically on victimization and on crime reporting, they don`t keep statistics on immigrants in particular.
But what you find is that Hispanics, for example, actually have higher rates of crime reporting than non-Hispanics. So there`s no reason to believe that this is even a problem, much less that this executive order is the way to deal with it.
The social science research does show that the main reason immigrants don`t report crimes by far is language barriers and not understanding how...
BECK: Well, we should all speak all languages then.
Jessica, one final question here. I have only, like, 30 seconds. He`s suing now. Who`s paying the court fees?
VAUGHN: Well, the Asian-American Legal Defense Fund is representing him. But I imagine the taxpayers of New York City are picking up a big part of the tab, too, to defend the police officer.
BECK: Well, it`s only the right thing to do. Jessica...
VAUGHN: It is a great country, isn`t it?
BECK: It really is. I love it more every day. Jessica, thanks a lot.
VAUGHN: You`re welcome.
BECK: Coming up, front page headlines will tell you the U.S. economy has sunk now -- this is the headline from Great Britain -- into the Great Depression. Really? We`ll find out in tonight`s "Real Story."
BECK: Welcome to "The Real Story."
If you saw "Drudge" this morning, you probably saw this: the U.K.`s "Independent" Paper declaring that yes, in effect, America is already in the Great Depression. If you`ve watched this program for a while, you would think that I would agree. Oh, he`s going to say, I told you so.
No. "The Real Story" is "The Independent" has it completely wrong. We`re not in the Great Depression. In fact, I think the story is about something else that I`ve been warning about for months now -- this country`s slow but steady creep toward socialism.
The Independent`s main piece of evidence to support their depression announcement is a new government study that projects 28 million Americans will be on food stamps later this year. Like somehow food stamps are now the official depression indicator.
The number will be the highest level of people on food stamps in the history of our country and the program. It`s also exactly what progressives in government have been hoping for.
After the last few years, the progressives have been quietly streamlining our enrollment process, loosening the eligibility criteria. And most importantly, they have been running television and radio advertisements all designed to convince people to give food stamps a try.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Living on one paycheck can`t be easy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not. But at least we`re eating healthy. I found out about food stamps from one of my neighbors. I applied and qualified. That`s really helped our family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Food stamps? You qualified even with Jeffrey working?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Sure did. You can too. Everybody, have some more free government cheese.
Is there no shame in this country anymore? Food stamps are just the tip of the now taxpayer-funded iceberg lettuce. The same expansion of government social programs is happening everywhere.
Last week I told you how they made it so easy to enroll in Medicaid that one-third of all New York City residents are now on that program. Even Pell grants for low-income college students are up 41 percent. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a social program that isn`t getting more popular in America today.
A "USA Today" study found that 25 major government entitlement programs increased enrollment on the average of 17 percent in the last five years. The population of the country has only grown five percent during that time.
I`ve said it before on this program and I`m laughed at by every expert that gets on this program, but mark my words, America, in three to five years, if we don`t change this course and wake up, we will be a European- style socialist country. We don`t need any new government programs to get there. All we need to do is just keep expanding the ones we already have.
Please wake up. It`s no longer morning in America if no one gets out of bed and goes to work.
Amity Shlaes is syndicated columnist for Bloomberg and the author of "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression."
Amity, it`s always great to have you on. I`ve learned so much from your book, and it started just a series of explorations in my own life. But I saw this headline and I immediately thought of you, because I knew you would laugh harder than I did when they announced that we`re in the Great Depression. We`re not even close to the Great Depression with what we have got going on now.
AMITY SHLAES, AUTHOR, "THE FORGOTTEN MAN": Well, yes. And you know the U.K. loves to see negative in the United States. It`s a habit that they happen to have. But when it comes to food stamps, it`s a cyclical program, so food stamp use always goes up in a downturn. That doesn`t mean there is a depression, and I think...
BECK: Wait, wait, wait, wait. These numbers have been going up in the good times. We have moved more people into the upper class from the middle class, and the lower class has not changed its number. It`s not getting bigger. So these numbers are in good times.
What happens when we actually hit bad?
SHLAES: Well, we haven`t actually hit bad yet. But when any upturn in unemployment, you`ll see more people getting food stamps. It`s a cyclical program.
And yes, Glenn, you`re totally right. The Bush administration has plugged the food stamp very hard.
Most of the people who get food stamps are not hungry people. It`s a form of welfare instead of money. The country isn`t comfortable anymore with giving money, but we are comfortable with handing out debit cards for food. And that`s what they are.
BECK: You know what? This is what we`re showing right now. There is a debit card, and I asked in the monologue, is there no shame anymore? No. There is no shame.
Part of the reason why people didn`t want to be on food stamps is because it`s uncomfortable. I would hope that it is. It`s uncomfortable to take that in to a store and buy something. Well, now you`ve got a credit card, so you`re just like everybody else. Of course there is no shame in this anymore.
SHLAES: Well, that`s right. Nobody wants to shame other people, but to act like a credit card or a debit card is real credit is misrepresentation to people.
BECK: Hold on just a second. Hold on just a second.
If I may go back to our founding fathers, you don`t want to make people comfortable in poverty. You want to have them have motivation to get out of poverty. You know? And when you make it easier and easier and easier for people to live in poverty, and say, oh, no, don`t worry about it, you`ll get food stamps, sure have some more, have some more money, nobody gets out, and you kill the spirit of man.
Am I wrong?
SHLAES: No, you`re right. And I think it`s interesting that this is our welfare that we don`t talk about. We think -- we pat ourselves on the back for getting rid of welfare. Meanwhile, this program is going millions and millions of people on it. It`s hard to hate. There it is.
BECK: There you go. Thanks a lot, Amity. I appreciate it.
Now, eight years ago, a woman was in a tragic car accident. She was in an accident with an 18-wheeler, an accident that left her permanently brain damaged. This story is a horrible, tragic story. This is bad things happen to good people.
The good news in this story is the woman`s employer, Wal-Mart, stepped up to the plate immediately, paid $470,000 for the woman`s medical care. But then the woman`s family sued the trucking company, won a $700,000 settlement.
Well, everybody seemed to be happy except for one small problem. Like almost every company`s health plan, you probably have it in your health plan, Wal-Mart`s plan required them to be paid back in the event that the victim won a legal settlement.
Well, the woman didn`t want to give the money back. She said -- well, actually her husband said she needed it more than Wal-Mart. So they sued, and they lost. And they appealed, and they lost again.
And now the media, namely MSNBC, which sees Wal-Mart just as another evil profit-hungry black-hearted corporation, has used their own evil black-hearted corporation to take up her cause and deliver to GE some well- deserved ratings.
Well, while the tragedy of this story is unavoidable -- again, bad things happen to good people -- "The Real Story" here is quite simple. This is about putting people and principles first, even when everything in us screams to compromise on those principles and help the people.
What happened to this woman is heartbreaking, and the story really gets worse from there. There is no doubt about it. But labeling Wal-Mart as the villain is the easy way out, and I`m not surprised that Keith Olbermann would take that easy way.
Let me ask you this, Keith, why are the victims` attorneys not villains as well? I mean, they took somewhere around a third of her $700,000 settlement. Did they need it more than she did?
Why didn`t they just take the case pro bono and do the right thing? What about the court fees and the expenses for the experts?
If this is really about the good of the victims, shouldn`t those fees have been waived as well? Does the government need that money?
The truth is this story isn`t about villains or money at all. It`s about living up to the agreements that we make. Mean what you say and say what you mean, especially, especially when those agreements do not work in our favor.
Vanessa Fuhrmans is a staff reporter at "The Wall Street Journal" who has been covering this tragic story.
And you know what? It`s really hard for me to take the side of Wal- Mart, because it`s easy to blame them. But even their attorneys said, if I may quote here, "We`re not contending that Wal-Mart isn`t entitled to a payment."
So what are they doing exactly?
VANESSA FURHMANS, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, I think the question here is, you`re right, that it is legal, this is a mechanism that has been in insurance circles for years to prevent people from getting paid for the same thing twice. But I think the question that the story raises is, what happens when somebody like Mrs. Shank is in this position and she`s not made whole by the settlement?
BECK: OK. Well...
FURHMANS: The question is, should the company get first crack in all of the money, or should it be divided proportionately?
BECK: Well, I just want to say something that has probably not been said about Wal-Mart on television anytime soon because it`s not convenient for ratings. Wal-Mart is the sixth largest charitable organization on planet Earth. When you put the Wal-Mart family, when you put the -- what is it, the Walden family? When you put the family in the mix, they`re number two, and they`re only behind Bill and Melinda Gates.
This is not an evil corporation, no matter how people try to paint it.
What is this corporation supposed to do? Are they supposed to pay out and then set a legal precedent so everybody doesn`t have to worry about their insurance program? What are they supposed to do? How do they win here?
FURHMANS: Yes, you`re right. I mean, they`re a very convenient target, they are the lightning rod for everything that is supposedly evil about capitalism in this country.
Wal-Mart is by no means the only company that has this kind of clause in their health plan. It`s very standard. I will say, though, Wal-Mart has been a leader in terms of making sure their legal language on this issue is very tight.
BECK: Wouldn`t you? Vanessa, wouldn`t you if you`re Wal-Mart? You`re constantly a target. You`re the second biggest charitable organization on Earth and you`re always evil.
I`ve got to run, Vanessa. Thank you very much.
That`s "The Real Story" tonight. We`ll be back in a minute.
BECK: I want to show you something that we found from a speech by Barack Obama. He was on the campaign trail talking about sex education and his daughters. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old. I`m going to teach them, first of all, about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don`t want them punished with a baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Punished with a baby? I mean, OK, you`re going teach your kids about morals and virtues, great. How about consequences? How about personal responsibility?
I know I`m going to get hammered on this one. People are going to say, oh, you`re taking him too literally.
Forgive me. I`m a little biased. I`ve been blessed with four children. I think they`re nothing short of miracles. If you have children, I bet you feel the same way.
My 3-year-old son is adopted, and his mother was a teenager, a young woman who took responsibility for her actions, and at the same time blessed my family with a beautiful little boy. He is a miracle both to me and I believe his birth mother.
I feel there is too little personal responsibility in this country. What has happened to us? When are we going to say, sucks to be you, you made a mistake?
We have to teach our children that their choices have consequences. We have to stop giving trophies out to the eighth place finisher. You didn`t win and it`s OK.
You know what? The speech has nothing to do with said education, and it has nothing to do with the right to life. It has everything to do with responsibility and living with the choices of your own actions.
I guess I shouldn`t be surprised from Barack Obama. I don`t see eye to eye with him on just about anything, but this kind of twisted thinking goes way beyond the realm of even an uber-liberal.
He likes to paint himself as a moderate, but the reality is his political career has largely been spent as a craftsman of liberal stands on gun control, on the death penalty, and abortion.
Kenneth Vogel is a reporter for The Politico.
I mean, it kills me that the -- that babies now, Ken, are a punishment with him. Am I reading too much into this?
KENNETH VOGEL, POLITICO: Well, I`m sure his people cringed when they heard him say that as well. And they`ve since done quite a bit of damage control, actually using the words that you just used, saying that Senator Obama believes that babies are miracles, but he believes that there are too many unwarranted teen pregnancies, and that he would work to reduce that.
His track record though does provide quite a bit of fodder for folks who are looking to go after him on abortion rights and sex education issues. In 2004, when he was running for U.S. Senate, he said that -- take parental consent, for instance. He said that he would support parental consent laws as long as there was a bypass for sexually abused girls. However, in 1996, on a questionnaire that Politico obtained, he said he would flat-out oppose parental consent laws. And on another questionnaire in that `96 race, which was for state senate, he said that he would support them possibly for extremely young girls.
So, there is fodder there, both to question his consistency, and to go after him as Republicans likely will on abortion.
BECK: I have to tell you, this guy is all about victims. That`s what he`s about. He`s about victims.
If you look at the preachings of his -- or the teachings of his preacher, it`s all victimhood. Well, that`s the same thing here.
This baby is going to punish or victimize his daughter if she happens to get pregnant. Instead of taking personal responsibility for her own actions, the baby is going to punish her. Well, how about the mother who is 40 years old or 35 years old who went out one night, got pregnant, and now does she have to be punished for her actions? No. She would be a victim of that child.
People are only a victim of their own choices in life. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, as we pointed out a few minutes ago. But, you know what? It sucks to be you, make something good come out of that.
How am I missing Barack Obama and -- or how is the rest of the country missing Barack Obama and his love with victimhood?
VOGEL: Well, you know, Barack Obama has never had to run a tough race versus a Republican in a general election. So he`s been able to take largely liberal views, and it`s kind of even more pronounced than it is for a typical Democratic politician. All Democrats, like all Republicans, move to the base during the primary election and then come back to the center during the general.
Well, Barack Obama has never had a tough general election, so he`s never really been held to account for some of these views that folks on the right would take issue with, including some of this stuff that we`re now hearing from you.
BECK: If you don`t -- if you don`t think, Democrats, that Barack Obama is going to get it from 527s, they`re going hammer this guy. You`re doing yourself a disservice by not taking him on right now. See if he can stand up to the scrutiny.
All right. We`ve got to move on to "The Real America," brought to you by CSX.
World Autism Awareness day is tomorrow, creating awareness for the condition while doctors continue to look for new treatments. But one mom in Staten Island isn`t sitting idly by. She`s taking matters into her own hands, showing a little perseverance and a couple of basketballs can go a long way.
BECK (voice over): It`s the kind of thing that most parents take for granted -- watching your son or daughter play ball. But for parents of a special needs child, something so simple is too often inconceivable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! Nice work. Nice work.
BECK: Not here. Every Friday at Fastbreak Basketball Center in Staten Island, New York, a group of 27 children with autism get together and, like any other kid in America, they play basketball.
CHRISTINE DUNN, ORGANIZED AUTISTIC BASKETBALL PROGRAM: They can have their limitations, but at the same time, they can build their self-esteem and try their hardest. And they`re with kids just like them, so it makes it a lot nicer and easier on the parents. Easier on them because they don`t have to feel the pressure to be like, you know, everyone else.
BECK: Christine Dunn came up with the idea to start the program when her son Joseph expressed an interest in sports. There was just no place where her autistic son could join a team, so she started her own. Christine merely hoped Joseph would learn to play. It turns out he learned a whole lot more.
DUNN: Go, Joe, go!
This started, I`ve noticed, tremendous socialization. He talks about his friends at basketball. He names names and he wants to see them and he wants to play.
I notice that he`s actually getting good at it. He`s, you know, getting the ball in the net occasionally. He`s running, which is sometimes difficult for him, but he`s running as fast as he can. And he`s trying and he`s happy. And to me that`s, you know, the most important thing.
BECK: There`s no fear of teasing here, no worries about keeping up with other kids or being picked last for the team. It`s just about kids playing ball and parents watching proudly.
And it`s Joseph`s sister, Sarafina (ph), that puts it best.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like Friday. He usually, like, is watching TV or something. But on Friday he`s usually now playing with everybody. And it`s very nice.
BECK: I have to tell you, that`s "The Real America," seeing a problem and doing something about it yourself and fixing it, and making the world a better place.
If you would like to see more stories like this one, click on cnn.com/glenn and look for "The Real America" session.
Tonight`s "Real America" sponsored by CSX. It`s how tomorrow moves.
BECK: So what do your kids watch when they get home from school, a little "SpongeBob SquarePants," or maybe "Dora the Explorer," which is my personal favorite. Perhaps they like something a little, you know, less stimulating and more on their intellectual level, like, I don`t know, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," maybe.
Whatever they watch, you can be sure that it`s not a puppet show featuring the murder of the president of the United States. No, no, no.
Moms in our country just generally seem to shy away from that sort of thing for their kids. But not over on good old Hamas TV. No, no. They`ve got it. And this is the sort of thing that is indoctrinating children to a life of violence and poverty and supposed martyrdom.
Where are the women? Where are the women? Where are the mothers going -- my wife won`t let my kid watch "Speed Racer," for the love of Pete. "It`s too violent!"
Where are the moms?
By the way, this is the same network that put that Mickey Mouse-type character to teach children the glorious benefits of armed resistance. It`s what we`re facing, best we recognize it.
I`ll put a link to this video in my email newsletter tomorrow. It has links to the stories we talk about every day, analysis, and much, much more.
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From New York, goodnight America.