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Obama Gaffe Raises Questions; Is GOP in Trouble?
Aired May 28, 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, Obama tries to set the record straight about his uncle liberating Auschwitz. All right, then he explained. Except I think the explanation only makes things worse.
Also, the media is talking about former White House press secretary Scott McClellan. He claims the president mislead America on Iraq. Why did you wait five years before you said anything? Was it because of a book deal? I`ll explain why this is just the latest sign of the trouble in the Republican Party.
And tonight, continuing the series on the future of alternate energy cars. Where do you fill up? We`ll tackle the infrastructure problem, tonight.
BECK: Well, hello, America. During a speech -- I told you about this last night -- a Memorial Day speech last night in New Mexico, Barack Obama told a story about the military history of his family, especially one great uncle`s service during World War II.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have an uncle who was one of the -- who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz. And liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family was that when he came home, he just went up into the attic, and he didn`t leave the house for six months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: OK. First of all, it`s a great uncle. And Obama`s great uncle should have been upset. Can you imagine? If he liberated Auschwitz, it would have meant, I mean, first of all, that he was a member of the Soviet red army, so that would have been disturbing, because they liberated Auschwitz, not Americans. But let`s not get caught up in just a gaffe.
Obama`s campaign clarified the story with this announcement last night: "Senator Obama`s family is proud of the service of his grandfather and uncles in World War II, especially the fact that his great uncle was part of a liberating force of one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald. Yesterday, he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald."
Great. I got it. So America, here is what you need to know about this tonight.
To me, I think it`s sad that Obama would flub such an important family detail. But more importantly it`s obvious that he didn`t learn a damn thing from his family`s military service. And here`s how I got there.
My grandparents lived through the Great Depression. And I got to be honest with you, if I hear the story about how they could only eat large sandwiches one more time, I would have hung myself. Grandma kept the bacon up above -- the bacon fat up above the stove all the time. I heard their history a thousand times about the Great Depression. Their history is now my history. Their stories are my stories.
It is one of the reasons why sometimes I think I could be kook, because I`m not arrogant enough to think that a Great Depression couldn`t happen again here in America. It was drilled into my head. Never forget it could happen.
Now, if you`re part of the liberating force of Buchenwald concentration camp, Obama`s great uncle would have been one of first Americans to witness the atrocities of the Nazis. I mean, think about it for a second. To see that first hand, to smell that camp. To see the torture and the death. How could he have possibly misspoken about such a crucial piece of family history?
Now, I`m willing to chalk it up to, you know, the names and everything else, in campaign fatigue, just like Hillary Clinton landing in Bosnia under sniper fire, although I have a hard time believing that one.
But where I can`t give him the benefit of doubt is where -- what Obama took from his great uncle`s story. He says the lessons, I guess, is we need to take better care of our soldiers when they return from battle. OK, I mean, yes, we should. You know, I hold a commitment and the sacrifice of our military in the highest regard. But, that`s the point you get from your family`s story, Barack Obama? Not that we need to take our enemies seriously when they say they want to kill all of the Jews, annihilate an entire race of people?
How can any man who heard first-hand accounts of the Nazis` unspeakable crimes, against humanity end up with a foreign policy that includes meetings with Iran`s leaders, who also want to kill all the Jews and deny that the Holocaust even happened. How could you even sit in the same room? Barack, how did you miss the point?
So tonight, America, here`s what you need to know. We`ve got to call evil by its name today, just as we did in World War II. We`ve got to remember to take our enemies, their threats, as promises not as threats. Obama must finally realize that Iran and the world`s dictators and despots cannot be reasoned with, any more than Hitler and Stalin could have been reasoned with.
Any candidate who has heard from his own family and still doesn`t get it, has no business being the leader of our country, Israel`s biggest ally.
Mark Steyn is the author of "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It."
Mark, you know what? Explain this from a speech that he gave in 2002. This is what he said in 2002. "My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton`s army. He saw the dead and the dying across the fields in Europe. He heard stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom. Part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil. And he did not fight in vein."
Well, first of all, the -- Treblinka was closed in 1943. So it wasn`t even around. But what`s going on here? This one, he doesn`t mention his uncle.
MARK STEYN, AUTHOR, "AMERICA ALONE": Yes, I think he`s really not terribly interested in this subject. You know, the power of these personal anecdotes derives from the specifics, as you were just talking about your family and the sandwiches and the bacon during the Depression. So if you get the specifics wrong, you`re actually showing that it isn`t a vivid memory.
And I think it`s probably the case that, as Barack Obama was growing up and he was amassed in college Marxism and all the rest of it, he wasn`t actually sitting and listening to stories from his family about whether it was the great uncle or the grandfather and whatever it was they saw in Europe.
Then you`re dishonoring the memory. You know, if you talk to people whose families were in these camps, it`s the specifics they cling to. That`s the humanity. It makes a difference whether you were at Auschwitz or at Buchenwald. And just to say, "Oh, it doesn`t really matter. They`re just names. And all generalities. They`re just dead Jews. Who can keep track of them all?" That actually is missing the point. That`s actually, in the anecdote, denying the humanity, which is actually the point of the Holocaust.
BECK: Yes, I think this is just another telltale sign of what he really truly believes and what he cares about. I mean, let`s look at this. Iran, play the video. These are on two separate days, one day right after the other. Listen to what he says here about Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don`t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us and yet, we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union.
So I`ve made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave. But what I said is that we should not just talk from our friends. We should be willing to engage our enemies, as well. That`s what diplomacy is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: This is -- this -- Mark, help me out. He says they don`t pose a serious threat. On May 19 -- on May 19, he says, "I have said for years, the threat from Iran is grave."
STEYN: Yes, I would go with the first version on that, whatever it was. The Sunday night Obama is what he really believes. The Monday night Obama was a bit of stump speech pandering.
I think he -- I think he genuinely doesn`t understand. You made an excellent point, you know, when you said when you were talking about the words of these leaders. When people make explicitly genocidal threats, it`s not for us to sit around pondering, what did he mean by that? You should simply say if a guy is prepared to say it, he believes it, and we should take him at his word and react accordingly.
But Obama thinks that`s just a reason to sit around and chew the fat.
BECK: Well, maybe is it because I mean, I guess it`s -- you know, I hate to go back to fourth grade. But it takes one to know one. It takes a politician who says things but doesn`t mean it, just pandering to their people, just trying to get elected. It takes one to know one. To be able to look across and go, "He`s just pandering to his people."
I mean, I wouldn`t say something as inflammatory as they`re a rotting corpse, Israel, in regards to Israel. They`re a rotting corpse waiting to be annihilated. I wouldn`t say that to pander, because there are too many people in the world that will take that seriously.
STEYN: Yes, I think if you listen to Barack Obama, it`s very clear he doesn`t have any kind of rooted political philosophy. He seems to have passed through college and been a kind of amused participant in late-night discussions about campus Marxism without ever sort of swallowing it for any whole-hearted commitment.
BECK: I have to tell you -- I have to disagree with you on this. I think in many ways, yes. But when it comes to Israel, I don`t think so. I think this guy has shown himself every step of the way to not be a friend of Israel. Not to see the American interest in Israel as we have seen it for so very long.
STEYN: Yes, I think -- I think you can certainly say that, Glenn. That he doesn`t -- but that, I think, springs from who he is and what he`s done. He doesn`t realize that Israel lives with an existential threat. That real people are dying, that real people want to kill them and it`s not just speech. It`s not just a bit of rhetorical red meat you toss out to the Tuesday-night crowd in Florida and then you toss something different when you`re speaking on Thursday night in Iowa.
STEYN: And I think he doesn`t actually understand what it means -- he`s missed the point of his great uncle`s experience, which is that there are times when you actually, as you say, you get there, you smell the smell, you see the ovens.
BECK: OK, Mark, thank you very much.
STEYN: Thank you, Glenn.
BECK: You bet. Coming up, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan says the Bush administration misled the American people. Great. Maybe you should have mentioned that five years ago, you know, when you were at the White House and not at the bookstore.
Also coming up, minority shareholders of Exxon Giant -- or oil giant Exxon Mobil are calling for dramatic changes to the company`s proven business model, putting millions of pension-fund dollars at risk. You know who should decide how to run Exxon Mobil? I don`t know. Maybe the people who are already successfully running Exxon Mobil.
And if you haven`t done so already, still time to get tickets for my upcoming summer tour, "Beck `08: Unelectable." Believe it or not it`s a comedy tour. We kick it off next Friday, June 7, in Atlanta. Then we move to Oklahoma, City; Harrisburg; Portland, Maine; Syracuse; Springfield, Massachusetts; Akron, Ohio; Houston and Columbia, South Carolina. Go to GlennBeck.com and grab your tickets while they last, right now.
BECK: Coming up, if you`re a parent, please sit down. The state of Washington has refused $13 million in free money for its public schools because one of the restrictions of the grant contradicts a previous agreement with the teachers` union. Screw your kid; we`re talking a union contract here. I`ll have more on that in just a bit.
First, I`m a businessman. I respect a man`s right to make a dollar any way he has to do, as long as it`s legal and ethical. There`s a new memoir out now by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan. And I don`t know. Maybe it was just me. I think this fails that litmus test miserably.
According to accounts in the Politico, which broke the story, as well as in "The New York Times" and "Washington Post," who piled on later, McClellan writes the following. President Bush relied on an aggressive, quote, "political propaganda campaign instead of the truth to sell the Iraq war."
McClellan also charges the way Bush managed the Iraq issue, quote, "almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option." And he caps the whole thing off by sharing that, quote, "the Iraq war was a serious strategic blunder and not necessary," unquote.
Well, jeez, thanks, Scott. I mean, you`re only about five years too late with that information. You know what? As a member of the president`s inner circle, where the hell have you been? Why didn`t you stand up when it mattered? You know, and not bottled up all the outrage: "Oh, I just can`t say anything until I sign this book contract."
This is yet another example of politicians that have lost their soul. Politics used to be about serving us, the people. Doing what was right, not only -- not what was popular. You know, now, it`s seems it`s just all about chasing the sacred dollar. Whatever happened to our sacred honor?
You know what? I believe the only time it really counts when a man stands up is when it`s hard to stand up, not when it`s profitable.
Senator Todd Coburn in a Republican from Oklahoma. He is the outspoken critic of the GOP needing to get its act together. He wrote a column on it this week for the "Wall Street Journal."
Senator, I mean, it`s clear the Republicans are in real trouble. I mean, I`ve generally voted for a Republican every time. I don`t think I can do it this time around. They`ve lost their soul.
SEN. TODD COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: I they don`t they`ve lost their soul. I think they`ve lost their courage. And I think the focus has been on short-term benefits, rather than long-term leads of the country. And I think they have to start acting like Republicans. And they either have to believe it or not. And if they believe it, they`ll vote that way. And if they don`t, they really aren`t Republicans.
BECK: They have become -- I was going to say, they`ve become my grandfather`s Democratic Party. But really, they`re not even that. JFK was much more of a conservative than the Republicans are now. On spending.
COBURN: Let me take an exception with you. The vast majority of the Republican caucus in the Senate and the House are conservative and have voted that way.
BECK: So where...
COBURN: When you combine a Democratic majority with a Republican portion, then you get an overwhelming. You know, if a third of the Republicans act like Democrats, you have an overwhelming pox on your house because a third of the party`s voting the wrong way...
BECK: Wait a minute. You`re not trying to -- I must have misunderstood you. You`re not trying to convince me that when the Republicans had control of both the White House and the Congress, that it was happy lollipop conservative time.
COBURN: Absolutely not.
COBURN: ... the whole time. I`m just saying is, what I don`t want to do, is those that are true Republicans and those who are true conservatives have been fighting this battle and losing. We don`t want to blanket them with those that are not.
And so there are those inside the Republican Party that believe in fiscal soundness and fiscal conservatism and doing the right thing and thinking in the long term, not in the short term, in doing what`s best for our country as a whole.
BECK: I have to tell you. You know, I read your article -- what was it, yesterday in the "Wall Street Journal," and it was -- it just explained the compassionate conservative -- I mean, you had one of the best paragraphs on compassionate conservative I`ve ever seen.
COBURN: It`s not compassionate if it`s not your money. If it`s -- you can`t be compassionate with somebody else`s money. And so it`s a false premise. Real compassion is caring about people, make sure that your policies affect properly the poor, needy and dependent. But at the same time, there`s some sacrifice on your part if you`re going to be compassionate. And being compassionate with somebody else`s money is not being compassionate at all but it`s being elitist.
BECK: Yes. What is it going to -- what is it going to take? I talked to my radio audience. We have eight million people that are listening to us all the time. And I get the phone calls all the time: "Glenn, I can`t vote for him. I can`t vote for McCain. I can`t vote for the Republicans. I just can`t do it. I want to send them a message."
What is it going to take to get the Republicans out of denial? I don`t understand how they don`t see that they have a real problem?
COBURN: Well, I think, first of all, I think they do have a real problem. They`re denying that they`ve been the cause of the problem, and I think they need to stand up and do a self-assessment and say, "Wait a minute. Where did I go wrong? Where was my desire to stay in office supplanting my desire to do what I said I would do?"
BECK: So what does the average person do to get that wake-up call?
COBURN: I think a couple of things. You mean, the individual member of Congress?
BECK: No, the average person.
COBURN: You do hold them accountable. You blister them. You go to town hall meetings. You write them letters. And you hold them accountable. And then, when they`re voting wrong like many do in the Senate, when we have great amendments that limit the government, or make the government accountable and put metrics on things so that the American people can see the government operating just like they have to operate their family, making tough choices. That you hold them accountable for that.
And what that -- has happened is freedom isn`t easy. And liberty isn`t easy. You have to work at it. And what we need is those conservatives and Republicans around the country. And those people who are fiscally conservative, Republican or not...
COBURN: We don`t have many years left that we better fix this, and we better be about it now. So holding the Republicans accountable. And we`re going the lose some seats. There`s no question about it. We deserved it.
BECK: Senator, thank you very much.
Coming up next, best-selling author Steve Martini stops by to talk about his new political thriller, "Shadow of Power." I just finished it a couple of weeks ago. It is really good. Back in just a second.
BECK: The Supreme Court is one of our most sacred and secretive public institutions. Sometimes secrets can lead to cover-ups with deadly consequences. That is part of the description of my next guest`s new book. And if you think it sounds like one of those page-turners you won`t be able to put down, you are exactly right.
Steve Martini is the author of numerous "New York Times" best sellers. His latest is the political thriller "Shadow of Power."
I have to tell you, Steve, I read this a couple of weeks ago, and I didn`t want to put it down. I couldn`t put it down. But I did want to throw it across the room a few times, because I had no idea where you were going.
I`m a Jefferson fan. Thomas Jefferson. And your plot line made blood shoot out of my eyes, and I couldn`t wait to get to the end.
STEVE MARTINI, AUTHOR: I`m glad.
BECK: What was the -- what was the inspiration? I mean, did it have anything to do with the political season that we`re in right now?
MARTINI: Certainly. You know, I mean, obviously it`s wrapped and a political election is wrapped around a court that`s badly divided that hangs on a knife`s edge in terms of a swing vote. And the inspiration basically came from the language of slavery, the code words of slavery that are embedded in the Constitution and that continue to be visible in the Constitution.
People talk about the Dixie flag and how offended they are that the Dixie flag still -- still flies in front of some of the old state houses in the confederacy. And yet, nothing has ever been done to remove the language, the code words of slavery...
BECK: You know what, Steve, this is the part -- that`s the kind of thinking that really hacked me off when I first started reading it. Because I think it`s brilliant -- it allows us to see the scars of our country.
MARTINI: That`s certainly one argument. But it`s something that`s not easily changed, even if you wanted to change it.
MARTINI: Because the language of prohibition is still in the Constitution, as well. So nothing`s been removed. Everything`s been there from the inception. It may just supercede it, and it may be dead-letter law. But it`s still there. And that allows this author to go out and basically beat on it and ride the issue across the country where he`s fanning the flames of racial division. And it ends up getting him to a location where he`s murdered in his hotel room on his book tour.
BECK: It involves -- it involves this secret -- secret letter that -- I don`t want to give anything away. But it involves a secret letter and the Supreme Court. And you`re reading it, and you`re thinking to yourself the whole time, good heavens if this would ever happen like this, it would tear the country apart. And that`s exactly what it does.
MARTINI: It does.
BECK: Oh, yes. It was quite an amazing finish.
Do you believe -- are you a fan of the Founding Fathers?
MARTINI: I am. I`m a history buff. I should have been a history professor or a history teacher. I love to read history and biography.
And I did quite a bit of research on this book. And actually, the setup for it was made. I mean, anyone who thinks that the revolution was a foregone conclusion...
BECK: Oh, yes.
MARTINI: And that is simply -- doesn`t know American history. I mean, we had long odds that we would ever come out of that as a nation. And slavery was the -- was the third rail of American politics at the time that the country was founded. Nobody wanted to touch it, because they knew it was a death mill.
BECK: Steve, I really only have 15 seconds. I just want to ask you this question. As a student of history, do you think our Founding Fathers -- I know we wouldn`t recognize them. Do you think they`d recognize the America we live in today?
MARTINI: I think they`d have -- have some great difficulties.
MARTINI: Many of them would have great difficulties with what they`re looking at right now, especially with the partisan divide that we`re suffering from.
BECK: Yes. Steve, tremendous book. Thank you so much.
MARTINI: Thank you.
BECK: If you`re interested in his book, it is out right now in bookstores everywhere. Also, his work, you can find it in an upcoming issue of my magazine, "Fusion." Steve is writing the exclusive material for our serial novel, "Seven Days." You can look for a future edition of "Fusion" magazine. And you can subscribe to that right now at GlennBeck.com.
We`ll be back in just a second with "The Real Story."
BECK: Coming up, we continue our series "The Future Of.". Last night, I showed you my test drive with GM`s new hydrogen fuel cell SUV. It`s the latest example how America innovation is finally starting to solve our dependence on foreign oil. Tonight, where do we fill one of those things up? I`ll show our country`s infrastructure and how it needs to adjust to accommodate the oncoming wave of alternative energy.
But first, welcome to the "Real Story." It`s Wednesday. So, I think on my calendar it says it`s time for our weekly dose of socialism, which is kind of ironic because you`d have to be living in China to not know that Exxon Mobil posted record profits last year, $41 billion. And that was all done under the CEO and chairman, Rex Tillerson, which, I mean, Rex -- you have got to be an oilman with that name.
Exxon stock has gone up 57 percent under his tutelage, which is quite an accomplishment to be celebrated, or should it be defended now here in America? Well, if you asked the Rockefellers, it`s the latter. They tried to start a shareholder revolt that would have taken power away from their unbelievably successful CEO while forcing Exxon to be greener.
Fortunately, for you, they failed. Capitalism and common sense win again, at least for now. The "Real Story" is that no matter who tries to penalize these big, evil oil companies, whether it`s the government or the Rockefellers, the average American is going be the one that loses.
You know, I find it really amazingly ironic that the Rockefellers, a family synonymous with capitalism, now trying to derail capitalism. But the fact is, you`re a Rockefeller, man, you can stand to lose a few bucks on your Exxon stock.
Other people in America, and I hate to break it to the upper crust, are not quite that lucky. Less than 1 percent of Exxon Mobil is owned by people like the Rockefellers. Over half of the stock is owned by 2 million individual shareholders, you know, the little people.
The rest is held in pension funds or mutual funds or 401(k)s which are all owned, again, by -- say it with me, the little people. For example, some of the little people, the ordinary Americans, are the 324,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police whose pension funds and retirements are invested in Exxon Mobil stock.
Good investment, shares went up 57 percent. Now studying the effects of global warming on poor countries, I mean, it might be great. Does the oil company need to do that? Certainly not going to help Exxon uphold its legal obligation to maximize returns to shareholders. And it certainly won`t help those 324,000 cops support their families in retirement.
You know, there was a quote that I read from David Rockefeller a long time ago, and it stuck with me. He said, some people believe the Rockefellers are part of some secret cabal, conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure, one world government, if you will, if that`s the charge, I stand guilty and I`m proud of it. That`s David Rockefeller.
Looks to me like the Rockefellers are just sticking to what they know, getting rich off of a giant global government on the backs of the little people. Some things may never change.
But today the Rockefellers saw what happens when those little people finally stand up together. Chuck Canterbury (ph) is the national president for the Fraternal Order of Police.
First of all, Chuck, let me thank you for everything that you and everybody in your organization do, keeping us safe. I don`t think enough people say thanks to the cops. I wouldn`t want your job. Let me start with probably the thing that you have heard all time. What`s wrong, Chuck, with making the Earth greener?
CHUCK CANTERBURY, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: Well, me and my membership agree with that. We would love to see the Earth greener. But the bottom line in this vote, in the vote that was taken today by the shareholders, was it was about green, but it was about the green in our pensions and not about the green in the Earth.
And it would have been on our backs. And billions of our dollars were invested, Exxon has a responsibility to return those profits to my members and that`s what we stood up for.
BECK: OK. When you see the stock going up 57 percent under one guy and the Rockefellers say, we`ve got rid of this guy or break his job up and split it into two, what was the reaction?
CANTERBURY: Well, the reaction from my membership, and more specifically, my pension committee who reviewed the Rockefeller proposals was that this is success, it`s true capitalism. We put our pension funds - - our hard-earned pension funds into Exxon Mobil because of the successes of Chairman Tillerson and the board of directors.
And it was to my membership, ludicrous to take something that was earning at that high percentage, based on what the market has been doing the last few years. I mean, since Tillerson has been at Exxon, as you said, 57 percent increase while Standard & Poor`s went up 11.9. So we couldn`t argue with his success.
BECK: Chuck, you know, you know, I think a lot of people will look, there was some video we played on last night`s program from Maxine Waters. And she`s a congresswoman and she said, you know, if it`s up to me, this is one liberal that is going to nationalize your company, you`re going to socialize your company. We`re going to run it at the federal government level. When you hear that, does that make your blood run cold?
CANTERBURY: Well, it does because it defies why I became a police officer and that was to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and to fight for the rights that we`ve earned in this country. And yes, it makes my blood boil because that`s not what we`re about.
BECK: Right. But what does that actually do? I mean, are you nervous at all about having your pension, of all of your fellow police officers, having all of that money, all of that pension, their retirements sitting in an industry that Washington is just tearing apart and seemingly wants to destroy?
CANTERBURY: Well, it does. It worries my members. The last few years, many, many governors around the country have tried changed our pensions into a defined compensation rather than a defined benefit program.
Most of us work a 20- or 25-year career, taken lower salaries because of the pensions. And most of our pension money being invested in the stock market and mutual funds, yes, it makes us very nervous.
BECK: All right. Chuck, thanks a lot. And again, thanks for everything that you and everyone on the police force all around the country do.
Now from union does good to union does really, really bad. I told you before, the country is run by special interest groups. You know it. I mean, these people do not have -- they have special interests, but they`re a little different from your interests. The latest example comes out of Washington State where the teachers union has stepped in to turn down, get this, $13 million in free money from that evil Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Bill Gates National Math and Science Initiative, because, try this on, it would directly compensate teachers whose students perform well. Oh my. I mean, we can`t -- these capitalists, hooligans, want to incentivize teachers to perform better? Somebody should call the Rockefellers. This is crazy. We can`t be teaching that kind of thing in our school.
The "Real Story" is that only in America would we complain about our education system, complain about our taxes, complain about our stretched budgets and how we don`t have money for P.E., and then turn down millions of dollars for our children`s education, because the adults can`t play nice together.
Like any other special interest group, the Washington Teachers Union cares about protecting themselves first. The fact is, we need more merit pay for teachers. But we need much more than just that. We need healthy, private competition. We need schools that are allowed to compete with each other. We need parents who are involved through school choice and we need reform of the idiotic tenure system.
So -- I know this is crazy, so that schools can actually fire the bad teachers, something that, believe it or not, cost New York City four years in time and $253,000 to do. Unions have basically removed all forms of competition and incentive from the education profession.
And now they`re trying to remove private funding as well it seems. As parents, isn`t it time we all stand up and say, you know what teacher`s union, sit your ass down. Enough is enough.
Get the special interests out of our energy companies. Get the special interests out of our immigration policies. Get them out of the capitals. And most importantly, get them the hell out of our schools. Cindy Omlin, she is the executive director for Northwest Professional Educators.
Cindy, what is happening? This seems to me, just from the way I read the story, that this is really about the union saying, no, no, no, you`ve got to give us the money and we`ll give it to the teacher. Right or wrong?
CINDY OMLIN, NORTHWEST PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS: Oh, Glenn, you`re exactly right there. This is a story about union control and the union agenda. It`s all about the money. And in this case, it`s a clear example that the union does not hold students` interest or even their members` interests as the highest priority.
Washington State won`t get one dime of this important grant to improve math and science achievement for students because the union couldn`t get its hands on every cent of that grant. So everybody loses.
The students lose. Teachers lose. Our state loses. Our economy loses. And as you know, this state is heavily driven by math and science industries such as Microsoft and Boeing, which is one of the reasons Bill Gates is so interested in improving math and science.
So it`s really a sad example.
BECK: Is it too late now? Is there a chance to get that money? I mean, I grew up in the Seattle area. I grew up in Mount Vernon, Washington. And you know, my uncle and my grandfather and my aunt, they all worked at Boeing. I know how important math and science is to that area. Any way to get that back?
OMLIN: I haven`t hard of anything moving towards resolving this problem. In Washington State, the union is extremely rigid and inflexible. And it collects $63 million a year out of teachers` paychecks which gives it a lot of money and power to intimidate and get its way. So no, I don`t see it`s changing its tune. And I don`t see students becoming the first focus.
BECK: Could I ask -- I mean, I`m sorry I`m just not up on the educational system in Washington State, I mean, as much as I should be, I guess. But if I`m not mistaken, wasn`t there a bonus given to the teachers through the state last year, same kind of thing?
OMLIN: Well, I`m not familiar with that except unless you`re talking about teachers generally do get some types of incentive pay. For example, if they get their national certification, they get extra pay. If they work extra duties like being a department chair, they get extra pay. So that does happen.
BECK: OK. So it`s OK if the state is doing it, it`s OK to have incentives to go an extra step if the state does it for the union, but not if there`s an outside source.
OMLIN: Right. And again the state money is collectively bargained by the union.
BECK: OK. Thanks a lot, Cindy, I appreciate it. That`s the "Real Story" tonight. Coming up in just a second, we continue our series "The Future Of." cars. By the way, you do not want to miss Friday`s show. But coming up next, I`m going to tell you about alternative energy cars. They`re ready to go but we`re not. Back in just a minute.
BECK: Two things that can be found in almost every single town in America. There`s a post office and there`s a gas station. Best estimates now say there`s over 200,000 gas stations in the country. It has taken us about 100 years to get that far. So, what happens if all of a sudden we invent this magic fuel and gasoline isn`t needed anymore for our cars?
Where do we get the fuel? The gas stations -- I mean, if -- even if I went into my basement tonight and I invented that magic new fuel, you know, a fuel that`s clean and cheap and plentiful, how do I get it to your car? Of those 200,000 service stations, I mean, how many of them would sign on, retrofit all of their equipment?
Not an expense that the average station owner is really ready to take on right now. Or is it? Yesterday`s program I showed you the future of cars. I showed you one of them was the amazing new GM hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that`s about to come out here in the next few years.
And while some of this technology may be ready, we`re not. Tonight`s "Future Of." segment, we take a look at the future of filling stations. Jerome Hinkle is the vice president for policy and government affairs with the National Hydrogen Association.
Jerome, let`s start here. I have had so much mail and so many calls from people saying, oh, my gosh, Glenn, hydrogen, it is so dangerous. You can`t have that in a car or at a filling station, true or not?
JEROME HINKLE, NATIONAL HYDROGEN FOUNDATION: Well, everything is -- all energy sources have some kind of hazard associated with them. It`s different than gasoline. But it`s very well understood as an industrial chemical. And the codes and standards are being developed for handling it. And there`s a lot of good practice and, as I said, understanding of how to handle it. It`s different. And it will take some training.
BECK: OK. These are the fueling stations that are currently around the country, if I`m buying a hydrogen car and I happen to be in Houston, Texas, boy, it sucks to be me. How long before you start to see fueling station to where a hydrogen car is actually going to be viable?
HINKLE: Well, probably, it`s very likely to happen in places -- high- density travel places like Los Angeles, for instance, especially in concert with the zero-emission vehicle program in the state of California and the California Fuel Cell Partnership.
We`re working on the possibly of -- they`re about 60 stations in the U.S. at this point. But they need to be concentrated in places where people drive, New York, L.A., and.
BECK: Here`s the other -- there`s the other thing that I have gotten a lot of mail on and comments on, and that is, Glenn, I mean, you drive these cars, why not just plug them in? You`re using so much energy to make the hydrogen. Why not just make an electric car?
HINKLE: Well, electric cars still have to be all-purpose vehicles. And that`s one of the things about a hydrogen vehicle is -- and they all share the same kind of difficulties. Mind you, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is an electric car. It has an electric drive mechanism, but the source of the energy is a hydrogen fuel cell and instead of an engine in a hybrid, or a battery, which is a storage device in a purely battery electric vehicle.
BECK: And I have to tell you, I just -- now that car I would drive. I`m just watching the TV screen here. I would drive that car, but that little dream thing, oh, I mean, please, take me out and beat me with sticks before I get into that if that`s what an electric car looks like.
The hydrogen fuel car, GM, I know, is partnering with Shell on all of this. Are they the leaders? Who are the leaders on this?
HINKLE: Well, GM has been -- has done some wonderful work on this, and Shell. But BP and Chevron and then Honda and Toyota have done some fabulous work. And we have -- there`s going to be a lot of competition eventually inside this community as it gets larger.
BECK: OK. Jerome.
HINKLE: The stakes are pretty high.
BECK: . thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Now coming up on Friday, I have an hour -- I`ve waited to talk to this guy for almost for almost five years. An incredible hour with a guy named Ray Kurzweil. He is the man Bill Gates looks to for the vision of the future. And you will not believe what he says it`s going to look like.
Now coming up next, Germany is going green with a new, and I`m not kidding, eco-friendly bomb, because you know, it`s important to care for the environment as you kill people, next.
BECK: Well, as we both know, war is hell. It seems to me like it gets a little more hellish when the media only reports the bad news and says, good news, what good -- I mean, where did I put that good news?
For example, recent report from a Canadian university revealing that since 2001, terrorism worldwide has dropped by 40 percent. Should have heard that one. Not to mention the war in Iraq, you remember that war, don`t you? It`s the biggest issue on every news channel when it`s going horribly, then when it starts to show improvement, where did I put that war footage? I don`t even know it`s going on anymore.
But in case you were wondering, this month U.S. troop deaths in Iraq are down 82 percent since the same month last year, 82 percent. You think somebody would report that. But the media coverage has seemingly dropped about the same percentage for some strange reason.
Instead we get stories like this one, not kidding. Environmentally- friendly bombs planned. Environmentally-friendly bombs? I mean, I hate to point out the obvious here, but bombs shouldn`t really be friendly, should be? I mean, bombs should blow things up and kill people. Maybe I`ve missed the point of bombs.
But a new kind of explosive is being developed by German scientists and it`s supposed to be safer to handle, more powerful and, yes, would actually be friendly for the environment.
Tests are showing smaller amounts of toxic byproducts, can`t have those in bombs, and I think actually the bombs may impregnate polar bears, I`m not sure on that last part, but it would be good, wouldn`t it?
I mean, we know that we have smart bombs, and now, apparently we`re getting eco bombs. I wished we could get quiet bombs, they`re so noisy, maybe aromatherapy bombs? Wouldn`t a lemongrass orange bunker buster just be fabulous?
Maybe I`ve, you know, got the whole wrong idea with war. But, I mean, all of these nasty explosions. You know what, we should develop a super snuggly hug bomb. This, by the way, is a test of the new eco-friendly bomb.
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BECK: Wow. Remember, wherever you go, go green, even when it takes you a very long time to explode, I guess.
Remember, I`m going on a tour, it`s our -- I`m going to be flying in a giant jet that pollutes the planet starting June 7th. Not going to be smart, not going to be eco-friendly. But a lot of bombing going on. See you at Beck `08. From New York, good night.