Glenn Beck: On board with Flight 253


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GLENN: Kurt Haskell is also on the phone. He's a lawyer in Michigan. He was on Flight 253. He saw the flames coming out of the gentleman's underpants. He has quite a story to tell because he saw something before the plane even took off. Kurt Haskell, welcome to the program, Kurt.

CALLER: Hey, thanks for having me, Glenn.

GLENN: You bet. First of all, tell me what you do. You are an attorney. So I'm not going to hold that against you and we'll try to find some credibility some place else with you, but you're an attorney in Michigan.

CALLER: Correct.

GLENN: And tell me about your experience.

CALLER: Sure. Where would you like me to begin?

GLENN: I don't know. Tell the story as you tell your friends.

CALLER: You got it. Okay. My story begins before boarding. My wife and I were sitting near the final ticket agent about ten feet away when I saw two men approach the ticket agent, a poor looking black teenager and another man I would describe to be around age 50 and he looked to be Indian to me or Pakistani or some similar descent. He looked to be wealthy and it kind of caught my eye that these two were together. So I watched them approach the final ticket agent. This is right before we board the plane and when he said was this man needs to board the plane but he doesn't have a passport. The ticket agent then responded, well, if he doesn't have a passport, he can't board the plane. And the Indian man then said, well, he's from Sudan, we do this all the time. And then the two of them were told to go talk to a manager down the hallway and then they went down the hallway. I didn't watch them after that. I never saw the Indian man again. And the black man I didn't see again until later when he tried to blow up our plane a few hours later.

GLENN: Do we have any idea who this well dressed man is?

CALLER: We have no idea. And actually there is security video of this incident that has still, eleven days into this, not been shown to the public.

GLENN: Why do you suppose that is?

CALLER: Well, you know, it seems to me that if I was wrong in my observation and, you know, I'm just an eyewitness, there's a possibility that I'm wrong and I'm confusing two men or something like that. Seems to me that the video would be put all over TV and the Internet to discredit my story. It hasn't been. So

GLENN: They don't do that anymore. They smear you.

CALLER: Right. Instead of putting that out there, they come out and all these people are trying to attempt to smear me. Now, to me that tells me that my story is correct and showing the video would prove me right and, you know, this would be one of the most wanted men in the world if my story's actually correct and I saw what I think I did. And if I am correct, wouldn't it make more sense to put this man's picture all over TV and the Internet so that we could identify him?

GLENN: Did Lori see it, your wife?

CALLER: My wife did not see this.

GLENN: Where was she?

CALLER: She was sitting next to me playing cards. Now, mind you this was such a minor event to me, it didn't set up any red flags or anything. I mean, it was such a minor event, I didn't even mention it to her until later after our plane had almost been blown up.

GLENN: Tell me what, before we move to the part where you were on the plane.

CALLER: Right.

GLENN: Tell me what your life has been like with Homeland Security and other government sources or government agencies coming to talk to you about this.

CALLER: The only agency that has talked to me has been the FBI and they've talked to me on two occasions. One time at the airport when we were being held in customs and the second

GLENN: And were they talking to everybody?

CALLER: They talked to everybody.

GLENN: Okay.

CALLER: And they paid a visit to my law office a week ago today, two different agents came in and spoke to my wife and myself.

GLENN: And what did they say? What were they interested in?

CALLER: Well, the interviews were almost exactly the same. I get the feeling that the second interview was more that they felt like an obligation that they had to talk to me because I had been out in the media speaking out and that really was just, you know, a dog and pony show that they felt like they had to be here to talk to me. It was pretty much exactly the same as the first interview except for this interview they brought a stack of pictures and they asked me who I could identify and who I couldn't.

GLENN: Did they have a picture of the sharp dressed man?

CALLER: No, they did not.

GLENN: Has anybody asked you to do a sketch of the guy?

CALLER: I don't believe that I could do a sketch of the guy. All the best description I can give is I think he was around age 50, I think he was from India. He had no accent, or he had an accent like mine if you say that I have an accent.

GLENN: He was an American wait, wait.

CALLER: A western United States accent.

GLENN: He was an American?

CALLER: Well, I can't go that far. He didn't have an accent. He looked wealthy.

GLENN: Well, hang on. To the rest of the world you have an accent.

CALLER: Right, okay. Maybe I do. That's what I'm saying. He has an accent similar to mine.

GLENN: Like yours.

CALLER: Similar to mine.

GLENN: Got it.

CALLER: He was approximately 6 feet tall and I would say between 230 and 240 pounds and he had a full head of hair. And that's the best description I can give.

GLENN: Kurt, if I happen to get my hands on somebody who is a police sketch artist, I think there's one here in New York that is a fan of the show who is one of the best in the country I think. Could I at least attempt that with you? Because I don't even know what questions they ask and

CALLER: I honestly don't know that I could do a sketch of his face. I didn't look at him that well.

GLENN: Okay.

CALLER: Unless maybe I was put under hypnosis or something. Maybe I could then. But, you know, there's a video out there of this. They've admitted it. Show the video. Why do we not have the video eleven days later? Why not?

GLENN: Any theories?

CALLER: You know, I don't really have any theories at this point. I just want answers to my questions. That's all.

GLENN: All right. So let me ask you about when you were on the plane and the next time you saw this passenger who didn't have a passport and hopped on the plane with a sharp dressed man, and what happened? You saw the flames. You saw what was going on, and you describe the underwear bomber, if you will, with his pants or his crotch on fire in a very unique way.

(OUT 10:17)

GLENN: Flight 253, Kurt Haskell sees a sharp dressed man aiding the terror suspect onto a plane and telling the ticket counter, no, we do this all the time, he doesn't have a passport, it's okay. They walk him down, check him out. He gets on the plane. Later, Kurt Haskell, how many rows away were you from the underwear bomber?

CALLER: We were eight rows behind him.

GLENN: What happened? Tell me about the flight and where you were and tell me the whole story.

CALLER: Sure. The flight was very noneventful. The pilot, we were in the middle of our descent and the pilot came on the loudspeaker and announced flight crew, take your seats, we're landing in ten minutes. And the flight attendant walked by our aisle. We were sitting in Row 27, my wife and I. We had the two seats next to the right window, and one of the flight attendants walked by our aisle and said something smells like smoke. And that got me to look up. I had been looking at the monitor to check out the flight data on the back of the seat in front of me. And I looked up and I could see smoke coming from Row 19 to my left by the window on the left side of the plane. So I got out of my seat and took a few steps up the aisle. And after I took about two or three steps, the seats around 19A burst into flames, the floor, the seats and up the wall to the base of the ceiling. While this was going on, I saw a man being pulled away into the first class part of the plane. He wasn't fighting back. So I wasn't really paying a lot of attention to him. At this point I didn't know if he was just a person injured in a fire or a terrorist or what, but he wasn't fighting back. So I wasn't really watching. I'm watching the fire to my left. A flight attendant, a black male flight attendant grabbed the fire extinguisher and ran over and put the fire out pretty fast, very fast actually and, you know, while all this was going on people are screaming fire, fire. One person screamed terrorist. I don't know who, but I did hear that. Water, water, we need water over here. And the pilot came back on the loudspeaker and said two words: Emergency landing. And you could feel the plane speed up at that point. And it was all over very quickly and we landed five to ten minutes after that.

GLENN: You say that the guy that was the terrorist, you didn't see him for very long, but was he screaming? Was he I mean, I would imagine if your underwear was on fire, you're in some pain.

CALLER: Right. He was not screaming at all. The three times that I saw him which would be before boarding, while he was being hauled away and then when he was being arrested after we landed, I would describe him as emotionless. That's the best description I can give you.

GLENN: Emotionless as in drugged or emotionless as in determined?

CALLER: Determined? No. As if I don't know how to describe it. As if he had no emotion whatsoever. I don't know how to give a better description than that.

GLENN: But not drugged?

CALLER: Well, I don't know how I can make that determination. He just had a blank look. A blank look on his face.

GLENN: At what point did you when you got up at what point, or did it, register to you, good heavens, we could all die?

CALLER: When the when Row 19 burst into flames. I thought I was dead for sure without question. We were still in an altitude of 20,000 feet at this point.

GLENN: When did it dawn on you that it may be a terrorist?

CALLER: It did not dawn on me that it was a terrorist until after we landed and I saw the terrorist man handcuffed and escorted off of our plane. And that's also when I made the connection back to this was the same man I saw before boarding. I got a better look at him this time. He stood in the aisle for about ten seconds before they took him away and I got pretty good look at him at this point.

GLENN: And that's when you told your wife?

CALLER: Right.

GLENN: What did his clothes look like? What was he how was he dressed after the fire?

CALLER: I believe he just had on a T shirt, and below the waist he was wrapped in something, a towel or a blanket or something because that was the area that was burned. And my understanding is his pants were burned or ripped off in first class or something. But I don't believe he had any pants on. I think it was a blanket.

GLENN: I hope they didn't put like rubbing alcohol like right over his burn area. That would have been tragic. Well, Kurt, thank you very much. And we will do our best to try to hunt down that tape and find some answers for you.

CALLER: Great.

GLENN: And get back to you. I don't know. You're an attorney in Michigan. Do you ever listen or watch the show?

CALLER: Actually, no, I don't really watch or listen to any talk shows at all. So no offense, I just don't listen or watch any of them. I put a lot of time into my work and I just don't have a lot of free time for talk shows.

GLENN: Are you a communist?

CALLER: Am I a communist? No, I'm not a communist.

GLENN: (Laughing). All right. Kurt, thank you very much, man, I appreciate it.

CALLER: Hey, no problem, Glenn, anytime.

GLENN: You got it, bye bye.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.