Tag Archives: seize

Conservatives Seize on Gas Crunch to Blame Biden, Stir Base

(AP) – A graphic calling the East Coast fuel supply crunch “Biden’s Gas Crisis.” A tweet speculating that gas stations running dry was an “INSIDE JOB.” A meme depicting the president and vice president cheering about the “Green New Deal” in front of a snaking line at a fuel station.

These and thousands of other social media posts along with conservative websites and commentators this week misleadingly painted President Joe Biden and his administration as catalysts of chaos — who not only mishandled the temporary shutdown of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline on Friday — but engineered it.

In reality, a ransom-seeking cyberattack, not a Biden executive order or energy policy, triggered the shutdown that drove residents of states such as North Carolina to panic-buy so much gas that nearly 70% of service stations in the state remained without fuel on Thursday afternoon.

Biden spoke about the hack Thursday as he sought to assuage fears around the supply crunch, reassuring the public that his administration had helped get the Colonial Pipeline back online Wednesday and that remaining outages at gas stations were a “temporary situation” that panic-buying would only exacerbate.

Still, some of the most widely shared tweets discussing the gas crunch between Friday and Wednesday lobbed criticism toward the president, according to the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs. Posts surfaced by Zignal blamed the president for the outages, criticized his response and condemned him for canceling plans for the Keystone XL oil pipeline — though that project, which would have built a crude oil pipeline, would have had no impact on the current situation.

Misleading narratives targeting Biden began picking up speed on Monday, the day North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper became the first of several governors to declare a state of emergency over the disruption.

“Wouldn’t it be weird if the CYBER-ATTACK that shutdown the United States’ top fuel line was an INSIDE JOB to pretend Joe Biden isn’t responsible for the insane increase in gas price..” read a widely shared tweet by former Florida congressional candidate Chuck Callesto.

“People can’t complain about gas prices if there’s no gas to buy,” read the caption of an image depicting a sinister Biden with his fingers interlaced, retweeted by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado.

Other posts claimed the long gas lines across the Southeast U.S. were a harbinger of America’s future under Democrats, casting Biden as a socialist in a strategy that Republicans have frequently turned to in recent years.

“Gas shortages now, food shortages tomorrow?” tweeted Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren. “Wow … starting to feel like socialism is on the way….”

In another narrative, posts equated Biden to former President Jimmy Carter who saw his presidency crumble as a result of the 1979 fuel shortage. A statement from former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, amplified by conservative websites including Breitbart News, branded a laundry list of national and global challenges as Biden’s fault.

“Jimmy mishandled crisis after crisis, but Biden has CREATED crisis after crisis,” Trump wrote. “First there was the Biden Border Crisis (that he refuses to call a Crisis), then the Biden Economic Crisis, then the Biden Israel Crisis, and now the Biden Gas Crisis.”

Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity on Tuesday first broadcast the graphic of Biden smiling with the words “Biden’s Gas Crisis,” a term that later gained momentum on Facebook and Twitter.

Recent world events have challenged the Biden administration in its economic goals. Over the past week, it has faced a disappointing monthly jobs report, worrisome signs of inflation and escalating violence in Israel with deaths that could foreshadow a war in the Middle East. All the while, Biden is still attempting to vaccinate the nation against the coronavirus, distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in economic aid and negotiate his own infrastructure and families plans that total a combined $ 4 trillion.

Higher energy prices often have political fallout, complicating reelection campaigns for incumbents outside oil-producing regions.

With gas prices already rising as COVID-19 restrictions loosen and Americans travel more, the pipeline’s shutdown has created an even worse public relations problem for Biden. Fuel hoarding and lines at the pump have made it difficult to gain control of the narrative.

The Biden administration’s message that the problem was a supply crunch rather than a gas shortage, while accurate, didn’t satisfy Americans who couldn’t find gas to fill their cars, according to Doug Heye, a Republican strategist based in Washington.

“You have Republican division over the House Republican Conference and you had a hearing yesterday where people were basically denying what happened on Jan. 6,” Heye said. “If you want to push a conservative message, the Biden administration just did you a favor.”

Author: AP News
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com

Mount makes history as dark horses Chelsea seize Champions League initiative vs Porto

Chelsea fans drew comparisons between midfield maestro Mason Mount and all-time top scorer Frank Lampard as the 22-year-old’s smartly-taken goal helped give the Blues the initiative in their Champions League tie with Porto.

England midfielder Mount struck with Chelsea’s first effort on goal at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, rolling Zaidu Sanusi expertly before driving into the bottom corner just after the half-hour mark. 

Full-back Ben Chilwell then pounced on a defensive error to double the lead with five minutes to play, as Chelsea secured a 2-0 win and took a giant stride towards the Champions League semi-finals.

Travel restrictions between Portugal and the UK mean both legs of the quarter-final against Porto are being played in southern Spain, with Chelsea classed as the visitors on Wednesday night.

In a game which was tight for long periods, it was Mount who broke the deadlock, adding to the burgeoning reputation forged primarily under former manager Lampard and which is continuing to flourish under new boss Thomas Tuchel.

Mount’s smart strike was his eighth of the season across all club competitions, but a first ever in the Champions League as he became the Blues’ youngest ever scorer in the knockout stages of the tournament.

After being tutored for so long by Lampard, many Chelsea fans hailed Mount as the heir apparent to the mantle held by Lampard as a marauding midfield goalscorer during his own playing days.

Wednesday’s result for Chelsea also means they continue to establish themselves as dark horses for the Champions League this season under Tuchel, after easing past La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the last round and now placing one foot in the last four of the competition. 

Following the domestic embarrassment to West Brom at the weekend, Tuchel opted to leave the experience of Thiago Silva on the bench, going for a backline of Andreas Christensen alongside Antonio Rudiger and César Azpilicueta.

Up front, Kai Havertz led the line through the middle while Tuchel kept the faith with Timo Werner despite his recent woes in front of goal, and Mount was trusted to provide thrust from midfield.

Porto proved they were no pushovers by dumping out Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in the last round, and it was the Portuguese champions who started the livelier, pegging Chelsea back and keeping Edouard Mendy on his toes without testing the Frenchman fully.

But as Porto pressed, it was Chelsea who struck with their first effort on goal in the 32nd minute.

Italian metronome Jorginho slipped a wonderful pass into Mount, who escaped the attentions of Sanusi expertly before finding the bottom corner.

Firmly established as a crucial cog in the Chelsea machine, it was proof of just how vital Mount will be for their ambitions moving forward both domestically and in Europe’s biggest club competition.

Werner had a chance to double Chelsea’s lead at the start of the second half, only to head over from a whipped cross from Mount – very much in keeping with the German’s recent goal-shy form.

Mendy was then called on to save from Porto’s Moussa Marega when the French keeper looked in danger of being caught in no-man’s land.  

Ever a menace, Pepe poked the ball into the Chelsea net following a scramble from a corner, but the whistle had gone for offside in the build-up. The London club then continued to live dangerously as Luis Diaz flashed wide of Mendy’s goal with a fierce effort.

At the other end, Havertz poked the ball wide with the goal at his mercy after Porto goalkeeper Agustín Marchesin had spilled a long-range effort from Rudiger and Werner squared the ball to his compatriot, although the offside flag was already up.

Azpilicueta also headed wide as Chelsea looked to capitalize on their strongest spell of the game.

Tuchel introduced Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud for ineffective German duo Werner and Havertz with 25 minutes to play, as the big-money summer signings again fell somewhat flat on the big occasion.

Pulisic had a golden chance to double Chelsea’s advantage and rattled the crossbar with a rocket of an effort, before left-back Chilwell finally increased the deficit, pouncing on a defensive error to round Marchesin and slot into an empty net.

The result puts Chelsea firmly ahead in the tie before they return to the same venue for the second leg on Tuesday, on that occasion technically as the home team.

The Londoners already know that beyond that lies a meeting with the winners of the last-eight tie between Real Madrid and Liverpool, with the Spaniards in control after their 3-1 home leg win on Tuesday night. 

With the likes of reigning champions Bayern Munich, last season’s finalists Paris Saint-Germain and runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City all in the other half of the draw, Tuchel will eye a golden opportunity to guide his team into the final, repeating the feat he achieved with PSG last season. 

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