Day: October 29, 2010

Obama Confirms Terror Plot

I’m certain Fox News will spin this to make this incident look like Obama’s fault.  One can’t deny that they are masters of deception and propaganda.  However, I’m hard-pressed to see if they could pull it off.  Obama and Homeland Security were on top of this thanks to credible intel…unlike the previous administration who blamed everything on the CIA’s faulty intel.

 

The Daily Beast

President Barack Obama and counterterrorism officials said Friday that U.S. officials had broken up a terrorist plot to attack cargo planes in the U.S. and two Jewish sites in Chicago. Officials said a new arm of al Qaeda, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was responsible for the plot. “Going forward, we will continue to strengthen our cooperation with the Yemeni government … to destroy this al Qaeda affiliate,” Obama said in a press conference.

Packages containing explosives were discovered in Dubai and the East Midlands airport in Britain; he said that flights in Newark and Philadelphia were checked as precautions, though he did not say anything about the commercial plane that was escorted by fighter jet to JFK. Officials said these packages originated in Yemen. Several members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have been arrested in other plots, and the U.S. donated $150 million to help Yemeni forces fight the group.

McDonald’s Workers Told They’ll Only Get Raises, Benefits If Republicans Win

Corporations are poised to have a huge celebration of Republicans win the house.  McDonald’s actions are abhorrent and probably aimed at what they perceived to be “dumbed down” employees.  Perhaps they forgot that many people working there are doing so to make extra money for school, out-of-work employees and more.  They certainly underestimated their employees.

Huffington Post

There may be something rotten at McDonald’s — and it’s not a year-old Happy Meal.

The owner of a franchise in Canton, Ohio enclosed a handbill in employees’ paychecks that threatened lower wages and benefits if Republicans don’t win on Tuesday.

“As the election season is here we wanted you to know which candidates will help our business grow in the future,” reads the letter. “As you know, the better our business does it enables us to invest in our people and our restaurants. If the right people are elected we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above our present levels. If others are elected, we will not. As always, who you vote for is completely your personal decision and many factors go into your decision.”

The note ends with a list of candidates McDonald’s believes “will help our business move forward.” It names Republicans John Kasich for governor, Rob Portman for Senate, and Jim Renacci for Congress. With the letter was a biography of Renacci.

“The handbill endorses candidates who have in essence pledged to roll back the minimum wage and eviscerate the safety net that protects the most vulnerable members of our workforce,” said Attorney Allen Schulman of Canton law firm Schulman Zimmerman & Associates, which received the documents from an employer who stepped forward. “But it’s more than that. When a corporation like McDonald’s intimidates its employees into voting a specific way, it violates both state and federal election law. It’s no surprise to anyone that Ohio is a battleground state in this election, and for a multinational corporation like McDonald’s to threaten employees like this is morally and legally wrong. This despicable corporate conduct is the logical extension of the Citizens United decision, which has unleashed corporate arrogance and abuse.”

Schulman turned over the documents to local prosecutors, asking them to “investigate this matter for a criminal violation.” Ohio election law specifically states that no corporation “shall print or authorize to be print…or post or exhibit in the establishment or anywhere in or about the establishment…handbills containing any threat, notice, or information that if any particular candidate is elected or defeated, work in the establishment will cease in whiole or in part, or other threats expressed or implied, intended to influence the political opinions or votes of…its employees.”

On Friday, franchise owner Paul Siegfried apologized in a written statement, saying the communication was “an error of judgment on my part.” “Please know it was never my intention to offend anyone,” he added. “For those that I have offended, I sincerely apologize.”

See document here…

In a statement to The Huffington Post, Shirley Rogers Reece, general manager of McDonald’s Ohio region, said, “We wholeheartedly respect diverse views and opinions, and our employees’ right to vote. Our position is that every employee should make his or her own choice. McDonald’s had no knowledge of this material being distributed. As independent business owners, our franchisees are responsible for matters regarding their own employees. The content of this material is not reflective of McDonald’s position. We remain bipartisan on these matters. That said, while clearly this was poor judgment, we don’t believe it was intended to offend anyone.”

Relatives Says Man Arrested For Threatening Democratic Senator Was ‘Under The Spell That Glenn Beck Cast’

This story is not hard to believe at all.  “The crazy” is contagious…

Think Progress

In April, a Washington man named Charles Alan Wilson was arrested for threatening Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) for her vote to pass health care reform. He left a series of threatening messages on her voicemail, saying “It only takes one piece of lead. Kill the (expletive) senator! … Now that you’ve passed your health-care bill, let the violence begin” and “I do believe that every one of you (expletive) socialist democratic progressive (expletive) need to be taken out.” Wilson was arrested after a federal agent called him pretending to be from a group backed by Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing organization responsible for funding some of the “grassroots” opposition to health care reform. Wilson told the agent, who he thought was a fellow opponent to health care reform, that “I will not blink” when it comes to shooting the Senator. “It’s not a threat, it’s a guarantee,” he said.

Now, Media Matters reports on new disturbing details about the extent to which Wilson may have been influenced by Fox News personality Glenn Beck. According to court records, Wilson’s family blamed Beck for putting Wilson “under a spell.” Wilson’s cousin submitted this letter to the court last month:

What happened later with Charlie is something I think I can understand. He became basically housebound due to illness and his small world became even smaller. His brother got him a computer and he was able to stay connected with family. And he watched television and found Glenn Beck… I found Glenn Beck about the same time Charlie did. I understand how his fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck’s persuasive personality. The same thing happened to me but I went in a different direction with what I was seeing. Rather than blame politicians for the current issues, I simply got prepared for what Glenn said was coming. I slowly filled our pantry as Glenn fed fear into me. I did not miss watching his show and could not understand why the rest of the world didn’t get it — Glenn became a pariah to me. But I was finally able to step away and realize the error of my ways. The media lost its grip on me. But it still held very tightly to Charlie.

While his actions were undeniably wrong and his choices were terrible, in part they were the actions of others played out by a very gullible Charlie. He was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast, aided by the turbulent times in our economy. I don’t believe that Charlie even had the ability to actually carry out his threats.

Indeed, Beck fiercely opposed health care reform, often in apocalyptic terms, saying that “This is the end of prosperity in America forever … the end of America as you know it,” and asking “if this passes, don’t we lose, really, the Democratic Party to the socialists?” This was coupled with some disturbingly violent rhetoric: Beck characterized Democrats as vampires, and then suggested “driv[ing] a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers.” He also said that “[t]o the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter.”

Watch a compilation of videos found at Media Matters.

This isn’t the first time an unhinged person claims to have been motivated to conduct political violence because of what they saw on Beck’s show. In July an unemployed California man loaded up his car with guns and ammunition, and was pulled over and arrested on his way to shoot up the Tides Foundation in San Francisco, a frequent Beck target. He later told a reporter that “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind. I said, well, nobody does this.” In April, a man was arrested for threatening Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and his mother told reporters that she blamed Fox News.

The Daily Beast: Obama Needs An Enemy

Folks are coming down hard on the president, but as The Daily Beast asks,  “…compared to what?  Wait till people get a better look at John Boehner and his band of corporate fat cats. Peter Beinart reports on the good news for Democrats.”

The Daily Beast

Amid the misery of the moment, here’s something Democrats can look forward to: President Obama is about to get his foil. He’s needed one throughout his career. In 2007, it was the contrast with Hillary Clinton that accentuated Obama’s freshness and authenticity. In 2008, it was during the presidential debates—where McCain looked erratic and uninformed and Obama looked analytical and centered—that Obama put the race away. In 2009 and 2010, by contrast, Obama has had no one to contrast himself with except for George W. Bush, and that stopped working long ago.

He’s remained, for all his troubles, far more popular than Congress. But with Congress in Democratic hands, he hasn’t been able to wield that contrast to his benefit. Instead of a political foil, Congress has provided political baggage. In passing legislation, Nancy Pelosi has proved masterful. But politically, she owns a favorability rating of 15 percent, according to this week’s New York Times, which helps explain why Republican candidates rarely utter the president’s name without mentioning hers as well.

Next week, however, things will change. A lot of Americans are about to be introduced to John Boehner and it’s unlikely they’ll like what they see. Partly, that’s because congressional leaders are usually unpopular. They’re sausage-makers, practitioners of an art that most Americans despise. And they’re rarely good on TV, which is not surprising given that they’ve been elevated within their parties because of their skills behind closed doors.

Continue reading…

John Boehner to Appear at Rally With Candidate Who Dressed as Nazi Soldier

Herr Boehner wants to be the next Speaker of the House (number three in line for the presidency) yet supports a candidate who makes heroes out of Nazis!  Talk about “crazy season”…

Politics Daily

Minority Leader John Boehner, the man who would likely be speaker if the GOP wins control of the House, is planning to campaign in northwest Ohio with Rich Iott, a candidate who gained notoriety for dressing in a Nazi SS uniform for World War II reenactments.

Boehner, an Ohioan, has donated $7,000 to Iott’s campaign against Rep. Marcy Kaptur and is scheduled to appear at a rally with him on Sunday in Toledo, The Hill newspaper reported Thursday. A spokesman for Boehner’s Freedom Project PAC said his appearance is aimed at supporting “the local Republican Party’s get-out-the-vote efforts.” The aide, Don Seymour, told the newspaper that Boehner “has been on the road headlining rallies for Republican candidates in Ohio and across the country . . . and he’ll continue his busy campaign schedule.”

But Boehner’s willingness to stand with Iott distances him from his second-in-command, Minority Whip Eric Cantor, who has denounced Iott and said he could “not support a candidate that would do something like that.” Iott, who has left the reenactment group, said he participated in exercises depicting SS battles against the Red Army solely for historical purposes.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee jumped on the news of Boehner’s plans to attend the rally. “John Boehner’s stubborn embrace of this Nazi enthusiast insults the memory of the 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust and our nation’s veterans who sacrificed to defend our freedom,” the DCCC said in a statement.

Kaptur is favored to win reelection to a 15th term on Tuesday.

Obama’s Last Laugh

The Daily Beast

Jon Stewart didn’t just go for the gags.

While joshing around with Barack Obama last night on a set festooned with faux Roman columns, Stewart spoke as the voice of disenchanted liberalism, demanding to know: What happened to that hope-and-change guy?

“You ran with such, if I may, audacity… yet legislatively it has felt timid at times,” the host said. “I am not even sure at times what you want out of a health care bill.”

The guest, buoyed by an adoring audience, pushed back: “Jon, I love your show”—here Stewart mugged for the camera—”but this is something where I have a profound disagreement with you…This notion that health care was timid—you’ve got 30 million people that will have health insurance because of this.”

That the president of the United States would appear on the Daily Show six days before a midterm election that could sink his party speaks volumes, or at least chapters, about that buzzworthy forum. But it was also a test of sorts for the host, who is casting his big “sanity” rally in Washington as an escape from the nuttiness fostered by the extremes of both parties.

Can Saturday’s extravaganza live up to its nonpartisan billing if its ringmaster is seen as too friendly with the Democrat-in-chief? I’d say Stewart passed the initial exam, making Obama feel comfortable while also delivering the zinger that “Democrats this year seem to be running on ‘please baby one more chance.’”

Stewart told me years ago that he regarded the nightly interview segment as little more than filler that spared his staff from having to write one more comedy sketch. But it’s evolved into an key component of the program, as anyone who saw his combative sessions with CNBC’s Jim Cramer or health care critic Betsy McCaughey can attest (though Stewart conceded that Bush torture defender John Yoo “slipped through my fingers”).

Continue reading…

Media Matters: Attack on MoveOn worker was the latest in string of violence and threats against progressives

 

Media Matters has a complete breakdown of violence and threats toward progressives through the midterm campaign season and more.

Media Matters

White powder and swastikas mailed to Rep. Grijalva. On October 21, an envelope containing “a plastic bag of white powder and two pieces of paper with swastikas written on them” was reportedly mailed to Rep. Raul Grijalva’s (D-AZ) campaign office. The powder was determined to be non-toxic.

Byron Williams set out to kill people at Tides Foundation and ACLU. On July 18, Byron Williams was stopped by California Highway Patrol and engaged in a shootout with law enforcement. He later said he planned to murder individuals at the Tides Foundation and ACLU and his mother said he was angry about “Congress railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.” As reporter John Hamilton documented, Williams said he saw Fox News’ Glenn Beck as “a schoolteacher” and that “it was the things [Beck] exposed that blew my mind.” Indeed, the gunman, Byron Williams, was driven by belief in conspiracy theories that have been pushed by Beck and other members of the right-wing media.

AZ federal judge threatened, Grijalva office fired on after ruling on AZ immigration law. Politico reported in July:

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said in a statement he shut down his Yuma district office after staff members discovered a bullet had shattered a window there Thursday. And authorities said U.S. Judge Susan Bolton received hundreds of threats at her downtown Phoenix court offices after issuing the injunction, according to news reports.

Phoenix man indicted for alleged murder threats against Grijalva and his aides. The Yuma Sun reported on June 14 that a Phoenix man was indicted on federal charges for “allegedly threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva in late April, over Grijalva’s opposition to the state’s new immigration law.” The article added: “Prosecutors say Haynes is accused of calling Grijalva’s office in Tucson twice on April 23 and threatening to ‘come down there and blow the brains out’ of Grijalva and his employees.”

Man arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Sen. Patty Murray. Politico reported on April 6:

Charles Alan Wilson, 64, was arrested at his home in central Washington after he allegedly called Murray’s office on numerous occasions over the last few weeks saying that she “had a target on her back, ” and “I want to [expletive] kill you,” according to court documents. The alleged phone calls stretched over almost two weeks and were said to be in relation to Murray’s vote to pass health care overhaul legislation.

Wilson, who was arrested in Selah, Wash., also allegedly told undercover FBI agents that he carries a concealed firearm with a permit, and said he was “extremely angry” with the passage of health care legislation, according to the news release. If convicted, Wilson could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

 

Members of right-wing militia group arrested for allegedly plotting overthrow of the U.S. government. Nine members of the “Hutaree militia” were arrested in March and charged with plotting a violent uprising against the U.S. government, a plot that was to begin with an attack on law enforcement personnel. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the Hutaree militia as a member of the radical right-wing patriot movement.

AP: Man arrested for allegedly making threatening phone calls to Pelosi. The AP reported that in the days after the vote on the health care reform bill, “The FBI arrested a California man Wednesday for allegedly making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

Threats made against Rep. Betsy Markey. A Denver television station reported that Rep. Betsy Markey’s (D-CO) chief of staff “said the calls came on Saturday before the House cast its final vote on health care reform. She said in the first, the caller said to one of Markey’s staff members, ‘better hope I don’t run into you in a dark alley with a knife, a club or a gun.’ In another instance, a caller said something like ‘better tell your boss that she better be careful when she comes back here to Colorado.’”

Gas line outside the house of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello was cut. Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-VA) brother’s address was erroneously posted online by a Tea Party blogger who invited activists to descend on the house. In March, a gas line outside the brother’s house was cut.

Threats made against Rep. Stupak after he voted for final version of health care bill. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) was the target of threatening faxes and phone calls, including death threats. Some of the faxes included “racial epithets used in reference to President Obama,” according to CBS News.

Picture of a noose faxed to Rep. Clyburn. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), the Majority Whip, said in a March interview on CNN that his office had received a fax of a noose after he voted in favor of the health care reform bill.

Brick thrown at Democratic county headquarters in Rochester, NY. New York Daily News reported on March 22 that, after the House health care vote, a “brick, to which a piece of paper bearing the message “Extremism is defense of liberty is no vice” was attached with a rubber band” was thrown through the headquarters of the Democratic county headquarters in Rochester, New York.

Rep. Slaughter threatened with brick and “snipers.” CNN reported on March 24: “Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York, said her Niagara Falls district office had a brick thrown through one of its windows and a message that referred to ‘snipers’ was left on one of her campaign offices.”

Rep. Giffords’ office window shattered. CNN reported that in March, “a glass panel at the Tucson office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, was shattered, spokesman C.J. Karamargin said. It wasn’t clear how the window was shattered, but visitors have to go through a gated courtyard to enter the office, and staffers suspect someone may have shot a pellet gun at the glass, he said.”

Continue reading…

40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes – (Daily Kos)

I got this in my email a few minutes ago and wanted to share with it with you: 

(H/t) Chris Bowers -Daily Kos

–Democrats are down in the House, but they are not out of it.

–Democrats look good to hold the Senate, and President Obama has endorsed filibuster reform.

–Early voting is well underway, and Democrats are holding their own.

–Today and tonight are the final times you can give money to campaigns, and still have your money spent on or before Election Day.

Tea Party Stoke Fears About Bogus Voter Fraud

Every year Republicans cry “voter fraud” with not one instance of such fraud being tried and convicted.   The whole idea is to create a straw man while THEY in fact steal the election by “black box” voting machine tampering, pulling minorities off the voting rolls by questioning their eligibility, intimidating minorities by taking pictures of them outside the polling areas and many more tactics.

As Slate Magazine puts it:

No one denies that ginning up fear about systematic voter fraud is an effective political tactic. It appeals to an electorate suspicious of government and helps delegitimize any victories that can be attributed to the overenfranchisement of minorities, i.e. Democratic voters. But no one should believe that voter fraud is a widespread problem.In 2002, the Bush administration made cracking down on voter fraud a top priority. Five years later, the effort had yielded 86 convictions. About 30 convictions were linked to vote-buying schemes in races for small offices like sheriff or judge. Only 26 were attributable to individual voters, and most of those were misunderstandings about voter eligibility, such as felons who voted without knowing it was illegal. The prosecutions provided little evidence of organized fraud.

The Brennan Center for Justice:

Allegations of widespread fraud by malevolent voters are easy to make, but often prove to be inflated or inaccurate. Crying “wolf” when the claims are unsubstantiated distracts attention from real problems that need real solutions. Moreover, these claims are frequently used to justify policies – including restrictive photo identification rules – that could not solve the alleged wrongs, but that could well disenfranchise legitimate voters.

The Brennan Center carefully examines allegations of fraud to get at the truth behind the claims.

 MSNBC discusses the issue: