“The most ludicrous thing I have seen this morning has been the suggestion that we need to await an investigation in Kentucky to determine whether Census worker, Bill Sparkman with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, hanging from a tree limb in the Daniel Boone Forest was the victim of a hate crime or a suicide…please tell me we have not gone this far “Nucking Futs”! Is it not time to step back from the abyss of hate and putrid provocative press and just simply take back this nation and restore order and sanity by any means necessary? (Ed.) This is Absurd!”
And To Top It All Off: We Have An Ammunition Shortage In America; Does That Tell You Anything? If Not Just Keep Your Head Buried In The Ground And Wait For Your Ass To Be Blown Away; You Are Not Listening; You Are Not Paying Attention And You Are In A State Of Deep And Deadly Denial!
The AP is reporting the hanging death of a census worker in rural Kentucky. The report says that the man was found hanging near a cemetery with the word “fed” written on his body. The FBI is investigating whether or not the man’s death was murder or suicide.
MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) A friend says he had warned a U.S. Census worker found hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery to be careful. A law enforcement official says Bill Sparkman had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest. Sparkman's body was found Sept. 12 near a cemetery in southeast Kentucky.
By Devlin Barrett And Jeffrey McMurray
Associated Press Writers
MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) - A U.S. Census worker found hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.
Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and teacher, was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky. The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, did not say what type of instrument was used to write "fed" on his chest.
The Census Bureau has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, pending the outcome of the investigation. An autopsy report is pending.
FBI spokesman David Beyer said the bureau is assisting state police and declined to confirm or discuss any details about the crime scene.
"Our job is to determine if there was foul play involved - and that's part of the investigation - and if there was foul play involved, whether that is related to his employment as a Census worker," said Beyer.
Attacking a federal worker during or because of his job is a federal crime.
Sparkman's mother, Henrie Sparkman of Inverness, Fla., told The Associated Press her son was an Eagle scout who moved to the area to be a local director for the Boy Scouts of America. He later became a substitute teacher in Laurel County and supplemented that income as a Census worker.
She said investigators have given her few details about her son's death - they told her the body was decomposed - and haven't yet released his body for burial. "I was told it would be better for him to be cremated," she said.
Henrie Sparkman said her son's death is a mystery to her.
"I have my own ideas, but I can't say them out loud. Not at this point," she said. "Right now, what I'm doing, I'm just waiting on the FBI to come to some conclusion."
Gilbert Acciardo, a retired Kentucky state trooper who directs an after-school program at the elementary school where Sparkman was a frequent substitute teacher, said he had warned Sparkman to be careful when he did his Census work.
"I told him on more than one occasion, based on my years in the state police, 'Mr. Sparkman, when you go into those counties, be careful because people are going to perceive you different than they do elsewhere,'" Acciardo said.
"Even though he was with the Census Bureau, sometimes people can view someone with any government agency as 'the government.' I just was afraid that he might meet the wrong character along the way up there," Acciardo said.
Acciardo said he became suspicious when Sparkman didn't show up for work at the after-school program for two days and went to police. Authorities immediately initiated an investigation, he said.
"He was such an innocent person," Acciardo said. "I hate to say that he was naive, but he saw the world as all good, and there's a lot of bad in the world."
Lucindia Scurry-Johnson, assistant director of the Census Bureau's southern office in Charlotte, N.C., said law enforcement officers have told the agency the matter is "an apparent homicide" but nothing else.
Census employees were told Sparkman's truck was found nearby, and a computer he was using for work was found inside it, she said. He worked part-time for the Census, usually conducting interviews once or twice a month.
Sparkman has worked for the Census since 2003, spanning five counties in the surrounding area. Much of his recent work had been in Clay County, officials said.
Door-to-door operations have been suspended in Clay County pending a resolution of the investigation, Scurry-Johnson said.
Manchester, the main hub of Clay County, is an exit off the highway, with a Walmart, a few hotels, chain restaurants and a couple gas stations. The drive away from town and toward the area Sparkman's body was found is decidely darker through the forest with no streetlights on windy roads, up and down steep hills.
Kelsee Brown, a waitress at Huddle House, a 24-hour chain restaurant, when asked about the hanging, said she thinks the government sometimes has the wrong priorities.
"Sometimes I think the government should stick their nose out of people's business and stick their nose in their business at the same time. They care too much about the wrong things," she said.
The Census Bureau has yet to begin door-to-door canvassing for the 2010 head count, but it has thousands of field workers doing smaller surveys on various demographic topics on behalf of federal agencies. Next year, the Census Bureau will dispatch up to 1.2 million temporary employees to locate hard-to-find residents.
The Census Bureau is overseen by the Commerce Department.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our co-worker," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with William Sparkman's son, other family and friends."
Locke called him "a shining example of the hardworking men and women employed by the Census Bureau."
Appalachia scholar Roy Silver, a New York City native now living in Harlan County, Ky., said he doesn't sense an outpouring of anti-government sentiment in the region as has been exhibited in town hall meetings in other parts of the country.
"I don't think distrust of government is any more or less here than anywhere else in the country," said Silver, a sociology professor at Southeast Community College.
The most deadly attack on federal workers came in 1995 when the federal building in Oklahoma City was devastated by a truck bomb, killing 168 and injuring more than 680. Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for the bombing, carried literature by modern, ultra-right-wing anti-government authors.
A private group called PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, tracks violence against employees who enforce environmental regulations, but the group's executive director, Jeff Ruch, said it's hard to know about all of the cases because some agencies don't share data on instances of violence against employees.
From 1996 to 2006, according to the group's most recent data, violent incidents against federal Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service workers soared from 55 to 290.
Ruch said that after the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, "we kept getting reports from employees that attacks and intimidation against federal employees had not diminished, and that's why we've been tracking them."
"Even as illustrated in town hall meetings today, there is a distinct hostility in a large segment of the population toward people who work for their government," Ruch said.
Barrett reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Roger Alford in Frankfort, Ky., Hope Yen in Washington and Dylan T. Lovan in Louisville contributed to this report.
A part-time Census Bureau field worker was found hanged in Kentucky Sept. 12 with the word "fed" scrawled across his chest, according to a law enforcement source. Bill Sparkman, 51 was found in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky, the Associated Press first reported Wednesday night.
The FBI is assisting state and local police with their investigation, the law enforcement source told The Post's Spencer S. Hsu. The law enforcement source was unsure of the cause of death.
It is a federal crime to attack a federal worker during or because of his federal job. Sparkman was an Eagle scout who moved to southeast Kentucky to be a local director for the Boy Scouts of America, his mother told the AP. He later became a substitute teacher in Laurel County and earned extra money as a Census field worker.
The Census Bureau has suspended operations in Clay County, Ken. where Sparkman was found pending the investigation. Hundreds of thousands of temporary workers across the country walk door-to-door conducting various demographic surveys. The Census will hire more than 1 million temporary workers to conduct follow-up interviews for next year's 2010 decennial Census.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our co-worker, and our thoughts and prayers are with William Sparkman’s son, other family and friends. We are monitoring the developments closely," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement Wednesday night. The Census Bureau is part of the Commerce Department. “Mr. Sparkman was a shining example of the hard-working men and women employed by the Census Bureau. The work they do on a daily basis is not easy but is a great and important service to our nation.”
There was no immediate comment from Census Director Robert M. Groves. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry may also comment on the situation later today at an event in Washington. He has spoken frequently about the denigration of federal employees.
News of the apparent murder of a Census employee comes during an already busy period for the Census Bureau. Groves told a Congressional panel on Tuesday that he fears next year's headcount will be impaired by the recession and continuing concerns about immigration. The agency also recently cut ties to the controversial community organizing group ACORN, one of more than 10,000 civic organizations, churches and corporations recruited to help increase participation in next year's Census.
More on this throughout the day as the story updates.
A part-time U.S. Census field worker in rural Kentucky was found hanged Wednesday in a remote part of Daniel Boone National Forest, dangling from a tree with the word "fed" scrawled across his chest. The funniest part about this completely sick and unfunny story? The quote from the Associated Press pieceon the crime that says, "the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment."
This appears to be a story not only about backwoods crazies, but also about our ailing economy and under-funded educational system (Bill Sparkman, the victim, was a 51-year-old substitute teacher who was supplementing his income with the census work), and about the virulent emotions that exist "out there" due to the health care debate and the fact that we have a liberal black President.
Bill Sparkman, also a teacher and former Eagle Scout, may have been targeted because he worked for the government, a police source told The Associated Press. Sparkman’s truck and the computer he used on the job were found near his body in Daniel Boone National Forest on Sept. 12, according to the AP.
Mass. Governor Set To Name Ted Kennedy Successor
By GLEN JOHNSON (AP)
BOSTON — A day after Massachusetts lawmakers granted one of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's final wishes by changing the state's succession law, an interim replacement for the late senator's crucial U.S. Senate seat is expected to be named Thursday.
Gov. Deval Patrick is to announce the appointment of Kennedy's successor at a news conference at the Statehouse, and former aide and longtime Kennedy friend Paul G. Kirk Jr. has the backing of the late senator's sons.
Patrick declined to discuss potential appointees, but a top aide earlier confirmed that Kennedy's sons had lobbied for the appointment of Kirk, the former Democratic National Committee chairman.
The governor's appointee will serve until a special election is held Jan. 19, and will give President Barack Obama the critical 60th U.S. Senate vote he needs to pass a health care overhaul this year.
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Legislature approved a bill that allows the governor to name a successor to Kennedy, who died last month after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.
Patrick said Wednesday he plans to send a letter to the secretary of state to declare an emergency that would allow him to override a legislative vote that defeated his administration's effort to make the bill take effect immediately. Normally, legislation faces a 90-day waiting period.
"I recognize the gravity of this decision and I will make it very soon, and tell you just as soon as I do," the governor told reporters Wednesday night.
Edward Kennedy Jr. and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., had contacted Patrick and urged him to appoint Kirk to replace their father, a Kennedy family confidant said. A spokeswoman in Patrick Kennedy's congressional office declined to comment, while an aide to Edward Kennedy Jr. did not respond to a request for comment.
The 71-year-old Kirk, a Boston attorney, was close friends with the senator. He and his wife, Gail, live on Cape Cod, and he was among the few regular visitors allowed at Kennedy's Hyannis Port home before he succumbed to brain cancer Aug. 25.
Kirk knows the senator's staff intimately and would likely be assured of their loyalty given his relationship with Kennedy.
A senior statesman who has never served in political office, Kirk wouldn't pose a threat to the candidates competing in the special election. The Democratic field includes Attorney General Martha Coakley, vying to be the state's first female senator, and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, the lone member of the state's congressional delegation in the race.
A Kennedy family confidant, who like the Patrick aide requested anonymity to speak about private conversations, refused to reveal whether the senator's widow, Vicki, had also endorsed Kirk. Vicki Kennedy has granted no interviews since her husband's death, but Patrick revealed recently that she had told him she did not want to be considered for the interim appointment.
On Wednesday, he added: "I have talked to Vicki Kennedy multiple times, before the senator's loss and since."
Democrats had revoked the governor's power to fill Senate vacancies in 2004, fearing then-Gov. Mitt Romney might appoint a fellow Republican if Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., won his campaign for the presidency. Instead, they created a five-month special election campaign and beat back GOP efforts both that year and in 2006 to bridge any such vacancy with a temporary senatorial appointment.
On Aug. 20, five days before he died, Kennedy sent Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo letters urging them to amend the succession law to allow an interim replacement. Obama is pushing a national health care overhaul that was Kennedy's life passion, and his death has deprived the Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Patrick later said the senator had made a "reasonable request," given the health care debate and upcoming Senate votes on climate change and economic recovery legislation.
While there are only 16 Republicans in the 160-member House and five in the 40-member Senate, Wednesday's votes were far less lopsided — highlighting the political turmoil created by Kennedy's request. The House vote against the emergency preamble that would have made the bill take effect immediately was 95-59, when a two-thirds vote of both chambers was needed to approve it. And the votes on the final bill were an identical 95-59 in the House and 24-16 in the Senate.
According to the state constitution, the governor can bypass the two-thirds requirement merely by sending a letter to the secretary of state declaring "the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety or convenience requires that such law should take effect forthwith."
Patrick has argued the state stands to suffer without full Senate representation before the special election campaign, but some of his fellow Democrats have joined Republicans in accusing him of a power grab.
"This is not an emergency," said Rep. Paul Frost, R-Auburn. "So however the governor is going to write a letter to the secretary of state, saying the Legislature didn't agree it was an emergency, but I do, I can't wait to see it."
Four House Republicans, all attorneys, wrote Patrick a letter urging him to seek a ruling from the Supreme Judicial Court before signing the bill.
Kirk graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and served on Kennedy's staff between 1969 and 1977. He ran the Democratic National Committee in the run-up to former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis' unsuccessful run for president in 1988.
Kirk also co-founded the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has sponsored every presidential and vice presidential debate involving major candidates since 1988.
He now serves as chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. He was in the national spotlight last month when he hosted a memorial service the evening before Kennedy's funeral.
Kirk also is close to Caroline Kennedy, who serves as president of the library foundation honoring her late father. He stood on the stage with her and the late senator each year as they dispensed the library's annual "Profiles in Courage" awards.
Asked recently whether he would be interested in an interim appointment, Kirk told The Associated Press in an e-mail, "It would be much too presumptuous of me to even consider. Hope you will understand."
Dukakis is among those who is said to be under consideration. He, too, has declined to comment on the question.
Associated Press Writers Steve LeBlanc and Jay Lindsay contributed to this report.
Deval Patrick has scheduled an 11 a.m. announcement of his choice to temporarily fill the seat vacated by the death of Edward M. Kennedy -- whose family pushed for their friend, former national Democratic Party chairman Paul G. Kirk Jr. Read More
Public disapproval of the way Congress is doing its job is a 3-1 runaway over public approval, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken Sept. 17-20.
Public approval of Congress stood at 22 percent, while disapproval was 66 percent, according to the poll. As bad as that may sound, it's not as bad as it has been. Last October, the same poll found public approval of Congress was 12 percent.
Despite their low opinion of how Congress is doing, people responding to the survey aren't crazy about their choices: 41 percent feel positive about the Democratic Party, which now controls both houses of Congress, and 39 percent have negative feelings. Republicans are not in a strong position to capitalize on that. Twenty-eight percent have positive feelings toward the GOP, and 43 percent are negative.
Even more unpopular is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., whose combined positive ratings ("very positive" + "somewhat positive") - 27 percent - are below her "very negative" rating alone, 33 percent. Add her "somewhat negative" rating on top of that and she's at 44 percent negative.
Still, when respondents were asked which party they wanted to control the Congress after next year's elections, a slim plurality, 43 percent, picked the Democrats, while 40 percent chose the Republicans.
When asked whether they'd vote to re-elect their current members of Congress, respondents, by 49 percent to 40 percent, said they would be inclined to try somebody new.
The poll was based on telephone interviews with 1,005 adults nationwide and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Workers' unity needed to counter ultra-right mobilizations
These orchestrated events have been on the increase since the right wing first initiated them in February against the Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout ...
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Appeasing right wing, US Justice Department launches ACORN probe
World Socialist Web Site
The decision by the Obama administration follows a campaign by Republicans and right-wing news outlets demanding the cut-off of public funds to the ...
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by Simon Maloy
Salon.com's Alexander Zaitchik has been doing yeoman's work of late, digging deep into the oftentimes disturbing past of the new face and voice of the angry right, Fox News' Glenn Beck.
Last week, Zaitchik reintroduced us to W. Cleon Skousen, the discredited far-right activist and New World Order conspiracy theorist who argued that the Constitution was a divinely inspired document and that Dwight Eisenhower was a cog in the communist infiltration machine. Skousen's writings, as Zaitchik demonstrates, form the basis of Beck's worldview, and Beck hawks Skousen literature as part of his 9-12 Project. One can be sure that if Skousen were on the other side of the political spectrum and linked to President Obama in even the most trivial way, he'd feature prominently in Beck's conspiracy charts.
This week, Zaitchik is releasing a three-part investigation into Beck's early years as a radio personality and his troubled personal life. In part two, Zaitchik retells how Beck comported himself while trying to put his stamp on the radio business. These vignettes from his brief tenure in Louisville, Kentucky, are telling:
With Dries across the console, Beck directed a rotating ensemble cast and wrote or co-wrote daily gags and skits. Among the show's regular characters was Beck's zoo alter ego, Clydie Clyde. But Clyde was just one of Beck's unseen radio ventriloquist dolls. "He was amazing to watch when he was doing his cast of voices," remembers Kathi Lincoln, Beck's former newsreader. "Sometimes he'd prerecord different voices and talk back to the tape, or turn his head side to side while speaking them live on the air. He used to do a funny 'black guy' character, really over-the-top."
"Black guy" impersonations were just one sign of the young Beck's racial hang-ups.Among the few recordings of "Captain Beck and the A-Team" archived online is a show from February 1986 in which Beck discusses that night's prime-time television schedule. When the subject turns to Peter Strauss, an actor known for starring in television's first miniseries, Beck wryly observes, "They say without [Strauss' early work] the miniseries 'Roots' would never have happened." Clydie Clyde then chimes in with an exaggerated and ironic, "Oh, darn." The throwaway dig at "Roots," which chronicled the life of a slave family, wins knowing chuckles from Beck's co-hosts.
Beck's real broadcasting innovation during his stay in Kentucky came in the realm of vicious personal assaults on fellow radio hosts. A frequent target of Beck's in Louisville was Liz Curtis, obese host of an afternoon advice show on WHAS, a local AM news-talk station. It was no secret in Louisville that Curtis, whom Beck had never met and with whom he did not compete for ratings, was overweight. And Beck never let anyone forget it. For two years, he used "the big blonde" as fodder for drive-time fat jokes, often employing Godzilla sound effects to simulate Curtis walking across the city or crushing a rocking chair. Days before Curtis' marriage, Beck penned a skit featuring a stolen menu card for the wedding reception. "The caterer says that instead of throwing rice after the ceremony, they are going to throw hot, buttered popcorn," explains Beck's fictional spy.
Despite the constant goading, Curtis never responded. But being ignored only seemed to fuel Beck's hunger for a response. As his attacks escalated and grew more unhinged, a WHAS colleague of Curtis' named Terry Meiners decided to intervene. He appeared one morning unannounced at Beck's small office, which was filled with plaques, letters and news clippings -- "a shrine to all that is Glenn Beck," remembers Meiners. He told Beck to lay off Curtis, suggesting he instead attack a morning DJ like himself, who could return fire. "Beck told me, 'Sorry, all's fair in love and war,'" remembers Meiners. "He continued with the fat jokes, which were exceedingly cruel, pointless, and aimed at one of the nicest people in radio. Glenn Beck was over-the-top childish from Day One, a punk who tried to make a name for himself by being disruptive and vengeful."
Zaitchik goes on to explain how Beck took this same act from Louisville to Phoenix:
The animosity between Beck and Kelly continued to deepen. When Beck and Hattrick produced a local version of Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" for Halloween -- a recurring motif in Beck's life and career -- Kelly told a local reporter that the bit was a stupid rip-off of a syndicated gag. The slight outraged Beck, who got his revenge with what may rank as one of the cruelest bits in the history of morning radio. "A couple days after Kelly's wife, Terry, had a miscarriage, Beck called her live on the air and says, 'We hear you had a miscarriage,' " remembers Brad Miller, a former Y95 DJ and Clear Channel programmer. "When Terry said, 'Yes,' Beck proceeded to joke about how Bruce [Kelly] apparently can't do anything right -- about he can't even have a baby."
"It was low class," says Miller, now president of Open Stream Broadcasting. "There are certain places you just don't go."
"Beck turned Y95 into a guerrilla station," says Kelly. "It was an example of the zoo thing getting out of control. It became just about pissing people off, part of the culture shift that gave us 'Jackass.'" Among those who were appalled by Beck's prank call was Beck's own wife, Claire, who had been friends with Kelly's wife since the two worked together at WPGC.
THIS IS GETTING ABSURD.
Knowing who Glenn Beck is, and the type of discourse he engages in, it would be the height of foolishness to expect a reasoned discussion of U.S. history within the pages of Arguing with Idiots. But this is getting absurd.
In his chapter titled, "U.S. Presidents: A Steady Progression of Progressives," Beck treats us to his list of the "Top Ten Bastards of All Time." The occupants of that list, in ascending order, are Pol Pot, Robert Mugabe, Teddy Roosevelt, Bernie Madoff, Adolf Hitler, Keith Olbermann, Pontius Pilate, FDR, Tiger Woods, and Woodrow Wilson. That's right, in Beck's book, mass slaughter of millions of innocents makes you a less reprehensible person than the presidents who won both World Wars for the United States.
The whole reason the list exists is so Beck can go on an extended tirade against Woodrow Wilson, who earned the top spot because he "[s]hredded our First Amendment by arresting thousands of people for speaking against U.S. involvement in WWI." This, of course, is in reference to the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. And Beck is right -- both acts were horrible offenses against the First Amendment and resulted in the unjust imprisonment of many Americans, including, ironically, many members of socialist-leaning industrial unions that Beck finds so objectionable.
But if the Sedition Act was so heinous an offense as to make Wilson history's greatest "bastard," then shouldn't John Adamsbe on Beck's list as well? After all, Adams signed into law theAlien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which made it illegal for anyone to "write, print, utter or publish" anything "false, scandalous and malicious" about the government. Does that not count as "shred[ing] the First Amendment"? You could even make the case that Adams was worse than Wilson, because he was actually there when the First Amendment was drafted and ratified.
That wouldn't fit into Beck's theology, though, which is borrowed from his intellectual guide, the discredited far-right conspiracy theorist W. Cleon Skousen, and will not entertain even the slightest criticism of the Founding Fathers. In Beck's and Skousen's view, the Founders were divinely inspired and infallible, whereas Dwight Eisenhower was a communist and Woodrow Wilson was worse than Hitler.
But in fairness to Beck, if he had included John Adams, that wouldn't have left room on the list for Tiger Woods, who's on there because "[h]e's got a Swedish-supermodel wife, a gazillion dollars, and he plays golf for a living... bastard!"
Lou Dobbs has recently pushed a number of the same right-wing narratives that have been aggressively championed by Glenn Beck, has defended Beck's remarks, and has praised his reporting. In recent weeks, Dobbs -- like Beck -- has called for a "rigorous investigation" of ACORN and said that unless there is a "full-blown FBI investigation," then it will amount to "a sham"; has pushed the conservative attack that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is "politicizing the arts"; has decried as "propaganda" a documentary video; and has defended Beck's comments that Obama is a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people."
Like Beck, Dobbs decried "sham," called for "rigorous investigation" into ACORN
Dobbs: Investigation of ACORN "a sham" without "absolutely righteous, vigorous investigation." During the September 22 broadcast of his radio show, Dobbs referred to ACORN's decision to appoint former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger to lead an internal inquiry into the organization as "such a sham" and called for "a full, and, I mean, absolutely righteous, vigorous, investigation of everyone running that organization, everything it's tried to do," and "its relationship to the Obama administration." Dobbs added: "I truly believe, unless there is that full-blown FBI investigation that you've asked for of ACORN, that -- you know, that is, to me, prima facie evidence that this Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, has been absolutely politicized to the point that it is not functioning and serving the interests of the American people or this country." Dobbs later claimed that "this Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't want ACORN investigated because that is tantamount to investigating a good chunk of the Democratic Party, and, particularly left-wing activists that are working daily with the ACORN organization and their various tentacles that reach across American society, our electoral and political system." [United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show, 9/22/09]
Beck: Without "full independent rigorous investigation" of ACORN, "it's all going to be a sham." During the September 15 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated: "While the government is going to make speeches and throw you a bone of cutting off funding -- you know, we're going to cut off funding. Really? Until the Republicans and the Democrats rise together and demand a full independent rigorous investigation that doesn't concentrate just on the local level and these few dirtbags, but goes all the way to the top, to the power brokers at the highest levels of ACORN, and in our own halls of Congress, and this administration, it's all going to be a sham. You won't be able to trust anything in Washington." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 9/15/09]
Like Beck, Dobbs reported NEA pushing artists to adopt White House "political agenda"
Dobbs cited "concerns" that "the Obama administration may be politicizing the arts." On September 22, Dobbs stated: "New concerns tonight that the Obama administration may be politicizing the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts encouraging groups to produce art work promoting the president's agenda -- that, according to Senator John Cornyn. Senator Cornyn, in a letter to the president, detailed concerns of a California artist who said that an NEA conference call encouraged artists to focus works on issues such as health care, education, and the environment, promoting the White House political agenda." [CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight,9/22/09]
Beck: NEA "is creating a propaganda machine for the president of the United States."Artist Patrick Courrielche claimed in an August 25 post at conservative activist and Drudge protégé Andrew Breitbart's BigHollywood.com that in an August 10 conference call "hosted by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and United We Serve," artists "were encouraged to bring the same sense of enthusiasm to" issues such as health care, energy, and the environment "as we had brought to Obama's presidential campaign, and we were encouraged to create art and art initiatives that brought awareness to these issues." Subsequently, Beckpromoted and helped to distribute the allegations, interviewing Courrielche on September 1 and claiming that the "people involved in a conference call, including the White House, knew that this was on the fence, if not outright illegal. They knew for sure that this would outrage you if it would ever get out." On September 2, Beck again promoted the allegations and said that then-NEA spokesman Yosi Sergant "is creating a propaganda machine for the president of the United States and that is wrong."
Like Beck, Dobbs decried "propaganda" over Leonard educational video
Dobbs: Leonard video is "more evidence of left-wing propaganda in our schools." On September 22, Dobbs stated: "Well, more evidence of left-wing propaganda in our schools: An outrageous new video has surfaced -- this video being shown in classrooms all across the country. It is The Story of Stuff, as it's called, blatantly making false accusations against capitalism and the effects of human consumption on the environment." After showing a portion of Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff, Dobbs said: "Well, the video is the brainchild of Annie Leonard, a former Greenpeace member, self-described unapologetic activist. Millions more have seen this video on the Internet, but it is obviously full of, at the very least, half-truths, distortions, and, without question, a straightforward propaganda message. Well, that's what's happening in your schools." [Lou Dobbs Tonight, 9/22/09]
Beck on Leonard video: "Are we not engaging in anti-American, anti-capitalism propaganda now in our schools?" On September 22, Beck asked: "[A]re we not engaging in anti-American, anti-capitalism propaganda now in our schools?" After airing an excerpt from The Story of Stuff, Beck stated: "Stop! It is not the job of the government to watch out for us and to take care of us. It is not the government's job." [The Glenn Beck Program, 9/22/09]
Dobbs defended Beck against criticism for claiming that Obama is a "racist"
Dobbs: Beck "had the guts to say what he meant"; Color of Change attacking Beck because he "said some things that [they] didn't like." On September 8, Dobbs asserted: "See, it was Van Jones' group that went and got the bright idea to go after [Becks'] sponsors because Glenn Beck said some things that he didn't like. Isn't that impressive? And I didn't hear -- I didn't hear Howard Dean get excited about that, trampling all over the First Amendment trying to coerce sponsors of Glenn Beck just because he had the guts to say what he meant. You know, there's a shortage of that. That ought to be encouraged." Dobbs continued: "You know, Arthur Laffer is the guy who said we should be taxing what we don't want in this society and subsidizing that which we do. And there's Van Jones saying, 'Well, you know, you said something I don't like, so what are we gonna do? We'll just attack your sponsors.' That didn't work out so shiny for him, did it? So, by the way, I gotta say hats off to Glenn Beck for having the guts to stand up to this -- this morass of mediocrity and pure, pure ideology." [The Lou Dobbs Show, 9/08/09]
Color of Change's campaign followed Beck's claim that Obama is a "racist." Beckasserted on Fox News that Obama is a "racist" and "has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." He subsequently defended his comments on his radio show.
Dobbs touted Beck for covering Van Jones
Dobbs: "Beck and Fox had the guts to stand up when Van Jones' outfit ... went after him."
From the September 8 edition of United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show:
L. BRENT BOZELL III (Media Research Center president): This man is a radical's radical. This guy is about as far left as you can possibly get, and the fact that the truth about him comes out and the media decides that it's just not important. And he's one of the more powerful people -- he's in charge of all the green jobs that the Obama administration is going to create through the stimulus package. This is a very powerful czar that Obama had created.
BOZELL: And nothing -- nothing from CBS, nothing from ABC, nothing from C -- CB -- NBC, nothing from The New York Times, nothing from The Washington Post, nothing from the LA Times -- a complete blanket from the American people.
DOBBS: Yeah, it's stunning. And much -- you know, I was talking with Michael Barone. And he was talking about, well, Fox and Glenn Beck, you know, they really used a tool that wasn't available to, you know, a very important weapon here that wasn't available to a lot of people -- the weapon called Google.
BOZELL: Yeah. Yes, that's absolutely right. You know, the world has changed so dramatically. First of all, you can't keep -- you can't keep the toothpaste in the jar anymore. When the genie is out of the bottle, the genie's out of the bottle, and you can't put the thing back in. When the truth comes out about somebody, because of the Internet and because of you folks on talk radio, the truth is going to come out.
And the media for years and years have enjoyed -- had enjoyed a monopoly on information. They don't enjoy it anymore. Look at the fact that the man was forced to resign and yet nobody covered it. So how did America know about this? Why did it become such an issue? It became an issue because of the Internet and talk radio.
DOBBS: Yeah, and also it became an issue because Beck and Fox had the guts to stand up when Van Jones' outfit, excuse me, went after him.
BOZELL: No question about it at all. They started it. Glenn Beck started it. But, you know, here is the other interesting thing. Again, if you look at the coverage of it, CNN covered this story on Friday; it was the first time CNN covered it.
DOBBS: No, no, no. My show was covering it earlier.
BOZELL: I'm sorry, I stand corrected. I'm talking about Anderson Cooper. I'm sorry.
DOBBS: Oh yeah, but my show, which is also part of CNN, covered it. [The Lou Dobbs Show, 9/8/09]
Beck's reporting on Jones consisted of repeated smears. Media Matters for America has documented that Beck has made numerous incendiary statements about Jones, including falsely accusing him of being a "convicted felon" and asserting that he is a "Communist" among Obama's "radical advisers" who are "fighting a revolution."
Dobbs has previously taken cues from Fox News
Like Fox, Dobbs misled to fearmonger about czars. Dobbs previously incorrectly claimed on his CNN program that prior to the Obama administration, "the highest number of czars that we were able to document in our own reporting ... was during the Clinton administration, and he had only 10 czars." But according to The Washington Post, former President Bush "had 36 czar positions filled by 46 people during his eight years as president." Fox News has made similar false claims to advance its witch hunt against Obama administration czars, identifying "30 czars" and asserting that "czars are not subjected to congressional oversight," when in fact many of the Obama administration officials the network has labeled "czars" have been confirmed by the Senate, were appointed to positions created through legislation passed by Congress, or had counterparts during the Bush administration.
From the September 22 broadcast of The Lou Dobbs Show:
REP. LAMAR SMITH (R-TX): You mentioned the so-called independent auditor that ACORN has brought in. Well, all an auditor does is check the books --
SMITH: -- an auditor does not look at criminal activity. And so, by bringing the auditor in, they're trying to give the impression that they're cleaning up their act but the auditor can't do anything about the crimes. That's why we need the FBI to investigate, and that's why an auditor is totally insufficient. And, by the way, I assume that the auditor would be sincere in his aim to try to ferret out any corruption on the economic -- financial side --
DOBBS: You know, Congressman, this is where I say, well, why would you assume that?
SMITH: Well, he is a former Democratic activist from Massachusetts and that's why I say, he's going to -- frankly, he needs to prove himself if he's going to be the one conducting the audit. But, again, I --
DOBBS: Well, I --
SMITH: -- that doesn't get to the real problem and that's the criminal -- possible criminal activity.
DOBBS: I don't know whether you want to say this, but I'm going to say it and then ask for whether or not you agree with it.
DOBBS: I believe that that is just such a sham, that it's a waste of everybody's time -- the money that's in that organization -- and that there should be a full, and, I mean, absolutely righteous, vigorous, investigation of everyone running that organization, everything it's tried to do --
DOBBS: -- its relationship to the Obama administration, and I truly believe, unless there is that full-blown FBI investigation that you've asked for of ACORN, that -- you know, that is, to me, prima facie evidence that this Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, has been absolutely politicized to the point that it is not functioning and serving the interests of the American people or this country.
DOBBS: I honestly cannot imagine how Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, could possibly do anything but order a full investigation of ACORN. And the fact is, but don't doubt this for a minute, this Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't want ACORN investigated because that is tantamount to investigating a good chunk of the Democratic Party, and, particularly left-wing activists that are working daily with the ACORN organization and their various tentacles that reach across American society, our electoral and political system.
The Department of Homeland Security has warnied law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.
A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.
"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.
The White House has distanced itself from the analysis. When asked for comment on its contents, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, "The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned."
The nine-page document was sent to police and sheriff's departments across the United States on April 7 under the headline, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."
It says the federal government "will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months" to gather information on "rightwing extremist activity in the United States."
The joint federal-state activities will have "a particular emphasis" on the causes of "rightwing extremist radicalization."
Here’s a little take-home test: Do you belong to either the right-wing or the left-wing fringe? The paranoid right-wing fringe believes (among other crazy things) that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. The equally loony left-wing fringe believes that President Bush knew that terrorists would attack on 9/11 and did nothing to stop them. According to a recent poll, there is a larger contingent of loonies in the GOP than in the Democratic Party.
John Farmer, who drafted the 9/11 Commission report, has just come out with a book in which he says it was a pack of lies. Arab strongmen with boxcutters? A fairy tale. (Please don't tell the New York Times.) Farmer claims the support of the other Commissioners as well. Curiouser and curiouser. But the book doesn't tell us what actually DID happen on 9/11; only that it was so very different from the story we were told.
Just in case he wasn’t familiar with it, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) decided to read the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution to David Kris, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, who was testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee today to urge reauthorization of expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act.
Franken, who opened by acknowledging that unlike most of his colleagues in the Senate, he’s not a lawyer, but according to his research “most Americans aren’t lawyers” either, said he’d also done research on the Patriot Act and in particular, the “roving wiretap” provision that allows the FBI to get a warrant to wiretap a an unnamed target and his or her various and changing cell phones, computers and other communication devices.
Noting that he received a copy of the Constitution when he was sworn in as a senator, he proceeded to read it to Kris, emphasizing this part: “No Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
“That’s pretty explicit language,” noted Franken, asking Kris how the “roving wiretap” provision of the Patriot Act can meet that requirement if it doesn’t require the government to name its target.
Kris looked flustered and mumbled that “this is surreal,” apparently referring to having to respond to Franken’s question.
“I would defer to the other branch of government,” he said, referring to the courts, prompting Franken to interject: “I know what that is.”
Kris explained that the courts have held that the law’s requirements that the person be described, though not named, is sufficient to meet the demands of the Constitution. That did not appear to completely satisfy Franken’s concerns.
Today’s Judiciary Committee hearing has so far proceeded much the way yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing did, with Democrats (except the Justice Department witness) expressing skepticism that the current law adequately protects Americans’ civil liberties and Republicans emphasizing the need to have all possible tools for law enforcement available because another major terrorist attack could occur at any time.
Massachusetts Supreme Court Strikes Down Warrantless GPS Spying ...
In an “undisclosed location,” Dick Cheney is having a fit. mcs : September 21st, 2009 at 7:22 pm. GPS logs are so, so easy to forge. If you wanted to frame someone, it's really easy to upload faked logs into the unit. spyspeed : ...
The Truth About Cars - http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/
By Bill Fletcher, Jr. -Guest Columnist-
The initial weeks of the Obama administration seemed to frighten the new Israeli administration of Benjamin Netanyahu. Pres. Obama called upon Israel to halt new settlements in the Occupied Territories. In fact, in his historic speech to the Muslim world, he made it clear that his Administration would not support the continuation of the settlements.
Israel was, for a short amount of time, rocked by this approach. This seemed to differ dramatically from the uncritical support that Israel received from the Bush/Cheney administration. Right-wing elements within Israel began subtly and not-so-subtly attacking President Obama, sometimes in ways that were outright racist in tone and intent. It was clear that Mr. Netanyahu and company deeply feared that the Obama administration would take actions against them.
It is now clear that not only does the Israeli government hold no fear of the Obama administration, but they are actually holding it in contempt. The announcement that settlement expansion will continue was a complete slap in the face to the Obama administration and particularly toward the efforts by Pres. Obama's special envoy George Mitchell to jump start negotiations. The actions of the Israeli government are tantamount to a dismissal of the Obama administration as a player in the future of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
During the U.S. Presidential campaign, then Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden noted that within the first few months of a new Obama administration, President Obama would be tested by international events. As things have unfolded, he is being tested by both domestic and international developments.
Within the U.S., the political Right is doing all that it can to undermine efforts at national health care reform. Internationally, there have been several tests, but few with such long-lasting significance as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The problem, however, is not that there has been a test. The problem rests with the answers coming from the Obama administration.
After announcing to the world, through his speech in Cairo, Egypt, that Israeli settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories would not be tolerated by the United States, there has been absolutely no penalty that the Obama administration has been willing to issue and enforce in the face of Israeli intransigence. The fact that the Israelis continue with these settlements means that they anticipate no significant actions.
For some months anti-Palestinian forces, in Israel and the U.S., have been attempting to refocus their message in order to gain support within the U.S. for Israeli settlement expansion. The objective was clearly to put the Obama administration in a position where it could not act. The tragedy is that the pro-settlement public relations effort is hardly underway and the Israeli government moves forward with no fear of reprisal.
President Obama through his oratory has inspired millions of people in the U.S. and around the world. Yet it is fair to ask whether the rhetoric will be backed by action. If the U.S.A. is saying that the Israelis should stop the settlements, what is the Obama administration prepared to do? Are they prepared to cut aid? Cut military assistance? Or can they possibly believe that through nice words and good intentions, that the President can simply convince the Israelis to do the right thing?
Most independent observers have concurred that Israeli obstinacy is at the heart of the problem in resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In fact, there is a growing sense that the long hoped for two-state solution (Israel and a Palestinian state) is impossible in light of the Israeli expansion into Palestinian territories. Are the Palestinians and their friends around the world to expect that the eight years of the Bush/Cheney open support for Israeli aggression will now be followed by the 4-8 years of an Obama administration that is prepared to remain silent and do nothing in the face of that same aggression?
(Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and the co-author of “Solidarity Divided.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
President Obama Lost a Battle to Israel Lobby (FinalCall.com, April 18, 2009)
Pro-Israel lobby dictates U.S. policy, study charges (FinalCall.com, 04-05-2006)
George Barna has used his research and his platform to speak into the health care reform debate, and I lift three quotes to solicit your response:
In essence, what Americans seem to want is increased government services, more efficient delivery of services, no increase in taxes, and no personal involvement in the process. In a nutshell, our argument is: it's not my fault and it's not my job, so let the paid professionals deal with it.
In short, Jesus Christ showed us that anyone who follows Him is expected to address the most pressing needs of others. You can describe Jesus' health care strategy in four words: whoever, whatever, whenever, wherever. Whoever needed to be healed received His healing touch. Whatever affliction they suffered from, He addressed it. Whenever the opportunity to heal arose, He seized it. Wherever they happened to be, He took care of it.
Contrast the Jesus model with the preferred American model. The latter might be described as deciding to throw some money at the problem - but not too much - so that somebody else can do what needs to be done, for those who qualify, in a manner that does not inconvenience us. The former approach was the whoever, whatever, whenever, wherever strategy.
It's quite a contrast, isn't it?
'Christopher Hitchens' on Q TV
10 Ways the U.S. Military Has Shoved Christianity Down Muslims' Throats
By Chris Rodda, Talk To Action
It's not just private religious organizations that act like Christian crusaders. more »
They Know It’s Coming; They Can Hear The Lawn Mower In The Distance And By Thanksgiving….
Snowe to Reid: "What's the Rush?" Note: Don’t Count On Snowe…She’s A Snow Job! [Ed.]
By Robert Romano
Harry Reid is once again threatening to invoke reconciliation, whereby only 51 instead of 60 votes would be needed to pass the government-run health care proposal, ObamaCare. Apparently, the democratic system is not working fast enough for Reid's taste.
This time, Reid has threatened to eliminate the filibuster should Republicans halt consideration of the bill in committee. "If we can't work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we'll be forced to do reconciliation," he said, calling the tactic a "last resort."
"Railroading" might be a better term.
However, the haste that Senate Democrats want to move on Senator Max Baucus' public-private insurance "co-ops" proposal—which would provide taxpayer-subsidized health care to 26 million—has Olympia Snowe scratching her head.
As the Senate Finance Committee prepared to vote on a measure that would have required the language of the bill to be posted online prior to a committee vote (which would have given the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) time to properly estimate the cost of the bill) she actually got angry at her Democrat colleagues who refused.
Said Snowe with no small amount of displeasure, "I truly do not understand the skepticism about this request, the reluctance and the reticence. This is about doing our job. If it takes two more weeks, it takes two more weeks. We're talking about trillions of dollars in the final analysis. What is the rush? Is there something happening in two weeks?"
She might justifiably have added the word "bums"—as in, "What's the bum's rush?"
According to the CBO, a reliable cost estimate of the bill will not be quantifiable without the final proposed language, as opposed to the conceptual language the committee normally works with. Nonetheless, in a party line vote of 13-10, the committee agreed to only give the CBO the conceptual language, which would likely throw cost estimates off, according to the CBO.
The icing on the cake is Harry Reid's thuggish threats to Senate Republicans to invoke reconciliation if they do not vote the legislation out of committee—despite the fact that neither they nor Reid has any idea about how much it will actually cost.
In recent weeks, Reid has threatened to use reconciliation repeatedly. At one point, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said, "The White House and the Senate Democratic leadership still prefer a bipartisan bill. However, patience is not unlimited, and we are determined to get something done this year by any legislative means necessary."
Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted a public backlash if the bum's rush tactic were used. He said, "Let me say…budget reconciliation has never been used to structure one-sixth of the American economy. If that option were chosen, there would be a severe, negative, and I think appropriate reaction from the American people… If you thought the American people were upset in August, you haven't seen how upset they will be if this device is chosen."
McConnell is not off-track. Some 56 percent of Americans currently oppose Democrats' health care proposal, according to Rasmussen Reports. If Democrats now choose to eliminate the time-honored filibuster to nationalize the health care system, the consequences will be dire, both for Democrats, and for the country.
The filibuster has been used as a means of giving the minority party in the Senate a voice. It has been an effective tool for slowing down debate and allowing cooler heads to prevail for more than 150 years. Without it, a majority party could rule things like a mob. Which is what Reid apparently intends to do.
Senate Republicans need to answer in kind. They should make a threat of their own to Harry Reid: If he invokes reconciliation on ObamaCare, they will shut down and boycott the Senate altogether. Then the Senate will not work as fast as the Obama-Reid Cabal wants. In fact, it will not work at all. And the nation can heave a great sigh of relief.
Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.