Another Right-Wing [Domestic] Terrorist – On Monday, the U.S. attorney in Seattle will ask a judge to give Michael Fenter 13 years for bank robbery and a weapons offense. When Michael Fenter was arrested coming out of a Tacoma bank last fall with $73,000 in a bag and a gun at his hip, just about everyone had the same question: “Why?”
During the robberies, Fenter told bank employees that he was angry about the government bailout of banks. Upon his arrest, he said his name was “Patrick Henry,” a Revolutionary War-era governor famous for his “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech. Fenter said robbing banks wasn’t to get money for himself or his family. Instead, he did it because he was a “true patriot.” The money, he said, went to fund that cause.
One Bank of America employee said at Friday’s sentencing hearing in Tacoma that she thinks about the robbery everyday and her heart races. “He’s a terrorist,” she said.
Tax Cuts and Military Spending Are the Main Reasons for the Growing Deficit – The new Congressional Budget Office budget projections released today show that the nation faces a fourth consecutive year of substantial budget deficits. Some seek to portray “runaway domestic spending” or growth in the costs of entitlement programs as the primary cause of the shift in recent years from sizeable surpluses to large deficits. Such a characterization is incorrect. In 2005, the cost of tax cuts enacted over the past four years will be over three times the cost of all domestic program increases enacted over this period.
The new CBO data show that changes in law enacted since January 2001 increased the deficit by $539 billion in 2005. In the absence of such legislation, the nation would have a surplus this year. Tax cuts account for nearly half — 48 percent — of this $539 billion in increased costs.  Increases in program spending make up the other 52 percent and have been primarily concentrated in defense, homeland security, and international affairs.
Billionaire Tries to Convince Us That We Don’t Want to Retire – On June 26, results were released of a nationwide survey of participants in town hall events dedicated to discussing ways to reduce the deficit. The events were organized by America Speaks and largely funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Peterson is a hedge-fund billionaire dedicated to cutting Social Security in the name of deficit reduction. The group falsely reported that a majority of Americans favor raising the age of retirement to 69.
America Speaks has since corrected the survey in an online slideshow and a PDF of the report that lives on its site. The incorrect number had already been blasted out to the press and delivered to the deficit commission. The correct number is only 39%.
In Rick Perry’s Texas, the Internet is Really Slow – Akamai Technologies “State of the Internet” report for the first quarter of 2010 shows that Texas has the eight slowest internet connection speeds in the nation and the U.S. is slow compared to Europe and highly-populated areas of Asia.
Senior Citizens In the Dark on Benefits of Health-Care Reform – A recent National Council on Aging poll conducted between July 9 – July 12, 2010 yielded some pretty startling statistics.
- 21% of respondents said they were “very familiar” with the law, and an additional 64% said they were “somewhat familiar” with it. Of those, 60% said they were satisfied that the information they received was accurate and reliable.
- Yet, when asked if the new law would result in future cuts to their basic Medicare benefits, 55% of the “very familiar” group answered “Yes”, as did 47% of the “somewhat familiar” group.
- 62% of the “very familiar” group said they believed the new law would increase the federal budget deficit over the next 10 years, with 57% of the “somewhat familiar” group concurring.
- Half of those “very familiar” with the law believes it does not improve the quality of care for beneficiaries with chronic illnesses, and 46% believe Medicare payments to doctors will be cut.
- Remarkably, only 52% of the seniors “very familiar” with the law agreed that uninsured Americans will be covered and younger people would have extra protections.
How many of those misinformed seniors claiming to be “very familiar” with the law watch Fox News?
The National Council on Aging has created materials to help seniors understand the law and what their benefits are under the law. Now we need to get out there and help them understand it.
Fox News: Still Lying After All These Years – For some time now, various “reporters” and on-air personalities on the Fox News Network have failed to report the full story or relevant facts, instead indulging in race baiting in order to exploit people’s fears and crank up the fringe of their audience. This was exemplified by Glenn Beck’s nightly assault on Van Jones earlier this year. It turns out Van Jones’ name was added to a website without his permission, a fact the group finally admitted some time after he resigned.
Then Fox News aired and supported fake videos about ACORN. Those videos were proven edited and false, but by then, the group that helped poor people had been defunded and disbanded.
Recently, Fox has cranked up stories about the Department of Justice’s decision not to prosecute a voter intimidation case against a Black Panther group and even worse, calls for Atty. General Holder’s resignation. It turns out that it was the Bush Administration who decided not to prosecute the case against the black panthers because as Bush’s Assistant Attorney General Perez testified, “the facts did not constitute a prosecutable violation of the criminal statutes. Under the Obama Administration, the Justice Department won a judgment in a civil case against the group.
And by now we all know how the Sherrod story went down. Despite his claims to the contrary on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace didn’t have his facts quite right. As a media matters study showed, Fox News did in fact spend a lot of air-time on July 19th and 20th cranking up the false story. Not to mention that foxnews.com bragged that shortly after they posted a “report” about the video Mrs. Sherrod resigned.
None of this is new. I don’t believe all or even most of the Republican party voters are racist, but going at least as far back as Lee Atwater, the Willie Horton ads, and the attacks on John McCain in the South Carolina primaries in both 2000 and 2008, the immigration debate in 2006, there is a persistent willingness in the Republican party to use race baiting for electoral advantage.
After the year and a half this country has just been through, it is pretty obvious that the right-wing has no intention of cooperating with anyone, and that they will do anything to regain power, just as they were willing to do anything to hold on to it. The only reasonable approach is to stand up to them as you would any group of bullies. Call them out for what they do- or don’t do as the case may be. That means we have to work hard and stand up for the truth.
Republican Platform of Iowa Embraces Plan To Strip Obama’s American Citizenship For Accepting Nobel Peace Prize – The Republican Party of Iowa’s platform includes, among the instances of “North American Union” paranoia and the upholding of manure as the only agricultural poop inveighed by its creator with American exceptionalism, a bizarre plan to strip President Barack Obama of his citizenship for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. The Iowa GOP is calling for the “reintroduction and ratification of the original version of the 13th amendment” of the Constitution, which proposed in 1810, but was never ratified and thus, never became law. It stated:
“If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.”
Not only do they want to take us back 200 years, they want us to adopt ideas that were thrown out 200 years ago.
More Fear Mongering About Muslims – A recent series of unsigned emails and anonymous Web postings has called for a Tea Party protest during Friday prayers outside the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, in Riverside County. Protest organizers are upset at the Islamic group’s plans to build a new mosque to replace its current makeshift mosque.
One of the emails states, Muslims “hate dogs. … Tennessee was able to stop the Mosque so bring your Bibles, flags, signs, dogs and singing voice on Friday.”
If the Tea Party is about freedom, they have a weird idea of what freedom of religion means.
Republican Rand Paul: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rules – The federal code as revised by Republican Rand Paul might yield fewer rules than the game of Yahtzee. Paul has said, “Things that are nonviolent shouldn’t be against the law.” That means unless it physically wounds or kills you, you’re out of luck (rich/strong guy wins).
As an example, Paul doesn’t like the provisions of the Civil Rights Act that forced private businesses, like the infamous Woolworth’s lunch counter, to desegregate. He illustrated his argument this way: “If you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant, even though the owner of the restaurant says, ‘Well, no, we don’t want to have guns in here…because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each other’? Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant?” Replace guns with black people and his point becomes clear.
In December, Rand Paul’s campaign spokesman, Chris Hightower, resigned after a public airing of his MySpace page, which included his “LOL!” posting about some “Afro-Americans” giving him “snarls” for wearing a hoodie adorned with what he jokingly called KKK imagery and a friend’s posting, undeleted for almost two years, wishing Hightower “Happy Nigger Day!!!” with a photo of a lynched corpse, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Republicans Just Want to Have Fun – Republican Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska was recently witnessed in close conversation with a comely lobbyist at the Capitol Hill Club in DC recently. “Why did you get me so drunk?” Terry asked the giggling woman, among other personal remarks. When Terry realized he was sitting near a reporter, he quickly changed the topic of conversation to his three children and the struggle to pay their college tuition. Terry was given a 100 percent rating by the Christian Coalition for his pro-family voting record.
Meanwhile, a Kansas City blog posted photos of Missouri Republican Rep. Sam Graves dining with a blond lobbyist from the Patriot Group at a DC restaurant. His office didn’t respond to our repeated requests for comment.
And lobbyist Glenn LeMunyon’s DC row house has been a hot spot for lobbyists who want to meet House members, including California’s Republican Duncan Hunter, Pennsylvania’s Republican Bill Shuster and Republican Lee Terry. LeMunyon uses the house as an office during the day, a fund-raising space. Some nights, and a place for congressmen to mingle after-hours with lobbyists.
Defiant Arizona Governor Vows to Block Immigrants on Facebook 😉 – Hours after a federal judge struck down Arizona’s controversial immigration law, Gov. Jan Brewer decried the decision and vowed to block illegal immigrants on Facebook.
Speaking to reporters at the state capitol, a defiant Gov. Brewer pledged to build a “virtual wall” around Arizona’s Facebook page, guarded by hit men from Mafia Wars.
“A federal judge has decided that these people can sneak over our border and live with us,” Gov. Brewer said. “Well, they can’t play Farmville with us.”