Monday, November 30, 2009

Rep. Shuster Bashes The Stimulus As A Failure While Taking Credit For Its Success


Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) is a vocal opponent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act who not only voted against the stimulus, but goes out of his way to mock it as “going nowhere” and doing “nothing to encourage growth.” Using the “failed” stimulus as his evidence, Shuster has been claiming that the government is incapable of reforming healthcare. But while Shuster tries to gain political points by bashing the stimulus, he has been quietly claiming credit for its benefits in his district, as well as advocating for an expanded role for Recovery Act money in his community:

– Last week, Shuster attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a sewage treatment plant for the Blairsville Municipal Authority. Republican State Senator Don White noted that the project was only possible because of the stimulus, which allowed the state Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) to provide a $10.4 million grant and a $3 million low interest loan for construction.

– On November 4, Shuster asked Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) to use some of the state’s stimulus money to reopen the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children. Shuster noted that using the Recovery Act money for the school would save 134 full-time jobs.

– In July, Shuster joined 14 Pennsylvania lawmakers — including fellow stimulus-opponents Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Todd Platts (R-PA) — in writing a letter asking that stimulus money be used towards public universities.

– In June, Shuster hailed the stimulus-funded initiative to build a high-speed rail line between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The Post-Gazette quoted Shuster praising the project: “I believe we are about to experience a new era in passenger rail in this country. I want Western Pennsylvania to participate in this new era and to enjoy the benefits of increased and expanded passenger rail service.”

Today, Roll Call reports that Republican lawmakers are planning this week to announce the GOP’s new “December Attack Plan,” which will focus on denigrating President Obama’s stimulus. Presumably, rank-in-file members like Shuster will participate in the attack, even though they have taken credit for the stimulus’ success. And to add to the irony, the attack is being led by Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has now hosted multiple job fairs in his district filled with employers hiring directly because of the stimulus.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Inhofe Trashes Military Generals Who Advocate For Clean Energy Legislation: They Crave ‘The Limelight’


In testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn articulated a national security argument for passing clean energy legislation. “Continued over reliance on fossil fuels, or small, incremental steps, simply will not create the kind of future security and prosperity that the American people and our great Nation deserve,” McGinn warned.

In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate environment committee, argued that McGinn and other generals who are advocating for clean energy reform (like Wesley Clark, Stephen Cheney, Brent Scowcroft, etc) are simply doing so because they crave “the limelight”:

NYT: Senator Boxer is chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee,on which you are the ranking Republican. She and her fellow Democrats have lately suggested that global warming could be a threat to national security by destabilizing developing countries.

INHOFE: That’s the most ludicrous thing. They looked around and they found, I think, five generals to testify before the committee. Well, that’s 5 generals out of 4,000 retired generals that say that. There are a lot of generals who don’t like to be out of the limelight. They’d like to get back in.

Despite Inhofe’s desire to trash the motivations of military generals who have a different view than he does about the impending climate crisis, the national security implications of climate change cannot be so easily dismissed. For at least the past two years, “military and intelligence experts have been issuing studies warning that climate change could put American military personnel and national security at risk. Increasingly violent storms, pandemics, drought and large-scale refugee problems, they say, will destabilize regions and encourage terrorism. And American dependence on foreign energy sources will only exacerbate the threats and increase the likelihood of military action.”

It’s not just military generals who are making this argument. Inhofe’s former colleague, John Warner (who Inhofe acknowledged has had “a long and distinguished career in the military”), also understands the security implications of global warming:

WARNER: Leading military, intelligence, and security experts have publically spoken out that if left unchecked, global warming could increase instability and lead to conflict in already fragile regions of the world. If we ignore these facts, we do so at the peril of our national security and increase the risk to those in uniform who serve our nation. It is for this reason that I firmly believe the U.S. must take a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, Inhofe probably believes Warner is craving the limelight too. Apparently, everyone needs to take lessons from Inhofe about how to unassumingly fly below the radar.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Palin quits before finishing the 5K Turkey Trot race.


On Wednesday, Sarah Palin excitedly announced on Twitter that she was going to be running a 5K Turkey Trot charity race in Washington state on Thanksgiving day. Large crowds of people turned out to catch Palin at the race, hoping to get the chance to meet the former Alaska governor. Palin, however, quit the race early to avoid many of her fans:

Palin had announced on Twitter that she would be running the 5k race organized by the Benton-Franklin Chapter of the Red Cross.

She didn’t finish the race, opting to leave the course early to avoid more crowds at the end. About 40 minutes into the run, word started trickling out to people gathered at the finish line that she was gone.

Wonkette also points out that Palin said she wasn’t going to be making a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving because it was “too much work.”

ACORN reprieve sparks GOP fury


The saga of the embattled anti-poverty group ACORN has taken a new twist, with the disclosure of a Justice Department opinion that a vote by Congress to cut off all federal funding to the group should not affect contracts signed before it was passed.

A spokesman for the Republicans in Congress has already blasted the decision as "shameful."

According to The New York Times, soon after Congress voted in September, a lawyer for the Department of Housing and Urban Development asked the Justice Department how it should handle pre-existing contracts with ACORN. Much of the money which ACORN receives from the federal government is in the form of HUD grants involving the provision of affordable housing.

In an October 23 memorandum (pdf), which has just been released, Acting Assistant Attorney General David Barron replied that the language of the bill was ambiguous but his opinion was that those contracts could not be breached "where doing so would give rise to contractual liability."

Barron was specifically concerned with "cases where performance has already been completed but payment has not been rendered," which he argued could raise questions of constitutionality if payment was withheld.....................more....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Glenn Beck: ‘Yapping’ Palin belongs in the kitchen


While joking around on his radio show Wednesday, Fox News personality Glenn Beck addressed the idea that he and Sarah Palin should run for president together in 2012.

Beck apparently likes the idea of a Beck-Palin ticket, but a Palin-Beck ticket? Not so much.

"I was just thinking, what, I'm going to take a back seat to a chick?" Beck quipped, to laughter from the studio. "Go shoot a bear, make some stew, I'm hungry in here."

In an interview with Newsmax last week, Palin "wouldn't rule out" running with the controversial talk show host in 2012.

"So while she's considering it ... I just want her to know, I'm ruling it out. A Palin-Beck ticket, I'm absolutely ruling it out," Beck said. "I’m just saying, Beck-Palin, I’ll consider. But Palin-Beck -- can you imagine what an administration with the two of us would be like? She'd be yapping or something, I'd say, 'I'm sorry, why am I hearing your voice? I'm not in the kitchen.' I mean, you'd have to live up to the evil conservative stereotypes, you'd have no choice but to do so."............

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lobbyists pushed off advisory panels

Washington Post

Hundreds, if not thousands, of lobbyists are likely to be ejected from federal advisory panels as part of a little-noticed initiative by the Obama administration to curb K Street's influence in Washington, according to White House officials and lobbying experts.

The new policy -- issued with little fanfare this fall by the White House ethics counsel -- may turn out to be the most far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama, who also has sought to restrict the ability of lobbyists to get jobs in his administration and to negotiate over stimulus contracts.

The initiative is aimed at a system of advisory committees so vast that federal officials don't have exact numbers for its size; the most recent estimates tally nearly 1,000 panels with total membership exceeding 60,000 people.

Under the policy, which is being phased in over the coming months, none of the more than 13,000 lobbyists in Washington would be able to hold seats on the committees, which advise agencies on trade rules, troop levels, environmental regulations, consumer protections and thousands of other government policies....more...

Pardoned White House Turkey Slays Nine

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - In a potentially embarrassing situation for the Obama White House, a turkey pardoned by President Obama earlier this week went on a three-state killing spree on Thanksgiving Day, killing nine.

While authorities were still piecing together the motivation behind the recidivist fowl's homicidal rampage, a chorus of Republican critics complained that pardoning the feathered killer was symptomatic of the Obama administration's misguided policies.

"First they close down Guantanamo, then they let killer turkeys run free," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). "Next thing you know they'll put this turkey on trial in New York."

Elsewhere, a person believed to be a party-crasher who attended this week's state dinner and acted inappropriately turned out to be Vice President Joe Biden.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

WATCH: White House Spoofs Turkey Pardon


Move over, BarneyCam!

The White House new media team had some fun with President Obama's first official pardoning of a turkey for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In a video posted to the White House YouTube page, a "turkey" does the slow walk right through the gates outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, past "Pebble Beach" where reporters do stand-up television shots, through the West Wing and Oval Office into the Rose Garden.

The spoof is the brainchild of Arun Chaudhary, who traveled with Obama during the long primary and general election campaigns.

But Ben LaBolt from the White House press shop steals the show as narrator.

The bird will "be trotting a little prouder as he walks down these hallowed halls for his appointment with destiny," LaBolt deadpans.

It's all geared toward getting people to watch the pardoning live today on the White House Web site.

Today, "one turkey will be a free bird," LaBolt said.

Perino: No Terrorists Attacked America On Bush's Watch


Former Bush press secretary Dana Perino made a rather odd claim on Sean Hannity's Fox News show last night. Talking about how we ought to label the deadly shooting at Fort Hood -- and implying that the Obama administration was shying away from calling it a terrorist attack out of political concerns -- Perino said no terrorists attacked the U.S. while President Bush was in office.

We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term. I hope they're not looking at this politically. I do think that we owe it to the American people to call it what it is.

Perino's claim went unchallenged -- no one on screen mentioned the 9/11 attacks.

Here's the video:

REPORT: At Least 40 GOP Lawmakers Fail A Principle Of The ‘Purity Test’


Yesterday, Republican National Committee member Jim Bopp unveiled a resolution to deny funding of candidates who do not uphold right-wing conservative values. The resolution, termed a “purity test,” is being touted as a mechanism for actually avoiding the party schism that occurred in the NY-23 special election, when the Republican Party nominated a moderate who violated several of the resolution dictates.

As the Hotline has noted, the resolution, if adopted, would boot key Republican candidates running for the Senate next year. National Republicans recruited Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) to run for the Senate, even though they have bucked conservative orthodoxy in the past.

ThinkProgress has conducted an analysis that finds at least 40 current Republican members of Congress have violated at least one principle of the purity test:

Purity Pledge #1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill

– The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus) was passed with support from Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

Purity Pledge #2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare

– Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) voted for the health reform bill passed by the House.

Purity Pledge #3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation

– The Waxman Markey cap and trade clean energy bill was passed with support from GOP Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Mike Castle (R-DE), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Chris Smith (R-NJ).

Purity Pledge #4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check

– In 2007, the House passed the Employee Free Choice Act with support from Republican Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA), Don Young (R-AK), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Peter King (R-NY), and Steve LaTourette (R-OH).

Purity Pledge #5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants

– The McCain-Kennedy 2006 immigration bill would have “legalized millions of undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. if they paid fines, paid back taxes and learned English.” Republican Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Dick Lugar (R-IN), George Voinovich (R-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Bennett (R-UT), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) voted for the bill.

Purity Pledge #6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges

– In 2007, both Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) cosponsored resolutions opposing a troop surge in Iraq. In the House, Reps. Bob Inglis (R-SC), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dean Heller (R-NV), Walter Jones (R-NC), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Mike Castle (R-DE), Howard Coble (R-NC), Ron Paul (R-TX), Tom Petri (R-WI), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Steve LaTourette (R-OH) supported a resolution opposing the Iraq surge. In addition, Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), John Duncan (R-TN), and Tim Johnson (R-IL) have signed onto a letter opposing a troop surge in Afghanistan.

Purity Pledge #7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat

– Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Dick Lugar (R-IN) both voted to remove North Korea from the state-sponsors of terror list. Sen. Lugar also voted against a 2007 resolution urging action against Iran. In the House, Reps. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) voted against further sanctions against Iran in 2007.

Purity Pledge #10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership

– Earlier this year, Sen. John Thune’s (R-SD) “concealed carry” gun amendment failed to receive the 60 votes it needed to pass. Republican Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and George Voinovich (R-OH) opposed the measure.

Already, conservative leaders like RedState’s Erik Erickson are saying that Bopp’s purity resolution doesn’t even go far enough. On Monday night, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann noted that President Ronald Reagan violated 6 of the 10 purity tests. “Ronald Reagan was a Democrat?” asked Olbermann, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Palin Suggests Reforming Canada’s Universal Health Care System: ‘Let The Private Sector Take Over’


Canadian comedian Mary Walsh (playing the character of Marg Delahunty) attended a Sarah Palin book signing in the United States last week and asked the “thrilla from Wasilla, the Alaskan Aphrodite” if she had “any words of encouragement for the Canadian conservatives who have worked so hard to try to diminish that kind of socialized medicine we have up there.”

“Keep the faith and that common-sense conservatism,” Palin said to Walsh, who was being pushed out of the store by bodyguards. “It needs to be plugged into Canadian policies too. Keep the faith!” Palin cried out.

After the event, Walsh waited in the loading dock of the Borders bookstore “close to where Palin’s bus was parked.” Palin came over and energetically encouraged Walsh to “keep the faith” again and suggested that Canada needs to reform its health care system to “let the private sector take over”:

WALSH: Ms. Palin, I tried to ask you a question inside, but I didn’t hear your answer! The Canadians! Ms. Palin!

PALIN: Well, my answer was too keep the faith. My answer was to keep the faith. Cause that common sense conservatism can be plugged-in there in Canada too. In fact Canada needs to reform its health care system and let the private sector take over some of what the government has absorbed. So thank you, keep the faith.

Watch it:

In Canada, “the private sector” is already “a crucial part” of the Canadian health care system. The federal government finances the basic health care plan, (through a “Medicaid-like arrangement in which Canada’s 10 provinces and 2 territories jointly fund” the system), but care is independently organized and managed by each province or territory. Canadians spend billions on private supplemental coverage and physicians work in private practices. Everyone has access to care, and patients “can see any doctor they want anywhere in the country with no copays or deductibles.”

While the system has longer waiting periods for certain elective surgeries, research suggests that Canadians do enjoy better access to care and “superior” health outcomes compared to Americans. According to a Commonwealth Fund of deaths that could have been prevented “with access to quality medical care in the leading 19 industrialized countries,” the United States ranked last and Canada came in sixth.

Toe-Sucking Troll from Under the Bridge Uses Faux News Once Again to Raise Money

On Fox News' Hannity, Fox News contributor Dick Morris touted "the work we're trying to do through" to oppose health care reform and instructed viewers to "go there and help us." Morris has repeatedly used his frequent appearances on Fox News to raise money for conservative political organizations, including those in which he has a financial interest, a practice that also has been followed by Fox News' Mike Huckabee.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage to Everyone Else

Sarah Palin Debates Mrs. Betty Bowers, "America's Best Christian"

Leaked documents reveal No 10 cover-up over Iraq invasion

Military commanders are expected to tell the inquiry into the Iraq war, which opens on Tuesday, that the invasion was ill-conceived and that preparations were sabotaged by Tony Blair's government's attempts to mislead the public.

They were so shocked by the lack of preparation for the aftermath of the invasion that they believe members of the British and US governments at the time could be prosecuted for war crimes by breaching the duty outlined in the Geneva convention to safeguard civilians in a conflict, the Guardian has been told.

The lengths the Blair government took to conceal the invasion plan and the extent of military commanders' anger at what they call the government's "appalling" failures emerged as Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry's chairman, promised to produce a "full and insightful" account of how Britain was drawn into the conflict.

Fresh evidence has emerged about how Blair misled MPs by claiming in 2002 that the goal was "disarmament, not regime change". Documents show the government wanted to hide its true intentions by informing only "very small numbers" of officials....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mojo Nixon - Destroy All Lawyers

Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon "Love Me, I'm a Liberal"

Mojo Nixon and Jello Biafra ~ Hamlet Chicken Plant Disaster

On September 3rd 1991 a fire broke out at a Chicken Processing Plant in Hamlet North Carolina. The owner had had all the emergency doors of the plant locked and barred to save a few dollars. 25 workers burned alive, and 49 were injured. The owner responsible for these deaths served less than 4 years in prison.

Mojo Nixon and Jello Biafra wrote this song about it, which is found on the Prairie Home Invasion Album.

Mojo Nixon-Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child

Mojo Nixon - Burn Down the Malls

Mojo Nixon - Take Me To Your Leader Otis Campbell

Mojo Nixon - Tie My Pecker to My Leg

Jello Biafra / Mojo Nixon - Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus?

Mojo Nixon - Redneck Rampage

‘Read the stimulus’ advocate Dick Armey slammed for not bothering to read the stimulus.


Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee held a hearing on the implementation of the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus. Republican members invited former GOP Majority Leader Dick Armey, who now leads the corporate front group FreedomWorks, to testify as their expert witness. After listening to Armey argue at length about the merits of even having any government intervention in the economy, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) asked him if he supported the unemployment compensation provisions of the bill. Armey said he might, but conceded that he had not read that portion of the bill. Van Hollen then extracted a confession that Armey had not even read the bill at all, even though he was appearing as an expert and repeatedly goes before the press to criticize the stimulus:

VAN HOLLEN: Let me ask you think. You keep saying ‘if there were,’ did you read the Economic Recovery bill?

ARMEY: No I didn’t. I had no reason to read it, I wasn’t voting on it.

VAN HOLLEN: You’re commenting on it an awful lot, both here and in the press, about the Economic Recovery bill. We ask members of Congress to read it when they vote on it and are considering it. You’ve said a lot about it, so I’m a little surprised that you have not read it. [...] It seems to me we owe it to people we are communicating with we have an understanding an read the information.

Watch it:

Ironically, as part of an effort to obstruct and derail the bill, Armey launched an online petition called “” In another bit of irony, although he postures as a fierce ideological opponent of the stimulus, Armey actually worked as a lobbyist to help businesses gain from the stimulus. According to disclosures, he was paid to lobby on behalf of Cape Wind Associates and the Medicines Company on the stimulus. His son, Scott Armey, who runs his own lobbying shop, has also worked with businesses to gain stimulus funds.

Filter-Can't You Trip Like I Do

Filter - Hey Man Nice Shot

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Media Matters Speaks With Rupert Murdoch

Fox News' year in apologies

On November 19, co-host Jane Skinner apologized for Happening Now "mistakenly" airing a fake video of Sarah Palin's book tour "crowds." This was not the first time Fox News has apologized for airing fake videos and false information.

Fox News presents year-old Palin footage as new Palin book tour crowd. As Think Progress first noted, on the November 18 edition of Happening Now, guest co-host Gregg Jarrett used old footage -- which he said was "just coming in to us" -- of a McCain-Palin rally from last year to illustrate how Sarah Palin is "continuing to draw huge crowds" during her book tour. The following day, Skinner apologized for "mistakenly" airing the fake crowd video.

Stewart blasts Hannity for using old video footage to inflate Bachmann rally attendance. During the November 10 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Stewart blasted Fox News host Sean Hannity for attempting to inflate the crowd size of Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) Fox News-fueled GOP rally against health care reform by using footage of the crowd at the better-attended 9-12 rally. On the November 11 edition of his program, Hannity said he "screwed up" and apologized for airing "incorrect video" of 9-12 protests while discussing the Bachmann rally.

Fox News' Garrett apologizes for fake HBO-Obama story -- which Fox News repeated days later. During the November 4 edition of America's Newsroom, guest co-host Martha MacCallum started the fake story that President Obama watched an HBO special about himself instead of the November 3 election returns. The fake story was then picked up by Rush Limbaugh, among others, who claimed that "[i]f a documentary could get anal poisoning, this one could." On the November 4 edition of Studio B with Shepard Smith, White House correspondent Major Garrett apologized for mishearing press secretary Robert Gibbs and passing on the erroneous information. Despite the Fox News correction, on the November 8 edition of Fox News Watch, Fox News' weekly media analysis program, host Jon Scott repeated the fake story, claiming that Obama was "watching the HBO documentary. ... Now, maybe that's the one thing that could pull him away from -- from election returns."

Kilmeade: Americans don't have "pure genes" like Swedes because "we keep marrying other species and other ethnics." As Gawker noted, on the July 8 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said that Americans don't have "pure genes" like Swedes because "we keep marrying other species and other ethnics." Kilmeade apologized for his "inappropriate" remarks on July 20.

Democrat Mark Sanford. During the June 24 edition of Fox News' Live Desk, while covering a press conference of embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Fox News ran on-screen text identifying him as a Democrat:

On Live Desk the next day, co-host Trace Gallagher made "a correction for something we put up on the screen during our coverage during the governor's press conference yesterday. We briefly identified Governor Sanford as a Democrat. He is, of course, a Republican. And we apologize for getting that wrong."

Fox News presents deceptively cropped 6-month-old Biden clip as new. On the March 16 edition of Live Desk, MacCallum claimed that "after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend." Live Desk then aired clips of administration officials purportedly giving an optimistic view of the economy, which included video of Vice President Joe Biden stating, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." However, Biden did not make those remarks during an "interview" that weekend; he made them at a September 2008 campaign event in which he criticized statements by Sen. John McCain. MacCallum apologized the next day, stating: "When we get something wrong, we admit it. We did so yesterday, and for that we apologize."

Fox News Watch's Scott claims "[w]e don't have any idea" what Biden said to AFL-CIO, but transcript was available. On March 9, Scott claimed on Fox News Watch that Biden's appearance at an AFL-CIO executive council meeting was "closed to the press," adding, "We don't have any idea what he said there." In fact, the White House released a transcript of Biden's AFL-CIO speech, and "a pool of print reporters" reportedly covered the speech at the request of the White House. On March 23, Scott said:

SCOTT: Before we go, last News Watch, we took Vice President Biden to task to giving speech to a labor organization that had been closed to the press. I mentioned that we, the media, had no idea what he said. Well, guess what? Turns out the vice president's office heard the howls of protest and did let a few print reporters hear those remarks. The office even put a transcript on the Web a day later. The veil of secrecy had been lifted, but we at News Watch weren't aware.

Sorry, Mr. Vice President, we do know what you said.

Fox passes off GOP press release as its own research -- typo and all. During the February 10 edition of Happening Now, Scott purported to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew." In doing so, Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release.

The following day, Scott apologized -- for running the typo. Scott's apology was criticized by Washington Post media critic and CNN host Howard Kurtz, who said: "We sometimes jab at the pundits for using talking points, but in the case of Fox News anchor Jon Scott, it was literally true this week. ... You should be apologizing for using partisan propaganda from the GOP without telling your viewers where it came from. Talk about missing the point."

Palin: Crack Down On 'Iraq' To Prevent Nuclear Iran

We Are All Jihadists!

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): Republicans are about to launch a "holy war" to derail health care reform.

Fox News displays old campaign footage to claim Palin is getting ‘huge crowds’ at her book signings.


This afternoon, Fox News host Gregg Jarrett proudly announced that Sarah Palin is “continuing to draw huge crowds while she’s promoting her brand new book. Take a look at — these are some of the pictures just coming into us.” But the pictures that the network chose to display on-air appeared to be old file footage of Palin rallies from the 2008 presidential campaign. Individuals in the crowd are seen holding McCain/Palin signs, and others are holding pom-poms and cheering wildly. “There’s a crowd of folks,” an enthused Jarrett observed, referring to the old footage. Watch it:

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart recently caught Fox News’ Sean Hannity displaying crowd shots from a rally earlier this year to claim that a recent GOP health care protest drew a larger audience than it actually did. Hannity later acknowledged that he “screwed up.”

Update - Crooks and Liars' John Amato writes that he is filing an FCC complaint against Fox News for its misleading segment.

Update - Media Matters points out that one of the videos is from Nov. 1, 2008.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama Home Teleprompter Malfunctions

Officials say the President's home teleprompter is simply a tool to make sure pillow talk with Michelle or conversations with his Mother-In-Law go smoothly.

SPLC to O’Reilly: You Lose Dobbs Bet

Southern Policy Law Center

To: Bill O’Reilly
The O’Reilly Factor
Fox News Network

Dear Bill,

You lost the bet. Time to pay up!

When I appeared on your show in July, you were so certain that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s call for CNN to fire Lou Dobbs was a waste of time that you bet $10,000 (with the proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity) that it wouldn’t happen.

“CNN’s never going to fire him – you know that,” you said.

I told you that I disagreed, because I wasn’t as cynical as you. I believed that if enough people spoke out – and they did – that CNN would do the right thing.

I expect you will argue that Lou didn’t get fired – that he got fed up and quit the network he had been with for three decades.

But as a litigator, I’d like to present Exhibit A: Dobbs’ $8 million severance package, which was reported today by the New York Post. I think you’ll agree that Mr. Murdoch’s Post would never report such a thing were it not, indeed, a fact.

And would CNN fork over $8 million – enough money to pay for 13 miles of electric border fence – to an employee who simply wanted to walk away from his multimillion-dollar contract because he couldn’t constrain his opinions on a news show?

I doubt it!

Maybe your fall-back position is that it wasn’t a real bet. I don’t know. But I think that if you’ll stop spinning for a moment, you’ll agree that in the court of public opinion, you lose. I know it hurts deeply to be wrong. (Although Lou won’t admit it, it happens to the best of us.) You can be assured that your loss will be a big win for a family in need of housing.

CNN did the right thing. Now it’s your turn!

Sincerely yours,

J. Richard Cohen
President, Southern Poverty Law Center

The Second Wave - Evidence Grows of Far-Right Militia Resurgence

Southern Poverty Law Center - Larry Keller

Antigovernment Rhetoric Spills into the Mainstream
Read More
In Pensacola, Fla., retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson tells a gathering of antigovernment "Patriots" that the federal government has set up 1,000 internment camps across the country and is storing 30,000 guillotines and a half-million caskets in Atlanta.

They're there for the day the government finally declares martial law and moves in to round up or kill American dissenters, he says. "They're going to keep track of all of us, folks," Gunderson warns.

Outside Atlanta, a so-called "American Grand Jury" issues an "indictment" of Barack Obama for fraud and treason because, the panel concludes, he wasn't born in the United States and is illegally occupying the office of president. Other sham "grand juries" around the country follow suit.

Oklahoma City
The Oklahoma City federal building after the 1995 bombing.

And on the site in Lexington, Mass., where the opening shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in 1775, members of Oath Keepers, a newly formed group of law enforcement officers, military men and veterans, "muster" on April 19 to reaffirm their pledge to defend the U.S. Constitution. "We're in perilous times … perhaps far more perilous than in 1775," says the man administering the oath. April 19 is the anniversary not only of the battle of Lexington Green, but also of the 1993 conflagration at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and the lethal bombing two years later of the Oklahoma City federal building — seminal events in the lore of the extreme right, in particular the antigovernment Patriot movement.

Almost 10 years after it seemed to disappear from American life, there are unmistakable signs of a revival of what in the 1990s was commonly called the militia movement. From Idaho to New Jersey and Michigan to Florida, men in khaki and camouflage are back in the woods, gathering to practice the paramilitary skills they believe will be needed to fend off the socialistic troops of the "New World Order."

One big difference from the militia movement of the 1990s is that the face of the federal government — the enemy that almost all parts of the extreme right see as the primary threat to freedom — is now black. And the fact that the president is an African American has injected a strong racial element into even those parts of the radical right, like the militias, that in the past were not primarily motivated by race hate. Contributing to the racial animus have been fears on the far right about the consequences of Latino immigration.

Militia rhetoric is being heard widely once more, often from a second generation of ideologues, and conspiracy theories are being energetically revived or invented anew. "Paper terrorism" — the use of property liens, bogus legal documents and "citizens' grand juries" to attack enemies and, sometimes, reap illegal fortunes — is again proliferating, to the point where the government has set up special efforts to rein in so-called "tax defiers" and to track threats against judges. What's more, Patriot fears about the government are being amplified by a loud new group of ostensibly mainstream media commentators and politicians.

Branch Davidians
The 1993 burning of the Branch Davidian compound in Texas.

It's not 1996 all over again, or 1997 or 1998. Although there has been a remarkable rash of domestic terrorist incidents since Obama's election in November, it has not reached the level of criminal violence, attempted terrorist attacks and white-hot language that marked the militia movement at its peak. But militia training events, huge numbers of which are now viewable on YouTube videos, are spreading. One federal agency estimates that 50 new militia training groups have sprung up in less than two years. Sales of guns and ammunition have skyrocketed amid fears of new gun control laws, much as they did in the 1990s.

The situation has many authorities worried. Militiamen, white supremacists, anti-Semites, nativists, tax protesters and a range of other activists of the radical right are cross-pollinating and may even be coalescing. In the words of a February report from law enforcement officials in Missouri, a variety of factors have combined recently to create "a lush environment for militia activity."

"You're seeing the bubbling [of antigovernment sentiment] right now," says Bart McEntire, who has infiltrated racist hate groups and now is the supervisory special agent for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Roanoke, Va. "You see people buying into what they're saying. It's primed to grow. The only thing you don't have to set it on fire is a Waco or Ruby Ridge."

Another federal law enforcement official knowledgeable about militia groups agrees. He asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak publicly about them. "They're not at the level we saw in '94-'95," he says. "But this is the most significant growth we've seen in 10 to 12 years. All it's lacking is a spark. I think it's only a matter of time before you see threats and violence."

Shots, Plots and 'Sovereigns'
In fact, threats and violence from the radical right already are accelerating (see last section of this report, a list of 75 domestic terrorist plots and rampages since 1995). In recent months, men with antigovernment, racist, anti-Semitic or pro-militia views have allegedly committed a series of high-profile murders — including the killings of six law enforcement officers since April.

Most of these recent murders and plots seem to have been at least partially prompted by Obama's election. One man "very upset" with the election of America's first black president was building a radioactive "dirty bomb"; another, a Marine, was planning to assassinate Obama, as were two racist skinheads in Tennessee; still another angry at the election and said to be interested in joining a militia killed two sheriff's deputies in Florida. A man in Pittsburgh who feared Jews and gun confiscations murdered three police officers. Near Boston, a white man angered by the alleged "genocide" of his race shot to death two African immigrants and intended to murder as many Jews as possible. An 88-year-old neo-Nazi killed a guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. And an abortion physician in Kansas was murdered by a man steeped in the ideology of the "sovereign citizens" movement.

So-called sovereign citizens are people who subscribe to an ideology, originated by the anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus of the 1980s, that claims that whites are a higher kind of citizen — subject only to "common law," not the dictates of the government — while blacks are mere "14th Amendment citizens" who must obey their government masters. Although not all sovereigns subscribe to or even know about the theory's racist basis, most contend that they do not have to pay taxes, are not subject to most laws, and are not citizens of the United States.

Authorities and anecdotal evidence suggest that sovereign citizens — who, along with tax protesters and militia members, form the larger Patriot movement — may make up the most dramatically reenergized sector of the radical right. In February, the FBI launched a national operation targeting white supremacists and "militia/sovereign citizen extremist groups" after noting an upsurge in such organizations, The Wall Street Journal reported. The aim is to gather intelligence about "this emerging threat," according to an FBI memo cited by the newspaper.

Increasingly, sovereign citizens are claiming they aren't subject to income taxes — so much so that the Department of Justice last year kicked off a National Tax Defier Initiative to deal with the volume of cases. At the same time, more and more seem to be engaging in "paper terrorism," even though more than 30 states passed or strengthened laws outlawing the filing of unjustified property liens and simulating legal process (by setting up pseudo-legal "common law courts" and "citizens' grand juries") in response to sovereign activity in the 1990s.

A Michigan man whose company allegedly doubled as the headquarters of a militia group, for example, was arrested in May on charges that he placed bogus liens on property owned by courthouse officials and police officers to harass them and ruin their credit. In March, authorities raided a Las Vegas printing firm where meetings of the "Sovereign People's Court for the United States" were conducted in a mock courtroom. Seminars allegedly were taught there on how to use phony documents and other illegal means to pay off creditors. Four people were arrested on money-laundering, tax and weapons charges.

Due to a spike in "inappropriate communications," including many from sovereign citizens, the U.S. Marshals Service has opened a clearinghouse in suburban Washington, D.C., for assessing risks to court personnel. The incidents include telephone and written threats against federal judges and prosecutors, as well as bomb threats and biochemical incidents. In fiscal 2008, there were 1,278 threats and harassing communications — more than double the number of six years earlier. The number of such incidents is on pace to increase again in fiscal 2009. Sovereign citizens account for a small percentage of the cases, but theirs are more complex and generally require more resources, says Michael Prout, assistant director of judicial security for the marshals. "They are resourceful groups," he adds.

Some sovereign citizen attempts to skirt the law have been farcical. An Arkansas jury needed only seven minutes in April to convict Richard Bauer, 70, of robbing a bank. Bauer had argued that the government took his money several times, leaving him with almost nothing. "I'm a constitutionalist," he insisted, adding that "every single act was justifiable." A month earlier, a Pennsylvania man charged with drunken driving told court officials that they lacked jurisdiction over him because he was a "sovereign man." Then he changed his mind and pleaded guilty. In Nevada, a sovereign citizen — perhaps a Dr. Seuss fan —used the peculiar punctuation of names that is favored by the movement; his name, he declared, was "I am: Sam."

But few of the cases are that amusing. In February, a New York man who once declared himself a "sovereign citizen" of the "Republic of New York" and said that he enjoyed studying "the organic Constitution and the Bill of Rights" allegedly shot and killed four people. His murder case was pending at press time.

Swearing at the Government
Oath Keepers, the military and police organization that was formed earlier this year and held its April muster on Lexington Green, may be a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival. Members vow to fulfill the oaths to the Constitution that they swore while in the military or law enforcement. "Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and we will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders," the group says. Oath Keepers lists 10 orders its members won't obey, including two that reference U.S. concentration camps.

That same pugnacious attitude was on display after conservatives attacked an April report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that suggested a resurgence of radical right-wing activity was under way. "We will not fear our government; they will fear us," one man, who appeared to be on active duty in the Army, said in an angry video sent to the Oath Keepers blog. In another video at the site, a man who said he was a former Army paratrooper in Afghanistan and Iraq described President Obama as "an enemy of the state," adding, "I would rather die than be a slave to my government." The Oath Keepers site soon began hawking T-shirts with slogans like "I'm a Right Wing Extremist and Damn Proud of It!"

In April, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes — a Yale Law School graduate and former aide to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (a Texas Republican and hard-line libertarian) — worried about a coming dictatorship. "We know that if the day should come where a full-blown dictatorship would come, or tyranny … it can only happen if those men, our brothers in arms, go along and comply with unconstitutional, unlawful orders," Rhodes told conspiracy-minded radio host Alex Jones. "Imagine if we focus on the police and military. Game over for the New World Order."

He's not the first to think so. In the 1990s, retired Phoenix cop and conspiracy enthusiast Jack McLamb created an outfit called Police Against the New World Order and produced a 75-page document entitled Operation Vampire Killer 2000: American Police Action Plan for Stopping World Government Rule.

It's not known how large Oath Keepers is. But there is some evidence beyond the group's mere existence to suggest that today's Patriots are again making inroads into law enforcement — the leak of the DHS report, along with those of a couple of similar law enforcement reports, was likely the work of a sworn officer. Rhodes claims to know a federal officer leaked the DHS report, and says Oath Keepers is "hearing from more and more federal officers all the time."

The group does seem to be on the radar of federal law enforcement officers. In May, a member complained on the group's website of a visit to his farm by FBI agents who asked him, he said, about training he provides in firearms, survival skills and the like.

One Oath Keeper is longtime militia hero Richard Mack, a former sheriff of a rural Arizona county who collaborated with white supremacist Randy Weaver on a book and who, along with others, won a U.S. Supreme Court decision that weakened the Brady Bill gun control law in the 1990s. "The greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our federal government," Mack says on his website. "One of the best and easiest solutions is to depend on local officials, especially the sheriff, to stand against federal intervention and federal criminality." Mack's views echo those of the Posse Comitatus, which believed that sheriffs are the highest law enforcement authorities in America. "I pray for the day that a sheriff in this country will arrest an IRS agent for trespassing or attempting to victimize citizens in that particular sheriff's county," Mack said in a video he made for Oath Keepers.

Why the Return?
Why are militias and the larger Patriot movement making a comeback?

The original militia movement took off in the mid-1990s, with the first large militias appearing in 1994 and growth continuing over the next several years. The movement reflected widespread anger over what was seen as the meddling of a relatively liberal administration in Washington — from gun control to environmental laws to a variety of other federal mandates. But what really ignited the movement was the bloodshed in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas. In 1992, during a standoff between white supremacist Randy Weaver's family in Idaho and federal agents — a confrontation that began with Weaver's sale of an illegal weapon — Weaver's son and wife were killed, along with a U.S. marshal. The following year, some 80 members of the gun-loving Branch Davidian cult died in a fire that ended a 52-day standoff with federal agents in Texas. Thousands of Americans saw these events as proof that the federal government was prepared to murder its own citizens in order to enforce a kind of liberal orthodoxy — a so-called "New World Order" (NWO) that reflected the economic and political globalization that militia backers felt was robbing their country of its independence and unique culture.

The movement was animated by a welter of conspiracy theories, the bulk of them decrying NWO plots that were said to be aimed at imposing socialism on the United States, sending patriotic Americans to prison camps, destroying farmers with secret weather machines, and so on. Most militia enthusiasts also blamed the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing on the government — it was a "false flag" operation carried out by the Clinton Administration, they contended, and designed to soften up the American public to accept draconian anti-terrorism legislation.

But the movement of the '90s ultimately wound down, almost petering out after the turn of the millennium. That was for a variety of reasons, including the arrests of many militia backers in terrorist plots, the jailing of hundreds of others on weapons violations, and the violence the movement continued to produce even after 168 people, including 19 children, were murdered in Oklahoma City by men steeped in the ideology of both militias and racist hate groups. The failure of any of the many dire Patriot predictions or conspiracy theories to come true also hurt the movement, as did the 2000 election of a conservative president, which had the effect of defusing militia backers' anger. Apocalyptic warnings from militia leaders about an expected "Y2K" collapse on Jan. 1, 2000, also turned out to be entirely without merit, becoming a kind of final nail in the coffin of the movement.

Now, it seems, they are back. Every month, there are militia trainings announced around the country — and untold numbers that are not publicized. The Internet teems with training videos, information about meetings and rallies, far-fetched rumors and conspiracy theories. Joining 1990s militia stalwarts like Gunderson and Mack is a new generation of activists, as exemplified in the case of Edward Koernke. Koernke's father, Mark Koernke, was a prominent '90s militia propagandist known as "Mark from Michigan." The elder Koernke served nearly six years in prison on charges that included assaulting police. Today, his son hosts an Internet radio show devoted to all things militia.

The current resurgence has several apparent causes. In the largest sense, it is again a response to real societal stresses and strains, from the seemingly inevitable rise of multiculturalism to the faltering economy to another liberal administration, this one headed by a black man. Similar factors have driven the number of race-based hate groups, as distinct from Patriot groups, from 602 in 2000 to 926 in 2008, according to research by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"This frequently happens when elections favor the political left and the society is seen as moving toward greater social equality or away from traditional societal hierarchies," Chip Berlet, a long-time analyst of the radical right at Political Research Associates, said in a June newsletter. "In this scenario, it is easier for right-wing demagogues to successfully demonize liberals," immigrants and others.

In fact, the anti-immigration movement is both fueling and helping to racialize the antigovernment Patriot resurgence. More and more, members of nativist groups like the Minutemen are adopting core militia ideas and fears (see next section of this report). And they have contributed their own conspiracy theories — about the secret Mexican "Plan de Aztlan" to reconquer the American Southwest, and another involving the secretly arranged merger of the United States, Mexico and Canada into a "North American Union" — to the long list of nefarious plots already identified by the Patriot movement.

Far-right fears of conspiracies have come from other quarters, as well, most notably from the so-called "birthers" who have filed a series of lawsuits making the claim that Obama is not a U.S. citizen. These spurious claims first gained traction when prominent extremists like writer Jerome Corsi, politician Alan Keyes and Watergate felon and radio show host G. Gordon Liddy questioned the validity of the president's birth certificate. Many Patriots have also adopted conspiracy theories about secret government involvement in events like the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.

"The current political environment is awash with seemingly absurd but nonetheless influential conspiracy theories, hyperbolic claims and demonized targets," Berlet concluded. "And this creates a milieu where violence is a likely outcome."

Going Mainstream
A remarkable aspect of the current antigovernment movement is the extent to which it has gained support from elected officials and mainstream media outlets. Lawmakers complaining about the intrusiveness of the federal government have introduced 10th Amendment resolutions (reasserting that those powers not granted to the federal government remain with the states) in about three dozen states. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry raised the prospect of secession several months after Obama's inauguration — a notion first brought up there in the '90s by the militia-like Republic of Texas. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she feared that the president was planning "reeducation camps for young people," while U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), evoking memories of the discredited communist-hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy, warned of 17 "socialists" in Congress. Fox News host Glenn Beck, who has called Obama a fascist, a Nazi and a Marxist, even re-floated militia conspiracy theories of the 1990s alleging a secret network of government-run concentration camps.

The original movement also had its mainstream backers, but they were largely confined to talk radio; today, Beck is just one of the well-known cable TV news personalities to air fictitious conspiracies and other unlikely Patriot ideas. CNN's Lou Dobbs has treated the so-called Aztlan conspiracy as a bona fide concern and questioned the validity of Obama's birth certificate despite his own network's definitive debunking of that claim. On MSNBC, commentator Pat Buchanan suggested recently that white Americans are now suffering "exactly what was done to black folks." On FOX News, regular contributor Dick Morris said, "Those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.'s going to take over' — well, they're beginning to have a case."

At the same time, players like the National Rifle Association, which in the 1990s publicly attacked federal law enforcement agents as "jackbooted thugs," are back at it. Two months before the election last fall, firearms manufacturers joined forces to promote NRA membership in a national campaign ominously dubbed "Prepare for the Storm in 2008."

Gun shows, too, are back as major venues for militia-like ideology. In a video produced in April by Max Blumenthal, senior writer at the online news site The Daily Beast, one man interviewed at a show said, "If Obama tries to get rid of our guns, it's just a step away from trying to take away everything else." Another said show attendees were "preparing for the worst."

Patriot ideology also has crept into the anti-tax "tea parties" that were staged by conservatives around the country in April and July. In addition to protesting government spending and taxation, some demonstrators called for the sovereignty of the states, abolition of the Federal Reserve (a long-time bogeyman of the radical right), and an end to "socialism" in Washington. At the Jacksonville, Fla., July tea party, some protesters carried signs that compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

Once again, fearful Patriots are scurrying to prepare for what they see as the coming societal meltdown, stockpiling not only weaponry but food and an array of other items. Newsletter publisher Lee Bellinger, for instance, peddles Social Chaos Survival Guide: Smart, Savvy Precautions to Make You Self-Reliant in These Dangerous Times and warns of "impending national social chaos." The book, he says, is "for people who want to stand their ground without attracting a whole lot of attention — either from the authorities" or "mobs of desperate fellow citizens."

The recent Department of Homeland Security report also pointed to the role of the Internet in the current movement: "Unlike the earlier period, the advent of the Internet and other information-age technologies since the 1990s has given domestic extremists greater access to information related to bomb-making, weapons training and tactics, as well as targeting of individuals, organizations and facilities, potentially making … the consequences of their violence more severe."

Whither the Militia Movement?
Evidence that angry Americans are arming themselves for action is growing. In March, for instance, a Spokane, Wash., man pleaded guilty to illegally possessing two grenade launchers, 54 grenades, 37 machine guns, eight silencers and a variety of explosives in a storage unit. The man had an "End the Fed" bumper sticker on his vehicle. In May, another Washington resident was charged with keeping an illegal cache of weapons that included a machine gun, four silencers, and two guns made by a local gunsmith and inscribed with "Christian warrior" and "NObama."

In Nebraska, a jury convicted Allison Klanecky for possession of unregistered grenade components. Prosecutors said that a search of Klanecky's barn and an underground bunker turned up dozens of containers of explosive powder, fuses and other components that could be used to make up to 93 grenades, plus an unregistered 12-gauge military shotgun called a "Streetsweeper." Klanecky was involved in an end-times group called The Prophecy Club that sells conspiracy books and DVDs on everything from the New World Order to globalism and the 9/11 attacks.

A good illustration of antigovernment Patriot movement paranoia was the reaction to a National Guard exercise planned for April in the little town of Arcadia, Iowa. The guardsmen had intended to conduct a four-day mock search for an arms dealer that would include patrolling the town's streets, distributing photos of the fictional bad guy and knocking on doors of residents who agreed to participate in the drill.

Alex Jones, the radio host and conspiracy theorist, got wind of the plans and interviewed a National Guard official, setting off an avalanche of angry calls and visits to his website from people who feared the exercise was really about imposing a dictatorship or martial law on the country. "Tell them that ANY violation of your rights will result in a 'Live Fire Exercise,'" one such person wrote on Jones' website. "If they come, come loaded for war!"

That incident showed how quickly militia enthusiasts now mobilize, thanks to the Internet. The National Guard rapidly scaled back its planned exercise, although it denied that the deluge of complaints had anything to do with its decision.

The sounds of violence are growing louder. The Idaho Citizens Constitutional Militia recently posted an opening for a "field sniper." Around the same time, an Ohio Militia member, face hidden by a bandana and voice distorted electronically, posted a video to YouTube. "People need to wake up and start buying some of these," he said as he displayed a semi-automatic rifle. "Things are real bad, and they're going to get a lot worse."

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