Daily Archives: November 21, 2008

Entering the Age of O-ppression?

omabainator

Okay, so here’s the “chilling” exposé from ALG referred to earlier today. I’ve left out the many, many links that were embedded in this journalistic travesty because they’re just tedious distractions for the most part. Also, a good number of them were just links to dead-ends — the protagonist’s “blog” for example simply produced a 404 on the Townhall site. So without further ado and bother, here’s the doom-laden, Orwellian tale of impending fascistic repression concerning “the courageous Lufkin resident” and embattled freedom-fighter Jessica Hughes:

In the face of insurmountable intimidation and bullying from armed Obama lieutenants, Jessica Hughes of Lufkin Texas has remained defiant—like any good American who values free speech and views dissent as a patriotic duty.

Upon receiving a call from a local Obama campaign staffer, Mrs. Hughes unashamedly exercised her 1st Amendment right and voiced her disapproval of the Democrat candidate’s views. After promptly hanging up the phone, she was proud of her candor, never expecting to be punished for what she said:

“On Wednesday, the 1st of October, I received a call on my cell while in the car with my husband. It was a woman who identified herself as calling from the Obama Campaign. The phone # she called from was 903-798-6020 which I later discovered lists as ‘Obama Volunteers of Texarkana’ (Texas).

“She did not give her name that I can recall but identified herself as calling on behalf of the campaign and questioned ‘Will you be supporting Senator Obama on November fourth?’

“I had just spent several hours in the Emergency Room with my son who had a mild concussion and the call was on my cell phone so I was doubly annoyed. I know for a fact that I have never given out my cell number to any organization that could remotely be construed as supporting Barack Obama’s campaign. As those who know me can testify I am quick with my words and I responded curtly:

“‘No, I don’t support him, your guy is a socialist who voted four times in the State Senate to let little babies die in hospital closets; I think you should find something better to do with your time.’ I hung up. There was no argument or exchange of words. I simply stated my two biggest problems with the candidate this stranger was asking me to support and ended the call. Both my sons who are 6 and 9 and my husband heard the call.”

The very next day, however, Secret Service agents came to Mrs. Hughes’ house to question her regarding alleged “death threats” she made about Mr. Obama during the previous day’s phone conversation.

Offended, Mrs. Hughes denied such remarks and cited her original comments which had nothing to do with any kind of death threats. Nevertheless, the agents continued to probe—this time even into her thoughts and feelings. In her personal account of the event taken from her blog, Mrs. Hughes explained it as follows:

“I told the Agent in no uncertain terms, “My thoughts are not pertinent to your investigation. This is America and the last time I checked I am allowed to think whatever I want without being questioned by the Secret Service.

“I asked the agents, ‘Where is the tape of this call?’ … They told me that there is no tape…I said, “So on the word of a ticked off Obama supporter you are on my porch with no other evidence and you want to question me about my thoughts!?’”

After hearing of her story, ALG News directly contacted the courageous Lufkin resident. In ALG’s exclusive interview, Mrs. Hughes delved into further detail explaining how the Secret Service agents’ main intention, she believes, was to bully her:

“I felt that the purpose of the visit was to intimidate me…to silence me and make me not voice my opinion. But really it just made me so furious I resolved to voice my opinion all over the country. I felt that’s exactly what their purpose was…to intimidate me and make me be quiet.”

Moreover, Mrs. Hughes notes that even after it was clear she never threatened Mr. Obama’s life, the agents went so far as to belittle her telephone manners and question her demeanor. Mr. Hughes said, “When I gave them the actual quote, the female agent sad ‘Oh, really…well, why would she make that up? What would she have to gain?’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess she wasn’t happy about what I had to say about her candidate,’ and she said, ‘that’s right, you were rude.’…I was just shocked…she’s accusing me of being rude.”

Apparently politeness is now within the jurisdiction of Mr. Obama’s thought police, or thinkpol as Orwellian Newspeak called it.

And now, weeks after being intimidated by federal agents in the sanctity of her own home, Mrs. Hughes still has no answers as to why she was accosted, much less vindication. She does, however, carry an enduring Big Government stain. As she explained to us:

“The FBI was kind of enough to tell me the file the Secret Service has opened on me will follow me the rest of my life…

“I really find it disturbing that someone could make an unsolicited call to me on my cell phone that I pay for and have the power to send government federal force to bear on a private citizen at their home as a result of that call with no evidence whatsoever.”

Disturbing is putting it lightly.

ALG News also spoke with Jessica Savage, the reporter who broke the story in the Lufkin Daily News early in October. As Savage confirms, the Secret Service agents with Mrs. Hughes spoke—Special Agent Ricardo Zuniga Jr. and his partner D. Morris—have been identified and have not returned any phone calls. Moreover, both the Obama campaign and the Secret Service have refused to make any statement regarding the incident.

It is unclear if the Obama volunteer has been reprimanded or sanctioned for essentially filing a false report.

It seems as if the Obama campaign and the Secret Service would prefer this issue to just go away. But in the intrinsically defiant spirit of the first Amendment, Jessica Hughes—and ALG News—would prefer otherwise.

Unfortunately, punishing anti-Obama dissidence seems to be a growing trend in Lufkin, Texas.

As the Lufkin Daily News reported Wednesday, a local school teacher has been placed on administrative leave over “inappropriate comments” allegedly made regarding Mr. Obama. The comments, which were supposedly overheard by a student in a school hallway, were reported to a parent who then passed it along to school authorities. Apparently it is acceptable for teachers to wear blue in support of Obama inside the classroom, but voicing a negative opinion about Obama outside of the classroom is grounds for indictment.

When informed about this latest incident, Mrs. Hughes was not surprised.

Lufkin, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.

The thinkpol has been on the march in other areas of the country as well. Missouri made headlines earlier in the campaign regarding “truth squads” the Obama campaign had assembled in the Show-Me State to “target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential campaign.” Prosecutors, attorneys, sheriffs and other Missouri law enforcement were all recruited to target these “liars” and essentially intimidate citizens from expressing any form of anti-Obama public discourse.

So much for free and unfettered speech.

If the Obama campaign’s utter disdain for any dissent—however legitimate—was not already evident enough, one needs to look no further than Mr. Obama’s very own campaign plane for some more convincing news. As ALG News covered in a cartoon, during the weekend before the election, reporters from the Washington Times, New York Post and Dallas Morning News were all abruptly kicked off Mr. Obama’s plane and denied any further media access to the Democrat candidate.

Curiously enough, the three newspapers have one peculiar thing in common—they all endorsed John McCain for president. It seems Mr. Obama jettisoned his pledge for “unity” along with the three reporters.

Nevertheless, if verbal threats, “truth squads”, and punishment weren’t sufficiently intimidating to Obama dissidents, then perhaps a night stick-wielding Black Panther clad in combat boots, a black beret and military fatigues might do the trick. That’s exactly what some Obama advocates did on Election Day while standing outside of polling places defiantly claiming to be “security.” And if Obama advocates, campaigners and supporters simply couldn’t do the job, Obama-critics should expect nothing less than the full force of unbridled government wrath brought down upon them.

Nothing bears testament to this better than Joe the Plumber—perhaps the biggest victim in the 2008 presidential campaign (although Sarah, Todd, and Bristol Palin would fit that bill as well). As previously reported, Joe Wurzelbacher, once an average American who dared ask Mr. Obama a tough question, unknowingly became a target in not only a personal smear campaign, but also in a Big Brother style government-backed investigation.

When he first made headlines in a McCain-Obama debate for exposing Mr. Obama’s affinity for spreading the wealth around, the left’s anti-Joe offensive began as a series of public mockeries and belittling. From there, however, it crossed the threshold from merely offensive to downright sinister.

In a piece written shortly before the election, ALG News detailed how Helen-Jones Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, had sanctioned a government-backed investigation of Joe Wurzelbacher’s private records in an attempt to dig up all kinds of dirt on the plumber. The Ohio Inspector General has since found that she acted improperly and has been suspended from her job. This is in addition to Joe’s tax and employment information already trumped up in the media.

Although Jones-Kelley claimed her investigation is mere routine, both her timing and campaign contributions say otherwise. The investigation was launched immediately following Mr. Wurzelbacher’s campaign debate debut and online records have shown that Jones-Kelley had donated the maximum allowed amount to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

As Mrs. Hughes duly noted in her interview with ALG News, “I think that the people who set this country up with a government that was supposed to stay out of our way and stay out of our business…would be revolted by [Government agents] coming to my porch and taking a collection of my thoughts on paper.”

Likewise, the Founding Fathers would undoubtedly be outraged over the great lengths to which the Obama campaign and his advocates in the government went in destroying an average American citizen who simply questioned a political candidate. Americans ought to be up in arms over this Big Government violation of personal privacy—although perhaps they fear “Joe the Plumber” treatment being subsequently wrought on themselves in return.

All in all, the 2008 campaign has been woefully defined by these insidious acts of citizen intimidation, dissent suppression, and privacy invasions.

And although Mr. Obama has not personally carried out these heinous acts, he has the responsibility to rein in his supporters—and his defenders—who, in his name, seek to exert wrath upon “rude” thought criminals like Jessica Hughes and Joe the Plumber.

If Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge and condemn this anti-American and unconstitutional behavior, one should expect the culture of intimidation to not only carry into his first presidential term, but to thrive as well. If Mr. Obama by his silence sanctions this kind of behavior as a presidential candidate, imagine the role it will play when he is President.

As this culture of intimidation and suppression is allowed to proliferate, honest citizens like Jessica Hughes and Joe Wurzelbacher will be choked out.

And they will only be the first of many.

Pretty stirring stuff, huh? Nice of them to interweave the now ubiquitous “Joe the Plumber” into the mix. Ah yes, poor Samuel aka “Joe” Wurzelbacher… allegedly “the biggest victim in the 2008 presidential campaign,” who just days before the election insisted he would not seek to “cash in” on his fame with a lucrative book deal from a major publisher, but has somewhat inconveniently, just signed a lucrative (amount undisclosed) deal for a ghost-written book with the working title Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream.

If you ever wonder why wingnuts are so… well, nuts — look no further than hyperbolic, crackpot rubbish like this steaming pile of mendacity that poisons the well of discourse with its toxic mélange of fact-free nonsense, slack-witted stupidity, and insane paranoia.

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Blogged to Death

It seems a South Florida college student killed himself earlier today by overdosing on drugs in front of a live online audience as some computer users egged him on, some debated his method, and others tried to talk him out of it.

From the AP as reported in USA Today under their “Technology” section:

Montana Miller, an assistant professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said Biggs’ very public suicide was not shocking, given the way teenagers chronicle every facet of their lives on sites like Facebook and MySpace.

“If it’s not recorded or documented then it doesn’t even seem worthwhile,” she said. “For today’s generation it might seem, ‘What’s the point of doing it if everyone isn’t going to see it?”‘

She likened Biggs’ death to other public ways of committing suicide, like jumping off a bridge.

Crane said she knows of a case in which a Florida man shot himself in the head in front of an online audience, though she didn’t know how much viewers saw. In Britain last year, a man hanged himself while chatting online.

In a statement, Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel said: “We regret that this has occurred and want to respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time.”

Gee, you’d think if he was going to put on a show, a gun might have been involved… How disappointing.

Update: Another lurid take on the story.

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The O’Reilly Factor (Condensed)

You won’t miss much in this one minute version of “The Factor.”

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Keeping California Cool

In a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California this past September, Gov. Schwarzenegger touts his landmark climate change law (AB32) enacted two years ago (that was quickly followed by more than ten other states with similar legislation) and criticizes the American automobile industry for its reluctance to embrace environmentally-friendly innovations (more bluntly, he tells them to “get off their butts”).

The complete speech (and Q&A) can be viewed here, and the ultra-cool Tesla electric roadster that he refers to in the clip can be seen in all its glory on the Tesla website. It really is a thing of beauty.

tesla-roadster

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The “Age of O-ppression”

For some strange reason, I get a lot of e-mails from extreme right-wing groups (must have subscribed to them when I was drunk perhaps, or more likely, I’ve just been inadvertently caught up in Richard Viguerie’s extensive propaganda network), most of which I largely ignore, but every once in a while there’s a meme or story that catches my attention.

Yesterday, Americans for Limited Government (“ALG”), a particularly nasty group, featured a teaser regarding a forthcoming “ALG News Exclusive” under the provocative title “Entering the Age of O-ppression?” concerning a “chilling exclusive interview story with Lufkin resident Jessica Hughes who was accosted by two Secret Service agents after being critical of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.”

According to the e-mail, “She was told to her surprise that she had been accused of threatening the Senator’s life, a charge without any corroboration.” Mrs. Hughes, who apparently was only “exercising her patriotic duty of dissent, was offended and felt that the agents intended to intimidate and bully her into silence.” In Mrs. Hughes own words:

“I certainly feel like they were trying to make me be quiet and trying to intimidate me and take away my free speech… That’s what really enraged me is that I thought ‘there’s a lot of people out there that if [the Secret Service] showed up on their porch, that’s exactly what they’d do—they’d be quiet’… I wasn’t going to be the one.”

This, we’re informed by ALG, “portends to be a disturbing new chapter in American politics” and their harrowing “news exclusive” promises to chronicle “the alarming pattern of intimidation occurring nationwide to vocal critics of Barack Obama and his proposed policies for the nation.”

I thought it might be somewhat intriguing and maybe even a little edifying to follow this story to see how it unfolds and is spun by the right-wing noise machine. I can hardly wait for the first installment today!

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Stay Classy, Republicans!

Even though she was soundly defeated in the recent election, Marilyn Musgrave, Republican representative for Colorado’s 4th District has yet to concede the race (or thank her staffers).

An evangelical wingnut and rabid anti-gay crusader who received an endorsement from the KKK back in 2006, Musgrave was voted “One of the 10 worst congressmen” by Rolling Stone magazine. Rep. Barney Frank said of her: “If you’re going to have someone who’s a hater, it’s best that she’s not very bright. I appeared with her in a couple of forums to debate her bill [outlawing gay marriage], but she’s totally incapable of even explaining what it says.”

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Palin Turkey Pardon Gets Fowled

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin appeared in Wasilla yesterday to pardon a local turkey in anticipation of Thanksgiving. After the pardon, Palin proceeded to do an interview with a local TV station for almost three minutes while turkeys were being beheaded in the background.

According to her office, a photographer did ask her beforehand if she wanted that as a backdrop, to which she glibly replied: “No worries.”

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