Angel Garcia Palacios holds his U.S. citizenship certificate as he gets his picture taken standing next to a cardboard cut out of President Barack Obama in a voter registration booth sponsored by the Democratic party after a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 23
Steve Benen: …. At this point two years ago, Republicans quickly became outraged if Democrats dared to criticize so-called “Tea Party” activists. After all, how could Dems have the audacity to disparage law-abiding Americans speaking out against abuses that offend them? How could Democrats have the gall to condemn sincere patriots who want to have their voices heard?
Two years later, Cantor is entirely comfortable chastising Americans who disagree with his failed, regressive economic vision as a “mob.” How tolerant of him.
…. Is it “pitting Americans against Americans” when Cantor and his cohorts to go after Planned Parenthood, its employees, its patients …. unions, school teachers, trial lawyers, scientists, economists, journalists, community organizers, and advocates for the poor?….
Or does the dimwitted Majority Leader believe “pitting Americans against Americans” is fine just so long as the Republican Party doesn’t like the Americans on the receiving end of the criticism?
Protesters stand outside Popovers on the Square as Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry campaigns inside August 18, 2011 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
ABC: …. What Perry may not have loved, however, is the treatment he received just 24-hours later at a meet-and-greet stop in this picturesque Seacoast town where he encountered about two-dozen protesters who shouted at him, held signs with slogans like “Another Texas idiot for sale,” and followed him into a cafe to yell some more.
The protesters, some of whom were senior citizens and members of the New Hampshire Alliance For Retired American gathered on a sidewalk more than an hour before Perry arrived at the event….
As the presidential candidate from Texas walked into a local restaurant, Popovers on the Square, he was forced to shake hands with voters amid shouts of “Hands off Social Security and Medicare!” and “You’re a threat to America” from the anti-Perry forces who gathered just a few feet away from him….
Inside the café, Gail Mitchell (a small-business owner from Barrington) and a companion grilled him: “You said Social Security was unconstitutional.”
“Social Security’s going to be there for those folks,” Perry answered his inquisitors, making reference to the elderly.
“But you said Social Security is unconstitutional,” Mitchell repeated.
“I don’t think I – I’m sorry, you must have,” Perry said before stopping himself.
Instead of elaborating, Perry stuffed a generous piece of popover in his mouth. (Perry called them “pop ups.”)
“I’ve got a big mouthful,” Perry said and then ordering a glass of water. He later tripped over one of the women standing at his side pressing him on Social Security.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” Perry said to her.
In an interview with Newsweek last year, Perry was asked about his opinion on the constitutionality of programs like Social Security and Medicare.
“I don’t think our founding fathers when they were putting the term ‘general welfare’ in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care,” Perry said in the interview. “What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that. From my perspective, the states could substantially better operate those programs if that’s what those states decided to do.”
At a house party in New Hampshire last Saturday, Perry referred to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme.
Steve Benen: When a candidate would rather stuff food in his mouth than answer an important question, it’s safe to say he considers the issue politically problematic.
Later, Ray Sullivan a Perry campaign spokesperson, told reporters he’s “never heard” the governor question the constitutionality of Social Security.
Sullivan may be the only one.
As for Perry’s reluctance to stand by his own positions, what happened to the swagger, Rick? Folks want to know if you stand by what you said about Social Security. You’re not going to let polls and a bunch of aides tell you what to think, are you?
Washington Post: Newly-minted presidential candidate Rick Perry got a taste Thursday of the rough-and-tumble nature of presidential politics, with protesters dogging him on the campaign trail, demanding to know whether he thinks Social Security is unconstitutional and begging him to follow through on threats of Texas seceding.
Nearly two dozen hecklers greeted the Texas governor with signs saying, “Ricky Go Home” and “Seniors Say NO to Ricky.” As Perry prepared for a meet-and-greet at a cafe downtown, they began chanting, “Hands off Social Security and Medicare.”
“He’s appealing to the tea party,” said Larry Drake, a retired federal worker and Democrat who said he came Thursday to show his opposition to the Republican governor. “It’s like George W. Bush on steroids.”
…A man shouted, “Please secede,” referring to comments Perry has made about Texas leaving the United States because of what he considered encroachment by the federal government. Perry ignored them with a tight smile.
Ian Dress, 8, holds a sign separating himself from protesters while waiting for President Barack Obama to pass on his way to the Rural Economic Forum at the Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa, Aug. 16
GOPolitico: President Obama was interrupted at a California fundraiser on Thursday by a group of singing protesters who demanded the release of Bradley Manning, the private charged with giving information to WikiLeaks.
Obama “could not ignore” the singers because the setting was small — about 200 people, according to the pool. The protesters in the back of the room sang: “Each of us brought you $5,000. … I paid my dues, where’s our change? We’ll vote for you in 2012, yes that’s true. Look at the Republicans; what else can we do?”
White House aides tried to get them to stop, then escorted out the woman who had led the group, the pool said.
For his part, Obama tried to make light of it, but he didn’t address Manning’s detention or treatment. “That was a nice song, much better voiced than I,” he said, the pool reported.
“Where was I?” Obama said. “That didn’t break my flow.”
“He thought it was kind of funny,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. On Air Force One heading to Nevada, Carney said Obama came out of the fundraiser and remarked, “You don’t get that every day.”
It’s funny, these people are always happy to quote PJ Crowley on Manning … except they always leave this bit out (from the Guardian): To be clear, Private Manning is rightly facing prosecution and, if convicted, should spend a long, long time in prison. Having been deeply engaged in the WikiLeaks issue for many months, I know that the 251,000 diplomatic cables included properly classified information directly connected to our national interest. The release placed the lives of activists around the world at risk.
Yep, Manning and WikiLeaks sure are heroes:
The Guardian (January 2011): …with the recent release of sensitive diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks may have committed its own collateral murder, upending the precarious balance of power in a fragile African state and signing the death warrant of its pro-western premier…
…in the wake of the WikiLeaks’ release, one of the men targeted by US and EU travel and asset freezes, Mugabe’s appointed attorney general, has launched a probe to investigate Tsvangirai’s involvement in sustained western sanctions. If found guilty, Tsvangirai will face the death penalty.
And so, where Mugabe’s strong-arming, torture and assassination attempts have failed to eliminate the leading figure of Zimbabwe’s democratic opposition, WikiLeaks may yet succeed. Twenty years of sacrifice and suffering by Tsvangirai all for naught, as WikiLeaks risks “collateral murder” in the name of transparency.
Before more political carnage is wrought and more blood spilled – in Africa and elsewhere, with special concern for those US-sympathising Afghans fingered in its last war document dump – WikiLeaks ought to leave international relations to those who understand it – at least to those who understand the value of a life.
The Australian (July 2010): The founder of WikiLeaks was forced last night to defend his decision to publish tens of thousands of uncensored intelligence documents.
The Times revealed that the names, villages, relatives’ names and even precise GPS locations of Afghans co-operating with Nato forces could be accessed easily from files released by WikiLeaks.
Human rights groups criticised the internet site and one US politician said that the security breaches amounted to a ready-made Taliban hitlist.
Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing website, told The Times that he would “deeply regret” any harm caused by the disclosures.
But in an extensive interview he defended his actions …. “No one has been harmed, but should anyone come to harm of course that would be a matter of deep regret…..”
Politicususa: Sarah Palin rolled into Madison, Wisconsin using a Tea Party rally as an excuse to attack union members, but the wheels promptly fell off of her bandwagon as only 6,500 people showed up for the rally, and reports on the scene say that many of those in attendance were there to protest Palin. Not even the Koch Brothers and their magic buses could draw a crowd for Palin.
The Koch Brothers threw their front group Americans For Prosperity into the effort to hold an anti-union rally in Madison headlined by Palin. All the resources were deployed, Palin fans were begged to attend, Americans For Prosperity had no less than 13 buses lined up, and despite all of this, the crowd never came.
…The Wisconsin stunt was a desperate attempt by Palin to retake the media spotlight that Donald Trump has stolen from her. This was Sarah’s attempt to get back up on the national stage. She sees that GOP primary voters are anti-union, so she is going to be anti-unionest of them all.
CBS: Hundreds of pro-union labor supporters are surrounding smaller groups of conservative Tea Party members attending a rally featuring former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Steve Benen: Former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin – remember her? – headlined a conservative rally in Madison yesterday, apparently hoping to generate support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s far-right agenda. More interesting than the message, though, was the turnout.
The whole thing was organized by the Koch brother’s right-wing Americans for Prosperity, and Palin spoke behind a podium with a sign that read, “I am AFP.”
But who exactly heard all of this?
…At the height of progressive protests in February and March, tens of thousands braved the elements to condemn the Walker agenda – and wouldn’t leave. Yesterday, Palin led a parade of odd right-wing figures, at an event paid for by powerful billionaires, and about 6,500 people showed up. And of those 6,500, most of those in attendance were there to oppose Palin and her far-right allies, not support them.
It’s a reminder about the changing tide. When Tea Partiers organize a rally and bring one of their highest-profile stars to headline, but are nevertheless outnumbered at their own event, which suffered from poor attendance anyway, it’s not a good sign.
Paul Krugman: I don’t watch cable news, or actually any kind of TV news. But I gather that there’s a virtual blackout on the huge demonstrations in Wisconsin, except on Fox, which portrays them as thuggish and violent.
What that makes me think of is January-February 2003, when anyone watching cable news would have believed that only a few kooks were opposed to the imminent invasion of Iraq. It was quite spooky, realizing that hundreds of thousands of people could march through New York, and by tacit agreement be ignored by news networks whose headquarters were just a few blocks away.
And it’s even more spooky to see it happening all over again.
Ian’s Pizza – “Donations taken from all 50 states and over 15 countries!”
(Make that 16 countries (at least) – I have it from a very reliable source that Dublin, Ireland just ordered the Wisconsin protestors a pizza. The guy on the phone said: “We’ll fit Ireland in, I promise, but we’ll need a second board – it’s gone crazy!”)
A man holds a portrait of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak reading ‘No You Can’t (copying Barack Obama’s famous ‘Yes We Can’) during a protest against Mubarak’s regime, following Friday prayers at the Beyazit square in Istanbul on February 4
Egyptian anti-government protesters gather at Cairo’s Tahrir Square on February 4 during ‘departure day’ demonstrations to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit
An anti-government protester, near Tahrir Square in Cairo February 4, celebrates after hearing a rumor that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will resign
Icicles form on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 18. Freezing rain overnight left icy conditions, closing schools and delaying the opening of the Federal government by two hours
Against a backdrop of ice covered trees, national flags of China and the U.S. fly along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House. Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday flew to the United States for a state visit.
Vice President Joe Biden greets China’s President Hu Jintao at Andrews Air Force Base
Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition is arrested by police outside the White House during his protest against President Hu Jintao and China’s human rights abuses
‘Free Tibet’ supporters protest in front of the White House
Icicles hang from the leaves of a tree in the Lafayette Park in front of the White House
OBAMA HECKLED: NEW YORK – President Barack Obama was heckled multiple times during his speech at a Democratic fundraiser in one of the country’s most Democratic cities. They held signs and interrupted his speech to protest AIDS funding and the stalled repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy banning gays for serving openly in the military that he has promised to repeal.
His administration has increased AIDS funding, he said, but “the people that potentially will take over will cut AIDS funding if we don’t focus on this election.”
The “don’t ask, don’t tell” protest came moments later, as Obama began talking about how incomes for middle class fell by 5 percent – a statement he had to repeat twice. The president pointed out that this week Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ attempt to begin debating a bill that would have moved toward repealing the policy.
“And as a consequence some of those signs should be going up at the other folks’ event. Folks should be hollering at the other folks’ event,” he said, “because the choice in November could not be clearer.”
In response to a thread started recently on a forum we all know, entitled ‘Obama has taken no questions from LGBT media since election,’ ‘Political Tiger’ posted this:
“Yet he invited Rachael Maddow to the White House and hosted a reception for 300 LGBT activists at the White House to honor LGBT Pride, the first such event ever held at the WH … appointed more openly gay people to his administration than the last two combined, including the first ever transgender appointees … awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King … signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act … spoke out against LGBT discrimination at the National Prayer Breakfast … spoke out about repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell in his first State of the Union Address … released the first Presidential PRIDE proclamations since 2000 … invited gay families to the Easter Egg Roll as part of the Obama administration’s outreach to diverse communities … welcomed four gay couples to its first State Dinner … publicly invited shunned gay Mississippi high school prom student to the White House … convened the first-ever anti-bullying summit to craft a national strategy to reduce bullying in schools … reversed the US’s position by signing the UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity … successfully fought for UN accreditation of IGLHRC (the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, against Republican attempts to block it … extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees in 2009 and 2010 … issued diplomatic passports, and provided other benefits, to the partners of same-sex foreign service employees … banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government (the nation’s largest employer) … instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (virtually all hospitals) to allow LGBT visitation rights … extended the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program … issued a National HIV/AIDS Strategy praised as “long-overdue” by the Task Force, Lambda and others … eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept gay relationships from being counted, encouraging couples who consider themselves married to file that way, even if their state of residence does not yet permit legal marriage … produced U.S. Census Bureau PSAs featuring gay, lesbian, and transgender spokespersons … extended domestic violence protections to LGBT victims … extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover employees taking unpaid leave to care for the children of same-sex partners … required all grant applicants seeking HUD funding to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT individuals … issued guidance specifically to assist LGBT tenants denied housing on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity……….
But let’s ignore all that because bitching is so much more fun.”
But hey, if these haters choose to ignore all that (‘Change we refuse to believe in!’), and carry on (willfully)failing to distinguish their enemies from their friends, they’re most welcome to Palin, O’Donnell and Co.
President Barack Obama kisses Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s mother, after delivering remarks following the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the East Room of the White House October 28, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama earlier signed the $681 billion U.S. defense budget bill which included a provision that makes it a federal hate crime to assault people based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Matthew Shepard was tortured and murdered in 1998 in Wyoming. Witnesses say he was targeted for being gay. Also in 1998, three white men in Texas chained James Byrd, a black man, to a pickup truck and dragged him to his death.
Louvon Harris stands alongside her sister Betty Byrd Boatner, both sisters of James Byrd, Jr, as she embraces Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, as President Barack Obama looks on after he spoke in honor of the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr, Hate Crimes Prevention Act during a reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, October 28, 2009.