Monday, March 29, 2010

Right-wing militia plotted to kill Police Officers

members of a Michigan-based Christian militia group have been indicted on
sedition and weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot to murder law
enforcement officers in hopes of setting off an anti-government uprising.

In court filings unsealed Monday, the Justice Department accused the
nine people of planning to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer, then
plant improvised explosive devices of a type used by insurgents in Iraq to
attack the funeral procession.
Eight of the defendants were arrested over
the weekend in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. A ninth remained at large,
the Justice Department said. The indictments against them were returned last
Tuesday. The defendants were identified as members of Hutaree, described by
federal prosecutors as an anti-government extremist organization based in
Lenawee County, Michigan, and which advocates violence against local, state and
federal law enforcement. The group saw local and state police as “foot soldiers”
for the federal government, which it viewed as its enemy, along with
participants in what they deemed to be a “New World Order,” according to the

“This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be
found throughout our society,” Andrew Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Special Agent in Charge in Detroit, said in a statement. “The F.B.I. takes such
extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens
and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States.”
A Web site for the Hutaree group talks about a coming battle against
the putative forces of the Antichrist but does not appear to focus explicitly on
recent political events.
The Web site, which describes the group as
“preparing for the end times,” featured video clips of people running through
woods in camouflage gear and firing assault rifles, along with links to gun
stores and far-right media. It also features an elaborate system of military
ranks for its members. The site says it coined the term Hutaree, intended to
mean Christian warrior.
“Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves
using the sword and stay alive using equipment,” the Web site says, adding, “The
Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God
wills it.”

The indictment charged that between August 2008 and the present, the
defendants — led by David Brian Stone, 45, who also used the name “Captain
Hutaree” — developed a conspiracy that they hoped would result in a war
against the United States government
. They allegedly decided they would
kill a local law enforcement officer, and then bomb the funeral caravan. The
killings “would intimidate and demoralize law enforcement diminishing their
ranks and rendering them ineffective,” it said.

Afterward, the indictment said, Hutaree members would retreat to
several “rally points” and wage war against the government, using prepared
fighting positions as well as “trip-wired and command-detonated” bombs.

“It is believed by the Hutaree that this engagement would then serve as
a catalyst for a more wide-spread uprising against the government,” the
indictment said.
Mr. Stone used the Internet to obtain diagrams of
“explosively formed projectiles,” a particularly lethal form of roadside bombs
responsible for many deaths of United States soldiers in Iraq, the indictment
All nine people face the charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted
use of a weapon of mass destruction, and carrying a firearm during a crime of
violence. In addition, Mr. Stone and one of his sons, David Brian Stone Jr., has
been charged with teaching the use of explosive materials.

Read the entire article here.
Try them all for sedition. They were trying to use Iraqi style IEDs to kill police officers. Call in for help, and kill the responder? Terrorists. Plain and simple. Try them as such.

As has been said before, we need to denounce those that would seek to define the whole with extremism. This is wrong. And these people should be charged to the full extent of the law.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mississippi still one of the most disriminatory states.

CNN-Walking into school Wednesday morning was not easy for Constance
McMillen. The last time she'd been there was March 11, the day after her Fulton,
Mississippi, high school canceled prom rather than allow her to wear a tuxedo
and attend with her girlfriend.
"I've been very nervous about all of
this," the 18-year-old Itawamba Agricultural High School senior said. "I don't
like being somewhere where everyone hates me."

McMillen's name made national headlines when she, with the help of the
American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit against her school and the Itawamba
County School District, asking them to reinstate prom for everyone, without
discrimination. A federal judge in Mississippi ruled Tuesday that while
he wouldn't force the school to have a prom, which had originally been scheduled
for April 2, he agreed that McMillen's First Amendment rights had been

That was good news, said her attorney, Christine Sun, senior counsel
with the ACLU's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender project. It set a
precedent and helped broadcast an important statement, which was made stronger
by virtue of where it came from, she said.

"We're in a conservative area of the country, where people tend to
think we can do what we like," said Sun, who lives in New York but has traveled
multiple times to Mississippi for this legal push. "This case sends a strong
message that that's not going to fly anymore."

The only pending issue, Sun said, is the question of damages and the
ACLU's request for attorneys' fees. An amended complaint to seek a quick
resolution on this should be filed in the next 30 days, she said.

Meantime, McMillen is trying to find her new normal.

In many ways, she stands in an awkward balance. Though there are some
people who support her in Fulton (population about 4,000), the overarching
tension and what she described as "hostility" that she feels at school and in
her community is in deep contrast to the reception and groundswell of support
that's overwhelmed her nationally.

As a poster child for the rights of LGBT students, she's been asked to
jump on airplanes to appear on news programs and talk shows. The Facebook fan
page "Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom!" had attracted more than
414,000 fans as of Friday morning. Wealthy individuals, including Ellen
DeGeneres, have offered to pay for a prom for her school. She's received a
$30,000 college scholarship from an anonymous donor and, a digital media company
in New York that's also offered her a summer internship. She's even been invited
to high school proms in cities she's never visited.

"It means a lot to me," she said of the outreach from others. "The
amount of support helps me to continue with the fight."

But all McMillen, who came out as a lesbian in eighth grade, ever
wanted was to go to her school prom with her class, and with her girlfriend.
Going to another school's prom, while a nice offer, doesn't make any sense to
She never meant to be a spoiler for others when she sought approval
to bring her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo, she said. She thought she was doing
the right thing by asking in advance, since the school had stipulated in a
February memo that dates must be of the opposite sex. Rather than give
her permission, the school canceled the prom

Read the rest of the article here.

I have to say a few things. First, what the school did was, and still is, reprehensible. But further, I have to say I disagree with the judge. He said he wouldn't force the school to have a prom.

He should.

Public schools are part of the US government, and are publicly owned. Discrimination has no place in the government, much less in the United States of America.

The judge should force the school to have the prom anyway, and pass his judgement that anyone caught doing this in the future will be fired.

This isn't allowed anywhere else, except for the military, and even that will be over soon enough.

Discrimination has no place in the United States. None whatsoever. This wasn't a private school. This is a publicly, tax funded school, and therefore an extension of the public. Therefore, this behavior is not to be tolerated. Not even in backwater places like Mississippi. Being behind the times should not be an excuse.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pentagon begins easing Don't Ask Don't Tell

Washington (CNN)
-- Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to announce changes Thursday
easing the Defense Department's "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting
homosexuals from serving openly in the military, a senior Defense Department
official has confirmed to CNN.

The official said one of the changes will be that outings by third parties
may no longer be automatic grounds for initiating separation proceedings,
especially if it is proven that the person making the allegation has a grudge
against the military member.

Gates' announcement will focus on regulatory changes that can be made
at the Pentagon without the approval of Congress, which has been debating
whether to change the policy.

President Obama has asked for a repeal of the measure.

I'm glad to finally see us moving forward on this. I'm not sure why Congress is debating this; it's a pretty cut and dried issue. This policy is discriminatory, and therefore should be repealed. This is America-land of the free and home of the brave. But DADT makes the brave not free. Let's change this, let's change it now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tell Glenn Beck: I’m a Social Justice Christian

Reposted from Sojourners Blog:

Tell Glenn Beck: I’m a Social Justice Christian
by Jim Wallis 03-10-2010

Glenn Beck says Christians should leave churches that use the word “social justice.” He says social justice is a code word for communism and Nazism.

But since the Catholic Church, the Black Churches, the Mainline Protestant churches, more and more Evangelical and Pentecostal churches including Hispanic and Asian-American congregations all consider social justice central to biblical faith, Glenn Beck is telling all those Christians to leave their churches. Of course, Christians may disagree about what social justice means in our current political context — and that conversation is an important one — but the Bible is clear: from the Mosaic law of Jubilee, to the Hebrew prophets, to Jesus Christ, social justice is an integral part of God’s plan for humanity.

Beck says Christians should leave their social justice churches, so I say Christians should leave Glenn Beck. I don’t know if Beck is just strange, just trying to be controversial, or just trying to make money. But in any case, what he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show. His show should now be in the same category as Howard Stern. Stern practices pornography and Beck denies the central teachings of Jesus and the Bible. So Christians should stop watching the Glenn Beck show and pray for him and Howard Stern.

Beck also said that if his church was about “social justice” he would report his church to the church authorities. What authorities? Church bodies as diverse in their theology as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals have explicitly endorsed social justice as a biblical imperative.

So here’s an idea: how about reporting ourselves to Glenn Beck as church members and pastors who practice and preach social justice.

Since Sojourners’ mission is “to articulate the biblical call to social justice,” I’ll be the first to turn myself in. And I invite you to join me in turning yourself in to Glenn Beck as a Christian who believes in social justice. Let’s send him thousands of names.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street — A Moral Compass for the New Economy, CEO of Sojourners and blogs at

For more on this, please visit Dave Miller's blog.

I'll be one of those names. As I mentioned in previous posts, we must repudiate those in our midst that are threatening to ruin the whole. So let me be among those that say: I am a Christian. And Glenn Beck is wrong. Very, very wrong. And he does not represent Christianity whatsoever.

Bread for the World, a Christian group dedicated to eradicating hunger, has joined Sojourners in rebuking Beck.

"What the Lord requires of us, said the prophet Micah, is to act justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)."

Former Obama advisor says efforts aren't enough

Former Obama advisor Steve Hildebrand, who played a huge role in getting Obama elected, has a few harsh warnings for fellow Democrats in Washington.

"I think that there is a real shot we [Democrats] are going to get
slaughtered in elections this fall if we aren't leading the efforts to reform
Washington," Hildebrand said. "We campaigned in '06 and '08, and if voters don't
see that change, we haven't lived up to that promise."
He came to the White House on Wednesday for a quiet meeting with the
president's senior adviser, David Axelrod, to express a fear that Republicans
are seizing the high ground on cleaning up Washington, on issues such as the
ethics probe of Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York.

Hildebrand is pushing for a strong outside body to oversee congressional
ethics so that lawmakers are no longer policing themselves, and he is lobbying
on behalf of the Fair Elections Now Act, which would limit federal campaign
contributions to $100 to try and cut the influence of big money donations.

"Voters want solutions, but voters know that it starts with getting
money out of politics first," Hildebrand said before his meeting with Axelrod.
"And I'm going to push that with David, I'm going to push that with anyone that
will listen."

Pressed on whether the president is doing enough on lobbying and
campaign finance reform, Hildebrand said, "I don't think anyone in Washington is
doing enough on this."
"Point is, things [are] happening today in Washington under Democratic
leadership that were happening under Republican leadership that we went after pretty hard as a party
," Hildebrand said. "We went after that culture of corruption, and I don't believe there is a culture of corruption, but I do
believe there is an image problem that Washington in general has to deal with.
And Democrats are in trouble now and if they don't do anything."

Read the rest of the article here.

I liked some of his ideas, as well as his criticism of the Democrats in Washington. They campaigned on some big promises, and so far, most of them just haven't materialized, if not flat out broken. Sure, little promises have been kept. But big ones, like transparency, closing GTMO, executive priviledge, DADT, and ending croneyism? Those I am still waiting for, and I'm sure many others are as well.

It's nice to hear this from a Democrat, though.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tea Party Series: Stray from the GOP and everyone will lose

Washington (CNN):
Mitt Romney has a message to Tea Party candidates nationwide: If you lose your
Republican primary bids, stay on the sidelines.
The former Massachusetts
governor on Monday warned the grassroots movement not to mount third party
efforts in general elections, which he said would siphon votes from Republican

"If there is a conservative candidate that runs in the general
election, then obviously, divide and fail is the result," Romney said in an
interview with the conservative Web site Newsmax. "Hopefully Tea Party
candidates will run in respective primaries and they will either win or lose.
And if they win, they will go into the general. If they lose, they won't, and
they will get behind the more conservative of the two finalists."

Romney explained that "dividing our conservative effort in the general elections" would "basically hand the country to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and that would be very sad indeed."
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made similar remarks last month in a speech sponsored by the Arkansas Republican Party. "Now the smart thing will be for independents who are such a part of this Tea Party movement to, I guess, kind of start picking a party," she said, adding that the GOP would be the most natural fit for such activists.
Romney had kind words for the Tea Party movement. "I'm really pleased that the silent majority is silent no longer," he said, predicting that the movement "will have have an impact on this election."
"Not all the Tea Partiers are Republicans, not all of them vote for Republicans, but I think most of them will," he said.

Continuing with the Tea Party series, I thought what Romney said was quite appropriate. Earlier, I said that the GOP could use the Tea Party, and in fact needs the Tea Party, because the Tea Party has engaged the "silent majority" to be silent no longer. Then, in the second part of the series, I showed that while the GOP needs the Tea Party, it also needs to make sure to silence and repudiate the "crazy parts" and the fringe of the tea party in order to make sure that the whole is not defined by the rotten few.

Here, I think what Romney says is that while the GOP needs the Tea Party, the Tea Party also needs the GOP. It may be the more conservative part of the Republican Party, but it is undeniably part of the Republican Party. A limb cannot survive without the body, but the body can survive without a limb.

If the Tea Party were to put more conservative candidates in the primaries, that would be great. Let the voters decide. But if the Republican voters choose a more progressive or moderate candidate, like Brown, then the Tea Party needs to honor that choice and try elsewhere. To try and then push someone as a third, more conservative party, would only mean that both the conservative and the republican candidate would split votes, and what would happen? I think Romney said it best: It would "...hand the country to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and that would be very sad indeed."

Crossposted at Republicans United

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tea Party Series: To Protest Everything is to Protest Nothing

I read an interesting op-ed piece today, by Leonard Pitts Jr., entitled Crazy and Incoherent. It was printed in the Oregonian, and you can read the entire article here.

Pitts talks about the Tea Parties and many of the extremists found within its ranks. He gives a surprising quote, by Editor in Chief Erick Erickson of RedState, a big name conservative blog:

"At some point, you have to use the word 'crazy.'"
Erickson was recently quoted on Politico in a report about how he and other
conservatives are attempting to distance their ideology and the Republican Party
from the paranoid theorizing and loud, incoherent screaming that have recently
passed for discourse on the political right. And of course, the darkly comic
thing about it is that, less than a year ago, some conservatives were exulting
over the tea parties, believing they brought needed energy to a movement
demoralized by its 2008 shellacking at the polls. "The Republican comeback has
begun," declared GOP chief Michael Steele.

What a difference a year makes. Or not.

Some of us after all, have argued all along that the tea parties were about
as "conservative" -- insofar as that term has traditionally been understood --
as ladies night in a Castro Street bar. Indeed, some of us made the same point
about George W. Bush, the putatively conservative president who nevertheless
presided over an expansion of the federal government and of a federal
entitlement program (Medicare), a costly war of choice in Iraq founded on a
shifting rationale, and financial mismanagement that turned surplus into deficit
seemingly overnight. For at least the last decade, then, conservatism has not seemed particularly conservative -- a
disconnect many of the ideology's adherents managed to ignore so long as it was
useful to do so, i.e., so long as it played well at the ballot box. "Just win,
baby" was their mantra; intellectual honesty, their casualty...

This, I believe, is completely on the nose. The reason Republicans lost so badly in 2008 wasn't because the Democrats and liberals are great---far from the truth, as we can clearly see with our current administration and Democrat majority. Washington is still broken. No, Republicans didn't lose due to their competition; Republicans lost because of themselves. One thing Americans hate, hate, is hypocrisy. And when Republicans talk about conservativism, less government, fiscal responsibility, and then use their majority to do the opposite, America reacts. And that is why we currently have a Democratically controlled, well, everything.

Pitts continues on why the Tea Parties really haven't accomplished a lot in the last year:

...the tea party movement [was found] to be amorphous and largely without
an organizing principle other than its anger toward government and fear of a
supposedly imminent dictatorship. Beyond that, partiers are an unwieldy amalgam
of tax haters, global warming holdouts, illegal-immigration protesters,
secessionists, gun rights advocates, white supremacists, militia types and
conspiracy theorists, all banging their gongs at the same time. Like the liberal
noisemakers who follow the World Trade Organization around, their lack of
message discipline renders them -- that word, yet again -- incoherent. Like
them, they have yet to figure out that to protest everything is to
protest nothing

Make no mistake: every movement or marginalized people has its fringe
extremists who threaten to define the whole. Thus, moderate American Muslims are
periodically required to rebuke Islamic terrorists, environmentalists are
obligated to rebuff eco-terrorists, and moderate African-Americans are expected
to reprove Louis Farrakhan.

But conservatives, outside of a few integrity-driven souls over the years,
have not rushed to repudiate the crazies among them, even as the crazies have
grown crazier and threatened to engulf the whole.

And here he is right. We need to continue to repudiate, as Erick Erickson has done, the crazier parts. Otherwise, the fringe of the tea party will take over the tea party, and the tea party will, in turn, define the Republican Party. And that would be disastrous for the party, and the for the country.

Crossposted at Republican United