Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Three men indicted for burning black church on election night

Just hours after Barack Obama was elected president last November, three men set ablaze a predominantly African-American church in Massachusetts to "interfere" with the civil rights of its congregants, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Benjamin Haskell, 22, Michael Jacques, 24, and Thomas Gleason, 21, all of Springfield, Mass., burned Macedonia Church of God in Christ to the ground in the early hours of Nov. 5th as payback for the election of the country’s first African-American president, the department's indictment alleges.

The three men were released Monday on $100,000 bail each, the Springfield Republican reported, after spending 11 days in federal custody.

"These allegations of racial violence connected with the presidential election are serious and disturbing," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King. "The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute individuals who conspire to commit such acts of violence and intimidation."

Before they burned the Pentecostal church, the construction of which was 75 percent complete, the men used racial slurs to express anger with Obama's victory and discussed burning the new church building because the church members, congregants and bishop were African-American, according to the indictment.

After finding gasoline, the trio poured it on the interior and exterior of the 18,000 square-foot building and set it ablaze, the department said, which ended up injuring firefighters.

Haskell, Jacques and Gleason face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years If convicted. The department did not say when a trial would begin.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The racist right indulges its assassination fantasies

We're already aware that the white-supremacist crowd is already creating a higher level of security concerns surrounding Barack Obama's inauguration.

So somehow it probably figures that Sean Hannity's old pal Hal Turner would be out there leading the parade of nutcases making threats around the events.

According to Mark Potok at the SPLC, Turner has gone public this week with his threats:

On Friday, neo-Nazi threatmeister Hal Turner, amplifying on an earlier posting suggesting that it would be a good thing to use an unmanned drone carrying explosives to attack the crowds, said a mass murder of those attending the festivities “would be a public service.” “I won’t say what may happen Tuesday but I will say this,” Turner wrote on his blog. “After Tuesday, the name Hal Turner may live in infamy. Let it be known that I saw what was necessary and decided to do what had to be done. I make no apology to those affected or their families.”

Earlier, on Jan. 11, Turner had posted photos to his blog, under the headline “My Inauguration Dream,” of a small, unmanned drone, an electronic guidance system and sticks of dynamite as he laid out one method of attack. He also discussed the possibility of sending up balloons filled with helium and a “payload” and fitted with fuses that would explode the balloons over the crowds. And he displayed a grainy video that purported to show that method being tested. “Too far fetched?” Turner asks of a possible balloon attack. “It got tested and it worked! … Watch the video and imagine what payload, other than the index cards taped to the outside of the test balloons, might be substituted? HMMMMMM. Might be something messy? Something contagious? Something deadly? Ahhhh, such possibilities!” Then, last Thursday, he posted an update, saying: “All the assets that need to be in-place for next week are now in-place; deep within the security perimeter. Everything is a ‘go.’ We have crossed the Rubicon; let history judge us well.”

Well, fortunately, Turner is not someone to take seriously, any more than gay-basher Fred Phelps. He's made numerous threats in the past, and all have been just so much gasbaggery. Moreover, he has a nonexistent following, especially after it was revealed he had been doing federal-informant work, which pretty much destroys your cred in white-power circles.

Mind you, part of Turner's schtick is planting a seed of doubt in the back of people's minds. That's what he is doing when he says he hopes more to target the crowds than Obama himself.

Mind you, if you happen to see Turner this week in D.C., you'll want to steer clear. Not because he really poses a threat, but just because he's Hal Turner.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blackwell: GOP Must Defeat Job-Creating Stimulus Because It Will Ruin GOP’s Election Chances

blackwell-normal.jpgIn an article published on Townhall today, RNC Chairman candidate and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell urges congressional conservatives to oppose the reinvestment and recovery stimulus plan promoted by President-elect Obama. Though he offers standard conservative arguments against the plan — including a screed against the growth of “big government” — Blackwell seemed most concerned about the political benefit Democrats might see from successfully boosting the economy.

He warned that the bill, which calls for 80 percent job creation in the private sector, could create 600,000 new federal jobs — a problem because it would make it that much harder for for Republicans to win back Virginia:

While only a few details are known, one overlooked issue is that it could create a major electoral advantage for Democrats at taxpayer expense. That would be unacceptable for what is being touted as a nonpartisan measure, and gives Republicans yet another reason to oppose it if not restructured. […]

But most federal employees, that are not political appointees, vote Democrat. Since Washington, DC is the seat of government, whenever new federal bureaucrats are created many live in Maryland and Virginia. In 2008, Virginia went Democrat for the first time since 1964, and Mr. Obama won it by 130,000 votes. Creating 600,000 new jobs might help cement Virginia in the Democrat column, making it harder for Republicans to retake the White House.

Blackwell cites House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) as his source for the 600,000 “bureaucrats” figure. In fact, Obama’s council of economic advisers predicts that the plan would create about 240,000 government jobs, compared to, for example, 700,000 in mining and construction. And of course, there’s no reason to assume the bulk of government jobs would be created in the D.C. area, though the District — which has the 6th highest unemployment rate in the nation — could use the new jobs.

The bottom line is that, in an economy that lost 1.2 million jobs last year, Blackwell’s biggest concern is to block the creation of new jobs because those newly-employed Americans might vote Democratic.