New on NewsReal – Oh, Good: Left-Wing KINDERGARTEN Teacher Threatens to Kill Wisconsin Republicans

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The fireworks in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to rein in government employee unions aren’t over yet. Unions have declared war on any Wisconsin businesses that won’t publicly oppose Walker, and the budget repair bill has been blocked by an activist judge, turning next week’s state Supreme Court election into a proxy battle on the issue.

Oh, and we’re not done with the onslaught of violence and vitriol on behalf of the unions and the educational establishment, either. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin resident Katherine Windels is now facing felony charges for death threats she made against state Republican lawmakers:

The subject line of the second email was: ”Atten: Death Threat!!!! Bomb!!!” In that email, she purportedly wrote, “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks.”

“I hope you have a good time in hell,” she allegedly wrote in the lengthy email in which she purportedly listed scenarios in which the legislators and their families would die, including bombings and by “putting a nice little bullet in your head.”

According to the criminal complaint, Windels told investigators “I sent out emails that I was
disgusted and very upset by what they were doing.”


Asked if she intended to follow through on any of her threats, Windels told the investigators “No,” according to the complaint.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey reveals two key details about the story that the Sentinel left out: first, Windels is a pre-school and kindergarten teacher, and second, this isn’t the first time she’s done something like this—she sent the emails using the name and email address of Lisa Patterson, a woman who she allegedly sent threatening text messages to in October 2010.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – No, Bill Sammon Didn’t Lie About Thinking Obama Was a Socialist (Which He Totally Is)

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There’s only so much mileage the Left can get out of vehemently denying that President Barack Obama is a socialist. For best propagandistic results, it’s ideal to highlight people on the Right who allegedly admit the same thing (and if their remarks can be used to embarrass a hated cable news channel in the process, so much the better).

Case in point: relying upon Media Matters research, Howard Kurtz’s latest on the Daily Beast highlights recent remarks made by Fox News Channel’s Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon during a 2009 cruise hosted by Hillsdale College (my alma mater):

“Last year, candidate Barack Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to ‘spread the wealth around.’ At that time, I have to admit that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.”

That he did—on several occasions.

On Oct. 14, 2008, Sammon said on the air that Obama’s “spread the wealth” remark “is red meat when you’re talking to conservatives and you start talking about spread the wealth around. That is tantamount to socialism.”

On Oct. 21, he told Greta Van Susteren: “I have read Barack Obama’s books pretty carefully, and he in his own words talks about being drawn to Marxists… Now all this stuff’s coming out about whether he’s a socialist. I don’t know why anyone is surprised by it, because if you read his own words and his sort of, you know, orientation coming up as a liberal through college and a young man, it’s not a huge shock.”

Sammon, a former Washington Times reporter, also made sure his troops got out the word. On Oct. 27, he sent an email to staffers highlighting what he described as “Obama’s references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists” in his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father.

Sammon’s response:

In an interview, Sammon says his reference to “mischevious speculation” was “my probably inartful way of saying, ‘Can you believe how far this thing has come?’” The socialism question indeed “struck me as a far-fetched idea” in 2008. “I considered it kind of a remarkable notion that we would even be having the conversation.” He doesn’t regret repeatedly raising it on the air because, Sammon says, “it was a main point of discussion on all the channels, in all the media”—and by 2009 he was “astonished by how the needle had moved.”


In defense of Sammon’s ethics, raising a subject on the air and speculating about it, even “mischievously,” aren’t the same as reaching or arguing for a firm conclusion about the subject. Indeed, if you watch the full clip the Oct. 14 quote comes from, Sammon’s not even arguing for the Obama-as-socialist charge—he’s just objectively analyzing 2008 rival John McCain’s strategic interest in pressing the issue.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – John Avlon Trashes Minnesota to Paint Bachmann and Pawlenty as Wingnuts

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Not content to let Eric Alterman have all the fun of belittling Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Daily Beast writer John Avlon has joined the Bachmann bashing bandwagon, too.  The Beast’s resident “extremism” hand-wringer is taking a more roundabout approach, suggesting that Bachmann is symptomatic of a broader radicalization of Minnesota, for which she and Gov. Tim Pawlenty “are going to have to answer for”:

In recent weeks, the Republican-controlled state legislature has clashed with liberal Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. Among their headline grabbing and eyebrow-raising legislative efforts have included trying to ban all abortions in the state after 20 weeks and forbidding anyone on public assistance from withdrawing more than $20 cash per month.

The man Dayton narrowly defeated in an overwhelmingly Republican election year was conservative-populist-turned-lobbyist Tom Emmer, who backed a “Tenther” bill that would require a two-thirds state legislative vote to ratify any federal legislation and supported a state constitutional ban on gay marriage.

This isn’t the first time Avlon has had trouble grasping the fact that just because he disagrees with a particular position, it doesn’t automatically follow that the position is beyond the pale. It’s unreasonable to ban abortion well after unborn babies can feel pain? It’s extreme to do what thirty other states already do on marriage? As for the restriction on withdrawing money, Mark Meed debunked that canard on March 21, and while the idea of state supermajorities having to ratify all federal laws does strike me as both constitutionally and practically problematic, it hardly signifies a kook epidemic that a gubernatorial candidate would embrace a questionable solution to a real problem—federal overreach over states’ rights.

Avlon continues in a similar vein, listing examples of Minnesota Republicans either saying off-color things or appearing with others who have. The players in question deserve heat for some of it, while other scandals are almost certainly overblown; I’ll leave the final judgment to Minnesota politicos.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Michele Bachmann Considers Presidential Run, Eric Alterman Demands Media Not Notice

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Have you ever wondered how lefty talking head Eric Alterman can possibly argue that the media is biased to the right? Well, his latest column in the Daily Beast provides a pretty good window into his methodology—moving the goalposts so far that even covering certain conservative candidates is an act of journalistic malpractice.

Alterman spends most of the piece mocking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for a series of historical gaffes, suggesting that any presidential campaign by “an individual so obviously mentally and emotionally challenged” would be a hopeless “exercise in vanity and self-delusion,” which the press is only wasting its time by covering:

Michele Bachmann is “reportedly” ready to form a presidential exploratory committee in early June. Shame on me (and this website) for paying the slightest bit of attention to this foolish and ridiculous spectacle, but here we are […]

What does it say about our national media that this woman is considered a serious person? What is she doing being taken seriously on Meet the Press? Why in the world does ABC’s George Stephanopoulos think it important to find out whether she’s a fan—I kid you not—of Lady Gaga?
And how can any reporter expect anyone, anytime to take him or her seriously if they treat the “Bachmann for President” boomlet as anything but a symbol of a political system that has run itself off the rails of sanity?

If a history of stupid remarks disqualifies a politician from serious coverage, then how does Alterman explain the media’s slobbering love affair with Barack Obama, who’s got his own record of gaffes? Or maybe his running mate, Joe Biden?

To be sure, a candidate’s grasp of history is fair game for judging a would-be president, but the task of journalists is to judge who is running, not who should run. And like Bachmann or not, her potential bid for the presidency is a legitimate story, and she can’t be ignored.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Ex-Carter Official Blames Neocons for "Trapping" Obama Into Acting in Libya

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The Left has a problem. Attacking countries that haven’t attacked us first is a major no-no, but the president who’s initiated the latest campaign in Libya, Barack Obama, is their standard-bearer, not a warmongering right-winger. What to do?

On the Daily Beast, Leslie Gelb, Assistant Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter, has an analysis of the situation which liberals eager to give Obama cover might find useful: the neocons made him do it!

Neocons and liberal interventionists stampeded Obama into imposing a no-fly zone against Libya—despite the absence of vital U.S. interests there […]

The manufactured crisis in Libya is a prime case in point. No foreign states have vital interests at stake in Libya. Events in this rather odd and isolated land have little bearing on the rest of the tumultuous Mideast region. Also not to be dismissed, there are far, far worse humanitarian horrors elsewhere. Yet, U.S. neoconservatives and liberal humanitarian interventionists have trapped another U.S. president into acting as if the opposite were true.

Obama’s been “trapped” into ordering airstrikes? How?

Once this terrible duo starts tossing out words like “slaughter” and “genocide,” the media goes crazy. Then, the chorus begins to sing of heartless inaction by the U.S. president, blaming him for the deaths. White House common sense crumbles into insanity. The reason why neither President Obama nor his coalition partners in Britain and France can state a coherent goal for Libya is that none of them have any central interest in the outcome there. It is only when a nation has a clear vital interest that it can state a clear objective for war. They’ve all simply been carried away by their own rhetoric.

The drama usually starts when leaders and thinkers are seduced by the feeling they must do good. Sometimes, they essentially ignore the killings, even as deaths climb into the hundreds of thousands, as in Rwanda and millions as in Congo. Other times, the deaths number in the hundreds or so, as in Libya—and the guy doing the killing is someone they have good reason to dislike, and so they want to do good and stop him. It was just so with the irresistible trio of Senators—John McCain, John Kerry, and Lindsey Graham—and with their counterparts in foreign-policy land.

And just like that, interventionists insist there’s “no time to deliberate,” and the president helplessly complies with their calls to arms.

There are a couple problems with this theory, though. First, polls show that, on the whole, Americans approve of the action now that we’re in it, but their support is far from overwhelming. On Capitol Hill and among the Tea Party, the battle lines are similarly muddied, with politicians of Obama’s own party blasting him for intervening while his sworn enemies in the Tea Party are more open to the idea. So if Obama really thought getting involved was a bad move for the United States, there’s certainly enough political cover for him to withstand interventionist condemnation for staying out.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Sarah Palin Visits Israel. What’s In It For Her?

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Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is in Israel right now, which for some reason is perplexing to some in the chattering class back home. Taking the most cynical approach, Newsweek Jerusalem bureau chief Dan Ephron takes to the Daily Beast to explore what Palin might stand to gain politically from the visit:

For the former Alaska governor, the trip offers a chance to distinguish herself as more pro-Israel than other American politicians and, perhaps, to make amends for her “blood libel” gaffe in January that angered many Jews. Palin has already pointed out that President Obama has yet to visit Israel during more than two years in office. At a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she was expected to distance herself from the position of some fellow Tea Partiers—chiefly Congressman Rand Paul—in favor of cutting aid to Israel.

Leftists and left-wing groups which claim to speak for Jews complained about the “blood libel” nonsense at the time, but a.) that doesn’t necessarily translate to “many Jews,” and b.) I doubt Palin took that line of attack too seriously, considering the frequency with which both sides have used the term in the past. Attempting to compare favorably to Obama’s inattentiveness (and worse) to Israel is more likely, as is the idea that she’s distancing herself from Paul’s stances on that front, especially considering that she supported him.

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New on NewsReal – Hannity Calls Out "Partisan Hack" Weiner for Bush-Bashing Defense of Obamanomics

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You want a surefire way to cause a cable news stir? Just pit old foes like Sean Hannity and Rep. Anthony Weiner against each other, throw in Rep. Michele Bachmann for good measure, and voila! The battle gets picked up by everyone from Mediaite and The Blaze to News Hounds and the Huffington Post.

Last night’s topic of debate was the United States’ current financial mess:

HANNITY: All right, Congressman, here’s why we are in this position. This is just a fact. You had both Houses of Congress last year — run by the Democrats. You had White House. You guys didn’t pass a budget. It is your responsibility. You should have passed the budget. You didn’t pass a budget. Now we find ourselves at this impasse.

All the Democrats are offering — it’s $4.5 billion in cuts. We have a $1.65 trillion deficit this year, after nearly three trillion of Obama debt in his first two years. And we also have, you know, $3.7 trillion budget.

You can’t find more than $4.5 billion to cut?

WEINER: Well, frankly, let’s get the history right. The Bush administration drove the economy into a cliff and we’ve been digging out ever since.

HANNITY: Blah, blah, blah.

(CROSSTALK)

WEINER: Well, let me answer the question. It’s true we also did add a trillion dollars of additional debt and deficit by giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires — something many of us opposed. But the fact is, if you look at the president’s budget –

Once again, Bush Derangement Syndrome rears its ugly head. We’re in Barack Obama’s third year as president; it’s remarkable that Democrats still don’t feel embarrassed to lay the blame for all of America’s woes, including the Obama job losses, at the feet of his predecessor. If you still think Obama has little to do with all the red ink we’re drowning in, check out this post at Maggie’s Notebook, which highlights a couple unnerving analyses of Obama’s fiscal policies. They point out that Obama’s gotten credit for the repayment of TARP loans that should go to Bush, and that “the latest Obama budget is his third straight budget calling for over a $1 trillion in spending – which no other president has ever done, and in fact no president has even asked for half that. And get this: Anderson says Obama’s three year spending binge is 37% higher than G.W.’s ENTIRE 8-YEAR PRESIDENCY.” (I’ve tackled Obama’s drunken-sailor ways before here.)

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog. 

New on NewsReal – Shock: Media Matters Catches Political Talker Talking Politics

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Discussing perceived political angles to tragedies, especially as they’re happening, is always touchy. Even if there is a valid policy observation to be made, you’re opening yourself up to ready-made accusations of insensitivity, partisanship, and opportunism. So it should come as little surprise that the leftist smear merchants at Media Matters are raking Sean Hannity over the coals for a “five-minute Obama-bashing session” during his coverage of the disaster in Japan:

HANNITY: Apparently, the president was groggy when he answered that call, because on Saturday, hours after the quake struck, he went golfing. And later that evening he attended a dinner with members of the mainstream Obama-mania media. And today, the president spent his afternoon filling out his NCAA brackets for ESPN […]

DANA PERINO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He probably feels like if he would succumb to all the pressure, to comment on everything, he wouldn’t have time even to go to the bathroom. But what surprises me is –

HANNITY: You mean he wouldn’t have time to shoot hoops?

PERINO: Well — shoot hoops, play golf — but the other thing is, remember, from the communication standpoint what they’ve done. Today, he did three interviews, with regional news outlets in key battle ground states for 2012. I mean, they are starting very, very early. He still has yet I believe to do an interview with NHK which is the main news outlet for Japan. How reassuring it would be for the Japanese to hear from the president right now.

Another communications points, Steve, is in January, when Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot, that morning President Obama put out a photograph from him in the White House situation room, even after we knew it was lone gunman, I mean, the situation room?

And then Saturday, their only communications was a radio address on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which had obviously been taped days before and they’re not going to change it, and his video of him playing golf.

On the one hand, I don’t want to see conservatives taking this line of attack too far. As we’ve discussed before, presidents are never really off-duty. And while it certainly doesn’t speak well of Obama’s PR team that nobody thought the president’s current schedule of sports, photo ops, and vacations would look improper when juxtaposed against foreign deaths and devastation, the fact is that there’s just not much for the President of the United States’ to do about overseas natural disasters.

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New on NewsReal – Peter Beinart Spins Walker’s Conservative Victory as a Boon for Obama

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If it’s a day ending in “y,” that means it’s time for more crappy political advice from the Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart. Beinart’s kind of a one-trick pony on the subject—I’ve noted before how, no matter the situation, he advises Republicans not to govern like conservatives lest they face certain electoral doom (the right electoral strategy, coincidentally, happens to be to govern exactly like Peter Beinart would). Today, he argues that the Wisconsin GOP’s victory over public-sector unions will ultimately ensure a second term for Barack Obama:

In 2010, Republicans successfully accused Obama of abetting the extremism of Nancy Pelosi. In 2012, Obama will ask Americans if they want a president who abets the extremism of Scott Walker. By so successfully shifting the ideological debate to the right, Republicans have reframed Obama as a man of the center. And by terrifying liberals, they are helping ensure that Obama gets the large Democratic base turnout he needs […]

The 2012 Republican nominee will likely face the same problem. Embracing Scott Walker will alienate independents; rejecting him will alienate the conservative base. Parties usually win elections when their partisans are pragmatic enough to nominate candidates with crossover appeal but desperate enough to turn out for them nonetheless. Today’s GOP isn’t that kind of party. The Democrats, especially after last November, are.

There are two major problems with Beinart’s analysis. First, if one’s stance on public-sector unions is to be our new barometer for “extremism,” comparing Obama and Walker is hardly an open-and-shut case, even on the Left’s own terms—consider that government employees at the federal level can’t collectively bargain over wages or benefits, whereas Walker’s bill still allows some bargaining over wages. Assuming the GOP’s next presidential nominee isn’t totally asleep at the switch (which, admittedly, isn’t all that safe an assumption), he or she will challenge Obama on that very point.

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New at NewsReal – No Islamophobia Epidemic Here: The Surprising Truth About Hate Crimes in America

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Rep. Peter King’s announced congressional hearings on Muslim extremism have brought on a tidal wave of condemnation of the level to which America allegedly embraces anti-Islamic bigotry, so it’s important to take a look at how American Muslims are really treated in this country.

We’ve noted before how polling data indicates that the American people don’t consider most Muslims to be terrorism supporters and FBI numbers show that Muslims actually comprise a very small share of the nation’s annual hate crime victims. And yesterday, the Center for Security Policy released a new report on religiously motivated hate crimes between 2000 and 2009, which “contradicts the false assertions that hate crimes against Muslims have increased, and that the alleged cause is widespread Islamophobia in America.” CSP president Frank Gaffney says:

This report is important because it exposes a false belief perpetuated by a few vocal groups that religious bias crimes against Muslims are on the upswing.  The truth is quite the opposite.  These arguments, unsubstantiated by hard factual data, are corrosive to community relationships at every level of American society, and a potential threat to national security.

First, the report’s summary chart [download here] shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans are peaceful to members of all faiths. There were a total of 6,319 anti-religious hate crimes perpetrated against Americans of all faiths in the last decade. As despicable as every single act was, that number is well within the range we should expect in a free society of over 300 million people (consider that in 2008 alone there were 16,272 murders, 89,000 rapes, and 441,855 robberies). Neither Jews, Christians nor Muslims are suffering any kind of hate-crime epidemic.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.