Tag Archives: death

The Death of U.S. Political Democracy For The People

Posted by: LibbyShaw

Will the Senator from Wal-Mart please yield to the Senator from Halliburton? The Congressman from Black Water has 5 minutes remaining before the Congresswoman from United Health may speak.

Mark your calendars, folks. January 21, 2010 is the day the radical and activist Supreme Court of the United States delivered the U.S. Democracy into the hands of the corporate sector and special interests groups. According to an article in the New York Times corporations, lobbyists and unions can now legally purchase their candidates of choice.

“We have got a million we can spend advertising for you or against you – whichever one you want,’ ” a lobbyist can tell lawmakers, said Lawrence M. Noble, a lawyer at Skadden Arps in Washington and former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission.

The decision yesterday will usher in unimaginable numbers of Swift Boat attack ads. Corporate fat cats can now threaten and bully politicians to do their bidding or else.

“It will put on steroids the trend that outside groups are increasingly dominating campaigns,” Mr. Ginsberg said. “Candidates lose control of their message. Some of these guys lose control of their whole personalities.”

“Parties will sort of shrink in the relative importance of things,” he added, “and outside groups will take over more of the functions – advertising support, get out the vote – that parties do now.”

Front row: Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Antonin G. Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. Back row: Associate Justices Samuel A. Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.

Some have called the SOTUS decision a power grab that is intellectually dishonest.

In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.

Many of those commenting on the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission have focused on the power-grab part. I agree with them. It was unnecessary for the court to go so far when there were several less-radical grounds available. It was audacious to seize the opportunity to overrule precedents when the parties had not pressed this issue and the lower courts had not considered it. It was the height of activism to usurp the judgments of Congress and state legislatures about how best to prevent corruption of the political process.

“If it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more,” a wise judge once wrote. That was Chief Justice John G. Roberts — back when — and dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens rightly turned that line against him.

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Republicans naturally and predictably love this recent ruling. But of course they would. Republicans embrace and fully support authoritarian forms of government. And the sad truth of the matter is the GOP has always worked for the corporate sector.

It is devastatingly unfortunate that Republican voters have never been able to understand the hard, cold and mean reality of those they elect into office. Politicians take an oath to serve the people in their districts but many merely give their constituents nothing but empty rhetoric. If one were to closely examine one’s Republican lawmakers’ voting records one would find who their elected officials really work for.

My guess is the teabaggers will wraps it head around the reality of the SCOTUS decision like we progressives have, for the only one imperative we do share in common is a collective outrage over the corporate takeover of the U.S. government and its legislative process by special interest groups and corporations.

But unfortunately teabaggers, unlike progressives, are far too easily led astray by the likes of Dick Armey, one of the numerous behind the scenes leaders of the teabagger movement. Armey’s main mission is to promote the interests of the health care industry. He and his organization, Freedom Works, uses teabaggers as its tools.

Republicans and teabaggers alike have been led to believe that the government is the root of everything evil while progressives know that government is the only force that can and will protect us from the evils of self-serving greed mongers of the corporate sector.

We are where we are today b/c the corporate sector has been enabled to run rough shod over the American people. We are broke. There are no jobs. We lost homes. We lost retirement savings. Meanwhile on Wall St. the fat cats who can now purchase politicians get richer by the minute.

Elections have consequences. The nice guy or girl candidate with whom to have a beer could very well be an anti-political democracy devil in disguise who has every intention of throwing the middle and working classes to the lions.

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Oh, and Prince Alwaleed, grandson of the King of Saudi Arabia and the largest individual shareholder in Citigroup and second biggest shareholder in News Corp (Murdock’s FOX “News”) doesn’t like Obama’s tax on the banks.

Who would have thought?

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Police: Lone Shooter Kills 8 in Central Virginia

posted by: GeoT

Suspect in 8 Va. slayings surrenders after hunt
APPOMATTOX, Va. (AP) — A gunman suspected of killing eight people before disappearing into dense Virginia woods and firing on a police helicopter surrendered at sunrise Wednesday, ending an overnight hunt by dozens of law enforcement officers.

Christopher Speight, 39, approached officers at the scene of the shootings at about 7:10 a.m. and turned himself in, said Sgt. Thomas Molnar of the Virginia State Police.

This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows shooting suspect Christopher Speight, 39, who is being sought in connections with the fatal shootings of eight people in Appomattox, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Virginia State Police)

Associated Press/Larry O’Dell

~Police with dogs and heat-sensing equipment hunted for a man they say shot eight people to death Tuesday and then nearly took down a police helicopter that was trying to flush him out of the woods near this central Virginia town.

State police said officers had the suspect, Christopher Speight, 39, circled in the woods late Tuesday near the home where seven of the bodies were found and they believed he was still alive. An eighth victim was found barely alive on the side of the road — which led to police being called — and died on the way to the hospital.

All the victims were adults and both men and women were killed, state police Sgt. Thomas Molnar said. Three of the bodies were found inside the home, and four just outside it, Molnar said.

Police refused to speculate on a motive and would not say what type of weapon was used. Molnar also gave no background on the suspect. Speight’s last known address was along the block where the shootings occurred, but Molnar did not know if the suspect was still living there. He also would not say if all the victims were shot at the home.

Virginia State Police gather while searching for a man that is possibly connected with multiple fatalities outside of a house on Snapps Mill Road in Appomattox County, Va.

The drama paralyzed the rural area as police swarmed forests trying to catch the suspect who fired at a state police helicopter, forcing it to land with a ruptured fuel tank, police said. No police were injured after one or more rounds struck the helicopter.

A National Guard helicopter with thermal imaging equipment were being used to search the woods.

They are searching the area and will continue until the suspect is apprehended,” Molnar said.

The violence began shortly after noon when the injured man was found on a rural stretch of road. A deputy who went to investigate fled after he heard gunshots, police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said.

When the deputy arrived on the scene, that’s when he heard several shots,” Molnar said.

Police did not release the victims’ names or the suspect’s possible relationship to them.

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Vice-President Joe Biden’s Mother Dies At 92

“My mother, Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden, passed away peacefully today at our home in Wilmington, Delaware, surrounded by her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and many loved ones. At 92, she was the center of our family and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times. She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves. Together with my father, her husband of 61 years who passed away in 2002, we learned the dignity of hard work and that you are defined by your sense of honor. Her strength, which was immeasurable, will live on in all of us.”~~Vice-President Joseph Biden

Vice President Joe Biden Pays Tribute to Mother at the 2009 DNC

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Morgan Freeman Replaces Walter Cronkite On CBS Evening News Voice-over

Posted by: Audiegrl

Actor, film director, and narrator Morgan Freeman

Actor, film director, and narrator Morgan Freeman

Associated Press/David Bauder~~Nearly six months after Walter Cronkite‘s death, his voice is leaving the “CBS Evening News.”

His introduction of anchor Katie Couric was replaced Monday by a voiceover featuring actor Morgan Freeman.

The legendary CBS News anchor recorded the introduction, played at the beginning of most newscasts, when Couric started at CBS in 2006. Cronkite’s voice was kept on the air even after his death July 17.

Walter Cronkite 1916~2009

The most trusted man in news, Walter Cronkite 1916~2009

As comforting as it is to look back on the great career that Walter had, we’re looking forward now and we just felt it was the right time to make the move that at some point had to be made,” said CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus. “This seemed like the appropriate time since Walter’s passing to make the move.”

Having Freeman on board gives CBS the flexibility to record different intros when Couric has special reports and is on location, he said.

CBS has replaced Cronkite with a generic voice over the past few months when it wanted to highlight something special.

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**Breaking—Seattle police kill suspect in officer slayings

Police plan to arrest more people who helped Clemmons

SEATTLE (AP) – The man suspected of gunning down four police officers in a suburban coffee shop was shot and killed by a lone Seattle patrol officer investigating a stolen car early Tuesday, a sheriff’s spokesman said. Four other people were arrested for allegedly helping the suspect elude authorities during a massive two-day manhunt. A Seattle police officer came across the stolen car in a working-class south Seattle neighborhood about 2:45 a.m., Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said. The officer approached the car, then detected movement behind him, recognized the suspect Maurice Clemmons and ordered him to show his hands and stop.
“He wouldn’t stop,” Pugel said. “The officer fired several rounds, took the person into custody.”

Police planned to arrest more people who helped Clemmons. “We expect to have maybe six or seven people in custody by the day’s end,” said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County sheriff. “Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are partners in crime, some are relatives. Now they’re all partners in crime.”
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***Breaking–Kentucky Census Worker Bill Sparkman Killed Himself, Police Say

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In this undated 2008 photo, Bill Sparkman speaks to a 7th grade class during a lesson about sound waves.

AP—A Kentucky census worker found naked, bound with duct tape and hanging from a tree with “fed” scrawled on his chest killed himself but staged his death to make it look like a homicide, authorities said Tuesday.

Bill Sparkman, 51, was found Sept. 12 with a rope around his neck near a cemetery in a heavily wooded area of the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeastern Kentucky. Authorities said his wrists were loosely bound, his glasses were taped to his head and he was gagged.

Kentucky State Police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski said an analysis found that “fed” was written “from the bottom up.” He was touching the ground, and to survive “all Mr. Sparkman had to do at any time was stand up,” she said.

Our investigation, based on evidence and witness testimony, has concluded that Mr. Sparkman died during an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide,” Rudzinski said.

Authorities said Sparkman alone manipulated the suicide scene. Rudzinski said he “told a credible witness that he planned to commit suicide and provided details on how and when.”

Authorities wouldn’t say who Sparkman told of his plan, but said Sparkman talked about it a week before his suicide and the person did not take him seriously.

Friends and co-workers have said that even while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, Sparkman would show up for work smiling with a toboggan cap to cover his balding head. They said he was punctual and dependable.

$600,000 in life insurance
Sparkman had recently taken out two accidental life insurance policies totaling $600,000 that would not pay out for suicide, authorities said. If Sparkman had been killed on the job, his family also would have been be eligible for up to $10,000 in death gratuity payments from the government.

Sparkman’s son, Josh, previously told The Associated Press that his father had named him as his life insurance beneficiary. Josh Sparkman said earlier this month he found paperwork for the private life insurance policy among his father’s personal files but wasn’t sure of the amount.

The Census Bureau suspended door-to-door interviews in the rural area after Sparkman’s body was found, but a spokesman said normal operations would resume in Clay County next month.

Anti-government sentiment was initially one possibility in the death. Authorities said Sparkman had discussed perceived negative views of the federal government in the county.

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44-D’s Book Diaries: R. Scott Reiss’ Black Monday

“Name the most powerful narcotic in the world,” he asks the former beggar boy. “Oil,” the mentor says. ” More than opium, more than heroin. The pipelines are syringes. The addicts pay anything for their supply, kill for it, steal for it, topple governments for it.”

Black Monday by R. Scott ReissThis gripping, high-concept thriller about an oil-eating microbe is written by best-selling author R. Scott Reiss. “Black Monday” is in movie development for release in 2012.

A plague that will cause the death of millions. A plague that will destroy countries. A plague that will plunge the world into a dark age. A plague that will make nobody sick…

When the first planes go down — in Europe, in California, in Asia — authorities blame terrorists. All flights are grounded as world leaders try to figure out how the global assault has been coordinated. And when cars, ships, and factories stop running too, it becomes clear that the common link is oil. Somehow a microbe, genetically engineered to destroy petroleum, has infected the world supply. The world descends into a new dark age.

Dr. Gregory Gillette, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, is a disease hunter specializing in microbes that attack human beings. When the Pentagon taps him to be part of the Rapid Response Team assembled to track and kill the devastating Delta-3 bacteria, he quickly discovers that his expertise is ignored, his presence meaningless. The leader of the task force is an old nemesis who sidelines Gillette.

Gillette returns home to Washington, where he watches in horror as food becomes scarce, neighbor attacks neighbor, and government collapses. With winter approaching, the capital faces anarchy and Gillette faces a choice: to stay with his family or to disobey orders and find the microbes’ antidote through clues that may not even be real.

Best-selling author R. Scott Reiss

Best-selling author R. Scott Reiss

Black Monday is an involving thriller with a timely theme. The author’s use of the present tense provides an excitement and immediacy that rapidly propel the narrative forward…Reiss includes enough solid detail to make his improbable plot seem almost realistic. He handles his complicated scientific explanations with aplomb, takes the time to focus on a variety of compelling characters, and creates a terrifying scenario that will make thoughtful readers think twice about the world’s dependence on the ultimate narcotic–oil.”~~Mostly Fiction Book Reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from Black Monday

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***UPDATED***Rachel Maddow Show Guest, Frank Schaeffer Discuss the Latest In Thinly-Veiled Evangelical Christian Obama Death Threats

HP—Apparently, the latest thing in “Debasing The Institutions You Pretend To Hold Dear In Order To Suggest That President Barack Obama Should Be Murdered Without Actually Coming Right Out And Saying So” goes by a shorter name: Psalm 109:8.

And Psalm 109:8 is just straight up memetastic, appearing on bumper stickers and T-shirts, all of which carry the benign sounding message, “Pray For Obama.” But, as Gawker’s John Cook points out, this is just one more in a “long line of cheekily coded Obama death threats.” The verse in question reads: “May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.” That leads fairly naturally into the Psalm 109:9, “May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.” You know, in case you miss the point.

Rachel Maddow took up this issue last night, inviting Patience With God author and Huffington Post blogger Frank Schaeffer to explain whether or not the citation of this Biblical text “means something less threatening to people hearing this in a Biblical context.”

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***UPDATE I From The Rachel Maddow*** Show

Statement by CafePress to TRMS
Regarding the appropriateness of Psalm 109:8 products

“Cafepress looks at content on a case by case basis, and makes decisions about what content is permissible based on our content usage policy.

Anti-presidential gear has been a mainstay at Cafepress since we were founded in 1999 and has become a key component of political discourse. Our site has become a cultural barometer of public opinion and as such designs often come into question. In managing our content we are trying to protect self expression, while making sure we are not advocating violence.

We initially pulled the Psalm 109:8 content from our products today because broader media dialog indicated that these designs potentially suggested violence towards the president. Based on current public discourse and further review of the actual content, we have determined that it is fair political commentary and we are in the process of reinstating this merchandise. As with all of our content, these designs will continue to be reviewed and if at any time their meaning is construed as advocating violence we will revisit our decision.
—Amy Maniatis, CafePress VP of Marketing

If you would like to contact CafePress, see below:

CafePress Email
CafePress Phone # 1-877-809-1659. International customers, please call 1-402-517-4480.

***UPDATE II From Thinkprogress.org***

Yesterday, Cafe Press announced that it was again reversing itself and removing all the merchandise in response to strong public pressure:

The public debate started with questioning if the design was simply intended to be criticism of the President or something much worse. The discourse was surprisingly civil online, given the heated nature of the topic. Given that, and the positions of groups like the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League, we decided to let the dialogue play out publicly before making a final decision.

Last night we posted a poll on our blog, read through the emails we’ve received and weighed the nature of the calls we’ve received on the topic. In the process we also learned that many of the original designers of the Psalm 109:8 designs had already decided to remove them on their own.

General consensus has proven that the design does point to a broader interpretation of the Psalm and thus has been deemed inappropriate for sale at CafePress.

The results of the Cafe Press poll were 76 percent calling the slogan “overly inflammatory and inappropriate” and 22 percent saying it was fair.

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Insurance Probed in Census Taker Bill Sparkman’s Death

Posted by Audiegrl

MANCHESTER-KY-largeAP/Jeffrey McMurray & Devlin Barrett— A census taker found hanging from a tree had named his son as his life insurance beneficiary, and investigators are looking into whether the father manipulated the death scene to make a claim possible, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press Thursday.

In an interview with AP, Josh Sparkman said he found paperwork for the private life insurance policy among his father’s personal files but wasn’t sure of the amount or when it was taken out. He said authorities have told him nothing about the case or produced a death certificate, which is usually needed to make an insurance claim.

Two law enforcement sources, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case, said investigators are trying to determine if Bill Sparkman committed suicide but altered the scene to make it look like a homicide, allowing his son to collect. Life insurance policies typically do not cover suicides within a certain period of time after the policy starts.

Josh Sparkman said he is convinced his father was slain, in part because there were several items missing and apparently stolen from his car.

If it’s deemed suicide, there’s no point in even looking at insurance,” Josh Sparkman said. “There’s no such thing as suicide insurance. The money is not the concern. I just want to know what happened to my dad.

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This is not the way we should be doing things in America…

Posted by Audiegrl

Colin Powell and Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press 10/19/08Watching the horrific events at Fort Hood unfold yesterday, it saddens me to admit that one of the first things that came to my mind, once the shooter was identified, was “oh no, what is the right-wing going to do with this?” Today, after seeing some fair and some not so fair coverage of the Fort Hood Massacre, it reminded me of what General Colin Powell said on Meet the Press in October of last year. When asked by host, Tom Brokaw whether he was prepared to announce whether he was endorsing John McCain or Barack Obama, Powell answered with a very long explanation on how he came to the decision to endorse Barack Obama for president and how he felt about the recent actions of the GOP. Towards the end of his answer, he said something that needs to be said again and again, regarding some of the countries reaction to the events at Fort Hood.

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.~~Colin Powell

His words were important last year, but even more so relevant today. The following are two a thoughtful pieces written by Kamran Pasha and Jon Soltz.

A Muslim Soldier’s View from Fort Hood

Soldiers praying

Soldiers praying

Kamran Pasha—Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a murderer and has brought great shame upon every American Muslim in the armed forces.

There are currently over 10,000 Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military, men and women who are patriotic and love their country and their fellow service members. Hasan’s evil actions, the murder of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, have now brought those honorable soldiers’ loyalties into question.

The Islamophobe community on the Internet is trumpeting how Hasan’s behavior is reflective of the threat Americans face from their Muslim neighbors, and how radical Islamists have infiltrated the ranks of our military. Calls for purging the military, and perhaps even the United States, of its Muslim members have already begun.

Today there are dozens of families mourning the attack on their loved ones by a fellow-in-arms. And there are hundreds of Muslims at Fort Hood who knew Hasan and are stunned that he would betray their country and their community with such cold, calculated ease. Hasan’s rampage has truly shattered many more lives than we can begin to imagine.

I spoke today with a friend who is a Muslim soldier stationed at Fort Hood. He is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a recent convert to Islam. He agreed to share his perspective with me if I granted him anonymity. So we will call him Richard.

Richard is exactly the kind of soldier we need to protect our country from those that seek to do us harm. A combat veteran who has served in Iraq, Richard became interested in studying Islam initially as a strategic means of understanding his adversary in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. But as he began to study the religion’s teachings, he became struck by how different they were from what was being claimed by men like Osama Bin Laden.

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Kamran Pasha is a Hollywood filmmaker and author of “Mother of the Believers”

Many Issues With Tragedy at Ft. Hood — A “Muslim Problem” not One of Them, FOX News

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Jon Soltz—Yesterday was one of the most tragic days in the military, in the midst of a slew of tragic days as we continue to see casualties in Afghanistan. Innocent soldiers lost their lives, and many more were injured, at the hands of a very troubled Major at Ft. Hood. Our hearts go out to all those who lost their lives, their families, and those wounded.

Like many, I’m angry and confused, as well, at how this could possibly happen. But, until the facts are all known, I won’t jump to conclusions, or cast aspersions at a large group of Americans, like the disgraceful hosts of FOX and Friends.

During an interview with Geraldo Rivera, the FOX and Friends hosts twice implied that this is some kind of Muslim problem. Of course, they didn’t come out and say it outright, they couched it in the form of a question, like FOX News can be so good at. You know, like their teasers, “President Obama. Does He Hate America?”

Brian Kilmeade asked if it’s time to have “special debriefings” or “special screenings” of all Muslims in the military. Because, as he said, “If I’m gonna be deployed in a foxhole, if I’m gonna be deployed in an outpost, I’m gonna want to know that the guy next to me isn’t gonna want to kill me.”

Perhaps sensing that they were not being offensive enough, Gretchen Carlson chimed in, “Could it be that our own military is so politically correct right now…to be careful about treatment of Muslims that they would have allowed this to go by?”

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Jon Stoltz is the Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, served as a Captain in Operation Iraqi Freedom

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Right-Wing Media Respond To Fort Hood Shooting By Attacking Muslims

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Allen West, GOP Candidate: Ft. Hood Shows “Terrorists Are Infiltrating Military

WND’s Jerome Corsi Claims Fort Hood Shooter Advised Obama

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