Tonight in Seattle:  

Man shot three times for wearing Obama t-shirt

Remember yesterday when I said things were getting ugly?

They've already gotten uglier.

H/T to Daily Kos for pointing this one out:

A man told today how he was shot three times in a London street for wearing a Barack Obama T-shirt.

Dube Egwuatu was buying a mobile telephone top-up card in an off-licence when the gunman confronted him and glared at the top, which carries an image of the Democrat US presidential candidate underneath the legend 'Believe'.

The man then launched into a tirade of racist slurs, shouting 'I f***ing hate n*****s' and urging 36-year-old Mr Egwuatu to leave the shop with him.

I'd like to pose this: Just think about what would happen to this country if something were to happen to Obama right now. I don't know if racial (& political) violence would occur but it wouldn't need to because there would be economic disaster. Given the precarious state of the American & world economy looking for leadership in the US to save it, what would happen globally if something were to happen to Obama?

I personally feel the danger to people downstream from Obama is more than to Obama himself. He's already got every KKK neo-Nazi thug out there after him. But, as many comments in that diary proved, there's as much danger and threat to people downstream as to Obama.

Tires will get slashed. Brake lines get cut. People are spit on. And citizens doing nothing more than wearing a t-shirt supporting their candidate can get shot.

This needs to stop -- before somebody gets killed. As it is, someone attempted to kill an Obama supporter today.

McCain & Palin need to stop their hateful speeches and get back to debating the issues NOW!

 

Already there have been reports of audience members at McPalin rallies shouting "Kill Him!" and reporters being threatened.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared about how low the Republican campaign will stoop in these remaining weeks, especially as their poll numbers dip lower (thankfully). From all indications, they've let go of the issues and instead are spewing hate and lies to rally... well, those who get incited by these sorts of things.

Scary.

 

One critical factor that Daily Kos has chosen to omit:

Dube Egwuatu is black.

And England still has some pretty fierce racists (the National Front is still a very viable entity). It's very likely a white Brit with an Obama t-shirt would not have suffered the same violence.

This doesn't excuse an inexcusable act, but it should definitely be considered before going off on a political tangent.

I bet this makes Bible Spice happy.

I don't take a moment of solace because the man in question was black. I find the whole thing terrifying.

From the article ChrisB linked:

Palin's new rhetorical strategy signifies an alarming new development in the 2008 Presidential election, and one that has been not only been documented by such high profile newspapers as the Washington Post, but confirmed by the McCain campaign itself.

"It's a dangerous road, but we have no choice," a top McCain strategist recently admitted to the Daily News. "If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we're going to lose." (link)

The 'dangerous road,' however, is not just a generic attack on Sen. Obama's trustworthiness or honesty. Rather, the McCain campaign has chosen to stand before campaign rallies and accuse Sen. Obama of hiding sympathies with domestic terrorists--to accuse their opponent, essentially, of being a terrorist.

With the McCain campaign now using the Palin stump speech to accuse Sen. Obama of hiding a terrorist agenda, the McCain campaign has staked its future on rhetoric that skirts the boundary between character assassination and incitements of actual violence against their opponent.

Meanwhile, while McCain is not yet accusing Obama of terrorism in his own stump speech, the crowds at his rallies are.

In a recent video clip from MSNBC, McCain asked a rally, "Who is the real Barack Obama?" In response to McCain's rhetorical question, a voice from the crowd can be clearly heard to shout in response, "Terrorist!" (link)

Since the start of the election campaign well over a year ago, voters have been subject to ongoing smear campaigns in emails and push polls accusing Sen. Obama of ties to and sympathies with domestic and foreign terrorist groups. No matter how many times these smear campaigns have been exposed, they continued. Now that John McCain and Sarah Palin have echoed these accusations--the idea that Sen. Obama is secretly a terrorist has the stamp of approval of a presidential campaign, but of a multi-term U.S. senator and a U.S. governor.

i totally agree with you here, micheal. and while it doesn't make the act any less excusable, the fact that such a vehement response to a presidential candidate who is a minority even exists proves that-- sadly-- this is only going to get worse. being a black man who is (well, sort of obviously) an obama supporter, i've caught racial slurs being slung underneath someone's breath before, but nothing this horrific, thankfully.

this makes me worry more and more about the man himself; how much protection is he going to need from the secret service, just because of the color of his skin? let's keep it real: this man is going to have to worry about not only his own safety, but the safety of his entire family, for the rest of his life.

This whole "dig up some crazy extremist from his past" thing is sort of backfiring on McCain, mostly because he used to be affilated with a right-wing group that supported all kinds of bad shit.

He's a crazy fucking nutcase

I get the feeling that the AP specifically dug this up because of his recent tirades about Obama's "ties" to Ayers and the Weather Underground.

First-class fearmongering!

That the posts you reference are so utterly imprecise about the subject matter, it begs the question: is this diarist even paying any attention whilst breathlessly reporting on a shooting in London, where Obama has overwhelming popularity? And where he is not running for public office? Because a guy wearing an Obama t-shirt in another country got shot by someone (not American), we should worry about...um, what, exactly?

So, while we're on the subject of precision...the charge isn't that Obama is "secretly a terrorist," it is that Obama has political ties to an unrepentant domestic terrorist (William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn). Obama's campaign today claims that he was unaware of Ayers and Dohrn's extreme pasts, straining credulity. In any case, Obama no longer denies he was politically connected to the domestic terrorists, he just claims he was unaware they were very publicly part of a plot to bomb the Pentagon and to kill children of state supreme court justices (among other things), and to this day is unrepentant and regretful they "didn't do more."

How is McCain/Palin questioning the judgment of entangling oneself with such individuals "hate" and "lies"? Obama's campaign admits it is not a lie. The pertinent question should be: why does Obama find it so difficult to own that it is poor judgment to mix with such a duo?

Perhaps you'll engage in a little game of "What-if?" If McCain had kicked off his campaign in the home of, say, someone who bombed an abortion clinic, would you say this was significant? What if McCain once sat on a board with Timothy McVeigh? McVeigh and Ayers/Dohrn shared a propensity for bomb plots, one was just more effective at carrying out such horror. Would such a connection be significant in the campaign for the Presidency?

If you believe the Ayers connection is unworthly of scrutiny, logically, your answer should be no.

I know that I've meandered a bit in my subject matter here, but it has to be said that you frame your political opposites as caricatures, not real people with real ideas that are different from your own.

Oh Jana, I've been thinking about you lately, wondering if you were going to come back and comment again on TIG -- it's nice to see you again.

But I gotta admit: after the past few weeks, what with the public humiliation of Ms. Palin with her abysmal performance during interviews and a general acknowledgment that she isn't remotely qualified to lead the country, my hope was that your silence was because you were reconsidering your position. That doesn't appear to be the case.

To address Ayers: the connection was worthy of scrutiny, it was scrutinized, and I'm satisfied with the results. Ayers had a reckless past for sure -- more than 40 years ago, when Obama was a child. Since then he's become extremely well-respected in Chicago, by Dems and Repubs alike. I'm at work and don't have time to write a ton, so I'm going to let the smart people at NPR -- via a blog on Daily Kos -- speak for me below:

Some republicans from Chicago are saying what most of us knew all along. Bill Ayers was a commonly acceptable figure in Chicago by everyone--Democrats, Independents, and even Republicans. Are they all America hating, terrorist loving traitors to America?!

In fact, this NPR piece speaks to the Republican funded cause that Obama and Ayers worked on together. And that:

"It was never a concern by any of us in the Chicago school reform movement that he had led a fugitive life years earlier," said former Illinois state Republican Rep. Diana Nelson, who worked with both Obama and Ayers over the years. "It's ridiculous. There is no reason at all to smear Barack Obama with this association. It's nonsensical, and it just makes me crazy. It's so silly."

Yesterday, in a rehash of the MSM acknowledged issues of the day, NPR did a short piece on Obama and Ayers. Fortunately for many, they made news.

First, Obama began working with Ayers and others (Republicans, Independents, and Democrats) at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Well, what is the Anneberg Challenge? Who is Annenberg? Well according to NPR,

The Obama campaign says he first met Ayers in 1995, when Obama became chair of the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a $50 million fund that awarded grants to groups trying to implement new programs to improve inner city education in Chicago.

Walter Annenberg, a lifelong Republican and former ambassador who was appointed by Presidents Nixon and Reagan, funded an ambitious program to reform urban education in many cities in the mid 1990s. Ayers was an important member of the group that developed and wrote the grant proposal to the Annenberg Foundation.

Second, there were people of all political persuasions working on this effort with this "terrorist" Ayers and who saw him as acceptable and Obama was no closer than any of the others.

...no one on the board or on the Annenberg Challenge staff remembers Obama being any closer to Ayers than to any other member of the board. The Annenberg board also included several civic, business and education leaders, many of them Republicans...

In fact one person close to the issue states:

"I don't remember ever hearing anyone raise concerns or questions or concerns about [Ayers'] background," says Anne Hallett, who has worked closely with Ayers on the Annenberg Challenge grant and with Obama on education and other community and legislative matters. "And that included everybody I was engaged with," including prominent Republicans, and corporate and civic leaders in Chicago, Hallett adds.

Oh, really?!

So not only was Obama working on a Republican funded initiative, but prominent Republicans were involved on the board with Ayers. Do they all hate America so much that they are "palling" around with terrorist? He had been in their midst for years, why did not the republican's run him out of town.

Obama was new to Chicago. He hadn't been elected to anything. He really did even know where the bodies where truly buried in Chicago (evidenced by the thumping he received when he ran for the state senate). He just wanted to serve the community and do good work. However, Ayers had been there for years, building a reputation that was so mainstream that a life long Republican, who was a former Ambassador appointed by Nixon and Regan, allowed the release of $50 Million to let him, prominent Republicans, corporate, civic leaders, and a Harvard trained community organizer form a board to oversee the disbursement of these funds related to school reform.

And finally, the author notes:

Hallett calls this attack on Obama's association with Ayers and the Annenberg Challenge by further association, "a smear campaign. It's a political diatribe that has no basis in fact. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was an extremely positive initiative. It was well-vetted, thorough, and the fact that it is now is being used for political purposes is, in my opinion, outrageous."

And as noted earlier a former Illinois Republican state representative states:

"It was never a concern by any of us in the Chicago school reform movement that he had led a fugitive life years earlier," said former Illinois state Republican Rep. Diana Nelson, who worked with both Obama and Ayers over the years. "It's ridiculous. There is no reason at all to smear Barack Obama with this association. It's nonsensical, and it just makes me crazy. It's so silly."

I don't have a transcript. However the article provides the link to the audio.

Make no mistake -- bringing up Ayers again is an act of desperation from Team McPalin. They have acknowledged as such; they can't win on the issues, so they're resorting to smears.

And my fear-mongering (if that's what it is, to report someone was shot for wearing a political t-shirt; I would argue it's most definitely NOT) has NOTHING on the fear-mongering Palin is spewing on a daily basis at her stump speeches. It's appalling. I expect Presidential campaigns to get ugly, but she's getting about *thisclose* to inciting a lynch mob, with people shouting "terrorist!" and "treason!" and even "Kill Him!" at the rallies.

That's just plain reckless. The Secret Service is taking it seriously, and I am too.

Jana-

I actually sort of agree with you. I think bringing up the Ayers connection is absolutely 100% fair game and should be a factor in evaluating candidates. I was never comfortable with the "what? He's a law professor at the University of Chicago" explanation. I'm also bothered by Jeremiah Wright association and am glad it hurt Obama politically because I don't trust relious crazies on the left any more than I trust them on the right. Yes, who a candidate does business with is a factor that should be used in deciding who to vote for (including people who are voting the same way I am).

I also think it's an act of desperation bringing this up at this moment because the polling numbers and electoral map are becoming less and less favorable to McCain/Palin right now.

I do believe Obama was sincere in repudiating Ayers' past and I don't think anyone seriously believes that he'll play any role in an Obama administration.

I'm much more troubled by John McCain actively seeking the endorsement of John Hagee, the conservative pastor whose comments on the record about Catholics are very similar to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments about Jews.

McCain's ties to Charles Keating and Phil Gramm should also taken into consideration.

Basically, McCain and Obama both have ties to people of questionable character. I guess we're going to have to call that a wash and decide who to vote for on issues, character, etc...

Dana, if the connection is so easily explained away, logic dicatates that Obama would do so, rather than make exceedingly weak arguments such as his insistance that he didn't know about Ayers' extreme past.

I'll spare you a background on Ayers' education theories, steeped in creepy authoritarianism (scholarly research here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1262085). I also find it instructive that just last year, Ayers closed a speech in Venezuela by saying, "Viva Mission Sucre! Viva Presidente Chavez! Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta La Victoria Siempre!" and who lauded the "education reform" undertaken by Hugo Chavez. This is not surprising, since Ayers documented ideas include infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and downplaying achievement tests in favor of activism.

Additionally, the funds released by the CAC were funneled to far-left community organizers (remember those?) like ACORN and Developing Communities Project (Part of the Gamaliel Foundation network). Just because the funds originated with a Republican philanthropist does not mean that the funds were dispensed in a manner consistent with Republican principals. Proposals from groups focusing on such things as math and science achievement were turned down.

CAC's own evaluators were unable to find any demonstrable improvement from their efforts, which makes the CAC and the Ayers involvement a massive failure. What does this say about Obama's ability as an executive? Are these not legitimate questions? Even if you wish to downplay the troubling connection with a domestic terrorist, the questions about this period are absolutely worth exploring.

I also take issue with your assessment of the Palin issue. Once she performed admirably at her VP debate, the vigorous attempts at discrediting Palin seem to have stopped. She is still drawing thousands to her speeches (much to the chagrin of her political opponents), and they can't all be filled with Obama bloodlust. It's wishful thinking to conclude that there is some consensus that Palin is unqualified to serve as VP.

I'm not sure that the Ayers attack is a good avenue for the McCain campaign to take; it requires a lot of explaining to get to the crux of the issue, and it may be a losing strategy. McCain is unlikely to win, anyway, so logic dictates that must go negative; it is the only way to exploit Obama's greatest weakness: his manifest inexperience and a tendency toward the shadiest of political allys.

In that brief period where McCain led in the polls, Obama went intensely negative. I suppose that wasn't trafficking in smears, though.

@Jana -- if you're going to compare the level of negativity the Obama team has used to what Palin has been spouting this week, I'm afraid we have very little common ground.

I'm not saying each party is responsible for everything said by their supporters. But it is their duty to speak out against hateful, potentially dangerous outbursts. Even websites like the Moderate Voice agree: at this point, the McCain campaign's silence is deafening. We're not talking about defeating an opponent; this is now a legitimate question of candidate (and public) safety.

As for Palin, I wouldn't go so far to call her "admirable" at the debate. Her performance was decent, insofar as she actually didn't completely implode, and if you're not too picky about things like actually, ya know, answering the questions. Did you catch Gwen Ifill talking about how Palin "blew her off" during the debate?

And I think Palin's numbers speak for themselves when it comes to her current standing with the American public (drat, I can't grab the graphic cause it's Flash, but click through -- it shows that Palin's numbers have dropped down, down, down, and her performance at the debate doesn't seem to have made any difference at all.

I didn't hear Gwen Ifill talking about Palin blowing her off, but that strikes me as an utterly unprofessional thing to say. (Especially when Ifill is already looking mighty unprofessional for lacking to mention to debate organizers that she has an Obama-centric book to be released on Inaguration Day.)

Also, this is from yesterday:
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/casse/35822

"Second, Obama’s security bubble - indeed, his whole manner — seemed extraordinarily low key. Yes, he had Secret Service guys outside the gym and no doubt more outside the building. But for about 40 minutes, Obama walked around the gym, walked to the water cooler, stretched, lifted weights, and meandered around the equipment in an unhurried way without a trace of self-importance. "

That doesn't read like the Obama campaign is on high-alert, or rather, any higher alert than they've previously been. I think it's time to relax and try to stem a bit of the paranoia.

Ah ha! I found that graph I was looking for...

Who knew that Obama t-shirts were the most controversial clothing items you could wear? Not only could you get shot in one, you could also be kicked off the air on CBS.

I'm also bothered by Jeremiah Wright association and am glad it hurt Obama politically because I don't trust relious crazies on the left any more than I trust them on the right. Yes, who a candidate does business with is a factor that should be used in deciding who to vote for

I totally agree with you Jana. Please explain:

Grim- I said that stuff about Wright not Jana - but I'm still 100% in the tank. That video is pretty creepy!

One final note: guilt by association is a funny thing. Dana, you hold Palin accountable for a few nuts that shout stupid things at a rally and conflate it into a tangible danger to Obama. Guilt by association. Why do then so strenuously resist attaching any guilt by association to Obama for mixing with so many questionable characters?

Sorry, Chris, I somehow got all confused.

But Jana, you're avoiding the question. When Palin accepts the blessing to protect her from witchcraft, how does that not make her TOTALLY FREAKY AND IRRATIONAL? Unless Goody Palin is running for mayor of Salem, Mass. circa 1590, that's nothing but a bad sign.

The Grim, if I am not supposed to get all riled up because Obama attended a racist, Black Liberationist church for 20 years, than why would I get all riled up because some wackadoo visited Palin's church once?

Liberal "logic" is so elastic.

Saw some pictures of some young folks attending a Palin rally wearing "Palin is a c*!t" t-shirts, with MILP signs, as in "mother I'd like to punch." Leftists call Bush a "terrorist" for years, and the left doesn't blink an eye. One or two guys yell it at a McCain/Palin rally, and suddenly Dana is fearful for Obama's life. I haven't seen any posts concerning leftist Palin-sentiment encouraging violence against women, or anything.

It's all one big double-standard.

Sigh.

This whole thread is why this country is coming apart at the seams. People get so riled up that they start generalizing entire halves of the nation, getting "upset" about tiny little issues and generally trying to make you hate the side you might not agree with most of the time.

Maybe, instead of trying character assassination on both sides, instead of trying to dig up dirt and libel on people, instead of trying to get the Karl Rovian 50.0001%, maybe we should try to come up with ways to bring people together to solve our nation's and the world's problems. This mostly starts with ending the name-calling, ending the political gamesmanship and generally realizing that "left" and "right" are just words, OK?

This election can't come soon enough.

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