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Petitions, Conspiracies, and Missing Congressmen

Wednesday July 18, 2012

Countdown Vol. 10, No. 57

 

AAI Launches NYPD Petition

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) loves to tout how efficient and effective the NYPD is as a counter-terrorism force. Well, turns out that’s not altogether true. Surprised? Well, a new report came out recently debunking some of the myths of the NYPD’s counter-terrorism record. The report could not have come at a better time, because we want to draw everyone’s attention once again to the absurdity of some of the “secret” documents the NYPD tried to pass off as evidence of their inscrutable intelligence gathering apparatus. We’re raising awareness through a video we created which details the high-quality information they collected, like the number of tables in Mofeed’s restaurant (nine…suspicious!). And we need your help to circulate our petition because the administration needs to pay more attention to this issue, and to take a principled stand against the marginalization and wholesale suspicion aimed at our community. Click here to sign our petition and share it with your friends.

Bachmann’s Muslim Brotherhood Conspiracy

Last week, we wrote about the unfortunate way that Allen West (R-FL) and his cohorts are “ultimately compromising the GOP’s appeal to certain communities that once had a larger conservative contingent.” In an even worse example, Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), along with four of her congressional colleagues, requested an investigation of the "influence operations conducted by individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood" have on the federal government's national security policies. The letter maintains that “anti-Islamophobia” campaigns are part of a secret global conspiracy to “subordinate free speech to Islamic laws,” and tries to ascribe terrorist sympathies to Huma Abedin, Chief of Staff to Hilary Clinton, whose father worked with an organization that once worked with another organization that “aligned” with the Muslim Brotherhood on a few occasions. The good news? Many have weighed in on just how outrageous this witch hunt is, including AAI president Jim Zogby on Anderson Cooper 360.

Boustany Cracks Down on Absent Congressmen

Annoyed that Congress rarely seems to be doing its job? Apparently, so are some members of Congress themsleves, including Arab American Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA), who recently sponsored H.R. 6085, the “No Show, No Pay” Act. The bill aims to punish members who “habitually miss votes without any explanation and in some cases to attend their own campaign events and fundraisers.” It’s an admirable attempt to keep Congress accountable, and the bill is already picking up a lot of media attention. And in the category of interesting connect-the-dots games we play here at Countdown, it’s worth noting that Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA), Boustany’s potential 2012 rival, missed every vote that Boustany listed as examples of bad behavior. 

Issa Takes Aim at Obama Super PAC

After leading the effort to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, Arab American Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is turning the attention of the House Oversight Committee toward super PAC oversight. The committee will be “investigating the frequency with which Cabinet Secretaries appear at super PAC events and whether government funds have been used for travel to and from these events,” to determine if Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super PAC has been receiving undue fundraising support from Obama administration officials. To be honest, we didn’t even know that was against the rules…where’s Stephen Colbert when you need him?

DNC Member Forced to Resign After Criticizing Israel

After the revelation of a series of emails critical of American support for the Israeli occupation, a candidate for Florida’s House of Representatives was forced to resign from her position as a member of the Democratic National Committee. Evelyn Garcia, a veteran Democratic activist and candidate for a seat in Florida’s state assembly, sent a series of emails she believed would remain private regarding American policy in the Middle East to a fellow Democrat in 2011. The emails, which included shocking language like, “The continued Israeli occupation of Palestine is ugly on moral, ethical, religious and legal grounds,” were published earlier this month, prompting widespread criticism from her fellow Florida Democrats, some of whom termed the emails anti-Semitic. Garcia quickly apologized for her words and resigned her position as a member of the Democratic National Committee. In related news, President Obama has been accused of anti-Chinese racism for his criticism of the Chinese government, and we’re waiting for his resignation too.   

Hillary Goes to Cairo

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent Saturday and Sunday in Egypt, meeting with both sides in the unfolding power struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military for control of the country. Though Clinton’s first meeting was with Egypt’s newly-elected President, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsy, her Sunday morning sit-down with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi was arguably more important. Clinton’s comments following the meeting were notable for what they were missing: a forceful condemnation of the military’s transparent power grab, in which it dissolved the democratically-elected Parliament and seized legislative power for itself, rendering Morsy’s position largely powerless. We understand the frustrations of the Egyptian people toward the US right now, but was it really necessary to hit photos of Hillary Clinton with shoes as she drove by?

 

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