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Hatred, threats against President Obama don't stop

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Correspondent- | Last updated: Mar 12, 2012 - 8:18:29 PM

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President Barack Obama
Photo: MGN Online
'Certainly it’s fair to say that Mr. Obama has faced more assassination threats and murderous assaults—that is to say verbal thus far—than any president in recent memory.'
—Dr. Gerald Horne, University of Houston
Prof. of history and African American studies

WASHINGTON ( - The “avalanche of hatred”—incidents in which influential people in the political arena hurl insults at President Barack Obama—continued all over the U.S. just days after the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan described in his Saviours’ Day address, the dangerous climate that is rapidly developing in this country.

Montana’s chief federal judge admitted Feb. 28 that he forwarded a racist e-mail to six others from his court email account which suggested President Obama was the product of a sexual encounter between his mother and a dog.

Meanwhile, controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., declared March 1 that President Obama’s birth certificate and Selective Service card are fakes, according to the Washington Times. While not accusing the president directly, Sheriff Arpaio said his investigators’ findings constitute evidence of fraud, forgery and other criminal offenses.

At the same time, the Secret Service is investigating a picture that was posted on an Arizona police officer’s Facebook page in which an image of President Barack Obama appears to have been used for target practice.

The Peoria Police Department is also investigating Police Sgt. Patrick Shearer and a picture that was uploaded on Jan. 19 showing several young men in the desert holding various weapons (including assault rifles and a revolver) and holding up a T-shirt with President Obama’s likeness on it. The shirt appeared riddled with bullet holes.

The picture was online while the president was visiting Arizona in late February, but was removed from the sergeant’s page after inquiries were made to the Peoria Police.

And another man was accused on March 3 of threatening to kill President Obama and elementary school children in upstate New York, according to USA Today.

The “joke” in the e-mail sent by Montana’s chief judge said, A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m Black and you’re White?’ His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’ ”

In a note preceding the joke, Judge Cebull wrote, “Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.” Trying to explain his reasons for sending the e-mail, Judge Cebull said, “I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.”

The judge later apologized to the president in a letter he made public. “I sincerely and profusely apologize to you and your family for the email I forwarded. I accept full responsibility; I have no one to blame but myself,” Judge Cebull wrote in a letter dated March 1. “I can assure you that such action on my part will never happen again.” He added, “Honestly, I don’t know what else I can do. Please forgive me and, again, my most sincere apology.”

In addition to writing to the president, Judge Cebull also wrote a letter to the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Alex Kozinski, in which he requested a self-initiated investigation into his own “misconduct.” “I have apologized publicly and profusely for my serious mistake and lack of judgment, and have today written a personal letter of apology to the President of the United States, a copy of which is attached,” Judge Cebull wrote to Judge Kozinski. “I waive any confidentiality as to making this request or to the existence of any proceedings that may ensue from it.”

The Ninth Circuit Court consequently stated that its judicial council will “act expeditiously” in probing and resolving the matter.

“Well, obviously this is very disturbing,” Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston told The Final Call. “I think it presents a challenge to us all, particularly those in the progressive community who have not taken a forthright and visibly militant stand against racism.

“Sometimes I get the impression that some think that racism is like bad weather, something that the victim should just tolerate, and not fight back against. I think it’s that kind of latitude that leads to these rather disgusting and despicable remarks made by the judge in Montana,” Dr. Horne continued.

The heads of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus issued a joint-release condemning the judge. Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), the chair of the CHC, insisted that Judge Cebull must resign from the bench. Others said he must at minimum resign as chief judge. Other observers were even more unforgiving.

“These people have absolutely no bottom to them,” Dr. David Bositis, a senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies told The Final Call. “They’re in the gutter. They have no decency. No.

“Remember during the Army (Sen. Joseph) McCarthy hearings? The lawyer, I think his name was Welsh said to McCarthy: ‘Have you no decency sir?’ That destroyed McCarthy. After that McCarthy was dead.

“But these people—just like (radio commentator Rush) Limbaugh—these people are gutter trash. They’re White trash.

“They’re still White trash,” Dr. Bositis insisted, when reminded that many of the people who have heaped insults on Mr. Obama occupy important and influential public offices.

For his part, Sheriff Arpaio says his investigators used law enforcement tools to test the authenticity of Mr. Obama’s identity documents, working on their own time.

The president’s long-form birth certificate never existed in paper form, the sheriff’s lead investigator Mike Zullo said, according to CBS News. He says Hawaii officials may have deliberately kept original 1961 birth records from being examined.

According to ABC News, Mr. Arpaio said the date stamp and registrar’s stamp on the birth certificate appear to have been “imported from outside sources,” among other inconsistencies. NPR explained the basis for that charge, saying the stamps were on different layers of the document and could be moved about in editing software. NPR said its own test did not find the document to be multi-layered.

Sheriff Arpaio is subject to a federal grand jury investigation for abuse of power, unrelated to the birther issue, and several critics contend the beleaguered sheriff is seeking to draw attention away from his own legal problems with this investigation.

In the incident in which the president’s face was used for target practice and a subsequent photo was posted on Facebook: “We received information about a possible policy violation today involving one of our employees,” Peoria, Ariz. police spokesman Jay Davies told CBS affiliate KPHO. Mr. Davies said Peoria Police were contacted by the Secret Service.

A Secret Service official confirmed to CBS News that an investigation is underway, saying, “We’re aware of the incident and we are taking the appropriate follow-up steps. We recognize that people have the right to free speech, but we also have the right to determine what someone’s intent is.

“When we get information that shows someone has an unusual direction of interest in one of our protectees we take the appropriate follow-up steps.”

Sources told CBS News homeland security correspondent Bob Orr that there is no “threat” attached to the picture, or that the students in the photo or the officer who took the photo intended any threat. The picture apparently is months old and was just recently posted.

Mr. Shearer has been with the police in Peoria (a suburb of Phoenix) at least 14 years, and will remain on duty while the department determines if he violated its social media policy, which says, “Posting information regarding off-duty activity that may tend to bring an officer’s reputation into question is strongly discouraged.”

“Certainly it’s fair to say that Mr. Obama has faced more assassination threats and murderous assaults—that is to say verbal thus far—than any president in recent memory,” Dr. Horne said.

“It’s a reflection, I do think of the strength of right-wing, reactionary forces in these United States of America. A kind of movement that has gotten even more strength given the economic recession that has eroded the life chances of so many, and has made so many—particularly in the Euro-American community—vulnerable to the siren song of the right wing.

“Certainly, I think it’s appropriate to speak out rather vigorously against this kind of racist assault, even though some of us such as myself might have a bone to pick with Mr. Obama about many of his policies, Libya not least,” said Dr. Horne.

The Sarasota Springs, N.Y. incident did constitute a real threat. Prosecutors say the U.S. Secret Service and local authorities collaborated to arrest Brent Dickinson. The county district attorney’s office said March 3 that the 33-year-old man “intended to murder” the targets of his threatening messages, the president and a number of elementary school children. They said the U.S. Secret Service intercepted two threatening messages posted by Mr. Dickinson on a White House message board March 2. Mr. Dickinson was arraigned in Saratoga Springs City Court on charges of making terroristic threats. He was taken to city jail after bail was set at $50,000.