What Jewish Voters Should Know About the Source of Those 'Support Israel? Fire Obama' Yard Signs
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 11:30:49 AM EST
PhotobucketIt would be logical to assume the "Support Israel? Fire Obama" yard signs (graphic at right) come from an organization focused on Israel as an issue.  They are not.  The signs are from the nonprofit American Majority, a Tea Party outfit with ties to the Koch brothers.  American Majority has also received substantial funding (over one million dollars in 2010) from a foundation that is headed by a member of the secretive Catholic prelature Opus Dei and shares the address of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
The focus of this national Tea Party group is  radical free marketers and culture warriors - anti-union, anti-regulatory, anti-environmental, anti-feminist, anti-reproductive rights, and the list goes on. But it's not about Israel.

In early October American Majority opened a storefront office on Forward Avenue in the largest Jewish neighborhood in Pittsburgh.  This is one of several campaign offices opened in swing states including Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio.

The American Majority Inc.'s purpose, as listed on its IRS 990 tax forms is to "create a national training institute dedicated to identifying, training, and mentoring political leaders."  It is affiliated with the Valley Forge Alliance in Aledo, Texas, also formerly called the John Hancock Committee for the States and the American Liberty Alliance, and the Sam Adams Alliance.  The organizations have worked closely with Glenn Beck's 912 organizations to build Tea Party networks.

In 2010 alone, the American Majority received over one million dollars in funding from the Wellspring Committee, headed by Ann Corkery.  Ann and her husband Neil are Catholic leaders in the fight against reproductive rights and marriage equality. Both the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy are registered under Neil's name at the same Manassas, Virginia address as the Wellspring Committee.  Ann Corkery is a self-declared member of Opus Dei.

The Wellspring Committee provides funding to the Susan B. Anthony, the anti-feminist organization founded as a counter to Emily's List. "Dark money" in the 2012 elections has been traced by journalists to the Corkerys, including something called The Annual Fund.   ( Dark money refers to funding from groups not required to reveal their donors including nonprofits.)  According to  Propublica, The Annual Fund  has funded the "Independent Women's Voice" and Citizens for the Republic, both of which have purchased political ads.  In turn, The Annual Fund was funded by Ann Corkery's Wellspring Committee.  The Independent Women's Voice is an affiliate of the Independent Women's Forum, an anti-feminist group.

The bulk of the funding for American Majority is reported to be  from the Sam Adams Alliance, which describes itself as the "sponsor" of American Majority. The Sam Adams Alliance was founded by Eric O'Keefe, a former executive director of the Libertarian Party who worked for David Koch's Citizens for a Sound Economy and with Howard Rich's Americans for Limited Government.  According to both the Center for Media and Democracy and Media Transparency, Sam Adams Alliance also provides funding to the Franklin Center and is at the hub of a network of Koch and Bradley Foundation-funded entities behind the growth of the Tea Party.

Other funding, including over $300,000 dollars in 2010 came from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, one of the major sources of rightwing think tank funding in the U.S. Harry Bradley was one of the original charter members of the John Birch Society, along with Fred Koch, father of the now famous Koch brothers.  Founded in 1942, the goal of the Bradley Foundation as described by the Center for Media and Democracy is,

"...to return the U.S. -- and the world -- to the days before governments began to regulate Big Business, before corporations were forced to make concessions to an organized labor force."

American Majority and American Majority Action

American Majority Inc., a 501(c)(3) and its affiliated 501(c)(4) political arm, American Majority Action, were founded in 2008 by sons of former Congressman Jim Ryun (r-KS) Ned Ryun, a former writer for George W. Bush,  and his brother Drew Ryun. American Majority is advertised as,

"operates Liberty Headquarters in five key swing states to serve as central nerve centers for conservative volunteers. Florida staff and volunteers conduct voter targeting, outreach, advocacy, and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) activities to mobilize voters on Election Day."
American Majority's goal is to "infuse new Tea Party blood" and is advertised as having trained Tea Party candidates successful at the state and local level including school board elections, and over 20,000 activists. American Majority was the sponsor of the 2011 "I Stand with Walker" rallies countering unions and supporting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

One of the activist training sessions was secretly videoed by an Australian filmaker, Taki Oldham, who went undercover to determine if "astroturfing" was real.  Astroturfing, as described on the film's website, is the "practice of manufacturing citizens groups for the purpose of  delivering corporate messages."  Oldham secretly taped an American Majority training session on instructing Tea Party members on how to manipulate online media such as book and movie reviews.  The filmmaker came to the conclusion that astroturfing is indeed real and,

"on a scale greater than he could have imagined, threatening not only the health of American democracy, but that of its citizens and the planet as a whole."
A short clip from the film is embedded below.

American Majority Action's 990 IRS tax forms list grants for "get-out-the-vote" efforts to both Tea Party and Religious Right organization, including the Tampa 912, Doylestown Kitchen Table Patriots in Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Family Institute, associated with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

American Majority is also the founder of "Media Trackers." The Center for Media and Democracy describes Media Trackers as "an attack dog organization with scant regard for the facts."  Unknown donors have provided funding to expand Media Trackers from a project in Wisconsin in 2011, to Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Montana.

Media Trackers was the original source of the now debunked stories about Kyle Wood.  Wood, a gay Republican was working as a "full-time volunteer" for Wisconsin congressional candidate Chad Lee, when he claimed to have received threatening emails from the husband of the opposing candidate Mark Pocan, who is also gay.  Wood then claimed he was assaulted and choked at his home,  a story that received national coverage before Wood recanted his claims to police. Media Trackers has removed the original stories, but the inflammatory claims headlined ""Mark Pocan's Husband Told Beaten GOP Operative 'You're A Marked Man,' Threatened and Harassed Via Text Message" went viral in the rightwing blogoshere. The Center for Media and Democracy has described the story as " libelous."

Publications including Mother Jones have described Media Trackers as "mangling the truth." Media Trackers claimed in November 2011 that young African American women signing the Gov. Scott Walker recall petition were underage and offered cigarettes for their participation, another claim promptly proven to be false. A November 1, 2012 Crooks and Liars post titled "Lie Until You're Caught" notes that the false claims of criminal wrongdoing appear to be a formula for Media Tracker, followed by denial if the scheme unravels.

The Squirrel Hill Office

The American Majority Action temporary storefront office in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh might have received little notice if it weren't for two incidents of spray paint vandalism, ostensibly by supporters of President Obama and caught on video. The signs were altered including changing "Support Israel, Fire Obama" to read "Hire Obama."  The incidents have been fodder for Tea Party and other rightwing websites across the nation. Local press has reported the incidents with no reference to the background and other activities of the organization.

Photobucket The Squirrel Hill office is headed by Josh Wander, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel. Wander is a local Tea Party leader, certified trainer for the NRA,  and founder of Jewish Preppers.  This is Wander's Jewish variation of a survivalist group, although he takes pains to separate himself from "right-wing militiaman preparing for Armageddon in the boondocks of Montana."  

Wander bases his modern day survivalist motivation on his fear of "Jewicidal" behavior and refers reader of his website to the Gates of Vienna.  This Virginia-based website is known for its "counterjihad," anti-Muslim, and anti-multiculturalism writers, some of whom are considered heroes of the new international far right.  Gates of Vienna drew international attention because of its reported influence on the Norwegian mass shooter Anders Breivik, who frequently cited the blog. The website's anti-Muslim screeds and claims that Christian Europe is being overrun, bear a startling resemblance to the anti-Jewish propaganda of the post-World War I period.

Impacting Jewish Voters

American Majority also has campaign headquarters in West Palm Beach and has conducted training in conjunction with Glenn Beck's 912 organizations in Florida locations including Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola, Venice, St. Augustine, Lakeland and Port Charlotte.  In addition to the Pittsburgh office, Pennsylvania headquarters are in Chester County in the Philadelphia suburbs.  In Ohio, American Majority has offices in Steubenville and Cincinnati and is working in Columbus and Cleveland.

There are Zionist and other Jewish organizations, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, that are spending millions of dollars to try to impact American Jewish voters.  They claim that  Obama "has thrown Israel under the bus," but this is disputed by leading Israeli politicians, including former Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak.  Barak described Obama's support as "unparalleled" in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in July, stating,

"But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past."
Other Israeli politicians and military leaders have also voiced similar opinions about the Obama administration.

Regardless of one's view on what is best for Israel's future and security, Jewish voters should not be fooled by the "Support Israel, Fire Obama" yard signs.  American Majority's agenda is not about Israel.




Display:
I am becoming more concerned about this marriage of Opus Dei to economic libertarianism. It must be met head-on and defeated.

Thank you Rachel  for alerting us to this development.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 12:06:16 PM EST


I've seen plenty of "Fire Obama" signs, but none of these signs.

by khughes1963 on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 03:57:09 PM EST
American Majority is also the source of an array of "Fire Obama" signs, but the distribution of the "Support Israel? Fire Obama" signs was targeting Jewish neighborhoods in swing states, like the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 04:03:26 PM EST
Parent

on the way I go to school.  Plus at least a couple of hundred Romney signs.  Maybe one lone Obama sign - but it may have been torn down the last time I went by.


by ArchaeoBob on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 08:10:03 PM EST
Parent


Thank you for your excellent reporting on this subject, it is greatly appreciated. Please keep up the good work.

by namzarf on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:25:30 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (4 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
NYT's David Brooks to Speak at Antigay Luncheon of Billionaires Who Fund Racist Preacher
Recently, government-encouraged outbreaks of mob violence against LGBT persons in countries from Uganda to Russia, and draconian new anti-gay legislation in those countries too,......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
D'Souza's Downfall: Religious Right Favorite Sentenced For Campaign Donation Violations
Yesterday conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza was sentenced to five years of probation and a term of community service for violating federal campaign laws. He......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Short Takes -- Taking Action Edition
Banned Books Week is being celebrated this year from Sept. 21-27.  Yes its time for the annual celebration of the Freedom to Read, sponsored......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Archbishop Schnurr Throws Cold Water on the Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been an outstanding success in raising both awareness and research money needed to find a cure for Amyotrophic lateral......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
The Secret Antigay U.S. Money Behind The WCF and the Global Evangelical War on LGBT Rights
[note to readers: this is an excerpt from my first installment in a Twocare.org/Center Against Religious Extremism series that will examine extensive ties -......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Race as Religion
Reading Edith Beer's book, The Nazi Officer's Wife, I ran across an interesting account of her fake marriage license.  She married a Nazi officer......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Dark Discussions on the Christian Right
The Neo-Confederate movement has been trying to jump start itself of late.  It has been an especially heady few months for the League of......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Oath Oaf: Religious Right Columnist Calls For Religious Tests In Military
Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association (AFA) is like a demented, right-wing geyser: You can count on him......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Deeper Background on Dominionism -- Revisisted
In the Fall of 2011, there was an extraordinary -- and extraordinarily scurrilous -- wave of criticism aimed at those of us who had......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Fall From Grace: What The Religious Right Should Learn From The McDonnell Scandal
Leaders of Religious Right groups are fond of telling us that if we elect more fundamentalist Christians to office, we'll have less corruption. Biblical......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)

Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.