Tag Archive: James O’Keefe

News Roundup & Open Thread for Thursday, September 3, 2015

Parents suing New Jersey’s Department of Education over the use of new state exams and SAT and ACT tests to determine whether students meet graduation requirements. 

Calling it an “unlawful” overreach by the federal government, Gov. Chris Christie slammed President Obama’s new Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut emissions at fossil fuel-fired power plans across the U.S. Is anyone surprised?

Christie seeks financial advisor for state transportation projects. NJ Spotlight adds, “It’s not clear what money will be left to manage if Transportation Trust Fund goes broke at end of next fiscal year.” Is this just another way for Christie to postpone the inevitable? He already has a top-notch transportation commissioner in Jamie Fox.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Democratic state lawmakers urge Christie to sign legislation that would overhaul New Jersey’s voting laws. They ask him “to put presidential politics aside,” but it is unlikely he will as he has already criticized the bill. Nonetheless, it’s a fight well worth fighting.

The Record reports NY NJ Port Authority has $1.75M tab on outside lawyers to shield itself and its employees from an investigation into whether it improperly used toll money from its Hudson River crossings to fix state roads in New Jersey.

James O’Keefe, once and forever one of Rutgers’ most embarrassing alums, gets caught apparently breaking the law as he tries tripping up the Clinton campaign.

Christie slimes Hillary Clinton with his comments on her email scandal, says Star-Ledger editorial.

A $1 million theft of Apple laptops destined to NJ high schools last year: But, NY prosecutors said on Wednesday, a few things had not added up.

The conservative Manhattan Institute says, N.J. pension reform is one of a few in U.S. that saves money in long-term.

An early – and glowing – review of Freeheld: “a true story about a dying lesbian detective, her mechanic girlfriend, and the legal battle that changed New Jersey. This film’s a surprisingly tender love story.”

Chris Christie is a sad fanboy now: He says he used to be Springsteen’s friend, which may just be wishful thinking, but some newly discovered posts from a 15-year-old email listserv shed additional light on just how deep Christie’s devotion runs.  

James O’Keefe tried to steal my vote

James O’Keefe is from Bergen County, and Rutgers Class of 2006. Alicia, of course, is a Jersey girl, NBC Latino contributor & founder of DailyGrito.com. For the conclusion of Alicia’s story, read the rest at NBCLatino. – promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted with NBCLatino.



On Tuesday, April 3rd, a guy named James O’Keefe tried to steal my vote. His organization, Project Veritas, sent a woman into my Washington, DC polling place, seemingly claiming to be Alicia Menendez. Then, he taped it so that I could watch.

In the video, my stand-in — who was not brave enough to show her face on camera — has already given the poll workers my name. Perhaps their first indication that something was awry was that I had already gone to the polls earlier that morning to cast my vote. The poll workers ask the faux Alicia Menendez to furnish identification. She claims it’s in the car, and never returns.  

Watching this on video took me back to when I was eight years old, when my mother and my brother and I walked into our home and found two robbers there. I remember watching one escape through the kitchen window. Though they took very little, just seeing our clothing in heaps on the carpet and knowing that they had gone through our stuff terrified us for months. Not since then have I felt the level of violation that I feel watching this video.

That’s what O’Keefe wants. He and his team want me and you to feel fearful, that we might come to believe that imposters are out to steal our votes. As a target of voter fraud, the logic goes, I should now become a proponent of legislation being proposed across the country that mandates photo identification at the polling place.  

Only that’s not quite right. The brazen acts being committed in the video are shocking, but you won’t see them in the real world. For starters, there are already systems in place to assure that this type of thing can’t happen.

Read why that is, and the rest of this post, at NBCLatino.

“It wasn’t THAT crime\u2026.it was a DIFFERENT crime”

Right wing New Jerseyan and serial misrepresenter of facts James O’Keefe has decided that what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander, and is suing the Star-Ledger for libel on the heels of his latest “operation” that just may have broken a number of federal and/or New Hampshire laws.  Ironically, O’Keefe is the same person behind the heavily edited and usually recorded without consent videos used to “implicate” Planned Parenthood, ACORN, NPR and the New Jersey teacher’s union (the NJEA) in acts that looked bad mainly because of the deceptive and selective editing.

 

His latest is a lawsuit alleging that he was defamed by the Star Ledger when it reported on the potential voter fraud and non-consent laws for recording conversations that his “sting operation” broke during the NH Republican Presidential Primary.  While the Star Ledger incorrectly referred to O’Keefe’s prior history as including “trying to tap the phone of Sen. Mary Landrieux” – which was a federal felony charge, O’Keefe did plead guilty to a misdemeanor for entering federal property under false pretenses, a different and lesser crime, but most certainly a crime.

 

The misdemeanor charge carried a sentence that included three years’ probation, and it remains to be seen what the impact of the NH actions and investigation by the NH Attorney General will have on O’Keefe’s probation, or his “filmmaking career”.  What is highly ironic here (other than the nature of his suit not even mentioning the NH investigation – just a years’ old different crime that was called a crime of a different name) is that the ACORNs, NPRs, Planned Parenthoods, NH voters and NJ teachers union who were unfairly and misrepresented by O’Keefe and his videos for are really the ones damaged.  The fact that O’Keefe is playing victim for what looks like the Star Ledger calling Crime B “Crime A” seems more like another stunt to get publicity than anything else.

 

This is classic for the right and its noise machine – to hammer away on a relatively minor and sometimes insignificant point to play the victim – all while distorting the truth in the name of whatever endgame they have at the moment.  What would really make things interesting is for the Star Ledger to use its resources to fight back here – a retraction would probably be warranted to the extent it did misrepresent the crime O’Keefe pled guilty to – and maybe it teaches the folks on the Star Ledger Editorial Board to be more careful.  But to push back against O’Keefe, his financial backers and take “disclosure” down a very uncomfortable road for O’Keefe would really be a good thing to see.

O’Keefe wants TNuts to “investigate” judges & NJEA

Evidently the TNuts have given up on winning elections by open and honest debate as James O’Keefe’s appearance before a gathering of kool-aid infused crazies at a “citizens convention” referred to as “The Battle for Trenton” indicates (btw what is the fetish Tnuts seem to have with military analogies?).

O’Keefe wants the TNuts to “investigate” judges they don’t like, and also wants to continue his vendetta against the NJEA.

What I want to know is, Why didn’t the reporters just keep their cameras ON and say they were OFF?

Yesterday, right-wing video bad boy James O’Keefe (Rutgers ’06) gave a paid talk to the Bayshore Tea Party in Keyport, and barred a newspaper’s video journalist from recording him. Alesha Williams Boyd reports it here. She is fairer in her telling of it than O’Keefe deserves, given how he treats other people.

It doesn’t surprise me that the self-appointed king of video gotcha ‘journalism’ would want to control the cameras in the room. What I don’t understand – Asbury Park Press (APP), I’m lookin’ at you now – is why the video journalist/s in the room let him get away with that.

Given the ethical ease with which O’Keefe entraps people with his camera, this is an extraordinary video. Doug Hood, who shot it, deserves credit for recording the local Tea Party honchos defense of O’Keefe, but I wish he had done as he threatened – the ‘off-stage’ voices are hard to distinguish – just film O’Keefe, and let him storm out, covering that.

But what he did capture is the fear of Barbara Gonzalez, founder of the group he spoke to, that her draw, O’Keefe, would leave. After all, she says, “This is a guy who’s in trouble with the law, he’s got lawsuits up the kazoo (sic) for trying to help you with your freedom!”

I hope to hell somebody took this APP crew out for a round of quality tequila when they got back to the office after this encounter last night. They deserve it. Here’s the video:

Note: I’m in a busy, loud place when I got this video – hat/tip John S. – and the video is a little confusing in spots.

Rush Holt Letter to Speaker John Boehner: “dangerous and far reaching bills”

To women in New Jersey, the national assault on a woman’s right to choose feels like a home-grown offensive. Our Governor has made a mission of defunding family planning and women’s health for lower-income women, some of whom are left without options. He’s staked his political future with the anti-choice few, speaking at a state house rally for NJ Right to Life. The actors and video pranksters of Live Action, who are well-aware of what established practice at Planned Parenthood is, found an employee breaking that practice (since fired) and have exploited that video to build sympathy for their cause. That was in Perth Amboy. Live Action advisor and best-known video prankster James O’Keefe is a Rutgers grad. And finally, NJ-4’s Rep. Chris Smith has introduced one of the most regressive bills of my lifetime, House Resolution 3, fast-tracked by Speaker John Boehner, criticized by many for its provision of “redefining rape”. In a letter delivered a few hours ago, Rush Holt, a NJ Planned Parenthood board member, speaks his mind about HR3 and its back-tracking companion, far-right Indiana congressman Mike Pence’s HR217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. He also spoke on the House floor today.

Video of Holt protesting HR217 and the last part of his letter to Speaker Boehner are after the jump.

The Honorable John Boehner

Office of the Speaker

The Honorable Eric Cantor

Office of the the Majority Leader

Dear Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor:

I write respectfully to inform you of my strong opposition to H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act.  Both of these bills are thinly veiled attempts to prohibit American women from being able to access comprehensive health care. I urge you to not to bring these dangerous and far reaching bills to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.

Regardless of our personal opinion about abortion, the Supreme Court has determined that abortion is a legally protected medical procedure.  The choice of whether or not to have an abortion is up to a woman, her faith, and her family, not the federal government.

The deceptively named No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act claims that it would enact a government-wide prohibition on federal subsidies for abortion and health insurance plans that cover it. In truth it is an unprecedented attempt to limit health insurance coverage for American women, raise taxes on small businesses, infringe on the legally protected rights of American Servicewomen, and make this legal medical procedure inaccessible to women.

Most offensively, H.R. 3 as introduced, creates a nebulous definition of rape that would require a woman to carry a fetus to term if it is deemed that she was not “forcibly raped.”  Forcible is a term with no legal definition.  This would return our country to the long outdated standard of rape law, where a rape verdict depended not on whether the victim consented, but on whether outsiders thought she resisted as hard as humanly possible. This law was changed because it was rarely found that the victim had “fought hard enough” to resist her rapist.  We should not turn back the clock and revert to a standard that further victimizes rape victims.

Letter continues after the jump.

Advice From The Leader

promoted by Rosi

“Go watch the video.” That’s advice from the Chief Executive of New Jersey, Chris Christie. You want reliable, reputable, objective information? James O’Keefe is your guy.

And what of the events surrounding the initial release of the supposed NJEA video? O’Keefe had originally scheduled a press event for himself in Trenton, only to abruptly cancel the event with no explanation. I imagine it went something like this:

(phone rings)

James O’Keefe: (picks up phone) Hello?

Chris Christie: James, this is Governor Chris Christie, the governor. Listen, kid, the video is great – just awesome. It’s so good, in fact, that I need you to leave it alone. If you have your little press event and muddle this thing any further – because, between you and me, we both know it already isn’t much – well, this whole thing will be completely useless to me.

O’Keefe: Yes, sir, Mr. Governor, sir! Say, Governor, while I have you on the phone, I  was wonder-

– click –

Christie advocates use of hidden video for personal attacks

Given the title of my own blog I probably shouldn’t be posting this butChristie now advocates and encourages the use of hidden video to justify the politics of personal destruction.

This has taken his obsession with public school teachers to a whole new level.  

I only hope the time will come when the Governor gets a healthy dose of his own medicine, preferably when he’s been drinking and there is a hidden video to record everything he says.

Just for the record though, and to protect my blog, it won’t be me.

Memo to DSCC Chair Bob Menendez: Check your offices

Yes, it’s right out of Watergate, but it’s true. A conservative operative just got arrested trying to bug Senator Mary Landrieu’s offices:

James O’Keefe, the young conservative filmmaker who was behind the undercover operations that led to the ACORN scandal last year, was arrested with three others for allegedly trying to bug the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) yesterday.

The FBI announced today the foursome have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony.

The affidavit alleges that the botched phone bugging began with two of the four men — Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, both 24 — entering Landrieu’s office in downtown New Orleans in Village People-style construction worker garb, claiming they were telephone repairmen.

If they got caught this time, perhaps they bugged other offices. TPM has the affidavit. I think Menendez should A)make sure everyone’s offices are okay and B) make a big deal out of this.

Of course, maybe Jersey politicians already assume their offices are bugged for other reasons. 😉