An Army veteran with possible ties to white supremacist groups was identified on Monday morning as the tattooed gunman who opened fire a day earlier at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six people before being shot to death by a police officer.
Authorities said they believe Wade Michael Page, 40, acted alone in the massacre. However, they also released a photograph of another man described as a "person of interest" who was seen near the temple in Oak Creek, Wis., after the killings.
"He looked suspicious and so we wanted to talk to him," Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said at a morning news conference. "He left the scene before anyone could question him."
About 24 hours after the massacre, a few details were starting to emerge about the man who allegedly carried out what was being called a "possible act of domestic terrorism." He had only lived in the Milwaukee area a short time and officials from both the FBI and local police said he was never on their radar as someone capable of such violence.
"Nobody knew that this guy was a threat," Teresa Carlson, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Milwaukee office, said. "That's the problem with these types of cases."
It was still unclear what Page did for a living or what brought him to Wisconsin. He served more than six years in the Army but left in 1998. Reports of what he did after that are spotty.
Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Lisa Garcia told TPM that Page was a decorated veteran who specialized in psychological operations, or PsyOps. The job description was to help U.S. commanders overseas "communicate information to large audiences," she said.
Page joined the Army in April 1992 and initially trained at Fort Sill, Okla. He then spent time at Fort Bliss, Texas before finishing out his military career at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was never deployed overseas and left the Army in October 1998.
Page received numerous medals and decorations during his service, Garcia said, including the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal.
Garcia did not know how Page left the Army, but the Oak Creek police chief said their investigation had found that he received "a general discharge and he was ineligible for reenlistment."
Authorities declined to detail Page's suspected ties to white supremacist groups, saying that the investigation was still ongoing. However, two groups that track extremist activities, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, said on Monday that he was the leader of a white power rock band called End Apathy while he was living in North Carolina.
The band said on its MySpace page that it began in 2005 and described the music as a "sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress." Photos on the page showed the band playing in front of swastika flags.
The SPLC said Page tried to purchase goods from the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi organization, as early as 2000. The ADL said he sometimes went by the pseudonym "Jack Boot" and was a prospective member of the Hammerskins skinhead organization in 2011.
Authorities say the man who killed six people at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin on Sunday was ex-military, with possible ties to white supremacist groups. [...]
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Wade Page, an Army Veteran with possible ties to white supremacist groups has been identified as the shooter in the Sikh Temple massacre in Wisconsin. [...]
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Harry Reid has much sharper elbows than he's usually given credit for. [...]
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Romney claims that he told the person running his blind trust to administer it in a way consistent with his public positions on issues.That was the first mistake. Romney has taken every side of most hot-button issues, so which way should the trust go?Second, it should have been clear that Romney meant consistent with his new-found conservative values. In that case, it shouldn't take a...
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington concludes that milk production in dairy cows could fall dramatically in some areas of the U.S. due to climate change.
The researchers showed that cows, like humans, are sensitive to heat stress. In certain hot and uncomfortable conditions, cows must devote more of their body’s resources to cooling down and devote less energy to milk production. The problem is exacerbated in humid conditions. Because cows perspire to cool down, higher concentrations of water in the air makes it more difficult for sweat to evaporate. Thus, as hot and humid climates become more extreme, they threaten the productivity of dairy cows.
According to one of the researchers:
?Using U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, if you look at milk production in the Southeast versus the Northwest, its very different,? said Guillaume Mauger, a postdoctoral researcher in the UWs Climate Impacts Group and co-author of the paper. ?Its reasonable to assume that some of that is due to the inhospitable environment for cows in the Southeast.?
The study projected the change in nationwide milk production out to the year 2080. Based on climate projections, the researchers suggest that by that time, cows in some locations, such as Maricopa, Arizona, could be producing as little as half the milk they produce today. Overall, the nation will be producing, on average, 6% less milk in 2080 than today.
The loss of milk production will have a major economic impact as well. The study projects that dairy losses will total over $100 million a year for some places, including Tulare, California.
There are short term fixes for overheating cows, such as shade tents and cool water sprays, which can help mitigate milk losses now. These measures, however, present new costs for ranchers dealing with the current drought.
In the long term, as the planet continues to warm, one potential option for dairy cows will be a transition from hot states to cooler states up north, at the expense of the economies of those southern states — but the northern states are going to get awfully crowded if they have to provide all the crops and dairies AND house all the people (see NASA?s Hansen: ?If We Stay on With Business as Usual, the Southern U.S. Will Become Almost Uninhabitable?).
Last year’s drought and heat wave in the American Southwest cost farmers almost $8 billion. As this study shows, additional costs for southern farmers are on the horizon.
– Max Frankel
Private prisons, touted as a cost-efficient alternative to state-run penitentiaries, are not living up to their promises in at least one state. A new study of Arizona’s private prisons finds that the state is actually losing money — $3.5 million a year — by turning their inmates over to for-profit corporations.
According to the Tucson Citizen’s analysis of Arizona’s three oldest private prison contracts, the rate to hold one prisoner for one night has increased 13.9% since the contracts were awarded. Compared to the cost of state-run prisons, Arizona overpaid for its private prison beds by $10 million between 2008 and 2010.
The cost of these private prison contracts was no surprise to the legislators who awarded them. In an earlier investigation, the Citizen discovered the Legislature was well aware how expensive the private prisons were and simply circumvented a law requiring corporations to show cost savings before receiving a contract. In 2012, the Legislature repealed the requirement entirely — as well as a requirement that the state conduct a review comparing the quality of private and public prisons.
After removing any incentive to maintain facilities, the Legislature made things even easier for these corporations by guaranteeing their prisons will always be 100 percent occupied:
The documents refer to a ?dispute? between the Department of Corrections and for-profit operator MTC as to whether or not the 5-year contract renewal was done in a timely manner (ADC says yes, MTC apparently said no). The negotiated settlement of this dispute consolidates 450 rated beds with 50 emergency beds into a total of 500 rated beds. These 500 beds will carry a guaranteed occupancy of 100% at a rate of $49.03 per prisoner, per day.
What?s more, this agreement was applied retroactively to October 6, 2010, effectively erasing all but three months of the reduced emergency bed per diem in the previous amendment (from July 2010). It also guaranteed that Arizona would continue to pay about three times as much for the emergency beds. In essence, ADC is handing over four years? worth of extra money to keep MTC happy.
How much money? In the July 2010 contract amendment for the facility, the state had bargained the emergency beds down to a $12.60 per diem. Now they will be paying $49.03 per diem for the same beds. Which means that MTC is raking in an extra $36.43 per prisoner, per day. Multiply by 50 such beds, and MTC will make additional profits of $664,847.50 per year? a total of $2,659,390 through the remainder of the contract, which expires in October of 2013.
MTC made headlines in Arizona in 2010 after 2 prisoners escaped from their poorly maintained facility and allegedly killed two tourists. The corporation has a long history of understaffing facilities, punctuated by inmate riots all over the country. Arizona now plans to buy back one of the MTC-managed prisons for $150,000.
In spite of the monetary and human costs, state and federal officials all over the country have embraced private prisons, perhaps because of the millions of dollars these corporations have lavished on politicians.
Defenders of Chick-fil-A’s anti-equality positions have argued that the company simply believes in the “biblical definition of marriage.” An infographic has been circulating the web demonstrating the actual biblical definitions of marriage, including a man, his wife, and his concubines; a man, his wife, and her slaves; a man and his many wives; a rapist and his victim; etc. The National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute responded to the infographic on Facebook and its blog today, arguing that it actually supports conservatives’ case against same-sex marriage:
This image has been making the rounds on Facebook, in an attempt to discredit those of us who insist that removing the gender requirement is redefining marriage. Look carefully at the image and you will see that in ALL of the examples, both genders are represented. This image reinforces the conservative position about needing a gender requirement, it does not undermine our position. And here is why: marriage has always been understood primarily as the means to bearing and raising children. Yes marriage provides companionship to the married partners, but that has never been the reason we needed marriage as a society.
Apparently, it was okay to redefine marriage so that women were not treated as subordinate property ? as they were in every example in the graphic ? but suddenly it’s problematic to give same-sex families the same respect and security as other couples. If NOM and its Ruth Institute really believe that the blatant hypocrisy of selective Biblical interpretation adds integrity to their argument, let them continue to flaunt it. It only illuminates their obvious bias against gays and lesbians.
The theme of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy this campaign season is disarray. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters all published reports about the infighting among Romney’s foreign policy team and how the candidate is struggling to find any way to publicly differentiate himself from President Obama and keep the mask on his advisers’ agendas.
Today, the Washington Post has the latest profile of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s foreign policy troubles, reporting that Romney’s advisers acknowledge “that they need to sharpen their message and its delivery,” particularly given Romney’s disastrous trip to England, Poland and Israel last week:
Critics on the inside are largely supportive of those positions but remain skeptical of the campaign?s ability to project a sophisticated, substantive vision that is not mired in past and current ideological battles.
?They have this theory of the campaign and have been on autopilot with it and haven?t adjusted,? said one exasperated Republican foreign policy expert with strong conservative credentials. ?It?s all about attacking Obama, when the bigger job is to introduce himself.? The decision to visit Poland, where Romney hailed the end of Soviet communism and the success of democracy and a free market, made the campaign ?look like Rip Van Winkle and they think it?s 1989,? he said.
Indeed, Romney has demonstrated his “Cold War mindset” in a number of ways, from calling Russia America?s ?number one geopolitical foe? to planning on boosting the U.S. military budget well beyond what the Pentagon spent at any time during the last 60 years. Even some of Romney’s own top advisers talk like the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia are still around.
But as the Post report confirms (again), divisions within Romney’s foreign policy team are still prevalent, particularly between the neocons and hawks on one side (“Cheney-ites” and the so-called “John Bolton faction“) and the George H.W. Bush era moderates on the other (the “Cheney-ites” are reportedly winning):
People who are ?wigged out” by Bolton are ?overstating his involvement? in the campaign, said one senior adviser. But Bolton is seen as a useful spokesman to the far right who can articulately expound Romney?s virtues and offer the conservative red meat others might shy away from.
Indeed, Bolton recently cheered Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) anti-Muslim witch hunt to root out alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government — something many top Republicans have denounced. Given the chance to take a swipe at Bachmann’s Islamophobia, Romney took a pass.
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Televangelist Pat Robertson on Monday reviewed the case of a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left at least seven dead and came to the conclusion that places of worship were being attacked because "people who are atheists, they hate God."
Robertson opened Monday's 700 Club broadcast with the news that there had been a mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.
"What is it?" the TV preacher wondered. "Is it satanic? Is it some spiritual thing, people who are atheists, they hate God, they hate the expression of God? And they are angry with the world, angry with themselves, angry with society and they take it out on innocent people who are worshiping God."
"And whether it's a Sikh temple or a Baptist church or a Catholic church or a Muslim mosque, whatever it is, I just abhor this kind of violence, and it's the the kind of thing that we should do something about," he added. "But what do you do? Well, you talk about the love of God and hope it has some impact."
U.S. Attorney James A. Santelle on Monday said that the man who murdered six people in Wisconsin before being shot himself was 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identified Page as a neo-Nazi who led a racist white-power band.
SPLC's Heidi Beirich told the Journal Sentinel that there was "no question" that the suspect was part of the white supremacist movement and had attended "hate events" around the country.
Reports also indicated that Page had a number of tattoos, including one that said "9/11" and a Celtic knot, which is commonly used a symbol of the Christian Holy Trinity. There is no evidence that Page was an atheist.
(h/t Right Wing Watch)