Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Here is the group planning to "Swift Boat" President Obama.

Joel Arrends
Courtesy of Think Progress:  

A secretive right-wing group, Veterans For A Strong America, is attempting to do to President Obama what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to Sen. John Kerry in 2004. And they aren’t shy about it. The group’s leader and sole employee, Joel Arends, told Mother Jones, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.” 

Arends said his goal is to take “what’s perceived to be [Obama's] greatest strength” — the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani compound — and make it “his greatest weakness.” The effort started this week with a web video attacking Obama for taking too much credit. Here’s what we do know about Arends and Veterans For A Strong America: 

1. In four days, the first ad by Veterans For A Strong America garnered almost 1 million views on Youtube. It has also been played frequently on TV news shows. 

2. Veterans For A Strong America is seeking to recruit Navy SEALS to attack Obama. “In the wake of a warm conservative reception for a web video trashing the president for ‘spiking the football’ on the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, the conservative group Veterans for a Strong America plans to gather Navy SEALs and Special Forces operators to criticize the White House during the 2012 campaign.” 

3. Arends also tried to Swift Boat Obama in 2008. Arends, under the auspices of a similar group called “Vets for Freedom,” ran an ad accusing Obama of refusing to meet with wounded soldiers from Illinois. 

4. Arends worked as a consultant for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. “Though he doesn’t list it on his public resume, around 2006 Arends went to work for Craig Dewey, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy outfit that’s Astroturfed everything from the tea party and the Wisconsin union fight to public-school segregation.” The Koch Brothers and their allies have pledged to spend $100 million to defeat Obama. 

 5. In 2008, Arends — posing as a “journalist” — organized and participated in a taxpayer-subsidized propaganda trip to Iraq. “American taxpayers are paying for politically slanted, pro-McCain, anti-Obama ‘reporters’ embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq. Vets for Freedom – a pro-war organization that buys attack ads against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama – assembled a team of eight military veterans with dubious journalistic credentials to report ‘objectively’ on what is occurring in Iraq…Joel Arends, another “reporter,” is VFF’s executive director and was on McCain’s campaign payroll between March 2007 and February 2008.” 

 6. Arends is coordinating with key Islamophobic figures on the far right. He regularly appears at events with anti-Islam conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, who has been condemned by mainstream conservatives for his intolerant views. He is also alligned with William “Jerry” Boykin, who was found to have violated Pentagon rules by expressing his anti-Muslim views in an official capacity. 

7. Arends helped promote a documentary advocating war with Iran. Arends appeared on a panel in March 2011 in South Dakota promoting the documentary Iranium, which strongly suggests beginning a war with Iran. 

8. Veterans for A Strong America is fully endorsed by Karl Rove. The man known as “Bush’s Brain” tweeted his support of their first web ad. 

We know that the Republican party is in serious disarray, and that there is much infighting within their ranks, but that still does not mean that these scurrilous attempts to damage the President will not have an impact.

So I think we all need to keep our eyes peeled for these kinds of heavily funded groups that will be determined to undermine the President's success, and attempt to make him vulnerable enough that even a candidate as incredibly flawed as Mitt Romney

Remember the GOP is NOT going to want a fair fight, so they will cheat, lie, and steal in order to get THEIR candidate into the White House.

So please tweet, or Facebook, your friends and keep getting the information out there.

All we have on our side is the truth, but it does little good if nobody hears it.


  1. Anonymous4:15 AM

    Obama has the "balls" to tell Navy Seals to go kill Bin Laden but he doesn't have the nuts to take a stand on gay marriage.

    That's the truth

    He's "disappointed" in the vote to ban gay marriage in North Carolina.

    What kind of leadership is that?

    1. Give it up, firebagger.

      I guess you've forgotten about the repeal of DADT? Or that the administration allows legal challenges against DOMA?

    2. Anonymous6:44 AM

      Please remember that Obama runs a chess game, not a bar room brawl. You KNOW (from his other values) that he supports gay rights.

    3. Anonymous7:01 AM

      Anonymous 4:15 AM

      Get lost idiot.

    4. Anonymous8:44 AM

      @4:15 It's called thoughtful. You Palin followers and Palin(you do sound like a Palin) are going to jump on whatever he says.

      President Obama can't force people to vote one way or the other. So your comment about "leadership" is pretty ignorant.

      Please continue to give money to Sarah so Dems can take back all the power in Nov. Enjoy eating SPAM and Ramen noodles while Sarah eats steak off of your $$$.

  2. Anonymous4:21 AM

    I'm not so sure this asshat will get a foothold. After all the bullshit, please are getting a bit smarter. The other thing is that Obama is usually several steps ahead of these guys. Remember their last attempt touted as the ultimate take down showed Obama hugging a black law professor. OMG...the horror! Everything they do backfires because they are such unethical assholes.

  3. Anonymous4:26 AM

    3. Arends also tried to Swift Boat Obama in 2008. Arends, under the auspices of a similar group called “Vets for Freedom,” ran an ad accusing Obama of refusing to meet with wounded soldiers from Illinois.

    That's pretty fucking disgusting, to make such a callous statement. Obama "refused" to meet with wounded soldier? Really? I'm sure they omitted the fact that an invitation wasn't even sent out, or that the measure of injury is assigned to conservative weirdo's like defeated loser Joe Miller (who ran against Lisa Murkowski for an Alaskan Senate seat) is a measure of "wounded."

    And also, nobody in the Alaska media seems interested in pursuing what I found out, confronting Miller at the Alaska State Fair last month. This is Joe Miller, about to yell at me, "Why would I do away with Veterans benefits? I'm a seriously disabled Veteran!"

  4. This result--perhaps off-topic--is an ill portent for the November election, as North Carolina is certainly crucial to the President's prospects for reelection. I sure don't like the premature victory laps I've seen here in Buncombe County from his local campaign workers who of course consider me an idiot (but you know the old saying: Who laughs last laughs bitterest):
    Amendment One becomes our state's shame

    1. Here in Colorado, the campaign workers are exhorting us (I'm an OFA volunteer) to NOT BE COMPLACENT. I've seen nothing resembling a "victory lap" in our crucial swing state so far. The campaign leaders know very well how dirty this election is going to get because of the Republicans. (As a Harry Potter fan, I think of them as Slytherin folk, who will do anything to be in power.) The campaign workers are stressing the basics: person to person contact thru phone banking and canvassing and getting out the vote.
      -Anne in CO

    2. Anonymous12:19 PM

      TNL @ 4:33 am
      You last sentence got my attention...
      Please keep positive in the face of idiocy!


  5. Anonymous4:34 AM

    A group that calls itself "Veterans for a Strong America" is created to attack President Obama! No Administration in recent memory (my mind is going back to the GI Bill under President Truman) has ever put so much time and energy and hard work into providing more for the US military and their families and for those who have returned from combat than the Obama Administration. And all of their efforts have been sincere. I hope this one backfires big!

  6. I omitted a concerning detail: it appears to been a vote of 60%...

    North Carolina OKs constitutional gay marriage ban (MSNBC)

    1. Anonymous7:02 AM

      Wrong thread.

  7. Anonymous4:47 AM

    I am not a veteran, so I have no standing to comment directly on this topic.

    However, as an observant American, I can offer an idea for what may be a useful counterattack: A group of pro-Obama veterans called Veterans For Reality.

  8. Anonymous4:49 AM

    The original Swift Boats was able to tap into the deep-rooted anger about the Vietnam War. People came forward, not because of the feeble and made-up evidence, but because Kerry protested the war and therefore couldn't be a war hero. None of that is relevant in this case. They could say "John Kerry ran down America!" and that hit a nerve. To say "Barack Obama took too much credit in a Big American Victory!" taps into nothing but Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    Call me a naive optimist, but I'll really be surprised if any ex-Navy Seals will come out slamming the current commander-in-chief (in wartime!) for celebrating a SEAL triumph too much.

  9. i dont see this working because every time you try to swiftboat obama you are reminding everyone that HE DID GET OSAMA .

    Something bush didnt even try to do.

    they want to control the narrative where nothing else gets talked about .

    of course fox will play along.

    but i have never seen any proof that kerry suffered from what they pulled on him.

    in fact there IS PROOF that millions of votes were destroyed not counted etc. and THAT the election was stolen.

    i believe that is what actually happened.
    (read the BRAD BLOG if you want to be informed about election theft )

    but most importantly this capture of osama is not the presidents greatest asset.

    its the fact that people LIKE him.
    and thats why these attacks will resonate with the usual suspects only.

  10. Anonymous4:53 AM

    Since the days of showing Dukakis (sic) wearing a silly helmet in a tank or the swift boat debacle against John Kerry, one thing has changed; The Information Highway.

    While it allows wackos like Arends to start groups like V.A.S.A., it also allows us equal space to blow these nut cases out of the proverbial water.

    I am a veteran(Vietnam) and I take offense to people using the word "Veteran" in their name just to give it, falsely, a sense of legitimacy. While we live in a free country and these actions are totally legal, I will use my legal right to disclaim these demigods for the hypocrites they are. Just because the word "veteran" is used in a group name doesn't mean that group represents veterans.

    1. Anonymous8:20 AM

      Thanks for your service, anon @ 4:53

  11. Anonymous4:54 AM

    Veterans for a Strong America? That's one of those Republican "It Says One Thing But Means Another" labels. It's proper name should be: Veteran [Republican operatives with a history of partisan politicking] for a Strong [Concentration of Power in the hands of the 1%] America [made up of heterosexual white male Republican Dominionists who put party over principle].

  12. Anonymous4:55 AM

    Isn't #2 treason? Isn't the President the CIC to the Seals?

    Can I please leave the country now?

  13. Anonymous4:57 AM

    As pacifist who is a big supporter of our Military and our Vets and our brave men and women who gave their lives for all kinds of reasons I can't believe how much Obama has accomplished for you guys despite the huge right wing Tbaggin GOP obstruction.

    These UNAmerican anti Obama people must be stopped and will be stopped come November. Please take someone you know to get registered to VOTE because these right wing states are throwing up all kinds of raodblocks to many many Americans who have a right to vote guaranteed by the Constitution! Let's swiftboat these REGRESSIVES back into the primordial ooze they sprang from.

  14. Anonymous4:58 AM

    Imagine that, another Teapublican hate group, dedicated to smearing the legally elected U.S. born President Barack Obama, who inherited a hot mess, including a record number of filibustering legislators fighting him & the country tooth and nail.

  15. The talking points will be everywhere, and the “I’m too tired to think today crowd” will absorb those easy-to-digest talking points.
    I don’t plan on lengthy arguments; they’ll be deflected. Simply saying “The Koch brothers are trying to steal the white house by swift boating the president” is short and sweet.

  16. Anonymous4:59 AM

    We all know Obama gave great credit , admiration, and concern, genuine concern for our Navy Seals, he never exploited them, the picture in the White House while all was taking place says it clearly, the concern on his face was stone cold fear for those Seals. When he came out and spoke of it he gave all credit to them. So like the nasty losers who can't see the truth due to ignorance and EGO.

    Another fact, many, many Republicans are voting Obama, that in itself says people have their eyes wide open, we are not fools.

  17. Anonymous5:00 AM

    Veterans For A Strong America.
    P.O. Box 1246
    Sioux Falls, SD 57101-1246.

    Americans for Prosperity.
    PO BOX 1246.
    SIOUX FALLS, SD 57101-1246.

    Koch funded idiots strike again...

  18. Anonymous5:01 AM

    I am a Veteran, Obama has my vote, these people only hurt America. While Bush was in Office he packed troops off fight, then when they returned broken , battered and broke he cut funding to the VA.

    1. Bush 43 earned us more enemies than he ever killed; as Senator James Webb (D-VA) and then-state legislator Barack Obama espoused at the time, invading Iraq was the most terrific of strategic blunders:

      "[Bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan] Asiri studied chemistry in Riyadh, but when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, he became more radicalized, like thousands in the Arab world. He tried to join al-Qaeda in Iraq to fight the U.S. occupation but was arrested by Saudi authorities as he tried to cross the border. He was imprisoned for nine months and released." Washington Post

    2. Anonymous8:22 AM

      Thanks for your service, @5:01

  19. Anonymous5:02 AM

    I'm a 22 yr vetran (army) an I'll back President Obama. I'll sign up to swift boat the swift boaters.

    1. Anonymous8:22 AM

      Thanks for your service anon @5:02

  20. Anonymous5:05 AM

    He is using the word "veterans" in the title to make us all think that these followers, if he has any, are truly VETERANS.

    Have you not watched our President thank our service men and women for their courage and sacrifice. He IMMEDIATELY thanks the SEALS who were the true heroes.

    And the Swift Boat gang who destroyed John Kerry's reputation were funded by a bunch of right-wing crooks who never SERVED A DAY.

    Of course REAL veterans and their families are grateful to our President! He and the First Lady are working hard to make their lives better when they come home. This SOB just works for the Billionaire racists who want to destroy our President AND our Democracy.

    And I was a Navy wife, mother of a female AF Vet and supporter of ALL OUR TRUE Veterans.

    I love our Commander in Chief, President Obama, he has shown time and time again what a huge heart and committed soul he has.

  21. Anonymous5:07 AM

    I believe the simple, countervailing position to this web video is a another web video of similar length with some number of Iraq and Afghan veterans telling their personally stories about problems they personally encountered in getting help from the VA for their wounds overlaid with graphics about Bush cutting funds for the VA during his tenure.

    This segment should be followed by a short snippet of Bush jet-jocking his way onto the Abraham Lincoln declaring "Mission Accomplished" with an appropriate voice over stating" Which President started an unnecessary war, which President took funding from out vets during that unnecessary war, and which President 'spiked the football' about his 'personally winning' that unnecessary war...then a quick cutaway to President Obama with voice over stating that it was President Obama who 'added funding for Veteran's Health and ended that unnecessary war' and didn't need to brag about his actions as Commander-In-Chief'!

    That would be balance and send the right-wing media into a frenzy....all good things to do...

    1. Anonymous11:47 AM

      anon @ 5:07am
      Do not forget Rumsfeld's cynical comments at the beginning of the "War On Terror" when questioned about the toll of the Iraqi invasion upon US troops:
      "We go to war with the Army we have, not with the Army we wish we had"...
      I may be paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it.
      None of those NeoCons served!
      Need one say more?


  22. Anonymous5:08 AM

    Getting Bin Laden was a proud moment for the Seals, Special Operations, the Military, and Americans generally, not just for Obama. He ordered the attack, but we all wanted it. Its beyond politics and to what America has suffered and had to endure for the last 10 years. These pseudo-Patriots who would try to use it for a political gain are disrespecting us all and especially the men and women of the Armed Services who have spent the last 10 years seeking a resolution for what happened on 9/11. Let them try. The Swift Boating worked cause Kerry didn't fight back. They'll get a different result from this President.

  23. Anonymous5:09 AM

    As an actual veteran, this group disgusts me.

    1. Anonymous8:23 AM

      Thanks for your service, anon @5:09

  24. Anonymous5:10 AM

    The bottom line, "any president would have made the same call", well they didn't President Obama made the call, and that is the simple fact that is pissing the right off so much. "W" never finished the job, like a child who got bored with his toy, he took his attention elsewhere.

    The right arguing about this is UnAmerican, and disrespects all of the lives lost on 9/11 and the ensuing war in Afghanistan.

  25. Anonymous5:54 AM

    What I find troubling with Think Progress and others on blogs and in the media -- they are referring to this as a Group and the reference that 'They are....yadda, yadda, yadda'

    It's a group of ONE which is NOT a group. It's one moron using and abusing the reference to Vets in that he DID NOT SERVE. I wish the MSM and blogs would expose him. The mentally unstable moron never ever was in the military.

    I laugh at the statements that he plans to have Seals speak out against the President. Really??

    This is when the MSM and blogs totally piss me off as they're playing into it instead of stomping of the idiot. The MSM, etc. is living up to how they are viewed -- NO backbone, no credibility.

    1. Marleycat8:42 AM

      Thanks for sharing the info - I had the thought after reading this post that this Swift Boat Vet Group probably had NO real Veterans in it, and that the members were likely a polished, paid bunch of Karl Rove/Koch chickenshit armchair hawks and sycophants! To find this group is compromised of ONE idiot is incredibly funny - must be a Palinlike, et al, type Grifter. And you are right - the MSM plays into this Bullshit to the point that you know very little "news" they report on has any substance . . . that's how we got Palin, and so many other incompetent, corrupt, sleazy, racist, etc., RWNJ's presented as "newsworthy"!

  26. Anonymous6:20 AM

    Almost four years ago, I was watching Sarah Palin rile up a Clearwater, Fla., crowd with anti-Obama broadsides when a spectator let loose a bloodcurdling cry of “kill him!”

    To his credit, John McCain realized the Obama hatred was getting out of hand, and a few days later, when a woman at one of his events called Obama an “Arab,” McCain did one of the most honorable things in his political career. “No, ma’am,” he said, taking the microphone from the woman and enduring some boos from supporters. “He’s a decent, family-man citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

    Now that the year is again divisible by four, the anti-Obama hatred is flaring anew. But I worry that Obama’s current opponent doesn’t have the strength of character to push back against the most dangerous voices on his side.

    The latest sign of trouble came Monday, when a woman speaking at a Mitt Romney event in Euclid, Ohio, said that Obama was operating outside of the Constitution and “should be tried for treason.” Many in the crowd of 500 applauded this call for the commander in chief of the United States to be charged with a capital offense.

    But Romney didn’t push back against this outrage. Instead, he said he thinks the Constitution is “brilliant” and mentioned nothing about treason. Only when reporters pressed him later did Romney state that he did not, in fact, think Obama should be put on trial for being a traitor to his country.

    This was just the latest instance of Romney being unwilling to confront the darker forces of the right:

    1. Anonymous8:36 AM

      I do think the Republicans in Congress who have deliberately spent the last three and 1/2 years undermining all of President Obama's efforts to restore the economy and create real health care reform have behaved treasonously.

  27. Anonymous6:23 AM

    There are many ways to measure a presidential candidate. Not only do we evaluate them for their policies, but also for their personal character and their level of courage. We measure them for their honesty. On virtually every measure, Mitt Romney is demonstrated to be extremely lacking.

    The notion that this egregiously dishonest and cowardly man could become president should send a chill down the back of any patriotic American.

  28. Anonymous6:48 AM

    at a local restaurant the other day, i was told by the waitress that Snicker Bars were no longer going to be made/sold, thanks to Mrs. Obama (not what the waitress called her). we tried to poo-poo the idea, but the waitress was adamant. Mrs. Obama was going to stop all of us from having a Snickers Bar ever again.
    This is the kind of person that the Swift-Boat folks are targeting, and it appears to be effective, so we really do have to keep our eyes out, and be ready to refute such idiocy whenever we encounter it!

  29. Anonymous6:54 AM

    Unlike Kerry, President Obama is a fighter. Kerry did not defend himself, at all. He just let them lie on him and walk all over him.
    President Obama is just the opposite of Kerry, he will call them on their lies, and set the record straight.

  30. Anonymous6:55 AM

    “I get the sense that if Obama had pulled the trigger, Republicans would’ve complained he was taking jobs away from hard working Navy SEALs,” Stewart said.

  31. Anonymous6:56 AM

    Is Joel really a veteran?

  32. Anonymous7:00 AM

    Since repubs. have no actual accomplishments, or platform to run on they HAVE to resort to dirty tricks. That is all Rove knows, the man does not have an honest bone in his body. Plastic Romney is typical of the kind of "leader" they like, no core, no heart, no convictions, just go with the flow. Nordquist said they just need one of their own in office to sign bills. No thinking involved, just like W. Instead of talking about fixing W's mess, the repubs. do not talk about jobs, helping people, foreclosures etc. All they say is that their one goal is to defeat President Obama in November. He has them running scared!!

  33. Anonymous7:07 AM

    Thanks Gryphen. This is very helpful information to pass along....

  34. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Obama right, Repubs wrong.

  35. Anonymous7:19 AM

    One approach for Arrends - the Osama Bin Laden raid was faked. Bin Laden died in Dec 2001. The navy seals that supposedly participated in this raid are dead (assassinated) about half at the Pakistani compound, the other half in helicopter crash Afghanistan, Aug 2011. Problem is, most people will not investigate or use critical thinking required to know they are being duped and a great evil exists. Just like the events of 9/11. News flash, Osama Bin Laden was not involved in 9/11. The internet is still free (as in freedom) to investigate. Use it before we lose it. The great evil is winning.

  36. Boscoe7:54 AM

    You know, it's really kind of hilarious how the right really has no clue how to do anything but preach to it's own choir. Seriously, I would LOVE to see them try to take down Obama by crying about how he "took credit" for taking out Bin Laden.

    And, in the event that they DID manage to convince people that it was all about Bush... that helps them HOW? Do they really think anyone who thought Bush was a piece of shit then, is suddenly going to like him NOW?

    Yeah, that'll really garner Romney the sympathy vote.

    The only chance the GOP has is to LIE LIE LIE about anything, everything because the facts only hurt them. I want to see Romney attempt to run on the Republican's "record!" ROFL

    Where's $arah? With gas prices dropping, isn't it time for them to dust her off so she can reinforce her "felled socialist policies that are preventing our energy independence day" garbage? -Or at least give credit to Reagan? Or herself?

    Actually, my honest bet is that the Republican strategy will be to show how Obama is "just like" Bush, so everyone should vote for Romney because HE represents "REAL Change".

    That's about the GOP's speed, right? Distortion and lies with a double portion of projection and some compromised Diebold machines on the side?

    1. Not What You Want to Hear10:29 AM

      Don't laugh. Their lies work. How do you think they swept back into power just a paltry two years after wrecking the world economy? How do you think Romney is running neck and neck with Obama? How do you think that Voter ID, union busting, teacher firings, and a host of other atrocities are happening?

      You better wake up and realize that we spend far too much time defending ourselves against rightwing lies instead of attacking them with the truth.

  37. Anonymous10:29 AM

    Willard literally Swift Boated Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift when he decided to claim he was a resident of Massachusetts despite being out of the state for some time and ran for Governor of Massachusetts. In other words Willard forced a woman governor from office by Swift Boating Swift by using his wealth.

  38. Anonymous12:54 PM



Don't feed the trolls!
It just goes directly to their thighs.