Stephen Colbert just nailed the GOP’s Christian hypocrisy on Syrian refugees with one Bible verse

Stephen Colbert just nailed the GOP's Christian hypocrisy on Syrian refugees with one Bible verse

The Late Show | Screenshot


The object of terrorism is to provoke fear and that’s exactly what ISIS has successfully done to leaders across the United States who now are denying humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees. On Thursday night’s “Late Show” Stephen Colbert noted that the crisis is all anyone is talking about.

“Whether or not to let Syrian refugees into this country has become the new political issue, completely overshadowing the old political issue, whether to let Mexicans into this country,” Colbert said, a little too on the nose.

But Donald Trump says that Syrians are not going to want to come here anyway. Right now the United States is entering winter while Syrian refugees are probably more accustomed to higher temperatures. Trump wants to know why the hell they’d come to Minnesota where it’s under 40 degrees.

“It’s a tough call for refugees,” Colbert said. “Do I want to stay in a war zone where my family faces almost certain death or do I want to go somewhere where I have to put on a jacket before I go to the mall? I mean you’re walkin’ around, you’re carrying your coat. You get all sweaty. You go outside and forget to put it on and then you get a cold. I’ll take my chances with ISIS.”

Colbert played the clip of President Obama mocking GOP candidates for president who he said was first afraid of debate moderators and now are afraid of women and orphans. He might make a good point, but “why shouldn’t we be scared of three-year-olds? You think you can’t negotiate with terrorists? Try negotiating with a three-year-old.”

But there are a few candidates (Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush) who think that allowing Christian refugees into the country is fine. Cruz went on to say “there is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror.”

“I’m sure these guys right here are just campers roasting marshmallows,” Colbert said with a photo of the KKK with flaming crosses. “You can tell because they’re each wearing one-man tents.”

After all, like the plaque on the Statue of Liberty says: “Give us your tired, your poor, mostly Christians, and maybe one more two Indian guys with engineering degrees.”

“If you want to know if somebody’s a Christian just ask them to complete this sentence,” Colbert said pulling out his Catechism card. “‘Jesus said I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you….’ And if they don’t say ‘welcomed me in’ then they are either a terrorist or they’re running for president.”

Watch Colbert drop the mic here:

The GOP Is Shredding Obama, But Here Are 11 Times They Said It Was Unpatriotic To Criticize The President


It might surprise Republicans, especially the GOP primary candidates, to learn that our military is deployed and engaging hostile enemies in both Iraq, against ISIS, and Afghanistan, against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. And if the Republicans have their way, we’ll end up deploying more “boots on the ground” throughout the Middle East to fight ISIS. What could possibly go wrong?

Either way, I’m old enough to remember when it was a Republican rule that we shouldn’t criticize the Commander-in-Chief while troops were in harm’s way. Here now, are 11 times when the GOP said it was unpatriotic to do exactly that:

1) “You don’t criticize the Commander-in-Chief in the middle of a firefight. That could be construed as putting U.S. forces in jeopardy and undermining morale.”

—Bill O’Reilly, 4/2004

2) “I’ve held this in long enough. I really suspect that these liberal tactics are damaging, maybe even killing the morale of our troops.”

—Rush Limbaugh, 6/14/07

3) “The only ideas that they espouse are ways to undermine the troops in harm’s way and undermine their Commander-in-Chief while they’re at war. Your candidates have no idea how to keep this economy strong.”

—Sean Hannity, 10/18/06

4) “He’s the Commander-in-Chief. And what I find frankly repugnant about you and some of your fellow Democrats – you have undermined our president…”

—Sean Hannity, 03/19/06

5) “You know, Norman, those comments while we are at war, while troops are in harm’s way, while he is the Commander-in-Chief, do you not see the outrage in that?”

—Sean Hannity, 11/12/07

6) “I have had it with members of your party undermining our troops, undermining a Commander-in-Chief while we are at war…”

—Sean Hannity, 11/05

7) “Can we do it without distorting their legacies and pandering to anti-American elites worldwide and using their deaths to embarrass and undermine our commander-in-chief?”

—Michelle Malkin, 11/23/05

8) “On the other hand, if Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Congress are successful in undermining the Commander-in-Chief (thereby emboldening the terrorists to kill more Americans in Iraq)…”

—Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, 04/11/07

9) “And furthermore, one of the fundamental principles we have in America is that the president is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and attempts to undermine the Commander-in-Chief during time of war amounts to treason.”

—Pat Robertson, 12/07/05

10) “While young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats’ manic obsession to bring down our Commander-in-Chief.”

—Zell Miller, Republican National Convention, 9/01/04

11) “Through their relentless, vicious attacks on Bush, they systematically undermined the public’s confidence in the war and our ability to optimally wage it.”

—Conservative Columnist David Limbaugh

And yet they’re doing it now. Likewise, they’ve done it throughout the Obama years — proving that it’s okay if you’re a Republican. In this case, the rule should be revised to read: “Don’t criticize the white Republican Commander-in-Chief, but if he happens to be a black Democrat, we should relentlessly destroy him! Screw the troops!”

Indeed, the Republicans are only truly patriotic when it’s both convenient and politically expedient.

(And for the record, I believe it’s okay to criticize the president regardless of party affiliation or troop deployment.)


President Obama drops refugee truth bomb on GOP in epic Twitter storm

President Obama drops refugee truth bomb on GOP in epic Twitter storm

(Credit: AP/Susan Walsh)


For the third day this week, President Obama finds himself waging a one-man battle against mass hysteria and misinformation in the wake of the Paris attack.

On Monday, the president battled a hostile American media at a G20 press conference in Turkey before delivering this powerful rebuke of his GOP critics who’ve used the attacks to scapegoat Syrian refugees:

When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who is fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful, that’s not American, that’s not who we are.

By Monday night, 34 American governors had declared their states Syrian refugee free zones, publicly calling for a ban on all refugees from the war torn region. On Tuesday, President Obama was, again, forced to call out such hyperbolic measures during a stop in the Philippines:

I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate. ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West.


When you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative … It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.


When candidates say, we wouldn’t admit three-year-old orphans — that’s political posturing. When individuals say that we should have a religious test and that only Christians — proven Christians — should be admitted — that’s offensive and contrary to American values.

By Wednesday, at least two GOP lawmakers had called for Syrian refugees to be “segregated” into special “camps” and the Democratic mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, seemingly positively invoked Japanese internment camps during WWII to defend his decision to ban war refugees from his city limits.

Of course, there are legal limitations to such proposals, but many elected officials, clearly unaware or unbothered by the legal constraints, have only increased their calls for extralegal action against Syrian refugees. Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has even called for ending all U.S. aid to Syrian refugees as millions remain displaced.

So, President Obama’s former Ebola Czar (remember that little period of mass hysteria?) recently laid out a path to combat some of the rampant misinformationabout Syrian refugees using best practices from his time quelling Ebola fears. Ron Klain suggested that officials not mock concerns, but rather address them with the cold hard facts. On Wednesday night, the president, who belatedly joined Twitter in May, took to the social media network in an attempt to do just that:

Fox News brings back Obama birther lies: Donald Trump, Dennis Miller and the revolting post-Paris sliming of the president

Fox News brings back Obama birther lies: Donald Trump, Dennis Miller and the revolting post-Paris sliming of the president

Laura Ingraham, Donald Trump, Dennis Miller (Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster/Rich Schultz/Dario Cantatore)


They’re back! After Paris, right-wing pundits embrace Obama as secret-Muslim-destroying-the-country theories, again

Most conspiracy theories rarely die, so much as slumber, ready to be woken fresh anew when political or social circumstances arouse the paranoid. So it is with birtherism, the theory that holds that President Obama is lying about his native-born citizenship. Or that he’s secretly Muslim and just pretending to be Christian. Or maybe he’s not actually Muslim, but still secretly has a big, loving heart for terrorist organizations pushing radical Islamic ideas. Or some combination of the above. Conspiracy theories work like that, with many branches and offshoots and every theorist combining the disparate ideas into their own puzzle of how it all works.

But while birtherism is a complex beast, all theories have in common two elements: Obama has a secret identity. This gives him the desire to destroy the United States from the inside, usually so it can fall into the hands of whatever group, real or imaginary, the conspiracy theorists fears most — anarchists, ISIS, Jeremiah Wright, Saul Alinsky. While most mainstream conservatives know they aren’t supposed to be out-and-out birthers in the public square, where people will laugh at them and ask if they also believe in lizard people, the attacks in Paris have created a surge of right-wing pundits winking at the birthers in their audience, indulging the widespread conservative paranoia that Obama is secretly out to get them.

In 2015, the typical birther move is to push some variation on this line: “I’m not saying he’s a secret Muslim born in Kenya for the purpose of installing him in government for a radical Islamic takeover, but…[imply that’s exactly what he is].”

Dennis Miller on Fox News Wednesday: “Listen, I think it’s fair to say at this point, you know, people always let him off the hook when they say he was born somewhere else or think he’s a Muslim. I’m not saying any of that, but it is entirely fair to say he has Islamic sympathies.” Bonus points, Dennis, for implying that the birther theories are concocted by liberals trying to cover for him. Adds a nice extra layer of paranoia to the proceedings.

Kimberly Guilfoyle on Fox News on Wednesday: “Literally it’s so disconcerting to me, Greg, that we have a president that is really, not only not rising up to the Winston Churchill moment, but he’s really almost helping the other side because he’s not doing anything to help our team.” Could it be that he’s Satan?! Nah, just a secret Muslim who wants ISIS to execute a global takeover, wink wink.

Ben Stein on Newsmax on Tuesday: ““I think the question is why is he so angry at America? I don’t think there’s much question that he does not wish America well. He has a real strong hatred of America. Is it because he’s part black? I don’t know. Is it because his father was mistreated by the British in Kenya? I don’t know.” Implying that black=Muslim=fundamentalist Muslim=supporter of terrorism is a common conflation in birtherism. The rule of thumb is that if you’re not a white Christian, you’re probably working for ISIS.

Ralph Peters on Fox News on Wednesday: “I’m waiting for this president to call Eric Holder out of retirement to lead a new movement, jihadi lives matter.”

Jim Garlow of WorldNetDaily Tuesday: “I have never beat the “Obama’s a Muslim” drum, and I won’t now. But the evidence is overwhelming that he cares little for authentic Christians, while doing everything he can to affirm Islam and to coddle Muslims – violent or peaceful.”

Donald Trump on Laura Ingraham’s show Tuesday: “They send them to the Republicans, not to the Democrats, you know because they know the problem … why would we want to bother the Democrats?” Clearly, all those families are just sleeper cells for Obama’s secret plan to take over the country.

Lots of people just saying out there these days. It’s a mode of communicating conspiracy theories that has a couple of major benefits. First, it allows the conspiracy theorist to perpetuate the theory without coming right out and saying it, giving them a blanket of plausible deniability when they’re called out for it (which will likely happen in response to this article).

Second of all, it perpetuates the idea that conservatives in this country are oppressed, that they are so unable to speak freely that they have to communicate their ideas in coded ways. It’s a paranoia twofer! The world is clearly out to get you guys, so better stay home and mainline more Fox News.

Arguing against this viewpoint is probably a waste of time. As the saying goes, you can’t reason people out of a belief they didn’t reason themselves into.

Still, it pays to be mindful of the spread of birtherism and the way it surges in times of stress like this. The belief that a certain subset of people with secret agendas have lied and flattered their way into power so they can destroy the nation from the inside is a common, recurring feature of right wing politics. It cropped up during the Clinton administration, when right wing radicals in the U.S. formed “militias”, arguing that Clinton was a secret something (it was never quite clear) and he was, with his black helicopters, going to take over the country by force one day. It fueled the McCarthy era and the hunt for secret communists. It’s fueling the anti-refugee sentiment, as refugees are accused of sneaking ISIS terrorists in their midst, because going through a two year screening process is a well-known and efficient way to do that, instead of tapping the existing ISIS sympathizers living in the U.S. (who are mostly trying to get to Syria). It’s the basis of the homophobic theory that gays are trying to “recruit” your kids. At its most extreme, it created the “stabbed in the back” theory in Nazi Germany that held that Jews secretly subverted the World War I effort, causing Germany to lose the war.

This is just more of the same. Hushed, paranoid theories of secret subversion are never really about protecting the nation, but about scoring political points and drumming up bigotry. There’s a crass opportunism to all of this, as these folks clearly are more worried about scoring political points against Obama than about talking about the best methods for fighting ISIS.

H/t: DB

France Vows To Take In 30,000 Syrian Refugees, Makes Republicans Look Like Cowards


It has long been said that the true definition of courage isn’t the absence of fear, but rather the ability to take action in the face of fear. In the wake of a horrific terror attack in the heart of Paris, France’s actions are about as courageous as could ever be asked of its people.

Despite the fear-mongering and the pressure from right-wing elements in both France and the United States, France’s president Francois Hollande renewed his vow to take in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and urged Parisians not to allow a few terrorists to stop them from living their lives to the fullest.

“30,000 refugees will be welcomed over the next two years. Our country has the duty to respect this commitment,” explaining that they will undergo vigorous security checks.

Hollande noted that “some people say the tragic events of the last few days have sown doubts in their minds,” but called it a “humanitarian duty” to help those people … but one that will go hand in hand with “our duty to protect our people.”

“We have to reinforce our borders while remaining true to our values,” he said.

The French people have been remarkably brave throughout the harrowing ordeal. It’s the right-wing elements in America, thousands of miles away, that have truly succumbed to the fear. In state after state, Republican governors announced that they would be attempting to block any Syrian refugees from being resettled there. In Congress, the GOP quickly drafted up legislation that would – depending on who was writing it – ban all refugees or ban all refugees but the Christian ones.

All of this was done directly in the face of the evidence emerging from the Paris investigation. In fact, no Syrian refugee has thus far been named as one of the terrorists. They principally came from the EU itself. A Syrian passport made to look like a refugees turned out to be a fake – possibly planted by ISIS to sow confusion.

Refugees more generally have a remarkably low chance of being future assailants. Out of the 784,000 Muslims taken in by the United States since 9/11, one has been arrested for being involved in terrorism. The facts are clear: refugees do not pose a threat. They are rigorously screened, interviewed, and checked. You wouldn’t know any of this if you simply listened to what Republican leaders are saying. Chris Christie recently swore he would block even “5-year-old orphans” from coming into his state, because he didn’t want to take the “risk.” Ted Cruz, whose father was a refugee from Cuba, is actively trying to ban non-Christians from being allowed into the United States. A Tennessee politician is now working on deporting the Syrians already living in his state and “politely take them back.”

Thankfully, President Obama and many Democratic governors have stood firm against this growing xenophobic rhetoric. Like Hollande, Obama has vowed to uphold the United States’ moral duty by helping averting the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Middle East. At a recent press conference, he called out Republicans for their not-so-brave stances in the face of unfortunate victims of strife.

“At first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of 3-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”

If they ever want to get serious about being tough, Hollande just gave them an perfect example of how to do it.

Obama torches GOP on Syrian refugees: ‘Now they are scared of 3-year-old orphans’


Barack Obama speaks at the G20 Summit in Atalya, Turkey | Getty


President Barack Obama is taking an even harsher tone against governors and lawmakers who want to stop the U.S. resettlement of Syrian refugees, blasting them for being “scared of widows and orphans” while playing into the hands of the Islamic State terrorist group.

“We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if its based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks,” Obama said while visiting the Philippines for an economic summit. “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate.”

“ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West,” he continued. “And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.”

In the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris, more than half of U.S. governors, most of them Republican, have said they don’t want refugees resettled in their states. House Republican leaders also are looking at legislation designed to stop the Obama administration from resettling up to 10,000 Syrian refugees next year. Several GOP presidential contenders have also slammed the idea of letting Syrians in, while some have suggested only letting in those who are Christian.

The White House on Tuesday began pushing back against the GOP-led narrative, holdings calls with governors and reporters as well as briefing lawmakers about the stringent security screening involved before refugees are admitted to the United States. A White House readout of a conference call with governors said it lasted 90 minutes and included 34 governors representing both parties.

“Several governors expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to better understand the process and have their issues addressed directly by representatives of the agencies responsible for the refugee and screening programs,” according to the White House statement. “Others encouraged further communication to ensure that governors are able to better respond to questions from the public about the refugee screening and resettlement process.”

Several Democratic senators, including likely incoming Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, also expressed qualms about accepting the refugees ahead of a Wednesday briefing by administration officials. “We’re waiting for the briefing tomorrow. A pause may be necessary,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday. “We’re going to look at it.”

Obama has repeatedly said ensuring the safety of U.S. citizens remains a top priority when it comes to vetting those who enter the country. But he appears unusually frustrated by the fury over refugees who face terror and destruction in Syria. Earlier this week he expressed anger over the idea of admitting refugees based on religion — as proposed by GOP presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, among others — and he reiterated that sentiment in his latest comments in Manila, where it was Wednesday morning.

“When individuals say we should have a religious test and that only Christians, proven Christians should be admitted, that’s offensive,” he said.

The president also noted that many of the same people who have suggested stopping refugees from coming to the United States also claim they themselves are tough enough to stare down Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion,” Obama said. “At first they were worried about the press being too tough on them in during debates. Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.”

The president’s comments appear to be a reference to remarks by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday: “I don’t think orphans under 5 are being, you know, should be admitted into the United States at this point. But you know, they have no family here. How are we going to care for these folks?”


Republicans Realize Taking Obamacare Away From Their Voters Maybe Isn’t A Great Idea

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop=

AP PHOTO/TIMOTHY D. EASLEY It’s one thing to talk about taking Medicaid away from hundreds of thousands of people, and it’s another thing to actually do it. Kentucky Gov.-elect Matt Bevin (R) has talked about it.


WASHINGTON — Republicans have enjoyed big electoral wins over the past year that put them on the verge of being able to do major damage to Obamacare. Only now, some of them seem a little anxious about taking the next, big step.

It’s a truism in politics, espoused by Republicans and Democrats alike, that it’s awfully hard to take away government benefits once they’ve been offered. In the case of the Affordable Care Act, repeal would mean yanking health coverage from more than 16 million people who didn’t have it before, between those who now get subsidies for private health insurance and those who gained access to Medicaid coverage via the law’s expansion of that program to more low-income adults.

It’s the Medicaid expansion that now appears to be complicating the ceaseless, noisy and heretofore ineffective “Repeal Obamacare!” movement. The House has voted dozens of times to get rid of Obamacare (or at least cripple it) since 2011, but the Senate has been in GOP hands for almost a year and a repeal bill is still on a winding path through the sluggish upper chamber. It may eventually wind up on President Barack Obama’s desk, finally giving congressional Republicans the veto they’ve so long craved.

But wait! New obstacles have appeared, in the form of Republican senators who aren’t so sure they want their names associated with an effort to magically transform millions of their constituents from insured people to uninsured people.

Here’s Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), as reported by The Hill’s Alexander Bolton:

“I am very concerned about the 160,000 people who had Medicaid expansion in my state. I have difficulty with that being included.”

And here’s what Montana’s freshman Republican senator (who succeeded Democrat Max Baucus, the chief author of the health law) had to say:

“I respect the decision of our Legislature and our governor on Medicaid expansion,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R) of Montana, which has a Democratic governor. “I’m one who respects their rights and voices.”

A mystery senator summed up the whole problem for the GOP leadership, The Hill reported:

Another Senate Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed concern that states that expanded Medicaid would be penalized by billions of dollars if Congress repealed the federal assistance.

“Repealing the Medicaid expansion is not going to be in there because it’s too problematic for many Republicans,” said the lawmaker, adding, “I don’t want to stick the state with the bill.”

It’s almost as though the concept of repealing Obamacare is more appealing as a talking point, a fundraising pitch and an electoral strategy than it is as an exercise in public policymaking.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop=

TOM WILLIAMS/GETTY IMAGES | Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) represents a state where about 160,000 people have enrolled into the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Medicaid expansion, which allows anyone who earns less than 133 percent of the poverty level — about $16,000 for a single person — to enroll. The Supreme Court ruled three years ago that states could opt not to take up the expansion, and 19 holdouts have done so. The federal government is covering the full costs of the expansion through the end of next year, then will gradually dial down its share until states are responsible for 10 percent of the expenses in 2022 and later years.

There are 20 Republican senators representing 15 states that have expanded Medicaid. A whole lot of their constituents are on the program now.

Medicaid enrollment data is messy, but here’s where things stand. In 10 of those 15 states, 2.5 million people gained Medicaid coverage because of Obamacare as of March, according to the most recent report from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That tally undercounts the number of people with Republican senators who’d be affected, because Alaska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Nevada didn’t submit data to the agency.

Adding more recent numbers from those five states, obtained by The Huffington Post Thursday, we’re looking at more than 3 million people. Considering that nine months have passed since the last federal report and that enrollment in the Medicaid expansion didn’t start in Alaska until September and in Montana until this month, the total likely is higher.

That’s a lot of potentially angry voters. And there’s probably a lot more who aren’t on Medicaid, but might think it’d be really mean to jerk around people getting by on incomes below or near the poverty level.

Of course, another way to frame the issue could be to simply deny these beneficiaries exist, as Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina did during the debate Tuesday, but that only works for so so long.


Obama Destroys Trump’s Immigration Plan, Slams Right-Wing Hate (VIDEO)


President Obama doesn’t think much of Donald Trump’s bizarre plan to forcibly remove 11 million undocumented immigrants from the country.

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos for This Week, Obama both took Trump to task for his idea and touched on the nativist motivations that have made anti-immigrant sentiment such a powerful tool within the Republican Party.

Obama made clear to ABC where he stood, noting, ”The notion we’re going to deport 11, 12 million people from this country … first of all, I’ve no idea where Mr. Trump thinks the money’s going to come from, it would cost us hundreds of billions of dollars to execute that.”

The President also discussed just how devastating Trump’s plan, modeled after an Eisenhower era plan called “Operation Wetback” would be for America’s image around the world: “Imagine the images on the screen flashed around the world, as we were dragging parents away from their children and putting them in, what, detention centers, and then systematically sending them out. Nobody thinks that that is realistic. But more importantly, that’s not who we are as Americans.”

Yet Trump’s rhetoric clearly resonates with some portion of the Republican base. He has led in the polls for months, and anti-immigrant positions in varying degrees are held by all the major Republican presidential candidates, while immigrant-bashing is a part of the life blood of right-wing radio and Fox News.

Stephanopoulos asked Obama, “What do you think when you hear people cheer for that?”

In response Obama noted that, “There’s always been a strange of anti-immigrant sentiment in America,” and pointed out that the source of such feelings has ironically often come from people who were one, two generations back “immigrants themselves.”

Obama has now spent nearly six years as the leader of the most important country in the world, and knows that his actions have ripple effects, both in country and around the world. He noted that when it comes to those hateful feelings, “It’s the job of leaders not to play into that sentiment.”

Unfortunately, a full-on blast from Obama against Trump’s plan will probably help him shore up support among the Republican base, who’s motivating factor has most often been expressed in opposing everything Obama supports, political reality and consequences be damned.

So not only has Obama given the right a tongue-lashing, he’s given them motivation to be even less electable.

7 Examples Of Republican Presidential Candidates Screwing Over Veterans


Each year on Armistice Day (Veterans Day) I think back to that first page of the Kurt Vonnegut book Breakfast of Champions. Few books begin with as much raw and honest truth as it does when talking about what November 11th means.

“It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

“Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

“So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

“What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

“And all music is.”

Each year on the eleventh day of the eleventh month I think about not only those who have stood on battlefields but those who have fought for peace like the one Vonnegut describes. Far too many Republicans in our chambers of Congress have fought for neither peace nor those who have fought in the name of peace. These so-called representatives swear and affirm to upload the Constitution of the United States but swear no such allegiance to “we the people,” particularly those who serve. These seven things will help confirm that unfortunate fact:

1. Marco Rubio supported privatizing the VA health care system.

According to CNN,

“A task force organized by Concerned Veterans for America said the VA should begin offering subsidized private insurance to veterans and transform its healthcare department into a nonprofit corporation instead of a government agency. The move comes in response to the scandal involving health care delays and data manipulation at VA facilities first reported by CNN. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, supported the proposed reforms, saying VA health care could improve by adopting the competition and flexibility of private healthcare.”

The last thing veterans need are jacked-up health care prices and prescription meds. The VA has a government related negotiating power that many private companies don’t have on healthcare. There is zero guarantee that veterans wouldn’t ultimately end up paying out-of-pocket for services because of increased costs.

2. Jeb Bush actually tried to privatize parts of the VA health system when he was the Governor of Florida.

According to CNN,

“Jeb Bush’s effort as governor to partially privatize veterans health care services in Florida went so poorly it was ended shortly after Bush left office. That hasn’t stopped the former Republican governor, now in the early stages of running for president, from arguing veterans should be given the choice to see a public or private doctor, with either visit being paid for by the government. ‘All of these government programs should shift to the person who’s receiving the benefit and they should be empowered to have more choices, rather than be told what line you get into,’ Bush said recently in New Hampshire. […] But Bush’s experience outsourcing veterans’ nursing homes in Florida was a case study in privatization’s pitfalls. By the time it was over, Florida officials determined the state could provide higher-quality care at a better price for taxpayers.”

Leave it to a Bush to double down on a failed policy that does nothing but hurt those who have served our country. Way to go, Jeb. No wonder your momma didn’t want you to run.

3. Ben Carson doesn’t think we need the VA system at all.

Ben Carson has said a LOT of crazy stuff, but one of the most terrifying things he’s advocated for thus far is nixing the VA entirely. This comes via Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller,

“World-famous neurosurgeon Ben Carson told WMAL’s ‘Drive at Five Show’ in Washington, D.C. Friday afternoon following VA Secretary Shinseki’s resignation that the greatest problem with the VA system is ‘too many layers of bureaucrats…’

‘The real issue is that you got to get all that bureaucracy out of there and quite frankly, do we even need that system for most of our veterans? Why can they not be served at the local hospitals where they live and not have to drive 50 or a 100 miles to get a to a veterans facility? These are honored people in our society. They should be welcomed at any of our facilities and we should be honored to take care of them.’”

Do we even need that system for most of our veterans? According to the Congressional Research Service, yes veterans actually use it:

“In a given year,” the 2014 report reads, “not every VA-enrolled veteran receives VA health care services. Some veterans may opt not to seek care during the year, while others may receive care outside the VA system, paying for care using private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, the military health system (TRICARE), or other means …”

According to their chart on page three, there were 9,111,955 VA-Enrolled Veterans in 2014. To put that into perspective for Dr. Carson that is a little less than the estimated population of Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and both Dakotas combined.

4. Lindsey Graham lied about seeing some action while serving in the military.

In 1998 Lindsey Graham claimed to be “an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran, although he never got closer to the war than McEntire Air National Guard Base near Columbia where he was a military lawyer.” You don’t get to call yourself a Gulf War Veteran if you didn’t fight in the Gulf War. He ultimately admitted he “didn’t mean to mislead people” but the reality is he was the guy who made wills for soldiers that were about to go die in the Gulf.

5. Voting against spousal benefits for legally married same-sex spouses of veterans.

Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz all voted against an amendment that would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to ensuring all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned and receive equal treatment under the law pursuant to the Constitution of the United States.”

It’s one thing if you hate LGBT people, but by voting against this bill would literally hurt the families of dead soldiers. Thankfully, their colleagues didn’t agree with them. It passed with support from the rest of their senators.

6. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would set aside 3% of all state contracts for veteran-owned businesses.

One of the greatest challenges in transitioning veterans from the battlefield to the job force is finding them work that their training has helped them to do. Because of their honorable service, the US government works hard to help support veteran-run businesses all the time. President Obama signed the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act this summer, but Governor Chris Christie refused to hire them for state projects.

7. Rand Paul doesn’t want veterans to have access to affordable housing.

In July 2011, Paul voted against even considering a bill that would, according to the Congressional Quarterly Today, “provide $142 billion in fiscal 2012 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction, military housing and related operations. The bill also includes $52.5 billion in advance fiscal 2013 appropriations for VA medical programs.” The vote (because this is the Senate after all) passed 89 to 11. Paul was one of the 11 members. It passed the Senate and later the House leaving Paul to look like the asshole he really is.

These are the candidates the Republican Party has put forth to run for President of the United States of America. These candidates want to be the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces that would send men and women to fight and die for their country. The fact that they have little interest in repaying them with an allegiance to their health, well-being and opportunity to prosper is appalling. They should be ashamed.

Here are 13 things everyone would know if we really had a ‘liberal’ media


attribution: NONE


Reince Priebus (and apparently many others) still thinks there’s a liberal media.

While I share Priebus’ frustration with the media, as a liberal, I’d like to go on record and state that the media isn’t focusing on issues I care about. They seem to be far more focused on entertainment and making money.

Don’t believe me?

If you know anyone who still believes in a “liberal media,” here are 13 things everyone would know if there really were a “liberal media” (inspired by Jeff Bezos’ purchase ofThe Washington Post):

1. Where the jobs went.

Outsourcing (or offshoring) is a bigger contributor to unemployment in the U.S. than laziness.

Since 2000, U.S. multinationals have cut 2.9 million jobs here while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg as multinational corporations account for only about 20 percent of the labor force.

When was the last time you saw a front-page headline about outsourcing?

2.  Upward wealth redistribution and/or inequality.

In 2010, 20 percent of the people held approximately 88 percent of the net worth in the U.S. The top 1 percent alone held 35 percent of all net worth.

The bottom 80 percent of people held only 12 percent of net worth in 2010. In 1983, the bottom 80 percent held 18 percent of net worth.

These statistics are not Democrat or Republican. They are widely available to reporters.

Why aren’t they discussed in the “liberal” media?

3. ALEC.

If there were a corporate organization that drafted laws and then passed them on to state legislators to implement, wouldn’t you think the “liberal” media would report on them?

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is such an organization.

Need legislation drafted? No need to go through a lobbyist to reach state legislatures anymore. Just contact ALEC. Among other things, ALEC is responsible for:

  • Stand Your Ground laws
  • Voter ID laws
  • Right to Work laws
  • Privatizing schools
  • Health savings account bills, which benefit health care companies
  • Tobacco industry legislation

Many legislators don’t even change the proposals handed to them by this group of corporations. They simply take the corporate bills and bring them to the floor.

This is the primary reason for so much similar bad legislation in different states.

Hello … “liberal media” … over here!!!

They’re meeting in Chicago this weekend. Maybe the “liberal media” will send some reporters.

4. The number of people in prison.  

Which country in the world has the most people in prison?

You might think it would be China (with 1 billion-plus people and a restrictive government) or former Soviets still imprisoned in Russia.


The U.S. has the most people in prison by far of any country in the world. With 5 percent of the world’s population, we have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners—2.3 million criminals. China with a population four times ours is second with 1.6 million people in prison.

In 1972, 350,000 Americans were imprisoned. By 2010, this number had grown to 2.3 million. Yet from 1988-2008, crime rates declined by 25 percent.

Isn’t anyone in the liberal media interested in why so many people are in prison when crime has dropped? WTF “liberal media”?

5. The number of black people in prison.

In 2009, non-Hispanic blacks, while only 13.6 percent of the American population,accounted for 39.4 percent of the total prison and jail population.

In 2011, according to FBI statistics, whites accounted for 69.2 percent of arrests.

Numbers like these suggest a racial bias in our criminal justice system.

To me, this is a much bigger story than any single case like Travyon Martin’s. Or, at the very least, why didn’t the “liberal media” ever mention this while covering the Martin story?

6. U.S. health care costs are the highest in the world.

The expenditure per person in the U.S. is $8,233. Norway is second with $5,388.

Total amount of GDP spent on health care is also the highest of any country in the world at 17.6 percent. The next closest country is the Netherlands at 12 percent.

As a liberal, I’d like to ask why the market isn’t bringing down costs.

I’d think a “liberal media” might too.

7. Glass-Steagall.

The Glass-Steagall Act separated risky financial investments from government-backed deposits for 66 years.

The idea is simple. Banks were prohibited from using your federally insured savings to make risky investments.

Why is this a good idea?

Risky investments should be risky. If banks can use federally insured funds, there is no risk to them. If they win, they win. If they lose, you lose

8. Gerrymandering.

When was the last time you saw a front page headline about gerrymandering?

Before the 2010 election, conservatives launched a plan to win control of state legislatures before the census. The idea was to be in power when national congressional districts were redrawn in order to fix them so Republicans would win a majority of districts.

The Redistricting Majority Project was hugely successful. In 2012, Barack Obama was elected president by nearly 3.5 million votes. In Congressional races, Democrats drew nearly 1.4 million more votes than Republicans yet  Republicans won control of the House 234 seats to 201 seats.

How is this possible?

By pumping $30 million into state races in 2010 to win the legislatures, Republicans redrew state maps in Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Ohio to place all of the Democrats into just a few districts.

In this manner, Democrats win heavily in a couple districts and lose the rest.

In North Carolina, the statewide vote was 51 percent Democrat and 49 percent Republican yet nine Republicans won and only four Democrats.

Where is your coverage of this vote stealing, “liberal media”?

You’re willing to cover voter ID laws, why can’t you cover real-vote stealing?

9. The number of bills blocked by Republicans in Congress.

The filibuster has been used a record number of times since Obama was elected. From 2008-2012, 375 bills weren’t even allowed to come to a vote in the Senate because Republicans used filibuster (by which a bill dies if he can’t get the support of 60 senators).

During the first six months of 2013, Congress has passed just 15 bills that were signed into law. This is eight fewer than in the first six months of 2012 and 19 fewer than in those of 2011.

Also, until the Senate recently threatened to reform the filibuster, the GOP had succeeded in holding up 79 of President Obama’s picks to the U.S. Circuit Court and Courts of Appeal. They’re blocking these appointments regardless of qualification.

Where’s the coverage? Where are the reporters asking why nothing is getting done?


10. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision

In a 2011 Hart poll, only 22 percent of those polled had actually heard of the Citizens United decision before taking the survey.

If 77 percent believe that corporations have more control over our political process than people, why isn’t the liberal media talking more about the Citizens’ Uniteddecision?

11. Tax cuts primarily benefit the wealthy.

A progressive tax program is designed to tax people very little as they are starting out and progressively increase their rates as they do better.

Republican plans seem designed to do exactly the opposite: shift the tax burden off of the wealthy and onto working people.

Take the estate tax. In Ohio, this was recently repealed by Republicans. The benefit is only realized by people with estates larger than $338,000 (as the first $338,000 was exempt) and realized most by people with even wealthier estates.

This also explains why Republicans want to shift the system from income taxes to consumption taxes. Consumption taxes are paid most by those at the bottom as basic consumption remains the same regardless of income.

It also explains why capital gain taxes are so low. Income through capital gains is only taxed at 20 percent (increased from 15 percent in 2012) instead of at the rate of other income (closer to 35 percent).

It also explains why Republicans were Click here for more details. The payroll tax cut benefited people who were getting paid, not those issuing the paychecks. How much fight did you see to save this tax cut? None.

While tax cuts are sold to us as benefiting everyone, they really benefit a select few at the very top. If everyone knew who tax cuts really benefit, would so many people vote for them?

12. The impact of temporary workers.

The number of temporary workers has grown by more than 50 percent since the recession ended to nearly 2.7 million.

If freelancers, contract workers, and consultants are included, the number is nearly 17 million workers not directly employed by the companies who hire them. This equals 12 percent of the workforce.

What’s the impact of a “just in time” workforce on workers and our economy? How about that for a story “liberal media”?

13. Media consolidation

Six corporations—Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, Comcast, and CBS—control roughly 90 percent of the media in the U.S. These companies are in business to make a profit.

This is why you’ll find plenty of advertisements in the media. Entertainment? Check. Sports? Definitely. Weather? Yep.

You’ll also find plenty of “if it bleeds, it leads” stories designed to hook you in.

There’s also plenty of political bickering: Democrats said this, Republicans said that. We let you decide (but we never weigh in with any facts or fact-checking).

What won’t you hear?

You won’t hear the “liberal media” discuss the corporate media.

What to make of this
If the media were “liberal,” it would serve the public interest and shine a light on issues like the ones above.

More people would also have a better understanding of global warming, peak oil, population growth, political lobbying, government’s role in a functioning economy, how much we spend on the military, and countless other issues.

What you’re more likely to see in the media, however, are stories designed to get you to buy their paper, or watch their show, or listen to their radio station. This is why the media is concerned with scandal, celebrities, gossip, and fear.

If anything, our news consists of paid advertisements and outlets too scared of offending anyone to publish substance. Investigative journalism is expensive; entertainment is cheap.

The way this corporate media behaves may not be surprising. I apologize if you feel any of this is beating you over the head.

This Buzzfeed-style list wasn’t intended to introduce this idea as new (others have done a much better job), but rather to highlight the sheer absurdity of a “liberal media” for an audience who may not see it.

If we have a “liberal media,” where are the liberal stories?

This story first appeared at The Washington Spectator.