Seth Meyers calls out the bogus charts, the constant interruptions, and the ridiculous lying from Republicans at the Planned Parenthood hearing this week. (Not a huge fan of Seth Meyers, but he nails it in this segment.)
President Obama has a pointed word or two for Republicans and their peculiar definition of Religious Freedom that is something some people have, and others do not.
He spoke Sunday evening a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in New York, the annual Democratic National Committee LGBT Gala at Gotham Hall, alluding to the recent case of Kim Davis as he told the crowd that,
“We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions. But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights.”
“And that even as we are respectful and accommodating genuine concerns and interests of religious institutions, we need to reject politicians who are supporting new forms of discrimination as a way to scare up votes. That’s not how we move America forward.”
Ouch. Those words could have come right out of the mouth of Thomas Jefferson, who said, that “our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions,” and they were aimed right at the heart of the Republican message for 2016. There is not a candidate among them who does embrace discrimination in the name of religion.
Obama said that marriage equality can no longer be a wedge issue, because the country has made its decision and moved on from there:
“The good news is they probably won’t use marriage equality as a wedge issue like they did in 2004 because the country has come too far. In fact, America has left the leaders of the Republican Party behind.”
The President did not ignore the ridiculous posturing of the GOP’s 2016 presidential hopefuls, alluding to Ben Carson when he said,
“One of their leading candidates argued that going to prison turns you gay. Well, you think I’m — I shouldn’t go into this? No, I mean, I’m just stating the facts.”
He nailed Ted Cruz (R-TX), who pretends to be the Religious Freedom candidate, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who wants to occupy that same narrow-minded piece of real estate:
“Another candidate boasts that he introduced an amendment to end nationwide marriage equality — which isn’t even an accomplishment at all. A third says Americans should just disobey the Supreme Court’s ruling entirely. I’m sure he loves the Constitution — except for Article III. And maybe the Equal Protection Amendment. And the 14th Amendment, generally.”
Obama didn’t have to end the list of portions Republicans don’t approve of there. Safer to say the only parts they do like are the Second and Tenth Amendments. But he made his point, and throughout the night’s speech, he offered nothing but facts in the face of the relentless Republican assault on our freedoms.
He also tried to make sense of something all of us have noticed, that Republicans seem to be running against 2008, and not 2015, but Obama had a slightly different explanation:
In their world, everything was terrific back in 2008 when we were in the midst of a spiral into the worst financial crisis and economic crisis since the Great Depression, when unemployment and uninsured rates were rising and when our economy was shedding jobs each month, and we were mired in two wars, hopelessly addicted to foreign oil, and bin Laden was still at large,” Obama said.
Those were the Golden Years, apparently. And then, I came in and messed it all up.
You got to give these folks credit for chutzpah. And so since everything was doing so well back in 2007-2008, now if we can just repeal Obamacare, and gut Wall Street reform, and shut down our government over women’s access to health care, and deny that the planet is getting warmer, they’ve got a plan to get us back on track.
But the central theme of the evening was LGBT rights and the president hammered the point home:
Time after time, the cynics told us that we were foolish to keep believing, that we were naïve to hope, that change was too messy or not possible at all. And if you admit it, there were some in this room here who were skeptical that everything that needed to happen would happen. The cynics were wrong. Tonight, we live in an America where ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is something that ‘don’t exist.’
We live in an America where a growing share of older generations recognize that love is love, and younger generations don’t even know what all the fuss was about. And tonight, thanks to the unbending sense of justice passed down through generations of citizens who never gave up hope that we could bring this country closer to our founding ideals — that all of us are created equal — we now live in America where our marriages are equal as well.
We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions. But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights,” he said. “Even as we are respectful and accommodating genuine concerns and interests of religious institutions, we need to reject politicians who are supporting new forms of discrimination as a way to scare up votes. That’s not how we move America forward.
President Obama wasted no time in denouncing ridiculous Republican talking points about so-called Religious Freedom, which is really just religious tyranny in disguise, the use of the Bible as a weapon to bully women, gays, and minorities – religious and ethnic.
The night’s speech was more than a simple list of Obama accomplishments, though it was that too. Americans will remember, as will historians one day, that it was President Obama who fought to move us forward as a people and as a nation, and Republicans who sought to anchor us in a dark and ugly past.
Those guys love manufactured scandals regarding Dems…so they will never stop.
The U.S. State Department made it clear that Hillary Clinton broke no laws and violated no rules when she used a private email server. That, however, was not BENGHAZI! compliant, so the GOP witchhunters went to the Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice agreed that no laws were broken and no rules were violated; Hillary Clinton was within her rights to use a private email server to route her non-classified traffic. After all, there’s another end to all of those emails, it’s not like they were sent from her server to her server. Again, BENGHAZI! protocols require things to be rejected, disproven and debunked no less than 30 times before Trey Gowdy puts them back on the docket for next year’s escapades into idiocy, so they have to keep trying.
The next logical course is the FBI. They have to investigate, right? Wrong. The FBI is a law enforcement agency, so unless a law has ACTUALLY been broken, they don’t waste their time. They made it clear that they are satisfied with the State Department and DOJ’s conclusions, effectively telling the House committee dedicated to perpetually investigating BENGHAZI! at the taxpayer’s expense to go f*ck themselves.
Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley is now accusing the FBI of acting outside the law. In a statement to POLITICO, Grassley said:
“The FBI is behaving like it’s above the law. Simply refusing to cooperate with a court-ordered request is not an appropriate course of action. This entire case, from Secretary Clinton’s ill-advised decision to use a non-government email server, to the FBI’s investigation about classified information, needs some transparency in order to assure the American people that getting to the bottom of this controversy is a priority.”
Grassley is in essence turning the FBI’s refusal to waste its time investigating nothing into the next scandal being perpetrated by the Obama administration on former Secretary Clinton’s behalf. The more angles the GOP-led Congress’ BENGHAZI! division can fire off, the more likely they’ll find that one voter who cares what they think.
Unfortunately for Grassley, Gowdy, Issa and all the other wastes of taxpayer money and perfectly good oxygen, the FBI doesn’t care what they think, they have real jobs.
The Fox News Republican primary debate in August had all the markings of a disaster in the making — an enormous field of ten candidates, most of them obscure or implausible, sharing a stage for two hours. It turned out to be an unexpectedly triumphant, shockingly compelling television moment. That sent expectations for the second debate skyrocketing. CNN expanded the field to include eleven candidates spread across three hours. Not coincidentally, ad prices were jacked up to historic levels.
The result was … a rambling, overstuffed disappointment. The anchors did an admirable job of forcing the candidates to directly address one another, but there were far too many candidates on the stage for the series of exchanges to constitute anything resembling a proper debate. The determination to let the flow of the discussion keep ping-ponging from one contender to the next meant a loss of perspective on the issues. The candidates ended up going deep on medical marijuana while only discussing taxes in a cursory way. We heard a lot about the business careers of Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump but almost nothing about the gubernatorial records of Jeb Bush or Scott Walker.
Making the evening even more grueling, the three-hour debate was preceded by an hour-long Junior Varsity debate featuring Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum. By the end of the evening, we heard a lot of politicians talking but learned very little. The lion’s share of the great moments belonged to Fiorina, who doesn’t actually bring a very distinct ideological perspective to the race, and America was reminded that our ultra-long presidential campaign seasons tend to be more slog than thrill-ride.
1) Carly Fiorina was dominant on style
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO was the breakout star of the first debate’s JV round, performing so well that CNN tweaked its rules to get her on the main stage for the second debate. Upon entering the big leagues she killed it once again, managing to come across as consistently well-prepared without sounding canned. She was unfazed by attacks on her business record, and pivoted flawlessly to an attack on Trump who she said was “forced into bankruptcy not once, not twice, but a record four times.”
Time and again on issues ranging from Iran to immigration she returned to her key theme of “leadership, the kind that’s needed to get results.”
She also had crowd-pleasing zingers to deliver against the party’s shared opponent: “if you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton.” And with her brilliant mic-drop response to Trump’s attacks on her looks she proved to be the first Republican to go toe-to-toe with the Donald and emerge with a clear victory.
That said, the substance of her answers often underwhelmed. She talked about “leadership” a lot in part to cover for the fact that she hasn’t developed a real policy program. Her riff on Planned Parenthood and the vicious, awful things she saw on the Planned Parenthood tapes sounded great but was totally inaccurate.
2) A more substantive debate disadvantaged Trump
The Fox News hosts spent much of the first GOP debate going hard, personally, against Donald Trump and he wound up triumphing by holding his own. The CNN debate started off on a similar note with the anchors asking various candidates whether Donald Trump had the temperament necessary to command America’s nuclear arsenal. The ensuing scrum played to Trump’s strengths, setting the stage for zingers like “Rand Paul doesn’t belong on this stage — he’s number eleven” and prideful boasting like “I think I have a great temperament.”
But as the debate became less Trump-centric and more issue-focused, Trump tended to fade away. He simply hasn’t taken the time to be able to speak fluently on a wide range of issues. For a moment, he sprung back to life when the debate focused on immigration. But then it passed again to questions about marijuana, Social Security, and Syria and suddenly the difference between real political professionals and a TV showman like Trump were apparent.
” ‘Murica the beautiful…”
Spare me the Trumpisms, Huckabees, Religious Right fanaticism, etc. In my opinion, these people are freakin’ dangerous! (ks)
Here’s Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s leading candidate for president, with his deep thoughts on Carly Fiorina, one of his opponents for the 2016 nomination:
… Trump’s expression sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina. “Look at that face!” he cries. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! … I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
And doing Trump-style damage control this morning:
“Probably I did say something like that about Carly,” Trump said. “I’m talking about persona. I’m not talking about look.”
Uh huh. Or he’s a jackass and a liar. You make the call.
There is something curious going on with the American people as voters, and it is difficult to determine exactly what the problem is. Oh it is true that voters, particularly Republican voters, are inherently ignorant, even stupid, but it does not entirely explain why they consistently vote against their own best self-interests. It is also true that even when conservatives are dissatisfied with their Republican representatives and candidates performance, or lack thereof, they still show up at the ballot box and re-elect them reliably. And so it is that despite a new Pew Research poll showing that Republicans have lost significant support among the population, particularly with Republican voters, it is not necessarily a good sign for Democrats and certainly not a reason to celebrate.
In what should be an obvious poll result, the Republican Party’s image has grown more negative overall during the first half of this year. Currently, only 32 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60 percent have an unfavorable view; that is what happens after six months of raving lunacy and anti-everything extremism borne of truly obscene presidential candidate’s positions. The favorable views of the GOP have tumbled eighteen percentage points since January.
Democrats continue holding steady, although not stellar, ratings with mixed results of 48 percent favorability as opposed to 47 percent unfavorable, but that is nothing new. Although, that slight Democratic favorability advantage narrowed slightly after Republican extremists prevailed in the 2014 midterms and took control of the entire Congress, the recent poll results reveal the gap in favor of Democrats is wider now than it has been in over two years.
It should surprise no-one, not even Republicans, that Democrats still hold wide advantages over the GOP on empathy and honesty, and are viewed as “more concerned with the needs of people like me” by 53 percent to 31 percent; they also lead Republicans “on governing in an honest and ethical way (45 percent to 29 percent). However, none of this is new and despite the extremism, complete lack of ethics, dishonesty, and blatant disregard for the American people, Republicans remain a force that liberals, progressives, and rank-and-file Democrats continue to underestimate like they have since 2010. Perhaps it is because they are so desperate for good news that just learning that Democratic candidates are drawing large crowds, or favored by voters, convinces them that Republicans are finished as a political force. Nothing is farther from the truth despite the fact that most Americans believe that Democrats do serve the interests of the people; all the people.
$8.5 Trillion dollar LOSS. Let that sink in for a while…
For several years, if not decades, Republicans have, and still do, claim that any American who is not anti-government, anti-taxation, anti-women’s rights, anti-immigration, anti-theocracy, and anti-democracy is a raving socialist. Yesterday Ted Cruz accused Hillary Clinton of being a “wild-eyed socialist” who will do serious damage to America, and it is so typical for a Republican to use that term because they know most Americans are ignorant of what socialism entails. Socialism is simply “an economic and political system where all major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual companies or people, or a societal system in which there is no private property.” Obviously, neither Hillary Clinton, nor any Democrat supports or advocates for socialism, including Senator Bernie Sanders who claims to be a democratic socialist. In fact, democratic socialism is “a political ideology involving a combination of political democracy with government ownership and control of all major industries.” Bernie Sanders is not any kind of socialist; not even a democratic socialist.
What most Americans are woefully ignorant of is that there is a socialistic program that Republicans not only advocate for, they are never at a loss for investing more taxpayer dollars into it with no return except for a growing deficit; one that will eventually break America like the former Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. To make matters that much worse, and it is that much worse, the GOP’s favorite socialist program has completely lost track of where $8.5 trillion in taxpayer and borrowed money because the Department of Defense has no accountability to the American people or apparently the government that owns and operates it. The worst part is that despite this country’s only wasteful, unaccountable, and out-of-control socialistic program, Republicans want to sink more of Americans’ tax dollars into the defense budget.
It was barely reported again last January that after Congress had just allotted well over half the entire annual federal budget for the military, that the Department of Defense could not account for over $8.5 trillion between 2000 and 2012. In 2005, for example, the Department of Defense had contracts worth a bit over $3 trillion with various businesses, but the United States Treasury Department could not find any record of how those trillions of dollars, both taxpayer money and trillions borrowed, was actually spent. Apparently, it is a common Pentagon practice to “regularly cheat on its accounting books” by submitting a falsely balanced budget to the Treasury; in 2012 the Pentagon falsely reported “$9.22 billion to reconcile its spending with its budget.” And Republicans want to give the Defense Department even more money than over half the nation’s spending.
It is not that the Defense Department (DoD) is not required to do a full accounting of where every single penny of borrowed and taxpayer money goes. In 1990, Congress passed a then-new federal law requiring all government agencies to be audited, but the Pentagon, the only American socialist entity, is the only government agency that has failedto comply with the law because it is the military, national defense, support the troops, patriotism and war on terror. In fact, for the very same reason the DoD is allowed to lose $8.5 trillion without a national outcry is why Republicans constantly demand more money for the military.
What should be astonishing is that despite “reckless accounting” and “consistently fraudulent reporting,” there has been no investigations into where trillions-of-dollars of both borrowed and taxpayer dollars have disappeared, or who is responsible for increasing the deficit. There was a pathetic attempt to curb the Defense Department’s waste and bring some transparency to the nation’s only socialist program by mandating a reduction in weapons programs if the DoD fails to meet its budget, but socialist or not it is the military and Republicans want more funding despite the waste and fraud. The Government Accountability Office as well as the Department of Defense’s own inspector general admit that the lack of accountability makes it incredibly easy to conceal “outright fraud and inappropriate purchases” that also “affects military personnel’s salaries.”
There has been an effort to revamp the Department of Defense’s accounting system within two years, by 2017, but because it is a government owned and operated socialist “industry” there are absolutely no legal consequences or mechanisms in place to hold anyone responsible. Some leading officials claim that the only way to force the Pentagon to “straighten out” and “be accountable” like every other agency is if there was a means to bring “outside pressure to bear” from Washington, but with Republicans in control of Congress and the nation’s purse-strings, and crusading to increase defense spending, that is never going to happen; their campaign donors in the oil industry and military industrial complex will not allow it.
Republicans demand accountability from every government agency to devise new and devious means to cut spending under the guise of deficit reduction. However, the one and only socialist entity in the nation is not only unaccountable to the people, including losing $8.5 trillion over ten years, it is piling on debt like there is no tomorrow. It is important to remember, that Bush-Republicans started two completely unnecessary wars of aggression against Muslims for regime change without regard for funding or the deficit.
It is an abomination that while Republicans refuse to spend one penny for infrastructure, domestic programs, education, or renewable energy due to “America being broke,” they easily hand over half of the nation’s spending to a socialist program without any accountability. And it is pathetic that there is no major media outcry that literally trillions of dollars have gone missing while the Defense Department refuses to say where that borrowed and taxpayer money went. Something that every American should consider is that the $8.5 trillion the Pentagon “lost” represents over a third of the entire national debt, but that is just the money they will not, or cannot, account for. Trillions more, like “known waste such as $1.5 trillion for the F35,” of the deficit has been reported accurately and went to Republican military industrial complex donors and the national deficit.
Over the next sixteen months of an already incredibly long presidential campaign, every Republican seeking the nomination and candidate for Congress will scream that defense spending is woefully inadequate and call for a monumental increase; all while decrying that Democrats are socialists and call for domestic spending cuts. Democrats, no matter the office they seek, have to start explaining to voters exactly what socialism means, and point out that the one and only program that Republicans want more borrowed and taxpayer money for is the socialist Department of Defense despite it cannot account for $8.5 trillion that is gone forever but still has to be repaid.
No exceptions… ever!
Nothing was more clear during Thursday night’s GOP debate than the fact that the Republican War on Women is alive and well, even and especially with supposed frontrunners Jeb! Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio.
But two of the more startling moments came when Marco Rubio (the candidate of the future) and Scott Walker (the Midwestern “mainstreamer”) made clear they opposed rape, incest, and life endangerment exceptions for abortion—positions that are absolute general election killers.
Megyn Kelly asked Scott Walker: “With 83 percent of the American public in favor of a life exception, are you too out of the mainstream on this issue to win the general election?”
Short answer: Yes, he’s too extreme.
But here’s Walker:
“Well I’m pro-life. I’ve always been pro-life. And I’ve got a position that’s consistent with many Americans out there in that I believe that that is an unborn child that’s in need of protection out there. And I’ve said many a time that that unborn child can be protected and there are many alternatives that would protect the life of the mother. That’s been consistently proven. Unlike Hillary Clinton who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago long before any of these videos came out. I’ve got a position that’s in line with everyday America.”
Walker’s got “proven” methods for saving women’s lives. That’s magical. Do tell, Scotty, we’re all ears. The medical community is on pins and needles for your cure-all, no-exceptions, Scotty-knows-best alternative.
Not to be outdone, Rubio rejected Kelly’s assertion that he supports exceptions in cases of rape of incest.
Rubio: WellMegyn,first of all, I’m not sure that’s a correct assessment of my record. I would go on to add that I believe that all human life—Kelly: You don’t favor a rape and incest exemption?
Rubio: I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass a law that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact I think that law exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States. And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is in entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not.
The crowd ate that up! It was a lie—Rubio has backed bills with rape/incest exceptions—but far be it from us to save him from general election irrelevancy.