2016 Hopefuls · Birthers

Ted Cruz’s Dad: I’d Like To See Obama Go ‘Back To Kenya’ (VIDEO)

Ted Cruz and Rafael Cruz 

This comment by Rafael Cruz was reported in September, but now there is a video to substantiate the claim that he’s a full blown “birther”.

TPM LiveWire via Mother Jones

The father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told supporters during the run-up to his son’s election that it was imperative the Tea Party retake the Senate, encouraging them to ship Obama “back to Kenya.”

Rafael Cruz, a Cuban immigrant and pastor, made the comment while speaking to the North Texas Tea Party on his son’s behalf in September 2012. Mother Jones’ David Corn surfaced video of Cruz’s remarks on Thursday.

“We have our work cut out for us. We need to send Barack Obama to Chicago, I’d like to send him back to Kenya,” Cruz said to applause.

Asked about Cruz’s Kenya comment and remarks from other events, a spokesperson for Sen. Cruz told Mother Jones that “These selective quotes, taken out of context, mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz’s message. Like many Americans, he feels America is on the wrong track,” adding “Pastor Cruz does not speak for the senator.”

The elder Cruz has acted as a sort of surrogate for his son in the defund Obamacare effort, energizing conservative crowds by slamming “RINOS” who refused to back Sen. Cruz’s plan to derail the health care law and warning the law would “destroy the elderly.” At a recent event in Colorado, he also suggested that Obama is a practicing Muslim.

Read Mother Jones’ report on Rafael Cruz here, and watch video of Cruz’s remarks below at the 19:25 mark:


U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: October 31, 2013

Ichiban! (REUTERS/Greg M. Cooper – USA Today Sports)

The Week

The Red Sox win the World Series, Sebelius and Obama take responsibility for Healthcare.gov glitches, and more

1. Red Sox win the World Series at home
The Boston Red Sox won the World Series with a 6-1 victory in game six over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night. It was the first time since 1918 the team had sealed a Series championship at home. “It was just an unbelievable feeling to do this in front of our fans,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. The Red Sox, led by MVP David Ortiz, are the first team since the 1991 Twins to go from last in their division to a Series crown in one year. [Boston GlobeUSA Today]

2. NSA reportedly intercepted information from Google and Yahoo users
The National Security Agency has secretly tapped into the system connecting Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing interviews as well as documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. One hand-drawn sketch created by a NSA worker portrayed how information from the Google Cloud could be intercepted. Two Google engineers erupted in profanities when they saw it. [Washington Post]

3. Sebelius and Obama take responsibility for Healthcare.gov disaster
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took responsibility Wednesday for thebotched rollout of the ObamaCare website. “Hold me accountable for the debacle,” she told the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Furious Republicans want her to resign. CBS News says Sebelius gave the “all clear” even though the site crashed in tests days before launch. President Obama said he takes “full responsibility” for fixing the problems. [Associated PressCBS News]

4. Fed policy makers keep the stimulus going
The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it was prolonging its campaign to boost the economy by purchasing $85 billion a month in bonds and other assets. The decision came after a two-day meeting of Fed policy makers, and provided little insight into when the central bank might make a change. The Fed said the job market was slowly improving, but that fiscal policy (meaning spending cuts, the shutdown, etc.) are “restraining economic growth.” [New York Times,CNN]

5. New York ups the age for buying tobacco to 21
The New York City Council voted Wednesday to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21, from 18, giving New York the toughest limit on tobacco sales of any major U.S. city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he will sign the measure, which will take effect six months after he does. Critics say it’s unfair to tell people old enough to vote or join the military they can’t smoke, but advocates say higher age limits will keep many young people from getting hooked. [Associated Press]

6. Syria disables its chemical weapon factories as promised
Syria has met a deadline to destroy or disable its chemical weapons production facilities, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Thursday. The watchdog, which won the Nobel Peace Prize this month, said its inspectors had confirmed the work. Syria’s next deadline under its ambitious disarmament push is Nov. 15, when it must agree to a detailed plan to destroy its 1,000-plus metric tons of chemical agents and weapons. [Reuters]

7. China arrests suspects tied to Tiananmen crash and fire
Chinese authorities announced Wednesday that they had detained five suspects in connection with a fiery crash that killed five people, including two tourists, in Tiananmen Square this week. Investigators said the men, all ethnic Uighurs from China’s western Xinjiang region, were Islamic jihadists who got a man, his wife, and his mother to drive across a crowded sidewalk and toward the entrance to the Forbidden City. [New York Times]

8. Iraq says it needs more U.S. military aid
Two years after the departure of U.S. troops following the collapse of security talks, Iraq reportedly plans to ask the Obama administration for more weapons and training to counter an increase in attacks by al Qaeda-linked suicide bombers. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki plans to discuss the request Friday with President Obama at the White House. A bipartisan group of senators said this week that the surge in violence was partly Maliki’s fault. [Al JazeeraCNN]

9. Facebook stock rises, and falls
Facebook’s stock jumped by 15.5 percent on Wednesday after the social networking giant reported a sharp increase in profits and revenue that shattered Wall Street’s expectations. The shares hit an all-time high of $56.65 in after hours trading, but the euphoria didn’t last. Facebook shares dropped again in extended trading after the company acknowledged that usage by teenagers has decreased recently. [USA Today]

10. Woman is fined for driving while wearing Google Glass
A California woman topped everyone ever busted for the dangerous habit of texting while driving. Cecilia Abadie, 44, got a ticket this week for motoring down a Southern California interstate while wearing a Google Glass headset computer. “Is Google Glass illegal while driving or is this cop wrong???” Abadie posted online. “Any legal advice is appreciated.” The state Highway Patrol said it’s illegal to drive with a video monitor on in the front seat. [Los Angeles Times]

Affordable Care Act · GOP Hypocrisy



The New Yorker – Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Saying that “the American people are fed up with a disastrous Web site that doesn’t work and never will,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) and a phalanx of congressional Republicans today unveiled their own health-care Web site, EmergencyRoom.gov.

“At EmergencyRoom.gov, every American can access the one tried-and-true health-care system that has worked in this country for decades,” he said.

While Healthcare.gov has frustrated many users with its difficult-to-navigate design, Rep. Cantor said that at EmergencyRoom.gov, “Health care is just three easy steps away. One: enter your zip code. Two: see the list of emergency rooms. Three: get to the nearest one before you die.”

The Virginia Republican wasted no time touting the cost savings of EmergencyRoom.gov, comparing it favorably with the notoriously expensive Obamacare site: “Unlike Healthcare.gov, which private contractors built at a cost running into the hundreds of millions, EmergencyRoom.gov was built for nine hundred dollars by my intern Josh.”

And in contrast with Healthcare.gov’s maze of forms, links, and phone numbers, he said, “EmergencyRoom.gov has just one phone number: 9-1-1.”

In what may be the strongest selling point for the new site, Rep. Cantor said that the wait time on EmergencyRoom.gov is “virtually nonexistent,” not counting the twelve to thirty-six hours spent in the actual emergency room.

Corey Booker (D-NJ) · Sen. Harry Reid

Here Comes Corey: Corey Booker To Be Sworn In Today

cory booker swearing in
Newark Mayor Cory Booker talks to supporters during an election night victory party after winning a special election for the U.S. Senate, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) | AP

I watched Rachel Maddow’s interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last night and one of the take-aways from that interview was Senator Reid’s enthusiasm over the prospect of having Senator-Elect Cory Booker on his team.

The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cory Booker has come to Washington.

The former Newark mayor will be sworn in as a U.S. senator at noon Thursday. Vice President Joe Biden will swear in the 44-year-old former Newark mayor in the Old Senate Chamber.

Booker will be joined by a number of family members, including his mother and his brother, Cary. His father died earlier this month.

It’s unclear what Booker’s committee assignments will be.

Booker submitted his resignation as mayor on Wednesday. It was effective at midnight.

He served as Newark mayor for seven years.

Affordable Care Act · U.S. Politics

Georgia Man Denied Medicaid Due to Governor’s Decision, Blames Obama Anyway

Georgia Man Denied Medicaid Due to Governor’s Decision, Blames Obama Anyway

I shouldn’t be surprised at this man’s attitude toward the president.  After all, he lives in Georgia…


The levels of cognitive dissonance flowing through Conservative circles is at such an absurdly high point that it is surprising that they aren’t literally drowning in it. It is scary how people can ignore what is right in front of their faces just so that they can maintain their narrative that President Obama is the only reason why they’re struggling in any way. Mother Jones contributor Kevin Drum highlights the oppositional defiance of the Tea Party in his piece, “The Real-World Consequences of Obama Derangement Syndrome.”

Drum is referencing an article written by Jim Tankersly at the Washington Post. The article is about the town of Rome, Georgia, and how it has a 10% unemployment rate and businesses are closing. It also discusses how the people being affected, regardless of the real reasons why, all blame Obama. Unfortunately the Washington Post piece isn’t a work of satire, and it doesn’t in any way confront the absurdity behind what the people interviewed are saying.

The negative consequences referenced in the title are in actuality caused by the Republicans, but their constituents are so brain washed that they can’t even blame the right people. It was banking deregulation that lead to the economic collapse, yet the easily misled  in Rome try to say that it is Dodd-Frank causing banks to not lend, and thus forcing them to close their businesses.

The problem with that is Dodd-Frank was written as a response to the irresponsibility of banks, encouraged by Republican policy, that led to the economic collapse in the first place. On top of that, much of the Dodd-Frank bill hasn’t even been put into effect because the people in charge of writing all of the regulations haven’t even finished yet. But of course, because they couldn’t possibly point their finger at the bad policies of their chosen party, they blame Obama.

Meanwhile, on the Affordable Care Act side of things, the last man discussed in the article could go down in history as one of the most blindly oppositional people to ever live if enough of us talk about the ignorance he exudes. Georgian Donald Rizer needs shoulder surgery, but he has no insurance. If his governor, Nathan Deal, hadn’t rejected millions, if not billions, of federal dollars to expand Medicaid in the state out of some misguided spite, then Mr. Rizer would qualify for Medicaid as of January 1st, 2014 and be able to get all of his necessary health services. But this is Conservative illogic at its best.

The Affordable Care Act was passed, granting billions to the states to expand Medicaid so that the poorest in the nation could live healthy lives. But wait, Republicans don’t like the law, so they challenged it in court. What happened?  The Conservative leaning court said that the ACA is Constitutional, the caveat being that the federal government can’t force the states to expand Medicaid if they don’t want to. Georgia’s governor, obviously a Republican, decides that he’s gonna “stick it to the man,” and refuse the money. The Georgia legislature also refuses to expand Medicaid, ultimately meaning that Mr. Rizer makes too much money at his part-time job to qualify for Medicaid.

So, to recap, Republicans fought the law, making it possible for the expansion to be ignored, and Republicans also refused to accept the money, thus not expanding Medicaid, and as such Republicans made Mr. Rizer ineligible for Medicaid. So who does Mr. Rizer blame for his inability to get insurance? You guessed it.  Obama! Wait, what? The Republican party is why he can’t get insurance, but Obama gets blamed? Republicans screwed the economy, but Obama gets blamed?

There’s a joke going around the internet that if Obama came out in favor of air, the Tea Party would all suffocate and die. If that were true, I’d think he would have said it already. Our only hope is that by repeatedly and frequently pointing out the absurd hypocrisy of the Tea Party, perhaps Fox news will be forced to do a report on it and the smarter ones out there might realize how stupid they’re being. Though that’s doubtful.

The consequence not discussed in all of this is how it affects the rest of us. While Democrats repeatedly try to pass legislation that actually helps people, these swaths of Conservative territory continue to push their representatives to oppose absolutely anything that Obama even remotely agrees with, forcing everyone to suffer for their bad judgement.

These are the same jackasses who complain about a few million dollars in welfare fraud, but they’re cool with 24 billion dollars lost to the economy because of the government shutdown. Much good could be done if the government was actually working, but these people would be happier if the government broke down completely — clearly not understanding how it wold affect their lives. Here’s to hoping the 2014 elections lean Left and we can clean up this train wreck.

– See more at: http://aattp.org/georgia-man-denied-medicaid-due-to-governors-decision-blames-obama-anyway/#sthash.AT8ml9mw.dpuf


Tom Delay

Tom DeLay: ‘God Created This Nation And God Created The Constitution’

Keep in mind that the tagline for The Fifth Column is “sorting out the crazies”.  This is as crazy as it gets from a major former politician.  My pick for the winner of the current crop of crazy politicians is Michele Bachmann.

Right Wing Watch

During a service last weekend, John Hagee spent a half hour interviewing former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay during which DeLay revealed that God has commissioned him to write a book and promised him that he’ll play a role in the coming spiritual revival.

Hagee praised DeLay for being victorious over the Devil by beating the corruption charges that ended his political career, while DeLay asserted that God was the author of the United States Constitution.

“Jesus died for our freedom,” DeLay said. “And Jesus destroyed Satan so that we could be free and that is manifested in what is called the Constitution of the United States. God created this nation and God created the Constitution; it is written on biblical principles.”

DeLay went on to recount a recent experience he had in which he spent four hours “on a conference call with the Lord” during which God told DeLay that he is to write a book called “Shut It Down” about the need for Constitutional revival. On top of that, God also told DeLay that He has heard the voice of His people and that “my awakening is beginning,” in which DeLay will play a role:


The Coming Food Stamp Cut Will Hit 900,000 Veterans


In addition to the millions of poor families and seniors, our servicemen are affected by the forthcoming food stamp cuts authorized by Congress as well.  

Think Progress

Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, will automatically drop come Friday thanks to the loss of additional funds from the 2009 stimulus bill. That cut will hitabout 900,000 of the country’s veterans, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Nationwide, in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP to provide food for their families in 2011,” CBPP writes. The number varies state to state, with over 100,000 veterans in households that rely on the benefits in Florida and Texas each.

The coming cut will range from $36 a month for a family of four to $11 a month for a single person. Food stamps will average less than $1.40 per person per meal next year with the cut. Benefits were already sparse, at just $133 a month on average.

Veterans can face a lot of challenges finding work when they return from service. While overall the unemployment rate for veterans is 6.5 percent, those who have served since 2001 to the present have an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent. Nearly one in 10 veterans with disabilities were without employment in 2010. They are also disproportionately likely to live in poverty and to be homeless. In 2010, nearly a million veterans ages 18 to 64 had experienced poverty over the past year. As of 2011, nearly one in seven homeless adults was a veteran and more than four in ten homeless veterans were without shelter. They are therefore heavily impacted by cuts to the social safety net.

The automatic reduction in food stamps won’t likely be the last cut, however. House and Senate lawmakers are set to negotiate this week over a bill to continue funding the program, and House Republicans want to cut it by $40 billion, while Senate Democrats have proposed cutting it by $4 billion. If Republicans get their way, as many as 6 million people could be dropped from SNAP.

U.S. Politics

If Hillary Rodham Clinton passes in 2016, which Democrats run? The Fix ranks the tiers.

Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post – Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, right, introduces Hillary Rodham Clinton rally on Oct. 19 in Falls Church.

The Fix – Chris Cillizza

Every conversation we have with any Democratic operative about the 2016 presidential race starts this way: “Well, I mean if Hillary runs . . .” Which, of course, is to be expected. If Hillary Rodham Clinton — the former secretary of state, former New York senator and 2008 presidential candidate — runs, then the Democratic race (and the general election, too) revolves around her.

But, of late, those conversations have an interesting addendum that goes like this: “Of course, if Elizabeth Warren wanted to do it, she’d have a case to make.” Yes, she would.We’ve long believed that the freshman senator’s hero status among liberals nationally and massive fundraising capacity would make her very formidable if she ran.

Warren (D-Mass.) has been adamant about her lack of interest in the race. But things change in politics. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was similarly adamant about his lack of interest in running for president in 2008 — and we know how that turned out.

The simple fact is that Warren’s beloved status among rank-and-file Democrats — and an elite group of very wealthy and very liberal major donors — means that if Clinton doesn’t run, Warren will come under a significant amount of pressure to reconsider. And Warren would have a built-in excuse to explain her past comments: “Well, I never thought about it seriously, because I expected Hillary to run. But now that she’s not . . . ”

Because of that upside — with apologies to NBA draft experts — we are moving Warren into our second tier of potential Democratic presidential candidates. Clinton remains as the lone candidate in the first tier — a space she will occupy until she announces whether she is running. Our breakdown of the field is below. The candidates within each tier are listed alphabetically.

Tier 1 (If she runs, the other tiers don’t matter)

Hillary Clinton: Everything we hear privately and everything we see publicly suggests that Clinton is running — or at least allowing those around her to put the pieces in place to be ready if/when she flips the switch. Does that mean she is definitely in? No. But it means that with every passing month, we become more and more convinced that the surprise announcement would be that she’s not running.

Tier 2 (If not Hillary, then . . .)

Joe Biden : Last week, the vice president called state Rep.-elect Brian Meyer (D) to congratulate him on his special-election victory a few days earlier. Why would the VP call a not-even-sworn-in-yet state legislator? Because Meyer is from Iowa. And that tells you everything you need to know about whether Biden is thinking about running for president in 2016.

Andrew Cuomo: Unlike some of the other people on this list — Martin O’Malley, we are looking at you — the New York governor is doing the do-as-little-as-possible-to-stoke-2016-speculation thing. (That may or may not be a thing.) Cuomo, the scion of a famous political family, knows that in a field without Clinton, he is a heavyweight given his name, fundraising abilities and résumé as governor of one of the most Democratic states in the country.

Martin O’Malley : The governor of Maryland is, without question, the candidate most open about his interest in running for president. “By the end of this year, I think we’re on course to have a body of work that lays the framework for a candidacy in 2016,” O’Malley told reporters in August. His travel schedule is heavy on trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and O’Malley used his time as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association to build out his national fundraising network.

Elizabeth Warren: See above. There’s no one not named Clinton on this list who combines the star power and fundraising potential that Warren boasts. And, Warren has one thing that even Clinton doesn’t: a rabid following within the liberal base of the party.

Tier 3 (There’s a will and a way — sort of)

Kirsten Gillibrand: Gillibrand is a sneaky-good politician. Without all that much fanfare, the senator from New York has turned herself into a liberal champion. She’s also someone who has proved that she knows how to raise money; she took in $30 million between her 2010 and 2012 Senate campaigns.

Tier 4 (There’s a will but — probably — not a way)

Howard Dean: The former Vermont governor clearly looks back on his one-time front-running 2004 presidential campaign wistfully and wonders whether he could catch lightning in a bottle again. The answer is almost certainly no, but Dean, never someone who cared much about the party establishment’s opinion of him, might be the sort of person who would be willing to wage a campaign against Clinton from the ideological left.

Amy Klobuchar: The field above her is too crowded for the senator from Minnesota to take a flier on a presidential bid. But she has the résumé and the ambition to surprise people if things were to break just right.

Affordable Care Act

5 Obamacare Facts Republicans Don’t Want To Talk About

K-Sebelius Resized
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius- Photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund via Flickr

If Kathleen Sebelius personally sabotaged Healthcare dot gov, shouldn’t she be the GOP 2016 frontrunner?

The National Memo

1.  People Want To Give It A Chance

2.  If Canceling Insurance Is Bad, Repealing Obamacare Would Be A Nightmare

3.  We Don’t Have Real Sign-Up Numbers And That’s Not A Big Deal — Yet

4.  Republicans Have Made The Problems They’re Complaining About Worse

5.  The Law’s Biggest Disadvantage Is Now Its Biggest Advantage