President Obama

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

CNN · Fox News · President Obama

CNN Busts Fox News For Lying About President Obama’s Remarks On Poverty



CNN called out a major lie of omission that Fox News tried to pull off by editing out key comments from remarks made by President Obama.

Video via Media Matters

After playing a clip of Fox News’ outrage, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter showed viewers what Fox News left out.

Transcript via CNN:

STELTER: Here’s what almost everybody missed about the panel discussion. The president was talking about what he called a 40-year effort to stir up class divisions. FOX, of course, has only been around 15 years. Let’s go back to the original video, but let’s let it keep playing, so Obama finishes his thought.

FOX only played this part of the clip once. It was in a news report by Howie Kurtz. Notice that Obama is talking about the whole news media’s responsibility to make sure the middle class and poor Americans know — I’m sorry — what middle class and rich Americans know what it’s like to be poor.


OBAMA: And that becomes an entire narrative, right, that gets worked up. And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress, which is much more typical, who’s raising a couple of kids and is doing everything right, but still can’t pay the bills.

And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues and how people’s impressions of what it’s like to struggle in this economy looks like and how budgets connect to that.

And that’s a — it’s a hard process, because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.


STELTER: He called for a broader conversation, but FOX ended up having a very small conversation.

Anyway, that’s “Red News/Blue News” for this week.

It would be nice to think that the media is finally catching on to Fox News’ selective editing tricks, but outside of the cable news competition at CNN and MSNBC, most of the mainstream press doesn’t bother to call out their lies.

If more members of the media would stand up to the Fox News propaganda machine, not only would the news be more trustworthy, viewers would be better informed. The bulk of the press is terrified of Fox News, so they will never directly criticize, debunk, or call out the Republican talking point network.

Brian Stelter of CNN took a few minutes of his show to debunk a major Fox News lie of omission, and if more members of his profession did the same, the Fox News blight could be removed from journalism.

~Jason Easley

Fox News Distortions · Jon Stewart · President Obama

Fox News: We don’t call the poor “leeches.” Jon Stewart: Let me Google that for you!


Fox News deludes itself about its stance on poverty following some apt commentary from President Obama about the negative depiction of poor people in the media.

After President Obama made some of the most interesting comments of his career at a Georgetown University panel on poverty Tuesday, I worried that the only thing liberals would take from the event was that Obama accused Fox News of calling poor Americans “sponges” and “leeches.”

But now I have another theory. Is it possible that Obama, playing a game of eleventy-dimensional chess, attacked Fox News because he knew they’d overreact — only to set up the most damning Daily Show supercut ever?

Because that is what the president — and America — got.


Joe Scarborough · President Obama

Scarborough Defends Fox from Obama: When Have They Ever Called the Poor Lazy?

[Image via screengrab]


One day after President Barack Obama criticized Fox News for portraying the poor as lazy leeches during a poverty forum at Georgetown University,Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough called out Obama for an “embarrassing” level arrogance and hypocrisy.

“Saying that Roger Ailes’ network calls people leeches, sponges, and lazy, at a summit that’s supposed to bring both sides together on poverty, is stunning to me,” Scarborough said.

“Have you ever heard that on Fox News?” Scarborough asked the table. “Has anybody ever heard that on Fox News?”

RELATED: Megyn Kelly, Rosen Pile on Obama for Fox Swipe: ‘Beneath the Dignity of the Office’

“I don’t really watch,” co-host Mika Brzezinski replied, as the panel agreed that such sentiments could definitely be heard on conservative talk radio if nothing else.

Scarborough went on to critique Obama for declaring himself the “sole arbiter” of right and wrong. “The arrogance of it all is staggering,” he said. “That’s such an illuminating moment in this presidency — I’m a little embarrassed for him.”

Not fer nothing, but:

~Evan McMurry

Democrats · President Obama · Trade Deficit · Trade-War



Congress Set To Hand Prez Special Powers To Make Secret Deals… Details Of Monumental Trade Pact A Mystery… Dem Leaders Revolt… Schism… O’s Biggest Fight With His Own Party In Years… Warren Furious: Allows Foreign Corporations To Evade Regulations… ‘We Are Here To Fight’… Massive Opposition… Green Groups Warn Of Environmental Threats… Alarm Over Intellectual Property Provisions… GOP Aligns With White House…

Cuba Sanctions · Cuban President Raul Castro · President Obama

Obama, Castro spoke by phone ahead of Panama summit


Panama City (CNN)President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro spoke by phone Wednesday before leaving Washington for the President’s trip to Jamaica and Panama, a White House official told CNN on Friday.

Obama was set to meet face-to-face with Castro on Friday, the first time the leaders have interacted since their nations agreed to renew diplomatic relations after half-a-century of enmity.

Obama arrived in Panama late Thursday to his third Summit of the Americas, a large gathering of Latin American leaders that in years past was tinged with animosity at Cuba’s exclusion. Moments after Marine One, Obama’s helicopter, touched down in Panama City, Castro’s plane landed on the same tarmac. Panamanian television carried both arrivals live.

Details of Wednesday’s phone call were not immediately available Friday.

This year, Obama was expecting a warmer welcome from the dozens of countries represented at the conference, after announcing in December he was seeking to engage Havana in talks over reopening embassies and removing barriers to commerce and travel.

READ: Obama to test engagement doctrine with Cuba

In Panama, Obama is expected to announce he’s removing Cuba from the United States’ list of countries that sponsor terrorism, a major advance in building diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The State Department delivered its report on the designation to the White House on Wednesday; Obama said on Thursday a panel of experts was reviewing it before he makes a final determination.

But in remarks during a brief stopover in Jamaica, he strongly hinted he was ready to remove Cuba from the list, which also includes Iran, Sudan and Syria.

“Throughout this process, our emphasis has been on the facts,” Obama said. “So we want to make sure that given that this is a powerful tool to isolate those countries that genuinely do support terrorism, that when we make those designations we’ve got strong evidence that, in fact, that’s the case.”

“As circumstances change, then that list will change as well,” he said.

While some inside Cuba have expressed dissatisfaction at the pace of the diplomatic thaw, U.S. officials insist they’re pleased at the progress toward re-establishing diplomatic ties, which the White House argues has helped improve relations with other countries in the region.

Obama said in Jamaica he “never foresaw that immediately overnight everything would transform itself.”

The summit meetings Friday and Saturday will mark the first time Cuba participates in the conference, which takes place every three years. At the two Obama previously attended, in Trinidad and Colombia, reception toward the U.S. delegation was icy.

“We felt it was long overdue and takes a huge irritant out of our policy in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Roberta Jacobson, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs who’s led talks with Cuba re-establishing diplomatic ties.

The overtures to Cuba have not been universally popular in the United States; some lawmakers were irate that Obama was seeking to engage what they regard as a corrupt government.

Obama was planning to meet in Panama with Cuban dissidents, some of whom were violently accosted earlier this week by supporters of the Castro regime.

By Alexandra Jaffe and Elise Labott, CNN

President Obama

Obama: Eliminate The Senate Filibuster

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

TPM LiveWire

He said the “routine” use of the 60-vote requirement by Senate minorities makes it arcane in an era of partisan polarization, and that it “almost ensures greater gridlock and less clarity in terms of the positions of the parties.”

Obama, whose presidency has coincided with the dramatic escalation of filibusters, noted that there’s “nothing in the Constitution that” protects the blocking tactic.

Though he has typically been mum about Senate rules, Obama benefited greatly from Senate Democrats’ move in 2013 to eliminate the filibuster for most executive branch and judicial nominations. It remains in place for Supreme Court nominations and legislation.

Here’s the relevant quote by Obama, via Vox, in response to a question about how to govern amidst polarization.

Probably the one thing that we could change without a constitutional amendment that would make a difference here would be the elimination of the routine use of the filibuster in the Senate. Because I think that does, in an era in which the parties are more polarized, it almost ensures greater gridlock and less clarity in terms of the positions of the parties. There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires it. The framers were pretty good about designing a House, a Senate, two years versus six-year terms, every state getting two senators. There were a whole bunch of things in there to assure that a majority didn’t just run rampant. The filibuster in this modern age probably just torques it too far in the direction of a majority party not being able to govern effectively and move forward its platform. And I think that’s an area where we can make some improvement.

Gender-Specific Press Conference 2014 · President Obama

Obama Only Takes Female Reporters’ Questions In Last Press Conference Of The Year

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama | Credit: AP

Think Progress

In his annual end-of the-year press conference on Friday, Obama took questions from eight women and no men— a move that did not go unnoticed by journalists and others listening to his remarks.

The president started the conference by joking that White House Press Secretary “Josh [Earnest] gave me the list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice,” and then proceeded to call on eight women from various news organizations. CBS News’ White House correspondent Mark Knoller said on Twitter that TV reporters were advised in advance that Earnest wanted “other reporters not regularly called on to get to question the [president].” The strategy resulted in the likely unprecedented female question sweep in addition to leaving out the major news networks.

On Fox News, White House correspondent Ed Henry joked that he was “outraged for men everywhere” but then admitted seriously that he was not pleased with the questions the women asked.

“Frankly some of the questions just didn’t press him,” he said. “There’s so much going on right now and the questions were trailing off. The president was almost like, let me remember what you asked because it was so unmemorable.”

Watch it:

The eight female journalists asked Obama about Sony’s decision to pull The Interviewfollowing threats by North Korea, the deal to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, the state of race relations in the country and the Keystone XL pipeline, which incoming majority leader Mitch McConnell said will be the first matter up for a vote when the new Congress returns from the recess. Notably missing were any questions about the CIA torture report released last week.

While Obama only formally called on women, two men were able to yell out their own questions during the conference. “Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?” one asked, while a reporter called after Obama as he left the room. “Will you smoke a cigar Mr. President?”

Fox & Friends · President Obama

Laura Ingraham: ‘How About We Put A Body Camera On The President?’

Crooks & Liars

Right wing hate talker and Faux “news” regular Laura Ingraham apparently thought his little shtick of hers was so cute that she repeated it again later in the day on her radio show. While discussing President Obama’s meeting with civil rights leaders this week and the announcement that his administration is seeking funding for police body cameras and more training for police officers.

Naturally this drew howls of outrage from the right with cries about where the money is going to come from and Laura Ingraham with her fangs on full display on this Monday’sFox & Friends.

From Fox’s blog: ‘How About We Put a Body Camera on the President?’:

How about we put a body camera on President Obama?

That was Laura Ingraham’s response this morning on “Fox and Friends” to the president’s support for police officers around the country to wear body cameras in order to record their every move.

Ingraham argued that Obama should wear one so Americans can see how much time he actually spends each day on improving the economy.

“I’m all in favor of spending money on that body camera,” she said, adding that the president’s proposed $263 million in spending on police training is another example of him trying to throw money at a problem.

“There’s never anything that happens in the country that the president doesn’t believe can be fixed by spending more money and getting America deeper into debt,” said Ingraham, questioning where that money will actually come from.

Steve Doocy joked that those videos would be good broadcasts for the Golf Channel since the president spends so much time on the course.

Ingraham said she believes putting body cameras on police officers is an interesting idea, but in the case in Ferguson, it would have “vindicated” officer Darren Wilson long ago.

She called on President Obama to speak “truths” to people about what the evidence shows occurred, instead of spreading mistrust.

“It would be nice if the President of the United States, with all his education and all of his wisdom and all of his experience, actually spoke truths to people,” said Ingraham.