Saturday, January 30, 2016

Last Call For Mosque Of The Red Derp

President Obama will visit Maryland's Islamic Society of Baltimore next week, something guaranteed to make America's less tolerant folks lose their damn minds.

The president is making the visit “to celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life,” a White House official wrote in an email Saturday. “The President believes that one of our nation’s greatest strengths is our rich diversity and the very idea that Americans of different faiths and backgrounds can thrive together – that we’re all part of the same American family. As the President has said, Muslim Americans are our friends, and neighbors; our co-workers, and sports heroes – and our men and women in uniform defending our country.”

At the Islamic Society, the president will hold a roundtable discussion with community members, the official said.

The visit will be part of the tightrope-walking Obama has done during his presidency around Islam.

For years, Muslim Americans have lobbied him to visit a mosque, citing Islamophobia. At the same time, a segment of Obama’s critics have said since he took office that he is a Muslim pretending to be Christian, and that he plays down the religious aspect of Muslim extremism. Recent polls show that 29 percent of Americans and nearly 45 percent of Republicans think he is a Muslim. The visit comes in the last year of his presidency.

The possibility of a mosque visit came up again a month ago, when several prominent Muslim Americans met with senior White House officials to discuss concerns about rising hostility toward people of their faith. During that session _ which was attended by White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Domestic Policy Council director Cecilia Muñoz and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes — the Islamic leaders asked for Obama to visit a mosque, ideally with former president George W. Bush.

Presidents rarely visit houses of worship, aside from when they have attended church for their own religious practices. Obama regularly attends religious services on key holidays. In May, he visited a synagogue for the first time as president.

In 2001, Bush visited the Islamic Cultural Center of Washington, six days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, where he declared, “Islam is peace,” and “the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam.”

I'm very glad to see President Obama do this, and for the right reasons. It's a major contrast to the GOP, which apparently has no problem with tracking, interment, and deportation of Muslims for the crime of being Muslim.

And speaking of that, Dubya was one of the loudest voices in 2001 to tamp down Islamophobia after 9/11.  Where is that voice now?

Guess we'll never know.

Meet The Replacements

Kudos to Iowa resident Mike Valde, who has committed more political journalism with a single question than nearly all of America's political pundits this entire campaign season.

His voice quavering with emotion, Mike Valde told Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) about his brother-in-law: He was a barber who couldn’t afford health care until the Affordable Care Act, and after getting coverage he went to the doctor for the first time in years, and was diagnosed with multiple tumors. He died soon after.

Mark never had health care until Obamacare,” Valde told Cruz in a middle school cafeteria here. “What are you going to replace it with?”


“Sir, I promise you, I will answer your question. I’m laying out first of all the problems,” Cruz said. He went on to say that the “most pragmatic, the most prudent” thing to do is repeal the law and start over. When that is done, he said that competition in the marketplace should be expanded, people should be able to buy health insurance across state lines and that everyone wants people to have insurance coverage.

“Your father in law, he couldn’t afford it,” Cruz said.

“Brother-in-law,” Valde responded.

“Your brother-in-law couldn’t afford it,” Cruz said.

“Right. But he could afford it, he finally got it under Obama,” Valde told Cruz.

Cruz repeated Valde’s story, that by the time Valde’s brother-in-law went to a doctor, he was already dying.

He would have gotten it earlier, if he could have afforded it earlier, but because of government regulations, he couldn’t,” Cruz said.

That's Ted Cruz's answer: if we repeal Obamacare, insurance magically becomes affordable.  We're not even bothering with replacing it anymore. No problems with health insurance existed before 2011, you know.  Everyone had health insurance and it was great, and it's all Obama's fault now.

And that's fine with Republicans.

More GOP Small Government Solutions

From the same folks that brought you "Obama is a fascist!" comes this bill in South Carolina that slaps a big ol' scarlet T on all them scary ferners.

A South Carolina Senate committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would set up a registry of every refugee in the state and allow police to track them, as well as ban the state from spending money to resettle refugees unless the legislature approves the funding.

The legislation would also hold any group that aids refugees liable if one of the refugees then commits an act of terrorism, according to the Associated Press.

Two Republicans members of Congress representing South Carolina, Reps. Mick Mulvaney (pictured above) and Jeff Duncan, were present in the statehouse to promote the bill on Wednesday.

"Radical Islamic terrorists have said they will try to exploit both the migrant crisis into Europe and the refugee situation to enter into this country," Duncan told state senators, according to Georgia television station WAGT.

Though the bill does not single out refugees from Syria, Mulvaney did when speaking to state senators.

"If you let in the wrong Irishman–I’m fourth generation– if you let in the wrong Irishman the downside is really not that serious, okay," he said, according the AP. "You let in the wrong Syrian refugee, one, then people can die as a result."

So let's see, complete abrogation of civil liberties, check, creating second-class citizens as automatic criminals, check, but hey, Republicans are worried about how these folks will be treated, you guys.

Though the bill passed in committee with broad Republican support, one Republican state senator who voted for the bill expressed concern that the registry would be available on the Internet. State Sen. Katrina Shealy said the public should not be able to access the information, "especially people that would be out looking for refugees to even harm them or something," according to the Huffington Post.

Oh, well that's a relief.  Democrats of course know exactly what this bill is, the new Jim Crow.

Two Democrats voted against the bill. Democratic state Sen. Kevin Johnson, who is black, said that his parents and grandparents faced similar discrimination, according to the AP.

"They were told the same thing," Johnson said. "We don't want you in our state. We don't want you in our neighborhood. We don't want you in our schools. All you want to do is kill, rape, steal, whatever."

 You think?

Meet The Trumpies

CNN dives into the Trump voter psychology and finds exactly what you'd expect: pissed off white people who want the rest of us back in our respective places and lanes on the outside, outside the economic benefits of society that were not meant for "those people", outside the halls of political power that we have "unfairly taken" from them, and in many cases, outside the country altogether where we "don't belong."

They are showing up in droves to see Donald Trump: Men and women, overwhelmingly white, frustrated with the country's first black president, fearful that they are being displaced by minorities and immigrants, and nostalgic for the way America used to be.

And Trump is thriving, tapping into the fears and anxieties that have erupted into the open in an extraordinary presidential campaign.

The voters pledging their allegiance to the Republican front-runner hail from all corners of the country. They work on farms, in nursing homes and run small businesses; they've voted for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and participated in the tea party movement; they are high school students who will vote for the first time this November and retirees and veterans who came of age during World War II.

In Trump, these people see the next president of the United States.

His attitude, one voter said, is that he "seems to just not give a f---." Trump's nativist rhetoric and hardline immigration stance is a relief for those who see a segment of the population "getting away" with breaking the law. Post-San Bernardino, the candidate's promise to "bomb the sh-- out of ISIS" exudes an uncomplicated confidence rare in other politicians. His accomplishments in the business world offer reassurance that he'll "put the economy back where it belongs."

Perhaps most important is Trump's imperviousness to the typical boundaries around race. He has made provocative remarks on the subject since the earliest days of his campaign -- and his supporters are listening. They are rowdy, and at times, even violent. On more than one occasion, they've accosted protesters, lobbing racial slurs and physical abuse.

The following story attempts to capture the remarkable Trump phenomenon -- and the anti-establishment anger, and the racial and economic fears beneath it -- through the people who have flocked to Trump rallies since last summer. The voices were chosen from more than 150 people -- including supporters and opponents of Trump -- that CNN reporters interviewed in 31 cities across the country over the past few months and asked about some of the candidate's more controversial statements.

These interviews provide a snapshot of a political movement unprecedented in modern politics. They reflect some of the loudest and most passionate defenders of Trump, a candidate who has said he has such deep loyalty among his supporters that he could "stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." Many people CNN interviewed were not turned off by Trump's provocative remarks — but inclined to agree with his statements and his unvarnished approach to self-expression. There is no getting around the impression that for some, racial attitudes are fueling their support.

But there are also other factors feeding the enthusiasm: the belief that Americans are unsafe, and he will protect them; an appreciation for the simple good vs. evil worldview he presents; an admiration of his celebrity status and business background. And, above all, a faith that he will restore an America they feel has been lost to them, and dream of experiencing again.

It's refreshing to see CNN actually, finally admit that race is a factor in supporting Trump and his ultra-nationalist ultra-white worldview. The profiles that follow in the article are outright depressing, people who have decided that the most important thing that needs to happen in 2016 is to start denying America to as many people unlike them as possible, a twisted payback for the civil rights era, and the payback business is booming. They don't want us beaten, they want us destroyed, decimated, and deported.

But make no mistake, these folks despise President Obama primed by years of racial animus fed to them by FOX and Limbaugh and Drudge, and the plan is to punish anyone who supported the President and make them pay. The white victim card is their weapon, and the rest of us are their enemy.

And these assholes are going to vote.  Feel damn confident of that, friends.
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