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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Why Bernie Sanders Was Right To Link Climate Change To National Security

Cornel West gives rip-roaring parking lot speech supporting Sanders and blasting Fox News 'propaganda'

Cornel West gives rip-roaring parking lot speech supporting Sanders and blasting Fox News 'propaganda'

President Obama Defends Freedom Of Religion From Republicans Who Want To Destroy It

Image via FlickrSince Republicans are calling for religious tests for refugees, President Obama took it upon himself to remind them what freedom of religion means in America.

President Obama Rips and Humiliates Trump And Carson In Front Of The Entire World

Obama press conference Turkey
President Obama took apart top Republican pretender candidates Trump and Carson in front of the entire world during his press conference in Turkey.
Obama threw down on Carson’s claim that he has better advisers and info than the White House, “I think it is entirely appropriate in a democracy to have a serious debate about these issues, Folks want to pop off and have opinions on what they think they would do, present a specific plan,” Obama said. “If they think that somehow their advisers are better than the chairman of my Joint Chiefs of Staff or the folks on the ground, I want to meet them and we can have that debate.”
The President also took down Trump, “What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership, or America winning or whatever slogans they come up with, that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and protect people in the region who are getting killed, and to protect our allies and people like France. I’m too busy for that.”
Obama is not putting up with the usual empty talk coming out of the Republican cabal. Trump and Carson are both at the top of the Republican cabal pretender polls because they are selling a style that appeals to Republican primary voters. What is missing in both candidates is substance. Neither leading Republican candidate has been able to explain in any detail how they would combat ISIL and terrorism.
When Carson was asked for details during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, he unleashed a crazy worldview that somehow ended in the United States involved in a shooting war with Russia in Syria. For his part, Trump thinks that defeating ISIL is like a business deal. Trump has repeatedly stated that he will defeat ISIL by sitting down and talking tough with them.
The only other Republican “plan” belongs to Jeb and the neo-cons who want to return to the failed Middle East policy of the shrub years. As usual, the Republicans are long on criticism, but short on real solutions. While Trump and Carson pander to an increasingly delusional Republican primary electorate for votes, President Obama is trying to work the global community to defeat ISIL.
Obama’s message to Carson and Trump was to put up or shut up. President Obama showed Trump and Carson the difference between pretending to be president and actually being president.

Obama Tears Into Republican Cabal Candidates Who Only Want To Take In 'Christian' Refugees From Syria

Fact Checkers Confirm That What President Obama Said About ISIL Being Contained Is True

PolitiFact concluded, "References or suggestions that Obama claimed ISIL no longer presents an active threat are incorrect."…
Republicans are trying to make hay out of a sound bite of President Obama saying ISIL is contained. But as I explained yesterday, the full context of his quote made it quite clear that anyone doing this is being dishonest. He was asked specifically about Iraq and Syria and he was correct in his response. Today I learned that PolitiFact agrees.
Looking back at Obama’s interview where he made this comment, it is quite clear that it’s within a narrowly defined scope: ISIL’s territorial expansion in Iraq and Syria. He did not rule out the potential for a terrorist attack, and he also made it clear that the United States’ anti-ISIS efforts are a work in progress.
References or suggestions that Obama claimed ISIL no longer presents an active threat are incorrect.
Experts agree that the President was correct, though his choice of words wasn’t great, given some people’s inability to understand stateless terrorism.
Perhaps the problem is that the people jumping to conclusions aren’t able to keep up with the President’s nuanced, in-depth understanding of fighting stateless terrorism, and only understand delusional bumper sticker slogans that make them feel better, in spite of not actually addressing the problem at all.
Speaking today at a press conference at the Kaya Palazzo Resort in Antalya, Turkey, President Obama demonstrated a remarkable grasp of how to fight ISIL (aka, ISIS). But it wasn’t just his prepared remarks, it was the agile, nuanced answers he gave to complex questions.
In fact, President Obama’s answers were so long that I can only fit one full response in this post. Read it in full and compare it to every single Republican pretender candidate’s “solution”. For that matter, compare it to each Democratic presidential candidate’s.
The following transcript is from the White House Press Secretary:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. One hundred and twenty-nine people were killed in Paris on Friday night. ISIL claimed responsibility for the massacre, sending the message that they could now target civilians all over the world. The equation has clearly changed. Isn’t it time for your strategy to change?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, keep in mind what we have been doing. We have a military strategy that is putting enormous pressure on ISIL through airstrikes; that has put assistance and training on the ground with Iraqi forces; we’re now working with Syrian forces as well to squeeze ISIL, cut off their supply lines. We’ve been coordinating internationally to reduce their financing capabilities, the oil that they’re trying to ship outside. We are taking strikes against high-value targets — including, most recently, against the individual who was on the video executing civilians who had already been captured, as well as the head of ISIL in Libya. So it’s not just in Iraq and Syria.
And so, on the military front, we are continuing to accelerate what we do. As we find additional partners on the ground that are effective, we work with them more closely. I’ve already authorized additional Special Forces on the ground who are going to be able to improve that coordination.
On the counterterrorism front, keep in mind that since I came into office, we have been worried about these kinds of attacks. The vigilance that the United States government maintains and the cooperation that we’re consistently expanding with our European and other partners in going after every single terrorist network is robust and constant. And every few weeks, I meet with my entire national security team and we go over every single threat stream that is presented, and where we have relevant information, we share it immediately with our counterparts around the world, including our European partners.
On aviation security, we have, over the last several years, been working so that at various airports sites — not just in the United States, but overseas — we are strengthening our mechanisms to screen and discover passengers who should not be boarding flights, and improving the matters in which we are screening luggage that is going onboard.
And on the diplomatic front, we’ve been consistently working to try to get all the parties together to recognize that there is a moderate opposition inside of Syria that can form the basis for a transition government, and to reach out not only to our friends but also to the Russians and the Iranians who are on the other side of this equation to explain to them that ultimately an organization like ISIL is the greatest danger to them, as well as to us.
So there will be an intensification of the strategy that we put forward, but the strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately is going to work. But as I said from the start, it’s going to take time.
And what’s been interesting is, in the aftermath of Paris, as I listen to those who suggest something else needs to be done, typically the things they suggest need to be done are things we are already doing. The one exception is that there have been a few who suggested that we should put large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground.
And keep in mind that we have the finest military in the world and we have the finest military minds in the world, and I’ve been meeting with them intensively for years now, discussing these various options, and it is not just my view but the view of my closest military and civilian advisors that that would be a mistake — not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is, if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface — unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.
And let’s assume that we were to send 50,000 troops into Syria. What happens when there’s a terrorist attack generated from Yemen? Do we then send more troops into there? Or Libya, perhaps? Or if there’s a terrorist network that’s operating anywhere else — in North Africa, or in Southeast Asia?
So a strategy has to be one that can be sustained. And the strategy that we’re pursuing, which focuses on going after targets, limiting wherever possible the capabilities of ISIL on the ground — systematically going after their leadership, their infrastructure, strengthening Shia — or strengthening Syrian and Iraqi forces and Kurdish forces that are prepared to fight them, cutting off their borders and squeezing the space in which they can operate until ultimately we’re able to defeat them — that’s the strategy we’re going to have to pursue.
And we will continue to generate more partners for that strategy. And there are going to be some things that we try that don’t work; there will be some strategies we try that do work. And when we find strategies that work, we will double down on those.

Oh, okay, then. That sounds like a pretty thorough strategy. Hard to criticize unless one is suggesting endless occupation.
We all want to believe what the Republicans sell: That there’s a big daddy in the White House who will fix everything with his tough words and a big hat, but this is real life. The United States can’t fix this problem alone, we aren’t all powerful, and our President is brilliant and using the best minds in the business but he also can’t deliver a world in which zero military activity is required. Targeting ISIL means collateral damage as well, due to the way they hide among civilians. The real world is brutal sometimes.
It would be instructive to have the press ask the 2016 presidential candidates the same question President Obama was just asked, and to compare the answers side by side.

McCaul (R-TX) Wants To Ban Refugees And Keep Gitmo Open

Rep. McCaul (R-TX) Wants To Ban Refugees And Keep Gitmo Open President Obama can't be doing enough to secure the U.S. because Paris, France was hit. McCaul fearmongers over refugees and Gitmo once again.

‘I will bomb your fucking location’

Republican front runner Trump helped fan the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of last week’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.

Taking the bait: How Republicans help ISIL spread their propaganda about the ‘war against Muslims’

ISIL says we’re waging a war against innocent Muslims, and, the Republican candidates for pretender seem determined to send the same message.

McConnell’s Bill To Repeal ObamaCare Is Collapsing In A Heap Of Failure

mcconnell-frownMitch McConnell is so bad at his job that his attempt to repeal parts of ObamaCare is turning into a total failure.
The Hill reported:
Senate Republicans are in danger of not being able to bring an ObamaCare repeal bill to the floor.

Senate Republican cabal leaders had hoped to move a House-passed package repealing parts of the controversial healthcare reform law before Thanksgiving. But that plan has been shelved amid party turmoil.
Senate Republican sources say the measure, which has encountered opposition from conservatives and moderates, albeit for different reasons, will have to wait until after Thanksgiving. Some say it could slide into next year.
The problem is that five wingnut Republicans refuse to vote for Mitch McConnell’s reconciliation bill that repeals parts of ObamaCare. Three moderate Republicans won’t vote for the reconciliation bill if it contains language that defunds Planned Parenthood. Even after lowering the threshold of votes he needs for passage to 51 votes, McConnell remains five votes short.
Senate Republicans are so divided that they can’t muster a majority to pass a piece of legislation that in one of the few areas that they all supposedly agree on.
McConnell complains about Democratic obstruction on a near daily basis, but the real problem in Congress isn’t the Democrats. The biggest problem with the nation’s Legislative Branch is that the Republican cabal is fundamentally broken. Republicans are incapable of governing, and when they try to govern, they fail.
The Republicans are desperate to trigger a veto fight with President Obama on the ACA. However, time is running out. Congress has an extremely light election year schedule for 2016. McConnell is proving to be so inept as Majority Leader that he is well on his way to screwing up an ObamaCare repeal bill.
Forget winning the White House, Republicans can’t keep control of their own people in the House and Senate.

Republicans Demand America’s 1920s Government Be Put Back In Place

Republicans want a government like that of the 1920s when the rich were given free rein to economically rape the American people…
Many Americans are unaware of the many programs and policies put in place by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his New Deal, but even if they did it is certain that a fair number of Americans would demand its elimination immediately. Republicans have been chomping at the bit, and plotting behind the scenes, over the past five years in particular to abolish all of the New Deal programs and send Americans back to an era where wealthy industrialists dominated the population and kept them in poverty fighting for survival.
It is no secret that Republicans hate the government with religious passion, and the current crop of candidates for the Republican pretender nomination are jockeying for supremacy in who can promise to change America; for the worse. Thus far, the Republican candidates demonstrating a fierce hatred for, and ignorance of, the federal government have garnered the greatest support among Republican voters.
Despite President Obama creating over 12 million jobs in five-and a-half years and presiding over economic recovery and solid growth, typical Koch Republican Cruz has the key to help the economy recover: by recreating the government of a century ago in the process. Cruz pledged to return the government to the 1920’s and according to his estimation create 4.9 million jobs by the end of the next decade or so. Cruz said,
If you look at the history of America, there are three levers that government has to facilitate economic growth. The first is tax reform. I have rolled out a bold and simple ten percent flat tax for every American. The second element is regulatory reform, pulling back regulations. The third element is sound money. When we pursued those in the 1920s with Calvin Coolidge the result was incredible economic growth. We have done it before and with Republican leadership we can do it again.”
Now it is true daddy Cruz is a Cuban-Canadian immigrant to America, but it is likely that at some juncture during his tenure in his adopted country he has at least heard about “The Great Depression” that was caused by the very policies he lusts to revisit. In fact, Cruz’s economic policy recommendations are regularly cited as the three primary reasons there was a Great Depression in the 1920s; namely a lack of regulatory oversight, gross income inequality, and the gold standard.
What Cruz is proposing, and the Koch brothers pant to see realized, is eliminating each and every one of FDR’s New Deal provisions that economists assert caused and accelerated America’s economic recovery out of the Great Depression. Still, there are a significant number of Republican voters who want, as Slate’s Digby explains, an apocalypse with a Republican pretender leading America to economic ruin.
Actually, the reason extremist Republicans with no experience are faring well in the Republican cabal primary is because the base wants a “tough guy” who does not understand, or care, how America’s system of government works. As an ardent Cruz supporter, Republican strategist, and wingnut shrieking head said,
Republicans don’t want reform, they want revolution. They don’t want a better government, they want a new government.”
They want a government like that of the 1920s when the rich were given free rein to economically rape the people and send the world into another, more intense economic crash. A crash, by the way, that increased the wealth of the very richest industrialists beyond their wildest dream; not unlike today when the wealthiest Americans have taken the lion’s share of wealth in the current recovery.
The Republican base wants a dictatorial pretender willing to challenge the Constitution and pledge that the system of government created by the Founders, the system with legislative checks and balances and regulations, is abolished and replaced with a theocratic libertarian “no government.” The wingnut base demands a Trump, Carson or Cruz who will assure them that the federal government “will no longer be a hindrance to wingnuts who are Hell-bent on achieving their agenda” no matter what it takes or how many Americans are adversely impacted.
It really is a sad and pathetic commentary on wingnut Americans who are sick and tired of waiting for the promised “revolution” to create a new government to replace the one Republican demigod Reagan told them thirty years ago is the source of all their misery. To add to their angst, the base have heard Koch Republicans and extremist “TeaPublicans” promise for five years they will remove Obama from the White House and send him to prison, close the borders, criminalize homosexuality and gay marriage, end political correctness, ban public education, abolish women’s reproductive rights, eliminate all federal regulations, “christianize” all aspects of American society, repeal workplace laws and social programs, and put a quick and permanent end to the idea that all Americans “are created equal.”
Oh, and they really demand their new 'christian' government be created solely to engage America in several wars against Muslims around the world and severely punish any “traitor” who dares suggest that diplomacy should ever be a part of the nation’s foreign policy. If one looks back over the past five years that President Obama has been in office, it is much more than just Republican pretender candidates panting for war against Muslims; it is a hard and fast rule to qualify as a Republican politician.
There is a serious state of affairs in America when one segment of society is frustrated that Republicans have successfully prevented the government from doing what it was created for to protect or provide for the welfare of the American people, while the right is furious that the government does anything whatsoever for Americans. Republicans have claimed they want to take America back, but this is likely the first time a Republican had the audacity to admit “taking America back” is going back to an era and the exact same conditions that created the Great Depression; and claim in public that it was a time of “incredible economic growth.”
It is looking more and more like Republican voters do want “an apocalypse” that will certainly eviscerate them as much as the rest of the population. There is nothing wrong with the government; Republicans just hate that it exists in any form except to make war, enforce religious edicts, and create incredible wealth for a select few. There are likely several reasons for why so many Republicans have a death wish for America, and even considering that they are incredibly stupid does not completely explain their mindset. It is more likely they are just angry and full of hate which informs why they support equally angry and hate-filled candidates who promise to fulfill their wildest dreams and “make America great again;” by taking it back to conditions that nearly accomplished today’s Republican’ goals of creating a nation of peasants serving a few wealthy industrialists.

Republicans Really Could End Up Nominating a Lunatic Fringe Wingnut Loon Like Carson or Cruz

King Endorses Cruz

10 reasons why Rubio is the most dangerous Republican in the race

With a successful few debates under his belt and the Republican establishment desperate for a replacement for Jeb, it seems like Rubio is stacking up to be the new golden boy. Only, there is nothing golden about him.

Fox News: Obama Needs To Start Taking Advice From TV Show ‘Homeland’

Fox News: Obama Needs To Start Taking Advice From TV Show ‘Homeland’ (VIDEO)
Yes, they actually said this.

The Little-Noticed Wingnut Plan To Permanently Lock Democrats Out Of Policymaking

Republicans want to destroy women’s access to abortions — and the right to study them

Rally against the CCBR's anti-abortion caravan at the Vancouver Art Gallery [Flickr Creative Commons]
Republicans want to destroy women’s access to abortions — and the right to study them

More on the Koch Brothers

In addition to the billions they’re spending to elect wingnuts who will cut their taxes and deregulate, the Koch brothers have also been on a spending spree at colleges and universities. According to a new report from the Center for Public Integrity (below) the brothers Koch invested more than $19.3 million across 210 college campuses in 46 states in 2013 alone. That money comes with strings, of course. At the College of Charleston, the Charles Koch Foundation sought names and email addresses of any student participating in a Koch-sponsored class, and to be notified in advance of media outreach related to the school. And as I’ve previously noted, the Foundation’s pledge of $1.5 million to Florida State University’s economics department stipulated that a Koch-appointed advisory committee would select professors and undertake annual evaluations.In other words, the Koch brothers aren't just trying to buy American democracy. They're also seeking to buy American minds.

Savage Threatens To Leave America For Russia Because It's 'The Best Country Left On The Planet'

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
Jumping on a report that actor Robert De Niro may take Russian citizenship, Savage said on his hate speech “Savage Nation” program last week that he’d consider leaving the U.S. for Russia as well in order to flee America before it turns into the Soviet Union.  MORE