Outreach

Courtesy of Iowa congressman and secret border control agent Steve King, a new racial slur was added to the conservative lexicon just prior to last night’s State of the Union address.


Notice that “deportable” is used as an identifier. Immigrants are not human beings in the eyes of Steve King, they’re deportables.

And who exactly was King referring to as a “deportable?” He was referring to Ana Zamora, a student who has lived inside the U.S. since she was a baby and has been allowed to remain in the country while she attends college under President Obama’s deferred action program; a program House Republicans have voted to terminate several times.

Ana celebrated her first birthday in the U.S. and as she wrote the President, “The United States is my country. It is where I grew up, took my first steps, learned to read, write, play, graduated from high school, and will graduate from college.”

No one in the Republican party has rushed to condemn Steve King.

Posted in Immigration, Racism | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

House Republicans Censor the State of the Union

2015SOTU

I don’t know what precedent there is for this, but I’d call it a bad precedent.

The version of the president’s State of the Union Address posted on the House Republican website is not identical to the version that was actually delivered by the president. House Republicans censored the president’s comments on climate change.

via ThinkProgress

At the 43:25 minute mark, President Obama is supposed to say “I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.”

Instead, the entire section is skipped.

And that’s not the only portion of the president’s address that was cut by House Republicans. They also cut a portion in which the president condemned torture and calls for respecting “human dignity.”

The obvious takeaway is that House Republicans think human dignity is the stuff of liberals.

Given that House Republicans are anti-science and pro-torture, it would be hard for me to believe this wasn’t intentional.

Update... Speaker Boehner's office now claims the censorship was unintentional, but I don't buy it.
Posted in Environment, Torture | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Obama’s Penultimate State Of The Union: Swagger, Successes And Not Screwing It All Up

Sue me, I love the State of the Union. Always have. I enjoyed it even when George W. Bush was president, and the record shows how I felt about the Bush administration. (I particularly liked Bush’s State of the Union in 2006 when he warned against creating “human-animal hybrids,” obviously to prevent a pig-man dystopia.)

However, based on some remarks on Twitter and here at The Daily Banter, not everyone agrees, calling it a waste of time or political theater. Sure, for many of us who follow politics around-the-clock, our faces pressed up close to our computer screens and handheld devices, mainlining every headline, it can often be an anti-climactic and predictable event.

So, I can absolutely grasp the notion that it might appear boring or superficial but it’s not event designed for political junkies, nor should it be. A vast majority of viewers aren’t junkies, they’re casual observers of politics, perhaps hearing about many of the successes, proposals and reactions for the first time. Eliminating the event for all of its theatrics and pomp would only disengage more viewers from the process. Besides, it’ll never actually happen so suggesting it should is little more than shouting for the rain to stop.

Yes, politics includes a considerable helping of theater, tradition and forced collegiality which can admittedly grow exhausting, and Obama’s penultimate State of the Union has plenty of that. And, sure, a lot of us in the political press were well-versed on many of the areas Obama covered. But, dammit, it was fun — the Nerd Super Bowl — and the night began with this:

What’s not so fun is the one lagging economic indicator in an otherwise strong recovery. Flatlined middle class income growth and overall income inequality are hugely disappointing aspects of the recovery, and it’s obvious from his address that it’s one of the president’s nagging regrets going into his final two years — two years in which it’ll be nearly impossible to force his agenda through the Republican Congress.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Agenda

In spite of the fact that each of these proposals is quite popular, here’s what probably won’t happen… CONTINUE READING

Posted in The Daily Banter | 1 Comment

Morning Awesome

Roger Waters – “The Tide is Turning”

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Speech for Me, Not for Thee

FranceFreeSpeech

Artist – Jen Sorensen

In other news, the White House said today that President Obama would veto the congressional Republican bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks if it reaches his desk.

Meanwhile, Republican congresswomen are apparently abandoning that ship.

You can watch the State of the Union Address at the White House website or right here tonight at 9 p.m. EST. I recommend watching the online stream rather than on television if you have the means. The stream will feature more information.

Posted in Abortion, Open Thread | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ron Johnson Will Hold a Hearing to Answer a Question That’s Already Been Answered

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First let me say that the idea that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is now the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee is inconceivable.

Johnson said today that shutting down the Department of Homeland Security is not a threat to homeland security, and while that is amusing there’s something else that caught my attention.

“Even in the last government shut down only 13.6% of DHS employees were furloughed,” Johnson said. “So the national security aspects, the aspects of the department that keeps America safe, are continuing to function no matter what happens in this very dysfunctional place.” […]

Johnson also said he wants to hold hearings on the president’s executive order prior to a vote on the bill in order to determine whether DHS “can even administer” Obama’s executive order.

There’s no need to hold a hearing(s) to answer this question because it has already been answered.

The agency responsible for administering the president’s executive orders is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency. USCIS is a component of the Department of Homeland Security, but it is funded by user fees and not by Congress. Even if the Department of Homeland Security shuts down due to a lack of funding from Congress, USCIS will still be able to “administer” the president’s orders.

Ron Johnson may be correct that the Senate is “dysfunctional,” but as the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Johnson certainly has the power to end the dysfunction and pass a clean bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security.

If there is dysfunction in the chamber, Johnson and his colleagues have fostered it.

And not to let it go unsaid, it appears that Johnson doesn’t care if nearly 14 percent or more of DHS employees are furloughed. Their suffering is just a means to an end. But what end? I doubt even the esteemed chairman could tell you.

Posted in Immigration | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Blind Leading The Blind

foxNewsMuslim

The Fox News lie about “no-go zones” where Sharia Law has been imposed and Muslims have full authority has spread like a wildfire throughout the world of right wing infotainment and now the blind are leading the blind.

Conservatives are now being lied to by multiple sources who themselves heard about fictional no-go zones on Fox News.

via RightWingWatch

When a “Washington Watch” caller on Friday told [Family Research Council President] Perkins about no-go zones where Muslims are “doing military-type training in Virginia and New York,” which he “heard on Bryan Fischer[’s]” radio show, Perkins said that he had also heard rumors corroborating such allegations.

A concerned caller says he heard about the no-go zones on Bryan Fischer’s American Family Association radio show, and Bryan Fischer heard about it from Fox News.

FRC President Tony Perkins then amplifies the claim to a whole new level.

In France, Perkins said, “they have like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed. There are some areas in this country that in effect that has occurred. Dearborn, Michigan, is one of the places, there are some places in Minneapolis, I don’t think it’s as clear cut as what we’ve seen in Europe, it’s been more by the effect that that’s occurred.”

There are no “no-go zones” in France, let alone 700 of them. And, as you might have guessed, there are no military training centers or no-go zones for Muslims in Virginia or New York or Dearborn, Michigan or Minneapolis.

We can point and laugh, which I’ve certainly done my fair share of, including right now, but this is dangerous rhetoric and these are dangerous lies.

The vulnerable and gullible people who truly believe these claims may be heavily armed and certainly motivated by Fox News and Hate Radio to rid the world of a fictional problem.

(cartoon via Tob Tornoe for Media Matters)

Posted in Wingnuts | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Paris Will Sue Fox News

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, told CNN today that the city will sue Fox News over the “no-go zone” lie.


More:

“When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue,” Hidalgo told Amanpour in the interview. “I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed.”

“The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced,” she added.

No word on whether or not the city will sue Bobby Jindal who just repeated the same lie yesterday during a speech in London.

Jindal was less specific about which locations are considered “no-go zones” (because he has no clue) so that might give him an out.

I’m tickled by this news because the mayor of Paris should have no problem suing the network with strong public support, but a mayor of a major American city could never get away with this.

If an American mayor attempted to sue Fox News, pundits and reporters from other media companies would circle the wagons and condemn the mayor. There may even be congressional hearings.

Posted in The Media | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Don’t Drink The Water

An official warning not to drink the water in Glendive, Montana came two days late following the release of 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River.

From the Associated Press

Representatives from Montana and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said preliminary tests did not show cause for concern but additional tests ordered after residents complained of a petroleum- or diesel-like smell from their tap water revealed the benzene. […]

An advisory against ingesting water from the city’s treatment plant was issued late Monday.

The oil spill occurred on Saturday and local residents continued to drink and cook with the water until last night because no warning had been issued.

Bottled water is now being shipped to the area while local officials devise a plan to “decontaminate the water system,” but who knows how long that could take?

Following the Freedom Industries chemical spill in West Virginia last year, strange odors left residents afraid to drink the water for weeks.

Posted in Environment, Oil Spill | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Just Say No

RomneyNo

Artist – John Darkow

In other news, a majority of public school students now live in poverty according to a new report from the Southern Education Foundation.

Meanwhile, 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River in Montana during the weekend.

Posted in Education, Oil Spill, Open Thread | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mike Huckabee’s “Wholesome” Music

Last week would-be presidential contender Mike Huckabee attacked the president and first lady for letting their daughters listen to Beyonce because, clearly, listening to Beyonce negates the benefits of a healthy diet and a good education.

Huckabee defended his comments yesterday on ABC’s This Week.

HUCKABEE: “My point was, even in speaking about the Obamas — and I said about them in the book, they’re great parents. But it was President Obama in an interview with Glamour who said that some of the lyrics he won’t listen to with his daughters because it embarrasses him.

Well, here’s my point, if it embarrasses you then why would you possibly think it’s wholesome for your children to put it into their heads.

If anyone knows about wholesome music, it’s Mike Huckabee.

huckabee-nugent

Ted Nugent happens to be one of the most virulently racist and misogynistic psychopaths in the nation who shit his pants to avoid the draft. Nugent has also admitted to being “addicted” to underage girls.

Posted in Music, Ted Nugent, Wingnuts | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Bobby Jindal Didn’t Get the Memo on Muslim “No-Go Zones”

JindalStupidParty

The idea that entire regions in the UK have become “no-go zones” because they’ve been overrun by Muslims is such a terrible lie that Fox News actually apologized for spreading it, but Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal didn’t get that memo.

Jindal referenced the “no-go” zones during a speech in London today and then proceeded to tell CNN all about it.

“I’ve heard from folks here that there are neighborhoods where women don’t feel comfortable going in without veils. That’s wrong. We all know that there are neighborhoods where police are less likely to go into,” he told CNN’s Max Foster.

When Jindal says he’s “heard from folks here,” I think we can safely assume he’s referring to pundits or columnists who themselves probably heard it on Fox News.

Pressed to offer specific examples of such areas, Jindal demurred, saying only “I think your viewers know absolutely there are places where the police are less likely to go. They absolutely know there are neighborhoods where they wouldn’t feel comfortable.”

He “heard from folks here” but he can’t say where here is?

“I know the left wants to make this into an attack on religion and that’s not what this is. What we are saying it’s absolutely an issue for the UK, absolutely is an issue for America and other European and Western nations,” he added.

Given that there’s no such thing as a “no-go zone,” I’m not convinced this is absolutely an issue for the UK or any other country.

While there may be need to have a conversation on assimilation, what it means to assimilate, and to what extent assimilation should be expected or not expected, that is a difficult conversation to have while demagogues like Bobby Jindal inflame the situation by making outlandish, unfounded claims (read: lies).

It clearly isn’t “the left” that is intent on making this an attack on religion because that is exactly what the right has done; attack religion. But with that said, even some on the left have attacked religion following recent events.

As someone who is agnostic, I find myself feeling like the “blood-sucking lawyer” of Jurassic Park who unexpectedly sides with wealthy park owner John Hammond against the scientists. I find myself defending religion from attacks from the left and the right because I don’t view it as an attack on religion; I view it as an attack on Arabs.

It would be dishonest to say that attacks on average Muslims who have done no harm isn’t invariably fueled by racism. It’s not as if every single Muslim wears an ID tag that says “Muslim.”

In many cases, people who simply look like they might be Muslim (but aren’t) end up as victims.

Now that I’ve gone way off tangent, let’s be clear that Jindal is saying exactly what it looks like he’s saying.

“It is startling to think that any country would allow, even unofficially, for a so called ‘no-go zone.’ The idea that a free country would allow for specific areas of its country to operate in an autonomous way that is not free and is in direct opposition to its laws is hard to fathom,” he added.

That may be startling if it were actually true, but it isn’t.

Posted in Stupid Party, Super Stupid | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Obama’s Fault

Graham

When pressed about his previous comments that the president’s policies are “getting a lot of people killed,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said something even more ridiculous.

On Sunday, NBC’s “Meet the Press” Host Chuck Todd asked Graham if he meant to use that language.

“Is that proper rhetoric? You think the President of the United States is getting people killed?” he asked.

“I think his policies are getting people killed,” Graham responded. “Almost 300,000 people have been killed in Syria on his watch.

I was under the impression that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was responsible for massacring his own people and transforming the country into a smoking ruin but, according to the senator, President Obama is at fault for the amount of people who’ve been killed in Syria.

Beyond the obvious, I think this highlights the delusion of conservatives and some of our foreign policy “thinkers” that nothing happens in the world without American approval or direction.

I know this may be world-shattering news to them, but other nations do, in fact, have free-agency and the ability to make their own decisions. Furthermore, they can also be responsible for those decisions.

Posted in Foreign Policy, Stupid Party, Syria | Tagged | 11 Comments

Bill Maher Erroneously Defends Rush Limbaugh Against “Baby” Liberals Who “Don’t Get Free Speech”

Remember when Sarah Palin ran for vice president and even though she was given multiple chances she couldn’t describe the constitutional role of the vice president? That was awesome. You might also remember when Palin said the Constitution states that “our unalienable rights don’t come from man; they come from God. So this document is set up to protect us from a government that would ever infringe upon our rights to have freedom of religion and to be able to express our faith freely.” Yeah, that thing about “unalienable rights” comes from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. Oops.

In addition to basic sentence structure and all numbers above seven, Palin doesn’t really get the Constitution, which has clearly never prevented her from pretending she’s, you know, read the most important section of the document. Here’s Palin discussing the free speech clause of the First Amendment:

Palin on Phil Robertson:
“Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”

Palin on Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean:
“I respect Carrie for standing strong and staying true to herself, and for not letting those who disagree with her deny her protection under the nation’s First Amendment Rights. Our Constitution protects us all — not just those who agree with the far left.”

Palin on Dr. Laura:
“Dr. Laura: don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence’isn’t American,not fair’)”

Palin on Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments:
“I think the definition of hypocrisy is for Rush Limbaugh to have been called out, forced to apologize, and retract what it is that he said in exercising his First Amendment rights, and never is that — the same applied to the leftist radicals who say such horrible things about the handicapped, about women, about the defenseless.”

Palin on the Chick-Fil-A boycott:
“Well, that calling for the boycott is a real — has a chilling effect on our 1st Amendment rights. And the owner of the Chick-Fil-A business had merely voiced his personal opinion about supporting traditional definition of marriage, one boy, one girl, falling in love, getting married…I’m speaking up for him and his 1st Amendment rights and anybody else who would wish to express their not anti-gay people sentiment, but their support of traditional marriage.”

Despite Palin’s cartoonishly ridiculous interpretation, the First Amendment doesn’t protect Limbaugh or Phil Robertson from their corporate bosses, angry listeners or popular boycotts… CONTINUE READING

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Morning Awesome

ELO – “Nightrider”

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Lesson Learned

RomneyPoverty

Artist – Kevin Siers

In other news, Former CIA operative Wayne Simmons warned Fox News host Neil Cavuto today that there are “19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities” in the U.S. where they’re training to kill us all.

Cool story, bro.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney may have another finance problem. Romney became the co-chairman of Solamere Capital in 2013 after the election was behind him and no one knows where the company’s $700 million is coming from or going to.

This won’t be the last time Solamere Capital comes up.

Have a good weekend.

Posted in Open Thread | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Ben Carson’s Unhinged History

Ben Carson is very impressed with ISIS; so impressed that he believes we should emulate them because that’s what our founding fathers did.

“A bunch of rag-tag militiamen defeated the most powerful and professional military force on the planet. Why? Because they believed in what they were doing. They were willing to die for what they believed in. Fast forward to today. What do we have? You’ve got ISIS. They’ve got the wrong philosophy, but they’re willing to die for it while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness. We have to change that.”

I wouldn’t call myself a history buff, but as far as I know the American revolutionaries were not a murderous death cult who combed the countryside to ensure that dress codes were strictly adhered to while abducting women and girls into sex slavery.

Carson’s favorable comparison came as a bit of a surprise to me because it was not very long ago that Carson alleged that Advanced Placement U.S. History would make you want to join ISIS.

CARSON: A whole section on slavery and how evil we are. A whole section on Japanese internment camps and how we slaughtered millions of Japanese with our bombs. A whole section on how we wiped out American Indians with no mercy I mean I think most people, when they finished that course, they’d be ready to go sign up for ISIS. This is what we’re doing to the young people in our nation. And we have got to stop this silliness.

If Ben Carson truly does not believe that slavery, Japanese internment, the slaughter of Native Americans, and the use of nuclear weapons are not worth covering in history class, maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that Carson also believes we should emulate ISIS.

But wait — if Advanced Placement U.S. History will make you want to be more like ISIS, shouldn’t all students be required to take it?

Carson says we should be more like ISIS, right?

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus would like to thank Doctor Carson for sharing his keen insight at the RNC’s winter retreat.

Posted in Wingnuts | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Sam Brownback Will Target the Poor and Working Class to Pay for Tax Cuts for the Rich

SamBrownback1

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has finally unveiled his plan to plug holes in the state budget generated by his signature tax cuts and the plan is to raise fees and taxes on the poor and working class so he can continue cutting taxes for the wealthy.

From The Wichita Eagle

The state’s cigarette tax would be nearly tripled, from 79 cents to $2.29 a pack, and the tax on packaged alcoholic beverages would go from 8 percent to 12 percent under the Republican governor’s budget plans. […]

Brownback also proposed levying $162 million in fees over two years on the three private health insurance companies managing the state’s Medicaid program since 2013.

While Brownback is raising taxes on everyday purchases and imposing fees on Medicaid, the governor will continue cutting income taxes, he’ll simply do so more ‘gradually.’ Cutting income taxes is what generated this problem in the first place, but the governor and Republicans in the state legislature want to have their cake and eat it too.

Brownback’s plan to raise sales taxes and impose fees won’t cover the entire hole created his signature tax cuts, however. Doing so will only cover approximately $394 million of a $710 hole. The remaining $316 million will be closed by cutting spending and those spending cuts, as you might imagine, will primarily target Medicaid.

In a statement concerning his proposal, Brownback said he wants eliminate income taxes altogether and transition to “consumption taxes” which will allow Kansans “more freedom to determine their spending and reinforce the principle that the family budget is more important than the government budget.”

Consumption taxes are a tax on working people and the poor. The “freedom” to make your family budget “more important than the governor budget” is the freedom to decide if that gallon of milk is a priority or not.

It’s easy for the wealthy to pay a couple extra dollars at the register, especially after you cut their income tax rate by 29 percent(!), but it is not easy for the poor and working poor to pay a couple extra dollars which could, quite literally, mean the difference between eating or not.

The working poor who do not benefit from Brownback’s tax cuts will now pay more so the governor can continue cutting taxes for people who don’t need a tax cut.

In addition to cutting the state’s top tax rate by 29 percent, 191,000 private businesses have been exempted from paying any income taxes.

And this won’t stop at cigarettes and alcohol or fees on Medicaid. Replacing all income taxes with “consumption taxes,” as Governor Brownback intends to do, will require massive hikes in sales taxes and fees that working people will be forced to pay.

A significant and disproportionate number of people who did not vote for Brownback will likely feel the most pressure under his economic regime, and that’s infuriating.

Posted in Economy, Taxes | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Leave the Bankers Alone

It’s hard out here for a banker.

While dealing with one or two federal regulators was a tolerable nuisance, dealing with five of them is downright un-American according to JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

via ThinkProgress

“Banks are under assault,” JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon told reporters on a conference call Wednesday, explaining that his company now faces too much oversight. “In the old days, you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue, maybe two,” he added. “Now it’s five or six. It makes it very difficult and very complicated.”

“You all should ask the question about how American that is.

Why can’t a filthy rich man be filthy rich in peace? Why must he tolerate interacting with five or six agencies whose job is to ensure that Dimon and his colleagues do not crash the economy again? Is this the America your ancestors fought and died for?

Does Dimon even personally interact with regulators?

Posted in Finance | Tagged | 6 Comments

Download This Week’s After Party Podcast! $2 per Download!

bcsap_al_sharpton

NEW! Download this week’s show via our new Band Camp page. No subscription necessary. Only $2 per download! Major credit and debit cards accepted.

If you’re already a member, go on in.

This Week’s Pulse-Pounding Episode: Dick Poop: Al Sharpton Takes On the Oscars; African-Americans vs Hollywood; This Year’s Oscar Nominations; All the Snubs and Surprises; Dick Poop; We Review the Golden Globes; Bob vs. Auto Repair Shops; Chez’s Unctuous Foie Gras Hippie-Punching Escape; and more.

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