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  1. Neocons are back — and worse than ever! Debunking their unthinkable new defense You'd think disastrous failures would shame the Bush-loving neocons into hiding. Here's why they need to go -- now There are several remarkable aspects of Reihan Salam’s recent essay “Why I am Still a Neocon,” but none so much as its timelessness. Though ostensibly a consideration of what it means to be a post-Iraq neoconservative, Salam’s essential arguments are the same as those of the pre-war neocons; a substantially similar version of the piece could have been run in 2002 under the headline “Why I am a Neocon.” Salam discusses what neoconservatives have cost this country and the world in these past 15 years, but the essay is a record of analytic and argumentative stasis. There are two major planks to Salam’s argument, and they will ring familiar to anyone who lived in the immediate post-9/11 world: that America must have an aggressive and powerful army, first because our strength is required to bring stability to a vulnerable world, and second because there is so much evil in the world, we are required to defeat it. These are not, let’s say, the freshest of arguments when it comes to the defense of neoconservatism. But since he’s brought them back up, they should be addressed. In essence, both arguments can be refuted with three words: should implies can. For the argument towards stability, I ask simply: we have endured a war in Iraq, we still have thousands of troops in Afghanistan, we have waged secret wars in Pakistan and Yemen. I ask you: how stable do you find the world? How stable was the world at the height of the Bush Doctrine? What possible evidence can be offered that neoconservatism brings stability in fact, rather than merely in rhetoric? Nor is it clear that the enduring American military dominance Salam advocates for can be achieved. I would certainly oppose American military hegemony even if I thought such a thing were still possible, but it’s irrelevant, because I don’t. To quote Matthew Yglesias, relative decline is not a choice. That the United States cannot maintain its status as unipolar power forever should be obvious to anyone who has studied history and anyone with a newspaper subscription. The rapidly developing economies and massive populations of countries like China and India make that plain enough. That’s not to say that there will necessarily be a new dominant superpower, but it’s a reason you should bet on the field. Salam acknowledges that the military spending of the United States is, well, insane, but waves that concern away by arguing that we’ll constrain costs by lowering our personnel costs, which are half of our military budget. This is a uniquely bad idea for neoconservatism, which requires hyperbolic valorization of the soldiers who we send away to be killed. But set that aside, and assume we can convince the country to pay soldiers less while we they are necessarily killed more often. Saying that half of our military budget is devoted to personnel is another way to say that half of it isn’t, and that half still dwarfs the next several largest militaries combined. And no amount of cost savings can address the vast disadvantage America has in manpower, for either our military or our workforce. The Chinese enjoy a billion-person advantage over the US, and India is rapidly approaching the same. However far behind they are now economically, they will close that gap through sheer population size eventually, and the world will reorient itself. This is to say nothing of America’s shrinking middle class, always the engine of our economic dominance, or our refusal to properly task our immensely wealthy elite. It may happen in our children’s lifetime, it may happen in our grandchildren’s, but the end of American hegemony is coming, and no political philosophy dedicated to opposing that end will long survive. I struggle to imagine the amount of anti-Americanism that would reign in Pakistan had we intervened militarily against it, considering it is already filled with (justified) rage against the US. Nor would I envy the military that had to invade Pakistan, then as now a strategic nightmare. But set those concerns aside, as well. How can we possibly be convinced that American military intervention would have succeeded in saving lives? If anything has been proven by the post-9/11 American experience, it’s the profound limitation of our military to prevent violence through military force. Salam writes only that “[Archer Blood] also knew that had President Nixon decided to lift a finger, he could have forced Pakistan to stay its hand,” a frankly incredible piece of argument by assertion. Is it possible that the US military could have swooped in and stopped bloodshed without causing more? Sure. It’s just as possible that such intervention could have deepened what already threatened to become a regional conflagration, inflaming the bitter disputes between India and Pakistan and no doubt drawing direct Soviet response. Salam’s breezy, untroubled insistence that our good intentions would have been sufficient to save lives would have been bad enough in 2002, but in 2014, they are inexcusable. I find it just as likely to imagine that Salam’s uncle, or others like him, would have died through the terrible fallout that we should know enough by now to assume is the consequence of our military adventures. I don’t begrudge anyone the urge to imagine counterfactuals in which a family member survives an immoral military excursion. But Salam’s invocation of his uncle means that we must think of a world made up of beloved, lost relatives. Iraq was filled with uncles, and brothers, and aunts, and cousins, and they died by the hundreds of thousands thanks to sentiments of equal nobility and equal delusion to Salam’s. This is the price of viewing the world through a lens of righteous fantasy: you are forever pitting the lives of the hypothetically saved against those of the actually dead. And even this exercise, in considering whether the United States could have saved Salam’s uncle or people like him, is not enough. What an adult approach to foreign policy requires is exploring context; if that sounds cold, recognize that Salam performs similar mental calculations every day. However committed he may be to the regular deployment of other people into wars of choice, I highly doubt, for example, that he would support an invasion of North Korea on humanitarian grounds. However much American media enjoys making fun of that horrific regime, it is home to a massive military and is a nuclear power, and if any regime on earth is so insane as to deploy nuclear weaponry internally, it’s North Korea. So I highly question whether even Salam would sign us up for that misadventure. And yet uncles are starved to death every day in that country, they are tortured, they are thrown into internment camps, they suffer under routine and brutal subjugation. Salam, too, makes judgment calls about human lives. He simply works an unjustifiable optimism into his equation. As others before him have, Salam contrasts neoconservatism with a supposedly corrupt and apathetic realism, arguing that the alternative to neoconservatism is “amoral realpolitik.” Like so much of neocon argument, this is asserted but unproved, and directly refuted by recent historical events. It would certainly come as a surprise to dissidents in Saudi Arabia to learn that neoconservatism is antithetical to “realist” coziness with ugly regimes. America has been tight with the corrupt theocracy in Saudi Arabia for a long time, but few times was it as cozy as during the Bush administration. You might well wonder what an administration bent against authoritarian governments and political Islam would be so complicit with the Saudi regime, but of course they were; they had to be. An aggressive military requires access to vast quantities of oil. No neoconservative administration will ever jeopardize the stability of the country with the world’s largest proven reserves. Salam’s basic reasoning is flawed: because his favored political philosophy requires enormous human effort and enormous expenditure of resources, it is moresusceptible to the demands of ugly regimes, not less. An endlessly adventuring military means a government that must break bread with some of the ugliest governments in the world, for reasons of simple expediency and need. It turns out that there is a great deal of real in even the most idealist politik. The notion that a neoconservative American government is less friendly to autocratic and illegitimate regimes is an empirical question, and one Salam has not even really attempted to prove. I find the historical evidence severely lacking in that regard. What we’re left with, really, is the same old saw: that America should be an unapologetic, militarily assertive nation because we are good and because we are strong. This, despite brutally potent evidence that we are neither good enough nor strong enough to remake the world in the way we would prefer. It would be hard to overstate this point: Reihan Salam’s beliefs about the world and about military force could hardly have been more ruthlessly and efficiently debunked by the past 15 years. He resorts to pleasant fantasies about what might have been because real history is such a bleak landscape for him. What’s left is a simple question: how could his neoconservatism possibly be refuted by events? What would it have to take, if the trail of blood this country has cut across the world in the last decade is not sufficient? I haven’t got a clue. I am, I suppose, as committed an anti-interventionist as any American I can think of, and yet I will admit that I would deploy our military to stop a Holocaust in a heartbeat. With Salam, what, exactly, would it take? How thoroughly would his pleasant fantasies have to be rebuked before he gave in? I have no idea, and that frightens me, and it should frighten you. Because however much he might want to express his neoconservatism as a Slate pitch, it is in fact the ideology of many of the most powerful people in the world. What remains to be seen is whether they will rise again, and in doing so accelerate our inexorable and certain decline.
  2. You are correct Umbertino, thank you for the correction how about I debunk this one. Will seniors be denied cancer treatment under Obamacare? According to a chain email making the rounds, people over 75 years old will be denied cancer treatment under theAffordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, after President Barack Obama. The email also states that vitamin B12 shots won’t be covered under Medicare because of Obamacare. Also, your primary care physician will have to admit you into a hospital -- as opposed to, oh let’s say, an emergency care doctor -- or Medicare won’t pay for it, again, because of Obamacare. Here’s a portion of the chain email, which a reader in Northeast Portland forwarded to PolitiFact Oregon, with a plea for more information. She said it came from a friend: "Your hospital Medicare admittance has just changed under Obama Care. You must be admitted by your primary Physician in order for Medicare to pay for it! If you are admitted by an emergency room doctor it is treated as outpatient care where hospital costs are not covered. This is only the tip of the iceberg for Obama Care. Just wait to see what happens in 2013 & 2014! … (ellipses) Please for the sake of many good people, please... pass this on. We all need to be informed. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE THIS... At age 76 when you most need it, you are not eligible for cancer treatment page 272." The email goes on with a long list of other claims as assessed by a Judge David Kithil of Marble Falls, Texas. PolitiFact Oregon hopped to it. And we learned very quickly -- through the power of the Internet -- that a version of this chain email has been kicking around since 2009, based on H.R. 3200, a 2009 bill that did not become law. Many of the claims have been debunked. In fact, found just four of the 48 claims in the original email to be accurate. PolitiFact ruled two statements to be Pants on Fire. The chain email has morphed over the years, with new assertions added. As for the cancer-related statement, the email cites page 272 of H.R. 3200 to back up its assertion that seniors at 76 are not eligible for cancer treatment. Later, the email specifies that under Section 1145 of H.R. 3200, "cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient's age." Neither statement is accurate. There is no rationing, based on age or otherwise, on cancer treatment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in March 2010. Likewise, there is no rationing or cut-off age in 2009’s H.R. 3200. H.R. 3200 contained a section on "treatment of certain cancer hospitals." But the American Nurses Association described the section as "the opposite of rationing. The section allows Medicare to pay cancer hospitals more if they are incurring higher costs." agreeswith the nurses group. And again, the bill never became law. "All medically necessary treatment is covered by Medicare. Including cancer treatments, regardless of age," said Katherine Fitzpatrick with the Medicare Rights Center in Washington, D.C. and in New York. Yet, none of the debunking seems to matter, because four years later, the email lives on via the forward button. The Internet is unstoppable. What, we wondered, did the Texas judge think of his undying notoriety? "I wish it would die. I can’t control it," David Kithil told PolitiFact Oregon. "I don’t know how something like that goes viral like that." The former judge said he wrote a letter to his local newspaper in 2009, protesting the initial version of the health care act. The letter was published in the River Cities Daily Tribune, circulation 5,000. Somehow, he said, the letter was republished online. Kithil wants readers to disregard his letter as it is outdated and based on legislation that did not become law. "I’ve had calls from all over the country, 300 to 400 calls over three or four years on this," he said. He pleads with the callers, "Don’t pass it on. It’s not accurate anymore. Trash it." He says he still has problems with the Affordable Care Act, but that’s neither here nor there. Both the Medicare Rights Center and AARP, the national organization for seniors, verified that hospital admittance has to do with billing under parts A or B of Medicare, the government health plan for seniors 65 and older. The Affordable Care Act reduces Medicare payments to hospitals with readmissions within 30 days for certain conditions, such as pneumonia, but that’s not based on who admits the patient. Also, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid says Medicare has never coveredvitamin B12 shots as a preventive benefit. Again, this isn’t related to the Affordable Care Act. Older patients diagnosed with cancer need not worry that treatment will be rationed or denied under the Affordable Care Act. The claim is based on an inaccurate reading of a bill that went nowhere. We don’t know where or how the specific age of 76 was added -- Kithil said he doesn’t remember including a specific age in his letter. But we do know enough to rule this widely debunked and ridiculous-on-its-face statement a Pants on Fire. How about another source that debunks what you believ A judge's letter on health care and an email gone viral YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE THIS: ObamaCare Highlighted by Page Number ...All of the above should give you the point blank ammo you need to support your opposition to Obamacare. Please send this information on to all of your email contacts." --excerpts from an email zooming around the United States Zygmunt Plater, a professor at Boston College Law School, sent The Fact Checker a copy of the above email, which purports to be an analysis of the new health care law by a judge, complete with page citations. Plater's brother, Marek, had sent him a copy of the email, asking if it could be verified, after receiving it Wednesday from a senior official at the company where he works. Under the subject heading of "Read and Heed," the official sent the email to company employees with the notation, "We are now officially out of control." There's some pretty scary stuff in here: cancer care will be rationed according to age, the government would have "real-time access" to an individual's bank accounts, the government will set all doctor's fees, and so forth. So what's truth? The Facts Just because it is in an email--or on the Internet--does not make it true, especially when it is woefully out of date . There is indeed a former county judge named David Kithil who lives in Marble Falls, Texas, which is about 50 miles northeast of Austin. In August, 2009, he wrote a letter to the River Cities Tribune, a local newspaper with a circulation of under 5,000, detailing his objections to one of the health care bills then pending in the House of Representatives--H.R. 3200. As a former judge of Burnet County, Texas, Kithil is not a health care expert--and congressional language can be obtuse. His analysis is often debatable. The assertion of "real-time access" to bank accounts appears to be referring to a benign section allowing electronic funds transfers. The claim about doctors' fees refers to boilerplate saying the government will not pay less than rates set under Medicare. Similarly, the bill does not ration cancer care, but allows for a study of whether specialty hospitals are charging more for the same service as general hospitals--and then would actually boost payments to general hospitals. But in any case, he was analyzing a bill that had not yet passed the House. The language was changed before final House passage in November, 2009. Then the Senate in December passed its own, more conservative version of a health care overhaul. By March, 2010, the House accepted much of the Senate bill, with some adjustments. While the email refers to the dangers of so-called "Obamacare," Kithil's letter has little to do with the final version of the legislation--which Kithil readily acknowledges. "What I wrote about was a bill that never became law," Kithil said in a telephone interview Thursday. He said he has not had an opportunity to go through the final bill, but knows that some of the items that had concerned him were not enacted into law. But the letter is certainly an email and Internet sensation. A Google search for "David Kithil and Obamacare" turns up nearly 2,000 examples of his letter posted on websites, blogs and forums--including as recently as this month. Kithil said that someone had called the newspaper and asked permission to put the letter in an email. The next thing he knew, he was getting calls from around the country. The calls have actually picked up in recent weeks, he said, adding: "It really shows the power of the Internet." The Pinocchio Test The lesson here is that facts need to come from reputable, credible sources, not an email chain. Kithil is in many ways an innocent bystander. He never claimed to be an expert and merely offered his opinion to the local newspaper. There are many critiques of the health care law, both from the left and right, which have been written by health care and legislative experts. That's where people need to go for more information. Four Pinocchios--not to Kithil, but to anyone who keeps forwarding this email.
  3. Eagle Eye they lie as much, but in a dinar site where the vast majority is left to far left leaning, somebody has to print the truth. The truth based on the Bible is not truth, its more like legend and folk stories written by men. The simple fact that the story of the world flood was written hundred of years before the bible , and that the 10 commandments and laws of Moses are all based on the Code of Hammurabi are 2 basic examples that it can not be taken as totally factual. Now I will believe whoever can can give a valid, non mythological explaination of the universe. the best example of this was in the Fix TV program Cosmos where in the episode, entitled " A Sky Full of Ghosts," Neil deGrasse Tyson uses the example of the Crab Nebula, which is about 6,500 light years away from Earth, to debunk this creationist belief. As he explains, we can see the light of celestial beings much, much further away than the Crab Nebula, which proves that our universe is much older than a few thousand years. Sorry EagleEye, facts do debunk plagarized ancient folk stories
  4. 8 shocking facts the media doesn’t have the courage to tell you The following are all relevant, fact-based issues, the “hard news” stories that the media has a responsibility to report. But the business-oriented press generally avoids them. What happened to "All the news that's fit to print"? 1. U.S. Wealth Up $34 Trillion Since Recession. 93% of You Got Almost None of It. That’s an average of $100,000 for every American. But the people who already own most of the stocks took almost all of it. For them, the average gain was well over a million dollars — tax-free as long as they don’t cash it in. Details available here. 2. Eight Rich Americans Made More Than 3.6 Million Minimum Wage Workers A recent report stated that no full-time minimum wage worker in the U.S. can afford a one-bedroom or two-bedroom rental at fair market rent. There are 3.6 million such workers, and their total (combined) 2013 earnings is less than the 2013 stock market gains of just eight Americans, all of whom take more than their share from society: the four Waltons, the two Kochs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett. 3. News Sources Speak for the 5% It would be refreshing to read an honest editorial: “We dearly value the 5 to 7 percent of our readers who make a lot of money and believe that their growing riches are helping everyone else.” Instead, the business media seems unable to differentiate between the top 5 percent and the rest of society. The Wall Street Journal exclaimed, “Middle-class Americans have more buying power than ever before,” and then went on to sputter: “What Recession?…The economy has bounced back from recession, unemployment has declined..” The Chicago Tribune may be even further out of touch with its less privileged readers, asking them: “What’s so terrible about the infusion of so much money into the presidential campaign?” 4. TV News Dumbed Down for American Viewers A 2009 survey by the European Journal of Communication compared the U.S. to Denmark, Finland, and the UK in the awareness and reporting of domestic vs. international news, and of ‘hard’ news (politics, public administration, the economy, science, technology) vs. ‘soft’ news (celebrities, human interest, sport and entertainment). The results: Americans [are] especially uninformed about international public affairs. American respondents also underperformed in relation to domestic-related hard news stories. American television reports much less international news than Finnish, Danish and British television; American television network newscasts also report much less hard news than Finnish and Danish television. Surprisingly, the report states that “our sample of American newspapers was more oriented towards hard news than their counterparts in the European countries.” Too bad Americans are reading less newspapers. 5. News Execs among White Male Boomers Who Owe Trillions to Society The hype about the “self-made man” is fantasy. In the early 1970s, we privileged white males were spirited out of college to waiting jobs in management and finance, technology was inventing new ways for us to make money, tax rates were about to tumble, and visions of bonuses and capital gains danced in our heads. While we were in school the Defense Department had been preparing the Internet for Microsoft and Apple, the National Science Foundation was funding the Digital Library Initiative research that would be adopted as the Google model, and the National Institute of Health was doing the early laboratory testing for companies like Merck and Pfizer. Government research labs and public universities trained thousands of chemists, physicists, chip designers, programmers, engineers, production line workers, market analysts, testers, troubleshooters, etc., etc. All we created on our own was a disdainful attitude, like that of Steve Jobs: “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” 6. Funding Plummets for Schools and Pensions as Corporations Stop Paying Taxes Threeseparatestudies have shown that corporations pay less than half of their required state taxes, which are the main source of K-12 educational funding and a significant part of pension funding. Most recently, the report ”The Disappearing Corporate Tax Base” found that the percentage of corporate profits paid as state income taxes has dropped from 7 percent in 1980 to about 3 percent today. 7. Companies Based in the U.S. Paying Most of their Taxes Overseas Citigroup had 42% of its 2011-13 revenue in North America (almost all U.S.) and made $32 billion in profits, but received a U.S. current income tax benefit all three years. Pfizer had 40% of its 2011-13 revenues and nearly half of its physical assets in the U.S., but declared almost $10 billion in U.S. losses to go along with nearly $50 billion in foreign profits. In 2013 Exxon had about 43% of management, 36% of sales, 40% of long-lived assets, and 70-90% of its productive oil and gas wells in the U.S., yet only paid about 2 percent of its total income in U.S. income taxes, and most of that was something called a “theoretical” tax . 8. Restaurant Servers Go Without Raise for 30 Years An evaluation by Michelle Chen showed that the minimum wage for tipped workers has been approximately $2 an hour since the 1980s. She also notes that about 40 percent of these workers are people of color, and about two-thirds are women.
  5. Paul Ryan’s honesty problem: How he just exposed GOP’s true Obamacare intentions Golden boy inadvertently admits GOP doesn't agree insurers should be prohibited from discriminating against the ill Democrats are jumping all over Paul Ryan for telling Bloomberg TV that if Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act, they won’t reimplement Obamacare’s popular requirement that children can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they’re 26. I don’t have a full transcript, but the quote in this Washington Post story actually reveals a great deal more about Republicans’ post-Obamacare health policy than their possible opposition to insuring young adults. “If you look at these kinds of reforms, where they’ve been tried before — say the state of Kentucky, for example — you basically make it impossible to underwrite insurance. You dramatically crank up the cost. And you make it hard for people to get affordable health care.” People who follow health care reform closely will correctly note that there’s nothing new here. But for those who don’t, Ryan’s focus on underwriting, not an allusion to so-called “young invincibles” is the key tell. Because underwriting is the main mechanism insurers used to practice price and coverage discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. Before the ACA, most states didn’t guarantee coverage to the ill, or prohibit price discrimination against them. Ryan’s correct that guaranteeing coverage and prohibiting price discrimination is a recipe for much higher premiums, but only because he omits the individual mandate, which ensures that state risk pools will be actuarially balanced. Leave out the mandate, and the insurance industry will likely end up existing to sell very costly health plans to sick people. But Obamacare doesn’t leave out the mandate. And thus, the law can guarantee insurance to everyone without requiring anyone to disclose private details of their health histories to their insurance company, and hold premiums down simultaneously. Anyone who’s signed up for pre-ACA insurance and for ACA-compliant insurance can attest to the fact that the elimination of intrusive underwriting forms is a great advancement. All you have to disclose now is your age and tobacco usage. But Paul Ryan wants to bring back underwriting. Because Republicans really don’t believe that insurers should be prohibited from discriminating against the ill. He and other Republicans will vaguely claim to support setting up state-based high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions. Coverage ghettos of a sort for the ill. That would be better than nothing if they were genuinely committed to financing them. But financing them would cost hundreds of billions of dollars a decade, and the one time House Republican leaders tried to come up with a tiny fraction of that cost for Obamacare’s transitional high-risk pool program, conservatives rebelled and the legislation failed. I get why Democrats are focused on free insurance for children under 26. It’s very popular. Opposing it is politically very damaging. And “underwriting” is kind of complicated. But the former was just a flub, while the latter actually tells the entire story.
  6. 5 things conservatives lie about shamelessly The right still somehow insists that climate change isn't real and that the ACA will euthanize old people Mark Twain once famously said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Twain wasn’t praising lies with this comment, of course, but modern-day conservatives seem to think he was dishing out advice instead of damning the practice of dishonesty. Conservatives have figured out a neat little rhetorical trick: One lie is easy for your opponents to debunk. Tell one lie after another, however, and your opponent’s debunkings will never catch up. By the time the liberal opposition has debunked one lie, there’s a dozen more to take its place. Science educator Eugenie Scott deemed the technique the “Gish Gallop,” named for a notoriously sleazy creationist named Duane Gish. The Urban Dictionary defines the Gish Gallop as a technique that “involves spewing so much bullshit in such a short span on that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it.” Often users of the Gish Gallop know their arguments are nonsense or made in bad faith, but don’t particularly care because they are so dead set on advancing their agenda. Unfortunately, the strategy is so effective that it’s been expanding rapidly in right-wing circles. Here are just a few of the most disturbing examples of the Gish Gallop in action. 1. Creationism. It’s no surprise creationists inspired the coining of the term Gish Gallop, as they have perfected the art of making up nonsense faster than scientists can refute it. The list of false or irrelevant claims made by creationists, as chronicled by Talk Origins, numbers in the dozens, perhaps even hundreds, and more are always being spun out. Trying to argue with a creationist, therefore, turns into a hellish game of Whack-A-Mole. Debunk the lie that the speed of light is not constant, and you’ll find he’s already arguing that humans co-existed with dinosaurs. Argue that it’s unconstitutional to put the story of Adam and Eve in the science classroom, and find he’s pretending he was never asking for that and instead wants to “teach the controversy.” “Teaching the controversy” is a classic Gish Gallop apology. The conservative wants to make it seem like he’s supporting open-minded debate, but instead he just wants an opportunity to dump a bunch of lies on students with the knowledge that they’ll never have the time and attention to carefully parse every debunking. 2. Climate change denialism.This strategy worked so well for creationism it makes perfect sense that it would be imported to the world of climate change denialism. Climate change denialists have many changing excuses for why they reject the science showing that human-caused greenhouse gases are changing the climate, but what all these reasons have in common is they are utter nonsense in service of a predetermined opposition to taking any action to prevent further damage. Skeptical Science, a website devoted to debunking right-wing lies on this topic, has compiled a dizzying list of 176 common claims by climate denialists and links to why they are false. Some of these lies directly contradict each other. For instance, it can’t both be true that climate change is “natural” and that it’s not happening at all. No matter, since the point of these lies is not to create a real discussion about the issue, but to confuse the issue so much it’s impossible to get any real momentum behind efforts to stop global warming. 3. The Affordable Care Act. It’s not just science where conservatives have discovered the value in telling lies so fast you simply wear your opposition out. When it comes to healthcare reform, the lying has been relentless. There are the big lies, such as calling Obamacare “socialism,” which implies a single-payer system, when in fact, it’s about connecting the uninsured with private companies and giving consumers of healthcare a basic set of rights. In a sense, even the name “Obamacare” is a lie, as the bill was, per the President’s explicit wishes, written by Congress. But there are also the small lies: The ACA funds abortion. Under the ACA, old people will be forcibly euthanized. Obamacare somehow covers undocumented immigrants. Congress exempted itself from Obamacare (one of the lies that doesn’t even make sense, as it’s not a program you could really get exempted from). Healthcare will add a trillion dollars to the deficit. The strategy of just lying and lying and lying some more about the ACA has gotten to the point where Fox News is just broadcasting lies accusing the Obama administration of lying. When it was reported that the administration was going to hit its projections for the number of enrollments through, a subculture of “enrollment truthers” immediately sprang up to spread a variety of often conflicting lies to deny that these numbers are even real. It started soft, with some conservatives suggesting that some enrollments shouldn’t count or arguing, without a shred of evidence, that huge numbers of new enrollees won’t pay their premiums. Now the lying is blowing up to the shameless level, with “cooking the books” being a common false accusation or, as with Jesse Watters on Fox, straight up accusing the White House of making the number up. Perhaps soon there will be demands to see all these new enrollees’ birth certificates. 4. Contraception mandate.The ACA-based requirement that insurance plans cover contraception without a copay has generated a Gish Gallop so large it deserves its own category. Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check chronicled 12 of the biggest lies generated by the right-wing noise machine in just the past couple of years since the mandate was even announced. It is not “free” birth control, nor is it “paid for” by employers. The birth control coverage is paid for by the employees, with benefits they earn by working. The mandate doesn’t cover “abortifacients,” only contraception. No, birth control doesn’t work by killing fertilized eggs, but by preventing fertilization. It’s simply false that the prescriptions in question can all be replaced with a $9-a-month prescription from Walmart, as many women’s prescriptions run into the hundreds and even thousands a year. No, it’s not true that the contraception mandate is about funding women’s “lifestyle”, because statistics show that having sex for fun instead of procreation is a universal human behavior and not a marginal or unusual behavior as the term “lifestyle” implies. 5. Gun safety. The gun lobby is dishonest to its core. Groups like the NRA like to paint themselves like they are human rights organizations, but in fact, they are an industry lobby whose only real goal is to protect the profit margins of gun manufacturers, regardless of the costs to human health and safety. Because their very existence is based on a lie, is it any surprise that gun industry advocates are experts at the Gish Gallop, ready to spring into action at the sign of any school shooting or report on gun violence and dump so many lies on the public that gun safety advocates can never even begin to address them all? A small sampling of the many, many lies spouted by gun industry advocates: That guns prevent murder, when in fact more guns correlates strongly with more murders. That gun control doesn’t work. That gun control is unpopular. That any move to make gun ownership safer is a move to take away your guns. That a gun in the home makes you safer when it actually puts your family at more risk. That guns protect against domestic violence, when the truth is that owning a gun makes abuse worse, not better. Even the standard line “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a distracting bit of dishonesty, since most gun deaths aren’t murders but suicides. How do you fight the Gish Gallop, when trying to debunk each and every lie is so overwhelming? There are a few tactics that help, including creating websites and pamphlets where all the lies can be aggregated in one place, for swift debunking. (Bingo cards and drinking games are a humorous version of this strategy.) A critical strategy is to avoid lengthy Lincoln-Douglas-style debates that allow conservatives to lie-dump rapidly during their speaking period, leaving you so busy trying to clean up their mess you have no time for positive points of your own. Better is a looser style of debate where you can interrupt and correct the lies as they come. I’ve also found some luck with setting an explicit “no lies” rule that will be strictly enforced. The first lie receives a warning, and the second lie means that the debate is immediately terminated. This helps prevent you from having to debunk and instead makes the price of participation a strict adherence to facts.
  7. This is the way March ends not with a bang but a whimper Weather lore says that March comes in like a like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Applied to birtherism, March came in with bluster and high expectations of the great denouement of the “O-bots,” the shattering of their universe. Here on the last day of March, let’s take stock of the month: Orly Taitz endorsed by Pastor Manning, only to find herself joined at the hip with his homophobic street sign Tea Party Nation repudiates Taitz claim of endorsement CalGuns repudiates Taitz claim of endorsement Michael Shrimpton video gets no traction FBI evidence of theft by threat, witness tampering and felony obstruction of justice by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office reported Former Cold Case Posse member Brian Reilly describes unprofessionalism within the Cold Case Posse Congressmen Labrador and Huelskamp express disinterest in Sheriff Joe investigation Doug Vogt’s mysterious “friendly judge” does not come through McInnish appeal denied by Alabama Supreme Court (7 – 2) Larry Klayman faces Bar disciplinary action in DC Birther Walter Fitzpatrick III jailed Birther Lucas Daniel Smith reportedly jailed in the Dominican Republic More delays in Taitz’ Mississippi lawsuit, strengthening Defense case for sanctions Supreme Court declines to hear Robert Laity appeal. Birther Report doesn’t go live with its new super secure server No announcement from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office about an Obama investigation No press conference, charges, investigative reports, or anything else of substance from Mike Zullo and the Cold Case Posse Dow Jones Industrial Average up 136 points for the month of March Universe pretty much the same Now, let’s play the birther theme song!
  8. 5 ways libertarians have it all wrong As the youth of America continues to become disenchanted with the current two party system, young Americans have embraced social liberalism and the idea that government needs to stay out of certain areas of people's lives. Though not all young Americans are socially liberal with an economic slant toward conservatism and a negative opinion of the government, the movement is growing. With this movement growing, many have argued that Republican congressman Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, could lead the charge for libertarians moving forward. The issue with the libertarian view point and those who consider themselves part of the Libertarian party is that some of their views are so far removed from reality that it's hard to consider them for a major elected office. When people find a candidate they support, it's not expected that they agree with everything they have to say. To paraphrase a famous quote, if you agree with 100 percent of what a politician says, don't vote for them. The major obstacles a libertarian politician has is that many of their views are the polar opposite from what the majority supports. Libertarians might want to cut military spending, but how can they get many votes if they also want to cut public education and Social Security? The might favor same-sex marriage, but they also want no gun control at all. Here are five ways libertarians have things just wrong if they want to make a major splash in a national election. 1. No public schools - Opposing public education and keep it in the for-profit private sector? Libertarians believe that government, almost always has the American people's worst interest at heart, and as a result, almost everything the government runs should be turned over to the private sector. The main issue with private schools is the cost. Even in conservatives states that have pushed for a voucher system, it would do serious damage to low and middle income families. Libertarians also place way too much blame on public school teachers and unions, often demonizing them as greedy individuals who don't really care much for the children and their education. According to, the average salary for a high school teacher in the United States is $45,274 and the average salary of an Elementary school teacher is $41,070. If teachers really were greedy for cash, they might want to think about a different profession. 2. Eliminate Social Security and invest in the private sector - Once again, while government is not always the good guy, the Libertarian party seems to just give up totally on the public sector while turning a blind eye to the private sector in many important areas. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Prioritiesand the 2012 Census data, Social Security has kept 22.2 million people out of poverty. Of those 22.2 million, one-third are under the age of 65, including over one million children. Private charities do a lot of good work, but in a government created for "we the people," it shouldn't be the sole responsibility of a private charity to take on such a large challenge. 3. Unrealistic view on gun laws - There seems to be a black and white debate when it comes to the issue of gun rights and I don't mean a racial issue. Like many other topics, gun rights and laws are not just as easy and black and white, but rather multiple shades of gray. One can respect and support the 2nd Amendment and still support and back reasonable gun laws. When the 2nd Amendment was being authored, the framers of the Constitution couldn't have known the type of weapons that would be assailable to the public today. Now, despite what many have stated, the right to bear arms was not written so others can hunt, but rather to protect the American people from a government run a muck. Now, will any type of gun protect the American people from government when possible drones are flying high? Obviously the answer is no, but the sediments are still there. Nearly 90 percent of the American people supported a bill for simple background checks for potential gun owners, but it still couldn't get through the Democrat controlled Senate. If that's any indication of where gun rights are in the United States today, libertarians and gun owners have nothing to worry about. 4. Cut all welfare and social services - While the government does overstep its boundaries at times, one place it does belong is handling welfare and social service programs. With the current state of the economy and the way capitalism has been deregulated over the last 30 years, it's vital that a social safety be provided by the federal government. How those social programs are handled and managed is a different issue, but especially during a rebound of a recession caused in part by the private sector, letting them handle the welfare programs in the country could only end badly. 5. Completely eliminate the federal reserve? - The Fed might need serious work, but to eliminate it completely is unrealistic. At a time where other ways of using money has been talked out (Bitcoin anyone?) completely reverting back to the gold standard would cause more of a headache than anything else. There a those who want to audit the "Fed" to check the books, there isn't anything wrong with questioning the Fed, but once again, Libertarians are too quick to give up and start from scratch instead of fixing the problem and moving forward. Lets not all pile on libertarians, they do have some good ideas, (eliminating corporate welfare, campaign finance reform, ending the war on drugs, cutting wasteful military spending, supporting same sex marriage) but they don't seem to be focused on the right issues. Government is often overreaching and overstepping their boundaries, but they seem to paint the entire government as 100 percent wrong and an entity that can't change. The government can change if and only if the American people elect the right people into office who will remove the money and lobbyists and change the system for the better. Too bad they can't get focused.
  9. Victory for atheist denied parole for not attending religious substance abuse program A Missouri atheist who was denied probation because he refused to participate in a religious-based substance abuse program has won a legal victory against Western Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center (WRDCC) in St. Joseph. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that the district court that dismissed Randall Jackson’s lawsuit with prejudice erred in doing so. Jackson had sued the WRDCC because he claimed that, as an atheist, its Offenders Under Treatment Program (OUTP) violated his rights under the First Amendment. According to Jackson, he was required to attend the OUTP in order to be eligible for early release on parole. Once there, he discovered that the program “had required meetings [and] invoked religious tenets by using the serenity prayer and religious meditations.” When he objected to this, OUTP staff suggested he “act as if,” a term of art in the program that means to “assume a role or attitude even if you don’t feel like it,” which is “[a] tool used to assist one in ‘trying on’ new patterns of thought and behavior.” Staff further suggested that he “use ‘God’ as an acronym for ‘good orderly direction.’” In his initial complaint, Jackson stated that he “was being coerced by and through an atmosphere designed and intended to change or alter my thinking and behavior. That it would induce conformity by adding pressure and leverage through the hope and desire of achieving a ‘Placement on Parole.’” He petitioned the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) to be placed in a secular treatment center, but his request was denied. Jackson believes that because of this denial — and his subsequent inability to complete the substance abuse program — he was declared ineligible for early release. Records from the MDOC Board of Probation and Parole back up his assertion, as they claim that “ecause you have not completed a Board stipulated treatment program, the Board is denying your credit release date. Your previously scheduled release date will remain in effect.” The state claimed that Jackson could have “sat quietly” during OUTP meetings, and that would not have constituted “coercion” as defined by the Supreme Court. The Eight Circuit Court disagreed, stating that “ased on the existing record, it is also unclear whether the state would have permitted Jackson to remain in, and graduate from, OUTP if he refrained from actively participating in only the faith-based portions of the curriculum.” It also claimed that while Jackson has no constitutionally guaranteed right to early parole, he “does have the right to be free from unconstitutional burdens when availing himself of existing ways to access the benefit of early parole. The fact that Jackson did not have a constitutional right to, or statutory guarantee of, early parole does not preclude him from stating a claim of unconstitutional coercion.” Therefore, the Court decided, “being required to attend and complete a nonsecular substance abuse treatment program in order to be eligible for early parole violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”
  10. Documents reveal secretive Hollywood group’s shady donations to conservative politicians Before Republican Senator Ted Cruz flew to Los Angeles to speak to Hollywood’s secretive right-wing organization, Friends of Abe (FOA), Cruz suggested to the Hollywood Reporter that IRS’s reluctance to immediately ordain FOA as a 501©(3) nonprofit tax-free charity was a left-wing government conspiracy. (IRS exemption requirements for 501©(3) charities can be found here.) The online Hollywood Reporter quotes Cruz on 2/20/2014 saying, “FOA should respond to the IRS as it would any McCarthyite request for information.” Invoking Joseph McCarthy in the negative seems particularly odd for extreme right-winger Ted Cruz. Other prominent FOA members defend McCarthy as a heroic victim of traitorous communists who pose as being members of the Democrat Party. Ann Coulter, a Friends of Abe darling who spoke at one of its events, wrote a book called Slander that defends McCarthy as the ultimate patriot and insults McCarthy’s opponents, who included the five-star General George Marshall, as traitors. What is Friends of Abe anyway? Founded by actor Gary Sinise, prominent FoAers include Clint Eastwood, Kelsey Grammer, Jerry Bruckheimer, Patricia Heaton, Robert Duvall, and David Mamet and perhaps as many as 1,500 total members. Friends of Abe, or FOA as the group is known among members, had been seeking nonprofit charity status since early 2011. Jeremy Boreing, an apparent documentary filmmaker who serves as the public operative for Sinise, went on a media blitz in late January and early February, decrying the IRS for purposely withholding the group’s request for 501©(3) status as part of a program to “target” and “harass” conservatives. Conservatives claiming “victimhood” at the hands of the IRS has become an overused meme. On the Fox News Megyn Kelly show, The Kelly File, reporter Trace Gallagher proclaimed, “The group is called ‘Friends of Abe’ named after Abraham Lincoln, and it’s made up of 1,500 conservative members of the entertainment industry. They gather for things like meals, drinks, and to learn about the political process. It is now seeking 501©(3) tax-exempt status, so that donations could be tax deductible just like some progressive groups. Getting the exemption would prohibit the group from partisan activity. Now ‘Friends of Abe’ acknowledges having speakers like Karl Rove and Herman Cain, but they deny having a political agenda. ‘Friends of Abe’ says it doesn’t just suspect they were being targeted by the IRS, they say they were told they’re being targeted by the IRS.” According to Boreing (on “The Kelly File”), “We understand through our attorneys that our agent at the IRS who was handling our file, specifically said we had been targeted on the BOLO (Be On the Lookout) list. So I think that probably the reason we’re being targeted is we filed as a conservative educational fellowship.” On his own website, Boreing added, “The struggle for 501©(3) status went on for nearly three years with no answer from the IRS…. We’re not advocating for anything. We’re not trying to accomplish any objective politically or even from a Hollywood business point of view.” Apparently FOA’s media blitz worked. According to the March 16 online New York Times, the IRS caved in and gave the group full 501©(3) nonprofit status. It turns out the IRS was played. FOA had been gaming the system all along. In its impatience with the IRS review process, FOA began telling its members that it had full 501©(3) status as early as 2011, in order to solicit donations. In December 2011, Gary Sinise sent out an email to FOA members trumpeting the status. From that point on, all members were continually reassured that their donations were fully tax deductible and that FOA had full 501©(3) status. FOA even used the allure of nonprofit status to sell tables at an August 2012 dinner with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, comedian Dana Carvey, and country star Larry Gatlin. Yes, these odd ducks all appeared together … welcome to the surreal world that is Friends of Abe. Further inside scoops about Friends of Abe are detailed in the upcoming book, Republican Party Animal: The ‘Bad Boy of Holocaust History’ Blows the Lid Off of Hollywood’s Secret Right-Wing Underground (Feral House), which tells the story of the rise of “David Stein,” who became a preeminent West Coast GOP organizer and Friends of Abe activist, only to be outed by an ex-girlfriend (and FOA member) as having been the notorious “Jewish Holocaust denier” David Cole back in the early 1990s. When the story of the Friends of Abe/IRS feud broke, Cole/Stein forwarded to us documents proving that FOA had been raising money with a false claim of 501©(3) status at least three years before they bullied the IRS into actually giving it to them. FOA was running a scam, a scam that the IRS, pilloried by Fox News accusations of “targeting” conservatives, was apparently willing to overlook when it granted the status for real last week. Far from being victims, FOA was perpetrating a fraud, probably an illegal one. There is also evidence that Sinise was funneling FOA money through his supposed “veterans” charity. According to the site, in 2010, when Sinise got approval for his own nonprofit, the Gary Sinise Foundation, he listed “Abe’s Pal” as a secondary DBA. “Abe’s Pal” was the name through which FOA solicited money. In the Sinise Foundation’s filings with the IRS, it lists its very specific goals: “To serve the nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need,” adding that the nonprofit will provide “relief for wounded warriors, entertainment for service members and their families, school supplies for children where U.S. troops are deployed, and scholarships for veterans.” If Sinise was indeed funneling money from a partisan GOP organization through his foundation, that may very well be another instance of criminal activity, along with the fraudulent claim that FOA had 501©(3) status. Boreing’s claim that FOA has no political objective and engages in no political advocacy is torpedoed by emails from Sinise and the FOA main office. According to source David Cole/Stein, outright solicitations for donations by politicians were generally kept out of FOA emails and reserved for the secret meetings, FOA did indeed send out an email on September 16, 2010 (less than two months before the midterm elections), asking members to visit the “Young Guns” GOP PAC fundraising website. In the email, FOA unambiguously stated, “America is standing at a critical crossroads, and Young Guns candidates give America the best opportunity to move our country in the right direction.” A September 9, 2010 email from FOA invited members to an event co-sponsored by the California Republican Party and the Hollywood Congress of Republicans. The event was titled “A conservative’s guide to getting involved in the 2010 political process.” It was held at Galpin Ford in North Hills, California. FOA claims not to have a political bent, but a look at some of the speakers who appeared during David Cole/Stein’s five-year tenure with the group might suggest otherwise. Between summer 2009 and April 2013, the speakers included Ann Coulter, GOP governor Scott Walker, Rush Limbaugh, Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, former GOP Senator Jim DeMint, anti-immigration Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Antonin Scalia, Dennis Prager, Paul Ryan, GOP Governor Brian Sandoval, Rick Santorum, Mark Levin, Charles Krauthammer, GOP Congressman Darrell Issa, Herman Cain, GOP Congressman Allen West, **** Cheney, GOP Senator Marco Rubio, GOP Governor Tim Pawlenty, GOP Congressman Mike Rogers, GOP Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Karl Rove, David Horowitz, GOP Congressman Thad McCotter, John Boehner, conservative talk-show host Hugh Hewitt, conservative talk-show host Larry Elder, Newt and Callista Gingrich, GOP Congressmen Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, GOP Governor Rick Perry, Liz Cheney, GOP Senator John Thune, GOP pollster Frank Luntz, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, GOP Senator Mark Kirk, and conservative columnist Shelby Steele. Does this appear like FOA is simply an “educational” institution, with no partisan or political agenda? FOA successfully gamed the IRS. Will the IRS show any interest in investigating the fact that from 2011 onward FOA illegally raised money by claiming a status it didn’t have?
  11. Paul Ryan is unsuited to lead ‘adult conversation’ about poverty These days, a favorite talking point of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s is calling for an “adult conversation” about poverty. “It’s time for an adult conversation,” he told The Washington Post. “If we actually have an adult conversation,” he said in remarks at the Brookings Institution, “I think we can make a difference.” The problem is that a prerequisite for any adult conversation is telling the truth and it is there the congressman falls monumentally short. In addition to Rep. Ryan’s recent, racially-coded comments about “our inner cities” where “generations of men [are] not even thinking about working,” his rhetoric around policy should raise red flags for anyone — including the media — assessing his credibility. In addition to Rep. Ryan’s recent, racially-coded comments about “our inner cities” where “generations of men [are] not even thinking about working,” his rhetoric around policy should raise red flags for anyone — including the media — assessing his credibility. A report from Emily Oshima Lee, policy analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, examines the hatchet job Rep. Ryan did on Medicaid in his 204-page account of antipoverty programs that The Washington Post generously described as a “critique.” Indeed, Ryan’s report — which would have been flagged by my excellent 10th grade English teacher for misrepresenting and cherry-picking data — is a dangerous disservice to a public which has neither the time nor the staff that Ryan has at his disposal to delve into literature assessing antipoverty programs. Lee notes that Ryan misuses research to imply that Medicaid coverage leads to poorer health — that people enrolled in Medicaid will have worse health than those with private insurance and the uninsured. “The privately insured comparison is patently unfair because these people tend to be higher income and that comes with a whole host of health privileges,” said Lee. She notes that Medicaid enrollees tend to struggle a lot more with chronic conditions and illnesses than other populations. “A large body of literature identifies various social determinants of health, including socioeconomic status and living and work environments, as risk factors for poor health outcomes,” writes Lee, in my opinion admirably resisting the temptation to add, “duh.” As for the uninsured being healthier — it would be one thing if Ryan were making an “apples to apples” comparison, but he’s not. “The uninsured is a diverse group and doesn’t only include low-income individuals. It may include people who are high-income and don’t really want insurance but can afford health services, and lower-income people who may not have previously enrolled in insurance for a number of reasons — including cost and not having any real health issues,” Lee says. “But again, to imply that Medicaid is somehow making people worse off is absurd.” Ryan also argues that Medicaid coverage has little positive effect on enrollees’ health. But as Lee points out, Ryan conveniently overlooks studies showing an association between Medicaid and lower mortality rates; reduced low-weight births and infant and child mortality; and lower mortality for HIV-positive patients, among other heath benefits. “In general, we need more data to accurately assess the effect of Medicaid coverage on people’s health,” Lee continues. “But several studies do indicate positive health and non-health effects of coverage — such as increased use of preventive care and greater financial security.” Despite Ryan’s shabby work when it comes to antipoverty policy, the media repeatedly seems willing to overlook it. Rep. Ryan also plays on fears of low-income people abusing the welfare system when he asserts that Medicaid coverage improperly increases enrollees’ use of health care services, including preventive care and emergency department services. Ryan makes this case too by comparing Medicaid enrollees to uninsured people, who, as Lee writes, “are less likely to use health care services due to significant financial barriers.” “Presenting data that Medicaid enrollees use more health services than the uninsured affirms that insurance coverage allows people who need care to seek it out,” writes Lee, “and that being uninsured is a major barrier to receiving important medical care.” Further, one of the two studies Ryan references explicitly states that “neither theory nor existing evidence provides a definitive answer to… whether we should expect increases or decreases in emergency-department use when Medicaid expands.” Despite Ryan’s shabby work when it comes to antipoverty policy, the media repeatedly seems willing to overlook it. That’s another strike against the prospects of a truly adult conversation about poverty — in addition to honesty, it requires accountability.
  12. Steven Seagal favors Putin over Obama and says he may emigrate to Russia Action movie star Steven Seagal said in an interview with the Moscow Times that he is in favor of Russia’s military action in Crimea and that he may someday emigrate to the former Soviet Union. According to Atlantic magazine’s The Wire blog, Seagal called Putin “one of the great world leaders” and said he “would like to consider him as a brother.” While the action star’s fortunes have faded somewhat in this hemisphere, in Russia, Seagal is still a huge star. Of late, he has befriended wealthy Russian oligarchs who have convinced him to support Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. In an interview on the set of a movie he was filming in Romania, Seagal told Russian media that he backs Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “desire to protect the Russian-speaking people of Crimea, his assets, and the Russian Black Sea military base in Sevastopol…is very reasonable.” Seagal called the current U.S. policy in the region “idiotic.” Putin and the American actor reportedly bonded over Putin’s love of martial arts. Seagaltold the Times that he will assist the Russian leader in a Soviet-style initiative promoting physical fitness in Russia called “Ready for Labor and Defense.” When asked if he would ever consider relocating to Russia, Seagal said that “sometime” he may apply for Russian citizenship. The one-time box office champion has seen his ability to fill stateside movie theaters slump in recent years. The ponytailed actor has carved out a niche for himself as a conservative provocateur, penning columns for “Birther” conspiracy hub World Net Daily and making appearances on behalf of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been charged by the federal government with unfairly targeting Hispanics and immigrants in the name of enforcing immigration laws.
  13. Yota do you need to be debunked also??? Obama did not seal any college records. All college records are protected under the The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1976. No president prior to Obama has had to provide college records. its not a requirement. This is an example of mostly old baloney in a new casing. It mainly recycles years-old falsehoods and insinuations, most of which we covered long ago, in connection with an earlier viral email. But with President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign heating up, this new graphic has appeared on countless anti-Obama websites and in viral emails like the one we’ve reprinted here. Very little that it contains is new, and the old falsehoods have not improved with age. Nothing ‘Sealed’ The idea that any Obama record is “sealed” is a falsehood, to start. The word “sealed” when applied to documents ordinarily refers to records that would normally be public, but that a judge has ruled cannot be released without the court’s permission. Common examples of truly “sealed” documents include records of crimes committed as a juvenile or records of adoptions. None of the claims in this message refers to records actually “sealed” in that usual sense. In some cases, the records this screed claims are “sealed” are actually public, and open for anyone to see. Other supposedly “sealed” records are normally private documents that Obama hasn’t released — and that other presidential candidates haven’t released either. So as with earlier versions, this is little more than an attempt to raise suspicions by asking for records that aren’t ordinarily made public, without any evidence that those records contain anything derogatory. We’ll take the claims and questions in the order they appear. Claims #1, 2 and 4, college records. Obama’s college records are not “sealed” by a court order, as this graphic would have you believe. It would be illegal under federal law (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) for Occidental, Columbia or Harvard Law School to give any former student’s records to reporters or members of the public without that person’s specific, written permission. Obama hasn’t released them, but neither have other presidential candidates released their college records. George W. Bush’s grades at Yale eventually became public, but only because somebody leaked them to the New Yorker magazine. Bush himself refused to release them, according to a 1999 profile in the Washington Post. Claim #3, thesis paper. Obama did write a paper on nuclear disarmament for an honors course in American foreign policy during his senior year, but it wasn’t the sort of “thesis” that some colleges require for graduation and keep on file in their libraries, like those that Hillarious Clinton and Michelle Obama released. During the 2008 campaign, reporters were told that Columbia had not retained a copy of Obama’s 1983 paper, and that Obama didn’t have a copy, either. NBC News contacted his former professor, Michael Baron, who said he looked for his copy but couldn’t find it, and thought he probably tossed it out eight years earlier in a move.NBC quoted Baron as saying the paper likely would have disappointed Obama’s critics. “The course was not a polemical course, it was a course in decision making and how decisions got made,” Baron told NBC. “None of the papers in the class were controversial.” Claim #5, Selective Service registration. Obama’s Selective Service registration is public. A copy has been posted publicly, and the Selective Service confirmed that Obama registered for the draft on Sept. 4, 1980, and was given registration number 61-1125539-1.Worth noting is that nobody in the U.S. has been drafted for military service since 1972, the year Obama turned 11. Obama, like other young men turning age 18 since then, was required to register on a standby basis, in case Congress ever resumes an active military draft. Failure to register is technically a crime, and disqualifies a man for federal student aid or from holding certain federal jobs. Claim #6, medical records. During the 2008 campaign, Obama released summary medical information from his personal physician, who pronounced him to be in “excellent health” with routine test results for such things as cholesterol all within normal levels. (McCain, who is a cancer survivor and was 71 at the time, let reporters see his records for three hours to show he was cancer-free.)Since taking office, Obama has followed the practice of earlier presidents. He releasedresults of his first “periodic” physical exam on Feb. 28, 2010. Results of his second “periodic” exam were released Oct. 31, 2011. His physician described him as being “in excellent health and ‘fit for duty.’” Claims #7 and 8, Illinois state Senate records. Obama’s voting record in the Illinois state Senate is a matter of public record, and about as far from being “sealed” as one can imagine. Reporters extensively went over his votes in 2008. Transcripts of Senate debatesin which Obama took part while in office (1997 – 2004) can even be found online, at the website of the Illinois General Assembly.Obama’s personal appointment calendar as a state senator may still be private — if it still exists — but we’ve seen nothing to suggest that would add much to what is already public. As president, Obama has released records of visitors to the White House (2.4 million so far). There are some exceptions. Personal information about visitors, such as Social Security numbers are not released. And there’s an exemption for “particularly sensitive” information, which might include a visit by a potential Supreme Court nominee, for example. But that’s still more disclosure than any previous president has made, by far. Claim #9, law firm clients. It’s true that Obama has not released a list of the 30 or so clients for whom he worked personally while he was a lawyer with the firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Gallard in Illinois. He did routinely disclose the law firm’s entire client list while he was in the state Senate, however. And his campaign confirmed in 2008 several specific clients that Obama represented personally, when reporters asked about them. For example, he once represented the liberal group ACORN in a 1995 lawsuit against the state of Illinois, to make voter registration easier. Claims #10 and 11, birth certificates. The claim that Obama’s birth certificate is “sealed” is pure nonsense. Copies of both the so-called “short” and “long” certificates have been released, and state officials in Hawaii have said repeatedly that Obama was born there in 1961 and is a “natural born American citizen.” Claim #12, baptism record. If a paper record exists (and we’ve seen no evidence that it does), it would most likely show only what numerous, undisputed news accounts have stated: Obama was baptized in 1988 in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Obama was often seen in attendance at Wright’s church in the 20 years that followed. He was married there, and his two daughters were baptized there.He remained a member even after some of Wright’s controversial sermons were given national attention in early 2008. When Obama reluctantly severed ties with Wright after weeks of controversy, it was a major news event. Obama and his family now attend St. John’s Episcopal Church, near the White House, though not on a regular basis. Claim #13: Michelle Obama’s law license. It’s simply not true that the first lady “can no longer practice law as an attorney.” She could resume the practice of law any time she chooses. Both the president and his wife have voluntarily inactivated their Illinois law licenses, thereby avoiding a requirement to take continuing education classes and pay hundreds of dollars in annual fees, which is common for lawyers no longer actively practicing. Claim #14, first ladies’ assistants. It’s true that the first lady has more than 20 on her staff, but that’s roughly the same as other recent first ladies. The claim that “other first ladies had only one” might conceivably be true of Martha Washington or Dolley Madison, but it’s certainly not true of Laura Bush or Hillarious Clinton. Bush had at least 18 that we could count, and probably more with job titles that didn’t make the link clear. The White House has said Michelle Obama’s staff is the same size as Laura Bush’s was. Claim #15, foreign student aid. The claim that Obama got “foreign student aid” is untrue. That wild falsehood began as an absurd April Fools’ Day hoax in 2009, which we quickly exposed. Claim #16, Obama’s passport. There’s no reason to think Obama used anything but the then-current version of his U.S. passport when he traveled to Pakistan as a student in 1981. Some who questioned Obama’s birthplace made baseless claims that Pakistan had banned U.S. citizens from visiting in 1981, and speculated that he must have used an Indonesian passport. But they were quite wrong. There was no such travel ban. In fact, the New York Times published a travel piece that year describing the author’s own visit to Lahore, and the U.S. consul later wrote a letter to the Times saying he would “welcome an influx of Americans” and giving advice on how to make the journey. Other Claims Besides the numbered claims, the graphic also states that Obama has been endorsed by the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). It’s true that the Communist Party USA supports Obama. Itclaims to have about 2,000 members. Obama didn’t seek the CPUSA endorsement, nor has he endorsed that group. The graphic also attributes three quotes to Obama, all of which are commonly offered on conservative websites. All the quotes are accurate. Here’s the background: Obama appeared at the Service Employees International Union Sept. 17, 2007, to seek the union’s endorsement for the Democratic nomination, and he said, “your agenda has been my agenda in the United States Senate.” (The words appear at about 3 minutes and 15 seconds into this video.) And the SEIU eventually endorsed Obama, but not until February 2008, helping him wrap up the nomination battle against Hillarious Clinton. The union hasendorsed him again for reelection. At the 2008 National Council of La Raza annual meeting in San Diego, Calif., on July 13, 2008, Obama concluded his remarks by saying, “And together, we won’t just win an election – we will transform this nation. Thank you, and God bless you.” And speaking to the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 17, 2008, Obama said electricity costs would “necessarily skyrocket” as a result of capping carbon emissions. However, the cap-and-trade legislation he endorsed provided allowances intended to protect consumers from higher bills. In summary, there are bits here that are true. But most is wrong or misleading, and overall the graphic falls far short of getting our seal of approval for accuracy. Call it “unsealed.” – Brooks Jackson SourcesJackson, Brooks. “Clueless ‘Columbo.’ ” 18 Jan 2010. Higbee, Matthew K. “Legal Terminology in Criminal Record Clearing.” Law Firm of Higbee & Associates. Undated web page, accessed 31 Jul 2012. “How to Seal Your Juvenile Records: What Every Juvenile Should Know.” National Center for Youth Law. 7 Apr 2004. “Access to Adoption Records: Summary of State Laws.” Child Welfare Information Gateway, Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Jun 2009. “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).” U.S. Department of Education, Web site. accessed 31 Jul 2012. Mayer, Jane, with Alexandra Robbins. The Talk of the Town, “Dept. of Aptitude.” The New Yorker. 8 Nov 1999. Romano, Lois and George Lardner Jr. “Bush: So-So Student but a Campus Mover.” Washington Post. 27 Jul 1999. Dedman, Bill. “Reading Hillarious Rodham’s hidden thesis; Clinton White House asked Wellesley College to close off access.” 9 May 2007. Ressner, Jeffrey. “Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide.” 22 Feb 2008. Mikkelson, Barbara and David P. “Paper Trail.” 25 Oct 2009. Popkin, Jim. “Obama’s missing ‘thesis.’ ” NBC News. 24 Jul 2008. “President Obama’s Selective Service Registration.” Posted on Birther Debunkers Wiki. Last updated 22 Mar 2012. Owens, Bob. “Did Obama Actually Register for the Selective Service?” Pajamas Media. 12 Aug 2008. Sweet, Lynn. “Obama releases medical information: ‘excellent health.’ ” Chicago Sun Times. 29 May 2008. Landau, Elizabeth. “McCain to allow peek at medical records.” CNN. 22 May 2008. Kuhlman, Jeffrey. Memorandum from the Physician to the President: “The President’s First Periodic Physical Exam as President.” 28 Feb 2010. Kuhlman, Jeffrey. Memorandum from the Physician to the President: “The President’s Periodic Physical Exam.” 31 Oct 2011. Kolawole, Emi. “Obama’s Legislative Record.” 25 Sep 2008. The White House. “Visitor Access Records.” Web page accessed 31 Jul 2012. Holan, Angie Drobnic. “White House visitor logs voluntarily released, with potential for exceptions.” 27 Jan 2010. Geraghty, Jim. “Why Is Getting Obama To Disclose His Legal Clients Like Pulling Teeth?” National Review Online. 9 Jul 2008. Auerback, Lauren and Eric Hananoki. “AP, CNN report that Obama represented ACORN, but not that DOJ was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.” 15 Oct 2008. Henig, Jess with Joe Miller. “Born in the USA.” 21 Aug 2008. “Certificate of Live Birth” of Barack Hussein Obama. certified copy dated 25 Apr 2011. Wingett, Yvonne. “Hawaii sends Arizona verification of Obama’s birth.” Arizona Republic. 22 May 2012. State of Hawaii. “Hawai’i Department of Health Grants President Obama’s Request for Certified Copies of ‘Long Form’ Birth Certificate.” 27 Apr 2011. Fukino, Chiyome. “Statement by Dr. Chiyome Fukino.” Department of Health, State of Hawaii. 31 Oct 2008. Fukino, Chiyome. “Statement by Health Director Chiyome Fukino MD.” Department of Health, State of Hawaii. 27 Jul 2009. Kantor, Jodi. “Barack Obama’s search for faith.” New York Times. 30 Apr 2007. Ross, Brian. “Obama’s Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11.” ABC News. 13 Mar 2008. Powell, Michael. “Following Months of Criticism, Obama Quits His Church.” New York Times. 1 Jun 2008. Huffington Post. “Easter 2012: President Obama And Family Go To Church.” 8 Apr 2012. Gore, D’Angelo. “The Obamas’ Law Licenses.” 14 Jun 2012. Gore, D’Angelo. “Michelle Obama’s Staff.” 5 Aug 2009. Jackson, Brooks. “Was Obama Born in the USA?” 7 May 2009. Gerstein, Josh. “Don’t look, birthers: Obama’s passport.” 17 Aug 2010. Jackson, Brooks. “More ‘Birther’ Nonsense: Obama’s 1981 Pakistan Trip.” 5 Jun 2009. Crossett, Barbara. “Lahore, A Survivor with a Bittersweet History.” New York Times. 14 Jun 1981. Brims, John S. “Lahore” Letter to the Editor. New York Times. 23 Aug 1981. Communist Party USA. “Why Vote?” 29 Mar 2011. Berger, Joseph. “Workers of the World, Please See Our Web Site.” New York Times. 22 May 2011. Sweet, Lynn. “Obama cheered at SEIU. Union weighing whether to endorse.” Chicago Sun Times. 18 Sep 2007. Cilizza, Chris. “SEIU Makes it Official.” Washington Post. 15 Feb 2008. Henry, Mary Kay. “SEIU Endorses Barack Obama.” SEIU Blog. 16 Nov 2011. Obama, Barack. “Remarks at the 2008 National Council of La Raza Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.” Transcript at American Presidency Project. 13 Jul 2008. Editorial Board, San Francisco Chronicle. “An interview with Sen. Barack Obama.” 17 Jan 2008. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Ways in Which Revisions to the American Clean Energy and Security Act Change the Projected Economic Impacts of the Bill.” 17 May 2009. Now lets get the facts straight about the other made up stuff on your meme. Phone Tapping, emails read and Internet activity monitored has been in place since the Patriot Act was enacted in 2001, under President George W. Bush. And when it was renewed many if not all republicans signed on it. Yota you have the right to your beliefs, no matter how wrong, but you do not have the right to try and distort the facts.
  14. They did look into who Obama is. So did every single 3 letter agency in the US government. You have the right to your beliefs but not to the facts.
  15. I will provide more proof of my claims. Rawle’s View of the Constitution of the United States (1825)The following paragraph was cited by Congressman Wilson of Iowa in debate on the 14th Amendment. Musata v. U.S. Department of Justice, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit (1999) The courts in this case assumed that two children of aliens are “natural born citizens of the United States.” Lynch v. Clarke, New York in 1844This case is important because it was among those cited by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Wong Kim Ark as well as other lower court decisions such as Munro vs. Merchant (N.Y. 1858).
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