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GOP Intellectual Malpractice: Syrian Refugees And Paris Attacks Edition

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Opinion: 25 GOP governors now illegally refusing refugees, and all based on a fake Syrian passport. 

The level of Republican inhumanity and stupidity, and refusal to look for facts has reached new heights.

Remember George W. Bush and the lies he and his administration told in the run up to the Iraq War? 

Bush didn’t look for facts, and when confronted with them, he dismissed them. You’re seeing today by Republicans that same level of intellectual malpractice, a lack of curiosity about facts, a pandering to the base and an almost viral race to the bottom of the barrel of stupidity.

At least 25 of America’s 31 Republican governors today (and sadly, Democratic governor Maggie Hassan) have issued press releases, tweets, and executive orders mandating – and boasting – their state will not accept any Syrian refugees. Unfortunately, it appears none of them bothered to actually check if they have the authority to refuse refugees here legally, though an extremely rigorous federal process.

And, of course, these “pro-life” “conservative Christian” governors, it turns out, do not have the authority to refuse refugees.

But what they do have is the ability to grandstand and to turn the tide of public opinion against the very people running from terrorists, and have Americans see them as terrorists, so when they do get to America (insert obligatory “land of the free, home of the brave” quote here) many will likely become victimized by a pathetically ignorant, Fox News watching populace that equates “Muslim” with “terrorist.”

To be clear, even France has called the murder of 129 people in the Paris attacks, not to mention the hundreds who have suffered injuries, “an issue of internal domestic security.”

Or, to be even more clear, as ThinkProgress reports, “All of the attackers from Friday’s massacre in Paris so far have been identified as European Union nationals, according to a top EU official.”

That story about one of the terrorists having a Syrian passport is either fake, or his passport was.

Here’s the list of Republicans who have stated America should refuse Syrian refugees, or have stated they will not allow them in their state, all based on a false story about a Paris attacks terrorist with a fake Syrian passport.

Republican Governors:

Robert Bentley of Alabama
Doug Ducey of Arizona
Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
Rick Scott of Florida
Nathan Deal of Georgia
Butch Otter of Idaho
Mike Pence of Indiana
Terry Branstad of Iowa
Bruce Rauner of Illinois
Sam Brownback of Kansas
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Paul LePage of Maine
Charlie Baker of Massachusetts
Rick Snyder of Michigan
Phil Bryant of Mississippi
Pete Ricketts of Nebraska
Chris Christie of New Jersey
Pat McCrory of North Carolina
John Kasich of Ohio
Mary Fallin of Oklahoma
Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Bill Haslam of Tennessee
Greg Abbott of Texas
Scott Walker of Wisconsin
Matt Bevin, governor-elect of Kentucky

GOP Presidential Candidates:

Donald Trump
Ben Carson – no religious test, but an “ideological” one
Marco Rubio
Ted Cruz
John Kasich
Rand Paul 
Jeb Bush – only Christian refugees
Carly Fiorina
Chris Christie – no Syrian refugees, “not even 5-year-old orphans
Lindsey Graham
Mike Huckabee
George Pataki
Rick Santorum

Image by Mike Licht via Flickr and a CC license

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RACISM AND SEXISM IN AMERICA

Senate Committee Postpones Confirmation Hearing on Biden OMB Pick After Manchin Leads Revolt Over Mean Tweets

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The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is postponing its Wednesday confirmation hearing for Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s pick to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), after Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced he will vote against her, based on her record of posting mean tweets.

Axios, first reporting the news, calls it “a potential death knell” for Tanden’s confirmation, although it could give the Biden White House time to try to shore up support among Republican Senators.

Tanden would be the first woman of color to head OMB.

Manchin’s stunning announcement Friday has led to three Republicans jumping on board, also announcing their opposition.

None of the opposition is on qualifications – Tanden, a policy expert has led the Center for American Progress for nearly a decade, and worked in both the Clinton and Obama White Houses.

Earlier –
‘Oh Come On’: Joe Manchin Insists His Opposition to First Woman of Color OMB Nominee ‘Is Not Personal’

“We are postponing the business meeting because members are asking for more time to consider the nominee,” an unnamed committee aide told Axios. “The president deserves to have a team in place that he wants, and we’re going to work with our members to figure out the best path forward.”

But many Democrats see Manchin’s opposition as nothing more than sexism, misogyny, and racism. He has voted for far less qualified candidates with far greater issues than Tanden, all of whom happened to be men, and mostly white men. Among them, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was not only credibly accused of sexual assault, but engaged a shocking on-camera attack promising revenge during his confirmation hearing.

“Other supporters have accused Tanden’s opponents of hypocrisy, noting Manchin and many Republican senators voted to confirm nominees of President Trump who also had posted caustic tweets,” Axios adds.

Manchin followed up his opposition to Tanden with a suggestion he might not support Biden’s nominee to head the Dept. of the Interior, a sitting U.S. Congresswoman who is Native American, Deb Haaland.

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IF IT LOOKS LIKE A DUCK AND WALKS LIKE A DUCK

‘Oh Come On’: Joe Manchin Insists His Opposition to First Woman of Color OMB Nominee ‘Is Not Personal’

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is responding to massive criticism of him over the past few days, culminating in allegations of sexism and racism, over his announcement he is opposed to President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget.

“Oh come on,” Manchin, who heads the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, told NBC News’ Garrett Haake when asked about his opposition to Neera Tanden, “it’s not personal at all. No, no.”

Manchin announced his opposition to Tanden on Friday, opening the door for three Republicans to almost immediately follow: Senators Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Rob Portman and subsequently declared their opposition.

Tanden is a woman of color. Born to Indian immigrants, she has been president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress for nearly a decade. She also served in both the Clinton and Obama White Houses and as an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Manchin and Republicans have been attacking her over her admittedly mean tweets, many of which she chose to delete in an apparent effort to show contrition. She’s also repeatedly apologized.

But Tanden isn’t the only woman Manchin opposes, nor the only woman of color.

Related: ‘Jim Crow Joe’ Manchin Accused of Working to ‘Derail’ Biden’s Agenda – Some Now Accuse Him of Racism and Misogyny

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) is President Biden’s pick to be Secretary of the Interior. She would be the first Native American to run the $20+ billon agency, and the first Native American Cabinet Secretary.

Manchin declared he was unsure of her nomination on Monday.

That would be two of President Biden’s picks Manchin seemingly opposes, both women of color, and neither of grounds they are not qualified.

Manchin late last month also reportedly “sniped” at Vice President Kamala Harris, after she visited West Virginia to drum up support for the administration’s coronavirus relief package.

Many say they are starting to see a pattern with Manchin, a Democrat so conservative there are three Republicans to the left of him. That pattern involves giving Republican presidents and male nominees, especially white male nominees, great deference, as his voting history proves.

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SERIOUSLY?

Top Texas Elected Official’s 2021 Priorities: Pandemic, Power Grid, and Star Spangled Banner Protection Act

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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday unveiled his top 31 priorities for the 2021 legislative session, a mix of newly urgent issues after last week’s winter storm, familiar topics stemming from the coronavirus pandemic and a fresh injection of conservative red meat into a session that has been relatively bland so far.

Patrick said in a statement that he is “confident these priorities address issues that are critical to Texans at this time” and that some of them changed in recent days due to the storm, which left millions of Texans without power. After his top priority — the must-pass budget — Patrick listed his priorities as reforming the state’s electrical grid operator, as well as “power grid stability.”

Patrick’s specific plans for such items remain unclear, however. Almost all of his priority bills have not been filed yet, and the list he released refers to the issues in general terms.

Reference

View the full list of Dan Patrick’s priorities here.

(555.8 KB)

The priorities echo much of the agenda that Gov. Greg Abbott laid out in his State of the State speech earlier this month, including his emergency items like expanding broadband access and punishing local governments that “defund the police.” Fourth on the list is a cause that Patrick himself prioritized recently — a “Star Spangled Banner Protection Act” that would require the national anthem to be played at all events that get public funding.

However, besides the fresh focus on the electrical grid, perhaps the most notable takeaway from Patrick’s agenda is how far it goes in pushing several hot-button social conservative issues. Patrick’s eighth and ninth priorities have to do with abortion — a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as well as an “abortion ban trigger” that would automatically ban the practice if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Abbott said he wanted to further restrict abortion in his State of the State speech but did not mention those two proposals specifically.

Abortion is not the only politically contentious topic on Patrick’s list. As his 29th priority, Patrick put “Fair Sports for Women & Girls,” an apparent reference to proposals that would ban transgender girls and women who attend public schools from playing on single-sex sports teams designated for girls and women. He also included three items related to gun rights: “Protect Second Amendment Businesses,” “Stop Corporate Gun Boycotts,” and “Second Amendment Protections for Travelers.” It was not immediately clear what specifically those three bills would entail.

Coming in at 10th is another proposal that was left unmentioned in Abbott’s speech despite popularity with the GOP base: banning taxpayer-funded lobbying. That is considered one of the big pieces of leftover business for conservatives after the 2019 session.

While the new state House speaker, Dade Phelan, has been a proponent of outlawing taxpayer-funded lobbying, it remains to be seen how receptive the lower chamber will be to the rest of Patrick’s agenda. The House, especially under previous Speaker Joe Straus, has a history of slowing — or stopping — at least some of Patrick’s most controversial ideas. Phelan has not released a similar list of priorities.

To be sure, though, Patrick’s list covers all five emergency items that Abbott designated in his State of the State speech, when the governor vowed to use this session to aid Texas’ recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Patrick said in a statement that he backs Abbott’s priorities “as well as other legislation to make sure the Texas economy continues to come back stronger than ever following the pandemic.”

Patrick’s priorities drew the swiftest pushback from abortion rights advocates. Dyana Limon-Mercado, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said Patrick was elevating the wrong issues, especially after the winter storm.

“Just when we think state leaders can’t go any lower, Dan Patrick throws out this list—nothing more than a political stunt and a weak attempt to save face with his base, while Texans still need essential health care and critical community support,” Limon-Mercado said in a statement.

For Patrick, the priority list marks something of an end to a relatively quiet start to the session for the typically outspoken lieutenant governor. He has increased his public profile in recent days, including by announcing his plan for the national anthem legislation after a report that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban decided to stop playing the song during home games this season.

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/23/dan-patrick-2021-priorities/.

 

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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