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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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Republicans suggest defunding Veteran Affairs even though it helps 9 million vets

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Republican legislators are starting to suggest defunding the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the office founded in 1989 to assist with veteran needs. The VA assists with getting veterans mental and physical healthcare, educational opportunities, community support, and other everyday housing and living needs.

An Arizona legislator, captured on video participating in a mock congressional hearing, said he supported shutting down the department.

“That’s sort of what I’m thinking because … I hear no good stories. I had zero in my district,” the legislator said in a video posted by the far-right watchdog group Patriot Takes. “So I guess it’s a matter of us leading the fight to defund it.”

A second video, posted by the same account, showed Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz advocating for defunding the VA while speaking at an event held by FreedomWorks, a conservative and libertarian advocacy group.

“This is my question to the group. Is it savable? Why not abolish the VA, take all of the money that we are otherwise spending and go to an any willing provider system inside of our communities?” Gaetz says in the video. “And then, if people get bad care, they can vote with their feet and you don’t have a two-tier system of healthcare in this country with our veterans and then with everyone else.”

Generally speaking, Republican policies favor the privatization of all government functions, thinking that a “small government,” “free-market,” “for-profit” privatization provided by a corporation can solve any market ill.

In reality, if entire communities are deprived of VA access, U.S. military veterans will be left largely on their own to get their life needs met after militaries service. Those who lack money or transportation won’t be able to “vote with their feet” and find a local care provider to handle their specific issues… they’ll either have to spend massive amounts to get such essential care or just go without.

In late July, 41 Senate Republicans voted against a bill aimed at protecting veterans exposed to toxic materials during their military service. The legislation would have expanded care to 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. It would have also added 23 toxic and burn pit exposure-related illnesses to the VA database, Newsweek reported.

After massive blowback, Senate Republicans re-voted on the bill and helped it pass.

Patriot Takes posted the video hoping that it would encourage veterans and military members to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.

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'PRIORITIES'

Red states are lining up to stop Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

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Six red states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina — are suing the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden over Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for individuals making less than $125,000 a year.

The Biden administration based its plan on a 2003 law. According to the Justice Department, the law, initially meant to help military members, says that Biden can reduce or erase student loan debts during times of national emergency.

The red states’ lawsuit, filed Thursday in Missouri, said that Biden’s plan was “not remotely tailored to address the effects of the pandemic on federal student loan borrowers.” The lawsuit adds that, since Biden recently declared the COVID-19 pandemic as over, he can’t use it as a justification for his wide-scale debt relief plan, ABC News reported.

“It’s patently unfair to saddle hard-working Americans with the loan debt of those who chose to go to college,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said of her state’s lawsuit. “The Department of Education is required, under the law, to collect the balance due on loans. And President Biden does not have the authority to override that.”

The states argued that Biden’s plan inflicted a “number of ongoing financial harms” to student loan providers and also “will ultimately disrupt revenue to state coffers.” They also argued that Biden’s plan violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a law regulating how federal agencies ensure that presidential policies are well-reasoned and explained, the aforementioned publication reported.

Despite these claims, the White House has said it will continue with its plan, confident it can survive a court challenge.

“Republican officials from these six states are standing with special interests, and fighting to stop relief for borrowers buried under mountains of debt,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said Thursday. “The president and his administration are lawfully giving working and middle class families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and prepare to resume loan payments in January.”

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Alex Jones declares that he’s Hitler and a child murderer in unhinged interview

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Alex Jones, the host of the conspiracy theory show InfoWars declared that he himself is Hitler and that he shot kids to death in an interview on Channel 5 with Andrew Callaghan.

When Callaghan asked Jones if he felt responsible for what happened to the Sandy Hook parents, meaning the harassment and death threats they faced after Jones told his millions of viewers that they were “crisis actors” who helped fake a 2012 school shooting in order to help the government confiscate people’s guns.

Jones responded, “I went to that school. I pulled the gun out. I shot every one of myself. I mean, I’m guilty.” Later on, he repeats over and over again, “I killed them. I’ll admit it. I did it. I’m the bad guy…. I murdered those children. I did. I did it myself.”

The December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting left 26 people dead, including 20 children ages 6 and 7. Jones was not the shooter.

“We should bow five times a day to New Haven, Connecticut for the kids that died,” Jones said, before saying that people have been hypnotized into believing that they should give their guns to George Soros, a Jewish billionaire that anti-Semites think controls left-wing politics.

“I was actually Hitler. It wasn’t actually Hitler,” Jones said. “I did it. I was in a time machine in Germany. I did all that.”

Later in the interview, Jones said, “I was being sarcastic earlier. I didn’t kill the children. I’m not Jeffrey Dahmer. I didn’t invent hemorrhoids. I simply questioned things and they’re trying to demonize me to say questioning things is a bad deal.”

That’s a lie though. Jones himself said the shooting was fake, and he has said in court that he believed it was, though he now believes otherwise. He has also claimed that his company is broke, despite raking in millions in online sales.

“Nobody thinks you killed the kids,” Callaghan told Jones during their interview. “Nobody thinks that oh, it’s what you did. What you killed is [the parents’] ability to get over the death of children.”

Jones responded, “Everyone’s like yeah, ‘We’re gonna get him immediately.’ Like, they’ve built me up and like I’m this giant creature like all-powerful, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and none of it’s real. So it’s like it’s funny, actually. It’s actually comical. I mean, it’s, it’s actually hilarious.”

Jones is being sued for defamation by several parents of Sandy Hook victims who said they experienced hardship stemming from his claims. In court, Jones said he was tired of apologizing for his statements about the shooting being a hoax.

In August 2018, Jones and InfoWars were both banned from YouTube, Apple, Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) for repeatedly violating their policies forbidding hate speech and glorifying violence. Twitter banned him a month later for “abusive behavior.”

Jones said his banning was political censorship because the mainstream is afraid of “the truth.”

Jones has claimed on InfoWars that the government is controlling the weather; Democratic politician Hillary Clinton runs a child sex ring out of a gay-owned D.C.-area pizza restaurant (something known as Pizzagate); that the transgender rights movement is a plot to allow people to have sex with their cars; and that millions of undocumented immigrants illegally voted in the 2016 presidential election (echoing a baseless claim repeated by then-President Donald Trump).

In a child custody case, Jones’ lawyer said that he is an actor whose words shouldn’t be taken seriously.

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