“It is impossible to say which is more appalling: Giuliani’s willful ignorance of Obama’s heritage (his grandfather served in World War II while his grandmother worked on a B-29 assembly line); Giuliani’s division of the country into right-thinking Americans (Republicans) and unworthy others; or Giuliani’s sense that he had hit on a winning political tactic in poking the hornet’s nest of haters. Rudy Giuliani loves America. But apparently he hates Barack Obama even more.” — NY Daily News 2/19/15

“Can you be your own man while sharing a last name with other men with complicated legacies inside and outside your own party? Can you be your own man while talking to the same men (and some of the women) who advised those other men during some of the low and high points of their foreign policies? Can a man who once famously said he never disagreed with anything his brother did as president find a few areas where he parts ways?” — Rick Klein on Jeb Bush’s candidacy. 2/19/2015

“Now that their predictions of doom and gloom and death panels and Armageddon haven’t come true — sky hasn’t fallen, Chicken Little’s quiet — the new plan apparently of congressional Republicans, and this is progress, the new plan is to rebrand themselves as the party of the middle class. Not making this up.” — President Barack Obama 2/20/15

“We know that Tehran knows the details of the talks. Now I tell you that Israel also knows the details of the proposed agreement. I think this is a bad agreement that is dangerous for the state of Israel, and not just for it.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who continues to go out of his way to attack the Obama administration. 2/20/14

“Okay. I didn’t know that’s how the economy worked, but maybe. We’ll call some economists.” — President Obama laughing off Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) recent suggestion that positive economic signs could be connected to the GOP’s sweeping victory in the 2014 midterm election. 2/20/15

“I don’t know. I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that. I’ve never asked him that. You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?” — Scott Walker on whether the president is a Christian or not. 2/21/15

“I’ve never asked the President so I don’t really know what his opinions are on that one way or another.” — Gov. Scott Walker on whether Obama loves America or not 2/21/15.

“Rudy has devolved into this red meat Republican base ideologue who periodically seems to need self identification. Maybe it is Rudy in his dotage, where he has lost whatever boundaries he once had. He sounds like a bitter old man.” — Douglas Muzzio, a political scientist at Baruch College and a New York City media commentator. 2/20/15


“Sen. McConnell promised the moon but delivered a box of rocks.” — Harry Reid’s spokesperson, Adam Jentleson, on Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) first month, which ranks as the least productive in the last five sessions of Congress, going back to 2007, with fewest bills passed, excluding resolutions, and fewest nominations confirmed by roll call votes. 2/23/15

“I’m still trying to decipher if this is God’s calling. You’ve got to be crazy to want to be president of the United States. You’ve got to be crazy. To look at what it does to a person and a family, you’ve got to be crazy. But you should only do it if you feel that God’s called you to get in there and make a difference.” — Gov. Scott Walker (R) 2/24/15

“Hey Rudy, why don’t you ask Osama bin Laden if President Obama loves America?” —Barbara Boxer@BarbaraBoxer 2/24/15

“The prime minister was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush. We all know what happened with that decision.” —Secretary of State John Kerry on Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of a hypothetical deal with Iran as a threat to Israel. 2/25/15

1. The Borowitz Report: Forgotten Man Seeks Attention

A largely forgotten man sought attention on Wednesday night before returning to obscurity on Thursday, according to reports.

Rudy Guillani, whom many Americans had difficulty placing, was making a desperate bid to remind people of his existence, experts believe.

His efforts were somewhat successful, as his widely reported outburst caused people across the country to rack their brains to try to remember who he was.

After briefly attempting to recall where they had seen the man before, many people gave up and moved on with their days, but for others, the desperate man’s remarks left a bitter aftertaste.

“There is no excuse for making comments like those, no matter who you are,” Tracy Klugian, forty-seven, of Springfield, Missouri, said. “Who is he again?”

Still others showed concern for the man, and expressed hope that, instead of future bids for attention, he would find fulfillment in crafting or some other harmless hobby.

LATER: In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his love of country, telling the nation, “I love America—even its idiots.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/



— “I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.” — Former NY City Mayor Rudy GiulianI 2/19/15

— “If you are looking for someone to condemn the Mayor, look elsewhere.” — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R). 2/19/15


“If the Republican Party really wants to be taken seriously…really wants to avoid its problems of the past…now is the time for its leaders to stop this kind of nonsense. Enough.” — DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl). 2/19/15

“It’s a hit piece. Everything I said about what I reported in South and Central America is true. Everything.” — Bill O’Reilly saying that the Mother Jones report about hesfalse claims about his Falklands War experience is “a piece of garbage” and that its principal author, David Corn, is a “despicable guttersnipe.” 2/19/15


“Bill O’Reilly is hiding behind name-calling, rather than dealing with the substance of the matter. Mother Jones sent him a long list of detailed questions about his comments regarding his experience as a war reporter. He and Fox News declined to respond. Instead, O’Reilly hurls invective, seemingly to distract. The basic issue is this: On repeated instances, O’Reilly said he was in the “war zone” during the Falklands conflict of 1982. Yet, according to his own colleagues at the time and other U.S. reporters working in Buenos Aires then, no American correspondent ever made it to the war zone, which was 1,200 miles away and far out at sea. Mother Jones simply compared O’Reilly’s assertions with the facts and identified a contradiction. He chooses to ignore that and to resort to insults. That doesn’t change the facts.” — David Corn. 2/19/15


“I don’t hear from him what I heard from Harry Truman, what I heard from Bill Clinton, what I heard from Jimmy Carter, which is these wonderful words about what a great country we are, what an exceptional country we are.“– Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani 2/19/15


— “These people are a part of me. And they are part of America, this country that I love.” — Barack Obama March 18, 2008

— “The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.” — Barack Obama August 28, 2008

— “The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known.” — Barack Obama June 4, 2009

— “We keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon knowing that providence is with us and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.” — Barack Obama Sept. 6, 2012

— “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.  But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.” — Barack Obama May 28, 2014

More from Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post Fact Checker at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/02/22/giulianis-false-claims-about-obamas-speeches/


3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Sean Hannity Defends Giuliani’s Claim That Obama Doesn’t Love America http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/02/19/sean-hannity-defends-giulianis-claim-that-obama/202576

O’Reilly Lashes Out At Critics Of His Falklands War Claims http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/02/20/oreilly-lashes-out-at-critics-of-his-war-falkla/202608

Bill O’Reilly: Former CBS News Correspondent Eric Engberg “Is A Coward” For Criticizing His Falklands War Reporting http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/02/22/bill-oreilly-former-cbs-news-correspondent-eric/202614

Former CBS News Colleague Calls O’Reilly’s Combat Claim “Absurd” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/23/former-cbs-news-colleague-calls-oreillys-combat/202624

Fox’s Katie Pavlich Echoes Giuliani: Obama Has A “Blame America First” Approach http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/02/23/foxs-katie-pavlich-echoes-giuliani-obama-has-a/202628

Conservative Media Use Mall Of America Threat To Promote Concealed Guns As A Terrorism Solution http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/24/conservative-media-use-mall-of-america-threat-t/202651

Fox News Rallies Behind Florist Who Refused To Serve Gay Couple http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/24/fox-news-rallies-behind-florist-who-refused-to/202649

O’Reilly Lied About Suicide Of JFK Assassination Figure, Former Colleagues Say http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/24/oreilly-lied-about-suicide-of-jfk-assassination/202655

Under Scrutiny For Fabrications, O’Reilly Shifts Focus To Claim Fox News Is Under Siege http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/24/under-scrutiny-for-fabrications-oreilly-shifts/202658

Limbaugh: Obama’s Race Gives Him “Blanket Amnesty” To Push “Illegal Executive Amnesty”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/02/25/limbaugh-obamas-race-gives-him-blanket-amnesty/202669

4. Few Republicans Think Obama Is Christian

Alex Theodoridis reports on a poll that found 54% of Republicans said that “Muslim” best described what President Obama “believes deep down.” Thirty percent of Republicans answered the way Gov. Scott Walker did, by selecting “I don’t know.” Only 9% selected “Christian” to describe what Obama likely believes.

Interestingly, only 45% of Democrats chose “Christian,” while 17% said “spiritual,” 10% said “Muslim,” and 26% said they didn’t know. 2/25/15 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/25/scott-walkers-view-of-obamas-religion-makes-him-a-moderate/

5. Going back to the future in 2016?

Who among the nascent field of 2016 contenders represents the future?

Asked in a new CNN/ORC poll whether seven possible candidates better represent the future or the past, 50% said Clinton evoked the future, more than said so of any other candidate. By contrast, Joe Biden and Jeb Bush, whose names have been in the political conversation even longer than Clinton’s, were each seen as representing the past by 64% of Americans. 2/18/15 Read more at http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/18/politics/poll-2016-race-hillary-clinton-jeb-bush/index.html

6. Political Polarization in the American Public

Views of the president among members of the opposing party have become steadily more negative over time. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, his average approval rating among Democrats has been 81%, compared with just 14% among Republicans.

During Eisenhower’s two terms, from 1953-1960, an average of 49% of Democrats said they approved of the job the Republican president was doing in office. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, an average of 31% of Democrats approved of his job performance. And just over a quarter (27%) of Republicans offered a positive assessment of Clinton between 1993 and 2000. But the two most recent presidents – George W. Bush and Obama – have not received even this minimal level of support. 2/16/15 Read more at http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/16/presidential-job-approval-ratings-from-ike-to-obama/

7. Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry

Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers.

According to newly released documents, the biggest single funder was Southern Company, one of the country’s biggest electricity providers that relies heavily on coal.

The documents draw new attention to the industry’s efforts to block action against climate change – including President Barack Obama’s power-plant rules.

Unlike the vast majority of scientists, Soon does not accept that rising greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial age are causing climate changes. He contends climate change is driven by the sun.

In the relatively small universe of climate denial Soon, with his Harvard-Smithsonian credentials, was a sought after commodity. He was cited admiringly by Senator James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who famously called global warming a hoax. He was called to testify when Republicans in the Kansas state legislature tried to block measures promoting wind and solar power. The Heartland Institute, a hub of climate denial, gave Soon a courage award. 2/21/15 Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/21/climate-change-denier-willie-soon-funded-energy-industry


8. Walker Leads the GOP Pack

PPP’s newest national Republican poll finds a clear leader in the race for the first time: Scott Walker is at 25% to 18% for Ben Carson, 17% for Jeb Bush, and 10% for Mike Huckabee. Rounding out the field of contenders are Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5%, Rand Paul at 4%, and Rick Perry and Marco Rubio at 3%.

Walker has more than doubled his support since his 11% standing on our January national poll, and Carson has moved up 3 points.  Bush, Huckabee, Paul, and Perry have largely stayed in place while Cruz has dropped 4 points and Christie has dropped 2 points.

Walker is climbing fast in the polling because of his appeal to the most conservative elements of the Republican electorate. Among ‘very conservative’ voters he leads with 37% to 19% for Carson, 12% for Bush, and 11% for Huckabee. Bush has a similarly large lead over Walker with moderates at 34/12…the problem for Bush though is that there are two times more GOP primary voters who identify as ‘very conservative’ than there are ones who identify as moderates. 2/24/15 Read more at http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2015/02/walker-breaks-out-in-national-gop-race.html


9. Do Voters Believe Obama Loves America?

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 35% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with this statement made last week by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – “I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republican voters do not believe Obama loves the nation he leads. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Democrats and unaffiliated voters by a 48% to 33% margin say that’s not true. 2/24/15 Read more at http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/february_2015/



1. Dean Obeidallah: Why Calling ISIS Islamic Only Plays Into Its Hands

Takeaway from White House summit: ISIS and Al Qaeda want us to call them Islamic. It helps them recruit. Is this so hard to understand?

If you want to help ISIS and Al Qaeda, then call them Islamic. That’s one of my big takeaways from this week’s White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), which I attended on Wednesday.

Speakers at the CVE summit, which featured counterterrorism experts, elected officials including the Mayor of Paris, law enforcement, and Muslim leaders, offered a few reasons for this proposition.First, it’s simply inaccurate. As President Obama said as the closing speaker of the day, ISIS and Al Qaeda “no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism.” Obama also offered a sentiment very similar to the NRA mantra: Religion doesn’t kill people, people kill people.

I understand that some will dismiss that as political correctness. Well, maybe then these reasons will move those people. As Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) put it at the summit, ISIS wants us to believe its actions are based in Islam because it frames the conflict as a religious war between the West and Islam. This then enables these terror groups to claim they are the defenders of Islam, thus, assisting them in raising funds and attracting recruits.

But there’s another point raised subtly by some, including Obama, and more explicitly by Jordanian counterterrorism expert Suleiman Bakhit, whom I spoke to one on one, that has received little to no coverage in our media. ISIS and Al Qaeda not only want people in the Muslim world to think their actions are based on Islam, but they want Westerners to as well. Why? Because they hope that people will retaliate against Muslims living in the West for Al Qaeda and ISIS’ actions. If these Muslims are then subject to demonization, hate crimes or worse, the terrorists can tell Muslims: “See, the West hates Islam! That is why you should join us to fight them.” 2/19/15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/19/why-calling-isis-islamic-only-plays-into-its-hands.html


2. Dana Milbank: Jeb adds to the quotable-Bush canon

Bush leads in the early GOP 2016 polls because his name is Bush, but that name could bring about his downfall, as well, because his brother’s tenure is remembered for misery in Iraq and economic collapse. Try though he did to differentiate himself from George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, John Ellis Bush’s delivery gave him away.

When he addressed the Chicago Council on Global Affairs luncheon at the Fairmont, he combined his father’s awkward oratory with his brother’s mangled syntax and malapropisms. Like his brother, he said “nucular” instead of “nuclear,” and he hunched over the lectern with both hands on it — but instead of exuding folksiness, as his brother does, he oozed discomfort.

A top priority, he explained, is “reforming a broken immigration system and turning it into an economic — a catalytic converter for sustained economic growth.”

Presumably he was reaching for “catalyst” but instead came up with an automotive emissions-control device.

“As we grow our presence by growing our ability to produce oil and gas,” Bush went on, “we also make it possible to lessen the dependency that Russia now has on top of Europe.”

Russia’s dependency on top of Europe? It was, in addition to being backward, a delightful echo of his brother’s belief that it is hard “to put food on your family.”

At another point, discussing NATO’s aggressive stance in the Baltics, Jeb explained that “I don’t know what the effect has been, because, you know, it’s really kind of hard to be out on the road, and I’m just a gladiator these days, so I don’t follow every little detail.”

Bush admitted that his foreign policy was still in the training phase. “Look, the more I get into this stuff, there are some things [where] you just go, you know, ‘Holy schnikes.’ ”

If he keeps talking like this, Americans may say the same of him. 2/18/15 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jeb-bush-flubs-his-speech/2015/02/18/ff9ba502-b7ba-11e4-9423-f3d0a1ec335c_story.html


3. Lloyd Grove: How Bill O’Reilly Keeps Getting Away With It

It doesn’t matter what accusations are leveled at the veteran Fox News host, whatever the new evidence he will shout it down louder than ever.

Poor Bill O’Reilly.

The beleaguered Fox News star—who in recent days has faced unwelcome scrutiny for his tall tales about covering the 1982 Falklands war, and on Tuesday had his veracity further challenged by a report that he fabricated an account of his journalistic exploits in his supposedly nonfiction book, Killing Kennedy—is upset that rival media outlets are being so mean and nasty to him.

By now, pretty much anybody who cares about such things knows that O’Reilly was either repeatedly and recklessly imprecise in publicly recalling his brief stint in Buenos Aires 32 years ago covering a riot of angry Argentines after the military junta surrendered to the British navy, or else he actively embellished his role as a rookie CBS News correspondent who supposedly dodged bullets while being chased by the Argentine army, faced down a young soldier pointing an M-16 at his head, and dragged his injured, bleeding cameraman to safety in the middle of a “combat situation”—while his colleagues cowered in their rooms at the Sheraton.

And yet, because he is Bill O’Reilly, he is grinning (or at least baring his teeth) through his personal apocalypse and brandishing a swift sword at his presumably contemptible enemies. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, as he has so often during O’Reilly flaps of the past, is backing his boy to the hilt, having issued a statement that “Ailes and all senior management are in full support of Bill O’Reilly.” 2/25/15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/25/how-o-reilly-keeps-getting-away-with-it.html


4. NY Daily News: Rudy Giuliani’s disgusting attack on Barack Obama

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. What the hell’s gotten into you? Something awful.

Odiously, New York’s former mayor declared on Wednesday evening that Barack Obama is a President who loves neither the U.S. nor many of its people.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the President loves America,” Giuliani told a dinner featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential Republican presidential contender.

Having descended into that deep, dark hole, where dismal people live, Giuliani continued: “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

It is impossible to say which is more appalling:

Giuliani’s willful ignorance of Obama’s heritage (his grandfather served in World War II while his grandmother worked on a B-29 assembly line); Giuliani’s division of the country into right-thinking Americans (Republicans) and unworthy others; or Giuliani’s sense that he had hit on a winning political tactic in poking the hornet’s nest of haters.

Rudy Giuliani loves America. But apparently he hates Barack Obama even more. 2/19/15 Read more at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/editorial-giuliani-disgusting-attack-obama-article-1.2121564


5. Erwin Chemerinsky, Samuel Kleiner: Texas judge’s immigration ruling is full of legal holes

U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s decision to block the Obama plan to defer deportation for about 5 million immigrants here illegally ignores a basic principle of government: For better or worse, the executive branch of government always has discretion as to whether and how to enforce the law.

The judge’s lengthy opinion is wrong as a matter of law and, worse, is based on xenophobia and stereotypes about immigrants. It is very likely to be overturned by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and, if necessary, the Supreme Court.

Every president must set enforcement priorities on immigration, choosing whom to prosecute or whom to deport. No administration brings prosecutions against all who violate the law. Resources make that impossible, and there are laws on the books that should not be enforced.

Nor has any administration, Democratic or Republican, sought to deport every person who is illegally in the United States. For humanitarian reasons or because of foreign policy considerations or for lack of resources, the government often chooses not to bring deportation actions. In fact, as recently as three years ago, the Supreme Court in United States vs. Arizona recognized that an inherent part of executive control over foreign policy is the ability of the president to choose whether to bring deportation proceedings.

That is exactly what President Obama’s executive orders on immigration have done. He has announced that the federal government will not seek to deport 600,000 young people who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children, or the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have resided in the country for at least five years. Millions of parents would be able to remain with their children because of this order and not need to live every day in fear of deportation. 2/19/15 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-chemerinsky-obama-immigration-injunction-2-20150219-story.html

6. John Cassidy: The Dangerous Candidacy of Scott Walker

Let’s stipulate up front that Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is an odious politician whose ascension to the Presidency would be a disaster.

Set aside, for a moment, his repeated refusal, in the past few days, to say whether he believes that President Obama loves America, or whether he believes that the President is a Christian, and look instead at Walker’s record running what used to be one of America’s more progressive states. Having cut taxes for the wealthy and stripped many of Wisconsin’s public-sector unions of their collective-bargaining rights, he is now preparing to sign a legislative bill that would cripple unions in the private sector. Many wealthy conservatives, such as the Koch brothers, who have funnelled a lot of money to groups supporting Walker, regard him as someone who’s turning his state into a showcase for what they want the rest of America to look like.

Having cemented his reputation as an economic conservative, Walker is busy making a concerted effort to win over social conservatives and evangelical Christians, some of whom apparently believe that Obama is the Antichrist (or perhaps the Seventh King). Earlier this month, during a trip to London, he refused to say whether he believed in evolution, commenting: “That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in, one way or the other.” In addition to making that hat tip to the Book of Genesis brigade, Walker has been reiterating his opposition to gay marriage and taking a notably harder line on abortion than he did during his gubernatorial reëlection campaign, last year. In a recent meeting with Iowa Republicans, the Times reported earlier this week, he stressed his support for a “personhood amendment” that would define life as beginning at conception and effectively outlaw the termination of pregnancies.

It’s still early, very early, of course. But Walker is an ambitious and determined politician who has already been through one tough race—his 2012 recall election—that subjected him to a great deal of media attention and hostility from Democrats. Thanks to his ties to the conservative plutocracy, he’s almost certainly going to have some serious money behind him, and he is trying to pitch his campaign in the sweet spot of G.O.P. primaries, where conservatism and antagonism toward coastal élites meets electability. He has the advantage of youthfulness, at age forty-seven, and, finally, as he pointed out to a convention of Christian broadcasters on Monday, he is, “unlike some out there,” a self-made fellow who “didn’t inherit fame or fortune from my family.” That jab was presumably aimed at Jeb Bush, but if Walker were to get the G.O.P. nomination, it could be modified and directed at Hillary Clinton, assuming that she wins the Democratic nomination.

For all his awfulness, Walker is a serious contender. We’d better get used to it. 2/24/15 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/dangerous-candidacy-scott-walker


7. Maureen Dowd: Jeb Bush’s Brainless Trust

Jeb is bristling with Jane Austen-style condescension, acting as though he would still be where he is if his last name were Tree. The last two presidents in his party were his father and brother, and his brother crashed the family station wagon into the globe, and Jeb is going to have to address that more thoroughly than saying “there were mistakes made in Iraq for sure.”

He says he doesn’t want to focus on “the past,” and who can blame him? But how can he talk about leading America into the future if he can’t honestly assess the past, or his family’s controversial imprint?

In his speech, he blamed President Obama for the void that hatched ISIS, which he also noted didn’t exist in 2003 at the dawn of “the liberation of Iraq.” Actually, his brother’s invasion of Iraq is what spawned Al Qaeda in Iraq, which drew from an insurgency of Sunni soldiers angry about being thrown out of work by the amateurish and vainglorious viceroy, Paul Bremer.

Although Jeb likes to act as though his family is irrelevant to his ambitions, Bushworld stalwarts recite the Bush dynasty narrative like a favorite fairy tale:

The wonky Jeb, not the cocky W., was always 41’s hope. H.W. and Bar never thought W., unprepared, unruly and with a chip on his shoulder, would be president. His parents’ assumption that he was The One got in Jeb’s head and now the 62-year-old feels he needs “to try to correct and make up for some of W.’s mistakes,” as one family friend put it. The older Bush circle seems confident that Jeb sided with his father and Brent Scowcroft on the folly of letting the neocons push America into diverting from Osama to Saddam.

If he wants to reclaim the Bush honor, Jeb should be holding accountable those who inflicted deep scars on America, not holding court with them.

Where’s the shame?

For some reason, Jeb doesn’t see it. 2/21/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-jeb-bushs-brainless-trust.html


8. Peter Beinart: What Does Obama Really Mean by ‘Violent Extremism’?

Sometimes we overlook the obvious. For weeks now, pundits and politicians have been raging over President Obama’s insistence that America is fighting “violent extremism” rather than “radical Islam.” Rudy Giuliani calls the president’s refusal to utter the ‘I’ word “cowardice.” The president’s backers defend it as a savvy refusal to give ISIS the religious war it desperately wants. But, for the most part, both sides agree that when Obama says “violent extremists” he actually means “violent Muslim extremists.” After all, my Atlantic colleague David Frum argues, “The Obama people, not being idiots, understand very well that international terrorism possesses an overwhelmingly Muslim character.”

But what if they don’t? What if Obama is using the term “violent extremism” rather than “radical Islam” not only because he doesn’t want to offend moderate Muslims, but because he’s also worried about violent extremists who aren’t Muslim? It sounds crazy, but it shouldn’t.

Why does this matter? Because the U.S. government has finite resources. If you assume, as conservatives tend to, that the only significant terrorist threat America faces comes from people with names like Mohammed and Ibrahim, then that’s where you’ll devote your time and money. If, on the other hand, you recognize that environmental lunatics and right-wing militia types kill Americans for political reasons too, you’ll spread the money around.

Instead of assuming that these threats are the same, we should be debating the relative danger of each. By using “violent extremism” rather than “radical Islam,” Obama is staking out a position in that argument. It’s a position with which reasonable people can disagree. But cowardice has nothing to do with it. 2/20/15 Read more at http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/02/obama-violent-extremism-radical-islam/385700/


9. Eugene Robinson: The GOP’s Self-Deception

Republicans had better divert some of their campaign cash toward finding a cure for Obama Derangement Syndrome. If they don’t, their nemesis will beat them in a third consecutive presidential contest — without, of course, actually being on the ballot.

GOP power brokers and potential candidates surely realize that President Obama is ineligible to run in 2016. Yet they seem unable to get over the fact that he won in 2008 and 2012. It’s as if they are more interested in vainly trying to rewrite history than attempting to lay out a vision for the future.

Obama Derangement Syndrome is characterized by feverish delirium. The Republican Party suffered an episode last week when former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani began speaking in tongues about Obama’s patriotism.

Giuliani’s burst of nonsense is important because it speaks to the Republican Party’s mindset. If the party is going to contend for the White House, it first has to fully acknowledge and accept that it lost the last two presidential elections. The nation voted twice for Obama and his policies. Deal with it.

Republicans need to abandon the fantasy that there’s some sort of grand deception underlying the Obama presidency. They’re only deceiving themselves. 2/24/15 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/02/24/the_gops_self-deception_125711.html


10. President Obama: Moving forward to fix our broken immigration system

Congress would seek to govern responsibly by supporting common-sense solutions to one of our country’s greatest challenges, just like President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tried to nearly a decade ago. Instead, we’ve seen a series of votes to deport Dreamers, young people who are American in every way except on paper. We’ve even heard irresponsible threats to shut down the Department of Homeland Security, the very agency tasked with securing our borders and keeping Americans safe in a time of new threats, for no reason other than partisan disagreement over my actions.

It’s time to end the era of manufactured crises, put politics aside and focus on doing what’s best for America. So while I will fight any attempt to turn back the progress we’ve made or break up families across our country, I welcome the opportunity to work with anyone who wants to build on the improvements we’ve put in place, and fix our broken immigration system once and for all.

Throughout our history, America’s tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants has continually shaped us for the better. If we renew that tradition, and build upon it for future generations, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. 2/24/15 http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/233585-moving-forward-to-fix-our-broken-immigration-system



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