It is not “mental illness” – it is minds poisoned by right-wing lies

Right-wing canard alert!!

Yesterday’s domestic terrorism incident at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs generated a cornucopia of right-wing canards (do not cook and eat them, they are poisonous!).

Here’s one! From a congressman … who CNN decided they should have on LIVE TV while the terrorist was still active in Colorado Springs (“CNN: When we can’t be bothered reporting the news, we just make stuff up!!”):

[Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) had no problem] diagnosing the motives and influences of the shooter. “This is a person that has a mental health issue, that is to some level psychotic and crazy,” Kinzinger said. He also said the shooter could have had a “legitimate disagreement” with Planned Parenthood.

Aha! This kind of “legitimate” disagreement?

“We saw these barbaric videos, and that was something that many of us have a legitimate concern about,” Kinzinger said.

He demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood for even suggesting that the terrorist may have been inspired by the anti-woman jihadists in Congress:

“We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country.”
– Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains

And it is that poisonous environment, fueled by right-wing lies and enabled by Republicans in Congress that has given people like the terrorist in Colorado Springs permission to kill. Maybe there is a mental illness, Congressman, Planned Parenthood Derangement Syndrome – PPDS, with its roots in centuries of misogyny and women as property and reinforced by this terrorist organization:

Own this, Republican Congressmen. You and your party have blood on your hands.

Meanwhile, the sounds of silence from the GOP presidential candidates is deafening:

Approximately 10 hours after a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, only two presidential candidates have issued statements expressing support for either the three victims or the women’s health organization.

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton
Today and every day, we #StandWithPP.

Bernie Sanders @BernieSanders
We proudly #StandWithPP of Colorado Springs and the brave law enforcement personnel who fought to protect it.

p.s. You can Stand with Planned Parenthood also:

Click to Donate

Weekly Address: President Obama – This Thanksgiving, Recognizing the Greatness of American Generosity

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address – On Thanksgiving Day

In this week’s address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and reflected on America’s history of welcoming men and women seeking a safer, better future for themselves and their families. On this uniquely American holiday, he recognized the greatness of American generosity, as evidenced by people are the country who use the day to volunteer and give back to others. And he shared stories of Americans who, in that same spirit of generosity, have written letters to him expressing their willingness to open their homes to refugees fleeing the brutality of ISIL. Like the pilgrims who set sail on the Mayflower nearly four centuries ago, these refugees are looking for safety and another chance. And it is important to remember that they undergo the highest security checks of anyone traveling to the United States. The President reminded us that providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people is an American tradition, and part of what makes this country the greatest on Earth.

From the White House: Giving Thanks and Giving Back

Yesterday, President Obama, accompanied by the First Daughters, Sasha and Malia, pardoned “Abe” and “Honest”, the National Thanksgiving Turkeys:


This year’s lucky turkey was “Abe,” an 18-week-old, 40-pound turkey raised in California’s Central Valley under the supervision of the National Turkey Federation.

“Abe is now a free bird. He’s TOTUS -– the Turkey of the United States,” Obama said.

“If for some reason Abe can’t fulfill his duties to walk around and gobble all day, Honest is in an undisclosed location ready to serve in the TOTUS line of succession,” he continued.

But another thing the First Family did was remind us that today people are hungry and that food insecurity is real.

Today at Feeding America, your dollars towards feeding the hungry will buy twice as many meals:

$1 buys 11 meals but today it will buy 22 thanks to a gift from Ameriprise Financial.

President Obama: “We will not give in to fear, or start turning on each other, or treating some people differently because of religion or race or background”

President Obama held a press conference before he returned to the United States after his overseas travels this past week:

President Obama held a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the U.S.-ASEAN and East Asia Summits on November 22, 2015.


[Our] coalition will not relent. We will not accept the idea that terrorist assaults on restaurants and theaters and hotels are the new normal — or that we are powerless to stop them. After all, that’s precisely what terrorists like ISIL want, because, ultimately, that’s the only way that they can win. That’s the very nature of terrorism –they can’t beat us on the battlefield, so they try to terrorize us into being afraid, into changing our patterns of behavior, into panicking, into abandoning our allies and partners, into retreating from the world. And as President, I will not let that happen. […]

In our diverse societies, everybody can do their part. And we will not give in to fear, or start turning on each other, or treating some people differently because of religion or race or background. That wouldn’t just be a betrayal of our values, it would also feed ISIL’s propaganda — their assertion, which is absolutely false, that we must absolutely reject, that we are somehow at war with an entire religion. The United States could never be at war with any religion because America is made up of multiple religions. We’re strengthened by people from every religion, including Muslim Americans.

So I want to be as clear as I can on this: Prejudice and discrimination helps ISIL and undermines our national security.

… the message I have is that those of us who are charged with protecting the American people are going to do everything we can to destroy this particular network. Once this network is destroyed — and it will be — there may be others that pop up in different parts of the world, and so we’re going to have to continue to take seriously how we maintain the infrastructure that we’ve built to prevent this. But it doesn’t have to change the fundamental trajectory of the American people. And that we should feel confident about.

And the media needs to help in this. I just want to say — during the course of this week, a very difficult week, it is understandable that this has been a primary focus. But one of the things that has to happen is how we report on this has to maintain perspective, and not empower in any way these terrorist organizations or elevate them in ways that make it easier for them to recruit or make them stronger.

They’re a bunch of killers with good social media. And they are dangerous, and they’ve caused great hardship to people. But the overwhelming majority of people who go about their business every day, the Americans who are building things, and making things, and teaching, and saving lives as firefighters and as police officers — they’re stronger. Our way of life is stronger. We have more to offer — we represent 99.9 percent of humanity. And that’s why we should be confident that we’ll win.

Full transcript below.

Weekly Address: Vice President Biden – In the Face of Terror, We Stand as One

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the Vice President spoke to his and the President’s commitment to protecting our country from terrorists, while also providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. He emphasized that he and the President consider the safety of the American people to be their first priority. But slamming the door in the face of refugees fleeing precisely the type of senseless violence that occurred in Paris last week would be a betrayal of our values. The vast majority of Syrian refugees are women, children, and orphans; survivors of torture; and people desperately in need of medical help. And all refugees undergo the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States. The Vice President reminded us that ISIL wants us to turn our backs on Muslims victimized by terrorism. We win by prioritizing our security while refusing to compromise our fundamental American values of freedom, openness, and tolerance.

“Leave Ted Alooooone!!”

President Obama in the Philippines on Tuesday:

I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate. ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West. And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility, suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.

And I would add, by the way, these are the same folks oftentimes who suggest that they’re so tough that just talking to Putin or staring down ISIL, or using some additional rhetoric somehow is going to solve the problems out there. But apparently, they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion. First, they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates. Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.

Senator Ted Cruz (R) on the campaign trail on Wednesday:

“Let me suggest something Mr President, if you want to insult me, you can do it overseas. You can do it in Turkey. You can do it in foreign countries,” Cruz told reporters. “But I would encourage you, Mr. President, come back and insult me to my face.”

First a map:

Then a reminder:

Sadly, President Obama is unlikely to want to give free press to one of the single-digit-polling Republican presidential wannabees … because a Barack Obama v Ted Cruz debate would be great theatre.

These are people, not symbols – UPDATED with pesky facts

The last minute rejection of the Syrian refugee family by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is a lot of things (many of which involve curse words) but it should not be used to build court test cases that will only turn these families into victims once again.

Some people are upset that the agencies “gave in” and resettled them elsewhere (thank you, Connecticut!) rather than sending them to places where they are not wanted and would likely be treated badly. People are not symbols, they are flesh and blood and they deserve to be treated well:

[Resettlement agency] Exodus could have stuck to its guns and refused to arrange for the refugees to be redirected. That might have forced a showdown with the state government, if Pence continued to insist the state could prevent refugees from entering. More likely, though, Exodus would have had to resettle the family in Indianapolis on its own — without help from state social services.

The director of the New Haven refugee organization told the Times, “By diverting this family, we don’t want to set a precedent.” […]

The Obama administration could alleviate the resource crunch by sending non-Syrian refugees to states that reject Syrian ones — but that would be a tacit acceptance of the governors’ refusal, something President Obama doesn’t seem willing to countenance.

No, just no. THAT would be a worse precedent, allowing the states to legally discriminate based on religion and country of origin.

What we should do is to ask the State Department to add another criteria to their resettlement process: do NOT send them to states run by politicians who engage in unwelcoming rhetoric. It is a simple test, look for the “R” after their names.

The White House has some more concrete ideas …

President Obama: “We don’t have religious tests to our compassion”

President Obama spoke in Antalya Turkey on Monday from the G20 Summit. Following his statement, he answered questions from the press

President Obama on ISIL and Islam and the refugee crisis:

The overwhelming majority of victims of terrorism over the last several years, and certainly the overwhelming majority of victims of ISIL, are themselves Muslims. ISIL does not represent Islam. It is not representative in any way of the attitudes of the overwhelming majority of Muslims. […]

And so to the degree that anyone would equate the terrible actions that took place in Paris with the views of Islam, those kinds of stereotypes are counterproductive. They’re wrong. They will lead, I think, to greater recruitment into terrorist organizations over time if this becomes somehow defined as a Muslim problem as opposed to a terrorist problem. […]

One of the places that you’re seeing this debate play itself out is on the refugee issue both in Europe, and I gather it started popping up while I was gone back in the United States. The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. They are parents, they are children, they are orphans. And it is very important — and I was glad to see that this was affirmed again and again by the G20 — that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism. […]

… the United States has to step up and do its part. And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution — that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

When Pope Francis came to visit the United States, and gave a speech before Congress, he didn’t just speak about Christians who were being persecuted. He didn’t call on Catholic parishes just to admit to those who were of the same religious faith. He said, protect people who are vulnerable. […]

I had a lot of disagreements with George W. Bush on policy, but I was very proud after 9/11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on Islam. And the notion that some of those who have taken on leadership in his party would ignore all of that, that’s not who we are. On this, they should follow his example. It was the right one. It was the right impulse. It’s our better impulse. And whether you are European or American, the values that we are defending — the values that we’re fighting against ISIL for are precisely that we don’t discriminate against people because of their faith. We don’t kill people because they’re different than us. That’s what separates us from them. And we don’t feed that kind of notion that somehow Christians and Muslims are at war.

(full transcript below)