Gitmo Closure, Redux

I want Steve M. to be wrong here about Dems chickening out on accepting Syrian refugees, but given the repeated history of Dem cowardice on closing Gitmo, I don’t think he is.

And if this can’t be legally blocked by governors, the courts, or a Republican Congress, I’m predicting raw George Wallace-style resistance by the governments of the Southern states especially — or, perhaps, confrontations involving angry True Patriots with AR-15s. As I’ve said before, I lived through busing in Boston. I know how ugly this sort of thing can get if at least some of the people holding government power reject the rule of law.

We’ve been through this sort of thing before in the Obama years. The president wanted to close Guantanamo, send some of the detainees to stateside penal facilities, and conduct trials in New York City. The backlash was fierce, and no one had his back — and please recall that this was in 2009 and early 2010, when his party had large majorities in Congress. (The mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, who’d endorsed Obama in 2008, ultimately stabbed him in the back on this.)

When Obama’s opponents have an ideal opportunity to prey on voters’ fears, they’ll do it, relentlessly. So this is going to be a losing battle for the White House.

I don’t doubt President Obama will find a way to get something done on this, but it’s not going to be pretty.  Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire didn’t hesitate to crap out, presumably to help her Senate chances next year, even though the State Department has taken in refugees since 9/11 without problems.

So what happens?  Hearings?  Legislation tacked on to must-pass bills?  I’m not sure, but what I’m not seeing is Democrats in Congress backing the President’s position on this.  And that makes me think it’s possible that this turns into trying to close Gitmo all over again.

But betting on Democrats not named Obama to have moral courage in the face of rampant Islamophobia has already been a loser for the last seven years.  You’ll forgive me if I think it’s not a solid bet this time around, either.

[UPDATE] If this poll that Greg Sargent brings up is any indication, it’s that Islamophobic assholery in the US hasn’t changed too much in 14 years.

A major new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests these GOP lawmakers and candidates may be reading the mood of the overall public — and GOP voters in particular — with dispiriting accuracy.

The poll finds that Americans overall agree by 56-41 that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and the American way of life. Meanwhile, Americans are almost perfectly split on the value of immigration: 47 percent say immigrants strengthen the country with hard work and talent, while a depressingly high 46 percent say they are a burden on the U.S. because they take jobs, housing and health care. The CEO of PRRI tells religion writer Sarah Posner that the findings show an “increased xenophobic streak” among the American public overall.

So yeah, this is not going to be a good time for refugees.

126 replies
  1. 1
    greennotGreen says:

    And this fear of Syrians is all based on a forged passport? Don’t we really need to be quaking in our boots at the threat of Belgians?

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Don’t know about Congress, but all four Dem presidential candidates support the president on this.

  3. 3

    @Baud: True. I’m sure some state and local officials will go rogue — that happens on every issue. But it’s hard to see how Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley reverse course without looking like craven, pandering jackasses. Not that any politician, including Obama, is completely immune from that impulse…

  4. 4
    Tsukune says:

    Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY)

    “What some have called for – to turn away those fleeing horrible violence based solely on their religion – is against everything we stand for as a nation. One of the most shameful chapters in our nation’s history is the refusal of Jewish Germans seeking refuge in the US after fleeing the Nazi regime. The passengers of the ship called the St. Louis were forced to return to Europe, where many of them died in concentration camps.

    Since then, the U.S. has been a leader in accepting refugees and asylum seekers. And the refusal to discriminate against these people has been an important American value. We have done a lot to right those wrongs, and I don’t support making the same mistake more than 70 years later.

    As Americans, we pride ourselves on constitutionally-protected religious freedom. Admitting just Christian refugees would be un-American.

    As President Obama said today, ‘We don’t have religious tests for our compassion.’

    If we start splitting up refugees based on religion, we will have lost the soul of our nation and everything we stand for. In the hours after the terrifying attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush drew a clear distinction between the Islamic faith and those who cowardly use religion to fulfill their murderous and terroristic intentions. His words are as true today as they were more than fourteen years ago.

    We cannot lose sight of the fact that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism. We cannot turn our back on people in need. All refugees need to go through a rigorous screening process and background checks. These refugees will be heavily scrutinized before being admitted. It can take over two years for Syrian refugees to go through the approval process.

    The safety of Americans must continue to be the top priority, and any future refugee must be put through a rigorous screening process before being admitted. But I denounce the politics of fear currently being employed by those running for President, as well as those already in office at the federal, state and local level.

    Finally, we face stiff challenges as we battle ISIS, and must do so with a clear strategy and determined approach. ISIS must be defeated. Our continued leadership in this regard will work to keep Americans safe. But we cannot lose our principles and what makes us uniquely American in the process.”

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    @Betty Cracker: Well, then they’re all just stuck with being compassionate. Poor them.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    Not that any politician, including Obama, is completely immune from that impulse…

    Comes with the job.

    If things get so bad on this that the candidates have to reverse course, then that’s a failure of liberals IMHO. Politicians aren’t going to stick their necks out for silent constituencies.

    Obama is in a more difficult position since he may face a rider on an appropriations bill. But that’s what low voter turnout in 2014 gets you.

  7. 7
    debbie says:


    And I hope you stick to this!

    On a related note, people in a Colorado county are upset because there’s a chance that Guantanamo detainees will be moved to a nearby maximum security prison (recently built but never used). Of course, I doubt many of those objecting realize that they already have the likes of Richard Reed (shoe bomber) in their midst.

  8. 8


    Politicians aren’t going to stick their necks out for silent constituencies.

    True. And in that spirit, I’m going to do my part and reach out to every candidate / pol who has showed courage on this issue and thank them for it, starting with Congressman Paul Tonko, quoted by Tsukune above.

  9. 9
    Baud says:


    I have a more nuanced proposal from the other Democrats. Under my plan, for every five Syrian refugee we take in, we send Syria one GOP politician. That way, the risk to our country stays the same.

  10. 10
    raven says:

    @Baud: another Deee A Treeeb

  11. 11
    Huggy Bear says:

    I wonder how long it would take to dig up footage of Ted Cruz et al. demanding that the president “do something” to help the desperate Syrians being brutalized by Assad. Now, when doing something turns into a real action, they treat it like crazy talk.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    MomSense says:


    Yes. It really is this stupid. We will take any excuse to act out on our prejudices. The shoe bomber was from England but we didn’t ban all travel from England. We didn’t bomb Texas or Oklahoma after the OK City Federal building was bombed.

    There is a lot of ignorance about Islam which makes people fearful. Throw in irresponsible and opportunistic politicians and “religious” leaders who stoke the fear for their own gain, a vilified other to project all the qualities you don’t like about yourself and your society, and you end up with a mess. I swear the right wing politicians and terrorist groups have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other to stay in power.

  14. 14
    Belafon says:

    Even FDR couldn’t get involved in WW2 until we were attacked. He could barely provide help to the British.

    Yes, we all like our politicians to provide leadership, meaning go against the will of the public. But imagine placing 20K refugees and then President Trump gets elected. What you need is public opinion to turn like it did on gay marriage. And that’s not going to be easy.

  15. 15
    debbie says:


    Even better!

  16. 16
    BobS says:

    Maybe it’s time for a little rough justice to help us solve the refugee problem. While it’s not the single most immediate cause (although sowing instability in Syria was arguably a result of the disproportionate influence of the Israel lobby on American foreign policy), the problem in Syria (as well as elsewhere in the Middle East) has largely resulted from the post WW2 resettlement of a large number of European Jews on a piece of land already occupied by people who had no responsibility for their persecution. I propose that Germany (finally) contributes the land, say one of their states (it could even be a small one, like Saarland, although that might make the French a little nervous -but what the fuck, how could it make them any more nervous than having Germany on their border?) to resettle refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. It solves the refugee problem with a certain symmetry with regard to history and it certainly can’t work out any worse than that other resettlement.

  17. 17
    Baud says:


    I swear the right wing politicians and terrorist groups have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other to stay in power.

    Agree. The strongest selling point conservatives have IMHO is that there are conservatives elsewhere that have to be dealt with.

  18. 18
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Just read random people on Facebook confidently stating that 10% of the Syrian refugees are terrorists. No idea where they got that number.

  19. 19
    Belafon says:

    Saw this at DK:
    The topic came up at this person’s job about the refugees, and:

    I just said I wanted to say, that these refugees were escaping unspeakable horrors: murder, rape, enslavement, not to mention complete and abject poverty. It would be heartless of us or our allies to completely lock them out just because we are afraid. That’s not our national character. We help people when they need help the most, even when we are afraid. Home of the brave, right? I tried to reason that the likelihood of being killed in a terrorist attack was minuscule compared to the likelihood of being killed in a car accident, or by disease. This argument, though, held no sway. This eventually cascaded into an ever devolving argument that descended quicker and quicker into the ugliest kind of territory. Anti Syrian refugees, anti refugees, anti immigrant, and finally, just the most deplorable pit of anti brown people. This is what I was afraid of.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Huggy Bear: You’ll recall that in the case of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the wingtards were demanding that Obama “do something” to free him when he was in captivity. Obama did something, and suddenly Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter who should be hanged, along with the Commander-in-Chief who got him released.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Belafon: This is not the Home of the Brave. It’s the home of the bedwetters.

  22. 22
    MattF says:

    @Matt McIrvin: They tried counting and ran out of fingers.

  23. 23
    Amir Khalid says:

    If the US plan is to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees, that means you get rid of only 2,000 Republican politicians. Are you sure that’s enough?

  24. 24
    Patrick says:


    I don’t get why so many people in this country think that Al-Queda terrrorists are some kind of supermen, who easily can escape any man made prison. Why are they so scared? How are the Al Queda terrorists any worse than the mass murders (like Manson or Bundy) we have put in US prisons since like forever?

  25. 25
    Belafon says:

    The flip side is that a lot of the newspapers are calling for the refugees to be let in:

    If they had been pretending to be tourists instead of migrants, would we end tourism? If they had been hiding in cargo ships, would we stop world trade? No, and we should not abandon people in need just because we’re scared.

    It would not only be inhumane, it’s impractical. Paris is a city of 2.2 million people, with 15 million international visitors each year. Only eight terrorists were involved in the Paris attack.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The bedwetters vote!

    @Amir Khalid: I’m not obstinate. I’m willing to negotiate the ratio.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Matt McIrvin: “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.” – Homer Simpson

  28. 28
    Honus says:

    Contrast the governors’ reaction to the first reaction of the Parisians the very night of the attacks: the taxi drivers offered free rides to everyone and the local residents opened their home to people who couldn’t get home. At a fairly dangerous time.

  29. 29
    Belafon says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: It is, and it is frustrating. I hope the administration continues to bring them here, and I would hope that most people will act nice toward the refugees. At worst, hopefully they’ll grudgingly accept them.

  30. 30
    rikyrah says:

    it was Democrats that blocked POTUS the first time with regards to GITMO

  31. 31
    Baud says:


    This argument, though, held no sway.

    Because it was weak and timid. The argument should have been: “I’m not afraid of them. If you want to wet your pants and suck on your thumb, go ahead. I support those who don’t turn tail from our national character in the face of terrorism.”

  32. 32
    Belafon says:

    @Honus: The Parisians were taking care of their own. This doesn’t give the governors a pass.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Patrick: It’s why they think they’re going to be mugged if they leave their homes; it’s because teevee news is all if it bleeds, it leads, and it creates a false impression of what is going on in the world. Crime is actually going down, but if you get all your information from local teevee news, it seems that crime is everywhere.

  34. 34
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    This is like Ebola and Victory Mosque – another non-issue the GOPers in the House can play up to win their primaries with their wingtard base.

  35. 35
    Keith G says:

    A problem with trying to govern a democracy is that you must have better bumper stickers and hot takes than your opposition. That fact indeed sucks a bag of hippo dicks, but that’s a significant issue.

    On the other hand, one should not be too distraught at this moment of unfocused (actually misdirected) fears and anger. If we are lucky, and successfully fighting terrorism involves lots o’ luck, the Paris attacks will flip the dynamic and make acts of terror a bit harder to plan and complete, and in two months our national attention deficit will kick in. Charlie Sheen is doing his part.

    But for now, Gitmo and refugee conversations are going have extra toxicity as they are bumper sticker ready.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: It’s amazing how a year ago (minus a week or two) Ebola was all the media could talk about. Election day came, and Ebola went away.

  37. 37
    Honus says:

    @Patrick: well, they’re brown. Hell, Manson is a hillbilly.

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Belafon: Hitler did FDR a great favor by declaring war on the US; it made FDR’s true intention, Europe First, infinitely easier to sell to the public.

  39. 39
    Cervantes says:


    It’s not terrorism if you’re not terrorized?

  40. 40
    Cervantes says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It’s a good start.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes: Giving the perpetrators an assist is definitely not helpful, for sure.

  42. 42
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “but what I’m not seeing is Democrats in Congress backing the President’s position on this.”

    It will be fascinating to compare and contrast the way Democrats in Congress treat the next Democratic President. Will they be as spineless and traitorous as they’ve been with President Obama or will something click in their heads to make them realize that supporting your Party’s President is good politics?

  43. 43
    Keith G says:

    @Cervantes: I responded to your inquiry back at the Candy and Flowers thread.

  44. 44
    debbie says:


    I have no data to back this up, but I think people like — need — to be afraid.

  45. 45
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Baud: Virginia’s Govenor McAuliffe is also with the President on Syrian refugees.

  46. 46
    scav says:

    Not exactly reassuring watching the behavior of the neighbors failing so utterly on all three of the Oz companion measures: no brains, courage or heart.

  47. 47
    Zandar says:

    @Patrick: The Dick Cheney One-Percent Doctrine. “If there’s even a one-percent chance that it could happen, we must assume it will.”

    When it comes to the SCARY MOOSLEM HORDE(tm) that becomes the “One Refugee Doctrine” because in a Congress where 95-98% of people get re-elected regardless, the best way to lose is to say “Syrian refugees haven’t caused any terror attacks here” and then have your opponent run that quote with a scary voiceover saying “Are you willing to bet your family’s life on that?” next fall.

    I believe in Obama.

    The American voter, not so goddamn much.

  48. 48
    Honus says:

    @Belafon: actually they were taking care of everybody, without qualification. Including (and especially) stranded tourists, which is what the terrorists technically were.

  49. 49
    gene108 says:


    If things get so bad on this that the candidates have to reverse course, then that’s a failure of liberals IMHO. Politicians aren’t going to stick their necks out for silent constituencies.

    Good point.

    Need to write / call Congresscritters offices.

  50. 50

    @Patricia Kayden: I think we might be having a “Fox News effect” of our own on lefty blogs. We’ve focused on maddening exceptions to the rule, but Democrats in Congress — even those in vulnerable seats — have overwhelmingly supported the president’s initiatives.

  51. 51
    BobS says:

    @Honus: I’ve read that at least 3 of the lunatics may have been French citizens.

  52. 52
    gene108 says:


    There is a lot of ignorance about Islam which makes people fearful.

    I just think it is good old fashioned racism.

    You can no longer say niggers are violent, lazy, semi-evolved apes anymore in public, but you can say Muslims are raghead terrorists, who want to kill us all.

    I think it’s just some old fashioned cathartic release for pent up racism looking for a means of expression.

  53. 53
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Cervantes: It’s not a matter of whether one feels fear or not, it’s a matter of how one reacts to that fear.

  54. 54
    Benw says:

    @Amir Khalid: if we arm the GOP pols before sending them, that’ll be 2000 boots on the ground in Syria that they’re so hot for. Two birds with one Hellfire rocket.

  55. 55
    scav says:

    @Honus: exactly. They were letting strangers, in difficult circunstances, into their homes at a time when even less was known about the perpetrators and scale of the attacks. Not hiding behind doors, demanding proof of proven christianity and the declension of the subjunctive pluparfait as proof of Frenchness.

  56. 56
    Elizabelle says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I think we might be having a “Fox News effect” of our own on lefty blogs. We’ve focused on maddening exceptions to the rule, but Democrats in Congress — even those in vulnerable seats — have overwhelmingly supported the president’s initiatives.

    Let’s do hall of fame posts about brave Democrats, and name them.

    Would be good to have some names to mention (and offices to call to thank them, even if they’re not our own reps).

    Screw the “Fox News effect.” We can combat it with light, reason, and information.

  57. 57
    cmorenc says:

    If ISIS is indeed planning an upcoming attack within the US, the perps are not only already here in the US, but most will have been residing here in the US for years, most of them quite legally. Some of them will even technically be US citizens. True, most or all of them will be ethnically of some middle eastern ethnic origin and technically muslim in religion, hiding in plain sight amid the millions of peaceful, harmless middle eastern muslims already residing legally in the US.

    So what’s the GOP plan to find these already legal resident terrorists-in-waiting within the US? That’s better than what the FBI and US intelligence agencies are already doing? ISIS has no need to try to smuggle fresh terrorists in amid the Syrian refugees. All the potential perps they need are already here.

  58. 58
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Betty Cracker: It hasn’t felt like it. But perhaps I’m prone to notice how often they turn their backs on President Obama and am being overly negative.

  59. 59
    japa21 says:

    Well. my heroic governor Rauner has called for stopping any resettling of refugees in Illinois. But Tammy Duckworth says she trusts the government to properly vet the refugees and has called for allowing 200,000 into the country and continues with that stand.
    Yes, some Dems are cowards, but not all. I have yet to hear of a non-cowardly Republican.

  60. 60
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Our definition of “courage” has become “willingness to send somebody else overseas to kill people”. Generosity in the face of some nonzero risk doesn’t register as courage or strength, because it’s not about aggression. It’s wimpy weakness, and hairy-chested foreign terrorists will kill us all as a reward.

    It’s not just here. I remember some right-wing British cartoon showing a British child choosing between two men to follow: effete liberal Western culture, depicted as a repulsive, pot-bellied aging hippie doing a Deadhead dance and throwing flower petals in the air, and the Islamist menace, represented as a sexy, giant, shirtless ripped dude with a turban and a Kalashnikov. The subtext wasn’t even subtext.

  61. 61
    dww44 says:

    @Baud: Agree that we liberals need to be more vocal in support of this President’s Middle East policy. Because the voices of the right seem to be carrying the day. I just walked away from Joe Kernan on CNBC who made reference to the “vacuum of leadership at the top” and how Putin was the leader we all need. Yesterday I happened on the CBS Morning Show just as Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell were interviewing Mike Morell, the ex-CIA guy about American response to the Paris attachs.. While I was a bit late, Charlie Rose asks Morell why someone can’t tell Obama that he is wrong. Norah O’Donnell echoed. I was so very angry. with both of them. Did anyone on national Tevee say that about George Bush back in the run-up to the Iraq invasion?

    It takes a strong person to stand up in the face of calls for more military action. We really do need to be more vocal in support of Obama. So I particularly love this:

    I guess that would explain why, when Reuters/Ipsos asks Americans which party has the better plan for fighting terrorism, Republicans beat Democrats, 30%-18%. (“Don’t know” beats both Republicans and Democrats, with 33%.) Republicans prevail over Democrats because the Republicans’ plan for dealing with ISIS is to say “Obama sucks” and leave it at that. This level of specificity seems to be just fine with a plurality of Americans.

  62. 62
    scav says:

    @cmorenc: Don’t encorage them. The calls for little yellow cloth moon badges for ease in identification are assuredly preformatted, waiting for the Publish button, in most of the Murdoch presses.

  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Patricia Kayden: How often have Ds in Congress voted against legislation that the President wanted?

  64. 64
    Cervantes says:


    Some of them will even technically be US citizens.

    Hmm … What does that mean?

  65. 65
    Adam says:

    Yeah, the allegedly Democratic mayor of my fair city of Cincinnati has already declared that we won’t be accepting any Syrian refugees. Never mind that he has no standing to do so.

  66. 66
    Peale says:

    @Matt McIrvin: since one of the terrorists owned a bar in Belgium with drug sales and other nuisances, it seems like all hypocrites, isis fundamentalists like having both worlds.

  67. 67
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @cmorenc: Shut down the mosques and lock them all up.

  68. 68
    Zandar says:

    @Adam: This.

    John Cranley is a coward and a douchebag of a Democrat in a city that’s overwhelmingly blue and 45% black.

  69. 69
    Cervantes says:


    Maybe — but if you were a violent fundamentalist in hiding, what disguise would you wear?

  70. 70
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Hell’s bells, I’ve disagreed with Obama on more than a few issues and if in Congress would have voted against what he wanted. That wouldn’t make me a bad Democrat.

  71. 71
    scav says:

    @Adam: Well, for American christians, of the right sort, apparently obeying state or federal law is optional if you believe hard enough. Just like shooting injured people on your porch at night, when they’re asking for help, is a normal reaction.

    Golly, there really is a crush of the craven for standing atop the pile of rubble staging the largest toothless photo-op, isn’t there?

  72. 72

    @Patricia Kayden: Totally understandable — we (myself very much included) bitch and complain about turncoat / gutless Democrats a lot, not just here but at every other lefty blog. It’s like watching 24/7 news and thinking the world is so much more dangerous than it was when we were kids when in reality it’s just the opposite.

    Here’s one data point for consideration. I think Elizabelle’s suggestion above is a good one.

  73. 73
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @gene108: Economists are familiar with the phenomenon — when the price of a good gets too high, people seek substitutes that satisfy the same or similar needs.

  74. 74
    C.V. Danes says:

    The problem with our elected representatives is that instead of challenging us to be better, they often merely enable us to be worse.

  75. 75
    C.V. Danes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I often think the same thing about Christian churches whenever an abortion center gets bombed.

  76. 76
    rikyrah says:

    Just finished listening to the soundtrack for Hamilton.
    I loved it!
    Man, I wish I could see it on Broadway.

  77. 77
    C.V. Danes says:

    @cmorenc: As well as all the weapons they’ll ever need.

  78. 78
    Botsplainer says:

    My paternal side originated from Wuajh Al Hajar, a Lebanese village overlooking the Med about 25-30 miles north of Beirut. My great-grandparents emigrated out just prior to the Great War to get away from Ottoman dominance – they self-identified as Syrian, as did my grandparents.

    They were refugees of a sort. This stuff out of nativists is really pissing me off.

  79. 79
    C.V. Danes says:


    You can no longer say niggers are violent, lazy, semi-evolved apes anymore in public…

    Actually you can. You just have to use different code words.

  80. 80
    Botsplainer says:


    Yeah, the allegedly Democratic mayor of my fair city of Cincinnati has already declared that we won’t be accepting any Syrian refugees. Never mind that he has no standing to do so.

    Yet just an hour and a half away, here in the People’s Socialist Kenyan Shariah Republic of Louisville, immigrants are welcome additions to the community.

    Matt Bevin is going to work non-stop to change all that – I weep for the lost opportunity of the next 4 years.

  81. 81
    rikyrah says:


    I just think it is good old fashioned racism.

    You can no longer say niggers are violent, lazy, semi-evolved apes anymore in public, but you can say Muslims are raghead terrorists, who want to kill us all.

    straight up. no chaser.

  82. 82
    Cacti says:

    Mosque in Austin, TX suburb has feces, torn Quran pages thrown at door.

    The GOP is going to get innocent people murdered soon.

  83. 83
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: My brain went interesting places contemplating the Ebola and Victory Mosque.

  84. 84
    MattF says:

    I know it’s unfair to poke fun at things current Republican candidates said years ago, but… sometimes the snark that passeth understanding is just irresistible. Via Brad Delong, some insight into Jeb!’s view of the world.

  85. 85
    boatboy_srq says:


    people in a Colorado county are upset because there’s a chance that Guantanamo detainees will be moved to a nearby maximum security prison (recently built but never used).

    Has anyone discussed how many escapes from US maximum security have been successful in the last century or so? And (since it will undoubtedly come up) do they think that releasing some poor schmuck who spent ten years in confinement for a couple of joints is equivalent to early release for a known terrorist? (Although on that last point, given how wide the net was cast post-9/11 and the number of Gitmo detainees who were simply victims of circumstance, that may be a harder sell – but then detaining anyone suspected of being Brown doesn’t yield particularly good results anyway).

  86. 86
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Cacti: That’s exactly what’s going to happen when Syrian refugees start showing up en masse. Republicans running their mouths is going to lead to anti-Muslim violence. We already have crazy Rightwingers shooting up people who they think are Muslims.

  87. 87
    boatboy_srq says:


    The GOP is going to get innocent people murdered soon.

    You say that like it hasn’t already happened.

  88. 88
    Sherparick says:

    @Betty Cracker: A good idea. Similarly, for all the negative comments I put on the White House blog about TPP, need to support the President on this one.

  89. 89
    D58826 says:

    The husband of one of the Paris victims posted a response to the attack on his facebook page. The full text is on huffingtron but one part is:

    So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You’re asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.

    Guess it’s to much to ask the GOp and the American public at large to react the same way

  90. 90
    Mike J says:

    Poll of college students, 1938. Should the US offer a haven in this country for Jewish refugees from central Europe?

  91. 91
    boatboy_srq says:


    Paris is a city of 2.2 million people, with 15 million international visitors each year. Only eight terrorists were involved in the Paris attack.

    This is why all the wingnut pantswetting bugs me. There were eight people involved. Suddenly all the millions of folks just fleeing the fighting (and the killing and the interrogating and the disappearing) are now Just As Bad As Those Eight Terrorists. The Reichwing is simultaneously strident in its affirmation that a handful of patriotic ammosexuals with their Glocks could put down committed terrorists with automatic weapons – and terrified that even one terrorist could hide amongst millions of refugees and slaughter the entire Yewnahted Staytes. The enemy is the Omnipotent Weakling: the one who can do anything and kill anyone but can still get knocked down by Granny with her pellet gun.

  92. 92
    Sherparick says:

    It would be nice if my Catholic Bishops would stand up with a forceful statement defending refugees’ rights to asylum, but screwing over Gay people appears to be their number one priority at the moment so they will make common cause with the Ted Cruz’s, Donald Trumps, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, and Bobby Jindal’s and the Republican Party.

  93. 93
    Botsplainer says:


    Confirming, once again, that Jeremiah Wright had a really great fucking point that was missed.

  94. 94
    Daulnay says:

    We should avoid simplistic thinking about this, and prevent a lot of trouble. Many of the refugees are fleeing religious persecution, because they are not Sunni Muslim. This point needs to be hammered home, because it’s significant. These refugees are fleeing death, because ISIS will kill them just because they are Shia/Sufi/whatever non-Sunni sect.

    People from other Moslem religions are not likely to be crazy terrorists – it’s a Sunni phenomenon, fed by conservative Sunni rhetoric and funded by crazy rich Sunnis in the Gulf states. The xenophobic ‘Crusaders’ need to have their faces rubbed in this, especially since some of these neo-con warmongers are cozy with the Gulf Sunni elite (e.g. Cheney).

  95. 95
    Hal says:

    I have a couple of friends whose Facebook feed is a constant stream of Jesus this, The Lord that, and both are no thanks to refugees. There lives will be in danger! What about the people here who need help! I love the irony because it’s the exact opposite of what Jesus would do.

  96. 96

    I see Chris Christie says he wouldn’t allow NJ to take a Syrian orphan under 5 years old. It’s like they’re in a contest to see who can be the cruelest.

  97. 97
    Mike J says:

    @Daulnay: 90% of Muslims are Sunnis. Saying “Only the Sunnis are terrorists” (and implying all of them are) isn’t any better than what your run of the mill Republican bigot says.

  98. 98
    D58826 says:

    @Mike J: It is the Saudi funded Wahabbist flavor of Islam that is driving this. Daesh has no problem killing other Sunnis who do not adhere to their twisted version of Islam. The Shia can be just as bloody minded when they want to be. Just ask the Sunni tribes in Anbar province, which is what drives the more moderate Sunni’s to support, or at least acquiesce, of daesh. .

  99. 99
    MomSense says:


    Yes! Another Hamilfan or Hamilmaniac. Have you watched the Ham4Ham videos? So much wonderful.

  100. 100
    scav says:

    Note also that the “Admit only demonstrated CHRISTIANS crowd are not allowing fleeing jews, zorastrians, buddists, athiests (duh) or other-than-listed refugees. Only people exactly like them are worthy of compassion and sympathy. Anyone else is necessarily suspect and degenerate. See also recent response to increasing drug use in white communities.

  101. 101
    D58826 says:

    And it isn’t just the Muslims that the GOP hates

    Antonin Scalia: SCOTUS Logic On Gay Rights Could Lead To Protections For Child Abusers

  102. 102
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @greennotGreen: Mayo on fries is incompatible with American values.

    Also the fuckers act like they invented them.

  103. 103
    Amir Khalid says:

    So it’s not Muslims in general who are crazy dogmatic terrorists, just us Sunnis. Thank you very much for that clarification.

  104. 104
    MattF says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Huh?

    I guess this is the result of competition with the other candidates for the title ‘most heartless’.

    ETA: And I’m not being snarky– I’m guessing this really is the reason.

  105. 105
    Sherparick says:

    @Daulnay: Many are Sunnis, but not the “right” kind of Sunnis for the Wahabi inspired DAESH in Syria. Also, they are folks who are caught between assholes of DAESH on side, and being bomb or shelled by Assad, Hezbollah, Russians, and Americans on a regular basis. Anyone who can will get themselves and their families out of Dodge.

  106. 106
    Elizabelle says:

    @Baud: LOL re the four candidates. Well done.

    At least one GOP congresscritter/senator/governor per five refugees. We do not want to stint and just send them dirt county commissioners and mayors from communities with more livestock than humans. We want our trades to be name brand politicians.

    More seriously: it’s very possible a lot of educating the public has to happen before allowing Syrians to resettle here. We did not do well by our Iraqi interpreters, did we?

    It’s great to wave blog flags and say “we’re nicer people than the Republicans!”, but if it triggers the reptile brain and might cost us the White House in 2016, then that poses an unacceptable risk. Supreme Court, peeps.

    You will notice President Obama has carefully not gotten out in front on this one. He’s promised aid, pretty much. It would be great to learn that the American public has moved further along than supposed (as with gay marriage), but I would not stake a big risk campaign on it.

    President Hillary or Bernie or Baud! can always prepare the way for more communities to accept refugees as part of a forward-looking 2017+ resettlement plan. Perhaps one method might be getting churches or neighborhood groups or communities to “adopt” an extended family or folks from a particular village. Give them a welcome and support and — important to the reptile brains looking on — keep an eye on how the young ‘uns settle in.

  107. 107
    rikyrah says:

    this is ‘ the smart one.’


    Jeb Bush loses TV ad edge to Marco Rubio
    Rubio’s campaign is getting twice the ads for half the price of Bush’s super PAC, undercutting his rival’s cash advantage.
    By Shane Goldmacher
    11/17/15 05:15 AM EST

    Down in the polls, Jeb Bush was supposed to find refuge in his financial superiority. But just as his campaign enters the critical primary phase, the fallen front-runner is about to get outgunned on the airwaves by the man his campaign views as its chief rival: Marco Rubio.

    According to media buyers and a POLITICO review of TV ad purchase data, Bush and his allies are on pace to spend $5 million more than Team Rubio on broadcast, cable and radio ads through the first four voting states – but for that sum, they will put fewer ads on the airwaves.

    That’s because the vast majority of Bush’s ads are paid for by his super PAC – roughly 85 percent for Bush versus only 40 percent for Rubio – and super PACs get far less bang for their buck.

    Read more:

  108. 108
    D58826 says:

    Just saw this on Twitter:A GOP state rep in Texas says we can’t have Syrian refugees in Texas because it’d be too easy for them to get guns.

    Please tell me that is reeally from the Onion!. Even for Texas that exhibits a level of intelligence that would embarrass a sponge.

  109. 109
    Mike J says:

    @Amir Khalid: What’s funny is I’m old enough to remember when conservatives in the US would insist it was only those crazy Shia (like in Iran!) that were bad.

  110. 110

    1. I don’t think the comparison with Guantanamo is apt. Guantanamo has been a weird aberration, where Democrats and Republicans came together almost unanimously to specifically block Obama rather than just not supporting him. This hasn’t been the rule in other foreign policy areas, only in making sure that what Bush did stays done. I still do not understand it.

    2. Did we ever get confirmation that ISIS was involved at all? France has domestic problems with Islamic terrorism and a long history of France-specific issues. ISIS has every reason to claim credit for any big name atrocity, whether or not they actually had a hand in it.

    @gene108: and @C.V. Danes:
    Code words don’t have the same bite. A lot of these people specifically hate being stuck with code words, and the rest just don’t feel as big a rush of hate. The GOP has been feeding code words to its base for two generations, but when Trump went for open ‘rapists and murderers’ hate speech, they flocked to him like the messiah.

  111. 111
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @D58826: Scalia: consent doesn’t matter
    Once you accept that–and join the dark side–all becomes clear.

  112. 112
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Hal: You should post a graphic with the words “Not all who cry ‘Lord, Lord’.”

  113. 113
    Nate Dawg says:

    Russia confirms that downed planed was result of Terrorist Bombing.

    Here we go…

  114. 114
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Nate Dawg: I don’t believe them. They have a vested interest in having us believe it’s something other than criminally bad maintenance.

    I won’t believe it until I hear it from a credible source. Russian media/gov’t ain’t it.

  115. 115
    Nate Dawg says:

    @Another Holocene Human: So U.S. intel officials (two weeks ago), and David Cameron himself (one week ago or so)…isn’t that good enough? There seems to be a consensus.

  116. 116
    Elizabelle says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Yeah, let’s hear from the international investigators. I agree.

    Haven’t been following it: has this been awful for Sharma El-Sheik tourism? Wondering what European countries are doing, since it’s acknowledged airport security is poor. Did not realize how many Brits holiday on the Egyptian coast, but they kinda go everywhere, don’t they?

  117. 117
    Daulnay says:

    True, most Sunnis are also innocent. The Daesh and Al-Quaeda terrorists are all Sunnis, however. And getting the right-wingers to make a distinction other than ‘like me’ and ‘not like me’ would help, wouldn’t it?

  118. 118
    tybee says:


    i am so stealing that.

  119. 119
    Nate Dawg says:

    @Elizabelle: It’s obvious you haven’t been following it. British and U.S. intelligence already had leaked it was a bomb. Now Russia confirms it. There is no “international investigation”. The Russians are working with Egyptians and French in a joint investigation.

    Yes, it has been awful for tourism. Many cancelled flights. Russia cancelled all flights from EgyptAir (and thus Egypt).

  120. 120
    Daulnay says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    My apologies. I know that most Sunnis are not crazed, any more than most Christians or Shia. The Daesh/ISIS types are a small apocalyptic sect, that unfortunately was able to establish a state and is willing to terrorize other nations. How do we draw the distinction between Daesh/Al-Qaeda/Wahabi on one side and the vast majority of Sunnis on the other? Other than singling out the extremist Wahabis, you don’t see any distinctions made even in the more sophisticated Western media.

  121. 121
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Another Holocene Human:
    This report is not from the official crash investigation, which has only just got under way and will take more than a year. In the MH17 case, the Dutch transport safety board only released its report a month ago, If I recall correctly, and the criminal investigation is still going on.

    The initial suspicion in this crash was that a tail strike some years ago, which occurred when the plane was being flown by its previous owner, wasn’t repaired quite right, and the tail came off because the repair failed with the passage of time. But the Russians are now citing intelligence intercepts which refer to an attempt by ISIS to put a bomb on a plane. I wouldn’t dismiss a bomb out of hand, but I would wait for the findings of the formal investigation.

  122. 122
    Nate Dawg says:

    @Amir Khalid: You have no idea how long the investigation will take to write a report, but in the case of Lockerbie, we knew it was a bomb within a few weeks, and long before the final report was published. It’s quite ridiculous in this day and age to wait until the final report is published (which goes into extreme detail) to be certain the cause of a crash. The Russians are leading the investigation, and the head of the FSB has proclaimed that explosive residue was found, offering a $50MM award for any information on the perpetrators.

    Given that U.S. and British intelligence, and David Cameron himself, have already stated it was a bomb, it’s becoming the consensus view. Unless Russia is outright lying about explosive residue, then it will be the cause.

    There are many problems with the tail-strike theory, and you can find them on pprune and Photographic evidence of shrapnel holes and burn marks can also be found there.

    In anycase, given that it is *likely* that ISIS attacked Russia, France, Lebanon, and Iraq all within a span of two weeks, it points to a major expansion of their terror operations, and I believe an indication that the U.S. is at grave (but lesser than Europe) risk.

  123. 123


    AFAICT, saying “Sunnis” is about as helpful as saying “Protestants” and grouping Southern Baptists and Anglicans together as having the same basic beliefs.

    “Wahhabists” is a much more useful identifier since it describes the specific sect that they belong to.

  124. 124


    I told G that I have to stop listening to Act 2 in the car, because it’s embarrassing to have other people look over and see me crying during “Stay Alive” or “It’s Quiet Uptown.” And probably kind of dangerous driving, too.

  125. 125
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Nate Dawg:
    I agree it’s more likely than not the plane was brought down by a bomb. But so far the crash investigators haven’t said anything, because it’s too early in their investigation to draw conclusions. “Likely” is all I will call it, until we hear from them.

  126. 126

    I wrote to Jerry Brown this morning and encouraged him to offer to take every Syrian refugee the US wants to bring in. CA can easily absorb them, we have Syrian communities here, and the state benefitted from both Andy Grove who was a refugee from a conflict zone and Steve Jobs whose father was a Syrian muslim.

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