Rubio, desperate to establish some foreign-policy credibility before the primaries, jumped into the Cuba announcement like a novice bullfighter, with more bravado than skill, to lambast Obama as the “worst negotiator” since President Carter. Perhaps betraying his scant knowledge of history, Rubio seems to be unaware that Carter negotiated the historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Israel’s most powerful enemy.

The purpose of Rubio’s carping from the back rows of the American foreign policy machine is purely political: The aspiring candidate is not only playing to his base of supporters in Miami-Dade; he is also eager to be redeemed from his curriculum vitae-embellishment scandal, still haunting him since it first broke in 2011.

According to Politifact Florida, Rubio changed his own biography in order to transform his family into victims of Castro’s brutality:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio sold his American success story as he stumped across Florida two years ago. His parents left Havana in 1959, he told a Panhandle audience, implying, at least, that they fled Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. Now records show that they left in 1956, while Castro still plotted in Mexico — and that even when Rubio doubted his dates, he didn’t correct the record. … The original statement is False.

I think we receive the ask “My family member is a Conservative and says Obama hasn’t done anything, can you provide links to stuff he’s done.” more often than any other. We used to just send them the old standby of whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com, however the above link is much more comprehensive, less antagonistic, and with much better citations.




Rachel Maddow To Politifact: ‘You Are Terrible’ And Someone Should ‘Sue You’ HuffPo

Politifact ignorantly says Ted Cruz lied about Christians being crucified by ISIS


This is the most irresponsible journalism I have seen in a long time.  Politifact, the so-called “fact checking” organization, blatantly lied about Ted Cruz and ISIS.  

Cruz spoke up on behalf of Christians in Iraq and Syria who are being crucified in the streets by ISIS.  Politifact posted a story flatly denying that the crucifixions are  happening.  Either they are knowingly lying, or they need a better research department. 

from Politifact:

Close observers of the turmoil in Iraq and Syria said they could imagine ISIS doing crucifixions. No one expressed awareness of Christians already being crucified.

By email, Daniel Sullivan of a Washington, D.C.-based group, United to End Genocide, noted the CNN story before telling us he hadn’t seen “confirmed reports in either Iraq or Syria” of Christians being crucified.

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said Cruz’s claim went overboard, as far as he knew, though he said ISIS has been ruthless about hurting or killing resistant residents.

"There have been people put on crosses," Landis said. "But it’s not Christians."

Landis guided us to an April 29, 2014, Fox News story accompanied by photographs of men slung on crosses in Raqqa, a town in northern Syria. The story cited a Syrian opposition group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, saying ISIS jihadists were hanging the bodies of executed enemies on crosses crucifixion-style in the town. The story, citing “multiple reports,” said ISIS had ruled over Raqqa for the previous year, killing its remaining rebel population and demolishing national relics.

The news story said Ibrahim Alrquaoui of the opposition group said the killed men were rebels that had previously fought against the Syrian government of Bashir al-Assad. The story said that according to Alrquaoui, the ISIS charged the seven men with espionage and attempted assassination of the group’s leaders. According to the story, Alrquaoui said he witnessed the executions himself and took photographs, which were then posted on the group’s Facebook page and circulated on the Internet.

The photographs showed different men bound to crosses in what appeared to be a public square area, though the Fox News story said it could not be independently confirmed the subjects were dead or, if they were, by what means the executions had been carried out. “The pictures do not show any apparent signs of the men nailed to a cross, nor are there any obvious, visible signs of fatal wounds,” the story said.

Landis also pointed out a Feb. 26, 2014, online post by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, an Oxford University student, describing a traditional practice in Islam for a Jew or Christian living under the authority of an Islamic state agreeing to pay a jizya, or poll tax, in return for protection from the state. The Feb. 26, 2014, post, on Landis’ website devoted to Syrian politics, history and religion, said the tax is equivalent to Mafia racketeering; a failure to pay leads to the loss of protection. ISIS similarly imposes the tax, the post said, in northern Iraq and Syria.

read the rest

Can you believe this nonsense?  Oh, there are certainly people being crucified, just not those people.  They dismiss the jizya as “a traditional practice in Islam.” And what exactly is that traditional practice?  To force Christians and Jews to either pay a tax, convert to Islam, or be killed.  Some tradition. 

The article also completely ignores witness accounts like this one from Sister Raghida. 

from Catholic News:

Sister Raghida, once the head of a Christian school in Damascus went public on radio in April of this year. She shocked listeners when she described the actions of jihadists who entered Maaloula in Syria. In this ancient Christian village where the inhabitants still speak Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, the jihadists went on a killing spree, taking the lives of men, women, and children.

They crucified two youths for refusing to proclaim Islam’s credo. They made the father of one of the young men watch in horror and, then, killed him. They went as far as to rip babies from the wombs of their pregnant mothers and hang them from a tree by their umbilical cords. In Deir Hafer, in the province of Aleppo, they took prisoners, crucified them and left their bodies in the main square for three days.

read the rest

The violence against Christians at the hands of ISIS is well documented.  Take this example from last week’s New York Times:

For the last decade, in fact, the Chaldean Catholics of Iraq — members of an Eastern Rite church that is affiliated with Roman Catholicism while retaining its own customs and rites — have been suffering at the hands of the same kind of terrorists who killed Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Foley. During that period, the total Christian population of Iraq, the largest share of which is composed of Chaldean Catholics, has dropped to about 400,000 while as many as a million, by some estimates, have fled.

Churches have been destroyed, monasteries attacked, entire cities purged. Congregations have been bombed during worship. The bishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was abducted and executed by Al Qaeda in Iraq six years ago. So the recent atrocities visited upon Iraqi Christians by ISIS are nothing remotely new. All that is new is an awareness of them outside the Chaldean-American enclaves of San Diego and metropolitan Detroit.

read the rest

So, we have photographs of crucifixions.  We have witnesses attesting that Christians are being crucified.  We have a well-documented history of Christian persecution.  We have ISIS openly demanding the “traditional practice” of the jizya from Christians. 

What will it take to convince Politifact?  Do they want a videotape of ISIS fighters declaring they they’re crucifying Christians and then proceeding with the action on camera?

I submit that the burden lies on Politifact to disprove that Christians are being crucified before calling Ted Cruz a liar, not the other way around.  We already know that they are being tortured, shot, beheaded, and we have witnesses attesting to the crucifixions.  We also have photos of numerous crucifixions, but Politifact would rather take ISIS’s word that they were executed for reasons other than their Christian faith that admit that Ted Cruz is right about something. 

I am tempted to post about a hundred photos and videos of ISIS beheading Christians and crucifying those who do not bow to their so-called “Islamic state,” but I won’t give them the satisfaction of spreading their evil propaganda.  If you want, you can do a Google Image Search for yourself. 

In light of all this, what is Politifact really concerned with? Certainly not the atrocious persecution of Christians in Iraq.  No, they’re more concerned with making Ted Cruz out to be a liar.  That shows you where their priorities lie.  

Fact Checker Says They've 'Lost Track' Of How Many Times They've Debunked Climate Change Deniers

Fact Checker Says They’ve ‘Lost Track’ Of How Many Times They’ve Debunked Climate Change Deniers

Louisiana congressional candidate Lenar Whitney is one of an all-too-common Republican variant these days — the willfully ignorant, basking in the brilliance of their own stupidity. A recent video of hers, where she confidently writes off mountains of peer-reviewed evidence as something a “10-year-old can debunk with a thermometer,” has been passed around the internet lately. It earneda…

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Jon Stewart Apologizes To Politifact, Reads List Of Politifact Fox News Corrections


PolitiFact has been fact-checking claims about the federal health care law since lawmakers started drafting the legislation in 2009. Long controversial, the law has been no stranger to attacks by detractors. Here are 16 of the biggest falsehoods PolitiFact has rated.

( Fact-checks are listed in no particular order. The links will take you to a full report and a source list for each fact-check.)

1. The health care law rations care, like systems in Canada and Great Britain. False.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, July 2, 2012,  in an interview on Fox News

The health care law is not socialized medicine. Instead, it leaves in place the private health care system that follows free market principles. The law does put more regulations on health insurance companies. It also fines most large employers who fail to provide insurance for their employees, and it requires all individuals to have health insurance. This is unlike the systems in either Britain or Canada. In Britain, doctors are employees of the government, while in Canada, the government pays most medical bills as part of a single-payer system. The U.S. health care law has neither of those features. PolitiFact has rated this claim and others like it False.

2. The health care law has “death panels.” Pants on Fire.

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor, Aug. 7, 2009, in a message posted on Facebook

Back in 2009, it was a popular talking point to claim that the health care law had “death panels” to determine if individuals are worthy of receiving health care coverage. The claim was widely debunked and named PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year. The talking point started in reaction to an idea for Medicare, that the Medicare program for seniors should specifically cover doctor appointments for seniors who wanted to discuss do-not-resuscitate orders, end-of-life directives and living wills. The visits would have been completely optional and only for people who wanted the appointments. After controversy, the provision was dropped from the final legislation. We rated the “death panels” claim Pants on Fire.

3. Muslims are exempt from the health care law. Pants on Fire.

Chain email, May 29, 2013

A widely circulated chain email claims that the word “dhimmitude” is on page 107 of the health care law, and it means Muslims will be exempt. Actually, the health care law does not include the word “dhimmitude” (a recently coined word that seems to refer to non-Muslims under Muslim rule). Also, the health care law doesn’t exempt Muslims. There is a “religious conscience exemption,” but it applies to groups that disavow all forms of insurance, including Social Security. Muslim groups have supported the Affordable Care Act. We rated the chain email’s claim Pants on Fire.

4. The IRS is going to be “in charge” of “a huge national database” on health care that will include Americans’ “personal, intimate, most close-to-the-vest-secrets.” Pants on Fire.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., May 15, 2013, in an interview on Fox News

The Internal Revenue Service does have a role to play as part of the health care law, but it’s not the role suggested here. If you buy insurance on the marketplace and you get a subsidy, officials will check tax records to make sure you qualify. That communication with the IRS happens via a data hub that’s also connected to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s important to note, though, that the hub isn’t a database. The IRS isn’t running it. And it doesn’t include “intimate” health data. The hub is for signing up for health insurance, not for storing medical records. We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

5. Congress is exempt from Obamacare. False.

Chain email, Jan. 6, 2013

Even a few sitting lawmakers have repeated this claim, but it’s not true. Congress is not exempt from Obamacare. Like everyone else, lawmakers are required to have health insurance. They’re also required to buy insurance through the marketplaces. The idea is to have lawmakers and their staff buy insurance the same way their uninsured constituents would so they understand what their constituents have to deal with. Most Americans who already get insurance through work are left alone under the law; members of Congress have insurance through work but are treated differently in this regard. Recently, a rule was added so that lawmakers’ could keep the traditional employer contribution to their coverage. But they weren’t exempt from requirements that other Americans face. We rated this claim False.

6. Under Obamacare, people who “have a doctor they’ve been seeing for the last 15 or 20 years, they won’t be able to keep going to that doctor.” Mostly False.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., July 31, 2013 in a Fox News interview

Some have suggested that Obamacare would interfere with doctor-patient relationships. Actually, there’s no more interference than what existed before Obamacare. Right now, patients can lose access to their doctors when their insurance policies change. This typically happens when employers switch plans or when workers switch (or lose) jobs. Under Obamacare, some patients who buy health insurance through the marketplace could lose access to their current doctor, but it’s difficult to predict how many. And it would be because they have a new insurance plan. We rated this claim Mostly False.

7. The health care law is a "government takeover" of health care. Pants on Fire.

U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, Feb. 20, 2010, in a speech to Pinellas County Republicans.

"Government takeover" conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed relies largely on the free market. It’s true that the law significantly increases government regulation of health insurers. But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market. The majority of Americans will continue to get coverage from private insurers. We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

8. “All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services.” Pants on Fire.

Chain email, July 28, 2009

The health care law does not provide free health care services to anyone, and especially not to people in the United States illegally. Illegal immigrants may not enroll in Medicaid, nor are they eligible to shop on the marketplace for health insurance. Permanent legal residents are eligible for health insurance subsidies on the marketplace, as are U.S. citizens. Current law says that hospital emergency rooms must stabilize illegal immigrants with medical emergencies, but that law predates Obamacare. We rated this claim Pants on Fire.

9. Because of Obamacare, health care premiums have “gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years.” False.

President Barack Obama, Oct. 3, 2012, in a presidential debate

The historical data for health care premiums only goes back 14 years; there’s no evidence to support the idea that premiums are at a 50-year low. Overall health care costs have slowed down, but even there, Obama exaggerated the impact of his health care law. Experts say slowing costs are due to a variety of reasons, including the recent recession. Giving all the credit to the new law overstates the case. We rated the statement False.

10. Under Obamacare, “75 percent of small businesses now say they are going to be forced to either fire workers or cut their hours.” Pants on Fire.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., July 25, 2013 in a FoxNews.com op-ed

Suggestions that business are laying off workers because of the health care law have so far proven to be largely unfounded. Most small businesses — those with fewer than 50 employees — do not have to provide health insurance to their employees. (In fact, some very small businesses with fewer than 25 employees may qualify for tax credits under the law.) The claim here that 75 percent of small business were reducing their workforce was based on a misreading of a study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The study actually found that less than 10 percent of small businesses said they will be forced to reduce their workforce or cut hours. We rated the claimPants on Fire.

11. “At age 76 when you most need it, you are not eligible for cancer treatment" under the health law. Pants on Fire.

Chain email, June 3, 2013

Some misinformation about the health care law has been specifically aimed at seniors, even though the law largely leaves the Medicare program alone. This particular claim, that older cancer patients will go without treatment, is wrong on several levels. For one thing, the health care law didn’t make changes to patient benefits in the Medicare program. Cancer treatment will still be covered by Medicare. Also, there are no changes in the law aimed at people 76 or older. This claim seems to have been invented out of whole cloth as a scare tactic. We rated it Pants on Fire.

12. The health care law includes “a 3.8% sales tax" on "all real estate transactions." Pants on Fire.

Chain email, July 24, 2012

An anonymous chain email claims that the health care law puts a 3.8 percent tax on home sales. This is not correct. The law does include new taxes, but the taxes are primarily on the health care industry and on investment income for the wealthy. For middle-class homeowners, there are long-standing tax exemptions on the profits from home sales, and the health care law didn’t change them. We rated this statement Pants on Fire.

13. “Obamacare is … the largest tax increase in the history of the world.” Pants on Fire.

Rush Limbaugh, June 28, 2012, on his radio show

Radio host Rush Limbaugh and others have claimed the health care law includes historically high tax increases. While there are new taxes in the health care law — representing the first significant federal tax increases since 1993 — they are not the largest  increases in the history of the United States, much less the world. When accounting for the size of the overall economy, tax increases signed into law by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were larger than the tax increases in the health law. We rated this statement Pants on Fire.

14. A “hidden” provision in the health care law taxes sporting goods as medical devices. Pants on Fire.

Chain email, June 12, 2013

A chain email claims that common sporting goods equipment — fishing rods, outboard motors, tackle boxes — will be taxed at 2.3 percent under Obamacare. There is a 2.3 percent tax in the law, but it applies to medical devices, not sports equipment. Also, the medical devices tax applies to manufacturers and makers, not consumers. This chain email seems to stem from a mistake made at Cabela’s, a Nebraska-based retail store that sells sporting goods. At the beginning of 2013, Cabela’s accidentally started taxing its sales and labeling it a medical excise tax. But that move was in error, and the company quickly reversed itself the same day. As for the chain email, we rate its claim Pants on Fire!  

15. Obamacare will question your sex life. Pants on Fire.

Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, Sept. 15, 2013, in an op-ed in the New York Post

In the op-ed, McCaughey claimed the law pressures doctors into asking about people’s sex lives and recording those answer in electronic health records. Actually, it was the economic stimulus that created incentives for doctors to move to electronic health records. And, none of the criteria require questions about people’s sex lives. Instead, doctors are asked to record standard diagnostic criteria like vital signs, diagnoses, medications and the like. Privacy advocates do have concerns about electronic health records, but it’s not about people getting asked embarrassing questions about their sex lives. We rated this claim Pants on Fire!

16. An Obamacare provision will allow “forced home inspections" by government agents. Pants on Fire.

Bloggers, Aug. 15, 2013

State lawmakers in South Carolina got this one going by claiming they were concerned that the health care law allowed forced home inspections. People can relax, though: There are no forced home inspections. What got people concerned is an optional home health care program that sends nurses on house calls to the homes of pregnant, poor women. The idea is that the nurses will check on the moms and offer prenatal advice in a comfortable environment. And the program is not mandatory. We rated this claim Pants on Fire!

H/T: PolitiFact

And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out.

We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.

—  President Obama in the October 7, 2008, debate in Nashville, Tenn. Bill Adair of PolitiFact dug up the comment, which Obama made in response to a question from moderator Tom Brokaw.
The People Have Spoken: This Is The Most Brazen Lie Of 2014


Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), one of Congress’ most outspoken climate deniers, has often claimed that global warming is a hoax.


Earlier this year, readers of the Tampa Bay Times’ fact-checking project PolitiFact were asked to vote on what they believe was the year’s biggest lie. And as of Wednesday, the results are in: “Climate change is a hoax” was the overwhelming choice. 

Over nine other options, almost 32 percent of the PolitiFact’s 14,467 poll voters chose the “hoax” claim, which was the title of a video released this summer by failed congressional candidate Lenar Whitney. Whitney, who proclaimed herself as one of the most conservative members of Louisiana’s state Legislature, released a 5-minute tirade against climate scientists and the existence of global warming. To prove her point, Whitney stated that the earth is getting colder, that there is a record amount of sea ice in the Arctic, and that climate scientists have been proven to actively falsify their data.

Shortly after the video was released, PolitiFact rated the claims within it as “Pants on Fire” — the site’s highest possible rating of fabrication. It noted NASA data which shows that 12 of the past 15 years have been the hottest years on record; that Arctic sea ice has significantly decreased over the long-term despite a few short-term increases; and that the climate science “scam” she cited was proven false by several investigations.

In addition, there is an overwhelming consensus among actively publishing climate scientists that human-made carbon emissions are causing most of the global warming we see in the atmosphere and oceans. 

Though Whitney’s claims were some of the most brazen in nature this year, she was far from the only political figure to claim climate change is a hoax. In fact, the incoming chairman of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), is one of Congress’ most outspoken climate deniers, sometimes refuting climate change science by citing the bible.

In the outgoing Congress, 17 out of 22 Republican members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee — or 77 percent — deny that climate change is occurring or that humans are the cause.

When Fact-Checkers Cave

Politifact, the organization that checks statements by politicians and parties for their veracity, has labeled the Democrats’ claim that the Republicans voted to end Medicare as the Lie of the Year.


Their defense is that the GOP plan is to take the current plan and replace it with a voucher plan so that seniors could buy private insurance. If the insurance costs more than the voucher is worth, well, too bad. But it would still be called “Medicare” so, according to Politifact, it’s the same thing and therefore the Democrats saying it’s the end of the program is a big fat lie.

John Cole has a pretty good analogy.

America turns off the lights, goes to bed, leaving their Mercedes in the driveway. While we sleep, the Republicans sneak into the car, drive it off, and sell it, but they keep the Mercedes hood ornament. They then split the proceeds between their rich buddies, and go out and find a Ford Pinto up on cinderblocks in a field, with the grass growing through the floorboard. They place that in the driveway, cleverly glue the Mercedes ornament onto the front of the Pinto, and sneak off into the night.

The next morning, America and Democrats are screaming “What the hell happened to my car.” Republicans say “What are you talking about, there is your Mercedes right there, we just modernized it and fixed it up a bit for long-term financial stability,” and point at the Pinto. Then, the rocket scientists at Politifact drive by to take a non-partisan look at things, see the Mercedes symbol on the front of the car, and tell us all we’re lying about the Republicans stealing our Mercedes.

Here’s the funny thing… if Politifact read that excuse from a candidate or a political party, they’d probably rate it as Pants on Fire themselves.

  • The National Mining Association is running radio ads falsely claiming the EPA clean power standards will nearly double electricity prices.
  • The ads were called “bogus” by the Washington Post fact checker, given “four Pinocchios”
  • They are still on air in Colorado, Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. 
  • This is not okay. 

Read the letter the NRDC sent to radio station managers, which asks them to remove the deceptive ads and debunks their twisted claims point by point: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ahaq/NMA%20ad%20reply%20June%205_FINAL2.pdf

This is really awful. Politifact, which is supposed to police false claims in politics, has announced its Lie of the Year — and it’s a statement that happens to be true, the claim that Republicans have voted to end Medicare.

Steve Benen in the link above explains it, but let me just repeat the basics. Republicans voted to replace Medicare with a voucher system to buy private insurance — and not just that, a voucher system in which the value of the vouchers would systematically lag the cost of health care, so that there was no guarantee that seniors would even be able to afford private insurance.

The new scheme would still be called “Medicare”, but it would bear little resemblance to the current system, which guarantees essential care to all seniors.