FABRICATING LIES: Ted Cruz Says Planned Parenthood Gunman Was “Transgender Leftist Activist”

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It was Texas Senator Ted Cruz who took the prize this past weekend for the most outlandish claim regarding the man who opened fire on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado that left three dead on Friday.

With details and facts still emerging over the Friday shooting, the junior senator first took the opportunity to denounce the “vicious rhetoric on the left, blaming those who are pro-life” to reporters in Newton, Iowa, the New York Times reported. Cruz, who called the gunman “deranged” also added that shooter Robert Dear was “registered to vote as a woman” adding, “it’s also reported that he was registered as an independent and as a woman and a transgender leftist activist.”

A Cruz spokesman later clarified to the press that the candidate was not saying any of this himself, but that new information was constantly coming in and it was too soon to jump to conclusions about Dear’s political leanings.

While it appears that Dear was in fact registered to vote as a woman, no evidence suggests that Dear is either transgender or a “leftist activist.” On the contrary, as ThinkProgress pointed out, a New York Times profile of Dear described him as “generally conservative.” In addition to targeting the party’s consistent bugaboo, Planned Parenthood, Dear was reported to have told police when he was apprehended, “No more baby parts.”

Other presidential candidates have been jumping into the fray on the tragedy. Donald Trump called the alleged gunman a maniac, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson cited hostility from “both sides,” saying “there is no saint here in this,” while other candidates have remained silent on the issue.

In debates and campaign appearances, Republican presidential hopefuls have trumpeted false reports of baby selling at the organization with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina memorably telling an audience during a debate that she had seen video footage of a “fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says ‘we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.'”

While a number of videos have been released showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the transfer of fetal tissue for medical research (FactCheck.org provided evidence that the videos were edited), the footage Fiorina spoke of has never been produced, and her claims have been repeatedly challenged. She, as well as Cruz, have made defunding Planned Parenthood a central part of their presidential campaigns.

The violence in Colorado is only the most recent in a long string of attacks Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have faced from those with opposing political views. Among those attacks have been bomb threatsarsonacid attacks and anthrax threats.

With the Colorado shooter alive and in custody, however, truths about Dear’s identity and his motivations are bound to come out sooner or later — so stayed tuned.

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SONS OF CUBAN REFUGEES: MARCO RUBIO AND TED CRUZ HYPOCRITES

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After a Syrian passport was found next to the body of one of the perpetrators of last week’s Paris attacks, 27 state governors announced that they will refuse to receive any of the 10,000 Syrian refugees granted asylum by the Obama administration. Former Florida governor and current Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush appeared on CBS This Morning on Monday to say the United States should focus on taking in Christian Syrians only.

For their parts, Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida — both running for president as well — argued that the United States can’t afford to take in Syrian refugees who might have a terrorist or two among their ranks. Cruz will introduce a bill that would put Jeb’s proposal into action, barring Syrian Muslims from entering the country but opening America’s door to Christians.

Rubio doesn’t believe the United States should accept any of the refugees fleeing civil war and religious persecution in Syrian, saying in an ABC interview, “It’s not that we don’t want to. It’s that we can’t.”

While U.S. leaders are debating whether America can afford to provide sanctuary to Syrian refuges, reports are surfacing of the over 28,000 Cubans migrants who have crossed the Texas-Mexico border in the fiscal year ending September 30. When Costa Rica granted travel visas to the 1200 Cubans who had made it there — after flying to Ecuador, crossing into Colombia, sailing to Panama, and then crossing into Costa Rica — Nicaraguan security forces shot tear gas into crowds of Cuban migrants trying to cross its southern border on their way through Central America and to the United States.

Strangely enough, Nicaragua, as a communist country, is actually close allies with Cuba, and we have yet to see how the Cuban government will respond to such mistreatment against its former citizens. (It may be that Havana thinks nothing of it, since any Cuban who leaves the island is traditionally viewed as a traitor to the revolution.)

Of course, Senators Cruz and Rubio are Cuban Americans themselves, and are constantly crowing about being the sons of Cuban refugees who fled persecution in Communist Cuba (although Rubio’s grandfather actually fled Batista’s Cuba and returned weeks after Fidel took power, only to flee his homeland again a few years later). Both Republican senators wax on and on about how the United States opened her arms to their forebears and embraced them as new Americans.

But now that millions of Syrians are fleeing conflicts largely ignited by Republican warmongering, these two sons of refugees feel the United States can ill afford to embrace asylum seekers from other countries. In fact, they didn’t believe the country should have taken in the desperate mothers and children who flooded across the U.S.-Mexico border in the summer of 2014; their suggestion then was to round up “the huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and ship them back to whatever hellhole they escaped from.

The influx of Cuban migrants is due the United States’ longstanding practice of granting Cuban immigrants on U.S. soil a fast track to permanent residency — a policy known as “Wet Foot, Dry Foot,” since any seagoing Cuban who steps foot on a South Florida beach receives the same treatment. The announcement last December that the United States and Cuba would resume diplomatic relations has many Cubans convinced that the decades-old policy is in its final days, and many are hoping to take advantage of their special immigration status before it’s too late.

To recap: The United States is struggling to find a place for the 10,000 Syrian refugees it has agreed to take in. Meanwhile, nearly three times as many Cubans have been taken in during the past 12 months.

Senators Cruz and Rubio don’t seem to have anything to say about that contradiction. I wouldn’t have expected them to either. They have no real principles, after all, only believing in whatever’s good for people like them.

Still, hypocrisy being a notoriously American characteristic, Ted and Marco can rest easy knowing they may be the most American men in the country.

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FALSE: Ted Cruz says median wage for women has dropped $733 under Obama

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Facing the possibility of a historic female presidential candidacy by Hillary Clinton, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz sought to puncture the notion that Democratic policies have been good for women.

“Under Barack Obama and the big government economy, the median wage for women has dropped $733,” Cruz said during the CNBC Republican presidential debate in Boulder, Colo.

Have female workers really fared so poorly under Obama? We took a closer look at the earnings numbers for working women and found that Cruz’s claim is off.

The statistic closest to the one Cruz mentioned is calculated by the Census Bureau — the median wage or salary for workers who are paid through wages or salaries. The bureau breaks those figures down by gender and adjusts the figures for inflation in order to enable comparisons across time.

In 2008, the last year before Obama took office, the median for women was $28,574. By 2014, that had risen to $29,098 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

That’s an increase of $524 over six years — not a decline of $733, as Cruz said.

So Cruz is wrong using the most obvious benchmark. But he would have been on safer ground if he had said “income” rather than “wages,” as he intended to do, Phil Novack, a spokesman for Cruz, confirmed to PolitiFact.

The Census Bureau separately calculates inflation-adjusted median income by gender. By this measure, the figure for women in 2008 was $22,945. By 2014, that had fallen to $22,240 — a decline of $705, which is close to what Cruz said.

The wages-and-salaries statistic only includes gross employer compensation of employees. By contrast, the income statistic takes in a much larger mix of income flows, including commissions, bonuses, tips, self-employment income, interest, dividends, rental and royalty income, income from estates and trusts, Social Security and public assistance, child support and alimony, and unemployment and retirement benefits. Cruz specifically mentioned wages, which makes his statement less accurate.

Another wrinkle undercuts the relevance of the income statistic.

Gary Burtless, an economist with the Brookings Institution, said the wages-and-salaries statistic only applies to the 72 million-plus women undertaking paid work. The income figure applies to every woman over the age of 15 — more than 112 million in all.

Since Cruz referenced wages — which are earned from work — he seems to be talking about bad economic trends for working women. Given this, Burtless said, “I’m not sure why the median income number is relevant.” A lot of the 112 million with income of any kind are homemakers or retired, he said, and with the aging of the baby boom generation, lots of women (and men) are retiring from jobs and beginning to draw Social Security or pensions that don’t pay as much as their old jobs did. This could be the source of the decline in income, even as wages are rising for the smaller group of working women.

Our ruling

Cruz said that “under Barack Obama and the big government economy, the median wage for women has dropped $733.”

That’s wrong. Wages actually have risen for women since Obama took office. Cruz’s spokesperson said Cruz intended to use a different phrase. But at PolitiFact, we say words matter. The statement is not accurate and we rate it False.

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