ON THE RECORD ....

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that. We cannot to abide by that because government is compelling us to sin. So when those two come into conflict, God’s rules always win,” he added. -- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) saying that he believes people of faith should ignore laws that violate their religion.

“But you people, and me, and everybody… you’re pretty smart, right?. We know if there’s something going on, report them. Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK." -- Donald Trump telling supporters in South Carolina that they should call the police on neighbors they may find suspicious because “everybody’s their own cop in a way.”

"If they’re here, they have to go back, because we cannot take a chance.” -- DonaldTrump, going on to say that, if elected, he would deport Syrian refugees who were admitted to the country under President Obama, including children.

When people flee war and upheaval, they reach North American shores with immense gratitude and eagerness to succeed in their new home. Properly screened, very few ever pose a security problem. Canada is showing the way, with compassion and sound judgment. The United States could use more of both. -- Washington Post Editorial11/26/15

“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families. What makes America America is that we offer that chance. We turn Lady Liberty’s light to the world, and widen our circle of concern to say that all God’s children are worthy of our compassion and care. That’s part of what makes this the greatest country on Earth. Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families. What makes America America is that we offer that chance. We turn Lady Liberty’s light to the world, and widen our circle of concern to say that all God’s children are worthy of our compassion and care. That’s part of what makes this the greatest country on Earth.” -- President Obama

"Trump is a fascist. And that's not a term I use loosely or often. But he's earned it," --Max Boot@MaxBoot, a conservative fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

"If we truly care about this — if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough." -- President Obama condemning the shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. 11/28/15

“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months. That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy. We do not accept this environment as normal. We should not have to live in a world where accessing health care includes safe rooms and bullet proof glass.” -- Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains. 11/29/15

‘Oh, I think it has an interesting effect of turning Muslims all over the world against the United States of America, which is 99.44 percent people who practice an honorable religion.” -- Sen. John McCain about Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric 11/29/15

“Mainstream elected Republicans now see Cruz as a bigger threat than Donald Trump or Ben Carson to clinch the nomination — but equally damaging to their party’s chances of winning the White House and keeping the Senate next fall.” -- Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim in Politico 11/30/15

“[W]e should not and cannot continue this politically-motivated committee targeting Planned Parenthood, which is already costing taxpayers and helping to create a dangerous climate for legal health care in America. Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings and 186 arsons against abortion clinics and providers. It is time to stop the witch hunt against Planned Parenthood, stop the demonizing rhetoric and disband this committee immediately.” -- Sen. Barbara Boxer 11/30/15 http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/11/30/1455476/-Sen-Barbara-Boxer-calls-on-Republicans-to-disband-Planned-Parenthood-witch-hunt#read-more

“The overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.” — Sen. Ted Cruz 11/30/15

“Headlines may not show it was a win, but it was a win.” -- Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s (R) on his attempt to defund Planned Parenthood of about $4,453 over two years but instead will cost the state $51,000 to pay the group’s legal fees. 11/30/15

“We bring people into a frenzy of hate and anger while providing them with easy access to firearms and it has proven disastrous to our country.” — Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), on the Planned Parenthood shootings in Colorado.

If Republicans gather at their mid-July convention in Cleveland and end up nominating either Trump or Carson, I will dine on crow, most likely deep-fried, but I don’t expect to be reaching for the Pepto-Bismol.. -- Charlie Cook 11/30/15

"What we may interpret as bad, and most certainly is in the case of Paris or 9/11, even that is part of a broader plan for the universe and for our lives that we are just not going to know the answer to. God's ways are not our ways." -- Marco Rubio, arguing that the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last month and in the United States on 9/11 were both part of God's mysterious plan for the universe. 12/01/15

"This individual (Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) ) understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner. That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president." -- Michael Mann, a meteorology professor at Pennsylvania State University.

"Donald Trump lies because he knows he can get away with it. The most impolite candidate in American political history relies on the politeness of his interviewers to get away with lying." -- Lawrence O'Donnell

“Given the perfect information on Trump, if establishment Republicans truly want to stop him, we can see them making these two arguments: One, he’s unfit for the presidency. Two, he can’t beat Hillary Clinton.” -- First Read 12/02/15

“Anti-abortion extremists and right wing activists should do more than distance themselves from the violence. They should stop spreading heinous lies that help incite violence.” -- Sally Kohn on the extremist anti-abortion rhetoric that influenced the Colorado shooter.12/02/15 http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/30/opinions/kohn-planned-parenthood-shooting/index.html

 

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. G.O.P. Leaders Are Caught in a Standoff
2. The DAILY GRILL
3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
4. The Borowitz Report: Fiorina: I Will Not Be Bullied Into Telling Truth
5. Obstacles imperil budget deal
6. Late Night Jokes for Dems
7. Divisive Issues
8. Donald Trump courted the right-wing fringe to conquer the GOP
9. Obama kept his cool after the Paris attacks. Too bad his critics haven't
10. GunFAIL CLXVI
11. Where Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Change
12. The Endorsement Primary
13. Unsafe Climates
14. John Kasich ad: Is He Worthy?
15. Donors gave a super PAC $6 million. Candidates got about $140,000
16. America's levels of gun violence are unique in the developed world

OPINION

1. David Ignatius: Trump's Words Put the Nation at Risk
2. Ryan Cooper: Donald Trump's alarming skid toward outright fascism
3. Leonard Pitts Jr.: GOP brought this plague on itself
4. Roger Simon: All hail Donald
5. Matt Taibbi: America Is Too Dumb for TV News
6. Barrett Holmes Pitner: Donald Trump Is Our Jean-Marie Le Pen
7. Eugene Robinson: The GOP's Self-Inflicted Wound
8. Josh Marshall: "It's Alive. It's Alive ..."
9. Molly Ball: The Ecstasy of Donald Trump
10. Scott Rasmussen: Hillary Clinton, Underdog
11. Dean Obeidallah: The GOP Ignores the Bigger Terror Threat—from the Right
12. Heather Cox Richardson: GOP’s hell-bent on tearing us apart: A decades-long strategy to win by divisiveness now leads to President Donald Trump
13. Tim Kreider: There is no catastrophe so ghastly that America will reform its gun laws

   
FYI
 
   

1. G.O.P. Leaders Are Caught in a Standoff

Many leading Republican officials, strategists and donors now say they fear that Mr. Trump’s nomination would lead to an electoral wipeout, a sweeping defeat that could undo some of the gains Republicans have made in recent congressional, state and local elections. But in a party that lacks a true leader or anything in the way of consensus — and with the combative Mr. Trump certain to scorch anyone who takes him on — a fierce dispute has arisen about what can be done to stop his candidacy and whether anyone should even try.

Some of the highest-ranking Republicans in Congress and some of the party’s wealthiest and most generous donors have balked at trying to take down Mr. Trump because they fear a public feud with the insult-spewing media figure. Others warn that doing so might backfire at a time of soaring anger toward political insiders.

That has led to a standoff of sorts: Almost everyone in the party’s upper echelons agrees something must be done, and almost no one is willing to do it. 12/02/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/us/politics/wary-of-donald-trump-gop-leaders-are-caught-in-a-standoff.html

2. The DAILY GRILL

"It’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and a transgendered leftist activist." -- Sen. Ted Cruz rejecting a potential connection between anti-abortion activism and the Planned Parenthood shooting. 11/29/15

VERSUS

“There is actually no evidence to suggest that he [the Planned Parenthood shooter] is transgender, nor a “leftist,” nor any kind of activist. In fact, all of the available information suggests he was none of those things.” -- Think Progress 11/29/15

 

"Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering." -- Donald Trump

VERSUS

“Trump's claims are blatant, obvious lies. There is nothing more to be said about them.” -- Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 11/25/15

 

“I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” -- Donald Trump saying that he would increase surveillance for Muslims living in the U.S. 11/20/15

VERSUS

“Hey @realDonald Trump, I’m an American and I already carry a special ID badge. Where’s yours? #SemperFi #USMC” -- Tayyib M. Rashid ‏@MuslimMarine. U.S. veteran Marine Sgt. Tayyib Rashid tweeting Trump a photo of his military identification card. 11/19/15

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

How Cable News Covered White Supremacists Allegedly Shooting Black Lives Matter Protesters In Minneapolis -- CNN And MSNBC Give Extensive Coverage To Shooting, Fox News Barely Covers After Previously Calling Black Lives Matter A "Hate Group"http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/11/25/how-cable-news-covered-white-supremacists-alleg/207098

Fox Anchor: "The Most Important Message" Of Laquan McDonald's Death Is To Obey Police. http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/25/fox-anchor-the-most-important-message-of-laquan/207097

Lars Larson: Black Lives Matter Is "Not Only Selective, It's Bigoted" Because It "Only Focuses On The Shootings Of Black Citizens By Police"http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/25/fox-anchor-the-most-important-message-of-laquan/207097

Joe Scarborough Calls Trump's Debunked 9/11 Comments Merely An "Exaggerat[ion]," Accuses The Media Of "Overreacting http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/25/joe-scarborough-calls-trumps-debunked-911-comme/207093

Fox Host Decries Planned Parenthood For "Politicizing" Deadly Shooting At A Colorado Clinic http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/30/fox-host-decries-planned-parenthood-for-politic/207100

Fox's Charles Payne: If Victims Of Planned Parenthood Attack Had Guns They "Could've Defended Themselves" http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/30/foxs-charles-payne-if-victims-of-planned-parent/207111

Sean Hannity Responds To Climate Change Summit: "Idiots" Call It Climate Change, "We Call It Weather"http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/30/sean-hannity-responds-to-climate-change-summit/207119

Right-Wing Media Used Deceptively-Edited Videos To Compare Abortion Providers To Nazis http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/11/30/right-wing-media-used-deceptively-edited-videos/207113

Megyn Kelly Defends Anti-Planned Parenthood Smear Videos With Blatant Falsehoods http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/01/megyn-kelly-defends-anti-planned-parenthood-sme/207154

Bill O'Reilly Defends His Attacks On Dr. George Tiller, The Abortion Provider Who Was Later Assassinated http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/01/bill-oreilly-defends-his-attacks-on-dr-george-t/207153

When Mass Shootings Happen, The NRA And Conservative Media Blame The Victim http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/02/when-mass-shootings-happen-the-nra-and-conserva/207171

NRA: The "Real Epidemic" Is "Anti-Gun Groups," Not Gun Violence http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/01/nra-the-real-epidemic-is-anti-gun-groups-not-gu/207156

Bill O'Reilly: "Mass Murder Is Very Small, I Mean It Doesn't Happen That Much"http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/05/bill-oreilly-mass-murder-is-very-small-i-mean-i/205975

Anti-Choice Extremist Troy Newman: Colorado Shooting Was "Exactly What" Planned Parenthood Has "Been Hoping For"http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/02/anti-choice-extremist-troy-newman-colorado-shoo/207188

4. The Borowitz Report: Fiorina: I Will Not Be Bullied Into Telling Truth

Calling criticism of her misrepresentations about Planned Parenthood “typical left-wing tactics,” the Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said, on Sunday, “I will not be bullied into telling the truth.”

Fiorina noted that many of her rivals for the Republican nomination—including Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz—had successfully used lying as a key element of their campaign strategies. “All I am trying to do is level the playing field,” she said.

Additionally, she argued that she had not singled out Planned Parenthood as the subject of falsehoods during her campaign. “Look at the things I have said about my tenure at Hewlett-Packard,” she said. “I have steadfastly avoided facts from day one.”

Striking a defiant note, she said that she refused to allow a “tiny cabal of left-wing truth-fetishists” break her resolve. “Anyone who thinks I’m going to start suddenly telling the truth doesn’t know what Carly Fiorina is made of,” she said. Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

5. Obstacles imperil budget deal

Congressional leaders face several hurdles to getting a budget deal done by the Dec. 11 deadline, including a fight over health funding that is holding up the omnibus spending package.

There’s also a battle brewing over dozens of policy riders aimed at Wall Street and environmental regulations that Republicans insist should be included in the legislation but Democrats warn could lead to a government shutdown. Some Republicans also want to add language blocking President Obama’s refugee resettlement program, which would be a non-starter with Democrats, but GOP leaders are reluctant at this point to pursue that path.” -- The Hill 11/25/15 http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/261246-obstacles-imperil-year-end-budget-deal

6. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"Donald Trump's support keeps growing, with the latest poll from New Hampshire showing him ahead by 22 points. That's higher than the age of his next wife. It's only slightly more than the number of candidates for president." –Stephen Colbert

"Republican Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, is dropping out. Jindal never got out of single digits in the polls. 'My parents came to this country 45 years ago and they told me as a young child that Americans can do anything' — not only did Jindal have to drop out, he learned his parents have been lying to him." –Stephen Colbert

"Donald Trump went on Twitter today and mocked Ronda Rousey for losing her fight this past weekend. In response, T-Mobile's CEO said he'd pay to see Trump fight her in the ring — at which point, Trump started building a wall around himself." –Jimmy Fallon

"Governor Chris Christie said in an interview that New Jersey would not accept Syrian refugees. Which is too bad, because Syrian refugees would be the first people ever to arrive in New Jersey and say, 'Hey, this is MUCH better!'" –Seth Meyers

"Not that anyone seemed to notice, but there was a Democratic debate on Saturday night. It was Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley, who is either a presidential candidate or an Irish pub where they all went to drink afterwards, I'm not sure." –Jimmy Kimmel

"I think Donald Trump will drop out once he finds out how much money the president actually makes. I think he pays his hair flap engineer more than $400,000 a year." –Jimmy Kimmel

"In an interview this morning, Donald Trump said that mosques need to be 'watched and studied,' because he believes they may spread hateful views. In related news, Donald Trump needs to be watched and studied." –Seth Meyers

"Lately, Trump has been pretty cranky about losing his lead in the polls over retired neurosurgeon and 'Guy who sits next to you in an otherwise empty theater,' Ben Carson. Evidently, people have been looking at Trump and thinking, 'Maybe we shouldn't elect a man who shouts crazy things. Maybe we should elect a man who whispers crazy things.'" –Stephen Colbert

"In a recent interview, Donald Trump hinted that he might consider Chris Christie for his ticket if he wins the nomination. Not to be his vice president — to be his wall between America and Mexico." –Jimmy Fallon

"I heard that a couple weeks ago, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz spent some time hunting pheasants in Iowa. When Donald Trump heard that, he was like, 'Why wasn’t I invited? I love hunting peasants.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"First Ben Carson said he attacked his mother with a hammer, now Ben Carson’s mother is saying she’s the one who attacked Ben with a hammer. I don’t know about you, but that had to be one awkward Thanksgiving at the Carson house." –Conan O'Brien

7. Divisive Issues

Certain issues divide the country starkly across party lines. For instance:

• By a 66 percent to 26 percent margin, Republicans said that immigrants burdened the country more than they strengthened it. (Among supporters of Donald Trump, 80 percent said they were a burden.)
• Democrats said immigrants strengthened the country by a nearly opposite margin, 63 percent to 32 percent.

• Among Republicans, 76 percent said the values of Islam were at odds with "American values and way of life";
• 43 percent of Democrats said this.

• 64 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement that "discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities."
• Only 28 percent of Democrats agreed.

• Among Republicans, 82 percent said the recent killings of African-Americans by police were "isolated incidents" rather than "part of a broader pattern."
• Only 32 percent of Democrats said they were isolated incidents.

For more go to http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/nov/20/tp-a-winning-agenda/

8. Donald Trump courted the right-wing fringe to conquer the GOP

Trump’s dominance in this year’s presidential primary race has often been described as a mysterious natural phenomenon: the Donald riding a wild, unpredictable tsunami of conservative populist anger that just now happens to be crashing down on the Republican establishment. But in fact, Trump spent years methodically building and buying support for himself in a vast, right-wing counter-establishment — one that exists entirely outside the old party infrastructure and is quickly becoming just as powerful.

The fables Trump repeats on the campaign trail — about Muslims, Mexican immigrants, African Americans — have become accepted right-wing truths. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-donald-trump-courted-the-right-wing-fringe-to-conquer-the-gop/2015/11/26/42e38150-92b6-11e5-a2d6-f57908580b1f_story.html

9. Obama kept his cool after the Paris attacks. Too bad his critics haven't

Chris Christie is supposedly gaining ground in the Republican primary specifically by invoking 9/11 and the fear surrounding it. Donald Trump is stoking xenophobic rage, and his fellow Republican candidates are dutifully and embarrassingly following his lead. Americans are suddenly terrified of terrorists despite the fact that you have roughly the same chance of dying from a terrorist attack as you do being crushed to death by falling furniture. 11/25/15 Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/25/obama-kept-his-cool-after-the-paris-attacks-too-bad-his-critics-havent

10. GunFAIL CLXVI

61 guns were found by TSA agents at airports across the country, during the week of 10/30/15-11/05/15.

During that week fourteen people accidentally shot themselves, eight people accidentally shot family members or significant others, eight people involved in gun accidents initially lied to police about what happened, four people accidentally shot into the homes or property of their neighbors, four managed to accidentally fire guns they were cleaning or working on, and two people accidentally fired weapons while they were out shopping or dining among the rest of the minding-their-own-business public.

For more, and the latest GunFAIL list go to http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/11/25/1443208/-Let-s-make-our-safe-word-check-the-chamber-GunFAIL-CLXVI

11. Where Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Change

HAS SAID CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL:
Marco Rubio: YES, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson: “NO” - All Democratic Party candidates: “YES”

HAS SAID CLIMATE CHANGE IS MAN-MADE:
Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio: “NO” - All Democratic Party candidates: “YES”

HAS CALLED FOR SOME DEGREE OF ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio: “NO” - All Democratic Party candidates: “YES”

HAS EXPLICITLY SAID HE/SHE WILL COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE IF ELECTED:
Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio: “NO” - All Democratic Party candidates: “YES”

http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/11/429781692/where-presidential-candidates-stand-on-climate-change

12. The Endorsement Primary

In presidential primaries, endorsements have been among the best predictors of which candidates will succeed and which will fail. For a table showing endorsements for each of the current presidential candidates go to http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-endorsement-primary/?ex_cid=538twitter.

13. Unsafe Climates

A recent study by researchers at Loyola Marymount University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that unabated warming would render Persian Gulf cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Dhahran virtually unlivable in a matter of decades. “A plausible analogy of future climate for many locations in Southwest Asia is the current climate of the desert of Northern Afar on the African side of the Red Sea, a region with no permanent human settlements,” the researchers wrote.

One of the most robust predictions that can be made about climate change is that it will send millions—perhaps tens or hundreds of millions—of people in search of new homes. And, in an “extraordinarily interconnected” world, disaster cannot be cordoned off. By mid-century, which, in the scheme of things, is not very long from now, the Syrian-refugee crisis is likely to seem routine. Rather than playing games with the federal budget, security-minded Republicans should be doing everything they can to insure that Paris succeeds. Elizabeth Kolbert in the 12/0715 New Yorker http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/07/unsafe-climates

14. John Kasich ad: Is He Worthy?

https://youtu.be/t9krV-Yo9Nc

15. Donors gave a super PAC $6 million. Candidates got about $140,000

With Carson as the face of its Save Our Healthcare campaign, American Legacy PAC, an organization with ties to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, raised close to $6 million in 2014 — and spent nearly all of it paying the consultants and firms that raised the money. Just 2% was donated to Republican candidates and committees, financial reports show.

Though American Legacy didn’t raise much money for Obamacare-hating Republicans, it was a success at something else — finding people willing to give to Carson. Using those names, and another list generated by a second "super PAC," Carson’s campaign built a network of individual donors that has far outraised those of his rivals.

The fundraising operation also has proved rewarding for the consultants running it. The founder and treasurer of American Legacy, a Virginia-based direct-marketing consultant, is now a senior finance advisor for Carson’s campaign, which has paid his firms $2.8 million. -- Joseph Tanfani and Maloy Moore in the LA Times 11/25/15 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-ben-carson-fundraising-20151125-story.html

16. America's levels of gun violence are unique in the developed world


http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/12/2/9837324/san-bernadino-shooting

   
OPINION
 
   


1. David Ignatius: Trump's Words Put the Nation at Risk

Trump tosses hand grenades of rumor, slander and intolerance. He makes inflammatory statements with no factual support, such as his assertion Nov. 14 that "our president wants to take in 250,000 [refugees] from Syria," or his claim last Saturday that "thousands and thousands of people were cheering" in Muslim neighborhoods in New Jersey when the Twin Towers fell.

Are Trump's comments really making us less safe? I fear that's so: Professional counterterrorism experts say that America has had relatively few "lone wolf" attacks partly because Muslim Americans believe they are part of the national community. They have a stake in America and its security. The FBI and local law-enforcement agencies work 24/7 to build this sense of trust and cooperation so that when Muslim communities see extremists in their midst, they will report them to authorities.

These essential threads of interdependence are what Trump is ripping apart. Try to read his words as a Muslim neighbor would, when Trump said Nov. 17, "We're going to have to look at the mosques. We're going to have to look very, very carefully." Or when he responded to a question two days later about creating databases to track Muslims, "certainly" and "absolutely." Trump's defenders say he misspoke, or was responding to a question -- but that's precisely the point. He wasn't being clear and careful, on a subject where clarity is essential in this moment of crisis.

Let's state the problem in the simplest terms: If Muslim Americans come to believe that prominent leaders (such as the top GOP presidential candidate) view them as less worthy of rights and protections than others, then the job of the Islamic State's recruiters will become easier. The work of intelligence officers, cops and soldiers who have been trying to stop our terrorist adversaries will become more difficult.

It's hard to imagine that someone would put the country at greater risk for personal political benefit. But that's exactly what Trump has been doing. It's outrageous behavior, and responsible Republicans must insist that it stop. 11/25/15 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/11/25/trumps_words_put_the_nation_at_risk_128851.html

2. Ryan Cooper: Donald Trump's alarming skid toward outright fascism

I made the case just a couple months back that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is a sort of fledgling Mussolini, nurturing an incipient fascist movement. As the first primaries approach, and Trump's lead in the polls is actually widening, his development toward outright fascism is progressing faster than I feared.

Trump was writing pro-Obama blog posts in 2009. He is pretty clearly in this for the self-aggrandizement and ego trip, not because he's wants to achieve anything in particular. That's likely why he has not yet attacked the fundamental idea of a democratic electoral system (the last major missing fascist ingredient) — it simply hasn't occurred to him yet.

Yet the seeds he is sowing are poisonous indeed. Violent white nationalism has not been so effectively mainstreamed since the 1920s. If Trump wins the nomination and the economy turns down next year, I'd give him a decent chance of victory. Even if he is only a sort of "fascist idiot savant" without much true organizing ability or program, he clearly has a good instinct for the basic psychological impulses underlying previous fascist success. It's time to start taking this seriously. 11.24.15 http://theweek.com/articles/590497/donald-trumps-alarming-skid-toward-outright-fascism

3. Leonard Pitts Jr.: GOP brought this plague on itself

Over the course of just two days last weekend, Donald Trump spewed bigotry, venom and absurdity like a sewer pipe, spewed it with such utter disregard for decency and factuality that it was difficult to know what to criticize first.

Shall we condemn him for retweeting a racist graphic on Sunday filled with wildly inaccurate statistics from a non-existent source (“Whites killed by blacks — 81 percent”)?

Or shall we hammer him for tacitly encouraging violence when an African-American protester was beaten up at a Trump rally in Birmingham on Saturday? “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” Trump told Fox “News.”

Shall we blast him for telling ABC on Sunday that he would bring back the thoroughly discredited practice of waterboarding — i.e., torturing — suspected terrorists?

Or shall we lambaste him for claiming — falsely — at the Birmingham rally that “thousands and thousands” of people in Jersey City, N.J. applauded the Sept. 11 attacks and reiterating it the next day, telling ABC that “a heavy Arab population . . . were cheering.”

Trump is a whack-a-mole of the asinine and the repugnant. Or, as a person dubbed “snarkin pie” noted on Twitter: “Basically, Trump is what would happen if the comments section became a human and ran for president.”

And though candidate Trump would be a disaster for the Republicans, he would also be one for the nation, effectively rendering ours a one-party system. But maybe that’s the wake-up call some of us require to end this dangerous flirtation with extremism.

“You got to give the people what they want,” says an old song. Truth is, sometimes it’s better if you don’t. 11/28/15 Read more at http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article46766275.html

4. Roger Simon: All hail Donald

Trump is no fool. He is a man with a plan. Armed with his celebrity status, his vast wealth and his adoption of the big lie as his favorite campaign tactic, he sees the White House within reach.

He is ready for Hillary. He tipped his hand just the other day. “I don’t think she has the stamina to be president,” he said. “I don’t think she has the strength or the stamina to be president.”

Donald Trump has the stamina. Donald Trump has the strength. Donald Trump has the will.

America has been stabbed in the back for the last time. “We’re tired of being run by stupid people!” he shouts. “The American dream is dead. But we’re going to make it bigger and better and stronger than ever before!”

Bigger. Better. Stronger.

One dream! One nation! One leader!

Der Donald!

Hail!

11/25/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/all-hail-der-donald-216197#ixzz3scolvb1V

5. Matt Taibbi: America Is Too Dumb for TV News

Trump and others are proving it: we can't handle the truth

The old Edward R. Murrow, eat-your-broccoli version of the news was banished long ago. Once such whiny purists were driven from editorial posts and the ad people over the last four or five decades got invited in, things changed. Then it was nothing but murders, bombs, and panda births, delivered to thickening couch potatoes in ever briefer blasts of forty, thirty, twenty seconds.

When you make the news into this kind of consumer business, pretty soon audiences lose the ability to distinguish between what they think they're doing, informing themselves, and what they're actually doing, shopping.

And who shops for products he or she doesn't want? That's why the consumer news business was always destined to hit this kind of impasse. You can get by for a long time by carefully selecting the facts you know your audiences will like, and calling that news. But eventually there will be a truth that displeases your customers. What do you do then?

In this case, as Rush said, "Americans are well aware Muslims were cheering" after 9/11. Because America "knows" this, it now expects the news media to deliver that story. And if reporters refuse, it can only be out of bias.

What this 9/11 celebrations story shows is that American news audiences have had their fantasies stroked for so long that they can't even remember stuff that happened not that long ago. It's like an organic version of 1984, with audiences constantly editing even their own memories to fit their current attitudes about things.

It was preposterous from the start to think that there could have been contemporaneous broadcasts of "thousands" of people in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks. Does nobody remember how people felt that day? If there had been such broadcasts, there would have been massacres – angry Americans would have stormed Jersey City.

Maybe in the wake of Paris that's the way people feel, but it's not close to what happened. If we can't even remember things correctly even in the video age, things are going to get weird pretty fast in this country. Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/america-is-too-dumb-for-tv-news-20151125

6. Barrett Holmes Pitner: Donald Trump Is Our Jean-Marie Le Pen

The continued radicalization of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has quickly become a movement centered on the fear and anxiety of foreign or non-white American bodies, and the hate-filled propaganda and lies that sustain it. He is coalescing his own American far-right political party with roots in white supremacy and neo-Nazi movements. He is copying the modus operandi of the resurgent far-right movements that are sweeping across Europe. He is becoming America’s own Le Pen—Marine or Jean-Marie, take your pick.

Gerrymandering has led to Republicans having seats that are incredibly difficult for them to lose, and as a result elected officials no longer need to seek out moderate, centrist voters to win an election against a Democrat. Instead their greatest competition is with other conservative candidates, and therefore the far-right vote has greater influence electorally. This increases the likelihood of a viable far-right party a sustained presence in our government. The Tea Party movement has already started this transition, and Trump’s campaign could be the final piece of the puzzle. Gerrymandering has led to Republicans having seats that are incredibly difficult for them to lose, and as a result elected officials no longer need to seek out moderate, centrist voters to win an election against a Democrat. Instead their greatest competition is with other conservative candidates, and therefore the far-right vote has greater influence electorally. This increases the likelihood of a viable far-right party having a sustained presence in our government. The Tea Party movement has already started this transition, and Trump’s campaign could be the final piece of the puzzle. 11.27.15 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/27/donald-trump-is-our-jean-marie-le-pen.html

7. Eugene Robinson: The GOP's Self-Inflicted Wound

As the leading Republican presidential candidates rant and rave about deporting 11 million immigrants, fighting some kind of world war against Islam, implementing gimmicky tax plans that would bankrupt the nation and other such madness, keep one thing in mind: The party establishment brought this plague upon itself.

The self-harming was unintentional but inevitable -- and should have been foreseeable. Donald Trump and Ben Carson didn't come out of nowhere. Fully half of the party's voters didn't wake up one morning and decide, for no particular reason, that experience as a Republican elected official was the last thing they wanted in a presidential candidate.

Roughly six of 10 GOP voters tell pollsters they reject any candidate the Republican establishment likes. That amounts to a party in open revolt.

Are voters who have been on the raucous, anything-goes Trump bandwagon for months going to fall meekly in line behind someone like Bush or Marco Rubio? It gets harder and harder to imagine such a thing.

Meanwhile, the whole field is being pulled so far to the right on issues such as immigration and taxes that any of the likely nominees will have a hard time winning the general election. This is a fine mess the Republican Party has gotten itself into, and we won't know until the early primaries whether there's any hope of a way out. 11/27/15 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/11/27/the_gops_self-inflicted_wound_128866.html

8. Josh Marshall: "It's Alive. It's Alive ..."

There's nothing new under the sun about Trumpism. It's just a turbo-charged, more media savvy version of the resentment politics the GOP has been tapping for fuel and riding for decades. The familiarity of the Trump message comes across clearly in that aforementioned Washington Post article where those pushing a Stop Trump movement don't focus on the racism or xenophobia but on Trump's past support for universal health care or the Clintons. In other words, there's apparently no stopping Trump on the right. Or as Romney guru and former top aide Eric Fehrnstrom told The Boston Globe: “These Republican candidates haven’t figured out a successful way to disqualify Trump. Attacking him from the left is a losing strategy in our primary.” The only viable attack is that he's actually too liberal or is merely a cynical manipulator pretending to embrace hard right politics for his own gain.

I know many of my Republican friends are aghast and will insist that Trump's politics is one they abhor rather than endorse. For many that's true. But the Republican party has also been relying on this politics for many years to drive its campaigns. Trump, in his current incarnation, is no more than right wing politics turned up to eleven. It shouldn't surprise us he's garnered a ton of support or that it's proven, thus far, almost impossible to dislodge. 11/27/15 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/it-s-alive-it-s-alive

9. Molly Ball: The Ecstasy of Donald Trump

Four months into his crazed foray into presidential politics, Trump is still winning this thing. And what could once be dismissed as a larkish piece of political performance art has seemingly turned into something darker. Pundits, even conservative ones, say that Trump resembles a fascist. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris, which some hoped would expose Trump’s shallowness, have instead strengthened him by intensifying people’s anger and fear. Trump has falsely claimed that thousands of Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks from rooftops in New Jersey; he has declined to rule out a national database of Muslims. The other day, a reporter asked Trump if the things he was proposing weren’t just like what the Nazis did to the Jews. Trump replied, “You tell me.”

This is the thing Trump knows: You can stand around fretting about truth and propriety and the danger of pandering to baser instincts.

Or you can give the people what they want. 11/25/15 Read more at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-ecstasy-of-donald-trump/417870

10. Scott Rasmussen: Hillary Clinton, Underdog

Next summer, Clinton is almost certain to become the first woman ever nominated for president by a major political party. At that point, though, the challenge for Hillary Clinton is likely to be much different. Rather than worrying about whether she can hold the lead and run out the clock, the question will become whether or not she can pull off a come-from-behind victory. In all likelihood, the Republican nominee will start off the general election season as the favorite.

That perspective may sound crazy to Clinton supporters and many in the DC media club. They see the Democratic frontrunner as obviously experienced and qualified in contrast to the leading GOP candidates.

But fundamentals drive elections more than candidates. The most important measure of the political climate is the president’s job approval rating. At the moment, President Obama’s ratings are in the low-to-mid 40s. That’s a danger ground suggesting that he will be a drag on his party’s nominee. At the moment, it’s a problem for Clinton rather than a crisis. But if the president’s ratings go much lower, it will become extraordinarily difficult for the Democrats to retain the White House.

On top of that, consumer confidence has just fallen to its lowest level in over a year. An index of manufacturing sentiment is now at the lowest level in more than two years. The country may not be in a recession, but the economic recovery is anemic.

Obviously, there is a lot of time before Election Day in November, 2016. Anything could happen. It’s possible the GOP could self-destruct and split in two or that Donald Trump could run as an independent candidate. But barring such a lucky break, Hillary Clinton will likely begin her fall campaign as an underdog. 11/28/15 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/11/28/hillary_clinton_underdog_128872.html

11. Dean Obeidallah: The GOP Ignores the Bigger Terror Threat—from the Right

“I want surveillance of certain mosques,” bellowed Donald Trump to his followers at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, over the weekend. Ted Cruz recently declared that it would be “lunacy” to allow Muslim refugees into the United States because they “could be jihadists coming here to kill Americans.” And in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Marco Rubio exclaimed that in order to keep Americans safe, we need to be vigilant in our war against “radical Islam.”

The threat posed by ISIS is real and must be forcefully addressed. But if these Republicans truly want to keep us safe, why don’t they ever raise the issue of right-wing terrorists? After all, as The New York Times reported just a few months ago, “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.”

The reality, of course, is that talking about scary Muslims plays great with the GOP base. In fact, a recent poll found that three-quarters of Republicans think Islam is “at odds” with American values.

But talking scary white guys gets you nowhere in the GOP. Keep in mind that Trump wouldn’t even unequivocally condemn the white supremacist groups or leaders who have expressed support for him, such as former Klan leader David Duke. The best Trump would do is say to a reporter of Duke’s endorsement that he would repudiate it “if that would make you feel better.”

If these GOP presidential candidates truly want to keep Americans safe, it’s time they stop ignoring the threat posed to Americans from the right. But who are we kidding? Expect more fear mongering about Muslims by the GOP. However, let’s not pretend later that we didn’t all see the warning signs about the threat of radical right-wing terror. 11.29.15 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/29/the-gop-ignores-the-bigger-terror-threat-from-the-right.html

12. Heather Cox Richardson: GOP’s hell-bent on tearing us apart: A decades-long strategy to win by divisiveness now leads to President Donald Trump

Republican candidates for the presidential nomination claim that Democrats kill babies and harvest their organs to sell them, insist the U.S. is at war with an “evil state of consciousness,” compare Muslims to rabid dogs, and call for closing mosques and registering Muslims. These are not fringe candidates. They are the front-runners.

The election of Democratic President Barack Obama in 2008 sent Movement Conservatives into full-blown ideological war. A biracial man who believed that the government should play a role in the economy and in social welfare had taken over the government. They howled that he was a socialist and a communist; that he was a Muslim; that he wasn’t even an American. They dehumanized him, circulating images and jokes that represented the president as a monkey. The realities of the economy, society, foreign affairs, legislation—all fell by the wayside. In a world where a black-and-white narrative has replaced a national vision based on principles, one tribe is good and one is evil.

Today’s Republican contenders for the presidential nomination are taking this Manichean narrative to the next level. Their worldview is utterly divorced from reality, but it offers a clear vision: Embattled Christian Americans stand against a horde that is attacking God and free enterprise. There is no room here for nuance or facts. Democrats kill babies and support terrorists as they strive to destroy America. Movement Conservatives are on the side of the angels, determined to defend America. They must no longer accept the legitimacy of their subhuman enemies; they must work to purge them from the nation.

Yet, within this very extremism is the seed for its own destruction. The popular realization that the leading Republican candidate for president is calling for a Muslim policy that looks much like the one practiced by the Nazis against the Jews has, at last, forced opponents to stop worrying about winning voting blocs and instead to articulate true national principles. Americans are not just constituencies to be sliced and diced to guarantee the triumph of Movement Conservatism. We stand for something.

It is high time we remember that. 11/29/15 Read more at http://www.salon.com/2015/11/29/gops_hell_bent_on_tearing
_us_apart_a_decades_long_strategy_to_win_by_divisiveness_now_leads_to_president_donald_trump/

13. Tim Kreider: There is no catastrophe so ghastly that America will reform its gun laws

Look, we've collectively decided, as a country, that the occasional massacre is okay with us. It's the price we're willing to pay for our precious Second Amendment freedoms. We're content to forfeit the lives of a few dozen schoolkids a year as long as we get to keep our guns. The people have spoken, in a cheering civics-class example of democracy in action.

It's hard to imagine what ghastly catastrophe could possibly change America's minds about guns if the little bloody bookbags of Newtown did not. After that atrocity, it seemed as if we would finally enact some obvious, long-overdue half-measures. But perfectly reasonable, moderate legislation expanding background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was summarily killed in the Senate for no reason other than that a sufficient number of United States senators are owned by the NRA. It made our official position as a nation nakedly explicit: We don't care about any number of murdered children, no matter how many, or how young. We want our guns.

I realize we are not all equally complicit in this indifference; there's a spectrum of culpability. I don't even bother to hold the NRA or the politicians they own accountable for the deaths they allow, any more than I blame deer ticks or herpes for doing their jobs. Gun lobbyists are just engines of greed, businesslike and efficient as HIV. Politicians will do whatever will get them re-elected. And gun owners are simply frightened; anyone who buys a handgun is, self-evidently, afraid of something. Plenty of them are decent, fun, likable, kindhearted people, but fear can make normal people behave vilely. And as an electoral bloc they've made the calculation that placating their own imaginary terrors is more important than the lives of what will probably, after all, be some stranger's kids. And luckily kids don't get to vote. Read more at http://theweek.com/articles/446582/there-no-catastrophe-ghastly-that-america-reform-gun-laws