ON THE RECORD ....

QUESTION: Should SOMETHING be done on the issue of guns?
JEB: I don't think so.

"But I hope I’m wrong, and I’d urge everyone outside the climate-denial bubble to frankly acknowledge the awesome, terrifying reality. We’re looking at a party that has turned its back on science at a time when doing so puts the very future of civilization at risk. That’s the truth, and it needs to be faced head-on. -- Paul Krugman on climate change denial. 12/04/15

As long as there are as many guns in this country as there are people, as long as we don't meaningfully restrict firearm purchases or keep track of weapons, we will have mass shootings and individual killings and gun suicides. Tragically, this is the choice we make.” -- Eugene Robinson 12/04/15

“The battle over gun control is not just one of individual votes in Congress, but of a continuing clash of ideas, backed by political power. In other words, the law of the Second Amendment is not settled; no law, not even the Constitution, ever is.” -- jeffrey Toobin 12/17, 2012

"You can't build a border wall when it comes to carbon emissions or global temperatures or the oceans. We've got to make sure that people have incentives to work with us." -- President Obama pledging a $3 billion U.S. contribution to an international fund for developing countries - such as India -- to cope with the effects of climate change. 12/04/15

“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.” -- Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. 12/05/15

“By blocking efforts to give law enforcement the tools they need to keep guns out of the hands of FBI terror suspects, Republicans are leaving every American community vulnerable to an attack by terrorists armed with assault weapons – just like the attacks we saw in Paris and San Bernardino. Republicans should be ashamed of themselves and their cowardice.” -- Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 12/05/15

"A lot of people are dead right now. So everybody wants to be politically correct, and that’s part of the problem that we have with our country… You have people that have to be tracked. If they’re Muslims, they’re Muslims.” -- Donald Trump, who also said the problem with “radical Islamic terrorism” will get solved once President Obama “gets the hell out” of office. 12/06/15

“If I have a choice — and you can put it in bold — if I have a choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton, I’m choosing Hillary.” -- Mike Fernandez, a top donor to Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush 12/06/15

“I felt like he (President Obama) could give a shit“ about the threat posed by the Islamic State. -- Fox co-host Stacey Dash about ’s terror address. 12/07/15

"What--are you kidding me? I’m about to fly to Paris and shoot ‘em in the head myself!" -- Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R) on why she did not sign onto the statement from Republican members of the state assembly opposing resettling Syrian refugees in Nevada. 12/07/15

“The first thing we told him was that we were not going to accept any of his demands. He had five — I don’t remember what they were.” — Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), on an early meeting between Paul Ryan and the House Freedom Caucus. 12/14/15

“We’re at war – get it through your head.” — Donald Trump, quoted by The Hill, noting that he’s not concerned about increasing comparisons to Hitler. 12/08/15

We have leaders who are exploiting people's ignorance and fear to advance their political careers at the expense of our country's security. This is exactly what ISIS would like to see. He is doing the work of ISIS. He is polarizing our country, polarizing the world, creating a war between America and Islam.” -- Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Updated

"The Trump campaign for months now has had a dustbin of history-like quality to it, from the vacuous sloganeering to the outright lie to even the fake hair—the whole carnival barker routine we've seen for some time now. The question now is about the rest of the Republican party and whether or not they're going to be dragged into the dustbin of history with him." -- White House press secretary Josh Earnest 12/08/15

Those who criticize Donald Trump's proposal to ban all Muslims immigrants as "un-American" or "xenophobic" are the real racists. -- CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord, a former member of the Reagan administration. 12/08/15

“Where is there widespread evidence that we have a problem in America with discrimination against Muslims?” -- Marco Rubio in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, just before Donald Trump proposed a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” 12/09/15

 

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. The Borowitz Report: Obama Speech Heavily Criticized By People with No Better Ideas
2. GunFAIL CLXVII
3. Senate Republicans block gun control efforts
4. Want To Know Why Politicians Only Offer 'Prayers' On Gun Violence? Follow The Money.
5. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: president-obama-s-mass-shooting-montage
6. Islamophobia Helps Fuel Trump’s Strength
7. The DAILY GRILL
8. Congress Moves to Sabotage the Paris Climate Summit
9. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
10. Jimmy Kimmel got an early copy of Donald Trump’s medical report
11. Late Night Jokes for Dems
12. 60 Days Until Iowa: Are the Polls Predicting the Winners?
13. San Bernardino shooting is America’s 1,044th mass shooting in 1,066 days
14. Majority of Likely GOP Primary Voters Back Trump's Muslim Ban
15. Clinton Backers See 3 Possible Opponents
16. Ted Cruz Family Outtakes
17. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The blood never dries
18. House Dems reconsider measure to restrict refugees
19. DARTH TRUMP - Auralnauts
20. Clinton Ties GOP Field to Trump

OPINION

1. Sean Wilentz: Why the 2016 Election Will Be One of the Most Pivotal Moments of Our Times
|2. Jennifer Granholm: Trump, for good of America, get out of race
3. Robert Kuttner: How ISIS and Trump Enable Each Other
4. Thomas L. Friedman: Putin’s Syrian Misadventure
5. Adam Gopnik: Our Shared Blame for the Shooting in San Bernardino
6. NY Times Editorial: End the Gun Epidemic in America
7. Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: The GOP on the Eve of Destruction
8. Amy Davidson: Guns and Terror
9. Frank Vyan Walton: Donald John Trump is exactly the candidate the GOP deserves

   
FYI
 
   

1. The Borowitz Report: Obama Speech Heavily Criticized By People with No Better Ideas

Moments after its conclusion on Sunday night, President Obama’s speech about combating ISIS came under heavy criticism from people with zero better ideas.

The President’s proposals, ranging from coalition air strikes against ISIS to beefing up intelligence about potential terrorists, were blasted for being “nothing new,” with the harshest criticism coming from people with nothing new.

Of all of the Republican Presidential candidates, the front-runner Donald Trump was perhaps the most withering in his criticism of the President’s speech. “I only heard the President use the word ‘tough’ once,” Trump said. “I gave a speech last night and used it fifteen times.”

Pressed for specifics about how he would combat ISIS, Trump acknowledged that he had “no new ideas,” but added, “My no new ideas will be much tougher than his no new ideas, you better believe it.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. GunFAIL CLXVII

46 guns discovered by TSA agents at airports around the country during the week of Nov. 6-12, 2015.

As predicted, the hunting GunFAIL numbers continue to mount. Not that it’s a very difficult thing to predict, of course. All at once, thousands of people with thousands of guns converge on pretty much the same areas, trying to shoot the same things, from different hiding spots. There’s going to be GunFAIL. Two weeks ago, when we first took note of the approaching hunting season, there were five accidents to report. Then seven. This week, it’s up to eight, and the count is still rising.

Still, by far the biggest numbers come in from people accidentally shooting themselves, as is the case every week. This time around, self-inflicted gunshot wounds accounted for 23 of the 42 accidents originally listed, with family members and significant others responsible for another four accidents. Twelve kids were accidentally shot, and seven people accidentally fired guns they were cleaning, repairing, or loading/unloading.

For the weekly list go to http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/12/1/1447093/-LOL-u-huntin-Me-2-where-u-Hard-2-txt-w-50-cal-LOL-OMFG-just-2a-myself-911-GunFAIL-CLXVII

3. Senate Republicans block gun control efforts

In one of a series of near-party-line procedural votes, the Senate by 54 to 45 blocked a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would have stopped people on the government’s anti-terrorist “no fly” list from buying guns.

By a 50 to 48 vote the chamber also blocked a measure by Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA) to tighten the background-check system. 12/03/15 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-obama-gun-order-20151203-story.html

4. Want To Know Why Politicians Only Offer 'Prayers' On Gun Violence? Follow The Money.

As a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday left at least 14 dead and 17 wounded, politicians predictably rushed to express condolences with "thoughts," "prayers" or both.

But when it comes to reforming gun laws, they seemed in no big hurry -- even though the U.S. has tallied more mass shootings so far in 2015 than days in the year. In fact, many of the lawmakers publicly offering "thoughts and prayers" have collected hefty campaign donations from the influential and well-funded gun lobby. Read more at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/politicians-gun-control-san-bernardino_565f7622e4b08e945fedffa0

5. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: president-obama-s-mass-shooting-montage

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/li5mc2/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-president-obama-s-mass-shooting-montage

6. Islamophobia Helps Fuel Trump’s Strength

Trump's Islamophobia is a central feature of his appeal to his supporters in North Carolina:

-67% of his voters support a national database of Muslims in the United States, to only 14% opposed to it.

-62% believe his claims that thousands of Arabs cheered in New Jersey when the World Trade Center collapsed, to only 15% who don't believe that.

-51% want to see the Mosques in the country shut down, to only 16% against that.

-And only 24% of Trump supporters in the state even think Islam should be legal at all in the United States, to 44% who think it shouldn't be.

Although these ideas are certainly most commonly held by Trump supporters, they're not unique within the North Carolina GOP base. Read more at http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2015/12/trump-getting-stronger-in-nc-islamophobia-helps-fuel-that-strength.html

7. The DAILY GRILL

For the first day or so, the shooting was treated as a mass shooting and the leading Republican candidates for president praised and sympathized with those affected, or else stayed mum:

"Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders in San Bernardino who willingly go into harm’s way to save others." -- Ted Cruz

No statement on Facebook or either of his Twitter accounts; no press release. -- Marco Rubio

"Police and law enforcement seem to have killed one of the California shooters and are in a shootout with the others. Go police." -- Donald Trump@realDonaldTrump

VERSUS

But then it emerged that the two shooters were named Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, and that Farook was Muslim. The reactions of the Republican frontrunners suddenly changed:

"Yesterday's horrific murder in the wake of Paris underscores we're at a time of war whether or not the current Admin realizes it." -- Ted Cruz returning to Twitter to declare the shooting an act of war.

"We don’t know all the facts yet. But we have certainly learned some facts that are concerning and weigh on our minds." -- Marco Rubio, who at a forum sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, implied that the shootings were acts of terrorism

The shooting "probably was related … [to] radical Islamic terrorism." -- Donald Trump also at the RJC forum.

 

“If the Republicans win the presidency in 2016, they will also almost inevitably control both the Senate and the House of Representatives, giving them virtually unfettered command over the entire federal government to go along with their domination of the great majority of the state governments. The Republican president could easily be in a position to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court for an unstoppable right-wing majority that would last for a generation to come.” -- Sean Wilentz 12/03/15

VERSUS

“If, however, the Democrats win the presidency in 2016, they will almost certainly take back the Senate and make gains in the House – and the Democratic president will likely be able to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court that will eventually comprise a liberal majority. Between these two stark alternatives, there is no middle ground. In 2016, the country will become either one thing or the other.” -- Sean Wilentz 12/03/15

 

“On the campaign trail, Chris Christie has largely succeeded in cutting off questions about the George Washington Bridge lane closings with this stock reply: Three separate probes failed to find a shred of evidence linking him directly to the political payback scheme.” -- NorthJersey.com 12/08/15

VERSUS

“The George Washington Bridge — he knew about it. He totally knew.” --Donald J. Trump =

8. Congress Moves to Sabotage the Paris Climate Summit

On Tuesday, at a news conference in Paris, President Barack Obama exhorted negotiators to keep in mind what is at stake at the summit. “This one trend—climate change—affects all trends,” Obama said. “This is an economic and security imperative that we have to tackle now.”

Even as he spoke, congressional Republicans were doing their best to undermine him. That same day, the House approved two resolutions aimed at blocking regulations to curb U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions. The first would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing rules aimed at cutting emissions from new power plants; the second would prevent the agency from enforcing rules targeted at existing power plants. Together, these rules are known as the Clean Power Plan, and they are crucial to the Americans’ negotiating position in Paris. (The Clean Power Plan is central to the United States’ pledge, made in advance of the summit, to cut its emissions by twenty-six per cent.) The House votes, which followed Senate approval of similar resolutions back in November, were, at least according to some members, explicitly aimed at subverting the talks. Lawmakers want to “send a message to the climate conference in Paris that in America, there’s serious disagreement with the policies of this president,” Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, explained.

The G.O.P. says that America can’t be depended on to live up to its commitments, and, by saying so, achieves its objective, which is sowing mistrust. The best that can be hoped for during the next week in Paris is that the rest of the world ignores the U.S.’s Republican leaders. Would that we had that luxury here at home.ELIZABETH KOLBERT 12/04/15 http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/congress-moves-to-sabotage-the-paris-climate-summit

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

After news reports of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, right-wing media figures reacted by attacking Muslims, chastising calls for gun safety, and dismissing the prevalence of gun violence in the United States. http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/12/02/right-wing-medias-unhinged-reactions-to-san-ber/207200

In a post on ErickOnTheRadio.com, Erick Erickson claimed that Obama's policies and "violent rhetoric" are at fault for an increase in mass shootings such as encouraging people to "root out 'climate deniers'" and asking people to "understand why Islamic radicals want to kill us."http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/04/erick-erickson-says-obama-is-responsible-for-th/207247

Conservative media are using the mass shooting that claimed 14 lives in San Bernardino, California, to once again push the carrying of concealed guns as a deterrent for mass shootings. There is no evidence that concealed guns are a real-life solution to mass shootings; according to an analysis of public mass shootings over a 30-year period, not a single one was stopped by an armed civilian with a concealed carry permit. http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/12/03/conservative-media-react-to-san-bernardino-mass/207231

Andrea Tantaros: "Nobody Wants To Talk About Who Has The Higher Body Count: The Doctors At Planned Parenthood Or The Jihadists"http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/04/fox-host-suggests-planned-parenthood-doctors-ha/207251

Rush Limbaugh Claims That Both Obamacare And ISIS Strategy Were Designed To Fail And Increase Government Power http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/07/rush-limbaugh-claims-that-both-obamacare-and-is/207283

Laura Ingraham Suggests The US Should Shoot Deported Immigrants Attempting To Re-Enter The Country http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/07/laura-ingraham-suggests-the-us-should-shoot-dep/207282

Fox's Kilmeade: It's A Democratic "Ruse" To Talk About "Terrorists Being Allowed To Buy Guns If They Are On A No-Fly List" http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/07/foxs-kilmeade-its-a-democratic-ruse-to-talk-abo/207278

On Fox & Friends, "It's A Sad State" When President Obama "Gets Credit" For Calling San Bernardino Shooting "Terrorism" http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/07/on-fox-amp-friends-its-a-sad-state-when-preside/207276

10. Jimmy Kimmel got an early copy of Donald Trump’s medical report

https://youtu.be/qNY8D4RIy7Q

11. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"Let's talk about Donald Trump, because we do it every night. He said that he may skip the next Republican debate on CNN unless the network pays him $5 million. But CNN laughed it off, saying, 'We don't have $5 million.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"CNN was like, 'Fine, we'll just let Jeb Bush talk for two hours — oh my God, where do we send the check?'" –Jimmy Fallon

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, Trump is in first place among Republicans with 27 percent of the vote; Marco Rubio is in second place at 17 percent; Ben Carson is fast asleep somewhere, dreaming of sugarplums." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Donald Trump was in Macon, Georgia, this week. Again, he suggested that CNN should pay to get him to come to the next debate. He's treating the Republican primary like it's an entertainment show and he is the star – which, let's be honest, he is kind of exactly. It's like 'Celebrity Apprentice,' but with even worse celebrities." –Jimmy Kimmel

"What Donald Trump should do is start firing his opponents one by one every week. Ted Cruz, you're fired." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Of course CNN's not just going to give Donald Trump $5 million. They're not his dad, they're a news network. You know that if Donald Trump wins we are going to have a Kardashian as president one day, right? It's the only logical step forward." –Jimmy Kimmel

"In a recent interview, Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka said that there are times when she disagrees with her father. But then there are MORE times when she likes the idea of inheriting a billion dollars. Double-edged sword." –Jimmy Fallon

"It seems like as the election goes on, we're actually starting to learn more about all of the candidates. For instance, I just saw that Chris Christie prefers texting to making phone calls. But I guess it starts to get annoying when he keeps texting 'U up?' to Domino's." –Jimmy Fallon

"Chris Christie said that if elected president, he would not rule out waterboarding. Then he said, 'Not for prisoners, but as a way to prepare chicken.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Donald Trump's popular 'Make America Great Again' hats are actually made at a California factory that employs Mexican immigrants. Even more embarrassing for Trump, his hair is made by Syrian refugees. –Conan O'Brien

"Paul Ryan has become the first Speaker of the House in over 90 years to grow a beard. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio is the first presidential candidate to sport a chocolate milk mustache." –Conan O'Brien

12. 60 Days Until Iowa: Are the Polls Predicting the Winners?

The short answer is no.

The national polls are very poor predictors of primary/caucus results. While the state polls are better, they are still faced with the very difficult task of basing their predictions on what is at best an artful guess as to which individuals in the samples will actually vote.

The current polls almost surely do not provide a good read on the winners of the early February contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Rather than relying on these polls to handicap the races, an eclectic multi-factor approach is necessary. That analysis needs to take into account history, candidate strengths and weaknesses, money, ground games, likely turnout, intensity of support, and interest in the election, among other factors.

The national polls will not tell us much about the winners in Iowa and New Hampshire. The state polls in those leadoff states will only get more accurate in their implicit predictions in the days just before the voting, when the folks that are actually going to vote have made up their minds. -- Alfred J. Tuchfarber 12/03/15 Read more at http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/60-days-until-iowa-are-the-polls-predicting-the-winners/

13. San Bernardino shooting is America’s 1,044th mass shooting in 1,066 days

On Wednesday, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, killed at least 14 people and wounded at least 18 more in a mass shooting and subsequent shootout with police in San Bernardino, California. But as appalling the massacre was, mass shootings aren’t uncommon in the United States: In the past 1,066 days, there have been at least 1,044 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,327 people and wounding 3,784 more.

Even under this broader definition, it’s worth noting that mass shootings make up a tiny portion of America’s firearm deaths, which total more than 32,000 each year. And the US has way more gun violence than its developed peers: According to UN data compiled by the Guardian’s Simon Rogers, the US had 29.7 firearm homicides per 1 million people in 2012, while Switzerland had 7.7, Canada had 5.1, and Germany had 1.9.

But why does the US have so many more gun homicides than other advanced countries? One possible explanation: Americans are much more likely to own guns than most of the world — the US makes up about 4.4 percent of the global population, but owns 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. And the empirical research shows places with more guns have more gun homicides.

Criminal justice experts widely recognize this is a result of cultural and policy decisions that have made firearms far more available in America than in most of the world. For the US, that means not just more mass shootings — but more gun violence in general. 12/03/15 Read more at http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/12/3/9843254/san-bernardino-mass-shootings

14. Majority of Likely GOP Primary Voters Back Trump's Muslim Ban

Almost two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters favor Donald Trump's call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Said pollster Doug Usher: “This indicates that, despite some conventional wisdom expressed in the last 48 hours, this is unlikely to hurt Trump at least in the primary campaign.” 12/09/15 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-12-09/bloomberg-politics-poll-trump-muslim-ban-proposal

15. Clinton Backers See 3 Possible Opponents

Hillary Clinton’s super PAC backers and operatives who are gearing up for the general election fight are preparing for three possible opponents — Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Though they say they’ll be ready for any outcome of the GOP primaries, they are looking most closely at three scenarios that could unfold in the new year — that Trump is, indeed, as strong as his poll numbers would indicate; that Rubio manages to break through as the reasonable establishment choice; and, lately and with greater focus, that Cruz consolidates the conservative Christian vote, and combines it with the angry-outsider voters who eventually dismiss Trump, to become his party’s nominee. 12/08/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/hillary-clinton-trump-rubio-cruz-216516#ixzz3tjC4xfdv

16. Ted Cruz Family Outtakes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqpHTFJO4mE

17. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The blood never dries

https://vimeo.com/147687393

18. House Dems reconsider measure to restrict refugees

More than half of the House Democrats who voted to restrict the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the U.S. appear to be having second thoughts.

At least 26 of the 47 Democrats who supported the measure have signed on to a letter urging House Speaker Paul Ryan not to include it in a must-pass omnibus spending bill likely to be voted on in the coming days, according to groups helping arrange the missive.

The lawmakers assert that the U.S. has an obligation to help people seeking refuge from violence and persecution. They also reject measures being floated that would defund the U.S. refugee resettlement program, arguing that “funds available for the vetting and placement of refugees should be increased to ensure a thorough and expeditious process.” 12/05/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/democrats-refugees-216450#ixzz3tfgkDaas

19. DARTH TRUMP - Auralnauts

https://youtu.be/KU_Jdts5rL0

\

20. Clinton Ties GOP Field to Trump

https://youtu.be/L9dPntVTLPM

   
OPINION
 
   

1. SEAN WILENTZ: Why the 2016 Election Will Be One of the Most Pivotal Moments of Our Time

Not since the 1850s has an entrenched minority managed to shift one of the major political parties to such extremes while also holding so much leverage over the nation's politics. Then, it was the Democratic Party that became the vehicle of reaction, as Southern slaveholders brooking no interference with the expansion of slavery effectively rid their party of anyone who would not truckle to their demands. When Congress passed laws not to their liking, the Southerners threatened secession, and when they had so alienated the rest of the country that they lost the White House to Abraham Lincoln in 1860, they made good on their threats to secede, which drove the nation into civil war.

The crisis facing the United States today is not the same as it was then. But there are similarities, and the stakes of the coming election, if not those of 1860, are high enough. Over the past 50 years, the Republican Party has by fits and starts eliminated all traces of moderation and moved further and further to the right, well beyond where Goldwater, let alone Nixon, once stood. By the 2016 campaign for the Republican nomination, that radicalization has intensified to the point where, week by week, leading presidential contenders seem to be trying to outdo one another in the shock value of their right-wing extremism. And the more radical the Republicans have become, the more apparent it is how profound a gulf separates the two political parties. "A Choice, Not an Echo" went the title of a pro-Goldwater tract in the polarizing election of 1964. The 2016 election presents the starkest choice since then, indeed, in living memory, but now with literally everything at stake. The country will, as Lincoln said, become either all one thing or all the other. 12/03/15 Read more at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-the-2016-election-will-be-one-of-the-most-pivotal-moments-of-our-time-20151203#ixzz3tNcZ47L1

2. Jennifer Granholm: Trump, for good of America, get out of race

Dear Donald: Even though some say Hillary Clinton would benefit if you were to be the GOP nominee, for the good of the country I want you to get out of the race. Your lies and vitriolic rhetoric are causing irreparable damage to the nation.

For many of your followers, perhaps attacking the perceived cause of their fears is more important than you telling the truth. After all, your statements have been labeled "pants on fire" lying 11 times since the beginning of your campaign, yet you still outpace the rest of the Republican field by double digits in many polls. You probably recognize this cognitive dissonance and don't care because it aids you and your ambition. But my deep fear is that if you win the GOP nomination, the general election will divide the nation more than by Democrats and Republicans: It will end up pitting entire segments of our population against one another based on race, religion, gender and more.

The last thing democracy needs is a candidate who intentionally stokes jingoism and makes racial animus mainstream.

Before you do further damage to the country, Donald, the best way to "Make America Great Again" is for you to drop out of the race. 12/01/15 Read more at http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/01/opinions/granholm-trump-exit-presidential-race/index.html

3. Robert Kuttner: How ISIS and Trump Enable Each Other

The Republican field was a stalemated mess until the latest attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. Trump was ahead, but not decisively ahead, while various anti-Trump figures were jostling for position and canceling each other out. Party leaders were wringing their hands, knowing that Trump could drag down the whole party and that a Macro Rubio would likely be a much stronger candidate in the general election, but had an uphill climb to be nominated.

But that was then. Americans are increasingly terrified, and the tough-guy bravado of Trump is just what the moment rewards. Every new attack boosts Trump's standing in the polls.

Trump's insane rhetoric -- blaming Muslims in general, wanting to erect walls, invoking Hiroshima as a positive example, seeing terrorists in refugee children, supporting waterboarding-plus -- is just what frightened people want to hear. Never mind that the tough talk doesn't add up to a strategy.

So escalating Islamist radicalism is a gift to Donald Trump. If attacks continue and the country is increasingly terrified, those unnamed Republican leaders could well decide that Trump as GOP standard-bearer in the general election is not such a bad idea. He might even win. 12/06/15 Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/how-isis-and-trump-enable_b_8735676.html

4. Thomas L. Friedman: Putin’s Syrian Misadventure

When President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced he was setting up an air base in the middle of Syria to take on the Islamic State and bolster President Bashar al-Assad, more than a few analysts and politicians praised his forceful, game-changing, strategic brilliance, suggesting that Putin was crazy like a fox. Some of us thought he was just crazy.

Well, two months later, let’s do the math: So far, Putin’s Syrian adventure has resulted in a Russian civilian airliner carrying 224 people being blown up, apparently by pro-ISIS militants in Sinai. Turkey shot down a Russian bomber after it strayed into Turkish territory. And then Syrian rebels killed one of the pilots as he parachuted to earth and one of the Russian marines sent to rescue him. Many of the anti-Assad rebels in that area are ethnic Turkmens, with strong cultural ties to Turkey; Turkey was not amused by Putin bombing Turkmen villages inside Syria, because it weakens Turkey’s ability to shape Syria’s future.

Meanwhile, in Crimea, Ukraine, which Putin annexed, pro-Turkish Tatars apparently cut the power lines, plunging Crimea into a near total blackout. And in October dozens of Saudi clerics called for a “holy war” against the governments of Syria, Iran and Russia.

In sum, Putin’s “crafty” Syrian chess move has left him with a lot more dead Russians; newly at odds with Turkey and Iran; weakened in Ukraine; acting as the defense lawyer for Assad — a mass murderer of Sunni Muslims, the same Sunni Muslims as Putin has in Russia; and with no real advances against ISIS.

Other than that, it’s been a great success.12/02/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/opinion/02friedman.html

5. Adam Gopnik: Our Shared Blame for the Shooting in San Bernardino

The collective responsibility that all Americans share is the responsibility of allowing too many people to have too many guns; guns of a kind that no civilian ever needs can be bought in this country by almost anyone who wants one. We have been running an experiment of a kind that no sane ethicist would allow: what happens when, in a country large enough to contain every imaginable kind of crazy, from the inward-turning, maniac sort to the outward-turning, politicized kind, you make sure that almost anyone can readily buy any kind of gun? And now we know the answer: you get more gun massacres than there are days in the year.

No sane person thinks that Carly Fiorina is “guilty” of the shooting at Planned Parenthood, or that Wayne LaPierre is guilty of the one in San Bernardino—but those who put weapons into the hands of anyone who wants them are complicit in what happens when they do. (And those who encourage hate speech directed at health clinics share responsibility for what happens when people take them seriously.) They are responsible in the same way that we are all responsible for the bad consequences of our beliefs, in exactly the same way that Wahhabi imams who preach intolerance are responsible for the consequences of their words. Sometimes you can avoid such horrible consequences with a minimal effort at thinking and acting responsibly. And when you can, you should.

If the gun lobby ever spoke honestly, what they would say is that of course we are broadly responsible for these killings, but regular mass killings of innocent people is the price we pay for the liberty to own whatever guns we want, in order to be protected from a phantom threat we cannot name. That is their actual belief, although one sees, on examining it, why they never want to state it quite so clearly. So there will be ever more mass gun murders, some to be accepted blankly as the cost of liberty, others to become the occasion for surrendering liberty to a militarized state. Like the song says, only in America. 12/04/15 http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/our-shared-blame-for-the-shooting-in-san-bernardino

6. NY Times Editorial: End the Gun Epidemic in America

All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.
But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism. 12/04/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/05/opinion/end-the-gun-epidemic-in-america.html

7. Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: The GOP on the Eve of Destruction

They will do so with bullying, lies and manipulation, a willingness to say anything, no matter how daft or wrong. They will do so by spending unheard of sums to buy elections with the happy assistance of big business and wealthy patrons for whom the joys of gross income inequality are a comfortable fact of life. By gerrymandering and denying the vote to as many of the poor, the elderly, struggling low-paid workers, and people of color as they can. And by appealing to the basest impulses of human nature: anger, fear and bigotry.

Turn on your TV or computer, pick up a paper or magazine and you can see and hear them baying at the moon. Donald Trump is just the most outrageous and bigmouthed of the frothing wolf pack of deniers and truth benders. As our friend and colleague Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch writes, "There's nothing, no matter how jingoistic or xenophobic, extreme or warlike that can't be expressed in public and with pride by a Republican presidential candidate."

Like the pronouncement of the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's 1984, ignorance is strength, whether it's casting paranoid fantasies about thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering 9/11, or warning about terrorists in refugees' ragged clothing and Mexican rapists slithering across the border.

It is the Republicans who are willing to wreck the country to maintain the gross inequality that divides us -- inequality which rewards the party leaders and their donors, just as slavery rewarded white supremacists. They would tear the Republic apart, rip to pieces its already fragile social compact, and reap the whirlwind of a failed experiment in self-government. 12/04/15 Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-moyers/the-gop-on-the-eve-of-des_b_8711502.html?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000090

8. Amy Davidson: Guns and Terror

To the extent that the Republican candidates recognize that the common denominator of mass shootings is guns, their answer is more guns—in the hands of everyone from preachers to Paris bartenders—and more fear, sown just as carelessly. Neither is a wise approach to addressing the real threat of terrorist attacks, whether homegrown or directed from abroad. Given the demagoguery that has characterized the G.O.P. campaign, with talk of religious databases, there are reasons for concern that, in the wake of San Bernardino, American Muslim communities will be subjected to bigotry and harassment. Already, during the past several months, there has been a spike in violence directed at mosques. This is terror, too.

What stops mass shootings from seeming routine is, ultimately, the particular stories of the people who died. Aurora Godoy and her husband eloped in 2012; she leaves behind a two-year-old son. Tin Nguyen was planning her wedding and the life she and her fiancé would share. Larry Daniel Kaufman’s boyfriend dropped him off at his job at the I.R.C.’s coffee shop that morning. Michael Wetzel, a father of six, coached a soccer team of five-year-old girls that, according to the Los Angeles Times, “had a princess theme.” The pipe bombs, which Farook and Malik appear to have assembled themselves, thankfully did not detonate, but the guns functioned just as they were built to. 12/14/15 ISSUE Read more at  http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/14/guns-and-terror

9. Frank Vyan Walton: Donald John Trump is exactly the candidate the GOP deserves

Loud. Brash. Rude. Pig Ignorant. Neo-Fascist. Billionaire Skinflint. Racist as a mack truck with Confederate mud flaps. Generally these would be considered character flaws and completely disqualifying traits for someone who aspired to run a Dairy Queen, let alone the free world and the most powerful economy and military on earth.  Not so with Donald John Trump.

He regurgitates bigoted conspiracy theories and lies like he has them on a permanent loop, yet his supporters do not recoil, they do not feel embarrassed, or shamed by many, many, many gaffes and outright lies that come flying out of his bilious pie-hole at just under sub light speed.

His fans feel validated by him. They feel that they finally and at long last have found the perfect candidate for them. One who “tells it like it is,” and gives a completely unrepentant verbalization to every paranoid delusion generated by the voices in their own heads.

Donald Trump is the candidate for unrestrained GOP id. He’s exactly the candidate that the GOP has needed to run for many years, and he’s exactly the candidate that country needs to see finally go down in golden flames before it begins to break the fever swamp dreams that have bogged our politics down to a dead stop for just as long. 12/6/15 Read more at http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/12/6/1454506/-Donald-John-Trump-is-exactly-the-candidate-the-GOP-deserves