ON THE RECORD ....

"I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion." -- Muhammad Ali 12/10/15

"Even if Trump flops, bows out, or is narrowly beaten, the damage is already done. Trump has truly awakened and energized a dangerous faction of America and we have no idea where it will go from here.” -- Shaun King in the NY Daily News.

“I watched him find that sweet spot of compromise on immigration reform, but then he broke down like a cheap shotgun the minute the right started chewing on his rear end." — Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on how Sen. Marco Rubio backed away from his own immigration reform proposal.

"The law firm of Gibson Dunn has billed New Jersey roughly $8 million since it was hired to defend Gov. Chris Christie (R) for the “Bridgegate” scandal.” -- The AP 12/12/15

“I don’t think he’s qualified to be president… I don’t think he has the right temperament. I don’t think he’s got the right judgment… You look at the way he’s dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there like a — you know, frankly like a little bit of a maniac. You’re never going to get things done that way .Look, I built a phenomenal business. I’m worth many, many billions of dollars. I have some of the greatest assets anywhere in the world. You can’t walk into the Senate, and scream, and call people liars, and not be able to cajole and get along with people. He’ll never get anything done. And that’s the problem with Ted.” -- Donald Trump taking aim at Ted Cruz in an interview on Fox News, 12/13/15

“In a world without Donald Trump, there would be a Stop Cruz movement. But now the GOP establishment has to pick its poison. One other thing: Trump has now moved the window where Cruz looks moderate by comparison.” -- First Read, on a potential nightmare scenario for the GOP establishment on how it might be able to sink one of these candidates but probably not both.”

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“Yeah, yeah, I realize how badly Shrum screwed me.” — John Kerry on how strategist Robert Shrum had restrained him from hitting back against the Swift boat attacks during the 2004 presidential campaign.

“The near-silence among Republicans is a striking illustration of the vastly different roles that climate change is playing in the presidential primaries for the two major parties. In some ways, the ardor among Democrats to address it — and the lack of interest among Republicans in discussing it — makes it seem as if the parties are on different planets.” -- New York Times

“He talks tough on some of these issues. For example, he was going to carpet bomb ISIS. But the only budget he’s ever voted for in his time in the Senate is a budget that cut defense spending by more than Barack Obama proposes we cut it.” -- Sen. Marco Rubio criticizing Sen. Ted Cruz “for opposing the U.S. government’s bulk phone data collection and voting against spending bills and defense authorization acts — suggesting Cruz’s voting record is that of an isolationist.”

“Donald Trump thrives on populist rage, and he’s leading the primary race. Trump’s rallies draw an ugly kind of passion—hate, aggression, bigotry. Those supporters of his might look like extremists, but for today’s Republican Party, extreme is the new normal. How else could Trump lead the field with 38% of the primary vote?” -- Correct the Record 12.16.15

“So, they can kill us, but we can’t kill them? Principles, whether involving the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions or simple fairness, were less important than security. To suggest otherwise was political correctness” -- Donald Trump sounding puzzled. 12.16.15

"The more you speak against Islam and against all Muslims, the more terrorists will it create. So it's important that whatever politicians say, whatever media says, they should be really, really careful about it. If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it, because it cannot stop terrorism. It will rather, create more terrorists, so it's important that they try to show harmony towards Muslims and say that they're accepted in this world, they deserve the right to live and that they are normal people. " -- Malala Yousafzai 12.16.15

"Donald Trump apparently believes that if you keep saying something false, it somehow makes it true. He keeps saying that he is beating Hillary Clinton in the polls. Well, Trump has led Clinton in only two general election polls taken since the beginning of November. He has trailed her in 11 polls." -- Harry Enteni 12.16.15

 

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. The Daily Show w/Trevor Noah
2. Attacks on Trump Make Supporters Like Him More
3. Republicanism Trumps Religion When It Comes To Anti-Muslim Sentiment
4. Borowitz Report: Trump Supporters Disappointed He Only Wants to Ban One Religion
5. The DAILY GRILL
6. White supremacist groups see Trump bump
7. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Trump recruitment and retention
9. GunFAIL season! GunFAIL CLXVIII
10. GOP Voters See Trump as Most Electable
11. PredictWise - 2016 President
12. Crazed Donald Trump Supporter on CNN (video)
13. "The Nightly Show" w/ Larry Wilmore: Abigail Fisher's Affirmative Action Challenge
14. SNL Cold Open: Will Ferrell as George W. Bush
15. A Snapshot of Iowa GOP Voters
16. The Math of a Contested Convention
17. Paris climate pact: A good moment for the planet
18. A GOP Debate ISIS Would Love
19. Late Night with Seth Meyers: Paris Climate Change Summit - A Closer Look

OPINION

1. Michael Tomasky: GOP: A Neo-Fascist White-Identity Party?
2. Daniel Benjamin & Steven Simon: Donald Trump Is Helping the Terrorists Win
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What Donald Trump and ISIS Have in Common
4. E.J. Dionne: The Slippery Slope of Trumpism
5. Paul Krugman: Empowering the Ugliness
6. Timothy Egan: Goose-Steppers in the G.O.P.
7. P.J. O’Rourke: The Half-Hearted Case for Rubio
8. Mike Barnicle: Thing They're Selling is Fear
9. Al Gore: Speaking with One Voice to Solve the Climate Crisis
10. NY Time’s editorial: Despair Over Gun Deaths Is Not an Option

   
FYI
 
   

1. The Daily Show w/Trevor Noah

Jordan Klepper: Good Guy With A Gun Pt. 1: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/xqleli/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-jordan-klepper--good-guy-with-a-gun-pt--1

Jordan Klepper: Good Guy With A Gun Pt. 2: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/w2bq3a/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-jordan-klepper--good-guy-with-a-gun-pt--2

2. Attacks on Trump Make Supporters Like Him More

For over three hours in Alexandria, Luntz lobbed dozens of Trump-seeking missiles to a 29 member group had voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. All either supported Trump, or had supported him earlier in the year. To Luntz’s amazement, hearing negative information about the candidate made the voters, only a few of whom gave their full names to the press, hug the candidate tighter.” 12/10/15 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/attacking-trump-just-makes-these-voters-like-him-more/2015/12/10/2de9edf8-9f44-11e5-a3c5-c77f2cc5a43c_story.html

3. Republicanism Trumps Religion When It Comes To Anti-Muslim Sentiment

Polls have found widespread anti-Islamic sentiments among Republicans, but the pressing question is how Donald Trump’s call to stop any Muslim from entering the United States will be received by primary voters. More specifically: How will heavily evangelical Iowa react?

We can at least say this much: Iowa’s religiosity — 57 percent of Republican caucus-goers identified as born-again or evangelical Christians in 2012 — won’t make its voters extra receptive to Trump’s proposal. According to our research, negative views of Muslims among Republicans are not based on conservative Christian attitudes toward another religion; they’re based in Republican partisan identity. And it may take a political ally, such as Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, to persuade evangelicals to denounce Trump. Read more at http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/republicanism-trumps-religion-when-it-comes-to-anti-muslim-sentiment/

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4. Borowitz Report: Congress Marks Third Anniversary of Doing Nothing After Newtown

In what has become a tradition in the nation’s capital, the United States Congress on Monday notched the third anniversary of doing nothing in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

As on the first and second anniversaries of the tragedy, lawmakers took up no new measures to prevent future mass shootings in the United States, and instead chose to mark Newtown’s third anniversary with a day of inaction.

According to one congressional staffer, Harland Dorrinson, marking the anniversary of Newtown by doing nothing about guns is a tradition that is unlikely to change in the halls of Congress anytime soon.

“This should be a day of prayer and quiet reflection,” he said. “This should not be a day of doing something to make things better.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

5. The DAILY GRILL

Republican officials “are now preparing for the possibility of a brokered convention as Donald Trump continues sit atop the polls and the presidential race. -- Washington Post 12/10/15

VERSUS

“If the leaders of the Republican Party want to destroy the party, they should continue to hold meetings like the one described in the Washington Post this morning. If it is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won’t stand for it. I assure you Donald Trump won’t be the only one leaving the party.” -- Ben Carson, on reports that GOP officials would contest a possible Trump nomination with a convention floor fight. 12/10/15

 

"97 percent of climate scientists are in agreement that climate change is occurring and is driven by human activity." -- Climate Progress 1/08/15

VERSUS

68 percent of the Republican leadership in both House and Senate deny human-caused climate change. -- Climate Progress 1/08/15

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"Today, the American people can be proud — because this historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership. Over the past seven years, we've transformed the United States into the global leader in fighting climate change." -- President Obama, taking credit for the successful Paris negotiations.

VERSUS

“The president is making promises he can’t keep, writing checks he can’t cash, and stepping over the middle class to take credit for an ‘agreement’ that is subject to being shredded in 13 months,” -- Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, leading the Republican attack on the Paris Agreemetn. 12/13/15

 

"You're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency." -- Jeb Bush, using a new attack line on Donald Trump. 12/15/15

VERSUS

"I'm at 42, and you're at 3. So far I'm doing better. You started off over here, Jeb. You're moving over further and further. Pretty soon you're going to be off the end." -- Donald Trump 12/15/15

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"Carly Fiorina, last night, mentioned General Jack Keane by name and guess who is here: Gen. Jack Keane. Alive and alert, and with us this morning. Did you in fact, general, give advice to President Obama, which he didn't want to hear and didn't take?” -- Fox’s Stuart Varney 12/16/15

VERSUS

"No, I have never spoken to the president.That's not accurate, and I never served this administration. I served the previous administration.” -- Gen. Jack Keane 12/16/15 http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/16/fox-contributor-calls-out-carly-fiorinas-debate/207541

6. White supremacist groups see Trump bump

The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.

As hate group monitors at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League warn that Trump’s rhetoric is conducive to anti-Muslim violence, white nationalist leaders are capitalizing on his candidacy to invigorate and expand their movement. 12/10/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/donald-trump-white-supremacists-216620#ixzz3tyFBtrSg

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

Fox Co-Hosts Attack Mark Zuckerberg Over Statement Of Support For The Muslim Community http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/10/fox-co-hosts-attack-mark-zuckerberg-over-statem/207424

How The Media Fell For A Lie That A Muslim-American Veteran Was Arrested For Connection With ISIS. The Intercept Debunks Right-Wing Media Lie: "The Widespread Smearing Of Saadiq Long As Having Joined An ISIS Cell, Is Completely False" http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/10/how-the-media-fell-for-a-lie-that-a-muslim-amer/207429

Report: ABC World News Tonight Has Devoted 81 Minutes This YearTo Trump, One Minute To Sanders http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/11/abc-world-news-tonight-has-devoted-less-than-on/207428

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD, Ranking Member Of Benghazi Select Committee Pushes Back Against Baseless Allegation That DOD Emails Contradict Leon Panetta's Benghazi Testimony. Press Release: "This Email Yet Another Example Of How Conservative Conspiracy Theorists Use Bits Of Information Out Of Context To Rehash Baseless Allegations" http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/09/ranking-member-of-benghazi-select-committee-pus/207394

Preliminary Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Counter Right-Wing Media Claims That The Health Care Law Will Collapse http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/11/preliminary-obamacare-enrollment-numbers-counte/207458

Fox News contributor Allen West hyped a debunked story of an ISIS-inspired "stabbing spree" at a preschool while criticizing President Obama for not changing his strategy against the terrorist organization. The New York Times reported that the teacher fabricated the story so he could be transferred to another school. http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/14/foxs-allen-west-hypes-hoax-of-an-isis-inspired/207487

Post-Debate Fact Checks Call Out Republican Candidates For False Claims On Immigration And Refugees http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/12/16/post-debate-fact-checks-call-out-republican-can/207545

8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Trump recruitment and retention

https://vimeo.com/148459431

9. GunFAIL season! GunFAIL CLXVIII

48 guns were discovered by TSA agents at airports around the country during the week of Nov. 13-19, 2015.

As promised, the hunting accidents continued to mount. There were 11 confirmed, and one additional suspected hunting-related accidental shooting during the week of 11/15-11/21, up from five, then seven, then eight in previous weeks. Speaking of hunting accidents, Lewis County, Washington police must’ve had a hell of a time keeping up with the opening of deer season, with reports of two hunters accidentally blasting through homes in different parts of the county on the same day.

In other news, 21 people accidentally shot themselves, and another six shot family members or significant others. Twelve kids were accidentally shot, and among our original 48 listings, 11 involved fatalities. For more, plus the listings, go to http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/12/12/1450297/-Wabbit-season-Duck-season-GunFAIL-season-GunFAIL-CLXVIII

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10. GOP Voters See Trump as Most Electable

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds Republicans don’t see Donald Trump as likable or compassionate, but he’s viewed by Republican registered voters as their party’s most decisive, most competent and most electable candidate. 12/11/15 Read more at http://bigstory.ap.org/article/bbb0b57c3c5a4365a5ec83e5ea1473d7/ap-gfk-poll-trump-tops-decisiveness-electability

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11. PredictWise - 2016 President

PredictWise aggregates, analyzes, and creates predictions. The following are their 2016 presidential predictions:

- Republican Nomination http://www.predictwise.com/politics/2016RepNomination

- Democratic Nomination http://www.predictwise.com/politics/2016DemNomination

- Winner http://www.predictwise.com/politics/2016president

12. Crazed Donald Trump Supporter on CNN (video)

https://youtu.be/CHi8mtG-erM

13. "The Nightly Show" w/ Larry Wilmore: Abigail Fisher's Affirmative Action Challenge

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/d8a1nt/the-nightly-show-with-larry-wilmore-supreme-thwart---abigail-fisher-s-affirmative-action-challenge

14. SNL Cold Open: Will Ferrell as George W. Bush

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKXGA-AU50w

15. A Snapshot of Iowa GOP Voters

A recent Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics poll provides a snapshot into how conservative Iowa’s likely Republican voters are. Nearly six in 10 say climate change is a hoax. More than half want mass deportations of illegal immigrants. Six in 10 would abolish the Internal Revenue Service. 12/13/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/us/politics/ted-cruz-surges-past-donald-trump-to-lead-in-iowa-poll.html

16. The Math of a Contested Convention

If three or more Republican candidates are still competitive in the presidential race beyond March 15, as seems increasingly possible, it will be difficult to avoid a situation in which no candidate accumulates over 50 percent of delegates, so multiple ballots could be needed to select the Republican nominee in Cleveland next summer. The working assumption is that one of those candidates will be Donald Trump—which has brought considerable focus to the establishment mind. 12/11/15 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-12-11/why-the-dream-of-a-contested-convention-may-come-true-this-year

17. Paris climate pact: A good moment for the planet

Negotiators for nearly 200 countries agreed in Paris on Saturday to a set of principles and goals that could ratchet back the pace of global warming. Whether the world's nations can work together to meet the accord's stated goal of limiting the rise of global temperatures to "well below 2 degrees Celsius" above pre-industrial levels — the point beyond which many scientists believe catastrophic climate change will occur — will be the challenge, even as many scientists and environmentalists question whether the pact's aspirational target of 1.5 degrees Celsius is low enough. As environmental activist Bill McKibben said, the agreement "didn't save the planet, but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet." For that, the accord should be welcomed. -- LA Times Editorial Board: 12/13/15 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-1214-paris-climate-20151213-story.html

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18. A GOP Debate ISIS Would Love

If one of the goals of ISIS is to scare the American people, the GOP did them a service on Tuesday night—ratcheting up the fearful rhetoric, and combining it with ideas that were at times ignorant or illegal.

From carpet bombings that would kill scores of civilians to Muslim blockades to Internet bans, the Republican debate sent a message to American viewers: Be afraid.

It plays right into ISIS’s hands: As a terrorist organization that is outmatched in brute strength by the United States, one of its most potent tools is psychological. It can use fear to provoke an overreaction. And boy, did the Republicans overreact.
Forget that an American is more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed in a terrorist attack. -- Tim Mak and Jackie Kucinich 12.16.15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/16/a-gop-debate-isis-would-love.html

19. Late Night with Seth Meyers: Paris Climate Change Summit - A Closer Look

https://youtu.be/UiKZCD6dXh8

   
OPINION
 
   

1. Michael Tomasky: GOP: A Neo-Fascist White-Identity Party?

Trump thus culminates a process that’s been going on in the Republican Party for two generations now. Fringe elements never properly denounced then are now, under Trump, becoming an in-broad-daylight part of the Republican coalition. But now, since all this has been going on so long, are they even fringe elements? When 65 percent of Republicans tell a pollster they support Trump’s poisonous call to ban Muslims from the country, it’s hard to call that fringe. A more recent poll puts that support level at “only” 42 percent, but that’s still higher than the percentage who opposed it (36). That sure isn’t fringe either.

The Republican Party of Trump is becoming a white-identity party, like the far-right parties of Europe. Yes, it includes token members of other races, which accounts for Ben Carson, who’s just a political idiot, whatever his skills in the operating theater. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are in a different category as Cubans; in our political discourse, we throw them into the mix as Latino, but of course Cubans are very different culturally and politically from other Latinos; and besides, there are certainly racial categories among Cubans themselves, and Afro-Cubans these two are not.

The Republican Party will have a choice, a choice it really has to make already, about whether it is collectively willing to stand up and say no, we don’t want to become to neo-fascist, white-identity party. Of course if the party’s leaders do that, they are thwarting, potentially, the will of their voters. It’s quite a bind to be in. And it’s one they created, starting at least 20 years ago. 12.14.15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/14/gop-a-neo-fascist-white-identity-party.html

2. Daniel Benjamin & Steven Simon: Donald Trump Is Helping the Terrorists Win

One reason for the growth of Republican Islamophobia is the scramble for a key constituency in the Republican electorate. Islamophobia is much stronger among Christian evangelicals than in the populace at large. Right wing evangelicals often paint ISIL as the foe in a coming Armageddon. (Carson’s poll numbers and campaign contributions shot upward, largely because of heightened evangelical support, after his remarks about the unacceptability of a Muslim president.) The same evangelicals are perhaps the most reliable constituency among Republican primary voters.

All of this adds up to a farcical state of affairs with no obvious exit. Yes, the United States needs to inflict real damage on ISIL in the hope that some homegrown extremists will lose faith in the group’s prospects and not be spurred to action by the call of the leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to carry out attacks of “individual jihad” at home. But for Republicans to imply—as they routinely do—that this is all that is required is absurd.

As happened in San Bernardino, the jihadists’ siren song will eventually seduce other vulnerable, unbalanced individuals. The frequency of these low-tech, relatively low-casualty attacks might even increase somewhat. But if we retain our perspective and resilience—not to mention our values—we can reduce the violence over time to a minimum. Heightening the hysteria only raises the incentives for extremists to attack, while alienating American Muslims will simply guarantee the emergence of a long line of Syed Farooks to haunt our future. 12/13/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/12/terrorism-donald-trump-gop-2016-213434#ixzz3uK6WtEHA

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3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What Donald Trump and ISIS Have in Common

The terrorist campaign against American ideals is winning. Fear is rampant. Gun sales are soaring. Hate crimes are increasing. Bearded hipsters are beingmistaken for Muslims. And 83 percent of voters believe a large-scale terrorist attack is likely here in the near future. Some Americans are now so afraid that they are willing to trade in the sacred beliefs that define America for some vague promises of security from the very people who are spreading the terror. “Go ahead and burn the Constitution — just don’t hurt me at the mall.” That’s how effective this terrorism is.

I’m not talking about ISIS. I’m talking about Donald Trump.

This is not hyperbole. Not a metaphor. Webster defines terrorism as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal; the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.”

If violence can be an abstraction — and it can; that’s what a threat is — the Trump campaign meets this definition. Thus, Trump is ISIS’s greatest triumph: the perfect Manchurian Candidate who, instead of offering specific and realistic policies, preys on the fears of the public, doing ISIS’s job for them. Even fellow Republican Jeb Bush acknowledged Trump’s goal is “to manipulate people’s angst and fears.” 12/09/15 Read more at http://time.com/4143003/kareem-abdul-jabbar-donald-trump-isis/

4. E.J. Dionne: The Slippery Slope of Trumpism

Trump's embrace of a religious test for entry to our country did not come out of nowhere. On the contrary, it simply brought us to the bottom of a slippery slope created by the ongoing exploitation of anti-Muslim feeling for political purposes.

You don't have to reach far back in time to see why Trump figured he had the ideological space for his Muslim ban. Last month, it was Jeb Bush who introduced the idea of linking the rights of Syrian refugees to their religion. He said he was comfortable granting admission to "people like orphans and people who are clearly not going to be terrorists. Or Christians." Asked how he'd determine who was Christian, he explained that "you can prove you're a Christian."

Ted Cruz took a similar view, saying "there is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror."

You can't be "just a little" intolerant of Muslims, any more than you can be "just a little" prejudiced against Catholics or Jews. Once the door to bigotry is opened, it is very hard to shut. 12/10/15 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/12/10/the_slippery_slope_of_trumpism_128988.html

5. Paul Krugman: Empowering the Ugliness

We live in an era of political news that is, all too often, shocking but not surprising. The rise of Donald Trump definitely falls into that category. And so does the electoral earthquake that struck France in Sunday’s regional elections, with the right-wing National Front winning more votes than either of the major mainstream parties.

What do these events have in common? Both involved political figures tapping into the resentments of a bloc of xenophobic and/or racist voters who have been there all along. The good news is that such voters are a minority; the bad news is that it’s a pretty big minority, on both sides of the Atlantic. If you are wondering where the support for Mr. Trump or Marine Le Pen, the head of the National Front, is coming from, you just haven’t been paying attention.

In Europe the problem is the arrogance and rigidity of elite figures who refuse to learn from economic failure; in the U.S. it’s the cynicism of Republicans who summoned up prejudice to support their electoral prospects. And now both are facing the monsters they helped create. 12/11/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/opinion/empowering-the-ugliness.html

6. Timothy Egan: Goose-Steppers in the G.O.P.

Well, he’s got the Hitler vote. The neo-Nazi website, Daily Stormer, was out and proud earlier this week: “Heil Donald Trump — the Ultimate Savior.” After endorsing the Republican presidential front-runner earlier this year for his call to deport 11 million Mexican immigrants, the fomenters of American fascism have now added an apt twist to his slogan, one not far from the truth of the campaign: “Make America White Again.”

Nazis — I hate these guys. Oh, but they’re a tiny minority of pink-faced malcontents living in basements with the windows taped up. Everybodyhates them. Add to that supporters of the Ku Klux Klan, who’ve thrown in with Trump as well. David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Klan, liked everything he heard from Trump this week, embracing him for standing up for white nationalism.

And sure, all the little Hitlers probably don’t amount to a hill of beans. But what about the 35 percent of Republican voters, in the New York Times/CBS News poll, who say they’re all in with the man sieg heiled by aspiring brownshirts and men in white sheets?

It’s a very ugly political moment, but there it is: The Republican Party is now home to millions of people who would throw out the Constitution, welcome a police state against Latinos and Muslims, and enforce a religious test for entry into a country built by people fleeing religious persecution. This stuff polls well in their party, even if the Bill of Rights does not.

Trump’s proposal — “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — is not just flotsam from the lunatic fringe. Well, it is. But the fringe is huge: Early polls show a plurality of Republican voters agree with Trump on banning all Muslims. And many would go even further. 12/11/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/opinion/campaign-stops/goose-steppers-in-the-gop.html

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7. P.J. O’Rourke: The Half-Hearted Case for Rubio

I must, I can, I will be positive about Marco Rubio. I’m a Republican. Rubio is the least insane candidate (low bar) with the best chance (faint hope) of actually beating Hillary.

The patients have taken over the GOP psychiatric ward. The shrink is on the couch. The loonies are thoughtfully stroking their chins asking the sane Republican, “Why do you think Barack Hussein Obama, who bows to Mecca five times each day, wasn’t raised by KGB agents in Karjackistan?”

Rubio’s all I’ve got left. Jeb Bush was the Super Bowl Goodyear Blimp of Republican candidates. Then he took his campaign playbook from the John Frankenheimer movie Black Sunday.

Rand Paul seems to be running for president of Galt’s Gulch in Ayn Rand’sAtlas Shrugged.

Chris Christie is stuck in traffic.

John Kasich is polling somewhere to the right of the decimal point in those incommensurable ratios that my Algebra II teacher was talking about before I flunked. 12.12.15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/12/the-half-hearted-case-for-rubio.html

8. Mike Barnicle: Thing They're Selling is Fear

Fear is hugely contagious. Used skillfully by politicians looking to manipulate voters it can become toxic and capable of infecting more than just a few. That’s what we have now. In Iowa. In New Hampshire. In South Carolina. In our country. 

We have ‘a clockwork orange’ parade of candidates seeking to capitalize on the legitimate worry many have about where the world is headed. In the days since a matched and married pair of Islamic terrorists in San Bernardino shattered our slight sense of security people like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have acted as if ISIL is a reincarnation of The Wehrmacht.

No wonder much of the country’s mood is a mix of anger, fear, frustration, crushed hopes and diminished dreams. Seven years ago a lot of people lost jobs, incomes, houses, health care, a lot of their net worth and even more of their optimism and belief that a combination of hard work and living by the law would mean a better future for them and their families. Didn’t work out that way for many of them. And what do most of those running to succeed Barack Obama offer: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

We, us, you and me sure do deserve better than what these public people have been offering, a mix of fear and duplicity that charts a truly negative direction for a country deserving of prayer and hope. Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/13/the-only-thing-they-re-selling-is-fear.html

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9. Al Gore: Speaking with One Voice to Solve the Climate Crisis

Today, the nations of the world concluded a bold and historic agreement, clearly demonstrating that the global community is speaking with one voice to solve the climate crisis. Years from now, our grandchildren will reflect on humanity's moral courage to solve the climate crisis and they will look to 12/12/15, as the day when the community of nations finally made the decision to act.

This universal and ambitious agreement sends a clear signal to governments, businesses, and investors everywhere: the transformation of our global economy from one fueled by dirty energy to one fueled by sustainable economic growth is now firmly and inevitably underway.

The components of this agreement -- including a strong review mechanism to enhance existing commitments and a long-term goal to eliminate global-warming pollution this century -- are essential to unlocking the necessary investments in our future. No agreement is perfect, and this one must be strengthened over time, but groups across every sector of society will now begin to reduce dangerous carbon pollution through the framework of this agreement.

The Paris agreement represents the ceaseless efforts of civil society, governments, business, and investors, all of whom have dedicated themselves to this cause. Most of all, thanks are due to the French government led by President Hollande and Minister Fabius, and the United Nations, led by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Christiana Figueres and her team at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-gore/speaking-with-one-voice-to-solve-the-climate-crisis_b_8794402.html

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10. NY Time’s editorial: Despair Over Gun Deaths Is Not an Option

After months of grief and depression, parents who lost children in the 2012 schoolhouse gun slaughter in Newtown, Conn., turned to the courts last year for a modicum of justice and only then discovered the full power of gun manufacturers: The industry marketing the weapons that killed 20 children and six adults at the school enjoys an extraordinary immunity from civil damage suits — a customized shield from Congress that the makers of autos, drugs and other American industries are not given.

The law, enacted in 2005, has been notoriously successful at protecting gun makers and dealers and keeping victimized families from being heard in court on wrongful-death and damages claims. If there are ever to be effective answers to the gun deaths now plaguing the nation, repeal of this egregious law — a denial of basic American fairness — should be near the top of the agenda if only to force the gun industry to worry about billions in damages for its abuse of public safety.

Whether that happens, of course, depends on whether Congress is ever going to break from the lobby. Could there be anything less controversial than denying gun purchases to people on the terrorist watch list? Yet Republicans prefer to express concern about “due process” for gun purchasers even as they propose blanket bans on Islamic refugees.

Public despair that nothing can be done is not an option. The parents of Newtown are providing a model of determination — attempting a difficult lawsuit that is barely underway in state court because Congress shielded the gun industry. Its success is far from certain, but the parents are persisting. 12/13/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/opinion/sunday/despair-over-gun-deaths-is-not-an-option.html