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“Radical And Dangerous”: Republican Response To Terrorism Would Fuel More Terrorism

In order to understand the recent attacks in both Brussels and Paris, Ian Bremmer lists “5 facts that explain why Europe is ground zero for terrorism.” Numbers 2 and 3 on the list demonstrate why the response of Republican presidential candidates Trump and Cruz are so radical and dangerous.

It’s no coincidence that these two countries are such breeding grounds for Islamic terrorism. Both are home to some of the most radicalized and ostracized Muslim neighborhoods on the continent; Molenbeek in Brussels, and the banlieues in Paris…

In the refugee crisis, ISIS has recognized a golden opportunity to further its narrative of a civilizational war between Islam and the West—and many European leaders have played directly into the terror group’s hands. When the Polish and Bulgarian prime ministers say that they are only willing to accept Christian refugees, it gives fodder for ISIS to rally more zealots to its cause…ISIS clearly wants the European public to conflate refugees and terrorists, and it has been doing a disturbingly good job so far.

Both Trump and Cruz are providing ISIS with fodder for their “civilizational war between Islam and the West” by suggesting that we should stop immigration of Muslims to this country. And of course, Trump proposes things like torture as well as the targeting of terrorists’ families.

But it was the suggestion from Cruz that law enforcement should target Muslim neighborhoods that is perhaps most alarming because it is so insidious. Not only does it suggest that people should be treated like criminals based on their religious faith, Cruz made this alarming comparison yesterday.

Cruz repudiated the comparison [to Japanese internment camps] at the press conference, saying: “I understand that there are those who seek political advantage and try to raise a scary specter.”

He instead compared it to ridding neighborhoods of gang activity and law enforcement’s efforts “to take them off the street.”

In other words, he is suggesting that living in a Muslim neighborhood (however that is defined) means you should be treated the same as a gang member. A spokesman for the NYPD tweeted an important response.

Hey, @tedcruz are our nearly 1k Muslim officers a “threat” too? It’s hard to imagine a more incendiary, foolish statement

— J. Peter Donald (@JPeterDonald) March 23, 2016

There are those who suggest that one of the reasons four attacks in Europe since 9/11 have killed 426 people, while terrorism has claimed the lives of 45 people in the United States is that Muslim neighborhoods in this country have not been radicalized and ostracized. Republicans like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump want to change all that…and make us less safe.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, March 23, 2016

March 24, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Lies Mitch McConnell Tells”: He Knows He’s Lying, You Know He’s Lying, And He Knows You Know He’s Lying

A few words about the pious insincerity of Mitch McConnell.

As you are no doubt aware, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, announced on the very day that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died that he would refuse to hold hearings on any replacement nominated by President Obama. McConnell’s “reasoning,” if you want to grace it with that word, was that since the president has less than a year left in his term, the appointment should be made by whomever the American people choose as his successor.

Last week, after Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty by nominating respected federal judge Merrick Garland to the post, McConnell renewed his refusal. “The Biden rule,” he said, “reminds us that the decision the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle and not a person. It seems clear that President Obama made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election.”

The American people, added McConnell, should have a say in this. “So let’s give them a voice. Let’s let the American people decide.”

There are four lies here, each more threadbare and cynical than the last:

1. The Biden rule? There is no such thing. There is only an opinion Vice President Biden expressed 24 years ago as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that if a vacancy opened on the top court during convention season — which is still several months off — the president should “consider” not nominating a replacement until after the election. It bears repeating: Biden never said the president should not nominate or the Senate should not vote; he only suggested waiting until “after the election” to do so.

2. It’s the president who’s politicizing this? In psychology, that’s known as “projecting.” Around the way, it’s known as the pot calling the kettle black.

3. “A principle and not a person?” No, it’s about a person — the same person, the president — toward whom McConnell and his party have expressed such unremitting disrespect the last seven years.

4. The voice of the people? The people have already spoken — twice — in elections that were not close. For that matter, they are still speaking. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll says 63 percent of us want the Senate to hold hearings and vote.

McConnell should just claim he’s too busy arranging his sock drawer. That would be more credible than the excuses he’s given.

The quality of a lie is a direct reflection of the respect the liar has for the person being lied to. That will seem counterintuitive, but consider: You put effort into a lie, work to make it plausible, credible, believable, when you have regard for the recipient, when his good opinion matters or his discovery of the truth would be disastrous.

That being the case, what does it suggest when you put as little effort into a lie as McConnell has?

Indeed, while he has been roundly condemned for disrespecting the president, let’s spare some outrage for the way he is also disrespecting us. Not just in failing to do his job, but also in offering such a transparently dishonest rationale for it.

He knows he’s lying, you know he’s lying and he knows you know he’s lying. But you get the sense he doesn’t care. Why should he? Those who need to believe there’s a noble principle behind this obstructionism will be willingly gulled. As to the rest of us, so what?

That’s not statesmanship. It is not even politics. It’s just contempt — and not only for the president. If we cannot count on McConnell and his party to do the country’s business and behave in a manner befitting serious people in positions of responsibility, perhaps it’s not too much to ask that they at least spare us that.

Tell better lies next time.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, March 23, 2016

March 24, 2016 Posted by | GOP Obstructionism, Mitch Mc Connell, Senate Republicans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Rethinking Their Attitudes On McCarthy”: Republican Support For McCarthyism Is Sometimes Literal

Exactly three years ago this week, a reporter from the Dallas Morning News told Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) he’s been compared at times to Joe McCarthy. Cruz said that criticism “may be a sign that perhaps we’re doing something right,” which seemed like a curious response given the context.

Asked specifically, “Is McCarthy someone you admire?” Cruz wouldn’t answer. “I’m not going to engage in the back and forth and the attacks,” he replied.

Three years later, this has come up again, but this time it’s not with the senator himself, but rather it’s one of his national security advisers. TPM noted yesterday:

Clare Lopez, a national security adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) presidential campaign, earlier this month said the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) was “spot on” about communists infiltrating the United States government in the 1950s.

As Right Wing Watch discovered, the Cruz adviser compared Americans’ lack of preparedness for Muslims trying to infiltrate the government to communist spies during the Cold War.

“We can go all the way back, of course, to the time of the Cold War and back to the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s when communists, you know, the KGB, infiltrated our government at the very highest levels,” Lopez said. “And then, like now, we were unprepared and in large measure unaware of what was going on, at least until the House Un-American Activities got rolling in the 1950s with Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who absolutely was spot-on in just about everything he said about the levels of infiltration.”

Oh my.

There was a point in the not-too-distant past that both parties considered McCarthyism and the former senator’s legacy to be a scourge to be avoided forevermore.

But as Republican politics has shifted to the even-further-right, conservatives have begun to rethink their attitudes on McCarthy. Missouri’s Todd Akin, for example, compared himself to McCarthy two years ago, and he meant it in a good way.

In 2010 in Texas, conservative activists rewriting the state’s curriculum recommended telling students that McCarthy was a hero, “vindicated” by history. Around the same time, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) endorsed bringing back the House Un-American Activities Committee.

In conservative media, headlines such as “It’s Time to See Joe McCarthy For the Hero He Was” are not uncommon.

As we discussed a couple of years ago, when the political world considers how much the Republican Party has changed over the last generation, look no further than those who’ve decided McCarthyism wasn’t so bad after all.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 23, 2016

March 24, 2016 Posted by | McCarthyism, Steve King, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Election-Industrial Complex”: Campaign Consultants And Media Companies Are Cashing In On Our Corrupt Elections

Four days before Ben Carson finally wrapped up his failed candidacy, his campaign paid $348,141 to a direct mail company. The same amount was paid at the start of the month to Pennsylvania-based Action Mailers, bringing the company’s February total close to $1 million.

That same day, a web service provider for Carson’s campaign (run by the candidate’s chief marketing officer) was paid $59,000. In February, as the campaign limped to an end, checks totaling $651,000 were sent to Eleventy for web services.

Carson, in an interview with CNN after he announced that he would be dropping out of the race, said “We had people who didn’t really seem to understand finances, or maybe they did—maybe they were doing it on purpose.”

In total, through the end of February, Carson’s campaign raised $63 million and spent $58 million, according to FEC filings.

Much of that money came from small individual donations, and much of it was spent on a handful of companies tasked with raising money from those individual donors. There are many links between companies paid money by his campaign and the individuals who surrounded Carson.

Eleventy, whose president, Ken Dawson, was the campaign’s marketing chief, received close to $6 million over the course of the campaign. Action Mailers received over $5 million. Carson spent just over $5 million on television buys, less even than Donald Trump, whose “free media” campaign has kept his ad expenses incredibly low. Just as important, Carson spent little on developing a ground game.

“There’s a lot of people who love me, they just won’t vote for me,” Carson said as he bowed out. Hundreds of thousands loved him enough to give money to what they thought was an actual campaign.

The rise of super PACs in the aftermath of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision has often dominated the discussion over money in politics in recent election cycles. There is much more to the tale. It’s not just about who is spending the cash, but where it’s going.

Harpers Magazine, in its April cover story, delves into the world of “strategists, pollsters, TV-ad makers, media buyers, direct-mail specialists, broadcasters, and other subcategories of what we should properly call the election-industrial complex.” Its conclusion leaves the reader feeling, if only for a moment, somewhat sorry for the billionaires and multi-millionaires pumping money into elections. It’s all wasted extremely efficiently, mostly on advertising buys.

Exhibit A: Jeb Bush, whose campaign and supportive PACs spent close to $150 million on his failed candidacy, with nothing to show for it but… well, actually, there’s just nothing to show for it.

The big winners are consultants and television companies.

Les Moonves, chairman of CBS, made it clear, twice, that what may be bad for America is very good for his company. “Super PACs may be bad for America,” Moonves said following the 2012 election, “but they’re very good for CBS.” That year, CBS made $180 million out of the election.

This election cycle, not only are broadcasters pulling in cash from advertising, they also have Donald Trump to thank for an unprecedented ratings spike.

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” Moonves told a media conference in San Francisco in December. “Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun,” Moonves said.

“I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

 

By:  John Breslin, The National Memo, March 23, 2016

March 24, 2016 Posted by | Campaign Advertising, Campaign Consultants, Election Industrial Complex | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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