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“What If Trump Tries To Ban Santa?”: An Unmade Hypothetical, But Frighteningly Plausible Trumpian Idea

Reporter: Is it true that you have argued for a ban on Santa Claus crossing American borders on Christmas Eve?

Trump: Americans are afraid and rightly so. They are even afraid of Santa Claus. Who is this guy anyway? And where has he been? He is a citizen of what country? We just don’t know. Is he a tourist? Do we give visas to workers from the North Pole? Until we figure out what the heck is going on, we can’t let this guy cross our border into America. And another thing—even if we built a wall 50 feet high on the Canadian or Mexican border, this guy could fly right over it. He has to be stopped.

Have you always felt this way about Santa?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Santa. And he loves me. Has for many years. He’s huge. In fact, he’s so huge that he should try to mix in a salad every once in a while. I mean who knows what kinds of diseases he’s bringing into the country. High blood pressure. Diabetes. Obesity.  What kind of a role model is that for our children? Let’s stop all this political correctness and call out the Fat Boy for what he really is. He makes Chris Christie look like Tiny Tim.

You’ve argued for banning Muslims from coming to America, even as tourists. You’re not suggesting that Santa Claus is a Muslim, are you?

We don’t know where he’s from. Have you ever seen his birth certificate? There’s just something about this guy that’s so creepy. He lives with elves, for God’s sake. Now there’s nothing wrong with elves. Elves love me. I get a lot of them jobs in the off season. And then there’s this Ho, Ho, Ho business. I am accused of disrespecting women. Where are those critics when this guy is flying around calling everybody a Ho?

But, wait, isn’t Santa Claus another name for St. Nicholas, a Christian saint?

That’s what the media would have you think. How many years now has the American media reaped millions—billions—with Santa this and Santa that? Think about it. Who has done more to secularize Christmas than Santa Claus? Who has turned Americans more into greedy, needy socialists than Santa? His Christmas is nothing more than a welfare program designed to redistribute wealth in this country. Santa is the ultimate insider. It’s time to shake things up in this country.

But lots of your opponents think Santa represents family values.

Yes, but where did he come from? He came from Europe. That makes him a socialist. And where were the terrorists who shot up Paris from? They were from Europe. There is something going on with that guy. And what’s up with that sack? Do you know how many automatic weapons he could fit into that sack? Does anyone stop the guy at the border—who knows what country he just came from—and ask him to open that sack for inspection?

So how should we celebrate Christmas without Santa?

Give yourself a present by voting for me. When I’m president, this country will be great again. We won’t need some Tub of Lard loser to make us happy. We’ll have all the jobs we need. The elves will have jobs. The elves can help us build a wall to secure our border. And Santa can pay for it. One thing about elves, though. They just walk under the turnstiles onto the subway platforms. Huge security risk.

But how will we celebrate Christmas?

You’re not hearing me.  But that’s so typical.  And one more thing:  until we know what’s going on in New Jersey, there will be no more dancing allowed there.  Because I saw a video of New Jersey Muslims—and there are thousands in New Jersey—dancing after 9/11.  People are saying that I made that up, but look at this video—thousands and thousands of people dancing in New Jersey.

With all respect, sir, that looks like a Springsteen concert.

Yeah, but look…Bruce is wearing a Santa hat. Oh, and Bruce loves me. He really does. Has since “Born to Run.”

 

By: Roy Peter Clark, The Daily Beast, December 20, 2015

December 24, 2015 Posted by | Christmas, Donald Trump, Santa Claus | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Getting To The Source Of The Lies”: The Fabricated Story About Tashfeen Malik’s Public Facebook Postings

A theme emerged at Tuesday night’s Republican debate that went something like this: because of political correctness, the Obama administration has failed to keep us safe from terror attacks. It was applied in reference to the shooting in San Bernardino by several candidates, including Ted Cruz.

It’s not a lack of competence that is preventing the Obama administration from stopping these attacks. It is political correctness. We didn’t monitor the Facebook posting of the female San Bernardino terrorist because the Obama DHS thought it would be inappropriate. She made a public call to jihad, and they didn’t target it.

That is the story that has become embedded over the last week in the right wing mindset. But as FBI Director James Comey said yesterday, it’s not true.

So far, in this investigation we have found no evidence of posting on social media by either of them at that period in time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seen some reporting on that, and that’s a garble.

There was no major breakdown in security at DHS as a result of political correctness. It’s all about a couple who were inspired by ISIS to go on a killing spree – much as Robert Lewis Dear was inspired to go on a shooting spree at Planned Parenthood by the anti-abortion movement and Dylann Roof was inspired to kill African American church-goers by white supremacists.

But as Kevin Drum reports, there’s more to the story. The question becomes: what was the source for the story about Tashfeen Malik’s public Facebook postings? It was an article in the New York Times titled: U.S. Visa Process Missed San Bernardino Wife’s Zealotry on Social Media. And not only that. As Drum says:

The story was written by Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, and Julia Preston.

Do those names sound familiar? They should. The first two were also the authors of July’s epic fail claiming that Hillary Clinton was the target of a criminal probe over the mishandling of classified information in her private email system.

Is it merely a coincidence that these two NYT reporters have been fed stories by their sources that are fabricated lies about the dyad the Republican candidates blamed consistently with such disdain Tuesday night – Obama/Clinton? I’m not a conspiracy theorist. But you don’t have to be one to understand why it is important to get an answer to that question.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, December 17, 2015

December 20, 2015 Posted by | Journalism, Journalists, Reporters | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Trump Giving The People What They Want”: A Whack-A-Mole Of The Asinine And The Repugnant

“You got to give the people what they want.”
—O’Jays

Even by his standards, it was an astounding performance.

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 nonexistent 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, New Jersey, 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.”

Not that that hurts his bid for the GOP nomination. A Washington Post/CNN poll finds Trump with a double-digit lead (32 percent to 22 percent) on his nearest rival, Ben Carson, who is his equal in nonsense, though not in volume. Meantime, establishment candidate Jeb Bush is on life support, mired in single digits.

And the party is panicking. In September, Bobby Jindal called Trump “a madman.” Two weeks ago came reports of an attempt to lure Mitt Romney into the race. Candidate Jim Gilmore and advisers to candidates Bush and Marco Rubio have dubbed Trump a fascist. Trump, complains the dwindling coven of grown-ups on the right, is doing serious damage to the Republican “brand.”

Which he is. But it is difficult to feel sorry for the GOP. After all, it has brought this upon itself.

Keeping the customer satisfied, giving the people what they want, is the fundament of sound business. More effectively than anyone in recent memory, Trump has transferred that principle to politics. Problem is, it turns out that what a large portion of the Republican faithful wants is racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, the validation of unrealistic fears and the promise of quick fixes to complex problems.

That’s hardly shocking. This is what the party establishment has trained them to want, what it has fed them for years. But it has done so in measured tones and coded language that preserved the fiction of deniability. Trump’s innovation is his increasingly-apparent lack of interest in deniability. Like other great demagogues — George Wallace, Joe McCarthy, Huey Long, Charles Coughlin — his appeal has been in the fact that he is blunt, unfiltered, anti-intellectual, full-throated and unapologetic. And one in three Republicans are eating it up like candy.

Mind you, this is after the so-called 2013 “autopsy” wherein the GOP cautioned itself to turn from its angry, monoracial appeal. Two years later, it doubles down on that appeal instead.

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.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, November 30, 2015

December 1, 2015 Posted by | Bigotry, Donald Trump, GOP Base, Racism | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Conservatives Outraged Over Prosecution Of Terror Suspect In Criminal Court

A decidedly unremarkable event by past standards occurred yesterday. The U.S. government brought criminal terrorism charges in a New York City courtroom against a Somali man captured in the Gulf of Aden. This is the first prosecution in criminal court to happen during the Obama administration, but such cases have been a common and extremely successful feature of U.S. policy that passed without notice for decades. This move, however, has provoked the now-typical reaction from conservatives who reflexively oppose every Obama administration action as a radical departure from U.S. norms that threatens the security of the nation. That’s ridiculous, and these conservatives risk U.S. security by pushing to remove a very powerful weapon against terrorists.

Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was reportedly seized in April onboard a ship in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen. He is charged with conspiracy and providing material support to terrorist groups—in this case the Somali-based al-Shabaab and the Yemeni-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

The Obama administration revealed that Warsame was held on a U.S. Navy ship for two months and interrogated by the High-Value Interrogation Group, the team drawn from numerous frontline U.S. government agencies established by the Obama administration specifically to question suspected high-ranking terrorists. This produced significant information outlining a deeper connection between al-Shabaab and AQAP than previously known. U.S. officials reportedly discussed all options for Warsame’s future and unanimously decided on criminal prosecution.

Warsame’s trial in New York City is like many previous instances when individuals were seized abroad and brought to the United States to face terrorism charges in criminal court. The most recent similar case dates from the Bush administration, when Afia Siddique was detained in Afghanistan by U.S. troops in 2008 for attempting to shoot U.S. military personnel. She was quickly brought to New York,  convicted, and sentenced to 86 years in prison. During the Clinton administration, Mir Aimal Kasi stood outside CIA headquarters in Virginia in 1995 and murdered two CIA employees as they drove into work. He was captured in Pakistan in 1997 and brought to Virginia for trial, convicted of murder, and executed in 2002.

Neither of these cases or the others like them produced negative responses from conservatives. Once the Obama administration did it, however, conservatives were outraged.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said that “Congress has spoken clearly multiple times … of the perils of bringing terrorists onto U.S. soil.”

What perils? There has never been a terrorist attack related to the trial or incarceration of terrorists in the United States.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said, “A foreign national who fought on behalf of al Shabaab in Somali—and who was captured by our military overseas—should be tried in a military commission, not a federal civilian court in New York or anywhere else in our country.”

Forcing all prosecutions of suspected terrorists into military commissions has political appeal because it sounds tougher than using criminal courts. But let’s look closer at that military commission option.

First off, Warsame has been charged only with conspiracy and military support for terrorism. Those offenses are available in military commissions but neither has ever been considered a war crime. For that reason, the Department of Justice believes that convictions on those offenses in military commissions are susceptible to being overturned on appeal.

Further, the extremely short record of military-commissions cases based on conspiracy or material support reveals that those convicted receive short sentences and are quickly transferred back to their home countries and released. The most famous of these cases was that of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver, who was sentenced to only five additional months in custody. The Bush administration sent him home to Yemen soon after.

U.S. criminal courts, on the other hand, have an excellent record at convicting terrorists. In a case analogous to Hamdan’s, Ali Asad Chandia was convicted in 2006 of providing material support for terrorism for driving a member of Lashkar-e-Taibi from Washington National Airport to spots around the D.C. area. His sentence was 15 years. So bin Laden’s driver got five months from a military commission but driving an unknown member of a lesser-known terrorist group resulted in a 15-year sentence in a criminal court.

Since the 9/11 attacks, U.S. criminal courts have locked up more than 200 individuals on terrorism charges while military-commissions convictions can be counted on one hand.

American presidents of both parties have relied on criminal courts for decades because they are extremely effective at convicting suspected terrorists and have an excellent record of producing reliable and actionable intelligence information. Today’s conservatives are trying to deny the U.S. government this valuable tool because they are more interested in using political weapons against President Barack Obama than counterterrorism weapons against America’s enemies.

 

By: Ken Gude, Managing Director of the National Security and International Policy Program, Center for American Progress, July 6, 2011

July 6, 2011 Posted by | 911, Congress, Conservatives, Foreign Policy, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Justice Department, National Security, Neo-Cons, Politics, President Obama, Republicans, Right Wing, Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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