Hillary Clinton for President

Our endorsement is rooted in respect
for her intellect, experience and courage.

Source:NY Times

Author: Editorial Board

Emphasis Mine

In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)

But this endorsement would also be an empty exercise if it merely affirmed the choice of Clinton supporters. We’re aiming instead to persuade those of you who are hesitating to vote for Mrs. Clinton — because you are reluctant to vote for a Democrat, or for another Clinton, or for a candidate who might appear, on the surface, not to offer change from an establishment that seems indifferent and a political system that seems broken.

Running down the other guy won’t suffice to make that argument. The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.

The best case is, instead, about the challenges this country faces, and Mrs. Clinton’s capacity to rise to them.

The next president will take office with bigoted, tribalist movements and their leaders on the march. In the Middle East and across Asia, in Russia and Eastern Europe, even in Britain and the United States, war, terrorism and the pressures of globalization are eroding democratic values, fraying alliances and challenging the ideals of tolerance and charity.

The 2016 campaign has brought to the surface the despair and rage of poor and middle-class Americans who say their government has done little to ease the burdens that recession, technological change, foreign competition and war have heaped on their families.

Over 40 years in public life, Hillary Clinton has studied these forces and weighed responses to these problems. Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service, often as the first or only woman in the arena. Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformational change. As a candidate, she has struggled to step back from a pointillist collection of policy proposals to reveal the full pattern of her record. That is a weakness of her campaign, and a perplexing one, for the pattern is clear. It shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.

Similarly, Mrs. Clinton’s occasional missteps, combined with attacks on her trustworthiness, have distorted perceptions of her character. She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship. As first lady, she rebounded from professional setbacks and personal trials with astounding resilience. Over eight years in the Senate and four as secretary of state, she built a reputation for grit and bipartisan collaboration. She displayed a command of policy and diplomatic nuance and an ability to listen to constituents and colleagues that are all too exceptional in Washington.

Mrs. Clinton’s record of service to children, women and families has spanned her adult life. One of her boldest acts as first lady was her 1995 speech in Beijing declaring that women’s rights are human rights. After a failed attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system, she threw her support behind legislation to establish the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which now covers more than eight million lower-income young people. This year, she rallied mothers of gun-violence victims to join her in demanding comprehensive background checks for gun buyers and tighter reins on gun sales.

After opposing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants during the 2008 campaign, she now vows to push for comprehensive immigration legislation as president and to use executive power to protect law-abiding undocumented people from deportation and cruel detention. Some may dismiss her shift as opportunistic, but we credit her for arriving at the right position.

Mrs. Clinton and her team have produced detailed proposals on crime, policing and race relations, debt-free college and small-business incentives, climate change and affordable broadband. Most of these proposals would benefit from further elaboration on how to pay for them, beyond taxing the wealthiest Americans. They would also depend on passage by Congress.

That means that, to enact her agenda, Mrs. Clinton would need to find common ground with a destabilized Republican Party, whose unifying goal in Congress would be to discredit her. Despite her political scars, she has shown an unusual capacity to reach across the aisle.

When Mrs. Clinton was sworn in as a senator from New York in 2001, Republican leaders warned their caucus not to do anything that might make her look good. Yet as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she earned the respect of Republicans like Senator John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters.

Her most lasting achievements as a senator include a federal fund for long-term health monitoring of 9/11 first responders, an expansion of military benefits to cover reservists and the National Guard, and a law requiring drug companies to improve the safety of their medications for children.

Below the radar, she fought for money for farmers, hospitals, small businesses and environmental projects. Her vote in favor of the Iraq war is a black mark, but to her credit, she has explained her thinking rather than trying to rewrite that history.

As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was charged with repairing American credibility after eight years of the Bush administration’s unilateralism. She bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya. But her achievements are substantial. She led efforts to strengthen sanctions against Iran, which eventually pushed it to the table for talks over its nuclear program, and in 2012, she helped negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Mrs. Clinton led efforts to renew diplomatic relations with Myanmar, persuading its junta to adopt political reforms. She helped promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an important trade counterweight to China and a key component of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia. Her election-year reversal on that pact has confused some of her supporters, but her underlying commitment to bolstering trade along with workers’ rights is not in doubt. Mrs. Clinton’s attempt to reset relations with Russia, though far from successful, was a sensible effort to improve interactions with a rivalrous nuclear power.

Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values, which include helping others escape poverty and oppression.

Mrs. Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, governed during what now looks like an optimistic and even gentle era. The end of the Cold War and the advance of technology and trade appeared to be awakening the world’s possibilities rather than its demons. Many in the news media, and in the country, and in that administration, were distracted by the scandal du jour — Mr. Clinton’s impeachment — during the very period in which a terrorist threat was growing. We are now living in a world darkened by the realization of that threat and its many consequences.

Mrs. Clinton’s service spans both eras, and she has learned hard lessons from the three presidents she has studied up close. She has also made her own share of mistakes. She has evinced a lamentable penchant for secrecy and made a poor decision to rely on a private email server while at the State Department. That decision deserved scrutiny, and it’s had it. Now, considered alongside the real challenges that will occupy the next president, that email server, which has consumed so much of this campaign, looks like a matter for the help desk. And, viewed against those challenges, Mr. Trump shrinks to his true small-screen, reality-show proportions, as we’ll argue in detail on Monday.

Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.

see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/opinion/sunday/hillary-clinton-for-president.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-top-region&region=opinion-c-col-top-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-top-region&_r=0

What Hillary Clinton Should Say about Islam and the “War on Terror”

The following is part of a speech that I think Hillary Clinton should deliver between now and November. Its purpose is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political correctness on the topic of Islam and jihadism a cause for concern, especially in the aftermath of any future terrorist attacks in the U.S. or Europe.

Source and Author: Sam Harris

Emphasis Mine

The following is part of a speech that I think Hillary Clinton should deliver between now and November. Its purpose is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political correctness on the topic of Islam and jihadism a cause for concern, especially in the aftermath of any future terrorist attacks in the U.S. or Europe.—SH

Today, I want to talk about one of the most important and divisive issues of our time—the link between the religion of Islam and terrorism. I want you to know how I view it and how I will think about it as President. I also want you to understand the difference between how I approach this topic and how my opponent in this presidential race does.

The underlying issue—and really the most important issue of this or any time—is human cooperation. What prevents it, and what makes it possible? In November, you will be electing a president, not an emperor of the world. The job of the president of the United States, even with all the power at her or his disposal, is to get people, both at home and abroad, to cooperate to solve a wide range of complex problems. Your job is to pick the person who seems most capable of doing that.

In the past, I’ve said that groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have nothing to do with Islam. And President Obama has said the same. This way of speaking has been guided by the belief that if we said anything that could be spun as confirming the narrative of groups like ISIS—suggesting that the West is hostile to the religion of Islam, if only to its most radical strands—we would drive more Muslims into the arms of the jihadists and the theocrats, preventing the very cooperation we need to win a war of ideas against radical Islam. I now see this situation differently. I now believe that we have been selling most Muslims short. And I think we are all paying an unacceptable price for not speaking clearly about the link between specific religious ideas and the sectarian hatred that is dividing the Muslim world.

All of us, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, must oppose the specific ideas within the Islamic tradition that inspire groups like ISIS and the so-called “lone-wolf” attacks we’ve now seen in dozens of countries, as well as the social attitudes that are at odds with our fundamental values—values like human rights, and women’s rights, and gay rights, and freedom of speech. These values are non-negotiable.

But I want to be very clear about something: Bigotry against Muslims, or any other group of people, is unacceptable. It is contrary to the values that have made our society a beacon of freedom and tolerance for the rest of the world. It is also totally counterproductive from a security point of view. However, talking about the consequences of ideas is not bigotry. Muslims are people—and most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims simply want to live in peace like the rest of us. Islam, however, is a set of ideas. And all ideas are fit to be discussed and criticized in the 21st century.

Every religious community must interpret its scripture and adjust its traditions to conform to the modern world. Western Christians used to murder people they believed were witches. They did this for centuries. It’s hard to exaggerate the depths of moral and intellectual confusion this history represents. But it is also true that we have largely outgrown such confusion in the West. The texts themselves haven’t changed. The Bible still suggests that witchcraft is real. It isn’t. And we now know that a belief in witches was the product of ancient ignorance and fear. Criticizing a belief in witchcraft, and noticing its connection to specific atrocities—atrocities that are still committed by certain groups of Christians in Africa—isn’t a form of bigotry against Christians. It’s the only basis for moral and political progress.

One thing is undeniable: Islam today is in desperate need of reform. We live in a world where little girls are shot in the head or have acid thrown in their faces for the crime of learning to read. We live in a world where a mere rumor that a book has been defaced can start riots in a dozen countries. We live in a world in which people reliably get murdered over cartoons, and blog posts, and beauty pageants—even the mere naming of a teddy bear. I’m now convinced that we have to talk about this with less hesitancy and more candor than we’ve shown in the past. Muslims everywhere who love freedom must honestly grapple with the challenges that a politicized strand of their religion poses to free societies. And we must support them in doing so. Otherwise, our silence will only further empower bigots and xenophobes. That is dangerous. We are already seeing the rise of the far right in Europe. And we are witnessing the coalescence of everything that’s still wrong with America in the candidacy of Donald Trump.

Now, it is true that this politicized strain of Islam is a source of much of the world’s chaos and intolerance at this moment. But it is also true that no one suffers more from this chaos and intolerance than Muslims themselves. Most victims of terrorism are Muslim; the women who are forced to wear burkhas or are murdered in so-called “honor killings” are Muslim; the men who are thrown from rooftops for being born gay are Muslim. Most of the people the world over who can’t even dream of speaking or writing freely are Muslim. And modern, reform-minded Muslims, most of all, want to uproot the causes of this needless misery and conflict.

In response to terrorist atrocities of the sort that we witnessed in Paris, Nice, and Orlando, we need to honestly acknowledge that we are fighting not generic terrorism but a global jihadist insurgency. The first line of defense against this evil is and always will be members of the Muslim community who refuse to put up with it. We need to empower them in every way we can. Only cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims can solve these problems. If you are concerned about terrorism, if you are concerned about homeland security, if you are concerned about not fighting unnecessary wars and winning necessary ones, if you are concerned about human rights globally, in November you must elect a president who can get people in a hundred countries to cooperate to solve an extraordinarily difficult and polarizing problem—the spread of Islamic extremism. This is not a job that a president can do on Twitter.

I want to say a few words on the topics of immigration and the resettlement of refugees: The idea of keeping all Muslims out of the United States, which my opponent has been proposing for months, is both impractical and unwise. It’s one of those simple ideas—like building a wall and deporting 11 million undocumented workers—that doesn’t survive even a moment’s scrutiny. More important, if you think about this purely from the point of view of American security, you realize that we want Muslims in our society who are committed to our values. Muslims like Captain Humayun Khan, who died protecting his fellow American soldiers from a suicide bomber in Iraq. Or his father, Khizr Khan, who spoke so eloquently in defense of American values at the Democratic National Convention. Muslims who share our values are, and always will be, the best defense against Islamists and jihadists who do not.

That’s one reason why the United States is faring so much better than Europe is. We have done a much better job of integrating our Muslim community and honoring its religious life. Muslims in America are disproportionately productive and prosperous members of our society. They love this country—with good reason. Very few of them have any sympathy for the ideology of our enemies. We want secular, enlightened, liberal Muslims in America. They are as much a part of the fabric of this society as anyone else. And given the challenges we now face, they are an indispensable part.

Despite the counsel of fear you hear from my opponent, security isn’t our only concern. We also have an obligation to maintain our way of life and our core values, even in the face of threats. One of our values is to help people in need. And few people on earth are in greater need at this moment than those who are fleeing the cauldron of violence in Iraq and Syria—where, through no fault of their own, they have had to watch their societies be destroyed by sectarian hatred. Women and girls by the tens of thousands have been raped, in a systematic campaign of sexual violence and slavery. Parents have seen their children crucified. The suffering of these people is unimaginable, and we should help them—whether they are Yazidi, or Christian, or Muslim. But here is my pledge to you: No one will be brought into this country without proper screening. No one will be brought in who seems unlikely to embrace the values of freedom and tolerance that we hold dear.  Is any screening process perfect? Of course not. But I can tell you that the only way to actually win the war on terror will be to empower the people who most need our help in the Muslim world.

The irony is that my opponent in this race, who imagines that he is talking tough about terrorism and ISIS and Islam, has done nothing but voice inflammatory and incoherent ideas that, if uttered by a U.S. president, would immediately make the world a more dangerous place. Being “politically incorrect” isn’t the same as being right, or informed, or even sane. It isn’t a substitute for actually caring about other people or about the consequences of one’s actions in the world. It isn’t a policy. And it isn’t a strategy for winning the war against jihadism, or a war of ideas against radical Islam…

see:www.samharris.org

This is what climate change looks like.

 

110109_Algeria_slashes_food_prices_amid_riots_002
110109_Algeria_slashes_food_prices_amid_riots_002

Source: dailykos

Author: grumpynerd

Emphasis Mine

It’s important to express solidarity with Belgium at this time of grief and fear, but we have to also start thinking longer term about these kinds of events.  One of the overlooked factors leading to the Paris and Brussels attacks is something we’ll be living with a long time: climate change.

We have to start making this point: regional political instability and the resulting export of terrorism are climate change problems. And no doubt we’ll be ridiculed for saying that. “Don’t be ridiculous,” some people will say,”the problem is radical Islam.” Well the Assads have ruled over radical Islamists for decades, and have ruthlessly but successfully put down past Islamist risings.  So what was different about 2011?  This was:

SyriaWheatProduction.jpg

Now note that by 2011 Syrian grain production actually had begun to recover from the record-setting failures of 2008, but measured against the levels of production in the first half of the decade we’re looking at a bad harvest. And by that year many people had migrated to the cities when their farms failed.  Syria had 1.3 million internal refugees — climate refugees — when the first “Day of Rage” was staged in February 2011.  160 villages had been completely depopulated. [source]

We get a better picture of what was going on by comparing consumption, production and importation of wheat to Syria:

Syria_wheat_supply_chart

Look at what the red line — the amount of consumption — does in 2010. It goes down.  Bread is a staple of the Syrian diet much more than it is in the American diet, so what you are looking at are people going hungry.  In 2009 they were able to import their way around the bad wheat harvests, then in 2010 you have a hungry year. Why? The local harvests weren’t any worse in 2010 than 2009, but imports drop precipitously because of this:

indicator3_2012_GrainPrice

In 2011, there was enough wheat in Syria, but only if you had the money buy it. In some places the price of bread had risen ten-fold.  High food prices can destabilize any country, regardless of its culture or religion.  The French Revolution began with bread riots.  So did the Arab Spring in 2011.  Any country with large numbers of hungry, un- or under-employed people is a threat to peace and international security.

Finally, consider this map:

WorldBankAgChanges

Think of this not as an agricultural map, but as a risk map.  Where an area of climate-induced agricultural failure coincides with an affluent population that can afford to source its food globally, the risk can be discounted. But other countries won’t be able to afford to roll snake eyes when it comes to local harvests and global commodity prices. Some of those countries are important US trading partners and allies.

I am not suggesting we don’t need a security apparatus response to terrorism.  Of course we do.  But ISIL isn’t an aberration; it’s the start of a long-term, climate-driven trend that will cross religious and cultural boundaries.  A security response won’t be enough; we need to get out ahead of that trend by addressing global food security.  That’ll require an “all of the above” approach: both reductions in human contributions to climate change and preparations for the changes we can’t avoid.

 

See:http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/22/1504837/-This-is-what-climate-change-looks-like?detail=email&&can_id=d57025b8908d671dcc8edc84e5855f8f&source=email-arizona-officials-confirm-legal-action-in-primary-fiasco-2&email_referrer=arizona-officials-confirm-legal-action-in-primary-fiasco-2&email_subject=arizona-officials-confirm-legal-action-in-primary-fiasco&link_id=7

Terrorism Expert: We’re Too Focused On Muslims While Ignoring Domestic “Militia” Threat

11896117_10206397582751186_7636156920747422504_nSource:occupy democrats

Author: Shannon Argueta

Emphasis Mine

We’ve all heard the Republican Party tell us over and over that the biggest threat to our national security is Islamic terrorism. To listen to them, you would believe that we are all in constant danger of being blown up by Muslims two continents away who “hate America” and spend every waking moment plotting death to America. However, multiple government and private agencies have disputed the severity of those claims and instead warn that domestic terrorism by anti-government extremists is a bigger threat to our nation. In fact, once upon a time, there was an entire branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that was charged with studying homegrown terrorists, specifically anti-government groups, to provide the federal government with analysis about the groups — until Republicans decided it was unnecessary.

Daryl Johnson is a former federal analyst for the Extremism and Radicalization Branch (ERB) of the DHS. In 2009, the branch released a report, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, that warned federal authorities that right-wing extremists had capitalized on the election of the first African-American president to fuel new recruitment. It also found:

The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.

This mention of returning veterans caused the Republican Party to lash out and condemn the report. According to Johnson, the analysis of the groups was retracted after GOP lawmakers and right-wing media called it unfair while applauding the anti-Obama conspiracy theories that circulate among the paranoid militia groups, including their belief that the military’s Jade Helm 15 exercises was actually an attempt to impose martial law upon Texas.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was forced to respond to the backlash by dismantling the ERB and apologizing to veterans, whom conservatives said were targeted in the report, while it is common knowledge that veterans make up a large population of the militiamen. Johnson said that in the years after his job was yanked away from him by Republicans, there has been no replacement for the branch; instead, the right has focused all their money and resources on fighting Muslims.

The D.H.S. is scoffing at the mission of doing domestic counterterrorism,” Mr. Johnson said. “The same patterns that led to the growth of the antigovernment groups in the 1990s is being played out today. D.H.S should be doing more.”

Since President Obama’s 2008 election, right-wing extremism has exploded. Before Obama took office, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that there were just forty-two anti-government groups but by 2011, that had mushroomed to 334.

One of those groups, the Sovereign Citizen Movement — which Cliven Bundy and his sons belong to — was deemed America’s biggest terrorist threat by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism. In 2014, 364 law enforcement were surveyed and eighty-six percent of them agreed that the movement is a tremendous threat to law enforcement and citizen alike. Last year, the elder Bundy and a bunch of his radical friends pointed automatic weapons at federal officers during a standoff at his Nevada ranch. Republican politicians heavily supported these actions and blamed law enforcement for the stand-off. A year later, his sons, emboldened by their father’s success at forcing the Fed’s to retreat, have taken over a federal wildlife sanctuary. While this is happening in Oregon, GOP lawmakers are pouring money into efforts to fight ISIS and resist resettling Syrian refugees.

Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) joined fifteen lawmakers and signed a letter asking President Obama to reopen the branch of the DHS that analyzes and watches these dangerous groups. Ellison said:

“The Department of Homeland Security needs to deal with Muslim extremists, but don’t ignore every other kind of threat…Right-wing extremists have launched an average of 330 attacks a year and killed about 250 people between 2002 and 2011. These are dangerous people.”

In spite of the overwhelming evidence, Republicans refuse to acknowledge that right-wing terrorists are a threat to the safety of our country. Instead, they roll out their usual inflammatory rhetoric against Muslims, immigrants, African-Americans, the president, women, minorities, et cetera, in order to appeal to the base and appease their supporters. The fact is, it is no surprise that there has been an explosion of violent attacks from the right when the GOP actively fans the flames of hate for the government. Their party has been hijacked over by Tea Party nutjobs who literally hate the federal branch and want to do everything they possibly can to destroy it. In 2013, Teahadists shut the government down and proved exactly how much they loathe our democracy.   President Obama and Democrats are called “tyrants” every single time they attempt to pass any law to make the country better. Obama has been accused of all kinds of outlandish thing, conservative voters regularly threaten to kill the president while groups like the Bundy militia idly talk about overthrowing the government by force and the GOP encourages this behavior with their vile, anti-American talking points and their assertions that the president wants to hurt their families. They’d rather spend taxpayer dollars on the mythical Syrian refugee terrorists, disguised as widows and children, than focusing on the real threat to this country: their voters.

See:http://www.occupydemocrats.com/terrorism-expert-were-too-focused-on-muslims-while-ignoring-domestic-militia-threat/

Which Voters Tend to Be More Islamophobic? New National Poll Exposes Massive Party Divide

The partisan split also affects views on going to war.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Steven Rosenfeld

Emphasis Mine

Democrats and Americans under age 35 are much more open to accepting Syrian war refugees and are much less Islamphobic than Republicans and older Americans, a new national poll finds, underscoring the country’s fear-based partisan divides.

Seventy-four percent of Democrats would accept Syrian refugees, while 82 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independent voters would not, a Quinnipiac University poll reported this week. Similarly, 79 percent of Democrats reject Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all foreign Muslims from entering the country, while 51 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independent voters support it. Tellingly, 84 percent of people under age 35 also reject Trump’s ban.

Partisan differences on Islam and Muslims are not new, as other national pollsters like Pew Research Center found. However, what’s striking about the Quinnipiac results is that along with Republicans’ widespread distrust of Muslims and stated fears of Islamic fundamentalists leading terrorist attacks in America, Republicans are much more willing to go to war with ground troops in the Middle East to counter terrorism.

Republicans are least tolerant toward Muslims, the Quinnipiac poll found, echoing Pew’s findings from a year ago. For example, 47 percent of Republicans said mainstream Islam “encourages violence against non-Muslims,” Quinnipiac found, while only 13 percent of Democrats agreed with that assertion. Notably, 74 percent of people under 35 thought that mainstream Islam was a “peaceful” religion. Adding to that, 63 percent of Republicans thought there would be a terrorist attack with large loss of life in the near future on U.S. soil, compared to 30 percent of Democrats. Fifty-one percent of independents also predicted an attack, affirming that most self-described independents are actually disaffected Republicans.

While comparable numbers of Democrats (57 percent) and Republicans (54 percent) thought there was greater danger of an attack from “homegrown jihadists” rather than Syrian refugees, 80 percent of Democrats said that President Obama was taking the threat from ISIS “seriously enough,” while 89 percent of Republicans said he was not.

That split led to predictable partisan differences on the use of military force abroad, with 75 percent of Republicans favoring sending ground troops to Syria and Iraq and only 41 percent of Democrats favoring that approach. About the same number of Republicans said fighting ISIS with overwhelming military force would “be more likely to help end the terrorist threat,” while 49 percent of Democrats said it would do exactly the opposite.

While Quinnipiac’s poll found that Republicans are most likely to be more Islamophobic, the research from Pew suggested that Democrats were still wary.

“Asked to rate a series of religious groups on a ‘feeling thermometer’ from zero (the coldest) to 100 (the warmest), Republicans gave Muslims an average of 33—comparable to their average rating for atheists (34) and significantly lower than any other religious group,” Pew reported last January. “Democrats’ average rating for Muslims was a more neutral 47. Still, Democrats’ ratings for Muslims were lower than for most other religious groups. Among eight groups tested, only atheists (46 average rating) and Mormons (44) rated as low.”

Besides age, with younger people being more positively predisposed toward Muslims and Islam, Pew reported that one’s religion also was a predictive factor. “For instance, we found that no other religious group is cooler toward Muslims than are white evangelical Protestants, who give Muslims an average rating of 30,” Pew said. “Compared with other groups, older Americans and white evangelicals both tend to affiliate heavily with the Republican Party. Republicans also are more likely than Democrats to express strong concerns about the rise of Islamic extremism, and to see Islam as a religion that may encourage violence.”

But beyond the partisan, religious and age differences that account for varying degrees of Islamophobia, Quinnipiac’s poll also found that half of Americans from all parties don’t want to take chances with Syrian refugees—even if they also said homegrown threats were more pressing. “Voters oppose 51-43 percent accepting Syrian refugees into the country, but they also oppose 66-27 percent ‘banning people who are Muslim from entering the U.S.,” the pollsters reported.

American voters are making a distinction between Syrian refugees and Muslims in general,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “A bare majority says keep the Syrians out, but an overwhelming majority rejects proposals to ban all Muslims from our shores.” 

But make no mistake, the most Islamophobic Americans are self-declared Republican and independent voters, both Quinnipiac and Pew have found and confirmed.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008).

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/guess-which-voters-tend-be-more-islamophobic-new-national-poll-exposes-massive-party?utm_source=Steven+Rosenfeld%27s+Subscribers&utm_campaign=b2b87cceb8-RSS_AUTHOR_EMAIL&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2cfcfe7b54-b2b87cceb8-107153921

San Bernardino Killings Unleashing Right Wing Wave of Fear Mongering, Islamophobia and War Fever

No voices of reason, restraint or wisdom.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Stephen Rosenfelt

Emphasis Mine

This weekend, America’s right wing—from the 2016 GOP candidates to its media echo chambers on cable TV, online and talk radio—have unleashed what may be their most hate-filled, fear-based, war-mongering fusillade since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

The attacks—from a former GOP congressman taunting the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to arrest him after threatening American Muslims on air, to RedState.com encouraging people to shoot the Saturday edition of The New York Times for its editorial calling for a ban on all militarized weapons and to post that image online—are the tip of this latest rage-filled response. Ex-New York Gov. George Pataki, a going-nowhere GOP 2016 candidate, also called for “war on radical Islam” and taunted Lynch. Fox News is berating moderate Muslims to “fix this,” while other right-wingers mock their spokesmen.

This wave of hyperbole comes in the wake of Friday’s law enforcement leak that Tashfeen Malik, the Pakistan-born wife of Syed Farook—who both carried out this week’s mass killing in San Bernardino—had pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook. Whether that’s true or not, ISIS, media manipulators themselves, on Saturday called the pair “supporters,” throwing more fuel on the right-wing firestorm.

The American public, which is legitimately shaken by yet another mass shooting, is being subjected to a bottomless season of nastiness, racist hate-mongering and war fever—where any viewpoint urging cooler heads and non-violent solutions is belittled by Republicans or their propagandists.

Hillary Clinton’s post-San Bernardino comments that new federal gun controls were needed now, and such measures have nothing to do with aggressively going after terrorists, was mocked by 2016 GOP hopeful Marco Rubio as “typical of the political left.” In the Senate, Bernie Sanders said militarized weapons should be banned and gun access restricted, adding that more attention had to be paid to treating mental illness.

The escalating right wing hyperbole is not just irresponsible but dangerous, as it promotes undue fears and offers more confrontations and violence as a solution, such as calls for all Americans to carry guns. What’s forgotten in that line of thinking is that many people won’t, or don’t want to use guns.

The GOP presidential candidates, in contrast, relish the thought of war with ISIS. One after another, at Thursday’s Republican Jewish Coalition summit in Washington, declared the nation was “in a time of war” (Ted Cruz), facing “terrorist attack” (Chris Christie), “they’re already here” (Lindsey Graham) and the feds should spy on anyone, anywhere, anytime: “Edward Snowden is without a doubt a traitor and should be tried for treason” (Carly Fiorina).

These trigger-happy remarks mimic their racist frontrunner, Donald Trump, who has said U.S. Muslims should be registered and tracked by federal authorities. It seems like so long ago when he grabbed the headlines with his Mexican-bashing. Other candidates, playing the juvenile game of “I’m-the-toughest,” have mocked Black Lives Matter and been xenophobic, especially with admitting Syrian War refugees. Protesters at Trump events have been ejected, spit upon, or beaten up by mostly white crowds.

What’s lost in all this deliberately fanned chaos and ugly noise is the reality that getting control of America’s epidemic of gun violence—especially the harm by militarized arms—is critically important. Last week saw another failed attempt by Senate Democrats to push for a modest expansion of federal gun laws—increased background checks and banning sales to those on the FBI’s terrorist watch list. Instead, the San Bernardino massacre is expected to drive up gun sales, arms industry officials told reporters.

There’s “fear in the air,” the Times reported Friday, echoing a national poll released Thursday finding 83 percent of Americans expect a major terrorist attack. Meanwhile, overseas, the U.S. is deepening the military response to ISIS—following the Paris attacks—and NATO allies that had limited their involvement are now sending troops, planes and ships.

In other words, contrary to what the GOP presidential candidates would have the public believe, the U.S. is very much at war in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, they and their propagandist allies are opposed to removing weapons of war from individuals at home.

Americans who don’t think the answer to violence in America is carrying a gun anytime they step outside find themselves in an escalating climate of real fears, fear-mongering, panic-driven gun sales, and an urge by many to strike real or imagined foes.

What is not happening on as large a scale is hearing enough people put these latest events and trends into perspective, historic contexts or offering wise responses—although The New York Times ran its first front-page editorial in decades on Saturday morning urging Congress to ban militarized weapons and calling the recent domestic gun-caused slaughter as terrorism.

Most of the TV news, however, is reading a different script, hyping the FBI announcement that it was investigating the San Bernardino shootings as a terrorist incident.

That trend in the news business—if it bleeds, it leads—poses a larger challenge for everyone. The southern California killings may end up as no more of a global conspiracy than the mass shooting by deluded loners at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, or at Fort Hood, Texas. What’s clear is too many in the media and political life are obsessing on threats from abroad while ignoring threats at home, namely gun violence.

That upside-down mindset fosters a public belief that such violence is normal and to be expected. The GOP is doing all it can to ignore the gun carnage, turn away from Syrian War refugees, and thwart the Obama administration’s climate change policies, even as a global conference on that real threat is unfolding in Paris and experts say it will worsen the global refugee crisis.

The White House has ignored most of the noise coming from Congress and the 2016 campaign trail, making reasonable-sounding remarks that are quickly overshadowed by hyped headlines. The lack of a stronger, clearer and wiser countervailing presence from Obama has had serious consequences, however.

It’s created a void filled by an onslaught of irresponsible GOP hyperbole and rightwing propaganda, fear mongering and war fever. Ironically, Obama is allowing the end of his presidency to be colonized by exaggerated fears and darkness, when he was elected by a majority of Americans seeking a far more hopeful future.

(Editor’s note: Late Saturday afternoon, the White House announced Obama would address the nation “on keeping the American people safe” on Sunday evening at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time.)

See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/san-bernardino-killings-unleashing-right-wing-wave-fear-mongering-islamophobia-and-war?akid=13741.123424.rHkGmA&rd=1&src=newsletter1046852&t=6

 

The Right Responds to Paris With Bible-Thumping, Scientific Illiteracy, Frat Boy Antics

The situation in Syria is very serious, but conservatives keep responding in idiotic and childish ways.

Source: Salon via AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte

Emphasis Mine

The Paris attacks brought renewed interest in ISIS and the ongoing crisis in Syria, and unsurprisingly, that means that we’ve all had to endure right-wingers rolling out the usual chest-thumping bravado from Republicans who have no personal worries about ever seeing combat. But never fear! Slobbering enthusiasm for war is far from the only right-wing neurosis that is being trotted out in response to the ISIS situation. Our friends on the right are also responding with usual mix of the Bible-thumping, anti-science rhetoric, and gross sexism they manage to work into nearly every conversation.

The right’s growing hostility to scientific evidence is on full display when it comes to the issue of how to deal with the millions of Syrians displaced by the civil war who are seeking some place safer to live. Hysteria over the refugees is reaching a fever pitch as right-wingers claim to be afraid that ISIS is smuggling terrorists with the refugees who will come kill us all.

Even on its surface, these claims of fear should provoke skepticism, and not just because ISIS is too busy begging Muslims to move to Syria to start smuggling people out. As the Paris attacks show, if ISIS wants to bomb something, they’re going to go after iconic cities that can be held out as modern Sodoms. In other words, they’d go after New York, not Birmingham. So why was Alabama the first state out of the gate to deny the refugees welcome?

But if you dig into the actual scientific evidence, it really shows how completely disconnected from reality the right is on this issue. As Michael Halpern, writing for the Union of Concerned Scientists, explains, the overwhelming scientific evidence shows that allowing people refuge from war is not only safe itself, it actually decreases the chance of future terrorism. In fact, looking over the evidence, it suggests that the best way to keep people safe is to bring in as many refugees as you can.

This isn’t just because none of the two million refugees accepted into our country since 1990 have committed terrorism, which can be compared that to the almost routine terrorism committed by native born right wingers. Research also shows that a refugee’s chance of embracing radical views is much reduced if he moves to some place like the United States or Western Europe. Relocating to a country that is closer often means being closer to the conflict and more likely to pick up on radical views that lead to terrorism. If you want a young man who is just beginning to form his views to turn away from radicalism, your best bet is moving him here.

But, as usual, Republicans don’t think they need science because they have religion. The Bible-thumping has gotten completely out of control in the past week, with Ted Cruz proposing a religious test for Syrian refugees—if you’re Christian, you’re in, if you’re Muslim, you’re not—and Mike Huckabee pretending that Muslims are the only people that commit terrorism.

Compared to this unvarnished hatred, John Kasich might look like a gentle soul, but his idea on how to deal with ISIS is the same thing in a prettier package. “We need to beam messages around the world about what it means to have a Western ethic, to be a part of a Christian-Judeo society,” he told NBC News, adding that he wanted to start an agency “to promote core Judeo-Christian, Western values that we and our friends and allies share.”

So he wants to broadcast targeted messages at Muslim populations that argue that Jews and Christians are better and more moral than Muslims. What could possibly go wrong?

Kasich may pretend he’s a moderate, but he’s buying into the same narrative as Cruz and Huckabee that this is some grand conflict between religions. Luckily, that happens to be ISIS’s message, too! I have no doubt that ISIS would love nothing more than the U.S. sending a bunch of messages out about how we think Christians (and, as an afterthought, Jews) are better than Muslims, because ISIS thrives on the idea that the differences between Muslims and Christians are irreconcilable and that war is the only answer.

Of course, not all responses from the right to the situation in Syria have been about Bible-thumping. The frat daddy contingent of the right that is mostly motivated by the ever-present fear that you might forget they have penises has to have their say, as well. For that set, of course, you have the Daily Caller, which ran a piece aimed at those men titled, “13 Syrian Refugees We’d Take Immediately.” (As it is a naked attempt to get traffic, I will not link. Rest assured my description will be enough.)

What follows is a bunch of photos from the Instagram account Syrian Girls Got Beauty, which is just what it seems to be, a fashion and beauty photo blog, presumably from Syria. There’s no evidence that any of the women are refugees or even know that their photos are being repurposed to make mock of the crisis in their country. The blog hasn’t been updated in over three months. Indeed, the photos aren’t even of 13 separate women—as a colleague of mine pointed out over email to those of us who were too appalled to look further, one of the women in the list is pictured twice.

But you have to give credit to the Daily Caller for really distilling the right-wing mentality down to the basics: Who cares about human rights, international relations, scientific evidence, thoughtful analysis, or even giving two minutes thought about something before forming some idiotic, knee-jerk opinion about it? It’s all about them: Their bigotries, their need to be told their religion is the best, their need to remind you every five seconds that they are heterosexual.

It’s a shame that we have to thank our lucky stars, in this environment, that at least we have a grown-up in the White House. Let’s hope it stays that way come November.

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the blog Pandagon. She is the author of “It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.”

 

 

 

See:http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/right-responds-paris-bible-thumping-scientific-illiteracy-frat-boy-antics?akid=13672.123424.K9DEnV&rd=1&src=newsletter1046025&t=14