Trump receptive to idea that Muslims in the U.S. be treated like Jews in Nazi Germany — ‘security is going to rule’

Yahoo News reports: After Paris, Trump said “security is going to rule” in the United States, in order to take on what he calls “radical Islamic terrorism.” America has currently agreed to take in 10,000 refugees from the ISIS stronghold in Syria. However, if he is elected, Trump said he would deport any Syrian refugees allowed to enter this country under President Obama.

“They’re going to be gone. They will go back. … I’ve said it before, in fact, and everyone hears what I say, including them, believe it or not,” Trump said of the refugees. “But if they’re here, they have to go back, because we cannot take a chance. You look at the migration, it’s young, strong men. We cannot take a chance that the people coming over here are going to be ISIS-affiliated.”

Yahoo News has reported that about half of the approximately 2,000 refugees from Syria who have come to the U.S. so far have been children. Another quarter are more than 60 years old. The Obama administration has maintained that the extensive screening process for these refugees makes the program safe to maintain — not to mention a reflection of America’s core values.

But Trump doesn’t buy it. He also has concerns about the larger Muslim community here in the U.S., he said.

Yahoo News asked Trump whether his push for increased surveillance of American Muslims could include warrantless searches. He suggested he would consider a series of drastic measures.

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said. “And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

Yahoo News asked Trump whether this level of tracking might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. He wouldn’t rule it out.

“We’re going to have to — we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump said when presented with the idea. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.” [Continue reading…]


Anti-refugee stance by Republican politicians is alienating some of their own supporters

Jason Boyett writes: Throughout the Gospels, Jesus taught his followers to love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-44), welcome strangers (Matthew 25:40), and show mercy to those in need (Luke 10:25-37). No doubt these teachings apply to families on the run from Isis.

These passages represent only a sliver of biblical teaching on the topic, and the Christians I know don’t just believe these verses, but act on them.

Consider my conservative Republican family. We live in Amarillo, Texas, a highly religious, conservative stronghold in a very red state. Amarillo also has an abnormally high ratio of new refugees to residents – higher than any Texas city. What’s more, many in the city are on the front-lines of welcoming those fleeing war or persecution. You wouldn’t know this from the political stances of the Republican lawmakers claiming to represent Texas, or Amarillo, as their constituents.

My mother and mother-in-law teach English to refugees and immigrants at my childhood Southern Baptist church. Both women love interacting with these foreign families, many of whom are Muslims from war-torn nations like Iraq, Iran and Sudan. They have shared meals together. They have visited these families in the hospital. They have become friends.

My brother, who runs a religious nonprofit, mentors youth at apartment projects across Amarillo. In recent years, the resident base at these complexes has shifted from low-income minorities to immigrant and refugee families. This makes my brother one of the first Americans they meet – and definitely one of the first they trust.

On a typical weekday after school, he might lead activities for 15 children and hear 15 different languages. He tells me the Muslim families in particular work harder than anyone else and are more welcoming to him than anyone else. They have never made him feel unsafe.

Unfortunately, the politicians claiming to represent us don’t feel that way. [Continue reading…]


McCain tells fellow Republicans: ‘Refugees are not the problem — they are the symptom of the problem’

The Hill reports: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned his fellow Republicans on Wednesday not to place too much emphasis on Syrian refugees following the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, calling their focus misguided.

“I believe the overwhelming focus on the refugee program in recent days is misplaced,” said McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a written statement. “I especially encourage my fellow Republicans to recognize that refugees are not the problem — they are the symptom of the problem.”

Since attacks credited to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) killed at least 129 people on Friday, Republicans have called for pausing — or in some cases stopping altogether — the admission of Syrian refugees into the U.S. [Continue reading…]


GOP governors rely on ISIS lies to reject Syrian refugees

The Daily Beast reports: One of the Paris attackers was supposedly found with a Syrian passport—leading Republican governors here in America to vow to block Syrian refugees from entering their states.

But that passport was a fake, French officials told The Wall Street Journal, which means the governors’ freakout over refugees was likely based on a lie.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, a former member of ISIS emphasized that Syrian passports, like the one found on that Paris terrorist, can be bought from the Syrian regime.

“There are people who go back and forth to Aleppo or Hama or Latakia or Tartus—you give them $1,000 and a nice photograph, and they’ll print you a good passport,” Abu Khaled, a former member the Islamic State’s internal security service, Amn al-Dawleh, said Monday.

“The guys with the regime are corrupt; they’ll give you whatever you want for money,” he added.

That’s not the only way, though. A reporter for the London Daily Mail purchased an identical passport online for $2,000. German customs agents in September seized a shipment of fake Syrian passports being sold to asylum seekers from countries like Iraq, Libya, and Egypt. (Syrians get automatic refugee status in the European Union.) Many of the forgeries are suspected to come from Turkey.

French officials told the Journal that Ahmad al-Mohammed, who blew himself up outside the Stade de France, was carrying a counterfeit Syrian passport made for him. Al-Mohammed’s fingerprints matched those on the passport found near his body, the French added.

Greek officials said the information on Al-Mohammed’s passport was run against police databases after he landed in Leros on Oct. 3 and nothing was found. Another man carrying a passport with identical information, but a different photograph, was being used by a man in Serbia who was arrested on Monday.

In a sense, Republican governors of 14 states took ISIS at their word, accepting the counterfeit Syrian passport as the reason to deny 10,000 thousands of Syrian refugees from settling in the United States. [Continue reading…]


Sheldon Adelson warms to Marco Rubio

Politico reports: Sheldon Adelson, one of the Republican Party’s most sought-after contributors, is leaning increasingly toward supporting Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is racing to win the backing of other uncommitted megadonors who have the potential to direct tens of millions of dollars his way and alter the contours of the Republican primary fight.

Last week, during a campaign swing through Las Vegas, Rubio held a meeting in Adelson’s offices at the Venetian Las Vegas, one of a number of five-star luxury casinos the billionaire mogul owns around the world. Adelson, seated at the head of his conference table, heaped praise on Rubio’s performance while he discussed the dynamics of the 2016 race. Those briefed on the meeting described it as short but said it had an air of importance, with the two joined by Rubio’s campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, and a pair of senior Adelson advisers, Rob Goldstein and Patrick Dumont.

Those close to Adelson — who spent more than $100 million on Republican candidates and causes during the 2012 campaign and has been aggressively courted by most would-be Republican nominees — stressed that the 82-year-old gambling magnate had made no final decision on whom he’d support but said that momentum had strongly shifted to the Florida senator. A formal endorsement, they said, could come as soon as the end of the month — and with it, the potential for a multimillion dollar contribution. With a net worth of $25.7 billion, according to Forbes, Adelson can afford to spend freely. [Continue reading…]


Donald Trump: I would send Syrian refugees home

BBC News reports: Donald Trump has said he would send home all Syrian refugees the US accepts, if he becomes president.

The billionaire, who is the current frontrunner in the Republican race for the White House, told a New Hampshire rally: “If I win, they’re going back.”

It marks a reversal in policy – earlier this month he told Fox News the US should take in more refugees.

A migrant crisis has gripped parts of Europe and the US has pledged to take 10,000 refugees from Syria next year.

Half a million people have crossed the Mediterranean into Europe in 2015, with the largest number from Syria, where 250,000 people have been killed in a civil war.

On Wednesday night, Mr Trump told an audience at Keene High School: “I hear we want to take in 200,000 Syrians. And they could be – listen, they could be Isis [Islamic State].”

Describing them as a “200,000-man army”, he later added: “I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they’re going back.” [Continue reading…]


Islamophobia has a long history in the U.S.

Khaled Beydoun writes: On the morning of 19 April 1995, the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was rocked by a bomb. The domestic terrorist attack killed 168 people and injured 680 more. Minutes after, media reports speculated that “Islamic extremists” or “Arab radicals” were the culprits.

Ninety minutes after the explosions, Timothy McVeigh – a white, Christian male – was arrested and later linked to the attack. There had been no evidence to support the idea Muslims had anything to do with the bombing.

Despite people with similar ideologies to McVeigh were responsible for the majority of domestic terrorist attacks in 1995 – a figure still true today – the legislation that followed the Oklahoma city bombing did not place its focus there.

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) was the beginning of policing of Muslim subjects and communities. One part of this legislation led to the disparate investigation of Muslim American political and social activity, while another led to the deportation of Muslims with links – real or fictive – to terrorist activity.

This policing was broadened and intensified after the 9/11 terrorists attacks. More recently, US Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme, as well as political demagoguery, further expands the suspicious focus on Muslims. [Continue reading…]


New poll highlights the depth of Islamophobia among Republicans

A poll of Republican primary voters in North Carolina included these findings: It’s safe to say Ben Carson and Donald Trump’s recent comments about Islam aren’t going to hurt them too much with their base of supporters. 44% of Carson voters think Islam should be illegal in the United States, to only 38% who think it should be legal. And with Trump voters the numbers are even more extreme — 52% think Islam should be illegal to just 31% that believe it should be allowed. Republican voters in the state as a whole are evenly divided with 40% thinking the practice of Islam should be legal and 40% thinking it should not.

Given those numbers it’s not surprising that on the more narrow issue of whether a Muslim should be allowed to serve as President, only 16% of Republicans say yes to 72% who say no. And this all feeds into a broader concern that President Obama is waging a war on Christianity — 72% express that sentiment to only 20% who disagree with it. [Continue reading…]


Long after 9/11, a pervasive climate of Islamophobia persists across America

The Guardian reports: Aya Beydoun wants to be president of the United States. On paper, the 17-year-old already is not an implausible future occupant of the White House.

She’s an ambitious, articulate, near straight-A student, planning to use a college law degree as a stepping stone to politics. She already chairs her high school politics club.

Her problem – at least according to Ben Carson, one of the leading presidential candidates in the current Republican field – would be that she is Muslim.

Aya’s voice quivers when she mentions Carson, a former paediatric neurosurgeon who studied at the University of Michigan just a few miles from her home.

The teenager was at home last Sunday, watching the TV with her mother, Wanda, whose parents came to America fleeing the Lebanese civil war in 1970, when the pair heard Carson’s incendiary remarks.

In his trademark quiet, civil voice, Carson, who is currently trailing only Donald Trump in the Republican polls, said on NBC News on Sunday that Islam is incompatible with the US constitution and he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation”.

Beydoun said: “I see a lot of awful things in the media; people dying, discrimination, politicians being disgusting, but this really hit home because that was me he was talking about.”

“I’m educated enough to know that what he’s saying is absolutely against the constitution, but what about all the kids in my area who don’t know that? Now they’re going to think that maybe they have to lie or keep their religion a secret, maybe they can never fulfil their dreams.”

Carson’s comments did not emerge from a vacuum. They marked just the latest example of an increasing tolerance for Islamophobia in the Republican presidential race, as views historically associated with the Tea Party fringe have been thrust to the mainstream. [Continue reading…]


‘America is not a planet’: Republicans resist climate change action at debate

The Guardian reports: In an exchange that would have been all but unthinkable even four years ago, moderator Jake Tapper posed a question to Florida senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that quoted Reagan secretary of state George Schultz: “Why not take out our insurance policy and approach climate change the Reagan way?”

But despite the token question well into the third hour of CNN’s GOP debate, no candidate was willing to endorse any possible solution.

“Here’s the bottom line,” Rubio answered. “Every proposal they put forward will make it harder to do business in America. Harder to create jobs in America. Single parents are already struggling across this country to provide for their families. Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida or anywhere across the country cannot afford it.”

He said: “We are not going to destroy our economy, make America a harder place to create jobs, in order to pursue a policy that will do nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather.

“America is a lot of things – the greatest country in the world, absolutely. But America is not a planet.” [Continue reading…]


Sheldon Adelson is ready to buy the presidency

Jason Zengerle writes: In a few weeks, when the nuclear deal Barack Obama negotiated with Iran comes before Congress, it’s all but certain that not a single Republican will vote in support of it. With the possible exception of Maine’s Susan Collins, who has yet to reveal her position, each of the 246 Republicans in the House and 53 Republicans in the Senate has indicated his or her opposition to the deal. Not that a mere vote could possibly express the intensity of even that unanimous opposition — or the fervid support for Israel that lies behind it. “It is a fundamental betrayal of the security of the United States and of our closest allies, first and foremost Israel,” Texas senator and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz has said. Cruz’s 16 Republican-primary opponents have denounced the deal in similar terms. One of them, Mike Huckabee, has gone so far as to argue that Obama “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”

American Jews are not hard-liners on Israel. Obama won 69 percent of Jewish voters in 2012, even as American conservatives accused him of purposefully undermining the country’s security and status in the region. Indeed, according to a 2013 Pew study, only one in three American Jews feel a strong emotional attachment to the Jewish state. But over the past 30 years, and especially in the last decade, the GOP’s attachment to Israel has become remarkably fierce, to an extent that is basically unprecedented in modern American politics. On issue after issue — from military aid to settlement policy — the GOP now offers Israel unconditional and unquestioning support, so much so that some Republicans now liken the country to America’s “51st state.” The person most responsible for this development is the multi­billionaire casino magnate and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson. [Continue reading…]


Video: Could GOP rejection of Iran deal lead to war?


Facebook expands in politics, and campaigns find much to like

The New York Times reports: “Facebook is going to be the advertising monster of 2016,” said Zac Moffatt, a co-founder of Targeted Victory, a Republican technology firm that ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 digital effort. “They have the largest audience, a dominant set of tools for advertising, and the most aggressive approach to allowing campaigns to leverage their data to maximize efficiency and minimize waste.”

Campaigns can now include what Facebook describes as a “call to action” at the end of their videos — in most cases, a link that allows users to donate to the campaign or sign a petition.

Video represents a tremendous growth area generally. When Facebook announced its new video capacities in September 2014, it had one billion video views a day. Now, the site gets four times as many.

Another innovation allows a campaign to upload its voter file — a list of those they hope will turn out to vote or can be persuaded to do so — directly to Facebook, where it can target those users. Integrating this deep and rich source of information about voters also allows campaigns to find and reach other Facebook users who resemble, in behavior and interests, those in their existing voter file.

The emphasis on reaching increasingly segmented voters reflects the narrowing of the electorate, in which campaigns are devoting more and more money and effort to finding their supporters and turning them out on Election Day, rather than trying to win over uncommitted voters. [Continue reading…]


Large majority of Democrats say Israel has ‘too much influence’ over U.S. foreign policy

The Times of Israel reports: Three quarters of highly educated, high income, publicly active US Democrats — the so-called “opinion elites” — believe Israel has too much influence on US foreign policy, almost half of them consider Israel to be a racist country, and fewer than half of them believe that Israel wants peace with its neighbors. These are among the findings of a new survey carried out by US political consultant Frank Luntz.

Detailing the survey results to The Times of Israel on Sunday, Luntz called the findings “a disaster” for Israel. He summed them up by saying that the Democratic opinion elites are converting to the Palestinians, and “Israel can no longer claim to have the bipartisan support of America.”

He said he “knew there was a shift” in attitudes to Israel among US Democrats “and I have been seeing it get worse” in his ongoing polls. But the new findings surprised and shocked him, nonetheless. “I didn’t expect it to become this blatant and this deep.”

“Israel has won the hearts and minds of Republicans in America, while at the same time it is losing the Democrats,” he said. On US politics, “I’m right of center,” he added. “But the Israeli government and US Jews have to focus on repairing relations with the Democrats.”

Luntz put a series of largely Israel-related questions to 802 members of the opinion elites and his findings have a 3.5% margin of error. The survey, sponsored by the Jewish National Fund, was conducted last week. Among the key findings: [Continue reading…]


Those who believe godless science must be met by holy resistance

Gary Wills writes: When a Republican politician, asked about climate change, says, “I’m not a scientist,” most of us hear just a cowardly way of dodging the question; but the politician’s supporters hear a brave defiance of an alien force. When we hear only “science,” they hear “godless science,” the kind that wants to rob them of their belief in creation and force evolution into their minds. That science is marching in a battalion of forces—the media, the academy, the government—that has them besieged. “I’m not a scientist” does not mean, “I have not heard enough about the science, and need to hear more,” but “I know the evil intent or effect of science, and I will not let it affect me.” They summon a courage not to know.

Now Pope Francis, with his encyclical on climate change, has introduced a concern for the poor into the environmental discussion. But conservative Catholics (including five actual or potential candidates for president) forgive him, since he knows nothing about science—if he did, he would realize its anti-biblical animus. He does not know, as the conservatives do, that the masked godless thing must be met by a holy resistance. This is what the French anthropologist Olivier Roy calls “holy ignorance.” It is not a failure of intelligence, but a proud refusal to know things tainted by the arrogance of inevitability. He writes: “There is a close link between secularization and religious revivalism, which is not a reaction against secularization, but the product of it. Secularism engenders religion.” The defenders of the lost cause feel persecuted, and the more support there is for their opponents, the grander they are in their lonely war. [Continue reading…]