GOP candidate Jeb Bush said his opponent Donald Trump is not properly informed about the Syrian crisis.
The Texas senator suggested his Republican rival “is attempting to mislead voters” with “false” attacks.
GOP candidate Mike Huckabee called the shooting in Colorado Springs at a Planned Parenthood clinic domestic terrorism, but did not blame pro-life rhetoric.
The man suspected of killing three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood was reclusive, glaringly eccentric and anti-social.
New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor speaks with Alex Witt about the latest developments in Chicago, where protestors have demanded resignations following revelations about the Laquan McDonald shooting.
Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, explains to Alex Witt how the tensions between Russia and Turkey could threaten the anti-ISIS efforts by the United States and its allies.
Despite a lack of evidence, Trump on Sunday kept pushing the claim that he saw cheering from Muslims on September 11.
Former DNC Chair Howard Dean and former Bush-Cheney Senior Adviser Robert Traynham weigh in with Alex Witt on the tone Donald Trump and Ben Carson have taken on the Syrian refugee crisis.
Retired ATF Special Agent Jim Cavanaugh joins Alex Witt to analyze why prosecutors have released an enhanced video of the Tamir Rice shooting on a holiday weekend, as well as whether the footage will change the case.
While attending Summit At Sea, National Geographic CEO Gary Knell sat down with MSNBC to lay out how the iconic nature magazine has transitioned into the digital journalism age and what’s at stake for traditional media outlets.
Caution in the light of factual uncertainty is almost always a laudable stance for journalists and public officials. But from the beginning of yesterday's attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs there's been an odd reluctance to state what appears to be obvious: that the attacker, now identified as 57 year old Robert Lewis Dear, was motivated by extremist anti-abortion politics. The Denver Post headline states "Planned Parenthood shootings increasingly seem politically motivated" - and this after numerous accounts state that Dear was ranting about "no more baby parts" after his arrest, almost certainly a reference to the incitement earlier this fall over a doctored anti-Planned Parenthood sting video. Let's remember, false claims and incitement about selling "body parts" were a staple of Fox News segments and tirades from Republican presidential candidates all through the Fall. What also has me curious is that Colorado Springs is widely known as something of a Mecca for evangelicals and high profile right-wing Christian organizations like Focus on the Family. One of the murder victims in this case was a police officer. And there has been zero indication that the authorities were anything less than aggressive in responding to the attack. But it would stand to reason - indeed, hardly be surprising - that some level of awkwardness or tension might arise as the parties involved respond to an attack on a Planned Parenthood facility in a city dominated by anti-abortion politics. For now it simply seems worth saying what appears transparently obvious, if downplayed in the local press, which is that this was the latest instance of anti-abortion rights terrorism in the country and appears directly linked to the incitement stemming from false claims about Planned Parenthood being involved in the trafficking of body parts from aborted fetuses. You can, if you're inclined, add here all manner of arch comments about the great majority of right-wing Christians opposing anti-abortion terrorism. But let's call this what it is.
GOP frontrunner Donald Trump slammed Republicans in Congress for not being willing to threaten a government shutdown in recent budget negotiations, Business Insider reported. The real estate mogul said historians would ultimately blame "Barack Hussein Obama" if the government had shutdown in a budget standoff."They're horrible poker players. Horrible," Trump said at a rally in Florida Saturday, according to Business Insider. "I like Boehner as a person. He's a nice guy. But ... I heard Boehner before he left say there's no way we're going to close up government." Trump said the "other side just won" because Republicans backed away from shutdown threats."By the way, in 50 years from now, nobody is going to know about Boehner or Ryan or any of these guys if the government closes for a little while," Trump continued. "They're going to know about Barack Hussein Obama. That's who they're going to know about. That's who they're going to know about."
Some of the black pastors scheduled to meet with the Donald Trump Monday are pushing back at his campaign's claims that they will endorse him after the meeting. According to the Daily Beast, a number of pastors have taken to social media to deny that the meeting means Trump will gain their support.“I am not officially endorsing ANY candidate and when I do you will NOT need to hear it from pulpitting courtjesters who suffer from intellectual and spiritual myopia," Bishop Clarence McClendon, a Los Angeles-based minister who had been invited to the meeting, said on Facebook, the Daily Beast reported. O Other religious leaders, including some based in Detroit and Atlanta, also said they did not intend to endorse Trump, according to the Daily Beast report.The Trump campaign had said in a press release earlier this week that, "Mr. Trump will be joined by a coalition of 100 African American Evangelical pastors and religious leaders who will endorse the GOP frontrunner after a private meeting at Trump Tower." The campaign did not respond to the Daily Beast's inquiries as to which of the pastors will endorse Trump.Pastor Darrell Scott, who is organizing Monday's meeting, admitted to the Daily Beast that his invitation to the other pastors did not mean that they were endorsing the GOP frontrunner.“All of these guys are my friends and they know me,” Scott said. “I let them know I am endorsing but that doesn’t mean you are endorsing.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were the first presidential candidates to weigh in on Friday's shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood that left three including a police officer dead. Both included the hashtag #StandWithPP in their tweets Friday evening reacting to the attack.Today and every day, we #StandWithPP. https://t.co/oifqTQLx1X— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 27, 2015We proudly #StandWithPP of Colorado Springs and the brave law enforcement personnel who fought to protect it.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 28, 2015 It is still unclear whether the suspected gunman, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, had a motive in attacking the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. He was detained by authorities after an hourslong standoff.The White House released a statement on the shooting Saturday morning, in which President Obama called for something to be done "about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them."Update: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who is running for the Republican 2016 nomination, tweeted his reaction Saturday morning.Praying for the loved ones of those killed, those injured & first responders who bravely got the situation under control in Colorado Springs— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 28, 2015
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were the first presidential candidates to weigh in on Friday's shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood that left three including a police officer dead. Both included the hashtag #StandWithPP in their tweets Friday evening reacting to the attack.Today and every day, we #StandWithPP. https://t.co/oifqTQLx1X— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 27, 2015We proudly #StandWithPP of Colorado Springs and the brave law enforcement personnel who fought to protect it.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 28, 2015 It is still unclear whether the suspected gunman, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, had a motive in attacking the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. He was detained by authorities after an hourslong standoff.The White House released a statement on the shooting Saturday morning, in which President Obama called for something to be done "about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them."
President Obama weighed in on Friday's Planned Parenthood shooting in a statement released Saturday morning. He condemned the gunman "for terrorizing an entire community" and praised the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Police Officer Garrett Swasey, who was among the three people killed in the attack."This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal," the statement said. "If we truly care about this -- if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience -- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough." Read the full statement below: The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence -- people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time. And yet, two days after Thanksgiving, that’s what we are forced to do again.We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado. What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this -- if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience -- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save -- and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.
Katherine Krueger has been tracking an ongoing active shooter situation at a Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic this afternoon. You can follow along here.What we just heard from CSPD spokeswoman Catherine Buckley was that police were exchanging gunfire with one suspect inside the Planned Parenthood location. Previously, it was unclear exactly where the suspect had first opened fire—it's still unclear—and many news outlets accordingly hedged that the shooting took place near the clinic. The local paper, The Gazette, reported that the initial 911 call of shots fired came from the clinic but Buckley noted earlier in the day that the connection to Planned Parenthood wasn't clear. That prompted some pushback on Twitter against the notion that the shooting had anything to do with the health care provider as well as accusations of left-wing media bias:Erick Erickson NAILS Left-Wing Bias over Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting https://t.co/wC7S9iNr2e pic.twitter.com/YUjFpXDK0m— Young Conservatives (@YoungCons) November 27, 2015Obviously it's now clear that the gunman actually is inside the Planned Parenthood location. Many other details of the shooting remain sketchy.This post has been updated.
Boston residents were more than happy to oblige former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis' plea for no turkey carcasses to go to waste this Thanksgiving and delivered nearly a dozen of them to the former presidential nominee's doorstep. In a recent Boston Globe profile headlined "Michael Dukakis would very much like your turkey carcass," the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee waxed poetic about the uses for turkey remnants and went as far as to offer up his home address for residents to drop off unwanted carcasses.“Throwing out a turkey carcass is sinful. Absolutely sinful,” Dukakis told the Globe. “It’s a terrible thing to do. There’s so much richness and goodness in a turkey carcass, God.”Dukakis continued: “They should use the carcass...And if they don’t want to, tell them to come to 85 Perry Street in Brookline. We’ll make full use of it, believe me.”Dukakis' daughter Ali took to her verified Twitter account to track the process.Two left at doorstep 5:30am - they even rang the door bell @mviser @AnnieLinskey pic.twitter.com/BN22CygMLV— Ali Dukakis (@ajdukakis) November 27, 2015And now another three more - waiting on @JDukakis for # @mviser @AnnieLinskey pic.twitter.com/o81sJ0ZezZ— Ali Dukakis (@ajdukakis) November 27, 2015As of noon ET Friday, Ali Dukakis tweeted that the family has received a dozen donated carcasses—an ample bounty for a year of homemade stock.h/t Boston.com
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said Wednesday in a radio interview that he would file a lawsuit challenging Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) presidential candidacy if he won the Republican nomination because Cruz was born in Canada. Grayson made the comment while discussing Cruz's rise in recent polls during an interview with Fox News' Alan Colmes. Grayson said Cruz was "technically not an American," according to a transcript, to which Colmes noted that "like Obama" Cruz's mother was born in the United States."It’s interesting to me that the people who had a problem with Obama’s birth certificate don’t have a problem with Ted Cruz who literally was born in another country and renounced his Canadian citizenry," Colmes said, according to the transcript."I don’t know, the Constitution says natural born Americans, so now we’re counting Canadians as natural born Americans? How does that work?" Grayson responded. "I’m waiting for the moment that he gets the nomination and then I will file that beautiful lawsuit saying that he’s unqualified for the job because he’s in eligible [sic]."According to a 2011 Congressional Research Service report, when determining presidential eligibility the term "natural born" citizen most likely includes "those born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent who, prior to the birth, had met the requirements of federal law for physical presence in the country." That definition covers Cruz, who was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1970 to a Cuban-born father and American-born mother. Yet some people in so-called "strict constitutionalist" circles still reject that definition of "natural born" citizen. Cruz's campaign dismissed that kind of "birther" chatter earlier this year, telling TPM that "Senator Cruz has not spent a single moment on this earth where he was not an America citizen, indeed a natural born American citizen because his mother was and is an American." H/t Mediaite
UPDATE, 9:37 PM ET: According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, one police officer and two civilians were killed in Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, and nine more people were injured. UPDATE: shooting at Planned Parenthood. Dead: UCCS police officer/2 civilians Wounded: 5 #CSPD officers/4 civilians- all in good condition— Springs Police (@CSPDPIO) November 28, 2015After an hours-long standoff inside a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, police said Friday evening the gunman surrendered and is in custody. Officials declined to confirm whether there were any fatalities, but said in a news conference that 11 individuals, five of them police officers, were transported to hospitals for their injuries. Colorado Springs police had exchanged gunfire with one male suspect inside the clinic before taking him into custody at 4:52 p.m. local time. Mayor Steve Bach confirmed there was "no continuing peril" after the man's arrest.Officers were continuing to evacuate civilians from the building late Friday, and CSPD spokeswoman Catherine Buckley said police acted with "untold valor" to get civilians in the clinic to safety.Buckley said she did not "have information" that the suspect was shot in the exchange. She had earlier said officers on the scene had not made "voice contact" with the gunman, but confirmed that the gunman surrendered and was taken into police custody after contact was made.Buckley said late Friday the suspect was wielding a "long gun" and brought several items with him, including a propane tank, that remained either in or outside the clinic and needed to be "checked out." Despite reports to the contrary, Buckley also said the attack originated in the Planned Parenthood building and the gunman did not go into the surrounding businesses.Buckley had declined to confirm whether there was a hostage situation inside the clinic. Officials have not yet identified the gunman.Buckey confirmed there with both Planned Parenthood staff and patients in the building, but said it was "premature" to speculate on the suspect's motives.Despite AP's initial report that the shooter was "contained" around 1:15 p.m. local time, the news organization later tweeted that police were "unsure" of the shooter's location.CNN reported President Obama had been briefed on the situation.Police tweeted that information about civilian injuries remained unknown.#CentennialBl incident CSPD confirms 3 officers injured unknown civilian injuries situation still not stable.— Springs Police (@CSPDPIO) November 27, 2015Law enforcement tweeted for residents at a nearby shopping center to shelter in place.AVOID Centennial and Fillmore active shooter scene is not secure. Shopping Center shelter in place.— Springs Police (@CSPDPIO) November 27, 2015Local, state, and federal officials were reportedly on the scene. ATF, State Patrol, El Paso County Sheriff's office on scene #cosshooting— Stephen Hobbs (@bystephenhobbs) November 27, 2015A witness who works in a restaurant next door to the clinic told the Denver Post that about a dozen police vehicles were on the scene, and officers were facing the clinic with weapons drawn.The Gazette also reported the suspect was wearing a "hunting-type" hat and a long coat.Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains said in a statement to NBC:Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains on shooting: "At this time, our concern is for the safety of our patients, staff and law enforcement."— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) November 27, 2015This story has been updated.
The man who recently led a group of armed protesters outside a Texas mosque says that he's being "attacked and smeared" for posting local Muslims' home addresses to Facebook earlier this week. David Wright, who leads a group of anti-Muslim protesters that calls itself the Bureau of American Islamic Relations (BAIR), listed "the name and address of every Muslim and Muslim sympathizer that stood up for Sharia tribunals in Irving TX" on his Facebook page Tuesday. The list of names appeared to be copied from a document showing which residents urged the Irving City Council to vote against a bill they said was motivated by baseless rumors that a local mosque housed a "Sharia law court." Wright told local TV station KDFW that the anyone could access the information he posted through the city's website.But The Dallas Morning News, which first reported the list, noted Thursday that the list of names had disappeared from BAIR's Facebook page. The newspaper also noted that the personal Facebook profile Wright posted the list of names on had disappeared, although he appears to have created a replacement page. Wright posted the list of names again Wednesday afternoon on that new page."I am being attacked and smeared by the liberal media for legally exercising my 1st and 2nd Amendment rights and for using public data to defend my credibility when they make accusations against me," Wright wrote on Thursday.Wright went on to describe his group as "self defense only" and wrote that none of its members had killed any Muslims."You know as well as I do if it was my intention to use this as a hit list then it would have already happened," he added in a comment on the post.
The FBI issued a warning to New York police that anti-Muslim activist Jon Ritzheimer could be headed their way, the New York Daily News reported Friday. Police were put on alert after Ritzheimer posted a threatening video online on Nov. 18 warning he was headed east to "see those assholes who called me a f------ terrorist," according to the Daily News.The newspaper reported that Ritzheimer was referring to the organization Muslims of America, which called Ritzheimer an "American Taliban" in a recent issue of its newspaper, The Islamic Post. “F--k you Muslims. We're gonna stop at virtually every mosque along the way, flip them off and tell them to get f-----," Ritzheimer said in the video, according to the Daily News. The video, which has since been taken down, also reportedly included Ritzheimer showing off a handgun.The Muslims of America are located in the village of Hancock, New York, which is nicknamed "Islamberg." An ex-congressional candidate in Tennessee, Robert Doggart, was charged earlier this year with plotting to enlist militia members to burn down buildings in the Muslim hamlet.An FBI spokesperson told the Daily News that the agency notified authorities of Ritzheimer's video because it "could have been perceived as threatening against the Muslim community in Hancock, N.Y."Ritzheimer has a long history of dishing out anti-Muslim vitriol and making threats. He is well known for staging the anti-Muslim rallies like the "Draw Muhammad" cartoon competition in Phoenix. TPM reported earlier this year that Ritzheimer launched a $10 million fundraising campaign after that rally to protect his family or else run against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). He also made threats to arrest Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) "for treason" because she supported the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran. His plan was to arrest any lawmaker who voted for the bill.
Police said late Wednesday that they arrested a fourth suspect after a group of white supremacists allegedly opened fire on Black Lives Matter protesters Monday night in Minneapolis. Local prosecutors have until Monday to file charges against the men being held, according to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Minneapolis Police Department said in a news release that they had arrested Joseph Daniel Backman, 27, in connection with the shooting that left five protesters injured. Police also confirmed the Tuesday arrests of Allen Lawrence “Lance” Scarsella III, 23; Nathan Wayne Gustavsson, 21; and Daniel Thomas Macey, 26. Blackman, Scarsella and Gustavsson appear to be white while Macey appears to be Asian.Police said in the news release that they weren't seeking any more suspects although the investigation was ongoing with the help of the FBI.Court records showed one of the men who was arrested called a police officer he knew to confess to shooting the demonstrators.A search warrant application showed that Scarsella called a Mankato, Minnesota police officer identified only as "Levin," who was an old high school friend of his, at 1 a.m. Tuesday to confess to the shooting, according to the Star-Tribune. Scarsella told the officer that he went to the protests, sparked by the fatal police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, to livestream and then got into a confrontation with demonstrators, according to the newspaper.Police searched Scarsella's Bloomington home for white supremacist paraphernalia and found camouflage clothing, ammunition and several firearms, including an AR-15 rifle, according to the warrant obtained by the Star-Tribune.The four men arrested appeared to connect through 4chan message boards for firearms enthusiasts and racially charged political commentary, according to the newspaper. The Star-Tribune also reported that Gustavsson and Macey were both are students in the gunsmithing and firearms technology program at Pine Technical and Community College.Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told the Star-Tribune that an extenstion for prosecutors to file charges against the four men expires at noon Monday. Previously, the newspaper reported that authorities were weighing whether to treat the shooting as a hate crime.
The Washington Redskins, a franchise clinging onto a mascot widely viewed as the most racist in national sports, tweeted out their Thanksgiving well wishes without a hint of irony on Thursday. Wishing you and your family a Happy #Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/qI3U7hbGhK— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) November 26, 2015The Washington football team's annual tweet to commemorate the genocide of Native Americans after the Pilgrims colonized America was not well received on Twitter.Here's a sampling of the best responses: @Redskins hey, social media person, happy thanksgiving. i'm sorry you have an out-of-touch idiot boss or bosses who insisted you do this— Hip Wishboner (@hipsterboner) November 26, 2015Maybe y’all should sit this one out RT @Redskins: Wishing you and your family a Happy #Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/FL6CKnPlyf— L S V (@The__Tactician) November 26, 2015@Redskins I heard there was a PR position open— Hurell The Human (@Sir_Hurizzel) November 26, 2015@Redskins remember how you continue to disrespect half of the people that were at Thanksgiving? Neat.— DwayneShintziusFan (@Cyrus_is_risen) November 26, 2015.@Redskins pic.twitter.com/tUQLThwvjT— Skip Jayless (@Jay_Sanin) November 26, 2015A slew of media organizations have refused to continue referring to the team as the Redskins, arguing the term is an ethnic slur. Team owner Daniel Snyder has repeatedly said he would not consider changing the name.
Dr. Ben Carson plans to burnish his foreign policy credentials by visiting Friday with Syrian refugees in Jordan, The New York Times reported. “I want to hear some of their stories, I want to hear from some of the officials what their perspective is,” the Republican presidential candidate told the newspaper in a Thursday interview. “All of that is extraordinarily useful in terms of formulating an opinion of how to actually solve the problem.”Carson is expected to make a surprise visit to a clinic and a hospital, among other locales, at the Azraq refugee camp in northern Jordan, according to the Times.The retired neurosurgeon previously took some heat for comparing some Syrian refugees to "rabid dogs." Carson opposes allowing the refugees into the U.S. without a strengthened vetting process that would weed out potential terrorists.
If you're surprised that Donald Trump isn't apologizing for mocking a reporter's physical handicap and doesn't seem to be paying any price for it, let me help. Half of rightwing politics is about resentment over perceived demands for apologies. Apologies about race, about fear of Muslims, about not being politically correct, about not liking the losers and the moochers, about Christmas, about being being white. This will hurt Trump about as much as going after Megyn Kelly did. Remember: his biggest applause line at the first GOP debate came for calling Rosie O'Donnell a fat slob.About half the juice of far-right politics in this country is rooted in refusing to apologize when 'elites' or right thinking people reprove you for not being 'politically correct.'
Donald Trump refused to apologize Thursday for imitating and making fun of a reporter with a disability, The Washington Post reported.In fact, Trump said he doesn't even remember the reporter he impersonated. During a campaign rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina earlier this week Trump tried to defend his story about seeing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey applauding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which has no basis in fact. In the attempt, Trump read a passage from reporter Serge Kovaleski's 2001 Washington Post story that noted police questioned a few individuals who were allegedly celebrating the attacks. Kovaleski told CNN this week that he did "not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating," however.Trump, in what appeared to be a very direct mockery of the reporter, flapped his arms in the air widely and said "Now, the poor guy. You've got to see this guy," according to the Post.Kovaleski, who now works at the New York Times, has arthrogryposis, a condition that reduces his arm's range of motion. He told the Post that it "didn't in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record."But Trump said he wasn't disparaging Kovaleski at all and didn't even remember the reporter, who wrote a lot about Trump when he worked for the New York Daily News from 1987-1993, according to the Post."Kovaleski must think a lot of himself if he thinks I remember him from decades ago if I ever met him at all, which I doubt I did," Trump said in a statement, as quoted by the newspaper. "He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes."
Read the editorial and news pages today and you'll find a mix of hand-wringing and demands about an uncouth and outrageous outsider who is threatening to wrest the Republican party from its rightful owners. Liar, racist, clown, fascist, vigilante. There is no shortage of labels for Trump being bandied about in late November. But they're all negative - at least in the mainstream press. He seemed to be losing steam in the face of a surging Ben Carson. But then the country's politics, especially on the right, pivoted hard toward fear and rage against Muslims in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. And with that and a series of Carson stumbles, Trump stormed back into hefty leads basically everywhere.This report in The Washington Post gives us a look at the waiting game members of the GOP donor class are playing, resisting calls to spend money on a Stop Trump movement because they remain convinced that GOP base voters will eventually reject Trump's brand of politics. The article raises a number of interesting themes, which we'll return to. But for now the most notable is the focus group data suggesting that there's basically nothing Trump can say or anything that can be revealed about him that will sway his supporters. After conducting two focus groups of Trump supporters this fall, GOP consultant Frank Luntz said he has concluded that there is no political issue or stance that will turn off his supporters.“They came to him because he is unlike any other politician,” Luntz said. “That allows him to do and say things others could not and get away with it.”One party strategist privy to recent research on Trump voters said that none of the messages tested swayed them — including his past support for universal health care or fond words about Bill and Hillary Clinton.“They’re incredibly angry, and he’s the first guy in their mind who speaks to that anger in a visceral way,” said the strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the findings. “They have a deep longing for that.”But all of this is simply a mix of denial, willful ignorance and aggressive flimflam. My first thought when I started writing this post was that Trump is nothing so much as the Frankenstein's monster of the contemporary Republican party.Is Trump really too anti-immigrant for the 21st century GOP? Or too hostile to Muslims in the US and abroad? Or has he broken with the party in pushing caricatures of black criminals either threatening the safety of ordinary Americans or mobilizing through voter fraud to take away the stuff earned by middle class white people? It's not too much to say that there's nothing Trump has said in recent weeks that you couldn't hear any given Monday on the Rush Limbaugh Show, from various backbench House conservatives or a million other places in conservative media. If you pay attention to any of these three fronts, you know this. These are the same themes, enemies, and swear lines that have run right at the water line of conservative politics for years. What Trump has done - I suspect more intuitively than with a conscious strategy or plan - is to package them all together and strip away the window dressing which has allowed this menu of resentment to both stoke base conservative anger and appeal to more respectable conservative elites without creating channel conflict between the two. This is no more than the monster which Republican elites created and used to marvelous effect. Only now it appears to be in the process of slipping its leash and devouring its creators rather than uneasily or crankily serving it.Michael Lind once quoted a movement conservative veteran describing the movement as consisting of "midwestern foundations paying Jewish and Catholic intellectuals in the Northeast to tell Southern Baptists why they should vote for Sunbelt politicians." Lind himself more aptly categorized the defining factions as the "the grass-roots right, the corporate right, and the brain trust right." However you slice it, this is the resentment-fueled base of the GOP calling the shots.And yet, for all the poetic justice, this doesn't quite capture what's happening. Parties and politics inflect and harness trends in the broader society. They don't create them. There's nothing new under the sun about Trumpism. It's just a turbo-charged, more media savvy version of the resentment politics the GOP has been tapping for fuel and riding for decades. The familiarity of the Trump message comes across clearly in that aforementioned Washington Post article where those pushing a Stop Trump movement don't focus on the racism or xenophobia but on Trump's past support for universal health care or the Clintons. In other words, there's apparently no stopping Trump on the right. Or as Romney guru and former top aide Eric Fehrnstrom told The Boston Globe: “These Republican candidates haven’t figured out a successful way to disqualify Trump. Attacking him from the left is a losing strategy in our primary.” The only viable attack is that he's actually too liberal or is merely a cynical manipulator pretending to embrace hard right politics for his own gain. Trump is no more alien to base Republican politics than Bernie Sanders is to Democratic base politics when Sanders states openly what many liberals have always believed, which is that taxes on the wealthy should be dramatically higher and that Obamacare is merely a half-measure in lieu of real reform, which is a single payer national health insurance. In case this strikes you as some blithe false equivalency, quite the contrary. The distinction speaks for itself. Trump proposes a mass deportation which if actually carried out as he describes it might actually qualify as a war crime while Sanders proposes adopting a national health insurance program similar to what the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and numerous other countries have enjoyed for going on three generations. I know many of my Republican friends are aghast and will insist that Trump's politics is one they abhor rather than endorse. For many that's true. But the Republican party has also been relying on this politics for many years to drive its campaigns. Trump, in his current incarnation, is no more than right wing politics turned up to eleven. It shouldn't surprise us he's garnered a ton of support or that it's proven, thus far, almost impossible to dislodge.
For all of those writing articles announcing that Donald Trump has now officially become or embraced "fascism", I regret to inform you that there's really no clear definition of fascism, much as the harder left and right has imagined otherwise for decades. In any case, labels hardly seem relevant. What is relevant is that roughly a third of the voters Republicans will need to win the presidency next year now support Trump - this version of Trump, a candidate running a campaign which is increasingly open in its racism and militant in its nonsense.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A public library is set to open next year in a polygamous town on the Utah-Arizona border that hasn't had one for decades because of controlling sect leaders who try to limit followers' exposure to the outside world. The library is expected to open in March 2016, Washington County Library System director Joel Tucker said. The plan is to put the library in an old schoolhouse the center of town, near the public school and town hall in Hildale, Utah.The community is dominated by a polygamous sect led by jailed leader Warren Jeffs. He and other sect leaders try to limit members' exposure to the outside world by prohibiting Internet and books.The community used to have a library on the Arizona side of the town in Colorado City, but it was shuttered after Jeffs took over the group in the late 1990s, former member Isaac Wyler said."I think it's really going to be good for the community. Warren has been trying to keep knowledge out of this town for so long," he said. "In the end, look what's winning out."The nearest library now is about 40 minutes away, and having easier access to information could help people in the remote community get information that's not influenced by sect leaders, Tucker said."The library could be a community center not tied to the church," he said. The startup costs are expected to be around $200,000, with grants helping to defray the expense of the project first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune.The opening of this new library would mark another small step forward for those in the town eager to embrace efforts by outsiders and government to pull the town into modern society.It has been nearly five years since Jeffs was sentenced to life for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered brides. The town is now split between his loyalists who still believe Jeffs is a victim of religious persecution and those who have left or been kicked out.The majority of the 7,700 residents in the sister towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, belong to the sect. Hundreds of others have ties to FLDS members, though they are no longer followers.But Jeffs' flock of followers still outnumbers the others, and they dominate leadership positions in city government.Hildale is about 300 miles south of Salt Lake City.Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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