Posted on February 25, 2016 in Countdown

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Help Us Free Donald’s Republican Hostages

Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump recalled the tale of a mass Muslim execution with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, South Carolina’s Republican voters selected him as their nominee. Within 76 hours, Nevada Republicans did as well. The waiting in hopes that Trump self destructs has gone on too long (the Washington Post Editorial Board took to print twice this week to make this case). Republican leaders like RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan need to go to bat for the Party they’re leading. Because Trump is leading an all too willing electorate down a ugly, ugly road. Join us in conveying our fears about a Trump nominee to Chairman Priebus.

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Goodbye Governor Bush

Trump is bringing down the Republican Party in the exact same way he successfully brought down Jeb Bush. What’s killer, for all of us, is that Jeb did what so many people wanted someone, anyone to do: he took an exasperated stand against Trump’s bigotry and delusional policies. And he did it repeatedly, with the most authority, legitimacy, and Republican Party credibility of any candidate in the race. He called Trump a “jerk” and a “chaos candidate,” he laid bare his impossible and downright silly policies, he said NO to the sickening bigotry towards Mexicans, Muslims, the disabled, and even President Obama. Jeb did what Priebus, Ryan, and McConnell haven’t yet done. Maybe that’s why Jeb lost this primary, but for those of us keeping a sanity score, he came out a winner.

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Trump's Undoubtedly Amazing Team Still Not Announced

Now that we’ve been forced to take Trump seriously after 3 huge primary victories, we really want to get a sense of what this will mean beyond the sensational bans, walls, and pig’s blood dipped bullets (not over it). The Donald promised the nation he will release the names of foreign policy advisors on his “great team” this week - - and he hasn’t yet. You’ll understand our anxiety in light of the fact that Trump explained his rationale behind the “Muslim ban” by citing the work of Frank Gaffney’s group – the Center for Security Policy (CSP). Gaffney is a notorious Islamophobe and his group was recently cited as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report. We hope against hope that Trump’s Gaffney predilection isn’t an indication of the type of “experts” he’s assembled for his foreign policy team. We’re past ready to find out.

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Where There’s Bad Research, There’s Bad Policy, and Then More Bad Research

To give the Republicans a break – sorry there’s so much to cover there – we want to direct your attention away from this awful report that the U.S. military just re-released. When we first saw it, we thought it couldn’t possibly be real. What credible policy analysis shop can argue that wearing a hijab is “passive terrorism” and dabble with the theory that sexual deprivation is a main reason men are joining ISIL. Not only is it real, it came from the same policy shop that operates on a $4.4 billion budget and gave us the research that produced the science behind the B-2 stealth bomber and the Predator drone, to name just a few. This isn’t some fringe research group without an audience. The social media world – not their usual targets - did its thing to mock the “passive terrorism” lunacy, but even one person taking this report seriously is a major problem. We’ve long had to fight against insensitive, incorrect, and biased training materials that our law enforcement uses to educate its officers, but now we have to contend with this cottage industry purporting expertise in understanding why someone resorts to violence. This phony science is laughable at best, but extremely dangerous when the U.S. military not only sees fit to release the paper once, but to re-release the paper 5 years later at a time when the cottage industry around Countering Violent Extremism seems ready and willing to mobilize against all dangers – including the hijabi’s “passive terrorism.”

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Dam: Iraq is Staring Down a Katrina Moment

We know the the U.S. isn’t the one to give lectures about good maintenance of levees and dams, but the deteriorating Mosul dam in Iraq has trickled it’s way up to the top of President Barack Obama’s concerns for the country. President Obama recently spoke with Iraqi PM Abadi about what could happen if the dam isn’t repaired urgently; his call only elevates the longstanding efforts the U.S. and the international community have taken to get Iraqi leaders to invest in repairing the dam. The U.S. has raised the alarm on the Mosul dam since 2007, but has recently issued travel warnings to U.S. citizens who visit or live in Iraq to make plans for evacuation when the dam fails, because apparently it will fail. Like many things built by Saddam Hussein, the dam has a weak foundation and hasn’t been taken care of.