Chris Christie:”I will shoot down that plane!”

At the Republican debate on National Security, Wednesday December 15, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called for a no-fly zone over Syria, and committed to enforcing it with brutal force. Wolf Blitzer posed the question: if a Russian plane is flying over Syria, would you want to shoot it down? Governor Christie gave an emphatic response:”I would shoot down that plane!”

To clarify, Governor Christie is not likely to fly a combat plane and actually shoot the plane down himself. Like all the other Republican candidates on the debate stage, Governor Christie has no experience of military service. He does not know how to fly a combat plane, and it is not clear that any American combat planes can support that much weight in the cockpit. Governor Christie just wants to sound tough.

Christie did not explain why America is authorized to order a no-fly zone over Syria. Congress has not declared war on Syria, and no one is advocating a declaration of war on Syria, even as they talk of declaring war on ISIS. As Sen. Rand Paul pointed out, Russian planes are flying over Syria at the request of the Syrian government and at the request of the Iraqi government which was installed after American troops overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime. Shooting down a Russian plane is a recipe for a new world war.

During the Cold War, America never shot down a Russian combat plane. Even after Soviet aircraft shot down Korean Airliner KAL 007, neither the United States nor the Republic of Korea responded with military action. Making such a pledge amounts to more chickenhawk droppings, the like of which littered the debate stage on Wednesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio talked of asserting American leadership, apparently through political interventionism backed by threat of military force. His baby face has probably never seen combat, except maybe the Bush/Gore recount battle of 2000.

Sen. Ted Cruz talked about “carpet bombing Isis” and making sand glow in the dark. In the 1960s there was a rash of airplane hijackings by people who wanted to go to revolutionary Cuba. Does Senator Cruz think that a proper response would have been to make Cuba glow in the dark?

Governor Kasich wants to “give Russia a punch in the nose.” Is he going to take a leave of absence from running Ohio’s government to go fight Russia? Probably not.

And Carly Fiorina wants to “bring back the warrior class” including Gen. McChrystal and Gen. Petreaus. Apparently she thinks the Jihadis don’t have enough weapons. The biggest accomplish of Gen, Betray-us when he was in charge of security in Iraq was to lose track of 157,000 guns. Not sure how that made Iraq safer, or why Carly Fiorina thinks these people knew what they were doing. McChrystal, Petreaus and the others she mentioned created the mess in Iraq that has led to the rise of the Islamic State. But Ms Fiorina wanted to sound tough – a chickhawk among the chickenhawks.

If the Republicans cared about America, they would take the clowns who were on stage Wednesday night, put them on a bus, and send it to the George Washington Bridge – and we can hope that Christie’s underlings have learned from him how to close down that bridge till the election is over and these people cannot do as much harm.

Donald Trump: an Old-Time Republican After All

Some perceptive observers have looked at Donald Trump’s history, and questioned his commitment to the Republican Party. He has been a Democrat and an Independent; he is friendly with the Clintons, and he once considered a third party run for President.

Odd bird that he is, The Donald has perched in the Grand Old Party. and he is gathering a big nest of committed followers, with his call for mass deportation and registering Muslim Americans.

Donald Trump’s call for mass deportation of illegal immigrants and their families envisions a massive government program – he is not satisfied with Mitt Romney’s reliance on the initiative of individuals to self-deport.

The harshness of his rhetoric has drawn condemnation, but building a campaign on fear of immigrants and hostility toward Mexicans is not a new idea for Republicans. Pete Wilson was re-elected Governor of California in 1994 with TV ads that showed Mexicans crossing the border, with a voice-over that said “They just keep coming.”

Nobody talks about Pete Wilson anymore. Few people talk about the California Republican Party, no longer competitive in America’s largest state.

Donald Trump has floated the idea of registering Muslims in a government database. To be fair, he has not committed to the idea. This idea is not new either, but the antecedents are in Europe, not America. Pick your abstraction – government registration of non-Christians, or government registration of Semites – Arabs are, as are Jews. The idea is repulsive, an inheritance from its ugly forebears.

Recently Mr Trump has proposed a temporary ban on Muslims immigrating to America. The idea of a religious test for immigrants has been condemned by Speaker Paul Ryan, Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu, and others. Obviously unenforceable, it would seem to go against the Constitution’s ban on religious tests.

Such an idea has never been implemented as government policy, but in the 1890s Republican orators raged against “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion” as they sought votes from native born Protestants. When Republicans denounced “Papism” it was not aimed at all Catholics, but at the hordes of Irish who came to the country in the post Civil War period. Other Catholics were welcomed into the Republican Party, including Italian Americans in New York City and wealthy Catholics along the eastern seaboard.

With his recent willingness to entertain the idea of internment camps for Muslims, Donald Trump invokes the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt. At the beginning of World War II, President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese residents – many prohibitied from citizenship by the 1923 immigration law and earlier “oriental exclusion” acts – because of fears that they owed loyalty to the Emperor of Japan. This act by a Democrat President was supported by California’s Republican Governor, Earl Warren, but has since been repudiated by a bipartisan majority in Congress, which voted reparations to decendents of the Nisei.

Donald Trump’s proposals to create a totalitarian state to deal with the threat of terrorism, or of people crossing the border to seek paid work, have driven up his poll numbers. Currently, as of mid-December, Trump is polling at 35% of Republican voters. Conservative voters who truly believe in limited government, and Republicans who remember that Ronald Reagan welcomed immigrants and favored peace and trade with the Middle East will need to look to other alternatives in November of 2016.

NBC Report:Netanyahu Rebukes Trump over Comments on Muslims

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rejecting Donald Trump’s remarks about banning Muslims from entering the United States, saying that Israel “respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens.”

“Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.”

Full report from NBC News @