Thursday, November 26, 2015

Twitter Users To Saudi Arabia: "Sue Me"

By Jacob Steinblatt
Reddit and Twitter users are comparing Saudi Arabia to ISIS and daring the kingdom to sue them after reports that the country is planning to sue an unidentified Twitter user who said that the death sentence handed down to a Palestinian poet for apostasy is “ISIS-like.”
A Saudi court sentenced Ashraf Fayadh, the poet, to death on Friday for abandoning the Muslim faith, a capital crime in the country.
Redditors and Twitter users called out the Saudi government, as posts with thousands of upvotes and hundreds of retweets compared Saudi Arabia to the terror group ISIS. Posters also are challenging the government to sue them as well.

sentencing a poet to death for denouncing Islam is as medieval and backward as . Sue me.. 
  1. Southernerd
    While they're at it, sign me up for a lawsuit, too. Killing people because they have different beliefs seems to me to be the epitome of ISIS like behavior.

Daesh have its origins in Saudi Arabia: Commentator

Press TV has interviewed Jalal Fairooz, a Middle East expert from London, to get his take on the recent remarks by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir that Riyadh will continue supporting Takfiri militants in Syria.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Should we be surprised at all that the Saudis still see a military option in Syria?
Fairooz: Well, the Saudis have been very much embarrassed recently because they are being linked now as they have all the time been supporting ideologically, militarily and funding the extremists and terrorist groups in Syria. Now, the whole world knows that the origin of these Daesh groups is in Saudi Arabia.
Up to today, you could see the Saudi-backed televisions are airing what will mean a support for the Daesh and the terrorists. Of course after the Paris shootings and killings, the world has taken some side against the Saudi and for the first time we can hear in the Europe parliaments, saying that the Saudi is the origin of these terrorist groups and we have to aim that. Now that the situation is turning because of presence of Russia in this game, then the Saudis are trying to find some way out of this trauma.
Press TV: Indeed, in finding this way out, you know we can talk about Vienna obviously and the peace talks which are set to take place there again. I am so wondering though with the Saudis’ going into peace talks expecting that they will win militarily through their support of terrorism. What is the point?
Fairooz: They are now trying to back up from some of the funding of the ISIS, trying to monitor as they claim. But on the other hand, they want to try to find a new page that is why they are calling for a very vast meeting of the Syrian opposition in Riyadh to try and have control over the next phase of what is going on in Syria. Now that they cannot topple down the Syrian government through the terrorists, they are going on pressurizing the Europeans and the Western hemisphere to be in their side, trying to get some control over the next phase of Syria [peace talks].

Video Report - MUSLIM Poet Sentenced to DEATH for Renouncing ISLAM?


Saudi Arabia used British-made cruise missiles during an attack on a civilian Yemeni factory, say Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
According to a report published by the human rights groups on Wednesday, remains of PGM-500 missiles, manufactured by the UK firm Marconi Dynamics, were found in the rubble of a factory that was targeted near the capital Sana’a in September.
"The attack on the factory in the Sana’a governorate, which appeared to be producing only civilian goods, killed one person, and was in apparent violation of international humanitarian law," read a Human Rights Watch statement.
Earlier this month, British Foreign Minster Philip Hammond announced that weapons exports to Saudi Arabia would be halted if investigations prove that Riyadh is breaching international humanitarian law during its ongoing aggression against Yemen.
“The latest revelations show UK policy to be both misleading and seriously ineffective. Despite multiple, well-documented cases of violations of the laws of war by the Persian Gulf coalition in Yemen, UK ministers have consistently refused to acknowledge this,” said UK Director at Human Rights Watch David Mepham.
Based on a 2013 British parliamentary report, the UK had granted some four billion pounds worth of weapons export licenses in the five years leading to the report.
The impoverish Arabian Peninsula country has been under incessant airstrikes by the Saudi military since late March.
Yemeni sources say some 7,500 people have lost their lives in the Saudi attacks. The United Nations has put the death toll at over 5,700, including 830 women and children.

Saudi Arabia executions: Kingdom to behead 50 men convicted of terrorism offences despite threat of Shia revolt

    Impervious to international opinion, the desert kingdom is poised to execute more than 50 people, three of whom were under 18 when their alleged crime took place. All because of a power struggle within the ruling family.
    Saudi authorities appear set in the next few days to carry out a series of beheadings across the country of more than 50 men convicted of terrorism offences. Among those facing execution are three young men who were juveniles when they were arrested.
    The publication earlier this week of an article in the newspaperOkaz, which has close links to the Saudi Ministry of the Interior, has convinced families of the accused and concerned human-rights organisations that the executions are imminent.
    Sources have said that the plan is to behead the men in several cities across the kingdom, most likely after Friday prayers.
    Already this year Saudi Arabia has carried out at least 151 beheadings but these would be the first that deal with allegations of terrorism. Last year a total of 90 were executed but none were for terrorism offences. It is believed that seven of the condemned men are Shia from the region of Al-Awamiyah in the oil-rich Eastern Province. Saudi Shia have long protested over discrimination and mistreatment by the Sunni central government.
    A leading Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al Nimr, arrested in a shootout with security forces in 2012, is among those thought to be facing execution.
    The mothers of five Shia released a letter on Wednesday alleging that their sons, three of whom were juveniles at the time of their arrest, were subjected to torture while in custody. The letter says: “We affirm that our children did not kill or wound anyone. The sentences were based on confessions extracted under torture, trials that barred them from access to defence counsel and judges that displayed bias towards the prosecution.”
    Baqer al Nimr, the older brother of Ali al Nimr and a nephew of Sheikh Nimr, told The Independent his brother was 17 and a juvenile when he was detained in February 2011. “Ali is a smart kid, he likes to play football, he is a photographer. He wasn’t political, he was just asking for his rights, for the rights of the Shia.”
    Six months after the arrest, he saw Ali in jail. “I could see his nose was broken and I asked him what happened. He said ‘they punch everybody in here’.” Ali’s mother told Baqer that when she had first seen her younger son “she saw a lot of bruising on his face, she told me she didn’t recognise him”.
    Saudi authorities consistently dismiss such claims.
    Sevag Kechichian, Amnesty International’s researcher on the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Denials are absolutely not enough when there is clear evidence that points to the contrary.”
    He called for a thorough and impartial investigation of the torture allegations: “These executions should not happen. Amnesty International is against the death penalty in all circumstances.”
    Last month, the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said he did “not expect [Ali] al Nimr to be executed”, indicating the decision would be a victory for British diplomacy, after the UK was criticised for its links with the Saudi government. Campaigners have called on the British Government to take a more proactive stance in raising human rights issues with the kingdom.
    A group of UN experts and the European Parliament have also urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of Ali al Nimr. The timing of the executions, should they be carried out, has much to do with a power struggle going on between Mohammad bin Nayef, the Interior Minister and crown prince, and Mohammad bin Salman, Minister of Defence, deputy crown prince and favoured younger son of King Salman.
    For several years, the 30-year-old Mohammad bin Salman has served as his ailing father’s gatekeeper – the king is believed to be suffering from dementia. But since the king ascended to the throne in January his son has amassed vast new powers. In addition to his appointment as Defence Minister, he serves as chief of the royal court, and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
    Saad al Faqih is a Saudi critic of the ruling family living in London. “Mohammad bin Salman has taken everything,” he said, adding: “Mohammad bin Nayef wants to make a statement. He wants to be seen as very strong by killing 52 people in one go.”
    Mr Faqih says that Okaz would not have gone ahead with the article without clear guidance from the Ministry of Interior: “IfOkaz published, it is authentic. They would not have been allowed to publish without the express permission of Mohammad bin Nayef.” He described the condemned men as “pawns in a political game”.
    Included among those facing execution are said to be supporters of al-Qaeda and Isis. Mr Faqih believes that Mohammad bin Nayef wants to claim there is no sectarian motive to the executions by including those convicted of belonging to Sunni terrorist organisations with the Shia.
    “The Shia public will not be fooled and if the executions go ahead there will be a Shia revolt,” Mr Faqih added.
    Baqer al Nimr says that if his brother and the others are beheaded, he hopes there will be no violence. “We do not want to be held responsible for any blood,” he said. 
    For now, though, his thoughts are with his kid brother. “I taught him how to ride a bike and now he is in solitary confinement and every time they open the door he must be thinking, ‘Is now the time that they have come to kill me?’”

    Turkish adventurism

    By shooting down a Russian military aircraft on the pretext of protecting its sovereignty and airspace, Turkey’s latest bout of hawkish and unnecessary muscle flexing is threatening to undo a cautiously developing international consensus about dealing with the Islamic State (IS) in the wake of the Paris attacks. The basic facts about this latest twist in the sordid saga of Syria’s endless chaos are predictably murky and heavily contested. The only thing agreed upon by all parties is that the Russian Su-24, an all-weather attack aircraft carrying a crew of two, was shot down by two Turkish F-16s around the Turkish-Syria border on the morning of November 24 and the plane crashed in the mountains of the province Latakia in a region contested by the Syrian government and rebel forces comprising of ethnic Turkmen fighters. This militia was funded and trained by NATO to combat the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The two pilots of the plane ejected upon being hit and were subsequently shot at by the Turkmen militia. The shooting killed one of the pilots while the second one has been rescued after a 12 hour military operation conducted by a coalition of Russian and Syrian forces, in which another Russian soldier lost his life. This was the first Russian plane to be targeted since Russia began its aerial campaign of bombarding all rebel forces who have taken up arms against the al-Assad regime, of which Russia has been a staunch long-time ally. The Russian campaign has since its beginning attracted hollow criticism from the western powers whose inaction and ill-advised arming of a mishmash of so-called ‘moderate’ Islamist proxies to take down al-Assad are in fact directly responsible for the quagmire in Syria. The west wants Russia to exclusively target IS, whereas Russia sees all rebel forces as fundamentally terroristic and a cause of instability in the region. For Turkey then, the Russian bombardment of camps of its own proxies, the aforementioned Turkmen, has always been a prickly matter and thus it can be safely presumed that the Turkish government was itching for a reason to strike a blow against Russia and it found the pretence to do so in this alleged instance of a violation of Turkish airspace. The Russian version of events vehemently denies that its plane crossed into Turkish airspace and maintains that the plane was hit one kilometre inside the Syrian border and posed no threat to Turkey. A demonstrably angry Vladimir Putin has called the shooting down of the plane a “stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists” and has warned of “significant consequences”. Even the Turkish version of events, while contradicting the Russian narrative, does not shake the sense that this was a deliberate ‘provocation’ by the Turkish forces since the radar image released by them — along with a leaked letter to the UN — reveal that the plane only traversed inside Turkish borders for a short window of 17 seconds and was actually shot down after it was safely back inside Syrian airspace. This scandalous revelation is enough to throw out any suggestions of Turkey merely protecting its territorial integrity. Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was less coy about Turkey’s paternalistic protection of the Turkmen militia as he openly stated that Russian attacks on Turkmen were not justified under the guise of combating the terrorism of the IS and that he had himself ordered the Turkish general chief of staff to shoot down any plane approaching Turkish borders.

    The veritable mess that Syria has become is host to multiple sovereign actors as the country has become a playfield for various, incompatible power plays. With so many vested interests and agendas at work, the situation on the ground is like a powder keg waiting to go off and such an incident of a direct engagement between a NATO member and Russia was always feared. Once again, the competing future plans for Syria held by external powers are to blame, with the fate of Bashar al-Assad being the major point of contention. However, squabbles of this nature serve only to benefit the IS, as it has plentifully gained from a distinct lack of a coordinated global response against itself in the past. The NATO members should by now recognise that they are playing second fiddle to Russia in combating the myriad of terrorist organisations in Syria and parroting the line against al-Assad only breathes more life into the ceaseless Syrian turmoil. It is therefore the responsibility of NATO to check Turkey’s dangerous ambiguity towards the IS and mediate between the two duelling countries to prevent this friction from turning into a counterproductive escalation of hostilities.

    Video Report - ‘Cameron’s claims on anti-ISIS airstrikes are deceit’: fmr ambassador to Syria

    Video Report - Fight against Islamic state group: can a grand coalition against terrorists still emerge?

    Video Report - "Syrian Turkmen" who killed Russian pilot turns out to be Turkish citizen and son of Turkish mayor

    Video Report - Turkey should be booted out of NATO

    Russia should play one of leading parts in Syrian settlement, says Hollande

    Russia should play one of the leading parts in a search for political resolution to the Syrian crisis, French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday upon the end of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    He said the chaos, which Syria plunged into in 2011, produced a tidal wave of refugees and left more than 300,000 people killed. At this moment, it is important to find political solutions to this crisis. Appropriate conditions for this exist and the parties concerned should abide by them, he said.
    As condition number one, Hollande pointed out the setting up of a coalition government, an independent government for a transition period, which should lead up to the adoption of a new Constitution and elections where all the political groupings and members of the Syrian community in exile could take part.
    Hollande repeated, however, that the incumbent President, Bashar al-Assad cannot play any role in his country’s future.
    He said he sees a major role for Russia in the process.

    Arrogant Erdogan refuses to apologize to Russia

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to bring official apologies to Russia for shooting down the Russian Su-24 above the territory of Syria.
    In an interview with CNN, Erdogan stated that "if there is a party that should apologize, it is not us."
    "Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize," Erdogan said.
    "Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to ... violations of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence,the Turkish president added.
    Pravda.Ru has reported before that the rescued Russian pilot explained that the plane was flying above the Syrian territory and could not make a mistake even for a second. The pilot also said that the turkish side had not warned the Russian pilots of the impending missile attack.
    - See more at:

    Video - EU politicians blast Turkey’s links to ISIS, call Erdogan’s policies dangerous

    ‘We still haven’t received a clear apology from Turkey on Su-24 downing’ - Putin

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said that from his point of view, Turkey's leadership is deliberately trying to bring relations between Moscow and Ankara to a standstill, speaking at the Kremlin ambassador credentials ceremony in Moscow. Putin went on to say that Russia has still not received an explanation or apology from Turkish leaders for the downing of warplane in Syria.

    Video - Great CrossTalk on "stab in the back" by Neo-Ottoman Daeshbag

    THANKSGIVING SONG "Thank You" by Brianna Haynes

    Donald Trump’s everyday disablism didn’t surprise me

    Bigotry, prejudice or ignorance – call it what you like, the Republican hopeful didn’t invent it. But that doesn’t mean we should just put up with it
    If you’ve been on social media today, it’s likely you have seen the video that has emerged of Donald Trump “imitating” a disabled New York Times journalist.
    During a speech to his supporters on Tuesday night, Trump can be seen flailing and twisting his arms, apparently mocking Serge Kovaleski, a key critic of the Republican presidential hopeful; Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement.
    A few seconds in – once he really gets into it – Trump holds his hand in front of his chest in an exaggerated, claw-like position. “Disability is repulsive”, is the message he conveys, as if degrading an opponent by imitating their disabled body is a legitimate way to bring them down to size. I’m probably meant to feel outraged by Trump’s behaviour. But, watching the footage, I wasn’t even surprised. This is a man who in the past week alone has refused to rule out identification for Muslim Americans noting their religion and has declared that even if waterboarding terror suspects doesn’t work, he would approve it because “they deserve it”.
    And, if you muse publicly about dating your own daughter, you have probably reached the threshold for how low you can go.
    When I watched this latest video of Trump I just felt the sort of weary sadness that comes from no longer being shocked by watching a person mocking someone for being disabled. Just as I did when last year Ukip’s Godfrey Bloom was recorded jeeringly asking a disabled student at the Oxford Union if he was Richard III.
    That lack of shock isn’t because the person doing the mocking is a ludicrous figure, such as Trump, but because when you are disabled you experience this kind of behaviour all the time.
    Just last weekend, for instance, I was in a London cab and the driver – already frustrated at having to help my wheelchair into the taxi – refused to talk to me directly. He preferred to talk to my (non-disabled) sister, referring to me using the phrase “people like her”. I don’t tend to yell at people in the street, but I found myself doing it by the end of the journey. There is something about the humiliation of being belittled for having a disability, let alone outright mocked, that leaves you wanting to grab back any level of self-respect you can get.
    What is perhaps more shocking than Trump’s actions are the stories the disabled community has to share about incidents when their disability has been mocked.
    “Someone once shouted ‘Bet you have fun with that on at night, don’t you, lad?’ as my [boyfriend] pushed me in my wheelchair,” one woman told me. “People mock me for having a funny walk and for using crutches, to make their mates laugh,” said another, whose joints dislocate as they walk.
    One man who uses crutches recalled a drunk “ranting I should have a parrot on my shoulder”. Another spoke of a shop owner who “went all am-dram in front of whole shop, saying: ‘Look, she’s tried to kill herself!’ pointing to my scars.”
    This doesn’t include the accounts when “mocking” turned into outright physical abuse. For instance: “I was called a scrounger and spat at just because I use a wheelchair.” Perhaps the most telling – and depressing – comment was from the disabled woman who noted insults “tend to bounce off me” now. Are we supposed to be resigned to this? These experiences aren’t trivial or a matter of a few people needing to get a thicker skin. They are a common, and often quietly accepted, form of bigotry, even in our so-called tolerant society.
    It says something that even the word to describe prejudice against disabled people – disablism – isn’t familiar in the way that homophobia, racism or sexism are.
    Whatever we want to call it – disablism, bigotry or ignorance – it neither started nor ended with Trump. For many disabled people, this latest outrageous viral video is tragically a fact of daily life.

    For today’s GOP, Thanksgiving is the ultimate hypocrisy

    By Harold Meyerson

    Thanksgiving is our holiday of refugee commemoration. We have no holiday to commemorate the first successful English settlement, Jamestown, which was a commercial and political venture, or the first French and Spanish settlements, which were also commercial and political. We celebrate only the arrival and survival of a band of Pilgrims seeking not only opportunity but also refuge. Of the many and varied American creation epics, this is the one we have chosen to celebrate.
    We have never been a land, of course, where refuge has gone uncontested. The Germans, the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, the Slavs, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Mexicans, the Muslims — every group of newcomers has been reviled and labeled a peril to our way of life. Each group, to be sure, contained a dangerous few, just as the non-immigrant population did. At the turn of the 20th century, a handful of native and immigrant anarchists preached a gospel of violence and assassination. A Jewish immigrant shot and wounded industrialist Henry Clay Frick; a Slavic American shot and killed President William McKinley; two Italian immigrants probably (the verdict of history is still out on this one) killed a Massachusetts bank guard. The number of murders committed during the same period by native old-stock Americans gripped by racial and religious hatred exceeds that committed by the new-stock anarchists by thousands, but to the nativist mind, all murders are not created, or considered, equal.
    In 1924, by an act of Congress, virtually all immigration from Asia and Southern and Eastern Europe was halted. (The law was not to be repealed until 1965.) Fortunately, immigration from those lands had not been banned earlier. Had Americans always excluded millions due to their fear of a few, this would be a very different country. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio (and Frank Sinatra, and Enrico Fermi) indeed?
    Today, we may marvel at many of our forebears’ conflation of “anarchist” with “Italian,” but the same nativist and racist phobias now dominate the discourse of one of our two major political parties. Arabs are jihadists; Mexicans are rapists; a little more than 80 percent of murdered whites are killed by blacks — whoops, it turns out that a little more than 80 percent of murdered whites are killed by whites, but to the neo-Nazi who concocted this Big Lie, and to the Republican presidential front-runner who publicized it, spreading that lie and similar sewage is apparently how they intend to win adherents and, for Donald Trump, take power.
    We’ve had presidential candidates whose campaigns were rooted in appeals to racism and even racist violence: That was the very essence of George Wallace’s political appeal. But it’s been a long time since a front-runner of a major party’s presidential contest has based his appeal on raw racism, much less dropped hints that roughing up his critics was fine by him. To find Trump’s antecedents, you have to go back to the Southern segregationist demagogues who whooped up their crowds by affirming the rightness and necessity not merely of their racism but of racist violence as well.
    In Trump, the Republicans’ Southern Strategy — pioneered by Barry Goldwater and perfected by Ronald Reagan — has hit bottom. Just as the Southern economic elites found they could count on the electoral support of the region’s largely impoverished white working class by steering those workers’ resentment at their lot toward even more impoverished African Americans, so today’s Republicans look at their own (no longer just Southern) white working-class supporters — whose jobs have been offshored and whose paychecks have been shrunk by indifferent financiers and corporate executives — and steer their resentment toward immigrants and minorities.
    Trump’s distinctive contribution to this decades-long process has been the rawness of his racism, the thuggish tone of his speech and the huge growth of anti-minority police powers that he has championed. In proposing to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and their U.S. citizen children, in suggesting that the government monitor mosques , he has positioned the Republican Party much closer to fascism than to the libertarianism toward which some mistakenly believed the GOP was headed. (The broad appeal that Trump’s proposals have among right-wingers makes you wonder whether their nonsensical phobias about the Democrats’ seizing their guns and throwing them into camps isn’t just a psychological projection of what they’d like to do to their opponents.)
    It’s all a far cry from the spirit of the holiday we celebrate today. For today’s Republicans — including Trump’s rival candidates afraid to call him out for what he is — celebrating Thanksgiving is an act of high hypocrisy.

    Bernie Sanders Gets Immigration Policy Right

    Senator Bernie Sanders released his immigration plan on Tuesday. To read it — and every citizen should — is to be yanked back in time, to an America that not so long ago was having a reasonable immigration discussion and a time when major reform had strong bipartisan support and a shot at becoming law.
    But since the immigration reform bill was killed, in 2013, the party that killed it — the Republicans — has dragged the immigration debate to grotesque depths that go well beyond the usual nativist bigotry. Republican presidential candidates are arguing, in all seriousness, about sealing the border with fantastical 2,000-mile fences and weaponized drones; merging state, local and federal authorities and private prisons into one all-seeing immigration police state; forcibly registering American Muslims; mass-deporting 11 million Mexicans and others in a 21st century Trail of Tears; and turning away thousands of refugees fleeing war and terrorism in the Middle East.
    Mr. Sanders, the Vermont senator seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, turns away from the insanity. His plan starts with the right premise: that immigrants should be welcomed and assimilated, not criminalized and exploited. His proposals seek to uphold American values, bolster the rule of law, bolster the economy and protect and honor families.
    Recognizing Congress’s chronic inaction on immigration, Mr. Sanders promises to use executive authority well beyond what President Obama has done. He would protect young immigrants and their parents from deportation, and give “broad administrative relief” to young immigrants, to the parents of citizens and legal permanent residents and to others who would have been allowed to stay under the 2013 Senate bill. This affirms the humane and sensible principle behind that legislation — that 11 million unauthorized immigrants should stay and contribute, not be isolated and expelled.
    The Sanders plan tackles an ugly truth — that racial profiling and the nation’s vast deportation and detention machinery have made suspected criminals of millions of people who don’t fit the definition. His promise to “decouple” federal immigration enforcement from local policing would be a sharp break from dragnet policies that expanded under President Obama. Mr. Sanders rightly defends “sanctuary city” policies that protect public safety by building trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.
    Mr. Sanders’s promise to increase immigrants’ access to the justice system, with more funding for courts and lawyers, stands in sharp contrast to the Republican view of unauthorized immigrants as a shadow society of criminals who haven’t been deported yet. Mr. Sanders instead sees them as parents, breadwinners, taxpayers, bulwarks of the economy and of the communities they live in, aspiring Americans trapped by unjust laws and oppressive policing.
    Is that so radical? It may sound that way, in today’s climate. But it is a vision that lawmakers of both parties once embraced without question. Ronald Reagan and both Presidents Bush spoke movingly of immigrants as assets to the country to be welcomed through assimilation and citizenship.
    Mr. Sanders has done more than most of the other candidates to seed the campaign with good ideas. But he is still trailing Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose own immigration agenda delivers a similar list of worthy proposals, but with fewer specifics and less breadth than that of Mr. Sanders. We hope she is inspired to match his boldness.
    In this bizarre campaign season, Republican candidates are playing reality-TV versions of themselves, filling the air with lies and irrational promises, while the Democrats — Mr. Sanders especially — are depicted by TV comics as cranks and loons. Mr. Sanders’s immigration plan is a powerful counterpoint to that stereotype. It is reality-based, moderate, practical and hopeful.

    Poll: Clinton maintains her lead in Iowa


    Iowa Democrats still prefer Hillary Clinton, but Bernie Sanders gets higher marks on economic policy, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll of likely caucus participants out Wednesday.

    Clinton received 51 percent support in the latest survey, unchanged from the October poll, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took 42 percent, a slight increase of 2 points, though well within the margin of error. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley earned just 4 percent, with 3 percent saying they are undecided with a little more than two months until the caucuses.

    About 63 percent of likely caucus-goers said they have made up their mind about their candidate, while 36 percent said they have not. Among Clinton backers, the results are statistically the same. Among Sanders supporters, 64 percent have their minds set on the self-described democratic socialist candidate, while 34 percent indicated that they might change their minds.

    Sanders earned a slightly higher net approval rating than Clinton, with 81 percent expressing a favorable view of him and just 7 percent having an unfavorable opinion. About 11 percent said they have not heard enough about him to decide. Clinton also earned 81 percent favorability, though the share of unfavorable opinion is at 15 percent. Just 2 percent said they have not heard enough about Clinton to decide.

    On an issue-level basis, regardless of whom they said they were voting for, participants preferred Clinton in every category except for the economy, where Sanders led 47 percent to 42 percent. A strong plurality of 36 percent selected the economy as the most important issue out of a list including climate change (15 percent), foreign policy (12 percent) and health care (11 percent), among others.

    In the days following the Paris terrorist attacks, just 5 percent ranked terrorism as the most important issue. About 80 percent of Iowa Democrats said they would accept taking Syrian refugees into the state, though Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has sought to block their resettlement. Nearly six in 10 — 58 percent — opposed sending ground troops to fight Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria, while just 33 percent supported it.
    The poll was conducted Nov. 16-22, surveying 543 likely Iowa Democratic voters via landlines and cellphones. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

    Read more: