- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 22, 2015

They are all women and children fleeing wartime horror: So goes the Democratic narrative about Syrian refugees that has become a handy political vehicle, presented in emotionally charged terms. The White House indulges in the telling. So do presidential hopefuls like Sen. Bernard Sanders, who has already launched a public petition on the matter.

“Now is not the time for us to succumb to racism and bigotry. In this moment, it is particularly important that we not allow ourselves to be divided by the anti-immigrant hysteria that Republican presidential candidates are ginning up,” advises the petition, which supports the resettlement of 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S.

“If the day comes when America says ‘close the gates, build the wall,’ then I say take down the Statue of Liberty, because we’ve gone to a different place,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared on Facebook.

Americans’ practical concerns about terrorism on their own turf now appear to outweigh their sympathy. A Fox New poll released Sunday finds that 67 percent of voters oppose the idea of taking in the Syrians; that includes 86 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats. Another 77 percent overall say it’s “likely” that a terrorist will slip in among the innocents and succeed in carrying out an attack; 93 percent of GOPers and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

A new Rasmussen Reports poll has similar findings: 77 percent of voters say the Syrian resettlement is a “national security risk,” 63 percent oppose President Obama’s plans for this, and 60 percent are against resettling the refugees in their own state. Republican opposition is more pronounced than Democrats in all three scenarios.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll released Friday finds that 55 percent of Americans say the U.S. does not play a “special role in the world” to provide a home for refugees; 78 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats agree. Another 50 percent overall say the U.S. is not responsible for Syrian refugees in particular. Three-fourths of the GOPers and a third of the Democrats agree. More numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.


“This is a civilizational struggle between the values of freedom and liberty and radical Islamic terror. What happened in Paris could happen here. There is no middle ground. These aren’t disgruntled or disempowered people. These are radical terrorists who want to kill us because we let women drive, because we let girls go to school. I’m Marco Rubio. I approve this message because there can be no arrangement or negotiation. Either they win or we do.”

— Message from Sen. Marco Rubio in his campaign’s first major TV spot, to begin running nationwide Tuesday.


“We’re going to continue to have a spirited campaign. But I’d rather be a Republican than a Democrat. None of our candidates are socialists — and none of our candidates are under FBI investigation.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, during an appearance Saturday at the Family Leader Presidential Forum in Des Moines, Iowa — also attended by Ben Carson, Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.


The Grand Old Party still has many grass-roots fans. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the organization raised a record-breaking $8.7 million in October, bringing their total in the 2016 election cycle to $89.3 million. Ninety-nine percent of the donations are $200 or less; the average donation was $69.

“We’re seeing great enthusiasm for the GOP,” says Mr. Priebus, who notes that the party is in the midst of a full-scale general election field operation, building a data and field infrastructure aiming to defeat Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, while recruiting volunteers and voters “in every community and every battleground state.”


“Standoff Suicide Bomber Detection System (SSBDS)”

— An experimental multisensor device developed by the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency, which measures radiation at the mid-wave and long wave infrared as well as the terahertz wavelengths. It is meant to detect a terrorists’s bomb vest from up to 100 meters away.

“SSBDS wasn’t intended for use in a civilian setting or a Western city but to protect troops on forward operating bases. But the need for systems like it has evolved tremendously — and rapidly,” writes Patrick Tucker, technology editor for Defense One, who saw a recent demonstration of the device.


A massive new Harvard School of Public Health analysis of health data from 208,501 U.S. doctors and nurses over 30 years has reached this conclusion: “Higher consumption of total coffee, caffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated coffee was associated with lower risk of total mortality.”

The researchers found that nonsmokers who drank three to five cups of coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to die of any cause versus nondrinkers — “including cardiovascular disease, stroke, neurological conditions, and suicide,” notes a HealthDay News overview of a very complex study.


56 percent of U.S. voters say the entire world should help refugees, not just neighboring nations; 42 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

53 percent overall say people fleeing war have the right to seek refuge elsewhere; 38 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 65 percent of Democrats agree.

50 percent overall say the U.S. should accept fewer refugees from Syria; 76 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent overall say the risk of terrorism is “so great” that the U.S. should accept no Syrian refugees; 73 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall say the U.S. should provide refuge for anyone fleeing war; 17 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 998 registered U.S. voters conducted Nov. 16-18.

• Churlish remarks, happy talk to [email protected]

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