Democracy Now! - December 16, 2015

On Tuesday, top Republicans in the Senate rejected a move by congressional Democrats to extend bankruptcy protection laws to Puerto Rico. This means Puerto Rico is now just two weeks away from the biggest municipal bond default in U.S. history. We get analysis from Democracy Now! co-host Juan González.

The nine leading Republican presidential candidates squared off last night in the first debate since Donald Trump shook up the race by proposing to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Much of the debate focused on national security, with several candidates pushing for increasing the size of the U.S. military, escalating the wars in the Middle East and expanding the power of the National Security Agency. "Tens of thousands of people having cellphones with ISIS flags on them? I don’t think so, Wolf. They’re not coming to this country," Trump said. "And if I’m president and if Obama has brought some to this country, they are leaving. They’re going. They’re gone." We speak to Arun Kundnani, author of "The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror."

Tuesday’s debate was held in Las Vegas at the Venetian casino, owned by Republican billionaire backer Sheldon Adelson. Adelson and fellow billionaire Donald Trump held a private meeting before the event. We speak to former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, distinguished senior fellow with Demos, on the state of the Republican race.

During Tuesday’s debate, radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Dr. Ben Carson if he was ruthless enough to wage war. "You are OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians?" Hewitt asked. Carson, a neurosurgeon, responded, "You got it. You got it." We speak to Zaid Jilani of The Intercept and Bob Herbert, distinguished senior fellow with Demos.

In one of the more heated moments in Tuesday’s debate, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio clashed over the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection. Donald Trump called for closing parts of the Internet to help the self-proclaimed Islamic State. "You talk freedom of speech. You talk freedom of anything you want. I don’t want them using our Internet," Trump said.

As Republican candidates vowed to expand the wars in the Middle East, professor Stephen Zunes looks at how most of the candidates ignored how the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped create what became the self-proclaimed Islamic State. "There was a testosterone display put on by men who clearly have little knowledge of the Middle East and the origins of extremism," Zunes said of the debate.

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