Texas Open-Carry Laws Blurred Lines Between Suspects and Marchers

Texas Open-Carry Laws Blurred Lines Between Suspects and Marchers

From The New York Times:

The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, described to CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday the amount of confusion the armed protesters initially caused.

He said the event had attracted “20 or 30 people” who “showed up with AR-15 rifles slung across their shoulder.”

“They were wearing gas masks,” Mr. Brown said. “They were wearing bulletproof vests and camo fatigues, for effect, for whatever reason.”

When the shooting started, “they began to run,” he said. And because they ran in the middle of the shooting, he said, the police on the scene viewed them as suspects. “Someone is shooting at you from a perched position, and people are running with AR-15s and camo gear and gas masks and bulletproof vests, they are suspects, until we eliminate that.”

The right-wing fantasy that armed citizens will make everyone safer by firing back during an event like this is exposed for what it is. Armed morons run away just like everyone else, and make the jobs of the trained professionals who are trying to make people safe harder.

58 Trump Conspiracy Theories

58 Trump Conspiracy Theories

Great list of the conspiracy theories Donald Trump traffics in:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump not only surrounds himself with conspiracy theorists, he has spent years pushing conspiracy theories himself, much to the delight of his supporters.

At times, Trump tries to remain evasive about whether he actually believes these conspiracy theories, insisting that he simply “heard” or “read” them somewhere or is just asking a question.

We found at least 58 instances of Trump promoting false conspiracy theories on everything from immigration to President Obama’s birthplace.

Richard Nixon Does Not Endorse Donald Trump

Richard Nixon Does Not Endorse Donald Trump

@dick_nixon with a piece in Foreign Policy:

We’ll see what China has to say about all this. Absent a new trade deal with China, Trump says he’ll impose tariffs on Chinese goods of up to 45 percent. Trump all but dismisses China’s threat in the South China Sea, believing that the economic carrot will make them heel. It won’t. The Chinese are very subtle, and they expect subtlety in return. They equate it with strength. Where there is lack of subtlety, China sees opportunity.

They will surely renegotiate on trade, but in return for the withdrawal of a carrier battle group, or even recognition that the Spratly Islands belong to China. And how will Trump, short-term thinker that he is, refuse the chance to claim victory on his signature issue?

So China and Russia are free to expand. Our commitments are torn up, and Americans are are left with — what? A few more nickels left in their pockets, at the cost of an earthquake across the world. If Japan doesn’t come through with protection payments, will American troops remain to defend them? If not, they’ll be forced to acquire nuclear weapons. Will Turkey align with Russia? Malaysia with China? Pakistan with Iran?

Given that he learns all he needs from watching “the shows,” Trump can’t answer. It doesn’t interest him, either. His thinking resembles your old aunt who’s too blind to read the newspaper — Remember when they made spark plugs in Yonkers? Those were the days. Peace, a chicken in every pot, and, by God, no Mexicans on the factory floor.

It’s a mistake to sneer at it, though. Taft was a fat judge who ran a nation of small farmers and the newly rich; at the time his isolationism was conventional, the result of ignorance. Lindbergh was a bigot who got swallowed up by the Second World War. But Trump is a man for his time. When people have long been poor, when they’re exhausted by 15 years of war and kill themselves with pills for want of jobs, Trump sounds good.

Scratch your neighbor’s back first. Bring the troops home. Make the bastards abroad show their appreciation. Give nothing away for free. “Make America Great Again.”

In spirit, it’s all anyone has the right to expect. But Trump’s penny-pinching, shoelace-staring foreign policy is 150 years out of date. It’s not just an immediate threat to peace — it will permanently discredit and destroy American power in the world.

Donald Trump and the Seven Broken Guardrails of Democracy

Donald Trump and the Seven Broken Guardrails of Democracy

Excellent piece by David Frum on how Trump is destroying the fragile norms and conventions that define our democracy:

The television networks that promoted Trump; the primary voters who elevated him; the politicians who eventually surrendered to him; the intellectuals who argued for him, and the donors who, however grudgingly, wrote checks to him—all of them knew, by the time they made their decisions, that Trump lied all the time, about everything. They knew that Trump was ignorant, and coarse, and boastful, and cruel. They knew he habitually sympathized with dictators and kleptocrats—and that his instinct when confronted with criticism of himself was to attack, vilify, and suppress. They knew his disrespect for women, the disabled, and ethnic and religious minorities. They knew that he wished to unravel NATO and other U.S.-led alliances, and that he speculated aloud about partial default on American financial obligations. None of that dissuaded or deterred them.

And later:

Donald Trump is surely the most policy-ignorant major party nominee of modern times, or perhaps of any time. As with the lies, it’s almost impossible to keep track of the revelations of gaps in his knowledge. The most spectacular may have been talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt’s exposure of the fact that Trump lacked the most basic understanding of the structure and mission of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

It’s a fair generalization that Republicans demand less policy expertise from their national leaders than Democrats have usually expected from theirs. Ronald Reagan was less well-informed than Jimmy Carter; George W. Bush had mastered less detail than Al Gore. Yet both Reagan and Bush had at least proven themselves successful governors of important states. Both men offered clear and plausible presidential platforms, which both men implemented in their first year in office more or less as advertised.

What’s different now is the massive Republican and conservative rejection of the idea that a candidate for president should know anything substantive about governing at all. As of November, 2015, 62 percent of Republicans insisted that “ordinary Americans” would do a better job solving the country’s problems than professional politicians. While 80 percent of Democrats wanted experience in government in the next president, according to post-Super Tuesday 2016 exit polls, only 40 percent of Republicans did so. The larger share, 50 percent, preferred an “outsider.”

The idea that the government is so corrupt that we need an “outsider” who doesn’t know anything about government to come in and shake things up is such a silly fantasy. Government service requires expertise just like any other profession. A reality television star has about as much qualification for being President of the United States as I do in trying to right the ship of a failing steak company. What do I know about steaks, about selling food, food distribution, marketing, retailing, or literally anything having to do with selling steaks? Nothing, so I would fail if I tried. Similarly, if we ever elect one of these “outsider” candidates, we’ll soon discover the same: they have no idea what they’re doing, and they will fail.

More broadly, though, Donald Trump represents an existential threat to our government. It’s important to understand this fundamentally. It’s not just picking the person who would appoint the judges you prefer. In this unique case, it’s picking a person who tramples on all the norms and conventions that make up the civil society that define the legal structures created by the Constitution. Those norms and conventions are hard to build up, and they’re fragile and easy to tear down. People take them for granted, but they shouldn’t. The rapid rate at which the cowards in the Republican Party have bent the knee before the ignorant bully shows how easy these norms can be destroyed.

Jeff Bezos, Riding High, Defends Decision to Buy Washington Post

Jeff Bezos, Riding High, Defends Decision to Buy Washington Post

From an interview with Jeff Bezos at the Code conference, regarding Donald Trump’s claims that The Washington Post was investigating him so he won’t make Amazon pay sales tax if elected President:

On Tuesday, Mr. Bezos reiterated it was “not appropriate” for Mr. Trump to “freeze or chill the media that are examining him.”

“It’s just a fact that we live in a world where half the population of this planet, if you criticize the leader, you’ll go to jail or worse,” Mr. Bezos said. “We live in this amazing democracy with amazing freedom of speech, and a presidential candidate should embrace that.”

Trump Only Cares About Trump

Trump Only Cares About Trump

Always remember that the only thing Trump ever cares about is himself. Never his country, never his party, certainly not the people. Just Trump. There was a good reminder of this in The Washington Post today.

Just days before Rubio offered to speak on Trump’s behalf at the Republican convention, the presumptive nominee declared the 1993 suicide of Vince Foster to be “very fishy,” especially given Foster’s “intimate knowledge of what was going on” with the Clintons. And Trump attacked the Republican governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, for allowing Syrian refugees to be “relocated in large numbers” to her state. “If I was governor,” he said, “that wouldn’t be happening.”

This is Trump on his best behavior, trying (once again) to act “presidential.” A previous column I wrote — examining Trump’s penchant for conspiracy thinking on issues from vaccination to the death of Antonin Scalia — appeared on the same day as Trump’s implication of Hillary Clinton in Foster’s death. One challenge of detailing Trump’s lunacy is the need for hourly updates. His allegation in the Foster case involved the exploitation of a personal tragedy, amounting to the mockery of a family’s loss. It revealed a wide streak of cruelty.

The attack on Martinez demonstrated another less-than-desirable leadership quality. Trump’s charge against her had nothing to do with refugee policy. During her time as governor, just 10 Syrian refugees have been relocated to New Mexico. Trump was attempting to punish Martinez because she has been noncommittal about endorsing him. In making judgments about people, Trump’s primary measure is not ideological or even political. He likes people who support him and disdains people who don’t. So Martinez and liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) are lumped in the same category of lèse-majesté. It doesn’t matter that Martinez is known as an effective Republican governor. Trump demands the unity of adulation. He is incapable of magnanimity.

Of course his claim that Martinez allowed refugees to be “relocated in large numbers” is a lie. He lies so casually, and about so much, that he probably doesn’t even notice he’s doing it.

Ignorance Is Not a Virtue

Ignorance Is Not a Virtue

President Obama:

Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science — these are good things. These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens. That might seem obvious. That’s why we honor Bill Moyers or Dr. Burnell. We traditionally have valued those things. But if you were listening to today’s political debate, you might wonder where this strain of anti-intellectualism came from. So, Class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be. In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real, or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about. And yet, we’ve become confused about this. … when our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they’re not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitists, then we’ve got a problem.

Pretty sad that this needs to be called out explicitly. It should be the implied foundation on which everything else is built. I guess the next speech will be, “Reading and writing is good. Math exists and we should learn about it.”

Donald Trump Masqueraded as Publicist to Brag About Himself

Donald Trump Masqueraded as Publicist to Brag About Himself

The ridiculous clown show continues:

A recording obtained by The Washington Post captures what New York reporters and editors who covered Trump’s early career experienced in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s: calls from Trump’s Manhattan office that resulted in conversations with “John Miller” or “John Barron” — public-relations men who sound precisely like Trump himself — who indeed are Trump, masquerading as an unusually helpful and boastful advocate for himself, according to the journalists and several of Trump’s top aides.

And:

“Actresses,” Miller said in the call to Carswell, “just call to see if they can go out with him and things.” Madonna “wanted to go out with him.” And Trump’s alter ego boasted that in addition to living with Maples, Trump had “three other girlfriends.”

Miller was consistent about referring to Trump as “he,” but at one point, when asked how important Bruni was in Trump’s busy love life, the spokesman said, “I think it’s somebody that — you know, she’s beautiful. I saw her once, quickly, and beautiful . . . ” and then he quickly pivoted back into talking about Trump — then a 44-year-old father of three — in the third person.

In 1990, Trump testified in a court case that “I believe on occasion I used that name.”

But of course, when asked, he lies about it just as casually as he lies about everything else:

“It was not me on the phone. And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that, and it was not me on the phone.”

Then, Friday afternoon, Washington Post reporters who were 44 minutes into a phone interview with Trump about his finances asked him a question about Miller: “Did you ever employ someone named John Miller as a spokesperson?”

The phone went silent, then dead. When the reporters called back and reached Trump’s secretary, she said, “I heard you got disconnected. He can’t take the call now. I don’t know what happened.”

Trump Is Not Going to Change

Trump Is Not Going to Change

From The New York Times:

Donald J. Trump’s behavior in recent days — the political threats to the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan; the name-calling on Twitter; the attacks on Hillary Clinton’s marriage — has deeply puzzled Republicans who expected him to move to unite the party, start acting presidential and begin courting the female voters he will need in the general election.
But Mr. Trump’s choices reflect an unusual conviction: He said he had a “mandate” from his supporters to run as a fiery populist outsider and to rely on his raucous rallies to build support through “word of mouth,” rather than to embrace a traditional, mellower and more inclusive approach that congressional Republicans will advocate in meetings with him on Thursday.

Why has this “deeply puzzled” anyone? Trump continues to be Trump. What a surprise. It’s wishful thinking to believe he’ll shift into something else now that he’s going to be the nominee. All these cowards who were extremely hard on him during the primary but who are now changing their tune should be ashamed. If he was a danger before, he’s a danger now, and he’ll be an even greater danger if he wins in November.