Archive

September 2nd, 2016

Reality dawns on Donald

    The massive impracticality of Donald Trump's grand plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, not to mention the cruelty that would be imposed by the "deportation force" he has suggested, is beginning to occur to him.

    While acknowledging "there certainly can be a softening, because we're not looking to hurt people," Trump also said he wanted to "weed out the bad ones" with criminal records. Thus he finds himself struggling to reassure his faithful that his anti-immigration proposal still opposes "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants, even as he yields to new advice to court immigrant and other minority communities so far hostile to him.

    In most of his television comments of recent days, Trump has found it difficult to square his original no-exceptions scheme with obvious attempts to put a humane face on the plan. It has generated widespread fear and resentment among Hispanic and other immigrant communities to which he has belatedly begun to reach out for support of his presidential bid.

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Race Issues Dominate White House Race (part 1)

    Donald Trump, who is commanding all of 1 percent of Black voters, according to an impartial Quinnipiac poll, says he could get as much as 95 percent of the Black vote in a second term. In June 2011, he had said, “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.” It’s nothing less than political hyperbole in a campaign for a first term, and meant to get a few thousand more votes in key states. However, Trump’s past actions don’t mitigate whatever future plans he has.

    In 1973, the Department of Justice sued Trump Management for civil rights violations for refusing to rent apartments to Blacks and Latinos who wished to live in complexes that housed mostly whites. Trump, who was the corporation’s president at the time, agreed he would drop a $100 million counter-suit, would provide lists of vacancies in the 14,000 apartments Trump Management owned, and would cease discriminating against minority applicants in exchange for the Department of Justice dropping felony charges. Three years later, the Department of Justice again filed against Trump for not fulfilling his promise.

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Police misconduct here? It's a secret.

    This month, the Justice Department released a report confirming what Baltimore residents have long known: The city's police department suffers from rampant racial bias. But the problem of police misconduct is not limited to Baltimore or the nearly two dozen other cities under investigation by the Justice Department. The nationwide epidemic persists, in large part, because of laws and policies that screen police misconduct from public view.

    For an example of how jurisdictions across the country obstruct public access to misconduct information, the Justice Department need look no further than the District of Columbia, where I work as a public defender. In Washington, police misconduct files are kept secret by the D.C. police department and the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), an entity charged with investigating certain types of misconduct.

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Clinton's image remains clouded by press conference phobia

    My Webster's Dictionary defines "phobia" as "any persistent irrational and excessive fear of some particular thing or situation." That seems to fit Hillary Clinton's attitude toward the commonplace press conference, the traditional exchange between politicians and the news media.

    She hasn't held one since last Dec. 15, a span of 254 days and counting. What, one might reasonably ask, is she afraid of?

    Her presidential campaign manager, a courteous young fellow named Robby Mook, was politely questioned about the matter the other day by a former George W. Bush communications aide with some experience in running press conferences, Nicole Wallace, on MSNBC.

    She couched the question in the guise of a helpful suggestion, taking note of the criticism of Hillary as excessively secretive and private. "You have a perception problem on the question of honesty and trustworthiness," the professional flack noted. "Why wouldn't you put her out there to answer questions that she could certainly handle...?"

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September 1st

The Dumbed Down Democracy

    Are you smarter than an immigrant? Can you name, say, all three branches of government or a single Supreme Court justice? Most Americans, those born here, those about to make the most momentous decision in civic life this November, cannot. And most cannot pass the simple test aced by 90 percent of new citizens.

    Well, then: Who controlled the Senate during the 2014 election, when control of the upper chamber was at stake? If you answered Dunno at the time, you were with a majority of Americans in the clueless category.

    But surely now, when election news saturation is thicker than the humidity around Lady Liberty’s lip, we’ve become a bit more clue-full. I give you Texas. A recent survey of Donald Trump supporters there found that 40 percent of them believe that ACORN will steal the upcoming election.

    ACORN? News flash: That community-organizing group has been out of existence for six years. ACORN is gone, disbanded, dead. It can no more steal an election than Donald Trump can pole vault over his Mexican wall.

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A city of 50 million? China wants three of them

    By any measure, Shanghai is one of the world's biggest cities. It's home to more than 24 million people. Its subway system is the longest ever built, extending to its rural limits. Crowds are so thick that burly "shovers" get paid to help pack the trains. Now the local government is saying enough is enough: Documents released this week reveal that Shanghai intends to admit a mere 800,000 new residents over the next 24 years, on its way to becoming an "excellent global city."

    A population cap on one of China's most dynamic locales may seem impractical. But the government is actually thinking bigger: The plan envisions Shanghai as the high-end hub at the center of a massive "city cluster" comprising 30 urban areas -- with a staggering total population of 50 million.

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The Misery of the Mini-Trumps

    In his race against Marco Rubio to become the Republican nominee for one of Florida’s two seats in the Senate, the rich, brash homebuilder Carlos Beruff could not be welding himself more tightly to Donald Trump.

    A recent television ad of his attacked Rubio for not being as tough as Trump. He affirmed and then one-upped Trump’s past call for a ban on Muslim immigrants, suggesting a prohibition against anyone from the Middle East except Israel.

    His tweets are Trumpian, including this proclamation: “I won’t read a bunch of political crap off a teleprompter.” The Miami New Times crowned him “the Cuban-American Donald Trump.” “Little Trump of Florida,” said the publication Roll Call.

    So how’s that working out for Beruff?

    Not so well.

    Polls put him anywhere from 30 to 60 points behind Rubio in the primary, which takes place Tuesday. He trailed by double-digit margins even before Trump wanly and dutifully signaled support for Rubio earlier this month.

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The Alt-Right Is All Wrong

    Hillary didn’t hang her head and cry, after she shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

    She went outside with a big smile and sampled chocolate truffles served on silver and gold trays by a local sweets shop.

    After getting steadily bolder at rallies about puncturing her former friend Donald Trump, Clinton channeled Johnny Cash’s song and delivered a coup de grâce so devastating that commentators predicted it will be known simply as the Reno speech. A senior citizen in the crowd raised his fist as he passed the press pen at Truckee Meadows Community College and used a vulgarism to brag that Clinton had kicked Trump in a highly sensitive place.

    “Of course there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment,” Clinton said. “But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”

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Meditating on Trump's dark soul

    A week's worth of daily meditation readings in the publication "Forward Day by Day" put me in a different frame of mind as I approached this column. "If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil . . . then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday" was one of the scripture passages. "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment" was another.

    Stop running around "looking for and finding fault with everything, playing referee, throwing flags, calling strikes, putting people into penalty boxes," cautioned a meditation.

    "Judging with right judgment," read another, "might also mean looking for things that are right in others as we dig below the surface to understand where they are coming from - sometimes it's a place deserving of applause, not criticism."

    It was with that mind-set that I approached the keyboard.

    And then I thought of Donald Trump.

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Donald Trump tries to leverage a high-profile slaying into a campaign appeal

    The death of Nykea Aldridge on Friday afternoon is a death of the sort that's become sadly familiar in Chicago this summer. A young mother fatally shot on the street - this time accidentally, after hundreds of others that were intentional. What made Aldridge's death unusual is that she had a famous relative, Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade.

    Wade tweeted about his cousin's death, in a call to address the gun violence that has plagued the city.

    Wade's hashtag, #EnoughIsEnough, was a slogan used at the start of ESPN's annual awards show this year by Wade and other basketball stars to try to draw attention to the problem of gun violence. "The end of gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, has to stop," Wade said during the program. "Enough. Enough is enough."

    Wade wasn't the only one to tweet about Aldridge's death. So did Donald Trump, on Saturday morning.

    Trump's message was different.

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