"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Donald Trump’s Shocking Ignorance, Laid Bare”: He Knows Next To Nothing About The Issues That Would Confront Him

Donald Trump’s ignorance of government policy, both foreign and domestic, is breathtaking. The Republican Party is likely to nominate for president a man who appears to know next to nothing about the issues that would confront him in the job.

Such a sweeping condemnation may sound unfair. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump were already busy tweeting that I’m a “dummy” or something. But if you read the transcript of Trump’s hour-long meeting with the editorial board of The Post, which took place Monday, I don’t see how you can come to any other conclusion.

I should note that I’m not a member of the board and therefore did not attend. But The Post published a full transcript , and it is one of the most chilling documents I’ve read in a long time.

I have argued for many months that Trump should be taken seriously, that he has tapped into a legitimate anger and that he understands the Republican base far better than the party establishment does. I’ve had cordial conversations with him, on the telephone and in television studios, and I agree with those who say he should never be underestimated. So I’m not a reflexive Trump hater. I am, however, appalled at how little he knows — and truly frightened.

The editors and writers at The Post were not playing “gotcha,” as the transcript clearly shows. They asked straightforward questions such as, “Do you see any racial disparities in law enforcement?”

Trump’s response was to give an empty soliloquy, ending with the declaration that “I’m a very strong believer in law enforcement, but I’m also a very strong believer that the inner cities can come back.” Asked twice more whether blacks and whites receive disparate treatment, Trump offered this:

“I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t. I mean, I’ve read both. And, you know, I have no opinion on that. Because frankly, what I’m saying is you know we have to create incentives for people to go back and to reinvigorate the areas and to put people to work. And you know we have lost millions and millions of jobs to China and other countries. And they’ve been taken out of this country, and when I say millions, you know it’s, it’s tremendous. I’ve seen 5 million jobs, I’ve seen numbers that range from 6 million to, to smaller numbers. But it’s many millions of jobs, and it’s to countries all over. Mexico is really becoming the new China. And I have great issue with that.”

No opinion? China? Mexico?

He continued in that vein at length, bemoaning that “you’re losing Pfizer to Ireland,” until yet another attempt was made to get him back to the original question. He finally allowed that disparate treatment of African Americans “would concern me” but said it could be solved, if it existed, by creating “incentives for companies to move in and create jobs.”

He was reminded that tax incentives and enterprise zones have been tried many times. What would be different about his approach?

“I.think what’s different is we have a very divided country,” Trump began. “And whether we like it or not, it’s divided as bad as I’ve ever seen it.” The rambling speech that followed ended with a pledge to be “a great cheerleader for the country.”

On foreign affairs, Trump was even more vague and vapid. Asked about the future of NATO, he was skeptical of the Cold War’s most vital alliance. He complained that we devote “hundreds of billions of dollars to supporting other countries that are, in theory, wealthier than we are.”

Called on that figure, he dialed it back to mere “billions.” His proposed solution was to “structure a much different deal . . . a much better deal.” I can’t help but imagine German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande being treated like minor partners in building some luxury condos or a new golf course.

Asked about Russian aggression in Ukraine, Trump said that “other people” should be doing more. Asked about China’s bullying actions in the South China Sea, he seemed to indicate he would be prepared to punish the Chinese with a trade war — but later took it back and said he wanted to be unpredictable.

I won’t even get into Trump’s lengthy defense of the size of his hands. Please read the transcript. Then decide whether it’s conceivable to put a man who knows so little in charge of so much.


By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, March 24, 2016

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Domestic Policy, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Before Things Get Much Worse”: We Must Address Racial Disparity In Police Shootings

Employees at two Walmart stores in St. Louis County, Missouri stripped store shelves of ammunition this week in fear of looting as protesters continue to fill the streets in the beleaguered town of Ferguson.

It’s indicative of the high tensions that have not relented since August, when a white Ferguson police officer shot an unarmed African-American teenager. Anger over the death of Michael Brown has not subsided one iota, in part because of a second shooting of another black man. In that case, an 18-year-old died. Police say he had shot at an off-duty officer who was in uniform. The man’s family disputes that contention, claiming he was unarmed.

For those apt to dismiss the outrage as overreaction, listen up. A new snapshot synopsis of police killings makes a searing point.

“Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts — 21 times greater,” states a new study of federal data by ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative journalism outfit.

ProPublica analyzed more than 12,000 fatal police shootings from 1980 to 2012. The researchers narrowed the focus to three years’ data, 2010 through 2012, to estimate the disparity between black and white deaths at the hands of police.

This is one way to quantify that disparity, according to the report: Police would have to have killed 185 white young men during those three years — more than one every week — to even out the racial imbalance found.

Let’s be honest. If police were killing white males at such rates, there would be national outcry to rein in law enforcement. But that’s not the case. This is where the tough conversations racial prejudice and policing ought to start.

I can hear the “yeah, but”s forming in the minds of many readers.

Aren’t a lot of these killings justified? After all, the young man in St. Louis was allegedly shooting at an officer. How can the ProPublica statistics possibly be relevant?

Fair questions. And they are ones the study’s authors also acknowledged as shortcomings of their work. More information is needed before broad assessments can be made.

The data ProPublica studied are reported by police departments to the FBI. But that’s a problem. The data are only as strong as American police departments’ collective willingness to be forthcoming. And not all of them report such statistics, much less in a way that makes apples-to-apples comparisons possible.

Simply to show a racial disparity does not mean that white-against-black racism is the cause. The study’s authors pointed out that many of the shootings of black people are by black officers.

So why are black males still at a higher risk?

The kneejerk reply is to point to higher crime rates in American cities, particularly within neighborhoods where drugs, gangs and the resulting crime flourish.

But that doesn’t take into account the role of police in inciting violent confrontations. An important part of effective policing is de-escalating potentially dangerous situations. Many departments go to great lengths to track and analyze their own statistics, looking for trends and disparities that red-flag profiling or overly aggressive actions by officers.

Ask around in any black community and it’s not hard to elicit stories of threatening and demeaning personal encounters with police. And as dashboard camera footage and other video evidence occasionally shows with glaring clarity, frightened cops sometimes go berserk on peaceful black men and women.

Still, a point the new study underlines is the one that is the most difficult for aggrieved communities to accept: We still do not know enough about instances when police kill.

Short of litigating every such case, there must be more cooperation between police and the communities they serve to share better data about police shootings. That relationship will take time to cultivate, and in places like Ferguson the possibility seems light years away.

The number of young men of color shot by police needs to come down. It’s in the best interests of police to step out from behind the “blue shield” and commit to lowering them. Likewise, community leaders need to be aggressive and honest about who in their neighborhoods merits police attention — it’s no use shielding troublemakers.

Police in Ferguson and many other communities across the country need to regain public trust. The benefits to all of a more transparent, cooperative relationship are hard to understate.

Clearly, sentiments are dangerously raw in many American cities. Minority communities are fed up with seeing their young men die. We must act now to change that, or we will discover that things can get much worse.


By: Mary Sanchez, Opinion-Page Columnist for The Kansas City Star; The National Memo, October 22, 2014

October 23, 2014 Posted by | Black Men, Ferguson Missouri, Law Enforcement | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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