10 things you need to know today: July 23, 2016

Alex Wong/Getty Images


1. Hillary Clinton selects Tim Kaine as her running mate

Hillary Clinton has officially selected Sen. Tim Kaine, a Spanish-speaking former governor from the battleground state of Virginia, as her 2016 running mate. “I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, Tim Kaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” she tweeted Friday night. “Tim Kaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it.” The two are expected to appear together Saturday at a public rally held at Miami’s Florida International University.

Source: Twitter, Associated Press

2. Munich gunman dead after killing 10, had no known ISIS ties

A mass shooting at the Munich shopping center Olympia Einkaufszentrum Friday evening left 10 people dead, including the gunman, who has since been identified as an 18-year-old German-Iranian whom authorities say had no apparent ties to an outside terrorist organization. “Based on the searches, there are no indications whatsoever that there is a connection to Islamic State,” said Munich Police Chief Hubertus Andrae in a press conference Saturday, noting that his officers had not found evidence tying the shooter to refugee communities either — but did uncover a history of psychiatric care and an obsession with mass murder. Another 16 people were wounded before the attacker killed himself and three remain in a life-threatening condition.

Source: Reuters, Politico

3. Heavy rains and flooding kill more than 130 in China
At least 130 people have died and dozens more remain missing after torrential rains caused flooding and landslides throughout China since the extreme weather began on Monday. Hit hardest is Hebei Province, located near the capital city of Beijing in the northeast of the country, where 300,000 people have been evacuated and about 80 of the deaths occurred. Meteorologists say additional rainstorms are expected in coming days, and authorities estimate some 8 million people have been affected already.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Associated Press

4. Donald Trump leaves Cleveland with bizarre Cruz-centered rant
The day after formally accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump on Friday spent his first address of the general election re-hashing the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy — and whether Sen. Ted Cruz’s father Rafael was involved in the plot. Cruz pointedly refused to endorse Trump in his Wednesday address to the Republican National Convention, and in part said the decision was because Trump had repeatedly attacked his family during the primaries. “All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer, there was a picture of [Rafael] and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast,” Trump said during his final speech in Cleveland. “What did I do?” Trump also mentioned that if Cruz were to in fact offer his endorsement, he “will not accept it.”

Source: Fox News, CBS News

5. Leaked DNC emails reveal bias against Bernie Sanders

A massive leak of Democratic National Committee internal emails Friday revealed DNC Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall considered using Bernie Sanders’ religious beliefs against him. Long presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s primary rival, Sanders is Jewish, but he never made faith a central issue of his campaign. The leaked emails show Marshall asking several DNC officials to “get someone to ask [Sanders] his belief,” thinking that question could hurt Sanders because “I think I read he is an atheist.” The DNC was suspected of tilting the primary toward Clinton given the odd debate schedule and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s known support for the former secretary of state.

Source: The Intercept, The Washington Post

6. Britain is not ready to go through with Brexit, but France is
The United Kingdom isn’t ready to go through with the exit from the European Union its voters endorsed in the Brexit referendum in June — but other EU members prefer that the process not drag on. “Britain needed a bit of time to organize itself and reflect on the way it should respond,” said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin on Saturday. “But the time should not be indefinite. Uncertainty is damaging, also economically, and in particular for Great Britain. So one needs to engage in negotiations as soon as possible.” The president of France and prime minister of Ireland have likewise urged all reasonable speed.

Source: Reuters, BBC News

7. Florida man arrested in record $1 billion Medicare fraud scam
Federal agents representing the Justice Department, the FBI, and Health and Human Services arrested a Florida man Friday on charges of perpetrating the largest Medicare scam in U.S. history. Philip Esformes of Miami Beach is accused of defrauding taxpayers of $1 billion through his 20 skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities in the Miami-Dade area. “The magnitude of alleged false claims in this scheme is staggering and outrageous, even by South Florida healthcare fraud standards,” said U.S. attorney Wifredo Ferrer.

Source: Miami Herald

8. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke announces Senate run in Louisiana
Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke announced Friday he is running for Senate in the state of Louisiana. A Holocaust denier and white nationalist, Duke served one term as a state representative in Louisiana over 20 years ago, representing a suburb of New Orleans. “I believe in equal rights for all,” Duke said in his video announcement. “However, what makes me different is I also demand respect for the rights and the heritage of European-Americans.” He also praised Donald Trump, saying he was “overjoyed” to see Trump “embrace” his viewpoints. The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately condemned Duke’s candidacy.

Source: Associated Press, Politico

9. Obama vetoes legislation to trim ex-presidents’ pay
In just the 11th veto of his time in office, President Obama on Friday rejected the “Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2016,” a bill which would have capped former presidents’ expense accounts at $200,000 a year and phased out presidential pensions for former executives who independently make at least $400,000 annually. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the veto was issued out of concern that the bill would “immediately terminate salaries and all benefits to staffers carrying out the official duties of former Presidents” and require the government to “immediately terminate leases, and remove furniture.” Earnest indicated that Obama would consider signing a revised version of the legislation.

Source: Washington Examiner, USA Today

10. Russian priest sets world record for solo air balloon circumnavigation
A 64-year-old Russian adventurer and Orthodox priest named Fedor Konyukhov landed in Australia Saturday and in doing so completed his record-setting hot air balloon circumnavigation. Konyukhov began his journey July 12 and traveled around the globe in just 11 days, 6 hours, living in a gondola measuring around 6 feet in each direction. “He’s landed, he’s safe, he’s sound, he’s happy,” said Konyukhov ‘s flight coordinator, John Wallington. “It’s just amazing.” The previous record, held by an American named Steve Fossett, was 13 days, 8 hours.

Source: Associated Press, Reuters

Donald Trump’s nomination is the first time American politics has left me truly afraid

trump 22.JPG

The above image is a screen-shot of the video Ezra Klein leads with in the following article:

VOX – Ezra Klein

Tonight, Donald J. Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president of the United States.

And I am, for the first time since I began covering American politics, genuinely afraid.

Donald Trump is not a man who should be president. This is not an ideological judgment. This is not something I would say about Mitt Romney or Marco Rubio. This is not a disagreement over Donald Trump’s tax plan or his climate policies. This is about Trump’s character, his temperament, his impulsiveness, his basic decency.

Back in February, I wrote that Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he’s a racist, a sexist, and a demagogue, but he’s also a narcissist, a bully, and a dilettante. He lies so constantly and so fluently that it’s hard to know if he even realizes he’s lying. He delights in schoolyard taunts and luxuriates in backlash.

He has had plenty of time to prove me, and everyone else, wrong. But he hasn’t. He has not become more responsible or more sober, more decent or more generous, more considered or more informed, more careful or more kind. He has continued to retweet white supremacists, make racist comments, pick unnecessary fights, contradict himself on the stump, and show an almost gleeful disinterest in building a real campaign or learning about policy.

He has, instead, run a campaign based on stoking fear and playing to resentment. His speech tonight invoked a nightmarish American hellscape that doesn’t actually exist. His promise to restore order made him sound like the aspiring strongman his critics fear him to be. “I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end,” he said. “Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.”

Here is what we know — truly know — about Trump. Here is why he should not be president.

Trump is vindictive. So far, the unifying theme of Trump’s convention is that the leader of the opposition party should be thrown in jail. Trump didn’t like the Washington Post’s coverage of his campaign, so he barred its reporters from his rallies and threatened to use the power of the presidency to bring an antitrust suit against the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos.

He was upset that Ohio didn’t vote for him, so he sat its delegation in the cheap seats, even though the state is hosting the convention. He was angry about an interview his ex-ghostwriter gave to the New Yorker, so he sent his lawyers after him. He hates the protesters who interrupt his campaigns, so he said he would look into paying the legal fees of a supporter who sucker-punched one of them.

Imagine Donald Trump with the powers of the presidency. Imagine what he could do — what he would do — to those who crossed him.

Trump is a bigot. Donald Trump kicked off his campaign calling Mexican immigrants murderers and rapists. He responded to Ted Cruz’s surge in Iowa by calling for a ban on Muslim travel. He sought to discredit a US-born judge by saying his rulings were suspect because of his “Mexican heritage.” Trump’s campaign is certainly the first time in my memory that a sitting speaker of the House has had to describe something his party’s nominee said as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

This is not a man who should be put in charge of an increasingly diverse country that needs to find allies in an increasingly diverse world.

Trump is a sexist. Stories of Trump’s casual sexism abound, but during the campaign, it was women who questioned him who felt the full force of his misogyny. The first Republican debate, for instance, was hosted by Fox News and moderated by Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace. Kelly wasn’t obviously tougher on Trump than her colleagues, but she was the antagonist he focused on, retweeting a follower who said she was “a bimbo” and saying she had “blood coming out of her … wherever.”

After Carly Fiorina challenged him in a debate, Trump said to Rolling Stone, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” After Hillary Clinton needed to take a bathroom break during a debate, Trump told the crowd, “It’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting.”

It’s not just during political campaigns that this side of Trump emerges. Trump once toldhis friend Philip Johnson that the secret to women was “[y]ou have to treat ’em like shit.”

Trump is a liar. Trump boasts constantly that he had the judgment and foresight to oppose the Iraq War. But he didn’t. On September 11, 2002, Trump was asked by Howard Stern whether he supported the invasion of Iraq. “Yeah, I guess so,” he replied. Trump has not sought to explain these comments or offer evidence of an alternative judgment he offered elsewhere. He just lies about this, and he does so often.

But that’s true for Trump across many issues. He says his health care plan will insure everyone, when it will do nothing of the kind. He says his tax plan raises taxes on the wealthy when it actually cuts them sharply. Trump has lied about his net worth, hisreasons for not releasing his tax returns, and his charitable donations. He lies easily, fluently, shamelessly, constantly.

Trump is a narcissist. Trump’s towering self-regard worked for him as a real estate developer. His real business was licensing his name out for building, menswear, golf courses, steaks. A bit of a narcissism is necessary to become a global brand. But the trait is maladaptive in a presidential candidate.

The most recent example was the 28 minutes he spent talking about himself when he was supposed to be introducing Mike Pence, his vice presidential candidate, for the first time. The most grotesque example was when he responded to the deadliest mass shooting in American history by tweeting, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”

Trump admires authoritarian dictators for their authoritarianism. When MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked Trump about his affection for Vladimir Putin, who “kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries,” Trump replied, “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

But it’s not just Putin. Trump has praised Saddam Hussein because “he killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights.” He said “you’ve got to give [Kim Jong Un] credit. He goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss. It’s incredible.” It’s not just that Trump admires these authoritarians; it’s that the thing he admires about them is their authoritarianism — their ability to dispense with niceties like a free press, due process, and political opposition.



10 things you need to know today: July 22, 2016

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


1. Trump accepts Republican nomination, promises ‘law and order’
Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday, telling convention delegates that the country is in a “moment of crisis” and promising to “restore law and order.” The billionaire businessman and former reality TV star unleashed a sharp attack of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, saying that as President Obama’s secretary of state she built a legacy of “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.” Before Trump spoke, his daughter Ivanka tried to soften his image, saying her father “is color blind and gender neutral.”

Source: The New York Times

2. Roger Ailes resigns as Fox News chief
Roger Ailes resigned on Thursday as head of Fox News after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment. Ailes led the conservative cable news channel for 20 years, building it from scratch into a money-making ratings juggernaut. He reportedly stands to get a $40 million exit package. Rupert Murdoch, the 85-year-old executive co-chairman of the news channel’s parent — 21st Century Fox — will take over as acting CEO until a permanent replacement is hired.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, MarketWatch

3. Hillary Clinton expected to announce VP pick
Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her vice-presidential pick on Friday. Democrats close to her say Sen. Tim Kaine, a Spanish-speaking former governor from the battleground state of Virginia, is at the top of her short-list. Clinton also reportedly has been considering Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. Kaine and Vilsack are considered favorites, because Clinton reportedly wants a strong governing partner with extensive experience who is ready for the presidency.

Source: CNN, The Wall Street Journal

4. French prosecutor says Nice attacker had help
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Thursday that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the Tunisian-born man who killed 84 people with a truck in Nice, France, plotted the July 14 attack for months with “support and accomplices.” Police are investigating five suspects who were taken into custody after Bouhlel plowed through a crowd at the end of a Bastille Day fireworks show. One suspect allegedly told Bouhlel via Facebook, “Load the truck with tons of iron and cut the brakes. I’ll look brother.”

Source: CNN

5. North Miami investigates controversial police shooting
Authorities in North Miami, Florida, have opened an investigation into the shooting of an unarmed black man named Charles Kinsey. Police shot Kinsey in the leg as he was lying down with his arms in the air. A bystander caught part of the encounter on smartphone video. Kinsey is a therapist at an assisted living facility, and he was trying to care for an autistic man who was sitting in the street holding a toy truck. A local Police Benevolent Association official said the officer, fearing for Kinsey’s life, fired at the other man, but accidentally hit Kinsey.

Source: The Washington Post

6. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson leads in poll of military members
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson leads Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump among active duty military service members, according to a new non-scientific poll of 3,500 respondents by military personality “Doctrine Man.” More than 38 percent of the service members polled said they preferred Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico. Trump had the support of 30.9 percent of respondents, and Clinton just 14.1 percent. A recentMilitary Times poll showed Trump leading Clinton 2-1 among active military personnel, with both highly unpopular but still leading Johnson.

Source: The Hill

7. Two-year hunt for Malaysia Airlines plane to be suspended
Malaysia, Australia, and China have jointly decided to suspend the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 once the hunt for wreckage is completed in the 46,300-square-mile area being examined now, ministers from the three countries announced Friday. The plane disappeared more than two years ago on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. The plane is believed to have turned off course, and finally headed south into the Indian Ocean west of Australia. Officials said the hunt could resume “should credible new information emerge.”

Source: The Associated Press

8. Baton Rouge honors officers killed in ambush
Mourners lined up on Thursday to attend funerals and memorial services for the three law enforcement officers — Baton Rouge police officers Matthew Gerald and Montrell Jackson and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola — who were killed Sunday by a gunman in an ambush. People stood in lines stretching around the funeral home for a chance to pay their respects. “We’ve got so much hatred in the world right now,” one mourner, Sherri Parent, said, dabbing at tears. “People used to have respect for law officers.”

Source: The Associated Press

9. Brazil arrests 10 over alleged Rio Olympics terror plot
Brazil arrested 10 members of an Islamist militant group on Thursdayfor allegedly discussing possible terrorist attacks during the Rio Summer Olympics, which start in two weeks. Federal Police officials said the suspects belonged to a group called the Defenders of Sharia, and had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said the suspects were “complete amateurs” who probably could not have carried out their plans. Brazil stepped up security efforts after last week’s truck massacre in Nice, France.

Source: The New York Times

10. NBA moves All Star game from Charlotte over N.C. bathroom law
The NBA announced Thursday that it is moving the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte in the latest backlash over a state law barring local governments from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances. The state’s Republican-led legislature passed the law, House Bill 2, to block a Charlotte move to let people use public bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. The NBA said it could not respect “the values for which we stand” in a city affected by “the climate created by HB2.” Gov. Pat McCrory said liberal “elites” were misrepresenting a law meant to protect children.

Source: ESPN, USA Today

Nicolle Wallace: The Republican Party ‘Died in This Room Tonight’


Wallace: “We Are Now Represented As A Party By A Man Who Believes In Protectionism, Isolationism, And Nativism”

NICOLLE WALLACE: Listening to this, I was struck by two things I always believed during my two decades in Republican politics. One, the voters always get it right, and two, the Republican Party that I worked for for two decades died in this room tonight. We are now represented as a Party by a man who believes in protectionism, isolationism, and nativism. And those were the forces that George W. Bush, and I believe John McCain too, were most worried about during their times as the leaders of the Republican Party.

CHUCK TODD: Striking comment. You believe the Party died tonight?

WALLACE: Well, the voters picked this guy. This is where the Republican Party is now. They now are attracted to those forces of isolationism and protectionism. But the party I was part of for two decades is dead.


Great teleprompter failures in political history


Brian Williams and Republican strategist Steve Schmidt share stories of important political speeches that skirted the brink of disaster when the teleprompter failed. Duration: 1:20


Dear god it’s finally over thank you thank you thank you

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21:  A screen displays Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivering his speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Creepy photo from creepy speech | attribution: GETTY IMAGES

DAILY KOS – By kos

 This speech wasn’t as interesting as his usual ad-libbing boastful person. But … this was much darker, much uglier. There was little to laugh at. Less to mock. His ego was subdued by his speechwriter, which must’ve been quite the feat in itself, but still, holy shit this was nasty.

We saw every conservative trope, overtly and proudly paraded. Brown people are coming to kill your daughters! Death! Destruction! The stuff about “raising taxes” seemed quite quaint, in comparison.

So this is the new Republican Party. Zombie Reagan is good and buried, his “Morning in America” in the dumpster.

But as ugly as this is, it’s also refreshing. Because Republicans are no longer pretending to be something that they are not. This is it, modern conservatism, raw and uncensored. And despite all the lies and dishonesty we heard tonight, it made this a genuinely honest speech.

Thursday, Jul 21, 2016 · 11:42:19 PM EDT · Mark Sumner

After that speech, celebrating has to seem wrong even to the people in the room.

We’re gonna die! Now, watch these balloons.

Thursday, Jul 21, 2016 · 11:51:25 PM EDT · kos

Thursday, Jul 21, 2016 · 11:52:23 PM EDT · kos


9 Lies In Donald Trump’s Big Speech To The Republican Convention


At the beginning of his big RNC-closing speech, Trump called for “a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation,” and said he would “present the facts plainly and honestly.” He didn’t follow through on that promise.

Trump’s speech was much more scripted than his typically ad-libbed rally performances, which areriddled with falsehoods. But his formal acceptance of the nomination was also full of deception. Here’s a rundown of some of the misleading claims made by the man whose campaign statements were named the “lie of the year” by Politifact.

“America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.”

Trump has called the United States the “highest-taxed nation in the world” several times, but America is not even one of the highest-taxed nations in the world, as he said Thursday night.

Politifact found Trump statements like this objectionable enough to write several articles refutingthis claim, culminating with one titled “For the third time, Donald Trump, U.S. is not ‘highest taxed nation in the world.’”

The fact-checking website looked at the most recent data from 2014 and found that it “shows that the United States wasn’t the most highly taxed by the typical metrics and actually places near the bottom or around the middle of the pack.”

“Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.”

Trump released “blizzard of cherry-picked statistics all directed at one purpose — convincing you that crime has run amok.” The reality is that “crime isn’t just on a downward trend, but it has been for a very long time.”

“In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map.”

The implication here is that Clinton is responsible for ISIS. In Trump’s first joint interview with Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) with 60 Minutes on July 17, Trump said “Hillary Clinton invented ISIS with her stupid policies.”

This is false.

The roots of ISIS date back before the Obama administration and Clinton being named Secretary of State. Though the group did not exist as ISIS until 2010, the fact-checking website Politifact ruledthat the idea that Clinton is responsible for ISIS is “false.” It was called al-Qaida in Iraq in 2004, and then the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006, before turning into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders.”

The notion the system was rigged against Sanders is false. At the end of the primary season, Hillary Clinton had won 55 percent of the roughly 30 million votes cast, compared with Sanders’ 43 percent. That translated to 2,764 total delegates for Clinton and 1,894 for Sanders.

“Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.”

This figure comes from a letter the Department of Homeland Security submitted to Congress in response to questions from staunchly anti-immigrant Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), in which the agency said they have no way to determine how many “aliens” have criminal convictions.

The DHS, however, uses a very broad definition of “criminal.” Most “criminal” undocumented immigrants deported during the Obama years were actually convicted of minor crimes like traffic offenses or simply “illegal entry,” a petty misdemeanor under federal criminal law. Additionally, many immigrants ICE targets as criminals have no criminal conviction at all. Deportations of these “criminal” immigrants have risen drastically under Obama.

“My opponent wants to essentially abolish the 2nd amendment.”

In an interview with ABC last month, Clinton said she wants to strive for “common-sense gun-safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment.” Her website notes she believes “weapons of war have no place on our streets,” but she has never indicated she has any desire to do away with the right to bear arms.

“There’s no way to screen [Syrian] refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from.”

In fact, refugees are incredibly well-vetted. The process takes years, and involves submitting birth certificates, report cards from school, identification cards, driver’s licenses, passports, and old utility bills. As a result, refugees who have been resettled in the United States have a nearly spotless record.

“Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons.”

This is false. As ThinkProgress previously reported, the Iran deal has been successful in dismantling much of Iran’s nuclear program.

Since the economic sanctions on Iran were lifted, the government has responded quickly by reducing 98 percent of its uranium stockpile, dismantling thousands of centrifuges, limiting uranium enrichment and research, and filled its reactor with cement.

Unquestionably, the country is further away from obtaining a weapon than before the deal was struck.

“Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000.”

This statistic is from 2014 and is badly outdated. The most recent report “shows median annual household income in June was $57,206, slightly below the income of $57,826 in January 2000, in 2016 dollars.”

So Trump’s statistic is off by $3,400.


Trump Spent A Lot Of His Speech Fear-Mongering About Crime. These 3 Charts Prove Him Wrong.



Donald Trump wants you to think that America is a scary, scary place. In his speech accepting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Trump claims that “decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.” He unleashes a blizzard of cherry-picked statistics all directed at one purpose — convincing you that crime has run amok and that he is the only thing that can save you.

Don’t believe him. The reality is that crime isn’t just on a downward trend, but it has been for a very long time.


Trump begins his flurry of statistics with several claims. “Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities,” according to the GOP candidate. “In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore.”

Mr. Trump’s first claim is unusually specific. Though it is true that homicides did increase in the nation’s 50 largest cities in 2015, data is not yet available for the overall rate of homicides throughout the nation in that same year. According to the FBI, however, the nation’s homicide rate showed a steady rate of decline from 1995 through 2014:

murder chart

Though it is possible that the 2015 data, when it is available, will show an uptick in homicides, a brief uptick is not inconsistent with an overall downward trend. Between 2004 and 2006, for example, the number of homicides per 100,000 people grew from 5.5 to 5.8. Yet it quickly resumed its decline, reaching a low of 4.5 in 2013 and 2014.

Moreover, while Trump names two cities with unusually large spikes in homicides between 2014 and 2015, in at least one of them that trend appears to be reversing. Homicides are down 9 percent in 2016 when compared to the same period in 2015, according to the Washington, DC police department.

Obama’s Hometown

In an apparent effort to rhetorically link a supposed rise in crime to President Obama, Trump next claims that “in the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 4,000 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.” This is actually a significant step back from a statement Trump made just last week in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, where Trump claimed that “in Chicago where we’ve had almost 5,000 killings, deaths, from the time [Obama] became president.”

In any event, Trump’s newer number is closer to the truth. According to Factcheck.org, 3,506 homicides have occurred in Chicago since 2009, when President Obama took office. Every one of those deaths is a tragedy, but there is no reason to believe that President Obama’s policies have contributed to these homicides. To the contrary, as Factcheck.org also shows in a chart, the homicide rate in Chicago has remained fairly consistent since Obama took office, and it is now about the same as it was during President George W. Bush’s final year in office:


Police Shootings

Trump also warns of an uptick in police shootings, claiming that “the number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year.” This claim, however, is not especially meaningful. The number of police killed in the line of duty was very small in 2015, and it continues to be very small in 2016.

As of July 9, 26 officers were shot and killed in 2016. By the same date in 2015, 18 were shot to death.

The overall trend, according to the BBC, is very promising. As with homicides overall, the rate of police officers killed as a result of criminal activity is trending downward and has done so since at least the early 1980s:

murder chart

The frightening landscape that Trump presents, in other words, does not exist. Or, at least, it doesn’t exist unless you believe in a giant national conspiracy. Trump’s national campaign chair apparently subscribes to that theory:

The truth is out there, Mr. Manafort.


Jon Stewart, Back on ‘Late Show,’ Lets Loose on Fox News and More


When Jon Stewart appeared Monday on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” it was mostly to play comedic foil to that CBS host (and former Comedy Central colleague) in a sketch that featured Mr. Stewart soaking Mr. Colbert in spit-takes of water.

But on Thursday night, when Mr. Stewart returned to “The Late Show” in a live broadcast after the Republican National Convention, it was to breathe fire, in a vehement comic monologue about the 2016 presidential race, the hypocrisies of the news media and his old nemeses at Fox News.

In a 10-minute segment delivered from Mr. Colbert’s “Late Show” desk at the Ed Sullivan Theater and that more closely resembled the format of “The Daily Show,” Mr. Stewart interwove his acidic straight-to-camera delivery with edited television clips, fiercely criticizing the Fox News host Sean Hannity and other TV personalities who he says have bent over backward to support the Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump.

Taking aim at broadcasters and commentators who say they want their country back, Mr. Stewart said: “You feel that you’re this country’s rightful owners. There’s only one problem with that. This country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It never was.”

A full transcript of the segment:

Well, the convention’s over. I thought Donald Trump was going to speak. Ivanka said that he was going to come out. She said he was really compassionate and generous, but then this angry groundhog came out and he just vomited on everybody for an hour. But the Republicans appear to have a very clear plan for America, and they’ve articulated it throughout the convention. One, jail your political opponent. Two, inject Rudy Giuliani with a speedball and Red Bull enema. And then, three, spend the rest of the time scaring the holy bejeezus out of everybody. But I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in gymnastics. With the Rio Olympics coming up, I’m enjoying the gymnastics portion of the program that’s about to occur. That would be the contortions that many conservatives will now have to do, to embrace Donald J. Trump, a man who clearly embodies the things that they have, for years, said that they have hated about Barack Obama.

[Montage of Fox News panelists calling Obama divisive, thin-skinned, authoritarian and narcissistic.]

A thin-skinned narcissist with no government experience. Yes. That sounds exactly like — Barack Obama. So now the right-wing media’s going to have to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, justifying this choice they’ve made. Can they make the turn? They already are. Let’s trace their journey through the eyes of one of their most talented gymnasts. [Photograph of Sean Hannity.] Um, uh, his name escapes me. Let’s just refer to him as Lumpy. Hey, Lumpy. For instance, here’s how Lumpy felt about Barack Obama’s divisiveness.

[Montage of Mr. Hannity describing divisions for which he blames Mr. Obama, including “black versus white” and “old versus young.”]

Cats versus dogs! Batman versus Superman! [Photographs of Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.] That one against the other two! I’ve been out of the business a while, I don’t know what that is. If you don’t like divisiveness, what about when Trump suggested Mexico is sending us their rapists? On Cinco de Mayo, we had the Trump Tower taco bowl, and that’s one of the healing-est meals on the Trump Tower menu. I’m not an expert on racial unity. But I do believe that some of our more vaunted historical leaders in that area did retweet white supremacists less than Trump. So I believe — I’m just saying. Then there was the Obama crony that Lumpy couldn’t stand. His old friend, Teleprompty.

[Clip of Mr. Hannity criticizing Mr. Obama’s use of teleprompters.]

He probably sleeps with the darn thing and then probably doesn’t call it the next day because it didn’t say so on the teleprompter. Lumpy, your 180, please.

[Clip of Mr. Hannity praising Mr. Trump’s use of teleprompters.]

You hate teleprompters! You’re saying now, “Teleprompters are for stupid people, and I thought Trump handled it pretty good.” O.K., inexperience aside. Divisiveness aside. The worst thing about Barack Obama is his elitism.

[Clip of Mr. Hannity asking how in touch Mr. Obama is with the average American, ordering a hamburger with Dijon mustard.]

Yeah, you elitist! You probably eat that burger with your mouth. Instead of acting like a real American and having a Magnum fire it up your ass. Like they serve them at Arby’s. That’s how they serve them, actually, at Arby’s. Meanwhile, here’s how Lumpy feels about the guy who sits in a literal golden throne at the top of a golden tower with his name in gold letters at the top of it, eating pizza with a knife and fork. How do you feel about that guy?

[Clip of Mr. Hannity describing Mr. Trump as a “blue-collar billionaire.”]

That’s not a thing. You know what? It is true, Trump does seem like the kind of guy you want sit down and own a fleet of airplanes with. Look, all that stuff is actually superficial and I’m sure it’s easy for people without ethics or principles to embrace someone who embodies everything that they said they hated about the previous president for the past eight years. Because, really for a president, it’s about what’s inside. And that’s where Lumpy and friends — that’s where they really have found the president lacking.

[Clip of Mr. Hannity criticizing the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and saying he would not go to his church.]

Obama would. He’s the type of Christian that’s, you know, [whispers] not Christian. When the pope said that Trump’s talk about immigration was not Christian, surely that gave Lumpy pause.

[Clip of Mr. Hannity asking how the pope can decide if someone is a Christian in his heart.]

Yeah! Who died and made that guy pope? So let’s just say, for real, here’s where we are. Either Lumpy and his friends are lying about being bothered by thin-skinned, authoritarian, less-than-Christian readers-of-prompter being president. Or they don’t care, as long as it’s their thin-skinned prompter-authoritarian-tyrant-narcissist. You just want that person to give you your country back. Because you feel that you’re this country’s rightful owners. There’s only one problem with that. This country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It never was. There is no real America. You don’t own it. You don’t own patriotism. You don’t own Christianity. You sure as hell don’t own respect for the bravery and sacrifice of military, police and firefighters.

Trust me, I saw a lot of people on the convention floor in Cleveland with their “blue lives matter” rhetoric, who either remained silent or actively fought against the 9/11 first responders’ bill reauthorization. I see you and I see http://cut%20for%20obscenity.

[Mr. Colbert says, “We’re live.”]

We’re live. Never been on a television show with stakes before. So I see you. You’ve got a problem with those Americans fighting for their place at the table. You’ve got a problem with that because you feel like — what’s Representative Steve King’s word for it? Subgroups of Americans are being divisive. Well, if you have a problem with that, take it up with the founders. We hold these truths to be self-evident. [Singing.] “That all men are created equal.” Respect, Lin-Manuel. Those fighting to be included in the ideal of equality are not being divisive. Those fighting to keep those people out are. So, Lumpy, you and your friends have embraced Donald Trump. Clearly, the “c” next to your names don’t stand for constitutional or conservative. But cravenly, convenient —— [Mr. Colbert interrupts with an air horn.]