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Using police officers as revenue generators often invites distrust of them

Perhaps you haven’t noticed a certain commonality among many of the recent violent incidents involving police officers and racial minorities: The troubles often arose from enforcement or investigation of petty offenses. Yes, laws are laws, and even relatively piddling ordinances should be obeyed. But when enforcement of petty stuff falls inordinately on certain populations and is calculated mainly to generate revenues for the municipality, something is wrong. In  a broad review of this kind of thing for Mother Jones magazine, Jack Hitt...

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Think Congress will block the nuclear deal with Iran? That’s highly unlikely!

A friendly tip: If you can find a rabid Republican who’s willing to wager coin of the realm on the chances that Congress will block the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, take the bet. And ask the sucker if he or she has any like-minded friends who want to make similar wagers. You see, lots of people apparently don’t understand the equation. Yes, majorities in both houses of the  Republican-controlled Congress are sure to vote against the deal. And some Democatic lawmakers will join with them. But that...

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Huckabee’s reckless rhetoric reflects Trump’s poisonous influence on the process

The equation here is rather simple: Donald Trump has shown in recent weeks that an upstart political candidate can dominate the news and attract followers simply by saying outrageous things. Other candidates soon follow suit, just to gain public notice — and the whole process suffers as a result. We saw this cause-and-effect starkly illustrated the other day with Mike Huckabee’s mindless imitation of Trump’s scurrilous rhetoric. Trump drew widespread notice with his ridiculous generalization that Mexican immigrants to the...

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Lots of Republican kooks still think that Obama is not a real American

One of the more pathetic aspects of Mitt Romney’s effort to deny Barack Obama a second term in the White House a few years ago was the extent to which he or his surrogates portrayed the president as the dreaded “Other,” a “foreign” interloper who’s not really American. “I don’t think he understands America,” Romney said of Obama at one point. “I wish this president would learn how to be an American,” said Romney campaign chairman John Sununu. Obama’s political philosophy “does not comport with the American experience,” Romney said in a...

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Pretty soon, you’ll likely hear lots more talk that Donald Trump is a Democratic plant

So far, my record of predictions regarding Donald Trump is pretty poor. I said he would never actually announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, but he did. Then I said he wouldn’t file the candidacy paperwork, but he did. Then I said he wouldn’t make the financial disclosures, but he did. Well, now I’ve got another Trump prediction: I think we will soon hear a major outcry that he’s just a troublemaker planted by the Democrats to make the Republicans look like fools. There has already been...

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The lies global-warming deniers tell themselves are real whoppers

  In the seven-plus years that I’ve been writing in this space about global warming and climate change, I’ve occasionally mentioned that there are certain cultural aspects to the denialism advanced by some people. Devoutly religious deniers, for example, don’t want to think that God would allow great harm to come to our planet. Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican, is one of these people. Some folks simply have a fundamental disdain for the smarty-pants scientists who are warning us of impending environmental...

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