When George Lincoln Rockwell, the American Nazi Party leader, was shot and killed in 1967 it was wrong. Same with George Wallace (who was gravely wounded and paralyzed, not killed) in 1972 or with Meir Kahane in 1990 - precisely because as a society we value free speech and we also don't allow civilians to kill people they don't like. But just as with these other worthies, we should prosecute the offenders (perhaps difficult in this case since at least the two on the scene are dead) without valorizing people who run hate groups. It's really that simple. There is zero contradiction between the two judgments. Pam Geller is a cancerous presence in the US political conversation; same with her pal Geert Wilders, the flamboyant and parodic far-right, racist Dutch parliamentarian she brought for her Muhammed cartoon event down in Texas. Political violence is the greatest corrosive of free and ordered societies. But a hate group is a hate group the day after someone takes a shot at them just like it was the day before.
Details are still coming in on the reported shooting at a Muhammed cartoon contest being held in suburban Dallas by Pamela Geller's anti-Islam group American Freedom Defense Initiative.
The Dallas Morning News is reporting that two gunmen were killed by police:
Chris Christie: This is excellent news for Chris Christie.
TPM's in-house Bridgegate-a-palooza expert (and expert on so much more) Brian Murphy is down at the court house in Newark watching today's Bridgegate developments. And I just got off the phone with him to get a read out on what was discussed in the court room proceeding today about just what David Wildstein is pleading guilty to and factual claims he is making as part of his plea.
Here are the key points
The Bridgegate scandal is being blown wide open by prosecutors in New Jersey this morning. David Wildstein as expected pleaded guilty and admitted that the scheme to close the bridge was revenge against the mayor of Fort Lee.
Wildstein also admitted to conspiring with two other Christie allies, Bill Baroni at the Port Authority and Bridget Kelly, who was Christie's deputy chief of staff. Baroni and Kelly have reportedly been indicted, too, the NYT is reporting.
That hissing sound is the remaining air coming out of the Christie 2016 balloon.
More soon ...
There's so much good in Catherine Thompson's write up on the different far-right theories about just why President Obama is plotting the military takeover of Texas and the rest of the Southwest and just what he plans to do with it after he takes it over. My theory that he's going to establish Obamacare exchanges by force if the Supreme Court throws out subsidies doesn't seem to have caught on at all. But by far the best - and I mean best - is the theory that the mysteriously shuttered Walmart big box locations are being prepped to serve as staging areas for the Chinese troops Obama brings in to take away people's guns or transit points for the US occupation army with underground tunnels connecting the different locations. When I first talked to Katie's editor about the piece I was told that part of the theory was that the shuttered Walmarts were going to be used as detention centers for patriots. And I thought, wtf?: is this whole thing just one big lay up for critical theory professors with too much time on their hands? (We've got constitutional conservative patriots on aisle 9, LOTS OF 'EM!) Alas, it turns out the detention center part wasn't true. Which is to say, not true in the sense that it was not a bona fide conspiracy theory/fantasy we were able to find in our research but rather a miscommunication among TPM editors. And that's unfortunate because it should be true. But there's so much other good stuff in Catherine's piece you should read it right now.
The first criminal charges in the Bridgegate scandal are expected later this morning in federal court in Newark. Those proceedings are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, and the U.S. attorney has scheduled a 1 p.m. ET press conference.
Old Chris Christie chum David Wildstein is reportedly going to plead guilty to as yet unknown charges, but the New York Times reports that others are expected to be charged today as well. Whether Christie himself will be implicated is the big unknown.
Stick around for all the latest as it comes down today. In the meantime, a look at what the Wildstein plea could portend.
Ted Cruz says Hispanics don't panhandle because they have a sense of shame but he won't comment about African-Americans.
Moderate Jeb Bush says he's a fan of notorious racial intelligence 'science' scholar Charles Murray.
Gov Jindal says Justices Ginsburg and Kagan need to recuse themselves from the gay marriage decision.
Rand Paul (apparently a presidential candidate) says he's looking into whether the US military is actually planning a military takeover of the Southwest.
The White House insists it is not planning a military takeover of the country or Texas. But of course they'd say that.
Consider a hypothetical. The Obamacare case is before the Supreme Court and the threat to red state Obamacare subsidies is looming. It would be naive to think the White House wouldn't have some contingency plans in place for that eventuality. Quick surgical action under the cover of military exercises: go in, set up exchanges, stand up friendly government with domestic opposition, leave small residual force, get out.
5 Points to know on Hillary's speech on prison reform and race.
We're rolling out a new TPM feature this morning: The Exchange. The concept and format are pretty simple. We put two people together to discuss an issue by email, usually three back and forths, so a total of six emails. We're calling it 'exchange' rather than 'debate' because we're not looking for debate, though they may settle into major disagreements. Often they will simply be trading of ideas. The goal is to air an issue, hopefully with two people who have given the matter some real thought or, in other cases, bring specific technical expertise. Though the participants know the emails will be published (edited only to prune out missing words or particularly strained grammar) we hope that these will have an unstructured, more casual air, which preserves pointed thinking while allowing writers the space to think out loud and explore ideas more than they might in more formal settings.
Our first installment is David Frum and I discussing the Iran Nuclear Deal, wisdom, folly and something else entirely. I hope you like it. Read here.
After 15 years doing this, I've seen a truckload of closeted politicians forced out of the closet under the harsh glare of the media, either with wide stances, public bathroom propositions, dick pics. There are so many ways. And yet, man, I gotta hand it to Rep. Randy Boehning (R), a state legislator in North Dakota (and yes, that's really his name, we didn't make that up). I not sure I've seen a better response. He seems to have gone from deeply closeted to loud and proud (albeit under circumstances he didn't choose) in like 30 seconds.