Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Freeing the Internet: Obama's third greatest accomplishment in his 2nd term

President Barack Obama’s third greatest accomplishment in his second term – after the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord – may be his decision in October 2014 to back the idea that the Federal Communications Commission should be able to regulate internet providers the same way it regulates phone companies. The FCC’s Democratic majority, following Obama’s lead, used this principle to rule that the providers not be able to discriminate among content providers. They have to provide “net neutrality.” And today an Appeals Court, which had ruled against prior attempts to enforce net neutrality, has backed up the FCC’s decision. Here’s what is at stake, and why it’s important.

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Ummm ... Wait a Second

I'm curious about this third graf in the WaPo report on Russian hacking into the DNC networks ...

The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some GOP political action committees, U.S. officials said. But details on those cases were not available.

It seems like this went well beyond the DNC. But only DNC officials were willing to discuss it?

Matteen Was Regular at Gay Club

A new thread in the story of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen. According to multiple patrons of Pulse, the gay club that was the scene of the massacre, Mateen was in fact a regular at the club and also maintained a profile on at least one gay dating app. The reporting, by the LA Times and the Orlando Sentinel is not clear on whether Mateen had sex with other men or whether he was somehow casing the establishment in preparation for his attack. But at least two parts of the story suggests there was more going on than just preparing for the attack.

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Trump wants to ban Muslim immigrants to protect gay and women's rights

In his speech today at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Donald Trump advocated banning Muslims from the Middle East and South Asia from emigrating to the United States. That’s a step down from his plan last December to block all Muslims from entering the United States, but it would still put the United States on a war footing with Muslims and also put the American state in the business of judging churches. In addition, Trump sounded an ominous note by insinuating (without evidence) that American Muslims were aware of the terrorists in their midst, but were not reporting them to authorities.

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Trump Will Trump

TPM Reader DC checks in on how Trump's response to Orlando plays:

In response to Josh's thoughtful post about how Orlando and Trump's reaction to it will not necessarily help him:

There is recent evidence for exactly this phenomenon. Remember when "Benghazi" happened, which in some ways could have been much worse politically for the incumbent party (though certainly fewer lives were lost), namely a sitting American ambassador killed by what was clearly an organized attack on our embassy in Libya. The event threatened to bespeak the weakness of a nation state, the inability to protect it's own high-level personnel.

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The Grift and the High-Pressure Sale

One of the things people marvel at with Donald Trump is how successful he's been over the last year with these gyres and tirades which are full not only of what are often demonstrably false claims but increasingly hyperbolic warnings about the future. In his statement yesterday Trump said "If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse."

As I've written, I think this was much more effective in Republican primaries than with a general election electorate. But the pattern is clearly still there. In pure Trump whether it ends up being effective or not. Some claims get dropped. Others come up repeatedly even though they're shown to be demonstrably false. Many see this as part of Trump's spellbinding but horrifying magic. But I hear something different, something others in business may recognize. For Trump, mass casualty terror is like a sell point in a high pressure sales pitch. Glengarry Glen Ross meets Joseph Goebbels.

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The Murky Roots of Mass Violence

We have televisions running on the cable networks throughout the day here in our office. So I get an immersive read on the conversations of the day, which today of course are about the horrific mass shooting in Orlando. As is so often the case, it is striking how much of the chatter is tied up with trying to put these mass murders into some convenient and simple bucket. Mental illness? Radical Islam? Homophobia? The product of readily available guns? It can be a cop-out to simply say all of the above. But listening to these conversations I'm left hoping that our counter-terrorism and law enforcement professionals have a more sophisticated grasp of these incidents than our political class.

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