Donald Trump

Donald Trump Walks Back His Pro-War Crimes Stance

Republican front-runner says he "will not order a military officer to disobey the law."

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Donald Trump, Republican presidential

I'm changing, I'm changing.
Dreamstime/Americanspirit

front-runner and founder of Trump University, has reversed his stance on ordering members of the military to commit war crimes.

Less than 24 hours ago at the GOP debate in Detroit, Trump insisted that no matter what people like former CIA Director Michael Hayden had to say about service-members refusing to murder the families of suspected terrorists or engage in illegal acts of torture, "They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me." 

But much like Trump's positions on immigration (of which he said last night, "I'm changing, I'm changing!"), the candidate is evolving in real time on issues of international law and basic human morality. 

In a statement released to the Wall Street Journal today, Trump wrote:

I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities.

Considering a significant part of Trump's appeal lies in his consequence-free ability to constantly say batshit-crazy things and never apologize for them, one wonders why he (or his advisors, whoever they are) deemed this particular outrageous sentiment (which he's voiced numerous times in the recent past) necessary to walk back.

Whatever the reason, it's a relief to know the likely nominee of one of the US' two major political parties understands that he too is "bound by laws just like all Americans."

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132 responses to “Donald Trump Walks Back His Pro-War Crimes Stance

  1. I dig the barely-concealed snark.

  2. Trump’s mistake here is that he doesn’t understand how the government works. He thought that you committed war crimes by just ordering the military to do it. No silly, you have to have John Yoo or someone like him write you a memo explaining why what you want to do really isn’t a war crime or what you are involved in is not “war war” first.

    This whole thing is just a rookie mistake made by someone who has never served in the executive branch.

    1. I wish this was sarcasm.

      1. Sadly it is not. That is exactly how it works. If anything Trump doing this would be a slight improvement because at least it would be honest.

  3. Whatever the reason, it’s a relief to know the likely nominee of one of the US’ two major political parties understands that he too is “bound by laws just like all Americans.”

    I LOLed.

    1. Me, too.

      After running this article through the Dean Hypersensitivity Filter at max gain, I got nuthin’.

    2. Bush claimed that the laws of war did not apply to the people we captured on the battlefield. Obama claimed that he had the right to order the murder of an American citizen even though they were nowhere near a battlefield and were in fact in a friendly country at the time.

      I think LOL is about all you can do.

      1. Keep defending what Trump has said about this, John.

        1. How can you possibly conclude that? I am not defending it. Why do you think I am, other than you are just humorless and tiresome on this subject?

          1. I think Nikki is just not used to agreeing with you.

          2. You want to actually condemn Trump, or keep going on about how “Obama did it too”?

            1. And John completes his transformation into the mirror image of Palin’s Buttplug.

              “BUT OBAMAAAAAAAAA”

            2. I think he condemned Trump, Obama, and Bush.

              And you chastised him for not talking enough about Trump.

            3. I thought that went without saying given the sarcastic tone of my post. Of course Trump is wrong here. If we are going to get upset about someone who isn’t President saying war crimes are okay, maybe we should use that moment as an opportunity to remind people that our current and former President actually ordered war crimes under the cover of sham memos written by hack lawyers.

              I know doing that interfers with our opportunity to pose and social signal about how much we all hate Trump. I do, however, think just this one time it is a sacrifice worth making.

              1. John, you know it’s not enough to merely disagree with Trump. You have to hate him as well.

                1. Almost, RBS. It’s not enough that John hate Trump. His hate must be channeled into comments that reference nobody else. Pure, unadulterated hate is the only acceptable for of Trump hate.

                  1. “Almost, RBS. It’s not enough that John hate Trump. His hate must be channeled into comments that reference nobody else. Pure, unadulterated hate is the only acceptable for of Trump hate.”

                    John has been spending an enormous amount of time apologizing for Trump and seems to get mad when people criticize Trump and his supporters. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Nicole to read Trump bringing up Obama as an attempt by John to deflect Trump criticism.

                    1. Irish, I think I have a new girl for you; stay tuned for PM links.

                  2. It’s almost as if the non-righties had a meeting and decided to replace BOOOOOOOOSSSHHH with TRUUUMMMMMMPPPP.

              2. If we are going to get upset about someone who isn’t President saying war crimes are okay

                Yeah, that’s not what he said.

                1. He said he would order the military to commit war crimes, which to my mind at least is saying war crimes are okay. Regardless, let me make my point again

                  maybe we should use that moment as an opportunity to remind people that our current and former President actually ordered war crimes under the cover of sham memos written by hack lawyers.

                  Why do you find that idea so upsetting?

                  1. Why do you find that idea so upsetting?

                    I don’t find it upsetting. But I find it frustrating that you seem incapable of reading criticism of Trump without some qualification that Obama was no different, or Bush was no different, or Hillary would be worse, or progressives, or the media, or the Republican establishment, or libertarians have no one to blame for Trump but themselves, or that criticism of Trump is rooted in hatred of poor and middle class white people, or…

                    It seems no different than the people who say “I believe in freedom of speech, but…”. It gives a strong impression that you aren’t really all that dissatisfied with Trump at all, and that everything has to be filtered through the lens of conservative vs progressive (or whatever dichotomy you prefer, but you’ve made pretty clear what side you’re on), and that if a libertarian just rejects Trump outright or advocates for some third way, that it’s all just signaling. And ithe inability to break free of the two-party dichotomy is a big reason that a better third ways than Trump never catches on.

                    1. Lunchpin1477,

                      The Trump phenomenon is a n orgy of hypocrisy and has unmasked both of the major parties as craven power hungry idiots. I will freely admit I was completely wrong about the Republican party and conservatives and the rise of Trump has showed me that.

                      I would think that a board full of Libertarians who claim to hate both parties would be enjoying this even more than I am. Instead, pointing out all of this hypocrisy is somehow verboten because it might interfere with the Trump hate.

                      And I don’t see Trump as any worse fo a choice than any of the others. And in fact he is a better choice because he would at least have the virtue of making the people in charge wildly unhappy and giving a whole bunch of people who feel they have no voice in politics that they have a voice.

                      Is Trump a small government guy? Hell no. But none of them are. So while Trump being a big government candidate is not a virtue is also not a meaningful vice since there are no small government candidates available, outside of whoever the Libertarians show up and they will have no shot at winning,.

                      If that position offends you, I don’t know what to tell y ou other than tough shit sometimes life is like that.

                    2. John:

                      I was completely wrong about the Republican party and conservatives

                      So was I, or at least large fractions of them. I thought there were more fellow travelers out there.

                      I would think that a board full of Libertarians who claim to hate both parties would be enjoying this

                      I don’t at all enjoy having been proven wrong. It disappoints me that there are less allies of liberty than I thought (even if I always knew they were imperfect).

                      pointing out all of this hypocrisy is somehow verboten

                      I don’t think it’s verboten at all. Like I said above, when you feel the need to point it out every single time someone criticizes Trump, it seems like you are trying to deflect well-deserved criticism away from Trump.

                      And I don’t see Trump as any worse fo a choice than any of the others

                      I disagree, but more importantly there are actual libertarians in this race. And I continue to believe that a significant portion of the country could be persuaded to vote for them if there wasn’t so much focus on the two parties (and yes, Reason has been horrible on that front).

                    3. (cont)

                      he would at least have the virtue of making the people in charge wildly unhappy

                      But I’m not interested in using politics as a bludgeon or to be vindictive. It is highly unlikely anything good will come of it.

                      giving a whole bunch of people who feel they have no voice in politics that they have a voice

                      They deserve a voice, but I’d prefer it remain at that and that they not get power.

                      So while Trump being a big government candidate is not a virtue is also not a meaningful vice

                      Our criticism goes beyond him being a big government candidate.

                      If that position offends you, I don’t know what to tell y ou

                      It doesn’t offend me. It makes you part of the problem. And if you simultaneously claim to care, then I’m not sure how you can live with that.

                    4. Edit:

                      I’m not sure how you can live with that

                      OK, that was a little strong. But my point remains that if you claim to want to move the country in a better direction but instead just try to stick it to people you don’t like, then you are a hypocrite.

                    5. They deserve a voice, but I’d prefer it remain at that and that they not get power.

                      They would say the same about you. And if you are going to say they should nto have any voice in their government be honest with yourself and say it. Don’t lie and say they can have a voice but no power and pretend that means anything.

                      It is statements like this that make me support Trump. People like you and Niki and a lot of other people honestly think these people need to be told to go fuck themselves and die and let their betters run things. And I hate that. You and many others seem to refuse to admit these people could have legitimate interests or that your ideology could actually cause real harm and people could have legitimate objections to it.

                      Somehow a lot of libertarians have convinced themselves that taking away people’s voice in government and enforcing their preferences on an unwilling population is not really “tyranny” so long as it is done for “freedom”. Sorry I disagree. I think that is nothing but a rationalization to get what you want and pretend that you have a monopoly on the truth. I have no interest in any of that. And sadly, many libertarians are so far down this road, they think anyone who objects to them and stands up for representative government and compromise are the “tyrants”. I would advise you to reconsider that.

                    6. And if you are going to say they should nto have any voice

                      The exact opposite of what I said.

                      Don’t lie and say they can have a voice but no power and pretend that means anything…People like you and Niki and a lot of other people honestly think these people need to be told to go fuck themselves and die and let their betters run things

                      Wrong. All I want to do is persuade people towards liberty. I want to outnumber enemies of liberty, ideally by turning many of them.

                      You and many others seem to refuse to admit these people could have legitimate interests

                      I’ve argued on this very website (I think WITH Nikki) that they have legitimate concerns and that we should try to address them through libertarian ideas. I’ve also suggested compromise approaches. So wrong again.

                      I would advise you to reconsider that.

                      I’d advise you to pay a little closer attention to what the person you are debating actually believes. If you can’t remember just ask.

                    7. It doesn’t offend me. It makes you part of the problem. And if you simultaneously claim to care, then I’m not sure how you can live with that.

                      I disagree. i think you are part of the problem because you think that feel you have the right to decide whose interests are and are not legitimate and who should and should not have power.

                      The problem is you. You mean well of course. But people who do harm almost always do.

                    8. I disagree. i think you are part of the problem because you think that feel you have the right to decide whose interests are and are not legitimate and who should and should not have power

                      Everything about this statement is wrong.

                    9. Everything about this statement is wrong.

                      If you don’t like it, don’t say things like

                      hey deserve a voice, but I’d prefer it remain at that and that they not get power.

                      You clearly don’t want these people to ever have any voice in government and don’t view their concerns as legitimate.

                    10. Not wanting them to have power = not wanting their preferred polices to be enacted. It means not wanting them to have a majority. By all means, they can and should speak up loud and clear, and if they convince people they are right, then that’s a consequence I have to live with. This is a pretty clear distinction.

                      And again, you repeat this lie that I don’t think their concerns are legitimate. I think many of their concerns are legitimate. Globalization (combined with stiffing government regulation) hasn’t been kind to everyone. You and I were in agreement on this point only a couple weeks ago. It’s the solutions that they are currently getting behind that I have a problem with. Again, this is a pretty clear distinction.

                    11. but more importantly there are actual libertarians in this race.

                      Other than Paul, who dropped out, who? Sure the LP party will nominate someone but they won’t win. I mean the of the people who do win.

                      And I am not a libertarian. I share a lot of views with Libertarians but I part ways with them on a lot of issues.

                      And I don’t mind being proven wrong so much as it makes me angry at the people who have turned out to be such frauds. I can’t tell you how much I loath the people at National Review right now. What a bunch of third rate hacks.

                    12. Yes, the LP. And no, they won’t win. But this election could actually provide an opportunity for them to make some inroads. I’m not holding my breath, but I can’t recall an election where people were so unhappy with the major party candidates. The LP doesn’t have to get the most votes to make progress in this election. Just getting people to pay attention long enough to learn a little bit about what real libertarians believe would be a huge win in my book.

                      But to do that, people who care about liberty, even if they don’t consider themselves libertarians, have to set step back from the two-party mentality.

                    13. Doesn’t the LP have to actually make progress towards acting like an actual political party before they can make progress in an election? By doing things like: establishing a ground game, trying to understand the electorate and tailoring their message to appeal to that group, ensuring that the public face of their movement isn’t some quack running around with purple skin?

                      I disagree with the idea that there are no small gov’t types left in this election. Were he to win, I think Cruz might surprise a lot of people here in a good way. Or to put it another way, I think he’d move as far as a hypothetical Paul presidency would in the small gov’t direction.

                      I think The Immaculate Trouser a day or two ago, put more artfully, the point I think John is trying to make about the way this commentariat by and large is either oblivious to, or actively hostile about, the plight of the blue collar worker in the US and how globalization/refusing to enforce illegal immigration laws/currency devaluation have generally screwed their standard of living for the past 25 years or so.

                      Despite all of the cheap imported goods they can now afford. If they still had jobs, that is.

                2. I can see why they call you the worst now.

                3. Yeah, that’s not what he said.

                  Trumps words speak louder than actions.

                  He is the Chuck Norris of politics.

              3. John, I think you are making good points here. But I don’t know why you can’t accept that perhaps people actually genuinely hate Trump and aren’t just doing it for the sake of appearances. I’m pretty sure most people here also loathe Bush and Obama. But we’ve had the last 16 years to bitch about those two.

                1. Zeb,

                  I think it is totally appropriate to dislike and not support Trump. The over the top hatred fo Trump and the claims that he is some new and horrible development in our political system is in my opinion nothing but social signaling and class snobbery.

                  1. The over the top hatred fo Trump and the claims that he is some new and horrible development in our political system is in my opinion nothing but social signaling and class snobbery.

                    And conservatives only have a problem with Obama because he’s black.

                    1. We know conservatives don’t hate Obama because he is black because they dislike white people who do the things Obama does.

                      The people who hate Trump in contrast, excuse exactly the things Trump is doing in themselves and in the politicians they support. The conservatives have happily supported big government nominees in the past. The Democrats think every Republican is THE HITLER. People like nikki think nothing of saying horrible and nasty things about people they don’t like. And so on.

                      The people who claim to hate Trump and that he is some kind of uniquely bad development always do so for reasons that are utterly hypocritical. So, it is perfectly appropriate to conclude that they are saying these things out of class snobbery and social signalling because they clearly are okay with the things Trump is doing when other people do it.

                    2. People like nikki think nothing of saying horrible and nasty things about people they don’t like.

                      You still just absolutely refuse to get why I think he’s a sick piece of shit.

                    3. You still just absolutely refuse to get why I think he’s a sick piece of shit.

                      I totally get why you do. You just absolutely refuse to see your own double standards.

                    4. they clearly are okay with the things Trump is doing when other people do it

                      Yeah, that describes Nikki to a T. Always cheering on the State, unless it’s Trump.

                    5. Okay, let me see if I can explain it to you. I have a big problem with Donald Trump. And it doesn’t come down to virtue signaling or class snobbery.

                      I consider myself a libertarian and a Republican. And I think the best future for the GOP is in a more libertarian direction. And in recent years there has been some admirable progress in the Republican party in just that direction.

                      Now along comes Donald Trump. And a lot of the Republican party has shown itself willing to throw out all the things I like about my party (free markets, individualism, limited government) and embrace the things in my party that have given me misgivings. All of the hard won gains Republican libertarianism has made over the last several years will be thrown away by a Republican President Trump.

                      And in favor of what? You’ve made a lot of noise about virtue signaling in the last several weeks. Well, what the hell is it you think Trump and his supporters are doing? Except, for them, the rush to signal is to show that they’re on the outside.

                    6. So in other words, Bill you don’t like Trump. And that is fine, you shouldn’t like Trump. You don’t agree with him. But, you shouldn’t like Trump any less than you do Jeb Bush or Kaisich or any number of other Republicans.

                      If your position is simply “I don’t like Trump”, then you are not the kind of person I am talking about. I am talking about someone who thinks that Trump is somehow worse than the other Republicans or that he is the new Mussolini and all of that nonsense.

                      As far as what I am in favor of, I am still the same person I have always been and have the same values and principles I have always had. What has changed is that the Republican reaction to Trump has finally opened my eyes to how corrupt and intellectually bankrupt both the party and the conservative movement is. It is just a dogs breakfast of half assed libertarian economics, Wilsonian save the world internationalism, and bullshit culture war wedge issues all pursued for the enrichment of those involved.

                      It is not so much that I like Trump it is that I find it offensive that people that stupid and corrupt have the nerve to act like Trump is somehow worse than they are. .

                    7. John, does Jeb Bush or John Kasich advocate for eminent domain abuse? Does either advocate for protectionism? Is either on record supporting socialized medicine? Which is pushing the “tax the rich” line?

                      You keep trying to argue, “they’re all just as bad”. But, they’re not. Trump’s been pushing for the GOP to abandon even a claim of support for free enterprise. Trump is singularly awful on the things the Republicans are supposed to be halfway decent on.

                    8. John, does Jeb Bush or John Kasich advocate for eminent domain abuse?

                      Bush claims to not to but then there is this
                      http://theconservativetreehous…..ald-trump/

                      Bush loved eminent domain when he was governor. That seems a lot worse than Trump taking advantage of the system as a private investor.

                      Does either advocate for protectionism?
                      http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfro…..id/658956/

                      Kaisich does or did before he ran for President.

                      Is either on record supporting socialized medicine?

                      See reason’s own link today about Kaisich’s support of Obamacare. And do you honestly think Bush would repeal Obamacare? Really?

                      Maybe you just don’t know these guys. There is nothing about any of them that is any better than Trump. And some things are worse.

                    9. Here you go Bill, Here is what the GOP candidates were saying about emenant domain last summer

                      The quotes
                      “Well, as you know, this is a local matter.” – Hillary Clinton, Democratic candidate for president

                      “It ought to be decided at the local level.” – Jeb Bush, Republican candidate for president

                      “It’s a local issue, but the issue of eminent domain is always a serious one. It’s a tough one you have to deal with. I usually come down more on the side of the people who own the property.” – John Kasich, Republican candidate for president
                      I think eminent domain should always be a tool of last resort. Property rights are our foundation.” – Bobby Jindal, Republican candidate for president

                      “To the extent that it takes somebody’s property unfairly, I say get your day in court.” says Lindsey Graham, Republican candidate for president

                      “When we look at our natural gas reserves, in this country, we’ve got enough to last?if we’re wasteful?for over a thousand years. We don’t have to be taking people’s land.” – Dr. Ben Carson, Republican candidate for president.

                      http://www.nh1.com/news/nh1-ne…..-pipeline/

                      The only one who gave the right answer was Carson. So cut the shit and stop telling yourself and me that you are not just social signaling. You are. If you didn’t know before, you know now.

                  2. I can see why you might think that. I just don’t think it’s a fair assumption to make.

                    1. Zeb,

                      I don’t think most of them are aware of it. They just rationalize how when they say horrible things about Trump’s supporters it is different or that politicians they have supported in the past are sell outs or liars or frauds it is just not as bad or something.

                      And like all virtue signalling, it is virtually impossible to stop once you start. To admit that Trump is just another politician or that his supporters might have legitimate complaints and are savvy enough to realize that Trump isn’t a savior but the best option available is to give up on the sense of superiority saying the opposite gives you. And no one likes to do that.

      2. I think the Bush position was more fully explained as “the laws of war do not apply to unlawful combatants as defined in the laws of war”. Disagree with it as you will I but his claim was that he was following the rules.

        1. yes. And obama claims the same thing. I think they were both wrong. My point is that I don’t see any difference between “I will get my lawyers to torture the law to allow me to say what I want to do is legal” and “I will just do something illegal and not worry about it”.

  4. When does Hillary announce she is bound by the laws of the US

    1. She did say that nobody should be above the law, or somesuch.

      But nobody believed her.

    2. Hillary totally admits that she is bound by the laws of the US. She also is very clear that in her opinion, she is the law.

  5. “Considering a significant part of Trump’s appeal lies in his consequence-free ability to constantly say batshit-crazy things and never apologize for them, one wonders why he (or his advisors, whoever they are) deemed this particular outrageous sentiment (which he’s voiced numerous times in the recent past) necessary to walk back.”

    WILD CARD, BITCHES! YEEEEE HAWWWWWW!

    1. Our current President ordered the assassination of an American citizen for as best I can tell the crime of shooting his mouth off.

      I would be curious just exactly what these batshit-crazy things reason is concerned about are.

      1. Do you watch the rallies and debates? Serious question.

        1. Sure, but none of them involved drone striking an American citizen or at least the ones I have seen haven’t.

        2. Look Nikki, the current President droned a citizen and the one before that ordered torture. Killing children is just par for the course at this point. Is it awful? Sure. But explain to me why it’s worse than any of those other things. You can’t. That’s why you just need to relax and let the Trump flow through you. Anything else is just virtue signaling.

      2. I think you know what things they are thinking of.

        I think I get the point you are making. To people who are actually interested in how government operates and who pay attention, yes Trump is not so different from the status quo. He just says it all much more bluntly and seems to take pleasure in doing it that way. But the fact is that most voters aren’t that engaged. I bet that a lot of Trump supporters don’t think that the previous administrations have been doing much of the same horrible crap that Trump promises to do. So the disturbing part is that so many voters are turned on by what he says and seem to think that it would be a major shift in direction for the country, rather than just a shift in tone, which seems to me to be more accurate.

        I’m pretty over getting worked up about Trump. I’ll just consider this election entertainment, I guess. But I can understand why people find his success particularly disturbing.

        1. If you care about these things, rather than getting worked up just about Trump, doesn’t it make more sense to use Trump’s statement as an opportunity to talk about what is actually happening?

          Both Republicans and Democrats alike are latching onto this and acting like they are some kind of paragons of international law. I think this is a great opportunity to point out their hypocrisy. Worse, not pointing out their hypocrisy allows them to create the impression that Obama and Bush haven’t actually done exactly what Trump is proposing here but just did so under the cover of some bullshit legal memo.

          People should rip on Trump for this. If they, however, do that without also talking about Obama and Bush, they risk letting the partisans leave the impression with the public that Bush and Obama’s hands are clean in all this. That doesn’t seem like a very good idea to me.

          1. People should rip on Trump for this. If they, however, do that without also talking about Obama and Bush, they risk letting the partisans leave the impression with the public that Bush and Obama’s hands are clean in all this. That doesn’t seem like a very good idea to me.

            But Trump and his supporters have proven that it won’t work, because millions of people want to cheer on torture.

            1. So what? Maybe the people who are not Trump supporters need to hear this? If you are so fucking in love with your hatred of Trump you are willing to stand back and let partisan Republicans and Democrats tell themselves “our guy would never do that”, I don’t know what to tell you other than I don’t see it that way. If they want to support war crimes, that is their right. They do, not however, at least not if I have any say in it, have a right to tell themselves that is not what they are doing and it is different when their side does it.

              1. If you are so fucking in love with your hatred of Trump you are willing to stand back and let partisan Republicans and Democrats tell themselves “our guy would never do that”

                Oh, is that who hangs out here? Partisan Republicans and Democrats? I didn’t know this was the place where I was supposed to be convincing people that Hillary sucks.

                1. I am pretty sure Tony and Shrike fit that description. And everyone is convinced I am a shill for the Republicans. And a good number of other people have been accused of that as well.

                  And not everyone who reads this posts here. Just admit it that you are pissed that any point, no matter how true or germane might detract from your obsession with hating Trump. That is all that is going on here.

                2. I didn’t know this was the place where I was supposed to be convincing people that Hillary sucks.

                  Until I am provided with evidence to the contrary, I will just assume you support everything Hillary Clinton stands for.

                  1. You’re far more generous than I am. I require a never ending stream of evidence. If I’m not constantly reminded that Nikki hates Hillary and the Washington establishment then I’m left with no other conclusion that she is just signaling.

                    1. You owe me a new sarc-o-meter. Mine just bent the needle double over the pin.

                3. I didn’t know this was the place where I was supposed to be convincing people that Hillary sucks.

                  What’s funny is, there are very few Trump supporters around here. Really, I don’t think there are.

                  You get guys like me, who enjoy watching people who annoy us get a dose of their own medicine from him. That’s not supporting him.

                  And you get people (again, umm, like me) who think much of the spittle-flecked hatred of him is oddly misplaced, given the current political scene. Again, not supporting.

                  But, somehow, the editorial position of Reason apparently is that this is the place where they are supposed to convince people that Trump sucks. And apparently that not nearly as much effort needs to be put into convincing people thta Hillary (who is currently leading him in the polls) sucks.

                  Much of the kvetching here is more about Reason’s bizarre editorial decisionmaking than anything else.

                  1. But except for the people who specifically style themselves as outsider trolls, nobody around here has anything nice to say about Hillary at all, whereas every mention of Trump gets dozens of comments of Trump apologia. Granted, much of that comes from a very small but dedicated and outspoken group, but there do seem to be many people, even on here, who are seriously trying to spread the gospel of Trump being the only man who can save us from the unwashed foreign hordes and so forth.

                  2. RC,

                    Contrast reason’s treatment of Sanders to its treatment of Trump. Sanders is a not kidding socialist and a nasty one at that. You see Trump say mean things and its obvious he is playing to the crowd and may or may not believe it. Sanders in contrast believes it. And you can tell that because he tries to hide it under a veneer of niceness. But occasionally it comes out and when it does he is a legitimately nasty person. And his personal history and open and unrepentant support of the worst communist regimes bears that out.

                    And reason has shown virtually no concern over Sanders and treated him like any other Democratic candidate. They don’t support him but they haven’t subjected him to anything like the vitriol that they have thrown at Trump. Imagine if Trump spent his youth singing the praises of Nazi Germany. You think Reason might have a problem with that? Sanders spends his youth praising and working for the Soviet Union and reason reacts with a shrug.

                    Why is that? The answer is that reason likes and sympathizes with Sanders’ supporters and views them as fellow members of the class and hates Trump’s supporters and views them as inferiors. In other words, reason’s vitriol towards Trump that is never extended to Sanders is nothing but social signaling.

                    1. It would be good to see more on Sanders. His popularity is rather disturbing as well.

                      But I don’t think it reveals a hidden agenda on the part of Reason. If I had to guess, I’d say that they are motivated by the likely fact that Republican voters are more likely to give a libertarian site a fair reading than far-left Democrats. Stuff on Bernie would be almost entirely preaching to the choir.

                    2. John,

                      Trump is leading the Republican race. Sanders never had a chance at beating Clinton. She has had a commanding lead among black and Latino voters throughout the entire race, and there is no way you can win the Democratic nomination in 2016 with those kind of deficits in those demographics, particularly given the calendar that had a bunch of states with large minority populations on Super Tuesday and the ensuing two weeks (plus South Carolina and Nevada right before). That’s not even taking into account Clinton’s advantage among super delegates. Sanders’s entire campaign was a hail mary that would have taken a miracle to win.

                  3. I really think that Reason’s coverage and editorial position is that hard to understand. They are doing elections coverage and trying to fit into the contemporary media landscape. Trump is the big election story.
                    I’d be happy never to read another Trump blog post on here. But I don’t think I’m the intended audience, necessarily.

                    1. Crap. I don’t think it’s that hard to understand.

                    2. ZEb,

                      It is not that they support Sanders or are secret socialists. They are don’t and are not. It is that their reaction to Trump has been so disproportionate to their reaction to Sanders. You would think a Libertarian magazine would be losing its mind over the prospect of a major party nominating a socialist. But, no reason seems unconcerned and in fact published the required “libertarian case for Bernie Sanders” piece, though they didn’t pretend it was a good case.

                      In contrast, a center leftist, who agrees with reason on the culture war BTW, threatens to take the GOP nomination and reason runs 20 articles a day on the impending crisis.

                      There is no way to reconcile those things unless you assume reason’s opinion of Sanders’ and Trump’s supporters has something to do with their reaction.

                    3. I’d be happy never to read another Trump blog post on here. But I don’t think I’m the intended audience, necessarily.

                      Hear, hear. Or is it here, here? Anyway…

                      Couldn’t agree more. But it does get clicks. And Reason isn’t a charity.

          2. Whoever wrote that article about Dorian Gray conservatives nailed it, thought in this case it applies to progressives too. Donald is the horrifying portrait, but the ugliness he wears openly is just the ugliness inside of them.

        2. So the disturbing part is that so many voters are turned on by what he says and seem to think that it would be a major shift in direction for the country, rather than just a shift in tone

          That is well put (as usual) and a big part of it for me. Although I do think much of what he has said is worse than the status quo, or just so vapid that I have very little faith he could be an effective governor, even if most of the rhetoric is just bluster.

          1. Yeah. People hear this stuff and love it. It’s scary.

        3. He just says it all much more bluntly and seems to take pleasure in doing it that way.

          And some of us also think taking pleasure in that makes the whole thing all the more disgusting and wrong.

          1. That is because he takes pleasure in offending people like you Nikki. And that pleasure is why his supporters like him so much.

            1. And it’s also why I think they’re bad people.

              Why do you think their feelings are okay, and mine are not?

              1. Sauce for the goose?

  6. Bring in a huge, disaffected voter bloc(s) by stepping outside the Overton window, then start moderating positions until by election time, Trump is soundlng like the sane alternative to Hillary Clinton. Not so dumb a strategy.

    1. No it is not. And it turns all of the media screaming about his extremism to his advantage. The more extreme people expect him to be, the easier it is for him to appear reasonable.

  7. Given that a key to defeating Trump is to not focus on the actual substance of his comments but rather the fact that he’s an empty sheet, situations like this are perfect: the more his opponents can confront him with his own twisting and turning on various positions, the more he’ll come across as a lightweight phony. It won’t matter to those who are already committed to Trump, but for others it should make a difference

    1. but for others it should make a difference

      “Should” is a word that doesn’t seem to apply to this particular presidential contest.

    2. Well, one man’s lightweight phony is another man’s reasonable statesman.

  8. I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities.

    This is obviously written by one of Trump’s more level-headed lackeys. Trump will surely release the original version soon.

    I understand that the United States has laws and treaties against these things. I understand. I do. I won’t order our military to violate those laws. I will hire the best advisors and they will give me great advice. Just wonderful advice about all of the laws. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. But I will change the laws so that killing and torturing the families of these murderers. These rapists and immigrants. All of them. That doing that won’t be a war crime anymore. We have to target these guys. Their families. Because they don’t care about anything. These losers. So we have to go after the things they love. We’ll take them out and take out their families and we will Make America Great Again!!

    1. Trump will surely release the original version soon.

      Just keep refreshing his Twitter page.

        1. Aww. Bored of winning already, are we?

    2. We’re going to have the best torturers, absolutely top notch, guys who can make these low energy terrorists squeal and whine like stupid little babies. And we won’t even have to pay them that much because I’ll personally negotiate their salaries. When I’m through, we’ll have hundreds of torturers who pay us for the privilege of torturing terrorists.

      Trump 2016

      1. Believe me, they’ll be delighted with their Gitmo cell.

      2. ‘privilege’ is kind of a big word for Trump to use in a public statement, but otherwise very nice.

      3. You’re gonna get tired of torturing.

    3. That actually sounds more like what he would say. I even read it in his voice.

  9. So, enough Trump, right?

  10. For some OT Trump relief, Mayor of Seattle wants to make housing in Seattle more affordable by doubling property taxes. I shit you not.

    In keeping with his promise to raise Seattle’s housing tax, Mayor Ed Murray submitted his proposal Thursday morning that would double the local housing levy.

    “Expanding the Housing Levy is the most important thing we will do this year to support affordability in Seattle,” Murray said. “The levy is a powerful resource to build more affordable homes for low-income families and help people at risk of falling into homelessness. We value an equitable and diverse city and we will renew our commitment to affordable housing.”

    The important words here are “renew our commitment”. Ie, this isn’t a new commitment, this is an old commitment which has gone horribly awry, so if we do it harder, this time it’ll work.

    1. Here’s some Trump relief: Washington Examiner ran a nice Gary Johnson piece yesterday, not that Reason could be bothered to link to something like that when there’s so much Trumping to do. *harumphs*

      1. not that Reason or Med. Phys. Guy could be bothered to link to something like that

        You SF’ed the link.

        1. crikey

          http://www.washingtonexaminer……le/2584840

          1. That’s awesome.

            I was listening to Rubio on my ’10 min. of NPR’ this morning. He rambled about how his mission is to be the best alternative of Clinton, Trump, and himself. When asked about supporting the nominee, he espoused about supporting the party. Johnson’s exact words, “Wasting your vote is voting for somebody you don’t believe in.” are what occurred to me.

            Agreed, you would think Reason would’ve emblazoned “Gary Johnson: I am the third party!” somewhere.

    2. So I was talking to my girlfriend the other day about the explosion of “affordable housing” that’s cropped up under overpasses and next to highways all over the area. I was wondering idly if anyone had done much research into where all of these homeless came from–like whether they’re lifelong natives to the area or had come here from somewhere else, and she was pinning pretty much 100% of the blame on “cuts to social services”. I’m not tuned in enough to local politics and haven’t been living in the region long enough to really know what specifically she would be talking about, though it strikes me as an unlikely explanation, since as far as I can tell the economy here, while stagnating a little bit perhaps, hasn’t seen a downturn that’s commensurate with the recent growth of the homeless population, but as I said, I’m not an expert.

      I dunno, what’s your take, Paul?

      1. I was wondering idly if anyone had done much research into where all of these homeless came from–like whether they’re lifelong natives to the area or had come here from somewhere else, and she was pinning pretty much 100% of the blame on “cuts to social services”.

        I’ve asked exactly this same question. And as I stated before: They’re either newly minted homeless or they’ve been drawn in from the outside.

        If it’s the former, then all of this, 100% of this happened on their watch. However, I suspect it’s the latter. The city’s implicit hands-off policy became well known to the larger region, and everyone who was serially homeless came into the area. You can’t set up a tent on the sidewalk in Kent, or Auburn, or Federal Way, or Lynnwood, or Everett, or Tacoma, or Issaquah, or Snohomish, or Bremerton, or Silverdale, or Burien*, or Bellingham, but you can in Seattle. That’s a powerful draw.

        In addition to that, even Seattle has had to admit that a large number of these particular homeless actually prefer the lifestyle. They’ve said as much in interviews and have actually RESISTED being put into city-run shelters or camps with things like running water, toilets and… here’s the kicker: rules.

        *Setting up a tent in Burien would be dangerous, so the high-crime nature of Burien actually keeps homelessness to a minimum.

        1. So there are free houses in Seattle?

        2. “You can’t set up a tent on the sidewalk in Kent, or Auburn, or Federal Way, or Lynnwood, or Everett, or Tacoma, or Issaquah, or Snohomish, or Bremerton, or Silverdale, or Burien*, or Bellingham, but you can in Seattle. That’s a powerful draw.”

          I’m reading that the homeless population in these areas is increasing as well. It’s probably a mix of old homeless and new.

          1. I’m reading that the homeless population in these areas is increasing as well. It’s probably a mix of old homeless and new.

            It is. I do believe that there is a percentage of newly minted homeless because our economy being so awesome. I just can’t say what percentage.

            the numbers of people with little cardboard signs standing at street intersections everywhere has increased dramatically– not just in Seattle, but the surrounding areas as well.

            The difference is that Seattle has an open-secret ‘hands-off’ rule on the tent encampments, so it’s become a kind of beacon for street-living. Even an Obama administration official was appalled at it while the Mayor sputtered with “Yeah buts” and “we meant wells” in response.

        3. This was a while ago now, but I have known people who moved to Seattle specifically in order to be homeless street hippies. So there’s one anecdote.

      2. she was pinning pretty much 100% of the blame on “cuts to social services”.

        Ask her what the social services budget has been for the last few years.

        I’d be surprised if it was getting smaller.

    3. Seattle already taxes property owners, and this levy has been raised five times in the last few decades. So what’s the big deal, really?

  11. Trump’s MO is to motor past whatever the current controversy is and change the topic. If he’s just saying what somebody wants to hear and then quickly moves on, I don’t see how this is a new show of humility for him.

  12. Whatever the reason, it’s a relief to know the likely nominee of one of the US’ two major political parties understands that he too is “bound by laws just like all Americans.”

    If he understands it now, then he didn’t understand it last night. There is nothing positive about that.

    If he understood it all along and just didn’t care, and is only paying lip service now, there is nothing positive about that.

    If he understood it all along and was only saying what he thought people wanted to hear, there is nothing positive about that.

    1. And at some point, if it hasn’t happened already, someone will explain to him the Bush/Obama method of having hack lawyers write sham memos explaining how what you want to do (no matter what it is) is really legal. I doubt he will make the mistake of being this crude and honest again.

  13. I’ll make ISIS pay for the torturing of their own soldiers.

    Trump 2016

  14. Trump is exhibit A for why being a successful businessman is no kind of preparation for being president. Trump is likely never told no. His world-class pathological narcissism is apparently never checked by anyone. He can be easily baited into boasting about his penis size on national TV (it’s the most cartoonish display of pathological narcissism I can think of, but it actually happened in real life). The business world and dictatorships may reward this kind of personality, but a president has to compromise and accept defeat from time to time and not fly off the handle and nuke something when it happens.

    1. Yeah Nikki, no partisan Democrats who live in denial about how their guy would never do something like this, ever post on here.

      Thanks for showing up Tony.

      1. Thanks for standing your ground on the ridiculous and indefensible as always, John.

    2. Wouldn’t it only be Exhibit A after he’s failed as president?

    3. why being a successful businessman is no kind of preparation for being president.

      “Not necessarily” – I could agree with.

      “Under no circumstances” – horseshit.

      Trump is likely never told no. His world-class pathological narcissism is apparently never checked by anyone.

      Experiences common to elected officials. The higher the rank, the more common.

      The business world and dictatorships may reward this kind of personality,

      Dictatorships, certainly. Business? The world is littered with former CEOs, you know. And, of course, we know for a fact that the world of politics selects for and rewards these personalities.

    4. As always Tony has no idea what he’s talking about so he throw out insults.

  15. Wiser words haven’t been said… in the last six months: “when it comes to Trump, I hate everyone.”

    1. True. Which is also as good a reason as any to hate Trump. Who has time for all that hate?

  16. Considering a significant part of Trump’s appeal lies in his consequence-free ability to constantly say batshit-crazy things and never apologize for them, one wonders why he (or his advisors, whoever they are) deemed this particular outrageous sentiment (which he’s voiced numerous times in the recent past) necessary to walk back.
    .
    Probably because somebody sentient told li’l Donny that the vast majority military aren’t going to follow illegal orders.
    FO/GOs on the other hand…

  17. “Whatever the reason, it’s a relief to know the likely nominee of one of the US’ two major political parties understands that he too is “bound by laws just like all Americans.””

    He doesn’t believe it. It’s just more bullshit he says in the moment

  18. . . . one wonders why he (or his advisors, whoever they are) deemed this particular outrageous sentiment (which he’s voiced numerous times in the recent past) necessary to walk back.

    Because most likely someone in his ‘cabinet’ realizes that there is a significant proportion of current and former military, along with military fans/groupies that, even though they may be hard-core Trump suporters, realizes how incredibly batshit insane and dangerous it would be if the military decided to follow the *guy in the oval office* rather than the law.

    Enough that, with the ‘support our troops’ bandwagon that that could have snowballed enough to crush his campaign.

    Also, these guys need to stop focusing so much on the *officers* here. Ain’t no officer going to get a war crime committed unless the guys at the pointy end agree to it. And the majority of the officers at the pointy end are too junior to have that much pull.

  19. one wonders why he (or his advisors, whoever they are) deemed this particular outrageous sentiment (which he’s voiced numerous times in the recent past) necessary to walk back.

    Because somebody explained to the idiot that members of the military tend to vote, tend to vote Republican, and tend not to like being told that they are going to be ordered to commit war crimes.

  20. “it’s a relief to know the likely nominee of one of the US’ two major political parties understands that he too is “bound by laws just like all Americans.”‘

    i find it at least a little unnerving that this was even in doubt.

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