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Crowds gather after police fatally wound unarmed black man in southern California

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An unarmed black man has died after being shot by a police officer in El Cajon in southern California on Tuesday, the local police department said, appealing for calm as local media reported crowds had gathered at the scene of the shooting.

The death comes less than two weeks after black men in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were shot dead by police, sparking protests. In Charlotte, rioting prompted the authorities to impose a state of emergency.

Similar deaths have added to a torrent of accusations over racial bias in U.S. law enforcement and calls for greater police accountability for the killings of black people.

The El Cajon Police Department said two officers had responded to a call regarding a man walking in traffic. He refused their instructions to remove his hand from his pocket and then pulled out an object from his pants and pointed it at them, the department said in a statement.

The officers then simultaneously shot and Tasered the man who died after being taken to hospital, the department said.

During a news conference hours after the shooting, El Cajon Police Department Jeff Davis said no weapon was found on the scene. He did not say what exactly the man pointed at the unidentified officers.

The incident prompted crowds of people to gather throughout Tuesday night at the scene and at the El Cajon Police Department, where they demanded information about the shooting, according to local media.

Video emerged on social media purportedly showing the moments after the incident at the scene. In the video, a woman, who claimed to be the man's sister, is heard saying that she called police.

"Oh my God. You killed my brother. I just called for help and ... you killed him," the unidentified woman said as she sobbed.

A bystander voluntarily provided investigators cell phone video that captured the incident, police said.

Police released a still photo from the video that depicted what appeared to be two officers pointing weapons at an individual who was pointed an object at them. At least one of the officers in the photo appeared to be white.

A study released in July shows police used force on black people at rates more than three times higher than for whites.

"Now is a time for calm," Davis said at the news conference.

"I implore the community to be patient with us, work with us, look at the facts at hand before making any judgment." 

 

 

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Trump Held It Together For About 10 Minutes, And Then He Started To Unspool

Monday night’s debate provided voters with a pretty accurate picture of the choice they face in November. One candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has experience and a firm grasp of policy. She believes in studying and thinks very carefully before she speaks. She tries not to offend people.

The other candidate, Republican Donald Trump, is a political novice who doesn’t know much about policy. He doesn’t believe in homework and he says whatever pops into his mind. He offends people constantly.

Trump’s style can seem refreshing sometimes, and for a few minutes on Monday night it probably did to most voters.

It happened after the very first question, about the economy ― when Clinton answered with a laundry list of policies that she said would create jobs and raise wages, while Trump answered with a sharp attack on free trade and an equally forceful promise to defend American workers.

He sounded less rehearsed and more sure of what he believed. 

Then he started to unspool.

Trump couldn’t keep up with Clinton’s knowledge of policy, and became increasingly obstreperous when she attacked him. He interrupted her repeatedly and then, frustrated with questions from host Lester Holt, he interrupted him, too. Eventually, Trump lost focus and started to ramble. The lack of impulse control, the derogatory attitude toward women, the utter disregard for truth ― all of it came into full view.

And at that point, maybe, Trump’s style stopped seeming refreshing ― and started seeming disturbing.

The transformation began when Clinton jabbed at Trump’s history in business, noting that Trump had celebrated the financial crisis as an investment opportunity. Trump interrupted to say, “That’s called business.” Clinton drew an even sharper response when she suggested that Trump had gotten a fast start in real estate because of $14 million in loans from his father ― which Trump immediately denied, by saying that he’d gotten only a “small loan.” This was another Trump claim that multiple fact-checkers have found to be false.

From there, things went downhill quickly for Trump. The great thing about presidential debates is that they leave no place to hide. And that’s a problem for Trump, who, as James Fallows noted in The Atlantic this month, managed to survive Republican primary debates by fading into the background and letting other candidates lead on more substantive discussions.

On Monday night, Trump had to hold his own on policy and his answers were at times flat-out incoherent. Just check out what Trump said in response to Holt wondering why Trump wanted to cut taxes for the wealthy. It barely addresses the question and, besides that, it doesn’t actually make sense.

I’m getting rid of the carried interest provision. And if you really look, it’s not a tax ― it’s really not a great thing for the wealthy. It’s a great thing for the middle class. It’s a great thing for companies to expand.

And when these people are going to put billions and billions of dollars into companies, and when they’re going to bring $2.5 trillion back from overseas, where they can’t bring the money back, because politicians like Secretary Clinton won’t allow them to bring the money back, because the taxes are so onerous, and the bureaucratic red tape, so what ― is so bad.

Soon Trump was saying the sorts of outrageous things that he’s been saying throughout the campaign, but that many people speculated he wouldn’t be saying on Monday night.

When Clinton suggested that maybe Trump hadn’t released his tax returns because he hadn’t paid income taxes in every year, he said, “That makes me smart” ― appearing to confirm the fact. When Clinton said, “It’s really unfortunate that he paints such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country,” he interrupted with a very audible “ugh.” When Clinton noted that Trump had supported the Iraq War, he denied it ― and then denied it again after Holt pointed out that the historical record showed Clinton was right.

Trump refused to apologize for his role in the birther controversy and at one point, speaking to Clinton about President Barack Obama, referred to him as “your president.”

But the most Trumpian moment of all may have come at the end, when Holt asked Trump what he meant when he said Clinton didn’t have “the look” of a president. Trump changed the subject to Clinton’s alleged lack of stamina, but she wouldn’t let him get away with it, using the occasion to remind everybody of Trump’s history of misogyny ― in particular, his descriptions of women as “women, slobs and dogs.”

Trump denied some of the comments, but then acknowledged a few as attempts at entertainment ― and said about one person he’d insulted, actress and television host Rosie O’Donnell, that “ I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.”

None of these questions or attacks were the least bit surprising. The fact that Trump didn’t have sharper, more coherent answers suggests he was as casual about his preparation as his campaign had suggested all along ― that he simply couldn’t be bothered to think through how he intended to perform.

Clinton made this very point. “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate,” she said. “And yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.”

It’s not at all clear how much voters actually want to reward the candidate who takes preparation so seriously ― or to reject the candidate who so casually lies and denigrates women, among other groups. But after Monday night’s debate, they at least have a better idea of what those distinctions mean.

 

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Presidential Debate: Donald Trump's Remark About Paying Taxes Raises Eyebrows

Hillary Clinton's suggestion Monday that maybe Donald Trump doesn't pay income tax prompted the Republican candidate to interject: "That makes me smart."

The remark came in a segment about Trump's refusal to release his tax returns during Monday night's debate. The Democratic candidate seized on the controversial issue and offered a series of possible explanations for why the billionaire won't follow presidential-election precedent and release the returns.

"Maybe he's not as rich as he says he is," Clinton offered up. "Maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be."

She told the audience that it also could be because Trump isn't paying anything in federal taxes, noting that tax returns Trump was forced to disclose decades ago showed he had paid no federal income tax for some years.

"That makes me smart," Trump cut in.

Clinton later went on to say "maybe ... you haven't paid any federal income tax for a lot of years," and Trump appeared to cast further aspersions on paying taxes.

The Clinton campaign quickly seized on the moment with a tweet saying: "Paying zero in taxes doesn't make you 'smart.' It makes you a tax evader."

When asked about the "smart" remark later, Trump told reporters he "didn't say that at all."

Trump has long refused to release his returns, saying he will do so when an IRS audit is completed. The IRS, however, has said there is no legal reason barring Trump from releasing them in the meantime.

"It would be squandered ... believe me," he said.

The remarks raised eyebrows on social media, with users questioning whether Trump was admitting to — if not bragging about — not paying taxes.

 

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Obama Says New Black History Museum Tells Story Of America

President Barack Obama on Saturday expressed hope that a new national museum showcasing the triumphs and tragedies of the African American experience will help to bring people together as the nation reels from recent racial upheaval.

Speaking at a dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Obama said that the story of black America is the story of America.

“This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are,” said Obama.

“Hopefully, this museum can help us to talk to each other. And more importantly, listen to each other. And most importantly, see each other. Black and white and Latino and Native American and Asian American - see how our stories are bound together,” he said standing on a stage outside the bronze-colored, latticed museum.

The museum, located on the National Mall, officially opened its doors on Saturday. It contains 36,000 items that trace the journey of African Americans from slavery in the 1800s to the fight for civil rights in the 20th century and lauds modern icons, such as media mogul Oprah Winfrey and tennis champion Serena Williams.

With a ring of a bell, Obama and wife Michelle and four generations of an African American family inaugurated the $540 million museum designed by Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, who was inspired by Yoruban art from West Africa.

‘PLACE TO UNDERSTAND’

Obama, who made history as the first black president of the United States, spoke as racial tensions flared once again across the nation in the aftermath of police shootings of two black men in the past two weeks.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a white police officer has been charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting Terence Crutcher, 40, whose car had broken down and blocked a road. 

Violent protests broke out after a separate incident in Charlotte, North Carolina, where police shot Keith Scott, a 43-year-old father of seven. 

The deaths were the latest in a string of fatal encounters between police and African Americans that have sparked unrest and threaten to overshadow Obama’s legacy on race relations. 

Obama said the museum’s exhibits on the fight against racial discrimination and segregation could provide context for current movements against police brutality.

“It reminds us that routine discrimination and Jim Crow are not ancient history. We shouldn’t despair that it’s not all solved,” Obama said, noting all the progress that the country has made just in his lifetime.

“This is the place to understand how protest and love of country don’t merely coexist, but inform each other,” he said.

The dedication ceremony was attended by a who’s who of American officials, including Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as entertainment luminaries including Winfrey, Stevie Wonder and Will Smith.

The Obamas were joined on stage by former President George W. Bush, and his wife Laura. Bush signed the law authorizing construction of the museum in 2003.

“A great nation does not hide its history, it faces its flaws and it corrects them,” Bush said.

Demand to visit the museum is high, with free tickets to the museum quickly snatched up online.

Obama has joined in the excitement for the new attraction. The first family enjoyed a private preview earlier this month. He also hosted a reception at the White House on Friday in honor of the opening and attended a star-studded concert heralding the museum at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Friday night.

 

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Trump Flies With Gold-Plated Bathroom Fixtures, And You’re Paying Millions For It

Taxpayers are now picking up most of Donald Trump’s air travel costs, unnecessarily spending millions of dollars because he insists on flying aboard his luxury 757 instead of a practical plane. And because the GOP presidential nominee owns both the company that owns the jetliner and the one that operates it, some percentage of that taxpayer money is likely winding up as profit in Trump’s personal bank account.

The bombastic businessman has often bragged about the comforts of his ride, with its full bedroom, shower and 24-karat gold-plated bathroom fixtures. But because it seats so few passengers, Trump’s Secret Service agents appear to make up more than half of the plane’s flight manifests. And that means taxpayers are now legally required to pick up the majority of its staggering running costs.

Over the first three months of this year, after Trump asked for and received Secret Service protection, the agency’s payments to his campaign accounted for 48 percent of the $1.7 million that it paid Tag Air Inc., the candidate’s company that operates the aging jet.

Over June, July and August, as Trump became the GOP nominee and his security detail grew, the agency’s payments to the campaign made up 78 percent of the $1.3 million that it paid to Tag Air, according to The Huffington Post’s review of Federal Election Commission filings.

Politico, which first reported these payments, put the total the Secret Service paid to the Trump campaign at $1.6 million. But a closer look at campaign finance filings shows that the U.S. Secret Service covered more than $2.3 million of the $3.8 million Trump’s campaign has paid Tag Air in 2016.

That figure is on pace to top $3 million by Election Day on Nov. 8 – a total that would be nearly double what taxpayers spent to fly Secret Service agents around with 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

The difference: Romney did what every other non-incumbent presidential candidate has done in recent history and chartered an airliner on which staff, Secret Service and the traveling press corps all flew together, thereby driving down the cost for everyone.

“It’s eye-opening, I guess,” said Bob Biersack, who spent three decades at the FEC before joining the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. “Part of the Trump phenomenon.”

This is a public perception thing. At some point, people will begin to say, ‘Wait a minute: this is ridiculous.’Bob Biersack, Center for Responsive Politics

Biersack said the payments do not appear to be illegal and that the former reality TV show host was not likely to care about appearances. He pointed to the many tax breaks Trump’s businesses have aggressively sought over the years. “This is not the first time he’s used government assets to his own advantage, right?” he added.

Both the Secret Service and the FEC said election regulations do not allow any leeway for how the agency is to reimburse campaigns for travel. Trump’s campaign did not respond to queries from HuffPost about the matter.

The $2.3 million the Secret Service spent to fly with Trump is only slightly less than the $2.6 million the agency has paid to the campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ― even though she has had the agency’s protection for twice as long as her Republican opponent.

Clinton, as the spouse of a former president, has had Secret Service protection since the start of her campaign in April 2015, whereas Trump asked for and received protection late last year. What’s more, some of the agency’s payments to the former secretary of state’s campaign cover travel with former President Bill Clinton when he has been on the campaign trail.

The Democratic candidate chartered a 737 that carries Clinton, her traveling staff, Secret Service detail and the traveling press corps in the past month, which should hold down the agency’s travel costs with her for the final two months of the campaign.

The last Republican candidate did the same thing in the final months of 2012. Romney’s chartered McDonnell-Douglas MD-83 was only seven feet shorter than Trump’s Boeing 757, but was configured essentially like a standard airliner and could carry some 150 passengers, even with a more spacious first-class section for Romney and his top staff.

In contrast, Trump’s 757, which he purchased from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011, boasts a lounge with a 57-inch television and home theater sound, a master bedroom appointed with silk wall coverings and a guest room with a mohair couch that converts to a bed. It can, however, only seat 43 people and it appears not to carry even that many on the campaign trail, based on the number aboard recent flights.

On a brief flight this month on which Trump invited a small group of reporters aboard, there were only about 20 passengers, not counting the crew. Nearly half appeared to be Secret Service agents.

FEC rules require that Secret Service agents pay a “pro-rata share of the travel” to the campaign. So if agents on any given leg make up three quarters of the passengers, the U.S. Government is required to pay three quarters of the cost to fly Trump’s luxury liner.

What that figure is precisely for a given amount of time is known by the Trump campaign, but cannot be determined through the few public documents on file that describe Tag Air.

However, a 757-200 similar to Trump’s can be chartered for about $13,000 per hour. Based on fuel consumption rates for that plane, as much as $8,000 of that is burned each hour in the air, more if the trip is a series of short hops. Maintenance, food, landing fees and crew salaries add many hundreds of dollars more per hour.

How much the plane generates in profit for Trump after subtracting these costs might be deduced from his tax returns, but he has refused to release those. Trump said he is under IRS audit and that his lawyers have told him it would be unwise to release the returns until this is finished.

And as pricey as his plane is to fly, he makes his travel even more expensive by insisting on returning to New York City at the end of each day so he can sleep in his own bed in Trump Tower’s penthouse. Flying home, rather than overnighting in the next city on the campaign schedule, typically adds three to four hours of flying time per day, translating to $27,000 to $36,000 per day in higher flight costs.

Those higher costs, though, are being borne in large measure by taxpayers, particularly since the expansion of Trump’s Secret Service detail upon his officially winning the nomination.

How much the plane generates in profit for Trump after subtracting these costs might be deduced from his tax returns, but Trump has refused to release those.

Trump paid Tag Air $2.1 million to fly his plane around to campaign events in 2015. The money came from the checks he was writing to fund his campaign, as well as from the sale of “Make America Great Again” hats and other campaign souvenirs. Not a dime came from taxpayers.

This year has been a completely different story, first with the availability of Secret Service payments to defray his travel costs, and then with a flood of donor money following his signing of a joint fundraising deal with the Republican National Committee in May.

Trump’s use of Republican donors’ money at his own businesses since he signed that deal has been previously documented by news outlets including HuffPost. He sent his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach a check for $423,000 the very day the fundraising agreement was signed. In all, some $600,000 flowed from the Trump campaign to Trump properties that day.

He also increased the rent that his campaign pays at Trump Tower by a factor of five after signing the RNC deal, from $35,458 in April to $169,758 by July. That higher rent translates to a per-square-foot cost several times higher than what the Clinton campaign pays for its headquarters in Brooklyn.

This lavish spending, though, came at the expense of donors who willingly gave money to Trump. The Secret Service payments to fly on Trump’s glitzy but inefficient plane hit taxpayers, potentially creating problems for him if public anger translates into a drop in support, the Center for Responsive Politics’ Biersack said.

“The issue is that he’s chosen that particular plane,” Biersack said, adding that FEC commissioners likely never contemplated that a candidate would choose such an extravagant mode of transportation. Nor did anyone guess that taxpayers could wind up on the hook if it did happen, Biersack added. “It was never anticipated that the proportion of campaign travelers would be so heavily tilted toward federal officials.”

“This is a public perception thing,” he continued. “At some point, people will begin to say, ‘Wait a minute: this is ridiculous.’”

 

 

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