Demographics tell the story

If you want to understand the fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans, look no further than the differences in demographics in the the incoming 116th Congress.

The incoming 116th Congress will include 105 Democratic women and only 19 Republican women.

The percentage of white men as a share of House Democrats is set to decline from 41% to 38%.

Meanwhile, the percentage of white men as a share of House Republicans is on track to rise from 86% to 91%.

All Republican members-elect are white men except for one female member of Congress.

Also, the only Muslim, Native American, and members of the LGBTQ community serving in Congress are Democrats.

One party looks like America. Not enough, for sure, but it’s getting better. A lot, better.

The other one is actually getting worse. It’s getting even more male and more white.

You have to ask yourself why.

You also have to ask yourself if Congress was a club looking for new members, which one would you want to join?

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These folks get it.

I’m always heartened when I see church signs like this given the fact that about 80 percent of Evangelicals and more than half of Catholics still support the Trump Presidency.

It’s baffling to me.

A serial adulterer who bragged about sexual assault and paid hush money to porn stars still enjoys the support of the religious right.

A man who habitually and publicly insults others based upon their weight and height and who recently referred to a US Congressman with a vulgarity is still beloved by a majority of white, Christian Americans.

A President who placed children in cages and gave a tax cut to corporations and the wealthiest Americans - just about the least “Jesus-like thing” you could do - is still viewed favorably by about half of all Christians today.

I just don’t understand.

Signs like this remind me that despite all the inexplicable support for a racist, sexist, lying, immoral man, there are plenty of good people in this country who are fighting on the side of justice and righteousness.

Spy magazine's prank from 30 years ago is more remarkable now than it was then.

The following is a true thing. Also, it seems absolutely impossible. Impossible to me and perhaps to you. When I first read about it, I assumed it was false. A hoax.

But no. It’s true. I checked and rechecked. This really happened.

Here goes:

30 years ago, Spy magazine sent “refund” checks for $1.11 to 58 millionaires and billionaires.

A little less than half - 26 in all - cashed their check. Spy then sent those 26 another check for $0.64.

Half of them - 13 in all - cashed that check and then received another check from Spy for $0.13.

Only two of the remaining millionaires and billionaires cashed their $0.13 checks.

Who were those millionaires and billionaires?

Donald Trump and the uncle of murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The universe is a strange and incomprehensible place.

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Trump's Thanksgiving Day hissy-fit

The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey summarized Trump’s Thanksgiving Day antics so well that I thought I’d share my favorite couple of paragraphs from the piece.

If Trump ever manages to construct a Presidential library when he is finally out of office (unlikely given his inability to construct his stupid wall) , I feel like the words below should be carved on the doors of that institution.

They tell you everything you need to know about the man.

Dawsey writes:

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"I had nothing else to do"

A few days before the midterm elections, Trump told reporters that he listened to one of President Obama's campaign speeches for Florida Democrats.

“I was in the plane,” he said. “I had nothing else to do. He had a very small crowd. They don’t tell you that."

Did you catch that? The leader of the free world had “nothing better to do.”

It’s appalling.

Trump had nothing to read? Nothing to plan? Not a single thing to learn? No member of Congress or governor or mayor or foreign leader to call? No supporter to thank? No meeting with a Cabinet member? No update on the California wildfires or North Korean weapons testing or the Syrian civil war or Brexit negotiations?

Not a single briefing from anyone in his administration?

Trump had “nothing better to do” so he watched Obama’s speech.

Had Trump said that he watched Obama’s speech to analyze his opponent’s strategy for winning the upcoming election, that would’ve been perfectly acceptable. A normal thing for a politician to do on the eve of the midterms.

But no. Trump didn’t watch the speech in order to scrutinize or strategize. He watched Obama’s speech because he had “nothing better to do.”

That sentence speaks volumes.

In at least the past 25 years, there has never been a single moment of my life when I had “nothing better to do.”

No exaggeration.

Honestly, the last time I can remember having “nothing better to do” was when I was 22 years-old and homeless, waiting out the long nights in the cold and the dark in the backseat of my Toyota Tercel.

I have always had something better to do. I am constantly waiting to get to my next thing. My plate is always overflowing. There is never a single second of my day when something hasn’t needed to be repaired, revised, refined, adjusted, examined, altered, advanced, or completed.

And I’m just me. Just an ordinary person with family and friends and work.

I’m not the President of the United States.

When Trump was campaigning for President, he constantly criticized President Obama’s work ethic. Complained about the President’s love of golf. Promised that he wouldn’t have any time for such things. Assured his voters that he’d be working all the time.

"I love golf,” Trump said. “But if I were in the White House, I don't think I'd ever see Turnberry again. I don't ever think I'd see anything — I just wanna stay in the White House and work my ass off, make great deals, right? Who's gonna leave? I won’t have time to go and play golf. Being President is too important. "

Since becoming President, Trump has spent, on average, one out of every 4.5 days at one of his golf clubs. More than twice as many rounds of golf than Obama played over the same period.

162 days in total so far (out of 666 days as President), often refusing to allow cameras to film him as he plays. Often refusing to answer questions about playing. Often denying playing even after reporters spotted him on the greens.

Trump has spent 24.3% of his time in office on a golf course, costing taxpayers more than $80,000,000 in security and travel.

In addition, Trump does not arrive to the office until 11:30 AM on most days and leaves before 5:00 PM, spending his mornings in the residence, watching cable news and calling members of the media.

He has yet to visit any of our troops overseas.

Skipped a World War I commemoration because of the rain.

Didn’t visit Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day.

Ignored Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and played golf instead.

This is a President who promised to work relentlessly for his voters yet finds himself with “nothing better to do.”

Appalling.

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Trump has solutions for rising oil prices, a falling stock market, and the California wildfires. Thank goodness!

Fear not, friends. Recent tweets within the last 24 hours show that the President knows exactly what this country needs and has solutions to all of our problems.

For example, just yesterday morning:

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Did you see that? When it comes to the price of oil, Trump demonstrates a remarkably nuanced understanding of supply and demand while simultaneously negotiating via Twitter using that often forgotten lever of power known as “hope.”

Yes, friends. The President “hopes” that oil prices stay low. With that kind of leadership, we should expect nothing less.

Or this tweet, which he also sent yesterday morning:

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Trump points out that the complex and interconnected web pf the United States economy is not dependent upon corporate profits, global trade, interest rates, the cost of labor and other inputs, governmental regulations, consumer confidence, the soaring national debt, or his recent trade war with a host of nations.

None of those boring and complicated things are nearly as important to the US economy as how the Democrats in Congress treat him. Even before they take power in the House, the mere threat that Democrats might impose some level of accountability or provide a few checks and balances has sent the market into a tailspin.

Yesterday, at least.

The market has actually given back most of its 2018 gains over the course of the last three months, but still!

If the Democrats say mean things to the President, stocks suffer. If they are nice, the market will rebound.

Economics at its best, my friends.Lastly, the President offered these two gems over the weekend (in between skipping a service honoring Americans who died fighting in World War I because it was raining):

Surprise! The President has thankfully found a the solution for the California wildfires that continue to increase in size and severity:

Threaten and berate.

While many scientists, forest management professionals, and firefighters point to climate change as a key factor in the rise in these wildfires, the President says no.

Climate change is not real. Or is actually good for our country. Or something.

Instead, the public servants who manage our forests must simply need to “Get smart!” and “Remedy now!”

Thanks, Mr. President!

He also seems to think that cutting the budgets of these agencies when they are struggling to control these wildfires in the first place might also do the trick. This is the old, “You can’t do the work with this much money? Try doing it with half that amount!”

It’s out-of-the box thinking like this that makes me think America is indeed in good hands.

I had a terrifying Uber right in Florida last night.

I spent about 45 minutes in the back of an Uber last night on the road between Jacksonville International Airport and Amelia Island.

It was almost 2:00 AM when I climbed into the back of the car, so perhaps that’s why things got weird.

My driver was quite the conversationalist and had a lot to say. He was also an avid conspiracy theorist who was anxious to spread his propaganda. Among this many beliefs were these:

THEORY #1

In the 1940’s, the United States began cloning human beings to serve as doubles for any human being who needed to be eliminated or replaced. The most famous of all these replacements:

Michael Jackson

When Jackson’s hair caught fire on a Pepsi commercial shoot in 1984, his face was also horribly burned. The only way for the King of Pop to continue to entertain was for the government to activate his replacement clone, and since the technology was not exact, that is why Jackson’s complexion seemed to change over the years.

When I asked why the government thought it necessary to replace Michael Jackson, the driver said, “Michael Jackson was amazing. The world needed him.”

THEORY #2

The Illuminati controls NASA, which is not actually a space exploration agency but instead is instead a secret bunker-building construction company designing hideouts for the wealthiest human beings for when the apocalypse comes.

His proof: NASA in Hebrew (according to him) means “To Deceive” and the Illuminati like to hide clues in the open.

“Why do they hide clues out in the open?” I asked.

“It’s cooler that way,” he said.

It was disconcerting to think that there are Americans who have been fooled into believing conspiracies like this (and so many more), but here was the most frightening of his beliefs:

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, is a terrible human being because when Donald Trump gave tax cuts to corporations, lots of them gave their employees holiday bonuses but Amazon didn’t. He was working for Amazon at the time at a fulfillment center and wanted the $500 bonus that Trump had tried to put into his pocket.

Up until this point, I had only listened. But with this, I had to speak up. I said something like this:

“I’m not saying Bezos shouldn’t be doing more for workers, but instead of a a tax cut for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, how about just a plain old middle class tax cut? You know, the kind Trump promised during the campaign and then lied about prior to the midterms? Remember when Trump said his wealthy friends were going to hate his plans for taxes? They loved his tax cut on the wealthy. A tax cut for the middle class would give you a lot more than $500 in your pocket, and it wouldn’t be a one-time payment. It would help you every day.”

His response:

“Yeah, but when I’m one of the wealthiest Americans someday like Bezos, then I’m going to love me some of that tax cut.”

The man is 34 years old. He has three jobs:

He drives Uber overnight.
He does nails at his mother’s salon.
He repairs cracked screens on iPhones.

He works three jobs and has a 7 year-old daughter to support, and instead of wanting the promised middle class tax cut, he would prefer $500 in cash and a tax cut just waiting for him when he makes it big.

That was the scariest thing he said all night. He is a man who really believes that tax obligations should be apportioned with the thought that he and everyone else will someday be as wealthy as Jeff Bezos.

He’s not the only one. Again and again, Americans vote against their self-interests with some eye to a future that is unlikely for them and impossible for everyone.

Help middle class families who are living paycheck to paycheck or line the wallets of the ultra-wealthy because some day you might be wealthy, too, and until then, $500 will make you feel good.

Give me Michael Jackson clones and an Illuminati-controlled NASA any day.

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Steve Bannon is worried about the future of America. I hope and pray that he is right.

Steve Bannon is worried. He thinks women might “take charge of society” in the coming years.

He's reportedly most concerned by the women-led wave of liberal, anti-Trump activism, fueled by the #MeToo movement.

"The anti-patriarchy movement is going to undo ten thousand years of recorded history," author Joshua Green quoted Bannon as saying. "You watch. The time has come. Women are gonna take charge of society. And they couldn't juxtapose a better villain than Trump. He is the patriarch."

My response to Bannon:

We could only be so lucky.

If I could press a button and eject every member of Congress from power and replace them with a randomly selected American woman, I would do so in a heartbeat. I have no problem with undoing ten thousand years of recorded history. Women account for more than half of all Americans but account for only a tiny fraction of Americans in power today.

Where has that gotten us?

In the words of lifetime Republican Chesley B. 'Sully' Sullenberger, the hero on the Hudson, who recently wrote an Op-Ed for the Washington Post indicating that he will be voting Democrat on Tuesday:

Too many people in power today “are cowardly, complicit enablers, acting against the interests of the United States, our allies and democracy; encouraging extremists at home and emboldening our adversaries abroad; and threatening the livability of our planet. Many do not respect the offices they hold; they lack — or disregard — a basic knowledge of history, science and leadership; and they act impulsively, worsening a toxic political environment.”

And who are these people in power?

About 81% of the members of Congress are men. 88% of governors are men. Every single President, including the incompetent racist currently serving in office, has been a man. 75% of his Cabinet are men. 100% of committee chairmen in Congress are men. 95% of Fortune 500 companies are run by men despite repeated research that shows that companies run by women return more money to shareholders year after year after year.

Men have been in charge for long enough. It’s time to let women fill the halls of power.

A record number of women are running for office on Tuesday, and I hope and pray that a record number of women win their elections and assume their rightful seats at the table.

Not every man is a “cowardly, complicit enabler,” and not every women will perform with integrity and honor while serving the public. But as I look at our divided country today and watch as lawmakers abandon the middle class, erode voting rights, degrade the free press, defend corruption at the highest levels, and ignore the threat that global warming poses to my children and future generations, I think that a change is needed.

Men have gotten us into this mess.

It’s time to see what women can do to fix it.

Steve Bannon has been right before. He predicted a Trump victory in 2016, and that awful prediction unfortunately proved correct.

Let’s hope he’s right about women taking charge of society, too. We need a change, and more women in power seems like a good first step to making that change happen.

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The truth about immigrants and the American economy

As you prepare to go to the polls on Tuesday, and as Trump ratchets up his racist attacks on immigrants and migrants, please know this, and please repeat it to everyone you know:

Every generation of Americans, at every level of government, consumes more benefits from the local and federal government than they contribute in taxes, with one single exception according to the Federal Reserve:

First generation immigrants.

First generation immigrants contribute more to the federal coffers than they receive in benefits in a year, including their dependents.

The numbers are striking:

First generation immigrants to the United States contributed $963 more than they received in federal benefits last year.

The rest of us run a net deficit of $4,364.

Nearly every economist in the world will tell you that immigration is good for a nation’s economy. Immigrants do not steal jobs. They do the work that others will not. They purchase goods and services. Buy homes. Build business. Hire workers.

Immigrants are the fabled job creators.

In 2017, despite Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, immigrants launched 25% of all new businesses in this country. 216 of the Fortune 500 businesses in America today were founded by immigrants or their children. More than half of all businesses in America today worth one billion dollars or more were founded by immigrants.

Refugees, a subgroup of the foreign-born population, have even higher rates of business creation and entrepreneurship. 

If we want a healthy, expanding economy, we should be welcoming immigrants to our nation with open arms.

Trump has already made it clear that his attacks against immigration are not based upon economic theory or any real data. He is simply a racist who wants to prevent people of color from entering the United States. He has referred to the nations of African as “shit hole countries” and has asked why the United States couldn’t attract immigrants from predominately white countries like Norway.

White immigrants? Just fine in Trump’s opinion.

Mexican or Africans? In Trump’s own words, “drug dealers, criminals, and rapists.”

In truth, immigrants also commit fewer crimes than natural born Americans by a wide margin.

Make no mistake: Immigrants are good for our country. They are good for our economy. They are a driving force in business creation and job creation in America today, despite being forced to operate in a country with a President who openly despises them and a base of Republican supporters who refuse to acknowledge the economics behind immigration and instead continue to cast their votes based upon fear, ignorance, party loyalty, and the color of a person’s skin.

When you go to the polls on Tuesday, keep these irrefutable facts in mind, and please share them with whoever will listen. Trump is hoping that the fear and anger conjured from his rhetoric about immigrants, the caravan, and the “horde of invaders at our southern border” will win him votes in the midterms.

We have to do everything we can to stop a racist President from acting against America’s self interests and against people who have made our country great and continue to make our country great every day.

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Trump can't speak articulately., and it should scare the hell out of us.

The Wall Street Journal, a conservative financial newspaper, recently interviewed Donald Trump about his decisions related to the economy.

Trump was asked about the possibility that the tariffs he has imposed on a variety of products might have a harmful effect on the economy in the longterm.

Keep in mind that since becoming President, Trump has imposed tariffs on steel, aluminum, solar panels, washing machines, and more than $200 billion in Chinese imports.

Trump’s answer to the tariff question is astounding on two levels.

First, he simply lies about the tariffs. This should be no surprise given his record with the truth, but this lie is particularly atrocious because Trump claimed that they do not exist at all. Considering how often he brags about these tariffs, his willingness to pretend they do not exist, especially to a publication like the Wall Street Journal, is unthinkable.

But even more astounding than his lies is his inability to answer articulately. His sentences simply make no sense. It’s a jumble of words, phrases and clauses that confuse and contradict.

The man can’t speak in standard English.

Below is a portion of the transcript published by the Wall Street Journal related to tariffs.

My recommendation:

Read the following aloud. More importantly, vote on November 6.

_______________________________________

WSJ: A lot of people say that tariffs are really the biggest threat to the economy long term.

Mr. Trump: We don’t have any tariffs.

WSJ: But you’re saying it’s the Fed.

Mr. Trump: It’s so much nonsense, OK. This is your story. We don’t even have tariffs. I’m using tariffs to negotiate. I mean, other than some tariffs on steel—which is actually small, what do we have? I didn’t put them on the USMCA. We have a trade deal. I didn’t put them on in South Korea. We have a trade deal. That was the worst deal. That was a deal made by Hillary Clinton. It was a horrible deal. We made it into a sound deal.

But I didn’t put tariffs. Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere. I read that today: We’re worried about the tariffs. You know what happens? A business that’s doing badly always likes to blame Trump and the tariffs because it’s a good excuse for some incompetent guy that’s making $25 million a year.

WSJ: Just to go back to the Fed for a second—

Mr. Trump: But think of it, Michael. We don’t have tariffs. Where do we have tariffs? I’m talking tariffs. I’ll use tariffs. I mean it. I’ve said I was going to put tariffs on European Union cars, right? They came to my office. We made the concept of a deal. We’ll see what happens. But they agreed to a deal that they wouldn’t even talk about. There’s no tariffs.

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Terrorists are cowards. Let them know it.

In the past 72 hours:

A man attempted to enter a predominately black church in Kentucky with a gun. When unable to gain access to the building, he went to a Kroger grocery store and killed two American Americans shoppers instead.

A man attempted to kill President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Vice President Biden, several other high ranking members of the Democrat party and a handful of their supporters with pipe bombs sent through the US postal service.

A man entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed 11 people and wounded many others, including law enforcement officers.

The suffering of the victims of these crimes and their loved ones is unspeakable. The damage done to families and communities is immeasurable.

There will be many debates in the coming weeks over the causes of this outburst of violence.

Americans will argue over the hateful rhetoric of a President who just three days ago, in the midst of the pipe bomb scare, praised Republican Republican Greg Gianforte of Montana for physically assaulting a reporter in 2017.

Americans will debate the efficacy of our gun laws.

Americans will rightfully question why the vast majority of these mass killings are perpetrated by white, middle aged men.

There will be much debate, discord, and disagreement. Answers will be hard to come by, and when found, even harder to implement.

But as Americans, I think we can all agree on one thing:

Each of these men were cowards of the highest order. All terrorists, in fact, are cowards. Their stock and trade is the murder of unarmed, innocent people. Their goal is to kill men, women, and children who cannot shoot back or otherwise defend themselves.

Cowards. Ever single one of them. Not a single one of them understands courage.

Serving as a police officer, fire fighter, and first responder requires courage.

Running for political office requires courage.

Living openly as a transsexual person today requires courage.

Standing on a stage and telling a story requires courage.

Serving in our armed forces requires courage.

Caring for an ailing parent requires courage.

Asking someone to marry you requires courage.

Battling cancer requires courage.

Fostering a child requires courage.

Serving as a member of the media - particularly in today’s political climate - requires courage.

Standing up to a bully requires courage.

Sending your child off to kindergarten for the first time requires courage.

Killing unarmed parishioners in places of worship requires nothing more than a coward and his gun.

Mailing bombs to prominent politicians and their supports requires little more than a coward, some gun powder, and a stamp.

As we debate causes and solutions for this senseless violence, let’s also make sure that we let these terrorists and all future terrorists know how history will remember them:

As the greatest cowards of our time. Worthless human beings without an ounce of courage in their bones. Frightened little men who will be reviled by humanity until the end of time.

Cowards. Every single one of them. This is one thing to which every American can agree.

Let’s make sure these cowards and all future cowards know it.

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Perhaps the stupidest thing that America does

Of all the stupid things that our country does, Election Day might be one of the stupidest.

There is absolutely no reason why Election Day is not a national holiday or held over the weekend. Almost every other democracy on the planet holds their elections on a holiday or weekend, and almost every American who wants their fellow citizens to be able to vote agrees.

Tuesday was established as Election Day in the United States 1845 because it did not interfere with the Biblical Sabbath or with market day, which was on Wednesday in many towns. This was also a time in America when many voters needed to travel a full day by horse and buggy to the county seat to cast their vote.

We vote on a Tuesday because of conditions that no longer apply in this country. Nothing in the Constitution is preventing us from changing the day that we vote, yet the stupidity of Election Day persists.

The only reason to keep Election Day on a Tuesday is to suppress the vote. Make it more difficult for people who already have difficulty getting to the polls.

Primarily young, poor, working class Americans.

Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State and the Republican nominee for Georgia governor, for example, was recently caught saying that his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams’ voter turnout operation “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote,” according to audio obtained by Rolling Stone.

The Secretary of the State in Georgia is concerned about everyone in his state exercising their right to vote. This is about as unpatriotic as you can get. It probably also explains why Kemp has spent the last month purging the vote rolls in his state of anyone who is unlikely to vote for him.

Primarily African Americans.

Yesterday a federal judge put a stop to him, but tens of thousands of voters have already been purged from the rolls.

Just imagine what our country might look like if the Brian Kemps of the world were not suppressing the vote and every American used and exercised their right to vote.

The thought makes the likes of Brian Kemp and the Republican party shudder in fear.

Moving Election Day to the weekend or making it a national holiday would almost assuredly helps millions of Americans to vote.

In 2014, for example, 35 percent of registered voters who did not vote indicated that aid they couldn’t vote because of work or school obligations.

On November 6, only 44 percent of U.S. firms will give workers paid time off to vote on Election Day.

Election Day on a Tuesday in November is stupid. It’s also guaranteed to suppress voter turnout and assist Republicans in maintaining majority control in Congress despite the fact that they represent a minority of Americans in both the Senate and House.

Even the President was elected by a minority of Americans.

Majority control at the hands of the minority. Election Day on a Tuesday assists in perpetuating this reality.

There are a lot of stupid things in America.

The Electoral College is dumb.

The fact that marijuana and heroin are categorized equally under US law is ridiculous beyond compare.

Why the Monday after the Super Bowl isn’t a national holiday baffles me.

But Election Day on a Tuesday? Perhaps the stupidest thing of all.

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Own your domain, dummy

Wondering what kind of information Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh might include on BrettKavanaugh.com now that he has won his confirmation?

We’ll never know. He doesn’t own the domain.

The domain BrettKavanaugh.com is now a dedicated forum for helping sexual assault victims and ending rape. The website, titled "We Believe Survivors," was purchased by Fix The Court, which advocates for judicial transparency.

The domain and similar sites ending in .org and .net was purchased three years ago with the idea they could be "useful in any forthcoming Supreme Court confirmation battles," the organization's executive director, Gabe Roth, said. 

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Why Brett Kavanaugh didn’t purchase this domain years ago is beyond me.

Perhaps he was drunk with Squee at the time, writing crude, sexually explicit, and publicly shaming comments about Renate Schroeder in his yearbook.

Meanwhile, I own matthewdicks.com, as well as mattdicks.com and matthewdicks.net.

I also own my name on MySpace and Facebook, as well as the Twitter handle @MatthewDicks, the Instagram handle @MatthewDicks, and even the Pinterest handle @MatthewDicks.

When I see a new platform gaining steam, I grab my name just in case.

Even Donald Trump doesn’t own his Twitter handle. Instead, he is @realDonaldTrump.

I also own elyshadicks.com, claradicks.com, and charliedicks.com.

Someday Clara and Charlie are going to be very pleased about their genius father’s foresight and planning. To have a domain that actually matches your name is already unusual. It will only become more uncommon in the future, particularly when so much of our lives exist on the Internet.

I recommend that parents do this for their children.

I plan on telling my kids about this great news when:

  1. They understand the value of owning a domain like this

  2. I’ve said something regrettable or horrendous to them and need to find a way to get them to forgive me quickly.

I was a Boy Scout. I believe in being prepared.

Brett Kavanaugh and the photo that will never go away

You’ve probably seen the photo already, and even if you haven’t, you’re probably trying to put the Brett Kavanaugh hearings behind you, but I just couldn’t let the moment pass without taking a moment to highlight this remarkable image.

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I don’t know if Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Ford, but here’s what I do know:

  1. The percentage of false accusations against men by women for crimes of this type is exceptionally small.

  2. An enormous number of sexual assault victims do not come forward for many understandable reasons. Remaining silent is tragically common.

  3. Dr. Ford had a hell of a lot to lose (and did) by coming forward and had little incentive to do so. Even if her testimony derailed the Kavanaugh confirmation, Republicans would simply confirm a different, equally conservative justice. She was not going to change the political leaning of the court by her testimony. She’s also had to endure death threats and Trump’s mocking attacks at his rallies less than a week after claiming to find Dr. Ford to be a credible and sympathetic witness.

  4. For centuries, female sexual assault victims have been ignored, silenced, and condemned, so I have made it a point to be as open as possible to their claims. This is not a dangerous time for young men. It is an ongoing and endlessly dangerous time to be a woman.

  5. Even if Kavanaugh is not guilty of Dr. Ford’s allegations, he lied several times during his confirmation hearings, and that alone should have disqualified him from service on the court. Republicans ignored this because they have abdicated all moral authority in this country in favor of power and fear of the Trump base.

  6. This was not a trial. It was a job interview, so the standards of guilt and innocence do not apply here. If a woman had made a credible claim of sexual misconduct against me during my interview to become a teacher, and I had responded to the charges with anger, defensiveness, partisan attacks, victim blaming, and conspiracy theories, I would never have expected to be hired. Temperament is important for a teacher and for a judge, and Kavanaugh did not demonstrate a temperament required for service on the court during his testimony.

In short, I don’t think Kavanaugh deserved to be confirmed, and a majority of Americans in the latest polling agree with me. In fact, since his confirmation, the number of Americans who don’t believe that he should’ve been confirmed has increased.

This is why I love this photo. Kavanaugh might possess the power that he has sought for much of his adult life, but he will never enjoy all of the prestige of the position. He will always be the least popular Supreme Court nominee. A man who lied on the stand and lost his temper during his hearings. And the credible allegations of sexual assault will never be forgotten.

When an Internet search is conducted on Kavanaugh in the future, this photo is likely to come up every time, and happily so. It serves as a testament to the mockery of his confirmation process and the shame that Kavanaugh has brought to the Supreme Court.

Oddly, most of the scowling women sitting behind Kavanaugh support him. They are his wife, two friends, his mother, and a former law clerk, supporting him in the moment but doing him no favors in terms of posterity.

Perhaps this is the best karma could do given the circumstances.

Matilda vs. Donald Trump

This statue of the the classic British children's character Matilda staring down a likeness of President Donald Trump has been erected to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Roald Dahl's 1988 novel.

As the Roald Dahl Story Company prepared to mark the anniversary of the novel, it asked the British public to weigh in on a replacement for Miss Trunchbull, the villainous headmistress. A survey asked who Matilda’s present-day antagonist would be.

Topping the poll by a wide margin was, of course, Donald Trump.

Even in a nation an ocean away, with the likes of Piers Morgan and Nigel Farage from which to choose, the most vile person who immediately comes to the British mind is the same one who Americans despise in historically large numbers.

For the record, Matilda would kick Trump’s ass if given half a chance.

Eric Trump doesn't like me

As you may know, I was a part of the Knight Foundation’s lawsuit against Donald Trump which led to him being forced to unblock me on Twitter earlier this year.

One of the highlights of 2018 for me.

Though I had always been able to see the inane ramblings of the self-admitted sex offender and bigot currently serving in the White House, now I can respond directly to him when the need arises.

It’s usually when I’m so annoyed that exercising my freedom of speech and firing off a response to his stupidity makes me feel better.

Yesterday, however, I discovered that I have now been blocked by Eric Trump, the debatably stupidest of the two Trump sons.

I know most comedians portray Eric as the dumb one, and he certainly has a slack-jawed, mystified gaze about him, but after the enormous number of obvious lies that Donald Trump Jr. told about his meeting with Russians in Trump Tower, the title for dumbest Trump son became a lot less certain for me.

Since Eric Trump is not a public official but only pretending to be running the Trump Organization on behalf of his self-serving, racist father, I am not outraged by his decision to block me.

A little annoyed, perhaps, because he’s so easy and fun to insult (which is why I was probably blocked) but I certainly understand that he’s well within his rights to silence me on Twitter.

I suspect that Trump Jr. will also block me at some point if my tweets rise to his attention, and since he is not a public official but only a possible traitor to the United States who is also pretending to run the Trump Organization, I will not be outraged by his decision to block me, either.

Disappointed but not outraged.

Ivanka, however, is a government official. She has chosen not to take a salary, but she’s still working for the government, so she cannot block me based upon the principles of the Knight Foundation lawsuit.

Unlike her father and brothers, Ivanka is not nearly as stupid on Twitter. She did tweet out this photo of her and her son exactly one day after Americans learned that her father was separating small children from their families and placing them in cages on the border, which might receive the tone deaf award of the century, and she also supports her corrupt, sexist, and bigoted father, but she rarely says something so stupid on Twitter than I feel compelled to respond.

She’s complicit and therefore shares the blame for this disastrous and evil administration, but she’s not nearly as fun to insult.

Eric Trump was good for that, but alas no more.

Apparently my words stung a little too much.

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First words this morning

My nine year-old daughter, Clara, came downstairs this morning, and before saying another word, asked, “Dad, what started the French and Indian War?”

Why my daughter would start her day with this question is beyond me.

“Did you know,” I said, “that the French and Indian War wasn’t actually between …”

“I know, I know,” Clara said. “The French and Indians were fighting the British. I know that. I want to know what started the war.”

Just like that, she had stripped me of my best French and Indian War fact. But I was not to be deterred.

“Did you know that the war was also called..”

“Yes, the Seven Years War,” she said. “I know that, too.” Now she sounded annoyed. “I want to know what started the war.”

I told Clara that I thought the war began over the fight for land. “I think the French and the British were fighting over land in the west and control the fur trade in those areas.”

“You think?” she said. “Let’s look it up.”

So at 6:10 AM, with many other things to do, Clara and I did a deep dive on the French and Indian War. We discovered that I was correct. Though there are always many reasons for war, the control of disputed land in North America was the primary cause.

We also learned that 22 year-old George Washington led the first attack against the French at the Battle of Jumonville Glen.

We learned that the war began in North America in 1754 but expanded to Europe in 1756.

We learned that Britain gained control of parts of Canada, which was populated with 80,000 French residents, and that those people were deported following the war to make the land available to immigrants from Europe and migrants from the colonies to the south. 

“What a bummer for them,” Clara said.

Then I finally taught Clara something that she didn’t know. I explained that the French and Indian War cost Great Britain a lot of money, and to pay off their debt, the Crown tried to impose new taxes on its colonies. These attempts were met with resistance, until troops were called in to enforce the Crown's authority. These acts ultimately led to the start of the American Revolutionary War.

Great Britain won the French and Indian War, but it ultimately led to the loss of British colonies in North America and the birth of the United Stares.

“Cool,” Clara said and then skipped away. It was 6:35 AM, and she had to go learn about the composition of Neptune on Ready Jet Go.

Hydrogen, helium, and methane, if you were wondering.

Americans believe this

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 84.5 percent of Democrats and 51.9 percent of Republicans would support a policy of Medicare for All in the U.S. healthcare system. About 70 percent of Americans look favorably on offering some sort of baseline medical care in the U.S.

The most recent Gallup poll finds that 79% of Americans support a woman's right to choose in some way. 29% of Americans say abortion should be legal under any circumstance, and 50% say it should be legal under certain circumstances. 

When asked, "Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn its 1973 Roe versus Wade decision concerning abortion, or not?" 64% said no compared to 28% saying yes. 

When it comes to gun control, the most recent Gallup poll find that 67% of Americans want stricter control compared with just 4% that do not.

95% want background checks for all gun purchases and 56% would support a ban on semi-automatic weapons. 

I think it’s important to know and remember what Americans actually think and want in a time when our legislators and the President are so highly ineffective at honoring and respecting the will of the people.

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Trump is many things, but let's not forget this.

There was a lot of things wrong with Trump’s comments to ABC White House reporter Cecilia Vega during yesterday’s press conference. .

If you missed the exchange, you can check out the video below, but this is the pertinent bit of the exchange:

Trump: "She's shocked I picked her, she's in a state of shock."

Vega: “I'm not, thank you Mr. President.”

Trump: "I know you're not thinking, you never do."

Vega: "I'm sorry?"

Trump: "Go ahead"

Obviously Trump’s comment was rude, condescending, indecent, unpresidential, and probably sexist. Nothing any former United States President has ever and would ever say to a reporter.

But that’s just the start.

Also notice the collection of mealy-mouthed jackasses standing behind Trump who laugh at this act of rudeness and condescension. They are complicit in this vile act. They are the meatheads who every bully depends upon for support.

Most important, note the cowardice of Trump. When Vega says, “I’m sorry?” she’s attempting to ascertain what Trump just said. She probably heard the words correctly but rightfully assumed that it couldn’t possible have been those words.

What President - or decent human being - would say something like that? And during a press conference?

But like the frightened, little bully that Trump is, he didn’t repeat his words when questioned. He laughs at the reporter for a remark he has made almost under his breath, and then he tells her to continue while his crew of complicit jackasses laugh along at her expense.

Trump is like the high school bully who calls you a name under his breath and then denies saying it when you try to call him out.

Trump is like the high school bully who says something terrible to you and then says, “Just kidding. God… can’t you take a joke?”

Trump is the kind of human being who tries to publicly humiliate a person on the world stage by mumbling an insult under his breath and then pretending it never happened.

What a goddamn coward.

This is a guy who fires people via Twitter because he can’t muster the courage to fire them in person. This is a guy whose flat feet kept him out of Vietnam but allowed him to play golf for his entire life. This is a guy who falls in love with dictators through letters, praises America’s enemies, and fails to stand up to adversaries on the world stage.

Trump is a lot of things. Crude, sexist, racist, thin-skinned, incompetent, inarticulate, self-serving, and condescending. A self-acknowledged sex offender who pays hush money to porn stars.

A serial liar.

But also, and let’s not forget this, a goddamn coward, too.

The Republican own this self-acknowledged sex offender President

In America today, we have a President who openly admitted to sexually assaulting women defending a Supreme Court nominee who is accused of sexually assaulting women.

This is also a President who has paid hush money to porn stars to conceal affairs and has more than a dozen accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault pending against him.

Later today, one of the women accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault will be judged by a panel of 11 white, male Republicans, all over the age of 60.

These old, white men won’t be questioning her directly. Instead, they have hired a female prosector to do their dirty work.

This is what happens when you turn your committee into a boy’s club.

In fact, the Republicans have never had a woman or person of color on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ever. In the 80 year history of the Senate Judiciary Committee, every single Republican member has been a white man.  

On the Democratic side, there are currently 10 members on the committee. Four women. Three people of color. Not as representative as I’d like, but at least not as sexist and racist as the Republican side. 

None of this needed to happen. Republicans knew that Trump was guilty of sexual misconduct by his own admission prior to the election, but they refused to pull his nomination and voted for him anyway. They placed an self-acknowledged sex offender in the White House, and now he is in the position to nominate and defend a man accused of similar crimes. 

Again and again, Republican members of Congress prostrate themselves to a man who said this:

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The party of the Evangelical right had allowed this to happen. They have placed an indecent, immoral, self-serving liar in the position of President of the United States.

Again and again, they place party over country.

History is going to remember them as a party of worthless, complicit, transactional politicians who supported a racist, sexist, incompetent, self-serving President, and remarkably, they don’t seem to care one damn bit.