Eleven is evil.

Just after the United States launched missile strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said, "I've never seen refugees as traumatized as coming out of Syria. It’s got to end."

Sure, but over the last three years, the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States has been this:

2016: 15,479
2017: 3,024
2018: 11

Even though decades of immigration data and almost every economist in the world will tell you that refugees bring added wealth and prosperity to a nation through entrepreneurship, hard work, and an increasingly robust tax base, and even though Jesus himself was a refugee, Trump has all but stopped the flow of Syrian refugees to our country, and his Evangelical base continues to support him through this cruel and evil process.

Hush money paid to porn stars and Playmates. Accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault from more than two dozen women. Bragging about sexually assaulting women. 

Evangelicals reject the veracity of these mounting charges and somehow sleep soundly at night. 

But you can't refute these immigration numbers. America has stopped saving the lives of Syrian refugees, despite our ability to do so, despite the economic logic of doing so, and despite the Secretary of Defense's claim that he's ""never seen refugees as traumatized as coming out of Syria. It’s got to end."

From 15,479 to 11. 

It's despicable. 

And this isn't really an issue of immigration because Trump himself stated that he would like more immigrants from places like Norway than "shit hole countries" like Syria. Trump has made his position very clear:

We will take immigrants from the wealthiest, most stable countries in the world, but your tired, your poor, and your huddled masses? 

Not so much. 

Then again, Syrian refugees pose another real problem for Trump:

Just like Jesus, they aren't white, and they aren't Christian. 

Since racism or religious bigotry are a hallmark of this administration, you can see why it would be hard for Trump to accept these brown skinned, Muslim refugees.

When you launched your political career with lies about Muslims on rooftops during 9/11 and been charged multiple times by the federal government with housing discrimination because of your refusal to rent to African Americans, it's clear that Syrian refugees aren't going to sit well with xenophobe in the White House.    

Meanwhile, men, women, and children die in Syrian refugee camps. These are men, women, and children who are willing to come to our country and work long and hard for a better life. 

I don't believe in a heaven and hell, but if they exist, this is the kind of thing that would cause a person to burn in eternity for sure. 

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These are the kinds of words that Americans yearn to hear

I'm a harsh critic when it comes to speeches and monologues. I often hear that a speech is "amazing" or "remarkable" or "inspiring," only to be let down by something that fails to reach the level of the shouted superlatives. 

This is not the case.

Anderson Cooper's brief monologue in response to Trump's disgusting, indecent, and un-American comments on Haiti and other countries is moving, captivating, and brilliant. 

Take two minutes and watch. Please. 

This Trump tweet is 50 words long but says so much more.

I don't think it's wise to parse the words of someone as erratic and incompetent as Donald Trump, but this recent tweet is a real doozy and demands a little scrutiny. 

Take a look. 

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Let's dig in.

First, we have the President claiming that the book is boring. But the only way to determine if a book is boring is to actually read the book, which we know Trump did not do because:

  • Trump doesn't read.
  • Trump tweeted this less than 24 hours after the book was published. Even if he did read books (and he doesn't), he didn't have time to read a book of this length over the course of a day, especially while serving as President.  

It's both strange and disconcerting that Trump would not see the transparency of this obvious lie.

Second, we have the President claiming that Wolff "made up stories" to sell this "untruthful" book. But Trump knows that Wolff, who reputation for the truth is admittedly not pristine, has recordings of many of the conversations used to write this book.

Is he hoping Wolff won't release these recordings or allow a third party to listen for verification?

Even worse, we know most of these stories to be true already. They are consistent with reporting emerging from the West Wing all year. Sources have been leaking this kind of information about Trump and his staff ever since Trump took office. While the book is a bombshell, it's not exactly entirely new information.   

Also, why doesn't Trump realize that every time he criticizes this book or attacks the author, Wolff sells more books? This should be exceptionally obvious, and yet Trump continues to attack. First, he ineffectually sued to prevent the book's publication (which only results in the publisher releasing the book four days earlier), and since then, he has criticized it verbally and on Twitter again and again.

It's going to be a New York Times #1 bestseller, thanks in large part to Trump. 

I can only pray that Trump would attack one of my books with equal ferocity. 

Now we get to the most interesting and incomprehensible aspect of this tweet. Trump says:

"He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job."

There is so much here. 

  1. If Wolff "used Steve Bannon," who had unfettered access to the West Wing as Trump's chief strategist for most of 2017, then Wolff had at least one very significant source for this book, and Trump just acknowledged it.  
  2. When Bannon left the White House in late August, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that it was a "mutual decision." Trump had nothing but praise for Bannon at the time. So was Sanders lying about this mutual decision? Was Trump lying about his effusive praise? Does Trump not see that reversing a story four months later makes him and his spokesperson a liar back then or a liar now? 
  3. How does telling the world that someone cried as you terminated their employment make you look like anything other than a despicable, reprehensible, untrustworthy human being? How does anyone ever work for a man who would do this kind of thing? When has any employer in the history of the world revealed that an employee cried in response to being fired? Does Trump not realize that revealing that Bannon cried only serves to make Bannon seem more human and Trump appear even more rotten than before?
  4. Does anyone really believe that Bannon cried? Anyone? 

Then Trump says that Bannon has been "dumped like a dog" by almost everyone. 

Who dumps dogs? 

Dumped like a bag of steaming garbage? Sure. 
Dumped like a bad habit? Fine.
But who dumps man's best friend? Apparently Trump does. 

Then Trump closes with "Too bad!" 

What does this mean?

  • Is Trump reflecting back upon his and Steve's previously joyous moments in the Oval Office?
  • Is he expressing regret for the deterioration of their relationship?
  • Is he worried about the future financial viability of his one time friend? 
  • Or is it the "Too bad!" of a sarcastic, middle school bully who is purposefully deflecting emotional attachment and feelings while trying to hurt another?

According to the many accounts in Wolff's book, it's the latter. The one consistent theme running throughout the book is that Trump acts like a petulant child in need of immediate gratification. As a result, these final two words of this tweet only serve to further support the case for the book and its accuracy.  

This petulant, angry, insulting, defensive, untruthful tweet was written by the President of the United States. This is how he spends his time. This is how he serves the American people.

I'd tell Trump how I feel about his tweet directly, but he blocked me on Twitter earlier this year. 

Damn coward. 


Donald Trump has blocked me on Twitter

After almost a year of tweeting at Donald Trump, he finally blocked me from access to his Twitter feed yesterday. 

This is mostly bad news.

Admittedly, it has become a badge of honor to get blocked by Trump. Since he has stated unequivocally that he is the only person with access to his personal Twitter account - a statement which appears to be true based upon many of his incredibly offensive and legally damaging tweets - getting blocked means that Trump has at least read your tweets, and they have managed to penetrate his remarkably thin skin.

That is a good thing.

I also join the ranks of folks like writers Stephen King and Bess Kalb, political activists, civic organizers, actors, athletes, organizations like VoteVets (which represents 500,000 veterans and their families) and Andy Signore, creator of the Honest Trailers series on YouTube.    

Joining that group is quite an honor. 

But this is where the good ends. In truth, I was disappointed - upset, even - to discover that I had been blocked. Over the course of the last year, I was tweeting at Donald Trump regularly in response to many of the things he wrote. His supporters (and perhaps Trump himself) would refer to me as a troll, but in truth, I was tweeting at Trump because it amused me. It made me happy to spend a few minutes a day giving him a piece of my mind. It felt good to speak truth to power. I took great pleasure in the knowledge that Trump reads his Twitter feed, and that perhaps there were days when my words might have penetrated the White House bubble.

Apparently they did. 

My tweets have been getting a lot of attention by the thousands of people who hate-follow Trump (and many of his supporters, too). Many of my tweets were receiving hundreds and thousands of likes and retweets. Apparently enough was enough, and the thin skinned, petulant, would-be child King decided to silence me. 

This doesn't mean I can't see his tweets. There are work-arounds to gain access to his Twitter feed, including a new Twitter account, the use of a different Web browser, the use of Google's Incognito mode, and more, but it's going to be clunky, time consuming, and no matter what I do, @MatthewDicks, the Twitter account that represents me, can no longer comment on what Trump tweets.

There is a lawsuit making its way through the courts on behalf of blocked users, arguing that since Trump has stated that his personal account represents the "official statements of the President," it is a violation of my First Amendment rights to be denied access to his feed.

This makes sense to me. Americans have a right to access official statements from our government officials. I'll be following it closely.  

I still have access to his @POTUS Twitter account, but he rarely uses this account and is clearly not the one tweeting from it. The material is inoffensive and benign. 

Not exactly Trump's way of communicating.

Mostly, I'm just sad that the few joyful minutes I spent each day, speaking truth to power and retorting Trump's offensive, racist, misogynistic statements and blatant lies, have now been denied to me.  

People like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway, and even Donald Tump Jr. are all worthy targets of my Twitter scorn, but none will be nearly as fun as that large, white bag of lies, ignorance, and indiscretion.  

Let us hope that the courts decide in my favor and the First Amendment wins the day.  

When someone suggests that we give Donald Trump a chance, say this.

When someone fires off this Trump talking point:

"He's our President now. Why not at least give him a chance?" 

... please do not remain silent.

I inform these people that I have a policy against giving bigots, misogynists, sexual predators, and liars a second chance, at least when it comes to governing our country and determine the fates of hundred of millions of people.

As the husband of a Jewish woman, the father of a little girl, the teacher of an enormously diverse group of children, and the personal friend to Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, and the disabled, I will stand in opposition of a man who has insulted and threatened all of these groups both in both word and deed. 

I need not give the man who has hurt so many that I love a chance. I will not normalize indecency, ignorance, disrespect, and the purposeful attempt to divide people with intimidation, violence, and hatred.    

I don't think this is an unreasonable position. 

I suspect that many of the people who suggest that we give Trump a chance do not spend their days alongside little Muslim girls, Mexican immigrants, and the disabled. I suspect that they have not worked in restaurants alongside undocumented workers just trying to make a living and on construction sites with men who do not speak English but are willing to work in subzero temperatures when many will not. They are not friends with minorities, the poor, and the disenfranchised. They do not know (or don't know that they know) the victim of a sexual assault.

It's much easier to give someone like Donald Trump a chance when he has not hurt anyone you love, but for many of us, the world is decidedly less white, less homogeneous, and less affluent. For many of us, he has already done great harm to the people we love.  

I have many loved ones - these included - who deserve a future much better than what he has promised.