Trump's stupid belief in the simplicity of problems and solutions

There are a lot of problems with Donald Trump. His racism, sexism, incompetence, venality, and open admission that he sexually assaults women are all more than enough to keep him from office.

Add to this Trump University, which robbed Americans of millions of hard earned dollars, and family separation on the border, which resulted in placing children in cages, and it’s a wonder that anyone is supporting him anymore.

Plus the lies, of course. Thousands of lies. Many documented by the Mueller probe but even more stated plainly for everyone to see. Lies about crowd size and economic data and, weirdly, the country of origin of his father. Lies about his willingness to release his tax returns and his violations of the emoluments clause and his overall financial standing.

All of it should be enough. Sadly it’s not.

But perhaps one of the most disturbing things about Donald Trump is his belief that problems are simpler than they appear and solutions are easy. When he was campaigning, this included his promise for “beautiful healthcare” for every American and his repeated assurances that it would be simple to achieve. It included his repeated insistence that he would make Mexico pay for a wall that is still not being built. And it included his recent assurances that North Korea was no longer a threat, even as the North Koreans lied to his face and continued building secret missile sites throughout their country.

Recently, he tweeted two things that are perfect indicators of this ridiculous belief that complex problems require simple solutions, and even worse, that he has the solutions.

In addressing the recent problems and related disasters related to Boeing’s 737 Max plane, Trump tweeted:

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This is a man who bankrupted an airline in the late 1980’s and has had his name removed from a multitude of buildings since becoming President, but still, he believes that he has the answer to Boeings struggles. Fix the plane, add some great features, and “REBRAND.”

Simple.

He couldn’t keep the Trump Shuttle running for more than three years, but his extensive aviation expertise should be able to handle this complex problem with ease.

As Notre Dame was burning last week, Trump offered this gem:

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Not only is it weird and offensive for him to be tweeting firefighting advice as hundreds of trained professionals were risking their lives to fight the fire, but the fire department actually tweeted in response that dropping water on the fire from overhead would likely cause the entire cathedral to collapse under the weight of the water.

Why would Trump think that he knows the best way to fight a fire?

Why?

Because he’s Donald Trump. He doesn’t read briefings. He doesn’t read books. He believes that Frederick Douglas is still alive and that exercise is bad for you.

He thinks he knows everything, when quite literally, he knows less than any other American President and probably less than the average American.

Yet he’s running the country. Kind of. We learned this week that his people don’t always follow his orders, and more than running the country, he mostly plays golf, watches television and live-tweets the cable news sycophants who say nice things about him.

Most of us rejoice. A bunch of old, white bigots do not.

Have you heard?

National Women’s Soccer League stars Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris are engaged to be married, the couple announced last week. The romance between the athletes began nearly a decade ago when the two met while playing for the U.S. National Team.

Social media was abuzz with the news last week, with people from all over the world sending their congratulations to the couple via Twitter, Instagram, and the like. Popular in their own right for their efforts on and off the soccer field, the union of Krieger and Harris was greeted by soccer fans with excitement.

Even FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup. post a tweet sending their love and congratulations to the couple.

Not everyone sent love and congratulations.

The Republican Party’s 2018 campaign platform declared that “marriage is between one man and one woman” and condemns the Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal.

The Vice President of the United States called being gay a choice and said keeping gays from marrying was not discrimination but an enforcement of “God’s idea.” He has repeatedly voted against bills that would prevent discrimination of LGBTQ people in the workplace.

In America today, you can be fired from your job for being gay. That is insanity.

Pence’s wife now works at a school that forbids both LGBTQ students and staff.

Donald Trump, despite his promises during the campaign to protect LBGTQ rights, has been equally bigoted.

His State Department has removed a section about violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people from its annual human rights report. His Justice Department rescinded Obama-era guidance instructing public officers to interpret sexuality and gender discrimination under federal prohibitions on sex discrimination. He twice failed to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month.

It’s so odd to watch so many people around the world celebrate the engagement of these two accomplish and respected women while knowing that the President and Vice President of the United States and the majority of GOP lawmakers would make the marriage of these two women illegal if given the chance.

This is what happens when old, white bigots are in power. They drag their hateful, arcane ideas back into the halls of justice in a desperate attempt to reverse progress.

Happily, far more people in America and around the world are happy for the love that Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris have found, and although progress can be restrained and even temporarily reversed at time, it cannot be stopped forever.

Surprised about my relentless opposition to Trump? Why?

I’m shocked when someone doesn’t understand my relentless, unwavering opposition to Donald Trump.

Why not give the man a chance?

Why spend your precious time writing about him and to him and against him?

Why can’t you ever give him any credit?

I get these questions, and I’m always shocked when I do.

Even if I agreed with his policies, which include tax breaks for the wealthy, banning Muslims from the United States, and giving coal companies the ability to dispose of waste in mountain streams, Trump is still a self-admitted sex offender who separated children from their families at the border, put migrant children in cages, offered support to Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, referred to African nations as “shit hole countries,” fanned the flames of birtherism for the entire Obama Presidency, openly mocked the disabled, paid hush money to a porn star, operated a fake university that stole millions from hard working Americans, insulted war heroes and Gold Star families, attacks the free press and his own intelligence agencies, and lies repeatedly and verifiably.

He lied about releasing his tax returns. Lies about crowd sizes. Lies about voter fraud. Lied about divesting in his businesses as the Constitution demands. Lied repeatedly about Flynn and Manafort and Cohen. Lied about knowing about the payments to porn stars. Lied about immigration and homicide and crime rates, seeming to make these numbers up from thin air and literally enlarging these numbers from one rally to the next. He told Americans that he barely watched television because he’s too busy reading. He promised Americans that he would have no time for golf as President. He claims that the American Treasury is bursting at the seems with Chinese tariffs when it’s the companies purchasing the goods who pay the tariffs in higher costs. He lied about steel plants returning to America that never did. Coal mines opening that never did.

Even if I thought that trickle-down economics made sense and and the Muslim ban was needed and I favored deregulation over environmental protection, how could any truly decent human being support this man?

Why is anyone surprised that I relentlessly oppose him?

This is not a matter of politics. This is not a liberal vs. conservative battle or a Republican vs. Democrat debate. Policy has nothing to do with any of this.

I will always stand in opposition of indecency, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, and racism. I will always stand against thieves, crooks, and relentless liars.

My relentless opposition to Donald Trump should not be surprising. It should be the norm. It should be the position of every American who supports and loves their friends of color. Their LGBTQ friends. Their Muslim and Mexican and African friends. Their female friends.

It should be the position of anyone who loves this country.

We did not need Michael Cohen to tell is that Trump is a racist, a con artist, and a cheat. That is already abundantly clear. That is why I stand in relentless opposition to Donald Trump. Not because he’s a Republican or a conservative, but because he is a fundamentally indecent human being who should not be leading this nation.

This should be no surprise to anyone.

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Do you know who Madame CJ Walker is?

Madame CJ Walker is credited as the first woman in America to become a self-made millionaire.

Unlike the President, who started his career with tens of millions of dollars of his daddy’s money (but lied about the amount for decades), Walker started with nothing and amassed a fortune.

Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, near Delta, Louisiana. After suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss, she invented a line of African-American hair care products in 1905.

Her invention and the company that she founded made her a wealthy woman at a time when women, and especially African American women, were afforded scarcely any of the opportunities that white men enjoyed.

He rise to wealth was truly extraordinary.

Later in life she became a philanthropist and an activist, making financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts.

Nothing like the President, who claims philanthropy but was forced to shut down his foundation (and is still facing prosecution) after investigators found that he used donations to purchase paintings of himself, reimburse personal travel expenses, and more.

I tell you all of this in the event my daughter, Clara, asks you who Madame CJ Walker was, and when you say, “I don’t know,” you’re not forced to suffer the scorn that I was just subjected to.

Clara does, "I'm disappointed in you" very, very well.

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This map is terrible. So is this administration.

The Trump administration is not a fan of details.

This was apparent early on when Trump’s official inauguration photo contained the sentence:

“No dream is too big, no challenge is to great.”

So stupid.

Since then, the American people have been subjected to misspellings of every kind, as well as obvious errors in administrative procedures and a fundamental lack of understanding of how the American government works. For example:

  • The disastrous attempted rollout of a racist travel ban

  • Children separated from their parents at the border that still cannot be found

  • Errors in his tax cut legislation that have prevented whole industries from benefiting from the cuts

Time and time again, the Trump administration has proven to be unconcerned and unaware of basic policies and procedures that govern this nation.

Which brings us to this map, which Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stood beside last week.

See anything wrong with the map?

First, the United States is cut in half. Maps shown by United States officials don’t typically short-shrift our own country, particularly when countries like Russia and China are shown nearly in full.

But even worse (considering the cloud of suspicion that the Trump administration is under):

The symbol representing the White House is placed smack-dab in the middle of Russia

It might turn out to be symbolically accurate when all is said and done, but it’s just another detail that this administration has ignored and makes them look stupid.

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Ignoring details isn’t always a terrible thing. I am famously ignorant of many, many details in life, so much so that it occasionally irritates colleagues and friends, including Elysha, who has an artistic eye and will obsess over aesthetic details that are completely lost to me.

I was once asked what color house we own, and I answered incorrectly. I argued vehemently that I was right until we arrived home and was forced to concede my mistake.

In the words of Plato Karafelis, I am the eagle (a position on a Native American spirit wheel). I see the big picture but am rarely close enough to attend to the minutiae.

Elysha, he went on to say, is the mouse. Detail-oriented (which is true) and able to see the small but significant things (also true) but sometimes unable to grasp the larger context.

Elysha pointed out that eagles eat mice, which didn’t make her feel good and was perhaps not the peppiest of pep talks for a wife who wanted to strangle her husband.

But not untrue.

All of this is fine, of course. because I am me. If I miss a detail, a test score doesn’t get entered in some probably meaningless computer software. Or I miss a row or three while mowing the lawn. Or I somehow put on two pairs of underwear before leaving the house.

But when you have your hands on the nuclear football, or you’re cruelly and indiscriminately separating kids from families at the border, or you’re enacting enormous and complex legislation designed to return money into the pockets of the wealthiest Americans while screwing the middle class, details are important.

They really, really matter.

The Trump administration, through their own actions, disagrees, and that should frighten us all.

Trump demonstrates his ineffectiveness with startling clarity

Here’s a particularly stupid act of Trumpian stupidity.

Back on January 4, 2018 Trump congratulated someone (I have no idea who) when the Dow exceeded 25,000 points for the first time.

Traditionally, Presidents don’t tout the rising of a stock market because the market can be unpredictable and exceptionally fickle. Attach your success to a rising Dow, and when market turns south, the implications are obvious:

You suck.

Also, the economy is far too complex for a President to credit himself for any short term rise in any index.

Every President before Trump has understood this and avoided taking credit for any short term changes in the market lest they end up looking stupid and ineffective.

Case in point:

On January 30, 2019, almost exactly one year after that first tweet about the Dow exceeding 25,000, Trump once again tweeted the news that the Dow had exceeded 25,000. This is because between last year’s tweet and this year’s tweet, the market had fallen considerably and spent the end of 2018 climbing out of the hole.

Essentially, what Trump did was point out that within the previous calendar year, the Dow had failed to grow at all.

In other words, he sucked.

In fairness, Trump probably didn’t realize any of this because he knows nothing about economics, nor does he seek the advice of economists or even invest in the market.

He’s simply an ignoramus when it comes to economics.

In fact, had he taken the $60.7 million that his father had given him (not the $1.5 million dollars that Trump claimed for years) and invested it in a simple index fund, Trump would be far wealthier than he is today and wouldn’t have needed to pursue a Trump Tower in Moscow throughout the campaign while lying about it to the American people again and again.

An answer to the stupid question, "How can it be so cold if global warming is real?"

Trump tweeted about the weather at least twice last week, calling into question climate change and global warming given the cold temperatures that have recently gripped the nation.

This is so stupid and so dangerous. Climate change is one of the greatest threat to our country. American intelligence agencies, including the Pentagon, have said so repeatedly.

This is no joke. Our inaction will cause enormous suffering for our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

And the science is clear and peer-reviewed. Seventeen of the warmest years on record have occurred in the last 18 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Isn’t that enough evidence? In the 169 years that we have been methodically recording global temperatures, the last 18 have been warmer than the previous 151. Beyond the mountains of data collected by climate scientists, isn’t that enough to convince even the most willfully ignorant that climate change is happening?

When faced with one of these climate-denying morons (like Trump) or someone who is honestly and naively questioning the science because of an especially harsh cold spell, this xkcd comic might be helpful:

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They love themselves more than they love their children.

Greta Thunberg, age 15, is a climate activist who addressed the U.N. plenary last month in Katowice, Poland, condemning global inaction in the face of catastrophic climate change.

Thunberg was brilliant. She speak for four minutes. You should watch it. She is the calmest, angriest child I have ever seen.

Her most compelling argument is this:

“You say you love your children, but you are stealing their future from under their feet.”

It’s a fine point. When 99% of scientists agree that climate change is manmade and you continue to deny climate change, you are staking out the position, in no uncertain terms, that your life as it’s constituted today is far more important than every single generation of human being who follows you, including the children I am teaching in my classroom today.

If you are a political leader of any stripe with children and you continue to deny climate change and pass legislation that helps to perpetuate the coal, oil, and gas industries at the expense of green technologies, there is an absolute and undeniable financial limit on your love for your children.

Donald Trump, for example, opposes wind power because… it’s actually hard to understand why.

He claims that turbines kill thousands of birds, but in truth, the average wind turbine kills about five birds a year.

He argues that wind turbines are ineffective because when the wind doesn’t blow, you have no power. This, of course, demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the electrical grid and battery technology.

He claims that people living near wind turbines lose their minds because of the sound generated by the spinning blades, when in truth studies indicate that people living near turbines are rarely exposed to average sound levels beyond 45 decibels, which is akin to the hum of a refrigerator. 

In truth, Trump thinks wind turbines are ugly and has fought against the building of them near his properties for more than a decade.

He also recently tweeted about wishing for a little climate change on an especially cold day on the east coast because he doesn’t take the issue seriously and would prefer to dog-whistle his denial to his base.

Trump is willing to sacrifice his grandchildren’s future for personal preference, profits, and political gain. He’s no different than any politician who denies manmade climate change.

These are men and women who care more about their power, wealth, and lifestyle than the lives and wellbeing of their children and grandchildren.

Greta Thunberg is right. We are stealing her future through inaction. We are altering the habitability of our planet for ages to come.

She’s right to be angry. We should all be.

Karen Pence is a bigot, but this is not news.

Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, is going back to work. The second lady will be teaching art at a Christian school in northern Virginia that bans gay and transgender students, faculty, and parents.

The school also forbids faculty members from cohabitation prior to marriage.

This decision has caused a bit of an uproar. After all, the Vice President’s wife is now working at a school that promotes bigotry.

Selects students based upon a bigoted criteria.

Actively excludes children from the school because of their sexual orientation.

It’s disgusting.

By banning gay and transgender students, parents, and faulty from their campus, the school is effectively judging them as unworthy.

Thus the uproar.

Kara Brooks, Pence's communications director, said the attention paid to the school's agreement is "absurd."

"Mrs. Pence has returned to the school where she previously taught for 12 years. It's absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school's religious beliefs, are under attack," Brooks said.

I kind of agree.

While it is terrible and disgraceful and disgusting for the second lady of the United States to be teaching in a school that openly promotes bigotry, it’s not exactly news that Mike and Karen Pence are bigots.

Spokesperson Kara Brooks is right. Why the uproar? This is something we’ve known for a long time.

Yes, it’s despicable that any teacher would refuse to teach a student based upon personal bigotry, but it’s not surprising when the person is a bigot.

Karen and Mike Pence are bigots, no different than the racists who defended segregation decades ago, and ultimately, they will be judged by history in the same way that we judge the likes of George Wallace and Bull Connor and Jesse Helms today.

History will aptly characterize them as bigots who deemed their sexual orientation to be the only correct and acceptable sexual orientation. They will be recorded in the history books as small-minded, hate-filled cretins who attempted through words, deeds, and legislation to deny basic human rights to Americans who were different than them.

Disgraceful and disgusting? Yes.

But newsworthy?

I don’t think so. Just a little more confirmation that our country is being run by despicable, immoral, and unjust people.

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Eric Trump blocked me on Twitter

As you may know, I joined The Knight Foundation’s lawsuit against Donald Trump back in 2017 when he blocked me on Twitter.

On August 28, 2018, the court sided with me and my fellow plaintiffs, and Donald Trump was forced to unblock me, allowing me to see his tweets and respond to them again.

A glorious day for me. You can read about it here if you’d like.

Since then, I’ve been once again free to express my opinions to Trump via Twitter, which I do often because it both amuses me and makes me feel good. On a few occasions, it has also prompted my fellow Americans to express their appreciation for my running commentary.

One man recently wrote: “I read all of the tweets you send to Trump. Thank you. I’m not a writer so I’m not always sure what to say to him but I like knowing that you’re saying it for me.”

Sweet. Right?

This past week, I discovered that Eric Trump, Donald’s middle son, has now blocked me on Twitter, which is weird since I don’t ever tweet or even read Eric Trump’s tweets.

I follow Donald Trump Jr. and occasionally have choice words for him (since he may have committed treason in Trump Tower in 2016 and has definitely and publicly changed his story about that meeting at least half a dozen times), and I even have occasional words for his daughter, Ivanka, but Eric Trump has always struck me as the slightly less evil, definitely less intelligent, relatively benign Trump child.

He didn’t attend the meeting in Trump Tower that day.

He doesn’t traffic in the alt-right movement like his brother. At least not publicly.

He doesn’t defend his father’s racism, sexism, xenophobia, and stupidity online daily.

He says little of importance, so I’ve never wasted my time with him.

And yet he blocked me.

I only noticed the block because a journalist recently cited one of his tweets, which was hidden from me on my feed. When that happens, it’s an indication that either the tweet has been deleted or you are blocked from seeing that person’s tweets.

I was blocked.

There’s nothing I can do about getting Eric Trump to unblock me. While feckless and complicit Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner work for the government, Eric and his brother do not. Instead, they pretend to be running the Trump Organization, so blocking me is perfectly within his rights.

Even though I’ve never tweeted at him or about him.

My guess about what happened is this:

I was spouting off at his dad on Twitter and he saw my comment, thought it deadly accurate, and blocked me rather than being exposed to future truth about his father’s racism, sexism, xenophobia, narcissism, and incompetence.

That’s understandable. Discovering that our parents are just human beings (or in Eric Trump’s case, despicable and vile human beings), as flawed as we are (or in Eric Trump’s case, more flawed than most human beings) is never easy.

Poor little Eric Trump. I hope I haven’t upset him too much.

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13 was not a good number in 1989. It's especially bad in 2019.

Total women in the U.S. House of Representatives:

1989:
16 Democrats
13 Republicans

2019:
89 Democrats
13 Republicans

There are terrible and embarrassing numbers, of course.

First, and most egregious: Only 23 percent of the House members are women. This Congress may have a record number of female members, but in a country where more than half of the population is female, this is a ridiculous number. A stupid number. An indicator of how much progress is still needed.

Also disturbing:

It’s almost as if there are members of the Republican party who really don’t think a woman’s place is in Congress. In 30 years, the anemic number of Republican women in the House has stayed the same. It seems as some at least a majority of Republicans favor men over women when it comes to national leadership.

They seem to specifically favor white men, too. Of the 55 African American members of the House of Representatives, just one is a Republican.

It would seem that Republicans believe that white men make the best leaders.

But that can’t be. It must be some kind of statistical anomaly. Some odd effect of gerrymandering.

After all, what kind of troglodytic moron would ever think that women or African Americans don’t deserve a place in Congress?

Or Muslims? Or members of the LGBTQ community?

The Republican party doesn’t have any of them, either, but again, it must be some kind of statistical anomaly. An unintended consequence of where African Americans tend to live.

And women, too. It would appear that even women are not evenly distributed across the country, and a vast majority of them settle in Democratic districts.

In fact, based upon Congressional representation, there must be entire swaths of our country populated primary by white, straight men.

Not a woman to be found.

Otherwise we’d have to assume that a majority of Republicans don’t want to vote for women. And African Americans. And members of the LGBTQ community. Also Muslims and Native Americans.

We might even assume that a lot of them are sexist, racist, homophobic, and Islamophobic.

In short, bigots.

But this can’t be. If given the opportunity, I’m sure the Republican party would happily elect an openly bisexual man or a Muslim woman. I’m sure they would flock to the polls to elect a plurality of women or many, many more African Americans.

Right?

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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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