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The best intentions of the founders were based on the issues of the times but had undertones of some of the same issues we face now, primarily Racism, elitism and protectionism. To wit we have made some progress but not as it was imagined nearly 250 years ago. What we currently have is political parties at constant war and lying to us all rather than doing the jobs they were elected to do. Under their auspices the religious right has imposed or attempted to impose a religious onus on us all. This is still America but now with a wake up call from a demigod who is now in the White House, all Americans need to wake up and step up, stop voting on the basis of party lines and the continuous media furor over things that we have been told are good for us with no background facts to examine.MA

Kuttner on TAP
Trump’s Bastard Children. Political scientists use the word legitimacy to mean a government that is broadly seen as having the right to govern. Consent of the governed was also a prime concern of America’s Founders.
For most of America’s history, our government enjoyed broad legitimacy. It look a long time, of course, for the national government to regain legitimacy in Dixie. And if you scratch below the surface, many Southern whites still question its legitimacy. But for most of the post-World War II era, our government was seen as broadly legitimate.
Alas, it has not been legitimate since 2000, when George W. Bush, with the complicity of five Supreme Court justices, stole the election. That means citizens might rightly question the legitimacy of policies enacted by Republican presidents and their Supreme Court appointees ever since.
Under President Obama, Democrats soldiered on and sought to find common ground. But Republicans spat in their eye, and doubled down on their own claims that Obama’s entire presidency was illegitimate. Had Hillary Clinton been elected, the Republican game plan was to question her legitimacy as well.
Now, we already have one Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, who is the bastard child of Republicans’ successful efforts to block the appointment of a perfectly legitimate Obama nominee, Merrick Garland. Republicans are hoping to jam onto the Court yet another nominee of dubious legitimacy, Brett Kavanaugh. A president who has already committed several impeachable offenses has no legitimate business filling a high court seat.
Here’s the larger problem. A republic of lost legitimacy has a great deal of difficulty functioning. Failed republics, however, do get legitimacy back. France did it on several occasions, and Germany after 1945.
But we might as well stop pretending that in exceptional America there is an unbroken line of legitimacy winding back from Trump to the Founders. There isn’t. Legitimacy is something that we will have to earn back. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER

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It has become evident that TOTUS holds grudges for perceived and real wrongs done to him. Many of these wrongs were the fruit of his own ineptitude and his dishonest ways. Looking at his past business deals, he has always been the winner (?) while his partners took the losses. He has stiffed many of his business associates from the workers to the owners. His foray into the now defunct USFL is a perfect example of DJT’s attempt to compete. It is unfortunate that many voters did not vote at all and many voted against their own interests because they were and are still are unhappy with their current representatives in Congress. The facts often overlooked are that we have become complacent and willing dupes for the political elites who have some how convinced some of us that they are working on our behalf. The real facts are that they are no more than scammers who say what ever it takes to get and stay in office. If these neer do wells were really working for us then we would not have any extreme candidates for the high court where we really need impartial members so that all issues are decided fairly for the good of us all. The party system has become a weight on the neck of the voters along with the several sub sects of special interests that benefit the elected elites. We are now experiencing the emergence of the poisons of the past.

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Jay Busbee, Yahoo Sports 11 hours ago

Donald Trump and Herschel Walker during the brief glory days of the USFL. (Getty Images)
Jeff Pearlman’s “Football For A Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL,” is a wonderful, thorough, insightful look at a deeply weird moment in American football history. And it’s also a primer of sorts for this current deeply weird moment in American political history. Which means that there are two stories: one about a spring football league that had dreams of challenging the NFL, and one about the team owner who sent the entire league pinwheeling into oblivion … and then went on to become president of the United States.
For anyone born after, oh, 1978 or so, the USFL is an abstraction, a two-line toss-off in the Wikipedia entries of Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Reggie White, Doug Flutie and other 1980s football heroes. But for anyone who remembers its brief, odd existence, it was so, so much more. Its premise was simple: pro football, but in the spring. Pearlman nails the league’s entire story, from on-field absurdity to boardroom misfires, and shows just how much damage one idea, pushed relentlessly, can do to an entire enterprise.
In its three seasons of existence, the USFL attracted a cavalcade of castoffs, has-beens, and never-wases before going all in on big names like Young and Walker. A rocket held together with duct tape, it flared brightly and then vanished. And the strangest thing of all is, were it not for Donald Trump – and the team owners who went along with him, many against their better instincts – it might well have worked.
The strange story of a little league that almost could
The USFL’s story didn’t begin with Trump, but it certainly ended with him. Begun in 1982 with a dozen teams and a strange array of owners – some who were wealthy, some who were charlatans, and some who were flat-out insane – the league found a foothold as sort of an anti-NFL, a league that encouraged recklessness and fun while the NFL remained mired in stodgy solemnity. The two-point conversion and the coach’s challenge came from the USFL, and so did the ability of players to jump from college to the professional ranks before graduation.
Drawing on more than 400 interviews, Pearlman recounts in substantial and hysterical detail how coaches cobbled together teams of journeymen and lunatics, players who would shoot up, smoke up, or, uh, consort with female fans within minutes of game time. The USFL didn’t offer first-class accommodations – players were often forced to play on ragged fields and before crowds in the low four figures – but what it did offer was a chance to play more football, and for many willing players, that chance was enough.
The USFL trundled through its first season, 1983, with only modest on-field success, but with a seismic blast: the arrival of Herschel Walker, the tanklike running back who jumped from the University of Georgia to the USFL a year before the NFL could grab him. The crew of misfits that the NFL initially wrote off as “Useless” was a legitimate football power player. And when the league later snapped up two more Heisman winners in Mike Rozier and Doug Flutie, suddenly nobody in the NFL was laughing at all.

Jim Kelly began his pro football career in the USFL. (Getty)
Donald Trump takes control
But by this time, Trump had entered the picture. And Pearlman doesn’t need to point out the parallels between Trump’s time in the USFL and our current era; they’re all right there in black and white.
As the USFL formed, Trump was a hot New York City real estate developer in his mid-30s whose reputation hadn’t yet crossed the Hudson River. He jumped on the USFL, taking ownership of the New Jersey Generals, when the train was already rolling, and immediately set about savaging the entire USFL operation. He railed at the incompetence of the USFL’s commissioner and the small-minded thinking of his fellow owners, and he threw around big numbers and talked big dreams. Trump tried to sign Lawrence Taylor away from the Giants, and succeeded in signing Flutie, albeit with a pay-for-that-wall-style request of his fellow owners: kick in on Flutie’s salary “for the good of the league.”
The other owners laughed off that request. But they weren’t laughing at everything Trump did. All along, he had in mind an ulterior motive.
“Beginning shortly after he purchased the Generals,” Pearlman writes, “Trump made it his objective to force the USFL’s hand and convince his peers — often against their own best interests — to switch directions and switch seasons.”
Yes, switch seasons. Move the USFL from the calm waters of the spring – where no football competition existed – into the raging hellstorm of the fall, where it would compete with the NFL, college football, and Friday night lights. Not only that, with Trump’s cajoling, the USFL actually sued the NFL for antitrust violations, claiming the league held an unlawful monopoly on professional football.
From an organizational perspective, it was insane. But from Trump’s perspective, it was an audacious, big-thinking gamble. Trump wanted into the NFL in the worst way, even given – or perhaps because of – the fact that the league’s owners rejected him time and time again on both competency and financial-solvency grounds. And with the USFL, his plan was this: move the league to the fall, move the Generals into a planned Trump Stadium in Manhattan, and then leap into the NFL through an AFL-like merger. If the other owners could join him, good for them. If not, well … too bad, so sad.
“[NFL] ownership is the most elusive club in the world,” Pearlman told Yahoo Sports. “It’s not even about football for him. Never was. It’s the eternal, sort of sad need to be what he can’t possibly be. A Mara. A Rooney. Big and dignified and elite. He doesn’t merely crave wealth. He craves the status, the esteem that comes with being something on a pedestal. NFL ownership was that very thing.” (The roots of Trump’s current war with the NFL stretch back to long before Colin Kaepernick was even born.)
Trump, through sheer force of will, hectored the USFL’s other owners into agreeing to move to the fall after the 1985 season – instantly vaporizing four teams who had been sharing stadiums and fans with their larger, more established NFL counterparts. (This is important to note: Trump didn’t do this all himself. He had help from other owners, who rolled over and went along, assuming that Trump had their best interests at heart … or, at the very least, that they’d get rich.) Other teams, facing huge losses thanks to overexpansion, soon faltered and faded away. Trump, aided by Cold War-era attorney Roy Cohn, pressed on with his courtroom attack against the NFL. But when the USFL finally “won” its antitrust lawsuit – receiving only the nominal sum of $1, hence the book’s title – the league, which had been banking on a huge settlement to underwrite its move to the fall, vanished into history.
Pearlman’s book is an outstanding achievement. You can read it, if you wish, as a precursor to Trump’s presidency; certainly there are enough parallels – like making others crumble under the weight of constant barrages of withering, fact-challenged criticism – to keep D.C. political writers thumbing through this book for material for a year.
But the book isn’t just about Trump. It’s about a truly strange league – a league where a player once punched his coach after being cut, a league where a player once slammed his own penis in a car trunk – and the kind of maverick oddity that doesn’t exist in American sports any longer. Read “Football for a Buck,” and then see if you’re not scouring the web to find some vintage Memphis Showboats or Tampa Bay Bandits gear.

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MARK OSBORNE,
Good Morning America 2 hours 58 minutes ago

John Kerry slams Trump for Iran accusations: ‘You should be more worried about Paul Manafort’ originally appeared on ABC news.go.com
Former Secretary of State John Kerry fired back against attacks by President Donald Trump and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, saying the president “should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran’s PM.”
Trump originally attacked Kerry on Thursday evening, saying on Twitter that Kerry had “illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime.” The tweet was an apparent reference to Kerry admitting on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Wednesday to meeting with Iranian officials, specifically Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, “three or four times” at gatherings of world leaders, such as the World Economic Forum.
Kerry said he did not try to “coach” Iran through the Trump administration’s rejection of the JCPOA, a nuclear deal with Iran implemented under Kerry’s watch. The meetings came while Rex Tillerson was secretary of state and before Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA in May.

(MORE: Book excerpt: John Kerry’s ‘Every Day Is Extra’)
“No, that’s not my job, and my coaching him would not, you know, that’s not how it works,” Kerry told Hewitt. “What I have done is tried to elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better.”
Kerry took delight in ripping the president on Friday afternoon. He chided him over former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s guilty plea and even former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman’s leaked recordings.
“Mr. President, you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran’s FM,” he tweeted. “But if you want to learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra.”

He followed that tweet with the line, “PS – I recorded the audio version, not Omarosa.”
But the attacks from the Trump administration continued on Friday afternoon.
Pompeo, the current secretary of state, followed up on Trump’s criticism at a briefing, calling the meetings “unseemly,” “unprecedented” and “beyond inappropriate.”
“What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly, and unprecedented,” Pompeo said passionately at the top of a press briefing Friday afternoon. “You can’t find precedent for this in U.S. history. And secretary ought not to, Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior. It’s inconsistent with what the foreign policy of the United States is as directed by this president. And it is beyond inappropriate for him to be engaged.”
A spokesperson for Kerry responded Friday evening, “Let’s cut through the distractions and talk about real facts, not alternative facts. Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State, and in a long phone conversation with Secretary Pompeo earlier this year he went into great detail about what he had learned about the Iranian’s view. No secrets were kept from this administration.”

The spokesperson cited Henry Kissinger, who served as secretary of state under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, as having met “for decades with Russia and China.”
“There’s nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts,” Kerry’s spokesperson said.
Former Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who was also singled out by Pompeo, tweeted the current secretary of state “tried to distract from Manafort and gain points with president by attacking me today.”

(MORE: Anonymous op-ed shows ‘we don’t really have a president,’ Kerry tells Colbert)
Ned Price, former CIA analyst and adviser to Barack Obama on his National Security Council, was even more direct.
“Pompeo was speaking to an audience of one,” Price said in a statement, referring to the president. “This was nothing more than an attempt to parrot and please his boss. We know that because Pompeo’s State Department was briefed on these discussions, which are commonplace among former diplomats, both before and after the fact.”
Kerry is in the midst of a promotional tour for his new book, “Every Day is Extra,” including stops in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, over the weekend.
ABC News’ Conor Finnegan and Sarah Kolinovsky contributed to this report.

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Think of a Piñata decorated in yellow and orange but empty inside, therein lies a brief description of TOTUS. The weight of this ill-fated administration is beginning to bear down on the White House with the conviction of Mr. Manafort and his decision to aid in the Mueller investigation there is potentially more fallout possibly involving the “VEEP”, the Reverend Mr. Pence since Mr. Manafort was a factor in Mr. Pence being  selected for the V.P. slot. In retrospect this Race baiting behavior is not new and quite possibly was a factor in DJT’s life from his Grandfather and fathers time as they were immigrants. All that was necessary for this bizarre behavior and his eventual election was a catalyst like Steve Bannon whose own heritage was possible much like many other Americans whose ancestry is based in Europe and other countries. The only people who I believe have a right to tell anyone to “go back where you came from” are the Native Americans who have been robbed and ill treated for most of the time this nation has existed. This current administration has caused a rift in the American psyche that will take some time to heal but possibly not without a big legal outcome such as Watergate (or “Muellergate”) and a possible resignation but do not hold out for TOTUS to do anything rational as an egocentric cannot see beyond his own mirror image.

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Kuttner on TAP
A Tale of Two Hurricanes. You can bet that when Hurricane Florence slams into the Carolinas, FEMA will be there with everything possible to help. That is, to the extent that Trump’s inept appointees are capable of managing it. It’s fortunate that the Carolinians are not mostly Spanish-speaking.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s full accounting that 2,975 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, not 64 as originally reported, most of them needlessly in the aftermath, the best Trump can do is blame local officials and praise FEMA’s pathetic foot-dragging.
In the never-ending contest for Trump’s biggest lie, this will surely go down as one of the most grotesque:
We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!
Now Trump is compounding the lie by blaming San Juan’s heroic mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, for FEMA’s failures and his own administration’s treatment of Puerto Ricans as second-class Americans. Cruz told Trump, “You left us here to die because you were more concerned about the political spin than about the human reality that we were dying.”
This shameful double standard should be front and center in Florida’s critical elections this November. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER

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The ongoing somehow mystical actions of this administration have lulled some of us into a complacency that makes us a threat to our selves. The current administration under the smoke of ongoing tweets has been undoing  Federal lands protections, immigration reforms and a multitude of activities that will hurt us for years to come. While this is all happening the top superlative monger continues to insist that his election caused a “huge” increase in jobs and uptick in the economy. Unfortunately 90 to 95% of what comes out the administration is outright and thinly veiled lies and deception. If this were a criminal case the participants would be charge with deceptive practices as would any “con” artists or flim flammers. The willingness of too many voters to participate in the deception is troubling in that they (the believers) will be affected by these dubious to criminal actions. I believe if we want entertainment , there’s always movies and TV but there should be none in the Government that has an effect on all parts of our lives. This administration has more entertainment value as a side show than an actual Governing agency.

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Typical of the mindless workings of the “best people” in the TOTUS administration and how uninformed the leadership is.MA
Alexander Nazaryan 3 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The Department of Interior is quietly preparing to offer hundreds of thousands of acres of public land for leasing to energy companies, a move critics have charged is being undertaken with minimal public input and little consideration for ecological and cultural preservation.
According to data compiled by environmental groups, the Bureau of Land Management will put 2.9 million acres up for potential leasing in the next four months. Because the land in question — in states including New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona — lacks designation as a national park or monument, it can be used for commercial purposes such as mining for minerals and drilling for oil and gas. Supporters say that bolstering the extractive industries will ensure energy independence for the United States, though shifting energy preferences and falling oil prices appear to undermine that assertion.
Some 250 million acres of land are under the bureau’s control nationwide, with the overwhelming majority of the parcels concentrated in a dozen Western states, which sometimes chafe at what they regard as Washington’s inept oversight. That tension was most dramatically on display in 2014, when federal agents engaged in an armed standoff with the family of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher with extreme right-wing views. The dispute arose from Bundy’s insistence on allowing his cattle to graze on public lands, a practice that saw him accrue some $1 million in fines, which he refused to pay.

The Bureau of Land Management is part of the Department of the Interior, which is today headed by Ryan Zinke, a Montana native who has styled himself a rugged conservationist, even as he maintains close ties to private enterprise. Many of his closest advisers at Interior have ties to the oil and gas industry, either as lobbyists or executives. His top deputy, for example, is David L. Bernhardt, a veteran Republican operative who has also lobbied on behalf of California agribusiness.
During his confirmation hearing, Zinke said that he was “absolutely against transfer and sale of public lands.” But that claim would not prevent him from issuing leases for oil and gas companies, as the land would technically remain under public control, even as it was being used for private gain. Such leases are issued for 10 years at exceedingly favorable terms, often for the minimum bid of $2 per acre at a competitive sale, after which they are available for two years at the even-more-discounted price of $1.50 per acre if they do not sell at that first sale.
Leasing land was a common practice before Trump. What’s different now, detractors say, is that the Bureau of Land Management is moving with uncommon speed to make improper determinations without allowing public to comment. That has led, these critics say, to widespread damage to the environment of the American West.
“We can’t just get it back,” says Nada Culver, a leader in the Wilderness Society’s land-use division. “Mistakes are made when you’re rushing.”
The Obama administration offered plenty of land to energy and mineral prospectors, but it did so in far more considered fashion. In 2016, the Obama administration put 1.9 million acres up for leasing, down from a high of 6.1 million acres offered in 2012. In its first year, the Trump administration offered 11.9 acres, the vast majority of them in Alaska. In the end, only 792,000 acres were leased, which represented just 7 percent of the offerings. In 2016, conversely, the Obama administration offered a much smaller total number of acres (1.9 million), but sold a far greater share: 47 percent, or 921,240. That suggests the Obama administration was more judicious in determining lands that would be desirable to industry.
Those numbers, however, do not tell the full story. Less important than the amount of land offered, conservationists say, is where those parcels are located, as well as their significance as either natural resources or cultural landmarks. In this, too, the Obama administration appears to have been significantly more successful than its successor. In 2012, for example, only 17 percent of the parcels offered by the Obama administration were “protested” by the public (those figures are for fiscal years, where as the compilation of acres offered is for calendar years; the two correlate closely, if not exactly). Conversely, of the parcels offered in 2017, a full 88 percent were contested, suggesting the Trump administration has been largely indiscriminate in the land it is offering.
An even higher percentage of lands could be contested this year, given how close they are to protected areas in some of the country’s most rugged, cherished regions. The greatest share of offerings are in Wyoming, where about 1.1 million acres are being offered for lease. There were also 721,705 acres offered in Nevada, 329,826 in Utah and 230,944 in Colorado, along with smaller parcels in New Mexico, Montana and Arizona. Some of these are near national monuments and national parks, including Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, Canyonlands National Park in Utah and Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado.
Many of the lands also represent habitat of the sage grouse, a bird whose native habitat is the high desert of the West. The sage grouse’s numbers have been drastically diminished by commercial and residential development.

President Obama considered protecting the grouse under the Endangered Species Act. Similar protection for the spotted owl in 1990 had laid waste to many a logger’s plans. Instead, in 2015, his Interior Department struck a deal with Western states. The sage grouse remained off the endangered species list, but there were 98 separate plans across the region to protect the bird —and, just as importantly, the landscape it lived on.
Zinke ordered those plans reviewed in the fall of 2018, indicating that he was preparing to offer some of the land set aside for sage grouse to energy or mineral-extraction companies. It’s unlikely that Zinke had personal animosity towards the bird. Rather, the sage grouse stands in the way of greater development of open lands across the West.
Aware that leasing land across the West could prove highly unpopular, the bureau canceled a 30-day comment period on any proposed lease, and the time to appeal a proposed lease already in the works was reduced to a mere 10 days. During the Obama administration, the total time for both comment and appeal had been 60 days.
“Were operating under a new guidance that has radically cut out opportunities for public input,” says Culver of the Wilderness Society.
Not only that, but Interior officials who worked in parks and national monuments were pressured to make land available for leasing, even when it was clear that studding that land with oil derricks and mining equipment would destroy the landscape and drive away the millions of tourists, both foreign and domestic, who came to see it each year.
“Why in the world, for a short-term gain, would you jeopardize those places by doing something stupid?” wonders Walt Dabney, who served as a park ranger for many decades and is now retired and living in Utah. He says that Moab, Utah, where he lives, is full of tourists and that French and Mandarin are commonly heard in local stores. The tourists bring millions to the local economy, and they “don’t boom-bust like the oil and gas business.”
Energy-related development will drive them away, according to Dabney, who says he’s not against energy. He is only against doing things quickly, and without consideration.
Among those challenging the Bureau of Land Management lease offerings is Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, a group whose members lean red — and green. Its president, David Jenkins, has called for 117,000 acres across five states to be set aside by Interior. “It certainly makes no sense to lock up these important public resources,” Jenkins said, since the “oil and gas industry has shown no interest in them,” a reference to the tepid response to 2017’s offerings. The fear, of course, is that the non-Alaska offerings of 2018 will be more enthusiastically received.

The Department of Interior says such concerns are unfounded. “Congress specifically requires regular lease opportunities for energy and mineral production on federal lands,” department spokesperson Heather Swift told Yahoo News. “President Trump promised the American people that he would restore the balance of multiple use of federal lands, make America energy dominant, and generate economic growth. Federal lands play a huge part of that.”
The leasing of public lands represents “real money that will go to state governments for education, roads and public safety,” she added.
But because the funds from leased lands are shared between states and the federal government, and because the Trump administration has so far struggled to lease lands, those proceeds are not likely to be especially great. For example, of the 900 lots in Alaska offered by the Department of Interior in 2017, only seven found a lessor.
In all, Alaska received nearly $580,000. That is about a sixth of what the American taxpayer pays for each of Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago.

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Dear Congress, Just a quick note to explain your duties:

  1. Work to improve the lives of your constituents, not just the ones who donate huge amounts of cash
  2. Install IMPARTIAL high court justices
  3. Avoid the influences of groups who do not represent ALL Americans
  4. Enact laws that allow for reasonable salaries for you and your constituents.
  5. Remember Democracy is not a single party activity
  6. Personal beliefs are not a basis for Governing
  7. The Civil War is over and the Rebels lost, please assimilate the last vestiges into the America for all.
  8. Above all ,Tell your constituents the truth, we are not idiots!
  9. Trust is everything and right now you have nothing that resembles it as far as we are concerned.
  10. Stop citing us (The American People) as a reason for your actions especially when it is not in our interests.

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Some of the points made in the Op-ED are points I have made over time about TOTUS and his lack of ability to govern or learn the job. While I have never been in the White House or even in D.C., the idea of folks thinking a failed businessman is capable of leading a country when his method of chaos to hide his ineptitude if laughable and ridiculous. It is highly possible this OP-ED could have been a group write, we may never know until this term of disappointment is over. So who ever penned this OP-ED, thanks.

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