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Forcing Athletes To Stand For The National Anthem Is Stupid, Not Patriotic
Professional sports are overrun with schmaltzy patriotic displays that are not at all necessary and definitely should not be required for athletes.

By Nathanael Blake
June 7, 2018

President Trump has picked another fight over the NFL and the national anthem. After the league had reached a compromise — players will be allowed to stay in their locker rooms during the anthem, but they will be punished if they protest on the field during it — Trump decided to restart the conflict.
He abruptly cancelled a White House visit by members of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, and angrily tweeted, “Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our national anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling.” With that, the whole stupid controversy kicked off again.

Fortunately, there is a simple resolution available: Stop turning domestic sports into patriotic ceremonies. And if that is too much to ask, stop trying to force athletes to participate.
Professional sports are overrun with schmaltzy patriotic displays. For example, Major League Baseball has the national anthem before the game, some sort of military tribute a few innings in — “honor our military men and women by waving your caps!” — and often more patriotic singing after a few more innings. The renditions are frequently terrible (I habitually mute them if they are part of pregame coverage) and the military tributes do nothing to actually help members of the military.
In fact, professional sports have made money off the military; in the last decade, teams received millions of taxpayer dollars for paid patriotism. That the Pentagon would sponsor these spectacles is unsurprising, as increased displays of sporting patriotism have usually coincided with war. For instance, the singing of “God Bless America” became a regular fixture during baseball games after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In a nation that is at war or otherwise endangered, it is understandable that large gatherings of people would be receptive to patriotic displays. But although this pageantry obviously appeals to many people, there is no real need for a connection between sports and patriotic spectacle. Professional sports did not have to become the locus of public patriotism in this country.

That they have puts athletes in a bind. They are paid to compete at the highest levels of human athletic ability, not to be star-spangled sideline props. But the latter has become expected of them, as a semi-official part of their duties. Sack the quarterback, hit the baseball, make the 3-pointer, participate in patriotic rituals — one of these is not like the others, and it is a demand that is not imposed on the rest of us.
I’ve worked jobs from cooking fast food to teaching undergraduates, and none of them, not even the government jobs, had mandatory patriotic displays. Despite his indignation at others, I doubt that President Trump begins each workday by standing for the playing of the national anthem.
It is therefore understandable that some athletes would resent being treated as props in patriotic spectacles that have nothing to do with their actual job, particularly if they believe that America is failing to address systematic injustices. They should be free to engage in silent protest during these required patriotic displays, even if their cause is wrong.
The peaceful protesting of perceived injustice is in accord with the higher ideals of our nation, whereas mandatory patriotic displays are incompatible with the American belief in liberty and limited government. Protesting during a voluntary ceremony might be rude, but protesting during a ceremony that is required (whether explicitly or de facto) is the only option available to dissenters.

The outrage over the anthem protests is a right-wing version of political correctness that is antithetical to our nation’s culture of freedom. If you don’t want people to protest during patriotic ceremonies, then don’t try to make participation in them mandatory. The president pressuring private organizations to establish patriotic participation policies to his liking is an un-American abuse of power.
Sporting events should not be at the center of our patriotic practices. But if they are, then the athletes should not be required, or even expected, to participate. Their job is to display human excellence in physical competition, not to serve as red-white-and-blue accessories during national pep rallies. If we will not curtail the patriotic bloat attached to professional sports, then we must protect the freedom for athletes to opt out. Contrary to Trump’s apparent wishes, NFL players should be allowed to stay in the locker room during the national anthem, and there should be no pressure for them to do otherwise.
It is silly to argue, as some have, that because the government would not be directly mandating their participation, their freedom would not be infringed upon. Even if the president were not applying public pressure, it is imperative that freedom be preserved not just from government, but also from the mob. The legal protection of free speech (which necessarily includes the right to inaction and silence) will not long survive if it is culturally destroyed. With regard to the NFL and the rest of our nation’s sporting scene, we must be tolerant of those who, for reasons good or bad, do not wish to participate in the patriotic circus.
Mandatory patriotism isn’t patriotic.
Nathanael Blake has a PhD in political theory. He lives in Missouri.

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By David J. Lynch 6 hrs ago

The Washington Post


Bill Adler was invited last year to bid on a contract to make commercial sausage stuffers for a company that wanted to replace its Chinese supplier. The customer had just one non­negotiable demand: Match China’s price.

Adler, owner of metal-parts maker Stripmatic Products, thought he could. But even as he readied his proposal, talk of President Trump’s steel tariffs sent the price of Stripmatic’s main raw material soaring.
In April, with prices up nearly 50 percent from October and the first wave of tariffs in place, Adler’s bid failed. His costs were too high.
Today, instead of taking business from China, Adler worries about hanging onto the work he has. He hopes that the president’s tariffs are just a negotiating tactic.
“It’s got to be short-term, or I’ve got to find another way to make a living,” Adler said, only half joking. “It’s going to be an ugly scenario if it doesn’t end quickly.”
Stripmatic’s plight is an example of the hidden costs of Trump’s “America First” protectionism. During decades of increasing globalization, leaders of both political parties reassured critics that the gains from trade were dispersed across myriad less-expensive products — and thus often difficult to identify — while the costs were obvious every time a factory closed.
Now, as Trump seeks to unwind globalization, that logic operates in reverse. The gains from protectionism can be seen in the new solar plants and reopened steel mills that his various tariffs are encouraging and that the president often celebrates.
But the full costs of his policies — in investments foregone and workers not hired — escape casual scrutiny. If Stripmatic’s experience is any guide, protectionism may already be backfiring on Americans and undermining Trump’s stated goal of reclaiming manufacturing from China.
“That is absolutely the lesson,” said economist Phil Levy, who worked on trade policy in the George W. Bush White House. “It is a supply chain. The administration has favored the first link over the later links in the chain. The net effect helps neither American manufacturing nor national security.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has minimized the economic cost of Trump’s tariffs, claiming the steel and aluminum tariffs will add a “very small fraction of 1 percent” to prices across the economy, he recently told CNBC. U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer has said that tariffs the administration may impose on Chinese goods have been selected to minimize the impact on consumers.
But tariffs on materials used to make other products ripple through the entire economy. Trump’s steel levies were designed to punish China for swamping global markets with state-subsidized metals and to promote U.S. manufacturing. From where Adler sits, they appear to be doing the opposite. By raising the cost of a key manufacturing input, the tariffs are making many U.S. companies less competitive.
Discouraging metal imports benefits U.S. steel producers. But it also translates into a surplus of steel in markets outside the United States and thus lower prices for U.S. competitors.
As steel prices in the United States rise, Adler worries they will pinch his employees’ bonuses and profit-sharing checks. The 25 percent increase in Stripmatic’s sales that he anticipated from the sausage stuffercontract, the $1 million in new factory investment and the 10 new jobs it would have created have evaporated.
“If it wasn’t for the increase that came on because of the threat of tariffs, then I honestly believe we’d be supplying these domestically,” Adler said of the machines that pack ground meat into sausage casings. “This directly affects my life, my employees, my investments.”
In a $20 trillion economy, 10 jobs may not seem significant. But Trump’s frequent use of tariffs has sparked protests from farmers and industry groups that will be hurt by the administration’s import levies or retaliation from U.S. trading partners. The cumulative cost of the president’s higher import taxes will be a net loss of more than 400,000 jobs, according to a new study by the Trade Partnership, a pro-trade research consultancy.
A bipartisan group of 34 lawmakers wrote to Lighthizer on May 30 warning of “significant unintended adverse conse­quences for the United States” if the tariff wars continue. Republican senators including Bob Corker of Tennessee and Mike Lee of Utah are exploring legislation to limit the president’s ability to erect such trade barriers.
Yet if tiny Stripmatic demonstrates the double-edged nature of tariffs as an instrument of economic policy, the company’s experience should offer minimal comfort to the president’s political adversaries.
Despite the market turmoil unleashed by the president’s actions, Adler remains appreciative of the business tax cut that Trump secured last year and the administration’s broader deregulation efforts.
He was a reluctant Trump voter in 2016 and remains wary of the president’s bombastic style. But Adler likes having someone in the White House who respects business owners in a way that he doesn’t believe leading Democrats do.
With a new General Motors order for SUV parts, business is good — for now. This year, Adler added eight workers and spent $1.3 million on new factory equipment.
But times would have been better if he had landed that big food- processing-equipment contract. Rising labor costs in China and Stripmatic’s increasing efficiency gave him a real shot at a major win. He blames Trump’s trade policies for costing him the job and for imperiling Stripmatic’s future, as almost one-quarter of his sales come from abroad.
“Our customers source on a global market,” he said. “I’m going to be at least 30 to 40 percent disadvantaged on steel. . . . I’ve lost my competitive advantage.”
Stripmatic, dating to 1946, is among thousands of mostly unknown manufacturing companies that make up the backbone of industrial America. From a 60,000-square-foot plant just off the highway a few miles south of downtown Cleveland, Adler’s roughly 40-person team churns out tubular metal products.
Most are unremarkable parts that fit inside larger components, such as shock absorbers, or structural spacers that support the frame of Dodge Ram trucks and Jeep Wranglers. The company specializes in mass production of carbon steel parts.
Adler, 61, a Cleveland native, worked briefly in a local steel mill while attending college and then sold aluminum for several years before buying the company in 1992 with his wife, Liz. In about five years, they built the company to about $8 million in sales from less than $1 million and retired their debt.
But Chinese factories emerged as low-cost competitors with China’s 2001 membership in the World Trade Organization. As several of his large customers turned to less expensive Chinese rivals, Adler fine-tuned his operations to reduce waste.
He introduced automatic sensors that could check more than 100 parts every minute, more than three times the number a human could handle, and shifted his workers into higher-skilled positions.
“We were able to become more competitive and maintain our profit margins,” he said.
Adler is a veteran of an earlier bout of protectionism, the 2002 steel tariffs, which pushed one-fifth of U.S. metal-stamping businesses into collapse, according to the Census Bureau. Stripmatic laid off a handful of workers and froze hiring for four years.
Sales stagnated for several years, but Adler hung on. Efforts to diversify away from a near-total dependence on the auto industry into products such as plastic toys never worked out. That’s one reason the recent loss of the food-processing job was so painful.
Inside the factory, enormous metal presses rhythmically pound rolls of steel into auto and truck parts, the noises resounding like an industrial orchestra. The modern arc of metal stamping is on display, from a modified century-old device that bends unused steel into tight coils to a 4,000-watt laser-welding station at the opposite end of the plant, which instantly stitches a tight seal on metal parts.
Massive yellow, blue and green bins hold tens of thousands of metal parts. Roughly 20 percent are exported to factories in Mexico; an additional few percentage points go to Taiwan and Brazil.
As he stands on the plant floor, a ruddy-faced Adler wonders what this scene will look like in a few months. He’s in a fiercely competitive business, and his profits will melt if Trump’s tariffs remain indefinitely.
Already, prices for one type of steel that Adler uses — hot-rolled coil — are roughly twice what they were when Trump was elected, according to one widely used Midwestern index. And they are headed higher. “I don’t think they’re done yet. That’s the problem,” said Tony Scrima, 58, his plant manager, who’s worked here since he was 18.
Adler’s big worry is his Mexican customers. He hopes they won’t bolt for a cheaper, non-American alternative. But he can’t be sure what the president plans. “I try to erase what he says and look at the [economic] levers he’s pulling,” Adler said. “Is this all a negotiating tool to end up with a good result? I don’t know. But if it is, it’s got to go fast.”

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23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

This is not the  “2 Corinthians” but sums up the Trump Presidency to date. The past 2 years of this administration has the capacity to show us the value of really paying attention to who we elected and have elected to serve all of the American people (this means all of the people who currently reside, work and live in the United States and it’s territories). The current leadership is Congress have been taken hostage by extreme right factions who much in the mindset of the 1600’s era “witch hunters” and religious zealots. it is well to consider how “Religious” are people who purport to believe in God yet deny the religious rights of others using subterfuge and misstatements to justify what “they interpret” as right or wrong. The big push in this administration is to install as many “Conservative” judges as possible in lifetime positions that will push us all into the right of center spiral which would be just as inappropriate as left of center. Our position should be an equalizing mix of center right, center left and center in order to have the best governance. As a Nation we will never all agree on everything but we do need to agree on somethings and be able to have a discussion or at least have representatives who can present our views for discussion. If the elected entity is not representing all of their voting base in as equitable fashion as possible then their time in office should be short. Religion should never be a factor in politics as politics is a part of governing and governing is a state function aka “separation of church and state”.

Apparently Trump U’s primary training was to learn the art of laminating lies upon more lies.MA

By Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large 14 hrs ago

On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted. And tweeted. And tweeted.
Between 9:04 am and 9:37 am, Trump sent 5 tweets — all around the same basic theme: He is being unfairly persecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller even as Mueller and the broader FBI overlook crimes by Democrats.
The tweets are riddled with misinformation and, in some cases, outright falsehoods. Taken together, Trump said 11 things that aren’t true. Here’s the breakdown — tweet by tweet.
1. “Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!” (9:04 am)

Trump is referring here to an article in the Times published Saturday detailing a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a liaison for two Arab princes in which the emissary made clear that his clients wanted to assist Trump’s campaign.
He is also making a tangential reference to a detailed piece published in the Times earlier this week that detailed the origins of the FBI investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between his campaign and the Russians.
Trump is hanging his conclusion on this one sentence: “A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts.”
What that sentences makes clear is a) no public evidence yet exists and b) the investigation is ongoing.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 1
2. “….At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption…”
There’s zero factual basis — at least that I can find — for Trump putting a $20 million price tag on the Mueller probe. The closest we have come to a fact-based cost for the Mueller probe is back in December, when the investigation’s total cost was $6.7 million.
Trump’s claim that there are 13 Democrats on Mueller’s team is also false. According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, five of the 16 known members of Mueller’s team donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. The New York Times says that nine of the 17 known lawyers on Mueller’s team have donated to Democratic campaigns in the past. Then there’s this from the Post’s Philip Bump: “Of the 18 attorneys we identified on Mueller’s team, half gave no money to anyone, according to our analysis. Another five gave $1,000 or less. The one who gave the most also gave to two Republicans.”
RELATED: Meet the Mueller team
It’s not entirely clear who Trump is referring to with the line “two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years” but, presumably, one of them is Mueller himself. The problem with that is that Mueller was appointed FBI director by President George W. Bush, a Republican. President Obama simply kept Mueller on for the length of his 10-year term.
Trump says that Mueller’s team has found no collusion (he misspelled that word in the original tweet), but that too is not accurate. The investigation is ongoing and all of Mueller’s findings have yet to go public.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 4
3. “…In the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam.”
First, a truth: Clinton did delete 33,000 emails after she and her attorneys determined they were entirely private and personal communications with no ties to her work as Secretary of State.
Now, to the untruths.
The $145 million figure Trump is referring to is the total donations to the Clinton Foundation by nine individuals who also at one time or another had investments in a Russian company that Clinton’s State Department allowed to buy a majority stake in Uranium One, a Canada-based company with US mining interests. The problems with Trump’s claim, as detailed here by PolitiFact, are considerable and include the fact that the donations to the Clinton Foundation were made prior to the idea of Clinton serving as secretary of State and that State was one of nine agencies who okayed the deal.
Trump’s insistence that someone in the Clinton campaign paid then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife $700,000 as a payoff to drop any investigations into them is a jumble of falsehoods. McCabe’s wife ran for the state Senate in Virginia in 2015. A super PAC affiliated with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally, donated $500,000 to her campaign. She lost. There is zero evidence that Hillary Clinton was involved in the donation in any way, shape or form, or that McAuliffe made the donation to dissuade Andrew McCabe from looking into alleged wrongdoing by the Clintons.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 2
4. “Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier!”
The Mueller probe has not “given up” on Russia. It’s worth noting that five people in the Trump campaign orbit have already pleaded guilty to crimes unearthed by Mueller and several — including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates — are cooperating with the Mueller probe.
It’s less clear what Trump is referring to with the phrase “Dems FISA abuse” although he has repeatedly suggested that Obama ordered a wiretap on him at Trump Tower during the campaign (not true) and that the FBI placed an informant in his campaign as spy (knowledgeable sources deny that claim).
As for the missing emails, it is not clear what crime Trump is alleging, although there is little doubt Clinton would have been better served to have a neutral third party go through her emails to determine which were personal and could be deleted and which were not.
Trump’s claim that the so-called “Steele dossier” is “fraudulent” is also not accurate. The more salacious elements of the dossier, gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele, are unconfirmed by the FBI. But the intelligence community has made clear that portions of the dossier are borne out by their own investigation.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 3 (at least)
5. “What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server?”
This one is, mostly, accurate! The FBI confirmed that the DNC repeatedly rejected their requests to turn over the email server that had been penetrated by someone allegedly affiliated with the Russians.
Trump’s reference to the raids conducted by the FBI on the homes and offices of people like former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen misses the mark, however. Federal law enforcement did not break into these homes. They conducted raids based on search warrants — and entirely legal process based on, among other things, probable cause.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 1

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By John Bowden – 05/08/18 08:17 PM EDT

The Hill

Former CIA Chief John Brennan: Trump’s ‘Madness Is A Danger To Our National Security’
Trump has “undermined global confidence in U.S. commitments” and “alienated our closest allies,” Brennan said.

Former CIA Director John Brennan ripped President Donald Trump over his decision on Tuesday to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear treaty.
Brennan wrote on Twitter:

Brennan, now an analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, made similar comments on the air.
“This is not just foolish, this is dangerous,” he said. “And Mr. Trump has repeatedly misrepresented the facts of the nuclear deal with Iran. He’s basically lied to the American people and lied to the world about what that deal entails.”
Brennan was not alone in criticizing the move. The leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany issued a joint statement expressing “regret and concern.” In Iran, one lawmaker said “Trump does not have the mental capacity to deal with issues,” and members of parliament burned a paper version of an American flag and a symbolic copy of the Iran deal.
Brennan has been a constant critic of the president since leaving office on Trump’s 2017 inauguration. In March, he slammed Trump for hailing the Justice Department’s decision to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe just two days before retirement.
“You may scapegoat Andy McCabe,” Brennan wrote at the time. “But you will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”

Earlier this year, Brennan described himself as “nonpartisan” and told NPR he had respect for both Democratic and Republican presidents he has served. Trump, however, was different.
“I think he is dishonest. He lacks integrity. He has very questionable ethics and morality. And he views the world through a prism of how it’s going to help Donald Trump,” Brennan said. “And I just think that he has not fulfilled the responsibilities of the president of the United States office.”

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Michelle Obama on 2016 election: ‘What is going on in our heads where we let that happen’
Brooke Seipel 8 hrs ago

© Provided by The Hill
Michelle Obama on Saturday discussed the 2016 presidential election at the United State of Women summit, during which she said she is still reflecting on the outcome and asking how “we let that happen.”
“In light of this last election, I’m concerned about us as women and how we think,” she said at the event. “What is going on in our heads where we let that happen, you know?”
The former first lady was discussing encouraging young women to dream big, and how to reflect on standards for women after Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost the election and the United States didn’t elect its first woman president.

“When the most qualified person running was a woman, and look what we did instead, I mean that says something about where we are,” Obama said. “That’s what we have to explore, because if we as women are still suspicious of one another, if we still have this crazy, crazy bar for each other that we don’t have for men… if we’re not comfortable with the notion that a woman could be our president compared to… what, then we have to have those conversations with ourselves as women.”
She went on to add that she wished “girls could fail as bad as men do and still be ok.”
“Watching men fail up is frustrating. It is frustrating watching men blow it, and win,” she later added while discussing standards for women.
During her discussion as the keynote speaker at the United State of Women summit, Obama also touched on the importance of education for women and encouraging young girls to speak their minds.
The United State of Women describes itself on its website as a “national organization for any woman who sees that we need a different America for all women to survive and thrive.”
Thousands of women attended the summit, based in Los Angeles, this weekend which says its goal is to leave women “with new ideas and partners, hands-on training, and the tools and resources they need to make change at all levels.”

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By Paul Begala
Updated 11:41 PM ET, Tue May 1, 2018
Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House. He was a consultant to Priorities USA Action, the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
(CNN)Add the name of White House chief of staff John Kelly to the astonishingly long list of close Trump aides who have reportedly disparaged the President’s intellect, in his case referring to the leader of the free world as “an idiot.” Kelly called the report “total B.S.”
But, like the dog that didn’t bark, Kelly’s statement reveals more by what it does not say. It does not say the President is bright. It does not say he is engaged. It does not say he digs into the impossibly difficult issues that come into the Oval Office each day. And Kelly’s silence on those matters is telling.
Of course, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called President Trump “a [expletive deleted] moron” then heroically refused to participate in the ritualistic dishonest denial. Tillerson told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “I’m not going to get into that kind of petty stuff.”
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, according to a report in BuzzFeed, has called President Trump an “idiot,” a “dope” and a man with the brain of a “kindergartner.”
In Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury” (which ought to be taken with an entire salt lick), the former chief of staff Reince Priebus and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refer to the President as an “idiot.” Then-chief economic adviser Gary Cohn says Trump is “dumb as [poop],” and is “an idiot surrounded by clowns.” (Note that this was at the time that Cohn himself was one of the people surrounding the President. Does that make him Clarabell?). And billionaire media baron Rupert Murdoch reportedly called President Trump “a [effing] idiot” after a phone call on immigration.

The tumultuous relationship between Trump, Kelly 02:32. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Those closest to the President think, well, it’s pretty clear what they think.
But I dissent.
I think Donald J. Trump is plenty bright. Not in the intellectual, Mensa-meeting sense, but he has, I think, an undeniable intelligence. He is street smart, savvy, clever. No one can be that conniving and be an idiot.
So why the disconnect? Why do I as an outside analyst see an intelligence that those closest to the President do not? Because there are different kinds of intelligence that are useful for different purposes. The kind of intelligence I believe Trump has is enormously useful if you want to, say, be a politician — even better if you want to be a demagogue.
He has a cynical, innate intelligence for what his base wants to hear. It’s like a divining rod for division, prejudice and stereotyping. His relentless rhetorical repetition (“No collusion, no collusion, no collusion”) is brilliantly designed to tell folks who are predisposed to like him what they want to hear. Forget the objective reality that his campaign chairman, his son and his son-in-law all met with Russians who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, helping make the case for why Robert Mueller should be investigating potential collusion.
He has an unerring sense for how to command media attention, whether it was assuming a pseudonym and leaking the “Best Sex I Ever Had” myth to the New York tabloids, or dominating water coolers across the country by attacking NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem. It’s like he knows what every bar stool blowhard is about to say before he or she even says it.
His penchant for third-grade nicknames undoubtedly demeans the discourse, and yet otherwise sophisticated people repeat them: “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Crooked Hillary.” So who’s really the idiot?
The problem is, Trump’s idiosyncratic intelligence, while enough to propel him to the White House, does not serve him well for the job of President. He lacks, by most accounts, the broad curiosity, the policy depth, the healthy skepticism of his own positions, the attention span, the appreciation of nuance, and most of all, the intellectual humility that successful presidents must have.
Serving President Clinton in the West Wing was the highlight of my professional life. He is the smartest person I have ever known — and he never, ever acted like (or felt like) the smartest person in the room. He paired his astonishing intellect with an immeasurable empathy, and the combination brought out the best in everyone around him.
He didn’t merely want to know; he wanted to understand. Then he would integrate, cross-pollinating new information about farm prices with the latest briefing on the French military budget, and seeing the world in subtle hues. It is impossible to imagine any of his top aides speaking as contemptuously of him as President Trump’s do of him. Finally, a word of caution for the Democrats: Don’t attack Donald Trump’s intelligence. Liberals already suffer from the conceit that they are more intelligent, and it can make them insufferable. Plus, in a weird way, calling President Trump stupid excuses his intentional acts of malice. So, don’t call him “moron” or “idiot;” call him what he is: a conniving, corrupt con man, a dangerous, divisive demagogue — and, most sobering of all, the man who carried 30 states in the last election, and may well do it again if Democrats don’t focus their fire more effectively.

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This Old Trump Tweet Is Coming Back to Haunt Him — Because, Well, Just Read It
May 2, 2018 by Victoria Messina
First Published: March 14, 2018
It’s no secret that President Donald Trump isn’t the best at keeping officials in his administration around for very long. Though it feels like he’s been in the Oval Office for centuries, it’s only been a little more than a year — and in that time more than 30 of his staff members have either resigned or been fired from their posts. Notable departures include Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary, James Comey, former FBI Director, and Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist — just to jog your memory, since these departures seem to happen so often that they all blend together.
Trump’s most recent staff switch up came when he announced on March 13 that he had fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. As soon he shared the news — on Twitter, naturally — many were quick to call out his alarmingly high turnover rate, and some even resurrected an old tweet from the president in which he slammed Barack Obama for the amount of staff change-ups he made during his time in office. Way back in January 2012, just one day after Obama announced that his second Chief of Staff, Bill Daley, would be stepping down, Trump tweeted, “3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can’t manage to pass his agenda.”
Little did he know that six years later he’d wind up in the White House, already on his second Chief of Staff before even reaching his two-year mark, with his third COS, John Kelly, possibly on his way out soon.
We’ve said it before and we’ll likely say it again: for almost all of Trump’s controversial statements or decisions, there’s always a corresponding tweet from his past that totally contradicts it. And everyone on social media isn’t about to let him off the hook for it . . .

Virtually everything learned in school about Thanksgiving is a lie, including the central story of the feast celebrating a partnership between Native Americans and early European settlers. The Pilgrims were fanatical and violent religious zealots who considered indigenous Americans savages, and the Indians naturally resented their presence. The modern, feel-good story is propaganda that’s only 120 years old, but there was a celebratory feast in Massachusetts in 1637 — proclaimed by Gov. John Winthrop for the return of Puritan gunmen from hunting and murdering hundreds of Pequot Indians.

The rise of America undoubtedly shattered the era of kings and queens ruling over monarchies, which had existed in Europe for centuries. But the common schoolhouse lesson that America invented democracy would be news to the Greeks, who introduced “demokratia,” or direct rule by the people, which included three branches of government, in 507 B.C.

History teachers are quick to remind students that Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.” In reality, however, Lincoln’s views evolved over time and he came to anti-slavery movement late in the game. He said publicly and repeatedly that he would tolerate slavery to preserve the Union. His anti-slavery sentiments, at least early on, seemed more pragmatic than moral, as revealed in his famous “house divided” speech.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was limited in effect — first limited to slaves in rebel states, and then not universally known. The holiday of Juneteenth, celebrates the moment June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas, to tell America’s last remaining slaves they were free. This was news to the slaves, who had never heard of the proclamation, signed two and a half years earlier.

Anyone who went to school during the just-say-no era of the drug war knows that while marijuana itself isn’t so bad, experimenting with it leads to addiction, incarceration, and death from street drugs. For years, educators accepted the “gateway” theory, a 1950s scare tactic that has since been widely debunked and acknowledged as myth in 2016 by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Social ailments such as poverty, bad home environment, and early exposure are better indicators of future addiction.

The 13th Amendment supposedly ending slavery still allowed forced labor as punishment for a crime. Convict leasing existed in every Southern state for decades after the Civil War. Tens of thousands of Black Americans who committed no real crime were kidnapped off the streets by corrupt local sheriffs, convicted in informal local courts for vague “crimes” such as vagrancy, issued fines they couldn’t pay, and sold to businesses to work in mines, timber yards, farms and railroads in conditions often worse than slavery.

“It’s a free country” is a mantra most kids probably hear before they even get to school. The reality, however, is that 22 countries are freer than the United States. The Human Freedom Index ranks America No. 23 on its global list, based on government size, religion, labor, trade, rule of law, and basic freedoms such as movement and association.

Many sub par math students have been consoled by encouraging teachers who remind them that even Einstein — history’s most famous mathematical genius — flunked math class. He did not. He mastered differential and integral calculus by 15, and taught himself algebra and geometry with books his parents bought him before he was 12 so he could master the fields on his own over summer vacation.

It’s true that some water towers store drinking water, but even in those cases, the main function of a water tower is to create water pressure. Most drinking water comes from wells, reservoirs, lakes or rivers. The reason water rushes out when you turn on your faucet is because massive stores of water in vertical, gravity-fed water towers apply enough pressure to force water to flow through your municipality’s network of underground pipes leading to your house.

Generations of teachers and principals kept students in line with the most ridiculous threat in the history of U.S. education: The next behavioral infraction will go on your permanent record. There is no permanent record. Some districts do keep files on students that contain personal information and attendance records, but even in those cases, anyone who isn’t the student or the student’s parent — including college admissions officers — can’t access the record without a written release.

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This is an excerpt of an extensive article  posted in the American Prospect

Justin Miller August 24, 2017

Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation.

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