Thursday, September 20, 2018

Maya Angelou's Buddy

Fifty-five years ago, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

If a little short of revolutionary, those words spoken were bold at the time and had Martin Luther King Jr. survived, he probably would have been an activist for affordable housing, affirmative action, police and criminal justice reform, and other measures meant to tear down the walls of racial (and economic) disparity.

Nonetheless, he slammed the notion of judging individuals "by the color of their skin." Departing from that principle is, at a minimum, risky.

The late Maya Angelou is accurately celebrated as having been a great poet.  Were she not that, she probably could not in August, 1991 have written

We need to haunt the halls of history and listen anew to the ancestors' wisdom. We must ask questions and find answers that will help us to avoid falling into the merciless maw of history. How were our forebears able to support their weakest when they themselves were at their weakest? How were they able to surround the errant leader and prevent him from being co-opted by forces that would destroy him and them? How were they, lonely, bought separately, sold apart, able to conceive of the deep, ponderous wisdom found in "walk together, children . . . don't you get weary."

This was a portion of a piece which then appeared in The Baltimore Sun, which also included

The black youngsters of today must ask black leaders: If you can't make an effort to reach, reconstruct and save a black man who has graduated from Yale, how can you reach down here in this drug-filled, hate-filled cesspool where I live and save us?

I am supporting Clarence Thomas' nomination, and I am neither naive enough nor hopeful enough to imagine that in publicly supporting him I will give the younger generation a pretty picture of unity, but rather I can show them that I and they come from a people who had the courage to be when being was dangerous, who had the courage to dare when daring was dangerous -- and most important, had the courage to hope.

"I am supporting Clarence Thomas' nomination," she writes in rhythmic prose nevertheless unable to obscure the reality that she was taking a position because of Judge Thomas' race.

The damage- arguably especially to blacks- done by Thomas on the Supreme Court has been broad and deep. He was one of the five votes to emasculate the Voting Rights Act, whose central provision, the Brennan Center has explained, is

Section 4 – commonly referred to as the coverage formula. The coverage formula determined which jurisdictions had to “preclear” changes to their election rules with the federal government before implementing them, based on their history of race-based voter discrimination. Preclearance was massively successful at improving voting access in covered jurisdictions.

In 2013, however, the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula in a case called Shelby County v. Holder. In a 5-4 decision, the Court reasoned that the coverage formula was out of date – despite Congress’s determination that it was still needed. The ruling rendered the Section 5 preclearance system effectively inoperable.

The decision in Shelby County opened the floodgates to laws restricting voting throughout the United States. The effects were immediate. Within 24 hours of the ruling, Texas announced that it would implement a strict photo ID law. Two other states, Mississippi and Alabama, also began to enforce photo ID laws that had previously been barred because of federal preclearance.

The Atlantic's C. Vann Newkirk II has cited two cases which advanced the cause of voter suppression encouraged by Shelby. In Husted v. A.Phillip Randolph Institute, "the Court essentially gave its seal of approval to Ohio’s system of voter purges, in which the state uses a failure to vote as a trigger to begin the multistep process of taking people off voter rolls." A few weeks later, Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion in which a Texas racial gerrymandering scheme was upheld in logic reminiscent of Shelby.

Aside from reasoning and impact, these three decisions had two things in common: they were all decided by one vote- and Justice Thomas voted in the majority.

On a positive note, Maya Angelous at least lived long enough to see great power give to the  man whom she wrote "has been nearly suffocated by the acrid odor of racial discrimination." Not altogether unpredictably, once he was given that power he proceeded to lend his support to continued racial discrimination. Content of his character be damned, she wanted an African-American on the court, and her wish was fulfilled. He will be there every day until he dies, helping to fulfill the wishes of bigots comfortable with decisions made on the basis of race.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Party Of Cowardly Lions

Joe Scarborough, Charlie Sykes, George Will, and other never-Trump conservatives bemoan the failure of GOP members of Congress to criticize their puppet master, Donald J. Trump.

But a cowardly Congress is a perfect compliment to a cowardly President.

Donald Trump built his mighty reputation as a tough negotiator, willing to take on anyone and everyone on behalf of the USA, upon his spectacular acting gig on "The Apprentice."  As President, he won't take on democrats such as settlement-expanding Benjamin Netanyahu or tyrants such as Kim Jong-un ("I have very good personal relations with Chairman Kim") or employees he loathes, such as John Kelly or Jeff Sessions ("I don't have an Attorney General. It's verysad.").

 Several days after the revelation that Christine Blasey Ford maintains that Brett Kavanaugh and a friend attempted to rape her at a party a few dacades ago, the Los Angeles Times reports

Jim Gensheimer, who has been friends with Ford and her family for several years, said she confided to him and another friend over lunch on July 11, telling them she was communicating with the Post and was deeply concerned her name would eventually become public.

Gensheimer, a freelance photographer who previously worked for the San Jose Mercury News, said he explained to her how journalistic ethics forbid identifying confidential sources without approval.

Ford, he said, was torn. She felt it her “civic duty” to come forward but worried that it would have no effect on the confirmation process, Gensheimer said. At the same time, he said, she was worried about ruining Kavanaugh’s career and was open to the idea that people can change.

Ford then confided in her US Representative, Democrat Anna Eshoo, who gave a letter from the aggrieved to ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein.  Having moved on  and wishing to retain a private life, Ford did not want the traumatic incident she alleged to become public. However, existence of the letter leaked.

We don't know what, if anything, occurred that night 36 years ago between a 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh and a 15-year old Christine Blasey. But we do know that Ford did not want to become the focus of controversy and Senator Feinstein conscientiously and respectfully honored her request. Republicans being Republicans, that was dangerous as right on cue

Republican leaders argue that it’s the Democrats who created this situation. They blame Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, for holding on to a letter from Ford that she’s had since July. The missive details the allegation that Kavanaugh “physically and sexually assaulted” her during high school but asks Feinstein to keep the matter confidential until the two are able to speak.

McConnell suggested Feinstein “decided to spring it right at the end” for political purposes. “It’s pretty obvious this is all about delaying the process, but the accuser certainly does deserve a right to be heard, and we’re looking forward to hearing what she has to say on Monday.”

Steve M argues that Republicans decided to make Democrats, rather than the accuser, the Antichrist "because it's always easy to demonize Democrats in the eyes of heartland white voters, and besides, that's what congressional Republicans need as a base motivator with midterms coming up. "

That, but more. Like their boss, Donald J. Trump, congressional Republicans lack a spine.  They could accuse Ford of deception. They could have conceded that Brett might have attempted to rape Christine but that it was long ago, both were juveniles, and details have been horribly distorted, They might have contended that Kavanaugh's record of accomplishment and integrity in both his personal and professional life over the past few decades more than compensate for one horrid mistake.

They won't, however. They won't because demonizing Democrats riles up their base... and because like Dear Leader, they have no spine.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Don't Worry Be Happy

It's a tale of two Ari's.... or of two Aris.

Media Matters has found former Bush 43 press secretary Ari Fleischer contending on Trump TV

There’s a bigger ethical issue I want to get to here, too. And I want to say this with a lot of sensitivity because these are sensitive issues. But high school behavior -- how much in society should any of us be held liable today when we lived a good life, an upstanding life by all accounts, and then something that maybe is an arguable issue took place in high school? Should that deny us chances later in life? Even for Supreme Court job, a presidency of the United States, or you name it. How accountable are we for high school actions, when this is clearly a disputable high school action? That’s a tough issue.

When a guy starts out "I want to say this with a lot of sensitivity," he should know to move his foot away from the open mouth it's about to enter, as when someone begins "I may be considered a racist for saying this but..."

One sharp tweeter noticed "when Brett Kavanaugh attempted to deny a 17-year-old immigrant an abortion, he believed that the decisions that you make as a minor ought to have lifelong consequences." Pondering whether committing sexual assault in high school should "deny us chances later in life," Will Bunch asks Bush's press secretary "how about attending the wrong wedding party during a U.S. drone strike?"

Fleischer maintained also

And if the right feels that Judge Kavanaugh is being a victim of something that's unfair and not provable, then it will probably fire up the right. If on the other hand if she comes across as eminently credible and he doesn't, then it's going to put a lot of pause into the right because you're going to think we just can't win. No matter what happens, it doesn't work.

In the Trump era, most Republicans would rather complain and whine (redundancy duly noted) than gloat. But gloat they may. Not only can the GOP win, it works the system to make sure as much as possible that it will.

Approximately nine months ago- for an article in its January/February 2017 issue- Mother Jones ran an article entitled "Rigged:How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump," Ari Berman evaluated the impact of Wisconsin's voter ID law, which required the registered voter to present a current driver's license, passport, or state or military ID. Enacted in 2011, it did not go into effect until the 2016 election because of court challenges. Berman writes

Neil Albrecht, Milwaukee’s election director, believes that the voter ID law and other changes passed by the Republican Legislature contributed significantly to lower turnout. Albrecht is 55 but seems younger, with bookish tortoise-frame glasses and salt-and-pepper stubble. (“I looked 12 until I became an election administrator,” he joked.) At his office in City Hall with views of the Milwaukee River, Albrecht showed me a color-coded map of the city’s districts, pointing out the ones where turnout had declined the most, including Anthony’s. Next to his desk was a poster that listed “Acceptable Forms of Photo ID.”

“I would estimate that 25 to 35 percent of the 41,000 decrease in voters, or somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 voters, likely did not vote due to the photo ID requirement,” he said later. “It is very probable that between the photo ID law and the changes to voter registration, enough people were prevented from voting to have changed the outcome of the presidential election in Wisconsin.”

According to a comprehensive study by MIT political scientist Charles Stewart, an estimated 16 million people—12 percent of all voters—encountered at least one problem voting in 2016. There were more than 1 million lost votes, Stewart estimates, because people ran into things like ID laws, long lines at the polls, and difficulty registering. Trump won the election by a total of 78,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

A post-election study by Priorities USA, a Democratic super-PAC that supported Clinton, found that in 2016, turnout decreased by 1.7 percent in the three states that adopted stricter voter ID laws but increased by 1.3 percent in states where ID laws did not change. Wisconsin’s turnout dropped 3.3 percent. If Wisconsin had seen the same turnout increase as states whose laws stayed the same, “we estimate that over 200,000 more voters would have voted in Wisconsin in 2016,” the study said. These “lost voters”—those who voted in 2012 and 2014 but not 2016—”skewed more African American and more Democrat” than the overall voting population. Some academics criticized the study’s methodology, but its conclusions were consistent with a report from the Government Accountability Office, which found that strict voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee had decreased turnout by roughly 2 to 3 percent, with the largest drops among black, young, and new voters.

Sure, conservatives will be mad if Kavanaugh is defeated (highly unlikely) or has to drop out (much more likely). It's what they are. And maybe it will reinforce the paranoia of "we just can't win. No matter what happens, it doesn't work."  But the GOP has known for a few years now that they have two pathways to victory: a) win the votes of more minorities, especially hispanics; or b) get hispanics and young people not to vote. (B) won for them in 2016, and an honest Ari Fleisher would tell Trump TV viewers "Don't worry. We got this."

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh, The Entitled

This is disturbing, or should be to anyone who believes Twitter should have a future. The Atlantic's David Frum tweeted
The response- now deleted, as you will discover- from the managing director of an asset management firm  was brief, unemotional, and something to the effect of "are you making the argument that all juveniles should be tried as adults?" Then Frum:
So far, a reasoned debate. However, Chovenac then replied "I have deleted my tweet because it is evident my opinion is unwanted and will only result in harassment."

In reply, Frum again:

Then Chovanec explained (in a tweet also now deleted, but caught here) "No, it became crystal clear within minutes that what was a sincere query about how and why we treat juvenile offenses differently was going to be twisted (not by you) into another evil white male’s apology for sexual assault. Not interested in playing that game."

Something is seriously off in the Twitter culture, and by extension in the larger culture, if someone erases his own remark because his "opinion is unwanted and will only result in harassment." This has been clear to most of you.

There is no reason to make a comment if it is wanted by all. Try "candy is sweet" or "most Democrats are liberal and most Republicans are conservative."  Or perhaps "God is good" (which everyone agrees on, except people have a different concept of "God"). Harassment obviously is appalling, and occurs too often on Twitter. Worse, some people will find questionable the notion that harassment is appalling.

Notwithstanding the sarcastic "another evil white male's apology," Chovanec's assurance that he expected Frum to play fair ("not by you") suggests the former's sincerity.

I personally disagreed with Mr. Chovanec and responded "In some circumstances- such as, oh, attempted rape or rape- the Prosecutor should have the option of requesting that the accused be prosecuted as an adult, in which case the decision as to whether to approve the motion should be made by the presiding Judge."

The obvious point, and Frum's, is that the story looks different from a girl's perspective than from a boy's perspective (man and woman now, but 17-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl then). However, there is another point.

When the letter from the woman, now identified as professor and clinical psychologist Christine Blasey Ford,“ became public, Brett Kavanaugh did not admit to misbehavior nor simply remain silent. Instead, he definitively declared "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”  Senate Judiciary Committee chairperson Chuck Grassley promptly released a letter attesting to the strong character of Kavanaugh and signed by 65 women who allegedly knew him in that period.

It now appears probable, though not certain, that something seriously untoward took place in a bedroom at a house in Montgomery County, Maryland. Though it was 36 years ago, it's hardly likely- despite the protestations of those 65 signatories- that the nominee "has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day."

Assuming Ford's story is not a total fabrication, Kavanaugh knows that is not true, at least as applied to "always" and "when he was in high school."  Given that the letter materialized so quickly, Grassley and/or Majority Leader McConnell very likely knew there was a serious allegation out there.

Still, Grassley- presumably with the acquiescence of Leader McConnell- applied a show of force with dozens of women asserting the Judge has "stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity" throughout those 35 years.

However, he may have "stood out" or appeared, Kavanaugh prior to this attempted rape allegation already had revealed a deficiency of rectitude. Although I disagree, Patrick Chovanec may be right to imply that juveniles never should be prosecuted as adults. But the issue is less what Brett Kavanaugh was decades ago at tony Georgetown Prep than a juvenile incident which may shed light on a pattern of deception he has exhibited as an adult.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Very Curious

What is there to do when the incident itself isn't the issue? The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer on Friday revealed

The woman, who has asked not to be identified, first approached Democratic lawmakers in July, shortly after Trump nominated Kavanaugh. The allegation dates back to the early nineteen-eighties, when Kavanaugh was a high-school student at Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the woman attended a nearby high school. In the letter, the woman alleged that, during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her.

She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. She was able to free herself. Although the alleged incident took place decades ago and the three individuals involved were minors, the woman said that the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her, and that she had sought psychological treatment as a result.

But the issue isn't what occurred over three decades earlier, among three high-schoolers, notwithstanding the seriousness of the charges. Don't take it from me, but from Hawaii Democratic senator Mazie Hirono, hardly a stout defender of a patriarchical, sexist culture. 

At Kavanaugh's recent confirmation hearing, Senator Hirono inquired "Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?" (Kavanaugh replied "no.") Inclusion of "since you became a legal adult" was not accidental.

Nor is it the candidate's denial of the allegation, whence he stated  “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time."  It is too much to expect that an individual who has exhibited such a low level of integrity to respond "The claim made against me is accurate- also, over thirty years ago, when I was immature and acted in ways for which I now profoundly regret, especially when I drank." "When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible" may not work anymore.

Yet, there is something creepy about the GOP's response to the scandal.

At 5:24 p.m. on Thursday The Intercept reported existence of a letter which they knew only "describes an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school." The following morning, the spokesman for Judiciary Committee chairperson Grassley (R-Iowa) stated that his boss "is aware of Senator Feinstein's referral (to the FBI (but has not seen the letter in question."

White House counsel Don McGahn received the letter from the FBI "around noon" on Thursday, then relayed it promptly to Capitol Hill. Less than 24 hours later, on Friday morning,  Grassley released a letter signed by 65 women who claimed

We are women who have known Brett Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school between 1979 and 1983. For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect. We strongly believe it is important to convey this information to the Committee at this time.

Brett attended Georgetown Prep, an all-boys high school in Rockville, Maryland. He was an outstanding student and athlete with a wide circle of friends. Almost all of us attended allgirls high schools in the area. We knew Brett well through social events, sports, church, and various other activities. Many of us have remained close friends with him and his family over the years. Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day.

The signers of this letter hold a broad range of political views. Many of us are not lawyers, but we know Brett Kavanaugh as a person. And he has always been a good person.

The letter was highly favorable, but also highly generic. It refers to the character he allegedly displayed through the years- but does not refer to the incident in question.

This was awfully quick work. Possibly, one or more of the signers knew of the incident contemporaneously or had heard about it shortly thereafter, suspect(s) the account is legitimate, but for their own reasons support Kavanaugh's nomination. ("Many of us are not lawyers" suggests many are, and may have a professional interest in approval of the nomination.)

More likely, they knew little of the alleged incident, and the letter had been written weeks or months before. And if it was, there are two questions which need to be asked: "why did the GOP believe a letter like this would have to be written," and "what other similar behavior has Brett Kavanaugh been involved in?"

There are better reasons to oppose Kavanaugh's nomination, including his determination to gut reproductive freedom, habit of lying to Congress, skepticism toward questioning presidential power, and financial improprieties.  But either the account from the female accuser is mostly fallacious- very unlikely- or there are things crawling under the rock that is Brett Kavanaugh.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Uncomfortable Truth

At his confirmation hearing, in response to a question from Repub senator Ted Cruz, Brett Kavanaugh stated

That was a group that was being, uh, forced to provide certain kinds of health coverage, uh, over their religious objection to their employees and, uh, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The question was, first, whether there was a substantial burden on religious exercise and it seemed to me quite clearly it was. It was a technical matter of filling out a form. In that way, they said, filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the, uh, abortion-inducing drugs, that they were as a religious matter objected (sic) to.

Anna North of Vox explained

Priests for Life argued in Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that they should not be forced to abide by the contraceptive mandate because their “sincerely held beliefs prohibit them from providing, paying for, or impermissibly facilitating access to abortion-inducing products, contraceptives, and sterilization.”

They said that the religious accommodation offered by the Obama administration, which allowed religious groups to opt out of providing coverage for birth control by notifying either their insurers or the federal government, was not sufficient because it forced them to “contract with third parties that will provide payments for the objectionable products and services” and “submit documentation that, in their religious judgment, makes them complicit in the delivery of such payments.”

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their argument in 2015, but Kavanaugh supported their claim in a dissenting opinion.

"In context," North maintains,' it’s not totally clear whether Kavanaugh is endorsing Priests for Life’s claim that birth control causes abortion, or merely repeating it."

And after Judiciary Committee member and California Democrat Kamala Harris charged "this is a dog-whistle for going after birth control," Politifact maintained

In Harris’ tweet, Kavanaugh appears to believe birth control is an abortion-inducing drug. Does he? We’re not sure what he believes. He hasn't said so in the confirmation hearings. Harris’ tweet takes Kavanaugh’s statement out of context. Harris cut an important second out of the clip — the attribution. Kavanaugh said, "They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objecting to."

Politifact is "not sure what he believes" and North is "not totally clear whether Kavanaugh is endorsing Priests for Life's claim that birth control causes abortion..."

Someone, however, is certain that the Judge believes birth control causes abortion. The plaintiff believes. Executive Director Janet Morana of Priests for Life writes

Abortion enthusiasts are in a huff because Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh referred to contraception as “abortion-inducing drugs” when asked about his dissent in Priests for Life’s case against the Health and Human Services mandate.

Morana's science is very poor but her reading comprehension is very good. Brett Kavanaugh graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School, Yale University, and Yale University Law School.  He has written a lot of briefs and opinions while serving as a Supreme Court law clerk, in the Office of the Independent Counsel under Kenneth Starr, White House counsel's office under Albert Gonzalez, in private practice, and as a judge.

Most significantly, Kavanaugh knows how to fudge an answer. He appeared before the Judiciary the Judiciary Committee before approval to become a US District Judge and was coached very  thoroughly for the recent hearing once President Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court.

He knows the difference between "in that way, they said, filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the, uh, abortion-inducing drugs" and "in that way, they said, filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of what they believe are abortion-inducing drugs."  Alternatively, he could have stated "... in the provision of what are quote abortion-inducing drugs unquote."

If the nominee wanted to make that distinction, he could have and would have.

But he didn't want to.  He wanted to reassure forced-birth advocates that he is as staunchly opposed to reproductive freedom as they are. Yet, senators Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska would need something they could grab hold of, something which would allow them to claim that the nominee is not committed to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Kavanaugh gave it to them. Further, he worded his response as not to alarm that portion of the media which finds it incomprehensible or inconceivable that a Supreme Court justice would be philosophically opposed to contraception.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was tapped for the US Supreme Court by arguably the greatest con-man in the recent history of American politics. Perhaps Donald Trump saw a little bit of himself in the guy.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Mr. Big-Hearted

One may buy from Amazon a T-shirt reading "Not My President" or a "Donald Trump Is Not My President!" bumper sticker. They or things very similar are probably available elsewhere, perhaps even widely.

There is, inevitably, even a Donald Trump Is Not My President page on Facebook. The day after the election- before we fully learned of Russian meddling, nor fully understood the impact of the FBI or a media obsessed with Hillary Clinton's emials- Gloria Steinem declared "I'm not going to disobey the law, but I'm not going to pretend he represents me."

Steinem had an inkling of the potential damage of the Trump presidency before most of us did. Still, Donald Trump is President and does represent the American people.

Evidence that Trump is president comes, appropriately, from the realization that Trump does not himself fully understand the office he holds.

The official death toll from Hurricane Maria stands at 2,975 individuals (perhaps as many as 1670 more), which puts it merely 21 lower than the horrendous World Trade Center attacks of 9/11/01.  Still, Donald Trump on Thursday morning tweeted

3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000...

To that, Nate Silver responded

If only that were so. Admittedly, when four people are involved in a car accident, two die at the scene and two sometime thereafter, four have died because of the crash. However, Trump a little later on Thursday morning Trump upped the ante with

When a bill appropriating money for Puerto Rico is passed by Congress after the President remarks "We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!" said President cannot credibly claim credit for the money.

Nor does the President "raise" money for anything, let alone an insufficient amount. He is not "raising" money for charity.  It is his job as President and is not a handout from a benevolent dictator.

Except, of course, that Donald Trump views himself as a friendly dictator. "I love Puerto Rico," he says of a territory whose problems he considers "largely.... of their own making."

Donald Trump does not realize he is a president with powers restricted by the Constitution, and whose control of the federal government is shared with two other branches of government. So when a person claims Donald Trump is not his or her president, the comment is incorrect- but only because no asterisk is included.

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Maya Angelou's Buddy

Fifty-five years ago, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared "I have a dream that my four little children will...