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Wednesday, May 24, 2017:   The Many Nightmares of Winnie-the-Pooh

Trump Cabinet

Friday, May 19, 2017:   Loyalty To The Confederation That Is Canine In Its Uncritical Affection
I just read an article in the New York Times in which the author, Nicholas Kristof, describes his interviews with Trump voters in Tulsa Oklahoma ("In Trump Country, Shock at Trump Budget Cuts", Sunday, April 2, 2017). All of those he interviewed had either been helped or were currently being helped by programs that Trump intends to "de-fund". Yet in every instance, they still support Trump. So why do they continue to support Trump? According to Kristof, it is because some of their loyalty is grounded in resentment at Democrats for mocking Trump voters as dumb bigots.

So how do you describe someone who, despite all of the facts in evidence, chooses to continue to support a president that is screwing them? It isn't that they are uninformed or ignorant of the facts. They don't show a great lack of intelligence or lack of common sense, which is the definition of stupid. The only word that seems to fit is foolish.

I have also seen first hand the degree that racism played in Trump's support. I live in a county that has been in the national press. It is a bastion of predominately white, blue collar voters. There is no question that the Trump message of "Make America Great (White) Again" resonated with them. I am sure that this was true in most red states. One of the individuals interviewed in the Kristof article "suggested that if the government wants to cut budgets, it should target 'Obama phones' provided to low-income Americans. (In fact, the program predates President Barack Obama and is financed by telecom companies rather than by taxpayers.)" There was and continues to be an underlying resentment of President Obama bouying Trump that can only be attributed to the fact that he was a black man who rose to the highest office in the land and Trump is a white guy that thinks and acts like his supporters.

Democrats should be guided by a line from the Desiderata: "As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017:   A Trump Cabinet Meeting
Just in case you were wondering why things are so screwed up in the Trump White House....
   Trump Cabinet

Wednesday, May 10, 2017:   Immigration Facts versus Trump Fiction
The New York Times published an article that outlines the facts and truth behind immigration and Trump's plans. It was published on Feb 25, 2017. To read the whole article go to "The Immigration Facts Donald Trump Doesn't Like"

Here are few excerpts.

"The Migration Policy Institute reported in 2013 that the federal government spends more each year on immigration enforcement — through Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol — than on all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. The total has risen to more than $19 billion a year, and more than $306 billion in all since 1986, measured in 2016 dollars. This exceeds the sum of all spending for the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Secret Service; the Marshals Service; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives."

"Estimates of the full price of Mr. Trump's great wall vary. He said it would cost $8 billion, then changed that to $10 billion to $12 billion. "Fat chance," the MIT Technology Review said last October, finding Mr. Trump guilty of "bad math" and placing the real figure at $27 billion to $40 billion for 1,000 miles."

"Although facts are of little interest to this White House, all this budget-busting border mania is essentially for nothing. Illegal immigration from Mexico has trailed off in the last decade. And according to the Pew Hispanic Center, the net flow across the border is now less than zero."

"Now let's examine the cost to the economy.

If you do back-of-the-envelope calculations, you're gonna need a big envelope. The American Action Forum last year estimated that expelling all unauthorized immigrants, and keeping them out, would cost $400 billion to $600 billion, and reduce the gross domestic product by $1 trillion."

We need to find a word that describes something beyond stupid. Oh, wait. Maybe it's insanity.

Friday, May 5, 2017:   Hubris
noun: hubris: excessive pride or self-confidence.
synonyms: arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, hauteur, pride, self-importance, egotism, pomposity, superciliousness, superiority; informal: big-headedness, cockiness

These people don't care about health care. They simply want to destroy the legacy of a black president.
President Trump and Republican leaders at a ceremony on Thursday after the House passed the American Health Care Act.
Courtesy of: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Thursday, May 4, 2017:   Ignorance Is Not Bliss
Despite proposing and adopting changes that only hurt his blue collar constituency, Trump continues to receive their unqualified approval. It seems counter intuitive until you accept an explanation offered by two cognitive scientists, Philip Fernback and Steven Sloman. (Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman, "Why We Believe Obvious Untruths", New York Times, 3 March 2017, Online)

Their explanation starts with a humble truth: "On their own, individuals are not well equipped to separate fact from fiction, and they never will be. Ignorance is our natural state; it is a product of the way the mind works.

What really sets human beings apart is not our individual mental capacity. The secret to our success is our ability to jointly pursue complex goals by dividing cognitive labor."

"Knowledge isn't in my head or in your head. It's shared."

"It is remarkable that large groups of people can coalesce around a common belief when few of them individually possess the requisite knowledge to support it."

"That individual ignorance is our natural state is a bitter pill to swallow. But if we take this medicine, it can be empowering. It can help us differentiate the questions that merit real investigation from those that invite a reactive and superficial analysis. It also can prompt us to demand expertise and nuanced analysis from our leaders, which is the only tried and true way to make effective policy."

But I believe there is another component. "Demanding expertise and nuance analysis from our leaders" requires that we have the capacity to understand the complexity surrounding the policies being enacted and it appears that even Mr.Trump has trouble with that. So the solution for both the president and his loyal constituents is over simplification – things are either black or white. Unfortunately, the issues we face are not simple.

Trump has set a new standard for disseminating his message - deliver it in sound bites and tweets. For the Democrats to win back the traditional blue collar worker, the key is to use Republican tactics and simplify the message - like, wake up folks, your getting screwed big time.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017:   Republican Compromise
There are those who believe that the answer to our current political bifurcation is dialog and compromise. While I agree in principle, that dialog is not going to happen and compromise is a joke. Here is the problem. The Republican who says he will meet you in the middle, already believes he is standing there. Compromise is not in their lexicon except to demand it from the progressive side of the aisle. If there is no hope of true compromise, then dialog is futile.

Monday, May 1, 2017:   May Day
This year's May Day celebration in Russia will be dedicated to Donald Trump.

Copyright J. R. Avery
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