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Day 498 – You Just Had to Tweet About Those Job Numbers, Legality and the Markets Be Damned.

Day 498 – You Just Had to Tweet About Those Job Numbers, Legality and the Markets Be Damned.

Image from CNN

Mr. President,

As in many cases during your administration, we move from one scandalous thing to another. I had planned to write about your labelling MS-13 members as animals, as public enemy number 1, and you not realizing how your rhetoric is just boosting their reputation and that your deportation-only solution will only lead to more problems.

But then this morning at 7:21 am ET, more than an hour before the release of May’s job report, you tweeted the following:


And then numbers came out — an 18-year low on unemployment, and 223,000 jobs created.

So what’s the big deal? Folks in your administration – Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Larry Kudlow — say it didn’t violate any rules since you didn’t “put the numbers out”.

As Market Watch detailed today, if not a direct violation of federal rules (i.e. illegal), your tweet definitely affected the markets:

“The bond market did have a reaction to Trump’s tweet, as the yield on the 10-year increased after the tweet, a move consistent with increased expectations of economic growth. The yield picked up even more after the jobs report actually came out.”

The article also points to a dilemma tweeted by Univ. of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers:

So here we go again. You do or say something that may not be strictly illegal, but is perhaps done with some corrupt intent, and flouts the rules and that have been in place. Everyone is aghast, the administration says it’s no big deal, there’s nothing to see here or doubles down, and then we all move on. Until the next scandal.

Since you won’t do it, and Republican-led Congress won’t either, don’t be surprised when we, the citizens of this country, hold you and them accountable.

Can’t wait until November.



Day 160 – Still Tweeting? A Twitter-Friendly Letter for You, Mr. President.

Day 160 – Still Tweeting? A Twitter-Friendly Letter for You, Mr. President.

Image by Uncalno Tekno

Dear Mr. President,

Where do I start? It’s day 160; what have you accomplished? By my reckoning, there’s been much ado about nothing.

To ban, or not to ban? That was the question @SCOTUS. A: Ban, kind of. You say it’s a victory. But is it? Is it really?

  • Here’s the thing. No sane person wants to allow a terrorist of any nationality into their country. The resistance to your blanket ban…
  • …was robust BECAUSE it was a blanket ban, not taking into consideration “class or category.” SCOTUS’s decision does exactly what…
  • …sane people want. It protects families, students, legitimate business people, etc.—people with “existing relationships” within the U.S.
  • You’ve dedicated so much time to this temporary ban that you’ve ignored the real problem. Homegrown terrorists. I live 20 minutes away…
  • …from the recent congressional baseball shooting. I have school-aged children. They are growing up in a world where…
  • …”Duck and Cover” drills are NOT about tornadoes, but about school mass shootings. Don’t even get me started on the 2nd amendment.

The 2nd amendment. Really, Mr. President, really? Revoking gun checks for people with mental illnesses? What in God’s name were you thinking?

  • “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” James Hodgkinson.
  • James Hodgkinson. Liberal. Obtained firearms legally despite domestic battery charges. A man who believed he needed to kill republicans…
  • …to protect his country, his way of life. Suicide bombers blow up themselves & others in the same misguided beliefs. Terrorists.
  • James Hodgkinson. Homegrown terrorist.

A job, a job! My kingdom for a job! Um, just not as a coal miner…

  • Coal mining jobs as of this March: 77K; retail jobs: 4.8 million (Bureau of Labor Statistics). JC Penney: 105K…
  • One retail company vs. the entire coal industry. Want to help create/maintain jobs? Support retailers. Go biglier, Mr. President.

A skunk cabbage by any other name would smell as rotten… You can change the acronym as many times as you want, but AHCA, WGHP…

  • …whatever you want to call it still means the same for the American people: WTF, SNAFU, FFS, and my personal favorite, WTGDMF.
  • I think it’s time to toss in the towel. Focus on fixing the problems with ACA. Now that would be a bonafide WIN.

Hope you had a great day 160!



Day 159 – Stop Tweeting. Please.

Day 159 – Stop Tweeting. Please.

Photograph by Miki J

Dear Mr. President,

Would you please stop tweeting?

Your use of Twitter is unbecoming of a world leader, which you profess to be. You are the President of the United States of America. Do you really have to use Twitter every day? Your tweets are inane at best and downright stupid at worst.

Your tweet of June 25, 2017: Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!

Why are you still talking about the election? Sadly, you won. So why do you find it necessary to keep bringing this up. Do you know the meaning of collude? Are you a Bernie Sanders supporter now? It doesn’t make you look good when you call other people names like “Crazy.”

Your tweet of June 24, 2017: Democrats slam GOP healthcare proposal as Obamacare premiums & deductibles increase by over 100%. Remember keep your doctor, keep your plan?

Yes, there are Democrats, thankfully, and also some Republicans who oppose your GOP healthcare proposal. The Obamacare premiums may have increased (doubtfully by 100%) but at least they still cover people and their illnesses. The GOP plan will not, and many, many more Americans will be without healthcare. But that doesn’t really bother you, if you can point to it and say “I, I, I reformed healthcare.”

Another tweet of June 24, 2017: I cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer!

I could not imagine it either if Obamacare was broken, but it’s not. And the very fine Republican Senators and Representatives and you Mr. President are willing to take health care away from millions of Americans, and make it unaffordable for others. It seems like your GOP plan would result in many people suffering the effects of a broken system.

Yet another tweet of June 24, 2017: MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!


Is your definition of a GREAT AMERICA a country that hides behind a wall, that bans people of certain races and ethnicities from traveling here, that is mean spirited to all who don’t agree with the Republican vision, that scolds leaders of other countries or the mayor of London, that pulls its support of environmental treaties, that has a leader who seeks to have his own way by running roughshod over anyone of differing views?

Diplomacy and governing, being a world citizen, and taking care of the American people cannot be relegated to 140 characters. You make yourself look bad when you use Twitter in such a superficial way. You don’t have to dazzle or astound. Just be a leader.

Please be the President of the United States, and stop the ridiculous mauling of the English language and the presidency. Leave tweeting to the birds.



Day 12

Day 12

Image by Morris Armstrong

Dear Mr. President,

You receive a lot of criticism for using Twitter. That is unfair. Blaming Twitter is like blaming a pencil and a piece of paper—Twitter is just a mode of communication. It can be used for just about any sort of discourse. I’ve seen a novelist write a short story one sentence at a time on Twitter, and I’ve also seen base attempts at “conversations” that are really just bullying. You are welcome to use Twitter, Mr. Trump—it could even prove an innovative way for a president to maintain contact with the American people—but I have a serious suggestion for how you use it.

Most people would assume I will, at this point, criticize your own tweets. Rest assured, I, like most Americans, would love to see more reasoned and reasonable commentary from you, but that is not my concern in this letter.

On November 30, 2016, journalist Robert Mackey posted a list on Twitter wherein he recreated your timeline. That is to say, he replicated what you see when you log onto Twitter. It represents a troubling lack of balance or even factual reporting. It is rife with propaganda from the likes of the Drudge Report, and on the days I have checked it, the majority of the tweets are from your own camp (Official Team Trump and Transition 2017 especially).

Given that you do tweet often and have demonstrated that you spend a decent chunk of time on Twitter, this means you’re being subjected to an echo chamber of extreme proportions. Reading and writing are thinking made visible, Mr. Trump, and if you are only reading words from one severely constricted point of view, you are not going to develop the means to assess the world objectively. This is not a personal attack on you–none of us could understand what’s happening at any given moment if we only read hot takes from one slanted point of view. I suppose it goes without saying, but an ability to see matters objectively is an essential element for any leader, whether that’s president of the sixth-grade or president of the USA.

You have stated explicitly in interviews that you’re “too busy to read,” but we know you’re on Twitter. This means it is entirely possible that the only news you receive on a regular basis is from the propaganda machine that is your Twitter timeline.

Mr. Trump, I mean this sincerely: If you were merely a friend or relative, I would implore you to curate a more balanced Twitter timeline. (Heck, I’d suggest ditching all of the “news” sources and just following stand-up comedians before encouraging you to keep your follow list as it is now.) You are not a friend or relative, though. You are the sitting president of the United States of America. You have unparalleled power and reach. Obviously, you must add a balanced range of sources to your Twitter feed, but I also ask that you subscribe to a range of newspapers. Spend even ten minutes per morning skimming the headlines. That alone will give you better coverage than your Twitter timeline.

Also, watching Fox News on television is not broadening the range of news sources. At least four of the forty-one accounts you follow on Twitter are directly from Fox News. You recently tweeted about Chicago and gun violence, but your tweets were almost verbatim from Bill O’Reilly’s show that broadcast an hour before you clicked tweet on your statements. Thirty seconds of independent research would have disproved your tweet. Chicago doesn’t even crack the top ten most violent cities in America, Mr. Trump. If you had a wider range of news sources, you might have seen or read that. I did.

Yes, you are a busy man, but you must be informed. We all are busy, and we all must be informed. If you refuse to spend time reading in depth, at least gather a wider range of headlines to skim. This is, quite literally, the least we can ask of you regarding your relationship with the news. Thank you.



Day 6

Day 6

Photograph by Nicole Kelleher

Dear Mr. President,

A Catholic, an Agnostic, a Lutheran and a Muslim walk into a coffee bar… Alright, that’s not quite how it went, but I’ll come back to the punch line later.

Last November, when asked if I wanted to join a letter writing campaign, one that would address your actions for all 1,460 days of your presidency, I jumped at the opportunity. You see, I’m a lover of words and their power. I feel strongly that you, too, are a lover of words. I know this because I read your tweets every day. I watch how much weight you pack into your 140 character limit, and then I watch the media, both traditional and social, blow up. I watch the pinball machine that is the stock market tilt and ding and flash, all due to your praise or your criticism. I also watch as the hype dies down, and the market levels off, as steadier minds prevail.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been making copious notes, taking screenshots of your tweets, jotting down ideas for my letter to you. And now, as I type, I realize that there is simply too much from which to choose.

So, I went back to my notes. I crossed out key points of contention and still had a surfeit of inventory. I held a fire sale and rid myself of extraneous stock. I followed up by slashing my budgeted words. That is when I had my epiphany: words.

In the end, it’s all just words—I think that you may have said this already, but here’s the rub:

Words are important.

Your words, my words, everyone’s words.

By now, you may be wondering what happened to the four people at Starbucks? We talked, and we respected one another’s views, and we learned from each other: a conservative white female sociologist and clinical psychologist-cum-government worker; a white conservative male businessman with an adopted baby from China (said baby has, incidentally, been here five years and still cannot get his citizenship—a legally adopted baby?); a high level male sales executive; and a former upper-level manager in a luxury hotel company, now stay-at-home mom and fledgling author. A Catholic, a Lutheran, a Muslim, and an Agnostic. Disparate people coming together and talking about immigration and border control, Muslim registration, the dedicated teachers doing the best they can in a struggling education system, your recent executive orders, the Women’s March, and more. There were both moments of vehement dissention and open-minded accord. In the end, we were all better for the debate. The common thread: we focused not only on our words, but on the words of each other. We were respectful, and without rancor or bias. And in the end, we left Starbucks, having learned a little about someone else’s struggle, and feeling just a bit more hopeful for the world.

And now, I ask you to please study the image attached to this letter. Try to see past the posters, and the pink hats, and the melting pot of marchers. Try to see the words. Because they are powerful. They are crying out to you to understand that making America great again is not about hearkening back to days of old, but embracing the infinite diversity of this country’s populace.

I challenge you, Mr. President, to take more care with your words. Use them wisely; use them kindly. For indeed, they are powerful, and perhaps more so than you could ever imagine. Fix the problems in this country, but never lose sight of how your actions, like your words, have the power to drastically affect the lives of your constituents.










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