Trillion Dollar Stock Buybacks

Alan Zendell, December 17, 2018

With a couple of business weeks still to go in 2018, corporate stock buybacks have already passed $1,000,000,000,000 (that’s one trillion dollars) for the year. That’s the same amount that our national deficit is predicted to exceed in 2019, because of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Is that a coincidence?

Let’s examine the question in simple terms, free of politics and hype. “The immediate effects of a tax cut are a decrease in the real income of the government and an increase in the real income of those whose tax rates have been lowered.” If government revenue drops and spending is not reduced, deficits rise. It’s just like what happens to you and me if we take a pay cut while our cost of living stays the same – our credit balances (debts) rise and/or our savings (cash reserves) decrease.

What about buybacks? Buybacks are corporate repurchases of a company’s own stock. There are multiple reasons that companies do this, but in general, the motivation is to reduce the number of outstanding shares in the marketplace. All other things being equal, the demand created by the buyback itself and that fact that fewer shares are available afterward usually increase stock prices, which proportionally increases the perceived value of the corporation.

Beyond increasing corporate wealth, the company benefits financially from buybacks in other ways. Investors pay close attention to corporate returns on investment. Since cash is a corporate asset, when a company uses available cash for a stock buyback its total asset value decreases, which increases its Return on Assets. Similarly, when a buyback reduces the number of shares in the marketplace, there is less outstanding equity, so the Return on Equity increases too.

How does that link buybacks and tax cuts? When the tax bill was debated in Congress and hyped by The White House, its supporters focused on the short term benefits to individual taxpayers and forecast that companies would invest the tax windfall in efforts to create jobs for Americans. Most economists estimate that about 85% of the benefit of the 2017 tax cuts was realized by corporations, and over the next eight years that percentage will increase as the individual income tax cuts are phased out.

While some companies (Apple, JP Morgan) used billions in tax savings to create new jobs and increase charitable contributions, most (Cisco, Pfizer, Amgen, and Coca-Cola to name a few) used their cash windfalls for stock buybacks and increased dividends to shareholders. There’s no way to compute exact amounts, but what that adds up to is huge benefits for investors and corporate balance sheets.

Those aren’t bad things in themselves, but they’re also not free. Conservatives in Congress have used a pay-as-you-go mantra for decades, but the 2017 tax law completely reversed that. Its huge corporate benefits came with a price tag. Someone has to pay the bill, and as of now that someone looks like our children and grandchildren.

The significance of all that goes beyond who benefits from tax cuts – there’s a much broader issue. The same Conservatives who looked the other way when they voted for tax cuts have always framed the health care debate in terms of how it would be paid for. That was problematic before tax cuts were enacted, but with the ballooning federal deficits they created it’s even more serious now.

With Democrats in control of the House, it may be possible to begin a real debate on our national priorities. Is it okay to enrich corporations and the already wealthy and defer the cost to future generations while letting millions of people sicken and die because they can’t afford health care? Not only has the Trump administration permitted corporations to bloat their coffers while generally reneging on increased jobs and worker benefits, our president rejoices over the decision by a Texas judge that if not reversed on appeal would deprive more than 20,000,000 (twenty million) Americans of health care and insurance coverage.

That’s the Great American Hypocrisy, a shame our generation will bear if we allow it to stand. The message Americans should take from record corporate stock buybacks is that the divide between rich and poor in our country is widening. Not only has this president divided us morally, racially, and by gender, he’s attacking the very existence of middle class families of every shape and color.

Pay attention when the next Congress is seated and the debate begins. Keep your eye on the ball and don’t get distracted by the White House’s ongoing reality TV show.

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Obamacare Coup

Alan Zendell, December 15, 2018

The people have consistently made their opinion clear in poll after poll. A Kaiser Health Tracking Poll published at the end of November showed the largest gap ever between people who view the Affordable Care Act favorably and those who view it unfavorably (53% to 40%.)  A Fox News Poll last August found that more people viewed the ACA favorably than the 2017 Republican tax cuts (51% to 40%.)

Despite constant pressure from the president and the conservative wing of the Republican Party throughout 2017, the Republican controlled Congress could not muster the votes to repeal Obamacare. And when court challenges to the ACA reached the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts cast the deciding vote that upheld the law as constitutional.

The key issue in the challenges was the ACA’s individual mandate provision, which required every American to sign up for a health plan or pay a tax penalty for opting out. In practical terms, once it was clear that the single payer option for some form of national health insurance wouldn’t fly politically in 2010, the ACA could never have been fiscally sound without that controversial penalty. The central point in Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion was that the tax penalty sealed the argument over constitutionality, but when the Republicans passed the tax cut law, they effectively removed that provision of the ACA by reducing the penalties to $0.00.

Last night, with the deadline for enrollment in ACA health care plans for 2019 rapidly approaching, a federal judge in Texas struck down the ACA, declaring the individual mandate unconstitutional and specifically citing the lack of the penalty for noncompliance as the reason. He also claimed that the mandate provision could not be separated from the rest of the ACA, which meant the entire law was rendered invalid. Whether the elimination of the penalty in the tax law was merely an attempt to bankrupt the ACA or part of a back-door plot that led to yesterday’s decision isn’t clear, but the result is the same.

Unable to convince the people, the Congress, or the Supreme Court to repeal Obamacare, the president used (many would say abused) his power to pack the Supreme Court with Conservative justices who he hoped would eventually reverse the Court’s earlier ruling. This is precisely why I and so many others argued in 2016 that given the ages and health of the sitting justices, a victory for Donald Trump could politicize the Court in a way that would change the legal landscape for decades.

Let’s be clear. This is not about whether the ACA is constitutional. It’s about whether Americans are entitled to affordable basic health care. If they are, given our military budget and the huge deficits that resulted from the 2017 tax cuts, there’s only one place to get the money to pay for it. That’s why this fight never seems to end.

Several State Attorneys General led by California are preparing to challenge the Texas court’s decision. There will surely be an appeal in the Fifth Circuit, and the case will almost certainly wind up in the Supreme Court again, which was really the point in the first place. When it does, the nation will see clearly whether the Court has been politically compromised.

Only extremely wealthy people and corporations have the resources to fund any kind of national health care entitlement, but both do everything possible to avoid paying taxes. They continually using their wealth to assure that the burden of providing health care for Americans never falls on them, and that’s why the very concept of entitlement to health care will come under one assault after another until it’s defeated.

 I have said many times that the only reason our Founders didn’t include basic health care in the Bill of Rights was that effective health care didn’t exist in the eighteenth century. If health care had been baked into our economy from the first, we wouldn’t be fighting this battle over and over again.

The Trump presidency has created one moral crisis after another for the next generation of Americans. Trump’s supporters are attempting to change the entire philosophical basis of our governing principles. Voters clearly rejected that when they elected a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives last November, but if the Supreme Court turns out to have been politically corrupted, the checks and balances in our Constitution may prove insufficient to preserve those things that truly made America great, regardless of what Donald Trump says.

We’ll see. For now, I’ll put my faith in the integrity of the Court.  

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The End is Near

Alan Zendell, December 11, 2018

As 2018 lurches to a close and the news media binge over indictments and irrational tweets, each with its own spin added, it’s important to not be swept up in their hysteria. Try to screen out all the nonsense and flack, and concentrate on what’s real.

One real thing we know is that the new Congress will be sworn in on January 3rd. That’s still 23 days off, but the current Congress will be in recess for most of that time. Trump and the Democrats will spar over the border wall and keeping the government open, Congress may send the President a binding resolution rebuking the Saudi Crown Prince, and Robert Mueller will continue to reveal information about his investigation, but no significant business will be concluded before the year-end recess.

In the meantime, the media, in their continual competition for ratings, will spin and hype every bit of news, real or fake. Talking heads will pontificate about Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Russia, trade wars, climate change, the economy, and whether Trump will be impeached. Remember, all those “experts” have been wrong about almost everything and they’re all paid for their input, so they’ll keeping talking even if they have nothing to say. Ignore all of them and stay focused on what’s most important to you.

Trump will probably reach some token agreement with China so both countries can save face, but don’t expect it to affect your life significantly. He probably will not reach an accord with Russia, but that won’t directly affect you either unless you have family in Ukraine. The truth is, no one has any idea what will happen in 2019. Financial markets will struggle to attain stability but if things don’t go well with trade, corporate earnings, and (un)employment, they may have to drop first.

The most entertaining show will be put on by the Democrats, who will struggle mightily not to squander their first Congressional majority since 2010. They’ll squabble and try to put on a good face so they can make the case that they can be trusted to govern in 2020. Progressives will push some form of universal health care, but it won’t come to a serious vote in this Congress as long as Conservatives control the Senate and the White House.

What will likely happen is that the Democrats will fight among themselves over how to deal with the president. Jerry Nadler (Judiciary) and Adam Schiff (Intelligence) will keep their committees busy drafting subpoenas. Expect sparks to fly and the Twitter wires to smoke as the Democrats launch an all-out effort to see Trump’s tax filings and financial records, including every deal he’s ever attempted to close with Russian operatives.

They’ll be salivating when they’re sworn in on January 3rd, but it’s not entirely clear what they expect to accomplish. Do they really intend to try to impeach Trump? The cooler Democratic heads know that’s not a wise course. If there’s not indisputable evidence of “Crimes and  Misdemeanors” against the people, impeachment won’t pass muster in Mitch McConnell’s Senate. And if there is, the Republicans themselves will act, just as they did in 1974.

No doubt, millions of people would love to watch Trump crash and burn. It would feel as good as watching Rocky Balboa knock out Apollo Creed (the first time.) I’m not immune to vengeful lust, and if anyone deserves to be disgraced and humiliated, Donald Trump does. But – would impeaching him be good for the country?

I can’t escape the irony that James Comey, who may be more responsible for our current debacle than anyone else, got it right the other day. The country needs to be rid of Trump and all the hate and divisiveness he fostered and enabled, but the killing blow should be delivered at the ballot box in resounding numbers. We can’t vicariously defer to a public executioner. We have to do it ourselves one vote at a time.

My guess is that the Democrats’ strategy will be to harass Trump during every day of the next Congress. Make him fume and rage and let him hang himself with ever more unhinged behavior. Let him disintegrate in plain sight the way Nixon did, and hope cooler heads (Alexander Haig, where are you when we need you?) can hold everything together until the next election.

As Trump makes himself irrelevant and Republicans who are up for re-election in 2020 see the handwriting on the wall, enough of them may realize that their futures depend on demonstrating that they’re actually capable of governing to break the Congressional gridlock and accomplish something useful.

Sound like a fantasy? Maybe, but it’s my fantasy, and I won’t give it up without a fight.

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Downward Spiral

Alan Zendell, December 10, 2018

I was as wrong as everyone else who predicted Donald Trump couldn’t possibly win in 2016. I could rationalize being wrong by reasoning that the combination of the incompetence of Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisers and a couple of unfortunate decisions by James Comey made it more of a Clinton forfeit than a Trump victory, but I won’t.

What I will do is apply that logic to why, after swearing off making predictions, I now feel confident in my view of the future. This isn’t about inferring logical conclusions or predicting specific events as much as it’s trusting my gut instincts, which usually serve me well. I realize now that in 2016, the prospect of Donald Trump as president was so horrifying, I simplify forced myself to believe it couldn’t happen.

Now that we’re here, there’s no point in denying reality. To help me work through this, I turned to Dante Alighieri, whose vision of Hell and Purgatory looks startlingly appropriate to today’s actuality. We haven’t spiraled into Hell yet, but every so often I feel like I’m about to burn up – or is that global warming I feel?

Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell confirm how far we’ve sunk, and how devastating the consequences of not fixing this mess will be. We passed through Limbo between the time of Trump’s election and the day he took office. Dante’s Limbo was a place where those who had never known grace resided. That sounds like a fine metaphor for Trumplandia, a place of no morality where hypocrisy and lies replace values and integrity.

Lust, Gluttony, and Greed seem fitting abodes for the Donald. Whether it’s his perverted sexuality or his limitless quest for wealth and power, we must avoid going there with him. Trump could only be defeated there if we matched his own abhorrent nature, and it’s hard to see how becoming him would solve anything.

Anger is a place Trump knows well, along with its corollary, Hate; he’s spent the last three years dragging the country there with him. I’m angry as hell about that, but that’s just playing into his hands. As Martin Luther King, Jr said, darkness cannot drive out darkness, hate cannot drive out hate – only love can do that. Does that mean we should love Trump? No, but it does mean the first step in defeating him is not letting anger and hate blind our senses.

The final three Circles of Hell, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery, define the Donald Trump we know today. He fights like a cornered rat, he has no respect for the truth, and there appear to be no levels to which he won’t stoop to have things his way. He has led the country through all nine circles, and it’s up to us whether we want to be delivered into the Center of Hell.

That’s the basis of my newfound optimism. I must believe that decent people will do whatever is necessary to end this nightmare. If we don’t, we’re doomed as a nation. We might stumble on through a few more generations, but the light in the darkness that America represents for the world cannot survive much more of Trumpism.

Because I believe that, I’ve begun listening to what my gut tells me. More and more, the world of Trump has been feeling like the final months of the Nixon administration. The Nixon White House entered a downward spiral with the Saturday Night Massacre of October 1973, when the president attempted to kill Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox’s investigation into the Watergate cover-up.

Nixon raged against his accusers and became ever more isolated. The nightmare dragged on for ten months, as the entire nation sensed his hold on power and his sanity slipping away. I have that feeling now. I look at other Republican lawmakers, and I see dozens of rats on the bridge of a sinking ship, calculating the optimum moment to jump off. Like Nixon and Watergate, the process may seem to go on interminably, but it will end the same way.

What happened then was eerily similar to what’s happening now. A trickle of damaging information turned into a cascade, as confederates turned on each other. When it threatened to become a tsunami, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend impeaching the president in July, 1974. In August, the nation saw clear evidence that Nixon had obstructed justice when he tried to direct the FBI’s investigation away from the White House, and that was the final straw.

Trump may not resign and he may not be impeached. But his downward spiral will end in defeat and repudiation. It has to. My grandchildren deserve to grow up in the America they were born into.

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Trump 2020?

Alan Zendell, December 7, 2018

With the midterm elections behind us, the question on most politicians’ minds is whether Donald Trump is likely to be re-elected in 2020. It’s clear that he has a loyal base of support that represents about one third of the electorate. He won in 2016 because rust-belt blue collar workers and suburban women joined that base. There was also broad disaffection with Hillary Clinton and an “I don’t like either one of them” mentality which caused many voters to abstain.

Trump proved adept at stirring up anger and confusion, easily disrupting whatever passed for a strategy among Democrats. His lack of regard for political norms, his willingness to make outrageous comments from which he never backed down, and his disregard of the truth served him well when appealing to voters who felt left behind or disenfranchised. Get people angry enough and they’ll overturn the establishment, even if they don’t know what will replace it.

As 2019 approaches, we have nearly two years of Trump’s performance to evaluate. He lurched and stumbled through a world of laws and constitutional requirements, and proved to be either unaware or totally disdainful of both.

His attempts to overhaul immigration on his own were slapped down by the courts. His attacks on Obamacare failed, and so far have resulted only in increasing health insurance costs across the country. He has alienated most world leaders and dealt a serious blow to respect and confidence in America around the world. His base may turn a blind eye to those things, but what about everyone else?

For two years I’ve tried to screen out Trump lovers and Trump haters and focus on what people who voted for him despite not liking him had to say. In 2017, whenever Trump lied, pandered to racist elements, or displayed his lack of moral center I heard, “Yes, but…” from most of them.

The but was his one singular achievement, which amounted to jumping aboard the Republican tax cut bandwagon. Stock prices soared on speculation, and at least for one year, there was a little more money in middle-class pockets and a lot more money in already wealthy pockets, though economists forecast a trillion dollar deficit next year as a result. Unemployment continued  downward  to twenty-year lows, but wages remained stagnant. The sense that our economy was strong kept Trump afloat, but will that continue?

His tendency to lie and exaggerate his achievements had to eventually wear thin, and now it’s apparently becoming clear to many who voted from him in 2016 that there’s little or no substance to his brags; more importantly, he’s dangerous. Diplomacy cannot succeed when the rest of the world doesn’t believe anything our president says, and without diplomacy and trust-based negotiation, the result can only be worsening differences and an increased risk of war.

We’ve seen no substantive change from either North Korea or Iran, our relationship with Russia deteriorates weekly, and there is no evidence that Trump’s brash trade policies have done more good than harm. Voters have been paying attention, and they spoke quite eloquently during the midterm elections. Trump’s base has shrunk to its core. He’s lost the confidence of most of the voters who held their noses in 2016 and decided to take a chance on him.

His manner and his lack of respect for truth made him an unreliable international partner, leaving military strength as his only leverage in negotiations with other countries. And the one thing that bulwarked Trump’s support during 2017 turned sour in 2018, as speculative rises in market indices sputtered and floundered. As I write this, the volatile world markets are in the midst of their fourth major downturn in the last month, and the major market indices are lower than they were in January.

President Clinton inherited the lower deficits that resulted from Bush-41’s tax increases. Bush-43 inherited a balanced federal budget but his military adventurism wasted it, and Obama inherited an economy teetering on total collapse. Trump inherited the strong stable recovery that resulted from Obama’s policies, but the next two years are on him.

Sometimes it’s hard to accept that a storm is coming. The sun is shining, the air is calm, and despite forecasts and radar maps, until we see the lightning, hear the thunder, and smell the ozone, we cling to our perception that it’s a beautiful day. The economy is like that, too.

With Democrats in control of the House, Trump will not have a free ride next year, and that’s without considering what the continuing investigations of him may yield. All the elements are in place for Donald Trump to suffer a crushing defeat in 2020, but of course that will largely depend on whether the Democrats find a viable candidate and don’t manage to shoot themselves in both feet as they did in 2016.

Can Trump be defeated? Damn right he can, but the Democrats are also quite capable of squandering the opportunity. If they do, imagine the harm Trump can do with six more years.

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Donald and Vladimir

November 30, 2018

Today, speaking for President Donald Trump, Sarah Sanders said, “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax … probably undermine[s] our relationship with Russia.” After all the outrageous things she’s said on his behalf, that’s a pretty amazing statement. I can’t even characterize it. It’s obviously incorrect, a deliberate distortion of reality. On the other hand I wouldn’t classify it as something as routine as a Trump lie.

Like many people, I’ve paid close attention to the intricacies and nuances of Trump’s behavior, and I wonder if something more sinister and scary is going on. I fear Trump may be suffering from a case of circular Doublethink. I know it sounds funny, but I’m serious. “Doublethink” means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously and accepting both as true (http://www.orwelltoday.com/doublethink.shtml).

Doublethink isn’t just a literary device invented by George Orwell. It’s an insidious form of delusional thinking. When delusions lead directly back to a starting point in an alternate reality that is a direct contradiction of everyone else’s perception of reality, and the sufferer cannot distinguish the difference, we have circular Doublethink. If the sufferer is the president, we have a serious problem.

The rest of us, even among Trump’s base can clearly see the reasons our relationship with Russia is on the rocks. There are three threads that we know about. First, the Russians attempted to hack our election in 2016 and use social media to intensify anger and division among Americans. Every intelligence gathering agency in our government agrees and describes the situation as a critical threat to our security.

A second thread is the well-documented attempts made by the President to extend his real estate empire to Moscow. For three decades, Trump attempted make a deal with Putin and other Russian oligarchs to build a trademark hotel there. According to today’s news, they intended to offer a gift of a $50 million dollar penthouse to the big man himself to sweeten the deal. What makes this thread so interesting is that former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen revealed in court that previous statements claiming those efforts ended in 2014 or 2015 were lies. Trump was still attempting to close a deal with Putin in June 2016, smack in the middle of the primary election season.

The third thread is the attempt by members of Trump’s team to get Russian assistance in hacking the Clinton campaign and their meeting with Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. It is this thread that resulted in  bipartisan support for the Mueller Investigation into Russian interference in our election and any possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s team.

To add another critical piece to this picture (which by no means completes it) back in 2014 when Russia engineered the Annexation of Crimea away from Ukraine, Donald Trump accused President Obama of weakening us by allowing Putin to get away without consequences. Trump promised repeatedly in 2016 that he would never let Putin into the Ukraine. Yet, in 2017, when the latter decided to grab another piece of eastern Ukraine and cut Kiev off from two critical ports on the Sea of Azov, Trump did nothing. And he has taken no action in response to Russia’s naval engagement with Ukraine forces last week, except to cancel a meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Trump now wants Americans to believe that the Mueller probe is hurting our relationship with Russia. He wants us to forget that Russia has been a very bad actor on the international stage during Putin’s tenure as President, and that it was in fact Russia’s aggressive, illegal actions that resulted in Congressional approval of the Special Counsel’s charter.

So I have to ask, is Sarah Sanders’ statement a lie or is it something Trump actually believes? We’re used to his lies and distortions, his alternate facts. But what if this is something different? What if Trump is incapable of recognizing the difference between blaming Mueller and blaming Russia’s actions?

If your neighbor kills someone and he’s convicted of murder and sent to prison, is the prosecutor or the court responsible for leaving his family fatherless? Or is your neighbor responsible? If Putin and Russia are guilty as charged, is it Mueller’s fault that relations with Russia are at a post-Cold War low? I think I can actually see how that works out in Trumpthink. But the logic is so twisted and tortured, it can’t possibly be the product of a sound mind.

So tough guy Trump, who was going to confront our enemies wherever he met them has canceled his summit with Putin, while Putin high fives with the Saudi Crown Prince. It looks to me like what always happens when a puffed-up bully meets a real strongman. I can’t wait until Trump’s meeting with Xi.

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A Trump Thanksgiving

Alan Zendell, November 22, 2018

I’ve always considered Thanksgiving untouchable. For years it’s been the only American holiday that remained free of self-righteous religious preaching and self-important politicians, who were thankfully smart enough to realize that what we were most thankful for was not having to see or hear them for at least one day. Most of us would rather enjoy our families and friends, steeped in the warmth of our own personal spirituality.

Of course, it was different this year. Our self-loving president filled the airwaves with a military teleconference with some troops stationed in Afghanistan and Kuwait. It’s not uncommon for presidents to thank the military stationed overseas for their service on Thanksgiving. It’s always a staged, artificial event, because…well…presidents feel it’s something they’re required to do. Most don’t do ritual all that well, but we forgive their awkwardness because, after all, we really are thankful to the people we have deployed all over the world to protect us.

As usual, however, Trump couldn’t leave it at that. Our president, who pulled every string he had and paid off everyone he could to avoid serving in the military himself is horribly miscast as Commander in Chief. Amidst all his lies, exaggerations, and hate-mongering, he is at his most disingenuous when he is lauding the military. He has no business being in the same room as the generals who invest their lives in protecting us.

Last week, he demonstrated once again how shallow his respect for our military really is. Like every banana republic dictator who ever lived, he cares nothing for genuine heroism and patriotism. All that matters to Donald Trump is demonstrated loyalty to him, as we saw when he attacked the Navy Seal Admiral who oversaw the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. Why? Because retired Adm. William McRaven, who served under Presidents Bush-43 and Obama stood up for the constitution, claiming that the president’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in his lifetime.

A mere few days later, Trump had to read from a prepared text to thank our troops, but as expected, he quickly veered off script to make the Thanksgiving call about himself. He told his captive audience on the other end of the phone line how he has single-handedly created the strongest economy ever seen anywhere in the world. (He omitted that as a result of his trade policies and tariffs, the stock markets ended in negative territory for the year, yesterday, despite the massive tax cut that enabled large corporations to reap windfall profits.)

He also whined about the ways the courts are a constant roadblock for him. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was cited as a particular thorn in his side. Those damn Obama judges have apparently been obstructing Trump’s efforts at imperial rule. (He also omitted that his intemperate remarks about the courts sparked a never-before heard rebuke from the conservative Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.)

Instead of giving those soldiers he loves so much a needed day off from the horrors of their Afghanistan tours, and for one day letting their families and those who are truly grateful to them shower them with praise, Trump treated them to an attack on a co-equal branch of our government, one sworn to uphold the constitution our troops are there to defend. He made himself and his huge ego the star of the show. And he somehow equated the thousands of desperate migrants who left poverty and death behind in Honduras and Guatemala with the ISIS and Taliban terrorists our military is dealing with. How utterly offensive is that – but our president has no clue.

I’m going to spend Thanksgiving with three generations of family, the way it’s supposed to be spent. I’m going to ignore Donald Trump for the rest of the day (now that I’ve gotten this off my chest.) We’re going to eat too much and be thankful to be together. The only thing allowed on television screens for the rest of the day is football, and for one day we’ll act as if all is well in the world and in our country.

There will be plenty of time tomorrow to get back to the task of preventing Donald Trump from destroying it all.

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