Irony is dead at Trump for President, Inc.

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Tim Murtaugh, Director of Communications for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, sent a memo to TV producers regarding who they should put on TV. Imagine what would happen if we took this seriously? The text of Murtaugh’s memo to producers at networks like CNN is below. Memorandum To: Television Producers From: Tim Murtaugh Director of Communications, … Continued

Emergency!

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Is Donald Trump’s national emergency actually an emergency? Let’s take an unemotional look at that. Trump has declared a national emergency to get access to funds originally designated for other purposes so he can build his border wall. There are any number of analyses of whether this is legal, and certainly congressional Democrats and others … Continued

Some questions about the President’s American Artificial Intelligence Initiative

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President Trump announced the “American AI initiative” with an executive order. Like many such presidential pronouncements (and not just from Trump), it’s somehow both blustery and mushy. Let’s take it apart and see if it makes sense. In what follows, commentary is mine. Passages in bold italic are passive voice, weasel words, or other notably … Continued

Why does Trump just make stuff up in the State of the Union?

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Donald Trump’s State of the Union message sounded like a rational if self-serving laundry list of dozens of platitudes and programs — you know, just like every other president’s. Except for one thing: He invented facts that are easily proven false. Why? The rest of this post is based mostly on the fact checks in … Continued

Trump’s border wall as a platonic ideal

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We’ve heard a lot about the border wall in the last week — especially since Donald Trump has shut down the government until he gets funding for it. The messaging around the wall reveals that to Trump and his administration and his followers, it is a philosophical worry-stone, not a physical construct. For Trump to … Continued

Jim Mattis’ resignation letter: clear, but not straightforward

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Very soon after Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the US troops now in Syria and many of those in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis resigned. Let’s read between the lines in his resignation letter. Resignation letters in the Trump administration tend to be short and uncontroversial. If you’re not leaving because … Continued

Venezuela’s 1 million percent inflation and other realities of exponential growth

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Venezuela’s financial implosion is devastating. People are starving. The government is printing money to cover budget gaps. And the IMF estimates that inflation will top 1 million percent. But what would it take to get 1 million percent inflation? Before reading on, take this poll. (If you know the formulas for compounding, please don’t use … Continued

How Venn diagrams work, a tutorial for outgoing Wisconsin governor Scott Walker

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Republican Scott Walker won’t be governor of Wisconsin for much longer; Democrat Tony Evers beat him in the recent election.┬áBut in the lame duck session of the Wisconsin legislature, Republicans passed bills that will limit the the powers of the incoming governor. Walker used the world’s dumbest Venn diagram to explain why the bills aren’t … Continued