Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Response to No Eleven-Dimensional Chess Here

(See: Just Above Sunset: No Eleven-Dimensional Chess Here)

It’s hard to understand how we ever got to this place of battling healthcare plans.

Try to remember back to when the two parties first offered up their proposals. Do you remember roughly what each contained?

You may remember (as I do) that the need for some sort of plan was sparked mostly by recognition that not everybody in America had access to medical care, much less the quality of health care necessary to thrive. If you or your children weren’t healthy and didn’t have the money to see a doctor on a regular basis, or even to check into a hospital when needed, your only choice was to show up at an Emergency Room, waiting sometimes for hours in hopes of receiving some treatment that you could get for free.

Hospitals, of course, might try to charge you for ER services, but usually couldn’t collect, and unless your life was at risk, they wouldn’t keep you overnight, so you would be asked to take your illness home where, without medical treatment, you could easily die. Eventually, we passed laws against hospitals kicking you to the curb. Still, any costs from your visit would be absorbed by the facility and passed either onto patients who could pay, or to their insurance companies.

The Democrats, who saw this as a problem that needed to be solved, started working on a national program to take care of it, grounded in their belief that, if there’s something that society really needs and it’s something that the private sector either can’t handle well or at all, then we all need to look to the public sector to solve it, so during the election campaign of 2008, the Democrats struggled to come up with a plan to cover as many as possible.

Meanwhile, what was the Republican approach?


Republicans, by and large, didn’t see any of this as a problem, or at least not one that government should get itself involved with. Their idea was no idea at all — just let things be. Can’t afford health insurance? Get a job, and get coverage from your employer.

If, on the other hand, government runs some program that makes sure everyone can see a doctor even if they can’t afford it, that means the people with money will be paying for the medical care of people without, and maybe that’s the way it’s done in other countries, but it’s not done that way here. All that sort of thing does is encourage people to be lazy, it was argued, and what kind of country would we be if we allowed everyone to be lazy?

In short, the Democrats came up with a plan, and the Republicans refused to, and once the Democrats took over and passed their plan into law one year later, the Republicans started promising to repeal it. In fact, they made fifty-something attempts, but couldn’t get the Democratic president to sign them.

But as the years went by, voters started asking the Republicans what plan they would replace the Democratic plan with, and they were too embarrassed to admit that, since their real objection to the Democratic program was that it was a program at all, they had nothing to offer in its place.

But after a while, some Republican who lacked the ability to foresee what problems this would cause down the road, started claiming, “Of course we wouldn’t just repeal the law without replacing it with something better! Our idea would be to, first, repeal the old law, but then to replace it!”

And when people, once again, asked what they’d replace it with, they started saying, “Oh, don’t worry! We’re working on lots of good ideas! And our ideas are much better than that Democrat idea! Just you wait and see!”

And that brings us up to date, when Democrats howl at how many millions of poor people the CBO says will lose insurance under the most recent Republican bill, smiling Republicans come back with the incredible argument that, because of their newly-granted “freedom of choice”, they are not being thrown out of the healthcare system, those 22-millions would now just be choosing not to purchase it!

(And how is this new Republican-granted “freedom of choice” different from the freedom to not own health insurance that existed before Obamacare came along to “enslave" those millions of poor people, you may ask? Not at all, it turns out, and that should tell you something.)

It’s hard to predict whether they might have been better off just sticking with their original idea — of being the party without a plan, because they don’t believe in plans — but the damage is already done, and there’s no going back.

By now, they’ve got not only Republicans on the right who come close to being “originalists” — those who would prefer to just “repeal” the damn thing, and take their chances — but also some “moderates”, who don’t want anyone to be hurt by repeal — who somewhat naively bought into the idea that you can somehow have a healthcare system that has no requirement for everyone to own insurance, and still be able to pay for patients with pre-existing conditions!

All this new-found magical thinking on the part of Republicans seems to lead both sides to have faith that the two concentric circles of belief can still somewhere overlap, but I’m betting that this probably won’t happen, and furthermore, if it does, the overlap will be minimal.

And I’d go further in saying there’s also a certain amount of magical thinking behind this as well:
Trump associates are cautiously confident that McConnell will eventually secure the necessary votes when the Senate returns from its July 4 recess. He was central in shepherding Trump’s most notable victory – the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch – and that experience in particular, they said, forged their trust.
The confirmation of Supreme Court Gorsuch is being hailed as “Trump’s most notable victory”?

Big Whoop! Such an accomplishment! Who did he triumph over, the Democrats? They had no power to stop it! Take my word for it, if we coulda, we woulda.

But how about now that the McConnell railroad seems to have derailed? Is this now our chance to offer the Democratic idea — that is, neither “repeal” nor “replace”, but “repair”?

It’s hard to imagine how that would work, in that for Obamacare to function, it has to stay in existence (something that would be a deal-killer for at least the conservatives, whose whole idea is to transition it into nothingness) and would have to retain the mandate (everyone needs to sign up, to make it pay for itself — an idea that no Republican of any stripe seems to like.) We Democrats would likely just become a third non-concentric circle that, like the other two, overlaps with nothing.

But how about the idea of all the Democratic senators joining with a few moderate Republicans, overpowering the rest of the Republican conference? Not sure how that even gets started, but even if we got a Senate bill sent to the House, it would probably die there — and if not, it’s hard to see it getting enough votes to ever override a Trump veto.

Maybe the only way out of this is to get ourselves re-elected, not just to the White House but to Congress, too.

But while we’re thinking big, we might as well take advantage of recently-improved public opinions about the whole national healthcare concept and start making the case for single-payer — or even better, an actual taxpayer-supported "National Healthcare System” — the real thing, just like the one they have in Britain!

Why not? It would be less complicated than our system, and much cheaper, and with better outcomes, and it would cover everyone, which is exactly what a government-run healthcare system should be.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Response to Having Nothing to Say

(See: Just Above Sunset: Having Nothing to Say)

Maybe the real problem isn’t so much “having something to say” as it is just deciding to say what you think.

Maybe the real problem is Democrats always foolishly thinking they have to come up with a way to appeal to conservative Republican voters, rather then focussing on appealing to their own voters.

Back in 1984, in noodling on how to beat George W Bush — a Republican incumbent president who, there was reason to believe, dodged the draft so he wouldn’t have to fight in a war he said he believed in — the Democrats chose to run against him John Kerry, a guy who did not believe in the Vietnam war, but went to fight it anyway! Democrats were calculating that, by putting forth a candidate who knew his way around a real battlefield, rather than some guy who knew what strings to pull to keep from fighting his nation’s battles, they could appeal to the Republican much-vaunted sense of honor and principle.

They miscalculated.

In truth, while Republican voters give out the impression that they care about all that honor and principle stuff, what really mattered to them is that they liked the kind of guy Bush was, a conservative Republican, and didn’t like the kind of guy Kerry was, a liberal Democrat. (And to top it off, Kerry spoke French, for Chrissakes! Why would we want a president who speaks any foreign language, much less French!)

In fact, you can forget about all the phony charges in the commercials we saw on TV during the Georgia 6th race — the anti-Ossoff ones insisted he lied about his experience and was being mostly funded by San Francisco liberals; the anti-Handel ads accused her of using our tax money to buy herself a fancy car, and tried to spend $15-thousand on office chairs, or something — the truth is, she won the race because she reminded everyone that her opponent is a liberal Democrat, and he said absolutely nothing about her political leanings at all.

She was at least honest enough to argue for the one reason to vote against him, which was this: He’s a liberal Democrat, running in a district of conservative Republicans.

For his part, he had nothing to counter with, giving his supporters nothing to get excited about, such as running an ad in which he could say, “Of course I’m a liberal Democrat, and proud of it! After all, let’s face it, Washington is a mess, a mess created by conservative Republicans! At this moment, a small group of Republicans is hiding somewhere in the Capitol building, scheming to find a way to take Obamacare away from millions of Americans who need it! Yes, Obamacare has problems, but Republicans are in charge in Washington! And instead of trying to fix an otherwise extremely successful and popular program, they’re sneaking around, trying to destroy it!”

Instead, Ossoff argued that both parties in Washington are guilty of wasteful spending, and that what this district really needs is more tech businesses.

First of all, for all I know, Ossoff was being perfectly honest throughout his campaign — maybe he really is a genuine middle-of-the-roader who is more concerned that we all get along than he is in not letting the Republicans take away healthcare from millions of Americans.

But if so, then the only reason he did as well as he did yesterday was support from voters who, while not at all excited about Ossoff as a candidate, still voted for him simply because he’s a Democrat.

What he did not benefit from, I would guess, is those in the district who not only wanted a Democrat, but a Democrat who showed real enthusiasm for all those things Democrats believe in, including not only healthcare reform but also global warming, a government-funded infrastructure program that puts money in the pockets of workers instead of billionaire investors, sensible gun control to reduce the thousands of tragic deaths each year, and a theory of a healthy and fair economy that doesn’t rely on cutting taxes for people who are already hoarding more money than they should, instead of investing it in the economy.

But assuming, just for argument sake, that Jon Ossoff actually believed in the things Democrats are supposed to believe in, but decided instead to posture as a non-partisan, hoping to draw votes from both parties, then was this a wise strategy? Since we can only live in one universe at a time, it's hard to test the theory that maybe honesty would have been a better policy.

In other words, could he have won if he had run as a liberal Democrat? And no, I’m not necessarily talking about running as a Bernie Sanders independent, I’m talking about as a plain vanilla liberal Democrat. But we’ll never know until some Democrat has the courage to try it.

Unfortunately, a willingness to go out on limbs is not a trait that we Democrats are famous for — which may be as good an explanation as any for why some reckless dimwit is living in the White House today.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Response to When Sorrows Come

So we seem to be slowly narrowing it down to this:

Trump has been pushing back on all these investigations (1) because he’s got something to hide, or (2) because he’s a total nut-case and can’t control himself, just like Hamlet.

Someday, he may come to realize that he was wrong about this:

Just when he was pretty sure that it was safe to fire Comey because nobody had been investigating him for colluding with the Russians during his campaign, an investigation that Comey oversaw, he fired Comey — which, of course, got people starting to investigate him for firing the person who was overseeing the investigations of his campaign. He should have known, as most of us do, that just because you’ve never been accused of robbing a bank doesn’t give you license to go out and rob a bank.

In any event — not that it matters anymore but it's still nice to know for sure — but he’s certainly proved Hillary absolutely right when she claimed he was totally unfit for this job.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Response to Calculated Silence

(See: Just Above Sunset: Calculated Silence)

"This is awful,” says Josh Marshall. "But, really, stop saying it’s awful.”
This kind of griping operates on the premise that broadcasting a situation in which you have zero power and acting as though your attempted shaming will produce any positive effect will have some positive effect. It won’t. Broadcasting weakness is never an effective strategy. Always choose to fight on a different ground. It looks hapless to try to shame people with acts they are carrying out openly, eagerly and happily. You look stupid. 
Rhetorically, politically and in the simplest terms of reality, Republicans know there is no justifying this legislation. The public has already spoken. It is overwhelmingly unpopular. They are trying to do it in the dead of night because they know that. ... They are trying to slip it past everyone, do it by stealth and keep all the details secret until it’s too late. ... 
Accept their freedom to do it and label it for what it is. Adjudicate it at the next election.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but the truth is, no. This is one of those rare occasions I disagree with Josh Marshall. We Democrats do too much already of what Josh is asking us to do, and it’s been killing us.

Rather that pushing back on all those accusations that Hillary placed the nation’s safety at risk with her home email server, or Donald Trump’s charge that she “shredded” thousands of emails after they had been subpoenaed (both those are false and can be proven false), Democrats chose to ignore all of it, thereby surrendering the field to the Republicans. This could only leave Democrats and Independents to assume that, hey, if the party isn’t going to fight this, she must be guilty!

That, as much as anything, lost the election right there. Forget this business that telling the truth makes you look stupid; keep in mind that not telling the truth makes you look too gutless to stand up for your convictions, which is even worse.

The larger point is, if you don’t speak out and say what’s wrong with all of what the Republicans are trying to do, what chance will you have to “adjudicate it at the next election”? By that time, voters will likely have no idea what you’re talking about. After all, the process of publicly “shaming” someone does not necessarily involve getting them on your side; the main idea is to get the public in your corner.

The truth is, there actually have been several cases of Republicans back-tracking on themselves. A prominent one is their being “shamed” into converting “Repeal Obamacare” into “Repealing and Replacing Obamacare”, simply because they didn’t want to face public rebuke for abolishing certain very popular elements of Obamacare, such as forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. That’s quite a reversal for folks who don’t believe government should be forcing insurance companies to do anything at all.

Trump’s baldfaced shamelessness is already spreading like a disease among his fellow Republicans. You see it in the DNI boss Dan Coates explaining his refusal to answer questions in Congress, and when asked for his justification, replying, “I’m not sure I have a legal basis,” as if to say, “And what are you going to do about it?”, knowing full well he’ll get away with it without being cited with contempt of Congress. 

The problem is, because our founders couldn't think of everything, they made sure that our system of government is, to some extent, an honor system that is currently being managed by operators who have very little honor, and thanks to the influence of our president, have less and less of it every day.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Response to Not Quite Watergate

(See: Just Above Sunset: Not Quite Watergate)

Friends have been asking me why I post so rarely in the current days of rage, when there seem to be so many obvious things to say, and I tell them it’s precisely because there’s so much to say that everyone beats me to it — that when I began writing a few years ago, I vowed to try not to say things unless I thought either they weren’t being mentioned at all, or maybe were just not being said enough.

So here are a few topics that I think have been somewhat neglected of late:

1. I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually find that there was little if any collusion in the elections between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Still, Donald Trump and the Republicans do seem to be hiding something, don’t they?

Why is it, whenever the subject is broached that we need to seriously look into the invasion of our democracy by Russia, Republicans always try to change the subject to questions of “Who leaked this information?” and “What can we do to plug all these leaks about Russia?”

Why do Congressional and Justice Department probes into this stuff seem to make them so nervous? It might have little to do with exposing collusion between Russia and Trump, of which, at this point, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of evidence; it might be something else, maybe having to do with illegal or shady business deals, I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I can’t help but believe that, had the roles been reversed and Hillary had won, Democrats would still be seriously concerned — unlike the way the Republicans are acting today. This is, in fact, because the two parties are not carbon copies of each other. Liberal Democrats tend to believe in the motto, “It matters not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” while Conservative Republicans tend to believe the opposite: “It matters not how you play the game; all that matters is that you win."

And by the way, this contention that all this Russia talk is just a bunch of Democrats who are looking for a way to explain why their candidate lost?

No. In fact, I’ve met very few Democrats who believe the Democratic emails published by Wikileaks had anything to do with Hillary’s loss. And, in fact, if anything, our chagrin isn’t so much how come Hillary lost?, it’s the even-more-shocking question of how come that idiot, Donald Trump, won!

2. Did Trump and his attorney really claim that James Comey’s testimony “vindicated” Trump, in that he admitted that he did, indeed, tell Trump three times he wasn’t under investigation? Do those two guys find it at all interesting that nobody else seems to share their view that the hearings “vindicated” the president?

(A sidebar here: This is another case of Donald Trump telling us all what to think about something. Along those same lines, I’m convinced that one reason he hates the media is that they refuse to go along with his belief that he, as the subject of the news of the day, gets to determine what the news of the day is! Anything else the media chooses to cover is, by definition, just fake news.)

Anyway, I find it curious that Trump had been obsessing over whether he himself was under FBI investigation, to the point of bizarrely including mention of it in his letter firing Comey — reminding everybody that Comey had assured him that he was not being investigated, so no one could then accuse him of firing the guy who was investigating him.

But nobody was even contesting whether or not Comey ever told him that  simply because it wasn’t an issue! — in fact, everybody realized that the FBI probes were not so much about Trump as about Russian interference into an election that was won by Donald Trump, knowing that, at some point in the future, the investigation might find itself looking closer at the candidate himself!

In other words, no matter how the President tried to noodle this, lots of people of both parties were likely to look at any Comey firing askance, seeing it as Trump firing the guy who is investigating a matter that will necessarily be of major concern to the president.

3. I keep hoping nobody tries to disabuse Trump of his dubious belief that it’s very hard for Republicans to win the Electoral College, just on the off-chance that, in the meantime, maybe we can talk him into helping us do away with the damn thing.

(And the only reason I even broach the subject at all is the knowledge that neither he, nor anyone close to him, ever lays eyes on anything I write — and even if any of his advisers did try to tell him about this, he obviously wouldn't listen anyway.)

So here’s the thing about why I think he could be wrong about that. It comes from William Murphy, a professor of American history at State University of New York at Oswego, who made this argument last December on Newsweek/Quora, that Republicans seem to have at least a temporary advantage:
Democratic voters live in large urban areas, and are concentrated in several parts of the country. There are more of them, somewhat, but they live in relatively compact geographic areas. This gives Republicans a mild advantage in the electoral college; Republican voters are more spread out, and the Electoral College system potentially over-represents them slightly as a part of the overall population. This is, as I said, slight; it does not mean that Democrats cannot win the electoral college, or that Republicans are always more likely to do so. 
All it means is this: in the event that circumstances line up just right so there is a split between the popular and electoral votes, the split is, for the moment, likely to favor Republicans. 
But that’s a far cry from having a decisive advantage in the electoral college, because the electoral college is still mostly weighted by population. States have a total number of electoral votes equal to their total representation in the two houses of Congress; seats in the House are apportioned according to population, but every state has two senators. Aside from a handful of states with overwhelmingly large populations (chiefly California, New York, Florida and Texas), there is not enough difference in population among most of the rest of the states to balance out the effect of those two votes every state gets regardless of population, from their two senators. 
So in a very close election, the possibility of a popular vote/electoral vote split becomes a reality, and if it happens, it is somewhat more likely that it will favor the Republicans. Right now.
Right now?

Okay, but I tend to think urban folk being mostly liberal and rural folks being mostly conservative, at least in this era of political division, is a bit more of a permanent condition than Murphy seems willing to admit. But also, one would think the condition that tips the College to the Democratic vote in any given election will be there being so many more of them  which would also, one might think, have them winning the popular vote as well.

Still, as long as we have it, this Electoral College foolishness should continue to favor red states, at least until we Democrats start having a whole lot more babies.

In any event, had there been no such thing as an Electoral College last year, Trump wouldn’t be president now. In fact, I will predict the same result for 2020, assuming he’s still in politics at that time.

Which brings us to this:

4. I’m starting to alter my thinking about the possibility of impeachment, or at least the threat of it bringing on a negotiated exit.

Up to this point, any suggestion on either side that Trump could get impeached has been countered by a reminder that the Republicans, who hold both houses of Congress, won’t let that happen.

But I think Martin Longman makes a good point — that the Republicans wisely came to realize that Donald Trump is one of them after all, and offers them the best chance they have had in years of getting their agenda passed — the problem being, buffoon that Trump is, their agenda keeps getting stalled by all these distractions that have nothing to do with their agenda.

So as the case against Trump becomes stronger and stronger, isn’t it just possible that Republican congressmen and senators might start contemplating whether their programs might be better served by a President Pence?

How would this work? I can see a negotiated settlement in which Trump resigns, in exchange for no jail time, or at least avoiding the disgrace of impeachment.

The only problem I see with actual impeachment is, what if the Democrats don’t play along? 

Remember, it takes a two-thirds majority of senators to convict, and after all, there’s always the chance that Democrats would prefer a klutz of a president who is too incompetent to get anything passed, to a Republican capable of getting things done.  Not that I have a vote count at this early date, but I think we'll all have enough time to work out the details.

But if you think things are strange now, wait until next year, when we get to watch Democrats struggle to keep the Republicans from kicking Donald Trump out of the White House.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Response to Vengeance and Destruction

(See: Just Above Sunset/Vengeance and Destruction)

The most famous scene in “A Few Good Men” is the courtroom confrontation between Navy defense attorney Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) and the GITMO base commander, Marine Col. Nathan R. Jessup (Jack Nicholson):
Kaffee: Colonel Jessup, did you order the Code Red?  
Judge Randolph: You don't have to answer that question!  
Col. Jessup: I'll answer the question! 
[to Kaffee] 
You want answers?  
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to.  
Col. Jessep: You want answers?  
Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, SAVES LIVES! You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way — otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a DAMN what you think you are entitled to!  
Kaffee: Did you order the code red?  
Col. Jessup: I did the job I...  
Kaffee: [interupts him] DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED? 

And then, to Colonel Jessup’s surprise, they place him under arrest!

What makes this scene work so well is that delicious feeling that comes from watching some condescending, know-it-all bully fall into a trap set by someone who he thinks is inferior to him, and then compound his own humiliation by having to ask someone else to explain the situation to him.

You want to see an example of this in real life?
“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”
He's god damn right he does!

Donald Trump’s apparently fed up with people not giving him what he wants, and with being told by underlings that he has to follow some politically correct script that he doesn’t even understand. 

Trump not only undercut his own spokespeople, who had been admonishing reporters to stop calling it that, but he also undercut his own Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who insists on calling it a “travel pause”, a temporary action until they can figure out what the hell they're doing, but especially all his Justice Department attorneys, who have been working like beavers to convince the federal courts that it’s not actually a “travel ban”, a term that seems to some to reek of unconstitutionality.

So far, the appeals courts don’t seem to have been buying the administration’s arguments, and this is causing the boss to lose his cool:
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"
What is the matter with this guy? If he hasn’t anything helpful to contribute, can’t he just butt out? Does he not realize the damage he’s causing his country?

I know he doesn’t drink, but for his own sake, I think he should take it up, because he needs an excuse that might help explain his habit of acting like the drunken relative who shows up at the funeral and starts blowing out all the candles.

He kept insisting during the campaign that it was Hillary who was temperamentally unsuited for the job, not him, but if he is such a talented and capable guy, why can’t he seem to stop making a fool out of himself? Why can't he see what the rest of us see, that his popularity might actually go up if he only were to stop tweeting?

I have a theory. It’s something he learned during the primaries:

First, he gets a following by saying whatever stupid thing that pops into his head, but when he stops saying that stuff, he learns that he not only doesn’t expand his base, he loses his original following. He’s in a bind. While it may be hard to walk around with your foot in your mouth, at least it gets you attention that you wouldn’t get otherwise — which is apparently the best he is capable of.

Whenever he took the advice to stop acting like a jerk — to “ pivot”, so to speak — his numbers would drop, and when he went back to his old ways, his numbers would go back up, although not ever enough to achieve more than plurality status. If it weren’t for all those recalculating Republican “Never-Trumpers” switching to whom they saw as a low-life, he never would have won.

It’s a situation similar to Morton Downey Jr.’s old TV program. Although his outrageously tasteless show always seemed to have the highest ratings in its time-slot, it couldn’t find advertisers who wanted to associate their product with it, so stations stopped carrying it, and then it quietly disappeared. Sometimes the best you can do is still just not good enough.

Meanwhile, we’re stuck with him. At least if this were television, Trump would just quietly disappear from the schedule and be replaced by something that didn’t suck. Unfortunately, national governance doesn’t work that way.

Meanwhile, you would think that Trump himself would realize his problem with tweeting, that it really doesn’t do what he thinks it does:
“I can do messages around the media and get my word out, the way I mean my word,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network at the end of January.
But the truth is, I myself have neither the time nor the patience to go searching through “social media” for some random person’s twitter droppings on the remote chance that one of them might be “newsworthy”. I let our “news media” do that work for me, which seems to work out just fine.

And as I imagine it is with most of the public, I never see Trump's tweets directly, I only read whatever is picked up by the media, and that only seems to happen when he says something arguably stupid — which, of course, seems to happen on a daily, if not hourly basis.