No more experts!

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I do not like politics of fear. I do not like making policies based on fear. I do not like using fear to play with people’s emotions. But, I am afraid. Genuinely afraid. I see a willful erosion of expertise in this country, and I fear the consequences will be worse than we can imagine. This is not a new feeling, but the removal of Brennan’s security clearance made it especially salient this morning. I recognize that this is a punitive act, and not directed at his expertise, but it’s all part of a bigger problem from my perspective.

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The slow march to boredom, calculated in words per minute

It should be clear to anybody that I like following politics. Parts of politics that others find boring, I find interesting. I recognize that boring is a subjective term. That said, I was bored by last night’s State of the Union address. It felt like it went on and on, and without much said. Being somebody who likes to take a fact/data-based approach to things, I spent a little time this morning checking my emotional response, in the way that I’ve always wanted to maintain at Hitting Bregma (see here). Here’s what I found.

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“Shithole countries”

Trump said an awful thing. Although he denies it, several sources have confirmed that, in a closed-door meeting about immigration policy, he asked, “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” People went nuts, with good reason, but I think the focus has been wrong. This is cross-posted from my FaceBook, word for word (except this paragraph of introduction).

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Trust (and some polling analysis)

There’s a new poll out that brought things around to a recurring theme: trust. I wrote a little about this before, but not as much as I think about it. Whether we trust or don’t trust a politician, a candidate, a boss, seems to have so much influence on how nearly everything that person does is colored. Today we’re seeing trust have an enormous impact on how we view President Trump. His approval ratings continue to dip into the 30s, but perhaps more important, a CNN poll found that only 24% of Americans say that they trust “all or most of what they hear in official communications from the White House.”

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