Friday Talking Points [477] -- Read The Bill!

[ Posted Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – 18:00 UTC ]

Add this week in Congress to the enormous mountain of steaming Republican hypocrisy, we suppose. Remember back when Republicans got their knickers in such a big twist over Democrats passing lengthy bills without adequate time for congressmen to understand? When the Affordable Care Act passed, some Republicans even chanted "Read the bill!" in protest during the vote. Those were the days, eh? When Republicans retook Congress, they did so in part on a promise that every bill would have a 72-hour period between when it was released publicly and when the vote would happen, in both chambers of Congress. That statement, as they say in Washington, is no longer operative. The Republican-led Congress just passed a 2,200-plus page omnibus budget bill mere hours after the text was released (the House voted 17 hours after the bill was filed, which fell 55 hours short of their promise). Neither the House nor the Senate got anywhere near three days to read the bill. Which is one more big dump on top of the rest of "GOP Hypocrisy Mountain," raising it to new malodorous heights.

In addition, Republicans used to get quite upset at deficits and deficit spending. Those days, also, are long gone. Nowadays, as long as they toss the lion's share of the money to either (1) the Pentagon, (2) Wall Street, or (3) the wealthiest one-percenters, everything's copacetic with blowing enormous holes in the deficit. Because Republicans really don't believe any of their own sanctimoniousness, they just rely on using it as a political weapon against Democrats whenever they are in charge. Hypocrisy, thy name is GOP.

Of course, there are always a few with the integrity to complain even when it is their own party in the wrong. Rand Paul was one of them, although he didn't go to the lengths that he did on the previous hastily-voted-upon budget bill, when he singlehandedly caused a brief government shutdown. Still, Paul was not happy, as he reported it took him over two hours just to print the bill. He then tweeted out a photo of him holding the massive measure, with the message "Congress is broken." Republican Representative Justin Amash was even more scathing, saying of the whole process: "I think it's disgusting. Totally irresponsible. Totally violates our duty to our constituents." When asked about those promises to allow time to "Read The Bill," Amash responded: "Yeah, they lied. Flat out." But such refreshing honesty was rare indeed among the Republican caucus.

With 2,200 pages of legalese, the media (as well as members of Congress) are still digesting the bill. Democrats won a number of important concessions in the negotiations, although there were a few pot-sweeteners for Republicans as well. However, as usual, most of the contentious issues were just punted down the field. The bill did not address the DACA Dreamers, serious gun safety reform, or even cleaning up the abysmal sexual harassment reporting system within Congress itself. All were shelved for another day. Trump got $1.6 billion in border security money, but with the explicit prohibition against building his favored wall (some fencing money was included, but with the restriction that none of it could be built using Trump's new prototype wall designs). As with all such monster budget bills, it'll likely be a few weeks before everyone realizes exactly what is in it. Because, of course, there was no time to "Read The Bill!"

In a bizarre last-minute twist, after the bill cleared the Senate late last night, President Trump threatened to veto it in an early-morning tweet: "I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded." Congress, by this time, had scarpered off for yet another of their multiweek vacation periods, so if Trump had followed through on his veto threat, the government would almost certainly have shut down (and a whole lot of spring vacation plans would have been ruined, as Congress would have been forced to return). But, of course, Trump wasn't serious (when is he?), and he begrudgingly signed it, hours later. He called the bill "ridiculous," and swore: "I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again." Nobody took him seriously, of course.

Speaking of not taking the White House seriously, two personnel changes happened this week, both of which were denied only days earlier. After rumors circulated that Trump would be shaking up his legal team, Trump tweeted: "The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job..." This week, John Dowd left Trump's legal team to be replaced by Trump's favorite Fox News legal personality. Because highly-respected Ted Olson turned the offer down, apparently (seems like many legal bigwigs have other pressing business than joining the Trump legal team, and who can blame them, really?). Ty Cobb is also reportedly on thin ice, and could be the next to go.

We sure hope Trump's new lawyer is up on sexual harassment law, non-disclosure agreements, and defamation, because he's about to get hit by a real trifecta of court cases. A former Playboy Playmate of the Year just detailed her months-long affair with Trump in a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, who also scored the scoop of interviewing porn star Stormy Daniels (which will air Sunday night on 60 Minutes). Both are suing to be released from their non-disclosure hush-money agreements. But the bigger legal news came from New York, where a judge ruled that the defamation case brought by Summer Zervos will indeed go forward -- which opens up the possibility of Trump being forced into a deposition where he'll have to answer under oath about his entire sexual history and his history of lying about his entire sexual history. The judge's reasoning was simple: if Bill Clinton could be sued and deposed over his sexual past, then so can Donald Trump. We certainly don't envy any lawyer tasked with preparing Trump for such a deposition, that's for sure.

But getting back to White House personnel denials, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, after the Washington Post reported that H. R. McMaster was on the way out, tweeted: "Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster - contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC." By week's end, McMaster was out and John Bolton had been named to replace him. You remember John Bolton, don't you? One of the biggest cheerleaders for the Iraq War who is now champing at the bit to start wars with both Iran and North Korea? Yeah, that guy, mustache and all.

Trump, when he was not firing people or accepting resignations last week, once again metaphorically dropped to his knees in front of the sheer manliness that is Vladimir Putin. Trump scheduled a call to Putin early in the week, and while his briefing book begged him "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" (in all caps), Trump completely ignored the advice and began the call by congratulating Putin on his victory in getting "re-elected." John McCain shot back: "An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections," adding that Trump had "insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election." Ouch.

Trump also decided on the spur of the moment to set up a one-on-one with Putin, which took his entire staff by complete surprise, since such a meeting hadn't even been discussed, much less agreed to. As Trey Gowdy noted last weekend, it's almost as if Trump is bending over backwards to look as guilty as possible whenever the subject of Russia or Putin comes up.

The bigger story, though, was how fast the "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" tidbit leaked. The instruction was in a presidential briefing book, which has very limited access, so one of Trump's top advisors had to have been responsible for the leak. Former White House staffer Michael Gerson had his own take:

Someone at the White House, presumably on the national security team, has taken a large personal risk to call attention to Trump's mysteriously cozy relationship with a strategic rival. This is extraordinary -- and extraordinarily frightening. In most administrations, the aides closest to the president have the greatest sense of loyalty. In this case, an aide close to the president is expressing panic. He or she cannot explain the hold that Putin has over Trump. This leak is a cry for help from within the White House itself.

But it was The Daily Show who had the best reaction, tweeting: "@realDonaldTrump DO NOT RESIGN." Heh. We see what you did, there.

Toward the end of the week, Trump rolled out the 2.0 version of the Trump Trade War™, which went over like a lead balloon. Trump had been forced to significantly dial back his announced tariffs on steel and aluminum (which we explored in more detail yesterday), but he successfully buried this embarrassing news by announcing new tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese goods. The Dow Jones dropped by over 700 points yesterday in reaction, and continued the slide today by dropping another 400-plus points. China is considering how to react to this news, but one thing for certain is that they're most likely to target American agriculture, meaning a whole lot of farmers in red states are about to start paying for their unquestioning support of all things Trump.

Let's see, what else is happening? Conor Lamb's opponent formally conceded the race in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, bowing to the reality of Lamb's thin victory. So he should be sworn into the House of Representatives soon.

The big news this coming weekend will be the March For Our Lives, which is going to showcase the growing political power of the high school students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Reportedly, no one over 18 will be allowed to address the crowd, which is certainly appropriate for a rally created by high school students. Congress, since the shooting, hasn't managed to do anything meaningful at all on gun safety, so it's a safe bet that the students are going to be pretty outraged at the inaction.

Speaking of guns, a Republican state goverment candidate in Kentucky had to apologize for joking that he was going to shoot his political opponent in the chest. When John Yarmouth posted a photo of himself wearing a pin with an "F" on it (showing pride in his F rating from the National Rifle Association), Republican Carl Nett responded with a tweet: "Move it over just a bit. I was trained center mass."

It once would have seemed unimaginable, but at this point we have to wonder just how far we are from politicians reviving the age-old tradition of fighting actual duels between themselves. Politicos in Washington used to sneak off to Bladensburg Field in Maryland to hold such duels (because they were illegal within Washington D.C.), a few centuries back. But with a former vice president challenging a sitting president to fisticuffs and other politicians "joking" about shooting each other, we sincerely wonder how long it'll be before someone seriously suggests it "as a way to reintroduce politeness" to politics. At this point, we really wouldn't be all that surprised by such a development.

Or maybe not. Maybe there are other ways to work things out. Senators Jeff Flake and Cory Booker just held a friendly snowball fight/duel on the Capitol lawn, which was actually pretty funny. Booker announced the fight with a taunt:

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton had theirs. @Jeff Flake (Senator Jeff Flake) and I are having our version:
A snowball duel. Capitol East Lawn.
Who gets hit most,
buys other's staff Pizza.
You Snow Who Is Going To Win!
Arizona doesn't have much snow!

They apparently lined up and paced off and then let the snowballs fly. But Booker's optimism was misplaced, as he seemed to get the worst of it. He later lamented:

I should have known this was a setup... lost this morning's snowball duel to a guy named Flake from Snowflake, Arizona!

Maybe that's how Congress should have settled what went in the budget bill? How many of us would pay good money for a pay-per-view free-for-all snowball fight between the competing factions on the Capitol lawn? It certainly would have been more entertaining, that's for sure!


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Every so often we have to recognize some Democrat out there working in relative obscurity for a worthy goal. This week, Eric Holder fits this category perfectly.

After leaving office, Holder (and, to a lesser degree, Barack Obama) took up the cause of fighting back against gerrymandering and also fighting to boost the number of Democrats in state governments. Holder formed the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. An affiliate of Holder's group (the National Redistricting Foundation) successfully sued Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker over his refusal to call special elections to replace a state senator and state assemblyman. Walker was scared the seats would flip to Democrats, especially after a special election in January was indeed flipped from red to blue.

This week, the judge who ruled against Walker ordered the governor to call for the special elections within a week's time. Holder responded to the ruling: "This is an important victory for the impacted citizens of Wisconsin who have gone without representation because of Governor Walker's refusal to call special elections. One of our most basic rights as American citizens is that we get to vote and have representation in our legislatures. Governor Walker's actions have undermined that right and it never should have taken legal action to force him to do his job."

Holder's work to elect Democrats at the state level is to be applauded, and is seen by many as a sort of mea culpa from Barack Obama, who saw roughly 1,000 state-level legislative seats flip from Democratic to Republican during his time in office. That trend has already begun to reverse ever since Trump was elected, but there's still a long way to go. It will take a concerted effort to do so, which will include things like pushing back legally against gerrymandering (as was done recently in Pennsylvania) and pushing back against Republicans who are too scared to trust the voters (as in Wisconsin).

So while the legal victory was relatively obscure, the efforts of Eric Holder are nonetheless impressive. He's fighting the good fight out there, and helping Democrats reverse the tide at the state level. For doing so, and for handing Scott Walker a big political loss that does nothing short of make him look terrified of the voters, Eric Holder is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week. Keep up the good work!

[Check out the National Democratic Redistricting Committee's official webpage, if you'd like to learn more about Eric Holder's group.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Sigh. Uncle Joe, say it ain't so....

Joe Biden, who is reportedly seriously considering another run for the presidency, this week decided to stoop down and roll around in the gutter with Donald Trump. That's pretty harsh, but we think it is deserved.

Biden, during a speech this week, said that if he and Trump were in high school together and if Trump spoke about and treated women the way he routinely does, then Biden would "take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him." He went on to compare Trump to the "fattest, ugliest s.o.b." in the locker room.

Trump, of course, took the bait, and tweeted back to "Crazy Joe" to, essentially, bring it on. Trump called Biden weak, predicted he'd win a fight between the two, and ended with: "He doesn't know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way."

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to politics in the twenty-first century.

Now, some folks are delighted that Biden took on Trump so directly. But we can't count ourselves among this number, for two reasons. The first is that the whole thing is so depressingly juvenile. Two septuagenarians are going to stage a cage match? OK, sure, the pay-per-view numbers would be through the roof, but (kidding aside) is this really the best we can do as a country?

The second (and bigger) reason we can't support Biden's tactic is that we have always universally condemned violence -- or even threats of violence, or even joking about violence -- in the political arena. Politicians shouldn't go there, ever. Maybe you can get away with making such funny jokes (see the Flake/Booker snowball fight, above), but the risk that they'll fall flat is enormous. As for serious threats of violence between politicians (including even just semi-serious threats), they should always be universally condemned.

Now, we do realize that Michelle Obama's famous "when they go low, we go high" is not always entirely practical in the world of modern politics. Sometimes you have to (metaphorically) fight back against the lowest blows, and at times this even almost requires stooping to the level of your attacker. But there is still a limit to this, and for us the limit is threatening to beat up your opponent.

So for his attempt at either machismo or humor, sadly we have to award Joe Biden this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week. Say it ain't so, Joe. Don't go so low -- oh, no, no no!

[Joe Biden is now a private citizen, and it is our policy not to provide contact information for people who are not currently in office, sorry.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 477 (3/23/18)

Another mixed bag this week, from crimes of omission (400 days since a Trump solo press conference!) to the Grammar Police. So let's just get right to it all, shall we?


   400 days and counting

We wrote a whole article about this, earlier in the week.

"Today marks the 400th day since Donald Trump has given a solo press conference. 400 days! The one and only time Trump held a solo presser was in February of last year. Since that time, nothing. The only conclusion possible is that Trump is afraid of holding a press conference. He knows full well that he'll come off looking ill-informed (and even that's being polite) while the press will come off as knowing more than him on many subjects. That's certainly what happened in the only press conference he's held, so why would it be any different now? The White House Press Corps has really dropped the ball on this one, because they should be making this an issue on a regular basis. Once again: it has been four hundred days since Donald Trump faced the press on his own. What is he so scared of?"


   Scared of the voters

Continuing the basic theme....

"Wisconsin's Scott Walker is apparently so terrified of his own voters that he is going to extraordinary lengths to prevent two special elections from happening, even though state law demands that they be held. Walker just lost a court case and has been ordered by the judge to act within a week to select a date to hold the elections. Walker may even appeal this ruling, because that is how desperate he is to avoid another embarrassing loss at the polls. When Republicans lost a recent special election in Wisconsin, Walker himself said it was 'a wake-up call,' which apparently (to him) means breaking state law to avoid any more such electoral defeats. I've never seen a governor so scared of his own voters, personally."


   Oh, please please please!

Trump flirts with multiplying the chaos a thousandfold.

"Donald Trump is reportedly considering the idea of getting rid not only of John Kelly, but the entire position of White House chief of staff. NBC News reported that: 'Trump has mused to close associates about running the West Wing as he did his business empire, essentially serving as his own chief of staff.' What would this mean? Trump 'envisioned a scenario in which a handful of top aides would report directly to him -- bypassing the traditional gatekeeper position.' Because that would surely solve the problem of White House chaos, right? I mean, what could possibly go wrong with such an arrangement? If you think you've seen the most wildly out-of-control White House operation of all time already, you ain't seen nothin' yet if Trump actually follows through on this insane idea. Soon we may look back on the days of Anthony Scaramucci and Michael Flynn as 'the good old days when the Trump White House was more stable.' The idea of Trump acting as his own chief of staff absolutely boggles the mind, in fact. But at this point, it wouldn't surprise me in the least."


   Wittingly harming our system of government for profit

Fox News military commentator Ralph Peters just quit his job, in disgust. An email he wrote to Fox was leaked, in which he called the network "a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration," adding that Donald Trump was "terrified" of Vladimir Putin. And he was just getting started. Here's a sampling of what else he had to say:

Four decades ago, I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer. That oath did not expire when I took off my uniform. Today, I feel that Fox is assaulting our constitutional order and rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.... When prime-time hosts -- who have never served our country in any capacity -- dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest attacks on the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller -- all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of "deep-state" machinations -- I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.


   Bernie still going strong

Bernie Sanders still has a message that is resonating with voters.

"Bernie Sanders had a pretty good week this week. He held a televised town hall on the problem of inequality and drew in 1.7 million viewers. So there's obviously still a whole lot of people out there who are interested in his political message. And in the Illinois primary, Sanders-backed candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia easily won his primary with 66 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Illinois voters also dethroned one of the leaders of the infamous Chicago Democratic machine, signaling that the days of Rahm Emanuel-style politics in the Windy City may be coming to an end. Other Democrats should take note -- for all the hand-wringing inside the Beltway, there is already a Democratic political platform that is still wildly popular out there. Just ask Bernie Sanders, he'll tell you all about it."


   Trump voters take it on the chin

The real question is whether they'll actually notice or not.

"Let's see what the Trump Trade War™ with China has already brought us. Who exactly is going to pay for Trump's new tariffs? Well, first and foremost would be those who own lots of stocks, as the Dow Jones average fell over 700 points yesterday and over 400 points today. So big business and wealthy investors are already getting hurt. China is already floating ideas for what U.S. products they'll be slapping their own tariffs on, and the news is likely to be bad for two other big groups of Trump supporters: low-income families and red-state farmers. If China institutes broad tariffs, then everything at Wal-Mart is going to cost more very soon now. But the real threat is that China will slap tariffs on pork and soybeans, which are huge agricultural products in over a dozen states that Trump won in the election. It'll be interesting to see how far these affected voters are willing to go in supporting Trump when he is directly influencing their own bottom line. Can't wait to hear farm-state GOP congressmen twist in the wind over whether to support the Trump tariffs or not. They'll have the choice of standing with Trump, or standing up for their own constituents."


   Wether it rings a bell or not?

OK, we fully admit that whenever we attempt to spell "bellwether" we usually get it wrong. Which the spell-checker informs us, before we publicly post anything....

"Donald Trump sent a tweet this week which contained two boneheaded spelling mistakes. He wrote: 'Special Council [sic] is told to find crimes, wether [sic] a crime exists or not.' Now, 'council' is actually a word, just not the word Trump was looking for. But 'wether'? Really? Bob Mueller aside, as far as the Grammar Police are concerned, 'wether' is indeed a spelling crime, Mister President."

-- Chris Weigant


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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


39 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [477] -- Read The Bill!”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    whether the weather
    doth wither
    the wether that wuthers,
    whither it may go,
    i do not know.


  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Your choice for the MDDOTW award for this week was spot on.

    And, this wasn't the first time he traveled back in time to wonder out loud about beating up Trump behind a school gym.

    In other words, he was quoting himself this week, without attribution. That was a little joke. Ahem.

    Biden should have learned by now that you can't beat Trump at the only game he knows and that when you stoop to his level you will be the one sporting the ugly stain of Trumpism.

  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    there's only one way it goes from here.

    Hey, hey, hey, hey! I got a couple presidential decrees to make! I got a couple presidential decrees to make! Not Sure, get your ass up here, wherever you is.
    ~President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho - idiocracy

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, you're saying that ... what the heck are you saying?

  5. [5] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    He means that we seem to be descending into an Idiocracy, i.e., nation run by idiots, faster than anyone expected or dreamed.

    I've noted before that as far back as the 1920's H.L. Menken speculated that the relentlessly uninformed among us would one day overwhelm the system and finally elect the moron they'd been clamoring for.

    Well, nearly a century later Menken's prediction appears to have come true. The evidence that this is true is plentiful, and mostly undenied, even by the White House. He's probably the least well-read president we've ever had. His attention span is famously shorter than most. He tends to agree with the last person he spoke to. And on and on.

    No less than his own Secretary of State famously called him a 'moron' to a room full of Generals who agreed with him. Let that sink in for a moment: in the situation room in the hub of the Pentagon, probably a room that doesn't look too much different from sets you've seen in movies, the President visits and presents his view of America's national security challenges. When he is through, he leaves, and the next thing the SoS has to say to the assembled experts and brass (perhaps to cut the tension now permeating the room) is "Well, he's a moron." This got a laugh from the assembled group, and the meeting moved on. Extraordinary. And scary.

    So far the Republican leadership has acted on this reality like a cop on the take, accepting bribes in the form of tax cuts and donor boner bills to look the other way while Trump careens from one unstable position to another.

    But here's the thing: it's not Trump that they're afraid of, it's Fox News, which has maneuvered itself into being the Id of Trump's ego. Just today, a negative segment about the new spending bill on Fox's morning show prompted Trump to threaten to veto it, throwing much of Washington into a panic until advisors at the White House were able to talk him down (which reportedly included giving him a list of all the shiny new military equipment he'd be getting, a list that he partially quoted later).

    So maybe we should be looking harder at Fox, and find out what their ties to Russia are. They created and nurtured this idiocracy after all. We should be asking ourselves what massive fuck-up happened that resulted in a cable news station having this sort of political sway over both the President and all of his followers. Maybe a special prosecutor should be looking into their profit stream. Because there will be a time after Trump, and if Fox has its way, the Idiocracy will persist. And persist.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I see.

  7. [7] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Okay, maybe he didn't mean all that, but I did, because it punches a button on me right now.

    Like CW, I was this far from shutting it all out and joining a Sci Fi blog, when I found...hope.

    Not Hicks, who infects other sorts of dreams, I mean real hope, the sort that makes annoyance dissipate and political debate tolerable.

    Like CW, I was buoyed by our string of wins in the special elections. I also saw folks come out to stop the Republicants from gutting Obamacare. Then I saw these extraordinary kids make Rick Scott roll over, and it reminded me that there is (metaphorically) still a pretty good band out there that I can jam with. And all that restores my hope.

    Which might last only until a day early next November. Dunno. Hope not.

  8. [8] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Balthasar [5] -

    I've never read "It Can Happen Here," but I definitely need to soon.

    What keeps popping into my head is an old sci-fi story: "The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth.

    If you haven't read it, I recommend it...


  9. [9] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM [2] -

    And here I was fearing you'd hate me for the MDDOTW...

    I gotta call 'em like I sees 'em, and Biden crossed a line this week. Nice jab about "without attribution" there, too...



  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Looks like the MIDOTW was well-chosen, too. The GOP is making a desperation move in WI:

    But the voters aren't that stupid -- they can tell when one party is doing nothing more than outright cheating. They'll likely remember this in November...


  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i don't know if i quite meant all of that specifically, but certainly something in that general direction...

  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 -

    I tried to find Idiocracy on Netflix, but they didn't have it (NF has really gone downhill over the past decade...).

    I REALLY need to see this movie, from what everyone says about it...


  13. [13] 
    katya wrote:

    Just a small comment, from someone who lives in sheep country: a wether is a castrated male sheep.The bell wether was the sheep who led the flock. He wore a bell so the shepherd could more easily locate him.This is the origin of the political use of the term “bellwether” to indicate an area that predicts the results in many other areas. So wether is a real word; and yes, Donald Trump still mis-used it. Otherwise, very much enjoy the blog!

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    this link seems to be working at the moment:

  15. [15] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    CW Your [10]

    "But the voters aren't that stupid."

    Excuse me, but are we not talking about the same voters who Dems/Libs are claiming voted for Trump rather than Hillary, based on subliminal messages that the Russkies posted on social media!!?????

    What in hell can you conceive of that is more stupid than that?

  16. [16] 
    neilm wrote:

    But the real threat is that China will slap tariffs on pork and soybeans, which are huge agricultural products in over a dozen states that Trump won in the election.

    Another threat is that China will block Boeing's future orders - China accounts for 20% of Boeing's order book, and Iran is another large buyer.

    Ironically, aircraft manufacturing is one of the true manufacturing jobs powerhouses - and of course, potential aluminum tariffs don't exactly help.

    However the real stupidity of this is the misunderstanding of the macro economic implications. Take China as an example - for two decades China has been a low skill manufacturing powerhouse, and they have raised 100's of millions of people from abject poverty into the global middle class. So just as 100's of millions of consumers are coming into the global market for the types of goods where America dominates (iPhones, movies, financial services, etc.) some idiot comes along and fights yesterday's economic battles to lose today's real ones.

  17. [17] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Wether is a word. A wether is a male sheep that has had the snip. However, what "wether crimes" could possibly be I haven't the faintest. Wethers are quiet passive creatures, unlike rambunctious rams.

  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don [14],

    was that your attempt at "subliminal" solicitation? if so, it would have been a better idea not to use all caps. or are you in essence daring CW to break his streak and ban you from this blog? points for studying advertising psychology, but still annoying.


  19. [19] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    ''when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.'' Best line of the week.

    Here we are on international ''Jam your AR up your jacksie'' day, Thought a quick reminder of Trumpian campaign falsehoods was apropos...

    Can you count the lies? the big one being the self-funding myth, now that we know the NRA were throwing this bullshit artist cash hand over fist we can easily see how the redneck army were seduced like a playboy bunny.

  20. [20] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    I almost forgot, a big shout-out to Sir Paul Macca for taking to the streets of NYC just yards away from the scene of Lennon's murder.


    LL&P...If peace is given half a chance.

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    No, it was an attempt at a joke and sometimes a joke is just a joke.

    a joke?

    -No, no not a joke, a sales campaign.

    i see, frog.

    -S. Frog, sir.

    Shut up. Now, let's have a look at the sales chart. When you took over this account Frog, Conquistador was a brand leader. Here you introduced your first campaign, 'Conquistador Coffee brings a new meaning to the word vomit'. Here you made your special introductory offer of a free dead dog with every jar, and this followed your second campaign 'the tingling fresh coffee which brings you exciting new cholera, mange, dropsy, the clap, hard pad and athlete's head.

    -Monty Python's Flying Circus


  22. [22] 
    Paula wrote:

    My husband and I were at the March for Our Lives in Akron and it was cool. But if you haven't yet seen it, find the video of Emma Gonzalez' speech at the D.C. March - during most of which she stands silent - for 6 minutes, 20 seconds, commemorating the time the shooting lasted. To see the gigantic crowd dead silent through most of it - a few sporadic outbursts - amazing. The camera pans the crowd - the faces during the silence - powerful.

  23. [23] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Balty [5]

    No less than his own Secretary of State famously called him a 'moron' to a room full of Generals who agreed with him. Let that sink in for a moment: in the situation room in the hub of the Pentagon, probably a room that doesn't look too much different from sets you've seen in movies, the President visits and presents his view of America's national security challenges. When he is through, he leaves, and the next thing the SoS has to say to the assembled experts and brass (perhaps to cut the tension now permeating the room) is "Well, he's a moron." This got a laugh from the assembled group, and the meeting moved on. Extraordinary. And scary.

    No. I believe what Tillerson actually said was, “What a F***ING MORON!”

    I know that in proper society we aren’t supposed to use profanity, but sanitizing the comment takes away the true substance of what was being expressed! There is a huge difference between being called a “moron” and being called a “F***ING moron”....HUGE difference! Trump is a “F***ING moron”, that much he has made abundantly clear. It’s dishonest to sanitize Tillerson’s true impressions of Trump; it’s something that needs to be said.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I gotta call 'em like I sees 'em...

    Me, too.

  25. [25] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    LWYH: It’s dishonest to sanitize Tillerson’s true impressions of Trump; it’s something that needs to be said.

    This was not my intention. The truth is, that I'd heard it repeated that way so many times, that it didn't occur to me to back-check to make sure I got the quote right. mea culpa

    No, you're absolutely right; the man said he's a fucking moron, and for the sake of historical accuracy, it should ever be so.

    And, while I'm not a huge fan of vulgarity in the public square (although, elsewhere it can be a feature rather than a bug), I long for the day when network news stops snickering like schoolchildren over 'forbidden' words, and just tells us in complete quotes what was said, verbatim. Because you're right, it does matter that he chose to say it that way to a room full of military men.

  26. [26] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    My apologies if I sounded like I was blaming you for sanitizing his words; I realize it is how it is being reported by most journalists now. I remember watching Gone With the Wind on one of the local TV stations back when I was just a teenage and they changed the famous, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” line to “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a dang.”

    I just sat in front of the TV stunned by what I had heard! What did they fear might happen if people heard the word “damn”? Personally, I wish they’d changed it to, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a HAM”, or something equally ridiculous!

  27. [27] 
    neilm wrote:

    Top five "fake news" stories - people believe what they want to believe.

    Four about why "Hillary is horrible" and one about the Pope endorsing Trump.

    The Gullible Old Party.

  28. [28] 
    John M wrote:

    [18] neilm

    "Take China as an example - for two decades China has been a low skill manufacturing powerhouse, and they have raised 100's of millions of people from abject poverty into the global middle class. So just as 100's of millions of consumers are coming into the global market for the types of goods where America dominates (iPhones, movies, financial services, etc.) some idiot comes along and fights yesterday's economic battles to lose today's real ones."

    Very true. As China itself is now having to deal with competition from newer low skilled, lower wage powerhouses that are taking its place, like Vietnam, as China's economy matures.

  29. [29] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    China remains the 'Mastodon in the room.' Trump seems hell-bent on rattling their cage, regardless of his protestations of friendship. Why is that? Is he keeping his enemies close, and his friends closer? Sometimes it's your friends that are keeping you closer.

    Personally, I think it's something even more basic that's in play here. Trump is almost going out of his way to disable the GOP in the midterms later this year, he's not trying to expand his base (obviously that's a lost cause) so he's going to plan B...he's creating an environment of 'woe is me. woe is us.' Trump loves the notion of being the trodden on underdog who can't get a thing done because of the conspiracies of others, it certainly plays into his narrative of late. It's becoming more and more obvious these days that he's retreating to his default stance of 'them against little old us' Keep an eye on how Trump goes about his business in the next few months with this in mind, I think you'll be surprised at how close he sticks to this model I suggest.

  30. [30] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Trump seems hell-bent on rattling their cage, regardless of his protestations of friendship. Why is that?

    Trump thinks of his base the way a boy thinks of his dog: loyal (to him), friendly (to him), and useful in threatening situations. And they love rolling over for a scratch on the tummy.

    And he knows that going after China is like holding a bag of bacon bits in the air and shaking it. His base is gonna love it.

    So what about all the nice things that were said between Trump and the Chinese last year? Well, there's no 'Trump Tower Peking' yet. Besides, if you've ever seen "A Boy and His Dog", you know where his real loyalty lies even before you ask the question.

  31. [31] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    CW: I've never read "It Can Happen Here," but I definitely need to soon.

    Joe Conason's refutation of Sinclair Lewis was masterful, but needs updating for the age of Trump.

    Another in the same vein that I'd recommend is It's Even Worse Than It Looks by Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann. And don't forget It's Worse Than You Think by David Kay Johnston to round out the sounded-paranoid-when-it-was-first-published trilogy.

  32. [32] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Of course, upon re-reading, one gets the sense that they weren't paranoid enough!

  33. [33] 
    Kick wrote:


    *LOL* :)

  34. [34] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    that's one of my favorite flying circus sketches, yet it never seemed to garner the attention of the spanish inquisition or spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam and spam... what was i on about again?


  35. [35] 
    neilm wrote:

    My prediction: The Democrats win big in November and Trump pulls an Arnie and becomes a Democrat.

  36. [36] 
    Kick wrote:


    that's one of my favorite flying circus sketches, yet it never seemed to garner the attention of the spanish inquisition or spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam and spam... what was i on about again?

    They are so funny. I heard recently that Netflix has acquired the rights to their entire catalog and will begin streaming in Canada and the UK on April 15. Fans in the United States will have to wait until a later "as yet unannounced" date sometime in 2018.

    Note to CW: There is a glimmer of hope yet for Netflix.

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    my wife used to work for a hedge fund and she actually met john cleese at a party. all the hedge fund guys were wearing t-shirts and jeans, and cleese was the only one who came wearing a suit...

  38. [38] 
    Kick wrote:


    A right proper gentleman then. Very cool. :)

  39. [39] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    ''I'm looking forward to bilateral talks with the three Baltic states''...Can one have bilateral talks where four independent nations are involved?

    Trump's idiocy knows no bounds.

    China...told ya


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