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Friday Talking Points -- Mr. Trump's Wild Ride

[ Posted Friday, December 7th, 2018 – 17:44 PST ]

As is now normal, the past week in politics was a pretty wild ride. The stock market went up, then way down, then a bit back up, then way down again -- and that was in a week with only four trading days (Wednesday was a national day of mourning for George H. W. Bush, so the markets were closed). Trump drove much of this confusion, after meeting with the leader of China last weekend to discuss trade. Adding to the confusion was the arrest of the leader of a giant Chinese corporation on Canadian soil at the request of the American Justice Department, and a weaker-than-expected jobs report today.

What set this wild ride off were the vastly differing stories that Trump and the Chinese told about what was agreed to in that meeting last week. According to Trump and his minions, the Chinese had agreed to pretty much everything the U.S. demanded, while the only thing Trump gave them was a 90-day period where he wouldn't hike tariffs any further. China would soon be buying lots of agricultural products from American farmers again, and the Chinese tariff on American automobiles would be eliminated entirely. According to the Chinese, however, none of what Trump said was true. They didn't even verify the 90-day cooling-off period. And they certainly didn't back up any of Trump's other wild claims.

The stock market reacted, first by going up on Trump's rosy picture, and then dropping 800 points on Tuesday. The markets were closed Wednesday, but astonishingly the Trump administration did little-to-nothing to calm investor fears in any way. Quite the opposite, in fact, as Trump took to Twitter to threaten to levy even more tariffs on China. Then, Thursday morning, at the behest of Trump's Justice Department, the head of a giant Chinese telecommunications corporation was arrested in Canada, to be extradited to America to stand trial for breaking sanctions on Iran. The stock market again reacted, and has been fluctuating wildly ever since (mostly in a downward direction). This has wiped out all the gains stocks made for the entire year, it is worth mentioning.

In politics, Trump announced his picks for attorney general and ambassador to the United Nations today, both of which are already seen as flawed characters. The midterm election season is still grinding on, as Democrats officially picked up yet another district in California, bringing their total net gain in the House to 40 seats. This means a clean sweep for California Democrats, because they picked up every single California district that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but also voted to send a Republican to the House. All of these districts were successfully flipped to blue this time around, including every single representative from former Republican stronghold Orange County, as well as a large swath of the former Republican stronghold in California's Central Valley. At this rate, Republicans are about to become an endangered species in the Golden State. Out of the 53 members of the House from California, in the new Congress Republicans will hold only seven seats, to the Democrats' 46 seats. Can you say "blue wave"?

In North Carolina's Ninth District, there is increasing evidence of outright election fraud, as a Republican operative paid by the Republican candidate is now accused of essentially stealing the election by all sorts of illegal means. Democrats in the House have already called for the "winner" not to be seated in January. As of this writing, both the Republican Party chair in the state and the "winner" himself have said they'd agree to holding a whole new election if these charges are substantiated, so we could have to wait a few months to find out the real totals from the "blue wave" midterms. If the Democratic candidate actually scored an eventual upset, that would push the Democratic pickup total to 41, and give the Republicans only 199 seats in the incoming House.

Of course, there is more than one way to steal an election. In Wisconsin, Democrats running for the state's assembly won 54 percent of the overall vote. For achieving this solid majority, though, they only won 36 of the 99 seats -- a little better than one-third. Democrats only picked up a single seat in this election cycle. This is gerrymandering in action, folks, and shows why electing Democrats up and down the ballot in the next few years will be crucial, as we get closer to the once-in-a-decade redistricting after the 2020 Census.

Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan are attempting to follow North Carolina's lead in stripping as much power as they can from the incoming Democratic governors and other state officials. This is known as sore-loser behavior, but that's not stopping the GOP from this blatant power grab. Maybe we should change the term "lame duck" to something a lot more powerful and threatening -- like "cornered rabid duck" perhaps? Because these ducks seem anything but lame.

Of course, the political world took a somber pause midweek, for the funeral services of George H. W. Bush. Bush was lauded to the skies for being a decent and honest human being, and for being the last Republican president to know what it means to actually act presidential while in office. Speaker after speaker threw all kinds of shade at Trump, but thankfully he didn't seem to understand the message so he didn't flip out on Twitter or anything.

However, while the Bush funeral provided a handy way for people to laud all kinds of political ideals (all the ones Trump ignores), there was more than just a hint of whitewash about the proceedings. You know the one name nobody mentioned during all the praise for Bush? Willie Horton. Everyone conveniently forgot that Bush used blatant racism in his presidential campaign, which was the one thing Trump actually followed his lead on in his own campaign. Sure, Bush was a war hero and had all kinds of admirable qualities, but he also never apologized for that Willie Horton ad.

Bob Mueller scored some headlines this week, with three court filings dealing with: Michael Flynn (recommendation: no prison time), Michael Cohen (recommendation: lots of prison time), and Paul Manafort (recommendation: as much prison time as possible). These last two stories just appeared while we were writing this, so it's going to take some time to examine exactly what they mean. Reading the Mueller tea leaves of his court filings has been the only way anyone outside his investigation knows anything that is happening within it, so the punditocracy will have a field day over these three important filings. But don't let anyone tell you they know what's about to happen next, or knows the full extent of what Mueller's team has uncovered, because they will be lying to you. Nobody knows but Mueller -- let's all try to keep that in mind during the rampant speculation. Mueller has achieved what was previously considered impossible in Washington -- a leak-free political investigation.

Let's see, what else is going on? The Democratic field of candidates for president for the 2020 election has officially narrowed by two, as Deval Patrick and Michael Avenatti have both decided against a run. This still leaves almost 30 prominent and powerful Democrats who could announce a run, but we'll likely have to wait until next year before these announcements are made ("I'm going to consult with my family over the holidays" is a common refrain, these days). Whoever winds up running, it's pretty easy to predict it's going to be an absolute free-for-all, that's for sure.

And to end on some good news, there are now legal recreational marijuana stores operating in Massachusetts, although my contacts there tell me that only two stores have so far opened, and they're both in the far west of the state -- meaning those living in Boston have something like a two-hour drive to buy some legal weed. So there's definitely room for improvement. These stores, it should be noted, are the only legal recreational marijuana stores that exist so far east of the Mississippi River. This won't last forever, because another state (Michigan) just legalized possession, after a successful legalization ballot measure. Michigan hasn't drawn up rules for a legal marketplace yet, so buying and selling weed is still technically illegal, but possessing it and growing it are now OK.

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Let's see... all three Democratic ex-presidents looked impressively presidential this week, while attending the funeral of George H. W. Bush, but then when seated next to Donald Trump, that's pretty easy to do. Still, it was a dramatic contrast to see Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter this week, reminding us all of how things used to be in Washington.

Nancy Pelosi might be deserving of another award, but since the story so far is pretty vague, it'll have to wait. Pelosi is reportedly considering a move that makes all kinds of sense, and that would also please the faction of the incoming House Democrats who aren't so far inclined to support her bid for speakership.

The House Republicans instituted a rule for themselves a while back which placed term limits on House committee chairmen. This was designed to avoid certain members growing old in their committees and refusing to relinquish power to a younger generation of Republicans. Whether it has worked as designed or not is open to some interpretation, but it definitely has shaken things up on the GOP side of the aisle.

Democrats have never adopted the chairman term-limit rule, though. But they're now facing exactly the problem that this rule was designed to prevent -- younger members chafing to get into leadership positions, while the senior citizens in the Democratic caucus just become more entrenched and powerful over the years.

Pelosi has the chance to change this, by continuing the Republican rule as an official House rule when Democrats take over in January. This makes all kinds of sense, because it would relieve some of the pressure from the newbies. So the fact that Pelosi's considering this move is good news, but as we said the report is still rather vague as to whether Pelosi is truly committed to it, whether the newcomers will be satisfied with the move, and whether any changes to the current rule will take place. So she'll have to wait to be awarded for this move until she actually makes it.

Instead, this week we're giving the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award to the Democratic National Committee, for their work on rebuilding the presidential debate schedule, and by doing so removing all the unfairness that was present the last time around.

You'll remember, of course, that Hillary Clinton supporters actively gamed the debate system in the 2016 campaign to favor Clinton over Bernie Sanders. This move backfired in rather spectacular fashion, when all the machinations were exposed. So this time around, the D.N.C. has to bend over backwards to ensure that the process is fair and not tilted towards any particular candidate in any way.

This is going to be crucially important, because the 2020 Democratic primary race is going to rival what the Republicans went through in 2016. The GOP had as many as 17 people running, who had to be accommodated in their debates somehow.

While this week brought the news that two Democrats have decided against making a presidential run (former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and legal gadfly Michael Avenatti), the Wikipedia page on the 2020 election still lists a whopping 27 Democrats who have indicated at least an interest in running. Fitting two dozen (or more) people on a debate stage is going to be almost impossible, obviously. So there will have to be some scheme to assure that all the candidates are somehow treated fairly.

This week, while details aren't yet set in stone, the D.N.C. indicated that one of their top priorities was not to repeat the Republicans' format of having a "kiddie table" debate before a primetime debate of the highest-polling candidates. Instead, somehow the Democrats are going to randomize the process of who gets on the main stage -- at least for the first phase of the debate schedule -- and will be considering other signs of candidate strength than just national polling (such as number of campaign offices or even number of followers on social media).

So while they haven't worked out an exact plan yet, we have to praise the D.N.C. for (1) realizing that the problems exist, (2) realizing that they put a thumb on the scale last time and that that was absolutely unacceptable, (3) working on the problem very early in the process, before most candidacies are even announced, and finally for (4) realizing that there are going to be a record number of Democrats running next time around. That's all to the good. Putting the debate rules in place before the race even begins should help assure impartiality to all candidates. Tackling the thorny problem of having too many candidates for an effective debate is also going to be crucial, with such a wide field expected to run. And finding new and creative ways to make the whole process inclusive is also to be lauded.

The D.N.C. quite obviously blew it last time around. This time around, they seem to have realized it and seem to be taking action to avoid a repeat. Of course, we could be biased in our MIDOTW choice this week, because a few days before this report hit the news, we had explicitly called upon the D.N.C. to take action on the debates, as quickly as possible. Such bias is always a possibility, of course, when people actually do what you tell them to do (heh).

We look forward to seeing the final debate rules they come up with, but for acting so early in the campaign calendar and for making an honest attempt to correct not only all the biases that existed last time and also to be able to handle a large field of candidates, the Democratic National Committee is our collective winner of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. Keep up the good work, folks!

[Congratulate the Democratic National Committee on their official contact page, to let them know you appreciate their efforts, and to share your own thoughts on improving the presidential debate rules.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Maybe it was the somber nature of the week in politics, which to a large part was dominated by the funeral for ex-president George Herbert Walker Bush, but we didn't notice any Democrats being disappointing this week.

The battle for Pelosi's speakership faded into the background this week, and Democrats in Congress joined with Republicans in punting the budget battle two weeks down the road (because the funeral took up so much time and energy, right before the deadline). So all around, it was a pretty quiet week.

As always, if anyone has any suggestion for a Democrat who deserves the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award but escaped our notice, please feel free to nominate someone down in the comments.

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 511 (12/7/18)

You might call this the "Trump lied!" edition of our talking points, since fully five out of seven of them deal directly with this theme. Trump has been lying all along, of course, but maybe (just maybe) he's starting to pay a personal price as more and more people are now noticing these lies. Then, at the end, we've got some choice quotes from Rex Tillerson, who famously once called President Trump a "moron" (while he was serving as Trump's secretary of state, mind you). As time goes by, Tillerson seems to be getting more and more forthcoming about what it was really like to work for Donald Trump.

Enjoy, as always, whether you're a Democrat being interviewed on a Sunday morning political show or whether you're just a Democratic supporter trying to make points in a watercooler discussion.

 

1
   Election fraud!

Not holding our breath or anything....

"We are witnessing possibly the most egregious election fraud scandal in the past half-century, down in North Carolina. Now, Republicans have been warning about fraudulent voting schemes for decades, so of course they're out front denouncing the growing scandal, right? Well, no. In fact, there is a deafening sound of silence from their side of the aisle. I wonder why that could be? Could it be that this doesn't involve their favorite paper tiger -- voters attempting to cast illegal votes -- but rather from real election fraud instead? Ballots were misdirected by a man on the payroll of the Republican candidate, ballots may have been altered and then turned in, and some ballots may have just conveniently found their way into a swamp somewhere. Tammany Hall's Boss Tweed would be proud, right? But even though this is nothing short of a blatant attack on American election integrity -- not from some far-off foreign actors but from a GOP-paid operative right here at home -- Democrats seem to be the only ones outraged. The only conclusion is that Republicans don't seem to be able to recognize election fraud when it walks right up and smacks them in the face. Maybe all their posturing over fraud was nothing short of partisan hypocrisy? Their silence now speaks volumes."

 

2
   Trump lied! (part 1)

Part of a continuing series, of course....

"Donald Trump lied to America! He campaigned on building a border wall on America's southern border, and each and every time he promised that Mexico would pay for it. Then when he asked Congress for billions of dollars of American taxpayer money to build his wall, he promised that the money would be returned in due course, because he would force Mexico to pay for the wall in a trade deal. He said things like: 'there are a lot of ways Mexico could pay for the wall' -- remember that? But now, after two years, Trump finally announced a minor revision of the NAFTA treaty with Canada and Mexico and guess what? There is no wall money from Mexico in the agreement. None! Not a penny, not a peso! And now Trump is back to demanding that Congress give him $15 billion for his wall. So, Mister President, the only conclusion is that you have been lying all along about making Mexico pay for your wall. Trump lied, plain and simple. And now he wants to stick you, me, and everyone else with the bill."

 

3
   Trump lied! (part 2)

This one is just too easy....

"One other big theme from Trump's campaign -- and since -- was how evil undocumented immigrants are and how they are ruining the economy by competing with Americans in the workforce. Which makes it all the more surprising to discover that Donald Trump hires illegal immigrants to work for his golf resorts. Boy, he must think his supporters are pretty stupid, because this is really nothing short of a kick in their face by Trump. Trump employs lots of legal immigrants at his businesses -- every year, Trump applies for dozens and dozens of special visas to allow immigrants to work for him. And now we find out that Trump also hires people without documents as well. If I met a Trump supporter today, I'd ask how they felt about Trump so blatantly lying to them about immigrants, while at the same time profiting off of them."

 

4
   Trump lied! (part 3)

Trump was driving this particular crazy train all week.

"Trump lied so many times about China this week that it's hard to even keep them all straight. Trump met with the Chinese leader last weekend, and afterwards promised everyone that he had cut an amazing deal with them which would bring an end to his trade war with them. The Chinese would buy more farm products right away, and there would be a 90-day period where neither country would impose any new tariffs. Also, Trump promised that China would completely remove their tariffs on American cars. But the Chinese refused to confirm any of that -- even the part about the 90-day period. The stock market first greeted the news warmly, then when it emerged that Trump was just making it all up out of whole cloth, the market turned sharply downward. Trump lied and the investors believed him. Trump didn't make the situation any better by tweeting out that he was, quote, The Tariff Man, unquote, and he really may have done some harm by trying to tout his nonexistent deal with China as a 'BIG leap forward.' Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of Chinese history knows that the Great Leap Forward was an absolute disaster for China in the 1950s and 1960s, and resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people. It's been called one of the worst man-made disasters in all of history, in fact. So maybe not the best metaphor to use, eh?"

 

5
   Trump lied! (part 4)

Lindsey Graham wins quote of the week on this one.

"Donald Trump tried to lie and cover up the fact that the Saudi Arabian crown prince ordered the killing of a Washington Post journalist, by sending his stooges to brief the Senate with rosy-tinted lies about what happened. But the head of the C.I.A. was not allowed to talk to all the senators, and instead held a briefing this week limited to only a handful of them on the right committees. Senator Lindsey Graham summed up this briefing by stating: 'There's not a smoking gun -- there's a smoking saw,' referring to the bone saw the Saudis brought along to dismember the journalist's body. Another Republican senator was also convinced of the crown prince's guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. Bob Corker responded after the C.I.A. briefing: 'If the crown prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes.' In short, even Republican senators are now openly calling the president a liar."

 

6
   Trump lied! (ad infinitum)

We wrote about all of this earlier in the week, we should mention.

"It's discovery time at the White House. Yes, it's that time of year, when subpoenas are flying and depositions under oath are not far off. While everyone's been obsessed with Bob Mueller's investigation, three other court cases are moving forward. One case charging the president with violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution entered the discovery phase this week, with subpoenas going out to 13 Trump entities. Another case from Summer Zervos might mean the president will be forced to be deposed under oath before the end of January -- on his sexual past, on his treatment of women in general, and on his hush-money payments to women accusers to keep them quiet. If Trump lies about anything during this, he will have perjured himself. And at the state level, a New York case charging the Trump Foundation with criminal activity is also moving forward and could lead to legal jeopardy not only for Trump, but for his children who sit on the foundation's board. So in the next couple of months, we could learn about all kinds of further lies from Donald Trump, in all sorts of contexts. Bob Mueller is in the headlines more, but these cases may prove to uncover illegal behavior long before Mueller's investigation is even done."

 

7
   Tell us what you really think, Rex!

Hoo boy. You can tell he was trying to restrain himself, but even so.... The following quotes all come from Rex Tillerson speaking about what it was like to work for Donald Trump as his secretary of state. Each and every one of these lines is really a ready-made talking point for any Democrat. Because, once again, Tillerson confirms what everyone else is saying about Trump's management style in the White House.

What was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented ExxonMobil corporation to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn't like to read, doesn't read briefing reports, doesn't like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, "This is what I believe." He acts on his instincts; in some respects, that looks like impulsiveness. But it's not his intent to act on impulse. I think he really is trying to act on his instincts. So often, the president would say, "Here's what I want to do, and here's how I want to do it," and I would have to say to him, "Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can't do it that way. It violates the law."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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27 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Mr. Trump's Wild Ride”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    well, duh.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Indeed.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What about the court case against the United States government for immoral behavior vis-à-vis its failure to act against the destructive and existential consequences of climate change?

  4. [4] 
    neilm wrote:

    What did we do to deserve this buffoon of a President?

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @neil,
    we nominated hillary clinton and didn't take seriously enough the levels of class-based rage against neoliberalism.
    JL

  6. [6] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    nypoet-
    Hey- that's MY line!

  7. [7] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm

    Now that's [4] a toughie! I wonder if it could have something to do with the fact that you nominated the only U.S. citizen over the age of 35 capable of losing to a 3rd-rate reality TV actor/world-class asshole to run against him???

    You must be so proud!

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    You must be so proud!

    I'm proud I didn't vote for the clown. I'm also proud I supported a totally acceptable candidate and refuse to blame her for the character assassination she endured over years from dirty tricks and lies.

    I pity the right wingers who are tarnished with the stink of Trump for a decade to come.

  9. [9] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Re TP 2 ("Trump lied")

    Haven't heard from anybody else on this, but I've long had a suspicion, gleaned from the moron's "Trade wars are easy to win", and "There are lots of ways Mexico could pay for the wall", that he is so ignorant about economics that he thinks it's the exporters (Chinese and Mexicans) who are the people who pay the tariffs he enacts. Wouldn't surprise me at all. He actually is that dumb.

  10. [10] 
    neilm wrote:

    So the latest is that Kelly is to step down at the end of the year, so it is time to check the competition:

    thestig: 8/21/17
    paula: 8/25/17
    listen: 10/1/17
    JM from Ct: 10/20/17
    altohone: 10/31/17
    CW: 11/12/17
    balthasar: 1/6/18
    nypoet22: 1/20/18
    BigGuy: 4/1/18
    kick: 5/11/18
    neil: 8/1/18
    Don: 1/20/21
    liz & JFC: abstain

    Source: http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/08/15/kelly-exit-contest/#comment-107997

    Well, well, looks like it is Smug Mode for a certain “neilm”!

  11. [11] 
    neilm wrote:

    8/1/18

    Reason: Kelly will resign, using "personal issues" as an excuse after completing a "respectable" length of time in the role. There will be frequent rumors that 45 will fire him but in the end 45 won't have the cojones. By this time his role will be symbolic as all normal CoS power will have been undermined by 45, his family and some of the weird cronies.

    This was my answer to the second part of the competition which asked the reason Kelly was going. I’m feeling rather pleased with myself.

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    neilm-4

    Slavery
    Treatment of indigenous peoples
    Nixon
    Ford Pinto
    My Mother the Car

  13. [13] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Does anybody know why US House seat PA-05 is not considered a flip from red to blue?

    It isn't because of the redistricting because every CD in PA was redrawn but, unlike PA-06, PA-07, PA-14 (flipped blue to red) and PA-17, only PA-05 was not included as a flip seat. There is no obvious reason why it has been left off the list.

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @mopshell,

    you're confusing the new fifth district with the old one. the court ordered redistricting created the new fifth district which beforehand did not exist.

    JL

  15. [15] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @neil,

    well, i said he'd last longer than most people thought he would. including myself apparently.

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/08/15/kelly-exit-contest/#comment-107949

  16. [16] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Bush 41's passing, and seemingly endless funerary period, dis seem to give Trump a measure of cover this week. What with his Kremlin overlords pointing and laughing at Trump's expense via state run tv, Cohen, Manafort, a minced WAPO correspondent and Putin glad-handing M.B.S in Argentina and a myriad of other catastrophes, Trump had a shite week, even by his mayhemic standards. The Chinese debacle leading to the stock market stutter, rogue GOP political types muttering openly about the US' role in Yemen and the spectre of a pile of House hearings coming down the pipe have done nothing to improve Trump's mood either. Were Trump not so self-absorbed and completely enmeshed in a warped world of his own imaginings, I'd say he's close to breaking point.

    My money remains on Trump being stretchered out some quiet tradesmen door and whistled of to some secret sanitorium for a dose of giggle pills and holy water. I give the poor benighted prick six months, max, before he totally loses his slender grip on reality.

    C.W... I fully intend to contribute to the FTP Adblocker fund on or about Christmas, cash this time of year is tighter than a Ducks arse, made more so this year by a string of unforeseen expenditures, new beds for the kids, new bath and shower and my fish are eating me out of house and tank...I usually put some dosh aside for the religious folks, they watch me spend it at the liquor store while they ring their bells and dispense their seasonal drivel at passersby.

    LL&P

  17. [17] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    neilm (10)-
    In these kind of pick a date contests, the way it is usually done is that once the date you pick has passed, you are eliminated.

    Kind of like being on The Price is Right and guessing a price of 537 dollars on an item priced at 534 dollars.

    537 is closer than guessing 1 dollar, but 1 dollar still wins.

  18. [18] 
    neilm wrote:

    Don (17):

    I didn't see those rules :)

    I think "The Price is Right" is the game the Saudis are playing with the Trump family.

  19. [19] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    nypoet222 [14]

    I an NOT confusing anything. You aren't paying attention.

    What part of EVERY CD IN PA WAS REDRAWN AND RENUMBERED do you not understand?

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @mopshell,

    don't have a cow, i was just paraphrasing what ballotpedia said. other districts while they may have been tweaked somewhat were still fairly similar in shape and location, enough so that they still had congresscritters who were considered incumbents. presumably those were not reshaped as completely as pa-05, which post-redistricting was considered to have been vacant.

    JL

  21. [21] 
    TheStig wrote:

    There has been a last minute malfunction in filling the WH Chief O' Staff post. Don't get your Nick Ayers in a twist about it.

  22. [22] 
    Paula wrote:

    [10] neilm: Congrats on Kelly prediction!

  23. [23] 
    neilm wrote:

    Don't get your Nick Ayers in a twist about it.

    Good one!

    Nick Ayers gives me the heebie-jeebies - he seems like a very competent "the ends justify the means" type of guy - just what the White House doesn't need - we need to keep the staff incompetent and/or overwhelmed so they are useless for all four years of this joke on our country.

    Ayers probably decided that, as a young 'un, the White House is where reputations and careers get obliterated and is smart enough to get out of dodge, and back to his consulting company where he is raking it in.

  24. [24] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    nypoet22 [20]

    You could have given this explanation - without the insult - in your previous comment. But you chose to be insulting instead. Twice. Why? What problem do you have with me?

  25. [25] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @mopshell,

    i certainly didn't intend any insult. perhaps we're having cross-cultural pragmatic failure? see below:

    https://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/americanvarieties/newyorkcity/

    JL

  26. [26] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Neilm-
    The Saudis and the Trump family are just the tip of the icebergs.

    This is why I keep trying to get people to understand that when politicians take Big Money the price of taking that Big Money is wrong and the price of voting for candidates that take the Big Money is too high compared to the return on the investment of a vote.

  27. [27] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    neilm [4] -

    My favorite theory is we've slipped into some bizzaro world alternate reality and we haven't quite figured out how to get back again.

    Or a sci-fi writer conceived of the idea, and it popped into existence because of that (see: Robert A.
    Heinlein's "Number Of The Beast"...).

    :-)

    nypoet22 [5] -

    OK, yeah, or it could be that. Good points, all.

    C. R. Stucki [7] -

    Well, there's many words, but "proud" sure ain't one of them!!

    [9] -

    Yes. Yes, he is. See his understanding of trade imbalances, where if we run a trade deficit, according to The Orange One, we're "getting ripped off" somehow.

    Sigh. He really is that dumb, sad to say.

    neilm [10] -

    AHA! I was just going to look that info up, for tomorrow's column. I remember that contest (and getting it massively wrong), and now that the time is upon us, I thought it was time to go back and see who got closest! So thank you for providing both the data and the link!

    And, of course, you are right. Even "August" is the closest guess, this far out. I will publicly award kudos tomorrow, promise! Unless Trump stirs up some sort of shitstorm that pre-empts it, of course (always a possibility, these days).

    I have to compliment you on your accuracy, though -- Kelly lasted a whale of a lot longer than I ever expected!

    :-)

    [11] -

    Damn, that is impressive! Pretty close to exactly what is happening now!

    TheStig [12] -

    Hoo boy. That could be a LOT longer list! How about "the designated hitter rule" just for one?

    Heh.

    As for the Pinto, in a former life I did software quality assurance (finding all the bugs before it was released to the public). The Pinto was a cautionary tale we'd tell to all the other departments: "The Ford Pinto shipped six months early -- ahead of schedule. But does anyone remember that now, or do they remember the one fatal bug it had?"

    :-)

    Mopshell [13] -

    The NYT/AP calls it a flip. They put it in the "likely Dem" column, but they do credit it as a flipped seat. Dunno what list you're looking at, here's mine:

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/06/us/elections/results-house-elections.html

    nypoet22 [15] -

    Hey, I was close... well, OK, a whole year off, but when you look at the MONTHS, I was close!

    :-)

    Heh.

    James T Canuck [16] -

    Have to compliment you on "mayhemic standards." Nice turn of phrase!

    And as for donations, I promise never to stand outside a liquor store ringing a bell. That should deserve some consideration, right?

    Heh.

    OK, I haven't updated the thermometer in a few days, I promise I'll get on that soon...

    PLEASE consider a donation, everyone, as we really need to pay the bills and keep the lights on, and we only beg once a year!

    Don Harris [17] -

    Around here, I usually go with "date closest, whether early or late" to avoid the Price Is Right tactic of trying to be either first place or last place in line. So neilm is still closest, by our rules...

    neilm [18] -

    OK, now THAT was funny!

    TheStig [21] -

    Nick Ayers! Hoo boy...

    Now THAT was really, really funny! Well done, sirrah!

    :-)

    OK, that seems like a good time to wrap this up...

    -CW

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