ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points -- 2020 Democratic Field Gets Bigger By The Day

[ Posted Friday, February 1st, 2019 – 19:38 UTC ]

For a change, we're not going begin with Trump's idiocies-of-the-week. After the whole shutdown fiasco, Trump's had a (relatively) quiet week, so we're instead going to focus on what's going on with Democrats first, and then just quickly itemize Trump's flailing later on.

The biggest news on the Democratic side of the aisle -- as it will be from now until at least the spring of 2020 -- is the presidential contest. The race is getting bigger, as more and more people toss their chapeaux into the ring.

Today's news is that Senator Cory Booker is running. Precisely nobody was surprised at this development. Earlier in the week, Kamala Harris kicked off her campaign in pretty spectacular fashion (more on this later). For those keeping score at home, this means at least four senators will be running: Booker, Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren. This list is, however, expected to grow soon, as Bernie Sanders seems on the brink of joining the race.

The full list includes more than just senators, of course. We also currently have two House representatives (John Delaney of Maryland and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawai'i), one former cabinet member (Julián Castro), and one mayor (Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana).

This week also brought news which shrinks the final list a bit as well. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti officially declined to run this week, and the first Democrat (West Virginia former state senator Richard Ojeda) officially bowed out of the race.

This leaves Democrats with a total (to date) of eight candidates who have either held some political office or are currently holding office. It doesn't count the gadfly candidates, but with the 2020 field expected to be enormous, they can easily be discounted (at least, for now).

Speculation still abounds for over two dozen other Democrats with either rumors or outright statements that they're possibly interested in a run. We're only one month into 2019, and the Democratic 2020 field is already bigger than it was in 2016. In other words, we're in for a wild ride.

Speaking of wild presidential rides, former head of Starbucks Howard Schultz ran the idea of an independent run up the national flagpole this week, on 60 Minutes. To his chagrin, absolutely nobody saluted his idea. Quite the opposite, in fact. Maybe the whole notion that only a billionaire businessman can save the country has finally died an ignoble death? One can only hope... (more on Schultz in a moment).

And over on the Republican side, Jeff Flake officially announced he won't be challenging Trump in a GOP primary bid, but Maryland Governor Larry Hogan certainly seems like he's considering the idea.

To shift gears a bit, there's currently an enormous sea-change happening right now in the Democratic Party -- some of it from presidential candidates, some of it from a woman who is too young to even run for president. We wrote about this earlier in the week, but still the turnabout is worth noting. All of a sudden, it is no longer frightening for Democratic candidates or officeholders to advocate raising taxes on the rich.

This is a big deal, because Republicans have so effectively used the "tax-and-spend" blunt instrument over the last few decades in the political arena. Roughly from Reagan onwards, the GOP mantra has been: "Tax cuts good; tax hikes bad," by which they really mean: "Tax cuts for rich folks like us good; everyone else can go screw themselves."

Finally -- finally -- the public seems to be coming out of the haze of misguided trickle-down beliefs. Trump's tax cut was the most unpopular tax cut since World War II, which means the time is ripe for Democrats to propose raising taxes on the millionaires and billionaires. The Overton Window has shifted in a big way, and only over the past month or so (which is lightning-fast, really).

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proposing a 70 percent top marginal income tax rate. Bernie Sanders is proposing raising the estate tax to 77 percent on the wealthiest heirs. Elizabeth Warren is proposing a wealth tax. And the media is taking them all seriously, for once.

They should, because while right-wingers will weep and wail about how "radical" such an idea is, they are just flat-out wrong. Taxing the rich is not only a mainstream idea, it is actually wildly popular:

Voters in the Fox News poll support tax increases on families making more than $10 million annually by a whopping 46-point margin, 70 to 24 percent. In the survey both lower- and higher-income households favor raising taxes on millionaires, and even a majority of self-identified Republicans support higher taxes on incomes over $10 million.

Got all of that? We liked the phrase "whopping 46-point margin" the best, personally. The same article helpfully points out someone else who used to support the idea of a wealth tax, if the poll numbers weren't enough:

Back during his first serious flirtation with running for the White House -- as a Reform Party candidate in the 2000 campaign -- [Donald] Trump released an economic plan centered around a one time 14.25 percent tax on "net worth" over $10 million.

"By my calculations, 1 percent of Americans, who control 90 percent of the wealth in this country, would be affected by my plan," Trump said at the time. "The other 99 percent of the people would get deep reductions in their federal income taxes."

See? Even Trump agrees: Tax the rich!

What else? Speaking of freaking Republicans out, newly-minted Senator Kyrsten Sinema caused some pearl-clutching on the right by wearing a stylish outfit on the Senate floor which consisted of a short dress and thigh-high boots. She looked pretty fabulous, but that didn't stop the faux moralizing on the right. But then, it's pretty hard to take that "holier than thou" attitude anymore, with who they've got in the White House. It just kind of rings hollow these days, doesn't it?

OK, we've got plenty else to get to, so let's just run through the rest of the week in lightning fashion. Nancy Pelosi is so confident she's winning the battle for public opinion on the border wall/shutdown fight that she is allowing Trump to give his State Of The Union speech next Tuesday night -- before the three-week deadline is up. Recent Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will deliver the Democratic response, it was also announced.

Today, Trump announced that the U.S. will be pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia. As with any interaction between Putin and Trump, this will bear close scrutiny by all.

Trump threw a hissy fit after watching his Intelligence chiefs brief Congress on how wrong Trump is about just about everything in the world, which sent him into a rage and a tweetstorm. By the end of the week, somehow they had convinced him that they had been "misquoted" (they hadn't been -- the testimony was caught on camera) or "taken out of context" (again, this didn't actually happen). Just more proof that the man in the Oval Office has no freakin' idea what he's doing, we suppose.

Just to rub salt in the wound, the Senate then rebuked Trump's Syria withdrawal policy, with almost all the Republicans voting their displeasure at the president's plan.

Some of all this dysfunction might come from the fact that Trump has an acting defense secretary, and acting chief of staff, and an acting attorney general right now. And that's not even a full list of top White House positions with no permanent appointees.

Let's see, what else? Yet another tell-all book about the Trump White House is out, this one named Team Of Vipers, by Cliff Sims. It tells exactly the same story of chaos and infantile presidential behavior as all the other tell-alls have told.

And finally, another deep dive into the legalized highway robbery known as "asset forfeiture" was published by a South Carolina newspaper. From the Greenville News story:

This yielded a clear picture of what is happening: Police are systematically seizing cash and property -- many times from people who aren't guilty of a crime -- netting millions of dollars each year. South Carolina law enforcement profits from this policing tactic: the bulk of the money ends up in its possession.... These seizures leave thousands of citizens without their cash and belongings or reliable means to get them back. They target black men most, our investigation found -- with crushing consequences when life savings or a small business payroll is taken.

Yet another reminder of why this odious practice needs to be found unconstitutional as soon as possible.

And we close with a quick note about the news that broke while we were writing this article. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has come out and apologized for the yearbook photo of a man in blackface next to a KKK-robed man, but he has as yet not resigned his office.

We give it until Monday morning, at the latest. This is the type of thing that a Democratic politician simply cannot just explain away and apologize over in this day and age. He may not know it yet, but Northam is toast. Again, our best guess: he'll resign by Monday morning, at the absolute latest. This is a fatal political blow.

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We considered giving the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award to Stacey Abrams, but felt it was premature. So she'll have to settle for an Honorable Mention instead.

Stacey Abrams was named this week to be the person to deliver the rebuttal to next Tuesday's State Of The Union speech. The choice was, apparently, pretty obvious. Chuck Schumer: "We were sitting around thinking about this three weeks ago, and her name came up. Immediately, everyone in the room said, 'Let's do it.'" Nancy Pelosi seconded this, saying that Abrams: "embodies the American Dream. Her electrifying message of courage, perseverance and hope reinvigorated our nation and our politics, and continues to inspire millions of Americans in every part of the country."

Abrams will be not only the first black woman to give the official response, but also the first person to do so while not currently holding electoral office. That's pretty impressive all around.

We have one other Honorable Mention to give out, as well, in more of a snarky vein. We'd like to honor the first Democrat to drop out of the presidential race. Yes, you read that right.

Less than two weeks after he resigned his West Virginia senate seat to run for president, Richard Ojeda has announced that his campaign is over almost before it began:

"When I was a kid in grade school, my teachers always said that anyone could grow up and become president," Ojeda said. "Unfortunately, what I'm starting to realize is that unless you have wealth, influence and power, it's not gonna happen."

The Army veteran and pro-coal populist Democrat said he couldn't in good conscience ask people to continue donating "to a campaign that's probably not gonna get off the ground."

We're giving Ojeda an award for realizing very early on that his run was doomed. The winnowing of the Democratic field over the next year and a half is going to be brutal, and we will likely see a few candidates hang on long past their "due by" date. So it's refreshing to see someone realize early on that he simply doesn't have a chance.

Snark aside, though, our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week was none other than our own home-state Senator Kamala Harris. She kicked off her campaign last weekend in Oakland, and drew a crowd bigger than Barack Obama managed to draw during his own campaign. That's pretty impressive right there.

We have no idea of what her chances are in the end, and we actually view Harris with a fairly skeptical eye (she, and a few other contenders, became a progressive rather late in her career), but we cannot deny that she has made one of the best (if not "the best") campaign launches to date. She actually made her big announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but the Oakland rally was the real kickoff to her campaign. Oakland is pretty friendly territory, since fewer than five percent of the people there voted for Donald Trump.

Harris then followed up her rally with a nationally-broadcast CNN town hall in Iowa, which is about as high-profile as you can get, this early in the race. Republicans immediately took one clip from this event and tried to fearmonger on her support for Medicare For All, but this was yet another example of the mainstream media breathlessly reporting something that everyone who knows anything at all about the subject already knew all along. Yes, single-payer means the removal of the middle-man (health insurance companies) from the equation. But then, it always has. It's not new or anything. And it's not something Harris just invented.

Even with this fake outrage, Harris had an excellent week all around. Previously considered somewhat of a lightweight on the national stage (she's only been in the Senate for a couple of years, after all), this week Kamala Harris leapfrogged straight into frontrunner status. She is now being spoken of in the same breath as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, in other words.

That's a pretty impressive first week for a campaign, and that's why Kamala Harris is the winner of this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. Maybe she'll flame out at some point, maybe she'll become the Democratic nominee. But whatever ultimately happens, Harris sure did have a great first week.

[Congratulate Senator Kamala Harris on her Senate contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

[Editor's Note: Please read the entire section, as it has been updated with late-breaking news.]

He says he's been a lifelong Democrat, so for the time being we'll just take him at his word (in terms of qualifying for this award). Howard Schultz, the ex-C.E.O. of Starbucks, this week floated the possibility of a third-party bid for president. Reaction from Democrats was swift and unforgiving, with one predicting that Schultz would be nothing more than: "Ralph Nader, but with money and coffee." Overall, we have to say his flirtation this week has disappointed more Democrats than anything else that happened. So Schultz is the clear winner of the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week.

Schultz, who is a billionaire, announced his flirtation on 60 Minutes last weekend. Since then, he's spent pretty much all his time badmouthing Democrats while remaining curiously silent on Donald Trump and the Republicans:

During an interview Tuesday on NPR's Morning Edition, Schultz, a billionaire, said that Warren's plan for a special 2 percent annual tax on Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 million is 'ridiculous.'... The exchange came just a few hours after Schultz called Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) 'a bit misinformed' and pushed back on her idea of a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent.... Schultz also knocked the views of a policy adviser to Ocasio-Cortez as 'un-American.'" Schultz also referred to Harris's comments on "Medicare-for-all" as "not American."

Democrats didn't take this too kindly. Here's how Warren responded to what Schultz had to say:

"When I see Elizabeth Warren come out with a ridiculous plan of taxing wealthy people a surtax of 2 percent because it makes a good headline or sends out a tweet, when she knows for a fact that's not something that's ever gonna be passed -- this is what's wrong," Schultz said. "You can't just attack these things in a punitive way by punishing people."

Warren, who launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid last month, fired back at the billionaire coffee kingpin later that morning.

"What's 'ridiculous' is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else," Warren wrote on Twitter. "The top 0.1%, who'd pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America. It's time for change."

Warren wasn't the only one to push back hard against criticism from Schultz:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) responded on Wednesday to criticism of her tax proposal by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz with this sharp question: "Why don't people ever tell billionaires who want to run for President that they need to 'work their way up' or that 'maybe they should start with city council first'?"

They weren't the only ones. Schultz, naturally, is in the midst of a book tour. Running for president pretty much always means an autobiographical (and hagiographical) book release, these days. Schultz dropped by a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan for a book signing, and got loudly heckled:

"Don't help elect Trump, you egotistical billionaire asshole!" the heckler shouted. "Go back to getting ratioed on Twitter. Go back to Davos with the other billionaire elite who think they know how to run the world!"

The comments received light boos, and the man was quickly escorted out. Then a few minutes later, a second heckler spoke up.

"Health care is a human right!" Health care is a human right! Health care is a human right! Health care is a human right! Health care is a human right!" he screamed.

The only good news came at the end of the week, when it was revealed that Schultz had (obviously) expected lots of loving support for a third-party bid that just didn't exist. Now, he's apparently rethinking the entire idea, according to FOX Business:

The intense nature of the criticism stunned Schultz, people close to him tell FOX Business. While he expected some carping, he did not foresee the ferocity of some of the vitriol, particularly from the party's top officials and operatives.... What people who have spoken with Schultz agree on is that he is now readjusting his message about the likelihood of an independent presidential campaign. During the 60 Minutes interview, Schultz seemed to be leaning in the direction of entering the race, stating the he is "seriously thinking of running for president... as a centrist independent." But a senior advisor to Schultz told FOX Business on Thursday that Schultz's decision is far from final -- and he won't make up his mind until at least the summer.

But it was Washington Post satirist Alexandra Petri who had the best idea, if Schultz is having second thoughts about what to do next. Her whole article is hilarious, from the opening paragraphs to the closer:

Good news, everyone!

I have thought this all through very carefully, and I have decided what potential independent presidential candidate Howard Schultz should do.

He should go to space.

. . .

Yet! He continues to say he feels a void that is waiting to be filled by his candidacy. What bigger void is there than space! What better place for a third-party candidate than... space? Go to space, Howard! Go to space!

Sounds like a great idea to us. After all, we're in the midst of seeing how a supposed business genius runs the country, so who in their right mind would think that the best person to replace him would be another billionaire with no government experience whatsoever? For his vanity toe-in-the-water independent bid (whether it happens or not), Howard Schultz was clearly this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week.

[UPDATE:]

OK, parts of this article were written earlier in the day than others. So the above section had already been written when there was late-breaking news from Virginia. Because of the seriousness of the offense, we feel it is absolutely necessary to add a second MDDOTW award this week, for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who was already in a political firestorm over comments that had been taken out of context in a fierce late-term abortion law debate. Obviously, someone dug in and did some opposition research, because the following story just appeared:

A photograph on Gov. Ralph Northam (D)'s medical school yearbook page shows a man wearing blackface next to another person in Ku Klux Klan robe.

The image is in a 1984 yearbook from Eastern Virginia Medical School on a page with other photos of Northam and personal information about the future governor.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist, graduated from the Norfolk medical school in 1984 after earlier graduating from Virginia Military Institute.

The page is labeled Ralph Shearer Northam, along with pictures of him in a jacket and tie, casual clothes and alongside his restored Corvette.

It shows two people, one in plaid pants, bow tie and black faced, and the other in full Klan robes. Both men appear to be holding beer cans.

These are individual pages where the student gets to choose the photos, layout, and text, mind you. It's not some random juxtaposition, in other words. And that photo is absolutely indefensible. Seriously, take a look, and see if you can imagine any apology that Northam could now make which would save his political career.

As of this writing, Northam still holds office. But that may not last until this article is published. This is such a serious offense that it wouldn't surprise us in the least if he steps down by the end of the day.

For now, we will pile on the condemnation with a second Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week. This was graduate school, not a high-school prank. Even if it had been, it probably still would be just as disqualifying for any member in good standing of the Democratic Party of today.

[Howard Schultz is still a private citizen, and our policy is not to give out contact information for such persons. However, if there's still time before he steps down, you can contact Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on his official contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions. Note: We had problems with verifying this link, so can't swear it's the right one.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 516 (2/1/19)

Once again, we have a rather mixed bag of talking points this week. In fact, we've really got a 5-for-1 bonus talking point at the end, to squeeze even more into our format.

Oh, but before we begin, we didn't know where else to put this, but if you'd like a smile to start off your weekend, check out this adorable photo series of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking to fellow Democrat Representative Gerry Connolly during the recess of a recent House committee hearing. We have no idea what was being said, but she seemed to be getting some advice from an experienced fellow Democrat. All was well by the end, as that last photo proves.

OK, enough of that. Let's just get on with the show.

 

1
   Tax the rich!

A resurgence of an old rallying cry for Democrats

"You know what? Democrats have been far too afraid for far too long to just come out and say what needs to happen in this country to fix some of the glaring inequality, so I'll just flat-out say it -- tax the rich! Taxing rich people and Wall Street more is not some fringe idea or some radical proposal, because pretty much every time the idea is polled the numbers show the public is overwhelmingly in favor of doing so. Red state voters, blue state voters, Republicans, Democrats, Independents -- it doesn't matter. They're all for raising taxes on the obscenely wealthy. The most recent of these polls was from Fox News, even. It showed that a majority of voters favored a tax on the wealthy so the government could spend more on things like infrastructure, national defense, education, and health care. The Fox poll showed that increasing taxes on those who make more than $10 million a year -- exactly what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just proposed -- is favored by 70-to-24 percent. Low-income households, high-income households, and even a majority of Republicans favored taxing the rich. Tax the rich is the new rallying cry for Democrats because the public is already on their side. No matter how much the right-wing media tries to portray this idea as some wacky radical notion, they are just flat-out wrong. Taxing the rich is not just a mainstream idea, it is overwhelmingly popular."

 

2
   Trump smacked down by Intelligence

Without the capital "I" that would be a phrase that could be used just about any week, but this time it's specific.

"The heads of the country's Intelligence services all disagreed with President Trump on foreign policy this week, on the record in a congressional hearing. The five biggest areas where Trump is living in fantasyland, versus factual reality: North Korea is 'unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons.' The Islamic State is not defeated. Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear deal that Trump pulled out of, and are not currently trying to build a nuclear weapon. Russia is still attempting to interfere with our elections. And finally, none of the intelligence officials said there is any sort of security crisis or national emergency on our southern border. In other words, our president has no idea what is going on in the rest of the world, and refuses to admit reality."

 

3
   Senate smacks Trump down

This point was further made in Mitch McConnell's Senate this week.

"The Senate just voted decisively, 68-to-23, to disavow Trump's stated goal of a precipitous withdrawal of American troops from Syria. This is just the latest of a number of times that Mitch McConnell has had to push back against Trump's worst foreign policy impulses. While 25 Democrats voted yes, the majority of the support for the non-binding measure came from Republicans who are obviously afraid that Trump is about to commit a big blunder on the world stage. The message of this stinging rebuke couldn't be clearer: listen to the people who know what is actually going on rather than just your gut feelings, Mister President."

 

4
   Democrats stronger than Republicans on border security

Rub this one in, because it hurts them so much to hear about.

"Donald Trump shut the government down over not getting his precious border wall. Not only did this send his own job approval ratings down, but it hurt his entire party as well. A new poll out shows that Americans now trust Democrats more than Trump on border security, by 50 percent to 41 percent. This issue almost always favors Republicans, but no more. Back in November, before the shutdown, the public trusted Republicans by a margin of 49 percent to 39 percent. That's the real legacy of Trump's shutdown -- the public has lost trust in him and his party to do what is right."

 

5
   Wouldn't know what to do with the money anyway

This needs a lot more attention than it has been getting.

"The Trump White House says it needs billions to beef up border security, but it really needs to get its own act together on this front. We already gave Trump $300 million to hire 7,500 new Border Patrol agents over five years. They spent over $60 million of this on a consulting firm which has produced only 33 new hires, out of a total gain last year of only 120 new agents. The target was supposed to have been 2,700 new agents per year. Even when we give Trump the money for border security that he wants, he is absolutely incompetent when spending it, obviously. One management company has made out like bandits -- to the tune of almost $2 million per new agent hired. What an obscene waste of taxpayer money!"

 

6
   Gag me with some duct tape

Rachel Maddow put this one to rest.

"Throughout all of January -- including one period where he mentioned it 22 times in 10 days -- President Trump has been telling a bizarre story that has no basis in actual reality. He quite graphically describes women being trafficked across our southern border who have been gagged and restrained by duct tape. There have been no such incidents. The administration even sent a memo out asking Border Patrol agents to recount any such instances, but they haven't gotten any such stories back yet that they've publicly admitted. Instead, it took Rachel Maddow to point out that this (and other fanciful border horror stories Trump has been telling) may have come from a recent movie, Sicario: Day of the Soldado. As Maddow put it: 'Now, in any normal administration it would be insane to suggest... even joke about the president of the United States seeing stuff in a movie... and maybe thinking it was real -- or at least real enough to justify an actual military deployment of thousands of active duty U.S. troops to the border.' She's right. It would be insane... with any other president. But not with this one. Trump thinks the movies he watches are actual reality, and he is basing his foreign policy on fiction. Strange but true, sadly."

 

7
   Mitch's "power grab"

Hoo boy... let the fireworks begin! Mitch McConnell gave a speech on the Senate floor this week, denouncing H.R. 1, the first bill proposed by Nancy Pelosi's House. In particular, he called the provision that would make Election Day a federal holiday some sort of sneaky Democratic "power grab." Democrats (and plenty of others) were quick to ridicule the idea. Here's just a sampling of the tweets McConnell's comment generated:

Senator Elizabeth Warren:

What exactly does @senatemajldr Mitch McConnell have against more Americans voting? Of course Congress should make it easier for Americans to vote on Election Day. And we need a constitutional amendment establishing a nationally recognized right to vote.

Representative Ted Lieu:

I'm sort of happy that McConnell fears making election day a federal holiday. It's such a frank acknowledgement that the GOP's ideas are not accepted by the majority of American voters.

Any party that is scared of people exercising the right to vote, will eventually be doomed.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:

Voting isn't a "power grab". It's democracy, and it's literally the entire point of our representative government.

And by the way: Not only should Election Day be a federal holiday, we need automatic voter registration and universal mail voting, too.

The Vermont Secretary of State:

Ensuring that every eligible voter can cast their ballot isn't a 'power grab,' it's a fundamental (and Constitutionally protected) right!

Election Day should be a federal holiday. We ALL win when more voters participate in our democratic process. What are we even arguing about?

And, finally, Dan Rather put it into some historical context:

If making Election Day a national holiday is a "power grab" what would you say about other expansions of the vote? Say the 19th Amendment? Democracy is best when it's inclusive and accessible.

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

96 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- 2020 Democratic Field Gets Bigger By The Day”

  1. [1] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Trump saying that the intelligence leaders told him that they were misquoted when the world watched their live testimony needs to be focused on by the press for longer than just one news cycle!

    There was NO WAY that the intelligence chiefs said that to him!

    Trump flat out lied about the sworn testimony of those that lead our country’s intelligence agencies!

    How can this be acceptable behavior for any elected official?

    At what point do our intelligence agencies tell the Justice Dept. that it must rethink it’s stance that a sitting president cannot be indicted? Congress has refused to hold this Russian tool accountable for ANYTHING that he has done since he was handed the White House.

    While it would be best to impeach a president for committing criminal acts and remove them from office before actually indicting them on criminal charges, an indictment might be the only way to force Congress to do their jobs!

  2. [2] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    For a start, I'm not criticising any of the candidates. I do feel some concern about people new to elected office immediately 'jumping' to running for president. On the one hand, it puts them and their ideas in the public eye, albeit expensively. On the other hand, it is expensive in time and energy as well as money, and perhaps this time and energy could be better used in being really good at the office they were elected to and gaining experience of government. I even wonder if Obama would have been more effective as president if he had had more experience as a senator, or even as vice president--he might have had a few more strings to pull.

    And of course this goes... doubly? triply? ten-fold? for wealthy businessmen who assume this is an automatic qualification for office. Even if they are actually good at business, not just at self-publicity.

  3. [3] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    I'd like to suggest a new verb for the political lexicon. 'Gillibranding' = receiving a career-ending volley of friendly fire from your own party based on one photo, quote, or other action from the distant past.
    I am in no way defending the photo of Gov Northam. But the photo was from the 1980s and cannot possibly encapsulate his political life. What do his declared policies tell us? His actions in office?
    A proud 'pussy grabber' is in the White House, so of course the Democrats must make an example of Sen. Franken.
    Rep King does everything EXCEPT appear in a photo wearing a KKK robe, so let's demand that Gov Northam resign.
    By panicking to show that the Democratic Party is holier than thou, the Democratic Party weakens itself and the nation.
    Why is an apology - and perhaps a sanction or the Democrats grabbing this as an 'educational moment' - not a sufficient mea culpa?

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    italyrusty -

    I'm interested, why did you label the new phenomenon "Gillibranding"? For the Al Franken thing? Just curious...

    I mean, you've got a solid point to make, I just wanted to clear up the nomenclature...

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Hmmm... the database seems to be working... knock wood...

    :-)

    -CW

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    General comment on Northam -

    I still say he's toast... as the condemnations roll in...

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/shocked-saddened-and-offended-swift-reaction-to-va-gov-ralph-northams-racist-photo/2019/02/01/ee319196-269c-11e9-ad53-824486280311_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.98f6c86403e5

    If he lasts until Monday morning, I'd be surprised, at this point...

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    trump vs. intelligence

    which will win?

  8. [8] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Oh, and...

    The caucus was also grappling with revelations in another yearbook, from Northam’s time at Virginia Military Institute. That book listed one of his nicknames as “Coonman,” which some members interpreted as a racial slur.

    From:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/va-gov-northams-medical-school-yearbook-page-shows-men-in-blackface-kkk-robe/2019/02/01/517a43ee-265f-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6db08e882684

    Sigh.

    -CW

  9. [9] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 -

    I'd put my bet on intelligence, personally...

    :-)

    -CW

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw,

    you could pretty much make that the title of his entire presidency...

    heh.

  11. [11] 
    jay wrote:

    Great piece, but in Talking Point #2, I think you meant to say 'completely, not 'comply'. Enjoy your day.

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Republican office holders can, on average, read the polls and election returns as well as anybody,. Like generals, politicians are just most comfortable re-fighting the last war with the old tactics and the old weapons that worked the last time. It doesn't help when your field marshal is a novice - and a doddering old cuck to boot.

    "Honey, where's my Willie Horton?"

    "Where you last put it dear."

  13. [13] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Sen Gillibrand's statement is quite amusing.
    "Voting isn't a power grab. It's democracy, and it's literally the entire point of our representative government."

    After all, if you can't use your vote to grab power than what is the point of our representative government?

    If only there was a way that ordinary citizens could use their votes to grab power away from the Big money interests that control both CMPs.

    This could result in more options both within and outside the CMPs and could make these kind of statements decrease.

    Currently, if it hurts RepubliCONS it helps Deceptoctrats and if it hurts Deceptocrats it helps RepubliCONS. More choices within and outside the CMPs would make that dynamic disappear.

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    fear not, don, there is a way. pie!

  15. [15] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2019/01/25/ftp515/#comment-131074

    Hope that works. If not, see comment 20 from Trump Caves.

  16. [16] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    BTW- Are Trump Caves where you find Trump voters?

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    italyrusty,

    I'd like to suggest a new verb for the political lexicon. 'Gillibranding' = receiving a career-ending volley of friendly fire from your own party based on one photo, quote, or other action from the distant past. I am in no way defending the photo of Gov Northam.

    I take issue with your point and suggest that you are, in fact, defending the racist photo.

    If the Governor had really wanted to apologize for such overt racism on his part, then he would have found the courage to say which of the two racist characters he was dressed up as. For starters.

    Not all photos have the same import or value. It's important not to confuse this issue. Because it's an issue that America has yet to adequately deal with in all of its parts.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm confused.

    Are we to believe that this is the first time Governor Northam saw his med school yearbook page?

  19. [19] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    jay [11] -

    You are right -- good editing eye!

    It has been corrected. Mea culpa and thanks for pointing it out...

    :-)

    -CW

  20. [20] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Are we to believe that this is the first time Governor Northam saw his med school yearbook page?

    Yeah, because he was in the service by the time this came out. He says now that the other three pics are of him, but the blackface picture is not.

    They're still trying to track down a copy of the actual yearbook for the Governor.

  21. [21] 
    neilm wrote:

    Italyrusty [3] What do his declared policies tell us? His actions in office?

    Exactly. Being a bloody idiot at Medical School should not define who you are - I certainly hope so, there was that time I sat on the top of a chimney at a Medical School party, but we won't go into that any further, or the time, dressed as the front end of a Pantomime Horse I went into a bar and demanded in a loud voice "Your best pint of hay, my good man". And these are the bits I remember.

    Anyway, back to the point, in the last 30 years has this man shown any attitudes, actions, or political statements that indicate if he is a racist?

    An abject apology, explaining that he understands why this behavior was juvenile and hurtful, should suffice.

    Sadly, it probably won't.

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil,

    Did you ever dress up as a racist?

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Assuming Trump isn't impeached by the time the presidential race really gets going, if someone is courageous enough to challenge him in a primary, then it will be very interesting to see how Trump reacts.

    Maybe Schultz should go that route instead of an Independent run.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil,

    I have to admit that I had a similar reaction when the yearbook picture went public. But, then I listened to how many Afican Americans felt about it and I quickly changed my mind and started to look at this from a whole other perspective.

    Why would a medical school in the year 1984 even publish such a picture!? That alone tells you how deep racism runs.

    I think at this stage of the game, African Americans are just sick and tired of seeing blackface and KKK gear and wish they wouldn't have to deal with it anymore. So, when something like this pops up - AGAIN - it needs to be condemned by all of us.

    Besides, one day the Gov said it was him - but wouldn't say which one - and now, after some thought, it isn't him!? This is not the picture of trustworthiness.

  25. [25] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    CW-

    Great FTP. I was kinda surprised that you didn't involve Ronny "the Ambien Man" Jackson in some your wonderful drive by snark.

    Naming an officer under investigation for improper conduct to receive a second star is certainly worth some snark.

    Breaking today he has been renamed trumps medical advisor right in time for his physical on the 8th. I guess not mentioning no bone spurs found and writing a clean bill of health means you get a promotion.

    on another note it really needs to be pointed out that restarting the nuclear race is f-ing stupid and can only be the product of a draft dodging president and his draft dodging SOS.

  26. [26] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    1984?

  27. [27] 
    neilm wrote:

    EM [22]

    Neil,

    Did you ever dress up as a racist?

    Elizabeth:

    Not that I can remember. But I grew up in Scotland, where the "Eenie Meanie Minie Mo" rhyme did not use the word "tiger" - and none of us young kids knew what we were referring to - these words and actions were part of the larger World we lived in and the true meanings were as oblivious as the work "Eenie" is to me now.

    I also was brought up watching one of the most popular shows on TV, the "Black and White Minstrel Show" - which was even worse than it sounds - follow this link if you want to be amazed at how far we have come since the 1970s.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_and_White_Minstrel_Show

    (Oh yes, that picture on Wikipedia is entirely representative of the show!)

    I'm not condoning anything, and I'm glad I'm not the person I was in 1975, or even 1985, but if I can't be given credit for growing up, becoming less ignorant, and working to make amends for prior ignorance and stupidity, then I may as well not try - and that isn't what anybody wants.

    I respect people who fail, then work to get better.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil[27],

    Can't say that I disagree with anything you wrote there.

    But, the situation with the Governor of Virginia is not about evolving and learning or making amends for prior actions.

    He said it was him in his initial statement about it. Then, during his presser, he said it was not him and appeared to need reassurances from friends, family and classmates as definitive proof that it was not him. That sounded crazy to me.

    But, I guess it's up to the people of Virginia and whether they still have confidence and trust in their governor.

  29. [29] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    There's just one thing that strikes me odd about it:

    No one has seen the original yearbook yet.

    If I'm wrong about that, let me know.

  30. [30] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Chris:
    'Gillibrand was the first to call for his resignation, writing that it would be "better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn't acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve."
    ...
    Gillibrand's decision to help push Franken out has become a nagging issue for her presidential aspirations, particularly among wealthy Democratic donors.
    George Soros, the billionaire Democratic donor, told The Washington Post in 2018 that he hopes Gillibrand fails to capture the 2020 nomination because she pushed Franken out "in order to improve her own chances."'
    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/18/politics/gillibrand-franken-iowa/index.html

  31. [31] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Elizabeth:
    'But, I guess it's up to the people of Virginia and whether they still have confidence and trust in their governor.'

    The calls from Democratic Presidential candidates, the VA Democratic Party, etc are exactly the OPPOSITE of leaving this 'up to the people of Virginia.' Running Northam out of town on a rail is hardly democratic, is it?

    I can't help but picture The Red Queen in 'Alice in Wonderland'. Why was she so absurd: "Off with his head" was her punishment for at any perceived offense.

    If Ted Danson can have a successful career after appearing in blackface, why can't an elected governor serve until he again faces 'the will of the people'?

  32. [32] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    And to all and sundry, I grew up in N Florida. I don't have to be African-American to understand racism. I saw it regularly in my elementary, junior high, and high school. My white friends whispered the racist jokes to me, depending on me to not repeat them to my black friends.
    In college, a dear (white) friend stunned me when she turned up the radio and said, "I love this nigger juke!" The year: 1982.

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    italyrusty,

    Yes, you're right … it isn't up to the people of Virginia at this point. But, I would wager (and hope) that the people of Virginia would mirror the rest of the country on this issue.

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If Ted Danson can have a successful career after appearing in blackface, why can't an elected governor serve until he again faces 'the will of the people'?

    What is missing here is the all important context of the state of Virginia and its history - past and fairly recent - with regard to race relations, or lack thereof.

  36. [36] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    I grew up (in the 50's- 60's) in a town of 25k inhabitants without a single black resident. The only blacks I ever saw were some CA imports who played on the local university football and basketball teams. We referred to unshelled Brazil nuts as "niggertoes", "eenie meenie minie moed' and chuckled when we heard that JFK had declared that "If you don't work with vigah, you will be replaced by a nigah", but we weren't knowingly ridiculing black people, we were ridiculing easterners, in particular Bostonians.

  37. [37] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Funny how concerned everyone is aboot Northam dressing up in the 80s and seems unconcerned how the Big Money Deceptocrats "dress up" as if they were representing ordinary citizens here in 2019.

    Distraction politics is alive and well and reminds me of the old dandruff shampoo commercials that went something like:
    When you feel the tingle, that's how you know it's working.

    This comment section is a perfect example of the conditioned reaction of salivation to the tingle bell.

  38. [38] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Tingle bells, tingle bells,
    tingle every day.
    Oh what fun it is to write
    while our country slips away.

  39. [39] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Northam's Mark 2 backstory of The YearBook Photo would have played better than the ill fated Mark 1....if it was pitched first.

    Casual racial bigotry among most Whites was the norm in Virginia until fairly recently...just look at all the Confederate Monuments to The Lost Cause scattered around VA. I have family there, and I witnessed it up close during visits during the 60's, 70's and well into the 80's. People can change. Everybody benefits if there is a legitimate process of truth and reconciliation. That said, only the first attempt at truth telling (confession) carries a lot of freight. This especially so when you are at the top of the social food chain.

    Nice try Northam, but you have to step down. As a conciliation prize, you are a high profile teachable moment. Also fodder for Republican hypocrites who have never recanted their racist views and policies. Very sad.

  40. [40] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @ts,

    with all the modern technology we have, it shouldn't be so hard to determine factually whether or not northam was lying about being in the picture. if he was, that's reason enough for him to step down. if not, i'm not so sure. assuming nobody was seriously harmed, i don't think it's fair for anyone to be held accountable for remembering what they were recorded saying or photographed doing 34 years prior.

    JL

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    How does someone not know whether they dressed up in complete blackface costume or in KKK robe and hood/hat?

    He said it was him in the photo but wouldn't say which one. Later he said it wasn't him.

    I think it was him. And his explanation/apology/reversal is what will force him to resign.

    A better and less confusing apology minus the reversal might have resulted in a different outcome.

  42. [42] 
    TheStig wrote:

    nypoet22-

    I really can't improve on EM-41's response.

  43. [43] 
    neilm wrote:

    How does someone not know whether they dressed up in complete blackface costume or in KKK robe and hood/hat?

    Well, there was at least one other person who was in the picture who knows. And I'm sure this pair didn't dress up just for each other - it looks like it was some sort of party attire.

    A lot of people know who these two are, especially now the picture has jogged a lot of memories.

    Some (especially the other person in the picture) probably want this to go away, but I'm sure some gossip will get out and we'll hear.

  44. [44] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz/ts,

    you're probably right, but what if you're not? i just don't like how the 24-hour news cycle and everyone in it immediately rushes to a conclusion before any of the hard facts are in. implausible or not, a politician ought to be entitled to a thorough investigation before being required to offer his head on a spit. otherwise it gives credence to the defense strategy of people like kavanaugh who deny everything from the get-go and express outrage that anyone would dare to fabricate such a thing just to deny him his birthright.

  45. [45] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    on a side note, is it too soon to nominate for next year's 'worst photo op?' award?

  46. [46] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, just gotta warn everyone...

    Monday is the second half of our recent server migration. What this means is that I could post an article sometime Monday afternoon, you could see it, post a comment to it, and then the whole thing could disappear altogether at some point.

    I'm going to try (absent any crises) to post something, but I warn everyone in advance... things could get hinky and both post and comments could disappear.

    If everything goes well and no problems emerge, then by Tuesday night (SOTU) everything will be back to normal here. Beyond that point, all the DNS servers in the world should have updated, and everything should be hunky-dory with no fear of lost comments.

    Anyway, before-the-fact, that's the schedule.

    I'll keep everyone posted as to how things go, promise!

    -CW

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua[44],

    The thing with Northam is that he himself has made it impossible to remain in office. And, so the concerns about a rush to judgement don't really apply here, at least in my analysis.

    And, he doesn't seem to understand the depth of why blackface is offensive - now or in 1884, I mean 1984 ...

    If he isn't in the photo, then he mishandled this entire episode. I am right about the governor saying it was him in the photo and apologizing for it while not saying which one before he said it definitely wasn't him.

    This is about a loss of trust that would be difficult to overcome should he decide against resignation.

  48. [48] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Excuse my ignoirance, ain't no black folks where I live, but I gotta wonder, do no black folks ever do "whiteface" at a party??

  49. [49] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "Can blue men sing the whites
    or are they hypocrites for singing blues?"
    -Bonzo Dog Band

  50. [50] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Liz [47] - I'm with you - if he didn't do it, then he just talked his way out of a job.

    Trouble is, the same right-wing website that brought us this one, is saying that it has dirt on the Lt. Governor too..

    And so it goes...

  51. [51] 
    TheStig wrote:

    A cautionary tale for Donald Trump:

    "Executive Time" was what killed Nelson Rockefeller in "The Marshack." Rocky should have restricted himself to the much less taxing "Happy Time."

  52. [52] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @balthasar,

    agree completely. i'm not saying the guy should stay on as governor, just that there ought to be a pause for air between indictment, verdict and sentencing.

    JL

  53. [53] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    like everything else in this republic, i believe what's important is not so much the result as the process by which we get there.

  54. [54] 
    John M wrote:

    [3] italyrusty

    "Rep King does everything EXCEPT appear in a photo wearing a KKK robe, so let's demand that Gov Northam resign."

    King is the Republicans problem.

    "By panicking to show that the Democratic Party is holier than thou, the Democratic Party weakens itself and the nation."
    Why is an apology - and perhaps a sanction or the Democrats grabbing this as an 'educational moment' - not a sufficient mea culpa?"

    Democrats and the base that now constitutes the Democratic party, have now drawn a clear distinction between them and the Republicans even in the broad public's mind. That is why you see this universal condemnation now among Democrats across the spectrum, and everyone knows it. It's not panic. It's an inevitable result of an historic alignment shift taking place:

    Republicans have openly become the party of white nationalists, period, full stop. The remainder are also mostly mostly white Americans over 60, mostly male or the non college educated.

    Democrats have become the party of the college educated, young people under 30, moderate suburban women and all people of color, almost exclusively, whether African American, Asian, Hispanic or Native American.

  55. [55] 
    John M wrote:

    [31] italyrusty

    "If Ted Danson can have a successful career after appearing in blackface, why can't an elected governor serve until he again faces 'the will of the people'?"

    A couple of things. Everyone seems to forget that it was a big controversy at the time. In fact, it did almost end Ted Danson's career.

    What saved Ted Danson was Whoopi Goldberg. She and Danson were dating at the time. Whoppi came out and defended him and took the blame, saying it was her idea for Ted to dress up in black face. If not for Whoppi shielding him, Ted's career would have been over.

    Northam cannot face the voters again. Virgina governors are limited to one term only.

    What's made his position worse was:

    1) His retraction of his initial apology. Switching to "it's not me" after originally admitting it was him.

    2) His bizarre news conference offering to do a moon walk and admitting he had in fact dressed up in black face, just not that particular time but in another instance when he portrayed Michael Jackson.

    3) His almost offhand comment about how hard it is to get shoe polish off your face. Which made so many people wonder and speculate that you would only know this if you had engaged in this practice more than one and had multiple experience with it.

    Then there is the real sense of deep hurt and betrayal among so many people of color who supported and worked so hard on his campaign to get him elected, only to find out the person they thought they knew was not in fact who they knew at all.

  56. [56] 
    John M wrote:

    [36] C. R. Stucki

    "I grew up (in the 50's- 60's) in a town of 25k inhabitants without a single black resident. The only blacks I ever saw were some CA imports who played on the local university football and basketball teams. We referred to unshelled Brazil nuts as "niggertoes", "eenie meenie minie moed'"

    I too grew up in the same time period, but in Baltimore, and remember being taught the same rhyme and using the exact same language for Brazil nuts as a child when I was 5 to 7 years old. I think I was about 8 to 10 years old when I realized what it was I was actually saying and finally stopped using the term completely on my own. I think if you have even some sense of intelligence and empathy, you know when things are inherently wrong and hurtful, no matter at what age.

    I also remember going to the department store in downtown Baltimore with my mother and seeing it surrounded by the national guard with rifles drawn and burned out buildings after Dr. King's assassination.

  57. [57] 
    John M wrote:

    [39] TheStig and

    [41] Elizabeth Miller

    Exactly right and spot on.

    [48] C. R. Stucki

    "Excuse my ignoirance, ain't no black folks where I live, but I gotta wonder, do no black folks ever do "whiteface" at a party??"

    The short answer to that is no, never. I have never ever either heard of it it or seen it being done. It seems to be an entirely white people fetish of dressing up in black face.

    The one and only time I know of it being done was an Eddie Murphy sketch on Saturday Night Live also way back in 1984, where Murphy dressed up in white face for a sketch that was used to point out white privilege.

    Totally different concept from white people dressing up in black face to poke fun at and denigrate black people.

  58. [58] 
    John M wrote:

    The last time I know of in the USA where a white person appearing in black face was deemed an acceptable form of mass entertainment by official Hollywood was a Judy Garland movie from the 1950's.

    Although now that I think about it, and I think there were another couple movies from the 1980's, Trading Places and Soul Man. I wonder if they could have influenced now Gov. Northam as a young man at the time into still thnking it was funny or acceptable.

  59. [59] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i watched the entire press conference when it happened. it was very awkward, stumbling sort of thing.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/watch/watch-virginia-governor-ralph-northam-s-full-press-conference-1436483651935

  60. [60] 
    Paula wrote:

    [54, 55,56, 57 58] John M: Good comments.

    [52] nypoet:"...just that there ought to be a pause for air between indictment, verdict and sentencing.
    Yep.

    [47] Liz: This is about a loss of trust that would be difficult to overcome should he decide against resignation.
    Yep.

  61. [61] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    does nancy pelosi still control all the video and audio in the house during the state of the union? if so, it would be amazing if after donald tells a particularly big whopper, she makes a little 'cut' signal, his mike cuts out, she turns on her own mike, corrects the inaccuracy, then says sorry for the interruption, just correcting the facts mr. president, please continue...

    i wonder if she has the nerve to pull off that sort of stunt. it would be horribly rude, but nothing donald hasn't done to everyone else in the room. plus the ratings would be through the roof...

    JL

  62. [62] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M [55]

    Re the Governor doing blackface while "portraying Michael Jackson". By the time he died, MJ was whiter than I am!!

  63. [63] 
    Paula wrote:

    [61] nypoet22: If Nancy did that it would be fabulous - but Blotus would probably leave in a huff and then try to get her arrested. But it would be epic.

  64. [64] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @paula,

    arrested for what, abuse of audio equipment?

    heh.

    JL

  65. [65] 
    John M wrote:

    [62] C. R. Stucki

    "Re the Governor doing blackface while "portraying Michael Jackson". By the time he died, MJ was whiter than I am!!"

    I believe the reference was to much earlier in Jackson's career. Michael by all accounts had developed the disease vitiligo, a condition in which the skin loses all pigmentation. He first mentioned it in public on Oprah in 1993, saying it began after the release of Thriller which was in 1982. He also first started wearing his single white glove in 1983. It was also around this time that he started have extensive cosmetic procedures, which would all make sense given his skin disease.

  66. [66] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M [65]

    Never heard of "vitiligo", but if such exists, I can't believe somebody isn't bottling and selling it!!

  67. [67] 
    Paula wrote:

    [64] JL: for public humiliation, which Blotus would consider legit grounds!

  68. [68] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Well, it certainly doesn't seem like either the article or the comments were eaten by the upgrade process, which is good news!

    OK, I'm going to do some last checking before declaring us out of the woods, and then I'll have some time to get to answering some comments (while sitting around waiting for the big speech).

    Fingers crossed, let's hope we're all done with the upgrade gremlins...

    I'll let everyone know the progress report in a bit.

    -CW

  69. [69] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, after checking with my ISP, we seem to be running in the green across the board.

    So we're officially out of the woods. Woo hoo!

    From this point forward, no comments (or even articles) should be "lost." If anyone sees any page with a PHP error, let me know about it, but from what I can see things seem to be running smoothly.

    Sorry for all the hassles, but we were facing the deadline of the old server being decommissioned on the first of March, so it had to happen. But we seem to have survived the move...

    -CW

  70. [70] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Ok... It's time for the SOTU drinking game.

    For every time trump says "I" take a drink.

    For every time trump says "national emergency" take a drink.

    For every time trump says "wall" finish the drink.

    For every time trump says " ....best ever" take a drink.

    For every time Trump promises to work with democrats finish the drink.

    For every time trump blames the democrats (directly or indirectly) for the problems one of his guests he mentions tonight take a drink.

    If trump says "god bless America" at the end of the speech finish the drink.

    I have some others but my liver and kidneys insist I stop.Besides it is time for Kubuki theater.

  71. [71] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: The race is getting bigger, as more and more people toss their chapeaux into the ring.

    Chapeaux! Excellente utilisation d'un pluriel en français.

    Looks like it's going to become a circus requiring multiple rings too. :)

  72. [72] 
    Kick wrote:

    GT
    70

    Ok... It's time for the SOTU drinking game.

    For every time he lies, finish laughing and then finish your drink!

    I like this drinking game of yours despite the fact that it would likely kill me. ;)

  73. [73] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Yeah that is why I am just doing beer this time... and Mexican beer at that.

  74. [74] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    I thought about adding the lie rule but... My kidneys would already be done.

    Seems like trump didn't let Miller write this speech... so far.

    Still a low bar.

  75. [75] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    geez, this speech is depressing.

  76. [76] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    and then donald takes credit for the humanitarian work of kim kardashian. drink up!

  77. [77] 
    Kick wrote:

    PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

    There is still no crisis on the southern border.

    *finishes laughing* *drinks*

  78. [78] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Holy Crap...I am already three beers in.

    and again he misses the fact that MS 13 is and American creation and still creates more in our penal system than come across the border.

  79. [79] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Holy Crap...I am already three beers in.

    and again he misses the fact that MS 13 is and American creation and still creates more in our penal system than come across the border.

  80. [80] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    ruh roh...

    Don't look now Mike Pence has his this is serious frown on.

  81. [81] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    ok... I would officially like to retract my miller line from comment 74...

    yes, where walls go up, illegal crossings do go down, way, way, down... one might say even underground.

  82. [82] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    great argument, donald - everywhere that needed a wall already has one!

  83. [83] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Damn it...I forgot to add the "chyna" rule. take a drink.

  84. [84] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Ok...Donald doesn't get how other countries lower pharmaceutical prices and will punish them for using their powers to get the prices lower. Much like we should here.

    So I guess more tariffs and higher prices.

  85. [85] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    and good ol judge kav still has a bad case of resting frat face.

    have to get another beer... might run out berfore this is done.

  86. [86] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    82

    great argument, donald - everywhere that needed a wall already has one!

    I know, right! He keeps framing the issue saying "Democrats are against the wall because they want open borders," but then he reminds everyone they already voted for building one, and then it got built... except it's called a fence. :)

  87. [87] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    and now we enter the draft dodger Bolton portion of the address...

  88. [88] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    wasn't this supposed to be over fifteen minutes ago?

  89. [89] 
    Kick wrote:

    Comrade Benedict Donald Treasons Trump states that "socialism" will not be allowed to control America... stays mum on communism.

    Where is my Roy Cohn? ;)

  90. [90] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    yup...great trump got lucky, I guess that is better than the Obama score on Bin Laden....

  91. [91] 
    Kick wrote:

    The Orange DickTater is making it a point to highlight those families who were rounded up by Hitler and sent to camps. I'm not sure I would have advised shining a klieg light on said subject when taking into consideration who is rounding up families and separating them today:

    "It's the Americans!"

    #Sad

  92. [92] 
    Kick wrote:

    If trump says "god bless America" at the end of the speech finish the drink.

    That's it... bottle's empty. :)

  93. [93] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Trump was about as bland and scripted as the Disney Hall of Presidents. The Disney Bots are more folksy, have a faster delivery and don't use a sniffle as sentence punctuation, but in Trump's favor, his arms are less jerky. Plus, as a real Prez, Trump gets to trot out human props to sort of illustrate a platitude.

    The TV pundits are dissecting this pile of fertilizer as I hunt and peck, but noboby is going to remember any of it 72 hrs from now.

    Why do we bother with this cheesy TV ritual? Just phone it in.

  94. [94] 
    Paula wrote:

    Blotus speech: Gawd.

    All hail Stacy Abrams!

  95. [95] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, my snap speech reactions are now up:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2019/02/05/my-snap-reactions-to-the-state-of-the-union/

    And I see that Monday's column seems to have disappeared...

    Give me a moment, I'll fix it...

    And let's hope this is the last of the server-upgrade gremlins...

    -CW

  96. [96] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Turns out I spoke too soon -- Monday's article disappeared. Sigh.

    I just reposted it, along with a LONG explanation and apolgia in the comments.

    I've also now posted my own snap comments to the SOTU speech, so go check that out as well.

    Sorry for all the gremlins, but we are now 100% FINALLY over with the server migration... so that's the good news.

    -CW

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