Friday Talking Points -- The Art Of The Deal

[ Posted Friday, June 25th, 2021 – 17:49 UTC ]

Call it true irony. The man who had a book ghost-written for him called "The Art Of The Deal" could never actually manage to strike any kind of deal. So the man who replaced him ran on his own dealmaking skills, in a time where pretty much everyone in Washington considered the idea too old-fashioned to ever work. But President Joe Biden just got his first big deal, this week. A bipartisan infrastructure plan is now going to move forward in the United States Senate and has what can only be called a better-than-average chance of passing.

Biden doesn't just value bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake, of course. He truly does believe in the concept and really would prefer Congress return to the days of yore when bipartisanship was actually pretty common (always hard-fought, but mostly achieved). But at the same time, Biden is a politician and knows full well what this will mean for him, personally.

Now, Biden is savvy enough not to say this until after he signs the bill, because he knows how fragile the applecart is right now, and how there are many things which could still upset it before it does arrive on his desk. But immediately after he does sign it, he will quite likely say something along the lines of: "Cynical people thought it wasn't even possible to bring the politicians from both sides of the aisle together to get something done. I never believed that. I think America works best when we work together, and I have always believed that. I promised bipartisanship during my campaign, and many in my own party scoffed at the idea. But here we are, with the proof that -- with leadership and support -- it is still possible."

Biden's polite enough not to put it this way, but others will: "Biden singlehandedly brought bipartisanship back to Washington." Moving forward, this is going to be seen as one of his crowning achievements. If he decides to run for a second term, this will be a central theme of his campaign: "They said it was impossible, but I got it done." And it won't be that much of an overstatement, either.

Of course, as we said, nothing is guaranteed at this point. Republicans still have to actually vote for it in the Senate for it to become reality. And already some of them seem to already be formulating an excuse for why they can't. Their excuse is absolute tommyrot, because what they are now saying is: "We won't vote for this if President Biden is going to pass any other bill for the rest of his term with just Democrats." The bill they are so worried about is the companion bill to the infrastructure package, containing all the things that -- according to Republicans, mind you -- are not infrastructure. Before, they threatened to vote no because they only wanted to vote on infrastructure items, and now they are threatening to vote no because Democrats might pass some non-infrastructure items in another bill. Which is just laughable, since these very same Republicans have never had a problem passing anything they wished on purely partisan lines in the past.

It's also ludicrous because they are acting so shocked -- shocked! -- that Democrats are going to do exactly what they've been saying they're going to do all along. The second bill was no secret. It was not some closely-held strategy within the Democratic caucus. They admitted the whole plan to anyone who would ask, sometimes even unprompted. So all the GOP handkerchief-clutching now is just absurd.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party is collectively losing their minds. Pretty much ever since I've been alive, the Republicans have painted themselves as having two absolute, bedrock core virtues: they were the "law and order" party, and they supported the U.S. military no matter what. The first was an attempt to pin every crime ever committed anywhere on the Democratic Party, and the second goes back decades, to (at a minimum) the Vietnam War. Republicans were for cops and our fighting men in uniform (back then, this would now read: "our fighting men and women," of course). Without reserve. Unquestioningly.

Boy, those were the days, eh?

This week, a member of the Republican Party in the House who is under investigation by federal authorities for child sex trafficking tweeted out: "If Democrats want to defund the police, they should start with the FBI." Donald Trump routinely excoriated the F.B.I. and any other federal law enforcement for daring to investigate him, his family, his henchmen, or really any Republican anywhere for any reason.

Earlier, many Republicans showed their open contempt for the Capitol Police -- the people who defended Congress with their lives during the insurrection, mind you. But many Republicans refused to honor them with medals for doing so, and one wouldn't even shake an officer's hand in an elevator. So it's not just the F.B.I. -- Republicans don't seem to support any federal law enforcement, these days. And now the GOP seems like it is on the brink of turning on the military, too.

That same congressman (we refuse to say his name this week, because we are just not in the mood for giving him any publicity whatsoever) grilled the highest-ranking Pentagon officers about the supposed sins of allowing the military to become "woke" and being infiltrated by "critical race theorists" (a term that has never before existed, before very recently). This is all part of their newfound Critical Race Theory Derangement Syndrome (but more on that in a moment).

General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the absolute highest-ranked military officer serving, responded, and what he said is worth watching (it's only a minute and a half long) or at least reading:

"I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military... of being 'woke' or something else because we're studying some theories that are out there," [General Mark] Milley said.

The four-star general told lawmakers that service members should be "open-minded and be widely read" because service members "come from the American people" and said he wanted to better understand racism as well as the climate that led to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

"I want to understand White rage -- and I'm White," Milley told lawmakers "What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America?

"I've read Mao Tse Tung. I've read Karl Marx. I've read Lenin. That doesn't make me a communist," Milley continued. "So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?"

It's rare to see Republican anti-education idiocy be put down so brutally, which is why it's such a refreshing video to watch. He wasn't the only one, either, as General Lloyd Austin also expressed how offended he was by what the Republican congressman was trying to insinuate. So what was the conservative reaction to all this? Let's check in over on Fox News. Here is Laura Ingraham, to begin with:

"Why is Congress not saying, 'We're not going to give you a penny until all of this is eradicated from the military budget?' " Ingraham said. " 'Nothing. This is my offer to you: nothing.' That's what I would say. I'm totally outraged by [General Austin] and his ridiculous response today."

Ingraham doubled down later. "Go after their budget," she said at the end of the segment. "The only thing they understand is their budget, their money. That's it. That's all they understand."

Meaning Republicans are actually flirting with defunding the military after making lots of political hay over Democrats who supported the idea of defunding the police. There weren't a whole lot of Democrats who actually did endorse that idea fully, which means it is equally as fair now for Democrats now to paint all conservatives with the same brush that Ingraham just used. But she wasn't the only one:

"Mark Milley is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," the conservative personality [Tucker Carlson] said on Tucker Carlson Tonight. "He didn't get that job because he's brilliant or because he's brave, or because people who know him respect him. He is not, and they definitely don't.

"Milley got the job because he is obsequious. He knows who to suck up to, and he's more than happy to do it. Feed him a script and he will read it."

After playing a clip of Milley's comments at a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, Carlson commented that he found it "hard to believe that man wears a uniform, he's that unimpressive."

"He's not just a pig, he's stupid," he added after a second clip.

Got that? A stupid pig. The highest-ranking military officer in existence. Salon had the pithiest comment on how far down the rabbit hole conservatives have now gone:

The party that once extolled the police and the military as the highest form of civic duty and patriotism is now celebrating the actions of people who beat cops over the heads with metal pipes and calling the military leadership stupid pigs, as if they've traveled back in time to a Bizarro World version of 1968.

That's an excellent way to put it. Remember when it was liberals who called law enforcement officers and members of the military "pigs"? Yeah, that coin has now completely flipped. As, seemingly, have at least a few fringe members of the Republican Party -- they've just completely flipped out, in fact.

That's where we now are, folks. Welcome to Bizarro World!

We end with one amusing footnote from last weekend, which involved a Republican venturing out into the real world (instead of GOP Bizarro World) and getting told in no uncertain terms what people thought of him.

Senator Ron Johnson -- a man who singlehandedly stopped Juneteenth from becoming a holiday last year, mind you -- finally realized the unpopularity of his stance (or perhaps just the fact that nobody stood with him, even in his own party) this year and the holiday was added to the federal schedule. Just in time for Juneteenth to actually be celebrated!

Senator Johnson decided it'd be a lark to go down to the very first "official federal holiday" celebration in his home state, in the hopes that nobody would notice his political pandering. Unfortunately for him, people did:

Relentlessly conservative Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was roundly booed Saturday at Milwaukee's Juneteenth celebration.

"We don't want you here," said a member of a "growing crowd" of constituents booing the senator, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The boos were so loud the senator was drowned out at one point as he spoke to a TV reporter on camera.

Johnson was not pleased, complaining to the Journal that his reception is "not how you heal a nation."

He also said it was "unusual" behavior for folks from Wisconsin. "Most people in Wisconsin say, 'You are in our prayers; we are praying for you.' ... But you got some people here that are just sort of nasty at some points," he told the Journal.

The senator claimed he heard only "one" nasty comment, but several others were captured on Twitter.

One spectator told the newspaper that "Ron Johnson's politics are not for us." A Twitter critic "translated" the boos to complaints about Johnson's support for voter suppression and for the Capitol insurrection, which he has insisted was "peaceful" (though he also said he would have been "concerned" had rioters been Black Lives Matter protesters).

Spectators were also particularly upset that Johnson has steadfastly blocked making Juneteenth a holiday. Johnson single-handedly blocked the bill from advancing in the Senate last year due, he said, to concerns over its cost.

He finally backed down this year at the last minute, then quickly attempted to capitalize on the holiday by turning up at the city's celebration.

Talk about clueless. Seriously, what did he think was going to happen?


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We have two Honorable Mention awards to hand out before we get to the main one.

The first goes to a big upset candidate in a local mayor's race:

Buffalo Democrats nominated a self-identified socialist as their candidate for mayor, as nurse and activist India Walton scored an upset victory over four-term incumbent Byron Brown in Tuesday's primary.

"We set out to not only change Buffalo, but to change the way progressive politics are viewed in Upstate New York," Walton told supporters as she declared victory Tuesday night. "All that we are doing in this moment is claiming what is rightfully ours."

The Associated Press projected Walton, 38, as the winner Wednesday morning. She held a lead over Brown with most in-person ballots counted and with a few more than 1,500 absentee ballots left -- fewer than the margin in the mayoral primary. Brown, who refused to debate Walton during the campaign, had not conceded the race by Wednesday morning.

That's pretty impressive, we have to admit. Our second Honorable Mention goes to President Joe Biden, for pulling off the seemingly impossible by getting Republican senators to agree to a deal, without giving in on his dealbreaker insistence that no taxes be raised on families making less than $400,000 a year (which, astonishingly, Republicans were proposing to do). We would have considered Biden for the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award but for one important point: it's not a done deal quite yet. When he signs it, we'll give him full credit, but not before.

Instead, our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who came up with a very elegant and brilliant solution for what could have been an intractable problem.

The problem, in a nutshell, is that progressive Democrats simply do not trust Joe Manchin to vote for the second bill. All along, Biden knew he'd have to pass his economic agenda in two parts -- one he might be able to get Republican votes on and one that raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans that would never get any GOP support. The first one is now being drafted, but there's no guarantee Manchin isn't going to suddenly decide, after the first one passes, that he somehow can't vote for the second one. So progressive Democrats were in a bind, and wanted some sort of iron-clad promise out of him (and all the other moderate Democrats).

Pelosi, however, just solved the whole problem in one fell swoop.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) served up a reminder Thursday that the House isn't simply a bystander in this whole process -- that House Democrats won't simply pass whatever the Senate sends over unless their priorities are also included.

"We will not take up a bill in the House until the Senate passes the bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill," Pelosi said Thursday. "If there is no bipartisan bill, we'll just go when the Senate passes a reconciliation bill."

In other words, Pelosi's going to "pull a McConnell" -- and just sit on the bipartisan bill the Senate sends over until there is a companion bill to it, completing Biden's entire economic agenda. If no second bill appears, then the bipartisan bill will just gather dust. This is hardball, but more importantly, it makes everything a very simple equation. Progressive senators no longer have to worry, because unless the reconciliation bill does pass, nothing is going to get to Biden's desk.

Pelosi had a good week all around, in fact. Earlier she made news by announcing that the House will form a select committee to investigate the 1/6 insurrection attempt, now that Republicans have decided they don't want a bipartisan commission to do so. This is a necessary step, in other words, and Pelosi just got that ball rolling. And now that Democrats are in complete control of the process, they won't have to put up with any stalling or obstructionism from Republicans, either.

For both announcing this select committee and for coming up with an elegant solution to a thorny political problem over in the Senate, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week.

[Congratulate Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on her official contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award is going to a different candidate for a different New York mayor's race. The Democratic primary election for mayor of New York City was held this week, but the final results won't be known for a while (due to the newly-instituted ranked choice voting system). But while we don't know who won, at this, point, we do know at least one candidate who lost -- Andrew Yang.

Yang placed fourth (out of over a dozen names on the ballot), and, being a math guy, quickly realized he had no chance of winning:

"You all know I am a numbers guy. I'm someone who traffics in what's happening by the numbers," he told supporters at his election night watch party, on a hotel terrace in Hell's Kitchen. "And I am not going to be the next mayor of New York City based upon the numbers that have come in tonight."

This was an extremely disappointing finish for his supporters, and a somewhat-surprising result for those who had been watching the race. Yang dominated the polling early on, but this was likely just due to name recognition (which, for Yang, was pretty high after his failed presidential bid). But he spent a whopping $8 million on a race that he couldn't even manage to crack the top three.

Of course, this is just the primary election, but in New York City the general election is going to be a formality, as the Democratic candidate will crush whatever hapless Republican is on the ballot.

For Yang's dismal performance at the polls after attracting so many supporters to his cause, he has to be seen as this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week.

[Andrew Yang is now a private citizen once again, and it is our blanket policy not to provide contact information for such persons, so you'll have to search it out yourselves.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 624 (6/25/21)

We have to begin this week with a few odds and ends. The first is to give early warning to everyone that this column will be taking a summer break in two weeks, on July 9th. We'll put a re-run column up but will not be writing a new Friday Talking Points, so consider yourselves duly warned.

The second is a bit of sad news, as we send our condolences to America's First Family on the loss of the elder of their two dogs. Sadly, First Dog Champ Biden passed away earlier in the week, and it has always been our policy to support First Pets without regard to political party. Animals simply aren't political (although politicians sure can be animals, at times).

Requiescat In Pace

You will be missed.

And finally, we have to at least smirk at one of the Supreme Court decisions this week. Well, we do actually support the ruling (which was an astonishing 8-1), as it upholds First Amendment protections for high school students -- a cause we have strongly believed in since we ourselves were in high school, lo these many years ago.

It's just the way this one will be remember that is amusing (and also sort of takes us back to our teenage sense of humor). The previous case in this realm will forever be known as the "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" ruling, but this case involved a girl who was denied a spot on the cheerleading squad and responded (off school property, on social media): "Fuck school, fuck softball, fuck cheer, fuck everything." She was then punished for her free speech, which the Supreme Court just affirmed is simply not constitutional in any way. Perhaps this one will be shortened to the "Fuck cheer" Supreme Court case? One does wonder (heh).


   Biden got it done

There was truly only one reason why Joe Biden spent so much time on his bipartisan deal, seeing as how everything that got cut is quite likely to pass in another bill (with just Democrats voting for it) anyway. So what was the real point? Biden being able to check this box from his list of campaign promises, that's what. So beat this drum right along with him, he deserves it.

"Joe Biden campaigned on a promise many thought was unrealistic in today's Congress -- to achieve major change with bipartisan support. And now he has gotten it done. He did what both Donald Trump and Barack Obama never really achieved. Because of his determination to bring a new spirit of cooperation and comity back to his beloved Senate, a very historic investment in the infrastructure of our country is now looking eminently possible with significant Republican support. Joe made a promise, and he is delivering on that promise. Biden got it done."


   Defund the Pentagon?

This one is just too, too easy.

"Voices on the right are now demanding that Republicans defund the Pentagon. They didn't get the answer they expected to their ridiculous claims, and so in a snit some conservatives have decided to threaten the Pentagon to change its ways by just cancelling their budget. Laura Ingraham explicitly begged Congress to tell the Pentagon: 'Nothing. This is my offer to you: nothing.' Tucker Carlson called the highest-ranking military officer in America both a 'pig' and 'stupid' this week, as well. Such disrespect is jaw-dropping, and one can only wonder what right-wing media would say if any Democrat ever said anything remotely like that. Well, it's a good thing Democrats are in control, since defunding the Pentagon is such an insane concept. Boy, I remember back when Republicans used to beat up on Democrats in politics for being anti-military and calling people 'pigs.' How times have changed, eh?"



Republicans now have a second thing they're going to run on. No, really....

"The Republican Party now stands for, by my count, two things. They used to also be against all taxes, but they tried to fund their infrastructure bill with a gas tax hike that would have hit drivers across the country, so that one's no longer really operative anymore. The entire 2021 GOP campaign platform seems to now be, one, make it as hard as possible for as many Democrats as possible to vote; and, two, terrify White parents that their kids' schools are teaching them to hate all White people. Of course, if you asked most Republican politicians what the 'critical race theory' they are demonizing actually is, they cannot answer because they haven't bothered to find out. They have what I call C.R.T.D.S. -- Critical Race Theory Derangement Syndrome. And they're going to use it to try to whip up White fear from now until Election Day. Republicans' entire answer to what America should do to solve today's problems is to make it hard to vote and to terrify suburban White parents into coming back to the GOP fold over baseless fears. That's really all they've got left to offer, folks."


   Power should rest where Republicans can still win elections, period

More GOP hypocrisy to point out.

"Republicans used to have this grand article of faith -- that government was always a bad thing, but the closer you got to having local control of it, the better. The local school board, for instance, was more virtuous than the U.S. Congress or the state legislature. But now they're passing laws reversing what used to be a tenet of their political religion. Many red states are now passing laws limiting the power of counties and cities to pass local ordinances. They're restricting mayors on voting procedures, pandemic response laws, and even local laws concerning drilling or fracking. The problem, from the Republican point of view, is that more and more cities are solid Democratic districts, which allowed them to pass very sane laws -- mandating mask use during a worldwide medical emergency, for instance. So now Republicans aren't for local control anymore. They're for giving all the government power to whatever parts of government they alone still control. I mean, it's just so blatantly about power -- makes you wonder whether any of that high-minded preaching about the wonderfulness of local control was ever sincere, doesn't it?"



Look! [cough, cough] Out on the links! [cough! cough! cough!] It's a giant rabid flamingo... it's an orange dirigible... no... it's Superspreader!

"The Secret Service is a much healthier place to work now that Donald Trump is gone. Trump disdained all measures to combat COVID-19, and then when he caught it himself and had to go to the hospital, he forced Secret Service agents to ride with him in a hermetically-sealed car just so he could wave to a very small crowd of people. The callous indifference was plain to see -- Trump could care less who else he infected, even the men and women who have dedicated their lives to presidential security. While Trump was in office, almost 900 Secret Service agents tested positive for COVID. So, since Trump loves superlatives applied to himself, we now have a new one to add: Donald Trump, Superspreader!"


   Some sane Republicans still left

This is certainly worth celebrating, right?

"Yet again, a group of Republicans at the state level have bravely stood up for the truth. A Michigan state senate committee just released a report on all the conspiracy theories swirling around the 2020 election, and in excruciating detail the report dismantles every single one of them. Overall, it concludes: 'This committee found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud in Michigan's prosecution of the 2020 election.' They went even further, and publicly rebuked those who are making quite a bit of money fanning the flames of one particular baseless conspiracy theory about one particular county, suggesting an open investigation into: 'those who have been utilizing misleading and false information about Antrim County to raise money or publicity for their own ends.' So not only did the three Republicans and one Democrat on the committee debunk all the insane Trumpian Big Lie theories, but they also took to task those grifters fleecing people on the right and turning the whole conspiracy theory idea into a growing industry. Good for them! We need more Republicans like this, and we are thankful for the ones who bravely insist that they still live in the real world."


   Maybe he'll give another presser at Four Seasons Total Landscaping?

Granted, the wheels of the justice system turn slow, but finally some people are starting to actually pay a price for what they did to support Donald Trump's Big Lie. And one of the first such consequences contained the most delicious schadenfreude imaginable. Rudy Giuliani just got his law license yanked. Well, technically just suspended at this point, until a final decision is reached, but the language of the decision is definitely worth quoting (which is why we saved it for last).

There is uncontroverted evidence that respondent [Rudy Giuliani] communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump's failed effort at reelection in 2020.

These false statements were made to improperly bolster respondent's narrative that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from his client. We conclude that respondent's conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


50 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- The Art Of The Deal”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I think this is my favorite FTP yet, Chris. You hit this one out of the park, wall to wall.


    I am reminded how differently things might have turned if Secretary of State Raffensberger in Georgia had caved to Trump.

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    So... I guess it's NOT a cheer-ocracy!

  3. [3] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Never bet on a unicorn.

  4. [4] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    It's not often one sees 'tommyrot' in print. Bravo, Chris!

  5. [5] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    While I do think Nancy Pelosi is impressive more often than not, her 'elegant solution' isn't impressive. In fact, it will hand Republicans an easy talking point.

    Suppose the Senate approves 'bipartisan infrastructure bill' (BIB) but not the 'reconciliation infrastructure bill' (RIB). And then the Speaker of the House follows through on her promise to block a vote on BIB. How easily it will be for Faux News and the right-wing media machine to (correctly) blast the House Democrats for 'obstructing the very thing they've been begging for'.

    IMO the heavy lifting must remain in the Senate. Chuck Schumer has the power to sequence the votes in the following order:
    1 - the Full Monty, i.e. BIB + RIB. Then we can all see where Manchin, Sinema, and other 'moderate Democrats' stand. Of course, we can expect zero Republican votes on this one.
    2 - RIB only. Again zero Republican votes. But if any Democrat doesn't vote for it? it goes down in flames.
    3 - Only if all 50 Democrats, including Manchin and Sinema, approve RIB, bring BIB up for a vote. Then, and only then, will we see how sincere any Republican is about bipartisanship.

  6. [6] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Three talking points this week merit serious attention.

    #1 needs to be refined, because it HASN'T been done yet. If anything, Kyrsten Sinema got it done, and was right there beside Biden in the photo op. (I won't waste time suggesting Sinema get an honorable mention as she has become the bete noire of the progressive blogosphere.)

    #3 - I don't think Democrats should spend much time on this tempest in a teapot. But if Democrats decide that this may become the 2021 version of 'Death Panels' they MUST call a spade a spade. 'Racist' should be slapped on ANYONE who advocates whitewashing history to appease the Republican base.

    #6 - Why would any Democrat praise Republicans, especially when they are merely stating the truth? A better talking point should include "Michigan" and "Big Lie".

    The others (excluding snarky #7) merely demonstrate Chris' ongoing obsession with Republican antics - hardly something any Democratic politician or candidate should 'give oxygen'.

  7. [7] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    It didn't happen this week, but she hasn't received any mention before, and I only read about it this week.

    I nominate Ilhan Omar as MIDOW for a stunning accomplishment: along with other 'squad' members, she has forced the Democratic Party to reevaluate its unquestioning fealty to Israel with regard to human rights violations of Palestinians. Equally as important, she has enlightened at least some Americans about the difference between criticism of a nation and an attacking a religion, i.e. Israel vs Judaism.

    'That friendlier posture toward Omar indicates that her party’s shift on America's role in the Middle East was more than just a short-term fixture of the recent 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

    One of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and a Somali-born refugee, Omar is emblematic of a trend much different from the one portrayed by her Republican detractors: Her perspective is aligned with that of younger Democrats, both inside and outside Congress, who want to center U.S.-Israel policy more closely on the needs of Palestinians.'

  8. [8] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Jesse Jackson, an elder statesman of the Democratic Party and Civil Rights icon, deserves at least an honorable mention this week. Not only did he bring additional pressure on Sen. Manchin, he also brought renewed media attention to the Poor Peoples Campaign!
    'Prior to their arrest, Barber held a rally in front of the US Supreme Court as part of the "Moral March on Manchin and McConnell." The event organized by the faith-led grassroots organization The Poor People's Campaign aimed to call on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to abolish the filibuster.'

  9. [9] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Every week's talking points MUST include some form of 'Democrats trust science to save lives'!
    'Hospitals in states with the lowest vaccination rates tend to have more COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, according to hospital data collected in the past week by the Department of Health and Human Services and vaccination rates published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Wyoming, Missouri, Arkansas and Idaho currently have the highest percentage of COVID-19 patients on average in their ICUs; those states all have vaccinated less than 40% of their population.'

  10. [10] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    There was no mention of Vice President Harris last week or this. She deserves at least an honorable mention for being the smiling face and PRESENCE of the Biden administration's welcoming embrace of the LGBT+ community.
    'Kamala Harris became the first sitting vice president to march in a Pride event on Saturday as she and her husband, second gentlemen Douglas Emhoff, surprised the crowd with an appearance at the Capital Pride Walk and Rally in Washington, D.C.

    "We need to make sure that our transgender community and our youth are all protected," Harris told marchers of the LGBTQ movement while wearing a pink blazer and a white T-shirt that said, "Love is love."

    "We need, still, protections around employment and housing. There is still so much more work to do. And I know we are committed and we understand the importance of this movement and our roles of leadership in this ongoing movement. Happy Pride Day!" she said to cheers.'

  11. [11] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Several California Democrats deserve the dishonorable award this week. Was this omitted because it happened on Thursday? Or is this another example of Chris' blind spot to any shortcomings of Californians - excepting Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, of course?
    'The California lawmakers including Correa, Zoe Lofgren (D), Ted Lieu (D) and Darrell Issa (R) argue the legislation could disrupt the U.S. economy and unfairly singles out the country’s four largest tech companies for increased regulation — concerns that hew closely to the tech companies’ talking points.
    Many in the group of California detractors have another thing in common: large donations from tech companies that would be hurt by the bills. Lofgren has directly received tens of thousands of dollars from Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft and the National Venture Capital Association since she came to Congress. Issa counts Google’s parent company Alphabet and the tech trade group Consumer Technology Association as two of his top campaign contributors. And Facebook employees have been some of the top contributors to Swalwell’s campaign over his career.

    Lofgren, Swalwell and Correa voted together against five of the six antitrust bills.'

  12. [12] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    While I do think Nancy Pelosi is impressive more often than not, her 'elegant solution' isn't impressive. In fact, it will hand Republicans an easy talking point.

    So what? Do ya think that they won’t come up with something to complain about no matter what the Dems do? At least with this, the Dems have an easy response to anything they say, “Good for the goose? Good for the gander!” If ya don’t like it done, then ya shouldn’t have done it yourself!

  13. [13] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Re: ListenWhenYouHear [13]

    Of course the Republicans will develop their own talking points to justify their obstruction. That doesn't mean the Democrats should hand them one on a silver platter.

  14. [14] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    This happened yesterday (Saturday, 26 June), too late to make this week's FTP column. I hope that Chris will at least award an honorable mention to Oregon's state Democrats in next week's post.
    'The state Senate on Saturday passed House bill 2021, known familiarly as the 100% Clean Energy for All bill, by a 16-12 vote. The legislation was approved in the state House on Friday. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat who is expected to sign it.'

  15. [15] 
    John M wrote:

    [5] italyrusty wrote:

    "3 - Only if all 50 Democrats, including Manchin and Sinema, approve RIB, bring BIB up for a vote. Then, and only then, will we see how sincere any Republican is about bipartisanship."

    NOT a good idea at all Rusty!!! And I will tell you why. If you vote on the Bipartisan infrastructure bill second, after the Reconciliation bill has already passed first, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill fails, you CANNOT then move what failed in it over to the Reconciliation bill and pass it again. Reconciliation bills can only pass ONCE. Reconciliation bills have to pass as is the first time. You can't repass the items they contain again in the same fiscal budget year. You would have to wait a whole another year again to try again.

  16. [16] 
    John M wrote:

    [5] italyrusty wrote:

    "3 - Only if all 50 Democrats, including Manchin and Sinema, approve RIB, bring BIB up for a vote. Then, and only then, will we see how sincere any Republican is about bipartisanship."

    The bipartisan infrastructure bill HAS to go first. IF it fails then you can just do one big reconciliation bill that includes everything.

    But if you do it the other way around, then all the physical infrastructure spending on roads etc. is LOST until next year.

  17. [17] 
    John M wrote:

    As it stands now, you can pass more than one reconciliation bill, but only if they deal with OTHER subjects, and not the SAME subjects, in the same fiscal year. At least that's my understanding.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Our little Sunday night shindig will be one of the most fun yet as we are focusing on bands that have played the Whisky-a-Go-Go!!!

    Back in a couple hours ... though, nothing is stopping you from getting the festivities started early, ya know. :)

  19. [19] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    This is a long read from The Atlantic, but it's worth your time!

    How America Lost It's Mind.

    This relates to my firm belief that Repug politicians are not talking to ALL of us but rather to their TRUE BELIEVERS in Foxworld.

  20. [20] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    K, Elizabeth, I'll be back in an hour or two myself to Whiskey-a-Go-Go with you and our Crew.

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Welcome, everyone to the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party!

    Guess I'll get things going with a PRiSM favourite - let's have a hearty Whisky welcome to the PRiSM horn section and Vladivostok, live from 1978 at the infamous Whisky-a-Go-Go!!!

    Vladi-o-vostok at the Whisky

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Alright! ... mistake number one ... the above is from October of 1977 ...

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Whisky a Go Go opened its doors on the Sunset Strip for the first time on January 15, 1964 with Johnny Rivers performing.

    This famous club was the first live music venue to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

    Funnily enough, the Whisky is spelled without the 'e' as in whiskey due to LA city zoning bylaws which prohibited clubs from using any alcohol for its name! And I always thought it was the Canadian (British) versus American spelling ...

    Anyway, here is another live track (sorry about the less than stellar audio but it's go great to have such rare audio as this at all ... not to mention the fun pics, especially of lead vocalist extraordinaire and Morrison-esque Ron Tabak, RIP) from PRiSM's October 1977 Whisky a Go Go performance ...

    It's the first climate apocalypse song written by Jim Vallance, PRiSM's original drummer and Bryan Adams' songwriting partner,

    Take Me To The Kaptin

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    August 1986 at the Whisky a Go Go, Guns and Roses debuted what has beoome my favourite GNR song, Sweet Child 'O Mine

  25. [25] 
    John From Censornati wrote:
  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Very happy to see you here again, too, JFC!


  27. [27] 
    John From Censornati wrote:
  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You wouldn't, couldn't have known this, JFC, but that is the perfect tune for the day I had today. To top it off, I had a bit of a fall so I'm nursing a swollen knee.

    Take it, me away, my man!

  30. [30] 
    John From Censornati wrote:
  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I have always kind of associated the Whisky with the Doors...

    Light My Fire

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    When The Music's Over

    I think we need many more fundraisers like this one in support of independent live event venues and artists in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic ...

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Where are you Caddy!?

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Fleetwood Mac @ the Whisky A Go Go on November 22, 1971, with Danny KirwanTrinity

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Here's a favourite performance of a favourite Fleetwood Mac tune ... unfortunately, this video ends too abruptly and you can't hear Stevie say, "Thank-you, Lindsey" and then him say, "Thank-you, Stevie" just before they embrace.

    I think Lindsey will be back in the band ...


  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, has anyone actually been to the Whisky A Go Go?

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    We may need some new blood around here ... new blood that loves and appreciates good music and who, unlike me, won't be done for the day by midnight, eastern time.

    Ah, well ... I've got a few left in me. :)

  40. [40] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Yeah, I just spent a bunch of time reviewing "live at the Whiskey" vids on YouTube and I can't find a song that I want to post, Elizabeth.:(

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil Young and Stephen Stills and Buffalo Springfield were hired as the house band at the Whisky, not long after the club opened. After their seven week run, the Doors took over as the house band.

    Speaking of Neil Young, lately, I've been listening to the concert film he made with Jonathon Demme, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, over and over again, just to relax. I highly recomment it if you haven't already checked it out. The concert was at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry and it was the world premiere of his Prairie Wind album. It's just damn good for the soul!

    Anyway, here is Prairie Wind from that concert film Prairie Wind - Live at the Ryman

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I don't believe it - keep looking! I'll stay up, just for you ...

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Meanwhile, here is more from Neil Young: Heart of Gold.

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The first concert at the Whisky in 1964 - Johnny Rivers

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Seating capacity @ the Whisky - about 500!

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I thought Joni Mitchell played the Whisky but can't find a live performance there and I'm getting tired so that's it for me ... maybe we should do another Whisky run next Sunday!

    I'll leave you with Both Sides Now

    Take good care and stay safe, everyone!

  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hope everything is okay, Caddy!

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Good morning!

    Can anyone check for me the LA Times archives for a review of the PRiSM show there Thursday October 20, 1977?

    I am told that this performance was set up to impress PRiSM's US record label, Ariola America and that it served that purpose well - at the time, Spaceship Superstar was getting a lot of airplay on American radio. Unfortunately, the news of a plane crash involving Lynyrd Skynyrd (which killed Ronnie Van Zant and other members of the band) that night overshadowed any celebrations following the show and so there may not be any reviews. Or But, I sure would appreciate anyone looking who has access to the Times' archives/Whisky reviews!

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