ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points -- A Grim Week

[ Posted Friday, August 27th, 2021 – 17:09 UTC ]

This was never going to be a good week for President Joe Biden. The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan pretty much guaranteed that. But although the week started out with signs of optimism -- more and more people being airlifted out of Kabul, to top 100,000 by week's end -- it ended in disaster. A suicide bomber exploded his vest right at the gate to the airport, which killed at least 13 American servicemembers and over 100 Afghans (as of this writing the official death toll for Afghans had hit 169). So while this week could have been perhaps tense but slightly optimistic, by week's end that was no longer possible. It was disastrous; there's just no other way to put it. One grim way to measure it is Biden has now made his first addition to the number he always carries around with him in his jacket pocket -- the number of fallen U.S. servicemembers from both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course, not all of it is Biden's fault, but all of it is definitely now his responsibility. We were attacked by the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State ("ISIS-K"), many of whom were in prison but then either freed in the wave of 5,000 prisoners the Afghans had to let go when Donald Trump struck his deal with the Taliban (back when Trump thought inviting the Taliban to Camp David right around the anniversary of 9/11 was a good idea), or freed as the conquering Taliban emptied all the prisons as they took over. And there was also such a massive failure of intelligence that nobody apparently plotted out what the absolute worst-case scenario would look like (the Afghan government flees and collapses, the military refuses to fight and either deserts or surrenders en masse). So there's plenty of blame to go around. But Biden still bears all the responsibility, for it happening on his watch and under his orders. Which, to his credit, he has been acknowledging -- rather than the finger-pointing frenzy of denial that would have happened under the previous president. Biden keeps saying the buck stops with him, and he has acknowledged his own full responsibility for everything that has happened. He has stuck to his goal throughout -- he still insists we're leaving on the last day of this month -- and he also still insists history will judge this to be the correct move for him to have made.

But that didn't make this week any easier to get through. The hard, cold reality is that we're not going to be able to get everyone out on that timeline. Some Americans and a lot more Afghans who aided our 20-year war effort still want to leave but may not be able to make it to the airport in time. They are going to be left behind, plain and simple. Perhaps (for the American citizens, at least), allowing them out might be negotiated with the Taliban after our troops are gone, but that remains to be seen. None of this was negotiated in what is being called Trump's "surrender agreement," although it very easily could have been. But again, none of that is going to matter when the public starts hearing all the "I was left behind" stories in the media. Which, at this point, seems like an inevitability.

Biden's credibility and competence took a major hit this week, there's no denying it. In addition (it is probably impossible to separate the two, in polling), Biden's job approval numbers were headed downwards before things fell apart in Afghanistan, because of the absolute rage vaccinated people are now feeling towards the unvaccinated -- who have allowed this fourth wave of the Delta mutation to spread so widely and so quickly. Everyone was so relieved on Independence Day, when we all thought masks and social distancing were soon to be things of the past. We thought we had emerged into the daylight from a very long night, but it turned out to be nothing more than a false dawn. Then the fourth wave hit us, and hit us hard. We're back to over 100,000 COVID-19 patients in America's hospitals. Some are full. This is all familiar by now, but it is far from welcome. So this crushing sense of disappointment that we're not actually out of the woods yet has, in general, been reflected in sinking poll numbers for Biden. And, again, this was before Afghanistan fell apart.

Assumably, things will eventually turn around on both fronts. We will get out of Afghanistan and end the Forever War. The fourth wave will crest and then recede. More and more keep getting vaccinated, including almost 75 percent of all adults (who have received at least one shot). Booster shots are on the way, which should lessen the amount of "breakthrough" cases, where vaccinated people still catch the virus. By the time a "fifth wave" new-Greek-letter-variant comes around, we may be in much better shape. But that doesn't make a return to masks and all the rest of it any easier for everyone to bear, in the meantime.

There was one interesting development this week, although it got completely lost in the media fray. The House January 6th Select Committee has issued its first demands for documents, information, and data. They asked for documents back to the spring of 2019 from multiple executive branch departments. They have also requested data from cell phones in and around the Capitol, which may finally answer the question of how complicit any one member of Congress might have been in what took place. They have also requested social media data from all these phones as well, which could be critical in answering who knew what when.

Donald Trump, upon hearing this news, had the expected hissy fit. But, just like the news of the investigation's progress, it was subsumed in the bigger foreign policy story this week (although Trump did manage to prove he's as bad as ever at retaining any new facts, as he kept referring to "ISIS-X" in a call to Fox News).

[Editor's Note: while ISIS-K is a big problem in Afghanistan, ISIS-X does not, in fact, exist.]

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was unquestionably winner of this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. It seems longer ago, at this point, but it was early this week that Pelosi reconvened the House (eating into their precious one-month vacation) in order to hold a few key votes. The biggest was voting to move forward to drafting the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill (which will contain the lion's share of Biden's domestic agenda), which almost went off the rails at the last minute.

Nine conservative Democrats who we've been calling the "Mod Squad" (we didn't come up with that ourselves, and they aren't even all that moderate, but we have to admit it is rather snappy...) threatened to vote against the budget reconciliation bill until and unless the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure bill was put on the floor for a vote. It was legislative hostage-taking of the first order, plain and simple. They swore they simply would not budge -- no vote on their bill right now, then no vote on the budget bill, period.

This would have completely blown up Pelosi's "two-track" strategy. Pelosi swore when the Senate passed the infrastructure bill that she wouldn't bring it to the House floor until the companion $3.5 trillion budget bill was ready for a final vote. She has been crystal-clear on this all along. This way, the moderates can vote for the bill they like while holding their noses voting for the bill they don't like. The progressives, fearful that the infrastructure bill would be the only thing passed, would get a vote on their bill before the infrastructure bill got a vote. Everyone would get at least enough of what they wanted in the end, and Biden could sign two historic pieces of legislation that would become the Democratic Party's platform for the 2022 (and, likely, 2024) election campaign.

Tense negotiation which blew by a deadline or two commenced. The progressives largely did their bargaining in private, but as Donna Edwards (a former member of the House Progressive Caucus herself) pointed out, the "moderates" made their case very publicly, including writing an op-ed where they promised they'd never back down.

In the end, they did. The Mod Squad did not get the vote they had demanded, and they all voted to advance the budget reconciliation bill. Pelosi promised them essentially what she's been saying all along -- that the infrastructure bill had to pass before October 1st, since that's when funding will run out. Her only "concession" was to commit to a hard date (September 27th) for that vote. In other words, she formalized what was already her position, and gave nothing else to the Mod Squad.

This is the type of thing Pelosi is known for. She is a master at herding her Democratic cats. If the Brits hadn't already used it, we'd probably refer to her as "the Iron Lady" by now. She will already go down in history as one of the most effective speakers ever, and these two bills could be her final crowning achievement (she may step down as speaker in 2023, even if Democrats retain control of the chamber).

Pelosi got the Mod Squad in line. It took her an extra day, but in the end she was successful. Once again. She has already earned plenty of accolades, so allow us to add to the chorus with this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award.

[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

This was sadly another of those weeks when we had plenty of candidates to choose from in the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week category. Which means we have three (Dis-)Honorable Mention awards to hand out before we get to the main event.

The first goes to all nine Mod Squad members. They threatened very publicly in absolutist language to torpedo the entire Democratic agenda (even if they had gotten the vote they were demanding, the bill would have failed because the progressives would have voted against it, in revenge). Another media moniker we read this week called them the "Suicide Squad" (although, thankfully after the events of yesterday, nobody picked up on this one).

In the end, Pelosi and President Biden leaning on them made them back down. They looked weak and petulant as a direct result.

It is one thing to have these arguments in back rooms with closed doors, among fellow Democrats. It is quite another to throw public tantrums and then have to endure getting publicly spanked as a direct result. They chose their path, Pelosi whipped them back into line, and they all certainly deserve at least a (Dis-)Honorable Mention for the whole tempest in a teapot.

The next one is a little more serious. Seth Moulton, a corporatist House Democrat from Massachusetts, decided to buddy up with a Republican pal and go see for himself what was going on in Kabul. This was wildly reckless behavior, since not only did they obviously take up space that could have been used to get two more people out of Afghanistan, but it also meant the military on the airfield had to provide them with security while they were there -- and the soldiers really have other very important things they could have been doing.

And thirdly, we thought we were rid of him (he resigned a minute before midnight this week, an awkward time indeed for the new governor -- he could just have easily resigned a minute before noon...) but then there he was, back in the news. First, he gave a belligerent farewell speech, notable for its bombast and bluster (and refusal to admit reality). Then came the news that Cuomo might just have left his dog behind at the governor's mansion as he exited. But the worst was yet to come.

The Politico column "Playbook" had the story. Cuomo re-hired a "longtime spokesperson and senior advisor" with some of the $18 million Cuomo's still got in extra campaign cash, who has mounted "a campaign of retribution against his perceived political enemies, including now-Gov. Kathy Hochul." Some of the details and quotes are pretty hair-raising:

"The fever [with] which they are doing this -- to relitigate the past and undermine Hochul -- is incredible," said one reporter. "They don't seem to see that they are out of power and no one cares."

. . .

But revenge is Cuomo's hallmark. Political aides and operatives who have worked for Cuomo say they expect him to use his $18 million war chest first to pay his legal bills and then to take out his "enemies" -- a broad term that many assume includes prominent Democrats who called on him to resign.

"What is a man to do with $18 million, a lot of enemies and a desire for revenge?" said Hank Sheinkopf, a political consultant who has worked both for and against Cuomo. "This is not a guy who forgets. The only question is when he tries to get even, and whether it's upfront or behind the scenes."

There's just no other word for it -- this is downright Trumpian behavior. Cuomo should be ashamed of himself, but of course he is not since he seems to be absolutely incapable of feeling shame for anything whatsoever. He also seems to be incapable of ever admitting he was wrong about anything, and filled with rage at his "enemies." In other words, just like Donald Trump.

That's about as insulting a thing you can say to a Democrat, these days. In a week without a foreign policy crisis, Cuomo would have walked away with the MDDOTW, but this week he'll have to settle for a (Dis-)Honorable Mention.

But this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week is none other than President Joe Biden.

Biden was sold to the voters as "Mr. Competent." So far, he's been doing a fairly good job of living up to that. Biden refuses to get into the petty little bickering (both in the media and on social media) that had become a hallmark of the Trump years, he stays in focus and he gets the job done. Or, at least, that's they way he was largely seen up until a few weeks ago.

That label doesn't fit Biden very well anymore, however. Biden keeps insisting that total withdrawal from Afghanistan is the right thing to do -- and he is right about that -- but he also seems delusional at times about the hard, cold fact that things could have gone a lot smoother than they have. Biden continually speaks as if the chaos we are now seeing was inevitable, and would have happened no matter when the evacuations had happened -- even weeks and weeks ago.

This just isn't true, and the sooner Biden realizes it and admits it the better. This was a massive failure of the intelligence services (both within the military and without) -- on the close order of the C.I.A. essentially saying: "Whoops, we didn't see that one coming!" when the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight. It was that fundamental and massive a screwup, in fact.

Biden was given the information he was given. He acted on it. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong plan of action. He was told repeatedly that, even if the Afghan army eventually collapsed, that it would take a long time for the Taliban to get anywhere near taking Kabul. Instead of the wildly optimistic timelines (which started at "one to two years" and only shrank to "perhaps in the next 30 days" even while the Taliban were busily overrunning the country, it took them precisely 11 days to wrap the entire country up and declare victory. That is a massive failure of intelligence.

But, as Biden keeps pointing out, the buck stops with him now that he's commander-in-chief. So he owns this entire screwup and he always will. He may eventually be right that the American people are going to care a lot more about getting out than the way we got out, but after the bombing which killed 13 American soldiers Biden is just never going to get a pass on the whole thing. If the Republicans retake either house of Congress next year, this will in fact become "Biden's Benghazi" -- with endless congressional hearings designed to remind the public of the events of this week.

Including one that hasn't gained much traction yet, but undoubtedly will (in the right-wing media echo chamber, at least). Apparently in the earliest days of the airlift, after the Taliban was essentially controlling access to the airport, we actually gave them a list not only of all American citizens, but also of all green card holders and even those whose application for visas had not been processed yet but whom we wanted to allow out of the country. Politico also had this scoop:

U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city's airport, a choice that's prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials.

. . .

Since the fall of Kabul in mid-August, nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated, most of whom had to pass through the Taliban's many checkpoints. But the decision to provide specific names to the Taliban, which has a history of brutally murdering Afghans who collaborated with the U.S. and other coalition forces during the conflict, has angered lawmakers and military officials.

"Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list," said one defense official, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. "It's just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean."

A spokesperson for U.S. Central Command declined to comment.

You can bet that's going to be fodder for the Republicans, in the coming days.

We could have awarded President Biden the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week for his refusal to call the basic mistake he and his administration made an actual mistake. We could have given it to him for the chaos of the evacuation. We could have given it to him for trusting the Taliban far too much. But instead, we are giving it to him for a wider, big-picture reason. Biden was supposed to exhibit basic competency -- that's a large part of what got him elected. This week, however, was anything but "Mr. Competent." For disappointing millions with this letdown, Joe Biden is our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week.

[Contact President Joe Biden on his White House contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 632 (8/27/21)

This week, we are going to defer to the professionals on foreign policy. We do not feel competent enough to provide political spin for the situation in Afghanistan, the bombing, or the mistakes that have already been made (and will be made in the future). We are leaving it to the professionals who get paid for that sort of thing in this case, because we just don't have the heart to politicize things right now on the subject. Call us cowards if you will, we won't complain.

Instead, we are going to turn to all the other subjects that were largely overshadowed by the news from Afghanistan this week.

 

1
   Full approval

This was good news indeed, at the start of the week.

"This Monday the Pfizer vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Full F.D.A. approval means nobody can claim that this is some sort of 'untested' or 'experimental' vaccine anymore. The tests have been done. The experiments have concluded. The F.D.A. has put its stamp of full approval on the vaccine. The other vaccines will likely also be approved in the coming weeks. But this removes one more excuse by the unvaccinated for their stubbornness. This vaccine is just like every other vaccine kids need before they can enter school -- fully tested, safe, effective, and (even better) free for everyone. There simply are no more valid excuses left. Everyone possible needs to get vaccinated as soon as possible, because that's really the only thing that'll defeat the fourth wave. Or prevent the fifth from even happening. No excuse -- get the shots."

 

2
   Just like George Washington did

This is a potent argument that needs to be made a whole lot more often.

"The Pentagon is out in front on the vaccination front, quickly mandating all servicemembers get vaccinated against COVID-19, after the Pfizer vaccine won full F.D.A. approval. This continues a long tradition for them, since it was actually George Washington during the Revolutionary War who mandated that all of his soldiers be inoculated against smallpox, even though the practice was quite controversial at the time. So anyone who complains that soldiers and sailors somehow should not have to get vaccinated should be told that the 'Father of our Country' was America's first military leader to order such a mandate for those in uniform."

 

3
   Vaccine mandates!

Democrats should refuse the bait and cut right to the real problem instead.

"Mask mandates? You know what? That's a secondary problem -- it's a rear-guard action. You know what I want to see more of? Vaccine mandates. You don't want to get the shot? Fine, then you can't work here anymore. You want to stand on your so-called 'right' -- the right to be infectious as possible, really -- then guess what? You don't get to fly on airplanes any more, sorry. High-school kids not vaccinated? Well then, they can deal with remote learning until they are. Mask mandates are really a side issue -- we need more vaccine mandates, in as many places as possible, and as soon as possible."

 

4
   The public supports mandates

Again, an argument Democrats really should be leaning into.

"Sure, the anti-vaxxers are a pretty vocal crowd. They get lots of attention when they show up at school board meetings or wherever. They get their faces on the news, spouting their inane conspiracy theories. But you know what? They are nowhere close to a majority of the public. In the polls, a majority is actually in favor of having mandates -- even in Florida, one of the states where a Republican governor is fighting hard to allow COVID-19 to infect as many of his constituents as possible. A full 61 percent of Floridians think the fourth wave they are being crushed under right now was preventable. The governor banned schools from requiring masks -- while 60 percent of Floridians support mask mandates in schools (and 54 percent say that schools -- not parents -- should be the ones making this decision). Only 36 percent are against mask mandates. Personal freedom? Only 33 percent say the mask debate is about that, while 63 percent say it is primarily about public health. A whopping 68 percent think local officials should be able to require masks in public places. The numbers are clear -- even in a state whose governor is leading in precisely the wrong direction. The public supports mask mandates. By a very wide margin, in fact."

 

5
   Make them pay

Of course, there are other ways to force accountability.

"Delta Airlines made the news this week by instituting a $200-per-month health insurance surcharge for any employee who is medically able to get a vaccine shot but has not done so yet. I think that's a great idea -- I'd peg it even higher, personally. I hope all major employers start doing this. It costs a company something like $50,000 for an employee of theirs to go to the hospital with COVID-19. If you don't want to get vaccinated, then you are at a much higher risk. And freedom isn't free -- you've got to pay the price. For the additional risk, you're going to have to pay more for insurance. Why should we continue letting these people have a free ride on the rest of us? Make them pay for their obstinacy!"

 

6
   We shall overcome?

There's a big weekend planned.

"This week the House passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It now heads to the Senate, where two Democrats are so far refusing to alter the filibuster rules to protect our democracy. They are still deluding themselves that 10 Republicans can be convinced to vote for any voting rights act. In an effort to convince them, on the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior's March On Washington -- where he gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech -- there will not only be a protest march in Washington but also in other cities around the country. The window for voting rights reform is closing fast. The states have already started redistricting, which could result in enough gerrymandering to hand the House of Representatives over to the Republicans. There simply is no time left -- if some voting rights reform bill doesn't pass the Senate in the next month or so, then it likely will not happen. So get out and show your support this Saturday! Honor the memory of John Lewis and pass this bill. If it takes reforming the filibuster rules, then do that first. But get it done now because the option of 'later' no longer exists."

 

7
   A real prince of a guy

What scum.

"Hey, I heard Eric Prince -- the guy who started Blackwater, remember them? -- is lending a hand in flying people out of Kabul. You remember Eric Prince -- Betsy DeVos's brother? He's offering a seat out on one of his charter flights to anyone who can make it to the airport. Well... anyone who has sixty-five hundred dollars to pony up, that is. What a prince of a guy, eh? There's got to be a special circle of Hell for people like this, who profit so directly from human misery. Seriously, how can anyone look at him and not see pond scum?"

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

30 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- A Grim Week”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What do we know about the meeting between the Taliban leadership and CIA Director Bill Burns?

    I really love this guy and was so thrilled to hear a top US diplomat was tapped for heading up the CIA.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    By the time a "fifth wave" new-Greek-letter-variant comes around, we may be in much better shape. But that doesn't make a return to masks and all the rest of it any easier for everyone to bear, in the meantime.

    We may - and by 'we' I mean all citizens of the world - be in much better shape by the time of the fifth and sixth and etc. etc. waves only if, number one, all of front line health workers and the most vulnerable people around the world get their first and second shots and, number two, the next Greek-letter variants aren't resistant to the vaccines currently available anywhere AND even more transmissable than delta.

    Nothing is certain and everything is unpredictable, in other words.

  3. [3] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    OK, I guess.

    Regarding your final count of indictment for the president disappointing us, I too read about the report that the US told the Taliban the names of US supporters who should be allowed access to the US-controlled airport and thus escape. The commentary I read echoed what first crossed my mind when reading it: no matter what we may think, U.S. military and intelligence people are not criminal fools. This is not a shopping list given to the Taliban of who to arrest and shoot.

    It is a list of who NOT to arrest and shoot, because we know who they are, we have our eye on them, we regard them as our people, and you can expect a cruise missile thank-you note if they get hurt, now that you know who's who.

    To me, this makes a lot more sense, and I'll acknowledge my error when the follow-up story of Taliban revenge killings of everyone on the list appears, with the accompanying political scandal and Congressional hearings that no security agency in America would ever anticipate could result from literally giving a hit list to an enemy nation.

    On a minor note, especially in view of your ongoing war for clear expression, better grammar, etc. I am shocked to see, even in this column, a sentence like this: "Biden was supposed to exhibit basic competency."

    No, no, no. COMPETENCE. Competency is an almost useless word indicating how good one is at being competent. It is used as a synonym more often than I can stand these days, but that's because it has an extra syllable which connotes the writer's higher intellect, or something. Sorry, nothing personal, but just stick with competence. (Ditto for abolishing resiliency, utilize, etc. for resilience, use, etc.)

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    John,

    Now, THAT is what I would call clear-eyed analysis.

  5. [5] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    JMFCT...

    I'll go along some what with that logic.

    I suspect we will see a couple of "offings" made to look like ISIS-K, but in the near term nothing to radical.

    It would not surprise me if the CIA director had a discussion about the TB A) holding up their end of the bargain IRT inclusive governance, women in burkas, not being slimy drug lord nabobs. B) controlling terrorism and C) making sure "our" people and "our allies" people can leave (hence a "news cycle" of breathless reporting about the TB taking control of the airport and the potential for a "short" service disruption).

    The other half of that discussion probably was "if you fail to do any of these things we will use one of these at will. While cruise missiles have their place, this is a very scary and far more efficient way of " hunting you down" than a cruise missile. After all there is no opportunity for the other side to claim collateral damage when a "round from the curve" is delivered and the people around the target have no clue.

  6. [6] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    A solid FTP column this week, Chris. I am especially pleased to see that the majority of the talking points are related to the pandemic AND are about what Democrats can and are doing instead of Republican bashing.

  7. [7] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Re: Talking Point #1, Democrats MUST denounce anyone who 'moves the goal posts', like the Texas governor did this week.

    'Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates regardless of a vaccine's approval status with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    He also said he was adding the issue to the agenda for the current special session of the Texas Legislature.

    The order comes two days after the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine. That raised questions about the fate of a previous Abbott order that prohibited vaccine mandates, but only for those under emergency authorization.
    ...
    Abbott's last order regarding vaccine requirements, issued July 29, said "no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization."'

  8. [8] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    It is astounding that the American media continues to undervalue Speaker Pelosi. Again and again, she proves to be a true leader and master negotiator.

    Again this week, the media clutched its pearls about the threat by the 'nine moderates'.

    At this point, it is clearly a case of misogyny, latent in the liberal press and overt on Faux News and other right-wing outlets.

  9. [9] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Re: Talking Point #5

    I have yet to see anyone denouncing the anti-vaxxers for the cost they are incurring on their fellow taxpayers. Each person who has Medicare or Medicaid is a DIRECT cost, while the uninsured will result in write-offs and future increases in premiums and hospitalization charges. Democrats MUST own this issue, loudly and repeatedly; thus far, they have been stunningly silent about the economic impact of the right-wing disinformation campaign.

  10. [10] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Re: Talking Point #3,

    Opinion polls show that vaccinated Americans are getting fed up with those who refuse to protect themselves and their neighbors. Democrats MUST own that anger and advocate for vaccine mandates at every opportunity. And they must turn the tables on the Republican talking point about 'freedom', highlighting that NONE OF US is free until we ALL ARE.

  11. [11] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    TP#6-
    "The window for voting rights legislation is closing fast."

    "there simply is no time left..."

    "...get it done now because the option of later no longer exists."

    The option of later exists.

    But it does get harder the longer it gets put off.

    Of course, if it happens or not it does not address in any significant manner the systemic problems with our political process.

    That as you said recently about the Nod Squad is that the politicians do not want to piss off their donors. (Nod Squad because the big money donors say jump and the politicians give them a nod that they will)

    These politicians (which is all the Deathocrats and Republikillers and not just the Nod Squad) are working for ordinary citizens and are only interested in preserving the status quo.

    This legislation, for example, does not solve the real problem of gerrymandering that congressional districts are gerrymandered for BOTH current major parties and the Deathocrats only want to level the playing field between big money Deathocrats and Republikillers.

    But there is a way to break through the gerrymandering of both parties.

    Gerrymandering works when voters are predictable.

    Democracy works when voters are not predictable.

    Citizens participating in One Demand in 2022 can not only make third parties or independent candidates comptetitive in some districts against the CMP candidates they can also flip a district gerrymandered for one party to the other party.

    This can lead to more citizens participating in 2024 making more districts unpredictable.

    And it can be done without waiting for legislation.

    But we need to do it now because the option of later only makes it take longer to get done and waiting for the big money legislators to do anything more than superficial tinkering is an exercise in futility.

    Citizens do not need mandates to take this action that can help vaccinate our political process not only from big money infecting our political process but can even work on variants like gerrymandering.

    Take the One Demand vaccine.

    80% of citizens want the big money out of politics.

    Your refusal to take the One Demand vaccine puts you in the same class as the governor of Florida.

  12. [12] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    OOps.
    It should be "These politicians.. are NOT working for ordinary citizens..."

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh, I think I know what you really meant, Don ... :)

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hope everyone is ready for a good time tonight!

  15. [15] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    John M from Ct. [3]

    Spot on! How is it that we know the Taliban was given the names of those we consider OUR Afghani’s so they would be cleared through checkpoints and not be detained? From the Afghani’s whose names were given to the Taliban who were not arrested or killed by the Taliban! It’s those whose names were not put on the list that face the greatest risk.

  16. [16] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [16]

    Lemme add my kudos, JMFCT. I think you sussed out the logic of providing a list of "do not touch" folks.

    Again, why not "pay" the Taliban to scour the country for everyone on the list and thence to safely transport them to Kabul? Money is honorable in the desert and this serves both sides needs. We get our people back and provide money to help the Afghani people. The Taliban gets the problem of us and our people out of their collective hair (without a thunderstorm of cruise missles) and get some badly need funds.

  17. [17] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    It wouldn't be Sunday Night without at least a couple of Canadian jewels,

    The Spirit of Radio

    Needle and the Damage Done

    Virginia

    Hope you're okay Elizabeth, and that you simply got a better offer this Sunday evening.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Wow, Caddy! That is one fine trio of tunes right up there!

    Believe me I tried, more than once, to make an appearance but it just wasn't to be.

    I'm much better now and there's no way I'd get a better offer on a Sunday night, just so you know ... :)

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Ha! Look at that time stamp. Heh.

  20. [20] 
    TheStig wrote:

    MtnCaddy- 1 and 3 left me cold in the moment, and they still do. Like processed cheese.

    I consider Needle and the Damage a masterpiece of songwriting. One out of three ain’t bad when it comes to musical tastes!

  21. [21] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-

    At this moment I think that Pelosi doing well is more important than Biden looking bad.

  22. [22] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [18]
    [19]

    Awwww, that's sweet. I have to be impressed by that time stamp -- hard-core!

    Main thing is, Elizabeth Miller is okey dokey.

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    TS,

    Hope to see you here this Sunday night playing the tunes that don't leave you cold, like processed cheese. Heh.

  24. [24] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [20]

    Thanks, Stig. I'd like a tune or two out of you one of these Sunday nights.

  25. [25] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    This Atlantic article, Biden Deserves Credit, Not Blame, for Afghanistan gives a different perspective on our Afghanistan end game.

    And, in a stark change from recent years, an American leader has done the hard thing, the right thing: set aside politics and put both America’s interests and values first.

  26. [26] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW

    This week, we are going to defer to the professionals on foreign policy.

    Apparently not, it appears... since you've repeated multiple falsehoods as facts already.

  27. [27] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    11

    But there is a way to break through the gerrymandering of both parties.

    Your ridiculous purity bullshit certainly isn't "a way" because it effectively requires that a citizen become a nonvoter by the self-disenfranchising in casting a vote for an invalid candidate... which isn't voting at all.

    Democracy works when voters are not predictable.

    Democracy works equally well when voters are totally predictable. If you're too obtuse to understand the basic facts, that speaks volumes regarding your redundant repetitive failure.

    Citizens participating in One Demand in 2022 can not only make third parties or independent candidates comptetitive in some districts against the CMP candidates they can also flip a district gerrymandered for one party to the other party.

    Incorrect. Four participants can't do a damn thing, and last time I checked, one of your participants wasn't an American citizen... so make that three participants who can't do a damn thing.

    Also, thank you ever so much for your "saying the silent part out loud" regarding your intention to make "third parties or independent candidates comptetitive [sic]" by encouraging voters who typically vote for the two major parties to de facto self-disenfranchise... as if most everyone here hasn't likely already deduced that.

    There are zero third parties or independent candidates who actually meet your bullshit purity test, yet you are stating in no uncertain terms your goal to make those actual "Big Money" third parties and independent candidates competitive against Democrats and Republicans. Kind of obvious from the jump, Don.

    So to recap: It's been obvious for nigh on a decade that your primary goal wasn't actually getting money out of politics but getting voters who generally vote for Democrats to self-disenfranchise.

    FACT: The more people vote, Democrats win elections; how unfortunate for you and those purity test failing "Big Money" third parties and independents you're seeking desperately to make competitive against the major parties.

    Your bullshit is rather transparent... always has been.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Commenting on an old thread, again, eh?

  29. [29] 
    Kick wrote:

    Yes, you are, EM. :)

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What a pair ... hope to see ya Sunday night. We'll be highlighting favourite songwriters.

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