Friday Talking Points -- Finally, A Messaging War Democrats Can Easily Win

[ Posted Friday, September 1st, 2023 – 16:51 UTC ]

It is rare in American politics when Democrats manage to win a political "messaging" war with Republicans, but it certainly seems like they've got a doozy of an opportunity to do just that, on the issue of lowering prescription drug prices. This messaging battle really began in earnest this week, and so far Republicans are losing badly.

This week President Biden announced the first 10 prescription drugs had been chosen for price negotiations with the pharmaceutical companies. Medicare will, for the first time, use its vast purchasing power to force the drug companies to lower their obscene prices. Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs precisely because the government doesn't use Medicare's bargaining power to rein in the bottomless greed of the drug companies. The Inflation Reduction Act finally gave the government the power to bargain for prices -- but it was limited to only 10 drugs, at first. So Biden announced which drugs would be covered, and then (perfect timing) after a year of negotiations, the final prices agreed to will be publicly announced... right before the 2024 election. So of course Biden and the Democrats are going to use the issue politically. Especially since fighting for insanely-high profit margins for drug companies isn't exactly a very defensible thing, politically. But that's not going to stop Republicans from trying.

Here is Biden, speaking while unveiling the 10 drugs chosen:

"Today is the start of a new deal for patients where Big Pharma doesn't just get a blank check at your expense and the expense of the American people," [President Joe] Biden said in remarks Tuesday from the White House East Room. Referring to the spate of lawsuits alleging that the negotiations are unconstitutional, he said, "We're going to keep standing up" to the pharmaceutical industry. "I'll have your back," he said, addressing the nation's consumers.

Now here are some Republicans, trying to counter this basic and easily-understood argument:

"The price control is a huge departure from where we have been as a country," said Joel White, a Republican health care strategist. "It gets politicians and bureaucrats right into your medicine cabinet."

Oh, the horrors! Politicians and bureaucrats in my medicine cabinet! Except for the part they don't say at the end, which is: " save you a whole bunch of money!" That's the indefensible part for Republicans. Republicans have taken the position of: "We're fighting hard to make sure you pay more money for prescription drugs!"

The issue is a clear winner for Democrats. Polling shows that over 80 percent of the public favors government negotiations over drug prices. And why shouldn't they? People paying less money is universally understood to be a good thing.

Republicans are caught (for once) in the weeds of complicated political arguments that don't easily fit on a bumpersticker (and aren't very popular anyway). Here is another Republican attempting to make the case to continue obscene drug prices for all Americans:

"Republicans have to figure out how to go after it," said Joe Grogan, a Republican strategist who served as a domestic policy adviser for former President Donald Trump. "They go after it by taking it head on: it is killing clinical programs, fundamentally restricting the amount of treatments."

. . .

"Company after company is making changes to commercial strategy due to the fact they have to anticipate government price-setting and basically [the] extortion that price dictates," Grogan said.

Got that? It is "extortion" when the government tells a drug company it won't pay an obscene price any more. Which, we suppose, means that it's not extortion to charge such... well... extortionate prices to begin with?

You can see the quandary the Republicans are in. Which some of them are willing to admit:

But White conceded that right now Republicans "don't have a plan that cuts with voters or resonates with voters and stands as a clear contrast to what Democrats are offering."

Actual Republican politicians aren't doing much better, either:

Congressional Republicans slammed Biden's Tuesday drug price announcement, saying they will impose crippling price controls.

"I hope that our colleagues on both sides of the aisle can come together to mitigate these devastating effects and advance consensus-based, market-driven solutions to access and affordability challenges," said Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

OK, so let's see... on the one hand we have: "We are fighting hard to bring drug prices down," and on the other we have: "We need consensus-based, market-driven solutions to access and affordability challenges," whatever the heck that's supposed to mean.

As you can see, Democrats easily have the winning position on this and Republicans are fighting for a very unpopular concept. Which at least one Democrat gleefully pointed out:

"If they want to run their campaigns based on keeping the profits of the drug companies high, welcome," Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told Politico. "Why don't they go for it and see how well President Biden does because people are going to understand that seniors want to see less expensive drugs."

In other words: bring it on. The Biden White House is already planning to make this a centerpiece of the re-election campaign. As they should. This is a historic development that progressives have been fighting to have happen for decades, and even though the corporatist Democrats in the Senate watered down the program to cover only 10 drugs (at first, though this number will grow over time), it is still a big milestone. And, like most of the things progressives fight for, it is incredibly popular with the public. "Pay less for prescriptions? Sounds good to me!"

For once, the Democrats have the popular position that fits on a bumpersticker, while Republicans are left trying to figure out how to spin: "We're fighting hard for corporate greed!" Good luck with that one, guys.

President Biden's been accomplishing other good things as well: expanding overtime pay for millions of workers and trying to expand background checks for purchasing guns, to name just two. Biden also just got another good jobs report today, and inflation has come down by roughly two-thirds from its post-pandemic peak. And for the first time ever, one branch of the federal government is recommending that marijuana not be treated as a more dangerous drug than fentanyl (which we wrote about at length yesterday). All around, it's been a pretty good week for the Democrats.

Republicans, meanwhile, are in disarray. The House will likely begin an official impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, even though they really don't have a clue what they'll be impeaching him for. They have no evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden, but they sure do want to go after his son Hunter -- who has never worked in an actual government job.

But let's get back to Republicans being in disarray. Over in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to be falling apart. For the second time in as many months, McConnell froze for a couple dozen seconds while answering questions from the press. He just blanked out and stared off into the distance, even after his aides tried to jar him back into reality. This has all the other Senate Republicans freaking out, since unlike Dianne Feinstein, McConnell holds their party's highest leadership job in the chamber. It will be interesting to see what happens next week when the Senate returns from its long summer vacation, since McConnell could face a leadership challenge in his caucus if only five of them call for it. The conservative National Review is already calling for McConnell to "step aside from leadership." One House firebrand Republican called McConnell "not fit for office."

In presidential election news, Donald Trump is making big money off his mugshot, to the tune of over $7 million in the first few days after it was released. Proving once again how irony-impaired the entire MAGA movement is, Trump's selling T-shirts with the photo and the slogan "Never surrender!" even though the photo was taken while Trump was surrendering himself. You just can't make this stuff up, folks.

The post-debate polling numbers are starting to come in, and it seems that the first Republican debate didn't change the race all that much. Mike Pence and Nikki Haley both saw small bumps from their debate performance, Vivek Ramaswamy didn't see much movement at all (which was kind of surprising -- we suppose Republican voters find him just as annoying as everyone else), Ron DeSantis at least stopped his slide in the polls and flattened out just under 15 percent, and Trump lost a few points at the top (but is still hovering around 50 percent). But there were no enormous spikes or downturns for anyone, really.

Vivek was pointedly told by Eminem to stop rapping his songs at political rallies, and it appears (unlike Trump, who plays any damn song he feels like) that Ramaswamy will actually stop doing so. DeSantis had to suspend his campaign to deal with Hurricane Idalia in Florida, as well as a racist shooting (where he was booed when he addressed a crowd, for good reason). And we noted the first casualty of the GOP race this week, as Francis Suarez actually followed his own campaign promise and dropped out of the race after not making it to the debate stage.

There was a lot of legal news from Republicans, which has become the usual thing. A date was set (March 4th, 2024) for the federal trial of Donald Trump over January 6th, but it is probably too late to chance the dynamics of the primary race much even though it is one day before Super Tuesday.

Trump will not be presenting himself in court for arraignment in Georgia, instead opting to just sign a document that enters his "not guilty" plea to the court. This means we won't get to see him sitting stony-faced before a judge next week, but the good news on this front is that the Georgia judge ruled that whenever the trial does happen, it will be televised.

For those of us who just can't wait for next year, Trump does have his first court case scheduled for October -- a civil case that accuses him of lying about his net worth on statements he filed with banks (which is a federal crime). But because it is a civil case, Trump won't have to appear in person. Still, it will get the courtroom ball rolling a lot faster than all his other cases.

In "Trump henchmen legal news," former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows actually took the stand and testified in a hearing in federal court, as Meadows tries to get his Georgia trial moved to federal court. This may not have been the smartest thing for him to do, but we'll have to see how it all plays out.

John Eastman is still facing disbarment in California, and his trial's not going great for him so far. Peter Navarro is about to go on trial for contempt of Congress (he ignored a congressional subpoena) and the judge ruled that he cannot argue that he was somehow "covered by executive privilege" since Trump never actually asserted it for him. And then after the judge ruled against him in court, Navarro spoke outside the courthouse with a heckler standing behind him holding a giant sign that said: "TRUMP LOST (And you know it!)", which irked Navarro no end. He finally made a lunge to grab the sign, but the woman holding it yanked it back and scoldingly told Navarro: "Bro, you're already facing charges!" To our ears, Navarro then confessed: "Yeah, I did it." The video is absolutely hilarious, we have to say.

Rudy Giuliani lost big time in court this week, as a judge ruled that because Rudy had defied the court's orders to produce evidence, no trial would even happen -- Rudy was summarily found liable for defaming two Georgia election workers. The jury will now only have to deliberate over how much money Rudy will have to pay the two. Rudy appears on the brink of financial ruin already, so it'll be interesting to see whether these two ever get any actual money out of him, but seeing Rudy lose big was certainly entertaining. And now it is being reported that Special Counsel Jack Smith has been asking people how drunk Rudy actually was during the period when he was advising Trump about the 2020 election, so it will be interesting to see if that answer is presented in court eventually.

And we have one political footnote to close on this week -- "Joe The Plumber" has passed away. Requiescat In Pace.


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We've been wondering when some enterprising Democrat is going to make a big stink over a very obvious issue, and this week we were finally rewarded. Which is why Representative Jamie Raskin is this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

The backstory is that CNN's Joe Tapper finally called out one of the House Republicans who is leading the investigation into Hunter Biden, over Jared Kushner cashing in on his family ties to Donald Trump. James Comer's answer was: "What Kushner did crossed the line of ethics." Which is putting it mildly, but at least he admitted it.

Jamie Raskin, who serves on Comer's committee, pounced on this, as Insider reported:

[Congressman Jamie] Raskin is asking the House Oversight Committee to take a hard look at Jared Kushner, former President Donald Trump's son-in-law, and Affinity Partners, the $3 billion private equity fund that Kushner founded shortly after leaving the White House and funded largely with money from foreign governments.

On Thursday morning, Raskin, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, sent Rep. James Comer, the committee's GOP chairman, a letter asking that Comer issue a subpoena to Affinity for records that committee Democrats have been seeking for more than a year.

The letter puts special focus on a $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. The Fund is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (often shortened to MBS) who had extensive contact with Kushner while he was serving under Trump as a senior advisor.

According to reporting by the Intercept, MBS once boasted that Kushner was "in his pocket."

While serving in government, Kushner delivered big for Saudi Arabia. He pushed for Trump to make the kingdom his first overseas trip. The New York Times reported that Kushner personally intervened to get MBS a better price from Lockheed Martin on a $110 billion arms deal.

He continued to talk to MBS by voice and text message, without looping in officials from the National Security Council, even after Saudi government officials brutally dismembered Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident journalist and US resident, the New York Times also reported.

The article also has the full letter from Raskin. Here's the key excerpt:

I am encouraged by your recent acknowledgment that "what Kushner did crossed the line of ethics" and your repeated assertions that our Committee is "investigating foreign nationals" attempts to target and coerce high-ranking U.S. officials' family members by providing money or other benefits in exchange for certain actions. In light of these concerns, I urge you to pursue a serious and objective investigation by issuing a subpoena to Affinity and requiring the firm to comply with my February 15, 2023, request for documents regarding its receipt of billions of dollars from Gulf monarchies shortly after Mr. Kushner left a senior White House position he used to reshape U.S. foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in Saudi Arabia's favor -- a request you have thus far allowed Mr. Kushner to ignore and defy.

In other words, turn-about should be fair play. You want to investigate Hunter Biden and others making something like $20 million selling family influence? Well then, let's just take a look at that $3 billion Jared Kushner got to play around with, shall we?

You can call this "whataboutism" if you want, but it's the Republicans who have painted themselves into this corner. If every time Hunter has ever cashed in on his last name is fair game, then it would also be equally fair game to take a look at Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and all of the other Trump children as well.

And it's long past time Democrats made this point and made it forcefully. Which is why we were so glad to see Jamie Raskin do so this week, and it is why we're handing him the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award this week. Every time Hunter Biden's name comes up, Democrats should immediately counter with Jared Kushner's name, plain and simple.

[Congratulate Representative Jamie Raskin on his House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is in somewhat of a spat with the Biden White House (and with his own governor as well), but for some reason we just don't think this rises to the level of the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week.

So we close out this year's Silly Season in politics by putting the MDDOTW award back on the shelf for another week. But since the Senate returns next week, we fully expect someone (we are looking in Senators Manchin and Sinema's direction, here) will disappoint us soon.


Friday Talking Points

Volume 721 (9/1/23)

Our talking points are all over the map this week, which is perhaps why we decided to end them talking about weed and beer. It's been that kind of a week, we suppose. As we just mentioned, next week the Silly Season will finally be over and there will be lots of political intrigue when the Senate reconvenes (especially on the Republican side of the aisle, as they all try to figure out what to do about Mitch McConnell), so there's that to look forward to.

For now, here's what we've got for this week, heading into a 3-day weekend (Happy Labor Day, everyone!).


   Democrats fighting to keep your drug costs down

This is such an easy battle to win, really.

"Joe Biden and the Democrats are fighting hard to lower prescription drug prices. Insulin now only costs patients $35 per month. And Medicare is getting the power to bargain down obscenely high prices for other live-saving medications as well. We are tired of seeing the American people ripped off by Big Pharma. We are fighting to change all of that. Republicans, on the other hand, are fighting hard to keep your drug prices sky-high. This is your choice, when you go into the voting booth -- vote to lower your drug costs, or vote to continue to pay more than any other consumers on the entire planet. It's a pretty easy choice to make, actually."


   Three million workers

Toot this horn as loud as you can too, because it is a winner.

"The Biden administration has moved to give a raise to more than three million American workers, by making them eligible for overtime pay. The Department of Labor is moving to force businesses to pay hourly wages -- with overtime! -- to these workers rather than mislabeling them as "management" and giving them only a set salary no matter how many hours a week they work. Big business has been ripping off workers making less than $50,000 a year by denying them overtime, but this new rule would fix the problem. Biden cares about the middle class and is fighting hard to give millions of workers a raise."


   What about Jared?

This is pretty easy to do, as Republicans prove all the time.

"Hunter Biden? Give me a break... what about Jared? All of the money Republicans have gotten their panties in a twist over with Hunter amounts to loose change in Jared's couch cushions. Jared got like 150 times the amount of money from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia! So if we're going to hold investigations into family members of presidents and other politicians, the question that demands an answer at this point is: What about Jared?"


   Party of lawlessness and disorder

Lo, how the mighty have fallen.

"The Republican Party used to brand itself as being the 'party of law and order.' They've been doing so since at least the 1960s, when there were lefty anti-war protesters in the streets. The GOP strongly supported law enforcement and respect for the rule of law. They got up on their high horse about it and headed down their moral high road. And now look how low they've sunk -- in the first GOP presidential debate, six out of eight of the candidates agreed that they would support and vote for a convicted felon for president. Republicans have been attacking prosecutors and the Department of Justice for trying to punish lawbreakers. They talk blithely about defunding the F.B.I. and the whole Justice Department. They use political pressure to weaponize the entire process. Sarah Palin -- a former GOP vice-presidential candidate -- casually talks of civil war. And she's not the only Republican advocating political violence these days. The Republican Party has done a complete 180, folks -- it is now the 'party of lawlessness and disorder.' They should really be ashamed of themselves, but of course they're not."


   For sale to the highest bidder!

Meanwhile, the stench coming from SCOTUS just gets more and more odiferous by the day.

"Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is, apparently, for sale to the highest bidder. That is disgraceful. Billionaires can apparently not only buy politicians now, but they can actually own Supreme Court justices as well. All it takes is a few luxury vacations, a few rides on private planes, and -- hey presto! -- you've got a buddy on the highest court in the land. This is disgraceful and has to stop. Reforming the Supreme Court should be a no-brainer for Congress, at this point, since Thomas seems to revel in rubbing everyone's face in his grifting ways."



As we mentioned, we wrote about this yesterday if anyone's interested.

"For the first time in the long and sordid history of the federal War On Drugs, there is now a recommendation that the federal government end the War On Weed portion of it. The Department of Health and Human Services recommended to the Drug Enforcement Agency that marijuana be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III, which would solve many of the problems that people selling it in the 38 states who allow such sales routinely have to face. Right now, it is the official position of the federal government that marijuana is a more dangerous drug than cocaine or fentanyl. That is insane -- it is just outside the bounds of reality, folks. We need to end the War On Weed altogether by completely descheduling marijuana and handing enforcement of federal laws on it over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. That's where it obviously belongs, right? Until we get to that point, however, I would strongly urge the D.E.A. to do exactly what H.H.S. just recommended, and reschedule marijuana down two notches."


   The Beer Police are coming! Ahhh!

[insert eye-rolling emoji here...]

"Republicans are the masters of fearmongering over absolutely nothing, folks. They try to scare their voters into believing abject nonsense on a regular basis. This week's entry in the GOP Hall of Idiotic Fearmongering is the way some Republicans are running around with their hair on fire screaming that Joe Biden's Beer Police are about to knock down their doors and seize any beers over the limit of 'two per week' from people's refrigerators. I will pause here, for you to laugh at that concept. But it really is how they've blown up a non-story into the biggest boogeyman imaginable -- Beer Police! Everyone run! -- so I guess Democrats once again have to calm everyone down with some reality. A public health advocate said in an interview that perhaps in the future the recommendations for alcohol consumption might tighten. He didn't promise such a move, he just speculated that we might someday move towards Canada's official recommendations. Now, can anyone name off the top of their head what the current recommendation is? Anyone? Bueller? Because I certainly had never heard it before, but it's apparently only two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one for women. Canada's guidelines are stricter: only two drinks per week. But you know what the result of even this drastic change would be? Absolutely nothing. Americas would go right on drinking as many beers as they pleased because everyone ignores this recommendation anyway. So even though Ted Cruz was out in front fearmongering his gullible constituents into thinking Joe Biden was going to rip their cold beer from their hands, this is just not true! Get a grip, people. A grip on whatever frosty beverage you feel like, because nobody's coming for your beer. The Beer Police do not exist and never will, OK?"

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


82 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Finally, A Messaging War Democrats Can Easily Win”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Beer police???


  2. [2] 
    andygaus wrote:

    Oh yes! And they're coming to put YOU in the cooler.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There will be Jimmy Buffett tunes Sunday night ...

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think there should be less talk about Biden's age and more contemplation about who his running mate should be in 2024.

    Because Kamala Harris will never be ready to be POTUS.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'd like to hear more about the, ah, Hunter Biden affair that refuses to go away.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You recall how I often referred to Hillary's better half as her presidential campaign sabotaging husband? Well, Biden has a presidential campaign sabotaging son, potentially.

    What is it with Democrats!!?

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, another thing while I'm on a roll ...

    When, oh WHEN will the US stop sponsoring and/or fighting STUPID wars?

    Ah ... NOT a rhetorical question. Ahem.

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey, everyone! Biden and Trump are tied again in the latest CNN poll. Of course, the Ukraine offensive is going just according to plan, as well, so ... ;)

  9. [9] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the biden admin is actually being pretty shrewd on ukraine right now. they're floating nato membership in exchange for ceding territory russia already holds.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    floating NATO membership? is that what you think they're doing!?

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, that is completely ass-backwards.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If the Biden admin thinks THAT will end this war, then they are well beyond delusional.

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That is just crazy, Joshua ... Ukraine's illusory membership in NATO is at the bloody heart of this stupid war in the first place.

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I will NEVER forgive Biden for not negotiating over NATO membership instead of stubbornly taking it off of the negotiating table.

    I have concluded that he really is too old.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Besides, the Kyiv government hasn't shown any sign, whatsoever, that it would go for such an outcome. Quite the contrary, in fact. I believe Z has the Biden administration right where he wants it - a very enviable position for a client state that would fall without US support.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I made a special discovery this long weekend and am really looking forward to sharing it tonight. Be there or be square! :)

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, there'll be a little Jimmy Buffett tribute, too - bring along your favourite tune from Margaritaville. :)

  18. [18] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Once again Elizabeth, NATOf membership being taken off the table would NOT have prevented the subsequent FULL-SCALE invasion (Russia started this war in 2014, so I don’t know why Joe’s actions effected the Russian strategic plan for restoring Soviet-era control over Eastern Europe). It would have ONLY told Putin that he can finish the invasion of Ukraine without fear of significant consequences. Just like in 2014 when Obama reacted like his typical pussy self and didn’t do dink to disincentivize Putin. Gawd I effing hate Obama.

    Any kind of Ukrainian territorial concessions would merely POSTPONE — and ONLY for a moment — Putin continuing his drive through Ukraine and into the Bessarabian gap (inside NATO member Romania) as well as the Polish plains (um, another NATO member.) These are two of the nine difficult to defend historical invasion routes into Russia. Going back to the Mongols in C.E. 1250 the Russians have suffered some 50 invasions so you can understand how sensitive they are to potential (re)invasion routes and the need to forward position to such places as Romania and Poland.

    At this point Russia are down to the LAST handful of years that Moscow will have enough military age people to realistically expand back out to the territory of the Soviet Union. NATO membership is simply an EXCUSE of Putin for an invasion that was ALWAYS going to happen in these waning years of the Russian demographic.

  19. [19] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Over the 18 months of our discussion of this conflict you have NOT addressed any of the issues that I’ve raised. I sure wish you would engage and therefore change my mind — which you should have no difficulty doing, but for your lack of willingness to ENGAGE. It’s as though you’ve bought into Rooskie propaganda and won’t suffer any challenge to your gullibility.

    On a completely different subject…the only Jimmy Buffett song that I know is Margaritaville. So I’m glad that you and nypoet will flesh out my JB appreciation.

    Aaand I’m looking forward to the “discovery” you have alluded to.

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm not sure what I haven't been clear about Re. the Ukraine war and I don't disagree with much of what you have had to say about it.

    Do I think Ukraine has every right to defend itself and maintain its territorial integrity? Yes, I do!

    Do I think it has every right to apply for NATO membership? Yes, I do! Do I think NATO should accept that application? No, I do not. For reasons I have already explained.

    Have US actions over the last many decades with regard to its Ukraine policy been detrimental to Ukraine. Absolutely, positively, unequivocally! It doesn't make any sense to be pushing for Ukrainian membership in NATO when the US knows full well that wasn't going to happen. It still probably won't happen. At least not any time soon.

    Was Biden wrong to not negotiate over Ukrainian membership in NATO? Yes, it was an idiotic move not to engage in discussion with Russia over the last few decades about how NATO would interact with Ukraine. Ukrainian membership in NATO makes no sense!

    Would Putin have chosen differently if president Biden hadn't said that Ukrainian membership in NATO was a 'sacred cow' and decidedly off of the negotiating table? Who the Hell knows. But, Biden made sure we wouldn't find out.

    Do I believe Ukraine can win this war with Russia? No, I do not believe it can. Of course, that depends a lot on how you define winning. I think it is high time that Ukraine cut its losses and wait for a better time to resolve its territorial issues diplomatically another time.

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Okay, everyone ... welcome one and all to the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party where we leave all the political chatter aside in favour of basking in the glory of the music.

    Of course, the tunes may be as political as we wish, as per usual. Heh.

    Anyway, sad news this week with the passing of Jimmy Buffett, man of the islands. I've been to Key West and fell in love with it.

    We all have our very own 'Margaritaville' and this tune, along with Sunny Days, have been my life's theme songs. Rock on, Jimmy!

    Margaritaville - Lost Verse!

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Here's a great two and hour tribute to Jimmy Buffett ... take some time and enjoy!

    Jimmy Buffett - Live From Key West 2015 - Tribute to Jimmy

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's two and a half hours long but very relaxing on a busy long holiday weekend ...

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm pretty proud of my hometown band, Helix. They have been rockin' for close to 50 years but I have only become a fan recently. So, I have A LOT to make up for. I've seen them twice in concert since the Pandemic and am so looking forward to seeing them later this month here in Kitchener-Waterloo. Currently, they are performing in Hamburg, Germany. They were the first North American band to have a number one record in Sweden!

    Here are few of my favourite Helix tunes ...

    Helix - Rock You (Uncensored Version)

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Jimmy Buffett was a great storyteller songwriter. Here is one about a guy who went to Paris ...

    Jimmy Buffett - He Went To Paris

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "The opening track to 1973’s A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean is a story-song about knocking over a gas station for 15 bucks, a can of motor oil, a jar of cashews, and a TV. It’s not exactly the Lufthansa heist, but Buffet and his pellet-gun-wielding accomplice celebrate it as such with one too many beers. Their drunken party ends with the cops showing up to rough ‘em, cuff ‘em, and toss them in the can. It’s a lighthearted romp, but stands as a prime example of the wry wit that Buffet would perfect in the years to come." — Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - The Great Filling Station Holdup

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "If there was ever a hint of a dark side to Buffett’s work, it could be found in this concert standard from his fifth album, A1A. The narrator, based on a real-life Buffett pal named Phil Clark, arrives at middle age looking back on a life of drug smuggling, drinking, and chasing women. Those days are gone: “I made enough money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away so fast,” Buffett sings. But the song is ultimately about wisdom and resilience, reflecting with a sense of loss but not regret, and Buffett makes the tale go down easy with an island-breeze melody that conveys a what-me-worry beach lifestyle before it all went south." ... David Browne, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - A Pirate Looks At Forty

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "At a time when most of his fellow singer-songwriters were relentlessly downcast and introspective, Buffett could display a lighter, more puckish touch; in other words, the dude had a sense of humor. Part of 1976’s Havana Daydreamin’, “My Head Hurts …” could easily be a country song: The narrator winds up in a bar, listening to Merle Haggard records, before hooking up with a fellow customer and waking up at her place, hungover, the next morning. From the use of the word “Darvon” (not a product you’d hear about in a country tune) to the intentionally corny countrypolitan backup choir in the arrangement, Buffett revels in country cliches and tweaks them at the same delicious time." — David Browne, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don't Love Jesus

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "The song that launched an empire, from a resort chain to a short-lived Broadway musical, is at its core a bit of a downer. The narrator is apparently alone near the beach, watching tourists and bumming over a relationship gone wrong. And let’s not forget the cut heel, the lost condiments and the “frozen concoctions that help me hang on.” As Buffett himself told RS in 2107, “There was a melancholy to Key West, and there is a melancholy to people who are escaping.” But there’s a reason “Margaritaville,” which Buffett said he wrote in five minutes at an airport, transcends its story and became his best-known and most loved song. The chorus instantly lodges in your brain, the song overall has a rakish charm, and you just have to root for the guy, who goes from admitting “it’s nobody’s fault” in the first chorus to “I know it’s my own damn fault” in the last. He may be a slacker, but at least he’s self-aware." — David Browne, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - Margaritaville

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Folk singer-songwriter Steve Goodman wrote and recorded this song about American expats enjoying the fruits of imperialism in Latin America, “spending those renegade pesos/On a bottle of rum and a lime.” Buffett infused Goodman’s social critique with a warm ambivalence and an honest sense of identification, as if he might’ve had people he’d met personally when he sang lines like, “Some of them are running to lovers/Leaving no forward address/Some of them are running tons of ganja/Some are running from the IRS.” The song came out in 1977, the peak year of punk rock. Rock critics would soon be rushing to congratulate bands like the Clash and the Gang of Four for interrogating the ambiguities and contradictions of capitalism “from the inside.” Buffett does that perfectly here (not that too many critics were listening), and he does it with a shrug and smile and a slice of lime in your drink to go with it." - Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - Banana Republics

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "The utterly charming title track of the album that also gave us “Margaritaville” mines a similar pop-calypso feel, but it’s less melancholy than the far bigger hit. There’s still plenty of drinking (rum and red wine) and much rueful longing over the adventures of the previous year. But while the narrator of “Margaritaville” seems a bit lost, this Buffett is more at peace with his escapades and run-ins, and its key line — “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane” — deftly summed up the appeal of Buffett’s music and image." — David Browne, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    hometown band? what the hell is my hometown band? pretty much everybody i'd imagine...

    buffett was probably best situated in key west, FL. for anyone who hasn't been, i absolutely recommend it.

    key west (dylan)

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Buffett crafted the ultimate tale of maritime wanderlust with the title track to his 1978 album. There are geographical references to Trinidad, a grocery aisle’s worth of allusions to Caribbean delicacies (chief among them, rum), and enough sailing jargon to fill a manual. But the song is defined by its honest-to-goodness faith in the unknown. “Where it all ends I can’t fathom my friends,” Buffet admits near the end, before dropping one of the best payoff lines of his entire catalog: “I’m just glad I don’t live in a trailer.”" - Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - Son of a Son of a Sailor

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "It’s the song that birthed the Parrothead salute — the meeting of palms above the head every time Buffett shouts “Fins Up!” onstage and shimmying like a fish. Sure, it looks silly as hell, but it’s as fun as this 1979 anthem about a beautiful warm-weather transplant fending off the advances of those “sharks that can swim on the land.” Originally appearing on Buffett’s Volcano album, “Fins” isn’t just a song, it’s a literal movement." — Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - Fins

  36. [36] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    if i don't get a reply, i'm going to start talking politics.

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "if you've lost your mind, you'll find it there..."

  38. [38] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    You're too funny! LOL

    Don't say I didn't reply. :-)

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    How is Key West doing these days ... after being hit by a big Hurricane ...

  41. [41] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    they abide.

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "In anyone else’s hands, this song — a lovely pop ballad and Buffett’s first top 40 hit — would have been utterly unrelatable. Starting with its opening line, about heading to San Francisco for “the Labor Day weekend show,” it hints at the drudgery of the rock touring lifestyle and leaving a loved one behind. But as the narrator clings to the thought of a reunion with his partner, the song soon becomes far more universal than just another on-the-road ramble. In an early indication of the way Buffett could also connect with his fans, he admits upfront he isn’t cool: “I got my Hush Puppies on/I guess I never was meant for glitter rock and roll." But he was meant for plenty of other things." - David Browne, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - Come Monday

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think of Key West, often ...

  44. [44] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Big Meat owes Buffet a heifer-sized debt of gratitude for all he did to promote burger eating. While vegans may recoil at a song that pines for something ordered “medium-rare with Muenster,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” kicked into high gear the salivary glands of carnivores everywhere. It’s not just a novelty song either. Rather, it’s a Zen-like reminder to appreciate the simple things. Like Warren Zevon (whose songs Buffet covered live in concert) said, “Enjoy every sandwich.”" — Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - Cheeseburger in Paradise

  46. [46] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    enjoy all the fruits life can give,
    don't just live to eat, eat to live

  47. [47] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    or maybe live to eat don't just eat to live

  48. [48] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i'm on two pints of kolsch

  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "While technically an Alan Jackson song that features Buffet, this happy hour singalong is inextricably linked to the king Parrothead. He made it a staple of his live shows and performed it more than a few times with the country singer, who in the recorded version tees up his guest with a lyric that belongs on a T-shirt: “What would Jimmy Buffet do?” Enter Buffet, who sings a chorus before enganging in some ad-libbed back and forth with AJ about sailing off to Margaritaville." — Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone

    Listening to this just now was so damn fun, I cried ... wishing we could all feel this way all the time.

    It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Okay, what's kolsch ... I'm polishing off a bottle of wine, Malbec from Argentina.

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Cheers, everyone! Okole maluna!!!

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "This lovely reflection on aging was originally recorded with a meditative reggae lilt and a horn section by Texas singer-songwriter Stephen Bruton in 1998. Buffett and Martina McBride refashioned it as a wonderfully empathetic country duet for Buffett’s 2004 collection License to Chill, where he also appeared alongside Kenny Chesney, Bill Withers, Nanci Griffith, Toby Keith, and others. Against sunrise guitars, the pair get adorably comfortable in the strange space between resignation and contentment, between embracing the past and hanging on for tomorrow as best you can." — Jon Dolan

    Jimmy Buffett with Martina McBride - Trip Around the Sun

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "By this time, Buffet had become a North Star for mainstream country music, which was producing big hits by coopting his beachy sounds and imagery. He leaned hard into radio-country himself with this track written by Music Row heavyweights Mark Irwin, Josh Kear, and Chris Tompkins about a rowdy bar on the Alabama border. “At the Bama Breeze,” Buffet sings, you could shoot pool, act a fool, and play it cool. While more polished than some of Buffet’s best songs, it proved he could compete with the country stars he so influenced." — Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone

    Bama Breeze

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Buffett could have easily called this song “A Pirate Looks at 67.” A burnished, late-period gem from Songs from St. Somewhere, it returns to the themes of his youth but from an older, been-there-sailed-that perspective. “It seems to me my life’s still free and wild,” he admits, but the melody, far less jaunty than in the past, suggests he knows he’s starting to wind down. With its haunted pedal steel, the song is more reminiscent of mid-Seventies Neil Young than Buffett’s own work from that time." — David Browne, Rolling Stone

    Jimmy Buffett - Tides (2013)

    And, there you have it.

    Tonight's tribute to the great Jimmy Buffett came courtesy of Rolling Stone and what that magazine does best. Thanks to RS writers David Browne, Jon Dolan and Joseph Hudak for their 15 essential songs tribute to Jimmy Buffett.

  55. [55] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "What Is a Kölsch Beer and Why Should You Be Drinking One?"

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oops ... I'll have another glass, please. :)

    Rolling Stone Magazine Tribute to Jimmy Buffett

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'll check out that link in just a sec, Joshua ... as soon as I get a refill ... waiter!?

  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    i actually had a (homemade) cheeseburger for dinner tonight. :)

  59. [59] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    garcon, coffee!

    garcon means boy.

    ~pulp fiction

  60. [60] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i don't think i'll ever be able to have a real cheeseburger again, unless i'm about to die anyway so the dairy allergy won't matter. hmm, i wonder if i should put a cheeseburger in my will as the last thing to touch my lips before i die.

  61. [61] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  62. [62] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    ok, i'm off. have a good night...

  63. [63] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The UK has a new defense secretary. His name is Grant Shapps. This is his fifth big government job in the past year during which he has served under three different prime ministers. Pretty neat, eh? Also, he has no background in defense and has never been in the military. This seems to be a trend and not only in the UK. Ahem.

    Anyway, interestingly enough, his cousin co-founded the British punk rock band, the Clash ...

    The Clash - London Calling

    London calling to the faraway towns
    Now war is declared and battle comes down
    London calling to the underworld
    Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls

    London calling, now don't look to us
    Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
    London calling, see we ain't got no swing
    'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

    The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
    Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
    Engines stop running but I have no fear
    'Cause London is drowning and I live by the river

    (London calling) To the imitation zone
    Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
    London calling to the zombies of death
    Quit holding out and draw another breath

    London calling and I don't wanna shout
    But while we were talking I saw you nodding out
    London calling, see we ain't got no high
    Except for that one with the yellowy eyes

    The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
    Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
    A nuclear era but I have no fear
    'Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river

    The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
    Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
    A nuclear era but I have no fear
    'Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river

    Now get this
    London calling, yes, I was there too
    And you know what they said?
    Well, some of it was true
    London calling at the top of the dial
    And after all this, won't you give me a smile?
    London calling
    I never felt so much alike

    Songwriters: Christopher Paul Bemand.

  64. [64] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Before I call it a night and as promised, I'd like to share with everyone a new musical discovery I made this week.

    It came by way of a very interesting and fun analysis video by Fil Henley of Wings of Pegasus. He took a look at a YouTube video to see if the dreaded autotuning or pitch correction was used in a certain song by an Australian singer.

    The singer is Gotye and the song is Somebody That I Used To Know. I had never heard of this singer or song before but it has really grown on me since first hearing it this week.

    First, have a listen to the song and then delve into it with Fil's analysis:

    Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know

    So, did Gotye vocally 'cheat' on this song? Or, is it listener ignorance?

  65. [65] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, I'll say g'nite to one and all and leave you with this Cooper Brothers tune and a wish that everyone stays as safe and sane as possible in this crazy world in which we live. See y'all next time around. Rock!

    The Cooper Brothers (from Ottawa) - Life Names the Tune-We Dance

  66. [66] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm a bit tired and can't sit straight at the moment so I'll listen to the tunes tomorrow ... er, later today, Joshua ...

  67. [67] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Were you drunk when you wrote that? :-)

  68. [68] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    No, were you?

  69. [69] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Not really.

  70. [70] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There are so many kinds of Kolsch beer, Joshua ... which one should I try first?

  71. [71] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    hard for me to say, as the stuff i buy probably isn't as widely available where you live and vice-versa. there's a great brewing scene all around portland, seattle and vancouver, so i'd search by region for the best value available. my own preference within the varietal is for a darker "schwartzbier" style kolsch, but it's a great category of craft brew so really it's hard to go wrong.

  72. [72] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I drank a bottle of Soft Red Blend from a California company called Ménage a Trois…too early in the afternoon and hence I slept through last night. Excellent job, especially posting all the biographical info and taking the time to include the song titles for future reference.

    Yup, wonderful Key West (or maybe Saint Augustine) are the only places in Florida that I would consider living at.

  73. [73] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    according to, the main characteristic of a kolsch is that it's an ale but it's brewed cold like a lager. i just know it tastes great.

  74. [74] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There seems to be quite a variety of Kolsch here in sunny southern Ontario so I should have fun finding a favourite! :)

  75. [75] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Missed you last night, Caddy ... :(

  76. [76] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Saint Augustine ... isn't that where Michale's at?

  77. [77] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Ya know, it's odd that you would memorize Jimmy Buffett and not Robbie Robertson who passed three/four weeks ago and is from the general Toronto area. The Band was more important in the development of music, Buffett for the development of alcoholism. Liz is usually all over the local talent...

  78. [78] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    good point about robbie. he was huge even in the overall development of rock.


    i've had menage, they're a big enough producer that they get sent over to the right coast too, though perhaps not their best stuff.



  79. [79] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Didn't I pay tribute to Robbie? I must have done! If not, I will have to rectify that. I know I paid tribute somewhere...

  80. [80] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    I figure that troll Michale — who will NOT show his face in this place for years to come (because the Repugs are completely fucked) has to be some kinda cracker from some southern State.

  81. [81] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Excellent, poet. I never heard of them until yesterday afternoon. Three different grapes yields (as one would expect) complexity and I would select it again. I’m also big on an Aussie company called “19 Crimes.”

  82. [82] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Liz, yes St Augustine, though I got the impression he was outside the city...

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